Acupuncture Could Improve Function In People WIth Bell’s Palsy, Study Finds

New York (Reuters Health) – Patients with facial paralysis saw greater improvements in function after a more intensive form of acupuncture in a new study from China that compared the treatment to standard acupuncture.

Researchers found that wiggling the acupuncture needles to produce a sensation called “de qi” led to a patient’s having a better chance of recovering full facial function in six months than if the needles were just inserted and left alone.

De qi “should be considered to be included in clinical guidelines for acupuncture treatment,” said Dr. Wei Wang at Key Laboratory of Neurological Diseases of Chinese Ministry of Education in Wuhan, Hubei.

The study did not measure how well people would have recovered without receiving acupuncture, so it’s impossible to say whether the therapy worked any better than conventional, Western approaches or no therapy at all.

De qi is combination of feelings – including achiness, coolness, warmth, and tingling – which is considered by traditional Chinese medicine to ensure the best therapeutic benefit, said Wang, one of the authors of the study.

But “this long held belief has never been confirmed,” he told Reuters Health.

To see whether de qi makes a difference to the effectiveness of acupuncture therapy, he and his colleagues asked 317 adults with Bell’s palsy to undergo five half-hour acupuncture treatments for four weeks.

Bell’s is usually a temporary facial paralysis that typically affects one side and lasts a few months.

It often results from a viral infection that inflames facial nerves, and the steroid prednisone is a common treatment. Over the counter analgesics, vitamins and physical therapy are also sometimes used to treat the condition.

About 40,000 Americans get Bell’s palsy each year, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Wang said his group focused on this condition because recovery of the facial nerves affected by Bell’s does not seem to be as susceptible to the placebo effect as other nerve conditions, such as pain.

Half of the participants were randomly assigned to receive treatments that would elicit de qi, in which the acupuncturist twisted the needles and moved them up and down several times during the session.

The other participants had the needles inserted and left alone.

All of the patients also received prednisone.

Neurologists, who didn’t know which treatment each participant had received, determined the patients’ facial function score on a scale of 200, with higher numbers corresponding to better movement.

In both groups, patients had started with facial function scores around 130 to 135. After six months of treatment, participants in the de qi group had somewhat greater facial function, such as in raising the eyebrows, blinking and baring teeth.

The de qi group scored an average of 195, while the other acupuncture group scored 186.

Wang said it’s difficult to interpret just what these numbers mean in terms of muscle performance – say, whether a person can smile fully or not – but that a difference of nine points would be noticeable to the patients.

In addition, the team found that 94 percent of participants who received de qi acupuncture completely recovered their facial function by the end of six months, while 77 percent did in the other acupuncture group.

It’s not clear how acupuncture – and de qi in particular – might improve the recovery from Bell’s palsy.

Dr. Jian Kong, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, said one explanation could be that needles in the face increase blood flow to the area “so we can provide more nutrition to the nerves and help the inflammation to diminish quickly so people can recover.”

Kong, who was not part of this study, agreed with the researchers that de qi is important to consider in acupuncture research, and that it is often overlooked.

One reason it’s not always included in studies is that “there are many schools of acupuncture,” with some placing greater emphasis on de qi than others, Kong told Reuters Health.

De qi is also complex, subjective and difficult to quantify. He said some people even consider the sensations of the acupuncturist to be more important in eliciting de qi than the sensations of the patient.

“Most clinical trials don’t measure de qi sensation so we don’t know how this sensation is associated with clinical outcomes,” Kong said.

Wang said that this lack of standardization in acupuncture research might be why studies have yielded a mixed bag of results – sometimes showing a benefit and other times not.

“The effect of acupuncture may be seriously compromised” by not stimulating de qi, he said.

Kong said he and others have been developing standard de qi scales to offer some uniformity across studies.

“Hopefully we can figure out how this sensation is connected with the clinical outcome,” Kong said.

SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association Journal, online February 25, 2013.

Sciatica Treatment with Acupuncture

The sciatic nerve can literally be a huge pain in the butt. It is the largest nerve in the body, which consists of a large bundle of smaller nerves that begin in the lumbar spine, travel down the buttocks, and move through the leg. Technically, sciatica is not a disease, but a group of symptoms that affect the region of the sciatic nerve. Radiating pain is one of the more common and intense symptoms associated with sciatica. There can also be numbness and tingling starting in the lower back radiating down the leg.

What Causes Sciatica?

Sciatica occurs when something pushes on the sciatic nerve. This can be a muscle spasm, the spinal discs, and sometimes even the spine itself. Most often this pain is due to muscle spasms or a slipped disc, but it can also be a sign of serious illness and it is important to go to you doctor for a diagnosis.

Spinal Disc herniation, often referred to as a slipped disc, is when a small portion of the spinal disc bulges out of the spinal column. This disc then pushes on the sciatic nerve causing pain. In some severe cases, spinal stenosis, or a narrowing of the spinal canal, can push on the nerve and cause pain. Another serious cause of sciatica is spinal tumors, which require immediate medical attention.

Muscle spasms are also a common cause of sciatica. Most often it is the piriformis muscle, but it can be other muscles in the lower back and pelvic region.

What is piriformis syndrome?

The sciatic nerve runs under or, in some people, through the piriformis muscle. This muscle is located in the pelvis. It is connected to the bottom of the spine and the top of the femur, or thighbones. If the piriformis muscle starts to spasm or becomes tight, it can put pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause the pain as well as the radiating symptoms. This persistent spasm of the piriformis muscle is called piriformis syndrome. It can be caused by an injury or sedentary lifestyles in people who don’t stretch or exercise. Particularly if you sit all day at a desk or computer, this can be a problem.

How Does Chinese medicine view sciatica?

Chinese medicine states that the body is interconnected; no one part can be separated from another. The diagnosis and treatment is based upon identifying specific imbalances in the muscles and the body as a whole. Correcting the imbalance does not just treat the symptoms or mask the condition, but rather corrects the root of the problem by encouraging self-healing of the body. The most common imbalance in acute sciatica is qi and blood stagnation in the back channels. But it is also important to treat the underlying imbalance, which may be causing the qi and blood to stagnate.

Qi and blood stagnation in the channels often affects the soft tissue of the lumbar, hips, and pelvis. This is what causes the muscle spasm and tension that triggers the intense shooting pain of acute sciatica.

Some common underlying imbalances are kidney qi vacuity, spleen qi vacuity with dampness, and liver qi stagnation. By treating the underlying imbalance, you can prevent the sciatica from returning.

Kidney Qi Vacuity: If your back feels very weak and it does not get better with a lot of rest, the underlying imbalance may be kidney qi vacuity. Other symptoms include weakness of the knees, extreme fatigue, ringing in the ears, dizziness, and a weak pulse.

Spleen Qi Vacuity with Dampness: For those with spleen qi vacuity with dampness, you will also have fatigue and weakness, but the back feels better with rest. Your body may feel very heavy and you may have poor digestion.

Liver Qi stagnation: Liver qi stagnation causes your muscles to be very tight and in spasm when you become angry or frustrated. Also, you may suffer from frequent headaches and, in women, painful menses.

How Does Chinese medicine Treat Sciatica?

It is best to approach sciatica using combination style treatment. An effective therapy many include acupuncture, Tui Na (Chinese medical massage,) cupping, electric stimulation, and stretching. The back, hip, and pelvis are very interconnected and the treatment should incorporate all of them. Overall, the treatment should relax and stretch the tendons and fascia while strengthening the muscles. This will help release the spastic muscles and strengthen them, allowing the back to naturally heal. It can even encourage an out of place disc to go back into place, depending on severity.

Acupuncture will help to reprogram the muscles to stay relaxed. In effect, this is working to help the body heal itself. Chinese massage, or tui na, works to foster the acupuncture by releasing any extra tension in the fascia and connective tissue around the muscles. The technique called rolling is very important to deeply relax the muscles and improve circulation at the same time.

After the pain is gone, it is important for you to keep up you own back. Stretching is essential. Stretching will help keep the muscles healthy and relaxed. And it is the best way for you to maintain your own back. Also, doing tai chi, the Chinese exercise and meditation, is very effective to strengthen the lower back and relax it.

This Article is from Joseph Alban, L.Ac.


Those aches and pains you are experiencing after your car accident, injury or fall are an indication that the area has suffered damage. The majority of auto accident and injury victims are unaware of hidden injuries because at times medications are masking the pain. Pain-relief and anti-inflammatory medications provide excellent short-term pain-relief by blocking the production of pain-causing substances (prostaglandins). When an injury occurs, not only is tissue damaged, but also the injured area loses its integration with the rest of the body.

WHOLE BODY TREATMENT IS NECESSARY. Whole body treatment helps restore the integrity of your system. Untreated and/or poorly treated cases of general injuries and auto injuries can result in life long problems and suffering. Our goal at Innovative Healing Center is to optimize your recovery while minimizing long-term problems that can occur. Treatment of the whole body can identify and address both major and minor injuries that may have been overlooked, but still need to be treated. When a major impact occurs such as in a fall or an auto accident, often many injuries occur simultaneously, both large and small. If ignored, the pain may go away for a while but left untreated as the tissue heals scar tissue develops the damage will not heal correctly. Some soft tissue symptoms include:

· Muscle Stiffness

· Neck Pain

· Numbness and Tingling

· Low Back Pain

· Fatigue

· Spasms

· Headaches

· Mid-Back Pain

· Difficulty Sleeping

· Sore and Achy Muscles

· Difficulty Concentrating

Do I need to seek treatment?

If you answer YES to any of the questions below, you may be suffering from a misalignment or dislocation due to an auto accident or injury.

1. Are you experiencing headaches, head and neck pains, stiff neck, muscle spasms?
2. Do you have restricted head motion?
3. Do you have equilibrium problems, loss of hearing, ringing in the ears?
4. Are you experiencing eyestrain, increased sensitivity to light?
5. Have you felt light-headed, excessively tired, or blacked out?
6. Have you had any neuralgia (nerve pain) or neuritis (nerve inflammation)?
7. Do you have cold hands or feet, or numbness of arms, hands, shoulders, feet, legs?
8. Are you experiencing periods of unexplained depression, anxiety, irritability?
9. Are you unable to concentrate, have poor memory?
10. Do you have pains between the shoulders, low-back pains, tremors, rapid heartbeat?

Symptoms of Whiplash
People who experience whiplash may report experiencing one or more symptoms. Symptoms can occur immediately after the accident, or may appear several days or even weeks later:

· Neck / Shoulder pain and stiffness

· Headaches

· Low back pain

· Sensations such as burning or “pins and needles”

· Irritability

· Poor sleep

· Fatigue

· Difficulty with concentration or memory

· Depression

· Dizziness / Light-headedness

· Pain or numbness in the arm and/or hand

· Ringing in the ears

· Blurred vision

Accident and Injury Treatment

At Dr. Yang Wellness Center, we are eminently qualified to assess any problem following tests and an examination. Once we have diagnosed your injuries, treatment may include acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments,rehabilitation, physiotherapy, electric stimulation, and other pain relief techniques. We tailor treatment specifically for you and your injuries, and best of all it feels so good. Our patients love the personalized attention and learning about the source of their discomfort. At Dr. Yang Wellness Center, we have the tools to diagnose your injuries and help you feel better as quickly as possible.

Acupuncture’s Benefits Include Lowering Blood Pressure: How The Ancient Chinese Therapy Treats Hypertension

Acupuncture’s Benefits Include Lowering Blood Pressure: How The Ancient Chinese Therapy Treats Hypertension

Acupuncture — the ancient Chinese treatment of inserting very thin needles into your skin as a therapy for chronic pain— has for a long time been seen as a traditional form of medicine without any real scientific benefits. However, more and more research has been proving that acupuncture has viable health benefits, from improving skin to reducing pain and stress — and now, even lowering blood pressure.

The latest study, published in the journal Medical Acupuncture, examined the effects of acupuncture on 65 hypertensive patients who weren’t on any hypertension meds. The participants were divided into two groups. The first group received electroacupuncture (low-intensity electrical stimulation on different needle points in the body) on their inner wrists and below their knees, and 70 percent of the participants saw a reduction in blood pressure, an improvement that lasted over a month. This group also saw a reduction of blood concentration levels of norepinephrine, a hormone and neurotransmitter that constricts blood vessels and elevates blood pressure.

Interestingly, it appears that the location of electroacupuncture — such as whether it’s in the wrists, arms, or legs — plays a large role in determining its efficacy. The second group received electroacupuncture on their forearm and lower leg, but they didn’t see the same lowered blood pressure as the first group.

“This clinical study is the culmination of more than a decade of bench research in this area,” Dr. John Longhurst, a cardiologist and an author of the study, said in the press release. “By using Western scientific rigor to validate an ancient Eastern therapy, we feel we have integrated Chinese and Western medicine and provided a beneficial guideline for treating a disease that affects millions in the U.S.”

Traditional Chinese physicians believe that acupuncture is a matter of balancing energy flow throughout the body. This energy or life force, known as “qi,” flows through certain points in the body known as meridians. When the acupuncturist inserts a needle into the meridian, the qi will rebalance itself. The science behind it, of course, is still being investigated, but generally acupuncture has shown the ability to stimulate nerves in these points, releasing chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. The cascading release of chemicals and hormones can have an impact on chronic pain and even overall mental health.

Acupuncture has been used to treat oral pain, headaches, muscle tension, and even menstrual cramps. Other studies have shown acupuncture’s effects can be seen in brain activity changes — especially in areas that process pain. But whether acupuncture truly relieves pain or allows a placebo effect to take hold is still being debated.

And when it comes to blood pressure, acupuncture may reduce your hypertension — but only if you’re not taking any other hypertension medicine. The researchers note that further research will need to be done before they can claim acupuncture works well as a supplement to other medications.

Article is from Sep 3, 2015 03:09 PM By Lecia Bushak

Source: Peng L, Tjen-A-Looi S, Ling C, Dongmei L, Jeannette P, Sivarama V. Long-Lasting Reduction of Blood Pressure by Electroacupuncture in Patients with Hypertension: Randomized Controlled Trial. Medical Acupuncture. 2015.

Acupuncture For Acne

Acupuncture for Acne

Finding yourself with a bathroom full of failed cleansers, spot treatments, and moisturizers that all claimed to clear your face of adult acne? According to over 30 years of research, it’s time to come over to the alternative side of medicine. When it comes to acne, acupuncture is where it’s at.

A systematic review of 43 trials in English and Chinese language studies found acupoint stimulation—a blanket term which includes acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, acupoint injection, and acupoint catgut embedding treatment—to be an effective, side effect-free treatment for acne. Some of the individual therapies, like cupping, were even found to be significantly better than pharmaceutical medications at curing (yes, curing) patients of their breakouts, says the research published in Medical Acupuncture.

Acupuncture is the insertion of hair-thin sterile needles into the skin and is a typically painless way to signal the brain to make changes within the body. And while it may be news to you, acupuncture as a form of medicine has been getting results for over 2000 years, says Mary Sabo, L.Ac., acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist, and assistant clinic director at The YinOva Center in New York City. Undergoing acupuncture therapy for acne often includes dietary changes and taking Chinese herbs and supplements along with weekly acupuncture appointments—far more involved than taking a pill or applying a cream.

But Sabo says the benefits of acupuncture extend beyond a patient’s pimples, and usually long after treatment has discontinued. “Regular acne creams are just suppressing the manifestation of underlying imbalance in the body,” along with causing unwanted side effects like irritation, dry skin, and even increased risk of birth defects, says Sabo. The needles are applied to points that send signals to strengthen (as in digestion or immunity), reduce (inflammation, known as heat) and move stagnant energy. “Treatments with acupuncture work to make the whole body healthier, and in the process resolve the acne from the inside out—which is why many of my patients also see improvement in their digestion, sleep, stress levels, and energy.”

The findings also showed acupuncture was even more effective at increasing the number of cured patients when combined with herbal medicine. In Sabo’s mind, it makes perfect sense: “I think of acupuncture as communicating with the body, while herbal medicine provides the building blocks to help the body make those changes,” she says. “Combining the two makes healing happen faster.”

This article is from
By Nina Elias August 9, 2013

A Different Approach to TMJ Treatment

TMJ or temporomandibular joint disease is a common problem with a complex treatment. The usual symptoms are: numbness of the jaw and temporal area, and dull and/or sharp pain of previously mentioned areas (temporal headache).
Some of the causes of TMJ include stress (grinding the teeth), direct trauma, or bad diet habits.

The majority of these patients use dental appliances or pain medication: 800 milligrams of ibuprofen (Motrin) three times a day or 500 milligrams of naproxen two times a day, with no avail.

The temporomandibular joint and temporalis muscle.

The temporomandibular joint and temporalis muscle. Examination of the affected areas (temporalis muscle and the mandibular joint) begins with light to moderate digital palpation of the TW and GB meridians around the ear. A series of trigger points will be discovered that, when palpated, will produce local and/or referred pain (referred pain/numbness toward DU20 or the jaw). Other trigger areas involved coincide with acupuncture points, primarily SI18 and 19; GB2; TW2; and tae yang (extra point), and secondarily TW16 and 17 and GB12 and 31.

Treatment points: the selection of points switches between the temporalis muscle trigger points and SI19, GB2 and TW21. These points are connected to 2-4 trigger areas in the iliotibial tract (GB31, superficial insertion, slant direction, in general contralateral, with pads on top of the needles). The acupuncture needles are inserted with the stimulation pads on top of the needles for GB31 and the trigger areas close to it (the pads used are Zimmer, single use).

Treatment duration: The treatment frequency is 1-2 times a week for 4-6 weeks. Within 6-8 treatments, the patient should be able to feel some improvement: pain and/or burning is reduced, the range of motion of the jaw is increased, and pain medication is reduced or discontinued.

The illiotibial tract and location of GB31 and adjacent trigger points.

The illiotibial tract and location of GB31 and adjacent trigger points. As with almost all muscles disorders, the indication of the appropriate stretching exercises for the muscles involved will assist in a speedy recovery. A course of daily stretching exercises is recommended as part of the protocol to reduce stress of the temporomandibular joint. The stretching exercises are done three times a day, five times each session, maintaining the stretch for five seconds. It is convenient to apply heat for 15 to 20 minutes before the stretching exercises are done to increase the elasticity of the muscles, and ice (five minutes, if needed) afterward to reduce the inflammation produced by the stretching exercises. A bland diet is another way to reduce the stress to the joint.

Other treatments: intraoral myofacial release, some patients respond to a single cortisone injection (administered locally to reduce the inflammation and edema of the muscle/joint). Surgery is another approach that may be needed in some patients

This article is from By Alejandro Katz, MD, OMD, LAc, QME

Acupuncture In Cancer Treatment

by Eugene Mak, MD
Board Certified Oncologist and MARF Board Member

A frequently asked question by patients undergoing cancer treatment is, “Can acupuncture help me?”

The issue then becomes: is there a place for acupuncture in the vast field of cancer with its diverse treatment modalities?

“Vast” since cancer is not one disease but over 300 different malignancies, each with its own unique histology, patho-physiology, and clinical behavior. ‘Diverse” because of the different chemotherapeutic classes of agents, hormonal agents, types of High-energy particle beam generators, and various delivery systems for radiation treatment. “Diverse” also because it encompasses various types of surgical procedures, nutritional support, and the body-mind holistic approach.

Timely diagnosis and early surgery offer the most favorable possibility of a cure for solid tumors. The germinal cancers and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, along with some hematologic malignancies such as childhood leukemia, are the few exceptions. These are treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, bone marrow or stem cell transplantation singly or in combination. Some of the latter are the most predictably curable malignancies with or without surgery.

If the diagnosis is late, surgery unsuccessful, or should the tumor recur after surgery, then the chance of a cure, with rare exceptions, is considered lost This class of patients, along with those not amenable to surgical approaches, are treated palliatively. Palliative therapies also consist of chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and radiation therapy and/or palliative surgery.

The role of acupuncture in the curative group is in its adjunctive use in anesthesia, in post-operative pain control, and in aiding and hastening recovery from the side effects of the various therapies. Acupuncture is effective for control of pain, of local swelling post-operatively, for shortening the resolution of hematoma and tissue swelling and for minimizing use of medications and their attendant side effects. Energetic acupuncture, an approach consisting of the use of needles with electricity and moxibustion (a form of local heating with herbs imparts a sense of well being and accelerates patients’ recovery. In conjunction with nutritional support, its use is routinely employed in some cancer institutions.

The dreaded nausea and vomiting which commonly occurs in some patients undergoing chemotherapy and inevitably, with the use of certain classes of agents, can often be worse than the disease itself. Most oncologists have experienced the patients who start vomiting at the thought of their next clinic visit. At the University of Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine, a well-controlled study completed over two Years ago, the authors of the published paper reported significant reduction of nausea and vomiting when pre-treated with. It is now routinely administered before, after and in between chemotherapy treatment sessions for control or nausea and emesis. Such treatments are relatively simple and easily executed in an outpatient setting. Its effectiveness helps in minimizing the use of standard, expensive multi-drug anti-nausea regimens with their attendant side effects, given along with the chemotherapeutic agents.

That acupuncture is a powerful tool for general pain control is widely known. . Less known is its success use in some cancer-related pain and in reducing narcotic use and thereby minimizing the side effects confusion, disturbed mentation, behavioral changes, nausea and severe constipation.

Needling a variety of trigger and painful points, percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and osteo-puncture, along with whole body energetic acupuncture support, .are approaches available to the acupuncturists. In the acupuncture paradigm, any chronic disease process depletes the energy level in the organism. Such depletion can be ameliorated, at least temporarily, by tonification, a process of imparting energy into the system. This is deemed necessary for more durable, successful pain control. It can also add to the patients’ sense of well being and decrease the malaise associated with any chronic disease, especially cancer.

Nutritional support as an aid in boosting immune response in cancer patients, along with minimizing the immune and white blood cell suppression that occurs with most chemotherapeutic agents, has been receiving greater attention and funding for research.. Kenneth Conklin, M.D., Ph.D., an anesthesiologist at UCLA working with the Oncology Department, reports gratifying results utilizing nutrition and supplements combined with energetic acupuncture.

Energetic acupuncture repletes energy level to the organism as a whole, reestablishes homeostasis by re-balancing energy distribution and un-blocking energy flow. This systems approach to deal with system wide patho-physiology can be complemented by distinct meridian acupuncture, which directs healing energy to specific organ pathology and is a routine approach in treating diseased organs such as liver, pancreas kidney, including those ravaged by cancers.

While the degree of beneficial results from acupuncture treatment is dependent on various clinical factors such as presenting symptoms, clinical staging, timing of the encounter in the course of the illness, areas of involvement, the answer to the opening question “can acupuncture help me?” is, in all probability, that it can help in the care of the cancer patient.

Treating PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disease) with a Holistic Approach

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


After a traumatic experience, it’s normal to feel frightened, sad, anxious, and disconnected. But if the upset doesn’t fade and you feel stuck with a constant sense of danger and painful memories, you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can seem like you’ll never get over what happened or feel normal again. But by seeking treatment, reaching out for support, and developing new coping skills, you can overcome PTSD and move on with your life

What is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Wendy’s PTSD Story

Three months ago, Wendy was in a major car accident. She sustained only minor injuries, but two friends riding in her car were killed. At first, the accident seemed like just a bad dream. Then Wendy started having nightmares about it. Now, the sights and sounds of the accident haunt her all the time.

Wendy has trouble sleeping at night, and during the day she feels irritable and on edge. She jumps whenever she hears a siren or screeching tires, and she avoids TV programs that might show a car chase or accident scene. Wendy also avoids driving whenever possible, and refuses to go anywhere near the site of the crash.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop following a traumatic event that threatens your safety or makes you feel helpless.

Most people associate PTSD with battle-scarred soldiers—and military combat is the most common cause in men—but any overwhelming life experience can trigger PTSD, especially if the event feels unpredictable and uncontrollable.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect those who personally experience the catastrophe, those who witness it, and those who pick up the pieces afterwards, including emergency workers and law enforcement officers. It can even occur in the friends or family members of those who went through the actual trauma.

PTSD develops differently from person to person. While the symptoms of PTSD most commonly develop in the hours or days following the traumatic event, it can sometimes take weeks, months, or even years before they appear.

Traumatic events that can lead to PTSD include:

  • War
  • Natural disasters
  • Car or plane crashes
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Sudden death of a loved one
  • Rape
  • Kidnapping
  • Assault
  • Sexual or physical abuse
  • Childhood neglect
Or any shattering event that leaves you stuck and feeling helpless and hopeless

The difference between PTSD and a normal response to trauma

The traumatic events that lead to post-traumatic stress disorder are usually so overwhelming and frightening that they would upset anyone. Following a traumatic event, almost everyone experiences at least some of the symptoms of PTSD. When your sense of safety and trust are shattered, it’s normal to feel crazy, disconnected, or numb. It’s very common to have bad dreams, feel fearful, and find it difficult to stop thinking about what happened. These are normal reactions to abnormal events.

For most people, however, these symptoms are short-lived. They may last for several days or even weeks, but they gradually lift. But if you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the symptoms don’t decrease. You don’t feel a little better each day. In fact, you may start to feel worse.

A normal response to trauma becomes PTSD when you become stuck

After a traumatic experience, the mind and the body are in shock. But as you make sense of what happened and process your emotions, you come out of it. With post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), however, you remain in psychological shock. Your memory of what happened and your feelings about it are disconnected. In order to move on, it’s important to face and feel your memories and emotions.

Signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can arise suddenly, gradually, or come and go over time. Sometimes symptoms appear seemingly out of the blue. At other times, they are triggered by something that reminds you of the original traumatic event, such as a noise, an image, certain words, or a smell. While everyone experiences PTSD differently, there are three main types of symptoms:

  1. Re-experiencing the traumatic event
  2. Avoiding reminders of the trauma
  3. Increased anxiety and emotional arousal

Symptoms of PTSD: Re-experiencing the traumatic event

  • Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event
  • Flashbacks (acting or feeling like the event is happening again)
  • Nightmares (either of the event or of other frightening things)
  • Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma
  • Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (e.g. pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating)

Symptoms of PTSD: Avoidance and numbing

  • Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of the trauma
  • Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
  • Loss of interest in activities and life in general
  • Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb
  • Sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life span, get married, have a career)

Symptoms of PTSD: Increased anxiety and emotional arousal

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Irritability or outbursts of anger
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hypervigilance (on constant “red alert”)
  • Feeling jumpy and easily startled

Other common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Anger and irritability
  • Guilt, shame, or self-blame
  • Substance abuse
  • Feelings of mistrust and betrayal
  • Depression and hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts and feelings
  • Feeling alienated and alone
  • Physical aches and pains

Symptoms of PTSD in children and adolescents

In children—especially those who are very young—the symptoms of PTSD can be different than the symptoms in adults. Symptoms in children include:

  • Fear of being separated from parent
  • Losing previously-acquired skills (such as toilet training)
  • Sleep problems and nightmares without recognizable content
  • Somber, compulsive play in which themes or aspects of the trauma are repeated
  • New phobias and anxieties that seem unrelated to the trauma (such as a fear of monsters)
  • Acting out the trauma through play, stories, or drawings
  • Aches and pains with no apparent cause
  • Irritability and aggression

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) causes and risk factors

While it’s impossible to predict who will develop PTSD in response to trauma, there are certain risk factors that increase your vulnerability.

Many risk factors revolve around the nature of the traumatic event itself. Traumatic events are more likely to cause PTSD when they involve a severe threat to your life or personal safety: the more extreme and prolonged the threat, the greater the risk of developing PTSD in response. Intentional, human-inflicted harm—such as rape, assault, and torture— also tends to be more traumatic than “acts of God” or more impersonal accidents and disasters. The extent to which the traumatic event was unexpected, uncontrollable, and inescapable also plays a role.

Other risk factors for PTSD include:

  • Previous traumatic experiences, especially in early life
  • Family history of PTSD or depression
  • History of physical or sexual abuse
  • History of substance abuse
  • History of depression, anxiety, or another mental illness
  • High level of stress in everyday life
  • Lack of support after the trauma
  • Lack of coping skills

Getting help for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

If you suspect that you or a loved one has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it’s important to seek help right away. The sooner PTSD is confronted, the easier it is to overcome. If you’re reluctant to seek help, keep in mind that PTSD is not a sign of weakness, and the only way to overcome it is to confront what happened to you and learn to accept it as a part of your past. This process is much easier with the guidance and support of an experienced therapist or doctor.

It’s only natural to want to avoid painful memories and feelings. But if you try to numb yourself and push your memories away, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will only get worse. You can’t escape your emotions completely—they emerge under stress or whenever you let down your guard—and trying to do so is exhausting. The avoidance will ultimately harm your relationships, your ability to function, and the quality of your life.

Why Should I Seek Help for PTSD?

  • Early treatment is better. Symptoms of PTSD may get worse. Dealing with them now might help stop them from getting worse in the future. Finding out more about what treatments work, where to look for help, and what kind of questions to ask can make it easier to get help and lead to better outcomes.
  • PTSD symptoms can change family life.PTSD symptoms can get in the way of your family life. You may find that you pull away from loved ones, are not able to get along with people, or that you are angry or even violent. Getting help for your PTSD can help improve your family life.
  • PTSD can be related to other health problems. PTSD symptoms can make physical health problems worse. For example, studies have shown a relationship between PTSD and heart trouble. By getting help for your PTSD you could also improve your physical health.

Source: National Center for PTSD

Treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Treatment for PTSD relieves symptoms by helping you deal with the trauma you’ve experienced. Rather than avoiding the trauma and any reminder of it, treatment will encourage you to recall and process the emotions and sensations you felt during the original event. In addition to offering an outlet for emotions you’ve been bottling up, treatment for PTSD will also help restore your sense of control and reduce the powerful hold the memory of the trauma has on your life.

In treatment for PTSD, you’ll:

  • Explore your thoughts and feelings about the trauma
  • Work through feelings of guilt, self-blame, and mistrust
  • Learn how to cope with and control intrusive memories
  • Address problems PTSD has caused in your life and relationships

Types of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for PTSD and trauma involves carefully and gradually “exposing” yourself to thoughts, feelings, and situations that remind you of the trauma. Therapy also involves identifying upsetting thoughts about the traumatic event–particularly thoughts that are distorted and irrational—and replacing them with more balanced picture.
  • Family therapy.Since PTSD affects both you and those close to you, family therapy can be especially productive. Family therapy can help your loved ones understand what you’re going through. It can also help everyone in the family communicate better and work through relationship problems caused by PTSD symptoms.
  • Medication is sometimes prescribed to people with PTSD to relieve secondary symptoms of depression or anxiety. Antidepressants such as Prozac and Zoloft are the medications most commonly used for PTSD. While antidepressants may help you feel less sad, worried, or on edge, they do not treat the causes of PTSD.
  • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) incorporates elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy with eye movements or other forms of rhythmic, left-right stimulation, such as hand taps or sounds. Eye movements and other bilateral forms of stimulation are thought to work by “unfreezing” the brain’s information processing system, which is interrupted in times of extreme stress.

Finding a therapist for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

When looking for a therapist for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), seek out mental health professionals who specialize in the treatment of trauma and PTSD. You can start by asking your doctor if he or she can provide a referral to therapists with experience treating trauma. You may also want to ask other trauma survivors for recommendations, or call a local mental health clinic, psychiatric hospital, or counseling center.

Beyond credentials and experience, it’s important to find a PTSD therapist who makes you feel comfortable and safe, so there is no additional fear or anxiety about the treatment itself. Trust your gut; if a therapist doesn’t feel right, look for someone else. For therapy to work, you need to feel respected and understood. To find a trauma therapist, see the Resources and references section below.

Help for veterans with PTSD

If you’re a veteran suffering from PTSD or trauma, there are organizations that can help with counseling and other services. To find help in your country, see the Resources and references section below.

Self-help treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a gradual, ongoing processing. Healing doesn’t happen overnight, nor do the memories of the trauma ever disappear completely. This can make life seem difficult at times. But there are many things you can do to cope with residual symptoms and reduce your anxiety and fear.

PTSD self-help tip 1: Reach out to others for support

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can make you feel disconnected from others. You may be tempted to withdraw from social activities and your loved ones. But it’s important to stay connected to life and the people who care about you. Support from other people is vital to your recovery from PTSD, so ask your close friends and family members for their help during this tough time.

Also consider joining a support group for survivors of the same type of trauma you experienced. Support groups for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can help you feel less isolated and alone. They also provide invaluable information on how to cope with symptoms and work towards recovery. If you can’t find a support group in your area, look for an online group.

PTSD self-help tip 2: Avoid alcohol and drugs

When you’re struggling with difficult emotions and traumatic memories, you may be tempted to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. But while alcohol or drugs may temporarily make you feel better, they make post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) worse in the long run. Substance use worsens many symptoms of PTSD, including emotional numbing, social isolation, anger, and depression. It also interferes with treatment and can add to problems at home and in your relationships.

PTSD self-help tip 3: Challenge your sense of helplessness

Overcoming your sense of helplessness is key to overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Trauma leaves you feeling powerless and vulnerable. It’s important to remind yourself that you have strengths and coping skills that can get you through tough times.

One of the best ways to reclaim your sense of power is by helping others: volunteer your time, give blood, reach out to a friend in need, or donate to your favorite charity. Taking positive action directly challenges the sense of helplessness that is a common symptom of PTSD.

Positive ways of coping with PTSD:

  • Learn about trauma and PTSD
  • Join a PTSD support group
  • Practice relaxation techniques
  • Confide in a person you trust
  • Spend time with positive people
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the family

If a loved one has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it’s essential that you take care of yourself and get extra support. PTSD can take a heavy toll on the family if you let it. It can be hard to understand why your loved one won’t open up to you—why he or she is less affectionate and more volatile. The symptoms of PTSD can also result in job loss, substance abuse, and other stressful problems.

Letting your family member’s PTSD dominate your life while ignoring your own needs is a surefire recipe for burnout. In order to take care of your loved one, you first need to take care of yourself. It’s also helpful to learn all you can about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The more you know about the symptoms and treatment options, the better equipped you’ll be to help your loved one and keep things in perspective.

Helping a loved one with PTSD

  • Be patient and understanding.Getting better takes time, even when a person is committed to treatment for PTSD. Be patient with the pace of recovery and offer a sympathetic ear. A person with PTSD may need to talk about the traumatic event over and over again. This is part of the healing process, so avoid the temptation to tell your loved one to stop rehashing the past and move on.
  • Try to anticipate and prepare for PTSD triggers. Common triggers include anniversary dates; people or places associated with the trauma; and certain sights, sounds, or smells. If you are aware of what triggers may cause an upsetting reaction, you’ll be in a better position to offer your support and help your loved one calm down.
  • Don’t take the symptoms of PTSD personally. Common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) include emotional numbness, anger, and withdrawal. If your loved one seems distant, irritable, or closed off, remember that this may not have anything to do with you or your relationship.
  • Don’t pressure your loved one into talking. It is very difficult for people with PTSD to talk about their traumatic experiences. For some, it can even make things worse. Never try to force your loved one to open up. Let the person know, however, that you’re there when and if he or she wants to talk.

Portions of this article provided by

Fibromyalgia recent study by Mayo Clinic

In a recent Mayo Clinic study, acupuncture significantly improved symptoms of fibromyalgia. Among the 50 participants treated, those who received acupuncture reported improvement in various symptoms including fatigue and anxiety.
In Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine there is an axiom that states – if there is free flow there is no pain and if there is pain there is no free flow. This flow refers to all aspects of circulation that can impact body function such as blood circulation, breathing patterns, posture, emotional imbalances, low energy, and irregular lifestyle habits. It is important to promote regularity. Good health thrives on smoothness, comfort and consistency in the daily patterns that influence our lives. Forming healthy habits promotes relaxation by having familiar routines. Well-formed routines require less effort allowing the body, mind and spirit to conserve energy for unexpected circumstances and the accompanying stresses. Irregularity in our eating habits, sleep, work schedule, physical and mental demands including emotional imbalances can cause stagnation and result in health imbalances in general. Lifestyle adjustments are also important for those suffering from fibromyalgia. Adequate sleep, relaxation techniques, and a hi-vegetable / low-sugar diet can be helpful. A gradual form of exercise such as Tai Chi Chuan that promotes flexibility, circulation and minimizes muscle fatigue is also beneficial. Being aware of healthy lifestyle patterns is the key to preventative medicine and nurturing wellness.

1. Mayo Clinic. “Acupuncture Relieves Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia, Mayo Clinic Study Finds.” ScienceDaily 13 June 2006. 13 October 2010 /releases/2006/06/060614000759.htm.
2. Martin DP, Sletten CD, Williams BA, Berger IH. Improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms with acupuncture: results of a randomized controlled trial. Mayo Clin Proc ( 2006;) 81:: 749–57

Acupuncture & Chiropractic Treatment for Skin & Acne Problems

The skin is just a reflection of inner health. Acne is typically treated medically with topical and even oral antibiotic medication. The most popular topical treatments contain benzoyl peroxide (about 5% of the population is allergic to this). Chemicals like these are treating the infection. However, the problem of acne starts way before the infection sets in. In chiropractic we say that “roaches don’t cause the garbage.” Bacteria, like roaches, only move in when the environment is unhealthy. Rather than just killing bacteria we should focus on creating a healthy environment where “roaches” aren’t an issue. The antibiotic approach to acne is effective in some cases, however, the bacteria associated with acne (Propionibacterium acnes) are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. The best approach to solving the acne problem is to understand the underlying causes and correct the problem at its source. The health of the skin is really a reflection of inner health including nerve function, hormonal balance, toxicity and general diet. If we compare your skin to caring for a lawn you’ll see that a healthy lawn does not have too many weeds. However, an unhealthy lawn is quickly overrun by weeds. Bacteria tend to grown in unhealthy situations so when the body is out of balance nutritionally, hormonally or neurologically then acne can be one of the results. The relationship between the nerves of the body and the skin begins in our embryology where the skin and nerves both share the same ectodermal origin. Nerve blockage in the upper neck have been shown to interfere with blood flow to the head. A study by Bogduk showed that irritating the cervical sympathetic nerves results “in pronounced decrease in carotid artery flow (30% of control group).”

The U.S. National Institutes of Health cites stress as a contributing factor in acne. When we think of stress we commonly think of emotional stress. However, internal nerve stress can affect the body the same way. The nerves from the spin affect the stress levels in the body as well as the detoxification organs and the health of the skin itself. Having a clear nervous system is important to having clear skin.

Misalignment of the spinal bones can interfere with nerve function in the body. This interference called subluxation creates either hyperfunction (elevated function) from nerve irritation or hypofunction (lowered function) from nerve pressure. In either case the body is unable to properly regulate and heal itself. The tissues supplied by these nerves – whether they are the liver, kidneys, ovaries, adrenal glands, pancreas or skin – soon suffer ill health. With chiropractic problems in the body, even if you’re putting the right food in your body, it’s like a perfectly good light bulb that doesn’t work because the power isn’t getting through. You cannot really restore the true health of your tissues – including your skin – if you are not getting regular chiropractic checkups.

Acupuncture, Nutrition, Hormones and Acne

We see more acne around puberty because of the increase in testosterone in both boys and girls at this time. Elevated testosterone is also responsible for other conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome, a leading cause of female infertility. These high levels of male hormones are the result of either excessive luteinizing hormone from the anterior pituitary gland or high levels of insulin in the blood. I think of ovarian cysts like a kind of internal acne. How do insulin levels become raised? Insulin goes up in response to the amount of sugar consumed. Foods with a “high glycemic index” are foods that cause blood sugar to strongly elevate. These are foods that include most breakfast cereals, baked potatoes, watermelon, white bread, croissants, white rice and most packaged snacks and desserts. The increase in blood sugar causes the body to release larger amounts of insulin in order to bring the blood sugar back to normal. Hyperinsulinemia (high blood insulin) causes hyperandrogenism (high blood testosterone) by increasing ovarian androgen production (especially testosterone) which interferes with the pituitary-ovary endocrine axis. This in turn leads to increased luteinizing hormone, dysruption of the normal menstrual cycle in females, recurrent pregnancy loss and infertility. Hyperinsulinemia has also been associated high blood pressure and is a major risk factor for the development of heart disease, stroke and type II diabetes. The most important dietary change to make with both acne and polycystic ovary syndrome is to adopt a low glycemic index diet and acupuncture treatment to balancing hormones. Also, medical studies have suggested that cows milk may be associated with worsening acne.

The skin is the largest organ and plays a role in detoxification through the sweat glands. Keeping the skin clean is of course important. Also consider acupuncture treatment that when the internal systems for detoxification (e.g. liver, kidneys, lymphatic system) are overburdened with chemicals, food additives, drugs and environmental toxins that the skin must act as a secondary pathway for detoxification.