Natural remedies for insomnia are a holistic approach for getting a great night’s rest.
Insomnia is a growing problem among people who struggle to fall asleep or who toss and turn throughout the night.
4 Types of Insomnia
Insomnia describes both the common symptoms of poor sleep quality or quantity. But has more recently been expanded to refer to a syndrome which has four basic types:
•Sleep onset insomnia (difficulty falling asleep)
•Seep maintenance insomnia (frequent or long awakenings)
•Sleep offset insomnia (waking too early in the morning)
•Nonrestorative sleep (persistent drowsiness despite adequate sleep duration)
Types of insomnia or sleep disturbance are referred to as transient if symptoms last for no longer than one month and chronic if they persist longer than one month.
Balance in the Body
Regulating the balance between Qi and Xue as well as the equilibrium of Yin and Yang is a frequent way to approach sleep disorders. Unhealthy diet or stress, anxiety and otheremotions are believed to stagnate qi and damage the heart while affecting the spleen,gall bladder, liver and kidney energy to result in sleep disturbance and insomnia. A weak spleen and gall bladder are thought to prevent a patient from feeling refreshed upon waking. According to Chinese medicine, the liver is responsible the smooth flow of qi/energy and blood.
It’s energy is at it’s peak during the night, so weak or stagnated or excessive liver energy might result in a struggle to fall asleep.
Acupuncture is a Natural Remedy for Insomnia
Studies from the University of Pittsburgh seem to conclude that acupuncture may helpwith insomnia. Several weeks of acupuncture treatment can help to increase melatonin secretion in the evening which helps improve the total amount of time asleep.
Acupuncture can also help to relieve low backaches associated with sleep disturbance. Acupuncture can also aid nausea, dizziness and headaches which may result in better sleep and the feeling refreshment.
Learn more about Acupuncture for Sleep Disorders HERE.
Herbal Medicine is A Natural Remedy for Insomnia
Multiple herbal formulas are reported to assist sleeping pattern. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners will select an appropriate herb blend based on a patient’s symptoms, constitution and medical history.
Chinese herbalists have a Master’s Degree in TCM herbalism.
Be sure to work with a competently trained herbalist and avoid medicating yourself without guidance of a qualified herbalist.
Some common herbs your herbalist might use include:
•Zao Ren (sour date seed)
•Bai Zi Ren (Arborvitae seed)
•Fu Shen (Poria Paradicis)
•Wu Wei Zi (Schizandra fruit)
•Wulinshen (herbal compound)
These herbs can be ingested as capsules, pills, tinctures, water extracts or teas. In The Classic Art of Tea, LuYu writes, “Tea tempers the spirit, harmonizes the mind, dispels lassitude and relieves fatigue, awakens the thought and prevents drowsiness.”
Nutritional Remedies for Insomnia
An old Chinese proverb advises, “he that takes medicine and neglects diet, wastes the skills of the physician.” The Eastern viewpoint is that a balanced diet includes spicy, sour, bitter, sweet and salty foods and herbs that are chosen for their antibiotic properties. Different foods can contain any mixture of the five tastes plus the taste of bland.
The great principles which can be applied from this diet are primarily the ideas of holistic healing with whole foods. Whole foods can be used for repairing and revitalizing the organs and systems. Rather than a “miracle diet,” a holistic approach attempts to listen tothe body.
Contributor bio: Jessica Socheski is a freelance writer who loves finding ways to improve health naturally and is passionate about private medical care. You can connect with her through Google+.
It is more than six years now since the first “Laughter Club” was set up. There is a growing demand for such clubs in India and abroad. Almost everyday more and more people are joining Laughter Clubs and are reaping its benefits. One of the benefits is that laughter puts the members in a positive frame of mind and gradually makes them positive thinkers. People suffering from a variety of stress-related diseases have benefited in some way or another. But we don’t claim that long-standing ailments have been cured by laughter therapy. Laughter is more of a supplementary and preventive therapy.
Anti Stress: Laughter is one of the finest, most economical and easy ways to reduce stress. Laughter is one of the best muscle relaxants. Laughter expands blood vessels and sends more blood to the extremities and other muscles all over the body. A good bout of laughter also reduces the levels of stress hormones epinephrine and cortisol. It is used as a form of dynamic meditation or relaxation. For meditation one has to put in a concerted effort to completely detach oneself, on mental and emotional levels, from one’s own feelings and thought processes, as well as from the physical world to prevent distractions. While laughing we do not have any conscious thought process and all our senses naturally and effortlessly combine in a moment of harmony to give joy, peace and relaxation. In other types of meditation you need to concentrate a lot to take your mind away from distracting thoughts, which is easier said than done. Therefore, laughter is, if I may say so, the easiest form of meditation and one which brings you instant relaxation.
