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How to Treat Cirrhosis With Acupuncture and TCM

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

 

Diarrhea, stomach cramps, abdominal pain, liver pain
Right side abdominal pain can be a sign of liver cirrhosis.

Tired all the time? Upper right abdominal pain? Itchy skin? Muscle cramps? These can be cirrhosis of the liver symptoms. Acupuncture and TCM can help relieve liver pain due to cirrhosis and help to improve liver function.

Cirrhosis of the liver is a serious and progressive condition characterized by the scarring of liver tissue, which can lead to liver failure over time. This condition can be caused by various factors, like chronic viral hepatitis infections, primary biliary cirrhosis, and long-term alcohol overuse (alcoholic cirrhosis).

Other conditions that cause cirrhosis include: cystic fibrosis, autoimmune hepatitis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hemochromatosis (iron buildup), and primary biliary cholangitis (hardening of the bile ducts). 

The liver is a vital organ responsible for detoxifying harmful substances from the body, producing bile to aid in digestion, and storing nutrients. When cirrhosis of the liver occurs, these functions are significantly impaired, which can lead to a wide range of health problems.

Cirrhosis of the liver symptoms can vary depending on the severity and progression of the disease. Many people have liver cirrhosis without realizing it, as it is possible to have cirrhosis for years without being symptomatic.

 

Top 10 Symptoms of Cirrhosis of the Liver

Cirrhosis symptoms include:

  1. Bruise easily, bleed easily
  2. Nausea
  3. Fatigue, drowsiness
  4. Lack of appetite
  5. Itchy skin, pruritus
  6. Edema in legs, edema in ankles, edema in feet
  7. Jaundice – yellow eyes, yellow skin
  8. Spider veins
  9. Pale fingernails, clubbed fingers, red palms
  10. Cognitive difficulties, slurred speech

Cirrhosis can affect menstruation, causing irregular periods or no period, and cause female infertility. Cirrhosis can also affect sexual function (erectile dysfunction/ED), libido and male fertility.

In its early stages, cirrhosis may present with mild or no symptoms, making it challenging to diagnose without medical testing.

As the condition advances, cirrhosis symptoms will usually worsen, signaling the need for intervention. 

 

4 Stages of Liver Disease

It is important to recognize the stages of cirrhosis of the liver. Early intervention can help slow down the progression of liver disease.

 

  1. Stage I: Steatosis (Fatty Liver) – The first stage involves inflammation of the bile duct or liver. Abdominal pain is often the first sign. If not treated, the inflammation can damage the liver. Symptoms and inflammation are usually treatable at this stage, preventing progression to stage II.
  2. Stage II: Fibrosis (Liver Scarring) – Many people don’t notice symptoms until stage II or III. In this stage, scarring begins to block the normal blood flow in the liver. The liver doesn’t function properly, but with treatment, it can still recover and slow down the disease.
  3. Stage III: Cirrhosis – Cirrhosis occurs when scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue. This happens over several years due to untreated disease or infection. The liver becomes hard and lumpy, making it difficult for blood to flow through it. The blocked blood flow can also affect the spleen, causing additional issues.
  4. Stage IV: Liver Failure – At this final stage, the liver stops functioning. Immediate medical intervention is needed to prevent fatal outcomes.

Early diagnosis and treatment for cirrhosis are crucial to prevent further liver damage and manage cirrhosis effectively. Acupuncture and TCM offer an alternative treatment for cirrhosis to help restore liver function.

 

Medical Treatment for Liver Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis treatment focuses on slowing the progression of the disease, managing liver cirrhosis symptoms, and preventing complications. The specific approach can vary depending on the underlying cause of cirrhosis, such as hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease, or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. 

Common conventional treatments and strategies used to manage liver cirrhosis include medications to reduce inflammation and manage symptoms. 

For cirrhosis caused by chronic hepatitis B or C, antiviral medications can help reduce liver inflammation and prevent further liver damage.

Diuretics are often prescribed to reduce fluid retention and swelling (edema) in the legs and abdomen (ascites). Paracentesis is a procedure that drains excess fluid from the abdomen in cases of severe ascites.

Beta-blockers decrease the risk of bleeding from esophageal varices (enlarged veins in the esophagus) by lowering blood pressure in the portal vein.

Alcoholism is one of the causes of liver cirrhosis
Alcoholism is one of the causes of liver cirrhosis

Frequent blood tests, imaging studies (such as ultrasounds), and endoscopies to monitor liver function and detect complications early.

In cases where cirrhosis progresses to end-stage liver disease and liver function is severely compromised, a liver transplant is sometimes the only option. This involves replacing the damaged liver with a healthy one from a donor.

For alcoholic cirrhosis, abstaining from alcohol is crucial. Medical support, counseling, and rehabilitation programs can aid in alcohol cessation.

Lifestyle modifications, including a healthy diet, weight loss, and regular exercise, are essential for patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) related cirrhosis. Eating a balanced diet low in sodium to reduce fluid retention and avoiding alcohol and substances that can further harm the liver.

By combining these treatments, healthcare providers aim to manage cirrhosis effectively, improve the quality of life, and extend the lifespan of individuals with this chronic condition.  However, some of the medications recommended for cirrhosis, such as antiviral drugs and diuretics, can potentially cause harm to other organ systems and do not serve to address the deeper root causes of liver dysfunction. Acupuncture and TCM offer a holistic treatment for cirrhosis that takes the whole body into account.

 

Can Acupuncture Help Cirrhosis?

acupuncture treatment for liver cirrhosis
TCM treatment for cirrhosis can help relieve symptoms and improve liver function.

According to TCM theory, the liver is responsible not only for removing toxins from the bloodstream and body; it also disperses nutrients and medicinal substances throughout the body.

In modern life, people’s livers have to work much harder to process all of the chemicals and other toxins to which we are exposed on a daily basis. When the liver is overtaxed, it cannot provide adequate energy and nutrition, and it may not be able to eliminate all of the toxins. 

This buildup of chemicals and unhealthy “food” substances in the liver contributes to the formulation of scar tissue in the liver.

Symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, itchy skin or skin rashes indicate that the liver is trying to purge toxins. When the liver cannot expel enough of the toxins, they will begin to affect the kidneys, too.

Medical treatments that aim to get rid of rashes or other symptoms may help the person feel more comfortable, but they do not help the root cause of the problems in the liver; they only cover them up. The use of antiviral and antibiotic medications, likewise, may seem to be taking care of infections, but they are potentially causing further damage to the organs.

In TCM, internal pathogens like cold, damp, and stagnation affecting the organ systems contribute to disease. Liver disease is not only about the liver, but also the kidneys, heart, stomach, and spleen. Symptoms like stomach distension, edema in the legs and feet, varicose veins or spider veins, and jaundice occur because of deficiencies in the various organs.

An acupuncturist will listen and observe each individual’s symptoms carefully to see which organs are affected. The TCM treatment plan will then involve acupuncture treatment and herbs to help strengthen all of the organs (heart, kidney, spleen and stomach), not just the liver.

A review of 15 studies in China in which TCM was used to treat liver cirrhosis concluded that acupuncture is effective both as a primary treatment and an adjunct treatment for chronic liver disease, helping to relieve symptoms and improve liver function.

If acupuncture treatment is sought before there is too much liver damage, TCM can help slow the progression of the disease and reduce painful symptoms.

One study showed that four weeks of electro-acupuncture treatment helped to reduce muscle cramps in liver cirrhosis patients.

Acupuncture helps to treat the underlying conditions that cause cirrhosis, including hepatitis, and fatty liver disease.

Another study showed that patients who received acupuncture treatment in addition to conventional treatment for liver cirrhosis showed less liver fibrosis (scarring) and fewer gastrointestinal symptoms than patients who only received conventional treatment.

Most doctors will advise patients with liver disease to quit drinking and cut out certain foods. Acupuncturists have expertise in nutrition that allows them to give each patient personalized care when deciding what dietary changes need to be made. Acupuncture treatment can also be very helpful when people are ready to cut out alcohol and eat the right foods to help improve liver health.

 

Acupuncture Near Me for Cirrhosis in West Los Angeles 

TCM has been used to help improve liver health for many centuries. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help address liver problems of all kinds. At Art of Wellness, we are able to help patients improve liver function and feel better through acupuncture, customized herbal formulas, and individualized nutritional counseling.




 

*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 Dermatitis With Acupuncture and TCM

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

 

itchy skin dermatitis eczema
Itchy skin might be some type of dermatitis.

Itchy skin, dry skin irritation, or skin rash? Dermatitis is a broad term that covers many skin problems, including eczema, heat rash, diaper rash, and other kinds of skin allergy. Acupuncture and TCM offer a way to treat dermatitis, eczema, and itchy skin conditions.

The medical term “dermatitis” can refer to many types of skin irritation that involve inflammation. Inflamed skin can cause itching, redness, dryness, and rashes. A dermatitis itchy skin rash is caused by an inflammatory response related to the immune system.

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a common inflammatory skin condition; over 30 million people in the U.S. have some type of eczema. Eczema can show up as early as a few weeks after birth in some babies, or during childhood, or during adulthood.

While what exactly causes atopic dermatitis to occur in some people is not completely understood, it is generally accepted that it is a combination of genetic, immunological, and environmental factors.

Dermatitis is not contagious; it is not passed from person to person. However, you are more likely to be susceptible to dermatitis or eczema if other people in your family have it, or if there is a family history of allergies and asthma.

Eczema and other forms of dermatitis tend to “flare up” when a person is exposed to some sort of trigger and has an allergic reaction. This could be due to something in the environment, or some product or plant that touched the person’s skin. It can also be due to internal causes, like an autoimmune problem, excess heat in the body, or emotional stress.

Signs of Dermatitis:

  • Itchy dry skin rash skin irritations (pruritus)
  • Red rash, red bumps on skin
  • Rash like a burn
  • Blisters
  • Thick skin, hard skin, swelling
  • Scaly skin, creasing skin 
  • Crusty sores, painful skin sores
  • Bleeding rash, oozing skin rash
  • Flaking skin (dandruff)

Symptoms of dermatitis can come and go. Scratching at itchy patches or blisters associated with dermatitis can cause a skin infection, so it is important to manage and control this condition.

Acupuncture and TCM herbs can help relieve itchy skin and inflammation, while also helping to balance the immune system to prevent further eczema flare ups.

Top 10 Types of Dermatitis

skin rash dermatitis eczema neck
Dermatitis rash on back of neck

Many different conditions can cause dermatitis—meaning, inflammation of the skin. Different kinds of dermatitis include:

  1. Atopic dermatitis – also known as eczema, marked by dry, itchy, red patches of skin.
  2. Contact dermatitis – this is when a skin rash breaks out due to exposure to some kind of external irritant, such as a cosmetic product, piece of jewelry, or plant like poison ivy.
  3. Seborrheic dermatitis – flaking skin, also known as dandruff, occurs mostly on oily areas of the skin.
  4. Dyshidrotic dermatitis – (also called dyshidrotic eczema or pompholyx) small, itchy, fluid-filled blisters that appear on the soles of the feet or palms of the hands, or the tips of the fingers or toes. The blisters may break out due to exposure to an allergen or when hands and feet are often wet or sweaty.
  5. Diaper rash – a red rash that forms on a baby’s bottom or perineal area due to contact with the diaper and frequent wetness.
  6. Neurodermatitis – (also called lichen simplex chronicus) is a type of eczema marked by one or two very itchy, scaly patches that can become thickened and leathery – most often affects an area on the neck, ankle, arm, or groin. Neurodermatitis can itch so intensely that it affects a person’s sleep, and can be triggered by stressful events.
  7. Nummular dermatitis – (also known as discoid eczema) is marked by round, coin-shaped lesions that appear on the limbs or torso. These lesions can become infected with scratching, and may be related to poor circulation.
  8. Perioral dermatitis or Periorificial dermatitis – pink scaly patches or pustules that form around the mouth. This occurs more commonly in young women. Some doctors believe it may be related to candida, and/or influenced by hormones.
  9. Stasis dermatitis –  (also called venous stasis dermatitis) itchy, scaly, discolored skin around the lower legs and ankles, due to poor circulation and blood pooling in the lower extremities.
  10. Dermatitis herpetiformis – a bumpy, blistered skin rash (looks similar to a herpes outbreak, but is not actually related to herpes simplex) that is related to celiac disease, triggered by ingesting gluten or wheat. 

Psoriasis can look similar to eczema, but it is a separate condition that can coexist with various types of dermatitis. Rosacea redness can also look similar to dermatitis, but is a distinctly different condition that can occur at the same time as dermatitis. 

What Causes Dermatitis?

A combination of the immune system reacting to irritants in the environment, and genetic predisposition.

Common environmental factors that can contribute to dermatitis include:

  • Chemicals
  • Air pollutants
  • Fluoride in water or toothpaste
  • Fragrances, perfumes, air freshener
  • Fragrances in skin products, cosmetics, lotions, soaps
  • Tobacco smoke

Other conditions that may occur simultaneously with dermatitis include: depression, anxiety, insomnia, allergies, and asthma.

Eczema Treatment

There are many different types of medical treatment for dermatitis. Some are topical—meaning, applied to the skin. Others are taken in an oral pill form, or injected into the skin.

Topical corticosteroid creams, which can help reduce skin inflammation, are the most common treatment for eczema and dermatitis. These can help reduce itching and swelling. However, prolonged use of topical steroids can cause side effects like thin skin, spider veins, and acne. Steroids can affect growth in children, and can cause eye problems like glaucoma or cataracts in older people.

Steroids that are taken orally, like Prednisone, can help control systemic inflammation for a time, while patches of scaly skin heal. However, there are many serious side effects associated with taking steroids for a long time, and it is also possible to experience a “rebound effect.” This means that the dermatitis symptoms come back even stronger when a person stops taking the steroid medications.

Calineuron inhibitors and JAK inhibitors are designed to stop certain chemical processes in the body related to immune responses. They can help block immune system reactions to calm the dermatitis skin problems. 

There are many new types of treatment for eczema being developed. Phototherapy, or light therapy, using ultraviolet (UV) light, may be tried when topical treatments are not working for eczema that is widespread over the whole body. However, this kind of therapy can cause prematurely aging skin, changing skin pigmentation, and potentially increase the risk of skin cancer.

Acupuncture and TCM herbal supplements offer a way to treat eczema without any damaging side effects.

Can Acupuncture Help Dermatitis and Eczema?

One of the core concepts of TCM is the 5 Elements Theory, according to which organs of the body correspond with seasons and weather conditions. According to this theory, eczema and other kinds of dermatitis arise due to imbalances within the internal organ systems affected by external conditions, such as Wind and Heat. 

The lungs, especially, are connected to the skin in the TCM system. The lungs can be affected by excess heat or stagnation in the liver. Thus, an itchy red rash on the skin is actually an expression of a deeper, more complex internal condition. Therefore, it is necessary to treat dermatitis and eczema not only with topical creams, but to use acupuncture and herbs to balance all of the organ systems.

The acupuncturist gets clues about which internal organs are out of harmony by observing the eczema symptoms: the type of rash or scaly skin, the color and temperature. Each individual case of dermatitis is unique, triggered by different irritants, and arising from a person’s overall state of health.

One study showed that acupuncture treatment worked better than antihistamines for helping to reduce the itchiness of atopic dermatitis pruritus. Acupuncture also helps to reduce inflammation and overall stress.

Studies done in China to determine the efficacy of an herbal formulation developed for eczema showed that it worked well to reduce itching and recurrence of rash.

As systematic review of over 350 studies on acupuncture for eczema showed the patients who were given acupuncture treatment instead of conventional treatment experienced better overall symptom reduction and quality of life.

Top 5 Tips to Prevent Dermatitis Itchy Skin

after bath dermatitis
Bathe in warm water and moisturize afterwards.

There are things you can do to help prevent eczema flare-ups from occurring and avoid recurrent rashes.

  1. Do not bathe in very hot water. 
  2. Keep showers short and warm, and use gentle cleansers, without strong chemical perfumes. 
  3. Do not scrub your skin during or after the shower, while drying. Pat gently.
  4. Use moisturizer frequently to maintain a protective layer on your skin. 
  5. Wear long pants and sleeves when hiking and adventuring. Wear gloves when gardening.

Acupuncture Near Me for Dermatitis in Los Angeles and Santa Monica

Acupuncture can help relieve itching, aid in the healing of lesions, help stimulate healthier immune responses, and reduce stress. TCM treatment can also be sought as a safe treatment for children with eczema, or during pregnancy, as it is free of negative side effects.

TCM can also help patients with other skin conditions, including signs of aging, acne, hives (urticaria), rosacea, vitiligo, and psoriasis.





*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 Detox With Acupuncture and TCM

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

herbal detox tea
Chinese herbs detox tea

Why is it important to do a detox or body cleanse periodically? When done with the right support from an acupuncturist near me, detoxing can help improve your digestion, immune function, fertility, and many other aspects of your health. Store bought colon cleanse products or a juice cleanse won’t really do the job, though. A detox program with acupuncture and Chinese herbs will do more to optimize your health than just a detox diet will.

When we recommend our Detox Program at Art of Wellness, we are not talking about fasting or detox drinks, like a master cleanse. The goal of our program is to detoxify the organ systems of the body: it’s a liver detox, kidney cleanse, lungs, heart, and spleen. This is a full body cleanse designed to give you a health reset. According to TCM philosophy, your body knows how to repair and renew itself, but it cannot do this job when it is congested and out of balance.

In TCM, we have a broad concept of what “toxins” are and how they can affect our bodies and our health. Toxic chemicals that come from our environment, such as food additives, pesticides, cleaning products, and beauty and hygiene products are certainly part of the problem. Drugs, medicines, alcohol, and unhealthy foods can also be toxic. So can behavioral habits, like sitting and looking at our screens and devices too long.

But our own bodies produce toxins, too. The waste products our organs create are “toxic,” and if they are held in the body too long without being adequately cleared out, they can negatively impact organ function. Imbalances in the system can cause conditions of excess heat or phlegm, which can lead to all kinds of problems with both your physical and mental health.

Stress, lack of sleep, and extreme emotions can also contribute to toxic conditions in the body and mind. When the organ systems are out of balance, the body is under constant pressure to keep functioning, but we do not feel our best.

Signs you need to detox include:

Inflammation is largely created by toxic conditions in the body, and most pain conditions and chronic illnesses stem, at least in part, from inflammation somewhere.

Why You Need a Liver Detox

tai qi qigong exercise detox
QiGong and Tai Qi exercises help with detox.

In conventional medicine, we think of the liver as being a sort of filter that removes toxins from the blood and helps metabolize fat. In TCM theory, we consider the liver to be the storehouse and distributor of blood; therefore, it also plays a crucial role in the menstrual cycle. The liver is also strongly connected to a person’s emotional life. 

Stress, lack of sleep, too much sugar, alcohol, fatty, fried foods, pharmaceutical medicines, and recreational drugs all tax the liver above and beyond what it needs to do just to keep the blood flowing to nourish the body. When too many demands are placed on the liver, it can cause all kinds of symptoms, including: fatigue, insomnia, and headaches. Feelings of anger, frustration, anxiety, and irritability may arise. Conversely, when a person is feeling bitter and resentful, and isn’t able to express it, those unresolved emotions may begin to cause trouble with liver function.

Just as the liver governs the blood, in TCM, the kidneys govern the water of the body, controlling elimination through the bladder, and maintaining blood pressure by keeping the right amount of water in the bloodstream. Signs that the kidneys are not balanced include: problems with blood pressure, edema, puffiness in the face or extremities, UTIs, chronic fatigue, and menopause symptoms, like dryness and hot flashes.

Detoxing the organ systems, including the liver and kidneys especially, can help rejuvenate the digestion and allow better nutrition to reach all parts of the body, as the quality and flow of blood and other bodily fluids will be improved.

Making sure that your excretory system is in good working order before starting a cleanse is important. If you are already having problems with constipation, for example, we will want to make sure we get things moving before we start cleansing the organs. Our detox also focuses on the body’s largest excretory organ: the skin.

Top 10 Reasons To Detox

detox herbs bath
Relax with detox herbs in your own bath.

It is a good idea for everyone to detox periodically; detoxing every six months is reasonable for most people. Sometimes we will specifically recommend a detox for a patient when they are struggling with a particular health problem, or if they are planning a pregnancy.

Detoxing can help:

