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7 Reasons To Seek Acupuncture

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Do you ever feel your life’s a ride that won’t ever stop? How many nights do you wait for Mr. Sandman to magically appear? How often do you truly take time for yourself? Do you have aches and pains almost daily? Are over-the-counter or prescription medications controlling your life? When was the last time you actually felt at peace? If any of these questions resonate with you, then it might be time to look at Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture for an answer. People in Asian countries have known the magnificence of acupuncture for thousands of years. Traditional Chinese Medicine is growing in popularity in the United States and here are some reasons why you might want to consider utilizing it also.

 

  1. Insomnia / Restless Sleep

Acupuncture can address imbalances in your body that may contribute to your

inability to get a good night’s sleep. The needles can actually encourage the brain to produce the chemicals that help you relax and sleep better. If you have difficulty falling asleep, you wake up frequently or you toss and turn a lot, acupuncture might just be the missing link.

 

  1. Anxiety / Depression

Thousands of people in the U.S. suffer from depression and anxiety. And while there are many amazing therapists available to talk to, psychotherapy may not be enough. Also, many of the prescription medications available have terrible side effects. This is where acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas can help. Acupuncture can actually start to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety in as few as two treatments without any harsh side effects.

 

  1. Allergies

Runny nose? Sneezing? Watery, itchy eyes? Does this sound familiar?

Seasonal or otherwise, allergies can be debilitating.  But multiple studies have shown that allergy symptoms can be decreased and sometimes even eliminated with the use of regular acupuncture treatments. Immunity begins in the gut and acupuncture treatments for allergies will focus on the energetic meridians that support your immune system.

 

  1. Migraines

For those who suffer from these monsters, life can be a toss of the dice. Migraines can come on without warning and can be completely devastating. And yet again, the pharmaceuticals that most migraine sufferers are prescribed can lead to harsh side effects. Acupuncture can reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines over time.

 

  1. Menstruation Issues

Many women suffer monthly from menstruation problems. It can be that the period is irregular, painful or so heavy that it leads to anemia and fatigue. There can also be mental-health effects associated with periods such as depression and anger.  Over-the-counter medications only mask the symptoms. To treat the root of the problem, give acupuncture a try. Once again, it’s all about balancing your body. That’s how acupuncture works to regulate menstrual problems.

 

  1. Chronic Pain

Pain is the number one reason why people turn to acupuncture, and for good reason. If you’ve tried everything else and got little to no relief, acupuncture may be right for you.  But remember, chronic pain took time to develop and it will also take time for acupuncture treatments to work. Many people get some relief immediately, but acupuncture works on a cumulative basis, so commitment to the process is a must.

 

  1. Preventive Medicine

Did you know that acupuncture’s main function is to help keep you healthy? If not, then you’re not alone. While acupuncture may not be known for preventive care, it should be.  Waiting until there is an injury or illness will only cause the treatments to take longer.  Using acupuncture preemptively will help you fight off illness and let you recover more quickly. That’s reason enough to give it a try.

 

Now that you know how acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine can help you, what are you waiting for? Find a licensed acupuncturist nearby and go get healthy.

 

The Season of the Lung and Large Intestine Channels

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Fall or autumn is a favorite season for many people. The weather is getting a little cooler, things are starting to slow down and preparations for the holidays are in full swing…..

For many others, fall is not so festive. Many people tend to get sick during the fall months, allergies can flare up for some, and many don’t like that the hours of sunlight decrease steadily, sometimes leading to seasonal depression. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, fall is the season associated with the lung and large intestine energetic meridians. These two meridians work in a symbiotic way to control the immune system from both the inside and outside of your body. And if you take good care of these two meridians during the fall, you are bound to feel better throughout the season. Here are some suggestions on how to get through the season of the lung and large intestine channels.

First off, start wearing scarves. The scarves don’t have to be thick or heavy, but they should cover the neck. The large intestine channel runs up the arms, across the shoulders, up the neck, over the face and ends next to the nose. As many people now know, the health of our gastrointestinal tract plays a big part in our immunity. So keeping the large intestine channel warm and preventing exposure from the elements will help to keep you healthy. Cold pathogens can enter the body through the pores or nasal cavity. But wrapping the neck and shoulders with a scarf can help ward off the pathogens.

Another way to keep the lung and large intestine channels balanced is to eat according to the season. This means eat foods that are available during the autumn months as well as foods that boost the energy of the lung and large intestine meridians. In the fall, you should eat fewer cold and raw foods like salads and instead you should eat more warm, cooked foods. Utilizing the foods that are available at this time of year is a good practice as well. Foods to enjoy during the fall months include apples, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, pears, yams, bananas, cabbage, carrots, cranberries, ginger, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and wild rice. Also hot herbal teas are a good addition to your daily diet, especially those containing ginger and lemon, which act as natural antibiotics.

The large intestine and the lungs need to stay moist to function properly. So drinking lots of water is important. Most people know how important it is to stay hydrated during the summer months, but it is just as vital during the autumn. Without proper hydration the skin, which is controlled by the lung meridian, can become dry and cracked allowing pathogens to easily enter the body. The large intestine meridian needs proper hydration to be able to expel any pathogens that have gotten into the system. So don’t forget to drink lots of water during the fall.

As we approach the fall months, it is also a good idea to increase your regular acupuncture treatments. There are several acupuncture points that help boost immunity and fight off colds. Why not utilize the natural power that your local licensed acupuncturist has to offer? By doing so, you might just survive the fall without ever getting sick.

3 Points to Balance Your Energy this Fall
It is best to always have your energy aligned and balanced. To make sure your energy is balanced throughout this fall season here are three acupressure points you should utilize to ensure this. Acupressure is a great way to stay healthy and to balance energy, check out these points!

1. Large Intestine 4 (LI 4) A reliever of headaches and tense muscles, LI 4 is a great point to use to balance energy. In addition to making sure you are balanced it promotes healthy bowel functionality throughout the body. LI 4, is referred to as He Gu, or the “Adjoining Valleys.” It is the point where energy cleanses the body and clears out what is no longer needed, this point clears the system and replenishes Qi. Position your left hand flat with your palm down, now squeeze your thumb and index finger together, locate a fleshy mound that appears between the two fingers and press on this point with your right thumb above and index finger below.

2. Large Intestine 11 (LI 11) To relieve pain within your arm, shoulder or elbow use this acupressure point. LI 11 also regulates the digestive tract and the blood, in addition, this point cools heat and alleviates dampness. LI 11, the earth point of the large intestine meridian, is located at the crease of your elbow. To find this point bend your elbow in a 90-degree angle, place your thumb on the outside of the elbow crease and press.

3. Lung 2 (LU 2) Yu Men, or the Gateway of Gathering Clouds is the gateway where we are able to receive fresh sunshine, the rain and cloudy days. This point is very useful for balancing energy when you are overwhelmed with stress, it calms the body. To find LU 2, locate the area above the collarbone where it meets the shoulder blade, at this location there should be a depression, apply pressure there to harness the balancing powers of this acupressure point.

Nutrition for Heart Health OM Nutrition & Hypertension

AOM Nutrition

Oriental medicine (OM) nutrition combines ancient wisdom with modern science. OM nutrition is a holistic approach, which aims to balance all five flavors within most meals with one or two flavors being emphasized for therapeutic purposes. OM nutrition for a hypertension emphasizes bitter flavors, sour flavors and energetically-cooling foods.

 

OM theory states the bitter flavor benefits the heart in moderation but an excess is harmful as it has a drying effect; for example, coffee is bitter. In moderation coffee acts as vasodilator increasing circulation but in excess it can raise blood pressure and has a diuretic effect. Modern scientific research has discovered while the human genome has 25 bitter taste receptors 12 of these are expressed in the human heart.

 

Foods with bitter flavors include: romaine lettuce, dandelion, arugula, rye. Foods that combine bitter with pungency include: citrus peel, radish, scallion and white pepper. In OM nutrition the pungent flavor can help disperse phlegm (e.g. plaque). Foods that combine bitter with sweet include: asparagus, celery, tomatoes, lettuce, quinoa and papaya. Lemon rind is bitter and sour; vinegar is also bitter and sour.

 

Bitter flavors have a yin, or cooling effect, clearing heat in the body while encouraging a descent of Qi, which aids in the draining of fluids. For example, celery contains the phytochemical phthalides which relaxes arterial wall tissues to increase blood flow and thereby reduce blood pressure. The fiber, magnesium and potassium in celery also help lower blood pressure and regulate fluid balance. Caution: according to OM, those with a lot of dryness and/or bone disease should moderate their intake of bitter flavor.

 

A tomato a day keeps the doctor away! The combination of lycopene, vitamin C and E, potassium and folic acid in tomatoes make it a power food for heart health. The bitter flavor of tomatoes come from the seeds; to reap the full benefit of tomatoes eat the seeds too. Heirloom tomatoes in season have the most flavor, find the tastiest tomatoes at your farmer’s market or trying growing your own.

 

Summer is the season of the heart according to Chinese medicine, meaning it is the season most likely to bring our hearts out of balance if we are exposed to excess heat, which can then create and/or exacerbate internal heat. During the summer OM nutrition recommends drinking and eating foods that cool the body and heart such as green tea, cucumbers, watermelon and lemon.

 

Chrysanthemum tea is a very popular summertime tea in Asia because it is so well known for its cooling properties; it is helpful for headaches, dizziness, high blood pressure, chest pain and also fevers. You can add chrysanthemum flowers to your morning green tea and in the evening combine it with chamomile tea for extra cooling benefits!

 

OM nutrition cautions against overdoing cold foods and drinks. Too much cold inhibits the digestive process. Drinking warm beverages and soups, as well as eating foods with a little pungency (chili pepper, garlic, ginger) causes the body to perspire slightly which naturally cools the body.

 

For those who happen to have hypertension plus a lot of dryness: dry skin, dry eyes, dry mouth and thirst, constipation and even hormonal deficiencies can benefit from increasing their healthy fat intake. Many nutrients are fat soluble, the body uses cholesterol to make hormones, bile and vitamin D. Healthy fats nourish yin in OM nutrition theory. Some Americans who suffer from hypertension are also thin with an underlying yin deficiency, such as those with the onset of hypertension that coincides with menopausal symptoms. Sources of healthy fats include: nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, flaxseed oil and fish.

 

Eating beans, peas and grains are high in potassium, magnesium, fiber and are high in choline which is vital in lowering hypertension and boosting fat metabolism. Whole grains are also a good source of niacin and vitamin E and are recommended for healthy arteries, especially those that are slightly bitter such as: rye, quinoa, amaranth and oats.

 

Try this OM Nutrition Recipe for Heart Health:

 

5 Flavors Chickpea Salad for Healthy & Happy Heart

 

15 oz cooked organic chick peas (1 can)

1/2 c cup cooked quinoa or 1 cup brown rice (warm)

4 stalks celery, minced

6-12 cherry tomatoes, chapped in 1/2 or 1/4

8-12 Romaine lettuce leaves, chopped

2 TBSP red onion, minced

 

Toss with dressing made with:

2 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP lemon juice + a little lemon zest (organic is best)

1 tsp grated ginger

1/2 tsp honey or agave

1-2 garlic cloves (minced or pressed)

1/8 tsp Himalayan or Sea salt (or to taste)

fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

 

 

Resources

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/04/celery-may-help-bring-your-high-blood-pressure-down/

Foster, S. R., Blank, K., Hoe, L. E. S., Behrens, M., Meyerhof, W., Peart, J. N., & Thomas, W. G. (2014). Bitter taste receptor agonists elicit G-protein-dependent negative inotropy in the murine heart. The FASEB Journal, 28(10), 4497-4508.

 

Kastner, Joseph, MD, L.Ac, (2009) Chinese Nutrition Therapy, Thieme, Stuttgart and New York

 

Pitchford, Paul (2002), Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California

 

Ried, K., Frank, O. R., Stocks, N. P., Fakler, P., & Sullivan, T. (2008). Effect of garlic on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC cardiovascular disorders, 8(1), 1.

 

Willcox, J. K., Catignani, G. L., & Lazarus, S. (2003). Tomatoes and Cardiovascular Health. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 43(1), 1-18.

6 Truths About The Not-So-Sweet Side of Sugar

 

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A study published by the JAMA Internal Medicine found that more than 70 percent of Americans consume more than the recommended daily amount of sugar. Sadly, most of us are addicted to sugar, which happens to be hidden in most of the foods and drinks we consume. Added sugar can cause a whole array of problems that can be short term as well as long term. If you are experiencing health problems, lowering your sugar intake may be one of your best options. Below are 10 truths about the ugly side of sweets.

 

No nutrients

Refined sugar has no nutritional value and it is recommended to consume as little as possible. The first step in eliminating sugar is from drinks such as soda, juice and mixed alcoholic drinks. Because of the large amounts of sweetener in these drinks, it can make them very addictive and hard to quit drinking.

 

Harms your liver

Sugar can be just as damaging on your liver as alcohol and lead to fatty liver disease. When you consume too much fructose, your body becomes insulin resistant resulting in various problems that can cause disease.

 

Raises cholesterol

One study done in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that participants who ate the highest levels of added sugars showed the biggest increase in bad cholesterol levels and triglyceride blood fats and the lowest levels in the good cholesterol levels.

 

Leading cause of obesity

In America, sugar is one of the leading culprits of obesity. It is estimated that 80 percent of food products in the U.S. contain added sugar. The best way to lose weight and lower your risk of obesity is to eliminate all processed foods and drinks.

 

Bad for your teeth

It should be a no-brainer that sugar is bad for your teeth. You may remember growing up having the dentist tell you as a kid to eat less candy to prevent cavities. As an adult, we know it’s not only candy that will cause cavities, but sugar that is found in your favorite drinks and everyday foods as well. Best way to sustain healthy teeth and gums? Cut the processed and refined sugar.

 

Can lead to type 2 diabetes

When your body is consuming too much sugar, your glucose levels become too high, which can be toxic to the body. When this happens, your body has a harder time producing enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels normal. This can then lead to type 2 diabetes.

 

Sources:
http://bit.ly/1VXrUuT

http://bit.ly/1U6W5uR

http://bit.ly/1Onu7xU

How To Make A Natural Sunscreen

 

 

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Although sun protection is extremely important to protect against harmful UV-rays and to prevent skin cancer, next time you pick out your sunscreen, consider what you’re buying. Many common sunscreens actually contain chemicals that can be harmful to your body.

 

Chemicals to avoid in common sunscreens:

Oxybenzone

Retinol palmitate

Methoxycinnamate

Octinoxate

Padimate O/PABA

Nano or Micronized mineral particles

 

There are several and easy ways to make effective and natural homemade sunscreen.

 

Natural Ingredients:

1 oz. Coconut oil

.8 oz. Shea butter

.1 oz. Jojoba oil or sunflower oil

30 drops ( 15 of each) Eucalyptus and lavender essential oils

.1 oz Vitamin E oil

Zinc oxide

 

The amount of zinc oxide you choose to use will determine the amount of SPF in your sunscreen. For more than SPF 20, use 20% zinc oxide, for SPF 12-19 use 15% zinc oxide.

 

Directions: First step is to combine coconut oil, shea butter and jojoba/sesame/sunflower oil into a Pyrex measuring up. Next, make a double boiler by placing the Pyrex inside a pot filled with 2-3 inches of water. Heat on low until the shea butter is melted. Remove from double boiler and let cool. After cooled, wear a mask to cover your nose and mouth when you measure out the zinc oxide to avoid inhaling fine particles. Add the zinc oxide, Vitamin E oil and essential oils to the original mixture. Stir until ingredients are mixed. The last step is to pour the mixture into a dark jar and refrigerate.

 

Homemade sunscreen can last for around 6 months and should be refrigerated. Apply generously to skin and reapply every few hours while during periods of sun exposure.

 

Sources:

http://bit.ly/28CFSal

http://bit.ly/1tuVyNa

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