TCM and Cystic Fibrosis

 

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that disrupts normal function of the epithelial cells in the body.  Epithelial cells line the passageways of many of our vital organs, including the lungs, liver, kidneys, reproductive system and the skin. Those who have cystic fibrosis have a defective gene that impairs epithelial cell function. This can lead to a buildup of sticky mucus throughout the body that may eventually lead to lung damage and chronic coughing, affecting how patients with cystic fibrosis breathe and filter air, digest their food and absorb the nutrients from that food. Unfortunately, there is no known cure and most of those affected with the disease only live into their 20s and 30s. Current modern medicine treatments focus on increasing the quality of life by managing symptoms.

 

Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM, can help cystic fibrosis sufferers. This medical system uses multiple modalities to treat the symptoms of cystic fibrosis. Everything from acupuncture to cupping can be utilized to help the patient and decrease the buildup of mucus throughout the body.

 

From the 400-plus acupuncture points on the human body, many are especially helpful for expelling phlegm and mucus, decreasing pain and helping to calm the central nervous system, all of which are symptoms of cystic fibrosis. If a cystic fibrosis patient is suffering from chest pain due to excessive phlegm buildup in the lungs, then regular acupuncture treatments can help decrease that pain and make it easier for the person to breathe.

 

In traditional Chinese medical theory, people are born with a limited amount of Qi (pronounced “chee”) or vital energy, and over time it is depleted. However, Qi can be regenerated by incorporating healthy living choices, like regular exercise, proper sleep and a healthy, balanced diet. Those who suffer from cystic fibrosis begin life with a smaller supply of Qi and this means it is vital for them to save as much Qi as possible. Because cystic fibrosis attacks the lungs and gastrointestinal tract, these areas immediately become deficient and weak. Regular acupuncture treatments can help by stimulating the body’s own healing mechanisms to preserve Qi.

 

Another modality frequently used in TCM is cupping. To perform cupping, oxygen is sucked out of a vessel, often a glass cup, creating negative pressure and then that vessel is placed on the body. The negative pressure will act like a suction cup and it will draw oxygen-rich blood into the tissues, which facilitates healing. Cupping can also draw out toxins and create drainage, which can help break up any phlegm in the lungs, thus decreasing pain in the chest area.

 

For those suffering from cystic fibrosis, combining TCM with conventional medicine can be a huge blessing, improving patients’ overall quality of life.

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Acupuncture and Autoimmune Diseases

 

When a person suffers from an autoimmune disease it means their own immune system is attacking the body and altering or destroying the tissues. Autoimmune diseases include things like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, pernicious anemia, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel disease and Parkinson’s disease.

 

Conventional medicine can diagnose 100 different autoimmune conditions. Unfortunately, the treatments available to people with these disorders is not as plentiful through conventional medicine. It typically involves the use of pharmaceuticals that can have side effects that are as bad, if not worse, than the symptoms of the disease itself. And even worse, many people are told they have no options. This is where Traditional Chinese Medicine can be beneficial.

 

Acupuncture treatments are completely customizable. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners don’t treat based on the Western medical diagnosis. They attack the disease based on its diagnosis in Chinese medicine. This means that they not only want to treat the symptoms, but also get to the root of the problem. This is much different from Western medicine with its one-size-fits-all type of treatments. The ability to treat each person as an individual with their own unique diagnosis is why traditional Chinese medicine is so successful.

 

Many factors play into an autoimmune disease. Traditional Chinese Medicine looks at the body as a whole, allowing the patient to get a more complete treatment, usually with better results. Since autoimmune diseases are thought to be a deficiency in people’s immune-system responses, TCM practitioners will work to restore and rejuvenate the factors that are vital for good immunity. These things include blood and the energetic life force known as qi (pronounced “chee”). There can also be underlying genetic factors involved in autoimmune diseases, so acupuncturists may also work on building up a patient’s essence or jing. Research has shown that acupuncture causes responses in nerve cells, as well as in parts of the brain. By utilizing acupuncture, those suffering from an autoimmune disease can, over time, reprogram their brains and cells to perform as intended.

 

The use of electroacupuncture may prove useful for people suffering from autoimmune diseases too. Electroacupuncture emits mild electrical stimulation to acupuncture needles. These light shocks trigger the body to produce hormones that suppress pain and inflammation. This helps raise endorphins circulating in the bloodstream. Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers.

 

 

Many people dealing with autoimmune diseases also experience high levels of stress because of their disorder. It can be very stressful trying to lead a “normal” life with severe pain and other symptoms. Studies show acupuncture is very relaxing, and it helps reduce excess cortisol levels in the brain that contribute to chronic stress.

 

As autoimmune sufferers start to see improvements with acupuncture treatments, they may also be able to do things they couldn’t before, like exercise. Exercising not only improves blood flow, but it also increases immunity. Exercise also increases the amount of endorphins in the body. So just by receiving regular acupuncture treatments, those suffering from autoimmune diseases may be able to lead a much more normal life with a lot less pain and suffering.

 

If you are dealing with some type of autoimmune disease, consider giving Traditional Chinese Medicine a chance. The outcomes may be life changing.

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Children and acupuncture

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Reasons Acupuncture Supports Couples Facing Infertility

 

When you consider all the changes in our agricultural practices, the increased number of medications we take, as well as our dependence on plastic and technology that is constantly emitting low-grade radiation, it’s no surprise more couples are having trouble conceiving. Current statistics show one in six couples who are trying to conceive are facing fertility issues. And while many times infertility is thought of as a female issue, it is really a factor for both the man and woman and should therefore be addressed as such.

 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we talk about qi a lot, the energy or life force in everyone. Qi regulates the mental and physical body. When qi is disrupted or blocked due to poor health or other circumstances, then disease may occur. Regular acupuncture treatments help to keep the normal flow of qi moving and unblocked. A healthy flow of qi increases a couple’s chances of conceiving.

 

One of the most important ways acupuncture treatments can support a couple facing fertility issues is through reducing stress. Stress is frequently a key component that contributes to infertility in both men and women. When people are stressed, the brain releases a hormone known as cortisol. Too much cortisol alters the brain and changes the hormone levels which are key to the reproductive cycle. Due to the delicate balance between the brain, pituitary gland and the reproductive glands, excess stress is capable of preventing ovulation completely. Stress can also cause spasms in the uterus and fallopian tubes, which may interfere with implantation of a fertilized egg. In men, stress can alter sperm count, sperm motility and cause impotence. Acupuncture has the ability to counter the effects of stress.

 

Regular acupuncture treatments are also very effective at decreasing and removing excess phlegm in the lower body. This buildup of excess phlegm can be caused by numerous factors. There are two causes that are most common. The first is a diet that is saturated with fast, greasy, sugary and fried foods and lacking in fresh, whole plant-based foods. The second cause is the sedentary lifestyle that many people now live. Studies confirm that these two situations lead to increased infertility issues. But specific acupoints, herbs and exercise can all be beneficial in creating a healthy environment for a baby to be conceived.

 

Acupuncture can also be a great option for those facing fertility issues, because it doesn’t cost nearly as much as other options.  IVF success rates are only about 33 percent. However, the use of TCM over a 6 month period can increase success rates by nearly 65 percent for a fraction of the cost of IVF. With acupuncture, people also get the added benefits of more restful sleep, less stress and anxiety, improved digestion and better health overall.

 

Studies show acupuncture can increase fertility and allow couples to conceive more frequently. If you are experiencing fertility problems, acupuncture may hold the answer.

 

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Acupuncture and Breastfeeding

 

 

New mothers always want to do everything possible to care for their new baby. One of the best ways to care for that new bundle of joy is by breastfeeding them. Breast milk contains vital nutrients and antibodies that can boost the baby’s immune system. And as an added bonus, breastfeeding allows for the bond between mother and baby to strengthen.

 

However, for many women, breastfeeding does not come naturally. For some, due to their own nutritional deficiencies, breastfeeding may not be the best choice. And for others, the lack of milk produced by the mammary glands can be why they are unable to breastfeed.

 

For those mothers who are unable to produce enough milk on their own, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be a helpful tool. According to TCM, there are two major causes of low milk supply. Both of these causes deal with blood and qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi is frequently translated into energy. And everything on the planet contains energy, even the table and chairs we sit on daily.

 

The first major cause of low milk production is due to the stomach and spleen being deficient in their production of qi and blood. The spleen and stomach take the nutrients from the food mother ingests and then transforms those nutrients into blood and energy that nourish her body. During pregnancy, more energy and blood is sent to the uterus to feed the growing baby, which can leave mother’s body deficient after giving birth. Giving birth is a traumatic experience for the body and mother needs time to heal and rejuvenate. But when there is a newborn baby that needs attention, most new mothers tend to neglect themselves, making it more difficult for their bodies to produce enough milk for the baby.

 

The second major cause of low milk production is due to the liver and heart being weakened by negative emotions like worry, frustration, and anxiety. When this occurs, the blood and qi of the liver and heart are unable to flow freely, leading to blockages that can prevent nutrients from being processed properly and keeping them from getting to the appropriate areas, such as the mammary glands. For most new moms experiencing milk production problems, it is a combination of both of these major causes.

 

Regular acupuncture treatments leading up to birth and even after the baby is born can be very beneficial for the new mother. Studies conducted at the Hanzhong Shanxi Hospital demonstrated that the application of specific acupuncture points actually increase the quantity of milk being produced by the mother. Acupuncture increases breast milk production by removing blockages through increased circulation. Acupuncture can also assist digestion, allowing it to be more proficient in metabolizing the nutrients from food to create milk for the baby.

 

The most important way that acupuncture can help improve and increase lactation, is by decreasing stress. When cortisol, the stress hormone, is elevated, the body cannot function properly. New mothers are often stressed and sleep deprived.

 

If you or somebody you know is pregnant or has just had a baby and low milk production is an issue, looking into acupuncture might be a good way to help.

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