Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - June 2006 | Issue 24



In this issue you will find: Important PCOM Dates
  • June 9 –   Alex Tiberi & Rick Gold Lectures in Chicago
  • June 22 – New York Open House
  • June 24 – Chicago Summer Open House
  • June 24 – San Diego Open House

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Chicago Campus Presents Alex Tiberi & Rick Gold

Pacific College Chicago is offering an evening of free lectures with two exceptional practitioners in traditional Chinese medicine and Thai bodywork, Friday June 9 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Alex Tiberi will explore the journey of Chinese medicine through surveying folk and shamanic traditions, medical sociology and the expansion and evolution of Chinese medicine into Western society. 

Rick Gold, a premier authority in integrating traditional Chinese medicine, Japanese seitai, shiatsu massage and traditional Thai bodywork techniques will provide a live demonstration and explain Thai massage.

For more information on this event please call (773) 477-4822.

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The Benefits Of Black Tea For Heart Disease
By:  Jeff Denny

Next to water, Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world.  Since ancient times it has been considered a precious commodity and major influence on trade routes and expeditions.  Among all the teas available, Black Tea has long been the most popular because of its distinct aroma and long lasting flavor.  In recent years Green Tea has been under the microscopes of scientists looking to discover just exactly why it has for centuries been equated with long life, health, and well-being in the Orient.  It has been suggested it is the powerful polyphenol antioxidant compounds and flavonoids in Green Tea that give it its miraculous reputation.  Now scientists, such as those at the American Heart Association, are looking to Black Tea to see if it also possesses life giving and extending properties.

Black Tea is derived from the leaves of the same perennial evergreen shrub known in Latin as Camellia Sinensis that Green Tea leaves come from.  The difference in Black and Green leaves is the manner in which they are processed.  Green leaves are not oxidized or fermented which allows them to retain natural enzymes but also decreases their shelf life.  Black Tea on the other hand goes through a process of drying, rolling, fermenting, and firing which gives it its distinguishing color and distinct flavor.  While it has a shelf life of nearly seven times that of Green Tea the potent enzymes become activated and change into different molecules which may have different effects on the human body.  Black Tea has remained the more popular beverage throughout the centuries because it has a stronger flavor than that of Green Tea.

The questions posed by modern medicine over Black Tea primarily concern its antioxidant properties and flavonoid compounds.  Oxidation is a chemical reaction which results in the loss of electrons of a molecule, atom, or ion.  Oxidation of metals leads to rust.  Oxidation in the human body leads to degenerative conditions such as hardening of the arteries.  Antioxidants such as those found in tea act as scavengers hunting down free radicals that can damage cells through chemical chain reactions with other molecules.    

Clinical trials have been conducted using Black Tea to determine if it has cholesterol-lowering affects.  During such studies some subjects were given a caffeinated placebo beverage while others were given Black Tea.  The results offered some evidence of Black Tea as an agent for lowering the oxidation of LDL cholesterols, which has been directly correlated to heart disease.  Some scientists have suggested Black Tea can reduce the clotting factor of platelets in the blood and resist hardening of arteries.  In test tubes the flavonoids found in Black Tea did in fact prevent clumping of blood platelets but it is not yet determined if this holds true within the living body.  This leads scientists to believe Black Tea does in fact hold water in terms of preventing death after heart attacks when consumed regularly. 

For more information on the health benefits of tea, visit www.RoyalDynastyTea.com

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Treating Children with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Pediatrics is one of the oldest specialties within Chinese medicine and dates from the early first millennium. Since that time, there has been continuous development in the diagnosis and treatment of children’s diseases. Past generations of Chinese doctors have discovered various characteristics that are common in all children. The various modalities (herbal medicine, acupuncture, Chinese massage and dietary therapy) of Traditional Chinese Medicine (known as TCM) have been providing children with solutions to their health problems for more than 2,000 years. This form of Asian medicine is the oldest and second largest medical system in the world today and is used by one quarter of the entire world's population. Unlike Western medicine, this time-tested professional medicine treats and assesses each person as an individual (not based entirely on a disease or symptom). Traditional Chinese Medicine is a noninvasive healing modality that facilitates the body's natural ability to heal itself by restoring harmony and balance to the entire individual. According to TCM, children are not just considered miniature adults. They are believed to be immature both physically and functionally; most common pediatric complaints are due to this immaturity. Chinese medicine states that because children's bodies are immature and therefore inherently weak, they are susceptible to diseases that affect the lungs such as colds, coughs, allergies and asthma and the spleen (or digestive complaints) such as colic, vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion, and stomach aches.

Chinese medicine has been shown to offer substantial clinical benefits to patients who have been unresponsive to other forms of treatment. The treatment of these diseases using TCM have less side effects and unlike modern medicine, are curative not palliative, as they aim to eliminate the pathology of the disease instead of controlling or suppressing the symptoms. In most chronic diseases, Western medicine at best can only temporarily alleviate the symptoms of these diseases using various medications. This is because Western medicine takes a more reactive approach to medicine, in that the symptoms are treated. In addition to the lack of effectiveness of Western treatments, there are also possible side effects of repeated or long-term use of the medications. In TCM a proactive approach is taken, in that the whole body and how it functions is taken into account.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are four primary methods of treating children: Dietary Therapy, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Chinese Pediatric Massage and Acupuncture.

Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese Herbal Medicine is one of the most sophisticated herbal medicine systems in the world. It is very important, especially in the treatment of children that herbs are prescribed only by a licensed professional. Side effects of properly prescribed herbs are uncommon, and if they do occur are quite mild.

Chinese herbs are prescribed in individualized formulas which are custom written to suit the needs of each child. These formulas typically consist of anywhere between four and fifteen herbs. Many herbs have anti-bacterial or anti-viral properties while others work to promote the body's innate ability to heal and recuperate. Herbal formulas can be very effective in the treatment of acute illness as well as in preventing illness when there is a history of chronic infections and antibiotic use.

There are a number of ways that Chinese herbal medicine can be dispensed for children under the age of eight. There are pills, powders, and teas. Any liquid form of Chinese medicine may be effectively administered with an eye dropper.

Dietary Therapy
Digestion plays such a pivotal role in the health and well-being of infants and young children. Their diet is extremely important in preventing and treating the most commonly encountered children's diseases. The same diet that the average parent in Western society has been led to believe to be healthy for infants and children can be problematic according to TCM. Most pediatric diseases can be either completely eliminated or markedly improved if a child's diet is modified.

No child can eat whatever they wish and still remain entirely healthy. The majority of food a child eats should be cooked because cooked foods are easier for them to digest due to their immature digestion. Children should be fed whole foods with a high percentage of vegetables, fruits, grains and complex carbohydrates and smaller amounts of meats, eggs and dairy products.

Pediatric Massage
Pediatric massage, or Tui Na, can be highly effective for treating commonly encountered pediatric diseases such as cough, constipation, chronic abdominal pain, dermatitis and asthma. It is gentle, safe and without side effects. Chinese pediatric massage is specifically designed to prevent and treat pediatric disorders and uses specialized techniques and pressure points that are particularly beneficial for children. Chinese pediatric massage is useful for treating children up to 8 years of age. However, the younger the child is, the more effective pediatric massage can be.

There are certain combinations of specific massage techniques for the purpose of rebalancing particular patterns of disharmony within the child. Usually, a Chinese pediatric massage treatment will last 20-30 minutes and most techniques are performed while the child is clothed. The frequency of massage depends on whether the condition is chronic or acute. Pediatric Tui-na is soothing and relaxing for the child and does not cause pain or discomfort.

Acupuncture
In general, acupuncture is not often used in the treatment of children especially under six years of age. In TCM, the primary modalities used in pediatrics by the Chinese doctor are herbal medicine and massage. However, pediatric acupuncture, called Shoni-shin, is a type of acupuncture specifically designed for the treatment of children, which does not penetrate the skin.

This treatment works wonders for common respiratory and digestive ailments. It can enhance circulation and relaxation, thereby improving health in general. Shoni-shin is a form of bodywork that makes use of small metal tools designed to bring qi to the surface, help it move by "spreading" it along the channels, and stimulate specific acupuncture points. There are about a half-dozen different tools in a shoni-shin kit, none of which penetrate the skin. A shoni-shin treatment can be performed in 10 to 20 minutes depending on the age of the child and the severity of the illness.

Other Modalities
In TCM, other modalities that are occasionally used with children include herbal washes, creams, ointments, eye, ear and nose drops, and inhalants.

Regardless of the form of treatment that is chosen, it is important to remember that children’s health can change at a faster rate than adults. Children tend to outgrow many common pediatric diseases as they mature and develop and the qi of their lung, spleen, and liver becomes stronger.

Because TCM is a holistic medicine, healing focuses on balancing the qi of the internal organs by taking into account both physical and emotional symptoms. Children are generally more susceptible to getting sick, but they are also quicker to heal. For most common pediatric complaints, complete healing can be attained through herbal medicine, dietary changes, and the use of simple massage techniques. The goal of all pediatric treatment is to restore balance and harmony to a child.

Unlike modern medicine, TCM pediatricians believe early treatment is important in all situations. Early treatment reduces the length of treatment needed and prevents any further complications. Other recommendations to prevent illness in TCM include making sure children receive adequate rest, exercise and fresh air. Ultimately, no child can flourish and be truly healthy in body and mind without a great amount of love and support.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is user friendly, gentle and free from side-effects, therefore, making it an excellent choice for maintaining healthy children. In addition, the child will be able to avoid many of the downfalls of modern medicine and prevent future illness through the use of this time-honored tradition.

If you are considering alternative medicine such as Traditional Chinese Medicine for a child, you should first discuss the proposed treatment with the child's doctor or pharmacist to make sure it is not dangerous or will not conflict with any traditional care the child receives. The doctor can also give you information about treatment options and perhaps recommend a reputable specialist. By coordinating alternative and traditional care, you don't have to choose between them. Instead, you can get the best of both.

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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day

“A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” -- Lao Tzu

Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - May 2006 | Issue 23



In this issue you will find: Important PCOM Dates
  • May 16 – Chicago Open House
  • May 16 – New York Open House
  • May 20 – San Diego Open House

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Massage Therapy Beneficial For Arthritis Pains

There are over one hundred types of Arthritic disease known to modern science that afflict the human body.  The manifests, symptoms, and conditions vary based on individual and type of Arthritis (i.e. Rheumatoid, TMJ, Osgood-Schlatter, and Tendonitis).    In terms of Western allopathic medicine there are roughly fifty pharmaceutical product lines to treat Arthritis and Arthritic symptoms, all of which have their subsequent side-effects.  A considerable number of people suffering from Arthritis today are turning to alternative therapies, specifically massage therapy, to alleviate the pain and discomforts associated with the condition.
           
Generally speaking Arthritis is an inflammation of joints in the body along with the surrounding tissues—a qualified physician or doctor should be consulted to determine if symptoms are Arthritic in nature. Often times massage therapy patients will attest to the fact that the simple touching of a therapist is a comfort in itself. 

Different massage therapists will offer different approaches to the treatment of Arthritis, and it is up to the client/patient to determine which one works best or is right for them.  For example, a Reflexology Therapist deals expressly with the trigger points, bones, and joints of the hands, wrists, feet, ankles, and head, so a person suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis may benefit more from them than say a Swedish Masseuse who’s main objectives are to increase blood circulation and relieve muscle tension.  There are many massage therapists who offer a variety of therapies and can combine treatments to suit the client’s needs.

Ideally, an MT working on an Arthritis patient will treat the problem specific areas to directly reduce pain, discomfort, and inflammation and then proceed to treat the rest of the body.  In the massage therapy outlook no one part of the body can be sequestered without taking into consideration the system as a whole.  The conditions of Arthritic disease are resultant of myriad aberrant conditions in the body due to diet, lifestyle, environment, genetics, and accidental circumstance.  To promote a healthier and happier body an massage therapist incorporates many body specific techniques (Tui Na, Shiatsu, Gua Sha,) to manually stimulate, with tools or the hands, the natural circulation of blood and nutrient exchange , elevate the activity of the endocrine or glandular system, increase lymphatic drainage to element toxins that collect in the body, balance and unblock the nervous system, and relieve tension in muscles and bones.

 Massage therapy utilizes the human system’s innate ability to heal any ailment through manual manipulation and the engenderment of the relaxation response.  For Arthritis sufferers any amount of stress or anxiety can exacerbate an already unpleasant physical situation.

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Acupuncture for Hypertension and Stroke
By:  Jeff Denny

According to TCM, Hypertension occurs when the body, especially the heart, must work harder to perform daily functions.  This is often times subtle and without any viable symptoms, which is why Hypertension is sometimes referred to as a “Silent Killer.”  Of the 50 million Americans who have it, 35 percent are unaware.  The simplest and easiest way to see if you are at risk or have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked regularly by a doctor or TCM physician.  Acupuncture is becoming more widely known as an alternative therapy for curbing high blood pressure.

Modern medicine recognizes to two types of high blood pressure.  The first is referred to as Essential or Labile Hypertension.  The second is called Organic or Secondary Hypertension.  In the case of the former, there is no known cause though some scientists and physicians link it to high stress levels.  It is important to note here that stress is a natural biological function related to the Fight or Flight response of the adrenal glands, which regulate the heart beat and support elimination.  Stress, due to external and internal influence, in itself is not considered a cause of high blood pressure but rather it is the manner in which an individual handles stress that factors into their susceptibility to high blood pressure; diet, smoking, consumption of alcohol and caffeine, obesity, and genetic proclivities must also be addressed.  Only when these as well as diseases, cancers, and tumors of the heart, liver, kidneys, and hormonal system that characterize Secondary Hypertension are ruled out as causations of high blood pressure, can a diagnosis of Essential Hypertension be made.
           
