From the category archives:


Preventing Childhood Ear Infections

by Ed

Every once in a while, as I’m browsing the web, I run into a post I wish I had written. Dr. Daisy has this great post about preventing childhood ear infections. Being an acupuncturist, the only thing I would add is to try Chinese Medicine to treat your child’s ear infection. Since antibiotics can perpetuate the problem of repeated ear infections, you need to find another way to treat them. Chinese Medicine has some very effective antibacterial herbal formulas. Like antibiotics, they can be overused and they can lead to a deficiency of beneficial bacteria in your gut, but they have certain advantages.

  • Bacteria are less resistant to them because they have not been overused, also because each formula has more than one antibacterial component.
  • Chinese Medicine has always been holistic, looking at the forest, instead of the needles on the trees. Therefore, formulas are designed to lessen side effects. Your child’s digestive tract is far more likely to come out unharmed and their immune system won’t take a beating.
  • They taste terrible, so your child will get better quickly to avoid taking them again. (Just joking, there are many child friendly formulas these days.)

Do check out Dr. Daisy’s great post on preventing childhood ear infections, and consider a practitioner of Chinese Medicine the next time your child gets one.

Prostate Health

by Ed

Prostate problems are much more commonly talked about, these days, than they were 10 years ago. There are basically four problems you can have with your prostate. Younger men are more likely to get acute or chronic prostatitis, and older men, benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH or enlarged prostate) and prostate cancer. If you have any urinary symptoms, such as difficulty starting or stopping or weak flow of urine, it is important to get your prostate checked by your doctor. Once you know what you have, it may be better to go with alternative medicine than western.

For acute prostatitis, if you are not a frequent user of antibiotics, and your immune system and digestive system are in good shape, antibiotics are probably the fastest and best way to treat your condition. Be sure to take a probiotic, such as acidophilus, after the antibiotics, to rebalance the intestinal flora. For other men with acute and for all men with chronic prostatitis, I recommend Chinese Herbal Medicine. For the chronic condition, antibiotics have a very poor success rate, and you will have to be on them far too long for the health of your gut and immune system. Chniese herbs are very effective at killing the bacteria in the prostate, with a much lower impact on the good bacteria in the intestines. However, you will still want to take probiotics to keep the intestines healthy. Chronic prostatitis will take many months to resolve, and your herbalist may recommend various lifestyle changes to help the process.

For BPH there are several excellent herbal formulas available now. Ask your health food store to recommend one, if you do not have a herbalist. At the very least, take saw palmetto for the symptoms. It is not a bad idea for any man over 50 to take saw palmetto to keep the prostate healthy.

Cancer is a scary subject for most people, and often a difficult condition to treat. Luckily most prostate cancer is very slow growing. In fact, more men die with it than of it. However, there are some faster growing ones, which seem to be on the rise. Also, with men living longer than before, even the slower growing ones are life threatening. Older men would do well to get their PSA levels checked regularly. Personally, I would choose Chinese herbs at the first signs of potential cancer, but I would certainly not rule out Western Medicine. If you have a slow growing cancer and Chinese herbs work, you will be a lot better off than if you treat it with Western Medicine.

Finally, unresolved emotional issues can be a contributing factor in prostate problems, especially chronic prostatitis and BPH. For younger men, I would ask myself if there were any childhood messages about sex being bad or dirty, or if you are aware of any guilt or shame around sex. For older men it is more likely to be feelings of losing manliness along with virility. Working through those issues can be very helpful in reducing symptoms and overcoming the disease.

Beware of hospitals

by Ed

Yesterday, I saw a program on CBC about infections in hospitals. You can see it here. It was a scary eye opener. In Canada, 8,000 people a year die from infections they picked up in the hospital. That’s as many as die from AIDS, car accidents and breast cancer, combined. They estimate that if hospital workers washed their hands as often as they should, that 30 to 50 percent of those deaths would be prevented. Healthcare workers usually only wash their hands between 5 and 30 per cent of the time, and doctors are the worst offenders. If you go to the hospital for treatment you have a one in nine chance of catching an infection while you are there. If you have to go, the best recommendation is to make sure you have hand cleanser in your room, and ask everybody that comes in to use it.