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Acupuncture Regenerates Nerves
 20 FEBRUARY 2015 - HealthCMi (Healthcaare Medicine Institute)
Acupuncture repairs injured nerves. Findings published in Neural Regeneration Research demonstrate that acupuncture causes injured lower and upper limb motor nerves to repair. Electromyographic nerve conduction tests of acupuncture patients with nerve injuries document “an effective response” in 80% of patients participating in the study. Acupoints to the upper limb. Electromyography confirms that acupuncture significantly improves motor nerve conduction velocity and amplitude and also promotes functional nerve repair. 

The researchers made an important discovery. A special set of acupuncture points resulted in good to excellent clinical responses at a very high rate. Using only local acupuncture points, patients had an effective rate of 38.5%. By adding acupuncture points to the Du meridian in addition to local acupuncture points, the effective rate jumped to 80%.

The Du meridian is a pathway composed of 28 primary acupuncture points plus extra acupoints. Many of the Du meridian acupuncture points are located on the midline of the back below the spinous processes of the vertebrae. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the application of acupuncture points to the Du meridian (Governor vessel) are used for the treatment of many disorders including spine and brain ailments, vertigo, numbness, tremors, febrile diseases, and infertility.

The research published in Neural Regeneration Research confirms the Du meridian’s significant role in the treatment of nerve injuries. Electroacupuncture was applied to both the upper and lower limb groups at a rate of once per day, five times per week for a total of six weeks. The total number of acupuncture treatments was 30 sessions per patient. The researchers conclude, “Our results indicate that Governor vessel and local meridian acupoints used simultaneously promote functional repair after peripheral nerve injury.”

The acupuncture points used in the study were a protocolized set of two acupuncture point prescriptions, one for the upper limbs and one for the lower limbs. The upper limb acupuncture point prescription consisted of local acupoints at the site of the injured nerve plus the following Du meridian acupoints:

Baihui (DU20)
Fengfu (DU16)
Dazhui (DU14)
Shenzhu (DU12)
The lower limb acupuncture point prescription consisted of local meridian acupoints at the site of the injured nerve plus the following Du meridian acupoints:

Jizhong (DU6)
Mingmen (DU4)
Yaoyangguan (DU3)
Yaoshu (DU2)
The local acupuncture points used in the study were chosen based on the area of nerve injury. Radial nerve injuries were treated with the following acupuncture points:

Jianyu (LI15)
Binao (LI14)
Quchi (LI11)
Hegu (LI4)
Yangxi (LI5)
Ulnar nerve injuries were treated with the following acupuncture points:

Qingling (HT2)
Xiaohai (SI8)
Zhizheng (SI7)
Wangu (SI4)
Houxi (SI3)
Median nerve injuries were treated with the following acupuncture points:

Quze (PC3)
Daling (PC7)
Neiguan (PC6)
Laogong (PC8)
Peroneal nerve injuries were treated with the following acupuncture points:

Yanglingquan (GB34)
Guangming (GB37)
Juegu (GB39)
Qiuxu (GB40)
Tibial nerve injuries were treated with the following acupuncture points:

Yinlingquan (SP9)
Sanyinjiao (SP6)
Diji (SP8)
Lougu (SP7)
Sciatic nerve injuries were treated with the following acupuncture points:

Huantiao (GB30)
Ciliao (BL32)
Zhibian (BL54)
Yanglingquan (GB34)
Weizhong (BL40)
Juegu (GB39)
Brachial plexus injuries were treated with the following acupuncture points:

Jianyu (LI15)
Binao (LI14)
Quchi (LI11)
Waiguan (SJ5)
Baxie (EX-UE8)
The acupuncture needles were 0.35 x 25 mm and were applied to an approximate depth of 1 cun at each acupoint. Manual acupuncture was applied to elicit a response followed by application of electroacupuncture with a sparse-dense wave between 2 - 100 Hz. Intensity was set to tolerance levels. Back acupoints on the Du channel. 

The researchers note that nerve injuries affect the metabolic microenvironment. Citing an example, they note that sciatic nerve injuries reduce acetylcholinesterase activity in the lumbar spinal cord microenvironment. This causes neuronal cell death thereby impeding nerve repair. The researchers note that acupuncture counteracts this effect citing that it successfully increases “acetylcholinesterase expression in spinal cord tissue after peripheral nerve injury.” As a result, the researchers suggest that this may be an important mechanism by which acupuncture promotes the healing of peripheral nerves.

Gh, He, Ruan Jw, Zeng Ys, X. Zhou, Y. Ding, and Zhou Gh. "Improvement in acupoint selection for acupuncture of nerves surrounding the injury site: electro-acupuncture with Governor vessel with local meridian acupoints." Neural Regeneration Research 10, no. 1 (2015): 128.

Chinese Medicine: Why do we get colds when it gets cold?

Upper respiratory infections such as colds or the influenza virus are prevalent during the cold months of the year, but can be caught all year round. Typical symptoms are headache, coughing, sore throat, stuffy and running nose and body aches.

     Pores are the windows of your body

During hot climate seasons like summer, the pores of our skin are wide open. These pores on our skin are like the windows of our body. They can help with releasing the heat from our body and promoting sweating. When the weather gets cold, our body starts to close these ‘windows’ entirely, so it can prevent the external wind and cold from entering. The process of these windows closing, however, is slow and adjusted according to the weather changes. Therefore, if the temperature suddenly drops and the windows are still open, we’re easily vulnerable to a wind-cold pathogenic factor attacking us.

     Releasing the Exterior

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to help enhance the immune system and ward off illness. Its immunostimulating functions treat all types of upper respiratory infections -- including colds -- effectively, achieving a quick recovery without side effects. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) views colds and flus as pathogenic invasions that can easily be expelled using certain treatment points and herbs. This is called “releasing the exterior” in TCM.

Why do some people easily catch colds, but others not so often? In biomedicine, we often say those people who have strong immune systems are less likely to catch cold. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we say these people have strong defensive Qi (or wei qi). Their body has a quick adjustment to the environmental changes around them. In other words, they can close their windows faster, allowing their body surface to be sealed so wind-cold pathogens have no chance to get in.

When a wind-cold pathogen enters our body, it causes sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, body aches, and headaches. That’s when we say, “You caught a cold.” In this case, your acupuncturist would recommend some pungent herbs to help the body expel the wind-cold pathogen. For example: ginger, onion and peppermint are the most commonly used herbs in herbal teas for common cold. 

     Take a Ginger Bath 

A ginger bath can be very soothing and therapeutic when you are coming down with or already have a cold. Again, this helps to “release the exterior” and expel the pathogen. Take a large ginger root and let it boil in a pot of water until the water turns golden in color. Pour this into your hot bath and soak. You can also drink a cup of the ginger tea while you take the bath.

If caught in the early stages, especially within the first few hours of the onset of symptoms, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and qigong can be very effective at eliminating pathogens. Once illness has progressed beyond the early stages, Chinese medicine can be used as symptomatic relief and adjuvant therapy.

     Chinese Herbal Remedies for Colds

In the process of treating immunity, Chinese medicine also transports nutrients, improves circulation, balances the body, supports vital energy, and assists your body in maintaining its natural healthy state on its own. Several clinical studies have demonstrated that Chinese medicine reduces the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections and shortens the course of illness.

The Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal remedy most often used for people with weak defensive qi is called Jade Windscreen Formula. It contains:

     Radix Astragali Membranacei (Huang Qi)

     Radix Saposhnikoviae Divaricatae (Fang Feng)

     Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae (Bai Zhu)  

It is suggested to take the formula 1-3 months before the cold season comes to help prevent the onset of the common cold and strengthen the defensive qi.Originally printed on AOMA webpage

                             Start strengthening your immune system today!    
                             Call for an appointment ...  (512) 968-9908  

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New CT Scans Reveal Acupuncture Points
 04 JANUARY 2014
CT scans reveal anatomical structures of acupuncture points. This new finding demonstrates the physical existence of acupuncture points. A CT (computerized tomography) scan is a series of X-rays used to create cross-sectional images. In this study published in the Journal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena, researchers used in-line phase contrast CT imaging with synchrotron radiation on both non-acupuncture points and acupuncture points. The CT scans revealed clear distinctions between the non-acupuncture point and acupuncture point anatomical structures.

Acupuncture points have a higher density of micro-vessels and contain a large amount of involuted microvascular structures. The non-acupuncture points did not exhibit these properties.

The researchers note that the state-of-the-art CT imaging techniques used in this study allow for improved three-dimensional (3D) imaging of a large field of view without artifacts. This greatly improves imaging of soft tissue and allowed the researchers to make this important discovery.