While Western medicine views all Hypertension as an illness, Traditional Chinese Medicine sees it as a warning indication of unharmonious conditions and dis-ease in the human ecosystem.  In the Eastern view of a body with high blood pressure, there exists a state of imbalance of blood, Qi, and moisture being supplied to the organs of the body.  For example, excessive Qi flow to the liver has been referenced as a cause for high blood pressure.   

Since high blood pressure is so ambiguous when it comes to its cause, an Acupuncturist must first determine where the imbalance is most volatile before ever inserting a needle.  General treatments based on case studies in which needles are inserted at Acupuncture Points (ST 9, ST 16, LR 3, GB 20, etc.) along with lifestyle and dietary changes are often times used and have proved successful in many instances.  This is especially true when high blood pressure is detected in its early stages before the point at which arteries begin to harden, blood clots form, and heart attack or strokes may occur, but each individual differs so at times more specialized treatments must be initiated.      

There is a saying in TCM that says Qi follows the mind and blood follows Qi.  So when a disruption in energy flow occurs, a disruption of blood and moisture traffic is soon to follow.  If the liver or kidneys are working overtime—as is the case with heavy alcohol consumption, high salt intake, and obesity—to detoxify the blood they will need more energy or Qi to do so.  This energy doesn’t come without its cost of depleting and causing excess in other areas and organs of the body such as the heart and digestive system.  Regardless of where the spike or trough is taking place in the body, it will adversely affect the way energy from nutrients such as food, air, water, and light are assimilated and transported through the blood stream and the manner in which wastes are expelled.  Remember here what the adrenals are responsible for, when pumping blood and excretion of toxins become more difficult they must produce more adrenaline.  This is stressful to the body and causes constrictions in muscles, tissues, nerves, etc. throughout.           
Supposing high blood pressure can exist in a vacuum state where all external and internals stresses can be ruled out as a cause, what can Acupuncture do to help with Hypertension?  Acupuncture is the insertion of needles into specific points in the body.  These points lie on energy channels or meridians and do not necessarily correspond to underlying tissue or organs.  When inserted, the needles send a neuro-chemical message via the nervous and endocrine systems to the portion of the brain that corresponds to the area of the body that is unbalanced.  You may hear the Acupuncturist express this disturbance in terms such as excess Wind, Fire, or Water, among other diagnoses.  The brain sensing something is amiss triggers the releases of endorphins (natural pain killers) to areas under distress.  These endorphins are received by opioid receptors which tell the organ(s) to relax and return to normal functioning levels.  In turn, the rest of the system can then return to normal status, including regulation of blood pressure.  Adding all other influences of high blood pressure, Acupuncture can help to slow the entire system with the release of endorphins to engender a more tranquil state as in meditation.  Used regularly, Acupuncture has the potential of reducing high blood pressure causing stress long term.   

A trained Acupuncturist can recognize the origins of high blood pressure by observing certain symptoms.  Headache, dizziness, eye disorders, and numbness suggest a Liver imbalance.  Palpitations, poor memory, and insomnia represent Heart distress.  And ringing in the ears and accumulation are resultant of Kidney disorder.  Patients’ subjective feelings and experiences become very important in this instance.  If a patient says, “Something just isn’t right,” it probably isn’t in the eyes of an Acupuncturist.  Bodily language along with tongue and urine analyses is also used to determine cause of high blood pressure. 

In a study at the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California Irvine conducted by Dr. John C. Longhurst, clinical studies of the effects of Acupuncture on Hypertensive rats were initiated.  The results supported the above information, linking endorphin release with decreased heart activity and lower blood pressure levels.  Needles charged with low frequency electrical stimulation were also proven effective.  TCM Dr. Zhu Qiang has also experimented and had success with electrical stimulation of Acupuncture points in terms of high blood pressure.  He markets a device called a BP Regulator that attaches to Acupuncture points on the ears.

Stroke or cerebro-vascular accident is categorized as one of four types.  Ischemic is the most common and is a blockage of a cerebral blood vessel or vessel leading to the head.  Thrombosis is a blockage of a vessel within the head or neck.  An embolism is a migration of a blockage to the head region.  Stenosis is a severe narrowing of an artery leading to or in the brain.  It is recommended that Acupuncture treatment be initiated a week after Stroke.  The sooner it is taken up the more effective it will be as the brain and bodily tissues atrophy over time.

One particular Acupuncture treatment of Stroke that has been known to be greatly efficacious in the improvement of motor and cognitive skills is that of Scalp Acupuncture.  Much of the current method was developed and popularized by Professor Ming Quing Zhu, a 1964 graduate of the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  In this treatment, needles are inserted directly into the scalp according to a map of brain functions.  The needles alter blood and hormone levels that effect brain activity and blood flow to portions of the brain related to other body parts damaged from Stroke.  They can be left in for anywhere from two to seventy-two hours.  In addition, manual movements of the affected area of the body or visualization accompanied by Qi-Gong breathing exercises are prescribed while the needles are in place under the skin.  This is also true in traditional Acupuncture, which can be beneficial to Stroke victims.

It has been noticed that Stroke victims are often times affected more on one side of the body than the other.  Their facial features sometimes can appear frozen or locked.  This is directly connected to which hemisphere of the brain the Stroke occurred.  The release of endorphins from Acupuncture can help to relax the muscles and tissues of the face and the rest of the body.  Tension in the muscles and tissue hinders the free flow of moisture, blood, and other bodily fluids.  It is especially important in cases of Stroke that Qi flow be restored as everything follows in its path.  Acupuncture along with conscious participation of the patient can help expedite this process.

Auricle Acupuncture points as in the ones utilized to lower high blood pressure have also shown to be effective in treating Stroke.  The ears have more nerve endings and capillaries than any other portion of the body.  In TCM, parts of the ear are linked to all other areas of the body.  The theories and case studies seem to support that Acupuncture treatments performed in closer proximity to the brain are the most beneficial for Stroke victim recovery.

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The Benefits of Green Tea

Made from the dried leaves of the camellia sinensis plant, green tea came from China between 4,000- 5,000 years ago. The legend is told that an ancient Chinese Emperor was boiling water and some leaves fell into his pot. Today, green tea is popular all over the world, not only for the taste but also for its many health benefits. For centuries Chinese medicine has used green tea for headaches, digestive problems, lack of energy, and immune enhancement, to name a few. Today green tea is available flavored or natural- a taste that is pleasing to anyone.
Why don’t other teas have similar health-giving properties? It is all in the making. Although all tea comes from the same botanical source, green tea is produced in a different process. Green, oolong, and black teas all come from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. All of these teas go through a heating and fermenting process. What makes green tea special is that it is never fermented, instead its leaves bypass the fermenting process and are steamed, baked or pan heated. The way in which they are processed and not fermented prevents the EGCg (epigallocatechin gallate) compound from being oxidized. This process is what makes green tea so beneficial to our health and beauty.

