What is acupuncture?

What is acupuncture?

accupuncture_post

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medical treatment that uses needles to pin point places of acupuncture in the body. Its uses of origin date back over 2,500 years.

Beginning in ancient china, the theory of acupuncture is that illness and body pain are a result of imbalanced energy flow in the body. By using needles in a particular combination (determined by the practitioner) and placing them at various depths throughout the 350 places of acupuncture in the body (referred to as “Meridians”), these points of pressure are then stimulated, thus restoring balance of energy in the body.

The use of acupuncture is widely practiced throughout the world, however, because of a lack of scientific evidence to back up its methods and results, some modern western doctors are more skeptical and reluctant to use or recommend this form of treatment.

However, according to an article published in the “British Medical Journal” in 2009, one Doctor White claims that acupuncture and its uses are rooted deeply in science and the idea that you need to have a great understanding of the philosophical origins (such as “Chi” and “Meridians”), are unnecessary to the use and application of the process.

 

He is quoted as saying:

“In the past it was easy for doctors and scientists to dismiss acupuncture as ‘highly implausible’ when its workings were couched in talk of chi and meridians. But it becomes very plausible when explained in terms of neurophysiology.”

White argues that there are over 30 years of scientific evidence that support his claims that acupuncture is more than a mysterious and ancient foreign technique, and that its use actually stimulates the nerves in the brain and spinal cord, which then release chemicals into the brain (such as the feel-good chemical serotonin) causing us to feel better.

Regardless of the argument between those who believe it is rooted in science, and those who believe it is instead rooted in ancient tradition and theory, its use is widely popular and widely practiced for a reason.

 

What are the uses of acupuncture?

 

The illnesses and medical conditions that acupuncture is used to treat are widely varied. There are over 30 different medical conditions that I discovered upon my research into the practice that acupuncture has been or is currently being used to treat. Among these conditions are: digestive problems, musculoskeletal ailments, repertory difficulties, neurological disorders, gynecological issues (such and infertility), emotional conditions, and even obesity, to name a few.

Of course there are many sub categories along with the main categories listed above, but to save time, I will include a reference of all medical conditions currently treated using acupuncture in the reference list at the end of this article.

Not every condition that one may use acupuncture for, is treated the same way. While needles are the main method of pin pointing the nerves in your body, some practitioner’s also use heated stones, suction, electromagnetic energy, or even placebo needles.

One study of over 200 cancer patients that were currently undergoing chemo therapy, proved that acupuncture can be just as effective without the use of needles. Half of the patients received traditional acupuncture treatment, while the remaining half received simulated acupuncture treatment. Instead of using the traditional thin needles to puncture the skin, the patients who received the simulated acupuncture were treated with “a telescopic blunt placebo needle” that only touched their skin and did not pierce them.

Although the two groups received different versions of acupuncture, both groups had overwhelmingly positive results. Over 95% of patients from both sets, reported feeling less nauseated by chemo therapy. Additionally, 67% of all of the patients expressed other positive results as well. Such as, better sleep, less pain, and improved mood.

 

What are the benefits of acupuncture?

As widely varied are the uses of acupuncture, so are the benefits of its uses.

From emotional to physical, the use of acupuncture improves the state of a human greatly.

We already know that the science behind acupuncture proves that its uses stimulate our nerves which then send positive chemicals into the brain. Similar or the same as those released during exercise, these chemicals then cause us to feel happier, thus improving upon such conditions as depression, bi-polar disorder, anxiety, nervousness, etc. Physically, the benefits are even more outstanding.

Depending on the condition you are seeking to treat with acupuncture, and the severity of that condition, you may experience more, or less treatments per month or week than somebody else also being treated with acupuncture.

To give exact benefits of acupuncture to the body is a bit more difficult than to specify the benefits emotionally, because it simply depends on the type of treatment your practitioner will be administering.

The physical benefits may include any number of the following: lower blood pressure, increased fertility, weight-loss, allergy relief, nausea relief, decreased amount of migraines or headaches, stronger immune system, menopausal symptom relief, arthritis control, sports related injuries being improved, and pain management.

While there are many benefits to the treatment, there are also a few side effects to the treatment that one should consider. The main ones I came across were potential puncturing of the lung, or the transmission of hepatitis, risks for both can be brought down dramatically by choosing an experienced and well-trained acupuncture specialist.

Overall, acupuncture is a safe and effective way to try to eliminate or improve on a variety of medical conditions and with very few potential side-effects involved in the treatment, and with a variety of treatment options associated with acupuncture (for those more fearful of needles), there is no reason to be suffering and not at least ask your doctor or health care provider about trying acupuncture for yourself.

 

 

For further reading, the above mentioned articles or references can be found at these links:

 

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/142119.php

 

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/complementary_and_alternative_medicine/acupuncture_85,P00171/

 

http://www.prevention.com/health/healthy-living/health-benefits-acupuncture

 

http://acupuncturehealingarts.com/addiction-article.html

Do weight loss supplements actually work?

Do weight loss supplements actually work?

weight_loss_pills

There are a number of different diet pills out there all promising wonders in weight-loss. From the main players we will find out whats in them and how their magic ingredients is supposed to shed the pounds. Where possible we have included study’s to help show proof of their performance or lack of.


 SVETOL®


SVETOL® (green coffee extract) is the trade name of an extract called Chlorogenic acid which is extracted from green coffee beans (unroasted coffee beans), the extract is said to reduce the body’s ability to absorb carbohydrates from food, the effect is only short-lived therefore the extract is advised to be taken with your 3 main meals. Evidence to prove that Svetol actually works is limited and one of the study’s conducted was funded by a pharmaceutical company that markets the substance as a weight loss product.

Study: A small 22 week study carried out by Scranton university showed 16 overweight men and women lost and average of 17 pounds. The people in the study did not alter their diets and were physically active, they also lost more as the dose was increased. The doses given were 700mg up to  1050mg. A publication from Pubmed stated that the results were “consistent with both human and animal studies” and that the results also suggest that the extract “may be effective nutraceutical in reducing weight”.[1]

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22291473

Reported side effects: Headache

*Average customer review: 3.5/5

*Information obtained from customer reviews which are not solely based on the product efficacy


 XLS-Medical & LIPObind™

XLS-Medical & LIPObind™ are made up of both soluble and non-soluble fibers which are patented as the substance Litramine™. Litramine is a plant extract and is alleged to work in 3 ways.

The fibers bind to fat that is in the digestive system and prevents the body from absorbing a portion of it. Since fat is very calorie dense this approach would help cut the calorie intake by a respectable amount.

The soluble fibers swell up in the stomach which makes you feel fuller for longer

The fibers also help slow digestion of carbohydrates which help smooth the blood glucose levels which reduces cravings.

There are number of decent study’s out there proving the effect of Litramine in aiding weight loss, aiding being the important word, the diet still needs to be in check but Litramine will help accelerate the weight loss.

Study: A 2012 study conducted by the obesity society showed that litramine was effective at reducing body weight. The study included 123 subjects who completed the 12 week treatment phase. The graph below uses the data extracted from the study and shows that around 76% of subjects taking litramine lost at least 3% of their body weight at the end of the treatment phase.[1]

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23505169

Litramine weight loss

Reported side effects: Feeling bloated, diarrhea

*Average Customer Review: 2.5/5

*Information obtained from customer reviews which are not solely based on the product efficacy


 Adios™ 

Adios™ is a herbal combination of fucus (sea weed), boldo and dandelion root. So what is each of these herbs supposed role in weight loss?

  • Boldo is an evergreen shrub native to central Chile and Peru. It is a diuretic and is likely added to reduce your body weight by losing extra water not fat.
  • Dandelion root is another diuretic and again is likely added to encourage you to lose extra water not fat.
  • Juglans cinerea (white walnut) is a laxative and is said to aid digestion. Laxatives can assist weight loss as they prevent your body from absorbing all the nutrients from food however with the dosage found here i’m doubtful this will have any real effect on weight loss.
  • Fucus, the main ingredient contains iodine which the thyroid needs to maintain a healthy metabolism, this may help speed your metabolism especially if you are iodine deficient.

It is worth noting that prolonged high intake of iodine can cause thyroid problems which could cause weight gain in the future.

Study: No credible studies found. (January 2015)

Reported side effects: Hair loss, stomach pains, frequent urination, headache and nausea.

*Average Customer Review: 3/5

*Information obtained from customer reviews which are not solely based on the product efficacy


 Green Tea Extract

Green tea is said be excellent at a number of things, weight loss is supposedly one of them. The main antioxident  in green tea is called catechins and this is made up of several parts; epicatechin (EC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is thought to be main derivative when it come to weight loss. The compound is said to work in a number of ways to reduce weight.

  • increase fat excretion
  • increase metabolism and fat oxidation
  • inhibit fat cell development
  • prolong metabolic boosts after exercise

 Studys:

A study involving 10 men with a range of body fat percentages were assigned to a respiratory chamber to measure their metabolic rates on 3 different occasions. The first being  green tea extract (50 mg caffeine and 90 mg epigallocatechin gallate). Second,caffeine (50 mg), and Third placebo, which they took at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The caffeine and placebo results were similar while the EGCG showed an increase in metabolic rate of 4%. [1] [2]

[1] – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10584049
[2] – http://www.nutritionexpress.com/article+index/authors/jeff+s+volek+phd+rd/showarticle.aspx?id=330

*Average customer review: 4/5

*Information obtained from customer reviews which are not solely based on the product efficacy