Most women don’t realize that their #1 health threat is heart disease, which happens to be the leading cause of death for women in the United States. According to the centers for Disease Control (CDC), 610,000 people die from heart disease every year, of these, 289,758 are women. That means 1 in 4 women will succumb to heart disease this year.
This fact is often overshadowed by misleading media coverage and even some healthcare professionals that would have you believe that “heart disease” is a predominantly male disease, and women are not as susceptible as men, because they have higher estrogen levels, which protect them. Not a fact!
The truth comes in the form of research data that indicates both sexes are actually affected equally. Although, it’s most likely the case that more women than men are affected by heart disease because of the following: Symptoms are more subtle and often ignored in women, symptoms in women can differ from those of men, women are underrepresented in clinical trials, women usually have a later onset of the disease than men (as much as 7-10 years), and the fact that women slightly outnumber men (almost 2:1) in most states.
The good news is that heart disease is a preventable disease, and the first and most important step in disease prevention is always self-education. Hopefully, by the end of this article you will have the basic knowledge to identify symptoms of heart disease, especially those that are more gender specific, you will learn what factors put you at risk; and you will gain the knowledge to modify your lifestyle, in order to help prevent heart disease from happening to you.
As mentioned above, the symptoms for women differ slightly from those of men and tend to be more subtle. Below, is a general list of symptoms, followed by the more subtle symptoms experienced by women.
General Signs & Symptoms of heart disease for both men and women:
Gender Specific Symptoms Often Ignored by Women:
And of course . . . make sure you continue with your maintenance
visits with your acupuncturist.
This is a great little formula that combines Chinese herbs with a Western Botanical to manage a commonly experienced symptom among women who are going through that uncomfortable time of transition, known as peri-menopause / menopause.
Some of the symptoms associated with menopause are:
In Chinese medicine, this naturally occurring transformation represents a relative change between Yin and Yang energies. In the majority of cases, as a woman enters into menopause the Yang energy becomes more predominate (most common presentation), and signs of heat become more prevalent.
Other factors which determine the severity of menopausal symptoms depends on the woman’s constitution, her lifestyle, and how she deals with stress. The good thing is, that all these symptoms can be easily managed through herbs, acupuncture and lifestyle changes.
Meta-Balance contains 3 well-known and well-researched herbs that have a long history of use in Chinese gynecology, plus an additional Western Botanical used for over a century in Europe for reproductive and gynecology conditions.
1. Dang Gui is sweet, acrid, bitter and warm. Therapeutically, Dang Gui is best known for being a blood tonic that can move blood by improving circulation. It also regulates the menses, alleviates pain, reduces swellings, and for those who suffer from constipation, Dang Gui moves the bowels and moistens the intestines.
2. Shan Yao, also known as Chinese wild yam, is sweet and neutral. Its therapeutic actions focus mainly on tonifying and stabilizing the Qi & Yin of the Spleen, Stomach, Lungs and Kidneys. It also helps generate fluids (moisten dryness), which is great for women going through these symptoms, because heat usually drys up the fluids in the body.
3. Sheng Ma, also known as black cohosh, is sweet, acrid and slightly cold. Its therapeutic actions include: releasing the exterior & venting rashes, clears heat & resolves toxicity and raises Yang.
This herb’s ability to clear heat and vent it through the exterior of the body makes it very useful for hot flashes and night sweats. Also, it helps regulate the body temperature by balancing the neuroendocrine system (raises Yang).
4. Chaste Tree Berry, which has been approved by the German Commission E, has a long history of use throughout Europe for gynecological and reproductive conditions such as, PMS, migraines and menstrual irregularities.
Chaste tree berry is very similar to the Chinese herb Man jing Zi, which is bitter, spicy and cool. Its therapeutic actions include: Clearing heat and dispersing wind, especially in the Liver channel, and draining dampness.
This formula also contains a phyto - chemical called heperidin, which is a bioflavinoid found in large amounts in citrus fruits. Hesperidin is primarily used to strengthen capillaries. *It is also known to stabilize vasomotor activity associated with menopausal hot flashes.*
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In a recent meta-analysis, researchers analyzed the results of 29 trials and 17,922 patients suffering from chronic pain. Conditions included: neck pain, shoulder pain, low-back pain, headaches & migraines, and osteoarthritis of the knee.
From the original data set, 20 trials and 6,736 patients were used for the final conclusions, due to the fact that they included long-term follow-up data, which ultimately demonstrated that after a course of treatment, the effects of acupuncture treatments persist over a 12 month period.
There’s a reason why acupuncture has been used successfully for over 2,000 years for the treatment of pain and other conditions and continues to become more popular today in our modern society - because it works, and it works without the need of drugs.
Not until the last couple of decades has the West begun to understand the mechanism behind this non-invasive natural treatment, as well as, its clinical importance as a drug-free alternative for the treatment of chronic pain.
In one study, when acupuncture was compared to conventional primary care for the treatment of non-specific chronic low back pain, it was determined that acupuncture treatments are safe, more efficacious than conventional care, provided longer lasting results, and a more cost-effective intervention for reducing chronic pain.[i] Similar results have also been found in studies pertaining to headaches / migraines[ii], neck pain[iii], osteoarthritis pain[iv], etc.
In 2012, the Memorial Sloan – Kettering Cancer Institute undertook a meta-analysis of patient data, which showed that acupuncture was an effective treatment for the following pain conditions: back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headache, and shoulder pain. It also concluded that acupuncture was an acceptable alternative for the treatment of chronic pain.
The Final Verdict of Experts
America’s chronic pain epidemic will only get worse, with increased painkiller and heroin addictions, and higher rates of depression and suicide. This is the only future for people who choose to remain within the “sick care” system, which is unethically encouraged by big-pharma, insurance companies, doctors and MDs, and the U.S. government; all of whom seek to keep Americans on drugs for the rest of their lives.
This system of medicine, which is driven by profit and strongly opposed to disease prevention and treatment, will continue to prescribe dangerous drugs that only have the sole purpose of suppressing symptoms, instead of upholding the Hippocratic Oath, which every practitioner takes upon graduation, and solving the root cause of chronic pain.
It’s time for chronic pain sufferers to realize that we already have an evidence based solution for pain, one that has been utilized for thousands of years. It’s been proven to be more efficacious, more cost-effective and safer than conventional medicine - it’s called acupuncture!
Posted by: Scott Stewart, MSAc., LAc., Dipl.Ac.
Don’t be one of those stubborn people who decide to wait and see if their cold or flu symptoms go away after a day or two, because most likely they won’t.
As soon as you feel any symptoms, that’s your cue to come in to the clinic and get an acupuncture treatment and an herbal formula designed specifically for colds and flu symptoms.
What does acupuncture do?
7 easy habits to prevent colds & flu
1. Wash your hands regularly – Always use soap and water to reduce surface germs on the hands. Also, don’t rub your eyes or pick your nose, these habits introduce pathogens into the system.
2. Eat healthy – Stay away from the standard American diet (SAD Diet). Eat organic whole foods, lots of vegetables (6 servings / day) and fruit (3 servings / day). Avoid high fructose corn syrup, processed foods, sugary foods, and try to eat your last meal before 6pm.
3. Stay hydrated – Our bodies need water to moisten tissues and to keep electrolytes in balance.
4. Exercise - Regular exercise improves the immune system and improves circulation.
Get plenty of quality sleep.
5. Keep stress levels low - Make sure you have healthy ways to manage stress when it occurs.
6. Get acupuncture treatments as a preventative measure to maintain your health. Every month or every other month is strongly recommended.
7. Supplement with Herbs - Talk to your acupuncturist about herbal formulas to give your immune system an extra boost prior to cold & flu season. It makes all the difference in the world!
What to take?
Two great formulas to have in your medicine cabinet for the cold & flu season are: Loncera Complex and Respitrol (Cold). The instant you start feeling any symptoms is when you want to start taking the formula, which will push the invading pathogen out of your body and prevent it from going deeper into your system and making you sicker over time. The deeper the pathogen goes, the longer it takes to recover.
Lonicera Complex is based on an ancient herbal formula that has been used for centuries for external invasion of wind-heat type colds with the following symptoms: high fever, sweating, slight aversion to wind, aversion to heat, sore throat, thick - yellow nasal discharge, cough with thick - yellow phlegm, dry mouth, thirst, thin – yellow tongue coat, and rapid floating pulse.
