Navel Piercings Reproductive Health

Navel Piercings and Reproductive Health

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlUYSAVl46M#stepSize=+1

I’ve written a blog post about this topic in the past, but now I’ve created a video on navel piercings.

A navel piercing may seem like a benign adornment, but acupuncture theory strongly suggests that this is not a healthy or safe practice.

The problem is that the piercing is creating a semi-permanent obstruction in the flow of a very important energy channel known as the Conception Vessel (or Ren Mai in Chinese). The conception runs from between the legs up the front of the body, ending below the mouth. Here’s a diagram of the Conception Vessel, for the curious. If you do look at the diagram, notice that the navel is an acupuncture point on the Conception Vessel- CV-8. You may also notice CV-8 is a point that one is specifically forbidden to needle.

When an obstruction like a navel piercing is placed in a channel it creates a physical blockage to the flow of the channel. The piercing represents a constant interruption in the energetic field of the body. As you might gather from its name in English, the Conception Vessel is a very important channel in the energetics of the reproductive system.

Consequently the blockage created by the piercing can possibly lead to problems down the road, particularly with the reproductive system:

  • Infertility
  • Amenorrhea (no menstrual periods)
  • Cervical Dysplasia (abnormal cells of the cervix which may lead to cancer)
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Endometriosis

When a woman comes to me for treatment with menstrual complaints or infertility it is very common for her to have either a navel piercing or surgical scar along or across the Conception Vessel. It is also pretty rare that I talk to someone who has had a navel piercing for more than five years who doesn’t have some sort of menstrual or cervical abnormality.

Some people can do okay with navel piercings for a few years, but problems may develop down the line. I’m sure it is possible that most people will never develop symptoms from a navel piercing. Is it worth the risk? You’ll need to decide for yourself.

I would love to hear what you think about this. Would you consider removing a navel piercing based on this? Do you have friends or family with navel piercings?

If you’re interested in learning more about acupuncture, simply schedule an appointment at our location in Durham, NC. To schedule an appointment call 919-228-8448, or use our online scheduling system.

Good Sleep Prevents Alzheimer’s

Man suffering from insomnia- needs acupunctureGetting a good night’s sleep is inarguably important for good health. The type of rest we can only get with sufficient restful sleep keeps us alert, energetic, and mentally clear during the day. Earlier this year I blogged about how good sleep helps weight loss.

Now there’s increasing evidence of a link between sleep deprivation and Alzheimer’s disease. The study involved measuring spinal fluid participants for the presence of a protein called “amyloid beta”. Plaques found in the brain of sufferers of Alzheimers disease are composed of mostly amyloid beta, so this is seen as a marker for the disease. The study showed that during prolonged sleep these protein levels dropped, and during prolonged wakefulness the levels rose.

Well over 20 million prescriptions a year are written for habit-forming sleep aids, such as Ambien in America. It’s clear that the problem of sleeplessness is a large one.

If you have not yet read my “tips for falling asleep” article, I encourage you to do so. It includes simple but powerful things you can do to help achieve restful sleep without all of the pitfalls of pharmaceutical sleep aids.

If you’re interested in learning more about acupuncture, simply schedule an appointment at our location in Durham, NC. To schedule an appointment call 919-228-8448, or use our online scheduling system.

Does Acupuncture Use Nerves?

An image of nerves of the nervous system, a posterior view.Does acupuncture use nerves? Believe it or not, it’s a very common question I get goes something like this, “Does acupuncture have something to do with nerves?” The short answer to this question is, “No. Not in the way you are probably thinking.” Let’s see why.

There is a prevailing view, outside of the acupuncture community at least, that acupuncture clearly has something to do with nerves. The thought behind this is that nerves exist all over the body, and are able to transmit very powerful signals to the brain very quickly (via afferent nerves). So since “medical science” has no other explanation for how acupuncture works (and sometimes works very quickly), nerves must be involved.

For certain acupuncture points, this makes reasonable sense. A point like Nei Guan (labeled “PC 6” in this chart) lies above the median nerve and unsurprisingly often elicits a very “nervy” sensation when needled. Other important acupuncture points do not have a close association to major nerves, so this hypothesis breaks down.

The effects of acupuncture cannot be explained with our current understanding of “western medicine”. Acupuncture uses points that lie on acupuncture channels (often inaccurately called acupuncture meridians) which may or may not correspond to nerves.

Truly integrative medicine, combining the discoveries of the eastern and western systems into a unified medicine is ultimately where I hope and believe we are headed. This unification will be a long road, however and it is important not to jump to hasty conclusions. We must proceed scientifically, just as each of these systems were derived scientifically. Nerves simply fail to fully explain the many effects of acupuncture.

If you’re interested in learning more about acupuncture, simply schedule an appointment at our location in Durham, NC. To schedule an appointment call 919-228-8448, or use our online scheduling system.

Acupuncture for Anger and Frustration – The Liver and Hun

Acupuncture for Anger and Frustration – The Liver and Hun

Road rage, unexplained bursts of anger, easily frustrated, pent-up, short-fuse… Chances are these words describe someone you know well. Perhaps these words even describe you. Why are so many of us so angry and frustrated? Is there a way to calm the mind and channel the energy to more productive expressions of energy?

This post is our fifth in our series about rounds out our series centered around the mind-body connection, or “jing shen”.

Bursts of anger and/or frustration are most commonly the result of an imbalance in one aspect of the mental state known as “hun”. A healthy hun is responsible for creativity and a healthy sense of judgment. A demonstration of rage is seldom a creative solution to any problem and one that further demonstrates a lack of healthy judgment.

These sorts of unhealthy mental states are commonly a manifestation of an unhealthy imbalance within the body. In particular, it is the liver and “wood” energetics that are in a state of imbalance. When the yin of the liver is suppressed the activity of the liver becomes ungrounded. This causes yang, or heat to rise up to the head. This rising yang can lead to anger, headaches, flushed face, poor sleep and many other symptoms. If it sounds confusing and you find yourself living with anger and frustration, let’s talk about it.

Acupuncture can help our bodies in so many ways and it can be a great way to help the mind return to a state of health. By providing a nourished body the mind can rest much more easily. Mental health and an even keel are simply a consequence of a healthy internal balance.

If you’re interested in learning more about acupuncture, simply schedule an appointment at our location in Durham, NC. To schedule an appointment call 919-228-8448, or use our online scheduling system.

Acupuncture for Willpower – The Kidneys and Zhi

Acupuncture for Willpower – The Kidneys and Zhi

Have you ever wondered, “Why can’t I drag myself out of bed this morning?” Or perhaps there are things you know you should do (perhaps things that you really want to do) but you just can’t seem to make yourself take action? On the flip side there may be something you know is bad for you (food, cigarettes, sugar, alcohol, etc.) but you can’t stop yourself from partaking?

Welcome to part four of my series introducing the “jing-shen”- the mental aspect and relationships of the body-mind.

The Chinese word for the will is “zhi” and Chinese Medicine identifies it an aspect of “water” energetics. The water system is a poetic label that does not literally mean H2O in the body; it refers to the idea, attributes, and relationships of water in nature. The water system includes the kidneys, bladder, hair, bones, and brain.

Will is the determination of the mind. It bends the mindset in a certain direction and controls its activity. The will aims at a goal, whether personal ambition or noble ideal. By means of the will, one is disposed to do or not to do something, inclined to like or dislike something. The will is a deep and strong aspiration of the whole being.

I get a lot of practice treating the willpower and the “water” system in my patients as it is one area where Americans almost universally struggle. This is simply a consequence of our high-stress lifestyles.

If you live a high-stress life your health is surely to be impacted now or “down the line”. Acupuncture provides a natural way to combat the effects of stress as well as restore the willpower. Give us a call at 919-228-8448 or use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation to see if acupuncture might be right for you.

Acupuncture for Sensitivity – The Lungs and Po

If you have ever noticed that some days you feel far more sensitive than others? You may find yourself easily irritated physically or emotionally. Other days you may even feel dull and numb, even for things that would normally excite, anger, hurt, or otherwise have an impact on you physically or emotionally. What you are experiencing is a shift in your “po”, or sensitivity.

Even though some people are more sensitive than others, that’s not what I’m talking about. Because everyone is sensitive in some ways.

I’ve been working on a blog series. This is the third installment of five in the series. In this post we’re introducing the “jing-shen”- the mental aspect of the body-mind.

It is through the po that we are able to have a healthy interaction with the outside world. If we are unaware of, or alternately hyper-aware of that which is outside of us we lose that healthy connection. Po refers to our physical sensitivity as well as our emotional sensitivity.

As the po connects us to the outside world it should be no surprise that it is dependent on the bodily organs that have the closest physical contact with the outside world. These are the organs of “metal” energy and include the lungs, large intestine, nose, sinuses, and skin.

Changes in your sensitivity may be more than simply your moods, personality, or natural hormone fluctuations. Even if your sensitivity isn’t causing you problems now it can be an indication of an underlying energetic imbalance. To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

Acupuncture for a Clear Mind – The Spleen and Yi

Acupuncture for a worried, scattered mindAcupuncture for a clear mind is not usually a way that people think about when then think about having acupuncture treatments.

Imagine lying down for bed, but your brain won’t seem to shut off. The more quiet you try to create in your mind the more your mind revolts. It reminds you of all the things in your life you have on your “To Do List”. It tells you of all the things you have to worry about tomorrow and in the days ahead. It may seem like your mind is stuck on the “ruminate” setting!

This situation is all too familiar for many of us.

My last post looked at “shen” and acupuncture for mental alertness. The shen or “awakeness” is just one aspect of the mind. Today we look at “yi” – the cognition, or the intellect.

The health of the spleen (and also the pancreas) are critical for a healthy mind. These are the organs of the “earth” energy in the body. When the “earth” system is weakened it can result in a disturbance in the thought process. Often this manifests as over-rumination, but it can also show up as an unclear, foggy mind.

What is over ruminating? When people ruminate, they over-think or obsess about situations or life events, such as work or relationships. Research has shown that rumination is associated with a variety of negative consequences, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, binge-drinking and binge-eating.

Acupuncture may be able to help you re-establish clear thought. To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

Acupuncture for Mental Alertness- The Heart and Shen

Mental Alertness

Have you ever been awake, but just not quite mentally there? Maybe someone noticed you being “spaced out”. It’s not that you were daydreaming so much as “nobody was home”- you weren’t thinking of anything in particular. When this happens it feels like not being fully conscious.

The word we use for what is missing here in the mental state is “shen”. Shen is sometimes loosely translated as “spirit”, but that’s a bit of a loaded word in our culture with it’s religious overtones. A less exciting, but more accurate definition in the context of acupuncture might be “awakeness” or “mental presence”.

The heart is the organ that is said to generate or have dominion over the shen. When sleeping it is said that the shen retires into the heart. What this statement means from a practical standpoint is that when someone is having a hard time finding peaceful sleep it implies that somehow the heart is being energetically disturbed.

Acupuncture treats the body and the mind. I’ve spoken about the body-mind connection in a previous blog post. If you’ve read that post you know that it is actually impossible to treat the mind without the body and vice versa.

If you are experience issues with mental alertness or problems with sleep, you are experiencing an imbalanced shen. Acupuncture may be able to help.

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

Quench Summer Heat

It is so hot this time of year here in North Carolina. It’s a perfect time to talk about “external pathogenic heat”. With temperatures at or above 100 degrees lately, fatigue and dehydration due to heat exposure are not abstract concepts right now.

Watermelon for summer heatYou may be familiar with the concept of heat exhaustion and heat stroke from western medicine. Chinese medicine also concerns itself with injury to the body due to exposure to excess environmental heat. Having been at it for a few thousand years longer than western medicine, Chinese medicine goes beyond simple rest and rehydration protocols. Certain foods and herbs have been identified as particularly good for “beating the heat”. Here are a few you can use:

Watermelon- everyone knows that it is delicious and refreshing this time of year. Our bodies intuitively know that it is energetically cooling as well as hydrating.

Mung beans- not as fun and delicious as watermelon, mung beans are a traditional cooling therapy. You can often find these in an Asian grocery. In summertime these are often made into a cooling soup. You can even boil the beans in a few cups of water to make a cooling tea.

Chrysanthemum flower- also often found in an Asian grocery these dried flowers make a delicate and lovely tea that has cooling properties. Just drop a few flowers into some hot water or hot green tea.

Green tea- easy to find and, unlike coffee, has a cooling effect on the body.

Stay cool out there!

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

The Mind-Body Connection

The Mind Body Connection

In the west when we speak of the mind-body connection we typically are considering it in a fairly limited way. We separate the concepts of mind from the concept of body as if they two were separate entities that communicate. We speak as if the mind and body require some sort of connection. Perhaps the mind communicates to the body through telegraph, or a system of interconnected tubes.

In the context of Chinese Medicine (and others) the mind and body are seen as different aspects of a single entity. There is no need to identify a connection between them because they are one. This is why some write “body-mind” or “bodymind” in deference to this notion.

The organs of the body create the aspects of the mind. Conversely the mind affects the functioning of the organs of the body. Chinese Medicine and acupuncture theory goes farther than this to identify the specific relationships between the body systems and various aspects of the mental state.

It is because of this that acupuncture provides such a powerful tool to tune and balance the “bodymind”. In future posts I will go in to more specific detail about these mind-body relationships and how they affect the state of your holistic health.

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.