November Update

Information for Acupuncture Sessions:

Phone number: 251-644-4127

Full Body Acupuncture $85

Ear Acupuncture $55

Cupping $45

Recommended Follow-Up: 7-10 days from first session.

Hours: By appointment, closed Sunday & Monday.

No Show Fee: $45 No Exceptions. See Appointment Policy to understand it is impossible for us to accept same-day cancel / no show.

*All the info you may need is on familycareacupuncture.com or call us and we are happy to hear from you.

August Update

Are you looking for acupuncture in the gulf coast area or near Mobile, Alabama for help with GERD, IBS, or chronic digestive issues? Look no further. We are a classical acupuncture clinic for all your acupuncture needs. Classical acupuncture does more than just treat pain. We use holistic evaluation to get to the “root” of the problem and help you adjust your lifestyle accordingly. Specialized acupuncture treatments combined with Tao Nutrition (East-Asian healing food strategy) address a variety of problems including acid reflux, diarrhea, constipation, digestive upset, nausea, and chronic digestive problems. Why?

A variety of acupuncture points and almost ALL of the meridians address metabolism and digestion to some degree. This is because it is our body’s basic process of making chi (life energy), and for absorbing nutrients and eliminating waste, which has to be done every single day for an optimally healthy life. If you look in the mirror and your tongue is pale, swollen, toothmarked, or has many cracks in it, these are all signs that some part of the digestive system is not as healthy as it could be. If you have frequent gas, bloating, loose stools, acid reflux, “indigestion” or an always bitter taste in your mouth, it is time for an acupuncture check-up!

The health of the Spleen and Stomach are centrally important to the health of the entire digestive system in classical acupuncture theory. One of the most widely used acupuncture treatments ever created is called “Harmonize the Earth”, applied for a healthy digestion. Handed down for generations from the Earth School of medicine in ancient China, it treats many digestive complains through four specific actions: harmonizing Spleen and Stomach, supporting Shen (one’s spirit or mental health and joy), nourishing Yin , and clearing Dampness. Modern medical science is recently beginning to understand the impact of digestive health on one’s mental health through the study of microbiome and the gut-brain axis. Harmonize the Earth for centuries has considered the mental along with the physical. This was often the first treatment that every patient would receive when being treated by an Earth School practitioner. With this and other classical treatments, we help you regain your good digestive health so that you can feel better, have more energy, absorb your nutrients and enjoy food again!

May 2021 Update

Hi all,

May is the beginning of Summer (Li Xia) on the traditional medicine calendar, on May 5. We are now in the season of Fire, the Heart and Small Intestine.

At the beginning of each season is a good time for acupuncture “tune up” or what we call a seasonal treatment which protects your health for the particular climate and time of year.

People doing seasonal treatments see the acupuncturist 1-5 times per year.

Specific health concerns require acupuncture a little more often. If you want to come in please schedule your appointment 1-2 weeks ahead, especially if it is your first session.

We have a lot more information for you on the FAQ page of the website.

We will look forward to seeking you, soon. Be safe this Summer 🌱🪂

Ear Acupuncture in Mobile, Alabama

Have you ever heard of ear acupuncture? Also called auriculotherapy (after the auricle of the ear) it is a complete system for treating many different health imbalances and nurturing wellbeing. The ear system is a microsystem containing over 100 acupuncture points. The points correspond to various body areas and conditions. In an auriculotherapy session, your acupuncturist will evaluate and select the most efficient points to benefit you. Single-use sterile needles are applied to the points to effect the healing action.

Ear acupuncture is popular and widely used because it is quick, efficient, and low-cost. The more consistent you are with auriculotherapy, the better the results will be. The time after needling when the needles are retained usually feels relaxing and rejuvenating, like pushing a “reset” button for the mind and body. After the needles are inserted they are retained in the ear for 35-45 minutes to allow treatment to take effect.

When getting ear acupuncture it is a good idea to simply meditate or read, rather than scrolling on a phone (the light and noise from a phone, as well as the temptation to text or take calls often disrupts the good energy built up in the treatment). If you are with a friend it is a good idea to agree not to speak but simply relax while the needles are in.

You might feel calmer, or notice sensations in the auricle of the ear or other parts of the body. These are usually pleasant and is a sign that the qi (chi / energy) is moving in response to the acupuncture points.

