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Support your liver this spring

support your liver

How to support your liver this spring

This is the time of year when many people start feeling a little off, whether they are experiencing allergy symptoms, headaches, irritability, or problems with muscles, tendons and ligaments. Women might have menstrual or fertility issues, and people may find it more difficult to make decisions. Are you sighing more than usual? This may be your body’s way of releasing stagnant liver qi. “Qi” is the Chinese word that means life force or energy. Spring is a great time to support your liver.

 

It’s “liver time”! In Chinese medicine, the organs are associated with phases or elements, and the liver belongs to the wood element which is dominant in the spring. I share that the symptoms they are experiencing align with the energetic shift of the changing seasons.

 

Alignment with the seasons and phases

People are often fascinated to hear about how their organs are associated with the different seasons and how this relates to symptoms they experience in their bodies.

 

In Chinese Medicine, there are five phases of transformation: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. While in Traditional Chinese Medicine these are called elements, Classical Chinese Medicine refers to them as phases because they develop and change into one another. The five phases or elements correspond to the seasons spring, summer, fall, and winter. In Chinese medicine, summer is further divided into summer and late summer. Late summer refers to the transformation between the warmer summer weather and cool fall weather. The seasons and phases (or elements) are associated as follows:

 

  • Spring: Wood. This is when nature starts stirring from winter’s dormancy. Trees and plants blossom. New branches grow out of old wood, and new growth begins.

 

  • Summer: Fire. This is the time of warmth and activity. Nature is moving actively, and as a result is growing and flourishing.

 

  • Late summer: Earth. This is the time of harvest. It is also is the pause between the rising of the warming and active phases of wood and fire and the declining and cooler phases of fall and winter.

 

  • Fall: Metal. This is when nature lets go of what is not needed, as seen in the falling leaves from the trees. The soil is enriched with the compost from the dead leaves so it can prepare for the next cycle of growth in the spring.

 

  • Winter: Water. This is a time of rest. Animals hibernate, the days are shorter, and nature gets still and goes within to build up reserves.

 

How the liver and gallbladder are affected in the spring

As I shared earlier, the liver is the organ that is associated with the wood element and spring. In Chinese medicine, the gallbladder is paired with the liver, and it is also part of the wood phase or element. Like the new shoots of growth in plants, similarly, our energy rises up in the spring. When too much energy rises up too quickly, we can get headaches and feel irritable.

 

When this uprising energy gets stuck or is not balanced, we can experience issues with our muscles, tendons and ligaments. For example, this is often a time of year when people experience knee problems. When the liver energy is not flowing smoothly, it can also result in PMS symptoms or fertility issues.

 

The eyes are the sensory organ associated with the liver. This is a time of year where people frequently experience itchy, red, painful eyes or blurred vision.

 

Sometimes the energy of these organs can be deficient, and people may experience twitching in their muscles, or find that they have trouble making decisions or gathering the energy to move forward in life.

 

 

Support your liver so you can stay healthy this spring

Every individual is unique, and no two people will experience the same symptoms for exactly the same reason. When I see a new patient, I make the time to ask a lot of questions and review their health history. This allows me to determine what is going on with their energy. For example, it is important to determine whether their energy is rising up too quickly, getting stuck, or is deficient. I develop a customized treatment to address their specific needs and restore the balance of energy. This might involve acupuncture needles, ear seeds, qigong exercises, and diet and lifestyle advice.

 

Want to talk about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you stay healthy this spring? I’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-4269.

 

About the Author

Ericca Burke is the owner of HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine where she provides acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments in Wilmington, NC. Click this link to read more about Ericca. 

 

About HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine in Wilmington, NC

HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine is an acupuncture and Chinese medicine practice located in Wilmington, NC just minutes from beautiful Wrightsville Beach. Click this link for contact information and directions. Click this link for a listing and description of services offered.

How auricular acupuncture can help the alpha gal allergy

alpha gal allergy

What is the alpha gal allergy?

The term alpha gal is an abbreviation for the sugar galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose.  This sugar resides in mammals that walk on four legs, like cows and pigs. It is not found in humans, apes, or monkeys. When a tick bites a mammal such as a cow, the tick carries the alpha gal sugar. When that tick bites a human, the tick injects the sugar molecules into the human. This can result in an allergic reaction to the alpha gal sugar. Subsequently, an allergic response to red meat can develop. This is why the alpha gal allergy is often called the “red meat allergy”.

 

As a human receives more tick bites, their antibodies against alpha gal increase. Consequently, the likelihood of developing an allergy also increases. In addition to red meat, alpha gal resides in many products made from mammals. This includes medications, cosmetics, vaccines, gelatin, and milk products. Exposure to any of these items can initiate an allergic reaction. Alpha gal allergies can affect individuals of all ages. Symptoms vary from one individual to another. While alpha gal allergies are most frequently found in the eastern and mid-western United States, cases also exist in other parts of the country. Europe and Australia have identified cases as well.

 

Alpha gal allergy symptoms and reactions

Most allergic reactions occur immediately after consuming food with alpha gal. However, because the alpha gal sugar takes a long time to digest, an allergic reaction may not occur for up to eight hours after the food is eaten.

 

Symptoms can be mild like headaches, congestion, and sneezing and itchy skin. They can be more serious like hives, eczema, difficulty breathing, fainting, dizziness, and swelling. People may also experience symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. In extreme cases, someone with an alpha gal allergy may go into anaphylactic shock. This is a serious emergency condition. It requires immediate medical attention and treatment.

 

Medical resources state that the alpha gal allergy may resolve on its own after about three to five years. Unfortunately, this may not be the case when an individual receives multiple tick bites over time.

 

Alpha gal sources

Alpha gal is surprisingly prevalent in our environment. In addition to red meat, alpha gal can be found in the following items:

  • Milk products
  • Gelatin
  • Lanolin found in: Cosmetics, lipsticks, ointments, lotions, clothing (wool, cashmere, suede, leather, alpaca), animal dander
  • Stearic acid found in: Cosmetics, soap, shaving cream, lubricant, detergents, house cleaners, and textile softeners, forming and softening plastics
  • Drugs prepared from animals: Zyrtec, Benadryl, Simvastatin, Omeprazole (Lasec, Prilosec, Zegerid), Synthroid, Cetuximab, Heparin, Ceron 10, Gelatin capsules, medications containing stearic acid and magnesium stearate
  • Devices like pig’s heart valves, grafts

 

Alpha gal allergy diagnosis

A variety of research articles have been published on the alpha gal allergy. For example, the article Alpha-gal syndrome from the Mayo Clinic is a great resource. This article shares that the allergy is commonly diagnosed through a blood or skin prick test. The guidance given by most medical facilities is to avoid exposure to alpha gal. Additionally, another informative article published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in 2020 is titled Diagnosis and Management of Patients with the α-Gal Syndrome. This study lists auricular acupuncture as a treatment therapy for the alpha gal allergy.

 

Alpha gal allergy treatment

Dr. Nader Soliman created and patented a groundbreaking technique called the Soliman Auricular Allergy Treatment (SAAT).  SAAT is a simple technique. The treatment utilizes a small needle retained in the ear with medical adhesive tape. Then, after the treatment, the needle stays in the ear for a period of 3-4 weeks. Dr. Soliman found this technique to provide the strongest relief from alpha gal allergy symptoms among all known acupuncture and medical techniques. Dr. Soliman employs this technique with great success for over 15 years now.

 

A research article published in the American Journal of Biomedical and Life Sciences titled Effect of Soliman Auricular Allergy Treatment (SAAT) on IgE-mediated Reactions Due to Exposure to Mammalian Meat Oligosaccharide, Galactose-α-1,3-Galactose  tested the SAAT technique. The study found a 94.8% success rate with patients who underwent the SAAT treatment for their alpha gal allergy. In addition, an article published in the Medical Acupuncture Journal titled Successful Treatment for Alpha Gal Mammal Product Allergy Using Auricular Acupuncture: A Case Series concluded that the SAAT method showed effectiveness in the majority of patients and no adverse reactions were noted as a result of auricular acupuncture.

 

We are very excited to offer the SAAT treatment at HAVEN Acupuncture. Want to talk about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help your alpha gal allergy? We’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email us through our website or call or text us at 910-622-4269.

 

About the Author

Ericca Burke is the owner of HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine. She studied SAAT directly from Dr. Soliman, and she is a certified SAAT practitioner. Ericca sees patients at her office in Wilmington, NC. Click this link to read more about Ericca. 

 

About HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine in Wilmington, NC

HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine is an acupuncture and Chinese medicine practice located in Wilmington, NC just minutes from beautiful Wrightsville Beach. Click this link for contact information and directions. Click this link for a listing and description of services offered.