This article makes me feel really hopeful. It basically says that we in the west are finally looking to herbal remedies to treat common ailments such as hypertension. The vast cornucopia that makes up the world of Chinese herbs (and Western herbs as well) is vast and varied. There are over 3000 Chinese herbs that have been used and studied in the East for thousands of years. I think it is great that we in the West are studying them and trying to find alternatives to some of the drugs we use that may have problematic side effects. The main things I like about Chinese herbs is that there are no real side-effects and that they treat the underlying or root cause of a condition as well as the symptoms.
New research shows that red meat is most likely not bad for you after all. In Chinese medicine we are all about the health of the blood. And we often will tell our patients who are what we call 'blood deficient' that maybe they could eat a bit more red meat. Nothing seems to build the blood faster. So, even though this study is likely not good news for the environment, I do agree with the findings. But, the amount of red meat that we recommend is a small amount. It doesn't take much. Women are overwhelmingly more likely to be blood deficient then men.
Interesting discussion about research trying to determine if there is any different effect of the microbiome from eating cooked versus raw food. If you are a really technical person read the actual research paper here. From a Chinese medical perspective we suggest that most of our food should be cooked.
Diabetes can be reversed! - according to a growing number of health-care providers including many doctors. And, as this report shows, only a mere 10% reduction in weight can kick people into remission. So if someone weights 200 pounds all they need to do is lose 20 pounds and they might be done with diabetes. At the Acupuncture Center we use acupuncture and herbs and diet to help you lose weight. If you are ready, whether you have diabetes or not (or are just trying to avoid it) give us a call and lets get started.
Huh? Actually, this is a pretty interesting article (linked to above) which is another example of how important healthy bacteria is to our health. Most of what we hear about is our gut bacteria which numerous studies have shown to be important. But whether we like it or not bacteria live pretty much everywhere in our bodies. And this story reports on a study that found that our mouth bacteria is also important. So mouthwash indiscriminately kills these bacteria causing things not to work quite as well. Similar to how antibiotics mess with our gut bacteria. So the takeaway is to be kind to your bacteria!
Since we are seeing an uptick in sciatica patients lately I wanted to cover briefly how we treat it. We have developed our own method of treating sciatica by treating hundreds of patients with this issue over 15 years. We do 4 things that we feel are, together, an effective protocol. With acupuncture we treat the path of the pain, the lower back (whether it hurts or not) and use auricular (ear) acupuncture to also treat to root of the problem which is usually a disk issue in the L3 to L5 area of the spine. We then use cupping along the path of the pain and also in the low back area to release the muscles and reestablish proper blood flow. The results of doing these things are usually quick and effective. Most patients feel a good deal better after a couple of visits. In tough cases we will often add a favorite Chinese herbal formulation to speed up healing.
Just a short note to say that it is once again 'sciatica time'. What this means is that this time a year, we at the Acupuncture Center usually see a significant uptick in cases of sciatica. We have noticed this pretty much every year since we have been in business (14 years). We are not positive as to the cause, but it does seem to be consistent, some years worse than others. We do have a couple of ideas as to why this is happening, but our best guess is that it is the weather. In Chinese medicine we think that the weather can effect our body. You probably know someone who's knee hurts when it’s about to rain. In this same way the damp environment can cause sciatic pain. So it is the damp and hot conditions we have toward the end of summer that are causing more cases of sciatica.
The news on vitamin D goes back and forth. One day its a miracle cure and the next study says it's bad for you. I personally have had what I feel to be very good results with vitamin D. I won't go into it deeply here but I feel that vitamin D brought back my immune system from the brink. If you have met me you know that I am quite pale skinned. For years I hid from the sun. And I feel this lack of D compromised my immune system. After taking D for a while I recovered. So I am a fan. And I tend toward believing that D is essential. Certain chronic diseases manifest more in higher latitudes, this is know. Mostly (and I follow it closely) the research results are good. If you can somehow get enough sun exposure to keep your levels high enough that is the ideal way. But as we age our skin is less able to make vitamin D from the sun. Keep this in mind. And also if you have darker skin it also harder to get enough sun exposure to keep your levels up.
Interesting article I found at medicalnewstoday.com saying that the use of antibiotics may be linked to an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. And the article states that other autoimmune diseases may also be contributed to the use of antibiotics - especially during childhood. I had a stomach issue for years that I contribute to taking antibiotics as a kid, specifically erythromycin. This type an issue is being seen more and more. Of course we must sometimes take antibiotics and they can be lifesavers. But some say that we should take probiotics along-side antibiotics. I'm not an expert in this so do your research. We treat rheumatoid arthritis quite often and the results are usually really good. This is one of those things that respond very well to treatment with acupuncture and Chinese herbs..
Continuing my summer review of books, I want to highly recommend Flow by Mihali Czikszentmihalyi. Flow is that condition of mind and body where we are lost in an activity. There are certain activities that are designed to help us to achieve flow such as many games, sports or activities such as reading. But we can learn to make most activities flow experiences. The author found in his studies that the times we are in flow are the most enjoyable times in our lives. He also found that times that we usually equate with happiness like vacations or free time are not necessarily our happiest of times. But, using the methods in this book, we can increase the pleasure we get from our free time. The methods are backed up by science. I have used this book over many years to choose activities in my life that help me achieve flow, and to make the things that I have to do flow activities.
Monte Jackson, owner Acupuncture Center of Richmond