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Herbal Medicine

How to Treat Bronchitis With Acupuncture and TCM

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By Xiaomei Cai, L.Ac., Ph.D. & Qineng Tan, L.Ac., Ph.D.

 

man coughing
A persistent, productive cough can be a sign of bronchitis.

Chest cold with a productive cough, shortness of breath, coughing up mucus? These could be acute bronchitis symptoms. Acupuncture and TCM herbs can provide an alternative bronchitis treatment to help relieve chest congestion and a chronic cough.

Bronchitis is a respiratory infection in which the bronchial tubes, or airways, become inflamed. It typically causes chest congestion, a wet cough, coughing up phlegm, and difficulty breathing. Acute bronchitis usually develops due to the same kinds of viral infections that cause the common cold or pneumonia.

Chronic bronchitis refers to long-term inflammation of the lungs and bronchial tubes that is not related to an infection. If a person has a cough with mucus that lasts for months, or happens year after year, it is considered chronic bronchitis. This can happen as a result of smoking, and/or exposure to air pollution.

Like emphysema, chronic bronchitis is considered a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). There are other lung conditions that can cause symptoms similar to those of bronchitis, including: asthma, sinusitis, whooping cough (pertussis) and tuberculosis.

Acute bronchitis usually clears up within a few weeks, but the persistent cough may linger. Antibiotics do not help treat viral infections, so the treatment for bronchitis is usually just to help suppress the cough and reduce aches and pains. 

TCM treatment with acupuncture and herbs can help relieve bronchitis symptoms without side effects. It can also help remove pathogens and blockages affecting the lungs, so that bronchitis doesn’t turn into a chronic, recurrent condition.

Bronchitis Symptoms

woman in bed coughing
Bronchitis cough may get worse when you lie down to sleep.

Acute bronchitis causes the airways of the lungs—the bronchial tubes—to swell, and the lungs to produce extra mucus. Coughing, with clear or yellowish phlegm, is the primary symptom of bronchitis.

The most commons symptoms of bronchitis include:

  • Cough, phlegmy cough, cough with mucus, productive cough, persistent cough
  • Chest soreness, tightness in chest, chest pain
  • Fatigue, feeling tired
  • Shortness of breath, trouble breathing, wheezing
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy nose, runny nose
  • Body ache, headache, back pain, muscle pain
  • Low grade fever

Is bronchitis contagious? It is not so much bronchitis as a condition—that is, inflammation and congestion in the lungs—is contagious, as the virus or bacterial infection that caused bronchitis to develop is contagious for a period of time. The coughing may last for a while beyond the infectious period. Sleeping can be difficult, because the cough tends to worsen when a person lies down.

Bronchitis Treatment

When you seek treatment for acute bronchitis from a physician, it is generally treated in the same way as the common cold. Recommendations will include:

  • Rest
  • Increase fluid intake, drink more water
  • Take OTC pain relievers
  • Take expectorants or cough suppressants to manage coughing
  • Use a humidifier or sit in a steamy shower room to help relieve congestion

These remedies may help to temporarily relieve symptoms while a person gets over the infection. However, some of these medications can cause side effects, and they do not do much to help prevent bronchitis from coming back the next time a virus is going around.

Chronic bronchitis, as a COPD, is considered a chronic illness that must be managed, so as to slow its progression. Quitting smoking is the first recommendation. Then, bronchodilators, steroids, and/or antibiotics may be prescribed to help open the airways, reduce inflammation, and prevent recurrent infections.

These medical interventions, too, can come with significant side effects. Corticosteroids, in particular, if taken over a long period of time, can cause liver damage. 

Making a major lifestyle change, like getting rid of a nicotine addiction, is easier said than done. 

Fortunately, acupuncture and TCM herbs offer a complementary medicine to help relieve bronchitis symptoms, treat the deeper root causes, and also help with quitting smoking, if necessary.

Can Acupuncture Help Bronchitis?

acupuncture treatment for bronchitis
Acupuncture can help relieve bronchitis symptoms.

According to TCM theory, bronchitis is the result of pathogenic forces like Wind and Dampness affecting the lungs and other organs systems that are interrelated. An acupuncturist looks for the particular patterns of symptoms in each individual, and tailors acupuncture treatment and herbal supplements, according to which organ system patterns are involved. These may include:

  • Lung dampness
  • Lung deficiency
  • Lung dryness
  • Phlegm-heat obstructing lung
  • Wind invasion
  • Spleen Qi deficiency
  • Spleen/Kidney Yang deficiency
  • Qi and/or Yin deficiency

Multiple studies have shown that acupuncture treatment and herbal cough preparations can be even more effective than conventional medicines when helping to relieve post-infectious chronic coughing.
Studies have shown that acupuncture can help reduce bronchial inflammation and damage, relieve coughing and reduce phlegm production. It can also help boost immune function.

One study detailed how patients with chronic bronchitis, who had been taking steroids for years, were able to reduce or entirely stop their use of steroids after receiving acupuncture treatments for a few months.

Chinese herbs, used in combination, can help relieve bronchitis symptoms and work on other levels, too. They can help clear toxins from the tissues and promote regeneration of new, healthy tissue, and improve immunity, so that the next time a virus is going around, the body is better equipped to fight it off quickly.

Top 5 Tips for Getting Rid of Bronchitis Naturally

fresh ginger tea
Fresh ginger tea can help reduce inflammation.

Getting acupuncture treatment and specific herbs for your condition will be helpful. In addition, you can help strengthen your lung health by practicing these habits:

  1. Avoid dairy products, which increase mucus production
  2. Drink warm herbal teas, fresh ginger tea, and lemon water to help stay hydrated and thin phlegm. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which dehydrate you. Ginger helps reduce inflammation.
  3. Steam an asian pear until very soft, and eat like applesauce. This helps clear mucus.
  4. Breathing exercises can be helpful; ask your acupuncture practitioner to show you some good breathing techniques.
  5. Take Yin Qiao pills at the very first sign of a cough or sore throat. This is a traditional Chinese formulation that helps ward off colds and coughs if taken early. 

Acupuncture Near Me for Bronchitis in West Los Angeles

When a respiratory infection turns into a nagging cough, or worse, into chronic bronchitis that keeps coming back, year after year, it is important to seek treatment. With acupuncture and TCM herbs, it is possible to recover from a bronchial infection more quickly and comfortably. With regular acupuncture “tune-ups,” you can end the cycle of a chronic cough.

 

 

 

*This article is for education from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine only. The education provided by this article is not approved by FDA to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure human diseases. It should not stop you from consulting with your physician for your medical conditions. Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on Qi, which is an invisible force that usually cannot be observed by modern science. Because science focuses on testing ideas about the natural world with evidence obtained through observation, these aspects of acupuncture can’t be studied by science. Therefore acupuncture and Chinese herbs are often not supported by double-blind, randomized trials, and they are considered alternative medicine therapies in the United States.

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How to Treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome With Acupuncture and TCM

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By Xiaomei Cai, L.Ac., Ph.D. & Qineng Tan, L.Ac., Ph.D.

 

chronic fatigue syndrome
When you have CFS, sleep doesn’t feel refreshing.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalitis (ME/CFS), is a condition marked by extreme fatigue that doesn’t get better, even with rest, and gets worse with physical and mental exertion. Chronic fatigue is not well understood by medical science, but acupuncture and Chinese medicine for chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms can be an effective treatment option.

People with chronic fatigue syndrome are always tired, even after getting a normal amount of sleep, and the condition persists for weeks, months, or years. Other chronic fatigue symptoms include body aches, cognitive problems, vision problems, and emotional or mental health problems, like depression and anxiety.

If a person feels tired all the time, with no medical explanation, for six months or more, and has several other chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms like dizziness, difficulty concentrating, headaches, or sensitivity to light, then they might be diagnosed with CFS, or myalgic encephalitis (ME CFS).

By definition, a syndrome is a collection of symptoms that often appear together in combination, for which the exact explanation is unknown. Chronic fatigue has been considered a syndrome for some time, but has more recently been given the designation of a “disease;” hence, the newer term “myalgic encephalitis,” which refers to muscle pain and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

Chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms can be very similar to those of fibromyalgia. People with fibromyalgia also experience severe fatigue, but the primary symptoms of fibromyalgia are musculoskeletal pain that comes and goes all over, especially in “tender points” around the major muscles and joints, along with swelling and inflammation. It is possible to have both ME/CFS and fibromyalgia.

Women are much more likely to have chronic fatigue than men. MECFS can begin to appear at any stage of life, but most usually develops in adulthood. It is estimated that up to 90% of people who have chronic fatigue go undiagnosed.

ME/CFS is a serious and disabling condition that can interfere with even the most basic daily activities. People with chronic fatigue may be able to participate in some events where they exert themselves mentally and/or physically, but afterwards, they will feel completely wiped out and have to take time to recover, often confined to bed. This is called post-exertional malaise (PEM).

