Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - February 2005 | Issue 2
Celebrate Chinese New Year! In this issue you will find:
Important February Dates to Remember
- February 7-13 - Cardiac Rehabilitation Week
- February 9 - Chinese New Year
- February 11 - New York Campus Celebrates Chinese New Year
- February 12 - San Diego Chinese New Year Open House
- February 26 - Chicago Chinese New Year Open House
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Chinese New Year: Year of the Rooster
Welcome to the year of the Rooster! The Chinese Lunar New Year is the longest chronological record in history, dating from 2600 BC. The Chinese calendar is a yearly one, with the start of the year being based on the cycles of the moon. Therefore, the beginning of the year can fall anywhere from late January to mid February. This year it falls on February 9, 2005.
A complete cycle of the calendar takes 60 years and is made up of five cycles of 12 years each. Each of the 12 years is named after an animal. Legend says that Lord Buddha summoned all the animals to come to him before he departed from the earth. Only 12 came to say farewell and as a reward he named a year after each one in the order they arrived. The Chinese believe the animal ruling the year in which a person was born has a profound influence on his/her personality. The Chinese Zodiac consists of the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
In the Lunar Calendar, the Rooster is considered to be the most misunderstood and eccentric of all the signs. People born in the year of the Rooster are hardworking, resourceful, courageous and talented. Outwardly, Roosters are self-assured and aggressive, but at heart can be conservative and old-fashioned. Their powerful personalities can lead them to be vivacious, amusing, and the life of the party. However, Roosters can be conceited creatures, with a tendency to be vain and boastful.
Though Roosters are practical creatures, they are also born dreamers. Roosters have a tendency to become so completely caught up in the dreams they create, they are often disappointed when reality fails to compare to their fantasies.
Cautious, skeptical and perceptive, Roosters make excellent trouble shooters and take pride in working hard and following the rules. Their inbred organizational skills enable Roosters to keep everything neat and tidy, with all of their affairs in order, accounts up to date, and documents systematically filed away. They function best in an environment where everything is organized and their schedules programmed. Their biggest strength is management of finances both on a personal and professional level. When it comes to money, Roosters are prudent and careful, and are brilliant managers of other people's money. The Rooster has the reputation of finding money in the most unlikely place, like drawing blood from a stone.
When it comes to making decisions of any kind, Roosters prefer to carefully consider all sides of a situation before coming to a conclusion. In conflicts, Roosters will push to the extreme, but flee before open hostilities break out. Their reflective and analytical abilities sometimes get the better of them. They must constantly question their point of view to ascertain its validity. Yet, there are no hidden depths to the Roosters character. They are simply honest and straightforward creatures. This makes Rooster the most devoted friends, who are always true to their word. Roosters are the most loyal sign of the zodiac. Once settled in a permanent relationship, Roosters are highly unlikely to deceive or cheat on their partners.
Those born under the Rooster are colorful and controversial people, who will never fail to leave an impression. October is the month of the Rooster, and their direction of orientation is west. The color of the Rooster is peach. The Snake, Ox and Dragon understand Roosters and would make ideal partners. They would gain much from a friendship with the Monkey and Boar. The introverted Rabbit does not trust the Rooster and won't put up with his boasting. Power struggles and miscommunications may erupt between the Rooster and the Tiger. The Rooster and the Rat are competitive rivals and completely incompatible.
-- TOP -- Pacific College Celebrates Chinese New Year
In celebration of Chinese New Year, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine will be hosting free events on each of our three campuses.
On Friday, February 11, 2005, Pacific's New York campus will be holding a free community style acupuncture clinic from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. All are invited to attend, with appointments being taken on a drop-in basis.
In San Diego , Pacific College will be hosting an Open House and Chinese New Year celebration on Saturday, February 12, 2005. The event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., will include complimentary stress reduction acupuncture and massage treatments, workshops on Tai Ji and Qi Gong, and informational lectures. Lecture topics include, "The Profession of Chinese Medicine," "Cold & Flu Prevention," "Healing the Spirit," and the "Therapeutic Benefits of Oriental Massage." A certificate for a $10 acupuncture treatment will also be presented to those who attend.
Pacific's Chicago campus will be holding a similar Chinese New Year celebration, Saturday, February 26, 2005 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The event will include complimentary acupuncture treatments for smoking cessation, stress reduction, weight loss, and well being, as well as 15-minute massages. The event will also include Qi Gong demonstrations, and an informational lecture titled, "Introduction to the History of Chinese Medicine." Those who attend will receive a free Chinese New Year celebration gift.
