A study conducted by researchers at the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and published by the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, revealed the possible mechanism by which acupuncture treats Crohn’s Disease. This mechanism had been previously unknown, although studies concluded acupuncture and moxibustion can relieve intestinal inflammation in patients suffering from the disease. This study identified there are two subsets of T-lymphocytes, Th17 and Treg cells, that are involved in the development of Crohn’s Disease and that acupuncture and moxibustion can help restore the balance between the cells, which could lead to a breakthrough in treatment of the disease.
More than 95 million Americans suffer from some sort of digestive disorder. This includes diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. There is evidence suggesting many of the ailments affecting the digestive system are occurring because of increased pesticides, artificial colorings, additives and preservatives that are being found in our food. Also the overuse of antibiotics has led to an epidemic in the United States that is actually killing the healthy intestinal bacteria that is needed to keep the body functioning properly.
TCM has been used to treat digestive disorders for centuries. According to Chinese medical theory, most digestive disorders are caused by a disharmony of the spleen and stomach. The spleen plays a vital role in the health of the body and it helps to assimilate the nutrients from the food that we ingest. The spleen turns digested food from the stomach into vital energy that is known as Qi (pronounced “chee’).
More and more scientific data is coming out that shows the gut is acting like a second brain. The ability of the gastrointestinal system to constantly transform us is being studied extensively. Specifically the bacteria within the gastrointestinal tract is a major focus. The project known as the Human Microbiome Project may have a lot to teach us about our bodies and also how we utilize medicine. This project is confirming that microscopic bacteria colonies within the digestive tract play important roles for both our mental and physical health. The project is confirming that when we nourish these bacterial colonies, we also nourish our bodies. Research shows we can actually reshape and repopulate damaged bacterial colonies within the gastrointestinal tract. This can be accomplished by tonifying the spleen and stomach during regular acupuncture sessions.
One such way to do this is by using a point along the stomach meridian in every singleacupuncture treatment. Stomach 36 is a wonderful tonifying point that can help with nearly every intestinal issue. But in addition to utilizing regular acupuncture treatments, acupuncturists can provide dietary supplements and herbs that may help, such as probiotics. Also recommending foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and
kombucha may be helpful in repopulating the gut flora. If you deal with gastrointestinal issues, acupuncture and TCM can be of benefit to
Are Your Eyes Red or Inflamed?
In the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver energy flows upward into the eyes. When this energy is flowing smoothly and working as it should, your vision is clear and sharp, you have efficient night vision and the eyes are bright and well-lubricated.
When out of balance, the liver can generate heat that rises upward. This heat
can manifest in dry eyes, itchy eyes or eyes that are red and irritated. Think about how red one’s eyes can get after a night of drinking. Alcohol adds heat to the liver, which in turn rises upward and creates hot, red eyes. The facial flushing you see after a night of imbibing is also indicative of this heat.
When the liver blood is deficient, you will see symptoms of dryness throughout the body, particularly in the eyes. Dry, scratchy eyes are a sign of liver blood deficiency, and floaters (those little black spots that can appear in the periphery of your vision) are also indicative of this deficiency.
When liver blood deficiency becomes more pronounced, patients can develop something we acupuncturists refer to as “Internal Wind.” Wind manifests as symptoms of shaking, tics, tremors or issues such as rashes that move around from place to place within the body. You know that annoying eye twitch you get that you are convinced the world can see, even though everyone tells you they don’t notice it? Those tics are a sign the body is deficient in energy, and wind has developed to shake things up. Internal wind can also show up as issues that itch, such as dry, itchy eyes.
The kidney plays a role in keeping the body well-oiled and lubricated. If the kidney yin is lacking, you might experience dry, creaky joints, dry skin and eyes.
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During the summer solstice your yang energy reaches its peak. It is important to harness the peak of this yang energy, because as summer shifts into fall yang energy will decline. This great abundance of yang energy will translate throughout your body because during this season you are active and growing.
According to five element theory, during the summer the organ that receives extra energy is the heart. When the seasons change so do the organs we should focus on in the body. You should focus on the heart during summer. Feed the heart heart-nourishing foods and make sure to remain active so the heart receives positive energy. continue reading