Enhance your Endocrine Health with Acupuncture

February 25, 2011

The endocrine system is responsible for hormonal functions in the body and produces thirty distinct hormones each of which has a very specific job to do. This system controls your physical growth, mood, hormone output, reproduction, mental functionality, and immune system. When not working properly you become more susceptible to disease and your ability to fight off infection is weakened. Endocrine glands and their functioning impacts every area of your health.

The keystone of acupuncture and Oriental medicine has always been awakening the body’s natural intelligence to heal itself and restore balance to the system of energy pathways (called “meridians”) that crisscross the body. If the meridians within your body have become depleted you can suffer from tiredness, infertility, weight gain, depression, digestive problems, hair loss, arthritis, and feeling chilled no matter the temperature.

What are the endocrine glands and what do they do?

The major endocrine glands include the adrenals, pancreas, pineal, pituitary, reproductive and thyroid glands.

Adrenals– Adrenal glands regulate the body’s response to stress and are made of two parts, each of which secretes a separate set of hormones. The outer part produces corticosteroid hormones that regulate the balance of salt and water, stress response, metabolism, immune function, and sexual development and function. The inner part secretes adrenaline hormones that increase blood pressure and heart rate in response to stress. Over time chronic elevated stress levels can lead to weight gain, decreased resistance to infections, fatigue, muscle aches and low blood sugar.

Pancreas– The pancreas produces insulin and glucagon-two hormones that work together to supply the body’s cells with a constant supply of energy in the form of glucose.

Pineal– The pineal gland is also known as theepiphysis cerebri,epiphysisor the “third eye”. It produces the serotonin derivative melatonin, a hormone that affects the modulation of wake/sleep patterns and seasonal functions.

Hypothalamus /Pituitary– A collection of specialized cells that provide the primary link between the endocrine and central nervous systems. Nerve cells and hormones signal the pituitary gland to secrete or suppress the release of various hormone messages to the other glands. The pituitary gland is also responsible for secreting growth hormones.

Reproductive– These glands secrete hormones that control the development of male and female characteristics. In males these glands secrete androgen hormones, most importantly testosterone. In females they produce estrogen, progesterone, eggs and are involved in reproductive functions.

Thyroid– Thyroid hormones control the growth, temperature and function of every cell in the body. The gland acts as the metabolic engine of the body – if it secretes too little hormone the body slows and dies; if it secretes too much the body burns out and dies.

A healthy endocrine system that continues to secrete adequate amounts of hormones will slow the aging process and keep you vibrant and healthy as you age.

When treating a suspected endocrine condition with acupuncture and Oriental medicine, the acupuncturist seeks the root cause of the patient’s imbalance. The endocrine system is closely tied to the internal balance of the Yin energy and the Yang energy. Imagine that the Yang energy is like gasoline that fuels a car, and the Yin energy is the coolant for the car’s engine. Without the coolant, the engine overheats and begins to burn out. Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine work to make sure the Yin and Yang are equal within the body restoring your essential internal balance. The root of the body’s energy in Oriental medicine is the Kidney meridian. Treatment used to strengthen the Kidney Meridian also restores nourishment to your endocrine glands.

Acupuncture can be used to restore hormonal balance, regulate energy levels, smooth emotions and help manage sleep and menstrual problems.  Treatments take all symptoms into account and are aimed at balancing the energy in your body, optimizing your health, restoring immune function and balancing the production and release of hormones through a variety of approaches ranging from acupuncture and herbal remedies to lifestyle changes and special exercises. Many patients benefit from an integrated Eastern and Western medical approach to endocrine health. The strong point of Western medicine is intervention in life-threatening illness, whereas the strong point of Eastern medicine is increased quality of life. Therefore it is optimal to have both Eastern and Western medicine options available for the most comprehensive care.

Would you like to learn more about how acupuncture can help you? Call Marin Acupuncture Clinic to schedule a free 15-minute consultation.   After your initial visit, a custom-tailored treatment plan will be created to suit your individual needs so that you can feel better quickly and safely!

Article from Acufinder.com.

5 Great Foods for Men’s Health

October 28, 2010

Foods Men Should Eat Every Day       

Adding nutrient-rich super foods to the diet can give men a healthy boost. Here are some foods that can help maintain muscle mass, prevent prostate cancer, and more.

Spinach: Popeye had this one right. Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. Spinach can help protect against prostate cancer, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, lower blood pressure and strengthen muscles.

Yogurt: Eating yogurt that contains live bacterial cultures everyday improves digestive health, boosts the immune system, provides protection against cancer and may help you live longer. Not all yogurts are probiotic though, so make sure the label says “live and active cultures.”

