2017-2018 Winter: Is it a cold or a flu this winter... or something else?

I got sick this winter break, which is very rare for me, but I thought it was just me.  When I started hearing from and reading several of my acupuncturist colleagues' Facebook postings that they too were sick, I knew this one was not the run of the mill cold and not one to be messed with. (See, we acupuncturists have an arsenal of herbs, dietary knowledge, immune boosting exercises, cupping and acupuncture at our disposal to keep ourselves healthy while we treat the sick.  The same prescriptions and treatment we use on our sick patients, we do onto ourselves!)

I came across this fantastic read on the non-flu flu-like viral infection that explains why this year's respiratory infections are not to be messed with.  I am not a homeopath therefore cannot comment on the gentleman's homeopathic remedies.  The information of the infection manifestation and progression is fascinating, however,  and very informative, helping to explain some of the unusual expressions this infections is causing on people.  For Southern Californians, the flu and this flu like infection is hitting our community particularly hard because our lungs have been assaulted from a year's worth of respiratory pollution and attack.  Within one year, we Los Angelenos have been bombarded with an unusual and toxic amount of environmental pollution that we didn't have a year ago. It started with the rains earlier last year, which begot mold. Sinus infections were a very frequent complaint all of last year. Then, from the abundance of rain, plants blossomed during the spring which begot all kinds of pollen and other plant releases that LA has not seen most likely in 50 years and in the amounts we have not seen in a long time. Seasonal allergy issues were rampant in my office.  People who normally don't have seasonal allergies were even suffering from allergies last year.  Then the fires. We had to inhale ash, debris, fire retardant, and environmental pollution and gases that came about from the burning of metal, gas, plastic, and other materials which are normally not in the air.  On top of this, the dry air from the fires had weakened our lungs, making us even more susceptible to infections. Many people were already battling fire-induced respiratory issues, and then this virus and the virulent Aussie flu comes along!  So we Southern Californians have been assaulted with all kinds of air particulates that, combined with the two viruses, is wreaking havoc to many and taking down not just individuals but whole families at a time. After notifying my patients of this virus, many of my patients reported that their entire families got sick over the winter break, and badly. 

No wonder even I got sick!

Be careful people. Don’t take what seems like cold symptoms lightly because it could be what this gentleman is alluding to. Stay hydrated, wash your hands frequently, prioritize good sleep, abstain from sweets/carbs, alcohol and dairy, and load up on Vit c, d, zinc. And as the homeopath in the article states, this infection has a latency tendency, so really do be mindful of your body.  If you still fill run down or tired even after the major flu-like symptoms are gone, rest, rest, rest, and rest more.  Eat clean and bland foods to protect your gut to help build back your immune system.  And of course, go see your acupuncturist to keep your immune system in top shape, too, with acupuncture and herbs..

Some tips to strengthen and moisten your Lungs:  

  • Consider incorporating humidifiers or diffusers to bring moisture to your home air. Do regular steams for you and your child.
  • Eat foods that are moistening and protective to the lungs. A classic Chinese Medicine remedy for dry lungs and dry cough is steamed Asian pear drizzled with honey and cinnamon.
  • I have more food lists and recipes for lung tonics and immune tonics here and here.



Disclaimer: The information here and on the Iyashi Wellness website in general is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with qualified health care professionals. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Angelina Jolie Resolves Bell's Palsy Completely with Acupuncture

Photographs by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.  Exclusively on Vanity Fair

Photographs by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.  Exclusively on Vanity Fair

Angelina Jolie revealed in the upcoming September issue of Vanity Fair (available online now) that she suffered from Bell's Palsy last year.  What helped her recover fully from it was acupuncture.  

Acupuncture is an extremely effective treatment for Bell's Palsy, particularly if treated soon after the onset of the condition. In Asian Medicine, we say Bell's Palsy is often caused due to Wind in the Channels.  What this means is that due to an underlying deficiency in the Liver system the patient already has whether from lifestyle, poor diet, chronic infection or latent infection of some sort, or extreme, prolonged stress, the channels are vacuous like a hollow subway or tunnel.  When such a person is put in an environment with strong winds or drafts, this wind courses through the vacuous tunnel (ie channels) and can cause the muscles and nerves to "freeze" and droop.  What most patients will note upon consultation at an acupuncturist's office is that the Bell's Palsy came on after an evening sleeping under a rotating fan, or they were at the beach on a very windy day, or the A/C was blasting full strength right by their head or face.  Next thing you know, they have Bell's Palsy.  

If such a patient came in to get acupuncture,  moxa, cupping, and herbs - ASAP after this occurrence, the recovery is almost always 100%.  Even if  years have passed, I've had success helping patients recover their muscle strength back in the face.  One patient, who did extensive acupuncture at the onset of Bell's Palsy years ago and got much of it resolved, came to me because his Bell's Palsy started to get pronounced again due to his lifestyle and the natural progression of aging.  I was able to bring back mobility to the muscles again that the drooping was really only perceptible to someone looking intently at the face.  

If you or your loved one is suffering from Bell's Palsy, please seek out a physician of Asian Medicine immediately.  We can help tremendously!!

Acupuncturists vs. Medical doctors Practicing Acupuncture vs Physical Therapists Practicing Dry Needling

Acupuncture.  Is it all created equal?  No.

Did you know, beyond licensed acupuncturists,  there are now many healthcare providers from different modalities practicing acupuncture? Medical doctors, chiropractors, osteopaths, nurses, naturopaths, podiatrist, and dentists.  Why?  Because they all know it works and they think they can help their patients just by studying a few hours of acupuncture needling.  

So how does, for example, a medical doctor (MD) practicing acupuncture differ from a licensed acupuncturist practicing acupuncture?  Crazy question, but a very important question. MDs who practice acupuncture generally only start with a weekend course in acupuncture, or about 300 hours of training before they're allowed to needle people.   One can only imagine their acupuncture approach and technique will most likely be rudimentary and symptomatic. 

We licensed acupuncturist, on the other hand, go through 4 years of medical training, with at least 3,000 hours of state-approved-education in didactic learning and clinical training and this includes both Eastern Medicine (acupuncture, herbs, and oriental medicine theory) AND Western Science and Western Medicine.  Of those hours, about 1100 hours are exclusively in needling and clinical training.  California acupuncture licensing exam is the most stringent acupuncture exam in the nation, and California acupuncturists require a California-specific licensing exam separate from the national exam.  What that means is that, for example, someone from another state licensed to practice acupuncture in their state may NOT practice in California until they pass the California acupuncture licensing exam - which many do not - because it is the most rigorous in the nation.     

So how will you see the difference in acupuncture treatment approach and results from a Licensed Acupuncturist vs. a medical doctor?  For example, an MD sees knee pain this way: "Oh, your knee hurts?  OK, let me stick some needles in the knee.  Done."  Pain is temporarily gone b/c the endorphins got triggered from needling to make the patient feel better. But most likely, that knee pain will come back because it’s just a bandaid approach.  A Licensed Acupuncturist sees knee pain this way: we will of course see the knee pain, but will go deeper to understand why the knee is hurting to begin with.  If it’s from trauma, we will address inflammation and blood flow and internal organs and lymphatic drainage involved in trauma care and recovery by needling other parts of the body to improve blood flow, trauma repair response, etc..  If it’s from arthritis, we look deeper to understand why the patient is having arthritis to begin.  We will diagnose which organs and channels are not functioning properly and treat them accordingly so that although we can stop the knee pain at that moment, we don’t want it to come back at all so we actually address systemic issues that arise from arthritis.  And so forth.  We call this treating the “root” of the problem.  If you treat the root cause of the problem, the problem won’t come back.  Just treating the knee, like an MD, is treating the “branch” of the problem, and it will come back because the root cause has not been addressed.

And since we are talking about MDs and other health care providers practicing acupuncture, have you heard of physical therapists (PTs) practicing "dry needling?"  This is purely acupuncture by another fancy name, and is illegal in the state of California.  PTs do "dry needling," aka acupuncture, with less than 40 hours of training using acupuncture needles!  Yeek!  The damage done from this absolutely rudimentary training can be alarming.  To learn more about the dangers of having a PT do "dry needling" to you, please read this.

So, if you want proper acupuncture and Oriental Medicine care, who would you rather see, a licensed acupuncturist with a minimum 3,000 hours of training in the art and science of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, or an MD practicing acupuncture with only 300 hours of needling training?  And I'm sure I don't need to ask about PTs, right?

Only 24 Hours to a Better Life

24 hours.  One day. 

What if you only got one?  What would you do with it?  Who would you see?  How would you act?  Where would you go?

Fortunately most of us get more than one day to live out our lives.  But for too many of us there seems to be something wrong with every single day we are given.  It’s too long.  It’s too short. It’s cold.  It’s rainy. It’s boring.  It’s too busy. 

If it were your last day, do you think you would give things like the weather a second thought?  If you had just one day to live, your focus would undoubtedly shift from complaining and complacency to productivity, love, and thankfulness.

Well, the truth of the matter is that every day is of equal value.  Today is no less important than your last day.  Each day is a brand new start and we are all given the same 24 hours to make of them what we will. 

All of this may sound a little too cliché, but consider that billionaire powerhouses like Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett are given the same 24 hours every day that you are.  They are afforded no more time and no less time.  The difference comes in how they choose to utilize their hours.  And if you think they just somehow happened to arrive at their success by chance or privilege, read up on their life histories and you’ll find that this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Now your goal might not be to become a billionaire, but most people are longing for something more out of life, but are either waiting around for it to come to them, or just don’t know how to go about getting it.

The good news is that it doesn’t take a genius to create an extraordinary life; just persistent focused action on a daily basis.

Maybe you would love to write a best-seller, but are intimidated by the whole process.  If you got to work and wrote just one page a day, in a year’s time you will have completed a 365 page book!  Even if it took you 2 days per page, you would still have a substantial 180 pages.

Advancing your life simply requires that you prioritize and change your focus.  Evaluate your typical day and find those “lost moments” or “voids” in which nothing meaningful seems to take place, and then plan the night before how you are going to better utilize that time.  Listen to educational programs during your commute. Instead of surfing the web, study your field of business.  Turn the TV off in favor of some quality family time. 

You may not be destined to change the world, but by focusing 24 hours at a time it is easily within your power to change your life!