Acupuncture in NJ / Spring Cleaning

Dogwood Blossoms

Dogwood Blossoms by Rob Vena

Spring is the perfect time of year to cleanse and get our energy moving again.

Just as we automatically think of ‘spring cleaning’ around the house – so we should think of our bodies.

Cleansing helps us to rid our systems of the unwanted toxins and junk that have accumulated inside over the long winter.

Cleansing can help raise our spirits as well.

Consider making a healthy transition into spring this year by doing a cleanse, exercising regularly, meditating, and eating foods that are in season.

And, acupuncture should figure into your plan as well.

Having an acupuncture ‘tune-up’ at the onset of the season is the perfect way to get your energy moving again and stay healthy.

Acupuncture can also help rid you of the negative side effects of stress and make an easy transition between winter and spring without getting sick, by boosting your immune system.

Enjoy the Change of Season.

If you are interested in receiving acupuncture treatments in my Englewood, NJ acupuncture office and would like to know whether or not your insurance plan covers acupuncture, my insurance experts will be happy to verify your coverage prior to your setting up an appointment. Simply complete our online Check Your Insurance Coverage Form. This form is on a secure server, so your personal information is protected. We will get back to you, as soon as possible, with your acupuncture benefit coverage information.

Stay Healthy and Be Well! See a Licensed Acupuncturist regularly.

Patients seen by appointment only.

Acupuncture in Englewood NJ: 201-357-0904

Please visit my newly designed and informative website at Acupuncture-in-NJ.com.

Follow Rob Vena Acupuncture on Facebook and Twitter

 

The Health Benefits of Shiitake Mushrooms / Acupuncture in NJ

The Health Benefits of Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake Mushrooms

Long used in traditional Chinese medicine, the Shiitake Mushroom (a.k.a. Japanese mushroom) is believed to hold anti-aging properties, promote good heart health, and help boost the immune system.

The shiitake has also been used for prevention of rickets, and some preliminary research shows that these tasty mushrooms lower blood fat levels and counteract cholesterol. In addition, it is now widely believed that these mushrooms can counteract certain cancers and even help slow the progression of AIDS.

Shiitake mushrooms are the second most commonly cultivated edible mushroom in the world and can be found in the produce section of most grocery and health food stores. They can be cooked by themselves or added to other dishes such as stir-fries and soups, or they can be taken in supplement form. They are a great source of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, the vitamins A, B, B12, C, D, niacin, and the minerals zinc, potassium, selenium, manganese, phosphorus, and copper.

Add some shiitake mushrooms to your diet for health and well-being.

If you are interested in receiving acupuncture treatments in my Englewood, NJ acupuncture office and would like to know whether or not your insurance plan covers acupuncture, my insurance experts will be happy to verify your coverage prior to your setting up an appointment. Simply complete our online Check Your Insurance Coverage Form. This form is on a secure server, so your personal information is protected. We will get back to you, as soon as possible, with your acupuncture benefit coverage information.

Stay Healthy and Be Well! See a Licensed Acupuncturist regularly.

Patients seen by appointment only.

Acupuncture in Englewood NJ: 201-357-0904

Please visit my newly designed and informative website at Acupuncture-in-NJ.com.

Follow Rob Vena Acupuncture on Facebook and Twitter

 

Does Insurance Cover Acupuncture in New Jersey?

Does My Insurance Cover Acupuncture?

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from friends, family, and prospective patients alike is, “Does insurance cover acupuncture treatments in New Jersey?”

The good news is, that many insurance companies do in fact cover acupuncture services these days. And now, more acupuncturists than ever are accepting insurance as payment. So if you have insurance, you just might be covered for acupuncture benefits.

Here at Rob Vena Acupuncture in Englewood, NJ we accept insurance provided acupuncture is covered by your plan.

It is important to note however, that although your insurance company may offer full- or partial-coverage for acupuncture services, it does not necessarily mean that they will pay for your treatments. You should fully understand your insurance coverage before visiting your acupuncturist.

If you are interested in receiving acupuncture treatments in my Englewood, NJ acupuncture office and would like to know whether or not your insurance plan covers acupuncture, my insurance experts will be happy to verify your coverage prior to your setting up an appointment. Simply complete our online Check Your Insurance Coverage Form. This form is on a secure server, so your personal information is protected. We will get back to you, as soon as possible, with your acupuncture benefit coverage information.

My Englewood acupuncture office is conveniently located in Bergen County, NJ, just minutes from Manhattan, NYC and the George Washington Bridge.

Stay Healthy and Be Well! See a Licensed Acupuncturist regularly.

Patients seen by appointment only.

Acupuncture in Englewood NJ: 201-357-0904

Please visit my newly designed and informative website at Acupuncture-in-NJ.com.

Follow Rob Vena Acupuncture on Facebook and Twitter

 

Treating Diabetes with Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine / NJ Acupuncturist Robert Vena

Diabetes is currently one of the most common chronic diseases in the United States, and there is a significant mortality rate associated with it.

Although Chinese medicine cannot offer a cure for diabetes, we can, by using the modalities available to us, most certainly help to optimize the functionality of our patient’s bodies to function as close to normal as possible. This, in turn, enables our diabetic patients to experience a greater quality of life and to benefit greatly from an overall higher level of health.

Western Medical Perspective

In laymen’s terms, diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or sugar levels are too high.

Glucose is a type of sugar that comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is the hormone that lowers the level of glucose in the blood and helps it get into your cells where it is used for energy production or stored for future use. Insulin is produced by the beta cells of the pancreas, an organ that is located behind the stomach.

There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.

In Type 1 diabetes, the body does not create enough insulin. With Type 2 diabetes (the more common of the two), the body does not make or use insulin well. In either case, the result is that the body’s blood glucose level rises.

Over time, an excess of glucose in the blood can lead to serious problems. Damage to the kidneys, eyes, and nerves are the most commonly known problems, but years of poorly controlled diabetes can lead to limb removal, heart disease, and even stroke. In fact, the risk of heart attack for diabetics is equal to that of someone who has already had a heart attack.

Oriental Medical Perspective

The complex of symptoms referred to in the West as diabetes has traditionally been known as xiao-ke by the Chinese. The term xiao-ke translates into English as either “wasting and thirsting” or “flowing away and thirst”… terms, which together refer to the excessive thirst, hunger, and urination that the diabetes patient typically experiences. The more modern Chinese term for the disease is tang-niao-bing, which translates as “sugar urine disease,” referring to the loss of fluids through urine and the excessive sweetness of that urine.

References to xiao-ke appear in the earliest Chinese medical texts, including the Huang Di Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic), which is the first known medical text in Chinese history. The disease was originally described as resulting from long-term consumption of sweet, rich, and fatty foods… but according to today’s Chinese medical theory, the disease can be attributed to three main factors:

1. Improper diet (overconsumption of sweets, greasy/fatty foods, alcohol, and hot beverages)

2. Emotional disturbances (stress, anxiety, depression)

3. Constitutional Yin Deficiency (fatigue, weakness, exhaustion, pallor)

Acupuncture

Acupuncture can be used to reduce blood glucose levels and to normalize endocrine function.

Body acupuncture point selection can vary greatly based on individual case pattern diagnosis and treatment principles, but a typical treatment involves placement of needles for 10 ~ 30 minutes. The needles can be stimulated manually, using electrical stimulation, or by warming them using moxibustion burned on the end of the needles. Auricular (ear acupuncture) and body acupuncture can be used together or in conjunction.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

The use of Chinese herbal formulas in the treatment of xiao ke dates back at least 2,000 years. Formulas are prescribed on a case-by-case basis and are based on individual case pattern diagnosis and treatment principles that are determined by the patient’s predominant symptoms. This treatment based on pattern diagnosis is what makes this medicine holistic, safe, and effective.

Diet

Just as in Western medicine, diet plays an important role in the treatment of this illness in Chinese medicine. This is obvious just in knowing that one of the main causes of the disease is, in fact, improper diet.

The three key points to maintaining a healthy diet in relation to maintenance of this disease are:

1. Avoid foods that cause Stomach Heat (hot, spicy, acrid, greasy, fatty, and fried foods).

2. Avoid foods that damage the Spleen (raw, uncooked, chilled foods, and refined wheat products, sugars and sweets).

3. Eat foods that build yin and blood (tonifying, mildly cooling foods that moisten and nourish).

Overall, a clear, bland diet, high in complex carbohydrates such as unrefined grains and lightly cooked vegetables is the best diet to be adhered to. However, this is not completely a vegetarian diet, and most people should eat 1 ~ 2 ounces of meat 2 ~ 4 times per week.

Patients should avoid overeating.

Exercise

Exercise is an important therapy for those suffering with this disease. Exercise moves qi and blood, and since there is almost always some component of qi stagnation and blood stagnation associated with these cases, the patient can only benefit from it. Any aerobic exercise that raises the heartbeat at least 80% above normal resting rate and keeps it there for at least 20 minutes is best.

Tui Na

Tui Na Chinese medical massage can be used in conjunction with acupuncture treatment or as an alternative to it when dealing with patients who have an aversion to needles.

Tui Na practitioners use hand manipulation techniques to stimulate the meridians and acupuncture points, and work directly with the energy of the body at a very deep level.

The Tui Na practitioner is able through his/her touch to gauge the distribution of energy in the body and is able to affect and direct and affect its flow.

Qigong

By teaching our patients a combination of qigong breathing, meditation, visualization, and movement techniques, practitioners of Chinese medicine offer them yet another means to treat and manage their condition. This ancient Chinese practice has long been used by practitioners to promote health, fitness, and general well being.

According to the teachings of Chinese medicine, conditions such as diabetes are caused by energetic imbalances within the body. Qigong helps to realign your body to your environment and can be used to restore such energetic imbalances, thereby bringing the body back into a balanced and more healthful state.

If you are interested in receiving acupuncture treatments in my Englewood, NJ acupuncture office and would like to know whether or not your insurance plan covers acupuncture, my insurance experts will be happy to verify your coverage prior to your setting up an appointment. Simply complete our online Check Your Insurance Coverage Form. This form is on a secure server, so your personal information is protected. We will get back to you, as soon as possible, with your acupuncture benefit coverage information.

My Englewood acupuncture office is conveniently located in Bergen County, NJ, just minutes from Manhattan, NYC and the George Washington Bridge.

Stay Healthy and Be Well! See a Licensed Acupuncturist regularly.

Patients seen by appointment only.

Acupuncture in Englewood NJ: 201-357-0904

Please visit my newly designed and informative website at Acupuncture-in-NJ.com.

Follow Rob Vena Acupuncture on Facebook and Twitter

 

Nutrition and Prostate Health / Acupuncture in Englewood, NJ


Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can do a great deal to slow prostate growth, restore normal urinary function, and alleviate other symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

In addition to regular acupuncture treatments and administration of herbal formulations, one’s diet plays a key role in maintenance of a healthy prostate.

Below are some dietary and nutritional suggestions for maintaining a healthy prostate:

Foods to Avoid

  • Coffee, alcohol, corn oil and canola (use olive oil instead)

Foods to Limit

  • Dairy products (especially butter and margarine)
  • Spicy foods
  • Red meats

Recommended Supplements & Foods

  • Vitamin C: Red & hot chili peppers, guavas, bell peppers, fresh thyme & parsley, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kiwi, papaya, oranges, tangerines, and strawberries
  • Zinc: Oysters, toasted wheat germ, veal liver, sesame seeds or tahini, low-fat roast beef, roasted pumpkin seeds & squash seeds, dried watermelon seeds, dark chocolate & cocoa powder, lamb (mutton), and peanuts
  • Selenium: Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, fish (tuna, halibut, sardines, flounder, salmon), shellfish (oysters, mussels, shrimp, clams, scallops), meat (beef, liver, lamb, pork), poultry (chicken, turkey), eggs, mushrooms (button, crimini, shiitake), grains (wheat germ, barley, brown rice, oats), onions, and brown rice
  • Lycopene: Tomatoes, guava, watermelon, pink grapefruit, dried parsley & basil, persimmons, asparagus, liver (Pâté), chili powder, and red cabbage

Other GOOD foods include; mackerel, trout, spinach, chicory, pumpkin, berries, cherries, apricots, peaches, bananas, pears, grapes, green tea, and red wine (in moderation).

Remember: VARIETY is the spice of life!

Eat a wide variety of foods containing essential vitamins, minerals & nutrients… and, ORGANIC foods are always better. It is also important to exercise regularly and to avoid stress as much as possible.

NOTE: There are some studies, which have shown that patients who used the western herbal supplement ‘Saw Palmetto’ did not endure side effects such as decreased libido and impotence compared to those using the drug Finasteride. There are no known drug interactions with saw palmetto, and reported side effects are minor and rare.

If you are interested in receiving acupuncture treatments in my Englewood, NJ acupuncture office and would like to know whether or not your insurance plan covers acupuncture, my insurance experts will be happy to verify your coverage prior to your setting up an appointment. Simply complete our online Check Your Insurance Coverage Form. This form is on a secure server, so your personal information is protected. We will get back to you, as soon as possible, with your acupuncture benefit coverage information.

My Englewood acupuncture office is conveniently located in Bergen County, NJ, just minutes from Manhattan, NYC and the George Washington Bridge.

Stay Healthy and Be Well! See a Licensed Acupuncturist regularly.

Patients seen by appointment only.

Acupuncture in Englewood NJ: 201-357-0904

Please visit my newly designed and informative website at Acupuncture-in-NJ.com.

Follow Rob Vena Acupuncture on Facebook and Twitter

 

The Shamanistic Shang: At the Roots of Chinese Medicine by NJ Acupuncturist Robert Vena

Settling throughout the lands of northern China in what is often referred to as the birthplace or cradle of Chinese civilization, the Shang peoples built and organized their cities and towns around the flooding stages of the eastern Yellow River. From around 1800 B.C.E. on, this ‘Yellow River Civilization’ was organized enough to be referred to as a culture.

The Shang were a people whose shamanic religion was characterized by ancestor worship, sacrifice, and divination. They worshipped a deity called Shang-Ti, the ‘Supreme God,’ ‘Lord on High,’ or ‘God of Heaven,’ who ruled over the world as well as over the lesser gods of nature (such as the gods of wind, rain, etc.). This shamanic culture formed the very basis of Chinese Medicine.

The word for disease, ‘bing’, was coined during the era of the Shang and is still in use today in modern Chinese. Illness, during this period, was believed to arrive on the wind, and was attributed to the retribution of angry ancestors. The spirits of those who died premature or violent deaths were feared because it was believed that they had the power to curse the living and inflict illness.

Recognized in the West as the first Chinese dynastic order, the Shang are credited with the invention of the Chinese writing system; a pictographic system of writing in which a picture is used to represent a word or an idea. This early style of character writing may very well have developed out of the need to diagnose sickness and disease.

The Shang left behind a large number of written records – most, in the form of ‘oracle bones.’ Oracle bones are pieces of bone (ox scapulae or other types of animal bones) and turtle shells that were used to divine the future for members of the royal household. This form of divination, known as the art of scapulimancy or pyroscapulimancy, was used as a way for the ruling class to seek spiritual reassurance, validation, and guidance in affairs of house and state.

The way it worked was such; a question of importance was carved into the oracle bone. The oracle bone was then subjected to intense heat (via the insertion of hot metal rods into holes carved in the back of it). This action caused a series of cracks to appear on the bone, and the cracks would then be interpreted by the shaman in answer to the question at hand. The shaman’s interpretation of the cracks was believed to reveal the will of the ancestors.

Oftentimes, these oracles were used as an attempt to determine the outcome of illnesses and the sacrifices necessary to bring about recovery. Plutschow (1995) states, “The Shang also performed oracles to find out the outcome of illness and what sacrifice should be offered for recovery.” Sacrifice was believed to be a way of sharing divine powers and ensuring longevity.

According to Kendall (2002), “Many of the pictographs and ideographs represent disease names and symptoms. Other characters indicate early classifications of diseases by their location on the body. …analysis of the cracks allowed the shaman to diagnose and treat the disease” (p. 17). If this analysis is correct, disease classification and treatment may very well date back as far as the Shang, and could in-turn, be attributed to the shamans of that age.

Bensky, Gamble, & Kapchuk (1993), point out that at the dawn of Chinese history, the shamans (who could be either male or female) were the primary health care givers. And, according to Unschuld (1985), “…the Shang had already developed the notion of diseases. …were very familiar with many different forms of illness, but …recognized only a very limited number of diseases, the most important being by far the ‘curse of the ancestor’. Toothache, headache, bloated abdomen and leg pains were only different symptoms of the same disease. …it should be noted that poor harvest and misfortune of war were also considered symptoms of the same disease – ‘curse of the ancestor’” (p. 19).

The shaman, or ‘wu’, was often the religious leader or priest of a tribe. He/she was believed to hold magical powers and possess the ability to navigate along the ‘Axis Mundi,’ ‘Spiritual Pivot,’ or ‘Ling Shu.’ This ‘pivot of the world,’ was believed to be the connection between the lower, middle, and upper worlds… that is, the link between hell, earth, and heaven.

In shamanism, one must remedy the other worlds in order to make things better, or right, in this world. Hence, the shaman was often called upon by the community to perform a psychodrama, make sacrifices to Shang-Ti, or act as mediator between the populace and the spirits of the other worlds. To do this, the shaman would enter into an ecstatic state, or trance, that would enable him/her to traverse along the pivot of the three worlds, the Ling Shu, in an attempt to cure disease, exorcise evil spirits, bring about success in hunting and agriculture, and overall, to keep the community healthy and in proper balance.

The practices of acupuncture and herbology may also be attributable to the shamans of the Shang era.

According to Eckman (1996), “…acupuncture itself most likely originated from the exorcistic practices of the early shamans or wu” (p. 201). He says, “…the earliest acupuncturists may very well have been the shamen [sic]” (p. 41). With regard to acupuncture needles, he claims that, “the earliest examples being bronze needles …date to the late Xia, Shang or early Zhou dynasty” (p. 38).

It is interesting to note here, I think, that one of the two books of the Huang Di Nei Jing or The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine (arguably the single most important text in the canon of Chinese Medicine) bears the same name as that of the ‘pivot of the three worlds’ that was so well traversed by the shamans of the Shang while in their mystical state. Is it just coincidence that this 81-chapter book, which focuses on acupuncture, description of the meridians, functions of the zang-fu organs, nine types of needles, functions of the acupuncture points, needling techniques, types of Qi, and the location of 160 points, is called the ‘Ling Shu’ or ‘Spiritual Pivot?’ Or, does the very name of this text clearly signify the strong connection and relationship between the practices of acupuncture and the shamanism of the Shang?

As for herbology, Eckman refers to Huang Fu Mi’s book of 282 CE, The Systematic Study of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, when he says, “In it, Huang states that The Treatise of Cold-Induced Disorders was based on The Theory of Herbal Decoctions attributed to Yi Yin, the prime minister of the ancient Yin (Shang) dynasty” (p. 70).

Several other important concepts related to Chinese Medicine also appear to have emerged and developed during the time of the Shang, including possibly, a primitive understanding of the pulse, blood, and other body fluids.

Additionally, the formation of the theoretical thinking of Yin Yang and the Five Elements can be traced back to this period, and according to Walsh (2007), “The concept of the dual soul was also developed …the Po is the animal part of the soul which remains with the body after death (and which is what ghosts are), while the Hun is the spiritual part of the soul which disappears into the afterlife.”

It is also believed that a preliminary understanding of Shen and Jing was held by the time of the Shang. Shen is the emotional, mental and spiritual aspect of a human being, whereas Jing, which is usually translated into English as ‘essence’, is held to be responsible for growth, reproduction, development, sexual maturation, conception and pregnancy.

And lastly, the Shang seem to have had a rudimentary grasp on the all encompassing concept of Qi.

The original character for the word Qi seems to have appeared at this time, as a way of representing that unknowable aspect of the universe that makes things grow and transform – that thing that inter-transforms into all things – and, its early meanings seem to have been something along the lines of vapor, mist, or clouds.

Qi is a very difficult word to translate, and its meaning can vary depending on the context in which it is used. Its meaning has changed in many ways since those early days of the Shang. For example, when referring to the Four Pillars of Chinese Medicine, the word Qi can have at least four different meanings. When talking about acupuncture and moxibustion, the word is understood to mean ‘the relationship between the surface and the interior.’ When referring to herbs and diet, it means ‘the flavor and function of the herb or food.’ In physical manipulation it means ‘gait and posture,’ and in Qigong it refers to ‘one’s relationship with the rest of existence.’ As Maciocia (1989) explains, “Qi is the basis of all phenomena in the universe and provides a continuity between course, material forms and tenuous, rarefied non-material energies. …Qi is the very basis of the universe’s infinite manifestations of life, including minerals, vegetables, and animals (including man)” (p. 36). Is it any wonder that the Shang identified the idea of Qi with something as insubstantial as a vapor, mist, or clouds?

In closing, it is important to note that there is very little to be found on Shang medical practices in comparison to the wealth of information that is available on the later Chinese dynastic orders and their practices. But from what little there is to find on the Shang, we can clearly surmise that the origins of Chinese Medicine extend far into the past and lie firmly rooted somewhere in the midst of their shamanistic beliefs and practices.

Robert A. Vena is a Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) in the States of New York and New Jersey and is nationally board certified in Oriental Medicine (Diplomate Oriental Medicine) by the NCCAOM. He completed the intensive 4-year Master of Science of Traditional Oriental Medicine (MSTOM) program at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in New York City and currently practices Chinese Medicine in Englewood, NJ and Manhattan, NYC.

Click on the link below to see this article as published by The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (OM Essay Contest 2011):



REFERENCES

Bensky, D., Gamble, A. & Kapchuk, T., (1993). Chinese herbal medicine: materia medica. Seattle: Eastland Press Incorporated.

Brief history of China. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from http://www.china.org.cn/english/MATERIAL/185663.htm

Columbia encyclopedia. (2004). New York: Columbia University Press.

Eckman, P., (1996). In the footsteps of the yellow emperor: tracking the history of traditional acupuncture. San Francisco: Cypress Book (US) Company, Inc.

Maciocia, G., (1989). The foundations of Chinese medicine. China: RDC Group Limited

Hooker, R., (1996). Ancient China: the Shang. Retrieved November 24, 2007, from http://wsu.edu/~dee/ANCCHINA/SHANG.HTM

Plutschow, H. (1995, December). Archaic Chinese sacrificial practices in the light of generative anthropology. Retrieved November 17, 2007, from http://www.anthropoetics.ucla.edu/ap0102/china.htm

Unschuld, P., (1985). Medicine in China. Berkeley: University of California Press
Walsh, J. (2007, July 16). Shang: The first dynasty of China. Retrieved November 20, 2007, from http://chinese-history.suite101.com/article.cfm/shang

If you are interested in receiving acupuncture treatments in my Englewood, NJ acupuncture office and would like to know whether or not your insurance plan covers acupuncture, my insurance experts will be happy to verify your coverage prior to your setting up an appointment. Simply complete our online Check Your Insurance Coverage Form. This form is on a secure server, so your personal information is protected. We will get back to you, as soon as possible, with your acupuncture benefit coverage information.

My Englewood acupuncture office is conveniently located in Bergen County, NJ, just minutes from Manhattan, NYC and the George Washington Bridge.

Stay Healthy and Be Well! See a Licensed Acupuncturist regularly.

Patients seen by appointment only.

Acupuncture in Englewood NJ: 201-357-0904

Please visit my newly designed and informative website at Acupuncture-in-NJ.com.

Follow Rob Vena Acupuncture on Facebook and Twitter