Numerous scientific observations have also linked green tea with remarkable preventative  disease properties. Gargling with green tea has been shown to inactivate the flu virus, as has drinking a cup each day to activate the polyphenols (powerful antioxidants) that are also suspected to work well against both colds and flu’s.

Here are just a few known health benefits of drinking green tea:

  • Substances in green tea are destructive to cancer cells, yet they have never been found to cause harm to healthy cells.
  • Fat burning properties- raises the metabolic rate and speeds up fat oxidation
  • There are powerful antioxidants within green tea leaves
  • Improves cholesterol levels
  • Stimulates immune-system cells- boosting the immune system
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Contains fluoride and is believed to help fight plaque on teeth and prevents bad breath (with the advantage of tasting good if it is inadvertently swallowed)
  • Beneficial for the skin- green tea leaves are used in a number of beauty products from deodorants to body cream
  • Slows the aging process

Though studies are just emerging on the amazing benefits of green tea, it is becoming widely viewed as one of the superfoods of the future in the United States, as it has been in China for thousands of years. From your local coffee chain to grocery stores, green tea is becoming widely available and highly desirable.

For more information on the health benefits of tea, visit www.RoyalDynastyTea.com

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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day

"Love from one being to another can only be that two solitudes come nearer, recognize and protect and comfort each other."

-- Han Suyin  (Chinese writer and physician)

Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - April 2006 | Issue 22



In this issue you will find: Important PCOM Dates
  • April 29 – World Tai Chi & Qi Gong Day
  • May 6 – 2nd San Diego Healing Arts Festival
  • May 9 – New York Open House
  • May 16 – Chicago Massage Open House

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Pacific College Library Named A Finalist For NCLIS Awards

Pacific College Library in San Diego has been named one of the ten finalists for the 2006 NCLIS Health Information Awards for Libraries, which are designed to encourage library programs that foster better health.  Pacific College is the only Oriental Medicine School to be named as a finalist this year.

Finalists were chosen based on how well the program encouraged lifestyle improvement among the target population, the program’s adaptability, collaboration with other community organizations, and how successfully the program was able to reach out to people with low information literacy skills. 

Pacific College’s library is considered to be a stand out in part due to the Senior Health Information program that was developed in 2004, titled, “Senior Health Information Goes Electronic in San Diego.” Since the program began, senior citizens have been provided the opportunity to improve their lives through access to reliable, accurate and authoritative health information.   Pacific College Library’s health outreach works in partnership with the Florence Riford Senior Center, the First Lutheran Church, the Clairemont Friendship Community Center, and the San Diego Public Libraries in Pacific Beach and La Jolla in order to work hands on with the senior community to provide them quality health information.  The Library also continually updates links on our website to health information databases including Medline Plus, Pub Med, NIH as well as online tutorials to provide authoritative educational health resources.

The final winner of this award will be announced May 3, 2006.  The grand prize
winner will be awarded $20,000 and each finalist will receive $1,000.

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San Diego Healing Arts Festival

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in association with The Alternative Healing Network, announce the return of the San Diego Healing Arts Festival, on Saturday, May 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the lawn at Park & President’s Way in Balboa Park.  This free event brings holistic healing to the San Diego community through classes, presentations, and lectures and music.   

Treat yourself to a free massage, acupuncture consultations, as well as yoga and qi gong classes.  This event will include live music showcasing local musicians Alfred Howard & the K23 Orchestra, Wise Monkey, Anya Marina, Pocket, The Biddy Bums and Vegitation.

“This event is designed to teach the community about various health care alternatives that they might otherwise not be exposed to,” said Ryan Altman, Chairman of the Alternative Healing Network, Inc. “With classes, speakers and presentations all day long, there will be something for everyone.”

Vendors will also provide further opportunities for the public to experience the benefits of alternative medicine.

For more information about this event, visit the festival website at: www.althealnet.com

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Massage for Detoxification

By: Mario-Paul Cassar

Some of the conditions associated with toxicity

• Auto immune diseases
• Multiple sclerosis
• Chronic fatigue syndrome
• Lethargy and muscle fatigue
• Psychological problems e.g. anxiety, depression, claustrophobia
• Cancer
• Colds
• Joint pain
• Arthritic changes
• Fevers
• Skin eruptions
• Digestive disturbances

Toxins
Toxins are noxious or poisonous substances which can be harmful to the body.
Although mostly of plant or animal origin toxins can also include inorganic elements or compounds some of which are essential and form the mineral constituents of cells. These compounds or trace elements include aluminum, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, sodium, chlorine, magnesium, iron, fluorine, iodine, copper, manganese, and zinc. Whilst they mostly exist in a harmonious stability, an excess of one element, such as aluminum, can be harmful to the body.

The most common form of toxins to occur are those produced by bacteria. Such poisons are either released by the micro-organisms (exotoxins) or occur as a result of the bacteria being destroyed (endotoxins). Toxins can be found within the cells or in the interstitial spaces. They can also be transported in the blood. Poisonous substances which are produced by a bacteria growing in a local or focal site can be distributed throughout the body via the blood (toxemia). This results in generalized symptoms, e.g. fever, diarrhea, vomiting, changes in the pulse rate and in respiration.
    
Treatment of toxicity
Toxins which are circulating in the blood are normally eliminated through the colon, the kidneys, the lungs, by the liver via the bile, the mucus membranes, and the sweat glands in the skin. Other toxins like bacteria and minute particles such as coal dust are taken up and neutralized by the lymphatic system. Toxic substances can bind to proteins in the interstitial tissues and are then broken down by the action of phagocytes.
    
Effects and application of massage
Massage is very beneficial in the treatment of toxicity. It helps to relieve the symptoms such as headaches, myalgia and fatigue and improves the function of the organ or system affected.
    
Massage is first of all applied to improve the circulation systemically in order to secure a good nutritional supply to all tissues. It is also utilized to enhance the venous return which is essential for the removal of toxins. To this end massage movements like effleurage and petrissage are applied to the superficial tissues and to muscles. Circulation to the visceral organs can also be enhanced; using similar techniques and, in some cases, by more specific methods such as compression massage for the liver and for the kidneys (described further on).
    
Toxins can lodge around joints and form crystals. Gout is one example, albeit an extreme one, where there is a toxic build up in the periarticular soft tissues such as the ligaments and tendons. A 'gouty-joint' is too painful to massage but otherwise effleurage is utilized to increase the venous return and the arterial flow to and around joints. Transverse friction movements are equally suitable for improving the circulation to the periarticular structures.
    
Enhancing the lymph flow
The lymphatic system is given considerable attention in the treatment of toxicity. As well as reducing oedema lymph massage is applied to increase the actual flow of lymph in the interstitial spaces. Stagnation in the interstitial spaces can impair the lymph flow through the lymph vessels. Circulation to the tissue cells is also diminished which in turn slows down their nutritional supply and metabolism.
    
The congestion has the additional effect of preventing the removal of toxic wastes from the interstitial spaces. Increasing the lymph flow with massage on the other hand has the benefit of delivering nutrients to the cells and transporting building materials to restore the tissues. In addition massage carries lymphocytes to combat and neutralize toxins and bacteria.
    
Research has indicated that massage creates sufficient pressure to mechanically push the lymph through the gaps between the endothelial cells of the collecting lymph vessels. It has also been observed that raising the temperature of the skin forces more junctions between the endothelial cells to open. Both of these factors increased the drainage effect of massage on the lymph. (Xujian).
    
Lymph flow can be increased by the general strokes for circulation such as effleurage. It can be enhanced further with more specific techniques like lymph effleurage and intermittent pressure technique. These can be applied on most regions of the body and are repeated several times and alternated with one another.

Improving kidney function
The nephrons of the kidneys are the physiological filters which remove toxins from the blood. These include uric acid which is a naturally occurring product of catabolism, nucleic acids which are derived from food or cellular destruction, and benzoic acid which is a toxic substance in fruits and vegetables and believed to be eliminated from the body in the form of hippuric acid. Massage, systemic and local on the kidney area, increases the circulation to and from the kidney thereby improving the filtration and elimination process. Systemic lymph massage as already noted has a similar function.

Improving the liver function
A major function of the liver is to destroy worn-out blood cells, bacteria and toxic substances. It also removes drugs like penicillin, ampicillin, erythromycin and sulfonamides. The liver is said to be a semi-solid organ which is encased by a fibrous capsule. As it is largely protected by the rib cage direct manipulation is limited to its lower borders. The organ is however influenced by external pressures such as those exerted by the diaphragm from above, an adjoining viscerus or indeed that of palpation. With the squeezing massage movement described here sufficient pressure is exerted through the tissues to influence its circulation. Massage can also assist the portal circulation to the liver through the hepatic portal vein. It also increases the oxygenated blood supply to the liver via the hepatic artery. Circulation is also enhanced along the lobes of the liver, the central and hepatic veins, and to the superior vena cava. Secretion of bile is augmented to some extent by the advanced blood flow and by the mechanical pressure of the technique.

Assisting respiration
Full movement of the rib cage and deep breathing are both necessary for the unrestricted uptake of oxygen and the elimination of gaseous toxins.
    
To this end massage movements are carried out on the muscles of respiration, in particular to the intercostals, the pectoralis minor, the sternocliedomastoid, the scalene group (scalenus anterior, medium and posterior), the rectus abdominis, the serratus posterior inferior and superior and the levator scapulae.

Elimination of toxins through the skin
The skin is an organ of elimination and consequently skin eruptions are an indication of toxicity and the body's attempt to eliminate them. This process can be assisted by the massage movements which increase the circulation to the skin and de-congest the pores. Effleurage movements are of particular use. Another effective method involves a compression and an upward stretch of the superficial tissues, primarily the skin and subcutaneous fascia.

This article is adapted by Mario-Paul Cassar from the book Handbook of Massage Therapy: A Complete Guide for the Student and Professional Massage Therapist written by Mario-Paul Cassar, to be published by Butterworth Heinemann in July 1999. ISBN: 0 7506 4000 6. 256pp, £29.99.

About the author
Mario-Paul Cassar DO ND practices Osteopathy, Sports Therapy, Naturopathy, Massage and Bodywork Therapy. A respected author and established tutor with many years of experience in Massage Therapy and Bodywork, he has lectured in a number of colleges and centres in the UK, Europe and the USA. He is the principle of the Massage and Bodywork Institute and senior lecturer at the College of Osteopaths (Middlesex University).
He can be contacted at: 93, Parkhurst Road; Horley; Surrey RH6 8EX Tel: +44 (0)1293-775467

References

Hall G., BDS, FIAOMT and Winkvist L., BDS; Hall V-Tox, a treatment for the removal of metal and environmental toxins. Positive Health April/May 1996

Taylor G.H. M.D.A Sketch of the Movement Cure First published in 1860 Reprinted in the Massage Therapy Journal/ Winter 1993

Danneskiiold-Samsae, B., Christiansen E., Lund B., Anderson R.B. Regional Muscle Tension and Pain (Fibrositis). Scandinavian Journal of Rehab. Medicine 15: 17-20, 1982

Caenar, J.S., Pflug, J.J., Reig, N.O. and Taylor, L.M. Lymphatic pressures and the flow of lymph. British Journal of Plastic Surgery, 23, 305, 1970.

Peterson, F. B. Xenon disappearance rate from human calf muscles during venous stasis. Danish Medical Bulletin 17: 230 1970

Xujian Shao. Effect of massage and temperature on the permeability of initial lymphatics. Lymphology 23 (1990) 48-50

Olszewski W.L. & Engeset A. Intrinsic contractibility of prenodal lymph vessels and lymph flow in the human leg. American Journal of Physiology 239. H775. 1979 and 1980.

Wang G., and Zhong S. Experimental study of lymphatic contractility and its clinical importance. Annals of Plastic Surgery. 15: 278. 1985.

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Evidence of Tea's Health Promoting Properties

Courtesy of Royal Dynasty Tea

Although green, white and red teas have been used in Asia and Africa for thousands of years to prevent disease, promote longevity and improve mental functions, it is only within the past twenty years or so that they, like black tea, have become popular in the West. There is ample evidence today supporting their healthy properties.

Other than water, tea is the least processed beverage. Drinking tea is the most natural way to gain its many health benefits.

The average cup of green and black tea contains 30-50 mg of caffeine, half the amount found in coffee. The average cup of white tea contains 5-15 mg of caffeine. Red tea is caffeine-free.

Polyphenols and Flavonois found in tea pack a three-part punch. First, they prevent free radicals from damaging DNA, nipping cancer initiation in the bud. Second, they seem to prevent uncontrolled cell growth, slowing cancer development. And third, certain polyphenols may even destroy cancer cells without harming the surrounding healthy cells. When Japanese researchers combined cancer medications with polyphenols, the treatment was 20 times more effective than the cancer drugs alone, according to a study published in the Japanese Journal of Cancer Research.

Premium-grade teas of superior quality
contain larger quantities of polyphenols, flavonoids,
vitamins and minerals than teas of lesser quality.

There are several primary polyphenols and flavonoids in tea. These powerful antioxidants have been shown in numerous studies to fight viruses, slow aging, and have a beneficial effect on health. Clinical tests have shown that they destroy free radicals, limiting their damage to healthy cells, and have far-reaching positive effects on the entire body.

Free radicals are highly reactive molecules and fragments of molecules that can damage the body at the cellular level leaving it susceptible to cancer, heart disease, and other degenerative diseases.

Recent studies have shown that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant, is at least 100 more times more effective than vitamin C and 25 times more effective than vitamin E at protecting cells and DNA from damage believed to be linked to cancer, heart disease and other serious illnesses. It has twice the antioxidant benefit of resveratrol, found in red wine.

Concerning red tea, it is completely pure and natural, containing no additives, preservatives, flavorants or colorants. It is super-rich in antioxidants (50 times greater than green and white tea) that boost the body's immune system and help slow the aging process. It is also a natural sources of several minerals, supplementing our daily intake of iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc needed for maintaining a healthy immune system.

Its antioxidants protect the heart by reducing cholesterol buildup. It is reported that four cups a day can lower the risk of heart disease by as much as 69%.

Research indicates that its antioxidants have antispasmodic, antiinflammatory, antithrombotic, antiviral, antimutagenic and antiallergic properties. These polyphenols reduce the number of chromosome aberrations, inhibit tumor growth, dissolve cholesterol and improve general health by increasing energy levels and boosting the body's natural immune system.

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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day “To realize that you do not understand is a virtue; Not to realize that you do not understand is a defect.”-- Lao Tzu

Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - April 2006 | Issue 21



In this issue you will find:

 

Important PCOM Dates
  • April 11 – Chicago Open House
  • April 29 – World Tai Chi & Qi Gong Day
  • May 6 – San Diego Healing Arts Festival

Upcoming CEU Events in San Diego

  • May 7 – Heather Martin: Groundwork for Success

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Tea Promotes Good Health
The Better the Tea, the Greater the Benefits

Courtesy of www.RoyalDynastyTea.com

In September, 1998, a group of scientists from around the world met for an International Symposium at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. on Tea and Human Health, co-sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association, the American Health Foundation, and others.

Dozens of new studies reaffirmed earlier work done in Europe and Asia that three or more 6 oz. cups of tea a day help fend off cancer, reduce heart disease, fight the negative effects of aging, and promote elimination of dietary fats, among other health benefits.

Mainstream researchers are now taking age-old wisdom about tea seriously. Funding for studies has come from groups such as the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Health. Tufts University, the University of Arizona, the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Columbia University, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Kansas, Indiana University School of Medicine, Rutgers University, the USDA, and others are now studying tea and health.

According to the USDA, the antioxidant activity of tea is more potent than that found in 22 fruits and vegetables including orange juice, carrots, and broccoli

Laboratory studies have concluded that tea can reduce cancer incidence by as much as 50%. Areas of the world where tea is consumed regularly have significantly lower death rates from all types of cancer, but particularly for stomach, esophagus and liver cancer.

Tea has more antioxidant protection than even vitamins C or E. Antioxidants help prevent cancer, heart disease, and delay the aging process by preventing free radical production in the body.

Tea also reduces harmful cholesterol in the blood by preventing the build up of LDL cholesterol or "bad cholesterol."

Heart disease and stroke studies show that tea can lower fatty deposits in artery walls, decrease blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, lower blood pressure, and reduce the clotting tendency of blood.

Tea can impede the Angiotensin Converting Enzyme, which causes high blood pressure.

Studies have shown that tea can help control blood sugar levels and prevent the incidence of diabetes.

For more information on the health benefits of tea, visit www.RoyalDynastyTea.com

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Herbs for Women: Alternatives to Prescription Medications

Prescription medications are fast becoming part of the American woman’s daily routine. We are taking meds that even our moods, replace hormones, increase fertility, ease body pain, lower blood pressure, help us sleep and treat a variety of other ailments. We don’t often slow down to consider natural alternatives, which are often free from side effects and benefit our bodies in a more complete way. Herbal therapy creates a balanced health system that empowers women to kick the routine of symptom treatment and begin the process of whole body healing.

According to a study published in Women’s Health journal, women take more medications than men. They also respond differently to medications and are more likely than men to suffer medication-related problems. The most common health issues for women include endometriosis, cervical dysplasia, breast health, PMS and menopause. Side effects of these, such as depression, insomnia and physical pain are often treated with prescription medications that merely mask symptoms.

Herbal remedies can replace many of these drugs, as well as prevent illnesses that require them. Herbs are a staple of Chinese medicine, a system built on the premise of whole and balanced health. Over 5,000 medicinal substances are taken from plants, minerals and animal by-products. Eight to fifteen ingredients are combined into formulas in which they work synergistically. The most common way to ingest herbs is through a tea. However, pills, powders, liquid and dried extracts and syrups, are other effective forms. Herbs produce little to no side effects, giving them strong appeal over prescription drugs. Chinese medicine practitioners are constantly updating and modifying their patient’s treatment in order to optimize results and heal from the source.

The primary herbs for women in the Chinese tradition are medicines made from minerals and earth, plant roots, stems, bark and fruits. The Asian healing systems developed in an era of individual relationships between practitioner and patient, and the only tools available were those of the natural world and of the nature within. This concept has remained in today’s practices.

Endometriosis
Herbal remedies are ideal for modern female ailments such as endometriosis. Among American women in their twenties, endometriosis is the leading cause of infertility after fibroid tumors. Although traditional Chinese medicine has no disease category for endometriosis, it does recognize, categorize, and effectively treat each endometriosis symptom. Women with endometriosis generally require three to six months of intensive Chinese herbal therapy. The pain associated with endometriosis will decrease right away, however, and the benefits will be long lasting.

Herbs can promote tissue healing through a blend of effects. In addition to using phytoestrogens (plant compounds that have estrogen-like effects) and other hormone-balancing plants, herb therapy aids circulation to and from areas of damage. Nutritive herbs provide building materials for the cells. Particular hepatic herbs may eliminate toxins. Improving immune-system function with herbs helps white blood cells cluster around and eat up debris or imperfect cells.

Danazol (Danocrine), alternatively, is a powerful Western drug similar to the hormone testosterone. It is taken for six to nine months at a time to control endometriosis. Like many Western drugs, it can cause uncomfortable side effects. Women who use it may experience pseudo-menopause, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, joint pain, weight gain, acne, depression, irritability, fatigue, decreased breast size, mood swings, liver malfunction, carpel tunnel syndrome, adverse effects on lipids, ankle swelling, muscle cramps, bleeding between periods, and voice changes. In extreme cases, side effects may include masculinization. There is a high rate of recurrent pain after pregnancy for those who conceive after this treatment. In addition, over 30% of these women have some kind of problem with fertility later on. While there are Western drugs for endometriosis that carry fewer side effects, herbal treatments offer effective, side-effect free alternatives.

Menopause
Chinese herbs for menopause have demonstrated, via numerous in vivo and in vitro studies, a significant effect on the endocrine system to provide hot flash relief, alleviate vasomotor instability, loss of bone mass, and other conditions associated with menopause. Most importantly, they are much gentler and safer on the body.

Two herbal menopause formulas are frequently used: Three Immortals, which addresses the general patterns associated with the menopausal transition, and Great Yin, which is used for women who exhibit heat symptoms like hot flashes.

Many traditional Chinese herbs have been used to supplement the Kidney yin in menopausal women. Some symptoms of Kidney yin deficiency include hot flashes, dryness and greying hair. Dioscorea, a mountain yam similar to the Mexican yam, is a popular ingredient for menopausal symptoms. The main formula for Kidney yin deficiency is Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, or Six Herbs Earth Yellow Pill (or Six Flavor Teapills). There is a modification of the Six Flavor Teapills called Eight Flavor Teapills (Zhi Bai Di Huang Wan), which is used in cases where more heat is present. For night sweats and disturbed sleep, Zizyphus Formula (Suan Zao Ren Tang) is sometimes more effective.

