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Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - November 2006 | Issue 31

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

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Fighting Eating Disorders With Chinese Medicine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Benefits of Sports Massage By: Michelle Fletcher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Green Tea Extract May Help HIV Patients

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day

“Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy”

-Lao Tzu