Category Archives: Acupuncture

The Most Commonly Used Chinese Medicine Treatments For Anxiety And Pain

Are you aware that acupressure can be a safe way for children undergoing to relieve post-surgical nausea and vomiting?

Furthermore, in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, acupressure has also been proven to reduce feelings of nausea. If properly performed, acupressure also can help, boost circulation, alleviate pain and tension and help the body to relax.

It can promote wellness and strengthen the immune system. This therapy is far better than physical therapy for many of the patients suffering from low back pain.

Acupressure can be used to lessen anxiety and fear in pre-operative care patients and victims of trauma.

Anyone can administer acupressure anyplace anytime without the need for any equipment.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an integrated health care system that is designed to treat chronic and acute health conditions. It is believed to have begun in China about 4000 years ago. Its principle is to treat safely without side effects, and its philosophy is based on natural law. The objective of acupuncture is to stimulate the healing of oneself from within.

The rebalancing of the field of energy in the body lies in the belief of a life force called Chi. This Chi flows all across the body to nourish and regenerate the whole person. It’s produced by the internal organs and moves along channels called meridians.

The meridians comprise a network that’s constantly “communicating” with the rest of the body maintaining all body functions in total harmony. Because of this, all the bodily systems (muscular, skeletal, digestive, reproductive, circulatory, endocrine, nervous systems, etc.) all harmonize with each other via these meridian networks.

One of the responsibilities of an acupuncturist is to find out whether a person’s Chi out of balance, stagnant or weak. This will help him identify the acupuncture points (acupoints) to be innervated or stimulated. 


Dis-ease is the result of Chi not flowing properly across the body.  The acupoints are located just above the skin surface, and underneath, just below the skin are where the meridians are. The acupoints can be stimulated by finger or hand pressure or by needles or even by weak voltage pulses of electricity. 

Through this process, Chi can be energized and its responsibilities of protecting, transforming, and nourishing the body are increased. Acupuncture and acupressure have been proven to work in several clinical trials and have been shown to be a natural, safe, and time tested way to maintain or restore health.

Massage

Chinese medicine practitioners who are capable of deep reflection and independent thought believe that massage sprang from nature itself. Just by observing the animal world, you will see how almost all animal mothers treat their babies. They feed, cuddle, stroke, and lick their babies to stimulate and nurture their growth and development.

When one combine both massage and acupuncture together, the get have acupressure or acupuncture massage. 

Acupressure


Based on a method that follows the same theories as acupuncture, acupressure is a healing massage therapy involving the application of physical pressure by elbow, hand, finger, or by the use of mechanical or electrical devices on various acupoints on the surface of the skin.

Simply put, massage therapy of the acupoints is called acupressure.

A lot of martial artists strive to learn and use acupressure for health purposes and self-defense. An acupoint or a combination of acupoints are utilized to allegedly handicap or manipulate an opponent. Martial artists also usually routinely massage their own acupoints in order to eliminate any blockages that may have arisen in their meridians, thereby claiming to increase flexibility and flow of blood, which make the acupoints less at risk to be hurt from attacks by an opponent. One of the techniques in some martial arts styles is attacking the acupoints.

Anyone can be taught the art of acupressure at home as an addendum to visits to a practitioner. When you’re unable to quickly go to the doctor or when you’re suddenly stricken with pain or illness, learning to administer acupressure on yourself can be especially useful.

What is Electro Acupuncture Acupressure?


These days, people are scared of using needles for treatment because of the fear of contracting AIDS and other such forms of diseases. But, because acupuncture is a very effective form of treatment, this practice did not die. However, technological advancements in the field of acupuncture have made possible the development of a whole new form of acupuncture called electro acupuncture (whereby stimulations are applied using electrical pulses). Hence, the concepts in all the derivative methods and the outcomes remain the same.

Available on the market these days are a few different kinds of electro or electronic acupuncture acupressure massagers.

This is actually a device with an electric circuit that generates low voltage electrical pulses. Through the electrical pads in the device connected to your body, you can feel these pulses on your skin.

The electric pulses target the acupoints and apply light pressure to the points.

These gadgets are commonly known as AM or acupuncture massagers or EAM or electronic acupuncture massagers.

What is EMS and TENS?

EMS stands for Electrical Muscle Stimulation while TENS means Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. Both therapies are drug-free, non-invasive ways to relieve aches, sores, and pains. TENS is especially useful in the treatment of arthritis. Pads are used and applied near or at the site of pain. It utilizes comforting pulses, which are transmitted through the pads along the nerve fibers and via the skin. The pulsations inhibit pain signals going to the brain. It also promotes the production of the body’s own natural feel-good chemicals known as encephalins and endorphins manufacturing higher levels of these natural pain-killing chemicals.

This goes for EMS as well.

The only thing different between the two is that EMS is used for stimulating the muscles, (thus its name) and TENS is used to treat the nerves.

The frequencies at which they operate is another basic difference between EMS, TENS, AM, and EAM.

EMS is often usually in the range of 1 to 152 Hz. TENS is more or less the same.

AM and EAM tend to have a higher level of pulse strength and be at this range’s lower level (between 1 and 52 Hz).

Based on my experience and the experiences of many practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine and medical doctors I have talked to, low range frequencies are far better for muscle stimulation and alleviation of pain relief than the higher range frequencies. The higher range frequencies are more suitable for the treatment of certain illnesses and should be only performed under the guidance of a medical physician. Therefore, they all are extremely useful therapies.

Chinese Nutritional Therapy For Deficient Yin

What is yin? 

In Chinese medicine, yin is a major concept that represents the negative aspects of the universe: cold; dense, wet or damp substances; night; shadows, etc.  Many of us have seen the classic tai chi symbol, which depicts the imperfect balance between yin and yang. Women are female principles and are associated with yin while men are associated with yang. Yang represents the positive side of the universe: energetic, ephemeral, warm, daytime, sunlight, etc. Yin and yang may seem simple to understand, but is actually a complicated academic topic in Chinese medicine. These two forces cannot exist without each other. They are in constant flux and transforming into each other ad infinitum. Our bodies possess some very yin organs with a minimal yang function or mechanism, and there are also very yin organs that, to the casual observer, may function more like a yang organ.

In general, the deepest aspect of the fluid part of our body is our yin. It is believed to be the basis of our deeper body substance or blood that creates/engenders blood. It comprises the denser aspects of our bodies. Each organ in our body is classified as either yin or yang organs. The yin organs are the non-hollow, denser organs like the pancreas, spleen, lungs, heart, kidneys, and liver. The yang organs are hollow organs such as the gallbladder, bladder, large intestine, and small intestine. The time of day influences yin, and twilight, evening and night are deemed yin. One yin activity is sleep.

When your yin organs are healthy, all throughout the day, your energy cycles will be smooth. Sleep is no problem for you and you sleep approximately 8 hours a night. You’ll have enough energy to tackle your work. Like our blood, our yin can stabilize our emotions. Managing stressful events (demanding jobs, domestic problems, financial worries, etc.) will not be a problem and it will help stave off activation of a stress response.

Symptoms of deficient yin that overlap with deficient blood are often worse. For example, both deficient yin and blood both usually result in fatigue. Deficient yin combined with fatigue can result in deeper fatigue.

Deficient Yin Signs and Symptoms

  • Dry mucus membranes, dry skin, dry hair, dry skin
  • Spontaneous sweating in the afternoon
  • Frequent waking all through the night or difficulty staying asleep
  • Night sweats
  • Fatigue — deeper than fatigue associated deficient blood
  • Hot flashes–especially in the afternoon and evening
  • Five palm heat— This means that throughout the day, the soles of your feet and/or the palms of your hands will become periodically hot. When this happens, you may feel kicking your feet out from under the blankets throughout the night.
  • Frequent nocturia (urination at night)
  • Frequent urination throughout the day

What Causes Yin Deficiency?

Yin deficiency or deficient yin can be caused by a gamut of reasons. If people living in a dry climate do not utilize dietary measures to maintain their yin level, this will surely and slowly tax their yin.

Yin can be exhausted by refined foods, medications, cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine, over consumption of hot spices, prolonged periods of worry, living in a very noisy environment, stress, and extremely vigorous exercise.

A lot of wasting disorders, autoimmune diseases, and chronic illnesses will begin with a deficient yin picture or may develop yin deficiency along with other symptoms. These instances are innately more complicated and require guidance from of a trained health care provider. These conditions can be better addressed by including a few of the nutritional therapy below, but will require more individualized supervision than this article can provide.

Treating Deficient Yin with Food

Eggs, dairy, meat, broths and bone stocks, butter and other animal products can aid in the replenishment of yin deficiency. Meats are utilized more as a garnish than the main aspect of a meal. Certain meats like abalone, sardine, clam, oysters, duck, and meats can help rebuild yin. If you have a tendency to develop significant allergies or mucus, then stick to the animal products of butter, stocks, and broths, whilst you limit dairy, eggs, and meat.

Yin can also be replenished by eating a wide range of non-animal products. These products include watermelon, tofu, string beans, seaweeds, rice, raspberries, quinoa, persimmon, mung beans and their sprouts, millet, kidney beans, grapes, blackberries, black beans, beets, barley, banana, and amaranth.

As a rule, if you are diagnosed with deficient yin, you need to prepare your foods as congees, stews, and soups that definitely help in the regeneration of yin. Since the deeper fluid aspect of your body is yin, recovery can be speeded up by consuming more watery or fluid meals. Each day, try including soup to your meals, either as a side dish or main course. In fact, simply drinking a cup or more of animal stock or broth throughout the day can flood your body with fluids.

Various health concerns can accompany yin deficiency and this can result in complicated patterns within your body. Some examples of more complicated patterns include patterns that involve wasting diseases, problematic digestion, and lots of mucus and phlegm. For people suffering from complicated health issues with a deficient yin component, it may be advisable to seek nutritional guidance from a qualified trained Chinese Medicine specialist or acupuncturist. Some people will find consuming yin nourishing meats beneficial, while individuals suffering from complicated patterns may require a vegetarian approach.

The Myriad Benefits Of Cupping Therapy

Cupping therapy is an ancient form of healing that is practiced in both East and West.

For at least three thousand years, the Chinese have been practicing this technique. Combined with moxibustion, acupuncture, and Tui Na massage, cupping is part of the traditional physiotherapy or bodywork system of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This procedure is administered on the acupuncture points to alleviate blood and chi (energy) stagnation, in the organs stimulated by the acupoint in localized areas of the body.

Cupping therapy in the West traces its origins in Egypt. Around 1550 B.C., the Ebers Papyrus was written and states that treatment via wet cupping eliminates foreign matter from the body. The ancient Sumerians and Egyptians considered cupping as a cure for just about every illness.

