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Appointments are available on the following days each week. Please call the landline at 773.506.8971 or email at to schedule.

Sunday: 2 – 7PM
Monday: 2 – 8PM
Tuesday: 2 – 8PM
Wednesday: 12 - 6PM
Thursday: 2 – 8PM

Some Health Issues We Treat

Entries in Chinese herbology (3)


Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Very Effective for Migraine Sufferers

Frequently acupuncturists are called upon to address the unpleasant group of syndromes known, collectively, as vascular headaches. These frequently include migraine headaches and cluster headaches, but may include other types such ashemiplegic migraines, ophthalmoplegic headaches, basillary artery migraines, benign exertional headaches, status migrainosus, and even 'headache-free' migraines. Regardless of the subcategory, all of these types of pain usually respond extremely well to acupuncture and Chinese medicine and we see a lot of patients at the Northside Holistic Center who come specifically for these types of ailment.

There are two basic strategies that are employed: if a client is acutely suffering from a migraine at the time of their appointment, we work to eliminate the pain at that time. However the most important means of using acupuncture and herbal therapy is to break the cycle of heachaches. An acupuncturist will evaluate the patient and using the diagnostic tools honed over thousands of years, establish a treatment plan which will work to modify the patient's system in such a way that migraines become gradually much less likely to plague that individual. Usually  we can help the client's see an almost complete cessation of headaches over the course of treatment.

Research and other articles about Migraines and Acupuncture:


  • An Italian anesthesiology journal published a research study evaluating acupuncture treatment for the headache sufferers vs. a commonly used drug for migraines and found that the acupuncture group did much better when they were re-examined after six months. The scientists concluded,

our data show a lower pain intensity and lower Rizatriptan intake at six-months follow-up with no adverse events in acupuncture patients compared to those treated with valproic acid. 


  • A new study reveals the degree to which acupoints must be extremely accurately located – that the point specificity makes a dramatic difference in physiological effect upon the body and the brain. The researchers looked at the acupuncture treatment of migraines and the specific changes which occur within the brain. The article can be read about here.

New MRI research demonstrates that acupuncture “induce(s) different cerebral glucose metabolism changes in pain-related brain regions and reduce(s) intensity of pain” for patients with migraines. In this randomized-controlled study using PET-CT neuroimaging (positron emission tomography - computed tomography), acupuncture was shown to be effective for migraine pain reduction and acupuncture raised glycometabolism in the middle temporal cortex, orbital front cortex, middle frontal gyrus, angular gyrus, post cingulate cortex, the precuneus and the middle cingulate cortex. Acupuncture simultaneously lowered glycometabolism in the parahippocampus, hippocampus, fusiform, postcentral gyrus, and the cerebellum in migraine patients. The study also showed that the choice of acupuncture points used determined the changes in brain glycometabolism. The researchers note that this measurable phenomenon indicates acupuncture point specificity; specific acupuncture points have specific effects.

  • Published in the journal, Pain, comes an research study which compares a commonly used drug for migraine headaches against acupuncture, with acupuncture handily beating the drug in effectiveness. You can read about the study here. The researchers found that,

... acupuncture is as good as the drug flunarizine at reducing pain and improving quality of life for migraineurs, and more effective than the drug at decreasing the number days on which patients experience migraine attacks. 


  • From, an overview of treatment options using acupuncture as a prime means of addressing both the pain itself, as well as the propensity many people have towards having such headaches:


  • From Medical News Today, a review of two studies which have systematically found substantial benefit treating migraines with acupuncture:


  • A New York Times article summarized studies, including an NIH consensus, on acupuncture and migraines, finishing the article by saying,

People who get acupuncture prefer it to medication, because of the potential side effects of drugs,” said Dr. Tong J. Gan, a co-author of the review and a professor of anesthesiology at Duke. “This is an alternative treatment that is starting to move into the mainstream.

  • From Acupuncture Today, a report of a large Italian study finding that acupuncture was not only extremely effective in treating vascular headaches, but was also markedly more cost effective than pharmaceutical methods:


From a 2009 Medscape article, (Full article here:

Acupuncture is at least as effective as prophylactic drugs for migraine and may also benefit some patients with frequent tension-type headache, 2 large reviews conclude.


From the British Medical Journal study evaluating not only the effectiveness of acupuncture and herbs for migraines but also how well using acupuncture reduced the number of days absent from work. The conclusion states, "Acupuncture leads to persisting, clinically relevant benefits for primary care patients with chronic headache, particularly migraine. Expansion of NHS acupuncture services should be considered." Full article here:


 From the journal, Headache, a small and interesting study of acupuncture and headaches at,


Children and Allergies

I treat a lot of children's issues at the Northside Holistic Center and allergies are one of the frequent complaints that children, as well as adults present with. Frequently, my pediatric patients present with a variety of allergy related issues such as asthma, eczema, and digestive problems. This kind of work is very satisfying to most acupuncturists for, while most allergies respond to what we do quite well, children will often appear to be almost magical in their ability to rapidly get well from our work.

The first question that many parents have about using acupuncture as a modality is, "How can you persuade a child to lay still for the placement of the acupuncture filaments?"

The child's parents are usually relieved to find that this is usually much easier than it sounds. Unlike the treatment of adults, children usually only need to retain the filaments for a few minutes per point. This makes keeping them interested much easier. For toddlers and infants, the mother or father can simply hold the child or read them a story. For older kids a toy can be used as a distraction tool while the treatment is proceeding. Most of my clients under fifteen come to enjoy acupuncture therapy as much as adults and parents are surprised to find that many children look forward to their treatment - gratifying to all parties involved!

Links for Other Resources:

This link is from a mother dedicated to helping other parents' with their childrens' allergy issues. Her meetup link allows members to share information about their children's health, recipes, and techniques to help parents cope with and treat their kids.


Research Links and Articles

  • From ABC News comes both an article and a video covering the use of acupuncture for seasonal allergies. The entire article can be read and the video viewed here. An excerpt is below:

 Aniko Foldi and Marty Rudolph said they have battled severe allergy symptoms for years with no relief. "You name it, I have every kind of symptom," Aniko said.

"I have had surgery, I've gone to an allergist's office two times a week for shots," Marty said. Both of them desperate for help they turned to acupuncture as a last resort and both said it worked. "It absolutely mitigates the impact," Marty said.
"It's just amazing to me it's like a 100% improvement," said Aniko.
Dr. Marshall Sager in Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County practiced traditional medicine for years before becoming a certified acupuncturist. He said he's seen great success treating allergies with the ancient technique.
Aniko said Cheryl's treatments have been life changing. "I'm not taking any meds at all," Aniko said. "I would say that she saved my life."
Aniko Foldi and Marty Rudolph said they have battled severe allergy symptoms for years with no relief. "You name it, I have every kind of symptom," Aniko said."I have had surgery, I've gone to an allergist's office two times a week for shots," Marty said.
Both of them desperate for help they turned to acupuncture as a last resort and both said it worked."It absolutely mitigates the impact," Marty said."It's just amazing to me it's like a 100% improvement," said Aniko.
Dr. Marshall Sager in Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County practiced traditional medicine for years before becoming a certified acupuncturist. He said he's seen great success treating allergies with the ancient technique.Aniko said Cheryl's treatments have been life changing."I'm not taking any meds at all," Aniko said. "I would say that she saved my life."


  • From the journal Pediatrics:  A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of acupuncture for the treatment of childhood persistent allergic rhinitis.

Department of Paediatrics, Kwong Wah Hospital, 25 Waterloo Rd, Kowloon, SAR, Hong Kong.

OBJECTIVE: To compare active acupuncture with sham acupuncture for the treatment of persistent allergic rhinitis among children. METHODS: Subjects with persistent allergic rhinitis were recruited from the pediatric outpatient clinic. They were randomized to receive either active acupuncture or sham acupuncture. Main outcome measures included daily rhinitis scores, symptom-free days, visual analog scale scores for immediate effects of acupuncture, daily relief medication scores, blood eosinophil counts, serum IgE levels, nasal eosinophil counts, patients' and parents' preferences for treatment modalities, and adverse effects. RESULTS: Eighty-five patients were recruited from the pediatric outpatient clinic at Kwong Wah Hospital, in Hong Kong. Thirteen patients withdrew before randomization; 35 patients (mean age: 11.7 +/- 3.2 years) were randomized to receive active acupuncture for 8 weeks, and 37 patients (mean age: 11 +/- 3.8 years) were randomized to receive sham acupuncture for 8 weeks. Acupuncture was performed twice per week for both groups. Both the assessing pediatricians and the patients were blinded. There were significantly lower daily rhinitis scores and more symptom-free days for the group receiving active acupuncture, during both the treatment and follow-up periods. The visual analog scale scores for immediate improvement after acupuncture were also significantly better for the active acupuncture group. There was no significant difference in the following outcome measures between the active and sham acupuncture groups: daily relief medication scores, blood eosinophil counts, serum IgE levels, and nasal eosinophil counts, except for the IgE levels before and 2 months after acupuncture in the sham acupuncture group. No severe adverse effects were encountered. Numbness, headache, and dizziness were found in both the active and sham acupuncture groups, with no difference in incidence, and the effects were self-limiting.

CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that active acupuncture was more effective than sham acupuncture in decreasing the symptom scores for persistent allergic rhinitis and increasing the symptom-free days. No serious adverse effect was identified.


  • From comes an article on pediatric acupuncture: It describes a few practitioners experience with treating children.


  • While not specifically child-oriented, but applicable come a study from the International Journal of Immunopharmacology comes a study of more than one hundred Taiwanese patients treated with an herbal formula that we commonly use for allergies:

Xin Yi San reduces nasal symptoms in patients with perennial allergic rhinitis (AR) due to its diverse immunomodulatory effects. One hundred and eight Taiwanese patients with AR received either XYS or a placebo for three months. The investigators found that XYS attenuated the nasal symptoms of sneezing, rhinorrhoea and nasal congestion through reduction of nasal airflow resistance and increase in the cross-sectional area of nostrils. They also observed that XYS exerted diverse in vitro immunomodulatory effects, including suppression of serum IgE levels and increased production of the cytokines IL-10, sICAM-1 and IL-8. (Traditional Chinese medicine, Xin-yi-san, reduces nasal symptoms of patients with perennial allergic rhinitis by its diverse immunomodulatory effects. Int Immunopharmacol. 2010 Aug;10(8):951-8)."



A global study in the prestigious journal Pediatrics, evaluating the saftey of acupuncture with children, found that:

Treating kids with acupuncture is a common practice and generally safe, according to a new study.

“Like adults, acupuncture is very safe when applied to the children’s population,” said Jamie Starkey, an acupuncturist from the Cleveland Clinic, who did not take part in the study. “And so it basically mimics exactly what is seen in the adult population.”

“Any of the serious side effects that they found were definitely due in part to the clinician’s malpractice,” Starkey said. “So, it was certainly somebody who was not necessarily the most trained. The take-home message is that it is absolutely safe in both the adult and pediatric world, but you have to go to somebody who is trained.” [italics mine]


 An article about the study is readable here.





Flu {Swine, Avian and Other} and Chinese Medicine


With the last year's concern over the potential for a Swine Flu pandemic, clients and practitioners have been contacting the Northside Holistic Center with questions over the role of acupuncture and Chinese medicine in the treatment of influenza. This is a bit of a repeat of what happened when Avian Flu and SARS were in the news and most of my responses remain the same and bear repeating during this more recent viral season. At the Northside Holistic Center, we treat colds and flus throughout the year with tremendous success.

Historically in Asia, the flu has been treated effectively by acupuncture and herbal medicine and there is little reason to doubt that this would not be so in many cases of this particular genetic variation of Swine Flu. While I would recommend seeking Western biomedical assessment before a client came to see me for flu-like symptoms, as recommended by the CDC, I would not hesitate to use the tools of Chinese medicine to treat such a manifestation. All evidence to date suggests that we can dramatically shorten the course of most respiratory disorders and research supports the notion that acupuncture can be immune supportive and herbal formula, when correctly tailored to the patient, can be extremely useful in targeting the virus itself.


Studies, Articles and Links:

A new study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that a Chinese herbal formula was comparable to Tamiflu in successfully treating the flu. You can read about it here.

Significant reductions in the time to fever resolution, compared with the control group were seen with oseltamivir (34%), maxingshigan-yinqiaosan (37%), and oseltamivir plus maxingshigan-yinqiaosan (47%). Time to fever resolution was reduced by 19% with oseltamivir plus maxingshigan-yinqiaosan compared with oseltamivir. 

I would add that in most clinicians' experience, adding acupuncture into the mix, in order to boost the immune system further and to address specific symptoms of the flu yields even better results.


A link to a study showing the effectivenss of Chinese medicine for treatment of the H1N1 virus. According to a spokesman for the study group, "From our clinical tests and observation, the traditional method of treatment left no after effects and it is safe, more over the recovery period was shorter and the cost relatively lower as compared to Tamiflu treatment," said Wang Yuguang, spokesman of Ditan Hospital at a special briefing for the media at Ditan Hospital Wednesday afternoon.


From a September 2009 New York Times article: good information for parents about Swine Flu.


The link below discusses treatment of flu from a TCM perspective. It was written by the Institute for Traditional Medicine (ITM) in response to Avian Flu concerns in 2006 but remains relevant in the face of this current health concern.


This link was written by ITM in 2003 when the world was in a panic over the potential SARS epidemic.


Here is a link to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) with up-to-the-minute updates on the movement of the Swine Flu, as well as prevention methods outlined, including the perennially-good idea: frequent hand washing.


And finally, a link to an abstract from a research study into using acupuncture for upper respiratory infections and fever.