Strengthens the Immune System: The immune system plays an important role in maintaining good health by keeping away infections, allergies and cancers. It has been proven by psychoneuroimmunologists that negative emotions like anxiety, depression or anger weaken the immune system of the body, thereby reducing its fighting capacity against infections. According to Dr. Lee S. Berk from Loma Linda University, California, laughter helps to increase the count of natural killer cells (NK cells – a type of white cell) and also raises the antibody levels. Researchers have found that after laughter therapy there is an increase in antibodies (Immunoglobulin A) in the mucous of the nose and respiratory passages, which is believed to have a protective capacity against some viruses, bacteria and other micro organisms. Many members of Laughter Clubs have noticed that their frequency of common colds, sore throats and chest infections has decreased. The effect of laughter on the immune system is considered to be very significant with regard to deadly disease like AIDS and cancer by improving quality of life.
Aerobic Exercise: The one benefit almost everybody experiences is a sense of well-being. After 15 minutes of laughter in the morning, they feel fresh throughout the day. There is no medicine like laughter which gives you such an instant result. The reason for the sense of well-being is that you inhale more oxygen while laughing. Laughter can be compared to any aerobic exercises except you don’t have to wear fancy shoes or clothes. You don’t need to sweat hard on the jogging tracks. According to Dr. William Fry from Stanford University, one minute of laughter is equal to 10 minutes on the rowing machine. Laughter stimulates heart and blood circulation like aerobic exercise. Laughter exercise is suited for sedentary people and those who are confined to a bed or wheelchair.
Depression, anxiety and psychosomatic disorders: The stress and strain of modern life are taking a heavy toll of the human mind and body. Mind-related diseases like anxiety, depression, nervous breakdowns and sleeplessness are on the rise. Laughter has benefited many people who were on heavy anti-depressant pills and tranquilizers. Now they are getting better sleep and their depression has reduced. People with suicidal tendencies have started living with more hope.
High Blood Pressure and Heart disease: There are a number of causes for high blood pressure and heart disease like heredity, obesity, smoking and excessive intake of saturated fats. But stress is one of the major factors. Laughter definitely helps to control blood pressure by reducing the release of stress-related hormones and bringing relaxation.
Anxiety and Panic Attack Treatments with acupuncture and Chinese herbs are fast acting, safe, effective. Chinese medicine recognizes that a variety of causes and conditions continually arise in life which shift our energy. Because of these shifts we may not feel happy all the time, nor are we expected to according to the Chinese medical perspective.
In fact, the person in optimal health will experience the full range of emotions, but without getting stuck in any one emotional state. When stress, anxiety and panic attacks get in the way of life, patients need fast acting treatments. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs offer a natural, safe and effective method of treatment.
In clinical practice, the patients I treat recover quickly from stress, anxiety and panic attack treatments. When I treat people with stress and emotional disorders using acupuncture and Chinese herbs I tailor an individualized and focused treatment strategy to the specific imbalances of each person.
Ready to release the anxiety? Call 646-504-2251 for an appointment.
I gently place acupuncture needles in the body to open up blockages in energy flow, and to support systems that are weak or out of balance with the rest of the body. My approach allows the body to heal itself naturally, and the tailored treatment provides effective. Treatment also aims to resolve the problems from the root cause, for lasting relief. I also teach home care stress reduction techniques.
“After my second appointment with Juliette I never suffered from another anxiety attack again, and it has now been almost a year since I first visited her. I am so grateful to Juliette. I admit I went into this a little skeptical but Juliette Aiyana is so knowledgeable and easy to talk to, as soon as I met her I was immediately glad I made the appointment. Each week I would look forward to my appointment, it was such a relaxing experience. I have such faith in Juliette that I have referred her to friends with various ailments who have also had great results with her. I highly recommend Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac. without reservations.” – Christine READ MORE PATIENT ENDORSEMENTS HERE
Many people are not aware that when stress builds up in their system they experience physical or emotional symptoms. Some symptoms of stress are heart palpitations, muscle tension, headaches, fatigue, or problems with digestion, sleep, memory, or motivation. Sometimes stress or a traumatic event leads to general anxiety or panic attacks.
Stress, Anxiety & Emotions
Emotions only cause imbalance if they are extreme, or if the patient holds on to them for long periods of time. If a person’s body experiences symptoms of imbalance, it means the energy flow is either blocked, deficient, or out of balance. Both physical and emotional wellness depends on a smooth flow of energy throughout the body. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs balance energy by harmonizing the flow the energy, the result of which is smooth flow and thereby reduces and/or eliminates stress, anxiety and panic attacks.
One way to achieve emotional balance is through treatment based on the Chinese Five Element system. Each of the five systems is interrelated, and the health of each one depends on balance between all of them. The five elements are fire, water, wood, metal and earth. Within the elemental relationships, each emotion relates to a specific organ. The five emotions are joy which affects the heart energy, fear/fright which affects the kidney energy, sadness/grief which affect the lung energy, anger/frustration which affects the liver energy, and worry/over-thinking which affects the spleen energy.
Stress, Anxiety & Pain
Physically, stress has several effects on the body. The main problem it causes is stuck or blocked energy, also known as stagnation. When symptoms appear, it signals that energy in one or more pathway is blocked. Some symptoms of qi stagnation are neck and back pain, fatigue, PMS, menstrual cramps or infertility. Over time symptoms become more severe and spread to other systems in the body. Treatment with acupuncture and Chinese herbs will resolve the cause of energetic disharmony to heal the physical symptoms and prevent future disease.
At-Home Stress Relief
To “wash” your body and mind clean of stress and less than desirable experiences, emotions and events, try the following tips to help bring harmony back to your physical and emotional self, by smoothing out energy flow:
Sitting in a comfortable position, close your eyes and visualize sitting by stream of water flowing gently by. When thoughts come into your head, they are part of the stream, just flowing by you. Allow yourself to consider the thought and then let it go on its way down the stream, not getting caught or lingering too long in your mind.
Breath slowly and deeply. On the inhale, fill your lungs, chest, and belly completely with fresh clean air. On the exhale, release out all the air, along with the tension and built up thoughts and stresses from the day. Oxygen will circulate throughout the lungs and entire body, opening clogged areas and releasing tension from your mind and muscles. Many times during the day we don’t realize how shallowly we have been breathing.
Firmly brush your limbs off, from the trunk of your body outwards. Start at the shoulders and brush out to fingertips, and past them, as if brushing a thick dust off each sleeve. Then, sitting with your legs straight out in front of you, start at the hips and brush all the way down to feet. Energetically, this releases negative or stagnated energy, and refreshes the natural balance of the body, enhancing circulation and washing impurities out of body and mind.
Try Acupuncture & Herbs for Panic Attack Treatments.
I recently asked a highly respected and experienced acupuncturist from China which diseases she treated the most using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) when she was practicing in China. “Depression and pain,” she replied.
Acupuncture is becoming well known in the United States as an effective treatment of body pain, but exploring TCM deeper reveals wider applications, including for the treatment of depression.
“After feeling discouraged from the western medicine I was using to treat a chronic health problem, I sought out Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac. I thought that an alternative approach to my care may be more beneficial. Fortunately, I was right. I have been seeing Juliette for a little over a year now and she has been more effective than any other health practitioner I have come across. She is extremely attentive, careful, thorough and works very hard to ensure that her patients get the best treatments possible. Aside from the acupuncture and herbs, Juliette’s encouragement and insights have been key components to my personal healing process. Seeking out Juliette has been one of the best things I have ever done for myself”. -Anonymous.
Click Here For More Patient Reviews.
The many types of depression are defined as mood disorders by the American Psychiatric Association. The Mayo Clinic lists the following mental and physical signs and symptoms indicative of depression1:
Feelings of anxiety
Loss of interest or pleasure in life
Neglect of personal responsibility or personal care
Changes in eating habits
Changes in sleeping patterns
Fatigue and loss of energy
Extreme mood changes
Feeling helpless, hopeless, or worthless
Physical symptoms (e.g., headaches, chronic pain)
Increased alcohol or drug use
Thoughts of death or suicide
Do you feel any of the symptoms listed above?
If so, Chinese medicine may be right for you.
Call 646-504-2251 to schedule an appointment in our office, or via Skype.
If you are having thoughts of death or suicide please call your medical doctor or a suicide hotline for immediate help; Click here if you in the U.S.A. Click here if you are International.
In the United States, the rate of people seeking medical treatment for depression markedly increased between the late 1980s and early 1990s and continued to increase through the 1990s.2 There are many side effects of antidepressant medication and many mimic the signs and symptoms of depression itself. Some of the various side effects of antidepressants are as follows3:
Inability to achieve an erection
Loss of libido
Depression is a very complicated disease that affects mental health and the various physical systems of the body resulting in decreased quality of life. Health is the balance among all of the emotional and physical occurrences in the body. If these fall out of balance, disease will occur. For example, one may become depressed because of a battle with insomnia or one may become an insomniac resulting from a struggle with depression.
TCM approaches health and disease with the understanding that the mind and body function as one operable unit not to be treated as two separate, unrelated parts. The National Institute of Health states that in TCM, qi (pronounced “chee”) is believed to regulate a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical balance, and to be influenced by the opposing forces of yin and yang. This description highlights TCM’s view of the mind-body connection of health.4
According to TCM theory, depression is a disease that occurs from stagnant or depressed qi in the body creating emotional and physical imbalance. Acupuncture and herbs can regulate stagnant qi resolving the depressive state in the body and help achieve health. Clinical trials analyzing acupuncture as treatment for depression, patients who experienced acupuncture improved slightly more than patients treated with an antidepressant drug alone.5
Acupuncture and herbs are effective, safe treatments for depression and can be used alone or in conjunction with antidepressants. Call today, and Juliette Aiyana will work with you to help you attain overall health and a better quality of life!
Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist, Author, Creator of HealthyStuffU.com Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs
32 Union Square East, Suite 615N New York, NY 10003
Dave quit his job to escape the stress. No amount of money is worth selling your soul for work nor is it worth not being allowed to manifest your soul’s work.
No. It was not because he was smoking crack as the media rumor mill tried to convince us. Did they think the only reason someone would walk away from a multi-million dollar job is because they were on crack? Or did they think that the only reason a black man would do that was because he was on crack? The media does a great job of manufacturing public thought especially when it is racist or sexist thought. And that is one of the reasons Dave quit- as you will read below.
Dave Chappelle joined the few who realize that putting up with certain pressures from work are not worth it. Stress is not worth the money, physical illness or emotional distress it can induce. It is not worth doing things which you consider unethical or uncreative.
Stressed? Try Acupucture, It Works! Call 646-504-2251 for an appointment.
I watched Dave on Oprah and Inside the Actor’s Studio. He talked about the pressure his company placed on him to do certain things with the show that he completely disagreed with. He specifically mentioned a skit shown on the “Lost Episodes” which he believed only confirmed racial stereotypes rather than, in his usual style, mirroring them to us so we can stop using them. I saw the skit and I completely agree with him in spite of the audiences vote. Dave took the bold stance against popularity and financial gain. Dave stands for creative awareness and freedom, cultural awareness and freedom, and self-awareness and freedom.
Many of my patients are ill because of work related stress. They suffer fatigue, anxiety, headaches, frequent colds, insomnia, skin conditions , infertility, weight gain or loss and digestive problems such as IBS, and the list goes on. We
all live in a society in which we must work to survive. So the very thought of quitting our jobs to find something more spiritually fulfilling can be scary. We worry about our bills, family responsibilities and financial freedom. But the truth is that we cannot have any of those things without our health in body and mind .
As I work with patients who are suffering from physical and emotional pain and illness we discuss lifestyle choices. Many of them decide to make the bold decision to change their lifestyle so that they can free themselves of this suffering. They make personal revelations about how daily choices effect their relationships with friends, family, co-workers, partners- or how choices block them from developing deep relationships because they are working 60 (or more) hours per week .
Lifestyle change is a branch treatment within Chinese medicine. For some people, lifestyle change does not need to be as drastic as leaving a job. Maybe you can cut work to part-time or take breaks during the work day, stop eating lunch at the desk and go outside to eat, exercise, or use earned vacation time no matter how many pressing client jobs are on the plate. Your employers give you vacation time for a reason. If they get upset because you use the time you are entitled to, that is their problem, don’t make it yours. The government made labor laws for a reason. These laws protect our rights to breaks during the work day .
Are there ways you can reduce your stress, cultivate a sense that you are working toward the greater good for your self, your family or society? Take some time to think about this for yourself. Maybe even journal your thoughts and reflect on them. How much do you lose because of your job? And how much of that is worth the money? Do you know now why Dave Chappelle quit his job?
Stressed? Try Acupucture, It Works!
Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist, Author, Creator of HealthyStuffU.com Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs 41 Union Square West, Suite 519 New York, NY 10003 (212) 894.0767
You don’t always have to wait to quit your job or to lose weight before lowering your blood pressure. Use these natural techniques to re-gain your health and to reduce your stress.
Reduce Intake of Processed Table Salt and Increase Potassium Intake.
Reduce or eliminate colas from your diet. Use low or no sodium soy sauce or other seasonings products. Avoid pre-packaged, pre-made foods such as boxed frozen and canned foods which are high in processed sodium (20% or more of you daily value). When choosing salt, try unrefined sea salt which retain important minerals. Increase potassium rich foods such as bananas, avocados, cantaloupe, apricots, raisins, beans, figs, winter squash and tomato sauce. (Most tomato product brands are packed in B.P.A. lined cans so be sure to avoid those brands by choosing jarred sauces, making your own from farm fresh tomato. As of the writing of this article canned Glenn Muir do not use B.P.A. can liners. You can also try boxes of Pomi brand tomato product). Food is the best medicine, but you can also consider taking a potassium supplement daily.
Exercise Daily. Studies show that cardio vascular exercise reduces blood pressure and relieves stress. Sometimes due to health reasons or time constraints we cannot work out often or engage in a vigorous cardiovascular program. That is okay. Start by walking for 5-15 minutes per day. Slowly increase your walking time and soon you may be able to go to the gym again. Also try hatha yoga, qi-gong or tai-chi.
Use Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs. Scientific research studies show that acupuncture reduces blood pressure by reducing stress hormones, such as cortisol and by releasing good hormones called endorphins. Chinese herbs are often used in combination with acupuncture to balance the root cause of energy disharmony which may contribute to high blood pressure.
Take Breaks At Work. To reduce your stress, walk out of the office for a few minutes, breathe deeply and let go.
Reduce Exposure to News Media. Cut down on T.V. news shows, newspaper and magazine reading and internet news media. News sources such as T.V. news, news magazine shows, Court TV, Cops, Unsolved Mysteries and other crime shows as well as glossy news magazines thrive on inducing fear and anxiety which causes blood pressure to rise as stress levels rise.
Give Yourself Alone Time.Even five minutes a day of quiet time can help. Try any of the following; meditate, walk, sit in a garden, breathe, go for a drive or bike ride.
Engage in Low Stress Activities You Enjoy. Knitting, golfing, gardening, playing with pets, fishing, dance, sing, play an instrument, walk in the park or meet a friend for tea.
Breathe. Become aware of your breath. Do you stop breathing when you are stressed or do you sigh a lot? Do you take short breaths into the top of your chest? Or do breathe deeply filling down to the bottom of your belly? Take time to just breathe and relax. You don’t always have try some special breathing exercise because sometimes just sitting and feeling the sensation breath moving through your body can be enough. Inhale through the nose, feel the air move through, is it cool or warm? Can you feel it move through the throat? Notice your chest expand, your lungs fill and ribs expand. As you exhale notice your belly soften, ribs soften, chest relax and warm air move out of your mouth.
Develop Mindful Awareness. Become mindful of your reactions to stressful situations. What raises the hair on the back of your neck? What causes you tense up your shoulders or jaw? What situations or people cause your blood to boil? As you become aware of your stress reactions to people, places and things, take a breath and consider this advice Tibetan monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, writes in his book Anger. Wisdom for Cooling the Flames:‘The first function of mindfulness is to recognize, not fight. “Breathing in, I know anger has manifested in me”. And breathing out, “I will take good care of you.” Once we have recognized our anger we embrace it. This is the second function of mindfulness, and it is a very pleasant practice. Instead of fighting we are taking good care of our emotion. If you know how to embrace your anger, something will change.’
Integrating just a few of these many tips into your daily life can help blood pressure control and reduce stress.
Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist, Author, Creator of HealthyStuffU.com Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs
32 Union Square eAst, Suite 615 n New York, NY 10003 (646) 504.2251
Acupuncture can usually relieve insomnia within just 4-6 visits!
Many people do not get adequate sleep, and whether it’s due to insomnia or other factors, attention must be paid to getting enough rest.
Sleep is completely essential to overall health and quality of life, and those deprived of adequate amounts are very likely to experience a range of symptoms, including weight gain, depression or anxiety, diabetes, andhigh blood pressure. Ready for a great night’s rest?
The following articles support different highlights on the importance of adequate sleep. Recent studies suggest that doctors should include inquiries about patients’ quality and quantity of sleep in a general check-up as a new vital sign.
