Characterized by a waning ability of the heart to pump adequate blood to supply the needs of the body, heart failure is a progressive condition usually caused by injuries to the cardiovascular system, years of chronic blood pressure, or by a heart attack. According to the Heart Failure Society of America, in the United States each year, a quarter of a million people die of heart failure. Severe fatigue with exercise and shortness of breath are the two of the most debilitating outcomes of this condition. However, it has been demonstrated in a new German study that a very old healing technique known as acupuncture can radically improve the exercise tolerance of a person suffering from chronic heart failure.
The Heart journal recently published this new study that involved two groups of subjects both suffering from heart failure. Both groups were in stable condition and were being given conventional drugs. Both groups thought they were being given ten genuine acupuncture treatments. In reality, however, just one group was treated with a traditional Chinese medicine type of acupuncture (true acupuncture). This treatment targeted acupoints known to lessen inflammation markers, influence the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, and enhance overall strength. The other group (control group) was administered with placebo needles that merely mimicked acupuncture needle pricks and were not designed to break the skin.
Results of the study show that compared to the placebo treatment group, the members of the true acupuncture group were able to walk much longer. Moreover, although unchanged was the heart’s measurable work capacity, the heart failure patients treated with true acupuncture reported far less exhaustion and recovered much faster after exercise.
Led by Heidelberg University Hospital cardiologist Dr. Johannes Backs, the research team in a press statement said that past researches have demonstrated that the ability tolerate exercise by patients with heart failure is independent of the heart’s pumping function and seems to mainly come from the muscles. In chronic heart failure, the amount of inflammation chemical messengers in the blood rise and this is what causes the muscles to easily tire, resulting in extreme fatigue.
According to one of the authors of the study, Dr. Arnt Kristen, “The blood level of a certain messenger known as TNF alpha (tumor necrosis factor alpha) actually decreases after a true acupuncture therapy. TNF alpha results in a decrease of muscle strength and muscle mass. This may explain acupuncture’s positive effect on the function of the skeletal muscle “.
Heart failure involves an imbalance of the various nerve transmitters and autonomic nervous system and is much more complex than previously believed, the research team noted. In a press statement the researchers explained “Acupuncture’s intervention can bring back balance to these processes. It also has anti-inflammatory abilities; strengthens the parasympathetic nervous system, helping bring about relaxation; and normalizes the autonomic sympathetic nervous system (helps control excitation)”.
In Chinese language, Mei Zen translates to Beautiful Person. The ancient wisdom of Chinese Medicine is used in Mei Zen Cosmetic Acupuncture to offer people a healthy alternative in their quest to feel better whilst striving to obtain a more vibrant, healthy, and youthful appearance. Cosmetic acupuncture provides you with benefits beyond physical attractiveness. It endows you with inner radiance and health, as well. This non-injectable safe, nonsurgical, and natural treatment does not come with side effects that is usually experienced in invasive procedures such as chemical peel and laser techniques, injectables, face lifts, and plastic surgery, but nevertheless, significantly lessens the signs of aging with the extra benefit of rejuvenating the spirit and body, increasing circulation, and helping restore balance in the body.
The production of elastin and collagen is enhanced when more nutrients and oxygen are supplied to the body due to the increase of blood circulation. This results in the softening and decrease of puffiness and sagging in deep wrinkles, and the removal of fine wrinkles. Double chins, jowls, and drooping eyelids are lifted with the increase in muscle tone. The person experiences a deep sense of well-being and relaxation besides enjoying a more radiant complexion and a firmer skin.
Being the largest organ of your body, your skin can suffer from various problems caused by internal conditions. Those underlying conditions that affect the health of your skin and accelerate the effects of aging can be well-addressed by your cosmetic acupuncturist.
What are the benefits of cosmetic acupuncture? This treatment can:
• Lessen or eliminate dark circles and bags under your eyes
• Diminish fine lines as well as reduce deep wrinkles and furrows
• Moisturize the skin to give an even skin tone an softer skin
• Firm your jaw line and enhance muscle tone
• Provide you with firmer skin
• Reduce puffiness
• Eliminate or reduce acne and rosacea
• Rejuvenate and vivify you internally and externally
The other health benefits of cosmetic acupuncture include:
• Treatment of depression and anxiety
• Alleviation of hot flashes
• Relief of headaches and sinus problems
• Treatment of insomnia
• Enhanced clarity and energy
• Better digestion
How much Does A Cosmetic Acupuncture Treatment Cost?
Neck and facial acupuncture usually cost $1200. The treatment includes one nutrition consultation and 12 acupuncture sessions. Abdominal treatment protocol costs around $1800 and includes one stress management and one nutrition consultation and 18 acupuncture treatment sessions.
What type of maintenance is required?
It is highly recommended to have ongoing maintenance, with at least, a monthly session and two sessions at the end of each anniversary (one year) of completion of the program. The external and internal benefits of the treatment are what people are most attracted to. The benefits and outcomes are long term and, with maintenance, can last three to five years.
How many sessions are required?
For neck and facial protocols, about ten to a dozen consecutive sessions (six weeks two times a week) are needed in order to obtain the best results. Consecutive treatments are highly recommended, but for any reason you are unable to do so, optimal results can still be achieved. After initial consultation which will help your acupuncturist determine your age, lifestyle, dietary habits, and stress level, a plan of treatment will be devised and twelve sessions are scheduled. The fee usually includes the acupuncture treatments and a nutrition consultation.
Abdominal treatments start with the same schedule as the neck or facial protocols, which are six weeks, followed by six sessions for six weeks (one session per week).
When will results appear?
Positive results are usually within just a few sessions. They include a glow or radiance that is very noticeable. However, unlike Botox injections or plastic surgery the results will not be as dramatic or immediate.
Tired of having itchy eyes and runny nose? Well, Chinese medicine and acupuncture in Encino can help relieve or even cure your hay fever. Millions of people each year suffer from itching eyes, sneezing, and a runny nose. Most take drugs such as a nasal decongestant spray, antihistamine or even cortisone inhalers. Although these medications can provide instant relief, they often come with unpleasant side effects and are unable to address the underlying cause of the symptoms. Because of this, more and more people are seeking natural alternative remedies that treat both the symptoms and their root cause. It seems that traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture are highly logical choices that can bring about these benefits.
Hay Fever from the Viewpoint of Chinese medicine
According to Chinese medicine, hay fever is caused by an external pathogenic Wind invasion based on deficient defensive energy.
Being a seasonal condition, hay fever usually affects a lot of people during spring and early summer. The season of spring is a season of Wind. In Chinese medicine, this Wind can refer to viruses, bacteria, pollen, etc. When a person is invaded by wind, it can result in symptoms and signs that include tearing, runny nose, itchiness, sneezing, and others.
But problems do not necessarily arise when only wind attacks the body. Deficient defensive energy (this is the same as a weak immune system, in Western medicine) can be a major contributing factor for recurrent hay fever annually.
The combined use of Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture can produce the following benefits:
1. Relief of symptoms through the unblocking and rebalancing of energy
2. Address the underlying reason of the disease. This means Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture fortify defensive energy (bolster the immune system).
Exercise and diet is also required to help strengthen immune function. This leads to the cure of both the symptoms and the root cause of your hay fever.
Asian bodywork makes use of mild finger and hand pressure along the energy channels or meridians within the body. The aim of this therapy is to maintain or restore balance to the movement of energy throughout the body.
There are various types of Asian bodywork. They include the rarely practiced Seiki Soho to the very popular massage technique of Shiatsu. They all are based on the principles of Chinese Medicine and all are designed to balance energy; however, they differ in their use of specific techniques to harmonize energy.
The following are short descriptions of the forms practiced by a lot of Asian body work therapists.
A practitioner of Tui Na therapy uses traditional Chinese Medicine evaluation skills as well as a thorough hands-on touch to identify parts of the body that are out of balance. To address imbalances, the practitioner uses gentle pressure, joint mobilization, and soft tissue massage, on energy points.
Tui Na is a moderately active type of Asian bodywork system. During a session, the practitioner remains in motion and there is always something new happening. You will definitely enjoy Tui Na if you love Swedish massage. Tui Na will leave you feeling both reenergized and relaxed
This is a type of Asian bodywork that uses rhythmic compression along the meridians of the body. Shiatsu is similar to Tui Na in that it involves the extensive use of joint movements and muscle stretching. A practitioner of this technique often stresses the importance of one’s state of mind: the practitioner initiates contact with the client through touch and keeps a meditative and focused state throughout the therapy.
A practitioner of acupressure can avail of a wide range of diagnostic techniques (listening, observing, and tongue and pulse diagnosis) to rate the relative strength of the twelve organ energy channels (meridians). He then addresses specific complaints and their related energy imbalances by treating the problematic meridians of the person. Acupressure therapy can bring a person into a meditative, healing state and is extremely relaxing.
Five Elements Acupressure
Based on the Chinese medicine concept of The Five Elements, this type of acupressure treatment is a means of analyzing and organizing a wide range of information about the human condition. Five Elements Acupressure is based on the patterns in Nature that were observed by the ancient Taoists who arranged them into five classifications: Water, Metal, Earth, Fire, and Wood. We can find these same patterns in ourselves since our bodies are micro encapsulations of Nature.
A practitioner of Five Elements acupressure makes use of all pertinent date to observe how the Elements interact with each other in the body. The restoration of balance is achieved through the stimulation of pressure points on the meridians that are associated with the Five Elements. For clients, a vital part of ongoing therapy is a better understanding of the Element that’s related to their basic nature. We attain balance by living harmoniously with the type of Element we are associated with.
Jin Shin Jyutsu
This is a highly developed type of acupressure treatment. The use of Jin Shin Jyutsu in outpatient settings and hospitals as an adjunct to conventional healing modalities is steadily increasing because of its effectiveness and non-invasiveness. With the help of this therapy, a lot of its practitioners have recovered from serious health problems. This has inspired them to become practitioners themselves to raise awareness about this wonderful and truly effective therapy.
It’s unfortunate that people often learn this treatment only after they become sick. Be that as it may, Jin Shin Jyutsu is a very good way of maintaining health, both through the use of a wide range of easy to practice self-help methods and through regular sessions.
Harmony Wellness Center
110 N Orlando Ave
Maitland, FL 32751
People suffering from macular degeneration have difficulty reading or clearly identifying people’s faces. This eye condition is the number one reason for complete or partial blindness in people 50 years and above.
In the United States, 13 million people suffer from macular degeneration and, until recently, non-surgical treatments for this disease have been rarely available.
However, a new treatment procedure called Micro Acupuncture has been proven to help strengthen the health of the eyes for people stricken with eye diseases such as diabetic neuropathy, retinitis pigmentosa, cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration. But since this type of practice is fairly new, just a handful of licensed acupuncturists are trained and have the knowhow to treat macular degeneration and many other eye conditions.
Micro acupuncture was discovered by Dr. Per Otte and Danish doctor Freddy Dahlgren in 1984. They did some studies that led to the discovery of Micro Acupuncture, a treatment that’s extremely effective in improving the health of the eyes for people suffering from eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa, cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.
In Europe, the combined number of patients treated by Dahlgren and Otte with micro acupuncture is over 5,000. Based on Otte’s statistics, the percentage of individuals suffering from macular degeneration who experienced significant improvement in their eyesight because of Micro Acupuncture is about 98 percent.
What is Macular Degeneration?
The Macular Degeneration Foundation, a charity run educational and medical research organization explains what brings about macular degeneration. The retina has an array of photosensitive cells that line the back of your eye. When light enters the retina and hits these cells, it is converted into electrical signals that are conveyed to the centers of the brain centers that interpret and process them.
An area of the retina known as the macula is where the largest collection of photosensitive cells reside. These cells enable you to visually perceive fine detail vision and critical color.
Macular degeneration (MD)actually refers to a set of eye diseases that causes the sight-sensing cells in the retina’s macular region to lose function or malfunction resulting in the debilitating loss of detail or vital central vision.
There is a dry type of macular degeneration and a wet type of macular degeneration. The dry type is the most common form of MD. A buildup of drusen or yellowish deposits beneath the retina causes the retina to lose some of its function and the macula to become less sensitive to light.
When you have a dry type of macular degeneration, there’s little chance you’ll go totally blind from this disease. The wet type of MD is called in various forms: subretinal neovascularization, neovascularization, and choroidal neovascularization.
MD arises due to the growth of new blood vessels under the macula. Any leakage in these blood vessels causes the surrounding cells to weaken leading to damage to the nerve tissue. Initially, your vision will blur and become distorted. But within a matter of weeks, partial or complete blindness can set in.
Otte has given some practitioners certification to provide Micro Acupuncture treatments. In a Micro Acupuncture procedure, the patient is first given a test for visual acuity and later a visual field scan to determine the extent of damage to the macula. The test does not require the use of dilation eye drops since it is non –invasive and painless.
The acupuncturist then uses a visual field scanning machine that requires the patient to focus on a central point while a screen inside the machine is flashed with varying intensity of lights. The vision of the patient can be mapped through this test which helps the acupuncturist to evaluate the severity of the degeneration of the macula. And from this, he or she can decide the type of treatment needed.
In a Micro Acupuncture treatment, the acupuncture points for eye diseases are identified and are usually located in the forehead , bottoms of the feet , and in the palms of the hands. The procedure usually lasts around 20 minutes. The procedure will initially comprise of five treatments and another visual field scan is performed to re-assess the patient.
If improvements are seen after five treatment sessions, then the patient has a chance to recover from his/her problem.
Once the five sessions are completed and there is noticeable improvement in the patient’s eye sight, treatment can continue until the patient is fully satisfied with the results and is ready to stop or until the improvements can no longer go any higher. One must understand that Micro Acupuncture is not a cure for macular degeneration.
Nevertheless, Micro Acupuncture is an extremely effective procedure that prevents MD’s further progress. It also improves eyesight and enhances the quality of life of the patient.
Dr. Hailing Fu is a doctor or Oriental medicine and the founder of Ling’s Acupuncture in Orlando, FL. She has also served as professor and clinic director at the Florida College of Integrative Medicine in Central Florida. College of Integrative Medicine in Central Florida.
One of the commonest health problems affecting women today are vaginal yeast infections. A lot of them may seek acupuncture treatment for other conditions but they often also suffer from yeast infections. After being informed that acupuncture in Miami can help cure their infection, most of these women do get treatment from it as well.
The typical factors that can trigger a vaginal yeast infection include:
? pH imbalance
? Birth control pills
Perhaps, the most important factor in determining whether or not one gets infected is the health of their immune system.
Our immune system suffers when we live in a constant state of stress. Also, cortisone and other steroid medications can inhibit the immune system allowing fungi, viruses, and bacteria to thrive in our body.
The overgrowth of the fungal species Candida albicans is the culprit to the yeast infection known as candidiasis. Because Candida albicans is an organism that naturally resides in the human body, some Western physicians do not view it as a hostile organism and so are reluctant to label candidiasis as an actual disease. Viruses, bacteria, and fungus are usually kept in check by our immune systems, by our body’s normal feedback systems, and by each other. The conventional Western medicine treatment approach to candidiasis is to radically reduce the growth of the organism or completely eliminate it. Drugs used to address vaginal yeast infections are solely designed to destroy the yeast cells.
In the treatment of candidiasis, Chinese medicine takes a more comprehensive approach. The combined use of dietary changes, Chinese herbal remedies, and acupuncture is aimed at beefing up the immune system to prevent recurrence, altering the environment that helps breed the fungus, and bringing the yeast cells under control. The following is a treatment approach acupuncturists and other Chinese medicine practitioners often use to help address candidiasis or vaginal yeast infections.
First, they use an herbal formula designed for external application that would eliminate excess yeast cells. The raw herbs are placed in a pot of water and boiled to make a liquid that can be used as a wash or douche to clean the affected area. Herbs that are known to possess anti-fungal qualities include Pu Gong Ying (Mongolian Dandelion), Ye Ju Hwa (Wild chrysanthemum), Yi Yi Ren (Coix seed), Cang Zhu (black atractylodes rhizome), She Chuang Zi (Cnidium Fruit), Huang Bai (Amur Cork Tree Bark), Bai Xian Pi (Dictamnus Cortex), and Ku Shen (Sophora Root). Internal herbal formulas are also used to help eliminate the elements within the body that promote the overgrowth of yeast and to strengthen the function of the immune system. One of the great things about these herbs is that they don’t have any harmful side effects. They all are safe to use and can be taken for long periods of time without the risk of side effects. In case women suddenly develop an infection, a lot of them have been known to keep anti-fungal herbs in their spare bag.
Acupuncture and herbs that restore balance to the energy of the body, remove dampness from the system, dispel excess heat, and stimulate the immune response are the best healing approaches that can completely cure candidiasis and vaginal yeast infections.
The next phase once an infection is kept under control is to prevent the rise of future infections. The keys to permanent freedom from recurring infections are a strong immune system and a healthy diet. We don’t recommend following the typical American diet because it promotes the development of yeast and is mainly composed of wheat, dairy, and sweets. No person can expect to become healthy when eating these foods especially when one is susceptible to a yeast infection. It is very hard to achieve a total yeast-elimination diet; nevertheless, it is extremely important to limit the consumption of mushrooms; fermented foods (tamari sauce, alcohol, vinegar); pasta, bread, and other wheat-based products; fats; and sweets. Instead of dairy products can consume soy products such as soy yogurt, soy cheese, or soy milk. Instead of cooking with cream cheese, use tofu. Wheat alternatives can include oats and rice. You can also buy breads in several groceries and supermarkets that are yeast-free.
Hypertension is a chronic cardiovascular condition suffered by a third of the US population. This common disease has become widespread primarily due to a sedentary lifestyle and increased stress. The good news is holistic treatments such as acupuncture are available that can help control hypertension and enhance your overall well-being effectively and safely.
What Is Hypertension?
When your blood pressure increases beyond normal levels, due to increased vascular resistance, increased contraction of your heart muscle, or both, you are considered to be suffering from hypertension. A measurement of normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. Any blood pressure reading that goes beyond 140/90 is considered hypertension. This disease is a silent killer because it often has few obvious symptoms and without any sign can become fatal all of a sudden. Hypertension (HTN) and high blood pressure (HBP) are one and the same condition. Hypertension can lead to a greater risk of kidney failure, heart attacks, or strokes, if left untreated.
The two forms of hypertension are primary and secondary hypertension. A hypertension caused by an unknown condition is called primary hypertension. Secondary hypertension is brought about by different kinds of disorders including medication side effects, cancer, endocrine problems, and kidney diseases.
Modern Western medicine uses pharmaceutical drugs along with lifestyle changes for long-term management of hypertension. Doctors prescribe a combination of drugs including ACE Inhibitors, Calcium channel Blockers, Dopamine derivatives, Beta-blockers, and Diuretics to manage high blood pressure. Other ways to manage hypertension include regular exercise, a healthy low sodium diet, and avoidance of alcohol and tobacco smoking.
What is Acupuncture?
Along with Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture is one of the most important treatment modalities in traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture is a Chinese healing technique that originated in China over 5,000 years ago. It involves the use of fine sterilized needles that are applied at strategic locations in the body to produce a regulatory effect on the body. The points where the needles are inserted are called acupuncture points (or just acupoints) that lie just above energy channels called meridians that connect the internal organs to the surface of the body. When a needle is inserted into an acupoint, it generates a mild electric sensation that stimulates the corresponding meridian and generates a chain reaction of events within the body that helps restore balance and well-being in the body.
While Western science still cannot explain the exact mechanisms that make acupuncture treatment work, acupuncture has been proven to work for several kinds of health conditions. It is extremely effective in the alleviation of pain, sometimes even used as a replacement for anesthesia during surgery in China. The extreme potency of acupuncture underscores the marked physiological effects of the treatment. To determine the clinical efficacy of acupuncture for other illnesses, further research is undergoing and being investigated.
The way modern Western medicine views hypertension is totally different from that of ancient Chinese medicine. In Chinese medicine, the various physiological processes surrounding hypertension are considered. There are different physiological relationships existing between each of the internal organs. Various disease patterns arise when those relationships become disharmonious. Chinese medicine diagnosis that includes listening to the patient’s symptoms and signs, palpation of his radial artery pulse, observing his tongue are performed in order to determine the exact pattern(s) of disharmony within the patient. Only then can the acupuncturist identify the acupoints to needle to restore balance in the body.
More often than not, hypertension is the result of a disharmony affecting the Liver organ. In Chinese medicine, when we talk about the Liver or any other organ, we refer to an energetic function of the organ and not necessarily the physical organ itself. The regulation of the Blood and the smooth flow of vital energy called Qi are the Liver’s responsibilities. Hypertension can be caused by a number of underlying patterns of disharmony including Kidney Yin and Liver Deficiency, Liver Qi Stagnation, and Liver Yang Rising.
Kidney Yin and Liver Deficiency
This pattern occurs due to aging and causes the weakening of the body’s Yin energy. As the Yin becomes deficient, it no longer can balance and contain the Yang energy of the body. This deficiency causes Yang to rise up and elevate the person’s blood pressure. The pattern of Kidney Yin and Liver Deficiency can be blamed for a variety of symptoms associated with aging, including: menopause. To boost the body’s cooling Yin energy, acupuncture treatment using the acupoints Liver 3, Kidney 3, and Spleen 6 are used.
Additional Treatment Information
Besides those above-mentioned acupuncture points, acupuncturists usually use various additional points to better manage the symptoms of hypertension and normalize and stabilize blood pressure levels. Several acupoints found on the ear have been proven to work extremely well and generate almost instantaneous effects in reducing blood pressure levels. Those ear acupoints are found on the backside of the ear and tip of the ear. They are usually used along with the body acupuncture points to augment the benefits of the treatment.
If necessary, the acupuncture point Stomach 9 that’s found directly adjoining the carotid artery on the neck is used to quickly lower and control blood pressure during times of emergency. Traditionally, this point is contraindicated for bilateral needling because it may lead to a state of hypotension as it can very quickly lower a person’s blood pressure.
Liver Qi Stagnation
Liver Qi Stagnation is usually the result of a stressful lifestyle. Symptoms often associated with this disharmonious pattern include a sensation of distention in the head, PMS, muscle tension, digestive problems, and agitation. The increased tension causes a tightening in the body that creates greater resistance to the circulation of blood and energy. Treatment can involve the needling of acupuncture points Liver 3and Large Intestine 4. These acupoints generate a powerful circulating therapy that is able to remove the obstruction of energy.
Liver Yang Rising
This pattern shows up as a dramatic uprising of Yang Qi to the face and head accompanied by symptoms such as a bitter taste in the mouth, headaches, sudden dizziness, red eyes, and anger. The cause of this pattern is often attributed to out of control emotions. The rising Qi needs to be suppressed and this is accomplished through the needling of the acupoints Stomach 36, Liver 2, and Kidney 1. These acupoints are all found on the lower legs and feet assisting in the downward guidance of Yang energy.
How to Manage Hypertension with Acupuncture Treatment
In order to alleviate the symptoms and balance the disharmonies causing hypertension, regular acupuncture treatment may be necessary. In the management of hypertension, during the first few weeks, you may need to undergo acupuncture treatments several times per week. It may be possible to have less frequent treatments once your condition has stabilized. Acupuncture can help you reduce or avoid the use of medications, but only with the advice of your medical physician. For patients desiring to limit or avoid the longstanding use of medications, integrative therapy is one option that should be considered.
When you combine Chinese Herbal Medicine with acupuncture, which is usually done by most licensed acupuncturists anyway it can boost the effectiveness of the treatment.
Cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart attack all share the same pathogenesis.
1. Hypertension – A condition in which your blood pressure is abnormally elevated.
2. Atherosclerosis- A condition that occurs when the arteries are narrowed due to the buildup of fatty tissue and the hardening of the blood vessels.
3. Coronary heart disease, including angina pectoris – A type of cardiovascular condition caused by an interruption of blood flow to the heart.
4. Stroke – Caused by disruption of blood flow to the brain.
5. Heart attack – Also called myocardial infarction. Heart attack happens due to the sudden death of a portion of the heart muscle as a result of blood supply blockage to the heart.
All these diseases are associated with issues involving the brain, heart, and blood circulation within the vascular system. They are also related to the irregular blockage of blood flow in the body.
Normal blood circulation in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory is based on the smooth movement of Liver Qi, the driving force of Heart Qi, balance of Yin and Yang, and the healthy transportation and transformation of body fluids and blood or Spleen Qi. Blood is the mother of Qi and Qi is the governor of Blood. The major pathological factors that negatively influence blood circulation include:
Blood Stasis and Liver Qi stagnation
Phlegm with deficient Spleen Qi blocking the Vessels and Heart
Deficient Heart Yang and Qi with buildup of coldness
The Patterns of Disharmony of Cardiovascular Diseases
In TCM, disease treatments and prevention are very much customized based on the differentiation of patterns and diagnosis of the disease. This article will deal with the most common patterns of cardiovascular diseases to provide the reader with a basic knowledge about the cause, prevention, and remedies of these health issues, based on TCM protocols.
Blood Stasis with Liver Qi Stagnation
Adequate tonification and unhindered circulation of qi is the main requirement for normal blood circulation. The main organ that controls the smooth circulation of qi throughout the body is the Liver. The flow of liver qi can be easily disrupted by emotional disturbance, particularly, mental stress. In times of stress, the flow of qi may slow down and eventually can stagnate which can lead to blood stasis. Blood stasis can also lead to Deficient Qi due to the weakness of driving force. Blood stasis can cause Yin and blood deficiency due to the inadequate amount of fluid in the blood vessels caused by blood and qi stagnation impeding the flow. Coldness that remains in the vessels and meridians will lead to the accumulation of blood and the constriction of blood vessels. The body fluids can dry up due to excess heat, resulting in the thickening of the blood resulting in blood stasis. Phlegm buildup also can lead to blood stasis.
The diagnosis of the patient and differentiation of certain patterns of disharmony based on TCM theory is the most important factor for providing effective and safe treatment. For deficient qi, remedy should deal with tonifying qi moving blood. For stagnant qi, remedy should focus on boosting blood circulation and in invigorating the flow of qi. Treatment using warm methods such as hot herbs and moxibustion can be used to eliminate coldness and to move blood and warm the body. For deficient Yin and Blood, herbs nourishing yin and tonifying blood should be used. Cooling herbs can be used when there’s too much heat in the body. While all these modalities address the main cause of blood stasis, herbs to eliminate stasis and invigorate blood flow can also be used. They include Honghua (Safflower), Taoren (Peach Kernel), (Sangi) (Pseudo-ginseng), and Danshen (Red Sage Root). Acupuncture points Sp 6, UB 17, Sp 10 are used as they are crucial in the strengthening of blood circulation and in normalizing blood.
Studies have revealed Chinese herbs that eliminate blood stasis and invigorate blood possess cardiovascular benefits for both animals and humans. Decoction of Red Sage Root has proven to generate a significant vasodilatory effect on the heart of rabbits and coronary arteries of guinea pigs. In one study, researchers administered a preparation of Red Sage Root on 323 patients for one to nine months. Results showed a significant clinical improvement in 20.3 percent of the control group and a 62 percent improvement in the Red Sage Root group. The Red Sage Root group reported a 52 percent improvement based on ECG. In other studies, Red Sage Root was also shown to help improve cholesterol metabolism. They showed that Red Sage Root injections helped reduce the levels of serum cholesterol in some patients. Pseudo-ginseng which, in TCM pharmacopeia can alleviate pain and swelling, invigorate blood flow, and halt bleeding, has been shown to also alleviate angina pain, lower blood pressure, and significantly boost the flow in the coronary artery.
Phlegm with Spleen Qi Deficiency
In TCM, the principle of phlegm encompasses a range of conditions. Phlegm can come in the form of various signs and symptoms. When it is retained over a long period of time, phlegm can itself be a cause of illness. The two types of Phlegm are non-substantial and substantial. Non-substantial Phlegm may accumulate in the internal organs, collaterals and channels or under the skin. It can obstruct the Heart vessels and orifices. When Phlegm builds up subcutaneously, it manifests in the form of nodules and lumps such as swelling of the thyroid, lymph nodes, and the nerve ganglia. It can also manifest as water retention and dampness, heaviness of the body, or excess buildup of fat tissue. Substantial Phlegm manifests as phlegm, mucus, and sputum in the throat and lungs that can be coughed or spat out.
When the channels have an excess buildup of phlegm, the phlegm may not be as tangible as nodules or as swelling, but can nevertheless cause paralysis, pain, and numbness most commonly seen in people with hemiplegia and Bell’s palsy as well as in the elderly. When blockage of Phlegm to the mind and heart orifices occurs, it may result in mental or emotional conditions such as manic depression, schizophrenia, mild cases of anxiety or depression, problems concentrating, confusion, and in severe cases, epilepsy or stroke. When there is an aggregation and accumulation of phlegm in the vessels, it may cause the artery walls to thicken and harden and the vessels to constrict or narrow. If there is fat or Phlegm in the blood, it can increase the thickness and viscosity of the vessels, thereby resulting in hypertension, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, stroke, or even a heart attack.
Phlegm is transformed mainly due to a deficient Spleen. If the Spleen is unable to deliver and convert body fluids, the fluids will buildup and transform into Phlegm. Too much consumption of sweet, greasy, or fatty foods and dairy products may lead to the over-production of phlegm. Too much thinking and overwork can disrupt the function of Spleen which can lead to phlegm buildup in the body. Longstanding stress and emotional tension can also harm the Spleen and result in phlegm.
The emphasis on disease prevention and the underlying cause of illness are the main focus in TCM treatments. In order to treat or prevent illnesses and disease including cardiovascular diseases, Phlegm needs to be resolved and Spleen needs to be strengthened. A healthy diet containing balanced and sufficient nutrients, avoiding dairy products as well as greasy, sweet, and fatty foods, proper exercise, and eschewing both physical and mental overstrain are all important factors to maintain the healthy functionality of the Spleen and to lessen the risk of Phlegm development.
TuiNa massage can help boost body fluid metabolism and improve blood and qi flow. This activity involves a light patting on the head and patting of the body’s back, legs, arms, and front from top to bottom. Tuina can lead to better nourishment of the body, enhanced blood and qi flow, and improved health both mentally and physically. Kneading and pressing the acupoints St 40, Sp 6, St 36, and Ren can bolster the functionality of the Stomach and Spleen resulting in improved conversion and transportation of water and food, and enhance digestion. St-40 is often used by acupuncturists to clear out phlegm. Studies on the St 40 acupoints have shown that regular use of this point can help in the lowering of cholesterol level in the blood.
Deficient Heart Yang and Qi with Buildup of Coldness
The warmth of Heart Yang and the driving force of Heart Qi are essential in order to bring about smooth blood flow within the body. A deficient qi makes it difficult to maintain smooth and adequate blood flow and leads to symptoms such as a weak and deep pulse, pale face and tongue, shortness of breath, spontaneous perspiration, chest pain or heaviness in the chest, and palpitations. These symptoms can be felt while performing physical activities and are exacerbated with overexertion. A deficient or weak Yang makes the body lose its warmth, thickens and cools blood, slows down circulation, and obstructs and contracts the blood vessels and Heart. When this occurs, patients suffer from even greater chest pain that’s often described as a constrictive or strangling pain traveling from the chest to the back. Other symptoms such as an uneven, tense, and tight pulse, purplish tongue and lips, pale face, and cold extremities with feelings of extreme coldness can also manifest from Yang Deficiency.
The goal of the treatment is to dispel coldness, warm Heart Yang, and tonify Heart Qi. Herbal formulas are used containing ingredients suitable for the patient’ spepcifc needs. They include Guizhi (Cinnamon Twig), Shengjiang (Fresh Ginger), Renshen (Ginseng), Gancao (Licorice), Huangtzi (Astragalus), Gualou (Trichosanthes), and Fuhsi (Aconite Root). Moxibustion combined with acupuncture using the acupoints Ren 17, St 36, Ren 4 and Ren 6 is utilized to tonify qi and yang. A decoction of Guishi composed of three pieces of Dazao, Licorice (Gancao 2g), Fresh Ginger (Shengjiang 2g), White Peony Root (Baishaoyao 3g) and Cinnamon Twig (Guizhi 3g). The mixture is boiled in three cups of water for half an hour and drank while warm. When the body is feeling warm, stop drinking the decoction. Each day, before going to bed, use hot water to soak your feet in for 20 minutes. This can help remove coldness and warm your yang.
TCM practitioners often use the following herbs:
Baishu (White Atractylodes)
Chenpi (Tangerine Peel)
Bansha (Pinellia Tuber)
Shanzha (Hawthorn Fruit)
Research reveals that herbs with Phlegm-resolving qualities can help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood which improves cardiovascular health. A simple decoction of 10g of Shanzha (Hawthorn Fruit) and 10g of Chenpi (Tangerine Peel) boiled in three cups of water for half an hour and drank each day can help lower cholesterol levels. Chinese massage or tuina on the stomach can reduce stress and help blood and qi flow smoothly. Tuina can also increase energy and help patients improve their sleep and digestion. When performed every day, this massage can even help you lose weight after just a few weeks.
Jamie Catlett is an acupuncturist in Jacksonville, FL and the founder of Jacksonville Acupuncture Clinic.
Angina pectoris, more commonly known as chest pain, is a sign of coronary artery disease, which is a cardiovascular condition. Chest pain develops when insufficient amounts of oxygen-transporting blood reaches an area of the heart, causing a tightening or squeezing sensation in the various parts of the body particularly in the back, neck, shoulders, arms, or chest. According to the American Heart Association, angina pectoris affects about 10 million Americans and around 500,000 new cases of stable angina occurring each year. This means that around five percent of men and women in the United States suffer from angina.
Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have been treating angina and other types of coronary artery diseases for hundreds of years by means of herbal formulas, acupuncture, tai chi and qi gong long before the development of modern pharmaceutical medications. Nowadays, these TCM therapies are still being used albeit as alternative and adjunctive treatments for cardiovascular diseases.
What is Angina Pectoris?
Angina pectoris can be classified into three types—variant, unstable, and stable. Variant angina is a cardiovascular condition that rarely occurs. It usually happens during nighttime and when the body is at rest. It generates an acute type of pain that can be alleviated with the use of drugs. Unstable angina is a condition that’s almost impossible to predict. It may occur when the body is either being overexerted or at rest. As unstable angina can induce a heart attack, it requires immediate medical attention. The most common form of angina is stable angina and it follows a pattern that can be predicted. When the heart is overexerted, it can cause chest tightness and pain as well as pain in the back, neck, shoulder, and arm. This type of angina is controllable and its occurrence does not necessarily indicate an impending heart attack.
Angina Treatment via Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
TCM treatments for cardiovascular conditions combine pharmaceutical, psychological, and physical, approaches that include manipulations, acupuncture, dietary modifications, and herbal medicine, which are all designed to enhance the flow of energy in the body.
Extensive animal and human studies have been done on all major TCM treatments. The outcomes of these studies range from “zero effect” to “significant effect(s).” The different protocols and standards from studies done in different countries make it difficult to compare results. Because of the large number of sufferers, treatments for cardiovascular conditions are among the most frequently studied. These studies have dealt with the cost of allopathic modalities, as well as the severe effects on health and lifespan of cardiovascular conditions.
North American, European, and Asian studies involving angina patients suggest some degree of effectiveness of acupuncture treatment as a standalone therapy and as an adjunct to other therapies, including conventional Western treatments, shiatsu massage, and herbal medicine.
According to TCM, angina can be caused by several forms of syndromes. It may arise when there is a deficiency in the yin and kidney qi; when the heart is obstructed by phlegm, cold, or heat; or when qi stagnates in the heart. Qi or energy travels throughout the body via energy vessels known as meridians. These meridians connect the internal organs to the surface of the body. When qi stagnates in a meridian, this affects the balance between yin and yang causing a deficiency within the body. Physical exercises like qi gong or tai chi are performed to stimulate the flow of qi; acupuncture uses specific acupoints to stimulate the affected meridians; while herbal medicines are prescribed in order to balance energy and self-regulate the body.
Tai Chi and Qigong
Tai chi and qi gong are exercises that can help calm the mind and energize the body through precise gentle stretching movements and concentration. The ensuing harmony removes the obstructions to energy flow— in Western medicine, this means an improvement in cardiovascular, circulatory, and respiratory activity. One great benefit of tai chi is its adaptability; certain routines that are highly useful in any physical condition, including limited mobility or disabilities, can be designed by practitioners. Due to its meditative, low impact nature, tai chi can be a good option for low- to moderate-risk cardiovascular patients, prior to and post-surgery.
It was found in a Chinese study that following a course of qigong exercise, blood pressure can be lowered in women suffering from coronary heart disease resulting in a significant decrease in the severity and frequency of angina attacks. One other study showed that depression, social functioning, bodily pain, blood pressure, and general well-being of the patients all improved after a course of qigong (which is comprised of controlled breathing and movement as well as medication) lasting 16 weeks.
Angina Treatment Using Chinese Herbal Medicine
There are literally thousands of kinds of Chinese herbal formulas and they can come in the form of simple teas to complex decoctions (extracts derived by boiling down an herb). Herbal medicine is actually the most widely used and most popular component of TCM. Over the past 20 years, several studies have revealed that herbal formulas are used by around 25% to 50% of patients with cardiovascular disease.
The aim of Chinese herbal medicine is to normalize the smooth movement of qi through the energy channels in order to restore yin/yang balance. By promoting the smooth and unhindered flow of qi, blood flow is also restored resulting in the alleviation of angina-related pain. For heart qi deficiency a formula known as Protect the Source Decoction or Bao Yuan Tang can be used; for blood and qi stagnation Stasis in The Mansion of Blood Decoctionor or Hsue Fu Zhu Yu Tang can be prescribed; and for heart yang deficiency complicated by phlegm, Trichosanthes Fruit, Chinese Chive, and Wine Decoction or Gua Luo Hsie Bai Bai Jiu Tang can be used. These formulas contain herbs such as root of angelica, safflower, Chinese chive, pinellia tuber, trichosanthes fruit, and macrostein onion, to name a few.
A licensed or experienced Chinese medicine herbalist or practitioner customizes the herbal remedy based on the specific needs of the patient. A variety of single herbs are either subtracted or added to boost the effectiveness of the therapy.
Acupuncture Treatment for Angina
Research shows that acupuncture combined with patient education can lead to substantial improvements than intervention alone. In some Western and Chinese studies, following acupuncture treatments, the severity and frequency of angina attacks were lessened.
In animal studies dealing with acupuncture treatment of heart-related conditions, results show that needling of the PC 6 or Pericardium 6 acupoint (the Neiguan acupoint) can help strengthen myocardial contractions by inhibiting earlier physiologic processes that play a role in angina attacks. A 2005 study showed that acupuncture treatment at the PC 4 and Neiguan acupoints led to an improvement in heart’s stroke volume by improving the contractility of the wall of the left ventricle.
Other acupoints such as the Ren 17 (Shanshong) and B 15 (Hsinshu) can help relieve angina symptoms. For acute angina conditions, acupoints on the fingertips such as the Lu 11 (Shaoshang), Ht 9 (Shaochong), and Pc 9 (Zhongchong) can work very well.
Depending on your current symptoms and constitution, your acupuncturist will select the most effective acupuncture points for the treatment of your angina.
Risks in the Use of TCM Modalities
1. Talk to your healthcare provider first before embarking on any type of exercise programs. You should also seek an experienced tai chi or qigong instructor to in order to be guided properly when doing these exercises.
2. As with all medicines, Chinese herbal formulas can heal as well as cause harm. The active ingredients in some herbal compounds and herbs can interact with standard medications (over-the-counter and prescription) as well as with other herbs. Therefore, it is always advisable to consult with a Chinese herbalist and with your physician before using herbs.
3. Massage and acupuncture are both very low risk modalities especially when they’re done by an experienced and trained professional. Select only an acupuncturist who is licensed by your state.
What is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a healing system that works on the principle that the mind and body of each individual function through the movement of intangible forces such as qi (vital energy) and yin and yang within the body. The flow and production qi and yin/yang are controlled by organ systems such as the stomach, spleen, large intestine, lung, liver, gallbladder, etc. Each organ system is affiliated with one of the basic TCM elements that comprise the human body: water, fire, earth, metal, and wood. TCM treatments are designed to stimulate the organs and the energy channels through which flow yin/yang, and qi in order to bring about proper balance and movement of these elements.
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According to a May 2010 study, conducted by researchers at the Rochester Medical Center, acupuncture in Boynton Beach definitely works for the relief of pain.
Acupuncture does not rely on conventional Western medical principles and is an alternative form of healing system that has been the subject of intense debate and discussion about whether it just relies on the belief of the patient that it works to deliver results or if it truly works.
In Western medicine, a health problem is directly addressed and for this reason it relies heavily on medications and drugs. Acupuncture, which is a branch of TCM or (Traditional Chinese medicine), follows a more indirect route; acupuncturists believe in and practice the holistic healing of the body instead of focusing on one part of the body. For them, balance between the spirit, mind, and body is of utmost importance, and the manner by which this is established is through correction of the movement of vital energy or “chi”, within the body.
Among the various ancient Chinese medical treatments, acupuncture is probably the most famous in the West. To correct the uneven circulation of energy, acupuncture needles are applied at specific points in the body in order to restore health. For a lot of Western medical researchers, acupuncture is a technique they believe really does not produce any health benefits. According to them, acupuncture treatment should not lead to a cure of illness and that it is unable to return a patient to full health.
Western medicine has a problem because a lot of studies that have been done about acupuncture consistently show that acupuncture truly works and this cannot be refuted. In a lot of instances, success has been achieved after conventional Western treatments have proved unsuccessful in curing the patient. Yes, acupuncture may not be able to remedy every illness and disease any more than western medicine can, and this argument has been used as an excuse by a lot of people in the West to brush it aside and see it as quackery.
The findings from the Rochester Medical Center have actually tested acupuncture to see whether its effects are merely psychosomatic or if it truly addresses health issues. The researchers sought to find whether a desired outcome comes from the patient being manipulated into believing that acupuncture will work, or if the treatment really works.
The Rochester researchers used mice with sore paws. Acupuncture treatment was given to all the mice in the same manner it would be given to humans. Obviously, the mice carry no biases or beliefs on whether the therapy was going to work or not.
A natural painkiller known as adenosine was measured in the mice after the treatment. High amounts of adenosine can help relieve a person when he is experiencing pain. Results of the study showed that the adenosine levels in the mice increased by 20000 percent and 67 percent of the mice experienced a reduction of pain compared to mice not treated with acupuncture.
The study seemed to prove beyond doubt that acupuncture is a bona fide alternative remedy for the relief of pain. To be fair, the outcomes that have been gotten from animal experiments are not quite the same as those obtained from experiments on humans. This is the reason why Rochester researchers refused to support the notion that acupuncture needles can restore balance to the vital energy in the body or that energy flow in the body gone wrong can be corrected.
A patient suffering from pain would only want to find relief from it. Most probably, he will not be interested on whether his body is not balanced or whether the vital energy within him is not flowing smoothly as it normally should. If the illness dissipates or the pain stops, then the patient is happy and the acupuncture treatment is successful.
Besides pain, acupuncture treatment can resolve several other issues including smoking addiction and weight gain. It can help people with fertility problems succeed with IVF treatment, something that in no way associates with the release of natural opioids in the body, as detractors of acupuncture are quick to point out. From all these, we can see that that there’s more to acupuncture than its ability to relieve pain.