Acupuncture Research lecture at UPENN

A strong presence and a plush accent dusted with the remains of her worldly travel are only a few of the stunning attributes that made Dr. Claudia Witt’s recent lecture stand above the fray. She came to the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine to inform us that Acupuncture combined with Primary Care has brought about a “new era in Conventional Medicine.” The research is being done, getting funded and people are getting much better with the combination of the two worlds of care.

As a guest of our Integrative Medicine Pioneer, MD and Acupuncture physician here at Penn Jun Mao, Dr. Claudia Witt talked to us about Acupuncture Research around the world and how it’s infusing the practice of Acupuncture medicine at home and abroad.

Currently a resident of Switzerland where acupuncture is covered by insurance when practiced by a Medical doctor, Witt describes the large variety of regulations that swirl through Acupuncture practice. It all relies on one factor, how much has been proven and among how large of a sample size it has been proven with.

Simply put, we need more people recruited for the studies, more funding for more research studies to be conducted to continue to prove the multitude of benefits that people are experiencing with this penetrating practice of Acupuncture medicine.

Witt says regarding increasing the size of the population these studies are conducted on, “Often it is a cultural issue. During a clinic holding pediatric acupuncture research, to see a room filled with children with a lot of needles sticking out of their heads, for some cultures this would be strange, but not for others. It has been difficult to recruit for these studies. Large sample sizes in the US are needed to ramp up the research. It’s mostly small scale studies that have taken place thus far as opposed to the Meta analysis coming out of other countries.”

Most people I know have had a good experience with acupuncture. For them, that is the proof. It makes them feel better, that proves that it works. However this will not help to get Acupuncture practitioners paid as they deserve insurance companies to reimburse so patients can get more acupuncture, research studies funded, or other physicians to refer their patients for treatments. In China Acupuncture is free and you can get as much as you need.

Research on preventing disease, Immunology research, measuring Qi and functional imaging to prove pain (possibly through PET) were among the topics that were discussed among the viewers. According to Witt, prevention research may be taking place in China; however in the US this would be a costly endeavor considering the long term observation that would be required.

For tension headaches (HA) research shows that needling points do not matter. “No matter where you put the needle, the headaches get better” says Witt. Sham research, needling points and mechanisms such as turning the needle and making deeper skin penetration (always done in China- “I beg for the western style Acupuncture when I am in China because it is quite painful,”) as well as trigger point acupuncture (palpating points to find pain and find the points) are huge topics amongst researchers and Acupuncturists.

Placebo always has to be considered. According to Witt this is one of the largest areas of research going on right now, Placebo research. An individual’s expectation of a treatment to work and make them feel better, has seen to impact patients with chronic pain, who are receiving acupuncture treatments.

Patient- Doctor Interaction’s research in Zurich showed that it mattered more the type of relationship that was being developed between patient and doctor, than the treatments themselves. Studies on arthritis, tension headaches, migraines, pain, Bells-Palsy are among what we have currently published in JAMA, Lancet and Journal of Clinical Oncology. Stronger needle stimulation was seen to help for Bells-Palsy. Mao recently published research for those suffering from the side effects of breast cancer treatment. Breast cancer Surgical Oncologist, Dr. Brian Czerniecki is referring his patients to Mao for acupuncture since the recently published study came out. “He’s been sending his patients more and more for Acupuncture” Says NP of Czerniecki.

One topic I meant to bring up was the use of pulsation. Monitoring the pulse to determine diagnosis and treatment is practiced among one fully trained pulsation practitioner that I know of in Philadelphia, but also by other Acupuncturists on a smaller scale. According to Witt, “Diagnosing and individualized care is not showing much evidence to make a difference e.” The Acupuncturist at Five Virtues mixes her own herbal formulas and went through specialized Chinese medicine training to do so. “If we use fixed formulas, standard care for everyone we are no better than western medicine.” Five Virtues Acupuncturist sees a remarkable difference in her patients when treating with emphasis on diagnosis and individualized treatments. Fixed formulas and standardized care vs. individualized care have not yielded much research, as of yet. Another Acupuncturist working out of Society Hill says, “The standard formulas have shown to be very beneficial for my clients. I use them and pulse points to approach the types of treatments I deliver.”

Witt conducts both Clinical Research and experimental research while also practicing Acupuncture medicine in Switzerland, where Acupuncture is covered by insurance if the practitioner is also a Medical Doctor. We hope she will come back and keep talking to us. I will be assisting flood Jun Mao with patients for his two active research studies on breathing and pain, taking place at Penn’s Perelman Center.

Vaccines are now being made with plants not pathogens

A new way to deliver vaccines around the world to those who are currently suffering and dying without them.

No refrigeration needed.
No pathogens.
Lettuce leaves, and oral delivery will be the new source for vaccines to help protect against Polio and HPV, for example
in areas of the world where those diseases are still taking lives.

The technology behind it:
"Tucked behind old factory buildings on Penn's South Bank campus stands a gleaming greenhouse. The $2 million structure, completed late last year, is state-of-the-art. Drip irrigation ensures each pot receives just the right amount of water. Humidity and temperature are precisely monitored and can be accessed and modified remotely. And if short winter days, snow cover, or cloudy skies prevent enough sunlight from entering the greenhouse, panels and lights on the ceiling adjust automatically to provide light that matches solar radiation.
Such cutting-edge technology might seem over-the-top for a mere greenhouse. But the plants grown inside are not destined for a garden, farm, or windowsill; their intended fate is to save lives."

See full story here on an amazing professor, Henry Daniell and "Growing Plants to Save Lives" 

Largest Clinical trial on yoga used biological measures just released from embargo

Upheld in embargo until 1-27-14, at 4p.m., the largest known randomized, controlled clinical trial that includes biological measures looks at the medical benefits of yoga  says study author, Dr. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser.

New research proves that with as little as three months of practice, yoga can reduce inflammation and fatigue. The more the practice, the better the results.

Researchers recruited a total of 200 women for the study. Not a small number for any clinical trial.

Specific details for breast cancer patients who have completed their treatment regimen were examined and improvement in a qualitative manner was revealed.

 “Yoga has many parts to it – meditation, breathing, stretching and strengthening. We think the breathing and meditation components were really important in terms of some of the changes we were seeing.” Kiecolt-Glaser said.

The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

For more information on the study author interview:

The study:

Pitching this to Philadelphia publications and media outlets for possible freelance opportunities.

Force (as in force of nature) Vetiver

August 28, 2013

Have you ever felt so drawn to something, that you feel you may fall right into it?

 Sculpture in NYC by Paige Bradley

This is how it was meeting, Vetiver. It went a little something like this, sniff, “hmm” sniff sniff, “hmm hmm, uh huh..."

"Oh my...what is that? Will you put some right here? I want to smell that all day. Let me smell it again. Oh, I like that. What's the name of that again?"

I am not alone, but it is few and far between that feel the same love I do for the lures of this liquid.

There are only two children beckoned by the fearless scent, Dylan Murphy and Anna Branas, unique beings in so many ways and old souls, for sure. John Murphy, at dinner tasted the bliss, the internationally acclaimed artist was tranquilized by its decor of creativity and tranquility. The soul goddess of fire and light, dredges tears with her lemongrass, coaxes yogini's by the droves with her own effervescence she was lured and "amazed", the bold-natured herbal specialist at Essene Market in Queen Village was snapped out of her silence, Elaine on the way to the lake stopped the car to apply it to every crevice, Nicole the grad student wanted to take it with her, the sassy Brooklyn native next door douses her entire family with it now, Brian on the Kundalini mat beside me came back for more, and the yummy martyr in my bed, all moved by the essence.

This vivacious, thick, dark, velvety oozing with glory essential, among a host of powerful attributes has been known to have a sedative impact. Frontier's gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry, brings a significant potency to the plant. Among it's healing powers, cancer, joint issues and inflammation. (Stick w/ Frontier brand on this one, not all are created equal. The Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry are a necessity with this complex of a plant.)

The reaction seems chemical. One whiff, gazes lock, wonder brews. What powers have just been enchanted upon us from this dichotomous elixir? It feeds a part of you that has always been hungry, but you didn't know.

Oils call to me like yoga, trees, wind, water or stones do. Like Artemis before Hercules. I stay within and allow a delicate decision to form, from a place that doesn't need words. The aroma of a certain primal being sent me searching for a new spice the day this new oil was revealed to me. When the smell of him washed out of my sheets, I was left with the desire to be drenched and dirty with his secretions once again.

You know those electric beings oozing subtle vibrations?

 You will know when you feel a trickling sensation in secret spaces.

Warm, ethereal droplets placed gently and naturally on your lips- taking refusal out of the options,

no matter the neural input.

Dredging your animal self- playful, free and fearless;

fierce, soulful and soft. A force.

Seducing you into submission with such sophistication-

releasing you strengthened with a new discipline.

That's what led me to Vetiver's esoteric, aphrodisiac, cicatrisant, nervine sustenance.

I knew what I wanted. I sniffed through others, lemon, bergamont, ylang ylang, none of them were just right. Too sweet, too sour...too tame, not tame enough.

I knew I would sense it when I found it.

Nothing can cloud the vision when you know what you want.

I craved rich earth, health a forever youthful innocence, filled with purity.

Sincerity tingling with serenity's embrace.

As with any glory, there is a hint of danger lurking beyond the shadows beneath your feet,

an uncertainty that will never be defined,

which leaves you breathless with wonder and persistence,

furthering your thriving to soar that much more.

Rebirth your soul, take a whiff of the spirit of Vetiver oil. It will change your perspective.

All are not created equal when it comes to Vetiver, get this bottle. Organic, Aura Cacia by Frontier.