Tag Archives: Removing Blockages

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.

A House Divided…

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” –Abraham Lincoln

Pills on table with toast and orange juice

Pain killer…Check.  Anti-inflammatory…Check.  Anti-anxiety…Check.  Antidepressant…Check.

And that’s just breakfast!

For many, starting the day by downing a handful of pills has become the norm, a natural accompaniment to their eggs and toast.

You take pills because you are taught to, and that’s what most people are accustomed to.  Because somehow the drugs are supposed to wipe the slate clean and zero out your not so healthy lifestyle choices.  Inherently you know that the drugs are not the best thing for you, but you figure that you can settle for good enough if the pills can help you just get by.

There is a reason that every drug or pill that you are prescribed comes with a list of side effects and warnings.  Continually putting foreign/toxic substances into your body over the long run often creates more illness than health.

The reality is that the body is designed to heal from the inside out and express life through an inborn intelligent energy, and it is only when this energy is impeded that the body begins to break down.

Drugging an imbalanced body does nothing to bring it back into balance, and in fact while on the surface it may appear that the drugs are serving a positive purpose, underneath, the body is thrown farther into a state of stress and dis-ease.  In effect, you have created a house divided.

The natural, recuperative power of the body is now pitted against the drug’s toxic effects.  Even when drugs are designed as closely as possible to work in harmony with the human body, it simply is not feasible to introduce chemicals into the body without also inducing stress.

You are either working to support the body’s innate healing energies or you are working against it.  You can’t have it both ways and expect to see positive change over a lifetime.

The key to producing a lifetime of health and wellness is to develop a unified front; to unleash the full power of the body’s meridian systems and then to nurture it through exercise, good nutrition, adequate rest, and a positive mental outlook.

Acupuncture works in unison with the body and serves to optimize your innate healing potential.  It is the natural choice to replenish and maintain optimal health!

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.

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

Germ Warfare

You never have to wonder when the “cold and flu season” is around the corner.  Big Pharma will be sure that you are reminded of its impending arrival no matter where you turn.

When the dreaded season of doom drapes its black curtain over us, whatever you do, don’t come within sneezing distance of anybody, don’t even think about shaking anyone’s hand or otherwise engaging in bodily contact, and NEVER, EVER touch a doorknob, shopping cart, or any other object that might have possibly come into contact with any human at any point during its existence.

Buy into the hype and you’ll find yourself locked away in a dark room waiting for the hazmat team to give the “All Clear.”

Big Pharma and the medical community at large are depending on you to buy into the hysteria; to leave the fate of your health and well-being up to the questionable workings of chemical-laden pills and shots rather than the innate power that runs your body and the living world around you.

The reality is that germs don’t make you sick.  Rather, your body’s inability to fend off germs and foreign invaders is what results in you succumbing to illness.

Think about it… How is it possible that a family of 5 people living under the same roof can have completely different reactions during flu season?

Assuming that everyone is exposed to the same germs and viruses, if the sickness were attributed completely to the virus, everyone would get sick and exhibit the same reaction and symptoms.

What happens in reality is that one or two family members get ill while the others don’t.  Clearly the issue is not the germs, but the body’s response to them.

Chances are the last time you got sick you were running yourself ragged; missing sleep, eating improperly, slacking on your nutrition, all stressed out from work, skipping your acupuncture sessions, and neglecting your workouts.  This is a vicious pattern that many of us fall into and it’s one that weakens the body and allows germs to take hold.

Your best defense against the flu, colds, or any other germ-borne illness is not to drug yourself, but to bolster your internal defenses.  You stand your best chance of being at your healthiest when you have an optimally functioning nervous system and immune response.

So come in for an acupuncture tune-up, keep your lifestyle habits in good order, and maintain a positive attitude. Do so, and those pesky little germs don’t stand a chance.Bacteria Background

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Many people feel down as winter approaches.  It’s dark.  It’s cold. The holidays can be stressful.

But for some people every winter is unbearable.  They’re tired and depressed.  They don’t want to get out of bed.  They snap at their families and binge on junk food.

These people have seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Our moods and energy levels fluctuate with the seasons.  Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) understands these cycles but modern life does not.  These days, you are expected to be active, productive and creative at all times of the year.  There is no accommodation for a slow, quiet winter.  According to TCM, this conflict causes stress, which can result in SAD.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that people experience at the same time every year.  Most often, symptoms start in September or October and are relieved in April or May, however some people experience SAD at different times of year.  The symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Extreme fatigue, lethargy and sleepiness
  • Increased appetite
  • Carbohydrate cravings
  • Lack of concentration
  • Decreased libido

No one knows exactly what causes SAD but most of the theories involve light.  Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects mood, is triggered by light.  Some people believe that decreased serotonin is the culprit.  Others blame melatonin, a hormone that affects sleep and mood, because it is affected by darkness.  In either case, light plays a role.

Western Medicine Treatments for SAD

Western medicine treats SAD with medications, psychotherapy and light therapy.

There are 2 types of light therapy.  For bright light treatment, you sit in front of a light box for 30-45 minutes every day.  For dawn simulation treatment, a dim light comes on while you sleep and gradually gets lighter.

Many people find light therapy very effective, and a recent Canadian study confirms this.  Scientists found that light therapy was just as effective as Prozac for alleviating SAD, with fewer side effects and faster results.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatments for SAD

TCM takes a holistic view of the body and seasonal cycles, and understands the energy behind them.  All life is made of qi, or life force.  One of the principles of qi is that everything is made of yin and yang.  Yin is the feminine side, nourishing, cold and dark.  Yang is the masculine side, active, warm and light.

Autumn marks the beginning of the yin cycle of the year.  Daylight decreases, temperatures drop and nature takes a rest.  Just as animals slow down and hibernate, our bodies slow down.  It is a time for reflection and quiet activity.

If your constitution is particularly yin, from gender, genetics, environment or lifestyle, the yin cycle may hit you hard.  Contemplation and rest may become isolation and depression.  Your winter cycle becomes seasonal affective disorder.

The holidays put an additional stress on your system.  At a time when your body wants to slow down, holiday activities speed up.  Parties, shopping, travel and holiday celebrations create tension between what your body needs and what you’re doing.  This stress depletes your body even more, contributing to exhaustion and cravings for carbohydrates to replenish your depleted energy.

To stay balanced in the winter and ward off SAD, conserve your energy.  Practice quiet, yin activities like restorative yoga, Tai Chi, qigong, walking or journaling.  Eat warm, slow-cooked stews and soups.  Add yang spices like garlic, ginger, black pepper, cloves and basil to your foods.  Limit cold drinks and raw vegetables.  Rebuild your energy to prepare for spring.

Most importantly, make an appointment with me for a seasonal acupuncture treatment.  By balancing your qi, your seasonal affective disorder symptoms can be relieved.

Winter doesn’t have to be a time of sadness, exhaustion and binge eating. Call me to discuss your treatment options today.