How Acupuncture Can Help You Quit Smoking

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How Acupuncture Can Help You Quit Smoking

Despite the fact that smoking is known to cause a host of health issues, it’s no easy task to curb the cravings. Did you know that acupuncture is a proven and effective method for quitting smoking? Here is how it can help.

Corresponding areas of the body

Acupuncture points on the ears are the most effective areas on the body when it comes to addressing cravings for cigarettes. The protocol in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is to use this set of acupuncture points to relieve tension build up that can contribute to cigarette cravings. The ear is a whole microsystem reflecting the entire body which includes the central nervous system. Many believe the cranial nerves, which are accessed through these points, stimulate the nervous system in a way that calms the cravings.

The relaxation response that comes from acupuncture is a main aspect of this idea. Similarly, the relaxation response that comes from working with the cranial nerves helps to address sleep and fatigue issues along with headaches – all of which are connected to smoking withdrawal. Headaches and sleep issues are all symptoms of an unstable nervous system, which is in need of relaxation. This is likely why a person feels they need a cigarette to relax.

Endorphins

Endorphins play a huge role in making us feel good. Using acupuncture to cultivate endorphins also eases cravings since you get that ‘rush’ from something other than cigarettes. This really helps with withdrawal periods and allows a person to overcome smoking more smoothly.

Combined Therapy

Acupuncture can be combined with Chinese herbs put together by a certified herbalist. Herbs can also help to support different areas of the body that may be in flux while you’re trying to quit smoking. It can decrease urges, help withdrawal symptoms, and stabilize the body in this transition.

Your dedication to acupuncture sessions along with other healthy initiatives will be significant in your journey to quit smoking. Each person takes their own time but an acupuncturist will work with you to develop a set plan that makes the most sense for your needs. Get in touch with us today to book an appointment.

 


Tammy Lalonde Owner and Licensed Acupuncturist at Red Leaf Wellness

Tammy Lalonde, MSAOM BS Dipl.Ac LAc RAc Paramedic

About the Author

Tammy Lalonde is the Owner and Licensed Acupuncturist at Red Leaf Wellness in Edmonton, Alberta and has deep expertise in both ancient Eastern healing techniques as well as modern Western medicine.  She is also a Critical Care Paramedic.  Tammy earned both her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Oriental Medicine from California’s prestigious South Baylo University and her diploma in Emergency Medical Technology (Paramedicine) from Augustana University.  She holds active licensure with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), the College of Acupuncture and Associates of Alberta (CAAA), the California Acupuncture Board and the Alberta College of Paramedics (ACP).

 


 

All you Need to Know About Acupuncture and Liver Function

  • Red Leaf Wellness offers Traditional Chinese Acupuncture services.

All you Need to Know About Acupuncture and Liver Function

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Liver is one of the most important organs. It controls the flow of life energy, also known as Qi, a vital substance that affects the physiological functions of the human organs and meridians. The Liver’s first priority is to keep your Qi moving smoothly. Below is an outline of the functions of the Liver and how to detect if your Liver is functioning optimally.

What can cause the Liver to become stagnant?

When the Liver is prevented from doing its job, the energy from the Liver (Liver Qi) becomes stagnant, which can cause problems that involve pain. Factors that can cause the Liver to become stagnant include:

  • Excessive mental exertion
  • Prolonged negative emotions (frustration, stress, anger, resentment etc.)
  • Emotional fluctuations
  • Women’s health issues (PMS, PMDD, hormonal problems)

The Liver regulates and stores Blood

The Liver regulates how much Blood is circulating in the body and stores Blood when we are resting or sleeping. It then releases it again once we start moving and doing physical activities. The idea is, the less Blood the Liver reserves, the more problems a person is likely to have, as you’ll essentially be ‘getting by’ on the limited supply of Blood in the Liver that is being stored.

The Liver regulates emotions

Another function of the Liver is regulating the free flow of Qi while using the Liver- Blood’s supply. Those who have Livers that function optimally and reserve enough Blood have the ability to bounce back from emotional problems much faster than those who have poor reserves and are able to find emotional harmony. However, people with poor reserves tend to feel exhausted by their problems, which prolong feelings of sadness, depression, anxiety, and pressure.

The Liver is integral to the menstrual cycle

For women, the Liver functions as a regulator of the menstrual cycle. How well a Liver is functioning is telling of her overall health and fertility. If Liver Qi is stagnated, there is often a Liver-Blood deficiency as well. This can create a host of symptoms like:

  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Crying spells
  • Propensity to outbursts of anger
  • Breast Distention (pressure or pain)
  • Cramps
  • Irregular, scanty, or no periods
  • Blurred vision and floaters
  • Dry hair and brittle nails
  • Insomnia, excessive dreaming

… and more.

The Liver regulates your digestive system

If you are suffering from digestive problems like ulcers, food sensitivities, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), or any other gastrointestinal conditions, there is a chance that your Liver is not functioning well. In fact, the first sign of Liver Qi Stagnation shows up as digestive problems.

Liver Qi allows digestive processes to carry out more smoothly. You will feel a difference when nutrients begin to absorb more readily into the Blood and is are carried from the intestines to the Liver, so you can say goodbye to irritability and exhaustion after eating!

How can acupuncture help?

Acupuncture addresses both situations of Liver Qi stagnation and Liver-Blood deficiencies. Points along the corresponding meridians release the stagnated areas allowing the Qi to move freely. This increases the overall blood flow in your body, which will improve your whole health and wellbeing.

Do any of these situations resonate with you? If you feel like your Liver function is waning and could use a little help, get in touch with us or set up an appointment so we can start the process of relieving your symptoms as soon as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acupuncture for Seasonal Allergies

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Acupuncture for Seasonal Allergies

Do you suffer from allergies every spring or late summer? Allergies are notoriously difficult to treat, as there are a fair amount of factors that can cause them. First, there are outdoor airborne allergens floating around at different times of the day. Pollen (such as that of ragweed) and grass are some of the main culprits during allergy seasons. Indoor allergens like dust, mold and pet hair can also make a person’s allergies worsen. Finally, did you know that your diet could affect your allergies?

During the peak allergy seasons of spring and late summer, many people suffer from extreme symptoms of congestion, sneezing, lethargy and exhaustion. It can be overwhelming to know how to begin to reduce your allergy symptoms. Over-the-counter medications only work for so long before our bodies become resistant to them. However, acupuncture is a great preventative measure for allergies because it uses natural techniques to heal the body. Here is an overview of what you can do to minimize your allergies and how acupuncture can play a role.

Minimize Allergens

Minimizing allergens in the home is the first step in reducing allergic reactions. It’s best to close windows in summer and early fall and turn on the air conditioner’s dehumidifier. Make sure your AC is clean so it doesn’t blow dust or debris around the home. This will improve the air quality and keep outdoor allergens outside.

Give your home a good clean and remove any dust and mold. This will make a world of difference to your allergies and you will start to see an improvement immediately.

Acupuncture as a Preventative Measure

Since allergies are an immune response that is triggered by the release of cortisol (a stress hormone), they can have a profound affect on your immune system and overall wellbeing. Acupuncture is an effective tool to reduce this response which can be used in combination with western medicine. Many people even claim that acupuncture has reduced their dependency on allergy medications.

It’s best to set up acupuncture treatments before the allergy symptoms begin to prevent your allergies from starting. Most medications, even over-the-counter pills, should be taken far in advance of the expected reactions. Likewise with acupuncture, it’s always better to start treatment before the symptoms strike. However, if you’re already experiencing symptoms, seeing an acupuncture professional can help your body begin the process of alleviating your reactions.

How Acupuncture for Allergies Works

Acupuncture for allergies works with points along the spleen, stomach and large intestine meridians to reduce the allergic reaction’s persistence and intensity.  It boosts the immune system, reduces itching, swelling, stuffiness and restores the body’s balance naturally.

Are you suffering from allergy symptoms? With hay fever season well under way, let us help. Schedule an appointment to see a professional acupuncture practitioner today.

Acupuncture and Cancer Care

Acupuncture and Cancer Care

In modern Western medicine, a variety of cancer treatments are generally administered to remove cancer masses, shrink tumors and rid the body of cancer cells. However, while these treatments can be effective, it is difficult to detect any free cancer cells that could still exist in the body post-treatment. These leftover cells can strike back at any time – especially if the body is weak. Keeping your body strong and balanced with a supplementary treatment like acupuncture can help to eliminate these free cells and reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.

Healing the Body

While cancer treatments can be particularly effective, they are also extremely difficult mentally, physically and emotionally. They often cause significant damage, leaving the patient feeling weak and drained. Acupuncture helps to rebuild the patient’s immunity as well as decreasing the side effects of chemotherapy. Examples of issues that many cancer patients face post-treatment are: skin disorders, urinary problems, mental and emotional repercussions, phantom limb pain, lymphedema, blood disorders, infertility and chest and heart problems among others.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)’s View

Acupuncture has 20+ herbs that work in synergy with western medicine for cancer patients pre and post-surgery. In TCM, the concept of cancer care is time-based, and aims to act as quickly and effectively as possible. Eliminating the cancer cells in the shortest time, without compromising the individual’s quality of life is the true goal of acupuncture. Revitalizing the body allows for the remaining cancer cells to be inhibited to ensure that the remission stage is sustained.

A personalized acupuncture plan can be put into place in conjunction with any medication or cancer treatments that have been recommended by your doctor and oncologist. All information indicated in the patient portal, such as the type of cancer or any post-cancer symptoms, will be taken into consideration in the creation of your personalized plan.

Acupuncture as an allied treatment for cancer has been proven to increase immunity, decrease nausea and vomiting, lower stress levels, improve mood, relieve mental distress and balance the body – all of which affect the healing process greatly. Contact us today for more information on how it can help you.

 

 

Acupuncture for Thyroid Disorders

  • Red Leaf Wellness offers Traditional Chinese Acupuncture services.

Acupuncture for Thyroid Disorders

The thyroid is one of the most important glands in our bodies. It regulates the body’s temperature, metabolism and the functioning of the muscles, liver, brain and a host of other systems. Thyroid health affects all aspects of a person’s wellbeing, and it can affect people of all ages.

Thyroid disorders can be hereditary and can also be connected to other conditions a person may be suffering from. Having a thyroid assessment early on can trace these health issues. As a preventative measure, acupuncture can be used to maintain the body’s balance and reduce the likelihood of these disorders turning into serious diseases.

Classification of the Disease

Thyroid disorders are commonly classified into the conditions known as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, which are related to Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s disease respectively.

Hyperthyroidism is the result of an overactive thyroid gland that produces too much thyroxine (T4). Notable symptoms include high blood pressure, increased sweating, moist skin, a rapid heartbeat, anxiety, an increased appetite accompanied by weight loss and digestive issues.

Hypothyroidism is the result of an under-active thyroid gland. It’s notable symptoms include a lower body temperature which makes one sensitive to cold, drooping eye lids, weight gain, dry hair and skin, slowed cognitive functions such as impaired speech, a hoarse voice and emotional and psychological symptoms such as depression.

Graves’ disease is the underlying cause of hyperthyroidism. The immune system essentially creates antibodies that cause the thyroid to grow abnormally and to make more thyroxine than the body needs. This can make controlling diabetes difficult, increase chest pain, create vision problems and a host of other symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

Hashimoto’s disease, also known as thyroiditis, is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the thyroid gland.  It is an auto-immune disorder, as the abnormal antibodies and white blood cells attack and damage thyroid cells. This leads to an underactive thyroid that can result in hypothyroidism. This disease typically affects women.

Acupuncture Research

A study was conducted involving 27 female patients with high thyroid stimulating hormone levels (TSH) – mostly those with Hashimoto’s disease.  20 out of 27 patients who underwent acupuncture treatment showed a prominent decrease in the severity of their clinical symptoms, as their TSH levels went back to normal. The study stated that acupuncture could very well be an alternative therapeutic substitution for the disorder.

In addition, acupuncture can also help to modulate the immune system, which this is helpful with people who have auto-immune problems. Acupuncture has been said to be a useful application in combination with other natural treatments to benefit those with auto-immune thyroid conditions. It can be a great alternative therapy to restore balance in the body.

Are you feeling dragged down by symptoms of any of these thyroid conditions? Acupuncture treatment can help. Contact us today and let us begin to address your symptoms and restore your body’s natural balance.

 

Acupuncture for Chronic Fatigue

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Acupuncture for Chronic Fatigue

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or CFS) is characterized by the feeling of excessive fatigue that weighs a person down in their day-to-day life – regardless of how much sleep or rest they may get. It presents fatigue in various forms from physical pain to psychiatric conditions like depression, and this can affect a person’s overall quality of life.

CFS also presents immunologic disturbances as well, pointing to symptoms of allergies and rashes in many patients. Recent controlled studies also present documented abnormalities in endocrine function as being a consistent factor, such as the reduced production of the corticotrophin-releasing hormone in the hypothalamus.

Who does CFS affect most?

Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with CFS than men are.

The age group that suffers from CFS are generally between 25-45 years old – although childhood and middle age cases do exist.

How do symptoms present themselves?

Symptoms are sudden and often feel like an intensified version of the flu – but in fact, it’s your body’s reaction to acute stress. Unbearable exhaustion presents itself thereafter, leading into other symptoms like body aches, muscle tension, and tender lymph nodes. This later manifests into disturbed sleep, difficulty concentrating and depression.

How can acupuncture help?

In Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) there are various acupressure points that can relieve CFS symptoms. Even if you do not have a formal diagnosis, when you have a session with an acupuncturist, they will determine if you have one or more of the following deficiencies that are associated with CFS based on the symptoms you present them with and what they can observe. They deficiencies include:

  • Spleen Qi and Yang Deficiency – associated with a slow or weak heart rate, poor appetite, high acid production, bloating, and loose stools and diarrhea.
  • Liver Qi stagnation or disharmony in the Stomach – associated with physical and mental fatigue, chest tightness, frequent urination, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and bitter taste in the mouth.
  • Heart Qi or Blood/Yin Deficiency – associated with heart palpitations, irritability due to fatigue, disorientation, night sweats, hot flashes and insomnia.
  • Kidney Qi and Yang Deficiency – Lower back pain, weak knees, shortness of breath, impotence in men, irregular menses in women and feelings of cold.

All four of these deficiencies have overlapping symptoms that match the symptoms of CFS. Acupuncture seeks to relieve the areas of the body that are in need of rehabilitation to address the greater issue at hand. With a reduction in some of the more pressing symptoms, this makes room for you to progress into having the ability to manage all of your symptoms effectively.

If you’re experiencing a collection of any of these symptoms in excess, please contact us today to make an appointment.

The Benefits of Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia

The Benefits of Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that affects soft tissue, muscles, and nerves which is due to a glitch in the central nervous system in the body. Those suffering from fibromyalgia may experience a wide range of symptoms, from hypersensitivity, joint and muscle aches, back aches, headaches and trouble sleeping to irritable bowel syndrome, as well as fatigue and anxiety.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition and there is no simple cure, but acupuncture is an effective method for treating the symptoms of fibromyalgia and providing pain relief. Here are just a few of the benefits of acupuncture as a treatment option for fibromyalgia.

Target Your Problem Areas

Acupuncture works on specific pressure points to relieve tension in those areas. Every person who suffers from fibromyalgia is affected by it differently. Some people may experience pain in their neck and shoulders, while other people may have chronic lower back pain. Acupuncturists can adapt the placement and the amount of needle pressure based on your specific needs.

More conventional Western medicine offers more generalized treatment options that may not specifically target the source of your pain. Acupuncture is an alternative form of pain relief that caters to the unique symptoms of each patient.

Improve Your Mental State

Fibromyalgia is not only a physical condition; it has a mental impact as well. Fibromyalgia can cause anxiety, fatigue, difficultly concentrating, memory problems, and depression. Acupuncture recognizes the link between the body and the mind. The pressure from acupuncture needles releases endorphins into the bloodstream, which helps to stabilize your mood.

Acupuncture also unblocks energy pathways that help restore balance to the body and the mind. These mental benefits of acupuncture can help relieve the emotional impacts of fibromyalgia by relaxing the body and calming the mind, making it easier for you to sleep, concentrate, and maintain a positive energy level.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that can manifest itself in many ways. Conventional Western medicine is often ill-equipped to manage the diversity of symptoms brought on by fibromyalgia. If you’re looking for a more holistic approach to treating your fibromyalgia, book an appointment with us at Red Leaf Wellness and we’ll find the acupuncture routine that works best for you.

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