Tips Acupuncture for Weight Loss

Obesity is one of the most common problems faced by adults as well as children these days. Primary causes of obesity are excess intake of junk food, lack of exercise, and a sedentary lifestyle. Obesity not only affects your appearance, but it gives rise to plenty of health related problems. That’s why, it is advised by the doctors to keep body weight under control. Nowadays, many people have become cautious about their health and they are adopting various ways to lose excess body weight. Lately, acupuncture has gained a lot of popularity as an effective tool for weight loss. As it is a natural therapy, it involves no harmful side effects on your health, when performed by an experienced professional.

How Acupuncture helps in Weight Reduction

The rationale behind using acupuncture to aid weight loss lies in the philosophy of unblocking the flow of qi (life force) in the body. The needles are inserted along specific energy routes in such a way as to regulate the production of certain hormones that play a primary role in metabolism, appetite regulation, and nutrition absorption. However, one must remember that acupuncture alone will not help you shed all those extra pounds. It is a supplemental therapy that must accompany proper diet control and a regular exercise routine. Acupuncture does not work any magic; it merely enhancing your existing weight-loss efforts by manipulating certain hormones and physiological processes to achieve the desired internal balance that optimizes the process of weight-loss.

Mechanism of Action

Managing Stress: In this therapy, long, thin, sterilized needles are inserted into the body, which stimulate release of endorphin offering relaxing and calming effect. It can control binging, which may originate from stress. Excessive eating results from excess stress, anxiety and frustration, which may be a major cause of obesity. Acupuncture can control stress and anxiety and keep you relaxed so that your tendency of overeating is reduced.

Managing the ‘Hunger’ Hormones: The hormone ghrelin is responsible for inducing the feelings of hunger and leptin is responsible for inhibiting appetite and inducing a feeling of satiety in an individual. Acupuncture manipulates the levels of these hormones in such a way as to induce a feeling of fullness and decrease unnecessary hunger pangs.

Correcting Pituitary Output: The secretions of the pituitary gland affect the rate of metabolism and stimulate the thyroid gland. Acupuncture invigorates the hypothalamus, stimulating the pituitary gland which, in turn, activates a sluggish thyroid gland and speeds up metabolism. This automatically causes the body to use up its idle, stored fats and, thereby, helps the body shed excess weight.

What the Acupuncturist Does

An acupuncturist selects treatment points depending upon a patient’s diagnosis. Acupuncture needles are inserted into these points and kept for about 30-45 minutes per session. The treatment focuses on modification of lifestyle for developing a weight loss program. It helps manage metabolic conditions that may be responsible for unexplained weight gain. Stimulation of acupuncture points helps in reducing food cravings, speeding up metabolism, and improving overall circulation. This therapy also leads to a decrease in cholesterol levels. Points are selected to improve overall health keeping the objective of improving blood circulation and relaxing the nervous system. Different acupuncture points are selected for different treatment courses. Generally, treatment is scheduled once or twice a week and continued for 8-12 weeks until the desired weight is reached. The therapy schedule also involves a combination of body and auricular (ear) acupuncture, herbs and supplements, breathing exercises, abdominal massage as well as food and lifestyle recommendations.

Ear acupuncture is especially found to very effective for weight reduction. Auricular acupuncture points are stimulated using small tacks and then seed-sized beads or magnets are taped to these points in order to enhance the effectiveness. Some most commonly used auricular points are shen men, small intestine, hunger point, mouth and endocrine point. When the patient gets food cravings in between meals, mild pressure is applied to these points or ear staples are rubbed. It stimulates the release of endorphins that induces a feeling of relaxation and contentment as a way of distracting the patient from food cravings.

Acupuncture is definitely a powerful and effective tool for weight management. However, one must make sure that the acupuncturist is skilled and experienced and insist upon the use of sterilized needles. Also, you must consult your physician to make sure you do not have any medical condition that may be worsened if you undergo acupuncture therapy.

How to Use Acupuncture to Get Rid of Acne

Acne is a skin condition that is characterized by the development of nodules, papules, cysts, blackheads or whiteheads. It commonly affects teenagers and young adults, and often becomes a cause of cosmetic concern for affected individuals.
Acne outbreaks are attributed to excessive production of sebum by the sebaceous glands that is caused due to hormonal imbalance. The characteristic signs of acne appear when the skin pores or hair follicles get clogged by sebum.

While dermatologists often recommend the topical application of medicated creams for the treatment of acne, one can even look for alternative healing therapies for treating this annoying skin condition. Acupuncture is one of the many alternative healing therapies that are believed to be beneficial in the treatment of many health problems.

► What is Acupuncture?
◑ Acupuncture is an alternative healing therapy that originated in China and has been practiced for treating various ailments for ages. Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into certain parts of the body in order to channelize the energy flow throughout the body.
◑ According to acupuncture the proponents of acupuncture state that ‘Chi’ or the life energy within the body, must pass freely through certain channels or pathways present in the body. Whenever the channels become blocked, and the flow of circulating life energy is disrupted, one becomes susceptible to various ailments.
◑ Under the traditional Chinese medicine, six pernicious influences that are believed to contribute to ailments include wind, cold, dampness, heat, summer heat and dryness. Basically, these refer to the internal climate of the body. Each of these influences affect specific parts of the body.
◑ The main aim of acupuncture is to correct the imbalance and establish a harmonious balance between the contrary forces called ‘yin’ and ‘yang’. Thus, acupuncture is a holistic approach that basically addresses the underlying cause.

An acupuncturist gathers information on the patient’s overall health or the internal climate by asking a series of questions. This helps the acupuncturist ascertain which acupuncture points need to be stimulated. An examination of the patient’s tongue and the pulse also provides valuable information on the health of the patient or the client. After that, thin needles are inserted at particular parts of the body in order to stimulate the acupuncture points.
Can acupuncture help in treating acne and reduce acne flare-ups? Is acupuncture a viable method of acne control? Is it safe to follow acupuncture for acne control? Well, such questions would be lurking in the minds of those who are considering about going for acupuncture sessions for acne treatment. Let me first tell you about the underlying cause of acne as per ancient Chinese medicine.

► Causes of Acne
When it comes to acne, heat and dampness are believed to be the two pernicious influences. While heat is believed to have an inflammatory influence, dampness is believed to cause stagnation. It is the accumulation of heat or damp heat that is believed to be the cause of acne.
Accumulation of heat in stomach pathways is believed to cause acne on forehead and around the nose, heat in stomach passageways causes acne around the mouth. Damp heat, on the other hand, is believed to cause pus-filled nodules.
It is believed that acne flare-ups may also occur while one is going through an emotionally turbulent phase. Consumption of oily or spicy foods may also create dampness, and cause acne outbreaks.

Acupuncture for Treating Acne
Auricular acupuncture is believed to be the most effective acupuncture treatment for acne. This involves stimulation of the acupuncture points on the ear. It is believed that inserting needles on these points helps to dissipate heat, dampness or wind, and thus remove the blockages in the energy flow.
Though many people may vouch for acupuncture as a great treatment option for various ailments, there is a lack of scientific evidence to corroborate the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment option for acne. However, those who are thinking about seeking the services of an acupuncturist, must make sure that they look for a licensed acupuncturist, who is experienced enough.
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How to Treat Menstrual Migraines

A couple of days prior to the onset of her periods, a woman might start experiencing one sided headaches. These headaches, which are related to a woman’s menstrual cycle, are known as menstrual migraines. The hormonal changes that take place inside a woman’s body due to her periods, trigger this condition. Around the time of periods, the estrogen levels in the body fall, resulting in menstrual migraines. Suffering from such headaches, which can range anywhere from mild to severe, month after month, can be discomforting for any woman. However, the saving grace is that since these headaches are experienced at a particular time of the month, they can be prevented and treated with some self-care measures and medication.

Menstrual Migraine Treatment

Menstrual migraines are not just limited to causing pain in the head, there are a number of other associated symptoms as well, such as sensitivity to lights, fatigue, a general feeling of illness, constipation, food cravings and increased appetite. To treat these symptoms, here are some of the options that you have.

Before consulting a doctor for your menstrual headaches, it would be better if you keep a record of the frequency of headaches, when do they occur, what is their nature, if there are any other factors responsible for causing them such as excess caffeine or intake of certain foods, etc. For three-four months, keep a record of all the things that you feel are related to your menstrual headaches. This would help your doctor to make a thorough examination of your condition and suggest appropriate preventive measures as well as medication, if required.

If the hormonal migraines that you experience are mild in nature, taking over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as and when you have the headaches, is more than enough to cure yourself of them. However, if the headaches are severe, taking a preventive course of the same, a couple of days prior to your periods as well as during the periods, will help you to avoid them altogether. As NSAIDs can produce certain side effects, so it is advised that you consult a doctor before starting with this preventive treatment. Ibuprofen and aspirin are the most commonly prescribed drugs. Some other medications that may be prescribed to prevent menstrual migraines are – Ergot drugs, triptans, certain cardiovascular drugs and anticonvulsant drugs. By taking such a course, it is very likely that the frequency of your headaches will reduce and you will experience relief from pain.

Oral Contraceptives
Besides medication, birth control pills may be prescribed by doctors to treat menstrual migraines. Researches have shown that birth control pills which contain progesterone, reduce the severity and frequency of menstrual headaches in women. These contraceptives disrupt the monthly cycle and thus, prevent the hormonal changes in the body, resulting from it. On the other hand, pills with estrogen, may actually trigger migraine headaches and hence should be avoided.

Stress Management
As stress and anxiety are known to play havoc with the hormones in the body, keeping them in check, is very important. So, a woman should undertake stress management techniques, such as meditation, yoga and breathing exercises, especially a week before her periods are due, to keep herself relaxed. Taking adequate rest and sleeping for seven to eight hours every night is very important too.

A woman who suffers from menstrual migraines, should avoid eating fatty, sugary and fried foods. Balanced, healthy and nutritious diet should be taken, comprising lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Alcohol, tea, coffee and soft drinks should be avoided completely. Keeping weight in check, by exercising regularly is recommended.

Alternative Therapies
To bring relief from the symptoms, alternative therapies such as acupuncture and massages, can prove to be of immense help. The tiredness and pain in joints, resulting from menstrual migraines, can be relieved through both these techniques.

In case the headaches and other symptoms become so severe that they disrupt the normal living of a woman, doctors may recommend hormonal therapy. In most cases, menstrual migraines is a treatable condition. With a bit of precaution and some medication, you can easily get relief from them.

Tips for Low Potassium and Headaches

Potassium is one of the most important minerals required by human beings. It is essential to proper functioning of several vital organs like the brain, the heart, kidneys and also the muscular system. There are several foods that are rich in potassium and provide all the essential amounts of potassium. However, it can be gained only if a person has a balanced diet inclusive of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. People who do not have a balanced diet usually suffer from potassium deficiency. It is a medical condition which is commonly known as ‘Hypokalemia’. There are several symptoms associated with hypokalemia, headache being one of them.

How Does Low Potassium Cause Headache

The potassium as a mineral, when dissolved in fluids, holds electrical properties. Therefore, it is termed as an electrolyte. This mineral is specifically important for proper functioning of muscles and nerve cells. Proper functioning of the muscles or contraction and relaxation of muscles, specially those of heart muscles, is possible only due to the mineral potassium. Maintaining of normal blood pressure and energy metabolism, and such tasks also involve use of potassium by the body. Low potassium is a condition that occurs when one does not acquire adequate amounts of potassium from the diet. This is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular diseases and stroke in people.

At the same time, headache is also one of the major symptoms of low potassium. People suffering from low levels of potassium suffer from periodic or even chronic headaches. Actually, headache can be caused due to several causes and conditions. However, deficiency of potassium cannot be ruled out, as it is one of the leading causes of headaches that last for a long time or appear in intervals. Cluster headaches and migraine are two types that can be caused due to deficiency of potassium in human beings.

It should be noted that along with headache, there are several other low potassium symptoms which appear simultaneously. Irritability, anxiety, muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness, insomnia, frequent thirst, nausea, vomiting, constipation, depression, confusion, etc. One should also remember that as potassium is one of the essential minerals required for proper functioning of the vital organs like the heart and the brain; lack of this mineral in the diet can be life-threatening. Therefore, if frequent headaches, occurring without any reason, are observed along with other symptoms, one should consult the doctor immediately.

Treating Headache

Deficiencies of minerals and vitamins can be corrected by having a diet rich in the lacking vitamin and mineral. People suffering from potassium deficiency are advised to have a diet inclusive of potassium rich foods. Foods like bananas, citrus fruits, almonds, avocados, green leafy vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, milk, etc contain high amounts of potassium, and hence, can help in reversing the condition. Similarly, the doctor may prescribe oral potassium medications or supplements, depending on the severity of the condition. Intravenous (IV) potassium may also be administered to people suffering from severe cases of low potassium. The doctor may prescribe pain killers to get rid of headache. Potassium containing medications are also given to people suffering from migraine and chronic headaches. However, treating the root cause of low potassium and headache is essential. While undergoing the treatment, it is also essential to monitor the levels of potassium and prevent them from going too high. Very high levels of potassium can also be dangerous.

In fact, chronic headaches are mostly caused due to potassium deficiency. Therefore, if you suffer from frequent headache, which is also accompanied by other symptoms, you should consult the doctor immediately and take proper treatment. Remember, potassium deficiency can be treated with the help of diet and medications.