Top 10 Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms

ME CFS chronic fatigue
Dizziness and headaches can be signs of chronic fatigue.

The most common ME/CFS symptoms include:

  1. Fatigue, tired all the time, weakness
  2. Sensitivity to light
  3. Trouble concentrating, hard to focus, memory problems, confusion
  4. Dizziness, especially when getting up from lying down
  5. Headaches
  6. Muscle aches, body ache, muscle weakness, joint pain
  7. Enlarged lymph nodes in neck or armpit area, sore throat
  8. Tired after exercise or mental exertion (post-exertional malaise)
  9. Depression, mood swings, moodiness
  10. Insomnia, sleep problems 

Other signs of chronic fatigue syndrome may include: fever, abdominal pain, weight loss or weight gain, allergies, rash, rapid heart beat, and night sweats/hot flashes.

What Causes Chronic Fatigue?

The cause of ME/CFS is not known. Immune system dysfunction, the aftereffects of having a virus, and psychological factors have all been associated with the development of chronic fatigue.

Some people begin to have symptoms of chronic fatigue after having a viral infection, such as Epstein Barr, mononucleosis, or herpes.

While it does seem that some people who suffer from CFS also have immune system problems, chronic fatigue is not considered to be an autoimmune disorder in and of itself.  As with other conditions like lupus or fibromyalgia, CFS sometimes appears after a person has gone through some sort of emotional trauma or physical injury. 

Some people with chronic fatigue have hormone imbalances related to pituitary hormone, adrenal hormone, or hypothalamus hormones, but it is not understood how these might be related to their condition. Diabetes, anemia, or hypothyroidism can also create hormonal imbalances that can contribute to chronic fatigue.

In some cases, chronic fatigue could be due to a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea or chronic insomnia. Long-standing mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or PTSD can interfere with sleep and hormone responses, contributing to the chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms.

Treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms

tired all the time fatigue
Feeling exhausted after mental or physical activity is called post exertional malaise (PEM).

There is no clear treatment protocol within conventional Western medicine for ME/CFS. A doctor may diagnose myalgic encephalitis if they have ruled out other possibilities and then try to recommend medications or various types of therapy to help people deal with the symptoms of chronic fatigue.

Pain relievers or NSAIDs will often be the standard recommendation for handling ME/CFS related pain like headaches or muscles aches. 

Doctors may prescribe antidepressants as a way of helping patients cope with depression and anxiety related to chronic fatigue. However, these medications can sometimes cause side effects that will exacerbate the chronic fatigue rather than helping it.

Some doctors have tried treating CFS with antiviral medications, corticosteroids, or thyroid hormone medications. None of the pharmacological interventions that have been used to treat chronic fatigue syndrome have proved to be very effective.

Thus, many patients with ME/CFS consider turning to alternative medicine or complementary therapies to relieve CFS symptoms. Acupuncture is now widely recognized as an alternative therapy for chronic fatigue. 

Can Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Help Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Traditional Chinese medicine is well suited to treatment for ME/CFS. Overall, TCM philosophy pays close attention to the subtle balance of energy, known as Qi, within the body as a whole, as well as within the various organ systems. By observing the specific symptoms each person experiences as part of chronic fatigue syndrome, we can pinpoint which organ systems are deficient and need strengthening. 

Classic TCM patterns related to chronic fatigue diagnosis include:

  • Spleen Qi deficiency
  • Liver Qi stagnation
  • Kidney deficiency
  • Yin deficiency
  • Heat toxicity
  • Phlegm obstruction/dampness

Latent heat and dampness are sometimes the long-term effects of a viral infection or other illness, or a long period of emotional stress. These conditions originate from an external pathogenic factor, but then cause a series of imbalances which weaken the kidneys and other organs over time. Acupuncture treatment and herbs can help reduce inflammation and strengthen Qi.

A TCM doctor will choose acupuncture points and a combination of herbs that will help harmonize the affected systems. With herbs, we are able to get nutrients into the body beyond what you can do with foods alone. A balanced diet that cools heat and tonifies the organs will also be important for recovering strength and energy.

One controlled trial found that four weeks of acupuncture treatment led to improvements in CFS symptoms. 

A systematic review of studies regarding acupuncture treatment for ME CFS showed a reduction in the severity of fatigue.

A study using acupuncture and moxibustion treatment for CFS showed a 90% effective rate, with half of the patients feeling that their CFS was “cured.”

