Chinese Herbal Medicine

Journey to the West

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Acupuncture, Blog, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Oriental Medicine | Comments Off on Journey to the West

It’s official I have finished moving into my new practice in San Ramon. As I continue my solo practice in Lafayette, this new endeavor enables me to work closely and in tandem with practitioners whom I respect and are enriching the field of wellness. This completes an interesting circle within a circle for me I’ll begin at the beginning. Traditional Chinese Medicine/Oriental Medicine has been traveling West to California and taking root here over the last 165 years. The journey started with the Gold Rush, when the only medicine available was from Chinese immigrants. By signing the Acupuncture Practice Act in 1975, then-governor Jerry Brown legalized acupuncture in California. This Journey to the West (the title taken from a famous Chinese classical folk tale that I highly recommend reading), was the subject of the first Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (AOM) conference, which I produced in 1993. It was also the theme of my foray into acupuncture politics. During my early AOM education, I became frustrated with content that was lacking or irrevelant. For example, a Western medical course promoted a system for assessing TB infection that was used by the Soviet Union in the 1960’s. Why? Because it was considered to be the “best one around.” It became my political mission to help bring the acupuncture profession in California, and by consequence in other states, up to standards that would ease integrating acupuncture into our country’s healthcare system. We had a good run, and over a period of 10 years and the backing of a unified profession here in California, we helped pass legislation that permanently established licensed lcupuncturists as Primary Treating Physicians within Workers’ Comp, protected and expanded our scope of practice, increased educational standards, and set the stage for the inclusion of acupuncture as a covered benefit in Covered California (aka ACA/Obamacare). The PIFM Team (Pacific Integrative & Functional Medicine) Fast forward, and I am now making my own Journey to the West by helping to start an integrative medical group in San Ramon. It’s an honor and a blessing to work with this group of exceptional practitioners that includes two nutritionists, a medical doctor, and a licensed acupuncturist: Nathalie Bera-Miller, MD and I met at Cal in 1996 when we were studying Nutrition & Food Science We reconnected when I was the academic dean at AIMC Berkeley, where she taught some of the Western medical courses. Nathalie practices Functional Medicine, a holistic style of Western Medicine that utilizes a detailed history intake and unique set of innovative lab tests to assess physiological function of various systems. Chief among them is the Central Nervous System (which includes one’s mental, emotional, and spiritual experience), and seven other systems that interact with it to support optimal functioning and health, including: Digestion/Gastrointestinal Immune/Repair Energy Regulation Biotransformation/Detoxification Circulation/Transportation Communication (hormones, neurotransmitters, etc) Structural/Musculoskeletal There are many interesting parallels between Oriental Medicine and Functional Medicine, as both are based on the concept of balance. Oriental Medicine also defines internal organs by their functions and how well they interact with each other. Needless to say, not only are there a lot of fascinating conversations and insights to be shared, but real benefits for patient care as well. Dawn Preisendorf, MA, NC, CHWC, practices as a functional nutritionist and health coach. She utilizes many of the same labs and tools as Dr. Bera-Miller to  assess body balance and function. Dawn is extremely sharp and knowledgeable in her areas of expertise, which include hormone balancing and brain health. She also leads group workshops for groups on health and nutrition, including a virtual Health-Reboot Workshop this May 13th, and a Virtual Quick Cleanse starting this May 27th.  ...

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Eastward Ho! – Acupuncture in San Ramon

Posted by on Jan 27, 2015 in Acupuncture, Blog, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Oriental Medicine | Comments Off on Eastward Ho! – Acupuncture in San Ramon

I am pleased to announce that my acupuncture practice in the East Bay is expanding. In addition to providing services in Lafayette, I will soon open a practice in San Ramon, where I am teaming up with an MD and two nutritionists to create a center for integrative and functional medicine. The expansion is happening in two stages. Beginning in February, I will practice Thursdays at La Spa Petite, 2551 San Ramon Valley Blvd, Suite 221. If you would like to book an acupuncture appointment with me at this location, please call, email, or schedule online. Dr. Nathalie Berra-Miller, the MD with whom I am now collaborating, is also practicing Functional Medicine at La Spa Petite until our new space for acupuncture in San Ramon is ready in early March. I will see clients there on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays (more info to come), while maintaining my acupuncture hours in Lafayette on Mondays, Fridays, and every other Saturday. If you know people in the San Ramon area (or Lafayette) who could benefit from acupuncture, please tell them about us. With many thanks, Benjamin — Benjamin Dierauf, LAc Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Click here to Schedule Online www.BenjaminDierauf.com (925) 297-4785 Pacific Integrative & Functional Medicine: Acupuncture San Ramon 210 Porter Dr. Suite #230, San Ramon CA 94583 Lamorinda Healing Arts 961 Dewing Ave. Lafayette CA 94549 Acupuncture and herbs for: Pains & Aches, Stress Reduction, Insomnia, Fatigue, Digestive Issues, Chronic Illness,  Allergies, Men’s and Women’s Health   Acupuncture in Lafayette / Acupuncture in San Ramon: Experienced Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine for Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Pleasanton, Contra Costa & Alameda Counties, and the Greater East Bay...

