Greater Houston Acupuncture Alliance
By Monica Mathews
TCM Student and Yoga Instructor

It may not seem like it should be such a big deal, but over 3,000 years of Chinese medical understanding of health and illness will tell you that drinking ice water over a long period of time can have a negative effect on your digestive system. Not just ice water, in fact, but other foods and drinks that are considered “cold” in nature (not just temperature), such as raw veggies, salads, smoothies, and raw fruit/vegetable juices. Now, this doesn’t mean that you cannot 
indulge every once in a while, but most Americans think that these things are actually “healthy” choices to eat all the time, and that way of thinking is erroneous. When you consume too many 
cold-natured foods, drinks, herbs, and medications (antibiotics are also considered cold), then the chemical reactions in your digestive system slow down and it becomes very sluggish. A sluggish digestive system can manifest symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and much more if left untreated.

If you have ever been to a licensed acupuncturist, you’ll notice that the practitioner will ask to see your tongue to get a better idea of how your internal organs are functioning. A tongue that looks pale, puffy and swollen with teethmarks on the edges, too moist, or has a yellow coating could mean that your digestive system needs a boost. Acupuncture and the correct selection of herbs will certainly help get things flowing again, but you can also simply choose cooked, warm meals, hot tea, and room temperature water with a squeeze of lemon or lime whenever possible. Go ahead- be a bother and send the waiter back for water, no ice! Your tummy will thank you.

By Lori Earley, L.Ac
Phoenix Rising Acupuncture

Admittedly, when most people consider acupuncture, it’s usually for pain-related issues, like back pain, neck pain, or headaches. However, more and more people are turning to acupuncture for cosmetic results. Cosmetic acupuncture has been brought to the public’s attention by Hollywood A-listers, such as Sandra Bullock, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Julianne Moore. Even Kim Kardashian (not necessarily an A-lister, but very much a public figure in pop culture) has tweeted pictures of herself while undergoing cosmetic acupuncture treatment.

So, what’s all the buzz? Acupuncture’s anti-aging techniques have been around for centuries, but as more people search for a safe, natural, cost-effective, non-invasive, and chemical-free way to look and feel younger, cosmetic acupuncture is becoming one of the hottest ways to turn back the years because it provides inner balance and outer beauty.

How It Works

Remember that plump, wrinkle-free face we all had in our teens and twenties? That’s thanks to high levels of elastic and collagen. In our thirties, those levels begin to decline. Licensed acupuncturists who have been trained and certified in cosmetic acupuncture use hair-thin needles at different points and locations on the face and neck, causing “micro-traumas” to the area, which, in turn, stimulate collagen and elastin production.

In addition to local face and neck points, most acupuncturists who perform cosmetic acupuncture treatments also use distal – or body – points to treat the underlying cause of aging. This is where the true skill comes in, since only a qualified practitioner can determine the underlying cause of physical signs of aging that is unique to each individual. So, in addition to a facial treatment, a full body treatment is also given at the same time, which increases the effectiveness of the cosmetic results.

Some of the reported results include the following:

  • A reduction or disappearance of fine lines and wrinkles, including crow’s feet
  • A “leveling” of deeper lines, looking softer and less harsh
  • Improvement in acne, rosascea, and melasma
  • Improvement in skin texture & skin tone: firmer, softer, smoother, and more vibrant
  • Fading of age spots and sun damage
  • A more defined jaw line & minimized jowls
  • Lifting of droopy eyelids
  • Beneficial for Bell’s Palsy & facial paralysis
  • Boost in energy & improved sleep
  • Lifted mood, less stress & tension
  • Improved digestion
  • Reduction in hot flashes and night sweats
  • Reduction in PMS symptoms
Course of Treatment

Typically, a course of treatment, which consists of at least 10 to 12 treatments in a 5-week period, is needed to achieve maximum benefits. With repetitive treatments over a short period of time, the collagen and elastin begin to reproduce to plump up the skin, smooth out lines, and tighten skin. Most patients report visible results by the fifth to seventh treatment.

The most dramatic results typically last between 18 months to three years, depending on the health of the individual. Cosmetic acupuncture repairs and restores the health and vitality that the skin enjoyed in prior years, but time and gravity are inevitable and the skin may eventually become damaged again. In order to help prevent damage and further signs of aging, the course of treatment can be repeated at a later time; however, it is recommended that a maintenance treatment be performed every 4 to 8 weeks.

Who is the Appropriate Candidate for Cosmetic Acupuncture?

Cosmetic acupuncture is excellent for anyone who wants to look and feel revitalized without losing the essence of who they are and what they look like. It is the perfect solution for those looking to avoid the risk, cost, and complications associated with many anti-aging procedures and surgeries, and it is the only cosmetic procedure that can provide health benefits along the way; however, it is not advised for those who have uncontrolled hypertension, a history of seizures, suffer from frequent migraines, smoke cigarettes, or women who are pregnant.

Luckily, acupuncture can significantly help with migraines and smoking cessation, so once those are under control, cosmetic acupuncture treatments can begin.

How Can I find a Qualified Practitioner?

Only a Licensed Acupuncturist is qualified to provide cosmetic acupuncture. Chiropractors, MDs, and Physical Therapists, who do not also have a 4-year degree in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine have not been trained in cosmetic acupuncture. In fact, only a few Licensed Acupuncturists have been certified in cosmetic acupuncture, as this is an advanced technique that must be learned outside of the 4-year graduate/Chinese Medical school setting.

Ask your Licensed Acupuncturist if he/she has been certified in cosmetic acupuncture, and have them provide proof of certification.   Most have this certificate hanging in their clinic, or they are able to provide you with access to proof of certification. Cosmetic acupuncture is a delicate technique, and in order to ensure your safety and the most beautiful results, it is best to go with the most trained and experienced. Don’t be afraid to ask. Your health and beauty is worth it.

*This article was originally posted in the May 2015 issue of Indigo Sun magazine.

A word from Donald Lefeber, L.Ac of the Hope Clinic

"Acupuncture has the potential to help many people only if more people are aware of its existence. 
Did you know that it was reported that less than 10% of those in the U.S. Utilize acupuncture?
Please help by sharing with those that you know!

Much love and appreciation goes to the ‪#‎onephilippines‬ newspaper for showing support for the Acupuncture profession for publishing this article in their latest edition! 
Acupuncture is a promising medical therapy and has the potential to help millions of more education and awareness is done! Thanks to Rocko Stedy Narvios for his continued support and advocacy for the acupuncture profession!!"

By Lori Earley, L.Ac
Phoenix Rising Acupuncture

"It is my wish that 2016 be a joyful and healthy year for all.  I’d like to share with you the story of my experience with Chinese Medicine and a few lessons from its ancient wisdom to help make 2016 a healthier year for you.

Ten years ago, I lived a different life. I was, in many ways, a very different person. Although superficially, I seemed to be the epitome of good health, in reality, my lifestyle was slowly killing me. After all, before I was 30 years old, I had already been diagnosed with several medical conditions, including one autoimmune disease, and I had been prescribed at least five medications to manage a myriad of symptoms associated with my conditions. My guess is that if I had maintained this lifestyle, by the time I reached my 40s, I would require 10 or more prescription drugs.

Admittedly, my life looked different then. I was in my twenties, working hard and fast as a sales consultant in the cutthroat corporate world. I pumped myself full of caffeine, ate on the go, and after a long day’s work, I drank wine, watched tons of reality TV, and vigorously plugged away in front of a computer screen creating pointless sales reports. I stayed up too late, relishing the only alone time of the day. As a deeply introverted person, this alone time is required to recharge my battery of life.

I was also deeply unhappy. My life seemed meaningless, chasing one insignificant goal after another, and although I didn’t fully realize it at the time, I understand now that my spirit was breaking. It’s no wonder this fast-paced, high-stress, tense life was slowly killing me. But it wasn’t just me. It’s many people. In fact, in our society, it’s most people.

Now, with 40 right around the corner, I take only 1 prescription, and the dose has decreased by 75%, something my doctor admitted rarely happens. Chinese Medicine changed my life, and now as a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, I have witnessed dozens of stories like my own."

The changes were not immediate, nor were they easy, but they’ve been effective and lasting. Here are 4 lessons from Chinese Medicine that can change your health.

  • Slow Down. Chinese Medicine teaches that humans are microcosms of our environment, and so as the sun rises, so should we, and as the sun sets, so should we begin to settle for the evening.
    • Healthy Hint: So, it may not be entirely possible with life’s requirements, but anyone CAN stop and breathe. Breathe in slowly and deeply during the day.
    • Also, learn to say no. Seriously. Say “NO” when there is no time or energy to exert. The body cannot run on an empty tank. When energy is exerted on an empty tank, things begin to break down. Keep your tank full.
  • Eat Well. Just as we are microcosms of our environment, we should eat according to the season. Enjoy fruits and vegetables that are in season. When it’s cold outside, eat warm food. When it’s blazing outside, indulge in watermelon and iced tea.
    • Healthy Hint: There are certain foods to avoid at all cost: fried foods, dairy, and sugar, all of which create systemic inflammation through out the body, worsening pain, allergies, heart disease, and most all health conditions. Tempting? Yes. Worth it? Likely not.
  • Protect Yourself. According to Chinese Medicine, we have what’s called Wei Qi. It’s a field of energy that surrounds us, protecting us from “foreign pathogens”. When our Wei Qi is strong, our immune system is strong, acting as a barrier to foreign invaders, like bacteria and viruses.
    • Healthy Hint: I like to use herbs to strengthen the Wei Qi. Ginseng, Curcumin, and Astragalus are my preferences.
    • My favorite thing to do at the end of the day is to indulge in a hot Epsom Salt bath. Salt cleanses the aura, and it’s a perfect way to literally wash off the drama and stress of the day. It also relaxes tight muscles. Enjoy!
  • Follow your heart. This one is my favorite. Last year, I had the honor of training with the founder of Esoteric Acupuncture, Dr. Mikio Sankey. He taught that one must quiet the mind to “discern the whisper of the heart”. After all, our minds chatter away all the time. Loudly. How can the heart be heard with such a loud (and sometimes obnoxious) mind? Esoteric acupuncture uses sacred geometry and acupuncture to balance the chakras and to help elevate a client’s consciousness.
    • Healthy Hint: Meditation is key. Ten minutes a day is all that’s needed to create a safe and quiet space. Welcome the stillness, and begin to hear the faint voice of your soul’s intention and purpose.
    • I highly recommend receiving a series of esoteric acupuncture treatments by a practitioner who has trained under Dr. Sankey. Esoteric acupuncture is an incredibly powerful healing modality that can heal on the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels.
* This article was originally published in the January 2016 edition of Indigo Sun magazine.


Greater Houston Acupuncture Alliance