What am I referring to when I mention the pain management crisis?  It’s no secret there is an Opiod epidemic in this country right now. This may be a chicken or the egg type argument, but for there to be an Opiod epidemic, there first has to be a problem with pain management.  Current treatment options don't seem to be effective enough for many.

Today we are going to look into what pain is, how the body identifies pain and how Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help play a role in combatting this epidemic.

So what is pain?

Pain- specifically acute pain- serves a strong purpose. It is a warning sign of danger. You touch a hot stove and you pull your hand away immediately, thus removing the danger. In an injury, let’s say a sprained ankle, the pain is there to alert you to not put pressure on the ankle so the body can go about healing it. Again, the acute pain serves as an important signal to let you know something isn’t right.

Chronic Pain, which is typically a pain that has lasted longer than three months. This type of pain no longer serves a purpose.

Pain Management Crisis

Why is pain management such a massive problem in this country right now? Check out these statistics relating to Opiods and Heroin taken right from the CDC website:1

Opiod/Heroin Statistics

  • Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999 (emphasis mine)
  • Sales of Opiod Prescriptions have quadrupled since 1999 (emphasis mine)
  • At least half of all U.S. opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid. (site update May 12, 2016)
  • Four in five new heroin users started out misusing prescription painkillers.2
  • As a consequence, the rate of heroin overdose deaths nearly quadrupled from 2000 to 2013.3
  • 94% of respondents in a 2014 survey of people in treatment for opioid addiction said they chose to use heroin because prescription opioids were “far more expensive and harder to obtain.” 4

It’s clear that for many patients, the current treatment options for pain do not seem to be working effectively enough. People are suffering all around this issue. Families are being affected and young people are dying. We need more treatment options and better solutions to handling the Pain problem.

How the Body perceives Pain

To understand where we’re going in this article, we need to understand some terminology related to how the body perceives pain.

Key terms to know:

Noxious Stimuli: the painful event that represents a threat of tissue damage, or actual tissue damage. In our example above, the hot stove is the noxious stimuli.

Nociceptor Fibers: sensory nerves that detect the noxious stimuli

Proprioceptor Fibers: Help identify where the pain is. Location, Location, Location

A Delta Fibers are myelinated (covered in a sheath) and carry nerve signals quickly. These fibers are involved in pain that is sharp or burning.

C Fibers are unmyelinated and carry a slower nerve signal. These fibers are involved in pain that is dull, achy or tingling.

The C Fibers are always involved in chronic pain and in some cases, the A Delta fibers may also be involved.

Pain Management Crisis

How the body perceives pain

In response to tissue injury, the nociceptor fibers send a signal along the A and C fibers up through the spinal cord, where they cross over to the other side of the spinal cord and help the body perceive the pain.5

Once these signals reach the brain, the brain takes over to release the body’s own pain killing Opiods (referred to as endogenous Opiods). The main Opiods include enkephalins and endorphins, which bind to receptors in the spinal cord to suppress the transmission of pain signals to the brain.6

Enkaphalins are released when the mid-brain receives a strong enough stimulus from the Proprioceptor fibers. The Gate Control Theory of pain (Melzak, Wall 1965) posits that chronic pain may arise when there is a decrease in the activity of the Proprioceptive fibers. In other words, the threshold signal on the Proprioceptive pathway is too low, causing a decrease in the release of the body’s endogenous Opiods.7

When there is pain, the brain will vasoconstrict blood vessels going into and out of a painful area (known as ischemia). Without proper blood flow, the area cannot heal fully. The blood carries oxygen, nutrients, pain killing chemicals, hormones and everything else we need to be healthy.

__________

What role can Chinese Medicine Play?

When I speak of Chinese Medicine I am referring specifically to the modalities of acupuncture and Chinese Herbs.

Chinese medicine has a long history of treating pain. It’s still the number one condition we’re known for in the US. So how does it help pain?

Acupuncture for Pain Management

Acupuncture works primarily by helping the body improve blood flow through the vascular system. Despite what you may have heard, acupuncture is not an energy medicine. There is no ‘life force’ being worked on. Acupuncture influences the flow of oxygen through the vascular system to help stimulate the body’s self -healing ability and to improve the body’s function.

The insertion of an acupuncture needle stimulates a cascade of events in the body to achieve its results. For the purposes of this article, pain relief.

Acupuncture Needling

There are many different types and styles of acupuncture. To keep it simple, I’m going to discuss two distinct types of needling. Each can treat pain effectively, but they have a different mechanism as to how they accomplish the end result.

Local Needling

Local needling involves needling directly into the area of pain. If your shoulder hurts, we needle your shoulder.  The local events include:

  • Mast cells in the dermis of the skin rupture releasing Prostaglandins
  • Prostaglandins cause the small capillaries to open up- local vasodilation- i.e. improved blood flow
  • White Blood cells (macrophages) leak out and start to scavenge and repair any inflammation

By vasodilating the capillaries, blood flow improves, immune cells are activated and the nociceptive sensory fibers are eventually inhibited.8

Distal Needling

Distal needling involves the use of points away from the pain. For instance, using points on the arm to treat the leg; points on the shoulder to treat the hip. With distal needling, acupuncture helps to amplify the signal strength on the Proprioceptive fibers.

Acupuncture stimulates the pathways up to the brain,triggering a release of endogenous Opiods to lower the pain response.  The secondary effect of needling is vasodilation. By lower the pain signals to the brain, vasodilation occurs, which allows for more blood flow to the injured area. More blood flow = better chance to heal.9

What you need to know:

Acupuncture works via the same pathways the body uses to recognize and treat pain on it's own.  Acupuncture amplify's this effect to help the body restore homeostasis.  Acupuncture affects the same areas of the brain as the opiod medications, without the side effects of dependence or addiction.

CHINESE HERBS

There are thousands of individual Chinese herbs to choose from when treating various ailments. Far too many to get into much detail here. For example, in the book Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology, there are 64 individual herbs listed as Analgesics (pain killers)!

Here, I just want to offer a brief summary overview of how the herbs involved in treating pain work.

The main category of herbs used for relieving pain fall under the Chinese Medical Category of Blood Invigorating Herbs. Physiologically speaking, these herbs have the following effects:

Physiology of Chinese Herbs

  • Analgesic- pain killing through action in the Central Nervous System (brain and spinal cord)
  • Anti-inflammatory- reduce permeability of the capillaries
  • Dilate blood vessels
  • Anti-coagulant properties- prevents blood clots in the veins
  • Anti-platelet effects- prevent blood clot in the arteries
  • Increase blood perfusion to smaller blood vessels
  • Lower plasma cholesterol levels
  • Immunologic: some enhance and some inhibit the immune system10

Similar to acupuncture, the herbs help to improve blood flow, reduce inflammation and signal the brain/spinal cord to reduce pain signals11.

SUMMARY

I want to be clear. In no way am I suggesting that Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are not the answer to the chronic pain issues affecting this country, but they certainly deserve a seat at the table to be part of the discussion.

The discussion is happening now.

This is clearly an issue of national importance, as evidenced by two recent House Resolutions passed in May.

May 11, 2016: H.R. 4641 (vote 184) provides for the establishment of an inter-agency task force to review, modify and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medications.

May 12, 2016: HR 5046 (vote 187) the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016 and also S524 (vote 193) the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine offer a time tested, safe, non addictive approach to pain management.

If you are a supporter of Chinese Medicine, speak up! Contact your representatives, and let your voice be heard.

Thank you!

-Mark

 

Sources:

