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Chinese therapy for Leg cramps

Leg cramps, also known as the lower limbs twitch, is a common situation. The typical hair as lower limb convulsions, sudden contraction of the calf muscles after local muscle pain, deformation, touch stiff and tense, stiff joints. Leg cramps often occur at night to rest, especially during sleep time. Every cramp few seconds to a few minutes, the pain of varying severity. Lower limbs twitch muscles often are: gastrocnemius (calf muscle), biceps femoris (rear thigh muscles), quadriceps (front thigh muscles).

Distribution of the leg muscles
Leg cramps are very common, many people will occasionally occur, particularly the elderly and pregnant women.

Etiology of leg cramps is not very clear, but there are many situations that can cause:

Excessive exercise, trauma, muscle strain
Ambient temperature suddenly changes, such as alpine weather, long-standing cold water
Poor posture, such as prolonged sitting or standing guard, or legs placed improper posture
Dehydrates the body, such as profuse sweating
Local circulation disorders, such as lower extremity vascular stenosis, hardening of the arteries
Electrolyte imbalance or minerals such as calcium, magnesium intake, such as severe diarrhea, vomiting, blood loss after
Overwrought emotions
The influence of drugs, such as diuretics, lipid-lowering drugs, antidepressants, adrenal hormones, etc.
Health problems such as kidney failure, liver cirrhosis, alcoholism, low thyroid function, etc.
1 leg cramps how to do?

Very often, when the legs and muscle twitching, massage and stretching can stop immediately. However, the first aid is not the same person, you need a lot to try to learn how to effectively massage and stretching to stop his seizures. In short, is to "do the opposite", in the opposite direction to slowly stretch the muscles. For example after a calf muscle twitching, commonly used emergency following ways:

1 reluctantly stood up, two-foot, showing lunge open, the leg cramps on the back straight, hands against the wall, upper body slowly forward, heel down the pressure to stretch the muscles twitch.
2 sit up straight cramps lower limbs, trunk flexion, soles of the feet with both hands Banzhu, slow, sustained stretch to the torso until the convulsions ease. If you need assistance, will be a big towel sets foot in cramps, clenched both ends of the towel, held high feet, drop down again, remember to keep the knee straight, maintaining the convulsions disappear.
3 If someone help, to the patient supine position, straighten your legs, your feet caught cramps, raised to the vertical position, then slowly press the foot down. Do not pull too hard when you avoid muscle damage. Remember to keep the knee straight.
4 If in the water, too late to go ashore, we must remain calm, do not panic. Take a deep breath, head into the water, and then, like jellyfish, back floating in the water, held tight to the side of the toe cramps, then gradually slowly straighten the limb. Not once, a few more times, the muscles will gradually relax restitution. When the pull toes, legs stretched forward as far as possible, while the heel kicking forward. After the relaxation, posture slowly changed to Yang swim swim to shore, and massage the calf to prevent cramps from happening again.
When stretching leg cramps
Other help blood circulation, muscle relaxation, pain relief measures include:

Ground walking, kicking
Hot showers
Cold or hot
Gently rub back and forth along the muscle
Taking pain medicine or muscle relaxants smear
Drinking water or sports drinks
In most cases, the case of occasional muscle twitching phenomenon is not harmful to the body. However, if you often cramps, affecting daily life, as well as sleep disturbance, should report to the doctor rule out the possibility of underlying disease. Where necessary, the doctor will stop twitching prescription drugs to improve symptoms.

2 Chinese medicine treatment leg cramps

Calf muscle twitching in the case of traditional Chinese medicine "arthralgia" category, commonly known as leg cramps, leg cramps. According to TCM theory, muscle and limb movement spleen, liver reinforcement, renal bone. These organs weakness, lack of blood, muscles and bones have problems. Yongzhi as evil cold dampness of the meridian or other stimuli, caused by lower limb meridians blood block, you can have cramps. In addition, the liver is responsible for regulating the storage of blood and blood when the body rest and sleep, blood requirement to reduce excess blood returning to the liver; during exercise or work requirements increase blood, liver blood put storage transport the body. At night, the less blood nutrition muscle tendons, particularly insufficient and therefore more common occurrence evening.
TCM liver and spleen image
TCM Syndrome handled by leg cramps, visceral nourishing treatment places, getting tongmai, warm eradicates cold based. The following are common syndromes leg cramps and prescription.

Cold stagnation meridians

Leg or toes twitching, pain, muscle stiffness, pain, chills, pain reduction was warm, many patients with mouth thirst, thin white fur, pulse string tight. TCM treatments for warm meridians and getting pain.
Prescription Example: Powder Aconitum cock soup

Alpine resistance network

Limbs heavy, frequent leg and toes twitching, pain, patient or ankle swelling, pain relief was warm, greasy tongue coating, pulse. TCM treatments for cold and dampness, warm through pain.
Prescription Example: Powder cock Yiyiren, herb, peony

Stagnation of liver blood deficiency

Calf and toe muscle stiffness, throbbing, numbness, patients often accompanied by dizziness, headache, mental depression, chest swelling, nausea, pale complexion, lips A pale, pale tongue, pulse string breakdown. TCM treatments for liver meridians, nourishing getting.
Prescription Example: Guishao Liujunzi can add Chai Hu Tang, gelatin, papaya

Blood deficiency

Twitching leg or toe pain, flexion and extension negative, many patients with lassitude, less gas lazy words, insomnia, dizziness, lip A pale, pale tongue, weak pulse. The treatment method for replenishing qi and blood, getting and networks.
Prescription Example: Shiquandabu pill can add dogwood, papaya

According to clinical experience, muscle tendon disease treatment effective slow, so taking some time must be long to decoction is appropriate.

Asarum papaya aconite
Asarum papaya aconite
Pregnant leg cramps

Pregnant women often have lower limbs twitch, mostly in middle and late occur. Due to increasing weight after pregnancy, legs burden, local blood vessels and nerve compression; another significant increase in nutritional requirements, dietary intake likely to have uneven situation. Sudden lower limbs twitch at night often woke up pregnant, and sometimes during the day also appeared, accompanied by body aches.

From the Chinese point of view, pregnant women due to child care and blood, caused by the relative lack of hepatic blood, muscles easily dystrophy. If the lower limbs by wind cold dampness evil alien invasion, meridian runs sluggish, there will be cramps. Treatment should Bugan, getting, warm, relieving wet.

Yin deficiency

Leg throbbing, repeated seizures, patients have upset, insomnia, headache, dizziness, dry mouth, dry stool, red or pale, thin yellow coating, pulse smooth. TCM treatments for nourishing Liver.

Prescription Example: Siwutang together abalone, keel, oysters, Millettla

Blood deficiency

Leg throbbing, repeated attacks, most patients with dizziness, headache, lassitude, no appetite, pale and tasteless mouth, lips and pale face, pale tongue, thin white, thin weak pulse. TCM treatments for BNI.

Prescription Example: Ba Zhen Tang together papaya, Millettla

Peony Atractylodes Achyranthes
Peony Atractylodes Achyranthes
3 acupuncture treatment of leg cramps

Acupuncture effective regulation of muscle excitability, leg cramps are a common therapy. According to TCM theory, the calf muscle twitching mainly due to the lower limbs by cold stimulation, through the air unfavorable, causing sudden partial muscle twitching.
Acupuncture or moxibustion techniques, stimulate acupoints surface, clear the meridians, qi and blood circulation, can spasm and pain.

Leg cramps disease located in the foot a small positive bladder, are less carnal deficiency, treatment with Warming blood, Shujin network based. Point Selection: Venezuela (Bl 40), Cheng-shan (Bl 57), Kunlun (Bl 60), Yanglingquan (Gb 34), after the river (Si 3), Zusanli (St 36) Operation: if being jerks when a single take on lateral River Point, get gas, diarrhea law, strong stimulation, to cramp stationary. In peacetime, the desirability of unilateral Chengshan, Venezuela, Yanglingquan, Kunlun twisting the needle, after the gas, reducing method. Once a day, alternating sides stimulation, each time the needle 1 hour, moxa or radio, 10 days for a course of treatment.

Analysis: After the calf muscles (gastrocnemius) is at the foot of the bladder through the line of the sun, Venezuela, Cheng Shan, Kunlun belong meridians and acupoints on this, but also cramp attack site. Principles "of the over through, attending clinics" and "near the Ministry of acupoints" in line with Chinese medicine. Yanglingquan belong Gallbladder by foot, but also the tendons will cave, attending muscle disease; after the river is eight confluence points, and Yang Qiao intricately interlinked, lower limb movement and help regulate sleep. Select these points were played Shujin network, antispasmodic analgesic effect.

Leg cramps leg cramps acupuncture points acupuncture points
Leg cramps leg cramps acupuncture points acupuncture points
* If you do not want to use acupuncture stimulation, acupuncture can also be used in the local cupping method, can stay five minutes.

4 massage Prevention leg cramps

Massage can play warm the meridians, declared through blood, antispasmodic analgesic effect. Self-massage can relieve calf muscle stiffness, pain and other symptoms, and sometimes even Shoudaobingchu, is an effective means to deal with prevention of cramps. People often cramp to do stretching and massage at bedtime, especially for easy muscle cramps.

1 rub Zuxin: fist, rub Zuxin to heat;
2 rubbing points: Venezuela (Bl 40), Zusanli (St 36), Cheng-shan (Bl 57), Yanglingquan (Gb 34), Kunlun (Bl 60), after the river (Si 3), with the thumb Roudong hard to have a sense of soreness appropriate, per hole 1 minute;
3. virtual palm (fingers together, metacarpophalangeal joints bend) after a smooth and rhythmic beat beat calf muscle, about 1 minute;
4. his hands rub the calf muscle, bottom-up, repeat 2 minutes;
5 straighten the knee, holding the toes, soles of the feet with both hands Banzhu, traction.
Stretching methods and emergency stop lower limb cramps same main stretch the gastrocnemius and foot muscles.

5 Scrapping Prevention leg cramps

Scraping therapy is stimulated by local subcutaneous congestion, making Cou dredge, dirty cloud of gas organs accessible on the outside, the whole body blood flow to promote physical rehabilitation. Scrapping simple operation, is common folk care methods. The use of smooth-edged tool, dipped in vegetable oil or warm water, in particular at the surface, top-down, repeatedly scraping from the inside outward, until the skin purple spots or patches so far.

Leg cramps are suitable for scaling the spine on both sides (5th - 7th thoracic and lumbar) and popliteal fossa. First with a wet towel to wipe locally, along the spine from top to bottom, gently scrape down along, gradually increased, to scrape along the same direction, with the wrist, uniform strength, general scraping 10-20 times. After scraping the popliteal fossa. After Guawan dry oil or water stains, and wipe a small amount of bruising at carminative oil, break.

If the local ecchymosis not scattered, then where should scrape. Serious illness, skin diseases, bleeding tendency, too skinny, hunger, the meal is not suitable for scraping.

6 leg cramps daily care

Leg cramps usually do not need treatment, usually more exercise legs, keep warm, eat warm food, cramps will reduce or disappear. Often have leg cramps must first understand some of their own "history", such as diet, daily exercise (work) volume, cramps site, when the weather episodes, each of incentives may be different, all the factors, the understanding of after the impact of the body, you can do targeted prevention improvements. If frequent cramps, but no cause, must be handled with care, the doctor to do the inspection report. Some cramps may be a symptom of some vascular diseases, diabetes or neurological disorders.

Here are some suggestions to prevent cramps life:

A balanced diet, eat more foods rich in calcium and magnesium
If leg cramps easy to avoid air-conditioning, fans, etc. directly into the leg hair
Cold, note the lower limbs keep warm
Before exercise, be sure to fully warm up; also stretch the muscles after exercise
Choose a good supporting performance and comfort shoes
Add water, always keep sipping all day habit
Drink less alcohol and caffeine drinks
No matter how busy working during the day, remember to find time to do regular stretching exercises, must be done before going to sleep
Daytime moderate exercise, such as jogging, cycling and the like, exercise, improving lower extremity muscle conditions
A lot of people sleeping posture is bad, the quilt cover tightly, press and hold the foot, calf and foot muscles tight, very prone to cramps. So you want some bedding Larsson, so the lower limbs have mobile space
Pregnancy cramps occur, it is recommended to wear compression stockings and elevation legs timing
To the elderly more than the sun, taking supplements
To relax the mood engaged in sports or work
7 leg cramps dietary choices

Leg cramps are often people who want to get enough nutrition, weekdays beneficial to multiple choice of fresh food. Many female patients also have calcium loss leading to osteoporosis problems, should eat milk, soy, seaweed, etc. to supplement calcium.

From the Chinese point of view, leg cramps and local blood blocked and alpine stimulation. Patients should eat foods help blood metaplasia, including dates, mushrooms, brown sugar, liver, lamb, beef, duck, goose, eggs, rabbit meat, yam, sesame, rice, longan meat, mushrooms, nuts, leek. Diet should be light and easy to absorb, unfavorable blood run cold food, should not eat. Alternatively, eat some cold, wet eradicates, vibrant food, including chicken, shrimp, snake, sea cucumber, bones, carp, squid, taro, celery, mulberry son, cherry, star fruit, lychee, chestnuts, walnuts, soybeans, white beans, lily, osmanthus, gourd, onion, ginger, Yiyiren, cinnamon, fennel, etc..