Another study involving acupuncture and moxibustion found that the moxa treatment in particular became more and more effective as treatment sessions continued past the 10th treatment. Moxibustion was shown to have an effect on the vagus nerve, which controls the parasympathetic nervous system.

How long it takes to get results from acupuncture treatment for chronic fatigue will vary from person to person, depending on how long the person has been experiencing CFS, and how deeply the organ systems are affected. TCM treatment has a cumulative effect which strengthens over time and several sessions.

Acupuncture Near Me for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) in the Los Angeles Area

ME CFS is far more common than statistics show, because many people suffer in silence and invisibility. Now, many people are struggling with chronic fatigue after having COVID-19. TCM modalities like acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and moxibustion, can help relieve fatigue, depression, mental fogginess, poor sleep, and other symptoms of CFS. If you or someone you love has been feeling exhausted for months without improvement, it may be time to consider trying acupuncture for chronic fatigue.



*This article is for education from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine only. The education provided by this article is not approved by FDA to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure human diseases. It should not stop you from consulting with your physician for your medical conditions. Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on Qi, which is an invisible force that usually cannot be observed by modern science. Because science focuses on testing ideas about the natural world with evidence obtained through observation, these aspects of acupuncture can’t be studied by science. Therefore acupuncture and Chinese herbs are often not supported by double-blind, randomized trials, and they are considered alternative medicine therapies in the United States.



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How to Treat Emphysema With Acupuncture and TCM

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By Qineng Tan, L.Ac., Ph.D. & Xiaomei Cai, L.Ac., Ph.D.

smoking emphysema
Smoking is the number one cause of emphysema.

Pulmonary emphysema is a kind of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that causes coughing and wheezing. Symptoms of emphysema are similar to those of chronic bronchitis and pneumonia. Acupuncture treatment and TCM herbs can help relieve emphysema symptoms and other COPD symptoms.

COPD refers to a group of progressive lung diseases, where damage to the lungs causes serious breathing problems and a chronic cough. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are both considered COPDs, and it is possible to have both of these conditions at the same time.

Bronchitis is when there is inflammation in the bronchial tubes that bring airflow into the lungs, so they get swollen and have too much mucus buildup. Emphysema is what happens when there is damage to the alveoli, the small air sacs that make up the bottom part of the lungs. This makes it difficult to draw a full breath and get enough oxygen into your bloodstream.

Smoking is the primary thing that causes emphysema. Exposure to toxic chemicals or air pollution, repeated respiratory infections, or a genetic predisposition could also be causes of emphysema. 

The number one thing people can do to prevent or help emphysema is to quit smoking. Acupuncture treatment can help people overcome nicotine addiction.

Acupuncture and other TCM treatment can also help to clear the lungs, reduce inflammation and shortness of breath, and improve quality of life for people suffering from emphysema and other types of COPD.

Top 10 Symptoms of Emphysema

smoker
A persistent cough can be a sign of emphysema.

In many cases, people do not realize that they have emphysema; they may only be feeling some fatigue and shortness of breath and not take much notice. By the time symptoms have become severe enough that they seek medical help, they may have already suffered a lot of lung damage.

Emphysema symptoms are similar to those of bronchitis; although, with acute bronchitis, there may also be chills and fever, and a sense of tightness in the chest. 

The most common symptoms of emphysema include:

  1. Chronic cough, coughing up phlegm, cough with mucus, smoker’s cough, persistent cough
  2. Shortness of breath, especially with activity or exercise (dyspnea)
  3. Rapid breathing, breathing fast
  4. Wheezing
  5. Sputum, mucus, mucous, phlegm
  6. Fatigue, chronic fatigue
  7. Sleep problems, trouble sleeping, insomnia
  8. Heart problems
  9. Depression, anxiety
  10. Weight loss

Other signs of emphysema or COPD include: blue fingernails or lips, enlarged glands, broken capillaries under the skin, enlarged veins around the neck, enlargement of the chest or rib cage (emphysema barrel chest), and repeated respiratory infections.

 

4 Stages of COPD

As a COPD, emphysema is a progressive lung disease. Sometimes symptoms worsen and breathing becomes more difficult over a short period of time; this is known as an “emphysema exacerbation.” As a person’s respiratory function decreases, they are said to enter the later stages of COPD. Interventions and treatments may help to slow COPD progression.

Emphysema can greatly increase the risk of a person having heart problems, due to extra pressure on the blood vessels around the heart. It can also eventually lead to there being actual holes in the lung tissues, or a collapsed lung (pneumothorax).

Medical Treatment for Emphysema

emphysema, COPD, lung damage
Imaging may show damage to the lungs due to COPD/emphysema.

In order to diagnose emphysema, doctors may look at X-ray or CT scans imaging to see damage to the lungs. Blood tests and other lung function tests like spirometry may show the level of oxygen in your bloodstream.

Medical science has no cure for the lung damage caused by emphysema. Bronchodilators or inhaled corticosteroids may be prescribed, which can help open airways and reduce shortness of breath. Antibiotics may be used to keep infections like the flu or pneumonia at bay. If emphysema gets to a severe stage, some people may need supplemental oxygen. Some patients may be able to have a major surgery, such as lung volume reduction (removal of damaged lung tissue) or a lung transplant.

TCM modalities like acupuncture and herbal medicine can help relieve shortness of breath and coughing, improving quality of life, while staving off further decline in lung function. Acupuncture, herbs, and moxibustion can be used effectively as adjuncts to regular medical treatments for emphysema.

Can Acupuncture Help Emphysema?

moxibustion TCM treatment
Moxibustion may be a part of TCM treatment for emphysema.

According to TCM theory, emphysema is considered to be caused by Lung deficiency, which can lead to “fei zhang,” distension of the lungs, and/or “chuan zheng,” which means “panting.” TCM can help COPD in several ways: by clearing lung congestion and opening the bronchial airways, helping to boost immune function so that a person can better avoid infections, and providing more nutrient-rich blood flow to the whole body.

One study found that COPD patients who were given acupuncture treatment had improved breathing when doing a six minute walk.

A systematic review comparing TCM treatment and convention treatment for COPD showed that acupuncture, acupressure massage, and moxibustion were all effective interventions and concluded that TCM works well as a complementary medicine/adjunct therapy for COPD.

Many Chinese herbs and herbal formulations are useful for helping to dissolve phlegm and reduce inflammation of lung tissues. TCM herbal preparations can help reduce phlegm and clear heat, relieve inflammation of airways and improve lung function.

Nutrition is also very important for patients with emphysema, who may suffer weight loss due to lack of proper nutrients in the bloodstream. An acupuncture practitioner will work with each individual to determine what kind of food program will help to reduce inflammation and provide adequate nourishment for the organ systems.

Acupuncture Near Me for Emphysema COPD in Los Angeles

TCM is a good way to help people breathe easier, whether they are suffering from allergies, asthma, pneumonia, Cystic Fibrosis, the common cold or a sore throat, or COPDs like bronchitis and emphysema. If you or someone one you love needs to quit smoking, or has been exposed to chemical pollution through their work, acupuncture can help to detoxify and strengthen the lungs.



*This article is for education from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine only. The education provided by this article is not approved by FDA to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure human diseases. It should not stop you from consulting with your physician for your medical conditions. Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on Qi, which is an invisible force that usually cannot be observed by modern science. Because science focuses on testing ideas about the natural world with evidence obtained through observation, these aspects of acupuncture can’t be studied by science. Therefore acupuncture and Chinese herbs are often not supported by double-blind, randomized trials, and they are considered alternative medicine therapies in the United States.

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How to Treat Huntington’s Disease With Acupuncture and TCM

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By Qineng Tan, L.Ac., Ph.D. and Xiaomei Cai, L.Ac., Ph.D.

 

Huntington
People with Huntington’s disease will begin to have trouble walking and holding objects.

Huntington’s disease is a rare genetic disorder that causes progressive neurodegenerative disease. A neurological disorder, Huntington’s causes damage to brain cells, which leads to physical symptoms like tremor, cognitive problems, and mental disorders, including feelings of depression.

Signs of Huntington’s disease (HD) can begin to show up at any time after age two, and in some cases, a child may develop juvenile Huntington’s disease. Most often, though, a person does not begin to have symptoms of Huntington’s disease until adulthood, usually when they are in their 30s or 40s. Huntington’s is a progressive disease in which symptoms become increasingly severe over time.

Medical science does not currently have a cure for Huntington’s, nor a treatment that will halt the progression of Huntington’s disease. Patients may receive treatment in the form of medications and physical therapy to help control physical symptoms like shaking hands and involuntary movements. They may also be prescribed psychiatric medications to try to help with depression and anxiety. 

Acupuncture and TCM can be an effective adjunct and alternative treatment for Huntington’s disease, helping to protect and stimulate the nervous system. TCM can also help address mental health and emotional disorders, like depression, anxiety, and mood swings.

Huntington’s Disease Symptoms

People with Huntington’s disease may start off having a variety of mild symptoms. Over time, the symptoms may change, with some coming or going, and some getting worse. Signs of Huntington’s disease can be related to involuntary movements of the body, cognitive decline that affects a person’s thinking processes, and psychiatric disorders that cause emotional upset. Some of the most common symptoms of Huntington’s disease include:

  • Uncontrollable movements: involuntary jerking of the limbs, or writhing, also known as chorea
  • Stiff limbs, muscle stiffness, neck stiffness
  • Tremor, shaky hands, difficulty holding things
  • Slow or unusual eye movements
  • Problems with balance or walking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Speech problems, slurred speech
  • Having a hard time focusing on a a task
  • Having a hard time finding the right words or processing information
  • Getting completely caught up with a task or thought pattern
  • Impulsive behavior or emotional outbursts
  • Lack of awareness of how one is behaving or one’s own changing abilities
  • Feelings of apathy, sadness, depression, suicidal ideation
  • Manic behaviors or OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)
  • Trouble sleeping, insomnia
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weight loss

Symptoms of Huntington’s disease worsen gradually over time, until ultimately, a person will need assistance to move and eat.

What Are the 5 Stages of Huntington’s Disease?

Huntington’s is a progressive disorder of the brain that causes symptoms to increase in severity over the course of several years. The progression from experiencing mild symptoms to needing assistance due to disability could take 10 years, or a person might live another 30 years. 

Sometimes you will hear doctors refer to 3 stages of Huntington’s Disease, or the following 5 stages:

  1. Preclinical Stage – during this time, a person with Huntington’s may begin to notice mood swings, irritability, and other emotional and cognitive issues beginning to develop, but they have not yet been diagnosed with Huntington’s. 
  2. Early Stage – as physical symptoms like tremors and trouble with eating and sleeping begin to become more and more noticeable, a person will seek medical help and be diagnosed. At this point, they can still carry on with most normal activities without help.
  3. Middle Stage – during the middle stages of Huntington’s a person will begin to need assistance with things like driving and domestic tasks, as they may not be able to coordinate movements reliably or think through problems or take in new information.
  4. Late Stage – as Hungtington’s disease progresses further, a person may have memory loss, dementia, and changes in personality. They will likely be bedridden and need help with eating, possibly requiring a feeding tube because of trouble swallowing.
  5. End of Life Stage – there comes a point when a person with Huntington’s will need end of life care, either in a hospital or at home, when they will need to be as comfortable as possible. The most common cause of death with Huntington’s is pneumonia, which can happen when a person aspirates food particles into the lungs. 

How is Huntington’s Disease Inherited?

genes DNA Huntington
Huntington’s disease is caused by a genetic mutation in the DNA.

Huntington’s disease is a type of autosomal dominant disorder, which means that a person only needs to inherit one dominant gene from one parent in order to inherit this disorder. If a person has HD, there is a 50% chance that they will pass it on to a child. If a child of a person with HD does not inherit the gene, and therefore does not have HD, then that means they will not pass it on to their children. It is rare, but possible, for a person to be born with a new mutation in the specific gene, and so does not actually inherit HD from a parent.

Because HD typically does not begin to show up until close to middle age, some people who know that they may have the genetic mutation will have genetic testing for Huntington’s disease. This test will tell most people whether or not they will begin to develop Huntington’s symptoms as they age. However, there is a “gray area,” in which a person may have some of the mutated sequencing in their genetic makeup, but not enough to necessarily lead to the development of the disease. These people can still pass on the mutation to their children, and they may have a less severe form of Huntington’s, and/or not develop symptoms until later in life.

Can Acupuncture Help Huntington’s Disease?

Scientific research has been demonstrating more and more that acupuncture can help with many conditions by maintaining the health and connectivity of brain cells and nerve cells. Cells are constantly going through processes of generation and degeneration. The stimulation of certain acupoints has been shown to have a positive effect on these processes, which can be beneficial for people with neurological disorders like HD and Parkinson’s.

Even though we know that Huntington’s and Parkinson’s are specifically related to protein production, we also know that disease is not merely about one small, isolated thing happening in the body. We must take the whole person into account. Stress and many other factors also play a role in how a disease affects each individual. Acupuncture can be a helpful modality that reduces stress in the body and facilitates regeneration and protection of cells.

With TCM, we are able to address the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of Huntington’s disease all at the same time.

Chinese herbs have traditionally been used to help symptoms such as tremors, stiff limbs, muscle weakness, and slow movements. While from the medical point of view these problems are related to the nervous system, in TCM theory we also see them as being related to deficiencies in the kidney Qi, and excess wind. Therefore, herbs that help strengthen the Kidneys and dispel wind may be used in different combinations to treat conditions like Huntington’s disease.

Acupuncture treatment has been shown to help reduce tremors and shaky hands. One study showed that Chinese herbal preparations were effective at helping to reduce involuntary movements. Another study showed that herbs helped with the normal production of proteins and brain cell function.

Neurological Treatment With Acupuncture

Huntington
People with Huntington’s may struggle with depression and mood swings.

Acupuncture and TCM can help with many different kinds of neurodegenerative disorders, whether they are caused by genetics, autoimmune disease, or some other neurological problem.

Neurodegenerative diseases cause the degeneration and death of neurons, or brain cells that communicate with the nervous system. In that sense, Huntington’s disease bears some similarities to other neurodegenerative diseases like:

Many of these conditions can be helped with acupuncture, which is known to help improve the health of the brain, nerves, spinal cord, and the electrical impulses that create connectivity and functionality in the movements of the musculoskeletal system. TCM modalities can also help to relieve stress, improve sleep, boost cognitive function, and regulate mood swings.

Acupuncture Near Me for Huntington’s Disease, Los Angeles Area

Huntington’s disease is a progressive illness, and it becomes harder and harder for a person with HD to communicate what they are feeling. People with Huntington’s may experience both physical and emotional pain. Patients with Huntington’s need a caring team of healthcare providers who can help treat the disease, but also help their emotional and mental health. 

At Art of Wellness, we have over 30 years of experience helping people with neurodegenerative disorders feel more comfortable and live the fullest life possible.

 

 

*This article is for education from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine only. The education provided by this article is not approved by FDA to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure human diseases. It should not stop you from consulting with your physician for your medical conditions. Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on Qi, which is an invisible force that usually cannot be observed by modern science. Because science focuses on testing ideas about the natural world with evidence obtained through observation, these aspects of acupuncture can’t be studied by science. Therefore acupuncture and Chinese herbs are often not supported by double-blind, randomized trials, and they are considered alternative medicine therapies in the United States.

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How to Treat Meningitis With Acupuncture and TCM

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By Qineng Tan, L.Ac., Ph.D. & Xiaomei Cai, L.Ac., Ph.D.

meningitis headache
A sudden, severe headache and aversion to bright light can be a sign of meningitis.

Fever, vomiting, stiff neck, skin rash, aversion to light, bad headache? These are possible early signs of meningitis. Bacterial meningitis can become very serious very quickly—and even be deadly—,so it is important to be aware of meningitis symptoms. Acupuncture and TCM can provide adjunct treatment for meningitis in addition to conventional medicine.

Meningitis is a general term for any kind of swelling or inflammation in the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. These membranes are called the meninges. Sometimes called “spinal meningitis,” this type of inflammation is most often caused by either a bacterial infection or viral infection, but other things can cause meningitis, too.

The bacteria and viruses that can cause meningitis can be spread from person to person in the same ways as most colds, flus, and other infections. If you suspect you may have bacterial meningitis, it is important to seek treatment right away. Similar to encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), this illness can progress quickly, sometimes causing seizures and even death. 

Even after meningitis moves past an acute phase, many people will suffer from after effects and complications of meningitis, like headaches, vision or hearing problems, or cognitive issues. TCM and acupuncture can help people recover more fully from the effects of brain swelling due to meningitis. 

Top 5 Types of Meningitis:

Swelling in brain can be caused by meningitis bacteria, or can manifest due to a virus or some other condition. Causes of meningitis can include:

  1. Bacterial meningitis – meningitis can be triggered by various bacteria, such as the kinds that cause strep throat, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and colds and flu. This type of meningitis can become serious, even causing death if left untreated. Symptoms usually appear quite suddenly, and can worsen in a matter of hours. 
  2. Viral meningitis – Viruses that can cause meningitis include non-polio enteroviruses, herpes virus, West Nile, Epstein-Barr, measles, mumps, and chickenpox/shingles viruses. Typically meningitis caused by these types of viral infection is milder than bacterial meningitis. Certain types of meningitis are also associated with HIV/AIDS.
  3. Certain types of cancer – if a cancer tumor, such as a brain tumor, or a breast cancer tumor, begin to break apart and move through the body, they can get into the meninges and cause carcinomatous meningitis.
  4. Lupus – sometimes meningitis can be part of an autoimmune response that affects the central nervous system, such as occurs with Lupus.
  5. Injury to the head or spine, brain surgery – swelling around the brain can be caused by some kind of external physical trauma

Meningitis can also be caused by a fungus or parasite that gets into the body.

The effects of meningitis, especially bacterial meningitis, can be very serious, so if you see a combination of symptoms from those listed below, you should seek urgent medical attention.

Top 10 Meningitis Symptoms:

meningitis in children
Signs of meningitis in children include irritability, not eating or sleeping.

Brain swelling symptoms or symptoms for meningitis can include:

  1. Fever
  2. Nausea and/or vomiting
  3. Stiff neck, neck stiffness 
  4. Severe headache
  5. Meningitis rash on any part of the body: small red spots, red blotches, blood blisters
  6. Aversion to bright light
  7. Fatigue, sleepy, hard to stay awake
  8. Confusion, delirious, foggy head, difficulty concentrating
  9. Seizures
  10. No appetite or thirst

In infants and young children, signs of meningitis might include: crying, not wanting to eat, hard to wake up, high fever, stiffness in the body, swelling or bulging on the top of the head (fontanel).

There are a few types of meningitis vaccine, or meningococcal vaccine, which can help to prevent bacterial meningitis. 

Diagnosis and Treatment for Meningitis

When a patient presents with these types of symptoms, a doctor will probably want to err on the side of caution and test for bacterial meningitis, since time is of the essence when treating what could be a very serious condition.

meningitis diagnosis
Checking for swelling in the brain and spinal cord for meningitis diagnosis.

Blood tests, CT scan, or MRI may all be used to check for signs, but a spinal tap to collect cerebrospinal fluid is considered the definitive way to confirm a diagnosis of bacterial meningitis. 

Bacterial meningitis is treated with antibiotics and corticosteroid medications to get rid of the bacterial infection and reduce swelling.

Viral meningitis will not respond to antibiotics. Some doctors may prescribe steroid medications to reduce swelling.

It can take longer to figure out what is causing swelling in the brain if it is caused by some other factor, such as a fungal infection, or in relation to an autoimmune disorder. In some cases, a doctor may choose to start treating with antibiotics and/or antivirals until the root cause is determined.

Even after meningitis treatment, some people will continue to have after effects, some of which can even lead to disability. Cognitive problems with memory and concentration, vision problems, headaches, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), dizziness, problems with balance and coordination, and even seizures, can be some of the long-term effects of meningitis. Acupuncture and TCM can be very helpful for treating these lingering symptoms of meningitis.

Can Acupuncture Help Meningitis?

In Traditional Chinese medicine, we classify many infectious diseases—including cold and flu, strep throat, chicken pox, SARS, tuberculosis, and meningitis—as “warm” diseases. When these types of external pathogens get into the body, they cause fever, which depletes the Yin (cool, liquid) energy of the body. The TCM approach, then, is primarily to clear the heat.

acupuncture meningitis
Acupuncture treatment for meningitis.

TCM has its own way of looking at symptoms occurring in a pattern, from which we deduce what kind of pathogenic forces are creating disharmony. The TCM view of meningitis is that it relates to an invasion of Heat that leads to a deficiency of Yin energy. A pattern of symptoms that includes: fever, red skin rash, irritability, confusion, and trouble sleeping would indicate that pathogenic heat is depleting the body of fluids and affecting the pericardium, which in TCM means “protector of the heart.”

When these symptoms are present, we know that there is inflammation causing swelling of tissues and preventing the smooth flow of nutrition and Qi to the vital organs. Chinese herbs and acupuncture can help reduce inflammation that causes symptoms of meningitis.

Chinese herbal formulations that go back centuries can also have antibacterial and antiviral effects.

Acupuncture treatment can not only help, then, the root cause of meningitis, but can also deal with the symptoms many people experience as a result of swelling in the brain, such as headaches, dizziness, and spasms.

Acupuncture Near Me for Meningitis – Los Angeles Area

Meningitis is a condition that needs urgent care because it can be a very serious illness in the short-term. Meningitis can also lead to long-term effects that are debilitating. Acupuncture and TCM can provide relief and recovery from meningitis symptoms.

 

 

*This article is for education from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine only. The education provided by this article is not approved by FDA to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure human diseases. It should not stop you from consulting with your physician for your medical conditions. Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on Qi, which is an invisible force that usually cannot be observed by modern science. Because science focuses on testing ideas about the natural world with evidence obtained through observation, these aspects of acupuncture can’t be studied by science. Therefore acupuncture and Chinese herbs are often not supported by double-blind, randomized trials, and they are considered alternative medicine therapies in the United States.

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