In the unending quest for pain-free living, people have long turned to a slew of tried-and-true remedies to soothe their mental and physical woes, from yoga and meditation to Western and Eastern medication. Among the most well-respected, Eastern-based, mind-body practices is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which includes acupuncture. For more than 2,500 years, this holistic treatment has been known to effectively address health concerns and promote wellness, and recent evidence supports the practice’s healing powers. One 2012 review of 29 studies published in theArchives of Internal Medicine, for example, found that acupuncture beat out over-the-counter pain relievers and other standard measures of treatment in relieving chronic pain. But how exactly does acupuncture work? Here’s what you need to know before you go under the needle.
The Point of the Practice
Needle phobes are likely familiar with acupuncture’s main tool: fine, disposable needles no thicker than a few strands of hair. Practitioners use them to stimulate so-called acupoints all over the body, says Alexandra Vander Baan, a doctor of acupuncture, and owner of Yintuition Wellness in Boston, Massachusetts. These acupoints, which total 361 across the skin’s surface according to the WHO Standard Acupuncture Point Locations in the Western Pacific Region, are used to bring energy back throughout the body where it might be imbalanced.
Break a bone or burst an appendix, there’s no better choice than allopathic (or mainstream) medicine, says Vander Baan. But when it comes to some common conditions such as respiratory diseases, digestive diseases, and chronic pain, acupuncture is incredibly effective—and arguably more successful in delivering results, she says. A key difference between conventional medicine and a holistic treatment like acupuncture is that the latter addresses those interconnected systems of the body, plus the underlying causes of concerns, including inflammation or hormonal imbalances, she says. “Today, the overwhelming majority of symptoms we experience are systemic—affecting the whole body, not just a single organ or tissue,” she adds.
Inside you, the essential amino acid L-tryptophan is broken down into anxiety-reducing, snooze-inducing niacin. Even more important, tryptophan is also made into serotonin, one of your body’s most important neurotransmitters. Serotonin gives a feeling of well-being and mellowness, or as the Australians would say, “no worries.” This is such a profound effect that Prozac, Paxil and similar antidepressants usually either mimic serotonin or artificially keep the body’s own serotonin levels high. You can do the same thing with your food. And no one can tell us that beans, peas, cheese, nuts and wheat germ are toxic if you eat a lot of them!
Plenty of carbohydrates (starches) in your meals help tryptophan get to where it does the most good: in your brain. In order to cross the blood-brain barrier to get in, carbos are required. So cheese and crackers provides a better effect than the cheese standing alone. An egg or two on toast is better than just the egg. Beans, peas, and nuts already contain carbohydrate, so you are all set there.
There is one powerful ingredient that a lot of us unaware of that can be used to stop even the deadliest of heart attacks. It’s a chili pepper variety that goes by the name, “cayenne”. Once we’re done enumerating its many benefits, you are sure to run to the closest grocery store to shop for a case or even more!
Cayenne is a mysteriously good ingredient and has been the central subject of many research studies around the globe. Medical doctors and traditional healers have been impressed and fascinated with the healing properties. Some doctors even prescribe this ingredient for patients who are high risk of developing a heart attack. Although there is lack of evidence about the efficacy of cayenne pepper to stop heart attack, those who have tried it tell us that one cup of cayenne pepper tea is all you need for health miracles to happen.
Cayenne pepper is relatively easy to find. Due to the high demand for cayenne pepper, you can find it huge volumes in supermarkets, grocery stores, and health food establishments. There are other peppers or chilis that bear the same SHU value as cayenne including African bird, habanero, Thai Chi, and Jamaican Hot Pepper to name a few. If you know a loved one who may be suffering from a heart attack, make sure to immediately administer a teaspoon of cayenne pepper diluted in a tall glass of water. On the other hand, if the victim is unconscious place a few drops of cayenne pepper extract under this tongue for fast acting relief.