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Conditioning Facts & References

There are pressures today in the insurance industry, particularly in workers’ compensation, to include a system of accountability for the results of the rehabilitation/conditioning program. Peer review is being instituted to evaluate the appropriateness of the use of different methods of rehabilitation ranging from specific modalities to rest and exercise. Demand is high for a series of specific protocols that will define the most effective pathway for the rehabilitation of specific injuries. (Reference: Kibler, Ben, MD Functional Rehabilitation of Sports & Musculoskeletal Injuries 1998)

A large body of literature exists that shows the advantage of aggressive rehabilitation of injuries around the knee, the ankle, the elbow, the shoulder, and the back. In fact, the earlier the rehab, the better the outcome. (Reference: Zarins, B. Soft Tissue Injury & Repair – Biomechanical Aspects Int’l Sports Medicine, 1998)

The benefits of early rehab include:
• earlier restoration of range of motion
• decreased pain
• decreased neural inhibition
• quicker return of muscle function
• more appropriate return of muscle function
• earlier return to performance with decreased injury risk

An injury is viewed as a disability. The injury, whether traumatic (macro-trauma) or chronic and repetitive in nature (micro-trauma), will have the same outcome: strength imbalance and biomechanical changes. (Reference: Trial Magazine, 2000 National Inst. of Occupational Safety & World Health Organization Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Rehabilitation always begins with resolving the clinical symptoms. The absence of symptoms does NOT mean the person has normal function. An injury demands more than relief of symptoms. For proper rehabilitation it is the necessity to restore function. In order to do this the clinician must understand proper rehabilitation:
Muscle can diminish or decrease by 17% within the first 72 hours post-injury
• Losses of muscle strength can be as much as 40% in the 6 weeks
following the injury depending on the amount of immobilization of the injured joint.
• Immobilization or lack of use of an injured joint can cause significant biomechanical alterations and the joint capsule, subchondral bone, bone-ligament complex, and cartilage are markedly affected within 6 to 8 weeks post-injury
In addition to the local effects of the injury, general fitness can be affected as well. Cardiovascular fitness can be decreased very rapidly with inactivity due to injury. Maximum volume decreases by up to 25% after 3 weeks of inactivity due to injury.

A proper rehab and work conditioning program should specifically address restoration of strength, power, flexibility, balance, and proprioception for both local and general deficits that will assure optimal treatment and restoration. The earlier the rehabilitation program begins the better the results.

The principles of early motion following an injury are as follows:
(Reference: Frank et al Am J Sports Medicine 11:379-389, 1983)
Muscle atrophy begins within 6 hours post-injury
• Soft tissue such a muscle if injured will atrophy by about 1.5% each day

• The healing process of ligament and soft tissue such as muscle in general has show that a fibrous (scar tissue) repair occurs first, NOT the regeneration of the damaged tissue
• This fibrous repair process begins between the 5th and 21st day after the injury and during the next 3 weeks thereafter
• Adhesions then form a “contracted” collagen tissue that develops over a 3- to 14-week period
• There are changes in nerve impulses and an alteration of normal motor patterns within the injured joint, as well as the entire kinetic chain
• Muscle imbalance then begins

The cornerstone of therapeutic rehabilitation is Davis’ Law, which states the following concept: “Soft tissue will model according to imposed demand. Collagen fibers in muscle and ligaments will adapt to mechanical demands of exercise and movement. Movement in the form of rehabilitative exercise is responsible for the orderly arrangement of muscle fibers. This results in a small, flexible scar at the injury site to facilitate recovery.”

In each phase of rehabilitation of a musculoskeletal injury are introduced forms of exercise therapy appropriate for the phase of care. Each phase of care, (acute, sub-acute and chronic), demand this type of rehabilitation process. Work conditioning in each phase of care is essential for the work related injury. Work Conditioning is defined as a “work-related intensive, goal oriented treatment program specifically designed to restore the individual’s systemic, neuromusculoskeletal, (i.e., strength, endurance, movement, flexibility, and motor control), and cardio-pulmonary functions.” The clinician must offer work conditioning protocols specific to the injury and appropriate to the stage of healing.

This information represents a model of explanation and justification precisely appropriate to the type of evidence-based treatment planning and protocols advocated by the ACOEM Guidelines. Furthermore, it provides a model for the overriding emphasis placed on the provider by the Guidelines: To restore function, prevent or reduce the chances of further injury or re-injury, and to return the injured worker back to work. Also, do not forget that one of the overriding principles and goals of the AMA Guide to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (5th Ed.) is functional restoration of the injured worker. In the majority of cases, whether the insurance carrier agrees or not, that means conditioning.

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2012 Weight Loss Program

After years of assisting patients in achieving optimal health, I have finally decided to incorporate a program focused on achieving weight loss first (and, of course, all the health benefits that come with a healthy weight second). Some of you are probably thinking, “wait a minute, you’ve been helping people with weight loss for years!” That is true. My philosophy has always been to focus on the principles of achieving optimal health and you will enjoy the fruits of weight loss, increased energy, reduction of medication, improved vitality, etc. This is and will always be my core philosophy. However, I see a need for a shift based on what is happening in society. There’s an urgent need to get people out of the crisis lifestyle.

For some people, the momentum of high-demand lifestyles can be nearly impossible to combat over the long term. Managing a family and work and yourself leaves little room for the kind of change required to reach and maintain and healthy weight. Short term almost everything may work. If you stop eating you will surely lose weight, SHORT TERM. The moment you start eating again, your body will want to hold onto to every little nook and cranny of energy. It does this by storing calories in the form of fat cells. Dieting in this way can have severe negative effects on your health and your body.

Some of my patients have a crystal clear outcome, a burning desire to achieve that outcome, a compelling reason to keep moving forward and enough pain never to go back. These people not only lose weight but more importantly experience an explosion of energy and vitality. I know that the principles I have taught for so many years work best for these types of people. I can coach them on optimal health and I know that they will absorb what I teach, change, take the info and run, never look back and practice the principles successfully for the rest of their lives. Not everyone can keep up with the speed of life and still maintain all these qualities. That is why I’ve decided to add this program. Remember, the end result of all that I teach, no matter what plan I’m taking you through, will always be the same. Life-long HABITS of optimal health is the ultimate goal but now I can help different types of people down different paths to this goal.

For people who are so stressed and so busy, I realized that if I don’t get them to see success early, motivation goes down quickly. With this new plan, individuals will lose on an average of 2-5 pounds per week. Losing that type of weight weekly, will not only raise the hope of that individual, but more importantly will make him or her much more teachable in learning the habits of optimal health. For years I have been looking for a program of this caliber that was not only developed by physicians, but has been successful in the medical arena for close to 3o years.

Another great thing about this plan is that I can work with people who are not even in San Diego. As my purpose has always been to help as many people as possible, this is an exciting opportunity for me to be able to help your friends and family even if they do not live locally. The way the program works is that I will assign you a health coach who I oversee to offer you unlimited access and support.

Another positive I found with this program had to do with two elements – time and money. These are two of the biggest issues for most people these days. The program begins with nutrient-dense meal replacements that are easy to take with you on the run where ever you go – perfect for the fast-paced lifestyle. The meal replacements in this program end up being less than $12 a day – cheaper than what most people pay for food a day. The key is to make it easy for people in their current lifestyle without trying to turn years of habits upside down over night.

For years I was resistant to any approach to weight loss that was not based in whole foods and some of you may be feeling the same. This program is not for everyone. Ask yourself “how is it working?” If the answer is you’re at your ideal weight and in a state of optimal health, this program is not for you right now. On the other hand, if you continue to have challenges in breaking through weight barriers and into a higher level of health, this is a program that will help. This program is not an end all. It is a bridge for people to easily cross to lose weight while they are learning and implementing the habits of optimal health that I have always taught.

READ MORE ABOUT THIS PROGRAM

5 Quick Ways to Stomp Out Holiday Stress

Don’t wait for the holidays to take you – take control and stomp out stress early and often.

LAUGH

Take a joke. Leave a joke. Use our laugh log in the lobby, e-mail us a laugh or post one on our facebook page. Merely anticipating a funny joke reduces levels of stress hormones in the body by up to 70%.

EAT

Look for our lists of stress-busting foods and healthy versions of holiday recipes. Read Dr. Mancini’s article on Holiday Eating & Mindfulness. Check out Health Home Cooking recipes from our monthly newsletters.

MOVE

Get matched up with experts to help you create more movement in your day. Ask us who we recommend from yoga to weight training to swimming to chi kung to walking groups.

SLEEP

Schedule your rest. Don’t miss your acupuncture appointments. Acupuncture has the restorative affect equivalent to 6 hours of sleep.

RAISE YOUR STANDARDS

“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it you will be lonely often and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” In other words… love your family but pick your peers. Be around those people who will demand more from you than anyone would ever expect.

2012 Resolution: Activate Your Fountain of Youth

Of the many biomarkers of aging, the three of most obvious are loss of strength, flexibility and balance. Strength, flexibility and balance are not only components of a youthful body but are important for maintaining a young mind. Strength of the mind is perseverance, willpower and focus. A balanced mind knows when and how to increase emotional recovery from demands of life. Mental flexibility is how well you can respond to life’s high and lows. A flexible mind does not simply react out of old habits or conditioned patterns. At this time of year many people put a focus on making physical changes – losing weight, exercising more, cutting calories. I encourage you to focus on mind/body strength, flexibility and balance. These are the main attributes of individuals who succeed in long-term resolutions.

As most of you know I’ve been an avid practitioner of the martial arts for more than 30 year, which provides me with enhanced physical and psychological strength, flexibility and balance. At one point, when I felt like I was getting old from all my years of fighting in the ring, I observed an 80-year-old man from China perform a martial arts routine. He moved with the grace and agility of a 20-year-old. At that point I realized how much more the martial arts provided beyond fighting – the youthful qualities of strength, flexibility and balance. Over the past year I’ve observed people close to me, including my wife, make significant changes by practicing yoga. I was so inspired by the changes I observed that I began to implement several postures into my daily martial arts practice. I found that these yoga postures were the missing piece of my daily regimen of mind/body training. With the addition of yoga I experienced even more strength, balance and flexibility.

I have found the combination of martial arts and yoga to be invaluable in my life so I’ve decided to share it with my patients. As part of my commitment to support each of you, I have brought a yoga instructor and tai chi/chi kung teacher into the center to provide free weekly classes. These classes are meant as templates for you to start creating daily life-long routines for optimal health.

For those not familiar with tai chi and chi kung, let me provide you some insight. Tai chi /chi kung is martial arts movements performed slowly to provide people of all levels a chance to improve their levels of wellness and fitness, Tai chi/chi kung combines the best of meditation, self-control, balance training and diaphragmatic breathing with modern physical therapy, strength and conditioning methods to create a unique exercise program.

I promise you that if you practice a combination of these two arts regularly you will enjoy the health and vitality you deserve. If you’re interested in these free weekly classes, call my office to find out how I can help you incorporate these valuable disciplines into your prescription for health.

A

A Healthy Back

A healthy back is literally the ‘back bone’ of a healthy body. It is the central axis point from which all movement derives. When the back is strong and flexible, all smaller joint components – the muscle tendons, ligaments of the upper and lower extremities – are stronger and move with more ease. To emphasize the importance of the back, a recent statistic showed that there are three times more workdays lost due to low back pain than any other type of persistent pain in the body. This tells us that providing extra focus on a stronger and healthier back is worth the time and energy.

The human body, as a biological system, is organized to respond both psychologically and physiologically to constantly changing external conditions. The body can tolerate only a narrow range of environmental conditions. Within the limits of its physiology, it activates self regulation mechanisms to maintain balance or what is called homeostasis, including self repair mechanisms when damage occurs and compensatory mechanisms when self repair cannot be achieved. Sports medicine research has demonstrated that the compensatory mechanisms of chronic lower back pain can lead to weakness of the core muscles, which results in slower movement of the hips and lower limbs. Athletes with lower back pain run more slowly and consume more energy with every motion. When the musculoskeletal system is functioning with this type of reduced efficiency, you will have reduced reaction time, fatigue easily and be more vulnerable to injury These factors increased probability of depression and anxiety leading to even slower recovery.

Over the years I have seen strong correlations between the competitive athlete and the back pain patient. Each has reduced performance due to the injury. Each has had a cumulative build up or excessive demands that lead to a ‘breaking point’ and injury. Each has a strong desire to get back into the game, job or life activities. The strongest correlation I see is that the longer an individual is injured, the weaker the body becomes. A weaker body creates a higher probability of further injury. On top of that, the mind also loses its edge making it more difficult to get back into the same intensity of demands.

When the body can no longer tolerate additional cumulative demands, it will activate self protective mechanisms to produce a condition that sport physiologists refer to as overtraining syndrome. What follows are feelings of fatigue loss of muscular strength, coordination and working capacity. Athletes with previous injuries are more vulnerable to recurring symptoms because their injuries or surgical procedures may have changed their anatomic structure to some degree, which can create an imbalance in their natural musculoskeletal biomechanics. Acupuncture can reduce this acute and chronic stress by improving and restoring mechanical function of the musculoskeletal system. It can help athletes break through their current physical barriers to achieve better results, while prolonging their athletic careers for many years.

Don’t wait for an injury. A focus on optimal back function will not only minimize injuries but it will provide you with a greater capacity to enjoy life. Paying attention to key functional markers will put you in a powerful position when it comes to assuring back health. Some markers that are used in medicine to assess functional back health are: ability to perform job-related duties, range of motion and flexibility, strength, endurance, sensory and vascular function, muscle bulk and tone, posture and symmetry, gait, mood and sleep, and impact on your activities of daily living. It is important to be your own health advocate and consider these markers.

If you already have back pain due to an injury or cumulative stress, use the following steps to bring your back to the most optimal level of strength and integrity. Step one is to focus on the repair process. Acupuncture has been found to be one of the most direct medical modalities to rapidly take your body out of pain naturally and activate the built-in healing process. The next step is to begin to improve the function of your back. The first part of that is to implement range of motion exercises. As range of motion is improved then strengthening should be incorporated to support the integrity of the spine muscles. Throughout all this process acupuncture should be used to minimize any protective inflammatory patterns that may occur. Acupuncture will continue to stimulate nerves and blood flow to the injured area, which speeds recovery. If you are having back problems, or know someone suffering with back pain, please ask me how we can help. If you have questions about how to create habits to protect your back, ask me for advice. I am happy to help as many people as possible to achieve and maintain optimal health, starting with a healthy back.

Acupuncture Helps That!

Have you ever been chatting with friends, neighbors or co-workers about life and found that one of them has a health problem? Have you found yourself wondering if acupuncture and Chinese medicine might be able to help them? Ask us.

Research from all around the globe continues to confirm what the Chinese have known for more than three thousand years – acupuncture helps the body heal and improve function. So, the next time you are discussing health, don’t be afraid to say “acupuncture helps that” because it is more than likely true.

What about extreme life-threatening diseases like cancer? Clearly acupuncture is not a treatment for cancer but it can be a powerful compliment to treatment. Acupuncture helps to regulate digestion and absorption, improve sleep and stress management and support the immune system, as well as help reduce pain and suffering.

What about health problems that manifest as skin rashes? Yes. Acupuncture points affect the body by way of the nervous system and blood vessels, so it is not required that treatment points be at the area of your symptoms. Always call us first as skin rashes can be highly contagious at certain times. Dr. Mancini can assess your risk and let you know when it is appropriate to come in for treatment.

What about degenerative / bulging discs or spine injuries?
Dr. Mancini works closely with spine experts, orthopedists and primary physicians to ensure that you get the best of all medicines. Just because your problem is structural does not mean that acupuncture can’t help. Acupuncture helps reduce scar tissue, improve circulation, reduce inflammation and strengthen muscles and ligaments around the spine. Plus, acupuncture calms overactive nerves associated with disc injuries, dramatically reducing pain and increasing range of motion.

What about degenerative conditions like MS or autoimmune diseases?
Acupuncture profoundly affects function and can actually help to slow the progression of degenerative conditions. In addition, Chinese medicine can provide management tools you can use on your own to manage your condition long-term. Acupuncture influences your body to reach its full capacity. Regular therapy can help you to maintain the highest level of function possible for your body – as close to 100 percent as possible is the goal for every patient.

What about people who have already tried acupuncture?
Even if someone has tried acupuncture before, Dr. Mancini may still be able to help. Why? Dr. Mancini is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine as well as a Licensed Acupuncturist. This means that he has studied beyond what is required by the State of California to practice acupuncture. His training is equivalent to a medical doctor but he is trained in Chinese Medicine instead of Western Medicine. He is also a Board Certified Nutrition Specialist, which means he has post-graduate training and years of experience dealing with drug-herb and drug-food interactions. He is also a Qualified Medical Evaluator. This means that he is certified by the State to determine the need for acupuncture in injury cases. Dr. Mancini has been practicing acupuncture and Chinese medicine for more than 15 years during which time he has helped thousands of people improve their health.

If you still have a question or can think of scenario that is not covered here, please ask. Our purpose is to help as many people as possible. Share your interest with your friends. It could make all the difference for someone you care about. Review research on our website and share our links on Facebook.

Acupuncture for Accidents

I often use the analogy of a car to educate people about proper maintenance of their bodies. Sadly, many people take better care of their car than they do of their body. Is your body more important than your car?

Chances are most of us have been or know someone who has been in some kind of accident. We report the accident to insurance, get the other person’s information so that we can arrange for repairs and sometimes even file a police report to document the physical damages. Most people neglect to get their own body examined only to find out later that they have a severe injury caused by the trauma of the accident. It is important to remember that after an auto accident, your body produces a rush of adrenaline as part of the fight or flight response. Adrenaline is useful in an emergency because it delays the pain response so the pain from injury may be dulled and sometimes you may not feel any pain – until later. It is better to error on the side of caution than to find out later that you are seriously injured. Always get in for a thorough examination from a qualified medical professional within 48 hours of your accident. To ensure that you have access to an expert, make sure you pre-designate me as your acupuncturist. Ask my staff for a form you sign to authorize me to treat you immediately without waiting for a referral or authorization in the case of a work injury or auto accident.

Whether it is a “fender bender” or a major collision, your body interprets it the same – a threat to survival. Any kind of trauma triggers the nervous system to protect and prepare for flight or fight. It is our body’s natural alarm system and it goes off automatically in an emergency. Once this mechanism kicks in it remains activated indefinitely even if the danger is long past because the body doesn’t know when the threat might return. The result for many people is chronic pain and inflammation. Studies show that acupuncture is very effective at solving this problem because it breaks the body’s protective pattern and speeds up healing. The outcomes of acupuncture after an accident include reduced pain, decreased inflammation, decreased anxiety, reduced swelling, reduced nausea, regulated digestion, reduced need for medications, reduced scar tissue, decreased healing time and increased rate of full recovery. Acupuncture can help with chronic conditions but it can also help be proactive to prevent the onset of a chronic condition by breaking the body’s protective pattern and speeding up healing right away. This is why WebMD and other trusted medical resources recommend acupuncturists as a health professional you should see after a trauma or accident (such as a car accident).

Now that you know acupuncture can be a huge help to you in the case of an accident, you are probably wondering how you can afford to pay to get your car AND your body fixed. Not to worry. In these cases, it is your right to receive medical care and we are experienced at handling all different types of cases. There are four primary avenues for coverage, including: 1) Your auto insurance may have medical payments coverage included. This means that your car insurance will cover acupuncture visits. Please note that using this coverage DOES NOT affect your premiums in any way. 2) Your health insurance may include acupuncture benefits. Once you call to verify that your policy has acupuncture benefits, we can look into billing your insurance company directly for your care. 3) I work with a number of experienced personal injury attorneys who can sometimes step in to help with a medical lien. 4) If you are injured driving on the job, I can treat you under a worker’s compensation claim and bill your employer’s insurance directly for your treatment. Now that you know that you have options, take this warning. If you hesitate or delay or skip medical care after an accident, not only will your body be deprived of a chance to heal faster but your insurance or other parties may claim that your injury is not valid or necessary. So, don’t cancel your appointments even if you are feeling poorly. Do your best to get a ride and we will do our best to get you feeling better as soon as possible.

Although this article has been specifically about car accidents, the principles of diagnosis and treatment are similar if the accident is due to a fall, abuse, electric shock, heavy lifting or other physical injury. These kinds of patients are usually termed in the medical field as Personal Injury cases. I have treated hundreds of PI patients in the past 15 years and I recently went through an even more extensive post-doctoral training program to establish myself as a specialist within the medical field in dealing with the care and documentation of auto accident injuries. I am constantly learning more so that I can continue to help more people. So, if you know anyone who needs my help, please to not hesitate to ask me.

Lastly I want to reiterate my purpose in sharing all of this information with you this month. During March, we are focusing on Sharing the Health through educational information and free workshops. Please help us educate the community by letting us know about groups that are interested in a free workshop, or individuals who would appreciate more information. Thank you for helping me help as many people as possible.

Add Acupuncture for Greater Weight Loss

Obesity in America has reached what might be considered epidemic proportions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of people who meet the definition of obesity has more than doubled over the past two decades. Approximately 65 million American adults could be considered to be clinically obese.

Acupuncture is being researched for its benefits in aiding weight loss. Previous studies have shown mixed results. A 2003 study found Acupuncture to be effective in weight loss treatment. In that sample, weekly ear acupuncture helped women lose weight more effectively.

An Australian trial has added credibility to the idea that Acupuncture can help in the fight against obesity. The results of the trial, published in a recent issue of Medical Acupuncture, suggest that acupuncture can be effective when used in conjunction with a diet and exercise program in helping obese people lose weight. It produces benefits beyond those experienced by diet and exercise alone.

The study involved 30 adult patients who were recruited from a general practice clinic in
Australia. All of the patients where considered to be clinically obese, were not suffering from any type of debilitating diseases, and weighed between 172 and 265 pounds at the start of the trial.

In the control group, patients were instructed to follow a restricted diet that required them to consume two-thirds of their usual dietary intake and to limit fat intake for five weeks. They were also asked to follow an aerobic exercise program that required between 20 and 30 minutes of walking, cycling or swimming three times per week.

Patients in the acupuncture group were asked to follow the same diet and exercise program as the control group, but also received 20 minutes of Acupuncture twice per week for five weeks. In addition, a small patch containing a stainless steel pellet was taped over the hunger point of each ear, and worn for the duration of the study. Patients were asked to press on the pellets for one minute upon waking, before each meal or snack, and at other times in the morning and afternoon.

Analysis of measurements taken before and after the study showed significantly greater weight loss in the patients who received acupuncture compared to those who did not. Patients in the acupuncture group lost an average 10.6 pounds per person. Patients who followed the diet and exercise program, but who were not treated with acupuncture, only lost an average of 5.3 pounds over the same period of time. Nine acupuncture patients lost at least 11 pound during the course of treatment; only three control patients experienced the same type of weight loss.

The results of this study show that acupuncture can be an effective addition to regular exercise and a sensible diet in the promotion of weight loss.

Source

Acupressure for Diabetes Mellitus

Objective: To evaluate the impact of auricular pellet acupressure on antioxidative status in persons with high-risk Diabetes Mellitus.

Methods: “Subjects: Our study involved 69 persons with high-risk DM, who were allocated either to undergo acupressure as active treatment for the experimental group or to a control group.”…..”Interventions: The experimental group in the study received auricular pellet acupressure three times daily for 5 consecutive days. After a 2-day rest period, the procedure was performed on the contralateral ear. Acupressure was performed twice on each ear, with each application followed by its application to the contralateral ear, over a total treatment period of 20 days. The control groups did not undergo auricular pellet acupressure.”…..”Design and outcome measures: At the end of the 20-day period of treatment of the experimental group, blood was collected from all of the study participants for assay of serum superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase concentrations, as was also done for the control group.”

Results: “Serum concentrations of SOD (p < 0.05) and catalase (p < 0.0001) were significantly higher in the experimental group than in the control group.”

Conclusions: “Our findings suggest that auricular pellet acupressure can increase the concentration of antioxidative enzymes in persons with high-risk DM.”

SOURCE: http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2006.6064?journalCode=acm The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. April 2008, 14(3): 303-307. doi:10.1089/acm.2006.6064.Effect of Auricular Pellet Acupressure on Antioxidative Systems in High-Risk Diabetes Mellitus Authors: Chi-Feng Liu, Lee-Fen Yu, Chia-Hsien Lin, Song-Chow Lin National Taipei College of Nursing, Taipei, 112, Taiwan, R.O.C., Department of Nursing, Taipei Medical University, Wan-Fang Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C., Department of Nursing, Ching Kuo Institute of Management and Health, Keelung, Taiwan, R.O.C., Graduate Institute of Medical Science, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, 110, Taiwan, R.O.C.

Abstract from Acupuncture Works – the Proof A Compendium of Peer Reviewed Research Studies, Copyright 2011 by Dr. Harvey Kaltsas, AP, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)

Acupuncture for Diabetes Gastroparesis

Objective: “Acupuncture has been widely used for gastrointestinal symptoms. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of electroacupuncture (EA) on solid gastric emptying time, serum gastrin, motilin, pancreatic polypeptide (PP), fasting and postprandial blood glucose, and symptoms in patients with diabetic gastroparesis.”

Methods: “INTERVENTIONS: EA at the Zusanli (ST 36) and Hegu (LI 4) points and sham EA as control were administered by an experienced and licensed acupuncturist. DESIGN: This was a pilot study with a randomized, single-blinded design. SUBJECTS AND SETTING: Nineteen (19) patients with type 2 diabetes who had had symptoms of gastroparesis for more than 3 months were included in the trial and randomized into two groups. Each group received EA (n = 9) or sham EA (n = 10) consisting of 4 sessions over 2 weeks. OUTCOME MEASURES: Symptom severity was evaluated using the Gastroparesis Cardinal Symptom Index (GCSI) at baseline, at the end of treatment, and 2 weeks after the end of the trial; solid-phase gastric half-emptying time was measured by scintigraphy; in addition, serum gastrin, motilin, PP, fasting, and postprandial blood glucose levels were also measured.”

Results: “Gastric half-emptying time in 9 patients with diabetic gastroparesis was significantly shortened by EA treatment (143.8 +/- 55.9 minutes versus 98.8 +/- 28.6 minutes, p < 0.03). Half-emptying time did not change (98.9 +/- 26.4 minutes versus 90.9 +/- 24.8 minutes, p > 0.05) in the sham EA group. Symptom severity, as measured by GCSI total score, improved significantly both at the end of treatment (2.38 +/- 0.56 versus 1.48 +/- 0.19, p < 0.001) and 2 weeks after the end of the trial (2.38 +/- 0.56 versus 1.65 +/- 0.44, p < 0.01) when compared with the baseline in the EA group, but did not change from baseline with sham EA treatment. There were no significant changes in fasting and postprandial blood glucose, serum gastrin, motilin, and PP in both groups. No significant adverse events occurred.”

Conclusions: “This study demonstrates that short-term EA at the Zusanli and Hegu points effectively reduces the dyspeptic symptoms of diabetic gastroparesis and accelerates solid gastric emptying. Sustained improvement in dyspeptic symptoms was observed at 2 weeks after the end of the trial. Its potential for treating gastroparesis may be explored, and a larger trial is required to draw definitive conclusions.”

SOURCE: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18721079 J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Sep;14(7):833-9. A single-blinded, randomized pilot study evaluating effects of electroacupuncture in diabetic patients with symptoms suggestive of gastroparesis. Authors: Wang CP, Kao CH, Chen WK, Lo WY, Hsieh CL Department of Emergency Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung City, Taiwan, Republic of China.

Abstract from Acupuncture Works – the Proof A Compendium of Peer Reviewed Research Studies, Copyright 2011 by Dr. Harvey Kaltsas, AP, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)

Acupuncture Better Than Medication for Chronic Headache

A systematic review has confirmed the benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of chronic headache. The study, carried out by US authors, included 31 studies in its meta-analysis. The majority of trials comparing verum (true) acupuncture with sham acupuncture were found to show a trend in favor of verum acupuncture. The combined response rate in the acupuncture group was significantly higher compared with sham acupuncture both at early and late follow-up. Combined data also showed acupuncture to be superior to medication for headache intensity, headache frequency, physical function and treatment response rate. (Acupuncture for the management of chronic headache: a systematic review. Anesth Analg. 2008 Dec;107(6):2038-47).

Acupuncture & Self-Care Education to Treat Angina

Objective: “A cost-benefit analysis of acupuncture and self-care education in the treatment of patients with angina pectoris.”

Methods: “An open prospective study on an unselected group of patients. For comparison of risk three control groups were used: (1) published data concerning medical and invasive treatments; (2) an age- and sex matched group obtained from a randomly selected Danish population of 14,000 people; and (3) the 211 patients in this group with angina pectoris symptoms.”………..”The treatment was carried out on an outpatient basis in a private research clinic.”………..”105 patients with angina pectoris, 73 candidates for invasive treatment, and 32 for whom this was rejected.”………… “Acupuncture and self-care education was added to the pharmaceutical treatment.”…………..To measure results: “Healthcare expenses, a satisfactory medical status defined as New York Heart Association (NYHA) classification 0-I and/or no use of antianginal medication, and risk measured as cardiac death or myocardial infarction.”

Results: “The estimated cost savings during 5 years were $32,000 (U.S.) per patient, mainly due to a 90% reduction in hospitalization and 70% reduction in needed surgery. Compared to 8% before treatment, 53% of the patients achieved a life without limitations (NYHA 0-I) 1 year after treatment, as did 69% after 5 years. No increased risk for myocardial infarction or cardiac death was observed.”

Conclusions: “The addition of acupuncture and self-care education was found to be cost beneficial in patients with advanced angina pectoris. The results invite further testing in a randomized controlled trial.”

SOURCE: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10537240 Journal: Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.).” J Altern Complement Med. 1999 Oct;5(5):405-13. Title: Addition of acupuncture and self-care education in the treatment of patients with severe angina pectoris may be cost beneficial: an open, prospective study. Authors: Ballegaard S, Johannessen A, Karpatschof B, Nyboe J. Source: Acupuncture Centre, Hellerup, Denmark. ballegaard@akupunktur.dk

Abstract from Acupuncture Works – the Proof A Compendium of Peer Reviewed Research Studies, Copyright 2011 by Dr. Harvey Kaltsas, AP, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)

Acupuncture for Diabetic Peripheral Neuritis and Neuropathy

Objective: To study the mechanisms of wrist-ankle acupuncture for prevention and treatment of diabetic peripheral neuritis.

Methods: “Ninety cases of diabetic peripheral neuritis were randomly divided into 3 groups, and treated respectively with wrist-ankle acupuncture, body-acupuncture, and the western routine medical treatment, with 30 cases in each of the groups; and therapeutic effects and laboratory results compared.

Results: “It is proved that the therapeutic effects of the wrist-ankle acupuncture group and body acupuncture group were significantly superior to those of the control group, with no significant differences between the former two groups.”

Conclusions: “Wrist-ankle acupuncture has the actions of improving the metabolisms of blood sugar and blood-lipid, lowering down blood viscosity, and restoring the functions of peripheral nerve cells, thus giving definite therapeutic effects for diabetic peripheral neuritis.”

SOURCE: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16705843 J Tradit Chin Med. 2006 Mar;26(1):8-12. Clinical study on the wrist-ankle acupuncture treatment for 30 cases of diabetic peripheral neuritis. Authors: Jiang H, Shi K, Li X, Zhou W, Cao Y. Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the 47th Hospital of Chengdu Military Medical College of the Third Military Medical University, Chengdu 610500, China.

Abstract from Acupuncture Works – the Proof A Compendium of Peer Reviewed Research Studies, Copyright 2011 by Dr. Harvey Kaltsas, AP, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)

STUDIES: CHINESE MEDICINE FOR CANCER PATIENTS
ACUPUNCTURE FOR CANCER-RELATED FATIGUE
A randomised controlled pilot study has assessed the effects of acupuncture and acupressure in managing cancer-related fatigue. Forty-seven patients with cancer who experienced moderate to severe fatigue were randomised either to an acupuncture group, an acupressure group, or a sham acupressure group. The acupuncture group received six 20 minute sessions over two weeks, while the patients in the two acupressure groups were taught to press the points themselves and did so daily thereafter for two weeks. At the end of the intervention, there was a 36% improvement in fatigue levels in the acupuncture group, while the acupressure group improved by 19% and the sham acupressure by 0.6%. (The management of cancer-related fatigue after chemotherapy with acupuncture and acupressure: a randomised controlled trial. Complement Ther Med. 2007 Dec;15(4):228-37).

ACUPRESSURE FOR CHEMOTHERAPY SICKNESS
Self-applied acupressure for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting has been found to compare favourably with placebo. A multicentre, longitudinal, randomised clinical trial enrolled 160 women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Subjects were randomised to one of three groups: acupressure at Neiguan P-6 point (active), acupressure to Houxi SI-3 point (placebo), or usual care only. Subjects completed a daily log for 21 days containing measures of nausea and vomiting and recording methods (including antiemetics and acupressure) used to control these symptoms. For delayed nausea and vomiting (occurring more than 24 hours following chemotherapy treatment), the acupressure group had a statistically significant reduction in the amount of vomiting and the intensity of nausea over time, compared with the placebo and usual-care groups. (Acupressure for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting: a randomized clinical trial. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2007 Jul;34(4):813).

ACUPUNCTURE FOR CHEMOTHERAPY SICKNESS
Researchers studied 104 breast-cancer patients who were undergoing chemotherapy. Some were given standard antinausea medication; others got the drugs plus either electrically stimulated acupuncture or a “sham” treatment on acupuncture points that aren’t meant to treat nausea. The sham group had fewer vomiting episodes than those who received no acupuncture at all–a placebo effect. But those who got electroacupuncture did better still, implying a real physical benefit. – Journal of the American Medical Association. 12/2000

ACUPUNCTURE & CANCER PAIN
90 patients with cancer pain that was unrelieved by medication were randomly assigned to receive a. two courses of auricular acupuncture at points detected using a point detector, b. auricular acupuncture at points where there was no signal from the detector (placebo points), or c. auricular press seeds at placebo points. At two months after the start of the study, the patients in group a. showed a 36% reduction in pain scores, with only 2% change shown in the placebo groups. (J Clin Oncol. Nov 15 2003: 4120-4126).

STUDY: ACUPUNCTURE BEATS DRUG TO TREAT SYMPTOMS FROM CANCER TREATMENT
Acupuncture works as well as a drug commonly used to combat hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms that can accompany breast cancer treatment, and its benefits last longer, without bad side effects, researchers said on Monday. They tested acupuncture, which began in China more than 2,000 years ago and involves inserting needles into the body, against the Wyeth antidepressant Effexor, for hot flashes in breast cancer patient. SOURCE: REUTERS

Acupuncture Brings Benefits to Women with Bladder Problems

Many older adult women experience problems with complete bladder control, experiencing leakage in moments of physical stress such as laughter or sneezing, or getting an uncontrollable urge to void. In the U.S., 17% of men and women suffer from this condition.

There are medications that help – but they are accompanied by side effects such as rapid heartbeat, anxiety or agitation, sleeplessness, difficulty breathing and more.

A new study shows that Acupuncture can provide the same benefits as medication without the side effects.

A study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology reported that 85
women were treated with either Acupuncture treatment specifically intended to benefit the overactive bladder or acupuncture treatment for general relaxation.

The women who received general relaxation treatment reported a significant improvement in incontinent episodes but no improvement to the other symptoms of incontinence.

The women who received the specific acupuncture treatments for overactive bladder reported improvements in all symptoms: incontinent episodes, voiding frequency, urinary urgency and bladder capacity.

The improvements in both groups were comparable to the improvements offered by drug therapy or behavior therapy.

Source

Researchers followed 24 female office workers who had suffered from chronic neck and shoulder pain to determine whether Acupuncture was an effective treatment and to assess any side effects associated with the treatment.

The 24 women were randomly assigned to a treatment or control group. Those in the treatment group received 10 sessions of Acupuncture treatments during a three to four-week period.