The art of cupping was passed on by the ancient Egyptians to the ancient Greeks. Both Galen and Hippocrates were ardent users and promoters of this therapy.

Cupping therapy was passed on to the Muslim Persians and Arabs and from the Greeks and Romans of ancient times. Its use was even sanctioned by the Prophet Mohammed. It is now a popular and important therapeutic modality of Unani Medicine.

Cupping, until the early 20th century, remained an essential component of therapy and medicine in the West, both folk based, alternative, and conventional. In 1826, Charles Kennedy, a US surgeon wrote:

“Cupping therapy has been so popular, and the benefits so long experienced, that no one is required to bring forward endorsements in favor of what it has given only apart from the praise of modern times, as well as the sanction of the most ancient antiquity.”

In the modern age, after being abandoned as a popular form of medicine there is now a resurgence in the use of cupping, which is advocated by acupuncturists and other holistic therapists. Exciting and novel techniques of this ancient art, such as cupping massage, are also being developed.

Cupping’s tremendous ability to promote a state of profound relaxation and deep pleasure is why it’s a very popular treatment used by people throughout the world.

How Does Cupping Work?

Naturopaths have acknowledged the relationship between conditions of blockage, congestion, stagnation, and pain.

And aside from pain, an overwhelming number of diseases and illnesses are caused by blockage, congestion and stagnation of lymph, phlegm, blood, vital fluids, and Chi (vital energy). The sucking effect produced by cupping breaks up and draws out blockage, stagnation, or congestion, bringing to the person free circulation of the humors and vital energies within his body.

Pain is actually, the essence of dis-ease. Dis-ease or suffering is felt when the fluids and chi in the body aren’t circulating well, when the natural functioning and flow of the body has some kind of obstruction or difficulty. Galen, the ancient Greek physician was referring to this when he spoke of disease as being the state antagonistic to nature.

Aside from breaking up and dispersing congestion and stagnation in the circulation of humors, blood and life force, cupping also expels inflammation, toxins, and pathogenic heat by drawing these negative factors to the skin surface for release. Toxins and pathogenic heat can eat away and rot the body when they’re under pressure or submerged, unless they’re sucked out and released from the body. One can even use cupping to alleviate and reduce fevers in the acute phase, and in lessening and reducing the decay of humors and blood, a frequent cause of fevers.

Cupping can be a type of derivation therapy when it’s used to draw out congested humors, blood, and energy to the skin surface. By derivation, we mean the diversion or drawing out of substances or vital energies away from the area of obstruction and blockage in order to restore patency and health to the body and to ameliorate congestion.

When they’re deep within the body, blocked offending matter, morbid humors, black bile, and toxins can inflict serious injury, blocking at the core of the body the functioning of the vital organs. Whenever it can, the body will attempt to marginalize such offending matter by dispatching it to the service in the form of various eruptions, boils, or cysts, regardless if they appear unsightly. Cupping is a modality that stimulates this process and relieves pathogenic blockage to the internal organs, thus preventing or avoiding even worse conditions.

By boosting the movement of vital fluids such as lymph and blood and clearing and breaking up congestions and obstruction of toxins and injurious waste matter, cupping enhances the expelling of wastes and the cleansing abilities of the body. Ancient Greek doctors believe well-timed and appropriate expelling of waste material is an indispensible feature of hygiene. A significant cause of disease and morbidity is the unhealthy build up of anything that should be removed whether it be inhibited menstruation, urinary retention, and constipation.

The Advantages of Cupping Therapy

Cupping therapy has a myriad of advantages or benefits. It enhances flow of lymph and blood in the body and improves and normalizes autonomic nervous system function as well. However, its most common benefits are for the reduction of pain, increased flexibility of muscles and tendons, and instilling a profound sense of relaxation in a person. While clearing congested blood from the muscles, cupping also strengthens the detoxifying flow of lymph. When it’s used on the joints, the therapy bolsters the circulation of blood to the joint and increases into the joint cavity the discharge of synovial fluid.

The impact of cupping on the digestive system is designed to enhance peristalsis and the flow of digestive secretions. Cupping can reinforce digestion and the abdomen, treat constipation, facilitate bowel movement regularity, boost metabolism and the movement of bile, and perk the appetite.

On the circulatory system and the skin, cupping can have a stunning cleansing effect. It facilitates the movement of plasma and blood through the arteries and veins thus enhancing the elimination and filtering of toxins. This cleansing effect may be subtle after just a single session of therapy, but after four or more sessions, the patient may notice an improvement in his or her skin complexion.

Gua Sha, A Chinese Medicine Gift To Keep You Well During The Winter Months

When combined with acupuncture, gua sha therapy can be a good treatment and mode of prevention for the flu, common cold, asthma, bronchitis and acute and chronic pain. To apply Gua Sha, a massage oil is applied on the skin for lubrication, then a smooth edged tool is utilized to rub or scrape the areas of treatment. Administering this frees the toxins that have been building up in the body, bringing them up toward the skin surface. However, the scraping process produces bruise like marks that dissipate within a few days. The harshness of the bruising will indicate the amount of toxins that were released, as well as the stuck or stagnated energy in the energy channels, meridians muscles in the body.

Gua Sha relieves pain, eliminates stagnation, alleviates stress, regulates metabolism, normalizes organ function, detoxifies the body and strengthens the immune system. At the first indication of a sore throat or cold symptoms, we highly recommend a session of Gua Sha. Early treatment can reinforce the immune system and stop a flu or cold in its tracks. It can also help stave off sickness in advance of the cold season and all year-round.

Three Great Suggestions for a Healthy Winter

  1. Chinese Herbs – Strengthen your immune system by using Chinese Herbs that shorten the duration of a cold and relieve its symptoms.
  • Hot Water with lemon – Detoxify your body by drinking hot water with lemon every morning. Besides keeping you healthy, hot water with lemon can also help you lose weight and improve your digestion.
  • Cover the Feng Men (Wind Gate) or Bl 12 acupoint – This acupoint is found in your upper back and according to traditional Chinese medicine wind gate external pathogenic elements infiltrate the body via this point. To keep you healthy and protected during the colder months, keep this part of the body covered with a hood or scarf.

The Applications and Types of Moxibustion Therapy

If you’ve done any research on Chinese medicine, you probably might have encountered a traditional therapeutic technique known as moxibustion. Moxibustion in general, doesn’t get as much exposure by the media as Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture, nonetheless, this comforting procedure has a ton of health benefits – more so when it’s used as a complementary treatment to acupuncture.

If you’ve been bothered by persistent health problems, you might want to search for a clinic that offers moxibustion. The Nei Jing, an ancient Chinese medical document says “A health condition that cannot be resolved through acupuncture may be cured by moxibustion.” Nowadays, moxibustion is a common procedure that treats people who are unresponsive or are too sensitive to acupuncture or medication.

This article is designed to help you better appreciate the benefits and uses of moxibustion so you may be able make an informed decision about the kind of treatment you need.

What is moxibustion?

Moxibustion is over 5000 years old and is as ancient as acupuncture. It is so closely connected to acupuncture that the Chinese term for it is shinkyu which means acupuncture moxibustion. There are a wide range of moxibustion techniques that acupuncturists and other practitioners of Chinese medicine can choose from. There are also different kinds of moxa that are used to treat patients. The most ancient form of moxibustion has even been known to predate acupuncture.

As with all ancient Chinese therapies, the aim of moxibustion is to restore balance in the patient’s body and bring about a smooth circulation of chi.  Balance can be attained by burning ai ye (moxa) or dried mugwort directly or near the skin. This potent therapeutic herb has long been used in both the West and China, and is probably best known for its affiliation with the “witches” of Europe during Medieval times. This affiliation was due to the fact that it was frequently used in folk medicine, especially as a way to ameliorate menstrual irregularities, abdominal pain, anxiety, and skin itch.

From a modern Western medicine viewpoint, moxibustion is used as a mild stimulant and/or as a natural diuretic. It can help stimulate the flow of blood to the uterus and other areas of the pelvic region. This is why it’s often used to treat absent or light menstruation and uterine cramps. It is also widely known to help correct breech baby position.

Moxibustion helps stimulate stagnated, inadequate, and sluggish chi through the use of heat or fire and it should only be administered by a qualified Chinese medicine practitioner. Its use can help enhance the therapeutic benefits of acupuncture and addresses chronic stagnation.

Kinds of Moxibustion

To perform a moxibustion session, practitioners may select either indirect or direct moxibustion. There are certainly advantages and disadvantages to these methods, and the treatment you will get is usually decided by the practitioner and/or the patient.

Direct moxibustion is the administration of moxibustion directly on the skin. While the patient lies down on an acupuncture table, the practitioner will light up an incense stick to burn the moxa “wool.” Warmth comes from the burning of an herbal wool on the selected acupuncture acupoints. The acupoints are selected based on the personal attributes and condition of the patient.

Indirect moxibustion is the method most often used by US-based practitioners and is typically done in one or two different ways. The practitioner will first hold the smoldering end of a moxa stick very near the skin, until the acupuncture point is warmed sufficiently. This causes the vital fluids and blood to flow smoothly along the appropriate meridians, which then initiates the healing of the patient’s ailments. Today’s clinics use smokeless slow-burning, moxa sticks that are ideal for people who are sensitive to smoke. The Indirect form of moxibustion can also be administered via a tiger warmer, and garlic, ginger, aconite, or salt that is used as a buffer between the skin. The warmth of the fire reaches the deeper parts of the body.

Another indirect moxibustion technique is to attach a ball of moxa on the upper tip of an acupuncture needles inserted into the skin and light the ball until the moxa smolders. The heat travels down the shaft of the needle and into the acupoint, boosting the healing benefits effects of the needle. More often than not, the moxa wool ball is placed on just one or two needles per session. Lots of patients experience a relaxing and warm sensation during and even after an acu-moxibustion procedure.

The Process of Moxibustion

Even today, no one still knows why moxibustion can do the things it does. Certain practitioners say that it works the same as the other heat-based treatments such as hot tubs, saunas, warming creams and heat packs. While many people in the West use these treatments to address localized pain, in Chinese medicine, heat is an important factor in the relief whole-body and more systemic complaints.

What ailments can be cured by moxibustion?

