Q&A 4/13/23 Qi Gong & Kidneys, Hormones, Meniere’s Disease, Neuropathy, Frozen Bread and Constipation


Question regarding benefits of Qi Gong and kidneys, what are the options for menopause and HRT? what can I do for Meniere’s disease? Are can I do for neuropathy? What are the benefits of frozen bread? What can I do to help constipation?  


00:00 Announcements – Book release

04:44 Qi Gong and Kidneys

17:59 Menopause and HRT

18:50 Meniere’s Disease

23:08 Toe Neuropathy

27:15 Frozen Bread

28:15 Constipation

Transcript from Webinar:

Welcome to this week’s addition of Ask Dr. John. I’m going to give people a few minutes to get online here. And then I’ve got tons of questions to answer today to look into. And when I say answer, I don’t mean that I’m giving you the answer. I mean that I’m joining you in inquiry. Three things that I want to announce. One, and this one’s really important. So, the people that aren’t listening to this, it’s very sad, very sad. Starting next week, we’re going to do this program at 330 instead of 3:00. We’re going to start at 3:30. We have some logistics issues, so we have to push it back a little bit. So, it’ll be 3:30 instead of 3:00. I hope you join us. If not, as you know, this is published all over the place. Number two.

According to the publishers and you know, this always can vary a little bit, our book is scheduled to be out April 30th, so the end of this month, our book should be out the sweet spot. Hopefully you’ll check it out and take a little read and send in some reviews, hopefully good reviews. It’s a little tricky on this because it’s not a novel and it’s not something you’re really going to sit down and read from cover to cover. It’s really about lab tests, as exciting as that is, being sarcastic. It actually is kind of interesting if you get into it because we’re looking into the history of how these lab values were created, who created them, and which ones are accurate and which ones aren’t, so that you can get into … The Sweet Spot.

And that’s the title of the book, The Sweet Spot. What values do you want to be in in terms of different labs so that you have maximum longevity and the lowest mortality? Those are pretty easy to figure out if you actually look at the research. And so, we went through many, many, many hundreds of research studies looking for the sweet spot. So, you can get into it. If you’re not in the sweet spot, that doesn’t mean you’re going to die soon, it just means you might want to do a little more work in that area and try to get those things in balance. So anyway, that is scheduled to be out April 30th. It will be sold on Amazon, and we’ll also have them here in the office so People can come in. If you come into the office, we will go ahead and sign that and write a nice little inscription in it. So that would be awesome if you did come in in person to pick one up.


That’s two. Number three, on the Friday the 21st of April, I will start teaching a live webinar cardiology class. They’re one hour long, bite sized, easy to fit in. I’m going to do 15 of them and I’m just going to go through these tough topics in cardiology, and it’s directed at acupuncturists, but anybody could get value from it. I’m going to go into supplements. I’m going to go into what the most dangerous conditions are. Trust me, it is not going to be rhetorical. I just had a patient in today who’s MD had said, oh, we want you to do these three things because we’re worried about you having a stroke. Well, none of those three things was a problem with him. I mean, his values were fine, but there were several other things that should be checked and worked on so that he is much less likely to have a stroke.

I would love to have you join me for cardiology. Unfortunately, that one is a paid class. It’s actually being put on through someone else, so I can’t give you a freebie for that. It’s $25 a week. And if someone needs continuing education, which most of you probably don’t, it’s $30. I personally think it’s well worth it when we get to some of the traditional Chinese medical herbal stuff might not be as worth it for someone who’s not an acupuncturist. But up until that point, I think there’s a ton of really good information.


Okay, I’m going to dive into some questions and attempt to answer some things.

Many qigong practices knock on kidney area. Do you think that is healthy, Stimulating? (Waking up the kidneys ???) Any drawbacks?


Really a good question. I started practicing Tai Chi in 1972 and some elements of qigong right about the same time. And then I really dove much more deeply into qigong a couple of years ago around 1973. And so, this is something that’s very near and dear to my heart. And in my Qigong training we did do a lot of work on the back. I wouldn’t call it knocking, but that is done in some areas.


Now, the first thing to remember, and I tell patients this a lot, is that first the kidneys are not the kidneys. So, if a Chinese medical practitioner tells you that your kidneys are weak, he’s not actually telling you that your kidneys are weak. The Chinese were brilliant anatomists going back thousands of years. They knew that sitting on what looks like part of the kidney, there are glands and those are the adrenal glands. When they talk about the kidney system, 90% of the time, the processes and the benefits that they’re associating with the “kidneys” in Chinese medicine are actually hormonal and primarily adrenal hormones. But some other hormones.


