Category Archives: Acupuncture

Solving the Mystery of Your Health Concerns with Chinese Medicine


 

Are you sick, yet don't know why? Find out how Chinese medicine can help

Solving the Mystery of Your Health Concerns with Chinese Medicine

Are you SICK, yet don’t know WHY? Are you currently suffering from a physical or mental ailment that you are having difficulty resolving? Is the cause unexplainable according to western medicine? Are you interested in understanding how Chinese medicine can help you?

As a Registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner (R.TCMP) and acupuncturist (R.Ac), my goal is to address people’s health concerns, source the root cause of ‘dis-ease’, and help you discover your own healing potential. Common ailments that respond well to acupuncture and Chinese medicine include physical pain and acute injury, mental and emotional stress, repetitive strain injuries, digestive/bowel upset, common cold, seasonal allergies, mild to moderate nausea, migraines, neck tension/pain, backaches, and joint pain. Sometimes, a condition that is acute (less than 3 months), can usually be resolved quite quickly (within 1-3 treatments) with acupuncture and Chinese medicine. If related to physical pain, certain acupuncture points that help to relax tight, sore muscles and reduce inflammation in the local and adjacent areas are primarily used.

Some people present with more chronic conditions that may include multiple symptoms. In these cases, it is important to address each of your health concerns but to start with the most acute concerns first – one must address the flames before rebuilding and renewal can begin. Conditions such as irregular menstruation, hormonal imbalance, acne, infertility, pregnancy and postpartum complications, chronic pain, anemia, fatigue, depression, diabetes, weight management, digestive concerns, heart and lung diseases, neurological and movement disorders, as well as many types of cancer may fall into this category.

For these more chronic health concerns, treatment strategy can require a more complex analysis to truly understand the nature of the ailment. Here is where Chinese medicine and its elaborate system of physical pattern identification truly excels in discovering the root of the matter. While Traditional Chinese Medicine does not depend on western medical diagnoses, it can be used to provide further information to the practitioner to understand how a particular condition is manifesting within the body.  After a detailed analysis of the presenting symptoms, a Chinese medical practitioner looks for and analyses the current status of the body structures and systems. This is done through a detailed health intake that the TCM practitioner uses to analyse many factors including energy level, digestion, urination, bowel movement, skin and hair changes, sleep patterns, food intake, female and male hormonal cycles, respiratory, circulatory, immunological function as well as emotional and and neurological factors, lifestyle factors, and any other significant life events.

Finally the rate and quality of the wrist pulses on both sides are taken to confirm the pattern identification and see how deep the condition has manifested (e.g. skin level, muscular level, bone and/or blood level).  Patterns that are closer to the exterior are generally faster to resolve, while patterns manifesting at a deeper level will require more effort from both patient and practitioner to successfully resolve.

A tongue picture is also taken via photo and/ or visual observation to better understand the current and changing nature the disease. Looking at the quality, shape, colour of the tongue root and tongue coating can provide a better understanding of how the inner organs also present. The tongue is an outer organ that can reflect what the inner organs are also dealing with.

While this system of pattern identification is very detailed and elaborate, it provides an amazingly common-sense analysis of the body and how it is currently functioning.  With proper diagnosis according to Chinese medicine, you are offered the opportunity to really understand the nature of your ailment and learn how to effectively address your health concerns. A combination of acupuncture, moxabustion and heat therapy, Chinese medicinal herbs, diet, and lifestyle modification as well as an introduction to practises such as Qigong may well set you on your path to healing.

So how do you get started on this incredible healing process with Chinese medicine?

A seasoned practitioner can help you identify the WHY or the cause of your main health concern from the vantage of what is going on in your body and how it has responded to your surroundings and life events. It is not uncommon for physical concerns to be rooted in a physical or emotional event that was traumatic and internalized in some way. Some concerns can be explained by genetics. Even gestation and birth can have an influence on an individual’s current health, as the lifestyle and environmental factors of our parents directly impact us during this period of physical connection from within the mother’s womb. Other conditions may be directly impacted by constant stress in the home or at work, as well as environmental and dietary exposure. In these cases lifestyle modification may need to be carefully considered and addressed.

When you are unclear of what is going on, there is often much insight to be gained by spending even just a few minutes to reflect on your past and current situation and or habits, and to ask yourself the following questions:

1. What bothers me physically, mentally, emotionally? What triggers have led me to this state? What other factors have contributed to my current ability to cope with this condition? What can I do now/future to feel better/improve my chances of recovery?

2. Where do I hold normally hold my stress/ feel the most discomfort?

3. How do I think this condition arose? How does it affect my daily life and future goals? How can I make positive changes to improve my health/situation?

4. When did I first experience these symptoms? When (e.g. time of day/month/season, before or after sleep/an activity) are the symptoms most aggravated? Alleviated?

5. Who is contributing positively/negatively to my current state of health? Who do I think would be best suited to help me in the healing process? Who can I go to ask for more help?

6. Why – this is what we hope to help you discover with time and the right information!

7. Other contributing factors? Investigate any previous health history and other medical conditions (e.g. previous head concussions, muscle/ligament injuries, bone fractures, nerve entrapment, viruses, STDs, fungi/parasites, chronic physical or physiological ailments, irregular production of hormone and/or irregular hormonal cycles, digestive concerns, insomnia/depression/anxiety, general mood/state, low/high blood pressure, circulatory and/or breathing issues, anemia, drug dependencies, food and drink sensitivities, weight management, poor posture, hereditary factors, diet, exercise, exposure to environmental toxins, amount of daily outdoor activity and exposure to clean air, amount of quality sleep, proper breathing technique, any temperature intolerances or exposure to extreme temperatures including those arising from A/C units and fans, work schedule and potential occupational dangers/ daily stress factors at work or at home).

A great article which also touches on some common conditions that are typical to North Americans (and why) can be found here:

http://www.acupuncture.com/newsletters/m_jun12/americansyndrome.htm

[Note: For more information on TCM pattern identification for sourcing the cause of a health concern please visit these sites:

http://www.acupao.com/about-1/philosophy-of-chinese-medicine/,

http://www.acupuncture.com/education/tcmbasics/whatisacu.htm,

http://www.yinyanghouse.com/practitioner_members/theory-chinese/what-does-acupuncture-treat-or-treating-cause-and-not-symptoms. ]

Here’s to your health!

Warmly,

Fay Meling

How Acupuncture Can Heal Your Broken Heart


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Ah…Valentine’s Day. It’s a very special day to honour the people you love today. Hopefully, you have been doing your best to do this each and everyday! For some, it may also be a very difficult day that brings painful memories to the surface. If you have suffered a significant loss or breakup, a day like today seems like a pretty good one to avoid. Which is totally acceptable and understandable. A broken heart is a very difficult thing to take care of. But what do you do when you’re ready to move forward and learn to love with an open heart again?

I’m generally a pretty content person. There have been a few times that have really brought me into a period of deep-seated sadness. The loss of my father after battling crazy cancer is one of them. Realizing that you have lost someone who has been a constant in your life is an indescribable feeling. While the initial raw feelings will eventually transform into a more “refined” sense of loss, they leave an indelible print…one that can eventually strengthen or uproot you. These periods of loss and change are times when support from family, friends and your health team are very much in order. For those who have a hard time expressing their emotions verbally with a counsellor and/or friend, Chinese medicine and acupuncture can be very helpful to release you from the incredible sadness that is weighing you down.

Acupuncture serves to unblock stuck energy in the pathways of the body, also known as “meridians”, that are closely connected to the nervous system, immune system, and circulatory system. By using specific points along the affected channels, the body responds by physically relaxing tight, contracted muscles, increasing blood flow to the local and adjacent areas, warming up the torso, limbs and extremities, and calming the mind. The little pins that are inserted are hair-fine in thickness and glide smoothly under the skin. Most people experience an initial mosquito bite sensation followed by a warm / cool tingling sensation around the points. The complete state of deep relaxation that follows is something that not only offers immediate physical and emotional relief, but can help reset long-standing holding patterns and behaviour.

When someone suffers from a broken heart, there may be accompanying symptoms of shock, fear, anxiety, insomnia, poor appetite, low energy, and long-standing grief. Acupuncture can help you address these concerns as well.

In Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it is said that the Heart (心, pinyin: xīn) is the “Monarch” of all the other organ systems and the whole body. It governs the blood and vessels and stores the Shen (mind). Without the heart, the brain could not function. When the heart is working properly, there is a brightness in the eyes, a sharp memory with a clear and open mind, and a joyful heart. When you look at someone with healthy Shen there is a general feeling of the whole body and spirit being vibrant, healthy and happy. This person radiates such energy and spirit that it is hard to resist them!

Whatever your association with February 14th, let it at least serve as a reminder to take the time to really nurture and care for yourself, whether it be with acupuncture, meditation, prayer, exercise, a nourishing meal, a walk with a friend, a hug from someone you love, or all of the above. After all, you have been gifted with this body and soul that makes you unique. There is no one else like you! So take the time to figure out what you need to help create the best, happiest version of YOU that you can send out into the world.

Natural PMS Cures: Part II


In my last post, I addressed the Top Ten Ways To Relieve PMS Symptoms Naturally

Dr. Mark Hyman, also addresses some of the points I listed and why they affect our monthly cycles in his article in the Huffington Post titled, Eliminate Suffering From PMS in Five Simple Steps

Dr. Christiane Northrup also has some excellent tips accompanied by footnoted research articles to back up her claims on natural relief strategies for Premenstrual Syndrome

She also is a proponent of acupuncture for PMS relief and offers dietary recommendations for PMS which also relate to menstrual cramps and pelvic pain here

-m.

Acupuncture for Delayed and Slow Labour: A Conversation Between a Midwife and an Acupuncturist


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One of my close friends, who happens to be a midwife was commenting the other day whether all the techniques women try to bring on labour truly make a difference, or whether their labour would normally happen without all the ‘extras’ (e.g. acupuncture, massage, eating certain types of foods, doing specific types of exercises, having a cervical sweep done, etc.). She was also concerned that some women try to do too much before their body is truly ready to deliver. I agreed with her on this point.

In Chinese medicine, we do not give treatments for labour until the woman is due or past her due date as promoting an earlier birth does not necessarily provide any real benefit to mother and child and can in some cases cause more problems. We can however, prepare the body several weeks before a woman’s due date to encourage cervical ripening and ensure a smoother delivery. I mentioned that while it is true that a woman will in most cases go into labour without any intervention or additional procedures, the actual experience of labour can be quite different depending on what you do to prepare your body for it. The analogy I used was that of a person who has slow moving bowels. While it is true that someone who is constipated will eventually pass their stools (due to the nature of gravity!), it will most likely be quite painful and uncomfortable if no remedy is taken to soften the stool and help it move through the intestines more efficiently. Similarly, for some women, labour can sometimes be frought with stops and starts, slow movement and (dare I say it…pain!).

Treatments such as acupuncture are ideal for delayed and slow labours since it can help relax the mother, and initiate a proper physiological response in the body for labour to begin and continue towards a safe, natural and healthy birth. And while very few women can honestly say their labours are pain-free, acupuncture might just be the needed treatment ‘extra’ that sets the ball rolling and helps take the edge off of labour!

For more information on how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be used to treat pregnancy, labour and beyond, please visit my practice site at: http://www.acupao.com

 

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for Postpartum Recovery


The following are just some of the many conditions that acupuncture, moxibustion and Chinese Medicine can be used for treating women postpartum:

Immediately following natural labour or Caesarean section:
-Pain due to episiotomy and/or tearing of perineum, surgical scarring after C-section, spinal headache, coccyx pain due to injured/broken tailbone (Note: acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can be safely used with pain medication in many cases and also to help reduce dependency on pain meds. Please consult a qualified health professional with experience in this)
-Hemorrhoids
-Blocked ducts in breast, breast engorgement, mastitis
-Insufficient lactation
-Incontinence of urine or feces
-Constipation
-Postpartum cramping (after pains)
-Prolapse of uterus
-Postpartum anxiety, depression
-Carpal tunnel syndrome

The sooner the conditions are addressed, the better. However, good results can still be achieved when treated for the first time several weeks postpartum and well into the first year post partum.

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Acupuncture Awareness Week February 27-March 04, 2012


Acupuncture Awareness Week February 27-March 04, 2012

“The first ever Acupuncture Awareness Week in the UK, supported by the British Acupuncture Council, aims to dispel the myths surrounding acupuncture, what conditions it can help and give members of the public/you all the information you need about treatment.

If you have a burning question about acupuncture you will find here a host of independent expert advice and answers including: Ask the Experts and video testimonials” – Acupuncture Awareness Week website