New Treatment: Kansa Vatki Foot Treatment

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KANSA VATKI FOOT TREATMENTS 

A Kansa Vatki foot treatment (or KV) is a relaxing health-care modality which balances the body, mind and spirit. This unique treatment originates from  Ayurvedic theory and incorporates the use of a small metal bowl made of Copper, Zinc and Tin. Copper helps in reducing pain and inflammation, Zinc assists with proper functioning of the immune system & digestion while Tin helps with headaches, insomnia and stress.

The heart of the treatment involves vigorously rubbing the soles of the feet with the Kansa Vatki bowl to draw out heat and toxins thereby inducing tremendous relaxation. The bowl also helps balance the body’s energies.

The practitioner works the vital energy centers –  Marma points – with the bowl and their thumbs to detoxify, energize and rejuvenate the client. Hand techniques also stimulate the blood and lymphatic flow which assists the movement of Prana (Life force energy).

Benefits of this treatment

Body                                                                               Mind

Relax tired feet                                                                Helps reduce stress

Improve blood and                                                           Enhances mental focus

lymphatic circulation                                                        Induces sound sleep

Enhance joint mobility                                                     Restores & Balances energy

Improves in condition of the ligaments & muscles        Calms & nourishes spirit

Increases strength & stamina

Helps detoxify internal organs

Duration of the session: 60 mins. You will then be given ample time to awake from your treatment.  Call today to schedule your KV treatment!  301-754-3730.

Having Trouble Focusing? Enhance Your Brain Power with Acupuncture

Having difficulties focusing, remembering tasks or organizing your thoughts? Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help optimize your brain power through a treatment approach that incorporates different modalities, including nutritional support.

According to acupuncture and Oriental medicine, the spirit (Shen) embodies consciousness, emotions and thought. Shen influences long term memory, the ability to think clearly, contributes to wisdom and presides over activities that involve mental and creative functions. When the mind is healthy we are able to think clearly. When the mind is unhealthy or unbalanced, we experience confusion, poor memory, and clouded thinking.

A healthy mind involves harmony between the brain (Sea of Marrow) and the spirit (Shen). Disharmony of the mind often manifests as anxiety, insomnia, muddled thinking, forgetfulness and chronic restlessness. You can enhance this harmony with meditation and acupuncture, as well as physical exercises such as Tai Chi or Qi Gong. The right foods can balance and strengthen the mind by providing essential nutrients such as flavonoids, Omega 3s, vitamins, folate and iron that are great for improving the quality and quantity of learning capacity, cognitive abilities, memory and overall brain function.

Acupuncture Improves Memory and Learning Capacity

Trouble focusing on your work or losing steam mid-way? Oriental medicine has innovative approaches to restoring concentration, based on an interpretation of Qi, the energy which powers the body and the mind. According to Oriental Medicine, Qi stems from four main components of diet, exercise, rest and mental activity, each of which tend to vary in terms of quality, quantity, frequency, and duration.

Looking at these components, you may realize you need to make adjustments to your diet, fitness, and relaxation strategies in order to make them more sustainable and conducive to improved brain function and overall health. If you are bloated or tired after meals or struggling to fall asleep after turning off the computer, you already know what actions you need to take to nourish your Qi and mind! Meditation and Tai Chi can also help calm and focus the mind. Try integrating these exercises, to nourish and improve your concentration.

Eye Exercise for Concentration
Prolonged focus on a fixed location can cause eyestrain as well as Qi Stagnation, impairing circulation and concentration. You should routinely change your focus from your phone or computer to a point in the distance. Additionally, try taking short breaks and rolling your eyes in circles, both clockwise and counter-clockwise,10-20 times in each direction, to relieve strain.

Hand Exercise for Concentration
Manipulating the hands can recharge the mind, according to Oriental medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Try using Baoding balls, which are small spheres made of wood, stone, metal, or clay which range from 1.8mm and up in diameter. Place one ball in the hand and try to pass it to each finger, then try rotating two balls within your palm.

