Acupuncture Alexandria LLC


By Sarah Shupe Hung L.Ac., Aug 21 2014 06:32PM

Acupuncture can help: Acupuncture has shown to help achieve a relaxing and sound sleep. Two powerful points in the ear can send you off to dreamland.

Take a moment: Make some time in your schedule for a pre-sleep relaxation ritual. Taking a hot bath just before bed has been shown to promote a deep, restful sleep. You can also add a handful of hops to the bathwater or place a small amount of dried hops wrapped in a cloth inside your pillow case. Hops are used to reduce restlessness during sleep.

Aromatherapy: Put a few drops of chamomile essential oil on your pillow just before bed. You can also use an aromatherapy diffuser or add a few drops to water in a spray bottle to disperse the scent around your bedroom.

Relax your soles: Tap the soles and both sides of the feet gently with a hairbrush for five minutes, paying special attention to the point below the ball of the foot in the center, about one-third the distance between the toes and heel.

Evening snack tips: If you choose to eat before bed, a light snack should consist of mostly carbohydrates with a small amount of protein. This combination increases the availability of tryptophan to the brain. Try eating a small bowl of low sugar oatmeal along with low fat milk. A sliced apple with a few slices of cheese can also do the trick. Avoid large amounts of protein before bed, it may keep you from falling into a sound sleep.

Want more? Read an article about sleep in my August newsletter.

By Sarah Shupe Hung L.Ac., Jul 27 2014 09:00AM

Cancer. It’s a diagnosis that no one wants to hear. It can leave you feeling frightened, uncertain, and powerless. But if you or a loved one is facing cancer, it’s important to have hope. In many cases, cancer can be cured, especially when it’s detected early. There are more treatments available now than ever before to cure cancer or slow it from spreading, relieve its symptoms, and help you live a healthier life.

It’s also important to know that you have options in addition to standard medical therapies. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have been used for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of conditions. It can safely be used to naturally support your body and mind as you undergo conventional cancer treatments.

Understanding treatments and their side effect

Cancer is an overall term for a group of diseases that occur when cells begin to reproduce abnormally, eventually damaging or killing healthy tissue. Most cancers are named according to where they begin in the body, and there are more than 100 different types. The most common are breast cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.

Your treatment plan will be based on many factors, including the type and stage (how far it has spread) of the cancer and your overall health. While cancer treatments have proven to be effective, they do have serious side effects to take into account. The most common treatments include:

Surgery: Performed to remove the cancer if possible. Surgery may be used alone or along with radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or biological therapy.

Chemotherapy: The use of medications to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy generally lasts from 3 to 9 months, and can have side effects including fatigue, nausea, vomiting, hair loss, early menopause, and hot flashes.

Radiation therapy: The use of high doses of radiation to destroy cancer cells. Side effects generally include fatigue, hair loss, and skin darkening at the site of the treatment.

Biological therapy: This treatment works by boosting the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. Side effects depend on the specific type of therapy, but they can include rashes or swelling, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, nausea, and loss of appetite.

It is important to remember that acupuncture is not a quick fix.

How acupuncture and TCM can help

Acupuncture and TCM have been used for thousands of years to maintain health and relieve symptoms. Practitioners work to treat imbalances in the body’s Qi, or vital energy, by inserting fine, sterile needles at specific acupoints.

Since acupuncture has few side effects, it can be safely used as a complement to conventional cancer treatments. In fact, in many cancer cases it’s recommended as a way to soothe and reduce side effects. According to the National Institutes of Health1, acupuncture has been found to be effective in relieving:

• Nausea

• Vomiting

• Fatigue

• Post-surgical pain

Acupuncture and TCM can also help relieve stress, depression, and anxiety, which can greatly improve your quality of life during this challenging time.

Treating the person, not just the disease

Acupuncture practitioners take a holistic, or whole-body, approach to cancer care. This means that not only will your symptoms be considered, but also your lifestyle, emotional state, and overall health. Your whole being will be taken into account, not just the cancer. When you work with your practitioner to improve your health and relieve your side effects, you are not only helping yourself get the most from conventional treatments, you’re taking back the control of your own life. By adopting some simple lifestyle changes, you will be on your way toward a healthier, happier, pain-free life.


1. NIH Consensus Conference. Acupuncture. JAMA 280 (17): 1518-24, 1998.

Acupunct Med. doi:10.1136/aim.2011.004069. A safety and efficacy pilot study of acupuncture for the treatment of chronic lymphedema.

Cancer Biol Ther. 2010 Aug;10(4):397-405

Understanding CancerTreatment. WebMD. Accessed February 11, 2008.

New Lung Cancer Guidelines Oppose General CT Screening - Lung Cancer Recommendations - Avoid Select Vitamins, Try Acupuncture. Chest, September 2007.

Acupuncture. American Cancer Society. May 25, 2007.

Comprehensive cancer care: integrating alternative, complementary, and conventional therapies. Gordon JS, Curtin S. NY: Persus Publishing, 2000.

By Sarah Shupe Hung L.Ac., Jul 22 2014 12:25AM

Movie stars demand it. Professional athletes swear by it. And now the masses are discovering the ancient “secret” to enhanced beauty, a stronger immune system, increased mental and physical performance, and drugless recovery from chronic illness. Often regarded throughout the West as a mysterious form of pain relief, acupuncture is so much more than that! Here are just a few celebrities who love acupuncture, and why they use it.

Sandra Bullock reportedly demands that acupuncture be included in her contract with studios, whether she's at home or on set. Studios gladly foot the bill for her thrice-a-week treatments. According to one source, Bullock has needles placed in her forehead, face, stomach, and feet, and believes it helps her look more youthful and feel healthier in general.

Cosmetic acupuncture, a specialized method of acupuncture that aims to reduce wrinkles, balance oily or dry skin, clear acne, eliminate shadows under the eyes, get rid of puffiness, and bring a healthy color to the face by stimulating circulation, is hot among a number of celebs (as well as ordinary people who just want to look as great as their favorite celebs). Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, Sean Connery, and Madonna keep looking gorgeous in the spotlight thanks to their acupuncturist!

In addition to helping celebrities look youthful without going under the knife, acupuncture also helps them get slim and trim or events where paparazzi are sure to be snapping photos of everybody's bare triceps as they wave. Jennifer Lopez used acupuncture and Chinese herbs to help her lose 15 pounds. According to OK Magazine, one source revealed that Lopez has “been gushing about how obsessed she is with acupuncture and herbs.” Acupuncture can assist with weight loss by stimulating the body to balance its hormones and stimulate a sluggish metabolism. The relaxation brought about by acupuncture can greatly improve sleep quality, which assists with building lean muscle and reducing a voracious appetite for unhealthy foods.

Robert Downey, Jr., told one source that acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine has impacted all areas of his life a several years. “I confess that I am as close to being a Chinese-American as any Caucasian ever could be in his life,” he said. In addition to acupuncture, Downey utilizes Chinese herbal medicine and practices qigong.

Or Gwyneth Paltrow, acupuncture is not just about the physical benefits. According to her, acupuncture has brought her to a higher state of consciousness. The positive influence of acupuncture on her mental and spiritual well-being has helped her in her marriage, and it has helped her cope with her father's death. Paltrow told Oprah, “I have been a big fan of Chinese Medicine for a long time because it works.”

Supermodel Elle McPherson eschews new fads for tried and trusted ancient remedies. She sees a Chinese Medicine doctor or acupuncture on a regular basis, and she prefers to use herbal preparations for her ailments instead of reaching for pills. McPherson reports that she looks after her body from a Chinese Medicine perspective, which she believes promotes optimal health.

Celebrities and top performers are not going to waste their time on therapies that simply don't work. The fact that many of Hollywood's elite take advantage of the healing and restorative powers of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is a sign that it's a superior method of healthcare. The spectacular news is that acupuncture and herbs are very affordable to the average American.

By Sarah Shupe Hung L.Ac., Jul 7 2014 05:42PM

Welcome to summer! July brings fireworks and family picnics, and with them comes the heat and humidity. In Chinese Medicine, 7 environmental factors can negatively influence your health. These are wind, cold, heat, damp, dryness, and during this time of year, summer heat. The symptoms of summer heat include: excess body heat, profuse sweating, parched mouth and throat, constipation, and heart palpitations.

Luckily there are some foods you can eat to help your body stay cool during the summer months. Some of the best ones are lemons, apples, watermelon, cantaloupe, papaya, pineapple, musk-melon, mung beans (in soup), summer squash, zucchini, cucumber, radish juice, bitter melon soup, watermelon juice.

Many of these foods can be easily added to your summer cook-outs. Watermelon alone is delicious, but you could also blend up a tasty beverage by combining it with lemon, ginger, and mint. Another idea is to add zucchini and summer squash to the grill to create a delicious compliment to any meat or kabab. I've included a couple easy recipes below. Enjoy!

Grilled Zucchini and Summer Squash

3 total zucchini and/or summer squash (looks like yellow zucchini)

sliced into 1/4 inch pieces

1/2 cup butter or coconut oil

(tip: the refiined coconut oil doesn't taste like coconut)

salt and pepper to taste

Heat the grill to med/high. Place the zucchini and squash onto a large piece of aluminum foil. Place dabs of the butter or coconut oil on the zucchini. Season with the salt and pepper. You can also add other flavors like garlic, onion, thyme, etc. Have fun with it! Once you've added everything to the zucchini and squash, seal the foil and place on the grill. Cook 15-20 minutes until tender.

There's also a great recipe for grilling zucchini spears here:

Fresh Watermelon Juice

1/2lb watermelon peeled and cut into chunks

2 tsp freshly grated ginger

Juice from 1 freshly squeezed lemon

Mint leaves

Ice cubes

To prepare - blend the watermelon, ginger and lemon until smooth. Mix in pitcher with fresh mint and ice cubes to serve.

By Sarah Shupe Hung L.Ac., Jun 23 2014 03:40PM

Are Migraine Triggers a Myth?

While researchers may disagree about the accuracy of pinpointing migraine triggers, it’s important to remember that you know your body better than a scientist. Even if you haven’t conducted double-blind, single variable experiments, you have lived with migraines for years and you know how your body works. If you find a correlation between a trigger and your migraines, that trigger exists.

Part of the difficulty of identifying triggers is that some triggers may only exist under certain circumstances. For example, you may be able to eat cheese and bread under normal circumstances but once you are stressed, you may notice that they can cause a migraine. You may be more sensitive when you have multiple triggers at once.

I always support your own knowledge of your body. You know your triggers and I respect your intuition.

Acupuncture is a very effective treatment to balance your constitution and reduce your sensitivity to your triggers. Give me a call and we can schedule an appointment today.

The Surprising Truth about Migraine Triggers

How much do you really know about controlling your migraines?

New research suggests you may not know as much as you think.

According to Timothy T. Houle, Ph.D and co-author Dana P. Turner, M.S.P.H., both of the Wake Forest Baptist anesthesiology department, migraine sufferers make inaccurate conclusions about what triggers their migraines. Houle and Turner conducted a 3-month study of 9 women who suffered from migraines. They tracked the women’s hormone levels, their stress levels and the weather. The women kept daily diaries. At the end of the study, the scientists could not accurately predict which triggers would cause a migraine.

Their conclusion—most people can’t isolate the many complex variables in everyday life to accurately determine their migraine triggers.

So what can you do? Can you start eating anything you want? Do you give up managing your migraines?

What are Migraine Triggers?

Migraine triggers are factors that increase the chance that you will get a migraine. They don’t cause a migraine. Instead, they play a role in activating the process that leads to a migraine.

Not every trigger causes a migraine for every person and even if a person is sensitive to a particular trigger, they may not get a migraine every time they are exposed to it.

The list of triggers is broad. Hormone fluctuations can trigger a migraine. Sometimes birth control pills increase migraines (while sometimes pregnancy prevents them). Stress can be a factor. And while genetics can’t “trigger” a migraine, it plays a role in how likely you are to suffer from migraines in general.

The most common type of trigger is food. Typical food triggers include aged cheeses, sour cream, processed meats, yeast breads, peanuts, broad beans, peas, lentils, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, wine (especially red wine), vinegar, fermented foods like soy sauce or miso, some fish, avocados, bananas, citrus fruits, figs, raisins, red plums and raspberries. In addition, some people are sensitive to nitrates, nitrites, yellow food coloring and monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Other triggers are non-food. Some people notice that fatigue, lack of sleep, sleeping too much, missing meals, changes in barometric pressure, changes in altitude or bright flashing lights can trigger a migraine. Strong smells such as paint, gasoline or heavy perfumes can also cause a migraine.

Sarah's Wellness Blog

Welcome to my blog


My name is Sarah Shupe Hung and I'm a licensed acupuncturist working in Northern Virginia.  My goal with the blog is to bring you current information on acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, as well as other health related topics like nutrition, meditation, and exercise.  Feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions.  

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