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Meniere’s Disease and Acupuncture

Meniere’s Disease and Acupuncture

What’s Meniere’s disease?

Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance. It is induced by a rise in volume of the endolymph and therefore an increase in the  pressure in the internal ear.  It generally affects only one ear and can cause vertigo (feeling of spinning), severe dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hearing loss, and a sense of fullness or congestion at the ear.  It can develop at any age, however, it is more likely to occur to adults between 40 and 60 years of age.

While no true cause is known for Meniere’s disease, several factors may have some correlation such as allergies, infection, genetics, or autoimmune disease. Here are some other possible contributing factors:

  • Tension and stress may result in attack
  • Increased fluid retention due to high sodium diet
  • High doses of aspirin can lead to ringing ears
  • Fluid retention caused by premenstrual syndrome
  • Glandular or hormonal imbalance (including hypothyroidism)
  • High cholesterol levels

Things to Avoid with Meniere’s disease

  • Eating foods containing the amino acid tyramine (like aged cheese, smoked meet, beer)
  • High intake of simple sugars
  • Alcohol
  • Low intake of water
  • Caffeine
  • High sodium diet

Chinese Medicine View on Meniere’s disease

Chinese medicine classifies Meniere’s disease under the vertigo designation. Generally vertigo is related to phlegm and dampness. The organs that are involved are the Spleen, Liver and Kidneys.  It’s often diagnosed as kidney yin deficiency causing liver yang to ascend and cause vertigo, dizziness, headache, blurred vision and tinnitus. Generally the pathogenesis is due to an excess in the upper burner and a deficiency in the lower burner.

Can Acupuncture Be Used to Treat Meniere’s disease?

Acupuncture and herbs have been clinically proven to help symptoms of Meniere’s disease and vertigo. Researchers have concluded that the combination of acupuncture with drug therapy is significantly more powerful than drugs alone.


  1. Wu Dong, Liu Bo, Wang Hongcai, Rong Peijing, Chen Luquan, Duan Jinping, Chen Chao, Zhai Xu (2018) “Acupuncture combined with oral western medication for Meniere’s disease: a randomized controlled trial” Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion Vol. 38 (10) pp. 1047-1052
Chinese Medicine and High Blood Pressure

Chinese Medicine and High Blood Pressure

What is High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is defined as a reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher using a sphygmometer or a blood pressure cuff. A healthy blood pressure reading is usually somewhere around 120/80 mm Hg. Increased blood pressure is called hypertension. Contraction of the muscles in the arteries reduces their diameter; thus, pressure is produced by the blood  pushing against the walls of the arteries as it is pumped by the heart. If this pressure stays high or rises over time it can cause damage to arteries, which will harden and lose flexibility to withstand the high pressure, and to organs, which will not be able to receive the oxygen and nutrients needed as the blood moves faster and with higher pressure. Therefore, high blood pressure increases the person’s risk for heart disease and/or stroke. Since symptoms of hypertension are not felt until advanced stages, many people are either unaware  if they suffer from the condition or unwilling to treat it. Also, controlling high blood pressure with medication can take months until the right combination is found.

The Chinese Medicine View Of Blood Pressure

Chinese medicine is focused on enabling balance (homeostasis), supporting the blood pressure to fluctuate according to the needs of the body. When interferences, such as blockages, in the normal blood flow occur the nutrient and oxygen supply to the cells is impaired and leads to malfunction.

Causes Of Hypertension

The exact cause of hypertension is unknown by the Western medicine. However there are known factors that contribute to creating the condition, such as stress at home and/or at work, diet, genetics, life style, such as high intake of coffee, smoking, lack of exercise, etc. According to Chinese medicine, the muscular contraction that creates vasoconstriction of the arteries is due to internal wind, which can be result of an excess or deficiency condition.

Chinese Medicine Successfully Treats Increased Blood Pressure Condition

Chinese medicine has developed extensive guidelines for healthy nutrition and proper life style. In addition to these, there are many herbs that, especially when used in combination, have a positive effect in normalizing the blood pressure. Interestingly, some herbs can increase the blood pressure, that is why they have to be prescribed by a licensed herbalist. Acupuncture is another efficient modality in reducing high blood pressure. During an acupuncture treatment thin hair-like needles are placed in specific points (acupoints) along channels that run along the body. The result is removal of blockages along these channels so that blood flow is normalized to all organs to provide the necessary nutrients and oxygen. Acupuncture also has a relaxing effect on the body and by reducing the stress contributes further to normalizing the blood pressure. The best effects are obtained when acupuncture is used in conjunction with Chinese herbs, and their effects are cumulative. Additional techniques within Chinese medicine, such as meditative, slow and rhythmic movements like Tai Chi and Qi Gong, have a calming effect on the practitioner.

Chinese Medicine Treatments Do Not Require You To Stop Taking Medications

Treatments with Chinese medicine do not interfere with prescribed medications. The only caution is when taking herbs, since there is no data on interaction with medication. When a patient takes both it is recommended to take herbs and medications separately, at least a couple of hours apart.

Chinese Medicine And The Common Cold

Chinese Medicine And The Common Cold

As the seasons change and the weather cools down people are more likely to catch a cold. Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine generally agree on the symptoms of the common cold: a runny nose, sore throat, chills, fever, and a general feeling of malaise. Western medicine views this condition as a viral infection of the upper respiratory system. The Chinese medicine view is that external pathogens, like wind-cold or wind-heat, invades the upper part of the body. The symptoms are the response of the body fighting back to get rid of the pathogens. Both Western and Chinese medicines share this view. Both medicines agree that prevention is the best approach.

How To Prevent The Common Cold

Chinese medicine suggests avoiding exposure to wind by bundling up and covering the upper back and neck if windy conditions are present.

Western medicine does not fully explain why it is easier to catch a cold in the cold weather. One thought is that people tend to share a closed space during the winter, which it makes easier for the virus to be transmitted from person to person. The transmission is through fluid droplets from the mouth or nose (when talking, sneezing, or touching the nose and then shaking hands with another person). Other views suggest that in the winter time the air indoors is drier because of the heating systems of buildings, the droplets that may contain the viruses can float in the air for a longer time, and by doing so they have a better opportunity to land on a human and infect them. Western medicine claims that prevention is very efficient, suggesting frequent hand washing, sneezing into the inside of the elbow, and avoiding crowded spaces. Chinese medicine claims, along the same lines, that supporting the Defensive Qi (the immune system) will strengthen the body and allow it to fight off the external pathogen more efficiently.

More on Prevention From a Chinese Medicine Perspective

According to Chinese medicine, proper digestion will provide the nutrients for the optimal function of the body. During the cold season one should avoid raw and cold foods and instead consume cooked and warm foods, like soups, stews, and plenty of warm teas. Spices which promote and “warm” the digestion are preferred, such as ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom, and nutmeg. Also, keeping stress under control and getting rejuvenating sleep will help to support the immune system.

Acupuncture Can Help Prevent And Also Treat The Common Cold

Acupuncture treatments will ensure that the body, including the immune system, functions at optimal levels. It has been used for thousands of years for preventing and treating the cold. It will significantly speed up the healing and shorten up the duration of the cold. Acupuncture supports the body in its fight to expel the pathogens by allowing free blood flow to all organs, thus supplying the nutrients and the oxygen the body needs for self-healing.

Fine needles are inserted into specific points along channels, chosen accordingly to the constitution and symptoms. Treating the common cold with acupuncture will relieve the symptoms and also rectify imbalances, so that a new infection can be prevented. Accessory techniques, such as gua sha, cupping, and moxibustion will enhance the effects of the acupuncture.

Chinese Herbs To Treat The Common Cold

Many Chinese herbs have antiviral and antibacterial properties, especially those in the categories of Cold Relieve Exterior, Warm Relieve Exterior, and Reduce Heat. Combinations of those herbs create formulas, tested by frequent use over hundreds of years. The principle of the treatment is to induce sweating. This is why consuming foods that induce sweating, like spicy soups, or using the sauna, can help in relieving the cold symptoms. In conjunction with acupuncture, the Chinese herbs will significantly reduce the length of a common cold.

Acupuncture for Anxiety and Depression

Acupuncture for Anxiety and Depression

Stress is a condition with serious impact on the life of the individual that suffers from it. Stress usually induces anxiety, which is commonly accompanied by depression, and together they affect an increasing number of people whose lives are impacted on many levels. Anxiety and depression should not be treated lightly. They reduce significantly the quality of life of the sufferer. They also can worsen other conditions, like pain. Many times they induce insomnia.

How does Acupuncture Help Anxiety and Depression?

Acupuncture is one of the safest and more efficient modalities to treat anxiety and depression. It is essential to keep in mind that combining acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help the body create the feel-good chemicals (neurotransmitters) like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. These neurotransmitters help combat anxiety and depression.

Chinese Medicine View on Stress and Anxiety

In Chinese Medicine Qi flows through the body in unique pathways, named channels. It is considered that lack of free flow in these channels, that get blocked, would lead to illness. This may present with symptoms like pain, aches, depression, anxiety, and much more. Acupuncture is thought to help restore blood circulation and remove blockages, balancing body, mind, and organs.

Other Benefits of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient modality that has been around for three thousand years. It is used to restore and maintain health. It integrates the body and mind functions thereby naturally and efficiently treating health conditions. It is efficient in treating individuals of all ages.

Acupuncture has low risks and helps people get relief from a wide array of health issues. It does so by restoring proper blood flow and supplying the nutrients the body needs for repair. Apart from treating anxiety and depression, it can be effective for chronic pain, sciatica, migraines and help with blood pressure issues by reducing tension on the heart enabling it to pump the blood through vessels with no strain and much more.

Acupuncture is not appropriate for everybody, but it is well worth scheduling an appointment to see whether it’s right for you, if you have health issues that trigger pain, chronic anxiety, or would like to see your options instead of medication.

6 Things You Should Consider Before Taking a New Medication

6 Things You Should Consider Before Taking a New Medication

There’s a prescription drug abuse problem in America. It’s important that we understand the ramifications of taking a new medication. Not only can it do your body harm but also harm the environment. Too often our society has been pushed to take medication right away before trying alternative methods. The amount of harm derived from inappropriate prescribed medication is very concerning. In 2014, 1.3 million people went into the emergency room from adverse side effects and approximately 124,000 died from this event. When introducing a new medication into our body we should do it with care.

1. Do some Research

Try researching to see if there is evidence that the particular drug is better than an alternative drug or other forms of treatment. Also, check to see what kind of information has been published about the medication in a peer-reviewed medical journal and try to determine who funded the study. It may also be useful to read about other people’s experiences with the medication online.

2. Are the Benefits Worth the Side Effects?

Comparing the NNT (Needed Number to Treat) and the likelihood of how many people get the side effects is important to help you make an informed decision. The NNT is a number that tells you how many people need to be treated to prevent one bad outcome. Example, if a drug has a NNT=6, this means that you need to treat 6 people to prevent 1 bad event.

3. Make Use of your Pharmacist.

A pharmacist can really help you understand the medication that you are taking and the potential side effects that may come with it. It is very important to know the side effects in advance so that if you experience any of them you can bring it to your doctor’s attention immediately. Below is a list of things you can talk about with your pharmacist

  • You can ask about what conditions the medication treats and what is the best way to use it.
  • You can ask them about potential side effects and protocols to follow in case you are experiencing any of the symptoms. What side effects need immediate medical attention?
  • Your pharmacist can give you important information of drug interactions. They can tell you what is safe to use with the medication whether it be food or over the counter drugs.
  • Ask about what you should do if you miss a dose?
  • How long does the medication need to used?
  • Is this drug addictive?
  • Ask for details about how you will know if a medication is working for you and how long you can expect to wait for it to become noticeable. You can also ask what you should do if the medication isn’t working.
  • Ask about any restrictions to activities while on the medication.

4. Know the Risks

You should be aware if the drug is potentially addictive. Sometimes it’s difficult to wean off a medication and it may require medical supervision. It is a good idea to also know how long your physician may expect you to be on the medication.

5. Discuss the Alternatives

If you are worried about the medication and are unsure if you want to start it, don’t give up.  Discuss it with your physician and look into finding a complementary and alternative medicine option.

6. Get a Second Opinion

It may be worth it to get a second opinion. Not every doctor is always going to have the same opinion for the diagnoses, recommendations or treatment plan. It is good to be cautious if you are diagnosed with something serious, complex or a rare condition.

How Chinese Medicine Treats Lower Back Pain

How Chinese Medicine Treats Lower Back Pain

General Information About Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain refers to pain and discomfort localized in the lumbosacral region, with or without radiating leg pain.

Acute or short-term low back pain generally lasts from a few days to a few weeks. It starts abruptly as a result of a trauma, sudden jolt or wrong movement, from sport injury, car accident, work around the house, garden work, and so on. Sometimes an acute flare up can add to chronic pain. Symptoms may range from muscle ache to limited flexibility, limited range of motion, and even to an inability to stand up straight.

It is estimated that over 70% of adults in industrialized countries suffer from lower back pain during their lifetime; it’s become a global health problem.

In Western medicine it can be diagnosed as spondylosis, ankylosing spondylitis, spinal osteoarthritis, or prolapsed lumbar disc, if the focus is on the bones or muscular/ ligamentous lumbar strain. Conventional therapies include medications, physical therapy, cortisone or epidural injections, or spinal surgery. Side effects may accompany these therapies and there is no guarantee for pain relief.


Chinese Medicine and Lower Back Pain

 Chinese medicine, which includes acupuncture, Chinese herbs, gua sha, cupping, moxibustion, electro- and manual therapies, can offer treatment options for low back pain. A recent systematic review of published research suggested that acupuncture, alone or even in addition to conventional therapies, provided relief in pain and function for chronic low back. The comparison was to no treatment or conventional treatment alone, respectfully. The interventions are usually for a short duration and the relief observed was accordingly for a short term.  (Liu et al., Journal Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2015:328196).

When an injury occurs a blockage is created which reduces or stops the blood supply, preventing oxygen and nutrients from reaching the area. In addition, the body protects the injured part by reducing its use, which reduces further the blood supply. Chinese medicine treatments remove these blockages and restore circulation to the injured area, bringing in the necessary supplies for the body to heal itself. A saying in Chinese medicine is that “If there is free flow, there is no pain; If there is no free flow, there is pain”In other words, if impaired circulation occurs in the channels that pass through the lower back, there will be pain there. Chinese medicine removes these blockages to eliminate the pain.

In Chinese medicine, the lower back is in close relation to the Kidney organ. The lower back area contains the Ming Men, The Gate of Vitality, located between the kidneys. According to TCM the Kidneys support all the body’s physiological processes by supplying Yang energy to all the organs. The Kidneys are said in Chinese medicine to control the bone development and function. Any injury to the lower back will impair the normal function of the Kidneys. The treatment reverses these impairments and by doing so eliminates lower back pain.