Friday Roundup - January 22, 2016

What I've been reading, writing, thinking about and indulging in this week.

Your beard is protecting you!

Your beard is protecting you!

Beardly biome brings health benefits: Beards are full of bacteria - but it turns out that's a good thing! Symbiotic bacteria that live in facial hair seem to confer protective benefits - huzzah! (keep your biome happy with A&P beard oil, on sale for 20% off)

Darkness turning into golden light: Denise of Cicuto Acupuncture shares some of the deep wisdom of Chinese medicine on wintertime - including some harmonizing practices to keep you in sync with the deepest dark that germinates the seed.

Love is the best medicine: The health benefits of relationships and social connection are increasingly being recognized - and a massive study review provides more evidence. I'm working on a super secret collaboration all about LOVE right now - stay tuned for news in a few days!

Denise and I are now sharing our semi-monthly periscope and interesting and inspiring holistic health information through our new show, TCM Talk! See all our broadcasts and links to information on Pinterest, and follow us on Periscope, Twitter and Facebook!

Have a great weekend!

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What Western Studies Say about Painful Periods Will Surprise You!

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Painful periods are known in Western medicine as 'primary dysmenorrhea'. 'Primary' means there's no clear underlying cause (such as endometriosis, fibroids or cysts), and dysmenorrhea means 'bad monthly flow' which is pretty accurate! Painful periods affect almost all people who menstruate at some point in their lives, and at least 1 in 4 have pain severe enough to result in missing school or work. (source)

As an acupuncturist and herbalist, I know what to do for painful periods, and that most sufferers can experience tremendous relief using acupuncture, topical treatments, dietary and lifestyle changes, and herbal medicine. But I'm always curious about what Western style studies have to say. So I put on my adventuring hat and took a tour through PubMed, the archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine. Here's a few studies that you might find as interesting as I did!

1. A hot water bottle works better than acetaminophen. A randomized, single-blind (meaning the investigator asking the questions didn't know which treatment the women had received) study of 344 women found that a heat wrap not only relieved pain more effectively and for longer than acetaminophen, but also reduced fatigue and moodiness - probably because a hot water bottle is a lot nicer than a pill that can damage your liver! (source) Numerous other studies support this conclusion, finding heat therapy as effective or more effective than over the counter painkillers and NSAIDs.

2. Your kitchen cupboard works better than your medicine cabinet. Numerous studies conducted in Iran (where traditional Persian medicine uses these herbs medicinally) found that common spices are more effective than ibuprofen - with no risks of side-effects. Researchers studied ginger, fenugreek and cinnamon. Ginger stopped nausea as well as pain (source), fenugreek reduced pain, as well as other symptoms such as fatigue, headache, nausea, and fainting, better than ibuprofen (source), and cinnamon reduced both pain and heaviness of bleeding better than the drug (source). Wow!

3. Acupuncture works better than anything else! Well, I could have told you that without inflicting any scientific jargon on either of us! Acupuncture is very hard to study in a typical Western way (here's a long article about it), but the overall consensus is that it works (source, source, sourcesource)

You can learn even more about what really works to stop period pain at my upcoming class with Denise Cicuto of Cicuto Acupuncture, Sunday, July 19 at 4 pm, at Back to Life Wellness in Alameda. Get more info and RSVP on facebook

 

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