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Living in the modern world means living a stress-filled life – commuting, relationships, workplace stresses, financial problems – even reading the newspaper creates stress. But stress has always been with us since the beginning of time. No doubt, the ancient Chinese had their own fair share of problems. Sickness, marital discord, work problems, food shortages were no stranger to them. Stress is a part of life.
Many problems can arise because of stress besides the continuous feeling of worry, uncertainty, and anxiety. When it’s extreme, stress can result in headaches, digestive problems, overeating, loss of appetite, insomnia, and gynecological problems. Stress can harm relationships. It can cause more arguments among family members and can lead to self-destructive behavior such as irritability towards others, drugs, excessive smoking, or over-drinking; when it’s turned inward, stress can lead to depression.
When it comes to work occupations, stress is particularly high among the teaching and nursing professions. However, because of the economic problems these past years, financial stress has virtually affected everyone.
According to traditional Chinese medicine or TCM, the causes of disease among humans are the emotions. They are an important factor in stress. In the human body, stress can result in an over-expression of the emotions that can negatively impact the body.
Fear, anger, worry (pensiveness), sadness and joy are the five key emotions. Important aspects of a healthy human life are the emotions and the expression of these emotions can be good for the health. If a person very close to you passes away, you will naturally feel sad. We ought to be a little angry and upset if we lose our job. The anger can give us the drive to re-assess our life and give us a push to once more propel our life forward. Every emotion we feel, however, should be in moderation. Disease can develop when an emotion is overly expressed. If, for several years, we still feel extreme sadness, it actually can prevent and stop us from moving on. If we feel anger for too long, sooner or later, that anger will turn against others or even turn inward resulting in self-contempt or depression.
According to the theory of traditional Chinese medicine, the body’s various organs are associated with various emotions. The Heart, for example, is associated with joy, grief or sadness pertains to the Lung, fear associates with the Kidney, anger to the Liver, while the Spleen to worry or pensiveness. If a certain emotion is excessively expressed by a person, it can result in an overstimulation of the organ associated with that emotion which, in the end, can result in a weakness that may affect the other organs and the rest of the body since in TCM, everything is interconnected in the human body.
Stress is associated with the emotions of sadness, (Lung), fear (Kidney), depression (Spleen and Liver), worry, (Spleen), and irritation and anger (Liver). In TCM, because stress can affect several organs all at once, it has the potential to affect the entire body system. It is the job of a qualified and skilled acupuncturist to determine the system that’s most affected and what emotion is most dominant and then treat them accordingly; it’s been discovered that the Liver is the organ most affected by stress.
To describe how the body works, the Chinese often use analogies. They depicted the organs as members of the government. The Emperor is designated to the Heart as it’s considered the most important organ in the human body. Traditionally, the General of the armed forces is the Liver as it’s considered the General of the organ system. The Chinese view the Liver as a strong organ, much like a General who keeps the empire (the human body) stable and safe. But when under pressure (probably because of an invading army), the General can become short tempered and irritable and verbally or even physically attack his subordinates. He may well command the farmers and peasants to halt their production of food and help out in battle which means no new foods are produced. The General may well intimidate all the advisors and ministers to cease their duties and follow him against their wishes. Even worse, he may even rebel against the Emperor himself, overthrow him, and rule with a brutal dictatorship. Although just an analogy, this is a vivid metaphor of what exactly occurs within the body.
As mentioned above, the Liver is a strong, nay, a powerful organ and when it becomes hyperactive, has the power to affect everything else. It can overexert itself on the organ systems of the body when it’s stressed. On the digestive system (the abdomen and the Spleen), an overactive Liver can cause IBS, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and other digestive problems. Its overexertion can impact the Lungs exacerbating conditions such as asthma. Women’s gynecological system can also be harmed and along with the Kidney can result in irregular and/or cause painful menses and even cause infertility. The Heart can also be affected and since this organ is related to the function of sleep, it can result in sleeplessness and bad dreams. Also, the Liver may force the flow of energy to go upward resulting in migraine or headache.
One of the reasons overstressed individuals drink alcohol is that it helps calm down the Liver; however, the same time it’s sedating the Liver, alcohol in the long term, also stimulates it. In this regard, alcohol in the short term can help ease stress, but in the in the long term, can worsen the problem and even cause alcoholism.
The good news is that there are other ways you can do proactively to calm down a hyperactive Liver and restore balance in your health and life, enabling you to deal with your stressors in a sensible and healthy manner. These other ways may involve:
1. Consulting with a qualified and reputable acupuncturist. When an acupuncturist needles certain points on your body, he/she is helping restore balance to the organ systems in your body. With, acupuncture in Tarzana, your body can be placed in a deep state of relaxation giving you the liberty to wisely reflect on the situation that stresses you out enabling you to deal with it on a more positive way. Those who receive acupuncture treatment regularly have discovered a way stabilize their emotions making it easier for them to deal with stress.
Besides acupuncture, there are other ways to help you relax and beat stress. One way is to make the Emperor stronger. This is done by giving him more power, which like it or not, the General has to obey. The Heart can benefit a lot from meditation, which can be a powerful thing if the person meditates on the Heart chakra.
2. The color green which is also associated with the Liver. This color has a calming effect on the Liver. Eating leafy green veggies (kale, spinach, and cabbage) can help. Placing plants inside the house has a soothing effect on people, so as taking regular walks in the park.
3. Relaxing the eyes, which are organs that also have a special relationship with the Liver. In our modern way of living, our eyes tend to get used a lot (too much computer work, smart phones, internet, TV, etc.). Meditating and shutting our eyes can help calm the Liver.
Small changes such as these, nevertheless, can yield tremendous benefits to our health in the long term. And since most of us will live on this earth for several decades, we might as well be armed with the proper tools to help overcome the various stresses life hurls at us on a daily basis.
University of Adelaide in Australia researchers did studies that applied a light electrical pulse to activate an acupressure point known as the Pericardium 6, P6, or Neiguan point located on the wrist. This acupoint is associated with upper gastrointestinal diseases such as acid reflux. The acupoint activation led to a decrease in relaxations of the LES or lower esophageal sphincter. The LES relaxation is believed to be a major reason for acid reflux syndrome. The Neiguan stimulation significantly lessened TLESRs (transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations) by 40%, (6/ hour to 2.5/hour). This decrease was also observed as being substantially higher than the outcomes shown in the placebo group, the group that received a mock stimulation on an acupoint located on the hip.
A component of a Chinese medical system known as TCM or traditional Chinese medicine, acupressure is a modality in which manual pressure is applied to the said acupoints. This treatment is similar to acupuncture treatment although instead of needles, pressure from the hands and other things are used to stimulate the acupoints. A high-tech version of traditional acupuncture is electrical acupoint stimulation. The application of pressure on acupoints suggested by ancient Chinese charts on certain organs and regions of the body utilizing the Yin energy of the meridian system may effectively treat ailments. This will bring Qi and Yang into alignment, which then activates the self-healing processes in the body.
The stimulation of the acupoint in the aforementioned study was an updated version of a millennia-old Chinese procedure, in which electrodes, instead of needles were used to transmit little electrical charges to certain acupoints on the skin. In TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), those points are related to the internal channels that conduct energy all over the body. It is via the activation of those acupoints that a robust circulation of (energy) is attained.
One can also apply pressure on the Neiguan point through one’s fingers. Acupoints are usually situated in between or beside ligaments, tendons, and bones. They however, are not located on arteries, blood vessels, or bones, but instead in the depressions between or beside them. Applying pressure on the Neiguan has been used for years to relieve postsurgical nausea, morning sickness, sea sickness, motion sickness, nausea, and vomiting. This ancient Chinese healing tradition has also been used to treat migraines, chest pain, epilepsy, fever, and insomnia.
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Is Sham Acupuncture Just The Same As Real Acupuncture When It Comes To Relief and Management of Pain?
The wealth of scientific research that has been and is being done into acupuncture’s use for various health conditions attests to the legitimacy and potentiality of this treatment, especially for the treatment and management of pain. Much of those studies however have led to the conclusion that acupuncture usually does not outperform sham therapy which calls into question the legitimacy of the treatment itself.
Traditional acupuncture is a procedure that uses thin tiny needles stuck into certain points on the body known as acupoints. Chinese medicine believes that these acupoints are located just above energy channels called meridians in the body. When a blockage develops along the meridians pain and disease develop. The needles are used to remove the blockage to once more allow the free movement of energy in the body. Western medical researchers believe that the mechanism of action is either the stimulation of blood flow or the stimulation of nerves in the body.
The reason why the effectiveness of sham therapy calls into question the legitimacy of real acupuncture is that this implies that whatever benefits are gained from the procedure can be attributed to the placebo effect alone. However, more studies into sham therapy – and, especially, people who gained good results from it – shows that this type of therapy may actually possess pain relieving qualities of its own.
One study suggested that the sensitivity of people to pain may be a factor in knowing whether sham acupuncture was effective (or not) for them. People suffering from systemic pain conditions like fibromyalgia, can find relief from treatments that stimulate sensations in the body designed to reduce pain. Since less sensation in the body is stimulated by sham acupuncture, the conductors of the study believed that only patients with high pain sensitivity would be ideal test subjects for sham acupuncture, since these patients require less stimulation to experience results.
A total of 50 women all suffering from fibromyalgia participated in the study. They were divided into either a traditional acupuncture treatment group or sham group. Prior to the start of the treatment, the pain sensitivity of the participants was measured through a test that exerted pressure on their thumbs, which the participants rated. The neurochemical levels associated with pain sensation were also measured by the researchers. After treatment the thumb pressure test was administered. In sham acupuncture treatment, the needles did not penetrate the skin. This procedure consisted of a gentle pricking with the needles.
The participants who manifested more sensitivity to pain experienced much better improvements in pain sensitivity after sham treatment, compared to the participants who had low sensitivity to begin with, at the end of the study. Both low-sensitivity and high-sensitivity patients had comparable outcomes for traditional acupuncture.
The study showed that using subjects with a high degree of pain sensitivity aren’t likely to produce marked differences in efficacy between real and sham acupuncture treatments. It also indicates that people with high pain sensitivity may need a less intensive form of acupuncture compared to those with less pain sensitivity. Chronic pain sufferers should consider acupuncture in Fort Lauderdale as a worthwhile option to help manage their pain.
In Western Medicine, the use of acupuncture as a form of treatment is still highly controversial. Fortunately however, its popularity has been steadily rising which helps make it a recognized form of therapy to a lot of physicians. There are a lot of patients, doctors, and schools that would swear of acupuncture’s effectiveness despite the fact the no substantial scientific evidence exists that would prove of its effectiveness. Fertility acupuncture is a new way of proving acupuncture’s versatility and therapeutic capabilities. A few studies have been done showing acupuncture ability to treat infertility is very much provable, or at least how it can complement more accepted forms of therapy that will help boost the possibility of pregnancy.
When used as a standalone treatment, acupuncture is not a powerful enough treatment for more serious pregnancy-related issues, but is effective enough to address simpler issues such as erratic ovulations. Some physicians think that the reason acupuncture is highly effective treating fertility problems is because it normalizes the function of the systems of the body and this helps boost the flow of blood into the reproductive areas, and also aid in the balancing of the hormones. These processes are the same for both women and men; in women acupuncture helps normalize ovulation, while in men, it helps increase the amount of sperm.
When used as an adjunct treatment for other fertility treatments, acupuncture has also been proven highly effective. One of its benefits is its ability to lower stress in women who are undergoing other forms of fertility therapy that can be extremely stressful. The calmer the woman remains, the higher the chance for her to conceive. Definitive outcomes prove that acupuncture is very useful for women who are under in vitro fertilization. A German study in In 2002 revealed that women were treated with acupuncture while undergoing in vitro fertilization had a greater than 20% chance of becoming pregnant than women who only experienced in vitro fertilization. A study in the US revealed that acupuncture provides benefits to women who are into in vitro fertilization. Women receiving acupuncture had 12% less chance to experience ectopic pregnancies and miscarry.
If you’d like to know if acupuncture treatment in Boynton Beach for infertility is applicable to you, here is a little bit more information. Be sure that the practitioner you selected has all the proper education and accreditations required to practice. It is highly recommended to go to a medical doctor who specializes only in acupuncture. Also take into account the cost, and see if your insurance can provide coverage in all or part of your treatment cost.