Scottsdale Acupuncture

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What is Intermittent Fasting?

Posted Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018 by ABA

intermittent, fasting, diet, weight loss

From gaining a greater level of self-control and awareness, to weight loss and fat-burning, the benefits of intermittent fasting have long been touted and are now backed by clinical research and studies. When done properly, alternating between periods of fasting and eating can lead to a healthier, longer, more meaningful life.

Introduction to Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting (IF) is a dietary plan that involves cycling between periods of fasting and skipping meals entirely, and periods of normal food consumption. This alternating diet plan allows you to restrict/limit calorie consumption and augment cell and hormone functions.

During fasting periods, all forms of food are avoided, but drinks like water, coffee and juices may be allowed. The goal is to avoid the intake of calories. Supplements can also be taken to avoid nutrient deficiencies, especially during extended fasts.

Research into Intermittent Fasting

The benefits of fasting have been touted for centuries by spiritual gurus and, more recently, by fitness experts – and finally there is substantial research to verify these claims. Clinical studies involving human subjects substantiate the medical effects of intermittent fasting.

One study into the effectiveness of fasting for weight loss showed promising results among the majority of participants, as the fasting encouraged food and caloric restriction and improved eating habits. Another study (on rats) showed that intermittent fasting could be linked to an overall increase in lifespan in subjects; on average, rats that fasted lived longer than fully fed rats.

Yet another study into the power of intermittent fasting showed an improvement in heart health. Ultimately, a lower intake of “bad” calories and a reduction in cardiac risk factors like diabetes and inflammation will reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Another promising clinical study showed a correlation between regular intermittent fasting and a reduction in the development of certain forms of cancer.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Regular fasting can do wonders for the human body—in fact, the body is designed to go for extended periods without food without suffering harm. But the benefits of intermittent fasting extend beyond mere physical merits. There are psychological and cognitive benefits as well, making IF a valuable dieting plan.

The benefits of intermittent fasting include:

  • Cancer prevention
  • Weight loss and fat burning
  • Cellular repair and regeneration
  • Reduced insulin resistance and lower risk of diabetes
  • Prevention of inflammation
  • Improved cardiac health
  • Improved brain and cognitive function
  • Alzheimer’s and stroke prevention

Forms of Intermittent Fasting

The most common forms of intermittent fasting are:

  • 16:8

This requires you to fast for 16 hours in a day, while allowing yourself only an 8-hour feeding period. The most common way to perform a 16:8 fast is to skip breakfast and avoid any meals after 8 p.m.

A person may decide to break his fast by 12 noon, allowing himself an 8-hour window, until 8 p.m., to eat meals. The implication of this pattern is that you are forced to eat just 2 meals a day, rather than 3.

  • 20:4

The 20:4 fast allows for an even shorter eating window, 4 hours. This meaning you fast for 20 hours daily. You may either eat a single meal, or two smaller portions during your 4-hour eating window.

  • 24-hour Fasts

A 24-hour fast, as the name implies, involves a full day’s worth of fasting between meals. The most common variation is the dinner-dinner fasts—eating dinner on the first day, and waiting till dinnertime of the second day to have your next meal.

  • 5:2

The 5:2 fasting plan divides your week into two sections: fasting and non-fasting days. Formulated by famed diet expert Dr. Michael Mosley in his book, The Fast Diet, you have 5 days of regular eating and 2 days of fasting.

During the 2 fasting days, you can consume up to 500 calories, which can be consumed all at once or spread out over the course of the day.

  • 36-hour Fasts

The way to perform the 36-hour fast is to prepare to skip eating for an entire day. You have dinner on Day 1, completely skip eating on Day 2, and then have breakfast on Day 3. Skipping a full day of eating makes this form of IF more effective than shorter fasts, as your body burns more excess calories during your full day of fasting.

  • Extended Fasts

Usually performed by religious sects and more disciplined fitness gurus, extended fasts involve multiple continuous days of fasting. There are verified reports of people fasting for up to 10 months, but in many cases extended fasts are usually just a couple of days to a few weeks in duration.

To avoid depletion of essential nutrients, it is important that extended periods of fasting be performed under the supervision of a licensed health practitioner. It is usually recommended to perform extended fasts while supplementing micro-nutrient loss with a dose of multivitamins and supplements.

Risks and Side-Effects of Intermittent Fasting

Done right, intermittent fasting promises a host of benefits for individuals who adopt it. But like any dieting plan, there are risks and side effects to consider before embarking upon this course.

There is a risk of overeating, as compensation for lost calories, after a fasting period. The learning period is marked with hunger, which may cause you to eat even more than normal to suppress the urge.

Pregnant women, people on prescription medication, children, and elderly persons must fast under supervision. The benefits of fasting must be weighed against the risks of food restriction to avoid harmful caloric and nutritional deficiencies.

What Is Meditation Good For?

Posted Tuesday, August 7th, 2018 by ABA


What is meditation?

Meditation is a learned skill of focusing the mind, used around the world and within every culture, for religious purposes as well as to relieve stress, create calm and clarity. Used in both business and privately, it aims to foster peace by creating a balance of heart, mind, body and spirit. When practiced correctly, it creates self-awareness and allows a person to live a more purposeful life in harmony with the world around them.

Health benefits of meditation

There are many health benefits to the practice of meditation that go beyond the relief of stress, depression and anxiety. During any life or health crisis, meditation can provide a clear perspective so one can make decisions consciously and with purpose. Whether it’s cancer, recovering from a heart attack, living with an autoimmune disease, studying for a test, preparing for dental or other surgery, meditation can balance you, and create calm and focus. There are many scientific reasons you should start meditating on a daily basis.

Getting personal with your self

For some individuals, the thought of sitting still seems foreign. Sometimes even our relaxation time is stressful. When we sit and relax at the end of the day, we often spend a good hour reading emails on our computer. When faced with a nice glass of iced herbal tea and good conversation, we opt to plant our face in our phone and type away 10 text messages while sipping and talking. We climb into bed for a restful night’s sleep, then turn on our television and watch the news. A soothing bath turns into a quick cleaning of the tiles and a replay of our busy day running through our head.

According to Mindful, you can take a daily two-minute meditation break, wherever you are, and it will make you fully present. Two minutes! Who doesn’t have that amount of time to spare for themselves?

Making time for focused relaxation, connection to one’s self and the universe allows us to better care for ourselves and those around us. We pay less attention to those annoying emails, become fully present in our relationships, get better sleep, clean our house better, and so on.

Business can be a pleasure

By encouraging your employees and staff to meditate, providing them a designated area and offering time for meditation, you show them that you care for their well-being. This time, when utilized, can enhance their concentration and productivity within the workplace. It can create a more positive outlook, which makes for better customer service skills and interoffice relations.

If given the opportunity to meditate, employers can help keep the workforce healthy, which means fewer sick days and time off and better job performance. By creating an atmosphere that includes mediation, you as the employer encourage your employees to eat better, exercise, maintain healthy friendships and make smarter choices . In this way, meditation comes full circle.

Misconceptions about meditation

Meditation can be confusing and a little intimidating to those who have never tried it. At first, the idea of focusing your entire self on one thought, idea or object can seem unattainable. With our busy schedules, it’s even more important to practice meditation than we might believe. Our modern world can promote stress and increase the likelihood of mental, emotional or physical health issues.

When we spend most of our time in hyper mode, finishing projects, running errands, and trying to balance our professional and private lives, sometimes the answer is right before us. Sit still, take a breath, close your eyes, and mindfully focus.

