Qi in Media

Erik Jackson, Lic. Ac. No Comments

We’ve all seen the movies where marital artists fly through the air, Asian monks levitate off the ground in their meditation, and even throw energy blasts out of their hands. These powers are attributed to qi and when you master this energy you will gain self discipline, tranquility, and superpowers.

Or would you?

Acupuncture is useful for performance enhancement. I have treated people who dramatically improved their running mile.  Others have took a few strokes off their golf game.  Clearly something was helpful with these treatments.  The meditative disciplines of the Orient help with mental and emotional control and are the basis of mindfulness based cognitive therapy.  Performing the hadouken however, is a bit of a stretch.

Qi is seen by many as something like The Force in Star Wars. Traditionally, many Asian cultures saw the influence of qi in several aspects of the world around them. Qi moved the heavens and animated life. There were many different kinds of qi, and a skilled qigong master was thought to be able to change and use their qi as they saw fit. These claims come from Daoist texts, which did influence the teaching of acupuncture.

Reality, however, is far less mystical. Qi can be viewed as air in some contexts, in others it relates to metabolism or electricity and other phenomena. While these phenomena do incredible things they will not grant you the ability to bend spoons with your mind. Even if they could the texts from which these claims come state that you would have to be celibate for several years and follow strict dietary and meditative practices.  All of this would require you effectively becoming a hermit, cut off from the rest of the world. Life lived in such a fashion would be lonely, boring, and lacking in purpose.

So if qi doesn’t work like in the movies then how does acupuncture work?  The cultures which developed the system of acupuncture found something that works, just not the way they thought. Acupuncture influences the nerves, endocrine, and circulatory systems.  These systems send blood, nutrients, and appropriate signals to various parts of the body to help tissues repair, inflammation reduce, and metabolic processes to run smoothly. This leads to the body healing itself and improving athletic performance.

Every culture likes to tell tall tales. It makes for good story telling and is entertaining. However, one should always remember that reality has a habit of being right. While we may not be flying through space on the back of a giant turtle, we do live on a planet where electric eels, platapi, and ball lighting all exist. Acupuncture works because of anatomical principles, primarily ones associated with the nervous system. Qi need not be used to explain how things work. Instead of going and meditating under a waterfall for a few years, talk to an acupuncturist about how to sleep better, improve your circulation, and increase your performance potential.

Easy, natural alternatives to icing injuries

Erik Jackson, Lic. Ac. No Comments


Well, that is a sprained ankle. Time to apply ice, let the swelling go down, and move on.

Not so fast.

See, in recent years the practice of icing injuries has come under scrutiny and after reading up on aches, pains, and other injuries, I am inclined to give this practice a pass and you should too. Read More

Two Things to Know Before You Have Surgery

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You have had it.

You are tired of being in pain and having your body fall apart.

It is time to fix this now and deal with it for good.

It is time to have…surgery.

Surgery is a big decision. It can lay you up for weeks, be very expensive, and there is a lot of anxiety often associated with it. Yet, surgeons are some of the most well-trained medical professionals, and several operations are quite safe and relatively simple to perform. At times, surgery is the only reasonable option and many times it works quite well. However, there are two important things which everyone should realize before they have surgery. Read More

Natural Nutrition to Make Pain Go Away

Erik Jackson, Lic. Ac. No Comments
Healthy meals image

How do I get rid of this pain?

I am tired of waking up and feeling terrible from another night of tossing and turning.

I don’t want to take another pill with even more side effects.

Is there some simple, natural, way that I can take care of this?

Pain has a way of getting our attention, making us change, and focusing on our health. While it may take awhile, ultimately, it becomes an issue which we can no longer put off. When we are ready to take control of our lives and deal with the pain, we start looking for ways to improve our lives. Read More

The Missing Piece in Bone and Joint Health

Erik Jackson, Lic. Ac. No Comments
Front, side, and back views of the human skeleton.

Snap, crackle, pop.

That isn’t your breakfast cereal; it’s your bones.

So now what? You could get surgery if it is a joint or back issue, but sometimes those implants do not fix the problem. You don’t want to be laid up for a long recovery after the procedure—you have a life, job, and family which depends on you. You know that vitamin D and calcium are good for bone health, and they are part of your multi-vitamin, yet still, here you are. What is missing? Read More

Eating While Traveling

Erik Jackson, Lic. Ac. No Comments

For those of you who were wondering, I was out of the clinic recently for nearly a week. I participated in a 5K run with my 92-year-old grandfather, saw my niece and two nephews, did a lot of driving, and got far more exposure to fast food than I really cared for. Travel and busy schedules can demand more expedient dining choices instead of healthy ones. However, I did notice a few ways to make the experience less taxing on my body.

For startersburger-clipart-niEy5ndrT, America is saturated with burger joints for fast food dining options. You can also find a number of representatives for chicken, tacos, and even a few Asian places as well. Attempting to eat healthily, or at least less poorly, can be a challenge—especially if you are traveling with someone who insists on stopping at every Texas stop sign there is (a.k.a. Dairy Queen). Here are my recommendations for healthier choices:

If you can, eat Chinese.

The soy sauce may be problematic but, you will get vegetables other than potatoes from these places. I believe Jack in the Box has a teriyaki chicken rice bowl as well. If you sit down to eat, even better, as this allows you to decompress from driving and you won’t return to that stressed state as fast.

Eat chili.

Both Wendy’s and Braum’s have this as an option, and it gets you away from gluten and burgers even while still eating beef.

Choose the grilled chicken.

A number of burger places offer chicken sandwich and nugget options. If you get the grilled chicken, you remove the gluten found in some batters, especially if you do not eat the bun, and less oil/fat with the fried oil out of the picture.

Drink something other than soda.

While water is certainly best, a number of restaurants do serve lemonade and even juices. These are generally not as hard on the body as the “brown liquid” options.

Eat a salad.

I admit that I am not a salad eater. Personally, I typically get my vegetables from soups or stir fries, Yet, having some veggies while you drive is a good idea and the vegetarian choice in many places defaults to salad, so it’s often available.

Pack your food.

Most of the good food choices will require a cooler and may not be practical on a trip but, there are a few items you can have that will keep for a little while:

  1. Carrots
  2. Nuts
  3. Cauliflower
  4. Apples
  5. Oranges
  6. Pears
  7. Snap peas
  8. Green beans
  9. Dried fruit and veggies

This is by no means a comprehensive list of suggestions, but I hope it has gotten you thinking. Resisting the temptation of convenience is one part, and the second part is not feeling defeated by a lack of choices. Travel well. Eat well. Be well.

What can Traditional Chinese Medicine Do?

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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient form of healthcare that has been around for three thousand years. In that time the modalities of TCM have seen many health conditions. The TCM approach is holistic, which takes the body as a complete system. This is a very similar approach to the mindset of osteopathic medicine. There are four major modality divisions in TCM.

1. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is the most well known of the modalities. Acupuncture is when needles are inserted into the body at specific points to realign the body with itself. Through this modality, and with the support of others, one can successfully treat:

1. Pain, especially chronic

2. Circulation issues

3. Metabolic issues

4. Immune deficiencies

5. Inflammatory conditions

6. Sleeping issues

7. Paralysis (in some cases)

Acupuncture can also take the form of Colorpuncture and Electro Stimulation.

Color puncture is useful for more sensitive patients and can be used as an adjudicative therapy for psychological disorders.

Electro Stimulation is used for more specific nerve issues such as:

carpal tunnel syndrome

frozen shoulder

tennis elbow




paralysis and numbness/tingling


2. Herbal and dietary therapy

Herbal therapy, nutrition, and dietary therapy is a very useful as a supplemental modality to acupuncture, or can be used as a primary therapy. This modality can and should be used with almost all of the conditions mentioned in the acupuncture section. Herbal therapy should also be considered for:

1. Weight Loss

2. Impotence, infertility

3. Gynecological issues

4. Low energy

5. Psychological disorders

6. Thyroid disorders

7. Edema

8. Detoxification

9. Autoimmune disorders

Additionally, herbal therapy can be used topically for:


skin conditions


muscle relaxants


3. Body work

Bodywork is a fairly broad modality that encompasses a number of manual manipulations of the acupuncture points and meridians through pressure, cupping, gua sha, and tui na. These are good modalities for immediate, usually short term relief that are also useful for beginning or ending a treatment.

Acupressure is manipulating the acupuncture points via pressure.This is best used for:

1. Headaches

2. Unconsciousness

3. Stiffness

Cupping is the use of cups to suction stagnation in the body into one area. This will cause welts/bruises/, but does give immediate relief. This is paticuarly useful for back, shoulder and neck pain over a broad area.

Gua sha is scraping and will leave a red marks. This is a very good pain relief method and is used for the same conditions that cupping is used for. Gua sha can also be used to help disperse the welts of cupping.

Tui Na, broadly, is the manual adjustment of the body and was part of the inspiration for the modern chiropractic practice. Most acupuncturists have some training with Tui Na, and this modality is particularly good for joint stiffness.


4. Qi gong

Qigong is a two part modality with one part being energy work and the other part being breathing exercises.

Energy work is effectively identical to Reiki and is useful for:

stress reduction



Breathing exercises are useful for internal regulation and your acupuncturist may recommend some of these. Breathing exercises are useful for:

stress reduction

psychological disorders

hot flashes

body awareness (this takes awhile to cultivate)

greater energy


Your TCM practitioner will be versed in most if not all of these modalities and as such has a broad scope of practice. There are many things that TCM provider can treat and if you have questions they would be happy to speak with you.

Review of various ‘supplement companies’

Erik Jackson, Lic. Ac. No Comments

So I’ve been seeing a number of these nutritional companies around and decided to do a brief review of them. There are a few others that I need to review, but I would like to give out this information so anyone who sees these companies has a better baseline to go off of if you have to deal with them.

–  Contains Ma Huang/Rubarb which makes you poop more.
–  Prior to 2002 contained Ephedra which is an appetite suppressant
–  Ruled an illegal pyramid scheme by the commercial court in Brussels
–  Some shady dealings in there upper levels
–  3 studies with no significant measure that it produces weight loss better than any other product or a placebo
–  Suspicion that some of the products may have caused liver disease.

–  two studies, each with no more than 60 individuals
–  research conducted in China on healthy individuals, Vemma is Canadian or American
–  one of the studies basically stated that it did get antioxidants into the body
–  the second study stated that the participants self reported feeling healthier
–  vemma products contain lithium and vanadium, one treats depression and the other lowers blood sugar. These factors MUST be pointed out to people who may be on diabetic medication or other such things
–  Mangosteen, the active ingredient, is an antioxidant which means that people undergoing cancer treatments should be aware of any reactions this could have with their treatment.   There is no proof that it is a better antioxidant than other fruits.
–  Aloe Vera (gel form) is used as an ingredient in this and this is something used by Chinese Medicine so there are medical uses for it. That said Aloe Vera may be a blood thinner.

Mona Vie
–  Claims antioxidant effects, there are none on adults
–  Has conducted no studies
–  Should not be used by pregnant women
–  Causes fluctuations with clotting time and therefore should be avoided by people on blood thinners
–  Welch’s grape juice, according to Men’s Journal, has 5x the level of vitamin C and is much cheaper.
–  Misleading claims
–  Shady CEO
–  Sued by Amway, Oprah, and Imagenetix

–  no scientific studies done on their products
–  Moringa, the active ingredient, is in early research
–  active ingredient is traditionally used to alter glucose and blood pressure levels so people on blood thinners and diabetics should be careful

–  no scientific studies
–  potentially misleading labeling

Important News

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Photo of Erik JacksonI’m Erik Jackson, the acupuncturist of Changing Elements.  At my clinic I improve the lives of my clients by reducing their pain and alleviating other health concerns.  Through my treatment many individuals have been able to live their lives with more energy and greater control as a result of their improved health.  I achieve these results by treating the condition, its cause, and by informing my clients how to best manage their health long term while addressing their current maladies.

My approach to care is grounded in both Western anatomy and the meridian system Orient.  As such I am able to treat a wide array of aliments and nutritional deficiencies.

At my office you will receive prompt, individualized care with little to no waiting, as I value your time and respect your schedule.  While the overall duration of care is different for each person, I will provide you with a treatment plan with an estimate for how long your care will last.

Let me help you make a difference in your life.  Call to schedule your appointment today.

Adrenal Insufficiency and Adrenal Fatigue

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Adrenal insufficiencyis a condition, which can be diagnosed by blood tests, where the production of hormones by the adrenal glands has decreased. This can result in symptoms of chronic worsening fatigue, muscle weakness, and several others.
Adrenal fatigue is a set of non specific symptoms, such as fatigue, nervousness, body aches and others, which is often attributed to a mild form of Adrenal insufficiency brought on by chronic stress.
What can Acupuncture do to help?
Acupuncture can help both of these conditions by:
  • increasing one’s energy
  • improving circulation
  • prescribing herbal medicine to supplement other treatments and address stress
  • assist you in planning an appropriate diet and exercise program
  • treat other symptoms
Primary adrenal insufficiency is caused by damage to the adrenal glands resulting in decreased levels of cortisol and aldosterone. This is also called Addison’s disease and it effects about 1 to 4 people per 100,000.
Secondary adrenal insufficiency is caused when the pituitary gland does not produce enough adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) which stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. Cortisol production drops with the decrease in ACTH and the adrenal glands shrink, which will eventually decrease aldosterone production as well. Secondary adrenal insufficiency is much more common than primary adrenal insufficiency.
Adrenal fatigue,being a rather vague set of symptoms, is not a well accepted medical diagnosis so the cause is not well known. That said it is possible that the symptoms of adrenal fatigue could be caused by chronic stress, depression, or fibromyalgia.
Full list of symptoms:
Adrenal insufficiency:
The symptoms of adrenal insufficiency usually have a gradual onset. The most common symptoms are:
  • chronic, worsening fatigue
  • muscle weakness
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss

Other symptoms can include

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • low blood pressure that falls further when standing, causing dizziness or fainting
  • irritability and depression
  • a craving for salty foods due to salt loss
  • hypoglycemia, or low blood glucose
  • headache
  • sweating
  • in women, irregular or absent menstrual periods

Hyperpigmentation, or darkening of the skin, can occur in Addison’s disease but not in secondary adrenal insufficiency. This darkening is most visible on scars; skin folds; pressure points such as the elbows, knees, knuckles, and toes; lips; and mucous membranes such as the lining of the cheek.
Because the symptoms progress slowly, they are often ignored until a stressful event like an illness or accident causes them to worsen. Sudden, severe worsening of symptoms is called an Addisonian crisis, or acute adrenal insufficiency.
Symptoms of an Addisonian or “adrenal” crisis include

  • sudden, penetrating pain in the lower back, abdomen, or legs
  • severe vomiting and diarrhea
  • dehydration
  • low blood pressure
  • loss of consciousness

If not treated, an Addisonian crisis can be fatal

Adrenal Fatigue:
  • excessive fatigue and exhaustion
  • non-refreshing sleep (you get sufficient hours of sleep, but wake fatigued)
  • overwhelmed by or unable to cope with stressors
  • feeling rundown or overwhelmed
  • craving salty and sweet foods
  • you feel most energetic in the evening
  • a feeling of not being restored after a full night’s sleep or having sleep disturbances
  • low stamina, slow to recover from exercise
  • slow to recover from injury, illness or stress
  • difficulty concentrating, brain fog
  • poor digestion
  • low immune function
  • food or environmental allergies
  • premenstrual syndrome or difficulties that develop during menopause
  • consistent low blood pressure
  • extreme sensitivity to cold
What can I do?
Adrenal insufficiency:
1. Check out my articles on Qigong, in particular pay attention to spleen, kidney, and liver patterns.
  1. Consult with a nutritionist about developing a proper diet with the correct amount of salt intake and sugar intake. Most likely a modification of a diet for Type II diabetes is in order.
  2. Be aware of any medications you are taking and what they interact with. Certain blood pressure medications, high or low, do not interact well with others. Be particularly aware of any hormone replacement medications you are taking as well as corticosteroids.
  3. Keep hydrated.
  4. Be careful about your use of stimulants as these further tax the adrenals.
Adrenal fatigue:
  1. Most of the steps mentioned for Adrenal insufficiency would be a good baseline for you.
  2. If you notice that symptoms consistently worsen after eating certain foods or you go to certain places, avoid those foods and areas. If the area is at your home or office consider having environmental and or mold testing done (see my review of Dr. Shoemaker’s works: You may find other information in there which is useful to you, feel free to call me if you need some interpretation.
  3. You may also wish to consider environmental testing. Consider:
  4. Talk with a nutritionist about supplements to regain energy.
Your health is in your hands and I can help you to improve your life. I look forward to assisting you on your journey.

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