These days Americans are taking more prescription medications than ever before, with nearly 16 million scripts written for painkillers like hydrocodone, oxycodone and tramadol each year. 5 million prescriptions are written for sleep aids, while 18 million are written for anti-depressants, according to the article "Pill Nation: Are we too reliant on presciption meds?" on MSNBC.COM. The barrage of television and magazine ads for prescription drugs encourage the public to believe that medications are the only means to ease their health ailments.
While there is no question that many pharmaceuticals help us manage pain and save lives by staving off potentially fatal illnesses, there is a real danger of serious adverse side-effects that may lead to addiction, other illnesses, or even death. Oftentimes side-effects themselves create symptoms that require additional medications to address. Moreover, over-the-counter and prescription drugs mask the underlying problems and do not address the causal root. I am not saying that modern Western medicine and certain pharmaceuticals have no place in society; obviously, it does. But it is not the only avenue.
In Oriental Medicine, we focus on the aspect of balancing the Yin and the Yang. Simply stated, the Yin is the cold energy and the Yang is the heat energy. When one gets too much of either, ie. one is not in balance, that’s when the disease happens. Oriental medicine is great in balancing the two.
The human body has the amazing ability to heal itself if it is provided the proper tools. The acupuncturist's job is to help activate the body's ability to heal. Acupuncture combined with herbs and nutraceuticals can help the body to maintain that healing ability. A vast majority of the population is deficient in minerals and vitamins. The body is like a machine, it needs fuel in the form of nutritious food and water, it needs oil in the form of fats and oils, it needs maintenance in the form of sleep, rest, exercise, and it needs cleaning in the form of detoxification. But unusually not in that order.
In order for the body to reach its optimal health, first we must detoxify the body in order for the good nutrients to be absorbed into the body. Oriental medicine helps treat digestive disorders by breaking up the stasis residing within the colon and aids the body to regulate itself naturally. After flushing the toxins and negative bacteria out of the body, particularly the large intestine, we then must replenish the vital nutrients via herbs and nutritious food and liquids to achieve the proper electrolyte balance.
Maintaining the body through stress reduction, regulated sleeping patterns, and exercise is critical. According to the Center for Disease Control, stress is the number 3 killer behind heart disease and obesity. And stress is the contributing factors to heart disease and obesity. This is where acupuncture can help. Studies have shown that acupuncture stimulates the body to release endorphins and targets the stress receptors in the brain, thereby alleviating stress. Less stress promotes better sleep, more rest, and a general sense of well-being, and increased energy...which eventually leads to a desire for more activity.