Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia – A Natural Alternative Treatment

What is Fibromyalgia?

fibromyalgiaQuite simply, fibromyalgia syndrome is a disease that is currently unexplainable by modern medicine though it affects over two percent of the population of the United States. Treatment for this syndrome is a complex process because so little is known about it. Doctors will prescribe a variation of medications depending on the symptoms you have (listed below) to attempt to figure out what works. Many look into using alternative medicines rather than test medications with potentially harmful side effects. Acupuncture is the number one alternative method people use because it has been found to be much more effective than any other type of treatment.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Fibromyalgia syndrome causes chronic pain throughout the body, as well as exhaustion, depression, insomnia, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, numbness of fingers, poor blood circulation which can lead to Raynaud’s phenomenon, lack of focus, restless leg syndrome, painful menstrual cycles, migraines, pain in the jaw, stiffness of joints, dry mouth, dry eyes, dry nasal passages, incontinence, and hypersensitivity to sounds or bright lights.

Fibromyalgia Diagnosis

In order for a doctor to diagnose a person with fibromyalgia, they must have a history of chronic pain in all four quadrants of the body for at least three to four months. As of now there are not any tests that can verify that one actually has this syndrome, so a diagnosis is simply a highly educated guess. The symptoms of fibromyalgia typically show after some sort of physical or mental trauma, but no one can be certain that is the main cause. It has been discovered that women have a higher chance of developing this syndrome compared to men.

From the perspective of oriental medicine, any type of pain or disease results when there is an imbalance of Qi, or life energy, somewhere in the body.  They have found that disruptions in the spleen, cardiovascular system, liver, and kidney can cause fibromyalgia syndrome to occur.

How Acupuncture Helps Treat Fibromyalgia

Acupuncture for Chronic Pain ReliefAn acupuncture session will not treat fibromyalgia as a whole. Instead it treats it by dividing up the symptoms that the patient has and treating the imbalances related to those symptoms. The diagnosis looks at their emotional state, type of pain, sleeping patterns, general health, age, and the specific symptoms they have. There is no standard acupuncture treatment for fibromyalgia.  Each treatment will be unique to each patient.

Lifestyle change is necessary when dealing with the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Implement the following tips for best results:

7 Lifestyle Changes That Help Fibromyalgia

1: Drop sugar. Stop drinking beverages filled with sugar, such as soda. Sugar increases inflammation and raises blood sugar which later crashes.  Watch out for so called “natural” beverages too that are loaded with sugar.  Refined sugar in any form is not your friend.

2: Reduce stress.  This is a tough one, as life comes with stress.  You can deal with it by taking up meditation (below), any kind of activity or exercise, a daily nap, going to the beach, listening to relaxation tapes, even seeing a therapist or hypnotist.  Prolonged stress can significantly damage the body and mind.  It could be that a radical change may be necessary such as changing jobs or the like.  Finding a way to manage stress is essential.

3: Meditate. This is a form of stress reduction.  The practice of meditation is a proven stress reducer that helps the body create a sense of calm and a continuing sense of well being. While 15 minutes is recommended, even 5 or 10 minutes can have a powerful effect on your day.

4: Eat clean. Stop eating processed and refined foods like white bread and pasta.  They raise blood sugar which increases inflammation.  Inflammation causes discomfort and pain.  Slow burning carbohydrates like oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, beans and potatoes do not.

5: Start exercising!  While even basic movements may be painful exercise helps restore strength and endurance. Tai Chi, Qi Gong or Yoga are great for easy stretches, careful strengthening, deep breathing, along with relaxation techniques. The gentle stretching will clear tension that builds when muscles tighten and tense and improve overall circulation. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.

6: Protein power. Consume foods that contain protein like lean meats and fish.  Also eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and complex carbohydrates.

7: Sleep.  The body requires 8 hours of restorative sleep per day for optimum health.  Lack of sleep increases inflammation, cortisol, lack of energy and more.  Maintain a routine sleep schedule and make your bedroom a sanctuary from every day stress. Practicing good sleep habits will give your body an opportunity to get stronger and heal.

8: Blood flow.  Look into performing a Chinese self-massage every morning. This will stimulate your acupuncture points, which improves the flow of one’s Qi. Doing so will help your body defend against any oddities, as well as fibromyalgia.

Mayo Clinic Study – How Acupuncture Affects Fibromyalgia

The Mayo Clinic recently performed a study on if acupuncture actually does help treat fibromyalgia. They did find that acupuncture is indeed a reliable treatment for the syndrome and the symptoms that develop because of it. The patients who were diagnosed with fibromyalgia reported that acupuncture treatments helped them overcome their fatigue, depression, anxiety, as well as many other symptoms they had.

The study required two groups of people with the first group consisted of twenty-five people who were to receive acupuncture, while the second group contained twenty-five people who received mock acupuncture treatments. The group that received the real treatments reported a significant improvement in their health after one month.

Dr. David Martin, the lead doctor of this study, reported that this study had proven acupuncture to be a helpful treatment as well as proved that studies on acupuncture can be efficiently performed. There has been an increase in the amount of scientific studies on the efficacy of acupuncture.  It was also reported that the study only used those who had severe conditions, which made the entire process more controlled. Dr. Martin suggests that more doctors should perform more studies on how acupuncture affects those with fibromyalgia.


Acupuncture in Cancer Treatment – A Natural Healing Adjunct

Acupuncture and Cancer

Just to be clear in no uncertain terms: Acupuncture and other natural healing methods are no substitute for modern medical cancer treatment.  No patient in their right mind should eschew western medical treatment for this devastating and fatal disease.  Acupuncture and Traditional Oriental Medicine do have a role in the healing process as an adjunct to surgery and chemotherapy to quell side effects and stimulate healing and proper cellular function.

fu** cancerThe treatment of cancer has developed quite a bit over the years, though these treatments call for strong medications and methods with a large amount of negative side affects. Cancer treatment procedures have also been known to weaken the immune system as well.  Acupuncture has no negative side effects and has grown in popularity exponentially over the last 10 years in the US.  Not only does it reduce pain, help eliminate or reduce side affects caused by cancer treatments, and speed up the recovery process, but it also improves energy, mood and general wellness.

Acupuncture is usually used as a last resort, but people are starting to see that it should have been their first adjunct treatment along with western medical cancer treatment protocols.  Acupuncture has been used to negate the side affects from treatments from surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and biological therapy.

The scientific reason to how acupuncture helps is that it causes a response in the pituitary gland that promotes the production of proteins, chemicals, and hormones that manage bodily function and immune health. It also helps hormones like endorphins to aid in reducing pain. Blood pressure and body temperatures are balanced during this process as well.

A few of the main symptoms that are caused by cancer treatments, but can be treated with acupuncture are hot flashes, pain management, vomiting, nausea, stress, night sweats, fatigue, dry mouth, and anxiety. Many tests have been done proving that acupuncture greatly reduced vomiting and nausea caused by surgery, morning sickness, and chemotherapy. Cancer treatments can also cause a deep cough, chest congestion, depression, high fever, weight loss, speech troubles, night sweats, and fluid in the legs or arms which can be alleviated by acupuncture. People who have been treated with acupuncture also had a large reduction in pain, enough to reduce or eliminate the need for prescription pain medication.  With the previous reasons, an increased white blood cell count, general wellness, and a better immune system, there is no reason not to pursue acupuncture as an additional treatment.

What is Acupuncture and How Does it Work?

acupuncture treatmentAcupuncture is a technique within Traditional Oriental Medicine that has been dated back to ancient times, originating in China. It is said that life energy, also known as Qi, is constantly flowing through your body. When the flow of this energy is disrupted or blocked, then a problem could occur such as discomfort or illness. Acupuncturists use small, sterile needles to manage this flow. There are many acu-points on the human body that allow them to do so. A disrupted flow of Qi can be balanced to help rid or reduce any diseases or illnesses in the body. Flow of Qi can also be re-balanced and improved in order to increase the physical and mental health.

Natural herbal therapies, where allowed by the patient’s physician, can also help extend the effectiveness of the acupuncture treatments and promote wellness and balance within the patient’s body.

cancer fighting vegetablesCancer Fighting Vegetables

• Arugula
• Beet greens
• Bok choy
• Broccoli
• Brussels sprouts
• Cabbage
• Cauliflower
• Chinese cabbage
• Collard greens
• Daikon
• Horseradish
• Kale
• Kohlrabi
• Mustard greens
• Radishes
• Rutabaga
• Swiss chard
• Turnips
• Watercress

Acupuncture for Skin Conditions – A Natural Approach to Skin Care

acupuncture and skinTraditional Oriental Medicine and acupuncture are used to effectively relieve skin conditions of all types. Our skin lets us know the condition of our body overall and reacts to certain substances, like pollen or poison oak, in order to let the body know that it is best to avoid if possible. Skin conditions can be caused by imbalances in your diet, emotions, environment, and weather.

Healthy Skin

In order to keep the skin healthy inside and out, it is important to address internal problems. Acupuncture can be used to increase the flow of life energy, lymph circulation, collagen production, and blood circulation in order to make the skin look and feel its best. Collagens are proteins that help the skin become elastic, smooth, soft, moist and firm as well as increase the natural muscle tone of the body.

Skin Conditions Treated

acupuncture for skinThe skin problems acupuncture and oriental medicine can treat include psoriasis, shingles, rosacea, urticaria, pruitus, acne, eczema, and dermatitis. When treating any of these conditions, a customized plan will be created to suit your specific needs. Even if several people all have rosacea, different treatment plans will be created around specific symptoms and their current lifestyle. The techniques involved will include different types of exercises, diet changes, general lifestyle adjustments, and herbal medicines to restore balance to one’s life energy.

Oriental medicine states that our body’s condition is determined by what we eat, and that is completely right. Refined and processed foods can cause in imbalance in the skin’s Qi (life energy) and cause the above skin conditions. Below are the top foods and beverages you need to include into your diet in order to feel and look your best.

Nutrition for Healthy Skin

Water is the most important substance for keeping the body and skin healthy. Proper hydration is vital to our health as it keeps the cells that transport nutrients into the body and removes toxins hydrated. Water also is important for increasing the quality of our life energy.

Green tea is the second and only other beverage recommended for daily consumption. The effects of green tea have been studied for quite some time with results showing that green tea decreases aging as well as increased polyphenols. Polyphenols are chemicals that reduce inflammation and improve immune function. A study in the Archives of Dermatology reports that green tea is also used to decrease the risk of skin cancer developing either by consuming it or apply it to the skin.

Blueberries, plums, strawberries, and blackberries are the top four fruits that we absolutely need in our diet. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reports that in order to get the maximum amount of antioxidants our body needs it is recommended that we should consume those four fruits. Antioxidants are responsible for protecting our cells from dying out as well as guarding them from outside forces, which increases the strength of our immune system while reducing our body’s aging process.

Brown rice, whole grain bread, tuna, and turkey all contain selenium, which is a specific antioxidant designed to increase the elasticity of our skin and keeps it healthy. This antioxidant also plays a huge role as a preventative for skin cancer cause by skin damage from the sun.

Flax seed, walnuts, salmon, and olive oil contains the essential fatty acids our body needs in order to keep our skin moist, body flexible, and promotes the skin repairing process. In order to get these fatty acids, we must have a diet that contains walnuts, flax seed, flax seed oil, or fish. Besides the omega 3 fatty acid, olive oil promotes lubrication and firmness of the skin. Make sure to look for olive oil that states that it hasn’t been refined too much in order to get the most from it.

Sweet potatoes and carrots are two vegetables we must have in order to get a sufficient amount of vitamin A. This vitamin is responsible for protecting our skin against harmful entities as well as increases elasticity, reduces the chance of infection, and prevents wrinkles. Deep orange vegetables, like sweet potatoes and carrots, are the foods containing the most vitamin A.

Contact me today so we can start healing your skin and look and feel better overall.

How Chinese Herbal Remedies Work

american ginseng - Chinese Herbal RemediesChinese herbal remedies have been used for many years, long before the introduction of western medicine. Westerners have only recently learned of the amazing benefits these herbs contain. As Chinese herbal remedies grows in use and popularity, people are wondering how exactly they work. It is confusing to some individuals that a plant could offer healing. What they may not realize is that much of western medicine is derived from plant sources. The following explains how Chinese herbal remedies work in the human body.

Treating the Source

Much of western medicine treats the symptoms rather than the source of an illness or discomfort. Chinese herbal remedies target the source of the problem. For example, depleted blood causes problems with eyesight, sleep, and mood. Blood enriching herbs assist in fixing the deficiency thus eliminating the symptoms. Many issues are caused by fatigue, so specific herbs are taken to increase energy.  There are also herbs to treat specific symptoms related to things such as pain, colds and allergies. They are quite effective in this area. But for the most part, herbal medicine focuses on the causes of the disorder rather than particular symptoms.

Reciprocal Relationships

Herbs are used in combinations to boost effectiveness. They work together, promoting other. In essence, they help each other to increase usefulness. The proper mixture of herbs can have a powerful impact on the body. The use of a single herb in treatment is rare. There are a number of excellent formulas available on the market today to treat virtually any element.

3 Basic Functions of Chinese Herbal Medicine

  1. Supplement – These are used to correct any deficiencies in the body.
  2. Cleansing – These are used to clear toxins and harmful substances from of the body.
  3. Balance – These are used to bring organ systems into balance.

In the past, most western physicians have overlooked or simply denied the benefits of herbal remedies. However, they are now beginning to understand the role of herbs in treating illness. You do not have to choose between western medicine and herbal remedies. They often work very well together.

Acupuncture in the News: Success Stories

A needle here, a needle there; a doubt defeated, an ache relieved. Skeptics continue to have their suspicions blown out of the water as more and more reports emerge of acupuncture’s effectiveness. Here are a few of those stories making headlines in recent months.

Acupuncture combats side effects of cancer treatment

After undergoing chemo and radiation for her tongue cancer, Beth Dowhen turned to acupuncture to combat the side effects—reluctantly, at first. “I thought, you know, acupuncture? Is it going to be some old hippie somewhere doing it?” she explains. The immediate effects were enough to convert her; “I really do credit acupuncture with helping me feel better.”

To combat the dry mouth that accompanies radiation, a needle in Dowhen’s chin did the trick. “About five minutes after that first treatment,” she says, “I felt saliva come into my mouth and that just amazed me.” Her acupuncturist also helped her relieve a months-long sore throat, reduce stress, and induce relaxation.

Acupuncture improves quality of life for furry companion

12-year-old pug named Keeohnee found relief through acupunctureThat’s right—a 12-year-old pug named Keeohnee found relief through acupuncture. After losing feeling and movement in his hind legs, Keeohnee’s owner Miranda Ratzlaff was determined to do whatever she could to make life easier for her “fur baby,” who was developing chronic bladder infections due to being unable to move to empty his bladder.

Dr. Mark Ekerberg, a veterinarian who practices alternative therapies in addition to traditional veterinary medicine, proposed an avant-garde method to help the Wichita pug. “It seems crazy,” Ekerberg concedes. “I’m sticking a needle in their back saying that I’m going to make their kidney function better. When I first heard that I thought it was ridiculous.” After focusing on points that correspond with the bladder, bowels, and kidneys, Keeohnee’s condition began to improve. They paired the acupuncture with underwater treadmill sessions and soon witnessed the pug transform “from a completely stationary dog to a dog that’s interacting with his entire family,” Ratzlaff rejoiced.

Acupuncture boosts fertility

pregnant womanA study scheduled for publication in June in the Reproductive BioMedicine Online Journal examined the effect of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) on live birth rates for women undergoing IVF. Researchers divided the women into three groups: those who chose IVF alone, those who had two treatments of acupuncture on the day of IVF, and a third group who received TCM in the form of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and dietary recommendations throughout their treatment.

Women who utilized Traditional Chinese Medicine, the study found, had almost double the live birth rate compared to those who had IVF alone. “This is good preliminary evidence that suggests TCM as it’s practiced in the real world may positively impact IVF outcomes,” says lead researcher Lee Hullender-Rubin.

Curious as to how acupuncture might improve your own quality of life or fertility efforts? Contact us and we’ll walk you through the promising options available at Los Angeles Acupuncture and Wellness.

Chinese Herbal Medicine Formulas to Complement Acupuncture Treatments

Chinese herbal medicine has been around for 2,000 years, and the variety of herbs available on the market is quite extensive. But when given as a treatment, they’re usually intended to complement acupuncture treatment and help reinforce the balance of Qi we work toward establishing in your body. If you’ve never heard of Qi (pronounced “Chee”), it’s the energy flow in the body that helps prevent pain and illness.

While personal experience is the best way to show you how acupuncture successfully works, what herbs can you take that help restore your health? Some you may have heard of, and others perhaps not.

Chinese Herbal Medicines

american ginsengAmerican Ginseng Root

This may be the best known Chinese herb out there, and the proper Chinese name is Xi Yang Shen. Used in conjunction with acupuncture, it’s been long known for helping numerous conditions, including blood pressure and strengthening the heart. It works well on the central nervous system and in muscles in particular. In that regard, athletes who come in for acupuncture treatment can find a lot of good in taking American Ginseng Root.

Keep in mind we’ll analyze your health carefully before taking this because it does have side effects if you have certain health conditions.

xixinWild Ginger Plant

Otherwise known as Xi Xin in Chinese medicine, there’s been some controversy with wild ginger plant, though it’s known for being a powerful remedy for pain. That’s important when most people coming in for acupuncture have been dealing with pain for far too long. While some say that it’s safe to take wild ginger plant in larger doses, others say it’s better in lower doses to avoid risks of toxicity. It can strengthen the heart and muscles to help alleviate pain in just about any part of the body.

watermelon rindWatermelon Rind

In Chinese medicine, this is called Xi Gua Pi. Since it comes from a fruit that we all eat every summer, you might be surprised to learn that watermelon rinds have medicinal properties. It’s known for helping many things from diabetes to erectile dysfunction. The magic of watermelon rind comes in something called citrulline that’s seen in the drug Viagra. Yes, now you know that Viagra comes partially from nature, despite seeming like an artificial pharmaceutical.

Using watermelon rind in conjunction with acupuncture can help those we treat for erectile dysfunction and impotence. It’s just some of the conditions that acupuncture can successfully treat.

chinese plumChinese Plum

You probably didn’t know that Chinese plum was also an herb that can be used to help solve a number of health problems. Known in Chinese medicine as Wu Mei, this can help boost your immune system, even though it also focuses on helping stomach issues. That means it can help constipation and general indigestion. We have many who visit us who deal with these issues, and acupuncture helps the condition in association with other treatment.

Contact us here at Los Angeles Acupuncture and Wellness so we can help get you started on Chinese herbal medicine and explore the many other varieties not mentioned here. With each one designed to help a particular condition, you have a lot to choose from and to use as an overall acupuncture treatment program in addition to a healthy lifestyle.

Postpartum Care with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine for Postpartum CareThere is a common misconception that once a woman gives birth, her body immediately returns to “normal” and there are little, to no concerns (aside from nursing) that a new mother must face.  Yet, the truth of the matter is, even when not considering “baby weight” factors, a woman’s body is changed by pregnancy.  Some of these changes are permanent, and some are temporary.  Those that are temporary can often take months, if not longer, to return to a “pre-pregnancy” state, leaving many new mothers frustrated by a slower post-natal recovery time frame than initially anticipated.

It is important to remember that just because the birth has occurred, a new mother should not stop getting the proper care she needs to treat the issues that could arise post-delivery. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine for postpartum care is a holistic option for a mother looking to deal with both the physical and emotional elements in the post-partum period.

Postpartum Issues

While pregnant, a woman’s body produces many hormones that are necessary for the growing and delivery of human life.  Once a child is born, the body may no longer be producing those hormones, but their effects do not diminish immediately.  One of these hormones is relaxin, the hormone responsible for the relaxation of the ligaments in the pelvis, as well as the softening and widening of the cervix shortly before giving birth.  Once a baby is born, a woman’s body no longer makes hormones such as relaxin as it did shortly before the birth.  However the muscles in the pelvis remain in a relaxed state for some time.

Likewise, the muscles in a post-partum woman’s back and abdomen can remain effected after delivery.  Due to the physical burden of carrying a baby for nine months, muscle tone can be effected and muscles can remained stretched for some time, causing muscle pain and discomfort.  Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine can be used by a skilled practitioner to help a woman’s body regain both muscle tone and hormonal balance.

Acupuncture for Postpartum Depression

acupuncture for postpartum depressionAnother side effect of the hormonal fluctuations a woman can experience after giving birth can be what many refer to as the “baby blues.”  “Baby blues” usually refers to a short amount of time, lasting from a few days to a month, or longer, in which a woman’s body is hormonally out of balance, causing mood swings, anger, anxiety, problems sleeping and sometimes depression.  Post-partum depression however, is categorized as a more severe in nature than the more common “baby blues,” as well as more prolonged in duration and occurs in anywhere between 9 to 16% of new mothers.  As with all hormonal imbalances after giving birth — acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine and a hormone balancing diet can all be extremely helpful in returning a woman’s body its optimum balance, as well as successful in alleviating some of the anxiety that occurs for many during the early days of motherhood.

baby back painMuscle and Back Pain

Aside from hormones, it is easy to forget wear and tear that pregnancy and birth can put on a body, both in the muscles and the nervous system.  Many new mommies find that even after giving birth, they still suffer from the dreaded “baby back” as well as a gamut of aches and pains caused by stretched and weakened muscles throughout the body.  As it can take months for muscle tissue to return to normal after a pregnancy, neck, back and hip pain can be fairly common.  Pain and pressure caused from weakened muscles can also create undue pressure on nerves and create “interference” in the nervous system, keeping a woman’s body from healing and functioning at 100%.  Acupuncture is commonly used to not only speed up the recovery of muscle tone, but also to alleviate pressure being placed on nerves throughout the body, both assisting with the aches, pains, and strains common in the post-natal period.  Post partum exercise is also recommended.

There are many ways that acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine can assist in a woman’s postpartum period.  Contact us now to learn more about how acupuncture is being used to help with not only the previously mentioned health concerns, but also with everything from lactation concerns to incision, or perineal discomfort post delivery.  Let Dr. Laurie Binder help make those amazing first weeks with baby amazing for mommy as well!

Lose Weight and Improve Your Health with Acupuncture

Acupuncture for weight loss?

weight loss acupuncture Los AngelesAccording to traditional Chinese medicine, the main reason why we gain weight is because of an energy imbalance disrupting the flow of Qi in the liver and spleen. These two organs manage your weight by making sure your digestive system and energy flow is running smoothly. The liver is responsible for keeping up with the flow of blood and life energy that flows throughout your entire body while the spleen is directly involved with the body’s ability to extract life energy from the food we eat.

When these two systems have disrupted Qi, it can lead to problems such as compulsive eating, increased appetite, slow metabolism, loose stool, food cravings, and higher water retention. Acupuncture is an ancient method that has worked for various problems since many generations ago. This technique involves activating specific points on your body with an extremely thin needle to improve the flow of Qi. Each point is used to address a specific problem which means that different points will be targeted as new symptoms arise. This will help negate the problems above and improve several weight loss factors like increased metabolism, less frequent appetite, reduced cravings, prevents over-eating, increased energy levels, and it help the body absorb the nutrients it needs in order to function and lose weight properly.

How to Lose Weight

Acupuncture is just one treatment of many involved in the weight loss process. Treatments are determined by the patient’s individual constitution, so every patient will receive a customized plan. Typically, a full weight loss program will consist of body acupuncture, ear acupuncture, ear seeds, herbs, supplements, physical activity, and lifestyle changes.

For weight loss, specific foods and herbs will be selected to improve digestion, increase natural energy, reduce toxins, and relieving the mind of any negative emotions. Combined with acupuncture, you can be assured that your body is performing at the best rate possible to shed weight. Exercise and meditation are used for the psychological challenges that come with weight loss. This will improve your ability to resist bad foods and cravings. Acupuncture and oriental medicine treatments greatly improve the results of your weight loss routine.

As you know, physical activity is needed to reduce the size of your waist. Walking alone will not be enough, but it is an important part of your routine due to the pressure it puts on the acupuncture point Yongquan. When this point is stimulated, it can clear your mind and improve focus on the task at hand. It is best stimulated by walking, rolling a tennis ball across this point, and by massaging it with your fist.


quit smokingNumbers show that acupuncture is becoming increasingly popular due to its ability to break tough addictions. In fact, this technique is responsible for converting many people from full-time smokers to non-smokers. Acupuncture helps treat addiction by managing the symptoms of withdrawal by reducing symptoms such as cravings, restlessness, jitters, and irritability. This technique will also detoxify the body and induce relaxation.

Health specialists have stated that acupuncture does not only apply to smoking addictions, but can help with other substances such as cocaine. This conclusion resulted from a study conducted at Yale University who used ear acupuncture to attempt to treat addiction to cocaine. The study consisted of two control groups and one for acupuncture. At the end of the program, results found that over fifty percent of those in the acupuncture group were free of cocaine. The two control groups had percentages of twenty-three and nine. Furthermore, those who received acupuncture during this study stayed off cocaine indefinitely or longer than the two control groups.

Acupuncture is not the only factor in breaking an addiction. There are several tips to keep in mind as well. Dietary changes are a must if you want an easier time during the withdrawal period. Avoid all processed foods and beverages high in caffeine like coffee as these will antagonize the symptoms caused by withdrawal. Consume plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, juice, green tea, lobelia tea, and water to keep your body in good shape while overcoming your addiction. Exercise will surely help as well as it will reduce the stress and restlessness you will feel. Be sure to practice breathing exercises and meditation techniques in order to completely relax the mind and body.

Oriental Techniques for Increasing Willpower


zhiBoth weight loss and addiction recovery require enormous amounts of will power. It is the factor that determines whether or not we will succeed at whatever goal you want to achieve. In ancient Chinese medical texts will power if referred to as Zhi, which is controlled by the flow of energy in the kidneys. Zhi also correlates with the health of your defensive energy (Wei Qi) which acupuncture will improve as well.

Acupuncture and oriental medicines will help manage any physical or psychological problem you may have. They can help you control your weight by reducing appetite and improving digestion. It can also help manage addiction by decreasing the severity of the symptoms that result from withdrawal. Revitalizing your Qi will also improve various aspects of your life such as a stronger immune system, relaxes the mind, and promotes good health in general.

If you want to use these techniques for weight loss, addiction management, or to improve your life then give Laurie a call at Santa Monica Acupuncture today to set up a consultation. She’ll come up with a plan to help you address your specific problems so that you can start living the healthy life you want to live.

Men’s Health Issues and Acupuncture

acupuncture for men's health issuesAcupuncture has been used for thousands of years to treat common men’s health issues. Now more than ever people are becoming interested in this natural healing method.

3 Men’s Health Issues treated with acupuncture include depression, cardiovascular disease, and prostate health. Below is a little more insight about these major health problems and how acupuncture can help.

Men’s Health Issue #1: Depression

Depression is highly prevalent in today’s society. In the past, depression was thought to be more common in women, but statistics have shown that men tend to hide these feelings more than women do.

A depressed state will also negatively affect eating habits, energy levels, and sleep patterns.  Acupuncture can help to restore the body’s balance which can alleviate depression, insomnia, and anxiety.

Men’s Heath Issue #2: Cardiovascular Disease

quit smokingHeart attacks and strokes are not only the leading cause of death for men, but for the entire world. Evidence here. Take an active hand in improving your health by making changes to your diet and having acupuncture treatments.  Even the smallest lifestyle changes can increase prevention of cardiovascular disease and heart attack by over eighty percent. These changes can include eating a healthy diet, exercise, managing blood pressure, improving the quality of sleep, reducing stress, and quitting tobacco which can all be done with acupuncture techniques.

Reducing blood pressure can be extremely important for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack. Certain points on the body are targeted by acupuncturists in order to stimulate the production of naturally occurring opioids which are chemicals that relax the activity of the heart. These points include the legs, forearms, and wrists.

Men’s Health Issue #3: Prostate Health

Older men, which include men in their sixties to their eighties, commonly may have an enlarged or inflamed prostate. Painful urination, difficult urination, frequent urination, urinary tract infections, bladder damage, kidney damage, incontinence, bladder stones, and prostate cancer are what can occur is the prostate is untreated. Acupuncture is recommended to help prevent and treat such problems.  Studies have shown that the combined use of acupuncture and oriental medicine has shown positive results for those with prostatitis.

Oriental Medicine for the Treatment of Seasonal Allergies

Some people are affected by allergic rhinitis, which a seasonal allergy that is triggered only during certain times of the year, mainly spring or fall. Over twenty-five million Americans are diagnosed with chronic hay fever, and about forty million more people are known to have mild allergic reactions. Pollen, mold, animal dander, and dust mites carried by the wind are usually the main triggers of seasonal allergies. In the springtime, pollen fills the air because of all of the blooming agriculture. In autumn, leaf mold is the main issue and that mold can stay in the air all year long.

allergies sneezeThe reason the body contracts allergic rhinitis is due to how sensitive it is to certain byproducts of the environment. If one has such allergies, then they will feel congested, sneeze, and have watery or dry eyes. There are many medications to treat allergies, though they do have side effects that can lead to other problems such as weakened immune function. Side effects, along with the weakening of the effect of the medication over time, are two reasons why people look into receiving more natural treatments like traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture. These methods have been used for centuries in treating seasonal allergies, strengthening the immune system, and clearing nasal passages. Not only does it help relieve the symptoms, but can also prevent the allergies from recurring as well.

