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Posts Tagged ‘acupuncture Seattle’

 

Ideally a woman begins working on her reproductive health with East Asian Medicine 3 months prior to the time she wants to conceive. This gives time to normalize the cycle and increases the chances of a healthy pregnancy and baby. In Chinese medical terms, it’s a time to balance yin, yang, qi and blood. It’s a perfect time to move qi and blood to improve blood flow to the uterus and ovaries as well as reduce stress.

Women who feel more comfortable with a less invasive treatment and who are young, with good ovarian reserve and without known correctable causes of infertility, could try acupuncture before attempting hormone therapies or in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Acupuncture can be used in conjunction with treatments done by your doctor or fertility specialist.

Treatments are typically given 1 time per week. Factors such as the complexity of the complaint, toxins from medications, hereditary influences, recurrent low level infections, lifestyle habits, and other illnesses can influence the length of treatment. Certain conditions like the following are more difficult to treat and may require a longer treatment protocol:

  • Cysts, fibroids, PCOS, PMS, anovulation, endometriosis, luteal phase defect
  • Chinese herbs and dietary changes are often part of the treatment.

Preconception In the first phase of treatment will regulate the menstrual cycle by increasing circulation to the pelvic cavity and nourishing energy and vitality. During this phase periods should become more regular, the flow should be bright red and without clots, minimal or cramping and less breast tenderness. Other benefits include decreased stress, better sleep, improved energy and warmer hands and feet. Most women become open and fertile for conception.

Factors such as the complexity of the complaint, toxins from medications, hereditary influences, lifestyle habits, and other illnesses can influence the length of treatment. (more…)

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The transition into the harvest time and the Earth Element reminds us to take some time, step back, and Earth Element pumpkinsenjoy the season. Not that it’s too difficult for me. I’ve always loved this time of year. I call it the dog days of summer. For someone who is often busy and can easily over schedule, I have no problem soaking in the last warm days and relaxing. I like to sit around and watch the tomatoes ripen. (Well, they’re ripening for me but they’re in my greenhouse so don’t feel bad if yours aren’t.)

My family and I headed out to Remlinger farms today for some U pick pumpkins, corn maze ,and the whole meal deal. It spit rain, but we were  more soaked in sun and it was even too warm for coats! When I really should have done something else, it was the perfect thing to do to regain balance. The crisp air and typically funny extended family time left a lot to be thankful for.

Questions to ask yourself: Are you content this season? Are you able to harvest what has been sown? Are your relationships reciprocal? These are all important measures of the health of your earth element.

How’s your digestion? The Chinese Spleen and Stomach are in charge of the storage and movement of nourishment and relate to the Earth element.  Imbalances here can result in diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, low energy and more.

Keep your Earth Element in balance by eating your food lightly cooked. Raw food is difficult for your body to process because it must expend energy to first “heat” the food up. It’s also important to chew your food so that your body can break it down more easily. Enzymes in your saliva are an important first phase in your digestion.

Earth Associations: Color: Yellow/ brown  Smell: Fragrant  Sound: Singing  Emotion: Worry/ Over thinking

Do your Earth element a favor, call to schedule a seasonal acupuncture tune up, be grateful and sing!!!

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acupuncture for pregnancy and labour preparation in Seattle WAAcupuncture is very effective for issues experienced in pregnancy and for labor preparation. Often I spend so much time treating women, I don’t sit down and put my thoughts on paper. First things first, Chinese medicine has a ton to offer for preconception and fertility, pregnancy and post partum. From natural menstrual cycle balancing, to “day of” IVF transfer protocols, acupuncture and Chinese medicine are great for helping make babies. Once conception has taken place, it is important to support mom and baby through each phase of development.

The first trimester is a tricky time, where mom may not be sharing the good news, and might be pretty nervous. Stress reduction and supporting normal fetal development at this phase is crucial. The treatment also supports implantation and prevents miscarriage. Nausea and food aversions may be an issue, and acupuncture proves to be very useful for this as well. Treatments at this time can also ease fatigue and mood swings. This is also the time that certain superpowers develop, specifically superhero sense of smell. These ladies can walk into a room and tell you “there’s a banana in the trash in the corner, and it smells terrible. “ It’s weird, but a good sign.

