Our Acupuncture Blog

How Acupuncture Eliminates Pain

Posted by Adam Learner | 29-Oct-16 19:22

acupuncture-hand-image

by Lindsey Sisson

Often in clinic patients want to know how acupuncture can take their pain away, immediately and long term. How does this work? Why does it work? Why would you put a needle way over there if my pain is right here!? There are two ways we can answer these questions, the first is from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, where we talk about meridians and imbalances in the body. The second explanation is based on research of the scientific explanation of how and why acupuncture is effective for pain relief. Both explanations are important, and often we touch a little on both when explaining how our medicine works. In this article we will talk more in detail about how current scientific research explains how this ancient healing art works.

For people who have had acupuncture one of the most mystifying aspects is that acupuncture points (acupoints) are not always located in or near the pain site. What has been shown is that about 95% of all acupoints are located very close, within 1cm, of nerve trunks (Shaozong, C.). These nerve trunks are large nerve branches that span large areas over the body. By stimulating areas where the nerve branch is superficial we are able to affect that nerve branch deep within the body at different sites. This is why for pain on the trunk, such as back pain, we may be stimulating points on the hands and feet. The points on the periphery send signals that travel along the nerve branch directly through the area in pain, stimulating the body to send pain relief to that nerve branch.

When patients are getting substantial pain relief from treatments they start to wonder how this can be so effective. We are asked frequently if there is any type of pain medication in/on the needles we insert. The answer is No. Acupuncture releases the natural pain killers that are present in our bodies. This is no small thing, and to understand the how acupuncture can be so effective on pain we can look at what pain reliving substances do when released within the body. The three substances we will discuss are enkephalin, endorphins and norepinephrine. All of these have been shown to be released in response to acupuncture.

When there is an injury to body tissue a signal is sent that travels through the spinal cord into the brain. The brain in turn releases Enkephalins and Endorphins in response to pain. Enkephalins block pain signals within the spinal cord. Endorphins are not completely understood, but are thought to block pain mostly within the brain stem. When inserting needles into the body we are causing micro traumas at highly sensitive areas (think back to the nerve branch) and stimulating this feedback loop without causing a large amount of trauma to the body that is typically needed to release Enkephalins and Endorphins.

Enkephalins and Endorphins are morphine like substances. When they are released in response to the micro traumas caused by needle insertion they provide pain relief in a similar manner to opium-based pharmacuticals. Together these “natural painkillers” have a pain reliving potential up to 200 times more than morphine. So, when we say in explanation that acupuncture is allowing your body to release its own pain-killers, this is no small thing!

Norepinephrine is a third substance thats released during acupuncture treatments. This is a stress hormone which, along with epinephrine regulates our fight or flight response. When this response is triggered one of the things that happens is that our body releases blood into skeletal muscle. With this blood comes oxygen, nutrients and analgesics (pain relievers). So while we are getting pain relief from the others, this response decreases pain but also enables our body to start repairing. Additionally, Norepinepherine can suppress neuroinflammation which is inflammation of the nervous tissue due to infection, traumatic brain injury, toxicity, or autoimmunity. Acute inflammation is needed and is a repairing mechanism of the body. However, chronic inflammation not only causes pain but can lead to cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hay fever and atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries). Suppressing and eliminating chronic inflammation is an important part not only of pain relief, but disease prevention.

These mechanisms are only part of the complicated system that is responsible for pain relief. Research that shows how acupuncture initiates these responses provides insight into the substantial and lasting pain relief we see in our clinical practice daily. Modern research is still exploring how pain is eliminated in our bodies. This is true not only within acupuncture research but within the pharmaceutical realm as well. The way some of our most commonly used pain relievers work are still not completely understood.

We welcome the curiosity of our patients and want to give as much information as possible regarding how acupuncture is able to help relieve symptoms. We are so happy to be able to share how this medicine works from a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) perspective as well as a biomedical perspective. There is exciting research being done currently to further explain the physiological effects of acupuncture. We look forward to gaining even more understanding of how these little tiny needles make such a big impact on pain.

