Treating Irritability and Moodiness with Acupuncture

Everyone suffers from irritability and moodiness from time to time, but if you find that a short temper and frustration are becoming a constant issue for you, then acupuncture may be able to help.

Often irritability and moodiness are the consequence of chronic stress in your life. Over time these emotions can progress into more serious emotional conditions such as anxiety and depression as well as other health conditions such as digestive problems, trouble sleeping and the tendency to get sick more frequently.

Liver Qi Stagnation and Emotions

Within Oriental medicine emotional disorders can be associated with a number of different patterns of disharmony; however, anger, irritability, and frustration are all signs that our qi is not flowing smoothly. The liver is responsible for the smooth flow of qi (life force) throughout the body and for smoothing our emotions. When the liver’s function of moving qi is disrupted, qi can become stuck. This is referred to as liver qi stagnation.

Liver qi stagnation is one of the most common patterns of disharmony seen in today’s patients. In addition to irritability and moodiness, signs and symptoms may include distending pain in the area below the ribs, stuffiness of the chest, sighing, abdominal distention, nausea, sour regurgitation, belching, diarrhea or constipation, feeling of a lump in the throat, irregular periods, painful periods and distention of the breasts prior to periods. Liver qi stagnation is commonly associated with PMS.

Acupuncture is excellent at relieving liver qi stagnation. Treatment for irritability and moodiness associated with liver qi stagnation focuses on moving qi and supporting the liver and spleen organ systems with acupuncture, lifestyle and dietary recommendations and perhaps an herbal formula.

Move Your Qi!

The liver is responsible for the smooth flowing of Qi (life force) throughout the body. When the liver functions smoothly, physical and emotional activity throughout the body also runs smoothly. So, for optimum health, move your Qi!

Stretch – The liver controls the tendons. According to Oriental medicine, the liver stores blood during periods of rest and then releases it to the tendons in times of activity, maintaining tendon health and flexibility. Incorporate a morning stretch into your routine. Try yoga or tai qi.

Eye Exercises – The liver opens into the eyes. Although all the organs have some connection to the health of the eyes, the liver is connected to proper eye function. Remember to take breaks when looking at a computer monitor for extended periods of time and do eye exercises.

Eat Green – Green is the color of the liver. Eating young plants – fresh, leafy greens, sprouts, and immature cereal grasses – can improve the liver’s overall functions and aid in the movement of qi.

Try Something Sour – Foods and drinks with sour tastes are thought to stimulate the liver’s qi. Put lemon slices in your drinking water, use vinegar and olive oil for your salad dressing and garnish your sandwich with a slice of dill pickle.

Do More Outdoor Activities – Outside air helps liver qi flow. If you have been feeling irritable, find an outdoor activity to smooth out that liver qi stagnation. Try hiking or take up golf.

Enjoy Milk Thistle Tea – Milk thistle helps protect liver cells from incoming toxins and encourages the liver to cleanse itself of damaging substances, such as alcohol, medications, pesticides, environmental toxins, and even heavy metals such as mercury.

Get Acupuncture Treatments – Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help improve the overall health of your liver as well as treat stress, anger and frustration, which are often associated with liver qi disharmony.

Periodic acupuncture treatments can serve to tonify the inner organ systems and can correct minor annoyances before they become serious problems.

Rest, Renewal and Reflection

Rest, Renew and Reflect on Your Health!

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. ~ Confucius

Reflection is the process in which an image or idea comes back to us, such as looking in a mirror, rethinking an event, or reviewing an idea. We have the opportunity to take a closer view and reconsider our original thinking.

The new year is a perfect opportunity to reflect and use that knowledge as a catalyst for change. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help achieve the change you seek as it assists in illness prevention, stress relief, minimizes aches and pains, improves energy and you find yourself in better balance. This calm and clarity strengthens your resolve as you start the new year with new goals.

Reflection has other connotations in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. Outer appearances reflect inner health so a well trained practitioner of acupuncture and oriental medicine will observe very different aspects of your appearance than you typically study when you look in the mirror. In acupuncture and oriental medicine, bodily observation includes looking at the face, eyes, body type, demeanor, and tongue. Two thousand years ago, when acupuncture and Oriental medicine was in its infancy, there were no x-ray machines or the very sophisticated magnetic imaging of today. These healers and diagnosticians depended on their finely tuned observational skills in order to assess their patients. Some of those early ideas seem simplistic today but many elements of diagnosis persist because outer appearances do provide clues to a person’s health.

Stick Out Your Tongue

Oriental medicine has used tongue diagnosis for thousands of years. An experienced practitioner can look at your tongue and begin to understand your internal problems but you can also be aware of information that your tongue provides. Look for changes in the color of your tongue, teeth marks, shape, and coating. These changes may indicate that something is amiss. A healthy tongue is naturally the same pink-red color as your lips. Someone who is very stressed or irritable may have a tongue with a red tip and sides. Teeth marks may indicate a deficiency or insomnia. Note any changes in the shape of your tongue. If it’s too pale, puffy or red it may indicate an imbalance.

Healthy tongues have a thin white coating. If you see a thicker coating developing, you may be catching a cold or flu. If the coating appears yellowish the illness has a hotter nature and you can also expect a sore throat and yellow phlegm. If the coating is thick and white, this indicates a cold with chills and clear/white phlegm but without a sore throat. So if you see a thick coat developing take precautions, rest, sleep more, and keep warm.

Seasonal acupuncture treatments serve to nurture and nourish your kidney Qi which can greatly enhance the body’s ability to thrive in times of stress and aid in healing, preventing illness and increasing vitality. Call for your appointment today and let us help you prepare for the year ahead!

Difficulties Sleeping? Resolve to Put Insomnia to Rest!

Our society puts a premium on our waking hours and has the tendency to underestimate the importance of a full-night’s sleep. Often, good sleep hygiene is an afterthought for many people. Millions of people are besieged with insomnia and look for quick fixes instead of exploring the root causes of the problem.

Evening is a time to allow our minds and bodies to turn inward to our subconscious. Excessive lighting at night, evening shift work, evening computing, video games, television and late-night eating all serve to counteract the body’s natural rhythms. It’s no wonder people have trouble sleeping. Exposure to early morning light and dusk helps to regulate sleep hormones in the body. Rather than embrace nighttime we tend to let our minds wander from one element of stress to another keeping us up for hours or perhaps an entire evening. We are then forced to approach the new day without having benefited from the regenerative powers that night time brings.

In Oriental medicine sleep occurs when the yang energy of the day folds into Yin – nighttime. Yin energy of the body is cooling and restorative. It is the time of day when our bodies turn inward and regenerate. This is the time we dream and explore the caverns of our unconscious mind. Conversely, daytime is yang, which is expansive. We expend the energy we have built up from the process of sleeping. Together, this is the cycle of yin and yang.

To apply the concept of yin and yang to your everyday life try eating your last meal at least three hours before going to bed. If you are a hot excess type, you can cool your body down by avoiding hot and spicy food and drink. Avoid alcohol, coffee, chocolate any other stimulants, especially late in the day.

Help circulate your body’s energy by working out or by gentle exercising. Build your body’s nutritive aspect by eating marrow based soups and stews, dark pigmented vegetables and fruits. Avoid overworking or over rumination as well.

Meditation is an invaluable tool to help your brain unwind. Helping the body create a sense of calm meditation can reduce stress, increase feelings of well-being, and improve overall health. It is of specific use to help one increase alertness, relaxation and reflection even in “waking” states. Meditation is best practiced during the day to help ease your sleep patterns at night.

One contributor to insomnia, stress, weakens the function of the liver, which in turn affects the health of your nerves. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine have a calming effect on the nervous system clearing obstructions in the muscle and nerve channels, assisting the flow of oxygen-enriched energy and relaxing the system. Common noted benefits include deeper breathing, improved digestive abilities, better sleeping patterns, and a general sense of well being.

If you or someone you know has insomnia or are having difficulties getting a restful sleep call for your appointment today!

Acupuncture and Fertility

Acupuncture and Reproductive Health

Current statistics state that one in five couples over the age of 30 have difficulty conceiving after one year of trying. Many of these couples are turning to acupuncture and Oriental medicine for a safe, effective and natural solution to have a healthy baby.

Oriental medicine has a long history when it comes to enhancing fertility for both men and women. In fact, evidence that acupuncture and herbal medicine have been used to aid fertility can be found in early medical literature dating back to 3AD.

Fertility treatments were first recorded by Zhang Zhong Jing, a famous physician from the Han Dynasty, in his discussion of diseases in women in the Jin Gui Yao Lue or Essentials of the Golden Cabinet.

How Acupuncture Can Enhance Fertility

According to the principles of Oriental medicine, a person’s health is determined by the quality of Qi, the vital life energy, and blood circulating through the body. When Qi and blood are circulating properly, the body is properly nourished and functioning optimally which, in turn, enhances fertility.

Researchers have confirmed its benefit in the following areas:

  • Regulate menstrual cycle.
  • Improve sperm count and motility.
  • Reduce stress and anxiety associated with infertility.
  • Normalize hormone and endocrine systems.
  • Improve blood flow in the uterus.
  • Decrease chance of miscarriage.
  • Increase the chance of pregnancy for women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Fertility treatments vary from person to person, but are usually scheduled for at least three consecutive cycles (twelve weeks). Treatments can include acupuncture, customized herbal therapy, stress reduction and dietary counseling. Treatments work alone but are an excellent addition to any Western intervention.

Acupuncture Increases IVF Success by 65%

Women undergoing IVF were 65 percent more likely to become pregnant when they combined the procedure with acupuncture, a recent study has shown.

The remarkable success rate occurred across seven acupuncture trials involving 1,366 women in a systematic review and meta-analysis published in a February, 2008 issue of the British Medical Journal.

Acupuncture was delivered either just before or just after embryo transfer – a step in the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF) whereby one or several embryos are placed into the uterus.

The research was carried out by scientists from the University of Maryland in the United States and the VU University of Amsterdam in Holland.

It is thought that acupuncture stimulates the neurotransmitters that trigger the production of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone, which controls the menstrual cycle and a woman’s ovulation.

Acupuncture is also thought to stimulate blood flow to the uterus and boost the production of endogenous opioids, inducing the body to relax.

Source: British Medical Journal, February 2008

Acupuncture Improves Sperm Quality

A study published in the July 2005 issue of the journal Fertility and Sterility found that acupuncture helped infertile men by apparently helping improve sperm quality in their semen.

In the research project, 28 men received acupuncture in addition to traditional infertility treatments, while another 12 men received only the traditional treatments. All of the men were diagnosed with infertility of unknown origin.

Acupuncture was associated with fewer structural defects in the sperm of men who received it, although it had no effect on other abnormalities, such as sperm immaturity or premature death.

Previous studies have shown a link between acupuncture and improved sperm production and motility.

Source: Fertility and Sterility, July 2005

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