Chinese Medicine considers preventative care as important as treating the disease itself. If we cultivate our health we can prevent illness and injury from occurring and minimize their consequences when 'disease evils' do attack us. Join Kath Bartlett, MS, LAc as she shares thoughts, news articles, recipes & tips derived from a wide variety of source material, as it relates to Chinese medicine and cultivating optimal health for the body, mind and spirit.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Want to Lose Weight? Get More Sleep

Want to lose weight? Include getting enough sleep into your diet and exercise plan say the studies. Too many of us don't get enough sleep, instead relying on (cups?, pots of?) coffee to get through the day. Lack of sleep causes lots of health problems: lower immunity (get sick easier), reduced ability to handle stress, decreased cognitive function, increased irritability - basically the body is too tired to function optimally. As Elizabeth Gilbert analogizes in Eat, Pray, Love (#22, p66) overworked soil needs a fallow season. Likewise the overworked body (which all of us stressed out Westerners have) needs rest. If we don't get it, we eat more (esp. carbs and sugar) to get the energy our bodies need, and hence gain weight. Studies cited in this week's NY Times, Science Times article show men eat up to 500 additional calories on 4-5hrs sleep than they do with 7-8 hours sleep.

Here's a PubMed abstract of an analysis of a number of studies on the issue which suggests that 7 hours of sleep seems to be the golden mean. Less than 7 hours and weight gain appears, more than 7 hours sleep shows no significant weight change (positive or negative) compared to the 7 hour sleep duration:

PubMed Study

Another study showed increased snacking of carbs with 5 1/2 hours sleep verses getting 8 hours:

Is it no wonder in our stressed out, sleep deprived, fast food society that we have an obesity epidemic? The solution is obvious and basic: reduce stress, stay well rested, eat well. Why does that seem like a radical concept for the average American to implement? KB

New York Times Article

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Duke University Uses Acupuncture Anesthesia During Surgery

NBC video ran an interesting report about Duke University's use of acupuncture anesthesia during surgery. Duke has a large, respected integrative medicine department, and I'm always pleased to learn what comes out of it.

Acupuncture anesthesia has been used in China for many years. Needles are put in the ear and at various points on the body. In his 1980's 4 part PBS special "Healing in the Mind", Bill Moyer devoted one segment to China, showing an open heart surgery using acupuncture for part of the anesthesia. Typically 30-50% less anesthesia is used. In the video, the patient is lucid and incredibly able to talk and answer basic questions (name, where are you, what is happening) during surgery. A screen was up below his head so that he wasn't able to view his open chest cavity during the procedure. It is a truly amazing experience to watch, and was a pivotal moment in opening my mind to the possibilities of Chinese medicine. The Bill Moyer PBS video is likely available in the public libraries.

I use acupuncture anesthesia for myself during dental procedures. Last year I had a series of 5-7 superficial fillings drilled using only acupuncture anesthesia. I've done this many times over the past 8 years. For deeper fillings, particularly in the lower jaw some pharmaceuticals have been used, typically 25% of the usual dose. I feel even less is required. I have felt no pain whatsoever during these procedures.

In the 1972 the acupuncture anesthesia protocol was adapted for use for substance detoxification by Hong Kong neurosurgeon Dr. HL Wen. Dr. Wen did the surgical anesthesia protocol on a patient who (unbeknownst to him) was a morphine addict. On follow-up to the surgery, the patient reported that his morphine addiction had been cured. Curious and excited, Dr. Wen researched and developed the NADA protocol for substance abuse. Currently this NADA (National Auricular Detoxification Association) protocol is widely use in a large variety of clinical settings for all kinds of addictions, including smoking, drugs, alcohol, sugar & caffeine. I've been pleased with results I've seen in my clinic.