Best Cities to Practice Acupuncture

The best cities to practice acupuncture in the United States are those cities where there are more jobs than others in this field, and where the general attitude towards the healing arts is more positive. These cities also tend to have better employment rates in general and more amenities that make them great places to live. If you don’t live in one of the best cities to practice acupuncture you don’t necessarily need to move; there are opportunities to advance in this career all over the country and around the world, so you can make a niche for yourself anywhere. But if you’re already thinking about moving to start your career, any of these U.S. cities would probably be your best bet:

Los Angeles: The healing arts and oriental medicine are very popular in LA, so it’s a great place to start your career. There are also many schools here where you can train to become an acupuncturist.

Miami: With a large population of seniors, many of whom are newly retired baby boomers who may look at oriental medicine in a much more positive light than previous generations, you have a large base of potential clientele in this sunny Southern city.

New York: This is a center for all types of medicine and industry, so even though the population is massive and competition is high, this is an excellent place to be for a career in acupuncture.

Portland: You will have no problems finding clients in this environmentally friendly and forward thinking city.

San Diego: This is another hub for healing arts in Southern California, where therapeutic arts and healing medicine have a place to stay.

San Francisco: The City by the Bay is very hospitable to practitioners of acupuncture and the healing arts. There are a number of schools here, and it’s a great place to start your career if you can find a base of clientele.

Santa Fe: New Mexico attracts many people who are interested in alternative medicine, and the cost of living is still fairly low in cities like Santa Fe compared to other locations listed here.

Seattle: This is another hub for healing arts on the West Coast.

Treating Phobias With Acupuncture – Is There Any Point?

Many people may find it very difficult to believe that acupuncture is considered by some to be able to help treat phobias. This article investigates if there is any point in using acupuncture for phobias. Firstly let’s compare the difference between a phobia and a fear.

Phobia Definition

Originating from the Greek word Phóbos, which means either a fear or a morbid fear, a phobia falls into the scope of anxiety disorders and is different to a fear. A phobia is an irrational fear and is defined as:

"the manifestation of intense fears towards specific situations and objects, which in reality, produces minimal to no threat."

Fear Definition

Fear on the other hand is built into our natural survival response and is linked to the fight-or-flight response. All human beings and animals possess this instinct and it is crucial when dealing with a potential danger. It can help us escape or fight the danger that does exist in our current reality.

The Brain Plays A Starring Role

So fear is based in reality whereas a phobia is based only in the person’s perception. There are plenty of phobias that are commonly held amongst numerous people and there are also many different genres of phobias. Phobias can be social or specific. Yet like other types of anxiety and fear we know that there are several parts of the person’s brain which play key roles in the production of phobias, anxieties and fears.

Scientists study this starring role in order to understand how phobias and anxieties are created by the brain, so that they can be treated, as well as learning about the generation of new cells during a human’s life. Then it could be possible to stimulate new neuron growth for people with certain conditions, such as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

Amygdala And Phobias

Part of the limbic system, the amygdale is shaped like an almond and lies deep in the brain. It is thought to process and interpret incoming signals, trigger anxiety and fear responses to the rest of the brain and store emotional memories. Therefore it is currently believed that it plays a role in phobias such as spiders and flying.

Hippocampus And Phobias

It is the hippocampus that has the job of encoding threatening events into memories. Some studies have shown that the size of the hippocampus is smaller in those who served in violent combat, as well as child abuse victims.

Acupuncture And The Brain

As the brain plays a huge part in creating phobias and other types of anxiety disorders, if acupuncture can’t treat the brain then how could it have any real affect on a phobia?

Acupuncture can treat the brain as the acupuncture points relating to the brain can be found on the human body. So in other words without taking any drugs, acupuncture can stimulate a reaction in the relevant parts of the brain to start the healing process.

It is considered that acupuncture can have a positive effect on brain chemistry. At the beginning of a treatment the needles stimulate blood flow locally, which has the knock on effect of an increase in both nutrients and immune cells. During acupuncture endorphins are also released.

The treatment will generally strengthen the nervous system as well as the immune and hormonal system. It will bring the entire system back into a more balanced and healthier state of being.

Experienced qualified acupuncturists will take the time to diagnose their patients using a range of TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) diagnostic tools and during this time will consider other relevant acupuncture points to needle. The root cause of the phobia plus any other knock on effects will be treated.

CIGNA Dental Insurance – An Honest Review

CIGNA Dental Insurance is available in six different levels of coverage. Depending on what your employer offers you can choose from a plan that reimburses you a portion of your dental costs to an all inclusive plan that does not even have a deductible. These dental plans are offered in addition to CIGNA healthcare plans and are currently only available through an employer sponsored plan. To receive this benefit you must contact your human resource department to request this type of coverage.

