AOMA Blog

Acupuncture and TCM for Weight Loss

Posted by Violet Song on Wed, Jan 06, 2016 @ 11:50 AM

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When it comes to New Year's resolutions, weight loss usually takes the cake as being the most popular area of change people wish to make in their lives. From diet fads and pills to intense workout regimens like Insanity and CrossFit, the various ways to lose weight seem endless. Some even take the Western medical route to "fix" their problem areas, opting for costly and risky surgeries or procedures like Botox or Liposuction. What the average American might not realize is that options in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture are effective and much safer in comparison.

Measuring Obesity

When talking about weight loss, there are two indexes often used for measurement of weight issues:

1. Body Mass Index

In June 1997, the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Database on Body Mass Index (BMI) was developed as part of WHO's commitment to implementing the recommendations of the WHO Expert.

BMI = WEIGHT (kg) / HEIGHT (m) × HEIGHT (m)

BMI Categories:

Underweight = <18.5

Normal weight = 18.5–24.9

Overweight = 25–29.9

Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

2. Waist Size

Waist size is the simplest and most common way to measure “abdominal obesity”—the extra fat found around the middle that is an important factor in health, even independent of BMI. It is the circumference of the abdomen, measured at the natural waist (in between the lowest rib and the top of the hip bone), the umbilicus (belly button), or at the narrowest point of the midsection.

Below are the abdominal obesity measurement guidelines for different ethnic groups according to the Harvard School of Public Health:

Country/Ethnic Group

Waist Circumference Cut Points

Europids*

In the USA, the ATP III values

(102 cm male; 88 cm female)

are likely to continue to be used for

clinical purposes

Male: ≥ 94 cm

Female: ≥ 80 cm

South Asians
Based on a Chinese, Malay,

and Asian-Indian population

Male: ≥ 90 cm

Female: ≥ 80 cm

Chinese

Male: ≥ 90 cm

Female: ≥ 80 cm

Japanese**

Male: ≥ 90 cm

Female: ≥ 80 cm

Ethnic South and

Central Americans

Use the South Asian recommendations

until more specific data are available

Sub-Saharan Africans

Use European data until

more specific data are available

Eastern Mediterranean

and Middle East (Arab) populations

Use European data until

more specific data are available

*In future epidemiological studies of populations of Europid origin, prevalence should be given using both European and North American cut points to allow better comparisons.

** Originally, different values were proposed for Japanese people but new data support the use of the values shown above.

How TCM and Acupuncture Can Help 

According to China Knowledge Integrated (CNKI) database in China, there were 74 clinical research papers published between 1994 and 2002 on acupuncture application for weight loss. The effectiveness reached 85%-97%. The acupuncture is targeting both BMI and waist size.

Generally speaking, weight loss acupuncture is used to stimulate the acupoints and meridians. It can help by regulating the hypothalamic-pituitary– adrenal axis and the sympathetic-adrenal medulla systems. Therefore, it accelerates the basal metabolic rate and promotes fat metabolism. When calorie-burning increases, accumulated fat is consumed.

Using acupuncture to regulate and adjust, the human body self-balances. The approach is to stimulate the acupoints in order to strengthen the vital qi (the energetic substance). When the vital qi is strong, pathogenic factors cannot stay in the body. In other words, body fat no longer accumulates.

Benefits of Weight Loss Acupuncture

First, acupuncture can efficiently regulate lipid metabolism. Overweight patients usually have above normal lipid peroxidation. Acupuncture points are used to lower the lipid peroxidation level and accelerate lipid metabolism, thus achieving weight loss.

Second, acupuncture can help correct abnormal food cravings. Acupuncture regulates the nervous system in order to control the excessive gastric acid secretion. After acupuncture, the gastric emptying process slows and food cravings are reduced.

Third, acupuncture can effectively regulate endocrine disorders. Endocrine disorders are often accompanied by weight gain. The most typical endocrine overweight examples are postpartum and menopause related. There are two systems involved: the hypothalamic-pituitary–adrenal axis and the sympathetic-adrenal medulla. Disorders of these two systems are often found in overweight patients.

Besides acupuncture, herbal treatment, dietary regulations, meditation and, most importantly, exercise are all part of a weight loss treatment plan. There are many weight loss methods which we use during clinical practice at AOMA and which your acupuncturist can discuss with you. Acupuncture is a safe choice for weight loss without side effects. The acupuncture treatment regulates the body's internal functions and helps the body return to a normal rate of metabolism. It is not a temporary action, but one that produces long-term benefits.

Request an appointment at the AOMA clinics with Violet Song:

Request an Appointment

Download our introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine Nutrition:

Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Nutrition

Topics: tcm nutrition, tcm, weight loss

Winter Recipes for Optimal Health according to Chinese Medicine Nutrition

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Mon, Dec 01, 2014 @ 10:22 AM

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With the gluttony of Thanksgiving behind us and a just few weeks until the next-biggest eating holidays of the year, maybe it is time to give your body what it is yearning for: nourishment. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) nutrition principles, during the winter months our energy begins to move inward. It is a time of quietude and the best season to tonify and store essence internally. We asked two of our esteemed faculty members to share their favorite recipes for the season. We hope you enjoy!

Winter Tonic Oxtail Soup

Dr. Violet Song recommends this Winter Tonic Oxtail Soup. It is warm in nature and is a great kidney yang tonic. It’s a superb dish for the winter season! Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) calls for “Winter Daikon, Summer Ginger.” Winter cold can bring the coagulation of qi flow in the human body. The oxtail can be so much of a tonic that it can be too greasy, but the daikon can move qi and offset this consistency. The soup can be served 1-2 times per week all through the winter.

tcm nutrition daikon

Ingredients:
1 lb oxtail
1 tbsp cooking wine
Water
1 lb daikon radish
Carrots, greens (optional)
Salt
Cilantro as garnish (optional)

Instructions:
1.    Chop the oxtail into 1-inch cubes.
2.    Put the oxtail cubes into pan with 1 tbsp of cooking wine and 1 cup of water. Boil for 5 minutes.
3.    Strain the liquid and use warm water to wash the oxtail cubes.
4.    Put the washed oxtail cubes in a crock pot with plenty of water (more water, more soup) and stew for 3 hours.
5.    Cut the daikon radish into 1-inch cubes. Add the daikon radish to the crock pot with the oxtail and continue to stew for 1 more hour. You may add other vegetables, like carrots and greens, depending on how long they will take to cook.
6.    Add salt to taste. You may garnish with cilantro.

tcm nutrition oxtail soup

Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Nutrition

Ginseng and Walnut Congee

Dr. Grace Tan recommends Ginseng and Walnut Congee for a healthy sweet treat in the wintertime. This rice porridge boosts the qi and warms the kidneys. It also calms the spirit and generates moisture in a typically very dry season. It is not suitable for patients with a cold or fever.

nutrition ginseng

Ingredients:
5g ginseng (approximately 1 inch of the root)
½ cup walnuts
2½ cups rice
Water
¼ cup honey


Instructions:
1.    Soak ginseng in water at room temperature until soft. Cut into small pieces. (5g is a good amount if you are just starting to take ginseng, you can gradually increase amount up to 10 or 15g)
2.    Place first four ingredients in a clay pot and add more water. You can also do this in a crock pot, although if you do it overnight, make sure to add extra water.
3.    Bring the pot to the boil on high heat, then reduce the heat and continue to simmer until the soup thickens.
4.    Add honey and continue to simmer until the soup turns into a paste-like consistency.

tcm nutrition walnut congee

Get more traditional Chinese medicine nutrition tips as well as a recipe for each seaon by downloading our TCM guide to nutrition.

acupuncture appointments in Austin

 

Topics: nutrition, tcm nutrition, tcm

Chinese Medicine for Addiction and Recovery

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Mon, Nov 03, 2014 @ 09:58 AM

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Claudia Voyles, LAc, is the founder and director of Remedy Center for Healing Arts, anclaudia voyles, acu detox training acupuncture and psychotherapy practice in south Austin. In her private practice, Claudia typically will treat about 10 patients per week who are recovering persons, as well as others with mental health diagnoses. “The goal of acupuncture is always to restore balance, flow, and maximum functioning.”

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has a unique way of assessing physiology and psychology. One fascinating pattern in the assessment of addiction is called "empty fire," the flaring up symptoms, including emotions and behavior due to the loss of a calm center. Treatment then is designed to nourish the Yin aspect, restore balance, and support the recovery process by making the person stronger from the inside. Treatment is appropriate as support throughout the continuum of care, from pre-treatment or harm reduction through aftercare and recovery maintenance (relapse prevention). “‘Addiction’ is not a Chinese medical diagnosis. Sometimes we are supporting the withdrawal process, minimizing the symptoms and cravings. Sometimes we are working on the underlying complaints which can be triggers: stress, anxiety, depression, and/or history of trauma and abuse. People in recovery are eager to manage symptoms of chronic illness without medication whenever possible and often have chronic pain or other imbalances that will undermine their recovery and/or quality of life if not addressed."

The NADA protocol – Acudetox

acupuncture for addictions and recovery

The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) promotes the integration of acudetox, a simple ear acupuncture protocol with appropriate modalities of care. NADA is a not-for-profit training and advocacy organization that encourages community wellness through the use of a standardized auricular acupuncture protocol for behavioral health, including addictions, mental health, and disaster and emotional trauma.

Texas allows a limited set of treatment professionals to cross-train in the NADA protocol. This includes acupuncturists, social workers, licensed professional counselors, psychologists, registered and vocational nurses, chemical dependency counselors, medical doctors, and osteopathic doctors. “Acudetox is not a stand-alone treatment, and in my opinion is best provided by a clinician on a treatment team, not by an independent acupuncturist,” said Claudia.

AOMA Provides Acupuncture at Austin Recovery

nada protocol

Claudia is also a clinical preceptor at AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine in Austin, Texas. She supervises interns at a specialty clinic in behavioral health at Austin Recovery. Claudia is a NADA-Registered Trainer and co-chair or training for the organization. She also conducts continuing education programs at the acupuncture college and in the community.

In early 2014, AOMA interns began providing auricular acupuncture treatments (NADA protocol) at Austin Recovery’s Hicks Family Ranch, a 40-acre, in-patient addiction treatment facility in Buda, Texas. Austin Recovery serves between 800 and 1,000 clients each year, providing individual and group counseling, education about addiction processes, 12-step programs, life skills classes, musical journey experiences, and now acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

AOMA incorporates the NADA training into the Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program. At Austin Recovery, acupuncture students provide acudetox with the treatment staff for 10-25 clients, and then a full-body acupuncture clinic for eight. “We treat withdrawal--usually post-acute with that population--as well as chronic/acute pain, anxiety, stress, insomnia, digestive issues, libido/sexual function issues, etc.,” said Claudia. After a recent acupuncture treatment an Austin Recovery, a patient shared, "I have never breathed so deep before. I didn't realize I wasn't fully breathing." Restoring simple quality of life to recovering persons can be truly transformative.

Natalie Villarreal, a senior acupuncture intern at AOMA, feels very lucky to be able to learn and treat patients at ‘the Ranch’.  “Austin Recovery provides a unique integrative clinic opportunity.  The integrative team encourages a supportive environment, with acupuncturists and social workers working side by side. I love that we can get a better perspective on the experience of our patients through attending classes and meetings that they are going to. This advanced clinic epitomizes the true meaning of integrative medicine.”

Introduction to Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, addiction, recovery, NADA, Claudia Voyles, tcm

Treatment of Menopause with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Mon, Jul 29, 2013 @ 03:11 PM

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Menopause is the natural termination of the menstrual cycle, lasting from a few months to years. The average woman experiences menopause at approximately 51 years, and it usually occurs between the ages of 40 to 55, at around the same age as the woman’s mother began menopause. Common physical symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, urinary problems, and headaches. Menopause is also characterized by emotional symptoms such as sudden mood changes, depression, irritability, insomnia, and nervousness.

During this time of hormonal and energy fluctuation, menopausal complications reduce the quality of a woman’s life and result in uncomfortable or even debilitating symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy is the standard Western treatment for menopausal difficulties; however, estrogen supplements have been linked to undesired side effects and increased health risks. Traditional Chinese medicine offers an alternate way to reduce menopausal symptoms through diet, herbal remedies and acupuncture.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Offers an Alternative

According to Chinese medicine, imbalanced interaction between kidney yin and yang leads to difficulties during menopause. The theoretic framework of yin-yang is used to explain aspects of the human body as well as to guide diagnosis and treatment. Women may have yin or yang deficiencies that affect how they experience menopause.

The kidneys are viewed as the central organs responsible for controlling other bodily functions, and kidney yin and yang deficiencies lead to certain associated menopausal symptoms, with different treatment existing for each type. Symptoms of yang deficiency in menopause may include tiredness, lower back pain, incontinence, and aversion to cold. Symptoms of yin deficiency (the far more common type) include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and irritability.

Nutrition for Menopausekidney bean

Some common foods that help build yin for yin-deficiency type menopause include wheat germ, mung bean, seaweed, cucumber, millet, black bean, tofu, kidney bean, barley, black sesame seed, and royal jelly. Women should follow a low-fat, high-fiber diet. In addition, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and reducing stress are all important. Chinese medicine can effectively and quickly treat symptoms such as hot flashes through many herbal formulas, commonly including dang gui (Chinese angelica) and yi mu cao (motherwort). Thus, traditional Chinese medicine can alleviate menopausal symptoms without the risks of hormone replacement therapy.

About the author:

In addition to her thirty years of acupuncture and Chinese herbal experience, Dr. Qiao “Chelsea” Xu has also practiced qigong and yoga over twenty years, utilizing concepts from these practices in her treatments. She offers treatment in pain management, female and digestive disorders, allergies, asthma, and stress. In her spare time, she likes to practice qigong, taiji, and meditation.

Introduction to Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine

Topics: menopause, women's health, Dr. Chelsea Xu, tcm

Traditional Chinese Herbs for the Flu

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 @ 04:29 PM

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Fu Fang Ban Lan Gen Chong Ji (granule of Isatis root formula) contains Nan ban lan gen (Southern Isatis Root), Pu gong ying (Dandelion), Zi hua di ding (Herba Violae), and cane sugar. It’s primary function is to clear toxic heat, or in lay terms flu symptoms like fever, sore throat, yellow phlegm, etc.traditional chinese herbs for flu

 We often have patients come in with fever and sore throat who see quick improvement after taking this formula. It can also be used preventatively. This formula was used in China when they experienced the SARS outbreak and has become a staple in many household medicine cabinets.

For acute symptoms you should take the formula 3-4 times daily for 1-2 weeks. For prevention, it is best if you can start 1-2 weeks ahead, but definitely as soon as you notice those around you displaying symptoms. Herbal treatment for children can start as young as 3 months old, but they would need to see a licensed practitioner and get a prescription based on age and body weight.

Some brands of Fu Fang Ban Lan Gen Chong Ji are packaged in easy-open, one dosage packets. All you need to do is dissolve the granules in hot water and drink up. Some patients may experience loose stools or poor appetite after taking it.


Written by:

Dr. Violet Song offers acupuncture and herbal treatments for female disorders, stress, insomnia, digestive disorders, the common cold, cough, as well as pediatric herbal consultations.

Learn more about Acupuncture  & Herbal Medicine

 

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, chinese herbalism, herbal medicine, tcm

Pediatric Tuina – Ancient Chinese Massage for Kids

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 @ 02:10 PM

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I have twin boys, Daniel and Jack. While my smaller one, Jack, was 3 months old, he suffered from colic after breastfeeding almost once a day. When he was in pain, he would cry and his belly would be very tight to the touch. I began to massage his abdomen beside the belly button three to five times on both sides; after a minute or so of loud crying, he would gradually calm down and then immediately fall in sleep. I found this ancient massage technique to be very helpful and after about two weeks of massage combined with Chinese herbs, the colic never returned.

This technique is called “Na Du Jiao” which means “Grasping Belly Corner”, and it is one of the numerous massage techniques of Chinese Pediatric Tuina (traditional massage). Chinese Pediatric Tuina has been applied for over one thousand years in China. Its popularity has grown in the last three to four hundred years.  

pediatric tuinaPediatric massage is applied on specific points of various parts of the body, such as the face, abdomen, back and extremities depending on the disorders. Lotion can be used to protect the skin and ease the treatment. Each session lasts about 20 – 30 minutes. In most cases, the treatment should be given once a day or every other day. Since the pediatric tuina technique is very simple, parents are encouraged to learn and practice some of the major techniques, so they can repeat the treatments at home.  

In Chinese medicine, children are regarded with “pure Yang constitution” which means they grow and develop fast in physique and intelligence. At the same time, they are also “young Yang and Yin constitution” meaning they have imperfect organic function and physical bodies, which is why they get sick easily, especially with digestive and respiratory problems. As a parent, it often seems that stomach aches (bloating, vomiting, nausea, constipation, diarrhea) or colds (coughing, asthma, allergies) as well as bed wetting & night time crying are ubiquitous during childhood.  

Pediatric tuina is a safe manual therapy; it is gentle without side effects and great to relieve most discomforts experienced during childhood. Besides that, it is also excellent at preventing other diseases. Providing regular and simple pediatric tuina for your kids can strengthen their digestive and immune systems and support their natural body constitution. Children who have picky appetites or easily catch colds are great candidates for pediatric tuina. It is most effective for children from birth to seven years old. For older kids, acupuncture is a good combination as well.   A lot of times, a Chinese herbal formula is suggested to be combined to provide even better and faster results. 

Tips for a successful tuina or acupuncture treatment for your child:
  • It’s best if your child doesn’t come to his/her appointment on an empty or full stomach.
  • Plan for your child to take it easy after his/her treatment.
  • Sometimes after receiving an acupuncture treatment your child may feel a little lightheaded or “woozy.” If that is the case, please have him/her sit for a while in our waiting area. In a few minutes he/she will be relaxed and clear-headed.

Request an Appointment

Yongxin Fan, LAc has over 20 years of clinical experience in treating muscular-skeletal disorders, pain, digestive disorders, and psycho-emotional disorders.

Topics: pediatrics, Dr. Yongxin Fan, tunia, tcm

Traditional Chinese Medicine: First Aid Kit

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Tue, Jul 26, 2011 @ 01:47 PM

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Looking to incorporate herbs and natural remedies into your regular first aid kit? Chinese herbs have been used for millennia. There are roughly 13,000 medicinals used in China and over 100,000 medicinal recipes recorded in the ancient literature.

Dr. Violet Song, a full-time PhD staff member at AOMA Herbal Medicine, has compiled this list of Chinese herbal remedies to enrich your medicine cabinet. “Often times it is easy to prevent a small problem from developing into a more serious medical situation by incorporating simple Chinese herbs into your home first aid kit,” Dr. Song says. “Chinese herbs work naturally with your body to balance disparities and prevent ailments.”

AOMA Herbal Medicine has a selection of over 350 bulk, powder, patent formulas, tablets, capsules, and extracts. AOMA Herbal Medicine carries only cGMP herbal products.

Common cold

  • Yin Qiao tablet: wind heat type of common cold
  • Gan Mao Ling: clear heat
  • Jing Fang Bai Du Pills: wind cold with dampness (chills, fever, soreness in the body)
  • Gan Mao Jie Du Chong Ji
  • Ban Lan Gen Chong Ji: common cold with severe sore throat
  • White Flower oil: for headache, stuffy nose

Allergies

  • Pe Min Kan Wan: nasal congestion, runny nose

Diarrhea

  • Huang Lian: clear heat

Stomach Flu

  • *Huo Xiang Zheng Qi liquid vial: vomiting, diarrhea, summer heat induced
  • Curing Pills: food poisoning, nausea, diarrhea

Traumatic injury

  • *Yun Nan Bai Yao (oral & topical): stop bleeding and move blood
  • Zheng Gu Shui (topical): tendon and joint pain, sprains, bruises

Burns

  • Chin Wan Hong ointment (topical)

Food stagnation

  • Bao He Wan: indigestion, bloating, acid reflux

Bug Bites

  • White Flower oil (topical)

Motion Sickness

  • *Huo Xiang Zheng Qi liquid vial (oral)
  • White Flower oil (topical)

Warning: If symptoms persist or worsen see a health care practitioner. It is wise to check with your doctor before using herbs, as they may interact with medications you take regularly.

*These formulas require a prescription for a licensed herbalist.

Acupuncture treatments at the AOMA Clinics include an herbal consultation. At the AOMA Professional Clinics you can also specifically request a personalized herbal prescription without the acupuncture part of the treatment. AOMA patient Samantha Robinson has been coming to AOMA for years. "Since becoming a patient at AOMA, I no longer take allergy and asthma drugs, so thankfully, I also don't have the side effects that come with those drugs. At AOMA, the herbs are custom-prescribed for me every time I go in.  When I take herbs, I get good results from them without all of the side effects that Western drugs have."

Both AOMA clinics have herbal apothecaries next door while other area acupuncturists may call in your prescription to our large dispensary at AOMA Herbal Medicine. Chinese herbs are generally much cheaper than western prescriptions. You can use your health savings account to pay for them at AOMA Herbal Medicine!

Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Nutrition

Topics: chinese herbalism, Dr. Violet Song, chinese herbs, tcm

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