California Governor Jerry Brown has signed new healthcare legislation that, for the first time, establishes no-cap Acupuncture health insurance benefits for California citizens. The new law is the state’s implementation of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), often called Obamacare.
Under the PPACA, the precise details about what constitutes “essential health benefits” was left up to individual states to determine, based on broad descriptions in the federal law. The new California law, titled California State Legislature Assembly Bill AB 1453, does just that – and described Acupuncture as an essential health benefit for pain and nausea, and possibly more conditions.
Other services defined as essential by the PPACA include:
Ambulatory patient services (outpatient care)
Hospitalization (hospital admission and confinement)
Tobacco smoking cessation
The PPACA stipulates that each state must base its choices for standard medical care on an existing health insurance plan in the state. California chose the Kaiser Permanente Small Group Agreement Plan 1637 Plan 3-N as its model. The PPACA also says that treatment limitations can’t exceed those in the chosen plan. This means that, like the Kaiser plan, the new California law doesn’t impose any cap on the maximum number of Acupuncture office visits per year.
All points covered in the new California law, including the Acupuncture terms, will be applied to all individual insurance policies, small group policies (50 or fewer employees), HMOs and PPOs in the state. The definition of small group policies will change in 2016 to companies with 100 or fewer employees.
The new law doesn’t apply to self-insured plans, large employers, and grandfathered plans (plans that were already in existence as of March 23, 2010, the day the PPACA was signed into law). Grandfathered plans that have had changes to benefits or costs since March, 2010, are not accepted as grandfathered plans and aren’t exempt from any of the new California law’s provisions.
If you or someone you know has wanted to get Acupuncture treatment, or more of it, now is the time!
Source: Continuing Education Online, October 10, 2012, http://www.healthcmi.com/index.php/acupuncturist-news-online/625-californiaacupunctureceushealthinsurancemonning
About 400,000 people in the U.S. suffer with multiple sclerosis (MS). The effects are often widespread and debilitating and it can significantly reduce a person’s lifespan. Unfortunately, the cause of MS is not known, and there is no known cure. Instead, drugs are used to try to manage the symptoms. Studies have shown Acupuncture to improve the quality of life for those who have MS but, according to a new case study, Acupuncture may even put MS into remission.
It is believed that MS is an autoimmune disease. Instead of defending the body from bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, autoimmune diseases cause the immune system to perceive parts of the body as invaders and to try to get rid of them.
With MS, the part of the body perceived as an invader is the myelin sheath – an insulating layer of fat and protein that covers the core of a nerve fiber and facilitates the transmission of nerve impulses . Almost always, this involves only the nerves in the brain and spinal column.
As the deterioration progresses, the symptoms get worse. They often start with vision problems – blurring, color distortion, pain in the eyes, or blindness in one eye. The visual symptoms may go away but are then followed by others:
- Limb weakness – which may include problems with coordination
- Muscle spasms
- Prickling pain
- Loss of sensation
- Speech impediments
- Inability to focus
- Memory loss
- Impaired judgment
- Emotional symptoms like mood swings (sometimes extreme) or paranoia
- Dysfunction of the sexual organs, bowel and bladder
- As you can see, MS is not easy to live with.
Earlier studies have shown that Acupuncture can relieve many of the symptoms/side effects – even six months after treatment.
But the current case study showed that a patient’s MS not only went into remission, but was still in remission at the time the study was published – 26 months after treatment. The patient had had MS for 20 years, and only 16 Acupuncture treatments to the scalp were required to produce these results.
If you know of someone suffering from MS, referral to an acupuncturist may be just what they need.
Source: Continuing Education Online, http://www.healthcmi.com/index.php/acupuncturist-news-online/676-scalpacupuncturemsremission
Feet Reflexology is the physical act of applying pressure to the feet with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques without the use of oil or lotion based on a system of zones and areas that reflect an image of the body feet. If you imagine a body superimposed over the soles of the feet, you can begin to understand the basis of reflexology.
