Tag Archives: Prevention

How Sweet it is…

how sweet it is

Sucrose, or sugar as it is commonly known, is currently the most popular sweetener used in the food market today. On a daily basis, the average person obtains almost 20% of their calories from sugar alone. On average, that’s 150 pounds of sugar every year.

When ingested, sugar is broken down into compounds that provide quick energy for the body, affecting metabolism and appetite.

Sugar may seem like a “sweetie,” but it may be doing more harm than good. Sugar can be addictive, and too much can cause unhealthy weight gain and hasten tooth decay. It also affects the brain by offering a false rush of energy, and then lets you down, lower than where your energy levels were. Sugar can affect the spleen’s ability to release blood cells and platelets which can raise insulin levels resulting in diabetes, hypoglycemia, and even high blood pressure.

Sugar disrupts the delicate balance of minerals in the body, such as magnesium and zinc, and can block the absorption of calcium, leading to stiff, “arthritic” joints. Also, a high sugar diet can cause the body to become a breeding ground for bacteria that thrive on sugary foods.

A sugar-free diet doesn’t mean that you will never be able to eat sweets again.
There are alternatives to sugar. Here is a list to start with:

Molasses – Has more calcium ounce for ounce than milk, more iron than eggs, and more potassium than any other food. It’s also rich in other vitamins and minerals.

Honey – All natural, made with the goodness of bees. Honey has antiseptic and antibiotic properties.

Sucanat – Made from dried and granulated cane juice.

Date Sugar – Made from dried, ground dates.

Stevia – A natural sweetener made from the stevia rebaudiana leaf. Tests have shown that stevia regulates blood sugar and lowers high blood pressure. In South America, people who suffer from hypoglycemia and diabetes have used it with great success. It’s also said that stevia can aid in mental alertness, improve digestion and even inhibit tooth decay.

Barley Malt or Brown Rice Syrup – Made from cultured rice and water and barley sprouts.

The world is still a sweet place. Now you have healthier choices.

Copyright ©2012 Acupuncture Media Works. All Rights Reserved.

Devil in Disguise

Woman holding pile of white pills in her cupped hands

Painkillers are being abused like never before.  The media likes to sensationalize the use of prescription pain meds being sold in dark alleys by neighborhood thugs and resident riff-raff.

But what about the gentleman who just purchased the drugs legally from his local pharmacy, as prescribed by his doctor.  Is he in any less danger than the guy who obtains his through the black market?

You can argue that in the short-term he is, since he is taking the drugs as prescribed and in the proper dosage.  But how about over the long haul?

When you are injured, signals are sent from the injury site to the brain to register pain.  Pain is useful in that it alerts us to some form of tissue damage or bodily crisis.  The logical course of action would be to address the situation and correct the underlying root cause.

If you set a heavy box down on your foot, you create pain.  Remove the box, and the pain goes away.  Some things just make too much sense.

Instead, we are in effect encouraged by doctors to strap the box on, walk around with it for a lifetime, and guzzle painkillers to make up for the difference.  It sounds silly when described this way, but it is no less crazy than swallowing pain meds every day while living with chronic pain.

So what’s the big problem with taking painkillers?

First, as with any medication, painkillers come with a whole slew of side effects.  Any drug, especially when used chronically, takes a toll on the body, particularly the liver and kidneys.

Beyond that, pain medications override your body’s internal warning system.  What would normally be a signal to back off or slow down in order to avoid risking farther injury, is no longer present.  So the chances of exacerbating an injury are elevated when taking painkillers.

In addition, pain meds are not corrective.  When pain and symptoms arise due to meridian system imbalances, the only correction is an acupuncture treatment.  When artificially masking the symptoms with painkillers, the underlying cause is left to fester and become worse.  Not only do these types of medicines not fix anything, they can actually contribute to making the problem worse.  In essence, they do nothing more than help your body deteriorate more comfortably.

So to be at your best, ditch the painkillers and get acupuncture, which brings health with no side effects!

Copyright ©2011 Acupuncture Media Works All Rights Reserved.

Orthodontics for your Health

One of the biggest myths about acupuncture is that “once you start, you have to go forever.”

First of all, it is entirely up to you how long you choose to continue to get treatments.  Of course, like any other healthy habit, the longer you maintain it, the better your quality of life.  But just to clear up some confusion, let’s look at the process of a comprehensive schedule of acupuncture care in another light.

Perhaps the most apt analogy for continuing care for the meridian system is reconstructive orthodontics for your teeth.  Both disciplines consist of an initial phase of care that usually involves overcoming a weakness, followed by a reconstructive or rehabilitative phase of care, and finally culminating in wellness or maintenance.

The earliest phase of your care usually consists of the highest visit frequency.  In cases of chronic imbalances within the meridian system it is common to initially require treatments a few days a week until your bodies energy is properly balanced and restored.

Using our orthodontic analogy, this would be the point at which the brackets and wires are put on your teeth and you are seen for check-ups every couple weeks.  Since there is no wire affixed within your meridian system, your acupuncture visits occur more frequently than orthodontic appointments, and are instead “wired together” by specific exercises, herbal prescriptions, self-care recommendations, etc.

orthodontics

As balance returns to your body, your visit frequency is diminished.  This is the phase in which the orthodontist would also begin spacing out his visits and begin to “tweak” the wires to make fine adjustments to your teeth and allow them to settle into their new structural pattern.  In both cases, this is a critical phase of care in that it is setting the stage for lifelong wellness or maintenance.

In regard to orthodontics, this is when you would be fitted for a retainer to be worn at least nightly for the rest of your life, or for as long as you wish to maintain healthy teeth.

As for acupuncture, this marks the transition to a schedule of wellness or maintenance care to ensure a lifelong abundance of health and well-being.

The maintenance or wellness phase of care is without a doubt the most important.  What is sickness, but a lack of wellness?  The whole objective of everything leading up to your wellness care is to get your body back to its natural state of balance.  Once there, staying well is simply a matter of sustaining that balance.

Wear your retainer and maintain a life of health and wellness.  Or neglect your maintenance and have the braces put back on?  The choice is clear.

Copyright ©2011 Acupuncture Media Works All Rights Reserved.

Are you on a Slow Simmer?

slow simmer

There’s an old metaphor about a frog in boiling water.  If you drop a frog in a pot of boiling water, he will immediately jump out because of the sudden, drastic change in temperature.  If, however, you put a frog in a pot of tepid water and slowly bring it to a boil, the temperature change will be so subtle that the frog will never know what hit him as he boils to death.

People are very similar to the frog when it comes to identifying underlying health problems and seeking help. Based on the perceived severity of the problem, you are either driven to action, or more prone to let the problem continue as a mere annoyance.

Those who have suffered a major trauma such as an auto accident, work injury, or slip and fall are like a frog dropped in boiling water.  Because they have undergone such sudden and massive physical change they seek immediate action in correcting the damage done and look to professional help without delay.  Bear in mind that these are the same people who would normally overlook more minor aches and pains without a second thought.

Why does one act so quickly in a situation like this?  The injury happens so suddenly and swings them so far from their comfort zone that they will do whatever it takes to bring things back to normalcy as quickly as possible.  After all, a knock in your engine is something that you would typically let go for awhile, but a sudden cloud of smoke billowing from under the hood would likely spur you to immediate action.

The majority of people, however, are like a frog in tepid water, on a slow simmer until eventually being brought to a boil.  Most imbalances develop over time, and because they are often very subtle, and many times painless, the danger of their impact on our bodies goes unnoticed.

Over time, however, these imbalances are no less devastating to us than boiling water is to the frog.  A slow drip in your attic might not seem like a big deal, but its cumulative effects can eventually send your ceiling crashing down.

Until we get into the habit of being proactive when it comes to our health, these “simmering” imbalances will always be a threat.  Neutralizing that threat requires that we shift our thinking away from pain-based, symptom-relief care and more toward a system built around prevention and wellness.

