When I first heard about Dr. Claudia Welch’s Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life, Ihappy to read a book that marries the practices of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda. The book was an excellent source of knowledge for the newcomer to any form of Eastern medicine, TCM or Ayurveda. Dr. Welch begins by explaining the most important concept of yin and yang, which is the foundational principal of TCM. With this basic knowledge, the rest of the book uses the principals of yin and yang to describe hormonal balance (and imbalances) within the body. She then continues going through specific hormonal problems that affect women throughout their lifetime, such as osteoporosis and heart disease. [Read more…]
I first started with acupuncture as a patient. I was living in Chicago – in my mid 30’s and I was dealing with a number of physical health issues – nothing too serious – and many that were caused by the stress in my life. I was not “sick”. There really was no need for me to go to the doctor. Why would I anyway? I had great respect for my internist and knew that she was an excellent diagnostician. If there was any test that were needed – I would be there in a heartbeat. However, I also knew that what I was experiencing was considered “normal” by many standards.
I was working in a stressful job – in sales and marketing – overseeing a large geographic area – metropolitan Chicago. [Read more…]
In modern day society, people have come to accept various health problems as “normal” occurrences of life. However many of these disorders, or imbalances, are not “normal” from a traditional Chinese medical standpoint. Specifically, we commonly see hot flashes and night sweats to be accepted as a rite of passage into menopause. There is, however, another way! [Read more…]
The value of sleep is severely underestimated in today’s culture. Many people come to accept the fact that getting less than 8 hours of sleep per night is adequate for proper functioning. Long term sleep deprivation, however, may be the beginning of a long and slow decline in health. Sleep allows the body to restore and heal itself. When people are not getting enough time to “recharge their batteries”, this is when bodily functions may start going haywire. For many people, finding time to sleep is not the problem, but rather the ability to fall and stay asleep is what is keeping people awake. [Read more…]
* Looking for a holistic approach to your child’s healthcare?
* Interested in complementary methods to maintain your children’s good health?
* Are you curious about healthier lifestyle choices for your whole family?
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine offer a holistic perspective to maintaining good health by balancing energies within the body. For parents and children, it offers a guide to lifestyle choices that are unique to each child that will encourage good health now and in the future. Pediatric treatment includes a close examination of each child’s unique constitution and treatment plan that includes family involvement.
This article, published in Psychology Today, sheds light on why acupuncture & chinese medicine is such a great fit for children!
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese therapy that treats a wide range of conditions through the stimulation of specific points on the body with thin metal needles inserted through the skin. It is widely practiced in the United States through private acupuncture practitioners as well as in more than one third of pain treatment centers across the country. In fact, one study showed that acupuncture is effective in treating adult postoperative nausea as well as nausea related to chemotherapy. Other research shows its effectiveness for ailments such as menstrual cramps, low back pain, fibromyalgia, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
The efficacy of acupuncture is proven in adults but, until now, there has been very little research to support the efficacy of acupuncture in children. However, the use of acupuncture to treat medical issues from colic to ADHD in children is gaining popularity. A recent study showed that the use of acupuncture as a treatment for lazy eye is as effective as the traditional eye patch treatment. Another study found that acupuncture can help alleviate nausea and pain associated with chronic illness in children. Conventional medication can be complemented with acupuncture to reduce the common side effects that come with higher doses of medicine in some cases as well.
While kids and needles do not usually peacefully coexist, acupuncture in children may not be as frightening for them as it sounds. Skilled pediatric acupuncture practitioners use a variety of techniques to help children become comfortable with the idea of the needles. Practitioners spend a lot of time explaining the treatment to children and their families. A practitioner may demonstrate the therapy on a stuffed animal or even his own hand to show children what to expect during the acupuncture session. He will describe the difference between the acupuncture needle and a typical injection or intravenous needle. Acupuncture needles are smaller and not hollow so they do not rip the skin like typical needles. It is relatively painless if done by a trained practitioner who is specifically licensed to practice pediatric acupuncture. Children are usually surprised at how little discomfort they actually feel.
A visit with your child’s primary care provider can help you determine if pediatric acupuncture is right for your child. They can also direct you to licensed acupuncturists who specialize in pediatric care.
Acupuncture Healthcare Associates and Pediatric Care
Our acupuncturists use a variety of tools to support balance in children:
- Tuina (Chinese massage)
- Moxibustion (a cone of dried herb that warms up the skin to stimulate the immune system, support digestive health, and balance energy).
- Chinese herbs
- Dietary modifications
- Acupuncture (depending upon age and comfort level of child). Children often sit on their parent’s laps while receiving treatment and generally enjoy their sessions!
Chinese medicine can help treat a variety of conditions including:
- Allergies (food and seasonal)
- Abdominal Pain
- Acid Reflux
- Frequent Ear Infections
- Low Appetite
- Low Immunity/Frequent Colds
- Sleep Disruptions
Call today to learn more!
The use of acupuncture and Chinese medicine is an important key to support the body’s innate immune system. No matter what time of year, it is important to maintain a healthy immune system which provides protection against frequent infections, common cold and more serious illnesses. Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes different organ functions to be responsible for specific functions in the body. The concept of immunity involves 2 major organs: spleen and lung. The energy, or qi, of the lung is responsible for defense against external pathogens. However, the ability of the lung qi to protect the body relies heavily upon the production of qi from the spleen. [Read more…]
In modern culture, the value of healthy digestion is severely underestimated. Digestive imbalances such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating and gas and often overlooked and considered to be collateral damage from “normal” eating habits. The truth, however, is that healthy digestion is one of the foundational principals to staying well. Many people attempt to make healthy lifestyle changes but can become confused of where to start: Diet? Exercise? Meditation? Supplements? It can become overwhelming but a good gauge of how well we are achieving health is through our digestion and bowel movements. (Kind of gross, but true) [Read more…]
This weekend I was lucky enough to be introduced to Shen Zhen Healing Qi Gong (Unconditional Love Healing Qi Gong). I was blown away by how transformative the practice is for physical and mental health. I am excited to write more about it and how it has shifted me. For now, I will start with an introduction to Qi Gong, written by Master Li Jun Feng.
THE MISSION OF QIGONG ©
by Li Jun Feng
1. What is qigong? It is the interexhange of qi between people and the universe. When the exchange of qi takes place, the qi works. It is this exchange of qi that creates an energy that brings about health in living beings and in the natural environment. When there is qi, there is life. When there is no qi, there is no life.
2. Qigong is a science. But it transcends modern science. Qigong as a science should be used to improve people’s lives – to teach them to be more natural and to attain a sense of total well-being. True qigong must be something that is not just an intellectual pursuit or something to study but should be applied to life.
3. What are the three functions of qigong?
Qigong is good for overall health. Through the exchange of qi, diseased qi is removed and fresh qi is gathered.
Qigong brings about the removal of negativities that lead to worry, sadness, anger, nervousness, fear, and a stressful life. As a result, one is free to lead a happy and carefree life. Modern medicine is good but only provides a temporary solution. If people want to maintain their health the energy level in the body must be in balance – the emotions must become balanced and even. Emotions can affect the physical body. The emotions and the physical body must be in harmony. This determines the quality of life.
Finally, qigong opens the heart. As one experiences the opening of the heart, this allows the qi from the universe to go to the entire body, removing the negativities that rob one of a life of perfect well-being.
4. The purpose of qigong is to bring all back to the original state, the natural state. Originally, all were in the qigong state. But today, human society and the natural environment are no longer in balance. This results in the outbreak of the sickness, wars, and natural disasters that we see today. Qi is the life force. It protects the whole world, man’s life, and the natural environment. This imbalance has brought about the deterioration in the quality of qi. When this happens, the power of the qi is diminished and the qi becomes useless, ineffectual.
5. The amount of qi in the universe is always the same. It is never more or less. But the quality of the qi can change. If the circulation is not good, if there is not enough of an exchange between man and the universe, it results in a harmful imbalance, in poor qi quality, in stale and stagnant qi, in diminished power.
6. To better the quality, to improve the circulation, human hearts must open. Unconditional love is the key that unleashes the power of qi. When the heart is open, immersed in the experience of love, the interflow of qi can take place making the qi work
7. The relationship between human beings in society can affect nature. If the family is happy it affects the community. If the community is flourishing, it affects the country. If the country is healthy, it affects the world. This, at the end is what leads to peace and harmony. Unconditional love is the root, is the key. It is to this purpose that Sheng Zhen Wuji Yuan Gong serves.
8. In the beginning, people spoke about love with ease because true love was everywhere. But now, people’s hearts have become cold – some people have become like ice. Even from the outside their façade locks the love inside. So it appears as though there is no love, that it is distant and far away. But actually, love is still there. Because people do not believe that others are capable of true love, people protect themselves by holding themselves back. Everyone wants to receive true love but people have lost the ability to trust and believe in others and in themselves as well. People are afraid to ask because they are afraid of rejection. So everyone waits and watches. It is as though true love is buried and frozen in ice. Hearts become encrusted and love is hidden from view. The competitive world has created an environment of confusion and skepticism distancing people from the experience of the love that exists in their own hearts. Can this kind of world ever reveal true love? In this world of cut-throat competition, how many people actually feel that they are leading a true life? Only when you have been awakened to love can you understand the true meaning of life.
9. The true qigong awakens understanding from the heart so people can have a natural life rooted in unconditional love. Qi is never separated from love. Through the practice of qigong, true love is always with you – the joy of the lightness of being is always with you. A healthy mind coming from the practice of qigong cooperates with the flow of qi in the body. In the end, one realizes that it is not that the heart and the mind are used to make the qi flow effectively. It just happens naturally, of its own accord. Then life is never seen apart from the qigong state. It is then that one’s life becomes established in it.
To learn more, please visit www.shengzhen.org
I recently had an interesting herbal encounter with a patient. She was telling me that she’s taking a Chinese herbal formula from her physician that was full of Chinese herbs that are “adaptogens”. I was absolutely intrigued. When I asked her exactly what was in it, she couldn’t remember any specific herbs but was sure that it contained a long list of Chinese herbs. My understanding of Chinese herbal adaptogens is new and still in progress. This understanding of herbs is a modern approach to Chinese herbalism and I often struggle to find a balance between classical and modern Chinese herbalism.
Classically, Chinese herbs are arranged into categories that describe the general function of herbs. For example, herbs that tonify qi, drain dampness, clear heat, etc. Within each category, each individual herb has its own taste, temperature and specific function. The properties of each herb are important in herbal formulas and modifications. Herbs are always prescribed as formulas, or combinations of herb that achieve a specific treatment principal. (In fact, the text book for formulas is called “Formulas and Strategies” because a formula is indeed a strategy for treatment.) The effectiveness of a formula comes from the synergistic qualities of all the herbs. This is important to keep in mind when new research comes out regarding specific pharmaceutical properties of individual herbs. Sometimes people hear in the news about a Chinese herb that has “estrogenic effects” or have questionable side effects. This sort of information completely discounts the nature of classic herbal formulations. Sure, one herb contains a variety of actions but when it is used in a formula with several other herbs, specific effects of single herbs become moderated. That’s the beauty of Chinese herbalism! Formulas were designed to offset any “negative side effects” and to balance the herbs to yield the best effect for the patient (and, ideally, with NO side effects).
Now back to adaptogens. Needless to say, the classic material medica (Chinese herbal compilation) did not identify those herbs that can be classified as adaptogens. It is very exciting to practice Chinese herablism in an age where scientific research is able to determine these more fine-tuned properties of herbs. However, it can become overwhelming when writing formulas for my patients. I welcome these discoveries and always include the modern strategies in my formulas. However, I stay focused on the classic Chinese medical approach in choosing the basis of formulas and incorporate the modern approach in making modifications. I hope that by balancing old and new strategies, my patients will find relief in their symptoms and make better progress towards healing!
Acupuncture is one of the best forms of preventative medicine available today. The goal of acupuncture is to maintain balance within the energy channels so that disease will not present itself. Maintaining balance ensures that there is not too much (an excess) of energy in one channel and a lack of (deficiency) of energy in another channel. Chinese herbs are also used for this purpose; to clear out any excess, support any deficiency or treat any resulting pathologies. From an emotional perspective, I have found that when people become stressed or emotionally vulnerable, any preexisting deficiency becomes a more serious problem. For example, the person who has a long history of digestive disorders gets severe digestive problems when they experience a loss in their life. Or a person who has a long history of allergies and frequent colds get a long standing cough that will not go away when life becomes stressful. [Read more…]