For example, if you look up kidney yin deficiency, you will see nothing about urination. What you’ll see is symptoms like flushing. They call it red facial cheeks, but it’s really like flushing mental restlessness. Often a little low-grade fever, feeling of heat, especially in the evening, feeling hot and bothered. Fidgety night sweats, uneasiness, insomnia or memory, dry mouth and throat, vaginal dryness, dream disturbed sleep, a propensity to be startled, malar flush, which is again going back to that flushing and mental fatigue.


Now you tell me. To me, that sounds a whole heck of a lot like menopause, night sweats, flushing, insomnia, dryness, etcetera. So, they’re really talking about hormonal issues there. Kidney yang deficiency. See if this describes any old people, you know, like me, sore joints, sore muscles. So, a little while back, I got out of bed, and I was walking across the floor and I groaned a little bit too much. And my wife said, “Well, what hurts?” I said, “I’m 72. Everything hurts!” Sore joints and muscles, cold extremities. I can remember when I lost the yang, I had yang partial desertion. Until I was in my late 60s, I was never cold. I wore shorts 11 months out of the year, my hands were on fire and now it’s hard to get them warm enough. Weakness in the lumbar area or knees.


Now that’s weakness. As in you’d have pain and discomfort. But also, there’s a condition called that my dad used to call “weak in the knees”. And it’s a fascinating dynamic. But as these male hormones go down, there’s a propensity for a particular type of fear. I remember the first time I saw it, one of the little boys in my neighborhood was riding his bike, lost his balance, fell off and was going to slide across on the blacktop. My knees got like jelly, and I was shocked because that had never happened before. Things like that never bothered me until then. I’m usually very quick to respond to difficult situations. Well, I had that first episode of being weak in the knees.


Exhaustion. You want to go to sleep earlier and earlier. Um, again, sensitivity to cold, more urination and more incontinence or dribbling. Ask most old guys and they’ll have some of that. Decrease in libido, no sex drive. Now also feeling withdrawn. And that’s one of the big dangers. When testosterone goes down, men feel more withdrawn. They don’t want to participate. So, this is male andropause, that’s what kidney yang is, I mean. Just think about it now. It can happen at other times, but that’s primarily it. So, when we’re talking about kidney deficiency syndromes, most of those are hormonal.


Now, the adrenal glands we tend to be somewhat familiar with now, 20 years ago people weren’t. They produce the stress hormones, cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine. They can they produce the blood pressure balancing hormones like aldosterone. They produce the anti-inflammatory hormones like cortisone. ET cetera. But they also produce all of the sex hormones. They just produce them in very small amounts. So in in the US, menopause is really hard on women. In China, they call menopause the second spring, there are some tribal cultures that the women started crying when they were told what American women went through at menopause. That was totally unknown to them. You know, one month they bleed, the next month they don’t, but they don’t have any symptoms of anything else.


That’s a symptom pattern of modern society. And the reason for that is multifold. For example, in the US, women have higher estrogen levels to start, and that’s largely because we get a women get a lot in men to get a lot of xenoestrogens, estrogen mimicking chemicals from our environment. All the plastics, the plasticizers, so many of these chemicals affect our hormone system and a lot of them are xenoestrogens, meaning chemicals that act like estrogen in blocking the estrogen receptor sites.


But they’re actually very dangerous because they create an overabundance of signaling. And those replace phytoestrogens, which are very, very common in most other cultures and a little less common here. So those are “Phyto” being plant based. These are the estrogens that are in plants, soy, etcetera, and others. A lot of seeds have phytoestrogens. And so, the phytoestrogens bind in the same receptors that estrogen binds in and that xenoestrogens bind in. But they bind very loosely, and they cause less stimulation than either natural estrogen and much less than xenoestrogens. So, if you replace the phytoestrogens, which most cultures have an abundance of with the xenoestrogens which we in America have an overabundance of, then it’s a huge fall. You know, instead of a slow little gradual drop. It’s like falling off a cliff. It’s horrible.


So that’s one then, because when the ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone, the adrenals are expected to kick in and give some support. In the US, women burning the candles at both ends like men do to. Women actually have it harder because they’re often running a household and working and they’ve got, you know, monthly hormonal shifts. So, it’s much harder. And so, you’ll see more adrenal fatigue and more adrenal exhaustion, more chronic fatigue et cetera in women than in men. So, the body is going to look to the adrenals to give some help with those hormones and the adrenals are going, “Get away from me! Just I don’t have anything to give you.”


So, what’s the next step? The third source of estrogen is body fat. And that’s why most women in the US around menopause will put on about 20 pounds of body fat. And this is not a bad thing. I mean it’s uncomfortable and y’all don’t like it but that might be saving your life. It’s keeping you from going into low estrogen shock. So anyway, keeping the adrenals healthy is critical. Absolutely critical. My teachers could not have focused on that more. Once the kidneys go, life is almost over. And what they meant is once your adrenal energy dries up, you’re in deep trouble.


So, the area around the kidneys in Chinese medicine is called the area where ministerial fire is abundant and created. So, the ministerial fire is the energy that you need to stay warm and run your body functions. As that goes down, which it will in lockstep with your adrenals, then you don’t have enough fire to move the steam engine of the body. So, you need to keep a lot of blood flow, a lot of qi flow to that area over the adrenals. One way to do that is massaging them. In my particular qigong style, which was Da Yan or Wild Goose, which is almost entirely the first set, is almost entirely aimed at the kidneys or the adrenals and keeping them healthy.


And in that there’s it’s not really pounding, it’s more of a slapping and then a rubbing. So, you’ll take your hands and rub down at an angle. And again, you want to do that until the area gets red, which tells you there’s more blood flow and more qi flow to the area. And so that was to be done every day, several times a day. So, in my style, less knocking, more rubbing, more massaging. Now, however, since the back of the body and the sides of the body are the yang areas and the front of the body and more toward the center of the body or the yin areas, the yang areas can take a lot more pressure. So, you can knock them, you can slap them more intensely, you can rub them harder. But the yin side you want to do lightly.


For example, when I teach Tai chi and qigong, I’ll will do a particular stretch and then I’ll have people very lightly, very lightly pat or tap up the inside of the legs and in the inside of the arms. And then we’ll do another exercise and I’ll have them hit pretty vigorously on the outside of the legs and to slap the back. Okay, that’s very safe. The yang side of the body and the rear is called the du meridian in that area, and it’s called the sea of Yang. The front side running up the center is the conception vessel or the Ren Mai, which is the sea of yin.


Now on the body. There’s a point midway between the front of the anus and the back of the vagina or testicles. There’s a soft spot and that spot is called hui yin. It is yin one. It’s the first point on the yin vessel. And at that point. The Chong Mai, which has many translations but mostly means penetrating vessel, rushing vessel, thoroughfare, vessel. ET cetera. That comes down through there. It also goes up the spine and up the center of the body and a few other pathways. And that is really the primordial channel that is undifferentiated into yin and yang. It then differentiates into yin and yang, and it becomes the two channels I talked about, the du and the ren.


Those are really critical. The Chong is actually present at conception. The Ren and the Du then really develop a little later. They all start right up around the uterus in women and between the kidneys in men. They all three come out through that Wei Yin spot. The du meridian goes up the rear, the ren meridian goes up the front and the Chong Mai goes in several directions. So, the key is you got to keep that stuff healthy and one way to do that is to massage the kidneys. So, see if you can find a Da Yan qigong video and look at the exercises that they do to work on the meridians; the yin meridians, the yang meridians and on the kidneys.


Very good stuff. Kind of in keeping with that. (So, I’m going to some other questions now) There was an HRT question. Let me see if I can find it here. “I was wondering if you could ask John to talk a bit about menopause hormone therapy at this next talk?” Well, I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’m going to direct you to a show that I did where the whole show basically was about that. And Kathryn, do you know the date of that?

Kathryn: That was January 5th, 2023.


Dr John: January 5th, 2023. I did an entire show on that. I really liked that show and I was much more thorough than I would be able to be here now. So, I highly recommend that you check that one out. And thank you for the question.

Let’s see. So, I’m trying to get caught up on these questions. Here’s a question.


Has Dr. Nieters ever addressed Meniere’s disease on a podcast? Our good friend, who used to live in Tennessee and is now in Utah was telling us how awful it is. He gets dizzy. He throws up easily. It’s hard for him to function and was told it was a life sentence. He has two teenagers and can’t work anymore. Just wondering if there’s anything that could help him. Oh, my God. Yes. So, this is this is kind of one the most important things that I tell people, I think. I tell them if you have a condition, a medical condition. Always get a true second opinion. For example, if you have Meniere’s and you’re told something by the doctor and you go to another doctor, that’s not really a second opinion because they’re all they were all studying together, they’re all in the same box.


I mean, they may have something a slightly different, but a second opinion would really come from an acupuncturist, a chiropractor, naturopath, etcetera, someone who’s got a completely different type of lens on the issue. Fine. I mean, if you want to get a second opinion from another medical doctor, that’s fine. But don’t give up and don’t submit to abusive treatments like surgery until you talk to someone completely outside of that box.


I’d tell you; we see these patients every day, Kathryn’s over there shaking her head, every day who’ve been abused this way. I had a woman who swore she’d been to 60 doctors. I looked at her stuff, I knew 20 of the doctors she’d been to, and it looked like 60 was probably a good number. Well, we’ve been seeing her for two weeks. We diagnosed her completely differently, and she’s getting much, much better. So don’t give up. Keep looking. Go to someone that looks at the issues differently, that’s truly outside of the box. So anyway, get back to Meniere’s.


Meniere’s is quite treatable. I mean, nothing’s 100%, but we usually get very good results. There are three basic types of syndromes and Meniere’s, but all of them are related to what we call wind. There’s wind. It can be internally engendered from lifestyle. It can be externally engendered from catching a virus or an illness of some kind. But basically, all of the patterns have quite a bit in common. And then there are really probably six common formulas that will treat the specifics of those conditions.


Now, almost all of them contain an herb called Gou Teng or Uncaria that’s almost always used because that’s one of the prime wind relieving herbs. And then one of my favorites was just Shi Chang Pu, or Acorus. That is amazing at opening the orifices of the brain. Just crazy stuff. In fact, we got an email today from a patient who’d been to lots and lots of people.


Finally, she was referred to us and one of the things I did, which is not typical of me, I gave her a single herb formula of Shi Chang Pu and it’s completely changing her life after just a week. So, there are lots of possibilities. Basically, the herbal formulas for each of those types is going to be different. The acupuncture protocols for the three types are different, but almost all Meniere’s can either be cured or greatly relieved. Greatly relieved. So, this is one where you need to tell your friend, go find an acupuncturist and or an herbalist. And I would go check out their website and see if they state that they treat Meniere’s. Most acupuncturists haven’t. It’s just not something people think about going to acupuncturists for. So just go on, check it out. But go see somebody. With this much devastation and destruction of his life, it’s a minimal thing to do.

Next question.


Off the topic of weight loss, I’m wondering about dealing with toe neuropathy.

So, this is one of my favorite patients. I used to see who’s moved out of the area. And again, with neuropathy, which just means there’s damage to the nerves, it can be temporary, or it can be permanent. There are three primary problems that you’re going to see with a toe neuropathy. Now, there are others. I saw a patient with chilblains recently, which is something you don’t see those very often and that can certainly cause neuropathy, but it’s rare.


Certain types of gout and high uric acid conditions can cause some neuropathy. But the three primary types are from diabetes, the blood vessels get damaged, they can’t get blood flow to the nerves they can’t get oxygen and nutrients to the nerves and the nerves start to die. Vitamin B deficiency, mostly B12, but also B1 and some other help from some of the other B vitamins or nerve compression somewhere between the spine and the toe. Often, it’s in the in the spine you’ll get compression like a disc is out of place or ruptured. And it’s pressing on a nerve in the spine, but it can be from habitual muscle tightness in the hips and the gluteus that’s pressing on the sciatic nerve. Or it can be further down where the nerve runs through the knee or even lower. So, the key is getting someone to look at it and figure out which one of those it is. And sometimes it’s mixed. You could easily have diabetes of B vitamin deficiency and a little nerve compression, particularly if you’re over 40.


So, the treatments for each of those obviously are different. But for all of them, I’ll use a few basic things because no matter what the problem is, we have to help the nerve regenerate and heal. Okay, so those would be vitamin B one in the form of Benfotiamine. Now, I haven’t seen you, any of you, so I’m not giving you medical advice. I’m just telling you some things that are commonly used. Vitamin B1 and vitamin B12 and, while I was at it, I’d throw in the whole B-complex. Alpha lipoic acid, which is a master antioxidant. I would include those a formula to try in case it’s some obstruction is the formula Shen Tong Zhu Yu San.


And that’s to treat blood stasis or blood not moving well more on the periphery of the body or in the spinal column. So, I would definitely look at doing those. But first we need to figure out what’s causing it. Okay. So, get a hemoglobin A1C, to see if you’re, diabetic or pre-diabetic, get a vitamin B12 test and that’s B12 plus always methylmalonic acid. A B12 test by itself is almost worthless … Not quite, but almost worthless. methylmalonic acid tells you if you’re actually utilizing the B12. So, you want those. So those are some basics to run, just to see if, if either of those problems is sourcing the neuropathy. Also, you want a basic Complete Blood Count. If the MCV, which is the mean corpuscular volume or the actual size of the red blood cells, if that’s too big, then you figure there’s a B12 and or folate problem. So those are very inexpensive tests, and I would certainly recommend getting those.


