I remember the first time I got acupuncture and I remember in particular the unusual calm that I felt afterwards. I remember after that visit that I couldn't stop smiling. That has been over nearly 20 years and I still get that feeling after a good acupuncture treatment. I just went in the first time because I was curious about it, I didn't tell them that I was stressed but the treatment still calmed me. From a western perspective some say acupuncture soothes the sympathetic nervous system which is our fight or flight mechanism. From a Chinese medicine perspective a treatment smooths the flow of Qi in the body. Which ever way you look at it, it works. When the Qi moves smoothly in the body good things happen, like peace, as well as better health as all systems work a bit better.
Continuing my last post, what are some conditions that we see good results using herbal formulas for? Because allergies are a big problem in the area, one of our best sellers is a formula based on a classic formula called bi yan pian. We have several formulas for allergies actually; for acute conditions, chronic, or where there is infection involved. Many of our patients end up discontinuing their prescribed or over the counter medications. I use more than one formula for migraine that can be great for treating the underlying cause, andwe use a really good formula that treats several skin conditions. We have a weight loss formula that people swear by. There is a formula that is a very good natural way to treat insomnia. And we have more than one formula to treat menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. Some of the best formulas we have treat stress and anxiety. Many of these formulas are tonic formulas, so they are also treating the underlying condition and not just the symptoms. That is really the goal with Chinese herbs, to find the deep underlying cause of the condition and treat that, so we are moving towards cure and not just maintenance. From 15 years of prescribing Chinese herbs and using the feedback from our patients (and ourselves) we have many formulas that we feel are the best of the best, and those are the only ones we will use.
I am often asked, especially when I suggest Chinese herbs to my patients, whether or not I take Chinese herbs. The answer is yes, often, sometimes daily. The next question is often what I take Chinese herbs for. The answer is that I take herbs for pretty much any health problem that I have. For instance, as soon as I feel like I might be getting a cold of any sort I immediately start taking yin qiao jie du wan, which, if taken soon enough, will actually stop a cold in in tracks - you won't get sick. If I have any pain that needs addressing my usual go to is shen tong zhu yu tong, sometimes called the great invigorator. These are the same formulas that we give to our patients for the same issues - because they work. So we take the same formulas that we give our patients. If we take them and take them so often, then we must be convinced of their safety and effectiveness. We only use and prescribe formulas and suppliers that we have found to be the best of the best.
I also take almost daily a tonic formula that I have concocted for myself that consists of several longevity herbs (why not). He shou wu is a famous longevity herb as is ren shen, called ginseng in the West. The Chinese were big on living longer and healthier and using herbs to help them do so.
Its been nearly 17 years since I started studying Chinese medicine (Chinese medicine includes acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and other modalities). People ask me weekly or even more often how I got interested in this field. Here is a short version: I was a computer guy at Dell computers in Austin Texas for nearly a decade. I was pretty good at computers but I didn't feel like I wanted to do that forever. Someone at Dell loaned me, seemingly randomly, a book on Chinese medicine call 'The Web That Has No Weaver.' I read it and really connected with the philosophy of this medicine that I had never even considered before. At the time I had great health insurance with Dell (I think I paid $40 a month and a $10 copay!) so I went to the doctor whenever I sneezed. I also found that I usually tossed the inevitable prescription in the trash as I walked out the door. I think I was beginning to wonder if there was a better way to stay healthy. So a few years later I left Dell and started my journey into Chinese medicine. They say that in ancient China the doctor of the Emperor would get paid while the Emperor was well, and would not get paid when the Emperor was ill. Though this probably would not work nowadays, a do like the philosophy of prevention that is associated with our medicine.
Many people have pain in the scapular region and we have had what I would consider very good results treating it. Scapular pain can be from using a mouse too much, from muscle tension due to stress, or can be from injury leading to a pinched nerve. The pain can usually be narrowed down to one or maybe two 'trigger points' and this is where the treatment will focus. This type of pain can often refer down the arm. The fix is choosing acupuncture points in the area and into the arm and even hand, followed by cupping to the area where the trigger point is. This usually takes a few treatments but can be very successful.
