Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Raynaud's Disease and Acupuncture

Raynaud's Disease sounds almost like a Chinese Medical explanation of imbalance in the body.

The Mayo Clinic describes Raynaud's Disease as being a circulatory disorder that is different from just having cold hands and feet, neuropathy (numbness and tingling in the toes) and frost bite. People suffering from Raynaud's feel extreme coldness in their hands and feet and the skin color can range from white, blue or black depending on severity. When an attack of this cold dissipates feelings of numbness, pricking pain or burning can be felt. For some people this disease can be debilitating. Some doctors encourage patients with Raynaud's to move to warmer areas of the country to stay away from the cold.

Chinese Medical theory looks at external and internal factors that can attack the body when its defenses wei qi or immunity are down. These factors can include wind, cold, heat, dampness, and dryness and can come from the environment: weather outside, or conditions of home or office or diet. For example, raw foods are cold, dairy products produce dampness, and red meat is warming.

When looking at the body from the eastern point of view we are observing the body by looking and feeling. If the hands and feet are white the coldness could be a new imbalance or less severe attack whereas black hands and feet could mean an older problem or more severe attack of cold.

Because the liver is responsible for the smooth flow of qi and blood throughout the body we might also look for signs of deficient liver blood or stagnation allowing the cold to obstruct the hands and feet.

Liver Blood Deficiency might include pale skin, dizziness, blurring vision, numbness, spasms of the tendons as well as a light period or absent period.

Liver Qi Stagnation might present with irritability and depression, distention or wandering pain along the ribcage, stuffiness in the chest or abdomen, poor appetite, and irregular or painful periods. When liver qi stagnates for a long time is can allow for phlegm to accumulate in the body giving way to another pathogenic attack: damp-phlegm. This could mean that cold and damp weather might cause increases in Raynaud's flare-ups.

Treatment strategy might include dispelling cold and reliving obstruction as well as nourishing the liver blood and free coursing the liver qi.

Acupuncture points will be used to improve circulation of energy and blood while strengthening the body. TDP lamps (infrared lights) as well as moxabustion may be used during acupuncture treatments to warm the body and dispel coldness further.

Sarah Zender LAc LMT

Whole Health Acupuncture 50 Turner Ave Elk Grove Village IL 847.357.3929

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