The second trimester: As mom’s body begins to noticeably change to the outside world, she feels the changes on the inside too and not always in a good way! Back pain, round ligament pain and heart burn can begin to rear their heads. Pregnancy produces an environment of heat and dampness in the body according to Chinese medicine. These symptoms can be relieved with acupuncture and diet therapy to cool the heat and dry the damp. This is the time when mom goes from feeling like she “just looks fat,” to looking like she is definitely pregnant. This is a nice treat for waning self-esteem. Energy is usually good and women enjoy light exercise comfortably.

As the third trimester unfolds, mom may just feel big. Bellies get heavy, and the mounds of pillows used to support them at night approach mountainous levels. Swollen ankles, high blood pressure, back pain, and pelvic pain are all possibilities.If the baby is breech treatment can be done to turn the baby. This should ideally be done at 34-36 weeks. Starting 3 weeks or so prior to her due date, the focus of the acupuncture treatments can switch from symptom relief to preparing the body for labor. Points are done to soften and open the cervix. Sometimes there is fear that the treatments may bring on labor too early, but I have never experienced this to be true. If it was, trust me, I could make a lot of money getting babies out on demand. What I have experienced is easier labors, more vaginal deliveries, and happier moms.

Lindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncturist. She is passionate about healthy , happy living and a regular blogger. For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545.

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Decoding an Ancient Therapy

High-Tech Tools Show How Acupuncture Works in Treating Arthritis, Back Pain, Other Ills

  • By MELINDA BECK

Acupuncture has long baffled medical experts and no wonder: It holds that an invisible life force called qi (pronounced chee) travels up and down the body in 14 meridians. Illness and pain are due to blockages and imbalances in qi. Inserting thin needles into the body at precise points can unblock the meridians, practitioners believe, and treat everything from arthritis and asthma to anxiety, acne and infertility.

WSJ’s health columnist Melinda Beck tests out acupuncture as an alternative means to reduce her neck and back pain.

Does It Work?

While scientists say further research is essential, some studies have provided evidence of acupuncture’s effects.

  • Arthritis of the Knee: Acupuncture significantly reduced pain and restored function, according to a 2004 government study.
  • Headaches: Two 2009 reviews found that acupuncture cut both tension and migraine headaches.
  • Lower Back Pain: Acupuncture eased it in a big study last year, but so did a sham treatment where needles didn’t penetrate the skin.
  • Cancer: Has proven effective in reducing nausea and fatigue caused by chemotherapy.
  • Infertility: Improves the odds of pregnancy for women undergoing in-vitro fertilization, according to a 2008 review of seven clinical trials.
  • Addiction: Often used to help quit smoking, drinking, drug use and overeating, but there is no conclusive evidence that it works.

 

After decades of cynicism, Western medical experts are using high-tech tools to unravel the ancient mysteries of how acupuncture works. WSJ’s Health columnist Melinda Beck joins Simon Constable on the News Hub to discuss.

As fanciful as that seems, acupuncture does have real effects on the human body, which scientists are documenting using high-tech tools. Neuroimaging studies show that it seems to calm areas of the brain that register pain and activate those involved in rest and recuperation. Doppler ultrasound shows that acupuncture increases blood flow in treated areas. Thermal imaging shows that it can make inflammation subside.

Scientists are also finding parallels between the ancient concepts and modern anatomy. Many of the 365 acupuncture points correspond to nerve bundles or muscle trigger points. Several meridians track major arteries and nerves. “If people have a heart attack, the pain will radiate up across the chest and down the left arm. That’s where the heart meridian goes,” says Peter Dorsher, a specialist in pain management and rehabilitation at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. “Gallbladder pain will radiate to the right upper shoulder, just where the gallbladder meridian goes.”

Many medical experts remain deeply skeptical about acupuncture, of course, and studies of its effectiveness have been mixed. “Something measurable is happening when you stick a needle into a patient—that doesn’t impress me at all,” says Edzard Ernst, a professor of complementary medicine at the University of Exeter in England and co-author of the book, “Trick or Treatment.” Acupuncture “clearly has a very strong placebo effect. Whether it does anything else, the jury is still out.”

Even so, the use of acupuncture continues to spread—often alongside conventional medicine. U.S. Navy, Air Force and Army doctors are using acupuncture to treat musculoskeletal problems, pain and stress in stateside hospitals and combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. Delegations from Acupuncturists Without Borders are holding communal ear-needling sessions to reduce stress among earthquake victims in Haiti. Major medical centers—from M.D. Anderson in Houston to Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York—use acupuncture to counteract the side effects of chemotherapy.

In a 2007 survey, 3.2 million Americans had undergone acupuncture in the past year—up from 2.1 million in 2001, according to the government’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

The most common uses are for chronic pain conditions like arthritis, lower back pain and headaches, as well as fatigue, anxiety and digestive problems, often when conventional medicine fails. At about $50 per session, it’s relatively inexpensive and covered by some insurers.It is also generally safe. About 10% of patients experience some bleeding at the needle sites, although in very rare cases, fatalities have occurred due to infections or injury to vital organs, mostly due to inexperienced practitioners.

Most states require that acupuncturists be licensed, and the Food and Drug Administration requires that needles be new and sterile.

Diagnoses are complicated. An acupuncturist will examine a patient’s tongue and take three different pulses on each wrist, as well as asking questions about digestion, sleep and other habits, before determining which meridians may be blocked and where to place the needles. The 14 meridians are thought to be based on the rivers of China, and the 365 points may represent the days of the year. “Invaders” such as wind, cold, heat, dampness, dryness factor into illness, so can five phases known as fire, earth, metal, water and wood.

Using Acupuncture to Treat Stress

“It’s not like there’s a Merck Manual for acupuncture,” says Joseph M. Helms, who has trained some 4,000 physicians in acupuncture at his institute in Berkeley, Calif. “Every case is evaluated on an individual basis, based on the presentation of the patient and the knowledge of the acupuncturist.”

Dr. Helms notes that Western doctors also examine a patient’s tongue for signs of illness. As for qi, he says, while the word doesn’t exist in Western medicine, there are similar concepts. “We’ll say, ‘A 27-year-old female appears moribund; she doesn’t respond to stimuli. Or an 85-year old woman is exhibiting a vacant stare.’ We’re talking about the same energy and vitality, we’re just not making it a unique category that we quantify.”

Studies in the early 1980s found that acupuncture works in part by stimulating the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, much like vigorous exercise does. Now, a growing body of research suggests that it may have several mechanisms of action. Those include stimulating blood flow and tissue repair at the needle sites and sending nerve signals to the brain that regulate the perception of pain and reboot the autonomic nervous system, which governs unconscious functions such as heart beat, respiration and digestion, according to Alejandro Elorriaga, director of the medical acupuncture program at McMaster University in Ontario, which teaches a contemporary version to physicians.

[healthcolJ] Vitaly NapadowA specialized MRI scan shows the effects of acupuncture. The top two images show the brain of a healthy subject. In the middle two images, a patient with carpal tunnel syndrome registers pain (indicated by red and yellow). The bottom images show the calming effect (indicated by blue) in the brain after acupuncture.

“You can think Western, you can think Eastern. As long as your needle goes to the nerve, you will get some effect,” Dr. Elorriaga says.

What’s more, an odd phenomenon occurs when acupuncture needles are inserted into the body and rotated: Connective tissue wraps around them like spaghetti around a fork, according to ultrasound studies at the University of Vermont. Helene Langevin, research associate professor of neurology, says this action stretches cells in the connective tissue much like massage and yoga do, and may act like acupuncture meridians to send signals throughout the body. “That’s what we’re hoping to study next,” she says.

“ My former spouse had shingles. Doctors told her that the terrible pain would probably last 2 or 3 years. She got acupuncture treatments, plus some Chinese herbs, and the pain was totally gone with 6 weeks.:

—Alan Agardi

Meanwhile, neuroimaging studies at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston have shown that acupuncture affects a network of systems in the brain, including decreasing activity in the limbic system, the emotional part of the brain, and activating it in the parts of the brain that typically light up when the brain is at rest.

Other studies at the Martinos Center have shown that patients with carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful compression of nerves in the wrist, have heightened activity in parts of the brain that regulate sensation and fear, but after acupuncture, their brain patterns more closely resemble those of healthy subjects. Brain scans of patients with fibromyalgia show that both acupuncture and sham acupuncture (using real needles on random points in the body) cause the release of endorphins. But real acupuncture also increased the number of receptors for pain-reducing neurotransmitters, bringing patients even more relief.

The fact that many patients get some relief and register some brain changes from fake acupuncture has caused controversy in designing clinical trials. Some critics say that proves that what patients think of as benefit from acupuncture is mainly the placebo effect. Acupuncture proponents counter that placebos that too closely mimic the treatment experience may have a real benefit.

“I don’t see any disconnect between how acupuncture works and how a placebo works,” says radiologist Vitaly Napadow at the Martinos center. “The body knows how to heal itself. That’s what a placebo does, too.”

Write to Melinda Beck at HealthJournal@wsj.com

 

 

 

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