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Oriental Medicine for Nourishing, Stimulating, or Calming the Brain

It may sound strange to learn that cognitive function is not solely the job of the brain alone; other parts and organs of the body are involved—the heart, kidneys, and liver all partner with the brain to nurture a healthy and attentive mind.

The heart is known as the Emperor, and must be protected at all times. TheEmperor is so precious that it has its own personal protection unit, called the pericardium. This is a fibrous, protective sac encasing the heart, which is why it earned its alternate name of Heart Protector.

One reason why the heart needs constant attention is because it must constantly pump blood throughout the body via the blood vessels. Oxygen and vital substances are delivered to the brain in this manner to stimulate or calm it. It only takes three minutes for an oxygen-starved brain to be at risk for permanent injuries, which only proves how vital the heart is for our immediate survival.

The heart also has another important responsibility relating to the sustainability of the brain: to house the Shen. The concept of the Shen can be described as the spirit or mind of a person. When you go to bed at night with a nurtured and healthy heart, the Shen is also able to rest comfortably, which allows you to wake in the morning, refreshed and ready for the day. When there are emotional disturbances in one’s life, the Shen can suffer and a host of symptoms may then occur.

Symptoms indicating there may be a heart imbalance are as follows:

  • Memory problems
  • Decline of mental acuity
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Inappropriate social behaviors
  • Inability to make meaningful connections with others

The brain is supported when high quality blood flows easily to the head. According to western medicine, one nutrient vital to sustaining the cardiovascular and neurological systems is iron. When the heart is functioning properly, blood rich in iron can assist the brain in fulfilling its cognitive functions, such as learning, reasoning, and concentration.

Suggestions for iron-rich foods include dark, green leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli, collard greens, and spinach. Other choices include foods that are dark in color and naturally sweet: beets, molasses, dates, black sesame seeds, purple grapes, and figs.

The heart, as essential as it may be, is not the only organ assisting the brain; the General, as the liver is called in the system of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, plays its role. The liver controls the direction and pace at which Qiflows throughout the body. Qi is translated as the most fundamental energy needed for all life to exist. It is one aspect of the liver’s function to determine whether Qi can smoothly reach its destination at the top of the head. This is very important because blood can only flow where the Qi takes it. Put simply, where blood flows, Qi follows.

The kidneys also contribute to a healthy brain as they have a strong relationship with it and the spinal cord. The kidneys supply a vital substance called Jing, which then produces marrow. Jing is a unique, fundamental substance necessary for human life. Marrow is the material foundation for the central nervous system and is the matter that ‘fills up’ the brain, thus the brain is referred to as the sea of marrow.

The sea of marrow is indispensable for memory and concentration. It also rules over the five senses: taste, touch, smell, hearing, and seeing. It is natural for the sea of marrow to wane as we grow older. However, there are acupuncture and Oriental medicine treatments that can help nurture even the most mature brain.

No matter what your age, if you find yourself suffering from memory loss, an inability to concentrate, a lack of creative energy, or other related issues, consider making an appointment with your practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine.

Call Bluemoon Acupuncture And Wellness Center (520-505-1442) to learn how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help ease your symptoms!

Acupressure for Nausea

Nausea is an uncomfortable urge to vomit, which can range from mild queasiness to serious distress. While nausea is not classified as a disease itself, it is an indicator that something else is wrong.  Depending on the severity and duration of vomiting, some level of dehydration may occur. In severe cases, this may become a medical emergency. Small sips of warm water may help the patient stay hydrated or, if this is not tolerable, sucking on ice chips may help.

Fortunately, acupuncture and Oriental medicine offers some simple acupressure techniques you can perform at home to help alleviate your nausea. The first exercise involves a very popular acupuncture point for this purpose, called Pericardium 6 (P6) or Inner Gate. To locate this point, place your hand with the palm facing up. Starting from the middle of the wrist crease, place three fingers down below your wrist. Your index finger should be in the middle of two tendons. If you are having trouble locating the tendons, flex your wrist and they should be displayed more prominently.