Reflexologists work from the toes to the heels via a slow, gentle progression, reflexing the shoes, the sides, and the tops of the feet. They also work points on the lower leg. As these areas are worked, the receiver begins to relax, experiencing the stress-relieving effects immediately.
Advantages of Feet Reflexology
Feet reflexology has amazing benefits. Consistent, uniform sessions of reflexology create a receptive environment for whole health.
Reduce Stress – Pick up a magazine on stress today, within the first few lines, you’ll discover that disease and stress are closely connected. Each time a person overreacts to the experience of a negative stress factor, the proper flow of energy throughout the body is disrupted, allowing weakness to begin. Ultimately the body system may causes break somewhere in the proper function of the miraculous body. Reflexology treatment is a relaxation technique that reduces stress, keeping the immune system healthy.
Balance the Energy Flow – Congestion or blockages can occur throughout the body. An area become blocked or congested when the body overloads with toxins. Toxins are substances that interfere with homeostasis, interrupting the smooth flow of the body function. Some of these congested areas may be actual stressed regions found in the feet and stimulation through reflexology may break up this interference, allowing the energy to flow freely.
Improve Circulation – Have you ever noticed your feet when you have been sitting for a very long time? They might look puffy, swollen, or discolored because the circulation of blood in your body hasn’t been energized for a while. Reflexology is a powerful adjunct for improving circulation, along with whatever has been prescribed medically. It encourages oxygen, blood and lymph to move through the body, assisting in proper circulation. And also, regular sessions of reflexology help chronic circulatory issues.
Release Toxins – The oxygenated blood moves through the body via a system of arteries, and then veins bring the deoxygenated blood back up to the lungs and heart to begin the process again. Here, the law of gravity kicks in and many of the toxins that the blood may have picked up are dropped off in the feet. Feet reflexology in Temecula removes these toxic wastes by revving up the body to work smoothly and efficiently, flushing out the waste materials.
Stimulate the Body’s Own Healing Power – Reflexology affects every system, creating an environment for whole healing. It can also help you stay healthy, along with good eating habits, exercise and positive thinking. Even if you’re healthy, reflexology will support your continued growth health. The treatment gives a jump-start to a healthier lifestyle when needed.
With its amazing benefits, reflexology has come a long way! Integrative health practice is an integral part of healing today. Magazine articles often mention a condition that may be helped by working on a reflex point. Then why wait, find out your problem and cure it effectively and naturally.
For some people it is experienced as the uncomfortable sensation of “pins and needles” or burning pain (especially at night) of their hands or feet. Others may suffer even more extreme symptoms such as muscle wasting, paralysis, or organ or gland dysfunction.
With more than 100 types of peripheral neuropathies in existence, each with its own characteristic set of symptoms, pattern of development, and prognosis, the symptoms can vary as much as the cause. Nevertheless, Peripheral Neuropathy is a condition that can be treated with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy describes damage to the peripheral nervous system, which transmits information from the brain and spinal cord to every other part of the body.
In most cases, peripheral neuropathy is secondary to conditions including diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, alcoholism, nutritional deficiencies, AIDS, or poisoning from heavy metals, chemotherapy, or various drugs.
Other causes include compression or entrapment (carpal tunnel syndrome), direct physical injury to a nerve (trauma), penetrated injuries, fractures or dislocated bones, pressure involving superficial nerves (ulna or radial) which can result from prolonged use of crutches or staying in same position, tumor, intraneural hemorrhage, exposure to cold, radiation or atherosclerosis.
It is a syndrome which includes symptoms of numbness, tingling, pricking sensations, sensitivity to touch, burning pain, and muscle weakness and atrophy of the arms and legs. The feet and legs are likely to be affected before the hands and arms.
Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may include:
- numbness or insensitivity to pain or temperature
- a tingling, burning, or prickling sensation
- sharp, burning pain or cramps
- extreme sensitivity to touch, even a light touch
- loss of balance and coordination
- muscle weakness
- muscle wasting
These symptoms are often worse at night.
Many people have signs of neuropathy upon examination but have no symptoms at all.
How can acupuncture treat peripheral neuropathy?
Traditional Chinese medicine teaches that Peripheral neuropathy is due to dampness moving to the limbs, where it obstructs the flow of Qi (energy) and Blood within them. The treatment is twofold, to treat the underlying factor that is causing this dampness to accumulate and to directly facilitate the circulation of Qi and Blood in the affected area. By improving the circulation, the nerve tissues of the affected area can be nourished to repair the nerve functions and reduce pain.
Peripheral neuropathy is a symptom for many different patterns of disharmony within the body. Oriental Medicine aims to treat each individual uniquely depending on what caused the neuropathy and how it manifests.
Your acupuncturist may do an interview and ask questions about how, what, where and when you feel pain, perspire, sleep, eat, drink and exercise, to name a few. The practitioner may also feel the pulse and observing the tongue. This interview and physical examination will help create a clear picture on which your practitioners can create a treatment plan specifically for you.
In addition to acupuncture, other methods such as transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS), which uses small amounts of electricity to block pain signals, cutaneous acupuncture, herbal and physical therapy may be combined to achieve faster results.
What is Cutaneous Acupuncture?
Cutaneous Acupuncture is the use of acupuncture needles to stimulate an area superficially by tapping to promote the smooth flow of Qi and Blood.
The Plum blossom needle and the Seven-Star needle are special tools that are composed of a small bunch of needles attached to a handle like a hammer or broom. They are often used in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy. The affected area would be lightly tapped starting at the toes or fingers and then up the legs and arms.
Plastic, disposable plum blossom needles or seven-star needles are available for treatment at home.
What Points Are Used?
In treating peripheral neuropathy, acupuncture points on the affected area are used (treating the branch) as well as points on various parts of the body to treat the person according to their particular pattern (treating the root).
Each patient is custom-treated according to his or her specific and unique diagnosis. There are many acupuncture points on the hands and feet. Often the points will be chosen by which are the most tender to obtain the best results.
What will an Acupuncture Treatment feel like?
There seems to be little sensitivity to the insertion of acupuncture needles. They are so thin that several acupuncture needles can go into the middle of a hypodermic needle. Occasionally, there is a brief moment of discomfort as the needle penetrates the skin, but once the needles are in place, most people relax and even fall asleep for the duration of the treatment.
The length, number and frequency of treatments will vary. Typical treatments last from five to 30 minutes, with the patient being treated one or two times a week. Some symptoms are relieved after the first treatment, while more severe or chronic ailments often require multiple treatments.
What Lifestyle and Dietary Changes Should I Make?
Adopting healthy habits – such as maintaining optimal weight, avoiding exposure to toxins, following a physician-supervised exercise program, eating a balanced diet, correcting vitamin deficiencies, and limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption – can reduce the physical and emotional effects of peripheral neuropathy.
Consider relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, self-hypnosis or biofeedback. These can help you learn to control the external factors that trigger pain.
Finding the Right Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Practitioner
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine work! But your experience with acupuncture will depend largely on the acupuncturist and herbalist that you choose.
You want to find the right acupuncturist for you. If you like and trust your practitioner, your encounter with acupuncture will be more positive. You will also want to know about the acupuncturists training and experience and what to expect from the acupuncture treatment.
Decide in advance what your expectations are and discuss them with your acupuncturist. A chronic illness may need several months of acupuncture treatment to have a noticeable effect. If you are not happy with your progress, think about changing acupuncturists or check with your western doctor for advice about other options.
The clearer you are about who it is that is treating you and exactly what the treatment entails, the more you will be able to relax during the acupuncture session and benefit from this ancient form of health care.
It is estimated that 25.8 million men, women and children in the United States have diabetes. Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the risk for death is approximately twice that of persons of similar age without diabetes.
The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles. Complications of diabetes include heart disease, hypertension, eye problems, kidney disease, nervous system disease, periodontal disease, amputation, fatigue, depression, and complications during pregnancy.
In order to manage diabetes, it is essential for people to make healthy lifestyle choices in diet, exercise, and other health habits. Another important factor when treating diabetes is creating a support team of health care professionals. This support team may include your primary doctor, an eye doctor, nurses, a dietitian, and a licensed acupuncturist.
Acupuncture and herbal medicine have been used to treat diabetes for over 2000 years. A patient with ”Xiao Ke” or “wasting and thirsting disease” (the Traditional Chinese medical term for diabetes) is discussed in detail in the Nei Jing, a classic Chinese medical book written about 2,500 years ago. The patient is described as having symptoms of excessive hunger and thirst, frequent urination and rapid weight loss; all symptoms of diabetes.
Diabetes according to Traditional Chinese Medicine
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, diabetes is caused by an imbalance of the cyclical flow of Qi within the meridians and organ systems.
This particular imbalance produces heat that depletes the body’s fluids and Qi causing symptoms such as:
- Unexplained Weight Loss
- Excessive Thirst (Polydipsia)
- Excessive Urination (Polyuria)
- Excessive Eating (Polyphagia)
- Poor Wound Healing
- Blurry Vision
How Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Treats Diabetes
In treating diabetes, Oriental medicine offers a way to address each patient individually to eliminate the symptoms associated with diabetes and reduce the need for insulin. The practitioner may choose to use a variety of techniques during treatment including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, bodywork, lifestyle/dietary recommendations and energetic exercises. The treatment for diabetes will focus on regulating the circulation of blood and Qi and balancing the organ systems to improve pancreatic function and address internal heat and the depletion of fluids.
The acupuncture points used to treat diabetes are all over the body and on several meridians. A point on the back, called ‘Yishu’ (located on the back, lateral to thoracic vertebrae 8) is often used and has proven effective in recent studies published by the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine for controlling the function of the pancreas and blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Herbal medicine is an important component to the treatment of diabetes. Different formulas may be effective for different people, so practitioners may try several different approaches. Commonly used Chinese herbal formulas are Liu Wei Di Huang, and Da Bu Yin Wan. Studies have shown that American ginseng can improve glucose tolerance and is often added to herbal formulas. Other herbs are added to an herbal formula to treat complications of diabetes such as peripheral neuropathy and blurry vision.
Should I try acupuncture for diabetes?
When treating diabetes, acupuncture and Oriental medicine can assist the body to regain its normal healthy functioning. Add acupuncture and Chinese medicine to your arsenal when fighting diabetes!
The branch of far eastern Oriental medicine, Acupuncture has become popular all over the world during the past few decades. It has come up not only as an anaesthetic agent for all sorts of surgical procedures but also as a new approach to the conditions like sensorineural deafness, psoriasis, various of addictions and psychiatric problems. Besides being free from side effects, it is simple, safe, effective and economical.
Various physiological effects of acupuncture in California have been observed in human experimental subjects. Each effect is related with particular acupuncture points and the effects observed are both subjective and objective. Let’s discuss about the effects in detail,
- Pain at the place of needling is one subjective effect that can be overcome with the use of proper technique by a trained acupuncturist.
- Another important effect is the peculiar sensation i.e. the feeling of numbness, soreness, heaviness and distension.
- Analgesic Effect: This is achieved by raising the pain threshold. Analgesic effect is the physiological basis of acupuncture anaesthesia and also explains its beneficial effect in the painful disorders of the body.
- Psychological Effect: Sedation acupuncture also has calming and tranquilizing effect. This is thought to be mediated by its action on the mid-brain reticular formation and certain other parts of the brain. This effect may account for its effectiveness in conditions like Parkinsonism where there is decrease in dopamine content of the brain.
- Homeostatic Effect: It is a very vital effect which means adjustment of the internal environment of the body towards normality.
- Immunity Improving Effect: Acupuncture enhances immune action thereby the body resistance to fight against the diseases is increased. It is therefore, very useful in combating infections and when the prolonged antibiotic is warranted or in cases of resistance or hypersensitivity to antibiotics.
- Effects of Acupuncture on the Blood: It has been shown that acupuncture treatment leads to increase in R.B.C and W.B.C counts.