The central element of moxibustion is fire because it is often used to eliminate cold stagnation and the symptoms that correspondingly manifest. Based on Western medicine lens, common conditions that are related to cold stagnation are:

  • Slow digestion
  • Oversensitivity to cold
  • Weakened immunity
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Joint pain and arthritis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Fluid retention
  • Low mood and depression

Slowly but surely, Western medical science has begun to accept the power of moxibustion to treat these ailments effectively. In one clinical study, moxibustion has been shown to work extremely well on people suffering from osteoarthritis. The researchers concluded that:

“Moxibustion therapy is easy and simple to perform, and inexpensive. This technique can also be easily replicated compared to acupuncture, which is contingent to changes resulting from the various needling procedures of acupuncturists. Their findings indicate that moxibustion is an easy-to-use, effective and safe therapy that can also be a complementary treatment to conventional Western medicine to enhance function and relieve pain in patient suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee.”

Indirect moxibustion was used in a research study in which some of the 42 participants suffering from autoimmune hypothyroidism, better known as with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, were treated with moxibustion on a couple of acupuncture points. These participants were treated with prescription medications as well as moxibustion treatments and the rest were treated with prescription medication only. The subjects treated with moxibustion plus medication experienced better function of their thyroid compared to the people that were only treated with drugs.

The potential for correcting breech babies is one of the most interesting applications of moxibustion. Almost 90 percent of breech babies need to be delivered via cesarean section, but of course, not all of these would be mothers would prefer not to undergo this process. New research has found that when combined with acupuncture and postural techniques, moxibustion can turn over breach babies so that they are in safer position at birth. This probably is due to the capacity of moxibustion to activate uterine contractions that can turn breech babies gently around.

Final Thoughts

The therapeutic qualities of moxibustion, like acupuncture, have been verified by a significant amount of clinical studies. More studies about this therapy that deal with its mechanisms and uses will be done in the future as the awareness of this ancient therapy is increasing by the day.

Moxibustion can be especially useful for individuals who have not found any answer to their problems with other treatments. After trying both alternative and mainstream therapies and you’re still suffering from certain health problems, we suggest trying moxibustion therapy. Practitioners often provide patients with rolls of moxa and show them how to apply moxibustion so that they can treat themselves at home. Sustained and continuous application is important in the successful use of this therapy.

Be sure to seek treatment only from qualified acupuncturists or Chinese medicine practitioners who are trained in a wide range of techniques, including moxibustion.

Tai Chi Is A Great Treatment For Stress And Helps Foster Good Posture

Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and other meditative forms of martial arts have been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years. These meditative forms of martial arts are occasionally named internal forms. Forms such as 8 palms or BaGua are based off the numerology of works such as the I Ching. These martial art forms concentrate on body posture and alignment, relaxation, meditation, and deep breathing. This article will talk mostly about Tai Chi, although any Chinese internal art could apply to what is being discussed here.

Tai Chi is a great remedy for stress and helps promote good posture as well. A lot of Tai Chi practitioners claim that they never need to visit a chiropractor. Chinese medicine has a great influence on Tai Chi practice, which is a holistic approach to well being that integrates what Westerners might call homeopathy, massage, and physiotherapy as well as acupuncture and ideas of how the body works. A lot of highly sought after and highly priced medical physicians are also naturopaths and homeopaths and have taught themselves the system of Eastern medicine.

A typical session of Tai Chi lasts about an hour. Students are encouraged to focus their attention on the basic movements and relax. These movements are designed to enhance balance, body awareness, coordination, flexibility, and strength. Also a major part of internal Chinese martial arts like Tai Chi is deep breathing exercises. If practiced properly, these arts can be used for self-defense. Tai Chi teaches sticky hands drills, search hands, and push hands for training on how to knock someone to the ground, search for the center of a person’s balance, and incapacitate them from doing the same to you. It may be a difficult skill to learn, but if you know how to properly use it, it can come very handy in a fight.

Tai Chi lessons are designed to cultivate a healthy spirit in a person which means it can improve will power, body control, and concentration and help alleviate stress. Tai Chi is very rarely used for fighting. In fact, most people don’t use it for any combat purposes. Since Tai Chi is often performed in slow manner, the motions may not be suited for children, who become easily bored and restless (adults usually enter a zen like state). This is where its stress relieving benefits can come in. In countries Taiwan or like China, Ba Gua and Tai Chi are usually the last arts a practitioner can learn after the other more external (kicking and punching) forms of Kung Fu.

If you are searching for a fantastic way to improve your health, posture, balance, concentration, and strength and eliminate the levels of stress in your body, internal martial arts such as Tai Chi would be an ideal addition to any of your exercise routine.

Gua Sha, An Invaluable Tool In The Treatment Of Chronic Pain

Gua sha therapy also known as Meridian Scraping therapy is an ancient East Asian healing technique understood by only a few Western practitioners.  Scraping is commonly used in Vietnam and China, to treat fevers and aches affiliated with the common cold.  A similar technique is used by the Greeks in their every day massage regimens to alleviate pain and revitalize the blood.

Gua Sha therapy may be utilized to resolve various forms of ailments and illnesses.  Its main uses are to relieve symptoms of the common cold, strengthen the immune system and treat bodily pain. Its other uses are to help balance the flow of vital energy or chi through the energy channels or meridians, to address certain psycho-spiritual conditions and to stimulate regions of weak blood flow such as adipose tissue that can both have a contouring and detoxifying effect.

For chronic pain, Gua sha can definitely provide long term relief.  It has a wide range of both Eastern and Western mechanisms that bring about positive results.

The spasm-pain-spasm cycle that keeps muscles tight in a protective reaction is halted as the practitioner rubs over muscle spasms that have become rooted “knots”, enabling the muscle to relax.

