Category Archives: Blog

Botanicals Can Boost Your Health

Category : Blog

Ancient healers moving to the forefront of modern medicine

By Michelle Simon, PhD, ND

Did you know that when you pop an aspirin, you are making use of the healing power of plants? Most of us don’t realize how intertwined modern medicine is with ancient plant wisdom. For example, aspirin’s active ingredient, salicin, originally came from willow bark, the use of which dates back to the Greek physician Hippocrates (400 BC) who advised his patients to chew on the bark to bring down fevers.

These days most medications are synthesized in a laboratory. But for as many as half of them, their backstory is to be found in the wild. During the last three decades, up to 50 percent of the drugs approved for use in humans have been sourced either directly or indirectly from plants. As science turns a more appreciative lens towards the potential of plants, in tandem with  advances in research, plants are moving back into the forefront of healing.

It’s not only in pharmaceuticals that plants exhibit their healing power, though. In 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 80 percent of people worldwide relied on herbal medicines for some aspect of their primary healthcare needs. Roughly 21,000 plant species have the potential for being used as medicinal plants, with many more being identified each year.

Although we tend to take plants for granted, they are, of course, indispensable. Humble healers, plants are made up of roots, stems, and leaves, and many produce flowers, fruit, and seeds. Plants are the original sun worshippers, deploying photosynthesis, a process that involves sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide, to produce their own food. Packed with bioactives and phytochemicals, plants contain dynamic, healing compounds such as alkaloids, glycosides, terpenes, and phenols. These molecular structures have evolved over millennia to enhance the plants’ survival.

When we look at the way plants interact with the human body, we see an ongoing relationship. Information is carried by the plant’s cellular structure to the informational systems of the human body. Our dependency on plants, used for both food and medicine over millennia, means we have evolved along with them.

As science catches up with herbal medicine, its rigorous investigative methods shine a light on how plants actually work. Now, there’s more understanding of the active chemistry of a plant, both how the various parts function as isolated extracts and as a synergistic whole

Plant medicine has its advantages: It is less toxic than synthetic drugs and has fewer adverse side effects. And for almost every medicinal need you can imagine, there is often a viable plant-based approach that can complement—or sometimes even replace—conventional medications. (Of course, please consult your doctor or healthcare provider before making any changes to your medicines. And pay attention to potential herb-drug interactions as well.) Here are three major categories of medicinal plants—and what you need to know about them.

Antimicrobial

This class of plants can be thought of nature’s sanitizer: they kill or inhibit growth of microorganisms. Traditional systems of medicine the world over depend on plants as their main source of healing. In some parts of the world, antimicrobial and antibacterial plants are the only resources available to treat different infections. Many of these kinds of antimicrobial plants are spices, which not only flavor food, but also keep it from spoiling. Spices have compounds in them that keep food from becoming contaminated by bacteria and other microbes. Often, a plant’s resins can be extracted into an essential oil—think basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary—that can prevent microbial growth.

Garlic is one of the most powerful antibacterial botanicals, given to soldiers in both world wars to prevent gangrene.Today, garlic has uses as diverse as promoting cardiovascular health and repelling mosquitos. Research has also been done on its ability to bolster immune function. Some studies have found evidence that it may show promise in the battle against antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as MRSA, by curtailing the bacteria’s ability to reproduce.Unlike antibiotics however, garlic does not wreak havoc on the body’s intestinal flora balance.

Try it: To unleash garlic’s healing powers, you must consume it in a certain way. Garlic must be crushed, cut or minced to release the allicin—its volatile, active component. Cooking destroys allicin, which means eating garlic raw is essential. Garlic supplements do not seem to be as potent as eating fresh garlic raw. Try adding raw minced garlic to your salad dressing, or mix it with olive oil and lemon juice to make a sauce to drizzle over vegetables.

Adaptogens

Naturopathic medicine utilizes a synergistic approach to stress. For millennia, plants have been used to help the body self-regulate its stress response whether in relation to external physical substances, toxins, or internal stress molecules, such as cortisol. For over half a century, the term adaptogen has been used to describe an elite class of herbs: safe, nontoxic plants that specifically modulate our ability to withstand stress. The bottom line? Like their name implies, their main role is to facilitate a fluid, adaptive response, introducing a happy middle ground amidst the fight or flight continuum.

In an integrative approach to medicine, adaptogens are frequently used to address a range of common issues. All adaptogens have an overall toning affect, offsetting the inflammatory aspects of stress by strengthening and stabilizing the body. Adaptogens are the best kinds of generalists: They have a nonspecific agenda, working to balance how the body functions as a whole, rather than as a collection of discrete parts.

Green tea, ginseng, rhodiola, ashwagandha and eleuthero, a few of the big name adaptogenic herbs, have played a starring role in ancient plant-centric practices such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Other adaptogens, such as maca, tulsi and turmeric, have in the last decade become herbal stalwarts in the United States.

Try it: Originally from Peru, maca is a root sold in powdered form. Once used to boost Inca warrior’s endurance, it’s now prized for modern-day benefits, such as supporting sexual function and balancing hormones. Maca’s mild taste makes it easy to add to a wide array of recipes. Try putting a teaspoon in your smoothie or mixing it with yogurt. Try Chef Lauren’s Pumpkin Spice Maca Milkshake.

Digestive Support

The digestive system is coming into a new prominence, thanks in part to all the research done on the importance of the microbiome—the ecological community of microorganisms that live in our gut. Many healing traditions consider digestion the cornerstone to health. Carminative plants are natural digestive aids, helping reduce gas, cramps, and bloating. Rich in volatile oils, carminatives can stimulate and relax receptors in our gastrointestinal tract, moving food along in rhythmic waves toward assimilation or elimination.

Carminatives tend to be aromatic—to wit anise, cardamom, coriander, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, ginger, orange peel, and peppermint. These kinds of herbs soothe the stomach and stimulate bile flow, which facilitates food absorption. Carminatives are good to have in your toolkit to mitigate to support healthy digestion. Peppermint oil, an antispasmodic, settles the muscles and can be mildly effective for abdominal pain.

Try it: In general, to have an impact on digestive difficulties, studies suggest you need to take two tablets of enteric-coated peppermint oil twice a day for a minimum of four weeks. (It’s always best to consult your doctor before self-administering peppermint on a regular basis, as well as incorporating nutritional supplements into your diet.) For the occasional relief of an upset tummy, you can also try brewing a cup of peppermint tea, which can exert a calming influence on a belly in distress.

Our humble plant cousins, it turns out, are more sophisticated than a lot of what we produce in a lab. As plants’ potential to heal continues to find increased acceptance, advances in medicine may come to look like updated methods to harvest ancient plant medicine.


How Acupuncture can Relieve Your Stress

Category : Blog

Relieve Your Stress with Acupuncture and Oriental Remedy

As a normal part of life, stress enables us to get things done. If left unmanaged, stress can lead to emotional, psychological, and even physical problems. Stress causes a disruption in the flow of vital energy, or Qi, through the body. These energetic imbalances can throw off the immune system or cause symptoms of pain, sleep disturbances, abnormal digestion, headaches, menstrual irregularities, aggravation of already troublesome health conditions and, over time, more serious illnesses can develop.

Stressful situations that last over a long period of time can create an ongoing low-level stress that puts continual pressure on the nervous system, increasing activity, and can cause the overproduction of hormones. The extra stress hormones over an extended period of time may wear out the body’s reserves, lead to fatigue, depression, a weakened immune system, and a host of serious physical and psychological ailments.

Here few signs of stress overload include:

  • anxiety or panic attacks
  • feelings of constant pressure, hassled and hurried
  • irritability and moodiness
  • physical symptoms such as stomach problems, headaches, or even chest pain
  • allergic reactions, such as eczema or asthma
  • problems sleeping
  • overindulgence in food, alcohol, smoking, or drugs
  • sadness or depression

Stress is often the cause of illness and the deterioration of health. Finding a release valve for your stress can help you stay healthy. According to Oriental medicine, stress, frustration, and unresolved anger can play an important part in throwing the immune system off and allowing pathogens to affect the body. Through acupuncture, these energy blockages can be addressed. Acupuncture points can help energy flow smoothly, and alleviate not only the symptoms of stress and anxiety, but the stress and anxiety itself.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress. Acupuncture improves circulation of blood throughout the body, which oxygenates the tissues and cycles out cortisol and other waste chemicals. The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles.

