Saturday, August 29, 2009

Migraines and Chinese Medicine: Study Supports the Efficacy of Acupuncture Treatments

By Eric Aufdencamp, L.Ac.

The results of a study published in March 2008 in Headache Journal, conducted at the University of Padua in Italy, confirmed that acupuncture significantly reduces migraines and works better than drugs alone. Chinese medicine is extremely effective at treating the root causes of migraine headaches. All disorders in Chinese medicine require differentiating the cause of the disharmony. In other words, for every disorder, there can be multiple causes. Treating illness in this way allows us to treat individuals according to their unique pattern and constitution. Evaluation tools such as tongue and pulse diagnosis allow us to individualize our treatment plan.

Diagnosis can include using symptoms associated with each meridian, and from this information create an acupuncture point prescription. For example, in Chinese medicine, pain that is one-sided or goes from side to side is often related to the Gallbladder meridian. The Gallbladder meridian is paired with the Liver meridian. Together they form a yin-yang pair; what affects one, will affect the other. Pain around the eye, near the temples or top of the head relates to the influence of the Liver pathway. Each pathway has a part of the body it 'opens to', and the eyes 'open to' the Liver. This association explains the light sensitivity or visual auras that often precede migraines.

The Liver and Gallbladder meridians can become 'stagnant', or congested due to many different factors. Emotions can be a major contributor. Specifically, anger, frustration, irritability, and resentment can cause a disruption in the meridian causing pain or discomfort. Nausea and vomiting associated with migraines is due to the Liver meridian adversely affecting the Stomach Qi.

There are many combinations of patterns that can be present. The goal of the practitioner is to determine the main ones and treat accordingly, as well as provide diet and lifestyle guidelines for homecare.


Below are just a few self-care guidelines for the treatment of headaches. If your migraines continue after instituting these changes, please call our office for a consultation.

Migraine Relief Prescription:

1. Walk slowly and mindfully outside every day. Walking is the movement that best helps circulate Qi throughout the Liver and Gallbladder meridians.

2. Gradually reduce and eliminate coffee consumption. In Chinese dietary theory, coffee is hot and drying and aggravates the Liver. Coffee can symptomatically relieve migraines for some, as it moves the stagnation, but daily use is detrimental.

3. Use lavender essential oils topically on the temples. It helps to calm the mind and is beneficial to Liver qi congestion.

4. Perform self-massage techniques:

LI 4: Between the thumb and index finger in the webbing, press towards the bone of the index finger.

LV 3: Press between the big toe and second toe about two fingers away from the webbing towards the ankle.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cool Tips for a Hot Summer

By Eric Aufdencamp, L.Ac.

This article focuses on several common home remedies you can use to deal with the heat of summer season.

In Chinese medicine, the summer season corresponds to the Heart. The flavor of the Heart is bitter. Fire is the element associated with the Heart, and red is the color. Fire tends to go upward in the body, just as we know that heat rises in a building.

In herbal medicine, the bitter taste causes descent. When there is excess heat, bitter can help to drain that heat downward. When we prescribe a formula to clear excess heat, we tell our patients that mild diarrhea or loose stools can occur. Heat is being cleared through the bowels. Excess heat in the body dries up the fluids, so it’s important to keep it in check.

Sweat is considered a by-product of the blood in Chinese medicine, so for people with blood deficiency (weak constitutions), it’s important not to sweat excessively or for prolonged periods of time.

Summer-Heat Exhaustion:
If you are out in the sun too long, a quick short-term food therapy you can utilize is watermelon. It is extremely cooling and is excellent at treating severe heat exhaustion. The white meat that is close to the peel is the strongest heat clearing part of the melon. It helps the yin that was depleted from sweating too much.

Pink-Eye (Conjunctivitis):
Make a compress of chrysanthemum or chamomile tea and place over the affected area 3 to 9 times a day depending on the severity of the condition. These two herbs are bitter and have anti-bacteria and anti-viral properties.

