Complementary Medicine

5 Ways Acupuncture Can Fix Your Health Problems

If you are struggling from any of these ailments, BCA can help you out with $20 treatments to get you better, faster!

http://www.menshealth.com/health/5-ways-acupuncture-can-fix-your-health-problems

Here Comes Change. Acupuncture Can Help!

When seasons change, acupuncture can help!
Our treatments are always $20 ($30 for the first visit).

http://acutakehealth.com/here-comes-change-acupuncture-can-help

Can acupuncture help the common cold and flu viruses?

by Mary Vincent, L.Ac.
There are several weeks to months from fall to spring when we have a large number of people calling in to report the onset of various cold and influenza strains, asking if we might be able to provide some relief from the uncomfortable symptoms and to shorten the duration of the illness. While western medicine has some measures to help protect and ward off flu viruses, it has no means at this time to assist in fighting off cold viruses. Since Traditional Chinese Medicine has been treating cold and flu symptoms for thousands of years, treatments for colds and flu viruses include acupuncture points and herbal formulas that not only help lessen the specific symptomology of the presenting illness, but additionally improve one’s own immune system and lend a hand with certain antiviral properties (many antiviral herbs are commonly used in China, not only by the general population, but by medical doctors and in regularly in their hospitals). It is the acupuncture treatment itself that boosts the body’s own immune system functions, making it more effective in targeting and destroying viruses, while many of the herbs in the formulas used for the common cold and flu viruses have specific antiviral properties to aid and speed up the healing process. Both acupuncture and herbs are also effective in targeting specific symptoms, to help provide quicker relief from common cold and flu symptoms.

What exactly is the difference between a common cold and flu virus?
Common colds are mild, viral upper respiratory infections that are associated with rhinitis(inflammation of the mucous membrane in the nasal cavity), laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx, or voice box), pharyngitis (inflammation at back of throat) and sometimes tonsillitis [...]

Chronic Pain-the Paradox and the Approach

by Nicole Murray, L.Ac.
Every day at Beach Community Acupuncture, we treat many patients for chronic pain, a phenomenon that is widely misunderstood. Pain specialist Elliot Crane explains in this TED talk that most of us think of pain as a symptom of an injury or disease, which is correct-for some people. He goes on to tell us that in about 10 percent of cases, the pain persists after the patient has recovered from the injury or event. In this case, pain becomes a distinct disease with measurable changes to nerves that get worse over time.
With acute pain, chemical and electrical signals relay information from nerve endings to the brain. This helps to ensure that we are aware of injury and the need to take care of ourselves, as well as to avoid harm (if you get burned once, you probably won’t intentionally put your hand in the fire again). With chronic pain, these “pain signals go on for weeks, months, or even years.” (NIH). The signals continue to go off after the injury is resolved-it’s like malfunctioning circuitry. This is different from cases in which there is a direct cause of the pain, such as arthritis, or overuse- where a job demands too much of the body (for example, hairdressers with wrist pain).
The National Institutes of Health provides some facts about chronic pain:
▪ Due to its persistence, chronic pain can cause major problems in every aspect of a person’s life, and is frequently resistant to many medical treatments. A person may even have two or more coexisting chronic pain conditions. Among the most common pain challenges for Americans are headaches, low back pain, arthritis pain, cancer pain, and nerve and [...]

Multiple Sclerosis

by Mary Vincent, L.Ac.
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system in which the person’s own immune system attacks the protective covering (myelin sheath) that surrounds their nerves. This myelin sheath is crucial to proper functioning of the nervous system, including the speed and accuracy of messages sent between the brain and the body. When damage occurs to the myelin sheath and proper brain-body communication is disrupted, the resulting impact on the nervous system can include a variety of symptoms, depending on which nerves are being attacked. These symptoms can range from mild to severe, can vary from person to person, and may include:
▪ Tingling, numbness, weakness in the face, body, or extremities.
▪ Blurry vision, double vision, eye pain, or colors that suddenly appear dull.
▪ Nerve pain like an “electric shock” when moving the neck (particularly bending it forward).
▪ Fatigue
▪ Dizziness
▪ Tremors
▪ Muscle spasticity
▪ Unsteady balance or gait
▪ Itching
▪ Headaches
▪ Speech or swallowing problems
▪ Declining bladder and bowel function

The above symptoms are often exacerbated when the body is warmer than usual, such as in hotter climates or during exercise. Most people will have periods of relapse and remission with their symptoms, in which their particular symptoms will flare up for days or weeks at a time, followed by a partial or complete improvement of these same symptoms for months to years. In at least 60% of people with MS, the disease course will eventually progress with less frequent remissions and a steady worsening of symptoms (known as secondary-progressive MS). A small percentage of individuals with MS will experience a gradual onset of symptoms and a steady progression of the [...]

Can Acupuncture Help Fibromyalgia?

by Mary Vincent, L.Ac.
Fibromyalgia is a common disorder of the central nervous system which manifests as a vast array of physical and emotional symptoms in the affected individuals. It affects more than 5 million people in the US alone, is more likely to occur in adults between 20 and 50 years old, and is far more common in women than men. There is no specific medical test that can detect fibromyalgia, but rather it is diagnosed based on the following criteria:
▪ Widespread body pain which presents as a specific and recognizable pattern in those affected. This includes having pain in all 4 quadrants of the body (both sides of the body and above and below the waist), and tenderness at at least 11 out of 18 specific trigger points. It can also be associated with an increased sensitivity to light and sound. The majority of people with fibromyalgia find themselves very stiff after sleeping or prolonged inactivity (this typically improves with movement). Pain can often be worse in cold and damp weather and during times of increased stress
▪ Difficult or disordered sleep patterns, often referred to as non-restorative sleep (one sleeps “lightly” and does not wake feeling rested or refreshed).
▪ Memory problems and/or difficulty concentrating.
▪ Significant and ongoing fatigue.
Other symptoms and coexisting disorders often found with fibromyalgia include:
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome
• Interstitial Cystitis
• Anxiety and/or depression
• Chronic tension headaches and/or migraines
• Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
• Tingling of the hands and feet
• Painful menstrual cycles
The causes of fibromyalgia remain unclear, and there is no known cure for the disorder. Symptoms are typically managed with a wide variety of over the counter and [...]

Acupuncture and Weight Loss

By Mary Vincent, L.Ac.

Happy 2015, everyone! The new year is here and, as you might guess, the #1 question we are asked every January is “Can acupuncture help me lose weight?”. The answer, of course, really depends on how motivated you are to change your habits. If you are looking for acupuncture as a quick fix to losing weight, then of course, just like any quick fix weight loss solution, it’s not going work for you. There are no magic points that will somehow amazingly help you shed pounds with no additional effort. What we do find, however, is that many individuals benefit from adding acupuncture as an adjunct therapy while simultaneously modifying their diet and boosting their daily exercise. Since the endorphins released during acupuncture are helpful in reducing one’s stress response and elevate the mood, it helps many to control their impulse to eat or overeat when stressed, and can also help take the edge off grouchiness and cravings for sugar that can occur in the beginning of cleaning up one’s diet.

If you do an internet search of acupuncture for weight loss you will find most information surrounding the use of 5 specific points located in the ear (shen men, stomach, spleen, hunger/appetite, and endocrine). This specific treatment protocol will come up often due to a Korean study published in 2013 that specifically included these 5 auricular points. For 8 weeks, study participants received either 5 points in the ear, 1 point in the ear, or no points (sham acupuncture). The study concluded that participants who had received 5 ear points had a 6.1% overall reduction in weight, compared to 5.7% for the 1 point group and 0% for the sham group. [...]

Acupuncture and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

by Mary Vincent, L.Ac.

