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Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - June 2007 | Issue 39






In this issue you will find: Important PCOM Dates
  • June 26 --(SD) Prospective Student Workshop
  • July 13 – 15 – (SD) Vietnam Veteran Stand Down
  • July 14 – 15 --(NY) Many Paths One Medicine Conference
  • July 15 – 21 -- International Massage Week
  • July 21-22 -- CEU Event (Chicago) Expert Systems in Chinese Medicine Workshop with Alex Tiberi
  • July 26 – (NY) Open House
  • July 28 – (SD) Open House

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TCM During Summer

The Five Element Theory serves as a major diagnostic and treatment tool in Traditional Chinese Medicine.  It is based on the observation of the natural cycles and interrelationships in the environment and within ourselves.  For example, there are five environmental elements – Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood – each corresponding with certain body organs, such as the heart, spleen, lungs, kidneys, liver, intestines, stomach, urinary bladder and gull bladder.  The five different elements are associated with different times of the year: Fire with summer, Earth with late-summer, Metal with autumn, Water with winter and Wood with spring. 

The five elements interact with each other (they depend on each other).  For example, the liver, belonging to the Wood element, directly affects the spleen, which belongs to the Earth element.  Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners try to maintain a balance among the body’s organs.

TCM practitioners pay attention to weather, especially very extreme weather, like an unusually windy spring, warm spells during winter or cold snaps during summer.  Extreme or unusual weather can cause health imbalances in people.  Health problems tend to occur during or immediately following certain seasons.  It is important to notice these changes in weather, so preventative action can be taken against an imbalance.

If a person is imbalanced, he or she may become depressed or, on the other side of the spectrum, have an excess of joy.  Agitation, nervous exhaustion, heartburn and insomnia are other indicators of an imbalance.  When balanced, the heart circulates blood properly, creating a healthy breakdown of food in the small intestines.  Emotionally, there is a fulfillment from the balanced equilibrium of the heart and mind. 

Fire is the element of summer.  It is connected with the heart and pericardium as well as the small intestine and triple heater.  Growth, joy and spiritual awareness between the heart and mind are the focus during summer.

The small intestine represents our ability to take in and to save what we want and to discard the things we don’t want.  What we eat, see, hear and feel are all processed by the small intestine’s energy.

We relate to others through the Fire element.  Therefore, summer is a good time to change our connections with the external world.  We can change our relationships with people.  The energy of the pericardium relates to our intimate bonding with partners, making summer a great time to ponder your relationships with others and manifest them to your liking.

TCM practitioners believe that a person should cater his or her diet to the seasons.  Because summer is associated with the heart, it is important to eat foods that benefit the heart.  For example, using olive oil, which is low in cholesterol, is a great way to prevent heart attacks.

It is important in any season to prevent illness.  Summer heat can produce excess body heat, profuse sweating, parched mouth and throat, constipation and heart palpitations.  Therefore, it is important to keep hydrated and cool.  In order to maintain balance, it is important to be aware of the seasons and to modify your habits according to them.

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Antioxidant Properties of Black Tea

Tea is a natural beverage without any artificial coloring, flavoring or preservatives.  It is also free of cholesterol and calories.  Tea is one of the most common beverages consumed around the globe.  One out of every two people in the world today is a tea drinker.  It has been estimated that around 3.2 million tons of tea were produced in the year 2004. 

Tea is made by processing the leaves or buds of the tea bush.  The degree of fermentation that the tea leaves undergo determines what type of tea will be produced: white tea, green tea, or black tea.

Different teas contain different amounts of caffeine.  The exact proportion of caffeine in each type of tea is still under consideration.  Black tea, which is made from leaves that have been fully oxidized, contains more caffeine than green or white tea. 

Apart from caffeine, tea also contains certain amounts of antioxidants.  Tea, especially black tea, contains a similar amount of antioxidants as fruits and vegetables
 
Antioxidants are the properties found in some foods and tea, which help reduce the risk of certain diseases, such as cancer and heart ailments.  The antioxidants contained in tea play a major role in protecting the body against certain illnesses.  The intake of food that is rich in fats increases the blood lipid levels, which in turn produces free radicals.  These free radicals cause blood vessels to stiffen and shrink.  Antioxidants attack these free radicals in the blood. 

Tea could be a great replacement to coffee.  It has caffeine to keep you alert and it can be good for your health.  And because it is so widely used around the world, it is easy to come by.   

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Sexual Health the Natural Way

Sexual health is a topic we often find difficult to define and master. Many obstacles - physical, psychological and emotional - can become barriers to fulfilling and health-enhancing sex lives. Chinese medicine, with its focus on whole body wellness, supports sexual vitality in an active, complete way. In the age of quick-fix healthcare, it is becoming more necessary to slow the pace and reconnect with ourselves on a deeper level.

