Good Morning America Writer Tries Facial Acupuncture (and Loves it!)

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Joining the ranks of mega-celebrities who are turning to acuneedles to maintain their youthful glow, GMA writer Jacqueline Laurean Yates shared her experience this week.

Surprise — she’s a fan.

Yates said, “After noticing celebrities like Ashley Graham, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kim Kardashian posting photos of themselves with acupuncture needles coming out of their faces, I was really intrigued to learn what it was all about.”

So she did.

After a phone consultation with her acupuncturist where she explained her overall concerns consisted of moderate stress, lack of energy, oiliness, some dullness and noticeable inflammation, she was told acupuncture could help.

Nervous and excited, she arrived at the acupuncture center in New York City and felt “instant calm.”

As far as the results?

“Once the needles were removed, I took a look in the mirror and couldn't believe how much healthier my skin looked,” she said, saying there was an instant glow and lift near her cheeks.

In fact, “My husband even wondered if I had secretly done botox. Nope, just acupuncture to the face!”

So if you’re looking to ditch invasive, chemically based Botox or other procedures, it’s time you give acupuncture a try to help reach your skin and anti-aging goals. And we are here to help.

As Yates would tell you, “ it's truly an investment worth the shot(s).”


Acupuncture More Effective than Pills for Gout Relief

A unique form of arthritis, gout is most often experienced as a sudden and painful attack of swelling, redness and pain in the joints — commonly the feet. It can appear out of nowhere, and can come and go, only adding to the frustration of the disease.

Thankfully, it has been proven acupuncture can help. In fact, it’s even more effective than traditional medicine in treating gout.

All patients in the study were, “given standardized lifestyle and dietary advice to help them manage their condition. This included reducing their dietary intake of high-purine foods, organ meats, and alcohol. Patients were counseled on avoiding stress, cold temperature exposure, and overwork. All patients were advised to increase water consumption.”

These are healthy habits that can hep to improve anyone’s lifestyle and overall health.

As far as the two study groups, those in the drug group were prescribed indomethacin enteric-coated 75 mg tablets to be taken twice daily for 10 days.

Patients in the acupuncture group did not take the medication, and instead had acupuncture treatment administered at the following primary acupoints:

  • Zusanli (ST36)

  • Sanyinjiao (SP6)

  • Yinlingquan (SP9)

  • Quchi (LI11)

  • Ashi points

Overall, HealthCMI reports that . acupuncture produced a higher total effective rate than the medication, including greater reductions in pain, swelling, and redness.

The study yielded an 86.96% effective rate in improvements in a patients clinical symptoms, as opposed to those who were taking the pharmaceutical. Unsurprisingly, acupuncture also caused fewer adverse reactions, with an incidence of just 2.17% compared with 23.91% in the drug group.

The numbers speak for themselves.

There are ways to prevent gout, too. The MayoClinic recommends:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids

  • limiting or abstaining from alcohol

  • Increasing protein from low-fat dairy . products

  • Limiting intake of fish, meat and poultry

  • Maintaining a healthy body weight

MRI Anxiety? Study Proves Acupuncture Can Help

It’s a cold, hard fact that nobody in the world enjoys getting an MRI — a procedure used for diagnostic imaging that involves immersing yourself in a well, cold and hard machine.

 

For people with claustrophobia, it can be a real nightmare.  

 

Yet thanks to a recent study published by HealthCMi, acupuncture can help.

 

Researchers at the Heilongjiang University of Traditional Chinese Medicine found that true acupuncture proved more effective than “sham acupuncture” (the control group”) in treating those who suffer f claustrophobia during an MRI.

 

Claustrophobia can be extremely problematic for both the patient and the imager. The patient may begin to feel panic attacks o extreme nervousness, and unable to continue with the procedure — leading to inconclusive results.

 

So researches set out to treat the nervousness and fear by, “soothing the liver qi, tonifying the kidney qi, and stabilizing the spirit and mind.”

 

Those who received that treatment achieved a 92.5% effective rate. Those who did not? Twenty-five percent and 17.5 percent, respectively.