It was one about frozen bread. And I had talked a bit about resistant starches. And yes, indeed, if you freeze your bread and the recommendation, I saw was 28 days, I’m not even sure what that was based on. But if you freeze your bread, it becomes a resistant starch. Also, and again, I hate saying these things because I don’t want you to run out and do this, but if you cook a pizza and put it in your refrigerator overnight, just keeping it on your counter doesn’t count. You have to put it in the refrigerator and then eat it the next day. You can even warm it up. A lot of that starch becomes a resistant starch and so it won’t affect your blood sugars as much. Now, I don’t want you to eat it because it’s still unless it’s gluten free, because no matter what you do, there’s still gluten in it. And that’s a problem. And that’s the same thing with the bread, unless you’re using a very, very superior form of sourdough.


Hello. Thank you for everything you do. What’s the best way to get the digestive system moving?


Now, I’m not sure exactly what they mean. I’m going to look at constipation because that’s often-what people mean when they say those things. But you can get problems in the stomach where the stomach isn’t emptying, isn’t digesting quickly enough, and you’re not getting flow into the small intestine. It can have slow transit time in the small intestine or in the large intestine. One test you can do. Is to eat a bunch of beets and then see when your poop becomes red, and that will let you know what your transit time is.


Now, there are tests you can do for a few hundred dollars, but I would go with the beets. But you got to remember, leave a note for yourself. Otherwise, it’ll scare the heck out of you. When you look in the toilet, you’ll think you’re bleeding to death. So that’s a way to see what your transit time is. Is stuff staying in your gut too long? Is it moving through at a reasonable pace now in terms of getting things moving? Hard to know exactly what’s being asked there, but I’ve talked about this a few hundred times on webinars, but it bears repeating.


Three elements, primarily to having a good. Uh, complete healthy bowel movement first. And the Chinese used the example of floating a boat. So first you need a boat, a stool, a healthy stool is about 50% bacteria and the other 50% is mostly fiber and some of it is dead skin cells, etcetera that are being flaked off. So, you want to make sure that you’ve got a lot of fiber. I recommend about 50g a day for men, a little less for women often, but 30 to 50g of fiber. The average in the United States is 10.5g. So, you need a lot more fiber. I would mix up different types of fiber. I want some that is soluble so that it goes into solution and some insoluble, you know, that acts more like a broom and just kind of goes through and cleans things out. Add a lot of bacteria and you have your boat. You see a lot of people, because they don’t have enough probiotics in their system, don’t have a healthy stool.


Second thing is you need a body of water to float the boat on. So that means you need enough moisture in the intestines. So, the job of the large intestine, one of the jobs is to pull any excess water out of the stool so that you don’t dehydrate most of the serious diseases in the world until very recently were diseases where people had diarrhea and died from dehydration. So, you need water to float on. So, you need enough fluids. So, get lots of fluids and then if it’s still not enough, do a combination of magnesium and vitamin C, we have something called Buffered C. That is one of my favorite supplements ever because it’s foolproof and it pulls the water across, and you get nice, easy soft stools.


Then you need wind in the sails to move the boat and we call that Qi. And so there we’re looking at peristaltic action. Is the intestine pumping rhythmically so that it moves the stool through. You’re going to use different things for each of those. You need enough fiber and enough probiotics to make a boat. You need enough fluid, and you can take vitamin C and magnesium to have enough fluid in there. And then for peristalsis there’s a whole array of herbs that you can use. Coffee’s very helpful. Hot tea can help massage on the abdomen, can help. And probably the most important thing for people who are having some bowel movement problems is to sit on your stool between 5 and 7 in the morning. That’s the most active time of the large intestine and that’s the time it’s easiest to get the bowels back in shape. So, I don’t know if that was the question being asked, but now you have an answer anyway.


And I think that’s probably all I have time for today. In fact, I’m running a little bit over and I will get to some of the rest of these next week. All right. So, remember, next week I will be back, but it’ll be at 3:30, 3:30, and the book will be out at the end of April. And look forward to talking with you next week. So, keep sending these questions. You guys are asking some great questions. I love them and I think the questions that are helpful for many people.

So be happy, Be healthy. Bye-bye.

Dr. John Nieters L.Ac, DAOM, is an acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist, functional medicine, writer, teacher, and leader in the community. In this episode, John talks about his experience with the importance of finding your vision and purpose in life, in order to create the right goals for you.

Disclaimer: Dr. John Nieters received his Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture degree from Five Branches. His use of “doctor” or “Dr.” in relation to himself solely refers to that degree. Dr. Nieters is a licensed acupuncturist in California. This video is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Nieters and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. TheBalancingPoint.net, Alameda Acupuncture, and Dr. John Nieters L.Ac, DAOM are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

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