The best plan offered by CIGNA dental insurance is the DHMO plan. With this plan you choose a dentist from their network of providers and use them exclusively for your dental work. There are no deductions and no yearly maximum for services. Most of the preventive services do not have co-pays and referrals are not necessary for orthodontic care. You will receive two yearly visits and cleanings, x-rays and pediatric dental services for no extra cost. Enrollee’s will also receive a membership into CIGNA Healthy Rewards program. This program will save members up to 65% off of other non traditional health services such as acupuncture and weight management programs.

CIGNA dental insurance also offers a dental savings plan for those who do not have full dental coverage. The CIGNA Plus Savings Plan is not insurance coverage but rather a membership in a savings plan. By providing your membership card to any of the 76,000 registered dentists on the plan you will enjoy deep discounts on all your dental work. These discounts are pre negotiated through CIGNA and can save the individual a considerable sum over a short period of time. Since this is a savings plan there are no insurance forms to fill out or deductibles to pay. You also do not have to worry about preexisting conditions, frequency of visits or a maximum amount of benefits for the year.

Acupuncture Points – Cure Depression With Self Acupressure

Depression is a serious illness and about one in ten people will experience depression at some point. Depression can affect people of any age, including children. A lot times we don’t necessarily realize that we are suffering from depression, but it disturbs our normal lives if it is ignored for too long.

There are some common signs of depression, if you can identify with several of them and they won’t easily go away, the chances are that you are more or less suffering from depression.

1. Having sleeping problems, sleepless or sleep too much.

2. Having feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and nothing will get better.

3. Significant weight loss or weight gain, eating too much or too little.

4. Having trouble concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things.

5. Loss of interest in daily activities, even the ones you found very interesting and easy to accomplish before.

6. Being irritable and bad-tempered than usual.

7. Feeling lack of energy, fatigue, sluggish, heavy all the time.

8. More physical pains, such as headaches, back pain, stomach pain etc.

9. Strong feeling of self-criticizing, having thoughts that life is not worth living (this one is serious, seek help immediately!)

10. Experience of lowered sexuality.

Besides looking for professional helps, there are two acupuncture points you can use to relieve and cure depression yourself, they are Nei-guan points (PC 6) and Tai-chong points (LR 3).

Nei-guan points are located on the center lines of the arms on the inner sides, 3 cun (the width of your thumb at the mid joint is one ‘cun’, the width of middle three fingers at the mid joints is two ‘cun’, the width of the four fingers without the thumb at mid joints is three ‘cun’.) from the wrist lines. They belong to the pericardium meridians and are responsible for heart health, mentality normalization and psychological wellbeing.

Tai-chong points belong to the liver meridians and are responsible for liver health, alleviating irritability, clearing mind and stabilizing emotions.

Pressing and massaging these two points on both sides for 5 to 10 minutes each everyday and whenever feeling down will lift your spirit and recharge your body and mind with energy over the time. If you can massage Tai-chong points after a hot water foot bath before going to bed in the night, the result will be greater.

In additional, there is an acupuncture point called Tan-zhong point (CV 17), it is a very important point for enhancing mood. Tan-zhong point belongs to the conception vessel and is the midpoint between the centers of the breasts. It collects chest energy and provides energy for the heart. It has close relationship with our emotions. Whenever you feel sad, upset or angry, massage this point, it will calm you down and give you peaceful feelings.

Massage Tan-zhong point in a clock wise direction with 4 fingers closed or rub this point downwardly. 100 times or 2 to 3 minutes daily is an easy and good practice. There are many other benefits of massaging Tan-zhong point: improving breast health (especially for women); easing or curing asthma, cough, congested chest, fast heart beats etc.

Finally, having a positive attitude towards life is always the key to stay away from depression. Be more tolerant and forgiving, listen to peaceful and joyful music, talk to cheerful friends, participate meaningful activities and let go of things that you can’t control.

Disclaimer: This is not intended to be a substitute for personal medical care and advice. You should always consult a healthcare professional about any health condition before starting any therapy and health program.

Clean Needle Technique for Acupuncture

Clean Needle Technique

Infection Control – Practitioner’s Hygiene

Physical cleanliness includes not only adequate hand washing but it also includes such things as wearing clean clothes (i.e. lab coat), long hair being tied back, and nails being kept clean and short. Cuts/abrasions should be covered by and band-aid and/or glove. Do not work with an upper respiratory condition.

Hand Washing –

A practitioner should wash their hands before and after each patient contact. Soap with an antibacterial agent is preferred and strongly recommended. Clean paper towels should be used to dry the hands. When washing your hands, friction and running water are very important to help remove surface germs from the epidermal layer of the skin.

Germ Theory –

If a sterile object touches a non-sterile surface, the object is no longer sterile. All needles must be properly sterilized for needle insertion. The shafts of the needle, especially longer needles, can be stabilized with a sterile cotton ball or sterile gauze. If the needle touches any object (i.e. pants, clothing, bed) or if it is dropped on the floor, the needle is considered contaminated and should not be used. All used alcohol swabs and needle packaging must be disposed of from the clean area. Suction cups that come in contact with the skin require either sterilization or disinfection prior to each use.