Celebrations at each campus will provide refreshments and an open invitation to the public to tour the campus. Staff and faculty will also be available to further attendees' knowledge of Pacific College 's programs and the field of Oriental medicine.
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Properties of Oriental Medicine Herbs
Bitter, Pungent, Salty, Bland, Sweet, Astringent, Sour, Warm, Cold, Neutral, Hot and Aromatic.
To use herbs within the scope of Chinese Herbology, one must first understand the properties (the personality which dictates how an herb will function) of each herb beyond the scope of its category. Properties are tastes, temperatures, and qualities of an herb. The possible tastes are sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, bland, salty, astringent, and aromatic. It may have other qualities such as toxic. The possible temperatures are cool, cold, warm, neutral, and hot.
It is very important to understand that herbs do not possess one quality. They are most always a combination of properties and temperatures and may reach one to as many as twelve organ systems. These combinations of qualities give each herb their character, and if you understand the functions behind the properties, than you can surmise what an herb is capable of before even becoming acquainted with it. Learning to combine the appropriate formula for each patient is a medical art which takes years to develop. A tremendous amount of respect should be given to those who do it well.
Sweet: If an herb is sweet, it can do one of a few things. This depends on it category and the other tastes and qualities it is combined with. For example, an herb which is sweet and cold and falls within the yin tonic category will tonify yin. These herbs are usually sticky and can not be mistaken for much else. However, an herb which is sweet and cold can also promote urination. These herbs are found within different categories. It is a quality an herb may possess in addition to its category. Another function of herbs which are sweet and cold is promoting fluids. This is a common function of herbs in the quell fire category where water is needed to put out the fire. Warm herbs which are sweet are found in the tonify Yang category. This is another example of sweetness which is tonifying in nature. The Qi tonics share these properties with the exception of a few neutral temperatured herbs. The digestive category is also filled with sweet herbs because most of these herbs have other functions which are moving (digestive) in nature and the sweetness helps to strengthen (tonify) as the other properties function to digest. A good herbalist understands that sweetness tends to be sticky, and therefore, will clog things up if they are not moving well. To prevent this kind of clogging, these herbs must be combined with herbs which are moving in nature to protect against this side effect.
Bitter: This quality functions to descend, to dry, to detoxify. Many herbs in the pharmacopoeia are bitter. This taste is one which spans numerous categories. If one looks closer at each individual herb, if it contains a bitter quality, it will serve one of the above functions. It is important to note that because this taste has a drying quality to it, It is prudent to protect against it in preexisting conditions of dryness, such as yin deficiency. Because bitterness descends, it is also prudent to beware of this quality in pregnant women as the fetus could be encouraged to descend as well with the use of such herbs.
Pungent: This is a moving force used for such things as moving Qi, ridding the body of phlegm, or expelling pathogens from the surface of the body outward. It is often seen in the anti-rheumatic category (also known as the Wind-Damp category) to eradicate painful joint conditions which Oriental Medicine recognizes as a Wind-Damp pathogen lodged in the interior. This is because an herb which is pungent in nature possesses the power of movement. It is present in numerous other categories where movement is a function of the category. One must be careful in those who are weak, or dry, or even pregnant in using such herbs. It is also important to remember that movement, like us when we exercise, creates warmth. So if you use an herb which is pungent and cold in nature, don't be surprised if some warmth results despite the cold temperature of the herb.
Salty: A salty herbs has the ability to detoxify (sore throat for example), dissolve (nodules, for example), and carry herbs to the Kidney system. Most herbs which from animal products or sea products are salty. If they are from the sea, they are almost always salty and cold. Salt, as we all know may encourage the retention of fluids in the body, so other herbs must be used to guard against this tendency so as not to disrupt the fluid balance of the patient.
Bland: Bland herbs are mostly only seen in the drain damp category. This group is made up of sweet and cold herbs (which we stated previously promotes urination) and sweet and bland herbs which accomplish the same task. Bland herbs are said to be mild and without taste, hence their name.
Astringent and Sour: Sour is very similar to astringent in its function and many herbs which are astringent are sour, and all herbs which are sour have some sort of astringent function. Let us clarify this issue. There is an entire category of astringent herbs some of which are sour and there are many sour herbs which astringe slightly, but not strongly enough to be primarily categorized as an astringent. Sour herbs "gently preserve" (hence the expression preserving Yin) while astringents actually "restrain" (as in urine, sweat, semen, etc...)! Bai Shao (Peoniae Albae), for example, is sour. It is definitely not an astringent herb, yet it does gently astringe the blood it is used to supply. Its primary function is to nourish blood and this is its primary category. Its secondary functions are based on the fact that it is sour.