In Chinese medicine, strong-smelling diarrhea that occurs in the summertime, is often due to damp-heat. The patent remedy Huo Xiang Cheng Qi Tang is an excellent short-term remedy. It can often times be effective for diarrhea from other causes, especially the stomach flu. This remedy is in the first-aid and travel kit sold at the Clinic.

For burns of any kind, the Clinic’s burn cream is an excellent remedy that can usually prevent blistering and soothes the pain very quickly. It can stain, so be careful to protect your clothes or sheets. Another remedy that is excellent for burns is lavender essential oil. It is suggested that only medicinal grade oils be used for topical application. The Clinic only sells essential oils that are medical grade and have not been adulterated.

Insect Bites:
White flower oil is a liniment used for inflammatory pain that is worse with heat. It is also an excellent remedy to apply to insect bites. It can help soothe the itching and irritation. It may even be applied for prevention. The strong odor helps mask the natural body scent that attracts most insects.

Poison Ivy:
Due to rising carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere, poison ivy abundance has increased. Studies have shown that increased carbon dioxide levels have also created stronger strains of urushiol, the oil from the plant that makes the skin itch.

A product called Tech-nu Extreme is great to have at home in case of exposure. Tech-nu Extreme is sold at CVS. Use it to wash all the areas that have been, or have possibly been, in contact with poison ivy. The soap is very effective at washing away the urushiol.

The Clinic has blended an essential oil, which is very effective at soothing the irritation and helping the skin heal, if the urushiol has been in contact with the skin long enough to cause an irritation.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tips for Childhood Immunizations

By Cissy Majebe, L.Ac.

With each new school year, there is a lot of attention given to the vaccinations that are required for the year. Many parents have requested information regarding our recommendations when your child is receiving immunizations.

From a Chinese Medicine perspective, an immunization introduces the "medicine" directly into the blood system, where it bypasses the bodies first defense system known as the Wei Qi, or Protective Qi, that is active to help protect us from pathogenic factors. It is this direct introduction into the blood system that can create a negative reaction for some children.

To lessen the chances here are some simple suggestions:

1. Do Not Give your children immunizations when they are already sick. If your child is ill, wait a week and then have your child immunized.

2. After your child has received an immunization, make sure that they eat well, get plenty of rest and drink plenty of water. (Notice I said water, not fluids, juices or tea are not as useful as water for nourishing the yin fluids of the body.

3. After an injection, give your child a warm bath with 5 drops of peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil and ten drops of Pine in a bath. These essential oils can also be used when your child appears to be coming down with an upper respiratory infection.

4. Learn Gua Sa from one of the practitioners at the office. After immunizations, gua sa the area from the base of the occiput to the bottom of the shoulder blades approximately one inch to each side of the spine.

5. FOOD THERAPY: After immunizations, grind one half cup of black sesame seeds and then cook them for 15 minutes in one cup of liquid. These seeds are high in Omega oils and are useful for clearing heat.

6. A good "over the counter" herbal remedy after immunizations is Yin Qiao San in a tincture form. (Ask your practitioner for dosing.)

If, AFTER all of the above, your child gets a runny nose or a fever, bring them in for an appointment.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Understanding GMP and Quality Control of Chinese Herbs

By Ann Wolman, L.Ac., & Joshua Herr, L.Ac.

Many people are aware that China has made headlines in the last several years for allowing unsafe products to be placed in the marketplace. This has led several patients of the Chinese Acupuncture Clinic to ask about quality control of the herbs that we use.

The Chinese Acupuncture Clinic Dispensary would like to address this concern by informing you about where our Chinese Herbal Products come from and explaining about the quality control of the products we are using. As you know, we have numerous brands of pills, whole herbs, granules, tinctures and essential oils.

Our tinctures and essential oils are the two items we dispense that are not manufactured in China. A company in New Mexico produces the tinctures. Our manufacturers of essential oils are located primarily in Europe. We have concentrated on obtaining the highest quality, internal grade essential oil collection. These essential oils are extracted without the use of solvents, which creates a product that is more potent and suitable for multiple forms of use.

Our manufacturers of pills, whole herbs and granules have been internationally as well as China GMP certified. GMP stands for current Good Manufacturing Practice. This international term is recognized worldwide and is used for the control and management of manufacturing and quality control testing of foods, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. It first appeared in the U.S. as part of the 1938 Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

GMP certification means that the facility and methods used in the production of products has been subject to a thorough quality control investigation and is certified to be in compliance. This covers all aspects of manufacturing, including inspection of the building and grounds, the air and water purification systems, the handling and processing of raw herbs, the product manufacturing process, the operation and cleaning of equipment, the training of personnel as well as quality control testing and documentation.

By June of 2010 the manufacture of all dietary supplements in the United States will be subject to national GMP requirements.

The companies that import the herbs we use are responsible for ensuring that manufacturers are adhering to GMP standards. Testing includes moisture content and amounts of heavy metals and mold found in sample batches. An example of how Lanzhou Foci Herb factory reports to Mayway, the company that imports herbs for sale at the Chinese Acupuncture Clinic can be found on the web at

Each herbal product manufactured in China is licensed, as drugs are in the U.S., and is produced according to stringent Chinese Pharmacopoeia guidelines and government sanctioned references. This assures that the products are sourced, formulated, extracted and tested according to laboratory and clinical parameters. The high standard for quality control insures consumer safety. Additionally, the FDA monitors the safety of herbal products coming into the country. Chinese herbs are routinely held and inspected, often causing backorders and delays.

The Chinese Acupuncture Clinic Dispensary is dedicated to providing the safest and most effective herbs and herbal products available. We are updated on a regular basis by our distributors and professional organizations regarding herbal medicine safety issues and changes to FDA rules and regulations. We put our patients first when making decisions regarding our herb supply. If you have any questions regarding our products do not hesitate to call the clinic at 828-258-9016.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Quieting Your Mind and Making Friends With Your Experience Through Contemplation

By Ann Wolman, L.Ac.

As practitioners of Chinese medicine, we tell our patients every day about the importance of relaxation and stress reduction. We encourage them to take time each day for quiet contemplation. Many people are motivated toward contemplative prayer, but they are worried that they will somehow do it wrong or fail at the task. Contemplation and relaxation are not jobs that we need to complete or endeavors we can fail.

I would like to encourage you to do some contemplative prayer or meditation with the simple idea of slowing down and making friends with your mental process. There is no single way to quiet the mind.

Every religion in the world encourages some form of prayer or meditation. Some traditions suggest prayer in order to cultivate a relationship with God, others offer meditation as a way to focus our minds and tame our emotions. Numerous studies have shown relaxation to have a beneficial effect on mood, blood pressure, pain control, digestion and sleep.

If you take the time to watch your mind, you see that the nature of thoughts and feelings is to rise and fall. Even if we want to, we cannot hold them or make them permanent. This is often compared with the nature of waves rising and falling on the surface while the ocean depths remain calm.

As you pay more attention, you may notice that there are short gaps of silence between thoughts and moments of peace between the waves of emotion. The notion is to attend less to our thoughts and ideas about our feelings, and more to the silent awareness that is always present within us. We become less identified with our mental state and more grounded in silence.

There are an endless variety of relaxation techniques. Generally speaking, these techniques offer a reference point for the mind. This can be focusing on one's breath, a sound, or a saying, such as an affirmation or prayer, or even something else. In any case, the idea is to spend time quieting the mind itself.

The Nobel Peace Prize winning monk Thich Nhat Hanh offers a simple introductory meditation practice that I have taught to numerous patients. Just to emphasize: you cannot do this wrong. If you can only sit for 5 minutes, you have been successful. If you run screaming from the room and your own craziness, you have done it right, and if you fall into a deep sleep, it is just fine.


This is a breathing meditation and ideally you will begin with trying it for 5 minutes a day. Watching your breath, you will say to yourself a short word or phrase with each "in" breath and with each "out" breath. You can say the words out loud or not, whichever you prefer.

It goes like this:


Spend 5 or so minutes with each sequence pair (IN/OUT, DEEP/SLOW) for a total of 20 minutes or so. It can be done sitting down, lying down or even walking. You can't do it wrong.

You are likely to notice that within what seems like a nano-second, your mind will begin to wander. You will think about all the things you should be doing. You may congratulate yourself for your work at this meditation thing. You may berate yourself for some past mistake. Mental chatter is endlessly varied.

Your mind may wander down long roads of the past and the future. It may take a long time to realize that you are no longer thinking IN/OUT, DEEP/SLOW, etc. No worry. You will realize it, and when you do, just gently label whatever flights of fancy you are indulging in "thinking" and come back to the meditation.

Begin to notice the space between the words, when nothing is occurring, and give it attention. You may find that peace and quiet are always present; we need only attend to them.

If you need more information on relaxation techniques, ask your practitioner at the Clinic for guidance.

Enjoy the peace.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chinese Medicine & the Treatment for Heartburn

By David TreviƱo, LAc

According to the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases, in 2007, 19 million people in the United States reported symptoms of heartburn, the most common symptom caused by Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). As a result, about 60 to 70 million Americans who suffer from GERD spend approximately $107 billion yearly on drugs and antacids in an attempt to ameliorate the pain and prevent damage to their esophagus.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) maintains that the cause of acid reflux is still unclear, but two anatomical abnormalities -- malfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and hiatal hernias -- seem to be related to GERD. Other factors contributing to GERD include genetics, Helicobacter bacterium, obesity, smoking, pregnancy, certain foods, medications such as aspirin, non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, calcium channel blockers, asthma drugs, and hormones. Complications from heartburn may include esophageal stricture, bleeding, pain during swallowing, ulceration and Barrett's esophagus (a pre-cancerous lining of the esophagus).

Western medical treatment for GERD includes calcium tablets (TUMS) and proton pump inhibitors such as Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Acifex, and Protonix. Long term use of these overly prescribed medications include constipation, diarrhea, dry mouth, abdominal pain, dizziness, headaches, nausea, rashes, breast enlargement in men, anemia, and bone loss. For many individuals who discontinue the use of these medications, the heartburn symptoms return as the underlying imbalance is not corrected. Chinese Medical modalities such as acupuncture, herbal medicines and lifestyle education have been used for centuries as effective and natural treatments for GERD.

According to Chinese Medicine, the most common reasons that create energetic imbalances resulting in GERD are emotional upset and eating the wrong foods.

Chinese Medicine views reflux as rebellious energy (Qi) that is rising up into the esophagus rather than descending to the small intestine. Two common energy imbalances related to acid regurgitation include Stomach Fire and Liver Qi invading the Stomach. Stomach Fire occurs when too much heat overflows into the Stomach. Liver Qi invading the Stomach occurs when the Liver energy impairs the Stomach descending function resulting in acid regurgitation. Specific acupuncture points are used to treat each of these energetic imbalances.

Combining acupuncture with Chinese herbal formulas is recommended as these medicines can be used to cool the Stomach Fire or to regulate the overbearing Liver energy. For most who suffer with GERD regaining a balanced and healthy digestive system includes dietary, lifestyle changes, exercising regularly and learning relaxation techniques. Lifestyle recommendations include: quitting smoking, eliminating or reducing alcohol, refraining from eating before going to bed, avoiding fast foods, and consuming four to six light meals a day, instead of two or three large meals. Finally, avoid common food triggers such as dairy products, tomatoes, citrus fruits and beverages, garlic, peppermint, and fish oil supplements.

