Dry Mouth or Eyes? It Could Be Sjögren's Syndrome, And Acupuncture Can Help

If you’re a woman in your forties or fifties and, for the first time, you start battling chronic dry mouth or dry eyes, you might have Sjögren’s Syndrome.

And while Sjögren’s is much more prevalent in women around that middle age, it can affect folks of any gender and age group. Anywhere from half a million to 3 million people in the United States are affected by Sjögren’s, and it’s much more serious than simply having a dry mouth and dry eyes (though those symptoms aren’t fun in their own right).

Sjögren’s is an autoimmune disorder, and is often accompanied by other immure system issues like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The disorder is a result of our body’s immune system mistakenly attacking your own cells. The first targets are usually the glands that create our tears and our saliva, thus the first signs being dryness. However, it can also do damage to other parts of the body like the kidneys, joints, thyroid and lungs, and can cause illnesses to those areas.

Many people treat Sjögren’s with autoimmunity medication, but given that the root cause of the disorder lies within our own body’s ability to heal itself, acupuncture is the perfect treatment. And now researchers in Shanghai have conducted a study proving that acupuncture and herbs treat Sjogren’s and reverse the symptoms much more efficiently and effectively than narcotics.

Subjects who were administered acupuncture not only reported that they felt better, but the data backed it up. Blood samples showed that in the patients who received acupuncture and herbs, the proper levels of immunoglobulin and other important factors were met.

Without the need for narcotics, the serve dry mouth and eyes and further complications brought about by Sjögren’s syndrome can be reversed. If you know anyone who suffers from Sjögren’s or any other autoimmune disorders, let them know that acupuncture is here to help.

Popular Acupuncture Points and What They Heal

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When you come in for an acupuncture treatment, it can seem at first like your acupuncturist is placing needles in your body seemingly at random. And it can be confusing—if I’m dealing with digestion issues, why aren’t any needles going into my abdomen?

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are about 2,000 points on the body which are all connected by 20 paths, which we call meridians. The meridians are what conduct the energy, or qi, between the surface of our body and its internal organs and systems. When that energy gets stifled is when something doesn’t feel right in our body. When that happens, acupuncturists know where the meridian blockages could be.

So that’s why if you come to receive an acupuncture treatment for insomnia or depression, your acupuncturist will treat point HT7, which is located on the outside of the wrist.

That’s just one example. Here are some of the more well known and popular acupuncture points (that you can also try and massage yourself for symptom relief).

Large Intestine Channel LI4 - Treats general pain and inflammation. Located in between the thumb and pointer finger on the back of the hand.

Lung Channel LU7 - Treats mainly upper body issues like headaches, sore throats, and coughs, as well as neck and wrist stiffness and pain. Located on inside of arm, above the wrist.

Stomach Channel ST36 - Treats most digestive issues and anemia, immune orders, and fatigue. It’s located on the back of the neck, where it meets the skull.

Governing Vessel GV20 - Is connected to many mental disorders and also treats headaches and nasal obstructions. Locates at the very top of the head.

Urinary Bladder Channel BL40 - Treats pain in the back, hips, leg and abdomen, as well as nausea. Located in the back of the knee.

There are literally thousands of other points that your acupuncturist knows that will help heal whatever discomfort you’re in. Thankfully, you don’t need to know them all. We’ve got you covered there.

Head Injuries Can Heal Faster Thanks to Acupuncture

Over the past few years awareness around head injuries and concussions has grown, and thankfully. Many of us spend our weekends in the fall and winter watching football, unaware of how common head injuries are for those who are playing the game. It’s easy to see when a player takes one big hit that causes them to lose consciousness—we see that and know that a concussion has been suffered. But we now know that repeated blows to the head which don’t cause unconsciousness add up, and over time, can ravage the brain and cause cognitive problems down the line.

And it’s not just athletes that suffer from head injuries either. Anyone whose work requires physical activity can be at risk, and once a head injury is sustained it can lead to long-term and ongoing problems.

Unfortunately, for concussions and conditions related to chronic head trauma, effective treatment can be hard to come by. Headaches, nausea and other side effects can be hard to predict, and often times narcotic solutions only exacerbate the problem, or stir up other issues.

Acupuncture is unfortunately an under-utilized treatment for head injuries. However, it’s something everyone suffering from post-concussion symptoms should seek out. Licensed acupuncturist Amy Moll writes: “Acupuncture has a regulatory, or modulatory effect on a person’s physiology and is a great tool that can be used as part of a concussion recovery program for many reasons.”

Among those reasons is that acupuncture promotes blood flow to the brain, when a concussion results in the opposite. Rather than treating a symptom of concussions, acupuncture in part addresses the root cause. In addition, acupuncture is well-known for its benefits of treating many of the underlying symptoms of post-concussion life like nausea, insomnia, and depression.

Hopefully you don’t know anyone who is suffering through post-concussion life—but if so, we are here and ready to help as soon as possible.

Acupuncture At The Zoo: The Story of Lottie The Koala

Anyone who suffers from arthritis, or is close to someone suffering from it, knows how debilitating it can be to live with. That isn’t limited just to us humans, either.

Lottie is a Koala bear that has been at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, South Carolina since 2002. Any mother knows that raising young ones can be a physical burden, and since Lottie arrived at Riverbanks Zoo in 2002, she has given birth to 11 joeys. All that joey-rearing (Koalas use their back to carry their children) and climbing and the physical rigors of everyday life have taken their toll of Lottie, who the staff at Riverbanks found had began suffering from arthritis and muscle tension.

However, Lottie has been showing signs of improved motion and strength recently, and the credit can be granted to the veterinary staff at Riverbanks, who treated Lottie’s arthritis and muscle tension with acupuncture.

“The animal care team at Riverbanks currently performs acupuncture on Lottie once every two to three weeks,” said John Davis, the director of animal care and welfare at Riverbanks told the Free Times. “Each treatment session last about 15 to 20 minutes, with the staff veterinarian inserting at least 10 small needles (about the size of a human hair) into Lottie’s lower back and hip area.”

If you’re wondering how easily a wild animal takes to acupuncture, Lottie has her days.

“We realized that she’s okay with it some days and not OK with it on other days,” Davis says. “If she starts to retreat up the tree in the middle of a session, then we just end the session.”

But based on Lottie’s improvement, it looks like she’s been OK with acupuncture more than not.

What To Expect At Your First Acupuncture Appointment

So…you’ve been dealing with discomfort and pain for too long now, tried every medication and over-the-counter pill and did all the research and reading you possibly could…but still no results. Your friends and family have been urging you to try acupuncture, and you’re finally ready to give it a shot. As human beings we understandably fear the unknown, and one of the main reasons acupuncture is still growing in the United States.

But have no fear. When you’re ready to really solve the root cause of your pain and discomfort with an acupuncture treatment, you’ll have us to thank for getting you prepared. Here’s what you can expect at your first acupuncture appointment.

After you’ve checked in and been brought to your room, your acupuncturist will ask you what brought you in the door. This is the most important step, because an acupuncturist can only reliably and effectively treat a patient if they know what’s ailing them. Be as specific as you can in terms of what type of pain and discomfort you’re experiencing, how long you’ve been experiencing it, and what illnesses and/or conditions you’re battling.

Next, your acupuncturist will determine your treatment, how many needles and where to place them. And here’s one of the most important things to remember: acupuncture needles do not hurt! A fear of needles keeps many folks away from acupuncture, but those who experience the treatment are amazed at how they can barely feel the tiny needles. Once your acupuncturist has finished placing the needles in, it’s time for you to relax!

Your acupuncturist will likely leave you alone in the room for a bit while the needles do their job, opening up your pathways and balancing the energy in the body. Most acupuncturists will put on calming music or ambient noise, and/or calming scents and lights to help you center yourself during your treatment. It’s your chance to lie down and gather your thoughts, meditate, or do whatever makes you feel calm. Put that phone away!

Most times your acupuncturist will come back to check on you and make sure everything is feeling right. Depending on your specific treatment, your acupuncturist may at this time add a warm heat lamp to a certain area of your body. They’ll then leave the room again for the remainder of the treatment.

After a period of time determined by your acupuncturist, depending on your condition, your acupuncturist will return and remove the needles. This final step is a follow up, where your acupuncturist will ask you how you’re feeling and let you know the preferred treatment regimen moving forward. It’s likely that return visits will be necessary in order for acupuncture to have a lasting effect.

But now that you know what to expect, those future sessions will be a breeze.

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!