Three TCM Herbal Plants That Can Restore Youthfulness To Your Face

For thousands of years and up to today, TCM or traditional Chinese medicine has been and is being practiced by practitioners and by people in the Western medical profession. It is not only effective in addressing dozens of ailments of the body it can also be used to maintain a person’s beauty and youthfulness.

The approach of TCM into providing you with a brighter, smoother, and more youthful-looking face is starkly different from the philosophy followed by Western conventional medicine. Signs of aging on the face are addressed by Western medicine through surgical treatments such as blepharoplasty and face lifts, laser resurfacing, and non-surgical methods such as the application of beauty products. All these procedures have one thing in common – they only target the wrinkles and other imperfections on your face.

On the other hand, TCM follows the belief that the spirit, mind, and body are integrated and correspondingly, outer beauty is an indication of internal balance within the body. In other words, the imperfections in your face have an underlying cause which is an imbalance in the body. TCM taps into the self healing processes of your body and empowers it to bring back balance and consequently, radiance and smoothness to your face.

In the rejuvenation of your face, one of TCM’s modes of treatment is through the use of herbs. There are literally hundreds of herbs that have shown to have a positive effect on the preservation of youth.

One herb that is widely used because of its many benefits to health is the root of astragalus which in Chinese is called huang qi. Astralagus is commonly used to help boost the immune system. It is also used to increase the body’s Yang qi that can lead to firm facial muscles and the elimination of wrinkles. Yin and Yang is often depicted in a circle sign that has black on one side and white on the other, that’s segregated by a flowing line dividing the black and white colors. In Chinese philosophy, Yin and Yang is a concept used to explain the structure of all phenomena in the universe. According to yin yang philosophy, everything in the physical universe has two polar opposites, when there is black, female, and night, there is also white, male, and day respectively, and so on and so forth.

The astralagus herb used in TCM has chemicals that contain polysaccharides and saponins. It is a plant replete with antioxidants that can help soften your skin.

The astralagus seed is another beneficial herb used in TCM herbal therapy. Its Chinese name is sha yuan ji li. It is obviously the seed of the astralagus plant whose root we talked about just a while ago. It’s believed that during the Tang dynasty, there was an emperor who was forced to flee the capital because of a political upheaval. He fled to a village wherein there were a lot of ladies that looked youthful. Fascinated, he questioned the locals about the beauty secret of these ladies. He was told that the ladies regularly drank a tea made from the sha yuan ji li. He had a daughter who had dry skin and when the emperor came back to the capital after the turmoil ended, he told the princess to drink the tea regularly. She followed her father’s advice and three years later, her dry skin became supple and smooth.

The astragalus seed, like the astragalus root, is a plant herb that boosts Yang qi. It is also known to nourish one’s kidney essence and liver blood which nourishes the face. With regards to its chemical attributes, the astralagus seed has similar antioxidant ingredients as the root of astragalus.

The dang gui or Chinese angelica root is the last herb this article will discuss. The dang gui is known to invigorate the flow of blood in the body that results in speedier nutrient replenishment on your face. It is high in the antioxidants carotene and ferulic acid and in vitamins B-12 & E.

Before using these herbs on a regular basis to attain that radiant youthful, and supple look you so desire, talk to your local TCM practitioner first and ask him or her if the herbs are right for you. If the practitioner answers yes, then take these herbs regularly, and see how many beauty benefits you can attain for years to come.

Endometriosis Is Best Treated With Acupuncture And Herbal Medicine

A lot of women between the ages of 25 – 35 suffer from a very painful condition known as endometriosis. This illness can result in many health-related problems. Some women prefer herbal medicine and acupuncture in treating endometriosis instead of using Western conventional forms of treatment. The treatment that will be provided will depend on the degree of severity of the symptoms and on the woman’s plans to have children in the future.

Endometriosis can also strike women at different stages of their life. The ovaries produce hormones once a month that increase the amount of cells of the uterine lining in preparation for potential egg fertilization. These cells are called endometrial cells and are meant to develop only within the uterus. But for some reason, they sometimes grow outside of the uterus resulting in endometriosis.

Endometriosis causes a great deal of pain for people suffering from them. It may also cause scarring on the area surrounding the pelvis and on the tubes, and ovaries. This condition may also bring about the occurrence of large cysts in the pelvis and cause chronic pelvic pain and infertility. Western medicine can offer a number of treatment options like drugs, hysterectomy, and surgery. Some women have no desire taking medications nor want undergo an invasive procedure such as surgery. Hysterectomy is not an option for women planning to have children in the future; therefore, they seek safer and effective natural alternatives such as acupuncture and herbal medicine.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine are frequently used alongside each other not only to treat the physical symptoms but the spiritual, mental, and emotional conditions, as well. For thousands of years, the Chinese have been using acupuncture for treating scores of diseases; in the US, this treatment has only been used since around the 1970s. Acupuncture is most commonly used for treatment of pain in the US.

In an acupuncture procedure, sterile tiny needles are stuck into specific points in the body based on the symptoms and constitution of the patient. The parts of the body where needles are commonly inserted include the stomach, wrists, ears, feet, legs, and back. The length of the treatment is based on how severe the condition is although it usually lasts around 20 – 40 minutes. According to Chinese medicine, acupuncture addresses endometriosis by boosting blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, balancing the hormones, and relieving pain by increasing the number of endorphins in the bloodstream.

One of the most important forms of medicine in the whole world is herbal medicine. Herbs can be used externally and internally to treat illness and bring back health. The methods used by herbal practitioners are based on the traditional use of a certain herb and in modern medicine breakthroughs. Treatment of endometriosis requires the use of several different plants such as dandelion, motherwort, wild yam, burdock, cramp bark, and horsetail. These herbs treat endometriosis in a natural way by bolstering the strength of the immune system and helping rebalance hormones.

As with most treatments and medicines, results from herbal and acupuncture treatments may take some time to manifest. When you’ve opted for herbal or acupuncture treatment, it’s important to note that these treatments should only be conducted under the careful supervision of a qualified and licensed herbalist or acupuncturist. If you’re suffering from endometriosis, herbal medicine and acupuncture can be a safer and much more effective alternative to drugs and surgery.

Acupuncture Can Really Help Against Hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease

For thousands of years, acupuncture has been treating several types of disease including hyperthyroidism. This type of Chinese traditional medicine has been one of the most studied and most popular treatments used in the world today.

Most people suffering from hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease are seeking natural procedures and alternative treatments for their condition due to the inadequacies of Western medicine treatments for their condition. Most of them are tired of using all sorts of over-the-counter and prescription medications and pills their doctors keep on prescribing for them in an attempt to cure their disease.

In a lot of instances, these doctors will push their patients for total thyroidectomy and RAI but if you read the rest of this article, you would see that it’s unwise to go there unless you have exhausted all your options!

It comes as no surprise that the Pharmaceutical Industry is one of the most profitable, being only second to the manufacturing of military weapons. You may be shocked to know that most physicians get a 4% share in profits for every medication they prescribe. Yes, there are doctors who are ethical and honest who will work with you and will give you the treatment that’s really the best for you. Unfortunately, these days, that is rarely the case.

If you are considering getting alternative medicine treatment, you will be amazed to know that they truly work and at times, compared to Western conventional medicine, even produce better results.

That being said, it is important to note that under any circumstances you should not stop taking any drug prescribed to you by your doctor for your hyperthyroid condition or Graves’ disease, as doing so may result in a very dangerous condition called a thyroid storm.

If you want quicker and even better results, you can combine your medication with your chosen alternative treatments. One of the best alternative treatments out there for hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease is acupuncture.

Acupuncture Treatment for Hyperthyroidism

A growing number of people living in the West suffering from hyperthyroidism are embracing acupuncture and several other Eastern medical therapies to help them overcome the symptoms and even the underlying causes of their condition. Several health organizations in the United States and in other countries have stated that acupuncture can effectively treat hyperthyroidism as well as other forms of thyroid conditions.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

The use of acupuncture began over two thousand five hundred years ago in China. It works on the theory that chi or qi, the Chinese term of life energy, circulates throughout the body – illness results when this energy circulation is blocked. Acupuncture’s main tools are filiform needles that are the size of a human hair. They are stuck in specific parts of the body that are known to restore the body’s health and balance.

A research was done comparing individuals with thyroid conditions treated with acupuncture to those not treated with acupuncture. The researchers discovered that acupuncture treatment targeting the kidney area led to a reduction of symptoms.

It follows that acupuncture treatment for hyperthyroidism would work well if we understand that hyperthyroidism is a disease that’s often brought about by a malfunction of the immune system or the side effects of drugs. The blood can be strengthened, the immune system can be stimulated, and qi flow can be normalized when the kidneys and qi are stimulated.

