Spring is a time of renewal and detoxification. Spring cleaning is as helpful for your body as it is for your closet! There are many different ideas out there on fasting, detoxification diets, regimens and flushes. Every week I am asked about the validity of gallbladder flushes. Though the specifics vary, most gallbladder flushes encourage people to drink lemon juice and olive oil. The result should be the passing of “gallstones” in the stool. In the December 2007 issue of the Townsend Letter, Dr. Alan Gaby reports that there is no clear evidence that gallbladder flushes actually clear stones from the gallbladder. He contends that these “gallstones” could result from the mixing of olive oil and lemon juice. Additionally, he reports that no researcher has ever found through imaging studies or chemical analysis that the white pellets expelled after a gallbladder flush are actually stones from the gallbladder.
I am not aware of any practice similar to a gallbladder flush in the Chinese medical literature. In Chinese medical theory, the gallbladder is regarded as an “extraordinary” organ whose function is vitally important for liver health. There are a number of regulating, gentle acupuncture treatments and herbal formulas geared towards supporting the gallbladder. In short, the Chinese medical perspective holds that is that it is far better to avoid making gallstones than it is to try to flush them out.
So what is the best way to spring clean? I like detoxification programs that focus on providing the liver with the specific amino acids, vitamins and minerals needed for optimal detoxification. Ensuring that the intestines and urinary system are working well will further enhance the body’s ability to neutralize and expel toxins. Ideally, people should following a detoxification program individualized for them and formulated by their health care provider.
Whether you’re a woman, or a man who lives with one, chances are you have experienced “that time of the month.” Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is caused by hormonal imbalances. It is very widespread, affecting 1 in 3 menstruating women. The symptoms can be many and varied, and the list is long, from radical mood swings, to acne, fluid retention, weight gain, migraines, breast tenderness and more! Most women experience between four and ten symptoms starting one to two weeks before their periods. Most women menstruate for 35 years. This means that a woman could have PMS symptoms for half of their lives!
But wait, don’t panic! There are natural ways to balance hormones and relieve PMS symptoms.
Conventional medicine offers antidepressants, hormone therapy and tranquilizers which are geared towards symptom relief. While these measures may improve the symptoms, unfortunately they do little to address the underlying causes of hormonal imbalances.
Acupuncture and herbal formulas have been used to treat PMS for thousands of years. Research shows acupuncture and herbal therapy is effective in reducing PMS symptoms and regulating hormone levels. Researchers at Mount Sinai Medical Center found that several herbs such as black cohosh, vitex and Chinese herbal formulas containing dang quai can offer relief to women who suffer with PMS. One study demonstrated acupuncture’s ability to regulate the pituitary-hypothalamus axis which controls healthy hormone fluctuations. Another study lead scientists to conclude that acupuncture can influence serotonin and natural opioid upload activity and thus reduce many of the emotional and mental PMS symptoms. Both the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recognize that acupuncture can treat many PMS symptoms such as:
- Digestive Issues
- Depression & Anxiety
In addition to acupuncture and herbal treatment, dietary and lifestyle changes may be recommended, as they can have an enormous impact on hormone regulation. PMS symptoms can indicate other hormonal irregularities such as thyroid, adrenal and blood sugar regulation issues. In some cases conventional and non-conventional hormonal tests may be indicated.
Stop spending half of your time dealing with PMS symptoms! Try a safe, natural, holistic approach to your health!
I am looking forward to being on the talk radio show The Balancing Point, hosted by my esteemed colleague John Nieters, L.Ac. We will be talking about boosting fertility for both men and women with Chinese medicine, the research I am doing with the Fertility Physicians of Northern California on acupuncture and IVF, liver health, plus anything else YOU want to talk about. Please feel free to call in with your questions! Looking forward to hearing from you.
The Balancing Point
KEST 1450 AM
Thursday 8-9 AM
Hepatitis C (HCV) is an epidemic, both in Santa Cruz County and across the country. Today, HCV is the most common liver disease, even more common than alcoholic hepatitis. While fatigue is the most common symptom, HCV can also induce muscle and joint pain, depression and irritability, digestive difficulties, impaired memory, headaches, and immune system dysfunction. In response to the liver inflammation caused by the hepatitis C virus, the body starts laying down scar tissue. This process is called fibrosis. Some people have many symptoms and very little fibrosis, while others progress to cirrhosis without any symptoms.
At Cedar Street Healing Arts Clinic we offer an integrative approach to treating hepatitis C.
William Morris, MD and I treat patients from both a Western and Eastern perspective. Dr. Morris runs the Primary Care Hepatitis C Clinic on Mondays. He provides affordable high quality Western medical evaluation and treatment to those afflicted with the hepatitis C virus. Using Asian medicine principals, I design an individualized treatment plan for those with HCV encompassing: acupuncture treatment, herbal therapy, nutritional supplements, plus diet and lifestyle suggestions. While most HCV patients elect to see me in my private practice, for those with Medi-cal and financial constraints I offer a low cost teaching clinic every Tuesday afternoon at Five Branches University.
Dr. Morris and I have had HCV patients travel from as far away as South Carolina to be seen at Cedar Street Healing Arts Clinic. We are both on the provider committee of the Santa Cruz Hepatitis C Task Force and are advisory board members of the local hepatitis C patient advocate group HELP! (Help & Education for Liver Patients). Dr. Morris and I frequently consult with each other to provide our patients with the best possible integrated medical care.