Sick of Antibiotics? Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs Can Help

A lot of people come into my office who have taken a lot of antibiotics.

Often it’s for a sinus infection, which mostly resolves, followed by another sinus infection, and so on. Sometimes it’s for a urinary tract infection that does the same thing.

This happens easily with antibiotic treatment. The overt symptoms get better, but something is not quite right afterward. There’s some residual congestion, or you just feel a little foggy-headed and “off”. With a bladder infection, there may be some lingering feelings of pressure, or cloudy urination.

Then the next infection comes more easily, and the not-quite-right afterwards gets a little worse every time. Continue reading

Get Ahead of Your Allergies

Anyone who has seasonal allergies knows: if spring is coming, so is pollen season.

If you’re looking for an alternative this year to the usual round of antihistamines, inhalers, and other drug therapies, Chinese medicine is a very effective way to get allergy relief. And right now — before allergy season really kicks in — is the best time to get started.

Chinese medicine, like Western medicine, sees allergies as an imbalance in the immune system. Western medicine describes this as an over-reaction to a minor irritant. Chinese medicine sees it as a weakness of the Wei Qi (pronounced “way chee”) — the protective layer at the surface of the body that keeps out foreign substances. Continue reading

Chinese Medicine and the Swine Flu

Have you gotten the swine flu (H1N1) yet? I haven’t, but I bet most of us know someone who has. Predictions were right, that this flu is very contagious and widespread; fortunately, it seems to be less deadly than originally feared. Nonetheless, it is a serious, and very unpleasant, illness, and there is still a lot of flu season ahead of us.

Chinese medicine is well-positioned to help with flu outbreaks; China has suffered through some extremely deadly plagues in its history, and many famous doctors dedicated their lives to developing treatments for the epidemics that devastated their families and communities. Continue reading

9 Ways to Boost Your Immunity

Fall is always the time of year when colds and flu begin to spread; but this year, thanks to the infamous swine flu, it’s being talked about more than ever. The whole thing may be overblown, but it’s certainly a good year to take care of your health.

Chinese medicine has a lot to offer in terms of immunity and prevention (in large part because of the history of terrible plagues in China when the medicine was being developed). If you are concerned about your immune functioning, consider using acupuncture and herbal treatments to boost your resistance. And, try the suggestions below to keep your body’s natural defenses going strong:

  1. Cut back on sugar, especially refined sugars: studies show that immune functioning is compromised for up to 5 hours after consuming even a small amount of sugar – in part because it interferes with the absorption of Vitamin C.
Continue reading

Acupuncture for Asthma

More than 20 million Americans, or 1 in 15 people, suffer from asthma. People with asthma experience wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and/or chest tightness in response to a number of possible triggers.

Symptoms of an asthma attack are usually controlled by a steroid inhaler; many people also take other medications to reduce the frequency of episodes. While often effective, Western medications for asthma have a number of short-term side effects as well as possible long-term health consequences, and many people are interested in other, non-drug approaches.

Acupuncture and herbs can be very helpful both in alleviating acute symptoms and preventing future asthma attacks. Continue reading

Treating Asthma in Children

Asthma is becoming increasingly common in children, and many parents struggle with decisions about medication and its effect on their childrens’ health.

Acupuncture and pediatric massage can be helpful in controlling asthma symptoms and decreasing inhaler use. Children respond very well to extremely thin, tiny needles; non-insertive techniques are also available, and parents can learn massage techniques to use at home.

Dietary changes can also make a big difference for children with asthma. Chinese medicine especially suggests decreasing phlegm-producing foods such as dairy, peanut butter, fried foods, sugar, and too much raw cold food.

For more on asthma in general, see the above post! Continue reading

Acupuncture for Sinus Infection

We all know the symptoms: stuffy nose, pressure and pain in the sinuses, post-nasal drip, irritated throat and coughing, clogged ears, and that foggy, heavy, can’t-taste-or-smell feeling in the head (one person described to me as having his brain sealed in a tupperware).  Sinus infections can start with a stubborn cold or allergies, and in bad cases can go on for months.  Even antibiotics often don’t help.

Acupuncture can help drain the sinuses by loosening mucus and stimulating movement in the head.  More importantly, it can strengthen the body’s ability to dissolve phlegm, fight infection, and rebuild strength. Points are chosen to relieve sinus pressure, strengthen the spleen to reduce phlegm, and boost the immune system.  Continue reading