 

So, acupuncture clearly worked.

 

For one session with a 30-minute needle retention rime, the rotating and twisting technique of acupuncture was performed at the following acupoints:

 

  • KI6 (Zhaohai)

  • LV3 (Taichong)

  • HT4 (Lingdao)

  • PC6 (Neiguan)

  • HT7 (Shenmen)

  • CV17 (Danzhong)

  • GV20 (Baihui)

  • GB20 (Fengchi)

In the sham group, they were inserted elsewhere, at irrelevant points.

 

After the treatment, the patients were evaluated using the SAI, or State Anxiety Inventory which assessed their emotions and anxiety. When, “fear and relevant symptoms showed improvement, and a patient could complete an MRI examination,” it was considered effective — which was 92.5% of the time.

 

The bottom line? Acupuncture before an MRI just might make a world of difference.

Using Acupuncture to Treat Trauma

The mind/body connection is truly undeniable. When one isn’t working properly, you can bet the other isn’t either. This is perhaps nowhere more complicated than in individuals dealing with trauma.

  

Trauma is a multifaceted word that embodies so much. Pain, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, memory issues, terror, difficulties adjusting to post-trauma life — it’s almost endless. But if you work to heal the mind, you can often heal the body. And you can use the body to heal the mind, too.

 

But with what, you might ask? Acupuncture, of course. In fact, it’s a proven way to help reduce stress and anxiety and improve sleep, which naturally lends itself to improved mental health. In dealing with something as serious as trauma, the smallest improvement can mean a world of difference.

 

As reported on Rfi News, acupuncturist Elise Boghossian packed up her acuneedles and headed to Iraq, leaving her lie behind in Paris and setting out to bring healing to kidnapped and enslaved women in northern Iraq.  

 

She told the site, ““The first time I went to Iraq I was completely alone. I didn’t have colleagues or work with a specific organization. I just had my acupuncture needles to offer people pain relief.”

 

Through her experiences, she eventually founded NGO EliseCare, an organization with six sites throughout Iraq that offer free medical consultations, continuous psychological care to patients, and medical training in acupuncture, emergency medical care, gynecology, radiology and biology.

 

You can watch her story, here.

Acpuncture For Bell's Palsy? Just Ask Angelina Jolie

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Bell’s Palsy comes without warning. One day, one side of the face becomes weak and/or numb, and within a few days the affected person may experience severe drooping and temporary paralysis. It can last up to six months, depending on the severity.

The cause of Bell’s Palsy is still not totally known, though experts have an idea—that the seventh cranial nerve, the nerve that is responsible for allowing us to make the facial expressions that we do, becomes afflicted with swelling or inflammation.

As we know, swelling and inflammation are a result of blockages in the body’s meridians, causing energy, or qi, to become stagnant. Acupuncture is uniquely suited to regulating the body’s energy by opening up the blockages, resulting in lessening of inflammation and thus the pain and discomfort associated with it.

While there is no recognized cure for Bell’s Palsy, acupuncture can help ease the symptoms and speed up the recovery. But don’t just take our word for it. Actress, director and philanthropist Angelina Jolie told Vanity Fair about how a number of stressors affected her health. “Sometimes women in families put themselves last,” she said, “until it manifests itself in their own health.” One of the conditions that Jolie got? Bell’s Palsy. However, she credits acupuncture for “her full recovery from the condition.”

While acupuncture is only a part of a healthy routine and treatment for various disorders like Bell’s Palsy, it’s a big piece of the puzzle that’s always there to help.

How Acupuncture Can Help Those With Diabetes

Approximately 1.5 million people in the United States are diagnosed with diabetes every year, with about 30 million people suffering from it across the country. Chances are we all know somebody directly or indirectly who is living with diabetes.

For those who are unaware, diabetes is a disease that causes the body to be unable to properly process food to be used as energy. The result of this inability is a buildup of sugar in the blood. These high glucose and low insulin levels can lead to a number of symptoms that affect daily life, like fatigue, frequent urination, frequent hunger and thirst, and weight loss.

