Saturday, July 28, 2012

All About Headaches

In this infographic you’d find everything you need to know about headaches.
Almost all of us have had a headache at some time with different causes .
Besides medication options, you can find 8 easy remedies for headache in this infographic.

Also this poster shows the common locations of headaches.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Printed from
07/20/2012 07:25:22 pm
Acupuncture for Athletes
By: Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM

All athletes and coaches are involved in an ongoing search for ways to improve performance and gain a competitive edge over their rivals. Many are finding that acupuncture can often provide that edge.

By following the principles of Oriental medicine, an acupuncture treatment can strengthen body function and restore internal harmony and balance. Professional sports teams and top athletes regularly have an acupuncturist on staff to treat injuries and keep them performing at their peak.

Some of the best Olympic athletes are incorporating acupuncture into their wellness programs. China's most popular sportsman, the 7 foot 6 inch China basketball center, Yao Ming, used acupuncture and Oriental medicine to help him recover after undergoing surgery on his ankle in April, 2007.

Chinese swimmer, Wang Qun, was photographed doing some last minute training in Beijing with round marks on her back from a traditional Chinese medicine treatment. The marks on the swimmer's back were caused by cupping. Cupping is a technique in which a glass cup or bamboo jar is suctioned onto the body. It is used to relieve muscle pain, especially back pain from stiffness or injury; and to clear congestion in the chest, which can occur with common colds and influenza.

Studies on Acupuncture to Enhance Athletic Performance

Studies have shown that acupuncture has measurable effects on the flow of blood to certain areas of the body, which could in turn boost athletic performance. One such study conducted at the Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine involved athletes running 5,000 meters, and then sitting for acupuncture treatments before they had a chance to catch their breath. The heart rates of the athletes who received the treatments recovered more quickly than those in the control group.

Another study published in the American Journal of Acupuncture measured the effects of acupuncture on anaerobic threshold and work capacity during exercise in healthy young males. Researchers found that individuals in the acupuncture treatment group had higher maximal exercise capacity and were able to perform higher workloads at the onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA) than individuals in the placebo group. The individuals that received acupuncture also had lower heart rates.

A recent study published in the January, 2008 issue of the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine examined the effects of acupuncture on cyclists. Twenty young (between 18 and 30 years of age) male cyclists underwent three tests per week, riding a stationary bike for 20 kilometers as fast as possible. The volunteers were divided into three groups that either received acupuncture, sham acupuncture or no acupuncture. Acupuncture points were chosen on the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine and administered immediately before cycling. Sham acupuncture was shallow needling of known acupoints. Not only did the study show that the group that received acupuncture had a higher RPE scores compared to the other tests. The men receiving the real acupuncture treatments completed their cycling tests at a higher acceleration than the others.

Acupuncture is well known for its effectiveness in reducing most types of pain, including sports-related injuries.

Acupuncture can be used to help decrease swelling, spasms and inflammation. Additionally, it can be used to control pain, increase range of motion and help promote healing. Because of its broad range of applications, acupuncture can be used during any of the phases of injury. The focus is not only to treat the injury but also to treat any underlying conditions that may predispose an individual to injuries. This is especially important when treating chronic or recurrent injuries that interfere with life activities or athletic performance.

Injuries occurring from sports are mostly due to trauma or overuse syndromes involving the musculoskeletal system and its soft tissues. Trauma to these soft tissues, including ligaments, tendons and muscles are generally the result from falls, blows, sprains/strains, collisions, compressions crushing and disruptions of the healing processes due to inflammation.

Some Commonly Treated Sports Injuries:
  • Muscle Pull
  • Neck Pain
  • Shoulder Impingement
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Lower Back Strain
  • Groin Pull
  • Hamstring Strain
  • Runner's Knee
  • Shin Splints
  • Ankle Sprain
  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Arch Pain

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ear Acupuncture for Addictions, emotional trauma and much more - Used at Driftwood Acupuncture all the time

The Use of Acupuncture in Addiction Treatment Programs

Posted: 07/16/2012 8:52 am

Huff Post

Dr. Michael O. Smith

Acupuncture is a traditional method of health care that has been practiced in China and other parts of Asia for 2,000 years using a textbook that is still used today.
Acupuncture is based on the correlation of individual locations and superficial "energy" phenomenon of the body with health supportive functions of our body.
It is taught and licensed throughout the U.S.

Many popular alternative healing methods are based on similar principles, such as: acupressure, reflexolgy, reiki, shiatsu, and Qi Gong. Micro-acupuncture uses points on a small part of the body that also shows correlations with balancing and restorative functions. Points on the feet, hands, scalp, and especially the ear are used in this regard.

