FAQ

Q?

Do you think black spots on makula can be removed?

A.

Black spots on makula can be removed

AMD - Age-related macular degeneration, is so far incurable eye-disease and if you are being diagnosed with this disease, you are going to lose your vision, permanently. You will be blind in the end. Your doctor will tell you that there is nothing you can do about it, but accept the situation and take some AMD vitamins, fish oil supplements and hope for the best. But today, there is no available medications or treatments for AMD in Western medicine.

From a Chinese medicine and/or naturopathic perspective though, there is definitely a lot that can be done to restore loss of vision or stop the degenerative process!

Q?

How can acupuncture improve my vision?

A.

Recent research shows that acupuncture increases blood flow to the eyes and the surrounding area, as well as stimulate different neurological brain regions.

Through an Ocular Doppler-test that measures the bloodflow and research that has shown that acupuncture increases blood flow to the eyes. Functional MRI tests show that acupuncture may activate and suppress certain areas of the brain involved in visual perception. We can measure some of the effects of acupuncture, but at this time we do not have a full understanding of how the whole mechanism works. We definitely need more conclusive research!

Q?

What is the prospect of recreating lost vision?

A.

The very first thing we do at the start of treatments, is to test the patient's general vision health. You start by reading a line in our visual charts that we call a baseline. After 10 treatments the patients have often increased this level of 2 to 5 lines (or more).

Patient suffering from advanced AMD generally have low vision can sometimes increase as much as 6, 7 or 8 lines after the same treatment period. The results depend on how far the condition has progressed and how much permanent nerve damage the macula has received.

Sleeping cells during treatment will wakeup and show improvement slowly. However, it is not easy to know which cells are dead and which are only dormant before we start the treatments. Therefore, it is challenging to predict in advance the results for each unique patient. Some patients have more dead cells and few dormant and vice versa.

Between 80 and 90 percent of our patients found improvements within the first round of a total of 10 treatments. Macular Degeneration patients experience a certain degree of distortion.

Q?

How do you measure the efficiency of acupuncture treatments?

A.

A. This is essential. The key word here is action. We use conventional functional test methods at the clinic, such as the Amsler Grid, visual acuity and visual field testing for our AMD patients.

In cases of macular degeneration, where the main sight is about to disappear and patients experience a slight distortion or complete loss of visual function.  We recommend  you visit a ophthalmologist or optometrist to carry out a OCT scan and a fundus camera exam.

Loss of function in your main field of vision will offer challenges in seeing sharp (HD vision), reading, driving, face recognition etc. By means of said testing we can determine the degree of functional visual loss.

After the first five treatments, we'll usually send patients back to ophthalmologist or optometrist to carry out a new OCT and fundus camera exams to monitor any physiological and structural changes and improvements in the macula.

In summary, we use conventional testing in the clinic with the addition of an ophthalmological test through partners to confirm the trend of improvement or stabilization.

Q?

For how long will the results of the treatment last?

A.

A. The result of the treatments can last from several months to a few years. Each treatment situation is different and factors that exacerbate health problems, such as the use of medications, poor diet, stress, various lifestyle factors and how structured you are in relation to complying with the recommendations you get, will play a central role in how fast you have to go back for a follow up treatment.

A high percentage of patients will probably require a certain degree of supervision to maintain healthy blood flow and throughput to the macula.

AMD is a neurodegenerative condition that is basically incurable. The best we can do here is to try to restore the lost vision and treat the condition most zealously and with great attention. In most AMD cases we focus on stabilizing sight as much as possible to avoid deterioration, and the stabilized vision should hold at a steady level for a prolonged period. It will require some supplements and diet change and some lifestyle moderations.

At an early stage, AMD can benefit from getting treatments every 1 to 2 years. More advanced stages of Macular Degeneration patients often come more often; 2, 3 or even up to four times a year. On average our patients benefit form follow up treatments twice annually.

 

Q?

What differs treatments from early stadium vs late stadiums?

A.

In general, an early stage in patients have a better prognosis because it generally has not been some nerve damage. The strategy of preservation is much easier than with cellular respiration. The treatment is essentially the same, but because it is often relatively more damage at later stages and the disease has often gone further then it may take longer before spores good results of the treatment.

