Can Acupuncture Help Treat Depression?

acupuncture-depression-01Depression is a serious medical illness that can lower a person’s quality of life while contributing to the onset of symptoms such as headache, insomnia, fatigue, and malnutrition. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. say they are depressed. Depression a growing problem that’s often masked with prescription drugs, forcing some to look for alternative forms of treatment.

Most cases of depression are treated with prescription drugs that trigger a range of problems of their own. Fluoxetine, ertraline, paroxetine, fluvoxamine, citalopram, and escitalopram are just a handful of the most frequently prescribed antidepressants, all of which have a long list of adverse side effects. However, researchers are now saying that acupuncture may effectively treat depression in some individuals. continue reading »

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New Study Reveals Acupuncture Benefits For Women In Menopause

menopause-acupuncture-01Natural menopause – the absence of menstruation for longer than 12 months – often comes with a wide range of unpleasant symptoms, such as insomnia, anxiety, irritability, night sweats, and of course hot flashes. However, a recent study found acupuncture to reduce or even eliminate some of these systems, improving quality life and reducing stress/anxiety in women going through menopause.

Researchers at Taipei Medical University in Taiwan monitored 869 participants who are were going through menopause while using 12 different treatment methods. One of the 12 treatment methods was acupuncture, which surprisingly proved to be the most effective at relieving the discomfort associated with menopause.  continue reading »

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3 Ways To Improve Your Posture

poor-posture-01-smDo you suffer from poor posture? Whether you’re sitting down at a desk, standing, walking or running, you should focus on maintaining your body’s natural position. This means keeping your head and neck up while avoiding slouching or slumping. The good news is that you can reverse the effects of poor posture by following some simple steps.

Some of the physiological problems linked to poor posture include: continue reading »

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7 Superfoods That Can Change Your Life

blueberries_superfoodsYou are what you eat is an adage that holds more truth than you may realize. Unfortunately, many people today focus their diet around processed foods that are high in sugar, sodium and fat. Diets such as this can increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and more. You can protect your body and health against such illnesses, however, by eating lean meats, fresh vegetables, and by adding the following “superfoods” to your diet.

#1) Broccoli

This edible stalky plant of the cabbage family is loaded in potassium, vitamin B-6, vitamin C magnesium, and calcium. Scientists believes broccoli’s phytochemicals – organic chemical compounds which occur naturally – are able to aid in skin health, regulate blood sugar levels, strengthen the immune system, and ward off joint inflammation. continue reading »

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7 Things You Should Know About Acupuncture and Pregnancy

pregnancy-071414Acupuncture involves the placement of thin sterilized needles to stimulate various acupoints throughout the body. The stimulation of these areas is believed to correct imbalances and blockages in the body by promoting the healthy flow of energy (known as qi – pronounced CHEE).

The thought of having half a dozen or more tiny needles sticking into your skin when you’re pregnant, might sound frightening. However, it’s actually a safe, painless, straightforward procedure that can treat a number of adverse symptoms associated with pregnancy. continue reading »

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How To Dine Out If You Have a Food Allergy

food-allergies-01Food allergies shouldn’t prevent you from dining out with your friends and family. Unfortunately, though, many people with food allergies resort to cooking their own meals to reduce the risk of an adverse reaction. From dairy and nuts to gluten (wheat-based protein) and shellfish, there are certain foods that people must avoid to prevent adverse reactions. continue reading »

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3 Tips to Easily Alleviate Your Stress Immediately

stress-06092014Stress from day-to-day life can have an extremely negative impact on our health, emotionally, mentally, and physically as well. Long-term or extreme stress can result in frequent or chronic headaches, muscle aches, sleeplessness, anxiety, fatigue, depression, etc. All of these problems only present even more problems to our health and overall well-being. How can we prevent stress from our everyday lives from becoming a much larger problem in our lives?

In the interest of being helpful, I have compiled my favorite 3 tips to easily alleviate your stress, hopefully to the benefit of many individuals suffering from stress-related ailments in their lives. continue reading »

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Lose weight this summer with acupuncture

summer-beach-05272014One of the vexing aspects of the approach of summer is how you can obtain your “swimsuit body.” While the winter months, especially around the holidays, are a time for putting on some weight, the summer months are reserved for strenuous activity, especially on the beach. continue reading »

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Acupuncture Has Been Found to Treat Migraines

migraine-051214-smPeople who suffer from regular migraines know what it feels like to be in pain.  Many people just look for any over-the-counter medication to help take the edge off.  Others go to a neurologist for consultation and advice and prescription pills. What if a migraine could be effectively treated without the need for pills or costly specialist visits?  The good news for migraine sufferers is that acupuncture has been found to treat migraines, and is an affordable and worthy alternative to medicines and other potential treatment plans. continue reading »

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The Varieties of Acupuncture Experience

The name of this article comes from a book by William James called “The Varieties of Religious Experience” published in 1902. This book holds a special place in my heart because I had to do a big paper on it in college and William James seems to have followed me around since as his name, and this book in particular, seems to pop up for me on a fairly routine basis. Most have never heard of William James or this book, unless they were a Psychology or a Religion major in college like myself. (Though anyone living in Syracuse knows of James St, which is named after Williams’ grandfather who was instrumental in the founding of Syracuse.) The premise of the book is basically that religion and religious experiences should be judged and valued on their own merits, which is an idea that I think should be applied to acupuncture.

In James’ work he discusses how religious experiences are discounted as being because the person having the experience is later shown to have some mental illness. As an example he cites the Quaker religion and it’s founder, George Fox, who was thought to be schizophrenic and thereby negating the legitimacy of the religion he founded. In other words James states that the value of something should be judged on its own merits and not by its origin. In fact, he termed this type of rejection “medical materialism”.

I think this notion is quite important as we attempt to evaluate acupuncture in our modern world. For years people immediately discounted acupuncture because of its origins in an ancient time from a foreign culture. Some erroneously think it is about magic and superstition (it’s not, in fact it was a reaction to earlier superstition/magical notions of health in ancient China) or fail to see how an ancient culture could obtain any useful knowledge of the body if they didn’t have the technology we do today. In some cases I also think it is flat out ethnocentrism. Other times people just dismiss the effects of acupuncture as being a placebo, a trick of the mind from those susceptible to suggestion.

It is important to point out that there is plenty of scientific evidence supporting acupuncture, its theories, and even the existence of the acupuncture points. However, the average person is not spending any time reading through medical journals and if they were do not have the medical education to understand the technical aspects of the research and studies being done. Therefore we are just left with people’s preconceived notions outlined above.

To apply James’ point of view of the situation we must ignore the origin of acupuncture and go beyond only a surface understanding of it. To properly judge acupuncture we have to look at the experience of acupuncture itself. What does this mean? Quite simply, regardless of how we want to try to scientifically explain or discount acupuncture, does it work? When someone receives treatment do they have noticeable, and sometimes measurable, results? The answer is a resounding yes. Certainly nothing is 100% effective for 100% of complaints 100% of the time. Yet acupuncture has a tremendous rate of effect and millions of people around the world have experienced this. Perhaps your friends or family have benefited from acupuncture, or your coworker in the cubical or office next to you.

We can attempt all sorts of mental gymnastics to explain or discount these experiences but to William James’ it is all pointless. The end all be all of the question is does it work or not and that is the only way to evaluate something like acupuncture. I will actually take this a step further because in medicine it is not all about results because safety is also an important issue. You can effectively cure tennis elbow by amputating someone’s arm, it would be 100% effective, but we all know that is not smart. Luckily with acupuncture it is also extremely safe, much more so than most other medical treatments (and even safer than some of the diagnostic tools used in modern medicine).

Most of the US has woken up to the fact that we need real alternatives to our medical system that has become dominated by pharmaceuticals and surgery and the money that those two things bring to bear on the system. I would love to see more research being done on the science behind acupuncture and its effect, but at the end of the day it is unimportant. I know acupuncture works because I get to see it in action on a daily basis. I am also much more familiar with the research and science behind it than the average person, so no doubt remains in my mind as to the value of acupuncture. However, it is important that more people learn a lesson from William James on how to make better judgments for ourselves and stop letting “Big Pharma” make those decisions for us because our country is in dire need of change with our medical system. The best way to judge is also to experience for yourself, so if you have any health concerns do yourself a favor and find an acupuncturist near you.

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