By David J. Derdiger
There lies a fine line between overstudying and being well prepared:
Just because one studies more than is presented on a test, this alone does not imply overstudy, but rather that the student is well prepared.
I would define overstudy as "studying up to or passed the point of fatigue." and so, as I see it, overstudying has very little to do with the amount of material one chooses to study, but rather it dominantly pertains to the environment in, and the circumstances under which one chooses to study.
one can study in excess of 12 hours for a single test without overstudying: this assumes that the student takes hourly breaks that involve stretching and/or some meditative physical activity, and that during these breaks the student puts their mind into a gently focused state of perspective, allowing a brief moment of time for the recently studied material to be integrated with the self.
One can study for 5 minutes before a test and induce study fatigue. anyone who has ever "crammed" for a test can surely attest to this: upon receipt of the test the mind is in a fragmented and chaotic state; the mind of the student is the fist that attempts to hold as much sand as possible through shear power of grip, finding only that the tighter it is clenched, the more grains of sand will slip from between its fingers.
Instead, the optimum state is the empty hand with feet firmly planted upon the shore. from here, the student can see the horizon, can smell the scents of marine life, and should it be necessary, before them is an entire beach from which a desired amount of sand can always be lifted, observed, contemplated, and then returned without an iota of strain.
Acupuncture, Massage, Articles, Press Releases, Newsletter, Images, Videos
By David J. Derdiger
By Nancy Cohn Morgan, L.Ac.
I was called to the study of acupuncture in January 1984. It actually wasn’t even in my conscious mind to study acupuncture, but after retuning from the Peace Corps I wondered what to do next with a degree in psychology. I was conflicted between going on to get teaching credentials or to pursue a nursing program to which I had recently been accepted. A friend had suggested that I go see a Psychic. On a whim I went and while there she had told me there was a third choice that I had not even been aware of and that was acupuncture. As soon as she said that I knew that was my path. By June of that year I was enrolled at the California Acupuncture College in San Diego. Since then there hasn’t been a day that has gone by that I have not felt gratitude and been humbled to have had the opportunity to study and practice this form of healing. When I was back in school first at the California Acupuncture College and then at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine I remember sitting in class and discussing with my classmates what it would be like after 20 years of practicing acupuncture? I also remember my teacher Alex Tiberi saying that each patient teaches you Traditional Chinese Medicine all over again. So what have I learned after 20+ years of practice? I have come to know that one does not need to speak Chinese to be an effective practitioner. I think the single most important thing that I know is that it works. Still after 20+ years I can not explain to patients exactly how it works. Sure I can give them the Balancing energy in the Meridians theory or the Western theory of how it stimulates certain areas of the brain and that some studies have shown that the analgesic effect is from the release of endorphins in the brain.
One does not need to believe in acupuncture to experience that it truly does work. I have treated people from all walks of life - old, young, world class athletes, weekend warriors, the disabled, pregnant women, Vietnam Veterans, drug addicts, the dying, and the drying’s loved ones left behind to carry on, the Evangelical Right to the Liberal progressive. Some come wanting to believe that it is going to work; others come as skeptics. And what exactly does it do that I can so unequivocally say it works? Does it cure that woman’s, worn out knee or repair that torn tendon? Does it cure cancer and give that dying person another chance? Does it make the disabled able again? Does it free the drug addict from his addiction? No, it does not do any of these things. I think the one most powerful effect of acupuncture that I have witnessed it do in all patients is the calm and peacefulness that people experience from it and in this stressful, uncertain world, that is enough. I think that when people can relax and let go of what ever they are holding on to, be it stress, tension, pain, emotion, a problem, a diagnosis, then the healing begins. If our world leaders received acupuncture regularly maybe there would not be so much unrest in the world. And so my answer to World Peace is Acupuncture.
By Roger M. Rutz
From the beginnings of Western Medicine up to the nineteenth century, the physician diagnosed the illness and prescribed a medicinal substance to treat it, while the pharmacist or apothecary collected, prepared and compounded the medicinal substance. These medicinal materials were natural products of plant, animal or mineral origin and collectively were known as “materia medica,” or medicinal materials.
The term “pharmacognosy” was introduced by C. A. Seydler, a medical student in Halle an der Saale, Prussia, in 1815. It is derived from the Greek words pharmakon, drug and gnosis, knowledge. Literally it means “knowledge of pharmaceuticals,” and it implied a knowledge of the history, distribution, cultivation, collection, selection, preparation, commerce, identification, evaluation, preservation and use of drugs and economic substances that affect the health of humans and animals. It was closely allied to and often indistinguishable from economic botany.
