ACUPRESSURE VS ACUPUNCTURE

We’re confident that you’ve heard of acupuncture, but do you know where it comes from? 

The study and practice of acupuncture and acupressure have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years and is an ancient healing technique. Acupressure and acupuncture apply the same principles, but acupressure uses pressure points instead of needles to achieve the desired results. 


TCM & DEPRESSION


Today, we’re here to talk about different acupressure points that are used to reduce depression and anxiety through intentional point-placements and massage. Each of these points are ones that can be done on your own without the help of another person.

Acupressure can reduce anxiety and depression by massaging (or using an acupressure stick) the proper locations. Below, several commonly known acupressure points are listed and are known to treat depressive symptoms.

ACUPRESSURE POINTS TO REDUCE DEPRESSION


1. HEART 7 (HT-7) “SPIRIT GATE”
Location: On the crease of your inner wrist towards the ulnar (pinky finger) side. Feel for a hollow place at the base of the pisiform bone.
How does it help?: HT7 is often used to strengthen the heart and nourish qi and blood. This pressure point is also known to settle anxiety/worrisome emotions and also quiets the mind. It helps with sleep disturbances and emotional stress, releases tightness in the chest and even aids with heart palpitations.



2. NEIGUAN (PC6)
Location: Find the middle of your wrist, about two finger widths below the palm. Using your thumb and forefinger, press on this location for 2-3 minutes. Repeat on your other wrist. 


How does it help?: Neiguan can be used to treat depression and anxiety.


3. CONCEPTION VESSEL 17 (REN 17) “CHEST CENTER”
Location: At the center of your chest, midway between the nipples/center of your sternum.
How does it help?: This acupressure point is also known as the ‘influential point of Qi’ (or energy) which this point helps regulate. Qi often gets stuck (or stagnant) with excess stress and imbalances in life. This point helps to relax your chest and release your diaphragm.

4. YIN TANG “HALL OF IMPRESSION”

Location: located between the eyebrows, in an area also known as the third eye.
How does it help?: This pressure point calms the spirit and takes the edge off emotional restlessness and anxiety. It’s also known to promote a deep relaxation and even helps with insomnia! It is also great at relieving headaches and helps to clear nasal congestion or a runny nose.

If you found these home-tips helpful and are ready to take the next step and try acupuncture, call us at (218) 724-3400 to set up an appointment in Duluth MN!

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Research Update: Effects of Acupuncture on Quality of Life in Patient with Depression

THE STUDY


A study published by the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine and conducted by the West China Center of Medical Sciences, found acupuncture treatments can be effective in the treatment of patients suffering from depression.

According to the study, 163 participants were divided into three groups. Each group received differing forms of treatment utilizing acupuncture or acupuncture and other accessory modalities, twice a week, for a total of 12 weeks. The scale of life was used to evaluate the results at four different times, which allowed for the patients quality-of-life to be objectively followed and determined.

There were eight specific items that were evaluated after each acupuncture treatment, thus leading to the overall quality of life score. The items evaluated were physical function, bodily pain, physical role, general physical condition, social function, energy, mental health and emotional function. The study showed the overall quality of life score was improved significantly in all three groups.

BACKGROUND ON DEPRESSION

Worldwide, nearly 350 million people suffer from depression and nearly 16 million of those are in the United States alone. Statistics show women tend to be more likely to experience depression and young adults between the ages of 18-22 are also at a higher risk. Symptoms of depression include extreme irritability over minor issues, anxiety, restlessness, irrational anger, lack of interest in everyday activities, thoughts of death, insomnia, severe fatigue, weight gain/loss, difficulty concentrating and unexplained aches and pains. When these symptoms occur for more than a few weeks, depression may be the reason behind them.

ACUPUNCTURE AND DEPRESSION

As shown in this study, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be very effective in treating depression, not only short-term, but also long-term. A TCM practitioner makes a diagnosis based upon each patient, on an individual basis and treats according to the root cause(s)of the illness – treating the “whole” person, holistically, taking into account a person’s physical and emotional well-being. TCM incorporates multiple modalities such as acupuncture, Chinese herbs, tuina massage, cupping and exercises like qigong to help restore balance to the body.

