Treating Thyroid Disorders with Acupuncture
When functioning properly, the thyroid gland secretes just the right amount of thyroid hormone to regulate almost all the metabolic processes in your body. Too much or too little of these vital body chemicals and it can drastically influence energy levels, body weight and your mental health. With over 20 million Americans living with some form of thyroid disease, much attention has been given to the many ways that acupuncture and Oriental medicine can treat thyroid problems.
What is the thyroid?
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland that sits in the front of the neck. It is responsible for energy, metabolism, hormone regulation, body weight and blood calcium levels. Thyroid disorders stem from either an overproduction (hyperthyroidism) or underproduction (hypothyroidism) of thyroid hormones. When your thyroid is not functioning properly, your body can experience a variety of symptoms:
• Weight loss despite increased appetite
• Increased heart rate, heart palpitations, higher blood pressure, nervousness, and excessive perspiration
• More frequent bowel movements, sometimes with diarrhea
• Muscle weakness, trembling hands
• Development of a goiter (an enlargement in your neck)
• Lighter or shorter menstrual periods
• Lethargy, slower mental processes or depression
• Reduced heart rate
• Increased sensitivity to cold
• Tingling or numbness in the hands
• Development of a goiter (an enlargement in your neck)
• Constipation, heavy menstrual periods or dry skin and hair
Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can be diagnosed by testing the levels of thyroid hormones in your blood. Hormones secreted by the thyroid are measured, as well as thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), a chemical released by the pituitary gland that triggers hormone production in the thyroid. Some milder forms of hypothyroidism can also be detected by a consistently low basal body temperature.
How can acupuncture help?
Both Western and Eastern medicine offer various methods to restore thyroid hormone levels. Western treatments rely mainly on drugs and surgery while Eastern treatments aim to restore immune function as well as balance the production and release of thyroid hormones through a variety of approaches ranging from acupuncture and herbal remedies to lifestyle changes and special exercises.
In the treatment to thyroid problems, acupuncture can be used to restore hormonal balance, regulate energy levels, smooth emotions and help manage sleep, emotions and menstrual problems. There are several powerful acupuncture points on the ear and the body that can be used to regulate the production of thyroid hormones. Treatments take all of your symptoms into account and are aimed at balancing the energy within the body to optimize health.
When it comes to lifestyle changes, a diet rich in protein, calcium, magnesium, and iodine helps support thyroid function while certain foods known as goitrogens may interfere with thyroid hormone production and should be limited. These include cruciferous vegetables (such as cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts), peanuts, and soy. Stress reducing exercises such as yoga or tai chi can also be beneficial.
If you have a thyroid problem, call for a consultation. A custom-tailored treatment plan will be created to suit your individual needs so that you can feel better quickly and safely!
Acupuncture and Eye Health
Your eyes are a reflection of your overall health. Illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease can be revealed in the eyes. Conditions such as glaucoma, optic neuritis or vision loss are often associated with systemic health problems. It is this interconnection between your eyes and your health that acupuncture and Oriental medicine can tap into and utilize to treat eye and vision problems. Eye conditions respond well to acupuncture and it has been used successfully to treat a wide range of eye problems for centuries.
How Eye Disorders Are Treated With Acupuncture
Oriental medicine pays close attention to the relationship between tissues and organs. Sometimes an imbalance within the body can manifest as an eye problem, just as the health of the eyes is often a reflection of an imbalance or health problem elsewhere in the body.
When you are treated for an eye condition with acupuncture, any underlying imbalances that are attributing to your symptoms will be addressed. The eye problems will also be treated directly by promoting circulation of Qi (life force) and blood around the eyes.
Common eye problems treated with acupuncture include:
Chronic Dry Eyes
Acupuncture Points Around the Eye
There are several powerful acupuncture points around the eyes that promote eye health. These points bring Qi and blood to the eyes to nourish the tissue and improve the condition of the eyes.
Jingming (UB-1) - When translated, Jingming means Bright eyes. This point is located in the inner corner of the eye. It is one of the primary points to bring Qi and blood to the eyes and is used for eye problems of all kinds including early-stage cataracts, glaucoma, night blindness, conjunctivitis and blurred vision.