Today, pharmacognosy lies between the sciences of pharmacology and medicinal chemistry on the one hand and pharmaceutics and clinical pharmacy on the other hand. Pharmacology is concerned with drug actions in the body and their effects, while medicinal chemistry is the chemistry of designing synthetic drugs to have specific drug actions. Pharmaceutics involves the physical manufacturing of drugs and their delivery method to the therapeutic site in the body, while clinical pharmacy is concerned with how drugs are dispensed in a healthcare setting.
Pharmacognosy has now evolved into a science specializing in the extraction, separation, isolation and identification of the secondary metabolites of plant and animal drugs. Chemical solvents of varying polarities including water, methanol, petroleum ether and chloroform are used to make extracts from a crude drug. These extracts are then fractionated using some form of chromatography, either thin layer chromatography (TLC), gas chromatography, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), or column chromatography using silica gel in order to separate the compounds making up the extract. Each fraction is also screened for biological activity to guide the fractionation towards compounds that have pharmacological interest. Bioassays may include tests to determine cytotoxic, antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal, antitumor, and mutagenic activity. Finally, upon arrival at a single, biologically active compound, the structure will be determined through mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) (think MRI!), and x-ray crystallography. Finally, to prove the structure chemical synthesis of the compound will be performed.
Examples of the types of secondary metabolites that fall under the scope of pharmacognosy include carbohydrates; glycosides; lipids including fixed oils, fats, and waxes; essential oils; resins including oleoresins, oleogum resins, and balsams; steroids; alkaloids; peptide hormones; enzymes; vitamins; antibiotics; immunizing biologics; allergens and allergenic extracts. Pharmacognosy also interests itself with the study of poisonous plants, herbs used in the health food industry, flavoring agents and condiments in general.
Major research in pharmacognosy today is now taking place only in Germany, Japan and the People’s Republic of China.
Sciences that are related to or have a direct bearing on pharmacognosy include the following:
Biochemistry: the study of the primary metabolites produced by living organisms, which they depend on for life.
Chemotaxonomy: the taxonomic classification of plants based on the secondary metabolites they produce in common.
Economic Botany: the study of commerce involving natural products.
Ethnobotany: the study of the usage of plants among different ethnic groups.
Ethnomedicine: the study of the practice of medicine among different ethnic groups.
Ethnopharmacology: the study of plants, animals or minerals used as drugs among different ethnic groups.
Ethnotaxonomy: the study of how organisms are classified by different ethnic groups.
Marine Pharmacology: the study of marine organisms used as drugs.
Medical Botany: the study of plants used as drugs.
Natural Products Chemistry: chemistry involved with the synthesis of naturally occurring compounds.
Phytochemistry: chemistry involved with the secondary metabolites found in plants and how they are biosynthesized.
Taxonomy: the taxonomic classification and organization of living organisms.
Brady, L., Robbers, J., and Tyler, V. (1988). Pharmacognosy, 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Lea & Febiger.
By Maryanne Travaglione
Research n 1: careful or diligent search
2: studious inquiry or examination; esp: aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, or practical application of new or revised theories or of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws
Research v to search or investigate exhaustively
I believe that research has always been, and must continue to be, a major component in the development of Chinese Medicine. Research as defined by the dictionary is neither a modern concept nor a tool rooted exclusively in a western worldview or Biomedical paradigm. Studious inquiry, whose goal is discovery of new ideas or interpretations, belongs to all scholarly traditions and is not the domain of a dominant cultural interpretation.
We our not lacking in research in Chinese Medicine, The East-Asian countries have been continually developing their medicine through exhaustive investigation which over time has produced an extensive literature of new ideas and reinterpretation of old ones. Scholar physicians have looked to the classics for inspiration and guidance in tackling difficult health problems of the day and have written reports of their trials and results, which they have left for subsequent generations to consider. As a living medical system, physicians have continued to seek out effective treatments strategies and the successful strategies were analyzed, recorded and passed on to following generations. This has been valuable for the glory of the renowned physician and for the benefit of the people who would follow.
As a community we can consider that the treatments which have survived this quantity of time as a type of “proof of the benefit “. We could use what has been successful in the past and simply hold onto tradition and consider that there was no need for further exploration. But, how sad would be if after these thousands of years we let this rich medicine die here in the 21st century simply because we could not be bothered to meet the challenge presented by the scientific community. Our classic texts explain to us that stagnation is a major pathological cause of disease and reminds us, that which is not growing is in active decline.
Scientific method n (1854): principals and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses
We face many obstacles when meeting the biomedical community as equals the least of which is a problem in communication and vocabulary.
