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Pain

Does weather affect your body?

We’ve probably all heard motherly advice at some point reminding us to bundle up in cold weather so we don’t “catch a cold”, or hear grandpa accurately predict a storm when his hip starts aching. Or how about getting a case of the winter weather blues? Even in the western world we recognize a relationship with nature in terms of environmental conditions. Changes in temperature, sunlight, barometric pressure, and humidity all play a role in this relationship. 

When it comes to the weather and our health, many in the west automatically think of how season changes and extreme weather can aggravate symptoms of asthma and allergies, but weather-related health concerns go far beyond seasonal allergies and asthma.  Changes in barometric pressure can affect joints (like Grandpa’s hip), and cause headaches. 

Headaches can also be caused by heat and dehydration, so summer adventurers beware (bring lots of water!). High humidity can intensify heat too as it limits our ability to cool down through sweating, potentially leading to hyperthermia and heat stroke.  

Cold weather can tighten muscles causing body pain. It also constricts blood vessels leading to an increase in blood pressure and increased risks of heart attack and stroke. While blood pressure tends to be higher in the winter, any temperature extreme, hot or cold, can affect heart function. 

Sunlight is another aspect of weather that has a lot of influence over our health. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is often associated with the colder, darker fall and winter months. The reduced sunlight alters our melatonin and serotonin levels, potentially leaving us with disruptions in sleep and mood. 

Ancient Chinese Medical texts describe a similar relationship between humans and their environment, though the wording and understanding of the nature of the environmental conditions differs slightly. 

In TCM there are 5 main “climates” or environmental influences related to our health.

These are: COLD, HEAT, WIND, DAMP, DRYNESS 

(summerheat, associated with late summer, is actually considered a 6th climate)

These potential causes of illness described in Chinese Medicine sound like weather patterns themselves and are considered external influences in origin but can penetrate to have effects on the body and create what we can think of as internal weather. We can also be more prone to their influence based on our constitution and lifestyle, (and can even manifest these ‘climates’ internally without external exposure). 

Any extremes with these various conditions can allow pathogens to enter, if our self-protective energy and efforts are weak, and leave us vulnerable to infections, such as with colds/flus. 

They can also go deeper in the body to directly affect the organs, with symptoms presenting throughout the body in the respiratory, digestive, urinary, reproductive, nervous, musculo-skeletal systems and skin. 

Wind is understood as the biggest trouble-maker as it often combines with other influences to wreak havoc in the body. It can affect the joints, bring on skin rashes, or cause a spell of dizziness, among other issues. Cold can kill the digestive fire; combine that with a damp invasion and you can experience bloating and/or nausea. Heat and dryness, on the other hand, can injure the blood and yin fluids of the body causing symptoms such as fever, restlessness, scanty painful urination, brittle hair and excessive thirst.

Chinese medicine takes a more preventative approach to these issues by addressing imbalances before they express as more severe symptoms. There is also a focus on the integrity of the defensive energy of the body as well as the body’s ability to handle transitions with stability. Knowing our bodies will be continuously exposed to the challenge of seasonal weather changes and potential extremes of climate conditions, we can prepare accordingly.

Don’t wait for an internal weather emergency to call for an appointment, get in asap to strengthen your resilience to external weather conditions, balance out your internal climates and assist you in transitioning season to season with ease and well-being!

 

Ressource to expand on climates: https://tcmwiki.com/wiki/six-climatic-factors

Acupuncture is Great for Treating Chronic Pain

Acupuncture is Great for Treating Chronic Pain

The National Institutes of Health estimates that approximately 25.3 million adults suffer from chronic pain (defined as experiencing pain every day for the preceding three months). They also estimate that nearly 40 million adults experience what is considered severe levels of pain.

