Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A marvelous pregnancy

Bell (30)and her husband Andy (31)decided that they were ready to have their first child. When Bell had been off the birth control pill for 18 month, still had cycles of 60 days and still was not pregnant she and Andy really got worried about their fertility. They went to the obstetrician who advised them to try in vitro fertilization.
A friend advised her to go to an acupuncturist. She and Andy went to a well known acupuncture clinic. Fist Bell got a formula of 12 different Chinese herbs to normalize her cycle. She had to make tea of the herbs and drink it several times a day. It tasted disgusting but her cycle normalized very quickly. In addition she underwent several acupuncture treatments, first twice a week and later once a week. In 2 months Bell was pregnant!
During her pregnancy Bell kept going to the acupuncturist. She felt great during her whole pregnancy. She had no morning sickness or other negative pregnancy symptoms. Now Bell looks wonderful and radiant and happy with her big belly. She is due to give birth next week.She and Andy recommend that couples who have difficulty to conceive see an acupuncturist.
Chinese acupuncture or other alternative methods off course can not help every couple who suffer from infertility. But it certainly can help some. Hudson, the obstetrician in charge of the Victoria Fertility Centre performs acupuncture on all his in-vitro fertilization patients. He is convinced that it helps a lot of his patients.
Beverly Hanck, executive director of the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada says:” Complementary medicine will not unblock fallopian tubes but I have every reason (including some very sound studies) to believe that it can genuinely help some infertile couple

Monday, August 10, 2009

Facial Rejuvenation

Looking young an healthy is hot nowadays. Therefore treatments to maintain this young look as long as possible and beat the natural aging process are tremendously popular. In the US alone 4 million botox injections are being given, one million chemical peels and more than 100,000 facelifts have been performed in 2006. These procedures can have ill side effects such as the risk of infection, it can be disruptive to the body and it can have lengthy recovery times. Chemical peels use toxins to peel off the top layers of the skin.
The natural aging of the skin can be exacerbated by external factors such as sun, stress, smoking, alcohol. With aging the amount of collagen, which provides firmness and structure to the skin diminishes. Also elastin which allows the skin to regain its shape after stretching or muscle movements lessens. The muscles of the skin which support the skin can become weak or thinner which alters the shape of the face. An inadequate blood and lymph circulation can cause fluid stagnation which gives a puffy look. Skin becomes less firm and lines and wrinkles occur.
For people who don’t want the botox or the surgery there are more holistic alternatives. Acupuncture is a less invasive method. It can not only help you to look healthier and younger but it also helps the body to really restore itself internally.
Chinese acupuncture is based on the theory that Qi (energy) is running through meridians which run all through the body. When the flow of Qi in the meridians is disturbed, Qi stagnates and imbalances occur. When Qi does not run smoothly symptoms appear. And symptoms like acne, dark circles under the eyes, puffy eyes, are symptoms of an internal imbalance. The Qi in the meridians can be accessed in acupuncture points by insertion of needles.
A facial rejuvenation program usually takes 10-12 treatments to get an optimal result. Most people see the first results after the fifth or sixth treatment. A single treatments lasts one hour to one hour and a half. During a session at least 20 very small needles will be used in the face.
Also acupuncture points on the body will be needled to ground the treatment. To treat the underlying imbalances which cause the symptoms in the face. This will support the body to heal itself and improve the general health. Symptoms like wrinkles, dark circles, puffy eyes, sunspots, acne, rosacea and droopy eyelids can be treated. For the far advanced cases of skin damage or droopiness surgery might be a better choice.
Acupuncture treatment is often combined with massage techniques on the face. Some therapists will even teach you some techniques which you can do yourself.
The results are not everlasting off course. They on average last as long as the results of a surgical facelift. So you need to go back for an update every now and then. If you live a healthy lifestyle after the facial rejuvenation program the results will last longer.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Swine flu: Herbal cure found in China

Today I read an interesting article in the Hindu, the national paper of India, about the fact that in China there has been research going on to find a TCM( Traditional Chinese Medicine) cure for A(H1N1) flu, also called swine flu or Mexican flu.
Researchers in China made a herb formula which might do a good job in preventing and curing the new flu. They say Tamiflu which is used as a drug in cases of swine flu,and recommended by the World Health Organisation, will not be enough. And besides that:”… it also weakens the body and has adverse affects on body tolerance,” said Mr. Tu, the dean of the Chinese research team. The new herbal formula is also very cost-effective. The first results are very promising and more trials are still going on.
While at the same time the Chinese pharmaceutical industry is busy developing a vaccine to the Mexican flu, the Chinese government highly supports the development of this herbal formula. In a few large hospitals are already people treated with this formula instead of Tamiflu and the results are good. The governments invested 10 million Yuan in a comparative study on this herbal formula and Tamiflu and wants more hospitals to use this formula.
Treating patients with herbal formulas, which is part of TCM, is very common in many Chinese hospitals. And even more so in recent years, because of the cost-effectiveness of these formulas.
The herbal formula consists of four herbs: Jin yin hua (lonicera japonica), Da qing ye (Isatis indigodica), Bo he (Mentha haplocalyx) and Sheng gan cao (Glycyrrhiza glabra). The difference in action between this formula and Tamiflu is,also according to Mr Tu: “…while the TCM remedy works to build up the body’s resistance in a holistic way, the Tamiflu drug focuses on attacking the infection.”
In China there have been almost 1700 reported cases of A(H1N1) flu now. Mao Yue, president of the Ditan Hospital, said there is a “serious possibility” of a large-scale outbreak of the flu in the autumn and winter of this year, and that the government has already begun producing enough herbs to treat a possible 2 million patients.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Research shows: acupuncture more effective in lower back pain than conventional therapies.

Some time ago lot of articles have been written in the newspapers about the last research on acupuncture and conventional methods in treating lower back pain. German researchers made a clinical trial of 1,162 people of an average age of 50 who suffered from lower back pain for approximately 8 years. Results showed that acupuncture was more effective than conventional therapies and that there was little difference in effect between verum (TCM) acupuncture and the so called sham acupuncture.
There where 3 groups in the study. One was being treated which conventional methods like drugs, physical therapy and exercise. The second was being treated with verum (traditional or TCM) acupuncture. Needles were placed in the meridians with a depth of 5 to 40 mm. The third group was treated with so called sham acupuncture. Sham acupuncture means that the needles aren’t placed in acupuncture points but in randomly chosen points. In this case the needles where placed around the painful area and the needles were placed more superficial. See the video. People were treated twice a week for 6 weeks. 10 to 15 treatments.
Of the first group, the group with the conventional therapies, 27,4% reported improvement. Of the second group, the group with the real acupuncture 47,6% improved. Of the third group, the group with the sham acupuncture 44,2% improved. The improvement was followed up till 6 months after the treatments and at that time the improvements were still there.
As a practicing acupuncturist I like to comment on the sham acupuncture in this case. Here the needles are placed around the painful area in the lower back and not randomly on the body. See the video. In Chinese acupuncture not only points on the meridians are treated but also local sore spots. They are called ‘Ah shi points’. So treating points in the back is a form of local acupuncture. It’s a more symptomatic form of acupuncture. I use it al the time!
The other part of acupuncture uses meridians and acupuncture points and distant points. Distant points are often on arms and legs but can be anywhere on the body. To choose the best distant points to use the acupuncturist needs to make a good TCM diagnosis. This part of an acupuncture treatment has a more profound effect and addresses more the cause of the disorder or the pain.
I do not know very much about Japanese acupuncture but I do know that the Japanese use more superficial needling compared to the Chinese. So this can also be seen as a different way of practicing acupuncture. And it also works. The Japanese practitioners are very content with it.
Furthermore, after years of practicing acupuncture I have noticed that ,compared to my beginning years, now my results are better and results appear faster. And I use less needles per patient. How can this be if there is so little difference in results between verum and sham acupuncture? I use the two parts of acupuncture together. I am curious what the results would have been if this way of sham acupuncture and traditional acupuncture were used together. And several years after the treatments the difference might be greater also. Material for more research?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Greta, the Dachshund with back problems

Greta, a long-haired miniature Dachshund, was diagnosed with disk disease. Her veterinarian attempted to help her with several injections but 8 days later there was no improvement. Her owners now had the grim choice between surgery and putting her to sleep. The surgery would be a risky operation with no guarantee for success.

After some research the owners came to my veterinary acupuncture practice. Greta was paralyzed from the waist down and in pain. After doing a clinical examination, both Western and Chinese, I put some acupuncture needles in her hind legs and back. To some of the needles I attached an electrostimulator which provides a low voltage current. The idea behind this is mainly to have an extra painkilling effect.

After a few minutes Greta began to relax and her eyes brightened. And again a few minutes later she was so relaxed she fel asleep on the table. After this first treatment she could stand on her hind legs again as long as you helped her get up on the smooth floor of the practice.

Three days later she came for her second treatment. She now could walk again in an unsteady way and her pain was almost gone. In the run of the next five weekly treatments her walking became slowly more and more steady. Now, 10 months later she almost walks like a normal healthy dog. If you look closely you can see she still wobbles a little bit but she is a very happy dog again and her owners are off course also very happy.

The plan is that Greta will come to the practice in the future for a three monthly check up and maintenance treatment to preserve her present condition as good as possible.

Read more about veterinary acupuncture....