Packaging –

All needles that are packaged should be checked for sterilization expiration dates. Any package that is wet, torn or expired is no longer considered sterile.

Types of Sterilization

1. Steam

2. Boiling

3. Dry heat sterilization

4. Chemical sterilization

Disinfection

3 Types of Disinfection

1. Halogen – includes chlorine and

2. Phenol – pure phenol is derived from coal tar

3. Alcohol – two types of alcohol: Isopropyl and Ethyl

Antisepsis

There are 3 types of Antisepsis

1. Iodine

2. Alcohols

3. Hexachlorophenes

Iodine is a popular antiseptic, and it is used in concentrations of 70%-90%. Be careful with using iodine, as it can leave permanent stains on clothing. Isopropyl Alcohol is an effective antiseptic as well. Always keep lids of alcohol bottles closed to keep the 100% concentration. When swiping the skin, the cotton ball or swab should be applied in one fluid wipe. Do not swipe the skin in a back and forth or circular motion. Alcohol should not be applied to mucous membranes or open wounds.

Needle Disposal

All needles must be discarded in proper sharps containers according to Public Health Regulation. Alcohol swabs or cotton balls should be discarded into the trash unless they are completely soaked in blood.

Iatrogenic Complications

1. Forgotten Needle: There have been instances where a practitioner has forgotten to take a needle out. Practitioners should try to keep a needle count. This may reduce the risk of forgotten needles. A forgotten needle could cause possible harm/injury.

2. Broken Needle: Very thin needles (> 34 gauge) are more susceptible to break during insertion. A broken needle with the shaft visible above the skin may be safely removed in a sterile clamp, but if a needle has broken and it is beneath the surface of the skin, it will require a medical referral.

3. Locked or Stuck Needle: Locked or a stuck needle can result from muscle spasms or if the patient moves. The result in a stuck needle because the muscle tissue around the needle spasms and locks the needle in place. When this occurs the needle should never be forcibly removed. You must stop the electro-acupunctoscope and allow the patient to rest. Gently massage the area or meridian of the stuck needle helps with the release of the needle. If the stuck needle is a result of the patient moving, the patient should assume original position then the needle can be taken out.

Pneumothorax

It is one of the most commonly reported complications of Acupuncture in the Medical Literature. A pneumothorax occurs when the surface of the lung is punctured, allowing air to leave from the lung into the pleual cavity. The most common point involved is GB21 and points around the neck and shoulder girdle. The best prevention is the use of correct needle depth and angle.

Blood Vessel

Puncture of small superficial veins is not uncommon. When this occurs, one must apply pressure on the affected site for about one minute. The Practitioner should always inform the patient of a hematoma. Arterial puncture is more serious. You must apply firm pressure for about 3-5 minutes for bleeding of a small artery.

Organ Puncture

All organs are susceptible to being punctured if needled incorrectly. The organs that are more susceptible to being punctured are the bladder, kidneys, enlarged spleen or liver. And the peritoneal cavity. If one is needling lower abdominal points, as the patient to empty their bladder.

Spinal Cord Trauma

Loss of sensation or movement can result from a needle that penetrates the spinal cord.

Neuritis

Inflammation of the nerve can result from needling directly over nerves or from needling using strong electric stimulation. If the nerve is inflamed, the patient could experience numbness, electrical sensation or motor weakness.

Infection

Allergic Dermatitis

Signs and symptoms include redness of skin, an itching/burning sensation, and pain or discomfort at the site of insertion. Acupuncture needles containing nickel and chromium have been known to cause allergic dermatitis.

Miscellaneous Infections

Miscellaneous infections that can occur, include septicemia, osteomylitis, bacterial endocarditis, meningitis and hepatitis. The only methods of prevention for these conditions are the use of sterile needles and identification of high-risk patients.

Other Complications or Side Effects

1. Nausea – nausea may be experienced by the patient if strong parasympathetic stimulation occurs during needling. Needles should be withdrawn immediately if nausea or vomiting persist.

2. Normal Side Effects – You will often hear comments such as “I feel light-headed” or “mild disorientation” or “euphoria”. These are all normal side effects of acupuncture. Sometimes the patient may also feel cold with prolonged needle retention (more than 20-30 minutes).

Contraindications to Treatment

People who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, those with an empty stomach, those who are emotionally unstable or those who have just finished physical exertion should not be treated with acupuncture.

Contraindications of Electro-acupuncture

When using the electro-acupunctoscope, the current should never cross the back or the chest. The two branches of the same electrode should always be on the same side of the patient’s body. Electro-acupuncture is contraindicated during pregnancy and in those patients with any type of cardiac pacemaker.

Pregnancy

Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends against needling during any asymptomatic, normal pregnancy. If there are symptoms, needling specifically towards the symptom is allowed.