A learned skill

Most people know what meditation is, but few know how to practice it. In our crazy lives, we have forgotten how to just be. As we meditate and time ticks by, all things cease, for just a few minutes whatever any length of time you choose. The ability to attain and maintain focus can be a challenge, especially when you first begin. This is one reason why some people give up on meditation after a short period of time.

Like any skill you learn – from riding a bike, speaking another language, or cooking a soufflé – meditation takes time and practice. Being patient with yourself and the process will allow you to benefit even in the early stages, when your mind tends to wander. Did I leave the coffee pot on? What time do I have to pick up the kids from soccer? Like a leaf floating in the breeze, acknowledge the thought and let it float away, and return your focus. Have an itch on your nose? Is the neighborhood dog barking in the background? Again, acknowledge it and return to your center.

Risks and side effects of meditation

No known side effects or risks are associated with practicing meditation, except maybe peace of mind, mental clarity, and living a more purposeful life. Missing the occasional appointment or errand can happen – but that happens anyway, so why worry about it?

Meditation is medicine!

Meditation offers many health benefits to us all. No matter your social standing, occupation, family status, age, gender or lifestyle, you can benefit from its practice. Simply make the time, practice the art and be patient with yourself and the process. The rewards will last a lifetime.

The Amazing Benefits of Black Seed Oil

Posted Sunday, July 8th, 2018 by ABA

black seed oil

Many people are seeking natural solutions that can help overcome the myriad of health problems we face. Black seed oil is a health product that has been growing in popularity in recent years – but, in fact, people have trusted it for centuries. In fact, usage of black seed oil dates back to ancient Egypt, as it was found in the tomb of King Tut. It has been used for toothaches, abscesses, parasites, and other conditions. Today, numerous health benefits are linked to black seed oil.

What is black seed oil?

Black seed oil is a product crafted from the seeds of the black cumin plant. It is native to southwest Asia, Africa, and the Mediterranean. As previously mentioned, it has been used for centuries for medicinal uses and as a spice.

What are some of the health benefits of black seed oil?

Black seed oil may be very effective in treating a wide array of heath conditions, including:

  • High Blood Pressure

There is evidence that black seed oil can help reduce high blood pressure; one study showed that people with mildly elevated blood pressure noticed a drop in their blood pressure after using back seed oil for 2 months.

  • Asthma

Asthma is one of the most common uses for black seed oil. The product has anti-inflammatory properties that can improve asthma symptoms. Since black seed oil can reduce inflammation in airways, it can also be very helpful with bronchitis symptoms.

  • High Cholesterol

Black seed oil has a high healthy fatty acid content. Fatty acids are essential in maintaining a healthy cholesterol level in the body.

  • Stomach Problems

Black seeds have properties that make them an excellent choice to relieve stomach cramps and pain. When in oil form, black seed oil can reduce bloating, gas, and ulcers.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

Black seed oil can help reduce the inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

What are some other notable health benefits?

It is widely believed that black seed oil has anti-cancer properties, especially when used on the skin to fight skin cancer. Studies have shown that it can help reduce the growth of tumors in lab rats. Black seed oil can also help reduce the effects of radiation, which damages healthy cells. Black seed oil cannot completely replace traditional cancer treatments, but it can be a great addition to the treatment plan.

Great for your beauty regimen

Not only is black seed oil an excellent option to help treat common health ailments; it’s also a great option for your skin. These are some of the ways that black seed oil can help common with skin problems:

  • Wound Healing

Black seed oil is great for healing wounds. It can reduce the amount of bacteria in the wound and reduce inflammation to make it heal faster. It does not help with collagen factors, but it can stimulate various other growth factors to help develop healthy new skin in the area.

  • Acne

Acne is a common problem for both adults and teens. Studies have shown that using a lotion with 10% black seed oil can significantly reduce acne after about 2 months of use.

  • Healthier Skin

Using black seed oil can help improve the skin’s moisture and hydration to give you softer and healthier-looking skin.

  • Psoriasis

Using black seed oil can reduce the incidence of psoriasis when applied directly on the plaque.

Black seed oil can be very helpful in achieving healthy hair as well. By rubbing it on your hair, you will get softer and healthier looking locks.

But is it safe?

Overall, when used properly and in moderation, black seed oil is very safe. But there are some things that you should know about this product. For example, it can increase the way your body metabolizes certain medications. It’s a good idea to talk with your doctor about using black seed oil to ensure that it won’t negatively impact your health or affect the medications you are taking.

Black seed oil can be also assist your liver function, but using too much can potentially harm to your kidneys and liver. If you already have issues with these organs please talk to your doctor before using it.

Experiencing Fibromyalgia? Try Acupuncture!

Posted Monday, May 14th, 2018 by ABA

fibro, fibromyalgia, acupuncture

Fibromyalgia affects millions of people every year. It is complex and common disorder that can affect anyone at any age. It can have a massively negative impact on every aspect of the sufferer’s life, affecting them mentally, socially and physically. There is no cure, and it can vary greatly in intensity in those who suffer from it. To find relief from your symptoms you will need to utilize several different approaches, including medical interventions. Acupuncture can be an effective tool in your treatment plan.

Do You Have Fibromyalgia?

Those with fibromyalgia notice several symptoms:

  • Pain

People with fibromyalgia struggle with pain all over their body, including in the muscles and bones. Some people describe the pain as a continuous ache that lasts for a minimum of three months. For doctors to qualify the pain as widespread, the pain cannot be localized to one area. It must be located below and above the waist, and bilaterally on the body. Scientists think that fibromyalgia intensifies the pain a person feels by impacting the processing of pain signals by the brain.

  • Complaints of fatigue

People who have fibromyalgia complain of constant fatigue, even if they have slept well. This is because people with fibromyalgia are often awoken by the pain. They may also have separate sleep problems, like sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome (RLS).

  • Thought process disruption

Fibromyalgia can cause difficulty in focusing, concentrating or paying attention.

What Other Health Problems Are Linked to Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia can coexist with numerous other health conditions that can also be helped by acupuncture. You should be sure to keep your doctor up to date with any problems you may be having. These are common in people who suffer from fibromyalgia, which is why doctors frequently ask you if you are experiencing other symptoms such as neck or back pain, headaches, jaw pain, IBS, and frequent or painful urination. You may also suffer from anxiety as a result of your fibromyalgia.

Some of these problems can coexist with fibromyalgia because of how your body processes pain signals. Fibromyalgia causes your brain to amplify the pain signals it receives. This means you will feel a lot more pain than other people exposed to the same pain stimuli.

Can Acupuncture Help with My Pain?

There has been much research on the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating fibromyalgia. Most of these studies show that acupuncture can be an incredibly beneficial addition to your treatment plan. There is no cure for this condition, and no one treatment plan works for everyone. A majority of people will find relief from getting these treatments. If you have tried other things and failed to get relief, acupuncture is definitely something you should check out. You have nothing to lose, especially when you’re in constant pain.

Acupuncture is not an instant fix to your problem. It takes time for it to start working. After a few treatments, you should know whether or not it is working for you. It is important that you only go to a reputable practitioner who has experience in acupuncture. This will ensure you get the best-quality treatment.

Acupuncture and Fibromyalgia

Acupuncture is an alternative medicine, a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine used to help relieve the pain caused by fibromyalgia. During treatments, the acupuncturist strategically, yet gently, places thin acupuncture needles in specific acupuncture points on the body. The needles are inserted for about 30 minutes and are sometimes accompanied by either electrical impulses or heat. As long as acupuncture is done by a licensed acupuncturist, it does not carry many risks. Results are usually noticed within the first few weeks of treatment. There are differing results in studies on how effective acupuncture is for relieving fibromyalgia symptoms. However, most point to the helpfulness of the treatment.

