I don’t get the Starbucks Unicorn drink craze. It doesn’t look edible, it’s full of junk, and it contains a whopping 59g of sugar! It’s not just the calories. That’s almost 15 tsp of sugar. Inflammatory sugar.
I get that it’s only available for a short time and people just want to try it because others are trying it. I’m curious too. But I know that that drink, for me, is a recipe for a headache–even if I only have a portion of it. So, instead I propose a new unicorn craze. I’d love to start an #acupunctureunicorn trend!
Ok, so the acupuncture point is not called The Unicorn. But I do nickname it the “#1 requested acupuncture point” and the “aren’t you going to do that point” point. The acupuncture point name is actually Yintang, and the benefits are many!
The main reason people request that point from me? Because it helps calm our overactive minds. We want to be mindful, but instead we find we’re “mind full.” Who amongst us couldn’t use a bit more calm? Unicorn acupuncture to the rescue.
What about sleep? Are you able to relax well and enjoy a deep, restful sleep? No? Then perhaps you could use some “acupuncture unicorn.”
Stuffy or runny nose? Allergic rhinitis? Congested sinuses? Become an acupuncture unicorn.
Headache? Perhaps it’s because you had a Starbucks unicorn drink? Or maybe it could be from eye strain, sinus congestion, stress, or other. Some unicorn acupuncture can help with that too.
Are you in? Are you ready to make a new unicorn craze–a healthy one? Take a picture of you getting acupuncture at Yintang and share it with the hashtag #acupunctureunicorn ! That would be a trend worth sharing.
I recently wrote an article, Sweet in the Modern World (pages 7-9), for Medicinal Roots Magazine. As a result, Michael Max, an acupuncturist in the US, contacted me to ask me to join him to talk about sugar’s health effects on his podcast channel, Everyday Acupuncture.
In this podcast, Michael and I discuss a number of issues that come up with sugar.
Show highlights on sugar’s health effects
2:27 How I discovered sugar was affecting my health
5:24 Sugar’s health effects: health issues that may be caused by or aggravated by too much sugar
8:06 Planning ahead helps you manage your sugar cravings
10:42 Your taste buds can change to become more sensitive to smaller amounts of sweet
14:46 Be mindful about your food choices
19:50 Is it stomach hunger or are your bored, lonely, or other?
20:27 Traditional Chinese Medicine can help you get off sugar
26:20 Some simple tips to reduce sugar intake
29:48 Your menstrual cycle and sugar cravings
31:22 What else can you eat that’s healthier and still tasty?
37:43 Have you considered a food diary?
41:35 Quick tips to get your own attention around food and eating
Here’s the podcast:
Check out more of Everyday Acupuncture podcasts by clicking on the image below.
Concussions are more than simple bumps on the head, and can result in much more than just a few headaches. Rest is the first prescription, but there are many more things that can be done. After seeing a report on the news recently about one of our CFL players and his lawsuit prompted by his concussions, I wrote this article for 24 Hours Vancouver. Read more by clicking here.
I recently did a talk for a class of pharmacy students at the University of British Columbia. I wasn’t sure what they might already know about Traditional Chinese Medicine and what their views on it would be. I was happy when they asked me lots of questions though and I thought you might have some of those same questions.
What is the training for becoming a TCM health provider?
Every province (and state) is different, but these are the regulations in BC:
There are 4 levels of registration for TCM in BC and each allows a different type of assessment and treatment. Both Registered Acupuncturist (R.Ac.) and Registered Chinese Herbalist (R.TCM.H.) require 3 years of training with a minimum of 1900 hours of study and training. A Registered TCM Practitioner (R.TCM.P.) can practice both herbs and acupuncture and they receive a minimum of 4 years with at least 2600 hours. A Registered Dr. of TCM (Dr.TCM) has the highest level of training of 5 years at 3250 hours.
In addition to the schooling, we also need to pass 2 examinations for each (written and practical), take safety courses for each, maintain requirements for good standing of the regulatory body, complete 50 hours of continuing education credits every 2 years, and be insured for liability and malpractice for minimum amount required by the college.
Lotsa hoops to jump! But all of that should be reassuring to you that we’re well-trained and practiced in what we do! All of this happens through the CTCMA (College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Association). The role of the CTCMA is to protect the public by making sure that we follow the rules. If you want to know if someone is a registrant (they should not be practicing in BC if they are not!), check out the listing here: http://www.ctcma.bc.ca/public.asp?cat=search
How many Chinese herbs are there?
There are more than 6000 herbs–including plants, minerals, and animal parts–with 600 used commonly.
Do you prescribe things like tiger bone, bear gallbladder, and rhinoceros horn?
NO! A big emphatic NO! Though they have been used traditionally in TCM in the past, they are illegal in Canada. Not only that, but they are not necessary to use. There are many substitutes that are effective and ethical to use.
What herb is best to treat…[fill in the blank, e.g. headaches]?