Hot: In the Chinese pharmacopoeia, there is one basic group of hot herbs. This is the interior warming category. These herbs are used for conditions of severe and often acute internal coldness. There is only one exception to this rule. There is one Yang tonic which is hot. Hot is obviously warming and moving as well. Unlike cold which contracts, heat expands.
Warm: This temperature will create movement and of course warmth. It is important not to use warm herbs with patients with warm conditions unless the formula is very well balanced as not to exacerbate the hot condition. Warm herbs are also drying in nature and may dry up the Yin if not combined properly with the appropriate herbs in such circumstances.
Cold: Coldness does inside the body exactly what it does to us when we are exposed to it outside. It contracts! It slows down and contracts. This is not a temperature you want to use if stagnation is a problem, unless of course, you are combining the cold herbs with other herbs that move so as to prevent against this side effect.
Neutral: There are not too many neutral herbs in the pharmacopoeia These herbs are said to be neither hot nor cold and are often considered more gentle because of this.
Aromatic: Aromatic is drying, transforming, and moves upward and outward. Many of the herbs which are used to release exterior syndromes (as with the common cold) are assisted by the aromatic quality which assists their already pungent nature in releasing the pathogenic invasion from the body. Other herbs which are aromatic are herbs used to transform dampness. These herbs are focused on treating damp conditions and transforming (drying and moving it) this dampness. The aromatic quality, as I said, is ascending in nature which assists in the "awakening" of the Spleen which in turn will naturally rid the body of its damp condition.
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The Journal Of Chinese Medicine Celebrates It's 25th Year
In 1979, Oriental medicine in the Western world was still in its infancy. With few books on Chinese medicine written or translated in the English language, it was difficult for a practitioner to find new material exploring the theory or practice of Oriental medicine in any depth. Until Peter Deadman, a newly qualified practitioner began a small journal titled, the Journal of Chinese Medicine.
The first few years of the journal produced a primitive home based publication that read like a basic textbook. Early issues focused on presenting clear, detailed information on basic Chinese medicine theory that had previously been unavailable in English.
Working as a pioneer to bring in-depth material to the mainstream audience, the journal spent its formative years as a fairly small and novel publication. However, as time passed and Oriental medicine began to grow as a profession, the journal continued to develop as a resource tool for those in the industry.
Now marking the success of its 25 th year, the Journal of Chinese Medicine has become deeply imbedded within the Oriental medicine profession throughout England and Europe, and more recently in the United States . The Journal of Chinese Medicine is recognized as the premier English language journal on all aspects of Chinese medicine. As other journals have come and gone through the years, the journal has managed to maintain its high academic standards, which has enabled it to remain distinctly different than its counterparts.
"Today the change in the journal is pronounced from what it once was," said Peter Deadman, Publisher of The Journal of Chinese Medicine. " We have built up an enormous body of back content, which has proven invaluable as more Western medical practitioners of Oriental medicine seek to become experts in various areas of TCM. Material written 20 years ago is still valid today."
Perhaps one of the most beneficial tools the Journal provides is a comprehensive CD-Rom, which features all of the Journals issues from the beginning. The CD-Rom also provides an extensive amount of research on everything from Oriental medicine, to tai chi, and diet and exercise and lifestyle behavior.
"The Journal CD-Roms compile the same material that would be covered in 20-30 textbooks," said Deadman. "We have a vast and constantly growing body of references on the CD-Rom."
With the Journal continuing to expand its horizons to keep up with the growth of the Chinese medicine profession, the Journal is committed in providing the most recent and comprehensive information to enable practitioners to keep learning.
"Since our humble beginnings, the Journal like the Chinese medicine profession in the West has come along way," said Deadman. "Looking towards the future we want to keep moving forward, hold our own, and be respected. People need to keep growing and learning. A good journal is the best way for people to do that." Common Chinese Herbal Formulas for Pain Due To Trauma
By: Robert Chu, L.Ac
Throughout my many years in my sports and martial arts, I have come across many trauma (known in Chinese as dit da, literally "fall and strike") prescriptions for herbal liniments, powders, plasters, and decoctions. Many Chinese are familiar with herbal liniments that are used for bruises, sprains, strains, fractures, and other trauma, due to a blow or fall. These formulas can all be used by weekend athletes and others who have to visit their sports medicine doctor. Beware of claims, "My secret formula is the best!" In the past, I stared with amazement and almost revered the brown, smelly liniment as I rubbed it into my bruises and training aches and pains.
