acupuncture for weight loss

How to Use Acupuncture for Weight Loss

In the past few years, more and more experts have been looking to the use of acupuncture for weight loss. A well-known weight-loss aid in the East, the use of needles to control appetite and help you shed pounds didn’t become popular in the West until recent years.

And now experts are looking to prove their efficacy through studies and research. For example, a meta analysis published in The International Journal of Neuroscience looked at the effect of acupuncture on appetite, metabolism and the reduction of stress (which can lead to overeating). It also searched for connections between acupuncture and the release of “feel-good hormones” such as endorphins and serotonin. Since elevated amounts of these hormones usually suppress appetite, acupuncture could become an important aid in controlling cravings.

While results of the analysis were mixed (some studies showed benefits while others didn’t), it does open up the possibility of acupuncture practice being a good alternative or supplementary aid for those trying to reduce their weight.

Ear Acupuncture and Weight Loss

One of the most popular places to use acupuncture for weight loss in the ear. In a study conducted by Kyung Hee University in Seoul, South Korea, researchers compared the use of what’s known as the “5 point” ear treatment for obesity vs. inserting only one needle in the area considered the “hunger suppression” point. A third group, used as a control group, received acupuncture in random points not associated with weight loss or hunger control. This is known as “sham acupuncture.”

After eight weeks of treatment, those receiving acupuncture on the “5 points” saw a reduction of 6.1 percent in their BMI (Body Mass Index), while those receiving hunger point acupuncture saw a reduction of 5.7 %. No changes were seen on those receiving sham acupuncture.

The researchers do point out that these are results based on short-term weight loss, and that more research is needed to figure out how these numbers hold up over time.


Why Acupuncture for Weight Loss Works

While the science behind acupuncture is not clearly understood, the idea is that the application of needles to certain points stimulates the body’s energy. For example, by placing a needle at a kidney point, you might help fight water retention, which could be causing you to appear bloated and could be slowing down your progress on the scale.

Other important points to target for weight loss are those connected to the thyroid gland and the spleen, as these are connected to hormonal rebalancing and glucose. By helping your body process sugar better, you’re also preventing fat accumulation and controlling cravings that could otherwise lead to overeating.

Points targeting the liver and adrenal glands are also key to acupuncture for weight loss. In fact, a skilled acupuncturist will target all of these points simultaneously for the best results.

Not All Studies Are Clear

A number of studies on acupuncture and weight loss have shown mixed results.  A 1999 study published in the Eating and Weight Disorders journal failed to find a direct connection between acupuncture and weight loss in obese patients. After 12 weeks of treatment, none of the participants experienced any significant weight loss that could be attributed to the use of acupuncture.

However, it’s important to note that those receiving acupuncture did experience an improvement in their depression and anxiety symptoms. This improvement could potentially lead to weight loss success in the long run, even though it wasn’t something the study considered at the time.

Because acupuncture is a non-invasive treatment with few to no side effects, there’s little harm in using it as part of your weight loss program. Just remember to work with a licensed acupuncturist who understands proper needle application and safety.



Having celiac disease may make movie night snacks tricky, but it doesn’t have to ruin your life. Learn how acupuncture can help.

Can Acupuncture Help with Celiac Disease Symptoms?

It’s movie night at your house and everyone is craving pizza, even your gluten sensitive friend. You’re trying to propose alternatives, but no one is listening to you. It’s been like this for most of your life. You have a digestive disorder known as celiac disease, and ingesting any type of gluten could be fatal. Who knew that movie night paired with pizza could be so bad for you?

What Is Celiac Disease?

You actually wish you were only gluten sensitive or had a wheat allergy. In your case, your immune system doesn’t tolerate any foods that contain gluten, which is a protein found in rye, barley and wheat. So any foods like bread, pasta and the delicious cakes and cookies you once enjoyed are off the table – literally and figuratively.

What happens if you ignore your medical team’s recommendations and indulge in a slice of pizza? Since your body’s immune system doesn’t tolerate gluten, your small intestine can eventually suffer from long-term damage and trigger even more serious diseases.

It’s not only food you have to worry about – multiple skin and hair products, toothpastes, vitamins and makeup can also cause you harm.


