Cupping Massage King Of Prussia, PA - Complementary Healthcare

What Is Cupping?

Cupping as a Chinese healing therapy has been getting more attention in the past several years, thanks to Hollywood-types in low cut gowns and Olympic athletes who are willing to share their cupping marks with the world. When you think about Chinese medicine, you might first think about acupuncture and Chinese herbs. However, cupping is a lesser-known method of healing used by practitioners of Chinese medicine to treat a number of conditions.

So what exactly is cupping, and why do it? Cupping is a method of healing that involves placing large glass or plastic cups on your skin in which a vacuum has been created. Cupping isn’t painful, but you will feel a pulling sensation as the cups do their job. The cups are usually left on for ten to twenty minutes, and it’s important to know that they leave a mark which lasts for about a week.

Hundreds of years ago, the cups were made from animal horn or bamboo. Today, most cups are made of glass or plastic. A vacuum is created (in glass cups only) by lighting an alcohol-soaked cotton ball and placing it in the cup. When the flame has used up all the air in the cup, the cup is quickly placed on your skin. This is called fire cupping, but no fire or heat actually touches your skin. In plastic cups, a vacuum is created through the use of a pump which pulls the air out through a gasket at the top of the cup.

Cupping is a little bit like a reverse massage, in which your skin, muscles, and fascia are being therapeutically pulled, whereas in a massage, they are being manipulated through pushing. Cupping increases circulation to the area, bringing in new blood and nutrients which support the healing process. It also opens up your pores, which helps to release toxins. In addition, the cupping marks are actually a good thing. They’re from small capillaries that are broken during the process, which creates areas of microtrauma—tiny injuries that stimulate your body to heal. Sometimes when you’re injured, your body gets into a cycle where it doesn’t heal. Microtraumas, like acupuncture or cupping, shift your body out of its current state and send a message to begin healing.

What Does Cupping Treat?

Cupping can be used as a treatment for a variety of health conditions. It’s commonly used for pain, but can also be effective for asthma and other respiratory conditions, to promote general health, and speed up recovery from an injury. Cupping is frequently done on your back; as a way to loosen up tight muscles in your upper back and shoulders, or along your spine to stimulate your spinal nerves and increase circulation. It can also be done on your upper chest to affect your lungs, as well as your arms or legs.

Cupping therapy is safe, but there are a couple of precautions. It shouldn’t be done over any open wounds, rashes, or skin lesions. Cupping should be avoided over areas of swelling or edema, varicose veins, or large blood vessels. Pregnant women shouldn’t be cupped, and easy bleeders, anyone taking a blood thinning medication, or patients with bleeding disorders should not be cupped.

The bottom line is that while cupping is best known for the treatment of pain and tight muscles, it can be an effective treatment for a variety of conditions. In addition, most patients like being cupped; they say it leaves them feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

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Plum Pit Qi Natural Treatment King Of Prussia, PA - Complementary Healthcare

What Is Plum Pit Qi?

In Chinese medicine there are some really creative descriptions for health conditions. For example, you can have Sudden Turmoil, Fire in the Valley, or Liver Wind. You can also have something called Plum Pit Qi, which aptly describes the sensation of a lump in your throat that feels like a plum pit has become caught there.

Each patient with Plum Pit Qi will describe their symptoms differently. They may say that they feel a painful lump, the inability to swallow, or phlegm caught in their throat. The severity of this condition can run the gamut from occasional episodes and minor discomfort, to being severe, with extreme pain and difficulty eating. Patients may also describe a wide variety of triggers for their Plum Pit Qi, like eating certain foods, drinking alcohol, and emotional upsets.

Plum Pit Qi has both a physical and emotional component. Physically, what’s causing this condition is an esophageal spasm. Your esophagus is a muscular pathway that connects your mouth to your stomach, and like any muscle, can become tight and spastic. When that happens, you have the sensation of a lump in your throat that feels stuck in one place—it won’t move up or down.

The emotional aspect of Plum Pit Qi is that it almost always occurs during a time in your life when you’re struggling in some way. The lump in your throat is telling you what you may or may not already know—that you’re facing a situation that’s figuratively too hard to swallow.

In Chinese medicine, Plum Pit Qi is frequently a combination of a disharmony between your Liver and Spleen, combined with phlegm. One of the tasks of your Chinese Liver system is to oversee the smooth flow of everything in your body. From your blood vessels to your digestive tract, and even your emotions, smooth flow is a key component to good health. Stress and emotional upsets frequently disrupt that flow, especially the mechanism of your digestion, which is governed by your Chinese Spleen. Simply put, a Liver and Spleen disharmony is when strong emotions are upsetting your digestion, and one result can be Plum Pit Qi.

A further element of Plum Pit Qi is the presence of phlegm. In Chinese medicine, there’s visible phlegm; what you see when you have a cough or a cold, and there’s invisible phlegm that’s responsible for lumps and nodules. Frequently invisible phlegm is at play with Plum Pit Qi in the form or sensation of a lump. Interestingly, some people who have this condition will actually describe a feeling of phlegm being caught in their throat.

How Can Plum Pit Qi Be Treated?

When it comes to Plum Pit Qi, there’s good news in that Chinese medicine can treat this condition very effectively. While your acupuncturist will do a thorough diagnosis and choose an appropriate treatment strategy, there are also some very specific points to treat this condition. Your practitioner’s goal is to soothe your Liver, strengthen the digestive properties of your Spleen, resolve the phlegm, and calm your emotions. Your practitioner may also prescribe an herbal formula, as there are some that are formulated specifically treat Plum Pit Qi.

An important piece in resolving Plum Pit Qi is dealing with the stress that’s the underlying cause of this condition. While self-care and managing the stress is essential, acupuncture can also help here, too. A few acupuncture sessions work by changing your brain chemistry to increase the circulation of feel-good neurotransmitters that elevate your mood and help decrease stress.

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Natural Weight Loss In King Of Prussia, PA - Complementary Healthcare

Obesity is becoming an epidemic. In the United States about 33 percent of both men and women are obese, or one person in three. If you’re overweight or obese, chances are that this isn’t a newsflash, and chances are that you’ve already tried to do something about it.

There are a number of factors as to why so many Americans struggle with their weight, from how our food is made, to exercise habits, and even to the overuse of antibiotics. As with many health conditions, there are a number of issues at play in causing the problem, and the solution is also multi-faceted. There’s no magic bullet, diet, or miracle food that will solve the world’s weight problem once and for all. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, however, can be an important piece of the weight loss puzzle for many people.

Some of the ways in which Chinese medicine can support healthy weight loss include:

  1. Understanding a main principle of Chinese medicine that each person is unique. Why you’re struggling with your weight is different from anyone else. This means that the solution, in the form of a treatment strategy, must also be unique and tailored to your specific body constitution, lifestyle, and needs.
  2. The role of your digestion is an important component to good health in Chinese medicine. While frequently overlooked, good digestion can be crucial to losing weight. A common side-effect of compromised digestion is something called dampness, which arises out of your body’s inability to metabolize foods and fluids well. Dampness is heavy, boggy, and moist. Most people who are overweight are damp to some extent, as fat tissue is also full of water and heavy. Dampness can take a long time to resolve, but through acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and dietary changes, it can be effectively treated.
  3. Your emotional health plays a huge role in your physical health, especially as it relates to your weight. Stress, anxiety, and depression impact your appetite, digestion, and emotional eating patterns. The good news is that researchers have found that acupuncture can be an effective treatment for emotional issues. Acupuncture alters your brain chemistry to increase the circulation of mood boosting neurotransmitters. It also helps balance adrenalin, cortisol, and insulin—hormones that are affected by stress that can impact your weight.
  4. Auricular acupuncture (acupuncture in your ear) has been found to be an effective treatment to support appetite control. Originally developed to treat addictions, ear acupuncture can help reduce the frequency and severity of food cravings.
  5. Food therapy is an important healing tool that falls under the umbrella of Chinese medicine. The concept behind food therapy is that each food has specific properties that affect your body in certain ways. By choosing the foods that are best for your specific body type and avoiding those that are damaging, you can enhance your health, maximize your energy, and lose unwanted weight.
  6. Chinese herbs are also an important way to supplement your acupuncture treatments. Like foods, herbs have very specific properties, but are stronger. They can be used to resolve dampness, support your digestion, boost your energy, and enhance your emotional health.

While a few acupuncture treatments won’t make the pounds melt away, acupuncture and Chinese medicine can support your weight loss efforts. It can enhance your physical and mental health, support your digestion, help with appetite control, and point you in the right direction in choosing the foods that are best for your specific needs.