Press Inner Gate lightly with the pad of your thumb. You can slowly increase pressure and go deeper into the point. Continue this exercise for up to five minutes if you are using heavy pressure. However, some people experience more relief from nausea when they continuously press with gentle to moderate pressure. If this is the case for you, it is safe to apply acupressure for longer periods of time. This may be especially helpful in cases of motion sickness.

If your nausea still persists after applying acupressure at Inner Gate, you can activate its partner point, called Outer Gate or San Jiao 5 (SJ5). It is found on the opposite side of the forearm from Inner Gate. With your thumb on Inner Gate and your middle finger on Outer Gate, complete the circuit by squeezing the points together using moderate pressure. Hold for a few seconds and then release. This can be done for up to five minutes. If you feel you need a little extra self-care, you can place your hands near your heart, close your eyes, and breathe deeply as you perform this technique.

The next acupressure exercise covers a larger area, and is less exacting. To find it, first put your hands on your hips, at the level of your waistline. Next, adjust your fingers so they are all below your ribs, with your pinky resting around the level of your belly button. Your fingers should be lined up with the nipples. Press into the abdomen using circular motions and gradually expand your motions outwards for another couple of inches. This technique can be quite soothing and is best when performed sitting down, for two to three minutes. For a super quick fix, try tapping your inner wrists together nine times.

One explanation for nausea, according to the theory of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, is that it can be considered rebellious Qi. Qi is the essential energy that all life needs to exist. The natural momentum of the stomach is to move in a downwards direction, and when this function is disrupted, the Qi therefore is said to ‘rebel’ by going in the wrong direction. Rebellious stomach Qi can also result in hiccups and vomiting.

There are ways to strengthen the stomach and help prevent nausea. According to the theory of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, the stomach is associated with the element of earth. The earth thrives on routine and regularity. To help you eat according to the rhythms of your stomach, eat breakfast every day at the same time. Ideally, this time is between 7am-9am, when stomach Qi is at its strongest. Eat at a leisurely pace; otherwise your stomach won’t have enough time to digest the food.

Avoid eating late at night, or before bed, so that energy which should be spent on rejuvenating all the organs during sleep isn’t spent on an untimely digestion. Reading or using the computer while having your meal will also interrupt your digestion. The mental energy expended on these activities will be diverted from the energy needed for your stomach. Lastly, the emotion coupled with the stomach is worry. So, when you feel worried or you find yourself overthinking, either eat lightly or wait until you feel more grounded before having your next meal.

Call Bluemoon Acupuncture And Wellness Center (520-505-1442) to learn how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help ease your symptoms!

Category : Blog

 Acupuncture and Cravings


What does it mean to listen to your body, as the expression goes? What if your body is telling you to eat chocolate bars for breakfast, or that a few martinis make for an acceptable and tasty dinner? When your mind and body enjoy relative good health, the body’s cravings should prove more reliable in discerning which foods to take in for maximum nutrition. Oriental medicine not only offers therapies to reduce cravings, such as acupuncture and dietary counseling, but it also explains the nature of these cravings in a simple, eloquent way.

The five-element theory is a popular school of thought embraced by many acupuncture and Oriental Medicine practitioners. This theory helps diagnose and explain why certain medical conditions exist in the body. As the name proposes, there are five elements in the model that exist, and each element is designated specific internal organs and characteristics.

What are the five elements and their associated organs, season, sense organ, taste and color?

  1. Wood- liver/gallbladder, spring, eyes, sour and green.
  2. Fire- heart/small intestine, summer, tongue, bitter and red.
  3. Earth- spleen/stomach, late summer, mouth, sweet and yellow.
  4. Metal- lung/large intestine, fall, nose, pungent and white.
  5. Water- kidneys/urinary bladder, winter, ear, salty and black.

