Archive for tag: tcm

The Tongue and Your Health

If you have never had acupuncture or herbal treatments, the intern or clinician always asks to see your tongue. I still have regular patients that I see in the main clinic in Lombard who think the practice of sticking out their tongue for five seconds is very silly and awkward, but it is a necessary diagnostic tool in Chinese medicine.

In fact, the tongue is one of the most important diagnostic areas in ancient medical traditions. Your tongue, containing water, electrolytes, mucus, and enzymes, is a very sensitive organ and its appearance changes with many physical changes in the body. In TCM, the tongue represents the organs in in our body, for example the tip of your tongue represents the Heart and Lung, the sides of the Liver and Gallbladder. 

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Have you are ever curious about what your tongue looks like? Wonder if you're coming down with a cold? Stick out your tongue and say "Ah!" Or at least give it a glance. Get in front of the mirror and look at your tongue right now. What does your tongue look like? Here is what you want to see: A normal tongue should be pink, muscular without tooth marking or discoloration, and have a very thin clear coating.

When I exam patients' tongues I am looking at the color of the tongue, texture, and if there is a coating on the tongue (usually white, yellow, black, or clear) or no coating. I look at the tip, both sides of the tongue and back of the tongue. In addition, I ask patients to show me the underneath of their tongue where sublingual veins are located.

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I always advise patients not to brush their tongue if they think they are coming into the clinic. The reason for this is because I need to see the tongue's true physical state. If you brush your tongue, it is physically altered, and this will affect the accuracy of the tongue diagnosis.

Your tongue is one of the easiest ways to check your health status.

Thank you for you continued support of the AOM Blog! Have a wonderful week and stay dry!

Summertime and Acupuncture

Summer is slowly approaching. What does this mean? Summertime is a season full of energy, heat, longer daylight, and sunny days. Summer is the season of yang, a time when the body undergoes vigorous metabolic (body energy) processes. 

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Cherry Tree

According to TCM, summer is yang as mentioned earlier, but summer is also based on the five elements. Summer is fire, color is red, emotion is joy, and the organ associated with fire is heart and small intestine. Fire is symbolic because in TCM it is the maximum activity or greatest yang, which means that it is a time of heat, outgoingness, and moving outward in nature and in our lives. In human anatomy, the heart, mind, and spirit are ruled by the fire element. We should give greatest focus on our heart, mind, and spirit for staying healthy in summer. 

It is important to make sure our body is balance during the summertime. When we are balanced in the summertime, our heart is strong and healthy, the mind is calm and sleep is sound. But if we are not balanced in summertime we create an imbalance in the fire element, which may cause either lack of joy (depression) or an excess of joy (mania). Indicators of an imbalance in the fire element include agitation, nervousness, heartburn, and insomnia. 

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Cherry tree in bloom

Dia's Helpful Tips for the Summertime (Yang)

  1. Eat more cooling foods, such as watermelon, cucumbers, mint, dill, seaweed, broccoli, cantaloupe, sprouts, bamboo, asparagus, lemon, peaches. Eat more fish and seafood.
  2. Drink plenty of water.
  3. Eat in moderation and stay away greasy heavy foods.
  4. Wear lighter and brighter colors with lighter fabrics, for example linen and cottons.
  5. Go to bed later at night and wake up early.
  6. Yin Tang, otherwise known as the hall of impressions, I also heard referred to as the "third eye."This point is located in the middle of forehead centered between your eyes. This powerful point, which is used to calm the mind, enhances one's ability to focus, soothe emotions, promote sleep, and relieve depression. If you don't have time to come see us at the Whole Health Center in Lombard, I also instruct patients to treat themselves by tapping Yin Tang 100 times a day with the index or middle finger.

Thank you for your continued support of the AOM blog. Have a great week!

Fertility and TCM

If you, a friend, a family member, or a patient is trying to become pregnant, you may want to consider acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. The enhancement of fertility has been at the heart of Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 5,000 years, and there has been great success with acupuncture and herbal medicine treating infertility. Below are real patient's questions that I have been asked in the clinic regarding fertility support. 

How does acupuncture improve fertility?

Acupuncture causes a reduction of stress hormones and a release of endorphins that produce a profound state of relaxation. Research has shown that women with elevated stress levels have significantly lower pregnancy rates. Regular acupuncture treatments result in the correction of the body's neuro-endocrinological activity resulting in hormonal regulation and balance. The insertion of needles in specific acupoints in the body increases ovarian and uterine blood flow. This increased flow stimulates ovulation and enhances growth of the uterine lining. Acupuncture supports implantation and growth of the embryo during the very crucial initial stages of fetal development. 

Photo of Fuke acupuncture points
Fuke 11.24 (Tung's Point)

How does herbal therapy improve fertility?

Herbs work to nourish and strengthen the body; assimilation of critical nutrients supports a healthy pregnancy. The quality of ovarian eggs and the thickness of the uterine lining are dependent on adequate nutrition. When present in the reproductive area, inflammation creates yet another obstacle to fertility, so acupuncturists prescribe specific herbs to reduce inflammation. Lastly, other select herbs are effectively used to regulate and balance hormone levels. 

Can TCM also help with infertility in men?

Yes, Traditional Chinese Medicine is commonly used to increase and improve the quality, motility and quantity of sperm. Since male infertility accounts for over 40% of infertility issues in couples, male partners are encouraged to partake in regular treatments to address potential sperm issues. Strengthening the male partner increases the odds of pregnancy. I often encourage couples to come in together for fertility support. 

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Huanchao 11.06 (Tung's acupuncture)

Word to the Wise: Please be careful when treating women patients who are trying to get pregnant or have history of miscarriage; avoid acupuncture points ST12, GB21, LI4, SP6, UB60, UB67. These are very strong points that move the qi and blood. I often use these points: DU20, Zigong, Fuke 11.24 (Tung's point), Huanchao 11.06 (Tung's acupuncture) and sometimes auricular points in the ear uterus, endocrine, ovary, LV, KD, depending on the patient. I also remind fertility patient's that consistency is the key to successful fertility support along with a healthy balanced diet and exercises, such as Qi Gong and Tai Chi. In addition, I ask patient's to create a menses calendar to track their menstruation cycle and ovulation cycle.

Thanks for continuing to support of AOM blog. Remember spring is near!