Going to the Doctor 2

In the last post I distinguished between two approaches to going to the doctor:

1) I go to the doctor when something is wrong.

2) I go to the doctor to improve my health and well being.

Let me tell you about a patient I’ve been seeing.  She started off in the first category, but has wonderfully shifted into the second category with great results.

She’s in her late 20’s and came in for TMJ Syndrome, which is clicking and pain of the TM joint while you chew or yawn.

Besides treating her TMJ Syndrome, we have treated her other disharmonies according to Traditional Chinese Medicine.  We have also given her general support and care.  What has resulted is improvement in her TMJ, but also major shifts in her personal life.

She started keeping a food journal, and is now shifting her diet completely.  Her mood and energy are improving, and she is contemplating positive life changes for herself (leaving her boyfriend, changing her job, moving somewhere else — all of which are unfulfilling for her right now.)

Yes, she came in to handle her joint pain.  But she has successfully worked with us in improving her overall health and well being.  Which, in Chinese Medicine, is the only true treatment her TMJ can receive.


Going to the Doctor

Here’s a distinction:

People go to their doctor for A) check ups  and B) when something is wrong.
People go to Chinese Medicine for the same reasons, but they often walk out with more resolution than just the “Chief Complaint.”

People have two main approaches to their health.

1) I go to the doctor when something is wrong.

2) I go to the doctor to improve my health and well being.

If you care for having a well functioning body and mind so that you can live the life you want to live, you better get yourself moving into the second of those two categories.

If you go to the doctor (whether Chinese or Western) to improve your health and well being, you must understand that everything that is a part of you and your life is relevant to diagnosing your current state of health.  Although, it is Chinese Medicine that tends to seek out the following information, not Western Medicine.

How do you cope with stress?  Are you in law school?  Are you engaged?  Do you take public or private transportation?  Do you eat big or small dinners?  What are your hobbies?  What is your profession?  Are you married?  Do you have kids?  What do your bowel movements look like?  How is your sleep?  Do you sweat profusely?  How is your appetite?  Do you have bad breath?  How is your emotional level?  etc.

If you fall into the firs category, your mind will have a different focus as you prepare to see the doctor.  You’ll prepare a list of what’s bothering you as relates to that one single issue.  So if you have an ingrown toenail you’ll tell the doc all about the toenail and how you tried to handle it on your own, and it’s red, and painful, and you can’t wear shoes.

What a world of difference on so many levels.

Having Friends Leads to Longer Life

(My comments)

Whether they realize it or not, one reason people seek health care from Chinese Medicine is that we treat the patient, not the illness.

Everything about you is important to us – not just because we care about you; your Western MD surely cares about you too. However, the Western medical model does not integrate the state of your interpersonal relationships with your knee pain.

A highly skilled PA with a wide spectrum of serious medical experience recently said to me,

“You [Chinese Medicine practitioners] ask your patients what the color of their urine is? We don’t ask them the color of their urine. If it’s really yellow, they’ll tell us.”

First of all, statistically, the patient often does not know that there is something abnormal going on. If they have had dark scanty urine for years, they assume it’s normal.

Secondly, if the Western health care providers don’t ask about something as basic as your urine and bowel movements, what other key pieces to the puzzle are they ignoring? Don’t you think your primary health care provider should know if you have no friends?  If having no friends is damaging to one’s health and well being (as we know), than one’s nurse/doctor/PA should certainly know that you have no friends!

Of course, some of this is not the Western model’s fault, but rather the health care system‘s fault since the system itself does not promote preventive medicine.  This has led–not to a shortage of health care providers (as the headlines say) but rather–a superabundance of sick people. Yet the current health care system is based on the Western medical model – which has not, until recently, focused on preventive medicine.

Chinese Medicine, on the other hand, takes things such as your friendships into account in diagnosing ailments as physically tangible as Gall Stones.  Additionally, our source texts says that treating a disease once it erupts is like digging a well once you are thirsty.

Thankfully, Western medicine brings us powerful tools that can, when necessary, drill a well over night, so to speak. However, everyone agrees that preventing disease remains optimal. In this, I believe Chinese Medicine far surpasses contemporary Western medicine.

It is no surprise, therefore, to see the lovely research proving the very important health benefits of friendship, collected by the NYTimes.com journalist below.

Be well,



Published: April 20, 2009

In the quest for better health, many people turn to doctors, self-help books or herbal supplements. But they overlook a powerful weapon that could help them fight illness and depression, speed recovery, slow aging and prolong life: their friends.

Researchers are only now starting to pay attention to the importance of friendship and social networks in overall health. A 10-year Australian study found that older people with a large circle of friends were 22 percent less likely to die during the study period than those with fewer friends. A large 2007 study showed an increase of nearly 60 percent in the risk for obesity among people whose friends gained weight. And last year, Harvard researchers reported that strong social ties could promote brain health as we age.

“In general, the role of friendship in our lives isn’t terribly well appreciated,” said Rebecca G. Adams, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. “There is just scads of stuff on families and marriage, but very little on friendship. It baffles me. Friendship has a bigger impact on our psychological well-being than family relationships.”

In a new book, “The Girls From Ames: A Story of Women and a 40-Year Friendship” (Gotham), Jeffrey Zaslow tells the story of 11 childhood friends who scattered from Iowa to eight different states. Despite the distance, their friendships endured through college and marriage, divorce and other crises, including the death of one of the women in her 20s.

Using scrapbooks, photo albums and the women’s own memories, Mr. Zaslow chronicles how their close friendships have shaped their lives and continue to sustain them. The role of friendship in their health and well-being is evident in almost every chapter.

Two of the friends have recently learned they have breast cancer. Kelly Zwagerman, now a high school teacher who lives in Northfield, Minn., said that when she got her diagnosis in September 2007, her doctor told her to surround herself with loved ones. Instead, she reached out to her childhood friends, even though they lived far away.

“The first people I told were the women from Ames,” she said in an interview. “I e-mailed them. I immediately had e-mails and phone calls and messages of support. It was instant that the love poured in from all of them.”

When she complained that her treatment led to painful sores in her throat, an Ames girl sent a smoothie maker and recipes. Another, who had lost a daughter to leukemia, sent Ms. Zwagerman a hand-knitted hat, knowing her head would be cold without hair; still another sent pajamas made of special fabric to help cope with night sweats.

Ms. Zwagerman said she was often more comfortable discussing her illness with her girlfriends than with her doctor. “We go so far back that these women will talk about anything,” she said.

Ms. Zwagerman says her friends from Ames have been an essential factor in her treatment and recovery, and research bears her out. In 2006, a study of nearly 3,000 nurses with breast cancer found that women without close friends were four times as likely to die from the disease as women with 10 or more friends. And notably, proximity and the amount of contact with a friend wasn’t associated with survival. Just having friends was protective.

Bella DePaulo, a visiting psychology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, whose work focuses on single people and friendships, notes that in many studies, friendship has an even greater effect on health than a spouse or family member. In the study of nurses with breast cancer, having a spouse wasn’t associated with survival.

While many friendship studies focus on the intense relationships of women, some research shows that men can benefit, too. In a six-year study of 736 middle-age Swedish men, attachment to a single person didn’t appear to affect the risk of heart attack and fatal coronary heart disease, but having friendships did. Only smoking was as important a risk factor as lack of social support.

Exactly why friendship has such a big effect isn’t entirely clear. While friends can run errands and pick up medicine for a sick person, the benefits go well beyond physical assistance; indeed, proximity does not seem to be a factor.


Why Most Acupuncture Research is a Sham

Below is a section of an article from AcupunctureToday.  The full article can be read here:

emphases added -ed



True needling consists of actual penetration of the needle with manual stimulation, whereas sham needling is carried out by a special needle which touches the skin but may only penetrate superficially or touch the skin’s surface. In cases of both true and sham, the de qi phenomena is reported and the subject feels the needle at the point of contact.

Superficial needle stimulation is a known and accepted acupuncture procedure within a variety of European and Asian-American acupuncture techniques. Within acupuncture research, however, it is considered a placebo. Conclusions will be drawn and reported as such to an unsuspecting public. These sham acupuncture needles, which are internationally accepted and referred to as Streitberger or Park needles, are used by virtually every researcher conducting studies within the area of acupuncture. It is the standard for the scientific industry. This fact alone makes any research using this needle procedure a “sham,” as it is ignores that nonpenetrating acupuncture is a valid technique.

Recently, a major research institute attached to a very prominent university received a grant to conduct acupuncture research. They chose as their topic the treatment of colitis and diverticulitis via acupuncture. They sought my input and expertise into the matter. To say I was honored and humbled would be an understatement. When I inquired as to my role, I was shocked to learn they wanted to know “what points do you treat for this condition?”

They did not have a clue what acupuncture was. They only wanted to know what points to use for gastrointestinal distress. I reminded them that was a very general condition with many potential causes. I advised against using federal funds to finance such a study since their final results would be flawed. They were totally unaware of pulse, tongue diagnosis, system review or electromeridian imaging through ryodoraku. When I asked what was their goal for the research, I was told “to determine if acupuncture was effective in gastrointestinal distress.”

It is very apparent that those who are conducting what would otherwise be considered valid and scientific research at extremely impressive and recognized institutes are in fact guilty of the highest malfeasance with the models they have chosen to use regarding the effectiveness of acupuncture. Unfortunately, the general public and the scientific community regard research from these sources as gospel and would never question the validity of these studies.

Acupuncture research conclusions cannot be accepted as long as the research is being conducted as shown in the examples I cited. True blind or double-blind studies may essentially be impossible within acupuncture research due to the fact as long as a patient is able to feel a sensation at the point of needle contact (whether actual or simulated), it cannot be considered a valid blind study. The methods utilized in most acupuncture research are without question, a “sham.”

The full article can be read here:


The reason the author knew that their results would be flawed is that Chinese Medicine does not aim to treat symptoms as its primary goal.

The primary goal is to recognize the root cause of the symptoms and direct treatment to the root, even if the treatment must concurrently address the symptoms directly.

Yet the cause of Diverticulitis is not understood by WM, and Colitis has many different causes.  Different causes require different acupuncture points.  Yet the researchers want simply to use Acumoxa points to treat gastrointestinal distress.  Further, even under the same single cause, different patients may require different point protocols depending on a variety of factors about the individual.

I believe the root problem here is that WM wants to use Acupuncture like a Western drug, instead of use Acupuncture as it has been used for 3,000 years.

Depression, for example, can be addressed in WM by administering Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s).  This allows for the brain’s serotonin levels to remain higher than they normally do.  Yet low serotonin levels are not the cause of the patients depression; they are a symptom, an expression, of a root pathology.  Chinese Medicine looks at “depression” as one symptom of an underlying pathology – not the pathology itself!

Just as WM uses single-action drugs to handle symptoms, so too they would like to use acupuncture as a single-action modality for addressing symptoms.  This is antithetical to the foundations of the CM theories and ethics.  Of course the research will be flawed.

Let’s say you asked a top chef to advice you on cooking a good stew for your family.  You spend millions of dollars setting up the kitchen, buying the best pots and pans and stoves.  Finally you’re ready to prepare and cook the stew, and you’re only question to the chef is,  “Now, where’s your ‘Good Stew Spice’?”

There is no such thing as a Good Stew spice in medicine.  Good stew is the culmination of frying the vegetables, slicing the meat, cooking with the right temperature for the right duration of time, etc.  All of that combined, holistically, creates a good stew.  So too with a patient’s health.

Just as spices alone do not make good stew, treating symptoms alone does not make true treatment.  Yet this is how the top research organizations are approaching acupuncture.  Not only is this a sham, it is a shame of great proportions.

How to detect misleading ads

(Source: http://green.yahoo.com/blog/the_conscious_consumer/79/how-to-detect-misleading-ads.html)

By Lori Bongiorno

Posted Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:33am PDT

How do you know if an ad is telling the truth? It’s not always easy, but there are certain clues you can look for to determine if the claims an ad is making are legit or if a marketer is purposely trying to mislead you into thinking a product is healthier, safer, or greener than it truly is.

Here are some ways to determine if advertising claims are fact or fiction…

Words matter. Look for specific rather than general claims. The following words are essentially meaningless because they are too vague and/or there aren’t any standard definitions for them:

  • Natural
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Nontoxic
  • Fragrance-free or unscented
  • Free range
  • Hormone-free
  • Antibiotic-free
  • Eco-friendly, environmentally preferable, or eco-safe
  • Green

Meaningless claims are ubiquitous in the marketplace. For instance, about 33 percent of food and beverage products launched last year made some kind of “natural” claim. When shopping, it’s safer to look for specific attributes, but there are no guarantees because in many cases there’s no one verifying the manufacturers claims.

Some examples of specific claims:

  • Made from post-consumer recycled paper
  • Formaldehyde-free
  • No additives
  • No animal byproducts
  • No parabens
  • Phosphate-free

Visit Consumer Reports’ Eco-labels center to find out which labels and terms you can trust.

Look for proof. Choose products with claims that can be verified or that have been certified by a third party. These products have been vetted by an independent agency to ensure that they meet certain standards. Some credible logos to look for include USDA Organic, Energy Star, Forest Stewardship Council certified, Rainforest Alliance certified, and Green Seal.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission recently charged K-Mart and other companies with making deceptive and unsubstantiated biodegradable claims on some paper products. The FTC is expected to update its outdated regulations for green advertising claims sometime this year. Hopefully consumers won’t have to read between the lines quite as much if the government cracks down on misleading claims.

Rely on experts. These websites do the homework for you…[see original article for list of websites]:

Breastfeeding Duration and Weaning Diet May Shape Child’s Body Composition

Modern studies continue to support principals of Chinese Medicine.  This time in the area of pediatrics.


(source: Eurikalert.com)

Chevy Chase, MD—Variations in both milk feeding and in the weaning diet are linked to differences in growth and development, and they have independent influences on body composition in early childhood, according to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

Previous studies suggest that the early environment may be a significant factor in childhood obesity. This study used dual x-ray absorptiometry to make direct measures of body composition in children at four years of age whose diets had been assessed when they were infants. The findings showed that children who had been breastfed longer had a lower fat mass which could not be explained by differences in family background or the child’s height.

“Most studies linking infant feeding to later body composition focus on differences in milk feeding, but our study also considered the influence of the weaning diet,” said Dr. Siân Robinson, PhD, of the MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre, University of Southampton in the United Kingdom and lead author of the study. “We found that, independent of the duration of breastfeeding, children with higher quality weaning diets including fruits, vegetables, and home-prepared foods had a greater lean mass at four years of age.”

In this study, researchers assessed the diets of 536 children at six and 12 months of age. Diet was assessed using…(read the original report.)

Why bottle-fed babies grow faster

(Source: Newspost Online)

London, Apr 24 (ANI): Breast milk has less protein than formula, a new study has claimed.

It has been believed that formula-fed babies, who tend to be bigger, are “programmed” to store fat and so have a higher risk of childhood obesity.

Now, an international study of 1,000 babies, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has suggested that protein levels in formula should fall.

The study, which was carried out in Belgium, Italy, Germany, Poland and Spain, included babies born between 2002 and 2004.

Parents were recruited to take part in the first few weeks of their babies” lives, reports The BBC.

To reach the conclusion, a third were given a low protein content formula milk, a third had a formula with a higher level of protein, while the rest were breast-fed during their first year.

In order to qualify as breast-fed, kids had to be either exclusively given breast milk, or have a maximum of three bottles per week.

Then the infants were followed up to the age of two with regular weight, height and body mass index measurements taken.

At the age of two, there was no difference in height between the groups, but the high protein group were the heaviest.

The researchers suggest lower protein intakes in infancy might protect against later obesity.

The children are being followed up further to see whether those given the lower protein formulas have a reduced risk of obesity later on.
… continue reading full article: