Acupuncture: healing, relaxing, and virtually painless

Acupuncture is an ancient technique with 5,000 years of success behind it. The benefits are so well-documented, the World Health Organization (WHO) regards it as an integral part of primary healthcare.

In China, billions (literally) of people from emperors to modern heads of state, professional athletes, and active service personnel have turned to acupuncture to relieve a huge range of conditions including:

  • • Respiratory disorders
  • • Neurologic and musculoskeletal disorders
  • • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • • Reproductive and gynaecological conditions
  • • Mental emotional problems


See full list of conditions treatable by acupuncture.

Chinese tonic herbs

Chinese tonic herbs and acupuncture are two elements of an Oriental medical system that goes back thousands of years. We combine the herbs according to ancient formulae that treat patterns of disharmony. Each combination of herbs deals with a particular ailment. Use of herbs in conjunction with acupuncture makes for a far more effective treatment regime.

Restore bodily harmony

Acupuncture restores the flow of a vital life force known as chi (pronounced ‘chee’). Chi flows through your body along 14 channels called meridians. These points lie at 365 precise locations on the meridians. By treating the acupoints with ultra-fine needles, the acupuncturist releases blockages and stimulates the flow of chi.

For many patients, the effects are instantaneous. The needles are so fine, and the acupuncturist so skilled, there’s virtually no pain attached to the treatment. Quite the reverse: most patients feel an immediate sense of calm.

Bermuda’s most experience acupuncturist

Dr Sifu Reginald Cann is Bermuda’s most experienced acupuncturist. In fact it was he who pioneered acupuncture and oriental medicine in Bermuda in 1989. Dr Cann is a California Medical Board Certified Licensed Acupuncturist, Primary Care Provider, Chinese Herbalist and Certified Master of Medical Qi-Gong who continues to study and learn from the vast body of knowledge gathered over the past 5,000 years.


To book an acupuncture consultation with Dr Cann, call +1(441).295.7612 today.



Conditions Treatable By Acupuncture

A skilled acupuncturist can treat numerous common illnesses and ailments. To make it easy to find your condition, we’ve arranged our list of treatable conditions around the part of your body that’s troubling you. Don’t forget to check the miscellaneous section at the end.


Inflamed Tonsils, Tonsillitis and Sore Throat

There are many symptoms that accompany a sore throat. These symptoms will vary depending on the cause of the discomfort. One may have pain or difficulty swallowing, hoarseness of voice, feelings of dryness and scratchiness, or inflammation of the tonsils. The symptoms may result from an infection. If so, the individual may have a cough, fever, headache and body aches, and feelings of nausea. If symptoms persist for more than a week, or recur frequently, it is important to see a physician.

Inflammation of the tonsils can indicate tonsillitis. Tonsillitis can be caused by either a bacterial or viral infection. The streptococcus bacteria are one common cause. Viruses that can cause tonsillitis include influenza or herpes simplex. The individual presenting with tonsillitis may have swollen glands and lymph nodes, blisters in the throat, ear ache, headache, fever and a coating on the tonsils. Treatment for tonsillitis caused by a bacterial infection will include antibiotics. Antibiotics are not appropriate for viral infections.

Tonsils are antibody-producing tissues within the immune system that help fight infection. They serve to prevent toxins from entering the respiratory system. In severe cases, it may be necessary to surgically remove the tonsils. At one time, this was a common procedure to treat tonsillitis, but now it is indicated only when the condition recurs frequently or causes serious difficulties.

In 1979, the World Health Organization listed tonsillitis on its list of acupuncture-responsive conditions. In a controlled study of 220 subjects, Chen, R.H., 1987, found that the symptoms of tonsillitis were alleviated by it. In particular, Chen found that fever and sore throat abatement was achieved earlier in the test group than in the control group.

Sertel, S. et al., 2009, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Heidelberg, found that the duration of post-tonsillectomy pain relief was significantly extended with acupuncture treatments. In those patients taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs, treatment extended the relief of post-surgical swallowing pain for an additional three hours on average. The conclusion was that their specific protocol may also be appropriate in instances where patients have intolerance to NSAID pain relievers.

Under traditional medical theory, when treating tonsillitis, the acupuncturist will treat a pattern consisting of excess heat and toxin that results in swelling. This swelling contributes to blockages in the lung meridians resulting in qi and blood stagnation. In this instance, the stagnation causes the lymph nodes to swell. Individuals with other sore throat conditions may receive a differential diagnosis such as an invasion of wind heat or yin deficiency.

As always, the experienced diagnosticians at COHA Health will design your individualized treatment plan based on your specific condition.

Rib Pain And Intercostal Neuralgia

Rib pain can be a symptom of intercostal neuralgia. This pain is neuropathic in origin and emanates from the intercostal nerves. Intercostal nerves are part of the peripheral nervous system and extend along a portion of the rib surface. The pain can be experienced as pressure, tingling and cramping and may occur in waves of searing hot or electrical-feeling sensations around the band of ribs. The individual may have a painful response to a stimulus that normally would not induce pain. Also, one may respond with the sensation of feeling heat when the eliciting stimulus would normally evoke the sensation of cold, or vice versa.Pain from intercostal neuralgia is common after some thoracotomy procedures whereby the surgeon gains access to the chest cavity. This is particularly the case after some coronary bypass procedures and those performed to remove tumors. Intercostal neuralgia may also develop after an injury that affects the nerves or as a result of some degenerative conditions where the nerves are pinched. As usual, the individual presenting with rib or chest pain should rule out comorbid conditions and those that may present with similar symptoms.

The conceptual foundation of Oriental Medicine encompasses the balance of Yin and Yang along with the life energy force known as Qi. The concept of duality is fundamental to many philosophical, spiritual and esoteric systems of thought, and this archetypal concept transcends culture and time. Each end of a polarity exists in and of itself, and yet, some essence of each end exists within the other. Words barely capture the nature of the energies, but active and receptive, masculine and feminine, and dark and light are word forms close enough to convey the meaning. Humans are physical manifestations of duality in that, generally, we are biologically either male or female; yet we each contain the energies of both. From a diagnostic perspective, if there is an excess of Yin over Yang, or the reverse, the individual will present with illness. While it is not possible to have a perfectly equal balance of Yin and Yang, it is the theoretical ideal. The treatment process aims to achieve, to the extent possible, a harmonious interplay and interrelationship between these two forces.

Acupuncture is one of many treatments within Oriental medicine that treats intercostal neuralgia and other disorders that result in neuropathic pain. As mentioned, in addition to the balance of Yin and Yang, the target of treatment under the Oriental medicine model is the life energy known as Qi. The practitioner seeks to manipulate blockages, deficiencies and imbalances of qi through specific points along a pathway of meridians. There are several targeted acupuncture points for treatment of intercostal neuralgia that normally address stagnant liver Qi and conditions of the blood that lead to obstruction of the liver and gallbladder meridians.

Interventions within Oriental medicine have a foundation in eastern thought and practice. These ancient practices have evidence of efficacy in western empirical studies that were conducted with rigorous research methodologies applied to randomized population samples. You may feel confident that Dr. Cann and his staff at COHA Health are current on the existing research and experienced in the application of Oriental medicine interventions.

Restless Leg Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

Restless leg syndrome, RLS, affects people of all ages and can worsen as one grows older. Those who suffer with this condition have a persistent desire to get up and move. By doing so, the uncomfortable sensations of tingling, cramping or itching are temporarily relieved by the movement. The symptoms become more severe in the evening and disrupt sleep, but they also occur during the day after prolonged periods of inactivity.

There is no known cause of RLS. It appears to have a genetic component. Also, there may be nutritional deficiencies that accompany the condition. If deficiencies are detected by a blood test, they can be corrected with supplements. Finally, RLS may be associated with other conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, pregnancy, kidney failure and diabetic neuropathy. When these conditions are properly treated, the symptoms of RLS may minimize or resolve.

About 85 percent of people with RLS also have period limb movement disorder, PLMD. However, the majority of people with PLMD do not have RLS. This is a sleep disorder where the person twitches and kicks, sometimes violently, during sleep. Obviously, the condition affects the quality of sleep and contributes to drowsiness during the day. Certainly, one’s bed partner does not appreciate being frequently awakened throughout the night.

COHA Health has successfully treated clients who have been diagnosed with patterns consistent with the western definition of RLS and PLMD. It is most important to determine if these two conditions are symptomatic of other medical problems and/or result from the side-effects of medications. Antidepressant medications, for example, are known to worsen PLMD.

Complementary and Alternative Treatments

Iron deficiency, or anemia, can exacerbate the symptoms of RLS. If the individual has an iron deficiency, as revealed by a blood test, there may be a yin deficiency in the kidneys that contributes to excess heat in the heart. In this event, the acupuncturist will stimulate specific points on the kidney meridian along with other points consistent with the diagnosed pattern. For example, the Taixi point, KD 3, may be targeted to treat yin deficiencies of the kidney or heart. Another relevant point on the bladder meridian is the Shenshu, BL 23.

With PLMD, there is often internal wind that results from a liver yin deficiency. For both conditions, your practitioner will determine if an herbal supplement should be included in your treatment regime.

As you can see, there are many factors that must be evaluated while diagnosing an appropriate pattern related to these two western diagnoses. Coexisting conditions can also be treated with complementary and alternative approaches. The qualified diagnosticians at COHA Health will make an evaluation based on eastern medical theory and will design an individualized treatment plan consistent with your diagnosed patterns.

Pelvic Inflammation, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and Pelvic Pain

Pelvic pain in females may be a condition in its own right or a symptom of another disorder or disease. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the source of pelvic pain. Possible causes include endometriosis, infection, fibroid tumors, pelvic support problems involving the bladder, bowel or uterus, and enlarged veins around the ovaries or uterus. Depression or other psychological problems may exacerbate the pain. The best first course of action is a complete physical and gynecological examination.

Pelvic inflammatory disease, PID, is an infection that is normally transmitted sexually. PID may also result from medical procedures such as inserting an IUD or biopsying endometrial tissue. Once bacteria enter the vagina, the cervix can become infected. Therefore, it becomes an ineffective gatekeeper in preventing the infection from spreading into the reproductive system. One may experience painful intercourse or urination, a malodorous vaginal discharge, lower back pain, or changes in menstrual flow and cycle. Symptoms of PID may or may not include pelvic pain.

If untreated, or if treatment is delayed, PID may lead to scarring of the reproductive organs. The resulting complications include infertility, chronic pelvic pain and tubal, ectopic, pregnancies. The use of condoms can lower the risk of contracting PID particularly if one has many sexual partners.

The release of pain-relieving endorphins and the alleviation of medication side effects are often favorable benefits of acupuncture treatment. However, as in all eastern holistic approaches, the acupuncturist seeks to treat the cause of the problem thereby reducing the inflammation. The diagnostic approach varies from the western system in that the holistic practitioner looks for patterns. Once discerning the correct diagnostic patterns, the practitioner will target acupoints along specific meridians that run throughout the body.

Diagnostic patterns guide the resolution of imbalances such as yin or yang deficiencies or excesses, flow blockages and stagnations of the energy known as Qi, and blood deficiencies and stagnations. There are generally accepted acupoints for the treatment of PID. These include the Ren 3 point along the conception vessel Ren meridian. The respective Chinese and Korean names for this point are zhong jí or jung geuk. The Ren 4 and SP 6, along the spleen meridian, are also commonly targeted for PID treatment.

Empirical research supports the effectiveness of this in the treatment of PID, and holistic treatments are an effective complement to western protocols for this condition.

Golfer’s and Tennis Elbow (medial/lateral epicondylitis)

Golfer’s and tennis elbow are conditions where the tendons in the elbow are excessively stressed due to recurring motion of the arm and wrist. Despite their names, these conditions can occur in individuals who do not play golf or tennis. People in certain occupations are also susceptible as are weekend warriors who are not physically prepared for certain movements.

With golfer’s elbow, the location of pain is where the tendons of the forearm muscles join with the medial epicondyle, which is the inside elbow bone. The pain of tennis elbow occurs where tendons of the forearm muscles connect to the lateral epicondyle, which is the outside bump on the elbow. With both conditions, there may be small tears in the tendons, and pain can spread into the forearm and wrist causing weakness in the hand.

Individuals with either condition can benefit from warming up and stretching before performing the activity that contributed to the problem. Stronger muscles in the forearm will absorb shock more easily, so it can be beneficial to perform exercises that strengthen these muscles. If poor form is placing excessive stress on the arm or wrist, the correction of one’s physical technique when performing activities may minimize further insult. Finally, take a substantial break from the activity or sport to give the elbow a rest, and apply ice packs to tender areas.

Tennis elbow is on the World Health Organization’s list of conditions where the efficacy of acupuncture treatment has been proven through controlled studies. One frequently cited pilot study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in 2000. In the study entitled “Treatment of chronic lateral epicondylitis with acupuncture: a pilot study, Dorsher, P.T. found that, with patients in both the early and later stages of the condition, acu-treatments immediately loosened the muscles around the elbow joint. Many of these patients had not achieved results with conventional allopathic treatments. The results were so compelling that Dr. Dorsher now uses this as the primary treatment for those presenting with tennis elbow.

Two commonly targeted local acupoints for tennis elbow are the LI 12 along the large intestine meridian and the lung meridian point 5. One point targeted for golfer’s elbow is the heart 3, Shao Hai. Additionally, the practitioner may apply treatment to several of the Ashi points. Referred to as tender points, the Ashi points are not located along a specific meridian.

The experienced practitioners at COHA Health will make a differential diagnosis under oriental medicine. They will then design a protocol to treat energy blockages and imbalances related to the western diagnosis of tennis or golf elbow.

Childhood Bed-Wetting (Nocturnal Enuresis)

Bed-wetting, also called nocturnal enuresis, occurs when a child has not yet developed bladder control while sleeping or when the bladder has not grown large enough to hold a night’s urine accumulation. Bed-wetting is more common with boys than girls and in children with hyperactivity and attention-deficit disorders. However, it can be a normal part of development for children under the age of 7. If your child continues to wet the bed after this age, consult with your physician. This is also the case if other symptoms are present such as increased thirst or a change in the colour of urine.

Frequently, parents will use a moisture alarm in an attempt to minimize childhood bed-wetting. When urination begins, the device will make a sound early enough for the parents to take the child to the toilet. There are also anti-cholinergic medications that help the bladder hold more urine and reduce bladder contractions. Another drug, desmopressin, causes the body to produce less urine.

Alternative Treatments for Enuresis

Studies indicate that acupuncture treatments are at least as effective as allopathic interventions for treating Enuresis. Given this, the unpleasant side effects of medications can be avoided by opting for alternative treatments. Additionally, unlike moisture alarms, holistic treatments will not disturb your child’s sleep. Certainly, it is not pleasant for the child or the parents to be frequently awakened.

According to a 2010 literature review, published in Autonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical, acupuncture is more effective for managing bed-wetting than moisture alarms. The authors concluded that it was more efficacious when applied in conjunction with other holistic modalities, and electro-acupuncture achieved even more successful results.

Diagnostic Patterns

There are several diagnostic patterns associated with enuresis. A spleen qi deficiency is common. Other possible patterns include bladder damp heat and kidney yin deficiency. An acupuncturist may stimulate point San Yin Jiao, which is point 6 on the spleen meridian. Treatment may also be applied at point Pang Guang Shu on the urinary bladder meridian to treat bladder damp heat. The holistic practitioner may recommend your child avoid certain foods. He or she may also suggest the consumption of specific foods and herbs that will relieve damp heat.

Keep in mind that it is likely your child will outgrow bed-wetting. However, if the enuresis causes significant embarrassment and anxiety for the child, or if he or she has developed rashes from continually sleeping on urine-soaked sheets and wearing wet pyjamas, then this can be an effective treatment to eliminate, or reduce the frequency of, night-time bed-wetting.

Diaphragmatic Spasms

Located between the abdomen and the chest, the diaphragm is the primary muscle involved in respiration. Involuntary diaphragmatic spasms are symptomatic of a multitude of conditions ranging from mild and acute to severe and chronic. Diaphragmatic contractions can result from simple hiccupping or belching. Involuntary spasms can also indicate more serious issues such as underlying neurological problems.

As always, when symptoms recur over a prolonged period of time, consult your allopathic physician who will schedule appropriate screenings. These screenings may include nerve conduction and pulmonary function tests as well as radiographic imaging.


Given the diversity of causes for diaphragmatic problems, the holistic practitioner must make an accurate diagnosis under eastern medical practice. Without a specific diagnostic pattern in mind, we can only generally discuss acupoints that may be targeted for issues affecting the diaphragm.

Back-Shu Points

The Ge Shu acupoint is commonly treated for problems with the diaphragm. Ge Shu is point 17 on the urinary bladder meridian. It is the Back-Shu of the diaphragm. All of the Shu points are present along the urinary bladder meridian. The Qi energy of the Zang-Fu organs can be accessed via the Shu points, and specific Zang-Fu organs can be tonified and balanced via their respective Shu points.

Zang-Fu Organs

The Zang organs are yin and correspond with Fu organs that are yang in character. For example, the kidney is a Zang organ. Its corresponding Fu organ is the urinary bladder. Each organ system controls specific physiological functions within the body. For more information on the Zang-Fu organs, refer to our writing on treating internal diseases with Tuina massage.

Front-Mu Points

Disharmonies of the Zang-Fu organs can also be treated by accessing Front-Mu points. These points are located along the conception vessel, gall bladder and liver channels. When the Back-Shu and Front-Mu points are tender, this is helpful from a diagnostic viewpoint. The tenderness of a specific point indicates an imbalance in its related organ.

Depending on the pattern, a combination of points may be targeted to relax the diaphragm. The Zhi Yang point on the governing vessel meridian is one such point. It may be treated in combination with the above-mentioned UB 17. The extra point 7, one of the Huatuo Jiaji points, may also be stimulated.At COHA Health, we always seek to address the cause of involuntary contractions of the diaphragm.

Loss of Smell, Stuffy & Runny Nose

A loss of sense of smell is commonly caused by an inflammation in the sinuses, which are also called the nasal passages. The sinuses extend throughout certain sections of the bone structure of the skull, and they sometimes suffer from respiratory infection. This is the main cause of an inflammation of the sinuses. A person may also, on occasion, suffer a loss of sense of smell due to an injury, the onset of a tumour or any number of conditions. The loss of your sense of smell can be distressing and disturbing for several reasons. It can lead to loss of appetite and prevent you from tasting and enjoying food. There may even be dangerous consequences to losing your sense of smell. It can be an effective early warning system. For instance, it can tell you if food is burning or if gas is escaping in the home.

Coha Health has a series of acupuncture treatments which can give you back your sense of smell. It uses sterile needles, inserted in specific points on the body, where they can do the most good. They can be placed on the hands, the ankles, wrists and feet, where Dr Cann will use age old methods to help restore your sense of smell.

Dr Cann will carefully examine a patient’s tongue, before beginning treatment. It is of primary importance to notice its coating, colour, tension, shape and size. The patients face will also be examined, while the acupuncturist listens to the sounds of your breathing. Dr Cann will then check your pulse, while considering further symptoms. These may include asking if you are in any pain, determining sleep patterns, checking for fever, body odour and others.

Acupuncture can also be useful in remedying a stuffy or runny nose. This is a condition otherwise known as nasal congestion. It is caused by swollen membranes inside the nasal passages. It is brought on by blood vessels becoming inflamed. The tonsils and the adenoids may also be swollen, making the nose feel stuffed. This may be caused by an infection, an obstruction and allergies, among other reasons.

A stuffy nose makes breathing, speaking and hearing difficult. Alternatively, an individual may develop a runny nose from a cold, having influenza or suffering allergies. Rhinorrhea is a medical condition which can causes too much mucus fluid to develop in the sinus passages. Individuals will experience a dripping nose, ear pain, headaches, nosebleeds and sneezing. However, instead of using drugs with potentially risky side effects to fight it; many people are opting for this treatment instead. Dr Cann can relieve these conditions through the skillful placement and insertions of needles on a patient’s body.

Acupuncture has a long history of success in treating many health conditions, such as loss of smell and a stuffy and runny nose. This form of alternative medicine began in China hundreds of years ago. Acupuncturists use solid, thin, sterilized needles, placed on predetermined areas of the skin. Stimulating these acu-points corrects imbalances in the functions of the body. Energy called qi is reverted to a normal condition, during and following the insertion of needles. These infirmities and complaints have a particular corresponding point on the body, which Dr Cann will treat with needles inserted into the skin. This is the process Coha Health will use to help relieve your condition.


A toothache is a symptom of several possible underlying dental conditions. Oral pain may be caused by tooth decay, abscess, fracture, bruxism, or gum or root canal infections. An individual with any of these underlying conditions may also have swelling, fever or earache, and the dentist may prescribe antibiotic medication prior to performing drilling or extraction. It is important to seek dental treatment to avoid the spread of infection to the bloodstream or other parts of the face.

Effective oral hygiene can often prevent many of these problems. A fractured tooth can be the result of bruxism, or grinding, while sleeping. In this event, the dentist will make a custom mouth guard that the patient can wear at night. Daily flossing below the gum line can not only remove bacteria that brushing leaves behind, but it can also stimulate blood flow to the gums. Some gum problems are a symptom of a dry mouth. Saliva contains enzymes and minerals that support healthy gum tissue. Radiation treatments adversely affect the salivary glands, and many medications also contribute to dry mouth problems. The dentist may suggest avoiding harsh toothpastes and mouthwashes that contain alcohol. There are prescription medications that stimulate saliva production as well as topical saliva-supplement gels and sprays that will sooth a dry mouth and supplement natural enzymes. Maintaining a healthy diet also contributes to good oral health.

Interventions in Oriental medicine are effective in relieving pain. The pain from a toothache or extraction is no exception. Through specific acupoints, a practitioner accesses the flow of the life energy known as qi. The qi force flows through meridians throughout the body, and the symptom of pain is viewed as an obstruction or stagnation of that flow. The large intestine meridian point known as He Gu and the Nei Ting point along the stomach meridian are two effective acupoints in treating pain from toothache. Acupuncture treatments can also favorably affect the qi energy to the gums thus increasing blood flow and nutrient transport to the area. The underlying condition of the tooth and gums should be treated by a dental professional. However, along with effective oral hygiene practices, acupuncture treatments can contribute to the maintenance of oral health.

The Oriental medicine practitioner will perform an assessment of the client and determine the proper diagnostic pattern. Once diagnosed, the intervention is based on the diagnosed pattern with the goal of treating the cause of the problem. At COHA Health, we know the importance of an accurate diagnosis. It is the crucial first step in designing an individualized treatment plan.

Blurred Vision, Red And Puffy Eyes

A large number of people suffer from eye complaints such as blurred vision or red and puffy eyes. There are many who feel though that conventional treatment or medicine has been unsuccessful in meeting their needs. If this is the case, you should consider the medicinal, therapeutic benefits of acupuncture, as overseen by Coha Health. It can be used to heal various ailments.

When treating blurred vision, or red and puffy eyes, choose the vanguard of complementary medicine. We utilize years of skills and expertise to administer the leading  treatments. It can help blurred vision, as well as treat red and puffy eyes, without introducing chemicals into the body. This all natural, non-invasive treatment has been used for hundreds of years in Chinese medicine. How could centuries of testing be wrong?

Acupuncture helps release toxins and relaxes tension in a myriad of ways, to help patients in a healthy and natural way. We can treat blurred vision through this method. This may be brought about through aging, while near or far sighted people can also experience blurred vision at a very young age. There are many other causes though, such as reading in the dark or using a computer screen for an extended period of time. This is along with experiencing an overexposure to sunlight and strong lights. It may also be the result of an unhealthy lifestyle, such as eating too much sugar.

Dr. Cann can treat blurred vision by releasing pressure points in the body. This is a holistic approach, which helps relieve stress on the body. As well as improving blurred vision and eyesight, it can also help improve liver function.

Acupuncture can also assist you in the treatment of red and puffy eyes. These ailments may be caused by a number of factors. They range from lack of sleep to conjunctivitis, orbital cellulitis and allergies. These are together with dry eyes, dehydration and many other factors. They may all contribute to red and puffy eyes. Fortunately, Coha Health use this to treat these symptoms.

There is scientific evidence to explain how acupuncture benefits these different ailments. MRI’s have shown us that, when needles are placed in certain pressure points on the body, there is a change in brain activity. It proves that the treatment can be an excellent alternative to surgery or medication when it comes to treating patients.

If one is not fond of needles, there is no need to be afraid. They do not hurt, and when our treatments are over, our patient always feels much better. Acupuncture is an inexpensive alternative to modern medicine, offering genuine healing at the truest level. Everyone can benefit from this and it is often used as a preventative form of treatment. It is a wonderful way to relieve various forms of stress and pain.

Kidney Stones, Inflamed Intestines & Gall Stones

Kidney stones are mineral deposits that form inside the kidney. They may be made up of calcium, uric acid or another chemical. Once the stone leaves the kidney, the individual may suffer pain that occurs when urinating and may also experience back pain and vomiting. Men are more likely than women to have kidney stones. Stones may develop when urine is concentrated, and drinking water may prevent minerals from forming into stones. A diet high in sodium makes the kidneys work harder to filter the resulting calcium increase. Therefore, a high-sodium diet should be avoided. The physician may prescribe medication to help pass the stone. In severe cases where the stone is too large to pass, surgery may be indicated.

Similarly gallstones are hardened substances made of the digestive fluid called bile. Individuals are at increased risk of gallstones if the bile contains too much cholesterol or bilirubin. The latter chemical is produced by the liver and remains after the break down and removal of old red blood cells. Women are more likely than men to have gallstones. Ethnicity, pregnancy, diabetes, hormone therapy, and obesity are all risk factors for gallstones. The physician may prescribe medication to dissolve the stone or may surgically remove the gallbladder. A diet high in fiber may reduce the likelihood of gallstone formation.

In eastern medical theory, kidney stones fall under the diagnostic pattern of lin disorders. In particular, the stone lin pattern encompasses the western diagnosis of kidney stones. The acupuncturist will design a treatment intervention to access the qi via the appropriate acupoints to treat individuals diagnosed with this pattern. The existence of gallstones may indicate stagnant liver qi along with liver and gallbladder damp heat.

Certain foods are known to increase damp heat. Foods and herbs that relieve damp heat include onion, ginger, cinnamon, rosemary, and dill. Those that increase damp heat include fatty and fried foods. Dampness, combined with other factors, obstruct the flow of blood and qi.

The importance of an accurate diagnosis under eastern integrative approaches cannot be overemphasized. All treatment protocols stem from the diagnosis. The experience of the diagnostician is of paramount importance as is the knowledge of the appropriate intervention. To relieve and prevent the occurrence of kidney and gallstones, it is important to know which foods should be avoided and which should be consumed. Dr. Cann and his staff will make dietary suggestions when clients present with diagnostic patterns consistent with the western diagnoses of kidney stones or gallstones.

Concentration, Memory & Enhanced Brain Power

Improving Insulin Balance in Noninsulin-Dependent Diabetes (Type 2)

Previously known as noninsulin-dependent diabetes, type 2 diabetes is a condition that affects the body’s ability to metabolize sugar. The pancreas may not produce enough insulin to support healthy glucose levels. Alternatively, the body may become resistant to the insulin that is produced. In either case, glucose remains in the blood. Without the aid of insulin, it is unavailable to the cells.

Symptoms, Complications and Prevention

Symptoms include increased appetite and thirst, weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision and sores that do not heal. People at risk are those who are overweight or who carry fat in the abdomen. Other risk factors are a family history of the disease, advancing age and lack of activity. Long-term complications include damage to the kidneys, heart disease and neuropathy. When nerve damage severely affects the feet, the patient is at risk of foot or leg amputation.

Obviously, one cannot control family history or prevent aging. However, healthy lifestyle habits have a major impact on preventing or managing the condition. Allopathic and complementary medical practitioners will recommend a weight-management and exercise program. If exercise and proper diet do not control blood sugar, it may be necessary to take oral medication or, in some cases, insulin.

Diagnostic Patterns

In an article published in the Journal of Practical Traditional Chinese Internal Medicine, entitled “Analysis of Determining Treatment Based on Pattern Types of 201 Cases of Type 2 Diabetes,” Dr. Cha Jie of the Chinese Medical Research Institute in Shenyuan presented four basic diagnostic patterns that relate to the western diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. The four patterns are damp heat, heat and dryness, qi and blood vacuity, and yin and yang vacuity.

Wasting and thirsting disorder is another term that encompasses the western diagnosis of diabetes. As usual, there are differential diagnoses. Those applicable to type 2 diabetes can include spleen qi deficiency, with or without dampness or damp heat, and liver qi stagnation, with or without fire. Practitioners of oriental medicine, such as those at COHA Health, are experienced in diagnosing patterns that relate to type 2 diabetes.

Studies and Acupoints

Researchers Liao, H. et al., 2007, found that acupuncture treatments combined with moxibustion, moxa, at the extra point Weiwanxiashu, EX-B3, significantly improved fasting blood glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, and low- and high-density lipoprotein. With moxa, the acupuncturist applies treatment using a warmed stick made from the mugwort leaf. The study sample included 79 patients with type 2 diabetes. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of two single-treatment groups receiving either acupuncture or moxibustion. Subjects in a third group received both treatments. While outcome measures improved in all groups, patients who received both treatments showed the greatest improvement.

Finally, there is evidence that treatment on patients with type 2 diabetes can favorably affect not only fasting blood glucose but also mood. Shen, P.F. and Kong L., 2007, randomly divided 100 subjects into two groups. The control group was treated orally with Diaformin, and the intervention group was treated with Diaformin combined with acupuncture. The treatment was at points Baihui, GV 20, and Fengfu, GV 16. Outcome variables included fasting blood-glucose levels, blood-glucose levels two hours after a meal, and measures of depression and anxiety.

Heart Palpitations & Improved Blood Circulation

There are many potential causes for heart palpitations. Most of these causes are not serious, although heart palpitations can signal an underlying medical condition such as an arrhythmia which is an irregular heartbeat. Heart palpitations also are present in cases of hyperthyroidism. Individuals with anxiety disorders and those who experience panic attacks can have heart palpitations. Excessive use of caffeinated products obviously can cause a rapid heartbeat. It is normal, however, to have a more rapid and thumping heartbeat during physical exertion and while feeling stressed, and palpitations are a normal “fight or flight” response when perceiving real, but not imagined, danger.

Circulatory problems often result from arterial occlusion and hardening. Peripheral artery disease is one circulatory disorder. This problem is caused when blood cannot properly flow to the extremities due to narrowing of the arteries. The occluded arteries may be a sign of atherosclerosis where there is a more pervasive restriction of blood flow throughout the body due to accumulation of arterial plaque. Angina is another arterial disease where there is restricted blood flow to the heart. The buildup of plaque places the individual at increased risk of a heart attack or stroke. Conventional medicine treats circulatory issues with medication to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure as well as medication to lower the risk of blood clots. Other more invasive procedures include angioplasty or bypass surgery.

Heart palpitations are a symptom included in several oriental diagnostic patterns. These patterns often indicate a heart Qi deficiency, heart Yin and Yang deficiency and blood stagnation. The professional will target the specific points known to balance these concerns. The movement of Qi governs the flow of blood through the arteries. The Taiyuan LU-9 point of the lung meridian is one of several points that are appropriate to treat heart palpitations and circulatory issues.

If you are experiencing palpitations due hyperthyroidism or anxiety, please refer to the appropriate sections of this website that specifically address these disorders. Also relevant are our postings on smoking cessation, weight loss, and high blood pressure and cholesterol.

The proper oriental medical treatment of circulatory issues and heart palpitations is dependent upon cause. As you can see, there may be many causes contributing to these problems. Since eastern medical practice seeks to remedy the sources of health imbalances, a proper diagnosis is essential. Dr. Cann and his staff are experienced diagnosticians and have experience in treating a variety of circulatory problems. Eastern medical approaches often can be used along with conventional medicine. When treating health problems, the clinicians at COHA Health will express concern over poor dietary habits and lack of exercise as well as other harmful behaviors such as smoking. You will find that the practitioners at COHA Health will greatly support your efforts while you are making lifestyle changes.

Travel Anxiety and Stress

Many people experience anxiety prior to and during travel. Whether one travels by air, water or ground, anticipation of delays due to traffic and bad weather can increase stress and anxiety levels. Even with careful planning, many events are not within our control. Feelings of nausea, headache, constipation and other digestive problems are frequent symptoms of the internally generated stress around the travel experience.

Anticipatory Anxiety

Remembering prior experiences of motion sickness, headaches or digestive problems is enough to increase one’s level of anticipatory anxiety. The anticipation of repeating these unpleasant occurrences can increase the likelihood that they will, indeed, occur again.

Keep in mind that stress and relaxation cannot exist at the same time, so one approach is to practice relaxation techniques prior to executing travel plans and during stressful travel situations. Holistic eastern practices include a variety of techniques that can relieve stress and anticipatory anxiety. Meditation is one such practice as is Tai Chi. The western psychotherapeutic technique of progressive relaxation is also helpful.

Motion sickness

Motion sickness can result when the body and inner ear sense motions that are not perceived visually. Adequate air circulation while moving can help as can sitting in the front seat of the car or over the wing of the airplane. When traveling by ship, motion sickness can be minimized by standing outside on the deck and viewing the horizon. Focusing one’s eyes on the distant horizon also helps when traveling by automobile. Obviously, smoking can make the situation worse. Also not surprising, reading while feeling motion increases the disconnection between what the body senses and what the eyes see.

Holistic Treatment

Having treatments prior to traveling can enhance relaxation. The acupoint PC 6, also known as Nei Guan, is commonly targeted to treat motion sickness and nausea. This point is located on the inner wrist above the crease. Other points are relevant, and the acupuncturist will stimulate appropriate points depending on your individual issues.

Your practitioner will recommend staying hydrated and avoiding heavy, greasy meals and alcoholic beverages. He or she may suggest some herbal supplements. Treatment for travel anxiety will vary from one person to another. However, it is probable that effective treatment will involve a combination of techniques such as acupuncture treatments, mind-body practices and dietary adjustments.

Adrenal Insufficiency and Chronic Fatigue

There is one adrenal gland located at the top of each kidney. These glands are also known as the suprarenal glands. The outer portion of the gland is called the adrenal cortex, and the inner part is known as the adrenal medulla.

The adrenal cortex produces corticosteroid hormones such as cortisol. It also secretes aldosterone. This hormone regulates sodium and potassium levels as well as blood pressure. We have all heard of epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, and norepinephrine. These two hormones are produced by the adrenal medulla. They are responsible for the “fight or flight” response. In other words, they help us respond to stressful situations.

Adrenal Insufficiency

Formally referred to as Addison’s disease, with adrenal insufficiency, the glands do not produce enough cortisol and, sometimes, not enough aldosterone. The individual suffering with Addison’s disease can have various symptoms. These include low blood pressure, low blood sugar, muscle weakness, fatigue, irritability, and hyperpigmentation of the skin. Your doctor can detect this condition with several different tests. A blood test can measure levels of cortisol, sodium and potassium. It will also measure the antibodies that are related to Addison’s disease.

Complementary Treatment for Adrenal Insufficiency

There are many diagnostic patterns that relate to adrenal insufficiency. Among these are kidney yang, yin or qi deficiencies, spleen blood or yang deficiencies, and liver yin deficiency. As always, once the deficiencies are diagnosed, there are specific acupoints that will be stimulated to remedy imbalances. If indicated, your practitioner may also prescribe herbs for adrenal support. These may include licorice or rehmannia.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome manifests as extreme fatigue that is not alleviated by sleep or rest. The cause is not known, but it is likely the result of multiple factors. The focus of allopathic treatment is to relieve symptoms such as memory loss, fatigue, headaches, irritability, aching joints and muscles, sore throat, and light and heat sensitivity.

Complementary Treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

There are several differential diagnostic patterns that encompass the western diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. The acupuncture treatment protocol will derive from the differential diagnosis. For example, with damp heat obstruction, the acupuncturist will stimulate appropriate acupoints, such as SP 9, to resolve the dampness. To clear heat, the practitioner may apply treatment at points LI 11 and GV 14. Other possible patterns include yin deficiencies of the lung, kidney or stomach.

Prostate Swelling & Decreased Libido

The prostate gland produces seminal fluid and is located below the bladder. Urine passes from the bladder through a tube that runs through the prostate gland. As men age, it is common for the prostate to enlarge. This condition causes problems with urinary flow leading to kidney and bladder problems as well as urinary tract infections. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to release retained urine. In addition to increased age, family history and ethnicity are additional risk factors. Symptoms resulting from an enlarged prostate include an inability to empty the bladder, increased frequency of urination, stones in the bladder and difficulty starting urination. There are prescription medications that may be used to relieve symptoms as well as a number of surgical procedures of varying degrees of invasiveness.

A low sex drive can be a side effect of some medications. Also as men age, testosterone levels decline. Depression can also adversely impact one’s libido. Interestingly, in a 2004 study published in the “Mayo Clinic Proceedings,” researchers found an inverse relationship between urinary symptoms and erectile function. Since both conditions are common as men age, it is difficult to prove a causal relationship between the urinary symptoms resulting from an enlarged prostate and erectile dysfunction. Also, this study only addresses erectile functioning and not libido.

Traditional Chinese medical theory views urinary problems as different kinds of “lin disease” as well as a bladder qi deficiency. With respect to acupuncture, there are specific acupoints applicable to each of the various types of lin disease. Concerning reduced libido, the treatment would depend on the diagnostic pattern of which there could be several possibilities. If the primary cause is depression, then one target of treatment might be a liver qi stagnation. In Japanese meridian theory, the practitioner will diagnose deficiency patterns within pairs of organs such as spleen-heart, lung-spleen, kidney-lung and liver-kidney. Similarly, specific acupoints are appropriate to treat Yin deficiencies in pairs of organs. Under Dr Manaka’s channel balancing therapy, the practitioner seeks to balance yin-yang by following a structured four-step treatment procedure. Each step has a specific goal. For example, the first step treats disharmonious patterns on the abdomen.

Dr. Cann has extensive experience and training in a variety of eastern integrative approaches. Most importantly, he has diagnosed a wide range of conditions treatable under the various oriental approaches. The diagnosis is key as effective treatment begins with this important first step.


Nausea is a symptom that results from a wide variety of underlying causes. Nausea can occur with chemotherapy treatments. One may feel nauseous upon awakening from general anesthesia. Feelings of nausea occur with motion sickness, migraine headaches, hangovers, food poisoning, dizziness, ear infections and anxiety disorders. Pregnant women may experience the nausea of morning sickness. The list of maladies giving rise to this symptom is extensive. When nausea does not subside, it is important to consult with your allopathic physician.

Like all holistic medical approaches, acupuncture treats the underlying cause of a symptom. Please review articles on this website that discuss specific conditions of personal interest that may cause the symptom of nausea.

Diagnostic Patterns

The diagnostic patterns that may be applicable when a person presents with the symptom of nausea can include spleen and stomach Qi deficiencies and/or damp heat, stomach yin deficiency, stomach cold or fire, and food stagnation. Other patterns are possible. As always, the appropriate acupoints selected for treatment derive from the specific diagnostic patterns.

Spleen and Stomach Imbalances

Generally, the Nei Guan acupoint on the pericardium meridian is stimulated. This point is located above the inner wrist and is commonly targeted to treat motion sickness and vomiting. It may be stimulated in combination with other relevant points when a person is diagnosed with a stomach yin deficiency or stomach fire.

There are a number of acupoints that cool and disperse stomach and spleen damp heat. Also, spleen Qi can be affected by a Qi deficiency of the stomach. Point 36 on the stomach meridian, also called Zusanli, is appropriately targeted for many imbalances of the stomach and spleen that result in nausea or vomiting. The Zhong Wan point located on the conception vessel meridian is sometimes stimulated to tonify excess or deficient patterns of the spleen. This point also balances stomach Qi and yin.

Food Stagnation

Food stagnation is a condition of excess and can occur from overeating. The tongue may be white or yellow with a thick coating, and the food stagnation may be associated with cold or heat. The overeating affects the absorption of nutrients and the transformation of Qi. The latter process is the job of the spleen. The stomach is left, so to speak, holding an accumulation of putrid matter. With food stagnation in the stomach, the acupuncturist may treat acupoints ST 44, Neiting, ST 45, Lidui, and SP 4, Gongsun.

It is apparent that the diagnostic process under eastern medical practice is highly individualized and complex. The practitioners at COHA Health are available to diagnose and treat your medical concerns manifesting with the symptom of nausea.

Pre-exam Anxiety and Memory

Feelings of anxiety can affect concentration and the ability to learn, retain and recall information. These feelings can also affect one’s ability to reason and effectively apply conceptual knowledge. It is no surprise, then, that anxiety can also impede a person’s performance on examinations. Anxiety may be an issue in its own right, or it may accompany other problems such as depression. For more information, please refer to our articles specifically addressing treatment for generalized anxiety and depression.

Empirical Evidence of Efficacy

As defined by Baddeley and Hitch, 1974, working memory is focused attention plus short-term memory. In a 2012 study entitled “The Effect of Acupuncture on Working Memory and Anxiety,” Bussell, J. randomly assigned 90 undergraduate students to either a control or treatment group. He then administered the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, STAI. There was no significant difference between the two groups on this measure.

Treatment-group subjects received stimulation at points on the governing vessel, pericardium and kidney meridians. These points included PC 6, Nei Guan, GV 24, Shen Ting, and KD 3, Taixi. Treatment was also applied at extra points Sischencong and Shenmen. Control-group subjects were swabbed with alcohol at the same acupoints, but they received no treatment.

After treatment, subjects in both groups repeated the STAI. Additionally, all subjects completed the Automated Operation Span Task, AOSPAN, which is a computerized test of memory. The treatment-group scores on the AOSPAN were 9.5 percent greater than those in the control group. Those receiving acupuncture treatments also made 36 percent fewer math errors and attained lower scores on anxiety measures.

In another study, entitled “Relieving Pre-exam Anxiety Syndrome with Wrist-Ankle Acupuncture: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” researcher Zhong, X.Y., 2011, found significant differences on anxiety measures after treatment. There were 60 students in this study. The 30 subjects in the treatment group received three treatments, each of 30-minute duration, during the week prior to their examination.

Counseling and Other Holistic Approaches

In our article on anxiety, we mention that anxiety stems from an imbalance in the internal organs as opposed to a mental condition. This comment is somewhat true, as far as it goes, however, eastern medical theory does not distinguish between mind and body. Given this, traditional western “mental” therapies can be effective adjuncts to eastern treatments. Cognitive-behavior therapy, for example, can be beneficial in treating pre-examination anxiety. This psychotherapeutic approach identifies and examines the person’s thoughts that precipitate feelings of anxiety. Once identified, a counselor can help the individual dispute the validity of dysfunctional thoughts.

At COHA Health, we assume a multidimensional approach to treatment. Holistic interventions and practices, such as acupuncture, meditation, Tuina massage, Tai Chi and nutritional support, enhance a person’s well-being. The overall health of the person is our primary concern, and when anxiety is inhibiting a student’s academic performance, we view the anxiety as a symptom of imbalance. We strive to remedy the imbalance holistically by treating the cause of the anxiety.

Post-Surgical Pain and Scar Tissue

It is established that acupuncture treatments are an effective component of chronic and acute pain management. The analgesic effects are also beneficial in managing post-operative pain. In its 2003 publication entitled Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials, the World Health Organization includes the treatment of post-operative pain as one of many conditions where it’s effectiveness is supported by empirical, well-designed studies.

Treatments may be the sole pain-management intervention. When used in conjunction with pain medications, treatments can increase the duration of pain alleviation and allow for a lower, or less frequent, dose of medication. One commonly targeted acupoint to minimize post-operative pain is the extra point known as neimadian. This point is located on the lower leg.

Researchers, Ding, L.X. et al., 2011, at The First Affiliated Hospital of Henan University of Science and Technology conducted a controlled, post-operative study of 120 patients who had abdominal surgery. The subjects were randomly assigned to either a group receiving acupuncture treatment or a group receiving pain medication. The subjects in the first group were treated with electro-acupuncture at the neimadian acupoint. The subjects in the medication group self-administered the dosing of an intravenous analgesic drug with Sufentanil. Subjects in both groups rated the analgesic effect of their respective interventions at six, post-operative points in time up to 48 hours. The subjects in the first group experienced greater pain alleviation than the medication subjects. While the beta-endorphin levels increased in both groups, the acupuncture subjects had higher levels than those in the medication group.

Scars, surgical or otherwise, frequently can be painful, numb, itchy and sensitive for an indefinite period of time. It is likely that the trauma that causes scar tissue leads to a disturbance in the flow of qi or to other energy imbalances. Scar tenderness can be suggestive of qi and blood stagnation or deficiency.

A case study presented in Acupuncture Medicine, 2011, reported the minimization of a surgical keloid scar on a patient’s wrist that was continuously sensitive. After placing needles in the healthy skin close to the scar’s border, the patient achieved improvement after nine treatments over four months. The scar was flatter and less sensitive. It also had a lighter, improved appearance.

The practitioners at COHA Health have experience treating post-surgical pain and scars. They are also current on the research literature. With respect to treating scars, an experienced clinician knows the importance of cleanliness and of avoiding treatment too soon after the trauma. The acupuncturist also knows that treatment should proceed slowly with continuous monitoring of the reactions of the client.

Eye Pressure & Eye Strain

Eye pressure and eye strain affects a wide range of people, especially those who work with computers or do a great deal of reading. It is thought cell phones, mobile devices, video games and watching television can contribute to the problem as well. If you are afflicted with eye strain or eye pressure and can’t seem to find the proper treatment, through conventional means, then why not open yourself to the option of having an acupuncture treatment from Dr Sifu Reginald Cann?

Eye pressure and eye strain are conditions that could affect all types of people or all walks of life. For instance; teachers and university professors are often affected by it due to the large number of papers they correct on a daily basis. It is felt the sensation of eye pressure or eye strain often results in individuals suffering from near or far-sightedness. Sinus problems can also cause feelings of eye pressure or eye strain. This may come about from the lens of the eyes hardening with age, leading to feelings of discomfort. Headaches are also a common result of eye pressure and eye strain.

Acupuncture can be a remedy to the problem though, providing relief for those working in areas which may bring on the condition. There is also relief possible for avid readers or those who are suffering from eye strain from aging. This is a standard method of treatment in Oriental medicine. This is a form of medicine which focuses on the tissues, the organs and the overall balance in the body. We can determine if an imbalance in the body is causing eye pressure or eye strain.

Once the cause of the problem has been identified, treatment can begin. There will be an emphasis on different acupoints around the eyes. We will additionally apply harmless needles to the points that will improve blood circulation to the eyes. This is as well as enhancing the life force known as Qi.

There are various acupressure points around the eyes which are known to promote good eye health. The Jingming point, translated as “Bright eyes” is located in the inner corner of the eye. It is known to increase blood flow. The Zanzhu point is located at the inner corner of the eyebrow. This point particularly addresses headaches and the sensation of a swollen eye. There is also the Yuyao point, found in the middle of the eyebrow. It is considered an important factor in addressing eye strain and pain in the eyes. Sizhukong point is furthermore found in the hollow part at the outer end of the eyebrow. It is also considered an effective means of eliminating headaches from eye strain. The Quihou is another point, found right below the eye and about midway along the orbit. It can successfully relieve a variety of problems with the eyes.

In addition to our treatments, lifestyle changes may also be recommended for treating eye strain or eye pressure. It is advised that you are stay well hydrated, take plenty of exercise and cut down on salt and caffeine.

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is characterized by inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract leading to abdominal pain, diarrhoea  bloody stools, ulcers, blockages and decreased appetite. When ulcers are present, the likelihood of developing fistulas also increases. Fistulas are abnormal connections between the intestine and another organ. The most commonly affected areas of the digestive tract are the small intestine and the colon. The specific cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, and there is no cure. However, heredity may play a part as does a compromised immune system. The immune system may cause inflammation of the digestive tract in its efforts to fight the aberrant cells of an invading virus or bacterium. There may be increased susceptibility to the disease if other family members also have Crohn’s disease. Other risk factors include advancing age and smoking.

The goal of treatment is to reduce the inflammation. Commonly prescribed pharmacological approaches include prescription of sulfasalazine, mesalamine or corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are often used along with an immuno-suppressant. The side effects of these drugs are a main reason individuals seek complementary treatment. Complementary approaches often include herbal and other supplements, such as fish oil and probiotics, as well as acupuncture.

The treatment of Crohn’s disease using eastern traditional medicine also focuses on reducing inflammation, but these treatments also target causes and diagnostic patterns. The integrative medical professional may use methods from Chinese or Japanese styles along with other complementary approaches. The diagnostic methods are similar between the different methods. However, the Japanese method commonly uses abdominal palpitation in the process of making a diagnosis. Depending on the nature of the palpitation, deep or surface-level, the practitioner determines where qi has been disrupted or where there may be deficiencies in organs. At any rate, the concept of qi is common throughout oriental medical practices. This is the life energy that flows through the body within a system of channels called meridians. Under the Chinese system, the practitioner treating a patient with Crohn’s disease may target a deficiency of qi in the spleen, large intestine blood stagnation and large intestine damp heat.

At Coha Health, Dr. Cann is experienced in several methods of oriental acupuncture. He is also familiar with the appropriate diagnostic patterns under the various eastern approaches that are associated with the western diagnosis of Crohn’s disease.

High Cholesterol & High Blood Pressure

Cholesterol is a sticky substance in the blood that is necessary for healthy cell production. However, too much cholesterol can cause blockages in vessels making it difficult for effective blood flow. Fatty cholesterol deposits can decrease the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart and brain leaving individuals at increased risk for heart disease and stroke. Fortunately, many risk factors are within individual control. A healthy diet along with an effective exercise regimen can help maintain an optimal weight. It is also essential to avoid smoking. Often these lifestyle improvements can overcome, or compensate for, a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, also predisposes individuals to heart disease and stroke. If arteries are narrowed by cholesterol, there is increased resistance to the flow of blood. Primary hypertension develops over many years and has no known cause. It often has no symptoms. Secondary hypertension develops as a result of an underlying condition. It may also be a side effect of some medications. Risk factors for hypertension include being overweight, family history, stress, excess dietary sodium, potassium deficiency, vitamin D deficiency, inactivity and smoking. High cholesterol, kidney disease and diabetes also place individuals at risk.

When a patient presents with high blood pressure, the acupuncturist may discern a diagnostic pattern involving LV (liver) wind. The practitioner will also look at the patient’s tongue, its color and coating, as well as the patient’s pulse and whether it is rapid or full. From the diagnostic pattern, the acupuncturist will determine the appropriate acupoints to treat any organ Yin-Yang imbalance or impediments to the flow of the life force known as qi. Under Chinese systems, high cholesterol is considered to be the result of a liver Yang excess. Under Japanese meridian therapy, yin is frequently deficient while yang is often in excess. Yin deficiency is diagnosed first as the Yin-deficient organ cannot control its child organ. As a result, the child organ that is the mother to another organ begins to over control its child. Therefore, the diagnostic process seeks to diagnose the deficiency in a pair of channels or meridians.

Acupuncture is an effective intervention for high cholesterol and high blood pressure. This intervention does not negate the need for a healthy diet and regular exercise. At COHA Health, we develop a comprehensive and integrated treatment approach to treat the related conditions of high cholesterol and high blood pressure. We make nutritional recommendations and suggest mind-body practices to reduce stress. We will also help you identify possible reasons for an inability to comply with a healthy diet and exercise plan.

Acute and Chronic Ankle Sprains

Sprains occur when ligaments, which stabilize and hold joints and bones together, are stretched beyond their normal capacity. Extreme movements can stretch or even tear ligaments. If there is pain after falling or otherwise twisting the ankle, particularly when applying weight on the foot, there is a possibility that the ankle has been sprained. There may be swelling, bruising and restricted movement.

Typical treatment may include pain relievers, physical therapy, and a cast or boot to immobilize the ankle. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair torn ligaments particularly if they have been injured repeatedly. The individual should rest, apply ice, wear compression bandages and keep the leg elevated above heart level. This is frequently referred to as RICE therapy.

In her 2012 article entitled “Management and Prevention of Lateral Ankle Sprains with Western and Eastern Methods, Wimmer, R. details what pre-existing factors contribute to ankle sprains. These factors include “consuming of the qi and blood, accumulation of dampness, invasion of external pathogens (wind, cold, damp), and, of course, blood stagnation.” Dr. Wimmer further discusses factors that create a chronic or acute condition. She states that chronic conditions are defined by pre-existing internal problems that readily enable the invasion of external pathogens. This invasion affects the circulation of qi and blood in the affected location.

A 2012 study conducted by Zhu Y et al., of the Department of Rehabilitation at Shanghai Hospital, found that electro-acupuncture improved the awareness of stimuli relating to posture and equilibrium, known as proprioception, in athletes with ankle instability. The study was published in the Chinese journal Zhongguo Zhen Jiu.

The most common ankle injury is to the anterior talofibular ligament. Depending on which ligaments are injured, treatment may be applied to the spleen meridian point 6, San Yin Jiao, which is the intersection of the three leg yin meridians. A common local point for treating injuries to the ankle is gall bladder 40, Qiu Xu. Based on diagnosis, the experienced practitioner will determine which treatment points are appropriate.

In addition to treatments, the practitioner of complementary medicine may recommend herbal or homeopathic remedies for ankle injuries. In a 2004 controlled study, published in the journal Phytomedicine, Koll, R. et al. found that ointment of comfrey root extract was an effective treatment for acute unilateral ankle sprains. Treatment with this medicinal plant provided analgesic and anti-inflammatory relief as well as enhanced tissue regeneration.

Fluid Retention, Oedema, and Gout

The condition of oedema results from the accumulation of fluid in body tissues. This buildup occurs due to the seepage of fluid from tiny capillaries into adjacent tissue. The symptoms of oedema include puffiness anywhere in the body but normally manifest in the hands, arms, legs and ankles.

Causes and Treatment of Oedema

The swelling of oedema can result from the side effects of medication, hormonal changes, such as those related to pregnancy or the menstrual cycle, or merely occur from eating too many salty foods. However, oedema can indicate a serious underlying condition such as kidney or congestive heart failure. Mild cases of oedema usually resolve without intervention. In other cases, the physician may prescribe diuretics that enable the excess fluid to be eliminated through urine. As discussed next, diuretic use increases the risk of gout in individuals predisposed to the condition. The focus of allopathic and complementary treatments for oedema is the underlying cause of the swelling.

Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs when sharp uric crystals accumulate in joints due to high levels of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is naturally produced by the body in order to metabolize food substances known as purines. The symptoms of gout include sudden and acute pain from swollen, inflamed and red joints. Frequently, the affected joint is located in the big toe.

Causes and Treatment of Gout

Some of the risk factors for developing gout are excessive alcohol consumption, a family history of gout, untreated hypertension, diabetes, high fat and cholesterol levels, and being male. Diuretics used to treat oedema and hypertension can also increase the risk of gout because these medications decrease the amount of uric acid that is excreted through urine. Allopathic treatment may involve the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and dietary adjustment to minimize consumption of foods that contain purines to avoid the production of excess uric acid.

Treatments for Gout

The efficacy of treating gout with acupuncture is supported by many empirical studies, and the World Health Organization includes gouty arthritis in their list of conditions where it is a proven treatment.

Zou R. et al., 2007, found that uric acid levels decreased when electro-acupuncture was combined with point injection. Liu B., Wang, H.M. and Wang, F.Y., 2008, observed a therapeutic effect after treating subjects with local blocking combined with this at the Ashi points as well as points SP 1, Yinbai, SP 6, Sanyinjiao, SP 9, Yinlingquan, LR 3, Taichong, ST 40, Fenglong, and ST 36, Zusanli. The control group was treated with a drug regimen of Indomethacin and Allopurinol.

The diagnosed patterns encompassing gout may include damp heat, kidney and liver yin deficiency, and qi and blood stagnation. Other patterns are possible. The SP 2 point, along the spleen meridian, may be targeted to clear damp heat. Other relevant points are the SP 3, SP 6 and point ST 36, along the stomach meridian.

