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Research Update – Traditional Chinese Medicine and HIV A study conducted at Yale University General Clinical Research Center and published by Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine shows promise for the efficacy of acupuncture in alleviating symptoms of human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. The study, while small in numbers of subjects, allows for further study into the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine to support patients with HIV. The patients received acupuncture treatments twice a week for three weeks. During this period of time, researchers tracked their symptoms of distress, psychological distress and overall quality-of-life. The data from this pilot study suggests the participants noticed an improvement in their symptoms and their quality of life by the time the study was completed. Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS is caused by a virus known as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV. People can contract HIV through a number of ways, but the most common is having unprotected sex with an infected partner. It can also be spread by contact with infected blood or from mother to child during pregnancy. HIV slowly weakens the immune system, making the host susceptible to multiple infections and diseases that eventually kill the host.             The good news is that the number of infected people in the United States is steadily declining and not everybody who is diagnosed as HIV-positive will succumb to the virus. Huge strides in modern medicine have allowed people to live normal lives despite being infected with HIV.             Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is probably the most commonly known alternative to modern medicine due to its long history and the fact that more and more people are seeking out ways to avoid taking over-the-counter medication and visiting hospitals. TCM helps HIV-positive patients by boosting their immune systems, relieving symptoms and decreasing the side effects of prescription medications. Most people who are diagnosed with HIV are advised to start drug therapy as quickly as possible even though many of the medications prescribed have significant side effects.             Many patients report improvements in sleep, stress levels, digestion and immune function once they begin regular acupuncture treatments, and science backs this up. There are two ways the health of HIV-positive patients is monitored: their T-cell count and their overall viral load. For those who begin acupuncture treatments and are consistent with them, T-cell numbers remain high and sometimes even increase and the overall viral load in the body decreases. This helps keep their immune system functioning at a high level, while also combatting symptoms like fatigue and stress associated with the infection.             TCM is unique in its approach to treating HIV because it is one of the few medical systems available that addresses the whole person without compartmentalizing their symptoms. This allows for the patient to receive help in healing not just the body, but also the mind. Multiple studies confirm emotions can affect the body and actually make us sick. TCM addresses the mind-body connection and treats the person holistically, thus providing for an overall better quality of life. If you suffer from HIV/AIDS, ask me how Acupuncture can help! New York Sports Acupuncture Dr. Bishara Wilson, DACM, L.Ac. 888.375.5444                 SOURCE:
Bishara Wilson
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Research Update – Moxibustion and Dysmenorrhea             A study conducted by Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has determined that the use of moxibustion at specific days during a woman’s menstrual cycle can decrease pain associated with menstruation. Dysmenorrhea or painful menstruation is a big problem for many women. This study used moxibustion, an accessory modality of TCM, to treat the pain associated with menstruation. The study and its systematic review showed moxibustion treatments were more effective at relieving pain only when the moxibustion began prior to the onset of actual menstruation. This is also the theory behind Traditional Chinese Medicine, that it should be used as preventive care. The efficacy of using moxibustion during the premenstrual time period holds great promise for those who are debilitated by dysmenorrhea. Dysmenorrhea, or painful menstruation, is experienced by more than half the menstruating women in the world. It is one of the most commonly encountered gynecologic disorders and for those suffering from severe dysmenorrhea, it can mean they are incapacitated for up to three days or more every month. The main cause of dysmenorrhea is increased or abnormal uterine prostanoid production and release, which then gives rise to abnormal uterine contractions and pain. The treatment of dysmenorrhea usually involves some sort of pain medication and rest, but there are alternatives. TCM is a medical system that incorporates numerous methods for treating disease and illness. One of the tools found in the toolbox of the Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner is known as moxibustion. Moxibustion is a technique that involves the burning of mugwort, known as moxa, which is an herb that facilitates healing. The purpose of moxibustion is to stimulate the flow of blood and energy throughout the body. Moxibustion creates a pleasant heating sensation that penetrates deeply into the skin, but does not create a scar or any pain. To perform moxibustion, a practitioner lights one end of a stick of moxa and holds it close to the acupuncture point for several minutes until the area turns red. There are also adhesive cones of moxa that can be applied to the skin. These are then lit and allowed to burn until the fire reaches the base, which is when they are removed to prevent scars. Moxibustion is used to help people with cold or stagnant conditions. Burning moxa is believed to expel cold and warm the body, which creates a smooth flow of energy and blood. Moxibustion can be used to treat dysmenorrhea because it stimulates the flow and release of the hormones that cause uterine contractions. By stimulating the release of these hormones, the body can then expel them which leads to decreased pain. Moxibustion is also great for women who suffer from fibroids, which is a stagnation and buildup of blood in the uterus. The warmth from the burning mugwort actually increases blood flow and this can help decrease the size of the fibroids over time. As with acupuncture, only a licensed practitioner should be called upon for treatments such as moxibustion. If you believe moxibustion may be helpful with your dysmenorrhea, be sure to discuss it with your acupuncturist. New York Sports Acupuncture Dr. Bishara Wilson, DACM, L.Ac. 888.375.544 SOURCE:
Bishara Wilson
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Patient Help Sheet – PMS Every woman and her menstrual cycles are different. For some, menstruation is quick and easy, but for many others, it can be difficult and painful. Premenstrual syndrome is a common occurrence for many women. The premenstrual phase occurs one to two weeks prior to actual menstruation and it can be quite debilitating. Symptoms of premenstrual syndrome include emotional instability (irritation, anger, depression, etc.), abdominal bloating, breast tenderness and swelling, constipation or diarrhea, headaches, low back pain and even fatigue. While the exact cause of PMS is not known, it is believed to be due to fluctuating hormone levels that happen prior to menstruation each month. Conventional medicine tends to focus on treating the symptoms of PMS using pharmaceuticals or over-the-counter medications. But for those who are looking for natural alternatives, there is a better choice; Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM provides many ways of combating PMS. Here are just a few examples of how this ancient medical system can help. Acupuncture for PMS According to TCM theory, PMS occurs when the normal flow of energy and blood are interrupted. The liver system is responsible for the smooth movement of blood and energy throughout the body. This means that the endocrine system, which controls our hormones, is dependent upon the flow of energy and blood. When the blood and energy become blocked because we are not taking care of ourselves as we should, then pain and dysfunction can occur. Acupuncture has been shown to improve circulation, thus allowing blood and energy to flow more freely. It also balances hormones in the body, while providing relaxation that many women need. When all these components are working in harmony, the chances of PMS symptoms occurring will decrease. Acupuncture Points for PMS ·Spleen 6 – This point is located bilaterally on the inside of the lower leg. It is found 3 thumb-breadths above the medial ankle bone and just behind the tibia. Spleen 6 is frequently used by acupuncturists. It helps with abdominal pain and bloating, diarrhea, menstrual problems, edema, dizziness and insomnia. ·Ren 6 – This point is located on the midline of the abdomen, about 1 ½ thumb-breadths directly below the belly button. Ren 6 can be used to help with abdominal pain, edema, diarrhea, constipation and menstrual problems. ·Large Intestine 4 – Located bilaterally on the back of the hand. When the thumb and forefinger are brought together, this point can be found directly in the middle of the fleshy mound that is created. It is helpful with lower abdominal pain and constipation. LI4 also helps to calm the uterine muscles and lessen headaches sometimes associated with PMS. Chinese Herbs and Herbal Formulas for PMS Individual herbs and combinations of herbs, known as formulas are used frequently in TCM. Dang Gui is an herb that is commonly used to help treat PMS. Dang Gui is especially good at promoting the healthy flow of blood throughout the body. It also helps improve the secretion of hormones allowing for proper balancing during the monthly cycle. There is a particular herbal formula that is used frequently in TCM to help with PMS. This formula is known as Xiao Yao San. This formula focuses on creating harmonious flow of blood and energy throughout the body. Nutrition for PMS Proper nutrition is vital for everyone, but when the hormones are imbalanced and working overtime, it is even more important for the woman suffering from the symptoms. When we experience pain, we tend to reach for comfort foods that are rich and full of sugar or starch. But for PMS, these can actually be more aggravating. Plants are recommended during the cycle. High fiber foods like beans, pears and avocados help combat digestive issues that are common with PMS. Foods high in calcium, like kale and broccoli, are also a good choice for reducing cramps. As you can see, TCM is a great way to deal with PMS. If you are having difficulties dealing with your menstrual cycle, contact your local acupuncturist to see what they can do for you. New York Sports Acupuncture Dr. Bishara Wilson, DACM, L.Ac. 888.375.5444
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