Chronic pain can be debilitating for those suffering from it and directly impacts quality of life. People often treat chronic pain with anti-inflammatory medications (both prescription and over-the-counter), physical therapy, or with ice and heat, but those options don’t always provide long lasting relief. According to Harvard Medical School, “acupuncture is an option with a good track record that’s worth considering.”  continue reading »

Top 3 Reasons Acupuncture is Great for Seniors

Top 3 Reasons Acupuncture is Great for Seniors

As we get older, those aches and pains become a little more pronounced and life begins to create some new challenges. For many seniors, schedules become impacted with doctor’s appointments and trips to the pharmacy. If you haven’t tried acupuncture, here are three reasons you should give it a try as it can greatly help some of the greatest health challenges facing seniors today.  continue reading »

Acupuncture Wrapped: An overview of some of the most exciting discoveries in 2020

Acupuncture Wrapped: An overview of some of the most exciting discoveries in 2020

As we enter a new year, it is natural to want to look back on the last one. As humans, we have the gift and the hurdle of marking time, so it can feel helpful to recall memories we want to hold on to or look for lessons we can take with us.  

To that end, here are three categories in which research into the type, application and efficacy of acupuncture saw significant advancements in 2020, findings that will certainly help guide us as we move forward. In a year that saw so much focus on our health, these findings offer some good news in the fields of pain management without opioids, migraine headaches, and insight into why it is that acupuncture is effective as an anti-inflammatory.  continue reading »

Acupuncture for Temporomandibular Disorders

Temporomandibular disorders refers to a group of conditions that affect the joints of the jaw or the temporomandibular joints. These joints are located bilaterally on the face, in front of the ears and connecting the jaw bone to the skull. These joints are complicated, allowing for movement in multiple directions.

For some, temporomandibular disorders (TMD) can be caused by trauma such as a car accident or a hit to the face. But for most, these issues seem to appear out of nowhere. Many people do things on a daily basis or have underlying conditions that can cause or contribute to the development of temporomandibular disorders. Things like teeth grinding, gum chewing, excessive stress, malocclusion of teeth and even arthritis can all be reasons that TMD occurs. The most common symptoms of TMD include pain, headaches, muffled hearing, earaches, pain when chewing, dental pain, chipped or worn teeth, jaw clicking, dizziness, neck pain and difficulty moving the jaw.

Conventional treatments for TMD vary from eating soft foods to taking over-the-counter pain medications and using hot or cold packs. Often, mouth guards and physical therapy are also prescribed. Sometimes specific dental work may also be suggested. And as a last resort, steroid injections and jaw surgery may be used. Unfortunately, the success of these treatments is limited.

Traditional Chinese Medicine can be a great alternative. Acupuncture, moxibustion and electroacupuncture can be especially beneficial for people with TMD.

Numerous studies have shown acupuncture can reduce pain and inflammation caused by TMD. Acupuncture reduces the sensation of pain by directly stimulating the nerves, which changes the signaling to the brain. Acupuncture stimulates the release of neurotransmitters and endorphins in the body. These are naturally occurring substances that help decrease and block pain perception by the brain.

Placing acupuncture needles directly into the belly of the jaw muscle can also elicit a muscle twitch. This muscle twitch can then release the built up tension throughout the muscle, allowing it to reset. When the muscle tension is released, so too is the pain and tightness. By adding in electroacupuncture, the muscle is then reminded of how it is supposed to act.

Acupuncture is also proven to help reduce stress that is often associated with painful disorders like TMD. When people feel stressed, the brain releases a hormone called cortisol. Too much cortisol can alter the way the brain perceives pain, and it can also cause involuntary muscle spasms in the jaw muscles. This can lead to excessive pain in the temporomandibular joints.

If you or somebody you love is facing the pain of TMD, consider utilizing acupuncture and the other modalities of TCM to treat the issue. It is a much safer alternative, it can save a lot of money and these modalities offer improved overall health.

 

Are you suffering from pain, high level of stress, or just physical or mental tension?

Our wellness center offers acupuncture, cupping, herbal medicine, acupressure massage, and other forms of Traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of pain and other physical and mental/emotional symptoms.

We accept health insurance (if they cover acupuncture) and offer affordable care plans. We also have  payment plans available for those in financial need. For more information or to schedule  an appointment call us at 630-837-4241 or schedule online