Research is based on facts. But it is very important to understand that frequently, what may constitute a fact is really based in a cultural paradigm. Chinese Medicine theory is based on “statements of fact”, such as; the emotion of the Liver is Anger. Anger will cause the Qi to Ascend. The biomedical community may not agree that these are proven facts on which to base a research analysis. This is an example of one challenge.
The Chinese culture, generally, will incorporate a change that proves itself a useful tool. I think we can take this exciting time, this period of expanding interest into Chinese Medicine and reclaim the research and learn to use the modern tools. We can learn to lead in the research, not perhaps in double blind studies, which I personally believe to be a dead end street, but by becoming proficient in research, we can open to the possibilities of ways of creating a valid experiment using methods and parameters as found in whole systems or translational studies research. These are areas where research and the use of validated means and methods can perhaps explore the real possibilities offered in an integrated medicine community.
By Sean Davis
While frequenting my favorite tea shop in Ocean Beach, I once heard a story about the cancer fighting health benefits of tea. According to the story, the original founder of the tea shop had been diagnosed with cancer several years previous. He had talked to an old Chinese woman who told him “If you drink 100 cups of tea every day, the cancer will be cured.” He started the tea shop in order to help fund his new tea habit and after a relatively short period of time, the cancer had disappeared.
Tea is the second most commonly consumed beverage in the world. It is believed to have originated somewhere between northeast India and southwest China and Tibet. No one knows when tea was first discovered, but one creation myth states it was originally discovered by Shennong around 2700 BC. More than likely tea has been around in one form or another since man first learned how to boil water and long before there was any written history.
There are six major varieties of tea consumed that come from various subspecies of the plant Camellia Sinensis. These include, white, yellow, green, oolong, black, and pu-erh. There are several steps involved with turning tea leaves into tea, but the different varieties are primarily obtained first by undergoing varying amounts of oxidation before being dry-fired. White and green tea leaves are completely un-oxidized making them the least processed of all the different types of tea. The tea leaves of Oolong and black tea are often shaken or bruised to encourage oxidation before being heated. After Oolong has been partially oxidized heat is applied to halt the process of oxidation and trap the flavor into the leaf. Black tea, on the other hand, is completely oxidized before being heated. Different types of Pu-Erh undergo varying degrees of oxidation, however it is generally un-oxidized like green tea. What makes Pu-Erh unique is that it is fermented before being consumed. Pu-Erh is sort of like the fine wine of teas in that it is classified in terms of how long it has been aged and what region it comes from.
There are over 700 known chemicals found in the Camellia Sinensis species. Among these are theanine, theobromine, theophylline, fluorine, bioflavonoids, amino acids, and polyphenols, as well as a form of antioxidant known as “catechins”. Catechins compose up to 30% of the dry weight of a tea leaf. Although they are broken down by the oxidative process used to make black tea they are still found in large enough quantities to measurably decrease the amount of free radicals in the body1. According to the free radical theory of aging, cells begin to degrade because they accumulate free radicals over time. Once cell degradation begins to take place, the cells no longer replicate perfectly and we begin to age. If this theory is true, then tea may actually keep our bodies younger by reducing wear and tear at the molecular level.
Several of the chemicals in tea are thought to have anti-cancer properties. The consumption of bioflavonoids, also called Vitamin P, has been shown to produce enzymes which help to eliminate mutagens and carcinogens. Bioflavonoids protect Vitamin C, a strong antioxidant, from being oxidized by free-radicals. Unlike Vitamin C, however, once a flavonoid is consumed it is treated like a foreign body and is rapidly metabolized by the body and excreted through the urine or deposited into the bile. This process of breaking down the flavonoids induces the production of “Phase 2” enzymes which also attack carcinogens and mutagens in the body. Basically, by introducing a small amount of what the body considers to be an irritant, the body goes through a strong metabolic process that removes all irritants, including potential cancer cells. This is similar to one of the current western theories of acupuncture that posits that acupuncture is able to reduce inflammation in the body by first creating a low level of inflammation at a specific site. The body’s response to this low level of inflammation is to reduce inflammation everywhere, not just at the original site of insertion. So in a way, bioflavonoids are like acupuncture for the cells. It has also been recently discovered that flavonoids increase the activation of nitric oxide synthase, which prevents inflammation of the blood vessel walls and lowers blood pressure, both of which are critical in preventing heart disease. Furthermore it is thought that flavonoids play a key role in preventing neuro-degenerative diseases2. The primary form of bioflavonoid found in brewed tea is the catechin. In one study rats were given a single modest dose of a catechin commonly found in dark chocolate. Ninety minutes later a stroke was induced in the rats with the control group showing significantly more brain damage than the group given the catechin9. Catechins have also been shown to protect the heart by breaking down recently formed atherosclerosis by 73% or more3, they protect the skin from UV radiation-induced carcinogenesis4, and they have antibiotic-like properties by acting as a germicidal and germistatic which disrupts the DNA replication process of bacteria5.
Theanine, an amino acid derivative found in large quantities in tea, is an analogue of glutamine and glutamate and it is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Glutamine is an amino acid which is used as a source of cellular energy in the mitochondria, similar to glucose. It is also used functionally to repair cells after trauma, burns, and the side-effects from cancer related therapies. Glutamine is consumed most readily by the intestines, the kidneys, activated immune cells, and various analogues of glutamine are marketed as anti-cancer drugs (Azaserine, Acivicin). Glutamate, on the other hand, plays a key role in the citric acid cycle and helps the body to dispose of excess nitrogen. Glutamate is also the primary excitatory neurotransmitter of the central nervous system and it is the precursor to GABA which is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Theanine, although chemically similar to the excitatory neurotransmitter Glutamate, has a weak affinity for the glutamate binding sights in the brain. Instead it is seen to have a strong effect on stimulating GABA production which reduces psychological and physiological stress10. This reduction in stress levels elevates the mood and increases cognitive ability. Theanine is also suspected to bolster the immune system. In one study, tea drinkers were shown to have five times the level of anti-bacterial proteins in their blood when compared to coffee drinkers11.
Theobromine, another substance found in tea, is in the methylxanthine class of pharmaceutical substances along with caffeine. It is used in modern day medicine as a vasodilator to reduce blood pressure, a diuretic which can treat edema, and as a heart stimulant which can be used to treat congestive heart failure6. In addition, it has been patented for future use in cancer prevention12. Theophylline, an isomer of theobromine, has been used in the past to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and asthma, however it is found in tea at approximately 1mg/L which is far below the therapeutic dose. In addition to all of the above health benefits associated with drinking tea, research has shown tea to be beneficial to the microflora of the intestines and the fluorine found in tea strengthens the teeth and protects from dental cavities7. In 1999, a study that was published in the Nutrition journal stated that although all of these health benefits have been found in mammals in vitro, the quantities of tea needed to obtain the data far surpassed what the average person would consume in a day8. Since then the vast majority of research that has been done has been overwhelmingly positive regarding the health benefits and the anti-cancer properties of tea. Just to be safe, if one wants to fight cancer by drinking tea, they should drink a hundred cups every day!
• "Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods – 2007". Webcitation.org. 2009-05-23
• "Studies force new view on biology of flavonoids", by David Stauth, EurekAlert!. Adapted from a news release issued by Oregon State University.
• Chyu KY; Babbidge, SM; Zhao, X; Dandillaya, R; Rietveld, AG; Yano, J; Dimayuga, P; Cercek, B et al. (May 2004). "Differential effects of green tea-derived catechin on developing versus established atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-null mice". Circulation 109 (20): 2448–53. • Katiyar S, Elmets CA, Katiyar SK (May 2007). "Green tea and skin cancer: photo-immunology, angiogenesis and DNA repair". J. Nutr. Biochem. 18 (5): 287–96.
• Gradisar H, Pristovsek P, Plaper A, Jerala R (January 2007). "Green tea catechins inhibit bacterial DNA gyrase by interaction with its ATP binding site". J. Med. Chem. 50 (2): 264–71
• William Marias Malisoff (1943). Dictionary of Bio-Chemistry and Related Subjects. Philosophical Library. pp. 311, 530, 573.
• Mondal, T.K. (2007). "Tea". in Pua, E.C.; Davey, M.R.. Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry. 60: Transgenic Crops V. Berlin: Springer. pp. 519–535
• Nutrition (Nov-Dec 1999). Tea and Health. 15. pp. 946–949
• Kimura K, Ozeki M, Juneja L, Ohira H (2007). "L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses". Biol Psychol 74 (1): 39–45. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2006.06.006
• Kamath A, Wang L, Das H, Li L, Reinhold V, Bukowski J (2003). "Antigens in tea-beverage prime human Vgamma 2Vdelta 2 T cells in vitro and in vivo for memory and nonmemory antibacterial cytokine responses". Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100 (10): 6009–14.
• US patent 6693104, "Theobromine with an anti-carcinogenic activity", granted 2004-02-17
By Jorge A. Gonzalez
The parallelisms of the Spine as a biological cosmology of the universe, in its essence can be traced back to the Egyptian and Greek civilizations in the West and is continuous through Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and ancient Chinese belief systems. The theories developed over the centuries illustrates that Man via the spine can communicate with the earthly realm, as well as with the heavenly realm of the universe.
