Friday, January 22, 2016

Welcome Dr. Changhong Zhou!

This announcement comes a little late but I am very happy to announce that my husband and business partner will be joining Boston Chinese Acupuncture and Boca Raton Acupuncture Clinic as an acupuncturist and herbalist this year!  The two of us met at the Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and nearly 3 decades later, we are still practicing Chinese medicine together.

boca acupuncture changhong zhou
Dr. Zhou lecturing on acupuncture in China
Dr. Zhou graduated summa cum laude from Henan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and earned his masters of medicine from the Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, specializing in infectious diseases. In the US, he attained his PhD in virology from the Medical College of Ohio and has worked for over a decade in vaccine development in both private sector companies and at Harvard Medical School.

Although Dr. Zhou and I have similar philosophies on Chinese medicine, our practice styles are quite different. Since I have practiced for a longer period of time in the US, my acupuncture style has become more tailored for American patients.  Dr. Zhou, on the other hand, has retained a more traditional style, using longer needles and deeper points, which is especially powerful for suffers of intense, chronic pain.

Because of our differences in style, Dr. Zhou complements and strengthens the variety and breadth of ailments we are able to treat at Boston Chinese Acupuncture and Boca Raton Acupuncture Clinic.  For example, Dr. Zhou specializes in chronic pain management, post-surgical recovery and disorders affecting the elderly.  Furthermore, with decades of experience in pharmaceutical research, Dr. Zhou is well-suited to treat patients taking many types of medications and ensuring that the acupuncture and Chinese herbs complement their other, Western medical treatment regimes.

boston acupuncturist changhong zhou
Dr. Changhong Zhou 
With his ample schooling and apprenticeships in Chinese medicine, Dr. Zhou is especially gifted in the realm of Chinese herbs.  His skill with Chinese herbal formulas, in fact, has made him a minor celebrity in his home province of Henan, China, where villagers come from hundreds of miles for a chance to see him.  Chinese herbal formulas are especially beneficial for people with chronic ailments such as allergies or autoimmune diseases.  Because the herbs can be safely and affordably taken on a daily basis, they can speed up the reduction of symptoms than using acupuncture alone.  Dr. Zhou's experience with Chinese herbs allows him to safely prescribe formulas even for patients with liver and kidney damage.

Inquires about working with Dr. Zhou can be made by emailing changhongacupuncture@gmail.com or by visiting our websites at www.bostonchineseacupuncture.com or bocaacupuncture.org.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Pain Management Retreat Next Month!

For the millions of Americans living with chronic pain, treatment options can feel very limited. Long-term use of painkillers may cause irreparable side effects like liver and kidney damage. Surgeries can alleviate certain kinds of pain, but the trauma and resulting scar tissue may result in pain of other types.If you are ready to reduce your pain once and for all, the Pain Management Retreat hosted by my colleague Jing Fan and I may be a great event for you!

boca acupuncture retreat


This 2-day event in Boca Raton, FL will provide not only acupuncture and Chinese massage sessions to instantly relieve your pain, but also teach you techniques you can use at home on your own time to prevent pain before it flares up. For example, Dr. Fan will teach a class on Yijin Jing, a form of Chinese qigong that promotes flexibility and balance by strengthening the muscles and tendons.  Once you learn the basic exercises from Dr. Fan, you will be able to practice at home and build up the strength and flexibility you need to stop pain before it happens. 

The retreat will be packed with events including: 
  • acupuncture treatment
  • Chinese massage
  • herb sampling
  • nutrition lecture
  • qigong class
  • tai chi class

Dr. Fan and I come from very different but complementary backgrounds in medicine. I trained and completed my apprenticeship in traditional Chinese medicine from a holistic point of view while Dr. Fan is an orthopedic surgeon, specializing in osteoarthritis and soft tissue injuries. Though we differ in our mechanistic approach towards treating joint and muscle pain, I was surprised to find that we agree on many of the fundamentals. For example, we both believe that except in very specific cases, electing to do joint surgery often causes more harm than good. Watch a snippet of our conversation about back surgery below!



If you are interested in this one-of-a-kind retreat, visit the official website at bocaacupuncture.org.  For more information about the effects of acupuncture on different kinds of pain, please visit www.bostonchineseacupuncture.com

We are offering a special 10% discount if you register before December 25, 2015 so sign up today!


Thursday, October 15, 2015

More testosterone does not necessarily mean better sexual function

We all know that testosterone level is closely related with a man's erectile function, but it is not the only factor that contributes to impotence. The normal range of testosterone level is very wide: from 300 to 1000 pg/mL. You would think a man with testosterone level around 300 pg/mL would probably have some erectile dysfunction, but that is not always true. Let me tell you a story about a man who came to me for weak erections after turning 45 years old.

This man, who formerly served in the US army, used to have such strong sexual drive and function that when he was in his twenties, he went to a bar, had a one night stand with a girl, and ended up with a child before he even thought about setting up a family. He became more responsible in his thirties, got married, and had two other children. He had been a very disciplined military man and later became a successful businessman.