In addition to acupuncture, Oriental medicine offers a wide range of tools and techniques that can be integrated into your wellness plan to keep stress in check. These tools include Tui Na, Qi Gong exercises, dietary therapy, meditations and acupressure that you can administer at home.

While it isn’t always possible to remove the external forces causing stress, the ability to effectively deal with stress is a choice. Take time for yourself to cultivate the energy you need to handle your stress more skillfully and effectively.

Would you like to learn more about how acupuncture can help you, please contact Bluemoon Acupuncture and Wellness center in Oro Valley Arizona

(520-505-1442) or info@bluemoonacupuncture.com


Love Your Heart, Go Organic

Category : Blog

By Chef Lauren Cox, Closer to Your Food

It goes without saying that your heart is a vital organ in your body. The best part is, the heart instinctively works perfectly, without a break, for the rest of our lives. In fact, in the average human lifespan, your heart will beat about 2.5 billion times.Unfortunately, however, heart disease is the number one killer in the US. This accounts for 1 of every 4 deaths and costs the country nearly $1 billion a day. It is easy to see why heart disease is so prevalent. Such causes of heart disease can be having a sedentary lifestyle and eating a poor diet. Many organizations offer tips such as getting more exercise and eating a lower fat diet, but very little light is shed on the benefits of an organic diet and how that specifically benefits your heart. Here are a few reasons why you might want to switch to an organic lifestyle. As they say, “you can pay your farmer now or pay your doctor later.”

Nutrient Density

Organic fruits and veggies are more nutrient dense. This can be attributed to a variety of factors, but mostly due to better soil practices and the lack of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. The collective scientific and medical communities agree that organic produce is exponentially higher in antioxidants. Antioxidants, such as flavonoids, help the body protect cells against damage from free radicals. This is important for a multitude of reasons, but is specifically important for the prevention of heart disease.

Pesticides are Fat Soluble

In short, pesticides, herbicides and insecticides can end up storing in the fatty tissues of animals, including the animals we eat, eventually ending up in our bodies. Again, there is much discord as to how much accumulation of these compounds specifically are harmful, but to me, common sense would dictate that you wouldn’t want any of it building up in your tissues. If you think about some of the common pesticides, they are designed to asphyxiate and stop an insect’s heart simultaneously. With large amounts of pesticides that could build up over time from a non-organic diet and frequent exposure to pollution, you may end up with a fatty liver that doesn’t have the means to help the body eliminate some of these compounds, in effect setting yourself up for a perfect storm of cardiovascular disease.

Here’s The Good News

Organic is becoming more affordable and more common. In most large grocery stores, you are likely going to pay a premium with retail prices, but we suggest getting crafty to get more bang for your buck. We have found that the best way to go about this is by signing up for an organic Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) basket from your local farm. This way, you are not only eating organic, but also seasonally and locally. Buying in bulk online is a great way to stock your pantry with dry goods as well. I recommend getting in the habit of visiting your local farmer’s market on the weekend and preparing meals for the week to ensure you are getting healthy organic food to help take care of your heart.

 


Is acupuncture covered by insurance?

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Is acupuncture covered by insurance?

The good news is that yes, many insurance companies now offer policies that cover acupuncture and related services performed by an acupuncturist.

Does my insurance cover acupuncture?

You can find out if your insurance provides acupuncture benefits by calling your insurance company’s patient information or benefits line. This number can be found on your insurance card.

If your insurance provider does cover acupuncture, here are a few questions that you can ask to determine your eligibility and coverage:

  1. How many treatments do I get?
  2. How much does the insurance company pay?
  3. What is the normal co-pay for acupuncture from a preferred provider? (This is the amount you would pay out-of-pocket for each visit to a practitioner on their provider list.)
  4. What percentage will I pay for out-of-network practitioners?  (This is the amount you would pay out-of-pocket for each visit to a practitioner who is NOT on their provider list.)
  5. Who must provide the acupuncture?
  6. Will I need a referral from an MD to see the acupuncturist?
  7. What is my deductible?
  8. What conditions are covered for acupuncture? (Many plans only cover the treatment of pain)

What are Affinity Programs for acupuncture?

If you don’t have benefits, you may have what’s called an “affinity program”. This is an arrangement that the insurance company has with certain acupuncturists to offer their members treatments at a discounted price (usually 20% to 40% discount off regular price).

Do Medicaid and Medicare cover acupuncture?

At this time, Medicaid and Medicare do not provide coverage for acupuncture.

The California MediCal program offers limited coverage when you see an acupuncturist that is a MediCal provider.

Is acupuncture a treatment option after a car accident?

If you have suffered a personal injury in an auto or motor vehicle accident, your or the other parties car insurance will pay for acupuncture treatments.

While more and more acupuncturists are signing up to become acupuncture providers for insurance companies and handle all the paper work involved in billing, it is common for practitioners to be paid in full and provide patients with the information they will need to file a claim for reimbursement themselves.

 


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Is Acupuncture Cure Insomnia?

Category : Blog

Is Acupuncture Cure Insomnia?

 

Sleep disorders occur when difficulties and complications interfere with the quality and length of sleep. One reason why it is so important to consistently have a proper night’s sleep is because without it, other medical issues may worsen. Even a single restless night can leave one feeling mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted.

While a complete catalogue of sleep disorders is long and varied, the following list contains some of the most common ones that respond well to treatment with acupuncture and Oriental medicine:

   Insomnia

   Sleep apnea

  Snoring

  Night terrors

  Narcolepsy

  Jet lag disorder

In China and other part of Asia, acupuncture has been used for over 2000 years for treating everything from headaches and neck pain to nausea and even depression. It’s a respected practice, one with a long, complex history despite some raised eyebrows from doctors; more and more of the stressed out, sore workers are looking towards the eastern medicine: roughly 10 percent of Americans have admitted that, at one point or another, they’ve endured sessions with strategically-placed needles. This growing popularity is in no small part to the practice’s ability to cure one ailment in particular: insomnia.

Traditional oiliness medicine is based on the 2000-year-old philosophy that two opposing forces, yin and yang, inhabit the body. Energy flows along specific pathways throughout the body keeping these forces balanced and the body healthy. If the flow of energy gets blocked, however, the disruption can lead to pain, lack of function, or illness. Acupuncture therapy releases these blockages in the body and stimulates function, evoking the body’s natural healing response through various physiological systems.

According to UCSD’s Center for Integrative Medicine, “acupuncture improves the body’s functions and promotes the natural self-healing process by stimulating specific anatomic sites — commonly referred to as acupuncture points, or acupoints.”

 

A pleasant side effect of a session? Several nights’ worth of better sleep.

 

“About ninety percent of my patients, in fact, fall asleep on the table during a treatment and many leave feeling quite relaxed and almost euphoric,” says Teri Goetz, a New York-based acupuncturist.

There may be a reason. Commonly used in treating insomnia in China, acupuncture has been shown in clinical studies to have a beneficial effect on insomnia compared with Western medication. In one report published by the National Institute of Health, the practice was shown to reduce insomnia and anxiety. (It was suggested that the process stimulated melatonin production.)

 

A comprehensive study determined that sixty percent of patients with sleep disorders had improvement after two weeks of acupuncture.

 

According to acupuncture and Oriental medicine, the cycles of sleeping and waking demonstrate the dynamic interplay of yin and yang forces. Yin qualities include contraction, cold, inactivity and nighttime. Yang qualities are represented by expansion, heat, activity and daytime. During sleep and states of relaxation, yin exercises the dominant force. After yin energy has refreshed the body and mind, it is then time for yang energy to increase. When yang springs into action, it is now possible to wake up restored and ready for the day.

One way in which a practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine may help a patient regain control of their sleep is by balancing the body’s internal forces of yin and yang through the use of acupuncture. For example, if a disharmony is discovered in the Yang Qiao channel, manifesting as an overabundance of yang energy, and since this energy is always active, it would be appropriate to decrease yang and increase yin. This can help alleviate symptoms of certain sleep disorders, such as insomnia. A channel is an invisible pathway on which energy is necessary for healing flows. The Yang Qiao channel has traditionally been used to address sleep pathologies.