Electrical Stimulation & Acupuncture

Waveform/Frequency/Intensity

Specifications for model AWQ-104E

• Pulse Shape: Biphasic Rectangular Wave

• Pulse width: 350 uS at X1, 40us at X10

• Pulse rate (frequency): 1-120Hz at X(1) 10-1200Hz at X(10)

• Wave form: adjustable, dense-disperse, intermittent

• Output current (intensity): 0-18mA (Lo) 0-40mA(Hi)

• Channel: 4

• Point detector

Manipulation

• Make sure that you examine the electro-acupunctoscope before each use.

• Insert the needle (with metal handle) and get Qi sensation

• Make sure all the knobs are turned to zero before hooking the electro-acupunctoscope to the needles.

• Connect the electrical stimulator with needles.

• Turn power on.

• Adjust the electro-acupunctoscope to the appropriate waveforms and frequency

• Adjust the intensity to a comfortable level.

• If intensity “Hi-Lo”switch, or frequency “1-10″switch, or polarity need to be changed, the output intensity (and frequency sometime) should be turned down to zero.

• Treatment should last 15-20min

• Make sure all the knobs to zero before turning off the power and take away the conducting wire.

Notes:

• 2 needles complete a circuit

• Connect negative end to primary point, positive end to secondary point

Waveforms

Dense wave (continuous)

High frequency: 50-100 pulses per second

Function and indications:

Inhibit sensory nerves and motor nerves

Relieve pain, calms the mind, relieve spasm of the muscles

Disperse /Sparse wave (continuous)

Low frequency: 2-5 pulses per second

Function: Induce the contraction of muscles, and enhance the tension of muscle and ligament.

Indication: injury of muscle, ligament and joints.

Dense-disperse wave

Disperse wave and dense wave appear alternately, each last about 1.5 s. Prevent the body’s adaptation

Function:

Relieve pain, improve function of the organs, improve qi and blood circulation, improve nourishment of tissues, reduce inflammation

Indication: Pain, trauma, sprain, arthritis, sciatica, facial paralysis, weakness of muscles, etc.

Intermittent wave

A wave appears on and off rhythmically. Interval: 1.5s

Function: Stimulate the muscles

Indication: Paralysis.

Precautions/Contraindications

• Turn up the intensity of the electro-acupunctscope gradually so we can avoid incidences such as muscle contraction, broken needle and bent needle resulting from increased intensity.

• Number one priority is to keep the patient comfortable at all times.

• Mild stimulation is required when applying electro-acupuncture near the spine and brain stem.

• When applying electro-acupuncture on chest and back area in the region of the heart, do not connect points across two sides of the body to avoid the current passing through the heart.

• Do not apply stimulation in the region of the heart.

• Do not apply stimulation to patients with pacemakers or other electronic implants.

• Use electro-acupuncture cautiously for patients have heart diseases, seizure, and pregnant women.

• Electro-acupuncture should be used cautiously for patients who are aged or weak.

Disease treatment

Advantages

1. Better for nerve related problems

2. Stimulation is more measurable than manual

3. Many points can be stimulated at the same time (manual can stimulate only one at a time)

4. Stimulation can last longer. A typical treatment is usually 20 minutes. If you are stimulating manually, you usually only stimulate for a couple of minutes at the most.

• Points are selected in pairs

• Usually unilaterally

(Pair on same side left or right Do not cross from one side to another as that may interfere with heart action)

Sadness, Grief, Anger, Resentment – How Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Help

In life there are many genuine reasons to grieve, to feel sad, to get angry or to feel resentful. The death of a loved one, the loss of a job, being disregarded in your work or personal life, the ongoing challenges of the material world that we live in, not feeling fulfilled, dysfunctional relationships, broken relationships, the loss of a pet… the list is almost endless.

What makes the situation even more difficult is that in today’s society we are often under so much stress that the emotion is not given permission to vent or surface properly, which can lead to other difficult emotions and stronger feelings of sadness, grief, anger etc. and it is a self perpetuating situation.

A Look At Sadness, Grieving & Western Medicine

If you are sad or grieving and you live in a "western civilised country" then you may consider going to a doctor. Friends and family may be supportive, but as the emotion/s persists you and your support group may feel there is no better option. In many cases, depending on how the patient expresses these emotions, the doctor may decide to prescribe anti-depressants to help them.

There may be some cases where as a temporary measure this can appear to help, and unfortunately many other cases where it is the slippery slope to a dependency on prescription drugs.

Of course there are also doctors who may recommend counselling or some form of talk therapy, to give the patient the opportunity to deal with and vent the emotion/s.

Regardless of the route that is chosen, Western medicine does not recognise that certain emotions are linked to specific organs, and can therefore have either a detrimental effect or a balancing effect, depending on the degree and type of emotion experienced.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Recognises Relationships Between Emotions And Organs

However traditional Chinese medicine does recognise the relationship between emotions and organs, and it is an integral aspect of how both traditional Chinese acupuncturists and herbalists practice.

Even if you have no interest in going to a traditional Chinese medical practitioner, I have found that even by observing shifts in general well being, when you understand the inter-relationships between emotions and organs, can give some helpful indications of how to begin re-balancing these imbalances.

For example, doing something creative that you enjoy can give you these type of signals. Walking in nature can also do the same, as can reading something enriching. These are only a handful of examples of potentially balancing activities. Please note that although these are helpful, it would be highly recommended to visit a good practitioner who will help you re-balance thoroughly.

In traditional Chinese Medicine there are 7 emotions which are:

1. Anger

2. Anxiety

3. Fear

4. Fright

5. Grief

6. Joy

7. Pensiveness

Each of these is associated to a different organ or organs. Let’s look very briefly at what these are.

1. Anger which encompasses anger as we know it, as well as resentment, frustration and irritability is linked to the liver.

2. Anxiety is connected to the lungs.

3. Fear or perceived fear is linked to the kidneys.

4. Fright is a sudden experience that will initially affect the heart but over time as the fright converts into a conscious fear, then it will also affect the kidneys.

5. Grief has a direct connection to the lungs and if it passes the stage of normal initial grief and manifests into chronic grief, then it may weaken the lungs.

6. Joy is related to the heart. In traditional Chinese medicine the emotion of joy refers to an agitated overexcited state.

7. Pensiveness in TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) refers to over thinking or too much mental stimulation, which relates to the spleen.

These short snippets barely touch on the relationships, which are rather complex and also encompass the five elements (wood, earth, fire, metal and water). However my intention is to introduce the subject at this time, and to examine it in terms of the difficult emotions of sadness and grief, which is illustrated in the following case study.

A Case Study – Grief, Sadness, Stress, Anger And Resentment

A patient of Dr. Jingduan Yang, who is a fourth generation doctor of Chinese medicine, a board certified psychiatrist and a contributor to the Huffington post, is a good case study of grief, sadness, anger, resentment and stress.

This patient, whom he calls "Nancy", a woman of 30, had been suffering with lower abdomen pain for 3 months, which got worse after drinking cold drinks or eating oily food. A doctor she had attended had prescribed her medication which attacked the symptoms but not the cause, after not being able to discover any physical signs of infection, cancer, inflammation or other tangible condition.

However upon attending Dr. Jingduan Yang, it became apparent that her symptoms were indeed her friends and were desperately trying to tell her something important. "Nancy" had been ignoring the grief of losing a long term friend, which was combined with five years of stress of almost constant relocation and professional pressure.

A difficult routine, eating habits that were not conducive to a balanced life and health, married with grief, sadness, anger and resentment were brought back into balance by a combined holistic approach, which incorporated a course of acupuncture, herbal remedies, meditation, qi gong, and improved dietary and eating habits. This lady was helped to re-balance, as well as understanding the messages which her symptoms were giving and taking part in practices which gave her back more responsibility over her own health.

Grief and sadness are recognised in Chinese medicine to weaken the normal energy flow (qi) of the lungs as well as the large intestines.

Anger and resentment (a form of anger) are recognised to create blockages of energy (qi) and blood in the liver and gallbladder channels. In turn this can result in pain, mood swings, indigestion, insomnia and dysmenorrhea.

This is one case study of hundreds of thousands of studies that traditional Chinese practitioners have all around the world. Even if you feel sceptical about trying TCM, remember it has, and continues to help millions of people deal with the root cause of their imbalances and not just the symptoms. It is a great way to maintain a healthy body, mind and spirit. It can help you understand and deal with your emotions before they become chronic, and can help you re-discover parts of yourself that became drowned in pools of stress and chronic emotions.

If you have been feeling any or some of these emotions, it can be a great relief to deal with them with the aid of a good practitioner.

Top 3 Marketing Tools for Acupuncturists

Commitment and focus to your passion in acupuncture is important when it comes to making your practice a success. But some practitioners fail to understand that marketing is likewise just as important. It is challenging how to build and maintain a thriving acupuncture practice.

Most acupuncturists excel with their practice but the problem is they were never taught the right ways to market their acupuncture practice. Basically, you have to get that exposure for your practice and it is essential that you have the right approach and systems in place for you to be able to fully leverage your time and ensure that your current clients and potential customers get the best of what you can offer with your acupuncture practice.

But sometimes, your marketing approach isn’t exactly what you had expected. You have invested generous amount for your advertising and marketing campaigns only to find out that your efforts were fruitless because there was little or no return of advertising investment. And you’re back to step one which is a bit difficult now because your perception in marketing doesn’t actually work for this kind of business venture and career.

Here are three of the most common tools to get that niche in the world of marketing for potential clients for your acupuncture clinics:

1. The contents of your advertising or marketing campaigns is very important because marketing is not just an art, it is a science. Being creative is an incentive with regards to creating brochures, business cards, websites, and all the other marketing tools. But you have to understand that people doesn’t care about you or your practice per se; they care about what you can do to help them. That’s what you are there for anyway.

