Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fitting That It's Shaped Like A Frown

Hello! My name is Menaflex.

Is it a rainbow? No.
Is it a broken piece of pottery? No.
Is it part of one of those thingies that go on the inside lid of jars? No.

Is it an orthotic for shoes? Not quite... but that's a little closer.

This, my friends, wins an award for Most Anger-Inducing Thing Of The Day.

Further deteriorates my already sour view of politics.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ginseng Cooker

Check out this sweet electronic ginseng cooker. It's like a rice cooker, but for ginseng! Nini and I found this out in San Gabriel after dim sum.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sanging in Illinois

No video? Watch it at youtube

Gathering wild American ginseng has been a hobby for many and occupation for some for hundreds of years (originally learned, I'm guessing, from Native Americans - they were here first, after all). Ginseng is a very rare and precious herb, and getting more rare as the years go by. That makes this video all the more remarkable. As the narrator says, for someone to show you where he collects ginseng is almost unheard of. Take a look.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Third Root Community Health Center in Brooklyn

Third Root Community Health Center just celebrated its one-year anniversary! In their own words:

Third Root Community Health Center is a worker-owned cooperative business providing accessible, empowering, and collaborative healthcare in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. We want holistic medicine, the oldest form of healthcare, to be available to everyone, as it has been for millenia. Our Center is shaped by our very own clients, community, and students, who inform us about their needs and what would help them feel the most at home at Third Root.

Third Root offers community-style acupuncture, private acupuncture appointments, herbal medicine, yoga, massage and health workshops. Take a look!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

John Patrick Halpin L.Ac

John Halpin L.Ac, far left.

John Halpin, licensed acupuncturist, is a caring, meticulous health care practitioner in New York City. He practices on West 21st St. in Manhattan. Make an appointment today!

19 W. 21st Street, Suite 904
New York, NY 10010
Telephone: 917.536.3388
Fax: 212.229.1330

Monday, September 14, 2009

Acupuncture in Minnesota

Minnesota, home to Prince and two acupuncture schools! Take a look at this article, which has links to two TCM schools in the Twin Cities.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Anne Park L.Ac

Anne Park, licensed acupuncturist and Yosan alumnus, is available for appointments at her office in Emeryville, California (Emeryville is a tiny little city sandwiched between Oakland and Berkeley and is most famous as the home of Pixar studios). Her practice is named Energy Matters.

Anne Park is an excellent healer. When she was in Los Angeles I had several treatments with her, always with great results. Her contact information:

Energy Matters is located in the Emeryville Health and Wellness Center at
1240 Powell Street, Suite 2A
Emeryville, CA 94608

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Chinese Medicine Times

Take a look at Chinese Medicine Times, a free ejournal maintained by Attilio D'Alberto. It's really an excellent resource, with original articles as well as links to all the latest scientific studies on acupuncture and Chinese herbs.

Chinese Medicine Times
You can also follow CMT on Twitter.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

To Prevent Osteoporosis: Exercise, Exercise, Exercise

Think Wang Pei Kun has a bone density problem? Please.

What is osteoporosis? According to the Merck Manual:

Osteoporosis is a progressive metabolic bone disease that decreases bone density (bone mass per unit volume), with deterioration of bone structure. Skeletal weakness leads to fractures with minor or inapparent trauma, particularly in the thoracic and lumbar spine, wrist and hip.

You've heard of the little old lady who falls down and breaks her hip? She's got osteoporosis. Fortunately there are a number of things that the little old lady can do to increase bone density and prevent fractures without the need for poisonous pharmaceutical drugs such as Fosamax, which can actually cause mandibular osteonecrosis. "Mandibular osteonecrosis" is a fancy way of saying that it kills your jaw bone. Let's not play Abel to Fosamax's Cain, okay? (Ironically, Fosamax is a product of the Merck pharmaceutical company)

Important to note is that osteoporosis is what the Merck Manual calls a "metabolic" disease. This means it is not caused by any external bacteria or virus. You can't catch osteoporosis from anyone. Your own body can create the condition of osteoporosis, and it can also therefore reverse that condition.

The number one thing that you can do to increase bone density and decrease the risk of osteoporosis is EXERCISE. Numerous studies have confirmed that even gentle exercise such as taijiquan can increase bone density. If you're not crazy about taiji, try yoga, or weightlifting, or jogging or even walking. Here's a sample of the literature on bone density and exercise:

According to Chen and Chen's formula book, there are four formulas one can use to treat osteoporosis. Obviously your options are not limited to these four formulas (独活寄生汤 Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang, anyone?) but it's a good starting point.

Kidney Yin Deficiency: 左归丸 Zuo Gui Wan
Kidney Yang Deficiency: 右归丸 You Gui Wan
Kidney Jing Deficiency: 龟鹿二仙胶 Gui Lu Er Xian Jiao
Spleen Qi Deficiency: 参苓白术散 Shen Ling Bai Zhu San

Fat Turtle Herb Company can fill all these formulas to your exact specifications in different formats: raw herbs, pre-cooked vacuum packs, granule and capsule.

p.s. The occasion for this post was a NY Times article on osteoporosis which ignores even their own archives. As my nephew Joey would say, with his hands on his head: Ai yai yai yai yai!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Jiao Gu Lan to Save the Day!

Have I ever told you how much I like 绞股蓝 Jiao Gu Lan tea? The taste takes a little getting used to - after the first time I didn't try it again for about six months - but if you give it a chance I think you'll find it to be a marvelous addition to your daily or weekly routine.

Chen and Chen categorize Jiao Gu Lan (gynostemma pentaphyllum, also known as "panta") as a qi tonic (Bensky doesn't mention it). The properties are slightly bitter and cold, making it one of the few qi tonics that aren't warm in nature. The official functions are a pretty amazing list of contradictions both internally and between each other. Observe:

1. Moistens Lung, Promotes Generation of Body Fluids, Dispels Phlegm A qi tonic that dispels phlegm! Think of it! This makes it perfect for weekend warrior athletes who work out hard and expend a lot of energy but also tend to overeat sweet and oily foods.

2. Clears Heat, Eliminates Toxins, Reduces Inflammation Jiao Gu Lan tonifies qi AND clears heat and eliminates toxins!!! 清热解毒 Qing Re Jie Du are functions you would expect to see among your Pu Gong Ying (dandelion root), your Ban Lan Gen (isatis root), your Lian Qiao (forsythia fruit), not among qi tonics.

3. Lower Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Many studies have demonstrated the powerful effect Jiao Gu Lan has on hyperlipidemia and hypertension. The FDA prohibits making specific medicinal claims about products not regulated by the FDA, but Chen gets away with it because they're writing in a Chinese medicine textbook, not for marketing purposes.

Here are a few jaw-dropping quotes from the text:

Jiao Gu Lan has a general effect to nourish and strengthen the body. It is commonly used to treat chronic disorders, such as asthma, migraines, neuralgia, impaired function of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, and syndromes characterized by deficiency...

Clinically, it treats gastric ulcers, duodenal ulcers, hyperlipidemia, nodules, cystitis, herpes zoster and other conditions characterized by dampness, heat and toxins. Jiao Gu Lan has also been used to treat various kinds of cancer and to help inhibit the spread of tumors.

I hope you can see now why I love this stuff so much. It's a very general tonic for the whole system, at the same time cooling and anti-phlegm, AND anti-cancer! And at the same time gentle enough to drink up to one tea bag every day. Fat Turtle Herb Company carries Jiao Gu Lan in loose form for use in formulas by students and licensed practitioners. The recommended dosage is 5-12 grams in decoction. If you're interested in ready-made tea bags, we can get those for you as well.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

Bump: Wright Therapies

Our classmate Karen Wright L.Ac will be starting her practice at the In Focus Wellness Institute in Santa Monica, California. Take a look at her website and make an appointment today!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Treatment of Sprains and Strains with TCM

Here's an interesting article from Alon Marcus on the treatment of strains and sprains with Chinese medicine. It goes into great detail on the different types of sprains and strains but is oddly lacking when it comes to acupuncture treatment strategies. Perhaps these will be covered in part two?

Curiously, the only herbal formula he mentions includes a highly toxic substance, 蟾酥 Chan Su, or toad venom. He neglects to mention the two most famous formulas for the treatment of external injury, 跌打丸 Die Da Wan and 三黃散 San Huang San. Die Da Wan, or "hit-fall pill", can be taken orally directly after injury for 2-3 days. San Huang San, or the "three yellows powder" consists of Huang Qin, Huang Lian and Da Huang powdered and mixed together in equal amounts (one popular modification adds Pu Gong Ying, Shan Zhi Zi and Hong Hua). This powder can then be mixed with green tea, water or egg white and spread in a plaster on the affected area. For details on these formulas, take a look at Tom Bisio's A Tooth From the Tiger's Mouth.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bump: Stephanie Yong L.Ac

Our classmate Stephanie Yong has opened her acupuncture practice in Torrance! I highly recommend her for all your health needs. No website yet, but here is her contact information:

Stephanie Yong, L.Ac
Torrance Medical Plaza
3655 Lomita Blvd., Suite 308
Torrance, CA 90505