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Acupuncture for Plantar Fasciitis

Posted by on Nov 2, 2014 in Acupuncture, Blog, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Oriental Medicine, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Acupuncture for Plantar Fasciitis

By Benjamin Dierauf, LAc I’ve recently had a string of patients seeking acupuncture for plantar fasciitis, a debilitating foot pain that is usually at its worst upon waking in the morning. At its root is inflammation of the fascia—a sheath that surrounds muscles on the bottom of the feet—usually caused by recent trauma to the feet. Even something as commonplace as switching to a new pair of shoes or orthotics can initiate the condition. Conventional Western medicine doesn’t have much to offer this condition. Anti-inflammatory drugs can provide temporary relief, but they do not address the underlying issue. The same goes for the next level of intervention, steroid shots. While I don’t have a problem with the occasional anti-inflammatory for treating acute pain, these drugs have their drawbacks when taken long term. Steroids can weaken the body’s immune system and ability to heal. With plantar fasciitis, risks of corticosteroid injections include ruptured plantar fascia, skin infections, nerve or muscle injury, and atrophy of the plantar fat pad. Aspirin can damage the stomach lining and lead to internal bleeding and other complications if taken over a long period of time. At higher doses, Tylenol becomes a liver toxin, and is the leading cause of liver failure in the Western world. While recent studies show that sustained use of ibuprofen can lead to higher rates of kidney cancer, the larger risk with ibuprofen is stomach and intestinal bleeding and perforation. Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (AOM), however, provides a unique lens for diagnosing plantar fasciitis and choosing the treatment that will reduce inflammation and support the healthy repair of the plantar fascia. In addition to reducing inflammation, increasing circulation of qi (roughly translated as energy) and blood, and promoting the repair and growth of healthy fascia, acupuncture for plantar fasciitis also treats the underlying imbalance that invited the condition. These systemic/holistic benefits are effective preventative medicine that promotes health and well being. For example, one of my patients, George, had an underlying condition of Dampness that blocked his body’s ability to heal his plantar fasciitis. While Dampness usually takes some time to treat with AOM, his condition improved dramatically after just three acupuncture for plantar fasciitis treatments. Another patient, David, had an underlying Liver & Kidney Yin Deficiency that affected his body’s ability to provide cooling anti-inflammatory support to his plantar fascia. It took six weeks of treatment with acupuncture for plantar fasciitis and Chinese herbs for his condition to improve. Another interesting treatment for plantar fasciitis that has worked for my patients and myself is to make a ‘sock’ out of aluminum foil, wrap it around the foot with a seam down the middle so that it can be taken on and off easily, and sleep with it on for 3-7 nights. It also helps to have a light sock under the foil and sleep with the foot outside of the covers. The aluminum foil helps to reduce the inflammation in the foot. If you know someone with a case of plantar fasciitis that isn’t getting better on its own or with conventional medical treatment, please refer them to a licensed acupunctuist who can assess and treat them effectively.     Lafayette Acupuncture / San Ramon Acupuncture: Experienced Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine for Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Pleasanton, Contra Costa & Alameda Counties, and the Greater East Bay Area....

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Treating Warts with Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (AOM)

Posted by on Sep 4, 2014 in Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Oriental Medicine | Comments Off on Treating Warts with Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (AOM)

While most of us know that Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (AOM) effectively treats conditions such as neck pain, lower back pain, and migraines, it is actually a highly evolved and fairly complete system of medicine that applies to a wider than imagined range of symptoms. By addressing underlying imbalances that allow conditions to persist, AOM—usually a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbs—helps the body regain balance and heal itself. Besides resolving the ailments mentioned, AOM can also remedy skin conditions as a stand-alone treatment or in tandem with conventional Western medicine. Meet “K” K, a new client, recently arrived in my office with a large periungual wart on her finger. Half of it was under her fingernail. Tricky. For more than two years, she had suffered through a variety of Western treatments. A daily application of apple cider vinegar achieved nothing. Neither did a dermatologist’s regular scraping of the wart with a specialized razor blade. Having it frozen with liquid nitrogen proved fruitless. Taking DPCP (diphenylcyclopropenone) and SADBE (squaric acid dibutyl ester) compromised her immune system and triggered horrible rashes over her entire body. K also endured four excruciating Laser Genesis sessions. As a result of these treatments, she developed several infections/abscesses. Most of them required oral and topical antibiotics, one of which entered her lymph, sending her to the ER. Otherwise fairly healthy—though a little energy deficient and stressed from raising three young children and working part-time—K also had neck and shoulder pain from carrying kids for seven years. Using AOM and innovation to treat her wart I knew that it might take a while for my treatments to work. K agreed to a course of herbs and 12 acupuncture sessions. Acupuncture would regulate her immune system—referred to in Oriental medicine as her ‘defensive qi’—and improve her blood and energy circulation. To help K nourish her blood and regulate her liver, I prescribed herbs to take internally. Because I also attended to her neck and shoulder pain, K’s health insurance covered the acupuncture treatments. Half of K’s wart was under the fingernail, so I hit the books and developed a custom herbal formula for direct application. I went to Chinatown in Oakland to buy raw herbs. When I ground up my mixture of them and added cider vinegar, there was an exciting explosion of bubbles. Although my formula smelled and looked potent, alas, after three weeks the wart had not changed. We switched gears and applied a single herb, Ya Dan Zi or Fructus Brucea. Usually prescribed for malaria or dysentery, it is considered toxic and should not be used internally unless under the care of a licensed acupuncturist. Twice daily, K ground a single seed of Ya Dan Zi, mixed it with a drop of water, placed it on her wart, and covered it with a bandage. After doing this for a week, she reported a clear discharge and pain where the wart was. We switched from mixing the herb with water to mixing it with antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. Amazing results The next week, K’s wart was significantly smaller. A month later, it was gone. K is ecstatic. Even though the type of wart she had typically disappears on its own after three years, she believes that Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine really made the difference for her. Her insurance company must be delighted, too. It paid over $10,000 for ineffective “solutions” and their side effects before the problem was solved by acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Lafayette Acupuncture / San Ramon Acupuncture: Experienced Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine for Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Pleasanton, Contra Costa & Alameda Counties, and the Greater East Bay Area....

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Acupuncture vs Back Surgery?

Posted by on Aug 6, 2014 in Acupuncture, Blog, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Oriental Medicine | Comments Off on Acupuncture vs Back Surgery?

By Benjamin Dierauf, LAc Here’s an interesting story about something that recently happened at my Lafayette acupuncture office. I had a new patient with excruciating low back pain and sciatica radiating all the way down to her toes. She was scheduled for back surgery in a couple of days and wanted to get acupuncture to help prepare her body for surgery and recover from it more quickly – something I facilitate often. I am pleased to report that after front and back treatment with acupuncture and suction cups, my patient’s low back pain was reduced by 80%. This came as a complete surprise to her, and all of the sudden she was faced with the dilemma of what to do about her scheduled surgery. She was a health professional and understood that back surgery requires a surgeon, an operating room and a team of highly specialized personnel, all of whom were scheduled just for her. She asked me what I thought about acupuncture vs back surgery, and I advised her to wait and see. “You never know how back surgery will work out and it shouldn’t be done unless it’s absolutely necessary. If you’re feeling this much better after one treatment, you’re better off at least waiting on the surgery to see if you continue to feel better.” And I added, “You should talk to your surgeon as well – if they’re good they’ll say the same thing.” The next day her back still felt better, so she called her surgeon to talk about it. He was a good surgeon and agreed to cancel the surgery. My patient came back for her next round of acupuncture treatment and her pain was reduced by 90%. After four treatments 2x/week, her back pain was completely gone. Six weeks later, it is still gone. She’s now getting acupuncture once every two weeks and will drop to once per month to get preventative/restorative tune-up acupuncture for her back if all continues to go well. Given that the typical back surgery cost ranges from $50,000 – $150,000+ these days, and considering the risk involved (some of my most difficult cases are patients who have already had back surgery), it’s imperative that patients, in addition to getting at least a couple of second opinions, try a variety of less invasive care for their back pain before they go on to surgery. These may include different types of bodywork such as Feldenkrais, massage, cranial-sacral therapy, chiropractic and most importantly — in my biased opinion — Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine. Sadly for my patient, her health insurance does not cover acupuncture (although it does cover the $50,000 – $150,000+ cost of surgery), so she will have to pay out of pocket for her acupuncture care. The cost of her Chinese herbs included, if all goes well she will  be paying about $1200/year – a great deal for safe, effective and preventive care (that her insurance really should cover). I love reporting these kinds of stories and look forward to sharing more of them.   With Gratitude, Benjamin Lafayette Acupuncture / San Ramon Acupuncture: Experienced Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine for Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Pleasanton, Contra Costa & Alameda Counties, and the Greater East Bay Area....

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