During the early stage by AMD, there is mostly no Neuronal death and the visuals are often intact. As the disease progresses, there may be weak distortions. These patients will typically get fast and good response to treatment because we insert treatment at an early stage. That's often easier to prevent than to repair.

Patients with advanced stages will also have a major impact, but it often take some more time and that you then have got some nerves with permanent injuries, died retinal cells and scarring. Nevertheless; every case is unique and must always take the time to help and then record how each patient responds.

Q?

How long will it take to get fully recovery?

A.

First signs of recovery can be seen usually within the first 10 treatments. Some more advanced cases may need a second course (10 more treatments). The sleeping retinal cells recharge and we are seeing an improvement almost immediately, usually within a few days. Regeneration of diseased and / or damaged retinal cells can take between 8 to 15 months on average.

Neurons regenerate but at a very slow rate. We have scar tissue / dead cells that, to the best of our knowledge, can not be recovered, and that the damage is permanent. It is important to note that we do not know what is death and what is sleeping just by looking at the retinal cells in the back of the eye. We need to do acupuncture to wake up and stimulate dormant retinal cells. Usually after about a year or so, whatever gains have made at that time is pretty much what you should have. Then we work on preserving vision long term.

Q?

Do every patient receive the same treatment when they all have black spots on makula?

A.

Each patient is unique. We believe that protocols enough give some results, but they can only work to a certain extent and naturally has limitations. Acupuncture is not a "cookbook system" of a treatment. Broad knowledge and experience is important - especially when seeking an acupuncturist to help you with AMD.

The best results can not be achieved without really taking into account the underlying causes and the various aspects of each individual. So we treat both AMD and the underlying cause - that is as unique to each person their uniqueness as human beings.

Regardless of status and in all cases, we want to increase blood flow to the macula and control drusen to maximize the visual function. What happens in the process of each treatment situation, is different from person to person. People have different stressors and react to them differently, different health conditions and are on various medications, diets and supplements. We must look at all individually and take into account all the various parameters that each case consists of.

Q?

Do you think both conventionally treatment AND acupuncutre combined will work for a patient?

A.

Yes, we think so. For example, get a lot of our patients with wet macular degeneration regularly LucentisTM or AvastinTM injection retinal bleeding. Some patients are on blood pressure medication and cholesterol medication as well.

Integrative strategies seem to provide the best results for patients because we use the best of both worlds. One gets knowledge and experience from a holistic, naturopathic and Chinese medical perspective, together with pioneering diagnosis of conventional treatment.

Q?

Do you think western medicine reduce the effect and decrease good treatment with acupuncture?

A.

Empirically, it depends a bit on the case and type of medication.

We have had many patients who have had Lucentis - Eyelea - and Avastin injections against retinal bleeding. We think that in the long term there may be some harmful side effects because it is highly toxic forms of kjemoterapi.Det also acts as the body besides building up a resistance to these drugs.

This must primarily be considered and dealt with by the patient and his / her optician or specialist. Drugs heavy steroids and immunosuppressive agents can sometimes undo the effect of acupuncture.

Q?

Do you think timing of treatment is important?

A.

Yes, definately. The earlier you catch it up, the better it is. The longer you wait the more increases the potential of more severe or permanent vascular and / or nerve damage to the macula and retina. The sooner you get treatment, the better your chances for improvement and long-term preservation.

Acupuncture is no substitute for preventive medicine. Our goal is to try to recover as much of the view as possible within the first year and then help you preserve the vision you have for a long time.

Q?

Can you recommend any additional treatments combined with acupuncture?

A.

We often recommend complementary therapies micro current stimulation, eye exercises, acupressure, intravenous vitamin drip and essential oils. There are also dietary recommendations, herbs and supplements. There are many things you can do at home to be proactive.

Being proactive early is a much better strategy than waiting until things get bad - when things get bad and vision loser advances. I can not stress this point enough.

Q?

Needles – in someones hands, feets or eyes?

A.

We mostly stimulate certain acupuncture points in hands, feet, back of legs, etc. to improve blood flow to the retina and macula. It kind of works like a light switch. There is a switch on the wall that can turn on and off lights. You do not have to unscrew the light bulb every time you want to turn on / off the light. The circuits and wires in the wall disconnect switch to light. The same principle applies to the human body. We can turn the switches (called acupoints) on and off that will affect different parts of the body. In this case we use the points in the hands and feet that turn on the feature of the eyes, increases blood flow and stimulates nerve activity.

Acupuncture also sends nerve impulses to the brain to fire the optic nerve, retina and especially nerve cells in the macula and wake dormant cells. Again, acupuncture dilates the blood vessels around the eyes and increase blood flow to bring food and oxygen to the retinal cells.

That is the short version of how it works. We get a neurovascular and physiological response of acupuncture treatment from needle therapy.

Q?

Is there a limit for the acupunctures effect on damaged cells?

A.

Unfortuneately, we can just wake up dormant cells, regenerate damaged or diseased cells. There is nothing we can do for dead retinal cells. When they die, they are gone forever. Period.

After a period of 1-2 years of treatment, patients usually hit a plateau. They have gone for acupuncture treatment, taking herbs, getting acupuncture, make lifestyle changes and there comes a point when the maximum recovery is achieved. Patients often wonder if acupuncture is no longer working, and if they should continue or try something else. At this point, we have completed the second recovery phase of treatment and moved into Phase 3 - vision, conservation and maintenance.

The other possibility is that it may require a switch in the treatment strategy. Perhaps by using different acupuncture points, electro-acupuncture, or another treatment strategy that auricular acupuncture or laser acupuncture can help to restore more of sight. It can take your winnings to another level in order to break out of the plateau stage.

In summary, there are two possible scenarios that happen: 1) that you are going to plateau or reach maximum yield or 2) it is time to switch strategies (or acupuncturists) and see if we can get another improvement or no improvement is made.

Q?

Do you think there is a connection between results and certain spots on makula?

A.

There are two types of AMD, wet and dry type which is treated differently. Both responds very well to acupuncture, supplements, diet, exercise and micro current stimulation. Wet macular degeneration is a progressive condition of dry AMD with the presence of neovascularization and retinal hemorrhage. Wet-type AMD is comprised of approximately 10% of all AMD cases and dry-type accounts for the other 90%.

In dry AMD, accumulates eye drusen. "Drusen" is a lipid (and calcium) waste which seals the macula and impairs blood flow. Over time, the macula degenerate and lose its function from starvation and strangulation / hypoxia.

Macula need water, food, oxygen, and a clear detoxification pathway. In the body's wisdom, it will begin to grow new cells or "fuel lines" to feed the hungry macula, which is an evolutionary adaptation for survival. These new blood vessels are formed in a process called "neovascularization". They are relatively weak veins and very susceptible to fractures. When the veins burst, is that when you have the presence of "wet macular degeneration", which is bleeding in the retina. Bleeding may be short term or it may become a chronic, long-term problem.

Dry macular generation is simply the accumulation of drusen over time, which impairs the circulation and detoxification process of macular cells. This results in the macula starving and suffocating over time. Finally, the cells die, and we lose sight if we do nothing to optimize circulation.

Imagine leaving garbage in the house and never take the waste out. Accumulation of garbage and toxic fumes and rotting waste in the house would make the environment almost impossible to live in. That's really what's happening in your macula with AMD. The environment is too toxic for new stem cells to grow and thrive. When we have a toxic environment, we can not expect regenerative endogenous stem cells to be able to settle and mature into healthy retinal cells. We must improve the environment if we want to grow new cells and maintain health and function.

Q?

Anything I can do to prepare for coming to treatment?

A.

Many patients ask us about this before they are coming for treatment. We would like to note a few things that is of great importance in order to get the most effect out of acupuncture treatments:

Quit smoking / Reduce carbohydrates and sugar / Excercise a little every day / Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables / Increase your good fats like olive oil, coconut oil avocados, nuts and seeds / Cut fried, fatty foods and pastries loaded with "bad fats" / Reduce alcohol, coffee and other stimulants / Take a good macular eye formula provided with your therapist / Get plenty of rest and good sleep / Learn to better manage stress and anger.

Other things is to try to clean up your diet a bit and make sure you are well hydrated. People do not realize this, but even things like drinking alcohol every day or drink coffee is also very dehydrating your body. Eyes are 95% water. When you are dehydrated either from alcohol or coffee, it can have a negative impact on your vision. Also, many of excessive carbohydrates, sugars, salt or junk food and fried foods can cause damage and accelerate cardiovascular and neurovascular disease.

