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Home > Newsletters > August 2003

Ask the Doctor

Q: Can acupuncture help relieve Anxiety, stress and/or irritable bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

A: Peta Favier writes: Yes, acupuncture is highly recommended for Anxiety and stress disorders. Patients receiving acupuncture commonly report deep relaxation, inner calm, increased ability to cope and improved sleep as general “side-effects” of treatment. If the IBS is primarily emotion / stress triggered, it will improve easily. Duration of treatment will depend on whether yours is an Excess condition (more quickly resolved) or a deficient condition (may take longer). Chinese herbs will greatly improve results.

A common example of an Excess condition is Liver Qi stagnation. In Chinese Medicine, stress affects the Liver organ system in a way that interrupts the smooth flow of energy (Qi), blood and food throughout the body. Typical symptoms include erratic bowel motions, irregular menses, headaches and muscle tension. Emotions also become “stuck” and inappropriate. Anxiety specifically relates to the Heart (Fire) organ system, which relies on Liver (Wood) energy for support in 5-element theory. Deficient conditions include Qi, Blood and Yin deficiency of various organs, such as Liver, Heart, Spleen, Kidneys and Colon.


Q: My wife is suffering from severe morning sickness including nausea and occasional vomiting. She has been using sea bands for motion sickness and a pulsating watch. Both have been somewhat effective but the relief does not last very long. Do you believe acupuncture can help?

A: Colleen McDonough writes: The causes of morning sickness are unknown, although some research suggests that symptoms may arise from a release of progesterone by the ovaries or high levels of hormones secreted by the placenta. It can cause a wide range of symptoms from nausea and vomiting to heartburn and fatigue. Caution must be taken if vomiting is more than several times a day as dehydration may occur. It is also a good idea to check with your obstetrician to make sure your symptoms are not indicative of other conditions such as pregnancy induced hypertension.
From a Chinese medical perspective, morning sickness is a disruption of natural energy flow in the digestive system caused by the growing fetus. If the mother had digestive weakness prior to pregnancy, the nausea may be worse. Emotions such as worry, fear and anger can also worsen symptoms due to their stagnating effects on energy in that area.
Acupuncture can be very effective for treating morning sickness. The main objectives of treatment would be to harmonize the digestive energy and stop vomiting. If there are emotional components involved the practitioner will address those as well. The stage of pregnancy and severity of symptoms will determine what acupuncture points are used and the number of treatments. Usually four to six treatments are enough to stabilize the condition.


Q: Is acupuncture a cure for lumbar stenosis or will it just stop the pain?

A: Robert Chu writes: Acupuncture can both cure and stop the pain from lumbar stenosis. The question is how severe and how long you've had your condition. Acupuncture is more than a temporary fix-it; basically the needles stimulate the body's autonomic nervous system to maintain homeostasis. If your condition is very severe and you've had X-rays, MRIs and other diagnostic tests done, please share it with the acupuncturist. He will able to diagnose more clearly, then make a decision as to the treatment plan. Your treatment plan may include Acupuncture, herbal therapy, Tui Na (body manipulation), exercises, a change in diet and some lifestyle advice.
The best thing to do is to contact a Licensed Acupuncturist and make an appointment to see her in person. Your acupuncturist will meet you in person, adequately diagnose your condition and set up a working treatment plan for you to follow. Good luck and best wishes!


Q: I was diagnosed with shingles and am having terrible pain in my leg. Will acupuncture help?


A:
Cindy Levitz writes: Shingles is related to the virus that causes chicken pox. It often occurs in an energetically run-down person and is commonly also related to stress. Usually your M.D. will prescribe a medication in the acyclovir family during the initial outbreak.
Acupuncture can help your body resolve the infection sooner and is very helpful in reducing or eliminating the pain associated with it. I find that the sooner you seek acupuncture treatment the quicker and better the result. More chronic residual symptoms often take longer to resolve. I recommend that you seek a Licensed Acupuncturist in your area, who will do a detailed exam and evaluation for you. Then you will receive a treatment plan that will most benefit your individual problem. In some cases, your acupuncturist will want to work in tandem with your physician. You may want to discuss this possibility.


About our Doctors:

Robert Chu, L.Ac., QME is in private practice in Pasadena, CA, specializing in the Master Tong system of Acupuncture, treating musculoskeletal disorders and pain disorders. He also treats side effects of chemo and radiation therapy, psoriasis, thyroid disorders and other internal medicine diseases. Robert is also an expert in Wing Chun Kung Fu, Qigong, Tai Chi and Tui Na. Formerly affiliated with St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles as the first full-time staff acupuncturist, he taught acupuncture at Samra University, and is co-author of Complete Wing Chun and has published numerous articles for Acupuncture.com, California Journal of Oriental Medicine, Inside Kung Fu, and featured in Acupuncture Today and other publications. He can be reached at (626) 487-1815 or at chusauli@msn.com.

Cindy E. Levitz is a Nationally Certified Diplomate in Acupuncture and
Chinese Herbology (NCCAOM) and is currently licensed to practice in New York and Connecticut. She has been a healthcare practitioner for over 25 years. She has a B.F.A. from Hunter College, a Masters in Science in Acupuncture and a post-graduate degree in Chinese Herbology from Tri-State College of Acupuncture in New York. In private practice for eight years, her office is located on Fifth Ave. in New York City. She has successfully treated countless individuals with a wide variety of health problems. Her specialties include acute and chronic pain, women's health issues, health as we age and stress reduction.

Colleen M. McDonough, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac., is a graduate of Emperor's College in Santa Monica, California and holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of San Diego. Colleen is also a certified birth Doula who works with MDs and midwives. She uses acupuncture, herbs and hypnotherapy to treat her pregnant and laboring patients. Colleen currently maintains a private practice in El Segundo, California.

Peta Favier is an acupuncturist in Brisbane, Australia. She works in a medical centre with General Practitioners and has been practicing acupuncture for 5 years. Peta has been involved in health and healing for 13 years. Initially trained as a massage therapist, she went on to study Acupuncture in Brisbane, Australia in 1994. Graduating with a Diploma of Applied Science – Acupuncture in 1998, Peta has since completed further studies in Chinese Herbs and now holds an Advanced Diploma of Health Science – Acupuncture as well as a Post-Graduate Certificate for patent Chinese Herbs.

This Month's Articles

August 2003
Volume 1, Number 7

Secrets of Happy Longevity

Book Review: Ear Acupuncture Handy Reference For French Method

Cool Off with Delicious Summer Meals

Recent Research

Ask The Doctor

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