Zanzhu (UB-2) - This point lies in the depression at the inner end of the eyebrow. Like Jingming, it is a primary point for the eyes and is used for all types of eye problems. Some of the indications to use this point include headache, blurring or failing of vision, pain in the supraorbital region, excessive tearing, redness, swelling and pain of the eye, twitching of the eyelids and glaucoma.
Yuyao - In the hollow at the midpoint of the eyebrow, directly above the pupil. It is used for eye strain, pain in the supraorbital region, twitching of the eyelids, ptosis, cloudiness of the cornea, redness, swelling and pain of the eyes.
Sizhukong (SJ 23) - In the hollow at the outside end of the eyebrow. This point is used for eye and facial problems including headaches, redness and pain of the eye, blurring of vision, twitching of the eyelids, toothache and facial paralysis.
Tongziliao (GB 1) - Located on the outside corner of the eye. This point is used to brighten the eyes as well as for headaches, redness and pain of the eyes, failing or blurring of vision, photophobia, dry, itchy eyes, early-stage cataracts and conjunctivitis.
Qiuhou - Below the eye, midway between St-1 and GB-1 along the orbit of the eye. Used for all types of eye disease.
Chengqi (St 1) - With the eyes looking straight forward, this point is directly below the pupil, between the eyeball and the eye socket. This is a main point for all eye problems, conjunctivitis, night blindness, facial paralysis and excessive tearing.
In addition to acupuncture, there are several things you can do each day to maintain eye health and avoid problems. Drink eight to ten glasses of water to keep your body and eyes hydrated. Stop smoking. Exercise to improve overall circulation. Make a conscious effort to stop periodically to rest and blink frequently especially when reading, working on a computer or watching television. Avoid rubbing your eyes. Always remember to always protect your eyes from the sun's harmful UV light and glare with protective lenses.
Would you like to learn more about how acupuncture can help you with an eye condition? Please call now for a consultation.
Treating Autoimmune Diseases with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Autoimmune diseases are a group of disorders in which the immune system attacks the body and destroys or alters tissues. There are more than eighty serious chronic illnesses in this category including rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, lupus, thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease, Addison's disease, pernicious anemia, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis and Guillain-Barré syndrome. According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) twenty percent of the population suffers from autoimmune disorders. Each disease appears uncommon on an individual basis but, as a group, the disorders make up the fourth-largest cause of disability among women.
Due to the complexity of treating autoimmune disorders, integrative medicine solutions including acupuncture and Oriental medicine have received much attention as successful therapies in their treatment particularly for use in providing pain relief, regulating the immune system, managing symptoms and improving overall quality of life.
What Causes Autoimmune Disease?
Under normal conditions, an immune response cannot be triggered against the cells of one's own body. In certain cases, however, immune cells make a mistake and attack the very cells that they are meant to protect. This can lead to a variety of autoimmune diseases which encompass a broad category of over 100 diseases in which the person's immune system attacks his or her own tissue.
The exact mechanisms causing these changes are not completely understood, but bacteria, viruses, toxins, and some drugs may play a role in triggering an autoimmune process in someone who already has a genetic (inherited) predisposition to develop such a disorder. It is theorized that the inflammation initiated by these agents, toxic or infectious, somehow provokes in the body a "sensitization" (autoimmune reaction) in the involved tissues.
As the disease develops vague symptoms start to appear, such as joint and muscle pain, general muscle weakness, possible rashes or low-grade fever, trouble concentrating, or weight loss. The following symptoms may point toward something being wrong: numbness and tingling in hands and feet, dry eyes, hair loss, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, or repeated miscarriages can also be caused by an autoimmune response.
How Acupuncture Treats Autoimmune Disorders
According to Oriental medicine, autoimmune disorders occur when there is imbalance within the body. Imbalance can come from an excess or deficiency of yin and yang that disrupts the flow of Qi, or vital energy, through the body. Acupuncture is used to help the body restore balance, treating the root of the disorder, while specifically addressing the symptoms that are unique to each individual.
Clinical research has shown that acupuncture causes physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain. These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones, and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. It is proposed that, by these actions, acupuncture affects blood pressure, body temperature and the immune system.
In addition to acupuncture, your treatment program to manage your autoimmune disorder may involve a combination of therapies including stress reducing exercises, moderate physical activity, herbal medicine and nutritional support.
Learn more about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be safely and effectively incorporated into treating autoimmune disorders, call for a consultation today!
Acupuncture for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that can affect many different joints and, in some people, other parts of the body as well, including the blood, the lungs, and the heart. Inflammation of the joint lining, called the synovium, can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, warmth, and redness. The affected joint may also lose its shape, resulting in loss of normal movement. Rheumatoid arthritis can last a long time and can be a disease of flares (active symptoms) and remissions (few to no symptoms).
According to Oriental medical theory, arthritis arises when the cyclical flow of Qi in the meridians becomes blocked. This blockage is called, "bi" type pain and is widely studied and successfully treated using a combination of acupuncture and/or Chinese herbs.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine have been found to be extremely effective at treating the pain and inflammation associated with all types of arthritis. The acupuncture points and herbs that are used depend on if the blockage of Qi (arthritis) is caused by the pathogen wind, cold, damp or damp-heat.
Call today to learn how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be incorporated into your treatment plan for rheumatoid arthritis!
Acupuncture for Healthy Skin
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be very effective at treating skin conditions. Treatments can provide quick relief for acute symptoms and can provide significant and lasting relief from recurrent or chronic skin conditions.
The skin reflects and reacts to imbalances within the body's internal landscape and the effects of the environment. Internal disharmonies caused by strong emotions, diet, and your constitution as well as environmental influences, such as wind, dryness, dampness, and heat can all contribute to the development of a skin disorder. To keep your skin healthy and beautiful on the outside, you must work on the inside of your body as well. Increasing the flow of energy, blood and lymph circulation improves the skin's natural healthy color.
Promotion of collagen production increases muscle tone and elasticity helping to firm the skin. Stimulating the formation of body fluids nourishes the skin and encourages it to be moister, softer, smoother and more lustrous.
General skin conditions that can be treated with acupuncture and Oriental medicine include acne, dermatitis, eczema, pruritus, psoriasis, rosacea, shingles and urticaria (hives). Oriental medicine does not recognize skin problems as one particular syndrome. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of techniques with acupuncture such as herbal medicine, bodywork, lifestyle/dietary recommendations and energetic exercises to restore imbalances found in the body. Therefore, if 10 patients are treated with Oriental medicine for eczema, each patient will receive a unique, customized treatment with different lifestyle and dietary recommendations.
If you suffer from a skin condition or would like to know how to optimize your skin health, please call to find out more about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you
Foods to Help You Look Your Best
Acupuncture views nutrition in a complex light, through the application of Oriental medicine wisdom to dietary habits. In short, certain foods are considered too yang, or hot to eat in excess during the warmer months, while others are prized for their yin ability to cool the body. Overall, the goal is balance between the internal yin and yang of the body.
A healthy, nutritional diet, getting good quality sleep and moderate exercise can keep your skin and physical form at it's best. Be sure to integrate these items into your diet to help keep you looking your best!
Carrots and Sweet Potatoes - Healthy skin is directly dependent on the amount of vitamin A in our diet. Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant to neutralize harmful elements in our skin, helps to prevent wrinkles, resist infection and maintain the skin's elasticity. One of the best places to get Vitamin A is vegetables that are deep orange in color.
Blackberries, Blueberries, Strawberries, and Plums - In a study recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, these four fruits weighed in with the highest "total antioxidant capacity" of any food. Antioxidants and other phytochemicals in these fruits can protect cells from damage and disintegration, thus guarding against premature aging.
Salmon, Walnuts, Olive Oil, and Flax Seed - Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are responsible for skin repair, moisture content, and overall flexibility, but because the body cannot produce its own EFAs, they must be obtained through the diet. Fish, walnuts, and flax seed oil are among the best sources for omega 3 fatty acid. Eating good-quality olive oil helps keep skin lubricated and keeps it looking and feeling healthier overall. Which olive oil is the best for your skin? Those labeled "cold pressed", "expeller processed", or "extra virgin" are the least processed forms. As a result, they contain the highest levels of antioxidative substances.
Whole Wheat Bread, Brown Rice, Turkey, Tuna and Brazil Nuts - Selenium is an antioxidant mineral responsible for tissue elasticity and healthy skin. It may play an important role in preventing skin cancer, as some recent studies are showing that skin damaged by the sun may suffer fewer consequences if selenium levels are high.
Green Tea - Green tea's ability to slow down the development of some signs of aging is attributed to its high levels of polyphenols, which have been well-documented for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea may help prevent or reduce the risk of skin cancer according to a study published recently in the Archives of Dermatology, which shows that whether taken orally or applied to the skin, green tea can reduce the risk of damage from ultraviolet light and thus reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Water - Hydration plays a key role in keeping skin cells healthy. It is essential to maintaining your skin's elasticity and suppleness. Keeping cells hydrated helps cells move nutrients in and toxins out, which helps keep skin clean and clear.
Benefits of Acupuncture in Cancer Care
On Sunday June 6th, cancer survivors celebrated the 23rd annual National Cancer Survivors Day, sponsored by the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation. The event, which includes hundreds of gatherings across the US, is a time to celebrate life. Here are some ways that acupuncture can help while being treated for and recovering from cancer.
Cancer treatments are aggressive and cause numerous unwanted side effects as well as a lowered immune system. Acupuncture is an excellent adjunctive therapy in cancer treatments because of its ability to relieve pain, reduce side effects, accelerate recovery and improve quality of life.
What Acupuncture is used for during Cancer Treatment
Acupuncture provides a total approach to health care for people with cancer. It can be used to address many of the concerns that come up during and after chemotherapy, radiation, biological therapy and surgery.
According to the National Cancer Institute, acupuncture may cause physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain. These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones, and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. It is proposed that, by these actions, acupuncture affects blood pressure and body temperature, boosts immune system activity, and causes the body's natural painkillers, such as endorphins, to be released.
Areas that acupuncture has shown the most promise include:
• Nausea and Vomiting
• Dry Mouth, Night Sweats and Hot Flashes
• Stress, Anxiety and Fatigue
• Pain Management
• Increasing White Blood Cell Count
To learn more about how acupuncture can safely and effectively be incorporated into care for people with cancer, please call for a consultation today.
Source: National Cancer Institute. www.cancer.org
Chemo-Induced Nausea Study
Effect of Acupuncture on Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting
According to the National Cancer Institute, of all the investigated effects of acupuncture on cancer-related or chemotherapy-related symptoms and disorders, the positive effect of acupuncture on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting is the most convincing.
Numerous studies have consistently shown acupuncture to be effective in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting as well as as postoperative and morning sickness nausea and vomiting.
A randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial investigated the effect of electro-acupuncture on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in 104 patients with breast cancer who were undergoing a highly emetogenic (causes vomiting) chemotherapy regimen. The patients were randomly assigned to receive low-frequency electro-acupuncture at classic acupuncture points for nausea and vomiting once daily for 5 days, minimal needling at control points with mock electro-acupuncture on the same schedule, or no adjunct needling. All patients received concurrent antiemetic drugs (prochlorperazine, lorazepam, and diphenhydramine) and high-dose chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide, cisplatin, and carmustine).
The main outcome measures were the total number of emesis (vomiting) episodes and the proportion of emesis-free days occurring during the 5-day study period. The data revealed significantly fewer emesis episodes in the electro-acupuncture treatment group compared with those in the minimal needling and drug-only control groups.
Source: Shen J, Wenger N, Glaspy J, et al.: Electroacupuncture for control of myeloablative chemotherapy-induced emesis: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA 284 (21): 2755-61, 2000.