 

Shaozong, C. Modern acupuncture theory and its clinical application. (Chapter 5 The Morphologic Relationship between Points and Nerves). International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture. 2001;121(2):149-158

How Acupuncture Improves Fertility in Women

Posted by Adam Learner | 23-Aug-16 15:21

When people find out that we specialize in the treatment of fertility issues, the vast majority of people are shocked to learn that acupuncture can significantly benefit couples that are struggling with fertility issues.  The next questions we almost always get is, “How does acupuncture affect fertility?”

Its a complicated question and answer, but in this video Adam boils it down to the three most important biomedical effects that acupuncture has that improve female fertility.

Please feel free to forward this on to anyone you think might be interested in this.  If someone is struggling with infertility and has been thinking about different options that might help, they are liable to really appreciate it.

As always we are very happy to set up a Free 15 minute consultation for anyone who has questions about how acupuncture might benefit their health.  Call our office at 603-969-2229 to schedule.

Family Acupuncture wins awards in Best Acupuncture & Best Massage Categories

Posted by Adam Learner | 15-Aug-16 19:56
Family Acupuncture wins for 3rd year in a row!

Family Acupuncture wins for 3rd year in a row!

We are excited to announce that readers of SeacoastOnline.com and the newspapers of Seacoast Media Group (The Portsmouth Herald, The Exeter News-Letter, The Hampton Union, The York Weekly, The York County Coast Star) have once again awarded us with its Readers Choice Awards.

We have won 1st Place in the “Best Acupuncture” for the 3rd year in a row.  They have only been awarding this category for 3 years, and we are proud to have won the 1st Place Award every year since its inception.

Our Massage Therapist, Amy Court was also a winner in the “Best Massage” category this year for the first time!  This is very exciting, and is no small deal.  She faced a tremendous amount of competition as there are many massage therapists in our area, and for Amy to win speaks volumes about the degree that her clients value the incredible service that she provides.  We have been saying for years that she is one of Portsmouth’s “best kept secrets”–well it looks like the secret is now officially out.  We are so happy to see that she is being honored.

Everyone here at Family Acupuncture & Wellness would like to thank all of our patients and friends who voted for us this year.  We are honored that you trust us with your care, and it means a lot to us that you feel pleased enough with our service to honor us with your vote.

Thank you so much.

 

Adam appears on NH1 News—Cupping for Muscle Tightness and Pain

Posted by Adam Learner | 14-Aug-16 16:25

This past Thursday Adam made his TV debut with a short spot on NH1 News. There has been considerable interest in Cupping generated by the Olympics in Rio as several athletes have appeared sporting the characteristic purple “Cupping marks”. News outlets all over the country have been scrambling to produce segments explaining the therapy and their trademark marks, and we were happy to participate in this story. It is always an honor to help spread the word about Chinese Medicine.

It is important to mention that the marks themselves are, despite being pretty dramatic looking, completely painless—almost everyone reports that Cupping feels fantastic. The video clip below contains several images—click to check it out.

Adam appears on NH1 News to discuss Cupping for Tight Muscles

Click to watch NH1 News–sorry about the brief ad to begin

Cupping has been part of Chinese Medicine for at least 3000 years. Historically it has been used to treat a variety of different conditions, but it is most commonly used today to treat musculoskeletal conditions and involving tight muscles. It can be used all over the body, but it is used most often on the upper and lower back, and the neck and shoulders. Its also very effective treating tension headaches and tight muscles in the legs.

Although we certainly can do it as a standalone treatment, in our practice we usually do Cupping in conjunction with another treatment. Both acupuncture and Infrared Sauna treatments are also fantastic for relaxing sore tired muscles—most people find that combining them with cupping provides a synergistic effect stronger than using any single treatment alone.

In celebration of the Olympics and the awareness that they have brought to Cupping we are announcing a special price on what we are calling “The Gold Medal Back and Neck Treatment”. This is perfect for athletes, weekend warriors, and almost anyone with tense muscles that need a little TLC.

Acupuncture, Cupping, and Infrared Sauna: $125 “The Gold Medal Back and Neck Treatment” (95 Minutes)

To coordinate all 3 treatments, its best to call our office to schedule (its difficult to do online) at 603-969-2229. As with all of our treatments, we are always happy to spend some time discussing whether Cupping is appropriate for you.

Mayo Clinic Study Proves Functional Medicine Works for Fatigue

Posted by Adam Learner | 28-Jul-16 17:30

This is very big news, and and it has the Functional Medicine world buzzing.  If anyone is interested, I would be happy to send you a copy the study in its entirety–just send me an email requesting it.

As the women in this study found, fatigue is very treatable once we identify the Root Imbalance which is causing it.  If anyone is interested in discussing our approach for treating fatigue with Functional Medicine, please feel free to contact our office to schedule a Free 15 minute Consultation.

Thanks for Making Us #1!!

Posted by Adam Learner | 08-Sep-15 18:36

 

ocean logoTHANK YOU FOR MAKING US #1!

We are so proud to announce that our amazing patients have voted us #1 Acupuncture Office in the Seacoast.  Thank you so much for your continued support.  Without the patience, trust, and loyalty of our patients and friends we wouldn’t be able to do what we love and change people’s lives for the better EVERY.SINGLE.DAY!

Our hearts are filled with gratitude and as we accept your support we also accept the challenge to continue to improve and be the best we can be for the Seacoast.

Acupuncture and Your Digestive Health

Posted by Adam Learner |

We hope you enjoyed your summer and are looking forward to a healthy fall! We know that at some point almost everyone has digestive upset.  Sometimes this can affect your day to day life so much that it becomes unbearable. So what are you options besides pills and more doctors visits?

Strengthen Your Digestive Health with Acupuncture

More than 95 million Americans suffer from digestive disorders ranging from constipation, diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome to more serious conditions such as acid reflux (GERD), ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In fact, more than 35 million physician office visits a year are due to gastrointestinal complaints. Reports confirm that acupuncture and Oriental medicine can offer relief from even the most complex digestive problems.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Digestive Disorders

Evidence that Oriental medicine has been used for digestive disorders can be found in early medical literature dating back to 3 AD, where specific acupuncture points and herbal formulas for borborygmus (rumbling or gurgling in the intestines), abdominal pain and diarrhea with pain are discussed.

According to Oriental medical theory, most digestive disorders are due to disharmony in the spleen and stomach. The spleen plays a central part in the health and vitality of the body, taking a lead role in the assimilation of nutrients and maintenance of physical strength. It turns digested food from the stomach into usable nutrients and Qi (energy). Many schools of thought have been formed around this organ; the premise being that the proper functioning of the “middle” is the key to all aspects of vitality.

By taking into account a person’s constitution and varied symptoms, a treatment plan is designed specifically for the individual to bring their “middle” back into harmony and optimize the proper functioning of the digestive system. A variety of techniques can be used during treatment including acupuncture, lifestyle/dietary recommendations and energetic exercises to restore digestive health.

Is your digestive system functioning as well as it could? Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are extremely effective at treating a wide array of digestive disorders. Call today for more information or to schedule an appointment.

 

Relief for Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is part of a category of diseases called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and it presents with inflammation in the lining of the large intestine, specifically the colon and sometimes the rectum. The lining becomes inflamed due to small wounds or ulcers, which then produce mucus and pus.

To be more specific, the condition occurs when the body mistakenly identifies food or other substances as foreign invaders. White blood cells are called up as part of an immune response, which proceed to cause inflammation and damage in the large intestine. Flare-ups may be triggered by stress, infections and certain anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen. However, the exact cause of ulcerative colitis is not known, but medical researchers suspect a link between a person’s genetics, general state of the immune system and environmental factors.

Most people start showing symptoms in their 30’s since the disease advances slowly over time, and men and women are equally as likely to be affected. Children are also at risk and, in general, the younger a child is the more likely the symptoms and complications will be severe. Growth and mental development may be a problem in this case.

As there can be weeks or even months without a patient experiencing symptoms, when they do occur, they are referred to as flare-ups. The inflammation and ulceration associated with ulcerative colitis can cause pain and different problems, including frequent, watery diarrhea, persistent diarrhea with pain and bloody stool, urgent bowel movements, incomplete evacuation of the bowels despite a feeling of urgency, abdominal cramping, loss of appetite, weight loss, body fluid depletion, fatigue, fever or urgent diarrhea that wakes you up in the middle of the night.

The symptoms and how long they occur for can vary widely for each patient. Many sufferers report only minimal or moderate symptoms, while others experience life-threatening complications such as severe dehydration and major bleeding from the colon.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine is equipped to handle the symptoms of ulcerative colitis as demonstrated by a meta-analysis of different scientific studies conducted since the 1990’s. A team of researchers conducted a wide-scale analysis of 43 randomized, controlled trials investigating the efficacy of acupuncture and moxibustion for the treatment of irritable bowel disease. Of those 43 trials, 42 specifically analyzed and addressed ulcerative colitis.

Researchers then focused on 10 scientific studies that compared the use of acupuncture and moxibustion to the use of oral sulphasalazine for symptom relief. Sulphasalazine is a doctor-prescribed pharmaceutical drug that is commonly used in the treatment of ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis. After analyzing the studies, researchers concluded “acupuncture and moxibustion demonstrated better overall efficacy than oral sulphasalazine in treating inflammatory bowel disease.” This meta-analysis was performed by a team at the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Shanghai, China. The study was published in the 2013 issue of Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal covering alternative medicine.

 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Acupuncture

A common disorder affecting 10 to 20 percent of adults at some point in their lives, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was once called “spastic colon” and has a combination of symptoms that may include constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, fatigue and headaches that can be worsened by certain foods, stress and other irritants. IBS is the end result of nervous interference with the normal function of the lower digestive tract. The symptoms are variable and change over time.

While other patterns may be present, IBS is typically considered a disharmony between the liver and the spleen in Oriental medicine. The liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi and blood throughout the body. This flow can be upset by emotions or stress, causing stagnation of Qi or blood. Oriental medicine views the spleen as being associated with the function of digestion and transforming food into energy (Qi and blood). The spleen can be weakened by a number of factors, including overeating unhealthy foods, overwork, stress, fatigue and lack of exercise. When the spleen is weak and the liver is not moving smoothly, the liver overacts on the spleen and can manifest as symptoms of IBS. Symptoms can be managed by avoiding overeating, exercise, identifying trigger foods and reducing stress.

Do you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Call today to see how Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can improve your quality of life!

 

Crohn’s Disease Symptom Relief

Crohn’s disease is a medical condition that can cause chronic inflammation anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract–from the mouth all the way to the rectum. Often, but not always, the inflamed tissue is specifically found in the ileum (the end of the small intestine) and the beginning of the colon. Inflammation can spread into the deeper layers of the tract and frequently has what is known as a “cobblestone appearance.” This refers to the fact that some patches of diseased tissue are found next to patches of healthy tissue.

Although all age groups are equally at risk, people 15-35 years old are most commonly affected. Crohn’s is a difficult condition to cure, so the main focus of treatment is to help manage symptoms with medication and dietary changes and, in some cases, surgery to repair or remove affected areas of the gastrointestinal tract. Because the disease is chronic, the individual may experience periods of flare-ups and aggravating symptoms, while at other times the person will have periods with no apparent symptoms at all.

Symptoms vary from patient to patient, and may include persistent, recurrent diarrhea, bleeding from the anus, urgent need to evacuate the bowels, constipation or feeling of incomplete evacuation, abdominal cramping, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, mental and physical developmental delays (in certain cases occurring amongst children), fever, night sweats, or irregular menstrual cycle

It is important to receive an early diagnosis as untreated Crohn’s disease can eventually cause life-threatening symptoms such as tears in the lining of the rectum and fistulas. Fissures can cause excess bleeding and pain. Fistulas happen when inflammation erodes tissue, causing the formation of a tunnel starting from the intestines, going to the urinary bladder, vagina or even the skin.

A study called Acupuncture Helps Crohn’s Disease Patients was published in the journal World of Gastroenterology, and it had some very promising results. It concluded that “acupuncture provided significant therapeutic benefits in patients with active Crohn’s disease, beyond the placebo effect and is therefore an effective and safe treatment.” Even more encouraging, researchers also discovered that both lab scores and quality of life scores improved. This means that acupuncture and Oriental medicine is adept at handling the physical and emotional symptoms that often accompany the disease.

For the study, the acupuncture points selected for treatment focused on reducing inflammation in the intestinal tract. Each participant received three treatments per week for a total of 12 weeks. Additionally, moxibustion (moxa) was also used on four acupuncture points on the stomach. Moxa is a traditional technique that uses the smoke from the herb mugwort to penetrate the skin. In this way, it stimulates the body’s immune system. Often, the warm smoke provides a pleasant, comforting experience for the patient.

Diet is very important and the right choices can help reduce some symptoms. In general, acupuncture and Oriental medicine suggests refraining from eating raw and cold foods.

Call today to learn more about how diet can impact the symptoms of Crohn’s.

 

 

In This Issue

  • Strengthen Your Digestive Health with Acupuncture
  • Relief for Ulcerative Colitis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Acupuncture
  • Crohn’s Disease Symptom Relief
  • Reduce Your Risk of Getting Food Poisoning
  • Acid Reflux? Try Acupuncture!

Reduce Your Risk of Getting Food Poisoning

Four simple steps to reducing the occurrence of food poisoning are to clean, separate, cook and chill.

Clean: Wash hands, surfaces, utensils and platters often. Rinse all produce in cold running water before peeling, cutting or eating.

Separate: Keep foods that won’t be cooked separate from raw meat and poultry. Don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meats and poultry.

Cook: Cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria.

Chill: Refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow containers.

If you are ill with diarrhea or vomiting, do not prepare food for others, especially infants, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems since they are more vulnerable to infection.

Acid Reflux? Try Acupuncture!

For some people, eating a heavy, spicy or fatty meal can produce the unmistakable signs of acid reflux. Symptoms can vary from a burning pain in the chest to a sour taste in the mouth as stomach acid and/or regurgitated food flows upward through the esophagus into the oral cavity. Although some may refer to these symptoms collectively as heartburn, the process is the same no matter what it is called. Additionally they may experience difficult or painful swallowing, sore throat, a dry, rough voice, or feeling of a lump in the throat that cannot be cleared away.

It is estimated that more than 20 percent of the general population is affected by acid reflux. While other groups are impacted, at least half of all asthmatic children experience symptoms, and pregnant women tend to suffer more than the average population, with half reporting severe symptoms during their second and third trimesters.

While it’s true for some people that symptoms can be mild or pass quickly, others go on to experience more severe ones. Sometimes, symptoms of acid reflux can mimic the symptoms of a heart attack. This includes severe chest pain and a crushing sensation in the chest. Also of concern is the presence of black, tarry stools or black material in vomit. These are signs of bleeding in the stomach, a serious medical concern.

An acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioner may recognize the symptoms of acid reflux as relating to the stomach organ. Two examples of diagnoses would be rebellious stomach Qi and food accumulation in the stomach. Qi is a vital energy necessary for all life to exist. Both of these diagnoses call for an acupuncture treatment that will redirect energy downwards, as should naturally happen just after eating or drinking. Rebellious stomach Qi is a perfect description for some of the symptoms of acid reflux.

The stomach, according to the philosophy of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, is needed to ripen and rot food. After this process of fermentation occurs, only then may the nutrients be extracted during the next phase of digestion. Without strong stomach Qi, issues regarding malnutrition may arise. This is why an acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioner will need to evaluate a patient with acid reflux and address any nutritional deficiencies that may be present. Diet is very important in helping to calm symptoms.

Suffering from acid reflux? Call today to see how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you!

We hope you have learned that you have options when it comes to your digestive health.  Visit us today and take the next step to being well.

Can Acupuncture Help Insomnia?

Posted by Adam Learner | 31-Jul-15 18:53

Put Insomnia to Rest!

Our society puts a premium on our waking hours, and we thus have the tendency to underestimate the importance of a full-night’s sleep. Millions of people who suffer from insomnia look for quick fixes instead of exploring the root causes of the problem. Sleep hygiene is an afterthought for many people. Evening is a time to allow our minds and bodies to turn inward to our subconscious. Sleep deprivation is the root of many health issues like memory impairment, a weakened immune system and stress that can lead to cardiac disease, heart disease and digestive disorders.

Exposure to the diminishing light at dusk helps regulate sleep hormones in the body. Excessive lighting at night, evening shift work, evening computing, video games, television and late-night eating all serve to counteract the body’s natural rhythms. It’s no wonder people have trouble sleeping. Rather than embrace nighttime as rest time, we tend to let our minds wander from one element of stress to another, which can keep us up for hours or perhaps an entire evening. We are then forced to approach the new day without having benefited from the regenerative powers that nighttime brings.

In Oriental medicine, sleep occurs when the yang energy of the day folds into the yin energy of nighttime. Yin energy of the body is cooling and restorative; it is the time of day when our bodies turn inward and regenerate. This is the time we dream and explore the caverns of our unconscious mind. Conversely, daytime is yang, which is expansive. We expend the energy we have built up from the process of sleeping. Together, this is the cycle of yin and yang.

To apply this yin-yang concept to your everyday life, try eating your last meal at least three hours before going to bed. For example, you can “cool” your yang energy down by avoiding hot and spicy food and drink. Avoid alcohol, coffee, chocolate and any other stimulants, especially late in the day.

To improve your sleep cycles, help circulate your body’s energy by working out or with gentle exercise. Build your body’s nutritive aspect by eating marrow-based soups and stews, dark pigmented vegetables and fruits. Avoid overworking or over rumination as well.

An invaluable tool to help your brain unwind is meditation. It helps the body create a sense of calm. Meditation can reduce stress, increase feelings of well-being and improve overall health. It can help one increase alertness, relaxation and reflection even in “waking” states. Meditation is best practiced during the day to help improve your sleep patterns at night.

If you or someone you know suffers from insomnia, call today to see what acupuncture and Oriental medicine can do for you!

Sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Find Relief With Oriental Medicine

Chronic fatigue syndrome is far more than just being tired, it is a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that may worsen with physical or mental activity and does not improve with rest. Those affected with chronic fatigue syndrome can get so run down that it interferes with the ability to function in day-to-day activities, with some becoming severely disabled and even bedridden. In addition to extreme fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome encompasses a wide range of other symptoms including, but not limited to, headaches, flu-like symptoms and chronic pain.

If you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, Oriental medicine can help relieve many of your symptoms. Exceptional for relieving aches and pains, acupuncture and Oriental medicine treatments can help you avoid getting sick as often and assist with a quicker recovery, as well as improve your vitality and stamina.

Research on Chronic Fatigue and Acupuncture

A study in China evaluated cupping as a treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome. All of the study patients complained of fatigue and some had additional problems with headaches, insomnia, muscle-joint pains, backaches and pains, poor memory, gastrointestinal disturbances and bitter taste in their mouth, among other things. Patients ranging in age from 28-54 received sliding cupping treatments twice a week for a total of 12 treatments. The results showed there was vast improvement in fatigue levels, insomnia, poor memory, spontaneous sweating, sore throat, profuse dreams, poor intake, abdominal distention, diarrhea, and alternating constipation and diarrhea. 

In another study conducted at the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou University of TCM in Guangzhou, China, subjects with chronic fatigue syndrome were evenly divided by random selection into an acupuncture group and a control group. The observation group was treated with acupuncture and the control group was treated with an injection. Participants completed a fatigue scale and results showed that people who received acupuncture reported significantly more relief from their symptoms. A similar study conducted in Hong Kong gave half of the group conventional needle acupuncture and half (the control group) sham acupuncture. Again, using a fatigue scale, improvements in physical and mental fatigue were significantly bigger in the acupuncture group and no adverse events occurred. 

Most significantly, 28 papers were statistically reviewed through a meta analysis in order to assess the success of acupuncture as a therapy for chronic fatigue syndrome. The results showed that treatment groups receiving acupuncture for chronic fatigue syndrome had superior results when compared with control groups. Rightly, they concluded that acupuncture therapy is effective for chronic fatigue syndrome and that it does merit additional research.

If you are struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome, call today to see how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be incorporated into your treatment plan!

The Endocrine System and Your Health

Posted by Adam Learner | 27-Feb-15 19:46

For February we are focusing on Endocrine Health. This time of year we often find ourselves battling the common cold, calling out of work with the flu, and fending off the winter blues. Most of us don’t realize that all of these “winter ailments” can be halted by regulating the bodies hormonal response. The keystone of acupuncture and Oriental medicine has always been awakening the body’s natural intelligence to heal itself and restore balance through the system of energy pathways (called “meridians”) in the body. If the meridians within your body have become imbalanced, you can suffer from fatigue, infertility, weight gain,
depression, digestive problems, hair loss, arthritis and feeling chilled no matter the temperature. These meridians control and balance the endocrine system. The endocrine system is responsible for so many important hormonal functions in the body and controls your physical growth, mood, hormone output, reproduction, mental functionality and immune system. When not working properly, you become more susceptible to disease and your ability to fight off infection is weakened. The health of your endocrine system can make or break your overall health.

What are the endocrine glands and what do they do?

The major endocrine glands include the adrenals, pancreas, pineal, pituitary, reproductive, and thyroid glands.

Adrenals – Adrenal glands regulate the body’s response to stress and are made of two parts, each of which secretes a separate set of hormones. The outer part produces corticosteroid hormones that regulate the balance of salt and water, stress response, metabolism, immune function, as well as the development and function of the reproductive system. The inner part secretes adrenaline hormones that increase blood pressure and heart rate in response to stress. Over time, chronic elevated stress levels can lead to weight gain, decreased resistance to infections, fatigue, muscle aches and low blood sugar.

Pancreas – The pancreas produces insulin and glucagon, two hormones that work together to provide the body`s cells with a constant supply of energy in the form of glucose.

Pineal – The pineal gland is also known as the epiphysis cerebri, epiphysis, or the “third eye.” It produces the serotonin derivative melatonin, a hormone that affects the modulation of wake/sleep patterns and seasonal functions.

Hypothalamus and Pituitary – These are a collection of specialized cells that provide the primary link between the endocrine and central nervous systems. Nerve cells and hormones signal the pituitary gland to secrete or suppress the release of various hormone messages to the other glands. The pituitary gland is also responsible for secreting growth hormones.

Reproductive – These glands secrete hormones that control the development of male and female characteristics. In males, these glands secrete androgen hormones, most importantly testosterone. In females, they produce estrogen, progesterone, eggs, and are involved in reproductive functions.

Thyroid – Thyroid hormones control the growth, temperature and function of every cell in the body. The gland acts as the metabolic engine of the body — if it secretes too little hormone, the body slows and dies; if it secretes too much, the body burns out and dies.

When treating an endocrine imbalance with acupuncture and Oriental medicine, we seek out the root cause of the patient’s imbalance. The endocrine system is closely tied to the internal balance of the Yin energy and the Yang energy of the Kidney organ system (the Kidney organ system in extensive and complicated–it includes all functions which are attributed to the endocrine system in Western biomedicine). Imagine that the Yang energy is like gasoline that fuels a car, and Yin energy is the engine coolant. Without the coolant, the engine overheats and burns out. Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal medicine work to make sure the Yin and Yang are balanced to restore proper function in the many systems in the body that are affected by the endocrine system.

Acupuncture can be used to restore hormonal balance, regulate energy levels, smooth emotions, and help manage sleep and menstrual problems. A healthy endocrine system that continues to secrete adequate amounts of hormones will slow the aging process and keep you vibrant and healthy as you age.

A few basic steps you can take to enhance your endocrine health are:

Eat Slowly – Don’t rush through your meals. Allowing your body to properly digest food reduces after-meal fatigue, boosts your immune system and enables your endocrine system to properly process nutritional intake.

Exercise – Regular exercise boosts the immune system, improves cardiovascular health and muscle mass, and prevents bone loss. Stress-reducing exercises such as yoga, Qigong, or Tai Chi can also be beneficial.

Manage Your Stress – An important part of maintaining a healthy endocrine system is stress management. Stress can cause the overproduction of hormones, leading to the malfunction of endocrine organs.

Rest – Take a day out of the week for rest and rejuvenation, allowing your mind and body to recover.

Sleep – Get 6-8 hours of sleep per night in order to reduce stress and keep hormones balanced. Stress and a lack of sleep may cause some of the glands to malfunction.

Schedule a consultation to see how Family Acupuncture & Wellness can assist you with your endocrine health and help you to live a long, healthy life!