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Dampness Bogging You Down?

Figure Bogged Down by DampnessIn Traditional Chinese Medicine, certain diseases or adverse health conditions can result from an excess of dampness in the body. The buildup of dampness is generally influenced by three things: an individual’s constitution (hereditary factors), an individual’s lifestyle (activity level and exposure to actual dampness in the external environment), and an individual’s diet (consumption of foods which either fortify or weaken the digestive system). The presence of dampness indicates an imbalance of Yin and Yang and a weakness of the spleen; dampness may also indicate weakness in the kidneys or lungs. If dampness continues to accumulate, this imbalance will bog you down, blocking the flow of life force energy (your qi) and ultimately leading to stagnation within the body.

How Dampness Feels

When the humidity outside goes up in the summer months, most of us really feel it. Our physical surroundings—and even the air we breathe—can seem wet, heavy, and waterlogged. Dampness is essentially the equivalent of high humidity inside the body (a physical condition), and it can be experienced in a similar way. Your limbs may feel heavy and you might be slow to get moving. You may feel bloated, swollen, sluggish, and unmotivated. You may notice an increased level of mucus and fluid in the body, loose stools, and a tendency to gain weight. The effects of external dampness (if present in your immediate physical environment) may also cause joint pain, dizziness, and a heavy sensation within the chest. Dampness can occur as both damp-heat and damp-cold.

How Dampness Affects Your Health

In addition to the high-humidity effects felt above, the accumulation of dampness within the body can manifest in a number of other ways. Some of the most common signs of excess dampness include: allergies and sinus congestion, inflammation (arthritis), respiratory problems (asthma), skin conditions (cystic acne and eczema), urinary tract infections, yeast infections, digestive issues, headaches, and edema.

Treating and Preventing Internal Dampness

There is probably not much you can do about your inherited constitution and you may be limited in regard to changing your physical environment. You can, however, make significant changes to your diet with the aim of resolving (and preventing) the accumulation of dampness in the body. It’s imperative that you keep your digestive system running smoothly so that it can process nutrients, remove toxins, and help support the spleen and other organs. Be aware of what you eat and how it affects you (you might even want to keep a food journal). Avoid overeating, as well as excess coffee and alcohol. Limit processed foods, raw fruits and vegetables, refined starch, dairy products, sugar, and anything deep-fried.  Consume foods and beverages at room-temperature. Bump up your intake of lean proteins, broths and soups, bitter spices, whole grains, and legumes. Exercise and adequate rest will also keep your digestive system in tip-top shape.

If you find the concept of dampness inside the body somewhat confusing, consider making an appointment with a licensed acupuncturist. They can help shed light on how this imbalance may be affecting you and suggest both treatment options and dietary/lifestyle changes to improve your overall health.

Resources:

Learn More About TCM Dampness and Food Therapy

Love is in the Air Balloons

Heart-Qi: Love and Health are in the Air

Today is Valentine’s Day and love is in the air! Whether you plan to acknowledge someone special with a box of chocolates, a dozen roses, or a stuffed pink teddy bear, don’t forget to lavish a little extra attention on your Heart-Qi! It’s easy to get swept up in the range of emotions surrounding romantic love, but protecting our hearts involves more than just protecting our feelings. We also need to protect the connection between our emotional state and our Qi.

The Heart-Qi Connection

Healthy Heart-Qi: Love is in the Air Balloons

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has long recognized that physical health and emotional well-being are closely connected. This connection is based on Qi, which can be defined as both “life force energy” and “air/breath”. The energy (Qi) of the emotions you experience fall into seven distinct categories and correspond with one or more major organs (heart, liver, lung, spleen, and kidney).

An emotional imbalance might express itself as a physical ailment, or a physical ailment (linked to a specific organ) might express itself as a heightened or intense emotion. Keep in mind that the heart oversees all of the emotions. Any Qi imbalance within the organs of the body will ultimately affect the heart.

The Key Emotions of TCM

  • Joy (a negative state of agitation) affects the heart and may cause palpitations, spontaneous sweating, mood swings, and insomnia.
  • Anger affects the liver and may cause dizziness, migraines, high blood pressure, and depression.
  • Grief (sadness) affects the lungs and may cause chest tightness, asthma, and allergies.
  • Pensiveness (worry) affects the spleen and may cause loss of appetite, fatigue, and bleeding disorders.
  • Fear affects the kidneys and may cause night sweats, incontinence, and infertility.
  • Shock and fright can affect both the heart and kidneys and may cause headaches, constipation, and shoulder pain.

Preventing Emotional Turbulence

Strengthening the Heart-Qi makes it easier to resolve other Qi deficiencies that may be present in the body. If you are dealing with chronic physical ailments or you feel mentally and emotionally out of sorts, practicing self-care is a great place to start. Be mindful of what you eat. Exercise regularly. Get a good night’s sleep. Visit with cherished friends and loved ones.

And remember to schedule an acupuncture treatment! Detoxifying with acupuncture and herbal supplements can help relieve the physical and/or mental disharmony you may be experiencing. We’ll help you come up with a flight plan to maintain and support a healthy Heart-Qi!

Resources:

http://www.shen-nong.com/eng/principles/sevenemotions.html

https://www.verywellmind.com/emotions-in-traditional-chinese-medicine-88196

https://holosapiens.com/physiology/deficiency-of-heart-energy

https://www.sakara.com/blogs/mag/116573893-the-root-of-emotional-imbalance-according-to-your-organs

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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

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.

Acupressure Points

What Are The 4 Gates?

Through my time as an acupuncturist I have had many people ask me, “Why are you doing that point? What is that point for?” I do not always use specific points for specific ailments, but rather a combination of points tailored to treat the individual.

The 4 gates is an acupuncture point combination consisting of 2 different points needled bilaterally. One point, Large Intestine 4 (Hegu), is on the dorsum of the hand. The other point, Liver 3 (Taichong), is on the dorsum of the foot.

 

Large Intestine (LI4) –Immune Booster/Pain Reliever

Deadman_LI4-271x300

This point is great to use for many different conditions. It is used to strengthen one’s immune system or decrease the duration of colds and/or the flu. It can also be used for any type of problemwith the face which includes jaw pain, toothache, allergies, acne. It is also a great point to relieve a headache or to clear heat and inflammation anywhere in the body.

 

 

Liver 3 (LV3) –Keeping Things Moving

In my opinion, this is one of the most commonly needled points on the body. Deadman_LV3-242x300It can balance, tonify, or disperse stagnant liver energy.  It can be used for any liver energy disharmony. Just a few examples of this include: menstrual disorders/irregularities, headaches, dizziness, and detoxification. It can also be used to create a calming effect on the nervous system to alleviate insomnia, irritability, stress, and anxiety.

 

Together, these points work to circulate the qi and blood through the body. They help to open all the meridians, increase circulation, and decrease pain anywhere in the body. The 4 Gates can also be used for emotional issues as well such as feelings of being trapped or stuck in a situation. This is a great point combination to help maintain the free flow of qi and blood through our bodies.