Sleep is such a very important part of our lives that we require a third of our lives doing it, unfortunately with different degrees of success. Sleeping problems are major contributors to injury and disease and plague about 50-70 million Americans. If you suffer from interrupted sleep, you are at high risk for accidents, depression, obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. In fact, one fifth of all serious car accidents are related to sleeplessness. Inadequate sleep impacts almost every facet of our time-pressed lives, leaving us with tired, stressed out, late for work, and little time for social interactions.

Despite the effectiveness of mainstream pharmacological treatments for insomnia in a lot of people, acupuncture and other alternative treatments are still extensively practiced. Acupuncture has been widely analyzed in observational studies and in some studies there are indications that acupuncture has a high rate of success in treating insomnia. There is a rise in the hormone serotonin in the body that brings about sleep when pressure is applied on specific acupuncture points of the body’s energy chain. Attaching a dried kidney bean to the inside of the right wrist would put pressure on the “Inner Gate” point helping slow the heart, alleviating anxiety, and promoting sleep. This point is found between the two tendons three fingers width from the crease of the wrist. Auricular acupuncture is also highly endorsed as a therapy for insomnia. Auricular Acupuncture is a therapeutic technique that involves the sticking of needles into specific points on the auricle to treat certain illnesses.

Your nervous system starts to relax the minute you undergo an acupuncture treatment. The sticking of acupuncture needles into your body balances your Chi, unravels your subconscious stresses, and eliminates the causes of your insomnia. Treatment is so relaxing that most people fall asleep on the treatment table. Consult an Acupuncturist for Insomnia, or other issues with sleeping, and start sleeping better tonight.

Acupuncture Can Help You Quit Smoking

One way people in Western societies try to quit their smoking habit is through the ancient Eastern remedy of acupuncture. People who want to quit smoking do it for various reasons. Some, because of smoking, have developed health problems such as chronic cough or shortness of breath and want to quit smoking in order to live a healthy life without the fear of serious health consequences which are associated with smoking. Smoking can lead to a number of health conditions and diseases.

For the most part, it’s you who has to decide to quit smoking either for your own sake or for the sake of others. The key is self-motivation. People who have an intense desire to really quit now make the decision to choose acupuncture treatment to stop smoking.

It is said that acupuncture is an effective tool that has helped several people beat their addiction with tobacco and even drugs. One of the most habit-forming drugs out there is nicotine. You get a habit that is very hard to break if you have a chemical that’s compounded with the flavor of tobacco that’s orally gratifying to smoke.  Acupuncture treatment helps offset that gratification by altering the taste of tobacco making it unpleasant to smoke and smell. That in turn, makes quitting smoking much easier.

Acupuncture also alleviates the symptoms of mental distress such as agitation, and nervousness. It helps soothe the mind and body and makes the quitting process less difficult. The treatment focuses on agitation, impatience, cravings, and anxiety; all symptoms that people are usually experiencing during nicotine withdrawals.

The needles used in acupuncture are very thin. They are stuck gently into many points in the body and ears to help the patient stop smoking. In between treatment sessions, the acupuncture points on the ear of the patient are usually fastened with small pellets. When the patient starts to have smoking cravings, he lightly presses the pellets that stimulate the acupuncture points to remove the urge and calm the mind.

The treatment’s frequency and duration differ from person to person. A treatment can last as short as five minutes to as long as an hour once or twice a week. The first session can relieve certain manifestations, while chronic or more serious conditions typically require several treatments.

What are the benefits of acupuncture?

Besides helping you overcome withdrawal symptoms related to quitting smoking, acupuncture also improves your overall health. Obviously, when you quit smoking, your health condition would naturally improve. The effects of acupuncture may differ from person to person. Some people may experience significant improvements after one or two sessions while others may need at least 10 sessions to attain the same results. Contact a licensed acupuncturist in Encino to see how acupuncture can be the key to starting your smoke-free, healthy life.

Acupuncture Treatment for Acne, Psoriasis, and Other Skin Conditions

For thousands of years, acupuncture has been practiced in various societies and cultures in Asia. It has been practiced in Europe for hundreds of years and has been found to be effective in treating psoriasis and acne when other methods have failed.

The use of acupuncture for the treatment of skin conditions and skin allergies began in China. The patients involved in the first experimental treatments turned to acupuncture when their conditions were impervious to conventional treatment protocols. The research teams gave controlled acupuncture treatments to all the subjects instead of their usual conventional treatments.  The researchers claim that acupuncture treatments led to the remission of conditions in 50 percent of the initial test group and in some instances even led to the complete cure of the conditions. All in all, the results show that acupuncture led to a significant improvement and a better quality of life for the majority of patients. To the Western medical community, this outcome was astonishing, to say the least.

According to Chinese medicine, the human body has special sections that are referred to as meridians. These meridians are believed to help rectify energy excess, or deficiency, and bring back balance throughout the body. Acupuncturists and other practitioners of Chinese medicine believe that by stimulating specific meridians with acupuncture needles, they are able to eliminate blockages leading to the improvement of different types of skin allergies. Acupuncture has shown to bring about substantial results and a growing number of medical doctors now recommend it as a non-invasive alternative form of therapy. After a few rounds of acupuncture treatment, some sufferers of psoriasis and acne have experienced marked improvements in their symptoms.

Acupuncture’s usefulness as valid treatment for psoriatic arthritis is one the more important uses of this therapy. Psoriatic arthritis is a skin disease that inflames the joints of the body and causes severe pain for the unfortunate sufferer. Acupuncture has shown to work to help control the pain of psoriatic arthritis by stimulating the production of the body’s own natural endorphins.

A growing number of doctors are now turning to acupuncture as a form of complementary treatment for other standard modalities. So, if you are bothered by frequent skin irritations and allergies, you should visit your local Encino Acupuncturist about possibly combining your standard medical treatment with acupuncture to get better and long lasting results.

Acupuncture for Tinnitus at Balance Within You in Encino CA.

Many of us take medication on a regular basis for health problems, but in many instances there are natural approaches that can help us overcome these conditions. A perfect example of this is if you’re suffering from a condition known as tinnitus. People with this disorder may have tried a wide variety of ways to overcome it, all without success. But a natural effective solution to tinnitus is acupuncture.

Tinnitus is a condition that can be really difficult to treat due to the fact that it is relatively rare, and up to now doctors still do not know what its real cause or causes are. Many sufferers simply raise their hands in surrender and accept the fact that they have to cope with this problem for a long time. There may be some type of pharmaceutical drugs that can help relieve the discomfort; in many cases, however, a few of us are not willing to take medication that can lead to side effects that are actually worse than the condition they claim to treat. Moreover, it is antidepressants that seem to suppress the ringing, and there are no drugs available that are actually designed to treat tinnitus.

There may be many different theories as to why acupuncture works for tinnitus conditions, but the dominant prevailing paradigm is that acupuncture is able to restore the balance within our body. From the viewpoint of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), each of us possesses life energy known as Chi within our bodies. This energy can be manipulated through acupuncture, a treatment that can bring back balance in the body that may have been lost due to certain factors.

Acupuncture for the treatment of tinnitus is a often a successful procedure with some added benefits. This is a natural form of treatment and sometimes results do not come as quickly as you might want, but people who have tried acupuncture usually experience a sense of well-being during the treatment itself. This feeling may be difficult to describe and may linger for the rest of the day and even throughout the night. For people suffering from tinnitus for a long time, this can be especially comforting.  If you are dealing with a frustrating and uncomfortable problem as tinnitus, acupuncture is a form of healing that’s worth considering.

There are several forms of treatment available for you if you have tinnitus. These treatments can be in the form of conventional medical treatments or holistic therapies. Visit your nearest Encino acupuncture clinic to learn how to manage tinnitus today and regain control of your life.

can-acupuncture-really-relieve-migraines

One of the most frequent questions I get as an acupuncturist is whether or not acupuncture can effectively treat migraines. The person asking is either plagued by the headaches themselves, or someone they know and love gets migraines.

I have treated many patients who suffer from headaches, but migraines are in a league all of their own. Chronic headaches can lay you out and make you miserable, but the intense pain and accompanying symptoms associated with a migraine can send you to the emergency room.

Most typical migraines move through stages, but not always. In some cases, you may get an early stage sign, but not develop the actual headache, or the stages may be different depending on the severity of the headache. The common stages of a migraine are:

-The Prodromal stage, during which you don’t have a headache, but feel uneasy, tired, irritable, or crave certain foods.

-The Aura stage occurs up to an hour before your headache starts. It tends to include vision problems, such as blind spots in your vision, flashing, and blurring. You may also feel a bit confused or have difficulty speaking.

-The Headache, which can last hours or even days. The pain can be severe and may affect only one side of your head (but can affect both). Other symptoms that may occur during this stage include a sensitivity to light or sounds, nausea, and feeling feverish or cold.

-Postdrome is the period of time after your headache is gone, but it leaves you feeling pretty washed out. You may feel fatigued or achy. Some people would describe this stage as a shadow of the headache. The pain is gone, but you know it was there.

If you suffer from migraines and turn to acupuncture for relief, the first thing your practitioner must do is to determine the pattern, or underlying cause, of your headaches according to Chinese medicine. There are several patterns that can cause headaches, but in most cases two are most commonly associated with migraines.

The first pattern is related to your Chinese Liver, which is tasked with regulating the smooth flow of every system in your body, from digestion, to the circulation of blood, and even keeping your emotions steady. Ideally, the movement of energy in your body is gently upward, like the sap in a tree that slowly and steadily ascends. However, when that energy rushes upward all at once unchecked, it can cause a migraine. This is called a Liver headache in Chinese medicine, and can be pretty severe and is often one-sided. There are a number of triggers for this kind of headache, but in many cases stress, anger, or very strong emotions are the underlying cause.

Because the energy rushing toward your head in a Liver headache is frequently hot, you may have heat-related symptoms with this kind of a headache. Those symptoms may include feeling feverish or having a hot head, thirst, irritability, dizziness, and even nausea. Needless to say, this kind of headache is no picnic!

A second pattern in Chinese medicine that causes migraines is something called Blood stagnation. This simply means that the flow of blood is constrained in the area that is causing you pain, and in the case of migraines is usually caused by the constriction of blood vessels in your head. With this kind of headache, you may have a variety of symptoms, but will usually have a couple of things in common. First, the pain will be extreme, it will be stabbing in nature, and it will be in a fixed location. In many cases, people suffering from this kind of headache can point to the one spot where the headache began—and usually that point is where their headaches always begin. While the pain may originate at one small point, it will frequently spread and cause a monster of a headache.

Many people want to know if acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help their migraines, and the answer in most cases is yes. If you choose to go the Chinese medicine route, your practitioner will first spend some time with you determining the cause, or pattern, behind your headaches. He or she will then use acupuncture and frequently other therapies to effectively reduce the incidence and severity of your migraines. Other healing strategies may include Chinese herbs, dietary therapy, and lifestyle adjustments.

It’s important to try to understand what is triggering your headaches, such as specific foods, weather, low blood sugar, dehydration, scents, drinking alcohol, and poor sleep. In addition, it’s crucial to understand the role of stress and strong emotions as a trigger. A good way to try to understand what factors are in place that cause your headaches is to keep a headache journal. Keeping track of things like what you’ve eaten, when the headaches typically occur, what you were doing, and the weather—all of which can help you get a handle on patterns. Keep in mind that for many people, migraines occur only after a combination of factors, such as lack of sleep, dehydration, and stress—where any of those factors alone wouldn’t cause a headache.

A few self-care tips for migraines include:

  • Get some rest. Some people try to muscle their way through a bad headache. This only makes it worse.

  • If you’re feverish or your head feels hot, apply some ice wrapped in a towel to your head.

  • Try to stay hydrated. If your stomach is upset, suck on some ice chips.

  • Unplug from everything. Get away from noisy areas and bright lights. Go inside, turn off the lights, and close the curtains.

  • Try a little caffeine. Coffee, tea, or soft drinks that contain caffeine may help decrease your migraine pain.

  • Don’t rule out medications. It’s unrealistic to try to endure an excruciating migraine without medication. In Western medicine, the recommended protocol would be to start with analgesics that you can buy at the store (aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen), and if that doesn’t work bump up to a migraine medication that has been prescribed by your doctor.

  • Give Chinese medicine a try. It may be the long-term answer to your migraines that you’ve been looking for.

Aging Well with Chinese Medicine

by Alexander Ezzati

aging-well-with-chinese-medicine

Why is it that some older people seem so much younger than their years and some people in their fifties or sixties seem surprisingly old?  There are many folks in their eighth and ninth decades who continue to work, drive, exercise, volunteer, and do many of the things that they have always done. At the same time, I know people 30 years younger who have a hard time just getting down and up off the floor. What gives? Why is there such a discrepancy in the way people age? Is aging well just a matter of good luck?

Clearly, there have been thousands of research studies into how and why we age. One interesting explanation comes from a new line of study into something called epigenetics. This theory suggests that genetic expression isn’t quite as set in stone as we once thought. Instead, it’s suggested that our genes are affected by other factors beyond just DNA sequencing, and that our genetic predisposition may change very quickly. For example, environmental and lifestyle factors, such as how you live and what you think, may also impact how your genes affect your health.

In Chinese medicine, your health and how you age is determined by something we practitioners call Essence. Considered to be a vital substance, Essence is a bit like your body constitution (or even DNA), and determines your overall health, how you will grow and mature, fertility, and how healthfully you will age. As you live through the traumas of life and become older, Essence gets used up, and when it is completely depleted, you die.

The good news is that there is another kind of Essence that supplements the first, and its strength is built on how well you live your life and care for yourself. This second Essence protects and conserves the original DNA-like Essence, which means you have some control over your body constitution and general health. This is very similar to the cutting-edge theory of epigenetics—only coming from this ancient Chinese medicine!

Whether you call it epigenetics or protecting your Essence, Chinese medicine offers up some strategies on not only how to live as healthfully as possible, but how to age well, too. Here are some ideas on how to be as healthy as possible as you move into your later years:

  • Protect your Kidney system. In Chinese medicine, your Kidney is an organ system that not only regulates water, but is the home to your vital substances, such as Essence, Yin, and Yang. It guards your health on the deepest level, and is the organ system most related to aging. Taking care of your Kidneys involves living moderately; getting proper nourishment through good food, breath, and rest; and avoiding stress as much as possible. Foods that are particularly nourishing to your Kidney system include very dark or black foods, beans, nuts (especially walnuts), and salty foods from the ocean (fish, shellfish, sea vegetables, sushi)

  • Eat for the long run. Beyond Kidney-nourishing foods, eat like you are going to live to be 100. That means less fast food and drive-through meals and more meals that contain ingredients that your grandmother would recognize as food. For a simple rule of thumb, think like a Chinese restaurant minus the white rice: a large variety of vegetables, a little protein, and whole grains.

  • Balance work with rest. This means not only getting enough restorative sleep each night, but also avoiding overwork. Long hours at the office, studying, or caring for others can be especially depleting. Your body regenerates itself when you rest, so all work and no play can really speed up the clock when it comes to aging.

  • Use it or lose it. When it comes to training for the long run, keeping your body active and functional is key. If there were such a thing as a magic bullet for aging well, exercise would be it. It keeps your blood circulating, your heart and lungs healthy, your joints moving, and is a factor in retaining your memory.

  • Use the power of your mind, because what you think can make a difference in your health. The Chinese believe that negative emotions are the source of a thousand diseases. While we all have ups and downs, chronic depression, anxiety, worry, and even a negative outlook can harm your health. Researchers have found that a negative emotional outlook can mess with your sleep, digestion, blood pressure, and hormones. In addition, people who are chronically pessimistic tend to live a shorter expected lifespan than those people who are more positive.

  • Check your medications. Many side effects of prescription drugs go unchecked or are attributed to the aging process, when in fact a change in medication or dosage may alleviate the problem. In addition, new research has uncovered that many drugs for depression, allergies, and asthma are responsible for memory loss and dementia in people who take them long term.

