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Electroacupuncture Explained

 

Electroacupuncture is the specialized version of traditional acupuncture that involves running a small electrical current through the pre-placed needles. This is done in hopes of stimulating blood flow and achieving balance throughout the body. Today, we’ll explore the many benefits and uses to this newer form of TCM.

 

Invented by Chinese doctor Tang She-Cheng in 1937, it has a much shorter history in relation to the nearly 2,500 years of manual acupuncture. As a result, the practice is less widely in utilization, but does have proven benefits.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

 

So, how does it work? While it can seem scary initially, the principles are actually quite simple, and in essence, similar to manual acupuncture. Traditionally, an acupuncturist would place one needle per meridian point, and then manually stimulate the body using that needle and their hands. However, in electroacupuncture, two needles are placed per meridian point and an electrical machine is connected to these needles which sends a current back and forth, and stimulates the meridian point between. 

In electroacupuncture, two needles are inserted per meridian point, unlike traditional Chinese acupuncture.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

Some people may be understandably wary about hooking their body up to an electrical current, so what is the point? According to multiple scientific studies, electroacupuncture has some pretty significant benefits, even when compared to the time-tested standard. Some specific benefits of this variation include increased efficacy in patients with arthritis and osteoarthritis. Likewise, chemo-therapy related nausea and other chronic stress issues have been found to be reduced by this method. Specifically nerve-related issues that benefit from electrical stimulation. 

 

For example, study done by researchers at Georgetown University found that the applied use of electroacupuncture can reduce physical symptoms of chronic stress quite dramatically. Furthermore, this method can lower production stress hormones, and can be an effective addition to treatments for various conditions.

In conclusion, there are many benefits to this variation of practice, certain groups are at a higher risk for complications. If you are elderly, pregnant, have a pacemaker, other heart-related issues, or experience seizures you should not attempt electroacupuncture.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

WOULD YOU TRY ELECTROACUPUNCTURE THERAPY?

Unfamiliar with traditional acupuncture benefits? Check some out here!

Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3947586/

https://www.healthline.com/health/electroacupuncture#how-it-works

 

Acupuncture for Allergies

Spring means warm weather, blooming flowers, and outdoor activities for most people. For those suffering from allergies, it means the return of familiar but unwelcome symptoms such as itchy eyes, runny nose, sinus congestion and coughing.

Acupuncture is very effective in treating allergy symptoms and will also help boost your immune system. Chinese herbs can be taken in parallel to keep symptoms from re-occurring. Unlike antihistamines and other OTC medications for allergies-there are no side effects to Chinese herbs and your Acupuncturist will select an herb for your particular symptoms/constitution.

 

Here are a few home remedies to help you get through the season:

  1. Acupressure-the image below details where you should apply pressure along your sinuses. In most cases-stimulating the points yourself isn’t a direct substitute for receiving acupuncture treatment however applying pressure on the points below can delay the onset of your symptoms and minimize the severity of them as well.

 

  1. Use a Saline rinse/Neti-pot to irrigate your nasal cavity and clean out any mucus/debris
  2. Eliminate mucus producing foods from your diet such as dairy and sugar
  3. Take a daily tablespoon of locally produced honey
  4. Stay hydrated-drink plenty of water throughout the day

To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact us at 919 621-3363 or at To The Point Acupuncture

Acupuncture for heart health

 

February is American heart health month. Traditionally, the month for lovers and all things heart related. We are reminded to take care of our heart. Heart Disease is still the leading cause of death worldwide. There are many areas of concern for heart health. For example, high blood pressure, stress, healthy diet/weight, and insomnia. Combining acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can help combat all of these!

 

High blood pressure:

Acupuncture has proven to be highly beneficial in helping to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol. High Blood Pressure forces our heart to work harder and demand more oxygen. Acupuncture is able to counter act the heart working so hard by placing needles on specific points. For example, on the wrist, inside the forearm, or leg. This will reduce the demand for oxygen.

 

Stress and anxiety:

Acupuncture has proven to help with heart health by reducing stress and anxiety. We all encounter stress in our daily lives.  For instance, we might start to eat unhealthy, experience heart palpitations, exercise less, and tend not to sleep as well. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be used to help keep that stress at bay.

 

Insomnia:

Acupuncture can be used to treat insomnia, without the side effects of prescription medicines. There is evidence linking insomnia to hypertension and other cardiovascular events. Almost 75% of people who have heart failure report frequent insomnia. This one of the most common symptoms of heart failure. Acupuncture treats the entire body/mind and not just the symptoms. Your overall health will improve. In addiction to enjoying a restful nights sleep.

 

Above all, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is critical to a healthy heart. Eating healthy and regular exercise are often difficult to maintain with the busy lives we lead. Incorporating regular acupuncture sessions can build on the heart healthy actions you are already taking. If you have any questions or would like to discuss how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help keep you and your heart healthy and strong, please don’t hesitate to call To The Point Acupuncture, LLC.

 

 

2019: Year of the Pig. A year of fortune and good luck.

Gong Xi Fa Cái! Happy New Year!


According to Chinese astrology, this is a good year to make money. It is also a great year to build or strengthen friendships and bonds with loved ones. The Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, is the longest and most celebrated holiday in Chinese culture. Different traditions include the cleaning of the house to sweep away the past year, the hanging of red lanterns for good luck, and eating foods which are considered “lucky” with friends and family. There are 12 animals that make up the Chinese zodiac. Each animal represents a different year. Those born in the year of that animal are said to inherit some of that animal’s qualities. 2019 marks the year of the Pig, the 12th in the 12 year cycle of the Chinese zodiac signs.

 

The Year of the Pig.
As the Year of the Dog comes to an end, the Year of the Pig emerges. This year, February 5th  2019 marks
the first day of the Year of the Pig. Those born in the Year of the Pig are said to be gentle, generous,
hard-working, and trustworthy. Pigs are always thought to be well fed and so represent abundance in
both wealth and good fortune. They love life and are optimistic by nature. Be careful though, those born
under the year of the pig can be a bit naive and tend to be a little too trustworthy, which can make them
an easy target.
The year of the Pig brings with it a more relaxed and joyous atmosphere. While feelings of wealth and
abundance reign through 2019, it is important to still maintain a close eye on expenses and your budget.
Well considered actions will be rewarded more than risk taking ones.

 

Take care of yourself.
Because the pig is social and generous by nature, he does tend to over extend himself. Some of the 12
signs under the Chinese zodiac may feel this more than others. Pigs are known to have a large appetite
and will eat almost anything. Be aware of gluttony this year. Portion control and staying active will help
keep this under control. Eating right, exercising regularly, and getting an adequate amount of sleep are
all important in maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle, and you can also add acupuncture to that list
as well. Acupuncture helps to curb cravings, boost metabolism, and maintain focus. The Year of the Pig
is predicted to be a better year for most than previous years. By keeping your body balanced and
healthy and your mind at ease you will be more suited to face any obstacles that may come your way.

Wishing you peace, health, and happiness this year and always.

Jill Doan- To The Point Acupuncture

Nourishing your body in the winter-A Chinese element perspective

According to Chinese medicine, the organ system associated with the winter is [highlight] [/highlight] the kidneys. Winter represents the most Yin aspect-it is dark, cold and slow in energy (as opposed to Yang-which is represented by summer whose energy is light, warm and quick.) In the winter time-the days are shorter, it is colder outside and we aren’t as active. The kidney is the source of our most basic and fundamental energy (or Qi) in the body so it is essential to nourish it. Ever wonder why you might feel more tired or get sick more often in the winter? Your kidney Qi is depleted. Acupuncture is a great way to support your Qi.

Food as Medicine. In the wintertime-try and focus on warming and nourishing foods such as soups and stews.  Your kidneys are reliant on quality animal protein like unprocessed meats or eggs to build blood and circulate that blood throughout all your extremities which will in turn keep your entire body warmer. Your kidneys will also appreciate lightly incorporating minerals like sea salt (non-iodized) into your diet this time of year. Foods that are specifically nourishing to the kidneys are: black beans, bone broths, lamb, chicken, walnuts, chestnuts, black sesame seeds and dark leafy greens.

Sip some tea. If you’ve been outdoors for a period of time to build a snowman, wait for the bus, or shovel the driveway, drinking a mug of warming herbal tea once you’re back indoors is a great way to warm the kidneys. Cinnamon, ginger, and citrus are nice teas your kidneys will appreciate. Offering your kidneys, the little extra love and support they need this time of year isn’t too tricky. After all, ‘tis the season.

 

CINNAMON WALNUT FLAX MUFFINS:
Prep Time: 10 minutes                                                        Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes                                                        Servings: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup ground flax meal
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil or any oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sweetener (maple sugar erythritol, coconut sugar)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Mix ingredients together in a mixing bowl in the order they are listed. You can use an electric mixer if you’d like, but be sure to add in walnuts last, after using a mixer.
  3. Bake at 325°F for 18 to 22 minutes.

 

HOW TO MAKE BONE BROTH:

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds beef bones with marrow
  • 4 unpeeled carrots, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, peel on, slices in half lengthwise and quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, peel on and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 5-6 sprigs parsley
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 18-20 cups cold water

Instructions   

  1. Place all ingredients in a 10 quart capacity crock-pot or large pan on the stove.
  2. Add in water.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce and simmer gently, skimming the fat that rises to the surface occasionally.
  4. Simmer for 24-48 hours.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  6. Discard solids and strain remainder in a bowl through a colander. Let stock cool to room temperature, cover and chill.
  7. Use within a week or freeze up to 3 months.

Bone broth has many health benefits. It is highly nutritious, protects the joints, help fight osteoarthritis, helps reduce inflammation and heal the gut, aid in sleep, and may support weight loss.

If you would like to learn more, please contact Jill Doan, Licensed Acupuncturist at To The Point Acupuncture, LLC. http://www.ttpacupuncture.com

Moving Away from Pain Management Drugs to Pain Management with Acupuncture

acupuncture therapy on auricle, horizontal very close up photoIn America today, opioid pain medications are prescribed at alarmingly high rates for pain management. Opioids include pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine and others, as well as the Schedule I street drug heroin. Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. with 47,055 overdoses in 2014. 18,893 of those overdoses were related to prescription pain relievers, and 10,574 were attributed to heroin.

Let that sink in for a moment and you’ll understand why this disturbs me. There were more deaths related to prescription pain medications than to heroin. This is why I am an advocate for alternative pain management treatments, such as acupuncture and/or cupping therapy, to eliminate the dangers associated with drug dependence and substance abuse.

Here are a few reasons why I believe in acupuncture as a reliable and safe alternative to traditional pain reliever prescription treatments.

  • Self-Healing is the Goal. There is evidence showing that it is medically effective. Acupuncture stimulates the body to provoke innate self-healing mechanisms. For centuries our bodies did not rely on prescription drugs for healing purposes, so we are equipped with the ability to heal naturally. Acupuncture is a great tool used to help the body tap into those resources.
  • Evidence for Effectiveness. Chronic pain can make life unbearable. People will visit doctors that are willing to simply write prescriptions for pain relievers that may pose a threat to someone’s well-being. However, the Archives of Internal Medicine has documented research compiled by international experts spanning 29 studies and 18,000 participants. The results of these controlled studies concluded that acupuncture relieved common forms of pain up to 50%. In addition, there is less risk associated with acupuncture treatments compared to prescription medications.
  • Beneficial for Multiple Conditions. From cancer to severe menstrual cramps to anxiety, acupuncture can make a noticeable difference in well-being and overall health. I’m a firm believer that no matter what the condition is, everyone can benefit from receiving acupuncture treatments.
  • Opioids Exacerbate Pain. In the long run opioids, morphine specifically, have been shown to have detrimental effects. A study published earlier this year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provided evidence to suggest that even a mere five days of morphine treatments caused chronic pain lasting for months.
  • Morphine vs Acupuncture. In addition, a study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine sought to prove the effectiveness of acupuncture compared to morphine. The study of 300 participants showed that the acupuncture group had 92% success rate compared to the 78% rate in the morphine group. Those who were receiving morphine treatments also reported 85 counts of side effects including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and fainting. In conclusion, it can be said that acupuncture is safer than morphine treatments, and is at least as effective at pain relief as morphine.
  • Acupuncture for Opioid Addiction.For those who are currently struggling with opioid dependence, acupuncture can provide relief during the withdrawal process, both physically and mentally. Given the evidence that opioids pose a threat to physical health and well-being, those seeking pain management therapies owe it to themselves to try an alternative that poses no risks.

I’ve been practicing acupuncture and alternative therapies in the Raleigh, NC area for nearly 10 years, and I’ve seen my patients benefit from these practices. Even if you have inhibitions about these options for any reason, whether you’re skeptical or afraid of needles, please consider talking with me further. Contact me, Jill Doan, at To The Point Acupuncture in Raleigh today to learn more.

Taking care of your body during the summer

summer yogaThe summer is a wonderful time to spend with family, take vacations, and enjoy the weather. But, warm weather activities and summertime come with negative effects on the body such as heat exhaustion, dehydration, sun burns, injuries, stressful schedules and so much more. These are just a few of the issues that I see during the summer.

At To The Point Acupuncture, I help my patients have the best summer of their lives and experience new things that were too stressful before. To make sure that this summer is the best one so far, there are a few health tips I recommend to put in place to stay happy, healthy, and protected this summer.

I always suggest scheduling the following tasks to make sure that the summer of 2016 is the best one yet:

  1. Drink a Lot of Water. It sounds simple, but this is one of the biggest things I have to remind my patients about. The majority of the heat based issues listed above can be prevented by drinking water. Wondering how much water is enough? On average, a normal adult should have approximately 64 ounces of water per day.
  2. Take Frequent Breaks. Frequent breaks are a great way to prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration, but can also help prevent any outdoor injuries. However, if a sports injury occurs, give me a call so we can help alleviate the pain and resolve any further issues.
  3. Schedule an Acupuncture Appointment. Although everyone is different, one acupuncture treatment per month works very well for most people for maintenance and prevention. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture in particular, is a great way to keep healthy during the summer months. If an injury has already occurred, a weekly appointment with a Raleigh acupuncturist is best.

Balancing kid’s schedules in the summer can be very stressful and lead to anxiety; acupuncture is a great solution for this issue. The summer sun can also cause headaches and migraines which acupuncture has been proven to alleviate.

Never tried acupuncture before? The summer of 2016 is a great time to meet with a Raleigh acupuncturist for the first time. Contact me, Jill Doan, at To The Point Acupuncture with any questions and to schedule your first acupuncture appointment today.

 

6 Illnesses That Can Be Treated with Acupuncture

Woman undergoing acupuncture treatment with a line of fine needles inserted into the skin of her foreheadMany illnesses are so overwhelming that life seems unbearable with them. As the owner of To The Point Acupuncture in Raleigh, NC, I help my patients overcome a variety of illness with acupuncture.  Acupuncture is a great medicinal tool, but many people are too afraid to give it a try or are unaware of how many different medical conditions acupuncture can help. However, these individuals miss out on the positive impact acupuncture has to improve their lifestyle and well-being.

Commonly, people I meet believe that acupuncture can only treat pain related conditions such as arthritis or sciatica. This is a big misconception. Traditional Chinese Medicine, which includes acupuncture, is a complete medical system that can treat a variety of conditions.

A few common illnesses that I have treated with acupuncture include:

  • Sinus issues. A few of the sinus issues that acupuncture is known to improve include: sinusitis, dizziness, earaches, hay fever, allergies and more.

  • Circulatory Disorders. High blood pressure is a very common problem in many of the Raleigh business professionals I see. High blood pressure has been shown to improve with acupuncture.

  • Gastrointestinal Problems. Due to the unknown status of the food we all consume, many individuals suffer with diarrhea, nausea, bloating, and constipation. Some individuals suffer with more regular stomach issues that are treatable with acupuncture, such as: irritable bowel syndrome, spastic colon, colitis, and food allergies.

  • Gynecological Issues. 10.9% of all women in the United States are infertile. Acupuncture can help improve infertility issues as well as treat endometriosis and the related side effects, fibroids, premenstrual syndrome, and ovarian cysts.

  • Addictions. Regular visits to an acupuncturist can help individuals move past an addiction problem and help ease withdrawl symptoms. I have seen this first hand working in both detox clinics and in my own Raleigh office.

  • Emotional Disorders. Emotional disorders such as anxiety, insomnia, and depression can be debilitating in life, but acupuncture can improve these conditions.

Having been a Triangle acupuncturist for almost 10 years, I have seen how acupuncture can treat so many illnesses as well as improve individuals lives. There is no reason to let common ailments make life difficult or reduce one’s quality of life.

Many people have heard about acupuncture, but still don’t believe it can help them, and sometimes the fear of needles keeps them from giving it a try. If you have any reservations, please call me, Jill Doan, Licensed Acupuncturist, at To The Point Acupuncture to learn more about Chinese medicine and acupuncture and how it may be able to benefit you.

Acupuncture and Breast Cancer: A Clinical Research Overview

shutterstock_154750382You have probably noticed little pink ribbons popping up everywhere and many people dressed in pink clothing. That’s right. It’s October. Breast Cancer Awareness month, and everyone is coming out to show their support. Whether you are a survivor yourself or you know someone who has had breast cancer, it has affected the lives of almost everyone.  Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and it is the second leading cause of death among women.  One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Research and studies show that acupuncture can help to:

Reduce nausea and vomiting

Decrease fatigue

Control hot flashes

Minimize and lessen pain

I have also found acupuncture to be effective in helping with the healing process and also reducing scar tissue post breast reconstructive surgery.

 

Nausea/Vomiting:

The Journal of the American Medical Association published an article in 2000 on the effectiveness of acupuncture, specifically electro-acupuncture, on managing emesis (vomiting). In the study, 104 women receiving high doses of chemotherapy for breast cancer were chosen. All subjects were given anti-nausea medication. There were 3 groups. Those that received acupuncture with electrical stimulation, acupuncture without electrical stimulation, and no acupuncture. Those that had acupuncture experienced significantly less episodes of nausea/vomiting than those who didn’t receive any acupuncture at all.

Researchers at Duke University published an article in Sept. 2002 in the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia. The study showed that acupuncture worked better than the anti-nausea medication ondansetron, more commonly known as Zofran, in alleviating postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) after major breast surgery, such as a mastectomy.  Duke anesthesiologist Tong Joo (T.J.) Gan, M.D., who led the trial said, “In the areas of PONV control, pain relief, and general overall satisfaction, acupuncture appears to be more effective than the most commonly used medication (Zofran), with few to no side effects.”

 

Fatigue:

In 2012, the American Society of Clinical Oncology conducted a study of 302 participants with breast cancer. The study was to determine if acupuncture was effective in treating cancer related fatigue (CRF) in patients with breast cancer. Those participants that received the acupuncture for 6 weeks reported improvements in physical, mental, and overall fatigue. They had more motivation and felt less psychological distress. 

 

Hot Flashes:

Presented in part at the American Society for therapeutic radiation oncology conference in Boston in Sept 2008, Dr. Eleanor M. Walker presented her findings of acupuncture in the treatment in vasomotor symptoms in patients with breast cancer. The findings showed that acupuncture worked just as well as Venlafaxine (Effexor), a drug commonly used to treat night sweats and hot flashes in menopausal woman with breast cancer. The only difference is Effexor has numerous side effects and acupuncture does not. It also showed that 2 weeks post treatment,  the Effexor group had an increase in hot flashes, while the acupuncture groups hot flashes remained at low levels.

 

Pain:

Part of treatment for breast cancer is taking aromatase inhibitors. About 50 percent of people that take them develop arthralgia or joint pain, and so many people stop taking them because of this even though it is a vital part of treatment. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman school of Medicine found that acupuncture decreases this joint pain that is caused from taking aromatase inhibitors.

If you or someone you know has breast cancer consider acupuncture.  There are no side-effects and it can improve your overall well-being and quality of life.

 

References:

  1. http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-facts
  2. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=193319
  3. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040922070424.htm
  4. http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/30/36/4470.long
  5. http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/28/4/634.short