After studying Chinese medicine and learning the fundamental principles, etiology of disease, methods of diagnosis, herbology, massage, acupuncture, moxibustion and cupping, I learned that a Chinese medicine practitioner must tailor treatments to the individual, and no set method is used to cure everyone or every injury. Indeed, one liniment I used regularly for bruises did heal my bruises in a few days, but always made me break out in a rash that lasted for two weeks! It always seemed to me that the cure was almost as bad as the injury or worse!
I later analyzed the prescription's individual ingredients and, through diagnosis, found my personal constitution had a lot of heat. Although the traditional formula has some very toxic and warm herbs in it, based on my constitution, these herbs were not for me. The result of having a warm constitution, living in a warm climate ( Los Angeles ), plus using warm herbs was inflammation, a rash.
Tradition or not, this prescription was not for me. Instead, I substituted the prepared versions of the above herbs and the effect was more agreeable for my individual constitution. Most experienced herbalists take a base formula and customize it for the individual. Thus, there is not one true, secret, ultimate trauma prescription! So beware of such claims.
Generally speaking, commercial forms of Chinese herbal trauma formulas like Xiao Huo Luo Dan (small invigorate collaterals pill), Bai Hua Yu (white flower oil), Tian Qi Jiu (first aid antiseptic), Yunnan Bai Yao ( yunnan white powder), and Zheng Gu Shui (correct the bone liniment), are safe and effective for most everyday injuries. Many Chinese would rather use these herbal formulas first for a minor injury. I would certainly advise readers to seek proper medical attention in case of serious injury.
Xiao Huo Luo Dan is taken as a pill, and generally used for backaches, muscle strains, and broken bones. This is available prepackaged with directions for use. Like all herbal medicines, it is best to use as directed on the package.
Bai Hua Yu is a fragrant analgesic oil, used for stiff muscles and strains as a result of "over doing it." I usually refer to it as "Chinese Ben Gay." Avoid getting the oil on your face, as it can irritate the eyes.
Tian Qi Jiu is an herbal liniment for bruises. Usually, the person using it rubs it on topically into bruises or contusions.
Yunnan Bai Yao is a powder that stops bleeding immediately and is used when you have minor cuts or scrapes, or if you cut yourself shaving. During the Vietnam War, soldiers were given a supply of this powder for firearm wounds. It was so precious that soldiers referred to it as a "gold they wouldn't trade." Dramatically, this powder can stop bleeding instantly and promote healing with little to no scarring.
Finally, Zheng Gu Shui is a fine liniment for minor bruises, strains, and minor fractures to the fingers or toes. It also helps stop the pain that may occur due to minor sports injuries. It is also best to avoid on the face as it can irritate the eyes.
All of these commercial patents are available at your local Chinatown drug store or Chinese herbalist. If your goal is hard training, or you have sustained a more severe injury, it is better to visit a Chinese herbalist to create a formula based on your individual constitution, climate, and type of training or injury. Just because herbal formulas are natural, does not mean they are not dangerous medicine when used incorrectly. Many immuno-comprised individuals and pregnant women should avoid herbal trauma prescriptions as the herbs may be somewhat toxic or have affects regarding blood flow and may lead to miscarriage.
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Chinese Herbal Prozac: Depression and Traditional Chinese Medicine
By: Brian Benjamin Carter
In clinical setting we frequently see patients who are taking antidepressants like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Effexor, and Wellbutrin. Chinese herbs like Albizzia may be an alternative to psychiatric drugs. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a holistic medicine- it has never separated the mind and body, and so can comprehensively treat conditions with both physical and mental symptoms.
Causes of Depression
As with all disease, we need an accurate diagnosis before we can begin treatment. Depression has many causes. Not all of them will be helped by antidepressants. If your self-esteem is intact, your mood does not vary during the day, and you are not impaired socially, your depression may have a physical cause.
Some physical/biomedical causes of depression are: chronic pain, chronic fatigue, normal grief, vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, folate deficiency anemia, viral disease, connective tissue/collagen disorders (arthritis), an organic brain disorder, drug side-effects, cancer, and endocrine abnormalities. Chinese Medicine can enhance the health of anyone with any of these conditions.
Psychiatric Drug Therapy
Controlling depression with pharmaceuticals usually requires weeks or months of experimentation with various drugs at different dosages. During this experimentation, the patient experiences physical and mental side-effects which can range from the annoying to the unbearable. Chinese herbal medicine, properly practiced, does not cause side-effects and so may ultimately be preferable to psychiatric medications.