Sexuality is not widely considered a healthcare issue, but sexual desire can be a powerful source of healing and personal growth. When it is suppressed, diminished or dysfunctional, it can have negative effects on wellness. Sexual energy and passion make up a portion of our qi and feed positive aspects of our overall welfare. Men and women's sexual health< can be greatly enhanced by principles inherent in Chinese medical philosophy.

Taoism, which is the foundation of Chinese medicine, places high value on sexual energy and love. For thousands of years Chinese Taoists have understood that healthy sexual lifestyles result in liveliness and minimal illness. The Tao of Sex, one of the earliest texts on the subject, includes information on the use of herbs to treat sexual dysfunction. A strong libido and abundant Kidney qi are associated with health and longevity. Likewise, good health boosts sexual energy. A wide variety of Chinese herbs can enhance immunity, energy and stamina, which contribute to overall wellness.

Chinese herbal aphrodisiacs work in conjunction with every aspect of healthcare, such as good diet and exercise practices and maintaining positive mental health. Men often take herbal aphrodisiacs for immediate energy and kidney yang boosts. Women's sexual health is generally treated with a slower approach, allowing energy to build and develop. Both sexes, however, benefit from strengthening Kidney yin, yang and essence over time. An individual's sexual vigor will be increased and aided with the right herbal formula, but overall health and vitality are the key success factors. Chinese medicine seeks to strengthen entire body health.

Herbs that enhance Kidney essence, Kidney yang and Kidney yin are the most sought-after of Chinese herbal aphrodisiacs. Chinese medicine practitioners know the best herbal aphrodisiac formula to suit individual needs, but most treatments will include at least one of these herbs:

Rehmannia: This herb nourishes Kidney yin and essence. It is often used for women's sexual health issues such as menopause, and can draw qi and energy into the reproductive organs. It is highly rejuvenating for the Kidneys and can increase longevity.

Cordyceps: This herbal aphrodisiac builds sexual energy while enhancing Kidney yang and replenishing yin. It also carries immunity-building properties.

Epimedium: Because it has such strong effects on Kidney yang, this herb is best used with a formula to strengthen or tonify yin. It is believed to stimulate your nervous system, especially the nerves around the genitalia, making it an effective natural aphrodisiac. It can also reduce high blood pressure and boost immunity, so is often used to promote health and longevity.

Chinese ginseng: The Chinese form of ginseng is a powerful qi-strengthening herb. When taken over a period of time, it can enhance sexual virility by resembling certain sex and adrenal hormones. It can prevent atrophy of vaginal tissue in post menopausal women and has modulating effects on the nervous system - if you are tense, it can relax, or can give energy when you are lethargic. Its modulating effects on the nervous system make it a truly effective natural aphrodisiac.

Ho-shou-wu: Also used as a youth preserver, this herb can restore sexual functioning. Like ginseng, it accumulates qi, and it cleanses the Liver and Kidney systems. It can help strengthen bones and muscles, calm the nervous system and clear the eyes.
Acupuncture has been used to treat infertility and sexual functioning to enhance the body's natural aphrodisiac responses. Studies have shown that acupuncture may affect parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions through which blood pressure, blood flow and body temperature are regulated. These functions factor greatly into sexual vigor.

Acupuncture also regulates the flow of energy in the body. Jing energy is responsible for growth, development and reproduction and represents our sexuality. The Chinese believed that everyone is born with a small allotment of jing. Jing is lost or consumed little by little throughout life, and once we lose jing, it cannot be replaced. We lose jing if we live recklessly -- drinking too much, excessive emotional reactions, working too hard, or inappropriate sexual behavior, for instance. Acupuncture can reduce the loss of jing, and with greater success when paired with moderate living.

It also has the ability to manage stress levels, which, when elevated, interfere with sexual energy and the body's natural aphrodisiacs. Meditation and Qigong can also calm stress and help people connect to their qi, allowing them to sense and move energy through their body. Jing qi and sexual energy can be accessed in the same way, allowing for a more connected sexual experience

Many people feel out of control of their sexual energy because of its powerful nature. Reconnecting with the desire inherent in ourselves is an important aspect of gaining personal power and balance. The ancient Taosists believed that human life is governed by natural laws that produce prosperity when obeyed, but when violated cause catastrophe. With the wisdom, moderation and balance that Chinese medicine promotes, we can avoid illness and fully enjoy our sexual potential.

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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day

“Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes.”
   
   - Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC)

Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - June 2007| Issue 38






In this issue you will find: Important PCOM Dates

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Acupuncture for Children

Acupuncture is being practiced more and more in the Western world.  Many more Western-medicine practitioners are agreeing that it is a great supplemental therapy for many conditions.  It is a great way of treating pain, and it doesn’t have the side effects that pain medications do, like nausea, drowsiness, addiction, etc.  Acupuncture is even used to treat children.

