Our blossoming trees and abundant plant life seemed to spring forth almost overnight. For many people allergies can put a damper in their enjoyment of being out and about. For some people this is cyclical, occurring in either the spring or fall, for others it’s a year round battle.
A Drug-Free Path to Sweeter Dreams
- Do you experience a sense of helplessness about your insomnia?
- Does your ability to concentrate and think clearly falter?
- Are you plagued by severe mood swings?
Insomnia is one of the most common health complaints following chronic pain and headaches. Insomnia can be defined as difficulty falling asleep or waking up within the sleep cycle or both. As a nation, the majority of Americans have accrued an enormous sleep debt and it must be repaid. The average person lacks up to an hour and a half of sleep every night. A healthy adult optimally needs six to eight hours of quality sleep. If your peak performance is based upon seven hours of sleep and you receive six hours during the weekdays, you are consequently in a sleep debt of five hours. Sleeping in on weekends replenishes some of that debt, but it does not entirely erase it. Essentially it can take several weeks to replenish the average American’s sleep debt. The toll on our well-being and quality of life is quite significant. Cognitive function falters and the risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression, and high cholesterol increase exponentially with every increase in this sleep debt.
How Acupuncture and Moxibustion Rectifies Poor Digestion
In Chinese Medicine, the spleen and stomach are pivotal to the digestive process. The stomach receives our food and is referred in classical texts as “the sea of grain and water.” After the food enters the stomach, it is “steamed” by the influence of stomach Qi. The main role of the spleen is to suck or extract the vital essence of our food to provide nourishment to the body. The dregs are discarded downwards and eliminated as waste. Another vital role of the spleen is to provide a healthy appetite and engender the sense of taste. There is an emotional influence related to each organ system in Chinese Medicine. For the spleen, excessive worry or pensiveness weakens its digestive power. Because the spleen is ruled by the earth element we may risk damage to our digestive Qi if we feel ungrounded or eat in a hurried or distracted mental state. An example of this is dashboard dining or eating lunch at our desk while working. Therefore eating in a relaxed state is very important.
I am often asked how Japanese acupuncture differs from that used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and other styles.
There are four practices in which the Japanese method differs:
- Japanese acupuncture uses thinner needles and shallower insertions, which results in more gain for less, or no pain.
- Acupuncturists using the Japanese method palpate the abdomen. When I do this, I’m gathering information about the body’s organ systems, which enables me to adjust the treatment to fit the patient’s needs.
- Japanese acupuncture makes extensive use of moxibustion to heighten the effectiveness of the acupuncture treatment. Moxa is a plant whose dried leaves are burned on needles or smouldered directly on the skin. The pleasant, therapeutic heat is a powerful tonic and improves circulation. I use seven different methodologies of moxibustion, depending on the patient’s complaint.
- Japanese acupuncture does not limit treatment to a single point. For example, if a patient complains of back pain, I not only treat the appropriate points on the back, but will also treat appropriate areas all along the involved meridian(s).
I really enjoy using moxa in conjunction with acupuncture. Did you know that the characters in Chinese for acupuncture literally mean needle and fire? Fire here means moxibustion (moxa for short) the burning of the artemesia plant on or above the body and needle moxa, patients’ favorite, in which a compacted ball of moxa is burned on the handle of the needle. This provides a deep heat that patients love – great for boosting the adrenals when done on the low back.
Moxa has been scientifically proven to increase both red and white blood cell count, increase cellular immunity, as well as regulate blood sugar levels, a boon for diabetic patients. This pertains to direct moxa, when a “grain” of moxa is burned directly on the skin.