However, in some cases, there is also an emotional component that must be addressed. A study entitled “Acupuncture Increases Nocturnal Secretion and Reduces Insomnia and Anxiety: A Preliminary Report”, printed in the 2004 edition of the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, yielded some very encouraging conclusions. The test subjects, all of whom complained of insomnia and anxiety, received regular acupuncture treatments for a total of five weeks.

Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland that controls the waking and sleeping cycles. It was documented that the patients’ nightly levels of melatonin production increased, which, in turn, caused a rise in the amount of time spent dozing. This also resulted in a better quality of sleep than before the treatments began.  At the same time the length and quality of sleep improved, there was a significant reduction in their levels of anxiety. This led the researchers to conclude that acupuncture is a valuable and effective treatment for certain kinds of insomnia. For more information or questions Please call Bluemoon Acupuncture and Wellness Center to make appointment at (520)505-1442


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What do you think word of acupuncture when you hear that ?

Category : Blog

 

What do you think  word of acupuncture when you hear that ?

 

For many, the term evokes images of ancient Chinese gurus piercing the skin with long, thin, scary-looking needles while bloodcurdling screams fill the air—a misnomer based on a general lack of information, Luckily, I’m here to set the record, or needle, straight, by enlightening you on eight little-known facts about acupuncture…

  • If you thought acupuncture was only and all about inserting needles—think again! The practice enlists several other modes of stimulation to acupressure points, such as:

 

Utilizing Frictionbluemoon-for-web

Suction—or cupping

Application of Heat

Acupressure

Medical Pulse Diagnosis

  • If you have the same approach to acupuncture as you do to antibiotics—take a full round and you’ll be well—you may be surprised to learn that acupuncture takes a whole-body approach to healing vs. focusing on curing one symptom (i.e., headache). So if you suffer from chronic migraines, an practitioner will likely recommend diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes that focus on complete health and well being.

 

 

  • Before simply looking up acupuncturists online and booking an appointment, it’s wise to first discuss treatment possibilities with your doctor. After all, a current medication, unrelated medical condition (i.e., dermatological disorder), or medical aid (i.e., a pacemaker) could mix adversely with acupuncture. Also, choosing a licensed acupuncturist is wise if you happen to live in one of the 35 states that adhere to standards by the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates safe practices

 

 

  • Remember those shrieks of pain you anticipated hearing upon setting foot in an acupuncture clinic? Those aren’t typical at all, according to over 4 million Americans who visit acupuncturists each year for pain relief and attest to the fact that acupuncture is a painless experience. Many first time patients are actually surprised by how relaxed they feel during a session. This is because the acupuncture needles used is extremely hair-thin and flexible for precise insertion, and unless a needle is inserted incorrectly, which is rare with trained acupuncturists, you will never feel discomfort, only a bit of gentle pressure.

 

  • Even though the scientific data is gradually increasing as to the benefits of acupuncture, many Western doctors still don’t know exactly how it works. If you read the traditional Chinese theory, acupuncture aims to unblock and realign energy flow pathways (or meridians) within the patient. However, Western medical bodies, like the Mayo Clinic, claim that acupuncture maps out vital points in the body via nerves, muscles, and connective tissues—when stimulated, blood flow increases to these areas, and triggers the body’s natural opioids (i.e., endorphins).

 

 

  • Only recently is acupuncture being prescribed in the Western world, and still with much reluctance, although the practice is proven to be an effective alternative to many prescription drugs. More and more scientific research is acknowledging that acupuncture is beneficial for the treatment of menstrual and menopausal symptoms, to manage pain, to ease the side effects of chemotherapy and the symptoms of fibromyalgia, to treat migraines, and to strengthen the immune system.  In fact, a newer study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, collected data from 19,000 participants who took part in acupuncture studies.  Findings showed that acupuncture should be considered a valid treatment for all types of chronic pain (i.e., arthritis, chronic back pain, anxiety, the effects of chemotherapy, and in the treatment of obesity). In the United Kingdom, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) approves doctor-prescribed acupuncture for chronic tension headaches and low back pain.

 

  • Many folks know that acupuncture originated in China thousands of years ago. However, the Daoists (or Taoists) are credited as the first to practice acupuncture as part of their philosophical, ethical, and religious tradition—one that dates back over 8000 years, and emphasizes that life should be lived in harmony with the Tao (a path, principle, or flow of energy that drives the universe and everything that exists).

 

 


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Acupuncture for Athletes

Category : Blog

bluemoon-for-webAcupuncture for Athletes

Acupuncture is used in the treatment of injuries and musculoskeletal and constitutional imbalances, and is often effective for relieving muscle pain and spasm and improving circulation to tense or injured tissues. In my clinic I commonly find acupuncture especially effective for tendon and ligament sprain/strains and chronic injuries which have been poorly responsive to other types of treatment.

According to basic Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) theory, health is viewed as a balance between opposing forces (e.g. yin and yang) in the body. Forces that disrupt this balance are seen to move the body away from health and toward disease and poor function. Herbal medicines, diet, acupuncture, and exercise are all seen as ways to balance these forces to promote health and in the case of athletes, to improve performance.

As a member of the National Sports Acupuncture Association, I’ve studied a number of methods to help both weekend warriors and more competitive athletes improve their performance and prevent injuries. When I work with people to improve their sports performance, I typically use a three-pronged approach. The most important is what I think of as the Yin aspect, which uses TCM methods to support the body during training to build muscles, promote liver glycogen storage, and prepare the body for bursts of energy needed during performance. The Yang aspect is to stimulate output at the time of the performance. Finally, the third prong of the approach is individualizing the treatment, taking into account relatively strong versus weaker systems, past history of injuries or recurrent injuries, and other important health issues, which could impact training and performance. With this approach, I am able to provide customized herbal formulas and acupuncture to assist in both training and competitive activities.

Herbal Medicine and Nutritional Support

Herbal medicine and nutritional support provide important aspects in the TCM approach to performance enhancement. By way of example, here are three of my favorite herb choices for improving sports performance:

The first is easily Siberian Ginseng (Eleutheroccocus senticosus), one of my favorite herbal medicines. It is a gentle herb appropriate for long-term use without side effects. Herbalists consider Siberian Ginseng to be adaptogenic, that is, it helps the body find balance and adapt to stresses. It does this primarily by nourishing the adrenal glands. Effects of Siberian Ginseng include immune support, blood sugar regulation, and improvement in energy levels. It has been shown in studies to enhance athletic performance in all but the most elite athletes (probably because they are so well trained, a gentle herb like Siberian Ginseng is not enough to produce significant further improvements). I prefer a standardized extract in doses of 250-500 mg per day for one to two months followed by a break from use.

Cordyceps (C. sinensis) is also a very safe and gentle tonic. It is a very unusual herb, as it’s a moth larva which has been infected with a fungus and then dried. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is considered to be a lung tonic and has a long history of use in asthma treatment due to its effects of improving “the breath” and decreasing inflammation. Cordyceps has been shown to enhance the immune system, relax spasms of the heart, bronchi and intestines, improve sexual function, and invigorate energy levels while keeping one relaxed. I use cordyceps most often for people with exercise-induced asthma and those with weakness of lung function.

Finally, Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) is a fundamental herb for improving energy levels in general and for sports performance in particular; it is one of the best known herbs in TCM. It has been shown to have many positive effects for the athlete, including: shortens the latency period of and strengthens conditioned reflexes, speeds transmission of nerve impulses, promotes relaxation while restoring alertness, dilates coronary arteries and sustains proper cardiac rhythm, increases synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids, helps maintain adequate blood sugar levels, and supports adrenal, spleen, thyroid and thymus function. I could go on as this herb has been extensively studied. In my practice, I prefer to use high quality preparations of panax ginseng for relatively short periods of time to avoid overuse of this powerful and important herb.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine is an art and a science that takes years to master. Call Bluemoon Acupuncture and Wellness Center (520-505-1442) acupuncturist with experience in the treatment of Sports Medicine and Performance Enhancement

 


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Health Challenges of Aging and How Acupuncture Can Help

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Health Challenges of Aging and How Acupuncture Can Help

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“Old age, believe me, is a good and pleasant thing. It is true you are gently shouldered off the stage, but then you are given such a comfortable front stall as spectator.” — Confucius, ancient Chinese teacher and philosopher.” 