Parents may be skeptical of taking their children to a place where they’ll be poked with needles.  What child likes needles?  What parents will want to watch their child suffer through that process?  They may remember the last time their child got his or her blood drawn or their child’s last vaccination shot.  Why would they want to sit through that again? 

Fortunately, acupuncture is virtually painless.  Acupuncture needles are about a quarter of the diameter of the regular 22-gauge IV needles most children are used to encountering.  The biggest hurdle in treating children with acupuncture is a psychological battle of the child conquering his or her fear of needles.  Acupuncturists can help children get over their fears by, first of all, getting to know the them.  Sometimes acupuncturists will spend the time during a child’s first visit by simply getting to know the child and the parent in order to build trust.  An acupuncturist can also demonstrate the process on a toy doll or even on the back of his or her hand to show that it doesn’t hurt. 

Once acupuncturists work with children on overcoming their fear, acupuncture is a very safe and effective way of treating conditions in children such as asthma, diarrhea, loss of appetite, chronic pain and eating disorders.  They can even be used to treat emotional disorders like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.  These treatments have also been used to treat symptoms caused by chemotherapy like nausea and vomiting.

If children aren’t able to overcome their fear of needles, there are other alternatives to acupuncture: Shonishin and tui na are two types of treatments, which are similar to acupuncture and can treat the same conditions, but do not use needles. 

Tui na massage is a needle-free technique that is very effective in treating conditions.  The drawback of tui na when used to treat children is that it takes a longer time to administer than acupuncture or shonishin.

Shonishin is very beneficial for the child’s nervous system.  It is great for respiratory and digestive ailments.  This technique uses small, metal tools to bring the child’s qi (life force or energy flow) to the surface of the skin.  Shonishin uses the same acupuncture points, except it is done by rubbing, instead of piercing, the skin.  It is a great technique for children, not only because of its healing capabilities and because of the absence of needles, but also because children look upon it as a game.  They can be entertained by playing with the tools while treatment is in process, making the session fun and fast.

Treating children with shonishin, tui na or acupuncture is different from treating adults with these methods.  Children respond quicker to these treatments than adults.  This is because children’s emotions tend to be less inhibited than adults’ emotions.  Children tend to have a better, less restricted flow of qi (energy).  Another reason why treating children is different from treating adults is because children’s bodies and minds are still developing.  Their meridian points (the path the qi flows through) are not fully developed.

All of the Oriental medical treatments mentioned above are great treatments for existing conditions in children as well as great preventative treatments.  They can help to create an emotional balance in children, which is particularly useful in this day and age with the large amount of over-stimulation in our society.  Another great benefit of using these treatments is that they are safe and effective and don’t have the negative side effects, as do pharmaceutical drugs. 

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Massage for Pain Relief

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

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

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

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


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

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

Ernst 2003.

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Benefits of Japanese Acupuncture

Like its Chinese counterparts, Japanese acupuncture is praised for its ability to open energy channels within the body, relieve tension and cure other ailments.  In contrast, Japanese acupuncture techniques are often gentler and more subtle than the techniques used in China.

Treatment is restorative and helps maintain overall health.  Acupuncturists produce a stimulus in each technique, focusing on a specific acupuncture point or “active point.”  These points are a living phenomenon with changing natures and locations, so they cannot merely be found by referencing a textbook.  The acupuncturist must have the awareness and palpation ability to detect the “active points.”  Acupuncturists of the Japanese school put a great deal of weight upon finding these precise locations, which explains their ability to produce effective results without using deep needles or strong stimulation.

Japanese acupuncture treatments have been known to assist  helping a range of complaints, including aggravated stress (fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, depression), localized pain (headache, knee pain, back pain), gastric problems (nausea, acid reflux, gastritis), trauma (sprains, strains, bruises) and even infertility.  Traditional Japanese acupuncture is particularly suited to those who are uncomfortable with strong needle stimulus or are fatigued or otherwise weakened.  It is well-suited for pediatric treatments and can be done without the use of needles.

A Tokyo study has reported positive effects of Japanese acupuncture on a number of regular ailments, including the common cold.  “A significantly positive effect of acupuncture was demonstrated in the summed questionnaire data…needling on the neck using the Japanese fine needle manipulating technique was shown to be effective and safe.  The use of acupuncture for symptoms of the common cold should be considered.” Doctors determined the preventive and curative effects of manual acupuncture on the systems of the common cold.

The Anglo-Dutch Institute of Oriental Medicine discovered similar findings, concluding the benefits of Japanese acupuncture on healing neck pain and strain.  “Relevant acupuncture with heat contributes to modest pain reduction in persons with myofascial neck pain.”   Results proved Japanese acupuncture’s ability to help cure localized pain and release overall discomfort.