  1. (source; CDC. Wide-ranging online data for epidemiologic research (WONDER). Atlanta, GA: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2016
  1. Hedegaard MD MSPH, Chen MS PhD, Warner PhD. Drug-Poisoning Deaths Involving Heroin: United States, 2000-2013. National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief. 2015:190:1-8
  1. Ibid
  1. Cicero TJ, Ellis MS, Surratt HL, Kurtz SP. The changing face of heroin use in the United States: a retrospective analysis of the past 50 years. JAMA Psychiatry. 2014;71(7):821-826
  1. http://www.ebmconsult.com/articles/opioid-agonist-pain-mechanism-cns
  1. . http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/37538/title/Natural-Opioids-Linked-to-Chronic-Pain/_. Online article by Jef Akst. Original source: G. Corder et al., “Constitutive ?-opioid receptor activity leads to long-term endogenous analgesia and dependence,” Science, 341:1394-99, 2013
  1. Latash, Mark. Neurophysical Basis of Movement. Penn State University. 2008 Pg 264
  1. Ma, Yun Tao, Ma, Mila; Zang Hee Cho. Biomedical Acupuncture for Pain Management. Elsvier       Press. 2005. Pg 106
  2. Kendall, Donald.Dao of Chinese Medicine. Oxford University Press. 2002. Pg 257
  3. Chen, John; Chen, Tina. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. Art of Medicine Press. City of Industry, CA 2004 Pgs: 611-613
  1. Ibid.
  2. British Medical Acupuncture Society Physiology Day in December 2013.
    http://www.medical-acupuncture.co.uk/

 

 

Kidney Functions

by Mark Whalen

Kidney Functions

While all organs play a role in our bodies function,  the Kidneys hold a special place as the foundation for all of the other organs.

The Kidneys are considered the root of life in Chinese medicine. The Kidneys store something known as the Essence- a substance derived from our parents at the time of conception.   Think of this as our genetic makeup.

The function of the Kidneys storing essence has some interesting parallels with the latest in genetic sciences. The Essence has two aspects:

  • Inherited Essence- acquired at birth from our parent
  • Refined Essence- extracted from food

This notion of Essence coming from food will seem strange to many. Stay with me here. I mentioned earlier that Essence is similar to our genetic make-up. The idea that food could affect our genetic imprint may seem crazy. However, an emerging field in the study of genetics, known as Epigenetics is looking at such ideas.

It was once thought that our genes were encoded permanently and unable to change. The idea of epigenetics is that although we have a certain gene, it can be turned on or off based on lifestyle- genes may be turned on/off based on the state of our nutrition, exposure to chemicals, drug use etc..

Kidney Essence also drives the changes we go through in life-birth, puberty, menopause, aging and eventually death. As such, the kidneys are linked with fertility problems as well.

The Kidneys govern birth, growth, and reproduction; and provide the motive force for all physiological processes.

What else do the Kidneys do?

FUNCTION WHAT IT MEANS SYMPTOMS
Control bones, produce marrow, fill up the brain Origin of skill and intelligence. Memory, concentration, sight and thinking Poor memory, concentration, dizziness, poor sight, weak bones, loose teeth
Governs Water Controls the flow of body fluids –opens and closes the ‘gate’ to control urination . Assists the bladder in storing and transforming urine Urinary issues- incontinence, leaking, dribbling etc
Open into the ears Ear function relies on the health of Kidney essence Poor hearing, tinnitus
Manifest on the hair Hair needs nourishment of kidney essence to grow. Early graying of hair, thin hair
Controls two lower orifices Urination and elimination Urinary incontinence, diarrhea, spermatorrhea

 

 

Problems with the Kidneys may manifest as problems with urination, diarrhea, sexual dysfunction, infertility, energy levels and fear based emotions.

The emotion associated with the Kidneys is fear. The Kidneys share an anatomical space with the adrenal glands. The Adrenal glands are small triangular glands that sit atop the kidneys. The Adrenals are responsible for releasing the hormones associated with the ‘fight of flight’ response. This response kicks off in times of fear or stress. The Adrenal are not separately identified in Chinese medicine but their function neatly overlaps with the Kidneys in this regard.

The Kidneys are weakened through excesses. Too many stimulants- caffeine, nicotine, drugs, too much cold in the diet can weaken the ‘fire’ that stirs the physiological processes; excess sexual activity can weaken the kidneys. Extreme shock/fear can damage the kidneys(witnessing a terrible accident or tragedy).

Foods that help Kidney Function:

Adzuki Beans

Apple

Asparagus

Black Beans

Blackberry

Bone Marrow

Butter

Celery

Cinnamon

Chickpea

Coconut Milk

Cod

Cumin

Duck

Fennel

Goat

Green Beans

Kidney Beans

Lamb

Leeks

Parsley

Peach

Plum

Raspberry

Salmon

Salt

Sesame

Shrimp

Sweet Potatoes

Tuna

Venison

Walnut

The Kidney function naturally declines as we age.  The speed of the decline can be up to us- lifestyle again plays a major role in our health.  Get plenty of rest, limit your use of stimulants, eat a diet rich in health promoting warming foods.

Yours in health,

Mark

Lung Function

by Mark Whalen

In this part of our ongoing series about the organ functions according to Chinese Medicine, today we are going to cover Lung Function.  In Chinese Medicine, the Lungs are technically an organ of the fall, but since everyone seems to be getting sick recently, I thought it would be good time to cover the Functions of the Lung.

As you might have guessed, the Lungs play a crucial role in our ability to breathe. The Lungs open into the nose; or another way to say it, the nose is the opening of the lungs. If the lungs are strong, breathing will be normal and easy, and the sense of smell will be normal.

The Lungs also have a crucial role in our ability to fight off colds. The Lungs are referred to as the 'tender' organ because they are the intermediary organ between our body and the environment. As the tender organ, they vulnerable to attack from external forces, known as climactic factors- wind, damp, heat, dryness. When a patient presents with  a cold, we use these descriptions to diagnose the cold.

The infographic below displays the functions of the Lung in the language of Chinese medicine with a brief explanation of what it means (in plain english- I hope)

Lung Function

Signs and Symtpoms of a Lung Disharmony

If you have a weakness in the Lungs, you will likely present with problems in of these areas:


Any cold/flu-acute stage
Frequent colds- pointing to lowered immunity
Skin problems- acne, eczema, psoriasis
Sinus problems
Chronic cough
Asthma
Allergies


Emphysema
Wheezing
Shortness of breath
Sweating issues- too much or too little (b/c of Lungs control of the skin)
Cold Hands
Edema-water retention issues


Symptoms typically don't arise unless there has been a period of time with problems in the lungs function.  What sort of issues can weaken the lungs?

How the Lungs get weak

  • Smoking
  • Prolonged Grief/Sadness- Grief is the emotion of the lung and prolonged grief will wear down the lung's ability to disperse/descend. Over time, the ability to get deep breaths will weaken- you'll notice sad people have shallow breathing
  • Prolonged worry can impact the lung's ability to disperse
  • External factors- exposure to wind, cold, damp, dryness either acutely (cold/flu) or over prolonged periods
  • Poor diet- excessive intake of cold, raw foods over a prolonged period
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Best foods for the Lungs

For specific advice, ask your practitioner- these are general foods that are good for the lung but may not benefit your specific condition.


Almond
Apricot
Asparagus
Avocado
Banana
Basil
Brazil Nuts
Coconut
Eggs
Fennel
Fig
Garlic
Ginger


Grapefurit
Honey
Lemon
Lime
Orange
Onion
Oregano
Parsley
Pears
Peppermint
Pumpkin
Walnuts

Other ways to improve lung function include exercise, quitting smoking and breathing exercises like Qi Gong or gentle movement exercise like Tai Chi.

If you have any questions or are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned, give us a call at 781 944 3000.

 

Yours in health,

Mark

Love your Spleen

by Mark Whalen

In Chinese medicine, the Spleen is the main organ of digestion.  The spleen works very closely with the Stomach (of course) in digesting our food.  The Spleen's main function is the Transformation and Transportation of food while the Stomach's key function is the Rottening and Ripening of food. The Stomach is mainly responsible for the churning of food to get it ready to move into the intestines. In Western medicine, the Spleen has nothing to do with digestion and is mostly an organ of immunity.

So, is Chinese Medicine crazy, wrong or both?  Actually it's neither.

In a classic text of Chinese Medicine, known as the 'Classic of Difficulties, the Spleen is mentioned as being surrounded by 1/2 pound of fatty tissue. Anatomically speaking, this 1/2 pound of fatty tissue is the Pancreas. It seems that the Pancreas and Spleen were considered the same organ. canstockphoto7733708

If we consider the Spleen and Pancreas as one organ, then the idea of the "Spleen" being the main organ of digestion makes sense. The Pancreas plays an essential role in converting the food we eat into nutrients for the body's cells. Sound familiar?  The Pancreas transforms (breaks down) food into nutrients and transports nutrients (from the food) into the cells.

