'Why Are You Doing That Point?' Yintang

By Sara Calabro
Link: http://acutakehealth.com/why-are-you-doing-that-point-yintang

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.

5 Common Questions About Acupuncture During Pregnancy

By Denise Cicuto
Link: http://acutakehealth.com/5-common-questions-about-acupuncture-during-pregnancy

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!

Want to Look Younger? Try Acupuncture

By Marisa Fanelli
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.

Study Shows Acupuncture Helps Treat Plantar Fasciitis

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.

Human Potential

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 stimulators, 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. 11). 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.