This formula has the following actions:
Respitrol (Cold) is a special combination of herbs used in cases of external invasion of wind – cold, which produces such symptoms as: aversion to cold, absence of sweating, absence of fever or a low – grade fever, nasal congestion, sneezing with clear nasal discharge, cough with thin – white / clear phlegm, thin – white tongue coat, and a floating – tense pulse.
This formula has the following actions:
Both of these formulas are available in our clinic, as well as, herbal formulas and pharmaceutical grade supplements that boost the immune system.
Give us a call to set – up an appointment at: (309) 764.4753.
Stop by and visit our clinic store at:
Healing Lotus Acupuncture
(inside Moline Chiropractic Clinic)
4300 12th Ave
Both chronic and acute shoulder pain are common complaints in the clinic. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that shoulder pain is easily treated with acupuncture, which has been proven more effective than conventional medicine, and most importantly, does not produce the side-effects that Western medicine does.
This past June, a joint study by Chinese Universities and the University of Maryland conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to determine the effects of contralateral manual acupuncture on chronic shoulder pain.
Patients with chronic shoulder pain were divided into two groups. Group 1 received contralateral acupuncture for 4 weeks, and group 2 was placed on a waiting list for acupuncture, but received orthopedic therapy for 4 weeks.
Patients reported their pain levels before and after the study, and also took a health survey prior to and after the 4 week period.
The results of the RCT indicated that contralateral acupuncture for chronic shoulder pain significantly reduced pain scores and improved shoulder mobility.
It is a well-established fact that chronic pain causes changes in brain connectivity between specific regions in the brain that are associated with increased attention to pain, emotional rumination, nociceptive memory and avoidance learning.
In a recent Harvard Medical School study, based on this research, clinicians found that repeated verum (true) acupuncture compared to sham acupuncture was able to restore balance in connectivity between the dysregulated brain regions associated with pain.
In other studies, acupuncture has been found to more efficacious, produces longer lasting results, and more cost-effective than conventional medicine in the treatment of pain.
Also see chronic low-back pain
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Posted by: Scott Stewart, MSAc., Dipl.Ac., LAc.
An interesting study came out of Australia this past year that investigated G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), which are usually found in the oral & nasal cavities, and associated with bitter taste receptors (Tas2r).
In this ongoing study, researchers discovered the presence of 12 taste receptors that respond to bitter compounds (Tas2r) in both mouse and human heart tissue.(1) Dr. Foster, who originally discovered the receptors as a Phd student at the university of Queensland stated, "This is quite remarkable, as the human genome only has 25 of these bitter taste receptors, and we wanted to find out why half of them were located in the heart."(2) This new research has the potential for developing new therapies for cardiovascular disease.
What does this have to do with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
In TCM theory, there is a specific taste associated with each organ. The sweet taste goes with the spleen, pungent is paired with the Lungs, salty with the kidneys, sour with the Liver, and you guessed it, bitter goes with the Heart.
To make this even more interesting, the Chinese character for bitter is kŭ (苦) and is often translated as; misery, miserable, suffering, pain, painful, hard, bitter or bitterness.(3) According to Giovanni Maciocia, the Chinese character has an emotional implication related to “bitter” life experiences. He goes on to say that, frequently a Chinese patient complaining of a bitter taste hides some deep emotional scar related to a “bitter” life experience . . .(4)
In the clinic, when a bitter taste in the mouth is associated with the heart, the patient often experiences this in the morning after a sleepless night. They will often have a red tongue tip (area of the tongue related to the heart), a midline crack that extends towards the tip of the tongue, thin yellow coating or a dry tongue coating that may be peeling in areas; rapid and forceful pulse or one that is rapid and thready.
These patients often report suffering from insomnia, restlessness and anxiety. This pattern represents Heart fire and is usually seen in patients with emotional problems such as: resentment, jealousy, guilt, and frustration.
Slowly, but surely, Western medicine is catching up with the hundreds of years of clinical experience of TCM. This study highlights just one of a plethora of secrets that TCM has to reveal through modern day technological advancements that allow us to gain a better understanding of how the amazing human organism functions.
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According to the CDC, 735,000 Americans suffer a heart attack every year. This breaks down into 525,000 people having their first heart attack, and 210,000 suffering their second attack.
Heart attack symptoms can include:
Comprehensive Cardiac panel includes:
If you think you're experiencing the onset of a heart attack, chew a single tablet of 325mg non-enteric coated aspirin and call 911.
