From Out of Nowhere

Last night, we lost power for a while around 11:30. Of course, that woke the twins, now 22 months old. As I was positioning our son for a diaper change, I felt a sharp pain on the right side of my back. I pulled part of the latissimus dorsi, right over the ribs. There was searing pain every time I moved my torso or took a breath. In the past two years, I have changed thousands of diapers, and there’s no way to estimate how many times I have lifted a child. But there it was: I injured myself during an activity I do many times a day. 

And that’s how it happens. No one plans on being hurt or getting sick. Regardless of how well you take care of your body, it’s vulnerable. Acupuncture is a great protective shield. It can help our bodies reach optimal health, decreasing the risk of illness and injury. And it can help our bodies recover from illness and injury faster, kicking our immune systems into high gear, improving circulation, and much more. 

If you’re looking to improve and protect your health, give us a call at 615-939-2787 or schedule on line at www.affinityacupuncture.com. We offer convenient evening hours three days a week a well as two Saturdays a month to help fit your busy lifestyle. 

Best Foot Forward

A lot of people have feet aversions. They sweat, they smell, they tickle, they hurt, and sometimes they pick up a fungus and itch and burn. Most of us will deal with athlete’s foot at some point in our lives, and not everyone will know how to choose the best course of action to treat it. Some will even ignore it for long periods before treatment, which makes it harder to actually cure the condition. 

With wet autumn weather, and the reintroduction of socks, it’s very important to take care of your foot health. A few simple things you can do to prevent athlete’s foot:
1) Take the time to dry between your toes!
2) Put on a fresh pair of socks after exercise or sweating, or if your feet get wet walking in the rain and snow. 
3) Let your feet breathe. Go barefoot for periods during the day. 
4) Avoid a diet high in sugar and fruit. 

For treatment of athlete’s foot: 
1) Vitamins, including A, E, and C stimulate the immune system and promote healthy skin. 
2) Garlic is a natural anti-fungal, and 2 capsules 2-3 times per day can help combat fungus like athlete’s foot. 
3) Probiotics help normalize the good and bad bio-flora in your system.
4) Essential fatty acids help the body heal from skin disorders. 
5) Topical application of tea tree oil. 

Affinity Acupuncture can also help restore your body to balance through acupuncture sessions at our Brentwood, TN location, and with the assistance of Traditional Chinese Medicine such as herbal remedies. 

Anti-Inflammatory Herbs

Hardly a day goes by that we don’t treat someone living with conditions related to chronic inflammation. In addition to regular acupuncture sessions, there are certain herbs that you can include in your diet to help reduce the inflammation that you are living with. These include:

Turmeric
Ginger
Cinnamon
Garlic
Cayenne
Black Pepper
Clove

Interested in learning more about how diet affects inflammation? We include nutritional counseling in our services. Call us at 615-939-2787 or schedule on-line at www.affinityacupuncture.com

Must-Have Teas

There are a few teas that we always have on hand: ginger, cinnamon, and mint. We never travel without ginger tea, which is an amazing source of relief for an upset (or overly full) stomach). Cinnamon tea is great for colds and allergies when you are producing white mucus, and mint is best when phlegm is yellow. 

Do You Have the Change in Season Blahs?

The leaves are starting to change in Nashville. Temperatures are cooling off, and people are transitioning to fall wardrobes. Pumpkins and squash are readily available, and Pinterest is full of seasonal recipes and crafts. 

The transition to fall, while beautiful with its rich colors, isn’t always easy on the body. With kids back in school, germs are being spread quickly. Changes in the barometric pressure affect a lot of individuals with chronic headaches. Shorter daylight hours can impact energy levels. Autumn allergies strike, causing runny noses and itchy eyes. 

Affinity Acupuncture offers a variety of treatments to help boost the immune system and decrease symptoms of colds, allergies, and fatigue. We offer nutritional counseling as well as acupuncture treatments and Traditional Chinese Medicine to help your body perform at its best. Did you go the whole summer without having a massage? We offer that as well, and yes, you deserve it. Call 615-939-2787 today, or book your appointments on-line. 

Acupuncture Boosts Energy For Chronic Fatigue Patients

From HealhCMI.com:

Acupuncture successfully alleviates chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Researchers discovered that the application of manual acupuncture or acupuncture with warming needle moxibustion significantly reduces “physical and mental fatigue.” As a result of the investigation, the research team concludes that acupuncture provides a significant “therapeutic effect in the treatment of CFS.” 

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that does not improve with rest and is exacerbated by physical and mental activity. Symptoms include exhaustion, weakness, musculoskeletal pain, poor memory and concentration, and insomnia.

Biomedicine does not identify a specific cause or cure for CFS and treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms. Lab tests and biomarkers specific to CFS are nonexistent. Several types of infections are considered risk factors for CFS including Epstein-Barr virus, human herpes virus 6, enterovirus, rubella, candida albicans, bornaviruses, mycoplasma, Ross River virus, coxiella burnetti and HIV. Sleep, antidepressant and pain relieving medications are often prescribed to patients to alleviate suffering.

Differential diagnostics within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) categorizes CFS into several treatable patterns. The researchers chose acupuncture points best suited for the treatment of CFS based on TCM theory. The manual acupuncture group received needling at acupoints:

Baihui (GV20)
Danzhong (CV17)
Qihai (CV6)
Guanyuan (CV4)
Zusanli (ST36)
Hegu (LI4)
Taichong (LR3)
Sanyinjiao (SP6)

The warm needle acupuncture with moxibustion group received acupoint needling at:

Baihui (GV20)
Qihai (CV6)
Guanyuan (CV4)
Zusanli (ST36)

Additionally, acupuncture treatment was administered to a third group to test for acupuncture point specificity. Nearby points were chosen between 1 - 2 cm from the real acupuncture points. This type of approach varies from high quality sham acupuncture testing for the placebo effect wherein needles only appear to penetrate the skin. In the nearby point group, the researchers applied true acupuncture needling but not in the classic, exact locations as indicated in TCM:

Baihui (GV20)
Danzhong (CV17)
Qihai (CV6)
Guanyuan (CV4)
Zusanli (ST36)
Taichong (LR3)
Sanyinjiao (SP6)
Hegu (LI4)

Needling was applied to the points for all three groups at a rate of once per day for a total of twenty days. CFS was evaluated based on the Chalder Fatigue Scale, a fourteen item breakdown of symptoms. The nearby point group did show improvements in the physical score but only the manual acupuncture and warm needle moxibustion groups significantly improved in the physical and mental fatigue scores. The physical score was overwhelmingly better in the warm needle acupuncture group than the other groups.

The nearby point needling group scored the lowest with a patient satisfaction rate of 35.7%. The acupuncture with warm needle moxibustion group scored the highest with a 72.7% patient satisfaction rate. This group achieved very high scores in both physical and mental improvements. The manual acupuncture group achieved a 36.2% effective rate.

These results point to the superiority of warm needle moxibustion for the treatment of CFS for the point selections in the study design. Interestingly, CFS responds to nearby point stimulation for physical issues as long as the points are within 1 - 2 cm of the true acupuncture point, however, the results are nowhere near as effective as true acupuncture with moxibustion.

This type of testing has come under great scrutiny because TCM theory states that the so-called nearby points may be either Ah Shi acupuncture points or acupoints that stimulate relevant acupuncture channels. Nonetheless, this is an intriguing study that was able to get clinical results with three different clinical protocols. The significant success of warm needle moxibustion in achieving positive patient outcomes suggests that additional research into this approach to care is warranted.

A related study finds acupuncture 80.0% effective for the treatment of CFS. However, adding interferential current therapy to the treatment protocol raises the total effective rate to 93.3%. The complete recovery rate also benefitted from interferential therapy. Standard acupuncture protocols achieved a 20.0% total recovery rate within 20 acupuncture treatments for CFS patients in this acupuncture continuing education investigation. Adding interferential current therapy (ICT) increased the total recovery rate to 43.3%. The researchers conclude, “Electroacupuncture plus ICT can produce a remarkable efficacy in treating CFS.” 

The Hubei University of Chinese Medicine study employed electroacupuncture protocols. Deqi was elicited using even reinforcing-reducing methods. Next, the needles were retained for 20 minutes. Based on individual patient diagnostics, between four and six acupuncture points were given electroacupuncture stimulation using a sparse-dense wave to a perceptibly tolerable intensity level. Acupuncture points needled in the study were:

GV20 (Baihui)
CV4 (Guanyuan)
CV6 (Qihai)
BL25 (Xinshu)
BL18 (Ganshu)
BL13 (Feishu)
BL20 (Pishu)
BL23 (Shenshu)
PC6 (Neiguan)
HT7 (Shenmen)
SP6 (Sanyinjiao)
ST36 (Zusanli)

A total of 5 - 7 of the acupoints were chosen for each patient using filiform needles of 0.30 mm diameter and 40 mm length to depths ranging from 1 - 1.3 cun. A total of 10 sessions comprised one course of care and two courses of care were administered.

A stereo dynamic interferential electrotherapy device was used for the ICT. Two groups of 4 X 4 cm electrodes were applied with a 5 kHz frequency. One group of electrodes was applied to the trapezius muscles and the other group was applied to the spine between acupuncture points BL15 and BL23. Intensity levels were set to patient tolerance levels wherein tingling could be felt at the site of the electrodes. ICT was applied for a total of 30 minutes per each treatment. A total of 10 ICT treatments comprised one course of care. Two courses of care were administered. A complete recovery was defined as all major symptoms and complications were completely resolved, the patient returned to a normal social life, and the patient returned to a normal work life and schedule. Achieving a total effective rate of 93.3% and a total recovery rate of 43.3% with acupuncture combined with ICT demonstrates that acupuncture plays an important role in the treatment of CFS. Furthermore, ICT demonstrates an important synergistic action when combined with acupuncture therapy.

Plum-tastic

Sadly, we are approaching the end of season for delicious stone fruits. Fortunately, plums (along with apricots, nectarines, and peaches) are still readily available at local farmer’s markets, and offer great benefits - especially for women’s health. Plums help to increase iron absorption, which is very important for women, especially women who are pregnant or new moms. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to give your body a boost while these juicy treats are still available.

Good News for Arthritis Sufferers

From HealthCMI: 

Acupuncture Calms Arthritis Pain, Increases Mobility

on 19 September 2014.

Acupuncture reduces pain and improves functional mobility for patients with osteoarthritis. Researchers from the University of Manitoba, Canada, conducted a meta-analysis of 12 trials consisting of 1,763 patients with osteoarthritis. All trials compared true acupuncture with sham acupuncture, conventional treatments and no treatments. The study finds acupuncture effective in reducing pain intensity levels, increasing mobility and improving quality of life scores. A subgroup analysis reveals that patients receiving acupuncture treatments for intervention periods greater than 4 weeks have greater reductions in pain intensity levels than patients receiving acupuncture over a shorter duration of time.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects millions of people worldwide. It affects joints in the body including the hands, lower back, neck, knees and hips. This type of arthritis is often associated with ‘wear and tear’ degeneration of joint cartilage over time. Risk factors include aging, diabetes, injuries, gout, hypothyroid conditions and obesity. Symptoms and signs include pain, lack of flexibility and bone spurs.

Conventional treatments include medications to control pain and inflammation, physical therapy, occupational therapy, cortisone and hyaluronic acid derivative injections, and joint replacement surgery. The Mayo Clinic staff notes on their website that studies show acupuncture, Tai Chi and yoga may help reduce osteoarthritis pain and improve mobility. This University of Manitoba study confirms that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis. 

The researchers cite several modern investigations finding acupuncture effective for the treatment of several types of pain related conditions including fibromyalgia, lower back pain and osteoarthritis. Their investigation also cites studies demonstrating that acupuncture is a cost-effective treatment and is a “safe non-pharmacological treatment of musculoskeletal pain.” The researchers note, “we found acupuncture administered to adults with osteoarthritis to be associated with a statistically significant reduction in pain intensity, improved functional mobility and improved health-related quality of life.”