Stroking over an area brings nutrients and oxygen to tissues that have been deprived.  The blood then washes out toxins such as lactic acid that have built up in the body.

Rubbing the tissue heats the fascia, the underlying support structure of the bones and muscles.  Individual strands of fascia start to crystallize and “adhere” together as a result of deposits of toxins, overuse, repetitive trauma, and misuse.  Heating this tissue brings the tissue back to its natural gelatinous state and ‘melts’ any adhesions that may have arisen.

The body can then be capable of realizing its original structure once muscular adhesions and tension are released.

According to Eastern philosophies, exogenous factors such as damp, cold, heat, and wind can be become trapped in the body’s outer layer resulting in pain due to blockage of the flow of blood and chi within the meridians.  Gua sha therapeutic techniques are the best way to free up these pathogens from the exterior promoting the smooth circulation of blood and chi in the body.

Gua sha has several other benefits aside from pain relief.

By clearing energy channel blockages, gua sha boosts the smooth flow of blood and chi, addressing almost any presenting illness and balancing the body.

Blood stasis hinders the creation of new blood.  New blood can be produced again once the stagnation is eliminated.  Blood is the material foundation of our minds.  When a person suffers from blood deficiency, he may have a difficult time creating emotional flexibility and boundaries and dealing with self esteem problems.  Blood deficiency can manifest in a multitude of problems including dizziness, lack of energy, lack of flexibility, muscular pain, etc. By stimulating the manufacture of new blood, gua sha treats both the physical and psycho-spiritual conditions related to blood deficiency.

Just like deep bodywork therapies such as rolfing, gua sha can provoke emotional release.  If the muscles are “retaining” emotions, they will be accepted, felt, and freed, as they relax.  Old problems that have been trapped in the body muscles get resolve naturally as this happens.

Gua sha therapy works well on fascia. Every muscle, artery, vein, nerve, and organ is sheathed in layers of fascia.  When the superficial fascia is stroked, deeper structures will be influenced and their function will be increased.

Lymph vessels and glands are situated in the fascia.  The function of the lymphatic system is to protect the body against pathogenic invasion (through immune response), distribute dietary lipids from the gastrointestinal tract to the blood, and drain excess interstitial fluid from tissue.  Scraping therapy can help free any blockages within the lymphatic system and strengthen the circulation of lymph.

Gua sha, in general, boosts circulation providing poorly nourished areas with blood to both feed tissue and eliminate waste materials.  By stimulating an area of the body, the therapy’s deep massaging action can help detoxify and tonify the area.

Depending on how many body parts are to be addressed, a typical therapy session can last from 15 to 45 minutes.  Like most types of bodywork, the treated areas will include both the areas that contribute to the condition. They mainly include the site of pain as well as the chest, arms, legs, back, and neck.

First, the practitioner applies lotion or oil on the areas to be treated.  The practitioner will then use a smooth edged tool to stroke the treatment areas.  Stroking will be repeated until the sha is released.

As the tissue releases sha, a red rash called petechiae will arise.  The rash’s discoloration provides the practitioner clues to the severity and nature of the condition being treated.  It may take four to seven days for the rash to disappear.  Light aerobic exercise like walking as well as stretching can quicken the healing of the rash.

Gua sha therapy can be compared to an extremely profound massage.  You might feel excruciatingly intense pain one moment only to be replaced with an overwhelmingly relaxing feeling the next.  The practitioner should take into account your level of sensitivity; however, as with the rest of our existence, in order to bring about healing and growth, there are often periods of discomfort that cannot be avoided.

The practitioner may give the patient a cup of warm water after a session and advise him or her to relax and rest.  Drinking adequate amounts of water will help wash all the toxins released by the procedure. Drinking lots of water after treatment is very important since by not doing so, it can cause the toxins to settle back into the tissue causing lightheadedness and nausea or soreness and stiffness.

After treatment, the patient needs to rest for a day or two. He also needs to protect any treated area from direct exposure to cold, wind, or sun; avoid any strenuous exercises; and refrain from drinking caffeine and alcohol.

In the treatment of chronic pain, Gua sha can be a truly extremely invaluable tool.  It actually is a vital modality in the treatment of almost any disorder given its ability to stimulate and detoxify tissue, release the exterior, boost the production of blood, and eliminate stagnation in the body.

Tai Chi Can Help Reduce Arthritis Pain

The inflammation of the joints is what causes arthritis pain, and in certain instances, by the drying of synovial fluids that cause the joint to literally rub bone against bone with not enough fluid to lubricate it. In more advanced cases, the pain experienced can be many times greater, which usually is experienced in the initial stages of arthritis. In addition, arthritis causes substantial reduction of range of motion and causes the joints to significantly stiffen. People assume that arthritis is a disease of the elderly but now it appears that a lot of very young people suffer from this condition as well. According to the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation, it estimated that, in the United States, almost 300, 000 children suffer from arthritis.

China is the place where Tai Chi originated. In parks across this country, groups of people practice this form of martial art every morning. Practicing Tai Chi requires internal strength and power. Its actual name is “tai chi chuan,” which, in English, translates to “ultimate supreme boxing.” Tai chi was developed as a component of Neijia which is a type of traditional Chinese defense art. Its movements and techniques have been described comprehensively in the Tai Chi Classics masters, which is a set of writings. Chinese tradition states that if a person becomes conscious of the ways in which Tai Chi can be utilized as self-defense, it indicates that the person understands fully well this martial art.

Dr Lam, a Tai Chi master and a family practitioner in the late 1990s used a team of Tai Chi specialists and health care practitioners to establish a program of modified Tai Chi to help manage arthritis stiffness and pain and to help treat arthritis itself.

A study shows that tai chi helps lessen pain and improves various health factors of people who were in the test group.

In the American Medical community, some doctors denied the benefits of the routine and declined to consider its techniques. However, a report from CNN stated that, based on a study, Tai Chi did have benefits but they were still too early to concretely establish the practice as a healing technique. The uncertainty of the results was due to a claim by a certain doctor that the design of the study was flawed.

A few years ago, health researchers from Institute for International Health in Sydney, Australia performed additional tests on tai chi. They concluded that both hydrotherapy and Tai Chi can actually help eliminate or at least reduce arthritis pain and occasionally, the related stiffness. Tai chi also helps increase the range of movement of the patient subjects. The tests examined 150 woman and men over 60 years of age who all had chronic arthritis. The research was headed by Marlene Fransen and was published in the Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatism in 2007. The subjects were randomly divided into two groups, a waiting group and a hydrotherapy or Tai Chi class. The hydrotherapy and Tai Chi class attended classes for an hour twice a week. Significant improvement was seen 12 weeks later, when measurements of joint function and pain were conducted. The progressive pain alleviation and joint function continued another 12 weeks later, with no subject showing aggravation of their symptoms.

For many centuries in China, Tai Chi has been practiced in one form or another. It has a variety of styles or techniques and each of them have been found appropriate for use on people suffering from arthritis. The five essential forms of tai chi are:

  • Sun style             
  • Yang Style
  • Chen Style
  • Wu style of Wu Chien-chuan and Wu Chuan-yü
  • Hao style of Wu Yu-hsiang or Wu

Tai chi’s benefits and why it’s very helpful in treating arthritis may be due to its use of gentle circular motions, instead of movements that are jerky in nature. There are 12 primary movements in Tai Chi and these movements are repeated many times and can be performed in a span of three minutes. Tai chi websites, video, books and other sources are available to explain the techniques used in this defense art.

Tai Chi offers light to moderate exercises that are very beneficial to people with arthritis, in addition to the circular movement that help promote enhanced range of motion. Although it may not work for everyone, tai chi is actually a strenuous type of workout. It seems to work in about 78 percent of cases in which it was utilized for reducing arthritis pain. Weight reduction and cardio-vascular health are its other benefits, which can be very important for the management of pain in people with arthritis. Management of stress using this exercise technique can help control the pain. In fact, the health benefits derived from Tai Chi go far beyond simple pain relief to various other factors related to general well being and health. Tai Chi boosts the quality of life of arthritis sufferers, is a totally holistic mind and body integration technique, helps to promote good posture, and is quite easy to learn.

It has a variety of styles and forms many of which are appropriate in the reduction of arthritis pain; however, it is important to look for an instructor who has experience working with people with arthritis and other special needs. As with all forms of exercise regimen, prior to beginning the regimen, you need to confer with your health care provider or doctor about the exercise classes you plan to attend. Your doctor or health care provider should make sure that the exercises are suitable for total body condition. They will also decide whether Tai Chi is a suitable and effective form of therapy for your arthritis.

Curing Asthma With Both Chinese And Western Medicine Treatments

More and more children are suffering from asthma these days. This disease now affects one in four children and many adults. The airways constrict during an asthma attack.  The mucosal lining becomes inflamed causing chest pain, cough, shortness of breath, and wheezing.

Attacks can be set off by different factors including stress, exercise, perfume, animal dander, pollution, and cigarette smoke. There are no symptoms between attacks although there are some asthma sufferers who tend to develop chronic breathing difficulties during intervals of an asthma attack.

In the event of an attack, metered dose inhalers (MDIs) are usually carried by sufferers to address their breathing problems. These MDIs are made up of different bronchodilatory drugs to quickly open the airways preventing a full blown attack and to enable normal breathing.

In extreme cases, drugs are regularly taken for prevention – the most common asthma drugs used are inhaled corticosteroids. However, when taken for a long period of time, these medications can cause a variety of side effects including oral thrush, hoarse voice, osteoporosis, and weight gain among others. This is not a cure but merely a long term drug – the symptoms will typically return if drug use is halted.

Chinese Medicine Treatment for Asthma

The Chinese medicine strategy offers a natural treatment for asthma to address the root cause of the problem, including the symptoms. Treatment is utilized to strengthen the system as a whole as well as the Lungs. From time to time, based solely on what your symptoms are the kidneys and the other organs are involved.

Asthma treatment for acupuncture (or tui na massage/acupressure) helps fortify the Lungs and reduces andwheezing. It can also help clear phlegm, reduce stress and improve immunity.

Nutritional evaluation can also be used to identify any food problem that could contribute to the problem. Small modifications in diet usually lead to the treatment of stuffiness and abundant phlegm in the throat.

Lastly, breathing exercises through qi gong can help reinforce the treatment by boosting lung capacity and espousing more control over one’s own breath. These exercises can even be more beneficial by taking control over your breath. Practicing qi gong on a regular basis can help regulate your breathing, help strengthen the body, and reduce stress.

