Friday, July 25, 2014

Acupuncture for Bell's Palsy

  Acupuncture  for Bell's Palsy is a very effective treatment. It consists of a combination of local points on the face that disperse the wind cold stagnation in the channels that allows the virus to opportunistically reproduce, and that "chase the virus" out of the face by unblocking stagnation. It is often combined with moxabustion, a method that warms the channels and dramatically moves the Qi.

We use points on the hands and feet and legs, like Zu San Li and He Gu that are used to reduce the effects of stress on the nervous system, and to boost the immune system. Often Bell's Palsy occurs in the aftermath of a period of high stress that was followed by a common cold. Because the immune system is weak, the virus that causes Bell's Palsy can now opportunistically migrate through the nerves, which become inflamed, thus failing in their job of bringing information to the muscles, which as a result become paralyzed.

In my San Diego Acupuncture practice I have been treating Bell's Palsy successfully with a combination of Acupuncture to unblock the Qi stasis, warm the channels and boost the immune system, as well as to relax the sinews and help deal with the stress that weakened the immune system.

I combine acupuncture for Bell's Palsy with Chinese herbal formulas like Gui Zhi Tang and Huang Qi with Reishii mushroom, Cinnamon Twig combination with Astragalus and Reishii, to warm and regulate the channels and boost and strengthen the Qi.

Bell's Palsy is one of the cases where I am all for the combination of western treatment with natural medicine, because, in my book, whatever it takes to undo facial paralysis seems reasonable. Standard of care in western medicine is Prednisone to dramatically reduce the inflammation leading to the paralysis, and Acyclovir or Valtrex to kill the virus causing the inflammation.

I have had patients who even with that protocol did not get better until they added the Acupuncture and Chinese herbs. I think anyone with this problem will get better faster with Acupuncture, Chinese, and Western Medicine combined. It generally only takes 3 treatments to see dramatic improvement, sometimes there is dramatic improvement after only the first treatment, and rarely has it taken more than 6 treatments. I recommend trying 3 to start with and then evaluating how much its helping.

Call or email for a free over the phone consultation to determine if acupuncture is for you.

Copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With PermissionAyurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego

Saturday, July 12, 2014

In Chinese Medicine Organic Food Has More Qi: Why?

Why eat organic? Because its better for you. Why is it better for you, because pesticide residues are poison. Especially for children, whose bodies have a long way to go, please give organic food. Our air is polluted, you have to breathe it. But you have a choice when it comes to food.

In addition, organic produce is higher in antioxidants (see article, below). But in Chinese Medicine the quality we look for in foods is Qi, or "life-force" if you want, something having to do with freshness and quality.

Food high in Qi is grown in good soil and picked when ripe. There is plenty of lousy organic produce out there picked to green, so just because its organic does not make it automaticaly full of Qi, but the potential is there, because in most cases the soil is better, because the soil and plants have themselves been well nourished.

In the case of flesh foods, organic meat in addition to being fed organic grain, etc, will not have hormones and preservatives. Grass fed flesh foods or "pastured" are even better.

We eat too much meat as it is. My logic is I would rather have a healthfully raised chicken twice a month, than toxic chicken 3x a week, although the math is exagerrated. Pasture chicken is about 25 % more expensive, and well worth it. No bad smell because the birds are healthy and fresh.

I buy a whole bird, bake the legs and thighs and breast, and makes soup from the rest, even saving the bones from off my plate and using them in the soup. Just like in the old days. And the bones are full of minerals.

Fruits and vegetables are a function of the soil they are grown in. Healthy soil yields healthy prouduce, high in mineral content. In Chinese medicine these food products are high in Qi.

Here is a link to a recent article on current research in the New York Times Organic Produce has Higher Levels of Anti-oxidants

copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome affects over 75 million people worldwide, but is often ignored until the symptoms become incapacitating. Unfortunately, at this point, drastic measures, such as surgery, are often recommended by bio-med doctors, who are often very unfamiliar with the powerful results one can get by addressing the causes of carpal tunnel with Acupuncture, Deep Tissue Massage, and Chinese Herbal medicines.

I have found over the last twenty years, that all-too-often, Western medicine primary care and/or internal medicine docs, really don't know very much about the treatment of painful conditions with physical medicine.
Their first line of treatment is typically vicodin, which relieves pain and causes constipation, but does nothing about inflammation. Or they will recommend ibuprofen, which relieves pain and inflammation, but has pretty strong side-affects (stomach and liver toxicity) in continued large doses, and does nothing to improve circulation.

What I prefer to use in my San Diego Acupuncture practice for the natural treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, are Chinese Medicine herbal formulas, made in the USA and tested for heavy metal toxicity and pesticide residue, that have been specially designed for carpal tunnel syndrome and other upper body inflammatory disorders. These herbal prescriptions relieve pain, reduce swelling, reduce inflammation, and improve circulation of blood and qi.

Their other standard response is physical therapy, which can be great sometimes, but again, all too often physical therapists have a standard response for everything: strengthen weak muscles. The problem there is that you cannot strengthen shortened weak muscles in the presence of inflammation; you need to get rid of the inflammation first. The other thing is that shortened inflamed muscles often are not "firing well" because the motor points have stopped working effectively. Treatment with myo-fascial style acupuncture releases the motor points so that can start firing again; this enables muscles to tolerate renewed strengthening.

Someday this information, God-willing, will make it to the Western medical profession, and we can start working cooperatively to help people in pain. In my opinion, myo-fascial style acupuncture should be a standard therapy option for all kinds of tendonitis, ligament sprain, repetitive use injury, and myofascial pain. It just works so beautifully.

The problem with surgery is that it is all too often counter-productive, because of its after effects (namely scarring and swelling) that often exacerbates the condition rather than alleviating it.

Acupuncture and Massage for Carpal Tunnel stretching, posture correction and massage therapy can often reverse the effects of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome if it addressed early.

If you were looking at your palm face up and you flex your wrist towards yourself, the area beneath the wrinkles is the location of the carpal tunnel. Through this tunnel are blood vessels, nerves and tendons.

In carpal tunnel surgery the surgeon cuts the protective tissue covering this area allowing the vessels, nerves and tendons more room. The main reason the carpal tunnel becomes crowded is that the muscles become painfully tight due to overuse, which causes the tendons to be come inflamed (tendonitis). Once the tendons become swollen, the nerves and blood vessels become crowded and you experience weakness, pain and other discomfort.

Carpal Tunnel Massage Therapy when correctly applied can relax and release the affected muscles, which will reduce the swelling of the tendons thereby solving the problem without drugs or invasive and often ineffective surgery.

Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Is Breast Feeding Really Better? Of Course It Is...

Have a look at My recent posting on my website
which responds to an article in today's New York Times Well Blog entitled Is Breast Feeding Really Better?

 The bottom line? There are well documented benefits to the immune system for the immune system that this study fails to address, and there could well be emotional benefits for both mother and child that this study all fails to investigate.

More in the links above about how Chinese medicine views breast feeding relative to breast health and the acupuncture channels.

copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego

Friday, January 24, 2014

Feeling Hot Can Fuel Rage--Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, and Science

In English we refer to someone with a bad temper as a hot head, hot headed, hot tempered. When I was a boy and I would get impatient Mom would say, "keep your shirt on!" which was another way of saying don't get so hot around the collar that you need to take your shirt off.

There are many more examples of this in the English and other languages from Homer to Shakespeare to Arthur Miller, but the key point is one that both Chinese Medicine and Ayuveda have always made--anger and its associated feelings--irritability, frustration, rage, are all associated with physical sensations/manifestations  of heat--and these symptoms can range from the obvious, like the flushed face and red eyes of the rage-aholic or angry alcoholic, to more indirect ones, like the tossing and turning of the insomniac frustrated with their day or their relationships. 

In Chinese medicine pathological heat is either due to infectious pathogens, like viral illnesses, or to internal causes, namely the heat that builds up due to frustration and anger, exactly the kind of heat that we see with what is now called stress. Chinese medicine describes the mechanism by which this heat builds very elegantly as the result of " Liver Depression Qi Stagnation," and also as the  flaring of Ministerial Fire. Ayuveda describes in terms of dosha, as Pitta elevation.

But stress is a misnomer. What we call stress is actually the bodymind response to stressors. And each bodymind type responds differently in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine. Pitta types, dominated by fire, have a tendency to respond to things they don't like, such as the red light in traffic, or the server who brought the wrong food, or any case where they did not get their way, with intensity, aggression, tension, that is to say the fire of intensity. Especially a Pitta with unresolved emotional issues will react thusly, which is why what in Buddhism is called Mental Culture is so important; being taught as a child how to react wisely to the things you have aversion to. It really does help to have wise parents and the good fortune of a happy, loving, safe childhood. Those of us who did not have that need to learn how to adjust accordingly.

What is interesting as that excessive heat in the bodymind, whether due to an infectious agent such as a virus, whether due to emotive states such as anger, or simply whether just due to one's natural bodymind type, Pitta in Ayurveda, or whether due to allowing one's Pitta to elevate, regardless of type, all produce  similar symptoms--

  • Visible Redness, such as in inflammation or infection, as in skin disorders like eczema
  • Restlessness, such as in insomnia or fever
  • Irritability, as in fever, frustration, or anger
  • Elevated Temp, as in fever or menopause
  • Subjective sense of heat, as in eczema, menopause, or feeling very frustrated
  • Palpable heat, as in rheummotoid arthritis, sports injury, fever, sunburn, skin disease

Now comes this article in the Scientific American demonstrating that feeling hot can fuel rage and that elevated climatic temps (think about how road rage increases in summer in southern California) has been historically associated with increased violence, both between individuals and between groups.

I love it when Science confirms Chinese Medicine and Ayuveda's theories.

copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA Jan 2014, All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Oil Bath in Ayurveda: Foundation of Healthy Living

Great new article on Oil Bath in Ayurveda on my blog at BodyMind Wellness Center. Ayurvedic Oil Bath article.

 More coming soon!

copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego

Monday, July 15, 2013


In Chinese Medicine asthma is most often considered cold trapped in the Lungs. Even when the symptoms are of a hot type, such as heat sensations and dark phlgem, once you clear the heat with herbs, you need to deal with the underlying cold.

That is why in all cultures with natural medicine Asthma was treated with hot type plasters, like mustard plaster.

People with asthma typically have weak lungs. When the lungs are weak you are more prone to cold and cold gets in and gets trapped.

I don't believe in panaceas, but if i did believe in one, it would be Ginger. Fresh ginger root is one of the most valuable additions to the American or European diet, because it stimulates the digestive fire, called Agni in Ayurveda. Long pepper is also excellent.

Ginger powder is very valuable in tea, along with long pepper and cinnamon and other spices like Ajwain. Its ginger powder that is used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese Herbal Medicine formulas for Asthma. One of my favorites is Ayush Brand Tylaphora Plus.

Now comes this research that shows that purified extracts of ginger when combined with beta antagonists relax smooth muscles in the airways and achieve a bronchodilating effect.

Copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cupping for Pain and Sport's Injuries

 Great new article on how Cupping works the relief of muscular, myofascial and trigger point pain, as well as in the treatment of Sport's Injuries and to as part of a conditioning regime, from both the Classical Chinese Medicine and Science perspectives. Check it out!

copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Healthy Summer Fruit Tart You Can Be Proud Of

Summer is blooming, if not quite here, literally, in San Diego with our recent heat wave, it is in the imagination-- the season of flowers and fruit and fruit tart. Make yours the healthy way. Food, not candy.

copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego

Friday, May 03, 2013

Baked Eggs Middle Eastern Style: Shakshuka

Great way to make eggs that is not fried and has more vegetables. Baked eggs are really creamy. Use free range eggs. By me, I don't use peppers, and if you are a Pitta type, don't you either; I do use carrots or kale or collards, the latter two help balance the dish and pacify Pitta. Adding coriander powder to the spices will help keep Pitta down, as will topping with Cilantro vs. Parsley. All told though this dish will increase Pitta, so don't make it if you have a strong physical Pitta imbalance.

But its a very good dish for Vatta types, provided they delete the peppers and paprika and cook the onions till sweet. Cumin and Black Pepper are good

For Kapha, no feta cheese,and use the peppers and paprika and maybe even some red chili.

P.S.  the way she drops the powdered spices flat on the hot pan, they will burn, drop them into olive oil or the veggies and stir.

Video from NY Times Chef: How to make Shakshuka 

copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego