Are you feeling like winter is awfully long and grey?
Many of us are getting tired of the grey days, the ice, the inability to get out and walk outdoors, and being cooped up inside. And it is only January!
Consider trying acupuncture to help with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Research has shown that acupuncture has an impact on all of the endocrine organs, including the pineal gland and hypothalamus, which are core elements of our day/night and seasonal settings.
Yes, flu season is here. You may not want to have a flu shot but there ARE things you can do at the first sign of getting sick. We have a whole protocol to help you manage symptoms, get better faster, and strengthen your immune system to prevent getting sick. Chinese herbs can be personalized for your exact condition. Supplements can assist with your immune system. Professional Chinese herbalist Laura Christensen is trained to help you!
Call for an appointment today and Laura can make a personalized plan for you. 319-341-0031
Over the past 5,000 years or so the Chinese and their forebears developed a comprehensive system of medicine that is designed to be able to address any health condition effectively. The medicine originated, like many primitive medicines, dominated by ideas of possession by negative spirits but has evolved over these medicine to be a systematic approach to all types of illness.
In China practitioners may specialize in treating trauma, broken bones, perform surgery, treat infectious illness, all aspects of women’s reproductive health, or pediatrics. They do this with a wide array of tools, many of which are not seen in the US.
The primary tools that Americans know are acupuncture, oral medicinals such as herbs, and cupping. There are also moxibustion (burning of moxa near the skin) and bleeding (where small amounts of blood are released from the body safely). All acupuncturists trained in the US learn these primary tools in their three-to-four year graduate level education programs.
The diagnostic system of Chinese medicine may seem strange to westerners, but it is grounded in Eastern philosophies and world views that are completely natural to their place of origin.
We do not depend on a Western conventional biomedical analysis of a health problem to be able to determine what treatment is appropriate in Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine was developed long before these modern scientific approaches came along.
So, for example, in the fall in the midwestern part of the US we see an increasing amount of illnesses that are considered “dampness” in Chinese medicine. That includes increased runny and stuffy noses from ragweed, mold spores from rotting leaves, and airborne material from farm activity as they remove dusty moldy crops from the fields. People complain of increased joint stiffness and swelling, and feeling worse in damp cold weather. To the Chinese, this indicates an excess of dampness inside the body. So herbs can be used to improve the situation, or acupuncture strategies that help the body metabolize dampness better.
Call today for help with your fall illness. 319-341-0031
Laura Christensen, MA, MAc, LAc has just been certified in The Wahls Protocol. This is a system of dietary intervention for the reversal of auto-immune disease and chronic illness. Laura attended a 3 day seminar during the summer of 2018 where she was trained and certified by Dr. Terry Wahls MD in her approach.
Laura is eager to share her new understandings, as well as her own experiments in healthy cooking and eating with her patients and the general public.
Acupuncture Relieves Asthma Attacks
Researchers find acupuncture effective for relieving allergic asthma, a type of asthma triggered by allergens (e.g., dust mites, mold, pollen, foods). Symptoms include wheezing, difficulty breathing, itchy eyes, sinusitis, rhinitis, a general feeling of malaise, and sneezing. In a randomized controlled trial of 1,445 patients, acupuncture provided lasting relief for six months.
Acupuncture was provided for a maximum of 15 treatments over a three month period. Patients receiving acupuncture demonstrated significant relief from allergic asthma at all data points, including the six month post-treatment follow-up data point. Only manual acupuncture was administered. Laser acupuncture, electroacupuncture, and moxibustion were not permitted for the purposes of eliminating variables in the investigation. Healthcare costs for acupuncture treatment were covered by a cooperative agreement between insurance companies and the university researchers conducting the study.
Patients receiving acupuncture had marked reductions of allergic asthma during strenuous and moderate exercise, work and social activities, and during sleep. The overall quality of life scores for patients receiving acupuncture were significantly higher than patients in the control group receiving no acupuncture.
All patients were allowed usual care and acupuncture was an additional treatment modality for patients in the the acupuncture groups. The researchers note, “study results reveal that the use of acupuncture as adjunct to the routine care of allergic bronchial asthma was superior to routine care alone in improving both specific symptoms and general quality of life.”  Secondary outcome measures document that patients were satisfied with acupuncture treatment results.
The study allowed for real life clinical applications of acupuncture, except for the limitation to manual acupuncture. The acupuncture point prescriptions, including the number of acupoints used, were individualized for each patient. This differs from many research designs wherein a primary acupuncture point prescription is designated for all patients. Secondary acupuncture points are often allowed for specific medical considerations. In this study, the researchers allowed for complete customization of all acupuncture points based upon clinical presentations with no limitations to primary and secondary acupoint protocols.
The researchers note that after the three months of acupuncture treatments, patients had significant improvements in global quality of life scores and individual parameters such as symptoms, activities, emotions, physicality, and mental function. An important finding, the durability of acupuncture was confirmed by a six month follow-up. Despite not having any acupuncture for three months following the completion of the study’s treatment regimen, the six month data point measured improvements “comparable to the 3 months’ improvements.”
The researchers note, “In this pragmatic randomized trial, allergic asthma patients treated with acupuncture in addition to routine care showed clinically significant improvements in disease specific and general quality of life compared to patients who received routine care alone.”  The researchers indicate that the findings demonstrate that acupuncture is safe, effective, and is an appropriate referral recommendation. The researchers note, “This study provides further evidence for the safety of acupuncture as an intervention. This conclusion is consistent with findings in large, previously published surveys and trials.”
The researchers were from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Universität Freiburg, and University of Zurich. They provided basic statistics on the prevalence of asthma. Incidence varies between countries, with a range of 4–32%. They add that corticosteroids are standard in usual care. They note that in China, “herbal medicine and acupuncture have traditionally been utilized in the treatment of lung disease, including asthma.” In addition, “A reasonable estimate is that about 30% of adults and 60% of children in the U.S. use some form of complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) therapy for their asthma.”
Research from Anyang General Hospital confirms the results of the aforementioned European research.  Acupuncture was determined safe and effective as an adjunct to usual care for the treatment of asthma. In the two week study, patients receiving only drug therapy were compared with patients receiving treatment with both drug therapy and acupuncture. The data indicates that acupuncture greatly improves treatment outcomes. 
The acupuncture treatment and drugs-only groups received drug therapy with beclometasone dipropionate and theophylline. Beclometasone dipropionate (a steroid) was provided in the form of an inhaler, 250 µg each dose, one time per day. Theophylline (a bronchodilator) was taken once per day in the from of 0.2 gram sustained-release tablets.
Acupuncture was applied twice per day if an acute asthma attack occurred and only once per day otherwise. Total treatment time for all patients was 14 days. The following acupuncture points were administered to patients in the acupuncture group:
- Feishu (BL13)
- Yuji (LU10)
- Lieque (LU7)
- Dingchuan (MBW1)
- Dazhui (GV14)
The following secondary acupoints were applied, varying for each patient according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) differential diagnostics:
- Ashi points
- Neiguan (PC6)
- Shanzhong (CV17)
- Fengmen (BL12)
Yuji (LU10) was inserted first to an insertion depth of 0.5–1 cun. The needle was manipulated with strong attenuation techniques and was retained for 25 minutes. During retention, the needle was manipulated every five minutes. Feishu (BL13) and Dazhui (GV14) received standard insertion with equal reinforcement and attention techniques with lifting, thrusting, and rotating. Feishu (BL13) and Dazhui (GV14) were retained for 15 minutes, followed by cupping or warm needle acupuncture. For the remaining acupoints, the needles were manipulated with attenuation techniques (moderate to strong stimulation) and were then retained for 25 minutes. The results demonstrate that acupuncture provides significant relief from asthma when added to a usual care regimen.
In a separate investigation, an examination of Taiwan’s Bureau of National Health Insurance (BNHI) records yielded a sample size of 12,580 asthmatic children. Children with asthma receiving a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine and drug therapy have superior patient outcomes, less visits to emergency rooms, and fewer hospitalizations than children receiving only drug therapy. In a 15 multi-hospital five year study, Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupuncture, herbal medicine, Chinese Tuina massage, herbal pastes) was combined with pharmaceutical drugs including inhaled bronchodilators and steroids in the study protocol.
