Patients often times ask what is the difference between Chiropractic and acupuncture.
First of all, the two are quite complementary. Chiropractic works directly on nervous system via the spine and sometimes other joints. Acupuncture works on the nervous system to cause changes in circulation and organ/glandular function.
Secondly, as a generalization one could say that Chiropractic deals with structural imbalances whereas Acupuncture deals more directly with circulatory imbalances and organ system imbalances.
Interestingly, it does seem from our experience clinically that function does govern structure, answering the questions of a debate that has been a part of man’s search for health for some time. An example of a patient who reported having is “back go out”, which turned out to be a disc that had moved out of place and the acupuncture treatment we performed on his arms and legs caused changes in circulation in the muscles of his back that then popped the disk back into place 45 minutes after the treatment.
‘Tis the season…to eat the correct foods in winter. With the winter solstice having just passed and the temperatures get a bit colder, the following ideas from Chinese medical theory apply.
The most important thing would be to eat foods that are warm, both in their effect on the body and also in their temperature. An example of a food that is “warming” is lamb which happens to be the most warming food on the planet. Feel free to eat plenty of that in the season. Soups and cooked vegetables are more optimum then cold, raw foods this time of the year. Unfortunately, as the temperature drops in northern climates, the metabolism in the human body also drops so cooking foods makes it easier for your body to break foods down.
Anther suggestion is to eat foods that are black, interestingly enough…….the reason being black foods nourish kidney and adrenal function which are susceptible to imbalances in the winter months in cases of deficiency. Examples of unique and tasty black foods would be black lentils, black sesame seeds, black walnuts or perhaps a variety of seaweed (such as hijiki, arame or dulse, which can be made into tasty salads).
GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms) are plants and animals created in the lab by splicing genes. In the past, to create a new variety of plant, we had to use cross-breeding or hybridization – where the pollen on one plant was introduced to the flower of a second plant. This would result in a new type of plant that had properties of both parents. This had to happen between organisms that were similar enough to accept the genetic material of each other. In fact it often happens without human intervention when neighboring plants receive each other’s pollen borne on the wind or by insect activity.
GMO varieties are created by taking portions of genes, in the lab, often of life forms like plants, fungi, animals, bacteria or viruses and splicing them into the genetic code of an unrelated organism. This creates a new life form with genetic makeup that could never have occurred in nature. Many of them are unstable.
There’s a lot of argument about whether these new food items are safe to consume or as healthy as the traditionally created hybrids. Their creators say the nutritional value is the same. Many others find that they tend to create food sensitivities in some people.
One has to consider, though that over 70% of these new plants are created to withstand the effects of chemical herbicides. The fields can now be continually sprayed to destroy crop-reducing weeds – with the hope to increase yields. But the weeds are becoming naturally resistant too, creating super-weeds that require more and more toxic chemicals to control. The food plants are being modified to tolerate this increased chemical exposure. But plants absorb what is in their environment, and we absorb what is in the plants we eat. This creates new and additional stresses on our liver and kidneys to detox and filter out the chemicals from our bodies, as well as stress on our organs and cell which must now be exposed to these chemicals.
The best way to avoid this stress it to try to buy Non-GMO certified or certified Organic foods whenever possible. This is important with meat and animal products too, because their food crops are being modified as well. Frequent restaurants that are committed to procuring local, organic and naturally sources foods; there are more and more of them all the time. Go to farmer’s markets locally and get to know where your food comes from. Start out small and adjust your buying habits.
By putting only the best quality substances into our bodies, we can help them to create the healthiest cells and vital substances. These in turn with help our bodies to function at their highest level.
A lot of people are trying to cut down on processed foods and sugar intake, but we all still love a little something sweet now and again. Here’s a quick and easy recipe for spiced, poached pears that is quick, fresh and a healthier way to have dessert without all the sugars.
You will need:
2 pears (8-10 oz each)
½ cinnamon stick
10 whole cloves
2 slices fresh ginger (1/8” thick)
Organic, unsweetened apple or pear juice
Peel the pears, cut in half and scoop out seed/core with a small spoon or melon baller. Remove the core and stem. In a shallow pan – big enough to hold the pear halves – pour juice to ½” deep. Add spices and bring to a low boil. Add pear halves, cut sides down. Cover and reduce heat to simmer until they are tender. (a paring knife inserted into the thickest part of the fruit will go in without much resistance) Remove pears from liquid and serve warm. You can garnish with a few toasted sliced almonds or a little candied ginger.
