Lamorinda Healing Arts is excited and proud to announce the arrival of an amazing new body worker to our clinic.
Albert Cortez is a California- and Oregon-licensed massage therapist, a Neuromuscular Re-education practitioner, and a Certified Fitness Trainer. He has over a decade of experience focusing on structural alignment and pain management using many different modalities, from neuromuscular therapy to Active Release Technique; myofascial release to cranial sacral and deep tissue.
Albert has worked with athletes at the highest levels of professional sports, including Olympic competitors, dancers, members of the America’s Cup winning team, runners, and bodybuilders, among many others. He has received 1,500 hours of massage training and completed his associate degree in massage therapy. He has also studied Traditional Chinese Medicine, and currently is currently in a doctoral program for Chiropractic medicine.
Albert is a very intuitive therapist, which enables him to quickly connect with a client’s body and formulate the most appropriate treatment for their condition. A client can expect to receive a completely different treatment each time they see him. He has always wanted to help support others, and this desire drove him to become a massage therapist. Seeing a client’s big smile of relief after a massage and the positive results of the attendant changes in their life keeps him motivated to learn new techniques and seek for higher education on an ongoing basis.
Albert may be seen in our Lafayette office on Wednesdays and Saturdays by appointment. For more information, use our Contact page or contact us at (925) 283-3860.
Lamorinda Healing Arts is excited and proud to announce the arrival of an amazing new practitioner to our stable of healing professionals.
Dr. Mitsuko (Mimi) Ishimaru-Cortez is a California state board licensed Naturopathic Doctor as well as a licensed acupuncturist. As a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist, Dr. Mimi’s approach to treat the patient is unique in terms of integrating oriental and western natural therapies. She is dedicated to guiding patients to achieve their optimal health. Her treatment starts with listening to the patient’s story, understanding the factors that affect the patient’s health, and seeking to find the root causes of the disease rather than simply treating symptoms. Her special foci are in the areas of chronic disease, women’s health, anti-aging therapies, mental/emotional health, pain management, and infertility. Studying extensively with Dr. Hua Ling Xu, a Chinese medical gynecology expert, and Christine Chung, LAc,a board-certified fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (ABORM), has helped to further her knowledge in those areas.
As a native Japanese with an American education, Dr. Mimi has been very fortunate to learn directly from renowned Japanese acupuncture masters by assisting and translating their seminars both in the United States and Japan. She is also one of very few practitioners who performs Japanese-style facial rejuvenation (face-lift) techniques which she learned from Yoko Ooasa, the dean of the acupuncture and moxibustion department at Shikoku Medical College.
Dr. Mimi earned her Doctorate in Naturopathic medicine at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, Canada. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine from the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College (AIMC) in Berkeley, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and was called, “one of the most brilliant students ever to come through our school” by AIMC’s clinical director. Dr. Mimi is a certified medical qi gong practitioner; has completed both Chinese- and Japanese-styled facial rejuvenation courses; and will soon complete a clinically-intensive doctorate degree at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in Portland. Dr. Mimi was a financial analyst in high tech before changing her career to become a doctor.
Dr. Mimi may be seen in our Lafayette office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and every other Saturday. For more information, use our Contact page or contact us at (925) 283-3860.
Given that we’re in the midst of the holiday season, and are likely adding far more strange and atypical foods to our diet than at other times of year, I thought it apropos to put in some bloggage about food poisoning, and what can be done for it.
By: Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM
Every year millions of people suffer from bouts of vomiting and diarrhea due to food poisoning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are as many as 33 million cases of food poisoning in the United States annually.
While most cases are mild and pass so rapidly that they are never diagnosed, occasionally a severe outbreak creates a newsworthy public health hazard. The recent outbreak in the United States is such a case.
More than 11 weeks into the biggest Salmonella outbreak linked to fresh produce ever in the United States, a strain of Salmonella has sickened over 869 people across the country, causing tomatoes to be pulled from shelves and restaurants.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be of great help when it comes to relieving symptoms of and recovering from food poisoning. In most cases, the recommendation for food poisoning is to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can actually relieve symptoms, hasten recovery and also strengthen the digestive system to prevent future incidents of food poisoning, avert the development of chronic immune deficiencies and increase energy levels.
What is Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning is a general term for any illness arising from eating contaminated foods. Also known as foodborne illness, infectious diarrhea or gastroenteritis, food poisoning is generated by a variety of microorganisms including bacteria, viruses and parasites. The most common bacteria to cause food poisoning are salmonella, staphylococcus aureus, E. coli and shigella.
Food poisoning is marked by severe diarrhea, fever, cramping, abdominal pain, flu-like symptoms, vomiting and diarrhea. Most cases of food poisoning clear up on their own within a week without any medical assistance; however, it can take several months before bowel habits return to normal. Often the digestive system is severely weakened after a bout of food poisoning, making the infected person more susceptible to food poisoning in the future. A small number of persons with food poisoning develop an autoimmune disease called Reiter’s syndrome. It can last for months or years, and can lead to chronic arthritis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Food Poisoning
In Oriental medicine, food poisoning is recognized as dampness and heat in the stomach and intestines due to the ingestion of unclean food or drink. Traditionally, damp heat conditions were seen mostly in the summer months when heat and humidity are at their peak. It is interesting to note that the CDC confirms that most cases occur in the warm months between July and October.
Treatment of food poisoning is rest and hydration to prevent fluid and electrolyte loss through vomiting and diarrhea. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be used to relieve nausea and vomiting, hasten recovery by assisting the body to eliminate the pathogen faster, and strengthen the digestive system to prevent any reoccurrences as well as the development of a chronic immune disorder.
Is your digestive system functioning as well as it could? Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are extremely effective at treating a wide array of digestive disorders. Call a licensed practitioner near you for more information or to schedule and appointment.
Points for Food Poisoning
Acupuncture treatments are aimed at draining dampness and heat from the intestines to remove the pathogen while simultaneously calming the stomach to stop nausea and vomiting. After the acute symptoms subside, treatments are focused on strengthening the digestive system and improving energy levels to bring about a full recovery.
While many different acupuncture points are used, depending on your specific symptoms and the state of your overall health, here are some acupuncture points that are commonly used to treat gastroenteritis:
Stomach 25 (St 25) and Ren 4 (Co 4) are two acupuncture points located on the abdomen around the umbilicus. They are used for abdominal pain, cramping and to drain heat and damp from the intestines.
Stomach 36 (St 36) is located on the shin, below the knee (see image above). It is a very powerful point used to adjust and balance the physiological activity of the digestive system and relieve stomach pain. It is one of the major points on the body for the GI tract. It triggers the body to increase the secretion of hydrochloric acid, dissolve food and move it out of the stomach and intestines.
Pericardium 6 (Pc 6) is located two finger breadths above the inside of the wrist. This acupuncture point alleviates nausea.
How to Prevent Food Poisoning
Here are four simple guidelines to ensure that your summer holidays are not memorable for all the wrong reasons!
Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill
Clean: Wash hands, surfaces, utensils and platters often. Rinse all produce in cold running water before peeling, cutting or eating.
Separate: Keep foods that won’t be cooked separate from raw meat and poultry. Don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry.
Cook: Cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria.
Chill: Refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow containers.
* If you are ill with diarrhea or vomiting, do not prepare food for others, especially infants, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems since they are more vulnerable to infection.
Ginger for Intestinal Upset
Did you know that ginger is always served with sushi because of its ability to prevent food poisoning?
Ginger has been found to increase the secretion of gastric juice and the production of hypochloride. This means that food is digested more quickly; creating an unfriendly environment for bacteria that could wreak havoc with your stomach and intestines.
Ginger works as well at treating the symptoms of food poisoning as it does preventing them. In fact, ginger can be used for most digestive upsets that involve nausea, vomiting, cramping, abdominal pain, indigestion or diarrhea.
Whether your digestive problem is due to eating contaminated food, stomach flu, pregnancy or motion sickness, ginger is one of the most effective agents around!
After many months of careful deliberation, I have decided that it’s time I put out a formal note announcing my rates and a few policies I will not only be implementing but actually enforcing beginning July 1. The following policies will only be news for a small percentage of you, but it feels important that I put this in writing to be clear.
New patients / first visit: $120
Established patients / after first visit: $90 per session
Again, for most of you, this is not news. But for those of you who have not been in for some time, you may have had a lower rate in the past.
I have changed my rates twice in the past ten years: Once, when I first started in the Lafayette office and was taking over the space from another practitioner who charged each patient a different fee, sometimes each time they came in; and again, almost four years ago, when my established patient fee went up 8%. The only differences now are that (1) I now have a new patient/first visit fee, like all of my fellow practitioners; and (2) I will no longer be able to offer discounted treatments below my standard fee of $90 per treatment.
Kaiser No More
For the past 12 or so years I have been a credentialed Kaiser provider for members whose service area includes Oakland up to Richmond. (Each service area has different policies and credentialing where acupuncture is concerned.) In fact, I was one of the first acupuncturists in the Kaiser system. I have had a great experience working with Kaiser and have especially enjoyed the patients Kaiser has sent my way.
Unfortunately, due to some antiquated Kaiser policies, it is no longer feasible for me to see patients referred by and paid by Kaiser insurance. In fact, at this point, it almost costs me money each time I see a patient referred by Kaiser. I have run my concerns up the Kaiser chain of command, and what it comes down to is that, with the exception of those who are currently in the middle of a course of treatment and/or are worker’s compensation cases, I will no longer be taking patients referred directly by Kaiser.
(As an aside, I happen to be a Kaiser member myself and have found many of their services quite exceptional. They were also one of the first insurance companies, and the first HMO, to include acupuncture in their health plan, so I have no ill will here.)
While I continue to take a limited number of worker’s compensation cases, I do not bill insurance companies. I am happy to print out an invoice with all of the necessary coding such that you may send it in to the claims address on the back of your insurance card to be reimbursed by your health care plan directly. Many of my patients have been doing this successfully for years. I am also happy to print out summaries of your visits at any time, including year-end summaries for tax time.
Like most practitioners, hair dressers, massage therapists and the like, I will charge people who do not show up and/or give less than 24 hours’ notice for a cancelled appointment. I have never been one to aggressively enforce this policy, but I’m turning over a new leaf, and will now be billing the full fee for a missed appointment. I don’t love doing so, but, in light of my current waiting list, missing an appointment or cancelling at the last moment makes it difficult for me to get someone else to take that spot.
Reasoning Behind These Policies
As most of you know, my highest priority is to provide each of you with the best, most effective, most appropriate health care that I can. That means focusing intensely on each issue and sharing every resource I know of to attend to your concerns. (That may also mean telling you that acupuncture won’t work for a given condition, and checking out other allied practitioners or suggestions instead.) I am proud of the work I do, and I want to continue doing my best and giving my all.
I have been extremely fortunate to have built a thriving practice from your referrals and Yelp reviews, and as a result, I am now busy beyond my wildest dreams. So busy, in fact, that I am concerned about my quality of care dipping below a level with which I feel comfortable. It is my hope that, by formalizing and enforcing these simple policies, I will be able to keep my workload at a level that allows me to continue providing the care that has earned me your trust and confidence.
If you have any questions or concerns about anything I’ve written here, please feel free to contact me directly at 925.283.3860, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Introducing: Benjamin Dierauf, My New(ish) Officemate
Since the middle of 2013, I have added a new colleague to my office on Mondays, Fridays, and every other Saturday. Benjamin Dierauf has worked in Chinese medicine for over 20 years, including long stints as the head of our state acupuncture association. He is well known by acupuncturists all over the country (he was even named “Acupuncturist of the Year” for the whole U.S. a few years ago), and has primarily worked in Berkeley and San Francisco as the head of student clinics in acupuncture schools and in private practice. He is now building a practice here in Lafayette, and is my go-to guy when I am unavailable, or when I need treatment myself. To learn more about Benjamin or to schedule an appointment with him, click here to go to his website Benjamindierauf.com; email him at email@example.com; or call him at 925.297.4785.
While I’m At It… Other News
Some of you have wondered what I do on the days when I am out of the clinic. I am a consummate multi-tasker, and have been working on a topical orthopedic salve based in traditional Chinese kung fu medicine. After many years of trial and error, we believe we finally have a formula that will provide safe, effective pain relief to a wide variety of people with varied pain-related complaints. We call it Kung Fu Goo, and it’s currently being used by the Oakland Raiders, as well as other sports teams and active individuals. My dream is to take it out of my kitchen and make it available to a much wider audience. The latest updates on “The Goop:” We have a trademark, a patent pending, and students in the Michigan State University Packaging Department have taken on our packaging design as their senior capstone project.
Beyond that, I have also been teaching continuing medical education courses for doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, nurses, acupuncturists, and others around the country on select weekends. The subject matter is non-verbal medical communication. I recently spoke at Northwestern Medical School as part of the International Conference on Communication in Healthcare, and will speak in a few months at the California Physical Therapy Association’s annual meeting.
Most of you have met Josie Carnita, the small black lab who keeps watch over the office while I’m there. (Okay, she sleeps in the office, and is not much of a guard dog.) For those who haven’t been by in a while, you should know that she is still alive and well, in spite of slowing down and going somewhat deaf of late. She is somewhere between 13 and 14 years young now, and though we had a cancer scare with her a few months back, she’s doing very well now and is always happy to see you. Feel free to come by and pat her on the head any time (still free for a limited time).
More than 45 million Americans (one in six) suffer from chronic headaches, 20 million of whom are women. Scientific research shows that acupuncture can be more effective than medication in reducing the severity and frequency of chronic headaches.
The pain that headache and migraine sufferers endure can impact every aspect of their lives. A widely accepted form of treatment for headaches, acupuncture can offer powerful relief without the side effects that prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause.
Headaches and migraines, as well as their underlying causes have been treated successfully with acupuncture and Oriental medicine for thousands of years. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be used alone in the management and treatment of headaches, or as part of a comprehensive treatment program.
Oriental Medicine does not recognize migraines and chronic headaches as one particular syndrome. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of of techniques such as acupuncture, tui-na massage, and energetic exercises to restore imbalances found in the body. Therefore, your diagnosis and treatment will depend on a number of variables including:
- Is the headache behind your eyes and temples, or is it located more on the top of your head?
- When do your headaches occur (i.e. night, morning, after eating)?
- Do you find that a cold compress or a darkened room can alleviate some of the pain?
- Is the pain dull and throbbing, or sharp and piercing?
Your answers to these questions will help your practitioner create a treatment plan specifically for you. The basic foundation for Oriental medicine is that there is a life energy flowing through the body which is termed Qi (pronounced chee). This energy flows through the body on channels known as meridians that connect all of our major organs. According to Oriental medical theory, illness or pain arises when the cyclical flow of Qi in the meridians becomes unbalanced. Acupuncture stimulates specific points located on or near the surface of the skin to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions that cause aches and pains or illness.
The length, number and frequency of treatments will vary. Typical treatments last from five to 30 minutes, with the patient being treated one or two times a week. Some headaches, migraines and related symptoms are relieved after the first treatment, while more severe or chronic ailments often require multiple treatments.
Headaches Dramatically Reduced by Acupuncture
Since the early seventies, studies around the globe have suggested that acupuncture is an effective treatment for migraines and headaches. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center analyzed the results of more than 30 studies on acupuncture as a pain reliever for a variety of ailments, including chronic headaches. They found that acupuncture decreases pain with fewer side effects and can be less expensive than medication. Researchers found that using acupuncture as an alternative for pain relief also reduced the need for post-operative pain medications.
In a study published in the November 1999 issue of Cephalalgia, scientists evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of migraines and recurrent headaches by systematically reviewing 22 randomized controlled trials. A total of 1,042 patients were examined. It was found that headache and migraine sufferers experienced significantly more relief from acupuncture than patients who were administered “sham” acupuncture.
A clinical observation, published in a 2002 edition of the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, studied 50 patients presenting with various types of headaches who were treated with scalp acupuncture. The results of this study showed that 98 percent of patients treated with scalp acupuncture experienced no headaches or only occasional, mild headaches in the six months following care.
In a case study, published in the June 2003 Issue of Medical Acupuncture, doctors found that acupuncture resulted in the resolution or reduction in the frequency and severity of cluster headaches, and a decrease or discontinuation of pain medications. It was concluded that acupuncture can be used to provide sustained relief from cluster headaches and to stimulate the body’s natural production of adrenal cortisol to aid in discontinuing corticosteroids.
According to the July 2005 issue of the British Medical Journal, a randomized controlled trial in Germany found that acupuncture cut tension headache rates almost in half. Researchers divided 270 patients who reported similarly severe tension headaches into three groups for the study. Over the project’s eight-week period, one group received traditional acupuncture, one received only minimal acupuncture, and the third group received neither treatment. Those receiving the traditional acupuncture reported headache rates of nearly half that of those who received no treatments, suffering 7 fewer days of headaches. The minimal acupuncture group suffered 6.6 fewer days, and the non-acupuncture group suffered 1.5 fewer days. The improvements continued for months after the treatments were concluded, rising slightly as time went on.
Do you or someone you know suffer from headaches or migraines?
Reach out to us to find out how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you!
Original article from staff of AcuFinder, here.
By Sara Calabro
Happy 2014! The new year is officially underway, so it’s time to get serious about any changes or improvements that you’ve committed to making in 2014. How are you going to be healthier? In what ways will you be different at this time next year?
Acupuncture can help you get to that desired place. It can make you healthier and happier—in ways you probably never imagined.
Through receiving acupuncture, becoming aware of its principles, and incorporating acupuncture-inspired self-care techniques into your life, you can enjoy physical and emotional benefits that may have eluded you in the past.
This is your year! Here are 14 things that acupuncture can help you achieve in 2014.
Acupuncture is well known for its ability to lower stress. It takes the edge off by removing you from the perpetual state of sympathetic dominance in which so many of us find ourselves. By mellowing out the nervous system, acupuncture will help you feel less affected by and better equipped to manage the stressful aspects of life.
Regular acupuncture treatments are fantastic for keeping stress in check. Acupuncture-inspired self-care goes a long way as well. Watch this video for a simple, DIY stress-reduction technique. Check out 10 tips from acupuncturists for lowering stress. And don’t miss this two-part series on acupressure points for stress reduction.
Stronger immune system
Acupuncture strengthens natural resistance to disease. Forget endorphins. Forget improved blood circulation. Forget placebo. This is how acupuncture works, by bolstering your reserve and equipping you to fight off pathogens.
Acupuncture strengthens the immune system so that you can avoid illness rather than dealing with it after it happens.
Learn about four acupuncture points that strengthen immunity. When used as part of a regular acupressure routine, these points can help you avoid the flu this year. And if you’ve already suffered through the flu, these four points will help prevent a recurrence.
Acupuncture looks at how root imbalances affect the whole system. This means that when one thing is out of whack, it can affect you in multiple ways. By thinking of yourself as a complex, interconnected system, it becomes easier to understand why you might be feeling unwell. Acupuncture broadens your awareness of the things that can potentially influence your physical and emotional health.
A more youthful appearance
Acupuncture can make you look younger. Seriously.
Acupuncture strengthens your five most essential organ systems—Kidney, Spleen, Liver, Lung, and Heart—so that you are systemically healthier. This can not only make you feel younger, by improving your energy levels, but it can actually prevent physical signs of aging.
Got your attention? Learn more in this article on how each of the five essential organ systems influences the aging process—and how acupuncture can make you look and feel 25 again!
Smooth and glowing skin
If your battle against aging has mainly to do with your skin, you may have considered cosmetic acupuncture. Cosmetic acupuncture, or facial rejuvenation acupuncture, got a lot of press last year. Celebrities swear by it. Some acupuncturists are basing their entire practices on it. Indeed, natural alternatives to Botox and prescription acne medications are in high demand, and acupuncture is emerging as a leading solution.
Read this interview with a cosmetic acupuncture expert who teaches the technique to acupuncturists throughout the United States and aboard.
When people think about acupuncture and what it can help with, pain is usually the first thing that comes to mind. But acupuncture’s ability to reduce pain goes beyond the physical benefits, such as improved blood flow and the release of pain-relieving endorphins and serotonin.
There is a significant emotional component to pain, especially pain that is chronic. This is why so many cases of pain go unabated by pain killers and anti-inflammatory medications. Treating pain effectively—that is, treating it in a way that addresses the root causes—requires approaching it holistically. Acupuncture excels at this.
Read more about acupuncture for chronic pain in this article.
A flatter stomach
Acupuncture offers a whole new take on why many people suffer from bloating, as well as reflux, constipation, and other digestive disorders. The paired Spleen and Stomach are the main organs associated with digestion. This refers to the digestion of food as well as the digestion of thought. From an acupuncture perspective, over thinking, like over eating, can lead to bloating and digestive discomfort.
Read this article on how acupuncture reduces bloating by keeping the Spleen and Stomach in balance. And don’t miss these 11 self-care tips from acupuncturists for reducing bloating.
Insomnia is stubborn. Tons of people have it—it’s one of the most common complaints seen by acupuncturists—but for many different reasons. Because acupuncture looks at each patient as an individual, regular treatments can be highly effective for people who haven’t found relief in sleep medications or other one-size-fits-all solutions.
This article outlines a sampling of some common imbalances that cause people to struggle with sleep. Do you recognize your personal brand of insomnia?
Although it’s common to find yourself in “acu land”—a somewhat dazed, blissfully relaxed state—during and immediately following acupuncture treatment, the after effect is usually increased energy. Many people report having more energy in the hours, days and even weeks after acupuncture treatment. You may notice that you’re avoiding that post-lunch coma, feeling more motivated to hit the gym, or just sensing a little extra spring in your step.
Let’s face it: We’re impatient. Our go-go-go society and the technology we’ve come to rely on has acclimated us to quick fixes. It perpetuates the “I want it now” mentality that dominates most of our worlds. This creates chronic impatience.
Acupuncture, because it works but rarely overnight, can help us combat this. Acupuncture is an ongoing process that requires an investment of time and a willingness to let go of our desire for instant gratification. It will make you a more patient person.
The multifaceted nature of sexuality means that many systems throughout the body play a role, and seemingly unrelated symptoms or habits can influence whether someone has a fulfilling sex life. Acupuncturists, because they are trained to view their patients holistically, are experts at making these connections and restoring balance so that you’re able to fully experience and enjoy sex.
Want to learn more about this? Thought so. Read this.
Acupuncture, although becoming more widely used, is still not the norm. Most doctors, as well as some family, friends and colleagues, regard mainstream medicine as the only acceptable form of healthcare. Acupuncture requires you to think about health in entirely new ways because it turns mainstream medical tenets on their head. It will remind you that there are multiple ways of seeing the world—and that “popular” doesn’t always equal “right.”
A boost in confidence
The driving idea behind acupuncture is that we’re already in possession of everything we need to be well. Acupuncture does not add or subtract anything. Rather, it prompts the body to do what it already knows how to do. It reminds you that you have the power to heal yourself.
This does not mean that external interventions such as pharmaceuticals or surgery should always be shunned—in many cases, these are life saving measures. But it does mean that becoming healthier, whatever that means to you, is within your control. This can be an empowering, confidence-boosting realization.
Greater compassion for others
When you understand yourself better, which acupuncture helps you do by making you more self aware, you become better at cultivating compassion for others. You’re not the only one who’s a mishmash of interconnected organs and meridians that can at any moment become out of balance, resulting in unexpected reactions. Acupuncture reminds us that we’re allinterconnected—through our environment and the energies that we put out into the world.
So this year, when someone annoys you or hurts you or looks at you the wrong way, try to remember that it’s not about you. They’re on their journey at the same time that you’re on yours—toward health, toward happiness, toward whatever’s next. Acupuncture can help all of us get there.
This year it is predicted that there will be 1 billion colds and 95 million cases of the flu in the United States alone. While the misery of cold and flu season might be inevitable, one thing is changing: where we look for relief.
The easiest way to protect against the flu is to have a healthy immune system. However, that doesn’t mean you still won’t come into contact with airborne virus particles. That’s why your first line of defense against the flu, or any other illness, is to strengthen your immunity.
When it comes to staying healthy during cold and flu season, acupuncture and Oriental medicine have a lot to offer!
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help prevent colds and flu by strengthening the immune system with just a few needles inserted into key points along the body’s energy pathways.
Boost your Wei Qi and Stay Healthy
“To treat disease that has already developed is comparable to the behavior of those persons who begin to dig a well after they have become thirsty, and of those who begin to cast weapons after they have already engaged in battle. Would these actions not be too late?” – Huangdi Neijing
In Oriental medicine, disease prevention begins by focusing on the protective layer around the exterior of the body called Wei Qi or defensive energy. The Wei Qi involves acupuncture points known for strengthening the circulation of blood and energy to boost the body’s defenses.
Read more on Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture for cold and flu symptoms from AcuFinder.com.
We believe that health is an ongoing choice, not just a thoughtless assumption. That it is a state of mind, not a label to be handed out by ‘experts’ or a rarefied condition of perfect balance. That health is dynamic balance, flexibility, and most important, is measured not by your level of painlessness, but by your quality of life.
We believe that your health cannot be outsourced. You are the Chairman and CEO of your own health, the Director of your own Human Resources. That, as your own supervisor, you always have choices, and the ultimate decision about any path you take never rests with anyone but you. That you are the best judge of your own health, and what may be healthy for one person is not necessarily healthy for the next.
We believe that medical practitioners are useful and may occasionally be all that you need when things go off-track, but that if they don’t ‘fix’ you, it is your responsibility to heal yourself.
We believe that you should be prepared to ask questions of medical authorities, not because they are wrong or don’t care, but because they can never be as interested in getting you well as you are. And you should be prepared for the fact that they may indeed be wrong. After all, knowledge and wisdom are accumulated not by being correct from the outset, but by testing hypotheses, and every diagnosis you are given is simply a theory that is being tested…on you.
We believe that you are not a diagnosis, not a treatment, and that you cannot be categorized by the codes insurance companies use to name your chief complaint and decide whether or not it is worthy of being covered by your policy. That you are not a piece of meat on a table, a skin-bag full of blood to which pharmaceuticals may be added while you passively hope for the results of strange tests given by people you don’t know.
We believe that “diagnosis” is simply another word to classify your symptoms, but that word does not encapsulate the experience you are having, nor does it define your prognosis for improvement. We believe that everyone has the potential to be the exception to the rule, the aberration relative to others with the same condition, the one who bucks the trend and thrives in a way that may not have been predicted.
We believe that if you aren’t confident in what someone tells you about you, that some part of you may know better. That you may need a second opinion, or third, or fourth. And that you owe it to yourself to be sure all parts of you are in agreement about any course of action where your body is concerned.
We believe that doctors, homeopaths, nurses, chiropractors, physical therapists, acupuncturists, masseuses, shamans, pharmacists, astrologers, medicine women and men, nutritionists, naturopaths, priests, Ayurvedic practitioners, psychotherapists, yoga instructors, and tarot card readers are all fine resources, but in an age where information is both powerful and ubiquitous, you have a responsibility to become an expert on your own condition. That, when in pain (and otherwise), you should use your own power and the network of those who care about you to find out all that you can about your own situation, recommended diet, exercise, treatment options, and connect with other people all over the world who may be having the same experience.
We believe that, when you get right down to the root of it, the voice inside of you always has a positive intention, and that symptoms are not just something to be pushed aside, ignored, or “cured.” Rather, they may be seen as vital communications from your body about needed action, perhaps action in some other part of your body or your life that were not getting adequate attention. Setbacks and unintended consequences may also be lifesavers, temporarily limiting you in order to save you from a more ignominious fate that you may have otherwise suffered.
We believe that you are made up of the same stuff as the earth, the sky, the plants, the clouds, the stars…but not so much of plastics and parabens and pesticides and prescription medications. That innate health is your birthright because health is being in-sync with the world around you, the seasons, the food that grows where you do. That the universe is flowing through you, and when that flow stagnates, so does your health. That the best way to return to health is to welcome back into you what you have always been made up of. That like engenders like, good follows good, and nature knows best.
We believe that our beliefs are universal. That staying close to the rules and natural products of the earth are not the views of some ancient, alternative, or hippie lifestyle, but a sane and healthful way of living on this planet. That we all know this inside of ourselves, and that these words only seem foreign when we’ve lost touch with our health.
This article by Nancy Shaw is quite valuable and worthy of a repost…
There is something that every cancer patient should hear from their oncologist when they are first diagnosed. They should be told that by making certain dietary changes, they could increase their chances of healing from cancer dramatically, no matter what course of treatment they pursue.
Cancer patients should be informed that nutrition is their first and best defense when starting down the path of healing from cancer. Information should be provided about how to switch to an alkaline diet, composed of primarily vegetables, with a small amount of fruit, grains and protein. This diet is similar to the ketogenic[ii] diet, which is much discussed in the oncology press, but with further reduction in total protein consumption as well as grains, processed fats and sugar, to help control inflammation in the body.
Instead, the dietary information provided to cancer patients is an afterthought, and amazingly, usually includes foods and meal preparation techniques that are known promoters of cancer progression.[iii] Clearly, there is a disconnect between very well documented information on diet and cancer progression and those who communicate most often with cancer patients – the oncology teams.
The modern way of life, particularly in fast-paced Western countries, does not lend itself to an anti-cancer, alkaline diet. Convenience food products, microwave meals, packaged snacks and fast food dominate many people’s daily menu. It should come as no surprise that these foods are not optimal if you are battling cancer.
But what should a newly diagnosed cancer patient do, right away, to help themselves prepare for the treatments to come and increase their chances for healing?
Here are the six most important dietary changes every cancer patient should make. While they seem daunting at first, really what the cancer patient needs to do is to go back to eating in the way that people have done since the beginning of time: fresh food, in season, simply prepared.
- Eat an alkaline diet to reduce inflammation and improve intracellular pH
Most people in the Western world today eat a diet that promotes inflammation and increases intracellular pH, a condition called latent acidosis – understood to provide a perfect environment for cancer to proliferate. A properly constructed alkaline diet will improve your intracellular pH over time, and is the best defense against continuous inflammation in the body. It is composed primarily of organic leafy green vegetables, herbs and spices, root vegetables, onions, garlic, leek and chives, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbages, beans, lentils and peas and nuts and seeds, combined with a small amount (a cup or two per day) of non-gluten grains such as rice. A serving of between two and four ounces of clean fish, organic poultry or grass-fed meat, several times per week, can be part of a healthy, alkaline oriented diet. Two to three pieces of whole fresh fruit a day help balance your vitamin and mineral consumption. The more of your vegetables and fruits you enjoy raw, the better.[iv]
Cancer cells use more glucose (sugar) per unit of time than other cells. Sugar metabolism creates acid, which also supports cancer progression. Further, a diet high in sugars, including fruits, triggers the insulin response. If you frequently eat sugar or fruit throughout the day, you suppress your immune function while increasing the insulin levels in your body, creating insulin resistance. Insulin resistance has been directly tied to cancer proliferation. Processed sugar depletes magnesium in the body, another contributor to cancer proliferation. High fructose corn syrup, because of its processing methodology, is high in mercury, a cancer-promoting toxin in the body. The recommendation to eliminate sugar includes sugar in all its forms, even “natural” sugars like honey and agave, as well as white sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Enjoy unsweetened applesauce, two or three figs or dried apricots, or a piece of fresh pineapple if you need a sweet treat. Moderation with fruit is important, as fructose has been shown to increase the rate of cancer cell division as much as two-fold – more than other forms of sugar.[vi]
- Eliminate gluten.[vii]
Glutinous grains cause inflammation. Inflammation promotes cancer progression. This means avoiding high-gluten grains such as wheat, spelt or rye, including the whole grains. Pastas, cereals, bread, muffins, cakes, crackers, cookies and other baked goods are excluded from an alkaline, cancer-suppression diet. Cancer patients should enjoy whole, non-gluten grains such as rice, buckwheat, quinoa, millet and amaranth. However, using “gluten free” prepared products is a mistake, as most of them have added sugar or processed oils and will therefore fall outside of the alkaline diet parameters for cancer.