Make sure you are always well hydrated. Make sure you take electrolyte supplement if you are low in minerals and electrolyte salts (people with hypertension should be careful). Overall diet should be fairly clean and "heart-healthy". No greasy fried food and no trans fats. If you can, get aspartame from your diet, which is present in many diet drinks, gum, mints, etc.

Q?

Anything else I can do as a patient to back up the treatment?

A.

Make trans fats (donuts, cakes, cookies) no part of your diet. Get the "Three Whites:" white sugar, white flour and salt out of your diet as well. We recommend that you eliminate gluten, and whole grains and sugar. Also eliminate greasy fried foods and all junk food.

Eat most organic vegetables, fish and lean meats. We also want to have good fats in our diets ... cholesterol is good, not bad as we have been falsely led to believe. What is "bad" is low HDL's (good fats - .. And high LDL's (bad fats) along with inflammation Good fats regenerate nerve tissue So what do you think happens, when we eat a low fat or no-fat diet and take cholesterol-lowering drugs which destroy these fat guys? That is perfectly correct! We do no longer have the raw basic material (fats) that are needed to generate nerve- and cell tissue.

Eggs, organic butter and milk (if you are not lactose intolerant), olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds - is good for balance, health and back up the treatment that your receive.

Exercising a little more and eat a bit less. Reduce Body BAD fat by exercising regularly and eating more protein, more good fats, more vegetables. Improving lean body mass by cutting carbs, sugar and junk food.

It is also important for us to learn how to better manage stress. We know that stress puts a tremendous amount of extra work for the heart, brain and eyes ... and pretty much all body systems. Reducing negative stress and focusing on the positive things in your life. Spend more time with family and friends. Work that you need to support your self and your family, but really try and balance your lifestyle with leisure and recreation. It is very important to scrutinize your life regularly and make sure you have a good job and game balance. Schedule regular rest and relaxation time for yourself and enjoy your hobbies as often as possible.

Q?

What kind of nutrition supplements do you recommend?

A.

As far as supplements regards, we come back to the idea that each person is individual and should be treated as such. There are no supplements that are universal and work for every case of AMD - or other heart disease. Dietary supplements that I recommend helping both eye and heart and preserve neurovascular and cardiovascular health and function.

I recommend supplements that help both improve the macula, and supplements that address each person's underlying health problems. To find out which supplements you are going to need for your own health, you should consult an experienced practitioner. Either myself or someone else who can help you to understand the systemic problems and manage it, as it is related to AMD.

As far as supplements that are going to be especially beneficial for macular degeneration, whether for early, middle stage or advanced, research has shown that the AREDS can help to delay the process of progressive vision loss. This is basically Vitamin A, C and E, selenium and zinc are all good for eye health. Get on a good supplement, there are many out there. I'm not a big proponent of Preservation or OcuGuard since they are relatively poorer than other eye formulas on the market. They are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies which is why your conventional eye doctor will usually recommend over other eye supplements.

Another great supplement is Resveratrol. Resveratrol comes from red grapes and red wine helps digest unhealthy and excessive fat.

There is much research suggesting that Resveratrol may be advantageous for the vascular system and general cardiovascular health. If it is good for cardiovascular disease, and heart disease, it's going to be good for AMD. It seems that Resveratrol can help to break down cholesterol and drusen. Resveratrol is a good supplement for AMD.

There are some recent studies suggest that a specific form of melatonin which may also help break down drusen well. It also helps you sleep well. Sleep is important for nerve regeneration and just overall health, and we get the benefit of reducing drusen accumulation.

Astaxanthin is another great supplement, and is a stranger from the zeaxanthin. It is proposed to be about 20 times more potent than zeaxanthin and suggest 12mg / day. It is a carotenoid, usually found in things like krill oil and some varieties of red algae. I highly recommend this.

Vitamin C is another supplement that is another supplement which is very important for AMD and cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin C is very important to support the blood vessels. There's plenty of research out there that shows how important vitamin C is for cardiovascular health. The best kind of Vitam C Liposomal / lipospheric Vitamin C.