However, there are many grave situations where psychiatric pharmaceuticals are essential, and not taking them can endanger the well-being, or even the life of the patient. More and more M.D.'s are now working to minimize the amount of pharmaceuticals taken by each patient, and some are even working with OMD's to utilize acupuncture and chinese herbs to slowly take the patient off of drugs and cure the root problem.
How Chinese Medicine Diagnoses Depression
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we always conduct a thorough evaluation of the patient. Symptoms and other diagnostic findings are like the pieces of a puzzle. The puzzle is a diagnosis that describes a patientps particular imbalances. Treatment arises naturally from this diagnosis. In TCM (unlike western biomedicine) there is a treatment for every diagnosis.
One simple way to understand depression is to use TCM's 5-Element system. The 5 Elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. Each element is associated with a particular strength, weaknesses, color, sound, etc. Three common 5-Element types in depression are Earth, Water, and Wood.
Earth-Type Depression Water-Type Depression
"Can't keep up"
"Can't get it up"
"All bunched up"
Digestive Problems, Weight Gain, Fatigue, Loose Stool
Impotence, Morning Diarrhea, Knee and Low Back Problems, Frequent Urination
Eye Problems (red, painful, dry, etc.), Wiry build, Pain in ribcage area, Headaches on top or sides of head
Irritability, Frustration, Anger, Short Temper
Earth Types : can't keep up. They often experience digestive deficiency, become tired and overwhelmed easily, and are prone to worry and weight gain. They become depressed as a result of deficiency.
Water Types have deficiencies in their 'root' energy. This is most associated with old age, or extreme chronic illness.
Wood Types get depressed because they are all bunched up. They are easy to anger. When anger is focused inward, it turns into depression. They are irritable, have short tempers, and tend to be skinnier than the Earth Type. Wood types become depressed as a result of stagnation.
Of course, a TCM diagnosis must be much more specific than this before treatment can begin. Then the practitioner moves from diagnosis, What is the disease?
To treatment principles, What strategies should we use to balance the patient? For example, they may want to increase the patient's energy, move stagnation, and calm the spirit. Herbs and herb formulas are chosen that fit the patient's symptoms, diagnosis, and the practitioner's treatment principles.
Albizzia - Chinese Herbal Prozac Alternative?
Cortex Albizzia Julbrissin (mimosa tree bark) is a TCM herb in the åNourish the Heart and Calm the Spiritp category. It is traditionally used to calm the spirit and relieve emotional constraint when the associated symptoms of bad temper, depression, insomnia, irritability and poor memory are present. It also relieves pain and dissipates abscesses and swelling due to trauma (including fractures).
The flower of the mimosa tree is also used to relieve constrained Liver qi, and calm the spirit when the associated symptoms of insomnia, poor memory, irritability, epigastric pain, and feelings of pressure in the chest are present. Research has shown that the flower of the mimosa tree has a sedative effect.
German scientists assert that mimosa tree bark is part of the heavily-guarded Coca Cola recipe (a concoction that has been making people happy for decades!). Understanding the meaning of åSpiritp
In Chinese Medicine, åspiritp is conscious awareness, the more emotional and elusive aspect of being. The body must be in a good state of health, and there must be sufficient nourishment and balance for the spirit to be at peace. When improper diet, extreme emotions, trauma, and external diseases injure the body, the spirit does not have a comfortable place to rest. To address this problem, we balance the underlying problem, but in the meantime we also calm the spirit. Thus, in TCM, we treat the cause of the depression AND we calm the spirit so that the patient feels happier and more at peace.
It is safe to say that there are people on anti-depressant medications that do not need them. More exacting diagnosis by all healthcare practitioners will lead to more appropriate treatments. Psychiatric medications often cause unwanted side-effects. Proper TCM treatment does not cause side-effects. Because TCM is a holistic medicine that integrates the body and mind in its diagnostic process and treatment strategies, it is a viable solution for the treatment of depression.
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Chinese Wisdom: Proverb of the Day
"Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power."
Lao-Tzu (6th century B.C.) , Legendary Chinese philosopher
Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - December 2004 |
Welcome to the latest issue of the Pacific College Newsletter! In this issue you will find:
• Important December Dates
• No Flu Vaccine? What You Can Do to Stay Healthy
• Pediatric Acupuncture - Common Childhood Ailments that Respond to Acupuncture
• Home Remedy For a Cough • Winter Health Notes
• Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day
Important December Dates to Remember
• December 9 New York Open House
• December 11 Chicago Open House (Massage)
• December 20 New Student Orientation for San Diego
• December 29 New Student Orientation for New York
--TOP-- No Flu Vaccine? What You Can Do to Stay Healthy
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends that people at high risk for serious flu complications make the effort to seek the 2004 flu vaccine. But, whether or not they are in the 'vulnerable' groups of pregnant women, chronically ill, elderly, or those with compromised immune systems, many people have been frightened by the non-availability of the 2004 flu vaccine. However, there are several other approaches to maintaining good health in bad weather, and the field of acupuncture and Oriental medicine provides some tried and true steps that can go a long way towards preventing infection.
Many people talk about the flu "going around" as though it infected everyone in its path. The reality is that only a portion of those exposed to a virus get sick. This is because one of the biggest factors is the internal environment of the body. Germs only lead to illness when the body is out of balance and immunity is weakened.
Practicing good health habits can help prevent the flu. The five important AWARE tips are:
Avoid germs . Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Wash your hands often to help protect yourself from germs. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Warmth . Keep your neck and chest protected from wind, drafts and cold. The Oriental medical perspective is that wind invasions make people more vulnerable to developing colds and flu.
Acupuncture . Get a treatment to boost your immune system.
Relax and sleep enough . Your immune system is susceptible to stress. Use any stress-reduction methods (like yoga, massage or meditation) to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Eat and Exercise less . Avoid simple sugars (processed food and baked goods, alcohol, etc.). Choosing less acid foods raises the body's Ph and makes you less susceptible. Exercise lightly and daily. You don't want to go outside being overheated.
To make an appointment at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine's clinic to assess your general state of health call (619) 574-6932. Acupuncture can use traditional methods to balance your energy to make you less vulnerable to environmental influences, as well as prescribe herbal drinks or pills that help you stay strong.
Pediatric Acupuncture - Common Childhood Ailments that Respond to Acupuncture
By: Marc Sklar, LAc
Who better to reap the benefits of preventative medicine then those most pure; children? Children seem to gain large benefits from preventative medicine and when it their reaction to Oriental Medicine it's no different. Oriental Medicine has been treating children for centuries, and as it turns out Pediatrics is one of the medicines best specialties (since the Song Dynasty - 960-1279). Our children are so precious to us and watching them be sick is difficult as parents and through the treatments of Oriental Medicine we can strengthen the child and decrease illness. Oriental medicine views the treatment of children to be extremely important, and when treating children the most important system to treat is usually the digestive system. A classic Chinese saying that expressed this is xiao er pi bu zu, "Children's Spleen is often insufficient". The focus
of the digestive system in Oriental medicine consists of the Spleen and Stomach systems.
"According to Chinese medical theory, children's spleens and stomachs up to the age of approximately six are inherently immature (because they are still developing). That means they do not function as efficiently as a healthy adult's does." Until then the digestive systems are weak and overworked, so it is not uncommon to see children complaining of various digestive upset from diarrhea to indigestion. In Chinese Medicine
these complaints can be classified as an accumulation of food. Children's digestion is easily damaged by poor diets and an unnecessary use of antibiotics. When antibiotics are used they kill the "bad" bacteria which is possibly causing the illness.
Antibiotics simultaneously kill the "good" bacteria (flora) found in your intestines. This "good" flora is necessary for a strong digestive system and a healthy immune system. Persistant antibiotic use can lead to children have poor digestive systems or a recurring illness. Nutrition
Parents might then ask, what is the best diet for my children? Children should be fed easy to digest foods, otherwise known as a clear and bland diet. This type of diet allows the child's digestive system to work more efficiently. Infants should be feed breast milk above all else, as it is the best food for infants. Some mothers opt for formula instead of breast milk. For more information on the benefits of breast feeding read the FDA information at http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/895_brstfeed.html . Even though breast milk is theoptimal food for infants, a mother can still overfeed the infant with her breast milk. Parents should be careful not to overfeed as this could lead to an accumulation of food in the baby's stomach. So why breast milk? Breast milk has the proper antibodies necessary to keep a baby's immune system strong and functioning optimally. "When solid foods are introduced, one should start with easily digestible foods, like cooked carrots and well-cooked grains such as cream of rice. Because the process of digestion in Chinese medicine is likened to a process of cooking and distillation, foods which are cooked are, in general, more easily digested than uncooked foods. In other words, cooking is predigestion. Therefore, infants and very young children do best when they are fed mostly cooked, mashed, partially predigested foods then when they eat few uncooked, chilled, or cold foods. Chilled and cold foods "douse" the fire of the spleen and (make it difficult to digest the food.) Likewise, drinking too many liquids and especially with meals "swamp" the spleen. In addition, foods that Chinese medicine labels as very "dampening" also easily harm the spleen when eaten excessively. These include sugars and sweets in general, dairy products (and especially chilled dairy products such as cheese and yogurt), peanut and other nut butters, and bread."
