Living & Studying in China

I ran across a short article I wrote for the AAAOM acupuncture college newsletter back in 2006 while we were living in China. I thought you all may enjoy this fun little read.

Me, my wife and two boys have been living in Jinan, China for six months and it is nothing like we imagined.  So far, it has been the most difficult and exhilarating experience of our lives. I think I speak for my entire family, that if we had had a “Plan B,” an opportunity to quit, move back to the states and have our old house, work and life, we would have done so in the blink of an eye.  Every day here, we have challenges, realizations, problems, or obstacles that needs full attention.  For example, there is the culture shock and the great trouble of ordering food in a restaurant without speaking the language or being able to read a menu.  There are also a great many reasons why I am happy to have had my hepatitis shots, I won’t say anymore. Another one is the day and a half traveling back and forth from different governments buildings to secure our family’s visas.  Dr. Lu asked me to share my thoughts and experiences of living in China.  I thought you would enjoy it most if I shared with you the perfect day of what it is like to live and study in China.

I wake at 5 AM every morning, tired from late-night studying and prepare for my day.  I pack my bag with books, a Chinese-English dictionary and daily necessities.  I grab my travel mug filled with green tea and hike off to the mountain by 5:30. The streets are empty […]

Summary of Current Research and Medical Standards Supporting Acupuncture

A comprehensive study commissioned by the Department of Veterans Affairs found acupuncture to have a positive effect in the treatment chronic pain, migraine and tension headache.
The same study found a potentially positive effect in dysmenorrhea, cancer pain, labor pain, insomnia, post-operative nausea and vomit, depression, and smoking cessation.

Acupuncture outperforms placebo in relieving the most common types of chronic pain: headache, low back, neck, shoulder and knee pain.
Acupuncture significantly outperforms standard care in headache, low back, neck, and knee pain.
Acupuncture is superior to most forms of physical therapy in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis.
Acupuncture can reduce the risk of nausea and vomiting after surgery, with minimal side effects.
In a prospective study involving 229,230 patients, acupuncture was found to be a relatively safe treatment with a low risk of serious side effects.
The American College of Physicians and American Pain Society recommend acupuncture as a second-line therapy for chronic low back pain.
The American College of Chest Physicians recommends acupuncture for cancer patients when pain, nausea, vomiting, or other side effects of chemotherapy are poorly controlled.
The Joint Commission includes acupuncture as one of the non-pharmacological strategies that has a role in pain management in hospitals, nursing homes, and outpatient care.

 

Hempel S, Taylor SL, Solloway M, et al. Evidence Map of Acupuncgture. VAE-ESP Project #05-226; 2013.

Vickers AJ, Cronin AM, Mascino AC, et al. Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Individual Patient Data Meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Sep 10:1-10.

Ibid.

Corbett MS, Rice SJC, Madurasinghe, et al. Acupuncture and Other Physical Treatments for the Relief of Pain Due to Osteoarthritis of the Knee: Network Meta-analysis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2013 Sep;21(9):1290-8.

Lee A, Fan LTY. Stimulation of the wrist acupuncture point P6 for preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting. Cochrane […]

Acupuncture: What You Need To Know

Acupuncture is Effective

A comprehensive study commissioned by the Department of Veterans Affairs found acupuncture to have a positive effect in the treatment of chronic pain, migraine and tension headache. The same study found a potentially positive effect in dysmenorrhea, cancer pain, labor pain, insomnia, post-operative nausea and vomit, depression, and smoking cessation.
Acupuncture outperforms placebo in relieving the most common types of chronic pain: headache, low back, neck, shoulder and knee pain.
Acupuncture significantly outperforms standard care in headache, low back, neck, and knee pain.
Acupuncture is superior to most forms of physical therapy in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis.
Systematic reviews published by the Cochrane Collaboration found acupuncture  to  be effective for nausea caused by chemotherapy and surgery.
The American College of Physicians and American Pain Society recommend acupuncture as a second-line therapy for chronic low back pain.
The American College of Chest Physicians recommends acupuncture for cancer patients when pain, nausea, vomiting, or other side effects of chemotherapy are poorly controlled.

