Acupuncture & Herbs Cut Childhood Emergency Asthma

Great news for parents whose children suffer from asthma: acupuncture and herbs reduce childhood emergency asthma.  An article by HealthCMi states that "Children with asthma receiving a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine and conventional medications have superior patient outcomes, less visits to emergency rooms, and fewer hospitalizations than children receiving only conventional medications."  

The article goes on to state: "Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment combined with conventional treatment provided additional benefits. There was a reduction in school absenteeism. The children’s parents had less disruption of their work schedules. There was less of a burden on families to provide caregivers. The government shouldered lower overall costs and responsibilities associated with asthmatic care. The study demonstrates that combining TCM with conventional medicine for asthmatic children 'may have a substantial impact' in reducing the severity of asthma, frequency of emergency services, hospitalizations and costs of providing care by parents."

It's nice to see news written about this, because I see evidence of it all the time while treating asthmatic patients.  Many kids were so chronically sick, they had been in and out of the ER and kept going back to their pediatrician for more and stronger drugs to combat their worsening asthma.  One child was so sick, he hadn't celebrated his birthdays with an actual party with friends for the first 8 years of his life. Once I started treating him, the turn-around of his health was remarkable.  Two months later, he was able to have his first-ever 9th birthday party.  His particular treatment consisted of just shonishin and dairy food elimination.  He as well as my other asthma patients also report a decreased reliance on their respiratory medication.  Once starting treatments with me, they need it less and less, until they don't need it altogether.  If they do have a flare up, the response is much milder, requiring much less and weaker dosages of their respiratory medications.  

Acupuncture (or in my case, shonishin, tuina, and moxa) work so well because it actually helps to change the body's response to inflammation and cultivates better self-regulation.  Better self-regulation means the body is able to properly address inflammation by reducing inflammation, while at the same time going to the root of the problem.  In children, the root is usually digestive imbalances.  In Chinese Medicine, we say the root of phlegm lies in the gut, so by improving digestive function, we eradicate phlegm production. By improving digestive function, we also improve the body's capacity to properly break down toxins and pathogens, further reducing inflammation.  

To read the HealthCMi article in its entirety, click here.

 

An Acupuncturist's Re-Awakening - Japanese Acupuncture and Shonishin

I had the wonderful opportunity to visit my relatives in Japan last summer, and during my visit, I was very lucky to study Japanese acupuncture from a master acupuncturist as well as pediatric acupuncture from an acupuncture organization.

I observed the amazing acupuncture and moxibustion skills and bed-side manners of Edward Obaidey, a British acupuncturist who's charm and humor belies the deep understanding, knowledge, and skills he has of this ancient medicine.  He studied and graduated from a Oriental Medicine college in Tokyo and has been successfully, and busily, treating patients for well over 20 years in Tokyo.  I can only begin to imagine the dedication and commitment he's had to this medicine, having to learn this medicine not in his native language, but in Japanese, and not only that, in ancient Japanese, as classic Oriental Medical texts were all written in old Japanese (it's like trying to study medicine reading Shakesperean English!).  He is a master and teacher in his own right, but he is also the dedicated apprentice and translator of one of the grandmasters of Japanese Acupuncture, Ikeda Masakazu sensei.  

Eddie sensei jokingly scolding me about something

Eddie sensei jokingly scolding me about something

Eddie Sensei's office happen to coincidentally be just a few stations away from my relative's house, so I observed him and was able to participate in some of the intakes while I visited him for 3 days.   The first thing I noticed as I climbed the 2 flights of stairs to his office was the strong smell of burning herb smoke.  Though Americans confuse this smell to marijuana smoke smell, it's actually the smell of moxa, or the burning of dried herbs called Mugwort/Aiye.  Moxa, or moxibustion as it's also known, is an ancient Oriental Medicine treatment protocol and has the ability to warm the channels, strengthen the blood and improve the flow of qi in the body.  It also helps to stop bleeding, banish cold from the body,  and is an excellent treatment in itself or with herbs and acupuncture to treat colds/flu, digestive disorders, back pain,  muscle tension,  headaches, anxiety, inflammation, carpal tunnel syndrome, female health problems, and much, much more.

Eddie Sensei extensively uses moxa in his office - pretty much on every patient.  It is here where I really saw and experienced the power of moxa.  I had the opportunity to be treated by him, and wow, what a paradigm shifting experience!  A true master indeed.  With the combination of his amazing acupuncture skills and the use of moxa by his assistants, I felt literally years of blockages melt away!  Though I had learned about moxa in my Chinese Medicine training, what was taught at school was very minimal, and nothing to the extent of how Eddie sensei uses it.   Thanks to Eddie sensei, I have now become a true believer in the power of moxa, and I now teach all my patients to use this at home (I unfortunately can't use moxa in my office as the building does not allow the use of moxa).  I use moxa on a very regular basis on myself at home, too, and I notice how my stamina and immune system has gone up and keeps me in check while the rest of the world is catching colds left and right.

I had also dabbled in some Japanese acupuncture knowledge while I was still an acupuncture student, but observing Eddie sensei resolved me to dedicate my time now to learning the art of acupuncture Japanese style.   Let me give you a quick summary of acupuncture.  There are three main types of acupuncture practiced in the United States: Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, and probably in that order in terms of familiarity and usage.  Acupuncture started in China, but as Chinese philosophy and culture spread to East Asia, Koreans and Japanese appropriated the medicine to their cultural beliefs and style.  Though simplistic in explanation, it is generally acknowledged that Chinese and Korean acupuncture tends to use a more aggressive style of needling, often requiring the use of manipulating the sensation of qi in the body after the insertion of needles, using thicker needles and more number of needles.  Japanese acupuncture, on the other hand, uses much thinner needles, very little to no insertion of needles into the skin, and much less number of needles used.  Japanese acupuncture also uses an extensive amount of palpation (using ones hands to examine the body for the use of disease diagnosis and treatment), which allows the practitioner to get immense amount of data about the patient's health and musculo-neuro-skeletal condition.  Though my acupuncture style was becoming more and more gentle as time had progressed, I am now embarking on a whole new style of acupuncture, which often doesn't even require the insertion of needle into the skin but just the touch of the needle to the skin, as well as using even thinner needles and other manipulation of the needle and palpatory skills.  I do a lot more palpation, asking, feeling, and staying with the body (while you rest or even fall asleep!) even after the needles are in to make sure I am seeing changes happening in the body the way it's suppose to via the pulse and skin tone.

Shonishin tools.  photo image: lhasaoms.com

Shonishin tools.  photo image: lhasaoms.com

Along with meeting Eddie Sensei, I was also extremely lucky, that on my very last day in Tokyo, I was able to attend a pediatric workshop organized by a group of Japanese acupuncturists.  This group's mission is to spread the knowledge of Oriental Medicine in Japan, and in order to do so, they modernized the ancient pediatric acupuncture technique called shonishin (literally means pediatric needle: shoni=pediatric, shin=needle).  Shonishin is practiced by acupuncturists who specialize in pediatric care, and in order to treat children, the Japanese in 17th century came up with specialized tools that scrape, rub, tap, and treat the body using blunt tools.  

The organization I took the workshop from wants to make shonishin and its health benefits accessible to all, so they took the concepts of shonishin and some of its tools and modernized it, using tools easily found in all homes: teaspoon, hairdryer, and toothbrush.  They call their shonishin style "SkinTouch", emphasizing  the importance of skin to skin contact and touching of the child's skin by the parent for developmental purposes.  The workshop was very fun and easy to learn, and I now use this as a basis in all of my pediatric patients, teaching parents basic shonishin massage so that they can do it at home on a daily basis.  The effects of shonishin massage is remarkably effective.  Just with shonishin, glycerin-based herbal medicine and a change in the child's diet, and symptoms the baby or child was coming in for resolves rather quickly or is significantly reduced.  Not only that, the child actually starts to get healthy, and their constitution actually improves with continuous shonishin treatments.  I have had great success in particular with children/babies suffering from asthma, rhinitis, digestive ailments, hyperactivity/hypersensitivity just using these protocols.  I am excited I have yet another needle-free tool in my repertoire to treat children!

 

One of the two acupuncturists teaching us about SkinTouch

One of the two acupuncturists teaching us about SkinTouch

A parent trying the hairdryer technique (In lieu of moxa) while the acupuncturist teacher engages the baby

A parent trying the hairdryer technique (In lieu of moxa) while the acupuncturist teacher engages the baby

Practicing SkinTouch

Practicing SkinTouch

I am so grateful I continue to have the opportunities to meet wonderful masters now that I've become a healthcare practitioner, allowing me to deepen my knowledge, my skills, and effectiveness in treating patients who walk in the door.  I don't know if it's because I am part Japanese, but it seems I get drawn to the gentle style of Oriental Medicine via Japanese practitioners, starting with Dr. Mikio Sankey, and now Eddie Sensei, and most recently, just two weekends ago, with Ikeda Masakazu Sensei at his seminar in San Francisco.  Wow, wow, wow.  I feel so energized once again because through this seminar, I feel I can provide even more for my patients and be even more effective with my treatments.  And I am already seeing it two weeks since the seminar with the results I am seeing with my patients.  I am humbled and grateful I can continue to improve myself to be of service to my patients.

Ikeda Sensei (L) teaching, and Eddie Sensei (R) translating

Ikeda Sensei (L) teaching, and Eddie Sensei (R) translating

Ikeda Sensei treating a pediatric patient.  We happen to get two pediatric patients during our seminar.  What a treat!   

Ikeda Sensei treating a pediatric patient.  We happen to get two pediatric patients during our seminar.  What a treat!

 




Success! Milestones parent-ed talk/fundraising event

My pediatric holistic health and wellness talk was a huge success at Milestones Preschool!  I was able to raise $$$ for the school as well as raise awareness of the power and effectiveness of Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM) for pediatric health care needs.  

Parents loved the hands-on portion of my Iyashi Touch protocol (a type of pediatric TEAM massage I teach my families), and I could see their children were curious and eager to have some of these tried on them that night.  I had feedback from one parent the next day that her daughter made sure that she had her special toothbrush just for her :-)

Parents also asked a lot of great questions regarding my holistic nutrition talk.  I loved being able to see how engaged they got with the information, how their minds were turning, reassessing where they were in their dietary approach to their children.  It really thrills me when I see that lightbulb go off in people, and that's why I love teaching, both to the public as well as to my students at Yo San University.  Imagine, families starting to eat healthier and implementing massages on their kiddos, changing the future of our children's health, just from empowering educational talks.  I love that I can make a difference in this world, one child, one family at a time.  

I'm also excited to share that the director has asked me to come back to do more talks on pediatric healthcare and nutrition, so be on the look out for future classes!

Thank you everyone for who attended!

A picture of me teaching part of my Iyashi Touch last year.  I taught this on 1/29/14 at Milestones.

A picture of me teaching part of my Iyashi Touch last year.  I taught this on 1/29/14 at Milestones.

Overview of Pediatric Asian Medicine (PAM)

Hi Moms and Dads, 

Did you know Pediatric Asian Medicine (PAM), is an excellent adjunct for conventional pediatric care?  Asian Medicine is a complete medical system - which also includes pediatrics - in continuous practice for over 2000 years.  Compared to conventional pediatric medicine, which is only about 150 years old in the way it is practiced today, Chinese Medicine was already talking about unique characteristics of children physiology as early as 400 BC.  There were already significant numbers of pediatric texts by the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) in China.

The practice of pediatrics continues very actively today, with hospitals in China that specialize in Chinese medicine pediatric care, hospitals that combine both conventional and traditional medicine, and private Chinese medicine doctors practicing Chinese pediatric medicine.   In Japan (as in my clinic), there are specialized pediatric acupuncturists that practice only shonishin, a non-needling acupuncture system, in clinics and in their private home offices.

There is a growing number of pioneering acupuncturists here in the States that are getting into pediatrics, including myself, because we know it is a much needed area that can address many aspects of pediatric care that cannot be addressed in conventional medicine.  It is our focus to promote the principles of wellness, health and resolution of illness.  Our strength is in viewing the body as a whole, disease prevention, recovery of health after an illness, and addressing conditions that are chronic and/or subclinical.  This means conditions like colds and flu, eczema, asthma, "picky eating," slow development, tantrums and emotional instability, food sensitivities, lack of concentration, and so forth.  Where western medicine would prescribe antibiotics, psychiatric drugs or steroidal creams – or worse yet, say “nothing can be done”, we Physicians of Asian Medicine prescribe Food as Medicine and dietary modifications, exercises, herbal prescriptions, heat therapy, pediatric massage and acupressure/acupuncture for illness resolution and disease prevention. 

Want to try PAM for your child?  Contact me!  Let's see how I can help you. 

 

For those who are ready to bring your child in for a holistic pediatric wellness visit at Iyashi Wellness, I have some Pediatric Frequently Asked Questions that will help to facilitate a smooth and stress-free first visit for you and your child.  

 

More on Pediatric Wellness Care: 

My 8-Part series on Healthy, Happy Eating that the Whole Family Can Enjoy starts here: