Get A Good Night’s Sleep – Insomnia Can Affect Your Heart!

According to the European Heart Journal, a study conducted on 54,000 Norwegians over 11 years revealed that having symptoms of insomnia was linked to an increased risk of heart failure.

Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep and waking up UN-refreshed were the symptoms of insomnia recorded in the questionnaires that were used to gather data.

Many health, behavioral and demographic factors were controlled in the study and it was found that having just one of the symptoms of insomnia increased chances of heart disease by 17 percent! Having two symptoms increased the chances by 92 percent, and having all three nearly tripled the risk.

The interesting factor about this study is that insomnia was a risk independent of other cardiovascular risks, i.e. none of the participants started out with heart disease, but at the 11 year follow up, 1,412 cases of heart disease were documented.

The study suggests that chronic insomnia leads to high blood pressure which leads to a higher heart rate. Both are known to increase risk for heart failure.

Lars E. Laugsand, lead author of the study and postdoctoral fellow at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, stated “We cannot claim that insomnia is causing heart failure,” but acknowledges that insomnia plays a measurable role in the  propensity of heart problems among individuals.

If you are having difficulty with sleep, consider using Chinese herbs. Pacific Herbs iSleep is a safe and effective formula without side effects that will help you get the rest you need. And according to this study, better sleep may protect your heart!

Read more:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/11/chronic-insomnia-affects-heart/

Chinese Herbs From A Western Medicine Viewpoint

How a Harvard-trained doctor began to appreciate Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM.

by Leana Wen, M.D.

As a child growing up in China, I was always aware of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM is what we refer to as Eastern medicine, in contrast to the Western medicine we know from U.S. hospitals. I never understood much about TCM, only that it somehow involves herbs and that many Chinese people used it. The more I progressed in my medical training in major U.S. academic centers, the more distanced I felt from TCM. Why should I learn about something that lacks evidence, when there’s so much to know about for which there is good research?

 

Last fall, I went to China on a research trip. While my study is primarily on its Western medical system, I was so fascinated by what I learned of Eastern medicine that I spent many free evenings observing TCM practitioners. There is so much I didn’t know. As a discipline, TCM is far too complex for me to understand in my short observation, but there are some very important “lessons from the East” that are applicable to our Western medical practice:

 

#1. Listen—really listen. The first TCM practitioner I shadowed explained to me that to practice TCM is to “listen with your whole body”. Pay attention and use every sense you have, he said. I watched this doctor as he diagnosed a woman with new-onset cervical cancer and severe anemia the moment she walked into his exam room, and within two minutes, without blood tests or CTs, sent her to be admitted to a (Western) medical service. I’ve seen expert clinicians make remarkable diagnoses, but this was something else!

“How could you know what you had and that she needed to be admitted?” I asked.

“I smelled the cervical cancer,” he said. “I looked and saw the anemia. I heard her speak and I knew she could not care for herself at home.” (I followed her records in the hospital; he was right on all accounts.)

 

#2. Focus on the  diagnosis. I watched another TCM doctor patiently explain to a young woman with long-standing abdominal pain why painkillers were not the answer.

“Why should we treat you for something if we don’t know what it is?” he said. “Let’s find out the diagnosis first.” What an important lesson for us—to always begin the diagnosis.

 

#3. Treat the whole person. “A big difference between our two practices,” said one TCM doctor, “Is that Western medicine treats people as organs. Eastern medicine treats people as a whole.” Indeed, I watched her inquire about family, diet, and life stressors. She counseled on issues of family planning, food safety, and managing debt. She even helped patients who needed advice on caring for the their elderly parents and choosing schools for their child. This is truly “whole person” care!

 

#4. Health is not just about disease, but also about wellness. There is a term in Chinese that does not have its exact equivalent in English. The closest translation is probably “tune-up to remain in balance”, but it doesn’t do the term justice, because it refers to maintaining and promoting wellness. Many choose to see a TCM doctor not because they are ill, but because they want to be well. They believe TCM helps them keep in balance. It’s an important lesson for doctors and patients alike to address wellness and prevention.

 

#5. Medicine is a life-long practice. Western medicine reveres the newest as the best; in contrast, patients revere old TCM doctors for their knowledge and experience. Practicing doctors do not rest on their laurels.

“This is a practice that has taken thousands of years to develop,” I was told. “That’s why you must keep learning throughout your life, and even then you will only learn just a small fraction.” Western medicine should be no different: not only are there new medical advances all the time, doctors need to continually improve their skills in the art of medicine.

 

#6. Evidence is in the eyes of the beholder. Evidence-based medicine was my mantra in Western medical training, so I was highly skeptical of the anecdotes I heard. But then I met so many patients who said that they were able to get relief from Eastern remedies while Western treatments failed them. Could there be a placebo effect? Sure. Is research important? Of course. But research is done on populations, and our treatment is of individuals. It has taken me a while to accept that I may not always be able to explain why—but that the care should be for the individual patient, not a population of patients.

“In a way, there is more evidence for our type of medicine than for yours,” a TCM teacher told me. “We have four thousand years of experience—that must count for something!”

 

There is so much I have not covered about TCM. Its practices vary regionally, and no doubt, there are more and less capable practitioners (as there are in Western medicine). More research into TCM methods will be important. However, regardless of whether we Western doctors want to prescribe TCM treatments, we should recognize there is much to learn from Eastern medicine, including what it means to be a physician to really care for our patients. Upon my return from China, I, for one, have a new found appreciation for Eastern medical practice and a renewed understanding of holistic medical care.

The 5 Biggest “Health Insurance” Tips You Will Ever Need

Love your body, be healthy and prevent disease.I having been surrounded (quite literally) for the past three days by so called “healthy products”,  everything from fortified lolly pops, safer nail polish to every type of infused water possible. I had three days of endless conversations with wellness experts from around the world, Naturopaths, Dieticians, Chiropractors, Acupuncturists, Herbalists, Homeopaths and Bio-Chemists to name a few. Every health professional I spoke to had the same resounding theme, the key to better health is not in any one of these hot new health products that you’ll find at the Natural Products Expo and later on a store shelf.  It’s not about curing a disease, it’s about PREVENTING it in the first place. The key is and always has been about PREVENTION.

So how do you PREVENT disease?  It’s actually not that difficult. Everyone can do it.
What you eat of course plays a big part and being a fast food society does cause “eating challenges”. (the subject of a later blog)
However, every health practitioner that I spoke with agreed that since all dis-ease (disease) is associated with inflammation and hormonal imbalances, getting those two area of the body in balance is the beginning to true prevention.
Think of prevention as the most cost effective “health insurance” available. Here are 5 tips to help your body be less acidic and more alkaline to keep inflammation to a minimum and a couple easy steps to balancing your hormones. (especially essential for women)
1. Reduce the sugar, it leads to inflammation. This includes fruit juices and products sweetened with fruit juice.  Most fruit is highly acidic.
2. Stay away from artificial hormones such as birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy and artificial “muscle building” powders. You can easily balance your own hormones through exercise and diet and you won’t need hormone replacements.
3. Get good quality sleep. Sleep helps the body heal and restores natural energy. When you sleep well, you will naturally produce more hormones. You won’t need that artificial, sugar laced energy drink and one cup of coffee will be enough. 
4. Add tea’s rather than coffee to your diet. There a thousand types of teas to choose from bags, loose leaf everyone can find something pleasing. Green teas (and others) naturally reduce body acidity and help reduce inflammation. Don’t misunderstand coffee has health benefits, but adding variety to your diet with tea’s provides other unique health benefits.
5. Exercise and learn some new stress releasing techniques like Yoga, Qi Gong breathing, Tai Qi and other types of relaxation / breathing exercises to reduce your stress. (All sorts of Youtube videos are freely available on these subjects) Get at least 45 minutes of sustained exercise everyday even if it’s just a brisk walk. Movement helps stimulate natural hormone production in your thymus, pituitary, adrenals and thyroid glands. Do it daily, for the greatest disease insurance.
It’s been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, I think it’s something closer to a ton of cure.
This post is proud to be part of “Prevention Not Prescription Tues” at The Kathleen Show

Harvard Says Menopause Hormone Therapy Carries Proven Heart Risks

A very important study was just released from Harvard School of Public Health by the National Institute of Health.  This study on women’s health confirmed that combination hormone therapy used commonly for symptoms due to menopause increases a woman’s risk for heart disease.
 
 
“New analysis from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) confirm that combination hormone therapy increases the risk of heart disease in healthy postmenopausal women. Researchers report a trend toward an increased risk of heart disease during the first two years of hormone therapy among women who began therapy within 10 years of menopause, and a more marked elevation of risk among women who began hormone therapy more than 10 years after menopause. Analysis indicate that overall a woman’s risk of heart disease more than doubles within the first two years of taking combination HT.”
 
 
My hope is that this study will be read by the throngs of women who visit their medical doctors looking for a quick fix for hot flashes and night sweats.  Understanding these proven risks will surely save lives. There is a better way to treat menopausal symptoms using Chinese medicine and Chinese herbs. This less understood Complementary and Alternative Medicine has been practiced in Asia for centuries with truly remarkable results. Today nearly every community across America has an Acupuncturist and the profession is growing.
 
 
Jacques E. Rossouw, M.D., chief of the NHLBI Women's Health Initiative Branch and a coauthor of the paper, added, "Although the number of recently menopausal women who would be expected to suffer a heart attack during the first years of combination hormone therapy is small, the risk is likely to be real.”
 
 
The risk  of taking hormone therapy is real!   It can’t be much clearer than that. Yet, to me it sounds like Dr. Rossouw’s statement doesn’t want to cause panic so he says the risk is small. But if even one women dies unnecessarily from a heart attack due to hormone replacement therapy, in my book, that’s one heart attack and one life to many.     
 
 
I treat many women with menopausal symptoms and I understand how uncomfortable hot flashes and night sweats can be. Routinely I hear the common complaints about quality of sleep, how difficult it is to dress comfortably and all the other dryness issues from hair to nails to skin, etc.   I treat women with Acupuncture and with Chinese herbs. I don’t do anything miraculous as an Acupuncturist, but my patients get great results.  It’s the acupuncture and herbs that balance the body naturally and help ease the symptoms of menopause.
 
 
It’s also not a quick fix, many patients come for three to six months on a  weekly basis and are very compliant about taking the herbal formulas. Again it’s not me, it’s Chinese medicine that understands the relationship of Yin and Yang energy in the body and has been perfected throughout the last 2000 years.
 
 
My hope is that all women will ease into the change of life and experience little to no uncomfortable symptoms. But when they do, spread the word that help is available using Chinese Medicine and Chinese herbs that does not carry proven risk factors such as heart attacks. Acupuncture is safe and effective when performed by a licensed Acupuncturist. If you need a referral we are here to help. Use the yellow contact button on the left and just let us know your looking for an acupuncturist in your hometown.  
 
 
I always give links to studies in my articles, here’s the link for this one. http://www.nih.gov/news/health/feb2010/nhlbi-15.htm

How To Stay Asleep… All Night!

-skinny Brochure iSleep-1Do you practice good sleep hygiene? 

You might be asking what is sleep hygiene?

Sleep hygiene is a combination of practices to create a restful, rejuvenating night of sleep. If you don’t get restful sleep every night there is an  herbal solution to help.  This  product has over 800 hundreds of years of use and clinical studies backing it’s effectiveness.

Why use an herbal remedy for sleep that has been used for 800 years?  Because, it works!

The history of herbal remedies is as old as man.  Written first on bones, turtle shells and then bamboo and pryus reeds this sleep remedy has been past down from generation to generation.

There is no guessing.

The herbs used gently calm the mind, stop the over-thinking and allow the body to fall asleep and stay asleep naturally.

We did improve on these herbs by re-packaging them in convenient easy to use individual packets.  

Our packets combine the best in pharmaceutical packaging without using fillers or additives.

Our packets are convenient, have no additives, no sugar, no pills and best of all, water is optional. 

Try iSleep Herb Pack today not just because it tastes great, but because you deserve a restful night of sleep…

every night.

Don’t be fooled by sleep aids today that combine herbs which have no history of ever being used together.  That is junk science.  It’s similar to the idea of throwing everything in your refrigerator into a pot of soup and hoping it will taste good. We know it doesn’t work that way.

Wouldn’t you rather use an herbal sleep aid that has hundreds of years of use!

Try iSleep Herb Pack today.

Study Shows Chinese Herbs Help Sleeplessness

iSleepherbpac.comAsian countries commonly treat sleeplessness with Chinese herbs more affordably and without the side-effects associated with prescriptions. A study done in Taiwan showed patients complaining of  insomnia were successfully treated with Chinese herbs.  

 

This study included 16,134 participants who received a total of 29,801 Chinese Herbal Medicine prescriptions. This large-scale study which used data assembled by the National Health Insurance of Taiwan, evaluated the frequency and patterns of Chinese herbs in treating insomnia

What’s unusual about this study is not just the sheer numbers of participants but the amount of data collected. Read the full study here.

The reason the study has such a large group of participants is simply that Taiwan has instituted a unique computerized data entry system as part of its health care system.  Patients can choose to visit either a Western hospital or a Traditional Chinese Medicine hospital. All data from patient visits are recorded in a national computer database. Because data is readily available in electronic form, large scale analysis is easy. Data in this study covers the course of one year.  The numbers reflect the patients who, according to diagnostic codes for insomnia, were treated with Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in 2002.

Included in this data are the following:

  • How many patients complained of insomnia, demographics on age, sex, etc?
  • How many patients were prescribed various Chinese herb formula combinations in packets? (herbal packets are the preferred delivery method of Chinese herbs in Taiwan hospitals and clinics.)
  • How many patients were prescribed single Chinese herbs in packets?
  • Which Chinese herb formula was the most prescribed?
  • Which individual herbs were often added to the prescribed Chinese herbal medicine formula?

Conclusion:

The data concluded the most common individual Chinese herbs prescribed for insomniawere Polygonum multiflorum used 23.8% of the time, followed by Ziziphus spinosa (18.3%) and Poria cocos (13.3%). Suan Zao Ren Tan was the most commonly prescribed formula.  These are the same Chinese herbal ingredients found in iSleep Herb Pack.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________ PUBLISHED IN:   EVIDENCE-BASED COMPLEMENTARY & ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE CAM Advance Access published online on April 1, 2009 eCAM, doi:10.1093/ecam/nep018 © 2009 The Author(s). This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/uk/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Prescriptions of Chinese Herbal Medicines for Insomnia in Taiwan during 2002 Fang-Pey Chen1,2, Maw-Shiou Jong1,2, Yu-Chun Chen2,3, Yen-Ying Kung1,2, Tzeng-Ji Chen2,3, Fun-Jou Chen4 and Shinn-Jang Hwang2,3 1Center for Traditional Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, 2National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine, Taipei, 3Department of Family Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital and 4Graduate Institute of Integration Chinese and Western Medicine, Chinese Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) has been commonly used for treating insomnia in Asian countries for centuries. The aim of this study was to conduct a large-scale pharmaco-epidemiologic study and evaluate the frequency and patterns of CHM use in treating insomnia.

We obtained the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) outpatient claims from the National Health Insurance in Taiwan for the year 2002. Patients with insomnia were identified from the diagnostic code of the International Classification of Disease among claimed visiting files.

Corresponding prescription files were analyzed, and an association rule was applied to evaluate the co-prescription of CHM. Results showed that there were 16 134 subjects who visited TCM clinics for insomnia in Taiwan during 2002 and received a total of 29 801 CHM prescriptions. Subjects between 40 and 49 years of age comprised the largest number of those treated (25.3%). In addition, female subjects used CHMs for insomnia more frequently than male subjects (female: male = 1.94:1). There was an average of 4.8 items prescribed in the form of either an individual Chinese herb or formula in a single CHM prescription for insomnia. Shou-wu-Teng (Polygonum multiflorum) was the most commonly prescribed single Chinese herb, while Suan-Zao-ren-tang was the most commonly prescribed Chinese herbal formula.

According to the association rule, the most commonly prescribed CHM drug combination was Suan-zao-ren-tang plus Long-dan-xie-gan-tang, while the most commonly prescribed triple-drug combination was Suan-Zao-ren-tang, Albizia julibrissin, and P. multiflorum.

For reprints and all correspondence: Prof. Shinn-Jang Hwang, Department of Family Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, No. 201, Sec. 2, Shih-Pai Road, Taipei 112, Taiwan, ROC. Tel: +886-2-287-57460; Fax: +886-2-287-37901; E-mail: [email protected]

______________________________________________________________________________________

National Institute of Health – PubMed study abstract on Suan Zao Ren Tang

J Biomed Sci. 2007 Mar;14(2):285-97. Epub 2006 Dec 7.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor mediates suanzaorentang, a traditional Chinese herb remedy, induced sleep alteration.

Yi PL, Tsai CH, Chen YC, Chang FC.

Department of Medical Technology, Jen-Teh Junior College of Medicine, Nursing and Management, Miaoli, Taiwan.

Abstract

The sedative-hypnotic medications, including benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines, are the most common treatments for insomnia. However, concerns regarding patterns of inappropriate use, dependence and adverse effects have led to caution in prescribing those sedative-hypnotic medications. On the other hand, a traditional Chinese herb remedy, suanzaorentang, has been efficiently and widely used in clinic for insomnia relief without severe side effects in Asia. Although suanzaorentang has been reported to improve sleep disruption in insomniac patients, its mechanism is still unclear. The present study was designed to elucidate the effects of oral administration of suanzaorentang on physiological sleep-wake architectures and its underlying mechanism in rats. We found that oral administration of suanzaorentang at the beginning of the dark onset dose-dependently increased non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREMS) during the dark period, but had no significant effect on rapid eye movement sleep (REMS). Our results also indicated that intracerebroventricular (ICV) administration of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor type A antagonist, bicuculline, significantly blocked suanzaorentang-induced enhancement in NREMS during the dark period, but GABA(B) receptor antagonist, 2-hydroxysaclofen had no effect. These results implicated that this traditional Chinese herb remedy, suanzaorentang increases spontaneous sleep activity and its effects may be mediated through the GABA(A) receptors, but not GABA(B) receptors.