What is Wei Qi?

Acupuncturists believe that seasonal allergies are a condition related to the wind element and is caused by a lack of Wei Qi. Wei Qi is a type of life energy that protects the body from outside elements, such as colds or allergies. Those who have an imbalance of Wei Qi typically catch colds easier than most. Acupuncture treats the imbalances in the body to relieve the symptoms of allergic rhinitis as well as the root problem itself. Treatments often call for a change in diet and habits as well as herbal medications.

Studies on Allergic Rhinitis and Acupuncture

Many studies have been conducted on how effective acupuncture is for seasonal allergies. There is a specific study reported by the American Journal of Epidemiology that proved acupuncture and oriental medicine can relieve allergic symptoms significantly.

Five thousand people were separated into two groups in the study. One group received acupuncture with standard care while the other only received standard care. This occurred for three months until an evaluation took place, then the test continued for three more months. Results showed that the patients who received acupuncture not only have relieved symptoms, but also had better health in general.

A similar study reported by the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reported that those with hay fever who received acupuncture treatment weekly and three cups of herbal tea per day had a significant decrease in the severity of their symptoms. After a month and a half, over eighty percent of their patients showed improvement while the control group only had a forty percent increase.

Summer and Traditional Chinese Medicine | Tongue Diagnosis

Summer and Chinese Medicine

summer volleyballFire is the element used to describe the intensity of our life energy during the summer season. This time of year is when we should use this energy to moving forwards with our lives as well as make full effort to reach our greatest potential. Oriental medicine specialists believe that summer is the time of year in which the element fire rules over. Fire is often correlated with the emotion joy, the color red, the spirit of yang, a hot temperature, the small intestine, and the body’s overall complexion.

Here are a few characteristics of summer to help you better relate to the season.

Spirit – Yang
Emotion – Happiness
Fruit – Watermelon
Element – Fire
Organs – Tongue, Complex and Small Intestine

If you are living in tune with the fire element then you should notice your mind to be calmer, sleep will come easier, and the heart to function better. When out of tune symptoms such as depression, insomnia, nervousness, heartburn, and agitation may occur.

Tongue Diagnosis

The tongue is an organ often associated with summer and also important in the world of oriental medicine. The current shape, color, and coating of the tongue can reflect the overall conditions of our body. If the color of one’s tongue changes then this can signal a chronic disease in the body which means you should get medical assistance immediately. The healthier you are, the healthier your tongue will be. In its best condition the tongue will be lightly coated with white, have a normal thickness, and has a pink color.

tongue diagnosisSpecific parts of the tongue can tell specialists in oriental medicine exactly where a problem persists. If a certain area has an unusual lump or color, then there will be an organ that corresponds to that area and should be checked out. If the tip of the tongue is ever red, then this could mean that stress is the causes of the imbalance in our bodies. It is extremely common to see people with red tipped tongue due to the fast paced stresses of our era.

A red tipped tongue can also signify a heart imbalance, though if this is the case then there will be other symptoms occurring as well such as a feeling of heat in the chest, high blood pressure, rapid pulse, frequent night terrors, irritability, insomnia, mouth ulcers, anxiety, and dry mouth. Of course the tongue diagnosis alone cannot be relied on, but it can provide doctors with the overall health of a person.

Watermelon (Xi Gua)

watermelon xi guaWatermelon has always been associated with the summer season since the times of ancient Egypt. During those times watermelon juice was a treat often provided to travelers of the era. Oriental medicine specialists use both the seeds and fruit for the negative effects of summer such as dehydration, nausea, low appetite, lack of motivation, no focus, irritability, agitation, no appetite, poor digestion, stick sweat, and a higher body temperature.

Watermelon is also used as a natural anti-inflammatory to fight the possibility of developing diseases like atherosclerosis, asthma, cancers, diabetes, asthma, and arthritis in the future.

On top of all that, watermelon is a good source of magnesium, potassium, thiamine, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C.