(Quick sciencey side note:The Pancreas accomplishes this by releasing enzymes required to digest proteins, fats and carbohydrates.  It also releases the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream.  These hormones help to regulate blood sugar levels.)

Digestive Health 

As the main organ of digestion, the Spleen also has other key functions that relate to the distribution of nutrients in the body.  The Spleen is a main driver of physical energy and also mental energy via the distribution of nutrients to the cells and glucose to the brain.  A healthy diet is the key to a healthy life and a happy Spleen.

In Chinese medicine, foods are assigned qualities and temperatures.  The Spleen 'likes' warm and dry foods and is negatively affected by cold, damp, raw foods.  Examples of cold, damp, raw include fruits/vegetables, salads, ice cream, yogurts, milk, ice-cold drinks.

I am not suggesting you should never eat salads, fruits or vegetables. I eat them every day.    Fruits and vegetables are the best foods for us.  The key is to understand if they are negatively impacting you.  How do you know if you're Spleen is impacted?  You don't.  I do.  I share.

Symptoms of Spleen disharmony:

Loose stools

Abdominal distention/bloating

Diarrhea

Weakness/heavyness of the limbs

Fatigue

Mental Sluggishness  

Lack of appetite

Edema

Easily Bruised

Weight Gain

Excess menstrual bleeding

Loss of taste

Sallow Complexion

If you've got any of these, there's a chance your Spleen is the source.

One way to counteract the cold/raw foods is to add warmth to them.  If you're going to eat a salad, have a cup of warm water or hot tea to go along with it.  You could also have a soup/salad combo.  Avoid raw vegetables and steam them.  A few short minutes of being steamed will still provide you with all the nutrients and the steaming makes them easier to digest.

Other factors that influence the health of the Spleen

  • excessive mental thought- over prolonged periods
  • eating at irregular intervals
  • not eating enough calories
  • excessive eating
  • lack of protein

Basic rule of thumb, if you have digestive problems, your Spleen is impacted.  Dietary food recommendations would be made based on your presenting symptoms and chinese medical diagnosis.

For those interested, I've included the chart below to compare the Spleen functions vs the Spleen/Pancreas to further illustrate the overlap.  I've always found the overlap between the ancient theory and western science to be fascinating and still makes me wonder how this medicine was fully developed.

Spleen Spleen/Pancreas
Transformation and transportation of food Pancreas secretes enzymes and hormones to break down food and distribute it to cells
Controls the muscles and four limbs SP is a major driver of physical energy-Again relates to the distribution of nutrients to the cells
Controls the blood - holds it in the vessels Spleen recycles old red blood cells.. Stores wbc and platelets
Houses thought -critical in our capacity to concentrate, study, focus Pancreas function of glucose distribution. Glucose is the major fuel of the brain.. With issues in glucose uptake, thought can become cloudy, depressed, fatigued
Prime organ of immunity detects viruses, bacteria, and works w/ lymph notes to create lymphocytes to defend against invaders. sp is largest organ of lymphatic system

Acupuncture for Heartburn

by Mark Whalen

As we discussed in part I, heartburn is the most common symptom associated with GERD-gastroesophageal reflux disorder.

Today we are going to look at the use of acupuncture (and chinese herbs) for heartburn.   Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help treat the symptoms –heartburn- and the cause-reflux. Without treating the cause we can’t rectify the problem.I don’t usually dive into technical TCM terminology because it can be confusing, but today I am going to.   I’m crazy like that.

In Chinese medicine we look for patterns of disharmony in the body. A western disease name –reflux, heartburn- isn’t how we determine treatment. Think of if more like a guide post- points us in a direction, and then we determine the right course of treatment.

At its core, reflux is caused by Rebellious Stomach Qi (chee). Qi in this context refers to the contents of the stomach (the acid) and the proper function of the Stomach.

The contents of the stomach are supposed to move in a downward direction. When we digest food, it moves from our stomach into the small intestine and down the line until it comes out.  Reflux is literally the stomach contents going in the wrong direction-aka rebelling.

