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The Healing Qi

Jan 12

Acupuncture Resources

acupuncture resourcesThe following is a comprehensive list of acupuncture resources in the United States. If you scroll down you will see a list of international acupuncture resources. If you would like your acupuncture or Chinese medicine resource listed here, please email at

Acupuncture Organizations

Jan 10

Health Department Uses Acupuncture For Smoking Cessation

acupuncture for smokingAustralian media began reporting this past week that the federal health department was giving cash reimbursements to employees who used hypnotherapy or acupuncture for smoking cessation. For many conservative medical practitioners, and for those who have not seen the science behind acupuncture’s benefits for addiction, this was seen as  controversial.

Acupuncture has a very long history of use for addictions in China, and Americans might be surprised to find that acupuncture has been used in hospitals in New York State since the nineteen seventies.

The well respected Cleveland Clinic is now promoting acupuncture for smoking cessation on their website, due to the good research and clinical results behind it’s use. To see the Cleveland Clinic’s article on using acupuncture for smoking cessation, you can go here.

What Acupuncture For Smoking Cessation Is Like

Acupuncturists often use auricular acupuncture, or ear acupuncture to treat addictions, including smoking. In some cases small seed like needles will be taped onto specific acupuncture points on the ear, and the patient will be told to press these acupuncture points a few times a day to stimulate the brain. Stimulating these points has been shown to release certain neurochemicals that have an effect on modulating cravings.

The Dr. Oz show also had a good segment on using acupuncture for smoking cessation, which you can see here.

There are obviously many good reasons to quit smoking, as the Dr. Oz website reports:

• With each inhalation of a cigarette, you breath in over 4,000 chemicals, including but certainly not limited to arsenic, ammonia, acetone, ammonium bromide, benzene, carbon monoxide, cadmium, cyanide, DDT, formaldehyde, lead, mercury, nickel, hydrogen cyanide, and hydrogen sulfide, in addition to at least 50 cancer-causing agents.
• According to the Centers for Disease Control, cigarette smoking causes death: nearly 443,000 deaths per year (1 in 5 deaths) to be exact. This is more than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined.
• Smoking increases the risk of coronary artery disease, stroke, lung cancer, chronic obstructive lung disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, infertility, premature delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome.
• Cigarettes cause cancer: acute myeloid leukemia, bladder, cervical, esophageal, kidney, larynx, lung, oral (mouth), and stomach cancers.
• Cigarette smoking is associated with lower bone density in postmenopausal women, and increases the risk of hip fractures in women.

Acupuncture For Smoking

Why not try acupuncture for stopping smoking? Seek out a licensed and well qualified acupuncturist, who has specific training in helping you stop smoking. If you have any questions you can call The Blue Ridge Acupuncture Clinic at (828) 254-4405.


Dec 28

Allergies and Acupuncture

asheville allergiesThere are different types of allergies, but all allergic reactions are a hypersensitivity of the immune system.

Some of the most common allergies are:

Pet allergies: These include dog allergies and cat allergies, and are often caused by an allergic reaction to the dander of animals.

Seasonal Allergies: Can happen in any season but most commonly in fall and spring, when pollen or mold counts rise in the air.

Food allergies: The most common are wheat and dairy. There are immediate food reactions which can be severe…common anaphylactic food allergies include peanuts and shellfish. Some food allergies are mediated through a different class of antibodies, and are called slow food allergies. You might eat wheat on Saturday and not get a headache until Wednesday. To learn more about food allergies, click the link at the bottom of this page for the longer article.

The common symptoms of seasonal or pet allergies are: runny nose, cough from drainage, red eyes, sinus pressure, headaches, hives, eczema, and in some cases asthma.

How do I know if it is a cold or allergies?

