Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - January 2010 | Issue 71
In this issue you will find:
Important PCOM Dates:
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Pacific College Celebrates the Chinese New Year
In celebration of Chinese New Year and the commencement of the Year of the Tiger, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine will provide free events that are open to the public on each of its three campuses.
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago will be holding a Chinese New Year celebration on Saturday, February 6, 2010 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The event will include information about Pacific College’s master’s, associate’s and bachelor’s programs, as well as free acupuncture and massage treatments. Free lectures will given by experts and practitioners in the field and the community is invited to participate in Tai Ji and Qi Gong movement workshops.
Pacific’s New York campus will be hosting a similar Chinese New Year Celebration consisting of an Open House and a free celebration for the public on Saturday, February 20, 2010. The open house will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. This is an admissions information session for prospective students. From 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., the campus will hold a Chinese New Year Celebration, which will include complimentary acupuncture treatments and massage demonstrations for the public. Additionally, two lectures titled, “Chinese Astrology: Year of the Tiger” and “Nutrition/Health Tips for the Winter” will be presented. The community can also participate in Qi Gong movement workshops.
Pacific’s San Diego campus will be hosting a free event for the public on Saturday, February 13, 2010 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. From 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the event will offer the public free acupuncture and massage treatments available on a first come first served basis. Not only will the event offer three different lectures given by experienced and well-known practitioners, but it will also offer movement workshops in Tai Ji and Qi Gong. The final hour of the event is an admissions information session for prospective students. This event is free and open to the public.
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Effect of Massage on Chronic Low Back Pain
Lower back pain is one of the most common conditions in the United States and a leading reason why people see a doctor. Four out of five adults will suffer from low back pain during their lives.
Unlike lower back pain, which is often caused by muscle strains, chronic lower back pain typically persists for more than three months. The pain may be progressive, or be characterized by flare-ups. The causes of chronic pain can be hard to pinpoint, but they can usually be linked to a degenerative disc disease or a lumbar herniated disc. While some doctors prescribe muscle relaxants, many patients prefer to avoid these drugs. People feel drowsy, dizzy, confused, lightheaded or less alert when using muscle relaxants. Other side effects include blurred vision, clumsiness or unsteadiness. Thus many patients are turning to massage therapy for relief. A survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association in 2001 found that an increasing number of adults were receiving massages from a therapist--over twice as many since 1997.
Many healthcare providers accept massage therapy as an effective treatment to relieve the symptoms of lower back pain. A majority of providers advise patients to combine massage therapy with medical treatment. Massage therapy can reduce lower back pain, depression and anxiety. It may also improve a patient's range of motion and elevate their serotonin and dopamine levels, allowing for enhanced sleep.
The American Massage Therapy Association points to research showing massage therapy improves blood circulation, relaxes muscles and increases endorphin levels. Endorphins are the feel-good chemicals the body produces to help us deal with pain.
A research study conducted by the Center for Health Studies in Seattle, Washington revealed that massage therapy could have prolonged benefits for sufferers of chronic back pain. In the study, 262 adults, aged 20 to 70, were given Swedish and deep-tissue massages, trigger-point therapy (applying pressure to tender muscle tissue), neuromuscular therapy and movement education. After 10 weeks, participants noted that the benefits of massage therapy continued well beyond the last treatment and persisted up to one year later.
Usually administered by a therapist, massage therapy uses fingers and hands to manipulate the soft tissues of the body such as muscles, skin and tendons. When administered by a trained professional, massage therapy is generally safe and has no adverse side effects. Patients with unhealed fractures, deep vein thrombosis, skin infections or open wounds should avoid this type of therapy. The same holds true for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis in the area to be massaged, or severe osteoporosis.
When suffering from chronic lower back pain, first consult a primary care physician before attempting massage therapy. If the doctor advises that massage may help, find a licensed massage therapist who is nationally certified through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (www.ncbtmb.org) or the American Massage Therapy Association (www.amtamassage.org).
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Jin Shin Treatment Can Help Stroke Victims
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. This debilitating disease affects more than 700,000 individuals each year (or approximately one person every 45 seconds). It is also a leading cause of serious, long-term disability, confining thousands to wheelchairs and dependency for help in their daily lives.
Complementary and alternative medicines are frequently used to help stroke victims lead normal or semi-normal lives. A pilot study involving Jin Shin treatment revealed that it could improve motor function after patients suffered a stroke. The study involved seven post-stroke individuals with chronic mobility problems. Each participant had reported at least 19 months of problems, and each was randomly assigned to receive eight weeks of Jin Shin treatments. The result: participants noted a significant increase in moderate physical activity levels following their Jin Shin treatments. Researchers concluded that Jin Shin treatments had a positive effect on motor function in individuals who had suffered a stroke.