Many people have been turning to acupuncture for chronic digestive issues, with especially good outcomes for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a common, chronic condition that affects the large intestine, causing uncomfortable symptoms which include:

Constipation and/or diarrhea (can alternate between both)
Bloating and gas
Abdominal pain and cramping

 

A diagnosis of IBS is given based on the presence of the above symptoms, but without bloody stools, weight loss, or inflammation so severe that it causes discernible changes in the tissue of the large intestine. If you present with the above symptoms, your doctor may run tests to rule out other diseases (e.g., stool sampling tests, blood tests, and x-rays). If something more serious is suspected, you may also undergo a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Contrary to more serious gastrointestinal disorders, there is no increased risk of colon cancer with IBS. While the symptoms that do exist can be ongoing, they are rarely severe, though they can cause enough physical discomfort or embarrassment to interrupt one’s regular daily activities. Currently, there is no known cause of IBS, though there has been some speculation that it may be caused by incorrect signals to the bowel from the brain. It is recognized that it is common to have an IBS flare up after stressful life events or a gastrointestinal illness, and it is more common among those who suffer from anxiety or depression.

IBS typically affects people younger than 45, and is about twice as common in women as in men.

How does acupuncture help?

A great number of acupuncture points exist on areas of the body that correspond with many large nerve branches of the peripheral nervous system (the part of the nervous system that [...]

Hypertension

by Mary Vincent, L.Ac.
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is one of the most common disorders seen today. The harder the heart has to work to pump blood through the arteries, especially if those arteries are clogged or narrowed, the higher your blood pressure will be. This can ultimately damage the heart.
The blood pressure is read by two specific measurements, the systolic pressure (greatest force of blood during contractions when the heart beats) and diastolic pressure (the least force occurring when the heart relaxes between beats). A normal, healthy blood pressure reading at rest would be between 100-140 mmHg for systolic pressure and 60-90 mmHg for diastolic pressure. In other words, healthy blood pressure is anywhere from 100/60 mmHg to 140/90 mmHg.
There are two types of hypertension:
Primary hypertension (also called essential hypertension):
This is the most common type of hypertension, accounting for 90-95% of cases. There is often no known cause found in the individual, and it tends to develop slowly over many years. Primary hypertension goes easily undetected, as individuals typically display no symptoms, even while damage is occurring to their heart and vessels (including vessels of the eyes, brain, and kidneys). Often referred to as the “silent killer,” it is important to check your blood pressure regularly (every year or two for those with past healthy readings, and more often if you tend to border on the high end of a normal reading). Risk factors that make a person more likely to develop hypertension include:
▪ Age: The arteries tend to harden as we age
▪ Genetics: Men, African Americans, and those with a family history of hypertension are at greater risk.
▪ High stress levels
▪ Obesity: Excess weight means excess blood volume to [...]

ME and Chronic Fatigue

by Nicole Murray, L.Ac.

You know that feeling when you’re getting sick with the flu? Remember feeling exhausted, achy, chilled and feverish, and being unable to concentrate? And how you just sleep and sleep but still feel severely tired when you wake up?
For people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (more accurately called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or ME), this is a fair description of their daily life for months, years, or even decades. People with ME suffer debilitating, severe tiredness that is not relieved by rest, for a minimum of six months.
The 2012 ICC Physician’s Primer calls ME a “severe, complex neurological disease that affects all body systems. ME is more debilitating than most diseases.” Researchers are looking at a variety of causes. One theory is that viral infection is responsible-symptoms often occur after a flu-type infection. Another is that there is inflammation in the nervous system, due to a faulty immune system response.

Signs and symptoms include:
* Severe fatigue that comes on suddenly, especially after the flu
* Low grade fever and chills
* Sore throat and swollen lymph glands in the neck or armpits
* Muscle and joint aches, without any swelling
* Muscle Weakness
* Irritability
* Headaches
* Sleep that doesn’t feel refreshing
* Not being able to concentrate or remember
* Mood changes
Diagnosis is made by:
* Absence of other causes of chronic fatigue (such as drug dependence, infections, endocrine diseases, problems in a major organ, or psychiatric illnesses)
* At least four ME-specific symptoms
* Extreme, long-term fatigue
Several factors can increase risk of ME. Stress plays a role, as is the case with most chronic diseases. Age is relevant, as ME most commonly affects people in their 40s [...]