Can we, as adults, grow new neurons? Neuroscientist Sandrine Thuret says that we can, and she offers research and practical advice on how we can help our brains better perform neurogenesis—improving mood, increasing memory formation and preventing the decline associated with aging along the way. Want to cut to the chase? In her TED talk (which you can access here), she suggests that learning, sex, getting good sleep, calorie restriction and intermittent fasting, as well as eating more food with Omega 3s, and cardiovascular exercise such as running, all increase neurogenesis. What are some things that decrease your ability to create new neurons? Stress, lack of good sleep, alcohol, saturated fats, as well as diets high in fats. Rather than bore you with my own excitement about her findings, I suggest that you watch her video, which is only about 12 minutes long.
Many of 0ur patients, especially those who have never experienced acupuncture, have questions about the efficacy of our methods. As it turns 0ut, many western MDs are now practicing Chinese medicine, and now a group of them have put together a website where they will be aggregating studies that prove acupuncture’s effectiveness for many different disorders. The site is http://www.evidencebasedacupuncture.org/, and we intend to be checking it regularly!
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).
Researchers conclude that ear acupuncture effectively reduces anxiety. The research team initiated the new investigation based on prior studies demonstrating that ear acupuncture reduces anxiety prior to dental treatments, surgery and during ambulance transport. The research team discovered that ear acupuncture exerts “a specific and measurable effect” on anxiety levels.
Ear acupuncture, formally referred to as auricular acupuncture by licensed acupuncturists, involves using either standard filiform acupuncture needles or special auricular acupuncture needles. In this sham controlled trial, auricular acupuncture needles of 1.5mm length were inserted and retained for a total of 20 minutes and then removed. Sham needles were applied to patients in the control group. Looking at the photos below, one can see that the sham auricular needle does not have a penetrating tip. The needles are so tiny that they are affixed to the outer ear with an adhesive backing attached to each needle. In this study, Dongbang Acuprime brand auricular needles of a 0.22 diameter and 1.5mm length were used. Electroencephalography, a recording of brain electrical activity, was used to measure the depth of sedation.
The researchers documented both anti-anxiety and sedative effects of true ear acupuncture. Sham ear acupuncture did not produce a significant reduction in anxiety levels or induce a sedative effect. Electroencephalograph (EEG) measurements taken using the Bispectral Index System (BIS) confirmed the results. The sham versus true acupuncture results confirm that the placebo effect was not responsible for the therapeutic anti-anxiety effects of the auricular acupuncture. The researchers note, “When comparing the effects of real and sham needles, it was noted that there was a significantly higher reduction of
anxiety in the real-needles group” for both the NRS (Numeric Rating Scale) anxiety score and the STAI-Y (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory) score. BIS values “were significantly reduced during the real-needles application” at the10, 15 and 20 minute measuring points. The BIS (Bispectral Index System) encephalography device used in the study is depicted below.
In related acupuncture continuing education research, investigators concluded that acupuncture relieves generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), a condition characterized by excessively intense and debilitating chronic anxiety. The researchers note that acupuncture has a fast effective action and high compliance. In addition, acupuncture has a relatively minimal risk of side effects compared with drug therapy. The acupuncture points in this study were located on the ankle and forearm at acupoints KI6 and LU7.
Many studies focus on the ability of acupuncture to reduce anxiety for specific conditions or situations. One recent study concludes that acupuncture reduces anxiety in women undergoing IVF (in vitro fertilization). A randomized-controlled study of 43 women undergoing IVF measured changes in anxiety levels. A total of four acupuncture treatments over a period of four weeks at a rate of once per week were administered. The acupuncture group received acupuncture at acupoints Yintang, HT7 (Shenmen), PC6 (Neiguan), CV17 (Shanzhong) and DU20 (Baihui). The control group received needle stimulation at non-acupuncture points near the areas of the true acupuncture points (sham acupuncture). The true acupuncture group showed a significant reduction in anxiety while the sham acupuncture group did not. The researchers concluded that acupuncture reduces anxiety and psychological strain for women undergoing IVF.
Another recent study receiving a great deal of attention is one that demonstrates that acupuncture reduces anxiety over dental procedures. In a patient-blinded randomized controlled investigation, researchers compared 182 patients. One group received true acupuncture at auricular points. The second group received sham acupuncture and a third group did not receive acupuncture or any medical procedures for the treatment of anxiety. The researchers measured anxiety levels prior to getting acupuncture and 20 minutes after receiving acupuncture, which was immediately prior to the administration of dental work. Anxiety levels in the true acupuncture group reduced significantly and but only very slightly in the sham acupuncture group. In the non-intervention group, anxiety increased. The researchers concluded that auricular acupuncture is both minimally invasive and “effectively reduces state anxiety before dental treatment.”