Hormone replacement therapy, the standard Western medical treatment for menopause, involves possible risks that include breast, ovarian and uterine cancer. Hormone replacement therapy is usually started after the early signs of menopause appear. It can create uncomfortable side effects that can be difficult to deal with over long periods of time.

Cervical Dysplasia, PMS and Uterine Health
According to Chinese medicine, cysts and tumors occur as the result of long-term blood stagnation. Herbal formulas for blood stagnation are commonly used for pain in the area of the uterus, such as Blood Palace Dispel Stasis Decoction (Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang). Many formulas and treatment approaches exist for painful blood stagnation in the uterine area, and a qualified practitioner will help find the right formula.

It is believed that various natural herbs and supplements can improve the odds of early stages of cervical dysplasia (abnormal, precancerous cells in the cervix), helping abnormalities return back to normal cells. Studies have found that women with cervical dysplasia show a high frequency of general nutritional deficiencies, as high as 67% in one survey. Particular vitamin deficiencies most closely associated with cervical dysplasia include beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin B 6.

Some practitioners of herbal medicine feel that a class of herbs known as emmenagogues can be helpful in cervical dysplasia. These include squaw vine, motherwort, true unicorn, false unicorn, black cohosh, and blessed thistle. Also, maintaining a balanced diet, which is a focus of Chinese medicine, can help heal and prevent symptoms of cervical dysplasia.

Several herbal formulas have been designed specifically for common menstrual complaints. Free and Easy Wanderer's Powder (Xiao Yao San) is one. It serves to smooth the liver in order to take care of cramping and emotional afflictions during the menstrual cycle. Some women, especially if they have other supporting signs and symptoms, benefit from extended use. This formula has very impressive results for many women, though it is not for everyone. It increases serotonin levels, leading some women to call these their "happy pills." Yet it doesn't have the common side effects of SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), such as weight gain and loss of sex drive.

Breast Health
In the area of breast health, nature has provided rich sources that help nurture and protect the body. Herbs and botanicals offer many benefits -- some support the immune system, some have antioxidant action, some are hormone modulators, some help the body adapt to stress, and some support the liver, allowing it to do its essential job of detoxifying the body.

Vitex fruit, for example, is a hormone modulator. It specifically acts to balance the levels of protective progesterone and prolactin in the body with no adverse side effects. Low levels of progesterone and high levels of estrogen set the stage for all estrogen-sensitive cancers, so balance in this area is particularly important. Vitex's hormone modulating benefits also help reduce uncomfortable PMS and menopause symptoms.

Astragalus herb has been used as a tonic in China for thousands of years. Modern research confirms that it is a potent immune system stimulator, and in addition possesses an anti-tumor effect. Regular use of astragalus supports the spleen and increases bone marrow reserves. It also encourages the production of immune-enhancing interferon in the body. Recent studies confirmed that the use of astragalus increased, by ten times, the body's ability to kill cancer cells. As an added benefit, astragalus supports the adrenals, thus helping the body to ward off the effects of stress and sustain healthy production of progesterone.

Because medications affect women more adversely, it is important to be proactive about medication use. We should take responsibility for our health and ask clinicians about diagnosis, treatment, and medication use. It is important for women to understand the need for each medication we are prescribed and to know about alternatives. Becoming informed about medicine’s purpose and effects can help us be more proactive about our own treatment systems so we may benefit from side-effect from safer alternatives when Western drugs might not be necessary.

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Pacific College Celebrates World Tai Chi & Qigong Day

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine is one of many institutions around the world to recognize World Tai Chi and Qigong Day (WTCQD).  Beginning at 10 a.m., Saturday April 29 in New Zealand and spreading across time zones, World Tai Chi and Qigong Day will see people in over 50 nations gather to practice these disciplines.
World Tai Chi and Qigong Day provides teachers, schools and Tai Chi and Qigong associations with many free tools and services to educate communities about the potential benefits of these disciplines.  It is also a day to promote worldwide wellbeing.  

Qigong has a long history.  In ancient China, people believed that through controlled body movements and mental concentration, paired with various breathing techniques, they could balance and enhance physical, metabolic and mental functions. Qigong exercise relies on the traditional Chinese belief that the body has an energy field, known as Qi. “Qi” in Mandarin Chinese means breath or to breathe and “gong” means work or technique.  The pairing of the two is the basis for the art of Qigong.

Tai Chi is also a centuries-old Chinese discipline that aids health, relaxation, balance, flexibility, strength, meditation, self-defense and self-cultivation.  It is referred to as moving meditation.  The practice began as a martial art and is based on the principles of the Yin Yang symbol, called Tai Chi in Chinese, meaning “grand ultimate.”

Activities at most events include Tai Chi and Qigong exercise demonstrations, and many feature prominent masters leading exercises.  Events are free and open to the public. A good way to find events in your area is to check with the nearest Oriental medicine school.  In stressful times such as these, a day such as WTCQD is much needed.  It can bring both relaxation and a sense of community and shared peace. It also brings people together across economic and geopolitical lines to celebrate health and healing.

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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day

"All things in the world come from being. And being comes from non-being."

Lao-Tzu (6th century B.C.), Legendary Chinese philosopher

Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - March 2006 | Issue 20



In this issue you will find: Important PCOM Dates
  • March 21 – Chicago Open House
  • March 22 – New York Open House
  • April 29 – World Tai Chi & Qi Gong Day

Upcoming CEU Events in New York

  • March 25  - Steve Kaplan: Insurance Billing in the Acupuncturist Office

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Pacific College – New York Campus Offers New Massage Program

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, New York is pleased to announce the addition of two new degrees in massage therapy. Students will be able to enroll in the Associates of Occupational Studies (AOS) directly out of high school, or pursue a Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS), available to those who have completed 60 units of undergraduate coursework.  This new program will launch in spring 2006, and is expected to reach class capacity.  

For over two decades the New York campus has graduated Oriental medicine students from its Master of Science in Oriental medicine and Master of Science in acupuncture degree programs. The massage program, already recognized in San Diego and now opening in New York, complements and expands on these tracks, integrating Asian and Western bodywork therapy. The massage program emphasizes Oriental medicine theory, addressing the body, mind, and spirit. The program allows students to sit for licensure exams to become a licensed massage therapist.

“Pacific College has a world-wide reputation for its acupuncture and Oriental medicine curriculum,” said Gina Lepore, Chief Operating Officer of the New York campus.
“We’re proud to add these degrees in massage therapy as an additional option for developing healers, using touch and a deeper understanding of Asian healing systems. With this new program, students choose the healing system best suited for their temperament.”

The massage therapy program will include classes in anatomy and physiology, general pathology, myology/kinesiology, East/West massage, and clinic/practicum, as well as hygiene and safety. Students will gain an understanding of the Western and Eastern, the science and the technique. This continues Pacific College’s tradition of training highly qualified practitioners, meeting and exceeding national standards.

Both the AOS and BPS in massage therapy can be taken as a stand-alone program, or can be combined with the Master’s degree program in acupuncture and Oriental medicine.  Undergraduate and graduate financial aid is available for combined massage and Oriental medicine programs.  Alternative loans are available for those who are in the massage programs. Programs range from five to seven semesters (note that PCOM operates on three, four month semesters per year).

Please call us at 212.982.3456 and ask for an admissions counselor, or visit our website, www.PacificCollege.edu to learn how you can become a part of this new program.

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Healthy Body, Healthy Sole – Foot Health and Chinese Medicine

Feet are an important and often ignored part of the body’s health system. Three out of four Americans experience a serious foot problem in their lifetime, many of which are treatable and preventable. In Chinese medicine, the condition of the feet is crucial to overall health and is considered a separate body related to all body parts and organs.

The Podiatric Medical Association says that an average day of walking brings a force equal to several hundred tons down on the feet. This helps explain why the feet are more subject to injury than any other part of the body.

One-quarter of the body’s bones are in the feet, and misalignment of these bones can cause trouble in the rest of the body. A foot problem can lead to hip, knee and low-back pain, which can move in to the shoulder and neck and even cause headache. Misalignments can also cause problems with the acupuncture meridians that travel through the foot. When a misaligned bone blocks acupuncture meridians, related organs or glands can experience problems.

The foot has many nerve receptors that send important information to the central nervous system. This communication is used to track where particular parts of the body are at every moment and to determine what direction they go, how fast they move and how much pressure they receive. As we walk, each joint of the foot sends information to the nervous system so that it can regulate the functions of our muscles. This allows us to walk -- if muscles didn’t turn on and off we would not be able to move properly. If a muscle is not active when it is supposed to be, balance is upset and a muscle on the other side of the body will become too tight. When it becomes too tight, it pulls the bones out of alignment, causing problems.

The foot is divided into vital-energy sections so attention to one area of the foot will give therapeutic treatment to the corresponding body part. Zonal relationships exist between the body and the feet. Ten vertical zones of the body are connected with those in the feet. Sensory nerves of the internal organs that spread through the body are mostly gathered around the soles of the feet.

Reflexology, a specialized form of Chinese massage dating back to the fourth century B.C., focuses on these areas in order to stimulate body functions, eliminate toxins, improve circulation and soothe nerves. Reflexology can also be used to treat internal organ diseases, relieve internal discomfort and relax the body.

According to the Foot Health Network, there are over 25 foot conditions, including arthritis, bunions, athlete’s foot, overlapping toes, corns, ingrown toenails and heel spurs. These symptoms, as well as sensitive areas and blockages are evidence of a disturbance in the body in corresponding areas. The removal of a blockage in the foot improves the blood and nerve supplies as well as the energy flow to the body. Reflexology tackles the foot problem, returning the body’s function to its homeostasis.

Most reflexology foot massages begin with a footbath. The feet are dunked in a heated, medicinal bath, a blend of 28 kinds of Chinese herbs. After this cleanse, lotion is applied for a massage of deep pressure on the feet, ankles and calves. Following the laws of yin and yang, often, men’s massages begin on the right foot, women’s on the left. By other standards, all massages begin on the left foot because of its connection to the heart.

The principle of reflexology foot massage states that there are reflexes on the bottom of the foot that are directly related to organs, glands and other parts of the body. Practitioners will find the reflexes that are active and use acupressure-like stimulation on these points, which in turn helps these organs, glands and body parts to work better. The misalignment of the bones of the foot causes these reflexes to be present, leading to tender spots or trigger-points. When the bones are in proper alignment, the reflexes on the bottom of the foot will be stimulated as you walk, like an automatic reflexology foot massage.

When the feet and body are in alignment, walking is the best exercise to maintain healthy feet. It contributes to general health by improving circulation, contributing to weight control and promoting all-around wellbeing.

The foot contains meridians related to the Spleen, Liver, Stomach, Kidney, Bladder and Gallbladder. Because all of the acupuncture meridians of the body either begin or end on the feet or hands, foot health is crucially important for balance of the acupuncture energy system. Proper balance will support strong qi and vibrant health. In this way, foot health is the foundation upon which whole body wellness rests.

Pacific College offers a three-part series in foot reflexology as part of the extensive Department of Body Therapy. Students learn to understand the reflexology approach and develop assessment and treatment skills.

The first class in the series, Foot Reflexology 1, begins May 3. It is a three-unit course, after which students continue to Foot Reflexology 2 and 3. When students have completed 2 and 3, they can take part in the foot reflexology internship, a 1.5 units course in which students complete 12 full treatments. Upon completion of this cycle, students can sit for a National Certification Exam in this specialty.

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Tea for Weight Loss

Many Americans are putting down the double-espresso mocha latte and exploring the extraordinary world of tea. Asian cultures realized its value centuries ago, and U.S. consumers are now finally catching on. Tea is being rediscovered as the miracle drink that others have revered for years.

As the healthiest beverage in the world after water, tea offers numerous benefits that can significantly contribute to a change in your lifestyle and consciousness, resulting in a healthier way of life. This affects the way you eat and the foods you consume. People who drink four to six cups of tea a day are unlikely to continue consuming foods high in fat and calories.

How does drinking tea, especially green tea, contribute to a change in lifestyle, awareness and diet? There is nothing you have to do or think about. Within 30 days or so of starting a green tea regimen of four to six cups a day, you’ll start to experience a change in attitude and behavior, based on the empowering belief that you’re the source of all your own answers.

At first, you’ll notice a subtle change. Instead of reaching for that candy bar or dish of ice cream that you’re accustomed to eating after dinner, you’ll find that you’re consciously taking a smaller portion or eliminating it altogether. You’ll begin to notice when you go out to a restaurant that your choices will be more in alignment with foods that will optimize your health.

As for tea’s healthful aspects, its powerful antioxidants have been shown in numerous studies to fight illness and disease, slow aging and beneficially affect health. Clinical tests have shown that they destroy free radicals and have far-reaching positive effects on the entire body. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules, or fragments of molecules, in our bloodstream that can damage the body at the cellular level, leaving it susceptible to cancer, heart disease and other degenerative diseases.

Recent studies have shown that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant found in tea, is at least 100 more times more effective than vitamin C and 25 times more effective than vitamin E at protecting cells and DNA from damage believed to be linked to serious illnesses. It has twice the antioxidant benefit of resveratrol, found in red wine.

In addition, preparing tea is a ceremony that invites you to slow down and do things more deliberately. It is the opposite of wolfing down a quick burger at a drive-thru. It involves careful preparation and a slower pace. This in turn may cause you to slow down in life in general, be more conscious of what you do, how you spend your time and what you eat.

To check out a selection of green teas that can get you started visit www.royaldynastytea.com

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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day

“Never tire to study - and teach others.”

Confucius

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