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Glutenites beware of….

August 20, 2010


Guest post written by Dr. Cushing. Witty subtitles by Kristien
What is Gluten intolerance?

Gluten intolerance is widespread in our society; it is a term that includes different degrees of gluten or Gliaden sensitivity. Celiac disease is the most severe type of gluten intolerance.  A genetic autoimmune disorder, Celic disease is very destructive to the wall of the intestinal tract. Celiac disease requires lifelong avoidance of all gluten-containing foods.

Most of the patients I’ve seen over the last three decades did not have full-blown Celiac disease. More commonly, they were suffering from what i call “the gluten sensitivity syndrome” and typically had symptoms that included abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and bowel disturbances such as constipation, diarrhea and cramping, etc.

How does it affect our important parts?

Within the intestinal wall are several enzymes called ‘brush border enzymes,’ which are critical for normal gluten breakdown. It has been theorized that if sufficient quantities of these enzymes were supplemented gluten sensitivity could be minimized or even prevented.



One of the key enzymes required for the breakdown of peptides in Gluten has been identified as ‘dipeptidyl peptidase IV.’ The lack of this enzyme activity in the small intestine prevents digestion of the peptide fragments, which if left undigested, elicit immune responses that inflame the lining of the small intestine.

So how can I get my hands on dipeptidyl peptidase IV? Can I get this on the black market?

In our practice, we have successfully a product called Enteromend; it increases the activity of the ‘brush border enzymes’ and addresses cross reactivity by including a full spectrum of enzymes that digest fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.  It also digests milk proteins and boosts pancreatic activity.

Enteromend’s enzymes were selected for their broad PH stability, strong anti-inflammatory capacity, and ability to treat symptoms of food intolerance/allergies, including E.G. cramping, bloating, nausea, intestinal gas, diarrhea and constipation. My clinical experience is that this product works best if taken shortly before eating. However, if an individual already has symptoms, it tends to work within 30 minutes of ingestion. Finally, we have found that a good adjunctive supplement that can be used with Enteromend in more severe cases is “stomach tabs.”

I hope you find this information helpful for you or a friend. Have a nice day!

Dr. Cushing has just opened a practice with Kristien in Charlotte, North Carolina where they practice chiropractic, nutritional therapy, acupuncture, and herbology.


Supplements For The Cold Season

August 17, 2010


Fall is approaching, and with the colder weather, many of us find ourselves a little sniffly.  I often get questions from friends and family on what natural remedies can be used to help them with a cold. Here are a few easy tips on what to put in your medicine cabinet.

In Chinese medicine, we apply energetics to our diagnosis. Simply put, any virus or bacteria will survive better in a specific energetic terrain – similar to polar bears in the arctic and camels in the desert. Although energetically there are many terrains and combinations of terrains, we are just going to focus on two to keep it simple.

Just as some women like Richard Gere others prefer Brad Pitt, viruses and bacteria generally fall for hot or cold terrains in the body. The key is to find a supplement that balances out the terrain that the virus or bacteria is thriving in. Certain supplements have either hot, neutral, or cold energetic properties.

images816105_richard-gere brad_pitt_closeup

Cold conditions

If you have chills, body aches, scratchy throat, no sweating, and clear nasal discharge – this is a pathogen that survives in a cold terrain. Here are a few things you can do: within the first day of getting symptoms you need to sweat it out. Put on a hoodie, wooly hat, gloves, and cover yourself in a massive duvet. When you sweat, it will push the virus or bacteria out of the pores. If you have access to a infar-red sauna this would be even better then the ‘bundle up’ approach, plus you won’t look as silly. Obviously, you should shower before going into public. After 2 days of being sick, the pathogen will have entered deeper into the body and thus this sweating method will not work. In this scenario, go see a medical practitioner.

Here are a few foods which will also heat up the body and kill the virus or bacteria: fresh garlic, Jamaican blue ring and scallions/chives.

Here are a few supplements that can also help: High potency echinacea, which will work for both cold and hot conditions because of it’s  neutral energetic temperature and will also stimulate the immune system. Also try the active ingredient in garlic, allicidin.

Hot terrains/Pathogens

When you have sweating, body aches, feel hot, yellow nasal discharge and a sore throat this is a hot condition/terrain. Again, within the first day of illness, it is a good idea to try the sweating method. 

Supplements to help kill viruses and bacteria in hot terrains in your body include high potency vitamin c, colloidal silver, and high potency echinacea.

If there is a combination of symptoms contact your local acupuncturist or herbalist so they can determine the best approach.

Good luck in the upcoming holiday season!

How To Choose An Acupuncturist?

August 13, 2010


This all boils down to personal taste. Would you like your doctor to be older or younger than you? Same sex or not? Does he or she have to be funny or stoic?  Does he or she have to like your college football team… or at least not be a fan of the enemy?


All of us blend with different personalities.  The important thing is that you feel comfortable and can communicate everything you need to your physician. Communication is the key to every patient-doctor relationship. 


How can I find out if the Acupuncturist can treat my condition?

Do not be shy, ladies and gentlemen. Send us an e-mail or tweet from your fancy new i-Phone 4 or that i-Pad thingy.  We chose to be in this medicine to help people, and you will be surprised of what we can help you with. The myth that acupuncture and Chinese medicine only helps chronic pain issues is just that…. a myth. Imagine how insane everyone would be in China if all our medicine could do is relieve pain!  We handle a variety of cases, as explained here.


What do I say in my e-mail?

Detail, detail, and more details. Not what your wearing and where you are going out tonight, but…..when, where, and why you think the condition started.  Also include information on what aggravates your condition and what makes it better.  Mention how long you have had the condition and what other medications or treatments you have tried, as well as which treatments helped and how much.  Ask the practitioner what he thinks he can do for you.  All of us practice very differently and use varying modalities.


Some of these modalities cost more to implement then others. Ask the secretary or practitioner what they might implement for you, so you have an idea of the cost.


How do I choose between Dave and Bob?

If you do not have a friend who can recommend a practitioner, then a good thing to Google is: state (insert your state) licensing board for acupuncture and Oriental medicine. 


Another website to visit is NCCAOM.ORG. This is our national licensing board (unless you are in California). On NCCAOM.ORG there is a link to: ‘find a practitioner’ in your area.


If someone has Dipl.O.M. after their name, that means they passed all four of the national boards. Most states only require two, but some of us overachievers go for broke, literally. 🙂 Our four boards are: Western Biomedicine/Western Sciences, Chinese Herbology, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. 



So how do you really chose between Dave and Bob? Take a look at their picture and if Bob looks creepy go with Dave!  🙂

Chinese Herbology 101

August 12, 2010

Our formulas have funny, poetic names such as: Dynamic Warrior or Free and Easy Wanderer.   And yes, if you take Free and Easy Wanderer, you will begin to wander around in quite the free and easy way.

Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan ECONOMY

Weird names aside, most of the herbs and spices we use are the same as they use in Western herbology. Turmeric, licorice, ginger, astragalus, etc… Sometimes in Chinese herbology, the practitioner buys a herb that has been stir-fried in honey, dry fried, or braised; these techniques and others can dramatically change the herb’s medicinal properties. DESIRE Cz harvesting

When is that herb JUST right for the picking?

Another important thing to know about herbology is that herbs can have different medicinal properties at various times of year. Just like seasonal foods, some herbs need to be picked and cultivated at varying times. For example: on the 255th day of the year when the sun shines from the east on the Shangtong mountaintop, and a grey goat rests near the ancient rock, it is the perfect time to pick Korean ginseng for greater energy in the mornings.  This is exactly what Monster drink company does, of course.bateman-sheer_drop-mountain_goats

Will my Acupuncturist or Herbalist give me a smelly potion?

Dried herbs may be bagged for the patient to cook or drink as a tea. Dried powders, liquid extracts, or pills may be given instead. I stick to the simple pills or liquid extracts as compliance rates are a lot higher for obvious reasons. Most patients don’t like stinking up their kitchen for three days or drinking gritty/dirty looking water. However, some patients love to put on a witch or wizard outfit, buy a large cauldron, and a Harry Potter wand.

We live in a global society; let’s come together and share our herbs!

Useful herbs can be found throughout the world. The Chinese were the first to seek out herbs from other countries’ hills and mountains. China’s herbal history includes importing frankincense and myrrh from the Middle East and even American ginseng from Wisconsin.  You heard right – Wisconsin provides us with a lot more than cheese and the Green Bay Packers!  A great herbal product line will recognize this and seek out the specific herb where it is known to grow the best and possess the most potent medicinal qualities. Similar to wine’s grapes, herbs also need certain ecosystems to flourish into mature tax-paying adult herbs.ginseng

So what is the difference with Chinese herbology?

Skilled herbalists, as I have discussed in previous posts, have very different diagnostic techniques and warning signs we look for in the humans sitting across from us. After the diagnosis, Chinese herbalists will decide on one of the thousands of herbal formulas available to us that essentially can be tailored to each individual’s constitution, primary symptoms, and chief complaint.

The important difference here is that we do not choose herbal formulas based only on the chief complaint, nor do we choose them based on the medical diagnosis by your primary physician. In my opinion, this is the most important difference! When 5 people get sick with the same virus or bacteria, they all will have different symptoms; additionally, the pattern of their sickness will change at different rates. So is it sensible to give them all one herb or one generic medication? This is where a detailed diagnosis by a Chinese herbalist comes into play.   We must as practitioners look at the whole body, not just the organ or system affected!

Have you ever taken a smelly Chinese potion before?  Or tried an herbal remedy?

What to expect when you are getting needled: A Typical Acupuncture Treatment

August 11, 2010

What happens first?

Before your appointment, you will be asked to complete a ridiculously long medical history questionnaire. The practitioner will then go through an in-depth interview about your primary health concern, lifestyle, emotions, menstrual cycle, diet, sleep, allergies, and your favorite TV shows. During this process, the practitioner examines you closely, noting your facial complexion, voice, and tongue color, and tongue coating. Additionally, there are nine positions of the pulse close to the wrist of each hand that the practitioner will assess to determine the health of the 12 main meridians.

Following the in-depth questioning process, the practitioner will give a diagnosis and begins treatment. Typically, he will use 4 – 1,200 needles during the treatment. I normally just use 4-12. However, receiving more needles does not mean you get more for your money like Costco or Sam’s Club. Normally, someone with an excess condition will need more needles vs. someone with a deficient condition, needing only a few. When someone is weak and has a deficient condition the practitioner chooses less needles so that their body does not waste all of it’s strength focusing on multiple needles (each needles directs the body to do different things via the central nervous system). On many occasions, over needling can weaken the patient. Good practitioners will not only determine the immediate condition, but also the patient’s constitution. If they have a strong constitution, they will be able to handle more points.


Upon the insertion, the patient may feel a slight prick or sting, which is 1/100th of the feeling when you get blood taken. After the needle is inserted, you can feel slight tingling, heaviness, slight numbness, or itchiness. There should be no pain. The needles are on average the same thickness as one strand of hair.

Why does the acupuncturist fiddle with my needles when they are in?

This is what we call manipulation. Their are countless methods of twirling, inserting, turning, etc. and all have a different effect on the acupuncture point. Fast and aggressive actions tend to be for excess conditions and slow soft manipulations are for deficient conditions. The direction that we do our skilled twirling also changes the effect. Additionally, how we take the needles out will affect the immediate impact of the treatment.

Am I going to be at the acupuncturists all day?

Typically, the treatment varies from twenty minutes to one hour.  Normally, first office visits take an hour to an hour and a half.

Do all acupuncturists wear silky, flowing outfits?

Some acupuncturists might try to inject a little personality into the treatment and sing to you while you relax. Maybe even bash a few gongs if your lucky. But most of us are regular medical practitioners with boring white coats, ties,  suits, bad jokes, and even sometimes… polished shoes.

When you say “herbal formula,” do you mean “full of insects?”

Some acupuncturists such as myself will prescribe a herbal formula. Contrary to what most people believe, most of the formulas have no animal products in and there are plenty of options for vegetarians. I myself am a vegan so most likely you will not find too many tortoise shells, snakes skins, or beetles in my formulas.

How long do you have to go see an acupuncturist?

Here comes the answer every patient hates….it depends!  If the person has been suffering with the condition for ten years it could take a year’s worth of treatments. If the patient has only had the problem for one month, then they might only need four treatments. It also depends on their lifestyle and desire to implement favorable conditions for rapid healing. If they are willing to take supplements and do consistent acupuncture, the speed of healing is greatly enhanced. A good practitioner will teach you ways to avoid future ailments and ways to live a healthier, balanced life. They should also encourage patients to come in as soon as they develop any symptoms in the future so we can utilize our medicine’s powerful preventative qualities.

Have you ever met a funny acupuncturist? What was your first acupuncture treatment like? Or have you had any funny experiences with a doctor – HIPPA rules apply here!

If anyone has any question please email me. I have just opened my new acupuncture and herbal practice in Charlotte North Carolina.

So You Want To Be An Acupuncturist?

August 10, 2010


How long is the program for Chinese medical school?

The study of acupuncture is often misunderstood.  An accredited acupuncture and Chinese medical school in the great US of A requires around 3,000 didactic and clinical hours. Programs are typically four years of full-time study; however, some schools (like mine) offer an accelerated program in three years, which means that your studies will be hyper-intense. Normally, school is broken down to 2,000 didactic hours and at least 1,000 clinical hours.