Acupuncture was either applied to anti-pain Acu-points or at placebo points.

Prior to the first treatment, a physician measured each of the participants’ pain threshold. This was again measured at the last treatment and at a six-month follow-up.

Participants answered questionnaires which focused on muscle pain and headaches during these times and again three years after the last treatment.

Women who received Acupuncture reported less pain than before the treatment and also reported a reduction in frequency and duration.

The study also revealed that the results were long-lasting; the improvements still existed three years after the study.

Source

Acupuncture Holds Benefits for Diabetes Sufferers

Patients with diabetes may have new hope for treatment – Acupuncture.

A recent study conducted in a country exhibiting exceptionally high rates of diabetes in both its general population as well as foreign residents may offer new hope for persons suffering from this condition anywhere in the world.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) demonstrates a very high rate of Type II Diabetes (non-insulin dependent) in its population. Estimates run as high as 25% of the population suffering from diabetes and 90% of these are in the Type II position. Apparently, the cause is both a lack of physical activity and poor eating habits.

The Acupuncture study was conducted at the Dubai Wellbeing Center and was spurred by the fact that 1 in 3 visitors to the center show signs of diabetes. The 17 doctors from the center administered Acupuncture treatment and traditional diabetes treatments to 60 patients divided into two treatment groups.

The Acupuncture group of 38 patients received treatment at three points administered once daily for 30 days. The control group of 22 took usual diabetes prescribed drugs. Both groups followed the same regulated diet during the study.

Besides the major benefit to the Acupuncture group of marked improvement to their condition, none of the participants showed any side effects to their treatment. Officially, 27 (71%) of this group were successfully treated and only 11 (29%) needed some additional treatment.

In the drug-taking control group, 12 (55%) cases were rated as effectively treated and 8 (36%) significantly helped. However, 20 (91%) of them showed serious side effects to the drugs, including kidney failure.

The study concluded that Acupuncture treatments are a better alternative than existing drug treatments for diabetes and have no side effects. It is another study showing Acupuncture to be effective in a territory beyond only the handling of pain, where many people commonly think the benefits end.

Source1 / Source2

Acupuncture Increases IVF Success

The beneficial effect of acupuncture on fertility treatment has once again been highlighted by the results of a major scientific study. The research found that women undergoing IVF treatment were much more likely to have a successful pregnancy if they also had acupuncture treatment on the day of embryo transfer. Acupuncture carried out on the day of embryo transfer was found to increase the chances of having live birth from one in five to one in three. The systematic review and meta-analysis, published as part of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and carried out by a team from the University of Southampton, identified a total of 16 trials involving acupuncture and assisted conception, of which 13 were considered high enough quality to be included in the study. These involved a total of more than 2000 IVF patients. Analysis of the pooled results led the authors to conclude that acupuncture around the time of embryo transfer achieved a higher live birth rate of 35% compared with 22% without active acupuncture. They found no evidence of benefit when acupuncture was performed in the days after embryo transfer, nor at the time of egg retrieval. (Acupuncture and assisted conception. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Oct 8;(4):CD006920).

Acupuncture Enables Stroke Victim to Recover Balance, Vision, Mobility And Other Faculties

Ruth Lycke lives in America’s heartland, Marshalltown, Iowa.

In 2001, she suffered a stroke that left her 100% disabled. While she was told that whatever recovery she made in the first 12 months was all she would ever make, she refused to believe it.
Instead, in 2004, she traveled to China to undergo a course of acupuncture treatment. Now, a year later, she has regained her balance, vision, mobility, cognitive brain functions and increased her fine motor skills and her energy level. She has regained a normal lifestyle. “You don’t know how good it feels to get things back after years. I’m glad I was not content.”

With the help of foreign exchange students from China, she found her way to Tianjin, China, where she was the first American patient ever treated. Each day, she received two acupuncture treatments lasting 20 to 30 minutes each.

“After only 8 weeks of Traditional Chinese Medicine, including acupuncture, they completely restored the feeling on my right side and made tremendous progress on restoring the fine motor movement and balance. I extended my stay for five months allowing me to maximize the affect that the acupuncture had on restoring my vision.

“A year ago, I was convinced I had little to offer and was considered 100 percent disabled. Now I can bring hope to hundreds if not thousands of stroke survivors who are simply existing and not truly living.”

She now sets up trips to China for other stroke survivors.

Source1 / Source2

Acupuncture Effective for Allergic Rhinitis

A large German randomized controlled trial involving 5,237 participants has compared the effectiveness of acupuncture in addition to routine care in allergic rhinitis patients with routine care alone. Patients were randomly allocated to receive up to 15 acupuncture sessions over three months or to a control group receiving no acupuncture. Patients who did not consent to randomization received acupuncture. All were allowed to receive usual medical care. The Rhinitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (RQLQ) and general health-related quality of life were evaluated at baseline and after three and six months. At three months, the RQLQ improved by a mean of 1.48 in the acupuncture group and by 0.50 in the control group. Quality-of-life improvements were also more pronounced in the acupuncture vs the control group. Six-month improvements in both acupuncture groups were lower than at three months. The authors conclude that treating allergic rhinitis patients with acupuncture in addition to routine care leads to clinically relevant and persistent benefits. (Acupuncture in patients with allergic rhinitis: a pragmatic randomized trial. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008 Nov;101(5):535-43).

Acupuncture Enhances Fertility and In Vitro Fertilization Success

Lucy Appert had suffered through two miscarriages, a stillbirth and an intensive illness during pregnancy that resulted in surgery.

After five years of trying to bring a healthy baby to term, she and her husband found success after she underwent a series of Acupuncture treatments. In March 2005, she delivered a healthy baby boy. Appert stated, “I recommend Acupuncture to everyone. It does work. I did everything possible for years to have a baby. I almost lost hope.”

Acupuncture has become more popular as a remedy for female infertility after a handful of American and European studies showed that it improved the success rate of in vitro fertilization.

Dr. Paul Magarelli, an infertility doctor in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said, “Do I believe in it? Absolutely.” Dr. Magarelli is the co-author of an ongoing study into the use of Acupuncture with in vitro fertilization with Dr. Diane Cridennda. Dr. Cridennda is a licensed Acupuncturist with a master’s degree in Oriental Medicine. Dr. Magarelli, while initially skeptical of the possible benefits of Acupuncture, finally admitted, “No matter how I look at this data, I see an improvement. I’m pretty much of a convert.”

In general, studies seem to indicate that doing Acupuncture about 30 minutes before and after in vitro fertilization can increase the chance that the embryo will be implanted successfully. The Colorado study so far shows a 7% higher birth rate among those who received Acupuncture treatment.

Acupuncture seems to help some women conceive because it improves circulation to the ovaries which makes for healthier eggs, and to the uterus which increases the chances that the lining will be strong enough to hold those eggs to full-term.

Source

Acupuncture as Effective Treatment for Pain of Osteoarthritis

A landmark study published in The Annals of Internal Medicine and funded by the National Institutes of Health has finally provided objective proof that Acupuncture provides real hope and help for those suffering from osteoarthritis.

The study team enrolled 570 patients aged 50 or older with osteoarthritis of the knee. Participants were randomly assigned to receive one of three treatments: Acupuncture, sham acupuncture, or participation in a control group that followed the Arthritis Foundation’s self-help course for managing their condition.

On joining the study, patients’ pain and knee function were assessed using standard arthritis research survey instruments and standard measurement tools. Patients’ progress was assessed at 4, 8, 14, and 26 weeks. By week 8, participants receiving Acupuncture were showing a significant increase in function and by week 14 a significant decrease in pain, compared with the sham and control groups. These results held through week 26. Overall, those who received Acupuncture had a 40% decrease in pain and a nearly 40% improvement in function compared to baseline assessments.

“For the first time, a clinical trial with sufficient rigor, size, and duration has shown that Acupuncture reduces the pain and functional impairment of osteoarthritis of the knee,” said National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Director Stephen E. Straus, D.C. “These results also indicate that Acupuncture can serve as an effective addition to a standard regimen of care and improve quality of life for knee osteoarthritis sufferers.

“More than 20 million Americans have osteoarthritis. This disease is one of the most frequent causes of physical disability among adults,” said Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Director. “Thus, seeking an effective means of decreasing osteoarthritis pain and increasing function is of critical importance.”

Source

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Help Reduce Symptoms of Allergies

New research published in the journal Allergy determined that Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture ease the symptoms of hay fever and other seasonal allergies.

Fifty-two adults with moderate hay fever participated in the study. Half of the participants were treated with Acupuncture and Chinese herbs, while the remaining participants were given a placebo.

The treatment group received weekly Acupuncture treatments and three doses of herbal formulas per day. The placebo group was given a non-specific Chinese herbal formula and needles were applied to non-Acupuncture sites.

Following six weeks of treatment, 85% of the treatment group reported an overall improvement, whereas only 40% of the placebo group showed improvement.

In addition, the treatment group reported that their allergies were having less of an impact on their daily activities, sleep and general health.

The treatment group was also 50% more likely to experience a remission of their allergies and was also able to decrease the number of allergy medications consumed during the course of the study.

SOURCE: A l l e rg y, September 2004; Yahoo News, http://news.yahoo.com, October 19, 2004; WebIndia123, www.webindia123.com, September 1, 2004.

Acupuncture & MS

Studies show that, when used in conjunction with other modalities, acupuncture can provide effective relief for many MS symptoms. Because MS damages myelin in the central nervous system, the disease interferes with messages between the body and the brain. Acupuncture can mediate the effects of this disease because it releases endorphins and peptides in the brain, which modulate sensory information between the brain and body.

In a survey conducted by the MS Clinic at the University of British Columbia, 566 patients with definite MS reported using alternative therapies, with acupuncture being the most common method used. The rest of the questionnaire focused on the reported effects of acupuncture, with respondents citing reduced pain, decreased spasticity, improved bladder and bowel dysfunction, and alleviating tingling and numbness, among others.

Dr. Duong Hoang reports a study of 40 victims of MS who were treated with acupuncture. According to the study, “MS patients that had been suffering for a lesser number of years improved even before the completion of 10 acupuncture treatments.”

In one case, a 53-year-old Caucasian female had been suffering from MS for 15 years. She had been confined to a wheelchair because of parethesias on both legs, loss of balance and weakness. She also had optic neuritis, insomnia, bladder control difficulties, low back pain, muscle spasms and nervousness. After 10 acupuncture treatments, the patient was able to walk – sometimes without a cane. Her vision, sleep, muscle spasms, and general health improved, and her bladder control became normal again.

Another member of Hoang’s study was a 42-year-old man who had also suffered from MS for 15 years. He had to use a cane to walk because of parethesias on the left side of his body, and also suffered from poor vision and equilibrium, low back pain, and trouble choking on foods. He had also been sexually impotent for nine years and experienced problems with bladder control. After the first acupuncture treatment, the patient had no more problems swallowing food. After the third treatment, his bladder and vision functioned normally. After six treatments, his impotence was improved and after nine treatments he was able to walk without a cane.

Some patients have even come forward of their own accord to testify how acupuncture has helped them deal with MS. Duane Perron has had Progressive-Relapsing MS since 1978. The treatments he tried – a mixture of ACTH and Cyclospasmal – could only keep his MS from getting worse for five years. Perron’s MS was concentrated on the entire left side of his body; the optic nerve in his left eye did not function and he had no hearing in his left ear. He also had trigeminal neuralgia on the left side of his face and could not lift his left foot.

Perron decided to try acupuncture for his MS. After two months, he could hardly believe the results. His testimony on acupunctue.com states, “My wife and I went grocery shopping and as we left the store I said to her, ‘Stay behind me and watch how I walk.’ She did and she said, ‘You are taking much larger steps, you are lifting up your left leg not dragging it, and you are standing up straight!'”

Perron went on to say, “Then that Wednesday I had an appointment with my eye doctor for a six-month checkup and he said to me, ” I also have cut down on the medication I was taking for trigeminal neuralgia from four tablets a day to one tablet a day.”

Perron also wrote that the most exciting result of his acupuncture treatments was that he and his wife could now “walk through the beach sand to the water and waded in the water and waves a number of times each day. Now, I haven’t been able to walk in the sand at a beach or let waves hit my legs for at least 12 years! But I did that week, and I did it bare-footed without my brace, just my cane for balance.”

Larger studies also report the benefits of acupuncture for MS. According to a study conducted by the Washington Acupuncture Centre in which 10,000 patients were treated and tracked for three years, patients with MS significantly improved by 85 percent.

SOURCE: Carie Elizabeth Sklar, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine

Acupressure Better for Low Back Pain Than Physical Therapy

A study completed at the National Taiwan University in Taipei found Acupressure is a more effective treatment in reducing low back pain than conventional physical therapy.

A test group of 129 people, identified by researchers as suffering from chronic low pain, were recruited through an orthopedic clinic. Each received a standard disability questionnaire. 65 were assigned a standard physical therapy treatment regimen, and 64 received 6 Acupressure treatments over a one-month period.

Acupressure (pushing specific points with the fingertips to release tention and increase circulation) utilizes all of the same body points as Acupuncture. To keep the treatment consistent, all of the subjects received treatment from the same therapist.

The study concluded that Acupressure gave patients better, longer-lasting relief for low back pain. An 89% reduction in disability was reported for the Acupressure group, who also scored better on measures of pain and had fewer days off from work or school.

Perhaps the most significant conclusion of this study was that when the patients were followed-up six months later, they still had the benefits of the Acupressure treatment.

Source

Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia

CINCINNATI (Ivanhoe Newswire) Reported September 23, 2002 — Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness that’s plagued by vagueness and skepticism. Patients report pain all over, while doctors routinely run medical tests that come back normal. More than 6 million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia. Many go for years before a correct diagnosis is made. Now an old treatment is helping these patients. Acupuncture has been around for centuries.

Family physician Steve Amoils, M.D., says, “You treat the current symptoms. You treat the symptoms that have happened in the past, and you prevent symptoms from happening in the future.”

Today, Dr. Amoils is working to relieve numbness, tingling and back pain for Jim Leonard, M.D. “I was kind of up against possibly having to go see a neurosurgeon,” says Dr. Leonard.
After one treatment, Dr. Leonard found relief. Once a skeptic of alternative treatments, this former orthopedic surgeon gave up his practice and now works with Dr. Amoils using acupuncture.

“Instead of working in the operating room all day on Tuesday, I would operate until about 12:00, and I’d go to his office at 1:00 or 1:30. Then I’d work with him on Tuesday afternoon,”

Dr. Leonard believes acupuncture may be one of few treatments to help fibromyalgia.
Samantha Platt tried more than a dozen medications and countless other remedies, but with no relief. She says, “At the worst, it’s been to the point where I couldn’t even get out of bed. I had tried many other things, and this was basically the last thing on my list to try and get some relief.”

In a Swiss study of 70 patients, 75 percent showed improvement in their disease.
“It’s the only thing that I’ve found to be helpful with fibromyalgia,” says Dr. Leonard.
Platt says, “It’s been really an amazing difference.” In fact, she says her pain used to be at a 10 everyday. Now, it’s nearly gone and she’s back to normal activities.

Dr. Leonard says acupuncture works best in conjunction with other treatments. He encourages patients to maintain their relationship with their doctor.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. Reference list available upon request. (SOURCE: Northwestern University, news release, Feb. 5, 2008)

Acupuncture Helps Reduce Nausea & Speeds Healing After Cosmetic Surgery

Acupuncture is more effective at reducing nausea and vomiting after major breast surgery than the leading medication, U.S. researchers find. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., find patients who underwent Acupuncture decreased postoperative pain.

The study, published in the Journal Anesthesia and Analgesia, says about 70 percent of women who undergo major breast surgery with general anesthesia suffer from nausea.

“The patients in our randomized trial who received Acupuncture enjoyed a more comfortable recovery from their surgery than those who received an anti-sickness medication,” says study leader Dr. Tong Joo Gan.

Learning how to relax and reduce stress naturally isn’t always easy, especially after surgery when your body is in pain or especially fatigued.

Increased energy and strength are some of the leading benefits of acupuncture; since the post-surgery phase is a critical time for you to heal and bring the body in balance, acupuncture can help alleviate stress, pain and discomfort with ease.

Faster recovery rates are another reason to pursue acupuncture after surgery. Acupuncture helps to reduce the pain in joints and muscles, and may even help manage fatigue. Improving the rate of your recovery means your skin and muscles can heal quickly and help you get onto the road of good health with ease.

An improved sense of well-being is one of the key reasons why thousands of people maintain a steady acupuncture program. Experts suggest that acupuncture helps the body release endorphins – the body’s natural painkillers – and these provide a boost in mood.

Other benefits of acupuncture for post-surgery patients include:
• Preventative care for balanced body and mind
• Reduced anxiety and chances of depression
• Improved circulation that can also help with the healing process
• Increased immune response that can ward off disease and poor health

Sore muscles and joints often lead to pain and fatigue during your post-surgery period, and your body may need a few weeks of rest as it heals. Instead of relying only on painkillers to get you through those tough days ahead, you do have other options. Holistic medicine offers one alternative to traditional approaches, and may complement your recovery process.

Acupuncture's Effect on Blood Flower in Brain Explain it as Effective Treatment

A recent study revealed that Acupuncture decreases blood flow to key areas of the brain when applied to certain pain-relief points. This could give researchers a possible explanation as to how Acupuncture relieves pain and treats addiction.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School studied the effects of Acupuncture on a group of 20 healthy volunteers. MRIs were taken before, during, and after Acupuncture treatment to assess changes in blood flow and amounts of oxygen in the blood.

When Acupuncture needles were inserted to points on the hand associated with pain relief, MRI scans showed a decrease in blood flow to certain areas of the brain within seconds of volunteers reporting a heaviness on their hands. According to Acupuncturists, this sensation is a sign that the treatment is working correctly.

When patients reported pain, the MRI revealed an increase in blood flow to these same areas of the brain.

“When there’s less blood, the brain isn’t working as hard,” said Rosen. “In effect, Acupuncture is quieting down key regions of the brain,” he noted.

The specific areas of the brain are associated with mood, pain and craving, which could explain the effectiveness in treating depression, eating problems, addiction and pain.

Reduced blood flow could change levels of dopamine in the brain — a reward chemical that surges in reaction to drugs, food, pleasurable sights, and well-liked objects. This could also trigger the release of endorphins, the brain’s natural pain reliever and comforting chemicals.

SOURCE: USA Today, March 4, 2004.E A LT

Acupuncture Treats Migraines More Effectively Than Drugs

Results of a recent study found that Acupuncture treatment was more effective than drugs for curing or relieving the symptoms of migraine headaches.

268 patients were randomly assigned to receive acupuncture treatment or drug treatment.

RESULTS WERE AS FOLLOWS:

Clinically Cured:
54.6% of Acupuncture group
34.4% of Drug therapy group

Markedly Effective:
26.0% of Acupuncture group
23.0% of Drug therapy group

Effective:
14.1% of Acupuncture group
18.0% of Drug therapy group

Ineffective:
5.3% of Acupuncture group
24.6% of Drug therapy group

SOURCE: Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, September 2003; Acupuncture Today, December 2003, p. 1.

Acupuncture and Depression

Acupuncture has traditionally been successfully employed in China to treat most illnesses. There are several controlled medical studies confirming that acupuncture is an excellent therapy in the treatment of depression.

In one study in Italy involving 50 patients, auricular acupuncture (acupuncture treatment to the ear) was found to be effective in reducing anxiety and depression levels (1) . In another study at the Wayne County General Hospital in Michigan, USA, acupuncture treatment was given to 85 patients all suffering from psychological disorders (including depression). The treatment was shown to be beneficial in over 78% of the patients. (2) There is therefore little doubt that acupuncture is a prime therapy to consider in helping overcome depression.

Traditional acupuncturists treat the whole person rather than a disease and therefore attempt to get to the root cause of the problem rather than treating the symptoms and, like other holistic practitioners, will consider all lifestyle and environmental factors before commencing treatment.

Acupuncture is not commonly associated with mental depression, but researchers at Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing recently demonstrated that acupuncture may offer a therapeutic option for depressive patients.
Twenty patients suffering from mental depression were treated by needling at the extra channel points for a period of six weeks and the effective rate of the treatment was found to be 90%. At the same time, the researchers monitored a control group of an additional twenty one depressive patients who were treated with amitriptyline. Anxiety, cognitive disturbance, retardation, sleep disturbance and feelings of despair were all measured with Hamilton’s scale and then analyzed.

The results showed that there was no statistical difference in the response rate in the two groups. Both the acupuncture and control groups showed an obvious decrease in the mean value, and the change in anxiety was considerably greater in the acupuncture group as compared with that in the control group. Analysis of brain wave patterns demonstrated that the acupuncture treatment had a positive influence on the patients’ brain waves.

The researchers concluded that six weeks of acupuncture resulted in a decrease of slow wave delta and increased the fast wave alpha , all significantly different as compared with that before and during the treatment.

It would have been helpful in interpreting the results if the researchers had used a third control group so that a placebo treatment could be included. However, despite this omission, and the obvious small numbers of participants, the study does demonstrate that acupuncture treatment may be a useful treatment considered to help treat patients suffering from depression, and will initiate further research in this area of medicine.

Recent research has found that cerebral serotonin has anti-depressant and analgesic effects and there have been reports that cerebral serotonin can be released by the stimulation of certain acupuncture points. Researchers at the Department of Anesthesiology, Wayne County General Hospital, Westland, Michigan, USA investigated these claims, observing the effects of sequential electric acupuncture treatment on eighty five (85) patients diagnosed with chronic physical disorders (e.g. intractable pain, headache) with most disorders complicated by reactive depression. Some of the patients’ problems were thought to be psychosomatic.

However, the researchers found that the percentage of improvement from slight to remarkable in the physical disorders was 77.1% and the improvement seen in mental disorders was found to be even higher at 78.8%. The researchers concluded that sequential electrical stimulation to certain acupuncture points was found to be effective in the treatment of stress related physical and mental disorders.

References available upon request

Acupuncture Found as Valuable Means for Reducing Headache Pain

Acupuncture for the treatment of headache pain has shown positive results in the past. Now, another study recently completed at the University of North Carolina Headache Clinic lends even greater credibility to the value of Acupuncture for Americans in achieving headache pain relief.

Seventy-four patients already receiving medical treatment at the clinic were recruited to participate in the study. Only persons who suffered headaches at least 15 days a month qualified. Most of the patients in the study reported having headaches almost every single day.

One group of patients in the study continued to receive standard medical care for their condition.

The second group was randomly assigned to receive standard medical care, plus receive a course of 10 Acupuncture treatments over the next six weeks.
The same Acupuncturist administered all treatments. Since each individual’s body and their needs are considered to be different, the individual treatment regime was varied from person to person.

During the course of the six-week study, patients were instructed to maintain records of medications used and headache pain severity. They also were asked to complete standardized questionnaires designed to measure changes in quality of life, physical function, bodily pain and general health. Vitality, social functioning and general mental well-being were also noted.

The results were analyzed at both six-weeks and 12-weeks. At six weeks, the results showed that the Acupuncture group members were 3.7 times more likely to report less suffering from headaches than the patients only receiving standard medical care. Furthermore, patients who received the Acupuncture treatments reported significant improvements in many of the quality of life measures. Beyond simply feeling better, the vast majority of the Acupuncture group reported that their headache conditions had improved during each of the six-week segments.

Statistically, The group that received medical treatment alone did not report improvements.heir results remained essentially unchanged during the course of the study.
While researchers noted that more study is definitely needed in this area, the findings could be considered to be very encouraging to headache sufferers. Acupuncture may very well help them achieve levels of relief that can contribute to fewer days of pain and a higher quality of life.

Source

Acupuncture Helps Heart Transplant Patients

Acupuncture has long been known in the East for improving headaches, anxiety, joint pain and digestive problems. It has also made a striking difference in the survival of a young heart transplant patient.

Michiko Mills was just 22 when she needed a heart transplant as a result of a heart muscle disease called cardiomyopathy. Michiko Mills says, “Both my mother and brother had died from the same disease. So to learn that, it was very scary, you know, that I was the next one that would eventually die.”

Her heart muscle had become weak and her heart couldn’t pump blood efficiently. Thankfully, a donor heart became available. But right after surviving the transplant surgery, Michiko’s home was hit by back-to-back hurricanes.

Because of the storms, Michiko missed some of her follow-up appointments. As a result, she found out late that her body was rejecting her new heart. She would need another transplant.

Mills says, “The first one was pretty difficult, but the second one was a lot worse.” After that surgery, Mills became very ill. Nausea and vomiting kept her from gaining the strength she needed to get better.

That’s when neurosurgeon Ronald Reimer decided to try Acupuncture.

Dr. Reimer, a Mayo Clinic neurosurgeon, says that with acupuncture treatment, “many people who have been in bed, nauseous, vomiting or retching for weeks on end will have cessation of these symptoms and develop an appetite fairly soon after treatment.”

Four months later, Mills is thriving, enjoying her second gift of life.

Acupuncture can reduce nausea and vomiting by restoring balance to the nervous system. While everyone responds differently to Acupuncture, nearly everyone sees improvement after Acupuncture when other medications fail.

Source

Acupuncture Proves to be Natural Remedy for Insomnia

A recent survey published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences analyzed the effects of Acupuncture treatment on patients suffering with insomnia.

Eighteen adults who suffered with anxiety and insomnia participated in the study. Each patient received two Acupuncture treatments per week for a five-week period.

Patients underwent a variety of tests one week before and one week after treatment. The tests measured changes in melatonin levels, sleep quality, total time spent asleep, as well as other variables.

Prior to starting treatment the average anxiety levels were reported to be 86%; following the treatment regimen, anxiety levels had dropped 10%.

The average sleep efficiency was 66% prior to treatment. Following Acupuncture the average of efficient sleep increased to 88.6%.

Researchers noted that Acupuncture could promote sleep in insomnia patients due to the increase of nighttime melatonin levels following Acupuncture.

SOURCE: Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, Winter 2004:16(1):19-28; Acupuncture Today, May 2004, p. 1.

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Be A Student & Teacher

I learned what optimal health was all about through my training in the martial arts. Every time I would prepare for a competition, I would be in the best shape of my life and feel like I was on top of the world. I would have to achieve a specific weight and still be full of energy, focused and alert. I soon realized that this was what optimal health felt like. My mission was then to teach these same concepts to my patients. I know it was something so rewarding to every aspect of my life and this is why I feel so passionate about what I teach.

The goal for the student of optimal health is to redirect focus toward health rather than sickness, prevention of disease rather than crisis management, toward improving the quality of life throughout an entire lifetime rather than merely extending existence. According to the Nei Jing, an ancient Chinese medical text, treating disease after it arises is like digging a well after one is thirsty or forging weapons after war has broken out. Sun Si Miao, the great Chinese doctor stated that the highest doctor is a teacher of the intentions of society. A good doctor first alters the patient’s diet and lifestyle and uses modalities that help support the body’s own healing mechanism and only if that fails to affect a cure should the doctor prescribe more powerful means of medicine such as pharmaceutical drugs and surgery. The student of optimal health should exemplify this approach. With this intention, the patient becomes empowered in his or her own health and well being.

The mission for the student of optimal health is ongoing. The mantra is ‘never give up and never surrender.’ No matter how bad it gets, no matter how deep your pain; persistence, faith in yourself, and an unshakable spirit will eventually break you free. A student of optimal health is what I consider to be the modern-day warrior. You can see them around my office. They have an energy about them like no other. They have a bounce in their step. They’re focused and alert, relaxed and calm, energized with positive emotion and always ready for fun and enjoyment.

So, what is the secret to this energy those people have? They balance their life’s bank account!

This energy that we come into the world with is our life account. Just like a bank account, our deposits must always be more than our withdrawals. And just like a bank account receives interest so does our life account. Every day we are required to take energy out of our life account in order to live. BUT, we do have control over the rate, speed, and amount that we take out and the amount we put back in. The philosophy of Chinese medicine places importance not only on slowing down the rate of withdrawals but it will also give you the ability to deposit a tremendous amount of energy back into your life account. We all know that when you take out more than you put in, we eventually go bankrupt. With your life account, you’ll eventually get sick then die. So from this point on look at your health as an account (without overdraft protection).

When it comes to health education, your purpose is manifold. By learning the most basic and the most up-to-date knowledge about how to maintain and improve the health of your body it will serve you as well as the people you most care about. I have found that when providing workshops in the community, lots of information is not what moves people to action. Ultimately it’s not the knowledge that you have but the impact it has on your life and the lives of those you care about most.

Knowledge of how to stop symptoms of your life (pain, stress) from happening is important to know as it allows us to manage through the tough times. Knowledge of what drive those symptoms allows us to take one step further and handle the driving force so that we don’t continue to do the same thing over and over again.

As my patients, you know better than most that to change your habits, it takes time. I encourage you to use repetition, education, and impact to your benefit to create new conditions in your life. Implement these three critical elements into anything in your life that you want to improve. In other words, increase your understanding and knowledge of the topic, repeatedly integrate it into your life until conditioned and make sure it has a profound emotional impact on your life.

Right now you can probably think of at least a couple of people with whom you have tried to share your knowledge or whom you have encouraged to learn more about preventative healthcare. My message to you again is repetition and education. Please take advantage of my fundraising event this month. Let us send those people free health information (with no obligation) and I will make a donation on your behalf to the Burn Institute of San Diego. Please ask my staff about this special opportunity to help some people you know and some very special children at the Burn Institute that you don’t know

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Common Injuries from Car Accidents

Even at speeds as slow as 10 miles per hour (or less), car accidents can have severe, sometimes lifelong, health effects. The most common injuries occur to the head, neck and spine. Whiplash, disc herniation and broken bones are among the most commonly diagnosed. Common symptoms following an accident can include head or neck pain, dizziness, jaw pain, limited range of motion, nerve pain, bruising, muscle soreness, blurred vision.

The most important thing to note about injuries from a car accident is that they do not always occur immediately. In fact, most chronic symptoms come on during the time after an accident. Some take years to develop before you are aware that there may be a problem.

What Is Whiplash?

In a paper published by Yadla, Ratliff, & Harrop, (2008), the authors state, “Whiplash is the most common injury associated with motor vehicle accidents, affecting up to 83% of patients involved in collisions, and is a common cause of chronic disability” (p. 65).

The whiplash mechanism, which is often taken lightly, usually causes serious pathology, such as herniation, bleeding and tearing of tissue, that are permanent conditions. In many cases, whiplash can be caused from a single vehicle, no damage, accident.

Some of the most dangerous injuries resulting from car accidents are internal and do not develop into obvious symptoms until months or years after an accident. In an accident, internal organs (including those vital for survival, like the brain and heart) are forced into motion and often sustain forcible blows. This pulling and pushing has an equally negative effect on nerves, vessels and ligaments holding the internal environment together. This is one of the reasons why it is important to be evaluated by your doctor as soon as possible after an accident. He/She can clinically evaluate the impact of a trauma and advise you on how to accelerate proper healing and avoid future health problems that could result.

Every type of injury is to be taken very seriously in even the smallest of accidents. Physical injuries aside, consider the damage to your nervous system during a stressful event, such as an accident. Trauma by definition is “a body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury, as from violence or accident.” The body’s automatic stress response is a protective mechanism meant to help preserve homeostasis. The problem in today’s world is that the stress response does not stop after an accident. Our lives are saturated with stressors – physical, mental, environmental or emotional. A trauma such as an accident causes the nervous system to go on high alert and the rest of your day will likely make it stay there. Over time, chronic states of stress on the nervous system can lead to functional health problems and disease.

Chronic symptoms brought on by cumulative stress do not typically exhibit physical ailments that can be easily diagnosed and treated. This is why biomedical acupuncture has been integrated as a non-pharmaceutical specialty of our modern medical system. Acupuncture triggers your body’s innate capacity for healing by interrupting those chronic patterns in the nervous system, disarming protective mechanisms like pain and inflammation and directing nutrient-rich blood into the area that needs repair.

Biomedical acupuncture in combination with physical therapy and/or pharmaceutical management can offer significant results. Ask your doctor how you might integrate this therapy into your current protocol for care.

Chronic Pain from Past Injuries

The human body has the capacity to heal itself. So,why do so many people suffer from chronic pain?

When an injury does not heal or the healing process is slower than expected it is often due to some type of interference within the body’s natural healing response. Several factors that can lead to this type of interference include an old, unresolved injury, cumulative trauma, excessive stress, changes in barometric pressure, and chronic fatigue. These triggers can perpetuate more inflammation and pain creating a vicious self-sustaining cycle that reduces the circulation of blood rich in oxygen, nutrients, hormones and immune cells for healing.

The body would never do anything to harm itself but it does require protective mechanisms when there is a perceived threat to the overall organism. Pain is your body’s way of communicating a malfunction. It is a protective mechanism that can become self-sustaining if it is not addressed. The interferences listed above can cause miscommunication in the nervous system so that the brain is no longer alerted to an immediate problem that would require repair. This is why pain and inflammation can become chronic symptoms.

Chronic pain interferes with all aspects of a person’s life from productivity to mental and emotional well-being. Pain is the second leading cause of medically related work absenteeism, resulting in more than 50 million lost workdays each year, according to the American Pain Society. In addition, 1 in 3 Americans lose more than 20 hours of sleep each month due to pain, according to the American Alliance of Cancer Pain Initiatives (AACPI). Perhaps the most alarming statistic is people with back pain or other forms of musculoskeletal pain are 14 times more likely to consider suicide than the general population. In fact, 19 percent of those individual with any chronic painful condition will think about suicide. Over time, pain in and of itself is not the worst part of this chronic condition.

In 1999, a review and analysis of reports on controlled clinical trials was done on Acupuncture. The following conclusion was stated: “Acupuncture’s effective rate in the treatment of chronic pain is comparable with that of morphine. Because of the side-effects of long-term drug therapy for pain and the risks of dependence, acupuncture analgesia can be regarded as the method of choice for treating many chronically painful conditions.”

Biomedical Acupuncture interrupts acute and chronic patterns by creating minute tissue lesions, thus activating the body’s built-in survival system and self-healing mechanisms. This is why it has been integrated as a non-pharmaceutical specialty in our medical system.

When the nervous system continues to maintain pain and inflammatory signals beyond its normal healing time, the problem is actually in the nervous system itself. In order for the brain to release its natural pain killers, increase blood flow and nerve signals for optimal strength and function in the injured area, this specialized nerve must be able to direct the brain to the precise location of the problem. When the nerve is malfunctioning, a clear signal does not get to the brain. Acupuncture reactivates the neural pathway that has been damaged by sending a strong signal to the brain that immediately directs the brain to the problem. When this nerve pathway is reactivated, the brain releases opioids, dilates blood vessels to increase circulation, and restores function of the nerves for muscle function.

Biomedical acupuncture in combination with physical therapy and/or pharmaceutical management can offer significant results. Ask your doctor how you might integrate this therapy into your current protocol for care.

Choose Your Foods

March is National Nutrition Month®. It is about making informed food choices and developing sound eating and exercise habits.

These are two principles with which I am constantly trying to help my patients. Eating for nutrition should be a natural instinct but in today’s world it is much more complicated. Scientific breakthroughs in production and distribution of foods have taken us in a very un-safe, un-natural direction. Modified, enhanced and lab-created food products are more and more prevalent. This doesn’t mean you have to be afraid of the grocery store. Being an informed and discerning consumer will help you navigate through all the options. Plus, consistent purchases can influence food companies to adjust to your needs and demands.

The more we are taken in by false health claims, the more they will continue to appear. Let’s be honest… a nice big “Whole Grain” or “Low Calorie” sticker does make it easy to feel good about some food purchases. There is nothing wrong with you if it makes you feel good to purchase something that claims “Fat Free.” That is why marketers put it on the package. They want you to feel good about buying their product and they want it to be an easy decision.

Unfortunately, the truth is that many of these claims are unregulated or too loosely defined to have any real nutritional meaning. On the FDA website there are literally volumes to search through on the laws for food labeling and they are constantly being updated. So, figuring out the details may not be the best use of our time. Even the recommended daily allowances can be deceiving sometimes. The easiest way to choose your foods is to get back to basics. Food in its natural state is best. Look for short lists of ingredients with words you know. Don’t be fooled by fancy terms that really mean sugar. Try to steer clear of hydrogenated anything. Cut through the advertising claims and go straight to the list of ingredients. If it feels like homework to read it, pass on that purchase.

What about going out to eat? It’s about more than just calories. Look at the ingredients and ask yourself how you would make something similar at home. For example, salads seem like the healthy choice but they are loaded with tasty toppings that can make even a bacon cheeseburger a better choice. Just be realistic for yourself. If you go out to eat once a month and you want to have a treat – have one. If you find that your schedule requires you to eat out more frequently, start creating a strategy. Get menus from your favorite places and do a little research on what you might want to order before you go. Don’t be afraid to ask for items on the side like dressings or sauces, or asking for meats cooked dry (without oil or butter). Be mindful of portions. Before you dig in, separate a portion you want to eat now and ask for the rest in a to-go box.

Is there ever a scenario where you don’t have a choice? Perhaps a party setting is a good example. The key here is to remember that you didn’t just wander into a party and find yourself stuck there. You made a plan to be at a certain place at a certain time for a particular reason. That is what a party is all about. So, when you RSVP, also “reserve” a plan for what or how you are going to nourish your body before, during and after said event. During is difficult to plan because you don’t know what they will be serving. That is why it is important to eat a healthy snack beforehand and provide yourself with an easily accessible after-party snack. For example, if you eat a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit about 20 minutes before the party, it will slow you down and bit and help you make more conscious choices. If you have another healthy and filling snack in your car, you can eat immediately after you leave and satiate any appetite you may have worked up from the savory sights and smells at the party. Finally, if you want to control what you eat at a party, BYO! Offer to help by bringing a dish to share. Make it a healthy choice that you actually enjoy. Or search for a healthier version of a popular recipe to try out.

All these strategies require a little bit of learning time. What about right now when you haven’t had time to commit to any research? Ask someone else who can help. Ask me. Ask a health coach. Ask a trainer at your gym. Ask someone you know who you see as a role model. ASK FOR HELP! You are not alone in this life and you are not alone in your pursuit of a better one. Share your questions and successes on our Facebook page – I have a community of patients who can help one another if only they would ASK.

Control Your Appetite and Lose Weight through Acupuncture

The effectiveness of Acupuncture on weight loss was investigated in a series of studies.

Researchers wanted to determine if Acupuncture could be used to decrease the weight of patients with arthritis in order to reduce the stress on weight-bearing joints.

During the first study, both groups received Acupuncture treatment. The stomach and hunger points were used on the treatment group and sham ear points were used on the placebo group.

Results showed that the treatment group showed significant improvement in appetite control; no improvement occurred in the placebo group.

Another study was conducted utilizing the stomach and hunger points, but also included the Shen Men point which has an overall calming effect. Of the 61 people who participated, all were obese and put on a low calorie diet. 79% of those who were successful at following the low carb diet had weight loss.

A third study was conducted on 19 obese patients with arthritis of the knee. These patients took part in a diet and exercise regimen and were treated with electroacupuncture, where low currents of electricity are sent to the needles.

Results showed that 89% of participants lost 5 to 10 kg following treatment.

Results of this study show that acupuncture treatment may be effective in controlling appetite, which makes losing weight an easier feat.

SOURCE: American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 1995;23(1):15-25.

Choose Health Every Day

Every thought you have and every action you take is a choice. Your brain works in a pattern of questions and answers. Start asking yourself better questions and you will get better answers. Start by exchanging fear for courage… look for challenges and opportunities for growth. Then replace guilt with gratitude… look for the good and appreciate what you have RIGHT NOW. Finally, replace self-loathing with self-reliance… realize that YOU are the only one stopping you and that is power not weakness. Most importantly, start small. I recommend that you throw out the adage of taking it day and day and instead take it choice by choice. A whole 24 hours is a lot of time to measure and can carry a lot of emotional weight. Instead, reflect on the successes within those 24 hours; the choices that made you proud. Relive them in your mind before you go to bed and make a plan to recreate them the next day.

I am confident that every choice you make is a good one because it comes from a good person. You are good. Let me repeat that… YOU ARE GOOD. You chose and continue to choose better health and a better life. I KNOW that you want more for yourself. If you didn’t, you would not be my patient.

Practice makes perfect. So, consider each day practice for the next and you will continue to grow. Practice acting, speaking and thinking… start with thinking. Your thoughts turn into words. Your words turn into actions. Your actions turn into habits. You habits create your routines. You routines comprise your daily reality. Remember to think about underlying cause. Go to the source and don’t focus on the symptoms. In other words, start by monitoring your thoughts and changing your actions will be easier.

Awareness is always the first step toward real change. Reflect back on how you decided to start care at my wellness center… you had to come to an awareness that you wanted and needed to change. With that said, don’t be afraid to ask for help when and where you need it in other areas of your life. Find other people in your life that you can rely on to support you and be examples for you moving forward.

Top athletes learn quickly that they only have control over themselves. They do not control the situation or their opponents. Football players and martial arts masters both get hit hard on a regular basis. The difference between the way they take a punch and the way you take a “punch” in your life is that they made a choice to stand in front of that opponent and they prepared by practicing getting right back up when they get knocked down. You can do the same – you can use every day as training. Failure does not exist – erase it from your awareness. There is only opportunity to learn and be better the next time.

Be careful to keep your perspective in check. Do not get so caught up in where you are going that you forget to be aware of where you are now and where you have been. Gratitude is a powerful tool. Use it to track your progress. Each day take a personal inventory of who you are becoming instead of focusing on how close you are to your goals. It is good to appreciate and admire yourself, but when that seems impossible remember that I appreciate and admire you for being your best self each and every day.

Thank you for your continuing confidence in me as your doctor and as your friend. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Celebrating Victories: Lessons From Children and Champions

This month I am encouraging you to focus on success!

Success comes in all kinds of forms so it isn’t easy to define. The dictionary defines success as “the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.” I disagree! Success is in no way an ending (or termination of endeavors). Rather, it is a powerful motivator to fuel you toward your next success. A peak performer is always happy and grateful for the present, but never satisfied and so always expecting more. I always tell my patients to “demand more from yourself than anyone would ever expect.” And that is the message that I want to give in this month’s note.

So how do you know when you have achieved success? Let me use the analogy of a baby learning to walk. That first step – even if it’s just one followed by a fall – is cause for major celebration. By cheering them on a baby quickly learns not to focus on the fall but to focus on the steps (the success). When you focus on the small successes you are setting yourself up to win every time. Guess what that gives you… more fuel… more success… more fuel… more success. Once you get that cycle rolling you will feel unstoppable.

The other lesson I want you to take from this analogy is the idea that you MUST have a “GPS navigation mind set.” When you are truly focused on your outcome nothing can stand in your way. When you get off track, just take the next u-turn. A baby can fall a million times while learning to walk but we don’t let them give up. You need to be the same way with your goals. A way to make this easier is to tell someone what you are doing so they can help to cheer you on and hold you accountable when you feel like giving up.

Focus intently on your outcomes but allow yourself to celebrate the victories along the way. This is one method for developing what I call “mental toughness.” What does mental toughness mean? It means that under the pressure of competition (LIFE) you can continue to think constructively, non-defensively, positively and realistically.

One way to achieve this place of calm and clarity is to change your thinking to change the way you feel. The connection between thought and emotions works both ways: the way you’re feeling affects the way you’re thinking; the way you’re thinking affects the way you’re feeling. The important element here is that you can exercise substantial control over the direction and content of your thoughts. That’s precisely why great competitors are always disciplined thinkers. Sloppy, careless, negative thinking completely undermines your true innate power as a human being. Take full responsibility for what and how you think.

Toughness doesn’t always mean outward aggressive energy, but rather the ability to be flexible. A flexible bamboo tree is tougher in my eyes than is an oak tree due to its inflexibility. Toughness means never giving up. No matter how bad it gets, no matter how deep your pain, persistence, faith in yourself, and an undoubting spirit is what being tough is all about. We all have this innate spirit of toughness within us. We just need to trust.

Like anything else in life, being mentally “tough” takes practice. So start by practicing being present. One of the greatest secrets of peak performance in sports and life: sustaining a here-and-now mental focus during any life challenges makes the natural expression of talent and skill far easier. A present centered focus, particularly during critical moments in life, is fundamental to performing well under pressure. During a challenge, thinking about the future lets fear beat you; thinking about the past lets anger and frustration beat you. Practice maintaining a moment-by-moment focus during these tough times and you will be amazed how tough you really are!

And now for the homework… you know I never let you off that easy.

Step One: CELEBRATE – reflect on your successes and allow yourself to really glow in the satisfaction of your “win” no matter how small you may think it is in the bigger picture of your goal. Write it down!

Step Two: SHOW OFF – share your success stories with those around you that you want to continue to motivate you and hold you accountable. Read them your story. Again, write it down!

Step Three: START CHEERING – help your friends, family the other people around you to celebrate too. Give them a copy of your written success “story” as a reference to inspire them never to quit.

These may seem like silly things to do but DO THEM. I promise you that it will re-fuel that fire to keep you on track and propel you forward toward more… guess what… SUCCESS!

Children Benefit from Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been shown to be helpful in treating a variety of conditions in children.

At the Jane B. Pettit Comprehensive Pain Management Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, acupuncture treatments often include inserting needles into locations on the ear that correspond with body “trigger points.” This is usually in addition to inserting needles directly into the body’s trigger points. Sometimes very tiny needles are left in the ears for a couple of weeks, covered by tape, to extend treatment beyond the physician’s office.
Studies have shown that patients who are sedated to undergo acupuncture do not have as successful results as those who are conscious during the procedure.

Most acupuncture patients are 12 or older, however, a mature 10-year-old began receiving acupuncture treatments at the pain center for chronic abdominal pain that did not respond to surgery or medication and was causing the child to miss school. Initially, he received a one-hour treatment every three weeks. Today, he is pain free and plays hockey regularly. He receives acupuncture once every 10-12 weeks for maintenance.

In addition to abdominal pain, the pain management center has used acupuncture with success in treating ailments such as fibromyalgia (a chronic pain condition affecting muscles and connective tissues), chronic headaches, neck pain from whiplash, knee and hip pain from arthritis, asthma, pain caused by sickle-cell anemia and even shingles (a painful rash caused by a virus).

The pain center is conducting a study in which acupuncture is used to alleviate nausea following tonsillectomy.

Boston Study of Acupuncture and Children
In a study conducted at Children’s Hospital in Boston, and published in Pediatrics (Volume 105(4) supplement of April 2000), 70% of children who had acupuncture felt the treatment had helped their symptoms. Two-thirds of children rated the therapy as pleasant.

For example, one 17-year-old girl, diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis and headache, said, “Acupuncture was not painful, and was very relaxing.” Another 17-year-old girl, who had endometriosis, said, “It definitely helped the pain. It really works and is not painful, and it brought my energy back.” And a 17-year-old boy with pain and nerve problems remarked, “It helped the pain. I tried a lot of treatments. This was the last resort, but the best. I wish I had tried it first.”

Lynn M. Rusy, MD
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology
Medical College of Wisconsin
Jane B. Pettit Comprehensive Pain Management Center
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Original URL

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Dietary Therapy Based on Chinese Medicine

Think of the Chinese medical approach to dietary therapy as a ‘zoom out’ view of how foods impact the body. As opposed to the ‘zoom in’ view of western clinical nutrition of looking at the foods impact at the cellular level of micronutrients and biochemical pathways, the Chinese medical view is that of how the food influences the entire organ system or the body as a whole.

This expanded view of dietary therapy goes even further than the body and into how environmental factors play a role on what and how one should eat. For example, during cold and damp weather, one should generally eat more foods that are warm and produce less ‘dampness’. Such foods would be soups, stews, steamed vegetables. At the same time, reducing food that have a tendency to produce dampness such as sugar and high-sugar foods would significantly reduce ‘dampness’ in the body during this time. On the other hand, during hot times, foods that are cooling such as moderate amounts of fruit, raw vegetables would be ideal during these times.

Chinese dietary therapy, which considers environmental factors, is combined with the patient’s lifestyle as well as individual qualities/imbalances providing a very personalized way of eating for optimal health. Chinese and Western medicine simply have different ways of looking at the body and should be combined to compliment one another for the most complete integrative care.

  • In Chinese medicine, each food’s influence on the body is based on its nature (cold, cool, neutral, warm, hot). These qualities determine the effect the food will have on the body. For example, the nature of ginger is hot and therefore will warm up the body. Foods that have a warming effect increase activity of the body, i.e metabolism, circulation, overall function. Caution with those who have warm conditions or are warm or hot natured as this will aggravate their condition.
  • In Chinese medicine, there are six flavors (sweet, salty spicy, sour, bitter and bland). These flavors are based on the sensory experience. Over the last 3,000 years the Chinese have found consistency with how certain flavors influence certain body systems. For example, ginger’s spicy quality influences the lungs and stomach. Each flavor influences different body systems (sweet-stomach, sour-liver, bitter-heart, spicy-lungs, salty-kidneys).
  • A food’s combination of qualities has a specific impact on one or more body systems. Using the example of ginger its impact is therefore spicy, hot and influences the stomach and lungs. A food such as rice is sweet and neutral and influences the digestive system.
  • Another unique quality of Chinese medicine in the prescribing of dietary therapy is that treatment is primarily based on the person’s pattern rather than on the disease. Asking what type of patient has the condition as opposed to the allopathic model of asking what type of condition the patient has is called patient-centered care. In other words, the focus of the therapy is on the individualities of the patient, as opposed to simply focusing on the condition.
  • In Chinese medicine, no mater what the dietary therapy, primary consideration is to protect and maximize the digestive organs. As the main delivery system is the gastrointestinal tract in its primary role to take in, breakdown, absorb and disperse nutrients to be transported to the needed area, importance becomes very clear.

In our center, we take the wisdom and science of Chinese medicine and integrate it with biomedical nutrition integrating the best of both worlds. Using diagnostic tests such as comprehensive blood chemistry panels, hormone panels, bone marker panels as well as other traditional science based diagnostic tools, we prescribe dietary, nutritional and herbal therapy based on the individual needs/imbalances of the patient. It must be emphasized that our purpose is not simply to dispense dietary, nutritional and herbal medicine but more importantly to educated our patients why it is important and how they must take part in this therapy as it will ultimately be part of there self dependant, higher standard of health.

This month, as we focus on Digestive Health, please take some time to ask questions and share information with others about optimal digestion, dietary therapy and Chinese medicine. These are the tools for building optimal health. Ask us for help… that is our purpose.

Don't Step Back - BOOST

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, or even a doctor for that matter, to notice that this is the time of year when people start stressing out, getting sick and falling off track in general.

From October to January I see so many people spin out, freak out and sometimes just disappear. Around February I start to see those same people dragging themselves back into my office feeling down, struggling to get back to where they were before. I am happy to help but I always find myself wishing that each one of those people had not fallen off track so far. It takes a lot more time, money and stress to battle back up even to the point where they were when they left my care.

Every year I think that if only I could have done more to convince them to at least maintain through the tough months. This year, I’ve decided that I am going to do more to make sure this scenario does not happen to you or anyone else that you care about.

My purpose is to help as many people as possible to achieve AND MAINTAIN optimal health. It is so important that I give each one of my patients the tools they will need beyond my care to maintain a healthy lifestyle. That is why I do so many free educational workshops each year and why I send out this newsletter each month. This year I want to try to do even more to make sure you have the support you need. I want to give you a BOOST.

I have decided that I can only do so much as one person. So I am starting to work with another professional, Crystal Chiles. She is a Certified Personal Trainer with The American Council on Exercise as well as a Certified Sports Nutritionist with The National Association of Sports Nutrition. Crystal’s mission is to” inspire and empower people to participate in their daily lives with strength and vitality.”

Crystal is a professional with the knowledge, tools and experience to help you succeed at home. I can tell you what to do and give you examples, but when it comes time to hit the grocery store or plan your meals for the week, I realize that it’s an individual struggle. This is where Crystal can help. She works one-on-one with her clients to personalize menus, shopping lists, exercise routines and more. She also acts as a personal coach for her clients so that they can each have the level of ongoing support they desire.

I don’t want Crystal’s background to intimidate anyone. She is obviously an example of a peak performer and an athlete and she will raise your standards just as I hope I do, but mainly she is a caring professional that I trust to help you implement a plan to keep you on solid ground over the next few months.

We sincerely want to help everyone with whatever individual challanges and/or goals you may have in mind for the end of the year, so please ask us how we can help you.

E

Eastern Medicine Offers IBS Treatments

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998 followed 116 patients who were suffering from IBS. Participants were divided into three treatment groups: individualized Chinese herbal formulations, standard Chinese herbal formulations or a placebo.

The results of the double-blind placebo-controlled trial found patients being actively treated saw significant improvement in their bowel condition. Herbal treatments tailored to the patient were no more effective than the standard treatment.

Researchers concluded Chinese herbal formulations improved the conditions of IBS patients.
Acupuncture has long been used in Eastern cultures as a method of treating a variety of ailments. There are some 2,000 acupuncture points where needles can reportedly stimulate and regulate the flow of chi. Pam Marsh, an IBS patient in Golden, Colo., turned to acupuncture after suffering for many years.

“My internist referred me to an acupuncturist for treatment,” she says. “He had seen good results with other patients with IBS and Crohn’s symptoms.”

“The process takes about an hour,” she describes. “The acupuncturist first takes my pulse and other readings. He sometimes checks my tongue, puts pressure on certain points, etc. I lie on my back on a massage table and needles are applied. Usually the needles are left in for 20 to 30 minutes. They are placed in a variety of places: toes, foot, stomach, hands and wrist. It never hurts, but will sometimes create a burning sensation for the first couple of seconds. Breathing deeply and slowly helps reduce the sensation. Afterward, I feel a bit spacey for a half an hour or so. If I have symptoms or discomfort before a session, I most likely leave feeling much better.”

Marsh says she is using this alternative treatment, along with behavioral changes, to improve the illness she has been suffering from for 20 years.

“I have used various medicines,” she says, “but I have also made changes to my diet and keep to a daily exercise program.”

She says while initially hesitant to trust treatment outside of the Western methodology, she recommends the procedure to others.

“I am a believer,” she says. “I have been able to go off of the over-the-counter and prescriptive drugs with the acupuncture treatments. I was raised with traditional Western medicine beliefs, with my father being a pharmacist. So it was a stretch for me to trust this Eastern medicine. I believe acupuncture can help with a variety of problems. I recently had damage to the trigeminal nerve and have found relief through acupuncture. Like any other medical practice, however, I think you need to search out acupuncturists who are well-respected and recommended in the community.”

Source

F

For What It's Worth

Value is defined as relative worth, merit, or importance. Relative. This means that what is not valuable to one person may be priceless to another. It is all relative to their individual lives and points of view. This is the essence of what make my patients stand apart from everyone else. When you look at your life you value your health and therefore make it a priority. And when I look at each one of you I see the value in my time spent. My purpose is fulfilled each day as I see more and more people understand their health as a precious commodity. Voltaire said ” Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” My staff and I hold you in the highest esteem and seeing you make the effort to constantly grow inspires us to push ourselves to a higher standard. For this you have our sincerest respect and appreciation and so we want to acknowledge each one of you this month.

We appreciate your support as we also continue to grow to create more time and resources to help more people. Please know that you are and will always be our highest priority. As your friends, we want to know what we can do to make your experience at our center more valuable for you as an individual. Do not be afraid to ask us for what you need. Our personal time and attention is always available.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that is all about appreciating others. We ask you to take the time to give thanks for the people in your life and share your success with each of them. Sharing even the smallest achievement will magnify your progress and perhaps inspire someone else to make a change in their own health. “One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy over the good fortune of others.” – Archibald Rutledge

This month we are handing out “tokens” of our appreciation. Keep it with you and think of us when you encounter a challenging time. Or pass it one to someone you find in need of encouragement. You will find that this small token will grow in value every time it is given and received with a attitude of gratitude.

Five Words for Health

In July it’s only American to think of the “F” word: FREEDOM. It’s an empowering and inspiring word, and it can be interpreted in a lot of different ways at this time of year. During the rest of the year, it can be easy to take our basic freedoms for granted since they are automatic and assumed. Wouldn’t it be nice if everything was so engrained and instinctive?

Let’s take a minute to reflect on five other “F” words that are just as significant in our lives and too often taken for granted: FITNESS, FOCUS, FOOD, FRIENDS, FAMILY, FUN. I am going to talk about each of them in terms of optimal health (of course). What makes them a group is not just that they all start with the same letter of the alphabet, but that they are all tools for change. The easy part is that you already have access to these tools and you can tap into their power without tapping out your FINANCES (another “F” word that we’ll talk a little about later).

FITNESS
Exercise allows us to manage stress. What do I mean? Regular exercise promotes circulation, and keeps the body in high alert and ready for the unexpected. If you always maintain an exercise program’s intensity above your normal daily activities, your body will never be in distress in the midst of your day. Your capacity to deal with daily stress will always be over and above what life demands. By mildly stressing your body with exercise and recovery time, your body adapts and performs better. For a person that doesn’t exercise, every little thing on a daily basis is interpreted by their systems as distress and an overload ensues. Before you start in with the excuses (and I’ve heard them all), exercise just means MOVE MORE. You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete with your exercise program. On a daily basis, a minimum of walking with purpose for at least 20 minutes is what I recommend for my patients.

FOCUS
When we are not in the present, we lose our ability to be powerful human beings. Why is it that when we wake up in the morning, sometimes we jump out of bed with excitement and other times we hit that snooze button 10 times? It really comes down to our focus. Make it a habit to pay more attention to the things in your focus. In other words, step back and observe your focus from a third person perspective. Begin to stand guard at the door of your mind and give energy (focus) to those things you want to nourish and grow in your life. The more emotion or feeling you put behind your new focus, the more powerful your focus will become. Write a list that you can carry with you at all times. On this list write down both short-term and long-term pain of continuing with the same action that you want to change. Then write down all that you will gain both short term and long term by making this change. Remember the more emotion that drives your focus, the more powerful your focus becomes. Keep sharpening your weapon of focus and you will be amazed at the results.

FOOD
Ultimately food is our fuel, but that doesn’t mean food can’t also be enjoyable. Coming to terms with the fact that there are two kinds of food is important. Foods that are your optimal fuel (foods that are strictly for the care, maintenance and improvement of your mind/body health) and foods that are simply meant to be enjoyed by the senses. When you maintain the mind set that fun foods are strictly to satiate the senses and not for health, you will truly enjoy that dessert and you’ll realize that you need less. Your mission, if you choose to accept being healthier, is to SLOW DOWN and magnify smelling, seeing, feeling the texture and tasting the food you eat. So with this new perspective on fun foods versus survival foods to appreciate each for what they offer.

FRIENDS/FAMILY
Love your family but pick your peers. This means your purpose is two-fold. First, take care of yourself so that you can be there for your family. Setting a healthy example is paramount in this purpose. Genetics only account for about 10-15% of health problems. The far greater percentage comes from learned lifestyles… ways of eating, exercising, managing symptoms and thinking about health. If you really want to help your family lead a better life, lead one yourself. Second, surround yourself with people who have higher standards; people who will hold you accountable; people you admire who have already achieved what you want out of life. By finding like-minded people to work with you toward goals, you will magnify your experience and achieve more power and focus.

FUN
Do you ever have to tell a child to pay attention when they are having fun? No. The same goes for us. If we try to look at life’s challenges as games we can set ourselves up to win every time. Start by being energized. What do you need to think of to create positive emotion? Feel confident and act “as if.” You can use your body posture, movements, expressions and tone of voice to trick your brain into believing that you are already a champion. When you are relaxed and calm you can move toward challenges without fear. If you practice being in poise by clearing your head it becomes easier to focus on what you want to achieve. This clarity will illuminate the path you need to win. Finally, you have to get challenged. The joy in winning the game always comes from overcoming an obstacle. Look at things that you might normally label as problems and practice changing your perception.

This article is merely touching the surface of these tools. Please take advantage of the activities and additional articles available in our wellness center this month to learn and practice more. I assure you that mastery of these five “F” words will give you all the rocket fuel you need to achieve peak performance.

Flu Season Truths & Tips

We are all concerned about the possibility of catching the “bug” during “flu season,” especially now with the new threat of swine flu. Living in fear of this virus or any other will not serve you, so let’s get that out of the way right now. This article is about how you can be proactive and preventative to minimize risk to yourself and your loved ones.

First, I must address a common misconception. What we call “flu season” is not a magical time of year when there are suddenly more “bugs” running around. Our bodies are constantly working on self-preservation. What is different about October through January is a different kind of season – the holiday season. What generally happens during the holidays is – you guessed it – too many servings of that pumpkin pie, less physical activity and A LOT more stress. Dietary, physical and emotional stress plays a major role in all diseases, especially those of the immune system. Higher stress leads to increased cortisol levels, leading to antibody suppression. Antibodies are your immune systems soldiers to recognize and immobilize foreign invaders. “Flu season” is not so mysterious or scary when you understand how your body works. By optimizing your INTERNAL environment with foods that support the immune and elimination systems you not only reduce the probability of getting sick but you thrive in the midst of it all.

Unfortunately most people see a disease and immediately blame the external world, but you are not most people. I know that as my patient you expect more from yourself. So, I am giving you this information knowing that you will be proactive with the tools to fight that evil flu bug. Don’t just sit around and hope it won’t get you just because you got the flu shot. That’s no guarantee. I am counting on you to be an example of optimal health this holiday season.

Chinese medicine has demonstrated an excellent track record when it comes to respiratory viruses. Chinese herbal medicine was a major precautionary measure in Asia through the SARS crisis several years ago and it will be a valuable tool in getting us through the H1N1 threat. Herbs can be used to regulate imbalances and alleviate associated signs and symptoms; and herbal formulas have antiviral and antibacterial properties that reduce the severity and duration of viral infections and bacterial infections. Herbal therapy should definitely be employed to restore optimal health and prevent contraction of infections.

All to often when the body starts communicating we generally don’t understand it and want to shut it up with antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antacids, etc. These medications have there place in certain situation, but definitely not all. In the meantime, awareness and simple, less invasive modalities can be utilized like rest, dietary adjustments, herbal medicine and acupuncture to name a few.

Let me clarify that Chinese medicine emphasizes integrative and preventative treatments; therefore, in emergencies, Western medicine is generally the treatment of choice. If you experience difficulty breathing or chest pain, purple or blue discoloration of the lips, vomiting and inability to keep liquids down, and signs of dehydration such as feeling dizzy when standing or being unable to urinate… please go the emergency room. If you have flu-like symptoms and are not sure what to do, please call me for advice. I can help assess your symptoms over the phone and let you know what I recommend.

The most important thing I can do for you now is to support the immune system in order to prevent the virus or a future exposure from forming full attachment. Does that mean I can guarantee you won’t get sick this year? No. But the chances of illness and the severity of that illness will be greatly reduced if you do something preventative now.

We have little control over external germs, but we do have control over our internal environment. For example, let’s say you have a stagnant pond with tons of mosquitoes. How do we get rid of these creatures? Do we go out and kill them all? If you do, you only are only dealing with the pests and not the source of the problem – the stagnant water. The same goes for your body… if your internal environment is polluted then germs will proliferate. Even if a disease is genetic, the environment determines if it will be triggered or not. Remember, your body is only as strong as its weakest link. If you have a genetic weakness and a back up occurs of wastes, toxins or acids, that weak link will be first to be effected.

All day long your body is breaking down and rejuvenating itself (cleansing). The body has the ability to handle toxicity. It simply eliminates it. BUT, if you constantly overload your system with a life of toxicity, the body will not be able to handle it. The body is an amazing creation. It can handle/adapt to amazing amounts of stress. But, eventually it will hit a threshold. This threshold is called a healing crisis. This is when you get sick. The body tries to get these toxins/wastes out and it will try to do it any way it can. If it comes out of your skin, we call it acne. If it comes out of your urine, we call it a urinary tract infection. If it comes out of your nose, we call it a cold. If it comes out of your toes, we call it athletes foot. If it’s pushed back into the body and lymph encapsulates it, we call it an upper respiratory infection or worse yet, we call it cancer.

In order for any living thing to survive it must receive nutrition and be able to eliminate. Things you can do right now include minimizing/avoiding toxins going in and giving the body foods that support your innate detoxification and rejuvenating systems. Everyone has different needs so ask me about foods (as well as supplements and herbs) you can incorporate to improve your system. For everyone, it will help if you try to avoid deep fat fried foods; overcooked meats; refined sugars and starches; alcohol; drugs; foods with chemical additives and preservatives. If that sounds like a challenge during the holidays, please read my article on Holiday Eating & Mindfulness. It will help you maximize holiday pleasures and minimize negative health effects when it’s all said and done.

Most importantly, don’t panic. Use common sense to limit your exposure to potential infection, like washing your hands frequently and thoroughly. Focus on balancing increasing demands with more recovery. This is crucial during the holiday season. One easy way to dramatically and quickly tip the scales toward recovery mode is acupuncture. Stay on track with your regular visits. You MUST make your health and priority, now more than ever. I know your life is busy but don’t let the overwhelm take away your “me time.” I can’t emphasize enough how important this is and how disappointing it is to me to see some of my patients collapse under life’s pressures every year around this time. You have the power to control how you handle stress and I am here to help – always. So, I encourage you to do something a little different this year, no matter how small, to put your health at the top of your holiday “to do” list.

Family Cold/Flu Care

Exterior diseases first affect the body surfaces that are exposed directly to the environment – the skin and the mucous membranes of the nose, throat, and lungs. Thus the most prevalent exterior conditions are the common cold and flu. Contagious diseases that affect the sinuses, bronchials, and throat often have exterior signs in their initial stages.

These and all other exterior diseases are usually easy to cure when they are still on the surface of the body.
The sooner one notices these conditions and takes action, the more likely their interior progress can be reversed.

In order to balance such conditions, we choose spices and herbs that are expansive and reach toward the periphery of the body, and those that open (expand) the sweat glands to sweat out the exterior disease factor lodged near the surface. In cases where sweating does not stop the disease; it will at least greatly reduce its progress and strength.

Sometimes people try to cure the common cold at its onset with strengthening, salty or building foods such as ginseng, miso, or animal products; but these can worsen the existing condition and trap pathogens inside the body because of their strong inner-directing effect.

The following are suggestion to treat exterior diseases:
* Eat much less, and use a more simple, liquid-based diet such as vegetable or grain soup if chills predominate over the fever. If the fever predominates, fruit or vegetable juices or fresh fruits are a better alternative.

* Use sweating therapy (diaphoresis). However, sweating is contradicted when there is emaciation, severe weakness, or lack of yin fluids (dryness, fast and thin pulse, fresh red cheeks or tongue and/or night sweats). Sweating procedure: Drink a cup or more of hot diaphoretic herbal tea, take a hot bath or shower, drink more tea, then cover in blankets and sweat. Do not sweat to the point of exhaustion. After sweating, change damp bedding and rest. Sweating once is sometimes enough; if not, it can be repeated twice daily until exterior signs lift. If baths are inconvenient, drink two cups of the tea every half hour until perspiring freely. When diaphoresis does not work, a deeper condition likely exists. Note: Sweating therapy is also beneficial for measles and similar infectious diseases marked by rashes. It helps bring the toxins in the rash out of the body. Some imbalances such as chronic skin diseases and rheumatic joint and muscle diseases are primarily deep interior conditions with pronounced exterior manifestations. In these cases, sweating therapy is still useful, but is not the primary treatment.

* If the person is weak, with a fever and aching muscles, and perspires greatly without any improvement, such a rare deficient condition with spontaneous sweating implies that the ability to absorb nutrition and build protective immunity is low. Herbal preparations that build immunity include teas of either fresh ginger root or cinnamon twig. The choices of food should be nurturing and warming (grain and vegetable-leek soups, for example).

* Helpful foods: Bioflavonoid-rich food such as cabbage with hearts, and green peppers with their insides. Other useful foods include parsley, carrots, broccoli, turnips, parsnips, horseradish, scallions, lemon juice, grapefruit, most fruits, and garlic. The antiviral properties of garlic can often halt a cold or flu if taken soon enough: every three hours during the day that symptoms first appear, hold, without chewing, half a peeled garlic clove between the cheek and teeth for 20-30 minutes. Move it around occasionally to avoid a burning, delicate mouth tissue. If the juice is still too strong, use an uncut clove for a longer period.

In some exterior conditions, either chills or a fever will predominate. For predominating chills, use the warming herbs and foods marked for best results. When fevers predominate, or in the case of measles and similar diseases with rashes, the other herbs and foods mentioned above are more effective. If fevers and chills are of equal strength, any of the foods and herbs recommended above are helpful.

Once the acute stage and exterior symptoms pass, then gradually introduce normal foods in order to build strength. If colds, flus, and various exterior conditions are frequent, one is probably consuming too many sweets, salty foods, excess dairy, eggs, or other mucus- and acid-forming foods.

Food to Fight Against Heart Disease

The various forms of heart disease are primarily the result of toxic impurities clogging blood vessels. This deprives the heart muscles and valves of oxygen and puts excessive chronic strain on the heart, which has to pump much harder than normal to push blood through a clogged circulatory system. A healthy heart pumps about 3,000 gallons of blood every 24 hours, but a heart under the stress of a clogged circulatory system must pump up to 25,000 gallons in 24 hours just to maintain sufficient circulation. Obviously, such an 8-fold increase in heart strain soon leads to heart exhaustion and disease. The prime source of the blood impurities and deposits that cause heart disease is a diet composed entirely of denatures and cooked foods. The following are some foods that can help prevent heart disease:

Carrot, celery, parsley, spinach juice: the most potent blend of juices for potassium, which quickly restores proper blood pH, helps remove deposits from blood vessels, and builds strong blood plasma, especially hemoglobin; 8 oz/4 oz/2 oz/4 oz, 1-2 pints daily.
Carrot, beet and cucumber juice: dissolves acid crystals in kidneys, enabling them to cleanse the blood more efficiently, thus removing impurities that can accumulate to cause heart disease; 10 oz/3 oz/3 oz, 1-2 pints daily.

Molasses: rich in organic iron and copper, as well as potassium, all of which alkalize the bloodstream and build strong blood plasma, which in turn benefits the heart tissues; 2 tbsp in warm water, twice daily.

Grapes: the grape cure= (nothing but 1-3 pounds of raw black grapes for 5-7 days) has been shown by experiments in the Soviet Union to have a direct tonifying effect on the muscles and valves of the heart; also purifies and balances the bloodstream.
Wheat germ oil: greatly enhances delivery of oxygen to the heart; best when used in conjunction with raw garlic; 1 tsp wheat germ oil and 2-3 cloves raw garlic, once or twice a day, after meals.

Pecans: raw pecans are nature=s richest source of readily assimilable organic pyridoxine (vitamin B6), an element that plays an essential role in converting the amino acids from consumed proteins into usable form for the body; thus, raw pecans assist in the regeneration of damaged cells in diseased hearts; 10-15 raw pecans (or 20-30 pecan halves) per day.

Other beneficial foods: raw spinach; cabbage; ripe bananas; wheat germ; lecithin; sunflower seeds; raw garlic.

Foods to avoid: refined starch, especially white bread and sweet pastries, refined sugar, especially sweet carbonated soft drinks (regular as well as diet), cooked eggs, pasteurized milk, cooked fatty meats, salt.

G

Genetics & Your Health

Your philosophy of health will determine how healthy you are – it’s more important than anything you eat, drink or do. It’s how you think about your health that will determine your habits. So, where do you learn how to think about your health? Where do you learn habits? FROM YOUR FAMILY!

I often hear patients resign themselves to the idea that a problem like cholesterol or high blood pressure or diabetes is genetic because everyone else in their family has the same problem. In some cases this is a serious factor, but in most cases it is more a different kind of “inheritance.” So, why do you have the same symptoms as your mother and her mother and her mother? Because you all learned the same philosophy of health. Therefore, you approach problems the same, you eat the same, drink the same, cook the same, exercise the same amount. If you all do the same things – and throw in the same genetic makeup – it is likely that you will get the same result.

I have seen so many patients take control of their health and make huge changes by making small adjustments in their approaches to healthcare. Of course, acupuncture and clinical nutrition are powerful tools to kick start this process, but once my patients reach the optimum levels of health it’s all about breaking those old habits to maintain it for a lifetime. That is why I offer so much education to my patients and to their family and friends.

Have you ever heard the saying: “Lie down with dogs and you will wake up with fleas”? I say, you have to love your family but you have to pick your peers. Choose to be around people who can hold up your standards of health. Once you become aware of the habits that may be keeping you from optimal health, you can teach those around you and hope that they will care enough about their own health to make a change.

This month’s theme in my wellness center is a focus on family. I want all of my patients to have the opportunity to help their family to make the kinds of changes I am talking about. That is why I am asking each of you to update a family health history for me. It will not only create an awareness for you about trends in your family’s health, but it will give me an idea of how I might be able to help with information and education specific to your family’s health needs.

Please take a moment to fill out or update your family health history at your next appointment or send me an update via e-mail using the following as a guideline. Simply copy and paste the form here into the body of your email and send it to me with the subject Family Health History at drmancini@manciniacupuncture.com.

When I receive your complete form I will send you a packet of information that might be able to help each of your family members become aware of ways to improve and maintain their health. As an added courtesy, I will extend my time to you and any of your immediate family members to consult with me personally at no charge about the information I sent or other specific health questions. If you would like to speak with me or schedule a time for someone in your family to speak with me, please indicate that in your reply or simply call my office to ask about setting up a time.

FAMILY HEALTH HISTORY
Please review the conditions listed below and indicate those that are current or past health problems of a family member by placing a C- or a P- before their relationship to you (Example: ASTHMA C-Father). Include a health history for your mother, father, spouse, children and grandparents that are living. Be as thorough as possible. Thank you.

YOUR NAME:

ADDICTION
ALLERGIES
ANXIETY
ARTHRITIS
ASTHMA
BACK PAIN
CANCER
CARPAL TUNNEL
DEPRESSION
DIABETES
DIGESTIVE ISSUES
FATIGUE
FERTILITY PROBLEMS
FIBROMYALGIA
HEADACHES /
MIGRAINES
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
INSOMNIA
PAIN (indicate body parts)
SKIN CONDITIONS
WEIGHT PROBLEMS
VERITGO / BALANCE ISSUES

OTHER:

H

Healthy Vacation Plans

May brings Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and the kick-off to summer. For the lucky ones, summer means vacation. Vacations are well-deserved breaks that we all look forward to taking. It’s a chance to step away from our day-to-day grind and hopefully relax and repair our bodies and minds. Unfortunately, stress can follow. Before you go on vacation, the planning and coordinating – not to mention the dieting and shopping – can create extra stress on your nervous system. After vacation, the stress of going back to work, laundry and just getting back to life can lead to overwhelm. Even during a vacation, when you are indulging, you can be adding unwanted stress to your digestive system (among other functions). Now, I am not saying all this to ruin your vacation. My intention is quite the opposite.

Health is in your habits. If you are working on adjusting your habits to prioritize health, then I want you to have a plan before you go on vacation. I have seen too many of my patients return from vacation in a more negative state than when they left. I want you to be prepared and aware so that you can have the best vacation possible. I want you to go into it calm, enjoy every moment and come back with a fresh outlook on how wonderful your life is and will be in the future.

DIET – BYO
Depending on the type of vacation you are taking, you have two options. If you have the opportunity to bring your own food or shop once you get to your destination, you have all the control over what you eat. If that is not an option you can still bring a plan. If you know what you want to eat to feel good, you will be more likely to find it out and about. Don’t be afraid to ask for adjustments or to order off the menu. Asking for chicken or fish with vegetables, or dressings and sauces on the side isn’t a huge pain. Even at a Mexican restaurant you can ask for black beans instead of refried and order grilled chicken or ask to skip the chips (or at least the refill of chips). If you make a general meal plan for each day beforehand you will have an easier time and be able to enjoy yourself without stressing over choices. Try to check out the menu before you go so that you can take your time to figure out the best option.

EXERCISE – THROW YOUR WEIGHT AROUND
No gym, no problem. You don’t need equipment or an aerobics instructor to get a little extra movement each day. Body weight exercises like sit-ups, push-ups, chair dips, and lunges can all be done anywhere. Again, make a plan. Don’t have any ideas? There’s an APP for that… use your phone or handheld device to download one of the many free applications that offer exercise descriptions and routines. No interested? Try going for a walk or finding some stairs.

REST/REPAIR – PLAN TO DO NOTHING
We’ve all felt it before. After a vacation sometimes you might feel like you need a couple of days off. We try to pack so much into our time away that we forget to make time to actually relax. Schedule time to just do nothing and soak it all in while on vacation. You’ll find you don’t need much time away from your other plans if you are maintaining a consistent diet and getting a little exercise each morning.

Why use vacation time to rest back into the old routines that were not making you happy. Why not, use this time to be the person you want to be – happy AND healthy.

As usual, all this seems simple but it’s one of those concepts that we all know and don’t implement. I challenge you to make a plan to have a wonderful time. Make a plan but be flexible. Don’t let unexpected opportunities pull you off track for good. Be prepared to shift while staying focused on your goals. You will be successful!

How To Have More Time

I DON’T HAVE TIME. Sound familiar? We’ve all said it at one time or another. And while it sounds like a nice solution to “make the time” or “find the time,” there are still only so many hours in a day.

I don’t have a magic wand that extends the hours but I do have knowledge and experience to help teach you how to get more out of your existing hours. Before you click away and stop reading, these techniques will not require you to cut anything out of your busy schedule. It is all about two things that martial artists learn to master in the ring – position and timing.

I want you to start getting a little creative with the position and timing of your existing schedule. Where are you and what are you doing during all those hours and how can you maximize the time you already have available? Most importantly how can you schedule “time” to improve your mental, emotional and physical health?

What time, right? How about the 5 minutes of groggy time from when you wake up to when you hit the showers. Or the 15-minute to 2-hour driving time on the way to work and back. Or the hours of sitcom television you are watching during and after dinner. Or how about that couple of minutes brushing your teeth in the morning and evening? All of us has time when we are not working or taking care of our families – we just have to look for that time and make it our own.

Let me reference two big and scary topics that I see people most often do not have the time to address… DIET and EXERCISE. For those or you who attended my MAP workshop last week, you already heard some of this but if you haven’t had the chance to apply it to your day… this is my friendly reminder to give it a try.

Your diet is what and how you eat. Everyone is on a diet of some kind. Unfortunately, many people are on the Standard American Diet (SAD), which consists mainly of processed foods and sugar. Why? Because it is fast, convenient and sometimes inexpensive. We don’t have the time to eat, much less cook, healthy meals.

MY TRICK: Sandwich your salad and green out your water. I have this idea that I just don’t have the time to eat a big salad while I am at work. So, I started taking all the ingredients of a healthy salad and putting it between two slices of bread to create a sandwich instead. I am still getting all those greens and veggies but in a more accessible format. I also add greens in a powder form to my water bottle.

ANOTHER IDEA: If you find it easy to sip on that coffee mug all morning long but difficult to get your daily water intake, trick yourself and start refilling with water after your cup of joe. Drink it cold or hot – add tea if you need a caffeine kick.

Can you shift what or how you are eating slightly? Make the change.

As for exercise… just thinking about the time it will take to change into workout clothes, drive to the gym, exercise for an hour and then drive back and change again can make us break a sweat. After work and other priorities, there just isn’t any time. So, we put it off and look forward to that magical day when we will have an opening.

MY TRICK: Move more in the spaces of your day. Before my children were born, I was used to training at the gym for hours at a time. Now, I find that time occupied by being with the kids. So, we play and I get a workout… they get on my back and I do jump squats or pushups. They are my trainers and my cheerleaders.

ANOTHER IDEA: Make your TV time interactive. Try standing up and walking in place during commercial breaks to get energized and get your body moving. Once you get into the habit, step it up and do jumping jacks. Make it a game with your family or friends to see who can do the most in the few minutes you have between shows.

Can you find activities in your day where you can add more movement? Make the change.

Fill the spaces of your day with mental nutrients. In the car, be mindful of what you are listening to on the radio. Use that time to listen to something positive. It is as simple as music that makes you feel good to help you change your approach to the day. When you are brushing your teeth, think about how you want your day to unfold – visualize it with emotion – and you will be fueled toward those positive outcomes.

My final piece of advice is, once you have that time set aside for something good, hold onto it no matter what. If you give it up life will fill in that time with something else before you can blink. Maintain YOUR time even if you are filling it with something different from day to day. Time is precious, as we all know – use it wisely!

These are only quick peeks at some of my personal strategies. Your life and your strategies will be unique. If you are not sure where to begin, ASK ME! I am here to help you see the opportunities and make the shifts to position yourself for more health and happiness. Even if you don’t have an appointment, call or e-mail me with your personal questions or challenges. It is my purpose to help as many people as possible.

Healthy Responses to Stress

You may not be able to avoid stressful situations during the holidays.

But you can plan to respond to them in a healthy way.

• Take breaks from group activities. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Spend a little time by yourself if you can. Meditate, or do some relaxation breathing. Go for a short walk.

• Keep a regular sleep, meal, and exercise schedule. Limit your alcohol. Taking care of yourself will help you deal with stressful situations during the holidays.

• Get support if you need it. Holidays can sometimes trigger depression. They can be especially hard if you are already dealing with the death of a loved one or the breakup of a relationship. You may feel embarrassed

to ask for help, or you may think that you’ll get over “the blues” on your own. But most people need treatment to get better. Talk with your doctor about counseling and medicine for depression.

• Identify the specific causes of your holiday stress. What are the factors that are causing the most stress and anxiety for you? Money worries? Underlying tensions with certain family members? Then do what you can to address those issues. Try to find free holiday activities or gifts. Come up with ways you can either resolve or temporarily set aside conflict with a feuding family member.

• Let go of perfection. Don’t put too much emphasis on making everything perfect. Those magazine spreads showing gorgeous holiday decorations and feasts were prepared by teams of designers. Since you probably don’t have a full-time staff at your disposal, set more realistic expectations for yourself.

• Make a list. Santa isn’t the only one who should be making a list. Write down your wish list of things you’d like to accomplish and be ruthless about whittling it down to things you must do. Would it be great to hand-make gifts and give out gorgeously-decorated cookies baked from scratch to friends, family, your child’s teachers and the mailman? Sure. Is it realistic for you to try to do that and still be able to do things like, oh, sleep? Only you can decide for yourself.

• Talk to a friend. Take a break from holiday shopping and preparation to call a friend or meet her over a cup of tea. Letting out your feelings to a supportive friend can be an invaluable, and an important way to relieve holiday stress or any kind of stress and anxiety.

• Let others help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of having to cook an entire meal for Christmas or decorating for a party or tending to houseguests, have others pitch in. Why not make Christmas meals pot luck and have family members bring something to the table? If you have a relative who is crafty, ask that person to organize the decorations. Grade-school age children can also help by doing age-appropriate chores such as vacuuming or sweeping floors and tidying up rooms. You can even hire a neighborhood teen to come and lead your kids as they clean and organize the house so that you can tend to other holiday preparations.

• Get in some exercise. Hectic holiday schedules can often throw a wrench into regular routines, such as making time for exercise and eating a healthy diet. Ironically, not taking care of yourself can cause more stress and anxiety, leading to a vicious circle of holiday stress.

• Recharge. Even if your hectic holiday schedule only allows you to spend a few minutes on yourself, take that time to go someplace quiet to recharge your batteries. Wherever and however you refresh your spirit depends on your individual preference. It could be a few minutes of quiet in a church, or a walk in a park. You could even take yourself to a day spa for a manicure and quick neck massage. Another quick and no-cost idea: Go into an empty room in your house, hang a “do not disturb” sign on the door, and do some stretches while listening to some soothing music or sounds of nature.

From WebMD.com

Healthy Weight For Life

Many of you have heard me speak about Healthy Weight Loss in terms of goals. This time I am going to talk about Healthy Weight in terms of lifelong habits. It doesn’t mean you don’t want to have goals… goals are essential. What I want to emphasize this time is the bigger picture – beyond your personal, short-term goals. I want you to think about your weight loss as if it has already been achieved. What will it feel like? How will you have changed as a person? What will you want to do next? The real win is not in the numbers, but in establishing habits of healthy weight maintenance. A totally new life!

For most people a diet is something they do once or twice a year to lose a certain number of pounds or inches. Once that’s done, they go right back to their old routines. Maintaining a healthy weight should not be an on-again, off-again activity and it should not be torture. A question often asked by weight loss patients is: “Since I have all this weight to lose, how can I stay motivated to stick to any diet long enough to lose it all?” The answer is that you are not going on a diet of predetermined length; you are adopting a new way of eating for the rest of your life. It requires you to want to make a real change.

It is not an insurmountable task. There is secret weapon. The secret is repetition, which leads to adaption and then habituated patterns. Just three steps.

Step one is REPETITION. As most athletes know, hundreds of repetitions (energy expenditures) are required for a complex motor skill to hold up under the pressure of competition. Old bad habits suddenly reappear when motor skills are newly formed or insufficiently practiced. Mental skills operate in exactly the same way. Converting bad habits of thinking to good habits-and turning good habits into strong beliefs-takes time and lots of targeted energy expenditure. Weak thoughts, images, or emotions constantly break down under intense pressure. The common term we use is will power. But you must remember, you are not born with a certain level of will power, you have to develop it over time until it becomes automatic. Repetition helps your body to adapt.

Step two it ADAPTION. Powerful thoughts, images, and emotions are analogous to heavy weight. They require more energy and are therefore more stressful. Repetitiously triggering the same thoughts, images, or emotions is not unlike the repetition of lifting a barbell. Both require repeated energy expenditure. In the case as such sports as weight lifting, running, cycling, and climbing, growth occurs primarily in the form of muscle adaptions. In the case of thinking, imagery, and emotions, growth occurs primarily in the form of neurological adaptions. The adaptation process is also influenced by the intensity of the mental or emotional event. Making thought and images come alive-with emotion, sounds, colors, and sensations of all kinds-increases energy expenditure and neurological stimulation.

Step three is HABITUATION. You don’t have to remember to do things that are habits. Good or bad, there are certain routines that you can think of in your day that you do automatically and often without even thinking. When was the last time you arrived somewhere and you could not remember the details of your drive? Or the last weekend you spent running around and then on Monday when asked what you did, you just couldn’t remember? It’s because most of the time we are on auto pilot, performing the same old patterns. Imagine how your life would be different if your habits were different. Good habits lead to optimal health.

OPTIMAL HEALTH creates the wonderful results of healthy weight loss. The results of this new way of eating becomes the motivation. So take heart: no matter how much you have to lose, every pound lost takes you closer to your ultimate goal- becoming leaner, fitter, healthier person. You’ve got the rest of your life to live healthy and fit. Don’t get caught up in the trap of deadlines.

Those three steps aren’t little ones so let’s start simple. Set reasonable goals for yourself. Start by moving more in your day and choosing one or two dietary changes at at time. Get unreasonable by throwing out your old story of why you can’t do it, but be reasonable about what you can do right now. Here are a few ideas you can use:

GENERAL RULES:
1) Eat only when you are hungry! If you have a poor appetite, reduce sugars and starches and your appetite will improve.

2) Eat foods in whole form as much as possible- whole foods, as provided by nature (either cooked or raw).

3) Eat animal source foods in moderation.

4) Eat raw foods with every meal. The best raw foods are salads.

5) Eat small meals, but eat as often as you are hungry. Many people overeat at one particular meal and overload their digestion; the same amount of food eaten in smaller quantities, several times per day, would not impose a burden.

SUGGESTIONS:
* No hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats.

* No preservatives.

* No sugar or refined carbohydrates.

*Best between-meal-snacks = raw vegetables, low-glycemic fruit, raw nuts.

NEED HELP? Ask me on your next visit about some questions to get you moving forward. OR ask someone else that has done it already. For example, ask a trainer at your gym OR ask us for other experts you can talk to in your geographical area. We can help!

Holiday Eating & Mindfulness

During any holiday season is when mindfulness becomes a necessity if your goal is optimal health. Mindfulness means paying attention. Instead of zoning out and eating without thought, really sit there with moment to moment awareness. It’s not easy but it’s truly worth it. Practicing mindfulness prevents us from overeating which is one of the biggest challenges to deal with when food is presented in large displays. As you practice mindfulness you will notice that you can enjoy the food without overindulging. That’s the key, that is, to enjoy and not overindulge. Let this be your mantra and at the forefront of your mind when placing anything in your mouth, especially during the filling holiday season.

So how can you be mindful when eating? A great place to start is to utilize your senses of seeing, smelling, tasting and feeling. Now wait a minute! Of course I see the food, smell, taste and feel it. Well maybe you do, but not with full color attention. See the art of improving your mindfulness like connecting the dots and adding intense color to your senses. Instead of glimpsing at the food, smelling only the strongest scent and tasting only the most obvious flavor, look deeper as if you’re a detective. Observe the food as if you’ve never seen it. Really smell the many subtle fragrances never noticed before. When placing the food in your mouth feel the pressure it creates. Notice the subtle experiences we call flavors that burst in your mouth. Now let’s pick that delicious dessert. Instead of warming up and inhaling your first slice with the intention of eating another, stop for a moment. Simply stop and turn on your senses at full color and full magnitude as if you just turned up the volume 10 notches. Fully enjoy the dessert as if this is the first time eating it.

Realize that eating one slice will taste the same as eating the 2nd, 3rd 4th, etc. One piece is the same as the whole. Coming to terms with the fact that all foods that are outside your optimal fuel (foods that are strictly for the care, maintenance and improvement of your mind/body health) are simply to be enjoyed by the senses and not for survival. When you maintain the mind set that fun foods are strictly to satiate the senses and not for health, you will truly enjoy that holiday dessert. Desserts are simply to be enjoyed by the senses and that’s it. Don’t confuse foods like cake, candy, sodas, etc. with foods that provide nutrition. This difference cannot be overlooked. Think deeply about this.

Your mission, if you choose to accept being healthier, is to SLOW DOWN and magnify smelling, seeing, feeling the texture and tasting the food you eat. So with this new perspective on fun foods and survival foods, appreciate each for what they offer, that is, pleasure for the senses and nutrition for the body.

How Much Is Your Health Worth? Investing In YOU

When you place a higher value on your health you immediately become healthier because you also raise your standards. Raising the bar means that you begin to demand more from yourself. You no longer settle for things that are below that level and you are no longer reasonable with being average or ok with just getting by. You do that and not only will you be guaranteed higher quality health but a higher quality life. When you stop settling for less you then expect the best. So, how much is your health worth?

Take a minute to think about the things that are most valuable to you right now. What would you do to take care of them, to protect them, to prevent anything from happening to them? What’s interesting is that value in something increases when that something becomes rare or soon may no longer exist. I see it often when a patient has a serious health condition they immediately have increased value for their health and therefore will pay more attention. That is value caused by fear. Living a life of fear is not living at all. Too many of our hospitals are full of those that increased value to their health only when it triggered enough pain and fear.

What I ask each of you as you read this is to create more value in your health not by way of fear but rather from a place of joy and abundance. Living a life of energy, vitality and vigor is what being in optimal health is about. How valuable is that? How much more does it add to your life?

As I always remind those in my workshops, if you only had one car your entire lifetime, how much better would you take care of that car. Not out of fear of losing it but rather the joy of knowing that by giving it the best care possible it will take you everywhere you want to go in life that brings you happiness. I must remind you that you only have one body your entire life. If you do not place the highest value in your health by being proactive now, you may end up adding that value by way of pain of disease. Your highest value MUST be on your health.

Placing the highest value on your health doesn’t mean that you place secondary value on your family and other important things in your life. It simply means that you come from a place of experiencing your world with much more prosperity in all that you do. Life is meant to be lived at full capacity, not on a tank that’s always running on empty, tires that are always flat, an engine light on or black smoke coming out of your exhaust. Give yourself the gift of adding value to your health. How do you do that? Decide. Want it. Expect it. From that place, the choices you make will begin to change the direction of your health – and your entire life, for that matter.

With the high price spikes we are seeing in health insurance, the value of ‘proactive prevention’ is even more critical. If you just assume that you will be taken care of by the traditional medical system you will give up the quality of health you desire and deserve. The strength and value of allopathic ‘western’ medicine is the detection and treatment of disease. It does not focus on health. If you are not sick or have no pathology by default you are healthy. You know that it not always true. There is tremendous value in a system of medicine that can detect and treat disease, but to live your life on the edge of that cliff is always living in fear.

You can increase the value of your health by being proactive. You can pave a new road of prevention to make sure that you can see the signs posted miles before you reach that cliff where crisis care is required. The philosophy of Chinese medicine is in the value of strength, vitality, vigor, fertility, and all the components of being healthy. What I’m asking you is to value the most important thing at this moment in your life – YOU!

Health Is In Your Habits

In a recent article in Forbes magazine, San Diego was named among America’s most obese cities, citing 26.7% of the population as obese and ranking 10th out of the 20 most obese cities. The article also mentioned that “to counteract the trend, San Diego County has invested in preventing and reversing childhood obesity by forging collaborative relationships between public and private entities.”

THE REALITY
Studies show that children who are obese are more likely to be an obese adult. “One study found that approximately 80% of children who were overweight at aged 10–15 years were obese adults at age 25 years. Another study found that 25% of obese adults were overweight as children. The latter study also found that if overweight begins before 8 years of age, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe.”

In response to these statistics, I was asked to participate in an event to educate our community about childhood obesity. When our team met to discuss the keys to prevention, it always came back to the importance of educating the parents first. So, instead of presenting all the causes and effects of childhood obesity, I am going to speak about family nutrition – practical strategies for a healthy diet and lifestyle on any budget.

THE CAUSE
We all know that a poor diet and lack of exercise can lead to obesity but what is often overlooked are the other factors, including the following (as listed by The Mayo Clinic):

Family history. If your child comes from a family of overweight people, he or she may be more likely to put on excess weight, especially in an environment where high-calorie food is always available, and physical activity isn’t encouraged.

Psychological factors. Some children overeat to cope with problems or to deal with emotions, such as stress, or to fight boredom. Their parents may have similar tendencies.

Family factors. If many of the groceries you buy are convenience foods, such as cookies, chips and other high-calorie items, this can contribute to your child’s weight gain. If you can control your child’s access to high-calorie foods, you may be able to help your child lose weight.

Socioeconomic factors. Children from low-income backgrounds are at greater risk of becoming obese. It takes both time and resources to make healthy eating and exercise a family priority.

THE EXCUSES
Money can be a big driver for many of us, but it’s not the only factor here, so there is no reason for anyone to throw up their hands and allow health to suffer. We have to take this seriously because obesity is not simply a cosmetic problem. Obesity’s associated costs add $93 billion to the nation’s medical bill annually. Each year, 112,000 people die from obesity-related causes, and the condition is responsible for an increased risk of chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. In the long-run, setting up habits to help your kids win the game of life by maintaining their health will save everyone money.

The other common rationalization I hear is “it runs in my family.” As you can hopefully discern from The Mayo Clinic list, only a small percentage of conditions are due to genetics. Most of what you “inherit” from your family are similar habits. You eat, cook, exercise and socialize the same as you parents and they the same as their parents and so on. This leads to chronic, familial health problems that become accepted as part of “normal” life. Remember, just because something is common, that doesn’t mean it is normal. You have to love your family but you have a choice to pick your peers. Choose to be around people that will help you raise your standards. Ask for help and there share the health with the people at home that you love.

THE SOLUTIONS
This message is not going out to just parents. I expect each one of my patients to be an example for the people around them, regardless of age. Set a higher standard for yourself and you will find that other people will start to raise themselves up to your level. Your habits not only define your future but they also impact everyone around you much more than you probably realize. Use that as more fuel to keep you focused on your personal health. We’re watching you! (hee hee)

I want to leave you with one final thought. I found this in an article and I decided to quote it directly because there is no way to say it better: “There are rare genetic (perhaps) and metabolic disorders, medication (e.g. prednisone) and issues such as an under-active thyroid that can cause people to gain weight, however for the most part, it all boils down to lack of exercise and excess eating. You don’t need any medication to resolve this problem, what you need to do is eat less and do more. Weight control is an input and output balance.”

If you are struggling with finding a healthy balance for your family. Please ask me for help. If you know others who are looking for help, please invite them to the workshop at the end of this month.

I

Increase Your Focus and Decrease Your Cravings

We must first come to the understanding that what we focus on the most we will have in our lives. Your mind is like a garden. It contains roses and weeds. Our focus is the water that nourishes the roses or weeds. If we put our attention on the weeds and say, “I don’t want weeds, I don’t want weeds,” in essence we give the weeds of our mind more energy to grow in our lives.

Cravings are a symptom of the monkey mind. The monkey mind
is the chaos of our thoughts and emotions that draw us away from ability to be mindful and present. When we are not in the present, we lose our ability to be powerful human beings. Why is it that when we wake up in the morning, sometimes we jump out of bed with excitement and other times we hit that snooze button 10 times? It really comes down to our focus.

Make it a habit to pay attention to what you focus on. In other words, step back and observe your focus from a third person perspective. Begin to stand guard at the door of your mind and give energy(focus) to those things you want to nourish and
grow in your life. Over time you will be amazed that those cravings of the mind begin to lose their control over you.

Cravings are not only for food, cigarettes, drugs, etc. Cravings
are basically anything that draws your attention away from you being present. In my training, fatigue can draw me away from being present. When I am not present, I am physically weaker. Notice this for yourself the next time you are exercising. If in
your exercise routine you begin to experience fatigue, notice where your focus is. Are you one hundred percent present in the task at hand? Probably not. Most likely your mind is wandering
or you’re thinking about when the time clock will ring to stop exercising. Or you’re thinking about all the things you need to
do in your day, or foresee a stressful day at work. These are all symptoms of the monkey mind and they just drain your energy.

By focusing with intensity in the moment and at the task at hand, cravings from the monkey mind are unable to grab your attention.

'Imagine' Less Stress

In the movie “Up In The Air” the main character goes around doing motivational speeches with a backpack. He uses the backpack as a visualization tool. He asks his audience to imagine wearing the backpack and then loading it up with all the stuff in their lives. He asks them to start with the small stuff on their shelves and then add the big stuff like their house and car. As soon as everything is stuffed in he asks them to feel the weight of the backpack on their shoulders. Then he tells them that they are going to set the backpack on fire. He asks them to choose the few things that they would quickly remove from the backpack. What would it be? What is most important? Is the rest just stuff? It made me think.

After that he asks them to put the people and relationships they have into the backpack and feel the weight of it all (with no fire this time). If you think about the emotional weight that we all tend to take on day in and day out in physical terms things can get pretty heavy. If you really think about it, the weight of that backpack is too much for anyone to bear.

What’s in your backpack?

Now, I am not saying to throw out those relationships or those things you have worked so hard to attain. But use this analogy as a practice in visualization to reduce stress.

For those of you who have not come to one of my Peak Performance workshops, visualization does not require a lotus pose and humming – it is simply the practice of using your imagination. If you doubt your ability, think about the last time you saw a scary movie. I’ll bet you double-checked the locks on the doors and pulled your covers up tight that night. We all visualize and when you combine our imagination with emotion, the brain has a hard time distinguishing what is real and what is imagined.

If you are willing to give it a try, sit comfortably and close your eyes (so that you are not distracted). Think about all the things that are stressing you out right now (all the past and future worries) and let them flood your mind for a moment. Push them all into that backpack and feel the weight of it all at once (just for a moment, though; we don’t want to cause a panic attack). Then visualize yourself taking one item at a time out of the backpack, tie each one to a balloon and release it “up in the air.” It might sound silly but if you really let yourself feel the experience of letting go of your worries, you will reduce stress on your body and mind.

Yes, it takes practice. Yes, you may look down to see that everything you thought you let go is still sitting in that backpack. Just keep going until you feel a sense of relief. The time you spend will reduce each time as it gets easier to let things go and focus on the present. There is no stress right here right now as you read this e-mail. There is no threat to your survival if you are sitting at a desk somewhere with a computer. I know you know that, but take a minute to review your situation. Are your shoulders tensed up around your ears? Are your teeth or lips clenched? Are you crouched over in a protective pose? Are you holding your breath? These are all signals that your body is under stress. Your brain thinks that you are reading this e-mail in a lion’s den and so your body is getting ready to take a bite or run for your life. Take a deep breath in through your nose, close your eyes and relax your shoulders and neck. Do this several times during each day. Set an alarm on your phone or computer so that you don’t miss the opportunity to re-ground yourself in THE NOW. It only takes a minute or less to stop, breathe and focus. Trust me, it will make all the difference in the way you see your life and your ability to handle your day.

J

January Jumpstart

We all have desires. A desire is the seed of all actions that we take. We all are great at planting seeds, especially at the first of the year. But the problem that most don’t realize is that it is only a seed. A seed by itself can never become anything without the right environment consisting of proper soil and ongoing nourishment. To give you some reality on this matter, get a seed and put it on your desk and wait for it to grow. Now for those who say, ‘of course the seed needs to be put in dirt and given some water.’ Ok, put it in dirt and water it one time and come back a month later and see what happens. We all know that a plant needs to be continually attended to for it to thrive. The same goes for outcomes we want to achieve. In other words, we continuously need to keep our attention on our outcome of what we want. Be very clear on what you want. Most people know what they don’t want. That brings their attention to what they don’t want. Once you decide on what you want, only bring your attention to those things that will move you in the direction of your outcome. Now along the road, you will have many enticing exits that will detract you from your destination. The key here is to keep your attention forward. Along the way you will have some detours, crazy drivers, speed bumps, storms. Continue to keep your attention moving forward. There will be times you will experience gridlock. This will most likely challenge your commitment to stay on the road to your destination or give up. I tell you now that this is where the greatest successes stories are created. The reason is because most others simply get off the next exit. The reason this is can be the most challenging test on the road to your destination is because it requires more fuel than expected. This fuel is the WHY behind WHAT you want.

Your desire for wanting to achieve that goal must be compelling. It must be something that pulls you. When you think about this outcome, it brings joy to your life now. Your point of power is now. Not tomorrow, not yesterday, but now. If you have the ability to think a thought that is emotionally charged with the idea of a compelling future; that will be your fuel. The more I interact with people in the process of assisting them to achieve their health goals the more I realize that a strong enough why behind what you want is one of the two most important factors for success. I know you’ve heard this before from me but it is truly the fire behind your desires. The more compelling reasons you have in achieving your outcome the further you will go. If you set up your goal and your reasons for achieving them do not have any powerful feeling behind them then get ready to fail when you get the first few negative hits of daily life (New Year’s Resolution Syndrome).

Most people who fail may have started with a clear, compelling goal but truly never believed they could achieve it in their heart of hearts. They just went through the motions hoping that if they kept trying they would succeed. Some actually do. But over time, if your belief is not strong enough, you will eventually give up. When you generate a feeling of expectation (as if you have just ordered something from a catalog and you are waiting for it to arrive) you have completed your internal alignment of getting what you want. What is interesting is that the physical actions required to achieve that goal then become less work and more a joy of knowing you are on the right path. This is what I call a purpose-driven life. If you would like me to help you in this process make sure you bring it up on your next appointment and I’ll give you more personalized support in your specific goals. If you haven’t been in for a while and you are ready to make a change, I’ll be ready for you.

In my office, I have a picture with a powerful statement strategically placed where all new patients start at our wellness center (that’s just outside of room number one, for those of you who missed it). I would like to leave you with that statement as you start a NEW YEAR of YOUR LIFE. It is a picture of a butterfly emerging from a caterpillar cocoon. It states: “Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are, for what you could become.”

k

Know More About Menopause

As a woman approaches mid life, in her mid forties to early fifties, her estrogen production declines, she stops ovulating, and her supply of eggs runs out. This stage of her life is called menopause, or “change of life.” Menopause is not a disease. It is solely a life transition. The body never stops making estrogen entirely, but its production falls to levels insufficient to cause menstruation. Even when menstruation has stopped, however, sporadic ovulations can still occur. Therefore, it is advisable to be aware conception can still occur until two years after menstrual periods have ceased. Half of all women will stop menstruating by age 48; by age 52, 85 percent of all women will have reached menopause. Women who smoke will reach menopause 1 2 years earlier than nonsmokers.

One out of five women will experience no symptoms at menopause; their periods simply stop. The symptoms experienced by the others can include hot flashes, mood swings or depression, dry skin, mild headaches, backaches, and fatigue. About 49 percent will suffer hot flashes, and of these women 15 percent will seek medical relief because they find them so severe. Another side effect of menopause is an increased risk of heart attack due to lack of estrogen.

Of greater concern is that all women do experience some loss of bone density at menopause. Estrogen is crucial for the ability of bones to absorb calcium from the diet, and as a woman’s estrogen levels drop during menopause, bone loss increases. This can lead to clinical osteoporosis, particularly in women who have small frames and lower bone density.

Your doctor can answer your questions concerning calcium supplements, hormonal therapy, and the benefits of a balanced diet and exercise in preventing osteoporosis. A study at Western New Mexico University showed that postmenopausal women who participated in high intensity exercise programs greatly increased their cardiovascular endurance. Also, exercise increases bone density in women over forty, many of whom are at high risk for menopausal bone loss.

M

Marie's Most Glorious Recipes RELATED: Properties of Food

Marie’s Most Glorious Recipes

Dressing #1

• Flaxseed oil

• Olive oil

• Apple cider vinegar

• Balsamic vinegar

• Salt/pepper to taste

• Dried parsley

• Squeeze of lemon juice

• Can also put in:

• Turmeric

• Raw honey

• Spicy/brown mustard

Oil to vinegar ratio should be about 2:1…maybe a little more vinegar. Add all other ingredients, add to taste. Be careful with the mustard. A little goes a long way. I love lemon…I use the juice from about half a medium sized lemon.

Dressing #2

• Apple cider vinegar

• Your favorite hummus (my favorite is Majestic Sprouted Hummus…it’s SOOOOO good!!!)

o Mix and enjoy!!

Turkey Sweet Potato Tacos

• 1 medium to large sweet potato (diced into very small cubes)

• 1 pack of ground turkey meat (you can use a lot less than this if you want. Think of the potato as a substitute for the meat, and the meat is just for some extra flavor)

• 1 medium onion (diced)

• 2 TBSP fresh ginger (minced)

• 3-5 cloves garlic (minced)

• Corn tortillas

• Toppings for tacos:

• Spinach

• Cilantro

• Diced tomatoes

• Spices:

• Salt

• Pepper

• Chili powder

• Any other spice you like

Sauté onions, garlic, ginger for about 5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes…sauté until potatoes are soft. Add turkey and cook all until meat is cooked. Add spices to taste. Serve on corn tortillas with spinach and cilantro…or just eat as a salad! You can add a small amount of my dressing on the top if you want.

Quinoa Veggie Salad

• Chopped veggies…any kind you want (e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, watercress, green onions, peas, parsley, cucumber, avocado)

• 1 box Quinoa

Cook quinoa according to box directions. Mix hot quinoa and veggies together. This slightly steams the veggies…aiding in digestion. Add lighter veggies in last (e.g. spinach, avocado, and watercress). Can add nuts, raisins, and fruit to your liking. (I like to add toasted pine nuts). Pour dressing on salad. Toss.

Enjoy!!!

Mung Bean Soup

• 1 cup mung beans

• 1 cup basmati rice

• 9 cups water

• 4-6 cups chopped assorted veggies

• 2 chopped onions

• 1/3 cup minced ginger root

• 8-10 cloves minced garlic

• 1 heaping tsp turmeric

• ½ tsp pepper

• 1 heaping tsp garam masala

• 1 tsp crushed red chilies (more or less to taste)

• 2 spicy peppers (habanero, jalapeno, Serrano) – optional

• 1 TBSP sweet basil

• 2 bay leaves

• Seeds of 5 green cardamom pods

Soak beans for about 8 hour. Rinse and then bring to boil. Add onions, garlic, ginger. Add veggies. Add turmeric, pepper, garam masala, and crushed red chili. Rinse rice and add. Add spic peppers, basil, bay leaves and cardamom pods. Reduce to medium heat and stir throughout the next two hours, or until veggies and mung beans are cooked to your liking. Can serve with Bragg’s liquid aminos, avocado, cilantro, and yogurt for extra taste.

Sesame Salmon with rice and Stir Fried Veggies

SALMON

• 1 large salmon filet

• 0.5 cup sesame seeds

• 4 TBSP Grade B maple syrup

• 2 TBSP minced ginger

• 3 cloves minced garlic

In small frying pan, sauté garlic and ginger. Add sesame seeds and maple syrup, and bring to a simmer…about 5 minutes. Squeeze lemon and salt and pepper on salmon. Pour sesame syrup over salmon filet. Broil from about 5min. Enjoy!!!

STIR FRY

• 1 bunch of whatever veggie you have in the fridge. (I like using broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, etc.)

• Bragg’s Liquid aminos

• 3 cloves garlic, minced

• 2 TBSP ginger, minced

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• Salt and pepper to taste…only if you want

Sauté garlic, onions, ginger in coconut oil for about 5 minutes. Add chopped veggies, salt, pepper, and a splash of Bragg’s. Sauté everything for about 2 minutes on high heat. Cover and take off heat (let sit for 3-5 minutes). Enjoy!!!

RICE

Make rice and serve with veggies and salmon!!! You can also substitute any other type of grain (e.g. quinoa, brown rice). If you want to make this meal vegetarian, add any beans or lentils to the veggies. They are a great source of protein.

African Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup

• 1 TBSP Oil

• 1 Large onion, chopped

• 3-5 cloves garlic, minced

• 2tsp fresh ginger, minced

• 1.5tsp ground coriander

• 0.5tsp ground cinnamon,

• 1 pinch ground cloves

• 3 medium tomatoes, chopped or one 28oz can chopped tomatoes with juice

• 1.5 lbs sweet potatoes, chopped

• 1 carrot, chopped

• 4.5 cups water

• 1 tsp salt

• 1 pinch cayenne pepper

• 2 TBSP crunchy peanut butter (or any other nut butter)

• 1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Heat oil in a large saucepan or your soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion about 10 minutes. Until lightly browned. Mix in the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir in tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Cook for about 5 more minutes. Pour water into the saucepan, and season mixture with salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. Remove from heat. Blend soup until smooth…I like to keep some chunks in mine. Season with cayenne pepper. Add peanut butter (or other nut butter of your choice) and heat through. Serve warm with fresh cilantro on top. Variations: for more of a peanut flavor, use up to 1/3 cup peanut butter. Also, you may substitute 1-2 cups of the water with vegetable broth.

Beet Salad

BEETS

• Beets – BUNCH

• Beet greens (rinsed and cut into bite sized strips)

• Onions – ONE LARGE

• Garlic – 3-5 CLOVES

• Ginger – ~2 TABLESPOONS

• Pancetta (if not making vegetarian dish) ~1/2-1CUP

DRESSING

• Flaxseed oil

• Olive oil

• Apple cider vinegar

• Balsamic vinegar

• Salt/pepper to taste

• Dried parsley

• Squeeze of lemon juice

• Can also put in:

• Turmeric

• Raw honey

• Spicy/brown mustard

Oil to vinegar ratio should be about 2:1. Add all other ingredients, add to taste. Be careful with the mustard. A little goes a long way. I love lemon…I use the juice from about half a medium sized lemon.

Cut off stems as soon as you buy them (put aside for later use). Rinse and cut beets into quarters if beets are big. Toss beets in oil salt and pepper. Put in casserole dish…cover. Bake in over at 400F for 40-60min. fork should easily sink into beet. Check beets often if they are smaller. It might take a shorter time. Take beets out of oven. Peel should come off very easily, but be careful, they’re hot! After peeled, cube into smaller pieces. Stir Fry diced onion, garlic, and ginger in a frying pan (I like to use my Wok. That works best for me) with a small amount of coconut oil. Avocado oil works too. If making with pancetta, use its fat as the oil (cook first until slightly crispy, then add onions, garlic, and ginger). Stir fry until onions are wilted…about 5min…medium heat. Turn heat to high and toss in sliced beet greens for a hot second…until they are wilted. Take off heat. Mix beets and beet greens together. Toss with dressing…ENJOY!!!

YOGI TEA

• 2 quarts water

• 15 whole cloves

• 20 black peppercorns

• 3 cinnamon sticks

• 20 whole cardamom pods (split pods first)

• 8 fresh ginger slices (cut ¼ inch thick…skin on)

• ½ teaspoon black tea leaves (about 1-2 tea bags)

• Almond milk (other milks too if you prefer…e.g. rice milk), raw honey, agave syrup to taste

Bring water to boil. Add cloves and boil one minute. Add cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and ginger. Cover and boil for 30 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours. Remove from heat, add black tea, and let cool. Strain and store in refrigerator. Reheat when you want a cup and add almond milk and honey/agave to taste (if you want).

Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Congee

• ½ cup rice (preferably white, but brown will do. You could also try other grains as well. Traditionally it is made with white rice though)

• 4-6 ½ cups water OR broth (4 cups = thick, 5 cups = medium, 6 ½ cups = thin)

Wash rice thoroughly!!! Put rice and water/broth in crock pot over night…about 6 hours. If you don’t have a crock pot, bring to a boil on the stove top, then simmer for 6 hours…stirring occasionally. Remember, it’s better to have more water/broth than less Enjoy!!! Add anything you like to the congee. Spices, veggies, and meat will make it taste awesome! Just remember, food is medicine. Choose your add-ins well!!! Ideas: ginger, carrot, fennel, leek, mung bean, radish, poppy seed, pine nuts, sesame, chicken, pork, etc.

Properties of Food

KEY

Energy = Qi (the energy your body has to function. Energy of the individual organ systems as well as energy in general)

Damp = Having to do with the digestive system. When there is damp, the digestion slows and becomes less efficient. A less efficient digestion means less nutrients to your body, which means decreased energy in general. Damp conditions can easily turn into phlegm.

Phlegm = actual phlegm in lungs and sinuses. Phlegm can also slow digestive function…even more than a damp condition.

Astringent = holds fluids and prevents leakage (i.e. holds in body fluids and stops diarrhea)

Barley = sweet, cool. Good for digestion and energy.

Corn = sweet, neutral. Good for digestion, reduced appetite, difficult urination, edema.

Caution: Look out for GMO. Most corn in the United States is GMO. Try farmers markets.

Oats = sweet, bitter, warm. Good for digestion, energy, benefits heart, reduced appetite, diabetes, indigestion.

Caution: Can aggravate dampness, especially if adding too much dairy and sugar

White rice = sweet, neutral. Strengthens digestion. Good for generalized weakness, reduced appetite, nausea, vomiting, thirst, dry mouth.

Rye = bitter, neutral. Dries dampness, moves stuck energy. Balances damp foods like cheese.

Asparagus = bitter, pungent, cool. Promotes urination, benefits kidneys. Good for edema, painful urination, urinary dysfunction, constipation.

Caution: Too much may irritate the kidneys.

Avocado = sweet, cool. Nourishes fluids and blood. Moistens lungs and bowels. Good for dry lungs, intestines and skin.

Caution: Too much may clog up digestion…too damp. May increase phlegm.

Green beans = sweet, neutral. Strengthens digestion, kidneys, and increases fluids. Good for dry cough, diabetes, frequent urination, thirst, dry mouth, diarrhea, and vaginal discharge.

Caution: Can aggravate tendency to constipation.

Beets = sweet, neutral. Benefits liver, nourishes blood, strengthens heart, and moistens intestines. Moves stuck energy, good for menopausal symptoms, insomnia, anxiety, nervousness, and dry constipation.

Broccoli = sweet, bitter, neutral. Clears heat (fever in summer), benefits liver, moves stagnation, and improves vision. Good for abdominal pain, gastric ulcers, eye inflammation, visual weakness, thirst.

Brussel sprouts = sweet, pungent, warm. Good for moistening intestines, strengthening digestion. Good for constipation, common cold, whooping cough (soup), gastric ulcers (fresh juice), mastitis and skin eruptions (topical).

Carrot = sweet, neutral. Strengthens digestion, benefits liver, improves vision, stops cough. Good for indigestion, abdominal distention, constipation, diarrhea (well cooked).

Caution: Be careful with juice and raw forms when undigested food is in stool and/or diarrhea. Juice is very sweet. Excessive consumption will cause dampness, and clog digestive function.

Cauliflower = similar to broccoli. Good for the lungs.

Cilantro = pungent, warm. Regulates energy, benefits stomach. Good for reduced appetite, common cold, measles.

Caution: with eye disease.

Cucumber = sweet, cool. Clears heat, stops thirst, promotes urination. Good for edema.

Caution: with diarrhea, especially with undigested food in stool.

Garlic = pungent, sweet, warm. Warms and improves digestion, kills parasites. Good for sore throat (uncooked), whooping cough, TB (in congee), indigestion (pickled).

Ginger = pungent, warm. Warms digestion, lungs, stops vomiting. Good for digestive disorders, lung congestion.

Caution: with excessive heat internally.

Leek = pungent, sour, warm. Regulates energy, blood, warms digestion, benefits liver, stops bleeding. Good for chronic diarrhea, rectal bleeding, hemorrhoids.

Lettuce = bitter, sweet, cool. Promotes urination. Good for edema, hemorrhoids, blood in urine, difficult urination, insufficient lactation.

Caution with weak digestion.

Mustard greens = pungent, warm. Transforms phlegm, regulates energy, and warms digestion. Good for cough, nausea, vomiting.

Onion = pungent, warm. Transforms phlegm, stimulates lungs, benefits digestion, and regulates blood and energy. Good for phlegm in lungs and sinuses and high blood pressure.

Parsley = pungent, warm, bitter, salty. Improves digestion, promotes urination, and strengthens teeth.

Caution: during lactation. It can dry up the milk.

Pumpkin = sweet, bitter, neutral. Strengthens digestion and energy, transforms phlegm, aids in discharge of pus. Good for chronic asthma, diabetes, and stabilizes fetus in the womb.

Peas = sweet, neutral. Strengthens the digestion and liver. Good for hiccoughs, vomiting, belching, constipation.

Potato = sweet, neutral. Strengthens digestion, benefits energy and stops pain. Good for abdominal pain, gastric ulcers (fresh juice).

Caution: avoid green and sprouted potatoes. They contain the toxic alkaloid solanine.

Spinach = sweet, cool. Moistens and lubricates intestines, clears heat, nourishes body fluids, stops thirst, nourishes liver, and improves vision. Good for constipation (especially in the elderly), diabetes.

Caution: spinach is rich in oxalic acid. It should be avoided by those prone to kidney stones. It should not be cooked with foods rich in calcium…this will avoid excessive calcium oxalate formation.

Sweet potato/yam = sweet, neutral. Strengthens digestion, laxative, increases fluids. Good for insufficient lactation, visual weakness, constipation, fever/thirst (uncooked).

Caution: although strengthening to digestion, if over eaten, they can cause dampness and cause indigestion and abdominal distention.

Watercress = pungent, bitter, cool. Clears heat, promotes urination, and regulates energy. Good for jaundice, painful urination, cough with yellow phlegm, sore throat, bad breath, flatulence.

FYI: Used uncooked in salads, juices or lightly cooked in soup.

Apple = sweet, sour, cool. Increases fluids, stops thirst, clears heat, benefits digestion, stops diarrhea. Good for indeterminate gnawing hunger, fever, thirst, hangover, lung heat from cigarettes.

Banana = sweet, cool, astringent (unripe). Good for digestion and intestinal fluids. Good for thirst, dry mouth, hunger, fever, high blood pressure, constipation, bleeding hemorrhoids, dry lungs, dry cough (fresh, ripe); diarrhea (steamed unripe).

Caution: diarrhea (ripe), phlegm congestion.

Cherry = sweet, warm. Strengthens digestion. Benefits energy and blood, expels cold and damp. Good for joint pain, arthritis, gout, blood deficiency (anemia).

Date = sweet, neutral. Strengthens digestion, nourishes blood, and moistens lungs and intestines.

Caution: dates are very sweet and should be used sparingly as they can aggravate phlegm and cause abdominal distention.

Grape = sweet, sour, cool. Strengthens liver and kidneys. Benefits energy and blood, increases fluids, and promotes urination. Good for lower back ache and weakness, palpitations, night sweats, thirst, dry mouth, hepatitis, edema, concentrated urine, difficult, painful urination, blood in urine, joint pain, arthritis.

Caution: excessive use may weaken the eyes.

Lemon/Lime: very sour, astringent, cool. Clears heat (especially in summer), increases fluids, benefits stomach and liver. Good for thirst, nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, flatulence, indigestion.

Caution: excessive amounts can damage fluids and blood and aggravate dryness. It may aggravate gastric ulcers.

Orange = sweet, sour, cool. Benefits digestion and increases fluids. Good for thirst, dry mouth, hunger, hangover, nausea, vomiting, arthritis.

Caution: don’t eat with common cold, or cough with phlegm. Oranges can cause irritability, restlessness and allergic symptoms in children and should be limited.

Mulberry = sweet, sour, cold. Nourishes energy and blood, clears heat, and nourishes liver and kidney, laxative. Good for visual problems, dizziness, insomnia, diabetes, constipation, anemia, high blood pressure.

Caution: diarrhea, digestive weakness

Pear = sweet, sour, cool. Clears heat, nourishes fluids, moistens dryness, and benefits lungs. Good for thirst, dehydration during fever, diabetes, dry cough, sore throat, hoarse voice, constipation, hangover.

Caution: digestive weakness, especially with undigested food in stool, diarrhea, cough without heat or dryness.

Button mushroom = sweet, cool. Supplements digestion, moistens dryness, nourishes lung fluids, transforms phlegm. Good for weakness, insufficient lactation, dry cough, weak immunity, chronic hepatitis.

Shiitake mushrooms = sweet, neutral. Strengthens digestion and energy. Good for frequent urination, diabetes, hypertension, chronic hepatitis, high cholesterol, stomach and cervical cancer, weak immunity.

Almond = sweet, warm. Good for the lung. Clears phlegm and cough, moistens intestines.

Caution: phlegm, loose stools, diarrhea

Black beans = sweet, warm. Benefits kidneys, promotes urination, and nourishes fluids and blood. Good for low back pain, leg ache, infertility, kidney stones, difficult urination, menopausal flushing.

Black sesame = sweet, neutral. Nourishes fluids and blood, lover and kidneys, moistens intestines. Good for visual weakness, tinnitus, dizziness, hair loss/gray, dry constipation, insufficient lactation, numbness.

Caution: weak digestion, diarrhea

Chick peas = sweet. Benefits digestion and energy. Dries dampness

Caution: digestive and energy weakness, damp accumulation…don’t eat in excess.

Coconut = sweet, warm. Nourishes fluids and blood. Good for weakness, emaciation, malnutrition, dry skin and hair.

Caution: coconut (especially the milk) can generate phlegm.

Kidney bean = sweet, neutral. Benefits kidneys, promotes urination. Good for weakness, urinary dysfunction, edema, diabetes

Mung bean = sweet, cool. Clears heat, promotes urination, alleviates toxins. Food poisoning, lead poisoning, conjunctivitis, high blood pressure…usually used as tea in these situations.

Peanut = sweet, neutral (raw), warm (roasted). Supplements digestive energy, moistens lungs, benefits fluids. The whole peanut, including the brown skin, is used. Good for postpartum blood and energy deficiency, insufficient lactation, chronic cough, blood in urine.

Caution: loose stools and diarrhea, phlegm.

Walnut = sweet, warm. Warms and supplements kidneys/constitution, moistens intestines. Good for low back ache, frequent urination, impotence, low libido, chronic asthma and cough, urinary tract stones, dry constipation.

Caution: diarrhea, phlegm and asthma, dry conditions. Overconsumption can aggravate the heart and cause mouth ulcers.

Beef = sweet, warm. Strengthens digestion, supplements energy and blood. Good for anemia, emaciation, reduced appetite, diarrhea, general weakness, lack of vitality.

Caution: damp heat conditions, psoriasis, hot skin disease. Too much can clog digestion.

Chicken = sweet, warm. Strengthens digestion, energy, blood, and benefits constitution. Good for postpartum insufficient lactation, anemia, and general weakness.

Eggs = sweet, neutral. Nourishes fluids and blood. Good after long illness, during and after pregnancy, threatened miscarriage, diarrhea, emaciation.

Caution: phlegm

Cow’s milk = sweet, neutral. Moistens dryness, benefits lungs and stomach. Good for emaciation, dry conditions, especially in the lungs, gastric ulcers, constipation, diabetes.

Caution: undigested food in stool, weak digestion, phlegm, diarrhea. The healing properties are only from organic, no antibiotic, unprocessed varieties.

Pork = sweet, salty, neutral. Nourishes fluids and blood, moistens dryness. Great for the lungs, dry cough, dry mouth and throat, energy and blood deficiency, especially following illness and pregnancy, constipation.

Caution: heat and phlegm

Salt = salty, neutral. Benefits kidneys/constitution, moistens dryness, softens hardness. Good for digestion, and bowel movements…in small quantities.

Caution: edema, diabetes, high blood pressure. Excessive salt damages the blood and weakens the bones.

Pepper = pungent, hot. Warms digestion, stimulates appetite. Good for abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, early stages of cold and flu, congestion in the lungs.

Caution: eye disease, fluid deficiency, hemorrhoids.

Vinegar = sour, bitter, warm. Improves digestion, disperses stagnation in blood, stops bleeding. Good to combine with rich, oily foods. Good for abdominal and hypochondriac masses and accumulations, dizziness, fainting, and food poisoning.

Caution: weak digestion, arthritis, early stages of a cold

Mind / Body Balance

It has become quite obvious for me how much mental attitude impacts our state of health. If you have a strong desire to improve your health it provides significant momentum on the road toward optimal health. On the other hand, if you experience chronic states of anxiety or depression, that can be like trying to drive with your emergency brake locked. You may get to where you need to go, but with much more effort required and a not-so-pleasant smell coming from your car.

Research shows undeniable evidence that the central nervous system and the immune system communicate regularly. Maladaptive behavior as measured by symptoms of anxiety or depression can lead to changes in the endocrine and nervous system and how it drives you toward either disease or optimal health. The death of a spouse, depression, the stress of a job, examinations, and the strain of care giving have all demonstrated to produce immune dysfunction. Stress management strategies such as tai chi, chi kung, yoga, meditation, biofeedback, social support have all been found to improve immune function. One of the main reasons for the immune-enhancing effect is an increase in blood concentrations of endogenous opioids, especially enkephalins and endorphins. These same hormones are also strongly stimulated and released with acupuncture. I often emphasize to my patients that what we are doing each time you receive acupuncture is resetting brain-body communication, activating the ideal environment for self repair and optimal function. This all occurs by way of activating the nervous system to increase blood flow containing oxygen, nutrients, hormones, and immunological substances to every cell of the body. What is even more important is that we are reconditioning the body to get into this ideal physiological state every time you receive acupuncture. Just like an athlete who trains a specific movement over and over until it becomes second nature, by continuing to reset the nervous system into this self repair state by way of acupuncture, you are training the body to be in that state more often.

Now here is the most important thing that I tell my patients, especially those who I have been part of their wellness family for a long time. Acupuncture becomes an external conditioned stimulus that creates the ideal environment. The longer one receives acupuncture, the more the body is conditioned to reset itself. To multiply and magnify this effect to acupuncture, you can incorporate exercises like guided imagery, meditation, tai chi, chi kung to reactivate the similar state triggered by acupuncture. This means that you can trigger the immune-enhancing, analgesic-stimulating properties of enkephalins and endorphins. This is why Chinese doctors for the past 3,000 years have complimented acupuncture with chi kung, tai chi and other relaxation techniques. If I have not taught you one of these exercises, ask me to on your next treatment.

When we speak of physical balance, a system called Proprioception comes into play. This is the perception of one’s own body position and movement. Proprioception is controlled by nerve endings called Proprioceptors that relay information about the musculoskeletal system to the central nervous system. Proprioceptors detect changes in tension of force of muscles, tendons and joints. The primary function of proprioceptors, in addition to position, movement and balance, is to maintain muscle tone and to protect the body from injury. In high physical and emotionally taxing situations, a considerable amount of input into the nervous system can easily cause this system to become faulty leading to chronic tension, pain and stress. We have all felt this after a long emotionally demanding day in how tight our shoulders can get or how sitting too long at your desk causes ongoing low back tension and pain. These are examples of the proprioceptor nerves hitting threshold causing an automatic self sustaining reflex. Acupuncture resets and releases these dysfunctioning nerves/muscles by sending a strong neural signal on this proprioceptive pathway. Outcome: muscles relax, pain reduces, feel-good hormones are released and systemic autonomic nervous system homeostasis (also known as feeling and being in balance).

Every day throughout our days, weeks, months and years stress builds up in our bodies. Most just learn to live with a symptom. The body adapts and we go about our day. We get used to the tension, pain, or stress because that is what we see around us. We think that these are symptoms of just getting older. Long ago I used to think that until I realized that it was no longer acceptable for me or for my patients to think that way. To live a higher standard life you can no longer become reasonable with your health. You can no longer become ‘ok’ with just getting by or learning to live with symptoms. If you want to improve your health, you can no longer accept what you see around you as normal; common yes, but not normal. Acupuncture, therapeutic exercises, and the princples of Chinese medicine I teach my patients have been a major part of the Chinese healthcare for over 3,000 years. Make it part of yours and take your health to the next level.

Methyl Mercury in Fish

Make safer seafood choices. What you might not know can hurt you.

FISH SPECIES RANGE TESTED (ppm) RECOMMENDATION
NO TILAPIA (all farmed) Don’t Eat
Bass, freshwater 0.15-0.34 OK
Catfish, fresh and saltwater 0.10-0.31 OK
Cod Trace Excellent
Crab 0.10-0.15 Excellent
Founder 0.00-0.08 Excellent
Haddock Trace Excellent
Hake Trace Excellent
Halibut 0.12-0.63 Guessing
Lobster 0.10-0.14 Excellent
Mackerel 0.10-0.23 OK
Mahi Mahi (dolphin) 0.11-0.21 OK
Marlin 0.10-0.92 Guessing
Orange Roughy 0.42-0.71 Don’t Eat
Oysters 0.00-0.09 Excellent
Perch, freshwater 0.00-0.31 OK
Perch, salt/rose fish/red rockfish Trace-0.03 Excellent
Pike 0.00-0.10 Excellent
Pollack 0.00-0.10 Excellent
Salmon (fresh & canned) – wild caught, not farmed 0.00-0.11 Excellent
Shrimp 0.00-0.09 Excellent
Shark (NO!) 0.23-2.95 Don’t Eat
Snapper, red 0.07-0.26 OK
Swordfish (WATCH OUT!) 0.26-3.22 Don’t Eat
Trout 0.00-0.13 Excellent
Tuna, canned only 0.10-0.75 Bad Guess
Tuna (fresh and frozen) 0.10-0.75 Bad Guess

Samples from imported Shark were lower (7.0); Imported canned and fresh tuna were the same as above as was swordfish; October 1990 – October 2001 FDA sampling data; Recommendations by David Getoff, C.C.N.; (Note: FDA action level is 1 part per million); (Additional info added from Oct. 92 – Sept. 94, FDA sampling)

N

No Symptom. No Problem.

If you are already my patient you have heard this first part before, but you are also probably used to me repeating things that are vital to optimal health so hang in there and hear this one more time. Symptoms are the LAST thing to occur, not the first. Any symptom that you are having is an alarm going off courtesy of your brain trying to alert you to an existing problem. These “alarms” do not sound until malfunction reaches the point of breakdown – disease. Have you ever heard of someone who everyone thought was totally healthy having a heart attack or suddenly being diagnosed with a serious disease like heart disease or cancer? Just because you have no symptoms – or the symptoms seem to be “normal” or just not that bad – does not mean you are healthy.

Chinese medicine is here to supplement emergency Western medicine so that you don’t have to walk around in fear of being struck down with a disease seemingly out of nowhere. Being proactive to prevent health problems has always been the basis of Chinese medicine. Right now in history we are at a wonderful place where Western medicine and Chinese medicine are starting to integrate more fully as patient-centered care. It is about using the best of all medicines to care for the person as a whole instead of focusing in on the disease. I encourage you to continue to take advantage of this integrative care system and tell your friends and family about how they might integrate Chinese medicine into their current healthcare plan. It might just save a life.

Understanding how to use this wisdom and science behind more than 3,000 years of Chinese medicine is what sets my patients apart from others who have been exposed to Chinese medicine. The mindset of the Optimal Health patient is that of a Peak Performer – someone who wants to go to the doctor to stay healthy and always learn more about how to maintain optimal health. These people maintain the highest commitment to their health. This level of excellence keeps them in the driver’s seat when it comes to their health and body, instead of the backseat with no control. Does this mean these people never get sick, injured or stressed out? Absolutely not, but their mindset about their health affects what decisions they make when it comes to handling health challenges (or any challenges for that matter). They are always ready to get right back on track because they have a clear focus on what they want. This certainty in life is what I want for every one of my patients. It is why I do what I do everyday to help remove roadblocks and inspire individuals to always keep moving forward.

You may be sitting there thinking ‘I can’t be one of the people he is talking about.” I can assure you that you are wrong. Everyone has the qualities and capacities of a peak performer. It is part of my purpose to work with you to bring out that part. Peak performers are always happy and grateful but never quite satisfied and so they are never stagnant. So, if there is something in you that desires more out of life, talk to me about how we can make a change. Big or small… let’s start something together!

P

Put The Holidays Aside

For those of you who have known me for more than a few holiday seasons, you are used to me talking about Holiday Eating & Mindfulness around this time of year. NOT THIS YEAR. For my newer patients, I encourage you to read my article on this topic and ask me questions about how to apply these strategies to your individual life. For the purpose of this newsletter, however, I want to set the holiday season aside. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and be with yourself right now in this moment. Linger there and you will find your heartbeat start to slow down and your shoulders start to lower from where they have been hovering up around your ears.

The calendar and clock lets us know where we are in time and space relative to the standards of our society. We often get so swept up with what “time” it is and forget to take notice of the moment. “Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count.”

Stress only exist in the past or the future. Unless you are actually a lion tamer with the circus, there is no stress and no fear in your present situation. Any stress you feel is a manifestation of your thoughts about past experience or your fears about the future. “You can’t change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future.”

My message that I want you to apply to your lives is to set your own pace, your own standards, your own goals and then reach beyond that when you see opportunity. “Life is all about timing… the unreachable becomes reachable, the unavailable become available, the unattainable… attainable. Have the patience, wait it out. It’s all about timing.” (Stacey Charter). By being present and aware you are constantly positioning yourself for success. You already have this power… it is part of your human physiology. The Reticular Activating System (RAS) in the brain allows your nervous system to focus in on only the things that are more important to your life. It is a safety mechanism that keeps you from going into information overload. Let it work to your advantage. If you are constantly rushing into the future or dwelling in the past you might miss an opportunity right in front of your eyes. Schedule moments in your day where you can slow down and re-focus before taking the next step. I guarantee you will experience positive results.

Just remember not to chart your progress based on the expectations of others. Confucius was one of China’s most famous teachers, philosopher, and political theorist. He said: “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

Plan To Succeed

Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan. -Tom Landry

When I start talking about goals, people sometimes get that glazed, deer-in-the-headlights look. Our society has set the standards so high on many things that the idea of achieving those ideals can be daunting and sometimes terrifying. I am here to tell you that you are already an expert at achieving goals. You do it everyday when you plan to be somewhere and then show up, or decide on something you want to buy and then make the purchase. A goal doesn’t have to be something that is grand and beyond your reach. Every goal starts with a desired result. Then you implement a plan to reach that result. The final piece to this process is taking action. A plan has no real purpose and will never have an outcome until it is put into action.

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now. -Alan Lakein

Planning does not have to be a complicated process. Think about the last time you went to the movies. You had a specific movie time in mind and so made arrangements to leave work or home at another specific time in order to drive, purchase tickets and snacks and secure seats. You didn’t just hope that you would end up seeing the movie, you made a plan and then followed through with that plan to your desired outcome. When you set a goal you must imagine the results as if it has already happened. Visualize yourself at the movies or somewhere that you have been before as a warm up and then practice seeing yourself in the place or circumstance that define your goal. Bringing your outcomes into the present time with vivid imagination and emotion will fuel your acceleration toward that goal and help you maintain focus.

A good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there. -H. Stanley Judd

What do you want? You must start with a destination – an outcome. Have you ever been at a shopping center and looked at one of those directory displays? You want to buy shoes so you look for shoe stores on the map. Then you look for that little star indicating YOU ARE HERE. If you don’t know where you are starting from you will never be able to map to your destination. It’s the same with goals. Be honest about where you are so that you can move forward from there. If you continue standing still you will never get what you want… in this case shoes. Also, remember not to confuse the destination with the outcome. The goal was not to enter a shoe store, it was to buy shoes. So, if you did not prepare by bringing your wallet then you will not succeed. Use the people around you who have been where you are and achieved your goal, or something similar. I guarantee you that someone, somewhere at some point was in the exact same place that you are in now. Don’t waste time re-inventing the wheel. Use their experience and hindsight to find out what you will need and prepare your plan accordingly.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. -Benjamin Franklin

Most goals are more complicated than buying shoes or seeing a movie and so most plans need to be more intricate and specific. So, figuring out exactly what it is that you want, what you are going to need and who can help you are essential questions to address before even attempting to create a plan. You must prepare carefully, otherwise your plan may fall apart at the first sign of resistance.

Lose weight. Sleep better. Eat healthier. Start exercising. These are common goals with one major flaw – they are not specific. Lose 10 pounds of fat – this is specific enough but perhaps too far out of reach. Long-term goals are good to have but make sure you break them down into realistic, specific, short-term outcomes. Lose 3 pounds by October 11. That is a clear outcome and it will get you one step closer to your overall goal. Be detailed in your definitions of what you want. To say you want to lose X number of pounds has no weight (pardon the pun). Define what you will feel like in your clothes, how you want other people to look at you, the activities that you will be able to do more easily… create a full and sensory picture of your life at that goal. This will help you focus on the journey from where you are and the benefits you will achieve in the pursuit of that goal instead of just the end point or number in this case.

This is only a glimpse of the strategies that I have to share with you all. For those of you that know me well, you know that I am always interested in growth, in being better in every moment and every aspect of life. I share this with my patients because I see so much potential in each of you and I want to be part of creating a spark and giving you the fuel to rocket forward to a better life. I want you to be grateful and happy with where you are and what you have but I never want you to be satisfied to the point that you remain stagnant.

Proactive & Preventative

Chinese medicine is based on health NOT disease. This means that the primary purpose of the doctors is to help educate patients on ways that they can proactively maintain health and prevent injury.

Many of my patients come to my center initially because they have had an injury. In the case of an acute injury, acupuncture can serve as a frontline therapy to rehabilitate the patient back to 100 percent. More often, however, I see patients with chronic symptoms due to an old injury /accident.

Sports medicine research has demonstrated that an injury in one area can cause the body to compensate with other areas. This leads to weakness, fatigue, loss of strength and coordination and ultimately an increased probablity of another injury. In addition, pain, swelling, inflammation, scarring and atrophy leads to reduced circulation and hinders the body’s ability to repair itself. Acupuncture is a powerful approach to accelerating this repair process. But even acupuncture is a passive therapy so it should not be the end. YOU have to be proactive and preventative to avoid what we in the medical community refer to as Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs).

MSDs are disorder that can affect the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilidge, blood vessels, or spinal discs. Part of my purpose is to educate as many people as possible how to prevent these unneccessary injuries from occurring; how to understand the potential symptoms leading up to this type of injury; and how to access the natural methods of treatment available.

For my patients, I am only able to briefly touch on some of these healing and prevention strategies during their appointment times. Since this training is so vital for not only my patients but their friends and co-workers, I want to offer a free workshop so that I might present this information in its entirity.

“An Educational Approach to Injury Prevention and Safety” is unlike any safety training course you have seen before. This free workshop will cover the wisdom and science of Chinese medicine combined with most cutting-edge research and techniques. It is valuable information that could save you or someone you know from a lifetime of pain and suffering due to an injury.

I will be presenting this workshop at our center on August 30th for my patients and their guests who participate in an a brief injury prevention survey. You can fill out this survey on your next visit or online (click here to access the survey page). The survey results will help me to better serve our community through my volunteer education efforts. I commit myself to doing at least 40 workshops each year at no charge to encourage proactive health and disease/injury prevention.

Other workshops that I do regularly around San Diego include topics on weight loss, hormones, depression, arthritis, gastrointestinal function and, of course, pain and stress reduction. For a full list of topics available for free workshops, see our website or ask my Health Education Coordinator, Judianne. I will speak for any group of any size on any topic of natural health. If you think you may know of a group, organization, club or workplace that should consdier having a free workshop, please let me know at your next appointment, call or email me a note. Your ideas are very helpful in stearing me toward people that want to learn about what they can do right now to be more proactive and preventative in their healthcare.

Putting YOU First

If you are not deliberately putting yourself first and creating what you want, life demands will pull you in every direction like a puppet. Sound familiar?

When you are not deliberate in moving toward what you want by way of your thinking, speaking and doing, you will get what just shows up. That’s generally not a pretty sight. Your life becomes a matter of which way the wind is blowing. This is what I call living without purpose. What does that feel like? It feels like most of your day consists of things out of your control and you never feel like you can catch up.

Well, during the month of May, I am going to remind you even more about breaking this cycle and putting yourself first (this article focuses mainly on the ladies since May is traditionally about women, but it is just as important for guys).

When I speak to you about being in optimal health, I consider both your body (your hardware) and your state of mind (your software). If your state of mind is just trying to survive rather than experiencing joy, your body will respond with the protective mechanisms that make up the stress/survival response (my patients reading this should know what I am talking about). This can lead to a physical breakdown and a stress overload. When you deliberately create each and every day in the direction of what you desire, you start your life with the powerful momentum of control. When you are in control of your inner world, no matter how turbulent your outside world may get, it is only temporary and cannot touch the depths of who you truly are and what you desire.

Putting yourself first demonstrates the highest respect for you. More is demanded from women today than in any other time in history, so you must demand more from yourself. Being the best you can be requires your standards to be at the highest level. Not only in self respect, but also in care for your body, the foods that nourish it, the input you allow in your mind, the choices you make, and the environment and people you decide to be among.

Look at this month as a month not just in changing your diet, losing weight, or simply a promise to get on the treadmill, but rather a step up in your standards in who you see yourself becoming. Make a commitment to yourself that you will no longer accept what is in front of you or what you are told. Focus on KNOWING what you desire for your life and allowing nothing to interrupt your progress.

As you read these words you have the choice to let what you are reading fade from your memory or let it be a new start to the rest of your life. READY… decide to make a change right now! I know you may be reading this while sitting at work or home after a long day, but there is no time to waste. You MUST make a change right now! Stand up and say it out loud or write it down (if you are not in a place to be vocal). Commit to doing something, anything to put you first today.

That felt good, right? The next step is to pass on that feeling. Give this article to someone else to read. Give them a Gift of Health for Mother’s Day. Ask me and my staff about how you can make a difference for the women in your life during National Women’s Health Week.

Q

Questions to Get You Moving Forward

Be honest with yourself. Take time to think about what you want.

1. What do you want to change about your health?

2. What emotional or physical pains do you anticipate you will experience when you follow through with this change?

3. What emotional or physical pleasures do you think you would continue to experience if you do not follow through?

4. What will it cost you in all areas of your life if you do not change right now and long term?

5. How will it make you feel if you do not ultimately get the results you are looking for in your life?

6. What will you gain in all areas of your life, immediate and long-term, if you take action right now?

R

Research: Acupuncture Benefits Blood Pressure & Heart Function

A study published in the J Tradit Chin Med 1996;16:273-4 by Weihai et al reported that it was found that acupuncture treatment and nifedipine (an antihypertensive medication) were equally effective in reducing blood pressure in 62 patients with hypertension. These positive results are supported by other controlled trials.

• According to a study done by Bobkova et al it was shown that acupuncture-related decline of arterial pressure occurs in participation of pituitary and adrenal hormones as well as the polypeptides beta-endorphin and neurotensin.

• According to a study done by Anshelevich et al it was concluded that acupuncture resulted in a hypoaldosteronemic effect which showed statistically significant correlation with a decrease in the arterial blood pressure. The results obtained made it possible to regard the effect of acupuncture as one of the most significant mechanisms of its therapeutic action in hypertension.

• A study done by Radzievsky et al established that as a result of acupuncture a stable hypotensive effect, improvement or normalization of contractile function and diastolic values, a decrease of energy loss, reversal of myocardial hypertrophy were achieved. It is the decrease of sympathetic influences on the circulation system that plays an Important part in the onset of these positive changes.

• According to a study reported in the Journal of the British Medical Acupuncture Society the clinical picture Improved in 96% of those patients with hypertension who were treated with acupuncture.

• A recent study which appeared in the American Journal of Physiology by Chao et al showed that electroacupuncture significantly reduced myocardial ischemia and improved regional myocardial dysfunction. This finding suggests that electroacupuncture causes myocytes in the ischemic region to resume near-normal contractile function. The authors conclude that acupuncture may be a useful therapeutic approach for the treatment of angina in some patients. In this regard success with this approach has been reported.

Sources available upon request.

S

Some Stress-Busting Foods to Consider

Blueberries—Besides having been identified as one of the healthiest foods around, blueberries are very high in vitamin C, which has been shown to give the body added reserves to help it deal with high levels of stress. Also, blueberries contain a high amount of fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels that fluctuate too much are a major contributor to stress for some people.

Brown rice—All whole grains, including bulger wheat, quinoa, oats and brown rice contain plenty of B vitamins and also supply serotonin producing carbohydrates that do not spike blood sugar levels. They also contain plenty of healthy fiber.

Dried apricots—These are rich in magnesium, which is a stress-buster. Some people even say that magnesium helps reduce heart palpitations brought on by stress. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant as well. Apricots are also high in fiber and vitamin C. Don’t eat too many of them, though, because they also contain quite a bit of fructose, a type of sugar.

Sweet potatoes—Sweet potatoes can be particularly stress reducing because they can satisfy the urge we get for carbohydrates and sweets when we are under a great deal of stress. Instead of reaching for a donut, eat one of these instead. They are packed full of beta-carotene and other vitamins, and the fiber helps your body to process the carbohydrates in a slow and steady manner.

Tea—Researchers in England have found that people who drink tea de-stress more quickly than those drinking a fake tea substitute. Tea contains catechins, polyphenols, flavonoids and amino acids that affect your brain’s neurotransmitters and ultimately reduce blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Plus, green tea is naturally caffeinated so you can still get a little skip in your step.

Green vegetables—Broccoli, kale, and other dark green vegetables are powerhouses of vitamins that help replenish our bodies in times of stress. Many vegetables also contain potassium, which is good for our nerves and can calm them. Also, when we eat a diet high in vegetables, we do not feel weighed down by our diet, and it is easier to get stress-reducing exercise.

Oranges—Oranges are very rich in vitamin C. When you are stressed, your body releases even more free radicals than usual. Vitamin C helps to keep the free radicals in check, and repairs the body. Basically, it helps protect the body from the cumulative effects of stress.

Turkey—Turkey contains an amino acid called L-Tryptophan. This amino acid triggers the release of serotonin, which is a feel-good brain chemical. This is the reason why many people who eat turkey feel relaxed, or even tired, after eating it. L-Tryptophan has a documented calming effect. Chicken is also high in this amino acid. However, don’t eat them fried, or your body will be so busy digesting the fats that you will miss out on the benefit of these foods!

Water—While technically not a food, it is important to have sufficient water intake, as even a mild state of dehydration can stress your entire body. Keep your nerves steady by staying well hydrated.

Spinach—A deficiency in magnesium can cause migraine headaches and a feeling of fatigue. One cup of spinach provides 40 percent of your daily needs for magnesium.

Salmon—Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart disease. A study from Diabetes & Metabolism found that omega-3s keep the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline from peaking.

Avocados—The monounsaturated fats and potassium in avocados help lower blood pressure. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says that one of the best ways to lower blood pressure is to consume enough potassium (avocados have more than bananas)

Something Old... Something New... Chinese Medicine

Bionic limbs, a smart mouthguard to monitor athletes for concussions, and genetically modified mosquitoes designed to reduce disease are among the Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2012 selected by a panel of Cleveland Clinic doctors and scientists during its annual Medical Innovation Summit. It’s amazing how quickly technology and science has leapt forward even just in the recent past. It seems like we are always searching for the newest technology, procedures, medications and more. Whatever is newer and faster must be better. But Chinese medicine is not new. In fact, it was initially developed more than 3,000 years ago.

Recent studies continue to elevate Chinese medicine as an integral part in our modern healthcare system. As a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, it is my job to educate my colleagues, patients and community members about the science behind the modalities of Chinese medicine. That is why I take time away from my office and my family to do free workshops and provide free counseling and education in San Diego.

Even as our healthcare system continues to transition to a more patient-centered model, focused on prevention, Chinese medicine is still limited in its exposure to patients. That is why I so often encourage my community, my friends and my patients to educate as many people as possible about the benefits of Chinese medicine as a natural approach to optimal health. It is only with your help that I can continue to help more people and I appreciate your continued support. As always, I encourage you to bring your friends, family and neighbors to any of my free educational workshops. If you want your co-workers to learn more, I’ll be happy to come to your office and speak at no charge on any topic of natural health.

There are many reasons that Chinese medicine is growing in popularity in the United States. For one, many people are trying to avoid or reduce dangerous or addictive medications by replacing them with more natural approaches. Secondly, Western doctors are becoming more aware and supportive of modalities such as acupuncture as a referral for patients. And one of the most compelling reasons for a rising interest in the use of Chinese medicine is that IT WORKS!

So, if Chinese medicine has such a long history and it is proven effective, why isn’t it a more significant part of our health plans? Most companies have wellness programs of some kind in place to promote health education and avoid loss due to illness or other chronic health problems, including obesity. So, why isn’t the average employee becoming a model of health? Why is our life expectancy as a nation still lower than some third-world countries? It’s not the lack of education and knowledge. Each one of you has probably participated in or least heard about health fairs or lunch and learn events in the workplace. These programs are usually once a year or, maybe with a devoted HR team, a couple times a year. It’s an avalanche of information – most of which we already know (eat healthier and exercise more). That information is usually appreciated and then tucked away somewhere until the next “get healthy week.”

Knowledge is not power. It is what you do with that knowledge that makes you powerful. My patients know that optimal health is not something you achieve overnight, but it is something that requires regular maintenance and attention. Health is not a one-size fits all equation. Each individual is unique and requires personalized care and coaching. This is the missing piece for most wellness programs I have seen. Does it mean that the human resources staff just doesn’t care enough? NO, but they don’t usually have the time, resources or training to implement a true community of wellness. That is why I am starting to offer complete corporate wellness services for companies of any size in San Diego. If you think your workplace could benefit please let me know whom I can contact. I can provide a free analysis and proposal outlining a customized wellness plan that is effective and efficient. With my help you can help your entire company of co-workers to avoid injury and illness, be more productive in their jobs and live happier and healthier than ever before. All you need to do is plant the seed by sharing what you know about Chinese medicine.

More and more people are discovering the powerful results that Chinese medicine can provide and telling their stories. With that in mind, please read and share some of our patient success stories. If you haven’t shared your success with us, please send me an e-mail or recommend us on Facebook.

Stress & Dangerous Trends

More than ever, office and professional employees are struggling to balance the demands of life with personal health maintenance. This healthcare crisis demands that we change the way we approach wellness and that starts by changing our philosophy of health. The common philosophy is “no symptom, no problem.” As long as I don’t have any symptoms I am healthy. The statistics say otherwise.

The 5 most dangerous trends facing employees are…

1. Depression results in more sick days than most other ailments (such as ulcers, diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis).

2. Weight gain affects job productivity…
o Weight increase of 64 lbs translates to 9% lower wages.
o Decrease in BMI by 10 pts. increased wealth by as much as $12,720 annually.

3. Medication. Long term exposure to common medications can lead to severe health problems.
o NSAID’s [Motrin (Ibuprofen) & Voltaren (Diclofenac)] may cause such serious side effects as gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer, gastrointestinal bleeding, tinnitus, blurred vision, dizziness and headache.
o Cox-2 inhibitors [such as Celebrex (Celecoxib)], are associated with significantly higher risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attack and stroke.

4. Anxiety
Research has shown that people who experience heightened levels of anxiety are four to five times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.

5. PAIN
Almost thirteen percent of the total workforce experienced a loss in productive time during a two-week period due to a common pain condition:
o 5.4% for headache
o 3.2% for back pain
o 2.0% for arthritis pain
o 2.0% for other musculoskeletal pain

Not surprisingly, pain can be a trigger leading to all four of these other conditions. Chronic pain can cause a person to become depressed, gain weight, over use medications, and develop anxiety attacks. Have you ever known (or been) someone in a state of chronic pain? Were they (you) overly sensitive? Did they (you) experience emotional ups and downs? Did they (you) seem to be in a perpetual “stressed out” state?

Pain and Stress are partners in crime. Chronic pain leads to stress and chronic stress leads to pain. It’s a viscous cycle and, unfortunately, it is a daily reality for many people. The secret to breaking the pain/stress cycle is based on understanding how your body functions. Your autonomic nervous system handles all forms of stress and strain on the body, including emotional, physical, chemical and environmental stressors. When that system is not functioning at 100 percent, the body begins to break down. If your demands far exceed your recovery, that breakdown will be accelerated and the body will start to trigger alarms to alert you to the problem. These alarms are called symptoms. Most people think that symptoms are an indication of a new problem. The truth is that symptoms are the last phase of the body’s dysfunction, not the first. Most of the nerves in your system (roughly 90 percent) control function of all the organs and tissues of the body. Only 10 percent of those nerves control pain. That means that the body can be at more than 60 percent malfunction before you even start to feel any symptoms.

So if you are already in pain and have been stressed out for a long time does it mean it’s too late? NO! That is the beauty of the body’s innate intelligence. Your body has an amazing built-in self-repair process that, once triggered, can reverse damage and return itself to homeostasis (proper, balanced function). Does this mean you can continue with your current philosophy of health and worry about reversing the damage later? NO! When the body starts to malfunction, eventually a disease process begins that can have irreversible consequences. What is the first symptom of heart disease? A heart attack – 40 percent of which are fatal. There is no cure for fatal. So, don’t wait until it’s too late. Start supporting function.
Oftentimes people in pain are so focused on getting out of pain that they don’t look beyond the symptoms to the underlying causes. If you are awaken by your fire alarm going off due to a fire, what should you do? Remove the batteries to get the alarm to stop beeping so you can go back to sleep? Or, maybe just put on some noise-canceling headphones so you can learn to live with the noise? NO! Find the fire and put it out. Go to the source of the problem. If you don’t, you will surely suffer more severe problems in the near future. It is the same with your body. Listen to the alarms and follow them to the source of your problem. It is okay to turn down the noise with medications but don’t assume that once you have silenced the alarm, the problem has disappeared.

The job of your physician is to remove the cause of the dysfunction or disease so that the body can have the opportunity to heal itself. Acupuncture can restore balance to the body, improve autonomic nervous system function, and speed up that healing process. That takes care of the pain for now and helps heal the internal problem, but what about the external triggers – your work, your responsibilities, your bank account… all the things that are fueling your stress. There is no surgical procedure for removing unwanted people, places and situations from your life. But, there are ways to control how these things impact your physiology in addition to acupuncture.

Tai Chi, yoga, meditation, physical and mental exercises, deep breathing, guided visualization, stretching, trigger point release (acupressure)… the list goes on and on. There are so many things you can do to help reduce the impact of stress on your system. However, none of these things will make any difference if you don’t first change your philosophy. If your philosophy is to run after the problems after they appear then you are only going to run out of steam. You MUST make your health a priority so schedule some time to Stomp Out Stress!

Not sure where to start? Ask me. Even if you are not a patient – ask me. I want to help! Start by coming to my Pain & Stress Reduction training or schedule a free workshop at your workplace, home or community organization.

Survival of the Stress-Less

We all have so much to do in such little time. We have expectations to achieve, deadlines to meet, things we think we SHOULD do, things we HAVE to do and things we LIKE to do also. We are limited to one body in one place at one time, so trying to tackle all of these things in our minds at once can cause a huge strain. Technology has advanced so much that it gives us a perceived outreach to handle more than one thing at once from our one physical space on the planet. However, our own mainframe computer called the brain is constantly pushed into overdrive. If we are not careful, overload and ultimately meltdown occurs. Don’t let it happen to you this year.

Before technology tucked us all ‘safely’ behind a screen, the nervous system depended on your physical perceptions of a threat. You see a tiger. It sees you (dinner). Your nervous system knows that if you don’t make it up a tree immediately, you will be dinner. The system requires every ounce of explosive power to sprint to that tree. Therefore, the nervous system will shift a higher amount of blood flow into the arms and especially into the legs to make it happen. Now, realize when blood flow shifts to the extremities it must flow from somewhere else. That somewhere else is from the main organs of the body. The brain will cause what is called vasoconstriction in the organ system so that blood flow is pushed at high velocity into the extremities.

This program is still in effect in today’s world but with no real tigers triggering it, only perceived. Now, you’re probably thinking, I consciously know the difference between a real and perceived threat. You are correct in that you know the difference ‘consciously.’ But the problem is that we are not fully conscious all of the time. In fact, according to research, we are only conscious maybe five percent of our day. The other 95 percent of the time, our subconscious is running the show. A perfect example is when you first learned to drive a car you were extremely attentive and fully conscious of your surroundings. Now compare that with 10 years later driving your car. How many things are you being extremely attentive to and how many things are on automatic pilot. Have you ever driven to a destination that you do routinely and have thought, “I don’t remember any of my drive today!” You then have this brief uneasy feeling that you weren’t paying attention. This is a glimpse of what is happening most of the time in our day. It is not always a bad thing because most things that are routine can be automatically done. But when we are routinely feeling emotions like overwhelm, fear, anxiety, depression and worry it activates the same signal of stress to the nervous system even if you know consciously that your boss is not a saber-toothed tiger. This automatic process, when left unattended, leads to insufficient blood flow to major organs and tissues in the body. Over time those organs cease to function without life-sustaining nutrients normally brought through by blood flow.

This old stress/fight/flight connection also suppresses your immune system. If your body is trying to fight a bacterial infection and suddenly you are running from a tiger, the brain/nervous system sees the more imminent external threat as higher priority. The nervous system will shift its resources (blood flow) toward the demands to fight the external threat instead of focusing on moving immune substances to fight the internal threat. In short, once stress goes up, immune function goes down. You add holiday foods into the mix to create a deficit of health enhancing nutrients and a back up in the detoxification system in the body and you get a common holiday recipe: it’s called getting sick.

Yet another negative side-effect of stress is limited brain function. Have you ever noticed that when you’re stressed out or overwhelmed you can’t think straight. It is not just you. We are hardwired under stress to vasoconstrict the blood vessels in the front of the brain, causing blood flow to shift to the hindbrain. What does this mean? The forebrain is the center of thinking and reasoning and logic. This part of the brain is much slower than the hind brain which controls reflex activity for emergencies. Adrenal hormones constrict the vessels of the forebrain reducing its ability to function AND these hormones repress activity in the brains prefrontal cortex. So in a stress response we primarily work from hind brain reflex mechanisms. So when we are in stress/overwhelm/worry, we are less intelligent.

These are just a few of the dangerous effects of stress on your system. But I can’t leave you hanging there or else we’ll be perpetuating that same stress response I described by making you worry. I want to share a few secrets about how to offset stress so that you can enjoy this time of year with the people you care most about. There are many ways to interrupt the stress response, but I just want to touch on two simple ones that are proven to dramatically reduce the effects of stress on your nervous system. Yes, one of them is acupuncture.

All stress begins at the level of thinking. Your brain is constantly making associations. When you think about one thing it immediately associates to another thought and then another and so on. The perceived threats (stress) that we covered already are false associations created in your brain. So the first way to break the stress response fuel lines is to create ‘gaps in thoughts’ to break up those associations and slow down the tidal wave of stress. A simple activity is bringing your attention to your breathing for one minute. I mean full attention, not while your driving, watching the news, reading the paper. When you take as little as one minute to create a consciously intended gap from thought to your breath, you interrupt that constant flow of subconscious stress associations you don’t even know you are having. A one minute gap in thoughts interrupts the flow of negative subconscious chatter. Your ‘to-do list’ will still be there and all that awaits you will not come crumbling down. Now let’s step it up a notch. If you take many ‘one minutes’ through your day, you will create a more profound shift. The challenge is we get so caught up in our day that we forget or simply say ‘I don’t have time’. Instead of making more time, just take a glimpse at your day and see where it would fit in easily. Before getting out of your car, there’s your ‘one minute’. Before turning the key on the ignition of your car is another one minute gap from thought. Upon lying down before going to sleep and upon waking are other ‘one minute gaps’ from thought you can take.

Gaps from thinking can also be created with activities that require high amounts of concentration. As most of you know, I’ve competed in full contact martial arts for years. My training at that time was always in preparation for the next match. Today, I still train and spar, but my intention is not preparing for the ring, but rather in training myself to create gaps in thinking. When a punch is coming at me, there is no time to think, otherwise I get hit. This is why some people experience euphoria in intense competition or other experiences that require full present time awareness. You don’t need to fight full contact or sky dive to achieve this state. The one essential ingredient is to find something that brings you a high amount of joy. When you are doing something that you love, no one has to tell you to pay attention. The simple act of doing what you love means that you are fully attentive, therefore creating a gap in thinking. To the degree we are present, fully conscious and engaged in the now, there is no stress. The mind causes us to stress because it takes us to past which we cannot change or pulls us into future unresolved worries. The problem is our nervous system is responding to past and future in the present time leading to a strain on the system because you cannot change it in the present. You end up feeling stuck, also known as depressed or overloaded. In short, anxiety.

In addition to interrupting the stress response with the ‘one minute’ exercise, activities requiring intense concentration, and activities that you enjoying doing, acupuncture therapy can be a powerful compliment in interrupting stress by resetting the autonomic nervous system.

Whenever these stress circuits are turned on they can end up being self perpetuating habituated patterns. Acupuncture can be the most direct way to reset these neurological circuits rather quickly. I caution people not to wait for an overload before they reach out for acupuncture (or other stress-reducing techniques). Realize that most of what is going on in the body from a stand point of stress on the system you don’t feel right away. Once you feel it, realize that it’s been building up to get to that point. Acupuncture’s impact on the autonomic nervous system disengages sympathetic stress signals (fight/flight response), causing the body to go into what is called neurological homeostasis. Homeostasis means a fully functioning, balanced nervous system.

Most of us carry some form of acute or chronic stress in our musculoskeletal system as result of excessive amount of demands both physical and more often mental. Younger folks can adapt to it but as we get older we are progressively less able to tolerate these demands. The brain develops what is called plasticity, which means it becomes highly sensitized to things with which it once had no problem. This, in turn, over activates the nervous system more often with less recovery. High amounts of real or perceived demands plus less recovery leads to a break down in the system. By implementing acupuncture into your lifestyle you reduce both acute and chronic stress by interrupting and resetting this process. In addition, acupuncture works by way of activating the serotonergic system of the brain. Pharmaceutical companies make millions on drugs called antidepressants that manipulate serotonin in our bodies. Acupuncture activates your body’s own natural pharmacy.

Give yourself the gift of health and wellbeing. Come in for regular resets, especially during the holidays to offset stress and feel good.

Stress Management Tips

Let’s face it, stress is here to stay. It’s like a bright light in your face… it can create a real strain if you keep focused on it all the time. Stress can be a tool to help us grow but without allowing ourselves time to adapt, the demands become too excessive and our bodies begin to break down. There is a very delicate balance between a stress breakdown and breakthrough. Understanding this amazing ability to adapt and grow from stress as the catalyst to mental and physical growth is your key to freedom. Take these tips. Use them. Share them with others. And start making stress work for you instead of on you.

Signs of Stress Overload
People who are experiencing stress overload may notice some of the following signs:
• physical symptoms, such as stomach problems, headaches, or even chest pain
• anxiety or panic attacks
• a feeling of being constantly pressured, hassled, and hurried
• problems sleeping
• depression or sadness
• irritability and moodiness
• allergic reactions, such as eczema or asthma
• drinking too much, smoking, overeating, or doing drugs

Everyone experiences stress a little differently. Some people become angry and act out their stress or take it out on others. Some people internalize it and develop eating disorders or substance abuse problems. And some people who have a chronic illness may find that the symptoms of their illness flare up under an overload of stress.

Take Control
What can you do to deal with stress overload? The most helpful method of dealing with stress is learning how to manage the stress that comes along with any new challenge, either it being bad or good. Stress-management skills work best when they’re used on a regular basis, what I like to call ‘proactive prevention’. Knowing how to release the pressure cooker of stress buildup and doing it when things are going well builds the foundation when challenging times come up. Here are some things that can help you kill the stress bug.

• Schedule more ‘me’ time. Cut out an activity or two, choosing just the ones that are most important to you.

• Be realistic. Don’t try to be perfect and don’t expect perfection from others. Do your best and expect the best from others. As long as you’re honest with yourself, you will always be doing your best.

• Learn to relax. The body’s natural antidote to stress is called the relaxation response. It’s your body’s opposite of stress, and it creates a sense of well-being and calm. The chemical benefits of the relaxation response can be activated simply by relaxing. You can help trigger the relaxation response by learning simple breathing exercises and then using them when you’re caught up in stressful situations. And ensure you stay relaxed by building time into your schedule for activities that are calming and pleasurable: reading a good book or making time for a hobby, spending time with your pet, or just taking a relaxing bath.

• Get a little more sleep. Better sleep is restorative and provides us with a better energy and improved ability to handle the pressures of the day. Getting enough sleep makes you better equipped to deal with any negative stressors.

• Be good to your body. Experts agree that getting regular exercise helps people manage stress. In addition, eating well to help your body get the right fuel to function at its best. It’s easy when you’re stressed out to eat on the run or eat junk food or fast food. But under stressful conditions, the body needs specific vitamins and minerals more than ever. Some people may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to ease tension. Although alcohol or drugs may seem to lift the stress temporarily, relying on them to cope with stress actually breaks down the body’s ability to bounce back.

• Stand guard at the door of your mind. Your attitude and thoughts influence the way you see things. A healthy dose of optimism can help you make the best of stressful circumstances. Even if you’re out of practice, everyday put into your mind the outcome you want in the day. Keep focused on your outcome and over time, your positive attitude will carry you through and you will reap the benefits.

• Take control of your healthcare. Remember that you are at the center of integrated care. Take the best of all medicines to enhance your health. Taking opportunities to learn more can lead to simple lifestyle changes that could make all the difference.

Build Your Toughness (persistence + flexibility)
Ever notice that certain people seem to adapt quickly to stressful circumstances and take things in stride? They’re cool under pressure and able to handle problems as they come up. Research has identified the qualities that make peak performers seem naturally resilient even when faced with heightened levels of stress. If you want to build your toughness against stress overload, practice what peak performers do:

• Schedule relaxation and fun on at least a weekly basis, daily is best

• See setbacks and problems as challenges and opportunities

• Think of change as an opportunity for growth

• Stay outcome focused and believe with certainty like the ground you walk on that you will succeed if you keep working toward your goals

• Build strong relationships that magnify the feelings you want

• Ask for help when your need it

Safe Alternatives to Prescription Pain Relief: Herbs, Acupuncture, Massage

Prescription pain killers have serious side effects and if taken long-term, they can cause irreversible damage to the body. Some common side effects of prolonged use include ulcers, kidney and liver damage.

In addition to the physical problems, new research is showing environmental effects of the pharmaceutical industry. When drugs enter the sewage system and waterways, they dissolve. This pollutes waterways and wildlife and can cause many health problems.

Alternative approaches are available that are not only free of drugs’ harmful side effects, but also dump less toxic byproducts into the water.

According to Janet Zand, a naturopathic physician, licensed acupuncturist, and Doctor of Oriental Medicine, herbs serve as a natural anti-inflammatory and help strengthen immune function.
“If you strengthen and balance the entire body, then the body often has less pain in general,” she said.

Some herbs have anti-inflammatory properties that ease back pain and muscle aches (camphor and clove), while others reduce bruising and muscle soreness (arnica), relieve arthritis pain (capsaicin, an extract of cayenne pepper), etc.

Acupuncture is another alternative to drug therapy that results in significant pain relief for both chronic and acute conditions including, neck pain, menstrual cramps, migraines, carpal tunnel syndrome and kidney stones. Scientists believe acupuncture stimulates endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers.

Physicians from Beth Israel Hospital in Seattle published a report which showed massage was effective for chronic lower back pain. Similar studies have shown massage helps reduce the pain and swelling in breast cancer patients.

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles also found massages reduce muscle spasms in patients following heart bypass surgeries.

According to Kathleen Miller-Read, licensed massage therapist, “about 80% of my clients come to me because they are in pain.” She uses a combination of Swedish massage, deep tissue techniques, reflexology and acupressure and encourages her patients to make lifestyle changes, including diet, exercise, aromatherapy, and if possible, Chiropractic and Acupuncture care.

SOURCE: “The Natural Alternative to Prescription Pain Relief,” Melissa Knopper, Environmental Magazine.

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The Pain Problem

When I do my workshops, I often ask people to raise their hands if they experience pain on a regular basis. Unfortunately, I usually get 90 to 100 percent of the rooms raising their hands. I ask my guests to look around and observe how many other people live with pain. Although it is extremely common, pain is NOT normal. If you, or someone you know, experiences chronic pain (daily, weekly, monthly) it is an indication of a health problem. Pain is your body’s way of communicating a malfunction. It is a protective mechanism that can become self-sustaining if it is not addressed.

Over time, pain in and of itself is not the worst part of this chronic condition. Chronic pain interferes with all aspects of a person’s life from productivity to mental and emotional well being. Pain is the second leading cause of medically related work absenteeism, resulting in more than 50 million lost workdays each year, according to the American Pain Society. In addition, 1 in 3 Americans lose more than 20 hours of sleep each month due to pain, according to the American Alliance of Cancer Pain Initiatives (AACPI). Perhaps the most alarming statistic is people with back pain or other forms of musculoskeletal pain are 14 times more likely to consider suicide than the general population. In fact, 19 percent of those individual with any chronic painful condition will think about suicide.

Your body would never do anything to harm itself, but when you are stuck in a chronic pain cycle, your body can no longer pinpoint the exact area of the problem so it goes into extreme protective mode and simply locks down the area with pain and inflammation. A very direct way to alert your brain to the source of a chronic pain contraction is needling therapy… acupuncture. Once we reset those pain receptors and give your body a chance to address the underlying cause of the symptoms, things start to work better and pain signals finally turn off. That first phase of relief begins a cascade of positive changes in a person’s health and life.

A question I get almost as often as “what does acupuncture treat,” is “why do we have chronic conditions if the body is supposed to be able to repair itself?” This was one of the reasons why the Chinese researched and developed acupuncture as a therapy. Even 3,000 years ago, they were seeing patients with chronic conditions. These doctors realized, after a lot of study, that the nervous system handles all the activity in the body, and it handles things in order of priority. They determined that any condition that becomes chronic is not a threat to survival and so the body does not see the problem as a high priority for repair. Blood clotting is the highest priority system when it comes to survival so the Chinese decided to manipulate this system through needling therapy to create a high priority for healing at the source of a patient’s chronic condition. This is one of the very basic explanations of why acupuncture works.

So how do you know if you are setting yourself up for a chronic condition? Symptoms are the last signal of the body’s malfunction, not the first. So, don’t wait for symptoms and assume you are healthy if you experience stressors, especially trauma or emotional tension.

TRAUMA (cumulative like typing or sudden like a car accident). Studies have shown that 10 years after an auto accident, 68% of victims have headaches, radiating pain, and neck pain. This was without stitches or major external injuries. Auto accident victims also have an 80% higher incidence of osteoarthritis and get it faster.

EMOTIONAL TENSION. You do not need to have been physically injured to experience chronic pain and other symptoms. The body only responds to stress in one way. It is the fight or flight response and it applies to real threats and perceived threats alike. Your brain does not interpret the stress of physical stressor and an imagined or emotional stressor. Over time, when your body is constantly running from your mental tigers, it will gradually start to break down from the overload and chronic symptoms, including pain, can manifest.

Other common stressors that can lead to chronic conditions include infection, immobilization or de-conditioning, digestive inflammation and allergies. If you have questions about how to deal with these or other stressors, please ask me. Chinese medicine is all about being proactive and preventative. We have 3,000 years of wisdom and science that can be used to combat all forms of stress and strain on the human body. As a specialist in the medical field, I can help you assess the underlying cause of any symptoms you or people you know are having. I encourage you to extend my offer to help to anyone who you think may be suffering from chronic pain but also to those who you know have been in an accident or had sudden or ongoing emotional trauma.

The F-E-A-R Factor

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can cause us to hesitate, stop or step back in retreat. When you have this experience what you are feeling is actually a cascade of neuro-endocrine signals telling your body to prepare for fight or flight. It’s a primal response for self-preservation. Fear gets a bad reputation as something we have to conquer or overcome. So what if I were to tell you that you could use your fear as fuel? With awareness and a little practice you can make fear your friend and use it to propel you forward instead of burning you up.

“If you do what you fear most, the death of fear is certain.” I found this to be true again and again in my training in the martial arts. I learned to translate the physical feeling of fear into an idea that “my body is preparing to perform at its peak level.” Just like me, you can re-interpret your fears in ways that serve you moving forward.

The first step to harnessing your fear is understanding the threat. Often in our lives, there is no real threat to survival and yet we are overcome with F-E-A-R (False Evidence Appearing Real). Think about a time when you saw a scary movie. Consciously you knew the movie was not real but subconsciously you were still looking over your shoulder after you double checked that the door was locked. When you can learn to recognize that there is not a true threat to your survival your body can start to relax and you can become more efficient.

The second step is practice, practice, practice. Practice visualizing or imagining an experience that brings the greatest fear or stress in your life. Practice seeing yourself victorious in the situation . See and feel yourself overcoming that which you fear over and over and when you are presented with it in real time, you’ll be quite amazed at how much more easily you are able to handle the feeling and push through.

If you allow yourself to step into your fears and focus beyond them on the outcome you want, your nervous system will adapt to recognize fear as opportunity. When you are less reactive in your response to fear you can start to adjust and strategize. By training your brain and body in this way, you will feel fear and automatically step forward instead of stepping back.

Although it may be uncomfortable to practice facing your fears, the only way to grow is to push through resistance. The good news is that in the martial arts and in life anticipation of a punch is MUCH worse that the actual event. With that said, be careful not to let yourself get overloaded. When the nervous system has too much data to process it can trigger fear, anxiety and overwhelm that can lead to depression. Tighten your focus and concentrate on one target – your outcome. Cut out all other options, thoughts, opinions, ideas. Put your blinders on and only look forward. It is a challenge but it will help you master your fears.

'Tis The Season

Right now you are probably wondering if you even have time to read this article. We all get busy and, for some reason, this time of year seems to be busier than any other. ‘I don’t have time’ is a common excuse I hear all year long, but it becomes socially acceptable to quit during the holiday season. We can sugar-coat it any way we want by calling it a break, postponing success, waiting for the right time, setting a start date (for January). Any way you spin it, you are giving up on a goal, a target, a plan. If you stop moving forward you are giving up on yourself.

My advice for this month: Slow down if you must, but don’t stop. Have you ever tried to push a stalled vehicle (or anything heavier than you for that matter). When it is completely stopped it takes a mountain of strength and leverage to get it moving. However, once it starts moving (no matter how slowly) the effort it takes to push becomes exponentially less. Momentum is powerful in physics but it’s even more powerful when it comes to psychology and physiology.

When I say slow down you all should know me well enough to know that I don’t mean step back or change your goals. Instead, narrow your focus. The more precise your focus is the more powerful you will be become in your purpose. By focusing on the ‘one’ it takes the overwhelm out of the ‘all’. This does not mean you have to ignore your responsibilities and tasks. Just start asking yourself what each task means and how it can help you can change the meaning so that it aligns with your focus and supports your goal.

Let’s look at an example. Let’s say the goal is to lose weight or maintain your healthy weight. Right now you might be challenged by tempting holiday treats and social invitations. Instead of backing away from all the fun, or worse, throwing out all your progress; try participating with a different focus. What I mean is, go to the holiday parties and really focus on the joy of friendship and family. Savor the time with them and how it fuels you to take better care of yourself. Admire, smell and sample the treats (just a little). Don’t focus on quantity; instead, focus on what the treats represent. Appreciate the person who gave it to you or took the time to make it for you or offer it to you as a welcoming or loving gesture. Heighten your awareness of the things and people around you so that you are more present and focused. This simple strategy puts you in control and can propel you forward by creating more positive associations. That way you don’t end up with a belly full of guilt- and regret-covered chocolates and no idea how they got in there so fast.

For more ideas on these kinds of strategies, read my article on Holiday Eating & Mindfulness. You can apply these ideas all year round to increase your focus and your success.

Three Steps to Success

When wanting to achieve a goal most people just set the goal and take the most obvious actions to get the result. So if your outcome is to lose weight, you immediately associate dieting and exercise and off you go. You hit a bump in the road and it startles you, but it is still early in the uphill race. I say uphill because it feels like you’re going against the norm and all the things that feel good. Isn’t that what the process of achieving a goal is all about? Pushing against all odds, feeling the resistance and pushing through it, fall and get back up as fast as you can, This is the path we can observe from the greatest success stories. What you don’t see is the source of what drives that powerful, almost superhuman drive. That source is a mental/emotional state that contains three parts, the third being the most important because it causes the shift.

Before deciding to take any physical action, taking yourself through these three steps is absolutely critical, otherwise it will be virtually impossible to achieve and maintain this new goal. Step one is the easy step: What is it that you want? It’s too easy to get focused on what you don’t want. The more clear you are in your outcome the more clear your focus is and the straighter your course of action. “I want to get healthier”, “I want to lose weight”, “I want to get in shape”, “I want to stop taking those medications”. These are honorable goals to strive for but are perfect examples of goals that are either too general or are focused on what one doesn’t want. Be very clear, paint the picture in your mind, create the detail with color, finding references of what you want to feel and look like, for example. Notice that I haven’t talked about what kind of diet or exercise would be best. Most often people are in such a rush to get out of the emotional pain they are in, they have no idea where they are going.

Step two is the compelling why behind what you want. This is the fuel that will get you there. The more compelling reason behind what you want the more powerful your drive. This can be called the ‘convince me’ stage. If you can’t convince me with compelling reasons, I won’t buy it; and neither will you at the deepest level. In other words, it will be a dead goal that will last about a day;, top end, a week or two (sounds like most New Year’s resolutions). This is why most people can’t get past the first few weeks with their goal. It’s never about just having the right diet or the perfect exercise plan – those are only and always secondary factors. Your mindset is what drives everything. You can have the best trainer and top chefs cooking for you, but if you do not have a clear reason behind what it is you want, you’ll be eating the best dessert that your chef made while watching your trainers workout. Before taking another step in wanting to achieve your goal, take a step back and be clear on step one and step two. Stop placing so much energy on action and place a majority of your energy on your mindset first. When times get tough, it will be your mental attitude that will pull you through.