 Acupuncture is Safe

A prospective study of 2.2 million acupuncture treatments found that serious adverse events were rare.

Acupuncture Is Popular

The Number of Acupuncture Visits Per 1,000 Adults Nearly Tripled Between 1997 and 2007
The Percentage of Americans Who Have Ever Used Acupuncture Increased by 33% and those who received acupuncture  in the in the last year increased 21% Between 2002 and 2007.
53% of recent users reported that a medical doctor was the resource from whom they were informed about acupuncture.

Acupuncture is Cost-Effective 

According to international cost-effectiveness threshold values, acupuncture is a cost-effective treatment strategy for patients with chronic neck pain,

Acupuncture Is  Increasingly Covered by Insurance

As of 2004, 47% of private insurance plans included acupuncture coverage.
Fifty-four million Americans have acupuncture coverage as an essential benefit […]

Treating Lyme Disease with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

Mission Statement:
The Chinese Medicine Lyme Study is an ongoing clinical research project investigating the effects of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Chinese herbal formulas and acupuncture for the treatment of Lyme Disease.

We are developing the best acupuncture and herbal prescriptions, not only to relieve the symptoms, but also ones that will have the best curative effect on the disease.

The CM Lyme Study’s treatments consist of strengthening the immune system, eliminating pathogenic factors, relieving aches and pain, boosting energy, clearing toxicity, promoting circulation, and calming the mind.

The research and use of TCM, Chinese herbal formulas and acupuncture is safe, natural, effective and may hold the most viable and alternative treatment for Lyme Disease.
Herb Treatments
The Chinese Medicine Lyme Study Chinese herbs clinical research is quite easy. Every week, you will set up a weekly appointment. At each visit you will fill out the required Lyme Disease Rating Sale (LDRS) paperwork, have a meeting with Dr. Grosam and be given your herbal formula. Each visit should take about 15-20 minutes. The herbs prescribed to you will be in a powdered form. You are required to take 4 grams of powdered herbs 3 times per day, preferably 1-2 hours before or after meals. To prepare the herbs, put the required 4 grams of herbs into a cup and add 6-8oz. of hot water, stir to dissolve, and drink. Some people enjoy the taste of Chinese herbs, while others will grow accustomed to them. You cannot add sweeteners or other additives to the tea.
Acupuncture Treatments
The Chinese Medicine Lyme Study Chinese acupuncture clinical research is quite easy. Every week, you will set up a weekly appointment. At each visit you will fill out the required Lyme Disease Rating Sale (LDRS) paperwork, […]

Summer Cold Prevention

We’ve been seeing many cases of summer colds popping up in the clinic and around town. Some of the common symptoms include: cough, congestion, stuffy or runny nose, headache, sinus problems, nausea, stomach pain, or diarrhea. Here are some simple preventative measures to beat the summer cold:

1.) Drink plenty of water: Keeping hydrated is the #1 measure you can take towards better health. More water benefits your lungs, digestion, and helps maintain proper temperature control of your body. If the lungs are not hydrated, if your digestion is dry, or if you cannot cool down and regulate your body temperature, you leave your body and its immune system vulnerable to cold and flu bugs.

2.) Eat less: Our digestive tract runs lean and mean during the hot months of summer and cannot take large and heavy meals. If the digestion gets bogged down from food, it will slow down and will start generating phlegm. This leaves a ripe environment for viruses to proliferate. The best rule of thumb is to eat small and frequent meals throughout the summer. Eat more vegetables and fruits that are in season. They are rich in water and nutrients that help fight off colds and flu.

3.) Moderate exercise: It is good to sweat some in the summer and to get your blood circulation flowing. Try exercising earlier in the morning or later in the evening to prevent heat stroke. Too much sweating is not a good idea because we loose energy along with the sweat. Again, keep hydrated.