The theory behind treating depression using TCM, all revolves around the concept of Qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi is considered the vital energy that flows through the body and animates everything. When Qi is blocked or stagnant, it will affect all aspects of a person’s health. The goal of TCM is to locate and correct the imbalances which exist.

THE RESULTS


With all of this information on depression and TCM in mind, the results of the study concluded that the overall quality-of-life score was improved significantly in all three groups. The items evaluated were physical function, bodily pain, physical role, general physical condition, social function, energy, mental health and emotional function. 

Acupuncture releases endorphins and activates natural pain killers. By doing so, it improves the flow of Qi throughout the body while eliminating blockages and bringing balance to the mind and body. Endorphins counter the symptoms of depression and allow the person to resume a normal life.

If you are suffering from depression and are looking for a natural way of dealing with it, give us a call, we may be able to help you navigate the waters of depression without the harmful side effects of pharmaceuticals, while helping you get back to a happier life. We are conveniently located at 205 W. 2nd Street, Suite 502 in Duluth, MN and are happy to help!

Science Direct Article

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Save your summertime skin

Now is the time of year when we want to soak in the sun and take advantage of the nice weather. Although it’s tempting to bathe in the warmth of our giant star, there are a few precautions to take to prevent skin cancer as one in five Americans are likely to get skin cancer by the age of 70.

Did you know that the skin is the largest organ of the body and reflects our health and age? In today’s world, there’s more concern around sun bathing potentially leading to an increase in skin damage and skin cancer, and rightfully so! Excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays can increase the production of free radicals that can adversely affect the integrity of collagen in the skin. Over time with this type of exposure, our skin becomes wrinkled, cracked, aged, and brittle (and for smokers, the effects are multiplied).

SKIN CANCER

Research suggests that skin cancer is cumulative over a lifetime and begins with over-exposure throughout one’s life and even serious sunburns during childhood.

We can’t live without the sun – our bodies require sunlight in order to manufacture Vitamin D needed for calcium absorption, amongst other important things. As with all matters, everything is healthy in moderation, and this applies to sun exposure as well. Here are a few helpful tips and precautions to take when you’re soaking in the summertime sun.

TIPS FOR SAFE SUN EXPOSURE

Use sunscreen – Choose a sunscreen with a high SPF number for greater protection. Apply it onto your skin fifteen minutes before you go outside. Don’t forget your nose, ears, neck and even the tops of your feet! It’s best to ask for help in those hard-to-reach areas such as your back. 

Time is key – Avoid sun exposure when the sun is at its highest peak in the sky, typically from about 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. Staying in the shade or carrying something light to cover up in is wise.
Gear up – Wear a hat with a wide brim, t-shirt, and sunglasses that filter ultraviolet rays.
Drink it up – By keeping your body hydrated you can avoid dehydration and provide moisture for the skin to prevent dryness, cracking, and aging.
Pop a pill – Vitamins such as A, E, and some antioxidants help prevent skin damage from the inside. Cod Liver oil and FlaxSeed oil have also been used to support skin health.
Brush it off – Before you take a shower, use a dry skin brush. This can open pores and slough off dead skin, allowing your skin to breathe easily and work more efficiently.
Keep healthy – Some medications we take may have reactions and side effects when we’re exposed to sunlight. Acupuncture may be able to provide an alternative to these medications, keeping you healthy, safely and naturally.

If you want to have fun now, and not worry later, practice good sun sense. You and your skin deserve it.

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Foods to Eat to Help Depression

Many have heard the question posed what came first, the chicken or the egg? But how does that concept apply to depression? It’s well-known that when we’re depressed, our motivation and interest in maintaining a healthy and balanced diet subsides in the same way our energy does. Harvard Medical Students positioned that same question in relation to depression; what came first, depression or a poor diet?

Thankfully, researchers have addressed this question and found that a healthy diet was indeed associated with a significantly decreased risk of developing depressive symptoms. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, patients were treated for two years with antioxidants or placebos. After two years, those who were treated with antioxidants had a significantly lower depression score. 


WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Eating healthy foods gives you a better chance to reduce your depressive symptoms than eating a diet of processed food that may be high in sugars and fats.

Additionally, it’s known that there are approximately 10 times as many bacterial cells as human cells in the body. These bacteria serve many purposes including the curation of Vitamin K, digesting the food we consume and even regulating our immune system.

This implies that maintaining a healthy gut bacteria and overall diet can improve your mood.

SO, WHAT SHOULD I EAT?


Suggested foods to eat are lots of green leafy plants (including fruits and vegetables), whole unprocessed grains, seeds & nuts, and lean proteins such as yogurt or fish. To break them down even further, take note of the following foods and their purpose (all of which fight depression):

 Inflammation: Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, Berries, Mushrooms and Onions.

Mood Boosting & Omega 3: Walnuts, chia seeds, Fish (salmon, tuna and sardines), and even certain brands of egg or yogurt.

Oleic Acid: Avocado, cheese, pasta and meats such as chicken, beef or pork

Antioxidants: Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are some of the highest antioxidant foods available to us. Other foods include sweet potato, oranges, and peppers. 

Folic acid and alpha-lipoic acid: Tomatoes, broccoli, spinach and brussels sprouts.

WHICH FOODS SHOULD I AVOID?


Avoid foods made with added sugars or flours such as baked goods (donuts and pastries), breads, pastas and cereals. One should also minimize the consumption of animal fats, processed meats such as bacon, and even butter.

OTHER ITEMS TO CONSIDER


It’s important to remember that health starts from within. Maintaining a healthy balance of self-care, such as providing yourself with adequate sleep, hydration and physical activity is just as important as eating well.

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that supports the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Having balanced health helps with everything from cardiovascular disease, dementia, cancer and even mental health disorders including- you guessed it – depression!

If this article has inspired you to turn a new leaf and start becoming healthier, be sure to follow our social media pages. We post other content on health, acupuncture, traditional chinese medicine and so on that can help you keep your life on track.

Don’t forget! Schedule an acupuncture appointment with us if you have any questions about depression and how traditional Chinese medicine can help.

Every Day Health Link

Harvard Health Link

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Top Health Benefits Of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and is practiced in many different forms which include herbal remedies, cupping, and massage, which have all been used for thousands of years. The basis of TCM is the idea of qi, the body’s vital energy.

TCM treatments promote the movement of qi throughout the body in order to help bring balance back to the body. The goal of acupuncture is to correct this imbalance which can cause a variety of ailments and conditions that you may currently have.

Acupuncture uses very thin needles (which have been compared to being as small as cat whiskers) that stimulate pressure points and other areas of your body. It stimulates qi by placing needles in specific spots, often along meridians. Meridians are the channels that qi travels in the body.


Acupuncture can help with many health conditions, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Chronic pain, including joint pain
  • Depression
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Trouble sleeping and insomnia
  • Nausea and digestive trouble
  • Back pain and sciatica
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Tinnitus (ringing ears)
  • Weight loss

Below are the top five ways that acupuncture can help

  1. Relieves Pain

    Acupuncture can help alleviate many types of pain that may range from headaches and migraines to neck and back pain. These studies have shown its effectiveness in treating lower back pain, migraines, tension headaches, and knee pain. Acupuncture works differently for everybody. For some, a single treatment can alleviate symptoms for several months while others need a more routine treatment schedule.

  2. Improved Sleep

    Another thing that we Acupuncture can help improve is sleep and insomnia. Scientists believe that acupuncture increases the production of brain chemicals that promote relaxation, thus allowing for better sleep.

  3. Uplift Mood

    Acupuncture can help with improving mood, including helping with depression, stress, and anxiety. The needles from acupuncture treatment release endorphins in the body. Endorphins are hormones that provide a boost in mood, encouraging happiness and relaxation.

  4. Help the Heart

    Acupuncture is also good for your heart due to the relaxation and stress reduction that one achieves from the treatments, which are also known to reduce blood pressure. Stress and high blood pressure are commonly related to heart attacks and heart disease.

  5. Support the Immune System

    Research has shown that acupuncture can boost immune system function. The placement of acupuncture needles can release immune-boosting cytokines. Cytokines are messenger cells that regulate the body’s immune response. By triggering the immune system, acupuncture can help fight infections or illnesses like colds and the flu.


  6. If you deal with any of the above symptoms or think that acupuncture may be right for you- schedule an appointment with us! We’d be happy to support you in achieving your health care goals right here in Duluth Minnesota!

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