The purpose of treatment then is to reverse the rebellious qi and correct it’s directional flow. As with most conditions, there are many different patterns that can cause rebellious qi.

Acupuncture and Herbs Diagnosis 

Rather than write out a long boring text, I’ve made a boring infographic for you!   Just kidding- hopefully it explains these patterns in an accessible way. Below is each category that can help explain why you have reflux in the view of Chinese medicine.

Reflux

 

Treatment

Treatment with acupuncture and chinese herbs is aimed at identifying the pattern(s) involved and applying treatment to correct the imbalance.  Once your pattern or patterns are identified, acupuncture points and Chinese herbs can be selected to best treat you. But what do these points and herbs do?

Acupuncture:

Acupuncture needling produces several effects in the body1.

  • Secretion of endorphins—produces calming feeling experienced during treatment
  • Enhanced circulation through vasodilation of capillaries
  • Immune system stimulation
  • Activation of nerve fibers to block pain signaling
  • Regulation of the nervous system

a) calming effect on Sympathetic Nervous System-responsible for fight or flight (chronic stress)

b) Autonomic Nervous system- regulates homeostasis of autonomic functions –digestion occurs here

What does all this mean to you if you have reflux/heartburn?

  • Acupuncture will help reduce your response to stress
  • improve blood flow- better blood flow =better healing via improved nutrient and oxygen delivery
  • reduce inflammation- a major cause of illness
  • regulate the Autonomic nervous system which is responsible for digestive function
  • Decrease pain levels

Chinese Herbs

There are many Chinese herbs to choose from to treat reflux. Again, the herbs are selected based on the patient’s presentation.

The herbs used for reflux and heartburn have the following physiological functions (2)

  • Contain Amylase enzymes to help digest starches and carbohydrates.
  • Contain Lipase enzymes to help break down red meat, and greasy, oily food
  • Analgesic properties to relieve pain
  • Anti-bacterial properties
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antacid properties- herbs that contain Calcium Carbonate
  • Increase or decrease stomach acid as needed
  • Increase bile production and reduce density of bile – improves digestive function
  • Increase peristalsis – help food move through the intestines faster

As you can see, Acupuncture and Chinese herbs cover all the bases to offer a safe, effective, side effect free way to treat heartburn and reflux.  If you noticed on the infographic, diet plays a major role in all of these pathologies.  Your acupuncturist can work with you to help you choose and avoid the right foods based on your individual presentation.

If you’re suffering, get help.

Call for a free consultation 781-944-3000

Yours in health,

 

Mark

 

Sources:

  • Biomedical Acupuncture for Pain Management. Yun-Tao Ma, Mila Ma, Zang Hee Cho. Elsevier press. 2005. St Louis, Missouri
  • Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. John Chen, Tina Chen. Art of Medicine Press. 2001. City of Industry, CA

Heartburn

June 23, 2015

Heartburn is the most common symptom associated with Gastroespohageal Reflux Disorder (GERD).  Heartburn associated with GERD typically occurs 30-60 minutes after a meal. Sixty million people will experience heartburn at least one time a month. Approximately 7% of the US population, roughly 15 million people, will experience heartburn daily.(1) Fifty percent of diagnoses occur in patients between 45 […]

Read the full article →

Treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome with Acupuncture

June 2, 2015

The first step in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome with acupuncture is to get patients to understand when there is a problem that needs to be treated.  In the past 10 years, I have worked with many women who describe their premenstrual symptoms  as “typical” or “normal’. The usual symptoms are: Breast tenderness/swelling Bloating Cramping Mood swings: irritability, anger, crying, […]

Read the full article →

Cholesterol and Diet

March 10, 2015

In part I of this series, we talked about how dietary cholesterol (ie cholesterol you eat) does virtually nothing to raise cholesterol in about 70% of the population. The idea that dietary cholesterol is a risk for heart disease can be put to rest.  Today we are going to cover the link between cholesterol and […]

Read the full article →

Cholesterol

February 26, 2015

Cholesterol has been in the news recently because the federal government issued new dietary guidelines, and among the big newsmakers is that cholesterol is no longer a nutrient of concern. In other words, most of us don’t have to worry about eating foods high in cholesterol. For over 70% of the population, dietary cholesterol has a […]

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Acupuncture for Plantar Fasciitis

January 15, 2015

Today we are going to discuss Acupuncture for Plantar Fasciitis.  This is the most common foot condition we get calls for in the acupuncture clinic.  Let’s take a look at the bottom of the foot and discuss how acupuncture can help with plantar fasciitis and an associated condition, heel spurs. The plantar fascia is a band of […]

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Ten ways to improve your fertility

June 10, 2014

Wednesday, June 11 is Massachusetts Infertility Advocacy Day, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about infertility. Infertility is defined as the inability to get pregnant after twelve consecutive months of trying. Current statistics indicate that 1 in 8 couples will be unable to get pregnant or maintain a pregnancy within […]

Read the full article →

Acupuncture, Lifestyle and Epigenetics

May 6, 2014

There is some debate in the acupuncture community about the role of the acupuncturist in regards to lifestyle coaching. Some acupuncturist feel that we should just stick needles in and let the patient rest. Others feel it is incumbent upon us to let patients know how their lifestyle may be impacting their health and how […]

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Schedule Updates

March 11, 2014

Please note the following changes to our schedule: Friday March 21st:  Closed Friday March 28th:  Opening at 4:30pm Friday April 18th: Closed

Read the full article →

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

January 23, 2014

Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is a group of symptoms that can occur any time after ovulation up to the beginning of the your menstrual period (actual blood flow).     Typical PMS symptoms include: Symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe.  In some cases the pain and emotional swings may be debilitating for patients, affecting […]

Read the full article →

Acupuncture for Depression

December 11, 2013

Acupuncture for Depression A couple of recent studies have highlighted the benefit of acupuncture for depression.  It’s important to note that these studies looked at acupuncture in conjunction with ‘usual care’ (medications) and not as a replacement to regular treatment. A recent study out of the University of York (UK) demonstrated that adding acupuncture or […]

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Acupuncture for Back Pain

June 18, 2013

Acupuncture for Back Pain.  Shame on me.  It’s been two years and I haven’t written a blog about this yet.  Low back pain is one of the more common conditions treated in my clinic.  Not surprisingly, low back pain is also one of the more common conditions that we all may experience. It is estimated […]

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What is Acupuncture? Myths and Misconceptions

May 28, 2013

Have you always wanted to try acupuncture but were concerned that it was too mysterious and ‘weird’ for you? Do you worry that you must have a certain belief system for acupuncture to work? Are you afraid of needles? Are you afraid it will hurt? Despite a foundation of a few thousand years, Acupuncture is […]

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Acupuncture and Insomnia

January 10, 2013

We get many calls to our Acupuncture clinic asking if Acupuncture can help treat insomnia.  The answer is an emphatic yes!  Insomnia is typically characterized as an inability to fall asleep, stay asleep or waking up un-refreshed in the morning. I’m sure everyone has experienced this from time to time in his or her life. […]

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Acupuncture for Sinusitis

September 19, 2012

With the change in the air, it’s that time of year again, when calls come into the clinic asking if Acupuncture can help with Sinusitis and all its manifestations: sinus pain, sinus congestion, sinus headaches and sinus infections. Whether you suffer from chronic sinusitis, acute sinusitis, allergic sinusitis, or infectious sinusitis, acupuncture can help. What […]

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Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

September 11, 2012

  In my Acupuncture clinic I meet with patients who are struggling with many hormonal issues.  This ranges from infertility, menopause, poor ovulation, menstrual headaches, difficulty losing weight and mood disorders. In meeting with patients I always try to discuss the role of a healthy diet in their condition.  One area that we can all […]

Read the full article →

 

Five Points Acupuncture & Wellness
20 Pondmeadow Dr #107, Reading, MA 01867
Phone: (781) 944-3000
 

 

Serving Reading, North Reading, Wakefield, Burlington and the surrounding Middlesex County, MA areas.

Zip Codes: 01730, 01810, 01867, 01880, 01821, 01803, 01864, 01876,
01887, 01915, 01923, 01940, 01949, 01960
.