For more information on Ear Acupuncture, see this article from Very Well Health.

To book an appointment at Family Care Acupuncture, call the clinic.

What Your Headache Means in Oriental Medicine

The Headache Problem

Oriental Medicine contains a long tradition for helping headaches with acupuncture. Headache is considered an imbalance which should be treated, whether acute or chronic. All the yang acupuncture channels meet in the head. In a healthy state, they circulate qi (energy) that allows sight, hearing, taste, and smell. When there is a problem in the body, the improper circulation of qi (energy) creates the headache. The head and face give the acupuncturist indications about what is going on elsewhere in the body. 

A headache is an imbalance. It does not matter whether the headache comes from stress, from improper nutrition, a hormone imbalance, from another health condition, from alcohol, or from the menstrual cycle, we call it what it is: an imbalance. It is possible to visit an acupuncturist with a headache or migraine as your only complaint, because it can be treated and the practitioner can help you discover the root cause. Headaches and migraines may be common, but they are not “normal” and no one should have to live with them. Our modern culture does not usually take headaches seriously. But headaches should be taken seriously because they could be signaling a problem elsewhere in the body. 

The Difference Between Headaches and Migraines

Headache is the general term that describes pain in the head, which has a number of causes and may include the face and neck. A migraine is a headache that is severe, long-lasting, a chronic problem, or includes other symptoms with it (such as blurry vision or aura). The headache in Oriental Medicine includes what we call “migraine”. Therefore, the word “headache” is used throughout this article for the sake of clarity.

Causes of Headaches

Common headaches come from imbalances in daily life. More severe headaches often have a disease as their origin, but can be exacerbated by these little daily imbalances. Here are some common headache contributors:

  • Stress
  • Dehydration
  • Overworking 
  • Improper nutrition
  • Irregular meal times
  • Lack of sleep
  • Excess “screen time”, which strains the eyes and fine muscles of the neck and head
  • Qi stagnation caused by the emotions of anger, worry, sadness, grief, or fear
  • Qi stagnation caused by lack of exercise
  • Deficiency caused by lack of rest, lack of nutrients, or another illness (example: Yin Deficiency)
  • Medication interactions
  • Toxins (from dietary, allergen, or chemical exposure) 
  • Withdrawal from drugs or alcohol

Oriental Medicine Diagnosis 

In Classical Oriental Medicine diagnosis the acupuncturist takes into account four main factors when looking for the source of a headache. These are: Symptoms, Pulses in six locations, appearance of the Tongue, and facial complexion. In your consultation your acupuncturist will ask many questions about the headache such as: What time of day does it start? How often do you have them? Is the pain sharp or dull? They will be connected with questions about other symptoms you may be having. All these questions are guiding the practitioner toward a suitable treatment and diagnosis for the Root (cause) and Branches (resulting illness). Do not be alarmed if you are asked about things that may seem like they have nothing to do with the headache. You might be asked if you experience vivid dreams or if you crave a specific food. It is part of the diagnosis process.  

The Headache Code

Two basic concepts encompass most types of headaches: The head map and the Zang Fu (organs). The head map describes a possible origin of the headache based on its location on the head:

  • Forehead: Spleen, stomach, or digestive system 
  • Sides of the head / temples: Gallbladder, Liver, or channel bi (blockage) or stagnation
  • Top of the head: Liver or interior heat
  • Back of the head: Bladder channel problem, Wind or Cold invasion
  • Behind the eyes: Gallbladder, Liver, Stomach or San Jiao (Triple Burner) channel
  • In the eyes: Problem in a channel, usually: Stomach, Bladder, Gallbladder 

If the Zang Fu (organs) are affected, the following usually describes their symptoms which accompany the headache: 

  • Liver: anger or stress, feeling “stuck”, muscle tightness, feeling hot, dizziness
  • Heart: mania or anxiety, red cheeks, sleep disturbance, cold hands and feet, heat in the face
  • Spleen: worry, brain fog, digestive upset or indigestion, nausea, desire to lie down, tiredness, heavy head, arms or legs
  • Lung: sadness, depression or grief, lack of organization, low energy, shortness of breath, feeling “lost”, sensitive skin or outbreaks
  • Kidney: feeling fearful or a deep anxiety, low back pain, lack of motivation, possible knee pain / bursitis, ringing in the ears

Types of Headaches

These are some examples of Oriental Medicine diagnoses that often associate with headaches and present the cause (root) or accessory condition (branch) found with the headache. If any of these sound like you, please seek help quickly. 

