Oncology and Chinese medicine

Five Ways to Increase White Blood Cell Count with TCM

Leukopenia is a term used when there are less than adequate white blood cells in the bloodstream. This condition may make those suffering from it susceptible to infections. Leukopenia is often seen in diseases such as AIDS, cancer and lupus, as well as in common occurrences like the flu or a cold. Leukopenia can also be medically induced, as is often the case for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. While there are several prescription medications available to battle this condition, most of them also have multiple adverse side effects. But there are alternative natural methods that can increase white blood cell count without the side effects. One of these is Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a medical system that has been around for thousands of years and incorporates multiple modalities to treat the body holistically. Acupuncture is one of the modalities utilized by TCM practitioners that can help increase white blood cell count. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends and endorses acupuncture for treating leukopenia. Research has demonstrated acupuncture can increase immunity, while improving both red and white blood cell counts.

 

Traditional Chinese Medicine considers the spleen to be a very important component of immune function in the body. In TCM, the spleen is responsible for removing nutrients from food and then using those nutrients to build up blood. Patients with low blood cell count tend to suffer from fatigue. This can be countered by receiving regular acupuncture treatments that not only increase immunity, but also boost the production of blood cells.

One very important modality of TCM is herbs and herbal formulas. Specific herbs and formulas can actually increase white blood cell count and improve immune function in the body. The peony root, for example, is used in at least three different forms to boost or tonify the blood. In single herb form, peony root is known as Bai Shao, Chi Shao and Shao Yao. All of these forms are known to tonify blood, which ultimately increases immunity.

 

 Tai chi and qi gong are not technically part of TCM, but they are ingrained in Asian history and used by millions of people worldwide. Studies have shown these forms of low-impact exercise can be very beneficial to those suffering from leukopenia. In fact, the studies confirm blood cell count can be increased by practicing tai chi or qi gong on a regular basis. There have even been cases where tumors have completely disappeared after the patient began practicing these ancient martial arts.

Diet and nutrition are other important areas when battling leukopenia. In TCM, nutrition is vital for overall health. One of the superfoods in TCM is Shiitake mushrooms. These mushrooms are recommended because they are known to enhance immunity. Shiitake mushrooms contain lentinan, which is an antiviral substance that has strong immune-stimulating properties. This mushroom is used as a meat substitute in TCM nutrition. And when combined with other immune-boosting foods, this in itself can make for a very healthy meal.

Lastly, a practice known as meditation should be considered when low white blood cell count is present. While meditation is not specific to TCM, it is frequently prescribed and used by TCM practitioners. Meditation is a practice that helps calm the mind and the nervous system. When the nervous system is overstimulated, it creates metabolic stress within the body. Metabolic stress causes the immune system to become weakened, thus decreasing the number of white blood cells in the body. Meditation can help reverse this problem.

While Western medicine may be the current line of defense in fighting leukopenia, it is very feasible that alternative medicine may offer more without harmful side effects. The two forms of medicine can be used in conjunction, allowing the patient to have more options and more control over their treatment regimen.

 

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Chinese medicine view of the Large Intestine

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Acupuncture Related to the Large Intestine

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, has determined acupuncture, and more specifically, electroacupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for chronic severe functional constipation. The study was conducted throughout 15 hospitals in China. The participants were patients with chronic severe functional constipation and no underlying pathological causes for the constipation. They each received 28 sessions of acupuncture with electrical stimulation. The study showed each participant increased the number of consistent bowel movements with the assistance of electroacupuncture treatments and without any adverse side effects.

http://annals.org/aim/article/2552074/acupuncture-chronic-severe-functional-constipation-randomized-trial

The large intestine is responsible for absorbing water from indigestible food and transporting the useless waste material out of the body. This is the second to the last part of the digestive tract in the human body. However, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the large intestine is considered to be a functionally defined entity, not an organ.

TCM looks at things a little differently than Western medicine. In TCM, the large intestine is an energy system. The large intestine is defined by the role it plays energetically in the body. But there are correlations between the large intestine energy system and the actual large intestine organ. In TCM, the large intestine system is in charge of the same functions as the large intestine organ (absorbing fluids, excreting waste, etc.).

