Archive for tag: health

Acupuncture and Tourette's Syndrome

This week's blog is about Tourette's Syndrome and acupuncture. I currently have a new patient with Tourette's. I have only seen her twice in the Lombard clinic but I find her case very interesting.

2013-11-12_brainTourette's is an inherited neuropsychiatric disorder, believed to be organic damage to the central nervous system, which is also associated with attention deficit, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Currently, there is no cure for Tourette's, and no medication that works universally for all patients. The medications prescribed have significant adverse effects.

My patient was diagnosed with Tourette's as a young child. She is now 22 years old. She has a dual diagnosis of OCD and anxiety. The patient has very positive outlook. We are working on anxiety, stress and sleep. We are also focusing on muscle jerks and spasm.

2013-11-12_ribbonThere was a very inspiring article I read last week in Acupuncture Today, November 2013 issue, titled "Beating Tourette's Gaining Life." This article talked about Miss Arizona 2013 (also Miss America pageant hopeful) Jennifer Smesthad beating Tourette's. Miss Arizona, like my patient, was diagnosed around age 10 with Tourette's and with the help of herbs and acupuncture controlled the syndrome and brought awareness to Tourette's syndrome.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tourette's syndrome can be understood as Yang excess due to deficient Yin leading to wind. Those show a deficiency in Kidney yin deficiency or Liver yin deficiency leading to Liver yang rising. Acupuncture has a long and successful history in the treatment of the tics, uncontrolled movements, and vocal disturbances of Tourette's syndrome. I hope in the case of my patient, acupuncture can effectively treat her chronic disorder. In other cases, like Miss Arizona and my patient, patients are seeking a better clinical outcome to control and eliminate Tourette's syndrome rather than take western medications.

I used these acupuncture points this week: Buddha triangular on dominant hand, PC6, four gates LI4, LV3, Cv17, Cv14, Yintang, SP6, and St36, KD3, KD6. I cannot wait to see if these points helped my patient this week.

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

9000 Needles

Have you seen the video documentary "9000 Needles"? If you haven't, I highly recommend this video to my patients, friends and family and especially prospective AOM students. Why you ask?

While we watch, the video asks us one powerful question. How far would you go for a fighting chance? The documentary discusses the complicated case of a person named Devin Dearth. He was a healthy 40-year-old married man, a father of three, who suffered a stroke that paralyzed the right side of his body. His case is a complicated one because of his brain stem bleed, which was the cause of his major stroke.


I was moved by this documentary--Devin's determination to fight his way back to a somewhat normal life after his severe stroke and his family's deep seeded love for him and each other. I could not contain my tears of joy and sadness for the Dearth family.

I don't want spoil the documentary but this documentary is not just about Devin Dearth and his family. It also brings to the forefront the importance of integrative medicine and our failing health care system in United States.

What do I mean by failing? The U.S. continues to have the highest cost per capita--twice what other major industrialized countries spend--for health care, and has dropped to last among 19 countries on a measure of mortality amenable to medical care. We spend more and more money with nothing to show for it. We have a number of Americans who have little or no health care insurance. We lack adequate preventive care. We lack appropriate primary care. We allow greedy insurance and pharmaceutical companies to take advantage of our health care system, therefore, taking advantage of us.

I close with this quote:

If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their body will soon be in as sorry a state as the souls who live under tyranny. 
-- Thomas Jefferson

Thank you for your continued support of the AOM blog! Happy 4th of July!

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. 

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. 

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!

Happy New Year


Before we get started on the blog, I want to wish everyone at NUHS a Happy New Year and a Happy Chinese Year of the Snake!. I have some great tips for everyone this week to keep us healthy in the winter season especially if you cannot make it into National's Whole Health Clinic. 

"During the winter months, all things in nature wither, hide, return home, and enter a resting period. This is a time when yin dominates yang."
-- The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Chinese Medicine 

Thinking of Midwest winters, the first thing that pops into our heads is snow, and more snow, more and more snow, and lots more snow (just kidding, but typically true), winter break, family gatherings, overeating, holiday parties, desserts, hot cocoa, puffy coats, and of course, colds and flu. How do we take care of ourselves mentally and physically? I have four lifestyle changes that we can integrate in our daily lives to keep us healthy in the winter season. I also added Chinese nutritional food therapy, which includes a classic herb and cooking spice that we can add to our diets.

Resolutions 500

Keys to Healthy Winter Lifestyle

  1. Exercise
    Even though we naturally slow down during this time, we should still exercise to keep our circulation flowing, immune system strong, muscles stretched, and joints lubricated. Tai Chi and Medical Qi Gong are excellent exercises.
  2. Sleep
    Wintertime is a good time to conserve your energy. This is the time you want to go to bed a little earlier and sleep a little longer. Let your body recharge. Snuggle up with a good book, a pet, or a warm soft blanket, and snooze! 
  3. Meditation
    Give your mind some quiet time. With less stress comes better sleep, which leads to a stronger immune system. Take five minutes minimum daily to sit in complete stillness and quiet--and breathe.

    I also want to recommend the healing sounds. There are six healing sounds that correspond with our organs to rejuvenate energy in our body and bring balance. There are also great YouTube videos and two books that are good reads if you are interesting in learning more about healing sounds: Healing Sounds  by Jonathan Goldman, and Six Healing Sounds: Taoist Techniques for Balancing Chi  by Mantak Chia, that comes with a CD. Dr. Yurasek and John Robertson also teach healing sounds in Medical Qi Gong class here at the National campus in Lombard.
  4. Self-reflection
    The stillness of the winter season is a good time for self-reflection and taking a good look at you. Traditionally, people have made New Year's resolutions in January, which is a form of self-reflection. I have always looked at resolutions as how we can better ourselves in the New Year. Self-reflection is a great tool to use to find the balance and peace we desperately need in our busy lives as students and for our patients.

Cumin: Nutritional Food Therapy Herb 

Gui Zhi Tang is the most important formula in the classical medical text Shang Han Lun, which translated in English means "On Cold Damage" or "Treatise on Cold Injury." This formula can be taken regularly to harmonize your Yin and Yang and to strengthen your immune system. Cumin is a spice that boosts immunity and improves liver function, reduces flatulence and aids in digestion. It is an excellent addition to meat curries, stews, vegetables, seafood, and sauces. 


According to nature, our bodies are meant to slow down and conserve energy during the winter. Times have changed since the times of the Yellow Emperor thousands of years ago in China, but the basic principles should not. Keep in mind winter's wisdom in order to stay healthy throughout the New Year! Remember this is cold and flu season, so prevention is the key. I would recommend herbs and getting acupuncture at least once a week during this cold and flu season will strengthen your immune system. 

Happy New Year and thanks for continuing to support the AOM blog!