Baby Boomers Use Alternative Medicine

According to a recent study conducted at Ohio State University, about 70 percent of the 50 Plus market use alternative medicine. Funded by the National Institute on Aging, Professor Gong-Soog Hong spearheaded a survey that included almost 900 participants aged 50 and above. 65 percent of seniors who described themselves in poor health said they used some form of alternative medicine they considered either curative or preventive–a higher percentage than any other group.

Baby boomers are searching for other ways to alleviate symptoms such as chronic pain and arthritis, as well as utilizing alternative therapies as preventive medicine. Chiropractic care topped the list with a whopping 43% of respondents, while acupuncture came in last.

Last fall, another survey of baby boomers was conducted by Sorelli B, a national research firm. This particular study showed than more than one third of those surveyed said that chiropractic care prevented the need for prescription drugs and physical therapy. The respondents also believed that chiropractic care helped them avoid back surgery and long, grueling, hospital stays. Close to 60 percent of those surveyed stated they would be willing to petition their insurance companies to include chiropractic as a component of their health care plan even though they were willing to pay for those services out-of-pocket.

The other most popular methods of alternative medicine include massage therapy, breathing exercises, herbal medicine and meditation.

The first study looking at alternative medicine use among seniors with depression finds that close to 20 percent are using gingko biloba, ginseng, St. John’s Wort and other herbal remedies. The surprising findings could cause concern with physicians who treat baby boomers as most patients were unaware of the risks of potential drug interactions.

Helen Kale, M.D., from the University of Michigan says, “The results merit further study and suggest that seniors may have entered the alternative medicine market ina big way, much bigger than we thought.”

Why alternative medicine? Older adults are searching for different kind of treatment to lessen the aches and pains that often come with age. Seniors are reporting problems with daily activities such as carrying groceries, eating or bathing. Moreover, many of them are simply not satisfied with mainstream health care and often have issues with the current state of conventional health care. “Older adults tend to have more chronic illnesses and conventional medicine doesn’t always solve their problems,” says Hong.

In addition, the survey showed that because the treatment of chronic pain is very difficult and demanding, people living in such pain will try everything possible to alleviate it.

According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), the percentage of the 50 plus market who received a massage from a massage therapist in the past five years has almost tripled. Why do baby boomers get massage? For health reasons, according to the survey. Seniors even indicated they seek massage for health reasons (other than stress relief and relaxation) more than any other age group (41 percent).

The least popular practice of alternative medicine surfaced in the U.S. in the 1970s, Acupuncture has gained acceptance as an alternative to traditional Western medicine for pain relief and for treating a variety of other health conditions. Studies show that baby boomers who sufffer from muscle and bone pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and other ranges of problems, are giving acupuncture a try to lessen their symptoms.

The health-minded baby boomer generation is also exercising. Being physically active is the solution to maintaining the quality of life for adults 50 years and older. 16 million seniors exercise at least three times per week. From 1987 to 1995, the number of 50-plus health club members jumped 199%, and the number of 65-plus who joined health clubs jumped a staggering 669%. According to the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), most active adult communities are responding to this need by including wellness centers within their planned communities. Plus, age-targeted programs have been shown to be quite popular with tremendous benefits to other types of senior housing, fitness facilities and publicly-sponsored community recreation programs.

Interestingly enough, day spas are quickly becoming a hot market for those aged 50 and better. Instead of the usual day spa fare of facials and waxing, now medical spas or MedSpas are cropping up in the market. MedSpas take all the comfort and care of day spas, yet add the latest in medical technology. Mud packs and cucumber slices have been replaced with high-tech advanced fluorescence technology, microdermabrasion, and ultrasound technologies–all designed to help the 50 plus market feel better about their appearance.

Although alternative medicine plays a huge role in the lives of baby boomers, when it comes to health, there is no comparison to preventive measures. The Southeastern Institute of Research found that the 50 plus market say some of the most important things to do to stay healthy are to get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet. It’s no wonder that life expectancy has increased by 30 years in the past century.

As health care costs continue to rise, baby boomers will continue to seek alternative medicine and transform into “health boomers.” They have defined health care because they’re strong, vocal, and know what they want. Boomers are healthier than any generation of seniors in history and live longer, happier lives.

Biliary Dyskinesia – To Cut or Not to Cut?

Many people, including children, may experience attacks of pain at the right upper quadrant. This is the kind of abdominal pain that sometimes radiates to the upper back or shoulder blades. Usually it occurs after eating fatty or fried foods, heavy meals and is accompanied with nausea/vomiting and/or bloating, followed by loosening of stools.

Typically, even when you have all this symptoms, the tests results may come in normal, which would leave the doctors thinking that the disorder you contain is called biliary dyskinesia. “Biliary” means bile, “dys” means abnormal, and “kinesia” means motion, movement. Abnormal moving of the bile can occur in the gallbladder, in the bile ducts inside and outside the liver, and also in the valve between bile duct and duodenum; the first part of the small intestine. This valve is named sphincter of Oddi. In the medical literature doctors consider biliary dyskinesia and type 3 sphincter of Oddi dysfunction, as similar conditions.

If tests reveal no structural abnormalities, there are no severe inflammations or gallbladder stones biliary dyskinesia is often misdiagnosed with IBS, functional dyspepsia, stomach flu, reflux, psychosomatic diseases, etc. When patients are given the medication, it modifies or covers the symptoms. More specific tests may show low ejection fraction that means low gallbladder function; <35% EF is considered abnormal. When the detailed tests reveal that patients have a low ejection fraction, they are referred to the surgeons' for gallbladder removal.

So, the question remains… to remove or not to remove the gallbladder in case of biliary dyskinesia?

The excess build up of pressure in the bile ducts or irritations are thought to be accountable for these typical biliary dyskinesia symptoms. Unfortunately, there are many other reasons.

On one hand, gallbladder, liver, bile ducts, sphincter of Oddi, stomach, and duodenum work together as a team. Nervous system and digestive hormones (blood messengers) conduct their interrelated work. Very often, it can be a setback with proper regulation of the digestive organs.

On the other hand, bile is extremely complicated solution that consist of water, minerals, bicarbonate, cholesterol, lecithin, and bile salts. It also has highly aggressive bile pigments, and bile acids, various fat-soluble toxic substances. Changes of biochemistry of the bile make it very aggressive and irritating fluid. In turn, it can cause spasms and irritation of the gallbladder wall.

A number of parasites, which reside in the gallbladder and bile ducts, are difficult to spot. For example, Giardia lamblia can be responsible for some cases of the biliary dyskinesia and type 3 sphincter of Oddi dysfunction, in especially in children.

It appears that hepatitis, fatty liver, Candida-yeast overgrowth, parasites, congestion, inflammation, infection, high acidity levels, and poor eating habits can cause the bile to be thick, acidic, and aggressive. Such things make it difficult for the bile to move through the ducts. Toxic substances in the bile, parasites, irritation, and food allergy can restrain the proper motion of the gallbladder, bile ducts, and sphincter of Oddi.

Whole body acidity can change the bile pH. Because of precipitation of the extremely aggressive bile acids, acidic bile irritates gallbladder, bile ducts, sphincter of Oddi and duodenum causing spasmodic contractions with pains. Aggressive, acidic bile irritates small intestine and even stomach, causing nausea and vomiting. I explained this in more detail, in my EBook and articles.

By putting in account scientific research, clinical evidence and common sense, the treatment in case of biliary dyskinesia should be started with the non-invasive approach. Some methods of the complementary or alternative medicine can be particularly useful in this situation. Let’s focus on some of them.

First, what we need to do is to make bile more liquid and less congested. It can be done by drinking plenty of water, fresh vegetable blends or juices, eating vegetable soups, drinking Karlovy Vary healing mineral water, herbal teas, etc. Avoiding dehydration is mandatory.

Second, it is necessary to promote liver to produce more bile. Some herbs such as barberry, rosehips, fennel, corn silk, peppermint have choleretic actions, which lead to producing more bile. Clinical studies of the European doctors proved that drinking Karlovy Vary healing mineral water can help the liver to produce more bile.

Third, we need to reduce congestion in the gallbladder by opening the passages such as bile ducts and sphincter of Oddi. Many people don’t know that acupuncture and electro acupuncture decrease the spasms and pains in case of the biliary dyskinesia.

Moreover, Mother Nature positioned most of the digestive organs in the abdomen. And each of our organs needs its space to work. The most difficult position holds the gallbladder, due to the fact that it is squeezed between the liver, stomach, duodenum, and large intestine. There is not enough room in this area. If a person suffers from belly fat, gas, or constipation, the pressure inside the abdomen increases, just like when we wear tight clothes or belts. This, in its turn, causes more restrictions in gallbladder moving. Gentle abdominal massage, point massage, or chiropractic manipulations may decrease adhesions, release freely movements of the gallbladder, and lessen spasms of the sphincter of Oddi.

Fourth, many Americans have congested gallbladder because they are afraid to eat fatty food products. Because of wrong propaganda, people stay away from eggs, avocados, sour cream, butter, fatty fish, and cold pressed olive oil. These food products are natural stimulants of the bile ejection. Opposing, animal fats, trans fats, combination of fats and sugars, alcohol, unhealthy eating habits such as eating on the go, irregular meals, overeating leads to gallbladder congestion and, in case of biliary dyskinesia, needs to be avoided.

Fifth, this is virtually unknown even for health professional. The bile’s acidity and toxicity are primary factors for biliary dyskinesia. Natural, alkaline diet, various cleansing techniques, herbs, restoration of the friendly intestinal flora, fighting with parasites and Candida-yeast overgrowth can decrease symptoms of this condition. As I mentioned before, and it is explained in details in my book, acidity makes bile aggressive and irritated.

In the case of the biliary dyskinesia, the European doctors recommend drinking Karlovy Vary healing mineral water either from thermal spring or at home. This water is not simple mineral water that people drink when they are thirsty. Karlovy Vary healing mineral water has been used as a healing remedy for 500 of years. Dissolving genuine Karlovy Vary thermal spring salt in the plain water makes possible to drink healing mineral water at home.