One of my earliest inspirations when studying Acupuncture was the book Between Heaven and Earth by Beinfield and Korngold.
There is a lot of wisdom to be gotten from that particular book, but the concept that struck me most was understanding how Western medicine developed.
In short, there was a Frenchman in the 1600s, René Descartes, who developed certain theories about the mechanistic aspects of the natural world. He drew certain conclusions about health and disease based on mechanical laws, which ultimately led to the logic used in the western scientific method.
Although incredibly accurate and responsible for much western scientific development, Descartes’s ideas also limited our worldview; in my opinion, by not accounting for subtlety in the natural world and also in the human body.
Western science, and therefore Western medicine, has incredible value in effective diagnosis and in addressing crisis situations, far more than any other medicine developed on the planet.
However, as one can see by the astounding number of Americans who are simply not healthy, living on medications that they need to take their entire lives in order to suppress certain symptoms, the truth of health goes beyond the scientific method. The key to health is more likely found in a subtle understanding of relationships between organ systems, glandular systems, the nervous system, and the circulatory system in the body that has been eloquently developed over the last 3500 years…known as Chinese medicine.
“Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.”
– Mark Twain
“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”
– Samuel Johnson
Although the quotes above certainly are embracive, let’s talk about habits and how they relate to your health. We have seen that there are certainly lifestyle and dietary habits that can lead people to lose function, thus developing symptoms. Clinical experience shows us that patients making gentle, subtle changes in diet and lifestyle can increase Acupuncture’s results by 30 to 40%.
Our recommendation is to do those things that are easiest to change first, perhaps making 1 to 2 changes per week. Another recommendation is to make changes that you enjoy: when working with patients, we don’t tell them “to exercise”; rather, we suggest that they do a physical activity (that will cause perspiration) that they truly enjoy and then it doesn’t seem like work or require discipline.
Unfortunately, many women suffer with monthly symptoms related to menstruation. It is entirely possible that a woman with severe imbalances might have to live with some form of misery, but we have found the vast majority of the time that consistent treatment over time with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine will help improve that time of the month.
The following attributes illustrate high female reproductive system function:
Timing: menstruation should coincide with the new moon and ovulation should occur during the full moon (if the moon phases can affect the oceans’ tides, it can certainly affect body fluids)
Duration: typically, flow should last 3-5 days
Color: should be a healthy, red without abnormalities such as purple, pink, pale, brown, or black
Amount: moderate at onset, a slight increase at midpoint, followed by a slight decrease just before ending (there should not be particularly heavy flow at any point)
The rest of the month should pass without symptoms.
It can be very upsetting to some when they find out what a normal menstrual cycle should be. Do not take offense; the intention is to not upset, rather to simply outline a normal reproductive cycle. Thankfully, when one’s menstrual cycle normalizes, menopause is a very smooth and effortless process that passes very quickly without significant abnormal symptoms.
There are a few ideas floating around about the basic theory of Acupuncture and why it works. From my perspective, I don’t care about opinion or who’s right or who’s wrong, rather I’m interested in what makes sense and gets the best result for the patient.
With that in mind, I want to humbly clarify a few things:
The conecpt of “Qi”
“Qi” as it is defined by the vast majority of Acupuncturists is likely incorrect. The most accurate definition I have found from Chinese to English is “vital vapor”…by which I believe they meant “Qi” is, in fact, oxygen! No kidding. It’s a controversial in this country to say such a thing; but likely very accurate, which is all that matters clinically.
The following is a book that outlines the misunderstanding nicely, after which you can make your own judgement on this topic: http://www.amazon.com/Dao-Chinese-Medicine-Understanding-Ancient/dp/0195921046. Interestingly, it seems a Jesuit priest in the 1600’s or so completely mistook information he picked up in China and released his interpretation in Europe, which involved “merdians such as those on a globe.” Thus began what I have seen to be a complicated view of a simple medicine, which seems to involve, in essence, driving blood (with oxygen, nutrients and hormones) into a diseased/imbalanced part of the body to allow healing to occur.