What is a “disease process?”

Let’s talk about the concept of “disease process”.

Disease is defined as: “a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.”

Process is defined as: “a natural or involuntary series of changes”

Putting this together, when we look at the definition of “disease process,” we would say that it is “a series of natural or involuntary changes that caused a disorder of structure or function, which produces symptoms.”


 

One of the things that makes our treatment style unique is the fact that we treat the underlying cause of the problem. After we develop a diagnosis of the underlying cause (or disease process), we treat that to resolve the symptom(s). A term that could be used to explain in broad terms that underlying cause of a symptom would be the term disease process.

Let’s use an example of high blood pressure: We view high blood pressure as a symptom of an underlying disease process. A person has long-term emotional stress, which leads to a breakdown of liver function. The liver (known in Oriental medicine as intimately connected to stress in day-to-day living), may have a negative effect on the heart. This, in turn, leads to tension in the blood vessels, increasing the pressure (due to less elasticity) of the fluid in the inside of the blood vessel. Hence, high blood pressure.

Outlined above is obviously one of many potential causes of high blood pressure, however is relatively common and illustrates the fact that a disease process will often lead to a symptom. If a person treats the symptoms only, it will never fully resolve.

Nothing in this document is tended as a replacement for a medical doctor’s diagnosis or treatment.

How to get the most out of supplements you take

It seems that a lot of patients have been asking us lately: “How can I get the most out of the supplements and herbs I take?”

A lot of people take supplements and herbs with all kinds of drinks, and oftentimes either those drinks are cold or on ice.

human body temperature at 98.6 degrees
The temperature of the human body is 98.6 degrees

That can go OK, but the most optimum way to take herbs and/or supplements would be with warm water. The reason for this is that the human body’s temperature is at 98.6°F. The body would best absorb  supplements and herbs at close to that temperature, without burning yourself obviously.

What is a TDP lamp and how does it work?

TDP lamp for acupuncture treatmentTDP stands for Teding Diancibo Pu, in Chinese, which translates to “special electromagnetic spectrum” lamp.

If you’ve been to our clinic, you’ve probably seen these used in the treatment area.

The reason these lamps are so incredibly effective is because there is a mineral plate that has many elements from the earth that sits between the heating element and the body.  The lore of this therapeutic heat lamp is that these minerals were discovered in a mine in China where the workers were particularly healthy. The content of that mine’s walls were duplicated in the lamp’s mineral disk.

What we’ve seen clinically is that those minerals seem to infuse into the body, giving a far more intensive therapeutic outcome than just heat. These lamps are used to treat very specific circulation problems in the body. If you have any questions, you can always ask us!

There are over 2,000 acupuncture points in the human body.

acupuncture pointsYes, it is true…2,000 acupuncture points! Now you can see why the training to become an acupuncturist is so involved. And that’s not even counting the study of anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, Chinese herbology, bodywork, nutrition and so on.

Basically, after we establish that we can help somebody using acupuncture, we must establish exactly what points are going to help the person the most.

The combination of points is VERY important. The most effective combination of points gets the body to begin functioning again, similar to the exact combination that opens a safe.

There are specific diagnostic methods that of been in use for literally hundreds and hundreds of years that we use in the clinic that guide us to the best point combination which leads to the most effective healing.

2000 acupuncture points may sound like a lot, but in using the logic of Chinese medicine, anywhere from a very select 4 to 25 points will usually do the trick in a typical treatment.

Chinese New Year

2016 is the 4713th Chinese Year. (Sounds crazy, right?!)

chinese new year red monkeyBeginning on February 4th, we officially move into the year of the “Red Monkey.” The day of Chinese New Year falls on February 8th.

The exact origin of this holiday is too old to be traced, but many explanations still exist. One idea is that the holiday originated when a beast named Nian (which means year in Chinese) came out the night before the new year and started to prey on the people in the villages. Of course, the people were very frightened by this monster and so a brave old man went up to the beast and said to him that instead of eating the people of the villages, he should eat the other beasts that frightened these people. Nian followed the old man’s request and all of the beasts were chased into the forest. The old man rode away on Nian’s back, and as it turns out, the man was an immortal god. The people of the village were very grateful to the old man for giving them a peaceful life. Before the old man left for good, he told the people to put up red paper decorations on their windows and doors at the beginning of each new year because the color red scared the beast. They also set off firecrackers to scare away the horrible beast.

During the Chinese New Year’s celebration, people participate in many traditional activities. The Chinese believe that as they enter a new year, they should put behind them all things of the past. They clean their houses, pay off debts, purchase new clothes, paint their doors and window panes, and even get new haircuts. These activities symbolize new life and new beginnings.

Homes are decorated with flowers and paper decorations stating wishes of prosperity, good luck, happiness, good fortune, wealth, and longevity for the coming year. Decorations of the incoming zodiac animal are also displayed. Red and gold are very popular colors to decorate with. Red represents power happiness, vitality (and scares away beasts). Gold represents wealth and good fortune.

The dragon is another popular symbol for Chinese New Year. It is a symbol of strength, goodness, and good luck, and supernatural forces. The dragon is said to be a mythical combination of many animals.

A Chinese New Year celebration would not be complete without fireworks. There are many beliefs about why fireworks are used. One is that the noise wakes up the dragon who will fly across the sky to bring the spring rain for the crops. Another belief is that the noise of the fireworks is supposed to scare away all evil spirits and misfortunes, preventing them from coming into the new year. In fact, gunpowder was invented in China over 1000 years ago for that very purpose.

 

What is  the difference between acupuncture and acupressure?

The answer to that is quite simple. Acupuncture affects your body in a very precise way and on a deeper level then acupressure. Acupuncture can stimulate as deep as the organ system, for example the liver or the kidneys. When we place an acupuncture needle into a specific point, say on the top of the foot, it can actually cause a functional change in the liver.

acupressure

Acupressure, although potentially powerful, may not cause as deep and as precise of a change. As a result, acupuncture’s results tend to be more permanent than acupressure.

We find that in certain cases, you may get much faster results utilizing both scopes of practice. With some patients, we recommend continued stimulation of certain acupuncture points outside of the clinic for best results, although in many cases, it is not necessary.

In short, one is neither better or worse than the other. Depending on the condition, they can both be very helpful.

If you have any questions about acupressure, we’re always here to help. Give us a call or shoot us an email and we’d be happy to assist you.

Good and bad fluids in the body

water in bodyFluids and water can take many forms in the human body. Good forms of “fluid” in the body are many-fold and include the substance that lubricates your eyes, the material that surrounds the baby in the uterus before birth and many more.

Bad forms of water/fluids in the body would be the many things that people experience that cause discomfort, including a sensation of foggy–headedness, nasal congestion, runny nose, a productive cough, edema, excessive urination, excessive fatty tissue in the body (one way to think of fatty is a condensed version of phlegm, interestingly), and even cysts and or tumors.

So no, water is not simply just the stuff that you drink out of a glass and is not in the body easily replaced by simply “drinking more water.”

There are key systems in the body such as the spleen/pancreas, the stomach, the lungs and the kidney/adrenal that are in charge of the distribution, metabolism and elimination of water throughout the body. If you get those systems working, and you eat a diet that doesn’t increase dangerous fluid production in the body, you will have a balance of fluids and not experienced negative effects of “bad” fluids.

Chai

Winter is a time for chai, which is one of the most wonderfully warming and stimulating and good tasting thing is you can drink in winter that is truly healthy for you.

chai tea

Literally translated, Chai means “tea”, funny enough. As you can see, calling it “chai tea” is a bit redundant.  Funny, no?  This article over at Mental Floss will give you some very interesting chai word history: Don’t “Chai and “Tea” both mean the same thing?

Give the following recipe a try at home in your crock pot. Ingredients are easily found at any health food store including the Outpost, Whole Foods and such. Done right, this is far better and healthier than the often over – sweetened, syrupy versions that you may find it coffee shops in United States.

This is a recipe to be modified to suit your taste.

First, buy the following ingredients from the Outpost store (or other health food store):

  • 4 TB Green Cardamom Pods, crushed
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 10-15 2” cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp black pepper corns
  • 6 quarter-sized pieces fresh ginger root
  • 4-6 cups milk alternative (almond milk or cashew milk)
  • Optional: few drops stevia extract as sweetener (stevia can also be bought in a powder form)
  • 2 black tea bags

Directions: Bring 1 ½ gallons of water to a boil in large pot.  Add above herbs.  Lower heat to a simmer & simmer for 60 minutes.  Strain herbs.  If you prefer to add black tea, at this point steep black tea bags for 5-10 minutes (steep: to let tea bags sit in hot  water). The final step is to add milk substitute & stevia & serve warm.  Refrigerate remainder of tea, for later use (re-heat before drinking again).

How Chinese Herbs Work

Many people take Chinese herbs, but there is much confusion as to how they actually work.

Chinese herbs
Fundamentally, Chinese herbal formulas restore circulation and build organ function. The way that a formula is composed includes combining specific herbs to cause a very specific outcome and having those herbs complement each other.

In fact, the original basis of Chinese herb formulation was patterned after the hierarchical governmental system in China:

  • as an example there may be an “emperor” herb that has the most powerful effect,
  • a “general” herb which directs the activities of the formula,
  • and “envoy” herb that carries the herb to the correct location (for example if the person had knee problems this would drive the formula into the knee directly).

A typical Chinese herbal formula could have anywhere from three to twenty-five herbs in it, depending on the person and the complexity of their condition.

Brenda’s Easy Poached Pears

picture of poached pears

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

Directions:

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.

Serves 2