4.) Rest: Do not extend yourself too much. Exhaustion leaves us more vulnerable to colds and flu viruses. Enjoy yourself, slow down and enjoy what summer has to offer.

5.) Avoid direct air conditioning […]

Dry Needling is Acupuncture

What is ‘dry needling’? 
The practice of ‘dry needling’ involves inserting an acupuncture needle into a trigger point and is typically used to treat the pain associated with injuries. A trigger point is a tender spot in a tight band of muscle which causes pain when pressed or squeezed. A dry needling training program often runs for just two or three days – which is just enough time for people to gain a rudimentary understanding of how to ‘needle the point that hurts’ and perhaps deliver short-term symptom relief.
Is acupuncture the same thing as ‘dry needling’? 
The increasing prevalence of the term ‘dry needling’ has created some confusion. Acupuncture practice incorporates many different needling techniques and a variety of these may be required to gain the best results. Dry needling, also known as trigger point acupuncture or, more traditionally, as ashi acupuncture, refers to just one of these techniques. A registered acupuncturist is qualified in many techniques, including trigger point acupuncture, and will adopt the best approach depending on the patient’s individual needs. The best approach does not rely on trigger points alone and sometimes trigger points are not necessary at all. If you’re only having ‘dry needling’, you are missing out on most of what a registered acupuncturist has to offer.

So do acupuncturists offer something more? 
Absolutely. There is much more to acupuncture than the insertion of needles into tender points. Often the tender point will return if the underlying cause is not identified and addressed. Quality acupuncture practice involves comprehensive patient assessment, an acupuncture diagnosis and an individualised treatment plan. Appropriate needling methods and supplementary treatment can then be designed to match the patient’s circumstances. Acupuncturists combine both a traditional understanding of the body from […]

Treating Yeast Infections with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

Many women will, at some point during their lifetime, experience this disease. Candidiasis or, more commonly known as “a yeast infection,” is the overgrowth of candida, a yeast-like fungi in the body. The fungus is common in everyone’s body. When the body experiences disharmony or weakness, yeast infections can occur. It is a condition, which is mainly caused by irregularities in the digestion or sometimes with a poor diet, but can also be also triggered by stress, overwork, overuse of antibiotics, or a weakened immunity system. External pathogens, such as the weather, viruses, or other environmental factors do not commonly cause this disease. Many of the common accompanying symptoms include fatigue, food allergies or sensitivities, digestive problems, infections of the skin, bowel disruption, throat congestion, and bladder and vaginal irregularities. Symptoms of the female genitalia include an increase of discharge that can be curd-like or milky-white, itching, and irritation.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the common diagnosis or pattern of yeast infections is the accumulation of dampness in the body. To treat candida, the dampness must be removed and the patient’s digestion must be addressed. To treat the acute manifestations, the dampness must be dried or drained from the body by using bitter foods and herbs. To treat the chronic manifestations, the stomach and spleen organs must be strengthened with a proper diet. Once the spleen and stomach are normal, the dampness should be transformed.

Many of these foods can cause dampness in the body: Sugar, meat, dairy, starches (potatoes, wheat), too little fiber, alcohol, additives, moldy foods, excess fruits, caffeine, smoking, stress and antibiotics. The first four mentioned can cause more dampness than the latter. Keep in mind, when changing your diet, you need to start […]

Acupuncture Benefits Hearing Loss

Electro-Acupuncture Technique For Ear Disorders
Let’s face it, many ear disorders such as gradual hearing loss, tinnitus, deafness, Meniere’s disease, etc. can be difficult to treat and cure. This can be frustrating, especially if it is the main reason for the acupuncture treatments.
One way we can improve our efficacy in the treatment of ear disorders is with the addition of electro-acupuncture to our standard treatment. It is an easy and safe technique to add to your treatment protocol. However, there are a few basic acupuncture principles and techniques that need to be addressed before electro-acupuncture can be beneficial for the treatment of ear disorders.

First, we need to select the acupuncture points that will be connected with electro-stimulation. For me, I first select SI19 (Tinggong), located in the depression anterior to the tragus of the ear and secondly, GB8 (Shuaigu), located 1 cun above the apex of the ear. Both points have the functions and indications to treat ear disorders. From a western medical standpoint, both points can stimulate and treat disorders of the temporal and auricular blood vessels, trigeminal, auriculotemporal and facial nerves and local muscles. What is also interesting about GB8 is that it is located on the midpoint of the 4cm horizontal “Auditory Line,” that is 1.5cm directly above the apex of the ear in the Jiao’s Style Scalp Acupuncture and commonly used to treat all types of auditory disorders. I sometimes alternate from SI19 (Tinggong) to SJ17 (Yifeng), which allows the acupuncturist an easier needle insertion.

Next, we should pay close attention to the needling techniques of these two points. SI19 should be needled to a depth of 1 cun for a normal adult; any shallower will not have much effect. After insertion, […]

The Effects of Acupuncture on the Treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia

My primary objective was to observe the clinical effects of acupuncture on treating trigeminal neuralgia (TGN) and to improve my understanding of the mechanisms behind these effects.

I treated a total of six individual cases of trigeminal neuralgia (TGN) from 2012-2013 at Sun Acupuncture located in Hopkins, Minnesota. These six people were diagnosed with (TGN) by a western physician and then sought out acupuncture treatments at Sun Acupuncture. Patients suffering from other disorders such as sinus or ear infections, cluster headaches, etc., were not included in this particular study.

Some of the causes of trigeminal neuralgia (TGN) that I’ve seen in my clinic have been a result of dental work, car accidents or personal injuries involving the neck, long-term stress, etc. The duration of discomfort and pain experienced by these six individual cases ranged from 2 years to 30 years and with an age range from 24-60 years old. Other common accompanying symptoms were daily headaches, jaw pain, jaw clenching, jaw tightness, jaw clicking, difficulty chewing, ear pain, stomach issues including nausea, fatigue due to long-term pain, insomnia, etc.

Many common treatments these patients have tried before seeking my expertise have been: Physical therapy, chiropractic care, pain medications, botox injections, laser therapy, night mouth guards, and surgery. All of these treatments had temporary effect or little to no effect.

I designed and used a precise acupuncture point prescription to treat trigeminal neuralgia (TGN) and the accompanying symptoms and administered the same acupuncture treatment and techniques to each patient. This point prescription and the acupuncture technical skill level are advanced and not easy to learn and administer by a licensed practitioner without the proper training. The acupuncture needles were retained for 25 minutes during each treatment. Treatments were administered […]

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine: Effective Treatment for Hives

Clinical medicine is based on a foundation of close and careful observation of treatment effectiveness in the clinical setting.
I had the opportunity to treat five patients within the last year for chronic hives. Based on careful observation of their symptoms, I developed a combination of Chinese herbal formulas that are extremely effective in relieving severe itching and treating hives.
In the beginning, the patients were only receiving mild results from my acupuncture and the Chinese herbal formulas. As practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) we hold a belief that chronic skin disorders are often difficult to treat and may can take a long time, up to six months to one year, to see results.
So I wasn’t too discouraged with the early results, well maybe just a bit of frustration.
I adopted many acupuncture prescriptions and modified the herbal formulas to see if I could increase the overall efficacy. Still though, only obtaining mild success at around 25-35% relief for every patient. This was not good enough for my patients or for me.
I kept looking back at the patient files, trying to understand if there was something missing or possibly counteracting the acupuncture and herbal medicine effects.
I commonly look for and to see if there are any elevated or prolonged emotional problems or stress. Most of the hives patients suffered from elevated or prolonged levels of stress and irritability due to family and career circumstances. Acupuncture and herbs often have wonderful, almost miraculous, effects on treating these symptoms. If the hives were a mere result of such problems though, we would have more than likely seen greater results.
I also look to see if there are any chronic digestive problems or irregularities, especially constipation. Along with this, I […]