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Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 250

Thoughts: Acupuncture!

Acupuncture is the art and science of regulating the body's energy to relieve pain, treat and prevent illness and to nourish your health and well being. It originated in China more than 2,000 years ago and it was not until the 2nd century BCE during the Han Dynasty that stone and bone needles were replaced with metal.!

Intense or prolonged emotions can cause physical problems. Anger, fear, worry, sadness and joy fluctuate normally throughout our lives. In excess, they can decrease the circulation of energies and substances throughout the body and lead to sickness. Acupuncture unblocks these habitual emotions.

Today I had the opportunity to receive acupuncture followed by massage by Joseph D'Antona who runs a private practice as a licensed acupuncturist, Herbalist and Massage Therapist in New York. He received the distinguished "Clinic award" for demonstrating outstanding clinical performance within a teaching clinic that is one of the largest and most renowned outpatient Holistic facilities in the United States!

Joe used very fine, sterile, surgical steel needles that are slightly thicker than human hair. The needles are used once on a patient and then disposed of. In Joe's hands, it is a safe, effective and usually painless method of utilizing the body's innate ability to heal and maintain a healthy state of balance. Acupuncture is also drug-free, so you avoid and side effects and/or dependency's.

Some conditions that Acupuncture can treat:
*Addictions (drugs, smoking, alcohol, food etc)
*Asthma, Allergies, Bronchitis
*Back Pain
*Breech Pregnancy
*Carpal tunnel
*Chemotherapy nausea
*Delayed labor
*Digestion conditions (ulcers, nausea, vomiting, acid reflux, irritable bowel, constipation, diarrhea)
*Ear conditions (ringing & earaches)
*Facial Palsy
*High and Low Blood pressure
*Infections, Colds and Flu
*Menstrual and female disorders
*Muscle and joint pain (Tendonitis, bursitis, sprains)
*Post-op dental pain
*Skin disorders
*Stroke rehabilitation
*Trigeminal Neuralgia
*Urinary disorders

Acupuncture is a powerful treatment for depression and anxiety. Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%). In a given year, it affects women twice more than men. In Western medicine, generalized anxiety disorder is a psychological and physiological state characterized by excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events with no obvious reasons for worry. People with symptoms of anxiety tend to always expect disaster and can't stop worrying about things such as health, money, family, work, or school. In people with anxiety, the worry often is unrealistic or out of proportion for the situation. Therefore, daily life becomes a constant state of worry, fear, and dread. Eventually, the anxiety dominates the person's thinking and eventually interferes with daily functioning.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, generalized anxiety disorder is understood as a disorder of Shan You Si ( 善 忧 思) or YuZhen (郁 证). Traditional Chinese Medicine views anxiety not as a brain dysfunction, but more as an inner organs dysfunction. Traditional Chinese Medicine theory holds that each of the Zang Organs plays a role in the emotions. Emotions and organ’s health are intimately connected.

1. Heart/Spleen Qi Deficiency: preoccupation, obsessive worry, aversion to speaking, palpitations, insomnia, fatigue, poor appetite, abdominal distention, teeth mark in the tongue, a pale tongue, and weak pulse.

2. Liver Qi Stagnation Affecting the Spleen: preoccupation, feelings of irritability, moodiness, poor appetite, hypochondriac tightness or pain, muscular tension, fatigue, alternating constipation and loose stools, a pale or dusky tongue with distended sublingual veins, and a wiry-weak pulse.

3. Kidney Qi Deficiency: preoccupation, feelings of fear and dread, and may be accompanied by lower back and knee weakness, lack of sexual desire, frequent urination, cold hands and feet, a pale tongue, and a weak pulse.

4. Lung Qi Deficiency: preoccupation, rapidly changing moods, sadness and easily feeling grief and loss, inability to "let go," aversion to speaking, shortness of breath, fatigue, sweating easily upon exertion, a weak cough, throat discomfort, a pale tongue with a thin white coating, and a thin pulse.

The acupuncturist decides which points to treat by observing and questioning the patient in order to make a diagnosis according to the tradition which he or she utilizes. Joe focuses on the body to see stagnation points using four diagnostic methods: inspection, auscultation and olfaction, inquiring, and palpation.

* Inspection focuses on the face and particularly on the tongue, including analysis of the tongue size, shape, tension, color and coating, and the absence or presence of teeth marks around the edge.
* Auscultation and olfaction refer, respectively, to listening for particular sounds (such as wheezing) and attending to body odor.
* Inquiring focuses on the "seven inquiries", which are: chills and fever; perspiration; appetite, thirst and taste; defecation and urination; pain; sleep; and menses and leukorrhea.
* Palpation includes feeling the body for tender "ashi" points, and palpation of the left and right radial pulses at two levels of pressure (superficial and deep) and three positions Cun, Guan, Chi.

Joe believes we can heal ourselves, and that he cannot heal you, however assist you focusing your energy in healing yourself. He also says clients ask him "But I am not spiritual and don't you have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?" - Joe replied that acupuncture is science; Acupoints are tiny areas on the skin that contain relatively concentrated levels of nerve endings, lymphatics, and blood vessels. Acupoints can be readily identified by their lower electrical resistance, and are usually located in small palpable depressions detectable by trained acupuncturists. Stimulation from needling an acupoint initiates a complex cascade of events that have been studied, researched and grouped into Western theories that attempt to explain how acupuncture works.

My experience:

I had needles in my feet, legs, arms, stomach, forehead and ears to release the trigger points! Trigger points are spots that are not receiving oxygen or blood circulation, so the muscle is shortening up, like a permanent cramp, a thumb-sized dead zone. The acupuncture needle stimulated the muscle, and blood would flow to the area, and my body began to heal that spot. Having these trigger points stimulated is a unique experience and I did not feel most of the needles go in (at all!), except the ones in the ears! The needles caused involuntary movement, like twitches deep in the muscle; I could feel blockages being released and letting go. Once all needles were in place Joe had me lay and breathe while imagining fresh oxygen flowing through my entire body, from my feet to my head, and then a sigh release on the exhale where I could relax and melt into the table. At times I could feel the needle points and the blockage of energy, so I would breathe into it until it was flowing in which I would experience sensations, like a rush or flow of light bubbly energy throughout my entire body. It was like my body, cells, blood and organs were being woken up! After Joe removed the needles he completed the session with a massage. It was absolutely the greatest manipulation of superficial layers of muscle and connective tissue I have ever had, and he is known for his integrity, ethics, consciousness and love for his patients. I walked out feeling calm, light, balanced, and awake - conscious and alive!!!

For Acupuncture and Massage in New York visit The Balance Health and Wellness Center
Phone: 631 BALANCE

Acupuncture chart from Hua Shou (fl. 1340s, Ming Dynasty). This image from Shi si jing fa hui (Expression of the Fourteen Meridians). (Tokyo : Suharaya Heisuke kanko, Kyoho gan 1716).

Challenges: Know emptiness, Be compassionate.

Triumphs: My religion is to live and die without regret.

What I Ate Today:

Food fest 1: A orange and grapefruit juice mmm mmm mmm a sweet way to start Wednesday ;)

Food fest 2: Strawberries

Food fest 3: Rockmelon (cantaloupe) I love fruit especially in the summer! So sweet, fresh and nourishing!

Food fest 4: A avocado!

Food fest 5: Some more rockmelon :)

Food fest 6: Half a avocado

Food fest 7:
Spanish Beans and Rice. Ingredients: rice, red kidney beans, onion, garlic, celery, olive oil, paprika, coriander (cilantro).

Recipe: I ate mostly mono raw foods today, the recipe for Spanish Beans and Rice is available on

Exercise: A 1 hour workout at Big Al's Family Fitness! I worked out my legs, arms and abs and then stretched in the sauna. And then rode my bike home ... in the rain! Lovely and refreshing :)

115 days to go!!!


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