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Traditional Chinese Medicine In King Of Prussia, PA - Complementary Healthcare

More and more, Americans are turning to natural solutions to improve their health. One of those solutions is in the form of herbal supplements, often found on the shelf at your local drug or grocery store. To a practitioner of Chinese medicine, the thought of buying your herbs while wheeling a grocery cart seems to contrary to the philosophy behind the use of medicinal herbs.

Here are a few things that you should know about how Chinese herbs work:

  1. Chinese herbal therapy is a mode of healing in Chinese medicine—with or without acupuncture. It can be an incredibly effective way to treat a great number of conditions. The principles of diagnosis and treatment between herbal therapy and acupuncture are the same, so in many cases a practitioner will prescribe an herbal formula to strengthen and prolong the effects of their acupuncture treatment.

  2. Chinese herbs are rarely taken individually. In almost every case, several herbs are combined into a formula. That’s because, by combining herbs, a practitioner can fine tune the formula to each patient’s specific needs. In addition when creating a formula, some herbs are strong and their effects need to be balanced by other ingredients, herbs may be added to strengthen the effect of the formula, or additional ingredients may be added to address specific symptoms that you’re having.

  3. Even though herbs are considered “natural”, their effects can be very strong. Many of the medications that are prescribed today were initially developed from herbs. For example, aspirin, anti-malarial drugs, and morphine were all developed from plant sources. Unfortunately, some people buy herbs with the idea that taking them is like popping a vitamin pill. In reality, the effect of herbs and herbal formulas can be very strong and should be taken with the guidance of someone who is trained in the properties and safety of herbs.

  4. Can you take herbs and prescription medications at the same time? Mixing Chinese herbs with prescription drugs is often not a problem, but needs to be done with caution, and in some cases, not at all. For example, if you are currently on the blood thinning drug Coumadin, taking herbs can diminish or negate the anti-clotting effects of the Coumadin. In addition, ginseng is known to raise blood pressure in people whose blood pressure is already elevated, and St. John’s Wort (while not a Chinese herb) interacts with a number of medications. In many cases mixing an herbal formula with a prescription drug isn’t a problem, however the risk of adverse effects climbs with the number of prescription drugs you’re taking.

  5. A few words about safety: It can be difficult to know with confidence that what’s on the label of any bottle of herbs is exactly what’s in the bottle. For that reason, where you get your herbs matters. There are a number of manufacturers of Chinese herbs that are very transparent with their manufacturing process; testing and assaying their herbs at several steps along the way. Look for that information on their website or catalogue. In addition, look for certification of current good manufacturing process indicated by a cGMP on the label. If your practitioner has an herbal inventory and is prescribing herbs for you, ask them which companies they use and how the herbs are processed.

  6. Interestingly, Chinese herbs aren’t always herbs. While the majority of substances found in the Chinese formulary are in fact herbs, there are also “herbs” that are minerals and some that are animal-based. For example, gypsum, calcium, iron, and ground seashells (also calcium) are considered to be herbs. And while some formulations still have animal-based ingredients, those numbers are rapidly declining as manufacturers have had to find substitutions for ingredients that come from endangered species.

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Don’t Let TMJ Pain Slow You Down…

by Marco Dibonaventura

TMJ Syndrome Pain Relief In King Of Prussia, PA - Complementary Healthcare

Most people think of TMJ syndrome as a simple problem of nighttime tooth clenching. However, clenching may be only a small part of the picture. For many, TMJ is a chronic problem, can cause a great deal of pain, and can affect your quality of life.

What Is TMJ Syndrome?

TMJ syndrome, or simply TMJ, refers to the temporomandibular joint that attaches your lower jaw to your skull. Your TMJ is located right in front of your ears, and moves every time you open your mouth to talk, laugh, eat, or yawn, and problems can occur if the joint becomes inflamed, out of alignment, or injured. TMJ is considered to be a syndrome because it can cause a wide variety of symptoms, and no two sufferers are likely to experience it in the same way.

Symptoms associated with TMJ include sensitive teeth, tooth grinding, waking with headaches, facial pain, pain in the joint itself, and tightness and pain as far away as your neck and shoulders. In addition, you may have the sensation that your teeth don’t fit together well, difficulty opening your mouth all the way, and clicking or popping sounds when you’re eating.

What Causes TMJ Syndrome?

The most frequent cause of TMJ is tooth grinding or clenching, which is often an unwanted by-product of stress. Furthermore, most people who grind their teeth do it during the night and are completely unaware that they’re doing so until they experience symptoms. Clenching usually occurs because your masseter muscle—a tiny muscle at the lower corner of your jaw—becomes tight. It’s one of the strongest muscles in your body, and when it becomes tight, it can throw your jaw out of alignment and cause pain in your head, neck, and shoulders. Beyond clenching, other causes of TMJ problems include whiplash, arthritis in the joint, injury to your jaw or the TMJ joint itself, or a head or neck injury.

How Can Acupuncture Help?

Many people who suffer from TMJ symptoms are curious to know if acupuncture can help them. The answer is that in most instances, acupuncture can be effective on a number of levels. Acupuncture can decrease inflammation locally, where the needles are placed, in this case in and around the TMJ. It alleviates stress by releasing feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain, which in turn can help reduce tooth clenching. In addition, acupuncture can increase circulation and help loosen the masseter muscles that cause clenching, as well as muscles throughout your head, neck, and shoulders that have become tight as a result. Furthermore, acupuncture has been documented to be an effective treatment for headaches, including those related to TMJ problems.

A practitioner of acupuncture would consider your TMJ to be a kind of blockage, in that the circulation of blood and nutrients to the area are hampered and the range of motion in the joint is decreased. Their strategy is to understand the source of your TMJ issues and develop a treatment plan best suited to your needs. Their first line of treatment would likely be acupuncture to relieve your pain, increase circulation to the area, decrease inflammation, and support healing. Interestingly, there are three acupuncture points right at the site of your temporomandibular joint that can be used for effective results. Your acupuncturist may also use other healing tools, such as bodywork or heat therapy to help relieve muscle tightness in the area.

The good news is that if you’re struggling with TMJ problems, it’s not a life sentence. TMJ syndrome is treatable, and your acupuncturist can offer effective relief.

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Natural Treatment For IBS Relief in King of Prussia, PA - Complementary Healthcare

If you don’t suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), you may not give much thought to what a struggle it is. People who suffer with IBS, however, give it a lot of thought. They think about finding a bathroom quickly, whether their co-workers can hear their gut buzzing and burbling during the staff meeting, and whether or not they’re so bloated today that their clothes might not fit. IBS can be life altering, in that many sufferers choose not to go out, not to travel, and not to eat anything that might spark embarrassing symptoms.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

IBS is also called a spastic colon or mucus colitis. It involves abnormal colon motility, or movement, with periodic flare-ups in which the gut is so sensitive that it spasms when stimulated by things like food and stressful situations. IBS falls under the heading of a syndrome, because it involves a variety of symptoms that are unique to each individual patient. The most notable symptoms of IBS are diarrhea, and constipation—frequently in alternating episodes—abdominal cramping, and pain. It is also characterized by other gut symptoms, such as flatulence, bloating, nausea, and a very noisy gut. IBS is fairly common, affecting between 10 and 15 percent of adults, and about twice as many women as men.

What Causes IBS?

The cause of IBS is not entirely clear, but researchers believe that one factor is that the brain and gut don’t communicate as they should, which would account for why symptom flare ups when you’re under a great deal of stress. IBS doesn’t involve any kind of structural problem, meaning there is nothing anatomically wrong with your gut. It is also not biochemical or infectious in origin.

Western biomedical treatments usually involve targeting the symptoms of IBS, such as using laxatives, stool softeners, or stool hardeners. Your doctor might also suggest dietary modifications or supplements.

How Can Chinese Medicine Help?

Many IBS patients have turned to acupuncture and Chinese medicine to treat their condition, and for a good reason. Research on the effects of acupuncture in treating this condition indicates that acupuncture offers significant control of IBS symptoms.

While other diagnoses may be present, in most cases, your practitioner of Chinese medicine would identify your IBS as a disharmony between your Liver and your Spleen. This means that stress, anxiety, or emotional upsets have affected your digestion, and the symptoms from this disharmony have settled in your gut. This can be likened to the fight or flight response, in which your body ramps up some systems in order for you to be able to deal with a threatening situation, but shuts others down—like digestion and immunity. The issue is that in today’s world, many threats don’t subside quickly, and your stress or anxiety takes place over a long period of time, causing your gut to be compromised for months or years at a time.

Chinese medicine has a number of treatment methods to effectively calm your IBS down. First, your practitioner is likely to use acupuncture, as it increases circulation, supports healing, and affects your brain chemistry to produce an overall sense of relaxation. Your practitioner may also use Chinese herbs to augment your acupuncture treatments, as well as dietary changes that are unique to your specific circumstances. Lifestyle changes, such as exercise and stress relief, may also become part of your treatment strategy.

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t have to go through life trying to pinpoint the nearest bathroom, dealing with the pain, or afraid that the noises coming from your gut will embarrass you. Check with your practitioner of Chinese medicine to see if acupuncture can help you.

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Arthritis Pain Relief In King Of Prussia, PA - Complementary Healthcare

Arthritis is one of the most common conditions in America

So common in fact, that about one in seven people have it. While it’s considered to be a disease of the elderly, the reality is that people of all ages suffer from arthritis. The term arthritis is used to describe over 100 different illnesses, but most types of arthritis fall into two general subsets, based on their underlying cause.

-Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by inflammation in the joints, and can affect people of all ages. It is often associated with autoimmune issues.

-Osteoarthritis is most commonly related to the aging process, and is caused by the deterioration of the cartilage in your joints from age, overuse, or injury.

Conventional treatments for Rheumatoid arthritis may include anti-inflammatory drugs, pain medications, and dietary and lifestyle changes. For Osteoarthritis, treatment includes pain medications, controlled exercise, and for some, joint replacement surgery.

Arthritis is painful and can negatively affect your quality of life, and in many cases conventional Western treatments don’t offer much relief. As a result, many people who suffer from this condition turn to acupuncture and Chinese medicine for help—for good reason. Recent research, including that done at the Mayo Clinic, has documented that acupuncture can offer pain relief for a variety of conditions, including joint pain.

The Chinese medicine approach to arthritis

In the realm of Chinese medicine, your arthritis is considered to be something called a Bi Syndrome—a term that describes the obstruction of circulation, loss of range of motion, and pain in the joint. To your acupuncturist, not all Bi Syndromes are created equal, and your treatment plan would depend on the underlying cause of the problem. For example, if your arthritis feels more painful and heavy in the cold and damp weather, your treatment would involve a different strategy than if your arthritis was producing hot and swollen joints. In addition, your achy joints don’t exist in a vacuum; the overall state of your health is also considered when being treated by Chinese medicine. Treatment for arthritis depends on your specific set of symptoms, and may include acupuncture (with or without electric stimulation), Chinese herbs, dietary therapy, heat therapy, and lifestyle changes.

In addition, there are some things that you can do at home to help you feel better, based on the philosophy of Chinese medicine. They include:

  1. Move your body. For most people, exercise keeps your joints moving and improves your range of motion. Also, being in better physical shape helps decrease your pain. One caveat: if the exercise you’re doing aggravates the pain, stop and find an activity that’s gentler on your joints.
  2. Warm it up. In Chinese medicine, pain relief is all about increasing your circulation. When you apply heat, it opens up the blood vessels in the area and loosens up the surrounding muscles. Try applying a heating pad or a warm moist towel to your painful joints for about ten minutes.
  3. Pay attention to stress. High levels of chronic stress aggravate your pain, tense up your muscles, and increase your levels of inflammation. Do whatever it takes—meditation, music, or an enjoyable hobby—to help manage the stress in your life.
  4. If you’re overweight, think about slimming down. The pressure from excess weight can aggravate your pain and increase the damage to your joints, and is considered to be a risk factor for developing osteoarthritis in the first place.

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Do Your Headaches Keep Coming Back? Determine The Source And Stop Them For Good!

December 18, 2017

What You Need to Know About Acupuncture and Headaches Many people who suffer from chronic headaches want to know if acupuncture can help them. This is the case for people who get tension headaches, migraines, and everything in between. The reality is that no two headaches are alike, and in Chinese medicine, it’s the unique […]

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Is Your Doctor Stumped as to Why You’re Feeling So Tired?

November 27, 2017

Everybody gets tired from time to time, usually the result of overdoing it mentally, physically or both. The usual fix is a little down time and better sleep. However, if you’ve had plenty of R & R and still feel tired, it may be time to figure out why. Fatigue is a common problem for […]

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Serving King of Prussia, PA.

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