What stands out amongst the information found in the five-element theory is the salty taste for water and the sweet taste associated with the earth. These two flavors represent the most commonly experienced cravings. A practitioner will place heavy importance on what type of craving you experience. Sweet cravings indicate an imbalance with the digestive organs of the spleen and stomach. The desire for sweetness may manifest in a craving for alcohol and carbohydrate-heavy foods like bread, pastries and pasta. Whereas salty cravings reflect a possible deficiency in the kidneys. Different organs may also play a role, and need addressing as well.

According to acupuncture and Oriental medicine theory, a small taste of the element’s corresponding flavor will help to enhance the function of those organs. For example, sweet potato, corn or a little fruit may strengthen the stomach and spleen, whereas excessively sugary foods like cookies and candy can cause damage. When the body experiences a nutritional deficiency, there is a tendency to crave things that provide instant energy.

Whether you describe your cravings as a longing, hankering, or an urge, it all signifies a possible internal organ imbalance resulting in addictive, compulsive behavior. An acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioner can provide the necessary acupuncture and lifestyle modification suggestions to help reach optimum health.

Contact a practitioner : Bluemoom Acupuncture And Wellness Center at 520-505-1442


Reduce Migraine and Headache Pain with Acupuncture

Category : Blog

Reduce Migraine and Headache Pain with Acupuncture

Are you plagued by chronic headaches?

More than 45 million Americans (one in six) suffer from chronic headaches, 20 million of whom are women. Scientific research shows that acupuncture can be more effective than medication in reducing the severity and frequency of chronic headaches.

The pain that headache and migraine sufferers endure can impact every aspect of their lives.  A widely accepted form of treatment for headaches, acupuncture can offer powerful relief without the side effects that prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause.

Headaches and migraines, as well as their underlying causes have been treated successfully with acupuncture and Oriental medicine for thousands of years.  Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be used alone in the management and treatment of headaches, or as part of a comprehensive treatment program.

Oriental Medicine does not recognize migraines and chronic headaches as one particular syndrome. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of of techniques such as acupuncture, tui-na massage, and energetic exercises to restore imbalances found in the body. Therefore, your diagnosis and treatment will depend on a number of variables including: Is the headache behind your eyes and temples, or is it located more on the top of your head?

When do your headaches occur (i.e. night, morning, after eating)? Do you find that a cold compress or a darkened room can alleviate some of the pain? Is the pain dull and throbbing, or sharp and piercing?

Your answers to these questions will help your practitioner create a treatment plan specifically for you. The basic foundation for Oriental medicine is that there is a life energy flowing through the body which is termed Qi (pronounced chee). This energy flows through the body on channels known as meridians that connect all of our major organs.  According to Oriental medical theory, illness or pain arises when the cyclical flow of Qi in the meridians becomes unbalanced. Acupuncture stimulates specific points located on or near the surface of the skin to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions that cause aches and pains or illness.

The length, number and frequency of treatments will vary. Typical treatments last from five to 30 minutes, with the patient being treated one or two times a week. Some headaches, migraines and related symptoms are relieved after the first treatment, while more severe or chronic ailments often require multiple treatments. Headaches Dramatically Reduced by Acupuncture Since the early seventies, studies around the globe have suggested that acupuncture is an effective treatment for migraines and headaches.  Researchers at Duke University Medical Center analyzed the results of more than 30 studies on acupuncture as a pain reliever for a variety of ailments, including chronic headaches. They found that acupuncture decreases pain with fewer side effects and can be less expensive than medication.  Researchers found that using acupuncture as an alternative for pain relief also reduced the need for post-operative pain medications.

In a study published in the November 1999 issue of Cephalalgia, scientists evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of migraines and recurrent headaches by systematically reviewing 22 randomized controlled trials. A total of 1,042 patients were examined. It was found that headache and migraine sufferers experienced significantly more relief from acupuncture than patients who were administered “sham” acupuncture.

A clinical observation, published in a 2002 edition of the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, studied 50 patients presenting with various types of headaches who were treated with scalp acupuncture. The results of this study showed that 98 percent of patients treated with scalp acupuncture experienced no headaches or only occasional, mild headaches in the six months following care.

In a case study, published in the June 2003 Issue of Medical Acupuncture, doctors found that acupuncture resulted in the resolution or reduction in the frequency and severity of cluster headaches, and a decrease or discontinuation of pain medications. It was concluded that acupuncture can be used to provide sustained relief from cluster headaches and to stimulate the body’s natural production of adrenal cortisol to aid in discontinuing corticosteroids.

According to the July 2005 issue of the British Medical Journal, a randomized controlled trial in Germany found that acupuncture cut tension headache rates almost in half.  Researchers divided 270 patients who reported similarly severe tension headaches into three groups for the study. Over the project’s eight-week period, one group received traditional acupuncture, one received only minimal acupuncture, and the third group received neither treatment. Those receiving the traditional acupuncture reported headache rates of nearly half that of those who received no treatments, suffering 7 fewer days of headaches. The minimal acupuncture group suffered 6.6 fewer days, and the non-acupuncture group suffered 1.5 fewer days.  The improvements continued for months after the treatments were concluded, rising slightly as time went on.

Do you or someone you know suffer from headaches or migraines?


Call Bluemoon Acupuncture & Wellness Center: 520-505-1442, today to find out how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you!


Category : Blog

When Kids Don’t Eat Lunch at School – Start with a Hearty Breakfast!

Did you know that 1 in 3 children in the United States suffer from asthma, allergies, ADHD or autism? It’s shocking but true! Increasingly children are suffering from contemporary chronic childhood illnesses – problems that were virtually nonexistent 40 – 50 years ago. At Bluemoon Acupuncture and Wellness Center, we would like to inspire, educate and enlighten parents with tools and tips to keep kids healthy naturally. It’s all about finding ways to support the body and make it stronger.

Here is a basic morning strategy. Avoid sugary foods like Nutella, juice, all cereals, white and processed foods since they have a high glycemic index. Your child will be hungry about an hour after breakfast if they eat processed, sugary foods. Nutella and cereal commercials promoting their foods like they’re healthy breakfast choices! If you have any of these foods in the house, TOSS THEM IN THE TRASH! If your kids don’t eat lunch at school, you’re going to have to get up early and cook them breakfast. There is just no way around this, but you can save time by cooking up large batches of pancakes on the weekend or doing the prep work the night before. You’ll also need to give your kids plenty of time to eat these large and healthy breakfasts.

Here are some breakfast ideas

1. Serve Lunch for Breakfast! Why not? I’ve served ham & cheese breakfast sandwiches, egg sandwiches, Bacon sandwiches, egg & cheese burritos. 2. Classic Breakfast: Eggs, Bacon or Sausage & Fruit. Apple Chicken sausage is great morning treat! TIP: Look for brands without nitrates that use organic meats. 3. Multi-Grain Pancakes, Organic Canadian Bacon & Fruit – add things like oats, cottage cheese, lots of eggs to make the pancakes filling. Reduce syrup intake by mixing butter with the syrup or blending blueberries, butter and maple syrup in the blender. TIP: soak oats overnight before cooking with them to make them easier to digest. 4. Homemade

2. Classic Breakfast: Eggs, Bacon or Sausage & Fruit. Apple Chicken sausage is great morning treat! TIP: Look for brands without nitrates that use organic meats.3. Multi-Grain Pancakes, Organic Canadian Bacon & Fruit – add things like oats, cottage cheese, lots of eggs to make the pancakes filling. Reduce syrup intake by mixing butter with the syrup or blending blueberries, butter and maple syrup in the blender. TIP: soak oats overnight before cooking with them to make them easier to digest. 4. Homemade

3. Multi-Grain Pancakes, Organic Canadian Bacon & Fruit – add things like oats, cottage cheese, lots of eggs to make the pancakes filling. Reduce syrup intake by mixing butter with the syrup or blending blueberries, butter and maple syrup in the blender. TIP: soak oats overnight before cooking with them to make them easier to digest.

4. Homemade breads or crepes with nut or seed butter. When you make zucchini or banana bread homemade reduce the sugar content and add foods like almond meal, quinoa flakes, etc. to boost protein content. Then slather on the nut or seed butter. Kids love sunflower seed butter as it has a similar taste to peanut butter but a contains more omega-3 fats. 5. Serve breakfast with a glass of whole/raw organic milk or coconut milk for those with

5. Serve breakfast with a glass of whole/raw organic milk or coconut milk for those with diary allergies. TIP: Coconut milk is my favorite diary alternative because it has lots of medium chain fatty acids which are beneficial to the immune system and the brain!

6. Smoothies. This is a summer time or on-the-go favorite. A basic smoothie recipe always has 1 cup of coconut milk, 1 cup frozen fruit, and 20 grams no-sugar protein powder and 1/4 cup spinach (which you can’t taste). Then mix and match seasonal fruit, a little banana (not too much), nut butter or a little natural unsweetened cocoa powder. YUM! Breakfast can be challenging, but it really is the MOST important meal of the day to help our kids boost their brain power and get a great start at school.

10371 N. Oracle Rd, suite 101A

Oro Valley, AZ 85737

(520) 505- 1442

Call us or visit our Website to make your appointment today!! See what Acupuncture can do for you!

Category : Blog

Back pain is one of the most prevalent reasons people seek health care. Millions of working days and countless hours of activity and fun are lost each year due to back pain.

Common Causes of Back Pain Treated with Acupuncture:

One of the top causes of back pain are sprains and strains. This can happen from an injury, poor posture, or improper lifting. Another source of back pain comes from a herniated disc which is a disc that bulges out from its place between two vertebrae. Sciatica is another common form of back pain. Sciatica is a term used to describe pain that extends down into the buttocks and leg which comes from an irritation of a larger nerve in the lumbar spine called the sciatic nerve. Sciatica can accompany sprains, strains, herniated discs as well as back pain emanating from other source.

Common TCM patterns include:

Deficiency type pain, Qi and Blood stagnation, Pain due to Cold Damp Obstruction Pain that results from deficiency is usually dull, chronic, and improves with rest. It is more common in middle-aged and elderly people.

Pain from stagnation is more severe and stabbing in nature. There is stiffness and tightness in the muscles and it worsens with rest. Often this type is seen in occurrences of acute sprains and strains. It can reoccur chronically, thereby indicating an underlying deficiency. Pain from cold damp obstruction is worse in the morning, exacerbated by cold and damp weather. It improves with heat and may be accompanied by numbness, swelling and a sense of heaviness.

Traditional Chinese Medicine as Treatment for Back Pain:

TCM works to restore harmony and energetic balance to the body which stimulates natural healing and promotes health. Acupuncture is one of the primary modalities used and treatment is individual to each patient.

When your practitioner treats your back pain with acupuncture, both local (at the site of pain) and distal (away from the area of pain) needles can be used to help resolve the problem. Distal points are very important, especially in acute pain. Often, needles can be placed in areas other than the back and you can get excellent and quick relief. Other adjuncts to treatment might include: electric stimulation of points, and cupping. Generally, it is advisable to have frequent treatment initially and taper off as the pain diminishes. Herbs can also be helpful in moving blood and reducing inflammation as well as strengthening a deficient condition. In a Swedish hospital study with patients who experienced chronic low back pain, doctors concluded that acupuncture provided long term pain relief. They also observed improvement in activity levels, better sleep, and consumption of significantly fewer analgesics for the acupuncture group as compared with the group receiving a placebo treatment.

Acupuncture continues to gain popularity in this country because it is an effective treatment of acute and chronic backache. Acute pain can often be cleared up in a few sessions. More treatments may be needed if there is an underlying deficiency, or reoccurring problem, or sciatica.

10371 N. Oracle Rd, suite 101A

Oro Valley, AZ 85737

(520) 505- 1442 Call us or visit our Website to make your appointment today!! See what Acupuncture can do for your pain!

Recharge Your Battery this Winter with Acupuncture

Category : Blog

If you feel tired and drained, you are not alone. “Lack of energy” is one of the top five complaints that doctors hear in their offices. According to Oriental medicine, the cold months of winter are the perfect time to recharge your battery and generate vital energy – Qi – in order to live, look, and feel your best.

The ancient Chinese believed that human beings should live in harmony with the natural cycles of their environment. The cold and darkness of winter urges us to slow down. This is the time of year to reflect on health, replenish energy and conserve strength.

Winter is ruled by the Water element, which is associated with the Kidneys, Bladder, and Adrenal Glands. The Kidneys are considered the source of all energy or “Qi” within the body. They store all of the reserve Qi in the body so that it can be used in times of stress and change, or to heal, prevent illness, and age gracefully.

During the winter months, it is important to nurture and nourish our Kidney-Qi; it is the time where this energy can be most easily depleted. Our bodies are instinctively expressing the fundamental principles of winter – rest, reflection, conservation, and storage.

The Nei Ching, an ancient Chinese classic, advises people to go to sleep early and rise late after the sun’s rays have warmed the atmosphere a bit. This preserves your own Yang Qi for the task of warming in the face of cold.

Eating warm hearty soups, whole grains, and roasted nuts help to warm the body’s core and to keep us nourished. Sleep early, rest well, stay warm, and expend a minimum quantity of energy.

Seasonal acupuncture treatments in winter serve to nurture and nourish kidney Qi which can greatly enhance the body’s ability to thrive in times of stress, aid in healing, prevent illness and increase vitality.

Here are some dietary suggestions that can lead to an increase in vitality and radiant health

Water – The Kidneys are associated with the Water element. Drink ample water, at room temperature, throughout the day.

Kidney Shaped Foods – Black beans and kidney beans are excellent examples of kidney shaped foods that nourish and benefit Kidney Qi.

Blue and Black Foods – The colors blue and black correspond to the Water element of the Kidneys and are thought to strengthen the Water element. Include blueberries, blackberries, mulberry and black beans in your diet.

Seeds – Flax, pumpkin, sunflower and black sesame seeds relate to fertility and growth which is governed by Kidney Qi.

Nuts – Walnuts and chestnuts have been found to be especially effective for increasing Kidney Qi.

Vegetables – Dark, leafy green vegetables are the best choice for Kidney Qi. Other Kidney Qi boosting veggies include asparagus, cucumbers, and celery.

Recharge Your Battery this Winter with Acupuncture Call our office to make your appointment today!!

10371 N. Oracle Rd, suite 101A Oro Valley

AZ 85737 (520) 505- 1442

Megan Rezaei ( Licensed Acupuncturist)

“Flu Proof” Your Kid this winter

Category : Blog

                                                        “Flu Proof” Your Kid this winter
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) germ theory; germs don’t make you sick. Rather, your body’s inability to fend off germs and foreign invaders is what results in your child succumbing to illness.
1. A Healthy Immune System Starts in the Gut
What your kids eat will be the foundation on which their immune system is built. In TCM, a healthy diet rich in vegetables, bone broth, whole grains, fermented foods, essential fatty acids (like fish oil & coconut oil) are the way to go. Daily probiotics from fermented foods, yogurts or supplements help keep your child’s gut balanced by providing good bacteria like acidophilus and bifidus which support healthy immune function. Avoiding sugary foods and white flour foods is really important since it affects how well the immune system functions.
2. Pediatric Tuina Massage for Wellness
Another way we can strengthen our kids’ bodies to resist the flu is a nightly pediatric tuina massage. This massage is like a secret weapon. Doing it every night supports the immune system and stimulates the body to heal itself.
3. Herbal Remedies to Boost Immune Function
As an herbalist I have found that there are so many ways that work to boost immune function that it’s a matter of finding the right one for your kids that works and they’ll take on a regular basis. I like the time-tested Chinese herbal remedy, called Yu Ping Feng Wan, or Jade Screen, which contains a few herbs, including Astragalus to help boost immune function.
4. Slow Down in the Winter
All year round our kids are expected to keep the same routine, work hard at school, do mountains of homework and participate in after school activities. Shorter days during winter mean we should all be resting more and doing less to stay in rhythm with the season. If you see your kids are extra tired, cranky or stressed it’s time to dial back and clear the schedule.
5.Develop Healthy Habits & Routines
Even though you shouldn’t obsess about germs it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help our kids develop healthy hygiene habits. Pay special attention to how well your kids are washing their hands. My kids still try to get away with a quick splash of water in lieu of soaping up. Make sure they have a routine on how to wash up and when. It should be mandatory to wash up after a trip to the store, going to the bathroom, before meals and after blowing their nose (they will try to trick you from time to time).
6.Get Sick to Stay Well
Don’t panic if your child begins to exhibit flu-like symptoms. There is no need to be afraid. As your child grows and develops they need to get sick and then get better to build a healthy immune system.

Bluemoon Acupuncture And Wellness Center in Oro Valley
10371 N. Oracle Rd, suite 101A
Oro Valley, AZ 85737
(520) 505- 1442
Megan Rezaei ( Licensed Acupuncturist)
Make your appointment today!!!

Acupuncture and Low Back Pain

Category : Blog

Acupuncture and Low Back Pain

Low back pain is an extremely common concern, affecting anywhere from 75 to 90 percent of people at some point in their lives. Low back pain is second only to the common cold as a cause of lost days at work and is one of the most common reasons to seek medical care, including acupuncture. In fact, one of the top reasons that people get acupuncture treatments is for low back pain.

The Oriental Medicine Perspective of Low Back Pain

In spite of the large number of pathological conditions that can give rise to low back pain, up to 85% of the cases are classified by Western physicians as ‘non-specific’. When low back pain is looked at from an Oriental medicine perspective, it is seen as a disruption of the flow of Qi within the area, associated with a specific disharmony and then treated accordingly.

The basis of acupuncture is expressed in this famous Chinese saying: “Bu tong ze tong, tong ze bu tong” which means “free flow: no pain, no free flow: pain.”

In other words, any kind of pain or illness represents an obstruction in the normal flow of Qi or life force. Simply put, acupuncture moves Qi, restoring free flow.

The disruption of Qi that results in low back pain is usually associated with the following three disharmonies:

Weak Kidney Qi – In Oriental medicine, the lower back is referred to as the “dwelling of the Kidneys”. The majority of chronic low back pain conditions are associated with Kidney Deficiency. Kidney Deficiency type pain is dull and comes and goes. It is usually aggravated by over tiredness and improves with rest.

Stagnation of Qi and Blood – When the flow of Qi along the meridians that traverse the lumbar region becomes congested, it is referred to as the stagnation of Qi and blood. This presents with a severe stabbing pain that is worse with rest and better with movement, tender to touch and can be accompanied by stiffness and tightness.

Invasion of Cold and Dampness – Cold, damp type pain is worse in the morning and when the weather is cold and damp. This type of pain improves with movement and the application of heat. Stiffness and contraction of back muscles that is aggravated by rest indicates cold predominance while swelling, numbness and a heavy sensation are indicative of dampness.

Studies on Acupuncture and Low Back Pain

While acupuncture is readily accepted as a viable option for low back pain in mainstream modern medicine, there has been little research to prove that it works. Now there are studies that support the clinical evidence.

In a German study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 1,162 adults with chronic, lower back pain were divided into groups treated with the standard pharmaceutical and exercise therapy commonly used in Western medicine and acupuncture. The researchers reported that acupuncture provided relief and lasting benefit to nearly twice as many lower back pain patients as drugs and exercise. Forty-eight percent of the acupuncture patients reported at least a one-third decrease in pain along with improvement in their ability to function, versus 27 percent of the patients treated with conventional methods reporting such benefits.

In another recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine analyzed 33 studies covering more than 2,100 patients from around the world on acupuncture for low back pain.

They found acupuncture provided definite pain relief in the short-term (defined as relief sustained for three weeks after the end of the acupuncture sessions).

If you or someone you love suffers from acute and chronic back pain,call our  Office at(520-505-1442) to find out more about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you.

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