Wednesday, 22 March 2017

BEST FOODS FOR HEALTHY THROAT

              
Throat infection is the most common kind of disease among all age groups. As it is a communicable disease caused by bacterial infection, sore throat is very easily caught. Inflammation of tonsils, epiglottis and uvula can occur during this disease. Itchiness and difficulty to eat can result due to it. Hot beverages, soups and broths are often recommended along with proper medication and care. Given below are the best foods for throat which can help you recover quickly from sore throat.

Food for Healthy Throat – Ginger:

Its bitter strong taste soothes and relaxes itchy throat. It has antifungal properties that help in preventing microorganisms to enter the body. Cough can be restricted by its consumption as it aids in promoting salivation and mucus secretion. It has warming properties and provides heat to the body. Lemon ginger tea is often given to patients suffering from common cold and sore throat.  Ginger contains essential oils, antioxidants and oleoresin. Oleoresin is a mixture of essential oils which restricts and relieves coughing. Various chemicals like gingerols, shogaols and zinger one found in ginger are helpful for throat irritation.

Best Foods for Throat – Lemon:

             Lemon contains a high quantity of Vitamin-C (53mg for 100gms) which helps in preventing and curing a person with sore throat. It is a strong anti-inflammatory agent and even helps in the production of antibodies and WBC which help in fighting against the micro-organisms in the body.

Remedy for Sore Throat – Honey

             Honey has anti-microbial properties. Consumption of honey while having throat infection can really be helpful as it reduces throat inflammation. Honey along with lemon and water has been found to do wonders against sore throat. Honey helps in inhibiting the cell mast deregulation and thus reduces various allergic reactions.

Banana for Throat:

              Banana is a throat soothing food because of its soft and tender texture. It is filled with potassium, Vitamin-B6 and Vitamin-C.Cloves to relieve Sore Throat

CLOVES FOR THROAT:
Essential oils present in cloves help in preventing fever and sore throat. Cloves have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties which help in keeping germs away from the body. Cloves aid in preventing phlegm from the respiratory system. Cloves are often slowly chewed to provide relief from sore throat and prevent cough.

Best Foods for Throat – Sage:

Sage is a medicinal herb which is high in phonemic acid, falconoid and oxygen handling enzymes.  It has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and astringent properties. This herb can be added in soups and beverages to provide a warming effect. It can help recover quickly from sore throat.

Boiled Carrots for Healthy Throat

            Boiled or steamed carrot is friendly to throat. Carrots are rich in Vitamin-C, potassium and Vitamin-A which can help recover from sore throat.

Licorice Root for Sore Throat

           Licorice Root has anti-inflammatory properties. It helps in soothing the mucous membrane. Saponin present in licorice root aids in expelling the phlegm from the respiratory tracts.

Best Foods for Throat – Black Pepper

           Black pepper has a warm and soothing effect on the body which can be helpful against cold and throat infections. It has got anti-bacterial properties and is rich in Vitamin-C, which aids in inhibiting the harmful microbes from entering the body. Consumption of pepper helps in relieving the phlegm. It can be consumed along with honey to get relief from itchy throat.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Throat

Apple Cider Vinegar can be consumed to reduce phlegm production and sore throat. It should be consumed along with honey and cinnamon to get best results. Its anti-bacterial properties scavenge the germs. It can be consumed by adding it to salads.


ASTHMA

 Symptoms:

Asthma is a chronic potentially life-threatening airway disease where inflammation in the lungs causes narrow, swollen airways, increased mucus and shortness of breath, chest tightening, coughing and a characteristic wheeze. While most asthma starts in childhood, experts say that both allergies and asthma can crop up at any age.

Types of asthma:

Asthma can be triggered by food, dust, mold and even cold air. Treatment options are just as varied.

There are many different types of asthma each triggered by various culprits and no one treatment fits all. Treatment depends on the type of asthma, allergens.