If you know someone who has not been examined for imbalances yet, regardless of whether or not they are exhibiting any symptoms, send them in for an acupuncture evaluation.  Let’s get them the help they need before their pot comes to a boil!

Copyright ©2011 Acupuncture Media Works All Rights Reserved.

100 Years… and Counting!

Would you like to live to be 100?  You would be surprised at how many people would answer “no” to that question.  Many people are in such poor health that it is a physical and emotional struggle to get through each day, let alone an entire century.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

Actually, if we are living properly, enjoying the rich quality of life that we are entitled to, we should all be thrilled to live to 100!  In fact, the hard part should be figuring out how to squeeze all of our goals and accomplishments into such a relatively short period of time.

It’s true that we are living longer than our ancestors, but while the medical profession is quick to point out that our lifespan is increasing, what remains hidden in the fine print is the atrocious quality of life that our senior population must endure.  Twinkies® have a long shelf life, but it would be a stretch to call them healthy.

A balanced meridian system is the foundation of health and longevity, and it is like a bright light glowing deep within.  Dim the light and your quality of life dims along with it.  Extinguish the light and you die.

100 years and counting

The key to living a long, healthy life is to maximize the function of the meridian system as long as possible.  Acupuncture does exactly that.

Understand that longevity is built right now.  Today.  This very day is part of your 100 years.  Your state of health at this moment is a result of your actions yesterday and the days prior.  Your state of health tomorrow depends on what you do today.

Health is not black and white.  It is a continuum, with death at one end and complete wellness at the other end.  We are never stagnant, we are constantly moving back and forth along the scale.

Every action you take either moves you toward health or away from it, and the key to longevity is to habitually engage in those activities that drive you in the right direction.  Things like acupuncture treatments, daily exercise, proper nutrition, gratitude, a positive mental outlook, spiritual fulfillment, love, and so on.

It’s been said that success is a journey, not a destination.  The same can be said of longevity.  If a long, healthy life is a goal of yours, then don’t just let your life play out and hope for the best.  Longevity is not about dragging out an existence just to make it to a certain age.  Longevity is a byproduct of living the right way every single day until, before you know it, a hundred years have passed.

Copyright ©2011 Acupuncture Media Works. All Rights Reserved.

6 Ways to Relieve Allergies Without Drugs, Shots or Needles

Summer finally arrives. The sun comes out. The flowers bloom. Most people grab their sunscreen and head outside. But what do you do? You close the windows, grab your antihistamines and hide in the house. Wouldn’t it be great if you could enjoy being outdoors?

Allergies are widespread. According to WebMD, 20% of the population suffers from allergies or asthma, and 55% of the population tests positive for one or more allergens. Allergies are the 5th leading chronic disease in the US and cost the US health care system $7.9 billion annually.

Allergies

If you can’t live with your runny nose, congestion or watery eyes, but you don’t want to take antihistamines or get allergy shots, what can you do to relieve your symptoms?

What are Allergies?

Allergies are the result of an overactive immune system. Over exposure to allergens, exposure to too many allergens at one time or a generally low immunity may cause watery eyes, runny nose or sneezing.

While allergens vary from foods to furs to pollens, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) considers when your allergies start more important than what you are allergic to. TCM looks at how all your organ systems work together. Knowing when your immune system first becomes overloaded gives clues about which organ system needs balance.

 

Acupuncture Allergy Relief at Home

TCM provides several options to relieve your allergy symptoms. Be sure to begin these routines early, before your symptoms start. It’s easier to keep your immune system balanced than to recover once it’s overwhelmed.

1.      Avoid dairy. According to TCM, dairy is an irritant to the immune system.  Even if you don’t notice sensitivity to dairy, reducing or eliminating it may relieve your symptoms.

     2.      Avoid allergens. Avoiding allergens may mean declining foods you are allergic to, not petting animals or purchasing allergy-free pillows or bedding.  To reduce pollens, shower after being outside.  Pollens can be trapped in your hair causing you to breathe them in while sleeping.

     3.      Avoid multiple allergens at once. One theory, called the “Total Load Theory,” states that while exposure to one allergen may not be enough to trigger your symptoms, exposure to several allergens at the same time may.  It’s as if your “allergy bucket” has to be overflowing before your symptoms start.  For example if you’re allergic to cats and grass pollen, stay away from cats while the grasses are blooming.  During other times of the year, you can play with kitty.

     4.      Use a neti pot. The neti pot is a great way to rinse your sinus cavities, clear mucous and reduce swelling so you can breathe easier.  Follow the directions with the pot.  Be sure to use distilled water instead of tap to avoid introducing bacteria into your sinuses.

     5.      Breathe peppermint.  Inhaling the scent of a drop of peppermint essential oil can reduce congestion and improve your breathing.  Put a drop of the oil in your palm and rub your hands together.  Cup your hands over your nose and inhale.

     6.      Practice acupressure.  There are several points that are easy to stimulate and may reduce your symptoms.

          a.         Use your thumbs to gently hold the inner corner of your eyes, just under of the inner end of the eyebrows.  Hold the pressure for 10 seconds.

          b.         Use your index fingers to press each side of your nostril, about 1/8” from the opening and just under the cheekbones.  Hold the pressure for 10 seconds.

          c.          Gently pinch the web of flesh between the index and thumb of your hand.  Feel for a tender spot just above the “V” of the bones.  Hold the pressure for 10 seconds and repeat on the other hand.

If these self-help treatments aren’t enough to relieve your symptoms, give me a call.  Acupuncture is stronger than acupressure and will give you more relief.  Plus I can recommend acupressure points and other self-help tips that are specific to your constitution.  With a personalized allergy self-help plan you’ll enjoy being outdoors again!

 

7 Healthy Tips for Coping with Financial Stress

If you feel stressed just living your life, you’re not alone. Americans lead stressful lives. Jobs, relationships, health, family obligations, community responsibilities—they all take their toll.

In “Stress in America 2012,” an annual survey by the American Psychology Association, 1 in 5 respondents reported an extreme stress level of 8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale. In that same group 69% of respondents reported physical or non-physical symptoms of stress, including irritability or anger, fatigue, feeling overwhelmed or changes in their sleep.

The top source of stress according to 69% of the respondents is–money.

Coping with money worries is difficult for many people. You may feel lost or out of control. You may argue with your spouse. And ironically, you may go on a shopping spree to try to relieve your stress.

April is National Stress Awareness month and as the April tax day approaches it’s a good time to think about ways to cope with financial stress.

7 healthy tips for coping with finacial stress


7 Healthy Tips for Coping with Financial Stress

1.Take breaks from the computer when doing bookkeeping and taxes. Computer work is hard on your neck and shoulders and for many people financial work is the most stressful computer work of all. All this stress can lead to a sore neck, shoulders and back. Get up every 45 minutes to walk around and stretch. Take deep breaths. Keep your body relaxed so your emotions stay level.

2.Take charge of your finances. Track your earnings and spending every day for a month. Be ruthless and write down every penny. When you have a clear picture of your income and expenses make a reasonable spending plan which keeps them balanced. Don’t budget on what you hope you’ll make or wish you’ll spend. Be realistic. Having a budget will give you control & reduce your financial stress.

3. Plan your splurges. It’s difficult to stick with a financial plan if you feel like it is overly restrictive and deprives you of what you love. Budget for reasonable treats. Plan to spend money on the things that give you the most pleasure.

4. Balance making more with spending less. Sometimes taking extra shifts at work is smart and sometimes spending less is the best plan. Make conscious choices about which strategy gives you the most pleasure and the least financial stress.

5. Balance making more with spending less. Sometimes taking extra shifts at work is smart and sometimes spending less is the best plan. Make conscious choices about which strategy gives you the most pleasure and the least financial stress.

6. Plan shopping trips to avoid impulse buys. Shopping can be stressful when you’re worried about money. Shop when you are fed, hydrated and relaxed. Shopping sales seems like a smart idea but if you buy because you’re afraid you will never see such great prices again, they cost you money. When you shop sales buy only what you planned. Don’t fall prey to “Sale Fever.”

7. Find support. Sharing financial triumphs and frustrations with a friend can be a big help in dealing with your financial stress.
A friendly ear gives you feedback when you’re tempted to blow your budget and accountability when you get lax.

8. Stay Calm. If you feel panic because you can’t pay your bills, remember to breath. Think about what your next step should be and resist negative thoughts or making your circumstances huge. Remember similar times when you managed your problems successfully.

When you worry about money it is especially important to take care of your health. Remember to do your healthy routines. Exercise, eat well and get enough sleep. Even though few people celebrate Tax Day, it doesn’t have to be stressful. Take steps to manage your financial stress. Call me if you need help relieving your stress symptoms.

Copyright © 2014 Acupuncture Media Works
Image provided by: Thinkstock

Protect Your Investment

Buying an automobile is probably one of the biggest financial investments you’ll make.  When you consider all the hard work that went into your purchase I’m sure you would agree that it only makes sense to protect your investment so that you get as much return on it as possible.  You understand that even though your car runs great, performs magnificently, and looks wonderful on the outside it is imperative that you keep up with regularly scheduled maintenance to keep it running smoothly.  Routine oil changes are essential to the life of your car’s engine.  It would be foolish to sink tens of thousands of dollars into a new vehicle only to neglect the maintenance and drive it to an early grave.

Restoring your health through acupuncture requires an investment of both your time and money, and is truly one of the best investments you can make for yourself.  If you have completed, or are in the process of following through with a schedule of comprehensive acupuncture treatments, then congratulations on your commitment to excellent health!  However, to remain at the pinnacle you worked so hard to achieve it is essential to incorporate acupuncture wellness care into your lifestyle.

Once you have completed an initial or comprehensive care plan it is important to follow up with routine visits to maintain your newfound level of health.  After all, if it was worth the investment to regain your health, then you owe it to yourself to maintain it.

The key is to remain proactive and to stay one step ahead of potential problems before they have a chance to develop.  It is far less costly to take your car to the mechanic for routine maintenance work than it is to wait for a breakdown.

Keep in mind, however, that even with routine automotive maintenance there is still the potential to develop trouble between service appointments.  When the warning lights on your dash alert you to a problem, it is best to get it checked right away rather than wait until your next scheduled service.

The same goes for your body. When pain, injuries, or illness occur between wellness visits, resist the temptation to hold out until your next scheduled visit.  If your body is talking to you, listen to it.  The sooner a problem is addressed, the easier and more cost effective it is to get you over it.

Your body is meant to last you a lifetime.  It is not leased and there is no trading it in.  Isn’t it time you started caring for your body as well as you treat your car?  Just like oil changes, fuel line flushes, and tire rotations, wellness visits will keep you running strong for a lifetime!Close-up of mechanic examining bonnet of car

9 Ways To Avoid Endocrine Disruptors

Can a shower curtain be bad for your health?
It can if it contains phthalates. Phthalates are just some of over 800 chemicals that are labeled as endocrine disruptors. These chemicals are toxic for a number of reasons. They may mimic estrogen, androgen or thyroid hormones and cause your body to respond to them inappropriately. Or they may block, stimulate or inhibit these hormones. By interfering in your hormone system, there is growing evidence that these chemicals are responsible for a wide range of health problems.

Endocrine disruptors are found in many products. Sandwich bags, air fresheners, dryer sheets, perfumes, sunscreens, cleaning products, laundry detergents, flame retardants, pesticides, cosmetics, shampoo, conditioners and vinyl shower curtains can all be suspect.

One widely known endocrine disruptor is bisphenol-A or BPA. This chemical is found in plastics and is the reason many people choose glass water bottles over plastic.

In February 2013, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) released
a new report: State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2012. According to this study, endocrine disruptors are linked to high rates of endocrine-related cancers, such as breast, ovarian, prostate, testicular and thyroid
cancers; low semen quality; genital malfunctions such as non-descended testes; adverse pregnancy outcomes; obesity; and Type 2 diabetes. But the effects don’t stop with humans. The report also finds reproductive defects, infertility and antler malformations in some Alaskan deer populations and population decline in some species of otters and sea lions. Clearly, it’s a good idea to minimize your exposure to these chemicals.

1. Reduce household fragrances. Keep your house fresh and clean without using air fresheners. Give your carpets and rugs a cleaning but remember to clean or change the vacuum filter first for maximum freshness. Open the windows. Put a bouquet of roses on the table. If your home smells stale, put a few drops of essential oils on cotton balls and leave them around the house.

2. Throw out the dryer sheets. Use homemade dryer sheets. Combine ½ cup vinegar with 6-8 drops of grapefruit, orange, lemon or tea tree essential oils. Spritz this solution on an old washcloth until moist and throw it in your dryer with your clothes.

3. Use green laundry detergents.

4. Use green cleaning products. You can clean most things with vinegar, baking soda, pure soap and a little determination.

5. Avoid perfumes. Use essential oils or, better yet, use no scent at all.

6. Choose your sunscreens wisely.

7. Buy natural cosmetics. Many cosmetics contain chemicals that may be endocrine disruptors but figuring out which ones are safe can be tricky. There are many cosmetic ingredients and sources disagree about their hazards. As a general rule, European standards are stricter than in the US so look for European brands. In addition to changing your cosmetics, you can reduce your exposure to endocrine disruptors by using cosmetics less often.

8. Use natural shampoos and conditioners. Use vinegar or baking soda solutions to clean your hair.

9. Store your food in glass. Phthalates make plastics soft and are found in sandwich bags and other pliable plastics. Fats absorb phthalates more easily than water, so be especially careful to store fatty foods in glass.

Avoid heating or freezing food in plastic because extreme temperatures release the phthalates.

PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT

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Buying an automobile is probably one of the biggest financial investments you’ll make.  When you consider all the hard work that went into your purchase I’m sure you would agree that it only makes sense to protect your investment so that you get as much return on it as possible.  You understand that even though your car runs great, performs magnificently, and looks wonderful on the outside it is imperative that you keep up with regularly scheduled maintenance to keep it running smoothly.  Routine oil changes are essential to the life of your car’s engine.  It would be foolish to sink tens of thousands of dollars into a new vehicle only to neglect the maintenance and drive it to an early grave.

If you have completed, or are in the process of following through with a schedule of comprehensive acupuncture treatments, then congratulations on your commitment to excellent health!  However, to remain at the pinnacle you worked so hard to achieve it is essential to incorporate acupuncture wellness care into your lifestyle.

Once you have completed an initial or comprehensive care plan it is important to follow up with routine visits to maintain your newfound level of health.  After all, if it was worth the investment to regain your health, then you owe it to yourself to maintain it.

The key is to remain proactive and to stay one step ahead of potential problems before they have a chance to develop.  It is far less costly to take your car to the mechanic for routine maintenance work than it is to wait for a breakdown.

Keep in mind, however, that even with routine automotive maintenance there is still the potential to develop trouble between service appointments.  When the warning lights on your dash alert you to a problem, it is best to get it checked right away rather than wait until your next scheduled service.

The same goes for your body. When pain, injuries, or illness occur between wellness visits, resist the temptation to hold out until your next scheduled visit.  If your body is talking to you, listen to it.  The sooner a problem is addressed, the easier and more cost effective it is to get you over it.

Your body is meant to last you a lifetime.  It is not leased and there is no trading it in.  Isn’t it time you started caring for your body as well as you treat your car?  Just like oil changes, fuel line flushes, and tire rotations, wellness visits will keep you running strong for a lifetime!