The Acupuncture Alternative

Energy, Enlightenment, Balance

10 DIY Tips For Allergies

Posted in Wellness

This year has had effected my patients’ allergies more than the last 2 years.  There seems to be a new pollen or allergen blooming every 2 weeks in the Puget Sound.

I’ve prepared a list of Do It Yourself Allergy tips to help survive the allergy season.  These will also complement your acupuncture treatments.

1. Rinse hands and face often, when pollen or dust is present.

2. Wash bedding frequently or at least the pillowcase.  You can also buy some inexpensive hand towels at Bed Bath and Beyond (they come bundled) and place a new one over your pillow each night. Make sure you wash the towels before using.  See Tip# 4.

3. Get rid of any scented  household cleaning products, personal care products, and candles. Opt for natural, chemical free ones.  Avoid using any air fresheners altogether.

4. Wash all new clothes, towels and bedding before using to remove the chemicals used in manufacturing.

5. Scalp massage-access the scalp points, and hey you feel foggy when suffering from allergies so go for it. Gently massage the whole scalp and spend extra time on any tender areas you find.

6. Acupressure:  See points I drew on the image at left.  UB2, St 3, Qiuhou, Gb1, yuyao, ub1, basically circling the orbits of the eyes, then press Li 20 and then massage GB21.  Also firm tapping or massage of GB21 (located at the top of your shoulders in the trapezius muscle) with “bongers”  (bongers are a ball on a flex stick used for massage tapotement).

7. Change air filters often if you have a heating or cooling system in your home or work place. This will save on your energy bill too. Also wipe down and clean your fans in your office or home.

8. Eucalyptus steam using pure medical grade essential oil.  Boil some water and remove from stove, add a few drops and cover head with towel while leaning over pot.  Also gives your home a refreshing uplifting scent.

9. Move the lymph fluids in the body by gently applying rolling pressure to the area around the armpits and neck and clavicle.  You can do this lightly with your hand.  The lymph system is a passive drainage and firm pressure doesn’t work as well as light.

10. Drink plenty of water to keep your organs working optimum levels.

Understanding Ebola

Posted in Research, Wellness

Most of us are quite concerned and upset about Ebola and there is a quite a bit of fear spreading along with the virus.   The Washington Department of Health has a resource page for learning about Ebola, the risk factors, and how to protect yourself.

A few things you can find on the webpage include a fact sheet on Ebola translated into 7 different languages, an EBOLA infographic to print and share, as well as a link to more on Ebola and the national situation from the CDC. Ebola webpage

Additional Information about Ebola:

 

Ebola virus and Marburg virus (Mayo Clinic Article)

How Ebola Emerged Out of the Jungle

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization-Information about Ebola

 

Electron micrograph of an Ebola virus virion

Sitting For Two Hours Is The Equivalent Of Smoking Two Cigarettes

Posted in Research, Wellness

 

We really weren’t made to sit for long periods of time. Sitting causes pain in your body and increases your risk of diabetes and heart disease.  See this article by Maureen O’Hagan.

Catena, who is starting a new Gait and Posture Biomechanics lab at WSU, said that as counterintuitive as it may sound, sitting puts more stress on the spine than standing.

“Our body is configured to stand. In our evolutionary history, people didn’t sit for long periods of time. They stood or they walked,” he said. “So sitting actually takes us out of our natural position.”

In a standing position, your spine is gently curved. “That curvature basically dampens the load of your body weight pushing down due to gravity,” Catena said.

 

If you’d like more information about how sitting messes with  your metabolism and body fat along with tips on finding a standing desk check this out.

10 Tips For Colds And Flu

Posted in Nutrition & Foods, Wellness

Acupuncture is very helpful in preventing colds and flu and accelerating healing.  Getting treatment is most effective right when you feel it coming on or when you are near the end.  It will also help during the middle of the cold/flu but its much more powerful at the beginning or the end.  Getting a treatment right when you notice the achy shoulders, fatigue, hint of a sore throat or nasal stuffiness will help you kick it before it gets you.

The CDC describes the flu season as the fall and winter months with a peak in February.  However the flu and cold germs are present everywhere year round and getting acupuncture regularly will boost your immunity.

1.  Enjoy some healing broth with fresh grated ginger and sliced scallions.  Bone broth is an ancient East Asian Medicine recipe for healing everything from colds and flu to injuries and post surgical recovery.  Ginger and scallions will help disperse phlegm and warm your system.  If you don’t have the energy to make the broth from scratch, some of the boxed broths aren’t too bad.  I have used the Whole foods organic low sodium broth.  It may not have all the nutrients as cooking the broth down yourself, but when you are sick, it will soothe and nourish you.  Regular consumption of bone broth will enhance your metabolism and overall health.

2.  Stay away from cough drops-even the “natural” ones as the sugar inflames the throat and keeps you coughing (and buying them).  If you need something to soothe your throat, take a teaspoon of raw honey, a dash of lemon and a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger as a tea in warm water.  Raw honey is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral/bacterial and an expectorant.  The ginger is warming and dispersing and will help get rid of the phlegm.  If you really think you want a cough drop, its better to get a piece of hard candy that you actually enjoy and do just that. Often when we are ill, we feel down and are in need of comfort and cough drops are an easy trap.

3.  Fresh pineapple juice contains bromelain, an immune boosting enzyme that helps break down phlegm in the body.  This provides relief especially if you have it sticking to the back of your throat.  But it must be real and fresh, not canned/frozen etc.  Please take the juice at room temperature in small amounts.

4.  Avoid sugar-it causes inflammation.

5.  Get rest.  Now is the time to take care of yourself.

6.  Take Vitamin D daily.  It will boost your immunity and your mood.


7.  Go outside often, even when the weather isn’t great to keep you in tune with the seasons.  This goes a long way to building your immunity and health.

8.  Frequently wash your hands using regular soap.  Anti-bacterial soap reduces your natural immunity.

9.  Stay home from work when you are sick.  This will allow you to get better faster and also avoid spreading the illness to others.  Going to work ill reduces the productivity of everyone else and prolongs your time being sick.

10.  Seasonal acupuncture tune-ups will keep your immune system running smoothly and prevent illness.

Tired of getting sick during the winter months?  To find out how acupuncture can help you,  contact either the Seattle or Anacortes clinic or schedule online.

Group Health PPO Network Expansion Starts Jan 1, 2014.

Posted in Wellness

Merulli Acupuncture is pleased to announce the addition of Group Health PPO plans to the Seattle Clinic.  Access PPO, Options PPO starting Jan. 1, 2014, expands access to contracted providers and offers enhanced benefits when members use providers within designated care systems.

Questions about coverage? Please call my office 206-388-3349; I’m happy to check if your plan has coverage for acupuncture.

Schedule Online

Unwelcome GMO Wheat Plant Found On Farm

Posted in Nutrition & Foods, Research, Wellness

We need to stop GMO all over the world.  I don’t believe you can isolate the location of a GMO or any crop even if you wanted to due to wind, rain and pollination. GMO wheat plants were found on an Oregon farmer’s land that he did not plant.  Many countries oppose GMO crops.  I believe if we allow GMO farming in our country, it will hurt our economy.

Read this article by Agriculture Correspondent Dan Charles of NPR:

 

Genetically modified wheat has been discovered growing in a field in Oregon. GMO wheat is not approved for sale in the U.S. Above, a wheat field in Arkansas.

Genetically modified wheat has been discovered growing in a field in Oregon. GMO wheat is not approved for sale in the U.S. Above, a wheat field in Arkansas.

Danny Johnston/AP

A farmer in Oregon has found some genetically engineered wheat growing on his land. It’s an unwelcome surprise, because this type of wheat has never been approved for commercial planting.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it’s , trying to find out how this wheat got there. The USDA says there’s no risk to public health, but wheat are worried about how their customers in Asia and Europe will react.

In fact, worry about export markets is the main reason why genetically engineered wheat isn’t on the market in the first place.

The biotech company Monsanto did create varieties of wheat that tolerate the weedkiller glyphosate, or Roundup — just as it created “Roundup Ready” corn, soybeans, cotton and canola. It also carried out field trials of this wheat in 16 different states.

Read more…

 

 

Asparagus Lowers Blood Pressure-Research Shows

Posted in Nutrition & Foods, Research

Asparagus lowers blood pressure.  Modern research supports the wisdom of ancient Chinese Medicine.  To encourage you to take advantage of the seasonal bounty, I’ve included a quick and easy recipe below.

Asparagus Reduces High Blood Pressure – New Discovery

13 May 2013

By Health CMI News

New research concludes that dietary intake of asparagus lowers blood pressure. The researchers were able to isolate an active compound found in asparagus that was found to have an antihypertensive effect. An ACE inhibitor was purified and isolated from asparagus. ACE inhibitors, often concentrated into pharmaceutical medications for the treatment of hypertension, cause dilation of the blood vessels which results in lower blood pressure. The researchers note that the ACE inhibitor in asparagus exerts its medicinal effect in the kidneys and that this may preserve the normal function of the kidneys and prevent hypertension.

