Acupuncture treats "pins and needles." Here's how:Read More
For you basketball fans, the Phoenix Suns forward Grant Hill loves his acupuncture! The 42-year-old Hill, who retired from NBA ball two years ago, frequently sees his acupuncturist to treat his injury-prone ankles, muscle contusions, low energy and even allergies. "I can't explain or understand it all," Hill said in a 2010 article called "Hurting? If a Few Needles Can Help Hill, They Can Help Me" on the NBA's website. "But I'm going to keep doing it, even after my playing career. I want to be able to keep on being active, playing with my kids and someday grandkids."
And for baseball fans, there's this 2010 article from the NJ Star-Ledger: "Yankees Starter A.J. Burnett Credits Acupuncture With Helping Him Stay Healthy." Author Marc Carig writes, "In the past year-and-a-half, [Burnett] has begun a transformation from one of baseball’s most injury-plagued players into one of its most reliable, a drastic change he attributes to his use of acupuncture." The article quotes Yankees general manager Brian Cashman as saying, "[Acupuncture is] something that’s part of his routine, his structure, his discipline ... It’s vital to him and his mind. Therefore it’s vital to us.”
Both Grant Hill and A.J. Burnett have experienced the profound benefits of acupuncture for enhancing sports performance. See "Ergogenic Effect of Acupuncture in Sport and Exercise" on the U.S. National Library of Medicine website for details.
According to a Duke University Medical Center review of over 30 research studies comparing acupuncture versus medication for chronic headaches, acupuncture is significantly more effective. The studies included nearly 4,000 patients with migraines, tension headaches and other forms of chronic headaches. A bonus finding: “Acupuncture patients also reported better physical well-being compared to the medication group." See duke.edu for research article.
A study funded by the Army and the National Institutes of Health helps explain how acupuncture eases chronic pain. Using brain imaging, the study showed that acupuncture increases the availability of receptors in the brain that process and weaken pain signals. Moreover, acupuncture treatments – in this case twice a week for four weeks – affect both the brain’s short- and long-term ability to reduce pain sensation. A beneficial implication of this research – published in 2009 by the University of Michigan Chronic Pain & Fatigue Research Center – is that patients treated with acupuncture might be more responsive to pain medications like codeine and Vicodin.
Other studies have shown that acupuncture triggers a variety of physiological responses, such as:
✔ Stimulating the immune system and increasing white blood cells, which defend the body against infection ✔ Decreasing cholesterol and triglycerides ✔ Regulating blood sugar metabolism, which helps the body use energy more efficiently ✔ Increasing blood circulation and producing beneficial changes in blood pressure ✔ Increasing stomach peristaltic activity and regulating digestive fluids, thereby improving digestion ✔ Regulating and stimulating serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is directly related to sleep, appetite, and mood
Curious about acupuncture but just can't seem to schedule that first appointment? AcuTake, an online publication created to improve acupuncture education and access, has written an informative article that lists (and debunks) these top five excuses that some newbies to acupuncture give for avoiding treatment.
Afraid of needles? Think the sessions are too expensive? Can't find the time, don't know who to go to, or don't "believe" in it? Read their article to get the full scoop on why these five excuses just aren't good enough anymore!
Acupuncture is great for pain relief, restful sleep, good digestion, better immunity and more. So go ahead and schedule a session — next thing you know you'll be encouraging your co-workers, friends and family members to jump on the acupuncture bandwagon.
One way to measure if acupuncture really helps people reduce or get rid of their pain is by looking at whether they’ve decreased their purchase and use of prescription or over-the-counter pain medications. In 2007, a research team in Spain looked at the cost/benefit of acupuncture compared to standard medical treatment for various types of pain in 5,690 people.The researchers found that after acupuncture treatment, the average patient saved $9.70 per week on analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs. For patients who suffered from headache, the savings soared to $35.70 per week. The money saved on medication can definitely offset the price of monthly or biweekly acupuncture treatments, depending on whom you see. Read Acupuncture Can Reduce Costs for Pain Patients.
Does your child get sick a lot or complain of stomachaches? Perhaps an older child has migraines or trouble sleeping? If so they may benefit from acupuncture. A new study published in the journal Pediatrics finds acupuncture safe for children. Already in the U.S. about 150,000 kids are receiving acupuncture for chronic pain and other issues. Acupuncture for children differs from that for adults in that the needles are left in for shorter periods — if at all. In babies and toddlers, the acupuncturist may insert and withdraw the needle in one move. The study reports that side effects are nearly non-existent in the hands of a trained and licensed acupuncturist. Read more about it at The New York Times.
Chinese herbal medicine formulated especially for children may be combined with acupuncture for a stronger effect. At my office on Larchmont in Los Angeles, our pharmacy stocks many excellent pediatric formulas called Gentle Warriors, from Kan Herb Company.
Are you a Nervous Nelly/Ned when seeing the dentist? One study shows that acupuncture helps calm anxiety while you're getting dental work and is a common dual procedure in Britain. Here in the US, just schedule some acupuncture before heading to the dentist and ask for "ear seeds" to keep the calmness going. Stop avoiding your dentist and get back your clean, beautiful smile!
So, how do you catch a cold virus anyway? No surprise here, the leading theory shows the hands touching the nose to be the culprit. Not even sneezing or kissing spread a cold to the extent that contaminated hands do, with active rhinovirus being found on skin and household surfaces even three hours later. When you then touch contaminated surfaces, you pick up the virus at least 60% of the time and it enters the body through your eyes, nose or mouth. This explains how you can catch a cold without even having contact with someone who has one. (Even weirder, scientists are surprised at how difficult it is to catch a cold from a kiss.)
The best way to get rid of germs is to wash your hands by rubbing them together for 10-20 seconds under running water, using regular soap. Soap doesn't kill germs, it just loosens them so they’re rinsed off (and antibacterial hand wash doesn't work on viruses).
But the frustrating fact remains that medical researchers are still confounded by the common cold, and the basics still hold true: no cure yet, wash your hands, chicken soup really does work, and wait for "exciting cure found!" Meantime, an acupuncture treatment and Chinese herbal medicine to boost your immune system will help reduce the length and strength of a cold. Try to get treated at the first sign of symptoms for best results.
Some people suffer from severe cold hands or feet caused by blood vessel spasms, termed Raynaud's syndrome. In this painful but common condition affecting mostly women during episodes of stress and cold weather, the hands turn white at first. As they become deprived of oxygen, they turn blue and numb, then flush red when the vessels again relax. Acupuncture helps people with Raynaud's: In one study, acupuncture reduced attacks by 63% (Journal of Internal Medicine, 1997). Certain Chinese herbal formulas containing cinnamon are also beneficial for circulation, and the following home remedies will help you during an attack:
✔ Swing your arms in circles to force blood vessels to relax and open.
✔ Soak hands and feet in warm (not hot) water while massaging them.
✔ Use microwave hand warmers to get blood flowing. You can easily make your own by filling a sock or cloth bag with dried beans or rice and microwaving it for 30 seconds or until toasty.
[Note: Raynaud's disease is a common and mild disorder, while Raynaud's phenomenon is more rare and indicates a serious underlying problem. Read more about the differences at MayoClinic.com.]
Many people who try acupuncture for the first time are impressed with how relaxing it is. One of the tools we use is the infrared heatlamp, which feels like the warmth of the sun. People radiate infrared heat and we can absorb it at this same wavelength, thereby stimulating extensive circulation of blood, energy, and nutrients. Japanese, Chinese and German researchers have shown infrared light to have wide therapeutic applications. The light can successfully treat painful conditions such as arthritis, injuries and cramps. It also treats coughs; skin problems; digestive and cardiovascular diseases; and ear, nose and throat problems, among others. Infrared therapy is safe, efficient, and available from your friendly neighborhood acupuncturist!
Acupuncture therapy is growing rapidly here in the U.S. as a preferred and natural family medicine, but many people may be unaware what exactly an acupuncture treatment looks like. In my new, two-minute video, I try to put into context Chinese medicine's approach, the single-use needles, how herbal formulas are prescribed, and what a relaxing therapy acupuncture can be. Please share this video with anyone who might be curious about acupuncture or is looking for a qualified practitioner in L.A.! Thank you.
Mice getting acupuncture... you heard it here first! Actually, a study published in Nature Neuroscience in May 2010 shows how acupuncture increases the concentration of the body's natural painkiller, called adenosine. Neuroscientists tested acupuncture on the knees of mice then measured the positive effects. Read more about the study at ars technica.
If acupuncture is thousands of years old, what did they use for needles back then? Early on, stone tools were used for medicinal purposes and over time were formed into thin needles. Next they were made from bone and bronze. In the 2nd century BC, needles began to be made using gold and silver. Today, we use stainless steel needles that are sterile, filament-thin, flexible, single-use, and relatively painless. They are properly disposed of after every treatment.
In a world that bombards our bodies with stressors, chemicals, toxins, and quick fixes, Cosmetic Acupuncture offers you a simple and healthy way to bring out your youthful vibrancy. Cosmetic Acupuncture is a great, all-natural alternative to the typical cosmetic enhancements currently available to women (and men!). Although improvements to the face may not be as visually dramatic as surgical procedures, injections or acid peels, Cosmetic Acupuncture actually has a much more impressive overall effect. Improving the body’s comprehensive health and vitality can in itself slow down the aging process, and you can expect Cosmetic Acupuncture to erase 5-15 years off your face.
Sometimes called “facial rejuvenation acupuncture” or an “acupuncture facelift,” Cosmetic Acupuncture was originally developed for patients with facial paralysis as a result of Bell’s palsy or stroke. The treatment results were so pronounced over time that it was transformed into a program for anti-aging.
How Does It Work? Your cosmetic acupuncture treatment will start with a health history and evaluation, which includes a tongue and pulse diagnosis, and a discussion about what areas of your face you wish to focus on. I'll then place tiny disposal needles at the temples, forehead, jaw and smile lines, and other areas of the body (such as hands and legs). I may also choose to pass a mild, painless current through the needles. Afterwards, I'll give the muscles of the face a gentle massage using a special "gua sha" tool. Most people drift off to sleep during the treatment.
The needles and electrical stimulation revitalize and awaken the natural energy of the body to:
- Increase collagen production and elasticity of the skin
- Improve muscle tone to reduce sagging
- Increase circulation of blood and fluids in the face, thereby moisturizing the skin and improving facial color
- Reduce under-eye bags and brighten the eyes
- Eliminate puffiness by improving metabolism
- Balance hormones, thereby clearing up hormonal acne
- Mobilize the immune system for overall wellness
Besides benefiting your appearance, patients report many healthy “side effects,” such as:
- Improved digestion
- Better quality sleep
- Reduction in PMS/or and peri-menopausal symptoms
- Elimination of mild depression, stress or anxiety
- Improved energy
- Increased sex drive
Facial Acupuncture Is Becoming a Popular Cosmetic Procedure This system has a lengthy history in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and has been used for centuries in Asia to restore innate health and a beautiful complexion. Cosmetic Acupuncture is becoming very popular in certain regions of the United States, and has been featured more and more in the mainstream media (see ABC’s “Good Morning America”). The Telegraph UK even reported that Madonna has chosen acupuncture over cosmetic surgery to keep her looking foxy.
In terms of scientific results, the International Journal of Acupuncture reported in 1996* that, among 300 patients treated with facial acupuncture, 90% had marked benefits with one course of 10 treatments. These patients demonstrated improvement in the elasticity of facial muscles, smoother skin, fewer wrinkles, and a healthier complexion and constitution.
Recommended Number of Treatments I recommend twice-weekly treatments for 3 weeks, then once weekly for another 6 weeks (12 treatments total, taking 9 weeks to complete). Positive results may be seen as early as the 2nd or 3rd session, but the effects become most noticeable and lasting on or about the 10th treatment. Monthly maintenance care is advised to prolong the results and slow the aging process as much as possible. The number of treatments needed will vary according to the location and depth of wrinkles and lines and how long they’ve been present; lifestyle habits; sun exposure; nutritional support; and underlying health conditions.
If you’ve thought of getting Botox, chemical peels or even face-lift surgery, why not try Cosmetic Acupuncture first and avoid any unnecessary complications and side effects. Call now to schedule an initial evaluation with me at (323) 570-1060.
*Zhang Qi and Zhu Lan-xiu (1996). Meridional Cosmetology: Report of 300 Cases with Discussion of Underlying Mechanism. International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture, Vol 7, No 4.
There was very positive news on the medical benefits of acupuncture in a 2010 article by the Wall Street Journal. MRI scans of the brain show the "calming effects" acupuncture has on patients with chronic pain. Interestingly enough, the article explains that, "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." It also explains that acupuncture "cause[s] the release of endorphins," brain chemicals that naturally relieve pain and promote a feeling of well-being, and is "generally safe."