The integrative medicine approach (TCM plus drug therapy) produced an astonishing result. Not a single child receiving integrative medicine during the study required an emergency room (ER) visit or hospitalization. The superior clinical outcomes and reduction of medical emergencies indicates that integrating TCM into conventional protocols benefits children with asthma.  The BNHI paid for all medical visits and examined the cost-effectiveness of combining TCM therapies with drug therapy. It was found that there is an additional upfront cost to provide TCM therapies but there is a savings on the backend in reduced emergency room visits and hospitalizations. 
 Brinkhaus, Benno, Stephanie Roll, Susanne Jena, Katja Icke, Daniela Adam, Sylvia Binting, Fabian Lotz, Stefan N. Willich, and Claudia M. Witt. “Acupuncture in patients with allergic asthma: a randomized pragmatic trial.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 23, no. 4 (2017): 268-277.
 Wu JH. Effective observation on treating 68 cases of bronchial asthma by acupuncture plus medicine [J]. Clinical Journal of Chinese Medicine, 2016, 8(13): 109-111.
 Hung, Yu-Chiang, I-Ling Hung, Mao-Feng Sun, Chih-Hsin Muo, Bei-Yu Wu, Ying-Jung Tseng, and Wen-Long Hu. “Integrated traditional Chinese medicine for childhood asthma in Taiwan: a Nationwide cohort study.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine 14, no. 1 (2014): 389.
Acupuncture Repairs Knee Arthritis Cartilage Damage
Acupuncture stimulates cartilage repair for patients with knee osteoarthritis. Using MRIs, researchers have quantified the therapeutic effects of acupuncture. Within four weeks, acupuncture successfully improves the condition of cartilage in the anterior medial and lateral tibial regions of the knee. In addition, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) scores document that acupuncture reduces pain and stiffness levels while simultaneously improving physical function.
In a controlled trial (Zhang et al.), acupuncture was compared with the therapeutic benefits of physical therapy. The MRIs demonstrate that acupuncture improves cartilage in the knee region. Physical therapy did not stimulate cartilage repair. Pain, stiffness, and physical functioning improved with both therapies. However, acupuncture significantly outperformed physical therapy across all three WOMAC indices (pain, stiffness, and physical functioning).
The researchers used T2 MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) to measure changes in knee cartilage integrity. The researchers selected T2 (transverse relaxation time) imaging because T2 pulses enhance visibility of fat, water content, and other anatomical structures in the body. The researchers note, “In the earliest stage of OA [osteoarthritis], collagen matrix of cartilage breaks down and cannot immobilize water protons, resulting in an elevation in T2 relaxation time.” The researchers confirmed the findings with “Sagittal T2 Mapping images for the medial and lateral tibiofemoral joints.” The T2 MRIs produced quality resolution documentation that acupuncture “improves medial tibial sub-region (MTa) and anterior lateral tibial sub-region (LTa)” cartilage.
One group received physical therapy and another study group received acupuncture. For the acupuncture group, electroacupuncture was administered by licensed acupuncturists with a practice experience in excess of twenty years. Acupuncture was applied once, every other day, for a total of four weeks. Needle retention time per acupuncture session was 20 minutes.
The needles used in the study were Hanyi brand disposable stainless steel filiform needles, size 0.30 × 40 mm. The depth of insertion ranged from 0.8–3.5 cm. Manual needle stimulation was applied to elicit a deqi response for each needle. Additionally, medial and lateral Xiyan received 20 Hz electroacupuncture stimulation to patient tolerance levels. The acupoints used in the study were the following:
- MN-LE16 Neixiyan (medial Xiyan)
- ST35 Dubi (lateral Xiyan, Waixiyan)
- EX-LE2 Heding
- SP10 Xuehai
- SP11 Jimen
- ST34 Liangqiu
- ST36 Zusanli
Medial and lateral Xiyan and Heding were chosen as the primary acupoints for all participants. Supplementary points were added to benefit local tissues. A total of 126 patient were screened for inclusion and 47 patients participants with 94 treated knees completed the clinical trials.
The researchers note that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) principles were used to make the acupoint selection for the study. Local points were used to benefit local tissues and ST36 located on the stomach foot-yangming channel was selected because this channel “is full of energy and nutrition.” The focus of ST36 stimulation was to invigorate qi through the channel.
The researchers note that acupuncture and physical therapy produced positive patient outcomes, especially for pain, stiffness in the morning, and joint dysfunction. The researchers note, “acupuncture treatment showed better curative effect than physiotherapy, suggesting that acupuncture may be a superior non-operative treatment for KOA [knee osteoarthritis] compared with physiotherapy.”
Tuina massage, qigong, and taiji are traditional approaches to aspects of physical and movement therapy and have long been important modalities within TCM. Given that both acupuncture and physiotherapy produced positive patient outcomes in the study and that TCM includes physiotherapy within its scope of practice, integration of physiotherapy with acupuncture may produce greater positive patient outcomes than either treatment modality as a standalone therapy. This combination is consistent with TCM historical approaches to patient care.
Morphology and Detection
The researchers note that osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease involving articular cartilage degradation. They add, “With the influence of age, wearing, biochemical and genetic factors, natural extracellular environment no longer exist because of damaged collagen scaffold and degraded proteoglycans in the chondrocyte matrix, leading to decreased cell counts and abnormal distribution. Attenuated cartilaginous layers, bony cleft and even bone defect will then appear along with biomechanics changes.”
Based on these morphological conditions, the researchers note, “As the quantitative MRI method, increased T2 values, to some extent, could represent damages of the cartilage collagen scaffold. T2 image could thus be used for the discrimination of the OA severities, which has been considered to be a sensitive method for detecting articular cartilage changes and curative effect evaluation in OA patients.”
The researchers note that high stress regions are important factors relating to articular cartilage degeneration in knee osteoarthritis. Two naturally occurring regions of high stress due to weight bearing loads are the medial tibial sub-region (MTa) and anterior lateral tibial sub-region (LTa). The researchers add that medial and lateral Xiyan reach both of these sub-regions and were therefore chosen as primary acupoints for the study. MRIs reveal that acupuncture improved the conditions of the MTa and LTa, “This study revealed significant differences in T2 values before and after acupuncture in MTa and LTa, while no significant difference in T2 value was detected in the physiotherapy group.”
The MRIs demonstrate that acupuncture “improves medial tibial sub-region (MTa) and anterior lateral tibial sub-region (LTa)” cartilage. The research team commented that prior research may give us clues as to the biochemical mechanisms responsible for acupuncture’s therapeutic and curative actions. “Previous studies have proved anti-inflammatory action of acupuncture by influencing expression of interleukin-1β, tumor necrosis factor-α, matrix metalloproteinase and tissue inhibitor. Additionally, acupuncture may play roles in improving cartilage repairing by influencing expression of transforming growth factor-β1 and basic fibroblast growth factor.”
The research confirms that acupuncture reduces pain and inflammation due to osteoarthritis of the knee. The MRI documentation demonstrates that acupuncture initiates cartilage repair. Patients seeking advice regarding acupuncture are advised to consult with local licensed acupuncturists.
Zhang, Yan, Fei Bao, Yan Wang, and Zhihong Wu. “Influence of acupuncture in treatment of knee osteoarthritis and cartilage repairing.” American journal of translational research 8, no. 9 (2016): 3995.
Menopause and Sweating
Acupuncture and Herbs Ease Transition
Acupuncture and herbal medicine have long been used for the treatment of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, irregular menstruation, dysmenorrhea, difficulty with sleep and mental restlessness. One of the most interesting phenomena is that the combination of acupuncture and herbal medicine has a multiplicative therapeutic effect. Each therapeutic modality is capable of treating these conditions but together they are significantly more effective.
Acupuncture efficiently opens channel pathways and herbal medicine powerfully nourishes Yin and Yang. Acupuncture points LI11, HT7, P7, K3 and auricular acupoints uterus, liver and kidney combined with the herbal formula Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan complement each other for the resolution of many menopausal conditions. They are but one example of an effective combination and represent important tools to prevent Qi depletion and bone demineralization associated with menopause.
The synergistic effects of the herbs within Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan have the ability to address both Kidney and Heart Yin deficiency, vacuity. Night sweats are not only uncomfortable but are one of the pathological forms of sweating that deplete the body’s internal essence. Night sweating is typically due to Yin deficiency and is classified in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as a form of stealing sweating. All forms of stealing sweating have one characteristic in common, they occur when one is not aware of it. Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan, Heavenly King Tonify the Heart Special Pills, nourishes the Yin and Blood while simultaneously harmonizing the Kidney and Heart. Naturally, modern variations of this formula do not contain Zhu Sha because of its toxic properties. This ancient formula helps not only to halt night sweating but also to resolve palpitations, mental restlessness, anxiety, irritability, difficulty with concentration and improves the memory. Its cooling properties help to control hot flashes and reduces instance of ulcerations in the mouth and tongue. The Sheng Di Huang is effective in cooling the Blood and addressing Heat in the Blood. It also helps to move the stool and the overall effect of the formula treats the condition of dry stools.
Night sweats are but one type of pathological sweating. Spontaneous sweating is usually due to Wei Qi deficiency or a depletion of the entire body’s Qi. Head and face sweating is the type that is usually caused by excess intake of hot and spicy foods or by upper jiao damp-heat. Fighting sweating occurs when the good Qi and pathogenic influences clash. The fighting sweat may involve shaking of the body or convulsions. A good outcome would be a fighting sweat followed by a lowering of a fever that had been causing seizures. A poor outcome would be if the disease process deepened into one expressed by a rapid, deficient and slow pulse. This is often present when Shaoyang and Yangming stage illnesses deepen into the Taiyin stage. Alternately, Qi level heat may deepen into Ying level heat. Worldwide, malaria is a major cause of the fighting sweat. The cold sweat is watery and is often involved in Qi and Yang deficiency. This is common in hypoglycemia. Perhaps one of the most severe types of sweating is end sweating. This type of sweating occurs when Yin and Yang collapse. Yin collapse is manifest in a watery and profuse sweat. Yang collapse presents with a salty, profuse, sticky, oily sweat and the limbs remain warm due to the false heat being kicked to the surface. In biomedicine, shock is commonly a cause of end sweating. The half side sweat is one where only one side of the body sweats. It is common when phlegm, dampness and other pathological influences block one side of the body. Another type of sweating is the absence of sweating when it is appropriate. This blockage of the channels is due to a variety of influences and prevents the normal ventilation of the body.
Acupuncture Plus Herbal Medicine PCOS Finding
Acupuncture plus herbal medicine increase the clinical effective rate of drug therapy for the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In research conducted at the Hubei Maternal and Child Care Service Center, drug therapy using cyproterone acetate/ethinylestradiol and letrozole produced an 72.5% total effective rate. Using both drugs and herbal medicine produced an 85.0% total effective rate, and the rate increased to 95.0% when acupuncture was added to the treatment regimen.
Cyproterone acetate/ethinylestradiol is a commonly used medicine for the treatment of PCOS. Letrozole is an aromatase inhibitor used to stimulate ovulation in women with PCOS.
The following parameters were used to evaluate treatment efficacy: menstruation improvements, body weight, body mass index (BMI), luteal hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), LH/FSH ratio, total testosterone (T), and estradiol (E2)]. An enzyme linked immunosorbent assay was adopted to determine the content of anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) and inhibin B (IHNB).
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, PCOS falls under the Yue Jing Hou Qi (delayed menstruation), Bi Jing (amenorrhea), or the Bu Yun (infertility) class of disorders. Kidney deficiency is one primary cause. Binding of qi, phlegm, and stasis is a secondary cause. The treatment principle is to supplement the kidney essence, boost the liver and spleen, promote blood circulation, and dispel phlegm. Let’s take a look at the treatment protocols that achieved clinical success in the study.
A total of 120 patients from Hubei Maternal and Child Care Service Center participated in the study. They were diagnosed with PCOS between January 2012 and December 2016. The following selection criteria were applied:
- Patients meeting the diagnostic criteria of PCOS acknowledged by Rotterdam (2003) conference 
- Age between 20 – 40
- No organic disease of the genital tract
- Patent bilateral fallopian tubes detected via radiography
- A normal semen analysis of male partners
The following exclusion criteria were applied:
- Genital tract malformations, uterine amenorrhea, and other organic diseases
- Severe primary and concomitant cardiovascular, liver, kidney, digestive, or hematopoietic diseases
- Premature ovarian failure, insensitive ovary syndrome and other disorders with high gonadotropin levels
- Adrenal disease, thyroid disease, diabetes, and other endocrine disorders
- Infertility of male partners
Participants were randomly divided into three groups: group A, group B, and group C. All three groups were equivalent in all relevant demographics (P>0.05), setting the basis for a fair comparison of results. Group A had 40 patients, mean age 28 ± 3 years, mean course of disease 2.0 ± 1.5 years, mean height 1.62 ± 0.04 m. Group B had 40 patients, mean age 28 ± 3 years, mean course of disease 1.8 ± 1.1 years, mean height 1.61 ± 0.04 m. Group C had 40 patients, mean age 28 ± 4 years, mean course of disease 1.9 ± 1.1 years, mean height 1.62 ± 0.03 m.
For group A patients, one cyproterone acetate 2.00 mg with ethinylestradiol 0.035 mg coated tablet and one letrozole 2.5 mg tablet were given. Group B and C received identical drugs plus herbal medicines (Tiao Jing Qu Tan Fang). Group C also received acupuncture treatment. The herbal formula used in this study (Tiao Jing Qu Tan Fang) contains the following ingredients:
- Yin Yang Huo 15 g
- Tu Si Zi 15 g
- Zi Shi Ying 10 g
- Cang Zhu 15 g
- Chen Pi 12 g
- Fa Ban Xia 12 g
- Yi Yi Ren 15 g
- Fu Ling 15 g
- Dang Gui 15 g
- Bai Shao 15 g
- Chuan Xiong 10 g
- Xiang Fu 12 g
- Zhi Zhi Ke 15 g
The researchers note that the ingredients help the body to sooth the kidney and liver, promote blood circulation, transform stasis and phlegm, and remove dampness. The herbal formula was decocted and brewed once per day. Patients consumed 200 ml of the decoction, twice per day. The primary acupoints selected for group C patients were the following:
- CV6 (Qihai)
- CV4 (Guanyuan)
- Ex-CA-1 (Zigong)
- ST25 (Tianshu)
- ST36 (Zusanli)
- ST40 (Fenglong)
- SP6 (Sanyinjiao)
- SP9 (Yinlingquan)
- SP10 (Xuehai)
Patients were treated in the supine position. Size 0.30 mm x 40 mm acupuncture needles were used. After disinfection, needles were perpendicularly inserted into each acupoint, reaching a depth of 1.0 – 1.5 cm. Manipulation techniques differed among acupoints. For Qihai, Guanyuan, Zigong, Tianshu, and Zisanli, the mild attenuating and tonifying (Ping Bu Ping Xie) manipulation technique was applied.
For Sanyinjiao, Yinlingquan, Xuehai, and Fenglong, rotating with attenuation (xie) was used. Upon achieving deqi, an electroacupuncture device was used. Tianshu and Zusanli were respectively connected to the positive and negative electrodes. A dense-disperse wave was used for 20 min at 10 Hz with a 0.5 ms pulse width. One acupuncture session was conducted every two days. Treatment was paused during menstruation. Each treatment course spanned 3 months. All patients received 2 treatment courses in total.
Like the herbs, local acupoint selections are implemented to regulate the meridians, expel phlegm, and supplement the kidney and spleen. The Ren meridian is also called the Sea of the Yin Meridians, which governs the Bao Tai (uterus and fetus). Needling the acupoints Qihai and Guanyuan, which are located on this meridian, supplements original qi and regulates the qi flow of the lower jiao. Zigong is an extra acupoint and enhances fertility in women. Tianshu, Zusanli, Fenglong, Sanyinjiao, Yinlingquan, and Xuehai strengthen the stomach and spleen. According to the Rotterdam’s Consensus on the Efficacy Assessment of PCOS Treatments, the treatment efficacy for each patient was categorized into 1 of 3 tiers: 
- Recovery: Absence of symptoms. Normal menstrual cycle. Normal serum hormone levels. Mature follicles and discharge of the ovum for three consecutive months detected via B-scan ultrasonography, or pregnancy during treatment.
- Effective: Symptoms, menstrual cycle, and serum hormone levels showed improvement. B-scan ultrasonography detected at least one time of the dominant follicle within three consecutive months.
- Not effective: Symptoms, menstrual cycle, and serum hormone levels showed no improvement. B-scan ultrasonography detected no dominant follicle within three consecutive months.
The results indicate that acupuncture plus herbs are effective for increasing the efficacy of the medication treatment regimen. Researchers from the study conclude that acupuncture plus herbs cause no significant adverse effects and that the TCM protocol is safe and effective for the treatment of PCOS.
1. Yin Y, Zhang YC, Zhang H, Jiang DS, Guo GR. Clinical therapeutic effects of acupuncture combined with Chinese herbal medicine on infertility of polycystic ovary syndrome in the patients with ovulation induction with letrozole [J]. Chinese Acupuncture & Moxibustion，Jan. 2018，Vol. 38 No. 1
2. Rotterdam ESHRE/ASRM-Sponsored PCOS consensus workshop group. Revised 2003 consensus on diagnostic criteria and long-term health risks related to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)[J]. Hum Reprod, 2004, 19(1): 41-47.
Where we are, here in Iowa in January of 2018, the influenza is at epidemic levels. There is a shortage of IV fluid all over because of the hurricane in Puerto Rico, where much of it is made. I’ve had super healthy friends come down with flu and end up hospitalized for serious lung infections. People have told me something that I’ve always secretly thought, that a foreign enemy could make our country powerless with a virus like influenza.
You know its influenza when you lie in bed for several days aching, chilling and feverish, with no appetite, and no energy at all. You can barely find the strength to get up and drink water, much less take care of family members and pets. Everything in the house comes to a stop when you are that sick, and you can certainly not take care of others who are sick.
Many people end up with serious lung infections after this stint of being bedridden for several reasons, one of which is that the immune system is completely busy with influenza virus, secondly, lying still and sleeping for so many hours keeps us from moving fluids through our lungs. Phlegm sits there and stuff grows. lastly, we are nutritionally depleted and just don’t have the resources to fight infections because we have not been eating.
In our community, in some of the retirement communities people are quarantined to their rooms, having meals brought to them. They are feeling isolated and bored without contact. In hospitals where patients are chronically housed, flu is spreading and taking down many.
If you have been through this lately, you know exactly what I’m speaking of. It is devastating to have influenza. You are so fatigued even after the initial bout is past, that you cannot work full time, cannot get chores done, and cannot do normal routines for a while. It can take 2-3 months to get back to normal energy and activity levels. And even very healthy people are finding themselves in this situation.
And lastly, this year’s flu shot did not have the coverage we’d hoped for. People who were inoculated still got sick anyway. And everyone seems to have a cold.
So, what does natural medicine have for this?
Prevention is always the best for infection, especially influenza. SO that means keeping the immune system healthy with good sleep, hydration, and moderate exercise and reduced stress if possible. Very frequent hand washing is critical, and avoiding being around sick people is important if possible.
Next is EARLY intervention. That means at the first sign of a sore throat or excess fatigue, we start with treatment for the virus. My preferred regimen is to take 50,000 IU of Vitamin D3, and begin antiviral treatment immediately, using Orthomolecular Product’s Viracid. The dose is 2 capsules every one to two hours till you reach twelve caps, and then wait. This product includes many of our old favorites for immune boosting, plus some you may not have heard of, such as andrographis, a powerful herb originating in India. After two days, one can get back to 5000 IU of D3 per day. Sleep is also critical here, and one should try for at least 8-9 hours per day, plus a nap if possible.
If the infection manages to get through anyway, then I recommend Chinese herbal formulas at the earliest time. We using a staging system called the Shang Han Lun to determine which formula is correct at which stage of the infection. We usually begin with something like Cinnamon Twig formula, and move into something more powerful such as White Tiger decoction if there is a high fever and big sore throat. Aggressive treatment with Chinese herbs can really help move through the process faster and without the long-term depletion that often follows flu.
Call our office, or your local natural health clinic for help with Chinese herbs. They are not appropriate for self prescription, due to their complexity.
Remember, early intervention is KEY for influenza.
Laura Christensen, MA, MAc, LAc, DiplAc(NCCAOM) Jan 2018