Fibromyalgia is painful, but it can be managed effectively. Acupuncture is a great way to treat the chronic, widespread pain that comes with it. It relatively-safe, drug-free and can be used either in combination with or instead of prescription medicines. It is effective for most people. If other treatments for fibromyalgia haven’t worked for you, consider trying acupuncture and see if it helps you feel better sooner.

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What is 5-HTP?

Posted Tuesday, May 1st, 2018 by ABA

5-htp, supplements, health

5-HTP, or 5-hydroxytryptophan, is a chemical byproduct of L-tryptophan, which is a building block of protein. It is made both naturally in the body and synthetically and can be used to treat a wide variety of issues, from insomnia to Parkinson’s disease. 5-HTP can help with these problems because it increases serotonin production in the brain and central nervous system. Essentially, any disease or condition directly affected by serotonin can be treated or supplemented using 5-HTP.

Where Does It Come From? 

5-HTP is synthesized from the seeds of Griffonia Simplicifolia, a plant native to West and Central Africa. It’s a relatively inexpensive herbal supplement that can be found in pill form in any major vitamin store. A bottle of 60 tablets will run you around $10-$20, depending on your place of purchase. In the body, it is produced from tryptophan through the processing of the enzyme tryptophan hydroxylase.

While tryptophan can be consumed through many different foods, such as milk, potatoes, and various greens, this is a much slower and less abundant source of 5-HTP than direct supplementation.

Current 5-HTP Research

Studies have been conducted to determine the effectiveness of 5-HTP in the treatment of anxiety and depression. Current research on 5-HTP has come to a few solid conclusions.  First, 5-HTP crosses the blood-brain barrier. Serotonin cannot do this. It also converts into serotonin without any feedback inhibition. What this means for you as a user is that it essentially becomes a replacement serotonin boost, since serotonin can’t be taken directly.  5-HTP can convert into serotonin infinitely. The only reason it would not is if there was a shortage of an enzyme called L-aromatic amino acid decarboxylase in the body. This enzyme is responsible for the catalyzation of 5-HTP to serotonin.

The ability of 5-HTP to convert into serotonin is hugely important for diseases in the central nervous system. It has been shown that treating CNS diseases with serotonin is the best way to create the best outcomes for patients. Countless people swear by 5-HTP and believe it’s the reason why their depression has been relieved.

5-HTP has been found to be even more effective with the addition of carbidopa, which increases the availability of 5-HTP in the central nervous system. However, this combination is not without its problems. While carbidopa helps 5-HTP work better, it causes most of the side effects associated with the combination.

Depression is not the only subject of 5-HTP studies, however.  In this study, researchers found a direct relationship between increased levels of 5-HTP and increased satiety and lower BMI in overweight females. So, for those with trouble feeling satiated after eating, you may find relief from this problem by supplementing with 5-HTP.

Treating Anxiety and Depression

The two most common uses for 5-HTP are for weight loss, or for anxiety and depression. In the above-referenced study, 5-HTP relieved depression in 43.4% of the participants.

Since its switch from a prescription to an over-the-counter drug, it has gained a cult following of users who absolutely believe in its ability to alleviate depression and anxiety.

How to take 5-HTP

As previously mentioned, 5-HTP comes in pill form. It is readily available in any vitamin store as a regular dietary supplement. It typically comes in either 50mg or 100mg capsules.  It can also be found as an oil, though this is much less common. The recommended daily dosage is usually between 100-500 mg, though if you are taking it without any other drugs or supplements, a higher dosage may be necessary.

However, if you want to boost the potential results of 5-HTP, you can utilize another powerful chemical.  This particular chemical, called EGCG, is a green tea extract. It is a natural addition to 5-HTP. While 5-HTP increases satiety, EGCG boosts energy levels while exercising. So, you’ll be taking in less calories, and burning more. It is a powerful combination for weight loss. Just remember, if you’re taking 5-HTP to help with weight loss, it is recommended that you take it with food for the best results. For more information on the relationship between 5-HTP and EGCG, check out this article.

Side Effects and Risks of 5-HTP

Most people can take 5-HTP without any side effects. The most serious side effect, however, is a condition called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. This condition causes extreme muscle fatigue and blood abnormalities. Other less serious problems may include sexual dysfunction, stomach pain and vomiting, diarrhea, heartburn, and drowsiness. Again, these occurrences are few and far between.

As with any change in your medical routine, it is important that when taking 5-HTP you consult your healthcare professional. If you’re looking for something to help you feel better and less anxious, then 5-HTP is for you!

Experiencing Bell’s Palsy? Try Acupuncture!

Posted Sunday, April 15th, 2018 by ABA

bells, palsy, acupuncture

Bell’s Palsy is the most common cause of facial paralysis. If you are part of the 29% of patients whose facial symptoms persist, then you may have found that Western medicine has little to offer. When common treatments such as corticosteroids, antivirals, physiotherapy and surgery don’t work, or work only partially, there is reason to include acupuncture as part of your treatment plan. In China, for example, Bell’s Palsy is much more common, and for centuries it has been treated using the ancient practice of acupuncture.

Acupuncture is something you can do to help treat the symptoms of Bell’s Palsy, and it can be done by itself or in conjunction with drug treatments. If you are suffering from Bell’s Palsy, you should explore what acupuncture has to offer you.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture involves stimulating specific points on the body. That stimulation is achieved by inserting very thin needles through the skin. These needles are single-use and pre-sterilised, so there is no need to worry about infection risk.

An acupuncture session will typically last for anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes. The first session will include a consultation where you can discuss your condition with the practitioner. For the treatment, you will be asked to sit or lie down. The practitioner will then insert the needles into the specific acupuncture points that will help address your condition.

The needles are inserted to varying depths, depending on the points being stimulated. The needles may be twisted or stimulated with a small electric current. Once the needles are in place, they are left there for between a few minutes and half an hour.

There should be no significant pain when the needles are inserted. You may feel a faint tingling sensation or a dull ache, but it is not especially unpleasant.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which has been evolving for the past 4,000 years. Practitioners who adhere to the traditional beliefs surrounding the practice explain that it works by unblocking the life force (or Qi, pronounced “chee”) that flows through the body. The belief is that illness is caused when Qi is unable to flow freely throughout the body. Once the flow is restored, so too is the patient’s health.

Western medicine believes that acupuncture works because it stimulates the body to produce more natural substances. It is especially good at stimulating the production of endorphins. Endorphins are sometimes referred to as “happy hormones”. They are responsible for making you feel good and are effective at providing pain relief.

Does Acupuncture Really Help Bell’s Palsy?

The use of acupuncture to treat Bell’s Palsy has been considered controversial in America by practitioners of Western medicine. In China, where Bell’s Palsy is far more common, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are widely used and available. Many studies suggest acupuncture is an effective treatment when performed in isolation; others suggest that it is best used as a complementary treatment, alongside the use of drugs. Other studies suggest that it has no beneficial effect at all.

In 2015, a group of doctors surveyed all the research done to date on the efficacy of acupuncture as a treatment for Bell’s Palsy. They reported that when they looked at the results of trials that collectively included a total of 1541 individuals (both adults and children), there was a statistically significant better outcome for those who were treated with acupuncture than those who received alternative treatments. Their findings suggest that acupuncture can be beneficial when used in isolation or as a complementary treatment.

The report also concluded that acupuncture is a completely safe treatment option for Bell’s Palsy, and that there was no evidence of it causing harm or side effects in patients, young or old.

How Much Treatment is Needed for Bell’s Palsy?

