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+.
A patient of my acupuncture practice believes she’s gluten intolerant or possibly allergic and she’s noticed her son is feeling a lot better now that he’s not eating gluten either. They are looking for the best gluten-free cookbooks and recipe website info and resources and I knew you’d be the one to ask 🙂
How lovely of you to research gluten-free resources for your patient! Gluten-free diets may seem daunting at first, but in a short amount of time it becomes easier and more fun to cook. Gluten-free diets lead to much healthier, happier lives for scores of children and adults. I’ve witnessed amazing health transformations in many of my patients, in myself and in my own son thanks to a gluten-free diet such as; improved digestion, healthy and rapid weight loss, clearer and more focused thinking, elimination of daytime fatigue, blood sugar regulation, reduced or eliminated moodiness and stress levels, improved behavior in children, improved fertility, reduced or eliminated seasonal allergies/rhinitis, eczema, reduced asthma symptoms, reduced symptoms of other inflammatory diseases, and more.
It is important to note that not all gluten-free foods, gluten-free cookbooks, products or recipes are healthy just because they are labeled “gluten-free”. We eaters must remain aware of our food choices. There are so many gluten-free cookbooks and recipes websites out there that a quick Google search will turn up pages of results, so encourage your patient to do more research on her own. Below you will see a short list of some of my favorite resources.
It is important to first learn the foods to avoid when eating a gluten-free diet.
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
Is Qi energy? Those who are fatigued, or always tired, will be particularly interested in Chinese Medicine’s views on qi.
This is one of the most common questions Americans ask about Chinese Medicine, and not an easy one to answer. Qi (pronounced “chee” and sometimes spelled ‘chi’) is possibly the most essential and the most controversial aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Biomedicine often feels it can quite easily dismiss parts or all of TCM by maintaining that modern science cannot verify the existence of qi. The false idea that qi is an ‘energy’ like electricity has worsened this controversy.
Is Qi Energy?
Some TCM practitioners say qi is ‘energy.’ This is not too bad of an explanation. But don’t go away thinking we believe there are electrical circuits running through your body! Some scholars (D.E. Kendall, and Paul Unschuld) maintain that the idea of qi as ‘energy’ was a mistranslation from the Chinese.
Then What is It?
In terms of basic TCM ontology (“what exists”), Qi is one of the four basic constituents of the body:
< — Substance
Function — >
< — Cold
Hot — >
Consider this convenient car-engine analogy: Yin is water from the radiator to cool the engine, blood is oil, qi is the force that moves the pistons, and the engine can be said to be in a yang state when operating. Perhaps the explosion itself is yang, while the force of the explosion is qi. We can also say that the gas contains a qi that has yet to be utilized.
(In the actual chinese character for the word, qi is the steam rising from a cooking pot of rice. I hope that explanation made sense to ancient Chinese, because it doesn’t make much to me! To be fair to the ancient chinese, we can think of the steam coming from the rice as being less substantial, more yang than the rice itself, but still…)
What Happens Without Qi?
Another way to understand things is by their absence (darkness is defined as the absence of light). Without sufficient qi,
your digestive system cannot break down food or transport nutrients to the rest of your body
you become easily fatigued and are always tired
you lose your appetite
your limbs are heavy
you might wake up frequently at night because you need to urinate
academic/organizing thought is difficult or impossible
everything is overwhelming (you cannot ‘digest’ what is going on)
you tend to worry (the emotional component – TCM is a holistic medicine that does not separate body and mind)
How Do I Get More Qi?
The proper diet goes a long way. TCM dietary principles are too complex to cover here (I must say though that it is surprising to many patients, perhaps because vegetarianism is thought to be synonymous with alternative medicine, that TCM advocates eating meat and mostly cooked foods).
Herbs that increase the qi include ginseng, and codonopsis.
Avoid activities that drain the qi – Be sensible about your energy expenditure by living a balanced life; don’t be too sedentary or too active. If you are a couch potato, your qi can’t flow without exercise. If you are a type-A personality, relax and don’t use yourself up too early in life – you may live to regret it!
by Brian B. Carter, MS, LAc. Reprinted with permission by the author
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
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 Acupuncture, It Works!
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
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.
Acupuncture is an excellent natural treatment for headaches, migraines, cluster headaches and menstrual headaches.
The British Medical Journal , and the National Institutes of Health have published positive reports about the effectiveness of acupuncture for people suffering both chronic headaches or tension headaches.
“People using acupuncture had fewer headaches, less severe headaches and they used less health resources over the course of the following year,” Dr. Andrew Vickers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. In a randomized study of 401 patients who got headaches several days per week, patients who received 12 acupuncture treatments in three months reduced the frequency and severity of headaches, took 15% less medication, made 25% less visits to their doctor and took less sick days when compared to the other group who didn’t receive acupuncture. The reduction of medication and medical office visits made acupuncture a much more cost effective alternative.
At Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs, we are very successful at treating people for headaches, because we use the techniques of Chinese medicine; acupuncture, Chinese herbs, diet change, stress reduction, massage, cupping, gua sha, etc., which treat the symptoms and root cause of the headaches with no negative side-effects. Try our natural approach instead of prescription or over-the-counter medications that only treat symptoms of headaches, which lead to rebound headaches and cause other undesirable side-effects. Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac. successfully treats acute sharp painful headaches, chronic dull achy headaches, migraines, cluster headaches, and menstrual headaches. Most patients feel immediate relief after treatment.
How does it work?
There is a saying in Chinese medicine, “Where there is pain, there is no free flow and where there is free flow there is no pain.” The free flow is of Blood and Qi (pronounced “chee”). Health is when Qi and Blood flow smoothly throughout the body to nourish, heal and balance. Your practitioner will spend a considerable amount of time with you during your first visit to discover where your Qi and Blood are stagnated or out of balance and why. The where and why are called a pattern of energetic disharmony. The acupuncture points and herbs chosen are appropriate to balancing your unique pattern of disharmony. Every person is different so you will be treated based upon your individual pattern.
♦ In cases of sharp headache pain, the pattern may be excess Qi and Blood in the head so your practitioner will insert needles to move out the excess, thus relieving pain.
♦ Another pattern common to headache patients is that there is not enough Qi or Blood to circulating into the head. Therefore the treatment strategy would be to build, nourish and circulate Qi and Blood.
These are just a couple of examples of common clinical patterns which may cause headache pain.
How many visits will I need?
Patients who walk in with an acute headache usually leave without one. Generally a course of treatment for chronic headaches is one visit per week for three months. Treatment plans vary according to the pattern of energetic disharmony. Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac. will give you a tailored treatment plan during your first visit.
Live Headache Free Now, Call To Schedule an Appointment Today
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
In my private practice, Aiyana Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs, in NYC I work with patients to resolve a wide variety of health conditions. I also make recommendations for lifestyle and dietary changes based on individuals’ concerns and wellness goals. One healthy and easy adjustment that benefits almost every health condition is drinking green tea daily. Green tea is one of the three main types of tea, along with Black and Oolong. All three come from the leaves of the camellia sinesis plant, but each type differs in the processing.
Green Tea for Beauty
Some say that beauty is only skin deep, but inner-body balance will always lead to a natural and radiant outer beauty that shines with health! Cosmetically, green tea can beautify the skin when taken both internally and applied topically to reduce puffiness. It evens out the complexion by reducing acne, smoothing the skin and tightening the pores.
Green Tea for Weight Loss
Also, green tea is an excellent part of an effective weight loss plan! Chinese Herbs and acupuncture for weight loss, along with green tea and other simple lifestyle changes, can be extremely instrumental in shedding those unwanted pounds.
A study from the December 1999 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition¹ shows that substances which are abundant in green tea extracts may promote weight loss. The study concluded, “green tea has thermogenic properties and promotes fat oxidation beyond that explained by its caffeine content per se. The green tea extract may play a role in the control of body composition via sympathetic activation of thermogenesis, fat oxidation, or both.” Also, green tea may be useful as a glucose regulator, meaning it slows the rise in blood sugar following a meal. Green tea has also helped aid weight loss by increasing the metabolic rate, causing those who use it to experience greater calorie burn.
Green Tea for Serious Health Concerns
The Oriental Medicine newsletter published in the all of 2006 by Pacific College of Oriental Medicine has a terrific article on green tea and its multitude of health benefits. Highlights from the article are as follows:
Results from recent studies suggest that green tea may be useful for the following conditions:
Atherosclerosis – the antioxidant properties of green tea may help prevent atherosclerosis, particularly coronary artery disease. High Cholesterol – green tea has demonstrated an ability to lower total cholesterol and raise HDL (“good” cholesterol) in both animals and people. Cancer – research is showing that polyphenols in green tea help kill cancerous cells and stop progression. Bladder Cancer – male bladder cancer patients in a study by the Saitama Cancer Research Institute who drank green tea had a substantially better five-year survival rate than those who did not. Breast Cancer – polyphenols in green tea inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells. Studies have shown that women with early stages of the disease who drank at least five cups of tea every day before being diagnosed with cancer were less likely to suffer a relapse after completion of treatment. Skin Cancer – scientific studies suggest that components in green tea have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties that may help prevent the onset and growth of skin tumors. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) – Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis can be helped by the anti-inflammatory agents in green tea. Also, if green tea proves to be helpful in preventing colon cancer, this would be an added benefit for patients suffering IBD, as they have a risk for colon cancer. Diabetes – green tea has been used traditionally to control blood sugar in the body and help regulate glucose levels. Liver Disease – green tea appears to protect the liver from the damaging effects of toxic substances such as alcohol.
In addition to the illnesses mentioned above, green tea boasts the following benefits:
preventing and hastening recovery from colds and flu
aiding with the prevention and relief of type 2 diabetes
blocking key receptors in producing allergic reactions
aiding Parkinson’s disease sufferers
slowing the HIV infection process
maintaining healthy fluid balance
relieving fatigue and stress
boosting the immune function of skin cells
relieving and preventing arthritis
reducing the risk of stroke
reducing DNA damage in smokers
delaying the signs of aging
improving bone structure
preventing dangerous blood-clotting
Drink at least three cups per day of green tea–you’ll be taking the first step towards a healthier you!
