Health News Articles/Videos

Dr. Oz on Anti-Oxidants & How to Test for Them

8 Tips for Healthy Springtime Eating

In the spring metabolism naturally raises. One should cleanse from the fatty and heavy foods that were consumed in the winter. Spring is the time to have a lighter diet, the lightest of the year.

1.  Eat: young plants, fresh greens, sprouts, immature wheat and other cereal type grasses.

2.  Don’t Eat: Salty foods (Soy sauce, miso, sodium rich food –i.e. bacon).

3.  Consume combinations of Sweet & Pungent Foods, Traditional Chinese Medicine believes this “Renews the Spring Within”. Mix very little sweetener with pungent herbs. For example, Honey-Mint Tea. Make additional combinations from the following lists:

  • Pungent cooking herbs: Basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, dill, bay leaf…
  • Sweet: Grains, legumes, seeds, young beets, carrots, and other starchy sweet vegetables

4.  Cook foods for shorter periods of time, the inner part of vegetables should not be completely cooked/soft.

  • Cooking with Oil should be quick: saute/stir fry.
  • Cooking with water: steam/minimal simmer

5.  RAW FOODS! Springtime is perfect for enjoying: sprouted grains, beans, seeds, fresh vegetables, fruits

6.  Springtime is a time to support and cleanse the liver. Incorporate the following nutritious foods into your diet to awaken the liver out of stagnancy:

  • mildly pungent foods: beets taro root, sweet rice, Amasake, strawberry, peach, cherry, chestnut, pine nut, cabbage, turnip Root, kohlrabi, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts.
  • Moderately pungent foods spices and herbs: watercress, all members of the onion family, mustard greens, turmeric, basic, bay leaf, cardamom, marjoram, cumin, fennel, dill, ginger, black , pepper, horseradish, rosemary, various mints, lemon balm, angelica root, prickly ash bark.

7. Consume the following nutritious foods to detoxify the liver from all of those holiday cocktails:

  • Mung beans and their sprouts, celery, seaweeds, lettuce, cucumber, watercress, Tofu, Millet, Plum, mushrooms, rhubarb root or stem, radish, daikon radish.

8.  One more list for the liver, Foods which accelerate liver rejuvenation 

  • Wheat or barley grass juice powders, Spirulina, wild blue-green and chlorella.
  • Parsley, Kale, watercress, alfalfa and collard greens.
  • Fresh milk of goats, cows or sheep.
  • Soup containing liver from organically raised livestock (sheep, beef or chicken).
 Source: Healing with Whole Foods, by Paul Pitchford

 

Physical & Mental Health w/ Spring Recipes

August-G. Varlack has moved his discussion on Eating by the Season to a class room setting.  In the link below you can access the student class notes and follow a few recipes that are most appropriate for this time of year.  Learn how to avoid hay fevers and to boost your immunity.  Boost your metabolism, while achieving your New Years resolutions this spring….  Learn why New Years is not the best time to strive for your needed resolutions.

Spring’ Cleaning Class  outline and recipes CLICK HERE  

 

The Best Kidney Cleanse is a Modified Master Cleanse

 

The fastest and easiest method for cleansing the kidneys is to do a modified master cleanse. There is no fasting with this and you are able to use raw wild or organic honey instead of the now highly overpriced organic maple syrup.

Modified Master Cleanse Recipe
  • cayenne (.5-1 table spoon)
  • lemon    (2 squeezed)
  • raw honey or organic maple syrup ( 1-2 table spoons)
  • 32 oz of water (mixed with ingredients- drink 1 gallon per day)

Cayenne lemonade is generally known as “the master cleanse.” For the “modified master cleanse,” I do not advocate the fasting that accompanies the complete master cleanse program, as it tends to disrupt normal metabolism and prompt rapid weight gain upon its completion.

