Can You Treat Thyroid Naturally?

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

treating_thyroid_naturallyDo you suffer from hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism or another ailment that affects the gland that regulates your body’s metabolism, growth, development and temperature? If so, you’re not alone. More than 20 million people in the U.S. suffer from thyroid disease, according to the American Thyroid Association. That’s more than 12 percent of the U.S. population. Many people don’t even know they have thyroid problems.

What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, often comes with the following symptoms: tiredness, heavy menstrual periods, forgetfulness, weight gain, dry skin and brittle hair, dry throat and cold intolerance. On the other hand, those who suffer from hyperthyroidism, or a thyroid that produces too much of the hormone thyroxine, can have symptoms of irritability and nervousness, tremors, infrequent menstrual periods, weight loss, sleep trouble, vision or eye problems and heat sensitivity.

How can it be treated naturally?

In addition to the options offered by traditional medical care providers, you may wonder if you can treat thyroid naturally. Some patients choose to complement other treatments and medication with natural methods that include massage, acupuncture, nutritional remedies and herbal supplements. More than 38 percent of Americans use complementary and alternative medical (CAM) therapies for a variety of conditions. Whether you suffer from side effects of thyroid disease ranging from fatigue and weight changes to lack of mental focus — or even just feel stressed from your diagnosis — you may find relief with CAM.

Thyroid medications

Most doctors recommend synthetic thyroxine for hypothyroidism and treatments like anti-thyroid medication or beta blockers for hyperthyroidism. Natural extracts are available, such as those made from the the thyroid glands of pigs, though they aren’t regulated by the FDA so talk to your provider about what would work best for you. Some thyroid patients also take the natural supplements Biotin and bladder wrack. Biotin is believed to help dry hair, skin and nails, but it can interfere with medical tests, so be sure sure to communicate with your doctor about all supplements you use, especially before undergoing any lab work. Bladder wrack, an herbal supplement made from seaweed that is rich in iodine, has not been studied in clinical trials, so talking to your doctor before adding it to your health regimen.

Although thyroid diseases require lifelong management, you can get symptoms under control and lead a healthy, active and happy lifestyle. Talk to your health care providers about the best approach to wellness for you, including natural options like massage and acupuncture, to help manage the symptoms of thyroid disease or a thyroid diagnosis, as well as any side effects you experience from traditional treatments.

Whether you want to help dealing with thyroid issues or improve your overall health and wellness, Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and massage therapy for the treatment of a wide range of health conditions. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500.

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Does Acupuncture Work for Anxiety?

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Alternative Medicine.

Acupuncture for anxietyAn anxiety disorder is a common mental illness defined by feelings of uneasiness, worry, and fear. While it’s common for everyone to experience bouts of anxiety at various times, people with anxiety disorders feel an inappropriate amount of anxiety, which is greater and more frequent than what might be considered reasonable.

In an effort to address this, many people have wondered: Does acupuncture work for anxiety? The following is a closer look at how acupuncture and other forms of traditional Chinese medicine can alleviate stress and reduce anxiety.

First, what is anxiety and stress?
Stress is a highly personalized phenomenon that can vary widely for people, even in identical situations for different reasons. Many people who are prone to anxiety disorders have anxious personalities that make them susceptible to stress. Others have risk factors for anxiety disorders that include trauma, stress due to illness, stress buildup, mental health disorders such as depression, drug or alcohol abuse, or having blood relatives with anxiety disorders.

The impact of anxiety
For some people, anxiety may be linked to an underlying health issue. In some cases, anxiety signs and symptoms are the first indicators of other conditions including:
• Heart disease
• Diabetes
• Thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism
• Respiratory disorders, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD and asthma
• Drug or alcohol abuse or withdrawal
• Chronic pain or irritable bowel syndrome

How does acupuncture work for anxiety?
Because anxiety disorders can be such a serious issue, many people have looked to both traditional and alternative medicine to treat them. They’ve found acupuncture to be an effective way to restore the balance of Yin and Yang in the body, which can alleviate stress and anxiety.

Acupuncture balances the energy or life force — known as qi — believed to flow through the body’s pathways or meridians. By inserting tiny needles into and around these specific points, acupuncture practitioners believe that body energy flow is re-balanced.

Acupuncture can be used for treating mood swings. It can also be used to treat pain by stimulating nerves, muscles, and connective tissue, which boosts the body’s natural painkillers and increases blood flow.

Additional complementing therapies
Acupuncture combined with these additional alternative therapies can further alleviate anxiety disorders:
• Stress and relaxation techniques may produce modest, short-term reduction of anxiety in people with ongoing health problems, such as heart disease or inflammatory bowel disease
• Meditation can be useful for symptoms of anxiety and depression in adults.
• Yoga, which combines physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and a distinct philosophy, is known to alleviate stress.
• Kava,
a plant found in the South Pacific, has been shown to be safe and effective in treating anxiety and improving moods.

If you’re suffering from anxiety, learn more about how acupuncture can help.

In addition, you can schedule an appointment for an acupuncture consultation and session at our clinic in Miami. 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.

Four Steps to Changing Career Paths

Holistic Health Careers AMC Alumi Spotlight: Renee Skuban

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture.

Holistic heath careers Renee SkubanPeople interested in holistic health careers will find inspiration in AMC graduate Renee Skuban, who holds both a Diploma in Massage Therapy with a Shiatsu Certification and a Master’s Degree in Oriental Medicine.

Upon graduation, Skuban was appointed to the Florida Board of Acupuncture by former Florida governor Jeb Bush and served for two years as Vice Chair of the Board. At present she is employed as the clinical manager at AMC’s Intern Massage Clinic and also works part-time in the professional clinic at the college.

An interview with Skuban:

How did you get started in alternative medicine?

I got started in alternative medicine when I had my first child and studied Lamaze. Yes, I said “studied.” Most people “take” a Lamaze class but I was so fascinated with how the state of your mind affects physical aspects of your body that I “studied” Lamaze and became an ASPO Certified Childbirth Educator.

Why did you choose to study acupuncture as a profession?

I chose to study acupuncture because I wanted to be able to help more people make big improvements in their health. You could say I thought the hours might be more predictable, too!

I was planning to study midwifery but at the time I was about to begin my studies I developed a very serious back problem.  It was very severe and after I tried everything else my karate instructor suggested acupuncture. I tried it and it worked. As an added bonus my migraines headaches were tremendously reduced.

What education and training did you receive prior to obtaining your license?

In truth, everything I experienced from birth until I set foot in acupuncture school prepared me for alternative medicine. Especially seeing my own family make many unwise health decisions. Relying on Western medicine for your health is not a wise decision.

My formal education includes a B.A. in history graduating magna cum laude from Florida Atlantic University, training as a Childbirth Educator, Black Belt in Tae Kwan Do, and yoga Certification.

Finally, after four years at the prestigious Acupuncture & Massage College in Miami, I received a Master’s in Oriental Medicine. At graduation I was given the Clinical Award for Excellence. Seven months later, I enrolled in the Massage Therapy program at the College. The program features a specialization in Shiatsu Japanese massage.

Tell us about your acupuncture practice.

For the first three years I worked by myself. During that period I worked for an HMO clinic for one month. It was crazy. They paid me $25 an hour and they wanted me to treat six patients an hour. They didn’t care if the patients got better. It was all about the money. I couldn’t work like that.

Today, I work at the College where our motto is “Healing with Kindness.” I teach Shiatsu massage and manage the Intern Massage Clinic. In addition I work at the professional Acupuncture Clinic four days a week.

We see people of all ages, suffering from many types of ailments, ranging from musculoskeletal pain, headaches, migraines, and depression to mood swings, allergies, insomnia, Crohn’s disease, IBS, and hormonal disorders.

We see many women for menopausal symptoms, children with frequent illness who miss school often due to poor immune systems, and highly stressed business people with high blood pressure and arthritis.  We have a very high success rate. Acupuncture works amazingly well.  We even have had a few babies born with the help of acupuncture for fertility.

In your practice, what conditions do you most often treat?

We treat many things, but the motivation factor that brings people into our clinic is pain. Acupuncture is most widely thought of for back pain, neck pain, and headaches. Many people do not know that acupuncture is also safe and effective for the digestive and immune systems and for respiratory and reproductive diseases.

Acupuncture treats asthma, allergies, frequent colds, reflux, ulcers, diarrhea, constipation, weight loss, hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, PMS, painful periods, irregular menstruation, and infertility, and the list goes on and on.

What might a first visit look like?

The first thing is a comprehensive exam with a thorough interview. This is followed with a traditional Chinese pulse and tongue exam as well as range-of-motion tests. The actual treatment usually includes some hand therapy, acupuncture, heat or electrical stimulation, or cupping.

We will frequently follow up the treatment with Chinese herbal formula and dietary recommendations. Everyone needs help staying on the health path so we encourage our patients to attend our Saturday Tai Chi and Qi Kung classes. These added disciplines really help people change their lifestyles and improve their overall health.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture relaxes you, and at the same time, it helps bring the body back into balance. It causes your body to release natural endorphins. This process activates the natural healing power within the body.  Acupuncture may seem to be magical but when you understand it you realize that it is nature’s gift to mankind.

What do you most want to achieve as a healer?

I would like to see acupuncture be the first thing we think of for prevention of disease. I’d like to see acupuncture be the first choice when people get sick or have pain. I’d like my name on your refrigerator! I would like to see acupuncture become the number one thing people demand when they feel out of sorts.

What do you like about teaching and what classes are you currently teaching at AMC?

I love seeing the light in my students’ eyes when they begin to understand the concepts of Yin and Yang, Five Elements theory, and the course of the channels. I love seeing my students improve and become healers, excited to be out there changing people’s lives. For the past four years I have taught classes in Shiatsu, aromatherapy, cranial therapy, and state law.

What are some of the strong points or motivational factors for potential students regarding AMC’s Massage Therapy and Oriental Medicine programs?

Some things don’t change. Even though the school has grown, the same reasons I picked this school are true today. The first reason is that this school is one of the oldest in Florida and has a proven track record for successful licensing in both fields.

The second reason is that it has a real healing atmosphere. The faculty and staff really care about their students and patients and each other and are dedicated to excellence. I love this place. It has changed my life for the better, and it is making a difference in my community.

For information about Acupuncture & Massage College’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs call Joe Calareso, Admissions Director, at (305) 595-9500.

Career in alternative medicine - Spotlight

Acupuncture Boosts Outcomes for Natural In Vitro Fertilization

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture.

Tapping in acupuncture needleInfertility affects more than 7.3 million people nationwide, and many couples are unaware of the potential that acupuncture holds for them.

A study at the University of Maryland School of Medicine shows that acupuncture can improve pregnancy rates for couples undergoing natural in vitro fertilization (IVF). Researchers say acupuncture has been used for centuries in China to regulate the female reproductive system.

How it works with natural in vitro fertilization

When combined with IVF, as few as four acupuncture treatments may be scheduled during the IVF cycle: The first at the beginning of the cycle, another just before egg retrieval, the third just before embryo transfer, and the last after the embryo is transferred.

An acupuncture physician may recommend additional treatments.
Prior studies have linked acupuncture to positive natural in vitro fertilization outcomes. Acupuncture can:
• Increase uterine blood flow
• Reduce stress
• Enhance IVF treatment
• Regulate menstruation and ovulation

Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, herbal medicine and massage 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.


Trying to Conceive? A Look at the Effectiveness of Acupuncture and Fertility

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture.

Close up Bare Hand of a Man Covering Small Flowers at the Garden with Sunlight Between Fingers.Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), including acupuncture and herbal medicine, has long been used to manage pain, treat disease, boost fertility, and prevent miscarriage.

Tel Aviv University researchers have further discovered that a combination of TCM and intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a winning solution for women who are having difficulty conceiving. They have also found a positive link between acupuncture and fertility.

In the first study measuring the effectiveness of both acupuncture and herbs in combination with IUI infertility treatment, Shahar Lev-Ari, M.D., and Keren Sela of TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine say the results show a significant increase in fertility when the therapies are integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan.

When combining IUI with TCM treatments, 65.5% of the test group was able to conceive, compared with 39.4% of the control group, which received no acupuncture or herbal therapy.

According to the researchers, there are several theories as to why TCM, including acupuncture, can be beneficial to fertility rates, including the possibility that acupuncture and herbal remedies can affect ovulation and menstrual cycles, enhance blood flow to the uterus, and increase endorphin production to inhibit the central nervous system and induce calm. All of these factors can contribute to successful conception.

Acupuncture fertility treatments can also:

  • Improve ovarian function
  • Rebalance the endocrine system
  • Regulate menstruation
  • Reduce stress

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.

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