Acid-Reflux, Indigestion & Digestive Disorders

Acid reflux occurs when stomach acids flow upward and into the esophagus. When experiencing acid reflux, the individual may also experience heartburn and a sour taste from the acids and partially-digested food. Losing weight and avoiding certain foods can minimize the occurrence of acid reflux. Over-the-counter antacid tablets can treat the symptoms.

If acid reflux occurs frequently, the condition is more serious. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic form of digestive disease that may require prescription medications and possibly surgical intervention. Repeated esophageal exposure to stomach acids results in inflammation and can lead to esophagitis. The esophageal tissue can become damaged causing bleeding, scar tissue, ulcers and other serious complications.

Indigestion is another common digestive problem. Symptoms can include bloating, pain in the upper abdomen and feeling full after only a few bites of a meal. The feeling of fullness may last longer than what is considered normal. In some cases, individuals may experience bloating and heartburn.

Diagnostic patterns that encompass the condition of indigestion include those that address liver Qi stagnation and spleen and stomach Qi deficiencies. The practitioner will observe the condition of the tongue and qualities of the pulse. For example, with a spleen Qi deficiency, the tongue may be pale and swollen. The acupoint ST 36 along the stomach meridian is relevant to treating spleen and stomach Qi deficiencies, and LV 14 on the liver meridian addresses liver Qi stagnation. This is a simplified description of the treatment and merely serves to illustrate that treatment via certain acupoints works to remedy deficiencies, excesses and stagnation.

The pattern of liver attacking spleen is often common to both indigestion and acid reflux. Stomach dampness is frequently present with acid reflux, and avoiding dairy products and greasy foods can help minimize stomach dampness. Herbs such as chamomile and licorice may also help. The acupoints CV 9 along the conception vessel meridian as well as point ST 36 on the stomach meridian are sometimes targeted in the treatment of acid reflux and abdominal pain from indigestion.

A wide range of digestive problems are amenable to oriental medical treatment protocols. Acupuncture may be used in isolation or in conjunction with other holistic practices. Dr Cann may recommend meditation to reduce stress and exercises such as Tai Chi. They will also make dietary suggestions that may include herbs. In order to avoid adverse interactions, it is important to inform allopathic and eastern medical professionals of all medications and herbs being used. After making a thorough assessment, the practitioners at COHA Health will design a treatment plan that targets the imbalances indicated by diagnostic patterns that encompass digestive problems such as indigestion and acid reflex.

Acne & Eczema

The chronic condition of eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is characterized by skin inflammation. An individual may have an itchy, red rash anywhere on the body, but it normally occurs on the face, hands and legs. Atopic dermatitis may occur in families concurrent with asthma and other allergies. However, there is no evidence that the presence of allergies leads to eczema or vice versa. Corticosteroid creams may ease symptoms. Depending on severity, a physician may prescribe an oral corticosteroid such as Prednisone. Complications of eczema include open sores that result from scratching. Individuals with open sores are at increased risk of bacterial infection and exposure to the herpes simplex virus. Small blisters may appear which can indicate eczema herpeticum.

Acne is another skin condition that has responded to treatment using integrative medical approaches. Acne is a condition that results from excess sebum, bacteria and dead skin that accumulate in the hair follicle. The blockages may form pimples, and if the clog is deep within the follicle, the individual may have cysts under the skin. Some hormones, such as androgens and those produced during pregnancy, can cause increased sebum production. Diets containing high amounts of sugars and carbohydrates may also increase sebum production as can some medications. Gentle cleansing of the skin, as opposed to scrubbing, will remove the excess sebum and dead skin thus preventing a buildup of bacteria in the follicle. Topical products containing benzoyl peroxide or alpha hydroxy acids are often applied after cleaning the skin.

In a study conducted in the Dermatology Department at Northwestern University, Dr. Kachiu C. Lee, et al., performed a randomized study on a small sample of 15 individuals with eczema. Subjects were assigned randomly to the experimental group and were instructed to apply pressure to the large intestine 11 acupoint. At follow-up four weeks later, individuals in the treatment group reported symptom improvement whereas those in the control group reported no improvement.

The large intestine 11 acupoint is accessed in treating skin conditions as is the UB 40 point along the bladder meridian. When used in combination, these two points reduce damp heat and address other indicators comprising a diagnostic pattern that encompasses various skin conditions. In eastern systems of acupuncture, the practitioner will make the diagnosis based on a number of factors including pulse and tongue observations. For example, if the pulse is rapid and full, this may indicate excess heat. Among other indicators, the qualities of the pulse support the diagnosis, and the pulse will be felt at various locations on the body.

Combined with a healthy diet and other beneficial lifestyle behaviours, acupuncture can minimize the causes of eczema and acne flare-ups.

Respiratory Conditions & Shortness Of Breath

The respiratory system is a group of organs that are involved with the intake of oxygen through the act of breathing. The oxygen is then exchanged with carbon dioxide which is expelled. Sometimes referred to as the “respiratory tree,” the organs comprising the respiratory system include the nose, trachea, lungs, throat, pharynx and bronchi.

There are a number of symptoms of respiratory problems, and shortness of breath is a common symptom. Shortness of breath can also be a complication or symptom of many life-threatening conditions such as heart attack, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism or drug interactions. Individuals should consult the appropriate health care provider to obtain a proper diagnosis when experiencing shortness of breath.

There are several hundred conditions that are considered disorders of the respiratory system. Occupational conditions such as chemical worker’s or farmer’s lung have an environmental etiology and result from working in toxic environments. In short, breathing fumes, metals, chemicals or other foreign substances can lead to acute or chronic respiratory problems. Individuals with asthma, bronchitis, wheezing, and complications from smoking and sinusitis also present with shortness of breath. Other respiratory conditions that cause shortness of breath include lung cancer, infection of the lung or respiratory system, pneumonia, airway obstruction, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, and cystic fibrosis. The common cold and flu are also respiratory conditions.

Acupuncture is used to treat a broad range of respiratory problems by accessing the flow of life energy known as Qi. This energy flows through a system of pathways known as meridians. The practitioner accesses this energy via specific acupoints that are proven to treat the given condition. The intervention frees obstructed or stagnant qi. In order to treat respiratory problems, the acupuncturist will target the lung meridian. This pathway runs from the shoulder through the arm down to the thumb. There are many defined points along this meridian that are appropriate to specific respiratory problems. For example, in Chinese methodology, the point known as Yun Men, LU 2, is accessed to treat cough, asthma and chest tension. Lie Que, LU 7, treats fever, runny nose and sneezing.

At COHA Health, you can rest assured that Dr. Cann and his experienced team will design an integrated and holistic approach to your health care. Depending on your condition, you may opt to have acupuncture as your primary intervention or you may have treatment concurrent with western medical approaches. We may make suggestions with respect to other treatments within Oriental medicine. In particular, there are specific herbal supplements that may be appropriate. As always, you, the client, are a participant in the treatment process. With information, we will enable you to make informed decisions about your treatment.

Ear Pain, Ringing & Blocked Ears

Ear pain can result from various causes including ear infections, tinnitus, excess ear wax or blockages from foreign objects, arthritis of the jaw, chronic sinusitis, ruptured eardrum, swimmer’s ear, and exposure to loud noise or air pressure changes. While an ear infection may be common in children, it is less likely in adults. In adults, the ear pain may not even originate in the ear. This “referred” pain may actually originate in the temporomandibular joint, teeth, or from other locations.

Tinnitus is not a disease. It is a symptom where the individual hears ringing, buzzing or other sounds that do not relate to any external source. These symptoms are often more annoying than serious and may be due to age-related hearing loss or an ear injury. Ringing in the ears may be symptomatic of excess ear wax, a vascular condition or the side effects of medication. Tinnitus may also develop after a respiratory infection such as a cold. In order to avoid damage to the ear canal or ear drum, a physician is best equipped to properly remove blockages or ear wax buildup. Self-administered attempts by placing objects into the ear or using techniques such as ear candling, placing a lit candle into the ear, are dangerous and mostly ineffective.

The diagnostic approach under Oriental medicine is different from that used in western allopathic medicine. Rather than treat specific symptoms, Dr. Cann will diagnosis patterns that may explain more of the presented symptoms. He will treat tinnitus by accessing the life energy known as qi through acupoints proven to treat the causes that give rise to specific symptoms. For an individual presenting with the complaint of ringing in the ears, the practitioner may treat a kidney and liver Yin deficiency as well as a lung and spleen deficiency of qi. Oriental medicine interventions focus on treating deficiencies or excesses in Yin-Yang, the principle of interdependent duality, as well as restoring the flow of stagnant or obstructed qi, the vital life force that flows through the human body.

The efficacy of Oriental Medicine approaches is supported by the results of many empirical studies. Additionally, in recent years, the western medical establishment has implemented complementary medical approaches, including acupuncture, in their treatment protocols. Many prestigious universities and medical centers have established integrative medicine departments or offer integrative services as part of their treatment programs. Included among these well-respected facilities are the University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Mayo Clinic’s Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Integrative Medicine Service.

At COHA Health, Dr. Cann knows the appropriate treatment protocols for ear pain, inflammation and tinnitus. After our initial assessment, we will develop an individual approach to your integrative treatment that focuses on your overall health and well-being. In the hands of an experienced professional, acupuncture and other Oriental medicine interventions have a proven record of success in the treatment of
many disorders of the ear.

Allergies & Seasonal Treatments

An allergic reaction can occur after exposure to pollen, dust, molds, latex, insect bites, dander and chemicals. Reactions may also occur after ingesting certain foods and medications. Symptoms manifest as inflammation of the skin, digestive system, sinuses and airways. There may also be congestion, runny nose, and itching, red, watery eyes. These symptoms occur when the immune system produces antibodies against substances that are perceived as threatening.

In the case of allergies, this immune response is a misdirected attempt to attack invading micro-organisms that actually are not pathogenic. Allergic symptoms result when these antibodies release chemicals known as histamines. The immune system will again make the histamine-producing antibodies upon future exposure to the allergen. Acupuncture treatments can minimize allergic reactions when again exposed to an allergen and may reduce reliance on relief medications such as antihistamines.

Diagnostic Patterns

After viewing the client’s tongue, pulse pattern, gait and other indicators, the acupuncturist will diagnose a pattern. This pattern will relate to the western diagnosis of the specific allergy, but it will be more comprehensive. The stimulation of proper acupoints will follow from the diagnosed pattern or patterns. Given this, two people presenting with the same western diagnosis may be treated with different protocols. As a simplified example, the etiology of an allergy could be wind-cold or wind-heat affecting the lung meridian. The individual may have underlying lung and kidney deficiencies, and treatments will seek to remedy these imbalances by stimulating appropriate points along the lung and kidney meridians.

Hay Fever

Allergic rhinitis, commonly referred to as hay fever, is included on the World Health Organization’s list of conditions where the efficacy of acupuncture treatment is proven through empirical, controlled studies. This may enable a person to lower the dose of relief medication by potentiating drug effectiveness.

In a 2013 study, Brinkhaus, B. et al. achieved significant improvement in seasonal allergy sufferers after applying these treatments combined with relief medications. The subjects in the treatment group showed greater improvement than those taking medications alone as measured by the Rhinitis Quality-of-Life Questionnaire. This study, entitled “Acupuncture in Patients with Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis: A Randomized Trial,” was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and was conducted in six hospital clinics and 32 outpatient clinics with a sample of 422 subjects.


There is evidence that acupuncture is a cost-effective complementary treatment for those suffering with allergic asthma. In a 2013 trial, entitled “Acupuncture in Patients Suffering from Allergic Asthma,” researchers Reinhold, T. et al. found that the improvement in life-quality after treatments was significant enough to justify the additional cost of treatment.


Atopic dermatitis is commonly referred to as eczema, and it may concurrently exist with asthma and hay fever. An apparent immune response, eczema is a chronic condition where the skin becomes inflamed, itchy and red usually anywhere the skin creases such as behind the knees. In a 2008 study, entitled “The Effectiveness of Combined Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture in the Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis,” Salameh, F. et al. found that treatments combined with Chinese herbal medicine were more effective than herbal medication alone.

The results of a 2010 study, published in Allergy, achieved a significant, favorable result on histamine-induced itch in atopic eczema patients. Patients reported itch reduction after receiving point-specific treatments. Additionally, when again exposed to the allergens, the subjects reported a diminished allergic reaction. This study, by researchers Pfab, F. et al., is entitled “Influence of Acupuncture on Type 1 Hypersensitivity Itch and the Wheal and Flare Response in Adults with Atopic Eczema.”


Most commonly affecting the joints of the knees, hips, hands, lower back and neck, osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease manifesting as a deterioration of the protective cartilage located at the ends of bones. This cartilage surrounds the ends of bones, and if the deterioration is severe, the bones may eventually rub against each other. While there is no cure, treatment can slow the progression of osteoarthritis, facilitate movement and minimize pain

Symptoms, Risk Factors and Treatment

Osteoarthritis symptoms include tenderness and stiffness at the joint site, loss of flexibility and bone spurs. Advancing age is one risk factor as are injuries, obesity, diabetes, hypothyroidism and gout. Women are at greater risk than men. To minimize pain, physicians may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or prescribe disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs to minimize swelling as well as pain. Physical or occupational therapy may be helpful. Devices such as splints or braces that support or immobilize the affected area can relieve pressure on joints. In severe cases, it may be necessary to surgically replace the joint.

A Landmark Study

The results of a groundbreaking empirical study, entitled “Effectiveness of Acupuncture as Adjunctive Therapy in Osteoarthritis of the Knee: A Randomized, Controlled Trial,” found that study subjects experienced significant pain relief and improvement in function after treatments. This 2004 study involved a sample of 570 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee and was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The endeavor was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. These two agencies are divisions of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Treatment Protocols

In a 2011 article entitled “Osteoarthritis of the hip and Acupuncture,” Whitfield Reaves details various protocols. The Jing Well and Shu Stream points are two distal points that are often targeted to relieve osteoarthritis symptoms in the hip. Deriving from the Master Tong protocol, Reaves recommends a Shu Stream point combination of GB 41 on the affected side along with SJ 3 on the opposing side. The internal Zang-fu organs should also be involved to treat imbalances most commonly found in the liver and kidney. Liver qi, yin and blood deficiencies are often present. To treat liver imbalances, Reaves targets the Liv 3, Yuan Source point, and GB 34, Yang Ling Quan. Finally he suggests appropriate local and adjacent points.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects millions of people worldwide. In the United States alone, more than 16 million people suffer with this condition. For more information on this treatment for other types of arthritis, please refer to our articles on rheumatoid arthritis and gout.

Enhanced Sports Performance

Eastern medical practices offer many benefits to both amateur sports enthusiasts and Olympic athletes. We have previously discussed the efficacy of acupuncture for the treatment of ankle injuries, tennis and golfer elbow, muscle and joint pain, frozen shoulder, anxiety, and neck and back pain. We have also written about the benefits of Tui na massage in treating injuries. You may already aware that treatments can hasten recovery from injuries, but did you know that acupuncture can also enhance sports performance?

Role in Training and Exercise Regimes

In a 2010 literature review, published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, Ahmedov reports that reviewed studies support acupuncture’s association with increased muscular strength. It also enhances blood circulation in those participating in endurance activities.

Prior to performing sports, acupuncturist Whitfield Reaves has treated Olympic athletes with needling of the upper and lower extremity muscles. He also applies auricular acupuncture to enhance performance. In this case, he retains the small “tacks” in the athlete’s ear during competition.

In an article published by the American College of Sports Medicine, Reaves mentions several acupoints that may be appropriate depending on the sport. For example, for runners, he suggests stimulating point 36 on the stomach, ST, meridian. With throwers, he suggests a combination of ST 36 and point 11 on the large intestine, LI, meridian. Also, ST 36 may be treated in conjunction with LI 10.

Carl Hangee-Bauer, N.D., L.Ac., applies a three-pronged protocol to treat athletes. First, he applies techniques that provide support during training and that prepare the athlete’s body for “bursts of energy.” He then treats acupoints that “stimulate output” during performance. The third aspect of his approach is to provide individualized treatment based on the health history and prior injuries of the athlete. He also customizes herbal formulas to complement the acupuncture treatments.

Proper Movement

Finally, Neil Maki, acupuncturist and exercise physiologist, stresses the importance of evaluating an athlete’s form when engaged in his or her sport. The goal of this evaluation is to enhance competitive edge by encouraging movement economy. The main objective is to enhance performance without risking injury. He completes the evaluation of movement prior to initiating treatments.

Holistic techniques are an effective complement to the allopathic practice of sports medicine. It is, therefore, advantageous to integrate acupuncture treatments into a training or exercise regime

PMS, Menstrual Pain and Delayed or Irregular Menses

The treatment of premenstrual syndrome, PMS, has been hampered by the lack of clear, agreed-upon diagnostic criteria. This state of affairs results mainly from a research history plagued with methodological problems. Furthermore, many of the physical and psychological symptoms that comprise this poorly defined condition can be explained by a myriad of other diagnoses.

In an effort to clear up some of the confusion, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV, DSM IV, sets forth specific symptoms that may occur within 10 days of menstruation in order to make a diagnosis of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, PMDD. These symptoms include difficulties with sleep, bloating, fatigue, changes in appetite and mood, including anger and irritability, and decreased interest in activities. The symptoms may not result from another psychological disorder or from gynecological conditions such as endometriosis or fibroids.

Menstrual cramps are also considered one symptom of PMS. Common menstrual cramps, known as primary dysmenorrhea, consist of pain in the abdomen and lower back in the days prior to and during the period. The individual may also feel nauseous and experience diarrhoea. Secondary dysmenorrhea results from reproductive organ diseases such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.

Amenorrhea is another menstrual difficulty. It simply refers to the absence of a period. Primary amenorrhea refers to the absence of a first period in a female who has reached the age of 16. Secondary amenorrhea is when a normally menstruating female has no period for at least three cycles. In the absence of pregnancy, there are numerous causes for delayed, absent or irregular periods.An individual suffering from any of the above conditions should have a complete physical including a comprehensive gynecological examination. This examination should include blood tests to determine thyroid and other hormone levels.

Other factors to consider are stress levels, mood changes, eating and exercise behavior, drug and alcohol use, weight gain or loss, and changes in body hair.Depending on the nature and complexity of the menstrual difficulties, integrative approaches, such as acupuncture, can be the sole interventions or serve as adjunct therapies to western treatments.

The acupuncturist will make a diagnosis based on a pattern of symptoms. The practitioner will then target specific points along appropriate meridians in the body to address deficiencies associated with the diagnostic pattern. As detailed elsewhere on this website, the holistic practitioner may also suggest tui na massage to treat female disorders.After a thorough discussion and examination of the client, Dr. Cann will design your treatment plan. He may also suggest lifestyle changes that address stress levels, diet and exercise.


Everybody experiences occasional feelings of sadness. However, when these feelings persist and affect daily life, a person may be suffering from a depressive illness. The American Psychiatric Association sets forth specific diagnostic criteria for various depressive conditions in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-IV.

Depression is classified under mood disorders, and the DSM-IV details specific symptoms for the various depressive illnesses as well as the frequency and duration of these symptoms. When a client presents with symptoms of depression, he or she may be diagnosed with major depressive episode, major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, bipolar episode or bipolar disorder. After assessing a client, the mental-health practitioner can make an official diagnosis.

Depression also can be a symptom of another mental-health condition and not a disorder in its own right. The symptoms of depression can be present in those suffering from anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, substance addictions, personality disorders or schizophrenia. Symptoms of depression can also exist with some medical conditions such as hypothyroidism. They may also result from female hormonal fluctuations such as those occurring with premenstrual syndrome, menopause and pregnancy.

Symptoms and Treatment

A client with a depressive illness may sleep too much or, alternatively, experience insomnia. He or she may feel fatigued, withdraw from social activities, experience a change in eating habits, have difficulties concentrating, and experience feelings of guilt and thoughts of suicide. Western treatments can include antidepressant drugs and counseling therapy.

Studies and Treatment

The World Health Organization includes depressive illness in its 2003 list of conditions where acupuncture treatment has empirical proof of efficacy. Studies continue to support the success of this method in treating depression. In a 2013 randomized, controlled study of 755 patients with depression, MacPherson, H. et al. found that treatments alone were just as effective as counseling in significantly reducing depressive symptoms. These results were maintained at a three-month follow-up.

Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, SSRI, are one class of antidepressant drugs. Researchers Zhang-Jin Jang et al., at The University of Hong Kong’s School of Chinese Medicine, found that dense cranial electro-acupuncture stimulation enhanced SSRI antidepressant efficacy in subjects diagnosed with major depressive disorder. This 2012 trial is entitled “Dense Cranial Electro-acupuncture Stimulation for Major Depressive Disorder—A Single-Blind, Randomized, Controlled Study. The protocol applied in this study was developed by lead researcher Zhang-Jin Zhang. The acupoints stimulated included Bai-Hui, Si-Shen-Cong, Tou-Lin-Qi, Tou-Wei, Shuai-Gu, Tai-Yang and Yin-Tang.

Lower Urinary Tract Infections

The urinary system includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. With urinary tract infections, UTIs, the lower tract, the bladder and urethra, is most commonly involved. The severity and type of symptoms depend on the part of the urinary system that is infected. Generally, symptoms include a constant urge to urinate, burning when urinating and blood in the urine. UTIs are caused when bacteria enter the urinary system through the urethra. The infection results when the bacteria multiply in the bladder. Pain and antibiotic medications are standard treatments.

Risk Factors

Women are more prone to UTIs than men. Hormonal declines due to menopause cause changes in the urinary tract leaving women susceptible. Sexually active women are more at risk than those who are not sexually active. People with compromised immune systems have a lower defense against the bacteria and, therefore, are more likely to develop UTIs. Men with an enlarged prostate are at greater risk as are people who have kidney stones. Finally, people who use catheters to urinate are at increased risk of developing UTIs.

Complementary Treatment

In a 2002 study, entitled “Acupuncture Treatment in the Prevention of Uncomplicated Recurrent Lower Urinary Tract Infections in Adult Women,” researchers found a significant difference in the recurrence rate between the acupuncture group and a no-treatment control group. The 92 subjects included in this study had received medical treatment for at least two UTIs during the 12 months prior to the study. At a six-month follow-up, 73 percent of women in the treatment group had no recurrence of UTIs compared with 52 percent in the no-treatment group.

Treatments were based on the subjects’ differential diagnoses. Targeted acupoints on the back and lower abdomen were CV 3 or CV 4 and UB 23 or UB 28. Treated points on the lower extremities included KD 3, SP 6, SP 9, ST 36 or LV 3.

Differential diagnostic patterns that relate to the western diagnosis of UTI include bladder damp heat, and liver and gall bladder damp heat. Dampness is sticky and heavy, and it causes recurrent episodes of a condition. The acupoint 28, Pang Guang Shu, on the urinary bladder meridian is a main acupoint for treating bladder damp heat. Point 3 on the conception vessel meridian, known as Zhong ji, is often treated for urinary problems resulting from damp heat. This point is appropriate for burning and frequent urination.

Menopausal and Perimenopausal Symptoms

The permanent cessation of the menstrual cycle is known as menopause. While it is a natural condition, the symptoms can range from mild to severe. One symptom that is particularly annoying to many women is hot flashes, and when night sweats occur, they can disrupt sleep. Other possible symptoms include vaginal dryness, incontinence, mood changes, weight gain, dry skin and thinning hair. In the years preceding the end of menses, periods normally become irregular, and some of these symptoms may commence. This gradual process is known as perimenopause.

Menopause normally results from a gradual decline in hormone levels. However, when a woman has a hysterectomy, where the uterus and ovaries are removed, she will abruptly enter menopause. This sudden change usually causes immediate symptoms. Women who have had chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer may also abruptly begin menopause.

Treatment of Symptoms

Osteoporosis is one condition affecting perimenopausal and menopausal women whereby the bones become brittle and decrease in density. Weight-bearing exercises can help maintain bone density. Also, there are several medications that can be prescribed to minimize or arrest bone loss. If indicated, a woman should take calcium and vitamin D supplements. Adequate vitamin D levels are necessary in order to efficiently absorb calcium. It is a good idea to do a blood test to measure the serum circulating level of 25-hydroxy vitamin D.

Sexual intercourse may become painful due to decreased vaginal lubrication and elasticity. Vaginal estrogen creams can be helpful in this regard. In some instances, a physician may recommend low dose hormone-replacement therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms. Hormone therapy is controversial as it increases the risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancers, but for some, it may be a good short-term treatment to help a woman more comfortably manage the transition.

A Perspective From Oriental Medicine

In a 2002 article, John Chen, Ph.D., Pharm.D., presents several differential diagnoses that guide the treatment of menopausal symptoms under eastern medical theory. The appropriate acupoints derive from the individual’s differential diagnosis. Specific herbal supplements may also be appropriate.

A kidney yin deficiency is common in menopausal women, and many of the symptoms mentioned above result from this imbalance. Symptoms of irritability or nervousness can manifest with liver qi stagnation, and hot flashes, insomnia and emotional instability often accompany a blood deficiency. Other diagnostic patterns are uprising deficiency heat, kidney yang deficiency and kidney essence, jing, deficiency. The latter imbalance is related to the western diagnosis of osteoporosis. If indicated, Dr. Chen prescribes gui lu er xian jiao to enhance calcium absorption and promote an increase in bone density.

Like all eastern medical interventions, herbal recommendations are based on an individual’s differential diagnosis, and we advise against experimenting with herbal supplements on your own. The holistic practitioners at COHA Health know when certain medicinal substances are not indicated for your individual circumstance.

Endometriosis and Fibroid Tumors

Benign uterine fibroid tumors are common and often appear during the reproductive years. Three out of four women will have benign fibroids at some point in their lifetime. The presence of fibroids does not indicate a predisposition for uterine cancer.

Endometriosis is a disorder where the inside lining of the uterus, known as the endometrium, grows outside of the uterus. If the ovaries are involved, the woman may develop cysts known as endometriomas.

Symptoms and Treatment of Uterine Fibroids

Normally, a woman will not be aware she has fibroid tumors, and they are often first discovered during a pelvic examination. However, symptoms can include heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, difficulty with urination and pelvic pain. The severity and type of symptoms depend on the size and number of fibroids and whether they are located inside or outside the uterus or within the uterine wall.

In many cases, if there are no symptoms, a physician will simply monitor the fibroids over time. There are some medications that may shrink fibroids. One treatment option is radiofrequency thermal ablation. This treatment involves focusing sound waves directly on the tissue. There are other minimally invasive treatment options, such as uterine artery embolization, UAE, as well as the more invasive hysterectomy or abdominal myomectomy. The latter involves surgical removal of the fibroids while preserving the uterus.

Symptoms and Treatment of Endometriosis

Pelvic pain is the main symptom of endometriosis. A woman may also experience painful and heavy periods, back pain, painful intercourse and have difficulty conceiving. Traditional treatment for endometriosis can include hormonal treatments and hysterectomy. If the woman is trying to conceive, a physician may preserve the uterus and treat the condition by laparoscopically removing some of the endometrial tissue. There is, however, a high likelihood that the tissue will return.

Eastern Medical Diagnostic Patterns

In an article entitled “Treatment of Endometriosis and Fibroids with Acupuncture,” Randine Lewis, Ph.D., discusses some common differential diagnostic patterns that relate to the western diagnosis of endometriosis. Among these patterns are qi stagnation, damp heat stasis and stagnation, kidney yang vacuity, spleen qi vacuity and blood vacuity.

According to Emiko Kanematsu, M.D., Ph.D., blood stasis is the main cause of fibroids. This blood stasis can be caused by various factors such as cold, heat, qi stagnation and possible spleen qi deficiency. Spleen qi deficiency is often present in those with digestive problems, so a proper diet is important. As always, the differential diagnosis guides acupuncture treatment.

Increased Energy and Overall Wellness

Unlike traditional eastern medicine, the foundation of the western medical model is the management, or cure, of disease. In fact, Merriam-Webster defines the word “allopathic” as “relating to or being a system of medicine that aims to combat disease by using remedies, which produce effects that are different from or incompatible with those of the disease being treated.” There is validity to both systems. However, one is a disease model while the other is one of wellness and prevention. This is changing, however, and many allopathic practitioners are beginning to focus on the prevention of disease.

In our blog, we have discussed complementary and alternative treatments for many disorders and diseases as diagnosed under the western system of medicine. We have repeatedly stated that the diagnostic approach under traditional eastern medicine is different, and we have also said that the eastern diagnostic pattern encompasses, or relates to, the western diagnosis. Despite this, eastern medical interventions and practices follow from patterns diagnosed based on eastern medical theory. The relating of one diagnostic system to the other is merely to enable the western mind to better understand traditional eastern medical practices.

When a client presents with the nonspecific complaint of low energy, we will do a complete diagnostic evaluation. We will, of course, seek the cause of the low energy. It may be that the person is meant to be resting at this point in time. Irrespective of his or her conscious desire to be an energy powerhouse, the body has its own wisdom and may be informing the person that it is time to take a break. By observing the body’s wisdom, and taking a rest, the individual may prevent illness. However, if there is pathology, complementary and alternative practices will work to expel the pathogen and treat energy imbalances, blockages and stagnations.

Often, an individual merely wishes to maintain wellness. Holistic practices, such as acupuncture, simply make people feel good. There may be some qi stagnation or an excess or deficiency of yin or yang in the organs. If this is the case, treatment can prevent the development of more serious issues. In this way, eastern medical practices and interventions focus on maintaining wellness and preventing illness.

We invite you to peruse our pages and review articles that discuss acupuncture’s role in maintaining health. A strong immune system helps maintain health and avert illness. This falls under the preventive role of complementary and alternative medicine. Please refer to our article on autoimmune support. Taking time to relax can enhance wellness, and meditation practice, Tai Chi and Tuina massage can enable a person to kick back from a hectic world.

Bruising and Swelling

Bruising occurs more frequently as we age. This is particularly the case for women. The skin becomes thinner, collagen structures weaken, and there is less fat to cushion and protect compromised capillary walls. With even the slightest bump, capillaries can leak blood into surrounding tissue. Those who take medications or supplements that thin the blood may find it takes longer for a bruise to disappear.

Swelling is a symptom that can result from a number of underlying conditions. After eating foods containing high levels of sodium, an individual can become bloated. The feet, fingers and waist will swell, and ring jewelry, clothing and shoes will feel tighter than usual. For further information, please refer to our article on fluid retention and oedema.

Also, when you have been standing or sitting for a period of time, the legs, ankles and feet can swell. This is usually harmless. Leg swelling, however, can indicate a more serious condition such as heart disease. If the swelling does not resolve after commencing activity, it can indicate deep vein thrombosis, which is a blood clot. Swelling also occurs in lymph nodes. This happens when one is exposed to threatening viruses or bacteria. The swelling may be noticeable particularly under the chin, armpits or groin area. It is normally harmless and shows that the nodes are doing their job.

The important point is to see your physician if the symptoms of swelling or bruising do not resolve or if they occur with any number of other symptoms such as changes in urine, nausea, cough, breath shortness or irregular heartbeat.

Complementary and Alternative Treatment

When the spleen is deficient in qi, a person may bruise easily. The vessels do not effectively hold blood. Acupuncturist Lynn Jaffee writes that one function of the spleen is to “hold things in place including holding blood in the vessels.” Holistic treatments that increase the energy, or tonify, the spleen include acupuncture, dietary adjustments and herbal formulas. She also mentions that vitamin C and vitamin K can be helpful. Vitamin C enhances the building of collagen, and collagen helps support the connective tissue around blood vessels. Vitamin K encourages clotting. If you are taking blood-thinning medications, in order to avoid serious interactions, steer clear of vitamin K and herbal supplements.

Eastern holistic treatments for swelling depend on the cause of the swelling. The symptom of swelling reveals the presence of imbalances in the body, and holistic interventions seek to directly remedy these imbalances.

Dr. Cann and his staff have treated many conditions that manifest with the symptoms of swelling and bruising. In most cases, allopathic and complementary interventions can work side-by-side for the betterment of the patient’s well-being.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, IBS, include bloating, gas, diarrhoea, constipation, and abdominal pain. This syndrome affects the colon, but it does not cause any permanent damage to the large intestine nor does it predispose an individual to other serious disorders of the colon. With IBS, the intestinal muscles may contract more forcefully than is considered normal forcing food through the system more rapidly. Alternatively, the intestinal contractions may slow resulting in constipation.

Certain foods may aggravate the condition. Individuals should pay close attention to their diet to determine which foods should be avoided. Products containing caffeine and dairy often contribute to symptoms. However, probiotic dairy products, such as yogurt, may alleviate symptoms. Stress may aggravate IBS symptoms, but stress alone does not cause IBS. Additionally, since IBS occurs more frequently in females, the symptoms may worsen with hormonal fluctuations.

Acupuncture treatment of IBS will ultimately promote the relaxation and intensity reduction of intestinal contractions. Additionally, the practitioner will determine individual treatment by discerning the correct diagnostic patterns. He or she may find a kidney or spleen yang deficiency and large intestine damp heat. A kidney yang deficiency may manifest as an intolerance to cold, edema or loose stools. Through physical examination and observation of the tongue, pulse and gait, the practitioner will diagnose imbalances that will guide IBS treatment.

The more serious inflammatory bowel diseases, IBD’s, primarily include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. For more information on Crohn’s disease, please refer to our article on this website that solely addresses this condition. IBD’s involve inflammation of the digestive tract. With ulcerative colitis, the individual has chronic inflammation of the colon and rectum. The condition is characterized by symptoms of diarrhoea, cramping and rectal bleeding. There is an increased risk of colon cancer as well as other serious health problems such as malnutrition, fistulas, ulcers and kidney stones. The traditional focus of treatment is on the reduction of inflammation using anti-inflammatory drugs. The physician may also prescribe immunosuppressant drugs. In severe cases of ulcerative colitis, surgery may be necessary.

The acupuncturist will diagnose a pattern in an individual presenting with the western diagnosis of ulcerative colitis. Through observation, examination and discussion with the client, the experienced practitioner will note any number of common patterns that encompass ulcerative colitis. Depending on the presentation, these patterns may include large intestine damp heat, damp cold affecting spleen, qi and blood stagnation, and kidney and spleen yang deficiencies. The targets of intervention are the specific acupoints known to remedy the imbalances indicated by the patterns. The practitioner will also make dietary recommendations and suggest herbal supplementation known to address specific imbalances.

Sinus Congestion & Pain

Sinus pain and congestion can be a miserable condition and a source of discomfort for many people. It is characterized by chronic facial pain and pressure, alongside a post-nasal drip, stuffy nose and nasal discharge. It can be the result of a cold, sinus infection or even allergies. The infection may be treated with antibiotics, but what do you do when you suffer from the complaint on a regular basis and nothing seems to help? What if prescription, over-the-counter or alternative forms of medicine appear to offer no relief?

Well there is an alternative open to you. We can treat this common complaint with acupuncture. It is a process which uses extremely thin needles gently inserted into the skin, to stimulate specific pressure points in the body. By stimulating those points which coincide with the sinuses, they can increase blood flow, as well as the flow of energy. This is how it can be of help remove the symptoms of sinus pain and congestion. It is also designed to encourage the body to self-heal.

There are a great many people concerned about the possible risks involved in the procedure. However, Dr Cann is Bermuda’s most experienced acupuncturist and he efficiently performs these treatments on a regular basis. He always ensures the use of sterile needles, to help prevent the likelihood of any infection.

No matter the underlying cause of chronic sinus pain and congestion, acupuncture is considered an effective treatment. It could help make your troublesome sinus pain and congestion a thing of the past.

Acupuncture can also treat other cold, allergy and flu symptoms. It can also help reduce the need for medication, nasal irrigation systems and even, in some cases, surgical procedures. This is why more and more people are choosing acupuncture treatments, as opposed to other, conventional forms of medicine, to help cure complaints like sinus pain and congestion.

Coha Health is a company in Bermuda offering premier medical treatment, through the use of this a branch of Oriental medicine, which has been in existence for hundreds of years. We can administer this classic form of treatment to help cure a range of complaints, including sinus congestion and pain. Why not find out for yourself?

Improving Hypoglycaemic Symptoms

Hypoglycaemia, or low blood sugar, most frequently is a side effect of medications used to treat diabetes. However, there may be other reasons for low glucose levels. Causes of low blood sugar include liver disease, such as hepatitis, and renal and pituitary disorders. Kidney conditions that prevent the body’s proper elimination of medications also can cause glucose levels to drop. Low blood sugar can result from drinking too much alcohol on an empty stomach as excessive alcohol consumption can prevent the liver from releasing stored glucose into the blood. Finally, hypoglycaemia can occur after eating if the pancreas releases too much insulin.

Symptoms and Allopathic Treatment

Only a blood test can reveal if low blood sugar is the reason for symptoms such as heart palpitations, anxiety, shakiness, dizziness, sweating, hunger or blurred vision. The brain needs glucose to function properly. Therefore, if left untreated, hypoglycaemia can cause an individual to lose consciousness or experience seizures. A multitude of other conditions can cause these symptoms, so it is important to have a physical examination if they persist.

Normally, hypoglycaemic patients are advised to eat frequent, low-glycaemic meals throughout the day. The intent of eating in this manner is to prevent a blood sugar spike, which causes the pancreas to release a flood of insulin ultimately causing the inevitable “sugar crash.” If the hypoglycaemia is a reaction to medication, the physician can adjust or change the prescription.

A Perspective from Oriental Medicine

From the viewpoint of eastern medicine, the condition of hypoglycaemia results from certain behaviours inherent in the daily life of people in western cultures. In an article entitled “Understanding and Resolving Common Hypoglycemia with Chinese Medicine,” E. Douglas Kihn, a doctor of oriental medicine, states that, for various reasons, many Americans experience a life full of “hurrying and worrying.” He describes a sequence of physical events caused by “excess yang in the form of heat rising into the upper body.” This results in “internal wind” that mainly affects the liver.

Douglas believes that the standard approach of eating frequent meals throughout the day violates the “natural trust between body and mind.” Rather, an eastern approach is to remedy imbalances and blockages of qi that contribute to the problem of heat. He suggests activities such as qi gong and tai chi to cool the heat as well as counseling to treat hurrying and worrying behaviours.

We have written elsewhere that western culture is overly focused on “doing” rather than “being.” Hurrying and worrying behaviours are physical manifestations of the philosophy of doing, which supports discarding the present moment in rapid pursuit of the next. It is obvious that hurrying and worrying behaviours contribute to skipping meals and eating unhealthy foods on the run. These eating behaviours can cause hypoglycaemic symptoms.

Over & Under Active Thyroid

In the developed world, Hashimoto’s disease is one of the most common causes of hypothyroidism. Contrary to popular belief, the disorder in the west is rarely caused by an iodine deficiency. Another name for the condition is chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s disease is a disorder of the immune system. The thyroid is the victim in that the immune system perceives the thyroid as foreign tissue and produces antibodies in a misdirected attempt to destroy the gland.

The metabolism slows, and symptoms present such as fatigue, weight gain, brittle hair and nails, dry skin, depression, sensitivity to cold, heavy and irregular menstrual periods, increased cholesterol levels, gland enlargement, and joint and muscle aches. With hypothyroidism, thyroid hormone levels have declined, and there is an increase in the level of thyroid-stimulation hormone (TSH), also known as thyrotropin. Thyroid hormones such as thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) vary inversely with TSH level. The pituitary gland increases its production of TSH in an effort to stimulate the thyroid to produce more T4 and T3. The thyroid does not respond, and the TSH level continues to increase. The thyroid replacement drug levothyroxine, name brand Synthroid, is one of the 10 most commonly prescribed drugs in the world. It is used to replace or supplement T4. The body will convert some of the supplemented T4 to T3, and the thyroid may still produce some T4 and T3 on its own.

Conversely, hyperthyroidism is characterized by high levels of thyroid hormones with a decrease in TSH. It can be caused by the autoimmune disorder Grave’s disease, thyroiditis inflammation, or toxic multinnodular goiter. Characteristic symptoms include gland enlargement, weight loss, rapid and irregular heartbeat, anxiety, tremor, sweating, difficulty sleeping, brittle hair and nails, scant and irregular menstrual periods, and heat sensitivity. With Grave’s disease, there may be concurrent eye disease. The patient is often prescribed anti-thyroid drugs, such as PTU or Tapizole, and radioactive iodine (RAI) treatments may be administered to kill the gland. Additionally, the patient may take beta blockers to manage a rapid heartbeat. The allopathic cure for hyperthyroidism, unfortunately, is often hypothyroidism with the resulting prescription of levothyroxine. In some cases, surgical reduction or removal of the gland reduces the amount of hormone-producing tissue if RAI is not appropriate due to the presence of eye disease.

Acupuncture can help restore hormonal balance by directly treating the endocrine system. Treatment can also minimize many of the symptoms of either disorder. The acupuncturist working under traditional Chinese medical approaches may diagnose a yang deficiency of the heart, kidney and spleen as well as a qi deficiency of the kidney and spleen. Similarly, under a Japanese approach, the practitioner may diagnose thyroid problems with palpitation of several areas including the KI3, taixi. This point balances kidney yin-yang and addresses a deficiency of kidney qi. Eastern methods balance yin-yang deficiencies and excesses as well as stagnation or blockages in the flow of life energy known as qi. The idea is to achieve results with a minimum of intervention.

There are a multitude of styles comprising eastern integrative medicine. Complementary treatment for thyroid problems can work along with standard allopathic medical treatments to balance hormone levels and restore wellness. Rest assured that Dr. Cann and his staff have experience in diagnosing patterns that correspond to the many western thyroid disease diagnoses.

Hip & Knee Conditions

The knee is one of the largest joints in the body, and knee injuries are extremely common. Various ligaments hold the bones of the knee together, and tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament is one of the most frequently seen athletic injuries. Tearing of ligaments also can result from bending the knee in a backwards direction. This is known as hyperextension. Dislocation is another cause of hip and knee pain. A joint is the location where one or more bones meet, and a dislocation occurs when the positioning of these bones is disturbed. A joint may also be dislocated in accidents such as falls. There are a variety of other reasons for hip and knee pain that involve the joint itself, muscles, ligaments or tendons. Also problems that seem to occur in the hip may actually be referred pain that originates in the knee or lower back. If the knee or hip is injured, the patient should seek immediate medical care if swelling and pain does not subside. Surgery or physical therapy may be necessary.

Arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, can also affect the knees and hips. Rheumatoid arthritis may also cause joint pain due to inflammation. This type of arthritis is an autoimmune condition. Arthritis may also result from infection or other disease process. The treatment for pain from arthritis depends upon the type of condition presented.

Complementary interventions such as acupuncture can relieve joint pain by reducing inflammation and enhancing the release of endorphins. Treatment can also minimize the side effects of anti-inflammatory medications and those prescribed for pain. In eastern medical approaches, the appropriate treatment acupoints depend on the location of the pain and the diagnosed pattern. In Chinese medical theory, arthritis is one of many western conditions caused by “bi syndrome.” This syndrome is caused by problems with qi and blood circulation. There are a number of techniques within Japanese theory as well. The Hifushin technique, for example, determines the acupoint after detecting patterns within the pulse. The angle and depth of the insertion depends on whether the goal of treatment is tonification or dispersion.

The practitioners at COHA Health are well-trained in integrative medical interventions. Dr. Cann and his staff will design a specific treatment protocol to address your diagnosed patterns. They will discuss the meaning of eastern diagnoses and the goals of treatment. In all cases, treatment is holistic and focuses on overall balance. Clients often see wellness restored in other areas that seemingly have nothing to do with the presenting problem. This is the benefit of eastern integrative approaches. The diagnosis describes more than just the presenting symptom and, therefore, treatment often resolves or minimizes other conditions.

Common Cold and Influenza

Influenza, commonly called the flu, is a viral infection affecting the respiratory system. Symptoms include chills, sweats, headache, fatigue, coughing and congestion, aching muscles and fever. People can catch the flu from inhaling airborne germs that have been expelled through the sneezing or coughing of an infected person. The flu can also be transmitted by touching one’s nose, eyes or mouth after contact with a surface where germs are present. Those at risk are the elderly and the very young, those in health care professions, and others with chronic conditions and compromised immune systems. Normally, rest and fluids are sufficient, but a physician may also prescribe an antiviral medication. In the elderly, the most serious complication is pneumonia.

The common cold is a viral infection of the upper-respiratory system. Symptoms include a sore throat and cough, stuffy or runny nose, watery eyes and, possibly, a low-grade fever. Colds have a slower onset than the flu, but transmission is similar. Populations most at risk of catching a cold are the very young and those with weakened immune systems. There is no cure for the common cold. Over-the-counter pain relievers, cough syrups and decongestant sprays can make one comfortable. However, in some cases, these products are contraindicated. It is also important to know that antibiotics are ineffective in fighting viral infections. The best defense against contracting the cold or flu is to avoid contact with people who are infected and to wash one’s hands frequently.

Complementary Treatment

In a 2011 article entitled “Issues in Using Antiviral Medicinals in the Treatment and Prevention of the Common Cold and Flu (Gan Mao),” Jason Blalack takes issue with treating a medical condition with eastern interventions based on a western diagnosis. He discusses the potential misuse of commonly prescribed herbal treatments for gan mao. Ban lan gen and da quing ye are two medicinals with antiviral properties that he believes are used without regard for the appropriate eastern differential diagnostic pattern. For example, if ban lan gen is prescribed to treat wind-cold gan mao, it may actually worsen the condition. Due to the cold nature of ban lan gen, it is inappropriate for clients with “spleen and stomach deficiency cold patterns.” Blalack believes that the classification of a medicinal as an antiviral is too simplistic and that marketing has largely contributed to their overuse and misuse.

At COHA Health, your acupuncture treatment for cold or flu will proceed from solid eastern medical theory. Rather than attempting to kill the virus, complementary approaches seek to expel the pathogen. Individual treatment protocols should follow differential diagnoses for gan mao. Wind-cold gan mao will be treated differently than wind-heat invasion. Proper treatment can shorten the duration of gan mao and minimize symptoms.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Wrist Pain

The initial symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, CTS, normally occur in the evening and include pain, numbness or tingling in the fingers. Eventually, the symptoms can include weakness of the hand and will begin to occur during the day particularly while attempting to hold objects. The symptoms, however, are not always restricted to the hand and can involve the entire arm. Women are several times more likely than men to develop CTS possibly due to female hormonal changes or a smaller carpal tunnel.

Tendons to the fingers and the median nerve run through the narrow carpal tunnel located at the base of the palm. The symptoms of CTS result from a pinched median nerve. There can be many causes, or risk factors, related to this compression. Conditions or symptoms that increase susceptibility to CTS include rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, hypothyroidism, fluid retention, and swelling or inflammation of the tendons. Performing work that requires hard, repetitive or extreme motions of the fingers and wrist will also place individuals at risk. Treatments include wearing a wrist splint at night, correcting occupational factors, injecting anti-inflammatory medications into the tunnel, taking oral steroids and surgically enlarging the tunnel.

As mentioned, since there are many possible causes for CTS, acupuncture treatments for these specific causes are appropriate. We have mentioned that CTS can result from fluid retention, and fluid retention is a symptom in many conditions. Untreated hypothyroidism is one example. Female hormonal fluctuations can also cause fluid retention. This is one possible reason why CTS often develops during pregnancy. Most importantly, a physician should determine if any underlying medical conditions are contributing to CTS.

In its 1997 consensus statement, the National Institutes of Health concluded that this can be an alternative therapy or a component of a comprehensive CTS treatment plan. The acupoints often targeted in the treatment of CTS are those along the kidney, gallbladder and liver meridians. While surgery may be indicated for some individuals, for those who desire their initial treatment to be conservative, acupuncture is a good alternative to oral steroids.

In their 2009 study, published in The Clinical Journal of Pain, Yang et al. randomly assigned 77 CTS patients to either a group receiving treatments or a group taking oral steroids. Individuals participating in the study were diagnosed with mild-to-moderate CTS. These researchers concluded that, for this population, short-term treatment with acupuncture was just as effective as short-term treatment with a low dose of prednisolone.

In a 2001 article, published in the Canadian Family Physician, Banner, R. and Hudson, E.W. present the case study of a 36-year-old female with CTS who received these treatments. Using ultrasound, they found substantiation of anatomic change resulting from the treatment.

Itchy, Inflamed Skin and Psoriasis

Inflammation of the skin is generally referred to as dermatitis. The main symptom in all forms of dermatitis is an itchy, red and swollen rash. The inflammation can be temporary and result from contact with irritants contained in any number of cleaning or personal hygiene products, plants, fabrics or metals. With seborrheic dermatitis, the rash may appear on the scalp, ears and nose. With atopic dermatitis, known as eczema, the rash will appear in creases of the skin such as behind the knees and at the bend of the elbows. Eczema is a chronic condition that can go into remission but continue to flare up periodically.

Psoriasis is another chronic condition. Itchy, red patches are caused by the buildup of skin cells. The patches can be quite painful and may ooze or bleed. Again, there are several forms of psoriasis with plaque psoriasis being the most common type. The etiology of psoriasis is not completely understood, but it is believed to be an autoimmune response that causes a disruption in the normal cycle of skin cells. Treatment can include topical corticosteroid ointments that slow the production of skin cells, light therapy and oral medications.

In a 2012 article entitled Integrative View of Atopic Dermatitis, published in Acupuncture Today, Hermann, D. notes that there are many diagnostic patterns in integrative medicine that relate to the western diagnosis of eczema. She states that the most common pattern is damp heat. Frequently, with adults and adolescents, the pattern is “Blood Dryness due to Damaged Yin with Accumulation of Dampness.”

With respect to diagnostic patterns that encompass the western diagnosis of psoriasis, in a 2011 article, Hermann D. highlights four common patterns: “Heat in the Blood, Blood Deficiency, Qi and Blood Stasis and Disharmony of the Chong and Ren Mai.” Treatment follows the diagnosis. For example, to dispel heat in the blood, the practitioner may apply treatment to the governing vessel meridian point 10, known as Ling Tai. The acupuncturist may also target both the urinary bladder meridian point 40 and the large intestine meridian point 11.

We have mentioned elsewhere that two individuals presenting with the same western diagnosis will not necessarily be diagnosed with the same pattern under eastern medicine and, therefore, will not receive identical treatment. The process of diagnosis and treatment is highly individualized. As discussed above, the acupuncturist will apply treatment to appropriate acupoints consistent with the diagnosis. Your practitioner may also recommend dietary changes and suggest herbal supplements as part of your individualized treatment. In particular, there is some evidence that evening primrose oil and oral probiotics are helpful for some skin conditions.

Constipation, Diarrhoea and Gas

Gas is always present in the digestive system. It is normal to expel gas several times daily either anally or through burping as part of the digestive process. It is only when the gas becomes excessive and causes pain or discomfort that it may be the symptom of health concerns such as irritable bowel syndrome, IBS, peptic ulcer, celiac disease or gastro-esophageal reflux disease, GERD. Often, however, excess gas results from consuming foods such as beans or dairy products that are high in lactose. Also, consumption of products containing artificial sweeteners, such as sorbitol, can lead to excess gas as can chewing gum, which can cause one to swallow too much air.

Constipation is another symptom that may indicate the presence of a gastro-intestinal problem such as irritable bowel syndrome. It can also be a symptom of slowing thyroid function. Constipation refers to either infrequent bowel movements or difficulty moving the bowels. The stools are usually hard and dry resulting from the slowed movement of food through the digestive tract. There are many causes of constipation. These causes include side effects from medication, hormonal changes, lack of exercise, poor diet or even a change in routine. Fortunately, constipation is usually a temporary situation and can often be corrected by taking more fiber and water into the diet.

Under traditional eastern medical theory, in general, constipation may result from excess heat and blood and qi deficiency. Another differential diagnosis of cold constipation results from, among other imbalances, a kidney yang deficiency. An experienced practitioner of oriental medicine, such as those at COHA Health, will observe characteristics of the tongue that include its color, texture and whether it is coated. Through examination, the practitioner will make a differential diagnosis.

Diarrhoea refers to watery stools that require frequent runs to the bathroom. It is normal to experience diarrhoea on occasion. However, it may be a symptom of other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, irritable bowel disease, IBD, or an overactive thyroid.

Occasional diarrhoea may result from cold dampness, damp heat or improper diet. Chronic diarrhoea, which may indicate an underlying condition, can result from various imbalances such as deficiency of spleen or kidney yang. With spleen-deficiency diarrhoea, the tongue may be swollen and show teeth marks along its outer edges. With kidney-deficiency diarrhoea, the tongue can be pale and have a white coating. Observation of the client’s pulse will also assist with a differential diagnosis. The acupuncturist will then target specific points to remedy the imbalances.

If any of the above conditions persist, consult a physician as gas, constipation and diarrhoea are symptoms that may indicate serious health problems. For more information on oriental, integrative treatment of related health issues, please refer to our articles concerning the benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of GERD, IBD, IBS, acid reflux and thyroid problems.

Weight Loss

The prevalence of obesity has increased dramatically over the past several decades. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, slightly more than one-third of adults in the United States are obese. Being even slightly overweight increases one’s risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers. The resulting medical costs and burden on medical systems are increasingly evident.

So what is the problem? After all, we have reduced-fat diets, high-protein diets and a proliferation of fad-diet approaches. Yet, nothing seems to provide lasting weight loss results. Menopause and metabolic problems such as Hashimoto’s Disease, hypothyroidism, can be contributing factors to weight gain. However, we have all known individuals with either or both conditions who are able to manage their weight. Eating for emotional reasons, combined with less physical activity, is perhaps more common in our stress-addicted culture than in previous years. The accessibility of fast, processed foods that are laden with carbohydrates and sugar may lead to an addictive cycle of craving more of these unhealthy products. One specific cause cannot explain the increase in obesity. However, the basic equation remains: If individuals consume more calories than are burned, they will gain weight.

Acupuncture accesses the energy flow of qi, pronounced “chee,” through various points on the body that correspond with a targeted organ, chemical, bone, muscle or emotion. For weight loss, the energy flow is accessed with the aim of regulating the flow of qi with respect to the hypothalamus. This portion of the brain regulates many chemicals, such as hormones, and it also regulates hunger. It maintains homeostasis, and when something is out of balance, it works to return things to within a set level. It can be compared to the thermostat in your home that maintains the temperature within a certain range. If the qi affecting the hypothalamus is blocked or stagnant, it may not properly perform its job of homeostasis. The acupuncturist will access qi via a few points in the ear that relate to the stomach, endocrine system, and the experience of hunger.

At COHA Health, we recognize that there could be more than one reason for your weight issues. Given this, we take a multifaceted and individual approach to weight loss. Perhaps you are medicating feelings of anxiety by overeating. If so, we may also treat the anxiety with acupuncture or another complementary approach. The acupuncturist may provide nutritional and lifestyle coaching. This is as well as encouraging an enjoyable physical activity such as tai chi. This is particularly important if you have failed at traditional exercise regimens such as going to a gym. After an initial assessment addressing a multitude of factors, Dr Cann will design a treatment plan addressing your individual needs. He can then possibly help prevent a patient’s weight gain by applying sterilized needles, at certain points on the body, to achieve the best results.

Neck, Sciatic Pain & Spinal Pain

The sciatic nerve begins in the lower back, runs through the buttocks, and continues down the back of each leg. The nerve can become inflamed when a herniated disk or bone spur presses against it. The individual will feel pain and possibly numbness in the affected leg. This condition is known as sciatica. It usually affects only one side of the body. Allopathic treatment for the pain often includes non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs or steroid injections delivered directly around the root of the nerve. When these treatments are ineffective, the physician may suggest surgery to remove the disk or bone spur.

A bone spur or herniated disk may also pinch or press on the nerves emanating from the spine causing neck pain. Neck pain may also result from muscle strain caused by poor posture or repeated movements, rheumatoid arthritis or a whiplash injury. Once again, corticosteroid injections may relieve the pain. The physician may also recommend physical therapy.

There are various treatments within oriental medicine that are appropriate for neck and sciatic pain. With respect to neck pain, the relevant acupoints for treatment are dependent on whether the pain is due to a trauma, muscle strain or arthritis. Often the goal of treatment is to improve and balance the circulation of qi and blood to the face and head. Most channels run through the neck, and treatment can center on treating an excess, deficiency or stagnation of qi and blood in these channels. The Window of the Sky acupoints, also called Window of Heaven, are often appropriate to treat neck pain. There are 10 of these points, and treatment for neck pain may include the small intestine 17, large intestine 18, stomach 9 and urinary bladder 10 points.

Like all medical issues in Oriental medicine, sciatica is treated based on the diagnostic pattern. This pattern may include a kidney qi and Yang deficiency, liver damp heat, liver wind and liver blood deficiency. There has been some success in treating sciatica via points along the bladder and gallbladder meridians. When treating sciatic pain, acupuncture treatments may be combined with other integrative therapies such as Tui Na massage.

The medical theories within Oriental medicine are complex. Theories guide the diagnostic and treatment process. Given this complexity, selecting a practitioner who is well-educated and experienced in eastern medicine is the first step in obtaining effective treatment. Dr. Cann and his staff have extensive training and professional experience in the application of eastern medical theory to treating neck and sciatic pain.

Smoking Cessation

The health complications that can result from smoking are numerous. Included among these are strokes, heart disease, lung and oral cancer, hypertension, respiratory disease and diabetes. Like most addictive behaviour individuals often make many attempts to quit with little success. Many try substituting other behaviours when feeling the craving to smoke. These substitute behaviours may include eating or chewing gum. However, oral behaviours only address part of the problem. There are physiological reasons, such as an addiction to nicotine, along with psychological factors. Individuals may smoke when feeling stress or associate smoking with drinking coffee or alcohol. There may also be other behavioural and social problems that affect the success of cessation efforts. There are so many factors that one simple approach cannot address all the issues that support the addiction.

The National Acupuncture and Detoxification Association (NADA) has an auricular protocol that has been helpful for addictive behaviour. Auricular acupuncture is a system that uses one portion of the body, such as the ear, to treat all other areas. Specific acupoints apply under this method such as the Lung 1 point and the Lung 2 point. The Lung 1 point is related to withdrawal and the Lung 2 point relates to the addiction. Under this protocol, the acupunctrist may also use electro-stimulation. This protocol may be used with other eastern approaches. Two additional acupoints frequently targeted for smoking cessation are the Tim Mee and the Lung 7. Both points are located near or on the wrist. Anxiety resulting from withdrawal may also be treated.

Dr Cann may recommend other modalities such as herbs and nutritional support to help with a smoking addiction. Astragalus is one such plant that has antioxidant properties and, when made into a tea with other herbs, may detoxify and rid the body of nicotine thus reducing cravings. Valerian may help with insomnia that results from nicotine withdrawal. It is important to only take herbs under the direction of a professional since many herbs can interact adversely with other medications.

The treatment protocol at COHA Health will be designed to address your specific issues around the addiction of smoking. After a thorough assessment, Dr Cann will discuss your treatment plan with you and answer any questions.

Bell’s Palsy

Do you suffer from the condition known as Bell’s Palsy? Then there is no need to worry. Coha Health are an organization which spearheads the age old use of acupuncture in Bermuda. It can be used to treat ailments such as Bell’s Palsy. You can experience the utmost in complementary medicine to combat this condition, by calling on Coha Health.

Bell’s Palsy is a sudden weakness or paralysis of one side of an individual’s facial muscles, causing that side of the face to droop. It is most noticeable around the patient’s eyes and mouth and can limit such normal facial actions as smiling, eating comfortably, speaking clearly or even closing the eyelids.

There are other symptoms including increased sensitivity to sound on the affected side of the face, reduced production of tears and subsequent eye irritation and jaw pain. It is thought that the majority of patients who experience Bell’s Palsy are in their 40′s, but the condition can happen at any age, with thousands of people troubled by the disorder each year.

Acupuncture of the face has been used successfully in the treatment of Bell’s Palsy. This is in preference to prescription medications or surgical intervention which may cause even further damage. Dr Sifu Reginald Cann has a treatment for Bell’s Palsy involving inserting extremely fine needles at various acupoints on the face, neck and around the eye sockets. These needles help to stimulate what is known as “Qi” or the natural energy that circulates the body. According to Chinese medicine, Bell’s Palsy, or “Zhong Feng”, occurs whenever an excess of wind in the body disturbs the balance of Qi energy. This causes the blood to stagnate and results in a variety of symptoms that impair facial movement.

Treatments have a high success rate for eliminating the symptoms of Bell’s Palsy in 4 out of 5 patients. It is important the patient seeks help from a qualified acupuncturist within the first two weeks of symptoms appearing for the best results. After an initial treatment to diagnose the severity of the Bell’s Palsy, Dr Cann may recommend treatment, to reverse the condition and return normal facial movement. It is also common for Chinese herbal therapy to be combined with regular treatments.

Patients can be assured our method is a painless way of treating Bell’s Palsy, with no known side effects. The initial treatment session usually results in an immediate reduction of pain and inflammation. We can also help speed recovery by advising patients to remain well hydrated and avoid consuming sugar and alcohol. Ultimately, most patients report a reduction in facial numbness, increased muscle tone and improved circulation within the first half dozen or so treatments.

Breech Baby, Delayed Labour And Morning Sickness

One complication of giving birth occurs when the baby is not positioned properly. The ideal position at birth is one that enables the baby to be easily delivered head first. However, this does not always happen since babies move regularly during pregnancy. A breech baby is positioned with the head at the top of the uterus. The legs may be positioned in an upward or crossed position.

In a 1998 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Cardini and Weixin found that when expectant mothers had moxibustion stimulation at the BL 67 point for two weeks during the 33rd week, there was an increase in normal presentation after treatment and at the time of delivery. Moxibustion, also called moxa, is a form of healing whereby the acupuncturist uses warm herbs in the treatment. The mugwort leaf is used in moxibustion, and to encourage a baby to favorably reposition, a warm stick of mugwort is placed above the small toe. Individuals with a spleen Yang deficiency should not be treated using the mugwort leaf.

Another potential complication concerning delivery is when labour is delayed. When a mother-to-be is in labour, the uterus begins to contract and the cervix dilates. Normally the first stage of labour ends when the cervix is fully dilated. This can take up to 12 hours or even longer if it is the woman’s first delivery. If the cervix is not dilating, and the labour is excessively drawn out in time, the labour can be considered delayed. In that case, a physician may induce labour. Also, if the woman is several weeks beyond the expected delivery date, or has a medical condition that could put the mother and baby at risk, the physician may induce labour. Acupuncture may also be used to promote labour. The SP 6 and LI 4 are commonly stimulated as are the GB 21 and BL 62. However, certain points are contraindicated during pregnancy or should not be stimulated with needles or moxa.

Women commonly experience nausea during pregnancy. This is not a complication, but it is unpleasant. While nausea normally occurs in the first trimester, it can continue throughout the pregnancy. Despite being named morning sickness, nausea can occur at times other than the morning. Allopathic treatment may include anti-nausea medications or vitamin B-6. In oriental medicine, a woman with morning sickness may have a diagnostic pattern that includes liver and gallbladder damp heat, lung dampness or stomach rebellious qi. The acupuncturist will treat a woman with morning sickness to address these imbalances.

Because it is your baby, you want only the best medical care. Therefore, your holistic practitioner must be experienced in treating the above problems. Dr. Cann and his staff have comprehensive education and years of experience in the application of oriental medical protocols to complications of pregnancy and delivery.

Postpartum Depression and Decreased Libido

Postpartum depression occurs in up to 15 percent of new mothers. A majority of new mothers may experience temporary blues, but postpartum depression is of longer duration and severity. A sharp drop in estrogen and progesterone levels after delivery may contribute to the depression as well as psychosocial changes that require the individual to adjust. Other factors may predispose a new mother to postpartum depression. These include those common to clinical depression such as being isolated, limited social support, marital conflict, financial problems, job loss, a family and personal history of depression, and a history of premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

The predominant symptoms of postpartum depression include those also found in clinical depression including mood and appetite changes, inability to concentrate, anxiety, decreased sex drive, insomnia, and increased isolation and withdrawal. Additionally, the new mother may have thoughts of hurting herself or the baby and find it difficult to connect with the child. These emotions may give rise to feelings of guilt.

Under traditional oriental medical approaches, treatment of emotional conditions involves the internal organs. While this may seem strange to the western mind, eastern medical theory connects imbalances of internal organs with emotional states. Each case of postpartum depression is different, and the acupuncturist will complete an individual diagnosis in order to target the imbalances that cause the depression. One may expect a heart and kidney yin deficiency or liver fire and liver qi deficiencies. Liver fire may manifest with symptoms such as disturbed sleep and irritability. The tongue may have a yellow coating and be dry. The pulse may be rapid.

After childbirth, even women who are not experiencing the “baby blues” or the more severe postpartum depression may have diminished libido. With respect to the decreased sexual desire that occurs with postpartum depression, effective treatment of the depression may restore the woman’s interest in sexual relations to previous levels. The physician should check the new mother’s hormone levels. During pregnancy, hormone levels are high and then drop precipitously after delivery. Hormone levels continue to be affected when a woman breast feeds her baby. Any number of other factors can contribute to decreased libido.

Given the complexity of diminished sexual arousal, the practitioner of eastern medicine will make a diagnosis based on a pattern that will vary between individuals. The possible patterns that encompass this symptom may include, but are not limited to, liver qi stagnation and qi and blood deficiencies. Chen, T and Jang, M., in their article entitled Sexual Arousal Disorder: Western and Oriental Medical Perspectives, 2002, discuss a “kidney and heart disharmony from fear” and state that “pain of the back and knees are hallmark signs indicative of kidney deficiency.

Prostate Swelling & Decreased Libido

Postpartum depression occurs in up to 15 percent of new mothers. A majority of new mothers may experience temporary blues, but postpartum depression is of longer duration and severity. A sharp drop in estrogen and progesterone levels after delivery may contribute to the depression as well as psychosocial changes that require the individual to adjust. Other factors may predispose a new mother to postpartum depression. These include those common to clinical depression such as being isolated, limited social support, marital conflict, financial problems, job loss, a family and personal history of depression, and a history of premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

The predominant symptoms of postpartum depression include those also found in clinical depression including mood and appetite changes, inability to concentrate, anxiety, decreased sex drive, insomnia, and increased isolation and withdrawal. Additionally, the new mother may have thoughts of hurting herself or the baby and find it difficult to connect with the child. These emotions may give rise to feelings of guilt.

Under traditional oriental medical approaches, treatment of emotional conditions involves the internal organs. While this may seem strange to the western mind, eastern medical theory connects imbalances of internal organs with emotional states. Each case of postpartum depression is different, and the acupuncturist will complete an individual diagnosis in order to target the imbalances that cause the depression. One may expect a heart and kidney yin deficiency or liver fire and liver qi deficiencies. Liver fire may manifest with symptoms such as disturbed sleep and irritability. The tongue may have a yellow coating and be dry. The pulse may be rapid.

After childbirth, even women who are not experiencing the “baby blues” or the more severe postpartum depression may have diminished libido. With respect to the decreased sexual desire that occurs with postpartum depression, effective treatment of the depression may restore the woman’s interest in sexual relations to previous levels. The physician should check the new mother’s hormone levels. During pregnancy, hormone levels are high and then drop precipitously after delivery. Hormone levels continue to be affected when a woman breast feeds her baby. Any number of other factors can contribute to decreased libido.

Given the complexity of diminished sexual arousal, the practitioner of eastern medicine will make a diagnosis based on a pattern that will vary between individuals. The possible patterns that encompass this symptom may include, but are not limited to, liver qi stagnation and qi and blood deficiencies. Chen, T and Jang, M., in their article entitled Sexual Arousal Disorder: Western and Oriental Medical Perspectives, 2002, discuss a “kidney and heart disharmony from fear” and state that “pain of the back and knees are hallmark signs indicative of kidney deficiency.

Vertigo & Dizziness

Vertigo is a debilitating condition that can have a negative impact on a person’s quality of life. There is a sensation of spinning, falling, or tilting, even though nothing around the individual is moving. When it is severe, nausea and vomiting are common. Victims of extreme cases of vertigo may be unable to stand or walk because of the severity of their symptoms. Vertigo should not be confused with another form of dizziness known as light-headedness. When an individual feels light-headed, there is a sensation of being about to faint, without the sense of movement. Sitting or lying down may make light-headedness go away. However, it if doesn’t, vomiting and fainting spells can result. Both vertigo and light-headedness are conditions that can impede a person’s ability to stay active and enjoy life. However, acupuncture can relieve both forms of dizziness.

Acupuncture involves applying special needles to various pressure points in the body in order to relieve symptoms of vertigo and dizziness. Dr. Cann will first do a thorough exam and consultation in order to have a true understanding of the underlying condition. From the perspective of Oriental medicine, any health condition stems from some sort of imbalance in the body. When it comes to vertigo or light-headedness, phlegm and dampness obstruction may be the diagnosis. A kidney yin deficiency may also be blamed for the symptoms that are experienced. Once the potential cause has been identified, treatment can begin.

Different pressure points are used to address each condition. Some points are located around the ear and are thought to restore the circulation of Qi. Other points involve the gallbladder and liver for what is known as liver wind. When nausea and vomiting are part of the problem, it will be applied to points that affect the stomach and pericardium. There are also points for kidney yin deficiency.

In addition to applying acupuncture, those who practice oriental medicine will treat the individual as a whole and make recommendations for lifestyle changes. Generally, smoking and alcohol use should be discontinued as both can contribute to vertigo. Caffeine and salt should also be reduced or eliminated from the daily diet. Cholesterol should be reduced as well. A high intake of fluids is important on a daily basis. Because vertigo and dizziness are often associated with stress, meditation and relaxation exercises may be recommended as well. Deep breathing, calming music, aromatherapy, and massage can all be used in combination.


The World Health Organization defines infertility as an inability to become pregnant after two years of intercourse without the use of contraceptives. Infertility occurs equally in males and females. About one-third of the time, both individuals are infertile, and often the cause of the infertility is not known. In their efforts to conceive, many couples experience financial and emotional stress that can adversely affect their relationship. They may seek fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization, IVF, egg donation or hormonal treatments. While there have been medical advances in this area, there continues to be no guarantee of success.

Acupuncture can be the primary treatment or an adjunct therapy to traditional western methods of treatment for infertility. By accessing specific acupoints, the practitioner can tap into the life energy known as Qi, pronounced “chee”, which flows through a network of meridians throughout the body. When used as an adjunct to IVF or donor-egg transfer, it can increase blood flow to the uterus providing a richer home for the embryo. Additionally,this may decrease contractions of the uterus. The acupuncturist may also treat imbalances of the endocrine system thus further increasing the probability of a successful outcome.

With respect to infertility in males, acupuncture can increase the quality and quantity of the sperm. Sperm count and quality can be compromised due to environmental factors as well as poor lifestyle choices. As with most health difficulties, stress also has an impact. Smoking, medication, hormonal problems, and Varicocele can also compromise sperm quality, quantity and mobility. The latter condition consists of bulging veins above the testicle and is present in about one-third of men presenting as infertile.

At COHA Health, we have experience treating infertile couples using traditional Chinese medical approaches. We are knowledgeable concerning the proper acupoints that will increase the likelihood of conception. Dr Cann also knows which specific acupoints are contraindicated after IVF, donor – egg transfer, or if the client is pregnant. You can trust that we will endeavour to provide the greatest possibility of conception.

We complete a thorough assessment of each individual within the couple. Our focus will not only be on infertility, but to improve the overall health of both individuals as well. We will design a comprehensive and individualized treatment plan that will encompass lifestyle changes to minimize stress through various mind-body practices. If indicated, we may recommend appropriate Chinese herbs along with an improved diet. If the couple chooses traditional western interventions for infertility, acupuncture treatments, as well as other approaches within traditional Chinese medicine, will increase the chance of a viable pregnancy and minimize discomfort from drug or hormonal side effects.

Shoulder Pain and Frozen Shoulder

Pain and stiffness in the shoulder can indicate the presence of a condition known as adhesive capsulitis. This condition is commonly known as frozen shoulder. The shoulder joint is comprised of bones, ligaments and tendons that are encapsulated within connective tissue. When this capsule thickens, it tightens around the bones, ligaments and tendons and causes the pain of frozen shoulder. The shoulder’s range of motion diminishes as the condition slowly progresses.

Those who have been immobilized for a variety of reasons, such as stroke or surgery, are at increased risk. Also, some underlying medical conditions predispose individuals to frozen shoulder. These include diabetes, thyroid conditions and Parkinson’s disease. Pain medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, and physical therapy and exercise are often recommended as are steroid injections into the shoulder joint. Surgery may be necessary if symptoms do not improve. However, frozen shoulder can resolve on its own within a couple of years.

We have discussed the analgesic effects of acupuncture treatments in many of our posted articles. Relief from the pain of frozen shoulder is no exception. A beneficial byproduct of treatment is that it enhances the body’s capability to release pain-relieving endorphins. However, as always, the goal of oriental medical interventions is to treat the cause of the problem. The ultimate goal is to relax the capsule within the shoulder joint thus unfreezing the shoulder and restoring range of motion.

It is worthwhile to mention several empirical studies researching the efficacy of acupuncture in treating frozen shoulder. The results of a study conducted in 2001 by Sun, K.O. et al., and published in The Hong Kong Medical Journal, found that when therapy was combined with exercise, treatment was significantly more effective than exercise alone. Results were maintained when subjects were assessed after 20 weeks.

In a 2010 study by Wang, X.H. et al., researchers found that when the frozen shoulder is due to cold damp, acupuncture combined with moxibustion on tender points achieved superior results to acupuncture alone. Both groups received treatment at the points Jianyu, large intestine meridian point 15, the Jianliao, triple energizer meridian point 14, and the Jianzhen, small intestine meridian point 9. The results of this study underscore the importance of diagnosing the correct pattern as it will guide the treatment.

Finally, in a 2006 study by Ma, T., et al., and published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, researchers found that used in conjunction with physical therapy had a better outcome than physical therapy alone.

Asthma & Bronchitis

Asthma is a condition where the airways become inflamed, narrowed and filled with excess mucus. The muscles then begin to spasm. While asthma has no specific, identifiable cause, there are certain triggers that can lead to an asthma attack. Breathing becomes difficult, and the individual may cough in an attempt to clear the mucus. Certain foods and airborne allergies, such as dust, grass, molds and pollens, are common triggers. By avoiding known triggers, an individual may be successful at controlling the frequency of attacks.

Bronchitis is another respiratory disease whereby the bronchial tubes, which transport air into the lungs, become inflamed and fill with excess mucus. Bronchitis is usually caused by a virus and often occurs after experiencing an upper-respiratory infection. Since the condition results from a virus, antibiotics are normally not appropriate. A healthy individual can have an episode of acute bronchitis that usually lasts a few weeks. The acute incident may occur from something as simple as inhaling too much smoke. On the other hand, chronic bronchitis can last several months and recur.

Because certain symptoms, such as coughing, fever and body aches, are common to several respiratory conditions, individuals should seek a differential diagnosis from a physician to rule out a serious disease such as pneumonia. The chosen treatment for a specific respiratory disease is also dependent on the existence of comorbid conditions.

Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in the treatment of asthma and bronchitis. It may be used as an adjunct therapy to other traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) approaches or along with traditional allopathic treatments. The treatment goals of TCM are to restore the flow of the life energy known as qi as well as to treat any excesses or deficiencies of Yin-Yang. Yin and Yang are interrelated polarities, and TCM practitioners seek to obtain a harmonious interplay between these energies. To the western mind, this terminology may seem unusual and otherworldly. However, TCM has a long history of efficacy that is supported by western empirical methods of research. TCM has also found a home in many well-known western medical facilities.

The qi energy is accessed through various points that run along meridians throughout the body. For asthma, treatment may include correcting a qi deficiency in the spleen and kidneys and qi stagnation in the liver. With bronchitis, there could be a kidney and spleen Yang deficiency as well as a spleen qi deficiency. Under TCM, other diagnostic patterns may also be present for any given western diagnosis. Diagnosis under TCM may explain more of the client’s symptoms, and the goal is always to restore wellness to the individual by addressing the source of the problem. While acupuncture is effective as the sole intervention, each approach in TCM potentiates the effects of other TCM practices.

The results of empirical studies are certainly compelling. However, at Coha Health, it always comes down to the individual client. Your successful outcome provides anecdotal evidence of the validity of TCM. Our client testimonials prove this time and again.

Back Pain

The wide-spread occurrence of back pain is associated with a number of risk factors. These include increasing age, obesity, strenuous movement, a sedentary lifestyle, pregnancy, smoking, and the general stress of daily life. Back pain occurs more frequently in women than men. Often there appears to be no physiological cause for back pain. In other instances, the muscles, ligaments, bones, disks and tendons of the back are affected for various reasons thus causing the pain. The pain may be chronic or acute. In some instances individuals seek surgical treatment; others take pain killers that often become less effective over time. Individuals experiencing back pain concurrent with other symptoms such as numbness or swelling anywhere in the body or fever should see a healthcare provider to rule out comorbid conditions.

In addition to addressing lifestyle issues such as smoking, lack of exercise, and poor nutrition, those suffering with back pain have found relief with complementary medical practices derived from traditional Oriental medicine. Acupuncture is one such practice that has empirical support of efficacy. The University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine is continuously engaged in studies concerning the efficacy of the treatment of back pain and other health problems. Other researchers have completed meta-analyses and literature reviews of published studies that also support the efficacy of acupuncture and other complementary medical practices. Additionally, these treatments may slow or prevent acute pain from becoming chronic if commenced early in the pain cycle.

The allopathic view is that acupuncture produces natural steroids and endorphins that respectively reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. With this, Dr Cann inserts thin needles at specific points on the body to access the life energy known as qi, pronounced “chee.” In this manner, the acupuncturist manipulates the flow of qi through the meridians located in the body. If the flow of energy is obstructed or stagnant, treatment can restore balance. The process is virtually painless. If indicated, the client may receive treatment alongside traditional allopathic approaches to pain management.

At COHA Health, we offer a client-centered approach to healing. Prior to treatment, the holistic practitioners at COHA Health will do an initial evaluation assessment to learn about you, the client. Dr. Cann will ask questions concerning your lifestyle, emotions and mood, dietary and exercise habits, and quality of sleep. Additionally, we will look at your physical presentation including your skin, eyes, hair, and tongue. After the initial assessment, the acupuncturist will develop a treatment plan specifically designed for you. We will continuously evaluate your progress during and after treatment.


Many individuals experiencing symptoms of anxiety often pursue commonly-accepted medical treatments, or just suffer through them without an understanding of what they are experiencing. This lack of understanding may be due to the fact the symptoms of anxiety are so pervasive in our fast-paced society, which glorifies “doing” over “being,” that they are considered a normal part of life. If individuals do seek help, they should be informed of the many traditional and complementary treatment options available.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV, there are several symptoms exhibited by individuals who may be diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). They include feeling tense or restless, fatigue, muscle tension, irritability, and difficulty with concentration and sleep. These symptoms are not easily controlled. They may be present for most days during a six-month period, and may not be caused by medication. The anxiety may also be severe enough to interfere significantly with a person’s daily life.

A patient suffering from anxiety may have a complete physical examination to determine if there is an organic cause of their anxiety. The physician may review whatever medications the patient is taking and examine any potential interactions between them. They could also rule out any other health problems that may have symptoms similar to those of anxiety. For example, those with Grave’s Disease or hyperthyroidism may exhibit the same symptoms as those of GAD. Finally, upon the diagnosis of GAD, the patient may opt for pharmacological treatment. Certain counseling techniques may also improve the client’s condition. Cognitive therapy can also be helpful by looking at the thought processes leading up to and during moments of anxiety. The cognitive intervention can take in interrupting thoughts that evoke feelings of anxiety or disputing the validity of such thoughts. This is as well as replacing them with more rational and functional thoughts.

In lieu of the above treatments, and in conjunction with western medicine, those suffering from anxiety can look to complementary modalities. These ancient approaches require a paradigmatic shift in viewpoint from the allopathic disease model to a model of health. Acupuncture offers such an approach. Unlike the medical view that anxiety is a product of the mind and a mental disorder, traditional Chinese medicine considers the symptoms an imbalance within the internal organs. In other words, the emotions are associated with the internal organs which become the target of intervention.

The organ targeted depends upon the manifested symptom. For example, if the client has symptoms of excessive worry, rumination, and obsession about the outcome of a projected future or current situation, Dr Cann will target the imbalance in the heart or spleen. The focus of intervention will be the life force known as qi, pronounced chee, and the acupunturist will target the blockage or imbalance of qi through the appropriate acupoints corresponding to the specific organ under treatment. In this manner, the river of life energy is accessed through the various meridians, or pathways, through which the qi flows. Dr Cann will continuously evaluate the individual by viewing the tongue, eyes, skin and physical movements.

Acupuncture has proven successful in the treatment of anxiety and can be integrated with interventions under the western medical model. It may also be used in conjunction with other complementary medical practices. These other practices are offered at COHA Health and include nutritional counselling  martial arts, meditation, massage and herbal treatments. The holistic approach of Oriental medicine also addresses the spiritual dimension and seeks to lift the level of consciousness to enable a healthier interaction between the individual within the self and without while interacting in the world. By not viewing the client as a bundle of independent symptoms to be farmed out to specialists who rarely interact, the practitioner of complementary medicine knows and treats the entire person within a comprehensive treatment plan while working with a team of practitioners trained in traditional Oriental practices. At COHA Health, the client will be treated for anxiety in this manner by experienced practitioners who work together as a team for the benefit of the client’s well-being.

TMJ Dysfunction & Trigeminal Nerve Pain

There are many causes and contributing factors when it comes to pain in the face and jaw. Two of the most common conditions afflicting people today are Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction and Trigeminal Neuralgia.

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD) refers to a pain or impairment of function in or near the joint where the mandible (jaw) attaches to the bottom of the Temporal bone. The condition is generally brought on by a tightening of the muscles, to dislocation, or even grinding your teeth. It is a complaint though which can be remedied by Coha Health.

Dr Cann, our experienced practitioner, will treat you by palpating the affected area to find the most sensitive points, and then firmly massage them. It is believed one point will generally produce more improvement than the others. He will then use a needle at that point. You will then be asked to open your mouth to check for improvement in pain or mobility. The next stage of the treatment involves placing needles on the next two most-sensitive points as well as the other two adjacent.

The needles will be removed after about fifteen-twenty minutes, and you may then be instructed on how to work specific acupoints on your own. It is recommended that you carry out the required treatment frequency once to twice a week. It may decrease in frequency though as the symptoms decrease. You can also carry out the electrical stimulation in epileptics without medical supervision.

Trigeminal Neuralgia (TGN), is a nerve disorder which causes a piercing or electric-like pain in the forehead, eyes, cheek or jaw. This is a further ailment which the highly skilled Dr Cann can treat through acupuncture. A definitive cause for the condition has, at the moment, yet to be found. It is felt that Multiple Sclerosis, along with pressure on the Trigeminal nerve, from a swollen blood vessel, has been known to cause symptoms. It is believed though that Sa-Am especially applicable when treating chronic disordes such as Trigeminal Neuralgia. This is a complaint where the root must be addressed directly for the illness to be cured.

Two of the most important techniques in acupuncture are tonification (bu) and sedation (xie). Tonification strengthens muscular function, while sedation calms hyperactive muscular functions. Dr Cann is well versed in the various forms and methods which could be used to treat both Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD) and Trigeminal Neuralgia (TGN). They can help you get the relief you need to alleviate your condition.

Cluster Headaches, Migraines, Tension & Sinus Pressure

Migraine headaches, cluster headaches, sinus headaches and tension headaches are common problems. They can cause many people pain and loss of work time. There are a variety of medications available, but these drugs are not always considered effective. Acupuncture though offers patients another option when treating these cases.

Cluster headaches are so-called because they occur in patterns or “clusters” periodically. The pain is centred in or around the eye, often on one side of the head. It can also cause redness of the affected eye, runny nose, swelling, paleness and a drooping eyelid. Nausea and sensitivity to light can also be symptoms. Triptan medications and breathing oxygen can be helpful for treating the pain. Thin needles are inserted into precise points on the body. This is in order to block the nerves from transmitting the sensation of pain. We therefore employ this technique to treat the pain of cluster headaches. It is also common for Dr Cann to apply needles to pathways on both sides of the body, but he may also concentrate on the side affected by cluster headache pain.

Migraine headaches can occur for a number of reasons. They range from hormone changes to food sensitivities and taking medication. It is also felt that changes in sleep patterns or weather changes can cause disturbances in brain chemicals. The pain can be intense, with nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, blurred vision and pain on one side of the head. A number of studies have shown though that it can reduce pain and improve the quality of life for patients with chronic migraine headaches.

Tension headaches occur when the muscles of the face, head and neck, become constricted and reduces the blood flow to the top, sides or back of the head. It is generally believed that over-the-counter pain relievers help treat tension headaches. If taking these drugs is medically inadvisable however, patients may require alternate treatments like acupuncture. Studies show that it can be effective in treating the pain from tension headaches. We also provide therapy which, when applied at regular intervals, can be a form of preventative medicine as well.

We additionally use acupuncture to treat sinus pressure and headaches. The cavities within the facial structure are called sinuses and they can become inflamed. This may be due to allergies, infection or other diseases. The increased mucus can cause pressure and pain within the cavities. There are many different kinds of sinus medications available which could be helpful, these often contain pain relievers. However, if these are not effective in dealing with sinus pain, then you may choose this option.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis, RA, is a chronic form of arthritis that often affects the same joints on both sides of the body. Symptoms include swollen, stiff, inflamed and tender joints, and the condition can eventually lead to joint malformation and erosion of bone and cartilage. Other bodily organs may be affected.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition. For reasons not known, the immune system attacks the lining of the joints. Women are more likely to suffer from RA than men. Also, a family history of RA predisposes an individual to the condition. Those with RA are at increased risk of other conditions such as osteoporosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and lung and heart disease.

Western medical treatments may include steroids, immunosuppressants and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Other drugs can slow the progression of the disease. Medications such as etanercept, also known as Enbrel, can slow the production of an inflammatory material known as tumor necrosis factor-alpha. In some instances, it may become necessary to surgically replace the joint.

Oriental medical theory does not view RA as a single condition that affects many. Referred to as bi-syndromes, there are several diagnostic patterns that encompass the western diagnosis of RA. These syndromes are divided into types, and there are specific qualities of the tongue and pulse, along with other indicators, that enable the practitioner to make a diagnosis. For example, once diagnosed with the cold-bi type, the acupunctrist would apply treatment consistent with the diagnosis and may target points such as stomach meridian point 36 to eliminate the cold. He or she might make specific dietary recommendations. With cold-bi, for instance, the practitioner may suggest adding more black pepper and dried ginger. The main point is that treatment under oriental medical models will address a specific diagnostic pattern. Therefore, the treatment protocol for one individual presenting with the western diagnosis of RA may be quite different from another individual diagnosed with RA.

While The World Health Organization includes RA in its list of conditions where the efficacy of acupuncture treatment is proven by empirical studies, our search of the research literature reveals very few current studies in this area. There is a great need for well-designed, controlled studies where a different treatment protocol is applied to each group of randomly-assigned subjects. This approach would reveal which protocols are most effective in treating both the symptoms and progression of rheumatoid arthritis.

Auto-Immune Support

The body’s immune system is comprised of a network of cells and organs. The functions of the immune system are to protect the body from antigens, including bacteria, viruses, germs and toxins, and to also fight off any foreign micro-organisms that do enter the body. The organs of the immune system are known as lymphoid organs, and they produce lymphocytes, which are a type of leukocytes or white blood cells.

The two groups of lymphocytes are T-cells, which mature in the thymus, and B-cells, which develop in the bone marrow. The B-cells fight infection by producing antibodies while the T-cells kill cells already compromised by invading micro-organisms. Additionally, T-cells release lymphokines in order to initiate an immune response to fight disease.

Auto-immune disorders occur when the immune system attacks healthy tissue and cells in a misdirected attempt to protect the body. For unknown reasons, the immune system misperceives healthy tissue as antigens. Conventional western treatment for these conditions varies, but, in general, the physician may prescribe immunosuppressant and corticosteroid drugs. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary. Elsewhere on the site, we have written about the efficacy of acupuncture treatment for a number of autoimmune diseases. For details on specific conditions, please refer to our articles on rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid diseases, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis and eczema.

Acupuncture can help maintain a healthy immune system as well as improve immune functions while undergoing conventional treatment for disease. Empirical studies have supported the efficacy of this with respect to enhancing lymphocyte activity and increasing white blood cells. The results of a study performed by Mori, H. et al., 2002, strongly suggest that electro-acupuncture “tended to normalize the pattern of leukocytes,” white blood cells, through it’s ability to affect the autonomic nervous system. These researchers state that evidence supports the possibility that immunologic responses are regulated by the autonomic nervous system.

In a 2010 study entitled “Acupuncture is Effective to Attenuate Stress and Stimulate Lymphocyte Proliferation in the Elderly,” researchers Pavao, T.S. et al. found that treatment yielded an increase in T-cell production. Their protocol consisted of six sessions and included treatment at bilateral acupoints He Gu, LI 4, Sanyinjiao, SP 6, and Zusanli, ST 36.

To maintain your healthy immune system, in addition to acupuncture treatments, the practitioners at COHA Health may suggest herbal supplements, teas or tonics as well as make recommendations for activities such as qi gong or tai chi.

Chemotherapy and Radiation Side-Effect Support

The side effects of radiation and chemotherapy cancer treatments are numerous and quite disruptive to daily life. They include feelings of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, sleep and appetite disturbances, and fatigue. Many clinical studies support the efficacy of acupuncture treatment for these side effects, and, accordingly, the World Health Organization lists it as a proven treatment for minimizing the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

As always, the clinicians at COHA Health continuously review published studies to remain current on the most effective complementary and alternative protocols for treating specific conditions. In a 2010 study conducted by Sawada, N.O. et al., entitled “The Outcomes of Visualization and Acupuncture on the Quality of Life of Adult Cancer Patients Receiving Chemotherapy,” 75 patients self-assigned to either an intervention group or a no-treatment control group. The 38 patients in the intervention group received treatments and performed visualization exercises. The post-chemotherapy scores on treatment-outcome measures differed significantly between the control group and the intervention group. After a six-week period, the treatment group reported significant symptom improvement as measured by a questionnaire assessing quality-of-life perceptions as well as global health.

To treat the side effects of vomiting, these researchers applied treatment at the Nei Guan acupoint, which is point PC 6 along the pericardium meridian. Point 12 of the conception vessel meridian, also known as point Zhong Wan, was appropriately targeted to treat the digestive issues of diarrhea and indigestion as well as vomiting. Finally, to treat insomnia, stimulation was applied to the LV 2 point, on the liver meridian, known as Xing Jian. Treatment at the LV 2 point is appropriate to dispel heat from the liver.

In a 2006 review of 11 clinical trials entitled “Acupuncture-Point Stimulation for Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea or Vomiting,” Ezzo, J.M. et al. concluded that the therapy is successful in exerting a favorable biologic effect on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Furthermore, the researchers stated that the results of the reviewed studies are consistent with those of studies on post-operative nausea and vomiting. The National Cancer Institute at the U.S. National Institutes of Health also noted this consistency of results.

Therapy is highly individualized, and the side effects from cancer treatment can result from any number of imbalances, blockages, excesses and deficiencies that vary from person to person. The selection of proper acupoints will be determined after a complete assessment by the acupuncturist.

Treatment for Mild to Moderate Ulcers

An ulcer is an open sore located in the stomach lining, the upper part of the small intestine, or the inner lining of esophagus. Known as peptic ulcers, these sores can result from a bacterial infection or from certain medications.

When the mucosal coating of the digestive system is weakened by digestive acids, there is an increased risk of developing these sores. Also, the mucosal layer that protects the small intestine and stomach contains bacteria that can cause inflammation of the inner lining of these structures. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs increase the risk of developing ulcers as does aspirin. Use of bisphosphonates, such as Foxamax and Actonel, can also contribute to the development of ulcers.

When the ulcer is caused by bacteria, treatment usually includes a course of antibiotics along with medications that serve to reduce stomach acid. Your physician may also prescribe medication that can protect the lining of the small intestine and stomach.

Empirical Evidence

One study in Russia, conducted in 1999, found that when acupuncture treatment was applied at ST 36, point Zusanli, along with auricular points, which are located in the ear, researchers successfully exerted an influence on the production of acid in those patients with stomach and intestinal ulcers. When the participants received 20 minutes of stimulation at point Zusanli, the production of acid increased. After applying treatment for 40 minutes, acid production decreased.

Diagnostic Patterns

There can be several syndrome differentiations for gastric ulcers, which are those of the stomach. This is also the case for those of the small intestine. Your practitioner at COHA Health knows the signs and symptoms in order to make the correct differential diagnosis under eastern medical practice.

There may be disharmony between the liver and stomach resulting from “wood overacting on earth.” The function of the spleen may also be affected by the liver. According to Five Element Theory, the Zang-Fu organs of spleen and stomach, which are of earth, are controlled by the Zang-Fu organs of liver and gall bladder, which are wood. Other patterns may include stomach and intestinal heat, deficient cold and yin deficiency, blood stasis, and Qi stagnation.

Herbal Treatment

Based on studies, the University of Maryland’s Center for Integrative Medicine suggests that cranberry may inhibit the growth of the bacteria that can cause ulcers. Mastic, Pistacia lentiscus, may also affect the growth of the H. pylori bacteria. In order to avoid serious interactions, please inform your holistic practitioner of all the medications you are taking prior to using herbal formulations.