Avocados: Avocados are a good source of vitamin K, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate and copper. Rich in potassium, avocados contain more of this nutrient than bananas. Potassium is needed to regulate nerves, heartbeat and, especially, blood pressure. An added bonus for men: Avocados inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells.

Walnuts: When it comes to their health benefits, walnuts are the king of nuts. Richer in heart-healthy omega-3s than salmon, loaded with more anti-oxidants than red wine, and packing half as much muscle-building protein as chicken, walnuts are one of the all time super foods.

Blackberries: Blackberries are packed with Vitamin C, calcium and magnesium with more than double the amounts than their popular cousin, the blueberry. Vitamin C is a powerful stress reducer that can lower blood pressure and return cortisol levels to normal faster when taken during periods of stress. Magnesium and calcium act together to help regulate the nerves and muscle tone. Too little magnesium in your diet can cause nerve cells to become over activated and can trigger muscular tension, soreness, spasms, cramps, and fatigue. Blackberries also score high on the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) scale assesses the antioxidant content of food: the higher the score, the better the food’s ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals that lead to cancer.

 

Acupuncture and Men’s Health

October 28, 2010
Five Top Men’s Health Concerns and How Acupuncture Can Help (from Acufinder.com)

Acupuncture has been used to treat men’s health concerns for thousands of years and is growing in popularity. The reason for this growth in popularity is that many health issues that men face, such as high blood pressure, prostate problems and depression, respond extremely well to acupuncture treatments.

Here is a list of five health issues that affect men and how acupuncture can help:

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading men’s health threat with heart disease and stroke topping the list of the first and second leading causes of death worldwide. By integrating acupuncture and Oriental medicine into your heart healthy lifestyle, you can dramatically reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Taking small steps to improve your health can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease by as much as eighty percent. Steps to prevention include managing high blood pressure, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress and improved sleep – all of which can be helped with acupuncture.

Acupuncture has been found to be particularly helpful in lowering blood pressure. By applying acupuncture needles at specific sites along the wrist, inside the forearm or in the leg, researchers have been able to stimulate the release of opioids, which decreases the heart’s activity and its need for oxygen. This, in turn, lowers blood pressure.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in men. Tobacco smoke causes ninety percent of all lung cancers. If you are ready to quit smoking, acupuncture can help.

Acupuncture has shown to be an effective treatment for smoking. Acupuncture treatments for addiction and smoking cessation focus on jitters, cravings, irritability, and restlessness; symptoms that people commonly complain about when they quit. It also aids in relaxation and detoxification.

In one study on substance addiction, a team from Yale University successfully used auricular (ear) acupuncture to treat cocaine addiction. Results showed that fifty-five percent of participants tested free of cocaine during the last week of treatment, compared to twenty-four percent and nine percent in the two control groups. Those who completed acupuncture treatment also had longer periods of sustained abstinence compared to participants in the control groups.

Prostate Health

The prostate is prone to enlargement and inflammation as men age, affecting about half of men in their sixties and up to ninety percent of men as they approach their seventies and eighties. If left untreated, benign prostate gland enlargement, which presents with symptoms such as frequent nighttime urination, painful urination, and difficult urination, can lead to more serious conditions such as prostate cancer, urinary tract infections, bladder or kidney damage, bladder stones, and incontinence.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be used to treat prostate problems to relieve the urinary symptoms and prevent the more serious conditions from occurring. The few studies completed on acupuncture and prostatitis show positive results with participants noticing an marked improvement in their quality of life, decrease in urinary difficulties, and an increase in urinary function.

Depression and Mental Health

Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death among all men; for young men it’s higher. While experts previously thought depression affected far more women than men, it is now believed that that men’s tendency to hide depressed feelings and not seek professional help has skewed the numbers.

When suffering from depression, brain chemicals and stress hormones are out of balance. Sleep, appetite, and energy level are all disturbed. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can alleviate symptoms associated with depression and mental health issues by helping to rebalance the body’s internal environment.

The growing body of research supporting the positive effects of acupuncture on depression, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain syndrome is so strong that the military now uses acupuncture to treat troops with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and combat stress syndrome.

Sexual Health

While sexual health concerns may not be life threatening, they can still signal significant health problems. Two-thirds of men older than seventy and up to thirty-nine percent of forty year old men report having problems with their sexual health.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are well known for improving men’s sexual performance; in fact, there have been medical textbooks devoted to the subject. Chinese Emperors took their sexual health quite seriously and would consult with a team of physicians if they experienced any difficulties in the bedroom.

Acupuncture can be used to treat premature ejaculation, low sperm count, diminished sperm motility, erectile dysfunction, male climacteric (menopause) and increase libido.

