Treating Disorders of the Ear

Ear-Trumpet-Vintage-Image-Graphics-Fairy.151735Recently in clinic, I’ve been treating quite a few patients whose chief complaint is related to the ear, due to various causes.

The most common symptoms that I’ve been treating with acupuncture and herbal medicine are tinnitus (ringing in the ear), blocked ears post-upper respiratory tract infection, fluid in the ear, loss of hearing, dizziness and vertigo.

Acute cases, typically respond quicker than diseases that have been around for quite some time.  There are some points in acupuncture, particularly, San Jiao 17 and a few others, which can influence the inner ear rather effectively.  A patient’s physician may prescribe decongestants or antibiotics in case of infection, but these drugs often do not resolve the patients’ symptoms.  Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine may provide the relief a patient is looking for.

In chronic cases  as well, such as Meniere’s disease, I’ve also found acupuncture to also be useful in managing patients’ symptoms. Fullness in the ear, ear-ringing, pain, dizziness, and decreased hearing are effectively managed with Chinese medicine, minus the harsh side-effects that are present with drugs given to treat Meniere’s such as Valium, Antivert, Prednisone, etc.

Mark’s Cooking Corner: Tibetan Momos

tibetan_momosEach month, I’d like to share a recipe I’ve tried with you.

This month’s recipe is for Tibetan momo’s or dumplings.  These can be made with meat or vegetarian and a delicious food to make if having people over for dinner or a party.

The recipe for sha momos, momos with meat:

Filling: Chop these ingredients into small pieces: 2 onions, 2 inches of fresh ginger, 1 bunch of cilantro, 1/4 head of cabbage, 1 teaspoon beef bouillon

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl thoroughly

Dough: Mix 3 cups of wheat flour and 1 cup of water.  Add flour or water until dough is smooth and no longer sticky.  Roll the dough out with a rolling pin as thinly as possible.  Cut the cough into round circles using an upside-down pint glass.

Place the round piece of dough in your left hand and place a tablespoon of meat in the center.

Pinch the edges of the dough circle to the top.  Gently twist.

This recipe says to steam for 10 minutes, but most Tibetans steam them for about 20 minutes, which is what I do, for food safety.

I’ve adapted my recipe from this recipe found on Yowangdu, a Tibetan culture webpage which has some other great Tibetan recipes as well. Enjoy!

Cold and Flu Season

Though we are on the tail end of an exceptionally mild winter, cold and fluseason has hit Chicago and the North Shore hard.

For this reason, we need to remember to take care of ourselves so that we stay well and endure. The last thing we want is to be miserable and miss work and fun activities we enjoy!

Check out this Lifehacker link to learn more about this year’s flu virus.

Though it is true that the flu and the common cold are a result of an external ‘bug’, it is also true that exposure is only half of the equation.  The other piece to this, of course, is our immune system, our body’s natural defense system, which functions best when we’re well-rested, stress-free, and generally feeling good.

It’s good to check in from time to time to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves, and ask, “Am I eating well, am I sleeping well, am I working too hard, where is my stress level these days?”

Additionally, many people have turned to Chinese medicine give their immune systems a boost.

If one should happen to get the flu, there are things one can do to hasten recovery.  Chinese herbal medicine has made it into the news, recently, as some are finding it is equally effective as Tamiflu.

Reuters link, “Chinese Herb Mix May Shorten Flu Fever”


I am pleased to announce that my new website is finished and live!  Please check out for news related to my practice, acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

Big thanks to Stephen Starr, of Stephen B. Starr Design, Inc. for his work on the site.  Also, thank you to photographer, Brooke Herbert Hayes for spending time with me in clinic to snap the photos that went into the website.

Mark Sobralske, L.Ac, Dipl. OM