Study Reveals Acupuncture Effect on Pain

This is an interesting article talking about how acupuncture has measurable physical effects on our perception of pain. Many critics of acupuncture say that there is no scientific proof that acupuncture works and that its effects are all part of the placebo effect. However, a functional MRI (known as an fMRI) reveals that under acupuncture, the brain changes the way it responds to pain and lessens the overall sensation of it.

Take a look at the article below:


Staying Healthy During Cold and Flu Season, Part 1

 It seems that everywhere I go right now, I hear people talking about being sick, recovering from being sick, or trying to avoid getting sick. There are many things you can do at home to treat a cold or flu, and we’ll go over some of them later, but first I want to talk about the best possible treatment, and that is prevention. When everyone around you is sick, don’t wait until you get the sniffles or a scratchy throat, treat the cold before you get it.

The best way to do this is to keep your digestion in prime condition. It is thought that up to 70% of the body’s immune system is in the gastro-intestinal tract. That’s right. The majority of your immune power lives in your gut. In Chinese medicine, healthy digestive Qi supports the defensive Qi, and a common treatment for the first stages of a cold is to warm the digestive system to induce a sweat. Keeping your digestive system healthy and warm (in most traditional healing cultures, the digestion needs warmth to function properly) is the first line of defense against any external invaders.

What can you do right now to keep yourself healthy?

1) Get lots of rest and drink plenty of water. When your body is fighting something, you use up more energy and need more sleep to recouperate. Winter is a restful time, and naturally compels us to hibernate, which is what most of nature is doing during this time of year. Now is not the time to party hardy or burn the candle at both ends. Replenish your reserves by getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep each night. Drinking water throughout the day (not juice or coffee or soda either, just plain water) hydrates your cells and keeps them nice and resiliant. The body functions more smoothly when it is hydrated and is vital to healthy immune response. How much is enough? Most health professionals agree that 6-8 glasses a day is enough, though some purport that drinking half your weight in ounces is a better and more personalized system. For instance, someone who weighs 140lbs would drink 70 oz. of water per day, or 2 liters.

2) Take a probiotic. This helps keep your intestinal tract in optimal shape and ready to respond to pathogens. Taking an antibiotic is sometimes necessary and can be life saving, and it is important to remember that it not only kills the invading bacteria but also kills off the beneficial flora present in the intestines. The intestines are an amazing little ecosystem that do a tremendous amount of work. There is a delicate balance between the friendly bacteria which help to break down and assimilate food, produce vit. B12, fight fungal invaders, and assist in the body’s overall immune response.

3) Eat warm, cooked food. Some raw food is recommended, especially if it is fermented (more probiotic power), but in general, cooked food is easier to digest and assimilate. The Chinese system calls the digestive power the Spleen and Stomach, and the Spleen likes warmth and dryness. Soups are really the best at offering easy to digest nutrients, which is why they are given when we get sick. If you start eating more soups, especially soups made with homemade bone broth (which is the number one thing you can eat to improve all areas of health), your digestion will be so strong that you will shrug off any sneeze or cough aimed in your direction.

4) Take Jade Screen (yu ping feng san) before any symptoms show. This Chinese formula helps boost your protective Qi and keep you impervious to colds. However, it is important that if you do start showing symptoms of a cold or flu, you stop this formula immediately and start treating the infection. This formula essentially ‘locks’ the exterior of the body, where pathogens enter, but if one gets through it can “trap the robber inside”. Talk to your acupuncturist about this formula, as it is not appropriate for everyone, but can make a big difference for those who need it.

5) Eat lots of nutrient-dense foods. My favorites are kale, mushrooms, garlic, ginger, bone broth, and cod-liver oil. Yes, just like your Grandma used to use. Cod-liver oil is incredibly high in vitamins A and D, both of which contribute to a healthy immune system. Vitamin D is particularly important to the proper function of the immune system, and is shown to prevent auto-immune disorders and possibly even cancer. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse, full of Vit K, beta-carotene (the precursor to Vit A) and shares cancer-fighting compounds with its other brassica relatives. The energetics of kale is bitter and warm, and it helps to ease lung congestion. Mushrooms are powerful immune boosters, especially the shitake and maitake types. Garlic fights infections of all kinds, is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and supports the cardiovascular system. Ginger warms the digestive system and in high doses, induces sweating to relieve exterior invasions.

6) Cut out the sugar and reduce the dairy products. This is important for everyone, and I will go into the details of why at a later date. But for the purposes of colds and flus, sugar feeds bacteria. Sure, both colds and flus are viral, but they very easily cause secondary infections like sinusitis, bronchitis, or ear infections. Which I’m sure all of us would like to avoid. By reducing sugar, and this includes reducing fruit intake as well (even oranges and orange juice, which are more sugar than they are vit. C), you are denying the bacteria a good supply line that lets them multiply and take over. In Chinese medicine speak sugar, fruit, and dairy are all Damp forming and cause the body to produce more mucous.

Doing these  simple things at home can keep you well during cold and flu season, and should you happen to fall sick, can help improve your recovery time.

Next time we’ll talk about what to do if you’re already sick and want to recover quickly.

Immune-Boosting Chicken Soup Recipe

Here’s a recipe for my favorite soup for keeping healthy. It is a simple chicken soup made with kale and mushrooms and flavored with ginger and garlic. I’ll be going into why these ingredients are so special on an upcoming post.

Stay tuned for my top 6 tricks for staying healthy during cold and flu season.

Cathryn’s Super Immunity Soup

2 bone-in chicken legs

2 quarts of bone broth

2 med carrots, finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

1 med/large onion, finely chopped

1 to 2 bunches of kale (depends on how much you love your kale), chopped

1/2 lb mushrooms, preferably shitake or maitake, chopped or sliced finely

1 2″ knob of ginger, peeled and grated or finely minced

3-4 cloves of garlic, smushed or minced

2 tbsp butter, coconut oil or ghee

Salt and pepper to taste

Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)

In a large pot, heat the oil on medium. Add onion, carrots and celery and cook until softened and onions are translucent. Add garlic, ginger and mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are softened, being careful to stir frequently so as not to burn the aromatics. Pour the broth in and add the chicken legs. Cook for about 40 minutes, or until chicken is well-cooked all the way through. Remove chicken to a plate and let cool slightly. While chicken is cooling, add the kale and let it cook for 5-7 minutes, or until tender but not brown. Remove bones and skin from chicken and shred or chop meat and add back into soup. Season to your taste and add a teensy pinch of cayenne pepper to your bowl if you wish.


Welcome to Davidson Acupuncture, a new integrative medicine clinic in Santa Barbara!

To celebrate the New Year, we are offering a special deal!

A little about us:

We are a husband and wife team living and practicing in Santa Barbara, California.

Bill teaches Kung Fu and Qi Gong for health. Contact us for a schedule of upcoming classes.

Cathryn is in the office Tuesdays and Thursdays for acupuncture, herbal and dietary consultations. To make an appointment, call 805-328-3817

It is our goal to keep this blog updated frequently, to answer questions when they arise, and to keep you informed and educated about how to maximize your health potential. On this blog you’ll see articles and links to studies about acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and also some tips on seasonal living, recipes, and nutritional insights. If there is a topic that you would like to see us address, please let us know and we’ll do our best to answer your questions.

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