Here, the different types:

The six different types of asthma are: allergic (most common); occupational (work associated); steroid resistant (severe asthma); drug related; exercise induced and asthma related to obesity. Although they are separate they can work together to make asthma worse. Exposure to dust mites can impact on all of these.
          1. Allergic Asthma:
 Allergic asthma is the most common form of the disease and both storage and house dust mites are known worldwide as a cause of allergy symptoms.
2. Occupational Asthma:
Occupational Asthma can come from a wide range of substances, but can also be caused by exposure to dust mites at work. Patients at risk can be domestic cleaners, visiting health care workers, veterinary staff or field and farm workers handling mite-infested animals, hay or crops.
 3. Steroid Resistant Asthma:
            Steroid resistant Asthma patients have been shown to have a form of asthma that can be driven by neutrophil immune reactions, which are known to be less responsive to steroid treatments. New research indicates that house dust mites can trigger a neutrophil, as well as the 'normal' allergic eosinophil inflammatory reaction. If proven correct this makes mites 'double trouble' for the vulnerable steroid-resistant asthma patient.

         4. Drug related Asthma:
            Drug related asthma mainly refers to aspirin or NSAID (non steroidal anti-inflammatory) medication to relieve pain. The patients are not allergic to the drug itself, but vulnerable to the effect it has on the body. In some patients, NSAID drugs can increase the absorption mechanism of the gut, resulting in an increased uptake of environmental elements, including allergens. Dust mite-contaminated wheat or corn flour in baked food has been blamed for NSAID related severe allergic events in patients already allergic to mites.

           5. Exercise induced Asthma:
Exercise induced asthma (EIA). The tubes that bring air into and out of lungs narrow with exercise. The temperature or quality of the air breathed in during exercise can cause symptoms of asthma in people not otherwise diagnosed with asthma. The symptoms are wheezing, coughing or shortness of breath during or about 20 minutes following exercise. Preparations, such as a warm-up routine before exercise, can reduce EIA. Patients already diagnosed with other forms of asthma need to take extra care or their asthma can get worse. This includes an active allergy to dust mite exposure.

        6. Obesity Asthma:
Obesity combined with atrophy (the ability to easily make IgE) or allergy is associated with symptoms of asthma. Dust mites can induce atrophy (which can lead to allergy) and trigger allergic immune responses including asthma.

Home Remedies for Asthma:
There are many medical treatments for asthma. Some simple natural remedies can also provide relief from symptoms.
Here are the top 5 home remedies for asthma.

1. Ginger:

Ginger is a well-known natural treatment for various ailments including asthma. Researchers have found that it can help reduce airway inflammation and inhibit airway contraction.
Mix equal quantities of ginger juice, pomegranate juice and honey. Consume one tablespoon of this mixture two or three times a day.
1. Alternatively, you can mix one teaspoon of ground ginger in one and half cups of water and take one tablespoon of this mixture at bedtime.
2. Cut one inch of ginger into small pieces and add it to a pot of boiling water. Let it steep for five minutes, allow it to cool down and then drink it.
3. To detoxify your lungs, prepare a fenugreek decoction by boiling one tablespoon of fenugreek seeds in a cup of water and mixing one teaspoon each of ginger juice and honey in it. Drink this solution every morning and evening.
4. You can also eat raw ginger mixed with salt.

2. Mustard Oil:

            When having an asthma attack, massaging with mustard oil can help clear the respiratory passages and restore normal breathing.
  1. Heat some mustard oil with a little camphor.
  2. Transfer it in a bowl and when it is comfortably warm, gently rub it on the chest and upper back and massage.
  3. Do this several times a day until the symptoms subside.

3. Figs:

 The nutritional properties of figs promote respiratory health and help drain phlegm and alleviate breathing difficulties.
  1. Wash three dried figs and soak them in a cup of water overnight.
  2. In the morning, eat the soaked figs and drink the fig water on an empty stomach.
Continue this home treatment for a couple of months.

 4. Garlic:

        The following garlic remedy can help clear congestion in your lungs during the early stages of asthma.
  1. Boil two or three cloves in one-quarter cup of milk.
  2. Allow it to cool to room temperature and then drink it.

5. Coffee:

The caffeine in regular coffee can help control asthma attacks because it acts as a bronchodilator. Hot coffee helps relax and clear the airways to help you to breathe easier. The stronger the coffee, the better the result.
But try not to drink more than three cups of black coffee in a day. If you do not like coffee, you can opt for a cup of hot black tea. Do not use caffeine as a regular treatment though.