  1. Boost Immunity – a cleanse will help get your lymphatic system, which produces and transports immune cells and removes waste from cells, moving, improving the efficacy of your immune system.
  2. Break Free From Addiction – if you are ready, a commitment to the detox program and food plan can help you end patterns of substance abuse, drug use, alcohol addiction, smoking, and other types of dependency.
  3. Infertility – We often advise people who come to Art of Wellness for fertility treatment to begin with the Detox Program. Not only will this help increase the chances of conception occurring, whether naturally or with the aid of ART, but it will also lay the foundation for your child’s health in the future.
  4. Improve sleep – This works both ways. In order for the body to do its routine daily work of removing toxic waste, it needs plenty of sleep. The Liver, in particular, is working hard through the night to clean and deliver fresh blood to the cells. Sleeping on your side enhances your body’s ability to do this work, allowing the internal organs to drain properly. When your body is functioning well, your sleep will be of better quality, more restful and refreshing.
  5. Improve skin and hair – Dull eyes and skin, dark circles or bags, puffiness, and thinning hair are signs of stagnant blood and Qi. Nutrients from the right foods and Chinese herbs help to nourish the skin, and clear heat, dampness, and dryness. When old cells are removed, hair and eyes can shine again. Acupuncture treatment can help stimulate collagen production, which also happens while you sleep.
  6. Weight loss – While our acupuncture detox is not about how to lose belly fat fast, many people will find that it gives them a good foundation for new eating habits. Detoxing the liver and kidneys will help your body metabolize fat better. 
  7. Balance hormones – severe PMS symptoms, bloated stomach and mood swings, perimenopause symptoms, infertility in women and infertility in men (oligospermia) can all be improved when hormone function improves. Acupuncture treatment can also help relieve conditions like PCOS, fibroids/leiomyoma, and endometriosis for women, and BPH in men.
  8. Reduce inflammation – many illnesses and pain conditions are inflammatory in nature. If you are suffering from pain due to plantar fasciitis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder or hip pain, acupuncture can help.
  9. Increased energy – better nutrition, better circulation, better sleep, and better organ function will all work synergistically to help you feel more energetic.
  10. Chronic illness – many chronic illnesses are rooted in toxic conditions within the body or exposure to toxins. Hard-to-treat conditions like autoimmune conditions and other systemic problems may be helped with alternative medicine when conventional medical treatments have not been successful. We treat many conditions with acupuncture and herbs, such as: lupus, lyme disease, celiac disease, fibromyalgia, and Crohn’s disease. We also provide support for people going through cancer treatment.

7 Steps of Detox Program With TCM Acupuncture and Herbs

cupping acupuncture detox
Cupping draws Qi and blood from deep inside the body.

Pain and dysfunction occur when there is imbalance and when there are areas of stagnation within the body. Think of the metaphor of a house that needs to be deep-cleaned; there are dark corners of the body that have been ignored for a while, where dust and cobwebs have gathered. The Detox program reaches into these pockets of stagnation, sweeps them clean, and makes sure they get some fresh air and sunlight shining on them, in the form of invigorated Qi and blood.

  1. Acupuncture Treatments – the primary goal of acupuncture treatments during the detox phase is to get Qi moving freely, remove blockages, and to assist in elimination of toxins from the body.
  2. Cupping Treatment – the TCM modality of cupping creates a vacuum-like suction that moves Qi and blood from the innermost parts of the body outwards. During the detox program, cupping helps to pull toxins out of the lungs and other organs.
  3. Detox Herbs – the Chinese herb detox tea helps to clear heat and toxins from the body and improve digestion and elimination.
  4. Foot Pad Detox – detox foot patches, worn as you sleep at night and removed in the morning, help to pull toxins and fatty deposits from the body. 
  5. Detox Bath – Sweating is an excellent way to remove toxins through the skin; this is why so many traditions rely on saunas and hot baths. Our herbal sachets allow you to enjoy a therapeutic herbal soak in your own bathtub.
  6. Exercise – Your acupuncturist will instruct you on how to practice daily exercises, based on QiGong movements, that will help to get Qi and blood moving.
  7. Nutrition – the food plan during the detox is based on whole grains, lean proteins, and plenty of vegetables, flooding your system with nutrients.

Detox Near Me Los Angeles, Westside

The beginning of the year, springtime, after recovery from a long illness, while preparing for a healthy pregnancy–anytime may be the right time for you to detoxify your system and get a fresh start. We recommend that you take the time to dedicate yourself to a week of cleansing with the Art of Wellness Detox Program at least twice a year for optimal health benefits.

 

 

*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 Glaucoma With Acupuncture and TCM

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

Dry eyes glaucoma
African Americans are at higher risk for glaucoma.

Dry eyes, blurred vision, or a headache behind eyes? Eye pain, redness, or pressure behind eye should not be ignored, as these symptoms may be a sign of deeper issues. Acupuncture and TCM offer an effective and holistic way to treat glaucoma, eye pain and headache, dry eye syndrome, and blurry vision in one eye or both eyes.

As a delicate organ that holds itself together in an orb shape, the eye requires the right amount of fluid to maintain tension and to keep its surface moist. Many eye problems are related to the balance, or imbalance, of fluids in and around the eyeball. Tears keep the eyeball lubricated, while a liquid called aqueous humor keeps the eyeball inflated. When there is not enough fluid, or when the fluid doesn’t drain properly and builds up in the eye, it can lead to eye disorders like dry eye and glaucoma.

TCM treatment for eye disorders work well as an alternative or adjunct to standard treatments for glaucoma or dry eye disease, as they focus on addressing the internal, root causes of these common eye issues.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

One of the most common eye problems is dry eye disease, which happens when you don’t produce enough tears, or if the tears you do produce don’t lubricate the eyes enough. Tears are made up of water, oil, and mucus. If the glands that produce tears are not functioning correctly, and/or the balance of water, oil, and mucus is not right, the tears may not protect the surface of the eyeball the way they’re supposed to. 

The symptoms of dry eye syndrome include:

  1. Burning eyes, stinging eyes
  2. Thick, stringy mucus in the eyes or around the eye
  3. Extra sensitivity to light
  4. Red eyes, eye redness
  5. Watery eyes, watering eyes as reaction to dryness
  6. Eyes itching, rubbing eyes, feeling like there is something gritty or sand in your eye
  7. Blurred vision, blurry eyes, blurry vision in one eye, sudden blurry vision
  8. Eye fatigue, eyes tired when reading or looking at screens, eyelids feel heavy
  9. Difficulty driving at night
  10. Difficulty wearing contacts
eye drops artificial tears dry eye
Most people try using artificial tears or eye drops to relieve dry eyes.

Dry eyes can be caused by many different factors, from weather, environment, or humidity levels in your home or office, to allergies, hormones, medications like antihistamines, decongestants, birth control pills, antidepressants, and medications prescribed for high blood pressure and Parkinson’s disease. Some people may have dry eye after having LASIK eye surgery, or because of wearing contacts, or staring too long at their computer. Some health conditions that put you at higher risk for dry eye syndrome include: rheumatoid arthritis, ALSlupus, and hyperthyroidism. Dry eyes can become inflamed, and make you more susceptible to infections. Over time, dry eye syndrome can lead to scarring of the cornea, which can permanently affect vision.

The typical treatment most people try for dry eye syndrome is the use of over the counter eye drops or artificial tears. There are various types of prescription medications that also aim to replace or increase the production of tears. Some doctors may recommend antibiotics to help reduce inflammation around the tear ducts, or special contact lenses that are designed to keep moisture on the surface of the eye. But none of these solutions treats the underlying cause of dry eyes.

Acupuncture has been shown to boost the efficacy of standard treatment for dry eyes by helping promote more tear secretion and improving the makeup of the tears themselves, so that they don’t evaporate so easily.

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an umbrella term for vision loss related to damage to the optic nerve. This often happens because of a buildup of too much fluid in the eye, which creates pressure. Often, a person has already had glaucoma for a long time before they begin to notice changes in their vision. The most common types of glaucoma do not cause eye pain but can cause loss of vision, usually beginning with peripheral vision.

Glaucoma is one of the top causes of blindness worldwide, and can begin at any time in life. African Americans have a much higher risk of developing glaucoma. Other people at higher risk for glaucoma include people over 60, people who have diabetes, and people who are already very near-sighted.

glaucoma eye exam
An eye exam can determine if you have glaucoma.

The most common type of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), which is diagnosed when an eye examination finds damage to the optic nerve or retinal nerves. Most people with POAG demonstrate some level of elevated intraocular pressure, but some do not.  Most types of treatment for glaucoma are focused on reducing this eye pressure, as it is one known factor. However, medical science is still unclear about exactly what causes glaucoma.

Medications to treat glaucoma try to remove the excess pressure built up in the eye by either increasing the flow of fluid out of the eye, or by decreasing the production of fluid within the eye. Combination medications do both. These medications may or may not be helpful for individual patients. For some people, they cause irritation or dry eyes (see above). They require frequent usage and can be expensive. Laser surgery is another alternative, but many patients begin having problems with eye pressure again after some time has passed.
Acupuncture treatment can improve blood flow to the eye and to the optic nerve, which can in turn help to reduce pressure behind the eye.

Acupuncture: A Natural Treatment for Dry Eye and Glaucoma

According to TCM, many eye disorders reflect other problems going on internally, dimming the life force energy that lights up the eyes. From the TCM point of view, eye problems like glaucoma and dry eye syndrome are due to lack of proper flow of energy, blood, and nourishment to the eyes.

In TCM, the liver is considered the storehouse and distributor of blood and other bodily fluids. If there is inadequate production of tears in the eyes, that is considered to be a reflection of some weakness or blockage coming from the liver system. The liver also contains the “spark of life” that shines out through the eyes. So, when there is not enough blood and Qi flowing from the liver to the eyes, there may be dryness and blurred vision. When there is too much fire energy coming from the liver, it can cause swelling that leads to pressure. This is what can cause the eye pressure of glaucoma, and also eye pain, or headache behind the eye.

Research has shown that acupuncture treatment can be effective for helping both glaucoma and dry eye syndrome:

acupuncture dry eye glaucoma
Acupuncture can help relieve dry eyes and pressure behind eye.
  • One study of patients treated for glaucoma showed reduced intraocular pressure both an hour after the treatment, and more generally, after having completed four treatment sessions.
  • An analysis of studies showed that patients treated with acupuncture for glaucoma showed improved vision over those who did not.
  • Another study showed that acupuncture treatment for glaucoma improved blood flow to the eye.
  • A study done at the University of Pittsburgh compared patients treated with acupuncture for dry eye to those given “sham” acupuncture treatments over a six month period. Participants who had acupuncture reported improvement in symptoms of dry eye, such as less scratchiness and less redness. The results were still improved months after the treatment.
  • A study that compared patients who received acupuncture treatment and used artificial tears to those who only used artificial tears found that the acupuncture recipients produced more natural tears of good quality, and experienced fewer symptoms of dryness.

Acupuncture Near Me for Glaucoma and Other Eye Disorders – Los Angeles Area

TCM has recognized and treated eye disorders for many centuries. Symptoms of dryness, itching, eye fatigue, pressure or headache behind eyes, and sore eyes can all be treated with acupuncture and herbs. Some changes in habits and nutrition will go even further to help people with glaucoma or dry eyes find relief. The doctors at Art of Wellness have over 35 years of experience in helping people get relief from dry eyes, restoring clearer vision, and bringing back the vibrant Qi that lights up your eyes.

 

*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 Seizures With Acupuncture and TCM

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

staring, zoning out seizure
Staring, or zoning out, can be the sign of a type of seizure.

Sudden loss of consciousness, convulsions or jerking body parts, staring, feelings of fear, anxiety, deja vu? These are all possible signs of seizure. Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that causes different types of seizures. Research has shown that acupuncture and TCM treatment for epileptic seizures can be an effective adjunct to conventional treatment.

Epilepsy is a common disease of the central nervous system that can happen to people of all ages. Epilepsy is a term that can refer to a variety of different types of seizures; it defines a condition in which a person has recurrent seizures. Over 3 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with epilepsy; it is one of the most common neurological disorders worldwide.

What is the cause of seizures? Unusual electrical activity in brain cells can cause various types of seizures, depending on what area of the brain is affected. In some cases, people begin to have seizures due to a head injury, or a brain infection, such as meningitis. Some people seem to be born with an unusual brain structure that affects the area of the brain that causes seizures. In older people, symptoms of epilepsy may coexist with those of other neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, or seizures may start occurring as an effect of having suffered a stroke or heart attack. Seizures can be caused by an allergic reaction to some food, as when a person with Celiac disease is exposed to gluten. Medical science has not yet discovered the exact meaning of seizures that occur in other cases, but it is thought to be due to genetics.

People with epilepsy need treatment to try to prevent or reduce seizures. While some seizures are mild, others can be severe, and even life-threatening. TCM has been using acupuncture treatment and herbs to help seizures for many, many years, and recent research is beginning to demonstrate how TCM as integrative care for epilepsy can be beneficial.

What Happens During a Seizure? 

The signs of seizure can vary widely from person to person, but an individual’s specific pattern of what seizures look like will usually remain consistent.

Symptoms of seizure include:

  • A range of changes in awareness: from staring and being unresponsive, up to totally losing consciousness
  • Stiffening of the limbs, limbs twitching, or part of the body shaking
  • Changes in vision: double vision, seeing flashes of light, staring, or blinking repeatedly
  • Dizziness, sudden headache
  • Sweating, nausea
  • Having trouble breathing, or stop breathing
  • Falling down for no apparent reason, sudden collapse, head nodding, muscles go limp, sometimes called “drop attacks”
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Feelings of anxiety, panic attack, fear
  • Sense of having an “out of body” experience
  • Strange taste in mouth or smelling strange smells
  • Feelings of confusion
  • Drooling or frothing at the mouth, biting tongue or inside of cheeks
  • After the seizure, a person may feel exhausted, or have amnesia, trouble remembering what happened.
epileptic seizure
If you think something is having a seizure, help them onto their side and make sure they are breathing.

Historically, there have been many misconceptions about people who suffer from seizures, or “fits disease.” When a person is not having a seizure, they are usually otherwise healthy and capable. People with epilepsy are not necessarily limited in what they can do physically or mentally–except when they are having a seizure–,unless they have other chronic health problems in addition to epilepsy.

If you see someone having a seizure, DO stay near them and make sure they are safe. If they fall or seem to be unconscious, turn them onto their side and make sure they are breathing. DO NOT try to physically restrain a person who is having a seizure or attempt to put anything in their mouth. The idea that a person might swallow their tongue while having a seizure is a myth.

Top 10 Types of Seizures

There are many types of seizures. Sometimes a person has one one seizure caused by medication, drug withdrawal, illness, or some sort of trauma to the brain. A person may have a seizure due to an allergic reaction to some kind of medication or food. Experiencing one seizure does not mean a person is epileptic. Epilepsy is only diagnosed if a person has multiple seizures over time.

Seizures are divided into two main categories: focal onset or generalized onset. “Focal” refers to a seizure that originates from a localized part of one of the hemispheres of the brain. “Generalized” means that there is seizure-causing activity happening all over, or on both sides of the brain.

Specific types of seizure include:

  1. Focal Seizure with Retained Awareness – Or, “focal onset aware seizure.” Used to be known as a “simple partial seizure” or “partial seizures.”  These are usually short in duration (less than 2 minutes) and a person remains conscious and aware while it is happening, although they may not be able to respond to people around them, or they seem “frozen.” The specific feelings vary widely: a sense of deja vu, sense of pressure or anxiety, a strange, overpowering smell, etc. 
  2. Focal Onset Impaired Awareness seizure – also used to be called “complex partial seizures,” “temporal lobe seizures,” or “psychomotor seizures.” In this type of seizure, the person loses awareness of their surroundings. They may seem to be staring, zoning out, picking at their clothing, wandering aimlessly, smacking their lips, or making grunting sounds. These, too, are short in duration, and afterwards, the person may feel confused and very sleepy.
  3. Febrile seizures – these are seizures that are caused by having a fever over 100 degrees, usually as a result of having some type of infection, like a flu. Febrile seizure happens in young children; they may have shaking all over or jerking limbs, convulsions, or lose consciousness. Occasionally children may have febrile seizures in response to having a fever after receiving a vaccination. Febrile seizures do not cause brain damage or indicate a neurological disorder; they do not mean a person has epilepsy.
  4. absence seizure
    An absence seizure can last just a few seconds.

    Absence Seizure – used to be called “petit mal seizure.” This is a type of generalized onset seizure in which a person briefly loses awareness, or “blanks out” for just a matter of seconds. They are caused by abnormal brain activity, possibly related to hyperventilation. Absence seizures are more common in children, who may outgrow this disorder.

  5. Myoclonic Seizure – this is a very short kind of seizure that causes muscles to jerk or twitch for just a few seconds. “Myo” means muscle, and “clonus” means contraction and relaxation. These can happen to people with epilepsy, but myoclonic seizures can also happen to anyone. That feeling of being jerked awake and having a spasm in your legs when you are falling asleep is a kind of myoclonus.
  6. Tonic Clonic Seizure – this used to be known as “grand mal seizure.” This is the type of seizure that causes convulsions, stiff arms and legs, shaking all over, and other symptoms such as losing bladder control, crying out or making strange sounds, losing consciousness, and falling to the ground. A person who has experienced tonic clonic seizures before may notice an “aura” before the more severe symptoms of seizure begin; this might include a sense of vertigo, dizziness, nausea, feelings of anxiety, or strange smells or a weird taste in the mouth. Tonic clonic seizures may last a few minutes, and the person may be exhausted and emotional afterwards.
  7. Refractory Seizures or Uncontrolled Seizures – also called “drug-resistant” or “intractable” seizures, this is when a person has frequent and/or severe seizures that do not respond to medical therapy such as anti-epileptic medications.
  8. Lennox Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) – LGS is a rare form of epilepsy that shows up very early in life, usually when a child is still in infancy. Lennox Gastaut causes various kinds of seizures, both tonic (muscle spasms) and atonic (staring, still), or absence seizures. Children with LGS may experience multiple seizures per day, and have learning delays due to cognitive dysfunction.The cause of LGS is sometimes unknown, but it can be due to abnormal brain development, or a baby having some type of infection or loss of oxygen in utero, before they’re born.
  9. West Syndrome – also called “infantile spasms,” this is a type of epilepsy in young children that causes spasms and unusual movements for a baby, like throwing out of the arms, straightening the arms out to the sides, knees pulled up to the chest, the upper body bending forward, or head thrown back. West syndrome seizures only last a few seconds, and they usually go away by the time a child is past toddler years. 
  10. Status epilepticus – This is a neurological emergency condition in which abnormal brain activity causes a prolonged seizure that lasts longer than five minutes, or multiple seizures that occur back-to-back without recovery in between. This can happen to a person who has epilepsy, or it can happen due to trauma, such as a head injury, or a hypertensive (high blood pressure) situation, or a severe reaction to drug toxicity, or an autoimmune disease response. There could be motor symptoms of shaking and collapsing, or the person could just be staring and unresponsive, depending on where the disordered activity is happening in the brain. Status epilepticus is a true medical emergency, and a person needs immediate attention to prevent brain damage.

Medical Treatment for Epileptic Seizures

Conventional treatment for seizures usually involves medications known as anticonvulsants (anticonvulsive), or anti-seizure medications. First, it is necessary for doctors to accurately diagnose the problem: what type of seizures is a person having, and what is causing them? Some drugs help to stop seizures from happening in the short term. Tranquilizers like Valium (Diazepam), Ativan (Lorazepam), and Klonopin may help to stop a seizure while it is happening, but people build up a tolerance quickly to these medications and then have to take higher doses to get the same effect. Other medications, like Aptiom, are taken daily to prevent seizures. There are many other medications used to treat different types of epilepsy, but these medications only work to control seizures in some cases. Other people may struggle to find a medication they can tolerate. Anticonvulsants and other anti-epileptic drugs can cause side effects like weakness, dizziness, headaches, nausea or vomiting, and skin rash.

People who experience seizures do need treatment to control epileptic symptoms, but it can be challenging to find the right combination of therapies. Acupuncture and TCM treatment offer an alternative treatment that may help to control seizures without negative side effects.

Can Acupuncture Help Epilepsy Symptoms?

acupuncture epileptic seizures
Acupuncture treatment may help reduce the frequency of seizures.

TCM has a long history–over 2000 years–of helping people who have epileptic seizures. The first documentation of acupuncture treatment for seizures by TCM practitioners was written at least 200 years B.C.. Specific Chinese herbs to treat epilepsy have been used for many centuries, and are now being studied through scientific research to prove their efficacy. Several studies have shown that various herbal formulations help to reduce the frequency of seizures.

Data also show that acupuncture treatment can help alleviate symptoms of epilepsy, reducing the occurrence of seizures through its positive effect on neurotransmitters in the brain.

According to TCM theory, epilepsy usually arises due to problems with the Liver system. Too much Wind affecting the Liver can cause spasms or convulsions. Liver Yang Rising can lead to muscle twitching and/or dizziness. An acupuncturist will use a combination of modalities such as acupuncture treatment, electro-acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and therapeutic massage to help seizures.

As with so many health conditions, inflammation plays a role in epileptic seizures. Auricular acupuncture (ear acupuncture) and electro-acupuncture (electro-stim) may have an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain that helps to reduce the frequency of seizures.

TCM theory posits that stimulation of specific acupressure points (such as “Shenmen” points on head or ear) for epilepsy can help to calm the mind and produce a positive effect on the parasympathetic nervous system.

A recent study compared patients who received the standard medication therapy for epilepsy with those who had acupuncture treatments for 12 weeks in addition to drug therapy. At a one year follow up, the patients who had received acupuncture for seizures had a statistically significant improvement of their epilepsy symptoms compared with patients who had received only the conventional medical treatment.

Acupuncture Near Me for Epileptic Seizures Los Angeles Area

It is challenging to manage seizures, but it is possible for people with epilepsy to live a long and healthy life with minimal disruptions. Living with a chronic and unpredictable health condition like epileptic seizures can cause emotional suffering in addition to physical symptoms. The holistic approach provided by TCM and acupuncture treatment can be considered as a safe form of complementary alternative medicine for epilepsy.

 

 

*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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