ACUPRESSURE VS ACUPUNCTURE

We’re confident that you’ve heard of acupuncture, but do you know where it comes from?

The study and practice of acupuncture and acupressure have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years and is an ancient healing technique. Acupressure and acupuncture apply the same principles, but acupressure uses pressure points instead of needles to achieve the desired results.

TCM & DEPRESSION
Today, we’re here to talk about different acupressure points that are used to reduce depression and anxiety through intentional point-placements and massage. Each of these points are ones that can be done on your own without the help of another person.

 

Acupressure can reduce anxiety and depression by massaging (or using an acupressure stick) the proper locations. Below, several commonly known acupressure points are listed and are known to treat depressive symptoms.

 

ACUPRESSURE POINTS TO REDUCE DEPRESSION
1.  HEART 7 (HT-7) “SPIRIT GATE”

Location: On the crease of your inner wrist towards the ulnar (pinky finger) side. Feel for a hollow place at the base of the pisiform bone.

 

How does it help?: HT7 is often used to strengthen the heart and nourish qi and blood. This pressure point is also known to settle anxiety/worrisome emotions and also quiets the mind. It helps with sleep disturbances and emotional stress, releases tightness in the chest and even aids with heart palpitations.

2. NEIGUAN (PC6)

Location: Find the middle of your wrist, about two finger widths below the palm. Using your thumb and forefinger, press on this location for 2-3 minutes. Repeat on your other wrist.

How does it help?: Neiguan can be used to treat depression and anxiety.


3. CONCEPTION VESSEL 17 (REN 17) “CHEST CENTER”
Location: At the center of your chest, midway between the nipples/center of your sternum.

How does it help?: This acupressure point is also known as the ‘influential point of Qi’ (or energy) which this point helps regulate. Qi often gets stuck (or stagnant) with excess stress and imbalances in life. This point helps to relax your chest and release your diaphragm.

4. YIN TANG “HALL OF IMPRESSION”
Location: located between the eyebrows, in an area also known as the third eye.

How does it help?: This pressure point calms the spirit and takes the edge off emotional restlessness and anxiety. It’s also known to promote a deep relaxation and even helps with insomnia! It is also great at relieving headaches and helps to clear nasal congestion or a runny nose.

 

If you found these home-tips helpful and are ready to take the next step and try acupuncture, contact us to set up an appointment!

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Foods to Eat to Help Depression

 

Many have heard the question posed what came first, the chicken or the egg? But how does that concept apply to depression? It’s well-known that when we’re depressed, our motivation and interest in maintaining a healthy and balanced diet subsides in the same way our energy does. Harvard Medical Students positioned that same question in relation to depression; what came first, depression or a poor diet?

 

Thankfully, researchers have addressed this question and found that a healthy diet was indeed associated with a significantly decreased risk of developing depressive symptoms. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, patients were treated for two years with antioxidants or placebos. After two years, those who were treated with antioxidants had a significantly lower depression score.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Eating healthy foods gives you a better chance to reduce your depressive symptoms than eating a diet of processed food that may be high in sugars and fats.

 

Additionally, it’s known that there are approximately 10 times as many bacterial cells as human cells in the body. These bacteria serve many purposes including the curation of Vitamin K, digesting the food we consume and even regulating our immune system.

 

This implies that maintaining a healthy gut bacteria and overall diet can improve your mood.

 

SO, WHAT SHOULD I EAT?
Suggested foods to eat are lots of green leafy plants (including fruits and vegetables), whole unprocessed grains, seeds & nuts, and lean proteins such as yogurt or fish. To break them down even further, take note of the following foods and their purpose (all of which fight depression):

Inflammation: Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, Berries, Mushrooms and Onions.

Mood Boosting & Omega 3: Walnuts, chia seeds, Fish (salmon, tuna and sardines), and even certain brands of egg or yogurt.

Oleic Acid: Avocado, cheese, pasta and meats such as chicken, beef or pork

Antioxidants: Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are some of the highest antioxidant foods available to us. Other foods include sweet potato, oranges, and peppers.

Folic acid and alpha-lipoic acid: Tomatoes, broccoli, spinach and brussels sprouts.

 

WHICH FOODS SHOULD I AVOID?
Avoid foods made with added sugars or flours such as baked goods (donuts and pastries), breads, pastas and cereals. One should also minimize the consumption of animal fats, processed meats such as bacon, and even butter.

 

OTHER ITEMS TO CONSIDER
It’s important to remember that health starts from within. Maintaining a healthy balance of self-care, such as providing yourself with adequate sleep, hydration and physical activity is just as important as eating well.

 

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that supports the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Having balanced health helps with everything from cardiovascular disease, dementia, cancer and even mental health disorders including- you guessed it – depression!

 

 

Don’t forget! Schedule an acupuncture appointment with me if you have any questions about depression and how traditional chinese medicine can help.

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Feeling Tired!

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Opioid Addiction: What Is It and Why Is It Prevalent Today

Opioids. A word all too common to today’s society. Since the late 1990s, the number of opioid-related deaths has increased dramatically, having taken the lives of nearly 64,000 Americans each year.