Jin Shin is the ancient art of bringing body, mind and spirit into unison. Practitioners use gentle, non-invasive touch methods to restore balance to the body's energy systems and thereby promote the health and well-being of a patient. In practice, the Jin Shin practitioner applies a series of hand placement techniques using 52 energy centers or “Safety Energy Locks” (26 on each side of the body) to restore harmony to body, mind and spirit. By holding specific acupressure points and areas of the body, this unique form of acupressure is able to channel the healing energy more deeply, to balance the underlying causes of physical and emotional disharmonies. Research studies reveal that when Jin Shin is combined with conventional medical treatment, it can help reduce symptoms of pain, nausea and vomiting after surgery, and improve recovery from cardiac procedures.
A typical Jin Shin session lasts about one hour. Patients rest comfortably, fully clothed on a cushioned treatment table. The session begins by taking a patient's pulse to determine if there are any blocked energy pathways. Jin Shin treatments do not involve massaging, manipulating, pressuring or rubbing the body. The practitioner simply makes light contact with fingertips on various body points in specific combinations. The points are held for several minutes until a pulsation is felt. Certain patterns, or flows, are chosen and followed to note any disharmonies. These irregularities are sometimes determined by listening to the pulses. As with many such non-invasive treatments, results are not always immediate. Several sessions are usually required for chronic conditions, however, patients usually feel better after just one or two sessions.
Jin Shin is not a substitute for medical care and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Consult a medical doctor before undergoing any Jin Shin treatments.
Study Source: P1. Functional improvement after stroke: a role for complementary medicine Theresa D. Hernández, Kristina McFadden, Alicia Segal, Bonnie Ivankovich, Christina Gavito, Shelah Huerta
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Chinese Wisdom: Proverb of the Day
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.”
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Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - November 2009 | Issue 69
In this issue you will find:
Important PCOM Dates:
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Great American Smokeout 2009 Quit Smoking With Acupuncture
According to the 1982 Surgeon General’s Report, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. That report is still accurate today. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 46.2 million American adults are current smokers – that is 22.8% of all adults; that's nearly one in four people. Even though lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, since smoking is a voluntary act, the mortality rate is preventable.
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine wants to help defeat this high mortality rate and to celebrate the strength of those that have managed to quit smoking completely. With the aid of Oriental medicine, Pacific College offers help to those trying to quit and encourages giving up cigarettes for good.
One of the most effective methods to help quit smoking is acupuncture. These treatments help to curb cravings and ease the stress of quitting by utilizing auricular (ear) acupuncture, where four to five very small needles are inserted into points corresponding to the lung, kidney, and nervous system. It is thought that these needles increase the flow of endorphins, morphine-like hormones that induce a deep state of relaxation. This state is prolonged and leads to a lessening of cravings for nicotine and other drugs.
Since 1977, the American Cancer Society and Citizens for a Smokefree America have sponsored the Great American Smokeout, an event based on the idea that smokers who can manage to quit for a day can quit for good.
Pacific College’s San Diego campus will be celebrating the Great American Smokeout, 2009 on Friday, November 20, 2009. On this day, San Diego will be offering $15 acupuncture treatments; geared toward addiction problems to help people quit smoking habits.
On November 20, 2009, Pacific College’s Chicago campus will also be celebrating by offering free auricular acupuncture treatments from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. Auricular acupuncture in particular can lessen a person’s addictive tendencies and provide a sense of calm and purpose. Since the best results of acupuncture are achieved with consistent treatments, Chicago’s clinic is offering a package of four auricular acupuncture treatments for smoking cessation, valued at $140, for only $110.
Pacific College’s New York campus offers auricular acupuncture treatments, known for assisting in smoking cessation, for only 12 dollars.
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Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Gluten-Free Lifestyle
Traditional Chinese Medicine can be helpful in treating a number if ailments. One common condition that many people suffer from is intolerance to gluten. What is gluten? It's the protein part of wheat, rye, barley, and other related grains. And for some people, gluten can be very hard to digest. When it comes in contact with the small intestine, it can create a condition known as celiac disease, which can injure the lining of the small intestine. This injury can ultimately result in weight loss, diarrhea, gas, abdominal cramps, or vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research estimates that at least 10 million people in the US are gluten-sensitive.