Step three is the biggest hurdle that must be made otherwise your outcome will never be realized for life. This is unfortunately the step that most do not pass. It is here where you see the magical change occur in people from where they are to where they want. This one word is the difference in really achieving what it is that you desire and ultimately failing. Step three is BELIEF. To believe you can achieve your outcome and maintain that belief in the face of your current reality is what will get you to your outcome. You can be crystal clear in what you want and really, REALLY want it, more than anything you wanted in your life, but if you don’t believe, at your core that you will have it, you will not succeed. The emotional charge of your belief must be to the same degree of certainty you have in knowing that the ground you walk on will hold you up, or the same degree of knowing that you will wake up tomorrow morning. It is one thing is to say you believe you can achieve it, and another is to know in your heart of hearts that what you are striving for you will have. Up to now, if you have not achieved an outcome and you have tried everything with such burning fire behind it, your belief may be the only missing ingredient.

The challenge is believing with certainty we can achieve something if we have never achieved it before. Find things that you already believe that match where you are going. Begin focusing on what you do know is already working in your life rather than focusing on what’s missing. The more you bring your attention to where you currently are, the more you drain your power of belief in achieving what you want. You must amplify those things in your life that are working for you to such a degree that there becomes no awareness/ attention on what’s missing and actually becomes unimportant. Sounds obsessive and extreme, but this is what is required. You need to stop putting things that you cannot do anything about in this moment in time such as your weight, your body, getting into perfect shape, etc. ahead of things that you can control right now; that is, your mental attitude and more specifically the power of your belief. Your brain works by way of associations. If you associate enough positively energizing ideas, feel good situations, past success, current and ongoing achievements like, “I am exercising and eating nutritional foods today,” to your outcome, you begin to match things that you believe to be true with absolute certainty with your outcome.

Begin finding statements that you already believe that match your desire. So if your outcome is to lose weight, you have to find thoughts that you believe that will link up and associate with your goal to be thinner. If you begin with thoughts such as, ‘I can be thin again’, it’s too far from your current beliefs. If you make statements such as, ‘every time I exercise I feel better about myself’, that is a belief that you can link up with your belief in losing weight. If you make a statement or think a thought such as, ‘I feel fat in these pants’, it will drain your power of belief. If this thought or statement pops up, in that moment you decide to not make a story about what you observed because that story/comment about feeling fat is the exact reason you are not getting past step three. If you keep reassuring yourself the reality of what is in front of you, you will simply keep believing what you see and stay stagnant. The more thoughts you have that give you powerful positive feeling and hope about your desire, the more momentum you have and the faster you get there. Don’t hesitate, just take that step. If you need help ask me. This is why I’m here.

I must state this again because it is absolutely crucial and that is, you cannot place any attention to the gap or what you don’t have because that will immediately cause a spiral of associations of failure and lack leading to leading to giving up. Now if this does happen. Don’t just give up and begin eating those donuts. Instead just get up, brush off your pants, go back to step one and two and begin finding statements that you already believe that match your desire. “I can do this, I know people that achieved this goal that were 10 times worse off than me. I’ve succeeded in achieving goals in my life that were as tough as this one. Every time I feel resistance it feels like I’m in the gym lifting heavier weights. I know those heavier weights have always made me stronger. I know that this moment is tough, but I know I’ve been through time s like this in this past and gotten me to where I am today”. By just talking yourself through the process by looking for positive connections to your outcome you keep moving forward. A good practice is to step outside of yourself and talk to yourself as if you were the trainer, the coach, the best friend, the mom of you. What would you say?

What I want you to realize is that most, if not all the ongoing work that needs to be done is not about what actions you take, but rather the internal dialogue you have with you. What I mean by ongoing is everyday. Just like your commitment to exercise and diet is scheduled in, you must also schedule these three parts of a mental attitude into your DAILY regimen. When it ‘feels’ like all you need to do is keep driving down this road and you will certainly be there with the same ‘knowingness’ that you that you feel driving home at the end of the day, knowing you will get there, you achieved step three. To the external world it may look like you are pushing through challenges, taking on obstacle after obstacle, falling and getting up, but on the inside you are in a state of bliss, because you know with certainty you are on the road to success.

The Law of Giving

The more we inspire others, the more we become inspired. The more love we give, the more love we get. The more we give the more we receive. This is the law of giving. The key ingredient is give what you want most in your life. But it is important not to expect it from a “I did this for you, now you should do this for me.” Instead, give with the pure joy of giving, as if you are extremely excited to give this gift.

Have you heard of the saying, “We give most what we want in life?” This saying is based on the law of giving. For those that are striving for optimal health, this law can come in very handy. One major challenge in striving for optimal health is achieving healthy weight loss. We tend to have our ups and downs. Using the law of giving, you can actually turn those downs into ups and our ups even higher at will!

Here is how it would work for this situation. First of all, those on the Optimal Health program striving to lose weight, WILL lose weight. That is a guaranteed. Another guarantee is that you will have some plateaus. These plateaus or what I call sticking points can be minimized through practicing the law of giving. Specifically, it is done through inspiring others. When we inspire others we become re-inspired by the energy that is created in that person. I practice this law constantly by continuously inspiring my patients to achieve greater levels of health.

My patients come in and continuously lose weight, have more energy, a bounce in their step and more life in their voice. When they bring this energy into the office they inspire me to stay on track with my health. The inspiration they generate in me bounces right back at them which pushes them to even higher levels of inspiration. It then becomes a continuous ever-growing cycle of momentum. The seminars I do on optimal health create such a charge in the room that everyone leaves extra motivated. Knowing this, anytime I feel my motivation begin to slip, I schedule a seminar on optimal health for them and me.

This universal law is so powerful that once you touch it you will be absolutely amazed! I challenge each and everyone of you to experience this phenomenal law. As you begin to talk about health, weight loss, improved energy, etc., you will not only inspire and be inspired but you will also be held accountable for being a healthy person. That puts the responsibility of practicing what you preach. I have this responsibility daily which keeps me constantly on my toes. So get out there and inspire your family, friends, the person behind you at the grocery store or just about anyone that needs some cheering up and inspiring.

The Sounds of Ringing in the Ears Relieved with Acupuncture

Relief for persons suffering from the annoying and ever-distracting sounds of tinnitus, known as ringing in the ears, can be achieved through the application of Acupuncture.

Ringing in the ears affects millions, and new research data released by York University in England shows that 5 out of 6 patients in a recent study improved after just two weeks of treatment.

The patients in the study ranged in age between 32 and 79 years.

Individuals had been enduring the condition for which there is no known cure from between one and twenty years.

Each group member was given 10 Acupuncture treatments over a two-week period of time. Needle sites and number of points utilized varied from person to person.

The positive result was that 5 of the 6 persons in the sample reported a drop in loudness and pitch as well as fewer hours affected by the tinnitus. Only the oldest member of the group did not respond in this fashion after only 10 treatments. Additionally, the majority of the group reported improved quality of sleep.

“More work is needed, but our results support the idea that Acupuncture might be beneficial for people with tinnitus,” says Dr. Hugh MacPherson, a senior research fellow at York University.

Source

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Using Stress for Good

Lots of different things come to mind when we think about the month of April. April Showers. April Fools. April 15! The tax deadline, on top of your regular life demands, brings an extra dose of stress for many. Stress isn’t always a bad thing. SURPRISE! I’m going to tell you how you can start to manage stress and even make it work to your benefit. This is NOT an April Fools joke! Just think muscles. Let me explain…

The idea that our muscles become stronger and more resilient when they are exposed to progressively increasing stress is relatively easy for athletes to understand. What is not clear in the minds of most athletes is how this toughening principle can be applied to their mental and emotional weakness.

Here’s how it works. Remember that stress is energy expenditure. Muscle stress, then, is generated in the process of expending energy. Heavy weight requires more energy expenditure than light training and are, therefore more stress producing. Likewise, the greater the number of repetitions, the greater the stress. But you already know that. What you may not know is that thoughts and emotions involve energy expenditures just like muscles do. Every thought, every image, every emotion is a form of stress.

Powerful thoughts, images, and emotions are analogous to heavy weight. They require more energy and are therefore more stressful. Repetitiously triggering the same thoughts, images or emotions is not unlike the repetition of lifting a barbell. Both require repeated energy expenditure. In the case as such sports as weight lifting, running, cycling, and climbing, growth occurs primarily in the form of muscle adaptions. In the case of thinking, imagery, and emotions, growth occurs primarily in the form of neurological adaptions.

With this understanding, how do you build mental and emotional weakness into strengths? How do you attack habits of negative thinking, low self-confidence, impatience, or poor self discipline? The first and most important step in converting mental and emotional weaknesses into strengths is to start expending mental and emotional energy in targeted directions. This becomes a form of mental and emotional practice in the same way motor skills are practiced. Each and every time a thought or image is processed, the adaptation process is stimulated. The more you think a particular thought, the more often you trigger the same image or emotion, the stronger it becomes.

The adaptation process is also influenced by the intensity of the mental or emotional event. Making thoughts and images come alive with emotions, sounds, colors and sensations of all kinds increases energy expenditure and neurological stimulation. And that’s the basis of the adaptation process.

Hundreds of repetitions (energy expenditures) are required for a complex motor skill to hold up under the pressure of competition. Old bad habits suddenly reappear when motor skills are newly formed or insufficiently practiced. Mental skills operate in exactly the same way. Converting bad habits of thinking to good habits and turning good habits into strong beliefs takes time and lots of targeted energy expenditure. Weak thoughts, images, or emotions constantly break down under intense pressure.

The important thing to understand here is that motor skills and mental and emotional skills are acquired in similar ways. Just as targeted repetitions will transform weak motor responses into strong ones, targeted repetition will transform weak thought and images into strong beliefs.

So, focus on the good things that you have and want, and practice tossing the negative stessors out the window. You are going to encounter stress but once it’s in your “court” you can do what you want with it. Trust me, you want to toss it out. It’s not easy, but you can do it with practice. I believe in you!

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Where Are You Now?

This month’s article was inspired by two people who have influenced my life. The first is Walt Disney for his commitment to a vision; his ability to bounce back after most would have given up; and his ability to ignore the people who told him that something can’t be done. The other individual has had an even stronger and more direct influence on my life, and has unknowingly provided me with a message that I think every person who sets an outcome to achieve should pay close attention.

It was January 24, 2010 at approximately 5:30 a.m. I was coming back from a refreshing morning run with my dogs. As usual I run through my backyard to finish up my training. That morning was a little different. As I ran past my living room window I heard shouts of joy and I saw my wife smiling with her hands up in total excitement as if we just won the lottery. She was hugging my son Roman. Well it wasn’t the lottery, but something just as good for a parent. It was the first time my son had successfully used the potty (that is bathroom talk for all you non-parents). My son, not realizing that he performed the greatest feat any 2-year-old can achieve, was so excited. A moment later I ran in and amplified the experience by hugging him and cheering him on even more. My son learned that going to the potty was the cause of all this fun and excitement, so all he has to do to spark another congratulatory riot is repeat the act.

This reminded me of a principle that I was just talking about in my Peak Performance workshop last week. Celebrating the small victories is so critical if we want to reinforce a certain outcome – at any age. Trust me; my son is now developing a neuro-association which equals pleasure whenever he sits on the potty. You don’t need to high five everyone when you go to the bathroom but there are small victories to be had each and every day if you take a moment to look at your day and appreciate your own efforts.

Here is the other lesson we should take from my son. Chances are we will not always succeed on getting him to the potty in time. In fact we will probably not succeed most of the time for a while. Does that mean we give up? If my wife and I had a new year’s resolution that starting January 24 my son would be totally trained in using the potty, we would have set ourselves up for failure. This is the reason why most resolutions fail. Most people make their goal highly unattainable. This doesn’t mean the goal is unreachable. It simply means that you didn’t set it up in a way that can be achieved. Like any parent knows, potty training will have many misses (ha ha) but we never give up. If we did, most of us would be walking around with Elmo potties everywhere we go.

So, stop for a moment and look at what you want to achieve in 2010. Is it something that contains achievable steps? If so, great! Does it consider that you may get off track, maybe more than once? If not, change your strategy! I’ve got news for you. The greatest successes in the world have had the most failures. When most people stop three feet from the gold, the one who says, “I will never give up; never surrender,” will be the one standing at the end. All I ask you is to see and feel the small victories daily. Set your game up to win. Create rules that will keep you moving forward even when you get hit and knocked down. I know you have it in you! Re-ignite your dream, refocus your commitment, and create that fire. See your outcome within your reach but don’t get stuck on the end result only.

One last thought. Consider moving through this year with a slight shift in your philosophy. Welcome discomfort and uncertainty. Don’t just sit in it or turn and run the other way. Be the 1% that pushes through discomfort. Cross that threshold to a new you. The temporary fear and pain you experience is only your old conditioned self resisting change. Focus, dream big, take the hits that WILL come and keep moving forward. That is your formula for success. I’ll meet you there!

What Happens To Your Body in an Accident?

An object in motion tends to stay in motion. When your car is stopped suddenly, your body continues to move forward in your car. When your body is stopped suddenly, your internal organs continue to move forward in your body. When you internal organs are stopped suddenly, they are pulled from their connective tissues – ligaments, blood vessels, bones, for example.

Worrying about major physical injuries, whiplash and spine trauma are only the first things to consider in the case of an accident. After evaluation and testing by emergency medical specialists, your next priority should always be restoring your body to optimal function.

“Trauma that doesn’t necessarily incapacitate you at the time may have long-term effects that you don’t see for 10 or 20 or 30 years,” said Dr. David Thurman of Center for Disease Control in a recent CNN interview. “And that’s why experts urge prevention, because even an injury that seems minor and happens in less than a second can haunt you for a lifetime,” the interviewer responded.

Studies have shown that 10 years after an auto accident, 68% of victims have headaches, radiating pain, and neck pain. The surprising part of this statistic is that is accounts for accident victims without stiches or major external injuries. In addition, auto accident victims have an 80% higher incidence of osteoarthritis and get it faster.

Without treatment, pain and inflammation can persist for years after a trauma. The body’s innate protective mechanism can become oversensitive and its healing capacity can become interrupted indefinitely. Most disease conditions are due to ‘collateral damage’ of the body trying to restore balance. From a physiological standpoint this is called ‘allostasis’ also known as a compensatory mechanism. In other words, when the body over compensates it can lead to aggravation of the condition.

The Biomedical Acupuncture model explains the procedure of needling therapy (acupuncture) as a specialized modality that impacts physiology to normalize all of functions, producing optimal health.
Biomedical Acupuncture is based on scientific evidence that has evolved our understanding of the interrelations of the human body. The musculoskeletal system, nervous system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system and immune system work together in providing a functional outcome greater than any of its parts can perform alone.

Systemically, acupuncture works by way of nerve pathways to address radiating or referred pain in addition to healing the localized areas. On example is in the case of disc compressions or other spinal injuries. Interestingly enough, not all pain that is felt with the diagnosis of disc compression on the nerve is actually coming from the disc. The nervous system adds to the element of pain by causing additional muscle guarding around the disc to protect it from further injury. Unfortunately, muscle guarding can play a major role in the pain complex. Once the appropriate muscle distribution and motor nerve is identified, biomedical acupuncture can interrupt the signal and reset the muscle, releasing the contracted fibers causing the spasm. Because acupuncture cannot affect the disc, if pain reduces with a diagnosis of nerve compression, it clearly demonstrates that the main pain generator was the muscle contraction and not the disc. This is why biomedical acupuncture can be both a diagnostic as well as a therapeutic modality in determining cause of a condition, as well as supporting recovery.

Biomedical acupuncture in combination with physical therapy and/or pharmaceutical management can offer significant results. Ask your doctor how you might integrate this therapy into your current protocol for care

What Is A Certified Nutrition Specialist?

With all the different areas of holistic health care, new titles and specialties are emerging all the time. It is important to understand what these professionals specialize in and what their educational background and credentials cover before employing their services. Not all practitioners using the term “nutritionist” in their title, for example, have the same training.

History
Traditionally, nutritional advice may have been given by mom, grandma or the family physician. Opinions varied on what should be eaten, how much and for which conditions. However, over the last few decades emerging research has lead to the conclusion that what we eat has a profound effect on our overall health. Consequently, schools now offer courses of study specifically in the areas of diet and nutrition.

Identification
One way to identify an actual certified nutrition specialist is to look for the designation C.N.S. (certified nutrition specialist). The Certification Board of Nutrition Specialists has strict educational requirements. The American Certification Board requires that applicants hold an advanced degree (masters or higher), have clinical experience, and pass the board exams in order to hold the title nutrition specialist, or C.N.S. Today, people see a nutrition specialist for help with weight loss, to address a specific health concern such as diabetes, or for help planning healthy meals for family members with special needs.

Misconceptions
There is a misconception that nutritionists, certified nutrition specialists and registered dietitians are all the same. To practice as a certified nutrition specialist, as mentioned above, requires an advanced degree along with specific training. A dietitian, or registered dietitian (RD) requires only a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or dietetics. It also requires that the dietitian keep up with current nutrition trends by completing 75 continuing education hours every five years. Dietitians are often employed by hospitals, nursing homes and other medical practices. Note that many use the term “nutritionist” in their professional titles, but have not received a college level or advanced degree. When seeking the services of a nutritionist, ask for her credentials.

Benefits

The benefit of consulting with a CNS is that, beyond a knowledge of the current dietary guidelines, certified nutrition specialists are often trained in herbs, vitamins and minerals, and a nutritional approach to many health conditions. Because of their training, a nutrition specialist can also help treat diseases related to nutrient deficiencies and is well versed in the use of nutritional supplements to enhance medical treatment. Additionally, most nutrition specialists are involved in current research in the field of diet and nutrition.

Considerations
Always check with your doctor or health care practitioner before following nutritional advice that may be contrary to conventional medical care. While nutrition is an important aspect of holistic health care, never discontinue medications or other treatment plans without consulting the prescribing physician.

References

Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists

American College of Nutrition: Certification Program

American Dietetic Association: Qualifications of a Registered Dietitian

Article reviewed by M.J. Ingram Last updated on: May 3, 2011

What Are You Eating?

Food additives are innocent until proven guilty. This seems to be the position the Food and Drug Administration takes when it comes to food additives. Because March is National Nutrition Month®, I thought it would be nice to reveal the truth about those seemingly trustworthy “government” labels on the back of all packaged foods.

In 1977, the FDA announced the use of saccharin in foods and beverages be banned because the artificial sweetner was found to cause malignant bladder tumors in laboratory animals. In the same year, the Calorie Control Council, a group made up of commercial producers and users of saccharin ‘influenced’ Congress and therefore the FDA to delay the ban indefinitely. In 1997, the Calorie Control Council successfully requested the National Toxicology Program to de-list saccharin as a carcinogen.

In 1958, Congress established a Generally Recognized As Safe list of foods called GRAS. Those substances that were being added to food over a long time had to be recognized by scientists as GRAS. In 1997, the FDA allowed responsibility to be shifted to the manufacturer as to what is GRAS, which exempted these food giants from pre-market clearance by the FDA. The powerful food manufacturers cannot be trusted when it comes to putting their food ‘products’ in our mouths because their number one concern is profit not health. The food manufacturers use ingredients such as silicone that do not need to be listed when it is in low doses in food, according to the FDA. There have been no long-term studies that show the effect of these known toxins when ingested. So why take the chance and trust the ignorance of food manufacturers?

After reading this information, you may feel sick to your stomach. After you go home and take a look into your cupboards and refrigerator, you’ll most likely be shocked if you further research what you’re putting in your mouth. However, don’t give up on grocery shopping. I firmly believe that what you focus on most in life you will receive. If you focus on the frustration that many foods that you have eaten contain one or more unhealthy ingredients, it will only drop you into the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” depression. My advice: Focus on doing your best to take in the most whole and nutritious foods available. Just with this slight shift in intention, you will make healthier choices. We live in a very synthetic world, which mean that sometimes as hard as we try, some things will slip by, and that’s OK. As long as the staple of what you place in your mouth is supportive to the maintenance and improvement of you mind/body health.

What should you choose? Whole grains instead of refined grains. Meats that have not been processed, injected with hormones or antibiotics, or meat that has been ground of cured. When it comes to vegetables, fresh is best. It’s simple. Don’t fuss over it. Just get over the fact that a carrot is not as sweet as that scone you usually eat for a snack. If you eat bread, choose whole-grain bread with a handful of ingredients you can actually pronounce, instead of Wonder Bread with a list of toxic ingredients so long it barely fits on the package. Ever ‘wonder’ why Wonder Bread has such a long shelf life?

Breakfast is the fuel that starts our day, so it is essential to ingest the most optimal fuel at this time. Again, choose whole instead of processed or refined foods. This mean when you read the label of your oatmeal, it should only say 100% whole oats. Instead of sprinkling sugar over those oats, cut up some whole fruits for a little sweetness. Make sure when you order at a restaurant, that you let them know that MSG will cause you go into convulsions. Trust me, the restaurant owner will cook and serve the food personally without the toxins.

Taking the extra step in the little things when making food choices will go a very long way in your health and the health of your family. Food in its natural state is the best choice (organic is even better). As for packaged foods, looking at the length of the ingredients is a quick way to figure out a food’s health value. The longer the list of words (especially those you don’t understand), the more likely it is that you should pass on buying that item.

So, the next time you shop, consider the details. A lifetime of better health is well worth the extra thought in the grocery aisle!

D

Dietary Therapy Based on Chinese Medicine

Think of the Chinese medical approach to dietary therapy as a ‘zoom out’ view of how foods impact the body. As opposed to the ‘zoom in’ view of western clinical nutrition of looking at the foods impact at the cellular level of micronutrients and biochemical pathways, the Chinese medical view is that of how the food influences the entire organ system or the body as a whole.

This expanded view of dietary therapy goes even further than the body and into how environmental factors play a role on what and how one should eat. For example, during cold and damp weather, one should generally eat more foods that are warm and produce less ‘dampness’. Such foods would be soups, stews, steamed vegetables. At the same time, reducing food that have a tendency to produce dampness such as sugar and high-sugar foods would significantly reduce ‘dampness’ in the body during this time. On the other hand, during hot times, foods that are cooling such as moderate amounts of fruit, raw vegetables would be ideal during these times.

Chinese dietary therapy, which considers environmental factors, is combined with the patient’s lifestyle as well as individual qualities/imbalances providing a very personalized way of eating for optimal health. Chinese and Western medicine simply have different ways of looking at the body and should be combined to compliment one another for the most complete integrative care.

  • In Chinese medicine, each food’s influence on the body is based on its nature (cold, cool, neutral, warm, hot). These qualities determine the effect the food will have on the body. For example, the nature of ginger is hot and therefore will warm up the body. Foods that have a warming effect increase activity of the body, i.e metabolism, circulation, overall function. Caution with those who have warm conditions or are warm or hot natured as this will aggravate their condition.
  • In Chinese medicine, there are six flavors (sweet, salty spicy, sour, bitter and bland). These flavors are based on the sensory experience. Over the last 3,000 years the Chinese have found consistency with how certain flavors influence certain body systems. For example, ginger’s spicy quality influences the lungs and stomach. Each flavor influences different body systems (sweet-stomach, sour-liver, bitter-heart, spicy-lungs, salty-kidneys).
  • A food’s combination of qualities has a specific impact on one or more body systems. Using the example of ginger its impact is therefore spicy, hot and influences the stomach and lungs. A food such as rice is sweet and neutral and influences the digestive system.
  • Another unique quality of Chinese medicine in the prescribing of dietary therapy is that treatment is primarily based on the person’s pattern rather than on the disease. Asking what type of patient has the condition as opposed to the allopathic model of asking what type of condition the patient has is called patient-centered care. In other words, the focus of the therapy is on the individualities of the patient, as opposed to simply focusing on the condition.
  • In Chinese medicine, no mater what the dietary therapy, primary consideration is to protect and maximize the digestive organs. As the main delivery system is the gastrointestinal tract in its primary role to take in, breakdown, absorb and disperse nutrients to be transported to the needed area, importance becomes very clear.

In our center, we take the wisdom and science of Chinese medicine and integrate it with biomedical nutrition integrating the best of both worlds. Using diagnostic tests such as comprehensive blood chemistry panels, hormone panels, bone marker panels as well as other traditional science based diagnostic tools, we prescribe dietary, nutritional and herbal therapy based on the individual needs/imbalances of the patient. It must be emphasized that our purpose is not simply to dispense dietary, nutritional and herbal medicine but more importantly to educated our patients why it is important and how they must take part in this therapy as it will ultimately be part of there self dependant, higher standard of health.

This month, as we focus on Digestive Health, please take some time to ask questions and share information with others about optimal digestion, dietary therapy and Chinese medicine. These are the tools for building optimal health. Ask us for help… that is our purpose.

Don't Step Back - BOOST

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, or even a doctor for that matter, to notice that this is the time of year when people start stressing out, getting sick and falling off track in general.

From October to January I see so many people spin out, freak out and sometimes just disappear. Around February I start to see those same people dragging themselves back into my office feeling down, struggling to get back to where they were before. I am happy to help but I always find myself wishing that each one of those people had not fallen off track so far. It takes a lot more time, money and stress to battle back up even to the point where they were when they left my care.

Every year I think that if only I could have done more to convince them to at least maintain through the tough months. This year, I’ve decided that I am going to do more to make sure this scenario does not happen to you or anyone else that you care about.

My purpose is to help as many people as possible to achieve AND MAINTAIN optimal health. It is so important that I give each one of my patients the tools they will need beyond my care to maintain a healthy lifestyle. That is why I do so many free educational workshops each year and why I send out this newsletter each month. This year I want to try to do even more to make sure you have the support you need. I want to give you a BOOST.

I have decided that I can only do so much as one person. So I am starting to work with another professional, Crystal Chiles. She is a Certified Personal Trainer with The American Council on Exercise as well as a Certified Sports Nutritionist with The National Association of Sports Nutrition. Crystal’s mission is to” inspire and empower people to participate in their daily lives with strength and vitality.”

Crystal is a professional with the knowledge, tools and experience to help you succeed at home. I can tell you what to do and give you examples, but when it comes time to hit the grocery store or plan your meals for the week, I realize that it’s an individual struggle. This is where Crystal can help. She works one-on-one with her clients to personalize menus, shopping lists, exercise routines and more. She also acts as a personal coach for her clients so that they can each have the level of ongoing support they desire.

I don’t want Crystal’s background to intimidate anyone. She is obviously an example of a peak performer and an athlete and she will raise your standards just as I hope I do, but mainly she is a caring professional that I trust to help you implement a plan to keep you on solid ground over the next few months.

We sincerely want to help everyone with whatever individual challanges and/or goals you may have in mind for the end of the year, so please ask us how we can help you.

E

Eastern Medicine Offers IBS Treatments

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998 followed 116 patients who were suffering from IBS. Participants were divided into three treatment groups: individualized Chinese herbal formulations, standard Chinese herbal formulations or a placebo.

The results of the double-blind placebo-controlled trial found patients being actively treated saw significant improvement in their bowel condition. Herbal treatments tailored to the patient were no more effective than the standard treatment.

Researchers concluded Chinese herbal formulations improved the conditions of IBS patients.
Acupuncture has long been used in Eastern cultures as a method of treating a variety of ailments. There are some 2,000 acupuncture points where needles can reportedly stimulate and regulate the flow of chi. Pam Marsh, an IBS patient in Golden, Colo., turned to acupuncture after suffering for many years.

“My internist referred me to an acupuncturist for treatment,” she says. “He had seen good results with other patients with IBS and Crohn’s symptoms.”

“The process takes about an hour,” she describes. “The acupuncturist first takes my pulse and other readings. He sometimes checks my tongue, puts pressure on certain points, etc. I lie on my back on a massage table and needles are applied. Usually the needles are left in for 20 to 30 minutes. They are placed in a variety of places: toes, foot, stomach, hands and wrist. It never hurts, but will sometimes create a burning sensation for the first couple of seconds. Breathing deeply and slowly helps reduce the sensation. Afterward, I feel a bit spacey for a half an hour or so. If I have symptoms or discomfort before a session, I most likely leave feeling much better.”

Marsh says she is using this alternative treatment, along with behavioral changes, to improve the illness she has been suffering from for 20 years.

“I have used various medicines,” she says, “but I have also made changes to my diet and keep to a daily exercise program.”

She says while initially hesitant to trust treatment outside of the Western methodology, she recommends the procedure to others.

“I am a believer,” she says. “I have been able to go off of the over-the-counter and prescriptive drugs with the acupuncture treatments. I was raised with traditional Western medicine beliefs, with my father being a pharmacist. So it was a stretch for me to trust this Eastern medicine. I believe acupuncture can help with a variety of problems. I recently had damage to the trigeminal nerve and have found relief through acupuncture. Like any other medical practice, however, I think you need to search out acupuncturists who are well-respected and recommended in the community.”

Source

F

For What It's Worth

Value is defined as relative worth, merit, or importance. Relative. This means that what is not valuable to one person may be priceless to another. It is all relative to their individual lives and points of view. This is the essence of what make my patients stand apart from everyone else. When you look at your life you value your health and therefore make it a priority. And when I look at each one of you I see the value in my time spent. My purpose is fulfilled each day as I see more and more people understand their health as a precious commodity. Voltaire said ” Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” My staff and I hold you in the highest esteem and seeing you make the effort to constantly grow inspires us to push ourselves to a higher standard. For this you have our sincerest respect and appreciation and so we want to acknowledge each one of you this month.

We appreciate your support as we also continue to grow to create more time and resources to help more people. Please know that you are and will always be our highest priority. As your friends, we want to know what we can do to make your experience at our center more valuable for you as an individual. Do not be afraid to ask us for what you need. Our personal time and attention is always available.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that is all about appreciating others. We ask you to take the time to give thanks for the people in your life and share your success with each of them. Sharing even the smallest achievement will magnify your progress and perhaps inspire someone else to make a change in their own health. “One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy over the good fortune of others.” – Archibald Rutledge

This month we are handing out “tokens” of our appreciation. Keep it with you and think of us when you encounter a challenging time. Or pass it one to someone you find in need of encouragement. You will find that this small token will grow in value every time it is given and received with a attitude of gratitude.

Five Words for Health

In July it’s only American to think of the “F” word: FREEDOM. It’s an empowering and inspiring word, and it can be interpreted in a lot of different ways at this time of year. During the rest of the year, it can be easy to take our basic freedoms for granted since they are automatic and assumed. Wouldn’t it be nice if everything was so engrained and instinctive?

Let’s take a minute to reflect on five other “F” words that are just as significant in our lives and too often taken for granted: FITNESS, FOCUS, FOOD, FRIENDS, FAMILY, FUN. I am going to talk about each of them in terms of optimal health (of course). What makes them a group is not just that they all start with the same letter of the alphabet, but that they are all tools for change. The easy part is that you already have access to these tools and you can tap into their power without tapping out your FINANCES (another “F” word that we’ll talk a little about later).

FITNESS
Exercise allows us to manage stress. What do I mean? Regular exercise promotes circulation, and keeps the body in high alert and ready for the unexpected. If you always maintain an exercise program’s intensity above your normal daily activities, your body will never be in distress in the midst of your day. Your capacity to deal with daily stress will always be over and above what life demands. By mildly stressing your body with exercise and recovery time, your body adapts and performs better. For a person that doesn’t exercise, every little thing on a daily basis is interpreted by their systems as distress and an overload ensues. Before you start in with the excuses (and I’ve heard them all), exercise just means MOVE MORE. You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete with your exercise program. On a daily basis, a minimum of walking with purpose for at least 20 minutes is what I recommend for my patients.

FOCUS
When we are not in the present, we lose our ability to be powerful human beings. Why is it that when we wake up in the morning, sometimes we jump out of bed with excitement and other times we hit that snooze button 10 times? It really comes down to our focus. Make it a habit to pay more attention to the things in your focus. In other words, step back and observe your focus from a third person perspective. Begin to stand guard at the door of your mind and give energy (focus) to those things you want to nourish and grow in your life. The more emotion or feeling you put behind your new focus, the more powerful your focus will become. Write a list that you can carry with you at all times. On this list write down both short-term and long-term pain of continuing with the same action that you want to change. Then write down all that you will gain both short term and long term by making this change. Remember the more emotion that drives your focus, the more powerful your focus becomes. Keep sharpening your weapon of focus and you will be amazed at the results.

FOOD
Ultimately food is our fuel, but that doesn’t mean food can’t also be enjoyable. Coming to terms with the fact that there are two kinds of food is important. Foods that are your optimal fuel (foods that are strictly for the care, maintenance and improvement of your mind/body health) and foods that are simply meant to be enjoyed by the senses. When you maintain the mind set that fun foods are strictly to satiate the senses and not for health, you will truly enjoy that dessert and you’ll realize that you need less. Your mission, if you choose to accept being healthier, is to SLOW DOWN and magnify smelling, seeing, feeling the texture and tasting the food you eat. So with this new perspective on fun foods versus survival foods to appreciate each for what they offer.

FRIENDS/FAMILY
Love your family but pick your peers. This means your purpose is two-fold. First, take care of yourself so that you can be there for your family. Setting a healthy example is paramount in this purpose. Genetics only account for about 10-15% of health problems. The far greater percentage comes from learned lifestyles… ways of eating, exercising, managing symptoms and thinking about health. If you really want to help your family lead a better life, lead one yourself. Second, surround yourself with people who have higher standards; people who will hold you accountable; people you admire who have already achieved what you want out of life. By finding like-minded people to work with you toward goals, you will magnify your experience and achieve more power and focus.

FUN
Do you ever have to tell a child to pay attention when they are having fun? No. The same goes for us. If we try to look at life’s challenges as games we can set ourselves up to win every time. Start by being energized. What do you need to think of to create positive emotion? Feel confident and act “as if.” You can use your body posture, movements, expressions and tone of voice to trick your brain into believing that you are already a champion. When you are relaxed and calm you can move toward challenges without fear. If you practice being in poise by clearing your head it becomes easier to focus on what you want to achieve. This clarity will illuminate the path you need to win. Finally, you have to get challenged. The joy in winning the game always comes from overcoming an obstacle. Look at things that you might normally label as problems and practice changing your perception.

This article is merely touching the surface of these tools. Please take advantage of the activities and additional articles available in our wellness center this month to learn and practice more. I assure you that mastery of these five “F” words will give you all the rocket fuel you need to achieve peak performance.

Flu Season Truths & Tips

We are all concerned about the possibility of catching the “bug” during “flu season,” especially now with the new threat of swine flu. Living in fear of this virus or any other will not serve you, so let’s get that out of the way right now. This article is about how you can be proactive and preventative to minimize risk to yourself and your loved ones.

First, I must address a common misconception. What we call “flu season” is not a magical time of year when there are suddenly more “bugs” running around. Our bodies are constantly working on self-preservation. What is different about October through January is a different kind of season – the holiday season. What generally happens during the holidays is – you guessed it – too many servings of that pumpkin pie, less physical activity and A LOT more stress. Dietary, physical and emotional stress plays a major role in all diseases, especially those of the immune system. Higher stress leads to increased cortisol levels, leading to antibody suppression. Antibodies are your immune systems soldiers to recognize and immobilize foreign invaders. “Flu season” is not so mysterious or scary when you understand how your body works. By optimizing your INTERNAL environment with foods that support the immune and elimination systems you not only reduce the probability of getting sick but you thrive in the midst of it all.

Unfortunately most people see a disease and immediately blame the external world, but you are not most people. I know that as my patient you expect more from yourself. So, I am giving you this information knowing that you will be proactive with the tools to fight that evil flu bug. Don’t just sit around and hope it won’t get you just because you got the flu shot. That’s no guarantee. I am counting on you to be an example of optimal health this holiday season.