Breathing for Concentration
Breathing exercises redirect your focus to the Liver, which also is the first organ and meridian system affected in times of emotional stress. As an everyday practice, try breathing in and out, holding the breath, then exhaling again. Force yourself to “let go” even more, which stimulates an even deeper inhalation. Lengthening the breath can calm the mind and redirect your focus away from stress.

Meditate to Increase Focus
Create a quiet, relaxing environment, with comforting items (candles, incense, art that has a spiritual importance to you, etc.) around you.

Sit upright on a cushion with legs folded, or in a chair with your feet firmly planted on the ground, allowing for free and easy breathing. Relax your shoulders and gently place your hands on your knees or in your lap.

Tuck your chin in slightly and keep your eyes half open, your gaze softly focusing downward about four to six feet in front, and your mouth slightly open. Observe your breath.

Try belly-breathing,  not breathing with the chest, but from the navel. Don’t accentuate or alter the way you are breathing, just let your attention rest on the flow of your breath.

The goal is to allow the “chattering” in your mind to gradually fade away. If you’re distracted by a thought, gently bring your mind back to your breathing. Continue to focus on your breathing for 10 or 15 minutes.

Stay relaxed, yet awake and attentive. Finding your balance there is not easy! Eventually, as your body understands what you are doing, meditating will become easier to enter into. Remember to be gentle and patient with yourself. Meditating for even 5 or 10 minutes can have a powerful effect on your day. Nutrition Boosts Brain Power

Looking to support your health and also boost your brain function? You can achieve both of these goals through nutrition. According to Oriental medicine (OM), good nutrition can improve mental activity, physical and emotional strength and immunity, breathing, and elimination.

Where to begin? First of all, avoid excess. According to Oriental medicine, overindulging in food or drink can impair your Qi–the energy which powers the body and the mind. Greasy, fatty, spicy, and sweet foods can also lead to “stuck” Qi, worsening any symptoms of fogginess or sluggishness. So how can you support your brain and body health with food? Consider these foods and their benefits for your brain and body:

Walnuts for Memory
Walnuts are a good source of Vitamin B and E, which may support memory function and slow cell aging. Try eating 1-2 walnuts per day for optimal brain function. Nuts and seeds are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, folate, vitamin E, vitamin B6 and zinc, all of which allow you to think more clearly. Seeds and nuts rich in thiamine and magnesium are great for memory, cognitive function, and brain nourishment.

Leafy Greens for Concentration, Recall and Understanding
Cooked leafy greens support the Yin which, according to Oriental medicine, enables better concentration and deep rest. Vegetables such as cabbage, kale, spinach, collards, turnip greens and others are rich in vitamins, folate, and iron, all of which are essential for memory recall and increasing cognitive activity. Oriental medicine considers cooked foods easier to digest, so throw them in soup, steam them or stir-fry.

Water for a Calm and Restful Mind
According to Oriental medicine, drinking water is a crucial way to nourish your Yin, calming the mind and improving your rest. Oriental medicine recommends drinking warm water, to support the body’s internal temperature.

Substitute any beverages with pure water to transport nutrients during digestion, to act as fluid between the joints, and help regulate our temperature and skin (via perspiration). As a broad guideline, drink half your weight in ounces of water.

Berries to Improve Learning Capacity
Most berries contain fisetin and flavonoids, which are great for improving your memory and allowing you to easily recall past events. Blueberries are well known for their role in improving motor skills and overall learning capacity.

What is Tui Na?

Marci Kranz, a Master’s-level trained acupuncturist, will be joining Blue Heron’s Acupuncture group practice.  Marci will bring a depth of experience in the healing arts and she will also bring to Blue Heron once again, Tui Na, a form of Oriental Medical Massage.  Below is information from Acupuncture.com that describes this ancient massage therapy.  For more information, please call (301-754-3730) to schedule a 15-minute consult with Marci.

 

Tuina is an Oriental Bodywork Therapy that has been used in China for 2,000 years. Tuina uses the traditional Chinese medical theory of the flow of Qi through the meridians as its basic therapeutic orientation. Through the application of massage and manipulation techniques Tuina seeks to establish a more harmonious flow of Qi through the system of channels and collaterals, allowing the body the naturally heal itself.

