Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holistic Migraine Treatment

Many people suffer from migraine headaches. These may be caused by heredity, hormonal changes, environmental factors, certain foods and other triggers. Common pharmaceutical treatments include powerful drugs known as triptans. Such drugs include Imitrex and Maxalt. Although these drugs can help, frequent use is not recommended because of the risk of adverse effects. In such cases rebound headaches can occur which are even worse. Often this leads to a person trying to use even more medication which further compounds the problem. At this point the medication becomes useless and even stronger drugs may be prescribed. More drugs, more potential side effects. Women of childbearing age, the most common migraines sufferers, may not be allowed to become pregnant as these drugs can affect the fetus.

The most recent studies clearly show that acupuncture is as effective or more effective than the triptan drugs in treating migraine headaches. Additionally, there are virtually no side effects. Treatment is usually on a weekly basis for 1-2 months. This is usually enough to break the cycle. At that point, treatments are scheduled further apart or on an as needed basis. There are essentially no contraindications.

Another type of headache called cluster headache was also just recently studied. The report appears in the Dec. 9, 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The report states: "To our knowledge, this is the first adequately powered trial of high-flow oxygen compared to a placebo, and it confirms clinical experience and current guidelines that inhaled oxygen can be used as an acute attack therapy for episodic and chronic cluster headache....." The report stated that 78 percent of patients reported being pain-free or having adequate relief within 15 minutes of receiving high-flow oxygen.

So, in the end, you be the judge. Safe, effective holistic treatments or piles of pills and the potential for devastating side effects.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Energy Balancing

Here's a great technique for balancing your energy. Many people have stress related energy problems-can't get going in the AM or crashing in the afternoon. This is often complicated by chronic stress. The body secretes stress hormones such as cortisol. So, coffee is added or lattes or other stimulants such as nicotine are added to the mix. If this is you, try this.

Acupuncture can be used to sedate a hypersensitized nervous system, i.e. one that is way out of balance due to too much stimulation and subsequent depletion of energy. Follow this treatment directly with a Thai massage. This is a way to re-energize and "lubricate" one's body. Most often, this method, re-sets your "inner clock" and allows the body's energy system to re-balance.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Treating migraines holistically

Millions of people suffer from migraines. Some migraines are caused by just one factor, say stress. When stress becomes uncontrollable, muscles can tighten in the neck and shoulders and create painful spasms which may then become a full-blown migraine. However, some people have more complex causes such as environmental triggers (think mold for example), food allergies and sensitivities (certain wines and cheeses among others), hormonal problems (often associated with menstrual cycle) and sinus and airborne allergies. When migraines have multiple causative factors treatment becomes much more difficult. Even strong medications (Imitrex and Topamax) can cause severe side effects and if not properly used can actually worsen the migraines. One such case was just seen in my office. She was prescribed multiple medications by her neurologist and as each wore off the headaches returned with a vengeance. She actually had to be seen by yet another doctor to straighten out this worsening problem. Once this was accomplished, her headaches returned but to a lesser degree.

I now see her for weekly acupuncture treatment and she is very close to headache free. Also, she is very careful with her diet avoiding foods known to trigger migraines. Often, a holistic approach such as this is the safest and most effective treatment.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Wheat grass juice

I am all in favor of keeping it natural; natural foods, natural herbs all things natural. However, let's be real. Face it-tornadoes and poison ivy are also natural. So, once in a while there is a problem with natural. Just this week there was a gentleman who tried wheat grass juice for the first time. As it happened, this man is 85 years old with chronic kidney problems (he sees a nephrologist regularly) and diabetes. His daughter (who is into health foods) offered him a small cup of fresh wheat grass juice. The next thing he knew, he became dizzy and weak. He checked his blood sugar with a glucometer (or blood glucose meter) and discovered that it was off the charts high. Possibly this was due to a high content of carbohydrates and potassium affecting his blood sugar and kidneys. Moral of the story? Always be careful in selecting new foods, nutraceuticals and supplements especially if you have chronic illnesses.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Oyster aphrodisiac


This is the second article in a series on aphrodisiacs. In the first article it was explained that an aphrodisiac is a substance that can purportedly increase sexual desire. Additionally, because desire is a mental process/emotion, drugs like Viagra which work on a physical basis alone (per claims of the manufacturer) do not fit the true definition of aphrodisiac. Of course, it can not be denied that if people have an expectation for sex and a purple pill is popped at the right time, the expected activity may certainly result.

Oysters are among the oldest and most commonly utilized aphrodisiacs available. In fact , the word aphrodisiac is derived from Greek mythology. Specifically, it comes from the goddess Aphrodite. The story states that the goddess came from the ocean perched upon an oyster shell and that she gave birth to Eros, god of desire. There is also the ancient belief that foods that resemble certain body parts stimulate or enhance those parts. An example of this would be walnuts and the brain. A walnut cracked in half reveals a geography startlingly similar to the human brain. Further, modern science has found walnuts to contain vitamin E which is essential for sexual and reproductive health.

Oysters resemble female genitalia. They also have a sensuous feel. When taken on the half shell with a glass of wine, might this not be a true elixir? And similarly, like walnuts containing nutrients that are good for the brain, oysters contain nutrients which are essential for reproductive health. Specifically, oysters contain zinc. The highest concentration of zinc in humans is in the prostate gland which helps to produce semenal fluid. Might this contribute to enhanced desire? Zinc is also necessary for the production of testosterone. Other nutrients found in oysters are certain amino acids which have been found to stimulate the nervous system and increase sex hormones in lab experiments with rats.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ginger prevents motion sickness and relieves upset stomach

I have used ginger (Zingiber Officinale) extensively in my holistic practice. It is one of the safest herbs available and can be quite effective in preventing motion sickness and relieving upset stomach. It can also improve digestion. Research has shown that ginger can help prevent vomiting. Many of my cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy derive great benefit from ginger. Many are relieved to go off their antiemetic (prevents vomiting) meds and instead relax with a cup of ginger tea. Simply pour boiling water over about 1 gram (about 1/3 teaspoon) of freshly cut pieces of ginger and strain after 5 minutes. It is also possible to purchase capsules in a health food store. Total dose for the prepared ginger is between 2 and 4 grams.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chinese herbs for allergies and sinus

Just read an article in the Wall Street Journal about a Chinese herbal formula called Bian Pian. This is a safe, well established formula that seems to have a drying effect on the nasal membranes. In fact it seems to work too well in some cases and can actually make you too dry. (In cases such as that, discontinue or reduce dosage). The studies on Bian Pian were positive in some cases and inconclusive in others. I also use another formula for respiratory problems that is administered by the inhalation of steaming herbs (think vaporizer). This formula which translates into "Open Lung", has the effect of opening the nasal passages and is generally safe. I am currently treating a difficult case where I am using a combination of both herbal formulas. The patient has a "dry" type rhinitis but this is compounded by a deviated septum. The finding of deviated septum was confirmed by MRI. Many times, multiple formulas are used to treat the same basic problem. When I studied in China, I noticed that this was fairly common practice in the hospital.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


We often hear the word "Balance" used in reference to health and a healthy lifestyle. What is meant by this word? If we look at it in its most literal definition we mean physical balance, not falling down. However, in a whole sense, were talking about many types of balance- internal, external, physical , emotional and so on. In Florida for example, we live in a very hot climate and stay indoors in air conditioned spaces. As a result, we tend to dehydrate rapidly. If you sleep in a sealed (windows closed, everything tight) home, 8 hours a night, chances are you are pretty dry in the morning. Balance, then, dictates that the first thing you do in the morning is drink a glass of water. First thing. How many of us do? It's downhill from there. You spend all day on the computer and you expect to carry on a normal conversation when you get home? You eat sweets to excess, sedating yourself with sugar highs and lows and then can't eat a normal meal? You stay up all night and can't get anything done during the day? These are all signs of being out of balance. There is a normal balance in nature- night time is cooler, we slow down and sleep. If your life is not in balance you probably have lost touch with the natural order of things. Time to go to a beach, watch a sunset, re-examine your life in relationship to the natural balance of nature.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Services

I have just added some great new services to my clinic. We are offering 1 free prenatal massage each to the first 10 women who respond. Clinic is located in Jupiter, Florida. Also, now offering nutrition consulting services with Registered Dietitian who interned at Johns Hopkins Medical Center.
From July 7 to July 21 there is a phone drive to help support HR 646, the Federal Acupuncture Act. You can call your congressional rep, senator or president (202-456-1111). There is a good letter on line at
Lastly, there is a good free web newsletter available at It provides lots of information on helping you live life fully.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Prenatal Massage

I have seen prenatal massage help many women with back pain and other problems associated with pregnancy. I have just added this service to my clinic in Jupiter, Florida. We will give one free massage each to the first ten pregnant women that reply.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

stress and overeating

How does one control overeating due to stress? Specifically, is there something in Chinese medicine that can help with this problem. The answer is yes! Understand, Chinese medicine looks at the source of the problem rather than just the symptom. Thus, don't try to control the overeating but rather control the stress. So, how does Chinese medicine control stress? Find a skilled acupuncturist. Many times this is all you need. If you are on a cruise, Princess Cruises often have an Acupuncture Physician on staff. Also, find out, if you can, what the source of stress is. You need to be a detective. Is it getting up at a certain time? Hey- you're on a cruise! Don't worry about getting up at 5 AM. Allow yourself to get up a little later and so on. Sometimes, however, the source of the stress can be deeper. Western medicine talks of Anxiety Disorders which can flare up without a particular external trigger, even when everything else seems to be going well. Many people take strong medicines for this kind of thing, medicines like Xanax. Unfortunately, Xanax is addictive and people can build a tolerance to it, necessitating higher doses and stronger medicines. One Chinese formula I sometimes prescribe, a mild one, is called An Shen Bu Xin Wan. Chinese herbal formulas are based on each patient's unique pattern of stress, so unfortunately there is no one -size- that- fits- all formula. Instead, speak with your Holistic doctor/Acupuncture Physician about safer herbal alternatives.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Staying Healthy While Traveling

I just received some inquiries re. my last posting," Eat Fat for Low Cholesterol." Specifically, how do I stay healthy on a cruise; how do I deal with so much food on a cruise; how do I stay healthy while traveling. For one thing, when you're out at sea for a 24 hour stretch or more there are two main attractions on the ship-food (24/7) and activities. The one activity that's available pretty much all the time is the spa and gym. I really could not make an excuse for not going to the latter at least a few times during my vacation. I found that not having to schedule gym time between work and my normal routines when at home was quite a luxury. I made a deal with myself- there was no way off the ship and therefore no easy out of exercise; so when I got bored and finished my second book and had eaten more food than any one should, I went to work out. Second secret: I was not my usual bang out the routine as fast as possible self. Instead, I was able to look out onto the ocean and kind of drift easily and, yes, very comfortably through weights, machines, sit ups, etc. After a few sessions and a massage, I was back! Third secret: I'm very lucky because my wife is a nutritionist and so although food quantities were large, selection was carefully done. For example, we're supposed to eat indigeneously. That is, in Hawaii eat pineapple, in California oranges and so forth. Well, our boat was loaded with fresh Alaska salmon at pretty much every port. Not only was this delicious and well prepared but it is super healthy for you containing the omega nutrients, fish oil etc. Lastly, when I got off the boat at the various ports I tried to get some more exercise by going on a glacier tour where you get to walk around and going out into nature to see the whales and eagles. There are lots of other "tricks" too numerous to go into right now. I often counsel people on these things as well as proper supplements in my practice. You can view some of these services on my website,

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Eat Fat for Low Cholesterol!

Hi everyone. Just got back from a fabulous vacation in Alaska. Funny thing happened. I hired a native guide to show me around Ketchikan, a beautiful seacoast town. I saw whales and eagles and all kinds of amazing things. However, most interestingly, I got into a discussion with my guide, Bernadette Raven Killer Whale. Up in the cold North country, the indigenous people eat large quantities of animal products containing very high percentages of fat. Additionally, many of these people are overweight or even obese. Notwithstanding all these purportedly negative health factors, their cholesterol levels are generally in the normal range! How come? Genetics, climate, and a very active and sometimes very rugged outdoor lifestyle are all factors. Sometimes our genetic inheritance trumps all else. Certainly an active lifestyle can help keep us healthy as well. Each person has their own unique set of both inherited and environmental factors. Also, certain diets contain heart protective foods and spices that can significantly lower cholesterol levels. One example is Red Yeast Rice, common in eastern cultures. Peking duck, a food certainly high in animal fat is traditionally seasoned with Red Yeast Rice. Now that's a pretty smart combination. It's almost like taking natural Lipitor with your meal. If you are interested in approaching health using diet and alternative techniques, speak with a holistic doctor or nutritionist who can guide you safely on this path.

Monday, June 1, 2009


I have been trained as a doctor in both the United States and China. I have seen firsthand how different kinds of healthcare systems can work together for the ultimate betterment of the patient. As early as 1,000 BC, in ancient China, there were actually five different medical systems that comprised Traditional Chinese Medicine: diet, herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage and exercise/Qi Gong. There was no conflict as to which way was the only way! Patients were (and still are) encouraged by their doctors to use one, several, or all of these systems. The oldest method, and the most fundamental method, was diet. In traditional Chinese food preparation, herbs were utilized and food was considered medicine. As a doctor I believe it is essential to not only help people be well but to teach them a way to stay well. In my practice I combine Chinese medicine, Western medicine, nutrition, lifestyle counseling, massage and many other modalities to help my patients find their pathway to health. I believe that only by combining all healthcare modalities in a proper and judicious way, using both the old and the new, can we hope to achieve the best outcomes for our patients, families and ourselves. In upcoming blogs, I will address specific examples and cases that demonstrate just how this works. Look for my next blog on how to lower cholesterol using safe, non prescription techniques. An actual case will be described.


TMJ can be treated with comprehensive techniques that include acupuncture, CST, and massage.