Natural Treatment for Acid Reflux: Traditional Chinese Medicine

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Food & Nutrition, Herbs & Medicine.

Treating Heartburn Naturally with AcupunctureHeartburn is a symptom of Gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly referred to as GERD, or acid reflux. GERD is a medical condition in which the liquid content of the stomach regurgitates (refluxes) into the esophagus.

The stomach liquid can inflame and damage the esophagus lining, although visible signs of inflammation occur in a minority of patients. In people experiencing a good state of health, the lower end of the esophagus remains closed, preventing stomach acidic fluid from backing up into the esophagus. Heartburn, the burning sensation which radiates from the mid to upper chest, is caused by the esophagus not functioning properly.

Symptoms of acid reflux, in addition to heartburn, may include coughing, asthma, chronic bronchitis, nausea, sore throat, and voice change. Dietary habits, such as overeating, and consumption of caffeine, tomatoes, acidic fruit juices, fatty and spicy foods, and chocolate can cause heartburn as well as a stressful lifestyle.

According to the World Health Organization and the National Institutes for Health, TCM therapies, such as acupuncture, are useful in the natural treatment for acid reflux and many other digestive disorders, including food allergies, gastritis, ulcers, irritable bowel, and colitis.

Unlike Western medicine which views GERD as having a primary cause, which is similar in all cases, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has many different diagnoses, known as patterns, for this condition. From the TCM perspective, the gallbladder, pancreas, liver, and spleen work to aid the stomach’s digestion. When these organs function improperly the digestive system becomes imbalanced and acid reflux and heartburn occurs.

GERD is also viewed as being caused by emotional stress disrupting the chi, or vital energy flow. Stagnation of chi leads to gastric acid reflux. Emotional stress stimulates one of the cranial nerves which control stomach secretion (the vagus nerve), which leads to an increase in secretion of various gastric fluids as well as stomach muscle contraction.

TCM therapies, such as acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, Tai Chi, and Qigong may be used in conjunction in the treatment of GERD. These TCM therapies can help to lower gastric acid, adjust esophageal pressure and balance the functions of the digestive organs.

Once your acupuncture physician assesses and determines a diagnosis, a pattern becomes apparent. Your acupuncture physician will then structure an appropriate therapy plan to address the underlying cause as well as alleviate the symptoms. In addition to TCM therapies, a stress management plan and dietary modifications will be recommended by your acupuncture physician to minimize acid reflux and heartburn.

TCM therapies reduce emotional stress and restore healthy chi flow. During acupuncture therapy, stimulation of particular acupuncture points inhibits the esophageal sphincter relaxation, which reduces acid reflux and occurrence of heartburn. Acupuncture points located in the stomach area, on the lower arms and legs and on the head or back may be selected for treatment.

Along with TCM therapy treatment, restoration of proper digestion may also require lifestyle modifications, such as balanced sleeping patterns and moderate regular exercise.

If you are looking for an acupuncture school, Acupuncture and Massage College in Miami has programs in Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy. For more information, call (305) 595-9500 and ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.

Four Steps to Changing Career Paths

A Day in the Life of an Acupuncturist

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Alternative Medicine, Careers.

how_to_become_an_acupunturistAcupuncture and Chinese Medicine are natural and effective healing systems that have existed for thousands of years. In the last 50 years, practice of these system have spread all over the world, and the growing interest has increased the demand for more acupuncturists. With this demand have come more questions about what exactly acupuncturists do, and specifically what is a day in the life of an acupuncturist like?

Acupuncture practice then and now

Back when acupuncture originated, acupuncture practice was passed down from generation to generation. At that time, acupuncturists used stone knives or sharp-edged tools to treat pain and diseases. As the practice progressed, needles made of animal bones, bamboo, gold, and silver were developed. The needles became thinner and thinner, and were sterilized with fire. Later, the theories of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine developed significantly, along with the quality of needles.

Now most acupuncturists use disposable steel needles to treat a variety of conditions, such as pain, anxiety, depression, infertility, and internal medicine diseases. And today, acupuncturists play an integral role in their patients’ health and wellness.