For those suffering from celiac disease, TCM would first eliminate gluten from one's diet. Doing this would allow the lining of the intestine to heal. This would be followed up by some traditional Chinese herbs. While many herbs contain gluten, some are gluten free.
TCM herbs that have been used to treat celiac disease include trifoliate orange, which would address bloating and digestive upsets. Fennel seeds are also recommended, as they can help regulate digestive tract functions. And nutmeg, which can easily be added to beverages, can be beneficial as well, for it tones the small intestine. Regardless of which TCM herb you choose, you should consult a Chinese herbal practitioner to advise you on the proper dosage.
Another condition often linked to gluten intolerance is dermatitis herpetiformis, an extremely itchy rash of bumps and blisters. These usually appear on the elbows, knees, back, and buttocks. In addition to antibiotics prescribed by your medical doctor, TCM would recommend a strict gluten-free diet to help control the disease. Such a diet may even remove the need for some medications and can prevent later complications.
For those with a gluten intolerance, adopting a gluten-free diet isn't easy. It means giving up many tasty, processed, shelf-stable foods. These include fattening wheat treats like soft chocolate chip cookies, take-out pizza, and donuts. On the other hand, it also means eating more fruits and vegetables to help your body fight off many common diseases.
To complicate matters, many who have chosen a gluten free diet have discovered that the offending grains are "hidden" in many foods. This is because food labeling is fraught with brand names that can be misleading. And adding insult to injury, staying gluten free can also up your grocery bill. But there is hope. Increasing numbers of health conscious shoppers have pushed the demand for gluten-free products. In 2008, more than 1,000 new gluten-free foods and beverages were introduced. So a gluten free lifestyle is becoming increasingly tasty, less boring and hopefully less expensive.
Those who enjoy Chinese food but still want to stay on a gluten free diet can enjoy Lo-Mein. Made with rice-stick noodles, Lo-Mein (a Chinese dish with noodles, vegetables and beef, chicken, pork, shrimp or wontons) is gluten free. That's because Lo-Mein's rice-stick noodles are made using only rice flour and water. So you get the taste without the gluten.
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Black Tea Aids Oral Health
According to the latest research, black tea is beneficial for overall oral health. Black tea, the most common among the three types of teas –black, green, and red – help to prevent bad breath and facilitates the well being of your teeth and gums.
As you relax with your cup of tea, the brew is actually getting rid of oral bacteria in your mouth. Polyphenols, one of the key components of black tea, have been found to inhibit growth of oral bacteria. New research presented by Christine Wu and Min Zhu of the University of Illinois states that catechins and theaflavins—polyphenols present in tea leaves—inhibit the growth of the oral bacteria. The bacteria killing action takes place over a 48-hour incubation period.
Research further reports that the two tea compounds also help to eliminate bad breath. The compounds inhibit the proper functioning of an enzyme that acts as a catalyst in the production of hydrogen sulphide, which contributes to bad breath. These research findings were presented at the 103rd General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Washington, D.C.
Black tea also comes in handy to ward off mouth infections such as strep throat and dental cavities. Researchers have found that polyphenols in combination with green tea extracts inhibit bacterial growth. These compounds when added to toothpaste or mouthwash increase their efficacy many times in combating microbial agents. Random surveys have reported that black tea reduces the incidence of dental cavities. Tea is a natural source of fluoride, therefore helping to promote healthy tooth enamel. Also, tannins present in black tea inhibit the growth of plaque-causing bacteria apart from inhibiting the action of salivary amylase, thus making their contribution in cavity prevention.
Components of tea such as tannins, caffeine, tocopherol and catechin are known to raise the acid resistance of tooth enamel. And their combination with fluoride, which is, as we said, a component of black tea heightens this effect. Studies have thus concluded that black tea may safely be recommended as a substitute for more acidic beverages, which contribute to dental erosion.
Black tea also has a role to play in prevention of oral cancer. People with a precancerous condition termed oral leukoplakia can cut down on the risk of oral cancer by drinking black tea. A study funded by the National Tea Research Foundation of India, has revealed that the polyphenols in black tea reverse cancer-causing changes to the DNA of cells lining the mouth. Oral leukoplakia is characterized by white patches or plaque in the mouth that are tough to do away with.
When taken with milk, black tea is also a good source of calcium. It contains traces of vitamin B2 and B6, manganese, potassium and zinc. As more research is done on the benefits of black tea, it is becoming more apparent that incorporating tea into our daily lives can benefit our health in a number of ways.
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Chinese Wisdom: Proverb of the Day
“He who depends upon himself will achieve the greatest happiness.”
~ Book of Odes
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