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Building Kidney Yang and Jing
Kidney yang, if we include mingmen fire, is the energy and heat source for the whole body. Jing is the essence of yang, and is stored in the kidney, extraordinary channels, and in the bone marrow, which in TCM also includes the brain.
A Very New Year: It's Time to Track
As we enter 2017, we find "affordable care" is not so affordable for many individuals. They are discovering what employers learned long ago: Health care is expensive – and keeps getting more expensive.
Change on the Horizon? New White House Spells Shift in Health Care Policy
On the morning after Election Day, many in our country were surprised to learn that not only did the Republican nominee win the White House, but also that the House of Representatives and the Senate remain under GOP control.
The Key to Recovery
Starting in the 1970s and developing over a decade of assessment and improvement, the South Bronx's Lincoln Recovery Center staff refined the method of using five basic ear-points, which became the NADA protocol for the treatment of addiction.
Herbs for Digestion: The Power of Bitter
Many cultures (and indeed herbal clinicians) around the world have long respected the role of bitter herbs and foods for promoting digestion.
What Are Prebiotics – and Why Should You Care? (Part 1)
In previous articles, I spoke about the different kinds of fiber and their effects, and the potential risks of taking probiotics without also consuming prebiotic soluble fiber (PSF) in foods and/or supplements [see August & October 2016 issues].
Case Study of Benign Hand Tremors
Patients without degenerative diseases causing tremors are often given the diagnosis of essential tremors, for which treatment options are limited to lifestyle changes and medications.
Increase Your Practice Income With Retail Products
With only so many hours in a day, there is a cap on the revenue an acupuncturist can generate by way of appointments. Once your appointment book is filled, you can't really add more without burning yourself out.
The Mysterious Divergent Channels
The divergent channels are among the most mysterious entities in all of Chinese medicine. They are rarely mentioned, lacking reference in modern TCM study, and rarely used within popular Chinese medical treatment.
Losing Your Mind? Try Coconut Oil
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is currently the 6th leading cause of death in America according to the CDC. It affects over 5 million Americans and 50 percent of nursing home residents (2014), and is projected to spike to 16 million by 2050.
Top 2017 Health & Fitness Trends
We really did sign up for a career of learning and development. Now that you have built a strong foundation of your manipulation skills, nutrition base, movement assessments and business knowledge, it's time to keep up with the American College of Sports Medicine's 2017 worldwide health and fitness trends.
MD-DC Affiliations Under Fire
I am George P. McAndrews, lawyer for the chiropractors in the Wilk, et al., v AMA, et al., antitrust suit that resulted in an injunction against the AMA and others, banning them from interfering in lawful professional relationships between medical physicians and doctors of chiropractic.
Your Patients With Cancer Need You
It was a chilly Minnesota morning in March 1999 when she asked to speak to me alone. My then-busy chiropractic practice wasn't built for much privacy, but I quickly scooted the 60-some-year-old, white-haired patient to my exam room, as the open adjusting area was buzzing with excitement.
An Education in Stroke Risk and Chiropractic
Dr. Steven Shoshany's ninth appearance on "The Dr. Oz Show" may prove to be his most significant, as he addressed questions related to the death of Katie May, who suffered two strokes in February 2016, hours after her third visit to a chiropractor for what she described in a Twitter post as a pinched nerve in her neck experienced during a photo shoot days earlier.
Scope of Chiropractic Practice: Time for Change?
The University of Bridgeport, College of Chiropractic Student Government Association sponsored a panel discussion on Oct. 25, 2016.
Acute Locked-Back Syndrome: Cause and Correction
As we all know, occasionally a patient will present with acute-onset low back pain with or without a precipitating incident. A distinguishing feature of the presentation is visible lateral antalgia, both standing and walking.
Scar Reduction With Acupuncture & Microneedling (Part 1)
Applied correctly, modern skin needling techniques can form part of a holistic treatment and incorporate the principles of Chinese medicine.
Clinical Outcomes & Safety for TCHM
The practice of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine (TCHM) may appear archaic to those who misunderstand the theories and principals that guide it. In fact, TCHM continues to evolve and new systems are consistently being discovered and applied within the tradition.
August, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 08
The Natural Effects of Melatonin
By John Upledger, DO, OMM
As manual therapists, it's vital that we continue to study the human organism - inside and out - to fully understand our role in helping individuals achieve optimal health and well-being.As part of that quest, I've been researching a helpful natural chemical called melatonin. This lipophilic indole, chemically known as 5-methoxy-N-acetyl-tryptamine, is a derivative of serotonin, which in turn is derived from the amino acid tryptophan.
Until recently, researchers thought melatonin was secreted only by the pineal gland. Since it was synthesized within and secreted by a gland, it became known as a hormone. Scientists have also speculated that melatonin was only secreted at night and primarily to induce sleep, and that artificial light could reduce the amount of melatonin secreted by the pineal gland. Since then, we've learned a lot more about the powers of melatonin. Yes, it's confirmed: The pineal gland is a major source of melatonin, which does indeed induce sleep. And yes, when the eyes take in artificial light, sleep is somewhat inhibited.
About 30 years ago we discovered that the appendix also generously synthesizes and secretes melatonin, which suggested that appendectomies might reduce melatonin levels. We've since found out that melatonin is also produced by the intestines, the fundus of the stomach, the testes, the spinal cord, the raphe nuclei of the brain stem, and the striatum areas of the brain. We now also understand that a significant amount of melatonin is synthesized within the body cells. Many of these melatonin molecules do not even leave their cells of origin, but instead remain inside them to protect them from being damaged by oxygen and nitrogen radicals and other toxicants.
You might even call melatonin a "double whammy" protector. After it neutralizes damaging reactive species, the metabolites that are produced in the process are even more effective at protecting the cells than the original melatonin molecules. In general, melatonin seems especially protective of DNA inside the nuclei and mitochondria. It also protects cell-membrane lipids and cytosol-contained proteins.
Personally, I believe every cell in our body contains some melatonin, whether it was produced in that cell or, less likely, entered through extracellular body fluids. Yet there are also other sites in the body with high levels of melatonin. The level of melatonin in the bile of the liver and gallbladder exceeds that of the blood and bone marrow. And the level of melatonin in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is much higher than that of the blood. In the CSF, melatonin is greatest in and around the third ventricle of the brain, probably because of the pineal-gland secretions. CSF melatonin levels are also greater at night, as is the pineal gland's production of melatonin. It's also interesting to note that the fluid in the Graafian follicle is higher than the blood level of melatonin.
Now let's look at some of the positive effects melatonin offers in specific dis-ease processes. Probably most important at this time is the fact that melatonin reduces degenerative activities in the brain, spinal cord and spinal nerve roots. Degeneration of these nerve tissues and cells often occur from the effects of reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species, as well as excessive or prolonged inflammation.
Beta amyloid peptides (BAP) are metabolic byproducts of the degradation of amyloid precursor proteins (APP). When these proteins (which are normally part of cell membranes) are metabolized as they wear out and lose their functional abilities, they break down into BAP. When these peptides aren't effectively cleared away by the natural flushing of CranioSacral Therapy (CST) or other fluid-moving techniques, they can form plaques and tangles that cause neuronal dysfunction and death. The result? Increased tissue inflammation that leads to cerebral and/or spinal cord degeneration. The name of any resulting disease depends on the location of the degeneration. When it takes place in the hippocampus and cerebral forebrain, it's called Alzheimer's disease. When it takes place in the lower aspect of the brain (the substantia nigra), it's called Parkinson's disease.
Melatonin helps by neutralizing BAP to keep the peptides from forming disease-producing plaques and tangles. It also removes metals that may be involved in the plaques and tangles. These metals include cobalt (often found at higher levels with Alzheimer's disease) and aluminum. Occasionally, high levels of iron may damage the brain or spinal cord, while excessive copper may affect the central nervous system (CNS) in a similar way. Melatonin removes excess iron and copper as needed.
On the opposite side of the fence, melatonin may link up with zinc. This combination seems to enhance thymus-gland function and the whole immune system secondarily. When CNS neurons have been damaged, melatonin also promotes the production of neuronal growth factor, which may help reestablish neuronal circuits that have been injured or interrupted. (I have also had success dialoging with stem cells and getting them to replace damaged or dead neurons as needed.)
Other conditions I believe to be helped by melatonin: stroke damage; damage due to ionizing radiation; diabetic neuropathy; heavy-metal toxicities; non-metallic toxicities; viral infections; seizures; excitotoxicities; homocysteine damage; ischemic damage; reperfusion injury; degenerative CNS diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, senility and so on.
From a therapeutic perspective, I've found the following tactics helpful in enhancing melatonin effectiveness:
* I administer these in divided doses as tolerated by the client. Please note: The information presented here is strictly intended for educational purposes only, and is not to be construed as medical advice.
By continuing to explore the valuable role of melatonin in our bodies and by learning tools to enhance its effectiveness through complementary care, we give our clients more opportunities to enjoy good health, naturally.
Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.
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