Inflammation – Friend or Foe?

We’ve all heard the word inflammation a lot lately. Do you know there are two types: Acute and Chronic? Do you know they should be dealt with very differently because one is helpful and the other leads to disease?

An example of acute inflammation is the pain, redness, heat, and swelling of a sprained ankle. The body knows that the fastest healing happens if the circulation to an area is sped up, and it does that with warmth. The pain, redness, and swelling occur when fluids are rushed to the injured area because those fluids deliver the building blocks of healing so that the localized area can receive the raw materials for cellular repair.

Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is the result of an unhealthy lifestyle: poor quality nutrition and/or lots of processed food, lack of exercise or movement, poor sleep, too much poorly handled stress, and other toxins absorbed into the body. It is what sets up the environment for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type II diabetes, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and many other chronic diseases.

Acute inflammation needs to be hastened along instead of squashed by ice or ibuprofen, while chronic inflammation needs to be addressed by rectifying the underlying reason(s) for it.

Here are links to why we don’t use ice in most acute inflammation cases:

Chinese medicine has topical and internal tinctures, liniments, and plasters that reduce or fully eliminate swelling, even swelling that was locked in place by use of ice. Healing takes half the time when we don’t use ice but instead seek the treatment of a qualified acupuncture physician trained in sports injuries. I tell patients that if there is a bone poking out of their body, go straight to the emergency room, but to call me from there so that I can “work the process” as soon as that bone issue has been addressed. In all other cases, call me first, within minutes, for initial instructions to hold you over until you can be seen in my office.

For chronic inflammation, we combine acupuncture treatments with nutritional and lifestyle coaching to reduce the effects of stress on the cells, get you sleeping well, reduce further toxin intake, and find a movement plan that you enjoy. It isn’t a one-treatment solution — it’s a logical approach that will add quality years to your life if you don’t want to just live longer but truly enjoy those years.

Pain and Sugar Consumption – Make sense of the hype


Examine your diet and movement honestly. For pain anywhere in your body, a diet high in carbohydrates will worsen pain. High carbohydrate diets increase chronic inflammation. This is how: Increased insulin levels cause cells to produce inflammatory cytokines (small proteins) which increase inflammation and pain in the body via the central and peripheral nervous systems. Wherever the pain is, it is magnified by this process. Artificial sweeteners also add to pain, however, so they are not the answer. Also, grains break down into carbohydrates.

There are over 50 names for sugar in our foods. They include high fructose corn syrup, other forms of corn syrup, fructose, dextrose…anything –ose and some that might surprise you. Here is a link to those names:

Ninety grams of carbohydrates (carbs) daily is my recommendation for a normally active person. If a person is trying to lose fat or is sedentary, then the number is lower. Look at what you ate for breakfast today – a day’s worth of carbs, right? We can and must do better.

Load up on (no carb) vegetables, a few brightly colored fruits, and healthy proteins. If it comes in a box, package, or from the dairy or bakery department, always read the ingredients and check the carbohydrate count. Yogurt may be unhealthy; often it contains added sugar.

If your physician says it’s ok, get out and move. Swimming is great, walk, ride a bicycle, move a little more than before. Let’s get the most out of the life we’ve been given, one healthy habit at a time!

Needles not necessary…

If I could educate you in 1 thing about an acupuncturist, it’s that we don’t always use needles. As a physician of Chinese medicine, acupuncture is one of my main treatment modalities, but it is not the only one. What that means to you is important. If you are worried about needles, we have other effective options, so you can still experience the health-restoring benefits of Chinese medicine. I enjoy explaining the different treatment modalities I use, so feel free to reach out and ask me questions!

Wisdom on Wisdom Teeth Extractions

My 19 yr old son had all 4 of his wisdom teeth extracted a week ago after having issues with them for a couple years. We had a fantastic oral surgeon. Still, the anesthesia made him horribly sick and we were prescribed an anti-emetic to allow him to settle in for healing. The narcotic pain relief made him woozy and I wanted to control his pain, inflammation, and bleeding to jump-start proper healing the way I know works. There is a Chinese herbal formula called Yunnan Baiyao, and you’ve probably never heard of it. It’s one of the many formulas that we have in Chinese medicine that speed healing, and it does all three of the things we needed from a medicine. I had my son take some the night before his surgery, and we also applied it topically to the newly opened spots on his gums once we got him home. We reapplied a few times that first day. It’s pretty cool to me that both of my young adult kids know its benefits and efficacy, and will ask for it immediately when they hurt or are bleeding. They’ve learned over the years that their mom knows a few things about how to heal a wound properly

At any rate, my son’s extractions were healed over by the third day, he needed no narcotic pain relievers, and had only minor discomfort, thanks to the Yunnan Baiyao. He started eating solid foods the day after surgery, with no trouble. The oral surgeon saw him a week later and told us he had healed beautifully. I’ll be switching him to another Chinese medical aid to encourage his body to fill in those empty pockets with as little scar tissue as possible. This is how we treat things at home, the people I love most in this world. From pre- and post-surgical treatments to burn healing to sprains and contusions, Chinese medicine has an effective, safe treatment approach, and it’s usually far less expensive than a trip to the Urgent Care or ER.