Often a person who has allergies will get a cold, or rhinovirus, and not know that they have a virus and are not suffering from an allergy attack. A cold is contagious, and allergies are not…typically a cold will come on slowly and aches, fever and a cough are common. With allergies, a fever and aches are rare, and a cough is usually from sinus congestion draining, rather than a reaction to a nasal virus. Allergy symptoms can appear immediately after exposure to an allergen, while symptoms of a cold can take a few days to appear after exposure to the virus. Itchy and watery eyes are common with allergies, but not so common with the common cold. A sore throat is more typical with a cold than with allergies.

Allergies and Acupuncture

Acupuncture is incredibly effective for allergies of all types: dog allergies, cat allergies, seasonal allergies and food allergies. Acupuncture reduces swelling and inflammation, stops a runny reduces, reduces watery and itchy eyes, and acupuncture also an stop a headache.

Chinese herbal medicine is also highly effective for reducing the symptoms of allergies, herbs can also help balance the immune system.

To learn more about allergies you can read this article.

© James Whittle, All rights reserved.

For your free consultation or to learn about treating allergies in Asheville, North Carolina, call (828) 254-4405

Dec 23

The Cleveland Clinic and Acupuncture

cleveland clinic and acupunctureIn 2014, The Cleveland Clinic set up the first Chinese medicine program in a major US hospital. Katie Kouric, Time magazine, and The Wall Street Journal all reported on the developments. The news is extraordinary, because the Cleveland Clinic was ranked one of the top four hospitals in the United States, by US News and World Report, and it has an impeccable reputation. So how is it that such an esteemed hospital is opening its doors to the east and embracing the venerable tradition of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine?

In recent years, not only are informed citizens driving healthcare towards a more holistic approach of doing medicine, but also research is confirming in many cases, what indigenous populations have known for centuries. Herbal medicine is a case in point. While practitioners of Chinese medicine like to point out that herbal medicine in China is thousands of years old, and that stone acupuncture needles have been found dating more than ten thousand years back into prehistory, recent research is the more compelling narrative for hospital administrators that acupuncture and Chinese medicine are not passing fads.

In a pdf published by the Cleveland Clinic called “The Chinese Herbal Therapy Fact Sheet”, the authors explain that Chinese medicine and acupuncture, “helps you regain homeostasis, or balance, in your body, and helps you attain resistance to disease.” They go on to state that:

“Chinese herbs may be used to:

•Decrease cold/flu symptoms
•Increase your energy
•Improve your breathing
•Improve digestion
•Improve your sleep
•decrease pain
•Improve menopausal symptoms
•Help regulate menstrual cycles if infertility is an issue

Major changes are happening in the US in regards to acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and it looks like The Cleveland Clinic and acupuncture, just like the west and east, are forging a new and exciting relationship for the 21st century.

To download your free copy of The Cleveland Clinic Center for Integrative Medicine’s fact sheet on Chinese Herbal Therapy, just click here.

To visit the Cleveland Clinic website, click here.

And to schedule your free consult for Acupuncture, or Chinese herbal medicine in Asheville, NC give us a call at (828) 254-4405.

Dec 16

World Health Organization and Acupuncture

world health organization acupunctureMany people are not aware of how supportive the WHO, World Health Organization, has been of Acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

In the background to their lengthy report on Acupuncture, the WHO says:

“The past two decades have seen extensive studies on acupuncture, and great efforts have been made to conduct controlled clinical trials that include the use of “sham” acupuncture or “placebo” acupuncture controls. Although still limited in number because of the difficulties of carrying out such trials, convincing reports,based on sound research methodology, have been published. In addition, experimental investigations on the mechanism of acupuncture have been carried out. This research, while aimed chiefly at answering how acupuncture works, may also provide evidence in support of its effectiveness.

In 1991, a progress report on traditional medicine and modern health care was submitted by the Director-General of WHO to the Forty-fourth World Health Assembly.

The report pointed out that in countries where acupuncture forms part of the cultural heritage, its use in an integrated approach to modern and traditional medicine presents no difficulty. However, in countries where modern Western medicine is the foundation of health care, the ethical use of acupuncture requires objective evidence of its efficacy under controlled clinical conditions.

In 1996, a draft report on the clinical practice of acupuncture was reviewed at the WHO Consultation on Acupuncture held in Cervia, Italy. The participants recommended that WHO should revise the report, focusing on data from controlled clinical trials. This publication is the outcome of that process.”

World Health Organization Acupuncture

In an official report, Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials, the World Health Organization (WHO) has listed the following symptoms, diseases and conditions that have been shown through controlled trials to be treated effectively by acupuncture:

  • low back pain
  • neck pain
  • sciatica
  • tennis elbow
  • knee pain
  • periarthritis of the shoulder
  • sprains
  • facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
  • headache
  • dental pain
  • tempromandibular (TMJ) dysfunction
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • induction of labor
  • correction of malposition of fetus (breech presentation)
  • morning sickness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • postoperative pain
  • stroke
  • essential hypertension
  • primary hypotension
  • renal colic
  • leucopenia
  • adverse reactions to radiation or chemotherapy
  • allergic rhinitis, including hay fever
  • biliary colic
  • depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
  • acute bacillary dysentery
  • primary dysmenorrhea
  • acute epigastralgia
  • peptic ulcer
  • acute and chronic gastritis

You can see the full study and other information about the WHO and Acupuncture here.

Contact The Blue Ridge Acupuncture Clinic in Asheville, North Carolina: (828) 254-4405.


Nov 17

Acupuncture for Arthritis

Can Acupuncture Alleviate Arthritic Pain?acupuncture for arthritis

Hospitals in China and Europe have used acupuncture for arthritis for decades. Pain is the primary complaint of arthritis sufferers, and acupuncture is a very effective form of pain control.

There are numerous research studies on the benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of arthritis, some of which can be viewed in the article “Arthritis and Acupuncture” by James Whittle.

See the full article on Arthritis and Acupuncture Here.

Free Consultation: Call our Asheville Acupuncture Clinic at (828) 254-4405


Oct 30

Treating Infertility with Acupuncture

asheville infertility
by Nanci Bompey
published April 3, 2007 in the Asheville Citizen-Times

ASHEVILLE — Kristen Smith and her husband, Luke, have been trying to have a baby for more than four years. After rounds of hormone shots, unsuccessful infertility treatments and a miscarriage, the couple decided to try acupuncture.

“We’re just taking a break from traditional medicine, and we’re going to go with acupuncture,” Smith said. “We’ve basically tried everything we can, so there’s nothing to lose at this point.”

The 28-year-old Haywood County resident is one of a growing number of women who are looking to acupuncture to help in becoming pregnant.

While the technique has been used in China for thousands of years, it has only recently begun to catch on in the West.

“Women just don’t really know it’s an option yet,” said Asheville acupuncturist James Whittle.

Infertility affects more than 6 million women and their partners in the United States, or about 10 percent of the reproductive-age population, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

While most infertility cases, 85 percent to 90 percent, are treated with conventional therapies like medicine or surgery, some women are also starting to turn to acupuncture either alone or in conjunction with Western therapies.

Smith’s acupuncturist, Nicole Jurkovic Peterson, L.Ac., said in the three years since she opened her practice in Asheville, about 30 percent to 40 percent of her clients have been women with infertility problems.

“People are wanting answers and a different way of looking at infertility that hasn’t been explored enough,” Peterson said.

A holistic approach
Both Peterson and Whittle subscribe to the practices of Chinese medicine, which takes a holistic approach to diagnosing and treating patients.

Traditional Chinese medicine sees the body as a balance of two opposing forces: yin, or cold, and yang, or hot. Health is achieved through the maintenance of a balance of yin and yang, which practitioners balance through a patient’s diet, lifestyle, nutritional and herbal supplements, and acupuncture treatments.

During treatments, an acupuncturist uses a small, metallic needle on a series of acupuncture points that connect channels of energy in the body. The needles are used to regulate the flow of qi, or vital energy, through the body. A blockage of qi leads to an imbalance of yin and yang.

For women dealing with infertility, the process helps to balance their hormones, increase blood flow to the uterus, boost the immune system and relieve stress, all helping their body to conceive, Peterson said.

“I was a little bit skeptical at first because we’ve been through so many treatments before,” Smith said. “After seeing the results, I feel like we’re on the right track.”

Smith said while she isn’t pregnant yet, the acupuncture treatments and herbal supplements have given her more energy, helped to regulate her menstrual cycles, alleviated pain in her neck and helped her to feel more relaxed.

Rebecca Piersma had been trying to have a baby for nine months when she started acupuncture treatments with Peterson last fall. She is now three months pregnant.

“I feel like it is a really positive thing because it takes into account everything going on in your life,” said the 25-year-old Fairview woman. “I realized I had to give my body time.” .

Multiple benefits

Peterson said she has about a 65 percent success rate in treating infertility with acupuncture.

“I tell people give me six months, and if you’re not pregnant by then, go to Western therapy,” she said. “If nothing else, you’re going to feel really good, and your body’s going to be much more ready for Western therapy.”

Some studies suggest that acupuncture may help increase the effectiveness of in vitro fertilization, but the reason behind its effectiveness is still under investigation.

James Holman, an infertility specialist at the Center for Applied Reproductive Science in Asheville, said a lot of his patients undergo acupuncture along with their infertility treatments. While he is not sure to what extent it helps women to conceive, he does not discourage them.

“This is stressful, there’s just no question,” he said of infertility. “Acupuncture and some relaxation therapies can help you cope with it.”

Smith agreed the infertility treatments have put a strain on her body, and trying to conceive has been a source of stress in her life. The soothing music and aromatherapy used in acupuncture, and Jurkovic’s support, have helped her to relieve stress, which is good for her whether or not she becomes pregnant, she said.

“My husband and I just really needed a break.”

Smith said she is committed to trying acupuncture for six months but will go back to in vitro fertilization if the treatments are not successful on their own.

“I’m just not ready to give up yet,” Smith said.

Facts about acupuncture and Chinese medicine:

Acupuncture originated in China more than 2,000 years ago.

An estimated 8.2 million U.S. adults have used acupuncture and about 2.1 million U.S. adults have had acupuncture treatments in the previous year.

Acupuncture is the key component of traditional Chinese medicine, which sees the body as a balance of two opposing forces: yin (cold) and yang (hot). Health is achieved through the maintenance of a balance of yin and yang.

An imbalance of yin and yang leads to blockage of the flow of qi (pronounced ch-ee), or vital energy, along 12 main meridians of the body.

More than 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body connect the meridians.

During treatments, an acupuncturist uses a small, metallic needle on these points to regulate the flow of qi in the body.

Acupuncture treatments range in price from $100 – $130 for the first visit to $70 – $75 for follow-up visits.

Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Blue Ridge Acupuncture Clinic and Ling Dao Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. .

Facts about infertility:
Infertility affects about 6.1 million women and their partners in the United States – about 10 percent of the reproductive-age population.

Most infertility cases – 85 percent to 90 percent – can be treated with conventional medical therapies such as medication or surgery.

Infertility affects both men and women in equal proportions. For 20 percent of couples, the cause of infertility is unexplained.

The most common male infertility factors include azoospermia, where no sperm cells are produced, and oligospermia, where few sperm cells are produced.

Ovulation disorder is the most common reason for female infertility. Other causes of infertility in women include blocked fallopian tubes, which can occur when a woman has had a pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis, a condition that causes adhesions or cysts.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a technique where eggs are surgically removed from the ovary and mixed with sperm outside the body. The fertilized embryo is then implanted into the woman’s uterus.

IVF accounts for less than 5 percent of all infertility treatments in the United States.

For women younger than 37 years old, one cycle of IVF results in a pregnancy about 40 percent of the time.

One cycle of IVF costs about $11,000.

Source: American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Center for Applied Reproductive Science.

May 19

Acupuncture and Shingles

acupuncture and shinglesShingles is a common medical problem that western medicine has little answer for. When a painful shingles outbreak occurs, most people seek anti-viral medicine, anti-inflammatory drugs and in some cases steroids like cortisone. In many cases, stress is the culprit. In all cases, the varicella virus that causes chicken pox, that lies dormant in the nerve roots, gets activated and causes pain, redness and swelling. Typically after a case of shingles, the problem will not reoccur. But when a person has shingles, the inflammation and pain can affect the torso, the upper body or even the head. I have seen cases around the eye, and that can cause extreme pain and often worries the patient.

Acupuncture and Shingles at the Blue Ridge Clinic

Acupuncture can be very effective for a shingles outbreak and I have had many successes treating shingles over the years. I recently had a patient with a severe outbreak across her torso: you can see this in the photograph. After one acupuncture treatment, the pain disappeared and the inflammation was dramatically reduced. Acupuncture uses very fine stainless steel disposable needles to treat inflammation and pain. Acupuncture is also very effective at reduces stress and helping a person achieve balance and health. Give us a call if you would like to use acupuncture for shingles.

Mar 19

Acupuncture for Pain

JAMA and acupunctureIn March 2014, The Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA, published perhaps the best evidence to date on the effectiveness of acupuncture for pain. The research study was authored by Andrew J. Vickers and Klaus Linde, MD. The authors compared real acupuncture to sham acupuncture and a placebo group. They concluded in their bottom line:

“Acupuncture is associated with improved pain outcomes compared with sham-acupuncture and no-acupuncture control, with response rates of approximately 30% for no acupuncture, 42.5% for sham acupuncture, and 50% for acupuncture.”

Previous studies on acupuncture and pain control left some researchers and scientists still skeptical. The data from this clinical trial combined with a major systematic review, funded by the National Institutes of Health, NIH, published in 2013, should finally put the skepticism about acupuncture to rest. Any scientist who reads the research with an open mind will have to conclude that acupuncture is effective for pain. This is clinical evidence at its best.

If your doctor or insurance company will not recommend acupuncture, just take a copy of the above studies to their office. Most likely, when they learn about the science, they will have a change of mind.

You can also share these links with your health care providers if they question the science or effectiveness of acupuncture:

Here is the link to the Journal of the American Medical Association’s website with information on the study on acupuncture:

Here is a link to the pubmed page that also catalogued the article:


Jan 14

Why Eat Warm Food When Its Cold

why eat warm foodOn a very warm day, asphalt will heat up. If there is a big patch of asphalt, like a mall parking lot, a large bubble of heat will form and then escape, pushing hot air up towards the sky. In micrometeorology, this is known as a thermal, or a column of hot air. When that hot air reaches the cold air of higher altitudes, big cumulus clouds are created that can turn into thunder storms. The stronger and larger the thermal, the more weather that is created.

Why I am telling you all this? Because a human body is a part of nature. We have the forces of heat and cold working in the body. A balanced human being will be neither too cold or too hot, but often we get symptoms. For instance a patient will tell me that they are always cold and that their hands and feet get cold easily. Or someone will tell me that they flush easily, feel hot and wake up at night sweating. They could even manifest both symptoms of cold and heat!

Acupuncture is the process of bringing the body’s “weather patterns” into balance. Acupuncture helps warm the body if it is too cold, and it helps clear heat if it is too hot.

Why Eat Warm Food?

So to assist in the healing process, and to maintain health, it is very important to work in harmony with the body and the seasons by drinking warm beverages, eating soups and warm foods in the winter time.

Raw foods like salads are best for summer and warmer times, while warm and gently cooked foods are best for winter…so thousands of years of Chinese dietary therapy teaches us.

To learn five healthy breakfast ideas, click here to read the article and get the recipes.

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