A piece of fresh ginger root

A piece of fresh ginger root

Ginger for motion sickness? Yes. Motion sickness can quickly put a damper on any travel. Nothing crushes the fun quite like turning green and vomiting, or feeling like you might vomit at any moment!

I’ve blogged about a great way to prevent motion sickness in the past. My patients have reported great results with that technique. However, today I have a new way to deal with and prevent seasickness to share with you. This one has even been studied and found effective against nausea from motion sickness and several other causes in clinical studies.

The studies tested ginger (which in Chinese medicine is known as Gan Jiang) usually in the form ginger powder. They used ginger alone and found it more effective than placebo. Herbs are usually combined into formulas in Chinese herbal medicine, but we’ll excuse the researchers for trying to simplify the study. A little ginger tea (put the ginger in some warm water) might go a long way to deal with queasiness.

Ginger is a common ingredient in Asian and Indian cuisine. However, ginger has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries among many cultures. The root or underground stem (rhizome) of the ginger plant can be consumed fresh, powdered, dried as a spice, in oil form or as juice. Ginger is part of the Zingiberaceae family, alongside cardamom and turmeric, and is commonly produced in India, Jamaica, Fiji, Indonesia and Australia.

Using fresh ginger is an easy way to flavor foods and drinks without adding unnecessary sodium. Since it is often consumed in such small amounts, ginger does not add significant quantities of calories, carbohydrate, protein or fiber.

The great thing about this finding is that you can safely combine ginger with other ways for reducing nausea from motion sickness, such as acupressure, acupuncture, ear seeds, and pharmaceuticals.

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

Bon voyage!

Couples are increasingly turning to acupuncture to help them grow their families. When considered alongside the unattractive options available from western medicine it is easy to see why. Western medical treatments for fertility can be incredibly expensive, and are often invasive and taxing on the body. People looking for more natural, gentle, and cost-effective approaches find acupuncture for fertility especially attractive.

Acupuncture deserves a special place in fertility support because it can be safely and effectively combined with other therapeutic approaches. Since acupuncture involves no drugs or harsh herbal formulas it can be used alongside virtually any other medical fertility enhancement technique. These techniques include hormone therapy, in vitro fertilization (IVF), and artificial insemination (IUI).

People turn to acupuncture for fertility because it can address a wide array of factors which can contribute to decreased fertility levels. At the root of most causes of decreased fertility are energetic and functional imbalances.

These imbalances can manifest in the body in subtle ways, such as low or border-line hormone levels or hormonal imbalances. They may also show up in more overt ways. In women this may look like menstrual irregularity, cramping, polycystic ovaries (PCOS), uterine fibroids, or even ectopic pregnancy. In men these imbalances may manifest as enlarged prostate, low sperm count, poor sperm motility, or other issues with sperm viability.

We love helping couples grow their families. It’s an especially rewarding part of what we do. Please take the next step by contacting us for more information. You can schedule your appointment or consultation using our online schedule or by calling 919-228-8448.
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acupuncture chart of the xin bao luo

acupuncture chart of the xin bao luoHistory of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

There’s a new blog post on Dr. Andrew Weil’s website with a slideshow of photos from the many exhibits at the Shanghai museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The exhibits document the truly ancient and evolving nature of Chinese Medicine.

An excerpt is here…..

“In September of 2010, I went to China to meet with leaders of the integrative medicine movement there. I lectured to doctors and medical students, and toured the Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine at the Shanghai College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It contains an astonishing 14,000 exhibits, including medical devices dating back to the Neolithic Age. Fascinating to see this long, unbroken history of a culture’s medical knowledge and practices.”

The photos show the classic (and mostly obsolete) “nine needles” as well as truly brutal looking neolithic stone and bone acupuncture needles that no one would even consider using these days. We should be truly grateful that we live in modern times.

The primitive society of China is divided into two time periods – The Old Stone Age (10,000 years ago and beyond) and the New Stone Age (10,000 – 4000 years ago). During the Old Stone Age knives were made of stone and were used for certain medical procedures. During the New Stone Age, stones were crafted into fine needles and served as instruments of healing. Many stone needles and needles made from bamboo and bone have been excavated from ruins in China. The most significant milestone in the history of acupuncture occurred during the period of Huang Di, the Yellow Emperor (approximately 2697-2597?). In a famous dialogue between Huang Di and his physician Qi Bo, they discuss the whole spectrum of Chinese Medical Arts.

The intervening thousands of years have allowed acupuncture (and tool manufacturing) to evolve to the sophisticated and virtually pain-free system we have available to us today.

Thanks to Dr. Weil for sharing his great photos!