The symptoms of hyperthyroidism can be effectively treated with acupuncture, even if the disease itself cannot be treated by this modality. Acupuncture has been known to boost energy, lower blood pressure, and relieve stress all of which greatly benefit people suffering from hypothyroidism.

It is also works against high blood pressure, hot flashes, insomnia, heart palpitations and even a few of the menstrual irregularities that are associated with hyperthyroidism.

Acupuncture is being used by over eight million Americans for the treatment of various kinds of illnesses. This treatment is a healing technique that in 1996 has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Most people do not feel pain when an acupuncture needle is inserted into their skin. This is due to the thinness of the metal needles used in the treatment.

To avoid any accidents, infections, or injuries during treatment, you need to seek out a qualified and licensed acupuncturist. If an acupuncture license is required to practice the therapy in the state you’re living on, then don’t go to an acupuncturist who has no license. You also need to know the kind of medical training your acupuncturist has undergone and don’t seek any medical advice from anyone who had little training in acupuncture.

When you first come in for treatment, your acupuncturist will usually do a thorough investigation of your medical history, the reasons you are seeking treatment, and inquire about your lifestyle. He or she will talk with you about your treatment, how long it will take, how much it will cost, and how many sessions you will need.

People suffering from hyperthyroidism can indeed greatly benefit from acupuncture, more so if after your diagnosis, you immediately visit an acupuncturist and get treatment for the symptoms and their underlying cause. However, we should state that acupuncture holds no guarantee that it can halt the excess production of thyroid hormone, but the least you can expect is the mitigation of the symptoms, stop you from feeling severely stressed, and make you feel more comfortable about your condition.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Be A Great Alternative Treatment For Uterine Fibroids

If you’re suffering from fibroids and the symptoms that come with it (menstrual cramping, heavy menstrual bleeding, etc.), then perhaps you need to try the natural Chinese medicine treatments of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. They can reduce the size of your fibroids and eviscerate your symptoms.

Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that are also called myomas or uterine leiomyomas. Uterine fibroids are made up of connective tissue and smooth uterine muscles. This condition affects about 20 percent of women ages 35 years and over. In some women, uterine fibroids do not manifest any symptoms; in other women, they can cause signs and symptoms like pelvic pain or discomfort, painful sexual intercourse, backache (if there is compression in the nerves and muscles), urinary frequency (if there is compression in the bladder), constipation (if there is compression in the rectum), stomach bloating or discomfort, menstrual cramps, heavy menstrual bleeding, and other symptoms.

Fibroids may bring about infertility if they block entry into the uterus from the fallopian tubes or the uterine cavity.

Listed below are a few relevant information regarding the treatment of fibroids using traditional Chinese medicine modalities:

Acupuncture can lessen the size of the fibroid although it usually is more effective when it is used alongside Chinese herbs

If the fibroid is very small, it can be eliminated through a combination of Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. The fibroid’s size should measure two to three centimeters in diameter (the size of a walnut) or even a bit larger.

Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture combined can alleviate symptoms such as menstrual cramping, heavy menses, etc., caused by the fibroids.

Dietary and lifestyle modifications can play an important role in the treatment of fibroids.

A combination of Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture can reduce the size of your fibroid a bit if you have a large fibroid, although the reduction will be not all that significant; the treatment, however, can prevent the fibroid from getting any bigger.

Uterine Fibroids According to Traditional Chinese Medicine

According to traditional Chinese medicine, fibroids are caused by blood stagnation (or blood stasis) in the uterus. What causes blood stasis, in turn, are factors such as qi stagnation (blood is moved by qi and so when qi is not moving, blood therefore, will not move as well); cold (cold coagulates blood and slows down its movement); and heat (heat dries up body fluids and thickens the blood, that in turn, causes blood stasis).

Also, people with weak digestion can have a deficient spleen-qi and may have a buildup of excess pathogenic fluids in their bodies. One of those pathogenic fluids is phlegm which may combine with stagnant blood that can form into a mass in the uterus. In traditional Chinese medicine, these underlying conditions are called “patterns” and in order to treat the disease, it is very important to differentiate these patterns.

It’s been earlier mentioned about the connection between fibroids and weak digestion (deficient spleen qi), and so, what and how you eat are quite important in the treatment of fibroids.

So far, no one knows what exactly causes uterine fibroids although it’s been proven that their growth can be attributed to estrogens, specifically estradiol. Researchers believe that estrogen dominance may be connected to stress hormones such as cortisol, norepinephrine, and epinephrine.

Relationship between Fibroids and Stress from the Viewpoint of Traditional Chinese medicine

In traditional Chinese medicine, the smooth movement of qi within the body is controlled by the liver and therefore, the liver is always involved when this movement stagnates or slows down. Qi stagnation is usually caused by stress, and as mentioned above, may lead to chronic blood stasis. Chronic blood stasis or chronic qi stagnation can create excess heat in the body.

That’s the reason why lifestyle changes and stress control are also important factors along with traditional Chinese medicine in fibroid treatment. Both Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture work extremely well in the management of stress.

Uterine Fibroids Treatment Using Western Medicine Treatment

In Western medicine, surgery (myomectomy and hysterectomy) and hormonal therapy are the two main treatments for uterine fibroids. These days, other conventional treatments for this disease include MRI-guided focused ultrasound therapy and uterine artery embolization. These procedures are less invasive and less risky than myomectomy or hysterectomy and entail a shorter recuperation period. Traditional Chinese medicine is the best choice if you want a noninvasive type treatment of fibroids although their results will not be as immediate as that of surgery.

If you have fibroids, here are some advices that might help:

1. If you are not going to have menopause anytime soon and if you have a large fibroid that’s been growing for years, it is a good idea to seek treatment in order to help the growth of the fibroid and prevent the rise of more symptoms. Note: Estrogen is what makes the fibroids grow larger and, so when you reach menopause, your estrogen levels will decrease causing the fibroids to shrink by themselves.

2. Go for treatment even if you have a small fibroid to prevent it from growing larger.

3. If you suffer from symptoms associated with fibroids like menstrual cramping, heavy menstrual bleeding, etc., try Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. They will relieve the symptoms and may shrink the fibroids as well.

4. Even when you combine Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture treatments, it often takes a long time for the symptoms to get treated. Before you get TCM treatment, it’s a good idea to get an ultrasound (sonography) exam first; and to see how well the treatment went, have another exam three months later. The results of the second exam will determine whether you should continue TCM treatment or not.

Acupuncture Weight Loss Treatment Produces Amazing Benefits

Obesity not only affects Americans. It is as global problem. However, in America, one third of adult Americans are obese and one in six children and adolescents are obese. Those are staggering figures and they reflect the unhealthy dietary and lifestyle choices of Americans.

An individual with excess of body weight that is injurious to his mental and physical well-being is saddled with a condition that’s nothing more than an amplified weight problem.

Varied Solutions

The obesity epidemic in the US has led to a various range of weight loss solutions. One solution that has been practiced for thousands of years is acupuncture, an unconventional, alternative weight loss treatment that has been proven to work in helping people lose weight.

Acupuncture uses needles in its treatment procedures. The needles are thin and not the same as the ones used by doctors and nurses to inject chemicals or draw blood from the body. Ironically, acupuncture is a painless form of treatment that can help you lose weight by helping control your food cravings and appetite.

You may be perhaps positively influenced by several acupuncture weight loss stories of success that you may have heard or read. You may be even more inspired when you know there have been quite a number of clinical studies done that prove the effectiveness of the treatment in helping people lose weight in a natural, safe, and effective way without any side effects to contend with.

For over 2,500 years, acupuncture has been used by Chinese medical professionals to treat a wide variety of illnesses. It was not until the 1970’s though that the treatment became widely known to the American population.

More and more Americans are coming to realize acupuncture’s ability for helping a person lose weight.

During an acupuncture weight loss procedure, needles are inserted into a few of the two thousand or so acupuncture points in your body. Once inserted, the needles stimulate the brain and other vital organs resulting in the production and release of neurotransmitters that help relieve stress and anxiety significantly reducing your cravings for food.

The other organs that are targeted begin to function a lot better boosting metabolism and helping in the detoxification of the body. Acupuncture stimulates vital organs such as the lungs, liver, and kidneys. There is enough evidence to prove that it does in fact help people lose weight.

Acupuncture helps people lose weight by doing a number of things. They include:

• Reducing appetite
• Increasing the levels of insulin in the body
• Removing food cravings
• Relieving stress and anxiety
• Dispelling sadness and depression
• Increasing metabolism
• Improving digestive function

In menopausal women, acupuncture can also help lower their weight gain. It accomplishes this in a much faster way than any dieting plan can offer.

If you are tired of trying out weight loss programs that starves you to death or forces you to exercise unto exhaustion, then it’s time that you try a less stressful and safer procedure that can help you lose weight in a relatively easier way.

You will surely be surprised at the results you can gain from an acupuncture weight loss treatment program.

So what are you waiting for? If you want to look good and feel healthy once more, visit an acupuncturist now.

Acupuncture Can Provide Certain Benefits to a Person Before and After Surgery

You may want to consider acupuncture to help prepare yourself before and after surgery if you’re planning to have a major operation soon. Major surgeries can imply a considerable rehabilitation period as the process can be quite debilitating. When you have acupuncture before surgery, it may help cut down the time needed for you to fully recover from the surgery and help you get back on your feet in the soonest time possible.

Before Surgery Acupuncture Treatment

What benefit does one get in getting an acupuncture treatment before undergoing a surgical process? Well, some researchers believe that acupuncture has the ability to strengthen the immune system when certain acupuncture points in the body are stimulated. Well, having a very strong and healthy immune system prior to surgery may just help speed up your healing and quicken your recuperation period.

Moreover, acupuncture has been proven to relieve the tension and stress that patients naturally feel prior to an impending surgery and this can aid them both physically and emotionally.

After Surgery Acupuncture Treatment

When you get acupuncture treatment after your surgery, you may be able to recover quicker than people who have not had the benefit of the treatment. Depending on the type of surgery that was performed and the recovery period involved, recovery time may be anywhere from a few weeks to two months shorter.

Of course there may be a number of factors involved that will determine how fast a patient recovers from an operation. There are also various types of rehabilitative processes that can aid in the recovery. One of the most ideal of these rehabilitative treatments is acupuncture as well as physical therapy that may help accelerate recovery and help remove pain as fast as possible.

Acupuncture is so safe that it can be administered a day after surgery. Licensed and qualified acupuncturists use distal acupoints to help boost flow on the surrounding areas where the surgery was done. It can also be used to lessen swelling and relieve pain. Lastly, as with the preoperative acupuncture treatment, postoperative acupuncture works on enhancing the function of the immune system to speed up healing. The best acupuncture treatment results usually involve the inclusion of physical therapy to encourage circulation and blood flow.

For some unknown reasons, the scientific community has not yet conducted extensive studies on acupuncture’s use as a pre-surgery and post-surgery treatment and the scientific evidence supporting the treatment’s benefits for surgery are not well-documented either. As long as it is used in conjunction with other approved therapies it is not likely that acupuncture will pose any harm to a patient. But as with all treatments, you need to talk to your doctor if you’re planning to avail of the treatment for your pre-surgical and post-surgical needs.

A Carefully Designed Acupuncture Program Can A Great Way To Treat or Manage IBS Symptoms

The symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS, for short, include diarrhea, constipation, and recurrent stomach cramping and pain. IBS is a chronic, gastrointestinal functional disorder affecting on in five Americans or about 20 percent of the adult population in the United States. It is one of the conditions most commonly diagnosed by doctors. Women are more prone to it than men and in about 50 percent of cases, the condition began before the age of 35.

IBS – Its Causes

Scientists still do not know what exactly causes IBS. It is believed to develop from triggers such as hormonal issues, diet, and stress. In all cases of IBS, emotional stress always plays a role in this condition’s development.

Diet

Both primary healthcare providers and patients associate IBS with intolerance to certain foods; however, there is no scientific proof that there is a connection between findings from common diagnostic examinations for food intolerance and perceived food intolerance by patients.

Emotion and Stress

New epidemiological studies have shown that there is a clear connection between IBS and mood disorder and psychological stress. There is a close and well-known relationship, known as the “brain-gut interaction,” between gastrointestinal function and emotion. The intestines and brain are both connected via the autonomic nervous system. When a person becomes upset or anxious, the digestive tract is stimulated, which causes spasms and other symptoms. Also, due to unpleasant digestive symptoms, some people can develop anxiety resulting in a vicious cycle that a lot of people with chronic pain experience: pain generates stress and stress generates pain. It has been observed that there is a greater occurrence of IBS among people suffering from chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. These two conditions are both deemed to be very much connected to emotional disorders and stress.

As it is now known that certain diets can trigger or alleviate IBS symptoms, there are people with IBS who may also experience a total healing of their symptoms while they are relaxed (i.e., while they are on vacation), even if they are eating unusual or forbidden foods or if their diets are poor in nutrition. Some IBS sufferers, on the other hand, tend to experience stomach bloating and other IBS symptoms every time they eat (any kind of food) and drink (any type of fluids, even water) all because of stress. The main thing to remember is that diet is important, and the emotional state of a person at that time plays a key role in whether or not a specific type of diet triggers or relieves the symptoms of IBS. But in order to manage the symptoms in the long-term, addressing alone the issue of diet is not enough.

Hormones

A lot of women suffering from IBS may feel their symptoms intensifying around the time of their menstrual cycle. Based on this observation, it is therefore believed that hormones responsible for reproduction play a major role in the rise of IBS. Since the HPG Axis (hormonal system of females) and HPA Axis (stress hormones) interact closely with each other, this theory seems plausible. However, it has been observed that there are IBS symptoms that are actually set off by the amplified emotional symptoms related to female disorders such as dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) , and PMS (premenstrual syndrome). Addressing these female menstrual conditions is important when treating the symptoms of IBS. To manage or treat those aforementioned gynecological conditions moxibustion and acupuncture can be utilized with extreme efficacy.

Management of IBS Symptoms Using Acupuncture and Standard Drug Treatment – Recent Evidence

Drug therapy presently used for IBS symptoms has proven to have limited benefits and may bring about potential risks. Moreover, a low level of satisfaction has been found among some IBS patients in the type of treatment provided to them by their primary care doctors. Because of this, around half of the total number of IBS patients has relied on alternative and complementary therapies such as acupuncture for symptomatic relief or management of symptoms.

Acupuncture Needles on the Stomach

Acupuncture has been used for hundreds of years for the treatment of several types of digestive conditions. Studies have indicated that acupuncture works well in a variety of digestive conditions such as constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain and bloating, functional dyspepsia, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms related to digestion tend to improve after a round of acupuncture treatment partly due to the fact that the treatment has an effect on the perception and motility of the digestive organs. Lab animal studies (involving dogs and rats) have shown that acupuncture treatment has a significant effect on visceral perception and gastrointestinal motility, both of which are very much related to the rise of IBS symptoms. Lab studies on rats have also shown that acupuncture treatment of the lower limbs (specifically on the St 36 acupoint just below the knee) produces gastric motility through vagal efferent, while acupuncture treatment on the stomach (specifically, on the St 25 acupoint) reduces gastric motility through sympathetic efferent.

However, in clinical studies on human patients with IBS, there were mixed results. Based on clinical evidence, the 2006 Cochrane Collaboration Systematic Review concluded that acupuncture’s effectiveness in the treatment of IBS has not been conclusively established and it has recommended that further comprehensive studies be conducted in the future using sufficient experimental design. It is uncertain that traditional acupuncture protocols entailing the simple insertion of needles into pre-designated acupoints (often used in past acupuncture clinical trials) will be accepted by the Western medical community as sufficient treatment for many IBS patients.

Gastroenterologists consider IBS to be a “difficult” condition to deal with. But with a comprehensive, customized, and carefully designed acupuncture program, IBS sufferers may be able to enjoy real and profound clinical benefits.

Controlling and Treating Crohn’s Disease Through Chinese Medicine and Dietary Therapy

In a recent study conducted by researchers at the Endoscopy Center of Zhongshan Hospital in Fudan University in Shanghai and the Shanghai Institute of Acupuncture & Meridian, it was shown that a treatment that combined acupuncture and moxibustion led to significant positive effects in people with active Crohn’s Disease. There was marked symptomatic relief, better quality of life, a reduction in C-reactive proteins (an inflammation marker), and a statistically significant rise in the hemoglobin levels (affiliated with the presence and magnitude of anemia) of the patients in the treatment group at the end of the treatment cycle.

What is Crohn’s Disease?

Western medicine defines Crohn’s disease as a chronic inflammatory disease affecting the gastrointestinal system. It has the same characteristics as one other inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, which affects the rectum and colon (large intestine). However, unlike ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease usually manifests as patches surrounded by healthy tissue and may develop anywhere in the intestine. It also can cause anal fissures, (a crack in the skin of the anus or a crack in the anus itself), fistulas (hollow tracts from one area of the intestine to another), ulcers (usually in the small intestine’s lower region), and blockages in the large and small intestines or the rectum intestines that can lead to infection may also affect the deeper tissues.

The symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

Stomach bloating and pain
Usually urgent diarrhea (with or without blood
Weak appetite
Fatigue
Fever
Weight loss
Floating stools (due to poor fat digestion)
Nausea and vomiting
Malnutrition
Anemia (poor absorption of nutrients causing inadequate levels of iron in the body)

What is the cause of Crohn’s Disease?

No one knows what exactly causes Crohn’s disease but one commonly accepted theory is a malfunctioning immune system. Its other risk factors may include obesity, smoking, low consumption of vegetables and fruits, a poor diet consisting of processed foods and saturated fats, and genetics.

Chinese Medicine, acupuncture and Crohn’s disease

In Chinese medicine, the causes of Crohn’s disease are categorized into four basic patterns of disharmony with each of their corresponding symptoms. They include:

Weakness of the Spleen: This pattern can be the result of overconsumption of raw and cold foods or constitutional weakness. Symptoms may manifest as lethargy/fatigue, sallow complexion, post eating gastric discomfort, weak appetite and digestion, dull pain in the stomach, watery stool with undigested food, and severe and frequent diarrhea.

Damp-Heat Infiltration in the Large Intestine: This can give rise to sudden and acute rise of gastrointestinal symptoms such as burning pains after bowel movement, a bearing down sensation or urgency to have a bowel movement, stomach pain and fullness, yellow urine, malodorous stools, blood and/or mucus in the stools, diarrhea, thirst, irritability, and preference for cold drinks.

Blood & Qi Stagnation: This pattern is similar to an acute stage of Crohn’s disease with symptoms such as extreme stomach fullness and pain with palpable mass in the lower right part of the stomach. Other symptoms include lethargy, wasting of the muscles, poor appetite, and diarrhea.

Weakness of the Kidney & Spleen: Symptoms include cold hands and feet, intolerance to cold, stomach pain that’s aggravated by cold, and diarrhea during the early morning (usually around 5:00am).

The importance of diet in the prevention and treatment of Crohn’s disease is recognized by both Chinese and Western medicines. Too much consumption of raw and cold foods (iced drinks, ice cream, juices, salads, etc.) may adversely affect the ability of the stomach and spleen to properly process and convert foods. Eating a lot of raw vegetables and fruits should be avoided as it can aggravate the colic and intestinal blockage. Sufferers of Crohn’s are also advised to refrain from eating foods containing dyes and certain chemicals. They should also avoid dairy products such as cheese and milk, more so, if they’re lactose intolerant.

A treatment that combines dietary therapies, moxibustion, acupuncture and herbs can be a very effective approach to help manage and even resolve the symptoms and signs of Crohn’s disease. Consider Chinese medicine and acupuncture as treatment approach if you or someone you know has Crohn’s disease or other gastrointestinal symptoms.

Acupuncture Treatment’s Approach to Endometriosis Symptoms

Endometriosis is quite a common problem and health authorities believe that it affects about 22 percent of women. This chronic condition can be found in 40 to 60 percent of women with dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation).

Endometriosis occurs when endometrial tissue (cells from the uterus lining) grows outside the uterus. The cells from the uterine lining can develop in the pelvic cavity, (on the bowels) as well as in in other parts of the body. These cells can be still affected by hormonal changes associated with the menstrual cycle as the cells in the uterus lining resulting in pain, inflammation, and bleeding.

Endometriosis can have very mild symptoms and sometimes it doesn’t produce any symptoms at all. Some women are not really aware that they have this condition at all. Other sufferers, however, experience mild to severe pain, heavy bleeding, painful sex, and fertility issues.

The approach used by Western medicine to treat endometriosis includes surgery (laparoscopy), hormone therapies like oral contraceptive pill combined with the use of NSAIDs and other painkillers. No real cure for endometriosis has yet been developed and Western medicine’s ways for managing the pain is usually inadequate.

Acupuncture and Endometriosis

A study done four years ago showed that that after receiving the first 10 acupuncture treatments, women suffering from endometriosis experienced a significant decrease in the severity of their pain. Older studies also reveal that Japanese style acupuncture can be a well-tolerated, safe, and effective complementary treatment for pelvic pain associated with endometriosis and that electro-acupuncture can effectively relieve dysmenorrhea induced by endometriosis.

In the treatment of dysmenorrhea, acupuncture has also been shown to be highly effective.

How does Acupuncture Treat Endometriosis?

Endometriosis from the perspective of Chinese Medicine is considered to be an issue related to Blood Stagnation along with certain connected pathologies (Qi deficiency, Cold, Heat, etc.).

The treatment focuses on the reduction of pain and Blood stagnation and regulating the menstrual cycle.

The treatment is usually tied to a woman’s menstrual cycle.

Other imbalances are also taken care of during the treatment as acupuncture is designed to treat the whole person. Each patient therefore, will receive a personalized plan of treatment.

As is typical with any acupuncture treatment, the duration of the treatment will depend on the symptoms shown, the constitution of the patient, and how well the patient responds to the treatment. For endometriosis, treatment is long term and typically lasts for at least three to nine months.

The NIH and WHO Endorse Acupuncture as Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Using different criteria, both the World Health Organization and National Institutes of Health have identified several various conditions deemed appropriate for treatment with acupuncture, including many that directly relate to IBS:

• Muscle cramping

• Stomach pain

• Diarrhea

• Constipation

Besides that, it has also been seen that acupuncture is effective for the reduction of stress, as well as in the treatment of associated problems that usually set off IBS symptoms, such as:

• Insomnia

• Anxiety

• Premenstrual syndrome

• Menstrual cramps

• Nervousness

One study has at least directly compared the effectiveness of acupuncture to relaxation therapy in patients with IBS. The study discovered that the gastrointestinal symptom scores and quality-of-life of the patients improved, along with significant decrease in stomach pain. But, then after a four week post trial period, only the patients in the group treated with acupuncture were still enjoying relief from pain. Moreover, this group also experienced a substantial decrease in stress perception but not in the relaxation group. The results caused the researchers to conclude that the benefits of acupuncture exceed those of conventional relaxation treatment and can effectively address IBS, especially the symptoms of stress and pain.

While there is no question that acupuncture provides notable pain relief and helps treat other IBS symptoms as well, Western conventional medicine has no explanation as to how and why the treatment works. They hypothesize that acupuncture has the ability to influence the nervous system by activating the release of endorphins, which is the body’s own “feel-good” chemicals that prevent pain signals from reaching the brain. Studies have revealed that acupuncture leads to a change in the flow of blood within the brain that boosts circulation to the thalamus (the area related with relaying pain and other sensory impulses), improves the conduction of electromagnetic signals in the brain, and causes observable differences in the neurotransmitter output of the brain including prostaglandin and other inflammation-causing substances, such as norepinephrine and serotonin.

Scientists and doctors who do not believe the Chinese concept of chi are still at a loss why these changes happen. But you can experience the healing power of acupuncture yourself if you happen to suffer from constipation or diarrhea and chronic pain related to disease and decide to try out acupuncture for your problems. You may not care how and why the treatment works, the only thing that matters is that it works for you.

You might have noticed that several of the treatments for IBS, from Qi gong to meditation to acupuncture, have measurable success and well-established rates, but no one can explain the reason behind their remarkable results. The Western modes of treatment for IBS have so far been disappointing and some doctors even claim that the condition is a psychosomatic problem. Western medicine has not yet even come close to thoroughly understanding the underlying problem of IBS or has developed a method worthy to be called a treatment for it – let alone find a cure. Results are what matters most to those suffering from the condition. So if something helps relieve or prevent an episode of IBS, then by definition it is a valid form of health care for it.

If you’re still debating whether acupuncture is right for you, the following are some precautions you first need to know if you decide to proceed with this treatment:

• If you are pregnant, the stimulation of certain acupoints, especially points near or on the stomach, can set off uterine contractions and bring on premature labor and a possible miscarriage. If you are pregnant or think you are, tell your acupuncturist about it.

• Acupuncture needles can have the potential to draw blood so if you’re taking anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin) or suffering from uncontrolled bleeding disorder, you need to tell your acupuncturist about it.

• If you have body implants such as breast implants, it’s important to inform your acupuncturist so he/she may avoid sticking needles in the area of the implant

• Acupuncture should only be used on your limbs with extreme care if you’re suffering from diabetes because even a tiny puncture on the skin of a person with diabetic neuropathy can lead to severe infections. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns in this area