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Sleeping Problems


Acupuncture for Sleeping Disorders

Nothing is worse than not sleeping well. That is what I hear every day from people who suffer from insomnia. When we can’t sleep well, nothing is right. We are tired, moody, irritable, our muscles are stiff, our head hurts, we can hardly think or function. Furthermore, lack of adequate sleep can cause serious health problems. Most doctors now believe that chronic insomnia brings on the symptoms of fibromyalgia and contributes to cardiovascular stress, not to mention the countless car accidents caused by people falling asleep at the wheel.

Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) have different approaches to insomnia. To Western doctors, treating chronic insomnia, the usual response is sleeping pills or anti-depressants. Sleeping disorders are more common than people think, this is one problem that is very successfully treated with acupuncture.

Chinese Medical Theory

In TCM, (Traditional Chinese Medicine) a primary concept is the idea of “root and branch.” Symptoms like insomnia are considered to be the branches of a disease. The root of the disease is a dysfunction or imbalance of the fundamental substances of Chinese medicine which include Qi (energy) (pronounced chi), blood, yin, yang, jing, and Shen, or of the major organ systems like the lungs, heart, spleen, liver, and kidneys. When a person suffers from insomnia, the two organs most often out of balance are the Heart and the Liver. Each of these two organs houses a specific aspect of the spirit. If these organs are out of balance, they will not be able to house the spirit properly, and the spirit will wander causing lucid dreaming and restlessness. TCM (Traditional Chines Medicine) although a very complex medical system, it had its origins in ancient Taoism, and before that in Shamanism. Therefore, there is a spiritual consciousness built into TCM theory. A wandering spirit, or Shen disturbance, can manifest in a number of ways, including mood disorders and heart palpitations, but insomnia is one of the commonest symptoms. Insomnia is only a symptom of stress and anxiety, only by treating the underlying stress will lead to a reduction in the insomnia.

The Shen (spirit)

According to Traditionl Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, insomnia is associated with agitation of the Shen. Shen is a form of Qi (energy), It is the “lightest”, least substantial and least stable form of Qi. Shen plays a role in the higher mental functions associated with the intellect and the spiritual aspects of consciousness. Shen is light and subtle, therefore it must be anchored by the yin aspect of Qi and blood or else it is possible it could “float away” leading to dream disturbed sleep. The ancient Chinese medical text “The Spiritual Axis” states  When the Heart is in excess, one dreams of laughing…When the Heart is deficient, one dreams of mountains, fire, and smoke.” Please don’t be alarmed, this does not mean that there is something physically wrong with the heart, in TCM it is the energy of the organ that is being talked about not its function, the subtle heart energies get disturbed through stress, thats why people with insomnia can also have palpitations. In Chinese medicine, sleep is seen as one’s yang (strong, positive energy) energy moving inward to be enfolded by yin. (deep negative earth energy) Insomnia therefore, is a dysfunction in the interchange of yang entering yin. The Shen must be calm at night and is housed by the heart during sleep. If this is disturbed it will result in disturbed sleep and insomnia. For Shen/heart disturbance I would along with regular acupuncture treatment I would sometimes prescribe the Chinese herbal formula An “Shen” Buxin Wan. Difficulty getting over to sleep is usually related to an excess condition of the Liver or Liver and Gall Bladder. People will lie awake, tossing and turning for hours. Acupuncture points that sooth the liver energy would always be used in these cases of insomnia. The Chinese herbal formula Xiao Yao Wan combined with acupuncture would be very effective in clearing excess and stagnant Liver Qi. Stress and anxiety are the root causes of most if not all-sleeping disturbances so lifestyle changes would also have to be considered to compliment the treatments.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has many positive benefits. It is safe (sterile disposable needles are always used), it is effective for a wide variety of health problems, and it is free of side effects. It has been scientifically demonstrated that acupuncture has a profound effect on the body’s central nervous system, and can increase levels of several neurotransmitters, including serotonin. Acupuncture promotes natural sleeping patterns, and doesn’t have the hangover effect that most sleeping pills do. If you have been having problems with your sleep, it may be worthwhile to give acupuncture a try before taking heavy-duty medications. If you are currently taking sleeping pills and are bothered by the side effects, consider talking to your Chinese medicine practitioner about alternatives.

Kim- Dip.Ac. Lic.Ac. C.Ac. China MQP is a registered licensed practitioner of Chinese Medicine. Treatments are VHi,  LAYA,  Irish Life and HSF Healthplan approved.

E mail  kim@naturalhealthireland.com or write to the Natural Health Centre, Millfield, Buncrana, Tel. 074/9362606, From North 00353749362606 or to the The Traditional Chinese Medical Practice, 5 Academy Court, Oliver Plunkett Rd., Letterkenny, Tel. 0863981882, from North 00353863981882. Visit the Website www.naturalhealthireland.com

Understanding Chinese Medicine and why you should try it

Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM for short is an umbrella name for all the different Chinese therapies which include Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, Moxibustion, Cupping, Tuina (Chinese Massage), Medical Qi Qong and Tai Chi. When we talk about treatment using Chinese Medicine we are referring to one or two or more of the above therapies. If we are talking about someone receiving Chinese Medicine we are not meaning that they have just been given Chinese Herbs, but that they may have received one or more of the above therapies including or maybe not including herbs.

Traditional acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of Qi (pronounced “chee”) and Xue (blood) through distinct meridians or pathways that cover the body somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels do. There is nothing more fundamental to Chinese medicine than understanding the concept of Qi. Qi has variously been translated as “vital energy” or “life force”; however, it is impossible to capture the concept fully in one English word or phrase. Qi has best been described by Ted Kaptchuk a well-respected Western practitioner of Chinese medicine as “matter on the verge of becoming energy, or energy at the point of materialising.”

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is the insertion of fine sterile needles into the body at specific points shown to be effective in the treatment of specific health problems and diseases. These points are chosen according to the individual needs of the patient and which symptoms and sign that they present with at the clinic. The essence of Chinese medicine lies in the skill of the practitioner in modifying and fine tuning the treatment in order to match the characteristics and variations in a patient’s disharmony. Acupuncture points lie on the network of meridians and cover most of the body. Recently electromagnetic research has confirmed their location. In a healthy state energy or Qi flows freely through these meridians, but when a person has a disease or illness this energy flow becomes blocked or interrupted creating disharmony plus the resulting symptoms and signs of a particular disease. Acupuncture and herbs allow Qi to flow to areas where it is Deficient and away from where it is in Excess. In this way, they regulate and restore the harmonious energetic balance of the body thus eliminating the disease.

China

When I was studying in China there were great innovations taking place regarding researching new methods and ways to apply acupuncture, one of the things I frequently saw whilst working in the hospitals was the acupuncture doctors injecting the blood moving herb Dan Shen directly into the acupuncture points, this seemed to work really well in all sorts of problems but especially with stiffness and frozen shoulder. Dan Shen is a great herb, it’s mostly used in circulation problems, and it invigorates blood, removes stagnant blood from bruised tissue, opens the vessels, regulates the Qi in the blood and stops pain it’s also used to lower cholesterol. There are research centers of excellence in China entirely devoted to finding new methods and experimenting with Chinese medicine. Even though acupuncture is an ancient art it is still being developed and advanced.

Western Medicine

Advocates of Western Medicine and some Western doctors often denigrate Chinese Medicine and argue that it is not “scientific.” The illusion that has been fostered in the 21th century Western world is that anything ”scientific” or “newly discovered” must be superior to everything that came before it, that the only knowledge of value is knowledge derived during the past 50 years. In reality, medicine that has little effect and doesn’t improve a patients symptoms will disappear from the market place in a very short time simply because it doesn’t work. If a treatment is ineffective, it will not be continued. Of the 5000 new drugs unleashed on the public every year 4000 of them have to be withdrawn after 5 years because of adverse side effects. Any Chinese herbal treatment or healing system that has existed for several thousand years is effective and has proven its effectiveness in the experience of thousands – if not millions- of patients and doctors. This is a far tougher standard than the testing of a few hundred people or rats in a laboratory. Western Medicine or Allopathic Medicine as it is sometimes called is still in its infancy compared to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Western Medicine as we know it came into being in Germany at the end of the 19th Century, a little more than a hundred years ago. While there has been much progress and tremendous innovation, Western Medicine is still a young and evolving science; Traditional Chinese Medicine on the other hand is based on thousands of years of experience and study.

