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How Acupuncture Differs from Western Medicine

As Americans, we think about health and medicine in a culturally unique way. For most of us, medicine is something that is practiced in sterile settings and usually health is achieved by taking pills or doing surgery. Doctors use specific tools such as stethoscopes and tongue depressors to examine patients. According to our worldview, there is a long list of diseases and every patient should receive a diagnosis of one of these. Patients even experience distress when they experience pain or discomfort and their doctor can’t assign a disease from this list. Our way of doing medicine seems best to us, but practitioners of acupuncture would beg to differ. It’s a mistake to assume that your acupuncturist will understand or be able to make use of a diagnosis that you received from a doctor practicing western medicine. Acupuncture is not just a different treatment modality, it is an entirely different way of looking at health and well-being. Some westerners view this alternate view of health as refreshing. Others feel lost when it becomes clear that they can’t cling to even the most rudimentary aspects of western medicine. But acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine have their virtues. For example, there are a number of ailments that western medicine can’t cure. Seasonal allergies are a good example of a pervasive health-related problem that western doctors cannot cure. If you go to a western doctor complaining of allergies, chances are, you’ll be sent to a “specialist” who will poke you with a lot of needles and then suggest drugs like Claritin (also known generically as loratadine). There are a variety of different allergy drugs on the market that your doctor might suggest, but all of them have side effects. Long term use of Claritin, for instance, can cause high blood pressure. A number of allergy medication can affect sexual function. Always read the fine print when your doctor suggests pharmaceuticals. In contrast, if you go to an acupuncturist, you’ll probably be given a short exam that will specifically involve a thorough, but brief look at your tongue. Then, you’ll be told to hold some little glass jars that contain the “essence” of a large variety of plants. Your acupuncturist will do a simple, non-invasive test using these plant essences to determine what you’re sensitive to. The acupuncture treatment for allergies is quick and easy even for people who are afraid of needles (there are needle-less options available for treatments as well). You... read more

Persistent Headache Causes That Might Surprise You

Years ago, when I was in high school looking to the future as a pre-med undergraduate in college, I perused a used bookstore with college textbooks and found a big orange and black book on diseases of the digestive system and proctology, in the throw-away bin. It was one volume of a set and since it was free, I decided to take it home. I never read the book cover-to-cover, but I did open it every now and then and read little snippets of information. One key piece of information that has been useful to me is the fact that digestive problems can cause headaches. When I first met my husband, he had chronic, painful headaches. He also had problems with diarrhea and constipation, alternating. Eventually, a doctor diagnosed him with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), but we never accepted that as a suitable diagnosis since there was no treatment for it. IBS seemed to be the type of disease that doctor’s diagnose when they don’t know what’s wrong with their patient, but can’t admit it. My husband and I went through a period of poverty following 9/11 and as a result, our eating habits changed. Since meat was expensive, we stopped eating so much of it. Instead, we ate a lot of beans and rice (or occasionally rice and beans). One day, we both looked at each other and realized that John’s IBS had all but disappeared. With some experimentation, we discovered that my husband was sensitive to beef. If he merely ate something that had touched beef, he would experience abdominal cramping and days on end of diarrhea alternating with constipation. Getting rid of the beef, changed his life. We became vegetarians. We paid more attention to how different foods and ingredients affected us. Over time, we discovered that trans fats (also known as mono- and di-glyerides as well as fractionated oils and a variety of other names meant to dupe consumers) caused both of us days of grief including stomach issues and headaches. After we discovered the woes that trans fats caused us, we cut them out of our diets, but occasionally, some would still sneak in. Then, we would have about 5 days of lethargy, headaches, tummy aches, and even a little depression. Little did I know, there were trans fats in my ibuprophen. I would take Advil (aka ibuprophen) to relieve my headaches. But the brand of ibuprophen that I bought contained the very thing... read more

What is a Healing Crisis?

We’ve been taught to believe that when our bodies feel good, we’re healthy and when our bodies feel bad, we’re sick, but this isn’t always the case.  A Healing Crisis, also known as a Detoxification Reaction or Herxheimer Reaction occurs when the body begins the natural process of healing itself. Toxins are released into the circulatory systems and rather than feeling better, a patient going through a Healing Crisis feels worse. That’s because the kidneys, skin, and digestive system can’t rid the body of the toxins fast enough, leaving them in circulation to cause nausea, fatigue, headaches, fever, and general malaise. Toxins that are released into circulation can come from a variety of different sources. A successful program designed to kill off excess candida in the body can lead to a Herxheimer Reaction when the yeast die in vast numbers releasing endotoxins into the body. This is known as a Candida Healing Crisis. When the body isn’t used to ridding itself of these endotoxins in large quantities, discomfort results. As the body gets healthier and becomes more accustomed to undertaking this process of detoxification, the Healing Crisis becomes less pronounced.   Most Common Symptoms Associated with the Healing Crisis: -Nausea and vomiting -Diarrhea -Increased Blood Pressure -Headaches -Fatigue -Night Sweats -Hot or Cold Flashes -Joint Pain   Other Healing Crisis Causes: A number of treatment modalities can set off a Healing Crisis. Reiki and acupuncture can both elicit a detox reaction associated with healing. Homeopathy and the act of fasting or juicing can also bring on this kind of reaction. A Herxheimer Reaction can take place in response to physical, emotional, or spiritual healing. Even certain hypnotherapy treatment methods can cause a Detoxification Reaction brought on by profound emotional healing. A change to your diet that includes foods that contain probiotics or coconut, or recently added herbal or vitamin supplements to your daily regime can bring on a Healing Crisis. Fasting and juicing can also elicit this sort of physical response, as well as psychotherapy, and other emotion-based treatments. If you find yourself in the throes of a major Healing Crisis, back off a little bit on the detoxification process. Drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest to facilitate the process and move past it to a healthier you.   Resources: Natural News HealthyLife Share... read more

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