Since autoimmune damage to the intestines can interfere with the proper absorption of nutrients from food, celiac disease may lead to nutritional deficiencies. Every person reacts differently to the condition, but typical symptoms include:

  • Recurring bloating and pain
  • Foul-smelling, fatty or discolored stool
  • Weight loss
  • Anemia (iron deficiency)
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue and headaches
  • Softening of bone (osteomalacia)
  • Loss of bone density (osteoporosis)
  • Blistery, itchy skin rashes (dermatitis herpetiformis)
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Damaged tooth enamel
  • Injuries to the nervous system, which can lead to balance problems and cognitive impairment
  • Numbness and tingling in extremities
  • Seizures

Diagnosis and Treatment

Several diagnostic tests can help a medical team determine whether you have celiac disease. These tests include:

  • A blood test to detect elevated levels of antibody proteins, which could indicate an immune reaction to gluten.
  • A blood test to detect human leukocyte antigens through genetic testing, which can rule out celiac disease.
  • An endoscopy, which will allow your physician to view your small intestine and take a tissue sample for biopsy.

It’s important to get proper treatment for your autoimmune disorder; otherwise, you may be at risk for even more serious conditions, including intestinal cancer, liver disease and lymphoma.

Treatment for celiac disease will include following a gluten free diet. Fortunately, many grocery stores have added gluten free products and foods to their shelves in recent years. “You may also wish to consult with a nutritionist or dietitian who specializes in treating individuals with celiac disease,” says acupuncturist, Helen Wang. Some people report that following an anti-inflammatory diet, as well as eating plenty of fiber, minimizes their symptoms. Your medical team may recommend eating at regular times, avoiding large meals, never skipping breakfast and eating your last meal of the day at least three hours before bedtime.

If you continue having symptoms despite following a gluten free diet, your small intestine might be permanently damaged. If this is the case, you will need IV therapy to receive adequate nutrients.

Acupuncture Balanced Health Can Help Your Celiac Disease Symptoms

“By addressing inflammation in the intestines,” says Dr. Erickson, “acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine can help relieve the discomfort and pain that you are experiencing.” A 2011 clinical study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine shows a correlation between acupuncture and minimizing some of the symptoms of celiac disease.

Acupuncture Balanced Health provides comprehensive treatment for autoimmune disorders and gastrointestinal diseases. Our expert medical team uses evidence-based medicine to develop complete treatment plans that will alleviate all of your symptoms. We will also provide you with guidance on how to put together nutritious meals, as well as recommend the use of certain herbal supplements that can help with celiac disease. It’s important to seek treatment before your condition worsens, so contact us today to make an appointment.




If your tension headaches are making you miserable, it might be time to look into alternative ways of treating tension headache symptoms.

What You Can Do About Treating Tension Headaches

You’re slaving away on an important work project, sitting at your desk and staring at the computer screen, when you suddenly wince in agony. Someone has wrapped a huge elastic band around your head, and the pain is becoming insurmountable. But no mobster demanding ransom is standing behind you. Rather, a tension headache has declared war upon you. As the pain heightens, you reach in a desk drawer, only to find an empty bottle of ibuprofen. Does it even matter? The painkillers don’t seem to provide much relief, anyway. It might be time to look into alternative ways of treating tension headache symptoms, such as acupuncture.

What Is a Tension Headache?

Did you know that a tension headache is actually the most common type of headache? Often associated with muscle tightness in the head, scalp or neck, other symptoms of tension headaches include:

  • Non-throbbing, dull, aching pressure
  • Pain that worsens in the scalp, back of the neck and temples and can travel in the shoulders
  • Pain that is felt on both sides of the head
  • A sore scalp

Unlike with migraines, you probably won’t experience visual disturbances, vomiting or nausea if you suffer from tension headaches, which typically don’t worsen with physical activity. However, you may still be more sensitive to light or sound, although this doesn’t occur very often.

There are two types of tension headaches. Chronic tension headaches can last hours. If your headaches occur more than 50 percent of the time every month for at least three months, your physician will diagnose you with chronic tension headaches. On the other hand, episodic tension headaches won’t last longer than a week and can end after only 15 minutes.

What Causes a Tension Headache?

As with most headache conditions, a number of factors contribute to your condition. In the case of tension headaches, going through stressful and emotional events may cause you to clench the muscles in your jaw, scalp, neck and face, which can heighten pain and other symptoms. Other factors include:

  • Skipped meals
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of sleep
  • Physical postures that strain the neck and/or jaw
  • Alcohol use
  • Caffeine (too much or withdrawal)
  • Sinus infections
  • Dental problems such as teeth grinding
  • Eyestrain
  • Smoking
  • Fatigue or overexertion
  • Sleep apnea (which can be linked to obesity)

Treating Tension Headache Symptoms

“The good news,” says acupuncturist Dr. Wunian Chen, “is that the right medical team can properly treat you and eliminate all of your symptoms.” Many sufferers find that using an integrative medicine approach is best when seeking relief from tension headaches.

Treatment plans will largely depend on the causes of your tension headaches. If emotional stress, anxiety or depression are contributing factors, for instance, then your medical team may recommend integrating meditation and relaxation techniques into your life, possibly with the use of antidepressants.

Analgesics and/or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often used to alleviate the symptoms of tension headaches. Additionally, ergot derivatives can provide relief to individuals who suffer from a combination of migraines and tension headaches.

Other alternative therapies for treating tension headache symptoms include physical therapy, massage therapy and biofeedback to correct poor physical posture and improve responses to stressful events.

Acupuncture and Tension Headaches

Regardless of what’s causing your tension headaches, says Dr. Chen, acupuncture can help. In fact, a 2009 clinical review published in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews concluded that acupuncture is a valuable non-pharmacological tool for individuals that suffer from episodic or chronic tension headaches. Another review, published in the same journal in 2016, highlights the effectiveness of preventing tension headaches with acupuncture.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into different trigger points. These trigger points will vary based on the causes of your tension headaches: for instance, anxiety, poor posture and fatigue can all benefit from acupuncture, but with distinct trigger points.

This is why it’s important to seek care at an expert center, such as Acupuncture Balanced Health, that specializes in acupuncture and harmonizes Western and Eastern medicine together to provide you with an optimal plan for treating tension headache symptoms. There’s no need for you to keep clenching your teeth with pain as another tension headache attacks you and forces you to put your life on pause. Contact us today to make an appointment.



Using acupuncture for hypertension can help relieve the stress of weight gain during the holiday season and help you enjoy time with loved ones.

Beat the Bloat: Dodging Weight Gain During the Holidays

The holidays are on the horizon, and many families are already preparing for festive days with loved ones, socials with friends and co-workers, and rich comfort food. For people who have to be mindful of their health and diet lifestyles this can be a challenging time of year, says acupuncturist Dr. Helen Wang. It is important to maintain a heightened awareness of support tips and methods of treatment such as acupuncture for hypertension to ensure weight gain is not an issue during various holiday meals.

The Holidays – In Perspective

The average American can consume 3,000-4,500 calories in one holiday meal. Even if you are successfully controlling health issues, such as using acupuncture for hypertension or other methods for health-related concerns, eating large amounts of food can be disastrous for weight control and overall health. Add in sugar- and calorie-laden holiday drinks, and you can easily see how frivolous eating and drinking from November through January can more than double a person’s typical suggested calorie intake.

Who Should Be Concerned?

“Holiday weight control should be a priority for everyone,” says Dr. Wang, “but those who have health- and diet-related diseases should be even more concerned about seasonal eating habits.”

  • Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is largely complicated by increased consumptions of sodium (salt). Too much salt can increase blood pressure and raise the chances of strokes and heart attacks, the top two causes of American deaths each year. In addition, people with hypertension who consume large amounts of sugar can create and worsen various complications of diabetes.
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS, is a condition affecting many women. It is a syndrome with myriad symptoms, including weight gain around the abdomen region. Another symptom is insulin resistance, which makes losing weight difficult. This can contribute to obesity or the development of Type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Wang says these two examples show the importance of having a mindset of moderation, especially for those with certain health conditions. “That’s because weight gain can complicate some diseases, maintaining a healthy weight should take precedence when preparing meals and attending holiday socials.”

Solutions for Happy, Healthy Holidays

For people who are concerned about weight gain or who have difficulty losing weight because of PCOS or hypertension, holiday food temptations can feel like a disaster waiting to happen, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are options to help combat unwanted gain and lead to a decline in the severity of symptoms.

  • Increasing day-to-day exercise can positively complement meal consumption and significantly enhance the way the body uses insulin. Finding a regular exercise regimen that works for your fitness level and lifestyle is a great way to maintain good health and boost weight loss.
  • If irregular periods are an issue because of PCOS, most women find a weight loss of 10–15 pounds could fix the problem. Shedding pounds has proven to be an all-around aid in improving health, as it can also result in lowered blood pressure readings. Hypertension becomes less of an issue when a person maintains a healthy body weight.
  • Eating a healthy snack before going to a holiday party can offset binge cravings. Bringing a healthy dish to the party is another way to ensure you have at least one dish you can enjoy with your friends and co-workers.
  • Considering an acupuncture plan can help stave off holiday hunger. Acupuncture treatments have been used extensively to reduce appetite and improve weight loss goals. Studies provide strong data that supports positive results for using acupuncture for hypertension, as well as incorporating acupuncture in PCOS treatments.

