Although science hasn’t figured out how it works, more and more mainstream doctors suggest acupuncture of some types of pain.
The practice of acupuncture is carried out most often by placing very small needles into the skin to stimulate certain places in the body. Acupuncture originated with the Chinese and has been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for many centuries.
The Flow of QI
The earliest written record of the use of acupuncture is dated as far back as 200 BCE, but there are other indicators and artifacts that put the practice of acupuncture as far back as the Stone Age. One explanation for the practice is that Han Chinese doctors noticed that soldiers who were wounded in battle by arrows became cured of other afflictions.
Acupuncture is used to correct the flow of QI. Traditional Chinese culture believes that every living creature has QI, a natural flow of energy throughout the body. QI is often interpreted as “natural energy,” “energy flow,” or “life force.” A literal translation is “breath,” or “air.”
This idea that there is a vital energy throughout us is not confined to the Chinese. Many other cultures, such as the Hindu, Hawaiian, Hebrew and Tibetan Buddhism hold similar beliefs. The idea is represented in Western culture in the popular Star Wars movies as “the force.”
It is believed that an imbalance in the flow of QI is what causes pain, illness and disease. QI flows through meridians in the body and the practice of stimulating specific parts of the body, acupuncture points, fixes the imbalance and allows QI to flow properly.
There are meridians for the different parts of the body, such as one for the lungs, one for digestion, heart, hands, feet, head, etc. Placing acupuncture needles along a specific meridian will allow QI to flow and relieve the illness.
For decades, science has been trying to determine if acupuncture actually works, and if it does, how it works. Studies have come up with mixed results. Normal testing procedures are difficult to use because of the nature of acupuncture and coming up with a placebo. Finding an explanation for such things as acupuncture points, meridians and QI is also eluding researchers.
However, research is showing some glimpses into how acupuncture might work. Studies conducted with animals and humans shows that multiple biological responses take place when acupuncture is used. Responses have shown locally, near the application site and at a distance from the site through sensory neurons within the central nervous system. This leads to pathway activation that affects physiological systems in the brain and periphery.
There is a great deal of evidence that shows that opioid peptides are released by acupuncture. Acupuncture’s analgesic effects are partly explained by their release. It is also thought that acupuncture stimulates the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. It has also been documented that secretion of neurohormones and neurotransmitters, and changes in blood flow regulation are altered. In addition, immune function changes have also been noted with the use of acupuncture.
Uses for Acupuncture
Despite the inability of science to produce unequivocal proof that acupuncture works, it has been gaining popularity, not only among patients, but also among the medical community. The medical community, on the whole, is beginning to see the benefits of holistic medicine as a part of complementary medicine practices to help patients achieve health and wellness.
It is accepted that acupuncture is effective in treating nausea and vomiting in adults after they have had chemotherapy or surgery. It is also effective in treating post-operative dental pain. Use for relief of osteoarthritis pain in the knee is highly successful with acupuncture. Relief of pain is one of the main uses for acupuncture, including pain from migraines and low back pain. It is also used for many other medical problems such as asthma, epilepsy, heart disease, addiction and insomnia. A list of diseases that are treatable with acupuncture has been created by The World Health Organization.
Acupuncture has very few, to no, side effects and is safe when sanitary practices are followed. Use of needles is regulated by the government. Acupuncture should not be used as an alternative therapy to the exclusion of contemporary medicine, but should be used as part of an integrative medicine plan. Following general wellness practices, eating a good diet and practicing relaxation techniques can help you live a happier, healthier life.
Dr. Jorge Bordenave of Miami Integrative Medicine invites you to learn more about acupuncture and integrative medicine to see how a more natural approach can help your feel your best. Give us a call today.
Published by Axiom Health Care Marketing
No one can ever be immune to stress, but what differentiates us in these moments is the way we deal with the stress. The basic idea behind dealing with stress stems is your ability to know when you are stressed and what is stressing you (often called the stressor). Being under stress frequently can hamper your health and wellness.
What is Stress?
Simply put, stress is the reaction from our body when demands are made on it. Stress is not only caused by bad experiences in life, but good experiences as well. From a biological point of view, when stressed, the body releases certain chemicals into the blood stream and they provide more energy and strength to the body. This energy can be put to good use if the stress is originating from a physical danger, however they can be harmful if the stressor is of an emotional nature and can cause health problems such as heart disease when the stress is prolonged or occurs often.
The initial step in stress management is identifying the cause. More often than not, it is not as easy as it sounds because stressors are not always obvious. There are three types of people in terms of how they relate to their stress.
- Temporary – This individual often assumes that the stress is temporary and is a result of the particular distinct circumstance they are currently in, e.g. having many things to do at the same time.
- Stress as a part of life – This individual associates stress with a certain aspect of their life. For example, they may assume they are only stressed when they are at work.
- Blaming stress on others – This particular individual always finds a way to blame others for the stress they maybe going through at that particular point in time.
Here, you should be able to identify into which category you fall. Until you are able to identify your stress and accept what you are doing, you will never be able to control it.
Step 1 – Avoiding Unnecessary Stress
Although avoiding stress is not something you can do all the time, we can avoid many stressors in our everyday lives. First and foremost, you need to master your ability to say no. This means you should know your limits in terms of how much responsibility you can take on. Avoid people and conversations that you know will stress you.
Step 2 – Turning the Tables
Although stress can’t always be avoided. If you can’t avoid the situation, try and alter it for the greater good. Analyze the problem and see what you can do so that you are not faced with the same problem yet again. Sometimes you may want someone to change their behavior, but you have to be prepared to make changes to your own behavior in order to make it work. Have confidence when faced with problems, take them by the horn and you will feel more in control – and less stressed. In addition, learn to manage your time better; not being late all the time is an easy way to reduce stress.
Step 3 – Becoming Adaptive
Steps 1 and 2 may not be applicable to all situations so sometimes you need to adapt. If you are not able to change the situation, then be ready to change yourself to fit it. Take a positive mindset about the situation. Accept that you can do nothing to change it and work with it. Also, trying to be perfect is a huge stressor for many people. No one can be perfect all the time. In some situations, it is okay to adjust your standards and make them more realistic in order to reduce stress and complete the task at hand.
Step 4 – Getting Help
If your attempts at controlling your stress have not been as successful as you would like, there are other ways and alternative treatments available. Alternative medicine can provide ways to calm your stress and offer better wellness. Alternative therapy and holistic medicine such as the use of acupuncture, diet, and herbal remedies can be part of an integrative medicine plan created in conjunction with your general internal medicine doctor or general practitioner.
With these steps, stress can be limited to a less frequent event. When dealing with any complementary medicine plan it is important to provide all of your medical information to those who will be treating you. Always check with your regular physician before starting any new medical regimen, natural or otherwise.
Published by Axiom Health Care Marketing
If you’re looking for a new way to treat your health conditions, depending on what they are, acupuncture may be the way to go. Check out this article for more information about health conditions that have been proven to be treatable by using acupuncture.
So you’ve researched it, mulled it over and are now ready to make some major changes in your life. You’ve decided that integrative medicine is going to be a critical part of making such changes. Now what? If you’re stumped, this article covers everything you need to know to prepare for your first appointment.
The healthcare system in America is continually growing to a system that is not concerned with quality patient care, leaving many patients looking for alternatives to this conventional model of healthcare. This type of medicine focuses on caring for an entire person, body, spirit and minds, not only the organs, bones and flesh, and is increasingly becoming a logical and desirable option for a number of people.
Integrative Medicine: Explained
Integrative medicine is a type of medicine that focuses on the whole person and then uses the appropriate approaches of therapeutic treatment in order to help a patient reach optimal healing ability and health. This type of approach to medicine combines both conventional treatments, as well as other types of therapies that have been selected and deemed safe and effective. The ultimate goal of this approach is to use the best parts of conventional medicine in addition with other types of therapies and healing systems that have been derived from both new and old cultures.
