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  • Have a Headache?
  • Headaches, Natural Treatments for


    Gua Sha - for pain, musclar tension, colds and more

    Ancient chinese remedy for modern day issues

    05-30-2103 by Cynthia Hewett LAc, Certified Herbalist

    When we think about Chinese medicine, we usually think about acupuncture needles and herbs. Another wonderful tool and healing technique used in Chinese medicine is Gua Sha.

    Gua Sha is performed by swiftly rubbing (called ‘Gua’ in Chinese medicine) the surface of lubricated skin with a round-edged, comb-like instrument in downward strokes. This action intentionally raises a small temporary rash (known in Chinese as ‘Sha,’ also known as petechiae/rash in Western terms) in the treated area. You will feel a rubbing and slight burning sensation, but it is not painful.

    In Chinese medicine, pain and disease are said to be caused by stagnation or congestion of qi and blood. Gua Sha increases the movement of qi and blood and allows the body to restore its natural functioning.

    What Conditions Can Gua Sha Help?

    Gua Sha can help release unwanted neck and shoulder tension that comes with computer work and the busy-ness of our day (like running around and commuting). It is also prescribed for chronic muscle tightness from overuse or injury. It can be effectively used in the treatment of colds and coughs to relieve congestion and help increase the body’s immune response.

    How Does Gua Sha Do This?

    The secret of gua sha lies in how this treatment encourages the vigorous movement of blood to the surface of the body. When blood moves and circulation is enhanced, the body can help heal the area that needs to be healed. This is how gua sha helps the body’s own healing process.

    Is there Scientific Research About Gua Sha?

    In the last decade, Western studies have started to investigate how Gua Sha works. A study from 2007 confirms that Gua Sha increases the surface circulation of blood by 400% and that increased surface circulation continued at a significant level for 25 minutes following treatment. Each individual experienced a subjective decrease or complete resolution of pain [1]. A 2009 study showed that as enzymes are released to breakdown the petechiae (small broken blood vessels under the skin created by the Gua Sha treatment), an anti-inflammatory effect is created [2]. This helps explain why Gua Sha is useful in the treatment of colds and even allergy symptoms.

    Other studies have looked at Gua Sha in the treatment of migraine [3], neck and lower back pain [4], chronic neck pain [5], and hepatitis [6]. Current studies have been small but warrant further investigation especially in understanding Gua Sha’s effects on the body’s immune process.

    Gua Sha Conclusion

    Gua Sha is a safe, non-invasive treatment that is usually applied to the back of the body or the limbs. The rash usually fades in 2-4 days and patients are advised to relax the day of treatment, avoiding working out, fasting or large meals and alcohol, to allow the body to repair.

    1. Nielsen, A., Knoblauch, N., Dobos,G., Michalsen, A., Kaptchuk, T. (2007),The Effect of Gua Sha Treatment on the Microcirculation of Surface Tissue: A Pilot Study in Healthy Subjects. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 3: 456-466. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2007.06.001)

    2. Kwong KK, Kloetzer L, Wong KK, Ren JQ, Kuo B, Jiang Y, Chen YI, Chan ST, Young GS, Wong ST. (2009), Bioluminescence imaging of heme oxygenase-1 upregulation in the Gua Sha procedure. J Vis Exp. 2009 (30): 1385. doi: 10.3791/1385.

    3. Schwickert ME, Saha FJ, Braun M, Dobos GJ. Gua Sha for migraine in inpatient withdrawal therapy of headache due to medication overuse. Forsch Komplementmed. 2007 Oct14(5):297-300. doi:10.1159

    4. Lauche R, Wübbeling K, Lüdtke R, Cramer H, Choi KE, Rampp T, Michalsen A, Langhorst J, Dobos GJ. Randomized controlled pilot study: pain intensity and pressure pain thresholds in patients with neck and low back pain before and after traditional East Asian "gua sha" therapy. Am. J. Chin. Med. 40, 905 (2012). DOI: 10.1142/S0192415X1250067X/000107731.

    5. Braun, M., Schwickert, M., Nielsen, A., Brunnhuber, S., Dobos, G., Musial, F., Lüdtke, R. and Michalsen, A. (2011), Effectiveness of Traditional Chinese “Gua Sha” Therapy in Patients with Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pain Medicine, 12: 362–369. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2011.01053.x

    6. Chan ST, Yuen JW, Gohel MD, Chung CP, Wong HC, Kwong KK, (2011) Guasha-induced hepatoprotection in chronic active hepatitis B: A case study. Clinica Chimica Acta, Volume 412, Issues 17–18, 17 August 2011, Pages 1686-1688. doi:10.1016/j.cca.2011.05.009

    Click Here for PDF version of article


    Inner Source Detox and Upcoming Events

    January 2013

    Inner Source Health is excited to introduce their new Detox program. Make Mine Detox is a 28 day gentle cleanse of the body designed specifically for you.

    Many symptoms we experience in our daily lives are due to toxic overload. The liver becomes overburdened with the daily struggle to eliminate the harmful substances we are exposed to. When this occurs we begin to notice symptoms of fatigue, headaches, allergies, constipation, joint pain, poor concentration, irritability, skin and hair changes.

    Make Mine Detox supports the liver and kidneys in their ability to neutralize and eliminate toxins. When we remove this heavy burden we can see weight loss, increased concentration, anti-aging effects and a decrease in the severity of many diseases.

    Make Mine Detox is structured to be individualized. We will address your needs and teach you which foods will benefit your body and increase metabolism. You will be given easy to follow instructions and additional detox tips to enhance your experience.



    Gluten Free: Is It a Fad? - Dr. Bongiorno interviewed by FOX NEWS

    Is Gluten free really worth it?


    Remember when ‘low-carb’ foods were all the rage?

    These days, the ‘gluten-free’ section inside your grocery store is the new hot spot.

    “Gluten is a protein that occurs in wheat and wheat products, so things like spelt, rye and barley,” said Dr. Peter Bongiorno of Innersource Health in N.Y.

    “When our bodies see the gluten, it needs to break it down, and it takes fairly strong enzymes to do that.
    Some people are sensitive to gluten, which means when the gluten protein gets into their digestive tract, the immune system sees it and creates a response to it.”

    Over the past several years, going gluten-free has been promoted as a way to boost health and energy, lose weight or as a coping method for attention deficit disorder and autism.

    “I think in many cases, people are eating way too much (gluten),” Bongiorno said. “People are starting to notice that when they take the gluten out of their diet, a lot of symptoms for different conditions that they have tend to disappear.”

    Those conditions include:
    - Depression and mood problems
    - Eczema
    - Fibromyalgia
    - Chronic fatigue
    - Irritable bowel syndrome
    - Headaches

    So should everyone say goodbye to gluten in their diet?

    “I think it's a little bit of a fad, but I think there's good reason for it,” Bongiorno said. “Any food that you eat constantly and continuously, after a while your body starts to say ‘no more’ and starts to creat an inflammatory reaction to it. I would say if you're looking at your diet and you see yourself eating gluten two or three times a day, then it's probably worth getting rid of it for a little while. It'll probably have beneficial effects.”
    Most gluten products are “empty calories,” according to Bongiorno, so cutting them from your diet will also help you lose weight.

    Read more:

    Click Here TO WATCH VIDEO


    Have a Headache?
    Pop A Pill and Increase Stroke Risk (even in a healthy person) or, try something natural.....


    The advertisement shown says 'less time awake.' They may mean 'less time alive.'

    It seems a harmless part of American life: you have a headache or pain, you pop an 'Advil' or other pain killer. Research is now showing us that is not a good idea for short term use of these type of drugs increases short in healthy people. This increased risk ranged from about 30% with ibuprofen and naproxen to 86% with diclofenac. The association was 'dose dependent', which means the more a person took the higher the risk. The increased risk of stroke reaching 90% with doses of ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) over 200 mg and 100% with diclofenac doses over 100 mg. It has already been shown that these medications increase heart disease in the long term. This is probably why these medications are more often only by prescription in other countries. Naproxen, which is a prescription medication everywhere except the United States was not associated with increased cardiovascular risk, but is known to cause liver problems, and requires monitoring of liver enzymes if used for a few weeks.

    Dr Gunnar Gislason presented this study information at last week's European Society of Cardiology 2010 Congress. He said: "If half the population takes these drugs, even on an occasional basis, then this could be responsible for a 50% to 100% increase in stroke risk. It is an enormous effect." He also lamented that "it is very hard to change the habits of doctors. They have been using these drugs for decades without thinking about cardiovascular side effects."

    Luckily, there are numerous natural modalities to work with pain: acupuncture, hydrotherapy, water intake, food allergy work, getting enough sleep, naturally lowering inflammation in the body, exercise, manipulative work, stretching, mind-body work, muscle relaxation, hormonal balance, inflammation reducing herbs and nutrients, etc....

    ref: Fosbøl EL, Folke F, Jacobsen S, et al. Cause-specific CV risk associated with NSAIDs among healthy individuals. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes 2010 3:395-405.

    Click here for reference


    Headaches, Natural Treatments for
    published in the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians newsletter, March 2005

    Headaches come in many shapes and sizes. Some people never get headaches while others endure chronic pain that does not allow them to function at work, sleep, eat or lead a normal life. According to the American Council for Headache Education, at least 90 percent of men and 95 percent of women have experienced at least one headache. Although painkillers such as aspirin, ibuprofen and ergotamine can give relief, they often cannot be taken long-term due to serious side effects on the body.

    Click here to read the article.