“Nothing is more comforting than knowing you have options when you’re faced with holiday temptations,” says Dr. Wang. Healthiness isn’t a one-stop shop, especially during the holidays, and most will find they need to custom-tailor their plans for optimal results. Supporting your body with a plan that encourages heart and mind health, with treatments such as acupuncture for hypertension, is essential to enjoying holiday celebrations with happiness and peace of mind.



If you've been diagnosed with high blood pressure, acupuncture and exercise can help you get it under control and get back to enjoying life.

How Acupuncture Can Help the 1 in 3 Americans with High Blood Pressure

Your annual doctor’s visit never fails to include a blood pressure test. A nurse wraps a sphygmomanometer around your arm and checks that your blood pressure is normal. You’re vaguely aware of the consequences of hypertension, so you may panic a bit if your physician reports that your blood pressure is somewhat elevated. A third of Americans have high blood pressure, and here’s what you can do about it.

What Is High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure takes into consideration the amount of blood pumped by the heart and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. A higher blood pressure means your heart is pumping more blood through narrower arteries. Hypertension occurs when blood constantly pushes against the artery walls with elevated force.

There are two important numbers when it comes to blood pressure. The upper number is called the systolic pressure and measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts (or beats). The lower number, called the diastolic pressure, represents the pressure in the arteries in between two heartbeats, when the heart relaxes and fills with blood. Both numbers are measured in mm Hg, which refers to millimeters of mercury.

Blood Pressure Numbers

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) defines a normal blood pressure as 120/80 mm Hg. If your blood pressure is between 120 to 139 over 80 to 89 mm Hg, then your physician will diagnose you with pre-hypertension. Stage 1 hypertension refers to a systolic pressure that ranges between 140 and 145 mm Hg or a diastolic pressure ranging from 90 to 99 mm Hg. Stage 2 hypertension, on the other hand, refers to a systolic pressure of 160 mm Hg or higher or a diastolic pressure of 100 mm Hg or higher.

Since hypertension is the number one risk factor for cardiovascular disease in the U.S., it’s important to take measures to get your blood pressure back under control.

If left untreated, high blood pressure can damage the arteries. This can hinder blood flow to vital organs and cause other serious health conditions, including:


There is no exact cause for hypertension, but there are some factors that can contribute to the disease. According to the Framingham Heart Study, obesity is strongly linked to higher blood pressure. The study concludes that approximately 78 percent of males and 65 percent of females with hypertension have the condition because of obesity. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey also links elevated blood pressure with higher body mass index numbers.

Other causes of hypertension include:

  • Stress
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Eating foods high in sodium
  • Insulin resistance
  • A lack of potassium, magnesium and calcium in your diet
  • Types of medication, such as steroids, decongestants, diet pills and birth control pills


The American Heart Association recommends that anyone with elevated blood pressure should purchase a sphygmomanometer for home use. This will allow you to regularly measure your blood pressure and provide your medical team with documentation on your blood pressure levels outside of the office.

If you’ve been diagnosed with pre-hypertension or hypertension, you’ll need to book an appointment with a medical center that has experience in treating blood pressure that is higher than normal – no matter the underlying cause. Patients frequently benefit from a treatment plan that not only balances Western and Eastern medicine but also includes acupuncture.  Acupuncture Balanced Health, for instance, offers comprehensive, individualized integrative medicine plans developed by traditional Chinese medicine physicians that work with our board-certified physician trained in integrative medicine and acupuncture research.

Acupuncture Balanced Health has impressive experience in treating individuals diagnosed with hypertension. All of our treatment plans are made based on a personal assessment of our patients’ health and the underlying causes of their elevated blood pressure. Treatment will usually include weight loss along with regular exercise, the cessation of smoking if applicable, limiting salt and alcohol intake, as well as learning stress-reducing techniques.

Certain medications may also be recommended as part of your treatment plan. These may include diuretics, ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, alpha blockers, nervous system inhibitors and vasodilators. Patients with hypertension are often encouraged to follow the DASH diet. Developed at the NHLBI, the DASH diet focuses on increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, consuming low-fat/fat-free dairy products rich in calcium, decreasing your intake of fat and sodium and ingesting enough potassium and magnesium.

