Author Archives: Meridian Acupuncture

Stagnation Pain Treatment For Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries

Acute Injuries Can Have Stagnation Pain

Most of the stagnation-types of pain involve traumatic injury or a palpable-pathogenic process. This is an area where acupuncture and its associated modalities truly shine, treating traumatic injury such as fractures, sprains, infection of tissue and acute pain efficiently and gently. After an acute injury has been assessed by urgent or primary care, go to your acupuncturist for a complete plan of care for immediate physical recovery when other modalities such as physical therapy are not yet indicated.

Treatment for stagnation pain from motor vehicle accident injuries.1) Starting from the most superficial type of stagnation, Qi stagnation involves a type of movement that becomes stuck. Most often it manifests as a tendency to have shoulder and neck pain due to stress which goes away with conscious relaxation and mild exercise. In this case, the muscle tissue itself has not yet been affected. The most common treatments for Qi stagnation involve stress-relieving acupuncture, trigger-point and motor point acupuncture, massage and exercises. Qi stagnation is a component of all the other types of stagnation as well.

2) The next level of stagnation involves the blood. A common example of blood stagnation is a muscle that has been tense and has formed a series of knots in the tissue, disallowing the full relaxation of the muscle, often present in low back and shoulder muscles. Blood stagnation is treated with strong local acupuncture, cupping and gua sha to physically move the blood. It often presents in combination with heat, cold, damp and phlegm stagnation.

3) Heat is part of the inflammatory process, along with redness, swelling and pain. Heat stagnation can be a secondary effect of lingering blood stagnation that starts to become inflamed, or it can be a rapid onset inflammation or infection. Heat stagnation is treated with cooling techniques, using acupuncture distally to relieve heat and inflammation while applying cooling herbal poultices and/or liniments topically. Internal herbs can be used to treat infection and inflammation concurrently. Heat is often combined with damp and blood stagnation.

4) Cold stagnation can either have a fast or a slow origin of onset, with the fast type of onset a physical exposure to cold causing the tissues to tense and the local cellular metabolism to slow down. This causes sharp stabbing pains similar to muscle cramps, accompanied by a deep ache. This can be seen with low back pain after a long bike ride with the low back improperly covered, riding through a cold and rainy environment. Cold stagnation is treated with warming topical liniments and poultices as well as heat packs and moxibustion combined with acupuncture to relax and warm the area. Cold stagnation is often combined with blood or phlegm stagnation.

5) Damp stagnation involves swelling that is still soft, as in the puffiness after a sprain or around a repetitive-motion injury. This can be found around the shoulder blades from overuse of the arms or across the whole low back after intense physical labor. Dampness is treated with cupping, heat poultices, local acupuncture and constitutional body points for eliminating dampness.

6) The most bizarre and deep-seated type is phlegm stagnation: a type of hard nodule or mass the center of a deep bruise, a fatty lipoma, or the swelling of vertebrae involved in arthritis. Blood and Qi stagnation must both exist prior to the formation of phlegm stagnation. This potentially takes the longest to resolve due to the need to diminish the tissue accumulation. Strong local acupuncture, plum-blossom acupuncture, cupping, gua sha, moxibustion and topical plasters and soaks are all used to treat this more difficult type of stagnation.

These six types of stagnation interact with each other and change over the course of an injury or illness. If you have had a trauma or been involved in a motor vehicle accident, make an appointment to learn more about treatment for stagnation pain at our Portland, Oregon area office.

Acupuncture Effective at Relieving Sciatica Pain

Acupuncture Treatments Help Muscles Stay Relaxed

Sciatica pain helped by acupuncture.Sciatica is the pain caused by pressure or irritation of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back to the sole of the foot. The irritation can lead to pain anywhere along the sciatic nerve, and it can also create a lack of muscle power to the legs and cause sensations in the legs, buttocks and low back to change. Current statistics show that up to 10 percent of the population between the ages of 25 to 45 are dealing with or have experienced sciatic pain.

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It consists of a large bundle of smaller nerves that begin in the low back region of the spine, travel down the buttocks and move through the leg. Symptoms of sciatica include radiating pain, numbness and tingling. Irritation of the sciatic nerve can be caused by muscle spasms, spinal disc compression or slipped spinal discs.

In traditional Chinese medical theory, blood stagnation is the most common cause of sciatica. Blood stagnation can affect the soft tissue of the lumbar spine, hips and pelvis. This is what causes the muscles to spasm, then creating extra tension that triggers the shooting pain associated with sciatica.

Traditional Chinese medicine suggests several treatment modalities for managing sciatica.

Acupuncture for sciatica: Many studies have shown acupuncture is more effective at relieving the pain, numbness and tingling associated with sciatica than modern medicinal treatments. Acupuncture treatments can help to reprogram the muscles to stay in a relaxed position. Acupuncture treatments can also help treat sciatica by releasing natural painkillers like endorphins and enkephalins from the brain and neurologic system.

Acupuncture points for sciatica:

Urinary bladder 23: This point is located on the lower back, halfway between the lowest ribs and the hip bone and on either side of the muscle group that runs right up the spine. This point reduces muscle tension and provides relief from low-back pain.

Urinary bladder 40: Ths point is located directly in the middle of the crease at the back of each knee. This point treats all the major pain sensations felt along the spine. It also helps to control muscle spasms, knee stiffness, arthritis, leg pain and it helps to dissipate excess heat trapped in the body.

Urinary bladder 62: This point is located just below the ankle bone on the outer side of each ankle. This point is great for relieving lumbar spine tension as well as anxiety.

Dietary and Lifestyle Recommendations for Sciatica: Adding potassium to your diet can help you heal from sciatica. Bananas, oranges, potatoes and spirulina are all good sources of potassium. Dark, leafy vegetables and legumes, such as black beans, kidney beans and soybeans are also beneficial when dealing with sciatica. Avoid foods that create dampness in the body, such as spicy, greasy or fried foods and dairy.

Incorporating daily exercise and stretching into your life can also help. The low back and lumbar spine may become weak if they are neglected, so sitting for long periods of time without getting up can be very detrimental. This also has a way of weakening the muscles of the lumbar area, which then can lead to slipped discs. Stretching and moving throughout the day, even after the pain has subsided, is vital to a healthy back.

If you are interested in ways to treat your sciatica pain, make a Portland area acupuncture appointment with us to find out more.

Holistic Health Herbal Medicine for Chest & Sinuses

Holistic Health to treat everyday problems and Help De-congestion

holistic health tips for decongestionA study published by the National Institute of Health looked at the use of Chinese herbal formulas in conjunction with conventional medicine for the treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis. The study surveyed 4,294 patients who utilized holistic health Medicine and of these, nearly 97 percent received herbal remedies. The most commonly prescribed herbal formula for this condition was Xin Yi Qing Fei Tang. While the study did not look at the outcome of the use of the herbal remedy, it is conclusive more people are turning to alternative medicine in order to treat everyday problems like congestion.

Congestion of the chest and sinuses is something everybody has experienced at some point during their life. It can be caused by allergies, the common cold or even changes in the weather. Regardless of the cause, it makes life difficult when we are unable to breathe properly. Many people reach for over-the-counter decongestants as a first line defense. But there are side effects to be aware of when using anything synthetically made in a lab.

Natural remedies, like holistic health, are safer and can generally be used long-term without the side effects. An estimated 30 million people suffer with sinus problems, and congestion is one of the top symptoms associated with sinus issues. Most people who suffer with sinus issues have them for the majority of their lives. This is because once the problem has been cleared up using conventional medications or treatments, the sinus cavities themselves have not been completely drained and the body still sees the remaining mucus as a foreign invader it must attack.

This is where holistic health Medicine surpasses conventional medicine. Holistic health addresses the symptoms and the root of the problem. So not only will the congestion be targeted, but so will be the cause of the congestion. Too much sugar causing excess phlegm?  hronic allergy flare ups? Weak lungs due to asthma or COPD preventing you from expelling the pathogens? All of these things can lead to chronic congestion and holistic health can help.

Holistic health uses many tools to treat congestion. The two most commonly used are acupuncture and herbal formulas. One of the most commonly used herbal formulas is Cang Er San. This formula contains xanthium fruit, magnolia flower, angelica root and mint. If yellow mucus is present, then cooling herbs like honeysuckle flowers and Scutellaria root are added to address the excess heat. But the base formula unblocks the nasal passages, reduces inflammation and expels toxins, all of which lead to congestion.

Another popular choice of holistic health practitioners is Bi Yan Pian. This formula works to clear the nasal passages and it usually accomplishes this within five days to a week. The herbs in Bi Yan Pian work to disperse wind, expel toxins, relieve inflammation and dissolve phlegm.

Contact our Tigard office to find out how holistic health medicine can help you with any respiratory and congestion issues you might have.

CITATION

Acupuncture Help for Sports Injuries

Help for Portland Sports Patients with Acupuncture & Nutrition

Almost everybody has injured themselves participating in sports. It’s definitely not uncommon and because sports injuries are so common, most professional athletic teams have trainers, physical therapists and doctors on their payroll. The newest member of the healthcare team for most athletes is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which incorporates everything from acupuncture to nutritional counseling to help injured athletes heal.

Sports injuries treated by Portland acupuncture.Acupuncture for Sports Injuries: Acupuncture is an extremely effective method of dealing with sports injuries because it stimulates the central nervous system. This triggers the release of neurotransmitters like endorphins that act as natural painkillers to alleviate pain. Acupuncture also stimulates blood flow to injured areas, while decreasing inflammation. All of these actions help speed up the recovery time of the athlete or the weekend warrior.

There are several stages of injury. The first stage is the beginning stage where there is inflammation. The second stage is the sub-acute phase that begins after the first week following the injury. This stage is where damaged tissues are healing. If the injury is not completely healed during this time, then it becomes chronic and goes into the last stage of progression.  During the chronic stage, swelling and inflammation are usually gone, but pain and stiffness take their places. Regardless of the stage in the injury/healing process, acupuncture can help.

Acupuncture Points for Sports Injuries:

  • Large Intestine 4 – This point is located bilaterally on the back side of the hand, in the webbing between the forefinger and the thumb. When the hand is made into a fist, the point can be located in the center of the mound of flesh created. This point is used for relieving pain anywhere in the body.
  • Large Intestine 11 – This point can be found bilaterally at the outer end of the elbow crease created when the arm is flexed. Large intestine 11 is used to decrease inflammation throughout the body.
  • Gallbladder 34 – This point is found bilaterally on the outer side of the lower leg. It can be found in the depression in front of and below the head of the fibula. This point is known as the influential point of the tendons and it particularly helps with pain and swelling around the knee.

Chinese Herbal Formulas for Sports Injuries:  Herbs and combinations of herbs, known as formulas are used frequently in TCM. They can be used topically in the form of balms or salves and they can also be taken internally. Most herbal formulas have specific herbs in them that help target the injured areas. For instance, Ge Gen Tang is an herbal formula that contains herbs that are aromatic and therefore they rise. This is why Ge Gen Tang is a good choice for neck injuries. Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang is another herbal formula frequently used to treat knee injuries. Juan Bi Tang is a popular herbal formula used to treat general musculoskeletal and joint pain. And Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan is used to treat internal bleeding caused by traumatic sports injuries.

Nutrition for Sports Injuries:   Proper nutrition is vital for everyone, not just athletes. But for those who push themselves physically, it can be even more important. The number one nutrient needed and should be used by all athletes is water. A dehydrated joint or tendon is more likely to tear. Collagen is another component of the joints that needs to be nourished and this can be done by ingesting vitamin C, which can be found in citrus fruits and dark leafy greens. For those that work out aggressively, omega 3 fatty acids are a great way to keep inflammation at bay. Omega 3’s can be found in oily fish, seeds and walnuts.

As you can see, acupuncture is a great way to deal with sports injuries. If you are experiencing any stage of an injury, contact our Portland area office for more information on how we can help.

Take a Preventative Naturopath Health Approach To Stress

Beating Stress & Staying on Task with Naturopathic Treatments

Preventative naturopath health includes nutrients from blueberries & other foods.The dictionary defines stress in multiple ways, but only one matters when we discuss how stress affects our physical bodies. Stress is defined as a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stress actually does have a function in our bodies. Stress is the body’s way of signaling for help or a break in the routine. If we don’t listen to these signals, we can develop imbalances in our bodies, which can then lead to illnesses.

Cortisol is the hormone most closely related to stress. Cortisol is a big component of the “fight or flight” response we feel when we are scared or threatened. In small bursts, cortisol is helpful. However, when stress becomes chronic, then the cortisol levels become elevated. This puts the body in a constant state of being on edge, eventually causing insomnia, depression, anxiety, digestive issues and even mental illness.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) provides many ways of combating stress and keeping our minds focused. Here are just a few examples of how this ancient medical system can help.

Acupuncture for Stress:  Acupuncture acts like physical therapy for the nervous system. Tiny needles retrain the nervous system and brain to behave as it should normally. For the nervous system to act and respond accordingly, cortisol has to be at normal levels and only used when a true “fight or flight” situation occurs. Studies show acupuncture does this.

Acupuncture reduces stress by keeping the heart rate normal. When the body is stressed, the heart tends to pump faster, and in some cases, a person may even develop heart palpitations. Our heart rate is closely connected to our vagus nerve. If the vagus nerve is stimulated, so too will the heart rate. There are specific acupressure points on the arms and hands that calm the vagus nerve and the heart.

Acupuncture Points for Stress and Focus:

  • Yin Tang – Yin Tang is located directly between the inner edges of the eyebrows. It is a reflex point of the pituitary gland. Yin Tang calms the mind and relaxes the body by helping control hormone secretions.
  • Kidney 1 – Kidney 1 is located on the bottom of the foot, at the junction of the anterior one third and posterior two thirds of the line connecting the base of the second and third toes and the heel. Kidney 1 can sedate and calm the mind, while also regulating blood flow to the upper part of the body, aka the brain.
  • Du 20 – This point is located on the top of the head, midway between the apexes of both ears. Du 20 has been noted to improve mental clarity and awareness, while also enhancing memory.

Chinese Herbal Formulas for Stress and Focus:  Combinations of herbs, known as formulas are used frequently in TCM. An herbal formula known as Bu Nao Wan is frequently prescribed for people who have memory problems related to weakness in the kidney system of TCM. Several of the herbs in this formula have been used for centuries to calm the mind and improve focus.

Xiao Yao San is another popular TCM formula that is used frequently to address stress.  This formula is knowns as “Free and Easy Wanderer” because it helps remove any stagnation in the energetic pathways that can lead to stress and difficulty focusing or staying on task.

Nutrition for Stress and Focus:  Proper nutrition is vital for everyone. But when it comes to stress and focus, nutrition for the kidneys is crucial. The kidneys are the source of our vital essence and if damaged, our health will suffer. Foods like black beans, kidney beans, asparagus, plums, blueberries and blackberries are all beneficial for strengthening the kidneys.

As you can see, TCM is a great way to deal with stress. If you are having difficulties dealing with stress, contact our Tigard office to see how we can help with naturopath health treatments.

CITATIONS:

  1. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/16/acupuncturecouldhelppreventstress_n_2883996.html
  2. http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/mpacms/at/article.php?id=27927
  3. http://blog.aoma.edu/blog/chinesemedicineforstressrelief
  4. https://www.consciouslifestylemag.com/foodsforanxietybodycalm/

 

 

 

Research On Staying Focused with Holistic Health Help

Taking a Holistic View on Your Health Can Help Improve Cognitive Function

Take a holistic health approach to improving your focus with herbs.A recent study published by the Journal of Neural Regeneration Research found acupuncture treatments can lead to improved cognitive function. Functional brain MRIs showed an increase in the communication areas of the brain associated with higher level cognitive function and memory. When cognitive function is improved, so too is one’s ability to stay focused and on task. This study also concluded acupuncture treatments can increase neural plasticity, which decreases naturally as we age. All of this demonstrates acupuncture can indeed improve overall brain function, allowing people to live more fulfilling lives.

Staying focused can be challenging in the world we live in. We are constantly bombarded with sights, sounds, smells, interruptions and more. It can be really frustrating. A recent study by Microsoft found the average human has an attention span of only eight seconds! By comparison, a goldfish has a nine second attention span. We, as a species, can’t even remain focused as long as a goldfish. This speaks volumes about the state of the world.

Part of the problem is our bodies were designed to move and we have become too sedentary. Our nervous system doesn’t know how to respond to this. And it also affects our muscles, tendons and circulatory systems. The more time we spend on our phones, tablets, etc., the more stagnant everything becomes. Our muscles shorten, tighten and atrophy, our circulation becomes sluggish and our brains foggy. For everything to function properly, you have to get up and move. But there are other ways to increase focus and concentration.

Holistic health can be very helpful when it comes to improving focus and concentration. There are specific acupuncture points, as well as individual herbs and herbal formulas that can be utilized.

One of the most commonly used acupuncture points for improving focus is called Du 20 or Governing Vessel 20. This point is located on the top of the head, midway between the apexes of both ears. Du 20 has been noted to improve mental clarity and awareness, while also enhancing memory.

Yin Tang is another favorite point of licensed acupuncturists. Yin Tang is located between the inner ends of both eyebrows. Yin Tang improves concentration and memory, while also clearing the mind and lifting the spirits.

There are a couple of individual herbs used in holistic health that can be very helpful for improving focus. The first is known as Dan Shen or Salvia. Holistic health uses this herb to increase blood flow and a study done in 2003 showed focus and memory were improved on subjects who used this herb.

An herbal formula known as Bu Nao Wan is frequently prescribed for people who have memory problems related to weakness in the kidney system of holistic health. Several of the herbs in this formula have been used for centuries to calm the mind and improve focus.

If you or somebody you know suffers from attention deficit issues, acupuncture might be exactly what they need to get back on track. If you are interested in holistic health and increasing your focus, make an appointment at our Tigard office.

Acupuncture & Natural Medicine for Sprains & Strains

Oregon Natural Medicine for Sprains & Strains

We’ve all heard of and maybe even experienced a sprain or a strain. But do you really know the difference? A sprain is defined as a stretch or tear of a ligament. A strain, on the other hand, is defined as an injury to a muscle or tendon. Sprains can result from a fall, a sudden twist or a blow to the body that forces a joint out of place, while a strain can happen from twisting or pulling a muscle or tendon.

Natural medicine & acupuncture for strains & sprains.There are specific ways of telling the difference between a sprain and a strain based on the symptoms that appear. Symptoms of a sprain include pain, swelling, instability, bruising and loss of functional joint ability. Sometimes there is an audible pop when the injury occurs. There are different levels of sprains too. A Grade I or mild sprain is generally caused by overstretching or the minor tearing of a ligament, but the person will still have joint stability. A Grade II or moderate sprain is more intense, but the person only experiences some loss of joint function. A Grade III or severe sprain occurs when there is a complete tear in the ligament and the person is unable to put any weight on the joint.

Strains, on the other hand, have very different symptoms. Most people who experience a strain, will report pain, limited range of motion, muscle spasms and possibly muscle weakness. There may also be cramping, swelling and inflammation.

Instinctively, when a person experiences a sprain or a strain, learned first aid skills take over. Things like taking the pressure off the joint, raising the joint and applying ice to alleviate swelling and inflammation are all great places to start. Icing a sprain or strain is only good for the first 48 to 72 hours, as it will help decrease swelling. However, prolonged use of ice may impair movement and also interfere with the healing process because it constricts the tissues and impedes blood flow. But there are other possible solutions to healing a sprain or a strain. And one of these would be to see an acupuncturist or natural medicine practitioner.

Natural medicine practitioners have many tools at their disposal that can assist in increased healing of a strain or sprain. When either of these injuries occur, the muscles surrounding the area tighten up in an effort to protect the injured site. This can then lead to stiffness in that joint. This is the body’s natural defense mechanism that decreases strong blood flow to the area. Natural medicine practitioners use acupuncture and other modalities to help loosen up the muscles and increase blood flow to the area, which brings in tissue-healing oxygen and nutrients.

Increasing blood flow is just one way natural medicine can help. There are also specific acupressure points that reduce swelling, decrease inflammation and alleviate pain. Through the use of regular acupuncture treatments following a sprain or strain injury, the body can heal faster. The more frequently a person comes in for their acupuncture treatments, the quicker the results will occur.

If you are having problems with strains or sprains, make an appointment to see how natural medicine and acupuncture can help you.

Acupuncture Equals Disease Prevention Say New Studies

Multiple Studies Find Acupuncture Treatment & Prevention Uses

Studies find acupuncture treatment and prevention uses.

Well-recognized for its therapeutic effects, acupuncture is increasingly being appreciated for its ability to promote wellness and contribute to the prevention of a broad range of conditions. A new study, which demonstrates the promise of acupuncture as a complementary approach in improving psychological and pain symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a natural disaster, is published as part of a Special Issue on Acupuncture to Foster Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Medical Acupuncture, a peer-reviewed journal from by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

The article entitled “An Observational Study on Acupuncture for Earthquake-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Experience of the Lombard Association of Medical Acupuncturists/Acupuncture in the World, in Amatrice, Central Italy” was coauthored by Carlo Moiraghi, MD and Paola Poli, MD, Medical Association of Lombard Acupuncture (Milan, Italy), and Antonio Piscitelli, MD, School of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (Milan, Italy).

The researchers studied the effects of acupuncture on the victims of a 6.0 earthquake that caused nearly 300 deaths and left 30,000 people homeless in Amatrice, Central Italy. The acupuncture effort was led by two medical associations: Lombard Association of Medical Acupuncturists (ALMA) and Acupuncture in the World (AGOM).

Treatments were performed by medical doctors who had at least 3 years of clinical experience with acupuncture. Each subject received four 20-minute acupuncture treatments over consecutive days. Before the acupuncture treatment, more than 68% of the study participants reported having both pain and psychological symptoms that could be associated with PTSD. After the third treatment, both the pain and psychological symptom scores had significantly improved, with no serious adverse effects attributed to the treatment.

Co-Guest Editor Songxuan Zhou Niemtzow, MD (China), a Traditional Chinese Medicine physician in Alexandria, VA, states, “If acupuncture had an alternative name, it could be called ‘prevention,’” in her editorial entitled “Acupuncture: Prevention Workarounds.”

In the editorial “Prevention at the Core of Acupuncture,” Co-Guest Editor Nadia Volf, MD, PhD, Paris XI University (Paris, France) writes “although acupuncture can be a wonderful tool for treating a number of diseases, this therapy can be an even more wonderful tool for preventing them.”

For more information on how acupuncture can help you, contact our Portland area office to make an appointment.

Eating Natural Healthy: Five Foods for Summer

Natural, Seasonal, Healthy Foods for the Time of Utmost Yang

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a medical system thousands of years old and incorporates many different modalities. TCM theory emphasizes that Mother Nature provides the right kind of food for the right kind of environment. For instance, if the weather is cold, then warming, nutrient-dense foods are best for the body. Likewise, when summer rolls around, it is best to partake of cooling foods and foods abundant during this season.

Summer natural healthy foods for the Portland area.Summer is a time of great abundance. Or as the Chinese refer to it, the time of utmost yang. The days are longer and warmer. And everything and everybody seems to be more active. The warmth of the summer sun encourages growth and maturation. In TCM, summer relates to the element of fire and the heart and small intestine energetic pathways or meridians. Because summer is a time of growth, many fruits and vegetables become abundant during the season. And because the season tends to be the warmest, it is important to stay cool and hydrated.

The summer months are generally hot and therefore the body needs to be kept cool. This is the perfect time to eat more raw foods that can clear heat. But as with anything, don’t overdo it. Too many cold or raw foods can wreak havoc on the digestive tract causing spasms, tightness and contractions. This will make the body work harder to warm the food being eaten, which can then deplete the Qi of the spleen and stomach meridians. Therefore cooked foods and even soups are still recommended during the warm summer months. They are usually made with seasonally-available foods or eaten at room temperature to avoid any digestive conflict.

It is best to avoid heavy, greasy and fried foods during the summer months, as they can also clog up the digestive system. They can also create excess phlegm in the lungs leading to respiratory problems. And when cooking during the season of summer, it is best to create meals quickly and simply by grilling or stir frying.

As mentioned, foods cooling or neutral in nature and hydrating foods are all good choices during the summer months. Here are some foods recommended to eat throughout the season of summer.

1. Summer Vegetables: Things like peppers, eggplant, onions and summer squash are all good choices. They tend to be high in water content which helps keep the body cool.

2. Greens: Foods like cabbage, kale, broccoli, Swiss chard and spinach are great choices to add to a salad or even to stir fry. They tend to be neutral to cooling in nature.

3. Melons: Melons are high in water content, so they are great to have around on those really hot summer days for replenishing lost fluids. They are also non-calorie dense, so they won’t be heavy on the stomach.

4. Seafood: While most meats tend to be warming in nature, seafood is not. It leans more heavily toward the cooling nature of food. This makes it a great choice for summer dinners. It’s also high in protein and easy to throw on the grill.

5. Fruit: Summer is when there is an abundance of fruits. Most fruit tends to be cooling in nature, but the high sugar content can be detrimental to the spleen. The best choices are fruits grown in tropical climates, as they have the highest water content.

If you need more help understanding or designing a proper seasonal eating plan, stop by our Portland area office or make an appointment. We want to help identify what plan works best for you.

Could this Body Part Explain How Acupuncture Works?

New Research Explains How Fascia Uses Qi Energy in Acupuncture

How does energy move through the body? Can it be scientifically measured? And how might energy healing be the future of medicine? These questions and more are at the heart of Energy Medicine, the new book by acupuncturist Well+Good Council member Jill Blakeway, DACM, LAc. Here, in an exclusive excerpt, she explores why fascia—the connective tissue underneath the skin—are so fascinating.

Research shows fascia may use qi energy in acupuncture.Thousands of years ago, the Chinese identified energy channels (sometimes referred to as meridians), a kind of highway that can be mapped within the body along which the acupuncture points exist. The concept of energy channels and the points that access them sounds esoteric and has often been dismissed as myth or metaphor. But recent research suggests that not only do they exist, but they’ve been right in front of our eyes all along.