Tuina methods include the use of hand techniques to massage the soft tissue (muscles and tendons) of the body, acupressure techniques to directly affect the flow of Qi , and manipulation techniques to realign the musculoskeletal and ligamentous relationships (bone-setting). External herbal poultices, compresses, liniments, and salves are also used to enhance the other therapeutic methods.

Tuina has a variety of different systems that emphasize particular aspects of these therapeutic principles. The main schools in China include the rolling method school which emphasizes soft tissue techniques and specializes in joint injuries and muscle sprains, the one finger pushing method school which emphasizes techniques for acupressure and the treatment of internal diseases, and Nei Gung method school which emphasizes the use of Nei Gong Qi energy generation exercises and specific massage methods for revitalizing depleted energy systems, and the bone setting method school which emphasizes manipulation methods to realign the musculoskeletal and ligamentous relationships and specializes in joint injuries and nerve pain.

In a typical session, the client, wearing loose clothing and no shoes, lies on a table or floor mat. The practitioner examines the specific problems of the client and begins to apply a specific treatment protocol. The major focus of application is upon specific pain sites, acupressure points, energy meridians, and muscles and joints. Advanced Tuina practitioners may also use Chinese herbs to facilitate quicker healing. Sessions last from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Depending on the specific problems of the client, they may return for additional treatments. The client usually feels relaxed but energized by the treatment.

Tuina is now being popularized in this country as a powerful therapeutic extension of traditional western massage methods. Tuina’s simplicity and focus on specific problems, rather than a more generalized treatment, make it both an excellent alternative and/or extension of the Swedish-style massage. By utilizing treatments of shorter duration, it can be used in a variety of settings, including home, office, clinic or hospital. It is well suited for both the professional massage therapist or the active, health conscious individual.

Acupuncture is a Great Support During Cancer Treatment

Acupuncture for Integrative Oncology Support

The American Cancer Society has reported that half of all men and a third of all women in the United States will develop cancer during their lifetimes. Although there are many forms of cancer, all forms of the disease begin with abnormal cells that grow out of control.
Unlike other illnesses that are eradicated by the body’s natural defense system, cancer needs to be treated with powerful medical interventions. Unfortunately, most of the current cancer treatments available have some debilitating side effects.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine have received much attention as an adjunctive therapy in cancer treatments because they address many of the unpleasant symptoms and side effects that come up during and after chemotherapy, radiation, biological therapy and surgery.
If you are currently undergoing treatment for cancer, acupuncture and Oriental medicine can provide real help, by decreasing many of the side effects associated with conventional cancer treatments.
Some of the issues acupuncture can help with include:

Pain Management
Nausea
Stress
Fatigue
Depression and Anxiety
Dry Mouth
Night Sweats and Hot Flashes
Fluid Retention
Weight Maintenance

Acupuncture takes a holistic approach to health care and is particularly useful in providing pain relief, reducing the impact of side effects, accelerating recovery and improving overall quality of life.
According to the National Cancer Institute, acupuncture may cause physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain. It is proposed that, by stimulating physical responses in these areas, acupuncture positively affects blood pressure and body temperature, boosts immune system activity, and causes the body’s natural painkillers, such as endorphins, to be released.
To learn more about how acupuncture can safely and effectively be incorporated into an oncology treatment plan call for a consultation today!

Science Provides Proof of Acupuncture’s Helpful Role in Cancer Therapy

Clinical trials have examined the effects of acupuncture on cancer as a disease, as well as the symptoms caused by cancer treatments. Results have shown that, for many patients, treatment with acupuncture relieves symptoms or keeps them from getting worse.

Relief for Nausea and Vomiting:
The strongest evidence of the beneficial effect of acupuncture has come from clinical trials that investigated its use for relieving nausea and vomiting. Several types of clinical trials using different acupuncture methods showed acupuncture reduced nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy and surgery.

Boosts the Immune System:
Human studies on the effect of acupuncture on the immune system of cancer patients showed that it improved immune system response, including an increase in the number of white blood cells.

Improves Pain Management:
In clinical studies, acupuncture reduced pain levels for some cancer patients. In one study, most of the patients treated with acupuncture were able to stop taking drugs for pain relief or to reduce their doses.

Relieves Pain and Stiffness during Hormone Therapy:
In 2010, The Journal of Clinical Oncology published the results of a small study that concluded that acupuncture helped relieve pain and stiffness in breast cancer patients who were simultaneously being treated with hormone therapies.

Minimizes Dry Mouth:
In 2009, the medical journal Head and Neck reported the results of a pilot study done at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. The subjects were people suffering from head and neck cancer. The authors concluded that the pilot study demonstrated that acupuncture can improve the subjective symptoms of radiation-induced dry mouth as early as two weeks after starting treatment. They found that benefits can last for one month after treatment ends.

Reduces Pain and Shoulder Dysfunction:
In 2008, Dr. David Pfister, chief of the head and neck medical oncology service at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, reported that patients found significant reductions in both dry mouth and pain and shoulder dysfunction after neck dissection with the help of acupuncture. Dr. Pfister highlighted the potential role of acupuncture in oncology.

Reduces Hot Flashes:
In 2011 A Yale University/University of Pittsburgh study of women with hot flashes brought on by conventional breast cancer treatment found that women who received acupuncture had a 30 percent reduction in hot flashes.

Endorsement of Acupuncture for Cancer Treatment

Acupuncture continues to receive enthusiastic testimonials from patients and health care professionals alike. Prominent names in U.S. society and the medical community have attested to the efficacy of acupuncture as a supportive therapy for oncology treatment.
When singer Sheryl Crow was diagnosed with breast cancer, she underwent a lumpectomy followed by radiation. During these treatments she also received acupuncture.
Former First Lady of Chicago, Maggie Daley, gave generously to help open the Maggie Daley Center for Women’s Cancer Care at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The center includes acupuncture as an option for the patients.
Many people are finding out that, although the treatments necessary to defeat cancer can be traumatizing and debilitating, they can get some relief through acupuncture.

Free Intro Consult

Many of us wonder how Acupuncture treatment will help with their specific issue or concern. Understanding this, the Acupuncturists at Blue Heron offer a free Intro Consult. Meet with one of our Acupuncturists and discuss all your thoughts, questions and concerns and find out if acupuncture is the treatment for you. Simply call our office (301-754-3730) to set up the Free Intro Consult. You may request a consult by phone or in person ~ it’s absolutely up to you.

You should also know that we accept many forms of health insurance. This may well include yours if you have coverage for acupuncture services. Ask for more details!

Reprinted from QiMail:An Acupuncture Newsletter

Clear Your Mind by Walking

One of the many ways that walking can promote health and wellness is by putting gentle pressure on Yongquan (Bubbling Spring). An acupuncture point on the sole of the foot, this is the starting point of the Kidney meridian. Stimulation of this energizing point can promote clarity of the mind and stabilize emotions, helping you to focus on your goals.

How To Stimulate Yongquan

While Walking:
Let your heel tap the ground gently and feel your weight transfer fully to the ball and toes of your foot. Focus on breathing into your lower abdomen. Keep your shoulders relaxed and allow your arms to swing freely.

By Tapping:
Use your fists to strike your Yongquan about 100 times on each foot.

By Rolling:
Gently roll a tennis ball under your foot while relaxing on the couch.

Newest Acupuncture Practitioner – Farris Johnson!

Hey everyone,

First off, I apologize for the lack of newsletters of late. We are experiencing some technical difficulties in that department but I will be sure to back-publish all of the missed newsletter in case you would like to refer to them. For now, here’s a list of the appointments still available for this weekend (and Monday, which isn’t a weekend but its rough and you deserve a treat)

Saturday

John: 9 (45min)

Betty: 10:15, 11:30, 12:45

Sooyong: 9:45, 11, 12:15 (30min)

Rachel G: 10

Lorraine: 1:15, 2:30, 3:45,5

Robin:  3:30, 4:45

Gabriela:  4:45

Sunday

Lorraine:  8:45, 10, 11:15, 1:15 (30min)

Rachel B: 10, 11:15, 12:30, 1:45

Sherry: 2, 3:15, 4:30(30 min)

Rachel G: 2:15, 3:30, 4:45

Betty: 3:30, 4:45

Monday

Leslie: 10, 11:15, 12:30, 1:45, 3

Angela: 11, 12:15, 1:30

Sooyong: 2:45, 4, 5:15, 6:30,

Michelle:  4, 5:15, 6:30

John: 5:30, 6:45, 8

Rachel B: 7:15

——————–

Next, here is a small bio introducing our newest acupuncture practitioner – Farris Johnson. It can also be seen on our website. Some of you may already be familiar with Farris if you have recently been to Friday Night Acupuncture Happy Hour ($15, 5:00-6:30 PM, drop-ins welcome until 6).

Farris grew up in Georgia and worked for years as a youth wilderness counselor, teacher, and tutor before moving to Maryland to pursue a degree in acupuncture. A recent Tai Sophia graduate, he is committed to bringing affordable acupuncture and wellness education to groups in the DC Metro area.

As Farris puts it, “I am continually amazed that tiny pins inserted just under the surface of the skin and a thoughtful question by a practitioner helped heal my shoulder, strengthen my bladder, and lift my depression; the same medicine has allowed me to help others heal their necks, stomachs, cancers, and spirits. I believe acupuncture is the answer to crises of healthcare, community, and ultimately the planet.”

Welcome Farris!

Study Demonstrates Acupuncture’s Effectiveness in Lowering Blood Pressure

A German study published in the journal, Circulation, found that acupuncture significantly lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The extent of the blood pressure reductions by acupuncture treatments was comparable to those seen with antihypertensive medication or aggressive lifestyle changes, including radical salt restrictions.

For the study, 160 outpatients with uncomplicated, mild to moderate hypertension were randomized to six weeks of acupuncture performed by Oriental medicine practitioners or to a sham procedure. Patients underwent 22 sessions, each 30 minutes in length. By the end of the six weeks, 24 hour ambulatory systolic and diastolic blood pressures were significantly reduced from baseline in the acupuncture treated patients (5.4 mm Hg and 3.0 mm Hg, respectively). No significant changes were seen in the sham acupuncture group.

After six months the blood pressure reductions disappeared, leading investigators to conclude that ongoing acupuncture treatments would be required to maintain the blood pressure reductions.

Source: Circulation, June 2007

Acupuncture Helps Maintain A Healthy Heart

Taking small steps to improve your health can reduce your risk for heart disease by as much as eighty percent. Steps to prevention include managing high blood pressure, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress and improved sleep – all of which can be helped with acupuncture.

1. Manage High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure makes the heart work harder, increasing its oxygen demands and contributing to angina. This excessive pressure can lead to an enlarged heart (cardiomegaly), as well as damage to blood vessels in the kidneys and brain. It increases the risk of heart attacks, stroke and kidney disease.

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 at the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, were able to stimulate the release of opioids, which decreases the heart’s activity and thus its need for oxygen. This, in turn, lowers blood pressure.

2. Quit Smoking
Most people associate cigarette smoking with breathing problems and lung cancer. But did you know that smoking is also a major cause of coronary artery disease? In fact, about twenty percent of all deaths from heart disease are directly related to cigarette smoking.

Acupuncture has shown to be an effective treatment for smoking. Acupuncture treatments for smoking cessation focus on jitters, cravings, irritability, and restlessness; symptoms that people commonly complain about when they quit. It also aids in relaxation and detoxification.

3. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity is associated with diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease, all of which increase the risk of developing heart disease, but studies have shown that excess body weight itself (and not just the associated medical conditions) can also lead to heart failure. Even if you are entirely healthy otherwise, being overweight still places you at a greater risk of developing heart failure.

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine are an excellent adjunctive tool when it comes to losing weight. They can help to energize the body, maximize the absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, suppress the appetite, and reduce anxiety.

4. Reduce Stress
Stress is a normal part of life. But if left unmanaged, stress can lead to emotional, psychological, and even physical problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pains, or irregular heart beats. Medical researchers aren’t sure exactly how stress increases the risk of heart disease. Stress itself might be a risk factor, or it could be that high levels of stress make other risk factors worse. For example, if you are under stress, your blood pressure goes up, you may overeat, you may exercise less, and you may be more likely to smoke.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress, anxiety and mental health. In addition to acupuncture, Oriental medicine offers a whole gamut of tools and techniques that can be integrated into your life to keep stress in check. These tools include Tui Na, Qi Gong exercises, herbal medicine, dietary therapy, meditations and acupressure that you can administer at home.

5. Improve Sleep
Poor sleep has been linked with high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart failure, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. Researchers have shown that getting at least eight hours of sleep is needed for good heart health and getting less than eight hours of sleep can put you at a greater risk for developing heart disease.

Acupuncture has shown great success treating a wide array of sleep problems without any of the side effects of prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids. The acupuncture treatments for problems sleeping focus on the root disharmony within the body that is causing the insomnia. Therefore, those who use acupuncture for insomnia achieve not only better sleep, but also an overall improvement of physical and mental health.

Integrative Mental Health

Dr. Andrew Weil recently blogged on “The Huffington Post” with suggestions that may help improve treatment effectiveness for depression.  Some highlights:

  • Acupuncture: The World Health Organization has recognized acupuncture as effective in treating mild to moderate depression.
  • Massage: Massage therapy has been shown to relieve depression, especially in people who have chronic fatigue syndrome; other studies also suggest benefit for other populations.

Read his full posting here.

Acupuncture and Menopause

Acupuncture and Menopause: Creating Physical and Emotional Health with Acupuncture

 

With its close understanding of the female body, Oriental medicine has always addressed the special needs of women throughout their lives. Menopause, in particular, is an area in which Oriental Medicine shines. Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine have the ability to detect energetic changes that occur in the body and quickly relieve uncomfortable symptoms that accompany the onset of menopause.

What is Menopause?
Menopause is a transitional period marking the cessation of ovulation in a woman’s body. Most women stop menstruating between the ages of 48 and 52, but symptoms can begin as early as 35. Symptoms vary from mild to severe, and are brought on as our bodies try to adapt to decreasing amounts of estrogen. Symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, mood swings, memory loss, vaginal dryness, headaches, joint pain, and weight gain.

From an Eastern Perspective
According to Oriental Medical theory, menopause occurs when a woman’s body begins to preserve blood and energy in order to sustain her. The kidney is the organ system in Oriental Medicine that is viewed as the root of reproduction, vitality and longevity. Menopause signifies the depletion of the fertility essence stored within the kidneys. Blood and essence from the kidneys are conserved and cycled through the body to nourish the woman’s spirit and extend her longevity. Thus, in Oriental Medicine, menopause is seen as true change in life from mother to enlightened and wise being.

Treating Menopause with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Few areas of women’s health stir up as much confusion and debate as Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), which is normally started when the first symptoms of menopause appear. While HRT may alleviate hot flashes and prevent osteoporosis, they may also increase the risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer, and have a number of significant side-effects. But HRT isn’t the only solution, 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.

Lifestyle and Dietary Instructions
Menopause patients are encouraged to maintain a healthy weight and to follow a diet with a high content of raw foods, fruits and vegetables to stabilize blood sugar. Some foods may exacerbate hot flashes or increase mood swings; steer clear of dairy products, red meats, alcohol, sugar, spicy foods, caffeine, and don’t smoke. Lastly, try to eliminate stress, tension and anxiety or learn techniques to cope with stress so that you can diminish the effects that it has on your body and mind.

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. Please call with any questions or to schedule a consultation – 301-754-3730