Monday, January 27, 2020

Research Update: Acupuncture Treatment For Stressed College-Goers

Research Update 1: Acupuncture Treatment For Stressed College-Goers

Arizona State University conducted a study on the effects of stress on college students and staff in a “large urban college population.” The study was a two-group, randomized controlled trial where the participants underwent either sham acupuncture or verum acupuncture. The participants included college students, faculty and staff at a large public university and the study was approved by the university’s institutional review board with the consent of each participant.

Prior to the study beginning, each participant answered questions in the Cohen’s Global Measure of Perceived Stress questionnaire at 5 different parts of the study. The intention behind this step was to measure how stress changed or did not change for each participant throughout the course of the treatment.

The acupuncture points that were used within the study were as follows. These points were given to the treatment group which were set to undergo verum acupuncture. Each group reported to the acupuncture clinic once a week for a 30 minute session.

  • GV 20
  • PC 6
  • HT 7
  • Yin tang
  • Four Gates
  • CV 17
  • CV 6
  • ST 36

The second group (considered the control group) received sham acupuncture in 3 points that are not known to have any effect on stress. These points on the body that are located between meridians and were inserted unilaterally and without stimulation or manipulation to ensure that de qi would not occur.

After the study was completed, each participant was questioned on the levels of stress that they each endured after 6, 12, 18 and 24 weeks post-treatment. Between the first treatment and the 24th week post-treatment, the verum acupuncture group reported a 45.8% improvement in the perception of stress. The sham acupuncture group reportedly showed a 40.3% difference in stress levels between the start of the study and post-treatment. However, at 3 months post-treatment, the sham acupuncture group had shown a decrease in their stress-scores.

To reduce the amount of error in the study, they “treated every participant with the same point combination, no matter what their underlying energetics may have suggested.” This was to keep the acupuncture points as consistent as possible in order to obtain the most accurate results possible.
The study did determined that stress was reduced through the use of acupuncture on the participants within the study but that a larger sample size would aid in obtaining more statistically consistent results.

This study appears promising for determining the effects of reducing stress on university-goers through the treatment of acupuncture. However, further study and testing would be necessary for more conclusive results.

New York Sports Acupuncture
Dr. Bishara Wilson, DACM, L.Ac.

Monday, January 20, 2020

5 Acupoints to Help You Navigate Your Stress This Winter

5 Acupoints to Help You Navigate Your Stress This Winter

There are several acupressure points that are known to treat stress and stress related symptoms. It’s important to understand that acupressure is not the only form of treatment and having a balanced diet, exercise regime and lifestyle will also decrease the chances of stress being a factor in your life. 


The following five acupoints are known to help alleviate stress and other related symptoms.
  • LU 1—Zhong Fu
  • GV 24.5—Yin Tang
  • KI 1—Yong Quan
  • LI 4—He Gu
  • S 36- Zu San Li


Lu 1, Zhong Fu- This point is often used to treat vomiting, stops coughing, disperses fullness in the chest, stops pain and regulates Lung Qi. It’s located in the upper chest in the space below the first rib, six cun from the midline. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Lu 1 regulates Lung Qi and stimulates the Lung Qi to descend. It also disperses fullness in the chest and stops coughing. 

KI 1, Yongquan, Bubbling Spring- This acupoint is located on the sole of the foot approximately at the junction of the second and third toes. Indications that this acupoint will aid you are if you’re experiencing headaches, dizziness, loss of voice, blurring of vision and so on. In TCM, this acupoint is known to subdue wind and empty-heat, clear up the brain, and tonifies yin.

LI 4, Hegu, Joining (Union) Valley- The LI 4 is known to treat swelling and pain of the eye, nasal obstruction, toothache, facial swelling, deafness, sore throat and much more. In TCM, it’s said to dispel exterior wind, stimulate the dispersing function of the lungs, removes pain, and harmonizing descending and ascending functions. This point is located on the back of the hand at the apex of the webbed triangle between the thumb and the index finger. 

ST 36, Zu San Li- This acupoint is often used to treat vomiting, stress and fatigue and gastrointestinal discomfort. This point is located along the outside of your shin bone about 4 finger lengths from the knee cap. You will know you’re in the right location because a muscle will mom out as you move your foot up and down. In TCM, this point is stimulated frequently to promote health and longevity. 

GV 24.5, Yin Tang, Third Eye- This point is located about one finger above the point between the eyebrows and will be almost directly in the middle of the forehead. Working this point is said to calm the mind, clarify ideas and intuition as well as strengthen mental projection. It can be used to alleviate dizziness, stress, vertigo, sinusitis and headaches. 


Each of the above points can be used to aid in relieving stress and/or other symptoms that can cause stress. It’s helpful to bring a list of any symptoms you may have or are looking to treat, any information will be helpful in curating your individualized treatment plan.

New York Sports Acupuncture
Dr. Bishara Wilson, DACM, L.Ac.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Research Update: Acupuncture and Stress

Research Update:  Acupuncture and Stress

A study published in the Annals of Yoga and Physical Therapy looked at how acupuncture treatments affect stress levels in administrative workers at a local hospital.  The study included 58 participants who reported high levels of stress associated with their jobs. The participants were treated with eight weeks of auricular acupuncture.  After the eight acupuncture sessions, the workers reported their stress levels had decreased from high to moderate. The study hypothesizes that reduced stress levels are associated with regular acupuncture treatments due to the release of neurotransmitters in the body. This study and many others are providing evidence that acupuncture can indeed decrease stress levels and improve overall health.

Stress is defined as either pressure or tension exerted on an object or a state of mental or emotional strain resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.

Here are some facts from the Global Organization for Stress:
      Americans report higher levels of stress than most countries around the globe.
      Surveys show that nearly one out of 75 people worldwide experience panic attacks.
      Stress in American teenagers is now one of the top health concerns and it is being found that teenagers experiencing stress are more likely to develop long-term health problems.
      We all experience stress in our lives.
      But learning how to deal with it can be crucial for a happy, healthy life.
One way to deal with stress involves the use of a 3,000 year old medical system, known as Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM. TCM uses many different modalities or tools to treat the human mind and body. The most commonly used modality is acupuncture and while acupuncture is still not widely accepted in the United States, it is gaining ground.

Studies show acupuncture can reduce stress when used regularly. The Journal of Endocrinology published a study showing stress hormones, like cortisol, were lower in rats that had received electroacupuncture. The use of electroacupuncture actually blocked the chronic stress hormones in the rats. It does the exact same thing for humans.

Specific acupuncture points on the body are better for relieving stress and are used frequently by licensed practitioners. One of these points is Yin Tang. Yin Tang is located directly between the inner edges of the eyebrows and is a reflex point of the pituitary gland. Yin Tang calms the mind and relaxes the body by helping control hormone secretions.

Another acupuncture point, Kidney 1, is not as frequently used because of its location, however, it can work wonders for decreasing stress. Kidney 1 is located on the bottom of the foot, at the junction of the anterior one third and posterior two thirds of the line connecting the base of the second and third toes and the heel. This point is VERY sensitive, but it has amazing properties. Kidney 1 can sedate and calm the mind, while also regulating blood flow to the upper part of the body also known as the brain.

There are other tools TCM practitioners can use to relieve stress, such as cupping and herbs, although acupuncture and acupressure tend to work the fastest. Ask me to find out more!

New York Sports AcupunctureDr. Bishara Wilson, DACM, L.Ac.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Stay Healthy This Winter with a Balanced Qi

Stay Healthy This Winter with a Balanced Qi

Winter’s element is water and is associated with the kidneys, which in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is considered the source of all qi and energy within the body. Winter is also associated with the bladder and adrenal glands.

Focusing on inner reflection, rest, energy conservation and storage during the winter months is when it’s most important as it helps us to properly nourish our Kidney Qi.

Below are a few methods you can learn about and apply during this season in order to maintain a balanced qi.

Balancing your lifestyle

For most people, a reduction in activity is common during the winter months whether it’s due to the frigid temperatures, damp weather, or lack of activities available in the area where you reside.

Given that reduced activity is likely a factor for many, it’s important to also consume less food this time of year to avoid unnecessary weight gain. Food that should be gravitated towards would be warmer foods such as beans, ginger or garlic, and even soups and stews.

Rest & Relaxation

Although the days are shorter during the winter, it’s important to stay in line with our circadian rhythm. This can be done by having an earlier bedtime and waking up after the sun has had time to warm the earth in the morning. Not only does getting more sleep helps with balancing our Yang Qi, it helps give our body the necessary rest we need in order to prevent common winter illnesses such as the flu, colds, and general aches and pains. Not only that, but according to TCM, unresolved anger, stress and frustration can throw your immune system thus off allowing pathogens to affect the body.

Relaxation is also a way to stay balanced during this time of year.

Drink Plenty of Water

We’re all aware that drinking water is extremely important to our survival, but it does more than simply keeping us alive.

Drinking water has many benefits including the fact that it’s essential for proper kidney function and can even prevent kidney stones. It’s also known for lubricating the joints, delivers oxygen through the body, regulates body temperature, and maintaining blood pressure.

If you have a hard time drinking water, try adding lemon to it to amplify the taste, drinking tea, or adding a vitamin flavor enhancer.

Wash your hands

Winter time is the time of year where we are in close proximity with others because we tend to stay indoors more. That being said, we are more likely to spread our germs to others and vice versa.

Washing your hands often can help prevent the spread of germs and keep you healthy. Other ways to avoid coming in contact with germs is to keep a container of sanitizing cloths with you so you can wipe down door knobs, grocery cart handles, and even condiment containers at restaurants before handling them.

Acupuncture Points

The acupuncture point that we suggest catering to is Du 14. It helps regulate blood circulation and can also strengthen the outer defense layers of the skin and muscle to prevent the intrusion and duration of germs and viruses.

Du 14 is a crucial point that is used to release the Exterior and treat Wind-Heat.

Applying Traditional Chinese Medicine to your active lifestyle is beneficial for your health and should be made a priority.

New York Sports Acupuncture
Dr. Bishara Wilson, DACM, L.Ac.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Learn to Navigate Your Stress This Winter

Learn to Navigate Your Stress This Winter

Signs of stress include depression, anxiety, low sex drive, memory and concentration difficulties, mood swings and irritability, low moods, feels of anguish and much more. Below, we break down a few of these symptoms, give you tips on how you can combat the onset of stress and suggest Acupoints to focus on when you are feeling emotionally under the weather.

Depression & Anxiety

Signs of depression and anxiety include increased aches and pains, low mood or a feeling of dread, chronic fatigue, low sex drive, and disruptive sleep patterns (lack of deep sleep or oversleeping).

Given that depression and anxiety are known to affect sleep cycles and can cause a lack of deep sleep, it’s also likely that it leads to a weakened immune system. Having your health compromised is discouraging enough and can also add to the feeling of having an imbalanced mood.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) states that research suggests a link between high levels of stress and the onset of depression. Therefore, it’s important to learn how to navigate and prevent obstacles that cause us stress.

Memory, concentration issues, and mood swings

When you become emotionally strained, your stress-response pathways in your brain don’t function as they’re meant to. The neurons don’t connect properly thus compromising your retention of long-term memories which means that you are more likely to be forgetful.

To prevent memory loss, keep your brain active with puzzles, board games, strategy games and so on. Building our memory is similar to how we build muscular strength, the more you use your brain, the stronger your receptors become. Keeping your body and mind active with a healthy diet, consistent exercise and having healthy social relationships is a great way to prevent stress or keep it from blossoming. 

Enhance the capacity of your brain’s memory by learning unfamiliar or new skills. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and learn something that takes cognitive effort such as learning a dance, a language, an instrument, learning to draw something precise that requires concentration and so on.

Plan Ahead and Prevent Stress

There are many ways to prevent stress such as the suggestions listed above. Other ways to help plan ahead and keep your stress under control is to utilize a mental health professional if needed! A counselor is a great way to get guidance on many issues that pertain to home-life, work-life, relationships or anything that you may not be able to navigate on your own in the moment.

Mental health professionals are there to bounce your thoughts and feelings off of in private environment without the risk or breach of confidentiality.

Seeing a counselor is just as important as going to the gym! Working on both your physical and mental health helps you stay balanced. You go to the gym to stay physically healthy, so why not go to see a counselor to keep your mental health in tip-top shape?

This leads into our next point; daily exercise. As mentioned above, it’s important to have a consistent workout schedule and can be combined with meditation and anything that you may deem as a stress-relieving activity. If you find that being near the water is relaxing, then rent a kayak and kill two birds with one stone by getting your exercise and mediation out of the way!

Keep in mind that some activities, such as drinking alcohol and smoking affect both your brain and your body. Avoid consuming these products as well if you find yourself hindered when you partake in them.

Preventing or reducing stress isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach and will look different for everyone. That’s why it’s important to try different avenues until you find a routine that works best for you.

New York Sports Acupuncture
Dr. Bishara Wilson, DACM, L.Ac.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

4 Beneficial Winter Herbs to Grow and Use

4 Beneficial Winter Herbs to Grow and Use

Depending on where you’re located geographically, it may be that time of year where it’s nearly impossible to keep a garden thriving. That being said, hope is not lost for a winter herb garden! Even if you don’t consider yourself to have a green thumb, the following herbs are hardy enough to last through harsher growing conditions.

Herbs that tend to thrive more in winter climates include Rosemary, Parsley, Basil, Mint and Thyme and are also highly regarded in traditional Chinese medicinal practices.

Being a hardy perennial herb that generally takes 14-21 days to germinate, this plant will thrive year-round even in colder temperatures and is cheap to replace if it does parish for whatever reason. This herb should be started in flats roughly 10-12 weeks before the last frost, be grown in plenty of sunlight and have adequate soil moisture (but not soil that is soaked). Eventually, they will need to be transplanted for continued growth.

Rosemary is known to be beneficial to help aid with migraines, poor memory, and digestive issues among other various ailments. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Rosemary is said to treat wind-damp-cold, resolve phlegm, and tonify yang. It also enters the Lungs, Spleen, Kidney, Heart and Liver.

Pair this herb with roasted garlic, lemon and olive oil to drizzle over chicken for a fresh and filling entre. 

Although Parsley tends to grow more slowly over the winter taking nearly 2-4 weeks before it even germinates, it blooms continuously to give you a fruitful supply of herbs. Because it’s a slow-growing herb, we suggest planting plenty of it to ensure you have enough to last over the winter. It grows best in moist, fertile soil and can be over-wintered. 

In TCM, Parsley is known for eliminating toxins, regulating water, and tonifying blood. It’s also known for entering the Stomach, Bladder, Kidney and is warm in temperature.

Prepare this herb with garlic, olive oil, and lamb to indulge in a savory delight.

If you live in a climate that has limited sunlight during the winter, such as the pacific northwest, this annual herb may be slower to grow but generally takes 5-10 days to germinate. It thrives more when it’s direct seeded versus being transplanted and is not drought tolerant and does not do well under the stress of heat.

Basil can be used to resolve dampness, phlegm, promote qi circulation and disperses cold. In ancient Chinese medical texts, it’s said to enter through the Lung, Spleen, Stomach, Large Intestine and Kidney.

Sweet Basil is the most common type of basil used and makes a delicious snack when paired with mozzarella, tomatoes and a drizzling of your favorite balsamic dressing.

We recommend planting this herb 6-8 weeks before placing them outside in early spring, as they can withstand some freezing but not much and thrive best in partial sun. Be sure to plant it in its own pot as mint will take over the entire planter.

Mint’s aromatic, pungent and cooling properties enter through the Lung and Liver. It also aids in promoting qi circulation, clearing heat, rashes, head and eyes as well as expelling wind. It’s also been known to reduce digestive irritations such as irritable bowel syndrome due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties.

Add mint to your chamomile tea with a splash of lemon for a tasty winter beverage.

New York Sports AcupunctureDr. Bishara Wilson, DACM, L.Ac.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Patient Help Sheet: Tension Headaches

Patient Help Sheet: Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are the most common types of reported headaches that usually consist of a dull ache in the head coupled with tenderness in ones scalp, neck and shoulder muscles. It’s often also described as having a sensation of pressure or tightness reaching the sides and the back of the head as well as the forehead.

Types of Headaches

Although the root cause isn’t yet fully understood, doctors have placed tension headaches into two separate categories. The first being Episodic Tension Headache can last between 30 minutes and one week. This type of tension headache often occurs less than 15 days in a given month during a 3-month span but these types of headaches can become chronic. The second categorized headache is a Chronic Tension Headache; this type lasts hours and may continue into several days. Victims of chronic tension headaches occur for more than 15 days in a given month and may last up to 3 months at any given time.

It’s important to note that Tension headaches differ from migraines but can often be difficult to differentiate between the two. Migraines are known to disturb vision can include nausea and vomiting and are usually made worse with physical activity.

These headaches can be caused by a number of items including stress, food, head injuries and so on.

Acupuncture and Tension Headaches

Acupuncture is used to treat headaches through the act of needle stimulation. As the needle stimulates the nerve, hormones such as endorphins are released from your brain throughout your body which then stimulates your immune and circulatory system.  Studies claim that this is what relieves migraines and tension headaches.

Acupoints for Headaches

LI-4 - also known as "Union Valley" or He Gu, is the acupuncture point in the “fleshy” area between your index finger and thumb. It can be used to address many conditions, including stress, neck pain, headaches, allergies, stuffy nose, eye problems, toothaches and it can even improve your immunity. This point is also used to promote labor, so it should not be used when pregnant.

Drilling Bamboo- Located in the indentations on either side of the spot near the bridge of the nose where it meets the eye brows. Apply pressure to both points in this area with your index fingers for 10 seconds at a time.

Gates of Consciousness- Place your index fingers at the base of the skull in the parallel hollow areas between the neck muscles that run vertically. Press firmly upwards on both sides of the neck for 10 seconds at a time to relieve headache pain.

Foods to Avoid
If tension headaches are a factor in your life, a list of foods to avoid are:
  • Chocolate
  • Dairy products
  • Peanut butter
  • Nuts
  • Fermented and/or pickled foods
  • Cheese
  • Onions
  • Meats such as bacon, hotdogs, salami and cured meats
  • Foods and drinks that may contain caffeine

If you notice any of these foods aggravating your condition, you may way to remove the above foods from your diet and slowly work them back into your diet, if any of them start causing you headaches, it’s recommended to no longer eat that food.