Sign displaying the Taijitu and Bagua

How Acupuncture creates balance

How Acupuncture Creates Balance

How acupuncture creates balance is important to understand. When speaking about how acupuncture works to create health I often speak in terms of “creating balance”. Sometimes I use the scientific term “homeostasis”. Certainly the idea of being balanced sounds desirable to most people- no one wants to be running around out of balance, after all. But behind these fancy terms lives specific concepts that are the very heart of authentic Classical Acupuncture.

One fundamental kind of balance most people quickly grasp is the balance between yin and yang. In previous blog posts I have described what yin and yang are and even illustrated with some examples.

The balance I want to speak of today is one that is described in Chinese as “wu xing”. The term “wu xing” is sometimes translated as “Five Elements”, but frankly that’s not a particularly accurate translation. Instead I prefer the term “Five Phases”.

The five phases are given the poetic labels wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. These labels are metaphors which describe the characteristics of each phase. The labels also hint at how the different phases interact with each other.

In the body, each of these five phases correspond to certain organs, tissues, senses, emotions, acupuncture channels, states of mind, and functions. All physical, mental, and emotional symptoms you have ever experienced are an expression of some particular imbalance in the five phases.

To a practitioner trained in Classical Acupuncture (Classical Chinese Medicine), the entire symptom picture a patient is clinically significant. It describes how the five phases are, or are not, balanced in that person. Acupuncture is then used to correct these imbalances. With the imbalances removed, symptoms fade and health can return.

Would you like to know more about your particular imbalances in the five phases? Ask about it at your next appointment. To schedule an appointment call 919-228-8448, or use our online scheduling system.

We breathe in and we breath out. Breathing is one of the most fundamental of all bodily functions. The metabolic reaction that ultimately turns our food into energy is completely dependent on the breath. No breath, no life.

Yet when we are healthy we tend to give breathing very little thought. Our bodies just breathe on their own. But when your body is struggling to breathe it is hard to notice anything else!

Asthma is more of a symptom than a disease, as it can be caused by very different factors. It is experienced when inflammation and constriction of the airways of the lungs make breathing difficult.

In Chinese medicine the lungs are known as the master of energy. Oxygen is crucial for chemical reaction that drives the metabolism. Without the breath, life is no longer possible. When the breath is restricted, simply living becomes difficult.

Acupuncture can benefit people suffering with the symptoms of asthma in two distinct ways.

The first way is to support the health of the lungs through balancing the constitution. The systems that support healthy lungs must be functioning properly for healthy lungs to be possible. When certain imbalances occur asthma can result.

The second way is to help address the immediate symptoms of an asthma attack. In this case the treatment involves stimulating points which can help open the airways and allow the breath to come easily in and out of the body. In addition points may be use to help with any mucus build up in the body.

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.

What is Qigong? It’s a Branch of Chinese Medicine

What is Qigong? It is perhaps not as well-known as some of the other modalities of Chinese Medicine in “the west”. This is a shame as it is a well-developed and powerful healing system. Qigong is pronounced “Chee Gung”. Here is my definition of Qigong:

Qigong is a set of exercises done to produce a specific effect on the function or energy of the body.

You see, over its thousands of years of history Chinese Medicine developed into a vast system of healing and nourishing the body and mind. In this way it is akin to how “Western Medicine” developed various specialties (dermatology, psychiatry, internal medicine, etc.) and modes of treatment (drugs, surgery, talk therapy, etc.) Here are just a few of the branches of Chinese Medicine:

  • Acupuncture
  • Herbal Medicine
  • Tuina (medical massage)
  • Dietary Therapy
  • Moxabustion (heat therapy)
  • Qigong

Do It Yourself Healthcare

What sets qigong apart from most of the other branches of Chinese Medicine is that it is (typically) not done to you- you do it to yourself!

This “do it yourself” characteristic makes qigong uniquely positioned. It is a way to directly participate in transforming our own health!

Supercharge Your Results

Another great aspect of qigong is that it is compatible with virtually any other form of treatment you may be utilizing. It won’t interact with western pharmaceuticals, because it’s not a drug. It complements and supercharges the effects of acupuncture by reinforcing the effects of the needles. It is compatible with chiropractic, massage, herbal medicine, surgery, you name it!

“What Can I Do To Heal Faster?”

Often my acupuncture patients ask me what they can do to help their healing process. I’m thrilled when I get asked that kind of question because when a patient is willing to take personal responsibility for their health the results really accelerate.

I do my very best to empower people who want to actively participate in their own healthcare. I may suggest and teach a qigong exercise specific to a particular person’s acupuncture diagnosis. If you are a patient of mine, ask me if there is any qigong we can add to your treatment routine.

Not an acupuncture patient of mine yet? I am offering free face-to-face consultations. Schedule one to see if a combination of acupuncture and qigong might help you find freedom from pain and illness.

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.

Navel piercings inhibit the flow of qi and jing in the conception vessel.

Navel Piercings and Reproductive Health


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.

An image of nerves of the nervous system, a posterior view.

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.

Household toxins create an unhealthy living environment

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.