  • Liver Yang Rising: Headache on top of the head, dizziness, ringing in the ears, red face, a bitter taste in the mouth. Headache symptoms are exacerbated by stress or frustration (see the next section for an explanation of Liver Heat). 
  • Yang Ming headache: The headache is located around the forehead and eyes, may occur after a meal with discomfort in the chest, and comes with constipation, upset stomach, or “bad” bowel movement, such as urgent or painful
  • Liver / Gallbladder impacted: Vertex of the head is painful, or just behind the eyeball. One sided head pain, perhaps accompanied by nausea or epigastric pain. In the case of an impacted gallbladder, the headache may come with shoulder pain, just after eating fried or fatty food, and involve nausea or vomiting.
  • Blood deficiency: dull headache, usually all over the head, feeling cold, pale complexion, pale tongue or lips, very low energy or motivation
  • Wind: The headache moves around, “travels” or begins suddenly at the back of the head near the neck (at the Wind Gate). 
  • Phlegm: confusion, disorientation, extreme brain fog or feeling heavy or “icky” always accompany the headache
  • Blood stagnation: a sharp pain in one spot
  • Qi stagnation: a dull pain in one spot

A Word About a Hot Liver 🔥

Liver Heat is a condition that comes from an imbalance in the 5 Elements (usually the Liver, wood and the Spleen, earth). It can also come from Liver Qi stagnation and creates symptoms of: red or bloodshot eyes, feeling hot, extreme stress, muscle tension, pain just below the chest (diaphragm area), dizziness, ringing in the ears, dry mouth or a bitter taste in the mouth. In extreme cases: high blood pressure, constipation, dream-disturbed sleep and nosebleeds. I have heard many healing professionals other than acupuncturists speak about Liver Heat. It is one of the easiest conditions to recognize and it is also a sign of our times. The modern world is increasingly complex, fragmented, and fast, creating stress which generates a harmful liver heat. The liver does not respond well to stress or to toxic foods (processed, overly fatty or fried, etc). When researching the Liver for the article, I came across this quote: “The Liver is the most common cause of chronic headaches.” – Giovanni Maciocia, Foundations of Chinese Medicine p. 524

What to Do About It 💆

If you are experiencing headaches, it is important to seek help sooner rather than later so that your acupuncturist can pinpoint the root cause of your headaches and feel better faster. If your headaches come from a digestive problem, seeking information about food energetics (traditional food therapy) or whole foods will help you make strategies to clear it up. If the headache comes from stress or anxiety or is made worse by stress emotions, you may look at meditation or various methods for emotional clearing in addition to the help of a wise counselor. 

Conclusion

The head contains the “sea of marrow” of Oriental Medicine, the brain. It contains our life experience and memories and is said to be one of the places where the soul resides. Think of the sayings, “eyes are the windows to the soul” and “you’ve been all up in your head”. The head is our perception and feeling about our life. No matter the cause of your headaches, it is wise to take a close look at your lifestyle and consider what may need to be changed or improved for your health and happiness. 

Oriental Medicine on the Side Effects of Quarantine

Staying Home to Protect Our Health

In March and April of 2020, the US Government began to issue stay at home orders and nonessential business closures to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in a strong, concentrated effort to halt the spread of the disease, highly contagious and transmissible through the air, particles, and surfaces. We did well to stay home for the first month and well into the second month. For preventing the spread of the coronavirus, it was a good thing. Staying home in this prolonged manner did, however, come with side effects of its own, many of which are stress related, discussed here. 

What to Expect with Prolonged Quarantine

A prolonged quarantine has emotional and physical side effects. Family tension, social tension, financial stress, disruption of the routine and adjusting to more time either at home or isolated creates new stress. Compound this with the fact that all of our pre-quarantine projects and commitments are still in place, and you have stress due to derailment and disruption of timing. These are not even yet taking into account grief for those affected by the pandemic. 

