How Acupuncture Treats Lower Back Pain

Portland Acupuncture Treatment for Back Pain

A study published in the British Medical Journal examined how acupuncture can be beneficial for low back pain. The researchers split 241 people into two groups. One group received acupuncture treatments and the other group only received conventional treatments for pain. Over the course of the two-year study, researchers found that those participants receiving acupuncture reported their pain levels were less and that they needed less medication. While the differences in pain scores were not astronomical, this study does demonstrate that the addition of acupuncture to conventional treatments for low back pain can be helpful.

Lower back pain treatment with Portland acupuncture.Statistics show that almost eight out of ten people will experience low back pain at some point during their life. Seeking medical treatment for back pain is very common. Typically back pain is fleeting and can be easily resolved with rest, heat and an occasional anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen. However, once the damage is done, the recurrence of back pain can be as high as 50 percent. Part of this is because as we age, things like muscles and tendons become less flexible and pliable. It is also very well known that in the United States people are too sedentary, and this leads to excess weight gain that can create added pressure on the body, especially the low back.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a medical system that dates back nearly 3,000 years. Despite its age, TCM has a lot of validity to offer in the age of modern medicine. Thousands of studies have proven that acupuncture, just one of the modalities used in TCM, can be very beneficial in the treatment of low back pain.

Acupuncture uses hair-thin needles to stimulate specific pressure points on the body. By invigorating these points, the brain is triggered to release endorphins, which are natural painkillers. The energy within the body is also moved and adjusted. According to TCM medical theory, when the energy is blocked or weak, then pain and illness can attack the body.

One of the advantages of utilizing acupuncture to treat low back pain is that the acupuncturist doesn’t need to diagnose the cause of the pain before treating it. Since acupuncture has no real adverse side effects when performed by a qualified and professionally licensed practitioner, pain relief can begin the very first time a patient is treated.

The treatments are very customizable because this medicine is not a “one size fits all” type of solution. This means that as the pain shifts and changes, the patient will receive customized treatments that not only address the pain and inflammation, but they also work on resolving the root of the problem. Most patients who are dealing with pain also have added stress, insomnia and depression or anxiety. Acupuncture is great at treating all of these conditions. So the patient gets more than just pain relief.

Acupuncture is so effective at treating and relieving pain that it is now showing up in hospitals and emergency rooms. In fact, Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota is now successfully using acupuncture in its emergency room to treat conditions ranging from low back pain to car accident injuries to kidney stones. Their initial results show that pain scores are just as low with acupuncture as they are with analgesic painkillers. Another positive action regarding the utilization of acupuncture came just recently. The Food and Drug Administration released proposed changes that plan to educate health care providers about treating pain. The new guidelines recommend that doctors get information about acupuncture and suggest it to their patients before prescribing opioids.

With these kinds of recommendations and testimonials, it is hard to believe that only about ten percent of Americans have ever tried acupuncture. But that statistic is slowly changing as more and more people are seeking natural and alternative methods of dealing with low back pain. If you are having problems with lower back pain, make an appointment with our Portland area office to learn more about acupuncture treatment.

Natural Medicine to Keep Winter Organs Healthy

Preventative Natural Medicine for the Winter Months

Winter is just one of the five seasons acknowledged by Traditional Chinese Medicine. The ancient Chinese followed the belief that humans should live in harmony with the cycles of nature. During the winter months, the darkness and cold indicate that we should slow down, take care of our health, conserve our strength and replenish our energy for the upcoming spring and summer months. This is observed in the animal kingdom, and it should also be considered a good rule of thumb for human beings.

Warm foods for natural preventative medicine during winter months.Each season has multiple associations that help us adjust our habits as things change, which makes it easier to keep the body and mind balanced. Winter is ruled by the water element. The water element is associated with the kidneys and urinary bladder. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine philosophy, the kidneys are the source of all energy found within the body. This energy, frequently called qi (pronounced “chee”), is what keeps us alive and allows our bodies to function properly. During the winter months, it is vital that we nourish and nurture our kidney qi.

Winter is typically a time when we decrease our daily activities. Because of this, we should also decrease the amount of food that we eat to avoid gaining excess weight. It is also recommended that excessively cold and raw foods be avoided or at least countered with things like hot tea. Cold and raw foods can deplete the kidney energy over time. This can lead to problems with digestion, sleep and much more.

It is suggested that during the winter months, we should emphasize foods that are warming to the body. This includes things like soups, stews, root vegetables, beans, garlic and ginger. Also foods like whole grains and roasted nuts can help keep the body’s core warm, while providing healthy nourishment.

The second organ associated with the season of winter is the urinary bladder. The urinary bladder is a reservoir where water in the body collects for disposal. The urinary bladder receives impure or dirty fluids from the small intestine and then further transforms these fluids into urine. The urinary bladder then stores and excretes urine as needed. This function also plays an important role in helping to regulate a person’s blood pressure. The ability to transform the impure fluids depends on the energy of the kidneys.

One of the most important things anybody can do during the winter months to stay healthy is drink plenty of water. Winter, in most places, literally drains the moisture out of the body. It is recommended that we drink at least 64 ounces of water per day, even during the winter months. However, the thought of drinking cold water in cold weather is a concept that tends to keep a lot of people clinically dehydrated during the winter months. This is why warm water with lemon or hot tea are good substitutes. We are still ingesting water, while avoiding the cold that could potentially damage our core.

By following the guidelines set forth by nature, we can also remain in balance with the natural world around us. This is how our ancestors did it and it served them quite well. Perhaps there is something to be learned from the wisdom our elders passed down through the generations. If you are interested in a natural preventative medicine for living with the seasons, contact our Portland office.

 

Five Holistic Health Self Care Tips for Winter

Live in Harmony with the Winter Season with Holistic Health Medicine

5 holistic health tips for winterHolistic health medicine teaches that humans should live in harmony with the seasons. According to holistic health medicine there are five seasons: winter, spring, summer, late summer and fall. Each season has many associations that help us change our habits, allowing for a more balanced mind and body. When these systems were being developed, people were living in harmony with nature. People rose with the sun, ate what was available during the different seasons and they were much more aware of their natural environment. What to wear, when to wake up, when to go to sleep and what activities to engage in were all dependent on the weather and the environment. Because of this, people were capable of staying healthy throughout the year and their immune and organ systems were strong enough to ward off disease.

  1. Get some rest

In holistic health, the season of winter is a time of repair and rejuvenation. Winter is associated with the kidneys, which hold the body’s fundamental energies. Rest is important for revitalizing the kidneys.This is why some animals hibernate during the winter months. We should also spend more time resting during the winter months to help prepare our bodies for the months ahead when most people expend more energy.

  1. Incorporate self reflection

Winter is a really good time to turn inward and do some reflection. Practices like tai chi, qi gong and yoga can be very beneficial during the winter season. These practices help us connect to our inner selves, while supporting the kidney energy. They also help relax the mind and calm our emotions. Things like journaling and meditation are other ways of reflecting during the winter months. Long term, these practices can be very helpful at extending a person’s life.

  1. Drink water, lots of water

The kidneys are closely associated and ruled by the water element, which is the element associated with winter, so it is important to remember to drink water during wintertime. Drinking room temperature water is a vital step to maintaining sufficient kidney qi throughout the winter months.

  1. Eat warm, seasonal foods

Choose foods that grow naturally during the winter. Items such as squash, potatoes, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, root vegetables like beets, greens, carrots, mushrooms, apples, pears and cabbage are great. During the winter months, cold foods like salads and raw foods should be avoided as they will deplete the immune system. There are also foods that specifically target and nourish the kidneys, including kidney beans, beef, goose, duck, black beans, lamb, chicken, dark leafy greens, garlic, ginger, walnuts, quinoa, asparagus, celery, onion, fennel, scallions, cloves, watercress and turnips. Sea salt is also helpful, because salty is the taste associated with the kidneys. As with anything, moderation is key. Too much salt can actually tax the heart, which then causes the kidneys to work overtime.

  1. Treat yourself to some Holistic Health

Holistic health utilizes numerous modalities and tools to help keep the body balanced and prepped for the seasonal changes. Acupuncture and moxibustion are two of the tools that are regularly used to boost the kidney qi. Moxibustion is a practice where dried mugwort is burned very near the skin to warm and boost the qi within the body. There are certain acupuncture points that are essential for boosting kidney qi. Most are located either on the lower abdomen, below the umbilicus or on the lower back above the hip bones, in the areas of the kidneys. Applying moxibustion to these areas is a wonderful way to boost the energy reserves of the kidneys.

When we align ourselves with the natural processes of life and the seasons, our bodies will adjust and perform optimally, just as they are intended to. If you have questions about holistic health, make an appointment at our Tigard office.

 

Naturopathic Medicine For De-Congestion

Naturopathic Herbal Medicine Treating Congestion

A 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 Naturopathic 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.

