Boost It With Ginseng

Ginseng is said to resemble a human body in shape, and it has been used for years in Asia.  Recently, it has become a popular item in Western culture. Many claims about this root have been advertised, such as its reputation for extending longevity and its use for stamina and endurance. Let’s look at the types of ginseng and the differences.

There are three main types of ginseng used: continue reading »

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Allergies

A runny nose, sneezing, itchy watery eyes…also known as symptoms of allergies.  Allergies can really be a pain. It is estimated that nearly 50 million Americans suffer from allergies every year, and spend over $18 billion a year on over-the-counter allergy medications. What if there were a way to combat allergies without the harsh side effects of medications and actually get to the root of the problem instead of just masking the symptoms? In fact, there is. The arm of traditional Chinese medicine called acupuncture has proven effectiveness when it comes to allergies.

Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) offer a safe, holistic approach to allergies that can end up saving you money in the long term. Western medicine sees seasonal allergies as a hypersensitive reaction that occurs when antibodies interact with airborne particles such as pollen. Interestingly, the places in the body where these antibodies are produced align with the energy meridians most strongly connected to allergic reactions in TCM. Both Western medicine and TCM map these sensitivity points onto the gastrointestinal tract and the spleen. Both schools of thought also connect inflammatory foods such as sugar with allergy flare-ups. Through TCM, patients can find allergy relief through a holistic wellness plan that doesn’t necessitate a reliance on synthetic medications.

Acupuncture for Allergies:  Acupuncture helps build or tonify the energy within the respiratory system and the immune system. This energy is called qi (pronounced “chee”). When lung qi and the Wei qi (aka the immune system) are strong and the body is balanced, then allergies rarely become an issue. Acupuncture stimulates blood flow, which carries oxygen to every cell in the body. The increased blood flow boosts the immune system, dilates the bronchioles and produces anti-inflammatory agents that help improve breathing by relaxing the muscles.

Acupuncture Points for Allergies:

  1. Large Intestine 20 – This point is located bilaterally on the face, on either side of the nose, in the middle of the nasolabial groove. Large intestine 20 is used to open nasal passages and clear heat from the sinuses.
  2. Lung 5 – Lung 5 is located at the end of the outer crease of the elbow, just to the outside of the tendon. This point opens up the airways and the throat, while reducing wheezing.
  3. Ren 17 – This point is located in the middle of the chest, midway between both nipples. It is used to open the chest, loosen up congestion, stop coughing and encourage full breathing.

Chinese Herbals Formulas for Allergies: Combinations of herbs, known as formulas, are used frequently in TCM. One of the most commonly used formulas is Yu Ping Feng San or Jade Wind Screen. This formula builds up the Wei qi, while decreasing allergy symptoms like sneezing and rhinitis.

Another popular formula choice of TCM practitioners is Bi Yan Pian. This formula works to clear the nasal passages, and it usually works within five days to a week. Compare that with the weeks of symptoms many people spend trying to mask with Western medicine. The herbs in Bi Yan Pian work to disperse wind, expel toxins, relieve inflammation and dissolve phlegm.

Nutrition for Allergies: For the lungs and respiratory system to be strong, they need proper nourishment, just like the rest of the body. Certain foods are good for increasing immunity, while also opening up the lungs and increasing circulation. Foods like garlic and onions reduce inflammation and fight off infections. Chili peppers open up the nasal passages, stimulating the mucus membranes and fighting off pollen, bacteria and viruses. Peppers, berries and parsley all contain quercetin, which can reduce histamine reactions that occur when allergies flare up.

As you can see, TCM is a great way to deal with allergies. Contact your local acupuncturist to see what they can do for you.

 

https://sunwarrior.com/healthhub/foodsforlunghealth

https://www.modernacupuncture.com/news/2017-07-05-breathedeeplyacupunctureforrespiratoryissuesallergies-45

https://www.acufinder.com/Acupuncture+Information/Detail/Energetics+of+Foods+for+Health+and+Healing+-+Part+II

https://www.livestrong.com/article/69650-chineseherbsstrengthinglungs/

http://www.modernreflexology.com/acupressurepointstotreatlungdiseases/

http://acupuncturewellness.net/respiratorydiseasesandchinesemedicine/

http://www.touch2cure.com/acupressurepointsforasthma/

http://acupuncture.com/education/points/largeintestine/li20.htm

https://picturehealer.com/blog/4-chineseherbalformulastotreatseasonalallergy

https://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/foodsfightallergies

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Research Update: Acupuncture and Seasonal Allergies

In 2013, the Annals of Internal Medicine published a study looking at 422 seasonal allergy sufferers who presented with rhinitis, or hay fever, and who had tested positive for pollen allergies. The volunteer patients were split into three groups. The first group received acupuncture treatments and took antihistamines as needed. The second group was given fake acupuncture (acupuncture needles inserted in random places unrelated to treating allergies) and also took antihistamines as needed. The third group only took antihistamines and did not receive any acupuncture. After the treatment, all the participants completed a questionnaire to assess any changes in their perceived quality of life as well as their need to use antihistamines.

From the initial analysis published in 2013, the results were inconclusive. Initially, acupuncture had a significant, positive effect on the group that received true acupuncture treatments. Patients reported their rhinitis improved and they needed less medications. However, so too did the group that received fake acupuncture, suggesting there was a significant placebo effect and that people went into the treatment believing acupuncture would help their symptoms. The third group reported no improvement in their symptoms or medication use. After eight weeks, the patients filled out a follow-up questionnaire. Both patients in the true and fake acupuncture groups reported their symptoms had returned two months post-treatment.

In June, 2018 a group of researchers published a second analysis of the results of this previous 2013 study, focusing on the patients’ use of antihistamines 8 weeks after the treatment. This time, they analyzed the results of 414 of the original 422 patients, presumably because some of the questionnaires were incomplete or another factor surfaced that made the data from eight of the patients unusable. The researchers found that eight weeks after their acupuncture treatments, the group that received true acupuncture used antihistamines to mitigate their symptoms significantly less than those in the group that received fake acupuncture – a difference of about five days. Additionally, 38 percent of the group that received true acupuncture weren’t using any antihistamines at all. Comparing the pre-treatment antihistamine-use of the patients with the post-treatment antihistamine use showed the group that received true acupuncture did not need to increase the number of days they used antihistamines, unlike the other groups.

It is hard to definitively say that acupuncture will cure seasonal allergies for every patient with hay fever symptoms. However, this research shows it can decrease the need to mitigate symptoms with antihistamines. More and more people are turning to acupuncture as a safe alternative to frequent use of chemical medications. Unlike habitual use of medications, there are no dangerous side effects associated with acupuncture. Today, about 18 percent of Americans use acupuncture to treat allergy symptoms.

As opposed to the patients in the clinical study discussed above, people who seek acupuncture treatments from a licensed practitioner in their area can expect a holistic treatment plan tailor made for them. Acupuncturists will offer dietary suggestions as well as Chinese herbal medicine options to accompany the work they do with acupuncture needles. By looking at your specific sensitivities and lifestyle, traditional Chinese medicine has the chance to alleviate seasonal allergies as well as support you in finding a healthier life overall.

http://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/1583575/effectsacupunctureseasonalallergicrhinitis#

http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/19/isacupuncturetheantidoteforallergies/

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3 Uncommon Cures for Everyday Ailments

 

Aches, pains, fatigue, constipation, skin tags, stress, anxiety, colds, bad breath, sleep apnea, muscle soreness, etc. The list of the everyday ailments many people face is endless. And the medical profession is cashing in on all of it. Why? Because we’re programmed to believe our family doctor has a pill or procedure for everything. But that’s just not true and more importantly, how many pills are you willing to take every single day? Or how many procedures are you willing to undergo? Pills and procedures have side effects, and some can be quite harmful.

Many of the pharmaceuticals we’re now familiar with are derived from naturally-occurring substances. For instance, aspirin was originally derived from the bark of the willow tree and written about by ancient Egyptians. Now, most of the “cures” we use daily are man made in a factory somewhere, using chemicals that tend to be toxic to our bodies when used long term. But there are always alternatives.

Here are some everyday ailments and the alternative/uncommon cures that have been documented over the past few decades.

  1. Muscle pain and soreness – This common affliction can be treated using cherries or cherry juice. A recent study at the University of Vermont showed drinking 12 ounces of cherry juice twice daily led to faster muscle pain relief. This is because cherries contain inflammation-fighting antioxidants that help ease muscle achiness. The juice also has a positive side effect of helping insomnia sufferers fall asleep more quickly.
  2. Sleep apnea – According to the National Sleep Foundation, this ailment affects more than 18 million American adults. Sleep apnea is a disorder caused by flabby throat muscles and tends to be exacerbated by those carrying extra weight. A recent study published in the British Medical Journal listed a surprising way to decrease sleep apnea….blowing on a didgeridoo. Yup. Those long wooden trumpets used by the aborigines of Australia can actually help ward off sleep apnea by strengthening the muscles and tissues in the throat and mouth. When these muscles are strengthened, there is less chance of the tongue obstructing the airway. Obviously, this one takes some time to see results, as the muscles and tissues have to build up over several months.
  3. Skin tags – These common skin growths that stick out from the surface of the skin can be large or small, flat or rounded and affect nearly three million United States citizens each year. While these little annoyances can be removed by a doctor, there is no need. Apple cider vinegar works well at removing these unsightly blemishes. By simply soaking a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and then covering the skin tag with the cotton ball and a bandage a couple of times per day, the tag will eventually dry up and fall off.

There are many different approaches to treating everyday problems and afflictions, there are even books written about the subject. While many of these “home remedies” are available for anybody to try, it is recommended to do research before taking the leap. You might be surprised how easy it is to “cure” yourself using uncommon and unconventional methods.


3 Steps to Restful Sleep

Getting enough truly restful sleep is one of the most biggest factors in staying healthy and balanced, mentally and physically. Actually sleeping enough is much easier said than done for a lot of people, though. Our busy lives can prevent us from placing a premium on sleep, and anxiety and a restless mind are commonly linked to poor sleep as well as sleep apnea.

These three suggestions for getting better sleep draw from yogic philosophy and the traditional Chinese medicine practice of acupressure. Each step is a way to calm the mind, slow down the thoughts and foster a more intentional transition to sleep at the end of each day.

  1. Legs up the wall pose.

This is a very simple, restorative yoga pose that can be done anywhere you have a blank wall space. To get into the pose, sit down on the floor with one hip as close to the wall as possible. From there, lie down on your back and swing your legs above your hips, so they are supported vertically by the wall and your head is away from the wall, facing the center of the room.

Stay in this pose for as long as feels supportive, anywhere from one to 15 minutes. While you’re here, try to breathe deeply and relax into the posture. Laying with your feet above your head eases the effects of gravity on tired muscles and joints, can help lower blood pressure by increasing the flow of blood toward the heart, and signals to your body that it’s okay to fully relax. Your body also will digest all the food in your system in this position, which can also support you in getting more restful sleep.

  1. Equal part breath

Equal part breath, also known as sama vritti pranayama, is a simple, calming breath practice that you will feel the effects of even if you do it for just two minutes before bed.

Sit in a comfortable position where your spine is straight above your hips. It can be helpful to prop your hips up on a blanket or pillow in this pose. You can rest your hands in your lap or anywhere that feels comfortable. Start to inhale for a count of four and then exhale for a count of four. Repeat this a few times, inhaling and exhaling for the same length of time. Then, increase the breath to a count of five. After a few rounds, you can increase to a count of six. Once you have reached a length that feels both deeper than how you normally breathe, but also sustainable, maintain that breath for as long as you want.

  1. Spirit Gate acupressure point

This acupressure point is located on the inside of your wrist, in the crease directly below your pinky finger. This point is often used to alleviate stress, over-excitement, anxiety or cold-sweats, all of which can contribute to insomnia or sleep apnea.

Apply mild pressure to the point on your right wrist for one minute and then switch to the left. You can do this before bed, lying in bed before you fall asleep or in the middle of the night to support yourself in falling back to sleep.

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Dandelion: Detox With This Yellow Charmer

Next time you’re in a wide open field, pasture or meadow dotted with beautiful yellow dandelions, know that these prolific little delights are not only beautiful, but packed with nutrition and offer a host of healthy benefits. Let’s explore this amazing flower. continue reading »

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