Apr 122018

Research into the importance of and benefits from an integrated model of health care has been recognized at the federal level for at least 20 years now with the formation the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). (NCCAM was renamed to National Center of Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) in 2014). One important indication of integrative medicine’s increased acceptance is NCCIH’s recent educational campaign geared towards veterans and military personnel discussing such topics such as managing chronic pain, PTSD, stress/anxiety and insomnia using ‘complementary practices’. A recent new analysis (3/17) of a National Health Interview Study, which was conducted by the CDC from 2010 to 2014, shows that veterans are in much more pain on average than non-veterans, and the ‘NCCIH is partnering with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense on 13 grants to research military and veteran health with a focus on non-pharmacological approaches to pain and related conditions’. The Veterans Health Administration has used acupuncture and chiropractic treatments for many years now, amongst other complementary practices, such as massage, hypnosis, meditation and yoga. The Veterans Choice program, which began in 2015, also allows veterans to go to local acupuncturists and chiropractors for pain management treatments, with prior authorization, so that a veteran does not have to wait more than 30 days for an appointment or drive more than 40 miles to the closest VA facility. For Butte County residents, that includes every veteran needing such services for pain management, given VA authorization or approval.

Originally published April 2017 in the ‘PARADISE RIDGE Lifestyle & Resource Guide’, a Paradise Ridge Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau publication.

Feb 232017

New Guidelines Say Exercise, Yoga, and Acupuncture Beat Medications for Back Pain.

Other article links on this blog about acupuncture and back pain.

Aug 102016

Cupping Therapy is a tool I use almost daily in my office along with acupuncture treatments. I primarily use it on certain types of pain, or for post-stroke syndrome (i.e., paralysis), but it can be used to ‘release the exterior’ (as we say in TCM) for an upper respiratory infection, for COPD (especially phlegm in the lungs), and many other health conditions. Research on Cupping Therapy:
Effectiveness of Cupping Therapy on Chronic Neck and Shoulder Pain

Photo Credit: Sheryl Sanchez, L.Ac., in Chengdu, China, 2000.
P.S. Don’t let the photo frighten you, it is a completely painless technique – it just looks a bit odd at first glance! Most patients love the procedure and especially the results – pain reduction!!

Jul 292015

The latest issue (July 2015) of Dr. Julian Whitaker’s Health and Healing Newsletter (article not available online) has an article about back pain. It discusses the pros and cons of painkillers, and points out that getting an MRI or CT scan often times becomes a “Gateway to Surgery”. He suggests “waiting until you’ve given conservative treatment a chance to work”. He then has a nice summary of modalities to try for “Safe, Lasting Pain Relief”. This list includes Acupuncture, “one of the best-studied alternative therapies for pain relief”, amongst Stem Cell Therapy, Prolotherapy, High-Intensity Laser, Chiropractic, and Supplements (“such as curcumin, boswellia, omega-3 fatty acids, UC-II (type II collagen), bromelain, astaxanthin and ginger”).

I must note that three of these supplements or herbal remedies are from Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal medicine: curcumin, boswellia and ginger! I also just happen to carry a great arthritis herbal formula (patients love the results they have!) and amongst other ingredients, it has curcumin, boswellia and collagen. (I cannot advertise the product or its price, since the product is sold only by qualified health care professionals).

Dr. Whitaker also has on his website a nice article highlighting the many conditions Acupuncture Benefits, last updated in August 2014.

Aug 192014

While most of us in the US may know of tumeric as a spice coming from India, it has been in the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Materia Medica for as far back as 657 A.D. Tumeric is in the same plant family as ginger, commonly used in both Chinese herbal medicine and Chinese cooking1 . Tumeric is from the plant known as Curcuma longa, hence Curcumin became the name for the main active ingredient in tumeric.

In TCM, we commonly use at least three species that belong to the Curcuma genus. Each one contains Curcumin but each plant has different unique medicinal qualities. In the last few years, Curcumin has become popular as an anti-inflammatory herbal ingredient and is used in many western herbal and supplement products for musculo-skeletal injuries and arthritis, and for anti-cancer support. However, the various Curcuma species have been used in Chinese Medicine for a long time for pain syndromes, benign or malignant masses, and much more.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) or Jiang Huang (literal English translation is “ginger yellow”) is used in TCM to treat chest and hypochondriac (anterior rib area) pain, epigastric pain, dymenorrhea, and hepatitis liver pain. It is also used to treat pain syndromes such as tendonitis, bursitis, and arthritis, especially in the upper limbs. Additionally, it is used to treat pain from certain types of infected sores and lesions. Modern research has shown it does have an anti-inflammatory effect and antiplatelet effect. Additionally, it has also shown the ability to lower both cholesterol and triglycerides levels, and has demonstrated an ability to increase production and excretion of bile.

Curcuma aromatica or Curcuma domestica (Yu Jin) is used in TCM to treat pain, cramping and bloating associated with menstruation, especially irregular menstruation. It also treats abdominal masses, especially those in the hypochondriac region and disorders such as liver cirrhosis, or hepatomegaly or splenomegaly (liver or spleen enlargement). It also has the ability to stop certain types of bleeding (based on diagnosis) such as vomiting blood, hematuria (blood in the urine) or nosebleeds. It is also used to treat certain types of disorientation, epilepsy, mania and other psychologically-related disorders. It will also treat jaundice and gallstones.

The root or rhizome of another species, Curcuma Zedoria or E Zhu, is traditionally considered one of the strongest herbs to break up masses, especially in the abdomen. Masses can be tumors, either benign or malignant. This herb is used in formulas for many types of cancer in TCM, however, modern research has shown this herb is most effective against cervical cancer. E Zhu is also a strong pain-relieving herb, especially used for abdominal pain, including certain types of epigastric or hypochondriac fullness, abdominal distention or hardness, and pelvic inflammation. It is also used for dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), amenorrhea (lack of menstruation) and indigestion . Additionally, this herb has shown antiplatelet and anti-thrombotic properties, along with having antibiotic-like effects against Staph, Strep and E. coli.

In TCM, all health conditions, including pain syndromes or diseases, are treated after determining a diagnosis based on analyzing a patient’s signs and symptoms, along with by observing the tongue and pulse, all of which help determine the affected organs and the pattern of disharmony in the body. Once a diagnosis is made, an herbal formula will be prescribed, never an individual herb as often assumed by western patients. This is because an individual’s diagnosis is complex and specific, and in order to treat it, a combination of properties of herbs are needed to be most effective.

So, here are a few examples of modified traditional Chinese herbal formulas that I prescribe in my clinic, when appropriate, that contain Curcumin in them, along a description of their specific clinical applications (all products are from Evergreen Herbs):

1) Jiang Huang
Arm Support
Shoulder: periarthritis of the shoulder, frozen shoulder, capsulitis, rotator cuff tear, rotator cuff tendonitis, bursitis, inflammation and pain of the shoulder, subluxation or dislocation, AC (acromioclavicular) separation.
Elbow: lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow), olecranon bursitis, tendonitis.
Wrist: carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, sprain and strain.
General musculoskeletal injuries: tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis of the arm.
Numbness, decreased range of motion and atrophy of the arm.

2) Yu Jin
Shine – Depression with low energy, prolonged sadness or irritability, and lack of interest in daily activities.

Calm Jr – ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), autism, hyperactivity, impulsiveness, difficulty in focusing, inattentiveness, restlessness; childhood convulsions, epilepsy, seizures and twitching of muscles.

Liver DTX – Liver damage with high levels of SGPT and SGOT; liver detoxification: enhances the normal metabolic and detoxification functions of the liver; hepatitis: treats hepatitis with or without jaundice, repairs liver cell damage; liver cirrhosis from excessive alcohol intake; addiction: detoxifies liver during alcohol, drug or smoking cessation; cholecystitis with increased liver enzymes, possibly with liver impairment.

Migratrol – Migraine headache: acute and chronic; tension headache: acute and chronic; cluster headache: acute and chronic.

Cholisma ES – High cholesterol and triglycerides levels; fatty liver; obesity; prevention and treatment for the conditions above.

Back Support (Upper) – Acute injury or trauma to the chest, ribs, or thoracic area with pain, inflammation, swelling, or bruises; upper back stiffness and pain, scapular pain and/or pain between the scapulae; subluxation of the thoracic vertebrae; rib fracture.

3) E Zhu
CA Support – Cancer patients who suffer extreme weakness and deficiency and cannot receive surgery or chemotherapy and radiation treatments; late stage, terminally-ill cancer patients with pain and suffering.

Resolve (Lower) – Fibrocystic disorders in the lower half of the body, such as fibroids and cysts in the uterus and ovaries; endometriosis; palpable masses and benign tumors of the female reproductive organs; female infertility due to obstruction in the lower abdominal region (i.e. tubal obstruction); pelvic pain due to obstruction in the lower abdominal region; scarring or blood stagnation in the pelvic cavity from surgery.

Arm Support – described above

1 The only dish I have seen in Chinese restaurants that has turmeric in it is ‘Singapore Noodles’. I especially like it because it combines turmeric with rice noodles (vs. noodles with wheat), which is great for those who are gluten sensitive.

1. Chen, John K. and Tina T. Chen. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. AOM Press: 2004.
2. Bensky, Dan and Andrew Gamble. Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica. Eastland Press, Revised Edition: 1993.
3. Clinical Manual of Oriental Medicine, 2nd edition, Lotus Institute of Integrative Medicine. (Descriptions of Evergreen Herbs products.)

Jan 282014

Commentary, Jan 28, 2014:
Just received a few calls about a Chinese herb, Corydalis, that evidently Dr. Oz had on his show today – it is a strong herb for pain, but in Chinese Medicine, we never treat with just one individual herb – this herb (and most others) is best used when a practitioner has helped diagnosis the pattern of disharmony leading to the specific pain that an individual has, and then based on that diagnosis, prescribes an herbal remedy or formula (or combination of herbs) to treat that pattern of pain or disharmony. So yes, I have this herb in many formulas, but the best solution to treating pain with Chinese Medicinal herbs is to have it based on your particular situation – this is the way to heal the body, with the result being pain reduction, not by taking one individual herb for pain as shown on Dr. Oz!

Jan 202014

This is a study showing that the homeopathic topical creme Traumeel is as effective as a very commonly prescribed NSAID creme: Traumeel Creme for Ankle Sprain

At the center of this extremely powerful natural, homeopathic anti-inflammatory creme, which is most often prescribed for musculoskeletal injuries but is also very useful for any type of arthritic joint pain, is the herb Arnica Montana. Arnica can easily be considered the most commonly used remedy in the homeopathic “Materia Medica” in the world. Varieties of Arnica have been used for centuries in the US by Native Americans, who used it topically for bruising (it is considered toxic for internal use unless it is prepared homeopathically).

Traumeel Creme
Note that the allopathic NSAID topical creme used in this comparison study has the serious side effects of increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke, and both stomach and intestinal bleeding.1, 2 This only highlights another reason to use this natural anti-inflammatory creme that actually promotes healing with no side effects vs. an allopathic topical NSAID!

1Medline: Diclofenac topical creme
2Drugs.com: Diclofenac topical creme

Jan 132014

From the summary of this research:
“there was a self-reported improvement immediately post-treatment in anxiety,fatigue, pain, and depression and significant improvement over time for patients with anxiety … and depression … .”

Acupuncture as palliative therapy for physical symptoms and quality of life for advanced cancer patients

Jan 132014

From the summary of this research paper: “This study is the first to demonstrate that acupuncture may be an effective approach for improving symptoms — in particular, pain and well-being – in a lung cancer population. Acupuncture is a safe and minimally invasive modality, and it may have a particularly useful role in patients undergoing anticancer treatment…” and “Statistically significant improvements in pain, appetite, nausea, nervousness, and well-being were observed. A clinically important improvement … was reported by 61% of patients for pain and by 33% for well-being.”

The potential role for acupuncture in treating symptoms in patients with lung cancer

Dec 082012

Hi Sheryl,

I was telling someone today (6/1/12) how 3 acupuncture sessions with you helped the pinched nerve
in my shoulder blade a few years ago. Its been fine ever since.

Thank You,


Nov 292012

Dear Sheryl,

Thank you SO MUCH for aiding in my extraordinarily speedy recovery from my total knee replacement surgery, which I had on June 25, 2012. I owe much of it to your skillful acupuncture techniques, very specific herbs, and your expert advice on nutrition and other helpful suggestions, before and after my surgery.

I have well surpassed the expectations of my surgeon, Charles E. Wilhite, M.D., nurses and physical therapists. Not only am I experiencing more flexibility (up to the maximum), but less swelling and redness around the incision. My incision is getting smaller by the day and I’ve been told by my surgeon that it will be nearly invisible sooner than expected. He said outright, “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it!”

I have also had other problems that you have been able to help me with. You have worked wonders for injuries sustained by me a few years after being struck and rolled over on by a car in 2000. At the time I was being treated by a chiropractor with a “cooky cutter” approach for a few years until you were recommended by my massage therapist, Elizabeth Evans, CMT, who worked on me in the same chiropractor’s office. Recently you saved me from having risky surgery on the vertebrae in my neck by your remarkable acupuncture techniques.

If someone were to ask me to pick only one health care provider, it will be you!

Thank you again,
Arleen P.
Magalia, CA

Jun 212012

My general recommendations for treating Peripheral Neuropathy (PNP):

1. Acupuncture
Acupuncture helps increase the vascular supply or blood circulation to the nerves. See item below for article about PNP and Acupuncture.

2. Diet
PNP is typically caused by diabetes, although it can have other causes such as lower back injuries and chemotherapy. If due to diabetes, the first and foremost recommendation is to maintain healthy, normal blood glucose levels – this is of utmost importance to prevent neuropathy. This is best done by avoiding carbohydrates in your diet, especially wheat products since wheat, whole or refined, is a high glycemic index food. (see my book review article of Wheat Belly)

3. Nutriceutical support
*Chromium – a mineral supplement known to help regulate blood glucose levels (generally also used to help with sugar cravings)
*Alpha Lipoic Acid – an anti-oxidant, 600 mg/day – see A-Lipoic Acid Monograph (Clinical Indications summary)
*Benfotiamine, a specialized B vitamin for vascular function (and correspondingly, for nerve health) – see article about Benfotiamine

4. Chinese herbal medicinals
There are many possible Chinese herbal formulas to help with PNP. The prescription will depend upon the diagnosis of the practitioner. One common one I will use is Flex (NP), by Evergreen Herbs. It is a very complex, and therefore useful, formula for nerve pain and neuropathy.

5. Exercise
Exercise increases blood circulation, so patients with PNP will also benefit from this.

6. General
Dry Brushing

7. Additional information
Reference article about PNP and Acupuncture

Jun 212012

An article co-written by Dr. Oz about the benefits of acupuncture such as musculoskeletal and arthritis pain management, insomnia and reducing side effects of radiation and chemotherapy:

The You Docs: Why we still like ancient acupuncture, by
Michael Roizen, M.D. AND Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Jun 212012

I came to Sheryl after I’d been to 2 other acupuncture practitioners. She is by far the best. I came with tendonitis in my thumb. She really helped me. Then I had sciatica and it was gone in one treatment. Also, I’ve been helped with the Traumeel she recommended for my arthritis pain. Also, the sinus nasal spray she sold me is great. My doctor prescribed some that I can’t tell anything has changed. So I use only the spray Sheryl sold me.

Thanks Sheryl!!!
Frances Westra

May 242012

Dear Sheryl,
I want to thank you for helping me deal with my back pain and sinuses along with many other conditions. You listened to me and have helped me so much over the years.
I know I will never be pain free or cured. Acupuncture, Homeopathic medicines and your personal care has given me the opportunity to take control of my health conditions and manage my pain.

Acupuncture has greatly improved my circulation and lets me know where my blockages are. Having a Herrington rod in my back (scoliosis) for the last 37 years and then being in a car accident has been hard on my body.

I am grateful to you that I did not become addicted to medicines prescribed for me to deal with the pain. Your kindness, care and support has been so valuable to me.
Side affects of my prescribed medications were as bad as my symptoms. I felt like I had no other options before coming to you.
Michelle Menches