Naturopathic herbs to help with congestion at our Tigard office.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 Naturopathic Medicine, 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 Naturopathic Medicine surpasses conventional medicine. Naturopathic medicine 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?  Chronic 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 Naturopathic medicine can help.

Naturopathic medicine 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 Naturopathic medicine 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.

Make an appointment with our Tigard office to find out how Naturopathic Medicine can help you with any respiratory and congestion issues you might have.

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Three Acupuncture Points to Reduce Stress

Listen to Your Body’s Stress & How Acupuncture Can Help

3 acupuncture points to help stress in BeavertonThe dictionary defines stress in multiple ways, but there is only one that matters when we discuss how stress affects our physical bodies. The definition is this, “stress is a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension.” And while most people think of stress as being detrimental, it truly 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. And in small bursts, cortisol is helpful. However, when stress becomes chronic, the cortisol levels become elevated and never return to normal. This puts the body in a constant state of being on edge, eventually causing insomnia, depression, anxiety, digestive issues and even mental illness.

There are ways to fight and reduce stress though. Simple things like exercise, meditation, coloring, talking with friends and even acupuncture. Admittedly, most people don’t think of being stuck with tiny needles as “relaxing”, but it really is. Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years and it is becoming more mainstream every single day. It is even being used in some hospital emergency rooms for those who are in pain and anxious.

Acupuncture acts like physical therapy for the nervous system. The tiny needles re-train the nervous system and the 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.

There are over 400 acupressure points on the body and another 100 or more in the ears. But within all these choices, there are certain points that are much better for treating stress. Here are three great choices for dealing with your stress levels.

Yin Tang – This point is located midway between the inner ends of the eyebrows. Yin Tang is used to treat stress, anxiety and insomnia. It is also a great point to use for eye issues, nasal problems and headaches.

Ren 17 – Located in the center of the chest, midway between the nipples on the breastbone or sternum, this point is great for opening the chest. Many people feel chest tightness and constriction when they become stressed. This point will definitely help. It is frequently used to treat anxiety, depression and nervousness, as well as asthma or other lung issues. It can also be added to treatments to help with digestive issues or heart problems like palpitations.

Heart 7 – This point is located on the underside of the wrist crease on the outer edge. It is found in the depression on the outer side of the tendon. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, this point is used to calm the mind and heart. It works well for anxiety, stress and anger too.

If stress is something you experience frequently, seeking out a licensed acupuncturist might just be the remedy you need to get it under control. And don’t forget that long-term mental stress can turn into physical stress that leads to disease.

For more information on acupuncture contact our Beaverton area office to make an appointment and see how we can help with your stress.

Acupuncture for Rehabilitation from Sports Injury

Acupuncture & Holistic Health Practices for Sports Injuries

Sports injuries are an incredibly common reason patients first seek out treatment with Traditional Chinese Medicine. From a holistic health perspective, there are numerous energetic imbalances that may have predisposed someone to a particular injury, or may now be affected by the injury. A trained practitioner will look at the location of the injury, the depth of the injury, and the pathology of the injury.

A sports injury anywhere on the body may have the following components:

acupuncture & wellness treatments for sports injuries.Blood Stasis: Blood stasis is often caused by trauma to the local area, such as falling on the soccer field or getting hit with a hockey stick. Symptoms of blood stasis include sharp and stabbing pain that is worse with pressure, bruising and skin discoloration. When the stasis is severe it may affect sleep. Sports injuries such as bone breaks, contusions, fractures, tendon and ligament tears frequently have a blood stasis component.

Qi Stagnation: Qi stagnation can be caused by trauma but more frequently is caused by overuse, repetitive motion, poor posture or form while doing an exercise. Pain from a Qi stagnation injury tends to be dull, achy, throbbing and diffuse. Normally it is worse with pressure, but may be better with gentle movement. Common injuries that often involve Qi stagnation are tendonitis, muscle strains, chronically tight muscles and shin splints.

Heat: Both Qi stagnation and blood stagnation can generate heat, which is a holistic health explanation for lots of kinds of inflammation. Any sports injury that presents as red, hot and swollen has a heat component to it.

Cold: Just as pathogenic heat can be a factor in sports injuries, so too can pathogenic cold. There is an idea in holistic health that cold can “direct strike” an organ or energy system, leading to severe, acute, cramping pain. This often occurs after exposure to cold, such as running a race on a cold day, swimming in cold water or sitting in an ice bath after a workout. Cold can also be a factor in certain chronic areas of pain, particularly when bone is involved or when the injury is in a location that doesn’t get a lot of blood flow.

Blood deficiency: Any acute sports injury has a component of stagnation or stasis. However, there may be an underlying blood deficiency that allowed the tissues to be more susceptible to injury. The blood is said to nourish the tendons, so this is particularly true in tendon injuries such as tennis elbow or achilles tendonitis. Blood deficiency may also be a result of a sports injury, such as a concussion, which means the body needs more resources to rebuild itself after the injury.

Luckily, holistic health has numerous ways of treating sports injuries and helping in the rehabilitation process:

Acupuncture: Acupuncture can help to increase blood flow to an area, reduce pain, inflammation and help tissues heal.

Chinese Herbal Medicine: Herbal formulas can be applied topically in the form of liniments, plasters, poultices, creams and ointments. Certain herbal formulas are also appropriate to be taken internally to help with pain or associated symptoms during the recovery phase. Depending on the herbal formula, it may target pain, tension, inflammation, swelling, or circulation. Herbal formulas can be tailored to fit any of the diagnoses mentioned above. Clinically, we often use topical applications of herbs for soft tissue injuries such as tendonitis, muscle strains and sprains. Certain formulas are also appropriate for bone injuries such as fractures, breaks, and spurs.

Moxa: Burning moxa, or moxibustion, can be a very effective therapy for many sports injuries. Moxa is burned over certain points or locations to reduce pain, increase range of motion, eliminate cold from the channels and reduce inflammation. Moxa is frequently used for injuries to the bone, injuries involving cold or any injury that heat seems to make feel better.

Gua Sha: Gua sha refers to a holistic health technique of scraping along a channel or particular muscle fibers with a hard curved tool. Gua sha breaks up adhesions that have formed in the muscle tissue, increases blood flow to the area and helps eliminate toxins stuck in a particular location. Gua sha is excellent for treating Qi and blood stagnation injuries.

Cupping: Cupping is another technique from holistic health that uses special sterilized cups to create suction over large muscle areas. This helps muscles to relax, pulls toxins out of the channels and helps to physically pull apart layers of fascia that get stuck together with injury.

If you are interested in acupuncture or other wellness treatments for sports injuries, make an appointment at our Portland area office.

How Your Lungs Function within Holistic Health

Could Your Lungs be the Problem Behind Your Symptoms?

In the world of Traditional Chinese medicine, the lung is probably the organ whose holistic health functions overlap the most with its Western functions. Respiration, the immune system and the skin are all systems heavily influenced by the lung, both in acupuncture and in Western medicine.

Holistic health treatment for symptoms connected to the lungs.If you visualize where the lungs are located in the body, you will notice they have the most access to the world outside our bodies. They are the only organs that actually have direct contact with the environment. As such, they have to do with protection and separation from harmful pathogens, both of the physical and emotional variety. The lungs are in charge of what we call “Wei Qi,” in Western terms, the Wei Qi would be our immune system. This Wei Qi forms a protective layer around our bodies, encasing us and acting as a barrier. If the Wei Qi is weak, then you have a person who is constantly sick. If you have a tendency to catch a lot of colds and flus, or seem to always feel run-down and prone to infectious illnesses, your Wei Qi is not doing its job. Fortunately, acupuncture and herbs can build up this Wei Qi, forming a wall of protection against these harmful pathogens.

If you are frequently fatigued or seem to often be out of breath, your lungs may benefit from a tune-up with herbs or acupuncture. Weak lung Qi can result in a soft, timid voice, shallow breathing and poor posture (often people with lung deficiencies seem to be hunched over in a posture of protection). Bronchitis, emphysema and pneumonia are signs your lung energy isn’t strong enough to perform its job of keeping you healthy.

Allergies are another symptom of weak Wei Qi. The pollen (or whatever it is you are allergic to) can easily enter the body if the external barrier is weak, causing all the symptoms of misery that most greatly affect the lungs: sneezing, coughing and runny nose (the lungs also control the nose in Chinese medicine.)

Since the skin is the outermost layer of the body and is controlled by the lung, it is also affected by weakness of the lung. Eczema, rashes and excessively dry skin can all stem from an imbalance of the lungs.

On an emotional level, the lungs are affected by grief. Have you ever noticed someone who can’t let go of tragedy seems to get sick more often? Constant sadness weakens the energy of the lung, lessening its protective function. If the lung Qi is weak to begin with, it will be difficult for a person to let go of their sadness and move on in a healthy way. This type of patient may also be prone to depression. If you or someone you know would like more holistic health information on the lungs, please contact our Tigard office.

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.

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