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Charlotte Acupuncture and Wellness Center - August 2009 Newsletter

Qi Mail™
The Acupuncture Newsletter
August 2009
Charlotte Acupuncture and Wellness Center 

700 East Boulevard, Suite 2
Charlotte, NC 28203
704-333-8899

Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) affects an estimated 2 percent of the population. Conventional therapies are limited in the success of treating this complex and unexplained condition. Current treatment is largely comprised of prescribing different medications for the varying symptoms in a trial and error approach. Research shows that as many as 90 percent of people with fibromyalgia have turned to complimentary and alternative medicine to manage their symptoms. Acupuncture, in particular, has become a popular treatment choice and has shown to be an effective treatment for FMS.

What is Fibromyalgia Syndrome?

Fibromyalgia is a medically unexplained syndrome characterized by chronic widespread pain, a heightened and painful response to pressure, insomnia, fatigue, and depression. While not all affected persons experience all associated symptoms, the following symptoms commonly occur together:

• chronic pain
• debilitating fatigue
• difficulty sleeping
• anxiety and depression
• joint stiffness
• chronic headaches and jaw pain
• difficulty swallowing
• dryness in mouth, nose, and eyes
• hypersensitivity to odors, bright lights, and loud noises 
• inability to concentrate (called "fibro fog")
• incontinence
• irritable bowel syndrome
• numbness or tingling in the fingers and feet
• painful menstrual cramps
• poor circulation in hands and feet (called Raynaud's phenomenon)
• restless legs syndrome

Fibromyalgia is diagnosed when there is a history of widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum duration of three months and pain when pressure is applied to at least 11 of 18 designated tender points on the body. This condition does not result in any physical damage to the body or its tissues and there are no laboratory tests which can confirm this diagnosis. 

Symptoms often begin after a physical or emotional trauma, but in many cases there appears to be no triggering event. Women are more prone to develop the disorder than are men, and the risk of fibromyalgia increases with age. 

From an Eastern Perspective

The Oriental medicine theory of pain is expressed in this famous Chinese saying: "Bu tong ze tong, tong ze bu tong" which means "free flow: no pain, no free flow: pain."

Pain is seen as a disruption of the flow of Qi within the body. The disruption of Qi that results in fibromyalgia is usually associated with disharmonies of the Liver, Spleen, Kidney and Heart Systems.

The Acupuncture Treatment

Oriental Medicine does not recognize fibromyalgia as one particular disease pattern. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual depending on their constitution, emotional state, intensity and location of their pain, digestive health, sleeping patterns and an array of other signs and symptoms. Therefore, if 10 people are treated with Oriental medicine for fibromyalgia, each of these 10 people will receive a unique, customized treatment with different acupuncture points, different herbs and different lifestyle and dietary recommendations.

Because the symptoms of fibromyalgia are highly variable form one person to another, a wide array of traditional and alternative treatments has been shown to be the most effective way of treating this difficult syndrome. A treatment program may include a combination of psychological or behavioral therapies, medications, exercise, acupuncture, herbal medicine and bodywork.

If you have fibromyalgia, acupuncture and Oriental medicine may be what you've been looking for to ease your symptoms and reclaim your health and vitality. Please call for a consultation today.

 

Study on Acupuncture and Fibromyalgia

A recent study from the Mayo Clinic found acupuncture helpful in treating the fatigue and anxiety commonly experienced by fibromyalgia patients. In the trial, patients who received acupuncture to counter their fibromyalgia symptoms reported improvement in fatigue and anxiety, among other symptoms. Acupuncture was well tolerated, with minimal side effects.

In the double-blind study, Mayo Clinic doctors gave 25 fibromyalgia patients acupuncture, and 25 "sham" acupuncture treatments. Patients received six treatments during the two- to three-week study. Those who received acupuncture treatments reported less fatigue and anxiety one month following after treatment than did the "sham" group.

"The results of the study convince me there is something more than the placebo effect to acupuncture," says David Martin, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the acupuncture article and a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist. "It affirms a lot of clinical impressions that this complementary medical technique is helpful for patients."

Dr. Martin says the study demonstrates that acupuncture is helpful, and also proves physicians can conduct a rigorous, controlled acupuncture study. Future research could help physicians understand which medical conditions respond best to acupuncture, how to apply it to best relieve symptoms, and how long patients can expect to their symptoms to decrease after each treatment.

Dr. Martin performed the study at Mayo Clinic Rochester with co-authors Ines Berger, M.D.; Christopher Sletten, Ph.D.; and Brent Williams. The study used only two acupuncturists and examined only patients who reported more severe symptoms, offering better experimental control. Still, the Mayo Clinic doctors urged more study to see how acupuncture can best be used in treating fibromyalgia patients.

