Easy Does It Meditation

There is a large variety of meditation to choose from. It isn’t all just sitting cross-legged with your eyes shut. Let’s explore types of meditation.

Types of meditation include Buddhist practices, transcendental, zen, mantra, chakra, sound, guided and active. How can someone choose where to start? Think about the type of person you are overall, the amount of time and dedication you have, and where your interests lie. What do you intend to get out of meditation? continue reading »

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Fermented Foods and Intestinal Health

fermented food for digestive healthThe modern world is changing every single day. Because of this constant state of change, our bodies are frequently having to adjust. We have a food supply being degraded and depleted of nutritional content, which in turn, causes our bodies to become depleted. Our soil and water is contaminated with antibiotics and deadly fertilizers. All of which become part of the food chain we rely upon. Because of this, antibiotics are failing and superbugs like MRSA are on the rise. Lack of nutrition and the overuse of antibiotics are just a couple of the things wreaking havoc on our intestinal health. But there are ways to combat this and keep the gut healthy. continue reading »

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Are Your Eyes Red or Inflamed?

Traditional Chinese Medicine for vision and eye healthIn the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver energy flows upward into the eyes. When this energy is flowing smoothly and working as it should, your vision is clear and sharp, you have efficient night vision and the eyes are bright and well-lubricated.

When out of balance, the liver can generate heat that rises upward. This heat can manifest in dry eyes, itchy eyes or eyes that are red and irritated. Think about how red one’s eyes can get after a night of drinking. Alcohol adds heat to the liver, which in turn rises upward and creates hot, red eyes. The facial flushing you see after a night of imbibing is also indicative of this heat. continue reading »

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Summer Solstice

During the summer solstice your yang energy reaches its peak. It is important to harness the peak of this yang energy, because as summer shifts into fall yang energy will decline. This great abundance of yang energy will translate throughout your body because during this season you are active and growing.

According to five element theory, during the summer the organ that receives extra energy is the heart. When the seasons change so do the organs we should focus on in the body. You should focus on the heart during summer. Feed the heart heart-nourishing foods and make sure to remain active so the heart receives positive energy. continue reading »

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IBS: Relief with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture for IBSIrritable Bowel Syndrome, otherwise known as “spastic colon,” is a common disorder that affects the colon and causes many disruptive symptoms. Many of these symptoms can be managed with a simple change in diet and lifestyle. Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture may be able to help. continue reading »

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Acupuncture: Not Just Needles

Cupping AcupunctureMost people have heard of the field of acupuncture by now, but did you realize the scope of the practice encompasses Chinese medicine, which includes so much more than needles? Let’s explore this ancient therapy.

First of all, the practice of Chinese medicine starts with a diagnosis. The practitioner asks many questions to build a history; this includes the answers to digestion, appetite, diet, sleep patterns, bowel movement urination, pain, lifestyle, and stress level, for example. The acupuncturist will also be noting the voice pitch, hair luster, skin color and tone, as well as posture and mood of the patient and any significant odor. After that, there is a pulse and tongue analysis to determine where the pattern and root are, primarily. Finally, blood pressure is measured and other applicable tests done, including palpation of the body. After this history, a diagnosis and treatment plan is determined. What might be included in this plan? continue reading »

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Seven Ways Acupuncture Can Help Mothers

One of the best gifts you can give your mother this Mother’s Day is the gift of acupuncture. Acupuncture can help with an abundance of health problems and get you feeling one hundred percent again. Mom’s make the world work, it’s a known fact. So this holiday season you should give your mother the gift of acupuncture, here are seven reasons why.


continue reading »

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Optic Neuropathy

Optic neuropathy is the term used to describe damage to optic nerve (cranial nerve II) irrespective of the cause. Damage to optic nerve most often leads to reduction in the size of the nerve due to loss of some or all of its fibers. Hence, it is often referred to as optic atrophy. The end result of this condition is deterioration in color vision with or without progression to loss of vision.

The etiologies of optic nerve damage are many ranging from insufficient/lack of blood flow to the optic nerve, infections, trauma, to hereditary conditions. Thus, based on the diverse etiologies, damage to optic nerve (optic neuropathy) can be categorized under the following:

Ischemic Optic Neuropathy

This is caused by insufficient blood flow to the optic nerve and it is further classified based on the etiology of the insufficient blood flow and the location of the damage along the course of the nerve.  Risk factors for optic nerve damage are: diabetes mellitus, increased intraocular pressure, hypotension, and hyperlipidemia.

Optic Neuritis

A demyelinating inflammation of the optic nerve, optic neuritis, though can occur in isolation, is usually associated with multiple sclerosis or neuromyelitis optica. It is caused by autoimmune reaction leading to destruction of the myelin sheath of the nerves. Other causes are; infections (e.g. viral encephalitis), metastases, chemicals and drugs (lead, quinine, arsenic), diabetes, vitamin B12 deficiency, Graves’ disease, etc.

Compressive Optic Neuropathy

This is caused by the progressive compression of the optic nerve by inflammatory processes, tumors, etc.

 

Traumatic Optic Neuropathy

This may be caused by either a direct or indirect injury to the nerve. Trauma to the head involving the orbit may disrupt the structure and function of the optic nerve, while blunt injury to the forehead may transmit force to and damage the optic nerve.

 

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

This can be seen in protein-energy malnutrition, gastric bypass surgery, pernicious anemia, etc. is a well-known cause of optic nerve neuropathy.

 

Toxic Optic Neuropathy

Exposure to toxic substances may cause optic nerve damage. The most implicated substance is methanol. Others include; ethylene glycol, amiodarone, ethambutol, and tobacco.

 

Treatment

The treatment of optic neuropathy is majorly directed to the underlying cause(s). Treatment initiated before the onset of atrophy may help preserve vision, however once optic nerve atrophy sets in, it is irreversible. Thus early diagnosis and treatment of the treatable underlying cause may help prevent further optic nerve damage. Corticosteroid is a proven treatment for optic neuritis and ischemic optic neuropathy.

 

Efficacy and Safety of Acupuncture

A meta-analysis was conducted with the results of the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on optic atrophy treatment with acupuncture. Thirteen RCTs involving 1180 eyes were included. This analysis clearly revealed that the effect of acupuncture, or when combined with medicine, was superior to medicine alone in terms of total effectiveness, visual acuity, and visual field.

In another study conducted to determine the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of ischemic optic neuropathy, 69 patients (93 eyes) with nerve damage were used. These patients had earlier been treated by acupuncture, performed on different acupoints related to eyes.

The qualities of vision were assessed before and after the treatment.  After 2, 4, and 8 weeks of treatment, the total effective rates of visual acuity improvement were 74.19%, 78.89%, and 81.71%, respectively, and the improvement in visual field was statistically significant.

These studies are evidences to show that acupuncture, with or without combination with medicine, is beneficial and effective in improving vision in patients with optic nerve neuropathy irrespective of the etiology.

 

References:
1) Yali Qin, Wei Yuan, Hui Deng, Ming Jin. Clinical Efficacy Observation of Acupuncture Treatment for Nonarteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2015(1):1-6 · June 2015 DOI: 10.1155/2015/713218 Link
2) Yanli Dai, Ming Liu, Yixin Zhang, Houbin Huang. Meta analysis of acupuncture in the treatment of optic atrophy.  Journal of Central South University. Medical sciences 38(3):283-90 · March 2013  DOI: 10.3969/j.issn.1672-7347.2013.03.012 Link

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Acupuncture for Addiction

Addiction is defined as the compulsive physiological need for and use of a habit-forming substance, which means addiction can come in a lot of different forms.  People can be addicted to illicit drugs like heroin just as easily as they can be addicted to sugar. But for the purpose of this article, let’s stick to illicit drugs and alcohol.

According to the Health Services Administration, 23.5 million people ages 12 or older have needed treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. And the treatments provided aren’t guaranteed, nor are they always easy. Luckily, there are alternative treatment options that can help. continue reading »

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Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) refers to a group of degenerative eye diseases that are hereditary and characterized by progressive visual impairment. The genetic defects cause apoptosis (cell death) of rod photoreceptors with or without the involvement of cone receptors or retinal pigment epithelium.

The Patient with retinitis Pigmentosa has night blindness (nyctalopia), usually the first symptoms, peripheral visual loss which later became progressive and leads to central visual loss, and photopsia ( light flashes). It can occur as an isolated condition or as part of a syndrome. Up to 30% of patient with RP will have associated hearing loss (Usher syndrome)

Molecular defect in over 90 genes have been linked to this condition. It is highly heterogeneous and those with the same mutation can have different manifestations. Inheritance can be autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, or X linked recessive, and mitochondrial gene mutation.  However up to 50% of cases are found in those without any family history of RP.

There is no cure for this condition yet. However various supplements such as vitamins A, C, and E, calcium channel blockers, and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors are used for delaying the disease progression but their efficacy is still a subject of debate. Investigational treatment modalities are: gene therapy, surgical placement of growth factors, retinal prosthesis, etc.

Electroacupuncture to the forehead and below the eyes and acupuncture to the body, at 10 half-hour sessions over two weeks were noticed to improve vision in patients with retinitis Pigmentosa. The procedure was completed and well tolerated by all the subjects without adverse events or visual loss.

Twelve adult patients with retinitis Pigmentosa were recruited for the study (a prospective, case series study). Six of 12 subjects had measurable, significant visual function improvements after treatment. Four of the five subjects with psychophysically measured scotopic sensitivity improvements reported subjective improvements in vision at night or in dark environments.

This study convincingly demonstrated the effectiveness of acupuncture in maintaining and improving the residual vision in patients with retinitis Pigmentosa.

Reference:
Ava K Bittner, OD PhD, Jeffrey M Gould, MEd LAc, Andy Rosenfarb, ND LAc, Collin Rozanski, and Gislin Dagnelie, PhD A pilot study of an acupuncture protocol to improve visual function in retinitis pigmentosa patients. Clin Exp Optom. 2014 May; 97(3): 240–247. doi: 10.1111/cxo.12117

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