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Home > Newsletters > June 2006 > Ask the Doctor

Points -  Ask the Doctor

Q: Can acupuncture help with balding?

 A: It can be scary finding you are losing your hair and there are many causes for it. Among them are: stress, poor nutrition, hormonal imbalance, use of certain prescription drugs, physical conditions such as thyroid disease or cancer, genetic pattern baldness - all of which can affect both men and women. However, genetic pattern baldness is by far the dominant factor, accounting for a high percentage of all hair loss in men and also affecting millions of women.

One of the most widely accepted factors related to genetic pattern baldness is the chemical DHT (5-alpha DiHydroTestosterone is its full name). It has been found that increasing levels of DHT in hair follicles cause a reaction that reduces blood flow in that area and adversely affects the health of the follicle and the growth cycle of the hair. Over time, the follicle shrinks and produces finer and shorter hairs, eventually dying and producing no hair. Areas that are 'shiny bald' no longer have live follicles. Areas with shorter, finer hairs still have live follicles, which have gradually shrunk over time.

In Chinese Medicine, hair is a direct reflection of blood: a lack of circulation or insufficient amounts can result in the gradual lose of hair. The conditions of the hair follicles are directly affected by the toxicity in the blood. The hair follicles are responsible for the nourishment of the hair and they also support the growth of hair. The first step in treating hair loss is to improve circulation to the head as well as improve the quality of the blood, by strengthening the kidneys. Kidneys are the organ/meridian system that is responsible for the production and quality of blood and qi. Acupuncture is very effective in improving circulation to the scalp. Strengthening the kidneys requires the use of herbal medicine. Early intervention is the key to limiting hair loss and promoting re-growth. Treatment plans can vary from 3-12 months depending on the severity of the condition.

Self-help tips
• Use mild shampoos and conditioners made from natural ingredients.
• Use a good brush and don't pull or damage the hair.
• Avoid frequent colouring with chemical treatments.
• Regular scalp massage will promote circulation of nutrients to the hair follicles.
• Regular aerobic exercise stimulates oxygen flow in the scalp.

Jasmine Sufi HBSc, BHSc, D.Ac
Toronto, Ontario

About our Doctors

This month's Ask the Doctors question was answered by:

Jasmine Sufi HBSc, BHSc, D.Ac
Toronto, Ontario


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This Month's Articles

June 2006
Volume 4, Number 6

A Conversation with Dr. Maoshing Ni About the Secrets of Longevity

Controlling Crohn’s Disease and Colitis with TCM

Kentucky Passes First Acupuncture Law

Recent Research

Ask The Doctor

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