No matter which theology, belief system, or divine schema you use with the different traditions, each are represented with seven levels of consciousness, which travel in a upward hierarchy. In the lowest levels, these are represented by the animal consciousness, for example sexual reproduction, fertility, the realm of the physical. On the spine, the relative vertebreas or spinal regions are the tip of the coccyx and hiatus of the sacrum. This area represents the basic animalistic needs of human beings, like reproduction, child bearing, fertility, etc. The Kundalini Chakras represent this as the base root, representing the element earth, and is therefore related to our survival instincts, and to our sense of grounding and connection to our bodies and the physical plane. Ideally this chakra or area of the spine brings us health, prosperity, security, and dynamic presence. In Oriental Medicine, it’s the Governing or Du Acupuncture point of Du 1 and 2. These acupoints treat signs such as hemorrhoids, prolapse of anus, mania, epilepsy, diarrhea, and constipation, mania, irregular menstruation, and weakness and pain in the lower limbs.
Going upward to the next level is the area of the spine located below the spinous process of the first lumbar vertebra and ends below the spinous process of the fourth lumbar vertebra. The equivalent Chakra is related to the element water, and to emotions and sexuality. It connects us to others through feeling, desire, sensation, and movement. Ideally this chakra brings us fluidity and grace, depth of feeling, sexual fulfillment, and the ability to accept change. In Oriental Medicine, its acupuncture point is Du 3 going up to Du 5. These acupoint treat signs of impotence, seminal emission, and irregular menstruation, pain in the lumbosacral region, leukorrhagia, sterility, lumbago, abdominal distention, diarrhea and dysentery.
From below the spinous process of the eleventh thoracic vertebra upward towards below the spinous process of the ninth thoracic vertebra, is the power chakra, located in the solar plexus and represents fire as well. It rules our personal power, will, and autonomy, as well as our metabolism. When healthy, this chakra brings us energy, effectiveness, spontaneity, and non-dominating power. In Oriental Medicine, the area is called the Don Tian and is an important Qi Gong area for breathing and generating power in Martial Arts. The corresponding Acupuncture points are Du 6 and Du 8, which treats signs such as diarrhea, jaundice, hemorrhoids, epilepsy, and stiffness and pain in the spinal column, fullness in the abdomen, stomachache and lumbago.
At the next level of consciousness is the heart level, or is the middle chakra in a system of seven. It is related to love and is the integrator of opposites in the psyche: mind and body, male and female, persona and shadow, ego and unity. A healthy fourth chakra allows us to love deeply, feel compassion, and have a deep sense of peace and centeredness. Oriental Medicine dictates that the heart is the house of the spirit and mind. On the spinal, it is located below the spinous process of the seventh thoracic vertebra up to below the spinous process of the fifth thoracic vertebra. Corresponding acupuncture points are Du 9 and Du 11. These points treat signs of Jaundice, cough, asthma, and distending pain in the chest and hypochondriac region, palpitation, cardialgia, apoplexy with aphasia, and epilepsy.
At the fifth level of consciousness is the chakra located in the throat and is thus related to communication and creativity. Here we experience the world symbolically through vibration, such as the vibration of sound representing language. On the spine, the area is located below the spinous process of the first thoracic vertebra to below the spinous process of the seventh cervical vertebra. In Acupuncture, it is Du 13 and Du 15. These points treat signs of cough, asthma, epilepsy, headache, malaria, fever, and stiffness and pain in the nape and back.
Sixth level of consciousness deals with brow chakra or third eye center. It is related to having an intuitive eye, seeing physically, mentally and spiritually. The point locations are not part of the spine, in terms of Western Medicine, but in terms of TCM, acupoints Du 16 – Du 19, which starts from the nape and 1 cun directly above the midpoint of the posterior hairline to 5 cun directly above the midpoint of the posterior hairline. A cun is approximately 1.3 inches. Acupuncture points on these areas treat signs of aphasia, hemiplegia, and rigid nape with headache, mania, and epilepsy.
Seventh and last level of consciousness is related to the crown chakra and is pure awareness. It is our connection to the greater world beyond, to a timeless, spaceless place of all-knowing. When developed, this chakra brings us knowledge, wisdom, understanding, spiritual connection, and bliss. The corresponding location is not on the spine directly, but on top of the head or crown, Du 20, 7 cun above the midpoint of the posterior hairline.
No matter which belief system you use, there was always a system represented by the spine, whether it’s the Corpus Hermeticus from Ancient Egypt, the Great Chain of Beings of Renaissance times, Kundalini Yoga as in the Chakras or the Du channel of TCM. Overall, each or all are used to better communicate with nature, personal wisdom of ourselves and the world around us.
By Esther Hornstein L.Ac., MSAc.
Have you been tossing and turning lately? You are not alone. As many of 50% of Americans have suffered problems sleeping at some time, and 10% of the population suffer from chronic insomnia. While it will come as no surprise that sleeplessness is a frequent byproduct of the many stresses in our daily lives, it is less widely known that 1.6 million Americans use Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) to treat their insomnia, generally with great success.
The Consequence of Sleep Deprivation
One sleepless night can result in lethargy, irritability, disorientation and hypersensitivity. Long term sleep deprivation causes depression, anxiety, disrupts concentration and impairs normal day time functioning. Insomnia is a major cause of absenteeism and poor job performance. Sleepy drivers are blamed for half of all motor vehicle accidents.
Recent research has brought evidence that chronic insomnia increases the risk of Diabetes, Heart Disease and Cancer.
Why Conventional Methods are not Good Enough
The benefits of today’s pharmacological treatments for sleeplessness must be weighed against the drawbacks. These include questions about their long term effectiveness, the potential for abuse, addiction and adverse effects.
Psychological and behavioral therapies for sleeplessness are quite effective, but generally require a considerable investment in both time and patient training.
Because of the limitations of available conventional treatments, the rate of CAM use, and acupuncture in particular, for the treatment of insomnia jumped from 20.6% in 1990 to 26.4 in 1997 in the U.S.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is based on Oriental Medicine. It consists of the insertion of thin hair-like needles into the skin at locations called acu-points which are located throughout the body, from head to toe, including the ear. Each has one or more specific function and can be used by itself or in combination with other acu-points to achieve a desired effect including the treatment of a specific illness or improving some aspect of the patients wellness.
What Scientific Research Says
Because Acupuncture has been around for over three thousand years, the ability to uniformly and objectively test the results by Western Medical standards is questionable. However, through the increasing acceptance and involvement of Oriental Medicine in the West, some researchers are able to find a balance between the highly subjective medicine that is Acupuncture and evidence based measures which are needed to sustain credibility among the American medical community.
According to study published in Sleep (Vol. 32, No.8 2009) sleep quality, sleep onset, and total sleep time improved in 85% of the 60 subjects of the study. The results continued even one week after the study was completed. 30 of the subjects were administered tri-weekly electro-acupuncture treatments for 3 weeks. The placebo group had the same number of treatments, but with streitberger needles. Both groups reported marked improvement, while the electro-acupuncture group had only slightly better results.
Side effects were reported as mild and both electro-acupuncture and placebo acupuncture were determined to be safe.
Another study published in the Chinese Medical Journal (Vol. 122, No.23 2009) reported results on 47 subjects with out any placebo control group, that electro-acupuncture considerably improved insomniacs_ sleep quality, sleep time and social function during the daytime. Electro-acupuncture also had repairing effects on the disruption of long term sleep patterns. At the same time, electro-acupuncture prolonged slow wave sleep (SWS) time and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep time. There was no hangover, side effects, addiction or decreased alertness during the daytime. However, insomnia return rate was about 23% within one month.
Both of these studies used different acu-points, treatment frequency and length, but their outcomes were quite similar. Acupuncture works for insomnia and it is proven to be safe.
How Acupuncture Works for Insomnia
Acu-points are connected on the body through meridians which are non physical pathways beneath the skin. Through acupuncture, massage and other methods these points and thereby these meridians are stimulated. Each meridian connects to a different organ system.
Stress related insomnia due to outside events like job loss or hospitalization usually go away once the source of the stress is gone. However if daytime sleepiness or fatigue interferes with daytime functioning, acupuncture can be helpful in alleviating these symptoms. The same is true for cases of insomnia due to depression or other mental disorders. Acupuncture has been proven to release endorphins like serotonin (happy hormone) and melatonin (sleepy hormone) from the body’s own system. Not only does acupuncture release these natural hormones, it also balances them. Therefore depressions due to chemical imbalances are relatively easily treated by acupuncture – with out drugs, with out unwanted side effects.
Those who have trouble sleeping due to pain that stops them from getting comfortable e.g.: arthritis, cancer, herniated discs, are in luck to. Among the top ten conditions successfully treated with acupuncture, muscular-skeletal pain is number one! Acupuncture works so well for local pain as well as systemic conditions like insomnia. When an acupuncture needle is inserted, the body instantly sends collagen and elastin to the site to heal the ‘mini trauma’ caused by the needle. As a result the tissues get stronger and more blood flows through the area. In most cases a well established treatment schedule will alleviate the pain and treat the root of the insomnia. As opposed to some medications which will help the patient sleep, but cause other health issues.