The acupuncture points ST36 (Zusanli) and ST37 (Shangjuxu) were shown to have very distinct structural differences than surrounding areas. At the acupuncture points, microvascular densities with bifurcations “can be clearly seen around thick blood vessels” but non-acupuncture point areas showed few thick blood vessels and none showed fine, high density structures. The acupuncture points contained fine structures with more large blood vessels that are several dozen micrometers in size plus beds of high density vascularization of vessels 15-50 micrometers in size. This structure was not found in non-acupuncture point areas.

The researchers note that the size of an acupuncture point “can be estimated by the diameter of microvascular aggregations….” They also commented that other research has found unique structures of acupuncture points and acupuncture meridians using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), infrared imaging, LCD thermal photography, ultrasound and other CT imaging methods. The researchers commented that many studies using these technological approaches have already shown that acupuncture points exist. They note that “the high brightness, wide spectrum, high collimation, polarization and pulsed structure of synchrotron radiation” facilitated their discovery. They concluded, “Our results demonstrated again the existence of acupoints, and also show that the acupoints are special points in mammals.”

In another interesting study, researchers used an amperometric oxygen microsensor to detect partial oxygen pressure variations at different locations on the anterior aspect of the wrist. The researchers concluded that partial oxygen pressure is significantly higher at acupuncture points. Below are images from the study measuring the increase of partial oxygen pressure combined with an overlay of the local acupuncture point locations. The images map the Lung, Pericardium and Heart channels and their associated local points. Acupuncture points P7 and P6 clearly show high oxygen pressure levels as do the other acupuncture points in the region.

These measurements are not needled points but are natural resting states of acupuncture points absent stimulation. A truly unique finding, acupuncture points exhibit special oxygen characteristics. Acupuncture points and acupuncture channels are scientifically measurable phenomena in repeated experiments.

This is an oxygen picture of PC6. 



This an image of PC7. 



Chenglin, Liu, Wang Xiaohu, Xu Hua, Liu Fang, Dang Ruishan, Zhang Dongming, Zhang Xinyi, Xie Honglan, and Xiao Tiqiao. "X-ray phase-contrast CT imaging of the acupoints based on synchrotron radiation." Journal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena (2013).
Author Affiliations:
1. Liu Chenglin, Wang Xiaohua, Xu Hua; Physics Department of Yancheng Teachers’ College, Yancheng, China.
2. Liu Fang, Dang Ruishan; Anatomy Department of Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China.
3. Zhang Dongming, Zhang Xinyi; Synchrotron Radiation Research Center of Fudan University, Shanghai, China.
4. Xie Honglan, Xiao Tiqiao; Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility of Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Shanghai, China.

Minyoung Hong, Sarah S. Park, Yejin Ha, et al., “Heterogeneity of Skin Surface Oxygen Level of Wrist in Relation to Acupuncture Point,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2012, Article ID 106762, 7 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/10a6762.

Yan X H, Zhang X Y, et al. Do acupuncture points exist? [J]. Physics in Medicine and Biology, 54 (2009):N143–N150.

Zhang Y, Yan X H, Liu C L, et al. Photoluminescence of acupuncture points “Waiqiu” in human superficial fascia [J]. J Lumin. 2006, 119-120:96-99.

Julia J. Tsuei, Scientific Evidence in Support of Acupuncture and Meridian Theory: I. Introduction. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine. 1996, 15(3):58-63.

Li Lei, Yau To, Yau Chuen-heung. What Is the Origin of Acupoint. J. Acupunct. Tuina. Sci. 2012, 10 (2):125-127.

Song X J, Zhang D. Study on the manifestation of facial infrared thermography induced by acupuncturing Guangming (GB 37) and Hegu (LI 4) [J]. Chinese Acupuncture & Moxibustion. 2010, 30(1):51-54.

Liu P, Zhou G Y, Zhang Y, et al. The hybrid GLM‒ ICA investigation on the neural mechanism of acupoint ST36: An fMRI study [J]. Neuroscience Letters, 2010, 479: 267-271.

Fei L, Cheng H S, et al. The experimental exploration and the research prospects about the material basis and the functional characteristics of the meridian [J]. Chinese Science Bulletin, 1998, 439(6):658-672.

Are Trigger Points Affecting Your Athletic Performance?
By Ginna Ellis)

Trigger points cause real problems for athletes.

Not only are trigger points exquisitely painful, but they also affect movement. Trigger points inhibit range of motion by keeping muscles short and stiff. They also weaken muscles, causing them to tire quickly and recover slowly. They produce excessive muscle contraction that can partially disarticulate joints or cause nerve entrapment.

That’s the bad news: Trigger points can seriously inhibit athletic performance. The good news? Acupuncture can help. So can self-care (see tips at the end of this article!).

How does a trigger point form?
A trigger point is a hyper-irritable muscle band with a predictable pattern of pain referral. It forms when the process of muscle contraction and release goes awry.

Muscle overload or trauma causes the muscle band to contract too strongly. Such excessive contracture increases metabolic demand and also squeezes shut the network of capillaries supplying the nutrition and oxygen to the region.

This results in a local energy crisis, perpetuating the cycle of contracture. The muscle band cannot release and a trigger point forms.

Can stretching relieve trigger points?
A muscle harboring a trigger point will be too painful to stretch fully. The pain (and subsequent inhibitory reflex) will prevent you from sufficiently lengthening the muscle band.

What’s more, forcing a stretch will often result in injury (muscle strain) and do nothing to resolve the trigger point.

Think of a trigger point like a knot in a rubber band. Stretching the band will cause it to snap, but it will not release the knot. To restore full stretch to that rubber band, you first need to unwind the knot.

Acupuncture is the most effective way to release trigger points
The acupuncture needle provides a mechanical disruption to the trigger point. It halts the vicious cycle of energy crisis in the muscle. Restored to its full length, the muscle recovers its normal blood supply and metabolism, and it can function fully.

You might be wondering, does having acupuncture on trigger points hurt?

Many release techniques require direct pressure to the trigger point, which is by definition painful. Often a trigger point is too irritable to tolerate much additional mechanical stimulation. But a needle can reach the depth of the trigger point without irritating the hyper-sensitive tissues above or around it. There is simply no other technique that can boast such precision.

And acupuncture achieves immediate results. A single well-placed needle into a trigger point will elicit a twitch followed by reduced muscular tension and increased range of motion. Such immediate feedback is immensely satisfying for someone who has been dealing with pain and dysfunction in that muscle for weeks, months, or even years.

3 self-care tips for preventing trigger points
 Increase training loads slowly

Trigger points form due to persistent muscular contraction, strain, or overuse. To prevent their formation, don’t do too much too soon—and make sure you have adequate recovery between workouts. Get enough quality sleep to ensure your body can repair itself efficiently.

 Maintain range of motion and muscle balance

This requires some work. Regularly take your body through the opposite range of motion you use in your sport. A good rule of thumb is to lengthen the agonist, and strengthen the antagonist.

For cyclists who spend hours in the saddle with forward shoulder posture, this means increasing range of motion in your pectorals, and strengthening the rhomboids and other muscles of the upper back. Runners typically benefit from lengthening the hip flexors (psoas and quadriceps) and strengthening the hip extensors (glutes and hamstrings).

 Break up adhesions

You need to be doing something on a regular basis to normalize tight, overworked muscle tissue.

Supple, flexible muscles don’t get injured. Using a lacrosse ball, a foam roller, or even your fingers, apply direct pressure to a tight muscle band for 8-12 seconds. Taking the muscle through its range of motion while compressing it will break up adhesions before a trigger point forms.


Acupuncture Works!

Here are some of the things that Johns Hopkins says about how acupuncture creates change in the body:

Conduction of electromagnetic signals. Evidence suggests that acupuncture points are strategic conductors of electromagnetic signals. Stimulating these points enables electromagnetic signals to be relayed at greater-than-normal rates. These signals may start the flow of pain-killing biochemicals, such as endorphins, or release immune system cells to specific body sites.

Activation of the body's natural opioid system. Considerable research supports the claim that acupuncture releases opioids, synthetic or naturally-occurring chemicals in the brain that may reduce pain or induce sleep. These chemicals may explain acupuncture's pain-relieving effects.

Stimulation of the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. Joined at the base of the brain, the hypothalamus and pituitary glands are responsible for many body functions. The hypothalamus activates and controls part of the nervous system, the endocrine processes, and many bodily functions, such as sleep, regulation of temperature, and appetite. The pituitary gland supplies some of the body's needed hormones. Stimulation of these glands can result in a broad spectrum of effects on various body systems.

Change in the secretion of neurotransmitters and neurohormones. Studies suggest that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry in a positive way. This is accomplished by changing the release of neurotransmitters (biochemical substances that stimulate or inhibit nerve impulses) and neurohormones (naturally-occurring chemical substances that can change the structure or function, or impact the activity of, a body organ).

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Brain MRI Shows Acupuncture Relieves Migraines
on 14 April 2015.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) reveals that acupuncture prevents and relieves migraines by restoring normal brain functions. MRI results demonstrate that acupuncture decreases the frequency and duration of migraine attacks by increasing functional connectivity in the brain’s frontal and temporal lobes. Woman in an MRI machine with a radiologic technician helping. The researchers add that the MRI data reveals the “neural mechanisms of acupuncture treatment for migraine.”

Brain regions of the frontal and temporal lobes have “decreased functional connectivity” in migraine sufferers. The MRI results demonstrate that acupuncture restores functional connectivity in the affected regions. After a four week course of acupuncture treatment, migraine sufferers “showed significantly increased functional connectivity in the bilateral superior frontal gyrus, medial frontal gyrus, precuneus, inferior parietal lobule, posterior cingulate cortex, cingulate gyrus, superior temporal gyrus, middle temporal gyrus, and supramarginal gyrus as compared with before acupuncture treatment.” In addition, the researchers conclude that acupuncture decreases the frequency and duration of migraine attacks after a four week course of acupuncture therapy.

The researchers note that a large body of clinical research concludes that “acupuncture is able to alleviate headache degree and/or improve the quality of life and it is safe and at least as effective, if not more effective than prophylactic drug treatment.” The purpose of their investigation was to measure how acupuncture accomplishes pain relief. The researchers note, “The current results indicated that the neural mechanisms of acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis might be interpreted as that acupuncture treatment could increase the decreased resting-state functional connectivity in certain brain regions within the frontal and temporal lobe of MWoA (migraine without aura) patients.”

They add that studies show that the “frontoparietal network plays an important role in endogenous pain modulation.” As a result, the researchers posit “that acupuncture treatment could enhance the pain related modulatory effects of the frontoparietal network by increasing its functional connectivity in migraine patients.” They also note that the results indicate that acupuncture relieves pain by enhancing the “functional connectivity of the default mode network and other brain networks.” 

Worldwide, there are millions of migraine sufferers. Scalp acupuncture doll. The researchers note that “the clinical therapeutic effect of acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis has been widely recognized” but the underlying effective mechanisms had not been fully elucidated. Using a 3.0 T Siemens MRI scanner with a total of 32 axial slices per patient, the researchers discovered acupuncture’s ability to relieve migraines by enhancing functional brain connectivity.

All migraine patients received manual acupuncture treatments over a four week period. The acupuncture points used in the study were:

Sizhukong (SJ23)
Shuaigu (GB8)
Fengchi (GB20)
Taiyang (EX-HN5)
Hegu (LI4)
Taichong (LR3)
Waiguan (SJ5)
Yanglingquan (GB34)
Zulinqi (GB41)
Disposable stainless steel acupuncture needles of 0.25 x 40 mm were used. Manual acupuncture techniques were used at each acupoint to elicit a deqi sensation. Acupuncture needles were subsequently retained for 30 minutes. Acupuncture treatments were given five times per week over the four week treatment period. No adverse events occurred and all patients involved in the study completed the treatment course.

Zhang, Yong, Kuang-shi Li, Hong-wei Liu, Cai-hong Fu, Sheng Chen, Zhong-jian Tan, and Yi Ren. "Acupuncture treatment modulates the resting-state functional connectivity of brain regions in migraine patients without aura." Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine (2015): 1-9.

Lo MY, Lin JG, Wei OM, Sun WZ. Cerebral hemodynamic responses to acupuncture in migraine patients: a systematic review. J Tradit Complement Med 2013;3:213-220.

Zhao L, Qin W, Liu JX, Fang L, Dong MH, Zhang FW, et al. Two sets of acupoint combination of similar functions engage shared neural representation: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Chin J Integr Med 2014;20:184-193. - See more at:

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Guidelines for Healthy Eating...

- Eat local, organic and seasonal when possible
- Plan ahead, carry food, be prepared
- Eat small frequent meals to sustain energy and blood sugar levels   throughout the day
- Eat as many vegetables as possible
- Eat lean proteins
- Minimize grains
- Eat foods rich in EFA
- Eat in a relaxed atmosphere and manner
- Eat when hungry, stop when satisfied
- Drink good water

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