Acupuncture a Great Treatment for Stress

Stress and anxiety are now very common ailments in today’s overly fast moving world. There is a very large gap between what’s expected from you from society and what you really want to do and be. In today’s failing monetary system we have financial pressures, the like that we have never seen before in the past , and the various TV media, whose only interest is in making money and pushing political agendas , no matter what the cost, unfortunately dictate and push today’s fast way of life where everything is a commodity and everything is disposable. The continual bombardment of our senses to make money and look after number one and to succeed at all costs creates an inner conflict planting the seeds of discontentment; this mind-set is what leads to the rapidly rising suicide rates all over the world.  Panic and depression set in whenever a person cannot measure up to a perceived sense of worth and achievement. This illusion of happiness which a lot of people cannot achieve but continue to strive for does not come from within ourselves but rather is dictated to us by society through television and advertising, they want us all to look the same, its called fashion and behave in a certain way, as a form of control. If it were true that wealth could solve all the world’s problems then there surely is enough in the world to make this happen and there certainly would not be any stress at all. So the real truth about yourself should come within yourself and not from the box on the wall or some magazine, this is why Acupuncture, Yoga ,Tai Chi, Meditation,  Qi Qong, and Herbal Medicine would all be good systems to get into in order to get in touch with and find the real inner self, where true happiness resides.

Chinese Medicine and Stress

So what can we do? The answer lies in the age-old wisdom that is “Chinese medicine”. When stress strikes, the body’s energy flow what the Chinese call “chi” (Qi) is impeded. Acupuncture is based on the concept of maintaining balance and harmony within the body by facilitating the flow of life energy in it. When chi/Qi (life energy) inside the body becomes stagnant and congested all kinds of mental and physical illness will follow. In order to restore chi distribution, fine painless needles are inserted into acupoints along the meridians (energy pathways) of the body. According to the science of acupuncture there are more than 350 acupoints on the meridians of the body. Stress and depression is one of the most common factors involved in blocking this energy flow leading to most diseases including cancer. Its always a good policy to have regular acupuncture treatments in order to keep you healthy and stress free.

Restoring the Balance in the Mind

Constant stress causes the disruption of the body’s energy flow causing all sorts of disorders like high blood pressure, migraine headaches, neck and shoulder pain, palpitations, insomnia, ibs, thyroid problems, etc etc, Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can and will restore this energy flow taking away the dreaded down feelings associated with the stress and depression. Prolonged chronic stress and depression unchecked for many years could lead to more serious diseases like cancer and heart disease and chronic insomnia. Much back and shoulder pain and stiffness can also be coming from stress because if the bodys energy is not flowing at its optimal then joint pain and stifness can be the result. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can provide a safe and effective tool for stress and depression as well as all associated aches and pains like headaches. The Chinese herbal formula Xiao Yao Wan is an excellent formula for relieving stress when combined with regular acupuncture treatments. It will not, of course, change the circumstances of a person’s life but it will induce a deep and profound relaxation which gets to the very core of their being producing a very strong feeling of well-being lifting the panic and stressful feelings. The practitioner can help restore balance and thus protect health by identifying each individual’s unique energy profile to see where the weak spots are and where support is needed to restore balance. Acupuncture for stress can and will open a window of opportunity. As the heavy feelings of stress are relieved, a person feels more confidence in his/her ability to cope with the unpleasant aspects of his/her life situation and should then maybe be in a place to make the necessary changes. It’s very hard to make lifestyle changes while in the throes of a stressful downward spiral. Acupuncture is a very important and effective first step on the road to recovering from stress. But above all else acupuncture is a tried and tested natural form of medicine, free from the ghastly side effects associated with Western medicine and drugs.

The Dangers of Fluoride in Drinking Water Part 2

The Dangers of Fluoride in Drinking Water Part 2

Following on from last weeks article, we will explore the solutions and things you can do to help get this poision out of our drinking water. If you missed last weeks part 1 you can find it on the www.naturalhealthireland.com website.

Mass Medication

The FDA in America has classified fluoride as a drug. People have a choice whether or not to take a drug, so  the Irish people are simply being mass medicated against their will. This must be stopped! Where you ever asked for your consent to be medicated?. Ireland has been fluoridating the water supplies since 1964. “Since then fluoride has never once been tested for safety to assess its impact on human health, even though under the 1960 water fluoridation health act, the government are required to test for possible adverse health effects. Doses of the fluoride drug/chemical into the body cannot be controlled, for example an athelete will drink more water than the average person, and what about someone who drinks vasts amount of tea on a daily basis?, and babies who totally rely on fluid, are people being more damaged in the summer time when fluid intake is higher? are some people being “OVERDOSED?” I think the common sense answer to this question is a resounding “YES”!. As  far back as 2007 a Donegal survey  by Dr Peter Mansfield into the fluoride levels of 32 subjects, concluded that only nine people tested within a safe intake with one urine sample being four times higher than what is regarded as safe, while four others were twice the limit. Read full report here- http://www.derryjournal.com/news/levels-of-fluoride-in-inishowen-water-unsafe-1-2116696

Food

Fluoride is not just in the water but in every food and drink product that is made using tap water in Ireland, as well as in most toothpaste. The level of fluoride in drinking water in Ireland has been set at between 0.6-0.8 parts per million (PPM) nearly one part per million, studies have shown this to be not a safe level. But apart from that simply put “there are no safe levels”, this chemical waste product should not be ingested by the human body at all in any doses whatsoever.

In an interview with Vin Byrne on Peoples Internet Radio  http://peoplesinternetradio.com, Aisling Fitzgibbon a young Kerry woman who donned the mantle “The Girl Against Fluoride” to raise awareness spoke about some of the fluoride levels in some Irish products that she got tested in a private laboratory in Co. Louth. Cheese came in at an astounding  29 PPM, Cider at 9 PPM, Oats 3 PPM and butter at 5 PPM. Listen to the podcast here- http://podcaststorage.weebly.com/uploads/1/2/8/9/12897302/pod-joe-murphy-aisling-fitzgibbon.mp3 Most Irish brewed beers and stout are also brewed in fluoridated water. There are astoundingly high levels of flouride in foods simply because tap water is being used in the production. I wonder how this is tolerated in Europe? exported Irish products are saturated with flouride while it is banned in most of Europe and there is an EU directive already in place against food prepared in fluoridated water. Is it a coincidence that there are many more cancers and diseases around today that never existed years ago? Is there a connection? Well the precautionaly principle needs to be exercised here, avoid fluoride as best you can until it is removed.

Solutions

If you want to get involved in trying to get Fluoride removed from your drinking water or you just want to protect youself and your family well there are many solutions.

1)      STOP DRINKING TAP WATER asap!! Fit a reverse osmosis filter or get a water distiller unit to remove fluoride, ordinary water filters wont do it. Dont cook food in tap water.

2)      CARRY WATER FROM A WELL, or buy water, there is a good well in Burt on main Letterkenny Road , and at the Youth Club in Buncrana.

3)      USE A FLUORIDE FREE TOOTHPASTE and do not use tap water to make formula milk for bottle fed babies.

4)      LOBBY YOUR LOCAL COUNCILLORS AND TD’S to get fluoride removed as a matter of urgency, and educate them to the unknown dangers of having this in the drinking water. While the government are  trying to introduce water charges, this may be the ideal time to demand getting fluoride out and ask yourself the question why would you pay for something that can and will harm you?

5)      START YOUR OWN LOCAL ANTI-FLUORIDE GROUP, keep yourself informed “do your own research”, keep in touch with like minded people by joining  the Facebook page “Freedom from Fluoride” and help Aisling Fitzgibbon  who is taking legal action on behalf of the Irish people against the Irish government on the fluoride issue. She is trying to raise money to help with costs YOU CAN DONATE HERE- http://thegirlagainstfluoride.com/Aisling_fitzgibbon.html

Kim- Dip.Ac. Lic.Ac. C.Ac. China MQP is a registered licensed practitioner of Chinese Medicine. Treatments are VHi,  LAYA healthcare (formally Quinn), Hibernian Health (Vivas) and HSF Healthplan approved.E mail  kimacupuncture@hotmail.com or write to the Natural Health Centre,Millfield, Buncrana, Tel. 074/9362606, From North 00353749362606 or to the The Traditional Chinese Medical Practice, 5 Academy Court, Oliver Plunkett Rd., Letterkenny, Tel. 0863981882, from North 00353863981882. Visit the Website www.naturalhealthireland.com