Researchers conducted another double-blinded study and concluded that both auricular acupuncture and body acupuncture are effective in reducing pre and post-operative anxiety. Pre and post-perative anxiety has been identified in approximately 80 percent of patients, which prompted this investigation. The ear acupuncture group received needle stimulation at point ear Shenmen. The body acupuncture group received acupuncture needle stimulation at Du20, Si Shen Cong, Yin Tang, LV3 and ST36. The needles were 0.25-.30mm in diameter and ranged between 25-40mm in length. Needle depth ranged from 0.2cm to 0.5cm. Acupuncture therapy was administered for a period of four weeks at two sessions per week for a total of eight acupuncture treatments. The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment principles were to increase lucidity, tranquilize by nourishing the Heart, calm the nerves and regulate the Qi. Both ear and body style acupuncture were effective in significantly reducing anxiety.
Gagliardi, Giuseppe, Mariarosa Meneghetti, Francesco Ceccherelli, Andrea Giommi, and Marco Romoli. “Auricular Acupuncture for Anxiety in Health Care Volunteers: Randomized Crossover Study Comparing Real and Sham Needles.” Medical Acupuncture (2014).
Observation on the mechanism of acupuncture treatment for generalized anxiety disorder using Lieque (LU7), Zhaohai (KI6) as the main acupoints. Lin, Chuhua; Zhao, Xiaoyan; Liu, Xing; Fu, Wenbin. Bioinformatics and Biomedicine (BIBM), 2013 IEEE International Conference on. 18-21, 12-2-13
Effect of acupuncture on symptoms of anxiety in women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: a prospective randomised controlled study. Daniela Isoyama, Emerson Barchi Cordts, Angela Mara Bentes de Souza van Niewegen, Waldemar de Almeida Pereira de Carvalho, Simone Tiemi Matsumura, Caio Parente Barbosa. Acupunct Med acupmed-2011-010064Published Online First: 12 April 2012 doi:10.1136/acupmed-2011-01006.
Michalek-Sauberer, Andrea, Gusenleitner, Erich Gleiss, Andreas, Tepper, Gabor, Deusch, Engelbert. Auricular acupuncture effectively reduces state anxiety before dental treatment—a randomised controlled trial. Clinical Oral Investigations. Springer Berlin / Heidelberg; Issn: 1432-6981, 1-6.
Shengjun Wu, Jie Liang, Xia Zhu, Xufeng Liu, Danmin Miao. “Comparing the treatment effectiveness of body acupuncture and auricular acupuncture in preoperative anxiety treatment.” JRMS 2010; 16(1): 39-42.
Why would we put “relationship secrets” on our health-related website’s blog when it seems to be more a pr0pos to a Cosmo magazine placement? Because so many of our patients place their primary relationship at the center of their lives, and the way they relate to their partner, the quality of that relationship, has so much to do with the quality of their health and their lives in general. So here you go, Lamorinda Healing Arts’ foray into gooshy blog posts: The Five Secrets to a Great Relationship (from Eric Barker’s Blog, “Barking Up the Wrong Tree.”
Just keep the 5 R’s in mind:
Let’s break them down.
1. Fight right
You might think it would be great if you could have a relationship with zero arguing. But marriages with no arguments are 35 percent more likely to divorce.
Married couples who report they never argue with each other are 35 percent more likely to divorce within four years than are couples who report regularly disagreeing. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
Things need to be worked out and you may need to compromise. Being rigid and resistant to new ideas increases conflict by 38 percent.
When asked to describe the state of their relationship, those with a high level of rigidity in habits and thinking — that is, a resistance to new things, new ideas, and changes of any sort — named 38 percent more problems in their relationship than those who were more flexible in their thinking. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
Relationships with major disappointments followed by forgiveness are just as stable as ones without major disappointments.
Studies find that those who have experienced a significant disappointment from their partner and have successfully granted their forgiveness to their partner are as likely to maintain a satisfying relationship as are those who had never experienced a similar disappointment in their relationship. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
You can’t not argue and you can’t fight to the death. You need to fight right.
If you stay compassionate and show you care — even in the midst of a screaming match — you have a better shot at happiness.
People who maintain a compassionate spirit during disagreements with their partner, considering not just the virtue of their position but the virtue of their partner, have 34 percent fewer disagreements, and the disagreements last 59 percent less time…
When couples experience conflict, they are 45 percent less likely to feel pessimistic about their relationship if they can recognize feelings of caring from their partner during the disagreement. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
2. Keep it real
Do you expect a fairy tale relationship? That’s a prescription for disappointment.
Elements of fairy tales such as Cinderella were present in 78 percent of people’s beliefs about romantic love. Those people were more likely to have experienced disillusionment, devastation, and angst in their relationships than were those who gave less credence to fairy tales. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
The modern day equivalent of fairy tales is TV. And as you might expect, watching too much TV is correlated with unsatisfying relationships.
People who watched an above average amount of television per day were 26 percent less likely to be satisfied with their relationship status than were people who watched a below average amount of television per day. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
It’s all about the bar that’s set for you or the bar you set for yourself. So, as you might imagine, perfectionism does not make for a happy love life either.
People high in perfectionism, a hyperbelief in their own correctness and a desire to find a partner with similar traits, are 33 percent less likely to describe their relationship status as satisfying. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
Be realistic about what you can and should expect from a relationship. And realize that things change. A third of the time what attracts you to someone isn’t important to you six months later.
Researchers found that the traits that first attracted people to their partner were no longer relevant to 34 percent of them when asked six months or more after they began dating. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
3. Have rapport
Talking, sharing, being open — these are all highly praised, and for good reason. Couples who communicate are 62 percent more likely to describe their relationship as happy.
In studies of marriages of various lengths, couples with a high degree of intimacy between the husband and wife—that is, couples who shared their innermost thoughts—were 62 percent more likely to describe their marriage as happy. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
Expecting your partner to be a mind reader will just make you miserable. Want something? Ask for it.
Researchers found that those who are more direct in seeking support from their partner are 61 percent more likely to feel they received the support they wanted than are those who avoid explaining their needs. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
If you’re still shopping for a partner, look for someone with good social skills who has maintained friendships for a long time.
People with strong social skills, including an ability to maintain long-term friendships, were 32 percent more likely to be satisfied with their relationship. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
More laughing means less fighting.
When both partners in a relationship thought the other had a good sense of humor, 67 percent less conflict was reported than in couples where neither thought the other had a good sense of humor. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
Want your marriage to last more than 30 years? Just “being married” isn’t enough: You also need to be good friends.
In studies of people happily married more than three decades, the quality of friendship between the partners was the single most frequently cited factor in the relationships’ success. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
In comparing couples who remained together more than five years with couples who split up, researchers found that the couples who stayed together were 64 percent more likely to be able to identify multiple shared interests. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
Having similar values offers a huge boost in the ability to communicate.
The degree to which couples have similar values does not change over the course of their relationship. Those with similar values, however, are 22 percent more likely to rate their communication habits positively. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
Believe it or not, even having similar fighting styles was a good thing. It was related to double digit drops in conflict and a double digit increase in satisfaction.
While people may employ many different conflict resolution strategies in a relationship, when both partners use the same strategy they experience 12 percent less conflict and are 31 percent more likely to report their relationship is satisfying. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
Many people are probably reading this, identifying the good things they already do and feeling smug. Sorry, you can’t stop there. Relationships are not a “check the box and you’re done” kind of thing. You need to keep at it, monitoring and improving.
Which feelings and improvements matter most? Recent ones.
Satisfaction in a relationship is eight times more reliant on recent feelings and the ability to perceive improvements than it is based on the history of the relationship. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
Plenty of research shows that conscientiousness is a great quality to have in a spouse or partner. Having a partner who is consistently reliable often means a healthy relationship with less conflict.
People who consider their partner conscientious, a person who consistently does what they say they are going to do, were 26 percent more likely to rate their relationship healthy and reported 41 percent less conflict in their relationship. Dependability was rated among the most desired qualities in a partner. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
One more thing
Never forget that, in the end, all relationships are about feelings. Especially when fighting, we get caught up in the facts, the details, the words… And what’s funny is little of that ends up mattering. When surveyed about their arguments, people mentioned feelings and tone 10 times as much as the topic of debate. Twenty-five percent of people couldn’t even remember what the argument was about — but they all remembered how it made them feel.
Asked to describe three recent disagreements with their partner, people had 10 times as much to say about their feelings and the tone of the disagreement as about the topic of the disagreement. Twenty-five percent of people forgot the topic of a disagreement but could describe their feelings on the situation. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
As Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
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.
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
A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine out April 17 provides evidence steroid injections for back pain are no more effective than a placebo. Because the long-term benefits of surgery remain unproven and pain medicines often have serious side effects, doctors have increasingly turned to steroid injections to treat lumbosacral radiculopathy, a common cause of back pain. The researchers conclude that steroids may provide some short-term analgesic effect, but that the improvement in all of the patients was mainly due to normal healing. The best thing for back pain, according to the study’s author? Exercise. See a quick summary of this research from the New York Times’ website.
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