Millettla Zhigancao rutaecarpa
Millettla Zhigancao rutaecarpa
The following is a recipe for leg cramps:

1 peony (7.5g), licorice (7.5g). Jianshui day one, two suits, and even drink seven days.
2 papaya (7.5g), Evodia (6g), salt (1.5g). Jianshui day one, two suits, and even drink seven days.
3 papaya (5g), white peony root (7.5g), licorice (7.5g), keel (7.5g), oysters (7.5g). Fry keel, oysters 20 minutes, adding other materials, slow gently for 30 minutes. One dose a day, two suits, and even drink seven days.
4 Angelica (4.5g), white peony root (7.5g), oysters (15g), Millettla (7.5g), Zhigancao 4.5g). Jianshui drink, one dose a day, two suits, and even drink seven days.
5 Anemarrhena (6g), papaya (6g), white peony root (6g), licorice (6g). Jianshui drink, one dose a day, two suits, and even drink seven days.
6 black beans or soy beans washed, dried and put it into the prepared jars, pour the vinegar. Plus about a pound of beans per kilogram vinegar. 1-2 months in the refrigerator can be taken. Every 20 to 30, 1 to 2 times daily, long-term service.
Leg cramps often with another condition, "restless legs syndrome" confusion, the disease also very common, typical performance, lower extremity discomfort difficult implicit, muscle or bone in the sense of creeping specious ant line there, twitching , itching, burning sensation, and so on. Patients often complain of lower limb restlessness, must always activities legs to relieve discomfort.


Dr. Ni’s funny comments on certain patients he refuses to treat

If you guys remember, I posted something about Chinese doctor Dr. Ni, like his view on alternative healing in America and his rules of thumb for patients. He's very good at Healthy Check, but the way he presents in his articles are always controversial and emotional. I read a list about what kinds of patients he refuses to treat and made me giggle. Somehow I understand why he set the list, but it's still quite funny and a little vigorous.

1. People who request that they can recover the next day taking Chinese medicine or acupuncture. These actually don't believe in traditional Healthy Check at all.

2. Patients who have doubt and suspect the doctor.

3. Taking western medicine while taking Chinese medicine at the same time.

4. Patients who know about simple Chinese medicine and keep questioning about the prescriptions.

5. Patients who don't take medicine in a timely manner.

6. Patients who listen to the Chinese pharmacists more than the Chinese doctor and let the comments from pharmacists intercept the prescriptions.

7. Patients who don't listen to the suggestions from the doctor and think taking medicine can heal everything. For example, liver cirrhosis is caused by alcohol, but if the patient still drink even after taking medicine, how could he be healed?

8. Patients who repeat asking the same questions - which means they don't trust the doctor.

9. When the patient got serious health problem, he/she just listens to whoever's suggestions and take a lot of different medicine without any caution.

10. Patients who take a lot of unnecessary diet supplements and vitamins - they come to the doctor when they're sick, but still ask the doctor what supplements and vitamins they can still take - these people are causing more unnecessary troubles to their health.

11. Patients who got so nervous coming to the Chinese doctor after seeing western doctor and found out their health problem, and consider that as an emergency. That actually means they still trust western doctor better.

12. Patients who tried chemotherapy or certain western treatments first before coming to Chinese doctor. Because if they don't get cured, they just blame Chinese doctor and never blamed the western treatment.

Dr. Ni said he refuses to treat these 12 kinds of patients and he suggests that all traditional Chinese doctors should avoid these patients as well because these patients won't thank the doctors at all even if they're healed. If they don't get cured, it's the Chinese doctors fault. They never consider how they get the disease. However when they go to the western doctors, they'll listen to whatever they say like a pet.

It sounds a bit harsh to a lot of people, but the conclusion here is all about trust and confidence with Healthy Check. I'd say if you really want to try Healthy Check methods, you just have to believe it and give full respect, or it's better don't bother trying at all.


Hand Acupressure/Reflexology Basics, Part 1

I remember a few months ago I had a brief introduction of Hand Acupressure. After that, we just jumped right into those practical hand therapies without talking deeper. I guess it's about time to continue talking about some basics of hand acupressure I learned from some Chinese resources. However, I still would recommend you spend 1-2 minutes reading that brief introduction I posted few months ago before reading this. It described what "Acupoints" and meridians (or channels) are, and introduced different ways of stimulation on those acupressure points (acupoints). Basically, we have 370k to 380k small channels that form 10-14 major meridians in our body. These meridians connect internal organs for Qi (Chi) and blood flow. When there's a disorder with an internal organ, there will be a "reflex" on these meridians. When we stimulate certain points on these meridians (acupoints), we can treat the disorder.

For hand acupressure, there are meridians on our fingers. Each finger has a meridian that somehow responsible for certain inner systems. Let's briefly introduce the meridians on these fingers.

Thumb meridian - regulates respiratory system and catalyzes metabolism;

Index finger meridian - regulates functions of liver, stomach and pancreas;

Middle finger meridian - regulates heart and blood flow etc. ;

Ring finger meridian - related to nerve system, visual system etc;

Little finger meridian - regulate functions of lungs and reproductive system.

Reflexology is somehow a western name, while it is kind of similar to the theory of Chinese acupressure. For normal people, it's not easy to understand how meridians work. But if you can at least understand which fingers belong to which system and just rub your fingers frequently, even if you didn't hit the right acupoints, it's still going to have certain effects.

We'll continue very soon.


6 signs to tell that you’re healthy again by Dr. Ni

Last post I talked about some rules of thumbs from Dr. Ni. I've been reading a speech he gave in Los Angeles a while ago. Certain things I kind of mentioned in my blog before that are quite similar. I'll take part of the speech that talked about how traditional Chinese doctor of Northern China decide whether you're healthy or not and translate for you guys:

  1. Sleep well without any interruption and wake up in the morning. However, if you can't sleep because you argue with your husband or wife, that's normal.
  2. Normal appetite. That doesn't mean a good appetite that keeps you eating. That means it's just about right enough to satisfy you. Not an appetite that keeps you want more food.
  3. The first thing wake up in the morning is a bathroom break to take a deuce. Breakfast after that.
  4. 5-7 times urination per day. Urine volume should be large, color should be light yellow.
  5. No matter what season or where you are, head/face/body stay cool, while limbs like hands feet, arms and legs are warm.
  6. In the morning, male have an erection while female has a sensitive breast as well.

When you take Chinese treatments whether it's herbs or acupuncture, once all these 6 good signs appear, that means you're quite healthy. If not, that means you're in a wrong medical direction.

If I found something more that's interesting in the speech and I can translate (actually that's quite a difficult task), I'll continue.


Make alternative healing become mainstream, discussion part 4

I continued reading the Chinese article written about American's health by an acupuncturist. His words are pretty strong, and there may be some bias too. But honestly I have found some of those interesting and convincing.

He said overweight is basically a tough health issues among Americans. One of the major cause of this is drinking too much milk! (Well, when we see "Got Milk?" all the time, we can't imagine someone actually point out milk is one of the cause of overweight, which leads to a lot of health problems. Next to milk is fast food, which we probably already knew. Milk is making most people grow big like cows, which may be what it was intended to do. It seems to be better now since low fat milk and no fat milk are available. But many people still like whole fat milk, and use half and half for other foods and beverage.

Another problem is drug abuse. He's not talking about the illegal drugs, he's talking about over-the-counter drugs. Like taking sleeping pills to help sleeping, like taking painkillers whenever we feel any unbearable (or even bearable) pain. These are what causing depression and kidney problems.

Some people also rely on vitamins when they found their stamina is declining. They don't blame on overweight or lack of exercise. Instead, they think they're lacking of vitamins and take multiple vitamins for that. However, taking too much vitamins is going to feed the bad cells, like cancer. Some cancers like prostate cancer and breast cancer can come from that. If we don't change our diet and habits, all of the above would definitely do us more harm than good.

He made a strong statement on chemotherapy. Although I think it's bias, I can't really argue with him. He said if chemotherapy can really treat cancer, let's try to find a healthy young man to take chemotherapy for six months and see how he's going to be. He said this young man is definitely going to be weak as if he's going to die. If we use chemotherapy on cancer patients, we can see how effective it's going to be. If that's the case, why do we spend that much money on these services? He also said he's happy to see President Obama and some authorities starting to find out there's a new direction. If alternative healing really becomes mainstream, it's going to change the whole world, not just America.

Chinese have a saying to describe Western medicine: "Cure the head when there's a headache; Heal the feet when they feel pain." That may be a little bias, but somehow this is the impression among Chinese. However, Western medicine has a much organized system to follow while Chinese medicine is not organized very well. That's what making traditional Chinese medicine hard to promote. Hopefully this will change someday. When we think about it, if a few needles can heal some diseases, why do we need pills?


Make alternative healing become mainstream, discussion part 3

In part 1. I posted an article written by a few wise medical authorities called "Alternative Healing is mainstream". In part 2, I showed my support to the integration of alternative healing and making these healing methods more popular. I'm not even a doctor myself, but I know a few TCM doctors who can give thousands of examples on how Healthy Check works with "the power of simple, low-tech and low-cost" as said in the article. One of the examples I heard was from an acupuncturist. There's a middle aged guy whose three coronary arteries are already congested. He was arranged to have a coronary artery bypass surgery. However, in a physical check right before the operation, they found that one of his kidneys totally malfunctioned, so the operation got canceled to avoid the risk of dying in the operation room. However, after he went home, his friend knew about his situation and then recommended him an acupuncturist. The day when he came to the acupuncture office he was so painful on the chest, and couldn't stop the shallow and difficult breaths and of course, very nervous. The acupuncturist just had him lay down, just right after a few needles pinched into the acupoints, the chest pain is gone. After a deep breath, he told the acupuncturist that he never felt that well with his heart. 20 minutes later after pulling off the needles, he's so happy that he just knew he's already much better. He told the acupuncturist that usually he had to stop and take a breath every 10 steps. Just right after this treatment he could already walk without stopping at all. He was so surprised that acupuncture can be so efficient. When he found out the bill was just $50. He was even more amazed. If he take the surgery just for a reduction of pain, it's going to cost him $50,000. And even after the surgery, the congestions still occur, and he knows few years later he'll have to do it again. 10 days later, he faxed and told the acupuncturist after the last session and take some herb medicines, his chest pain is totally gone, and he can walk like usual and can even do some exercise. He went to the hospital and had check up. Suddenly there were no more congestion in the coronary arteries.  He immediately questioned why American medical system never use acupuncture to treat heart problems. Because it's efficient and much more affordable. There's no side effects and no need to cut a hole on your chest. This is just one of the stories the acupuncturist talked about. The point of this example here is not about how great this acupuncturist is, it's about how this example tells the new hope of the future. The economy can recover much quicker if our burden of medical expense is relieved by alternative healing methods, and President Obama probably already knew that. Alternative healing may be used as an option for bargain against the American medicines.


Make alternative healing become mainstream, discussion part 2

In the last post I posted an article written by a few wise medical authorities called "Alternative Healing is mainstream". To save our country in long term, or even in the short-term, I do hope President Obama will put some efforts on promoting alternative healing methods, while he's still fighting for healthcare of all public against the medical companies. Again, the huge medical expense can be reduced by just switching healing methods, especially the huge expense paying the medical professionals who take care of the chronic disease patients. A lot of studies already prove that traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, acupressure and Qi Gong can relieve those chronic pain. As Healthy Check being much more cost effective compared to the expensive medical care in America, President Obama should really find out a way to intergrate both Chinese and American medical system so that we can make medical insurance more affordable. Honestly, if more resources can be put on alternative healing research including Healthy Check and natural ways of healing from other countries, it's going to change the health of western world from the basis and save the medical budgets for at least 80%. We already the average life span of Asians are longer than Americans and Europeans. The longevity is not based on the cutting edge medical technology and equipments, it's based on the natural healing and health protection. Of course, we know Western medicine has their incomparable value, especially in the surgery areas. However, there's an old saying that said, "Prevention is always better than cure." And alternative healing is definitely great in terms of preventive medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine especially recommends, "Cure before the disease." It means not just to have a regular physical check, but cure yourself regularly with decoctions, diet, exercise, acupressure, Qi Gong etc. It's just a matter of whether Americans can believe these or not.

Health insurance policy for retired seniors now is ridiculous. It's like you either a very poor senior with no properties, no income and nothing to get healthcare, or you retire rich that you don't ever have to worry about your healthcare. For most people in the middle class, who own something but getting old, the health insurance is so ridiculously hard to afford. If this direction keeps going wrong like that and the medical companies keep making profits for investors without thinking what medicines are really for, someday, or even now, America will be so screwed.


Make alternative healing become mainstream, discussion part 1

My mom has been struggling getting an affordable health insurance lately after she got laid off from where she works at the age of 62. That reminds me the movie "Sicko" which talks about how the greedy medicine companies and doctors trying to keep their profits and ignore the health needs of Americans. This year President Obama has been fighting against some republicans and the powerful medical businesses for an affordable insurance proposal for everyone. It's a big challenge for Obama because the stubborn rich medical business profit takers are very powerful in Congress, let alone the noise from medical professionals. In fact, not all doctors or medical professionals are that greedy, over 65% of them support Obama's proposal. It's just those medical companies don't want to give up certain profits because many of them are public companies that have to make money for the investors, as well as saving some profits for research and development of even better medicines and equipments. However, these companies a sacrificing the health of public because of these financial issues. When one company does that, others have to follow, and then the medical cost goes up ridiculously every year.

While President Obama's proposal is getting stuck right now, certain people are trying to save the health of everyone by studying about "alternative healing" and "Integrative medicine". I'm going to paste an article written by these wise doctors last year. It's really, really worth to read if you're also thinking our health insurance system is ridiculous.

'Alternative' Medicine Is Mainstream
The evidence is mounting that diet and lifestyle are the best cures for our worst afflictions.


In mid-February, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the Bravewell Collaborative are convening a "Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public." This is a watershed in the evolution of integrative medicine, a holistic approach to health care that uses the best of conventional and alternative therapies such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture and herbal remedies. Many of these therapies are now scientifically documented to be not only medically effective but also cost effective.

President-elect Barack Obama and former Sen. Tom Daschle (the nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services) understand that if we want to make affordable health care available to the 45 million Americans who do not have health insurance, then we need to address the fundamental causes of health and illness, and provide incentives for healthy ways of living rather than reimbursing only drugs and surgery.

Heart disease, diabetes, prostate cancer, breast cancer and obesity account for 75% of health-care costs, and yet these are largely preventable and even reversible by changing diet and lifestyle. As Mr. Obama states in his health plan, unveiled during his campaign: "This nation is facing a true epidemic of chronic disease. An increasing number of Americans are suffering and dying needlessly from diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, asthma and HIV/AIDS, all of which can be delayed in onset if not prevented entirely."

The latest scientific studies show that our bodies have a remarkable capacity to begin healing, and much more quickly than we had once realized, if we address the lifestyle factors that often cause these chronic diseases. These studies show that integrative medicine can make a powerful difference in our health and well-being, how quickly these changes may occur, and how dynamic these mechanisms can be.

Many people tend to think of breakthroughs in medicine as a new drug, laser or high-tech surgical procedure. They often have a hard time believing that the simple choices that we make in our lifestyle -- what we eat, how we respond to stress, whether or not we smoke cigarettes, how much exercise we get, and the quality of our relationships and social support -- can be as powerful as drugs and surgery. But they often are. And in many instances, they're even more powerful.

These studies often used high-tech, state-of-the-art measures to prove the power of simple, low-tech, and low-cost interventions. Integrative medicine approaches such as plant-based diets, yoga, meditation and psychosocial support may stop or even reverse the progression of coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, prostate cancer, obesity, hypercholesterolemia and other chronic conditions.

A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that these approaches may even change gene expression in hundreds of genes in only a few months. Genes associated with cancer, heart disease and inflammation were downregulated or "turned off" whereas protective genes were upregulated or "turned on." A study published in The Lancet Oncology reported that these changes increase telomerase, the enzyme that lengthens telomeres, the ends of our chromosomes that control how long we live. Even drugs have not been shown to do this.

Our "health-care system" is primarily a disease-care system. Last year, $2.1 trillion was spent in the U.S. on medical care, or 16.5% of the gross national product. Of these trillions, 95 cents of every dollar was spent to treat disease after it had already occurred. At least 75% of these costs were spent on treating chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, that are preventable or even reversible.

The choices are especially clear in cardiology. In 2006, for example, according to data provided by the American Heart Association, 1.3 million coronary angioplasty procedures were performed at an average cost of $48,399 each, or more than $60 billion; and 448,000 coronary bypass operations were performed at a cost of $99,743 each, or more than $44 billion. In other words, Americans spent more than $100 billion in 2006 for these two procedures alone.

Despite these costs, a randomized controlled trial published in April 2007 in The New England Journal of Medicine found that angioplasties and stents do not prolong life or even prevent heart attacks in stable patients (i.e., 95% of those who receive them). Coronary bypass surgery prolongs life in less than 3% of patients who receive it. So, Medicare and other insurers and individuals pay billions for surgical procedures like angioplasty and bypass surgery that are usually dangerous, invasive, expensive and largely ineffective. Yet they pay very little -- if any money at all -- for integrative medicine approaches that have been proven to reverse and prevent most chronic diseases that account for at least 75% of health-care costs. The INTERHEART study, published in September 2004 in The Lancet, followed 30,000 men and women on six continents and found that changing lifestyle could prevent at least 90% of all heart disease.

In Today's Opinion Journal

That bears repeating: The disease that accounts for more premature deaths and costs Americans more than any other illness is almost completely preventable simply by changing diet and lifestyle. And the same lifestyle changes that can prevent or even reverse heart disease also help prevent or reverse many other chronic diseases as well. Chronic pain is one of the major sources of worker's compensation claims costs, yet studies show that it is often susceptible to acupuncture and Qi Gong. Herbs usually have far fewer side effects than pharmaceuticals.

Joy, pleasure and freedom are sustainable, deprivation and austerity are not. When you eat a healthier diet, quit smoking, exercise, meditate and have more love in your life, then your brain receives more blood and oxygen, so you think more clearly, have more energy, need less sleep. Your brain may grow so many new neurons that it could get measurably bigger in only a few months. Your face gets more blood flow, so your skin glows more and wrinkles less. Your heart gets more blood flow, so you have more stamina and can even begin to reverse heart disease. Your sexual organs receive more blood flow, so you may become more potent -- similar to the way that circulation-increasing drugs like Viagra work. For many people, these are choices worth making -- not just to live longer, but also to live better.

It's time to move past the debate of alternative medicine versus traditional medicine, and to focus on what works, what doesn't, for whom, and under which circumstances. It will take serious government funding to find out, but these findings may help reduce costs and increase health.

Integrative medicine approaches bring together those in red states and blue states, liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, because these are human issues. They are both medically effective and, important in our current economic climate, cost effective. These approaches emphasize both personal responsibility and the opportunity to make affordable, quality health care available to those who most need it. Mr. Obama should make them an integral part of his health plan as soon as possible.

Dr. Chopra, the author of more than 50 books on the mind, body and spirit, is guest faculty at Beth Israel Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ornish is clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Mr. Roy is professor emeritus of materials science at Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Weil is director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.

(Source: Wall Street Journal)


How to find out if you pick the right medicine or a right doctor

I recently read a Chinese article written by a traditional Chinese medicine doctor and found it interesting. It's about how we know if we find the right doctor, right treatment or right medicine. Of course, this doctor didn't say he's the best. Rather, he respect whatever treatment or whoever we believe in. The point he's trying to make is to tell us how to indicate by ourselves that we're really getting proper treatment and are going on the right direction. I'll try to translate what he said here.

There are so many diet supplements, Qi Gong classes, and certain doctors are exaggerating how good their treatments are. All these various methods, classes, medicines and supplements are making people wondering which one is working for them. It really doesn't matter which method people believe and insist on trying, as long as it benefits the patient, any kinds of treatment should be respected. However, if those treatments are not working and makes the patients waste a lot of money and most importantly, miss the best timing for the cure, that's going to be the worst.

Actually, there's a simple indication in general to differentiate what works and what doesn't. And the plan is to continue the treatment if the indicator shows that it works, stop the treatment if it's the opposite. Here is the indicator: a healthy person always feel warm with the limbs, and relatively cooler on the face and the head. If limbs are getting cold, that means sickness is already there in the body. So when we don't feel well for whatever reason, the limbs will be colder than usual. Then after you start the treatment with medicines / vitamins / diet supplements / exercises / herbs / Qi Gong / surgery / chemical therapy / acupuncture etc, if your limbs are feeling even colder, that means those treatments fail. If your limbs are starting to feel warmer, that means those treatment works, and you're on the right track of recovery.

So sometimes whenever a person tells you that "I'm taking XXX supplement", ask this person if his/her limbs feel colder or warmer after taking it. If the answer is colder, that means this supplement is not just fail on this individual, it even "feeds" the potential disease like cancer and virus. Same theory, if the Qi Gong master or the TCM doctor or the acupuncturist makes the limbs feel from cold to warm, that means they're good for the patient and fit the needs. If it's the opposite, the patient better switch to some other treatments.