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So this very interesting article describes how some MRI studies provide confirming evidence for some of the central ideas of acupuncture. In particular, that the side a point is treated matters, and that a point located on a particular meridian tends to influence the related organ. It looks like there’s a lot of potential for MRI studies on acupuncture to give us interesting and valuable information.

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Acupuncture Helps COPD

This study shows some promising evidence that acupuncture can help people with COPD, a debilitating illness of the lungs. If acupuncture does that, imagine what else it can do.

My former teacher, Stephen Birch, wrote this excellent article on problems with the famous German acupuncture studies that everyone’s still talking about. The problems he discusses are all too common in the field of acupuncture research.

This interesting study: http://www.rdmag.com/News/2012/04/Japanese-researchers-show-that-acupuncture-can-improve-skeletal-muscle-atrophy/ shows one reason why acupuncture is likely to benefit the elderly. I like how the authors are cautious in their conclusions, being careful not to make grandiose statements that go beyond the data.

Starting Saturday, April 21st, we are going to offer a free Veteran’s clinic at OHCA, first and third Saturdays of the month from 1 to 5 pm. Acupuncture can help relieve pain, reduce symptoms of stress and trauma such as PTSD, boost energy, and reawaken the inherent healing processes of the body to restore health and well-being. The acupuncture will be free of charge to veterans. You can make an appointment online (Click here), or by calling (206) 659-9598; walk-ins are also welcome.

OHCA is not officially affiliated with AWB (Acupuncturists Without Borders) or SAVe (Seattle Acupuncture for Veterans), mainly because I don’t want us to be limited to the 5 needle protocol. AWB and SAVe have been doing excellent work with the 5 NP, and veterans going to those clinics “are experiencing benefits such as a full night’s sleep for the first time in years and fewer bad dreams. They are reporting improved mental clarity, less anxiety and a reduction in stress. Acupuncture is currently being investigated by the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington D.C. as a viable treatment modality for PTSD in returning veterans and the military has started using acupuncture in the battlefield to help with pain” (from http://blog.seattlepi.com/sassycitygirl/2011/11/06/11-11-11-what-are-you-going-to-do-sing-the-blues-for-veterans/). But I’ve long felt the need to provide a space where veterans can be treated with attention to their individual complaints, so at OHCA we’re going to treat individually, just like regular community acupuncture.

If you know any veteran who could use our services – or practitioner willing to donate their time here – please pass this info on. Thank you!

Hibiscus Tea: Better Than Green Tea?

Dr. Gerber has an excellent website where he posts informative videos like this one, about the impressive antioxidant benefits of hibiscus, which appear to be greater than green tea. In addition, hibiscus has anti-inflammatory properties, lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol, and may have anti-cancer effects (see here.

I have tried Gerber’s recipe and it is delicious; it is very easy to make and tastes like fruit punch. I tend to use stevia and Just Like Sugar, and I do blend in the mint leaves. After about a week of doing this, I am noticing increased energy and a quicker recovery from workouts. As Gerber notes, you can simply add bulk hibiscus to a blender with the lemon, mint, and date sugar (or a few pitted dates).

However, variety is the spice of life, and green or white tea has nutrients that hibiscus doesn’t, so I plan to alternate my hibiscus drink with some cold-brewed tea. Why cold-brewed? Well there’s less acid and caffeine for one thing, but also the antioxidant content is higher! See Gerber’s video here. And I won’t add cow’s milk, which cancels many of the benefits of tea (see here, but lemon, which increases the bioavailability of the nutrients.

This article summarizes some of the evidence available showing that vitamin D, especially at the 2,000 IU per day dosage, substantially reduces the incidence of colds or flu. The protective effect is comparable to or superior to that suggested by the best numbers available for the protective effect of flu vaccines (which of course aren’t likely to prevent colds). In addition to having no adverse side effects at that dosage, vitamin D has many other benefits, such as preventing asthma attacks, helping to maintain bone density, and possibly preventing multiple sclerosis. Perhaps that’s why Seattle has such a high incidence of MS: people don’t get enough vitamin D.

Vitamin D can be harmful at high doses – 100,000 IU or more – so one should be careful and know the exact amount contained in whatever supplement you choose to take.

This study, http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/17/12/3577.full.pdf+html, shows that flax oil can reduce the spread of prostate cancer even when you start taking it after the diagnosis. It seems likely, then, that flax may prevent or delay the onset of prostate cancer if one starts early.

Black Tea Also Cool

Well, black tea ain’t so bad either 🙂 See black tea news.

Seems that regularly drinking green tea reduces LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by a significant amount while leaving your hDL (“good”) cholesterol intact! See tea study. So drink up, my friends!