Tracing its roots to early seventh-century Chinese texts, Japanese acupuncture has been making ground since the 1920s.  Japanese practitioners discussed how parts of the ancient text Nan Jing [c. 250 A.D.] may be applied to clinical practice.  These physicians focused on point selection, point location and needle technique, blossoming the beneficial treatments underlying meridian therapy.  Today, Japanese acupuncture is beginning to gain as much publicity and credit as Chinese acupuncture.


Kawakita K, Schichidou T, Inoue E. Nabeta T, Kitakouji H, Aizawa S, Nishida A, Yamaguchi N, Takahashi N, Yano T, Tanzawa S. “Preventive and curative effects of acupuncture on the common cold: a multicentre randomized control trial in Japan.” Complement Ther Med. 2004 Dec;12(4):181-8.

Birch S, Jamison RN. “Controlled trial of Japanese acupuncture for chronic myofascial neck pain” assessment of specific and nonspecific effects of treatment.” Clin J Pain. 1998 Sep;14(3):248-55.

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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day

“The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.”

Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC), The Confucian Analects

Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - April 2007 | Issue 36






In this issue you will find: Important PCOM Dates
  • April 28 (Saturday)--World Tai Chi & Qi Gong Day
  • May 6 (Sunday)--San Diego Healing Arts Festival
  • May 15 (Tuesday)--New York Open House
  • May 16 (Wednesday)--Chicago Open House MSTOM Program
  • May 19 (Saturday)--San Diego Open House

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Benefits of Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu is a form of massage, based upon the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  Shiatsu is a Japanese word meaning, “finger pressure,” and its goal is similar to that of acupuncture or acupressure: to restore the balance of energy (qi) in the body. Practitioners of Chinese medicine and shiatsu massage assert that disease and physical infirmities are caused by blockages or imbalances in the flow of energy throughout the body. Shiatsu practitioners strive to balance positive and negative energies (yin and yang) within the body to achieve balance and homeostasis within the body. A buildup or deficiency of one type of energy can cause illness, pain, or other problems in the body.

Using the concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine, shiatsu massage utilizes points along one of the body’s meridians, applying force pressure to the point with hand. These points may be anywhere on the body, including the hands, feet, elbows, back, arms, legs, etc. Shiatsu is a mind-body experience, providing both physical and spiritual benefits. Balanced qi energy promotes physical comfort, improved health, and emotional health and stability.

Shiatsu is not merely a tool of Chinese medicine, but an applicable treatment for common ailments. A study at Drake University proved that shiatsu massage helped alleviate back pain in patients. “Shiatsu was used as an intervention in the study of 66 individuals complaining of lower back pain.” After following a designated number of treatments, subjects showed a great deal of improvement in mobility, energy, and pain in the lower back region. “Both pain and anxiety decreased significantly over time. …These subjects would recommend shiatsu massage for others suffering from lower back pain and indicated the treatments decreased the major inconveniencies they experiences with their lower back pain.”

A Swiss study confirmed these results. “Shiatsu massage can rapidly induce measurable relaxation in distant muscles not directly massaged, and is accompanied by signs of neurovegetative calming.”  Clearly, shiatsu massage affects both the body in mind, restoring the body’s energy balance and promoting an overall feeling of satiety and wellbeing.

Whether seeking treatment for ailing muscles, a mental release, or complement to physical therapy, shiatsu massage is an excellent way to relax, align energies, and promote overall wellbeing in the body.

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Strengthen the Heart with Qi Gong

A 4,000-year-old technique may do wonders for heart health. From high blood pressure to cardiac rehabilitation, the ancient Chinese practice of Qi Gong has been proven to strengthen and revitalize the heart.

What is Qi Gong? For those unfamiliar with the traditional Chinese medicine technique, Qi Gong is essentially a system involving physical training, philosophy, and preventative and therapeutic health care. The term Qi means breath of life or vital essence, and Gong means self-discipline, work, or achievement. The art itself combines isometrics, isotonics, aerobic conditioning, meditation, and relaxation. When practiced regularly, Qi Gong allows us to gain control over the life force that courses through our bodies. This may sound far-fetched to Western minds, but it is a time-tested technique proven to help a host of problems, including heart problems, depression, detoxification, osteoporosis, cancer, chronic pain, and stress. By examining inward, the practice urges its students to focus inward and “work with life’s energy.”

