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Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - February 2007 | Issue 34

In this issue you will find: Important PCOM Dates
  • February 24 – Chicago Chinese New Year Celebration
  • March 3 – San Diego Chinese New Year Celebration

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Acupuncture Debuts On The Oprah Winfrey Show

On Tuesday February 13, 2007, Oprah’s viewers experienced the life changing benefits of acupuncture first hand. Thanks Daniel Hsu L.Ac., D.A., A.V.I., a doctoral fellow at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, viewers were able to see the true benefits of acupuncture and pain management in a clinical trial held during the show. Daniel Hsu founded the New York AcuHealth Center after completing a Masters of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. He is very well known for his meticulous dedication to Chinese medicine.

During the show Dr. Oz, Oprah’s resident medical expert, displayed a true passion for alternative medicine ”acupuncture has been around for 2,500 years in China. There are a billion people in another part of the world who use these therapies.” In a time where Western medicine is slowly opening to global medical techniques, many medical professionals, like Dr. Oz, are becoming extremely interested in therapies that treat the body’s energy. “The next big frontier…in medicine is energy medicine. It’s not the mechanistic part of the joints moving. It’s not the chemistry of our body. It’s understanding for the first time how energy influences how we feel.” Healing energy is the root of Chinese medicine, a fact that many Oprah viewers now understand.

During the show Angela was treated for severe shoulder pain. She had previously seen several doctors, and tried massage, but was unable to alleviate the constant radiating pain from her shoulder. After only one treatment by Daniel Hsu L.Ac., she reported her pain 100% gone, even after being pressed by Oprah. Her response to the treatment was “I’m on cloud nine. I feel rejuvenated. The pain…I don’t feel it. I feel wonderful,” a glowing recommendation for acupuncture treatment.

Even Oprah joined in and received a wellness treatment. She was admittedly scared of the needles, but after being reassured and receiving the treatment she exclaimed that, “It’s really not that bad. It’s not as bad as getting your ears pierced, I’ll tell you that.” Considering she had waited 51 years to get her ears pierced, that was definitely a compliment.

This show was a great stride for the acupuncture field. By sharing the theories behind Chinese medicine as well as dispelling many myths and fears surrounding acupuncture, this show opened up a whole new view of healthy living and therapy for many viewers. Daniel Hsu acted as a great ambassador for the field of Chinese medicine. His obvious passion and medical training left Oprah’s viewers with an extremely positive impression of acupuncture while clearly displaying its benefits.

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Pacific College Welcomes Giovanni Maciocia to Faculty

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine is proud to announce that Giovanni Maciocia will be joining our San Diego faculty. As a world-renowned practitioner of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine he will be an exciting new force on our campus. Giovanni will be a regular faculty member of our doctoral program and a guest lecturer in our master’s program. He is also slotted to participate in our Pacific Symposium and special events at our Chicago and New York campuses.

Often noted as the father of Chinese medicine in Europe, Giovanni Maciocia is best known as the author of “Tongue Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine”, “The Foundations of Chinese Medicine”, “The Practice of Chinese Medicine”, and “Obstetrics and Gynecology in Chinese Medicine”. His textbooks are a learning staple in acupuncture colleges worldwide.

Maciocia’s own education began in England where he attended the International College of Oriental Medicine and graduated with a degree in acupuncture in 1974. Since then he has attended three post-graduate courses at the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and graduated from the National Institute of Medical Herbalists in 1977.

He has been teaching acupuncture and Chinese medicine internationally since 1974. In 1996 he was appointed as a visiting professor at the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the top Oriental medicine college in China. His style is described as rigorous, meticulous, and innovative, a reflection of his own dedication to the profession.

Giovanni Maciocia is an innovator of medical technique and theory and an experienced guide in the world of Oriental medicine. He is constantly adapting Oriental medical techniques and theories to Western cultural conditions and diseases. Most recently, Giovanni formulated an original theory on the aetiology and pathology of asthma and allergic rhinitis. He also penned a theory on the aetiology, pathology, diagnosis, and treatment of Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome, a newly discovered disease with no Chinese medical documentation.

Also well known for his successful herbal formulas “The Three Treasures” and “The Women’s Treasure”. Giovanni is also credited with developing the first line of Chinese herbal formulae to treat women’s gynecological complaints. With his extensive Chinese medical knowledge Giovanni Maciocia is an amazing asset to our campus.

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Vegetarian Diets Help Prevent Cancer

By Michelle Fletcher, B.A., www.michellefletcher.net

Vegetarianism is more than just leaves and twigs. It’s also a far cry from the granola-munching we picture from the ’60s. Diverse in colors and flavors as it is in textures and nutrients, vegetarian diets also play a part in preventing and reducing the risk of cancer.

Before you munch on a salad or grab a stick of tofu (it’s much better cooked with some garlic or a little salt and pepper, by the way), hear the facts.

Formerly seen as strange and faddish, vegetarian diets are now recognized by many, including the American Dietetic Association as not only being nutritionally adequate, but also a healthful, natural way to treat chronic diseases. Cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, gallstones and many other chronic diseases are thwarted by integrating a healthful and well-balanced vegetarian diet.