The researchers note that the most common acupuncture points used for the sample size of 1,763 patients were ST36, ST34, Xiyan, GB34, and SP9. Other acupuncture points include SP10, ST40, LV3, ST44, GB29, SP5, DU20, BL60, GB43, GB30, and extra points including EX31, EX32, and EXLE5. Most studies included manual acupuncture techniques to evoke de qi at least once during each treatment period. De qi is a combination of bodily sensations induced by acupuncture needling combined with physiological responses to the stimulation. De qi sensation is often described as dull, heavy, deep pressure, pulling, numb, aching, spreading, radiating, electrical, refreshing, relieving and tingling.

Huazhong University of Science and Technology researchers measured de qi’s relationship to changes in blood flow, tissue displacement, myoelectricity and brain MRI signals. They note “intrinsic change(s) of (the) human body” are induced by de qi during acupuncture. The team added that the “de qi elicited significant response(s) to acupuncture in (the) specific brain regions….” Other researchers note that achieving de qi at acupuncture points elicits distinctly different cortical responses than at non-acupuncture points. Specific acupuncture points demonstrate a consistent and unique ability to stimulate specific brain regions upon de qi stimulation. By contrast, non-acupuncture points did not induce unique responses. Researchers from the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Medimar International Hospital and the European Foundation of TCM performed a meta-analysis of the medical implications of de qi. The findings suggest a direct correlation between ancient acupuncture techniques and improved positive patient outcomes. 

The osteoarthritis researchers at the University of Manitoba note studies showing that, “Electrical needle stimulation can enhance the effects of acupuncture.” This study only examined manual acupuncture and excluded electro-acupuncture to eliminate electrical stimulation as a variable. The sorting process was stringent and excluded non-randomized studies and studies wherein superficial needling was used as part of the sham acupuncture techniques. The researchers found 14,449 relevant citations and sifted this number down to 12 unique trials of 1,763 patients to ensure that only quality studies were examined in the meta-analysis.

Several important strengths become apparent. First, manual acupuncture without any additional electrical stimulation is effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Acupuncture was found both safe and effective in the quality studies reviewed. Additionally, acupuncture was found cost-effective for the treatment of osteoarthritis.

The findings are not unique. For example, research published in Rheumatology, one of the Oxford Journals, concludes that “Sham-controlled RCTs suggest specific effects of acupuncture for pain control in patients with peripheral joint OA (osteoarthritis). Considering its favourable safety profile acupuncture seems an option worthy of consideration particularly for knee OA.” That study examined 18 randomized controlled trials of both manual and electro-acupuncture. The wide body of research supporting the use of acupuncture for the treatment of osteoarthritis as a safe and cost-effective modality suggests that further integration into biomedical settings and protocols is warranted.

- See more at: http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1365-acupuncture-calms-arthritis-pain-increases-mobility#sthash.BPJnEqTM.dpuf

The Health Benefits of Leeks

Leeks are in season! This versatile vegetable is great for seasonal soups, sautees, and braises as the weather is turning cooler. Leeks are rich in Vitamin K, which helps in blood coagulation and binding calcium to bones and other tissues. 

Vitamin K is fat-soluble, so it’s best to prepare leeks with a small amount of oil or animal fat. If you’re looking for new side dishes, clean and slice some leeks, then saute them over a low heat with mushrooms and cubed squash or new potatoes, which are also in season. 

The Secret to Better Mornings?

For many of us, a cup of coffee is as much a part of the morning routine as brushing our teeth. By the time we’ve started our morning commute, the caffeine has kicked in, and we’re ready to take on the day. Two hours later (if not sooner) many of us are feeling sluggish again and pouring the next cup. 

Coffee itself is not a bad thing - in fact, it has some great antioxidant benefits and may even reduce the risks of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Excessive consumption can be problematic, though, especially in how dehydrating coffee is. And if you’re buying special brews from coffee shops, it can take a real toll on the wallet and waistline (there are 48g of sugar in a very popular coffee beverage that is available in the fall…).

There’s something you can do as a more effective wake up in the mornings than a cup of coffee:

Drink 8-16 oz. of water. 

Your brain is primarily made up of water. Our bodies are dehydrated in the mornings. Having a glass of water before your coffee or tea helps replenish the body and refresh all of the systems. Adding a slice of lemon also adds some great antioxidant benefits and flavor benefit.