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Alternative Medicine News

Immune Building: The Army Within

With fall allergies in full swing and cold and flu season quickly approaching, weary masses of seasonal sufferers are gearing up for battle with over the counter medications and stock piles of vitamin C. Unfortunately..

what many people do not realize, is that our bodies are equipped with an amazing army of antibodies, that when nourished and trained properly, can prevent and defend our bodies from ever coming under attack. When the immune system is in top form, it contains an elite command of soldier antibodies ready to defend and demolish the nasty cold and flu viruses that attack the body.


Like soldiers in the military, the body’s immune system is at it’s best when it is properly nourished and trained to fight off bacterias and viruses. Unlike, over the counter cold and flu medication that simply squelch the reacting antibodies and mask the symptoms that accompany the viruses, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), with a combination of acupuncture, herbs, and nutrition build up the immune system into a strong, fighting group of antibodies.


Many of us are walking around with a less than perfect immune system that is unable to defend our bodies from viruses and bacteria. We all know what it’s like, to wake up one morning with chills and fever, aching and coughing, pushing ourselves out the door to work, all the while, wishing we could crawl back into bed and stay there for the several days, if not weeks. So often, when we are hit with a cold or the flu, we head to the nearest store to purchase over the counter medications that barely affect our symptoms at all. Acupuncture, however, is a pro-active measure that can make colds and the flu a distant memory, not something you must suffer through each cold and flu season. In the article, ‘How Acupuncture Boost the Immune System to Prevent Colds, the author points out that, “diet helps as does exercise and rest, but if you’re looking for a method to fill in the weak gaps in your immune system and promote relaxation and pain relief, you’re looking for acupuncture.” (Root Whole Body, 2011)


The way that acupuncture works to strengthen the immune system is by moving sluggish or stagnant Qi (pronounced CHEE) in the body, there by, boosting the body’s energy and giving the body what it needs to strengthen itself. Proper movement and balance of Qi keeps the immune system strong so that it can fight off viruses. According to studies, acupuncture helps increase the body’s level of T-cells. These cells destroy harmful bacteria and viruses in the body. (RWB. 2011) Acupuncture is the drill sergeant that whips the immune system into shape and gets it battle ready.


Prevention is the key to everything and Oriental Medicine is no different. Patients will benefit much more from being treated with acupuncture prior to the onset of flu symptoms. However, if symptoms do begin to arise, then immediate treatment is imperative. The key to effective treatment is early intervention. The sooner treatment is received for flu-like symptoms the faster and more effective the treatment is.

THE HERBS THAT HELP US FIGHT: (Always consult a Traditional Chinese Medicine nutritionist/practitioner/herbalist before using any medicinal herbs)

It has long been known in Traditional Chinese Medicine that there are many immune boosting herbs that help strengthen the body’s defenses. Here are just a few of the herbs found in TCM that support the immune system.

•GINSENG: helps prevent upper respiratory infections when taken for several months. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, ginseng is taken to strengthen the immunity, but is discontinued during an acute illness (such as a cold/flu).

•ANDROGRAPHIS: (sometimes called “Indian Echinacea”) it reduces the duration and severity of cold symptoms.

•ECHINACEA: for preventing and treating colds, flu, and other infections. Echinacea stimulates infection-fighting immune cells and increases the production of the interferon. Works best when taken frequently at the first signs of infection.

•ELEUTHERO: known as an adoptogenic herb (it helps the body more easily adapt to stressors), it improved immune function in clinical studies when taken for at least three months.

•ELDERBERRY (SAMBUCUS NIGRA): disarms viruses and prevents them from taking over healthy cells. Studies show that Elderberry offers significant protection against respiratory viral infections.

•GREEN TEA: Cultivating the habit of drinking green tea regularly can help strengthen immunity. Green tea neutralizes free radicals and prevents damage to the immune system.

•ASTRAGALUS: member of the pea family, it has been used for more than 2000 years in TCM as a popular tonic for strengthening vitality and to bolster resistance to disease. It improves the immune system by triggering the creation of immune cells in bone marrow and lymphatic tissue. It prods immune cells and macrophages into increased activity and enhances the production of immune compounds such as immunoglobulin. Astragalus is often made into a tea, or slices of the root are simmered in soup.

•GARLIC: a member of the Lily family, it is prized for it’s antimicrobial properties.

The cold and flu season doesn’t have to be a time of aches and pains, missed work, and expensive over the counter medications that barely relieve your symptoms. Your immune system can be in top notch condition, ready to defend and fight off those nasty viruses, if you take a pro-active approach and begin a treatment regime of acupuncture and herbal therapy, before the cold and flu season hits. Here at Lotus Acupuncture and Holistic Health Clinic, we want to see everyone have a great Holiday Season, happy and healthy, and free of the cold and flu viruses.

Invest in Your Health

“Health is not and never should be a destination, it is a long life goal that we have to maintain and keep at. To keeps oneself healthy, maintance is required.”

For example-

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A Holistic Approach to Arthritis

Do you want to live a life free of arthritis and the painful, stiff, and swollen joints that come with it? Traditional Chinese Medicine, which includes acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and a healthy diet can help you achieve a pain free life and a healthier you.

What is arthritis?

People often associate the word arthritis with pain in the joints, sometimes accompanied by stiffness, swelling and heat; however, the word, arthritis, simply means joint inflammation. The Western medical community uses the term, arthritis, to describe rheumatic conditions, as well as, conditions that involve swollen, painful, and stiff joints. In Western medicine the most common forms of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and Juvenile arthritis. Eastern medicine, on the other hand, addresses conditions involving swollen, painful, and stiff joints from a different perspective.Traditional Chinese medicine believes that “Bi syndrome”, the condition that is congruent with arthritis, manifest as pain, soreness, and stiffness in the tendons and joints, and is caused by the invasion of external pathogenic factors of Wind, Cold, Heat, and Dampness.

What are the most common forms of arthritis?

In Western medicine, the most common forms of arthritis are Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic inflammatory disease that affects the body’s joints and can also damage certain organs in the body. It is thought to be the result of an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue. Interestingly, it affects both young and older adults. Rheumatoid arthritis is considered the most severe type of arthritis and results in painful, stiff, and deformed joints throughout the body.

Osteoarthritis, involves the breakdown and gradual loss of protective cartilage and bone within the joint, resulting in pain and stiffness. The specific causes for Osteoarthritis are unknown, but it is thought to be a combination of age, wear and tear on the joints and molecular events. (CDC, 2012)  Although, not as common as the rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, Juvenile Rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) affects children under the age of 18 years and is more prevalent in girls than in boys.

How does Western medicine treat arthritis?

In Western medicine, rheumatoid arthritis is considered to be an autoimmune disease. External factors such as food allergies, lifestyle factors, and microorganisms are thought to contribute to the arthritic conditions. Western physicians treat RA with exercise, rest, and number of medications, that include anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), indomethacin, ibuprofen, gold compounds, corticosteroids, and immuno-suppressive drugs.

Although not considered as severe as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis produces a great deal of pain for those suffering from the break down of cartilage between the bones. According to the staff at the Mayo Clinic (2012), Acetaminophen, (NSAIDs), narcotics, cortisone shots, lubrication injections, and realigning the bones are acceptable treatments for this condition.

Western medicine addresses the symptoms of both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis with major drugs and surgeries. For many sufferers, these remedies help to reduce the painful symptoms associated with arthritis; however, almost all of the medications can cause a plethora of negative side effects that discourage patients from continuing treatment. Traditional Chinese medicine, on the other hand, addresses the root causes of arthritis and uses a holistic approach to ride the body of these negative forces.

Traditional Chinese Medicine ( TCM) & arthritis:

Traditional Chinese medicine believes that both internal and external factors cause arthritis, and by clearing the body of theses factors, arthritis can be eliminated. Wei Lui, TCMD,MPH,LAC and Changzhen Gong, PhD, MS, with The Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM), reports that, “in traditional Chinese medicine, the condition that is congruent with arthritis is called ‘Bi syndrome’–which manifest as pain, soreness, or numbness of muscles, tendons and joints”. Chinese Medicine believes that pathogenic factors (Wind, Cold, Damp, Heat) cause Bi syndrome.

Each pattern (Wind, Cold, Damp, Heat) is characterized by differentiating symptoms. With the Wind Bi pattern, the arthritis pain moves throughout the body, instead of affecting certain joints. In the case of the Wind Bi pattern, the pain and soreness travels from joint to joint, limiting the joints ability to move. The Cold Bi pattern is associated with swollen joints that feel cold to the touch, early morning stiffness, and typically follows changes in weather. The Damp Bi pattern is typically characterized  by pain and swelling in the muscles and joints, coinciding with a heavy, numbness in the limbs, and have a fixed location that is aggravated by damp weather. Finally, the Heat Bi pattern can be a result of any of the three patterns already mentioned. It presents with severe pain and hot-swollen joints. (Lui, 2012)

How does Traditional Chinese medicine treat arthritis?

Traditional Chinese medicine treats arthritis by addressing the combination of patterns (Wind, Cold, Damp, Heat). TCM uses acupuncture, chinese herbs, and diet to expel the pathogenic factors in the body, that are causing qi and blood stagnation in the joints, sinews, and bone.

How can acupuncture help with arthritis?

For a person with arthritis, acupuncture addresses multiple facets of the disease. Acupuncture moves qi and blood providing lubrication and nourishment to the joints and bone, and forces the pathogenic factors to leave the body. Acupuncture also addresses the pain and soreness that accompany arthritis. In an article in Arthritis Today, Tim Rhudy, a licensed acupuncturist in the department of pain management at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, is quoted as saying that, “acupuncture diminishes pain by ‘untying muscular straitjackets — releasing tight, spasmed, shortened muscles to their resting state.’ It also helps regulate the body’s nervous system, which  can stimulate the release of natural pain-fighting endorphins.” Besides helping with the pain of arthritis, acupuncture also treats the root causes of the disease as well. The benefit of acupuncture over that of Western medical treatments, is that acupuncture has no side affects and costs considerably less than expensive arthritic drugs.

How do herbs and diet affect arthritis?

Acupuncturist and Holistic practitioners also prescribe Chinese herbs and teas and special diets for patients suffering with arthritis. Ancient Chinese herbs and herbal teas are specific herbs or a mixture of herbs specifically chosen for their ability to expel Wind, Cold, Damp, and Heat, and to regulate the imbalances that are affecting the joints and bone. In place of expensive drugs, with sometimes horrible and potentially deadly side affects that squash the immune system and block the body from preforming the way it should, Chinese herbs and herbal teas expel the causes and nourish the body without negative side affects.

Along with herbs and herbal teas, practitioners also educate patients about certain foods that contribute and possibly cause arthritis and it’s symptoms. An article in Living magazine (2011), reports that, “[eating foods that are rich in alkaloids, such as potatoes, tomatoes,  paprika, eggplants, and hot and sweet peppers]… increase cholinesterase, which inhibits glycoalkaloids and steroids…[creating] inflammation and pain.” Alkaloids should be avoided by patients with arthritis. Gluten is also responsible for arthritic flare-ups. Acupunctures and Holistic practitioners often prescribe that patients with arthritis avoid any foods containing gluten, such as wheat, barley, rye, and oats. It is also important to know that processed foods promote inflammation and should always be avoided by people with arthritis.

How many people suffer with arthritis in the United States?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2012) reports that , “50 million adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis (just over 1 in 5 adults).” They also report that, “an estimated 294,000 children under the age 18 have some form of arthritis or rheumatic condition, this represents approximately 1 in every 250 children”. In the United States, arthritis is the most common cause of disability and greatly affects a person’s ability to work. According to the CDC, “earnings losses (indirect costs) for arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in 2003 were 47 billion dollars…and the total cost attributed to arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in the United States was 128 billion dollars.”

Arthritis is a debilitating and costly disease. It is responsible for more disability claims than any other disease in the United states. However, with acupuncture, Chinese herbs, exercise and comprehensive holistic treatment, arthritis can be expelled from the body and the pain and soreness that accompanies this disease can be obliterated. It is possible to be free of the pain, stiffness, fatigue, and soreness that is part of having arthritis.

Please visit our office:

Lotus Acupuncture and Holistic Health Clinic

Live a life free of arthritis and pain. 

The Risks and Costs of Menopausal Hormone Therapy

The decision for many menopausal women, whether or not, to use Menopausal Hormone Therapy   (MHT), is based on the risk and benefits from using Estrogen and Progesterone therapy.  Clinical studies reveal serious health risks associated with hormone therapy that far outweighs the benefits. Research shows that not only are there serious health risk associated with (MHT), but the cost of (MHT) prescriptions is steadily on the rise.

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Restoring Patterns of Disharmony in Perimenopause and Menopausal Women

In Chinese medicine, there are patterns of disharmony in the body, caused by patterns of deficiency, that produce problematic and sometimes serious health conditions in perimenopausal and menopausal women.

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