- Eliminate dairy products.
Cow dairy has been identified in a very large study compiled by Prof. (Emeritus) T. Colin Campbell, PhD, Cornell University as one of the most cancer promoting foods.[viii] Strangely enough, it is the protein that is the culprit – casein protein. High protein yogurts made with added powdered milk or whey are even more cancer promoting than plain milk, yogurt or cheese. However, all dairy products should be eliminated from the diet when you are fighting cancer. Dairy products create inflammation, cause bone deterioration (yes it is true, because of the high acid production during digestion of dairy) and promote cancer progression in a similar fashion to sugar.
- Use only olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil in your diet
Use only natural, cold-pressed olive oil, coconut oil or avocado oil – organic where possible. These oils are naturally anti-inflammatory, thus provide a soothing and healing benefit to inflamed and potentially cancerous cells in the body. Coconut oil in particular has also been shown to have a mild antibacterial/antifungal effect, helpful for cancer patients with a lowered immune function, as well as direct anti-cancer properties. Oils that should be eliminated from a cancer-suppression diet include corn, soy, canola, safflower or sunflower oils. Not only are the commercial versions of these oils produced from genetically modified plants – believed to increase cancer risk – most of them are highly processed. Processed oils, including hydrogenated (hard) oils and margarines, have been prepared at high heat to improve shelf life. This changes the oil molecules so that instead of acting as a natural conductor for all the electrical messaging in your body, these molecules create “dead spots” in your cells because they cannot conduct electricity. This interferes with healthy cell function and can promote cancer progression. Essentially cancer cells are cells that no longer respond to intracellular messaging and proliferate without purpose, impacting other cells.
- Change what you drink
Eliminate alcohol consumption. Eliminate the consumption of bottled, canned or frozen fruit juice as they have high concentrations of sugar and many are highly acid forming. Fresh vegetable and fruit juice that you make at home or from a juice bar is encouraged, however emphasis is on vegetable juice. Reduce coffee consumption to one cup per day or less, and increase consumption of clean water, lightly brewed green tea (not black tea), sage tea, ginger tea and peppermint tea as both hot and cold drinks. Drink the juice of a whole, organic lemon in hot or cold water several times per day. Drink fresh carrot or carrot-beet juice daily, as these are healthy, alkaline juices for a cancer diet.
While this may sound daunting if you have enjoyed the convenience of restaurant or fast food meals or purchasing a prepared meal, this switch is easier than you think. If you cook at home, it means eliminating a few foods and focusing on a few others to modify your usual recipes.
Salad is always a good choice whether at home or eating out. Whether you are making your own salad or ordering a salad in a restaurant, include grated carrots, beets, cucumbers, endives, escarole, cherry tomatoes, fennel, cabbage and spinach in any combination, in addition to or instead of romaine lettuce or mesclun greens, then dress with extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon on the side at table, rather than tossing the salad with prepared dressing. Add some garbanzo or white beans and you’ll be completely satisfied.
Japanese sushi traditionally features a large selection of fresh vegetable rolls. If you are dining out, ask for gluten-free (tamari) soy sauce, order a few rolls and some Japanese green tea, and you can enjoy a quick, satisfying lunch or dinner. A bonus comes in the seaweed wrappers – full of minerals from the sea. Just avoid standard soy sauce as it has wheat in it (gluten), the Teriyaki sauce (gluten) as well as anything that is brightly colored or contains mayonnaise, as these are not on the list of healthy options. For immune deficient cancer patients, best to stay away from raw fish sushi.
Indian food features many vegetarian choices, with plenty of spice and vegetables. Unfortunately many Indian restaurants use a lot of rape-seed/canola oil in cooking, which is not recommended. Enquire about how the food is prepared and if there are some ingredients that are not optimal, just eat carefully. A good choice is channa masala (chickpea curry) with poppadum (lentil cracker-bread) and vegetable biryani rice. Nann, chapatti, paratha, puri and roti breads are typically made from wheat flour and should be avoided.
Italian cuisine is a bit more difficult since the basis of Italian cuisine is pasta made from wheat with added cheese. However, cooking at home you have endless options, and more Italian restaurants are offering a gluten free pasta choice. Many Italian menus feature dishes based on marinara (vegetarian) tomato sauce. Select preparations with no cheese and only eat a small appetizer portion of fish or meat, if any at all. Steamed or lightly sautéed vegetable dishes such as broccoli rabe or spinach with garlic are superior alkaline choices, as are salads made with chopped and grated raw vegetables. Since olive oil, garlic, tomato, vegetables, herbs and lemon are critical to Italian cooking, it is quite possible make excellent alkaline selections if you order thoughtfully or cook Italian food at home.
And of course, you have to just let the breadbasket and the desert list pass you by.
Additional cancer nutrition research can be found in GreenMedInfo.com founder’s book: Cancer Killers: The Cause Is The Cure
- J Environ Public Health. 2012; 2012: 727630.
- [ii] Implementing A Ketogenic Diet Based on Medium-chain Triglyceride Oil in Pediatric Patients with Cancer LINDA C NEBELING, PhD, MPH, RD, EDITH LERNER, PhD; J Am Diet Assoc. 1995; 95:693-697; Targeting energy metabolism in brain cancer through calorie restriction and the ketogenic diet B Thomas N Seyfried, Michael Kiebish, Jeremy Marsh, Purna Mukherjee Department of Biology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, USA; Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics, 2009/5/9/pp 7-15.
- [iii] National Cancer Institute, “Eating Hints Before, During and After Cancer Treatment,” NIH Publication No. 09-2079, 9-09
- [iv] Antitumor effect of medium-chain triglyceride and its influence on the self-defense system of the body. Cancer Detect Prev. 1998;22(3):219-24.
- [v] Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2011 Sep;15(9):1049-59. doi: 10.1517/14728222.2011.588208. Epub 2011 May 31; Klement and Kämmerer Nutrition & Metabolism 2011, 8:75 http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/8/1/75
- [vi] Fructose Induces Transketolase Flux to Promote Pancreatic Cancer Growth; Haibo Liu, Danshan Huang, David L. McArthur, et al.; Cancer Res; 70(15) August 1, 2010
- [vii] The Dark Side of Wheat, Sayer Ji, GreenMed Info, 20143
- [viii] The China Study, T. Colin Campbell, PhD et al; BenBella Books, Dallas, TX, 2006
There are many reasons a mesothelioma patient may decide to pursue alternative treatment. Some patients wish to avoid traditional treatment and use alternative therapies as their sole form of symptom management; while other patients may use them as a supplement to a traditional treatment regimen. Regardless of their motivation, patients have a number of alternative medicine options. These can range from complete medical systems, such as Ayurvedic medicine, to stand-alone treatments such as therapeutic massage. Many patients pursue multiple methods throughout the course of treatment.
Patients should work with a holistic medicine practitioner to choose the alternative therapies that most closely align with their health goals. Many hospitals actually offer a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) department. Mesothelioma patients can take advantage of this option and add a CAM practitioner to their treatment team.
Most forms of alternative mesothelioma therapy are performed or guided by a trained health professional. These include:
- Ayurveda (a system of Hindu medicine)
- Homeopathy (plant and mineral-based solutions)
- Naturopathy (a combination of natural and traditional medications with an emphasis on holistic treatments)
- Therapeutic massage
Patients who explore these options should make sure their practitioner holds an up-to-date license with the accreditation boards associated with their field. Patients can also become involved in their treatment by exploring options with the guidance of a holistic professional. These include:
- Nutritional therapy
- Supplementation (vitamins, minerals or natural cancer-fighting herbs)
- Visualization and imagery techniques
- Gentle yoga
While patients can engage in these therapies on their own schedule and from the comfort of their own home, it’s always a good idea to learn the basics from a professional before adding them to a treatment plan.
What Alternative Medicine Can Offer Mesothelioma Patients
Alternative therapies are gentle on the body and pose a very low risk of side effects. This makes them extremely appealing to patients who are already dealing with debilitating mesothelioma symptoms. Without putting the patient at risk for further complications, these therapies can help bring the patient’s symptoms down to a manageable level. Mesothelioma patients can use alternative medicine to address a number of different conditions, but alternative therapies are especially effective at reducing pain and anxiety.
Therapeutic massage is one of the most effective alternative pain-relief techniques. Patients should ideally find a massage therapist who is specially trained in working with cancer patients. Done correctly, therapeutic massage can reduce the chest and abdominal pain felt by mesothelioma patients. One cancer study found that nearly 60 percent of subjects experienced a reduced level of pain perception after massage therapy.
Acupuncture is also effective at relieving cancer-related pain. Patients can explain which areas are producing the most discomfort – as well as which other symptoms they are experiencing – and the acupuncturists can choose the most appropriate pressure points to stimulate.
Mind-based therapies are also exceptionally helpful in mesothelioma treatment. These therapies allow patients to work through stressors such as anxiety about their future or concerns about their financial arrangements. Yoga, meditation, hypnosis and relaxation therapy are all effective methods of calming the mind without pills.
Despite these benefits, alternative therapies are not considered a cure for cancer. Instead, these therapies are considered palliative – the primary goal is symptom relief. Some patients feel as though their alternative medicine regimen has helped slow the growth of their tumors, but patients should avoid any alternative therapy that claims to be a mesothelioma cure.
Author bio: Faith Franz researches and writes about health-related issues for The Mesothelioma Center. One of her focuses is living with cancer.
Ferrell-Torry, A. T., & Glick, O. J. (1993). The use of therapeutic massage as a nursing intervention to modify anxiety and the perception of cancer pain. Cancer Nursing, 16 (2). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8477405