Tuesday 31 July 2012

Transformative-Yang Qi

Happy Year of the Yang Water Dragon!

I want to wish my readers a very Happy New Year! It is the Year of the Yang Water Dragon.The Qi of this time has great potential. Yang Qi is very transformative, Water Qi is dissolutive and Qi of the Dragon is the most powerful of all the 12 Chinese Animals, creating great change as it winds through space and time.
There is great potential to let go of old struggles and to transform and overcome difficulties.
I offer you best intentions for a year of Health and Happiness! read more..

Monday 30 July 2012

Western Medical Practitioners-Traditional Chinese Medicine-Traditional Medicines

NY Times Features Article on Chinese Herb Qinghao, Basis of Malaria Medication

Although many western medical practitioners are not familiar with traditional Chinese medicine, with time EAM is beginning to make inroads to the western consciousness. Western researchers are beginning to understand that the traditional medicines of the world may hold valuable insights into treating diseases, especially with herbs. In recent years much attention has been paid to a number of herbs and foods of Asia that are used in the treatment of cancer. Turmeric being one that has garnered much attention. In a recent NY Times article on Qinghao, the herb credited with providing the source of anti-malarial medication, they paid great tribute to the research and development by Chinese scientists who went back to their traditional medicine doctors to find an herb, Qinghao, (Artemisia Annuae, Sweet Wormwood), that contains chemicals that revolutionized pharmaceutical care in treatment of malaria, worldwide.Please follow the link here to read this fascinating NY Times article. read more..

Chemotherapy Patients-Treatment Of Cancer-Moxibustion Therapy-Powerful Tools-Cancer Patient

Acupuncture for Chemo Side Effects

In my practice I have treated a number of people who are undergoing oncological treatment. Chemotherapy and radiation are powerful tools in the treatment of cancer. In the clinic I help patients deal with a number of the issues related to side effects from these treatments. Using dietary therapy, qigong exercises and treatments, acupuncture, moxibustion therapy and sometimes herbal therapy as well (when the western doctors will agree to it), there is a lot that the Chinese medical practitioner can do to help ease the side effects for the patient.I have also come to understand that the emotional strain of undergoing oncological treatment can be quite high and so I also help support the nervous system and a patient's will to continue forward.
I recently found a wonderful short video about the use of acupuncture for chemotherapy patients with neuropathy in the hands and feet. I'm posting it here so that my readers can get a further sense of what Chinese and East Asian medicine can offer the cancer patient.
I hope you find it useful. read more..

The Radiation Contamination-Radiation Sickness-Nuclear Radiation-Macrobiotic Diet

Foods to Clear Radiation from Body

The earthquake, tsunami and recent struggles with nuclear radiation in Japan have been a heartbreak to the world. I have been in contact with family and friends in Japan and all assure me that they were fortunate and are doing fine. Still we all hear and read of the dangers of the radiation contamination and this is something of great concern for all.Much of the media in the U.S. where I am living has been covering issues regarding widespread dispersal of radiation in the environment. While we are currently assured that the levels of radiation at this time are not a threat to human health in the U.S., traces of radiation from the nuclear plants in Daiichi have been discovered in Massachusetts, California, and now iodine 131 has been found in the milk of cows in Spokane, Washington.We are assured that the radiation in the cow's milk has a half-life of 8 days and poses no threat at its current rate of .8 pico-curies which is 5,000 times lower than the "intervention level" as mandated by the U.S. FDA.
Still, I would like to share with my readers some information at this time that may be useful to you.In Japanese culture and medicine we have long eaten sea vegetables (seaweed) and miso soup (fermented soy bean soup).These foods have an ability to help clear certain kinds of radiation from the body.In their book, The Cancer Prevention Diet, Michio Kushi and Alex Jack discuss the use of seaweeds and miso:
"Sea Vegetables: Kombu, wakame, nori, and other edible seaweeds are a small but important part of the daily macrobiotic diet. In Japan, a macrobiotic doctor in Nagasaki who survived the atomic bombing in August 1945 put all of his surviving patients on a strict diet of brown rice, miso soup, sea vegetables, and sea salt. In contrast to many patients at other hospitals and medical centers who contracted or died from radiation sickness, all his patients and staff were saved. "
Seaweed has historically been used in Chinese medicine to soften and help reduce masses in the body. Both seaweed and miso are being studied by modern medical researchers for anti-cancer properties and seaweed, for its tumor shrinking properties. Both are a mainstay of the macrobiotic diet which has long been famous for its successes in treating people with different cancers, including those caused by exposure to certain forms of radiation.
Seaweed is very potent, containing many minerals and vitamins. Only small amounts are recommended in the diet. Kombu is considered particularly potent. It is so strong in its effect, that for some patients with cancer it can actually have an adverse effect and worsen tumors if used excessively or under the wrong circumstances.
Similarly, there is conflicting data from different research on the use of soy and its anti-cancer properties. Certainly before considering the use of soy in the diet, one should consult your physician if you are a cancer patient.
The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission recommends eating two to three ounces of seaweed per week for those exposed to radiation.
For the layperson, you might consider adopting some mainstays of a traditional Japanese diet. Two servings of miso soup (low sodium) per day with a small portion of seaweed and a serving of brown rice on the side. read more..

Sunday 29 July 2012

Qigong and Ritual Fasting on Mt. Qincheng

Qigong and Ritual Fasting on Mt. Qincheng

Many of my patients have asked me to explain "Qigong" to them. This is a Chinese word that derives from two terms. "Qi" is the character in Chinese that refers to "universal fire" or "metabolic force" if we're discussing medicine. "Gong" refers to the traditional character that means "practice". "Qigong" is a modern term that has come to describe breathing, meditational and internal energetic practices that strengthen the constitution, support spiritual transformation, develop sensory perceptions and if practiced in specific ways, can be considered longevity practices.Historically, these practices may have arisen from the shamanastic people of ancient China.While in the city of Changsha I had the great privilege to visit the MawangDui Museum. This an ancient archeological site that contains ancient tombs from the Han Dynsasty. It was discovered intact with many important artifacts including drawings of people doing "Daoyin" or stretching and health exercises. Each of the exercises is accompanied by explanation for which illnesses it can be used to treat. These are some of the earliest recorded Qigong exercises. (I'll discuss the shamanistic roots of Qigong in a future entry).In later times, both Buddhists and Daoists used internal alchemical practices/Qi practices to support spiritual transformation. Healers of all these traditions have used Medical Qigong.
On my trip to Sichuan, China this past summer, I traveled to Mt. Qingcheng to the Tianlonggong (Temple of the Heavenly Dragon Training Institute) where I spent time studying with my Qigong master.He is the recipient of many lineages that encompass, shamanistic, Buddhist, Daoist and Tibetan Qigong. It was transformational to do the practices with him in his ancestral home on the side of a mountain, considered a holy place. One of the central themes in the practices that kept coming back to me is that Universal Love is transformational. Doing these practices on the mountain under the sky it was easy to find this connection. Many people purportedly learn Qigong practices from classes or off the internet or DVD's, but often what is missing is the inner energetic methods that drive these practices like an internal engine. Without the knowledge of how to do this, the practices are mostly ineffective.
We had the great privilege of participating in a Daoist fasting ritual for several days. Traditionally this is called "bigu", or "giving up the grain". It is a Daoist practice that is used to purify the body and spirit and there are rituals of bathing and purifying the body, while using Qigong practices to nourish one's body during the fast. In Daoism these practices have been used for thousands of years. In some cases these practices are said to be used to attain immortality, as food is substituted first by herbs and then given up altogether and the practitioner then lives on Qi alone. This requires a tremendous amount of self-cultivation.
I found for myself that bigu was immensely beneficial. We would rise early each morning and perform ritual cleansing of one another, then we would practice Qigong together, and drink specially prepared Qi-water and herbs and we would repeat this twice more during the day.The cleansing ritual included "pai da". This is a slapping technique on the skin that breaks up stagnation/toxins in the flesh and in the meridians and benefits circulation of Qi and Blood. We used towels soaked in basins of soapy water and we would do this ritual on one another (slapping eachother's arms, legs, abdomen and back with the towels) and then we would each thoroughly clean ourselves. I found this ritual incredibly powerful. I felt very clean and purified afterwards. My muscles and skin felt incredible.
A memory that I will carry with me forever is with two other gentlemen, both from China.One was a young man who had come to the institute to participate and learn. The other was a Shaolin monk who had come to observe and study as well. He had the read more..

Choosing Intentional Will over Fear

Choosing Intentional Will over Fear

denoted by character "scholar" over character
for "heart/mind"In Chinese medicine there are five Yin organs or "zang", which refer to the 'storehouses' of Qi.The six Yang organs are called "fu", or 'hollow containers'. These organs hold fluids or food etc., but are not solid.  Each of these zangfu/organs have an associated emotion and virtue.
The Kidneys houses the emotion kong, translated as "fear"or "binding of the heart/mind".Fear is not necessarily a negative thing. When there is a proper relationship of this emotion and it isn't in excess, then there is a sense of precaution and judgement. Kong causes the Qi to astringe, to pull-inward, and in this way it gives us a sense of proper cautiousness. The virtue of the Kidneys is zhi, translated as "incarnate will" or "scholarly heart/mind". This is the deep will. It is our sense of fulfilling our deeper desires, connected to our sense of self and relationship to this life and our understanding of the world.Its not so much about "what do I want for lunch" but rather "how shall I actualize my life".
When people have experienced traumas of any kind, be they emotional or physical, especially in childhood, often there is a nugget of kong that remains stuck in the Kidneys if they didn't have a chance to express themeselves fully and heal from the effects of that trauma. We say that Blood is the matrix of the mind. What this refers to is our understanding that Blood carries emotion. And that when there is trauma and kong, the ensuing astringing of emotion is imprinted in the Blood and if not allowed to be expressed correctly, it stagnates. In a sense it "freezes" like a nugget of cold in the Kidneys as a result of the astringing nature of 'kong' which disrupts the Source Qi and its warming nature in the Kidneys.In some sense, this is a protective strategy. If someone does not have the fortitude or emotional resource to handle a trauma, it is frozenly stored. But it is nonetheless still there, and impacting our ability to assert our zhi and to live our lives fully to our potentiation.
We can use acupuncture, moxa, herbs, and medical Qigong to address this nugget of Kong.But its important to remember that a patient always has choice too. Each of us can choose to determine and embrace a plan for our lives. We can be reactively pulled along by the results of kong or we can map a course that doesn't salute the limitations set upon us by kong and early trauma. When the fear has been with us a very long time, it often appears to us as an inherent part of our personalities. "I was born this way", is how it seems to present itself to most people. In actuality, there is a person that is laboring under the burden of carrying around this frozen nugget of kong but hasn't realized that they are imprisoned and in some ways, limited. Fear can also take on odd driving force of its own- a powerful one. But its corrupted in a sense. Its not guided by an expansive, warming quality (as I'll explain shortly). It often has a controlling, self-interested quality and can be dangerous, because it lacks the "scholarliness" or upright intention of zhi.When a person chooses to live their lives according to "zhi", an intentional choice about fulfilling their incarnate destiny, then many things can become possible. The assertion of the zhi helps to reinforce the connection of the Will to both the Shen and Xin, the Spirit and the Mind, both housed in the Heart. I believe through observation that the zhi has an expansive nature, supporting the Kidneys ability to share Source Qi and send it to the whole body.It is this expansive nature that rectifies the flow of warming Qi in the body. I believe it is this powerful expansive nature of zhi that when combined with the Shen and Xin creates a powerful combustion of Fire and Water Qi elements, and is perhaps known as the transformative nature of universal love or agape. This is perhaps the most powerful transformative Qi. When zhi is asserted, often read more..

Friday 20 July 2012

Tues Night Sessions-Acupuncture-Goalkeeper-Soccer

Off topic of acupuncture/TCM - need a women's soccer goalkeeper

Our indoor women's team needs a goalkeeper for Tues night sessions.  Any of you interested in playing that position w/ us or know someone who will or can lead me to a list (not Craig's, already done that) where we might contact a goalkeeper?
303-947-6224 for both the soccer contact stuff and to make an acupuncture appointment! read more..

Junior High School Days-Business Professional-Chinese Medicine-Science Teacher-Acupuncture

Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture for Bad Breath

Not long ago I met with a business professional who I will not describe other than to say he had the worst bad breath that I’ve endured in a long time. It brought me back to a science teacher from my junior high school days, Mr. Y. His formidable breath was suffered so widely that it earned him the nickname Scope. In fact, many students didn’t even know his real name, rather, they would just say, “Hey, I’ve got Scope for seventh period biology.” . . . ? Read More: Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture for Bad Breath read more..

Saturday 14 July 2012

Bone Mineral Density-Dietary Calcium-Acupuncture

Acupuncture increases bone mineral density

According to a new study, acupuncture increases bone mineral density.  Remember too, dietary calcium is most important but if you must take a calcium supplement, take your 1200 mg/day in smaller doses (5oo to 6oo mg). Your body can't metabolize all 1200 at once!  Add Vitamin D, weight bearing exercise, and acupuncture and your risk of breaking a bone will go down.  I've been post-menopausal for about 7 years and according to my latest bone density test my bone density hasn't changed a bit!
For an appointment call 303-947-6224 or email me at DrMLucas@AcupunctureWoman.com.
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Tuesday 10 July 2012

Organic Food Production-Informative Article-Corruption Issues-Organic Standards

What to do about Organic Food?

Yesterday in the Times there was an informative article about the corruption issues with organic food production. Big companies have been getting into the organic market for years because it makes big profits. The author highlights how many corporations don’t care much about organic standards and healthy food. They care more about their profits. For [...] read more..

Monday 9 July 2012

Tension Headaches-The Headaches-Acupuncture

Headaches and Other Symptoms

A recent patient with headaches at my New York acupuncture reminded me of the powerful way acupuncture treats the whole person. She was coming in for tension headaches which were exacerbated by seasonal allergies.  Stress was also a major factor. The acupuncture had almost an immediate effect in reducing the headaches.  After 4 treatments she [...] read more..

Sunday 8 July 2012

Annals Of Internal Medicine-Chronic Low Back Pain-Types Of Massage-Massagemassage

Treat Your Back Pain With Massage

Massage therapy helps ease chronic low back pain and improves function, according to a new Annals of Internal Medicine trial. This is the first study to compare structural and relaxation (Swedish) massage. The trial found that both types of massage worked well with few side effects.“We found that massage … read more..

Traditional Chinese Medicine-Herbal Prescriptions-Killer Diseases-Heart Disease

Acupuncture is good for your heart!

Considering that heart disease is still one of the top killer diseases in the U.S. acupuncture is good news!  And lest you not forget that Traditional Chinese Medicine's (TCM) herbal prescriptions and nutritional/lifestyle advice are all about longevity and prevention of disease.
Call 303-947-6224 or email me at DrMLucas@AcupunctureWoman.com for more information or an appointment.  Let's see if your health insurance covers acupuncture or other TCM therapies.
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Thursday 5 July 2012

Everyday Occurrence-Joint Stiffness-Common Ailments-Lower Back Pain-Acupuncture

Finding Relief with TCM: Acupuncture for Pain

When I think about the most common ailments my patients are battling, pain is definitely at the top of the list. Whether it’s migraines, neck pain, joint stiffness, arthritis or lower back pain, dealing with pain is an everyday occurrence for many. Pain is – unfortunately – extremely common. In fact, a national NIH survey [...] read more..

Chinese Medicine-Gua Sha Tools-Tight Muscle

Everything You Need to Know About Gua Sha

Every so often I work with a patient who has a particularly tight muscle, a large stubborn knot, or a seriously wiry and tight connective tissue.  On those occasions, I pull out my Gua Sha tools and go to town.  While many people think of Chinese medicine as being all about acupuncture and herbs, there are many lesser-known healing methods that are a part of this medicine.  Among them is the practice of Gua Sha. Yes, Gua Sha sounds like something you would yell . . . ? Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Gua Sha read more..