Treating Autoimmune Diseases with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Autoimmune diseases are a group of disorders in which the immune system attacks the body and destroys or alters tissues. There are more than eighty serious chronic illnesses in this category including rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, lupus, thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease, Addison’s disease, pernicious anemia, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis and Guillain–Barré syndrome. According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) twenty percent of the population suffers from autoimmune disorders. Each disease appears uncommon on an individual basis but, as a group, the disorders make up the fourth-largest cause of disability among women.

Due to the complexity of treating autoimmune disorders, integrative medicine solutions including acupuncture and Oriental medicine have received much attention as successful therapies in their treatment particularly for use in providing pain relief, regulating the immune system, managing symptoms and improving overall quality of life.

What Causes Autoimmune Disease?

Under normal conditions, an immune response cannot be triggered against the cells of one’s own body. In certain cases, however, immune cells make a mistake and attack the very cells that they are meant to protect. This can lead to a variety of autoimmune diseases which encompass a broad category of over 100 diseases in which the person’s immune system attacks his or her own tissue.

The exact mechanisms causing these changes are not completely understood, but bacteria, viruses, toxins, and some drugs may play a role in triggering an autoimmune process in someone who already has a genetic (inherited) predisposition to develop such a disorder. It is theorized that the inflammation initiated by these agents, toxic or infectious, somehow provokes in the body a “sensitization” (autoimmune reaction) in the involved tissues.

As the disease develops vague symptoms start to appear, such as joint and muscle pain, general muscle weakness, possible rashes or low-grade fever, trouble concentrating, or weight loss. The following symptoms may point toward something being wrong: numbness and tingling in hands and feet, dry eyes, hair loss, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, or repeated miscarriages can also be caused by an autoimmune response.

How Acupuncture Treats Autoimmune Disorders

According to Oriental medicine, autoimmune disorders occur when there is imbalance within the body. Imbalance can come from an excess or deficiency of yin and yang that disrupts the flow of Qi, or vital energy, through the body. Acupuncture is used to help the body restore balance, treating the root of the disorder, while specifically addressing the symptoms that are unique to each individual.

Clinical research has shown that acupuncture causes physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain. These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones, and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. It is proposed that, by these actions, acupuncture affects blood pressure, body temperature and the immune system.

In addition to acupuncture, your treatment program to manage your autoimmune disorder may involve a combination of therapies including stress reducing exercises, moderate physical activity, herbal medicine and nutritional support.

Learn more about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be safely and effectively incorporated into treating autoimmune disorders, call for a consultation today!

Acupuncture for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that can affect many different joints and, in some people, other parts of the body as well, including the blood, the lungs, and the heart. Inflammation of the joint lining, called the synovium, can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, warmth, and redness. The affected joint may also lose its shape, resulting in loss of normal movement. Rheumatoid arthritis can last a long time and can be a disease of flares (active symptoms) and remissions (few to no symptoms).

According to Oriental medical theory, arthritis arises when the cyclical flow of Qi in the meridians becomes blocked. This blockage is called, “bi” type pain and is widely studied and successfully treated using a combination of acupuncture and/or Chinese herbs.

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine have been found to be extremely effective at treating the pain and inflammation associated with all types of arthritis. The acupuncture points and herbs that are used depend on if the blockage of Qi (arthritis) is caused by the pathogen wind, cold, damp or damp-heat.

Call today to learn how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be incorporated into your treatment plan for rheumatoid arthritis!

Treating Diabetes with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

It is estimated that 25.8 million men, women and children in the United States have diabetes. Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the risk for death is approximately twice that of persons of similar age without diabetes.

The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles. Complications of diabetes include heart disease, hypertension, eye problems, kidney disease, nervous system disease, periodontal disease, amputation, fatigue, depression, and complications during pregnancy.

In order to manage diabetes, it is essential for people to make healthy lifestyle choices in diet, exercise, and other health habits. Another important factor when treating diabetes is creating a support team of health care professionals. This support team may include your primary doctor, an eye doctor, nurses, a dietitian, and a licensed acupuncturist.

Diabetes according to Oriental Medicine

According to Traditional Oriental Medicine, diabetes is caused by an imbalance of the cyclical flow of Qi within the meridians and organ systems.

This particular imbalance produces heat that depletes the body’s fluids and Qi causing symptoms such as:

Fatigue
Lethargy
Unexplained Weight Loss
Excessive Thirst (Polydipsia)
Excessive Urination (Polyuria)
Excessive Eating (Polyphagia)
Poor Wound Healing
Infections
Irritability
Blurry Vision

How Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Treats Diabetes

In treating diabetes, Oriental medicine offers a way to address each patient individually to eliminate the symptoms associated with diabetes and reduce the need for insulin. A variety of techniques may be used during treatment including acupuncture, herbal medicine, bodywork, lifestyle/dietary recommendations and energetic exercises. The treatment for diabetes focuses on regulating the circulation of blood and Qi and balancing the organ systems to improve pancreatic function and address internal heat and the depletion of fluids. When treating diabetes, acupuncture and Oriental medicine can assist the body to regain its normal healthy functioning.

To add acupuncture and Oriental medicine to your arsenal when fighting diabetes and learn more about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can improve your health and well being call for a consultation today!