The general population also often does not realize that acupuncturists must complete 330 hours of biomedical clinical science (including 90 hours of pathology, 120 hours of anatomy and physiology, and 120 hours of western biomedical sciences). The Florida College of Integrative Medicine (where I went to dabble in this medicine) requires around 3,500 total hours of study and clinical time.


Get Over the Fear of Needling (or Being Needled)

Yes, some people go to acupuncture and Chinese medical schools and are afraid of needling.  Although it does take time and thousands of hours to master the skill, it is not as bad as most would think. You take the needle and tap it in (obviously with extreme skill and technique and in the right place).


Immerse Yourself!

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine is not just practiced… it is lived. A great practitioner should practice what he preaches. In school, you must prepare to thoroughly smother yourself in jam and all that is our medicine.


A great book to read before deciding would be The Web That Has No Weaver.

the web that has no weaver

Loans and Support

Find a lovely wife/husband or partner to support you through school. I worked part-time and it was intense. I would recommend either getting the extra graduate loans or quickly snagging up a super rich hunky man or lovely lady. On average, without living expenses, schooling will cost you $60,000 for the entire program.


Pre-Requisites and Other Great Classes

If you’re interested in schooling, consider an undergraduate pre-med track with a focus on anatomy and physiology. All of the chemistries (which are great for the herbal classes) and biological sciences provide a solid foundation, especially if your acupuncture school focuses heavily on Western medicine.


How to Chose a School

I would only advise going to an accredited college/university. Click here to find a list of universities near you. After reading about Chinese medicine ,you will then have some idea on what theory/style of our medicine you might be interested in. Similar to Western medicine, there are many different theories and areas of focus within Chinese medicine.


If anyone has a desire to go to one of these interesting schools e-mail me and I’ll be happy to provide you with more information.


I have now moved to Charlotte and opened The Holistic Wellness Center of Charlotte to provide the masses of Charlotte with acupuncture and Chinese medicine.


Did you study any science classes?  What were some of your favorite classes?

Acupuncture Is So Old School!

August 10, 2010

But it works!

Many medical modalities come and go. The true test is always time.  So I bet you’re interested in a practice that has been tried and tested for 4000-10,000 years! 


In fact, archaeologists have excavated little stones (Bian stones) from Chinese soils that are shaped like needles.  Accompanying these stones were literature describing how the stones were used medically, and the literal translation of the stone’s name is “sharp-edge stone to treat disease.”

bian stone

I cant wait to try these stones out on my patients!  😉


Fast forward a few thousand months.  In a grand room sat a powerful Chinese emperor and his physician. Little did they know that their chats would become Chinese medical law that is still used today.  The men’s discussion were jotted down into a book called The Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperors Classic of Internal Medicine). This book is the earliest written on Chinese Medicine and was compiled around 305-204 B.C.


During the Warren States Era (421-221 B.C.), metal needles replaced the Bian stones (but maybe we can be trend setters at the Holistic Wellness Center of Charlotte and bring them back).  Archaeologist have uncovered four gold and five silver needles that were found in an 113 B.C. tomb.


Again , let’s travel through the worm hole… and arrive in China following the   Revolution of 1911.  At this point, Western medicine was introduced and acupuncture and Chinese herbology were suppressed. However, due to the strength and willpower of China’s gargantuous population, acupuncture and herbology remained popular among the people.  The practice hid in the dark until the Chinese government required their army to undergo a long, tedious march in 1934 – 1935.  Acupuncture was used exclusively on the soldiers and helped the army remain healthy through the treacherous weather and landscape. As a result, Mao Zedong,the leader of the Communist Party, decided acupuncture should be brought out of the naughty chair and once again become an important part of China’s medical system.  (I did send a quick e-mail to Paula Radcliffe and inquire about using acupuncture during her next ‘long march’… still haven’t heard back yet!)


In 1972, Nixon visited China and saw the brilliance of Chinese medicine first hand. The delegation was shown an open-chest surgery with the patient fully awake!  If you’re open-mouthed at the very idea, believe it! Acupuncture was used as the sole anesthesia.   At such a sight, Nixon couldn’t help but be astounded and helped bring the practice to America.


Acupuncture has survived the test of time, the trials of wars, and other obstacles. The rest is history – and now America has acupuncturists everywhere. You can find us next right down the street next to your dentist or even in the grocery store shopping, buying some weird food in the corner of the store!  We are of all nationalities, races, and genders, and we are here to help as many people as we can with our very updated Bian stones!

acupuncture needles 

Let’s hear from the masses (or the 5 people that are reading this): What are some preconceived notions you have about acupuncture?


E-mail us at to see if the Holistic Wellness Center of Charlotte can be of service to you.