 

The opioid epidemic is considered to be the deadliest crisis in United States history and overdoses have also become the leading cause-of-death in people under the age of 50 in the United States.

 

OPIOID HISTORY

There are many theories regarding the opioid epidemic and how we got to this point. One thing is for certain is that it began in the 1990s and it started in the medical pharmaceutical industry.

 

During this period of time, medical doctors were being pressured to treat chronic pain more aggressively. In response to this pressure, doctors began prescribing long-term use of opioids so that patients could better deal with their pain. At the same time that this was happening, pharmaceutical companies were touting opioids as non-addictive and not harmful.

 

Doctors were prescribing drugs at higher rates and according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), by 2015, there were enough pills being prescribed to medicate every American daily for three weeks straight.

 

ADDICTIVE NATURE
There are many who may not know just how addictive opioids can be. Studies have shown that patients who take the medications for as little as a week have a higher chance of developing an addiction.

 

It’s a common occurrence for those who have previously been prescribed opioids to begin misusing them. Oftentimes, if their supply ran out or their prescription expired, getting medication from friends, family or buying them illegally was how people gathered them.

 

This behavior led to the medications being harder to obtain and people turning to black market forms of the drugs or using illegal drugs like heroin, to help battle their chronic pain.

 

USE OF OPIOIDS
Opioids are used to relieve pain because they lower the number of pain signals the body sends to the brain. They also change how the body responds to the pain. Opioids include codeine, fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone and tramadol.

 

They tend to be safe when taken as prescribed, but since they are highly addictive, they can be easily misused and people don’t even realize they have an addiction.

 

This type of medicine alters the brain by creating artificial endorphins, which make you feel good. Overuse of them can cause the brain to actually stop making natural endorphins if opioids are used too frequently and at high dosages. Thus, the body becomes dependent on the synthetic drug and builds up a tolerance, which requires more and more of the drug to achieve the same level of pain relief.

 

ACUPUNCTURE AND OPIOIDS
Unfortunately, it seems this epidemic is not going away anytime soon. As doctors start to crack down on the prescriptions they are handing out, more and more people are seeking out other forms of pain-relief and that’s where Acupuncture comes into play!

The stimulation of acupuncture needles improves blood circulation and helps you heal naturally. Undergoing treatment from Traditional Chinese Medicinal practices can also help your body begin producing natural chemicals that are used as painkillers, thus relieving chronic pain without the addiction.

Acupuncture is believed to rebalance energy and qi (the body’s life force) in order to alleviate pain and boost overall health from the inside out!

 

While there are numerous ways to treat opioid addiction, the fact remains the crisis is one that will be dealt with for generations to come, both physically and financially. If you have additional questions about opioid addiction and how you may benefit from acupuncture treatments, call Mountain View Acupuncture and schedule an appointment!

 

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Traveling the Energetic Highway: What Are Meridians?

 

 

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a system that seems quite foreign to many in the Western world. However, this medical system has been around for over 3,500 years, in comparison to the Western medical system, which has been around since the 19th century. One of the concepts of TCM is that of the meridian or energetic pathways. This article will explore this concept a little more deeply.

 

What is a meridian? This is something that every acupuncture student asks when they begin their training. The simplest definition is that a meridian is an energetic highway in the human body. Meridians allow for the flow of energy, known as Qi (pronounced “chee”), to circulate throughout the body. Meridians exist in corresponding pairs and each meridian has multiple acupuncture points along the pathway. While it is tempting to think of meridians in the body the same way we think of the circulatory system, this would be incorrect. According to TCM, the meridian pathways are responsible for the “distribution” of the substances throughout the body, but physically, meridians have yet to be identified. Therefore, it is more logical to view the meridian system as an energetic distribution network.

 

All together there are fourteen main meridians throughout the body. One that runs up the center of the body on the front, another that runs along the spine and the other 12 run from head to toe along the rest of the body. Each limb is traversed by six channels, three that are considered yin in nature and three that are considered yang in nature.  Yin channels are located on the inside surfaces and the yang channels are located on the outside surfaces. Each meridian is a yin yang pair, meaning that each yin organ (lung, heart, kidney, liver, spleen) is paired with its corresponding yang organ (large intestine, stomach, small intestine, bladder, gallbladder). In every living thing, there is yin and yang. Yin corresponds to water, darkness and cold, while yang corresponds to fire, daylight and heat. For the body to function properly, there must be balance between the yin and yang.

 

In addition to the main meridians, there are other meridians called “Extraordinary” meridians that are not associated with the major organ systems. These meridians have very specific functions.  They act as reservoirs for Qi and blood. They circulate “substances” around the body, as they have a strong connection to the kidneys. They help circulate Wei Qi, which acts as the immune system. And they provide connections between the 12 regular channels.

 

When the Qi flows freely, the body remains healthy. However, due to outside causes like stress, the body’s meridians can become clogged or stagnant. When a blockage occurs along the meridians, illness can take hold.

 

Acupuncture is a wonderful way to unclog the meridians. Acupuncture points, herbal formulas, exercise and proper dietary habits all work in conjunction to keep the body aligned and functioning properly. To learn more, give us a call, we’d love to help!.

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