Source: Mayo Clinic (2006, June 13). Acupuncture Relieves Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia, Mayo Clinic Study Finds.

Chinese acupuncture affects brain's ability to regulate pain, study shows

Researchers at the University of Michigan Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center are first to provide evidence of acupuncture's effect on opoid receptors

 

ANN ARBORMich. -- Acupuncture has been used in East-Asian medicine for thousands of years to treat pain, possibly by activating the body's natural painkillers. But how it works at the cellular level is largely unknown.
 
Using brain imaging, a University of Michigan study is the first to provide evidence that traditional Chinese acupuncture affects the brain's long-term ability to regulate pain. The results appear online ahead of publication in the September issue of Journal of NeuroImage.
 
In the study, researchers at the U-M Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center showed acupuncture increased the binding availability of mu-opoid receptors (MOR) in regions of the brain that process and dampen pain signals -- specifically the cingulate, insula, caudate, thalamus and amygdala.
 
Opioid painkillers, such as morphine, codeine and other medications, are thought to work by binding to these opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord.
 
"The increased binding availability of these receptors was associated with reductions in pain," says Richard E. Harris, Ph.D., researcher at the U-M Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center and a research assistant professor of anesthesiology at the U-M Medical School.
 
One implication of this research is that patients with chronic pain treated with acupuncture might be more responsive to opioid medications since the receptors seem to have more binding availability, Harris says.
 
These findings could spur a new direction in the field of acupuncture research following recent controversy over large studies showing that sham acupuncture is as effective as real acupuncture in reducing chronic pain. 
 
"Interestingly both acupuncture and sham acupuncture groups had similar reductions in clinical pain," Harris says. "But the mechanisms leading to pain relief are distinctly different."
 
The study participants included 20 women who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, for at least a year, and experienced pain at least 50 percent of the time. During the study they agreed not to take any new medications for their fibromyalgia pain.
 
Patients had position emission tomography, or PET, scans of the brain during the first treatment and then repeated a month later after the eighth treatment.
 
Additional authors: Jon-Kar Zubieta, M.D., Ph.D., David J. Scott, Vitaly Napadow, Richard H. Gracely, Ph.D,  Daniel J. Clauw, M.D.
 
Funding: Department of Army, National Institutes of Health
 
Reference: Journal of NeuroImage, Vol. 47, No. 3, 2009

 

 

In This Issue

  • Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia Syndrome
  • Study on Acupuncture and Fibromyalgia
  • 10 Tips for Preventing Fibromyalgia

10 Tips for Preventing Fibromyalgia

You can help cut your risk significantly by incorporating a few simple lifestyle changes into your daily routines and habits, according to Bob Flaws, author of Curing Fibromyalgia Naturally with Chinese Medicine.

1. Eliminate processed foods from your diet, especially white sugar and white flour products. These products give our bodies little nutrition and over time can damage our digestion as well as cause obesity, one of the common problems related to fibromyalgia.

2. Include all unprocessed foods in your diet, such as proteins, complex and unrefined carbohydrates, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

3. Eat foods that support the functions of the spleen and stomach. In other words, avoid overly greasy foods, ice cold drinks, alcohol, raw and uncooked foods, hot, peppery foods, coffee, and too much fruit. Avoid daily juice drinks since these are the same as eating a candy bar in the amount of sugar introduced into the body.

4. Stop drinking sodas. Sodas are acidic in nature and loaded with sugar and chemicals. Sodas are detrimental to both the spleen and the kidneys.

5. Find some type of exercise that you really enjoy and just do it! Pumping iron is not for everyone. You would probably benefit most from some kind of cardiovascular exercise to keep to blood moving, like swimming, yoga, stretching, and bicycling.

6. Take a walk every day. If you live with a dog or cat, play with them daily. Animals live in the moment and love to play. This is a great way to break stressful daily routines.

7. Practice Chinese self massage every morning by stimulating the acupuncture points on the body and limbs to help promote the flow of Qi and blood in the channels.

8. Buy some relaxation tapes with guided imaging. Learn how to really relax. This means bodily relaxation as well as mental repose. Use these tapes daily for the best results.

9. Take a look at the old habits and patterns of your life and ask yourself what you can do to make your life better. Take up tasks and hobbies that are interesting to you and break the normal routine of your day.

10. If you know that you have too much stress in your life, find a solution. This may be finding a new job or new, more supportive relationships. Understand that stress alone can kill you, and if you smoke and consume alcohol to escape stressful situations, you are only fooling yourself.


Fertility and Acupuncture - Hope Peek, LAc, FABORM interviewed by Debra Kennedy

Debra Kennedy interviews Hope Peek, LAc, FABORM of Charlotte Acupuncture and Wellness Center. The topic of discussion is the use of acupuncture and Chinese medicine in the treatment of infertility and women's health issues. Hope is a board certified, licensed acupuncturist. She is a Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine and a charter member of The Fertile Soul's Clinical Excellence in Fertility Program. Hope blends the use of her knowledge and skills of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and traditional Oriental nutrition with her strong compassion and desire to help women with their health issues.<< MORE >>

NBC News - Charlotte Acupuncture and Wellness Center - NIH Study on Alternative and Complementary Medicine

A NBC news crew visited Charlotte Acupuncture and Wellness Center on 07-30-2009. They interviewed our practitioners and some of our patients for a story to be published via a national newsfeed. The story is related to a study released by the National Institutes of Health regarding Alternative and Complementary medicine in the United States.<< MORE >>

Debra Kennedy Show - Todd Trembula, LAc - Charlotte Acupuncture and Wellness Center

Debra Kennedy interviews Todd Trembula, LAc of Charlotte Acupuncture and Wellness Center. This discussion is focused on a brief overview of acupuncture and the treatment of pain. This segment originally aired in Charlotte, NC.<< MORE >>

January 2009 Newsletter - Charlotte Acupuncture - New Year's Rejuvenation

Qi Mail™
The Acupuncture Newsletter
January 2009
Charlotte Acupuncture and Wellness Center

700 East Boulevard, Suite 2
Charlotte, NC 28203
704-333-8899

New Year's Rejuvenation

It is the beginning of a new year and, once again, a time to reflect on what changes we can make to improve our lives.

If you are intent on improving your health this year, acupuncture may be the very thing you need to "stick" to those resolutions. Here's how:

Resolution: Stay Sharp


Your New Year’s resolution may be to learn a new language or take a class at the local college. How ever you choose to exercise your brain, acupuncture can help. Numerous studies suggest that acupuncture can help improve memory, mental clarity, concentration and cognitive function.

One recently published study showed how acupuncture can be used to help patients with vascular dementia. Cerebral functional imaging before and after acupuncture treatments showed a significant increase in the cerebral glucose metabolism of the brain which is associated with improved cognitive function. Other studies have looked at how acupuncture affects the performance of student taking an exam, Alzheimer's disease and memory impairment induced by diabetes and cerebral ischemia. All results, thus far, have been positive.

Resolution: Relieve Pain Naturally

Increasingly, people are looking for more natural approaches to help relieve painful conditions instead of relying on medications. Acupuncture has no side effects and can be helpful for all types of pain, regardless of what is causing the pain or where the pain is located. Some studies have shown the pain relief it provides can last for months.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain before and after acupuncture treatment for pain shows dramatic decreases in brain activity -- up to 70%. This decrease in brain activity in certain areas of the brain is thought to be the reason for the reduction of pain caused by the acupuncture treatments.

In addition to reducing pain, acupuncture also hastens the healing process by increasing circulation and attracting white blood cells to an injured area.

Resolution: Eliminate Stress

Stress reduction is always on the top ten list for New Year’s resolutions and for a good reason. Stress is often the cause of illness and the deterioration of health. Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress, anxiety and lowering blood pressure

In addition to acupuncture, Oriental medicine offers a whole gamut of tools and techniques that can be integrated into your life to keep stress in check. These tools include Tui Na, Qi Gong exercises, herbal medicine, dietary therapy, meditations and acupressure that you can administer at home.

Needless to say, if the stress in your life is throwing you off balance, consider coming in for a treatment to regain peace of mind and stay healthy.

Resolution: Reach Target Weight and Stay There

Losing weight is the #1 most common New Year's Resolution. Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine can help you reach your goal weight and maintain it by promoting better digestion, smoothing emotions, reducing appetite, improving metabolism, and eliminating food cravings.

From an Oriental medicine perspective, the acupuncture points, foods and herbs that are chosen to assist with weight loss directly influence the Qi of the Spleen and Liver systems to treat the root imbalances that are causing the weight gain.

From a Western perspective, acupuncture and Oriental medicine have been shown to have an effect on the function of the nervous system, endocrine system, digestive system, food cravings, and metabolism. All of which can help to energize the body, maximize the absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, suppress the appetite, and reduce anxiety.

The beauty of acupuncture is that each treatment is catered to the needs of the individual patient. Acupuncture points on the body will be chosen for overall well being with the objective of increasing circulation of the blood and Qi (stimulating the metabolism) and calming the nervous system.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are powerful tools for healthy weight loss, by themselves or as a supportive treatment in conjunction with other weight management programs.

Resolution: Quit Smoking

Acupuncture has turned a growing number of cigarette cravers into permanent ex-smokers. In fact, researchers say that acupuncture is a promising treatment for all types of addiction from cigarettes to heroin.

In one study, a team from Yale University successfully used auricular (ear) acupuncture to treat cocaine addiction. Results showed that 54.8% of participants tested free of cocaine during the last week of treatment, compared to 23.5% and 9.1% in the two control groups. Those who completed acupuncture treatment also had longer periods of sustained abstinence compared to participants in the control groups.

The acupuncture treatments for smoking cessation focus on jitters, cravings, irritability, and restlessness; symptoms that people commonly complain about when they quit. It also aids in relaxation and detoxification.

Call now to see how Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you with your New Year’s Resolutions!

 

The Will Power Connection

Is there a body/mind connection to will power? According to the principles of Oriental medicine, there is. Will power or “Zhi” is said to reside in the Kidneys and the state of the Kidney Qi directly correlates to the fortitude of our will power.

“The Kidneys determine our will power,” writes Giovanni Maciocia, the author of The Foundations of Chinese Medicine. “If the Kidneys are strong, the will power will be strong, the mind will be focused on goals that it sets itself and it will pursue them in a single-minded way. Conversely, if the Kidneys are weak, will power will be lacking and the mind will be easily discouraged and swayed from its aims.”

 

 

In This Issue

  • New Year's Rejuvenation
  • The Will Power Connection
  • The Anti-Flu Diet
  • Jade Windscreen Tea

The Anti-Flu Diet

Looking for ways to reduce your chance of getting flu this season?

A study, published by The American Physiological Society found that mice were significantly less likely to contract flu when given quercetin, a powerful anti-oxidant found in a variety of fruits and vegetables.

According to the study's authors, the research also indicated that high consumption of quercetin resulted in catching fewer colds.

So, what are the best quercetin rich foods that you can load up on? Quercetin is found in red onions, grapes, blueberries, tea, broccoli and red wine. Red onions are one of the best quercetin rich foods as they have approximately four times the quercetin of most other produce. Eat them raw or cooked.

Source: American Journal of Physiology

Jade Windscreen Tea

Jade windscreen tea is a tonic made up of three herbs that are used to enhance the immune system. This herbal combination is thought to improve resistance to colds and flu, strengthen the lungs, and help to balance the body during periods of stress.

Ingredients
To make Jade Windscreen Tea, you will need equal parts (2–3 oz. each) of the herbs listed below.

1.) Huang Qi (Astragalus root)
2.) Bai Zhu (Atractylodes)
3.) Fang Feng (Ledebouriella Root)

Directions
Boil and Simmer. Place one part herbs and four parts water in a large stockpot. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Turn the heat down to a low simmer and cover. Do not lift the lid to look at the herbs too often, as this will diminish the “flavor” and allow the volatile oils to evaporate out of the tea very easily. Cook the herbs for 30 to 45 minutes.

Strain the Tea and Drink. Using a slotted spoon, remove the herbs from the pot and allow the soup to cool. Pour the tea into a mug or thermos and sip it throughout the day. Two cups a day, taken with a slice of fresh ginger, is recommended through the cold and flu season.

The tea has a slightly bitter taste. Water down the tea or add a natural sweetener such as honey if you find the taste disagreeable.

As with all herbal medicine, please consult with your practitioner to determine if this is the best formula for you.

December 2008 Newsletter - Charlotte Acupuncture - Stress Less & Stay Well this Winter

www.CharlotteAcupuncture.com

Qi Mail™
The Acupuncture Newsletter
December 2008

Charlotte Acupuncture and Wellness Center

700 East Boulevard, Suite 2
Charlotte, NC 28203
704-333-8899

www.CharlotteAcupuncture.com

REST, RESTORE, REVITALIZE

In nature, winter is the season where all living things slow down, conserve their energy and prepare for the outburst of new life and energy in the spring. Our bodies are instinctively expressing the fundamental principles of winter – rest, restoration and revitalization.

The Nei Ching, one of the earliest surviving medical books on acupuncture, advises:
“During the winter months one should refrain from overusing energy. Retire early and get up with the sunrise, which is later in winter. Desires and mental activity should be kept quiet and subdued, as if keeping a happy secret.”

Eating warm hearty soups, dressing warmly, and refraining from cold and raw foods is also recommended.

Element: Water
Nature: Yin
Organs: Kidney, Urinary Bladder, Adrenal Glands, Ears and Hair
Emotion: Fear and Depression
Flavor: Salty


Seasonal acupuncture treatments in winter serve to nurture and nourish kidney Qi (the organ associated with winter) which can greatly enhance the body's ability to thrive in times of stress and aid in healing, preventing illness, and increase vitality.

Call now for more information or to schedule your seasonal tune-up

 

De-stress this Winter with Acupuncture

While optimal health and well-being in the winter season calls for rest, energy conservation and the revitalization of body and spirit, your holiday activities may have a different agenda. This year can be filled with a mad scramble of visitors, family get-togethers and frantic shopping trips. Compound the usual seasonal pressures with the constant barrage of bad economic news and you may find this to be one of the most stressful times of the year.

Stress, frustration and unresolved anger can cause a disruption in the flow of qi or energy through the body. These energetic imbalances can throw off the immune system or cause symptoms of pain, sleep disturbances, mood changes, abnormal digestion, headaches, and menstrual irregularities, and, over time, more serious illnesses can develop. Acupuncture treatments can correct these imbalances and directly effect the way you manage stress.

Studies on Acupuncture and Stress

Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress.

A 2008 study published in Anesthesia & Analgesia found that acupuncture point alleviated preoperative anxiety in children while a 2003 study conducted at Yale University showed that ear acupuncture significantly lowered the stress level of the mothers of children that were scheduled for surgery.

A German study published in Circulation found that acupuncture significantly lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The extent of the blood pressure reductions by acupuncture treatments was comparable to those seen with antihypertensive medication or aggressive lifestyle changes, including radical salt restrictions.

Another study from the University of New Mexico measured the affects of acupuncture on 73 men and women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The researchers found the acupuncture treatments to be as helpful as the standard treatment of cognitive behavioral therapy.

Needless to say, if the stress in your life is throwing you off balance, consider acupuncture therapy to regain peace of mind, regulate your immune system and stay healthy.

 

Miso Soup with Scallions

Did you know that Miso Soup with Scallions is actually an ancient herbal remedy for colds?

In 300 AD famous herbalist, Ge Hong, writes about Miso Soup with Scallions in a book called, Bei ji zhou hou fang or Emergency Formulas to Keep Up One’s Sleeve.

The soup is indicated for the onset of a cold when a person is just beginning to feel a headache, stuffy nose and a slight fever. So, the next time you feel a cold coming on, be sure to have your miso!

Miso Soup (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

* 6 cups water
* 3-4 Tablespoons Aka Miso or red soy bean paste (usually sold in the refrigerated section)
* 3-5 green onions stalks, chopped

Directions:

* Dissolve the miso in a little bit of boiling water (about 2 tsp.)
* Bring water to a boil in a saucepan and add the miso & scallions.
* Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
* Remove from heat top with green onions and serve.

Variations:
you can add various other ingredients to make a more substantial soup, such as tofu, seaweed, fresh mushrooms, cooked shrimp, snow pea sprouts, cooked rice noodles, or paper-thin slices of fresh ginger.

 

 

In This Issue

  • REST, RESTORE, REVITALIZE
  • De-stress this Winter with Acupuncture
  • Miso Soup with Scallions
  • Stress Busting Foods

Stress Busting Foods

The foods that you eat play a crucial role in your overall well-being as well as your ability to handle stress.

Over 1400 chemical changes occur as stress hormones, such as cortisone, sap important nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium from the body.

Here are three foods that can replenish your supply of these nutrients and enhance your ability to manage stress:

Cauliflower – Cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and kale are chock full of stress-relieving B vitamins. Cauliflower is also one of the very best sources of vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid.

Pantothenic acid helps turn carbohydrates and fats into usable energy and improves your ability to respond to stress by supporting your adrenal glands. Fatigue, listlessness, numbness and tingling or burning pain in the feet are all indications that you may need more vitamin B5 in your diet.

Salmon – Salmon is a healthy and delicious way to get your dose of B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin B12 supports production of red blood cells, allows nerve cells to develop properly and is essential to the synthesis of the “happy” brain chemical serotonin.

Among the many benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, a 2003 study published in Diabetes & Metabolism found that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduced the stress response and kept the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine in check.

Blackberries – Blackberries are jam packed with Vitamin C, calcium and magnesium. Vitamin C has shown to be a powerful stress reducer that can lower blood pressure and return cortisol levels to normal faster when taken during periods of stress.

Magnesium and calcium act together to help regulate the body's nerves and muscle tone. When there is too little magnesium in your diet, nerve cells can become over activated and can trigger muscle tension, muscle soreness, muscle spasms, muscle cramps, and muscle fatigue.

Blackberries have more than double the amounts of vitamin C, calcium and magnesium than their popular cousin, the blueberry.

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