This year we are seeing a lot of cough. In Chinese medicine there are few different imbalances that lead to cough and the correct one needs to be determined to treat it successfully. One of the most common is a cough due to an upper respiratory infection. This is the typical productive cough, with the sputum being yellow or brown or even green. This is perhaps the easiest to treat using lung channel acupuncture points and a good herbal formula for clearing heat in the lungs. These formulas are very effective in getting rid of this type of cough. Most of the time an upper respiratory infection is viral and will not respond to antibiotics. But several of the herbs used in this type of formula treat bacterial as well as viral infections. Plus there is no damage to the microbiome of the gut if antibiotics are not taken. The other type of cough we see a lot is one I call a weak cough. This is a cough that might be lingering from a cold and usually it is not productive. Coughs that have been around for a while start to damage the lung Qi or energy of the lung. So the formula and points used will boost the Qi of the lungs to eliminate the cough. This boosting of lung Qi will also help your immune system become stronger to avoid another cold.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be very helpful to set you on the right path towards weight loss. Helping people lose weight is something we have been doing in our practice for over a decade. As far as what we eat is concerned I don't think that it is a one size fits all thing. And that is part of our program - helping patients find the right mix of things to eat for them. One suggestion I have pertaining to our diet that we can all use is that it is important to know that our bodies are very trainable. I like to think of training our selves to eat a certain way is sort of like training a dog to their feeding schedule. If you feed your dog twice a day it won't take very long for the dog to anticipate their next meal. They will most likely remind you if the feeding time has passed by giving you a certain look or maybe even barking at you. And if you have been giving your dog a treat each night around 10 pm, I'll bet, even though the dog can't tell time, she will know about when it is time for her snack. We are the same way. If we wish to train ourselves to eat a certain way for our health then our body will get used to it pretty fast. Your body wants rules that tell it what it can expect. So in our weight loss program we might ask you to tweak your diet in some way that might fit your body type better. And after only about a week of doing this consistently your body will accept and even expect the new schedule. This is one way we can make gradual, easy changes to our metabolism. For more info on our approach to weight loss click here.
Our country is experiencing an opioid addiction crises. More people died from opioid overdose in 2016 an died in the entire Vietnam war. This is to me an amazingly dire statistic. Many if not most addiction clinics worldwide use acupuncture to help their patients. There is a specific set of points called the NADA protocol. NADA is the acronym for the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association and it consists of 5 points in the ear. We use this protocol for our addiction patients along with other points in the hands and feet. Of course any type of addiction can be treated in this way including smoking addiction.
We are now selling CBD oil for pain. Here is a good description of what this oil is: CBD hemp oil is made from high-CBD, low-THC hemp, unlike medical marijuana products, which are usually made from plants with high concentrations of psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Because hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, these hemp oil products are non-psychoactive. Our patients really like these products and we have them in smaller quantity bottles so you can try it out. It is rather expensive, but so far everyone has said it is well worth it. This is a topical ointment. Give us a call or stop by the office if you want to try it out.
On his deathbed Louis Pasteur (who discovered that germs cause disease) said "Bernard was correct. I was wrong. The microbe (germ) is nothing. The terrain (milieu) is everything." One way to interpret this is that he believed that the health of the host or human was much more important than the bug he or she has been exposed to. This year the flu has been especially bad, and we are most likely going to be exposed to the virus somewhere. So it is important that your immune system be as strong as possible. To do this It is important to get enough rest and sleep, to eat well, to not work too hard or exercise to the level that we are exhausted. Its important not to get too cold or even too hot and to reduce stress. All these things protect our energy or Qi, and in Chinese medicine the Qi must be strong in order to resist germs that might be in our environment. Washing our hands frequently is also important, but taking extra care of ourselves during flu season will greatly reduce our chances of getting sick. On my way out the door this morning my wife had me take 2 capsules of Immune Plus from Evergreen herbs. There are several formulas that we have that boost the Qi and thus boost the immune system. The herb that I make sure to take during this time is Huang Qi or astragalus, which is a Qi tonic. Getting an acupuncture treatment will also boost your immune system.