Some suffer from self inflicted sleep deprivation by making work or social events a priority over their own sleep needs. The acupuncturist’s role is to get that the patient to take a look at their life and try to re-prioritize lifestyle change and acupuncture. Many acu-points have psycho-emotional functions that won’t only change how the patient sleeps, but also how the patient feels. The overburdening of one’s shoulders with commitments to others is attributed to an imbalance in the “earth” organ system. Just like the earth, these people need to nurture everything and everyone around them, sacrificing their own needs in the process. Acu-points along the ‘earth’ organ meridians rectify the imbalance, and with proper treatment the patient will eventually re-learn to nurture him or herself in harmony with the needs of others around them.
In addition to not causing any adverse effect, acupuncture also mitigates side effects caused by necessary medications. Drug-related sleep disorders can result from chronic use of Central Nervous System stimulants, hypnotics, sedatives, chemotherapy, anticonvulsants, oral contraceptives, alcohol, and thyroid hormones. They can also cause irritability and apathy and reduce mental alertness. Many psychoactive drugs can induce abnormal movements during sleep. By balancing the hormones and sensory input acupuncture can relieve the side effects caused by these medications.
Insomnia can develop during withdrawal of Central Nervous System depressants, tricyclic antidepressants, MAO inhibitors, or illicit drugs. Abrupt withdrawal from hypnotics or sedatives can cause nervousness, tremors, and seizures causing the patient not to sleep, or be fearful of sleeping. While working with the patient’s doctor a Licensed Acupuncturist can safely and effectively ease the experience of withdrawal from these substances while also stimulating healthier sleep.
Weather one chooses to treat insomnia with acupuncture or not, remember that it is important to develop good sleep hygiene. Do not consume stimulants like caffeine near bed time. Do not exercise right before bedtime or watch something exciting late at night. Try to keep regular sleep and wake patterns, getting a good night sleep is one of the best ways to get a new day started on the right foot.
Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of an organism called Candida. These organisms are sometimes present in the vagina in smaller numbers without any symptoms, but occasionally a change in their environment gives them a chance to multiply and grow out of control. Yeast infections can occur due to increased sexual activity, infections, colds, and tight clothing. They may also be passed from partner to partner and affect both genders.
This type of infection can target men, women and in some cases even babies. Those men with weak immune systems are candidates for male yeast infection. Men who eat sugary foods or baked goods are also possible candidates. People taking strong antibiotics, especially for a long period of time are also at risk. Antibiotics kill bacteria, which can alter the balance of microorganisms in the mouth, vagina, intestines and other places in the body and result in a proliferation of yeast. However women are more prone to this type of infection due to triggers such as hormonal changes during menstruation, menopause and pregnancy.
Many people who suffer from yeast related illnesses are frustrated with their inability to prevent recurrences of the yeast infection. It's possible that an immune system boost could help to get rid of yeast infections much more easily. In terms of repeated yeast infections and Candida problems, the immune system is a direct link. If the immune system is unhealthy, Candida problems are able to develop, and if one already has Candida problems, it can weaken the immune system. It can become an endless circle of illness and troublesome symptoms.
Because acupuncture provides a great boost to the immune system, it can help to fight off the bacteria living in the body. There are many case studies showing fewer cases of yeast-related health problems after an acupuncture treatment. Medical studies and clinical tests have already been conducted to provide medical support for acupuncture as effective, natural treatment for boosting immune system. The results of the clinical studies undertaken by the medical researchers of the University of Bergen in Norway revealed that acupuncture was highly effective in treating infections of 75% of the women who participated in the clinical studies.
Research and scientific studies have proven the effectiveness of acupuncture for everything from pain relief to stress reduction to a boost to the immune system. Acupuncture has traditionally been used as a preventive medicine. Recent research has now verified that acupuncture stimulates immune function that increases the resistance to bacterial and viral infections. Acupuncture can dramatically increase overall vitality and energy. Many people find that a regular monthly acupuncture tune-up is the best medicine to ensure continuing good health.
In collaboration with the AIDS Bureau of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, an observational assessment was conducted among 115 women receiving acupuncture. Following treatment of a minimum of 3 months, 69% of 39 women reported improvement in yeast infection and other gynecological symptoms such as menstrual irregularities and cramps.
While there are many Western medications to treat this kind of infection, acupuncture is increasing in popularity as part of a holistic approach to getting rid of unhealthy Candida bacterial levels. This kind of treatment is drug free, safe and without any side effects.
Circulatory massage is the most common healing method used for enhancing the proper flow of blood through the entire body and providing relaxation to the various muscles. This massage relaxes the tensed muscles in the body and relieves the stress from the body thus improving the overall health of the person. It involves applying pressure (medium to deep), tension, vibration or motion to the different parts of the body either with hand, arms or electronic massage devices. This massage was developed in Sweden and is now used in various parts of the world due to its unlimited benefits.