Could this be the fate of the aging as Confucius decreed? To be able to enjoy the golden years of life implies a life well lived, and that a good, if not excellent, standard of health was maintained.  How to live a life with vitality and exuberance, one that can last until the time of death is not a foolish quest, but one that is recognized by practitioners of acupuncture and Oriental medicine as realistic and completely within reach. 

For those of us who have grown up in the west, our attitudes towards the elderly and aging, in general, are not always so encouraging. As the American actress/comedian Lucille Ball humorously put it: “The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” 

One of the basic tenets of the theory of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is the belief that all disease results from the imbalance of yin and yang forces. Yin qualities include darkness, quiet, moisture, and formlessness. Yang qualities are represented by light, noise, dryness, and form. Running is a yang activity, whereas the rest that comes afterwards is a function of yin. Resting allows for the renewal of depleted energy reserves, which, in turn, makes activity possible. This is one way to describe how the dynamic relationship between yin and yang powers our life force. 

The challenges of aging also result from this lack of balance between yin and yang energies. This means that some conditions and symptoms of disease associated with advanced aging may be mitigated by bringing these two energies into harmony again. For example, dry eyes and poor vision can be addressed by acupuncture treatments that focus on nurturing yin and increasing yang. Yin fluids will provide lubrication to the eyes, while an increase in yang helps ensure more energy can reach the top of the head to help improve vision. 

The earlier an individual can start using a practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, the better. This is because there is a huge emphasis on disease prevention. Historically speaking, practitioners of ancient China did not profit from their patient’s sickness, but from their wellness. Payment was rendered only when the patient exhibited good health. Of course, not even the great physicians of ancient China were able to find the proverbial Fountain of Youth. Growing old gracefully requires wisdom in order to properly manage expectations. 

There is an adage describing the philosophy of acupuncture and Oriental medicine: “The superior doctor prevents sickness, the mediocre doctor attends to impending sickness, and the inferior doctor treats actual sickness.” A superior practitioner can catch the subtleties within the body that, if left untreated, can manifest as illness. These warning signs can be detected in several ways, such as pulse diagnosis. 

Pulse diagnosis allows a practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine to ‘listen’ or ‘feel’ the state of a patient’s internal organs. This is done by asking the patient to relax and rest their arms comfortably with the palm-side up. The practitioner generally uses three fingers to press on the delicate area of the radial artery pulse. Each finger lies over an area representing different internal organs. 

Each time the heart beats, blood is pushed out through the arteries. The resulting pressure from the surge of blood flowing can be easily palpated at the radial artery. A practitioner feels for more than just the heart rate, or what is termed beats per minute (bpm). Qualities such as the strength, width, rhythm, and depth of the pulse provide valuable information. In addition to being able to assess individual organs, a patient’s blood quality and state of Qi may be ascertained. Qi is the most fundamental energy necessary for all life to exist. 

If you experience a waning in your Qi as you approach your golden years, or have concerns about conditions associated with aging, consider an appointment with a practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. As long as someone has a pulse to be palpated, it is never too late to start treatment! 

Call Bluemoon Acupuncture and Wellness Center (520-5051442) and learn how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you! 

 

 

 

 


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Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Helps with Strains, Sprains and Pulled Muscles

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Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Helps with Strains, Sprains and Pulled Muscles

Imagine you’ve just sprained your ankle. The pain, swelling and redness start up almost immediately. Your first reaction is instinctual — take pressure off your foot. Your next steps are probably just as natural. As you recall your first aid skills, you will likely raise your foot above your heart and apply ice. What might not occur to you in such an emergency is to seek out an Oriental medicine practitioner for acupuncture to ease the pain, reduce the swelling and address any anxiety you may have as a result of the trauma you just sustained.

The initial or acute stage of any strain (stretch or tear in a muscle or tendon), sprain (stretch or tear in a ligament), or pulled muscles presents with varying degrees of pain, swelling and bruising. The pain and inflammation need immediate treatment. The muscles surrounding the site of trauma tighten in an effort to protect the injured site, which results in stiffness of the area. This defensive action does not allow for strong blood flow to the area, even though the blood carries necessary healing agents with it. The white blood cells are one example, and they help clean up the site by disposing of damaged cells.