The model of integrative medicine recognizes the important role of the patient-practitioner relationship and the role that it plays in taking care of a patient. It also works to take care of the entire person by considering the interrelated nonphysical and physical factors that will affect a person’s wellness, health and disease, which include the spiritual and psychosocial dimensions of a person’s life.
What Falls Under Integrative Medicine?
There are hundreds of integrative treatment types that can be used with conventional treatments, with the key being to make the most of treatments to help a patient achieve superior health. Some of the most common types of integrative medicine techniques are highlighted here.
This is when stainless steel, thin needles are inserted into your skin at specific locations in order to manipulate the energy flow into your body. Acupuncture is a proven method of treatment for nausea, pain, vomiting and a number of other conditions such as osteoarthritis, menstrual cramps and asthma.
This is a type of technique that is used to tap into a person’s healing energy and manipulate it in a manner to encourage and increase healing. The most common type of Biofield therapies that are used includes healing touch, polarity therapy, qigong and reiki.
This is a type of visualization technique that teaches patients to focus on various mental pictures that are positive in nature. Guided imagery is a technique that is based on the belief that a person’s mind is able to affect the functions of the body. This technique can be used to help increase relaxation, reduce the stress that a patient feels and help to effect positive body changes.
Why You Should Consider Integrative Medicine
There are a number of reasons that people make the decision to seek integrative medicine. There are many studies that show that it is more in line with people’s beliefs, philosophies and values about life and health than the conventional approach. Others prefer the personalized care that is offered with integrative medicine practices. The fact is that most people that try the techniques integrative medicine become proponents for the methods and seek the services for other issues in their lives.
In the United States, integrative medicine services have gained popularity and there are currently more than 70 percent of Americans that are actively using the treatment method in some form. The research that is linked to these alternative medical treatments have suggested that how you feel, how you think and how you live can all affect your overall health and wellness. For example, stress is linked to fibromyalgia, asthma and infections, while diets that are high in fat can lead to problems such as cancer and coronary disease. Integrative medicine may also help you if you suffer from any type of chronic illness and have the desire to reduce the frequency or severity of the disease episodes, or simply achieve a better quality of life.
Traditional medicine practices are able to diminish the consequences that result from unhealthy lifestyles, but integrative medicine can actually reverse these consequences and reduce symptoms while preventing illnesses all together, which can lead to the following benefits:
- Improved sleep;
- A reduction in pain;
- Fewer after-surgery complications;
- Fewer episodes of depression or anxiety in relation to an illness;
- A reduction in glucose levels, cholesterol and blood pressure;
- Increased function of the immune system and a reduced number of infection;
- An improved functioning of the bowels.
Integrated medicine is a type of health care that works to foster a relationship of cooperation with all of the factors that are involved, which can lead to superior health and wellness in all areas of your being, including emotional, physical, social, mental and spiritual. This type of medicine looks at the entire person, which includes an analysis of environmental, social, physical, spiritual and nutritional values. It also uses all modalities of treatment and diagnosis, which includes surgery and drugs, if there is no alternative treatment that is safe.
The practice of integrated medicine also focuses on the responsibility and education of each patient to achieve optimum levels of health and wellness. There are a number of different types of integrated medicine treatments including nutrition counseling, acupuncture, psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, Yoga and Reiki. Some of the most common ailments that integrated medicine treatments are used to treat and manage include:
- Migraines or headaches;
- Back pain;
- Heart disease;
- Irritable bowel syndrome;
- Chronic Fatigue;
When one part of a person’s mind or body is not functioning properly, it is believed that it will affect the entire person. With integrated medicine techniques, the treatment that is used will focus on the person as a whole, rather than simply treating the illness or the part of the person’s body that is experiencing the problem.
Keep in mind, in addition to seeking treatment for health concerns, it is also important to implement a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating a nutrition optimized diet, managing stress, exercising and not smoking. Integrated medicine techniques are quickly becoming a mainstream treatment option, and often used as complementary types of care for therapy and preventative measures.
Published by of AXIOM Health Care Marketing.