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Bishara Wilson
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Research Update – Acupuncture and the Kidneys A recent study published by the National Institute of Health looked at the effectiveness of treating chronic kidney disease through the use of acupuncture. Specifically, the researchers were looking at the effects on renal function, by evaluating the levels of serum creatinine and estimated glomerular filtration rate. The study was performed on 53 patients who suffered from chronic kidney disease. Each patient received acupuncture plus electroacupuncture once per week for 12 weeks. The study determined regular acupuncture treatments can lower creatinine levels and increase glomerular filtration rates, which ultimately decreases the symptoms of chronic kidney disease. This allows the patient to lead a more normal life. Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States, with an estimated 31 million people suffering from chronic kidney disease. Decreased kidney function can be either acute or chronic. Acute kidney injury can be caused by a sudden drop in blood flow to the kidneys, damage from medications, infections or a sudden blockage that prevents urine from flowing out of the kidneys. Chronic kidney damage can be caused by autoimmune diseases, genetic disorders, sexually transmitted diseases or even chronic urinary tract infections. Regardless of the cause, decreased kidney function can be deadly if not detected or left untreated. Traditional Chinese Medicine offers multiple methods to help battle decreased kidney function. The kidneys function to filter and purify blood throughout the body. Inadequate blood flow to the kidneys can lead to a host of problems. The most prevalent form of TCM is acupuncture. Acupuncture has been shown to increase blood flow into areas lacking, thus allowing the transport of vital nutrients that keep the tissues healthy and functioning properly. Acupuncture can help relieve clinical symptoms of kidney disease, such as fatigue, back pain, headaches, nausea and vomiting. According to TCM, the kidneys are the source of yin and yang. Yang is fire and yin is water. When the fire of yang is weak or the water of yin is not nourishing the body, then the kidney function must be addressed. The kidneys also house essence or jing in TCM. Jing is similar to our DNA. Since the kidneys are the most deep-seated of the internal organs, they are responsible for providing the tools to fulfill the deepest needs, such as survival and reproduction. While the kidneys house the deep reserves that fuel the body, they are also the organs damaged the most by stress. The body’s bones and marrow are governed by the kidneys in TCM. This means that even illnesses like osteoporosis can be related to the kidneys and as such, when treating a person with these ailments, the kidney meridian must always be included in the treatments. Regular acupuncture treatments can greatly improve the health of the kidneys. But it is also important to keep stress levels at a minimum. This is where things like meditation, tai chi and qi gong come into play. All of these practices help calm the mind and relieve stress. It is also recommended fear be avoided or managed, as it can deplete the energy of the kidney meridian. Physically, the kidney meridian manifests in the lower back and knees. Therefore proper stretching and exercises to strengthen the back and leg muscles are extremely helpful in supporting overall kidney health. Certain foods can also help improve kidney health. In particular, dark foods like black beans, black walnuts, as well as seafood are all excellent kidney tonics. All of the aforementioned items can be provided by a properly trained and fully licensed acupuncturist. So if you or somebody you know is suffering from decreased kidney function or kidney disease of some sort, it would be beneficial to contact me today. TCM coupled with Western medicine can help anybody suffering from these kinds of issues. The two modalities complement one another nicely and allow for the patient to lead a more normal life.  New York Sports Acupuncture Bishara Wilson, L.Ac., MSTOM, DACM (c) 888.375.5444
Bishara Wilson
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Research Update – Acupuncture and the Adrenal Glands In a series of studies performed and published by Georgetown University Medical Center, researchers demonstrated how acupuncture can decrease stress hormones using rats as the models. The studies were performed by Ladan Eshkevari, PhD, CRNA, L.Ac. She used electroacupuncture on a specific acupuncture point, Stomach 36, which is known to reduce stress levels. What she found was electroacupuncture actually blocks chronic, stress-induced elevations of hypothalamus pituitary adrenal hormones. This series of studies provides evidence acupuncture can be very beneficial to nearly everybody through the use of just one acupressure point. The adrenal glands are tiny glands that sit on top of the kidneys. They are part of the endocrine system in the body and they produce a variety of hormones including adrenaline and steroids like cortisol and aldosterone. These small little glands are vital to the well-being of all humans. The adrenal glands produce the hormones all day, every day. But they kick into overdrive when the body is stressed. And studies show chronic stress can severely impact the adrenal glands ability to continually produce the hormones needed to sustain life. This is where the term “adrenal fatigue” comes into play. Adrenal fatigue is more commonly known as HPA Axis Dysregulation. HPA stands for hypothalamus pituitary adrenal, which are all part of the endocrine system. When a person experiences HPA Axis Dysregulation, the adrenal glands have a difficult time producing the required levels of stress hormones and sex hormones and various neurotransmitters. This is why people with adrenal fatigue feel tired all the time. This is also the time the body should be offered some extra support. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a wonderful way to support the body and rejuvenate the adrenal glands. Acupuncture is just one of the many tools in the kit of a licensed acupuncturist. Acupuncture can be a mechanical way to stimulate the body’s internal energy and bring areas of dysfunction back into balance. As mentioned above in the study by Ladan Eshkevari, certain acupressure points can be very beneficial to the health of the adrenal glands. In TCM, the adrenal glands are considered to be part of the water element, which is related to the kidneys. The kidney area is a key organ that helps determine the quality of life of the individual. Things like adrenal fatigue and low thyroid function can all be contributed to a deficiency of fire in the kidneys. Therefore, a TCM practitioner will focus on ways to warm the kidneys and stimulate energy flow from the adrenal glands, while increasing the basal metabolic rate of the body. Acupressure points like Stomach 36, Kidney 3 and Spleen 6, which are all located on the lower leg make great choices. As demonstrated by the aforementioned study, acupuncture can be quite helpful in the fight against adrenal fatigue. If you or somebody you know is suffering from fatigue, depression or chronic stress, acupuncture and other facets of TCM might be very beneficial.  New York Sports Acupuncture Bishara Wilson, L.Ac., MSTOM, DACM (c) 888.375.5444
Bishara Wilson
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Acupuncture and the Adrenal Glands The adrenal glands are endocrine glands that produce multiple hormones. The adrenals are located directly above the kidneys and they are vital to human existence. The hormones produced by the adrenals are particularly important during times of stress. Adrenaline and naturally occurring steroids such as aldosterone and cortisol are made by the adrenals. These hormones help the body control blood sugar, burn fat, react to stressors and regulate the blood pressure. This makes the adrenals extremely important.Traditional Chinese Medicine views things differently than Western medicine, but the adrenal glands are still an important part of the body. TCM treats the adrenal glands as part of the kidneys and the kidney energetic pathway. This means the adrenal glands are part of the water element. The kidney area is seen as a key role player that determines the quality of life in TCM. This is because the kidneys control the internal Qi (pronounced “chee”), which is considered the body’s life force.The body is a complicated machine that has a very efficient self-regulating system. When the body is depleted of quality food or sleep, then it will not be able to function and carry out all the important functions. This is why many people experience eating binges or extreme fatigue accompanied by excessive sleep when they are under severe stress.Everyday stress can drain the body of energy, nutritional reserves, and Qi over time. When this occurs, the body may experience a breakdown, a drop in immunity or great fatigue. If this continues, adrenal fatigue may develop. Adrenal fatigue is a condition where the adrenal glands become weak and then produce insufficient amounts of the hormones needed for everyday life. Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include low libido, food cravings, general malaise, emotional problems, weight gain, low immunity, difficulty concentrating and thyroid issues.TCM offers a couple of possible solutions to treating weakened adrenal glands. Acupuncture treatments and moxibustion can greatly help the adrenals. Regular acupuncture treatments can strengthen the kidneys. Over time, the adrenals/kidneys will regain some of their Qi, thus helping the body to fuel and heal itself. Acupuncture is so effective because it helps reduce stress and it turns on the relaxation part of the nervous system. When the relaxation side of the nervous system is turned on, the heart rate will return to normal, digestion will improve and sleep will become deeper and more restful.Moxibustion is another tool in the TCM toolbox that can help heal the adrenal glands. Moxibustion is the burning of a dried herb, specifically mugwort. The mugwort is placed on specific acupuncture points that are known to tonify or improve the Qi associated with the kidneys/adrenal glands. Both moxibustion and acupuncture can be performed frequently to help bring the body back into balance.Incorporating healthy eating habits, regular exercise and restful sleep can also keep the adrenal glands performing well. But when we are stressed, many of the things we know are good for us, tend to get moved to the back burner. This is where getting regular acupuncture treatments can be very beneficial. So if excessive stress is a factor in your life, consider adding acupuncture treatments that can help you relax mentally and keep you healthy physically. New York Sports Acupuncture Bishara Wilson, L.Ac., MSTOM, DACM (c) 888.375.5444
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