Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - August 2006 | Issue 26
In this issue you will find:
- Important PCOM Dates
- Acupuncture for the Relief of Arthritis Pain
- Summer & Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Chai Tea for Digestion
- Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day
- August 4 – New York MSTOM Open House
- August 8 – Chicago Massage Open House
- August 13 – New York Graduation
November 2 through 5 -- 18th Annual Pacific Symposium featuring the popular Restoration Track and a new series of Advanced Acupuncture Techniques Workshops.
Don’t miss out on four days of learning and sharing with the best in holistic health. Register online now:
Acupuncture for the Relief of Arthritis Pain
Acupuncture is a very effective form of pain control in that it can relieve soreness in three ways. First, it causes the body to produce chemicals called endorphins, which inhibit the perception of pain naturally. Second, it blocks the transmission of pain signals to the brain through the nervous system. Thirdly, it deactivates trigger points. Trigger points are tender and extremely reactive areas that develop within muscles. The result of acupuncture is widespread relaxation of both mind and body.
Arthritis is a pervasive disease that causes pain and inflammation in joints and can be widely spread throughout the body. Arthritis isn’t just one disease, it is a complex disorder that comprises more than 100 distinct conditions and can affect people at any stage of life. The common thread among arthritis symptoms is persistent joint pain and inflammation of the joints. While arthritis pain and inflammation cannot be avoided as the body ages, with the aid of acupuncture and Oriental medicine the pain can be managed to a greater degree and improve functioning.
The latest study by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) is one of the largest and longest clinical trials to show such conclusive effects and patients who underwent acupuncture treatment reported a 44% average reduction in pain and a 40% improvement in mobility.
Combining acupuncture with standard drug therapy can relieve pain and improve movement in people with arthritis of the knee, according to a new study conducted by Dr Brian Berman, from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, and was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).
In the trial, Dr. Berman and his colleagues studied 570 patients with an average age of 65 who had osteoarthritis of the knee. Participants were randomly assigned to receive one of three treatments for 26 weeks, in addition to standard care such as anti-inflammatory medications and pain relievers:
- Acupuncture – inserting thin needles into certain body points to stimulate improved health.
- Sham acupuncture – patients feel some sensation from a needle but it isn't actually inserted.
- A self-help course for managing pain.
Throughout the 26 week trial, participants continued to receive their normal standard medical care, including anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers.
By the eighth week, acupuncture patients showed a significant increase in function compared with both the sham treatment and self-help groups. By week 14, they were also experiencing a significant decrease in pain. By the end of the trial overall pain was reduced by about 40% and function improved by almost 40% in the volunteers receiving acupuncture.
Summer and Traditional Chinese Medicine
By: Andrew Pacholyk, L.Ac. www.peacefulmind.com
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we have a healing methodology called the 5 Phases (Elements). Summer is ruled by the Fire element and is expressed in nature as well as in the body. Growth, joy and spiritual awareness between the heart and mind are the focus during this season. Summer-heat belongs to the element of fire and is predominant during the summer season.
Symptoms of summer heat are excess body heat, profuse sweating, parched mouth and throat, constipation, and heart palpitations.
Strengthening the immune system should be a part of any seasonal ritual! Any tonic formula that strengthens the essence, nourishes the Qi and regulates the heart is appropriate.
Remember, the best form of medicine, is preventative. Learn how to heal with the seasons and how Traditional Chinese Medicine can bring your body back into balance!
The Fire Element
The element, Fire is associated with the Summer season and with heat. The element is associated with the heart, pericardium, small intestines and related to the tongue.
Emotionally, this element is associated with the mind and it's stability. The heart is the "seat" of the mind and therefore, its highest expression is love. Enthusiasm, warmth in human relationships and conscious awareness.
The heart Chakra is in the center of the Chakra system and is the integrator of opposites in the psyche: mind and body, male and female, persona and shadow, ego and unity.
When imbalanced, we may either lack joy (depression) or have an excess of joy (maniac condition). Fire is symbolic of maximum activity or greatest Yang; nature at its peak of growth, and the motion is upward. Agitation, nervous exhaustion, heartburn and insomnia are other indicators of imbalance in this area.
Physically, when the fire element is balanced, the heart properly governs and circulates the blood and insures proper assimilation of the beginning breakdown of food in the small intestines.
Emotionally, when the fire element is balanced, sensitivity and expression, true fulfillment and the equilibrium between heart and mind are our greatest rewards.
Late Summer is considered the "dog day afternoons" when in late August and "Indian Summer" are hotter and damper days rich in humidity and a feeling of heaviness in the air. This often parallels the way our bodies feel during this period.
Dampness is associated with the element earth and is most active in late summer. Ailments of excessive dampness can be induced by sudden exposure to fog or mist, immersion in water or exposure to rain, and living in excessively damp locations or climates. The surface pores on the body are open. Because summer is humid, the pathogenic factors, which cause diseases in this season always mix with dampness. The symptoms include abdominal pains, vomiting, intestinal spasms, diarrhea, lethargy, aching joints, and heaviness in the chest - are characteristically heavy and sluggish in nature and tend to block the flow of energy throughout the body.
"Inner-dampness" is caused by excess cold consumption of liquor, tea, cold melons, and sweet, greasy foods. These impede spleen functions.
Consider a healthy, nutritional diet, getting good quality sleep and moderate exercise this can keep our physical form at it's best, always. Consider Traditional Chinese Medicine, herbal medicine or homeopathic medicine.
Remedies for Heat Exhaustion
The summer heat can sneak up on you and not only zap your energy, while you are outdoors, but it can cause dehydration, sunburn and actual exhaustion! Children under four, people over 65, and those who are obese, already ill, or taking medications can especially be affected very easily. Prolonged exposure to heat and insufficient body fluid can result in heat exhaustion. Its symptoms can include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness headache and nausea or vomiting. Here are the best remedies for heat exhaustion:
- Carry water with you and sip it throughout the day. Dehydration can set in and we don't even realize it until we begin to feel thirsty!
- Pace yourself when working outdoors, exercising or just having fun. Those who participate in regular exercise over time, allowing their bodies to adjust to hot conditions, may better tolerate exercise on hot days.
- Replace salts and minerals with electolytes such as Gatoraide or other power drinks that have potassium. Avoid drinks with large amounts of sugar. Dehydration can stress the heart and impair the kidneys' ability to maintain the correct level of fluids and balance of electrolyte. Electrolytes are charged elements—like potassium, sodium, phosporous and chloride—essential for the normal function of every cell in the body.
- Wear lightweight clothing the lighter the colored clothing (white,being ideal) the more sunlight is reflected away from you. Darker colors absorb the light and heat.
- Seek air conditioning, cool breezes under the shade and/or take cool showers in order to bring down your body temperature.
- Sunburn can happen very easily if you are not careful. Dilute one part Tea Tree Oil with ten parts of olive oil or coconut oil and spread freely over the affected areas. This is soothing and pain-relieving and to reduce blistering and peeling. People have also applied tea tree oil full strength to sunburn.
- Use common sense Schedule your outdoor activities to avoid the hottest parts of the day, and use a buddy system if necessary to keep watch on those at high risk.
- If you feel dizzy and/or stop sweating, quit all activity and get out of the sun fast. Drink cool, not cold water with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in it. The vinegar helps to replace electrolytes and minerals like sports drinks do.
- In ancient Egypt, China and the Far East, watermelon juice and its seeds were traditionally offered to thirsty travelers, and they are still important today in times of drought or water pollution. This flavorful fruit is one of the best remedies for dehydration and summer heat symptoms, which include thirst without desire to drink, band-like headache, nausea, low appetite, heavy, weighted body sensation, low motivation, sluggish digestion, increased body temperature, sticky sweat, surging pulse, and red tongue with thick white or yellow coating. Watermelon cools and cleanses the system, clearing summerheat and acts as a natural diuretic.
- Take a cool bath. Run a cool bath and relax in the water for 15-20 minutes. Try to submerge as much of your body as possible.
Chai Tea for Digestion
Legend and lore suggest Chai Tea was invented by a royal king in India who kept his recipe undisclosed and sacred. In fact Chai Tea is a product of Ayurveda, a science of India that dates as far back as five thousand years. Chai does not refer to a particular type of tea but the manner in which it is prepared and served, with milk/cream and honey/sugar. Traditionally each family would have their own recipe of herbs and spices to mix and boil with tea leaves. This recipe was based on available ingredients and the constitutions of family members. Typically this is a highly potent blend that has myriad medicinal and health promoting properties. Among these benefits of consuming Chai regularly is to increase the digestive fire, sooth and relax the digestive tract, increase waste and toxin excretion, elevate metabolism, and decrease appetite.
Science is finding Tea (Black, Green, and Oolong), the main ingredient of Chai, is an excellent source for anti-oxidants, good for the heart, and reducing cholesterol levels. In addition numerous herbs are combined with the Tea to give it its unique flavors and healing properties. It isn’t one herb or spice in general that aids in digestion but the combination of many acting together. The result is a delicious, piquant, and often times dark brew.
Chai Tea, like the human body, is a homogenous mixture of many compounds acting and reacting together to create harmony. As with soup, the ingredients when boiled in water draw out and enhance the flavors within one another before fusing together to form one wholesome decoction you can drink. Digestion begins with the mouth and usually we tend to equate bad tastes and smells with being good for us. Such is not the case with Chai. It represents a harmonious blend of all five tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, salt, and spice) recognized by the taste buds that is also pleasing to the other senses.
As stated previously there are virtually endless combinations of herbs and spices that can be used to create Chai. However, there are some staples used in nearly all, from the family recipe to store bought. A breakdown of ingredients in many Chai Teas and their homeopathic applications will help elucidate how the unlimited amalgamations can be used to remedy various individual constitution disruptions and ailments, most specifically those related to digestion.
Black Pepper is one of the first ingredients to stimulate the body as it works with the taste buds and their relationship to the stomach. The taste buds signal the stomach to excrete hydrochloric acid which is necessary for digestion of proteins and other food components. If food goes undigested by the stomach it can sit sedentary for hours. This leads to symptoms of indigestion and/or heartburn. If undigested food moves into the intestinal tract it begins to rot. The intestines are meant for absorbing nutrients not digesting them. As the food begins to rot it becomes an ideal place for gas producing, diarrhea inducing, and constipation causing gut bacteria. In addition the outer layer of the peppercorn helps stimulate metabolism and breakdown existing fat cells.
Cinnamon is considered to be one of the world’s oldest known spices. There was a time when it was considered such a commodity it was used as a type of currency. It is found in nearly every Chai. It aids in digestion by calming the stomach, fighting bacteria and fungus. It has been shown to increase production of insulin in test tube trials and has anti-nausea and diarrhea attributes. Cinnamon also enhances the effects of other herbs and bridges the gap between flavors.
Fennel has also been well known for centuries by the Greeks, Egyptians, and Eastern cultures for its culinary and medicinal uses. It is one of those super foods as it contains Vitamin C & B, supports liver, gall bladder, and spleen function, as well as aiding in digestion by dispersing flatulence causing bacteria. Fennel is also a good source of fiber so it helps to keep the large intestine and colon healthy.
Ginger is the only root employed in medicine and cooking. It has a mild, cool flavor that helps settle the stomach. The gingerols and shogaols found in Ginger have been proven to ease the effects of motion sickness.
Cloves are often found in various Chai Teas. They are revered for their ability to kindle the digestive fire. Cloves are also good for soothing the throat and mouth and are sometimes incorporated into lozenges or sprays for such purposes.
Chai Tea is available in store bought teabags or if you are into making your own the herbs are quite tangible and can be found year round at your local health store. When preparing Chai it can be served hot or cold. Traditionally it is served with milk or cream and honey. The milk softens the flavor of the many potent herbs and the honey, sometimes referred to as “Perfection of Sweet,” balances the spices.For more information on the health benefits of tea, visit www.RoyalDynastyTea.com
“The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name”
- Lao Tzu