<![CDATA[Great Road Acupuncture and Herbs - For the acupuncture care near you - Blog]]>Mon, 22 Jul 2024 12:43:48 -0400Weebly<![CDATA[Why do acupuncturists look at your tongue?]]>Thu, 18 Jan 2024 19:02:57 GMThttp://greatroadacupuncture.com/blog/why-do-acupuncturists-look-at-your-tongue
Tongue can give important clues to an acupuncturist about the imbalances in your body. In complicated
conditions with many different symptoms, tongue diagnosis nearly always reflects the basic and
underlying pattern.
What we look at is the toungue body color, the shape, the coating and the mositure.  For example,  is your tongue too red or too pale? Or is it pruplish? Is it thin or swollen, too dry or too wet? Is the tongue coating thick or thin, or there is no coating? Is there a crack along the midline? 
After we are done observing your tongue, we can decide if there is too much Heat or  Cold in your body, or if there is Blood, Yin, Qi or Yang deficiency that is causing imbalances in your body/mind. We always make diagnosis using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) terminology, and then plan the treatment accordingly. We don't do medical diagnosis. But, some changes in the tongue appearance may point to certain medical conditions such as diabetis, dysfanction in digestions, thyroid problems, anemia.

It is important to stress that diagnosis is never made on the tongue alone. Complete diagnosis has to take into
account other signs and symptoms that an acupuncturist reviews during the initial appointment with the
patient. So, if you have concerns regarding your tongue appearance, and especially if you also experience
some health problems, make an appointment with an acupuncturist for diagnosis and treatment.
<![CDATA[Peripheral Neuropathy]]>Mon, 18 Dec 2023 01:26:46 GMThttp://greatroadacupuncture.com/blog/peripheral-neuropathyPicture

Peripheral neuropathy is caused by a damage to the nerves of the peripheral nervous system. Chemotherapy, direct nerve injury, diabetes may resultin the peripheralnerve damage.
People with peripheral neuropathy experience tingling, burning, and even lack of feeling in the hands and feet. For many, the associated pain and numbness may be almost unbearable. It is a chronic problem that is difficult to treat and many times doctors will refer their patients to try acupuncture treatments.

And, indeed, acupuncture has been shown to be beneficial in alleviating the symptoms of the peripheral neuropathy.  Combination of manual acupuncture and electro-acupuncture improves local blood circulation, reduces local and systemic inflammation, and stimulates large peripheral nerves supplying the affected area.
A typical  course of acupuncture treatments for the peripheral neuropathy range from 6 – 15 weeks once a week with maintenance treatments scheduled once a month for an unspecified period of time, depending on the patient’s progress.

“Introducing a Standardized Acupuncture Protocol for Peripheral Neuropathy – A Case Series”; Alexandra Dimitrova, MD, PhD, MCR Department Of Neuroogy, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR. MEDICAL ACUPUNCTURE Volume 29, Number 6, 2017 

<![CDATA[Acupuncture for Chronic Inflammation]]>Wed, 14 Jul 2021 23:13:42 GMThttp://greatroadacupuncture.com/blog/acupuncture-for-chronic-inflammation
Chronic inflammation is at the root of many chronic diseases including autoimmune disorders, diabetes, Alzheimer's and depression.
Nerve stimulation has been investigated as a  potential therapeutic method to treat systemic and chronic inflammation. The electrical stimulation of cervical vagal efferents was shown to be effective in suppressing  systemic inflammation. 

Animal studies with low intensity, low frequency EA at the acupuncture point Zusanli (ST-36) have shown that this therapy  can efficiently suppress systemic inflammation, mainly via vagal efferents.

In clinical practice, this EA treatment can be used to treat health conditions with underlying chronic inflammations, such as some  gastrointestinal conditions, autoimmune disorders,  migrainesneuropathy, anxiety and depression.

  1. Liu, S., Wang, Z. F., Su, Y. S., Ray, R. S., Jing, X. H., Wang, Y. Q., & Ma, Q. (2020). Somatotopic Organization and Intensity Dependence in Driving Distinct NPY-Expressing Sympathetic Pathways by Electroacupuncture. Neuron, 108(3), 436–450.e7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2020.07.015
  2. Hu, S., Du, M. H., Luo, H. M., Wang, H., Lv, Y., Ma, L., Lin, Z. L., Shi, X., Gaischek, I., Wang, L., & Litscher, G. (2013). Electroacupuncture at Zusanli (ST36) Prevents Intestinal Barrier and Remote Organ Dysfunction following Gut Ischemia through Activating the Cholinergic Anti-Inflammatory-Dependent Mechanism. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/592127

<![CDATA[Quercetin and Zinc: Our Allies in Fighting Viruses]]>Thu, 23 Jul 2020 17:30:54 GMThttp://greatroadacupuncture.com/blog/quercetin-and-zinc-our-allies-in-fighting-viruses

Zinc is an important trace mineral that plays a crucial role in growth, development, and maintenance of immune function.  Zinc deficiency is common and may be result of  lifestyle, age, certain disease-mediated factors (liver cirrhosis, inflammatory bowel disease) , and malnourishment.
A mounting evidence accumulated over 50 years of research demonstrates that zinc has antiviral effect against variety of  viruses via numerous  mechanisms. Zinc can have a direct antiviral effect, but it also can generate  innate and acquired antiviral immune system responses. 

It has  been demonstrated in many studies that zinc  inhibits replication of RNA viruses such as influenza, poliovirus and coronavirus.  The studies have also shown that zinc has inhibitory effect on many other viruses such as HPV, HIV, Varicella Zoster, HSV and Hepatitis C.

Another important factor is the intracellular concentration of zinc.  To be efficient in fighting viruses, zinc has to be able to enter the cells and maintain a sufficient concentration.  Substances that help zinc transport inside the cells are called zinc-ionophores.  Substances such as pyrithione and quercetin are zinc-ionophores.

A study published in 2010, demonstrated  that combined action of pyrithione and zinc was very efficient in inhibiting influenza, poliovirus and coronavirus.
Although no studies have been done on efficacy  of combined action of quercetin and zinc in inhibiting these viruses, it could be assumed that they can have similar effect, since quercetin is capable of transporting zinc into the cells, thus increasing the intracellular concentration of zinc.

Both quercetin and zinc are safe supplements and adding them during flu and cold season may  be very beneficial.  Covid-19 is caused by a coronavirus and previous studies have shown that zinc was efficient in inhibiting SARS virus (Covid-19 is caused by SARS  covariant coronavirus.).  
Quercetin and zinc are also  readily  available in food. Quercetin rich foods are: onion, watercress, radicchio, asparagus, kale, red leaf lettuce, elderberry, cranberry, blueberry, apple and other.  Zinc rich food are: red meat, shellfish, legumes, nuts, dairy, eggs and other.   So, bolster your antiviral defenses and Bon Appetit!

*It is interesting to note that hydroxychloroquine is also a zinc-ionophore which may explain why many doctors used it in combination with zinc for covid-19 patients.


[1 ]Read, S. A., Obeid, S., Ahlenstiel, C., & Ahlenstiel, G. (2019). The Role of Zinc in Antiviral Immunity. Advances in Nutrition, 10(4), 696-710. doi:10.1093/advances/nmz013

[2] Velthuis, A. J., Sjoerd H. E. Van Den Worm, Sims, A. C., Baric, R. S., Snijder, E. J., & Hemert, M. J. (2010). Zn2 Inhibits Coronavirus and Arterivirus RNA Polymerase Activity In Vitro and Zinc Ionophores Block the Replication of These Viruses in Cell Culture. PLoS Pathogens, 6(11). doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1001176

<![CDATA[Herbal Formula to Protect against Chemotherapy and Radiation Toxicity]]>Fri, 26 Jun 2020 16:09:12 GMThttp://greatroadacupuncture.com/blog/herbal-formula-to-protect-against-chemotherapy-and-radiation-toxicityPicture
Shi Quan Da Bu Tang (SQDBT)  is a classical Chinese formula traditionally used to alleviate exhaustion, anemia, fatigue and weakness in the patients with consumptive disorders.
It is also a great therapy  to alleviate hematotoxicity  (low white blood cells and hemoglobin counts)  in  patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.

In one study a group of breast cancer patients was given SQDBT at the start of chemotherapy and compared to a control group that had started chemotherapy at the same time, but was not given SQDBT. One week after chemotherapy, the SQDBT group had significantly higher WBC and neutrophil counts than the control group.

SQDBT ingredients include herbs that also have known antineoplastic and immnuostimulatory effect such as Ren Shen (Radix et Rhizoma Ginseng, Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae), Huang Qi (Radix Astragali), and Shu Di Huang (Radix Rehmanniae Preparata).

 Sheng-Miauh Huang, PhD, Li-Yin Chien, ScD, Cheng-Jeng Tai, MD, Jeng-Fong Chiou, MD, Ching-Shyang Chen, MD, and Chen-Jei Tai, MD, PhD (2012) "Effectivenes of 3-Week Intervantion of Shi Quan Da Bu Tang for Alleviating Hematotoxicity Among Patients with Breast Carcinoma Receiving Chemotherapy" - Integrative Cancer Therapies 12(2) 136-144

<![CDATA[Chinese Herbal Medicine Support for Mild to Moderate COVID-19 Symptoms]]>Wed, 22 Apr 2020 23:41:30 GMThttp://greatroadacupuncture.com/blog/chinese-herbal-medicine-support-for-mild-to-moderate-covid-19-symptoms
Symptoms  of COVID-19  are similar to common cold and flu symptoms:
  • Upper respiratory tract: sneezing, runny nose,  nasal congestion, sore throat, lost sense of taste and smell
  • ​Lower respiratory tract:  dry cough, sputum production, shortness of breath
  • Gastrointestinal tract (in 5-10% of cases): diarrhea, nausea
  • Systemic: fever, lethargy, muscle pain, headache, dehydration

In over 98% of  COVID-19 cases  people recover completely.  The disease enters its severe phase when the virus propagates from the upper respiratory tract (nose, throat) to lower respiratory tract (lungs).  In that case,  immune system reaction may result in severe inflammation that can cause scarring and damage of the alveoli in the lungs and result in severe oxygen deprivation and multiple organ failure.
Thus,  it is of the utmost importance to prevent disease from spreading to the lungs. Western medicine does not have a definitive treatment for the early phase of  the disease, but medicinal herbs can play a major role.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is well integrated with modern medicine in China, and in many instances the main treatment for mild  and moderate are herbal medicinal formulas, as western medicine still does not have a definitive treatment for this virus.
1.  No symptoms? Great, keep it that way by strengthening your immune system.
  •  Herbal Formula: Yu Ping Feng San (YPFS) - stimulates immune system
  •  Research: The polysaccharides isolated from YPFS exhibit  significant immunostimulatory effects in both in vitro and in vivo
              studies.  Specifically, YPFS induces the proliferation and phagocytosis rate of macrophages, enhances T lymphocyte
             proliferation, and elevated levels of cytokine (nitric oxide, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-1, beta, interleukin-6,
             and interferon beta).
  2. Early phase, mild symptoms: 
  •  Symptoms: chills, slight fever or no fever, muscle stiffness of the neck and back, diarrhea
              Herbal formula: Ge Gen Tang
              Research: Ge Gen Tang demonstrated antipyretic, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral  properties. Ge Gen Tang also has
             a beneficial effect on mucosal lining of upper respiratory system, which is a first line of defense against any foreign particles
             (microbes, dust, pollutants) entering our body.
  • Symptoms: fever, chills, headache, sore throat, cough, dehydration
             Herbal formula: Yin Qiao San
             Research: Two main herbs in this formula, Jin Yin Hua (Flos Lonicerae Japonicae) and Lian Qiao (Fructus Forsythiae)
             show strong antiviral, antibiotic, and antibacterial effect, especially against influenza viruses, coxackie B virus, echo virus,
             Asian influenza A virus and others.
             Jin Yin Hua  contains three compounds that have potential to directly  inhibit  Covid19  novel coronavirus.
  •  Symptoms: cough, mild fever, mild dehydration:
              Herbal formula: Sang Ju Yin:
              Research: Two main herbs in this formula: Sang Ye (Folium Mori) and Ju Hua (Flos Chrysanthemum)  exhibit antibacterial,
              anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antipyretic effect. Sang Ye has compounds that interfere with  SARS  corona virus ability
              to bind to ACE2 receptors.
​    3. Moderate severity:
  • Symptoms: alternating spells of fever and chills, chest discomfort, irritability, lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting, vertigo, dry throat
             Herbal formula: Xiao Chai Fu Tang (XCFT)
             Research: XCFT has effect on temperature regulation, has anti-inflammatory effect, antiasthmatic and antiallergic effect .
             It is also a famous formula because of its hepatoprotective, antitumor properties and also  regulates high cholesterol levels.
  •  Symptoms: cough and difficult breathing,  unremitting fever, dehydration
​              Herbal formula: Ma Xing  Gan Shi Tang (MXGST)
             Research: MXGST has been demonstrated to reduce neutrophil infiltration into lung tissue and reduce lung inflammation.
            This means that it can prevent or reduce the damage to the lungs produced by  the cytokine storm. This is the primary base
​            formula used for Covid-19.

<![CDATA[Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia Relief with Acupressure and Magnets]]>Thu, 09 Apr 2020 17:18:16 GMThttp://greatroadacupuncture.com/blog/anxiety-depression-insomnia-relief-with-acupressure-and-magnetsAcupressure Points
These points are  often used for anxiety, depression and insomnia.  You can apply pressure  discreetly whenever you feel nervous, anxious or uneasy wherever you are: in a meeting, in the car, while talking to someone, before the events that  can make you anxious, in the evening before going to bed..

The three acupuncture points that can be very  effective in relieving anxiety , depression and insomnia are PC-6, HT-7, LU-9.
Used together they form a 'golden triangle' and have a powerful combined effect.
​You can stimulate these points with acupressure or with magnets.

How to Apply Acupressure
  • Hold the point steadily with direct pressure and at 90 degrees angle from the surface of the skin for 15-30 seconds
  • Apply and release finger gradually because it allows the tissue to respond and promote healing
  • After repeated acupressure applications, you may feel pulse at the point, which is a good sign - it means that the circulation has increased
  • Place a magnet over the acupuncture point
  • Magnet will provide mild, continuous  stimulation of the point
  •  Find out more here.


Three finger-widths away from the wrist crease and on the midline  of the palmar side of your lower arm.
Anxiety,  Fright, Insomnia
  • Chest tightness, agitation, palpitations
  • Fright palpitations
  • Insomnia, fear and fright
  • Sadness
​Also very effective for:
  • ​Cough and asthma
  • Hypertension
  • Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain (very important point for this!)
  • Helps with fever, headache
  •  Pain and contraction of the elbow and upper arm, stiffness and pain of the head and neck


  • ​​

At the wrist joint, along the line of your  small finger.
  • Indications      
  •  Insomnia
  • Palpitations, fright palpitations, pounding heartbeat
  • Anxiety, fear
  • Sadness 
​Important also for:
  • Heart pain, palpitations
  • Throat pain, dry throat, shortness of breath



At the wrist crease on palmar side of the hand,  opposite to and at the level with HT-7.
  • ​When stimulated together with HT-7:  sadness and fear
​   Very  important point for lungs and good for:
  • ​Coughing, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, oppression of the chest
  • Dry throat
  • Acid reflux, belching
  • Toothache
  • Weakness or pain of the wrist, pain of the shoulder and back, breast pain, arm pain

Golden Triangle: All Three Together

When stimulated together, these points provide a great relief for anxiety, insomnia, and depression.
<![CDATA[Role of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in COVID-19 Fight]]>Tue, 31 Mar 2020 22:54:22 GMThttp://greatroadacupuncture.com/blog/role-of-traditional-chinese-medicine-tcm-in-covid-19-fight
​When Wuhan, the city in China that was first struck with COVID-19  pandemic, had to be put under a lockdown,  the Chinese Government announced a major change in strategy - all infected patients were  also to be treated with Chinse traditional medicine.

The TCM doctors  worked on creating protocols and herbal formulas to fight the disease in various phases of development, and this is how they did it:
  • Prevention phase - strengthening of immune system
          - No symptoms
          - Base herbal formula: Yu Ping Feng San
          - Acupuncture: moxa on ST-36, CV-6, CV-12
  • Early  phase
          -  Symptoms: early onset of low grade fever, aversion to cold, chills, headache, ticklish throat, soreness of muscles and limbs,
              soreness of muscles and limbs
            - Base formula: Ge Gen Tang or Chai Ge Jie Ji Tang
            - If there is also sore and dry throat, dry cough - Base formula: Yin Qiao San
            - Acupuncture: Moxa on LI-4, LV-3, ST-36 and CV-8
  • Pneumonia phase
            - Symptoms vary and  herbal formulas prescribed  for pneumonia are specific to  symptoms and differential diagnosis
              according  to TCM principles
  • Recovery phase - healing and strengthening of the lungs
            -Symptoms: Absence of fever, dry cough, chest stuffiness, shortness of breath, shortness of breath upon exertion, dry mouth,
           - Base formula: Sha Shen Ma Dong Tang
          - Acupuncture: Moxa on GV-14, BL-17, BL-13, ST-13, LU-6

Inclusion of TCM in China  in the treatment against COVID-19 has produced very good results and was documented in the hospital records.
 American herbalists and acupuncturists can make a great difference in Prevention, Early and Recovery phase. 
The herbal formulas and individual herbs indicated for each phase are available in the US, although, perhaps as a testament of their efficacy, it's become harder and harder to find them since COVID-19 pandemic started. 
Great Road Acupuncture and Herbs has limited amount in stock. Find out more here.

Source: How Covid-19 is Treated in China with TCM - John Chen elouts.org

<![CDATA[Wellness with Acupressure - Immunity, Energy, GI Health]]>Thu, 26 Mar 2020 18:33:46 GMThttp://greatroadacupuncture.com/blog/wellness-with-acupressure-immunity-energy-gi-healthAcupuncture Point ST-36 (Zusanli)

If you ever had acupuncture, chances are that your acupuncturist needled this point, which is also called "longevity point". 
Often, when needle is inserted at ST-36, the feeling you may experience is one  of  dull ache and heaviness.
It is a very powerful point that can have effect on your immune system, digestion and even mood.  

This point is located on the lateral side on the front of the lower leg, about hand-width below the knee crease.
How to Apply Acupressure
  • The middle finger is the strongest and best suited to apply acupressure
  • Hold the point steadily with direct pressure and at 90 degrees angle from the surface of the skin for 15-30 seconds
  • Apply and release finger gradually because it allows the tissue to respond and promote healing
  • After repeated acupressure applications, you may feel pulse at the point, which is a good sign - it means that the circulation has increased
ST-36 is the 36th point on the Stomach meridian.  Traditionally it is used for:
  • GI conditions: nausea, epigastric pain, vomiting, belching, hiccup, distention and pain in the abdomen, poor appetite, difficult ingestion, diarrhea, flatulency 
  • Low energy, fatigue, diminished immunity
  • Dizziness, hypertension, palpitations
  • Depression, manic behavior
  • Febrile diseases, fever,  frontal headaches, chest pain
  • Breast pain, breast abscess
  • Knee pain, thigh pain, lumbar pain
Research Findings 

Acupuncture stimulation of ST-36  has effect on vagus nerve. Vagus nerve is a cranial nerve that innervates viscera, especially digestive organs, which may explain why this point is used  for digestive issues. 

ST-36 is an Anti-Inflammatory point!
Another important function of vagus nerve is regulation of pathologic inflammatory reactions, thus acting as a bridge between neural and immune system.  Chronic inflammation is at the root of many health conditions: diabetes, digestive issues, fatigue, depression.. No wonder it is called  "longevity point"!

<![CDATA[Simple Exercises to Relieve Pain, Relax and Restore]]>Fri, 20 Mar 2020 20:49:16 GMThttp://greatroadacupuncture.com/blog/simple-exercises-to-relieve-pain-relax-and-restore
Acupuncture works great for chronic pain, anxiety and sleep problems.   Adding these exercises will build on your previous  acupuncture treatments, and further enhance the healing.

The exercises I chose are gentle, short and can be easily  done in your home. However,  don't do anything that you feel is causing you pain, discomfort or is against your doctors orders.

For  chronic pain, limited flexibility,  difficulty walking              - Suitable for older adults or  for those who have limited flexibility 
             - Improve ankle, thigh, hip strength and promote good circulation              - Suitable for older adults 
             - Improve  balance and strength in lower extremities, reduce low back pain
Low back pain             - Suitable for those who have moderate to good flexibility             - Suitable for those who have moderate to good flexibility

Anxiety, insomnia, neck, shoulder , posture, lung circulation