Study Finds Acupuncture Does a Great Job with Seasonal Allergies

Source: Annals of Internal Medicine

Researchers recently investigated the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of seasonal allergy symptoms. More than 400 people who qualified as having allergic nasal symptoms or pollen allergies were divided into three groups: one that received 12 acupuncture treatments and took antihistamines, one that received 12 fake acupuncture treatments and took antihistamines, and a third that only took antihistamines, but did not receive acupuncture treatment.

The findings suggest that those participants who received acupuncture reported an improvement in allergy symptoms and a decrease in their use of medication in comparison to volunteers who did not receive acupuncture treatments. The study suggests that acupuncture treatment can help improve symptoms for people suffering from seasonal allergic rhinitis.

TIPS TO KEEP YOU HEALTHY & HAPPY IN SPRING.

Spring is a happy time. Nature comes alive! Flowers emerge in long forgotten corners of your garden. The birds return and sing so loudly they wake you in the morning.  This is not a time to be irritable, frustrated or angry, but according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, these emotions are exactly what you can expect if you don’t balance your wood element.

In TCM, spring is represented by the element wood. Wood represents birth and newness, the time for fresh ideas and new starts. Unsurprisingly, its color is green like the fresh growth of spring.

Wood governs your spine, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. A wood imbalance can lead to spinal problems, poor flexibility or arthritis.  Most important for your mood, wood governs your liver. Your liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi (vital life force or energy) and smooth flowing Qi means health and vitality. The emotion associated with your liver is anger. If your liver is imbalanced your Qi will be disrupted and you’ll be angry.

Healthy (and happy) spring acupuncture practices mean balancing your wood element and caring for your liver.

Healthy Spring Acupuncture Practices

Try these spring acupuncture recommendations, to keep your wood element balanced and your liver healthy.

  • Cleanse. Cleaning your colon releases accumulated toxins, undigested food, parasites and fungi. With a clean colon your digestion is more efficient and your body is healthier.
  • Detox your liver. Reduce or eliminate alcohol or drugs that are toxic to your liver. Consider a detox that specifically targets your liver. Check with us for information on available detoxes.
  • Stretch. Start or recommit to a healthy stretching routine. Try yoga, Tai ChiQi Gong, or other exercises that move, loosen and flex your joints.
  • Exercise your eyes. Massage your face, especially around your eyes. Roll your eyes and move them in figure 8s. Practice focusing on distant objects and then focusing on close objects in quick succession. Put time limits on your computer sessions. These exercises strengthen your eyes and can improve your eyesight.
  • Control your anger. Create a healthy anger management plan. Journal, meditate or get counseling. Put limits on stressful situations. Find activities that refocus your anger in healthy ways. High expectations and unrealistic planning can lead to frequent disappointment. Reassess your expectations and plans and consider a more gentle approach during this time of year.

Healthy Spring Acupuncture Diet

Follow these tips for a healthy spring diet that supports your liver.

  • Eat light. Overeating taxes your liver.
  • Eat greens. Sprouts, wheatgrass, spinach, kale and dandelions are particularly good foods in the spring.
  • Eat sour? Sour is the flavor associated with spring, however sour flavors are only recommended for certain constitutions. Instead of dousing your greens with vinegar or lemon juice dressings, consult with me to find out what flavors are best for you.
  • Drink milk thistle tea. Milk thistle detoxes your liver.
  • Season your food. Pungent spices like basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, dill and bay leaf are excellent for spring cooking—and they taste good!

By keeping your wood element balanced and your liver healthy you will experience more happiness. You’ll feel vital, flexible and clear. If you have questions about healthy spring acupuncture practices feel free to call us for recommendations.

 

Meditative Breathing In Traffic

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meditative breathing in traffic by acupuncture silver spring

Traffic is a funny thing.  It happens in the DC at all times of day and it makes us tense up, grow angry, maybe even lash out as we begin to risk running late to our destination.  While we can do little to abate the traffic, it tends to leave us tense and stressed as we sit watching the clock and knowing we are running later and later and later…..  The only thing we can ever really change is how we react to it.  Smooth the stress and tension with meditative breathing.

Mediative Breathing is very useful when you need to be calm and alert to your surroundings. It is the kind of breathing used by martial artists and athletes in stressful situations.  Here are some simple steps for using Meditative Breathing in traffic:

Prep for the Drive ~   When you first start your car but before driving off,  bring your awareness to your Center Point … that place an inch or two below your navel.  Keep your attention there for a few slow, deep breaths.  By the time your car is ready to go, you will be too, just a little calmer than usual.

In this area, of course, it is always helpful to begin your trip with a margin of time to allow for some traffic congestion.  So, where possible, allow for it.

Breathe ~  As the traffic builds, begin:

Step 1: Keep your eyes open and let your eyes relax, like when you’re looking at a candle flame.

Step 2: Become aware of your breath: letting it become slower, longer and deeper.

Step 3: If traffic is completely stopped: keep taking … long … slow … deep breaths … but now start to count them. See how many you can count before you start to get fidgety. When that happens … start from one again. Enjoy this little game to see how many long … slow … deep breaths you can take before you have to start over again.

Step 4:  At some point, traffic will be moving again, and you’ll feel even calmer than when you first got into the car.

And that’s how to use Meditative Breathing in traffic.

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