During his first marriage, he started gaining weight around his middle because he ate more candy than before to make him happy. Due to his unhealthy diet and lack of physical exercise, he gained more fat and lost more muscle. He ended up in the hospital for a small surgery and met a beautiful, active younger lady. This new stimulation made his sexual function stronger for a short period of time, but this did not last very long because he did not change his lifestyle.

By the age of 48, he started having knee pain after running for 20 min and noticed that his muscle mass was declining faster then he expected. More important is that although he loves his new girlfriend, his erection still became weaker and he told me he could not have as strong and as long of an erection as a few years ago. On the other hand, his girlfriend, who eats healthy and has a very positive attitude on life, still had beautiful skin and strong sex drive.



My patient did not want to develop impotence and upset his beloved girlfriend, so he did research on the Internet and found that acupuncture can help his knee pain and more importantly, his sexual function. He called me a few months before moving to Boston, and we started treating his knee pain first. Because he still has pretty good circulation and strong muscles due to years of military training and regular sleep pattern, he responded to the treatment very well, and after 6 treatments, he started running again without knee pain.

Then, he brought up his declining sexual function. He told me that he used to have sex with his girlfriend 4 to 5 times a week and their intercourse could last about 40 min. Now, he can barely make once a week, and it only lasted for 10 to 15 min. He told me his first testosterone level was low, around 300 pg/mL. I told him that he needed to build strong muscles and eat a lot of fruit and vegetables to bring up his testosterone level. In the mean time, we started using kidney and liver points to improve the energy flow to his adrenal gland, thyroid gland and testicles.

Within the next 6 months, he lost 40 lbs and gradually gained back his muscle mass.He can have longer and stronger erections and have excellent sex 3 to 4 times a week. He was so thrilled about the changes. However, in a subsequent test for testosterone level, he found that his testosterone level only increased slightly. He is happy with his sexual level, but puzzled by his low level of testosterone.
My answer is that his body may not need that much testosterone to have normal sexual function. Although 350 pg/mL low for other men, it is sufficient for him because acupuncture made his testosterone receptors more efficient. Furthermore, his strong muscle also helps to make his testosterone work better. This phenomenon makes since if we draw an analogy to heart function. A strong heart does not need to beat too fast to provide enough blood and oxygen to your body and brain. From an evolutionary point of view, a lower hormone level can actually protect our body because it allows us to produce less metabolic waste products.

Boston Chinese Acupuncture can help you resume normal erectile function even if your testosterone level is low. Men who a lot of stress from work and high expectations to fulfill may need acupuncture to help them reduce their stress and redirect energy to their testicles, pituitary gland, thyroid gland and hypothalamus every two weeks or once a month. This investment to balance your hormone levels will help you have a healthy and fulfilling sex life through middle age and beyond!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

DIY Neck Pain Relief

In our increasingly digital world, we are constantly looking down at our phones, tablets and laptops.  It is no wonder, then, that more and more people come to my clinic for neck pain relief.

Nerves from all over the body go through the neck to reach the brain.  If your neck muscles are tight or spasming, it can irritate the nerves and cut off circulation to the brain and eyes.  As a result, you may experience dizziness, vision problems, difficulty breathing, and anxiety.  Frankly, I cannot overstate how important the neck is to your general feeling of wellbeing.

Chinese neck stretching exercises

There are several different ways of relaxing your neck muscles.  The most basic, of course, is to eliminate or reduce the activities that cause those muscles to tighten up, such as the use of electronic devices or misaligned sleeping positions.  However, for most people, drastically reducing the time you spend on the computer is simply not an option due to the nature of your work.  If this is the case, stretching and acupressure may be a good place to start.

Last December, I did a 3-part video series with Dr. Jing Fan, an orthopedic surgeon from Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, on stretching exercises for neck pain. The original blog post can be found on my clinic's website, www.bostonchineseacupuncture.com.  Dr. Fan, who is very tall and spent many hours every day looking down to perform surgeries in China, believes that by doing these exercises for 10 minutes daily, he was able to stave off the neck pain that plagued so many of his colleagues.

If you are in need of instant pain relief and do not have the time or space to perform stretching exercises, there are a few acupressure points you can press while sitting at your desk or lying down. These four points along the neck and upper back are called Gallbladder 20 (Feng Chi), Small Intestines 15, Gallbladder 21 (Jian Jing) and Bladder 15.  I provide a detailed explanation of each one in the video below.

 

Sometimes, however, if your neck muscles have been spasming for too long or you simply cannot reduce the amount of time you spend sitting and working at the computer, DIY neck pain relief may not be enough.  If that is the case, you many want to consider getting acupuncture done at those neck pain relief acupoints to deeply relax your muscles and reset them for a healthier alignment.  I have offices in Needham, MA (20 min outside of Boston) and in Boca Raton, FL, but with the increase in the number of acupuncture schools in the U.S., you should be able to find an experienced acupuncturist near you.