Childhood asthma usually responds to these treatments extremely well, especially when it is caused by frequent or long term antibiotic use, which is a common cause of asthma in people.

Research On The Benefits Of Tai Chi And Qigong For People Suffering From Type II Diabetes

When I started doing research on the benefits of Tai Chi for diabetes, I was surprised that resources about them were difficult to come by. Because, it seems on the surface that Tai Chi can bring about a variety of benefits to people suffering from diabetes. Practitioners of the ancient Chinese art of Tai Chi believe it not only boosts microcirculation, it also is reputed to be an extremely effective technique for managing stress, and is a very good and gentle way to burn a significant amount of calories. Actually, Tai Chi can assist the body achieve homeostatic chemical levels. For instance, a research performed on sex hormones showed that Tai Chi can have a “balancing effect” on the hormonal chemistry of test subjects, reducing the unnaturally high levels of estrogen in older men, while elevating the unnaturally low levels of estrogen in older women.

These results gave us reason to conclude that there probably had been meaningful studies done on the benefits of qigong and Tai Chi’s in regard to diabetes, assuming that these outcomes and results in other studies initially indicate that at least Qigong and Tai Chi may offer a lot to patients with diabetes. But unfortunately, like I mentioned before, there doesn’t seem to be much out there (at least from Western research) that would validate qigong and tai chi as a bone fide complementary treatment for diabetes.

Nevertheless, two studies performed by Chinese medical institutions showed very promising outcomes. Research from the Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology of Beijing discovered that blood sugar can be successfully reduced by performing qigong exercises. In the study, 43 percent of patients required less medication while eating more staple foods. Another study conducted by the Nanjing University discovered that Tai Chi exercise can help regulate metabolic dysfunction of geriatric obese people with type II diabetes mellitus by normalizing the endocrine-nervous system in the body. Why then doesn’t Western medical research conduct more medical studies on this?

Unfortunately, NIH funding for all research pertaining to “complimentary” and alternative health treatments are less than ½ of one percent. This means that homeopathy, herbal medicine, meditation yoga, etc. etc. all share that very thin slice of the NIH budget pie. A lot of individuals suffering from various conditions who have benefited from Qigong and Tai Chi will not be experienced by the millions of others with the same conditions until the NIH meaningfully increases funding/attention for Qigong and Tai Chi research. Until sufficient studies are done, doctors won’t have the knowledge required to provide their patients with the right information about Qigong and Tai Chi as a potential healing alternative.

One viable option is to ask your doctor to conduct some studies on this for you. Be that as it may, let’s discuss the current treatments for diabetes, and then systematically compare the benefits of Tai Chi to see whether it can be also an effective healing alternative for diabetes; as always, we advice people not to self-treat. This article is intended to instigate a dialogue between your doctor and you, as well as medical research institutions and your doctor and to campaign on your behalf in order to acquire effective natural treatments such as Tai Chi, fully researched, so that you can avail yourself the best possible options for your plan of treatment.

A Post Graduate Medicine Online article mentioned that “The attainment of ideal body weight, exercise and diet, exercise are the core components of any treatment regimen (for type II diabetes).” According to the article, Tai Chi has been shown to be a very useful exercise not only because it provides cardiovascular benefits (approximately similar to moderate impact aerobics), but also because it burns a substantial amount of calories despite its low impact and gentle nature. Tai chi actually provides more health benefits to a person with type II diabetes than downhill skiing and surfing. Attaining such cardiovascular and caloric burning benefits and with such a gentle exercise as Tai Chi may be extremely helpful for people suffering from diabetes.

Information on diabetes provided by the Top5plus5.com website elucidated that the kind of exercise a patient performs is critical to his well being. According to the website, “Since exercises that involve heavy lifting or straining can provoke eye damage, patients suffering from active diabetic retinopathy should not participate in these activities. Also patients need to realize that high blood sugar levels can lead to nerve damage that in turn can lead to loss of feeling in the feet, with a consequent elevated chance of ulceration and blistering. People suffering from progressive heart damage related to high blood sugar need to be warned about the likelihood of sudden heart failure and death.” In regard to the health of the heart, Tai Chi can offer promise so vital to diabetic patients. On October 9, 2004, the BBC reported that “Heart failure can be treated with Tai Chi.” This study was “excellent news,” for the British Heart Foundation and, in the future, Tai Chi could be integrated into treatment programs in the UK.

We strongly advice that all potential treatments should be always approached in conjunction with your doctor and, once again, we urge you to never self-treat. The articles published at the World Qigong and Tai Chi Day are intended to bring up dialogue between your doctor and you, and hopefully between health institutions and your doctor. We earnestly hope that this will result in a more practical doling out of medical research funding towards Qigong and Tai Chi, and other natural health modalities. We hope that medical investigators will approach Qigong and Tai Chi with a desire to discover “why these therapies help a lot of people” instead of pursuing an agenda to disprove their efficacy. The manner the studies are performed is just as important as the actual performance of the studies.

As more and more medical universities offer tai chi to aspiring doctors and nurses, we hope that in the near future, doctors too, will start to discover for themselves what health technologies and Qigong and Tai Chi have to offer on a personal level. Western healthcare’s future should not be a conflict between conventional therapies and alternative therapies, but an enlargement of conventional therapies that would allow whatever works best for the patient. Such a vision is shared by many of us and others in the medical field, and World Qigong and Tai Chi Day celebrates their efforts.