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The Healing Qi

Feb 11

Acupuncture for Neuropathy

There are many different types of neuropathy. The Neuropathy Association identifies more than 100 possible types of neuropathy. Your medical doctor can help you get an accurate diagnosis from a western medical perspective. Some common types of neuropathy are:acupuncture for neuropathy

  •       Autonomic Neuropathy
  •       Injury related neuropathy
  •       Cancer-Related Neuropathies
  •       Compressive Neuropathies
  •       Diabetic Neuropathy
  •       Drug-Induced and Toxic Neuropathy
  •       G.I. and Nutrition-Related Neuropathies
  •       Hereditary Neuropathies
  •       Immune-Mediated and CIDP
  •       Infectious Diseases and Neuropathy
  •       Neuropathic Pain
  •       Chemotherapy Induced Neuropathy

The common symptoms of neuropathy include:

  1. Tingling in the lower legs and feet
  2. Numbness in the lower legs and feet
  3. Burning in the lower legs and feet
  4. Occasionally itching in the lower legs and feet

As far as evidence based medicine goes, there are various levels of evidence…at the bottom is expert opinion, second from the top are randomized controlled trials…and at the very top of the pyramid…the gold standard of evidence in medicine…are systematic reviews.

In my expert opinion, I have seen multiple cases of neuropathy improve with acupuncture treatment. I have treated both diabetic neuropathy and injury related neuropathies with acupuncture. As a general rule, the quicker a person begins acupuncture treatment when they first notice the very first symptoms of the neuropathy, the better and faster is the result.

Let’s take a look at the research and see what evidence is out there for using acupuncture for neuropathy.

A study published in 2014, demonstrated that acupuncture was very helpful in treating diabetic painful neuropathy. The authors of the research study concluded:

 “We have demonstrated the practicality and feasibility of acupuncture as an additional treatment for people with DPN. The treatment was well tolerated with no appreciable side effects.”

Interestingly electro-acupuncture has also shown promise as a treatment for diabetic neuropathies.

Acupuncture has also shown results for chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy, and you cans ee the research at this link from pubmed:

Feb 3

Acupuncture for Nasal Allergies

acupuncture for nasal allergiesNPR reported a story this past week explaining that acupuncture is a viable treatment option for nasal allergies, also called allergic rhinitis.

The Academy of Otolaryngology, has published new guidelines that can help allergy sufferers sort through the various treatment options and make a choice based on the best available evidence.

Nasal allergies, or allergic rhinitis, affects almost 40 million Americans according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Acupuncture can provide a side-effect free treatment option to those who are sensitive to medications, or do not like using antihistamines and decongestants.

Acupuncture for Nasal Allergies

NPR interviewed Dr. Sandra Lin, associate professor of otolaryngology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She is on the panel that published the guidelines:

Here is what Dr. Lin recommended about acupuncture for nasal allergies:

“Acupuncture may help relieve symptoms and improve quality of life for people with perennial allergic rhinitis, and may help with seasonal allergies too, according to several studies. Thus it could be an option for people looking for non-pharmaceutical treatments.”

To learn how to differentiate between rhinitis, seasonal allergies, and pet allergies…click here.

To see the original article on NPR, go here.

To schedule an evaluattion or free consult to find out how acupuncture can help with nasal allergies, simply call us at 828-254-4405, or click the “schedule now” button on this website.




Jan 14

How To Do A Coffee Enema

Coffee EnemaIntroduction:

Scroll down to see the steps below…

I learned about coffee enemas from gastroenterologist Dr. Hiromi Shinya M.D. Dr. Shinya invented the colonoscope and noninvasive surgery for the large intestine. He has looked into the colons and stomachs of more than a half a million patients, and so he knows a thing or two about large intestine health. Dr. Shinya says that a coffee enema will help your large intestine repopulate itself with beneficial bacteria, or probiotics. The good gut bacteria love the acid in the coffee and feed on it, helping them to multiply rapidly. Dr. Shinya always recommends organic coffee.

You can use the coffee enema for general health purposes and total wellness, during a detox or cleanse protocol, or if you have bowel movement issues like constipation or diarrhea. Like any new experience, it takes a few tries to feel comfortable with doing an enema, so there is a learning curve and it is helpful not to get discouraged if it takes a while to perfect.

Interestingly, I have also found in my clinical experience that performing a coffee enema can help dramatically with sinus congestion and sinus problems. In Chinese medicine, ancient physicians recognized the connection between the lung and the large intestine. The classics of Chinese medicine state “the lung opens into the nose.” And since the lung and the large intestine are paired energetically, when bowel movements are smooth and easy, the sinuses will remain unclogged and flow easily as well. Deep breathing can also help relieve constipation by helping to create a peristaltic wave that allows the bowels to move.

Here are the step-by-step instructions for doing a coffee enema:

Step 1: If you have not done an enema before and do not have an enema bag, then you need to purchase the equipment necessary to do a coffee enema. You can call your local drugstore to see what they have in stock, or try Wal-Mart if you are willing to shop there. The one I use is by a company called Cara. It was very inexpensive, the bottle is made from dry natural rubber, and it can be purchased online at Amazon. The Cara enema bottle can also be used as a hot water bottle, or a douche system for women.

Here is the link if you want to purchase this online. As of this writing, the Cara enema kit was less than $5:

Step 2: If you do not have organic decaffeinated coffee, you need to buy some from the grocery store. Make sure it is certified USDA organic so you are sure it is free of pollutants including heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides and other toxic contaminants.

Warning: If you use regular coffee, the caffeine content will be absorbed by the large bowel and can give you quite a caffeine rush that may include palpitations and anxiety in some cases.

Step 3: Brew 3 cups, about 0.75 quarts, of the organic decaf coffee, and let the coffee sit until it becomes room temperature.

Step 4: If the enema bottle is new or used: rinse your enema bag thoroughly with warm, filtered water: fill 2/3 full of filtered water, insert stopper and shake well and empty to remove any debris from manufacturing or previous use. Add 3 cups of decaf organic coffee to the rubber enema bag. Insert the adapter into the top of the enema bag: the adapter is what connects to the tube that will be inserted into the anus.

Step 5: Make sure that the shut-off-clamp is closed and locked onto the tubing. Insert the enema pipe into the tip of the tubing. Note: If you are using the Cara enema kit, there is also a vaginal pipe that can be used for the douche.

Step 6: You are going to lie down on the floor and most people choose the bathroom. You can also lie down in the bathtub, and I recommend the bathtub in case there is any leakage from the bottle, and for other possible leakages! Hang the enema bag up using the hook on the rubber bottle so that the bottle is several feet higher than your position in the tub or on the floor. I use the shower pipe behind the showerhead as a place to hang the enema bag.

Step 6: Once you are in a comfortable reclined position in the tub or on the floor and the enema bag is hung several feet above you, insert the enema pipe into the anus. It is helpful to use a small amount of coconut oil, or olive oil on the tip of the enema pipe to allow it to insert into the anus easily. Note: If you use Vaseline or another thicker lubricant, the lubricant might block the tubing and prevent the coffee from flowing out freely. Once you are comfortable and the enema pipe is inserted into the anus, simply release the shut-off-clamp and allow the decaf coffee to flow into the large bowel.

Step 7: Once all three cups have entered the large bowel (large colon or intestine), simply relax and retain the coffee from 3-5 minutes. After 3-5 minutes has passed, tighten the anal sphincter, arise and sit up on the toilet. Release the coffee from the large bowel by relaxing the anus and allow the liquid to flow into the toilet.

You have now learned to self-administer a coffee enema!

For a free consultation about how Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help your digestive issues, call us at (828) 254-4405. Or click the “Schedule Now” button to the right of this page to schedule your free consult 24/7!

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.

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