2. Getting your client’s testimonials is a must for marketing your acupuncture practice. This is one tool in marketing approaches that will make you credible with potential clients and retaining your current patients. A video or written testimonial is very powerful because this is another person talking about your services and practices thus making it more convincing.

3. Referral is another sure way to get customers into your doorstep. This just means that your potential client has already been sold on you and your practice. This is somewhat similar to testimonials in the sense that a third party is speaking of your credibility on your behalf.

You have to remember that marketing; may it be online or the conventional way, is very important to any business especially with acupuncture practice. Improve on your marketing tools and approaches. Potential clients can double their numbers and retention of your current patients will be high.

Do’s and Don’ts of Acupuncture Treatment

Success with acupuncture therapy is not a forgone conclusion. Below are the things that I advise my acupuncture patients to DO or to NOT DO in order to maximize the benefits of acupuncture treatment.

DO…

•Have a little something in your stomach during the treatment

•Let the acupuncturist know if you’ve had alcohol, tobacco or caffeine (as these substances change your diagnostic signs)

•Wear loose-fitting clothing whenever possible

•Arrive 15 minutes early for your appointment and avoid rushing

•Urinate before your appointment and before you get into the treatment room

•Be prepared to fill out paperwork

•Be prepared to be in the clinic for at least 1 hour, with you on the table for a minimum of 30 minutes of needle retention time

•Try to relax as much as possible during the treatment

•Turn off your cell phone during the treatment

•Quit smoking cigarettes as they are working against your ability to heal

•Call with 24-hours notice of cancellation or schedule change

•Think of realistic goals to set for the course of acupuncture (I would consider 50% improvement in pain/symptom level and/or 50% improvement in function level to be “realistic” for a course of 6-10 treatments)

•Pay close attention to:

-If and/or how your pain/symptom has changed (decreased or increased)

-How long your pain/symptom changed

-Whether the pain has moved, changed in quality or frequency

-Whether you got no change, slight, medium, good or great relief or increased pain

DO NOT…

•Expect to multitask during your treatment

•Move body parts with needles in them

•Come in with an empty stomach or immediately after a large meal

•Over-exert yourself (physically, mentally or emotionally) after the treatment

•Consume alcohol (or other toxic substances) on the day of your treatment

•Make movements, take actions or engage in activities that will exacerbate your pain during the entire course of treatment

•Swim or bathe for 1 hour following the acupuncture treatment

Many of these suggestions are designed to preserve your safety during and after an acupuncture treatment. An example would be swimming or bathing after acupuncture. Why not take a dip in a public pool within one hour of your treatment? We just put a bunch of microscopic holes in your skin! We are trying to prevent an infection from occurring.

Some suggestions allow the practitioner to come to an accurate diagnosis. If you drink a cup of coffee just before an acupuncture treatment, it will likely stain your tongue and tongue coat a different color than it would be otherwise. This could potentially throw off the acupuncturist’s diagnosis. It most certainly will increase your heart rate. Because we rely on tongue and pulse diagnosis techniques it should be clear why we would want you to avoid it just before your treatment. Additionally, caffeine increases cortisol firing and could increase the pain you feel from needle insertion.

Korean Body Type Acupuncture – 8 Constitution Medicine

Eight Constitution Medicine is a completely new medical paradigm and has cured intractable and previously incurable diseases. It was first presented to the world in 1965 by Dowon Kuon, a world renowned acupuncturist that is currently treating cancer patients and conducting research at Jesun Acupuncture Clinic and Dawnting Cancer Research Institute in South Korea. His findings have stayed true after 47 years and 1 million plus clinical cases: all human beings regardless of gender or race can be classified into eight different human individualities or constitutions.

Each constitution has dynamic associations between internal organs. Some people are born with lungs that are strong but with a weaker liver. Others entered this world with weak lungs yet have strong functioning livers. Additional weak/strong pairs are: kidneys and pancreas, stomach and bladder, large intestine and gallbladder. Dr. Kuon refers to this state as ‘suitably unbalanced’. Maintaining this state optimizes the immune function of the human body. So when a person’s strong internal organ becomes overly strong or a weak one deteriorates, his body can succumb to illness.

If this person sought treatment in Eight Constitution Medicine for his illness, the state of their internal organs at birth would dictate their treatment. It would be completely personalized from someone else who may have the same illness because their constitutions would be totally different. By identifying the weaker internal organs at birth, it is also that much easier to understand the cause of an illness.

The idea is currently gaining ground of focusing on the cause of a disease rather than just treating the symptoms. While Oriental Medicine has operated under such theories for thousands of years, Eight Constitution Medicine elegantly connects the physiology and pathology of each constitution and its twelve internal organs (Liver, Lungs, Kidney, Large intestine, Small Intestine, Gallbladder, Stomach, Heart, Urinary Bladder, Pancreas, Pericardium, San Jiao). It is also complete in addressing what elements outside of the body such as the consumption of foods would optimize each constitution.

One easy to understand application of these findings is in the treatment high cholesterol. The typical one size fits all approach is reducing red meat consumption and increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables. However, over 90% of cholesterol is generated in the liver and so the impact of foods eaten is actually minimal. With Eight Constitution Medicine, the focus is in balancing the internal organ functions so that they are at optimal levels and performing appropriately for the body.

Acupuncture Weight Loss? Plus 5 Step Weight Loss Plan

I remember back in my senior year of high school – my best friend since 5th grade was living in France. He wrote that they didn’t like Americans much. “They think we’re all fat,” he said. With his own skinny frame, of course, he confounded their belief.

But, he added a funny, or perhaps ironic capstone to the issue. “I went to a store, and they were selling statues of these fat people, and, at the base of each one was written, ‘American.'”

Obesity is not only an American problem. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it’s a global problem. They call it globesity. Parodoxically, their understanding of this problem began with their original mission to eliminate hunger and malnutrition. We live in a world where many have nothing to eat, and many eat too much. From 1995 to 2000, the number of obese adults worldwide mushroomed from 200 million to 300 million. That’s a 50% increase in just 5 years!

What is Obesity, and What is Overweight?

Overweight means an excess of body weight. This excess weight may be muscle, bone, fat, and/or body water. Obesity refers specifically to an abnormally high proportion of body fat. You can be overweight without being obese – for example, a bodybuilder or other highly-muscled athlete. But many people who are overweight are also obese.The main way to determine whether you are overweight or obese is with the body mass index (BMI). It doesn’t directly measure body fat, and it’s not gender specific, but it does give you a pretty reliable estimation.

To find your BMI, divide your weight (in kilograms) by your height in meters squared. Yep, for the math-challenged, that’s complex, so I’ll give you a website that will figure it out for you, the National Institute’s of Health BMI calculator (http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/). This will very quickly tell you if you are normal, overweight, or obese, and it does all the calculating and metric conversions for you!

Overweight is defined as a BMI above 25 (including those above 30 BMI, too), and obese is a BMI above 30. So, all obese people are overweight, but not all overweight people are obese.

The Obesity Epidemic

Obesity isn’t just about not feeling good or having trouble getting dates…

* It leads to more than 300,000 premature deaths each year in the United States. 90,000 are preventable cancer deaths. (CDC)

* Severely obese men die 13 years sooner than men of normal weight (JAMA).

* As a killer in America, obesity is second only to tobacco. (CDC)

The Weight Loss Industry

* Spending: Americans spend between $40-50 billion per year to lose weight.

* Results: I haven’t seen any recent news that Americans are getting any thinner – have you?

* Conclusion: What people are doing isn’t working. If we want different results, we have to try a different solution.

Acupuncture Weight Loss: Fantasy, or Fact?

* Fantasy or Fact? As a well-trained and fairly conservative Chinese medicine practitioner, I had assumed that acupuncture for weight loss was a marketing fad and a patient fantasy.

* Evidence: But while researching my upcoming book Chinese Medicine: A Practical Guide to Optimal Healing, I found some surprisingly positive information that changed my mind.

Chinese Medicine’s Collective Clinical Data on Acupuncture Weight Loss

Chinese Medicine has thousands of years of clinical experience. This collective data not as convincing as randomized controlled trials are, but it does contain truth – it’s imperfect but still valid and important.

A U.S. government study in the 80’s concluded that 85% of western medicine is based on clinical experience, not on research. (Office of Technology Assessment of the Congress of the United States, The Impact of Randomized Controlled Trials on Health Policy and Medical Practice, Background Paper OTA-BP-H-22. Also see Michael Millenson’s book, Demanding Medical Excellence)

There is good Chinese Medicine research in Taiwan, Australia, and Europe that gets ignored by American scientists and media. Much research in Chinese has not even been translated into English.

Seven Studies of Acupuncture for Weight Loss

How it works: By enhancing the function of two neuroendocrine pathways that regulate many bodily processes, including metabolism.

What it does:

* Lowers body weight, body fat, insulin levels, and lipid levels in the blood

* Decreases excessive appetite and makes it easier to satisfy your hunger with less food.

* Decreases menopausal weight gain

* In one study, acupuncture took off 10 pounds in 2 months – that translates to 60 lbs in a year!

* Combined with diet control, and aerobic counseling it not only takes off the pounds and body fat, but keeps them off, especially if you’re diligent with their exercise.

(See references at end of article for the research)

Ephedra misuse and mislegislation

Ephedra is a Chinese herb for colds and coughs. It has been misused to increase metabolism, and this misuse has caused numerous deaths. As a result, the FDA is considering a total ban on ephedra products. We can blame two major things:

1. Supplement companies that care more about your money than your health (no, not all of them are that way, but some of them are, especially the ones that market weight loss formulations).

2. The idea that you can medicate yourself safely with herbs – self-medication of any kind is risky. Self-medication with herbs is off the radar, and people generally think they can do it safely. The ephedra debacle is an example of how dangerous it can be.

Traditionally, Chinese herbs are given in formulas (not singly), which is safer and more personalized. They’re prescribed by a Chinese medicine practitioner who diagnoses your specific imbalances first. Ephedra would never be given for weight loss, but only for certain kinds of colds and coughs, and only to people whose body’s can handle it.

No traditional Chinese herbs should be outlawed without allowing Chinese medical practitioners to continue to use them traditionally.

Food Cravings

* Problem #1 (Enzyme Deficiency): The foods you crave depending on your personal imbalances. Modern digestive science explains that when your body can’t digest a food, you crave more of it – you’re not getting what you need from it. This lead to a cycle of craving and overeating the exact food you can’t digest.

* Problem #2 (Low Blood Sugar): Another vicious cycle happens when you can’t digest complex carbs, so your blood sugar is low, so you eat simple carbs that raise your blood sugar which raises insulin, which lowers your blood sugar again, and your stuck eating donuts and feeling horrible.

* Solution: Enzymes (I recommend various enzyme formulations from a company called Transformations) and Chinese herbal formulas can help you digest your food and break both of these cycles

Weight can be lost safely if done slowly and naturally.

You can lose up to 2 lbs per week without gaining it back. That means you could lose 104 lbs this year and keep it off!

Positive change is like stretching a rubber band- if you stretch too far too fast, it breaks or snaps back on you.

So avoid the temptation to take an easy solution like ephedra or citrus aurantium (both misused Chinese herbs), because you’ll gain the weight back, and you’re risking heart problems and stroke.

5 Things to Do Right Now

To Lose 10 Pounds Within 2 Months

And Keep Them Off:

1. Avoid heavily marketed supplements – instead, see a professional trained herbalist (acupuncturist) – it’s safer and more effective – my preference would be a Chinese medicine practitioner, but some very well-educated western herbalists are good too.

2. Acupuncture Weight Loss: See an acupuncturist/chinese herbalist – Get acupuncture (once to three times per week) to SAFELY regulate your metabolism and hunger-satisfaction. Your acupuncturist can also get you the herbs that will balance your digestion and cravings – and based on your Chinese pattern diagnosis, they can also give you personalized diet advice. Herbs and enzymes (specific formulations from the enzyme company, Transformations) can eliminate your food cravings.

3. Develop a plan and goals with your acupuncturist and aerobics instructor- make it realistic, and stick to it. If you mess up, don’t beat yourself up, just get back on track as soon as you can. Any progress is better than none at all.

4. Eat less, exercise more – Eat a low fat diet, and don’t miss breakfast! Weigh yourself regularly, and exercise an hour a day. Start by walking a few minutes each day, or take the stairs at work. Don’t overdo it! Remember the rubber band. In fact, you may want to wear a rubber band on your wrist to remind yourself to make changes slowly. Get some aerobic exercise help- a public class, or private aerobic counseling.

5. Join a support group like Weight Watchers or Overeaters Anonymous. There’s nothing like positive friends to encourage you and keep you on track. OA members say that this spiritual program of action has changed the way they relate to food.

References and Resources

1. Office of Technology Assessment of the Congress of the United States, The Impact of Randomized Controlled Trials on Health Policy and Medical Practice, Background Paper OTA-BP-H-22.

2. Michael Millenson’s book, Demanding Medical Excellence

3. Effect of acupuncture on weight loss evaluated by adrenal function. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1993 Sep, 13(3):169-73.

4. Wozniak, P., Oszukowski, P., Stachowiak, G., and Szyllo, K. [The effectiveness of low-calorie diet or diet with acupuncture treatment in obese peri- and postmenopausal women] (in Polish). Ginekol.Pol. Vol.74 Issue 2 pp. 102-107. 2003

5. Acupuncture on Spleen, Stomach, and Ren Mai Channel Points for the Treatment of Stomach & Intestinal Replete Heat Pattern Simple Obesity. Abstracted & translated by Bob Flaws, Dipl. Ac. & C.H, Lic. Ac., FNAAOM, FRCHM

6. Richards D, Marley J. Stimulation of auricular acupuncture points in weight loss. Aust Fam Physician. 1998 Jul;27 Suppl 2:S73-7.

7. Zhao, M., Liu, Z., and Su, J. The time-effect relationship of central action in acupuncture treatment for weight reduction. J Tradit Chin Med Vol.20 Issue 1 pp. 26-29. 2000

8. Liu, Z. Mechanisms underlying the effects of acupuncture moxibustion on simple obesity complicated by hypertension. Inter J Clin Acup 371-378, 1995.

9. Studies of the Weight Loss Industry

10. Obesity prevalence and effect

11. Overeaters Anonymous