The parts of the master cleanse that work on the kidneys are the cayenne, lemon and water. Cayenne thins the blood and lemon alkalizes the body. This combination with lots of water is great for quickly flushing toxins out of the kidneys. You can sweeten the mixture with raw honey or organic maple syrup. Drink as much of it as is comfortable throughout the day and gradually increase the amount of cayenne as you are able. If you can do some walking, light hiking or yoga, you will enhance your body’s ability to flush toxins out of the kidneys. Poses like camel pose (ustrasana) are perfect for this. Try to rest more often as you are able.

When cleansing the kidneys, it is important to make some dietary observations or modifications. These modifications are very important to ensure that the kidneys are less likely to be damaged while they are at their most vulnerable state. The most important thing to remember is not to ingest items that are toxic to the kidneys while attempting to cleanse them.

 

Avoid The Following While Cleansing The Kidneys
  • animal products, especially meat
  • caffeine, including green or white tea and yerba mate
  • alcoholic beverages and alcohol-based supplements, including kombucha
  • chocolate, especially dark chocolate
  • pain-killers and non-essential medications
  • energy drinks or energy/metabolic supplements
  • beverages or supplements containing B12 (cyanocobalamin), theobromine or theophylline
  • if you use salt, ensure that it is ONLY pure sea salt with no additives
  • anything with artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • carbonated beverages and sodas, including sparkling water
  • artificial sweeteners (stevia, honey and maple syrup are fine)
If you cannot comfortably avoid any of these items and still function on a daily basis, then your kidneys and the connected adrenal glands are probably already taxed, overworked and toxic and you will need to formulate a long-term plan to wean yourself off of these items to avoid future health problems that stem from kidneys that are weak and unable to function optimally.
 
What To Expect On The Kidney Cleanse

There are certainly some side effects of cleansing the kidneys. If you know what to expect, they can be easily managed.

Kidney Cleanse Side Effects
  • acidic body smell
  • irritability, anxiety
  • tiredness, sluggishness or depression

When you are doing the kidney cleanse, one side effect is that by the second or third day you will notice a peculiar smell under your arms and possibly also in your urine. It smells like a city alley on a hot day. That lovely fragrance is uric acid. Your kidneys are purging their excess acid along with toxins. When the smell begins to fade, your kidney cleanse is working! Depending on your level of toxicity, this could take anywhere from 4 days to 3 weeks. Using a natural deodorant, like the crystal deodorant or crystal deodorant spray is helpful for neutralizing these smelly kidney acids.

During this cleanse, you may feel irritable or anxious as your kidneys release. This is normal. If your mood becomes a hindrance to daily functions, you may supplement withnatural magnesium or Nutritional Yeast (as long as it has not been artificially fortified with B-12) from your health food store to ease your temperament until you are finished cleansing.
Your kidneys are the energy and power centers of your body. While they are being cleansed and rehabilitated, you may find yourself more tired or down than usual. Just realize that this is part of the process and rest as much as you can.
How To Support Your Body While Kidney Cleansing
  • rest as much as possible
  • shower using natural soap and a washcloth or brush to exfoliate
  • soak in very warm baths to help the kidneys release toxins
  • drink lots of clean water
  • if you feel dizzy, lightheaded or angry, have a toxin absorbing drink (the same as the colon cleanse drink recipe) to absorb the toxins that your kidneys have released into your body
How Long Is The Kidney Cleanse?

People often ask how long the kidney cleanse lasts. The answer is that your body will let you know when it is finished. As you continue to cleanse, all of the cleanse side effects begin to subside. When you are still cleansing and your smell returns to normal and you have no more tiredness, dizziness or irritability, then you are probably done. If you do the Modified Master Cleanse as your Kidney Cleanse, that will be 3-15 days.

 

Shaun Blair, Holistic Life Coach

Acupuncture Helps Relieve Ailments Where Western Medicine Doesn’t

Dr. James LeFanu: Doctor’s Diary

7:00AM BST 13 Jun 2011

It is not unusual for those with a long-standing health problem, such as chronic pain or fatigue, for which modern medicine can find no explanation, to seek a complementary treatment such as acupuncture.

Dr Charlotte Paterson of the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter suggests they are right to do so. She has recently studied the effect of regular hour-long acupuncture over a period of six months in 20 people with what is known as medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS), 17 of whom reported an improvement in “physical and mental energy, feelings of greater control, calmness and relaxation”. The effects in some were dramatic, with one participant reducing the amount of medication he was taking.

While it is easy to attribute this to the placebo effect, it is possible that acupuncture improved a condition that is “unexplained” – at least to mainstream medicine.

By contrast, a study by researchers from Peninsula into the value of cranial osteopathy for cerebral palsy, found no improvement in motor function, pain, sleep or quality of life.

Acupuncture for Symptoms of Prostate Cancer Treatment

Summary
Men with prostate cancer often need to undergo therapy that depletes the male hormones in their bodies. This results in uncomfortable hot flashes. This study was attempted to see if acupuncture could relieve the hot flashes in these men. Results showed that average improvement in symptoms with acupuncture was 68.4 percent and 89.2 percent, at two weeks and six weeks respectively of acupuncture therapy. At eight months, the rate of improvement was 80.3 percent and there were no side effects of the acupuncture therapy.

Introduction
Some studies have shown that anywhere from 14 to 74.3 percent men with prostate cancer, who are undergoing therapy to decrease their male hormone levels, experience uncomfortable symptoms of hot flashes. Hot flashes are associated with the sudden drop in levels of sex hormones, common to both menopausal women, and men undergoing therapy to reduce their male hormones, also known as “medical castration”. At present, advanced prostate cancer therapy involves reduction of male hormones by certain drugs and this therapy is considered of great value in prolonging the life of the patient. Major symptoms include flushing and reddening of the face and torso, along with anxiety, chills and palpitations. Some drugs such as Venlafaxine and Gabapentin have been tried successfully in the reduction of these hot flashes, but they come at a higher cost and produce side effects. This study attempted to test the effectiveness of acupuncture in this setting.

Methodology
* For this study, a total of 17 males with prostate cancer who underwent androgen reduction therapy were chosen. Of these, 14 agreed to be included in the study.
* Each of the participants was asked about the frequency and intensity of hot flashes and a score was attributed to them (frequency multiplied by severity of the flashes).
* Scores were measured at the beginning of the acupuncture therapy and then at two weeks, six weeks and eight months.

Key findings
* The acupuncture therapy resulted in no side effects throughout the study.
* At two and six weeks and then eight months, the degree of improvement in the participants was noted was 68.4 percent, 89.2 percent and 80.3 percent, respectively over baseline.
* A 50 percent reduction in symptoms was seen by the second week in 86 percent of patients, and by the sixth week in 100 percent of the patients. After the longest follow-up interval, 91 percent of the patients maintained this 50 percent reduction in symptoms.

Next steps/Shortcomings
Authors agree that this study included only a small sample of patients. They suggest further larger studies which would compare acupuncture with other therapies for hot flashes. These could better qualify the cost-effectiveness of acupuncture in male prostate cancer patients being treated with androgen depleting therapy for hot flashes.

Conclusion
This study shows the effectiveness of acupuncture in male prostate cancer patients, being treated for hot flashes with androgen depleting therapy. It shows a good 80.3 percent improvement of patients, maintained even at eight months of therapy, with 68.4 percent showing improvement within two weeks. Compared to the commonly used therapy for hot flashes such as Venlafaxine and Gabapentin, acupuncture seems to be economical and free of side effects. There are speculations that the effects of acupuncture may not be substantial or may be driven by the psychology of the patients, also known as the placebo effect. Authors recommend larger studies that compare acupuncture with these agents and propose to themselves take up a study to compare acupuncture with Venlafaxine to verify whether acupuncture has any such claimed placebo effect.

Read more at FYI Living: http://fyiliving.com/research/acupuncture-for-symptoms-of-prostate-cancer-treatment/#ixzz1SC74GRxU

Some Turning To Acupuncture For Allergy Relief;

Laura Glynn of Chicago undergoes acupuncture treatment for allergies. (Credit: CBS)

Laura Glynn of Chicago undergoes acupuncture treatment for allergies. (Credit: CBS)

CHICAGO (CBS) – The watery eyes, the sneezing, the itchy skin; the list goes on if you suffer from seasonal allergies. Maybe you’ve tried allergy shots or prescription medication.