Emotional symptoms of quarantine may involve: mood swings, depression, stress, stress-related syndromes, anxiety, sadness, or apathy. Mental symptoms: Feeling lost, bored, or disorganized, vivid or disturbing dreams, and worry. Grief and anger are common. 

Physical symptoms might include: Cravings, perhaps for drugs, sugar, or alcohol, desire to eat unhealthy foods, excessive snacking, insufficient exercise, disruption in the sleep-wake cycle, alternating high and low energy states, and weight gain. 

Positive Effects of Quarantine

We have slowed the spread of a deadly virus around the country, saving many lives. That alone is something to be proud of. Though our health may suffer in some aspects due to the quarantine, there are many silver linings, positive aspects to consider. Here are a few: 

  • More time for the family
  • Quality time with your partner and reconnecting
  • Opportunity to reflect and meditate 
  • A “pause” space to review your life and think on your dreams and aspirations
  • More time to catch up on sleep if you were lacking it before 🙂
  • Open time to pursue a hobby, refine your skills, or read books
  • Renewed focus on your home base
  • Taking care of some of the home’s needs like repairs or gardening
  • Time to focus on your health through nutrition, exercise, and sleep. 

For many of us, the quarantine is no vacation. This is something that has been put on us out of absolute necessity. But in a negative situation, looking for the positive aspects is essential for the balance of yin and yang. Obstacles can become opportunities, or as Marcus Aurelius said, “what stands in the way becomes the way.” 

The View of Classical Oriental Medicine

Oriental Medicine recognizes that emotions affect the five organs. Anger affects the liver, Joy affects the heart, Worry affects the spleen, Sadness affects the lung, and Fear affects the kidneys. The emotional climate of our surroundings has a direct effect on the body through the energy of the organs. Our organs in their mental / emotional aspects have a specific way of being that they prefer. When this natural order is disrupted, a pathological state could occur. The body will try to balance the Qi to neutralize pathological states. This is the body’s defense mechanism for keeping us balanced, but it also uses up Qi (energy) which can cause us to feel tired and depleted. Many of us are in this state right now. Stress drains energy.

The following list gives an illustration of the mental/emotional aspects of being related to Oriental Medicine’s understanding of the body, according to the 5 Elements. 

Classical Five Element Emotional / Mental Aspects

  1. Wood Element: The Liver, creativity and expression, and the smooth flow of qi. The Liver is related to creating a smooth life path, and the Liver likes free, easy movement. In a pathological state: Anger, outbursts, shouting, frustration, and feeling “stuck”.
  2. Fire Element: The Heart, mind and consciousness, joy and laughter, and the circulation. The Heart likes happiness and clear-thinking, and wants warmth and entertainment. In a pathological state: Mania, easily distracted, insomnia, or talking too much. 
  3. Earth Element: The Spleen (and pancreas), intellect and reason, transformation and experiencing the sweetness of life. The Spleen categorizes, reasons, thinks, and transforms. The Spleen likes positive change, the sapors of food and drink, and brainy exercise. In a pathological state: Worry, rumination, overthinking, or loss of reason.
  4. Metal Element: The Lungs, awareness and sensitivity, organization and energy. The Lung is awareness of surroundings, the executive organizer, and the Master of Qi (determining factor in a high or low energy level). The Lung likes activity, organization, open space, acceptance, and freedom. In a pathological state: Grief, sadness, depression, loss of energy, lack of organization. 
  5. Water Element: The Kidneys, will power, personal identity, strength of the body, and ancestral heritage. The Kidney is your will to live, “source” of being which is the link with ancestors, your personal signature or identity, and the power you need to face life’s setbacks. The Kidney likes strong, firm foundations, gentle work, personal confidence and a healthy (non qi depleting) lifestyle. In a pathological state: Fear, anxiety, feeling “blah”, loss of willpower, drained or low energy, discontentment with the self or low confidence.

Effects of Qi Stagnation

Emotional effects on the 5 element aspects of our being have specific internal results on the body’s qi, which are visible in the pulses and physically along the acupuncture channels. 

  • Anger: Raises the Qi
  • Joy: Slows down the Qi
  • Worry: Ties the Qi in knots
  • Sadness: Depletes the Qi
  • Fear/Anxiety: Scatters the Qi

In classical Oriental Medicine diagnosis, the state of Qi of the body says a lot about the emotions and vice versa. The goal of acupuncture is to balance the Qi so that it returns to its natural, normal movement, which will alleviate mental and physical symptoms. 

Imbalances Arising from Qi Stagnation

There are a few common patterns which Acupuncturists and Oriental Medicine people will see more of due to the negative aspects of quarantine. If any of these sound like you, please make an appointment with your local acupuncturists sooner rather than later so they they can locate the root cause of the imbalance and help you feel better faster. 

  • Liver Qi Stagnation: tight, stiff muscles, feeling very stiff after waking up in the morning, unrestful sleep, feeling depressed, tired, or “stuck, lack of creativity in a normally creative person, moodiness, irritability, chest stuffiness, menstruation difficulties, tightness of the diaphragm or upper abdominal region. Your acupuncturist may notice a Wiry pulse, red or toothy tongue sides, and tight muscles along the acupuncture channels. 
  • San Jiao (Metabolism) dysregulation: Weight gain, irregular digestion, urinary symptoms, feeling too hot or too cold in temperature, confusion, and sweating. Your acupuncturist may notice a weak pulse at the San Jiao location and tender acupuncture points along the San Jiao channel. 
  • Spleen Qi Deficiency: A sallow complexion, tiredness, a desire to lie down, weakness of the limbs, a reduced appetite, abdominal weight gain or a distended abdomen, loose stools, and an aversion to or intense craving for sweet foods. The acupuncturist will notice a swollen, tooth marked tongue, and a slow or sinking pulse at the Spleen location. 
  • Kidney Yang Deficiency: Sore back, low back pain, knee pain or joint pain, possible dizziness, tinnitus (noise in the ear), decreased libido or sexual performance, a general lack of motivation to “get stuff done”. The acupuncturist might find cold in the low back channels, deficient Kidney pulse, a pale tongue with extra coating at the very back. 
  • Heart Fire: Palpitations (any feeling of uncomfortable heartbeat or fluttering in the chest), insomnia, flushed face, thirst, bitter taste in the mouth, ulcers, urinary burning, a spell of mania, obsession, or extreme distraction. Insomnia, or inability to fall asleep. The acupuncturist will likely note a red tongue with a very red tip and heat dots, a rapid full pulse in the Heart location, and a red bright complexion. 
  • Stomach Yin Deficiency: Inability to digest regular foods, hunger with no desire to eat, “food fatigue” (you’re hungry but nothing sounds good), hiccups, dry mouth, constipation or dry stools, and thirst. The acupuncturist will probably notice a tongue with a peeled or absent coating that is red with little moisture, and thready, rapid pulses. 

Solutions

There are no one-size-fits-all answers, neither in Oriental Medicine nor in life itself. We must all take responsibility for our health and determine what works for us. It it more important now than ever to incorporate healthy practices into our lifestyle to avoid low morale and bodily illness. Examples include: Having natural whole foods and fresh vegetables at the table whenever possible, and decreasing the use of “junk” or processed foods. 

Consuming alcohol with moderation (Alcohol is a catch-22. It may relax you in the moment or help you sleep, but wake you up later with a racing mind, joint pain, and disrupted digestion). [Please see our next article in Ask the Acupuncturists for more information]. 

Practicing gentle movement like walking meditation, qi gong, or tai chi. Going outside whenever possible to breathe fresh air. If you are having a problem with your health that you believe is related to quarantine, there is likely some Qi stagnation involved related to the imbalances described here. Acupuncture helps by re-establishing the normal balance of Qi in the body. It is essential to schedule your visit by calling your acupuncturist so that you are “all set” when they reopen. Visiting sooner rather than later will help the practitioner pinpoint the root cause of the condition, helping you to feel better, faster. 

Conclusion

We urge patients and practitioners everywhere not to take the coronavirus / quarantine situation lightly. At the same time, we must guard against despair which defeats the morale and blocks us from our full potential (in health and in life). Oriental Medicine stands ready to help with time-tested traditional methods, an emphasis on balance, and noninvasive healing techniques. Looking at the positives, focusing on health and on our top priorities, and cherishing the love of family and friends, even from afar, will pull us all through this unprecedented event.

© Family Care Acupuncture. Classical Acupuncture Clinic in Mobile, Alabama.

Boosting the Immune System with Oriental Medicine

The Immune System 

Can classical Oriental medicine with acupuncture benefit the immune system for the healing and prevention of illness? Most certainly, it can. Classical medicine has a long tradition of treatment for pathogenic chi (contagious diseases) that goes back to the earliest dawn of medicine. The strategy involves the support of the body’s Wei Qi (immune system) to expel the invader and harmonize the regular processes. Acupuncture balances the yin and yang, hot and cold, excess and deficient. In a state of deficiency (depleted immune system), the body is prone to absorb an excess, which is the unwanted invader. 

Immunity functions as the first line of defense: guarding the surface protects against internal harm. -Bienfield*

When chasing the pathogen, the physician must first detect its location and then stop its progression. -Su Wen *

When the pathogen is abundant, this is an excess. When the (immune) qi is weak, we call it a deficient condition. -Su Wen

The Wei Qi 

In Oriental Medicine, the immune system is a circulating system of energy known as Wei Qi. Wei Qi is also called anti-pathogenic qi or defensive qi. Acupuncture moves, invigorates, and strengthens the Wei qi to protect the body against invading pathogens. Pathogenic invaders, even in ancient times, were recognized as airborne communicable diseases. They called it “pathogenic wind” or Xie qi, “evil wind”. 

Pathogenic wind is the root of all kinds of illnesses…When the pathogenic wind invades the body, it gradually turns into heat and gradually damages the energy, essence, and blood. When blood becomes depleted, the liver is not nourished and malfunctions. -Su Wen

The Wei Qi flows on the outer layers of the body, between the skin and muscles in an area known as the cou-li space, and it diffuses over the chest and abdomen. Wei Qi is responsible for immunity and protects the body from pathogens in the environment. It assists in regulating body temperature via the opening and closing of the pores. The Lungs and Liver are the organs that regulate this Wei Qi. The Lungs are the organ closest to the surface and are often the first to be affected by an invading pathogen. The Lungs play a part in diffusing the Wei Qi around the chest. The Liver is responsible for the smooth flow of qi and the body. If the Liver is functioning poorly, openings in the Wei Qi weaken the body’s defense. 

A person who has weak or deficient Wei Qi is prone to catching colds and other illnesses, will feel cold easily, have low energy and may have an autoimmune condition. Their sleep-wake cycles may be problematic or irregular. This is because the Wei Qi also plays a part in putting us to sleep at night and waking us up in the morning. During the day, the Wei Qi circulates on the exterior of the body. At night, the Wei Qi retreats to the interior of the body to nourish the internal organs. It emerges at the acupuncture point Bladder 1 at the inner eye in the morning, signaling us to wake up. 

Problems with the Wei Qi (immune system) often look like this: 

  • Disrupted sleep cycle
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Catching colds easily
  • Headaches
  • Sensitivity of the skin
  • Digestive upset

Things that Deplete the Wei Qi

If you have a combination of these symptoms, your Wei Qi is likely impacted. What are some things that negatively impact the Wei Qi? In other words, they deplete or exhaust the immune system. Watch out for these: 

  • Exposure to pathogens (being around infected people) 
  • Not sleeping regularly or not sleeping enough
  • Stress (especially prolonged stress) 
  • Overwork
  • Improper nutrition
  • Lack of exercise and movement (lack of movement causes stagnation of qi, which then cannot circulate properly). 
  • Grief, sadness, or frustration
  • Chemical exposure or endocrine disruptors in the environment or home 
  • Uncontrolled allergies (Wei Qi disturbance) 

So these are all things that can deplete your Wei Qi, resulting in a loss of energy, feeling sick, catching colds often, and recovering more slowly from common ailments. 

Types of Pathogens

Oriental medicine recognizes five types of external pathogenic invaders. Acupuncture methods are applicable for each one. 

  1. Virus (pathogenic cold) 
  2. Bacteria (pathogenic heat) 
  3. Fungus (pathogenic dampness) 
  4. Poison (toxic heat) 
  5. Pathogenic Climates (excess of heat, cold, wind, dampness or dryness) 

Progression of an Illness

We can call this the “secret life of a pathogen”. This natural progression from the exterior to the interior layers of the body describes the journey of the pathogen from the outside, in, and also shows up as symptoms in the progression of the illness. This is called the Shang Han Lun (stages of progression of a pathogen) . If the pathogen started out on the exterior channels (stiff neck, aversion to cold, shivers, and low energy), and the Wei Qi does not fight it off, it could progress to the interior channels and disrupt the internal organs. Acupuncture is strategically designed to “arrest” the pathogen at whatever layer it is in, and help the body to expel it. If the pathogen is so deep that it cannot be expelled, the acupuncture treatment will be designed to strengthen the body’s natural qi so that it can win against the pathogen. 

Here is a quick overview of the first layers of illness. If you have some of these symptoms, especially with sudden onset or a very quick onset, it is essential to get help quickly to “catch” it at the first, and not wait until the pathogen has launched a full attack. 

First layer: Aversion to cold, feeling cold, shivers, a stiff or painful neck, possible headache. Your acupuncturist may notice a pale complexion, withdrawn posture, and a floating pulse. 

Second layer: Alternating chills and fever, or a high fever; sweating, thirst, irritability, and feeling very hot. The pathogen has penetrated the exterior and moved interior where it turned into heat. Your acupuncturist may notice a red face, and a red tongue with yellow coating, and a rapid or overflowing pulse. 

What the Body is Telling You 

In Oriental medicine, our body systems are inextricably linked with emotions, and imbalanced emotions are one of the causes of illness. The Western concept of the “bodymind” supports this. All Classical medicine focuses on balancing the triad of Mind, Body, and Spirit. Grief, sadness, and depression impact the Lungs, interrupting their function of diffusing qi properly and leaving a weakened Wei Qi. Frustration, anger, or resentment impact the Liver, resulting in stagnant qi and a condition known as Yang Rising. The Spleen plays a part in controlling the lymphatic system, which is involved in the transport of immune cells and the purification of the blood. What might a depleted immune system be telling us? 

  • Lung Qi Deficiency (frequent colds, shortness of breath): Sadness, grief, a lack of organization, depleted qi from overworking 
  • Liver Qi Stagnation (muscle pain or tightness, muscle imbalances): Anger, frustration, resentment, feeling “stuck”, not knowing how to move forward, lack of mental flexibility, unresolved negative feelings
  • Wei Qi depletion: Lack of boundaries or personal defenses. Unhealed mental wounds from the past. Disturbance of sleep-wake cycle. Lack of balance of movement vs. relaxation. A lack of nurturing. 

Each of these clues from the body describe a fundamental imbalance, an imbalance of Yin and Yang. The “Middle Path” in Oriental Medicine describes the process of seeking to balance aspects of life that affect us physically and mentally. For example, overwork should be balanced with less work and more play. Resentment should be balanced with movement, taking action to prevent “stuck” (stagnant) qi. Opposites in Oriental Medicine are complementary. A depleted immune system is balanced with acupuncture and lifestyle changes to circulate qi properly, strengthen fortifications against pathogenic invaders, and nurturing the organ systems responsible for the creation of Wei Qi. 

Acupuncture for Wei Qi (Immune System) Support

In your session with the acupuncturist, relevant points to fortify the immune system for the prevention of illness will be used. First, the acupuncturist will look at your tongue and take the pulses in six locations to see the state of health of the organ systems. Then a treatment with acupuncture will be put together. While you lie comfortably on the table, the treatment begins to take effect. You and your acupuncturist may decide together to use a strategy from the Materia Medica. This might involve the use of moxibustion (the heating of acupuncture points with herbs for therapeutic purposes), food therapy to fortify the qi and improve nutrition, and herbal support for the immune system. 

The Effectiveness of Oriental Medicine for Immune Support

As you can see, Oriental Medicine offers a complete and well-established system for boosting the immune system. This is done in a natural, noninvasive way that relaxes the mind and strengthens the body. If you believe you have a depleted immune system, it is best to seek treatment sooner rather than later so that your acupuncturist can pinpoint the root cause of the illness and help you feel better faster. 

© Family Care Acupuncture. Classical Acupuncture Clinic in Mobile, Alabama. 

References: 

*Harriet Bienfield, Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine

*Maoshing Ni, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine

Introduction to Tao Nutrition

Finding a food and cooking/ lifestyle section in an Acupuncture website may sound puzzling to some. However, the reason is simple. In Oriental Medicine, one of the principal causes of disease are lifestyle and food habits (Suwen, Chapter 1).

  In ancient times, people were naturally tuned to their environment, seasons and the food available with them, by natural cycles and geographic harmony. Not so long ago people were still in connection with these natural ways and for them, the idea of eating a tomato in winter was seen as impossible.

  In earlier times and even in the West before the industrial revolution of the XIX century, people were aware of sapor qualities and energetic of food, herbs, culinary or medicinal or both were part of this understanding. Tradition and knowledge were passed on generation to generation to preserve and improve this patrimony.

  Then, a modern way of life came along and people moved into town to enjoy career opportunities, entertainment, progress, etc but on the other hand detached themselves from the connection with nature.

  Many wonderful things come with progress and I am in no way promoting a romantic dreamy vision of the past, but when it comes to food and an healthy relation to it, a clear break happened where taste buds and eye pleasing food became more important than a rational yet pleasing nutrition and energetic balance to preserve health.

  Also, the insatiable need for novelties and trend builds confusion in people, offering an abundance of exercises programs and dogmatic diets, each one presented to be the right and only one for everybody.

  That is where the Tao of nutrition marks the difference, by offering an education about the sapor and energetic qualities of whole foods as well as the way to prepare and cook them, keeping the focus on the needs of each person, in respect of their constitution and,or present state of health. Consciousness about cooking habits, lifestyle and a mindfulness about the energetic and medicinal qualities of each ingredients are really the key stone of the tao nutrition.

Now this knowledge associated with acupuncture is important. Through his diagnosis, the  acupuncturist (who has studied the Tao nutrition) will be able to guide the patient to a refined choice of ingredients and food preparation to help recovering a good state of health.

Finally, even if Chinese, Vietnamese, or Thai cooking is fun and very interesting, it is not necessary to master these styles of cooking to follow the Tao nutrition. Occidental cooking can do it just fine, actually any style can integrate the tao of nutrition, except….tossing a frozen dinner tray in the microwave.

 Therefore, along this section, we will develop articles about concept of oriental medicine and their applications in the nutrition (yin/yang, the five elements with their energetic, sapor …) Cooking techniques and  their energetic qualities, single or family of food explained, herbs in cooking ,etc… Then of course, recipes (I myself being originally from France, there will be some traditional french cooking explained and adapted to the Tao nutrition). 

 All of that to helps reconnect with fun and confidence to the kitchen, dining table with a fresh new eye to an healthier, natural and pleasant way of life.

7 Things to Know About Acupuncture

What are the main things you need to know about Acupuncture? Here is a summary to answer questions about the healthcare option that is helping people live free of inflammation, pain, anxiety, and excesses of medication.

  1. It is safe and noninvasive: Sterile, single-use needles combined with the proper techniques creates a gentle healing process that the body accepts easily. 
  2. Not painful: We use very thin needles and practice gentle needle insertion. Most people feel energized, relaxed, and a sense of wellbeing following treatment. 
  3. Effective: The World Health Organization lists acupuncture as proven effective for 28+ conditions. Decades of modern research plus thousands of years of traditional use support acupuncture as an effective option for many different conditions. 
  4. Works well with other therapies: Acupuncture will not negatively interfere with conventional medicine, physical therapy, or any other therapy but supports the overall healing process. 
  5. An individualized treatment: Acupuncturists take into account health history, body type, diet, emotions, and your unique goals when creating a treatment, for a treatment well-suited to your needs. 
  6. A relaxing experience: Acupuncture is a fun experience that feels a lot a mini vacation where your mind can relax while the body has time for repair and rejuvenation. People who have trouble meditating or relaxing may find that acupuncture allows them to let go of their troubles when the body goes through the healing process.
  7. Treats many different conditions: Why is it that people go to see the Acupuncturist for so many different things? One person goes to reduce face wrinkles and another is treated for sport injury or digestive problems…this is because Acupuncture is a complete system of care within Oriental medicine. It views the body holistically as a system of chi and meridians. This holistic system allows a treatment for many different conditions. One of the strengths of Acupuncture is that it is a preventative or maintenance care. You do not need to have a condition to receive acupuncture treatment, but can have it for a “tune up” of your energy and chi flow or relaxation.

© Family Care Acupuncture 2020. Acupuncture clinic in Mobile, Alabama.