Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine for Children’s Insomnia

With the “go-go-go” attitude of mainstream culture, sometimes it can be hard for the young ones to slow down enough to find rest. If this is something you are struggling with at home, please know that Traditional Chinese Medicine can help.

In his article Treating Infants and Small Children with Chinese Herbal Medicine Dr. Fratkin brings attention to the fact that in China, the experience of a young pediatric patient is very dissimilar to those here in mainstream Western medicine. Pediatric medicine in China (as with many pro-Eastern medicine cultures) follows a more natural and non-invasive approach to healing and wellness.

Is acupuncture safe for my child?

So many people can benefit from this wonderful medicine. Treatments are individualized to each patient, regardless of age. Acupuncture and TCM look at each individual as a complex and holistic system; therefore can be an incredibly effective treatment for common childhood ailments. In fact, children often respond more quickly to acupuncture than adults. This makes sense when you consider that in children, there are three systems most commonly affected, those are digestion (spleen-stomach), respiration (lungs), as well as common colds and infections from their building immune system. All three of these are known to benefit from TCM modalities including cupping, Gua Sha, Tui Na, acupuncture, and acupressure – all of which are safe, natural, and minimally invasive.

Consider a gentler approach with your precious little ones, consider TCM. If needles are an issue, don’t let that discourage you. TCM offers a great set of modalities above and beyond acupuncture. If your child suffers from insomnia, schedule their appointment today, we will discuss ALL of your options.

Research Update – Natural Alternatives to PM Medications

Sleep is a complex physical and mental state of restfulness and rehabilitation. The field of sleep disorders has become increasingly complex with more than 90 disorders of sleep described, each with clear diagnostic criteria. If you are suffering from insomnia or unable to get a good night’s rest, you are not alone. Many people turn to over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping aids and even stronger prescription medication without first considering a more natural alternative. If you are one of those people, consider this:

Antihistamines: over the counter sleeping pills including Benadryl, Aleve PM (aka Diphenhydramine), and Unisom (aka Doxylamine succinate) all contain antihistamines. Unfortunately and among other adverse reactions to antihistamines, our bodies are able to develop a tolerance to the consequent sedative effects quite quickly.

Benzodiazepines – estazolam, flurazepam (Dalmane), temazepam (Restoril), quazepam (Doral), and triazolam (Halcion) are approved by the FDA and often prescribed to treat chronic insomnia. Benzodiazepines need to be taken with caution to long term side-effects including chemical dependency, Ataxia (balance problems), loss of coordination, memory problems, slurred speech, and more.

Melatonin
– Most people’s bodies produce enough melatonin for sleep on their own. The brain begins to release melatonin mid-to-late evening and continues production throughout the night.
Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin is sold over the counter as a “dietary supplement” and is a less invasive sleep aid with fewer harmful side effects. However, studies show that melatonin is really only effective when used for the short-term treatment of insomnia — such as from jet lag or from night shift work.

Tips to help ditch the sleeping aids

  • Begin to titrate off of your sleeping pills. Do this slowly and allow the body time to adapt.
  • Stick to a regular schedule.
  • Plan to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Stay active. Exercise regularly, but not within a few hours of bedtime.
  • Don’t eat large meals or sugar before bed.
  • Try not to nap. If you really need to nap, try to keep it short, less than 45 minutes.
  • Limit caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. All of these can add to sleep problems.
  • Relax. Try taking a warm bath, meditating, or reading to wind down before going to sleep.

Consider acupuncture. Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM) is a centuries-old practice that has proven to be a safe, natural, and effective treatment for insomnia.


Sleep aids: Understand over-the-counter options – Mayo Clinic
Medications for the Treatment of Sleep Disorders: An Overview

6 Facts You Didn’t Know About Sleep

  1. 12 percent of people dream in only black and white. Some wake up with vivid detail from their dreams, others with no recollection at all, and some recall their dreams exclusively and specifically in black and white.
  2. ⅓ of our lives will be spent asleep. If you think that’s a lot, cats spent TWICE that at ⅔ of their lives spent sleeping. In order to function at an optimal level, adults need 7-9 hours of restful shut-eye per night.
  3. Ideally falling asleep at night should take you no longer than 20 minutes. Typically insomnia is the term for difficulty getting to sleep, but as we all know “insomnia” is a vast and complex term. Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (DSPD) and known more often in the medical community as “delayed sleep phase syndrome” or “delayed sleep-wake disorder” is a more specific name to describe chronic dysregulation of the circadian rhythm.
  4. One in four married couples sleep in separate beds. This fact speaks volumes to the importance of achieving restful sleep. The ideal sleep environment is cool, dark, and, quiet. If sleeping next to someone makes you too warm, if your partner’s movement or snoring wakes you regularly, consider adaptations to your sleep environment that best serves your individual sleep needs.
  5. Parasomnia is a term used to describe unnatural sleep movements. Have you ever seen someone sleepwalking or sleep talking? If so, what they were experiencing was called parasomnia. Those with parasomnia can experience symptoms during any phase of sleep.
  6. Sleep deprivation can kill you faster than food deprivation. An article in Archiv Fur Kriminologie states the body can survive for 8 to 21 days without food. The longest recorded time without sleep is just over 11 days. Though it is not known exactly how long humans can live without sleep, serious symptoms of sleep deprivation will begin to show after only three to four days. Symptoms most commonly involve visual and auditory hallucinations.

If sleep is on your mind, you’re not alone. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s inaugural Sleep Health Index™ over 45% of Americans report weekly insufficient sleep affected their daytime activities. Good news! Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM) can not only help with insomnia but also help you achieve higher quality sleep overall. Schedule your appointment today by calling us at (218) 724-3400.

Winter and your Kidneys

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, health is achieved by living in balance with nature and the seasons. Winter, the season of the Water Element, is the season for slowing down, reflecting, and conserving our resources. We all feel this tendency, but we don’t always listen to our bodies. In Western culture, being active is rewarded and expected. We feel compelled to keep up the hectic pace that is typical in our daily lives.

This season is associated with the kidneys, bladder, and adrenal glands and the time of year when these organs are most active, accessible, and even vulnerable. They are more receptive to being restored, nurtured, and energized. At the same time, it is also when they can become easily depleted.

According to Chinese medicine, our kidneys receive a specific amount of energy at the time of our conception that will carry each of us through our lives, called Jing Qi. Imagine for a minute that our kidneys are like batteries. Batteries that have come from the shop with a limited amount of charge. These unfortunately are not the rechargeable types of batteries. Jing Qiis the energy stored in our kidney batteries. Our body and mind pull from this reserve in times of change, healing, and stress. Every action we take draws on this power supply.

Some people can easily deplete their Jing Qi due to poor lifestyle choices and extreme stress. Others preserve it by nurturing it with the right foods and behaviors. Jing Qi is finite. The more we use it, the less we will have for necessary body functioning. Every day our kidneys filter blood and other body fluids, remove toxins from the liver, and our bladder collects, processes and excretes these liquids through the urine.

There are ways we can preserve our Jing Qi. In addition to Jing Qi, we operate on renewable sources of energy. The spleen makes Qi (vital life force) for us out of the food we eat, and the lungs bring us Qi from the air. We will have less need to draw on our Jing Qi and be healthier and more energetic as we eat, rest and breathe better and do Qi Gong to replenish our renewable sources of energy.

Keep in mind, stimulants such as caffeine deplete the kidneys, and rob us of our ability to know how we really feel. If our body is in need of rest and sleep, caffeine consumption will make us unaware of this fact, thus causing us to ignore our body’s needs. This can then contribute to the unnecessary depletion of our Jing Qi.

In order to maintain and cultivate health, it is important to nurture and nourish our kidney energy. Now is the perfect time to recharge your internal kidney batteries. Acupuncture, yoga, Tai Chi, quiet reflection, meditation, simple walks, and herbs are wonderful ways to recharge and energize!

Call us today at (218) 724-3400 to make an appointment.

Exploring the 24 Hour Qi Clock

Most people are familiar with the terms diurnal and nocturnal. Diurnal means active during the daytime, while nocturnal means active during the nighttime. Together the two make up a 24-hour cycle known as a day. But, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, this 24-hour cycle is viewed as much more than just a day in the life. The 24 hours of the day are viewed as increments of time and every two-hour section is associated with a specific energetic meridian that runs through the body. This is known as the Qi clock.

Do you wake up every night or every morning about the same time? Have you ever wondered why? Some people call that an internal clock. In Chinese medicine, this gives a much deeper look into how the body functions though. Chinese medical theory divides the body based upon the 12 energetic meridians. Each of the meridians is assigned a two-hour time slot. For example, the liver meridian is associated with the hours of 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. If you wake up during this time frame, then there is an issue with your liver meridian. So knowing this information can be very important to an acupuncturist/Chinese medicine practitioner.

During a 24-hour period, your energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”) moves through the organ systems in two-hour intervals. Qi draws inward to help restore the body between the hours of 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. The liver cleanses the blood and performs other functions, such as getting the blood ready to travel outward into the rest of the body. Over the next 12 hours, Qi cycles through the organs that assimilate, digest and eliminate food through the body or our diurnal organs. By mid-afternoon, the body begins to slow down again in preparation for the nocturnal phase. The nocturnal phase is all about restoring and maintaining. So when one organ system is at its peak, its counterpart, on the opposite side of the clock is at its lowest point. An example is 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., which are the hours of the stomach. This is when the stomach is at its peak and also why it is recommended to eat a big breakfast. On the opposite side of the clock lies the pericardium, which is associated with the pituitary, hypothalamus and reproductive organs. The pericardium is at its weakest point between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Here’s a brief summary of the 24 hour Qi cycle:

3 a.m. to 5 a.m. is lung time
5 a.m. to 7 a.m. is large intestine time
7 a.m. to 9 a.m. is stomach time
9 a.m. to 11 a.m. is spleen time
11 a.m. to 1 a.m. is heart time
1 p.m. to 3 p.m. is small intestine time
3 p.m. to 5 p.m. is urinary bladder time
5 p.m. to 7 p.m. is kidney time
7 p.m. to 9 p.m. is pericardium time
9 p.m. to 11 p.m. is triple burner time (associated with the thyroid and adrenals)
11 p.m. to 1 a.m. is gall bladder time
1 a.m. to 3 a.m. is liver time

So if you have recurring problems at the same time every day, then there is a good chance that the organ/meridian associated with that time is in distress. This is why Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners ask so many questions and also why they look at the body as a whole instead of just one particular organ. By understanding that every organ/energetic meridian has a maintenance schedule to keep daily, you can then treat your body properly so you achieve the ultimate health and well-being and acupuncture can help you achieve that goal. Acupuncturists treat the body based on things like your symptomology, your pulses, your tongue and the 24-hour Qi clock indications you exhibit. The goal is to bring the body back into balance and knowing when the meridians are at their peaks and valleys is a great place to begin.