CBS 2’s Mary Kay Kleist reports that some people have been getting relief from a way you may not have thought of – acupuncture.

The trees, the flowers, the weather – a beautiful sight this time of year, unless you’re allergic to seasonal offenders, like ragweed.

“I was allergic to every single ragweed there is. There’s about 3 different kinds,” said Laura Glynn of Chicago, who suffered from allergies for years. “When you wake up and feel pretty lousy and you’re sneezing and your eyes are all watery and red, it’s pretty uncomfortable.”

She tried countless medications, but “sometimes the side effects make you feel worse than the actual allergy itself.”

So, instead of allergy shots or prescription drugs, some people are turning to ancient the Chinese medicine of acupuncture for relief.

“These needles here are gonna help kind of push the phlegm out, that drippy feeling in the back of your throat,” licensed acupuncturist Michelle Goebel-Angel said. “(It) helps with post-nasal drip, because really the goal is to move the phlegm out of the body.”

During an acupuncture treatment for allergies, about a dozen ultra-thin needles are strategically placed.

“We can do a lot of needling in the upper body area and in the face to relieve some sinus blockages,” Goebel-Angel said.

She said an important part of treating allergies is boosting the body’s ‘chi’ or energy flow.

“We’re getting to the root, so we’re actually changing the way the body works to help it heal, so hopefully we don’t have future attacks and outbreaks,” Goebel-Angel said.

Asked if people who undergo acupuncture treatment for allergies can go off prescription medication altogether, she said, “some people can get away from the decongestants.”

After a year of treatments, Glynn has gone off all of her medications. She comes once a month now to make sure the sniffles stay away.

She said the acupuncture “absolutely” has taken care of her allergies and continues to do so.
Acupuncture treatments at the Raby Institute in Chicago cost $150 for the first visit, and $100 for each additional treatment. It’s sometimes covered by insurance.

Mary Kay KleistReporting Mary Kay Kleist

Acupuncture for Symptoms of Prostate Cancer Treatment

Summary
Men with prostate cancer often need to undergo therapy that depletes the male hormones in their bodies. This results in uncomfortable hot flashes. This study was attempted to see if acupuncture could relieve the hot flashes in these men. Results showed that average improvement in symptoms with acupuncture was 68.4 percent and 89.2 percent, at two weeks and six weeks respectively of acupuncture therapy. At eight months, the rate of improvement was 80.3 percent and there were no side effects of the acupuncture therapy.

Introduction
Some studies have shown that anywhere from 14 to 74.3 percent men with prostate cancer, who are undergoing therapy to decrease their male hormone levels, experience uncomfortable symptoms of hot flashes. Hot flashes are associated with the sudden drop in levels of sex hormones, common to both menopausal women, and men undergoing therapy to reduce their male hormones, also known as “medical castration”. At present, advanced prostate cancer therapy involves reduction of male hormones by certain drugs and this therapy is considered of great value in prolonging the life of the patient. Major symptoms include flushing and reddening of the face and torso, along with anxiety, chills and palpitations. Some drugs such as Venlafaxine and Gabapentin have been tried successfully in the reduction of these hot flashes, but they come at a higher cost and produce side effects. This study attempted to test the effectiveness of acupuncture in this setting.

Methodology
* For this study, a total of 17 males with prostate cancer who underwent androgen reduction therapy were chosen. Of these, 14 agreed to be included in the study.
* Each of the participants was asked about the frequency and intensity of hot flashes and a score was attributed to them (frequency multiplied by severity of the flashes).
* Scores were measured at the beginning of the acupuncture therapy and then at two weeks, six weeks and eight months.

Key findings
* The acupuncture therapy resulted in no side effects throughout the study.
* At two and six weeks and then eight months, the degree of improvement in the participants was noted was 68.4 percent, 89.2 percent and 80.3 percent, respectively over baseline.
* A 50 percent reduction in symptoms was seen by the second week in 86 percent of patients, and by the sixth week in 100 percent of the patients. After the longest follow-up interval, 91 percent of the patients maintained this 50 percent reduction in symptoms.

Next steps/Shortcomings
Authors agree that this study included only a small sample of patients. They suggest further larger studies which would compare acupuncture with other therapies for hot flashes. These could better qualify the cost-effectiveness of acupuncture in male prostate cancer patients being treated with androgen depleting therapy for hot flashes.

Conclusion
This study shows the effectiveness of acupuncture in male prostate cancer patients, being treated for hot flashes with androgen depleting therapy. It shows a good 80.3 percent improvement of patients, maintained even at eight months of therapy, with 68.4 percent showing improvement within two weeks. Compared to the commonly used therapy for hot flashes such as Venlafaxine and Gabapentin, acupuncture seems to be economical and free of side effects. There are speculations that the effects of acupuncture may not be substantial or may be driven by the psychology of the patients, also known as the placebo effect. Authors recommend larger studies that compare acupuncture with these agents and propose to themselves take up a study to compare acupuncture with Venlafaxine to verify whether acupuncture has any such claimed placebo effect.

Read more at FYI Living: http://fyiliving.com/research/acupuncture-for-symptoms-of-prostate-cancer-treatment/#ixzz1SC74GRxU

Acupuncture Helps Relieve Symptoms, Many Say (Click for Video)

Scientists, Practitioners Split On Effectiveness Of Practice

MERRIMACK, N.H. — While the debate over acupuncture’s medical benefits continues, many swear it works and can stop physical symptoms such as pain.

Modern-day acupuncture is a mixture of faith and what its practitioners say is thousands of years of traditional Chinese medicine. Using needles, practitioners claim they can help with issues such as pain, stomach problems, infertility and weight loss.

While many remain skeptical, practitioners claim the techniques have worked for thousands of years.

“If they pressure certain parts of the body, either the pain or the symptom goes away,” said Ying Buckley of Oriental Acupuncture and Herb.

Buckley studied acupuncture in China and said practitioners first need to diagnose the problem. The patient’s pulse and tongue are checked, and then the acupuncturist works to correct the flow of energy to the affected part of the body.

According to believers, the body has energy lines that allow the body to be healthy. When that energy or chi gets disrupted, problems can arise, Buckley said.

Sterile needles are inserted into the problem energy line, called a meridian. The needle can be inserted up to 3 inches deep, but most say they don’t feel any pain. Buckley said that after a few half-hour sessions, the symptoms often fade or disappear.

“Once this energy flow shifts back to the right position, you shouldn’t have that much pain or discomfort anymore,” Buckley said.

Scientific studies have not revealed any energy lines in the body or revealed a mechanism by which acupuncture might work, but many say it works.

Marcia Sinclair is a nurse and knows conventional medicine. But she said it didn’t help 10 years ago when she tried to stop pain from a back injury.

“It just got very frustrating,” she said. “It really wears on you, just constantly being in pain.”

Like many who try it, Sinclair sought out acupuncture as a last resort.

“Probably by about the fifth session, the pain in my leg was totally gone,” she said.

Karla Renaud is on the state Board of Acupuncture Licensing.

Renaud said more and more doctors are looking at acupuncture as a viable therapy.

“Most conditions you don’t need to go to the emergency room for, acupuncture can really help,” she said.

But scientists said acupuncture may be affecting the mind more than the body. Studies have shown that acupuncture can reduce pain, but phony acupuncture — in which needles were inserted in random locations or patients didn’t have needles inserted at all — were just as effective. Researchers said the placebo effect may be at work, in which people feel better when they think they are receiving therapy.

Renaud said she agrees the mind plays a part in healing. But she said studies have shown that the needles do cause a physical change in the body.

“We’ve seen brain scans where blood flow changes while people are getting acupuncture,” she said.

An average acupuncture session can cost about $50 to $75, and in many cases, health insurance doesn’t cover it.

Read more: http://www.wmur.com/health/28262388/detail.html#ixzz1QhITvQL6

Acupuncture used for detox help

OAKLAND – A protocol that is used around the world to help people recover from substance abuse can be found in Garrett County.

Auricular acupuncture is used by the Health Department Substance Abuse Program to aid clients in combating the effects of detoxification. Also known as Acu-detox, the process has been proven to help alleviate a wide array of symptoms.

“I have always been open to new ideas. When I was attending a training in Salisbury, I had an opportunity to learn more about auricular acupuncture,” said Kathryn Beals, clinical supervisor in the Substance Abuse Program of Garrett County Health Department Behavioral Health.

“I participated in the session and after the presenter, a full-body acupuncturist, gave the information, I participated in the five-point protocol. I was amazed at the feeling of relaxation I felt at the end of the session.”

The Substance Abuse Program began using the treatment in 2007.

Auricular acupuncture uses five specific points on the ear in the treatment of substance abuse and general body detoxification.

According to Beals, the protocol helps the body to release toxins and it re-energizes the body by inserting needles in the five points.

Stimulation of the sympathetic point promotes the body’s release of endorphin, which helps with pain relief and is believed to relax small organs.

The Shenmen point helps calm the mind, reduces stress and promotes sleep. It also promotes lower abdominal circulation, harmonizes liver function and reduces high blood pressure.

The kidney point helps kidney function and digestion. The fourth point regulates blood circulation, strengthens the stomach, relieves dizzy spells and faintness, and strengthens digestion, relieves chest heaviness, general aches and pains, abdominal distention and depression. It is believed this point moderates emotions and keeps the body system working smoothly.

The fifth point increases the functions of the lungs by controlling breathing and helps to regulate body temperature. This point also stimulates immunity and protects the body from disease.

After the needles are placed, the patient participates in approximately 40 minutes of quiet meditation.

Before implementing the protocol for clients, several members of the health department participated in the treatment and shared Beals’ assessment of the treatment.

“They were all surprised by the sense of well-being they experienced,” Beals added.

Beals, a licensed auricular accupuncturist, offers the Acu-detox two times a week in addition to individual and group counseling.

She said some clients who were initially hesitant were soon convinced when they experienced the positive effects firsthand.

“There have been many positive comments from clients who have participated in this treatment. This procedure not only helps clients deal with withdrawal symptoms early in recovery, but it also helps them long-term as a natural stress and anxiety relief technique,” Beals explained.

During the past year, the health department provided substance abuse treatment to 341 people of which 25 participated in the Acu-detox program.

Auricular acupuncture protocol was first developed in 1974, at New York City’s Lincoln Hospital and is now used in approximately 1,200 addiction treatment programs throughout the country. The Acu-detox protocol has shown to be beneficial in the process of detoxification from substance abuse as well as to help with the emotional, physical and psychological aspects involved in addiction. For more information about the substance abuse programs offered by the Garrett County Health Department, go to www.garretthealth.org.


Copyright © Capital Gazette Communications LLC, 2011.

Acupuncture  Helps  Relieve  Ailments  Where  Western Medicine  Doesn’t

Dr. James LeFanu: Doctor’s Diary

It is not unusual for those with a long-standing health problem, such as chronic pain or fatigue, for which modern medicine can find no explanation, to seek a complementary treatment such as acupuncture.

Dr Charlotte Paterson of the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter suggests they are right to do so. She has recently studied the effect of regular hour-long acupuncture over a period of six months in 20 people with what is known as medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS), 17 of whom reported an improvement in “physical and mental energy, feelings of greater control, calmness and relaxation”. The effects in some were dramatic, with one participant reducing the amount of medication he was taking.

While it is easy to attribute this to the placebo effect, it is possible that acupuncture improved a condition that is “unexplained” – at least to mainstream medicine.

By contrast, a study by researchers from Peninsula into the value of cranial osteopathy for cerebral palsy, found no improvement in motor function, pain, sleep or quality of life.

Why  We  Discourage  Using Plastic

“Those fees topped $20 billion last year, according to industry reports.”

The Fed promises to enact rules that would cut most debit-card fees to seven to 12 cents per transaction, from 44 now.

Enlarge this photoELAINE THOMPSON / AP

The Fed promises to enact rules that would cut most debit-card fees to seven to 12 cents per transaction, from 44 now.

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Wednesday refused to delay new rules that would sharply cut fees that banks charge retailers to process debit-card transactions.

The rules were a major part of the Dodd-Frank financial-regulation law passed last year. The Senate vote was one of the strongest challenges to the new law.

While 54 senators voted for the delay, the measure failed to garner the 60 votes required for it to pass under Senate rules. Forty-five senators, including Washington Democrats Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, voted against the delay.

Still, the vote represented a remarkable, come-from-behind lobbying campaign by banks to recover from the anti-Wall Street drubbing they took during debate over financial regulation. The debit-card bill, sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., passed last year by a 2-to-1 ratio after little debate and no hearings.

The Wednesday vote, after a vigorous floor debate, was a victory for retailers who have complained that banks and the companies that control the largest debit-card networks, Visa and MasterCard, have raised fees consistently on debit-card transactions even as the market has grown rapidly and technology costs have declined.

Those fees topped $20 billion last year, according to industry reports.

The Federal Reserve, as guided by the new law, had proposed rules that would cut the average processing fee to seven to 12 cents per transaction, from 44 cents currently. Congress exempted small banks with less than $10 billion in assets, but banking regulators warned such a two-tiered fee system among banks would not be competitive. Opponents of the delay said all but 100 banks and three credit unions would be exempt from the restrictions.

The new regulations are scheduled to take effect by July 21. The Fed has said it intends to meet the deadline.

The vote also provided a victory for Durbin, who kept his debit-fee measure intact despite 12 senators’ switching their vote from supporting him last summer to now seeking a delay. Nine Democrats and three Republicans changed their votes.

By coming close to victory, however, banks likely are to be emboldened to fight other regulations being drawn up under the Dodd-Frank Act. Notably, bankers and business lobbies oppose the structure of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is to take over regulation of mortgages and other consumer-related areas from other banking regulators.

Both sides sought to portray the fight as pitting big, well-financed interests against small-town retailers or banks.

Bank lobbyists said the rule would most harm small community banks and credit unions, while benefiting giant retailers such as Walmart and Home Depot that account for most debit-card transactions.

Similarly, a coalition of retailers framed the debate as the giant banks that issue the most debit cards — JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo — against mom-and-pop retailers.

Both arguments had elements of truth. Home Depot executives, for example, told financial analysts this year that a cap on debit fees could save the company $35 million a year. Banks, in a flurry of ads in subway cars and on television, portrayed the debit-fee reduction as a $12 billion gift to retailers. One print ad tried to argue that fee cuts would make debit cards so unprofitable that smaller banks and credit unions would charge for cards or raise fees on checking accounts or other services.

Edmund Mierzwinski, consumer program director for US PIRG, which represents state public interest research groups, said some banks might curtail rewards programs attached to some cards. But he said checking-account fees would not rise.

“There will be competition,” he said. “Banks will be forced to come up with innovative ways to lower costs in their card networks.”

Camden Fine, president of the Independent Community Bankers of America, challenged that, saying the Senate vote would mean “consumers of lower socio-economic status will get hammered” because bank fees would rise.

“Where do people think banks get the money to subsidize these products” like free checking accounts, he said. He also challenged assertions that stores would pass savings to customers.

“Does anybody not smoking dope believe merchants will pass some big windfall to consumers?” he asked.

Merchants, however, argue they will be forced to do so.

“The retail industry is the most competitive business environment going today,” said Brian Dodge, spokesman for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents many large merchants. “There is no doubt competition would drive any interchange savings out of the system, which would be reflected by lower prices.”

Dennis Lane, who has owned a 7-Eleven store in Quincy, Mass., for 37 years, affirmed that. He said he pays $7,000 to $10,000 annually in fees.

“Whenever I can reduce my cost of doing business, any responsible retailer reduces costs to the consumer,” he said. He also said those savings could allow him to hire summer workers.

On the other hand, the president of a credit union in Mountain Home, Idaho, said slashing fees would have a huge cost for his business.

Curt Perry, president of Pioneer Federal Credit Union, says a 12-cents-per-swipe fee would cost him $780,000 a year. The new fee system would not take into account such expenses as covering fraud, which he said cost him $170,000 last year.

“We’d have to pass that on,” he said.

Seattle Times staff contributed

to this report.

Acupuncture  Effective  for  Undetermined  Illness

By RICK NAUERT PHD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Acupuncture Effective for Undetermined IllnessDespite the advances of modern medicine, one in five patients has symptoms that are unexplained and untreated, contributing to  stress for both the provider and individual.

Further, studies have shown that the cost of managing the treatment of a patient with medically unexplained symptoms can be twice that of a patient with a diagnosis.

In an effort to provide a solution, a UK research team performed a clinical randomized controlled study on the efficacy of acupuncture for the undiagnosed disorders. Included in the research design was a linked interview of each patient’s subjective opinion of the intervention.

Some 80 patients from GP practices across London were selected to have five-element acupuncture added to their usual care.

The results of the research are published in the British Journal of General Practice.

The study group was made up of 80 adults, 80 percent female with an average age of 50 years and from a variety of ethnic backgrounds who had consulted their GP at least eight times in the past year.

Nearly 60 percent reported musculoskeletal health problems, of which almost two-thirds had been present for a year.

The patients were randomly divided into an acupuncture group and a control group. Eight acupuncturists administered individual five-element acupuncture to the acupuncture group immediately, up to 12 sessions over 26 weeks. The same numbers of treatments were made available to the control group after 26 weeks.

At 26 weeks the patients were asked to complete a number of questionnaires including the individualized health status questionnaire “Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile.”

The acupuncture group registered a significantly improved overall score when compared with the control group.

They also showed improved well-being but did not show any change in GP and other clinical visits or the number of medications they were taking. Between 26 and 52 weeks, the acupuncture group maintained their improvement and the control group, now receiving their acupuncture treatments, showed “catch up” improvement.

Results from the associated qualitative study, which focused on the patients’ experiences, supported the quantitative work.

This tool identified that participating patients had a variety of longstanding symptoms and disability including chronic pain, fatigue and emotional problems which affected their ability to work, socialize and carry out everyday tasks.

Participating patients reported that their acupuncture consultations became increasingly valuable. They appreciated the amount of time they had with each acupuncturist and the interactive and holistic nature of the sessions – there was a sense that the practitioners were listening to their concerns and, via therapy, doing something positive about them.

This patient-centered orientation encouraged individuals to take an active role in their treatment, resulting in cognitive and behavioral lifestyle changes, such as a new self-awareness about what caused stress in their lives, and a subsequent ability to deal with stress more effectively; and taking their own initiatives based on advice from the acupuncturists about diet, exercise, relaxation and social activities.

Comments from participating patients included: “the energy is the main thing I have noticed. You know, yeah, it’s marvelous! Where I was going out and cutting my grass, now I’m going out and cutting my neighbor’s after because he’s elderly”; “I had to reduce my medication. That’s the big help actually, because medication was giving me more trouble…side effects”; and “It kind of boosts you, somehow or another.”

Dr. Charlotte Paterson, who managed the randomized control trial and the longitudinal study of patients’ experiences, commented: “Our research indicates that the addition of up to 12 five-element acupuncture consultations to the usual care experienced by the patients in the trial was feasible and acceptable and resulted in improved overall well-being that was sustained for up to a year.

“This is the first trial to investigate the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment to those with unexplained symptoms, and the next development will be to carry out a cost-effectiveness study with a longer follow-up period. While further studies are required, this particular study suggests that GPs may recommend a series of five-element acupuncture consultations to patients with unexplained symptoms as a safe and potentially effective intervention.”

She added: “Such intervention could not only result in potential resource savings for the (National Health Service), but would also improve the quality of life for a group of patients for whom traditional biomedicine has little in the way of effective diagnosis and treatment.”