Chinese Medicine treats a whole range of gynecological issues ranging from uterine fibroids, infertility, menstrual irregularity, premenstrual syndrome, endometriosis and menopausal syndrome. Gynecology and obstetrics have been specialties within the field of Chinese Medicine for literally thousands of years. There has been extensive research in recent years concerning acupuncture and its effects on fertility.
INFERTILITY occurs when a couple has unprotected sex for at least one year and pregnancy does not result. About 25% of couples are infertile at one time in their lives and approximately 40% of cases are due to male causes. Chinese Medicine addresses infertility from both the male and female perspectives.
When infertility is due to male factors, we encourage the couple to bring a semen analysis report. Factors that affect sperm viability include sperm count and volume, motility, liquefaction and morphology. It takes three months for the testes to produce mature sperm; after 3-4 months of acupuncture and herbal treatment, it is recommended to obtain another semen analysis report to evaluate treatment progress. Male semen factors can improve dramatically through a comprehensive treatment course of acupuncture and herbs. Lifestyle factors are also discussed; it is known that diet, smoking, heavy alcohol use and drug use are negative factors for fertility.
Chinese Medicine is not only effective for aiding conception but also carrying a baby to term. We have found that some women have problems becoming pregnant while others have problems retaining the fetus. Some women cannot do either. If there is a non-structural cause of infertility, Chinese Medicine can be of benefit. The majority of our female patients are infertile due to hormonal imbalance and other gynecological problems. In situations of uterine fibroids or endometriosis, these underlying health problems must first be addressed. We recommend that conception attempts be delayed until these health concerns are first resolved. In cases of hormone imbalance, please come to the first appointment with a recent hormone panel. After three months, another hormone panel will be conducted to assess treatment progress. We do not recommend a patient continue fertility treatments with our clinic for over six months unless significant progress is made on lab reports or subjective health assessment.
Premenstrual Syndrome affects approximately 1/3 of premenopausal women. Common symptoms include pain, breast tenderness, bloating, weight gain, diarrhea, skin outbreaks, mood swings, low energy and food cravings. Many PMS patients deal with their pain through over-the-counter or prescription pain medications. Acupuncture and herbs are very effective in treating Premenstrual Syndrome. Regulating emotions and relieving pain are usually the first steps taken in treating PMS. Most patients experience improvement in their symptoms by their first or second cycle.
Menopause is part of the natural menstrual cycle of a woman and signals the end of menstruation. In this regard, menopause is not a disease but part of the expected change that women experience. Menopause can be premature due to ovarian failure or surgical removal of the ovaries. Chinese Medicine is helpful in alleviating the symptoms of menopause, which include hot flashes, night sweats, depression and mood swings, and drying and thinning of mucous membranes.
The stress of too little sleep affects every bodily system, often progressing to other health issues, such as immune suppression, depression, digestive disorders, etc. Unfortunately, standard medical care treats all types of insomnia the same and pharmaceuticals are the primary treatment. These pharmaceuticals interfere with our normal sleep cycle and physiology and can have dangerous side effects and lead to dependence.
Traditional Chinese medicine views insomnia as a complex medical disorder, which has many potential causes and treatments. The sleep disorder is characterized in terms of the nature of the symptoms, such as trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, feelings of anxiousness, etc, as well as the general constitution of the patient. Often there are other physiological imbalances that are at the root of the insomnia problem and if these are not addressed then the sleep disorder cannot be truly healed.
Treatment typically consists of acupuncture, herbal therapy, and life style adjustment. A detailed and thorough medical history is crucial to make an accurate diagnosis. Because insomnia can be caused by a wide range of problems, the exact course of treatment can only be concluded after a proper evaluation. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
Many people who suffer from anxiety or depression do not find satisfactory results from conventional therapies, either due to side-effects of pharmaceuticals or the severity of their symptoms. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) developed outside the mind/body dichotomy paradigm of modern medicine and thus offers a holistic approach to treating emotional illness. Different psychological imbalances can create physical symptoms and various physical ailments have psychological repercussions. Although, this seems to be the most basic of common sense, this integrated paradigm is only in its infancy within the current medical model. However, TCM has always treated psychological illness from a completely integrated mind-body approach and through 2000 years of recorded clinical usage has developed highly sophisticated treatments for a wide range of mental disorders.
From the viewpoint of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) the mind and the body are completely integrated and this philosophy is at its core in the treatment of anxiety disorders. An example of this is the classic panic attack. The genesis of a panic attack lies in a nervous system response. The nervous system becomes overly sensitive to normal stimuli and initiates a strong sympathetic (fight or flight) response at an inappropriate time. This causes a massive release of stress hormones in the body, which leads to heart palpitations, sweating, dizziness, and a strong emotional feeling of anxiety and dread. At the root of this issue is the hypersensitivity of the nervous system and its reaction to our daily stimulus. The western medical treatment is through the use of sedative pharmaceutical medications, which can have many unwanted side-effects, such as drowsiness, a flat affect, etc. Traditional Chinese medicine focuses on re-balancing the nervous system so it no longer generates fight-or-flight responses to non-threatening situations. This is accomplished through the use of acupuncture and gentle herbal therapies.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) recognizes that there are many different types of depression. Depression is broken down into subcategories, which are determined not only by the depression's emotional quality, such as withdrawal, sadness, anger, frustration, grief, etc., but also by the physical and constitutional nature of the patient. Each of these types of depression has a unique treatment plan based upon the specific symptoms and needs of the patient. Rather than just lumping all depression into a serotonin issue, TCM address the root cause of the body's imbalance, thus naturally correcting physiological function and brain chemistry.
Acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbal medicine are powerful tools which can greatly enhance the effects of your overall integrative mental health care. At MK Han we custom tailor a holistic treatment plan to gently re-balance the nervous and endocrine system and restore proper emotional balance. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbal medicine are combined with dietary counseling, exercise, and focused relaxation techniques. Self-care techniques, such as meditation and visualization are taught to bolster the effects of treatment and to help the patient gain control over their own emotional well-being. If necessary, proper referrals to other psychological care professionals are made and treatment plans are coordinated.
For many of us living with some form of chronic pain is a part of our everyday life. When we take into account back pain, arthritis, repetitive stress injuries, and sports injuries we realize that the majority of us are often managing some sort of painful condition. Unfortunately, the help we receive when we visit our primary doctor is often minimal. We are usually given six weeks of non-steroidal anti-inflamitories and sent on our way. If that does mask our symptoms enough, we are often shuffled straight to the surgeon for the most extreme and invasive type of treatment possible without any counseling as to our other options.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) approaches the treatment of painful conditions in an entirely different way. TCM recognizes that there are many subtleties to the types of pain we experience and many reasons why our bodies are unable to heal themselves. Masking the symptoms is not enough. The pain will never truly go away until the tissue is healed and the underlying factor impairing the body's natural ability to heal is removed. This type of targeted and supportive care requires a very sophisticated system of diagnosis and specific treatment. TCM differentiates pain according to where in the body it is located, what type of pain is felt (sharp, dull, shooting, etc), what factors make it better or worse, and according to other imbalances in the patient's constitution. Through this very specific classification of the painful condition targeted and supportive care can be prescribed. The result is individualized treatment plans for the specific patient that often lead to dramatic and rapid reductions in their pain. Commonly used treatment modalities for pain are acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, bodywork, rehabilitative exercise, dietary modification, and relaxation techniques. Painful conditions, which often respond well to care are:
Indigestion may be caused by a variety of factors, but most commonly results from eating too much, eating during stressful situations and a high-fat diet. A symptom rather than a disease, indigestion may also be caused by underlying imbalances within the body.
Some causes of indigestion such as hiatus hernia and stress are especially amenable to acupuncture treatment. Patients often experience long-term relief of their symptoms with acupuncture, as well as improved energy, digestion and decreased stress. Acupuncture can also be used in conjunction with conventional therapies without negative interactions.
Acupuncture therapy for indigestion selects certain points on the body that speed up metabolism, regulate digestive processes, increase gastrointestinal muscle contraction and relaxation, and reduce gastric acid secretion. For patients with indigestion, acupuncture restores stomach acidity to normal levels and regulates small and large intestine function. Changes in lifestyle factors and diet modification are often integrated into the acupuncture course of treatment in order to correct dietary imbalances and regulate digestion.
In conjunction with Chinese herbal medicine and stress reduction techniques, acupuncture is beneficial in treating general gastrointestinal symptoms, nourishes related organs and contributes to medication-free digestive system health maintenance. The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture as an effective treatment for digestive imbalance. For more information about acupuncture for the treatment of indigestion as well as other digestive disorders.
Virtually everyone is familiar with the pain of a headache. However, for some of us the repeat attacks of migraines or chronic headaches greatly reduce our quality of life. To properly understand and treat chronic headaches and migraines they must first be accurately diagnosed, their triggers and relieving factors identified, followed by the application of appropriate treatment using an integration of standard medicine and traditional Chinese medicine (acupuncture, herbal medicine, diet modification, lifestyle counseling). When evaluating the medical research on using acupuncture and natural medicine to treat chronic headaches and migraines the evidence of efficacy is strong.
Over 20% of adult females suffer from migraine headaches, and half of these women are severely disabled during headache episodes. Headaches are categorized into two types. Primary headaches, such as migraines, cluster headaches, tension headaches and depression headaches, are due to intrinsic dysfunction in the nervous system. Secondary headaches, such as flu headaches, sinus headaches and blood sugar headaches, have their source outside the central nervous system. Traditional Chinese medicine further breaks down the classification of headaches by the type of pain, location and triggers. This further breakdown becomes vitally important when successfully treating the root cause of the headache disorder.
By far the most commonly seen headaches clinically are migraines, tension headaches, cluster headaches and sinus headaches. Migraine headaches occur in women three times more frequently than men. In 90% of these cases there is a family history of migraines. Typically, migraines are severe, unilateral, throbbing and may be accompanied by nausea, visual disturbances and noise/light sensitivity. The pathophysiology is complex and standard treatment has limited success through the use of pharmaceuticals, such as Imitrex and Zomig. Tension headaches are most common in the mid-afternoon and are associated with the muscles of the shoulders, neck and back of head. They often feel like a tight band around the head which slowly expands until it affects the entire head. Standard treatment includes migraine medications and even botox injections, which I would not recommend as it can lead to atrophy of the affected muscles. Cluster headaches mostly affect middle age men. Their pathophysiology is largely unknown and they are described as excruciating pain behind one eye or over the temple. Standard treatment is limited to anti-migraine agents or DHE. Sinus headaches are typically confined to the front of the head and face and are described as pressure pain. They are often triggered by colds, allergies, chronic sinusitis and changes in barometric pressure. The pain of these headaches is often worsened when leaning forward. Standard treatment is typically limited to chronic antihistamine/decongestant use.
Unfortunately, the standard Western medical treatments for these headaches often fall short of preventing or addressing pain. Furthermore, the root cause of headaches typically goes unaddressed. It is through its holistic view of the body and powerful targeted treatments that traditional Chinese medicine is able to not only treat the pain of headaches, but also identify and treat the headache disorder's root cause.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) recognizes that these headache categories are far from the same in every person. Not only are the types of pain and triggers different from person to person, but each of us has an individual constitution, with all its inherent strengths and weaknesses. For instance, for many women migraines frequently occur at certain times during the menstrual cycle. TCM recognizes that the pain of these attacks needs to be addressed, but also a gentle balancing of the hormones responsible for proper function of the menstrual cycle needs to be provided. In tension headaches, it is not enough to simply release tension from the muscles of the neck and shoulders, but the fundamental way the patient's body responds to day-to-day stress needs to be addressed.
TCM has many tools at its disposal for the treatment of headaches, but the most commonly used are acupuncture, herbal therapy, dietary therapy and lifestyle counseling. Acupuncture is the insertion of sterile hair-thin needles at neurologically sensitive points of the body to stimulate a targeted central nervous system regulating response. It has profound effect on the neurovascular system, and there is no other medical modality which works by the same mechanism of action. TCM herbal therapy makes use of the largest and most clinically used pharmacopoeia on the planet. Traditional formulas are extremely safe and effective in treating all types of headaches. Many headaches also have dietary triggers and TCM recognizes that certain foods need to be eliminated or added to the diet during treatment. Finally, lifestyle is powerful medicine. Often certain activities, such as the way we sleep, work or exercise are greatly affecting our headache symptoms and need to be adjusted. Furthermore, targeted relaxation exercises can often be helpful to relax the nervous system and prevent attacks.
Headaches are so commonplace that many of us have accepted the pain and disruption of our lives as normal. However, it is not normal, and it is extremely treatable.