The sooner you start receiving acupuncture, the more effect it is likely to have. You would usually be advised to have two sessions per week to help deal with the symptoms. The number of sessions and how long it takes to resolve will depend on the individual. Your acupuncturist will be able to discuss this with you during your first session.

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What is CBD?

Posted Saturday, March 31st, 2018 by ABA

CBD, health, wellness

What is CBD?

CBD is a chemical that is extracted from hemp plants and turned into an oil extract. It does not get you high. However, it has been, and continues to be tested to ascertain the full range of its beneficial properties. It has been shown to be effective in treating epilepsy, chronic pain, inflammation and disorders that affect mood and anxiety. There are few or no side effects. It is legal in most states but may require a prescription/permit.

Introduction to the world of cannabinoids

Cannabis is a complex substance. You may know that different strains of cannabis produce different effects – some have psychotropic effects (they get you higher), while others are more effective at treating pain and inflammation. The reason for the variations is that cannabis is made up of roughly 400 different chemical compounds. Altering the balance of these compounds results in different effects.

It has been known for a long time that THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis responsible for the feeling of euphoria. When heated, either during smoking or cooking, THC breaks downs into chemicals that affect our brain chemistry. THC is only one of the 400 hundred chemicals found in cannabis.

Another chemical in cannabis is CBD – cannabidiol. Despite its name, you will find larger amounts of CBD in hemp plants than in cannabis plants. For the sake of clarity, it’s worth explaining the difference between cannabis and hemp, as this is an understandable point of confusion for many people.

Both cannabis and hemp are the same plant, but each is selectively bred over time so to create different qualities. It’s like how both Great Danes and chihuahuas are both dogs, but after years of breeding, are now very different dogs. Currently, hemp is selectively grown to produce high levels of THC – but in its more natural form, the plant contains much higher levels of CBD.

Research into CBD

Scientists have been experimenting with CBD and found that it has therapeutic value. What’s more, it can have a medicinal effect without any associated ‘high’. This makes CBD a much more palatable solution than medical marijuana that contains THC. The applications of CBD are wide and varied, and are the subject of many clinical studies.

CBD affects the body in two different ways. First, it interacts with brain receptors (CB1 receptors) that affect, among other things, pain, emotion, mood appetite and memories. CBD also impacts the body’s immune system by affecting CB2 receptors that are linked to inflammation and pain.

Benefits of CBD

In lab tests, CBD has been shown to significantly reduce chronic inflammation and pain. It is a promising candidate for a non-addictive option for chronic pain treatment.

CBD’s ability to reduce anxiety, pain and insomnia, as well as mood symptoms associated with disorders such as PTSD and addiction, means that it is the subject of a wide range of studies. All of them are assessing how beneficial CBD can be in helping people to quit smoking or opioids. There has also been much interest in using CBD to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or panic- based disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

There have been many reports of CBD’s efficacy as a treatment for epilepsy. Use of the oil has been clinically shown to drastically reduce the incidence of seizure in many patients.

How do you take it?

CBD is primarily taken in the form of an oil extracted from hemp. The oil can be taken orally from a dropper or added to food or drinks. It can also be used as a topical treatment that can be massaged into the skin. The dosage depends on the condition it is being used to treat, but typically ranges from less than 1mg up to about 1,000mg.

You should seek professional advice before taking CBD, as it has not yet been approved by the FDA. It is a very new product that has garnered a lot of interest as of late.

Side Effects of CBD

There have been very few noted side effects of CBD, even at exceedingly high doses, which makes it a very safe treatment option. There have been some reports of it causing fatigue and, sometimes, diarrhea.

Risks of CBD

As no long-term studies of the effects of CBDs on the human body have been completed, you are advised to talk to a professional before you begin using CBD oil. Indefinite use of CBD is not recommended.

Legal Status of CBD

Generally, CBD oil is legal in most states. However, you should speak to a healthcare professional if you believe that CBD will be beneficial for you, as you may need a prescription to get it.

Treating Back Pain with Acupuncture

Posted Thursday, February 16th, 2017 by ABA

back, pain, acupuncture

Acupuncture is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine which utilizes acupuncture needles to stimulate certain parts of the body with the purpose of alleviating pain, discomfort, stagnation and illness. It has been used to treat back pain and all other types of pain in the body for thousands of years.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture is a Chinese medical practice which was created over four thousand years ago. There are an exceptional number of acupuncture cases that show its profound effects on the human body. The needles used in acupuncture treatments aid in stimulating the nervous system; including, the brain and spinal cord. The stimulation releases chemicals which affect different parts of the body.

During this process, anywhere between one and twenty needles are strategically inserted into acupuncture points. These needles can penetrate the skin for several inches or they can just break the surface. states that where these needles are placed depends entirely on the condition that is being treated. They can be placed into areas of muscle, fat, or even under scalp tissue.

The Effects

The effects of acupuncture on the body vary deeply based on who is receiving the treatment and how long their condition has existed. The most common effects are a tingling sensation, total relaxation, and some people even feel energized. The treatment has rarely been described as painful because the needles that are used are entirely different that the typical needles which are used for injections; in fact, they’re twenty times smaller. Along with its lack of pain, acupuncture has been proven to be safe when performed by licensed acupuncturists. There is always concern for safety when needles are involved; however, these are FDA approved and sterile. The few complications with this practice makes it even more appealing, but there are those who do not know how to practice it properly. Acupuncture performed by physical therapists (also known as dry needling) can potentially lead to punctured organs and injuries to the nervous system.

Acupuncture and Back Pain

According to WebMd’s website, back pain is one of the top reasons why people visit the doctor’s office; however, back pain can be treated using acupuncture. This website also states that acupuncture may work at preventing back pain by releasing natural opioids. Opioids are a chemical which the brain releases in order to reduce the amount of pain one experiences and improves the quality of sleep.

Back pain reportedly affects over a million people in the United Kingdom, according to the British Acupuncture Council, especially lower back pain. For those who want to replace existing medication or for those with the most severe symptoms, acupuncture might be their best option.  Studies have shown that real acupuncture, compared to no acupuncture or simulated (sham) acupuncture, is one of the most effective ways to treat back pain.


Acupuncture is a legitimate alternative to traditional forms of medication. Apart from back pain, this practice can also help in relieving the pain of arthritis, knee pain, neck pain, and more.  Whatever one’s reason for needing acupuncture, his or her pain will certainly be lessened. As with any method of care, be sure to speak with your practitioner about the length of time and intensity it will take to treat our specific pain level.

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Acupuncture For Kids

Posted Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 by ABA

acupuncture, kids, child

Up until now acupuncture has rarely been used on children because kids are usually afraid of needles and the process can be terrifying for them. But some creative doctors have started to demonstrate to kids that these needles won’t hurt them by doing acupuncture techniques on the child’s parents first in front of them. This establishes a level of trust between the doctor and young patient.

What is acupuncture?

A practice of inserting thin needles into the body at strategic points to treat a slew of health issues.

The key point to make about children receiving acupuncture therapy is that you must find a practitioner that is trained and skilled in this unique technique because severe injury could result if acupuncture is not performed properly. The last thing that you want to do for your child that is already in pain is to cause more pain.

How does acupuncture work?

The theory behind acupuncture is that energy flows throughout the body along various channels called meridians. The traveling energy is called qi. Qi is not always able to move through the body freely (free movement is the ideal condition) so chronic illness can result until the blockages are removed. Acupuncture removes harmful blockages and allows energy to start flowing freely again.  It does have benefits for children.

Recent Studies

A study was recently conducted by Dr. Yuan-Chi Lin at a Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital in Boston to study pain management in children and the correlation between acupuncture and managing pain. The sample of participants ranged from aged sixth months to eighteen years. Total participants were 243 patients so this was a relatively good sample. Before the acupuncture was administered, the average pain scale was an 8 out of 10.

The study lasted for one year and the average pain level at the end of the study was a 3 out of 10. The child’s parents reported that these children missed less school, actually participated in hobbies, and were sleeping better.

The pain reported was caused by endometriosis, migraines, and chronic pain conditions. Seventy percent of study participants reported that their pain level was less after receiving the acupuncture treatments.

During another study on acupuncture in children, forty-seven children were examined after acupuncture therapy and fifty nine percent of them showed improvement per their parents.

Other studies have been done to test the effect of acupuncture on children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Cerebral Palsy but results have not yet been published.

One third of pain centers for children in the United States offer acupuncture to children to help with pain management.

What ailments have been treated with acupuncture?

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and reflux issues
  • Sleeping problems
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Asthma
  • ADHD
  • Menstrual pain in teens
  • Drooling
  • Bedwetting
  • Bone pain and disorders

Possible side effects

Most side effects reported are very mild but some severe side effects that have been experienced by children receiving acupuncture therapy from inexperienced practitioners have been physical deformity, nerve function loss, and infection. Please note that this was from inexperienced doctors that made mistakes during treatment. Mild side effects included:

  • Bruising
  • Crying
  • Discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Temporary numbness at needle injection site

How to help my child succeed with acupuncture therapy?

As a parent, caregiver, or guardian, you want what is best for your child which is why you are looking into treating their pain with acupuncture in the first place. So what can you do to help ensure the treatment is successful?

  • Show that you trust the doctor in front of your child to help them to build a trusting relationship with the doctor, too.
  • Be perfectly calm during the process, your child will take cues from you so if you are nervous your child will be nervous too.
  • Talk to your child during the therapy and keep them engaged with you in conversation or silly stories. Just be careful to not have the child talking or moving around too much or it will affect the therapy.
  • Try introducing Acupressure therapy first if your child is deathly afraid of needles until you can mentally work them up to accepting therapy with needles.

Acupuncture cannot replace traditional medical treatments in all cases. For instance, diabetics will still need insulin even if they undergo acupuncture treatments because this therapy does not treat diabetics. Acupuncture has been successful in treating many forms of chronic pain in children and adults across the nation. We encourage you to research and check out if acupuncture may be a good fit for your family!

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Can Acupuncture Treat Colds & The Flu?

Posted Tuesday, September 27th, 2016 by ABA

cold. flu, acupuncture

Common colds and the flu are more than a minor annoyance. The flu and colds are very contagious and prohibitive to functioning at full capacity, and if left untreated, they can lead to further complications, including death.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colds are the most common cause for students missing school and adults missing work.  They go on to state that adults average two to three colds a year while children average more.  The flu affects every 1.2 people per 100,000, and there were 3,697 deaths in the United States from the flu last year.  Both can last seven to ten days, and symptoms can range from a stuffy nose and tiredness to infections and being bedridden.  This not only affects the person with the cold or flu but others as well.

As reported by Web MD, the common cold costs the US economy $40 billion a year.  That includes missed time from work, loss of productivity, and the cost of treatments.  One study mentioned on Web MD stated that Americans spend over $2.9 billion a year on over-the-counter drugs and another $400 million on drugs that relieve symptoms.  Moreover, they are said to spend $1.1 billion on antibiotics even though antibiotics have no impact on viruses, which is what a cold is.  And these are only costs related to the common cold.  The flu adds on to these costs.  According to the CDC, $10.4 billion is the estimated amount spent on hospitalization and outpatient care for the flu each year.  With five to twenty percent of the US getting the flu each year, it adds up to $16.3 billion in lost earnings annually.  With so much at stake, getting the right treatment when flu or cold symptoms first show up is imperative to saving money, time, and potential lost earnings for your employer.

The symptoms of the common cold and the flu can be similar.  It is important to know the difference because while a cold can certainly leave you feeling miserable, the flu can lead to hospitalization or pneumonia.  A cold usually starts with a sore throat, and the symptoms progress slowly.  You can develop a runny and stuffy nose, headache, and possibly a slight fever.  Flu symptoms come on fast and can include high fever, cough, headache, congestion, and sore throat. Vomiting and diarrhea may occur with certain kinds of flu strains.  They also include muscle weakness and feeling very ill for days or weeks.  Once you are aware of the cost of the flu and the common cold, you must be aware of different treatments.

While over-the-counter medications are nice to help with symptoms, they do nothing to shorten or cure the flu or cold.  To date, the common cold has no cure and must run its course.  On the other hand, getting a flu shot is key to preventing the flu.  Flu shots do not guarantee that you will not get the flu, but they can reduce the possibility of getting the flu by up to fifty or sixty percent, according to the CDC.  Getting past the flu also involves lots of rest and fluids.  Depending on the type of flu or symptoms you experience, other methods may be used to fight it, such as anti-inflammatory medications or antibiotics if it is caused by a bacteria.  However, there is one treatment that is often overlooked and that is acupuncture.

Acupuncture can be effective in helping to prevent a cold or the flu as well as treating its symptoms.  According to, studies show that this form of treatment helps patients by elevating immune-enhancing hormones and blood count up to three days after treatment.  This means that acupuncture can help improve the immune system, which plays a key role in fighting off colds and the flu.  Acupuncture can also help with symptoms by reducing chills, fever, body aches, sore throat, and cough by helping the body expel the virus more quickly.

Acupuncture for colds and the flu targets certain pressure points in the body to help improve immunity and reduce symptoms.  For example, certain points where the nose meets the eye socket can be targeted to help reduce congestion, headaches, and tired eyes.  Another location at the outer end of the elbow crease can improve immunity.  There are many different points that can be targeted with an acupuncture needle to help with systems and prevention.  Some can even be done at home.  Moreover, acupuncture is a much more effective way to personalize a cold or flu treatment.  Because each person is different, and has different symptoms and levels of immunity, an acupuncturist can tailor a regimen to any individual’s needs.  This is more enticing, as opposed to taking a pill formulated and advertised as a catchall.

If you want to strengthen your immune system before the cold and flu season sets in, contact an acupuncturist today.  Likewise, if you feel a cold or flu coming on, seek out an acupuncture specialist to relieve your symptoms and expel the virus quicker.  In addition, speak to your practitioner about other possible Chinese medicinal herbs and drinks that can help with a cold or flu.  The combination of both can help provide the protection and relief you have been looking for.  As always, if symptoms persist or get worse, see your doctor without hesitation.  Over the course of a lifetime, acupuncture treatment for the cold and flu can save you money on medications that may not work and time missed from work and life, and it can help foster a healthier and happier you.

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Can Acupuncture Treat My Insomnia?

Posted Sunday, September 4th, 2016 by ABA

acupuncture, insomnia, sleep

Acupuncture has a variety of uses. It has improved the sleep of many individuals who have sought help with insomnia. Unknown to many is that acupuncture has a lot of solid evidence that it truly works to help people get to sleep and stay asleep.

In 2004, a report was done on patients who suffered from anxiety. The treatment helped improve the amount of melatonin they produced and they were able to sleep more as well as get to sleep faster. They were also less anxious during the day and less restless at nighttime. A different study was performed on patients with HIV, a disease with a side effect of sleep troubles. These patients also enjoyed better sleep as a result of being treated for just 5 weeks. Beyond these two studies, acupuncture has been shown to work on people without ailments like anxiety or HIV as well.

Using Acupuncture as a Sleep Aid

You want to make sure the acupuncturist you see is qualified. With a good acupuncturist, you will feel comfortable and listened to. If you feel like your problems are being ignored, you are not seeing the acupuncturist meant for you. You will feel much better and have more improved results when seeing a practitioner who you trust and like than seeing someone you do not. Of course, that isn’t to say you would see no improvement, but it will be lessened.

Approach the treatment plan with an open mind and a willing attitude. It is best to be prepared to try new things and keep up with the plan if you want to see results. Do not just go once and decide it isn’t working, never showing up again. If you want to be able to start working on ridding yourself of insomnia, then you must be dedicated to it. For lasting effects, continue treatment. [Link]

Do not expect to see results right away. As with all kinds of treatment, it takes time to work. People work differently so what worked for one person may not work exactly the same way for you. You will notice a large improvement in your sleep schedule though. You should be able to fall asleep easier and wake up less times throughout the night if you keep on a treatment plan. Acupuncture is not a cure-all, though it can help get to the root of your insomnia problems. You must find the balance in your own life, using acupuncture as a tool.

The Body’s Meridians and Emotions

This quick list will help you have an idea of where your imbalance is coming from, but for an actual diagnose and treatment plan, you need to visit an acupuncturist’s office.

  1. Meridian – Heart. Emotion – Anxiety. Insomnia – Frequent waking up. Not falling asleep easily.
  2. Meridian – Liver. Emotion – Stress, anger, frustration. Insomnia – Hard time falling asleep. Frequently waking around 1 AM to 3 AM.
  3. Meridian – Lungs. Emotion – Grief. Insomnia – Frequently waking around 3 AM and 5 AM.
  4. Meridian – Spleen. Emotion – Obsessiveness, worry. Insomnia – Regularly waking up during the night at the same time. Nightmares or restless sleep.

While you may not immediately think of acupuncture when it comes to treating your insomnia, you will be glad you did once you are once again able to sleep. If you are looking for a reliable acupuncturist, check out our website and give us a call. You could start on the road to sleeping well again today. Don’t let your bad sleep habits continue to get in the way of the rest of your life. You have more important things to do than toss and turn at night. [Link]

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The Benefits of Cupping Therapy

Posted Friday, August 12th, 2016 by ABA

cupping, therapy, cups

Cupping therapy is an alternative medical practice that involves placing glass or plastic cups at various locations on the skin in order to create suction. Its most common and well-documented uses are as a treatment for headache and other types of pain, but some practitioners, past and present, have used it to treat a wide range of other ailments, from acne and varicose veins to allergies, high blood pressure, and anemia [Link]. Michael Phelps is perhaps the most well-known, but not the only, professional athlete, to use cupping therapy to relieve muscle pains. U.S. gymnast Alex Naddour competed in the 2016 Olympics with round, red marks on his arms and back [Link]; these were cupping therapy marks, not a stylized tribute to the Olympic rings. Cupping therapy is not just for celebrities; your local acupuncturist may even offer Chinese cupping services.

History of Cupping Therapy

Chinese cupping therapy is not the only, or even the oldest kind of cupping therapy. The ancient Egyptians created suction by applying cups to the skin more than 3,000 years ago, and ancient Greek physicians including Galen [Link] and Hippocrates [Link]. According to an Islamic hadith, the Prophet Muhammad used a type of cupping therapy as a headache remedy [Link]. The oldest known Chinese cupping text is from the fourth century [Link] and was written by Ge Hong.

Types of Cupping Therapy

Ancient people used to use cupping instruments made of ceramic, animal horns, bamboo, and glass [Link], but not all of these cupping materials are still in use. Cupping practitioners today usually use cups made of glass, plastic, rubber, or silicone. Almost all the kinds of cupping therapy use heated cups, because these create more suction, and the cups are usually left in place for at least five minutes. Dry cupping does not involve breaking the skin; a heated cup is simply placed on the skin to create suction. One type of Chinese cupping that falls into the dry cupping category is fire cupping, in which a flaming cotton ball is inserted into the cup and then quickly removed before the cup is applied to the skin [Link]. Limited bruising cupping follows the same practice as other types of cupping, but it uses silicone cups, which cause significantly less bruising [Link]. Wet cupping, including hijama, the type of cupping therapy used in the Islamic world, involves making a small incision in the skin before applying the cup to create suction. The bleeding associated with wet cupping is usually minor because the cuts are superficial, and the practitioner takes care to avoid cutting veins [Link].

What Are The Uses of Cupping Therapy

People who suffer from chronic headaches or pain, for example, the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, tend to use cupping therapy as part of a treatment regimen that can also includes other treatment methods.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Cupping Therapy?

Cupping therapy is fairly safe, as long as you go to a trained health professional. But you could have side effects in the area where the cups touch your skin that include; mild discomfort, burns, bruises and skin infection. [Link]

It is important to note that cupping should not be used on areas of the skin which have ulcers, and pregnant women should not undergo cupping therapy (Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion (Revised Edition), Xingnong, Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, China, 1987, p370.)

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Can Acupuncture Relieve Stress at Work?

Posted Thursday, July 14th, 2016 by ABA

work, stress, acupuncture

Acupuncture is a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and it has become popular in the United States as a form of alternative medicine.  It involves inserting sterile, small, very fine needles under the skin at various points in the body.  Alternative medical practitioners indicate acupuncture as a therapy for a wide variety of physical conditions and also to improve emotional well-being.  Anecdotal evidence supports the use of acupuncture for everything from pain relief to lessening anxiety to improving the success rates of fertility treatments.  A review by Ernst and Edzard et al. [Link] of scientific studies conducted on the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating various medical conditions shows that it can be an effective for many conditions, particularly when used in conjunction with other treatments.  Here are some things to consider if you are thinking of using acupuncture to reduce workplace stress.

The Theory Behind Acupuncture

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are acupuncture points below the skin in certain areas of the body that are receptive to stimulation by acupuncture needles.  Certain acupuncture points are associated with the relief of certain symptoms.  They are located along lines known as meridians, and they are usually at points where nerves and muscles or bones and muscles intersect. [Link]  Because of the network of nerves and connective tissues involved, some acupuncture points are located a considerable distance from the organs of the body they are believed to affect.  For example, the P6 (Pericardium 6) acupuncture point, which is very important for acupuncture treatment of nausea, is located on the wrist. [Link]

Traditional Chinese Medicine describes the body’s response to acupuncture [Link] as being similar to the resolution of a traffic jam in the body’s system of nerves.  Western medicine explains this response as being the result of the release of endorphins in the brain, leading to pain relief and feelings of emotional relaxation.

How can acupuncture help relieve stress at work?

The United States has a reputation for being a nation of workaholics.   According to Business Insider, white collar employees in the United States spend more hours per week at work than employees in similar professions in almost any other country in the world. [Link]  Employees are stressed out and wishing for, if not actively seeking, a better work-life balance.  Copious amounts of free time are not a possibility for most workers, so taking care of physical and mental health despite their busy schedules is the best option for a lot of busy people.

Gyms and fitness classes at work are becoming increasingly common, and companies treating their employees to therapeutic massages are not unheard of.  Could acupuncture be the next trend in the pursuit of workplace well-being?  Perhaps it should be.  According to Everyday Health, acupuncture is an effective treatment for stress and anxiety. [Link]  Patients who experience severe or chronic anxiety usually combine acupuncture with one or more other treatments, such as anti-anxiety medicines or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).  If your company is not big enough to cover hiring an in-house acupuncture therapist for your employees, you may consider looking into options for having your company’s health insurance or flexible spending benefits cover acupuncture treatments.  If you are an employee considering acupuncture to relieve your workplace anxiety, ask your benefits office or acupuncturist about insurance benefits for acupuncture.  According to Acufinder, an online resource for acupuncture patients and therapists, many insurance companies offer at least some insurance coverage for acupuncture treatments. [Link]

Are there any risks associated with acupuncture?

One of the reasons that some patients turn to acupuncture for relief of stress and anxiety is that the risk of side effects is lower than for some medicines used to treat psychiatric conditions.  The factor that makes people hesitant to try acupuncture, however, is that it involves needles, even though the needles involved in acupuncture are very thin, and many patients hardly even feel them.  As with any treatment that involves needles, if the needles become contaminated or are used multiples times there is a potential risk of transmission of blood borne pathogens.  Cases of hepatitis have been transmitted by contaminated acupuncture needles, and bacterial infections have also resulted from the use of improperly cleaned acupuncture equipment. [Link]  If you have an acupuncture treatment in the United States, though, you have little reason to worry about infections resulting from acupuncture equipment.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that acupuncture needles be discarded after a single use, which is the same requirement as for needles and syringes used to administer injections. [Link]


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Is Acupuncture Safe?

Posted Monday, June 27th, 2016 by ABA

acupuncture, safe

Acupuncture is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and has been practiced for centuries in order to relieve pain and cure certain illnesses. According to tradition an energy called “qi” is continuously flowing through your body and any unbalance or blockage can cause illnesses and pain. Practitioners use acupuncture to influence qi and unblock their pathways in order to help the flow back to normal.

Acupuncture is carried out by putting extremely thin needles through the skin at specific points on the body. The different points on the body are connected to different organs and tissue which needs to be precisely studied for more effective acupuncture. The needles help the body to get balanced again. Some practitioners, according to the illness or intensity of the pain, may even use pressure, heat or mild electric currents along with the needles. For more details about acupuncture click here.

The Process of Acupuncture

Before any treatment, a licensed acupuncturist will perform a through intake and ask you a multitude of questions based on your body functioning, the intensity of pain and the exact location of pain/ailment.  After reviewing your symptoms the practitioner will look for the certain blockage/sensitive points where there is a disharmony. Certain acupuncture points and specific parts of the body are then needled.  There can be multiple needles placed in the same region and some might even be deeper than the others. It all depends on what the licensed acupuncturist believes is required to relieve the disharmony.

An acupuncture treatment can last from anywhere to 15 minutes up to an hour depending of the case. There might be several sessions needed to bring the body functionality back to normal, the number may vary depending on how chronic the condition is.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Globally many people receive acupuncture every day and for the majority of cases there are no reported side effects.  Occasionally patients will report experiencing the following;

  • Acupuncture needles left in the patients much longer than it is advised.
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Unconsciousness

There have been much more serious cases as well, after or during an acupuncture session, including pneumothorax, which is often the result of getting acupuncture from an unlicensed acupuncturist. The occurrence of this is roughly 1.5% from all the patients undergoing an acupuncture treatment.  However, if the acupuncture session is performed by a licensed acupuncturist, there should not be any side effects and the treatment is safe.

One major benefit of acupuncture is that it doesn’t rely on harmful toxic substances as compared to other drugs and pain killers like NSAID’s and opioids. Though the effectiveness of acupuncture might be slower as compared to the conventional methods of taking medicines to relieve pain and illnesses.

Acupuncture Safety Concerns

Since skin penetration is involved in the acupuncture process, it is an invasive procedure. And all invasive procedures have certain health risks associated with them. There is a risk of mild and serious complications, both.

The following is a compilation of all possible complications involved in an acupuncture session:

  • Injury – There is a small possibility that the needle could puncture a vital nerve or important organ, damaging it permanently or temporarily. However, if you are getting the treatment done by a trained professional, there is nothing you have to worry about.
  • Bleeding – Because of its invasive nature, acupuncture can lead to bleeding, bruising or other injuries caused by the needle pricking. However, more advanced techniques avoid pricking needles and instead, they tap or stroke along the lines through which an individual’s chi is flowing. Acupuncture styles following this technique include Toyohari and Shonishin.
  • Other Risks – These can include anything from bruising, bleeding, dizziness, to fainting and vomiting. Acupuncture can also start paresthesia or a change in the sensation of that specific area. Finally, there are also chances of getting an increased amount of pain after the acupuncture session, however, this only lasts temporarily.
  • Pregnancy Complications – Getting acupuncture done by an unlicensed acupuncturist while you are pregnant may lead to the injury if certain acupuncture points are used. It is important to note that this is hardly ever the case when you are in the hands of a fully licensed acupuncturist.

Further details can be found here.


Even though acupuncture has its potential risks and adverse effects, as with all other medications and treatments, it is important to understand the fact that all common risks are not serious and all serious risks are not common. In fact, with a licensed, experienced, trained professional even the rarest of risks are almost completely diminished.

No matter what the intensity of risks are involved, if you are getting treated by an acupuncture specialist, you will definitely feel that improvement is worth it. What’s more, most of the side effects caused by acupuncture are much less serious and complicated as compared to those side effects caused by prescription and over the counter medications.

Even treatments such as homeopathy – which seem completely harmless – have their fair share of risks. In fact, in most cases, homeopathy is often overestimated and is used to replace modern day medicine which usually leads to worsening of the condition.

Acupuncture is definitely a safe bet especially if done by a licensed and trained professional. Most risks are dependent on the professional you choose and this can easily be overcome. This means in the right hands, you will be praising your acupuncturist no matter which illness you have.

For more information about the safety of acupuncture click here.

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Does Acupuncture Work?

Posted Wednesday, June 8th, 2016 by ABA

acupuncture, work

According to Live Science, “Acupuncture is a complementary medical practice that entails stimulating certain points on the body, most often with a needle penetrating the skin, to alleviate pain or to help treat various health conditions.” While it is good to know what this medical practice is, the big question is does acupuncture work?

The short answer is yes, it works!  This is evident in the fact that acupuncture has been around for well over 2,000 years.  Known as Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture was first known to be used in Europe around 1680, according to the Oxford University Journal.  From there, it spread to Britain and the US in the 19th century.  Over the course of its travels to new places, acupuncture has been used to treat many diseases.  From anxiety to pain, acupuncture has found its place in modern medicine.  It does work, and there is sound medical proof to back up this claim in addition to its rich history and quick growth.

To see scientific research that shows acupuncture works is to look at a few specific examples.  Acupuncture is known to improve sleep, digestion, emotional well-being, and pain.  According to the UC Center for Integrated Medicine, “Modern research has demonstrated acupuncture’s effects on the nervous system, endocrine and immune systems, cardiovascular system, and digestive system. By stimulating the body’s various systems, acupuncture can help to resolve pain, and improve sleep, digestive function, and sense of well-being.”  This is because acupuncture helps restore the flow of energy in the body, which, when disrupted, can cause health issues.  Through using needles to help stimulate the flow of this energy, or QI, acupuncture can improve health issues by unblocking blocked energy.  This includes releasing chemicals to the brain that can help affect mood and sleep such as dopamine.

By unblocking energy and releasing healing chemicals, acupuncture works for many ailments, such as those listed below, which have case studies to show acupuncture works for them:

  • Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
  • Biliary colic
  • Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
  • Dysentery, acute bacillary
  • Dysmenorrhea, primary
  • Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
  • Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
  • Headache
  • Hypertension, essential
  • Hypotension, primary
  • Induction of labor
  • Knee pain
  • Leukopenia
  • Low back pain
  • Malposition of fetus, correction
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Neck pain
  • Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)
  • Periarthritis of shoulder
  • Postoperative pain
  • Renal colic
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Sprain
  • Stroke
  • Tennis elbow

The ailments listed below are ones for which there is more limited research available.  The evidence for these working is more probable, but it is worth exploring the use of acupuncture through a licensed acupuncturist:

  • Abdominal pain (in acute gastroenteritis or due to gastrointestinal spasm)
  • Acne vulgaris
  • Alcohol dependence and detoxification
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Bronchial asthma
  • Cancer pain
  • Cardiac neurosis
  • Cholecystitis, chronic, with acute exacerbation
  • Cholelithiasis
  • Competition stress syndrome
  • Craniocerebral injury, closed
  • Diabetes mellitus, non-insulin-dependent
  • Earache
  • Epidemic haemorrhagic fever
  • Epistaxis, simple (without generalized or local disease)
  • Eye pain due to subconjunctival injection
  • Female infertility
  • Facial spasm
  • Female urethral syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia and fasciitis
  • Gastrokinetic disturbance
  • Gouty arthritis
  • Hepatitis B virus carrier status
  • Herpes zoster (human (alpha) herpes virus 3)
  • Hyperlipaemia
  • Hypo-ovarianism
  • Insomnia
  • Labor pain
  • Lactation, deficiency
  • Male sexual dysfunction, non-organic
  • Ménière disease
  • Neuralgia, post-herpetic
  • Neurodermatitis
  • Obesity
  • Opium, cocaine, and heroin dependence
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain due to endoscopic examination
  • Pain in thromboangiitis obliterans
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (Stein-Leventhal syndrome)
  • Post-extubation in children
  • Postoperative convalescence
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Prostatitis, chronic
  • Pruritus
  • Radicular and pseudoradicular pain syndrome
  • Raynaud syndrome, primary
  • Recurrent lower urinary-tract infection
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Retention of urine, traumatic
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sialism, drug-induced (excessive salivation)
  • Sjögren syndrome
  • Sore throat (including tonsillitis)
  • Spine pain, acute
  • Stiff neck
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
  • Tietze syndrome
  • Tobacco dependence
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis, chronic
  • Urolithiasis
  • Vascular dementia
  • Whooping cough (pertussis)

Depending on your medical history and condition, acupuncture alone may work.  However, sometimes acupuncture paired with other treatments such as medication may be a more effective option.  In some cases, one acupuncture session may be enough to feel better, while in other cases, it may take many sessions over the course of a few weeks or month to feel the full effects of treatment.  Consulting with a licensed acupuncturist to find the best treatment plan is always the smart thing to do before making a treatment appointment.

According to The Daily Mail, a recent study mentioned,   “The new report, the largest analysis of acupuncture ever conducted, involved nearly 18,000 patients and doctors from eight universities and hospitals in the UK, the U.S. and Germany.” They found that traditional acupuncture worked better than a placebo.  The study went on to state, “In fact, in conditions such as arthritis and chronic headache, acupuncture was twice as effective as the drugs and exercise recommended by most doctors, according to the analysis published in the authoritative Archives of Internal Medicine.”

So both the short and long answer is, yes acupuncture works!  It works for people for people in varying situations with varying needs.  It works as a short term and long term solutions.  Acupuncture is a non-invasive approach that causes little to no pain.  A licensed acupuncture professional places needles in certain points of the body to help with the ailment the patient is being treated for.  This helps release healing chemicals and unblocks any stagnation.  It is a safe and positive experience that should cause no anxiety for the patient to use as a primary or secondary treatment method.

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Acupuncture to Treat Anxiety Disorders

Posted Tuesday, May 31st, 2016 by ABA

acupuncture, anxiety

According to the National Institute of Health, “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older.” In addition, according to the same source, women are 60% more likely to experience anxiety and the average onset of an anxiety disorder is age 11. However, only 42.2% of those with anxiety seek any kind of treatment, and of that only 33.8% are receiving minimally adequate treatment.  The take away is that anxiety is something we all experience at some level and we are not doing enough to treat it.

Anxiety can be caused by many factors.  From a specific event like an upcoming test, to an uncomfortable conformation with a loved one, to a more serious trauma, anxiety has many roots.  Although the roots of the anxiety vary from person to person and must be identified and treated, the anxiety one experiences needs to be managed.  Below are some of the bodily responses of anxiety:

  • Physical symptoms such as an irregular heartbeat.
  • Cognitive symptoms, which can cause negative thoughts.
  • Behavioral symptoms, which may include uncharacteristic aggression or restlessness.
  • Emotional symptoms, such as fear.

Acupuncture can be a good way to treat anxiety.  According to Psychology Central, “In a comprehensive literature review appearing in a recent edition of CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics, it was proved that acupuncture is comparable to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which psychologists commonly use to treat anxiety (Errington-Evans, 2011). Another study published in the Journal of Endocrinology in March 2013 discovered stress hormones were lower in rats after receiving electric acupuncture (Eshkevari, Permaul and Mulroney, 2013).” Science clearly agrees that acupuncture is a more than adequate way to help manage anxiety.

To understand how acupuncture helps relieve anxiety is to understand the thoughts behind Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  TCM believes in a force called QI that regulates the body’s overall health. QI, like blood, moves through the body via pathways called meridians.  When factors like stress or changes in environment disrupt the flow of QI, health issues follow, according to the University of Miami Health System.  When an acupuncturist inserts needles at a specific point in the body, balance is restored to the QI and the body’s overall health, the University of Chicago Medicine states.  This might seem hard to grasp, but if you consider that QI is just another way of describing chemical reactions taking place in the body, it makes more sense.

Acupuncture needles can affect the body’s chemicals reactions.  For example, needles placed in the correct acupuncture point can cause the nervous system to produce painkilling chemicals.  It can also jump start the body’s natural healing process or stimulate the part of the brain that controls emotions, including anxiety, according to Dr. Daniel Hsu, a Doctor of Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine. Specifically referring to how acupuncture helps with anxiety, researchers at Georgetown University led by Eshkevari used lab studies to demonstrate that acupuncture slows the body’s production of stress hormones.

One study, published online in the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies showed that participants who underwent acupuncture for anxiety saw improvements after just one 20-minute session.  This means that after just one session, patients could feel relief from their anxiety, and because acupuncture changes the chemical balance in the brain, which makes the patient feel better, it may mean less medication is needed.  As the chemicals in the brain are altered, medication, which does the same thing, may no longer have a role to play.

It is important to note that any acupuncture session comes with general, normal side effects.  They include minor bruising and dizziness, both of which are minimal as opposed to psychotherapy drugs, which can have more serious side effects.  In this sense, acupuncture is much safer for treating anxiety. Plus, unlike drugs that can lead to dependency, acupuncture is not likely to have the same addictive effect.

When it comes to trying acupuncture for anxiety, you have nothing to lose.  With a licensed acupuncturist, the risks are almost non-existent and are outweighed by the potential benefits. After just a few sessions, you may even find yourself sleeping better and enjoying other health benefits. If already on treatment for anxiety, acupuncture can make a good addition to your regimen.  If it works, you can speak to your doctor about limiting or reducing medication.  It is a win-win situation for your health. Even just trying a treatment will make you feel better because you are taking action to alleviate the anxiety instead of worrying and increasing your anxiety level.

Like many medical diagnoses, there is not always a one-size fits all solution.  Depending on the person and the individual diagnosis, treatment may vary.  For some people, acupuncture alone may work.  For others, a combination of therapy, medication, and acupuncture may be best.  Consult with your doctor before starting any treatment and discuss a treatment plan that will work for you.

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