A practitioner of Oriental medicine can assist the body’s natural defensive mechanisms by needling acupuncture points that stimulate the flow of blood, as well as Qi (life energy force). ‘Blood is the mother of Qi’ and ‘Qi is the master of blood,’ according to the principles of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. These statements reveal the interdependence existing between these two entities. One basic way to explain this phenomenon is to say the nutrients in blood feed and vitalize Qi, while Qi is fundamental for the production of blood. Qi represents the vital energy upon which all movement in the body relies on.

The second stage of injury is known as rehabilitation. Issues involving the expansion of range of motion (ROM), lessening stiffness, increasing flexibility, and restoring strength and stability take precedence. At this stage, your practitioner may recommend using heat on the injured area. The original signs of inflammation (swelling, redness and sensations of heat) should have ceased or lessened by this time.

While immediately icing an injury helps reduce inflammation, the prolonged use of ice may impair movement and interfere with the recovery process, according to acupuncture and Oriental medicine. You should consult with your practitioner on the proper use and timing of hot and cold therapies. Also at this stage, regular acupuncture treatments can help bring strength and stability back to the injured area.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine dietary advice includes avoiding eating cold foods like ice cream, iced drinks, and even raw fruits and vegetables while convalescing. The nature of cold is to contract, and an injury in the second stage is treated as a cold condition. Stiffness, loss of strength and ROM all reflect the symptoms of poor circulation due to coldness.  Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can successfully treat a sprain, strain or pulled muscle — whether it is in the acute or chronic phase.

Contact Bluemoon Acupuncture And Wellness Center At Oro Valley Arizona (520-505-1442) to learn more about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can improve your musculoskeletal health

 


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Acupuncture: A Viable Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Category : Blog

bluemoon-for-webAcupuncture: A Viable Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition affecting the arms and hands. The signs include numbness, tingling, pain, burning, and weakness in these parts of the body. These symptoms often, but not always, result from inflammation due to frequent, repetitive physical movements. However, inflammation can also be a product of an injury, such as a wrist sprain, or certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

The carpal tunnel is suitably named because it is literally a tunnel located in the lower arm, and it encases and protects part of the median nerve. The median nerve is involved in sensory functions and enables the palm, plus all fingers (except the pinkie), to experience sensations. When this nerve is compressed, or pinched, due to inflammation, symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may arise.

The onset of symptoms may start gradually and become worse over time, especially if the same motions are repeated on a near daily basis. Even though some repetitive motions such as typing on the computer or using the phone are not strenuous activities in and of themselves, if performed often enough, the cumulative effect builds up. If left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to what is known as nocturnal awakenings, which refers to waking up in the middle of the night from pain and discomfort.

While it is not always possible to stop or even greatly reduce the repetitive movements contributing to the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, an encouraging study reveals the efficacy of using acupuncture and Oriental medicine. The study entitled “Acupuncture in Patients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Randomized, Controlled Trial” appeared in The Clinical Journal of Pain in May 2009.

This study compared two groups of patients with mild to moderate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. One group received eight sessions of acupuncture treatments over the course of eight weeks. The other group received daily doses of a drug called prednisolone, a steroid used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Evaluations at the end of the second and fourth week revealed that both groups enjoyed a significant reduction in symptoms. However, the acupuncture group received an exceptional benefit that the steroid group did not. At the conclusion of the trial, the patients receiving acupuncture treatments showed a statistically significant drop in their nocturnal awakenings.

The researchers concluded that acupuncture is just as worthy and viable a treatment for those suffering from mild to moderate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome as taking the drug prednisolone. This is good news for patients who cannot tolerate oral steroids or prefer to handle their condition without the use of pharmaceutical drugs.

If you experience any of the signs of carpal tunnel syndrome and wish to avoid the use of drugs, contact a practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine for an appointment. This treatment will not only provide you with an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs and surgery, but can also address any sleep issues related to your condition.

To learn how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you! Call Bluemoon Acupuncture And Wellness Center at (520) 505-1442

 


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