How does acupuncture work?
The answer for this is still not fully answered because acupuncture works in a variety of disorders and its action must therefore be varying with each type of pathology. But let’s discuss about the little research conducted to know the working principle of acupuncture. Acupuncture counteracts pain through neuromodulation. Nerve fiber stimulation begins at the needle-tissue surface, where local alterations in cytokines and inflammatory mediators lead to modulation of circulation and immune function in the immediate areas surrounding the site around the needle.
Overall, acupuncture is a simple, safe, effective and an economical method of therapy. The scientific basis of its action is being clarified to a considerable extent by modern research and its value in clinical medicine is today beyond reasonable doubt. This is the one which we should use it in our daily medical practice either alone, or to supplement the deficiencies of modern medicine.
The handling of a common cold with traditional western medicine relies heavily on pills and medications for attempted relief. Chinese medicine in conjunction with Acupuncture provides fortification against getting a cold and offers a set of things to do if you feel one coming on. Western medicine will tell you that getting a cold is all about unseen viruses and bacteria in our environment and that there is nothing you can do to prevent it. Chinese medicine says that knowing about the wind in the environment allows you to feel that a cold might be coming on and suggests ways of preventing its onset.
Acupuncture is good preventative medicine and regular treatments during the cold and flu season can help a person stay healthy throughout. This is especially important for anyone who get colds easily. Acupuncture helps to increase the white blood cell count in the body, and studies have shown this provides a good boost to the immune system.
According to Chinese Medicine theory, wind can enter the body and bring about symptoms. Under normal conditions, the body’s immune system known as wei qi (defensive qi) keeps the skin pores closed and the wind out. However, if a person is over-worked, over-stressed, is eating poorly and not appropriately dressed, this defensive qi is compromised. If this happens, the pores open and in comes either wind-cold or wind-heat. Knowing about these two wind symptoms will help prevent colds.
Wind-cold, the milder of these, appears when a cold is just starting and there are few heat symptoms. Here the bug on the wind is just sort of dancing on the skin to see if it can gain entry. Symptoms include sensitivity to cold, shivering, sneezing, cough, runny nose with white mucus, little to no fever, body aches, stiff neck, no sweating and no thirst. This is the time to load up on Vitamin C, drink room temperature water and drink miso soup with tofu and scallions. Taking a warm bath is good, but stay warm afterwards to help sweat off any pathogens. It is also a good time to get some Acupuncture to strengthen the immune system. Medicinal herbal teas are also recommended.
Often, a person who is not really aware of what to look for will miss the wind-cold symptoms and the symptoms of wind-heat will develop. These are sensitivity to wind, fever, sore throat, swollen tonsils, sneezing, body ache, cough, runny nose with yellow or green mucus, sweating and thirst. Now, plenty of rest and water are important. Keep the head and neck covered. Drink chrysanthemum flower teas. Avoid stimulating foods like spicy, greasy, fried foods and sugar. These foods create mucus and worsen the condition. And, when a sore throat hits and the glands of the neck begin to swell, get some Acupuncture to further bolster the immune system.
Get the jump on colds and flu this year with a trip to an acupuncturist and ask about the benefits of some Chinese herbs tailored to the needs of your body. That way, when the wind tries to get you and everyone you know seems to be coming down with something, you’ll be way ahead of the game in staying healthy all year long!
Source: Acupuncture.com. “External Wind and the Common Cold Explained.” July 2008.
A recent medical trial has found that Acupuncture helps relieve the symptoms of seasonal allergies, such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes. The study also found that Acupuncture was even more effective than popular antihistamine medication.
The study separated 442 patients who suffered from seasonal allergy symptoms into three groups – one to receive real Acupuncture, one to receive “sham” Acupuncture, and a third group to only take antihistamines “as needed”.
Over an eight-week period, both the real and sham Acupuncture groups had 12 sessions. Allergy symptoms were improved significantly in the real Acupuncture group, surpassing both the sham Acupuncture and medication-only groups.
