What You Need to Know About Treating Fibromyalgia with Acupuncture & Herbs

Fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and some arthritic conditions are common problem for many people. Daily life and management of the pain can be difficult. To treat the pain, as practitioners and as patients, together we need work hard to get to the root of the problem. The true cause of fibromyalgia and chronic pain is often multifactoral and involves many components including, cardiovascular, digestive, neurologic, emotional, musculoskeletal, respiratory, and lymph system problems.
Successful treatment of fibromyalgia and chronic pain must address all of these issues and often utilize many modalities of treatment. Here at Sun Acupuncture we combine acupuncture, Asian bodywork, Chinese herbal formulas, topical liniments and patches, scraping and cupping techniques, along with, diet, exercise, lifestyle, and vitamin and supplement recommendations.
Our main goal is to work in conjunction with the patients to relieve the pain, improve the quality of life, and get the patients off the detrimental dependence of prescription painkillers and other long-term drug treatments.
Every individual person is different and will respond uniquely to treatments based on their particular lifestyle, diet, exercise, work, and sleep habits. Emotional, environmental and genetic factors will also play a role and are a necessary consideration.
People often ask me what is my success with treating fibromyalgia and chronic pain. I always use the “50% – 20% – 20% – 10%” Rule. This means that:

50%: Patients will naturally respond to treatments with full efficacy results.

20%: Patients will respond well, but slower and more gradually.

20%: Patients will need long-term care and will need to some significant lifestyle changes.                                                                                                          

10%: Patients will not respond.

Ultimately, a formula will not tell us if who will get relief and who will not, it really comes down to a case-by-case basis. If you […]

The 5 Useful Tips in Managing Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain

1.) Walk More
You’re not running a marathon or joining a bootcamp. Spend 20-30 minutes twice per day walking and enjoying the fresh air and mindful freedom. You can start slow too! Work up to it. Before long, you will be craving that walk.
2.) Enjoy An Activity
Find something you truly enjoy doing. Having a hobby turns from a distraction into a passion and passion is hope.
3.) Try A New Food
We’re never in short supply of good food these days. Whether it’s a new restaurant, cooking magazine or blog, treat yourself to a new flavor, a new recipe, or new atmosphere, your mind and body will appreciate it.
4.) Take A Break
In our busy society, it is far too easy to be overly busy with daily work and activities. Sometimes it can be too much. Don’t be shy or scared to take a short vacation from certain activities. Also, say no to giving extra help when you are overtired and stretched too thin. Allow your body to distress from the overstimulation.  
5.) Go On An Adventure
We’ve all heard this, but life is temporary and short! You owe it to yourself to experience as much of this world has to offer as you can. Check out a new park, a new store, or even a new part of the world.

Asthma: Your Need To Know!

哮喘
Asthma
Dr. Brian Grosam
Definition: Asthma affects approximately 25+ million Americans today. It’s a pulmonary disorder characterized by wheezing and dyspnea due to obstruction and inflammation of the airways. Asthma may be triggered by allergy, exertion, irritant particles, weather, psychological stress, etc.
Etiology: There are many causes of asthma. Allergens such as pollens, smoke, molds, house dust and animal hair may trigger an asthma attack. Asthma may also be induced by non-allergy related factors such as exertion, cold air, stress, anxiety, crying, hearty laughing, and viral infection. Common morbidity associated with asthma includes sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, gastroesophageal reflux, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and hyperthyroidism.

Clinical Manifestations: In an asthma attack, there will be a combination of spasm of the bronchi, inflammation of the airways, and increased mucous secretion. In mild to moderate cases, the patients will experience shortness of breath, wheezing, hyperpnea, and use of accessory muscles (such as neck and chest muscles) to facilitate breathing. Anxiety and sweating are commonly seen in asthmatics as they struggle for air. In severe cases, the patients will experience marked respiratory distress, cyanosis, use of accessory muscles, wheezes, lethargy and possibly confusion. Patients with severe asthma may not have any wheezing, as there is very little air moving in and out of the lungs.

Diagnosis: Asthma is diagnosed based on the characteristic episodes of wheezing, coughing, dyspnea or chest tightness interspersed with asymptomatic intervals. Objective confirmation is made with repeated spirometry tests performed over symptomatic and asymptomatic periods. Spirometry is a device that measures the breathing capacity of the lungs and is helpful in making the diagnosis, assessing the severity of the illness, and monitoring the effectiveness of the treatment. If the asthma is allergy-induced, identification of the allergen is very important. Skin […]

Better Sleep!

Let’s face it, sleep is what most of us enjoy and look forward to after a day of hard work. Curling up in a comfortable bed and sleeping is a daily ritual. Everyone needs quality sleep too, not only because it is amazing, but also it is beneficial for our overall physical and emotional health. So when we cannot fall asleep easily, or we are waking at night, or simply waking early without getting enough sleep, these patterns over time will influence our wellbeing.
Many of you who’ve been in to our clinic know I will always ask you about your sleep, whether you are having trouble in any of the abovementioned categories. In Chinese medicine, we look for the root cause of our health issues and often times there is a simple solution. Our example here is sleep: Why are you not sleeping well? Stress, overthinking, working long hours, digestion, exercise routine or lack thereof, diet, and so on, are the first places to look for the disharmony and can often be remedied in a short period of time.
You may be wondering, “but what about more complex issues, such as hormone imbalances, women’s issues, disease, pharmaceuticals, acute or chronic pain, or other long standing problems?” Insomnia and trouble sleeping caused by these issues, although seemingly more complex, are still treatable.
The treatment of sleep issues is not difficult, but does take some time for some people. Trust me though we can help you. The use of acupuncture can help on many levels. It will retrain your brain and regulate neurochemicals, relax the body and muscles, and overall balance all of the body systems. Separate or in conjunction with acupuncture, herbal formulas too, help support the […]

The Insomnia Cure?

I’ve been treating a LOT of insomnia cases over the past several years. I have had excellent results with acupuncture. People having difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or not able to sleep at all, in MOST cases, are now sleeping very well and without difficulty.
However, there are some people who do not want acupuncture. In these cases, herbal formulas are best. It’s more than merely taking a single herb or product such as melatonin, which helps only temporarily in many situations. We need to use a well designed, but simple, formula that is almost 2,ooo years old.
Gan Mai Da Zao Tang is a classic formula from the “Essentials from the Golden Cabinet,” a classic Chinese medicine herbal prescription text. It has only 3 herbs in its formula: Wheat, jujube, and licorice. This doesn’t mean that one can stop down at their local market and whip it together. The essence and sprit of Chinese herbal medicine is in the use of specific parts of each botanical supply, in the measurements, and in the preparation. Nowadays, we can simply buy the formula already made and in pill form, so don’t worry!
The formula is used for many common symptoms including:
Melancholy
Restless or Difficulty Falling Sleep
Frequent Yawning
Disorientation & Neurosis
We have many patients who have chosen the herbal formula route to treat their sleep and with great results! We do recommend an herbal consult first, so we can rule out other possible problems causing insomnia that may be treated better with another herbal formula or therapy, including diet, exercise and stress management.
Here is a complete guide as to how the formula works based on Chinese medicine:
Gan Mai Da Zao Tang
甘麦大枣汤  
Licorice, wheat, & Jujube Decoction
Actions: Nourish heart, calm spirit & harmonize the […]

Treating PCOS with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a relatively common ovulatory disorder we see in the clinic. Although sometimes multifaceted and complex, it is oftentimes easily treatable with the acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas.

PCOS is a diagnosis made in the clinic based on manifestations. A woman with at least two of the following symptoms meets the diagnosis: 1.) Ultrasound showing polycystic ovary morphology; 2.) Infrequent, irregular or no ovulation, cycles longer than 35 days, or fewer than 9 periods per year; 3.) Hirsutism or unwanted hair growth, acne, male pattern hair loss, or high androgen levels from blood tests.

In the clinic, it is very important to look at many aspects of PCOS to gain a better understanding of the individual and to tailor proper treatment, including: Genetics, epigenetics, uterine and early life factors, androgens and folliculogenesis, insulin resistance, stress, age, and metabolism.

Your Western medicine practitioner will treat PCOS from these few common angles, including: Weight loss, oral contraception, metformin, clomid, gonadotrophins, statins, or surgery. Different approaches will be taken based on the individual and what the health goals are, for instance: regulating the period, fertility based, or if there are more serious health risks.

In Chinese medicine, our treatments are focused on a holistic approach. From a full intake and based on past and present symptoms, we treat PCOS from a variety of angles to help regulate the menstrual cycle and promote healthy ovulation. The main goal is to eliminate the cause of cyst formation, promote healthy egg growth and ovulation, promote healthy blood flow for a regulated period, while at the same time, reducing stress, and strengthening the metabolism.

Whether you are in the category of PCOS with weight gain, or the category of PCOS without weight gain, if you have irregular periods, […]

Stop Acid Reflux and Heartburn for Good

半夏泻心汤
Pinellia Decoction to Drain the Epigastrium
Problems with chronic acid reflux and heartburn? You’ve tried modifying your diet and still have problems? Cannot seem to be able to quite over the counter medications to help the problem?

The answer is in this formula: Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang! It is a classical Chinese herbal formula to help treat heartburn and acid reflux. It works so well with so many patients, that many are able to stop OTC medications all together and even add some of their favorite foods back into their diet.

Below is how it works based on Chinese Medicine. It may not make sense at all to you, but once you try the formula you will see the difference.

Actions: Harmonize the stomach to lower rising Qi, open the stagnancy & dissipate obstruction.

Indications: Disharmony of stomach Qi. *Due to cold/heat complex or improper purging of half interior, half exterior pattern with stomach deficiency. (Purging aggravates the stomach deficiency to cause pathogen to go deeper).

Herbs in Formula:

Ban Xia 9g (monarch): Pungent & bitter enter stomach channel, disperse clumps, stops nausea, vomiting or heartburn & eliminates focal distention.

Gan Jiang 6g (adjuvant): Pungent & warm expel cold.

Huang Qin 6g (adjuvant): Bitter & cold drain heat.

Huang Lian 3g (adjuvant): Bitter & cold drain heat.

Ren Shen 6g (assistant): Benefit the middle jiao & prevent the dispersing action of other herbs to injure normal Qi. Helps Ban Xia to stop vomiting.

Da Zao 4 pieces (assistant): Same as Ren Shen.

Zhi Gan Cao 6g (guiding): Help tonify middle Qi & harmonize herbs.

Manifestations:

*Focal distention: A localized sensation of discomfort, blockage & distension.

*Clumping in the epigastrium: Produce a sensation of fullness. Soft, no mass or hardness.

*Slight pain or no pain.

*Cold-heat complex:

Excess & deficiency brought by clumping & […]

Effective Treatment Protocols

• Understand your patient!
• Understand the symptoms!
• Understand the severity!
• Understand the effectiveness of your treatments!
“50% – 20% – 20% – 10%” Rule
• 50%: Patients will naturally respond to acupuncture treatments with full efficacy results.
• 20%: Patients will respond slower and more gradual and will need acupuncture prescription modifications.
• 20%: Patients will need long treatment courses, herbs, and lifestyle changes.
• 10%: Patients will not respond to Chinese medicine.

“Mild – Moderate – Severe” Rule
1.) Quantity: based on severity and duration of symptoms:
• Mild Conditions: (3-6 Tx).
• Moderate Conditions: (6-12 Tx).
• Severe Conditions: (12-24+ Tx).
• Short Duration/Acute Conditions: (3-12 Tx).
• Long Duration/Chronic Conditions: (12-24+ Tx).
2.) Frequency: based on severity and duration of symptoms:
• Mild Conditions: (1 Tx/wk).
• Moderate Conditions: (1-2 Tx/wk).
• Severe Conditions: (2 Tx/wk).
• Short Duration/Acute Conditions: (2 Tx/wk).
• Long Duration/Chronic Conditions: (1 Tx/wk).
3.) Every individual person is different.
• Every individual will respond uniquely to acupuncture based on your particular lifestyle, diet, exercise, work, and sleep habits.
• Emotional, environmental and genetic factors will also play a role and are a necessary consideration.

Treatment Schedule
1.) Set up acupuncture protocol based on diagnosis.
2.) Give the patient a predetermined set amount of treatments based on severity.
3.) Continue treatments if there are changes in: Severity, Duration, or Frequency of symptoms.
4.) If there are no changes, modify acupuncture prescription and repeat.
5.) Once the patient’s symptoms are manageable and controlled (within quality of life parameters), start spacing out the treatments or start maintenance treatments.
6.) If there are no changes after set amount of treatments, add herbal prescriptions and suggest lifestyle modifications.

“Constant changing of […]

Eye Floaters

A patient I am treating for eye floaters recently asked me about the herbs we use to treat this condition. Here is a link to a nice article for a famous eye floater formula Qi Ju Di Huang Wan.

Enjoy!

Cold & Flu Tea

The famous Ban Lan Gen Tea is flying off the shelves!!! People are buying it left and right to help beat the cold and flu season.

Ban Lan Gen or Isatis Root (Radix Isatidis seu Baphicaconthi) has these specific functions:

Clear exterior wind heat: #1 herb to treat viral infections including rapid high fever, sore throat, etc.

For more information on the herb, please visit these two sites: Chinese Herbs Healing and WebMD.

Be proactive and stop in now to purchase your tea. You’ll be glad you did when you beat your cold in 1 day versus living with it for two weeks!