6. Eucalyptus Oil:


Pure eucalyptus oil is an effective treatment for asthma symptoms because of its decongestant properties. Research indicates that it has a chemical called eucalyptol which can help break up mucus.
  • Just put a few drops of eucalyptus oil on a paper towel and keep it by your head when sleeping so that you breathe in the aroma.
  • You can also put two to three drops of eucalyptus oil in a pot of boiling water and breathe in the steam. Try to take deep breaths for faster results.






Anorexia Treatment


          Anorexia is an eating disorder in which the affected person is reluctant to eat for the fear of weight gain. Anorexic people are underweight and psychologically they believe that eating a little amount of food will result in overweight. In order to combat weight gain; they might indulge in excessive workouts, consume laxatives or even vomit. People are referred as anorexic when their Body Mass Index (BMI) is 17 or below. Anorexia generally affects people who need to constantly monitor their weight and body shape like models, dancers and athletes. Let us have a look at the symptoms of anorexia followed by anorexia treatment. 

Anorexia Symptoms:

• Unable to eat normally and maintain a balanced BMI.

• Taking small amount of food and taking tiny bites.

• Obsessive over weight gains. Taking every precaution to prevent weight gain and monitoring it frequently.

• Showing withdrawal symptoms and ignoring friends & family.

• Going through depression.

• Lack luster in skin and hair.

• Constant feeling and fear of gaining weight.

• Mood swings

Causes of Anorexia:

There are plenty of factors that can cause anorexia. It can be due to heredity, infection and gastrointestinal problems; which are some of the biological causes of this disorder. Research has found that people suffering from anorexia due to biological reason have high cortisol, which results in stress. Even serotonin and nor epinephrine, which are mood enhancing substances found in our body are present in lower amount in them.

Anorexia can even be psychological wherein the person suffers from anxiety & depression; thus refrains him from eating. Or it can be caused by the social factors wherein the pressure of maintaining weight is a must like in fashion industry.

Anorexia Treatment – Accepting eating disorder:

It is vital to understand and consent that you are suffering from a disorder. Losing weight and going through emotional problems will only affect you. Talk about it to your family and close friends for support and suggestions. It is important that you have people around you who can motivate and uplift your mood in difficult conditions. For further motivation you can also read about the stories of people who have overcome this disorder.

Family support:

As a family member you need to take utmost care of the person suffering from this disorder. Family interventions are necessary to make the person understand how eating disorder is affecting him and the entire family. Monitor their progress and constantly appreciate their efforts. Don’t force them to eat as they might be suffering from acute depression or stress. In Family Based Treatment, you must ensure that proper nutrients are being consumed by the person.

Avoid unwanted people:

As discussed earlier, anorexia can occur due to social factors. A lot of people in fashion industry or entertainment industry have to maintain specific body standards. You tend to maintain cordial relationship with those people and have friends who promote weight loss or talk about strict diets. It is important now to stay away from such people and stop attending social gatherings with them. Stick with people who lead a healthy lifestyle.

Anorexia Treatment – Consult a Dietitian:

It is impossible to start eating appropriately instantly. Gaining healthy weight will be a daunting task and requires an expert advice. Consulting a dietitian will help you in gaining weight in a healthier way. The person will be given smaller amount of food to start with and will gradually be increased to a normal diet. Acquiring all the necessary nutrients in the diet is vital which can only be mapped down by a dietitian. Stick as much as possible to the diet plan charted down by your dietitian.

Medical Treatment:

Lot of times your body might get adversely affected by not consuming proper meals. For that you might need to get your body checked. Anorexia might lead to heart ailments, osteoporosis, kidney and stomach related problems. Prescribed medicines like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and olanzapine are often taken by people to treat anxiety and depression, which are two reasons of anorexia.

Psychological treatment:

Anorexic people often go through psychological treatment as it is long lasting and this treatment assures full recovery. This treatment can last up to a year. We will have a look at some of the psychological treatments.

Anorexia Treatment
                                  
Anorexia is an eating disorder in which the affected person is reluctant to eat for the fear of weight gain. Anorexic people are underweight and psychologically they believe that eating a little amount of food will result in overweight. In order to combat weight gain; they might indulge in excessive workouts, consume laxatives or even vomit. People are referred as anorexic when their Body Mass Index (BMI) is 17 or below. Anorexia generally affects people who need to constantly monitor their weight and body shape like models, dancers and athletes. Let us have a look at the symptoms of anorexia followed by anorexia treatment. 

Anorexia Symptoms:

• Unable to eat normally and maintain a balanced BMI.

• Taking small amount of food and taking tiny bites.

• Obsessive over weight gains. Taking every precaution to prevent weight gain and monitoring it frequently.

• Showing withdrawal symptoms and ignoring friends & family.

• Going through depression.

• Lack luster in skin and hair.

• Constant feeling and fear of gaining weight.

• Mood swings

Causes of Anorexia:

There are plenty of factors that can cause anorexia. It can be due to heredity, infection and gastrointestinal problems; which are some of the biological causes of this disorder. Research has found that people suffering from anorexia due to biological reason have high cortisol, which results in stress. Even serotonin and nor epinephrine, which are mood enhancing substances found in our body are present in lower amount in them.

Anorexia can even be psychological wherein the person suffers from anxiety and depression; thus refrains him from eating. Or it can be caused by the social factors wherein the pressure of maintaining weight is a must like in fashion industry.

Anorexia Treatment – Accepting eating disorder:

It is vital to understand and consent that you are suffering from a disorder. Losing weight and going through emotional problems will only affect you. Talk about it to your family and close friends for support and suggestions. It is important that you have people around you who can motivate and uplift your mood in difficult conditions. For further motivation you can also read about the stories of people who have overcome this disorder.

Family support:

As a family member you need to take utmost care of the person suffering from this disorder. Family interventions are necessary to make the person understand how eating disorder is affecting him and the entire family. Monitor their progress and constantly appreciate their efforts. Don’t force them to eat as they might be suffering from acute depression or stress. In Family Based Treatment, you must ensure that proper nutrients are being consumed by the person.

Avoid unwanted people:

As discussed earlier, anorexia can occur due to social factors. A lot of people in fashion industry or entertainment industry have to maintain specific body standards. You tend to maintain cordial relationship with those people and have friends who promote weight loss or talk about strict diets. It is important now to stay away from such people and stop attending social gatherings with them. Stick with people who lead a healthy lifestyle.

Anorexia Treatment – Consult a Dietitian:

It is impossible to start eating appropriately instantly. Gaining healthy weight will be a daunting task and requires an expert advice. Consulting a dietitian will help you in gaining weight in a healthier way. The person will be given smaller amount of food to start with and will gradually be increased to a normal diet. Acquiring all the necessary nutrients in the diet is vital which can only be mapped down by a dietitian. Stick as much as possible to the diet plan charted down by your dietitian.

Medical Treatment:

Lot of times your body might get adversely affected by not consuming proper meals. For that you might need to get your body checked. Anorexia might lead to heart ailments, osteoporosis, kidney and stomach related problems. Prescribed medicines like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and olanzapine are often taken by people to treat anxiety and depression, which are two reasons of anorexia.

Psychological treatment:

Anorexic people often go through psychological treatment as it is long lasting and this treatment assures full recovery. This treatment can last up to a year. We will have a look at some of the psychological treatments.
Cognitive analytic therapy (CAT)

Usually our behavioral and thinking patterns are developed in early ages and we even as an adult tend to follow them. In this therapy the therapist will analyze the root cause of the problem by understanding our thought processes, some memorable events in our lives and our emotions towards certain things.

This therapy takes place in 3 phases. The 1st phase is known as Reformation phase. In this, the therapist discusses the childhood problems and the present problems in the life of the patient. The therapist tends to relate them to understand the link it has on the patient. 1st phase can last from 2 months to 6 months.

The 2nd phase of CAT is Recognition phase. In this phase, the therapist underlines where the problem lies. It also makes the patient aware of the problem and the reasons of its occurrence. 3rd phase is Revision phase where alternative solutions of the existing problem are given to the person.

Focal Psychodynamic Psychotherapy:

This is again a psychological treatment which is useful to counter eating disorders. It has 2 objectives. 1st is to make the person realize the importance of food and how it will affect his body. 2nd is to find alternative solutions of letting go the stress and the symptoms of eating disorder faced by him.

Interpersonal Therapy:

Anorexia can be caused due to stress and depression which can be due to poor interpersonal relationships. This therapy helps in exploring if the person is having a poor social life which might be impacting his mental health.

Cognitive behavioral therapy:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is another anorexia treatment technique. This is a form of psychotherapy where in the person having anorexia will go through changes in his thoughts, feelings and behavior. In this therapy, the behavior that is needed to be changed is identified and modified.

Usually our behavioral and thinking patterns are developed in early ages and we even as an adult tend to follow them. In this therapy the therapist will analyze the root cause of the problem by understanding our thought processes, some memorable events in our lives and our emotions towards certain things.

This therapy takes place in 3 phases. The 1st phase is known as Reformation phase. In this, the therapist discusses the childhood problems and the present problems in the life of the patient. The therapist tends to relate them to understand the link it has on the patient. 1st phase can last from 2 months to 6 months.

The 2nd phase of CAT is Recognition phase. In this phase, the therapist underlines where the problem lies. It also makes the patient aware of the problem and the reasons of its occurrence. 3rd phase is Revision phase where alternative solutions of the existing problem are given to the person.

Focal Psychodynamic Psychotherapy;

This is again a psychological treatment which is useful to counter eating disorders. It has 2 objectives. 1st is to make the person realize the importance of food and how it will affect his body. 2nd is to find alternative solutions of letting go the stress and the symptoms of eating disorder faced by him.

Interpersonal Therapy:

Anorexia can be caused due to stress and depression which can be due to poor interpersonal relationships. This therapy helps in exploring if the person is having a poor social life which might be impacting his mental health.




ANEMIA DIET


 Anemia Diet – About the disease:
Anemia is a disease where the normal red blood cell level decreases significantly. It leads to lower hemoglobin level and oxygen deficiency in the blood.  Anemia can cause fatigue, lack of concentration, shortness of breath and pale complexion. Iron deficiency is one of the most common causes of anemia. Below are the foods which increase the amount of iron in the body or aid in its absorption, thereby preventing anemia. A person suffering from this disease must make these foods a part of his anemia diet in order to recover fully.

Anemia Diet – Recommended Foods

*       Spinach
       Chickpeas
*       Red Meat
*       Tomato
*       Pomegranate
*       Raisin
*       Dates
*       Whole Grains
*       Egg

*       Honey

ALZEIMER’S AND DEMENTIA

            Alzheimer’s and Dementia are life altering conditions which affect millions around the world. It is estimated that currently 50 million people are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and in 2010 more than 400000 dementia related deaths were registered. The worst part is that there is still no cure for these diseases and only precautions can delay its onset. 


Few symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are behavioral changes, mood swings, appetite loss, memory loss, inability to take care of himself and talk, isolation from the family and ultimately death. Memory loss and cognitive disability are some of the symptoms of dementia. Even though people above the age of 65 are more vulnerable to this disease but the present lifestyle of today’s world can drastically reduce this age. So, given below are few tips and diet that one needs to follow.


Remedies for Alzheimer’s and dementia:

Avoid trans-fat:

Junk foods are doing you no good. These are only increasing your cholesterol, decreasing the ability to fight free radicals and thus increasing the risk of brain cell damage. Switch to Mediterranean diet which comprises of fishes, vegetables and whole grains.

Exercise daily:

Exercise for 15-30 minutes is a must. It is found that daily workout can reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia by 50%. Workouts help in increasing the blood flow to the brain cells thus keeping them active. Mental exercises are highly recommended to keep the mind active. Solving puzzles and playing Sudoku are some of the ways to keep your cognitive ability intact.

 Have a hobby:

It is really important for a person to have a hobby which they can pursue during leisure time. Indulging in a hobby has been found to reduce the stress level of a person and also enhances the mood.

Have a social life:

Meeting friends and talking can prove to be a stress buster. Now days a lot of us don’t find time to meet our friends and family. Monotonous life can make a person dull. Plan trips for few days with your family or go out for a movie or dinner every once in a while.

Foods to eat:

Omega 3 fatty acids rich food:

Omega 3 fatty acid helps in improving the cognitive abilities of a person. Consumption of this nutrient can enhance the blood flow in the brain thus keeping it efficient and active. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are the key substances present in omega 3 fatty acids which are responsible for the functioning of neurons. These substances can prohibit the damages caused by oxidation to the brain and can prevent the occurrence of inflammation. Their deficiency causes depression and anxiety. It has been found that people with lower DHA have depleted cognitive ability and smaller brain volumes. Walnuts, tuna, salmon, sardines re some of the foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids.

Vitamin-E and Vitamin-C foods:

Foods rich in Vitamin-E and Vitamin-C have shown signs that they can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. These nutrients help in protecting the brain from free radicals and restrict cognitive impairment. Almonds, broccoli, guava and olive oil are some of the foods that can delay this disease.

 Consume Foods rich in flavonoids:

Amyloid-beta production is the primary reason why a person suffers from Alzheimer’s. Amyloid-beta turns into amyloid plaque which sticks to the brain. Flavonoids help in preventing its production altogether. Kale, spinach, apples, blueberries and cranberries are some foods rich in flavonoids.

Consume Turmeric:

Curcumin is a key substance present in turmeric. This substance is anti-inflammatory and can also prevent the production of Amyloid-beta. Try to add turmeric powder in your meals to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia.


ACUPUNCTURE

     Acupuncture originates from China and has been practiced there for thousands of years.  Although there are records of acupuncture being used hundreds of years ago in Europe, it was during the second half of the twentieth century it began to spread rapidly in Western Europe, the United States and Canada.


Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through the patient's skin at specific points on the body - the needles are inserted to various depths. The medical community is not in conclusive agreement about how acupuncture works scientifically. However, we do know that it does have some therapeutic benefits, including pain relief and alleviation from nausea caused by chemotherapy.

According to traditional Chinese medical theory, acupuncture points are located on meridians through which gi vital energy runs. There is no histological, anatomical or scientific proof that these meridians or acupuncture points exist. Acupuncture remains controversial among Western medical doctors and scientists.

Creating case studies that use proper scientific controls is difficult because of the invasive nature of acupuncture - a clinical study involves and compared to the targeted treatment. It is very hard to devise a sham acupuncture control that one can compare to proper acupuncture. While some studies have concluded that acupuncture offers similar benefits to a patient as a placebo, others have indicated that there are some real benefits. This article in a peer-reviewed British Medical Journal explains that the principles of acupuncture are firmly grounded in science, and you don't need Chinese philosophy either to make it work, or to practice it.

According to WHO (World Health Organization) acupuncture is effective for treating 28 conditions, while evidence indicates it may have an effective therapeutic value for many more.

People with tension headaches and/or migraines may find acupuncture to be very effective in alleviating their symptoms, according to a study carried out at the Technical University of Munich, Germany. Another study at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center found that twice weekly acupuncture treatments relieve debilitating symptoms of xerostomia - severe dry mouth - among patients treated with radiation for head and neck cancer.
How does acupuncture work?

Traditional Chinese medicine explains that health is the result of a harmonious balance of the complementary extremes of yinand yang of the life force known as gi or chi. Qi is said to flow through meridians (pathways) in the human body. Through 350 acupuncture points in the body, these meridians and energy flows may be accessed. Illness is said to be the consequence of an imbalance of the forces. If needles are inserted into these points with appropriate combinations it is said that the energy flow can be brought back into proper balance.

In Western societies and several other parts of the world, acupuncture is explained including concepts of neuroscience. Acupuncture points are seen by Western practitioners as places where nerves, muscles and connective tissue can be stimulated. Acupuncture practitioners say that the stimulation increases blood flow while at the same time triggering the activity of our own body's natural painkillers.

How is acupuncture treatment carried out?

Acupuncture generally involves several weekly or fortnightly treatments. Most courses consist of up to 12 sessions. A visit to an acupuncturist will involve an exam and an assessment of the patient's condition, the insertion of needles, and advice on self-care. Most sessions last about 30 minutes.

The patient will be asked to lie down, either face-up, face-down or on his/her side, depending on where the needless are inserted. The acupuncturist should use single-use disposable sterile needles. As each needle is inserted the patient should feel them, but initially without pain. However, when the needle reaches the right depth there should be a deep aching sensation. Sometimes the needles are heated or stimulated with electricity after insertion. Once inserted, the needles will remain there for about twenty minutes.

What are the health benefits and risks of acupuncture?

The possible benefits of acupuncture are:

1. When performed correctly it is safe
2. There are very few side effects
3. It is a very effective combination treatment
4. It is effective in controlling some types of pain
5. It may be considered for patients who do not respond to pain medications
6. It is a useful alternative for patients who do not want to take pain medications.


The possible risks of acupuncture are:

1. It is dangerous if the patient has a bleeding disorder
2. It the dangerous if the patient is taking blood thinners
3. There may be bleeding, bruising and soreness at the insertion sites
4. The needle may break and damage an internal organ (very rare)
5. Unsterilised needles may infect the patient
6. When inserted deeply into the chest or upper back there is a risk of collapsed   lung (very rare).


Acupuncture Benefits:

1. Helps Reduce Headaches and Migraines:

In 2009, after researchers from the Center for Complementary Medicine at the University of Munich reviewed over 11 studies involving 2,137 acupuncture patients, they concluded that acupuncture “could be a valuable non-pharmacological TOOL in patients with frequent chronic tension-type headaches.”

The review looked at multiple clinical trials comparing the effects of acupuncture sessions to “sham” (placebo-type of acupuncture) sessions and to receiving no treatment at all for the relief of migraine headache pain. In particular, both the group that had needles randomly placed and the group that had strategically placed needles experienced a reduction in headache symptoms. The control group did not experience any change.

However, in the follow-up survey, the group that had the real acupuncture treatment continued to have both a decrease in the number of headache days and headache pain intensity.

2. Improves Chronic Pain:

Including for the Back, Neck, Knee or Arthritis Pain Acupuncture was proven to be more effective for improving chronic back pain than no acupuncture treatment in a 2006 study done by the University Medical Center of Berlin. In patients with chronic low back pain, there was a significant difference in pain reported between groups of patients receiving acupuncture over eight weeks versus those not receiving any treatment.

Even more impressive is a 2012 study done by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics aimed to determine the effect of acupuncture for four chronic pain conditions: back and neck pain, arthritis, chronic headache and shoulder pain.
The researchers reviewed clinical trials involving over 17,000 patients, and the results showed that patients receiving acupuncture had less pain than patients in the placebo control group for back and neck muscle aches and pain, osteoarthritis, and chronic headaches. The conclusion was that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is “more than just a placebo effect, therefore it’s a reasonable referral option for doctors.”


3. Helps Treat Insomnia:

Beijing University of Chinese Medicine conducted large meta-analyses in 2009 that showed a beneficial effect of acupuncture on reducing insomnia symptoms, compared with no treatment. The analysis found that in patients who were taking medications or herbal treatments to help with sleep, adding acupuncture therapy showed better effects than taking the medications or herbs alone.

Another benefit was that unlike many sleep medications, the acupuncture sessions had no adverse side effects at all.

4. Improves Cancer and Chemotherapy Recovery:

According to the National Cancer Institute, several studies show that acupuncture can help boost immunity and speed up recovery following cancer treatments. One randomized trial, for example, found that acupuncture treatment enhanced immunity, platelet count and prevented a decrease in healthy cells after radiation therapy or chemotherapy when compared to receiving no acupuncture.

Researchers reported that the patients in both acupuncture treatment groups also experienced less pain from treatments, improvements in quality of life and a decrease in various negative side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea.

5. Helps to Prevent Cognitive Decline:

Some early research has showing new information about the effectiveness of acupuncture on Parkinson’s. Studies show that can relieve age-related cognitive decline symptoms as it generates a neural response in areas of the brain — such as the putamen and the thalamus — that are particularly affected by Parkinson’s disease.

In a 2002 study done by the Department of Neurology at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine, after 20 Parkinson’s patients were treated with acupuncture for 16 sessions, 85 percent of patients reported subjective improvements of individual symptoms, including tremor, walking, handwriting, slowness, pain, sleep, depression and anxiety. There were no adverse effects.

6. Pregnancy, Labor and Postpartum Health:

Many doctors are now recommending acupuncture as a treatment to reduce stress, balance hormones, and ease the anxiety and pain of pregnancy and labor.


It’s considered a safe treatment for many of the common symptoms during pregnancy — to ease the physical and emotional strain on the body — as well as after the baby is born to help with any mood, depression, mental or physical symptoms the mother may experience. It can even be used right before the baby is due to prepare the body for labor.