Countless millions of doses seasonal allergy medications – both prescription and over-the-countrer – are taken by people looking for relief from annoying, and sometimes debilitating, allergy symptoms every year when tree, grass and weed pollens are blowing in the wind.
But not all those who take those drugs get relief, and many also suffer unwanted side effects. For these reasons, Acupuncture offers a particularly attractive alternative.
Treatment that desensitizes people from their reactions to allergens is also available. A growing number of alternative health practitioners are offering these proven new approaches, and many patients report they have permanently cured their allergies – not just hay fever and similar conditions, but also patients with chemical or food allergies. Ask your alternative healthcare provider for more information about these treatments.
If you’re tired from suffering with allergies, or would like to help someone in your family, speak with your acupuncturist about Acupuncture and other drug-free solutions.
Source: Annals of Internal Medicine, February, 2013, http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1583578
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been around for 2,000 years, treating all kinds of illnesses with a variety of medicines and methods. This method of treatment is founded on yin and yang, two opposing energies that must be balanced to attain proper health. Some examples of opposing energies are sadness and happiness, summer and winter, sky and earth. The qi or energy or life force within each body must attain the balance between yin and yang. Having too much or too little of qi in the body’s meridians or energy pathways causes illness.
Chinese Medicine dates back to 200 BCE, with its practices ranging from acupuncture to herbal medicine. The treatments, theories, and diagnosis of these methods have been refined in the last 2,000 years. Chinese immigrants all over the world still apply the techniques from traditional Chinese medicine in treating different illnesses.
Disease or illness, according to traditional Chinese Medicine, occurs when there is an imbalance of yin and yang. This imbalance is attributed to environmental causes, lifestyle choices, and even your inner emotions. Traditional Chinese Medicine remedies the effects of these through herbal medicine, acupuncture, Tui Na (a Chinese Massage), exercise with qi gong or tai chi, proper nutrition, acupressure, and moxibustion or an herb burning by the skin. These methods of Chinese Medicine regain the balance of qi as it flows through your different meridians or organ system.
A treatment facility such as Nature’s Grace Wellness Center will diagnose your illness by asking for your medical history, doing a physical exam on your hair, skin, and tongue, and other parts of the body. From there the practitioner will see which of your organ systems are affected by the imbalance. From there, she will assess the best treatment or a combination of the said treatments. Some of the conditions Chinese medicine has treated are obesity, depression, arthritis, back pain, high cholesterol, and fertility disorders.
Various researches are being done to strengthen the connections between acupuncture and infertility. Happily, results have been significant. Acupuncture is a safe alternative medicine that has been endorsed by health institutes all over the world, including the World Health Organization. If options for treating infertility were weighed, then acupuncture should definitely be included.
Many studies have validated the potency of acupuncture as a way of unlocking the body’s energy or qi. This translates to improved blood flow, regulation of hormones and, most importantly, relaxation and relief from stress and anxiety. Acupuncture has numerous physical and mental benefits that are conducive for infertility treatment.
Stress and Infertility
Research institutes have proven that stress can cause infertility among women. Stress produces the hormone cortisol, which affects fertility and the reproductive system. Simply put, the more stressed out a person is, the more cortisol is produced. In this fast-paced world, practically everyone is susceptible to this condition.
How Acupuncture Can Help
Acupuncture promotes relaxation mentally and physically. When the needles target specific centers in the nerves, stimulation occurs, allowing blood to flow more freely and readily around the body. When this happens, all cells within the body are nourished and rejuvenated, leaving people more refreshed and full of energy. The idea behind acupuncture is the activation of the body’s inner energy for self-healing. Acupuncture releases the potentials of the body to fully recover by its own means. After an acupuncture session, balance is restored in the body, improving performance and overall well-being.
The best acupuncture sessions are those administered by trained and professional acupuncturists. Nature’s Grace Wellness Center is home to four licensed acupuncturists who can give you outstanding service. More information about acupuncture for infertility can be found here. Let yourself be guided in this journey to self-improvement.
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