Helene M. Langevin, a clinical endocrinologist who was curious enough about her patients’ interest in acupuncture that she took a course in Chinese medicine and then carried her newfound skills into the lab with her at the department of neurology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, led a study that found a measurable “pull out force” after every needle grab. And the strength of this grab was, on average, 18 percent higher when measured at acupuncture points as opposed to non-acupuncture points. The needle grab is more vigorous at these points because they are more conductive of electrical energy.

Perhaps more crucially, however, Langevin and her colleagues found, experimenting with acupuncture on a piece of rat abdominal wall, that when they rotated the needles the connective tissue underneath the skin became “mechanically attached.” Writes Langevin: “Even a small amount of rotation caused the connective tissue to wrap around the needle, like spaghetti winding around a fork.” Langevin also found that the tissue remains stretched in this way for the duration of the acupuncture treatment, causing chemical changes at a cellular level that increase electrical conductivity.

Connective tissue, long underplayed by western medicine and science, has recently become of interest, particularly among molecular and physiological researchers, as new evidence has demonstrated that such stimulation to the connective tissue can be sensed at a cellular level, decreasing chronic inflammation, reducing pain and even potentially inhibiting the growth of cancer cells or fibrotic tissue.

Connective tissue is everywhere inside of us—“one could draw a line between any two points of the body via a path of connective tissue,” Langevin points out. And it has many functions: it holds organs in place, offers a path for nerves and blood vessels, stores energy and attaches muscle to bone, and, yes, conducts electricity. The latter ability is thanks to a critical component of connective tissue: collagen. There are layers of water bound to collagen fibers that form a uniquely conductive pathway, allowing an electrical charge to travel rapidly throughout the body.

In his book The Spark in the Machine: How the Science of Acupuncture Explains the Mysteries of Western Medicine, British surgeon and emergency medical specialist Dan Keown explains that a specific form of connective tissue, known as the fascia, may well explain the way in which the electrical charge generated at the acupuncture points travels deep into the body.

Fascia underpins our skin; it also attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs. It is also extremely strong, “so strong,” as Keown points out, “that in the days of Björn Borg and John McEnroe, professional players’ tennis strings were made from the fascia from the gut of a cow.” Fascia is impenetrable to almost all biological substances; it is so impassable that it becomes a kind of slide, or slippery pathway, for a number of things in our bodies: water, air, blood, and even electricity. In fact, not only is fascia an electrical conductor and resistor, capable of transmitting electrical signals throughout the body, but it can also, amazingly, generate its own electricity.

Fascia, then, it is theorized, is the conduit for electrical energy, or qi, as it travels throughout our bodies. “These pathways of fascia have been detailed beautifully by anatomists,” Keown points out, “only they were not describing the fascia but the tissues that they enclosed.”It is even a principle of surgery to cut along the fascial planes—conscious always not to cut into the fascia unless absolutely necessary as it leads to an increased risk of adhesions, essentially cutting across the body’s system of organization— without realizing that these pathways are not simply there to make their incisions easier. “When the West talks of fascial planes, the East talks of acupuncture channels,” Keown writes. “There is no contraindication in these two views; it is just a question of interpretation. The West may still have no comparable force to [qi], but that is only because it has not attempted to explain the holistic power behind embryological self-organization.”

Incidentally, fascia also plays a key role in demystifying an anomaly that sometimes occurs in acupuncture research. In some studies, researchers use “sham acupuncture”—which can mean administering needles at non–acupuncture points or using retractable needles that do not penetrate the skin—to measure its effects against “real” acupuncture. In some of these studies, legitimate acupuncture only works slightly better than its sham counterpart, leading some researchers to conclude that acupuncture, in general, is nothing more than a placebo. However, given the conductive nature of fascia, needling anywhere along a fascial plane should have some conductive effect, if not as strong as when treating at the accurate points. As for the needles that don’t penetrate the skin, acupressure or shallow needling can create a small oscillation that stimulates the electrical activity enough to mildly activate the acupuncture points.

For more information on acupuncture to make your appointment, contact us at our Portland area office.

Article courtesy of WellAndGood.com.