Minerals, bicarbonate, and trace elements neutralize the acidic compounds in the bile and water helps to eliminate them from the body. According to medical literature, thousands of people with biliary dyskinesia improve the motility of the gallbladder and sphincter of Oddi by using this healing mineral water. Taking some mineral supplements such as cellular magnesium-potassium also neutralizes acidity, decreases spasms, and abdominal pain.

Females either in puberty or in perimenopausal age suffer more often from biliary dyskinesia. It may be due to hormonal involvement in women. Other factors that make symptoms of the biliary dyskinesia worse are anxiety and stress. Acupuncture, herbs, self-hypnoses by listening to custom CD’s at home, nutritional supplements, healing exercises can be useful in this situation.

Mother Nature does not make mistakes. Gallbladder is an important member of the digestive team. When there are no stones or severe inflammation in the gallbladder, especially in children and young adults, or otherwise healthy persons, the removal of the gallbladder may be unnecessary. Perhaps, it makes sense to try to improve its sluggish function, decrease congestion in the bile ducts. By analogy, if there is congested traffic in the tunnel, police officers won’t blow up the tunnel, they will try to resolve the traffic jam by organizing a smooth movement inside this tunnel.

Medical statistic shows, gallbladder surgery does not give warranty that pain would disappear. For some people, life without gallbladder is getting miserable. Searching for “postcholecystectomy syndrome” in the internet may perfectly illustrate my concern.

The information on this article is presented for educational, informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the diagnosis, treatment, and advice of a qualified licensed professional.

Traditional Chinese Medicine: Acupuncture Points and Charts

What Are the Acupuncture Points?

The English translation of ‘acupuncture points’ is not very accurate. Acupuncture is one of the many healing methods used in traditional Chinese Medicine. It inserts fine needles into the sensitive points on the body to stimulate Jingluos (meridians) to cure diseases. These sensitive points are called ‘Shuxue’ or ‘Xuewei’ in Chinese Medicine, meaning ‘the transmitting points’. However, this name has been so widely used, there is no point to change it now for our discussion.

Acupuncture points are the responsive points or sensitive points on the meridians and other parts of the body. They are the special locations where energy is transmitted between the inner structures and the surface of the body. These spots can reflect disease or unhealthy conditions by giving forth painful sensations when touched or pressed. These points are (but not limited to) where the therapists apply treatments. When the body is deficient of positive energy, negative or harmful energy will be able to invade the body through these spots, causing illness. Stimulating the related points can boost and mobilize the positive energy, balance Yin/Yang energy and cure the disease. There are three types of points:

1. 14-main-meridian points

2. Extraordinary points

3.’Yes’ points.

The 14-main-meridian points are the spots on the 12 main meridians plus the spots on the governor and conception vessels. Each spot has a unique name and a fixed location. They are the main acupuncture points. The extraordinary points are the points that have names and fixed locations. These locations are not on a particular meridian. ‘Yes’ points are also called pain points, but they don’t have names or fixed locations. They are the sensitive points related to the diseases. The ‘yes ‘name came from a story. When treating a patient, the doctor pressed a spot unintentionally, and the patient uttered ‘oh yes’.

There are approximately 360 acupuncture points in total on the human body. With so many tiny points to remember, one can easily be intimidated. As a matter of fact, for self -healing and caring purposes, we don’t have to memorize all these points. We only need to remember roughly 20 most used and effective points. If you need to use more points, just look for them using the meridian and acupuncture point charts. Each point has a unique and meaningful name, which gives some key information about this particular point, such as main function, usage, location, or other. In English, the English spelling of the Chinese names are directly used. For people who don’t understand Chinese, it is hard to comprehend the significance of each name and, therefore hard to remember all the foreign sounding names.The format of the international symbols for acupuncture points is fairly easy. Since most of the points belong to one specific meridian (Jing), it only makes sense that their symbols are associated with those meridians. You can take two abbreviation letters of that meridian’s name and number all the points along the way, from the starting point to the end point. For example: the name of the Xue-hai point means ‘the sea of blood’ in Chinese and can be used for blood-related issues. Its English symbol is SP10, because it belongs to the spleen meridian and is the 10thpoint from the start.

How to Find an Acupuncture Point?

When considering an acupuncture point as a tiny point, it might be really difficult to find it. However, if you think of it as a small precise area, it becomes quite easy. To locate a subject on a 2D plane, you need 2 coordinates. To locate an sensitive point, we use a reference point and a distance. The reference point is a known location on the body, such as ‘the tip of the nose’, ‘the highest point of the ankle bone’ etc. The distance is measured by your own hand. The unit is ‘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’. How do you know if you have found the right point? When you press on it, if you feel kind of sore and sense a little pain (acute pain means you are not well somewhere), then you are on the right spot. Every main meridian has a primary point. That is the point where the primary energy of this meridian originates. Stimulating this point is one of the most effective ways to boost the positive energy found in this meridian.

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 Ph&oacute;bos, 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.