Although there are nearly 5,000 styles of Qi Gong catalogued by the Chinese Government, all forms focus on manipulating life energy in a positive way. Medical Qi Gong involves the combination of breathing exercises and meditation to cultivate and deliberately control energy within the body. The two main techniques of medical Qi Gong work hand-in-hand: breathing exercises help induce a state of meditation and vice versa. In meditative Qi Gong states, cares, worries, and daily stresses wash away. It’s similar to getting a relaxing massage, yet much more effective. The technique replaces stress and anxieties with positive images, increased confidence, and enhanced spirit. Eventually, there are no worries, distractions, or fears. In turn, this stimulates the body’s life force – the circulation of blood and qi (life energy).

Qi Gong isn’t as stationary as it sounds. This ancient Chinese practice is also movement-based – extending to an effective martial art. Many Americans are already practicing the mind-body technique of Qi Gong via popular Tai Chi classes at community centers and health clubs. Tai Chi and Qi Gong go hand-in-hand: combining the internal focus and physical movements to increase the body’s overall vitality.

 In fact, this art has been proven to positively affect senior citizens when combined with Tai Chi. researchers concluded that the movements associated with Tai Chi helped seniors improve their physical functioning. “It was concluded that the 6-month Tai Chi exercise program was effective for improving functional status in healthy, physically inactive older adults. A self-paced and self-controlled activity such as Tai Chi has the potential to be an effective, low-cost means of improving functional status in older persons.” Most notably, those who took Tai Chi were less likely to fall – one of the largest causes of serious injury for seniors.

Several studies have proven Qi Gong’s effectiveness in treating those with high blood pressure and other heart problems. When practiced alongside conventional Western medical treatments, Qi Gong reduces high blood pressure and aids cardiac rehabilitation through improving balance, coordination, and physical activity.

A Korean study examined the effects of traditional Qi Gong on blood pressure, respiratory rates, and heart rate. “Heart rate, respiratory rate, systolic blood pressure and rate-pressure product were significantly decreased during Qi-training,” according to the 2000 study. “From these results, we suggest that… Qi-training has psychological effects that indicate stabilization the of cardiovascular system.”

A 2006 study conducted at the Himalayan Institute of Medical Science in Uttaranchal, India proved similar results. Researchers compared mental relaxation and slow breathing as adjunctive treatment in patients of essential hypertension by observing their effects on blood pressure and other autonomic parameters like heart rate, respiratory rate, and skin temperature. “Even a single session of mental relaxation or [Qi Gong] can result in a temporary fall in blood pressure.”

Doctors in Hong Kong evaluated Qi Gong and progressive relaxation in improving cardiac patients’ quality of life. “Progressive relaxation and Qi Gong exercise improved the quality of life for cardiac patients with reference to certain physiologic and psychologic measures. … The Qi Gong group demonstrated greater improvement in psychologic measures in addition to reduction in systolic blood pressure.”

Finally, a 2005 Italian study examined instances of high blood pressure in those suffering from hypertension: “Slow breathing reduces blood pressure and enhances baroreflex sensitivity in hypertensive patients. These effects appear potentially beneficial in the management of hypertension.”

Practicing Qi Gong lowers pulse rate, blood pressure, metabolic rates, and oxygen demand. The sense of serenity Qi Gong activates qi, improves blood circulation, and balances the body’s life energies. After reducing hypertension and blood pressure, Qi Gong goes on to surprise us with more and more benefits to the human body.

References:

Li, F., et al. “An evaluation of the effects of Tai Chi exercise on physical function among older persons: a randomized control trial.” Annuals of Behavioral Medicine., 2001Spring; 23(2):139-46.

Li F. 145.Myeong Soo Lee, Byung Gi Kim, et al. “Effect of Qi-training on blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration rate. Clinical Psychology 2000: 20(3),173-176

Myeong Soo Lee, Byung Gi Kim, et al. “Effect of Qi-training on blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration rate. Clinical Psychology 2000: 20(3),173-176.

Kaushik RM, et al. Effects of mental relaxation and slow breathing in essential hypertension. Complementary & Teoretical Medicine. 2006 Jun;14(2):120-6. Epub 2006 Jan 10.

Hui PN, et al. An evaluation of two behavioral rehabilitation programs, quigong versus progressive relaxation, in improving the quality of life in cardiac patients. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2006 May;12(4):373-8.

Joseph C.N., Porta C., et al. Slow breathing improves arterial baroreflex sensitivity and decreases blood pressure in essential hypertension. Hypertension. 2005 Oct;46(4):714-8. Epub 2005 Aug 29.

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Green Tea Reduces Prostrate Cancer Risk

Prostate cancer also referred to as the “Hidden Cancer” is one of the primary causes of death among American men. It is estimated that drinking green tea regularly reduces the risk of prostate cancer by two-thirds.

Several studies have supported the fact that drinking six to 15 cups of green tea daily can significantly reduce the chance of developing prostate cancer.

Some researchers believe that the antioxidants present in green tea may have a protective effect against certain cancers. A study conducted on men at increased risk of developing prostate cancer demonstrated that the substances present in green tea known as catechins, are quite successful in preventing the development of prostat cancer. Catechins are the major group of polyphenols in green tea. The most important catechin present is EpiGalloCatechin-3-Gallate (EGCG). EGCG may cause cancer cells
to die as normal cells do. It may stop the angiogenesis process, i.e. formation of new blood vessels, cutting off the blood supply to cancer cells, without harming healthy tissue. The polyphenols present in the tea, effect the cells exposed to testosterone, the male hormone, which usually stimulates prostate cancer. However, the effect depends on the dosage.

According to research published in the December 2005 issue of Cancer Research, Green Tea Polyphenols prevent Prostate Cancer development at multiple levels. The polyphenols present in green tea, prevent the spread of prostate cancer by targeting the molecular pathways that shut down the proliferation and spread of tumor cells.

Green tea is mainly consumed in Japan, China, and other Asian nations. Its benefits have made green tea popular in the Western countries as well. Asian countries typically consume three cups a day or more of green tea.

Green tea extracts are also available in capsules. It is recommended to take three capsules of green tea extracts daily to avoid prostrate cancer. However, the amount of green tea to be consumed daily has yet to be determined for beneficial effects.

Green tea is made from the leaves of Camellia Sinensis plant. The difference between black tea and green tea is that black tea is fermented and processed and removes most of the protective phytochemicals. Green tea is unfermented usually brewed using 1 to 2 teaspoons of the dried tea in a cup of boiling water or steeped for 3-15 minutes. Green tea is also promoted as an herb that can prevent certain bacterial infections, stomach problems, vomiting, and diarrhea. It also helps reduce tooth decay, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blockages of the blood vessels in the heart, which can lead to heart attacks.

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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day

“In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.”

- Book of Odes

Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - May 2007 | Issue 37





In this issue you will find:
  • Important PCOM Dates
  • Spring and Traditional Chinese Medicine – 5 Elements Theory
  • Acupuncture and its Affects During and After Pregnancy
  • Chinese Medicine Eases Stress
  • Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day
Important PCOM Dates

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Spring and Traditional Chinese Medicine - 5 Elements Theory

Chinese Medicine.  It is based on the observation of the natural cycles and interrelationships in the environment and within ourselves.  For example, there are five environmental elements – fire, earth, metal, water and wood – each corresponding with certain body organs, such as the heart, spleen, lungs, kidneys, liver, intestines, stomach, urinary bladder and gull bladder.  The five different elements are associated with different times of the year: fire with summer, Earth with late summer, metal with autumn, water with winter and wood with spring. 

The five elements interact with each other (they depend on each other).  For example, the liver, belonging to the Wood element, directly affects the spleen, which belongs to the Earth element.  Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners try to maintain a balance among the body’s organs

Spring is associated with the Wood element, which governs the liver and gall bladder. Strong winds are typical during spring.  The blowing of wind in spring could over-strengthen the liver, which in turn could affect the spleen.  If so, a disharmony of the liver and spleen occurs.  TCM practitioners may detect this imbalance by observing symptoms such as stomach pain, acid regurgitation, stomach distention and diarrhea.  

Allergy problems are abundant during spring.  If the liver is not healthy, it could affect the spleen and the lungs.  Symptoms of this disharmony between organs include: chest congestion, sneezing, running nose, itching eyes and other symptoms that are associated with allergy problems.  It is very important, especially during spring, to cleanse the liver and lungs and to bring a balance among them and other body organs.  Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help to accomplish this balance.

TCM practitioners pay attention to weather, especially very extreme weather, like an unusually windy spring.  Extreme or unusual weather can cause health imbalances in people.  Health problems tend to occur during or immediately following certain seasons.  The liver, which is said to “open into the eyes” in TCM, is associated with cases of infectious hepatitis and cases of pink eye, which tend to be more numerous in the spring.

TCM practitioners believe that a person should cater his or her diet to the seasons.  Because spring is associated with the liver, it is important to have a diet that strengthens and cleanses the liver.  There are many foods serving the purpose of soothing and cleansing the liver.  Green is the color of the liver and of spring.   Green and leafy vegetables, especially if the plants are young, help by cleansing and freshening the body.  They benefit the liver’s overall well-being. Dandelion also works well as a spring cleanser.  A balanced diet with a variety of juices such as citrus fruits, pear, apple, celery and carrot is very helpful. Sprouts from seeds such as beans, mung, and radish are valuable for spring use, as well.

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Acupuncture and its Affects During and After Pregnancy

Acupuncture, a Chinese medical practice, has been used for thousands of years to treat many conditions in women during and after pregnancy.  Many more women are discovering acupuncture during their pregnancies in search of safe, drug-free treatments for their conditions.  Years of practice have shown that acupuncture treatments throughout pregnancy enhance the health of the mother, prevent complications and influence the development of the baby. 

Morning sickness is just one of many conditions that acupuncture is able to treat.  An Australian study reported that of 593 women less than 14 weeks pregnant, those who received traditional acupuncture treatments reported having less frequent and shorter periods of nausea than the women who received no acupuncture treatments, according to Pregnancy Today.  These improvements were felt immediately and lasted throughout the study’s four-week duration.

Acupuncture also treats conditions during the second trimester; it can alleviate heartburn, hemorrhoids and stress.  Acupuncture can bring relief from sciatica, backache, pubic and joint pain and even carpal tunnel syndrome during the third trimester. 

Acupuncture is also used to treat depression during pregnancy.  Up to 10 percent of women will experience depression during pregnancy.  Women who are already predisposed to depression are at increased risks during pregnancy because of endocrine changes.  Untreated depression in pregnant women might lead to adverse effects for both mothers and infants.  Also, postpartum depression is more likely to occur if depression during pregnancy goes untreated. Depression that goes untreated may lead to poor maternal health behaviors, such as substance abuse; recklessness; poor eating, sleeping habits.  Also, there is evidence that depression in pregnancy is a risk factor for postpartum depression.

Antidepressant therapy is not recommended for pregnant women, because antidepressants may harm the fetus. Many pregnant women are reluctant to undergo pharmacological treatment for their depression because its side effects.  This is why many more women are turning toward acupuncture to treat depression during pregnancy.

A Stanford University study did show that women who responded to acupuncture treatment reported significantly less depression at 10 weeks postpartum.  Overall, 69 percent of the women responded to the acupuncture specific for depression, a rate comparable to the 50 percent to 70 percent response rates in clinical trials of standard depression treatments.  The study concluded that acupuncture holds promise as a safe and effective treatment of depression during pregnancy.

Besides treating depression, acupuncture can turn beech babies.  Moxabustion, a type of acupuncture, was applied to 130 pregnant women with breech presentations. Moxabustion significantly increased the number of headfirst births, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

Acupuncture is used during labor, itself, to reduce pain and boost energy.  It can also help stimulate contractions without the use of drugs. 

Acupuncture is even used after birth.  It restores the mother’s energy levels after the stress of birth, alleviates depression and anxiety.  It is also used to relieve backache and other kinds of pain once the baby is born. 

Chinese medicine identifies more than 2,000 acupuncture points connected with pathways called meridians that conduct vital energy or qi throughout the body.  Illness or symptoms are associated with an imbalance of this vital energy.  Acupuncture uses hair-thin, disposable needles to stimulate specific areas associated with organ functions in order to restore balance and help the body maintain its own health.

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Acupuncture for Addictions

Did you ever think that heroin addiction could be treated with acupuncture? Few of us have. Acupuncture has been used for 3,000 years for everything from allergies to chronic pain, but since 1973 there has been an increase in using acupuncture as a treatment for addictions.

Acupuncture works on the concept of yin and yang- two complementary and opposing dynamics found in nature. When we are healthy, our yin and yang is said to be in balance. Addicts are found to be lacking in yin, and since yin is like water and yang is like fire, a shortage of yin means the fire of yang can grow out of control.

As a treatment or therapy, acupuncture needles stimulate certain locations in the body to improve the corresponding problem area. Research has shown that acupuncture raises endorphin levels, which are natural painkillers, found in and produced by the body.  It was noted that addicts were better able to curb cravings and withdrawal symptoms when endorphin levels were kept high.

In the 1970’s, the first acupuncture detoxification clinic in the United States opened at the Lincoln Memorial Hospital in New York City. Since that time, there have been detoxification clinics opened in San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, and other cities across the US. Acupuncture is a natural treatment with no side effects.  Acupuncture is beneficial in treating addictions to a wide range of drugs including barbiturates, cocaine, and nicotine.
 
The advantages of acupuncture as a major proponent in this addiction treatment model is that it is beneficial to both a patient who is off of drugs, or for someone who is still using.  Also, if patients are not yet receptive to communicating or may have language barriers, it doesn’t have to mean a delay in treatment- acupuncture needs little or no verbal participation. This gives the professionals more time to review and diagnose an individual. Patients tend to be more open and calm, because they don’t have the added pressure of having to begin counseling immediately.

The non-verbal first steps of ear acupuncture have proven successful in getting patients to a point where they feel more in control. That, in turn helps them to become more involved in their own rehabilitation. Acupuncture plays a big part in their eventual success.

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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day

“When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people.”

Book of Odes

Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - March 2007 | Issue 35






In this issue you will find: Important PCOM Dates
  • March 21 – New York Open House
  • March 29 – Shiatsu Massage Mini Class
  • April 28 – World Tai Chi & Qi Gong Day

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Ease Nausea with Ginger

Since ancient times, the ginger plant has been used as a medicine in Indian, Asian, and Arabic healing treatments. Some of its most common uses involve treating nausea, upset stomach, and diarrhea, as well as colic, heart conditions, and arthritis. Ginger is valued around the world for its medicinal and cooking uses, and is an important cooking spice believed to cure the common cold and heavy menstrual periods in many cultures. Ginger grows in the moist, fertile soil in its native Asia, where its use as a culinary spice goes back nearly 5,000 years.

Though a powerful, multi-functional herb, ginger is widely used as a digestive aid for mild stomach pain to serious nausea, associated with motion sickness, pregnancy, and the flu.

Most pregnant women will experience bouts of nausea and vomiting – particularly in the first trimester. Multiple studies have concluded that ginger is more effective than a placebo in relieving vomiting and nausea associated with pregnancy. “Ginger is effective for relieving the severity of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy,” concluded researchers at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand. “Twenty-eight of 32 in the ginger group had improved in nausea symptoms compared with 10 of 35 in the placebo group. Further, no adverse effect of ginger on pregnancy outcome was detected.” Ginger is a safe and effective treatment for nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy. Ingesting as little as 1 gram of ginger root every day for four days will significantly reduce feelings of nausea and incidences of vomiting in pregnant women.

A study in the United Kingdom demonstrated ginger’s effectiveness in easing nausea and vomiting in women recovering from serious gynecological surgery: “The effectiveness of ginger (Zingiber officinale) as an antiemetric agent was compared with placebo and metoclopramide in 60 women who had major gynecological surgery in a double-blind, randomized study. There were statistically significantly fewer recorded incidences of nausea in the group that received ginger root compared with the placebo.”

In another study, ingesting 11 grams of ginger root before surgery reduces nausea as effectively as a leading medication. In the same study, women who received ginger also required fewer nausea-relieving medications following surgery.

Ginger products are made from dried or fresh ginger root – other tinctures are derived from steam distillation of the oil found in the root. This powerful herb is available in capsules, tinctures, extracts, and oils. Fresh ginger root is widely-available, and can be brewed into a tea.

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Green Tea Extract May Help HIV Patients

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Relieve Infant Colic with Massage

For some, it appears constant crying is a normal occurrence in newborns. But is it? Colic is one of the most common reported ailments in infants aged 3 weeks to about 3 or 4 months. Extended periods of loud crying lasting longer than an hour are trademarks of the ailment, and are most frequent after being fed or late into the evenings.

Colic stems from problems with the infant’s immature digestive system. Trapped gas may cause the baby’s stomach to become distended, resulting in pain, bloating, the inability to pass gas, and frequent crying or screaming. Luckily, stimulation of the digestive process through careful massage may help ease the pain and urge relief from colic.

A study printed in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics supported the effects of massage on colicky infants. The researchers claim that massage therapy stimulated melatonin secretion and rest-activity rhythms in full-term infants. “Massage therapy by mothers in the perinatal period serves as a strong time cue, enhancing coordination of the developing circadian system with environmental cues.” In essence, massage helped relax infants and urge them to sleep, observing the natural circadian rhythms.

A Danish study further supports the claim that massage and reflexological treatments eased symptoms of colic in infants. The purpose of the study was to investigate and treat infants with colic by conventional medicine, followed by an investigation of the effect of reflexological treatment. “Infantile colic had a significant cure rate at pediatric consultation and the children who did not benefit from this intervention had a significantly better outcome after reflexological treatment than had the observation group.”

The addition of massage to treatments in the study proved more effective than traditional medicine alone.

Massage for colicky infants is simple and stress-free. A few minutes of your time is enough to soothe the child, relieve symptoms of colic, and help create a tighter bond between parent and child.

The first step is called the paddlewheel. You may want to use a little massage oil or lotion on your hands before beginning. Place your palm under the infant’s chin, with fingers pointing towards the child’s shoulder. Draw your hand downward along the chest, towards their diaper. Repeat with slow, gentle motions.

In the second step, place your infant’s heel next to their bottom by bending the knee. With the leg still bent, move the thigh towards their stomach until it rests on their tummy. Move the other leg to this position as well. Slowly and carefully move the legs in a bicycle pattern. The infant may be confused at first, but they grow to love it.

Part three is also simple. Using as much of your palm and fingers as possible, circle the belly button in a clockwise motion. This motion will move the gas around, making it easier to pass for the infant.

For most parents, only five minutes per diaper change is enough to encourage a healthy digestive system, ease symptoms of colic, and promote a quiet and restful evening.

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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day

“Flow with whatever is happening and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.”

- Chuang Tzu