The bottom line is that while you may have been dealt a bad hand genetically, how you play that hand makes a big difference in your health and how you age. Heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, or memory loss may run in your family, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a foregone conclusion that you will also develop these same conditions. Conversely, someone who had healthy ancestors and good genes can increase their risk for these same diseases through overwork, stress, a funky diet, lack of exercise, and poor self-care. Aging well is not just a matter of luck—it’s a combination of small but healthy habits that make a big difference.

nursing-an-injury-heat-or-ice

Pain has a personality. It can be dull and achy, sharp, electrical, or burning. It may come and go or be present all of the time. Some pain feels better with pressure or massage, and some doesn’t like being touched at all. Your pain may feel better when you apply heat, or it may respond better when you put an ice pack on it. As a practitioner of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, my job is to diagnose your pain based on its personality.

One of the most common questions that I get from patients who are dealing with pain is whether they should put ice or heat on the painful area. While it would be great to have a simple answer, there are a number of considerations in deciding between a heating pad and a bag of frozen corn.

First, it’s important to know whether your pain or injury feels better when it’s exposed to warmth or cold. For example, is it worse during the hot and humid days of summer or when the weather turns cold? Does your injury feel warm to the touch? When you’re trying to alleviate the pain, is your instinct to reach for a heating pad or an ice pack? In general, injuries that feel better with cold involve some kind of a warm pathology. For example, heat rising upward in your body can give you a headache that you just naturally want to put ice on—this is common with many migraines. In contrast, many injuries involving a pulled muscle heal faster and feel better when heat is applied. This is also true for arthritis and many joint injuries.

Second, the properties of heat and ice are helpful in determining which to use. In Chinese medicine, heat creates and enhances movement. In an injured area, blood, fluids, and energy will flow better when heat is applied. This means that muscles tend to loosen up, your range of motion increases, circulation in the area improves, and that boost in circulation promotes healing.

 In contrast, ice contracts. Like a river that freezes up during the winter, ice constricts your vessels, tightens muscles, and slows things down in general. Despite this constrictive effect, ice has a place in many instances. For example, when you sprain your ankle, the damage to the ligaments and surrounding tissues make your foot and ankle swell up like a balloon. In fact, it’s this swelling that accounts for much of the pain associated with a sprained ankle. When you apply ice immediately after the injury, the constricting effect actually limits the amount of swelling in the area, making it a bit less painful, and much less swollen.

So when should you use heat and when should you use cold?
Here are a few guidelines:

  • For new injuries, especially those that have occurred due to trauma (sprained ankle, blown out knee), use ice for the first 24 to 36 hours after the injury has occurred. Ice will constrict the vessels in the area and keep swelling to a minimum. After 36 hours, apply ice if there’s still discernible heat or swelling, otherwise alternate heat and cold. If your injury lingers for weeks, my advice is to use heat.

  • The choice between icing and heating becomes a little trickier with inflammation. In general inflammation is considered to be warm, so conventional wisdom would be to put ice on it. But not so fast, because heat increases the flow of blood to an area, and increased circulation promotes healing. Again, my advice is to warm it up, or to alternate between ice and heat.

  • A good rule in general is to go with what feels the best on an injury. If you’re not sure, let the weather be your guide. Is your pain worse in the cold weather? Then use heat. If it flares in the summer heat, go for the ice.

  • That said, don’t be deceived by the numbing properties of an ice pack. You may feel better for a while after icing, but if applying cold makes it worse in the long run, use heat or alternate between the two.

  • Put your hand on the injured area. What do you feel? If it’s noticeably colder than the surrounding tissue, it means that the circulation in that area is constricted and you should apply heat. If your injury feels warm to the touch, apply ice.

  • In the case of a muscle spasm, avoid ice, as it will only make things worse. Remember that cold contracts, and if your muscle is in spasm, it is already contracted to the point of pain. How can you tell if you are having a muscle spasm? In most cases the pain from muscle spasms come on very quickly—many have an initiating event, such as lifting or reaching and twisting at the same time. In addition, muscle spasms tend to inhibit your ability to move, and many will have you on the floor because the pain is so intense. A high proportion of back pain is caused by muscles that are in spasm.

  • For sports-related injuries, exercises prescribed by a physical therapist, or if you’re just doing a workout that involves the injured area, my advice is to warm it up for five or ten minutes before using it. This increases the circulation to the area and loosens up the muscles that you will be using. After your activity, ice the area for five minutes to cool it off and head off any inflammation.

There is no hard and fast rule for whether to use heat or ice. In Chinese medicine, the tendency is to heat in the majority of instances. However, there are times when icing is appropriate. The bottom line is that you need to take into account the personality of the pain, the nature of the injury, and how long you’ve had it when deciding whether heating or icing is the best course of action.

Chinese Medicine Has A Higher Rate of Success in Treating Infertility than IVF

June 29, 2016

The Complementary Therapies in Medicine journal in a December issue published a review showing that women were twice as likely to conceive within four months of using Chinese herbal medicine treatments compared to those who opted for IVF or conventional Western medical fertility drug treatment. The results showed as well that a woman’s menstrual cycle […]

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What Couples Coping with Infertility Ought to Know About Chinese Medicine.

June 17, 2016

One of the most exciting and fulfilling applications of acupuncture is in the area of fertility. The incidence of infertility has been rising, and currently affects about 12 percent of couples trying to become pregnant, which is about seven million couples in the United States. There are a number of reasons why this is happening, […]

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8 Things You Don’t Know About Cupping

May 9, 2016

When I talk about Chinese medicine, most people think about acupuncture. What they don’t realize is that we practitioners have a number of tools in our therapeutic toolbox beyond acupuncture to help our patients heal. One of those little-known tools is called cupping. I have to thank celebrities, low cut gowns, and awards galas for […]

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Acupuncture and Other Alternative Forms of Healthcare

April 6, 2016

Acupuncture and Other Forms of Alternative Healthcare Treatment Can Make You Feel Much Better in A Natural Way Anything associated with needles can elicit a natural negative reaction in people. This is why some people are hesitant to try acupuncture, a form of Chinese medicine treatment in which needles are used and stuck in certain […]

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What You Should Know About Chinese Herbal Medicine

April 2, 2016

Chinese herbs are an incredible healing tool that falls under the umbrella of Chinese Medicine. Some people may tell you that they’re uncomfortable taking Chinese herbs, but the reality is that these herbs are everywhere. People take ginkgo for their memory, licorice as candy or a digestive aid, and ginseng for energy. In fact, the […]

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Acupuncture Prevents Atrial Fibrillation

March 12, 2016

Acupuncture prevents atrial fibrillation (AF) and associated cardiac damage. Research published by Zhu et al. finds acupuncture applied to acupoint Neiguan (PC6) has an anti-arrhythmia effect and prevents atrial fibrillation through restoration and remodeling of the right atrial appendage. This is consistent with findings presented by the Heart Rhythm Society and published in the Heart Rhythm […]

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Acupuncture Plus Moxa Alleviates Menstrual Pain

March 12, 2016

Acupuncture relieves menstrual pain and cramping. Researchers from the Xianning Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine investigated the efficacy of triple acupuncture with moxibustion for the treatment of dysmenorrhea. The research team concludes that triple acupuncture is significantly more effective than conventional acupuncture for the relief of menstrual pain and cramping. Triple acupuncture achieved a 96.7% […]

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How Acupuncture Treats Infertility

February 29, 2016

In the past decade infertility has been on the rise leaving young couples in a very expensive situation when seeking western treatments. In some cases IVF treatments can range up to $30,000 with no coverage from insurance companies. This is a big expense especially when the couple has to pay out of pocket and more […]

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Balance Within - Integrative Acupuncture
16200 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91436
Phone: (818) 478-9401
 

 

Serving Beverly Hills, Miracle Mile, Sherman Oaks, Reseda, Tarzana and Woodland Hills.

Zip Codes: 90049, 90077, 90272, 91316, 91335, 91356, 91364,
91401, 91403, 91405, 91406, 91423, 91436
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