Autoimmune Disorders A class of plant chemicals known as bioflavinoids has been found to dramatically reduce inflammation and improve symptoms associated with autoimmune disorders.
Tea: Both green and black tea contain the flavenoids, catechins and theaflavins, which are beneficial in autoimmune disease.
Apples: Apples, contain the flavanoid, quercetin that can reduce allergic reactions and decrease inflammation. Quercetin occurs naturally in certain foods, such as apples (with the skin on), berries, red grapes, red onions, capers, and black tea.
Carrots: Carotenoids are a family of plant pigments that include beta-carotene. A lack of carotenoids in the diet is thought to promote inflammation. Good sources of carotenoids include apricots, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach, kale, butternut squash, and collard greens.
Ginger: Recent studies show that ginger reduces inflammation by inhibiting prostaglandin and suppresses the immune system's production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, reducing disease severity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Omega-3: Omega-3 essential fatty acids can counter the formation of chemicals that cause inflammation. Good natural sources include flaxseed oil and salmon.
Fiber: A healthy and active colon can decrease food sensitivity, which, in turn, can lighten the burden on your immune system. For maximum autoimmune health, increase the fiber in your diet.
Treating Autoimmune Disease with Acupuncture
Over 50 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disease; an autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue. Autoimmune disorders include Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, thyroid disease, Addison's disease, pernicious anemia, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis and Guillain–Barré syndrome. Due to the complexity of treating autoimmune disorders, integrative medicine solutions including acupuncture and Oriental medicine have received much attention as successful therapies in their treatment. Acupuncture is specifically noted for its use in pain relief, regulating the immune system, managing symptoms and improving quality of life.
What Causes Autoimmune Disease?
Under normal conditions, an immune response cannot be triggered against the cells of one's own body. In certain cases, however, immune cells make a mistake and attack the very cells that they are meant to protect. This can lead to a variety of autoimmune diseases. They encompass a broad category of over 100 diseases in which the person's immune system attacks his or her own tissue.
The exact mechanisms causing these changes are not completely understood, but bacteria, viruses, toxins, and some drugs may play a role in triggering an autoimmune process in someone who already has a genetic (inherited) predisposition to develop such a disorder. It is theorized that the inflammation initiated by these agents, toxic or infectious, somehow provokes in the body a "sensitization" (autoimmune reaction) in the involved tissues.
As the disease develops vague symptoms start to appear, such as joint and muscle pain, general muscle weakness, possible rashes or low-grade fever, trouble concentrating, or weight loss. The following symptoms may point toward something being wrong: numbness and tingling in hands and feet, dry eyes, hair loss, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, or repeated miscarriages can also be caused by an autoimmune response.
How Acupuncture Treats Autoimmune Disorders
According to Oriental medicine, autoimmune disorders occur when there is imbalance within the body. Imbalance can come from an excess or deficiency of yin and yang that disrupts the flow of qi, or vital energy, through the body. Acupuncture is used to help the body restore balance, treating the root of the disorder, while specifically addressing the symptoms that are unique to each individual.
Clinical research has shown that acupuncture causes physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain. These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones, and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. It is proposed that, by these actions, acupuncture affects blood pressure, body temperature and the immune system.
In addition to acupuncture, your treatment program to manage your autoimmune disorder may involve a combination of therapies including stress reducing exercises, moderate physical activity, herbal medicine, nutritional support and bodywork.
Acupuncture Effective for Crohn's Disease In a study published in the journal, Digestion, acupuncture was found effective for treating Crohn's disease.
Crohn's disease is an autoimmune disease which involves chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. The main symptoms of Crohn's disease are abdominal pain, fever, fatigue and persistent, watery diarrhea. Symptoms range from mild to severe, and can come and go with periods of flare-ups.
In this German study, 51 patients with mild to moderately active Crohn's disease had a decrease in disease activity after receiving 10 sessions of acupuncture. Study members also showed an improvement in general well-being and reported an improvement in quality of life.
Source: Joos S, Brinkhaus B, Maluche C, Maupai N, Kohnen R, Kraehmer N, Hahn EG, Schuppan D. Acupuncture and moxibustion in the treatment of active Crohn's disease: a randomized controlled study. Digestion. 2004;69(3):131-9.
October 2009 Acupuncture and Menopause: Creating Physical & emotional Health with Acupuncture
While many different acupuncture points are used, depending on your specific symptoms and the state of your overall health, here are some acupuncture points that are commonly used to treat menopause:
Du 20 - Located on the top of the head, midway between the ears. This point helps clear the spirit and rebalances the yin and yang elements of the body.
Kidney 3 (Ki 3) – In the depression between the inside ankle bone and the Achilles tendon, level with the tip of the ankle bone. Kidney 3 invigorates and strengthens the kidney system and regulates the uterus.
Kidney 7 (Ki 7) – Located approximately 2 fingers breadth above Kidney 3. It is used to treat hot flashes and night sweats.
Spleen 6 (Sp 6) - Located about 4 fingers breadth above the tip of the inside ankle bone in a depression. This is one of the most influential points for women’s health. It strengthens the spleen, resolves damp, promotes the smooth flow of Qi, strengthens the kidneys, nourishes blood and yin, benefits urination, regulates uterus and menstruation, moves and cools
With its close understanding of the female body, Oriental medicine has always addressed the special needs of women throughout their lives. Menopause, in particular, is an area in which Oriental Medicine shines. Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine have the ability to detect energetic changes that occur in the body and quickly relieve uncomfortable symptoms that accompany the onset of menopause.
What is Menopause? Menopause is a transitional period marking the cessation of ovulation in a woman’s body. Most women stop menstruating between the ages of 48 and 52, but symptoms can begin as early as 35. Symptoms vary from mild to severe, and are brought on as our bodies try to adapt to decreasing amounts of estrogen. Symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, mood swings, memory loss, vaginal dryness, headaches, joint pain, and weight gain.
From and Eastern Perspective According to Oriental Medical theory, menopause occurs when a woman’s body begins to preserve blood and energy in order to sustain her. The kidney is the organ system in Oriental Medicine that is viewed as the root of reproduction, vitality and longevity. Menopause signifies the depletion of the fertility essence stored within the kidneys. Blood and essence from the kidneys are conserved and cycled through the body to nourish the woman’s spirit and extend her longevity. Thus, in Oriental Medicine, menopause is seen as true change in life from mother to enlightened and wise being.
Treating Manopause with Acupuncture Few areas of women’s health stir up as much confusion and debate as Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), which is normally started when the first symptoms of menopause appear. While HRT may alleviate hot flashes and prevent osteoporosis, they may also increase the risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer, and have a number of significant side-effects. But HRT isn’t the only solution, Oriental medicine has long recognized that health and vitality can be sustained over a woman’s lifetime by restoring balance within the body and supporting the natural production of essential hormones.
Life style and Dietary changes
Menopause patients are encouraged to maintain a healthy weight and to follow a diet with a high content of raw foods, fruits and vegetables to stabilize blood sugar. Some foods may exacerbate hot flashes or increase mood swings; steer clear of dairy products, red meats, alcohol, sugar, spicy foods, caffeine, and don’t smoke. Lastly, try to eliminate stress, tension and anxiety or learn techniques to cope with stress so that you can diminish the effects that it has on your body and mind.
Study on Acupuncture for Hot Flashes Acupuncture reduces nighttime hot flashes caused by menopause, according to a study published in the journal, Fertility and Sterility.
Researchers found that seven weeks of acupuncture treatment reduced the severity of nighttime hot flashes by twenty-eight percent among menopausal women compared with a six percent decrease among women who had a sham acupuncture treatment.
The effects of acupuncture vs. a sham acupuncture treatment on the severity and frequency of nighttime hot flashes were compared. Taking part in the study were twenty-nine menopausal women experiencing at least seven moderate to severe hot flashes per day.
All of the women underwent nine treatments from trained acupuncturists in sessions over seven weeks. Twelve of the women received real acupuncture using points selected to target hot flashes and sleepiness. The rest of the women received a sham acupuncture treatment using non-penetrating needles at random acupuncture channel points.
Throughout the study, the women reported the number and severity of their hot flashes. The results showed that nighttime hot flash severity decreased significantly (twenty-eight percent) among the women who received acupuncture vs. a six percent drop among the women who got the sham treatment. However, they did not see a similar finding in the frequency of nighttime hot flashes between the two groups.
Researcher Mary Huang, M.S., of StanfordUniversity, and colleagues say the results suggest acupuncture deserves further study as an alternative treatment for menopausal hot flashes.
Huang, M. Fertility and Sterility, September 2006; Vol. 86: pp. 700-710. News release, American Society of Reproductive Medicine.
Some natural alternatives
to ease your aching Head
The Headache Point Large Intestine 4 is such a powerful acupuncture point for headaches that is often referred to as “the headache point”. It is located on the padded area of your hand between the thumb and index finger, between the first and second metacarpal bones. Massage this point with your thumb on both hands for approximately 30 seconds.
Peppermint Oil Peppermint oil has a calming and soothing effect on the body, and is often used to treat headaches. Rub peppermint essential oil across your forehead and temples to relieve a tension headache or inhale a peppermint steam treatment to treat a sinus headache. Adding 10-15 drops of peppermint oil to a warm bath is another great way to relax, help reduce muscle tension and relieve a headache.
Cayenne Pepper Research suggests that capsaicin can help relieve cluster headaches. In one study, people with cluster headaches rubbed a capsaicin preparation inside and outside their noses on the same side of the head as the headache pain. Within five days, 75 percent reported less pain and fewer headaches.
Feverfew Feverfew is a medicinal herb that has been used since ancient Greece for swelling and inflammation. Studies have shown that feverfew limits inflammation of blood vessels in the head and can reduce headaches. Feverfew generally takes up to weeks to take effect. Sip tea or take a feverfew supplement daily.
Ginger Tea Numerous clinical studies have shown that ginger can be used to relieve headaches. Researchers believe it does so by relaxing the blood vessels in the head and diminishing swelling in the brain. It also activates natural opiates in the brain that relieve pain, and it reduces prostaglandins, which are responsible for causing inflammation.
Acupuncture for Headaches
Headaches are extremely common. While everyone experiences an occasional headache, statistics show that 1 out of 6 people suffer from chronic headaches.
Acupuncture can effectively relieve headaches, as well as treat their underlying causes. In fact, headaches are one of the conditions most commonly seen in acupuncture clinics today. It can offer powerful relief without the side effects that prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause.
Headaches that can be treated with acupuncture include migraines, tension headaches, headaches occurring around the menstrual cycle, sinus headaches and stress-related headaches.
How Acupuncture Treats Headaches
Many variables are looked at in order to properly diagnose and successfully treat headaches. Each individual is treated differently depending on their unique symptoms.
Some of the factors that will determine what acupuncture points and other treatment techniques are used include: what triggers the headaches; the location, frequency and intensity of the headaches; the quality of the pain; the time of day that they occur; what helps the headaches and what makes them worse.
Types of Headaches When treating with acupuncture, headaches are often classified by their location. This is only a broad guideline which needs to be further refined and integrated into the treatment for each individual, but this shows meridians and patterns that affect each area of the head.
Top of Head: Liver Meridian (Liver Blood Deficiency, Liver Yang Rising) Sides of Head: Gall-Bladder Meridian (Liver-Yang, Liver-Fire or Liver-Wind Rising) One Side Only: Gall-Bladder Meridian (Liver-Yang or Liver-Fire Rising) Temples: Gall-Bladder Meridian (Liver-Yang, Liver-Fire or Liver-Wind Rising) Behind the Eyes: Liver Meridian (Liver Blood Deficiency, Liver Yang Rising) Forehead: Stomach Meridian (Stomach Deficiency or Stomach-Heat) Back of Head (Occipital): Bladder Meridian (Kidney Deficiency or Damp-Heat in the Bladder) or External Wind Whole Head: Kidney-Essence Deficiency or External Wind
Acupuncture can significantly relieve headaches and is an important component to managing recurring headaches and migraines.
August 2009 Acupuncture and Fibromyalgia
10 Tips for Preventing Fibromyalgia You can help cut your risk significantly by incorporating a few simple lifestyle changes into your daily routines and habits, according to Bob Flaws, author of Curing Fibromyalgia Naturally with Chinese Medicine.
1. Eliminate processed foods from your diet, especially white sugar and white flour products. These products give our bodies little nutrition and over time can damage our digestion as well as cause obesity, one of the common problems related to fibromyalgia.
2. Include all unprocessed foods in your diet, such as proteins, complex and unrefined carbohydrates, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
3. Eat foods that support the functions of the spleen and stomach. In other words, avoid overly greasy foods, ice cold drinks, alcohol, raw and uncooked foods, hot, peppery foods, coffee, and too much fruit. Avoid daily juice drinks since these are the same as eating a candy bar in the amount of sugar introduced into the body.
4. Stop drinking sodas. Sodas are acidic in nature and loaded with sugar and chemicals. Sodas are detrimental to both the spleen and the kidneys.
5. Find some type of exercise that you really enjoy and just do it! Pumping iron is not for everyone. You would probably benefit most from some kind of cardiovascular exercise to keep to blood moving, like swimming, yoga, stretching, and bicycling.
6. Take a walk every day. If you live with a dog or cat, play with them daily. Animals live in the moment and love to play. This is a great way to break stressful daily routines.
7. Practice Chinese self massage every morning by stimulating the acupuncture points on the body and limbs to help promote the flow of Qi and blood in the channels.
8. Buy some relaxation tapes with guided imaging. Learn how to really relax. This means bodily relaxation as well as mental repose. Use these tapes daily for the best results.
9. Take a look at the old habits and patterns of your life and ask yourself what you can do to make your life better. Take up tasks and hobbies that are interesting to you and break the normal routine of your day.
10. If you know that you have too much stress in your life, find a solution. This may be finding a new job or new, more supportive relationships. Understand that stress alone can kill you, and if you smoke and consume alcohol to escape stressful situations, you are only fooling yourself.
Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) affects an estimated 2 percent of the population. Conventional therapies are limited in the success of treating this complex and unexplained condition. Current treatment is largely comprised of prescribing different medications for the varying symptoms in a trial and error approach. Research shows that as many as 90 percent of people with fibromyalgia have turned to complimentary and alternative medicine to manage their symptoms. Acupuncture, in particular, has become a popular treatment choice and has shown to be an effective treatment for FMS.
What is Fibromyalgia Syndrome?
Fibromyalgia is a medically unexplained syndrome characterized by chronic widespread pain, a heightened and painful response to pressure, insomnia, fatigue, and depression. While not all affected persons experience all associated symptoms, the following symptoms commonly occur together:
• chronic pain
• debilitating fatigue
• difficulty sleeping
• anxiety and depression
• joint stiffness
• chronic headaches and jaw pain
• difficulty swallowing
• dryness in mouth, nose, and eyes
• hypersensitivity to odors, bright lights, and loud noises
• inability to concentrate (called "fibro fog")
• irritable bowel syndrome
• numbness or tingling in the fingers and feet
• painful menstrual cramps
• poor circulation in hands and feet (called Raynaud's phenomenon)
• restless legs syndrome
Fibromyalgia is diagnosed when there is a history of widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum duration of three months and pain when pressure is applied to at least 11 of 18 designated tender points on the body. This condition does not result in any physical damage to the body or its tissues and there are no laboratory tests which can confirm this diagnosis.
Symptoms often begin after a physical or emotional trauma, but in many cases there appears to be no triggering event. Women are more prone to develop the disorder than are men, and the risk of fibromyalgia increases with age.
From an Eastern Perspective
The Oriental medicine theory of pain is expressed in this famous Chinese saying: "Bu tong ze tong, tong ze bu tong" which means "free flow: no pain, no free flow: pain."
Pain is seen as a disruption of the flow of Qi within the body. The disruption of Qi that results in fibromyalgia is usually associated with disharmonies of the Liver, Spleen, Kidney and Heart Systems.
The Acupuncture Treatment
Oriental Medicine does not recognize fibromyalgia as one particular disease pattern. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual depending on their constitution, emotional state, intensity and location of their pain, digestive health, sleeping patterns and an array of other signs and symptoms. Therefore, if 10 people are treated with Oriental medicine for fibromyalgia, each of these 10 people will receive a unique, customized treatment with different acupuncture points, different herbs and different lifestyle and dietary recommendations.
Because the symptoms of fibromyalgia are highly variable form one person to another, a wide array of traditional and alternative treatments has been shown to be the most effective way of treating this difficult syndrome. A treatment program may include a combination of psychological or behavioral therapies, medications, exercise, acupuncture, herbal medicine and bodywork.
Study on Acupuncture and Fibromyalgia A recent study from the Mayo Clinic found acupuncture helpful in treating the fatigue and anxiety commonly experienced by fibromyalgia patients. In the trial, patients who received acupuncture to counter their fibromyalgia symptoms reported improvement in fatigue and anxiety, among other symptoms. Acupuncture was well tolerated, with minimal side effects.
In the double-blind study, Mayo Clinic doctors gave 25 fibromyalgia patients acupuncture, and 25 “sham” acupuncture treatments. Patients received six treatments during the two- to three-week study. Those who received acupuncture treatments reported less fatigue and anxiety one month following after treatment than did the “sham” group.
"The results of the study convince me there is something more than the placebo effect to acupuncture," says David Martin, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the acupuncture article and a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist. "It affirms a lot of clinical impressions that this complementary medical technique is helpful for patients."
Dr. Martin says the study demonstrates that acupuncture is helpful, and also proves physicians can conduct a rigorous, controlled acupuncture study. Future research could help physicians understand which medical conditions respond best to acupuncture, how to apply it to best relieve symptoms, and how long patients can expect to their symptoms to decrease after each treatment.
Dr. Martin performed the study at Mayo Clinic Rochester with co-authors Ines Berger, M.D.; Christopher Sletten, Ph.D.; and Brent Williams. The study used only two acupuncturists and examined only patients who reported more severe symptoms, offering better experimental control. Still, the Mayo Clinic doctors urged more study to see how acupuncture can best be used in treating fibromyalgia patients.
Source: Mayo Clinic (2006, June 13). Acupuncture Relieves Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia, Mayo Clinic Study Finds.
July 2009 Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is one of the most common job-related injuries and is responsible for the highest number of days lost among all work related injuries. It is the reason for over two million visits to physicians' offices and approximately 465,000 carpal tunnel release operations each year, making it the most frequent surgery of the hand and wrist.
Acupuncture is extremely effective at treating carpal tunnel syndrome; eliminating the need for surgery or the use of anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids. In fact, one of the most common reasons that people get acupuncture is for repetitive stress injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome. Recent studies even suggest that acupuncture may be more effective than corticosteroids when it comes to treating CTS.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist made up of ligaments and bones. The median nerve and the tendons that connect the fingers to the muscles of the forearm pass through this tightly spaced tunnel.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, also known as median nerve entrapment, occurs when swelling or irritation of the nerve or tendons in the carpal tunnel results in pressure on the median nerve. The median nerve controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers, as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move.
Symptoms usually start gradually, with frequent burning, tingling, or numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers, especially the thumb, index and middle fingers. The symptoms often first appear during the night. As symptoms worsen, people might feel pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm during the day. Decreased grip strength may make it difficult to form a fist, grasp small objects, or perform other manual tasks. If not properly treated, CTS can cause irreversible nerve damage and permanent deterioration of muscle tissue.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with Acupuncture
From an Oriental medicine perspective, CTS is seen as a disruption of the flow of Qi and Blood within the area and associated with Cold, Dampness or Wind penetrating the muscles and sinews of the wrist. Acupuncture points, stretching exercises, herbal remedies and nutritional supplements are chosen to treat accordingly.
As well as reducing the swelling, inflammation and pain in the wrist, acupuncture addresses any headaches, neck pain, shoulder stiffness and sleeping problems that often accompany this condition.
Your treatment may also take into account any underlying conditions that contribute to the development of CTS including obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid problems, diabetes, hormonal changes of pregnancy and menopause.
June 2009 Acupuncture in Cancer Treatment
There have been many advances in the early detection and treatment of cancer. While the standard medical care for cancer is effective, the treatments are aggressive and cause numerous unwanted side effects as well as a lowered immune system. Acupuncture has received much attention as an adjunctive therapy in cancer treatments for its use in pain relief, reducing side effects, accelerating recovery and improving quality of life.
Why Acupuncture is used during Cancer treatment
Acupuncture provides a total approach to health care for people with cancer. It can be used to address many of the concerns that come up during and after chemotherapy, radiation, biological therapy and surgery.
According to the National Cancer Institute, acupuncture may cause physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain. These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones, and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. It is proposed that, by these actions, acupuncture affects blood pressure and body temperature, boosts immune system activity, and causes the body's natural painkillers, such as endorphins, to be released.
Areas that acupuncture has shown the most promise include:
Nausea and Vomiting
Dry Mouth, Night Sweats and Hot Flashes
Stress, Anxiety and Fatigue
Increasing White Blood Cell Count
Nausea and Vomiting The strongest evidence of the effect of acupuncture has come from clinical trials on the use of acupuncture to relieve nausea and vomiting. Several types of clinical trials using different acupuncture methods showed acupuncture reduced nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, surgery, and morning sickness. It appears to be more effective in preventing vomiting than in reducing nausea.
Other symptoms caused by cancer treatment. Clinical trials are studying the effects of acupuncture on cancer and symptoms caused by cancer treatment, including weight loss, cough, chest pain, fever, anxiety, depression, night sweats, hot flashes, dry mouth, speech problems, and fluid in the arms or legs. Studies have shown that, for many patients, treatment with acupuncture either relieves symptoms or keeps them from getting worse.
Boosting the Immune System Human studies on the effect of acupuncture on the immune system of cancer patients showed that it improved immune system response, including increasing the number of white blood cells.
In clinical studies, acupuncture reduced the amount of pain in some cancer patients. In one study, most of the patients treated with acupuncture were able to stop taking drugs for pain relief or to take smaller doses. Acupuncture is also very useful for support if you are undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or hormonal therapy. Because chemotherapy and radiation therapy weaken the body's immune system, a strict clean needle method must be used when acupuncture treatment is given to cancer patients.
To learn more about how acupuncture can safely and effectively be incorporated into care for people with cancer, please call for a consultation today.
Source: National Cancer Institute. www.cancer.org
New Lung Cancer Guidelines Include Acupuncture
Acupuncture is now officially recommended for lung cancer patients experiencing fatigue, dyspnea, chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, pain, nausea and vomiting. Evidence-based guidelines published by the American College of Chest Physicians recommend acupuncture for lung cancer patients experiencing fatigue, dyspnea, chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, or to soothe symptoms of pain or nausea and vomiting.
The new edition of these standard guidelines represents the first time complementary and integrative medicine has been addressed in the prevention and treatment of lung cancer. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, causing more fatalities than the next four most common types of cancer combined.
The new guidelines were developed and reviewed by 100 multidisciplinary panel members and have been endorsed by the American Association for Bronchology, American Association for Thoracic Surgery, American College of Surgeons Oncology Group, American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, Asian Pacific Society of Respirology, Oncology Nurses Society, Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and the World Association of Bronchology.
- Source: Chest, September 2007
Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth
Pregnancy is an amazing time in a woman's life. Many women report feeling healthier than they have ever felt before; however, the physical growth of the baby and changes in hormone levels can bring about pain, discomfort and a variety of health problems.Planning for a Healthy Baby Healthy parents produce healthy babies. With acupuncture and Oriental medicine, parents can improve their health to create the most optimal environment for their unborn child. In addition to their ability to strengthen, support, and balance overall health and well-being, acupuncture and Oriental medicine are an effective treatment for regulating menstruation and hormone levels, reducing stress and addressing any pre-existing medical conditions or concerns that a woman may have.Acupuncture during Pregnancy Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can play a vital role in the comfort of a pregnant woman. There is strong evidence to support that acupuncture is highly effective at treating some of the most common problems experienced during pregnancy including morning sickness, heartburn, insomnia, water retention and sciatica.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can provide a safe, effective alternative for many of the health complications that may arise before, during and after pregnancy. A growing number of women are choosing acupuncture to use throughout their pregnancy and as an optional treatment for an overdue or difficult labor. Here is a list of some of the problems that an acupuncturist often treats during pregnancy:
Nausea and Vomiting
Edema and Swelling
Urinary Tract Infection
Neck and Back Pain
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Fatigue and Exhaustion
Anxiety and Depression
Acupuncture for Childbirth While there are acupuncture points that can provide natural pain relief during labor, acupuncture is more commonly used to induce labor. There are several points that stimulate contractions and influence cervical ripening. There is also an acupuncture point that has been found to turn a breech baby.Acupuncture Postpartum Many women feel depleted after the birth experience. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help the transition of those first few months after birth to ensure a quick recovery. Postpartum care focuses on the physical, emotional and psychological recovery of the mother from the effects of pregnancy and labor, as well as encouraging breast feeding.
Here are some of the postpartum disorders that can be treated with acupuncture:
Insufficient or Excessive Lactation
Post Operative Healing
Safety of Acupuncture During Pregnancy
Acupuncture is safe to use while you are pregnant; however, there are some points that can cause contractions and should NOT be needled during pregnancy or should be used with extreme caution.
There are also many herbal remedies that are contraindicated during pregnancy. Always err on the side of caution with all herbs and medications while you are expecting.
Study: Acupuncture Point, UB 67, for Turning a Breech Baby An acupuncture point on the small toe of the foot (Urinary Bladder 67) has been found to effectively revolve fetuses in breech presentation.
In an Italian study, 240 women at 33-35 weeks of gestation carrying a fetus in breech presentation were randomized to receive acupuncture plus m oxibustion (an herb used to apply heat to an acupuncture point) or to be assigned to the observation group. At delivery, the proportion of babies that had turned from breech position to vertex (head-down) position was 53.6 % in the group treated with acupuncture while the proportion of babies that had turned from breech position to vertex position in the observation group was 36.7%.
Source: J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2004 Apr;15(4):247-52 Ten Reasons to Learn More About Community Acupuncture By: Lisa Rohleder L.Ac. Date Published: 05-14-2009