How Acupuncture Regulates Blood Pressure
Acupuncture regulates blood pressure by exploiting a complex system known as the neuroendocrine system, which is composed of the endocrine system (primarily the hypothalamus, pituitary, and thyroid / adrenals), and the intricate working relationship it has with the nervous system. The endocrine system regulates hormones and metabolism. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is divided into two arms, a sympathetic branch (fight or flight), which plays a role in helping regulate the vascular tone and blood volume of the heart; and a parasympathetic branch (rest and digest), that regulates body processes like blood pressure and breathing. The central nervous system (CNS) is a two – way communication network consisting of the brain and spinal cord, which processes all the information from the body and external stimuli. Information is collected by the nervous system, relayed through the spinal cord to the brain, and then the brain sends signals to the body through the same mechanism.
In terms of research, there is an ongoing accumulation of data on the regulatory effect of acupuncture on the endocrine system, and how it can restore balance to hormone levels.[i] This includes studies on thyroid hormones, corticosteroids, and reproductive hormones. Modern research has also confirmed the effects of acupuncture on the autonomic nervous system (ANS) in a wide array of studies on (ANS) disorders such as: anxiety, insomnia, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), cardiovascular disease, and epilepsy.[ii] Over the last decade, there has been an increase in neuroimaging studies on the effects of acupuncture on brain centers due to advancements in imaging technologies. In one study, electroacupuncture was used to activate specific parts of the brain eliciting a hypotensive effect via the (CNS).[iii]
Recent investigations have indicated that one of the major contributors to high blood pressure is an overactive sympathetic nervous system (SNS).[iv] When the (SNS) becomes over-stimulated or dominant, it can cause vasoconstriction of the arteries in the heart; thereby inducing a hypertensive state.[v] The latest studies show that one of the mechanisms by which acupuncture lowers blood pressure is by down - regulating the (SNS). One such study found that electroacupuncture activates neurons in the brain, which inhibits (SNS) activity by stimulating the opioid system (endorphins, enkephalins) and nociceptin.[vi] Endogenous opioids modulate the baroreflex control system, which is a feedback loop between the heart, brain, spinal cord (CNS), (SNS) and the (PNS.)[vii] When the (PNS) is stimulated in this feedback loop, it inhibits sympathetic nerve activity, and therefore lowers the blood pressure.
There have also been studies showing that acupuncture outperforms Captopril, a commonly prescribed angiotensin – converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE - inhibitor) for high blood pressure. One of these studies that compared electroacupuncture to Captopril concluded that electroacupuncture was significantly more effective than the Western medication at controlling blood pressure.[viii] A German study comparing true acupuncture to antihypertensive medications concluded that blood pressure reductions with acupuncture are comparable to monotherapies with ACE - inhibitors.[ix]
Nerves and Acupoints
When treating hypertension, we select a specific combination of acupoints, which vary depending on the particular clinical presentation of hypertension and any underlying causes. We have many options to choose from on either the front or back side of the body, distal points on the extremities, as well as, points on the ears. When we choose back points, some of which are referred to as back shu points or points that are organ specific, in this case Heart specific, we often choose Jueyinshu - BL 14 or Xinshu - BL15. These two points are specific for the pericardium and the heart respectively. Is this by coincidence? Not so much, because they’re located in the upper thoracic region at the level of T4 and T5 spinal vertebrae; which innervate the heart via sympathetic nerves. Their traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) actions are as follows[x]:
Jueyinshu - BL 14
Xinshu - BL15
Eastern Medicine for Blood Pressure
Eastern medicine is a dynamic system of medicine, which includes numerous forms and variations of treatments that the practitioner can choose from. For this reason, treatment protocols for blood pressure will vary from one practitioner to another depending on the disease presentation, and the style and perspective of the practitioner. Generally speaking, herbal therapy takes precedence in most treatment plans and acupuncture is used as an adjunct. This is because herbs work at a deeper level and continue the treatment while the patient is at home, while acupuncture works at a more superficial level. Together they formulate a cohesive treatment strategy that is very effective at treating the root cause of disease.
For any treatment to be truly effective, no matter what the cause of high blood pressure is, it requires great effort by the patient to make lifestyle modifications that will promote a heart healthy future. This includes: