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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 treatment

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.

 

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.

 

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 910-622-6960.

 

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.

Nurture yourself this winter

nurture yourself this winter

Make time to nurture yourself this winter

In Chinese medicine, winter is a time to go deep within and nurture and restore yourself. The days are shorter, and we are advised to wake up later, go to bed earlier, and rest more. Outside, much of nature goes into what appears to be a state of dormancy. On the surface, branches are bare and still. But deep inside, life is quietly active and gently restoring itself.

This has been a challenging year for many people. Now is a perfect time to give yourself permission to rest and heal. It’s a great time to be introspective as we welcome the new year and new possibilities. What can you nurture that you want to cultivate in the coming year? Try to be still and listen if you need guidance. Sometimes the answer will come in an unexpected and delightful way.

In Chinese medicine, our organs are associated with phases or elements. In the fall, the water element is dominant, and the associated organs are the kidneys and the bladder. Fear is the emotion associated with the water element, and the bladder is associated with letting go. Recognizing and managing any fear is right in line with the energetic shift of the changing seasons.

 

Alignment with the seasons and phases

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 will let 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 winter season influences the kidneys and bladder

As I shared earlier, the kidneys and bladder are the organs associated with the water element and winter. The water element governs the bones, teeth, ears, reproductive organs, and hair on the head. This is a time of year when people may experience issues with bones, joints, or teeth, fertility issues, urinary tract problems, hair falling out or graying of the hair, or hearing issues. All of these conditions indicate an imbalance in the water element on the physical level. Fears, phobias or lack of will power indicate an imbalance on the mental and emotional level.

 

One way to nurture yourself this winter is to practice the art of yangsheng. Yangsheng is the ancient Chinese art of nourishing life. It is a practice of self-cultivation or self-care. In the Chinese culture, yangsheng is crucial to overall health and longevity. You can read all about how to practice yangsheng in my blog “Learn the ancient Chinese art of yangsheng – nourishing life“.

 

You might also consider practicing the relaxation response. Dr Herbert Benson, a pioneer in mind / body medicine, created the relaxation response term and practice. The relaxation response counters the fight-or-flight stress response. It works by slowing down the rate of breathing, reducing blood pressure, and relaxing muscles. It is a great way to nurture yourself this winter. Learn how to practice in my blog “Healing yourself with the relaxation response“.

 

Consider Chinese medicine to help nurture yourself this winter

One of the reasons that acupuncture treatments are believed to be so successful is because they trigger the relaxation response. Additionally, they take a customized approach to helping people feel better. 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 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 nurture yourself this winter? I’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-6960.

 

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 directionsClick this link for a listing and description of services offered.

Let go this fall season

What are you ready to let go of this fall?

Fall can be a beautiful time of year, and a great time to let go of what no longer serves you. The weather shifts, giving a break from the summer heat. Cool breezes gently loosen leaves from the trees. The leaves start to change color, in beautiful shades of gold, orange, and red. Then, the leaves start to fall.

 

This is the time of year when many people start feeling a little sad, or even a little stuck. This can result in depressed feelings or digestive issues, for example. In Chinese medicine, our organs are associated with phases or elements. In the fall, the metal element is dominant, and the associated organs are the lungs and the large intestine. Feelings of sadness and needing to let go are right in line 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 will let 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 fall season influences the lungs and large intestine

As I shared earlier, the lungs and large intestines are the organs associated with the metal element and fall. Just as the trees let go of their leaves in the fall, this is the perfect time to let go of what we no longer need. When we hold on to grief rather than letting it move through us, we can feel depressed and sad. When our large intestine does not let go of waste the body does not need, we can feel bloated and uncomfortable.

 

In Chinese Medicine, the skin belongs to the metal element. This is a time of year where people frequently experience dry, itchy, skin. There can also be an increase in acne and rashes, among other skin conditions. A dry, itchy condition can indicate an energetic deficiency. On the other hand, a hot and red condition can indicate excessive energy.

 

 

Help your lungs and large intestine let go

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 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 let go of what no longer serves you? I’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-6960.

 

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 directionsClick this link for a listing and description of services offered.

How acupuncture and ear seeds can help IBS

What is IBS, and how can acupuncture help?

I often get calls from potential patients asking if acupuncture can help IBS. IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, can significantly impact people’s lives. Many people struggle with IBS for years and find that Western medicine does not help them get the relief that they need. As a result, many manage IBS with diet, stress management, and making sure they are constantly near a bathroom.

 

IBS is a disorder that manifests in the Large Intestine. Generally, there are three main types:

  • IBS-D: IBS with diarrhea, and may include abdominal pain, gas, and frequent urges to have a bowel movement.
  • IBS-C: IBS with constipation, and may include bloating, abdominal pain, gas, fewer bowel movements, and straining with bowel movements.
  • IBS-A: IBS with alternating constipation and diarrhea. This is also called IBS-M where the “M” stands for mixed.

 

I have found that acupuncture can help the various types of IBS. For example, In my treatments for IBS, I typically use a combination of acupuncture needles, ear seeds, and a far-infrared TDP lamp. I find that patients love the gentle soothing heat on their abdomen.

 

Research studies on acupuncture and IBS

There have been a number of research studies showing that acupuncture can help IBS. Here are a few examples from the past few years:

 

How ear seeds can support acupuncture to help IBS

Ear seeds are a great addition to an acupuncture treatment. An ear seed is a small sphere. It stimulates an acupuncture point on the surface of the ear. Ear seeds attach to the ear with adhesive tape that looks like a band aid or clear surgical tape. They work by exerting a gentle pressure on the acupuncture point. Patients can wear ear seeds for up to five days. I love to use ear seeds because they are a great way to continue the treatment at home.

Ear seeds have even gotten attention in the Western medical world. An article was published in the Gastroenterology Nursing Journal titled “Effects of Auricular Acupressure on Women With Irritable Bowel Syndrome”. The study found that ear seeds were effective in decreasing loose stools, abdominal pain and discomfort, stress and heart rate variability.

In addition, ear seeds are great as a standalone treatment for people who are afraid of needles or who are not able to see an acupuncturist.  You can read more about ear seeds in the All about ear seeds and auriculotherapy blog.

Want to talk about how acupuncture and ear seeds can help your IBS? I’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-6960.

 

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.

 

Enhance your vitality with qigong

Qigong

What is qigong?

Qigong is a practice of cultivating energy. The word “qi” refers to energy or life force, and the word “gong” in this case refers to work or practice. Qigong is a combination of gentle movements with mindful breathing that balance and move energy. Qigong can be practiced by anyone at any age or level of health.

  

Why I love it

I love qigong because it is so simple and effective. It can be practiced anywhere. I don’t need any equipment or to go to the gym. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining outside or too hot or too cold. I can practice if I am sick or injured. I can tailor and recommend qigong movements to every one of my patients regardless of their age or level of health.

 

Benefits of qigong

Practicing qigong has been said to be like recharging your battery. It gives you energy. Qigong balances your energy, and it can help calm and disperse uncomfortable energy like stress and anxiety. The body is then able to use this energy to heal anything that may need to be healed. Qigong benefits mental, emotional, and physical health. It can also be very helpful in boosting immunity.

 

How I incorporate it into a treatment

In addition to offering telehealth appointments with customized qigong exercises, I will often recommend qigong exercises to my patients who come in for acupuncture treatments. This is especially useful for people who want to continue to enhance their vitality and well-being at home. At the end of an acupuncture session, I will teach patients a simple exercise or two. We’ll practice it together to make sure they can feel the sensations and ask questions if needed. Here are two  examples of simple qigong exercises that can be done at home:

Shaking:

  • Stand with feet shoulder with apart.
  • Start at your hands and begin a shaking motion that moves up your arms and through your body. Include your head, torso, legs, etc.
  • This moves energy and stuck emotions.
  • Let yourself exhale deeply to release tension.
  • Open your mouth and make a sound if you like. This could be a sigh, a grunt, or whatever feels right to you.
  • This exercise is great for stress relief.

 

Calming:

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
  • Inhale and raise arms with palms facing up over your head, and then exhale with the palms facing each other and gently let them float down.
  • When your palms pass in front of your face, turn the palms down to face the ground and continue lowering your palms in front of you until they reach your hips.
  • Repeat at least three times.
  • During the last time, let your hands rest on your lower abdomen with palms facing in, and take a few more slow breaths into your abdomen.
  • This exercise is also referred to as “waterfalls”. It can be helpful to envision gentle water washing over you, easing away tension and invigorating you as you practice.
  • This exercise smooths, calms, and grounds your energy.

 

Resources

There are so many wonderful books, DVDs, and even free videos on Youtube dedicated to qigong practices. Some are tailored to areas like stress and anxiety, headaches, back pain, insomnia, digestion, and immunity to name a few. Others focus on certain populations, like chair-based qigong for elderly or injured people.

 

Here are links to some of my favorite teachers and videos: 

 

Want to learn more about qigong and get customized exercises just for you? I’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-6960.

 

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.