Tufts University Medical School registered dietitian Johanna Dwyer summarized: “Data is strong that vegetarians are at lesser risk for obesity, atonic [reduced muscle tone] constipation, lung cancer, and alcoholism. Evidence is good that risks for hypertension, coronary heart disease, type II diabetes, and gallstones are lower.”

What is a vegetarian diet? In addition to copious amounts of fruits, vegetables, and grains, vegetarian diets also contain dry beans and lentils as protein sources. Many vegetarians also integrate low- to non-fat yogurts, milks, and cheeses, but this varies from vegetarian to vegetarian.

A number of studies point to the positive effects of vegetarian diets and health – most notably, cancer.

Over 200 studies have revealed that a regular consumption of fruits and vegetables provides significant protection against cancer at many sites. People who consume higher amounts of fruits and vegetables have about one-half the risk of cancer, especially the epithelial cancers. The risk of most cancers was 20-50% lower in those with a high consumption of whole grains.

Further, the National Cancer Institute states that 35 percent of cancer deaths may be related to diet, according to its booklet: Diet, Nutrition, & Cancer Prevention: A Guide to Food Choices. “Diets high in fiber-rich foods may reduce cancers of the colon and rectum.  Reducing fat in the diet may reduce cancer risk and, in helping weight control, may reduce the risks of heart attack and stroke.”

An Italian study conducted at the University of L’Aquila in Teramo evaluated the relationship between diet and cancer development. By integrating a vegetarian diet, researchers concluded that the dietary changes could help prevent cancer: “A low use of fibers, the intake of red meat and an imbalance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats may contribute to increase the risk of cancer. On the other hand, the assumption of lots of fruit and vegetables may lower the risk of cancer. Protective elements in a cancer-preventive diet include selenium, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin D, chlorophyll and antioxidants such as carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin). Ascorbic acid has limited benefits if taken orally, but is effective through intravenous injection. A supplementary use of oral digestive enzymes and probiotics is also an anticancer dietary measure. A diet drawn up according to the proposed guidelines could decrease the incidence of breast, colon-rectal, prostate and bronchogenic cancer.”

A 2006 study at the University of California, San Diego provided similar results. “These results provide preliminary evidence that adoption of a plant-based diet is possible to achieve as well as to maintain for several months in patients with recurrent prostate cancer. Adoption of a plant-based diet may have therapeutic potential in the management of [recurrent prostate cancer].”

Another study at the UCSD Cancer Center concluded that “Adopting a plant-based diet, along with stress reduction, may alleviate disease progression and have therapeutic potential for clinical management of recurrent prostate cancer.”

Further, the National Cancer Institute says that women who eat meat everyday are nearly four times more likely to get breast cancer than those who don’t. By contrast, women who consume at least one serving of vegetables a day reduce their risk of breast cancer by 20 percent to 30 percent, according to the Harvard Nurses Health Study. Studies done at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg suggest that this is because vegetarians’ immune systems are more effective in killing off tumor cells than meat eaters’. Studies have also found that plant-based diets protect against colon, prostate, and skin cancers.

Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop has said that 70 percent of all Americans are dying from diseases that are directly tied to their eating habits. By integrating a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes will help you live longer, healthier, and take a big step in fighting chronic diseases.


Messina V, Burke K. Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 1997;97:1371-21.

Steinmetz K, Potter J. Vegetables, fruit, and cancer, I. Epidemiology. Cancer Causes Control 1991;2(suppl):325-57.

Jacobs DR, Marquart L, Slavin J, et al. Whole-grain intake and cancer: an expanded review and meta-analysis. Nutr Cancer 1998;30:85-96.

Divisi D, et al. Diet and cancer. Acta Biomed. 2006 Aug;77(2):118-23.

Nguyen JY, et al. Adoption of a plant-based diet by patients with recurrent prostate cancer. Integr Cancer Ther. 2006 Sep;5(3):214-23.

Saxe, GA, et al. Potential attenuation of disease progression in recurrent prostate cancer with plant-based diet and stress reduction. Integr Cancer Ther. 2006 Sep;5(3):206-13.

Dworkin, Norine. 22 Reasons to Go Vegetarian Right Now – benefits of vegetarian diet. Vegetarian Times. April 1999.

Dworkin, Norine.

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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day

“Do not fear going forward slowly, fear only to stand still.”

- Book of Odes

Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - January 2007 | Issue 33

In this issue you will find:

Important PCOM Dates

  • January 17 – Chicago Open House
  • February 6 – San Diego Prospective Student Workshop
  • February 10 – New York Open House
  • February 10 – New York Chinese New Year Celebration
  • February 24 – Chicago Chinese New Year Celebration

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Tai Chi as a Beneficial Exercise for Seniors

More and more seniors are becoming physically active—reaping the countless health benefits associated with regular exercise. If power walking and your run-of-the-mill strength building exercises are uninteresting, the no-impact Chinese exercise Tai Chi is an excellent way to tone muscle, increase endurance, and gain balance.

In a recent study in Annals of Behavioral Medicine, researchers concluded that the movements associated with Tai Chi helped seniors improve their physical functioning. Study participants who took Tai Chi twice a week for a 6 month period noticed a significant improvement in their ability to accomplish daily tasks such as carrying groceries, walking up stairs, or moving medium-sized objects.

“It was concluded that the 6-month Tai Chi exercise program was effective for improving functional status in healthy, physically inactive older adults. A self-paced and self-controlled activity such as Tai Chi has the potential to be an effective, low-cost means of improving functional status in older persons.” Most notably, those who took Tai Chi were less likely to fall—one of the largest causes of serious injury for seniors.

Tai Chi practice can reduce the inconsistency of arm movement force output by older adults. In a study performed at the University of Houston, scientists concluded, “Tai Chi practice may serve as a better real world exercise for reducing force variability in older adults’ manual performance.”

The movements of Tai Chi combine the elements of balance, toning and aerobic exercises, through slow, graceful actions. When practiced regularly, Tai Chi positively affects overall health and wellbeing. Flexibility enables seniors to reach the top shelf, while balance aids in preventing serious falls. Practitioners will also develop stronger lungs—to walk without becoming winded—and improved leg strength—to easily rise from a seated position. Because it is a no-impact exercise, Tai Chi is especially well suited for older adults.

Tai Chi has three major components: movement, meditation, and deep breathing. All major muscle groups are utilized to articulate the gentle, slow movements of Tai Chi. Further, its movements improve strength, flexibility, coordination, and muscle tone. The exercise may help slow bone loss, and prevent osteoporosis. The meditative aspect of Tai Chi soothes the mind, reduces anxiety, enhances concentration, and lowers blood pressure. The deep breathing releases tension, enhances blood circulation to the brain, and supplies the body with fresh oxygen.

For older adults seeking an effective, no-impact exercise with a multitude of benefits, Tai Chi is an excellent choice to free the mind and energize the body.

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Massage Benefits Women with Breast Cancer Courtesy of MassageMag.com

Massage therapy reduced depression, anxiety and anger in women with breast cancer, and increased their levels of dopamine, serotonin, natural killer cells and lymphocytes, according to recent research.

"Breast cancer patients have improved immune and neuroendocrine functions following massage therapy" was conducted by the Touch Research Institutes, Department of Pediatrics, Hematology/Oncology Clinics, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Department of Medicine at the University of Miami School of Medicine.

Thirty-four women with Stage 1 or 2 breast cancer were randomly assigned to either a massage-therapy group or a standard-treatment control group. Each participant had completed radiation or chemotherapy treatment at least three months before the study started.

Women in the massage-therapy group received three 30-minute massages per week for five weeks. The massage involved stroking, squeezing and stretching techniques on the head, arms, legs, feet and back. Women in the control group received standard treatment only, with the option to receive massage after the study.

The State Trait Anxiety Inventory, Profile of Mood States and the Symptom Checklist-90-R were used to evaluate participants’ anxiety and mood at the beginning and end of the study period.

Urine samples were taken from the women on the first and last days of the study, and their blood was drawn.
Results of the urine tests showed that serotonin and dopamine levels for the massage group increased, and the blood tests showed that there was a significant increase in their natural killer (NK) cell numbers and lymphocytes.

"NK cells spontaneously destroy a wide variety of cancer and virus-infected cells and are involved in eliminating metastases," state the study’s authors. "Lymphocytes are precursor cells of immunological function as well as regulators and effectors of immunity."

Results of the questionnaires showed that women in the massage-therapy group had reduced anxiety, depression, anger and hostility.

"In the current study, massage therapy was found to be a safe treatment, as no adverse effects were reported, and massage was found to positively impact the psychology, immunology, and biochemistry of women with breast cancer," state the study’s authors.

"In summary, the self-reports of reduced stress, anxiety, anger/hostility, and improved mood, and the corroborating findings of increased dopamine and serotonin levels and increased NK cell number (the primary outcome measure) and lymphocytes suggest that massage therapy has positive applications for breast cancer survivors."

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Chinese Medicine Helps Shed Those Extra Pounds

Now that the holidays are over and the long nights of eating and merry-making are behind us, January is once again a fresh start to losing weight and feeling great for the New Year.

According to the American Obesity Association, 127 million adults are overweight, and 60 million meet the criteria for obesity.  This health epidemic affects not only the patient’s quality of life, but also results in a cost of $12.7 billion dollars annually to US businesses in loss of productivity and health and life insurance costs. Additionally, obesity is linked to over 30 health medical conditions including Type 2 Diabetes, and Heart Disease. Approximately 300,000 deaths each year are attributed to obesity.
Although Americans spend $35 billion annually on weight-loss products and services, the rate of obesity has spread to 30.5% of adults over the age of twenty. With the high failure rate of fad diets many Americans are now turning to alternative solutions. Those seeking long term lifestyle changes and true health stability are now including the use of Acupuncture and Tai Chi to achieve their health goals.
Acupuncture and Tai Chi are a great addition to any weight loss plan. When beginning a diet, many people experience food withdrawals from a lack of endorphins they are used to receiving through comfort foods. These cravings can lead to dangerous food binges, guilt, and shame. Acupuncture and Tai Chi are a great way to counter-balance these cravings, as they release endorphins into the brain, which helps alleviate the withdrawal symptoms of various foods.
Weight gain can also be caused by stress, which increases Cortizol in the body. An increase in Cortizol can alter a person’s metabolism causing a stressed-out person to store more fat than usual. By releasing endorphins into the body these therapies reduce the level of stress and curtail the over-production of Cortizol in the body.
Tai Chi and Acupuncture are also effective in stimulating the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that regulates the autonomic nervous system and controls appetite and hormone production. Regulating the body’s thyroid and hormone levels, through these therapies are effective in aiding weight-loss.
Still, the ultimate means of regulating weight is through eating healthy and increasing exercise. The use of Acupuncture and Tai Chi provide a fun form of exercise and release from unhealthy food cravings, stress, and dependencies. Tai Chi improves metabolism by increasing strength, flexibility, and restoring internal balance. Tai Chi’s gentle movements are also a great low impact exercise for aging bodies, people recovering from injuries, or those looking to change up their current exercise routine. Together these therapies are an extremely effective means of losing weight and feeling great in the New Year.

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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day

“He who depends on himself will attain the greatest happiness”

- Book of Odes

Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - November 2006 | Issue 31

In this issue you will find: Important PCOM Dates
  • November 18 – Great American Smoke Out
  • December 4 – New York Open House
  • December 12 – Chicago Open House

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Fighting Eating Disorders With Chinese Medicine

Nearly 1 million men and women in the United States suffer from eating disorders, according to The National Institute of Mental Health. The two most common types of eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia. Anorexia is characterized by drastic weight loss to the point of extreme underweight. Victims will harvest a great fear of gaining weight, and an extreme inability to accept one’s own appearance. Those suffering from bulimia are characterized by binge-eating behavior, accompanied by recurrent compensatory behavior to prevent weight gain.

Prevalent in most eating disorder cases, depression and anxiety may be treated by acupuncture. In a study performed by Guo Ke Ren, 30 cases of anorexia were treated with acupuncture to specific meridians for 30 minutes; after treatments, 25 cases were resolved and 5 responded with improvement, with an effectiveness rate of 100%. A Chinese study has also found positive results in integrating TCM into treatments for depression. Subjects have reported “significant improvements in their physical health, mental health, sense of control and social support,” after several acupuncture and body-mind treatments.

Those suffering from eating disorders typically have much lower levels of total energy, vitamins, and essential nutrients required for healthy living. In an American study, “dietary intake of calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and ascorbic acid of anorexics were significantly lower than in normal subjects.” Supplementation of some of these vitamins and minerals may help reduce the symptoms of eating disorders and help promote a healthy lifestyle in victims of anorexia and bulimia.

  • Rhodiola has been used in folk medicine for centuries to increase the body’s natural resistance to stressors. It enhances the transport of serotonin (a feel-good chemical that promotes wellbeing in the body) to the brain, reducing depression and anxiety.
  • St. John’s Wort is a popular herbal remedy for depression, a well-published side-effect of eating disorders.
  • Kava has been used in the South Pacific and Europe as an effective for mild anxiety, muscular tension, and insomnia.
  • Eluthero ginseng is used to increase stamina and endurance, protecting the body’s systems from stress-induced illness.

Traditional Chinese Medicine can provide those with anorexia and bulimia alternative therapies to popular Western prescriptions that not only aid in recovery, but help strengthen overall vitality and health in the body and mind.

For more information contact Pacific College at (800) 729-0941 or visit www.PacificCollege.edu.

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Benefits of Sports Massage By: Michelle Fletcher

An Athlete’s peak performance may be dependent upon the proper use and application of sports massage. More than a treatment for injuries, sports massage produces overwhelming benefits for athletes physically, physiologically, and psychologically.

Sports massage is designed to prepare the athlete for their best performance, reduce fatigue, and relieve muscle swelling and tension. During physical activity—especially strenuous—muscle tension builds up in the body’s soft tissues. Due to overextension or overuse, minor injuries and lesions occur in these tissues that can cause a great deal of pain and poor athletic performance. Sports massage helps alleviate pain and prevent such injuries that greatly affect flexibility, mobility, response time, and overall performance in athletic events.

One of the most common setbacks for athletes is delayed-onset muscle soreness, more commonly known as DOMS. This refers to muscle pain that typically develops several hours postexercise and consists of predominantly eccentric muscle actions—especially if the exercise in unfamiliar. Although DOMS is likely a symptom eccentric-exercise-induced muscle damage, it does not necessarily affect muscle damage. Recent studies have concluded that sports massage may help reduce and prevent the often-painful and debilitating effects of DOMS in athletes.

An Australian study involving 5 healthy men and women who performed a variety of new exercises, has concluded that massage played a key role in easing DOMS. “Massage was effective in alleviating DOMS by approximately 30% and reducing swelling.” Massage can reduce this though the improved blood and lymphatic system circulation that assists in the removal of metabolites and other toxins.

Heavily exercised muscles may also lose their capacity to relax. This causes chronically tight muscles, and loss of flexibility. Lack of flexibility is often linked to muscle soreness, and predisposes athletes to injuries-- especially muscle pulls and tears. Blood flow through tight muscles is poor (ischemia), which also causes pain.  A regular routine of massage therapy is very effective in combating these effects of heavy exercised muscles.

“Muscular strain is a common sports-related injury with the potential to chronically impair performance when sound principles of injury recognition, immediate treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention are ignored.” When preventive techniques such as sports massage are applied, according to Glen A Halvorson, MD, severe muscular strain may be avoided.

Sports massage should be applied before and after athletic events, with many “maintenance” sessions in-between meets or competitions. Pre-event sports massage is focuses on warming-up the major muscles to be used and improves tissue pliability. It also helps get the athlete in a good mental state for competition and prepares them to reach their athletic performance potential.  Post-event sports massage is given following an athletic event and is mainly focused upon recovery. This type of sports massage is geared toward reducing muscle spasms and metabolic build-up that occur with vigorous exercise.

Integrated into a weekly training regimen, athletes may avoid DOMS, relax and revitalize muscles, and feel calmer and more focused before and after events.

Zainuddin, Zainal et al. Effects of Massage on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness, Swelling, and Recovery of Muscle Function. Journal of Athletic Training. 2005 Jul-Sep; 40(3): 174-180.

Halvorson, Glen A. MD. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Western Journal of Medicine. 1986 June; 144(6): 734–735.

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Green Tea Extract May Help HIV Patients

Adding to the list of its already known health benefits, modern science is coming to find chemicals found in Green Tea may also show promise for slowing the degradation of immune cells caused by HIV.  The immune cells that HIV attacks are the T-cells produced by the thyroid gland.  These cells are often referred to as “Generals” because they lead other immune cells to the areas of the body that require resistance or repair from pathogens.

When left untreated, HIV can virtually wipe out the bodies supply and ability to produce T-cells thereby leaving it susceptible to other disease causing viruses and bacteria.  Eventually this leads to Advanced Immune Deficiency Syndrome, otherwise known as AIDS.  A person with advanced AIDS can die of the virus that causes the common cold because without immune protection there is a quick proliferation of the virus cells throughout the lungs, which can cause pneumonia. Virtually any disease is a potential killer for a person with advanced HIV or AIDS without the proper medications.

Dr. Kuzushige Kawai at the University of Tokyo is one of a handful of scientists who have taken an interest in the implications of Green Tea for treatment of HIV.  Most specifically it is the Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) scientists are interested in.  This is the same chemical compound that has been linked with lower rates of heart disease, stroke, lowered cholesterol, managing diabetes, and better liver health.

What Dr. Kawai found in lab tests was that the EGCG found in Green Tea prevented the virus from bonding to CD4 molecules in healthy T-cells, by bonding with them before the virus.

Another study conducted at the Laboratory of Viral Oncology in Nagoya, Japan found EGCG inhibits HIV’s replication.  These results insinuate Green Tea may be an eradicator of the virus already existing in cells or at the very least a “cooler” of sorts, keeping the virus latent.  HIV is different than other viruses because even when it is latent in a host cell its genetic encoding transfers upon cell division which means all new cells are infected.  The possibility that Green Tea can induce cell apoptosis (self-programmed cell death) in infected cells shows the most promise because infected cells will cease replicating thus ending the cycle of life for the virus.  This along with the elimination of potential host T-Cells makes Green Tea a potent natural elixir to help fight against HIV. 

The amount of EGCG used in the experiments regarding HIV is far higher than those found in typical store bought Green Tea, and it is not yet known if these levels in the blood serum could be toxic.  However, Green Tea is plentiful and found all over the world whereas the engineered pharmaceuticals currently being utilized to treat HIV can be expensive and hard to obtain. Green Tea offers a ray of hope for the people suffering from HIV across the globe.  More resources need to be put forward for Green Tea research to discover what the ultimate implications are for HIV patients.

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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day

“Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy”

-Lao Tzu

Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - December 2006 | Issue 32

In this issue you will find:

Important PCOM Dates

  • December 12 – Chicago Open House
  • December 20 – San Diego New Student Orientation

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Oriental Medicine & Breast Cancer

Approximately 180,000 women will be told they have breast cancer this year. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, after skin cancer, and the leading cause of cancer deaths for women 35 to 54. Though early detection is an important component of survival, prevention is a primary goal in the fight against breast cancer.

Oriental medicine provides many resources for prevention. Exercises such as Qigong, Tai Chi and Yoga reduce stress, a leading cause of cancer, and alleviate tension. These physical arts also bring the body and mind into balance. Since the 1970s medical Qigong experiments for the treatment of breast cancer have shown the exercise improves quality of life and helps delay the growth and onset of cancer.

Studies have shown that women with breast cysts are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer, and that Chinese herbs and acupuncture are effective in resolving breast lumps. According to The Rites of the Zhou Dynasty (1100-400 BCE) Chinese specialists have been treating “swellings and ulcerations” for millennia.  A 1996 study showed acupuncture and herbs to be 78.1% effective in eliminating breast lumps, which can reduce risk of developing malignant cysts.

A healthy diet rich in fiber, soy, vegetables and organically raised foods has shown cancer prevention effects. Breast cancer rates in Japanese and Chinese women, whose diets include more fish and less dairy, red meat and fat, are roughly 1/10 that of American women.

Chinese medicine is useful in all stages of cancer to augment the benefits of conventional treatment, to prevent recurrence and metastasis in early stages, and to promote health, improve quality of life and prolong life in advanced stages.

To learn more about breast cancer prevention, please contact Pacific College of Oriental Medicine at (800) 729-0941 or visit www.PacificCollege.edu.

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Massage for Pain Relief

Each day, more and more Americans are turning to massage therapy to ease pain. Ranging from carpal tunnel syndrome, to chronic arthritis, massage therapy techniques are helping patients of all walks of life get back on their feet again. Just about every culture has used a form of massage to ease pain. Although its healing powers were muted by modern medicine, a growing number of people are returning to its age-old healing properties. The Journal of Rheumatoidology reports that over 70 percent of doctors refer their patients to massage therapy.

Massage eases pain and discomfort in a number of ways. “Manual massage is a long established and effective therapy used for the relief of pain, swelling, muscle spasm, and restricted movement, ” as noted in a study at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK. First, massage encourages blood flow to the sore, muscles, or stiff joints and warms the area. According to a study at Peninsula Medical School, “The mechanical action of the hands on cutaneous and subcutaneous structures is believed to enhance the circulation of blood and lymph resulting in increased supply of oxygen and removal of waste products or mediators of pain. ” Massage also triggers the release of natural painkillers called opioids in the brain, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Third, massage speeds up the flow of oxyctocin, a hormone that relaxes muscles and encourages feelings of calmness and contentment. “Most importantly perhaps, a massage can relax the mind and reduce anxiety, which may affect the perception of pain positively. ” The benefits of a good massage are overwhelming, and contribute to overall health and well-being.

Massage therapy is proven effective in easing tightness and pain in lightly to moderately stressed muscles—it is also used in alleviating chronic pain. A 2001 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine discovered that massage was far superior to acupuncture in relieving chronic lower back pain. After 10 weeks, nearly three-fourths of the 262 patients studied said massage was “very helpful” in relieving their pain. Patients who got regular massage treatments were four times less likely to become bedridden due to chronic pain. The authors of the study concluded, “Massage might be an effective alternative to conventional medical care for persistent back pain.”

Massage is also extremely safe. When performed by an experienced, licensed professional, therapeutic massage can relieve pain, tension, knots, and soreness in the body. Those suffering from open wounds, eczema, broken bones, or advanced osteoporosis should talk to a doctor before making an appointment with a massage therapist, for some massage may cause further damage in frail bodies. This is especially true with more forceful forms of massage like shiatsu. Still, massage is overwhelmingly beneficial for most patients, and can help ease the majority of aches and pains one may have.

Goats, GC. Massage- the scientific basis of an ancient art: Part 1. The Techniques. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 1994 Sep;28(3):149-52.

Ernst E. “Massage treatment for back pain. BMJ. 2003 March 15;326(7389):562-563.

Ernst 2003.

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Herbs for Heart Health

Are you wondering if eating right and exercising is enough to keep your heart and circulation in tip-top shape? You might want to join ranks with others who are boosting heart health by adding supplemental herbs to their diet. Here’s a look at some proven herbal heart helpers.

1. Garlic: Affectionately called the stinking rose by those who love its culinary uses, most people don’t think of garlic as a medicinal herb. Still, it has been used for thousands of years as a treatment for a wide range of conditions. Some of those uses include infections, wound healing and tumors. Today, we know that garlic lovers can boast about their lowered cholesterol and blood pressure. The National Cancer Institute is now looking at garlic’s ability to fight several forms of cancer, including stomach and colon cancers.

2. Bilberry: A close relative to the cranberry, the fruit contains anthocyansides, which is a type of flavonoid that helps with blood flow by strengthening capillaries. In fact, research has shown that bilberry not only strengthens coronary arteries but works on the tiniest capillaries in our eyes, which results in vision improvements. Its strong antioxidant properties make it a great tonic for overall health.

3. Hawthorn: Many herbalists consider hawthorn to be one of the best heart tonics on the planet. What’s more it’s helpful for all sorts of heart conditions including arrhythmia and enlarged heart. Although hawthorn hasn’t been shown to reverse heart conditions, it will increase and strengthen deteriorated heart muscle. If you have a healthy heart and want to keep it that way, hawthorn can benefit by reducing cholesterol buildup in artery walls and lowering blood pressure. In Germany hawthorn is very popular since studies conducted by its Federal Ministry of Health has shown that it gently dilates coronary arteries to help circulation within the heart itself.

4. Cayenne: If you like hot and spicy, adding this pepper to your list of heart herbs won’t be hard. It is available in powder, capsules and tinctures. Many herbalists think that cayenne should be added to all herbal preparations because it gets blood flow going so quickly. When some part of the body is ill, blood plays a key role as a delivery system. The blood has to get to the problem area to bring it the nutrition and healing elements it needs. Cayenne is remarkable for getting blood circulation going. Cayenne makes its way through any mucus that might be blocking veins, which in turns helps to lower blood pressure.

5. Ginkgo Biloba: Most have already heard about this herb’s ability to improve brain function. That’s because it works so wonderfully on circulation by getting arteries, capillaries and veins to dilate (enlarge), where needed.  In addition, it inhibits blood from forming clots and stops free radicals from causing damage to vascular walls.

Millions of people have some form of cardiovascular disease. Many of us are making healthy life changes. Adding some of the best heart and circulatory herbs available will enhance your efforts.

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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day

 “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

- Confucius

Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - October 2006 | Issue 30

In this issue you will find: Important PCOM Dates
  • November 2 – 5 – Pacific Symposium 2006
  • November 4 – Pacific Symposium Open House
  • November 4 – Doctoral Open House at Pacific Symposium
  • November 8 – New York Open House
  • November 14 – Chicago Open House

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Great American Smokeout 2006
Quit Smoking For Good With Acupuncture

Cigarette smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the U.S. says the American Cancer Society, but each year it kills more Americans than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, suicides, murders and fires combined.

According to current research an estimated 45 million Americans smoke.  Continual use of tobacco can cause lung cancer, as well as heart disease and lung disease.  Smoking is responsible for 1 in 3 cancer deaths, and 1 in 5 deaths from all causes. Another 8.6 million people are living with serious illnesses caused by smoking.

The Great American Smokeout provides smokers with the opportunity to quit.  Smokers who quit smoking gain almost immediate benefits, regardless of age, or how long you have been a smoker. Within 20 minutes, blood pressure and pulse rates drop to normal. Eight hours after quitting, the oxygen level in the blood increases to normal. One day after quitting, the odds of having a heart attack start to drop. Within 48 hours nerve endings start re-growing and the ability to smell and taste is enhanced. Within two weeks, lung function will have increased by up to 30 percent. Two weeks to 3 months after quitting, circulation improves and walking becomes easier. One year, the body's energy level increases and the risk of coronary heart disease will be half that of a smoker.

One alternative to help quit smoking permanently is acupuncture. The Pacific College Clinics utilize auricular (ear) acupuncture, where four to five very small needles are inserted into points corresponding to the lung, kidney and nervous system. It is thought that these needles increase the flow of endorphins, morphine-like hormones that induce a deep state of relaxation. This state is prolonged and leads to a lessening of cravings for nicotine and other drugs.  Acupuncture can also aid in relaxation and detoxification.

For the last 30 years the American Cancer Society and Citizens for a Smokefree America have sponsored the Great American Smokeout TM, an event based on the idea that smokers who can manage to quit for a day can quit for good.

Millions of Americans will stub out their cigarettes on November 16. For individuals truly motivated to stop smoking, acupuncture can be just the help they need. Join Pacific College and make the Great American Smokeout the first day of your smoke-free life!

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Enjoy the Energy of Fall

By Steven Sonmore, L.Ac. OBT (NCCAOM)

“In ancient times those people who understood Tao (the way of self cultivation) patterned themselves upon the Yin and the Yang (the two principles in nature) and they lived in harmony…” The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine

There is a slight nip in the air. The days are starting to get shorter. And just as the squirrels have gotten down to the business of storing nuts for the winter, we find ourselves a little more serious and less carefree than in summer. Whether you’re preparing for school or preparing for a new business venture, you know that Fall has arrived.

Fall is the beginning of the yin cycle when the daylight lasts less than twelve hours. It’s a time of harvest when we gather the colorful fruits and vegetables for winter storage. Pumpkins and squashes are our symbols of bounty. We also store wood for the fire and get out our warm clothes for the colder, darker days of winter.

According to Oriental medicine, the season of autumn is associated with the element of Metal, which governs organization, order, communication, the mind, setting limits, and protecting boundaries. It’s a good time to finish projects that you began in spring and summer – harvesting the bounty of your hard work. Of course, it’s also the perfect time to begin more introspective, indoor projects.

During the summer, which is ruled by the Fire element, we deal more with the external – traveling and playing outdoors. Fall, on the other hand, is a time of organizing your life for the winter season ahead and coming more inside your body and mind to reflect on your life.

The lung and large intestine are the internal organs related to Fall and the Metal element. The Lung is associated with the emotion of “letting go.” This process is difficult for those who love the summer. They find it hard to give up the long days of sunlight, warm temperatures, and open windows. Others feel differently and love autumn, from the crisper air to the vivid red, orange, and yellow leaves on the trees. If letting go of summer is hard for you, extra support from your licensed acupuncturist may be in order to help you make the transition. That’s right…acupuncture works on releasing emotional issues as well as physical ones.

Various systems of self-mastery teach that by controlling your breath, you can achieve and maintain physical vigor, mental clarity and emotional tranquility. The ancient Taoists developed a practical discipline of breathing called Qi Gong to increase vitality, extend lifespan, and prevent disease. This is a wonderful skill to learn as the Summer gives way to Fall.

Sleep is another important aspect of staying healthy in the Fall. The ancients advised that people should retire early at night and rise with the crowing of the rooster during the autumn. “Soul and spirit should be tranquil and to keep their lung pure they should not give vent to their desires.”

The Lung is considered by Oriental medicine to be the “tender organ.” This is because the lung is the uppermost organ in the body and especially susceptible to wind and cold. During the change in temperature, be sure to dress for the weather! I see too many people still dressed for summer at the beginning of autumn, which is an open invitation for coughs, sore throats, and the common cold.

The lungs control the circulation of the Wei-Qi, which is the defensive Qi that protects you from the invasion of flu and colds. The Wei-Qi circulates on the surface between the skin and muscles and works to warm the body. If the Wei-Qi is weak, the skin and muscles will not be warmed properly. This is why people tend to feel cold when they’re sick. A weakness in the lungs can lead to a weakness in the Wei-Qi, making a person prone to frequent colds.

The nose is the opening to the lungs, and you can prevent colds by keeping your nose and sinuses clean and clear. Using a netti pot with some sea salt and water helps rid the nose of excess mucus. If you suffer from a runny nose or sinus infections, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are wonderful for alleviating that problem.

What you eat also greatly affects the health of your lungs. Eating excess cold and raw foods creates dampness or phlegm, which is produced by the spleen and stored by the lungs. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, cream, and butter also create phlegm, while moderate amounts of pungent foods like garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish, and mustard are beneficial to the lungs.

The transition from Summer to Fall is a time when the Qi is instable. The Qi from healthy lungs should descend. If the Lung Qi goes upward, it is “rebellious,” and the person experiences a cough. The Lungs inhale the Heavenly Qi (air) and exhale the “dirty “Qi (carbon dioxide). Now is the time to strengthen your Qi to prepare for winter and get a “tune-up” from your licensed acupuncturist to strengthen your immune system.

“There was temperance in eating and drinking. Their hours of rising and retiring were regular and not disorderly and wild. By these means the ancients kept their bodies united with their souls, so as to fulfill their allotted span completely, measuring unto a hundred years before they passed away.” Huang Ti Nei Jing Su Wen
For more than 19 years Steven Sonmore helped people transform their health problems into solutions for attaining better health. Steven is a licensed acupuncturist, Oriental bodywork therapist and herbalist. He offers complete health care with acupuncture, Chinese herbs, nutritional counseling, Oriental massage, and facial rejuvenation. He is licensed by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice and certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

For more information call 612-866-4000, visit www.orientalmedcare.com or write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Traditional Chinese Medicine and Bone Health

Ten million Americans over the age of 50 suffer from osteoporosis. In addition, 34 million are at a serious risk for developing this debilitating bone disease. The severe loss of bone mass and breakdown of the architecture of the bone, osteoporosis thins the bones to a point where a mere cough can cause a fracture. Twenty percent of those suffering with osteoporosis will die within a year after sustaining a broken hip. Within 15 years, half of all Americans over age 50 will be at risk for osteoporosis-related fractures, according to the Surgeon General.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a holistic approach to preventing and eradicating the source of bone disease. TCM theory states that “The kidneys are in charge of the bones.” Essentially, the skeleton’s growth, development, and repair are closely related to the kidneys. These organs promote the growth of marrow and flow of vital energy (qi) through the skeleton.

Post-menopausal women experience both bone loss and kidney weakness. Studies performed at the Traditional Medicine Research Institute in China have found that “the increase of bone mass in amount and density and the increase of age have a close relationship with the abundance of, or decline of, kidney qi.” Individuals suffering kidney failure will also experience lower bone density, according to the study.

The second factor that contributes to bone disease is blood flow. Blood flow and qi circulation throughout the body are directly related. Promoting blood circulation may remove such stasis and encourage the production of new bone material. Like Western medicine, TCM promotes vigorous exercise for general well-being, and weight exercises for bone strength and health. An American study concludes that athletic and active women maintain bone mass longer later in life. Further, a study at the Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver suggest that, “Moderate physical activity in people with osteoporosis can reduce the risk of falls and fractures, decrease pain and improve fitness and overall quality of life. It may also stimulate bone gain and decrease bone loss.”

Traditional Chinese Medicine has developed time-proven remedies and formulas that strengthen health and longevity. Some formulas originating in the Yunnan province focus on strengthening the qi, the kidneys, and the bones. “The ancients were keenly aware that bone remedies, in addition to strengthening the kidneys and overall vitality (qi), had to include herbs that would specifically be directed to the ends of the bones, where callous tissue grows and new bone cells can contribute to bone growth.” Traditional Chinese Medicine may be the answer for osteoporosis.

Ancient Chinese remedies address the wide range of bone disorders plaguing our country. These herbs, as prescribed by a herbologist or acupuncturist, combined with regular exercise may help overcome osteoporosis and encourage health, vitality, and longevity.


Ross, Kate. “TCM Solutions for Osteoporosis and Bone Disease”. Acupuncture Today 2005 06(06).

Brewer, V. Role of exercise in prevention of involutional bone loss. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1983;15(6):445-9.

 J C Prior, S I Barr, R Chow, and R A Faulkner. Prevention and management of osteoporosis: consensus statements from the Scientific Advisory Board of the Osteoporosis Society of Canada. 5. Physical activity as therapy for osteoporosis. CMAJ. 1996 October 1; 155(7): 940–944.

 Ross, Kate. 1-2. 

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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day

“Tea tempers the spirit, harmonizes the mind, dispels lassitude and relieves fatigue, awakens the thought and prevents drowsiness."

Lu Yu