In a related discovery by the same research team, asparagus intake significantly raised the creatinine clearance rate. This is the rate at which blood plasma is cleared of creatinine and is an indicator of overall kidney health. The research suggests that asparagus has an overall effect of benefitting the kidneys and lowering blood pressure for cases of hypertension. The study was published in the prestigious Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The research builds on a long history of dietetics information demonstrating that deep green colored foods have antihypertensive effects. This concept has its roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The Five Element theory within this system notes that deep green foods often have antihypertensive effects, including green asparagus as noted in this new study.

An emerging trend of noting the relationship between the color of food and its medicinal effects exists in biomedicine. Although an ancient concept within Traditional Chinese Medicine, modern biomedical research now supports many aspects of Chinese Medicine Five Element food color theory. A plethora of new research demonstrates that the yellow-orange coloring from betacarotene found in many foods is indicative of medicinal benefits. Resveratrol, a red-brown coloring found in many foods such as red wine and grapes, has also been linked to important health benefits. These findings coalesce ancient wisdom with modern scientific analysis.

The Healthcare Medicine Institute (HealthCMi) presents Chinese Medicine dietetics and Five Element food theory in detail. HealthCMi live webinars and anytime online courses for acupuncture continuing education CEUs feature a combination of Chinese Medicine dietetics theories with modern biomedical analyses. The professors from HealthCMi present common recipes to resolve specific medical ailments and general health tips on topics such as weight loss, cholesterol reduction, headache elimination, fertility enhancement and the control of high blood pressure with simple recipes and modest changes to dietary intake. Learn more at HealthCMi about these online courses featuring Chinese Medicine dietetics.

Reference:
Matsuda, Sanae, and Yasuo Aoyagi. “Green Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) Prevented Hypertension by an Inhibitory Effect on Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Activity in the Kidney of Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2013).

 

Easy Asparagus Recipe:

Asparagus is very detoxifying and helps to rid the body of stagnant water.  Fresh asparagus is in peak season for flavor and nutrients in the Pacific Northwest right now.

Easy Asparagus Recipe

Gluten and Dairy free
1-2 Pounds Of Fresh Asparagus
2 T Olive Oil
Lemon
Salt & Pepper

Steam asparagus until tender. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice for a savory treat.

Feeling puffy? Save the steaming water and drink it for additional detoxification. Your body will thank you for it.

Enjoy!

 

Acupuncture Helps Fibromyalgia

Posted in Research

By Health CMI

New research concludes that acupuncture reduces pain sensitivity for patients suffering from fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). The study also showed that patients receiving acupuncture had significant reductions in anxiety and depression. Further, the overall quality of life score improved for FMS patients receiving acupuncture therapy.

Acupuncture reduces pain in patients with FMS. The treatment method was the application of five acupuncture points at a rate of once per week. The points were located in areas of discomfort near the occipital bone, rhomboid and trapezius muscles and in the region of the upper chest and lateral epicondyle. The results were published in the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies.

Fibromyalgia is a pain syndrome affecting the soft tissues and often involves sleep disturbances, tenderness at specific points, muscle pain, fatigue and depression. A literal translation of the term is pain of the muscles and fibrous tissues. Fibromyalgia is distinguished from most other forms of pain because it is non-nociceptive. Nociceptive pain involves inflammation and is triggered by pain receptors in the skin, muscles, joints and other tissues. FMS and other non-nociceptive types of pain conditions do not inherently involve inflammation and is a result of a disruption in central processing. Examples of non-nociceptive pain include irritable bowel syndrome, migraine headaches and FMS. It is estimated that FMS affects up to approximately 4% of the US population. In Chinese Medicine, FMS is due to Liver Qi stagnation, Bi syndrome, dampness with Wei Qi  obstruction, Qi deficiency and Yin deficiency. Acupuncture and herbal medicine are commonly used to treat FMS. Biomedical treatments for FMS include anti-depressants, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, sleep drugs, pain medications and nutritional supplements.

More Research
Another recent study published in Clinical Rheumatology concludes that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome. The researchers concluded that acupuncture demonstrates definitive “beneficial effects” in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore also conclude that acupuncture is significantly effective in the treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome in their new research. Other research performed at the prestigious Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester concluded that acupuncture is effective in treating fibromyalgia and showed specific efficaciousness in its ability to reduce pain, fatigue and anxiety.

The mounting evidence suggests that acupuncture is a primary treatment for FMS. Emerging integrative medical clinics within the hospital and general medical system are helping in the delivery of acupuncture services to patients. However, most acupuncturists have individual or family group style medical practices in the US.

Acupuncture Numbers
Currently, there are slightly over 20,000 licensed acupuncturists in the USA. California has the most acupuncturists with a total of 6,682. New York has 1,909 licensed acupuncturists followed by Florida with a total of 1,719. Those numbers are up from 2009 when California had 6,578 acupuncturists, New York had 854 licensed acupuncturists and Florida had only 2,027 licensed acupuncturists. Massachusetts comes in fourth place with a total of 1,048 licensed acupuncturists. Colorado has 893 acupuncturists, Oregon has 830 acupuncturists, Texas has 796 acupuncturists and Washington has 753 acupuncturists. The numbers begin to drop-off at this point with Maryland having 667 acupuncturists, Illinois with 587 and New Jersey with 567 acupuncturists. Many states have under 100 acupuncturists and 6 states do not even have acupuncture licensing laws at all. Acupuncture has been proven to be an important and effective method for the treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome but access to care remains an issue.
References:
Bastos, Jessica Lucia Neves, et al. “Effect of Acupuncture at Tender Points for the Management of Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Case Series.” Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies (2013).

An overview of systematic reviews of complementary and alternative medicine for fibromyalgia. Rohini Terry, Rachel Perry and Edzard Ernst. Clinical Rheumatology
Volume 31, Number 1 (2012), 55-66, DOI: 10.1007/s10067-011-1783-5.

Berman BM, Ezzo J, Hadhazy V, Swyers JP. Complementary Medicine Program, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore 21207, USA. The Journal of Family Practice [1999, 48(3):213-218].

Mayo Clin Proc. 2006 Jun;81(6):749-57. Improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms with acupuncture: results of a randomized controlled trial. Martin DP, Sletten CD, Williams BA, Berger IH. Department of Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota.

Study-Acupuncture Improves Sleep

Posted in Research
Many people fall asleep during their sessions and find acupuncture improves sleep quality even when they are coming in for non-sleep issues.  Getting the proper sleep is essential for our health and well being.

13 January 2013

By Health CMI News

Electrical engineers in a medical research team discovered how acupuncture benefits sleep. They did it by measuring brain activity with EEG (electroencephalography) before, during and after an acupuncture treatment. Results were conclusive, acupuncture significantly increases slow wave activity of the brain relative to fast wave activity in both the frontal and central lobes. This phenomena is known to benefit the quality and duration of sleep.

acuEEGst36The acupuncture point used in this study increases the delta band power density, a known sleep related brain wave band. In addition, acupuncture at this point downregulates alpha and beta band activity relative to delta band activity. The decreases in these bands also enhances sleep quality.

The researchers applied manual acupuncture to humans at acupoint ST36. It was found that this acupoint significantly increases the power ratio index of slow waves to fast waves following an acupuncture treatment. Stainless steel 0.2 mm diameter acupuncture needles were applied to the subjects. The needles were applied and retained for an initial two minutes followed by manual rotation of the needles applied for another two minutes. Measurements were taken throughout the brain of the delta (0 – 4 Hz), theta (4 – 8 Hz), alpha (8 – 13 Hz) and beta (13 – 30 Hz) bands. Notably, there were increases in the delta band power in five major brain areas during and after acupuncture.

The researchers note that “acupuncture at ST36 can induce obvious changes in different EEG rhythms in healthy subjects.” They also note that acupuncture modulations of brain activity resulting from acupuncture point stimulation show “that the  brain plays a key role in acupuncture research.” They also suggest that “cortical electrical activities may be an important mechanism by which acupuncture exerts its complex multisystem effects.”

 

 

acupuncturest36thetaST36 Acupuncture EEG


Reference:
Chin. Phys. B Vol. 22, No. 2 (2013) 028703. Modulation of electroencephalograph activities by manual acupuncture stimulation in healthy subjects: An
autoregressive spectral analysis. Yi Guo-Sheng, Wang Jiang, Deng Bin, Wei Xi-Le, and Han Chun-Xiao.
a)School of Electrical and Automation Engineering, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China
b)Tianjin Key Laboratory of Information Sensing & Intelligent Control