But Chinese medicine does not seem scientific

      If you mean petri dish, negative-pressure laboratory scientific, then no. It is not. But, life does not unfold within the controlled environment of a laboratory. Life unfolds in forests, work-time commutes, seasons of flowers and birds, grocery store aisles, moments of bliss, birth, death and the 10,000 other moments that we hardly notice. Chinese medicine did not develop by peering into a microscope, or tinkertoying with molecules; it has evolved over centuries of observation of how nature and life unfolds into being. It is not the science of double blind studies; it did not come from a system that imagines you can stand outside of it. It is the science of understanding from the inside, the art of reading connections as they unfold. More like music than prose, in the same way Art invites us into an experience beyond the doorway of the work itself, the diagnostic process involved in Chinese medicine is the opposite of a reductionist narrowing to one guilty influence. Instead, it is based on process of piecing together seemingly unrelated connections, thus seeking to holistically glimpse a person’s situation. And unlike Western bio-medicine where there is a focus on one-size-fits-all treatment, Oriental medicine looks to see how each person’s condition is a unique expression of who they are, the environment, how it effects their life, and finally the illness process itself. We don’t focus solely on illness. We are not machines running down like a wind up toy. We are the stuff of starbursts, rainstorms and a curious divine spark. Chinese medicine is neither heroic nor salvational. It does not assume we... read more

What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?

  It feels like that moment when you experience a sudden jump of fluency level in the new language with which you have been struggling. In a fleeting moment a whole realm of understanding and ability appear out of the thin air of a magician’s hat. It is like finding the just-so twist that keys open a sticky lock. Acupuncture feels fresh baked bread, a stone perfectly skipped, a call from an old friend. Like old photos recovered from a dusty attic, misplaced vitality from another time becomes accessible with the right stimulation from a few skillfully placed needles. Acupuncture is like waking from a restorative nap. It’s nourishing like a good relationship. Acupuncture pulls forth our innate vitality, like when a new idea grabs us and we willingly change our lives to unfold a direction that has quietly, patiently whispered to us for multiples of seasons. Acupuncture can turn you on dime, reflect back to you your brilliance, call you to account for your habits and slip you into a quiet so nourishing and vast you cannot help but touch on appreciation and wonder. Acupuncture feels like a well-swung bat, a nicely banked shot, a satisfying sneeze. It wiggles us through the emotional knots we’ve tied, loosens our hearts to feel just beyond the edge of habituation, expands our chest in the same deep-sigh way that forgiveness creates an extraordinary amount of space in our spirit. You can find the traces of acupuncture on an fMRI, in the cortisol count of the blood, the disappearing inflammation of a stomach lining, electrical activity of the brain, growing life in... read more

How long does it take acupuncture to work?

Sometimes acupuncture seems like a miracle. A strained back that suddenly turns into “I guess I did not twist it as bad as I thought I had,” digestion that regulates and settles down, hot flashes that go from a daily irritation to an occasional annoyance, there are times that acupuncture seems like magic. But, as Isaac Asimov once pointed out “any sufficiently advanced technology will be indistinguishable from magic.” Acupuncture seems strange, and it certainly is exotic, so it is easy for belief to run off leash to all kinds of conclusions. Which is why it is important to know that acupuncture is medicine, not magic. It follows a theory of pathology and treatment, has a well detailed physiology (albeit non-Western, but a system that is solid within itself), it has centuries of clinical experience, and abundantly documented at that; at least if you read Chinese. It is neither random, nor a fancy handwaving placebo. There is absolutely nothing magical about it, and as a patient it would be best if you come in without carrying that particular baggage. Just like disposable lighters would make you appear to be an emissary from the god of fire 1000 years ago, or just like using something as simple an antibiotic to treat a raging infection in a place where antibiotics were unknown, your special medicine would instantly elevate to the status of a magician. But, we all know that these things are simple tools in our day and age. To us, as common as clean water, and warehouses of food at our beck and call. And it can be this way... read more

Migraine Relief with Acupuncture

What is a migraine headache and what causes migraine headaches? The direct cause of migraine headaches is unknown. However, experts believe that genetic as well as environmental factors play a role in the development of migraine headaches. Furthermore, it is also believed that migraines may be caused by changes in the brainstem that create imbalances in the chemistry of the brain. These chemical changes then affect the nerves in the head and face. Common triggers for migraine headaches include: • Hormonal changes in women, • Foods such as alcohol, caffeine, and MSG, • Stress, • Sensory stimuli such as bright lights, loud sounds, and strong scents, • Changes in sleeping patterns, • Physical exertion including sexual activity, • Changes in the weather or barometric pressure, and; • Medications. A migraine headache can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours. Typical symptoms include pain on one side of the head, a pulsating or throbbing pain, sensitivity to light, sounds, or smells, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, diarrhea, and lightheadedness. Migraines are also commonly associated with auras. Auras are typically a set of strange symptoms that occur 10 to 30 minutes prior to the onset of a migraine. These symptoms include: • Visual phenomenon such as seeing various shapes, bright spots, or flashes of light, • Vision loss, • Pins and needle sensations in the arms and legs, and; • Speech or language problems. How can acupuncture and moxibustion help resolve migraine headaches? Since the cause of migraine headaches is unknown to biomedical specialists, there is little documented evidence as to how acupuncture and moxibustion change the physiology of the body to... read more

Allergies- How acupuncture can help

What Can Acupuncture Treat? •    Allergies •    Sinusitis •    Sore Throat •    Hay Fever •    Earache •    Nerve Deafness •    Tinnitus / Ringing in the Ears •    Dizziness •    Poor Eyesight How Can Acupuncture Help? Allergies According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, an allergy (also called hypersensitivity) is a reaction of your immune system to something that does not bother most other people. People who have allergies often are sensitive to more than one thing. Substances that often cause reactions are: pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, food, insect stings, and medicines. Current study and research suggest that both genes and the environment have something to do with it. Normally, your immune system serves to protect the body by fighting germs and harmful foreign objects. It is your body’s defense system. In most allergic reactions, however, the immune system is responding to a false alarm or overreacting to a minor alarm. The most common allergies include the following: •    Seasonal allergic rhinitis (also called “hay fever”) or year-round allergic rhinitis •    Allergic sinusitis •    Eczema or atopic dermatitis •    Contact dermatitis •    Urticaria or hives •    Food allergy Allergies can cause a runny nose, sneezing, itching, rashes, swelling or asthma. Symptoms vary. Many allergies can make you feel bad but most of them are not life-threatening. In some cases, however, it is dangerous to ignore allergy symptoms. Severe and untreated hay fever may lead to asthma, sinusitis, and other serious conditions. Allergic dermatitis or eczema can develop into secondary infections if they are not treated properly. Some allergic reactions to food can cause serious... read more

Acupuncture for sports injury

The Chinese martial arts know a lot about trauma medicine. A sinew popping kick to one of the joints, punches that powder capillary beds, or broken and shattered bones from falls or weapons all are common fare. All that whirling kick and punch training can result in some serious injuries to the soft tissues, ligaments, sinews and bones as well. The Chinese figured out long ago how to fight with style and power. They also learned a lot about putting people back together. Many of the training temples have herbal formulas and liniments to treat bruises, bleeding, soft tissue injury and broken bones, and these formulas and liniments have been passed down through generations. The vast majority of these methods involve increasing blood flow, reducing inflammation, and promoting the generation of new tissue. There is one substance we commonly use in the West to treat trauma and the associated swelling and pain that comes along with it that the Chinese have never used: Ice. There is a good reason for it too! What?  But, 10 doctors out of 10 recommend ice for trauma. True enough, but do consider that at one time everyone thought the sun revolved around the earth, cigarettes were good for you, and tomatoes were poisonous. Sometimes we do things thinking we are acting in our best interest, only to later discover we were missing an essential bit of information. Ice will temporarily help a traumatic injury to feel better, but in the long run we are prolonging the healing process as it reduces circulation to the injured area. Ever notice we use ice to preserve... read more

Herbal Medicine

These are the latest posts on herbal medicine

The Story of Science

Nam ex falli aperiri temporibus. Et est alii animal prompta. Ei veri omnis dolores sit. Suas gubergren nam ut, qui ei consequat complectitur. Vel ne natum euismod adolescens. Cu enim vocibus erroribus has. Eu mea dolorum tractatos, quis graeco vim eu, eum ea duis nemore iuvaret. Mundi euismod tacimates vim at, vim ei   The reasons are as multitudinous — and as varied — as snowflakes. It could be that western bio-medicine’s pharmacologically targeted molecules did not contain the key that fit the lock of a particular set of difficulties. Perhaps the side effects of such efforts proved more troubling than the initial complaint. Maybe batteries of tests and thousands of dollars failed to find the cause of their discomfort, leading to this directive: “Nothing is wrong with you. Take this anti-depressant.” Some people turn to Chinese medicine for renewal after harsh cancer treatments or surgery. Some resent the row of pill bottles that face them every morning. Some come because they don’t care to wait weeks to see a doctor who spends less time with them than it takes to pump and pay for a tank of gas. Some want a second opinion. Many people come because whatever else they have tried simply has not helped. Our bodies — and spirits — have tremendous ability to heal. If the knots that hold together an illness are loosened, life may change for the better. That said, Chinese medicine is not “one size fits all.” Regardless of how simple a health problem appears or how difficultly knotted and complex it has proven, Chinese medicine requires regarding every person as unique....

Migraine Relief with Acupuncture

What is a migraine headache and what causes migraine headaches? The direct cause of migraine headaches is unknown. However, experts believe that genetic as well as environmental factors play a role in the development of migraine headaches. Furthermore, it is also believed that migraines may be caused by changes in the brainstem that create imbalances in the chemistry of the brain. These chemical changes then affect the nerves in the head and face. Common triggers for migraine headaches include: • Hormonal changes in women, • Foods such as alcohol, caffeine, and MSG, • Stress, • Sensory stimuli such as bright lights, loud sounds, and strong scents, • Changes in sleeping patterns, • Physical exertion including sexual activity, • Changes in the weather or barometric pressure, and; • Medications. A migraine headache can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours. Typical symptoms include pain on one side of the head, a pulsating or throbbing pain, sensitivity to light, sounds, or smells, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, diarrhea, and lightheadedness. Migraines are also commonly associated with auras. Auras are typically a set of strange symptoms that occur 10 to 30 minutes prior to the onset of a migraine. These symptoms include: • Visual phenomenon such as seeing various shapes, bright spots, or flashes of light, • Vision loss, • Pins and needle sensations in the arms and legs, and; • Speech or language problems. How can acupuncture and moxibustion help resolve migraine headaches? Since the cause of migraine headaches is unknown to biomedical specialists, there is little documented evidence as to how acupuncture and moxibustion change the physiology of the body to...

Chinese medicine for eczema

Eczema  is a common skin condition marked by an itchy red rash that can appear in skin folds around the knees, elbows or neck. Children commonly suffer from eczema, but studies have also shown the condition to be widespread in adults – with recent studies showing that up to 30% of the population suffers from eczema at some point in their lives. The causes of eczema are not fully understood, but researchers and scientists believe that the condition is probably the result of a number of factors including genetics and the patient’s environment. Eczema is usually mild and causes itching and irritation, but in more severe forms, it can lead to pain and discomfort, can disrupt sleep and can limit daily activities. Traditional treatments for eczema include creams, ointments or corticosteroids and doctors often recommend that patients avoid soap, detergents or materials that could increase irritation. Looking at eczema from a traditional Chinese Medicine perspective is a wholly different approach. While allergies and environment may be factors, Chinese Medicine also explores the role of the body’s overall health and balance (both physical and emotional). Ailments and illnesses occur when this balance is disturbed and skin conditions, rashes and irritations can be external symptoms of other health factors and problems like emotional stress, diet and fatigue. So, to treat eczema, Chinese Medicine takes a more whole body / whole patient approach. I talk with my patients to learn more about their health and habits. Is there an underlying health problem or illness? A change in work or stress levels? An alteration in diet?  Using this information I then develop a...

Allergies- How acupuncture can help

What Can Acupuncture Treat? •    Allergies •    Sinusitis •    Sore Throat •    Hay Fever •    Earache •    Nerve Deafness •    Tinnitus / Ringing in the Ears •    Dizziness •    Poor Eyesight How Can Acupuncture Help? Allergies According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, an allergy (also called hypersensitivity) is a reaction of your immune system to something that does not bother most other people. People who have allergies often are sensitive to more than one thing. Substances that often cause reactions are: pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, food, insect stings, and medicines. Current study and research suggest that both genes and the environment have something to do with it. Normally, your immune system serves to protect the body by fighting germs and harmful foreign objects. It is your body’s defense system. In most allergic reactions, however, the immune system is responding to a false alarm or overreacting to a minor alarm. The most common allergies include the following: •    Seasonal allergic rhinitis (also called “hay fever”) or year-round allergic rhinitis •    Allergic sinusitis •    Eczema or atopic dermatitis •    Contact dermatitis •    Urticaria or hives •    Food allergy Allergies can cause a runny nose, sneezing, itching, rashes, swelling or asthma. Symptoms vary. Many allergies can make you feel bad but most of them are not life-threatening. In some cases, however, it is dangerous to ignore allergy symptoms. Severe and untreated hay fever may lead to asthma, sinusitis, and other serious conditions. Allergic dermatitis or eczema can develop into secondary infections if they are not treated properly. Some allergic reactions to food can cause serious...

Getting Rid of UTI’s with Chinese Medicine

When antibiotics fail; more is not always better when treating urinary tract infections It seems like a simple equation– urinary tract in infection equals a course or two– or three of antibiotics. It is such a common treatment that many doctors will not even check the urine for signs of bacteria overgrowth, they will write the prescription with just a phone call. The Western bio-medicine standard of care for scanty and painful urination usually results in a prescription for the penicillins, cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones. Sometimes these clear the problem up in short order, in which case no point in reading further. However, for those who are failed by the standard of pharmaceutical care, then Chinese medicine has options that don’t involve the collateral damage of destroying the intestinal tract’s beneficial bacteria. More importantly, Chinese herbs can be tremendously effective in the treatment of recurrent and stubborn UTI’s. Antibiotics are amazing medicines when used properly, and for the scope in which they are most effective. However, overuse of these power pharmaceuticals over the past 50+ years has brought with it the co-evolution of the very same pathogens we are trying to control. Our magic bullet has had the unfortunate side effect of encouraging the growth of more virulent strains of bacteria. Chinese herbal medicine offers a different approach. And there is a reason why in the past 2000 years the doctors of Asia have not developed formulations that “kill” the invader. Unlike our western medical model of kill, cut and control, the medicine of Asia seeks to promote balance, harmony and communication between the various body systems. Systems in balance,...

GERD and Reflux Do Not Mean You Have Too Much Stomach Acid

Lowering acid is the not the solution for heartburn! Excess stomach acid is not the problem. You need your stomach acid. It digests your food, helps you assimilate your nutrition, breaks down the building blocks of life into a form accessible to you. Yes, you need your stomach acid, and you need it in your stomach!   GERD GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), reflux, heartburn  — call it what you will, it does not equal a Prilosec deficiency, or an excess of stomach acid. These symptoms, as annoying and potentially dangerous over the long term as they are, are signs that there is a problem with the distribution of gastric juices in your digestive system. It could be with a leaky valve, or another structural abnormally. Or, as I often see in clinic, it could be simply the result of a functional imbalance of some kind. It’s like a car where all the parts are in fine working order, but the timing between them is off or a loose connection in one place is causing some kind of cattywhompus confusion in another part of the system. You could take a drug that will reduce the acid in your stomach, but that is treating the symptom and does not get close to the true cause of the source of the complaint. Instead of paying attention to the message behind the symptom, you are shooting the messenger with a medication. Quieting the body’s plea for help does not solve the problem. It simply allows the dysfunction to continue to operate in silence. Ignore the rattle long enough, and the wheels just might...

Acupuncture for sports injury

The Chinese martial arts know a lot about trauma medicine. A sinew popping kick to one of the joints, punches that powder capillary beds, or broken and shattered bones from falls or weapons all are common fare. All that whirling kick and punch training can result in some serious injuries to the soft tissues, ligaments, sinews and bones as well. The Chinese figured out long ago how to fight with style and power. They also learned a lot about putting people back together. Many of the training temples have herbal formulas and liniments to treat bruises, bleeding, soft tissue injury and broken bones, and these formulas and liniments have been passed down through generations. The vast majority of these methods involve increasing blood flow, reducing inflammation, and promoting the generation of new tissue. There is one substance we commonly use in the West to treat trauma and the associated swelling and pain that comes along with it that the Chinese have never used: Ice. There is a good reason for it too! What?  But, 10 doctors out of 10 recommend ice for trauma. True enough, but do consider that at one time everyone thought the sun revolved around the earth, cigarettes were good for you, and tomatoes were poisonous. Sometimes we do things thinking we are acting in our best interest, only to later discover we were missing an essential bit of information. Ice will temporarily help a traumatic injury to feel better, but in the long run we are prolonging the healing process as it reduces circulation to the injured area. Ever notice we use ice to preserve...