Chinese Medicine agrees that sleep is vitally important, and has recognized through the ages that the body’s systems are interconnected. Difficulty sleeping or lack of substantial sleep is almost always linked to other symptoms that indicate the body is out of balance. Faster intervention is always best, since symptoms of illness can become more numerous and severe if the problem is ignored.
“Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist was so warm and friendly from our initial meeting. She took the time to explain what acupuncture was, asked very detailed questions in order to treat me appropriately. She creates a soothing and comfortable environment when working with you. She receives nothing but high recommendations from me!” – Simone
One study concluded the following: “Insomnia and trouble sleeping are most often associated with high blood pressure, heart failure, anxiety and depression,according to a national survey of 31,044 adults. It had been thought that insomnia was quite prevalent on its own, but only 4 percent of the people [with] insomnia had it without any of those conditions”.
Lack of sleep, in multiple studies, has been linked to weight gain. There are several explanations for weight gain within Chinese Medicine for this phenomenon such as qi deficiency or qi stagnation.
Acupuncture for weight loss and acupuncture for insomnia can very successful. Western research suggests that sleep deprivation alters hormones involved with appetite and metabolism. More research shows that acupuncture can balance those very hormones.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported that 1.6 million Americans get treated for insomnia using Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and the majority find the treatments effective.
Many people who experience symptoms of insomnia are eager a find natural solution because prescription drugs may offer temporary solutions, but can be addictive and often cause unwanted side effects. The bigger problem with treatment via chemical pharmaceuticals is that they do not treat the underlying cause of the insomnia and associated symptoms.
Treatment with Acupuncture and Chinese herbs is natural, safe and effective because it addresses both the underlying imbalance causing insomnia as well as other symptoms of disharmony in the body.
Chinese herbal therapy has been used for nearly 3,000 years to treat fertility problems.
Modern day research statistics suggest that 35 to 40 percent of infertility problems are caused by male conditions, another 35 to 40 percent by female conditions, and the last 20 to 30 percent a combination of the two, plus a small percentage of unknown causes.1
Many approaches to treating infertility focus solely on the woman, wrongly assuming that female conditions are always the cause.
But these statistics make clear that in order to treat infertility; male conditions need to be explored.
If you have been trying to become pregnant without success for over one year, have both contributors to the baby -making process checked out by an MD to see how healthy things are overall.
I prefer to treat both contributors because Traditional Chinese Medicine does such a wonderful job at regulating, improving, and preparing the body for the pregnancy process for both the male and female.
Infertility can also create more stress in one’s partner’s life, and acupuncture and herbal therapy can help greatly with reducing that stresses to help better support the partner in treatment.
“Six months ago, after feeling uncharacteristically lethargic for several weeks, I was diagnosed by my physician with low testosterone. My doctor suggested that I try testosterone replacement, which was an unappealing option for me. Luckily, a Google search connected me to the acupuncture practice of Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist. Within one session I had a treatment plan that was tailored for me.
Juliette used a combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbs, heat lamps and aromatherapy. We also discussed which foods, according Chinese medicine, that I needed to incorporate into my diet to would help my situation and nourish my energy. I felt that I was in caring hands. My energy level was back to normal in about three weeks. And when I got my lab results six months later they confirmed not only how I was feeling but that I had made a very good choice in turning to Juliette Aiyana for my care because the lab test proved that my testosterone levels rose”. -Male Patient
Common Causes of Male Factor Infertility
Sperm Count – How many sperm are in one’s ejaculate.
Sperm Motility – The ability of one’s sperm to move independently, swiftly, and in the correct direction.
Sperm Morphology – The shape and structure of the sperm.
Seminal Fluid – Mixes with the sperm before ejaculation. Pathologies include the volume of semen, pH of the semen, and fructose level of the semen that mixes with the sperm.
Traditional Chinese Medical Theory about Sperm & Male Fertility
In Chinese medicine theory, the sperm are pure essence (jing) of the male. A person (male or female) is born with their overall essence, or pre-heaven qi. This essence is stored in the kidney and is gradually used up throughout one’s life until it expires and life ends. One can protect his/her essence by eating when hungry, sleeping when tired, and acting moderately and appropriate in life.
In this way, one uses more of the qi of the outside world to live daily and therefore can preserve the essence. Essence is like your savings account; qi of the outside world is like your checking account. You use your checking account to pay most of your daily and monthly expenses and only tap into your savings account when the checking account balance is getting low.
When one is not eating healthily, not sleeping enough, or living to excess (drinking too much, having too much sex, etc.), the essence is tapped into and utilized for daily living, which could result in infertility and could shorten one’s life in the long run. Sexual regulation should change as one ages.
Overall, this reasoning applies directly to male infertility. In general, sperm is more viable for egg fertilization when a man ejaculates once every other day, rather than daily. Additionally, many other lifestyle attributes have been connected very closely to male fertility.A younger man can typically have sex and ejaculate without damaging jing more times in one week, than a man of older age. The older one gets, the more moderate and gentler one’s lifestyle should naturally become including the frequency of sexual activity which can tax one’s energy and tax the jing.
Lifestyle Tips to Increase Fertility
from the Mayo Clinic about how you can increase your chances of producing more viable sperm2:
Take a multivitamin. A daily multivitamin can help provide selenium, zinc and folic acid – trace nutrients that are important for optimal sperm production and function. A multivitamin also usually contains antioxidant vitamins such as C and E, which may help protect sperm from damage.
Reduce stress. Researchers are investigating whether stress might interfere with certain hormones needed to produce sperm. Stress can also impair sexual function.
Get regular exercise. Physical activity is good for reproductive health as well as your overall health. But don’t overdo it. Men who exercise to exhaustion show a temporary change in hormone levels and a drop in sperm quality.
Watch your weight. Too much or too little body fat may disrupt production of reproductive hormones, which can reduce your sperm count and increase your percentage of abnormal sperm. You’re most likely to produce lots of high-quality sperm if you maintain a healthy weight.
Watch out for toxins. Experts think certain workplace and household substances might have an effect on sperm quantity and quality. These include heavy metals, and pesticides and chemicals in solvents. When working with toxic substances, ensure proper ventilation, and wear protective clothing and face masks to reduce the risk of absorbing such toxins.
Quit using tobacco– smoked and smokeless. The sperm of men who smoke may be misshapen and may move more slowly than those of nonsmokers. Smoking can also damage your sperm’s DNA. Experts suspect such damage could even affect fetal growth and development and increase a child’s chance of having certain health problems, including cancer. And chewing tobacco isn’t safe either – it also may cause low sperm counts and damage. As if that weren’t enough, tobacco use can increase erectile dysfunction.
Limit or remove alcohol. Heavy drinking may reduce the quality and quantity of sperm. Limit alcohol to no more than one or two drinks a day. The combination of tobacco and alcohol is particularly harmful to male fertility. Research shows men who both smoke and drink alcohol have lower sperm counts and motility than do men with either habit alone.
Steer clear of recreational drugs. Marijuana can decrease sperm density and motility and increase the number of abnormal sperm. Cocaine, heroin and other opiates can contribute to erectile dysfunction, and amphetamines can decrease sex drive.
Skip the hot tub. To maximize the quality and quantity of your sperm, avoid hot tubs and baths. Spending more than 30 minutes in water 102 F (40 C) or above may lower your sperm count. Saunas and steam rooms may have a similar effect.
Avoid hormone havoc. Anabolic steroids, usually taken illegally, can shrink the testicles and drastically reduce fertility. Anti-androgens used to treat prostate enlargement and cancer interfere with sperm production. Testosterone supplements also decrease fertility.
Stay cool. Increased scrotal temperature can impair sperm production. Experts know that hot work environments, tight-fitting underwear (choose boxers instead of briefs!), prolonged sitting, and use of laptop computers placed on the lap can all increase scrotal temperature.
Avoid lubricants during sex. Personal lubricants, lotions, and even saliva can create a hostile environment for sperm and interfere with sperm motility . However, Emerita and PreSeed brands makes safer lubricants sold in most health food or online stores.
Experiencing Fertility Difficulty? Call us at 646-504-2251 to schedule an appointment.
Patterns of Energetic Disharmony
Typical patterns of male infertility generally fall into two broad categories: repletion and vacuity.
Repletion patterns usually manifest in younger males who have a taxing lifestyle. They can really respond well to lifestyle changes including herb therapy and acupuncture.
The vacuity patterns tend to show up in older males who have naturally used up more jing/essence because they have lived longer lives than the younger males.
This being said, there are repletion patterns that show up in older males and vacuity patterns that show up in younger males. Sometimes there is also a combination pattern of repletion and vacuity in the patient. Acupuncture treatments and herbal therapy are tailored and unique to each patient depending on the pattern present.
Treatment with Chinese Medicine & Research Studies
New sperm production in the testicles takes about 90 days.3 Then the sperm is ready to be utilized and is integrated into ejaculation. The sperm that have been affected by the TCM treatment of herbs and acupuncture will be ready to fertilize after a minimum of three months.
I present this information in order to stress that male patients need to be receiving acupuncture and be stringently compliant with herbal medicine for at least 3 continuous months.
In a recent study, a general improvement of sperm quality, specifically in the structural integrity of sperm, was seen after ongoing acupuncture treatments.4 In another controlled study, 16 infertile males were treated with acupuncture twice per week for five weeks. Compared to the control group, patients receiving acupuncture had increases in total functional sperm fraction, percentage of viability, total motile sperm per ejaculation, and overall integrity of the tail of the sperm.5
In these studies, acupuncture was received more than one time per week, and the use of herbs, which is used frequently in China to treat male infertility, was not analyzed or discussed. Herbal medicine can exponentially increase fertility in males. Acupuncture appointments will usually be one time per week for male infertility.
Herbs will be taken everyday as an ongoing treatment that the patient can utilize during the time between acupuncture treatments. It is like homework for the mind and body. The herbal formula is tailored to fit the different patterns that we talked about earlier of repletion and vacuity.
Diet analysis and modification is also extremely important because the food that you eat will help to treat the TCM pattern that is creating an infertile environment in the body. A balanced diet which focuses on eating a variety vegetables, can improve your sperm overall and increase your chances for conception.6
Other men’s health issues may coexist with infertility such as prostate enlargement, pelvic inflammatory disorder, impotence, etc. These issues will also be addressed using acupuncture and herbal therapy when we treat the infertility because the treatment goal is to create overall health to improve chances of conception.
Acupuncture and herbs can help you successfully achieve fertility and conception, call us now! Here’s to good health!
Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist, Author, Creator of HealthyStuffU.com Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs 32 Union Square eAst, Suite 615N New York, NY 10003 (646) 504.2251
Breathing seems pretty basic. You inhale… You exhale… You repeat.
It seems odd that one would need lessons on how to breathe, but more and more I am finding myself educating new patients on the importance of deep abdominal breathing. Usually, the topic of breathing first comes up while the patient is lying comfortably on the acupuncture treatment table. As I ask them to take a relaxing deep breath in, I usually see only their upper chest expand and rise.
Imagine a baby breathing; they resemble a little baby Buddha with their belly extending in and out. The breath is deep, even and slow, easy and calm. You will see that it is not the chest that is rising and falling, but rather it is the abdomen moving in and out.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine we refer to this area of the body as the Tan Tien. It is described as an important focal point for internal meditative techniques and refers specifically to the physical center of gravity located in the abdomen three finger widths below the navel and two finger widths deep within the abdomen.
Over the years, life in a crowded city with chronic pollution problems, lack of fresh air, stationary work environments and overall stress can result in the gradual shift from abdominal breathing to chest breathing. To figure out if you are breathing correctly place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. When you take a deep breath in, the hand on the abdomen should rise higher than the one on the chest. This insures that the diaphragm is pulling air into the bases of your lungs.
Instructions for proper abdominal breathing:
Inhale slowly and deeply through your nostrils into the bottom of your Tan Tien When you’ve inhaled fully, pause for a moment and then exhale fully through your mouth. Purse your lips and imagine that you are blowing on a hot spoonful of soup. As you exhale, just let yourself go and imagine your entire body going loose and limp. It should take you twice as long to exhale as it did to inhale.
Learning and using proper breathing techniques is one of the most beneficial things that can be done for both short and long term physical and emotional health. Abdominal breathing helps to relax the nervous system, reduces stress and tension, lowers blood pressure, and calms the mind. Practicing abdominal breathing also massages and tones the internal organs – particularly the digestive organs.
We all live in and around this city together and experience the stresses and crowds that come with it. Stress is inevitable; coping is the key. Here are a few simple techniques that I have incorporated into my life and have shared with my patients:
If you work in an office desk environment, place a sticky note on the corner of your computer that simply says “sit straight and breath deep,” to remind you to practice abdominal breathing throughout your day.
When you find yourself in a store waiting on line, use that time to practice your abdominal breathing. Incorporate the breathing techniques while commuting; chances are you won’t mind the wait or the commute as much.
Getting back to proper breathing isn’t hard but it does take practice. So, make it a point to integrate abdominal breathing at least two to three times into each day and you will see a transformation in your physical and mental health transform.
By Sharon Wyse, LAc. Sharon practices acupuncture in NYC.
Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist, Author, Creator of HealthyStuffU.com Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs 32 Union Square East, Suite 615 N New York, NY 10003 (646)504.2251