Turmeric is one the most thoroughly researched plants in existence today. Its medicinal properties and components (primarily curcumin) have been the subject of over 5600 peer-reviewed and published biomedical studies. In fact, our five-year long research project on this sacred plant has revealed over 600 potential preventive and therapeutic applications, as well as 175 distinct beneficial physiological effects. This entire database of 1,585 ncbi-hyperlinked turmeric abstracts can be downloaded as a PDF at our Downloadable Turmeric Document page, and acquired either as a retail item or with 200 GMI-tokens, for those of you who are already are members and receive them automatically each month.
Given the sheer density of research performed on this remarkable spice, it is no wonder that a growing number of studies have concluded that it compares favorably to a variety of conventional medications, including medications for: cholesterol, inflammation, depression, diabetes, and more.
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For more than 2,500 years, acupuncture has been one of the world's most popular forms of health care to treat all types of chronic pain. The ancient technique of acupuncture helps relieve chronic back pain better than standard care such as medications or physical therapy. According to recent studies, acupuncture outperformed sham treatments and standard care when used by people suffering from osteoarthritis, migraines, and chronic back, neck and shoulder pain.
Acupuncture, which involves inserting needles at specific “acupoints” on the body, is among the most widely practiced forms of alternative medicine in the country and is offered by many hospitals. Most commonly the treatment is sought by adults looking for relief from chronic pain, although it is also used with growing frequency in children. According to government estimates, about 150,000 children in the United States underwent acupuncture in 2007.
In clinical practice, the most common types of pain that patients turn to acupuncture for are neck pain, upper/mid back and low back pain, arthritis pain, knee pain, shoulder pain migraine pain, tendonitis, carpel tunnel syndrome, menstrual pain, and even cancer pain.
So exactly how does inserting acupuncture work to relieve pain? Acupoints are tiny areas on the skin that contain relatively concentrated levels of nerve endings, lymphatics, and blood vessels. Acupoints can be readily identified by their lower electrical resistance, and are usually located in small palpable depressions detectable by trained acupuncturists. Stimulation from placing acupuncture needles in acupoints initiates pain relief, relaxation, and healing.
There are several theories as to how acupuncture relieves pain. It is widely accepted that acupuncture stimulates the secretion of endorphins in the body (specifically enkephalins). Endorphins are our bodies’ natural painkillers. They are 1000 times stronger than morphine. Also, certain neurotransmitter levels (such as serotonin and noradrenaline) are affected by acupuncture. This is why acupuncture is so successful with depression, mood disorders, and weight loss, and often why many people feel so amazing after an acupuncture treatment.
The pain-gate theory explains that pain signals must pass through a number of high traffic gates as they move from the area of injury upward through the spinal cord into the brain. Like a road or a highway, these nerves can only handle a limited number of nerve signals at one time. Acupuncture generates competing stimulus and effectively interrupts the neurotransmitters of the pain signals from reaching the brain. This results in the patient never getting the pain signal and therefore never getting the pain. This is the most popular theory among Western scientists.
In summary, it seems that there are several systems in the body involved in carrying the effects of acupuncture and that there are messages being delivered to both the brain and body that promote health and pain relief. Acupuncture is truly an amazing drug-free medicine, with no side effects.
The cost of treating chronic pain with surgery, narcotic pain killers, NSAIDS, injections of cortisone, and other short-acting analgesics is extremely high when compared to the cost of an acupuncture treatment, which can cost only $85.00.
It is important for medical physicians and patients with pain to recognize that acupuncture is extremely effective in regard to pain relief. So many people with pain, whether from low back pain, headache or a chronic, unexplained condition, rely on prescription NSAIDS and narcotic pain killer medications, which can become addicting and cause serious side effects.
Acupuncture has no side effects, and studies have shown the pain relief it provides can last for months, not to mention the improved quality of life for individuals suffering from chronic pain.
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Pain 1999;83:235-241. Kleinhenz J, et al. Randomised clinical trial comparing the effects of acupuncture and a newly designed placebo needle n rotator cuff tendonitis.
Susman E. Bran scans show acupuncture dulls pain. Excite News, December 1, 1999
Dr. Helene Pulnik is a board-certified, licensed Acupuncturist and Naturopathic Physician with a private practice in Glastonbury, CT for over 13 years. She has helped many patients become pain free; often eliminating the need for drugs and surgery for chronic pain. She is now accepting new acupuncture patients.
The fertility rate in the United States has been declining for the past few decades. The fertility rate is the number of children an average woman bears over the course of her life. The replacement rate is 2.1. If the average woman has more children than that, population grows. Today, America's total fertility rate is 1.93, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; it hasn't been above the replacement rate in a sustained way since the early 1970s.
Infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant after a year or more of sperm insemination or well-timed, unprotected vaginal intercourse. Infertility may be a temporary or a permanent condition; this depends on the available treatments, the cause, and the fertility of the partner at any particular point in time.
Infertility is often incorrectly considered "the woman's problem". To improve the couple's chances of conception a child together, both the man and the woman should be evaluated, and treated, if necessary, Because conception is a complicated process, it depends upon several factors.
There are many potential causes for infertility or reproductive problems. Chronic illnesses, as well as their treatments, can lead to fertility problems. Illnesses like diabetes and hypothyroidism can cause fertility problems. Insulin, antidepressants, and thyroid hormones may lead to irregular menstrual cycles, for example. Premature ovarian failure has become a common cause of infertility in younger women, often diagnosed as “unexplained infertility”.
Environmental toxins and xenoestrogens in foods are known to cause hormone disruption, and free radical damage to both ovaries in women and sperm production in men. Certain toxins such as phthalates may be linked to genital abnormalities in boys. Products that contain phthalates include food packaging, cosmetics, make-up, soaps, fragrances, shampoos, hairspray, nail polish, pharmaceuticals, nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, building materials, vinyl flooring, paints, adhesives, detergents, solvents, lubricating oils, plastic bags, garden hoses, automobiles, children’s toys, modeling clay, glow sticks, cleaning products, and as inert ingredients in insecticides. In many instances phthalates are not identified on product labels.
40% of infertility can be due to male factors, and acupuncture also treats male partners of women trying to conceive. Medication used to treat peptic ulcers or hypertension can cause male factor infertility, including problems with sperm production or their ability to fertilize the egg. In men, average sperm concentration went from 72 million/ml in 2001 to 52 million/ml in 2011. When sperm concentration drops below 40 million/ml, conception becomes difficult. Researchers agree that diet, lifestyle, and exposure to chemicals are causing the worldwide decline. Fertility issues are environmental issues
Couples experiencing difficulty conceiving may be referred to a fertility specialist for evaluation. Typically, blood testing, genetic testing, and sperm testing are done to determine if there are any medical or hormonal abnormalities that need to be treated.
Currently, there are several medical treatments for infertility performed by MDs who specialize in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). These treatments are typically hormones to induce ovulation, IUI or intrauterine insemination, which is a procedure in which sperm are placed directly into the uterine cavity near the time of ovulation and IVF, or in-vitro fertilization, which is a procedure that involves retrieving eggs and sperm from the bodies of the male and female partners and placing them together in a laboratory dish to enhance fertilization. Fertilized eggs are then transferred several days later into the female partner's uterus where implantation and embryo development will hopefully occur as in a normal pregnancy.
Success rates with IUI can vary from 5% to 20% for a single cycle, depending on the age and health of the couple. With several IUI cycles, the conception rate can be even higher. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the success rate of conception with IVF is 10%-35%, again depending on the age and health status of the couple. Both IUI and IVF procedures can cost several thousand dollars per cycle or treatment, and are not always covered by insurance.
From the viewpoint of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture and Naturopathic Medicine, other factors contributing to infertility include imbalances in the energy meridians of the body, toxic overload, and lifestyle factors such as poor diet, stress, and lack of proper sleep.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are affordable therapies that have been used safely and effectively alongside with IUI and IVF, as well as a stand-alone treatment for infertility. Studies have shown that acupuncture can improve the success rate of IVF by 40%-60%. The typical cost for an Acupuncture session is only $85.00.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can help improve fertility and the success of IVF in a number of ways:
1. Improve the function of the ovaries to produce better quality eggs
2. Restore hormonal balance and blood flow to the ovaries to produce a large number of follicles
3. Increase blood flow to the uterus to increase thickness of the uterine lining
4. Reduce stress, increase relaxation and improve sleep
5. Lessen the side effects of drugs used in IUI and IVF
6. Balances the immune system
7. Improves sperm count, motility, and morphology.
Using proven Acupuncture techniques, Chinese herbal medicine, detoxification, nutritional counseling, nutritional supplementation, and stress reduction can help to restore balance and overall wellness. Restoring balance allows the body’s hormones and natural cycles to become more regular, and increases the body’s response to IUI and IVF, thus improving fertility.
Traditional Acupuncture involves inserting extremely thin, sterile, stainless steel, disposable needles into specific points on the surface of the skin, restoring balance to the body, mind, and spirit along with the correction of infertility-related imbalances and deficiencies. This age-old system of medicine has stood the test of thousands of years and yet continues to rise above and improve health even in our modern western culture. This sophisticated yet subtle method of treatment is so effective because of its focus on each individual's particular needs. At the same time, acupuncture is a very relaxing and rejuvenating treatment.
Dr. Helene Pulnik is a board-certified, licensed Naturopathic Physician, and Licensed Acupuncturist. She is also a Registered Pharmacist and holds a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition.
She has studied infertility treatment using acupuncture, herbs, nutrition, and stress reduction with Mike Berkley, Lac. In New York, and Dr. Randine Lewis, author of The Infertility Cure.
Integrating the wisdom of proven acupuncture techniques and natural medicine, Dr. Pulnik treats couples by supporting the body’s natural cycles to enhance fertility. Dr. Pulnik provides Acupuncture, detoxification, herbal, and nutritional counseling for infertile couples.
Acupuncture & IVF: Increase IVF Success by 40-60% by Lifang Liang
The Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, Updated Tables, September 2012 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility: Handbook for Clinicians (pocket sized) by Dan I. Lebovic, John David Gordon and Robert N. Taylor
The Infertility Cure: The Ancient Chinese Wellness Program for Getting Pregnant and Having Healthy Babies, by Randine Lewis, Ph.D.
Declining Sperm Counts, BMJ. 1996 July 6; 313(7048): 43–45,
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