Circulatory massage therapy uses five different forms of massage strokes. The first form of stroke involves the application of stroke in a sliding or gliding way (smooth long strokes), most commonly known as effleurage. The second form of stroke is known as petrissage, which involves applying strokes in a kneading manner. The third form is known as tapotement, and the strokes are applied in a systematic and rhythmic tapping/slapping manner. The fourth form is known as friction stroke, where firm, deep, circular motions are applied. The last stroke is known as vibration stroke, where a rapid shake or vibration is applied to the targeted muscle. All these different types of strokes have proven effective in improving circulation in patients.
This therapy is performed in a very comfortable and relaxing environment and a session of this massage may last for duration of 30 minutes to an hour depending on the patient's needs. It is generally carried out in a calm and quiet place with soothing music, comfortable lying bed/table and soft lights. The massage therapist begins by application of oil, gel or lotion to the skin as it facilitates the movement and reduces the friction. In case of patients with serious health problems, it is always advisable to consult a physician before carrying out this type of massage.
This therapeutic style of massage has several benefits associated with it when applied properly. Apart from being very effective in relaxing the muscles and increasing the oxygen in the blood, this massage helps the lymphatic system to remove the toxins from the body, cleanses the body from the tissues of lactic acid, uric acid and other metabolic waste. It also helps in reducing the pain, stiffness of joints, lowering the blood pressure, reducing the headaches, reducing the stress, promoting speedy recovery from illness/injury and providing greater flexibility. This therapy has also proven beneficial in improving the mobility in patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis. It also stimulates the lymphatic system, as well as venous system, thus improving the fluid circulation and increasing the nutrition to the body cells and tissues.
This ancient form of healing is now becoming an essential part of stress management programs. It reduces the stress and fatigue and promotes an overall feeling of well being in individuals. This relaxing and rejuvenating massage can do wonders and improve the strength and vitality of the patient.
The sciatic nerve is a nerve bundle composed of several nerve roots that originate in the lower back and sacral area. This nerve goes down to the lower leg and foot and down the back of the thigh between muscles like the piriformis, which run down from the sacral area to the legs. A tightening of these muscles can cause the sciatic nerve to get compressed and cause pain. The pain can be mild causing slight tingling, but severe sciatic pain can prohibit the patient to move or even lie down. It is always advisable to get sciatica diagnosed by a physician. Other more serious factors that can cause similar pain need to be ruled out. These can be spinal problems like misalignments of the discs or their degeneration because of age. Muscle spasms or tensions can also cause such pain and need to be treated separately. Application of cold compresses quite often alleviates sciatica pain and may be used for initial treatments or mild attacks. However, long lasting relief can be obtained from massage therapy once the problem is identified as originating from the sciatic nerve.
The sciatic nerve originates from the bottom of your sacrum which is the triangular bone just above the buttocks, the region from where the massage therapist will begin the treatment. The massage treatment should preferably start with an assessment of the entire back and buttock area. The piriformis can be tight or having spasms, which in turn compresses the sciatic nerve and causes the pain. The massage treatment would include applying constant pressure to the piriformis and other gluteal muscles to cause them to relax and reduce the spasms. These muscles can become tight by constant pressure on them due to long hours of driving or spending extended periods of time while seated. The massage therapist would then include long strokes, which go deep into the muscle fibers. Pressure and technique would vary from person to person and gentle vibration of the buttock and sacrum is also practiced. This may require several sessions to enable the muscle to release its hold on the sciatic nerve and therefore afford longer relief.
Such massage techniques can also be practiced at home as a follow-up to the treatment or when the pain is less severe. This requires you to use a tennis ball. Place it in the middle of one buttock while lying down. Let your weight settle on the ball and cause pressure on the piriformis. Lie still while the muscle relaxes and repeat the massage treatment on the other buttock. Rolling the ball across the gluteal muscles while lying down may also help. Be sure the pressure does not apply to any bones. If you do feel sore after this treatment, apply some moist heat to the area with a heated wet towel.
The spending on pain relief medications due to sciatica is estimated to cost Americans billions of dollars each year. A study conducted in 2003 indicated that massage therapy reduced the intake of pain killers by as much as a third compared to other known forms of treatment. This itself can read to the reduction in the use of painkillers and has already made massage therapy a common way to ease sciatica pain. Massage therapy for sciatica pain may require multiple sessions, but relief can last for two to three months. It is important that the sufferer take care to see that the conditions that caused the sciatica pain are avoided.