The large intestine pathway is associated with the emotions of sadness, loss, grief, guilt and stagnation. These can lead to pathologies that make it difficult for one to go with the flow of everyday life. When these emotions become deeply ingrained, the body can manifest this as constipation, diarrhea or lower abdominal cramping. Energetic imbalances in the large intestine can lead to physical weakness, while provoking emotional introversion. This can lead to depression, irritability, apathy and discouragement. It can also stimulate panic responses that then produce spontaneous defecation due to the body’s reflex reactions.

Imbalances affecting the large intestine are quite frequent in modern society due to excessive stress and constant worry. Chronic stress and worry actually stimulate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the heart rate, increases intestinal and gland activity and relaxes the sphincter muscles that control the gastrointestinal tract. When the parasympathetic nervous system is constantly be stimulated, the body is unable to rest and digest. This leads to some of the aforementioned symptoms, diseases and ailments that trouble the large intestine.

TCM can assist a person who is dealing with pathologies of the large intestine in a safe and natural way. TCM utilizes several modalities for treating ailments within the body. The most commonly known of these modalities is acupuncture. Acupuncture uses hair-thin, solid stainless steel needles to stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself. Acupuncture works by stimulating or sedating sensory neurons that communicate with the central nervous system. This allows for the body to use its own defenses to regain harmony and balance.

Suffering from gastrointestinal ailments does not have to be a way of life. Help may be closer than you think. Search your neighborhood for a fully trained and properly-licensed acupuncturist and find out what they can do for you today.

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Acupuncture and Cervical Health

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Acupuncture and Cervical Health

Women’s health is a big part of the healthcare industry.  And acupuncture can be very beneficial in caring for the overall health of women.  Acupuncture has been especially effective in helping with things like infertility, turning breech babies, inducing labor and clearing up infections.  The cervix is just one small part of the uterus.  Specifically it is the lower part of the uterus that opens to allow passage between the uterus and the vagina.  The cervix widens during childbirth to allow the baby to pass, it also allows the passage of menstrual fluids from the uterus out of the body and it is vital for sperm to pass through the cervix to reach the uterus when trying to procreate.

            

The cervix is very vulnerable to several health conditions, such as chronic inflammation, polyps, dysplasia and even cancer.  Cervical conditions rarely present symptoms in the early stages, which makes it extremely important for women to get regular pap smears.  If an abnormality is detected, there are several ways to address it, depending on the severity.  In the early stages of any of the aforementioned conditions, acupuncture can be a positive addition to Western medical treatments.  Acupuncture is very good at decreasing inflammation and helping to dissolve polyps and tumors.  Acupuncture can also balance hormones, which allows the body to correct any imbalances.

            

One of the most studied areas of acupuncture is in treating fertility issues.  When invitro fertilization by itself does not get the job done, adding acupuncture may be the last piece of the puzzle.  Acupuncture does much more than just balance the hormones.  When a woman is trying to get pregnant and struggling with it due to fertility issues, the stress levels are extremely high.  And high stress levels have been proven to disrupt the body’s ability to conceive.  One of the things that acupuncture is really successful at is decreasing stress levels.  This can make it easier for the fertility treatments to work.  Acupuncture has also been shown to increase blood flow to areas of the body, including the uterus.  This can help to make a very hospitable place for a baby to grow.

            

Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine are also widely used for treating infections and sexually transmitted diseases.  In traditional Chinese medicine, most infections have some sort of heat or discharge associated with them.  This medicine uses principles, herbs and acupressure points that have specific properties that can drain heat and expel toxins from the body.  This can lead to an overall improvement in both uterine and cervical health.

            

Another area where acupuncture can help with cervical health is at the time of birth.  About four percent of babies are presented in the breech position prior to birth.  An accessory modality known as moxibustion, has proven time and time again, that it can actually turn the baby to the proper birthing position.  Moxibustion involves the burning of an herb, dried mugwort, very near the skin on a specific acupressure point that is located on the outer edge of the pinky toe.  By performing moxibustion several times a day, the baby and the body somehow know that there needs to be a repositioning and the baby tends to turn during the night.

            

When it comes to women’s health, acupuncture is an amazing resource.  Finding a licensed acupuncturist in your area is as simple as doing an internet search.  But there are also acupuncturists who specialize in fertility and women’s health issues.  So be sure to research before you schedule your appointment.

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