What are some causes for disease/Illness in Children?
There are several factors that can contribute to disease in any person and the same is true of children. In Oriental Medicine there are internal and external causes of disease. The external causes are linked to natural phenomenon that the Chinese observed to be true and the cause of illness. These external causes are wind, cold, dryness, heat, and dampness. When these factors are experienced in an excess amount then they may cause illness. They may also cause illness if the child has a weak constitution leaving them vulnerable to illness. Another common cause of disease is emotional factors, also known as the seven affects. Emotions are usually not a cause for illness in children, as they do not hold back from expressing their emotions. If children do go through emotional problems at home this can lead to illness and some examples of illness arising out of emotional disturbances are asthma, insomnia, urogenital disorders, and a number of mental illnesses. As I mentioned above, diet is large cause for illness in children. Some dietary problems that may cause illness are too little food, too much food, irregular feeding, unsuitable milk, early weaning, and food allergies. All of these factors contribute to illnesses, as the digestive system is inherently weak in children.
Common illness treated with Oriental medicine: Constipation
Constipation is seen frequently in children, as their digestive systems are delicate. If baby does not have a bowel movement for one day this is considered constipation. If this continues this is more serious then the occasional missed day and treatment should be sot out. There are two main causes for constipation in children. The first is an accumulation and overeating, irregular eating, and eating raw indigestible foods can cause this. As this causes more of a strain on the spleen and stomach systems it leads to the common pattern of accumulation. Constipation can also be caused by a weak spleen and stomach. This weakness can be acquired by poor diet, prolonged digestive upset and recurrent illness The accumulation disorders respond quicker to treatment, as the child's digestive system is still somewhat strong. The same cannot be said for a child affected by a weak digestive system. The treatment for this is longer as the practitioner needs to work on strengthening the child's digestive system. Cough
Parents know all to well the sound of their child coughing. A chronic cough can disturb the entire family. The child and parents are unable to sleep because the cough is keeping them up. Some of the diagnoses attributed to a cough are phlegm in the lungs, a weakness of the lungs are spleen, and a lingering illness. Seeing as we are speaking about the lungs when we speak about a cough it is not uncommon to see the lungs affected with this disease. Some of the factors that contribute to chronic coughs in children are eating phlegm producing foods, unnecessary use of antibiotics, poor digestion, overtired, long term illness, and immunizations. When treating this illness acupuncture and herbal medicine are important but are not the only treatment. As with all childhood illnesses diet is as important as any other treatment. Otitis Media
Otitis Media is a very common illness in babies and children. Ear infections are no fun for the child as the pain is extremely uncomfortable, and the parents are scared that their child might become deaf due to the infection. It is for this reason that parents rush to bring their children to the doctor to receive antibiotics, and if the problem persists to have tubes placed in the ear. I am sure that parents will be happy to hear that there are other treatments that can help treat Otitis Media without the side effects of western medicine.
Acute ear infections are usually attributed to a virus or bacteria affecting the ear. If the infection is caused by a virus western medicine has little to offer in the form of treatment, yet many times antibiotics are still prescribed. The treatment of otitis media with frequent doses of antibiotics can cause the pathogen to linger leading to chronic otitis media. Julian Scott, OMD says, "Alternatively the lingering pathogenic factor can be traced to an immunization, commonly the pertussis vaccine."
Regardless of the cause Oriental medicine has a good tract record for treating both the acute and chronic variations. The acute otitis media is much easier to treat with the child experiencing relief quickly. For chronic otitis media the child will feel relief with the treatment however, continued treatment is necessary to make a long lasting effect. Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic Rhinitis, also known as allergies or hay fever, can cause seasonal problems for children. The good thing about this illness is that it hopefully only comes once a year, the negative is that it can be debilitating for children when it does come on. The symptoms of nasal congestion, discharge and irritation, sneezing, red and watery eyes and headache to name a few can cause great problems for children. Parents will be happy to know that Oriental Medicine can make a great impact on this problem. Aside from diet which we have discussed in the past illnesses, the lung, liver, and spleen can be the center of the problem. The liver is quite often affected and you can usually determine this by irritability and a red face. The best time to treat this is a month before the symptoms usually appear. You can always see a practitioner when the symptoms arise, but if you are interested in preventing the symptoms from arising then treatment before the symptoms appear is best.
Hyperactivity, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Parents, teachers, friends, and family all suffer when children are hyperactive. Children can be very energetic, disruptive, rude and violent when they have this disorder. This disorder has some clear diagnoses in Oriental Medicine, which is in contract to western medicine. Where as conventional medicine "there are few tools with which to help these children other than drugs", Oriental medicine makes large strides with acupuncture and herbal medicine.
The four main causes for Hyperactivity are Heat, Phlegm Heat, Weakness in the digestive system (spleen), and kidney weakness. When treating these patterns length of treatment may vary but usually children need to be seen 10 to 30 times. It is also important to be prepared for the child's response to treatment. Children may actually become a little wild, angry, and yell during and after treatment according to Scott. This response will diminish with continued treatment. As usual it is also extremely important to change the child's diet. A reduction in sugar, food colorings, junk food and dairy is necessary, along with a reduction in television and video games. Common conditions treated with Oriental Medicine
. ADD and ADHD
. Urinary Tract Infections
. Bed Wetting
. And More
What modalities do I use to treat Children?
Parents are usually weary of bringing in their child to get acupuncture because of its association with needles. Children usually do not have a problem with needles. Regardless of the fear or not, not all treatments need to use needles. Quite often I use an acupressure machine at the acupuncture point to send a small pulse to the area of need. This pulse feels like a small tapping and some children even feel like it tickles. Often with treat children become more and more comfortable with the experience.
Another important therapy for children is herbal medicine. Herbal medicine has been used for centuries in China and in the treatment of Children. Antibiotics are not always necessary and with herbal medicine you can bypass the side effects experienced from taking medication. Herbal medicine is used for a short period of time when treating acute conditions and longer when treating chronic diseases.
Julian Scott and Teresa Barlow, Acupuncture in the
treatment of Children, Eastland Press, Seattle,
Bob Flaws, The Essence of Chinese Pediatrics
Home Remedy For a Cough
By: Xiaomei Cai
A cough is caused by a muscle spasm that occurs as a reaction to irritation or a blockage in the bronchial tubes (the tubes connected from the throat to the lungs).
Coughs often occur in conjunction with infections, such as the common cold or influenza, but are sometimes associated with nervous tension and have no pathological cause. Many of us have experienced a cough after a cold. Coughs are known to get worse at night associated with thirst and a dry nose or throat. This home remedy is to help control a persistent cough with or without phlegm.
To prepare this home remedy you will need some pears (preferably Asian pears), Chuan Bei Mu powder (available at Tao of Wellness herb room or at an herb store). The ratio is 3g of powder for each pear.
The traditional preparation is steaming. Before cooking, cut off the cap of the pear and remove the core, but leave the skin on. Put 3 grams of Chuan Bei Mu powder into the pear. Then put the cap back on top of the pear and connect them with a toothpick. Place the stuffed pear into a bowl, place the bowl inside a steamer or a pot with water surrounding the bowl. Make sure no water gets inside the bowl where the pear sits. Cover the steamer or the pot with a lid. Steam for 15-60 minutes. The longer it steams the better. It is ready to be eaten. For best results adults should eat 2 pears a day and children only 1 pear a day.
Winter Health Notes
In Traditional Chinese Medicine our bodies and our selves reflect the natural world we live in. Being in harmony with the seasons increases health and well-being.
.Winter's primary element is water, the element of spiritual connection. This is a great time to reevaluate and reinvigorate choices to support our bodies, our goals, and most of all, our spirit.
. Meditation and other quiet spiritual pursuits can help reduce anxiety, fear and depression, and can lead to a deeper connection with people and the world.
.Colors for winter are black & deep blue which restore us.
Be sure to get rest. Soaking and rubbing your feet can also restore energy.
.Eat more cooked and less raw foods in winter. Warming spices, like cinnamon, and stews and soups, especially with black beans, nurture your health and strengthen your immune system this time of year. Fresh ginger tea can ward off colds & flu.
.....Did you know that Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can treat: Addiction; Anxiety, Depression & Stress; Arthritis; Asthma; Back Pain; Ear Ringing; Fatigue; Fertility; Hair Loss; Impotence & Low Libido; Kidney disorders; Knee Problems; Leg & Foot Pain; Sciatica; Urinary Incontinence & more. .....
--TOP-- Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day
"Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love."
Mao Zedong (1893-1976)