Women’s Health Concerns and How Acupuncture Can Help

The biggest threats to women’s health are often preventable. Oriental medicine has always addressed the special needs of women throughout their lives and many health issues women face respond extremely well to acupuncture treatments. Taking small steps to improve your health can make a difference.

The top health concerns affecting women and how acupuncture can help are:

Cardiovascular Disease

As the number one threat to women’s health, cardiovascular disease is not just a man’s disease. In women, the condition is responsible for about 29% of deaths, reports the CDC. Although more men die of heart disease than women, females tend to be under diagnosed, often to the point that it’s too late to help them once the condition is discovered. By integrating acupuncture and Oriental medicine into your heart healthy lifestyle, you can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as eighty percent.

Steps to prevention include managing high blood pressure and cholesterol, quitting smoking, eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, physical activity, reducing stress and improved sleep – all of which can be helped with acupuncture and Oriental medicine. Acupuncture has been found to be particularly helpful in lowering blood pressure. By applying acupuncture needles at specific sites along the wrist, inside the forearm or in the leg, researchers have been able to stimulate the release of opiods, which decreases the heart’s activity and its need for oxygen. This, in turn, lowers blood pressure.

Cancer

There have been many advances in the early detection and treatment of cancer. While the standard medical care for cancer is effective, the treatments are aggressive and cause numerous unwanted side effects as well as a lowered immune system. The three most common cancers among women are breast, lung and colorectal cancer. While breast cancer is the most common cancer in women it is second in the leading cause of cancer death. Early detection screenings and recommended self examinations should be taken seriously.

Acupuncture has received much attention as an adjunctive therapy in cancer treatments for its use in pain relief, reducing side effects, accelerating recovery and improving overall quality of life.

From a preventive approach Oriental medicine works to restore imbalances in the system with a variety of treatment modalities including acupuncture, herbal therapy, tui na, qi gong in addition to food, exercise and lifestyle suggestions. Seasonal acupuncture treatments just four times a year serve to tonify the inner organ systems and correct minor annoyances before they become serious problems.

Osteoporosis

Characterized by a decrease in bone mass and an increased likelihood of fractures osteoporosis is not simply a calcium deficiency. As a complex living tissue, bone is made of many different components and is influenced by many variables including the body’s use of calcium from the bone to balance pH levels in the blood. Osteoporosis threatens 44 million Americans, of which 68% are women, reports the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

“Osteoporosis is largely preventable,” says Mark. “The behaviors that women develop in their childhood, in their adolescence, and in their early adult years really play a significant role in the development of the disease.” That’s because bodies build up most of bone mass until age 30. Then new bone stops forming and the focus switches to the maintenance of old bone.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine coupled with a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise, have much to offer in improving the quality of life for those who suffer from bone and joint problems.

Depression

Depressive disorders affect 10%-25% of women at some point in their lives. The body’s immune system is compromised and symptoms reduce functioning, impair work performance and social relationships. Common symptoms of depressive disorders include: a decreased interest in most activities, insomnia, fatigue, and feeling empty and worthless. At its worst, hopelessness sets in and suicide becomes a desperate option for approximately 15% of people who suffer from severe depressive disorders.

Oriental medicine does not view people as a collection of segmented parts to be treated independently but rather addresses the link between the body, spirit and mind. The goal of Oriental medicine is to bring all the human systems into a healthy balance, insuring that both the mind and body feel well and when used in conjunction with psychotherapy acupuncture has a positive and holistic effect on depressed patients. If you suffer from depression, consider acupuncture therapy in conjunction with your treatment plan to regain peace of mind, regulate your immune system and stay healthy.

Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases are a group of disorders in which the immune system attacks the body and destroys or alters tissues. There are more than 80 serious chronic illnesses in this category, including lupus, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes.

According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), about 75% of autoimmune diseases occur in women. Individually, each disease appears uncommon with the exception of diabetes, thyroid disease, and lupus however as a group, the disorders make up the fourth-largest cause of disability among American women.

Due to the complexity of treating autoimmune disorders, integrative medicine solutions have received much attention as successful therapies in their treatment. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are specifically noted for use in pain relief, regulating the immune system, managing symptoms and improving overall quality of life.

Menopause and Gynecological Health

Gynecological conditions including Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), fibroids, endometriosis, and infertility along with menopause are some of the most successfully treated problems by acupuncture and Oriental medicine. Oriental medicine has long recognized that health and vitality can be sustained over a woman’s lifetime by restoring balance within the body and supporting the natural production of essential hormones.

Menopause is a transitional period marking the cessation of ovulation in a woman’s body. Symptoms vary from mild to severe, and are brought on as our bodies try to adapt to decreasing amounts of estrogen. Symptoms can include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, mood swings, memory loss, dryness, headaches, joint pain, and weight gain. Menopause patients are encouraged to maintain a healthy weight, stabilize blood sugar, and eliminate stress, tension and anxiety or learn new techniques to cope with them to diminish the effects they have.

Oriental medicine does not recognize menopause as one particular syndrome and aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of techniques such as acupuncture, herbs, bodywork, lifestyle/dietary recommendations and energetic exercises to restore imbalances found in the body. Therefore, if 10 women are treated each will receive a unique, customized treatment with different acupuncture points, different herbs and different lifestyle and diet recommendations.

With support from Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine along with small changes in lifestyle and diet, menopause can be a time of a revival of vital energy and an opportunity for personal growth

To learn more about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can improve your health and well being call for a consultation today!