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January 2023 Acupuncture Newsletter

Reflect on Your Health!

 

Reflection is when an image or idea returns to us, such as looking in a mirror, rethinking an event, or reviewing an idea. We can take a closer view and reconsider our original thinking.Reflection has other connotations in acupuncture. Outer appearances reflect inner health, so a well-trained practitioner of acupuncture will observe very different aspects of your appearance than you typically study when you look in the mirror. In acupuncture, bodily observation includes looking at the face, eyes, body type, demeanor, and tongue. Two thousand years ago, when acupuncture and Chinese medicine were in their infancy, there were no X-ray machines or the very sophisticated magnetic imaging of today. These healers and diagnosticians depended on their finely tuned observational skills to assess their patients. Some of those early ideas seem simplistic today, but many elements of diagnosis persist because outer appearances provide clues to a person’s health.The new year is a perfect opportunity to reflect and use that knowledge as a catalyst for change. Acupuncture can help achieve the change you seek as it assists in illness prevention, minimizes aches and pains, relieves stress, improves energy, and helps you find yourself in better balance. This calm and clarity strengthen your resolve as you start the new year with new goals.Additionally, seasonal acupuncture treatments nurture and nourish your kidney Qi, which can greatly enhance the body’s ability to thrive in times of stress and aid in healing, preventing illness, and increasing vitality.Call for your appointment today, and let us help you prepare for the year ahead!

Releasing Stress for a Healthy New Year

The start of the new year is a time of looking forward to the future, setting goals, and putting in motion the steps necessary to achieve them. Moving directly from a busy season immediately to actively working towards achieving goals can create additional stress and pressure to do well. Unchecked stress is often the cause of illness and deterioration of health. Finding a release valve for your stress can help you stay healthy. Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of acupuncture in treating stress, and anxiety, and lowering blood pressure. Acupuncture can help achieve the changes you seek by assisting in illness prevention, stress relief, minimizing aches and pains, improving energy, and finding balance.As a normal part of life, stress enables us to get things done. Left unmanaged, however, stress can lead to emotional, psychological, and even physical problems. Stress causes a disruption in the flow of vital energy, or Qi, through the body. This can throw off the immune system and cause new symptoms or aggravate already troublesome health conditions and, over time, more serious illnesses can develop.Stressful situations that last long can create ongoing low-level stress that puts continual pressure on the nervous system and can cause the overproduction of stress hormones such as cortisol. The extra stress hormones sustained over an extended period may wear out the body’s reserves, leading to fatigue, depression, a weakened immune system, and serious physical and psychological ailments.According to Chinese medicine, stress, frustration, and unresolved anger can play an important part in throwing the immune system off and allowing pathogens to affect the body. Through acupuncture, these energy blockages can be addressed. Acupuncture points can help energy flow smoothly and alleviate not only the symptoms of stress and anxiety but the stress and anxiety itself. Acupuncture improves blood circulation throughout the body, which oxygenates the tissues and cycles out stress hormones like cortisol and other waste chemicals. The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and relaxes the muscles.While it isn’t always possible to remove the external forces causing stress, the ability to effectively deal with stress is a choice. Take time to cultivate the energy you need to handle your stress more skillfully and effectively.If you or someone you know is experiencing stress or a related condition, contact us for more information about how acupuncture can help you regain peace of mind and stay healthy!

Create Lasting Resolve to Reach Your Goals with Acupuncture

Acupuncture can help achieve some common changes people seek as it assists in illness prevention and stress relief, minimizes aches and pains, improves energy, and nurtures balance. This calm and clarity strengthen your resolve as you take the next step in achieving your goals.Here are a few ways that Acupuncture can help you achieve your goals:Improved Quality of LifeIf pain is keeping you from living life to the fullest, acupuncture can help as it has no side effects and can be helpful for all types of pain, regardless of the cause or where it is located. Increasingly, people are looking for more natural approaches to help relieve painful conditions instead of relying on medication. In addition to reducing pain, acupuncture also hastens the healing process by increasing circulation and attracting white blood cells to an injured area.Eliminate StressStress reduction is always on the top ten list for New Year’s resolutions, and for good reason; it is often the cause of illness and deterioration of health. Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in treating stress and anxiety and lowering blood pressure. In addition to acupuncture, Chinese medicine offers a whole range of tools that can be integrated into your life to keep stress in check.Get in ShapeRenewed enthusiasm to exercise to enhance fitness levels, train for a competition, or lose weight can come at a painful price for those who try to do too much too quickly. Recent studies show that acupuncture effectively treats sports injuries such as strains, sprains, musculoskeletal pain, swollen muscles, and shin splints.Lose WeightLosing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you reach your goal weight and maintain it by promoting better digestion, smoothing emotions, reducing appetite, improving metabolism, and eliminating food cravings–all of which can help energize the body, maximize absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, suppress the appetite and reduce anxiety.Call today to see how Acupuncture can help you keep your resolutions and prepare for the year ahead!

In This Issue

  • Reflect on Your Health!
  • Releasing Stress for a Healthy New Year
  • Create Lasting Resolve to Reach Your Goals with Acupuncture
  • The Willpower Connection
  • Stick Out Your Tongue
  • Energy Renewing Ear Massage
  • Https://www.east2westmedicine.com

The Willpower Connection

Is there a body/mind connection to willpower?According to the principles of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, there is. Willpower, or “Zhi,” is said to reside in the kidneys, and the state of the Kidney Qi directly correlates to the fortitude of our willpower.In Chinese medicine, disease prevention begins with a protective layer around the body’s exterior called Wei Qi, or defensive energy. If you catch colds easily, have low energy, and require a long time to recuperate from an illness, your Wei Qi may be deficient.Nourishing Qi can help greatly enhance the body’s ability to thrive in times of stress, aid in healing, prevent illness and increase vitality. According to Chinese medicine, recharging your battery and regenerating vital energy, Qi, will help you live, look and feel your best!

Stick Out Your Tongue

Chinese medicine has used tongue diagnosis for thousands of years. An experienced practitioner can look at your tongue and begin to understand your internal problems, but you can also be aware of the information that your tongue provides.Look for changes in the color of your tongue, teeth marks, shape, and coating. These changes may indicate that something is amiss. A healthy tongue is naturally the same pink-red color as your lips. Note any changes in the shape of your tongue. If it’s too pale, puffy, or red, it may indicate an imbalance.Healthy tongues have a thin white coating. If you see a thicker coating developing, you may be catching a cold or the flu. So if you see changes take precautions, rest, sleep more, keep warm, and call us!

Energy Renewing Ear Massage

Ear massage is an extremely relaxing and effective therapy aimed at reducing stress, promoting well-being, and addressing various health issues.Here is a great ear massage that you can do for yourself or your loved ones:1. Rub, in small circular motions with your thumbs, inside the widest upper part of the ears, holding them from outside with the index and middle fingers.2. Use your index finger to massage inside the smaller crevices if your thumbs don’t fit and along the front of your ear where it attaches to the head.3. Lastly, massage the earlobes by gently pulling them down and making circles with your thumb and index fing

Acupuncture for Anxiety or Panic

Acupuncture and Acute Stress…Adrenalin and Acupuncture.

Jean_Donati_Acupuncture_PanicDid you ever have one of those days….You are sleeping soundly then all of the sudden you are awake.  You look at the clock, and…Oh NOOOooo…What happened to the alarm?  You wake up 15 minutes before you have to leave for work.   It is a pretty upsetting feeling.  You feel rushed and anxious. Am I going to get to work on time?  Your blood pressure is elevated, and you are aggrevated. You yell at the traffic for being slow. It upsets your body and your your energy for the entire day.

This happened to me this morning, so I would like to let you know you what is happening in your body, and what you can do to alleviate those rushed, anxious, and upsetting feelings.  First take a deep breath. What you are experiencing is normal. You woke up late and perhaps were startled.  Your nervous system has kicked in with adrenalin.

Adrenaline, also called epinephrine, is a hormone produced by your adrenal glands.  Adrenaline is known as the “fight or flight” hormone and is released in response to a stressful, exciting, or threatening situation.  Adrenaline enables your body to respond quickly to these situations by enabling the heart to beat faster, the blood-flow to increase to the brain and muscles and stimulates the body to make sugar to use as fuel.

When you experience an “adrenaline rush” there is a perception of a threat that sent to the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for emotional processing.   This signal communicates to the rest of the body through the nervous system.  Symptoms include a boost of energy, rapid breathing, increased heartbeat, and perspiration.  This rapid process allows you to dodge out of harms way quickly and return to safety.  To assist with returning to equilibrium, it is important to allow the body to rest and repair itself.

Acupuncture along with deep breathing and meditation clearly benefits every aspect of the body and can return it to its normally calm state.  There are some acupuncture points to help you with an acute stress reaction or panic attack.  Gently massaging these points can help get you back on track and ease your symptoms and energy.

Shenmen (HT7), also called Spirit Gate, is one of the major points on the heart meridian or energy pathway.  Because it can nourish the blood, calm and cool down internal fire, it is a good point to calm the mind, clear the emotions and help with anxiety, stress, insomnia, agitation, and palpitations. Shenmen, is located at the wrist crease on the radial side of the arm, where your pinky finger is.

Neiguan (PC 6), also called Inner Frontier Gate, goes to the chest and opens it up.  It allows you to breathe easier, stops racing of the heart and palpitations.  It calms your spirit or “shen” and mind, so it is helpful for racing and fragmented thoughts.  It is also a great point to open the chest and the heart, counteracting the contracting energy of anxiety.  This point is also located on the inside of the forearm, about two inches down from the wrist crease, in the middle of the forearm between the two tendons. This point is also good for nausea which can accompany anxiety.

 

Tanzhong, (CV 17), also called Middle of Chest is a very calming point for the mind and heart.  It is helpful to calm the palpitations that come with anxiety.  It opens the chest and relaxes the diaphragm.  It is located in the center of the chest, on the median line just between the nipples at the 4th intercostal space.

 

 

Yongquan, (KD 1), also called Bubbling Spring, calms the mind and clears the brain.  It is a very grounding point for the body, mind and spirit.  Kidney 1 has a strong downward moving energy that helps settle the mind when someone is stuck in their head.    It connects us to the earth and gives us back out footing.  It is located on the sole of the foot approximately 1/3rd the way from toes in the depression when to toes are pointed.

 

So next time you are feeling stressed from whatever reason, remember these calming acupuncture points.  Massaging this points with mild pressure for 15-30 seconds (up to 3-5 minutes) can help reduce anxiety stress and panic and put you back into control.  Take the time to take care of your body mind and spirit.      Jean Donati Acupuncture is here to help ease your nervous system back into calm.  Give us a call 410-984-3700.

Using Acupuncture to Treat Liver & Kidney Health: Why it Works

Using Acupuncture to Treat Liver & Kidney Health: Why it Works

According to the National Institutes of Health, chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects more than 1 in 7 U.S. adults (an estimated 37 million). And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 4.5 million adults have been diagnosed with liver disease. Those are some sobering statistics, but did you know that acupuncture has a proven track record of effectively dealing with kidney and liver disease?  continue reading »

What do the Cupping Marks and Colors Mean?

Acupuncture cupping color mark meaningsCupping is a form of Traditional Chinese medicine where inverted cups made of bamboo, glass, silicone or plastic are placed and inverted over acupuncture points, then placed under suction.  Health benefits include improved circulation, increase in lymphatic drainage, release of toxins, and decrease in pain form conditions such as arthritis, muscle pain, low back pain, neck pain and fibromyalgia.

There are two types of dry cupping.  Dry cupping is where cups are placed over acupuncture points and suction is created which lifts the skin and soft tissues creating a stretch within the muscle and fascia.  In stationary cupping, these cups are left in place.  Generally, a tight sensation is felt around the cupped area.  The cups are left in place for 10-15 minutes.  In gliding cupping, lotion is applied to the area to be cupped and the cups are placed under suction and then glided along the meridians or pathways of energy.  This type of cupping can cover a larger area such as the thighs and back.

Although there are vast benefits of cupping with acupuncture treatments, not everyone is a candidate for cupping.  Those who are physically weak, have sensitive skin, inflamed skin, fever, or who are on blood thinners should not undergo cupping.  Cupping can be used with pregnant women however, the stomach, lower back and specific forbidden points should be avoided.

It is common for cupping to leave small circular marks on the areas where the cups were placed.  These areas are usually painless.  The discolorations are a result of broken blood vessels below the skin surface.  The color indicates the level of blood and Qi stagnation, toxin and dampness in the body.  The pattern and color of the marks reflect the level of stagnation in the area.  For example, the darker the color, the more stagnation present.

Cupping marks are not bruising.  Bruises are made by injury or blunt trauma to the skin surface.  Bruises are painful. The marks made by cupping are caused by suction and works to bring toxins to the surface of the skin. Cupping marks do not cause pain.

People often ask how long the cupping marks will last and if they have any specific meaning.  The coloring of the cupping marks ranges from bright red to a dark purple.  These can last 3 days to a week.  A darker color means that there is more toxins and stagnation in the section of the body that has been treated.  The darker cupping marks can last up to 3 weeks.  Lighter marks that are pink can last for a few hours.  Usually, subsequent cupping treatments will yield lighter marks as the toxins are dissipating from the body.  In the case of an injury, multiple cupping treatments may be needed to rid the body of toxins and pathogens and induce healing of the deeper tissues.

Cupping marks type and color explained

  • Pale cupping marks and cold skin after cupping indicates deficiency, cold or dampness
  • Dark purple cupping marks indicate stagnation and cold
  • Light or bright red spots in the cupping marks indicate Qi and blood deficiency, or Yin deficiency
  • Little dark spots scattered in the cupping mark indicates deep Qi and blood stagnation
  • Skin lines in the cupping marks or itching after cupping indicates wind or dampness
  • Cold or dampness is indicated by water drops in the cup
  • Blisters/bubbles after cupping normally means dampness, accumulated fluids in the tissues, and cold

 

https://longhealthcare.com.au/health-topics/2018/12/12/do-you-know-the-meaning-of-the-different-cupping-marks#:~:text=Pale%20skin%20marks%20after%20cupping,and%20blood%20deficiency%2C%20Yin%20deficiency

Image from https://foundationphysio.com/physiotherapy-treatments/cupping/

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What is Cupping and How Is It Related to Acupuncture? 

Cupping is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) therapy that dates back to ancient Egyptian, Middle Eastern and Chinese cultures as far back as 300A.D.  TCM philosophy believes that pain results from the blockage of Qi, blood, or energy. You have all heard me say in relationship to acupuncture: “Where there’s stagnation, there is pain.  Where there is free flow there is no pain.”  

Cupping, like acupuncture is a method of clearing this blockage to restore the body’s natural flow of energy.  This is beneficial for health promotion, prophylaxis, and treatment of disorders such as back pain, knee pain, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, migraines, as well as high blood pressure.   

Recent researches show that cupping therapy helps to: 

  • Reduce muscle pain  
  • Improve blood circulation, promote cell repair and increase muscle relaxation 
  • Assist the lymphatic system to drain excess fluids and toxins 

Cupping has many musculoskeletal benefits.  It is helpful for chronic lower back pain, neck pain and fibromyalgia.  In addition, digestive symptoms such as bloating, gastric reflux and constipation conditions can be eased with cupping. Overall recovery from cough, asthma and the common cold can be improved with cupping as well as acupuncture. 

In a cupping session, inverted cups made of bamboo, glass, silicone or plastic are applied to the acupuncture points on the body to create suction. The suction of the cups pulls the skin upward as the suction increases. The suction opens up energy pathways in a similar way to acupuncture and is often used in conjunction with acupuncture to clear the energy channels and remove toxins from the body that are responsible for pain and disease. It has been used effectively for pain relief, increasing blood flow, chronic inflammation, enhanced relaxation, and improved quality of life. 

Cupping draws fluid into the area being worked on by the suction it creates.  This causes improved circulation and release of toxins. The discoloration that occurs after cupping is due to broken blood vessels just beneath the skin, much like a bruise.  These marks and their color, are diagnostic of toxins being released to the upper skin layer for the body to disperse. The marks tend to fade within days to a week.   

In the next article I will discuss the different types of cupping, coloration of cupping marks and their meanings.  Stay Tuned! 

 

Sources 

Cleveland Clinic https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/16554-cupping 

Harvard Health Letter https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/what-exactly-is-cupping-2016093010402) 

WebMD “Cupping” https://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/cupping-therapy 

https://www.thomsontcm.sg/articles/what-do-your-cupping-colours-tell-you/#:~:text=These%20cupping%20marks%20are%20discoloration,of%20stagnation%20in%20that%20area. 

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