Acupuncture for menopause – an alternative to estrogen

Two recent research trials highlighted below have shown that acupuncture works for menopause.  It can produce fast and clinically relevant and sustained reduction of hotflashes and night sweats.  A series of treatments over a few months can result in effects lasting several more months. Menopause symptoms: Hot flashes and night sweats are the most common and troublesome symptoms associated with menopause.  A hot flash is a transient sudden episode of flushing,…

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Acupuncture for headaches and migraines

facial acupuncture

Acupuncture works for headaches and migraines Acupuncture for headaches and migraines has gained significant credibility in modern times.  Many Edmontonians come to us seeking relief for headache or migraine because their medications or botox treatments are no longer working well or are giving them unacceptable side effects. A previous blog I wrote talks about a very rigorous scientific examination of clinical research.  In a 2016 Cochrane Review the authors summarized twenty-two…

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Acupuncture and the Amygdala connection

by Gord Grant PhD, RAc Recently studies have linked psychological depression with activation of the amygdalae, an important little pair of “almond” shaped structures located behind your eyes and about as far back as your ears.  At the University of Alberta, Nikolai Malykhin and his team are documenting increases in both the size and “activation” of the amygdala in depressed people (see his website). Acupuncture has traditionally been used to…

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Health span – the meaning of health

“Health span” is a relatively new idea. Related to the concept of “life span”, health span is not as easy to define, not so concrete and final; less measurable. Health span can be simply defined as the length of a life that is “healthy” or that one is in “good health”. But what is that? Well it does NOT just mean the absence of disease or chronic dysfunction in your life!…

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Acupuncture for Treatment of Insomnia

Acupuncture is commonly used to treat insomnia and many other stress-related conditions. I have helped many clients break the vicious cycle of insomnia through a few acupuncture sessions.  Mechanistically, it make sense that acupuncture could help with insomnia, since it works in part by quietening down (deactivating) the “stress-reaction” part of the brain; the amydala (see our blog on that here). Reviews are important in medical research since they help…

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The benefits and risks of intermittent fasting

It has been shown again and again that diets don’t work.  Mostly because after losing weight people go back to their old eating patterns. Fasting is all the craze now a days, not only for losing weight, but also research shows it is great for regulating type II diabetes, and now new evidence with mouse studies shows it prolongs actual lifespan! What is more important though, is that it looks…

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The Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku -“forest bathing”

CBC tapestry Sunday radio show this last week featured a story about Bruce Sweet, a retired United Church minister, who inadvertently became a certified “forest therapist”.  He later realized this was a formalized practice from Japan called “shinrin-yoku”, translated as “to take in the forest atmosphere”.  It was developed in the 1980s and has been linked to benefits such as reduced stress, improved mood, increased ability to focus, increased energy levels and…

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Acupuncture works for Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

Early in my career as an acupuncturist, my clients introduced me to the nuances of Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD).  TMD is a general diagnosis that represents a group of often painful and/or dysfunctional conditions involving the muscles of chewing and/or the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) located just under the ear. This is a special and complex joint, since it can act as a lever, it can shift side to side, and can…

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The Point of Acupuncture

Acupuncture Needle on Shoulder Muscle

The Point of Acupuncture  – one point at a time. This blog series will address our understanding of handful of the most special acupuncture points, one by one, both in a historical context of oriental philosophy, and also the evidence shown by science to date on why and how each point may be working therapeutically. We have discussed acupuncture mechanism before in general ways (see the facia connection), but this…

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