There are medications available that diabetics can take to help ease the burden brought on by these symptoms, but there’s also a holistic, safe and effective way to treat many of the side effects too—acupuncture.

A study in Beijing found that consistent acupuncture lowers glucose levels, increases insulin levels, and improves glucose intolerance, which all combines to keep symptoms in check. In particular, “low intensity and low-frequency electroacupuncture could help in reducing insulin resistance and increasing insulin sensitivity,” says Medical News Today. And, in 2015, a study showed that acupuncture treatment combined with an anti-diabetic medication called metformin produced better results for patients than just taking the medication alone.

Of course, there is no cure for diabetes, and those who live with it will always have to consider the best diet and treatment options for their specific case. But acupuncture can play a role in making dealing with diabetes just a little bit easier.

Acupuncture Can Reduce Symptoms of Menopause

Menopause.

It’s something every woman must face, eventually. And it’s a solid guarantee that nobody looks forward to it.

A time of great change and transition, it’s a milestone that comes with the aging process and can be quite difficult on the female body.

But what if we told you acupuncture can help?

It can.

In a recent article from Medical News Today, it was revealed that just a short time spent with acupuncture treatments could significantly reduce some of the harshest symptoms of menopause.

Researches of this study decided to focus on one of the most common complains — hot flashes.

Here’s how the study went down.

Of seventy women experiencing menopause, half were given a 15-minute acupuncture session once a week for 5 weeks. All were given a questionnaire about their menopause symptoms and it was filled out at 3, 6, 8 11 and 26 weeks. In only 3 short weeks, the group receiving acupuncture noticed a decrease in their hot flashes.

Even better?

After six weeks, EIGHTY percent of the women receiving acupuncture believed it had helped. And, they also experienced relief in severity and/or frequency of sweating, sleep issues, emotional and mood problems, and their skin nail issues.

We also know that it can help with reduction in anxiety, depression, weigh management and anti-aging, too.

Though the study has faced some criticism, largely due to the ambiguity surrounding what’s called the “placebo effect” of acupuncture, it’s evident that a large number of women were left feeling better after just once weekly acupuncture. And that’s good enough for us.

So, what are you waiting for? Give acupuncture a try today.

Acupuncture = Less Opioid Prescriptions?

The opioid epidemic our country is currently facing takes the lives of 130 Americans each and every day.

 

In 2017, overdose death counts were six times higher than those of 1999. And since then, more than 700,000 people have died due to overdosing on the potent prescription pills.

 

Unfortunately, often the people we trust the most — our physicians, can put people’s lives at risk by over prescribing these pills as a means of pain management. But, acupuncture can help.

 

How?

 

The American Academy of Family Physicians reports that recent results from a survey of Uniformed Services AFP members revealed that, ”family physicians who received training in acupuncture prescribed fewer opioids for patients, especially ‘strong’ opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone.”

 

 

As part of the survey, doctors were asked questions investigating their prescribing habits when it comes to opioids including the frequency they use nontraditional therapies, “such as nutrition, acupuncture and massage.”  

They were asked to estimate the number of patients they had written a prescription for “weak” and “strong” opioids for chronic, noncancer  pain.

The difference lied in the those that prescribed strong opioids — like morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl.

 

“More than 5 percent of family physicians with no training in acupuncture reported that on average, they wrote prescriptions for strong opioids for 11 or more chronic noncancer pain patients each month.” But of those family physicians who are trained in auricular acupuncture, only two percent wrote that many.  

 

The bottom line?

 

Though not a scientific study, it’s promising to know that those doctors who are familiar with the power of acupuncture are writing less prescriptions for such dangerous drugs.

 

Being aware of nontraditional therapies is important for all who are seeking pain relief, as these types of pills should be considered a last resort in most cases.

 

 

 

New Study Recommends Acupuncture as Alternative to Opioids

We’ve mentioned this before, but now even more research has emerged supporting the fact that acupuncture can be so powerful at relieving pain, it may even take the place of opioids in many patients.

In fact, the Joint Commission (an organization that accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States while developing performance standards that address crucial elements of operation, such as patient care, medication safety, infection control and consumer rights) recently released a statement that explained one of the new elements of pain . management performance, “requires that organizations provide non-pharmacologic pain treatment modalities.”

This includes acupuncture. But what does it mean, exactly?

Essentially, organizations are now required to provide non-pharmacologic (aka non prescription) pain treatment modalities relevant to its patient population and assessed needs of the patient. Noninvasive treatments, like acupuncture, can be used as a complementary and in some cases, in place of opioid medication in many circumstances. Thus potentially reducing the amount of people prescribed painkillers — which . is great news.
 
The Joint Commission also noted how important it is to have non-pharmacologic pain treatment modalities available for patients who refuse opioid treatment, or are deemed ineligible. This population, including recovering addicts, may be able to experience relief without prescription pills.

Aside from acupuncture, they write that recommended non-pharmacologic strategies, “include, but are not limited to transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, physical modalities (i.e.: acupuncture therapy, chiropractic therapy, osteopathic manipulative treatment, massage therapy, and physical therapy) relaxation therapy, music therapy, aromatherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, etc.”

While supportive evidence varies by modality and specialty, more research is consistently supportive.

The bottom line? The Joint Commission states, “our standards do not mandate that any specific complementary options are provided, but allow organizations to determine what modality(s) to offer.”
 

Got Jaw Pain? We Can Help

Ever wake up with a tight, sore jaw? Heard a clicking sound when opening and closing your mouth? Or, has your partner told you you tend to grind your teeth at night?

We can help with that.

As writer NIcole Hansalik shared in her story for MindBodyGreen, she was struggling with TMD - or, temporomandibular disorder, also known as pain in the jaw that can be felt while speaking, chewing, yawning, etc.

She said,, “TMD has proved to be difficult to treat with conventional medical treatments, but luckily, acupuncture shows a lot of promise,” and she decided to personally give acupuncture treatment a try.

Unsurprisingly, it helped.

How? While we know acupuncture helps to restore proper energy flow, or “chi”, she explains that, “ Modern research also suggests that it ‘reduces pain sensation through direct stimulation of the nerve, which changes the quality of signaling along nerve cells.’"

For Hansalik, the moment the acuneedle was inserted into the ST 7 Xiaguan acupuncture point, she said, “I can feel the relief, almost instantly.” (This goes for many other painful ailments as well.)

All it took was two appointments and she said her, “jaw pain subsided and I even stopped unconsciously clenching as intensely.” Adding, “While every individual reacts differently to acupuncture, for me it's the only thing that has relieved my jaw and neck pain.”

If you’re struggling with jaw pain or have been diagnosed with TMJ, TMD or just tend to hold some of your tension in your jaw (which is super common) don’t delay — schedule an appointment today!

(And while you’re at it, be sure to share any other struggles with your acupuncturist, too. Stress, sleeplessness, anxiety and a host of other ailments can be treated simultaneously.)


How Acupuncture Can Help with Your Resolutions

Happy New Year, everyone!

We hope your New Year’s Eve was fun and festive, and that 2019 is off to a great start for all.

One of the most exciting parts of flipping the calendar is setting new goals and intentions for the year ahead. So as you forge forward into 365 new blank pages, we’re here to support you regardless of the resolutions you have chosen for yourself.

Here’s how acupuncture can help aid you in the process of sticking to the four most popular New Year’s resolutions.

Weight Loss

The most popular resolution year after year, weight loss is a challenge many of us have taken at one point or another. Luckily, acupuncture can help by improving digestion, reducing inflammation, and helping to manage your appetite.

Save Money

This might sound counterintuitive, but it’s not. The cost of regular acupuncture (especially if it’s covered by your insurance) is far less than what over the counter remedies, prescriptions and specialist visits will amount to through the year. By taking preventative measures, you can take charge of your health now to prevent costly encounters later.

Stress Less

In this fast pace life where we are connected 24/7, it’s easy to get stressed. And aside from the unpleasant emotional toll stress can cause, it can wreak havoc on your physical body, too. Luckily, acupuncture can help restore the relaxation in your life. By giving you quiet time to yourself, increasing endorphins and aiding in sleep, regular treatments will leave you feeling calmer and energized instead of frazzled and weary.

Be Present

We are all too often distracted from the present moment. But at NJ Acupuncture Center, you can disconnect from everything and just relax during your session — clearing your mind, focusing n your breathing, practicing meditation — whatever helps you live in the “now”, instead of the past or the future.

8 Reasons Why Now Is The Perfect Time To Try Acupuncture

The holidays are in full swing and the end of the year is almost upon us. Which means it’s the perfect time to try acupuncture! Here are 10 reasons why:

  1. If acupuncture is covered under your insurance, and there’s a chance you’ve hit your out-of-pocket maximum at this point, why not try and sneak in your first acupuncture appointment before the calendar turns over? This is the perfect time of year to experience first hand the holistic healing benefits of acupuncture.

  2. The holidays means gifts, family…and lots of food. Did you overeat (and over drink!) a bit this season? Acupuncture is known to promote and aid in healthy weight loss.

  3. This time of year also brings about lots of traveling, which can be tiring, stressful, and take us off of our routines, often messing with our sleep. Thankfully, acupuncture is one of the best and most natural ways to help out with sleeplessness as well as the side effects that come with an interrupted sleep schedule.

  4. If you had the luxury of decorating or playing Santa this year—lugging gifts up and down stairs and in and out of cars, carrying heavy shopping bags, putting together your children’s favorite new toys—you may be experiencing some aches and pains. Acupuncture is clinically proven to help back pain and other orthopedic issues.

  5. New Year’s resolutions don’t have to begin in the new year. Why not get a jumpstart on your wellness resolution now? The more and more you put it off, the less likely you are to truly follow through. Get next year off on the right foot right away!

  6. Relatedly, acupuncture has preventative benefits as well. If you’re planning on working out more in the new year, beginning acupuncture now can help prevent much of the soreness that comes with working out and help you recover quickly so you can get back out there as soon as possible.

  7. Shopping, family, traveling…all of these put together can stress you out big time. Acupuncture is thankfully here to help, as one of the best ways you can naturally de-stress and relax your body and mind.

  8. Spending the holidays with family and friends is wonderful, but it can be a bit overwhelming at times to find yourself without any me-time. Acupuncture is a great way to reconnect with your body, mind and soul.

Losing Weight One Of Your Resolutions? Add Acu To Your Plan

Thanksgiving is upon us, and that means the Holiday Season has officially begun. It’s a time for family, friends, parties and plenty of eating. It’s no wonder that the number one New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight.

Before you head out to the sure-to-be-packed gym on January 2nd, it’s important to know that eating well and exercise aren’t the only things you should do when hoping to shed off some extra pounds. Those are both paramount, but sometimes our getting in shape process need an extra boost.

It just so happens that acupuncture is a safe, effective supplement to eating well and exercising when it comes to losing weight. In fact, a study in China has recently shown that those who receive acupuncture treatment for weight loss in addition to a healthy eating and workout-led plan. Conducted by the First Teaching Hospital of Tianjin University, the study determined that acupuncture enhances weight loss efforts. Acupuncture “reduces body fat and adiposity, decreases serum triglycerides and total cholesterol, reduces harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and raises beneficial high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels.” The study was broken into two groups, with one receiving acupuncture on top of a dietary plan and the other just receiving the dietary plan. The acupuncture group received warm needle acupuncture in 7 distinct acupuncture points. While both groups saw decreases in BMI, body fat and cholesterol, the acupuncture group saw a more significant decrease.

The acupoints are chosen carefully and help open up energy pathways associated with areas of the body that contribute to weight gain. Specifically, these points address the endocrine system and kidneys, which are related to retention and nerve and hormonal rebalance. In addition, the spleen and thyroid gland are also targeted, which will help the body rebalance sugar and hormones, leading to more efficient and rapid weight loss.

Always consult with your doctor to map out a safe exercise and diet plan. But once you do, make an appointment with us to kickstart your weight loss journey!

Thaw Out Your Frozen Shoulder With Acupuncture

It’s getting dark earlier, and winter and all the colder weather that follows is on its way. When things freeze over, you’ll need a little help thawing out—while acupuncture can’t help you clear your steps or driveway, it can certainly warm things up for those suffering from frozen shoulder.

What, exactly, is frozen shoulder? You may not have heard of this ailment, but it affects over 200,000 Americans each year. It’s more common in women than men, and usually affects those aged 40-60. Additionally, those who suffer from diabetes are more susceptible to it. Frozen shoulder is when the shoulder capsule becomes so thick and tight that the shoulder becomes incredibly painful and can be difficult or even impossible to move.

If not treated, frozen shoulder can heal on it’s own…but it can take a very long time. The frozen stage, where the shoulder is very limited in movement, can last anywhere from 4-12 months, while the thawing stage, the gradual return of movement and elimination of pain, can last 6 months to 2 years. That is far too long.

Thankfully, acupuncture is known as an effective holistic remedy for speeding up the thawing process and healing frozen shoulder. An study conducted in Guangdong, China, revealed that acupuncture alleviates pain and restores range of motion to the shoulder for patients with frozen shoulder. Subjects receiving the local acupuncture points had a 71.8% total effective rate, showing improved pain and better range of motion in the shoulder. Patients receiving abdominal acupuncture had a 92.4% total effective rate. 

Specifically, the study concluded, “This underscores acupuncture’s ability to provide anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and recuperative effective actions.”

So if you or someone you know is suffering from frozen shoulder, let them know that cozying up to the fire this winter won’t help them out. Acupuncture will!

Why Acupuncture Should be Offered in the ER

Chances are that, unfortunately, either you or someone you know has visited the emergency room recently. Visits to the ER have become incredibly common and are continuing to rise. A study released last year showed that in 2014, ER visits spiked to 141 million in the United States, a record-high. And the University of Maryland School of Medicine estimates that nearly half of all medical care in the country is delivered by emergency room departments. That number is even higher for women and minorities.

The stark fact is that ER visits are all too common. And there are a few things that are just about consistent across all emergency rooms—the use of NSAIDs and painkillers, and a lack of choice for patients. Slowly but surely, a welcoming change may be on the horizon.

For 4 years, Adam Reinstein, LAc, has been administering acupuncture in the ER of Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. Five days a week, Reinstein operates in the busy, hectic environment that doesn’t seem well suited for acupuncture. But Reinstein, who used to practice communcity acupuncture, has adapted by offering shorter sessions (15-20 minutes), focusing on points in the hands, arms, ears, head, feet, and lower legs, and sees patients only once. The ER can be a stressful place, and Reinstein often focuses on helping patients to feel more comfortable.

"By and large, patients get some relaxation and decrease of anxiety or discomfort. Others get some pain relief or nausea relief...What I do just fits in with everything else that is going on [in the ER],” Reinstein said. “One talks a lot about patient-centered care but usually patients have little or no choice.”

We wholeheartedly agree with Reinstein, and would love to see more emergency departments offer acupuncture to their patients. In addition from it being a better treatment for pain, anxiety, and nausea than medication, acupuncture could also help patients recover more quickly, which allows ER staffs to work more efficiently and cut down wait times.

Acupuncture in the ER? It’s a win-win.

Kick Motion Sickness to the Curb With Acupuncture

If you’re susceptible to motion sickness, you know how rough it can be. Sometimes the simple experience of riding in a car, bus, or train can trigger headaches, sweats, feelings of nausea and at worst cases, vomiting. The unpredictable nature of motion sickness can really put a damper on one’s life, when not knowing how you’ll deal with a car ride can affect whether or not you enjoy your night out.

There are medications available for folks who deal with motion sickness to take, but they often come with their own host of side effects. And like most medications, symptoms are treated and temporarily improved, while the root causes of the issue remains. In 2017, researchers in China found that the treatment those who suffer from motion sickness should seek out is none other than acupuncture.

A group of 20 men were studied, broken into three groups: one that received electroacpuncture (Group A), one that received sham acupuncture (Group B), and one group that received no therapy or treatment at all (Group C). The acupuncture group received treatment in three acupuncture points: Pericardium 6, Stomach 36 and Large Intestine 4. After the treatment, all of the subjects were put into a moving chair that is meant to bring upon many of the symptoms of motion sickness. Before and after the session, the subjects’ motion sickness symptoms were checked, and compared.

The study found that: “The volunteers in Group A mentioned less sweating or cold sweating symptoms, as well as less flashing and heat sensations in comparison to their Group C counterparts. Given that peripheral symptoms are attributed to sympathetic nervous system activation, it is possible, that acupuncture alters autonomic nervous system activity in a certain way.”

Those who suffer from motion sickness know what it’s like when things are thrown just a little bit off. We know that acupuncture helps treat root causes of pain and discomfort because it targets and regulates the body’s energy flow. If you’re fearing your next car ride, perhaps you should make a pit stop here and kick motion sickness to the curb for good!

Acu Students Training With Virtual Reality

Virtual reality used to be something you’d see only in sci-fi movies. But now, virtual reality is becoming more and more popular, being used in everything from gaming to marketing to entertainment. And in fact, one of the most effective and popular uses thus far for virtual reality is with training, particularly in the medical field. And if the U.S. follows the lead from China, acupuncturists-in-training may soon be putting on those headsets themselves.

BodyMap is a virtual reality system developed here in the US that is being used at China’s top medicine university to teach students acupuncture. The program is sort of like a Google Maps for the body, showing 3D images of a human body and specifically in the acupuncture training, the different acupoints on the body. The major “qi” pathways, where the energy flows through our body, are illustrated as well, letting students more easily learn exactly where on the body they will need to treat once they become practicing acupuncturists.

Generally, training is done on 2D images or by using real people as models, but that carries both increased costs and potential risks. The software is used for other medical training purposes as well, such as brain surgery.

“There’s a very high level of requirement for precision in acupuncture teaching,” says Cheng Kai, a professor. “For example, there’s an acupoint called jinming, which is situated very near the optic nerve. Needling this acupoint carries a certain danger [if the practitioner does not grasp the precise depth and angle for the insertion of the needle].”

The founder of BodyMap, Sam Jang, says he was inspired to create the virtual reality tool for medical purposes after he received acupuncture treatment that helped cure his chronic pain.

“I met a Chinese medicine practitioner who cured my condition with acupuncture in just over a week,” Jang said. “So I was amazed by acupuncture’s efficacy and started studying it. We are the first company in the world to combine VR and acupuncture training.”

So if your medical professional of the future has been trained in VR, you have acupuncture to thank!

Know the Different Types of Acupuncture

Acupuncture continues to grow across the world as a popular treatment for pain and symptoms of a number of diseases and conditions. Most of the time when you hear that someone has received acupuncture, you have one thing in mind. However, the term “acupuncture” has sort of become a catch-all for many different types of treatments that are available to patients. Since acupuncture is an ancient treatment, there have been updates and iterations over the years. Now, many different forms of acupuncture are out there, with their own strengths at treating different conditions. It’s always good to be informed, so we’ve put together a list for you of the most common types of treatments that often fall under the “acupuncture” umbrella.

Body Acupuncture – This is what likely comes to mind when you hear the word acupuncture. Tiny needles inserted into certain points and meridians along the body that regulate the flow of energy and promote healing.

Ear Acupuncture – Traditional Chinese Medicine says that the ear contains acupuncture points that can heal every area of the body. So, many acupuncturists will focus their acupuncture in the ear, using the same needles as in the body, whether on its own or in conjunction with body acupuncture points.

Electroacupuncture – Particularly useful for treating pain, electroacupuncture uses small clips on top of regular acupuncture needles to send an electric current in between two acupuncture needle points. The extra stimulation can improve the flow of energy between the points, helping heal pain.

Acupressure – Utilizing the knowledge of acupuncture points and meridians, acupressure pinpoints these same areas to heal pain, but uses massage and pressure instead of inserting a needle. Many acupuncturists will teach patients the proper areas, since patients can perform it themselves at home.

Moxibustion – When small amounts of herbs are placed on top body acupuncture needles and then lit, giving the area an extra boost of warmth.

Cupping – Usually done in tandem with acupuncture, cupping uses rubber or glass cups that are suctioned onto specific areas of the body. This can help when traditional body acupuncture needs a little bit of a boost when energy along a certain point has become stagnant. Cupping can leave marks on the body where the cup has suctioned on, but they are temporary.

Scalp Acupuncture and Autism

Those familiar with acupuncture are aware of its myriad of benefits — pain relief, relaxation, inflammation reduction — the list goes on.

When tiny acuneedles are inserted at specific points along the body, big changes can happen. This is particularly true for scalp acupuncture.

Currently, one in 68 children in the United States are diagnosed as being along the Autism Spectrum. While symptoms can range from minimal to severe, there are often verbal, linguistic and social deficits that prompt diagnosis.

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Parents of children with autism are often proactive in seeking new treatments that may help to improve their chid’s condition and thus, their quality of life. For many, acupuncture can help.

In a study released last October, the Baptist University in Hong Kong achieved an overall efficacy rate of 97% in treating autistic children with the holistic treatment.

A total of 68 autistic children between ages 2 and 10 were treated with scalp acupuncture resulting in, “alleviating problems of impaired social interaction and delayed verbal communication.” The participants were also, “less likely to have behavioral problems and be abnormally sensitive to noise, as well as being less picky towards food.”

How did it work, exactly? Ana Yau Chuen-hueng, a lecturer from the university’s school of Chinese Medicine who led the study explained, “Autism is related to a disorder with brain function … scalp acupuncture could strengthen the links between nerve cells and improve their functions.”

Yau Chen-hueng also said that perhaps children under age three could benefit more from the treatment, as it is durig that time period that the brain develops at its fastest speed.

While she reiterated acupuncture is not a cure, it proved effective at improving some symptoms which is very promising, providing hope to those who need it.

Sleep + Acupuncture

Soon we’ll get an extra hour of sleep thanks to Daylight Savings Time - but what if that doesn’t really apply to you?

You know the feeling — you’re tired, groggy, and can’t wait to be reunited with your big comfy bed. The only problem is that once you get there, you just cant fall or stay asleep.

Missing out on deep, restorative sleep can wreak havoc on nearly all aspects of your life. Essential for physical, emotional and mental health, sleep is your body’s opportunity to heal, rest and recover from the previous day while gaining energy for the day ahead. Without it, nearly everything suffers.

Luckily, acupuncture can help. How, you might ask?

Courtesy of the blog at Bulletproof.com, this preliminary report from 2004 showed that patients who experienced acupuncture treatment demonstrated an increase of melatonin at night, while reducing both insomnia and anxiety — which often go hand in hand.

This is something we’ve long believed in and have seen for ourselves time and time again, but a bit of research can’t hurt.

Acupuncture for sleep is not just anxious people to find relief, either. Back in 1999 this study concluded that, “true and individualized acupuncture indeed shows efficacy in primary sleep disorders. However, a direct influence by the therapist cannot be excluded.”

By placing the acu-needles at specific points to target your chief complaint (in this case,lack of sleep) energy (qi) can be balanced within the body while stagnant energy is released. Additionally inflammation can be reduced, muscle tension eased, and the mind relaxed — all conditions that will promote better, longer and deeper rest.

So, whether you are suffering from legitimate insomnia or more general restlessness and difficulty sleeping, we can help. Act now, and you can enjoy that extra hour of snoozing.