If you are experiencing acid reflux, call the Clinic at 828-258-9016.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

FREE Public Talk TOMORROW: Migraine Relief With Chinese Medicine

Free Public Talk:

Presented by:
Eric Aufdencamp, D.O.M.

(Doctor of Oriental Medicine)
Monday, AUGUST 10
5:30 - 7 PM

Earthfare Community Room,
Westgate Shopping Center

Join Eric to learn how Chinese medicine can help you be free of migraines. He will share how many of his patients have received relief from their migraines by using Chinese medicine.

In this talk, you will learn how:
· Chinese medicine theory explains and treats migraines
· Emotions impact your health
· Chinese herbs play a key role in treating migraines

After this evening, you will have tools you can use to reduce migraines:
· Stress-reduction techniques
· Application of essential oils
· Simple dietary guidelines
· Acupressure points for pain relief

Question and answer session to follow talk.

Eric received his Master’s of Oriental Medicine in 2001 from Southwest Acupuncture College in Albuquerque, NM. He completed an advanced internship in Beijing in 2000. Since 2002, he has been practicing at the Chinese Acupuncture Clinic in Asheville.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Foods for the Summer Season

By Junie Norfleet, L.Ac.

According to Chinese medicine theory, the summer season is associated with the element Fire, which corresponds to the Heart, Small Intestine, San Jiao, and Pericardium organ systems. The Heart system is the Sovereign Ruler, enabling us to see clearly and to serve with compassion. The Small Intestine system assists in digestion and assimilation of the foods consumed by separating pure and impure and extracting nourishment from ingested foods. The Pericardium system is the "Heart Protector," while the San Jiao system is responsible for the movement of fluids in the body.

The fire element is symbolic of yang, and is manifested as heat, great activity, reaching outward and moving forward in our lives and in nature. Since the fire element rules the heart, mind and spirit, the summer is a time to pacify and nourish our spirits and to find joy in hot summer days and warm summer nights. A balance in the fire element provides a strong and healthy heart, a mind that is calm, sleep that is refreshing, and proper absorption of ingested foods.

To maintain good health, food choices change with the seasons. Summer is a time of growth and maturation of flowers and vegetables. The qi of the plant is the most vital when the plant blooms. It is also a season of increased heat and activity.

The foods that we consume in the summer should help to keep us cool and energized. Foods with cool properties can clear heat, reduce toxins and generate body fluids. Eating more organic, locally grown raw fruits and vegetables at this time of year is ideal, particularly if you have strong Spleen and Stomach systems.

Foods that are cooling tend towards the green end of the color spectrum. Lettuce, cucumbers and watercress are some of the coolest. Fish and seafood are more cooling, whereas most meats are warming.

Below are some suggestions for foods to be sure to include in the summer diet. Be aware that melons are very cooling, and when eaten alone, can produce dampness. If eaten as a part of the meal or as a dessert, their cool nature can also slow the digestive process of the meal.

Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Lemon, Orange, Peach, Apricot, Pear

Snow Peas, Asparagus, Spinach, Bamboo, Sprouts, Bok Choy, Watercress, Broccoli, Summer Squash, Cucumber, Chinese Cabbage, Corn, White Mushrooms, Seaweed, Winter Melons

Mung Beans, White Lentils

Cilantro, Mint, Dill

General Guidelines for Summertime Eating:
  • Increase foods with the yin qualities of being moist and cooling. The most yin of foods are fruits followed by vegetables. Overeating yin nourishing foods can create dampness by taxing the Spleen system. Chinese medicine recognizes that dampness can help to hold health conditions in place, so be cautious not to eat only yin nourishing foods.
  • Reduce the foods with the yang qualities of concentration and heat. These are proteins such as meats, nuts, seeds, beans, fats, dairy products, eggs and whole grains.
  • Have a variety of colors on your plate and an abundant variety of vegetables.
  • Cook lightly, steaming or simmering foods as quickly as possible.
  • Use little salt and more water.
  • Drink hot liquids and take warm showers to induce sudden sweating and to cool the body.
  • Drink flower and leaf teas like chrysanthemum, mint and chamomile. (See recipe on previous page.)
  • Slice a cucumber or lemon and place it in a pitcher of water. Sip it through the day for a nice, refreshing drink that is tasty and cooling.
  • Avoid iced drinks and ice cream as the cold temperature causes the digestion to slow and depletes the Spleen's energy.
  • Avoid heavy foods such as meats and too many nuts, seeds, and grains, especially on hotter days, since these can cause sluggishness.
Strive to Acquire the Following Eating Habits:
  • Chew your food well.
  • Stop eating when you are seven-tenths full to enhance digestion and to support the body's ability to properly process waste products.
  • Eat in a quiet, non-stressful atmosphere.
  • Finish your last meal of the day three hours before bedtime.
  • Eat a diet of primarily lightly cooked foods, especially if you have weak digestion.
Remember to eat colorful, lightly prepared meals, to be active and outgoing, and to nourish your mind and spirit as you enjoy your summer.


Cold Chrysanthemum Tea for the Summertime

The recipe below was published by Diane Joswick, L. Ac. This tea is especially good to quench thirst. I have modified the amounts of the chrysanthemum green tea and water in the recipe to make a smaller amount.


15-20 White Chrysanthemum Flowers
1 teaspoons of Jasmine Yinhao Green Tea
1 liter of water


Wash the chrysanthemum.
Put chrysanthemum and tea into a cook pot.
Pour in 1 liter of water and bring it to boiling.
Reduce heat and continue to cook for 20 minutes.
Put in the honey.
Remove pot from the heat and allow tea to cool till room temperature.
Strain the tea and put into refrigerator.

Serve the tea slightly chilled.

Enjoy your summer!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Body Scan for Self-Cultivation

By Junie Norfleet, L.Ac.

Many of us get home from work stressed from the day’s activity. A way to speed the relaxation process and shedding the day’s stresses is to take ten minutes to do a body scan. This scan can also be done a part of the routine preparation of bedtime to assist falling asleep more quickly.

Sit or lie comfortably. Close your eyes and begin this exercise by noticing where there is tension in the area of the head. Notice the lips, the jaw muscles, the eyes, the space between the eyebrows, the scalp, the occiput, and the neck. You are just noticing any place in the region of the head where you feel tension, tightness, or that energy is not moving. Take one deep breath for each of the spaces in which you noticed tension, and image the breath going into the space in which you feel that energy is not moving, or that there is tightness or tension.

Next move to the region of the chest. Notice where the ribs meet the sternum, the space between the ribs, the area of the collar bone, and the shoulder joints. Again, once you notice where the tension and stagnation are, image one breath going into each area to help create space and relax the muscles and tissues.

Now move your attention to the abdomen and the area below the navel. Notice the abdominal muscles, the muscles of the groin and the thighs, the knee joints, the calf muscles, the ankles and feet, especially between the many bones in the feet. Once again, use the breath to create space and relax the area. Continue this exercise by moving to the back of the body.

Pay attention to where the ribs join the spine, the low back and sacral areas, and the hip joints. The sacrum has four small holes on each side in which a great deal of stagnation can gather, and the spine tends to stiffen with tension as we go through our day. Once you have used the breath to help move stagnation and tension and create space in these areas you will feel rejuvenated and relaxed -- ready to enter the routine of “home.”

This exercise can be done on three levels. You can just notice the tension on the surface of the body, which is pretty easy for all of us. As you do this exercise more and more, you will begin to notice tension in the deeper levels of the muscles, and then begin to notice tension and stagnation in the organs of the body. Using the breath to help relax the body in all three of these levels may take more than ten minutes, but will add years to your life.