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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Headache And Migraine Acupuncture Treatment By Dr. Marco DiBonaventura

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 nature of your particular headaches that help in diagnosing them. For example, the quality of the pain, frequency, location of the pain, changes in body temperature, and whether or not your head feels better being touched are all clues as to the source of your headache.

Some common causes of headaches in Chinese medicine, include:

-Stress and stagnation. Very stressful circumstances or even relief from a great deal of stress can cause a whopper of a headache. In most cases, these headaches are caused by tightness in your upper back, shoulders, and neck. The tightness hampers the circulation in the area, as well as that in your head, causing a classic stress headache. In Chinese medicine, the tightness and hindered circulation is considered to be something called a blockage or stagnation—in that something is not moving as it should be. It’s important to note that stagnation, even in the absence of stress, can cause this kind of headache, such as during cyclic hormonal changes or from high blood pressure.

-Depletion. When you become very run down, your body is short on energy, healthy blood, and nutrients. This shortage is often felt most profoundly in your head, where your brain needs these vital substances to fuel its activity. Headaches caused by depletion typically are frequent, dull, and may be accompanied by fatigue.

-Migraines are in a category all by themselves. Not actually considered a headache, but rather a neurological event, migraines typically go through several stages and are frequently felt on one side of your head. The pain associated with migraines is often described as sharp, stabbing, or throbbing and very painful. Often, people who are suffering from a migraine will feel heat in their head or find that they feel better applying cold to the area. These headaches can be caused by stagnation of blood, as spasms and constriction of the blood vessels in your head are causing your pain. However, in Chinese medicine, if your migraine is accompanied by a hot head or wanting to apply ice, there is also an element of heat rising upward in your body.

While there are many nuances in diagnosis and treatment in Chinese medicine, the above are three patterns that are commonly seen in patients with chronic headaches. It’s also important to note you’re your headache may be caused by a combination of patterns. There are also many other causes for headaches, such as illness, a head injury, hormonal changes, high blood pressure, and withdrawal from caffeine.

Your practitioner of acupuncture and Chinese medicine can determine the exact source of your headache and develop a plan as to how best to treat it. They may use a combination of acupuncture, a Chinese herbal formula specific to your headache, food therapy, and lifestyle changes. The good news is that acupuncture and Chinese medicine can offer very effective treatment for your headache.

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Natural Treatment for Fatigue in King of Prussia, PA - Complementary Healthcare.

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 many people, but it can show up in different ways. Fatigue can run the gamut from just feeling tired in the morning to being so completely exhausted that it’s difficult to get through the day. Some people are able to get things done, but have a tough time finding the energy to be motivated. Others define fatigue by the changes they’re experiencing, such as sleeping more or the inability to get through their regular workout at the gym.

There are a wide variety of conditions in Western medicine that can cause fatigue. They include:

  • Anemia
  • Thyroid problems
  • Diabetes
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Depression
  • Poor sleep, or the Epstein Barr virus that is responsible for chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Certain medications may cause fatigue as a side effect.

If those diagnoses have been ruled out, your doctor may be stumped as to why you’re feeling so tired.

In Chinese medicine, when a patient comes in complaining of fatigue or exhaustion, a practitioner’s first thought is a depletion of energy, or Qi. This is the energy your body needs to fuel all of its complicated functions, and is made from the food you eat and the air you breathe. When you’re not eating well, digesting poorly, or using up more energy than you have, you’re going to feel tired.

There are many other patterns, however, in Chinese medicine that may account for your fatigue. This can include a depletion of some other vital body substance (Blood, Yin, Yang, or Essence), or a blockage that’s impeding flow and binding up your energy. A common example of a blockage is caused by excessive stress, which occupies your mind, makes your muscles tight, shuts down your digestion, and can be utterly exhausting.

7 Things You Can Do for Yourself to Help Boost Your Energy Naturally.

  1. Eat well. This means lots of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and good quality proteins.
  2. Pay attention to your digestion, too. If you’re having any symptoms, such as heartburn, stomachaches, bloating, nausea, or bowel issues, your digestion needs some attention. Enlist the help of your acupuncture practitioner; they have a number of healing strategies to get your digestion back on track.
  3. Close your mouth when you breathe. Remember that in Chinese medicine, your energy is partially made up from the air you breathe. Often mouth breathers are also shallow breathers, and closing your mouth helps you take in fuller breaths. Consciously taking in a few deep breaths several times during the day may also help you feel more energized.
  4. Get your stress under control. Unrelenting stress uses up a lot of your energy. In addition, it negatively impacts your digestion and makes it harder for your body to build up more energy and make the nutrients you need for good health. Do whatever it takes to find some calm in your life.
  5. Are you getting enough sleep? If you’re constantly feeling fatigued, it’s likely that your body needs more rest and good quality sleep. If sleeplessness is an issue, it’s also a good reason to see your practitioner.
  6. Exercise, but just a little. Moving your body gets things flowing; your heart and lungs, blood, and ultimately your energy. Just make sure you don’t overdo it. Also, avoid exercising close to bedtime, as it’s likely to interfere with good sleep.
  7. Finally, enlist the help of a practitioner of Chinese medicine and acupuncture. They can help you pinpoint the source of your fatigue and help you develop a plan that combines acupuncture, herbs, diet, and lifestyle to help you have more energy. Your body will thank you.

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Complementary Healthcare
1000 Valley Forge Cir #105, King of Prussia, PA 19406
Phone: (484) 392-7023
 

 

Serving King of Prussia, PA.

Zip Codes: 19002, 19010, 19031, 19034, 19087, 19128, 19355, 19401, 19403,
19406, 19422, 19426, 19444, 19460, 19462
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