By Jessica Silver, L.Ac. whose practices in New York City.
¹American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 70, No. 6, 1040-1045, December 1999
This article was originally printed in The Pulse of Oriental Medicine in 2002. It was been edited and revised in 2017.
Before we discuss how to revive the Spleen with diet, it is important to understand the causes and effects of Spleen qi vacuity dampness. One function of the spleen is the assimilation of nutrients from food in the stomach to form qi, blood and body fluids. Therefore the spleen main function is its governance of transformation and transportation (referred to as T&T throughout this article) of grain and water into essence which is distributed to other organ systems in the form of Qi and Blood. Thus it is vital to keep the spleen healthy because it is the source for qi and blood production for your entire body.
An important saying in Chinese medicine states,
“The spleen hates cold and the spleen hates dampness.”
So we must do what we can to keep the spleen warm and free of dampness. Spleen vacuity occurs when the process of transformation and transportation malfunctions, thus causing dampness to gather and stagnate instead of transforming which further weakens T&T. Then a vicious cycle begins.
Since other organ systems depend on receiving qi and blood from the spleen, they will become weakened when a patient suffers from chronic or long term spleen qi vacuity.
Spleen qi may become vacuous due to one or a combination of the following factors:
Over work in general and/or working at a desk all day.
Too much worrying, stress, anxiety
Over-thinking and obsessive thought patterns
Unhealthy dietary habits
Lack of exercise
Childbirth, child rearing
For example, students who work in addition to going to school or college, need to find time to study and may, quite naturally, worry about exams. In other cases, some patients have fatiguing chronic illness like cancer and fibromyalgia. Dancers and actors worry or even obsess about their weight despite the fact that many of them are underweight. Over weight patients worry and obsess about their weight for health or aesthetic reasons and feel a ridiculous amount societal and self-induced pressure to lose weight.
Many of my patients (over weight or not) are mentally obsessed with their weight and thus are constantly over-thinking about counting calories and sticking to hard to follow diets with point systems, blocks, deprivation diets or set meal plans of foods they don’t even enjoy eating.
And no matter who the person is that is dieting, whether skinny or overweight, many feel guilt instead of pleasure when indulging in a food they like but which isn’t in the meal plan. This feeling of guilt fits into the worry category.
Patients who do not exercise do not invigorate the Yang warming aspect of the body’s qi. Chinese medicine asserts that too much sitting or lying down creates qi vacuity. So for those who work at a desk all day, Spleen qi damage is imminent.
Many people damage the spleen qi by eating too many cold foods. Cold foods are literally cold from refrigeration or frozen, like ice, are foods that are cold in nature (see the list below) and include cold beverages and salad and last nights left over cold pizza (yeah, we’ve all been there).
Other detriments include our society’s over eating of wheat as our main source of grain, and too much beer drinking. Both are cool and dampness producing. Not to mention our over consumption of dairy. Imagine all the Spleen qi vacuity amongst college students between all that studying, beer and pizza!
The treatment principle for spleen qi vacuity dampness is to fortify the spleen and disinhibit the dampness.
Yang tonics will help to warm the spleen and to motivate the energy for the T&T cycle. They maintain and improve our ability to generate warmth and stimulate our system.
Yang tonics include:
Star Anise Thyme
Qi circulation is stimulated by the sweet and pungent flavors. The spleen likes the sweet taste and pungent flavors circulate the qi.
Qi circulating foods include:
Cold conditions are improved by warming foods. In chronic cases, warm and sweet/pungent foods are used to warm us steadily. In acute cases of pathogenic invasion, warm or hot foods are combined with stronger pungent flavors to drive out the Cold.
Warming foods include:
Dampness results from the body’s failure to transform fluids.
Dampness is treated by avoiding dampening foods, strengthening the body, including bitter foods and foods which counteract Dampness.
Foods to reduce dampness include:
Aduki Bean Alfalfa
Turnip Umeboshi Plum
Some foods will exacerbate the tendency towards Dampness and need to be reduced by people with damp conditions.Avoid or significantly reduce consumption of these foods:
Dairy Products, especially dampening are reduced fat and low fat dairy, as well as (sheep and goat products are less dampening)
Wheat and highly refined Gluten-free flours
Sugar and sweeteners
Greasy, fried and oily foods
Iced or cooled beverages
Uncooked raw vegetables and salads, juices
Antibiotics, while not a food, are very damaging to the Spleen qi and should only be used when absolutely necessary.
Phlegm refers to a condition of dampness where moisture is retained as Phlegm or Mucus.
Phlegm-resolving foods include:
Take these recommendations to your kitchen and cook some delicious meals for yourself to be well and stay healthy.
Chinese dietary therapy is a necessary component to healing this qi disharmony. I urge my readers to continue to take the herbs and acupuncture treatments that your practitioner recommends and incorporate the above information about diet into your therapy.
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