The typical day of an acupuncturist

In many states an acupuncturist is considered a primary care physician. As such, the
acupuncturist typically has several appointments throughout the day in which they meet with patients, ask questions about their medical history, and uncover reasons patients may be stressed or in pain.

During examinations, the acupuncturist assesses the patient’s pulse and looks for other physical clues about his or her health, including:

• Shape, color, and coating of the tongue
• Color and texture of skin
• Posture
• Soft tissue condition
• Nerves
• Blood vessels

The acupuncturist then determines which acupuncture technique will be most effective and sets a course for treatment. In the actual acupuncture treatment, the acupuncturist inserts small needles into the skin at specified areas. For some procedures, the needles are heated, or are combined with electricity to create a mild current. The needles stay in place for 15 minutes to an hour and then are gently removed. Acupuncture procedures may be performed weekly or biweekly, or even annually, depending on the diagnoses and treatment plan.

Other aspects of the acupuncturist’s day include following up with patients, performing administrative tasks, and meeting with healthcare colleagues.

Exciting victories, ongoing passion

One of the many things that keep the day in the life of an acupuncturist exciting is seeing again and again the positive results that come from acupuncture. In just one example experienced at AMC, a patient came to the clinic on crutches. She had been suffering from lower back pain for five weeks and had gone to the emergency room four times. She had thousands of dollars in medical bills, but her pain persisted. However, after five acupuncture treatments, her lower back pain dissipated and she no long needed crutches.

Stories like these are not uncommon, and they are what keep so many acupuncturists excited and passionate about their career.

If this day in the life — helping others and making a difference — sounds appealing, take a next step and determine if you have many of the common personality traits we find in students at AMC’s Acupuncture School. And for more information about becoming an acupuncturist, download our free course catalog.

Treating Mood Swings With Acupuncture

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture.

Acupuncture therapy - alternative medicineMood swings may have several causes that include chemical and hormonal imbalance, stress, PMS, medication usage, and diet. Various types of physical illness can also cause mood highs and lows.
Acupuncture has been shown to stabilize mood by treating hormone imbalance symptoms. These symptoms of mood swings can be alleviated with acupuncture:
• Irritability
• Headaches
• Insomnia
• Difficulties concentrating

Anti-depressants and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are often recommended to treat mood swings. However, HRT has been associated with certain cancer risks and medications can have negative side effects, such as weight gain, headaches and insomnia.

Acupuncture treats the symptoms and causes of mood swings by balancing the subtle energies within the body naturally. Balancing the energetic qi flow within various body systems minimizes the frequency and intensity of mood swings. Acupuncture increases endorphin, dopamine and norepinephrine levels, which produces a positive mood state.

In addition to acupuncture, lifestyle changes may be recommended by your acupuncture physician. Stress reduction techniques, a balanced diet and regular exercise can all have positive effects on mood swings.

Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, massage therapy and herbal medicine for the treatment of a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500.

For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.


Nervous? Worried? See How Acupuncture for Anxiety Can Help

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture.

Acupuncture for AnxietyMillions of people suffer from anxiety disorders that bring on symptoms of nervousness, fear, or excessive worrying. Many tend to engage in negative self-talk, always believing that the worst will happen.

The causes of anxiety are different for everyone, and many times the condition is a result of genetics, hormonal disorders, stress, abuse, medication side effects, or illness, such as stroke or heart attack. While traditional medicine offers several approaches to treating anxiety, a growing number of people are exploring the use of acupuncture to treat their symptoms and help them feel calmer and in more in control.

Treating anxiety with traditional medicine

For mild cases of anxiety, many people are able to self-treat through remedies like exercise, rest, and relaxation techniques. In cases that are more severe, psychological counseling can help.

In traditional health care, another treatment option that is often pursued is medication. These medications include the following:

  • Benzodiazepines. These can include drugs such as Diazepam (Valium), Alprazolam (Xanax), Lorazepam (Ativan), and Clonazepam (Klonopin). While effective at treating anxiety, these medications can be addictive and can drowsiness and possible dementia in seniors.
  • Anti-depressants, especially those in the class of serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). These include Sertraline (Zoloft), Paroxetine (Paxil), Fluoxetine (Prozac), Escitalopram (Lexapro), Citalopram (Celexa), Clomipramine (Anafranil), and Venlafaxine (Effexor). Side effects of SSRIs include jitters, nausea, and sexual dysfunction.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), beta-blockers, and buspirone. MAOIs, such as Phenelzine (Nardil), Tranylcypromine (Parnate), and Isocarboxazid (Marplan), are an older type of anti-depressant used to treat some anxiety disorders.

Using acupuncture for anxiety

According to Chinese medicine, there are 14 main channels in the body that connect with each other and run through every part of the body. It it believed that all diseases are rooted in a disorder of Qi, Blood, Yin, and Yang. The disorder can be caused by the diet, emotional stress, lifestyle, and constitution.

It is believed that anxiety is caused by disorder in the heart and liver, and sometimes the spleen and lungs.

Acupuncturists can fix the disorder of Qi, Blood, Yin, and Yang by putting needles into points located on those 14 main channels.

In treating patients with anxiety, acupuncturists do pattern differentiation for each individual and develop a personalized acupuncture treatment method based on each pattern.

Acupuncture for anxiety considerations

Some patients who undergo acupuncture for anxiety experience needling syncope, which can cause dizziness, oppression in the chest, nausea, and coldness. However, this can be avoided by making sure patients are not hungry or tired during their treatments. Also, for the first several visits, aggressive needle manipulation should be avoided and smaller needles should be used.

Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, massage therapy, and herbal medicine for the treatment of a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.


5 Myths About Alternative Medicine Careers

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Alternative Medicine, Careers.

5 Myths About Alternative Medicine CareersWhile constantly increasing in popularity and use, alternative medicine can still seem like unchartered territory. And alternative medicine careers are often not immediately viewed as viable, professional ways to work in the field of health care.

This is the result of many misperceptions that continue today, despite the wealth of research and studies on the effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM. The following are five myths about alternative medicine careers, and the facts that many people may not realize.

MYTH: A career in alternative medicine only means being an acupuncturist.

FACT: While it’s often the practice most researched and explored by consumers, acupuncture is only one of the many areas of alternative medicine. Alternative medicine also includes chiropractic medicine, massage therapy, and homeopathy.

MYTH: People with careers in alternative medicine practice only new-age medicine that doesn’t really work.

FACT: Treatment methods in TCM are honed to precisely correct imbalances found in particular individuals. TCM is often effective when traditional treatments are not, and the practice rarely produces negative side effects.

Fifty percent of patients visiting TCM practitioners in the United States seek remediation of drug side effects, enhancement of therapeutic effects of medications, and fortification of the immune system.

One of the reasons for the acceptance of acupuncture is that its underlying mechanisms are defined. Its effects on the nervous system and on the endogenous opioids have been proven to create pain-relieving, biochemical, and systemic changes. Acupuncture is a potent intervention for pain and drug detoxification and other issues that traditional medicine approaches inadequately address.

MYTH: Alternative medicine is not widely accepted as a career.

FACT: TCM, including acupuncture, has been around for over 3,000 years and is recognized by the World Health Organization as a viable medical protocol. The practice is widely used in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Thirty-nine percent of European hospitals have an acupuncture clinic.

MYTH: The field of alternative medicine is fragmented with no real structure.

FACT: TCM is a complete organized medical system — the second largest in the world. There are over 60 accredited colleges in the country, all approved by the U.S Secretary of Education.

MYTH: People who have alternative medicine careers use a one-size-fits-all approach.

FACT: TCM is a unique system for diagnosing and treating disease throughout the human body. Its approach is uniquely holistic and individualistic, treating each person for his or her distinctive manifestations of illness rather than a pre-defined set of signs and symptoms.

This type of diagnosis is called personal pattern discrimination, and it is the fundamental prescriptive method in TCM. It creates a very specific foundation for each patient from which treatment methods are chosen.

The truth about careers in alternative medicine

Careers in alternative medicine are legitimate and rewarding, with huge growth potential in an increasingly in-demand market. If you’re considering making a switch in your profession, download our free ebook Four Steps to Changing Career Paths.

Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, massage therapy, and herbal medicine for the treatment of a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.