In TCM, the key is to obtain a TCM pattern diagnosis. Everyone is different, so 10 people with a headache might all have different herbs and treatments. Not only that, but Chinese herbs are almost always prescribed in combination, almost never as single herbs.
How do you make sure that herbs you prescribe are safe?
An herbal prescription is chosen with safety at top of mind. We consider the length of time that the herbs will be prescribed, the quantity of herbs prescribed, the methods of processing the herbs, whether there’s any risk of conflicting with any pharmaceuticals or other nutraceuticals, each individual’s health issues, and allergies and sensitivities.
Do the herbs come from China? Is the quality safe?
Some of my patients are concerned about the quality of the herbs I prescribe as they hear about quality issues with come products and foods that come from China and other countries. Some problems include that poor quality herbs can low quality or incorrect herbs; can be adulterated with pharmaceuticals; laden with heavy metals, pesticides, fungus, molds; and manufactured in substandard facilities.
But, not all herbs can be painted with this same brush! The herbs I use go through rigorous testing. They are extremely high quality herbs that much attain a Certificate of Analysis (COA). They must pass the strictest criteria of standards from U.S., Singapore, Japan, and E.U. Herbs go through a process of identification that includes selection by qualified professionals, microscopic inspection, chemical identification, and chemical “fingerprinting” (thin layer chromatography) to make sure that the right herb is chosen. Herbs are cleansed of dirt and other foreign particles, prepared with traditional methods, and extracted while making sure to maintain the integrity of the volatile essential oils. They are then concentrated with low temperature methods so as to not destroy any of the components. Every batch is tested with microbiological assays to make sure there is no e.coli, salmonella, molds, yeast, or other contaminants. Gas Chromatography tests for safety, making sure there are no pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides. High Performance Liquid Chromatography measures for key active ingredients while Inductively Coupled Plasma – Mass Spectrometer tests for heavy metals.
Phew! So, as you have learned, there is a lot that goes into the selection of each herbal formula that I create!
Any questions? Ask me!
One of the most common goals for the new year is a decision to be more active. I started day one of January first with an invigorating Polar Bear swim! One of the most common blocks to being more active is pain. Pain management is where I can help.
Acupuncture can be very effective to treat pain from many causes, from injury and surgery recovery, to arthritis, to menstrual cramps, to headaches, to migraines, to digestive disorder pain, and more. Check out my website for more specific information for each of these types of pain: http://www.activetcm.com/pain_management/
There are a multitude of supplements both online and in stores with claims to cure your pain, but which ones are right for you? First of all, that depends on your type of pain. Is it from muscle injury? Joint degeneration? Nerve impingement? Internal organ disease? Immune system imbalance? Hormonal imbalance? All of the above? None of the above?
Because there are so many causes for pain and because pain is such a subjective experience, it is important to get a proper assessment. That usually starts with a complete and thorough consultation determining when/how the pain started; what aggravates the pain; what alleviates the pain; what concurrent medical issues there might be; what the health history indicates; whether lifestyle, emotional, mental, or spiritual aspects are big contributors (they always contribute something!); and more.
Some common supplements that may crossover treatment for several different kinds of pain include magnesium, fish oils, and coenzyme Q10.
Though magnesium is found in a lot of foods, including dark leafy green veggies, legumes, and nuts, rates of deficiency are high in North America. In fact, approximately 68% of the US population consumes less than the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) of magnesium and 19% of the population consumes less than 50% of the RDA!
Magnesium deficiency can contribute to muscle cramps and tightness, migraines, fatigue, poor sleep, weak bones, menstrual cramps, and anxiety.
Supplementing magnesium is easy. Look for magnesium glycinate, bisglycinate, or citrate, avoiding magnesium oxide, which draws water into the bowels to act as a laxative (thus poorly absorbed). I most often recommend magnesium glycinate capsules or magnesium citrate powder.
It almost impossible not to have heard about omega 3 essential fatty acids. These “good fats” are often in the news because of their many health benefits, including reducing inflammation, improving heart health, decreasing joint pain, supporting healthy skin, and easing depression.
My mom also told me years ago to eat more fish so I could be smart. I admit I hated fish. Though I’ve now learned to like it, I still take fish oil capsules as I know that I cannot eat enough fish to match my busy and active lifestyle and supply me enough DHA and EPA (main components of the omega 3s from fish).
When choosing a fish oil, quality is key. Poor quality fish oil capsules may taste fishy because the oils are rancid. Inappropriately processed fish oils may not be as health beneficial because heat and light can destroy these delicate fats.
If you want to know more about which fish oils I prefer, feel free to ask me.
This powerful antioxidant can be your buddy and you can call him by his nickname CoQ10. He will help protect you; he can be your body guard. As an antioxidant, he assists in decreasing cellular damage. CoQ10 is also involved in making a key energy molecule called ATP. Thus, if your body doesn’t get or make enough CoQ10, you may feel fatigued and/or depressed and many of your body’s processes will not function properly.
Your body makes CoQ10 and we also consume it via oily fish, organ meats, and whole grains.
So, how do you know if you have enough? If you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or heart disease, you may benefit from taking CoQ10. Statin drugs so commonly used to treat high cholesterol contribute to lower CoQ10 levels, so if you are taking these drugs, talk to your health provider to determine if supplementing will benefit you.
CoQ10 has also shown great promise for treating migraines at dosages of 150mg-300mg daily. Once again, quality matters.
As always, feel free to ask me. Contact me here.
Some of the tons of research and articles on acupuncture to treat pain:
Traditional Chinese acupuncture is “effective” at reducing knee osteoarthritis pain and improving function in people with knee osteoarthritis, say the researchers, who presented their findings in San Antonio at the American College of Rheumatology’s annual scientific meeting.
Arthritis Responds to Weather, Acupuncture United Press International – Oct. 19Washington Post – Oct. 19
Researchers told attendees at the American College of Rheumatology’s annual meeting that they have compiled valid data indicating changes in temperature or atmospheric pressure can cause increases in joint pain. Marc Hochberg, MD, MPH, a professor in the School of Medicine, says the studies ” . . . allow us to conclude that traditional Chinese acupuncture is an effective intervention for the relief of pain and improvement of function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.”
Acupuncture can ease the discomfort while waiting for an operation and perhaps even serve as an alternative to surgery. Seven patients have responded so well that at present they do not want an operation. (USD 9000 saved per operation).
Acupuncture to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
ZHEREBKIN, Eastern Europe, conducted a randomised controlled clinical trial to study the efficacy of the multi-modality treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) involving acupuncture (A) treatment.Methods: Measures assessed included the number of the inflamed joints, the joint index, duration of morning rigidity and a visual scale of pain.Results: Combining treatment of RA with Acupuncture was found to more effectively lower the values for the joint index and the visual scale of pain.Conclusions: The results of this trial indicated that acupuncture may improve the results of drug treatment.Zherebkin VV.
The use of acupuncture reflexotherapy in treating patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Lik Sprava 6: 175-7. Nov-Dec 1997. Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Study With Long-Term Follow-Up. Articles Clinical Journal of Pain. 17(4):296-305, December 2001.Carlsson, Christer P. O. M.D., Ph.D.; Sjolund, Bengt H. M.D., Ph.D. Abstract: Objective: The authors sought to determine whether a series of needle acupuncture treatments produced long-term relief of chronic low back pain. Design: A blinded placebo-controlled study with an independent observer. The patients were randomized to receive manual acupuncture, electroacupuncture, or active placebo (mock transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation). Subjects were examined and monitored by an investigator who was blinded to the treatment given. Setting: A tertiary-level pain clinic at a Swedish university hospital. Patients: Fifty consecutive patients (33 women, 17 men; mean age, 49.8 years) with chronic low back pain (mean pain duration, 9.5 years) and without rhizopathy or history of acupuncture treatment were included in the study. Interventions: Treatments were given once per week for 8 weeks. Two further treatments were given during the follow-up assessment period of 6 months or longer. Outcome Measures: The independent observer made a global assessment of the patients 1, 3, and 6 months after treatment. The patients kept pain diaries to score pain intensity twice daily, analgesic intake, and quality of sleep daily, and activity level weekly. Results: At the 1-month independent assessment, 16 of 34 patients in the acupuncture groups and 2 of 16 patients in the placebo group showed improvement (p <0.05).The authors found a long-term pain-relieving effect of needle acupuncture compared with true placebo in some patients with chronic nociceptive low back pain. (C) 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
Back-pain acupuncture ‘effective’
Acupuncture proved an effective form of therapy for treatment of accident patients with whiplash injuries, representing a valuable supplement to the field of rehabilitation.
Both physiotherapy and acupuncture treatment groups improved in reduced pain, improved range of motion, and better overall health following treatment for chronic neck pain. Acupuncture was slightly more effective in patients who had higher baseline pain scores.
The high percentage of positive results in whiplash injury patients leads us to advocate acupuncture for balance disorders due to cervical pathology.
HEADACHES & MIGRAINES
Acupuncture as Effective as Drug Therapy for Migraines & Headaches
Acupuncture Cuts Tension Headache Rates By Almost Half
ABUAISHA and colleagues, Department of Medicine, Manchester Royal Infirmary, University of Manchester, UK studied the use of acupuncture to determine its efficacy for pain relief for peripheral diabetic neuropathy.Methods: 46 diabetic patients suffering chronic painful peripheral neuropathy participated in the study. 29 (63%) patients were already receiving standard medical treatment. Patients initially received up to 6 courses of classical acupuncture analgesia over a period of 10 weeks, using traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture points.Results: 46 patients completed the study. 34 (77%) showed significant improvement in primary and/or secondary symptoms (P <0.01).
SOFT TISSUE INJURY
Acupuncture treatment on soft tissue disease based on TCM syndrome differentiation theory is thus shown to be effective.