In this issue you will find:
- Important March Dates
- Oriental Medicine Brings New Life to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness
- Acupuncture for Preventing & Treating Postoperative Nausea & Vomiting
- Herbs For Sinuses
- Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day
Important March Dates to Remember
- March 23 - New York Open House
- March 23 - Chicago Open House (Massage)
- March 26 - San Diego Open House
Oriental Medicine Brings New Life to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month
Fatigue is a common occurrence experienced by millions on a regular basis. However, for those suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), fatigue is a constant symptom in what is often thought of as an underlying systemic illness. Additional indicators of CFS consist of flu-like symptoms, generalized pain and memory problems, and an inability to perform mental or physical activities easily.
Though the cause of CFS remains unknown, it is quickly becoming recognized as a serious medical condition. Based on recent studies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as half a million people in the United States suffer from CFS.
Perhaps what is most frustrating about this illness is that there is no cure. Oriental medicine, however, has several techniques to manage CFS symptoms that are both safe and effective when administered by a licensed acupuncturist.
Focusing on the immune system, Oriental medicine combines acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and lifestyle changes, including diet, exercise and meditation. Strengthening the immune system revitalizes the body which is a powerful tool in controlling CFS symptoms.
Studies show that the endorphins released by acupuncture can raise the amount of white blood cells, T-cells and anti-bodies in the body, which increase the body's level of immunity. Chinese herbal medicine, which is one of the most sophisticated herbal medicine systems in the world, also helps to boost the immune system by creating more antibodies, which fight disease.
When general or local anesthesia is used for surgery, patients often experience nausea and vomiting following the procedure. This condition is called postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV). Although PONV does not usually last longer than one day, it is important to treat because it is so unpleasant and can cause complications such as dehydration and stress. In rare cases, PONV can even cause reopening of the surgical incision. These complications can affect how soon patients are able to leave the hospital, and thus they may also increase medical care costs.
The traditional ways of preventing and treating PONV have been medication and trying different types of anesthesia. Since the 1980s, however, an increasing number of studies have shown that acupuncture is also effective in preventing and treating this disorder. Studies have compared acupuncture to everything from placebo treatment (placing of electrodes on the skin but with no stimulation), to medication, to both placebo and medication. In 1997 the National Institutes of Health issued the following consensus statement from leaders in the field:
There is clear evidence that needle acupuncture is efficacious for adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and probably for the nausea of pregnancy.?
Acupuncture Versus Medication for PONV
In recent years, studies have shown that acupuncture"in its variety of incarnations, including traditional acupuncture with needles, electro-acupuncture, transcutaneous nerve stimulation, laser stimulation, acustimulation device, and acupressure"is at least as effective if not more effective than medication in preventing and treating PONV for a number of conditions.
The Latest Study
The findings from the most recent of these studies were published in the October 2004 issue of the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia. In this study of 75 women undergoing breast cancer surgery, electro-acupoint stimulation and medication were each shown to be more effective than placebo. But more importantly, electroacupuncture was shown to be as effective as the medication ondansetron in preventing PONV, and more effective in controlling nausea once it started to occur. Electroacupuncture was also found effective in reducing pain caused by the surgery. Electroacupuncture has fewer side effects and is less costly than the medications currently being used, such as ondansetron. So overall, electroacupuncture appears to have more advantages. These findings are significant because surgery on the breasts has one of the highest rates of PONV of all types of surgery.
Review of Previous Studies
Researchers performed a systematic review of all the most scientifically rigorous studies of acupuncture for PONV up to and including January 2003, this included 26 randomized clinical trials. All of the studies compared acupuncture to treatment with placebo and/or drug therapy. Twenty of the studies involved adults undergoing elective surgery, and six involved children. A total of 3,347 patients participated between 1986 and 2002. The surgeries for which PONV was treated in the studies included: cesarean birth, gynecological, urological, gall bladder, cosmetic surgeries in adults, and eye and tonsil surgery in children. Different studies used different types of acupuncture, medications, and anesthesia.
The results of this evaluation clearly showed that acupuncture is more effective than placebo in decreasing the risk of PONV. Compared to use of a single medication, acupuncture is more effective in preventing nausea but not vomiting. The review also found that the side effects from acupuncture are only minor and are much less significant than those from medication. In addition, the researchers suggest that use of acupuncture rather than medication may help lower the costs of some surgeries for two reasons. First, acupuncture treatment is less expensive than drug therapy. Second, because acupuncture is more effective for preventing nausea, its use may reduce the length of time patients need to stay in the hospital. The reviews overall conclusion was that acupuncture is more worthwhile than medication for preventing PONV after a variety of surgeries.
Issues for Future Research
Several aspects of acupuncture treatment still remain to be studied and could lead to even more effective treatment of PONV. Studies should compare acupuncture alone to acupuncture in combination with a single medication or a combination of medications. Future studies are also needed to determine the best timing for using acupuncture to prevent PONV. They should compare use before, during, and after surgery. Also yet unknown is whether stimulation on both wrists is more effective than on just one wrist.
Herbs for Sinuses
Spring is the season where blossoms bloom on the trees, and everything seems to come alive again. Spring also seems to herald in the beginning of allergy/ and sinus infection season. One way to knock out sinus troubles is by using herbs. Here are some single Western herbs you can use to cure you sinus infection.
Barberry and Goldenseal - have very similar therapeutic uses - both help combat infection, stimulate the activity of the immune system, and lower fever.
Echinacea - is used by many herbalists to cure infections like sinusitis.
Ephedra - The World Health Organization supports the use of ephedra as part of treatment for the common cold, hay fever, and sinusitis. Because of some serious risks associated with this herb (like stroke and irregular heart rhythm), use of ephedra should only take place under strict guidance and supervision by an herbal specialist and physician and only for short periods of time.
Eucalyptus oil - is a strong antibacterial and acts as an expectorant (loosens mucus in the respiratory passages) and antiseptic (prevents infection).
Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day
"He who depends on himself will attain the greatest happiness."
Book of Odes