Finally, research shows that acupuncture can decrease blood pressure levels. In fact, a 2013 clinical study published in Acupuncture & Electro-Therapeutics Research strongly concludes that acupuncture should be included in hypertension treatment guidelines. If you have been diagnosed with pre-hypertension or high blood pressure, it’s important to address your condition before it spirals out of control. Contact us today to make an appointment and start living a better, healthier life.



Breast cancer treatment symptoms such as insomnia and anxiety can often be alleviated by acupuncture, yoga and meditation.

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer treatment can involve surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, all of which can bring on severe side effects. Did you know that today, complementary medicine such as acupuncture is commonly used in conjunction with traditional treatment to alleviate everything from nausea to fatigue? In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, let’s take a look at the benefits of acupuncture if you or a loved one have been diagnosed.

Reduce Nausea and Vomiting

Radiation and chemotherapy are extremely powerful and destructive. It’s only natural that your body would have trouble handling the side effects of cancer treatment. In fact, anti-nausea drugs are often prescribed to cancer patients. Acupuncture has been proven in multiple clinical studies to minimize nausea and vomiting.

Decrease Lymphedema After Surgery

More advanced stages of breast cancer may require surgery, such as a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. If that’s the case, you may experience swelling in your upper limbs as a result. While exercise and compression garments can provide relief, studies indicate that acupuncture can safely reduce arm circumference and swelling after a lumpectomy or mastectomy.

Minimize Pain and Fatigue

Expert acupuncture centers, such as Acupuncture Balanced Health, offer acupuncture for the management of chronic pain and chronic fatigue. Cancer pain and fatigue occur due to surgery, hormonal imbalances and/or cancer treatment. In some cases, pain and fatigue carry on after the completion of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The result of one clinical study indicate that acupuncture and acupressure can effectively manage chemo-related fatigue.

Lessen Insomnia and Anxiety

It’s not uncommon for cancer patients to suffer from insomnia and anxiety after getting diagnosed. While these two symptoms can very well be related, insomnia can also be due to chronic pain. Regardless of the cause, a number of cancer patients at Acupuncture Balanced Health undergo acupuncture to cure insomnia.

Depression and anxiety can also occur due to the severity of a cancer diagnosis and the uncertainty that comes with treatment. Your oncologist may prescribe an antidepressant if you find yourself overly stressed and worried. You may also wish to consider acupuncture to alleviate the anxiety you’re feeling: clinical studies show that acupuncture is effective at relieving anxiety.

Treat Neuropathy

As a result of radiotherapy, you may suffer from peripheral neuropathy after treatment. This type of nerve damage can cause weakness, pain and numbness in your limbs and in other areas of the body. Physicians recommend pain relievers, anti-seizure medication and topical creams. If you’re interested in a more natural approach, acupuncture is proven to stimulate nerves and reduce symptoms of neuropathy.

Increase Your White Blood Cell Count

Chemotherapy can also decrease your white blood cell count, which can put you at risk for infection and disease. This condition is called neutropenia. It’s also why oncologists order CBC blood tests throughout the course of cancer treatment. While exercise can help preserve your immune system, ask an acupuncturist about how acupuncture can help you combat neutropenia throughout chemo.

Mitigate Dry Mouth, Night Sweats and Hot Flashes

Common side effects of cancer treatment can also include xerostomia (dry mouth) and vasomotor symptoms, such as night sweats and hot flashes. Both of these conditions can be greatly improved with acupuncture.

Acupuncture for Breast Cancer

As you’ve read, chemo and radiation side effects are harsh and can drastically decrease your overall quality of life. Controlling any debilitating symptoms is crucial for boosting your emotional and physical strength while in cancer treatment.

The practice of acupuncture aims to regulate the body’s own vital life force, called “Qi”. Eastern medicine theories attribute the growth of disease and pain to the disruption of Qi. By stimulating specific trigger points with acupuncture, your energy flow is regulated and your body returns to a state of balance and harmony, ridding yourself of ailments and sickness.

Alleviate Your Symptoms at Acupuncture Balanced Health

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. With our thorough cancer support program, Acupuncture Balanced Health is committed to alleviating all of your cancer treatment symptoms and restoring balance to your life. This may include learning to reduce your stress levels through yoga and meditation, adopting an anti-cancer diet and taking traditional Chinese medicine herbs. Contact us today to make an appointment and find relief from your breast cancer treatment side effects.



Diarrhea symptoms can be alleviated with acupuncture treatments and incorporating dietary changes like eating more fruit.

3 Functional GI Disorders Acupuncture Can Help

The mind and body function together to operate; often one is affected when the other is out of sync. Such is the case with difficult-to-diagnose functional disorders. Understanding what these disorders are, and what they are not, can help bring a holistic awareness to your overall health, and it can also help prevent further damage or discomfort to the physical and mental aspects of your well-being.

What are Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders?

Functional gastrointestinal disorders, or FGIDs, occur when there is abnormal function in the gastrointestinal tract. Many routine tests such as blood tests, endoscopic exams and X-rays may not show any signs because the dysfunction is not caused by structural or biochemical issues; it is caused by a disconnect between the brain and gut. As such, functional gastrointestinal disorders are diagnosed by symptoms that occur in various parts of the GI tract.

Understanding Functional Diarrhea

Functional diarrhea occurs when a person has chronic watery or loose stool consistently over three to six months. Though not always so, it is typically caused by changes in fluid absorption and irregular movement patterns in the intestines. To diagnose functional diarrhea, a physician has to consider, treat or rule out several other key factors that may aggravate the condition, including:

  • Bacterial overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Dietary habits
  • Stress levels
  • Anxiety

To offset functional diarrhea, dietary changes like the BRAT diet  (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast) can help with making stool firmer. There are mixed thoughts regarding increasing fiber intake, as that may cause issues with constipation. Physicians may also recommend a probiotic to replace good bacteria that may have been lost in the gastrointestinal tract.

Understanding Functional Constipation

Functional constipation occurs when a person has extreme difficulty passing stool for three to six months. For individuals with this and other gastrointestinal disorders using the bathroom will typically mean experiencing discomfort, such as:

  • Reduced stool frequency (fewer than three bowel movements in a week)
  • Difficulty with bowel movements
  • Straining
  • Lumpy or hard stool

There are no set understandings about what causes functional constipation. Slow bowel transit may cause hardening in the intestines, creating much harder and less lubricated stool. Studies have also suggested that anxiety and depression can increase complications of functional constipation.

As with functional diarrhea, changing your diet may help offset some of the symptoms. Also, increasing water intake will help with stool transit through the gastrointestinal tract. Eating more vegetables and exercising regularly can help as well.

Understanding IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome is extremely similar to diarrhea and constipation with respect to its symptoms. However, one notable difference is that abdominal pain persists when IBS is present. Statistically, IBS affects 10-20 percent of all adults at some time in their lives. Symptoms of IBS include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Frequent bathroom urges

As with diarrhea and constipation, IBS symptoms can be reduced by changing your diet and monitoring fiber and sugar intake. Increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables can also potentially alleviate some symptoms of IBS.

If you are experiencing gastrointestinal disorders such as functional diarrhea, constipation or IBS, contact us to make an appointment. Based on your symptoms, we can create and execute integrative medicine solutions specifically for you. Acupuncture Balanced Health practices integrated programs to help rid your body of functional diseases. Our dedicated team of experts is committed to helping you find relief from your symptoms.



Polycystic Ovary Syndrome symptoms are a challenge to treat, but you may be able to find relief through acupuncture treatment.

What to Do If Your Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Isn’t Getting Better

Sometimes, no matter how diligently you follow your doctor’s advice, your polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) doesn’t get better. When you don’t see any results after exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and taking the medications your doctor prescribes, it’s not unusual to feel a little disappointed and frustrated. Although it may seem as if there are no other options,  acupuncture treatment can offer a natural solution to your problem.

What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture was first practiced thousands of years ago in Asia. Early practitioners believed Qi, a life force that travels throughout your body, can become blocked, causing numerous health problems. When they inserted tiny needles into  strategic areas of the body, blockages were cleared and symptoms improved. Today, acupuncture is used to treat a variety of conditions and diseases, ranging from migraines to arthritis to PCOS.

Why Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Challenging to Treat?

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a complex condition that causes multiple health issues, including:

  • Lack of menstruation
  • Long periods
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Excess hair growth
  • Obesity
  • Acne
  • Hair loss
  • Enlarged ovaries that contain fluid-filled cysts
  • Insulin resistance
  • A high level of male hormones

Because the disorder affects your endocrine system, metabolism and reproductive health, it can be challenging to find the right mixture of medications that address all of these problems. Long-term treatment with medications is often needed to keep the problems under control.

Doctors frequently prescribe hormonal birth control methods, such as pills, rings or patches to regulate the menstrual cycle and treat other PCOS symptoms, such as excessive hair growth. Becoming pregnant often requires a mixture of medications that will help you ovulate. Although these medications can be helpful, some women can’t use them or can’t tolerate the side effects.

Metformin, a medication commonly used to treat Type 2 diabetes, is often used to lower insulin level and improve insulin resistance. Unfortunately, metformin can also cause some unpleasant side effects, including nausea, diarrhea, cough, back or side pain, cramps and difficulty urinating.

How Can Acupuncture Treatment Improve PCOS Symptoms?

Acupuncture offers a completely natural way to improve your symptoms and has no side effects. Researchers who conducted a clinical trial review published in Gynecological Endocrinology determined that acupuncture can help improve PCOS symptoms by:

  • Increasing blood flow to the ovaries
  • Increasing insulin sensitivity
  • Reducing the number of ovarian cysts
  • Decreasing insulin and blood glucose levels
  • Making it easier to lose weight
  • Reducing levels of cortisol, a steroid hormone that regulates your metabolism

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg also found acupuncture to be an effective treatment for PCOS. Participants in the study received electro-acupuncture treatment in the back of the knee and the abdominal muscles, as these areas correspond to the ovaries. During treatment, a low-frequency electrical charge was passed through the needles.

Study participants who received electro-acupuncture  treatments experienced:

  • A drop in male hormones
  • More regular menstrual cycles
  • Less acne

Is Acupuncture Treatment Painful?

If you feel a little squeamish about a treatment that involves the placement of multiple needles in your body, you’re not alone. Although acupuncture treatment looks as if it would be painful, the needles are so thin that you may only feel a slight pricking sensation.

Adding a current to acupuncture needles improves stimulation and can heighten the effects of treatments. Because the charge used in electro-acupuncture is so low, it doesn’t cause pain. You’ll probably only notice a slight vibration in the needles during an electro-acupuncture treatment.

Are you frustrated because your polycystic ovary syndrome symptoms don’t improve no matter what you do? Acupuncture offers a drug-free way to manage your symptoms and improve your health. We create treatment plans tailored to your individual needs and offer convenient hours. Call us today to schedule an appointment.



For chronic conditions like fibromyalgia, alternative pain management can be key

September is Pain Awareness Month

Pain impacts everyone at some point. It can exist in multiple forms and can last for various durations of time. Methods for pain management also vary in as many ways. Because September has been designated as Pain Awareness month, understanding the various types of pain and their treatments can bring a stronger awareness to those suffering from pain and the people around them that are/have been affected by their conditions.

Acute Pain

Acute pain may be mild or severe, and it can persist briefly, for weeks or months. It is different from chronic pain in that it has a specific beginning and end, and its sensations decrease as healing occurs.

The pain typically happens quickly and without warning. It may be excruciatingly painful and can trigger noticeable reactions such as tears, sweating and elevated blood pressure. Acute pain generally settles when it has been treated, managed or relieved by medication. Muscle pain is one of the most common types of acute pain, impacting 53 percent of all Americans. Lower back pain, another common form of acute pain, is the fifth most common cause for all visits to a doctor or physician.

Experienced during flares when an injury or disease is most active, this acute pain is known as a “breakthrough” pain.  It is triggered by tissue damage such as a skin burn or broken/fractured bone. It generally accompanies an illness, injury or surgery and can manifest in almost any part of the body.

Chronic Pain

If not treated properly or quickly, acute pain can become chronic pain. Chronic pain is long-standing pain that can last for an indefinite amount of time, often beyond the expected recovery period for an injury or illness. The pain itself can be continual or intermittent. Considered the number one cause of long-term disability in the United States, it affects over 76 million Americans – more than cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined. It also:

  • ● is often hard to control and difficult to treat or get rid of;
  • ● can impact every aspect of a person’s life and his/her family;
  • ● can be very stressful on the body, both physically and mentally, and can require a great deal of attention to be treated effectively; and
  • ● can be stressful for professional care providers seeking to provide assistance.

Chronic pain can be caused by various injuries and illnesses, including fibromyalgia, lower back problems, arthritis, cancer, repetitive stress injuries, sciatica (which can be chronic or acute), headaches, shingles, nerve conditions and diabetic neuropathy.

Pain Management Through Acupuncture

Whether the pain is from a past sports injury or chronic illness such as fibromyalgia, the methods for pain management vary greatly. First, seek guidance from a primary physician regarding a pain management plan.

While traditional treatment methods typically include medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin and ibuprofen), acetaminophen or steroids, acupuncture can be extremely beneficial in alleviating physical pain symptoms, including:

  • ● Back and neck pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • ● Shoulder pain
  • ● Chronic headaches and migraines
  • ● Muscle spasms and pain
  • ● Postoperative dental pain

Acupuncture can also be beneficial for patients undergoing cancer treatment, according to studies from the National Cancer Institute. Acupuncture treatment has been known to speed up recovery as well as lessen pain after chemotherapy sessions. While more research will be helpful, research supports acupuncture therapy as a viable, holistic adjunct treatment.

Acupuncture Balanced Health

Acupuncture Balanced Health wants to be your primary source of pain management and treatment. We are dedicated to reducing your particular pain symptoms and improving your quality of life. Our expert team utilizes both traditional Chinese and integrative medicines, along with proven acupuncture research, to create successful, personalized treatment programs. Contact us for a consultation today.

If your bowel movements have become painful or infrequent, remedies for constipation, such as acupuncture, should be on your list.

How to Manage Chronic Constipation for Life

It’s happening again. You’re having dinner with some friends, and you’re becoming increasingly uncomfortable. You haven’t had a bowel movement in almost a week. You’re tempted to excuse yourself once again and head to the restroom, but you already know it’ll be pointless. You can’t even focus on the conversation – all you can think about is seeking relief. Your friends have quieted down and are staring at you. You give up and smile, heading to the restaurant bathroom once again. Surely there are some remedies for constipation you could try?

What is Chronic Constipation?

The last time you experienced serious constipation was when you backpacked through Europe a few years ago. Nowadays, it seems you’re spending much more time sitting on the toilet than you used to. While it’s normal for everyone to experience constipation occasionally, especially when your body is going through some changes or stress, chronic constipation is an issue that can interfere with your ability to go about your everyday life.

The term “constipation” comes from the Latin constipare meaning “to press, crowd together.” Medically, constipation can be defined as experiencing infrequent bowel movements or difficult passage of stools over an extended period of time.

Symptoms of chronic constipation include:

  • Having fewer than three bowel movements a week
  • Straining to have bowel movements
  • Having hard or lumpy stools
  • Not being able to completely empty your rectum
  • Emptying your rectum with help, such as pressing on your abdomen with your hands or manually removing stools with a finger

Causes of Chronic Constipation

Acupuncture for functional disorders has been shown to effectively help chronic constipation, but identifying the causes of constipation should be the first step. This will help your physician suggest remedies that address your specific needs. Knowing why you’re constipated is also important for ruling out more serious disorders that cause blockages in the colon or rectum. These blockages could be a sign of cancer, rectum and colon nerve problems, pelvic disorders or hormonal problems linked to fluid balance in the body, such as thyroid disease. Once any serious condition has been treated or ruled out, you and your physician can focus on finding a solution, which could involve a combination of lifestyle changes and incorporating several remedies for constipation.

Constipation may not seem like a big deal, especially if your case is mild; however, it’s important to address the issue and avoid further complications down the road. These complications can include:

  • Fecal incontinence
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Anal fissure
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Fecal impaction and bowel obstruction
  • Bowel perforation and stercoral peritonitis

Remedies for Constipation

Since healthy bowel movements are linked to fiber intake, an important step in treating your condition is increasing your intake of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Other remedies for constipation include:

  • Exercising daily, which tones intestines and can help regulate bowel movements.
  • Practicing yoga, breathing exercises, stress management and biofeedback, which involves training your pelvic muscles.
  • Changing your habits and listening to your body by never ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement.
  • Undergoing acupuncture for constipation.
  • Drinking plenty of water during the day.
  • Paying attention to your caffeine intake, as it can cause dehydration.
  • Avoiding laxatives, which can provide quick relief but can lead to dangerous addictions.
  • Adding fiber to your diet in the form of supplements if necessary.
  • Taking probiotics daily, which may improve whole gut transit time, stool frequency and stool consistency.

Acupuncture Balanced Health

Chronic constipation can hinder your ability to perform everyday tasks and enjoy physical and social activities. Acupuncture Balanced Health offers top-notch integrative medicine plans developed by our team of experts – traditional Chinese medicine physicians who work with our board-certified physician trained in integrative medicine and acupuncture research. There’s no need to keep suffering from your condition, so contact us today to make an appointment. Our list of happy, healthy clients speaks for itself.