More than 2,000 drug and alcohol treatment programs in the U.S. and 40 other countries have added ear acupuncture to their protocol.

This development is based on the 35-year experience of Lincoln Hospital (Bronx, N.Y.), which delivered 100 acupuncture treatments per day as part of its comprehensive substance disorder program.
The nationally-recognized Miami Drug Court is an outgrowth of the Lincoln experience.
Acupuncture provides a foundation for recovery and psycho-social rehabilitation. It is a supportive component of a substance abuse treatment as well as in enabling job readiness.

Several characteristics of acupuncture enhance overall functioning:
1. As a non-verbal intervention, it helps in reaching resistant patients.
2. It reduces anxiety and agitation while facilitating calm and receptive behavior.
3. It helps develop an inner meditative core in even the most troubled and fearful persons.

Ear acupuncture is the common technique used.
Treatments are generally given in large groups where patients sit together quietly for 45 minutes. This process is called the National Acupuncture Detoxication Association (NADA) protocol.
Many jurisdictions have laws that allow a wide range of clinical personnel to be trained to use the NADA protocol in state-approved facilities by those fully licensed. States that do not have this provision, such as Florida and California, have very few NADA programs in comparison with states like Virginia and New York, who have these standards. NADA training involves sterile precautions and integration with social services. Apprenticeship training is always necessary.

The 21st century has brought a remarkable expansion in the use of the NADA protocol.
Post-trauma treatments were given to community members after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Treatments for firemen have been permanently introduced in both cities. NADA protocol acupuncture is now used in 130 prisons in England. Correction officers provide all of the treatments under a five-year training contract by Smart-UK. In fact, the jail program was expanded because of an 80 percent reduction in violent incidents. NADA has been used for stress and suicidality by thousands of military personnel in India.

NADA acupuncture has changed the face of psychiatric hospital care in Northern Europe.
Three thousand nurses have been trained in 100 different public facilities. They report much less use of seclusion and benzodiazepine medication. Refugee services in war torn areas have been particularly impressive.

The DARE program in Thailand has provided ear acupuncture for many years with a dozen different Burmese tribes in border camps.
NADA was introduced during a two-week training sponsored by the Real Medicine Foundation in refugee camps in East Africa in May 2008. After one year, 29,000 treatments had been provided by the refugee trainees. Support was provided for survivors of a violent land dispute and for the soldiers guarding them.

Magnetic beads have been used to treat children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders, night tremors, bed wetting, and violence-prone adolescents. Successful reports have been submitted from the U.S., Germany, England, Ireland, and the Philippines. This technique is in the early stage of evaluation.

The ear acupuncture protocol is safe and inexpensive with an obvious potential for wider usage in the psychiatric field. The research and development of this technique has been done entirely in the public sector.

Bullock ML, Culliton PC, Olander RT (1989, June 24). Controlled trial of acupuncture for severe recidivistic alcoholism. The Lancet, 1435-1439.
Carter KO, Olshan-Perlmutter M, Norton HJ, Smith MO (2011). NADA Acupuncture Prospective Trial in Patients with Substance Use Disorders and Seven Common Health Symptoms. Journal of Medical Acupuncture, 23(3): 131-135.
Shwartz M, Saitz R, Mulvey K, Brannigan P (1999). The value of acupuncture detoxification programs in a substance abuse treatment system. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 17(4): 305-312.
Smith MO, Brewington V, and Culliton P (1998). Acupuncture in addiction treatment. In Sherman, B. R., Sanders, L.M., Trinh, C. (Eds.) Addiction and Pregnancy: Empowering Recovery Through Peer Counseling. Praeger Publishing.
Yarberry M (2010). The Use of the NADA Protocol for PTSD in Kenya. German Journal of Acupuncture and Related Techniques. 53(4): 6-11.
Wen HL. Cheng SYC (1973). Treatment of drug addiction by acupuncture and electrical stimulation. Asian Journal of Medicine, 9:138-141.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Some Natural Remedies to help with sleep problems as seen on Dr. OZ's pages - It mentions some commonly used Chinese Hebal formulas as well as Pumpkin seeds and Dandelion amongst others. See previous post about Pumpkin seeds.

By Pina LoGiudice ND, LAc and Peter Bongiorno ND, LAc 
Directors of Inner Source Health

What to Eat for Deep Sleep

Sleep problems, known as insomnia, are some of the most common health complaints, with about 30% of people who would say their sleep is problematic. Ten percent of the population has insomnia (1). Technically, insomnia is defined as having significant problems falling and/or staying asleep for at least one month, and these problems can cause us trouble with daily life and stop us from feeling our best.

Why Do We Need Sleep?

Sleep problems make it hard for our bodies to repair, detoxify, lose weight, balance blood sugar and digest. Studies have also shown inadequate sleep lowers natural killer cells, which are the immune cells that fight cancer (2). One study suggests that our ability to fight viruses like the common cold decreases 300% when we get less than 7 hours of sleep (3).

Do Sleeping Pills Increase My Risk of Death?

In 2008, over 56 million sleeping medications were prescribed in the US (4), and most experts believe the stress from worldwide economic challenges have only increased these numbers. While these pills can help us fall and stay asleep, it is known that these medications do not allow the body to fall into the deep phases of sleep that allow for the best health benefits sleep can give us. It is also well-known that all of these medications have the risk of dependence and withdrawal effects, which can make them hard to stop using.

Most alarmingly, a large study of 30,000 people published in the February 2012 issue of the British Medical Journal found a 300% increase in death in people who took fewer than 18 sleeping pills a year. Higher doses were linked to a greater than 500% increase in death. The authors of this study concluded that these sleeping drugs “may have been associated with 320,000 to 507,000 excess deaths in the USA alone.”(5)

Naturopathic Sleep Solutions

In our clinic, we have found excellent results for insomnia. Since nighttime is often a time when our busy days of work, stress and distraction finally wind down, we believe the nighttime may be the first chance your brain has to process your life and the day.
At this time, thoughts race through and can keep up us up. Keeping nighttime rituals, including getting to bed at the same time (preferably between 10 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.), using orange lighting 1 hour before bed, shutting down all computers, cell phones and bright lights, as well as sipping calming herbal teas, like chamomile and linden, can be very helpful.

Temporarily, we may also recommend natural sleep aids such as melatonin, tryptophan, valerian or some calming aids like passionflower and theanine to help reset your body rhythms.

Chinese formulas like Bu Nao Wan or Suan Zao Ren Tang can help calm the mind and induce healthy sleep.

Foods for Deep Sleep

Food can be a strong support in the quest for a good night’s sleep. Some insomnia sufferers wake at night because their blood sugar drops too low. Adequate protein and healthy fat intake can help stabilize blood sugar through the night, and allow the liver to let out stored sugar molecules as needed for a good night’s sleep. Foods can also support the healthy production of brain neurotransmitters and create calming results in the body.

Here are the most common sleep scenarios and some of our favorite food solutions for sleep.

Problem: Trouble Falling Asleep
Solution: Montmorency Tart Cherries
 The Montmorency cherry is a type of sour cherry. The color is not as dark as the cherries we typically see in the stores. These cherries are great because they have about 6 times the amount of melatonin than a regular cherry. If you can find a cherry juice concentrate, this will also increase the concentration of melatonin even more.

Melatonin is a hormone produced in your brain’s pineal gland. When it gets dark outside, your eyes sense the lighting change and starts making this hormone, which communicates to your body that it is time to prepare to sleep. Melatonin helps maintain your daily body rhythms, and is an important antioxidant in the body known to fight cancer. In fact, low amounts are shown to increase risk of cancer.

You can find these special cherries in some fine food stores when they are in season. Sometimes they can be found in the frozen section, or look for a Montmorency cherry juice concentrate.

Problem: Trouble Staying Asleep?
Solution: Pumpkin Seed Powder
Pumpkin seeds and the powder from pumpkin seeds have relatively high amounts of the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is the amino acid the body uses to make the feel-good and relaxation neurotransmitter serotonin.  Pumpkin seeds also contain high amounts of zinc, which can help the brain convert tryptophan into serotonin. Serotonin levels are typically low in people who cannot stay asleep and wake throughout the night.

It is best to take about 1 cup of seeds or ½ cup of the powder with applesauce or another healthy carbohydrate; the carbohydrate allows the tryptophan to get into the brain in higher amounts.

Problem: Occasional Trouble Winding Down to Fall Asleep
Solution: Pulque
Still relatively unfamiliar to most of us, pulque is an thousand-year-old native Mexican milk-colored alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant (a type of agave), and it is high in melatonin. This drink is a bit more frothy and less alcoholic than its modern beer counterpart. While it is an age-old drink, it is becoming quite trendy these days.

Due to its melatonin content and alcohol content, it functions as a relaxant that can help someone unwind in the evening and prepare for sleep. As such, it is best to have after dinner. It should not be used by anyone with a history or tendency for alcoholism and should not be ingested by minors or pregnant women. We also do not recommend it as a daily solution – just an occasional one.

Problem: Nervous Exhaustion and Sleeplessness
Solution: Scottish Oatmeal
A favorite breakfast food, oatmeal is really a cereal grain made from the herb Avena sativa. Avena is known in traditional herbal medicine as a calming plant that is nutritious for a frazzled nervous system. We often recommend regular intake of oatmeal to help our patients’ bodies cope with long-term stressors more effectively.  

Oats contain melatonin and complex carbohydrates that can help more tryptophan get into the brain to help you sleep. It also contains vitamin B6, a vitamin which is a co-factor that helps more serotonin get produced in the brain as well.

While you might think of oatmeal only as a breakfast food, it also is a smart choice for a bedtime snack. The Scottish recommend a bowl of oatmeal in the evening to get you feeling nice and sleepy. 

Problem: Hormonal Issues With Sleep Problems
Solution: Dandelion 
Dark green leafy vegetables have more nutrients than we will probably ever completely understand. While dandelion is not traditionally known as a sleep-inducing food, we have found using the liver-cleansing properties of dandelion to be a valuable aid in helping sleep.

A healthy liver will balance blood sugar. Blood sugar fluctuations and drops are a major factor in insomnia and waking at night. Hormonal issues, especially in perimenopause and post-menopause can also stop a woman from obtaining a good night’s sleep. In Chinese medicine, foods like dandelion can help balance the liver and nourish the yin, which ultimately strengthens the function of the blood, fluids and hormonal balance.

We like our dandelion as part of a good dinner. We often steam or blanch the dandelion first, then sauté with garlic and organic extra virgin olive oil.


There are many causes of poor sleep and regular sleep problems can hurt our overall health. Medications can help us get to sleep, but carry a high risk. Long-term healthy solutions include balancing blood sugar, creating healthy sleep rituals, and can include using foods like pumpkin seed, oatmeal, dandelion, Montmorency cherries and an occasional pulque. Nighty night.

1. M Irwin, A Mascovich, JC Gillin, R Willoughby, J Pike and TL Smith Partial sleep deprivation reduces natural killer cell activity in humans Psychosomatic Medicine, Vol 56, Issue 6 493-498
2. Sheldon Cohen, William J. Doyle, Cuneyt M. Alper, Denise Janicki-Deverts, Ronald B. Turner, Sleep Habits and Susceptibility to the Common Cold Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(1):62-67.
3. Gallene, D. Sleeping pill use grows as economy keeps people up at night. Los Angeles Times. March 30, 2009.
4. Kripke DF, Langer RD, Kline LE. Hypnotics' association with mortality or cancer: a matched cohort study. BMJ Open. 2012 Feb 27;2(1):e000850.
5. Burkhardt S, Tan DX, Manchester LC, Hardeland R, Reiter RJ. Detection and quantification of the antioxidant melatonin in Montmorency and Balaton tart cherries (Prunus cerasus). J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Oct;49(10):4898-902.

The Remarkable Healing Properties of Pumpkin Seed
Pumpkin seeds, like all edible seeds, pack an immense nutritional  and medicinal punch. After all, they contain future worlds within their compact structure. As Emerson said, "the creation of a thousand forests is within one acorn."
In order to prepare their "babies" for survival outside the pumpkin, Nature equips these seeds with an extremely dense source of organically-bound nutrients, including exceptionally high levels of key, health-promoting minerals.

For example, a one cup serving (64 grams) of pumpkin seeds has 44% daily value (DV) of zinc, 22% of copper, 42% magnesium, 16% manganese, 17% potassium, and enough iron (17% DV) to improve iron-deficiency associated anemia.

But beyond the obvious nutritional virtues of the seed, recent scientific investigations have revealed that pumpkin seed meal, as well as its pressed oil, may have great value in alleviating the following conditions:

Prostate Growth: pumpkin seed has been studied for its ability to inhibit testosterone-induced prostate growth, a common causative factor in benign prostatic hyperplasia.[i] [ii]

Postmenopausal Symptoms: Women supplemented with 2,000 mg of pumpkin seed oil over the course of 12 weeks were found to have reduced blood pressure, increased HDL cholesterol, as well as reduction in the severity of hormone insufficiency associated symptoms, e.g. hot flash, headaches and join pain.[iii] 
Additional experimental research indicates that adverse cardiovascular changes associated with estrogen deficiency, such as blood pressure and lipid abnormalities, can be mitigated with pumpkin seed oil. [iv]

Calcium-Oxalate Kidney Stones: According to a study performed in 1987 and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, children with calcium-oxalate crystals in their urine responded favorably to the supplementation of their diet with pumpkin seeds.[v]

Cardiovascular and Liver Disease: A mixture of flaxseed and pumpkin seed was found to have heart-protective and liver-protective properties in an animal study from 2008 published in the Journal of Food Chemistry & Toxicology.[vi]

Drug & Chemical Toxicity: The protein isolate of pumpkin seed has been shown to alleviate acetaminophen (Tylenol) toxicity on the liver,[vii] and as methotrexate-induced small intestine damage in an animal model.[viii] It has also been studied to protect against carbon tetrachloride-induced liver injury.[ix]

Arthritis: Pumpkin seed oil was found to compare favorably with the NSAID drug indomethacin in an experimental model of arthritis, but without causing liver damage, in a study published in 1995 in the journal of Pharmacological Research.[x]

Hypertension: Animals fed pumpkin seed oil were found to respond more favorably to conventional drug-treatment with Ace-inhibitors and  Calcium Channel Blockers, likely because of its beneficial antioxidant properties.[xi]

Parasites: A preclinical canine study has shown that pumpkin seeds have significant activity against canine intestinal parasites.[xii]

Insomnia/Anxiety:  Pumpkin seeds contain a high level of tryptophan (22mg/gram of pumpkin seed protein), the amino acid precursor to serotonin – which is itself converted to melatonin, the "sleep hormone," in the evening. Research published in 2007 in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology found that when de-oiled pumpkin seed  was taken in combination with glucose, a clinical effect similar to that of pharmaceutical-grade tryptophan was achieved.[xiii]  A 2005 study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience found that pumpkin seed sourced tryptophan in combination with carbohydrate was as effective as pharmaceutical tryptophan in reducing awake time during the night.

These, of course, are only some of the experimentally confirmed beneficial properties of pumpkin seed. Like all foods, there are likely countless properties which within the right context, the right timing, and the right amount, fulfill Hippocrates’ age-old and timelessly true proclamation that food can be our medicine.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

[i] Inhibition of testosterone-induced hyperplasia of the prostate of sprague-dawley rats by pumpkin seed oil.  QJM. 2008 Mar;101(3):167-79. Epub 2008 Jan 25. PMID: 16822218
[ii] Pumpkin seed oil and phytosterol-F can block testosterone/prazosin-induced prostate growth in rats.  Urol Int. 2006;77(3):269-74. PMID: 17033217
[iii] Improvement in HDL cholesterol in postmenopausal women supplemented with pumpkin seed oil: pilot study. Climacteric. 2011 May 5. Epub 2011 May 5. PMID: 21545273
[iv] Supplementation with pumpkin seed oil improves plasma lipid profile and cardiovascular outcomes of female non-ovariectomized and ovariectomized Sprague-Dawley rats. Phytother Res. 2008 Jul;22(7):873-7. PMID: 18567058
[v] The effect of pumpkin seeds on oxalcrystalluria and urinary compositions of children in hyperendemic area.  Am J Clin Nutr. 1987 Jan;45(1):115-21. PMID: 3799495
[vi] Hypolipidemic and hepatoprotective effects of flax and pumpkin seed mixture rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in hypercholesterolemic rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Dec;46(12):3714-20. Epub 2008 Oct 1. PMID: 18938206
[vii] In Vitro antioxidative activity of pumpkin seed (Cucurbita pepo) protein isolate and its In Vivo effect on alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase in acetaminophen-induced liver injury in low protein fed rats. Phytother Res. 2006 Sep ;20(9):780-3. PMID: 16807884
[viii] Protective effect of ellagic acid and pumpkin seed oil against methotrexate-induced small intestine damage in rats. Indian J Biochem Biophys. 2011 Dec ;48(6):380-7. PMID: 22329239
[ix] Effect of pumpkin seed (Cucurbita pepo) protein isolate on the activity levels of certain plasma enzymes in CCl4-induced liver injury in low-protein fed rats.  Phytother Res. 2005 Apr ;19(4):341-5. PMID: 16041732

[x] Effect of pumpkin-seed oil on the level of free radical scavengers induced during adjuvant-arthritis in rats. Pharmacol Res. 1995 Jan;31(1):73-9. PMID: 7784309
[xii] [Preclinical studies of cucurbita maxima (pumpkin seeds) a traditional intestinal antiparasitic in rural urban areas]. Rev Gastroenterol Peru. 2004 Oct-Dec;24(4):323-7. PMID: 15614300
[xiii] Protein-source tryptophan as an efficacious treatment for social anxiety disorder: a pilot study. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2007 Sep;85(9):928-32. PMID: 18066139