That is all for my DIY Neck Pain Relief Guide for now!  As always, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel @AcuOptimalHealth for more information on acupuncture and healthy living.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

All About Women and Autoimmune Diseases

As women, we go through three main periods of hormone upheaval in our lifetime: first during puberty, second during and after pregnancy, and lastly during menopause. When our body is going through such dramatic hormonal changes, we can develop a condition known as estrogen dominance, where the level of estrogen in our body is too high compared to progesterone.

Estrogen is generally an immune stimulant while progesterone is an immune suppressant. Thus, if there is not enough progesterone to balance out estrogen, our immune system may become hyperactive and attack our own tissues, resulting in different autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto's, colitis, and ALS, depending on which tissues are targeted.

If you are interested in the mechanism of how hormone changes affects our likelihood of getting autoimmune diseases, please read the more detailed article I wrote on my website, www.bostonchineseacupuncture.com!



Below are some tips for preventing autoimmune diseases.
  1. Avoid using birth control pills if possible. When you do not ovulate regularly, your body has less progesterone to balance estrogen, and therefore, immune function tends to be hyperactive. Once the imbalance reaches a certain level, your gene expression will change.

  2. Avoid too much alcohol. Alcohol can enhance an enzyme called aromatase which can convert naturally occurring testosterone into "bad estrogen" that overstimulates your immune system. Also, alcohol tends to make your body produce internal heat, leading to inflammation.

  3. Eat more cruciferous vegetables. Kale, cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower can inhibit aromatase naturally.

  4. Avoid dry cleaning clothing and using plastic containers. The chemicals used can serve as bad estrogen to change our immune function.

  5. Practice yoga, Qi Gong and meditation to calm down the nervous system.

  6. Take wheatgrass, raspberry tea, and Chinese herbal formulas to enhance your ovarian, adrenal and other gland functions to create a more balanced hormone level. Certain chemicals in these supplements can also serve as very weak, "good estrogen" to prevent the stimulating effect of "bad estrogen".

  7. Regular acupuncture treatments can help adjust your nervous and immune functions.
As always, please subscribe to my YouTube Channel for regular updates on acupuncture and health!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Osteoarthritis & Acupuncture Video Series


Osteoarthritis is the inflammation of the joints caused by wear and tear. Although it can occur in any joint, osteoarthritis typically affects the knee and hip joints.

Recently, I filmed a video series about how acupuncture can help reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis.  For example, acupuncture can reduce the amount of swelling inside the joints, which gives you greater mobility. In addition, acupuncture can induce increased production of hormones inside your body that naturally provide pain relief, such as endorphin, serotonin and dopamine. 



If this peaks your interest and you'd like to learn more about the specific acupuncture points that are used to treat osteoarthritis, please watch the following video where I demonstrate 4 points around the knees that I commonly use on patients with osteoarthritis. Since it is summer vacation right now, I performed the demonstration on my youngest son.  He doesn't have osteoarthritis, but he does play a lot of sports so I figured it's never to early to start protecting his knees with acupuncture!


If you like these mini videos, please subscribe to my YouTube channel for more.  Or if you prefer reading about osteoarthritis to watching videos, transcripts for these can be found at my website, BocaAcupuncture.org!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Acupuncture for Infertility FAQ

Last Wednesday, April 1, my clinic was featured on the WCVB show Chronicle in their episode titled Fertility. It was truly an honor for me to be make my first television appearance talking about how acupuncture can help couples conceive, a topic that has been very important to my career as an acupuncturist. The outpouring of response to this show has been tremendous and I thank everyone who was involved in its production and who took the time to watch! 

My kids took this screenshot of the show and posted it all over their Facebook pages.  I wonder if this means I am finally going to crack the 15-25 year-old demographic!


After the show aired, I received quite a number of requests for further information on how acupuncture for infertility works. I have included a few basic responses below and the rest can be found on my website, Boston Chinese Acupuncture.

ACUPUNCTURE FOR INFERTILITY FAQ 
 
How many couples have you helped get pregnant?

Over the past 15 years I have been practicing in the Boston area, I have helped a couple of hundred women give birth to healthy babies. Women of all ages and underlying fertility problems have come to me for help. I have successfully treated women as old as 46 and women with clinical reproductive problems, including severe endometriosis and PCOS. I have even helped a woman with re-opened ligated tubes get pregnant!

When should I start acupuncture treatments?

You should start acupuncture treatments at least 3 months before you plan to conceive, whether naturally or through IVF and IUI. Acupuncture helps relax your uterus muscles and balance your hormones, increasing the likelihood of a successful implantation

How often should I come for treatments? How long will it take before I get pregnant?

I generally recommend patients come 1-2 times a week. Because the effects of acupuncture are incremental and cumulative, for the best results, I recommend spacing out treatments evenly without leaving too much time between sessions. In my experience, it takes between 2 and 12 months of acupuncture for most women to get pregnant, depending on the individual's age and general health.

Should I continue acupuncture treatments during pregnancy?

Yes. Although acupuncture can been done safely during the entire course of the pregnancy, I recommend that my patients continue acupuncture until at least 12 weeks into their pregnancy. Acupuncture treatments can help lower the rate of miscarriages, which is particularly important during the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy.