Acupuncture is Effective for Treating the Symptoms of Menopause

February 9, 2015 | By: Margery Keasler

A study (March 2011) tested the efficacy of acupuncture in treating the symptoms of menopause. The study placed women who were suffering from a variety of menopause symptoms, including hot flashes, into two groups. The control group received ‘sham’ treatments consisting of blunt needles that were not inserted into the body. The other group received acupuncture at 10 specified points. The trial consisted of treatment for 20 minutes, 2 times a week for a 5 week course of treatment. Patients in the control group enjoyed significant reductions in the severity of their symptoms when compared to the control group.

This comes as no surprise to anyone who has studied Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine has a history of treating gynecological conditions that dates back over 2000 years. While acupuncture by itself can be effective in treating many conditions, the overall efficacy can often be increased by adding the prescription of Chinese herbs.


The Importance of Sleep

December 10, 2014 | By: Margery Keasler

The importance of Sleep
We often forget the benefits of sleep. Most of us are sleep-deprived on a regular basis either because we cram too much into our lives or because of sleep problems. Sleep deprivation can be detrimental to our health. It makes us cranky, hurts our concentration, and even predisposes us to a number of chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart problems. In addition, it takes a toll on our appearance as well. Bags or circles under the eyes, sallow, dull or blotchy complexion, lack of sparkle to the eyes, all are a result of lack of sleep.
During the night, deep sleep helps to repair the damage that is done to our bodies during the daytime. Our skin also uses this time to regenerate, repair, and regain its elasticity. A standard eight hours of sleep may not be the magic number for everyone. Some people require more and some less. The right number of hours of sleep for you is when you can fall asleep easily, stay asleep, and wake refreshed.
Regularity of sleep is also important. It is best to try to retire for bed and awaken at the same time every day, including weekends. According to the philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, around ten o’clock is the ideal time to retire. Night represents the Yin time, which means a time of stillness, darkness, coldness, and being passive. In comparison, the daytime represents the Yang time of day which is a time of action, movement, brightness and warmth.
Unfortunately, a good number of us suffer from anything as simple as occasional sleeping problems to serious, full blown insomnia. If this sounds familiar, don’t worry, there are ways to treat these problems. Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and lifestyle adjustments are effective ways of treating sleep issues.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the organ systems that most heavily influence sleeping patterns are the Heart and Liver. The amount and quality of sleep depend on the state of the Mind (Shen). And in turn, the Mind is controlled by the state of the Heart. If the Heart system is disturbed by too much heat, or it is undernourished, then the Mind will not be properly rooted and sleep will be restless or there will be difficulty falling asleep. Likewise, if the Liver is stagnant due to stress, irritated by too much heat, or undernourished for the same reasons as the heart, sleep will not be sound and replenishing.
What causes the Heart and Liver systems to be disturbed by too much heat? Stimulants, too many spicy foods, alcohol, smoking, too much television, (especially shows that cause a lot of excitability), and anything that causes our emotions to get ‘worked up’ or ‘excited’. Things that cause the heart system to be undernourished include poor diet, worry, extreme mental stress, and ‘student syndrome’, or studying a lot at night. Acupuncture, herbs, dietary modifications, and lifestyle adjustments can greatly improve sleep quality, and your outward appearance. An acupuncturist will assess and diagnose the imbalance that is contributing to poor sleep quality. Points will be chosen that either release heat from the Heart or Liver, or nourish those organs and calm the mind. Many people that come to see me for other health issues report that their sleep quality has also improved from the acupuncture sessions.
An herbal formula can be designed for each individual to help increase the effect of the acupuncture treatments and help to see results more quickly. Nothing feels better than waking up from a sound, restful sleep. The mind feels clear, the body feels rejuvenated, the face has a healthy glow, eyes sparkle, and your energy appears light and happy. Commit to a good sleeping regimen and notice the difference it makes in your appearance! A good night’s sleep truly is nature’s most effective beauty treatment.

Acupuncture Provides True Pain Relief in Study

September 10, 2014 | By: Margery Keasler

A new study of acupuncture — the most rigorous and detailed analysis of the treatment to date — found that it can ease migraines and arthritis and other forms of chronic pain.

The findings provide strong scientific support for an age-old therapy used by an estimated three million Americans each year. Though acupuncture has been studied for decades, the body of medical research on it has been mixed and mired to some extent by small and poor-quality studies. Financed by the National Institutes of Health and carried out over about half a decade, the new research was a detailed analysis of earlier research that involved data on nearly 18,000 patients.

The researchers, who published their results in Archives of Internal Medicine, found that acupuncture outperformed sham treatments and standard care when used by people suffering from osteoarthritis, migraines and chronic back, neck and shoulder pain.

“This has been a controversial subject for a long time,” said Dr. Andrew J. Vickers, attending research methodologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and the lead author of the study. “But when you try to answer the question the right way, as we did, you get very clear answers.

“We think there’s firm evidence supporting acupuncture for the treatment of chronic pain.”

Acupuncture, which involves inserting needles at various places on the body to stimulate so-called acupoints, is among the most widely practiced forms of alternative medicine in the country and is offered by many hospitals. Most commonly the treatment is sought by adults looking for relief from chronic pain, though it is also used with growing frequency in children. According to government estimates, about 150,000 children in the United States underwent acupuncture in 2007.

But for all its popularity, questions about its efficacy have long been commonplace. Are those who swear by it experiencing true relief or the psychological balm of the placebo effect?

Dr. Vickers and a team of scientists from around the world — England, Germany, Sweden and elsewhere — sought an answer by pooling years of data. Rather than averaging the results or conclusions from years of previous studies, a common but less rigorous form of meta-analysis, Dr. Vickers and his colleagues first selected 29 randomized studies of acupuncture that they determined to be of high quality. Then they contacted the authors to obtain their raw data, which they scrutinized and pooled for further analysis. This helped them correct for statistical and methodological problems with the previous studies, allowing them to reach more precise and reliable conclusions about whether acupuncture actually works.

All told, the painstaking process took the team about six years. “Replicating pretty much every single number reported in dozens of papers is no quick or easy task,” Dr. Vickers said.

The meta-analysis included studies that compared acupuncture with usual care, like over-the-counter pain relievers and other standard medicines. It also included studies that used sham acupuncture treatments, in which needles were inserted only superficially, for example, or in which patients in control groups were treated with needles that covertly retracted into handles.

Ultimately, Dr. Vickers and his colleagues found that at the end of treatment, about half of the patients treated with true acupuncture reported improvements, compared with about 30 percent of patients who did not undergo it.

“There were 30 or 40 people from all over the world involved in this research, and as a whole the sense was that this was a clinically important effect size,” Dr. Vickers said. That is especially the case, he added, given that acupuncture “is relatively noninvasive and relatively safe.”



‘Why Are You Doing That Point?’ Yintang

June 16, 2014 | By: Margery Keasler

Here comes the latest installment of “Why Are You Doing That Point?”, an ongoing series that explains popular acupuncture points. This time we’ll look at Yintang.

Yintang is considered an extra point, meaning it does not correspond with any specific acupuncture meridian. There are several extra points throughout the body, but Yintang is unique in that it does actually fall along a meridian—the Governing Vessel—yet it’s not considered part of that meridian. The reasons for this are unknown.

Yintang, whose English translation is Hall of Impression, is its own entity. It’s a single point located between the eyebrows, just below the area known as the third eye (see below).

Acupuncture’s Chill Pill

The most common use for Yintang in modern acupuncture clinics is to calm the mind. Acupuncturists choose it for people who complain of anxiety and related symptoms, such as insomnia due to over thinking.

Yintang alleviates what’s sometimes referred to as monkey mind, the non-stop emotional treadmill on which many of us find ourselves. Unsettled, agitated, anxious about things we can’t control, mind spinning, unable to focus—that’s monkey mind. Yintang takes the edge off this kind of emotional restlessness and anxiety.

This Acupuncture Point Causes You to Chill Out

For this reason, Yintang is frequently called upon for acupuncture goers who are nervous about needles. Anxiety around needles has a tendency to peak upon assuming the position on the acupuncture table. Starting a treatment with Yintang can be a great way to calm a person down, paving the way for greater receptivity to the remaining points.

Yintang Benefits the Outer Head, Too

Yintang’s benefits are not limited to what’s going on inside your head. This acupuncture point is used for anything head and face-related, especially issues with the nose.

People suffering from stuffiness, post-nasal drip, sinus congestion and nosebleeds are likely candidates for Yintang. The point also is used for eye disorders as well as frontal headaches, dizziness and vertigo.

Due to its calming function and accessible location, Yintang compliments almost any acupuncture treatment or self-care acupressure regimen.

For pain conditions, try pressing Yintang in combination with Large Intestine 4. This will be especially helpful for pain on the head or face because Large Intestine 4 is on a meridian that travels to that region. For anxiety and related conditions such as insomnia, press Yintang on its own using firm pressure.

By Sara Calabro

5 Common Questions About Acupuncture During Pregnancy

March 11, 2014 | By: Margery Keasler

By Denise Cicuto

The last edition of Acupuncture Success Stories focused on two women who used acupuncture to overcome fertility challenges. And indeed, acupuncture alone and in combination with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) has been shown to help women achieve pregnancy.

But what about once you get pregnant? Many women and their partners have questions about acupuncture during pregnancy. Here are answers to some of the most common questions.

Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?

Yes. Licensed acupuncturists are trained to know which acupuncture points are helpful during pregnancy and which points should be avoided. There are certain points on the hands and shoulders, and around the lower leg, ankle, and low back that are contraindicated during most of pregnancy. It’s important to let your acupuncturist know if you are pregnant, or if you think you might be, so that these points are avoided.

What conditions can acupuncture help with during pregnancy?

Acupuncture can help with several conditions with which some pregnant women suffer. These include morning sickness, back pain, ligament pain, premature cervical ripening, preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension), fatigue, heartburn, constipation, and gestational diabetes. If you are experiencing any of these or other pregnancy side effects, let your acupuncturist know so that your treatments can be tailored accordingly.

When should I start and how often should I go?

If you are already pregnant, it’s a good idea to see an acupuncturist as soon as possible to help temper morning sickness and other common first-trimester symptoms. In a healthy pregnancy, you may only need acupuncture every other week or once a month as a tune up, to ensure that things are balanced and flowing smoothly.

If you have experienced pregnancy loss in the past, more frequent treatments may be recommended, especially during the first trimester. This is so that you get the sustained support required to keep your body healthy and strong over the course of your pregnancy. Toward the end of any pregnancy, at about week 37, your acupuncturist may suggest coming in more often to help prepare you for labor.

Can acupuncture help induce labor?

Acupuncturists don’t do labor induction—that’s a Western Medical treatment. But when it’s
almost time for your baby to make his or her appearance in the world, acupuncture can help prepare you for labor and delivery. Stress is one of the biggest factors that women battle during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Acupuncture can help significantly with reducing stress and anxiety in these moments.

Some acupuncturists are available to perform acupuncture or acupressure in the delivery room, depending on whether it is allowed in the hospital and covered by the acupuncturist’s insurance. If having an acupuncturist with you in the delivery room is something you think you’ll want, it’s a good idea to check on these things in advance.

You’ll also want to speak with your acupuncturist about his or her availability. Often, women who are trying to avoid a medical induction will call an acupuncturist at the last minute. This is not recommended. It is much easier to prepare your body for labor when you’re not working against the ticking clock of your medical-induction appointment.

Should I keep getting acupuncture after I deliver?

Acupuncture as after-care for new moms is really important. Fatigue and depression are common symptoms after delivery. Regular acupuncture and moxibustion are great for helping moms recover and regain their strength after giving birth. You’ll need it as you embark on the exciting adventure of motherhood!

Photo by Sara Calabro


Study Shows Acupuncture Helps Treat Plantar Fasciitis

February 4, 2014 | By: Margery Keasler

New research proves that acupuncture relieves the pain of plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a painful inflammatory condition of the foot. Plantar fasciitis pain is usually perceived on the underside foot/heel and is often most painful with the first footsteps of the day. Also, plantar fasciitis may cause pain upon dorsiflexion (raising the ankle so that the foot is lifted towards the shin).

This randomized, controlled study is interesting in that only one acupuncture point was tested for efficacy. In most studies, a combination of points are used to determine whether or not acupuncture is effective for reducing pain. The study tested point P7 (Daling, “Big Tomb”). P7 is located in the middle of the transverse crease of the wrist between the tendons of the m. palmaris longus and m. flexor carpi radialis on the palmer side of the body. P7 is a Shu-Stream point and Yuan (Primary) acupuncture point that is known for the treatment of Heart and Spirit related issues including myocarditis, palpitations, insomnia, mental illness, irritability, and cardiac pain. P7 is also used for Stomach related conditions, however, nearby point P6 is a more common point for the treatment of Stomach issues such as stomachache, nausea, and vomiting.

According to Chinese medicine and acupuncture theory, Shu-Stream points treat a heavy sensation of the of the body and painful joints. P7 is therefore a common point for the treatment of wrist pain because it is a Shu-Stream point located at the wrist . However, the researchers have chosen P7 for the wrist’s distal relationship to the ankle and heel region.

In this study, P7 was needled bilaterally if the pain of the heel/foot was bilateral. Contra-lateral acupuncture needling was used if the pain was unilateral. The needles were 15mm long with a 0.25mm gauge. The acupuncture needles were inserted perpendicularly to a depth of approximately 10mm with slight rotation and thrusting to achieve the Deqi sensation. Deqi is often reported as a dull ache, numbness or heaviness. The needles were then manipulated every 5 minutes to maintain the Deqi sensation and the needles were retained for a total time of 30 minutes. A total of five treatments per week at a rate of one per day (Monday through Friday) for two weeks were administered for a grand total of 10 acupuncture sessions. All acupuncture needling was performed by experienced acupuncturists. At a six month follow-up examination, the P7 acupuncture group showed a significant improvement over the control group.

Shi Ping Zhang, Tsui-Pik Yip, and Qiu-Shi Li. Acupuncture Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial with Six Months Follow-Up. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative, Medicine, Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 154108.

Want to Look Younger? Try Acupuncture By Marisa Fanelli

January 29, 2014 | By: admin


Acupuncture can make you look younger.

I’m not talking about cosmetic acupuncture, although that can be effective, too. I’m talking about using acupuncture to strengthen your five most essential organ systems—Kidney, Spleen, Liver, Lung, and Heart—so that you are systemically healthier.

This can not only make you feel younger but actually prevent physical signs of aging.

Remember that “organ” in acupuncture is different from organs as we think of them in Western medicine. An organ system in acupuncture includes the anatomical organ as well as the meridians that connect to that organ, the functional or energetic qualities of the organ, and even the associated emotions of the organ.

Here’s how each of the five essential organ systems influences the aging process.

Kidney Is the Aging King

Kidney is the primary player in determining how we age. A deficiency of the Kidney system can lead to premature aging, causing you to look weathered, wrinkled, and old sooner than you should.

Kidney is the system associated with hair and bones, so premature graying and osteoporosis are common in people with Kidney issues. Dental problems and poor hearing are other signs of a Kidney imbalance, as teeth and ears belong to this system as well.

The reason Kidney plays such a big role in aging has to go with something called jing, a concept unfamiliar to most Westerners. Jing, which is made by the Kidneys, essentially is the fuel that keeps us alive. It is a physically intangible force that dictates how many years we have, and whether those years will be spent in good or bad health.

We are all born with a certain amount of jing, and some people are dealt a better hand than others—their “jing jars” are naturally full. However, this doesn’t mean people with meager jing jars are doomed.

Through lifestyle choices, we can affect how quickly we burn through our jing fuel. Getting adequate rest, eating right, avoiding stress, and using preventive therapies like acupuncture can all help preserve your jing and promote a longer, healthier life.

Tighten Your Muscles with Spleen

The Spleen is the organ system in charge of muscles. A weak Spleen can lead to flabby, flaccid muscles, while people with strong Spleen systems tend toward firm, toned physiques.

The Spleen is especially vulnerable to sugar. When people have imbalances in their Spleen system, they’ll commonly mention sugar cravings. Overindulgence in sugar can cause not only weight gain but sagging skin, because the Spleen becomes too weak to perform its function of holding things in place.

For a firm, youthful appearance, keep your Spleen happy by moderating sugar intake.

Loosen Up with Liver

Remember how flexible and resilient you were as a kid? That’s because you had an abundance of free-flowing Liver energy. As adults, under the stressors of everyday life, this Liver energy often becomes stuck, creating a very common pattern known in acupuncture as Liver Qi Stagnation.

Stuck Liver Qi causes symptoms that many of us write off as normal signs of aging. We feel stiff upon waking and after exercising, bending and reaching becomes difficult, movement in general feels more restricted.

The Liver system is responsible for smooth flow throughout the body, and it nourishes the connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments. Many of these supposed symptoms of old age improve when the Liver becomes more balanced.

Breathe Life into Your Lungs

Ever notice how people who exercise regularly radiate vitality? Their cheeks glow, their eyes are bright—they look youthful. From an acupuncture perspective, this is because exercise helps keep the Lung system strong.

In acupuncture, the Lungs initiate the whole process of how energy, or qi, flows throughout the body. The Lung system takes in qi from the air we breathe and turns it into a substance that nourishes all of the organs and meridians.

When the Lung system is in balance, the breath is deep and invigorating. This leads to greater energy for movement, which in turn balances out the other organ systems. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle that breathes life into your physical and emotional being.

Whenever possible, breathe and move!

Heart Health Is Happiness

We’ve all met people who can laugh at themselves and people who take life too seriously. Who seems younger?

In acupuncture, each organ system has an associated emotion, and joy is the emotion of the Heart. When your Heart system is balanced, you feel lighter and happier. You feel more at peace with what’s behind you and more optimistic about what lies ahead. This attitude reflects liveliness. It makes you seem young.

Acupuncture helps keep the Heart system balanced so that you can experience joy, learn to laugh at life, and feel youthful.


Human Potential

August 21, 2011 | By: Margery Keasler

I was feeling discouraged the other night and, with half-steam, went to my book shelf to find something to read. The book, The Brain that Changes itself, was my choice. I read seven pages of it and my faith in humanity was restored and my sense of awe at our potential as human-beings filled me with hope and inspiration.

Scientist and rehabilitation physician Paul Bach-Y-Rita was renowned in his field for the study of the brain. He was able to grasp the fact that we are energetic beings. This 44-year-old scientist who was known to wear five dollar Salvation Army suits and drive a 15-year-old car (much to his wife’s chagrin) asked questions that no one asks: “Do we need eyes to see? Do we need ears to hear?” His questions brought him to a place in rehabilitative medicine where he could restore sight to the blind He devised a chair that the patient sat in whereby “Electrical signals were conveyed to four hundred vibrating stimulator’s, arranged in rows on a metal plate attached to the inside of the chair back, so the stimulator rested against the blind subject’s skin and stimulated the neurons all over the patients back and body [to] restore some sight in the blind” (pg. ?). This now forgotten machine was one of the first and boldest applications of Neuroplasticity–an attempt to use one sense to replace another and it worked” pg 12.  He found a way to stimulate the brain through other parts of the body as well. He invented a glove for lepers which allowed them to have tactile senses in their hands which were full of dead tissue.. A condom with electrodes on it for spinal injury patients so they could achieve orgasm.  .

He understood our potential and our bodies’ amazing way to compensate and heal. His medicine had nothing to do with my medicine but it is the same. Our bodies are full of vital energy which can be manipulated to heal in order to live to our full potential.

I woke up the next day and felt so restored, so inspired, that I took my dog to the waterfront and hung out in the sun thinking about Acupuncture and all it can do. We are remarkable beings and this man, this scientist somehow knew it on a level that is profound and without bounds.