Would you like to learn more about how acupuncture can help you?  Give Marin Acupuncture Clinic a call for a free consultation.  We will create a custom-tailored treatment plan to suit your individual needs so that you can feel better quickly and safely!

 

The limits of anti-depressants

October 4, 2010

There was a great article published today in the Huffington Post by Dr. Christiane Northrup about the limitations of medications for the treatment of clinical depression.  Please click on the link below for the full article, but to summarize:  those with severe depression are helped by medication, but most people do not fall into the category of “severely depressed” (most are considered “mild to moderate”).  For those with mild or moderate depression, re-establishing brain chemistry and receiving psychological support are most important.

One of the best ways to support healthy brain chemistry is by taking Fish Oil and 5-HTP supplements.  Both can be found at your local health food store.

Exercise, psychotherapy, acupuncture, massage, and a nutrient-dense diet have also proven effective for depression and anxiety.  If you or a loved one are struggling with your mental health, give Marin Acupuncture Clinic a call for a free consultation.  We have many resources for you and can bill your insurance for your office visits.

Here is the link to the Huffington Post article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christiane-northrup/the-limits-of-antidepress_b_654966.html?ref=email_share

May we all be free from suffering and from creating the causes of suffering.  May we all attain peace and happiness and create the causes of peace and happiness.

Acupuncture Effective for Severe Menstrual Cramps

June 25, 2010

 

Severe menstrual cramps, otherwise known as primary dysmenorrhea, is one of the most common gynecological complaints. It can affect as many as half of young women.

A recent study in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology might have an answer for this painful disorder in the form of acupuncture treatments. A group of Korean researchers looked at 27 studies done on acupuncture for dysmenorrhea, which involved a total of 3,000 women.

By comparing findings, they determined “promising evidence” for the use of acupuncture to treat dysmenorrhea, as compared to either herbal or pharmacological medicine.

For more information on the many benefits of Oriental medicine, visit www.marin-acupuncture.com

Reference

Benefits of Acupuncture in Cancer Care

June 11, 2010
On Sunday June 6th, cancer survivors celebrated the 23rd annual National Cancer Survivors Day, sponsored by the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation. The event, which includes hundreds of gatherings across the US, is a time to celebrate life. Here are some ways that acupuncture can help while being treated for and recovering from cancer.

Cancer treatments are aggressive and cause numerous unwanted side effects as well as a lowered immune system. Acupuncture is an excellent adjunctive therapy in cancer treatments because of its ability to relieve pain, reduce side effects, accelerate recovery and improve quality of life.

What Acupuncture is used for during Cancer Treatment

Acupuncture provides a total approach to health care for people with cancer. It can be used to address many of the concerns that come up during and after chemotherapy, radiation, biological therapy and surgery.

According to the National Cancer Institute, acupuncture may cause physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain. These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones, and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. It is proposed that, by these actions, acupuncture affects blood pressure and body temperature, boosts immune system activity, and causes the body’s natural painkillers, such as endorphins, to be released.

Areas that acupuncture has shown the most promise include:

  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Dry Mouth, Night Sweats and Hot Flashes
  • Stress, Anxiety and Fatigue
  • Pain Management
  • Increasing White Blood Cell Count
  • To learn more about how acupuncture can safely and effectively be incorporated into care for people with cancer, please call us at Marin Acupuncture Clinic:  415 407-0528.

    Yankees starter A.J. Burnett credits acupuncture with helping him stay healthy

    June 1, 2010

    Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine are extremely effective sports medicine treatments. Check out this recent article: http://www.nj.com/yankees/index.ssf/2010/05/yankees_starter_aj_burnett_cre.html

    Acupressure Point for Moving Qi

    May 25, 2010

    A very popular acupuncture point that improves circulation, calms the nervous system and relieves pain is Large Intestine 4. It’s located on the padded area of your hand between your thumb and index finger. Massage this point vigorously with your thumb for at least 30 seconds if you have a headache, sinus issues, stress, PMS, or pain any where in your body.

    Goji Berries!

    May 6, 2010

    For a quick nutrition boost, try adding goji berries to your morning oatmeal.  They’re loaded with thiamin, vitamin B6, and anti-oxidants.  In Chinese medicine, these sweet berries tonify the blood and nourish the eyes.  Great for people losing their vision.  Did I mention they’re delicious?!  You can find them at your local health food store.  Enjoy….

    Sleep Well

    May 4, 2010

    Even if you’re just a few hours short of a good night’s sleep, you may be amping up inflammation in your body. A recent study published in Biological Psychiatry shed new light on the link between sleep loss and inflammatory conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. We recommend keeping a regular bedtime and practicing relaxation techniques to reduce stress.  Acupuncture and herbal medicine are also very effective for insomnia!  And they’re drug-free!


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