Chinese medicine has demonstrated an excellent track record when it comes to respiratory viruses. Chinese herbal medicine was a major precautionary measure in Asia through the SARS crisis several years ago and it will be a valuable tool in getting us through the H1N1 threat. Herbs can be used to regulate imbalances and alleviate associated signs and symptoms; and herbal formulas have antiviral and antibacterial properties that reduce the severity and duration of viral infections and bacterial infections. Herbal therapy should definitely be employed to restore optimal health and prevent contraction of infections.

All to often when the body starts communicating we generally don’t understand it and want to shut it up with antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antacids, etc. These medications have there place in certain situation, but definitely not all. In the meantime, awareness and simple, less invasive modalities can be utilized like rest, dietary adjustments, herbal medicine and acupuncture to name a few.

Let me clarify that Chinese medicine emphasizes integrative and preventative treatments; therefore, in emergencies, Western medicine is generally the treatment of choice. If you experience difficulty breathing or chest pain, purple or blue discoloration of the lips, vomiting and inability to keep liquids down, and signs of dehydration such as feeling dizzy when standing or being unable to urinate… please go the emergency room. If you have flu-like symptoms and are not sure what to do, please call me for advice. I can help assess your symptoms over the phone and let you know what I recommend.

The most important thing I can do for you now is to support the immune system in order to prevent the virus or a future exposure from forming full attachment. Does that mean I can guarantee you won’t get sick this year? No. But the chances of illness and the severity of that illness will be greatly reduced if you do something preventative now.

We have little control over external germs, but we do have control over our internal environment. For example, let’s say you have a stagnant pond with tons of mosquitoes. How do we get rid of these creatures? Do we go out and kill them all? If you do, you only are only dealing with the pests and not the source of the problem – the stagnant water. The same goes for your body… if your internal environment is polluted then germs will proliferate. Even if a disease is genetic, the environment determines if it will be triggered or not. Remember, your body is only as strong as its weakest link. If you have a genetic weakness and a back up occurs of wastes, toxins or acids, that weak link will be first to be effected.

All day long your body is breaking down and rejuvenating itself (cleansing). The body has the ability to handle toxicity. It simply eliminates it. BUT, if you constantly overload your system with a life of toxicity, the body will not be able to handle it. The body is an amazing creation. It can handle/adapt to amazing amounts of stress. But, eventually it will hit a threshold. This threshold is called a healing crisis. This is when you get sick. The body tries to get these toxins/wastes out and it will try to do it any way it can. If it comes out of your skin, we call it acne. If it comes out of your urine, we call it a urinary tract infection. If it comes out of your nose, we call it a cold. If it comes out of your toes, we call it athletes foot. If it’s pushed back into the body and lymph encapsulates it, we call it an upper respiratory infection or worse yet, we call it cancer.

In order for any living thing to survive it must receive nutrition and be able to eliminate. Things you can do right now include minimizing/avoiding toxins going in and giving the body foods that support your innate detoxification and rejuvenating systems. Everyone has different needs so ask me about foods (as well as supplements and herbs) you can incorporate to improve your system. For everyone, it will help if you try to avoid deep fat fried foods; overcooked meats; refined sugars and starches; alcohol; drugs; foods with chemical additives and preservatives. If that sounds like a challenge during the holidays, please read my article on Holiday Eating & Mindfulness. It will help you maximize holiday pleasures and minimize negative health effects when it’s all said and done.

Most importantly, don’t panic. Use common sense to limit your exposure to potential infection, like washing your hands frequently and thoroughly. Focus on balancing increasing demands with more recovery. This is crucial during the holiday season. One easy way to dramatically and quickly tip the scales toward recovery mode is acupuncture. Stay on track with your regular visits. You MUST make your health and priority, now more than ever. I know your life is busy but don’t let the overwhelm take away your “me time.” I can’t emphasize enough how important this is and how disappointing it is to me to see some of my patients collapse under life’s pressures every year around this time. You have the power to control how you handle stress and I am here to help – always. So, I encourage you to do something a little different this year, no matter how small, to put your health at the top of your holiday “to do” list.

Family Cold/Flu Care

Exterior diseases first affect the body surfaces that are exposed directly to the environment – the skin and the mucous membranes of the nose, throat, and lungs. Thus the most prevalent exterior conditions are the common cold and flu. Contagious diseases that affect the sinuses, bronchials, and throat often have exterior signs in their initial stages.

These and all other exterior diseases are usually easy to cure when they are still on the surface of the body.
The sooner one notices these conditions and takes action, the more likely their interior progress can be reversed.

In order to balance such conditions, we choose spices and herbs that are expansive and reach toward the periphery of the body, and those that open (expand) the sweat glands to sweat out the exterior disease factor lodged near the surface. In cases where sweating does not stop the disease; it will at least greatly reduce its progress and strength.

Sometimes people try to cure the common cold at its onset with strengthening, salty or building foods such as ginseng, miso, or animal products; but these can worsen the existing condition and trap pathogens inside the body because of their strong inner-directing effect.

The following are suggestion to treat exterior diseases:
* Eat much less, and use a more simple, liquid-based diet such as vegetable or grain soup if chills predominate over the fever. If the fever predominates, fruit or vegetable juices or fresh fruits are a better alternative.

* Use sweating therapy (diaphoresis). However, sweating is contradicted when there is emaciation, severe weakness, or lack of yin fluids (dryness, fast and thin pulse, fresh red cheeks or tongue and/or night sweats). Sweating procedure: Drink a cup or more of hot diaphoretic herbal tea, take a hot bath or shower, drink more tea, then cover in blankets and sweat. Do not sweat to the point of exhaustion. After sweating, change damp bedding and rest. Sweating once is sometimes enough; if not, it can be repeated twice daily until exterior signs lift. If baths are inconvenient, drink two cups of the tea every half hour until perspiring freely. When diaphoresis does not work, a deeper condition likely exists. Note: Sweating therapy is also beneficial for measles and similar infectious diseases marked by rashes. It helps bring the toxins in the rash out of the body. Some imbalances such as chronic skin diseases and rheumatic joint and muscle diseases are primarily deep interior conditions with pronounced exterior manifestations. In these cases, sweating therapy is still useful, but is not the primary treatment.

* If the person is weak, with a fever and aching muscles, and perspires greatly without any improvement, such a rare deficient condition with spontaneous sweating implies that the ability to absorb nutrition and build protective immunity is low. Herbal preparations that build immunity include teas of either fresh ginger root or cinnamon twig. The choices of food should be nurturing and warming (grain and vegetable-leek soups, for example).

* Helpful foods: Bioflavonoid-rich food such as cabbage with hearts, and green peppers with their insides. Other useful foods include parsley, carrots, broccoli, turnips, parsnips, horseradish, scallions, lemon juice, grapefruit, most fruits, and garlic. The antiviral properties of garlic can often halt a cold or flu if taken soon enough: every three hours during the day that symptoms first appear, hold, without chewing, half a peeled garlic clove between the cheek and teeth for 20-30 minutes. Move it around occasionally to avoid a burning, delicate mouth tissue. If the juice is still too strong, use an uncut clove for a longer period.

In some exterior conditions, either chills or a fever will predominate. For predominating chills, use the warming herbs and foods marked for best results. When fevers predominate, or in the case of measles and similar diseases with rashes, the other herbs and foods mentioned above are more effective. If fevers and chills are of equal strength, any of the foods and herbs recommended above are helpful.

Once the acute stage and exterior symptoms pass, then gradually introduce normal foods in order to build strength. If colds, flus, and various exterior conditions are frequent, one is probably consuming too many sweets, salty foods, excess dairy, eggs, or other mucus- and acid-forming foods.

Food to Fight Against Heart Disease

The various forms of heart disease are primarily the result of toxic impurities clogging blood vessels. This deprives the heart muscles and valves of oxygen and puts excessive chronic strain on the heart, which has to pump much harder than normal to push blood through a clogged circulatory system. A healthy heart pumps about 3,000 gallons of blood every 24 hours, but a heart under the stress of a clogged circulatory system must pump up to 25,000 gallons in 24 hours just to maintain sufficient circulation. Obviously, such an 8-fold increase in heart strain soon leads to heart exhaustion and disease. The prime source of the blood impurities and deposits that cause heart disease is a diet composed entirely of denatures and cooked foods. The following are some foods that can help prevent heart disease:

Carrot, celery, parsley, spinach juice: the most potent blend of juices for potassium, which quickly restores proper blood pH, helps remove deposits from blood vessels, and builds strong blood plasma, especially hemoglobin; 8 oz/4 oz/2 oz/4 oz, 1-2 pints daily.
Carrot, beet and cucumber juice: dissolves acid crystals in kidneys, enabling them to cleanse the blood more efficiently, thus removing impurities that can accumulate to cause heart disease; 10 oz/3 oz/3 oz, 1-2 pints daily.

Molasses: rich in organic iron and copper, as well as potassium, all of which alkalize the bloodstream and build strong blood plasma, which in turn benefits the heart tissues; 2 tbsp in warm water, twice daily.

Grapes: the grape cure= (nothing but 1-3 pounds of raw black grapes for 5-7 days) has been shown by experiments in the Soviet Union to have a direct tonifying effect on the muscles and valves of the heart; also purifies and balances the bloodstream.
Wheat germ oil: greatly enhances delivery of oxygen to the heart; best when used in conjunction with raw garlic; 1 tsp wheat germ oil and 2-3 cloves raw garlic, once or twice a day, after meals.

Pecans: raw pecans are nature=s richest source of readily assimilable organic pyridoxine (vitamin B6), an element that plays an essential role in converting the amino acids from consumed proteins into usable form for the body; thus, raw pecans assist in the regeneration of damaged cells in diseased hearts; 10-15 raw pecans (or 20-30 pecan halves) per day.

Other beneficial foods: raw spinach; cabbage; ripe bananas; wheat germ; lecithin; sunflower seeds; raw garlic.

Foods to avoid: refined starch, especially white bread and sweet pastries, refined sugar, especially sweet carbonated soft drinks (regular as well as diet), cooked eggs, pasteurized milk, cooked fatty meats, salt.

G

Genetics & Your Health

Your philosophy of health will determine how healthy you are – it’s more important than anything you eat, drink or do. It’s how you think about your health that will determine your habits. So, where do you learn how to think about your health? Where do you learn habits? FROM YOUR FAMILY!

I often hear patients resign themselves to the idea that a problem like cholesterol or high blood pressure or diabetes is genetic because everyone else in their family has the same problem. In some cases this is a serious factor, but in most cases it is more a different kind of “inheritance.” So, why do you have the same symptoms as your mother and her mother and her mother? Because you all learned the same philosophy of health. Therefore, you approach problems the same, you eat the same, drink the same, cook the same, exercise the same amount. If you all do the same things – and throw in the same genetic makeup – it is likely that you will get the same result.

I have seen so many patients take control of their health and make huge changes by making small adjustments in their approaches to healthcare. Of course, acupuncture and clinical nutrition are powerful tools to kick start this process, but once my patients reach the optimum levels of health it’s all about breaking those old habits to maintain it for a lifetime. That is why I offer so much education to my patients and to their family and friends.

Have you ever heard the saying: “Lie down with dogs and you will wake up with fleas”? I say, you have to love your family but you have to pick your peers. Choose to be around people who can hold up your standards of health. Once you become aware of the habits that may be keeping you from optimal health, you can teach those around you and hope that they will care enough about their own health to make a change.

This month’s theme in my wellness center is a focus on family. I want all of my patients to have the opportunity to help their family to make the kinds of changes I am talking about. That is why I am asking each of you to update a family health history for me. It will not only create an awareness for you about trends in your family’s health, but it will give me an idea of how I might be able to help with information and education specific to your family’s health needs.

Please take a moment to fill out or update your family health history at your next appointment or send me an update via e-mail using the following as a guideline. Simply copy and paste the form here into the body of your email and send it to me with the subject Family Health History at drmancini@manciniacupuncture.com.

When I receive your complete form I will send you a packet of information that might be able to help each of your family members become aware of ways to improve and maintain their health. As an added courtesy, I will extend my time to you and any of your immediate family members to consult with me personally at no charge about the information I sent or other specific health questions. If you would like to speak with me or schedule a time for someone in your family to speak with me, please indicate that in your reply or simply call my office to ask about setting up a time.

FAMILY HEALTH HISTORY
Please review the conditions listed below and indicate those that are current or past health problems of a family member by placing a C- or a P- before their relationship to you (Example: ASTHMA C-Father). Include a health history for your mother, father, spouse, children and grandparents that are living. Be as thorough as possible. Thank you.

YOUR NAME:

ADDICTION
ALLERGIES
ANXIETY
ARTHRITIS
ASTHMA
BACK PAIN
CANCER
CARPAL TUNNEL
DEPRESSION
DIABETES
DIGESTIVE ISSUES
FATIGUE
FERTILITY PROBLEMS
FIBROMYALGIA
HEADACHES /
MIGRAINES
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
INSOMNIA
PAIN (indicate body parts)
SKIN CONDITIONS
WEIGHT PROBLEMS
VERITGO / BALANCE ISSUES

OTHER:

H

Healthy Vacation Plans

May brings Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and the kick-off to summer. For the lucky ones, summer means vacation. Vacations are well-deserved breaks that we all look forward to taking. It’s a chance to step away from our day-to-day grind and hopefully relax and repair our bodies and minds. Unfortunately, stress can follow. Before you go on vacation, the planning and coordinating – not to mention the dieting and shopping – can create extra stress on your nervous system. After vacation, the stress of going back to work, laundry and just getting back to life can lead to overwhelm. Even during a vacation, when you are indulging, you can be adding unwanted stress to your digestive system (among other functions). Now, I am not saying all this to ruin your vacation. My intention is quite the opposite.

Health is in your habits. If you are working on adjusting your habits to prioritize health, then I want you to have a plan before you go on vacation. I have seen too many of my patients return from vacation in a more negative state than when they left. I want you to be prepared and aware so that you can have the best vacation possible. I want you to go into it calm, enjoy every moment and come back with a fresh outlook on how wonderful your life is and will be in the future.

DIET – BYO
Depending on the type of vacation you are taking, you have two options. If you have the opportunity to bring your own food or shop once you get to your destination, you have all the control over what you eat. If that is not an option you can still bring a plan. If you know what you want to eat to feel good, you will be more likely to find it out and about. Don’t be afraid to ask for adjustments or to order off the menu. Asking for chicken or fish with vegetables, or dressings and sauces on the side isn’t a huge pain. Even at a Mexican restaurant you can ask for black beans instead of refried and order grilled chicken or ask to skip the chips (or at least the refill of chips). If you make a general meal plan for each day beforehand you will have an easier time and be able to enjoy yourself without stressing over choices. Try to check out the menu before you go so that you can take your time to figure out the best option.

EXERCISE – THROW YOUR WEIGHT AROUND
No gym, no problem. You don’t need equipment or an aerobics instructor to get a little extra movement each day. Body weight exercises like sit-ups, push-ups, chair dips, and lunges can all be done anywhere. Again, make a plan. Don’t have any ideas? There’s an APP for that… use your phone or handheld device to download one of the many free applications that offer exercise descriptions and routines. No interested? Try going for a walk or finding some stairs.

REST/REPAIR – PLAN TO DO NOTHING
We’ve all felt it before. After a vacation sometimes you might feel like you need a couple of days off. We try to pack so much into our time away that we forget to make time to actually relax. Schedule time to just do nothing and soak it all in while on vacation. You’ll find you don’t need much time away from your other plans if you are maintaining a consistent diet and getting a little exercise each morning.

Why use vacation time to rest back into the old routines that were not making you happy. Why not, use this time to be the person you want to be – happy AND healthy.

As usual, all this seems simple but it’s one of those concepts that we all know and don’t implement. I challenge you to make a plan to have a wonderful time. Make a plan but be flexible. Don’t let unexpected opportunities pull you off track for good. Be prepared to shift while staying focused on your goals. You will be successful!

How To Have More Time

I DON’T HAVE TIME. Sound familiar? We’ve all said it at one time or another. And while it sounds like a nice solution to “make the time” or “find the time,” there are still only so many hours in a day.

I don’t have a magic wand that extends the hours but I do have knowledge and experience to help teach you how to get more out of your existing hours. Before you click away and stop reading, these techniques will not require you to cut anything out of your busy schedule. It is all about two things that martial artists learn to master in the ring – position and timing.

I want you to start getting a little creative with the position and timing of your existing schedule. Where are you and what are you doing during all those hours and how can you maximize the time you already have available? Most importantly how can you schedule “time” to improve your mental, emotional and physical health?

What time, right? How about the 5 minutes of groggy time from when you wake up to when you hit the showers. Or the 15-minute to 2-hour driving time on the way to work and back. Or the hours of sitcom television you are watching during and after dinner. Or how about that couple of minutes brushing your teeth in the morning and evening? All of us has time when we are not working or taking care of our families – we just have to look for that time and make it our own.

Let me reference two big and scary topics that I see people most often do not have the time to address… DIET and EXERCISE. For those or you who attended my MAP workshop last week, you already heard some of this but if you haven’t had the chance to apply it to your day… this is my friendly reminder to give it a try.

Your diet is what and how you eat. Everyone is on a diet of some kind. Unfortunately, many people are on the Standard American Diet (SAD), which consists mainly of processed foods and sugar. Why? Because it is fast, convenient and sometimes inexpensive. We don’t have the time to eat, much less cook, healthy meals.

MY TRICK: Sandwich your salad and green out your water. I have this idea that I just don’t have the time to eat a big salad while I am at work. So, I started taking all the ingredients of a healthy salad and putting it between two slices of bread to create a sandwich instead. I am still getting all those greens and veggies but in a more accessible format. I also add greens in a powder form to my water bottle.

ANOTHER IDEA: If you find it easy to sip on that coffee mug all morning long but difficult to get your daily water intake, trick yourself and start refilling with water after your cup of joe. Drink it cold or hot – add tea if you need a caffeine kick.

Can you shift what or how you are eating slightly? Make the change.

As for exercise… just thinking about the time it will take to change into workout clothes, drive to the gym, exercise for an hour and then drive back and change again can make us break a sweat. After work and other priorities, there just isn’t any time. So, we put it off and look forward to that magical day when we will have an opening.

MY TRICK: Move more in the spaces of your day. Before my children were born, I was used to training at the gym for hours at a time. Now, I find that time occupied by being with the kids. So, we play and I get a workout… they get on my back and I do jump squats or pushups. They are my trainers and my cheerleaders.

ANOTHER IDEA: Make your TV time interactive. Try standing up and walking in place during commercial breaks to get energized and get your body moving. Once you get into the habit, step it up and do jumping jacks. Make it a game with your family or friends to see who can do the most in the few minutes you have between shows.

Can you find activities in your day where you can add more movement? Make the change.

Fill the spaces of your day with mental nutrients. In the car, be mindful of what you are listening to on the radio. Use that time to listen to something positive. It is as simple as music that makes you feel good to help you change your approach to the day. When you are brushing your teeth, think about how you want your day to unfold – visualize it with emotion – and you will be fueled toward those positive outcomes.

My final piece of advice is, once you have that time set aside for something good, hold onto it no matter what. If you give it up life will fill in that time with something else before you can blink. Maintain YOUR time even if you are filling it with something different from day to day. Time is precious, as we all know – use it wisely!

These are only quick peeks at some of my personal strategies. Your life and your strategies will be unique. If you are not sure where to begin, ASK ME! I am here to help you see the opportunities and make the shifts to position yourself for more health and happiness. Even if you don’t have an appointment, call or e-mail me with your personal questions or challenges. It is my purpose to help as many people as possible.

Healthy Weight For Life

Many of you have heard me speak about Healthy Weight Loss in terms of goals. This time I am going to talk about Healthy Weight in terms of lifelong habits. It doesn’t mean you don’t want to have goals… goals are essential. What I want to emphasize this time is the bigger picture – beyond your personal, short-term goals. I want you to think about your weight loss as if it has already been achieved. What will it feel like? How will you have changed as a person? What will you want to do next? The real win is not in the numbers, but in establishing habits of healthy weight maintenance. A totally new life!

For most people a diet is something they do once or twice a year to lose a certain number of pounds or inches. Once that’s done, they go right back to their old routines. Maintaining a healthy weight should not be an on-again, off-again activity and it should not be torture. A question often asked by weight loss patients is: “Since I have all this weight to lose, how can I stay motivated to stick to any diet long enough to lose it all?” The answer is that you are not going on a diet of predetermined length; you are adopting a new way of eating for the rest of your life. It requires you to want to make a real change.

It is not an insurmountable task. There is secret weapon. The secret is repetition, which leads to adaption and then habituated patterns. Just three steps.

Step one is REPETITION. As most athletes know, hundreds of repetitions (energy expenditures) are required for a complex motor skill to hold up under the pressure of competition. Old bad habits suddenly reappear when motor skills are newly formed or insufficiently practiced. Mental skills operate in exactly the same way. Converting bad habits of thinking to good habits-and turning good habits into strong beliefs-takes time and lots of targeted energy expenditure. Weak thoughts, images, or emotions constantly break down under intense pressure. The common term we use is will power. But you must remember, you are not born with a certain level of will power, you have to develop it over time until it becomes automatic. Repetition helps your body to adapt.

Step two it ADAPTION. Powerful thoughts, images, and emotions are analogous to heavy weight. They require more energy and are therefore more stressful. Repetitiously triggering the same thoughts, images, or emotions is not unlike the repetition of lifting a barbell. Both require repeated energy expenditure. In the case as such sports as weight lifting, running, cycling, and climbing, growth occurs primarily in the form of muscle adaptions. In the case of thinking, imagery, and emotions, growth occurs primarily in the form of neurological adaptions. The adaptation process is also influenced by the intensity of the mental or emotional event. Making thought and images come alive-with emotion, sounds, colors, and sensations of all kinds-increases energy expenditure and neurological stimulation.

Step three is HABITUATION. You don’t have to remember to do things that are habits. Good or bad, there are certain routines that you can think of in your day that you do automatically and often without even thinking. When was the last time you arrived somewhere and you could not remember the details of your drive? Or the last weekend you spent running around and then on Monday when asked what you did, you just couldn’t remember? It’s because most of the time we are on auto pilot, performing the same old patterns. Imagine how your life would be different if your habits were different. Good habits lead to optimal health.

OPTIMAL HEALTH creates the wonderful results of healthy weight loss. The results of this new way of eating becomes the motivation. So take heart: no matter how much you have to lose, every pound lost takes you closer to your ultimate goal- becoming leaner, fitter, healthier person. You’ve got the rest of your life to live healthy and fit. Don’t get caught up in the trap of deadlines.

Those three steps aren’t little ones so let’s start simple. Set reasonable goals for yourself. Start by moving more in your day and choosing one or two dietary changes at at time. Get unreasonable by throwing out your old story of why you can’t do it, but be reasonable about what you can do right now. Here are a few ideas you can use:

GENERAL RULES:
1) Eat only when you are hungry! If you have a poor appetite, reduce sugars and starches and your appetite will improve.

2) Eat foods in whole form as much as possible- whole foods, as provided by nature (either cooked or raw).

3) Eat animal source foods in moderation.

4) Eat raw foods with every meal. The best raw foods are salads.

5) Eat small meals, but eat as often as you are hungry. Many people overeat at one particular meal and overload their digestion; the same amount of food eaten in smaller quantities, several times per day, would not impose a burden.

SUGGESTIONS:
* No hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats.

* No preservatives.

* No sugar or refined carbohydrates.

*Best between-meal-snacks = raw vegetables, low-glycemic fruit, raw nuts.

NEED HELP? Ask me on your next visit about some questions to get you moving forward. OR ask someone else that has done it already. For example, ask a trainer at your gym OR ask us for other experts you can talk to in your geographical area. We can help!

Healthy Responses to Stress

You may not be able to avoid stressful situations during the holidays.

But you can plan to respond to them in a healthy way.

• Take breaks from group activities. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Spend a little time by yourself if you can. Meditate, or do some relaxation breathing. Go for a short walk.

• Keep a regular sleep, meal, and exercise schedule. Limit your alcohol. Taking care of yourself will help you deal with stressful situations during the holidays.

• Get support if you need it. Holidays can sometimes trigger depression. They can be especially hard if you are already dealing with the death of a loved one or the breakup of a relationship. You may feel embarrassed

to ask for help, or you may think that you’ll get over “the blues” on your own. But most people need treatment to get better. Talk with your doctor about counseling and medicine for depression.

• Identify the specific causes of your holiday stress. What are the factors that are causing the most stress and anxiety for you? Money worries? Underlying tensions with certain family members? Then do what you can to address those issues. Try to find free holiday activities or gifts. Come up with ways you can either resolve or temporarily set aside conflict with a feuding family member.

• Let go of perfection. Don’t put too much emphasis on making everything perfect. Those magazine spreads showing gorgeous holiday decorations and feasts were prepared by teams of designers. Since you probably don’t have a full-time staff at your disposal, set more realistic expectations for yourself.

• Make a list. Santa isn’t the only one who should be making a list. Write down your wish list of things you’d like to accomplish and be ruthless about whittling it down to things you must do. Would it be great to hand-make gifts and give out gorgeously-decorated cookies baked from scratch to friends, family, your child’s teachers and the mailman? Sure. Is it realistic for you to try to do that and still be able to do things like, oh, sleep? Only you can decide for yourself.

• Talk to a friend. Take a break from holiday shopping and preparation to call a friend or meet her over a cup of tea. Letting out your feelings to a supportive friend can be an invaluable, and an important way to relieve holiday stress or any kind of stress and anxiety.

• Let others help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of having to cook an entire meal for Christmas or decorating for a party or tending to houseguests, have others pitch in. Why not make Christmas meals pot luck and have family members bring something to the table? If you have a relative who is crafty, ask that person to organize the decorations. Grade-school age children can also help by doing age-appropriate chores such as vacuuming or sweeping floors and tidying up rooms. You can even hire a neighborhood teen to come and lead your kids as they clean and organize the house so that you can tend to other holiday preparations.

• Get in some exercise. Hectic holiday schedules can often throw a wrench into regular routines, such as making time for exercise and eating a healthy diet. Ironically, not taking care of yourself can cause more stress and anxiety, leading to a vicious circle of holiday stress.

• Recharge. Even if your hectic holiday schedule only allows you to spend a few minutes on yourself, take that time to go someplace quiet to recharge your batteries. Wherever and however you refresh your spirit depends on your individual preference. It could be a few minutes of quiet in a church, or a walk in a park. You could even take yourself to a day spa for a manicure and quick neck massage. Another quick and no-cost idea: Go into an empty room in your house, hang a “do not disturb” sign on the door, and do some stretches while listening to some soothing music or sounds of nature.

From WebMD.com

Holiday Eating & Mindfulness

During any holiday season is when mindfulness becomes a necessity if your goal is optimal health. Mindfulness means paying attention. Instead of zoning out and eating without thought, really sit there with moment to moment awareness. It’s not easy but it’s truly worth it. Practicing mindfulness prevents us from overeating which is one of the biggest challenges to deal with when food is presented in large displays. As you practice mindfulness you will notice that you can enjoy the food without overindulging. That’s the key, that is, to enjoy and not overindulge. Let this be your mantra and at the forefront of your mind when placing anything in your mouth, especially during the filling holiday season.

So how can you be mindful when eating? A great place to start is to utilize your senses of seeing, smelling, tasting and feeling. Now wait a minute! Of course I see the food, smell, taste and feel it. Well maybe you do, but not with full color attention. See the art of improving your mindfulness like connecting the dots and adding intense color to your senses. Instead of glimpsing at the food, smelling only the strongest scent and tasting only the most obvious flavor, look deeper as if you’re a detective. Observe the food as if you’ve never seen it. Really smell the many subtle fragrances never noticed before. When placing the food in your mouth feel the pressure it creates. Notice the subtle experiences we call flavors that burst in your mouth. Now let’s pick that delicious dessert. Instead of warming up and inhaling your first slice with the intention of eating another, stop for a moment. Simply stop and turn on your senses at full color and full magnitude as if you just turned up the volume 10 notches. Fully enjoy the dessert as if this is the first time eating it.

Realize that eating one slice will taste the same as eating the 2nd, 3rd 4th, etc. One piece is the same as the whole. Coming to terms with the fact that all foods that are outside your optimal fuel (foods that are strictly for the care, maintenance and improvement of your mind/body health) are simply to be enjoyed by the senses and not for survival. When you maintain the mind set that fun foods are strictly to satiate the senses and not for health, you will truly enjoy that holiday dessert. Desserts are simply to be enjoyed by the senses and that’s it. Don’t confuse foods like cake, candy, sodas, etc. with foods that provide nutrition. This difference cannot be overlooked. Think deeply about this.

Your mission, if you choose to accept being healthier, is to SLOW DOWN and magnify smelling, seeing, feeling the texture and tasting the food you eat. So with this new perspective on fun foods and survival foods, appreciate each for what they offer, that is, pleasure for the senses and nutrition for the body.

How Much Is Your Health Worth? Investing In YOU

When you place a higher value on your health you immediately become healthier because you also raise your standards. Raising the bar means that you begin to demand more from yourself. You no longer settle for things that are below that level and you are no longer reasonable with being average or ok with just getting by. You do that and not only will you be guaranteed higher quality health but a higher quality life. When you stop settling for less you then expect the best. So, how much is your health worth?

Take a minute to think about the things that are most valuable to you right now. What would you do to take care of them, to protect them, to prevent anything from happening to them? What’s interesting is that value in something increases when that something becomes rare or soon may no longer exist. I see it often when a patient has a serious health condition they immediately have increased value for their health and therefore will pay more attention. That is value caused by fear. Living a life of fear is not living at all. Too many of our hospitals are full of those that increased value to their health only when it triggered enough pain and fear.

What I ask each of you as you read this is to create more value in your health not by way of fear but rather from a place of joy and abundance. Living a life of energy, vitality and vigor is what being in optimal health is about. How valuable is that? How much more does it add to your life?

As I always remind those in my workshops, if you only had one car your entire lifetime, how much better would you take care of that car. Not out of fear of losing it but rather the joy of knowing that by giving it the best care possible it will take you everywhere you want to go in life that brings you happiness. I must remind you that you only have one body your entire life. If you do not place the highest value in your health by being proactive now, you may end up adding that value by way of pain of disease. Your highest value MUST be on your health.

Placing the highest value on your health doesn’t mean that you place secondary value on your family and other important things in your life. It simply means that you come from a place of experiencing your world with much more prosperity in all that you do. Life is meant to be lived at full capacity, not on a tank that’s always running on empty, tires that are always flat, an engine light on or black smoke coming out of your exhaust. Give yourself the gift of adding value to your health. How do you do that? Decide. Want it. Expect it. From that place, the choices you make will begin to change the direction of your health – and your entire life, for that matter.

With the high price spikes we are seeing in health insurance, the value of ‘proactive prevention’ is even more critical. If you just assume that you will be taken care of by the traditional medical system you will give up the quality of health you desire and deserve. The strength and value of allopathic ‘western’ medicine is the detection and treatment of disease. It does not focus on health. If you are not sick or have no pathology by default you are healthy. You know that it not always true. There is tremendous value in a system of medicine that can detect and treat disease, but to live your life on the edge of that cliff is always living in fear.

You can increase the value of your health by being proactive. You can pave a new road of prevention to make sure that you can see the signs posted miles before you reach that cliff where crisis care is required. The philosophy of Chinese medicine is in the value of strength, vitality, vigor, fertility, and all the components of being healthy. What I’m asking you is to value the most important thing at this moment in your life – YOU!

Health Is In Your Habits

In a recent article in Forbes magazine, San Diego was named among America’s most obese cities, citing 26.7% of the population as obese and ranking 10th out of the 20 most obese cities. The article also mentioned that “to counteract the trend, San Diego County has invested in preventing and reversing childhood obesity by forging collaborative relationships between public and private entities.”

THE REALITY
Studies show that children who are obese are more likely to be an obese adult. “One study found that approximately 80% of children who were overweight at aged 10–15 years were obese adults at age 25 years. Another study found that 25% of obese adults were overweight as children. The latter study also found that if overweight begins before 8 years of age, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe.”

In response to these statistics, I was asked to participate in an event to educate our community about childhood obesity. When our team met to discuss the keys to prevention, it always came back to the importance of educating the parents first. So, instead of presenting all the causes and effects of childhood obesity, I am going to speak about family nutrition – practical strategies for a healthy diet and lifestyle on any budget.

THE CAUSE
We all know that a poor diet and lack of exercise can lead to obesity but what is often overlooked are the other factors, including the following (as listed by The Mayo Clinic):

Family history. If your child comes from a family of overweight people, he or she may be more likely to put on excess weight, especially in an environment where high-calorie food is always available, and physical activity isn’t encouraged.

Psychological factors. Some children overeat to cope with problems or to deal with emotions, such as stress, or to fight boredom. Their parents may have similar tendencies.

Family factors. If many of the groceries you buy are convenience foods, such as cookies, chips and other high-calorie items, this can contribute to your child’s weight gain. If you can control your child’s access to high-calorie foods, you may be able to help your child lose weight.

Socioeconomic factors. Children from low-income backgrounds are at greater risk of becoming obese. It takes both time and resources to make healthy eating and exercise a family priority.

THE EXCUSES
Money can be a big driver for many of us, but it’s not the only factor here, so there is no reason for anyone to throw up their hands and allow health to suffer. We have to take this seriously because obesity is not simply a cosmetic problem. Obesity’s associated costs add $93 billion to the nation’s medical bill annually. Each year, 112,000 people die from obesity-related causes, and the condition is responsible for an increased risk of chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. In the long-run, setting up habits to help your kids win the game of life by maintaining their health will save everyone money.

The other common rationalization I hear is “it runs in my family.” As you can hopefully discern from The Mayo Clinic list, only a small percentage of conditions are due to genetics. Most of what you “inherit” from your family are similar habits. You eat, cook, exercise and socialize the same as you parents and they the same as their parents and so on. This leads to chronic, familial health problems that become accepted as part of “normal” life. Remember, just because something is common, that doesn’t mean it is normal. You have to love your family but you have a choice to pick your peers. Choose to be around people that will help you raise your standards. Ask for help and there share the health with the people at home that you love.

THE SOLUTIONS
This message is not going out to just parents. I expect each one of my patients to be an example for the people around them, regardless of age. Set a higher standard for yourself and you will find that other people will start to raise themselves up to your level. Your habits not only define your future but they also impact everyone around you much more than you probably realize. Use that as more fuel to keep you focused on your personal health. We’re watching you! (hee hee)

I want to leave you with one final thought. I found this in an article and I decided to quote it directly because there is no way to say it better: “There are rare genetic (perhaps) and metabolic disorders, medication (e.g. prednisone) and issues such as an under-active thyroid that can cause people to gain weight, however for the most part, it all boils down to lack of exercise and excess eating. You don’t need any medication to resolve this problem, what you need to do is eat less and do more. Weight control is an input and output balance.”

If you are struggling with finding a healthy balance for your family. Please ask me for help. If you know others who are looking for help, please invite them to the workshop at the end of this month.

I

Increase Your Focus and Decrease Your Cravings

We must first come to the understanding that what we focus on the most we will have in our lives. Your mind is like a garden. It contains roses and weeds. Our focus is the water that nourishes the roses or weeds. If we put our attention on the weeds and say, “I don’t want weeds, I don’t want weeds,” in essence we give the weeds of our mind more energy to grow in our lives.

Cravings are a symptom of the monkey mind. The monkey mind
is the chaos of our thoughts and emotions that draw us away from ability to be mindful and present. When we are not in the present, we lose our ability to be powerful human beings. Why is it that when we wake up in the morning, sometimes we jump out of bed with excitement and other times we hit that snooze button 10 times? It really comes down to our focus.

Make it a habit to pay attention to what you focus on. In other words, step back and observe your focus from a third person perspective. Begin to stand guard at the door of your mind and give energy(focus) to those things you want to nourish and
grow in your life. Over time you will be amazed that those cravings of the mind begin to lose their control over you.

Cravings are not only for food, cigarettes, drugs, etc. Cravings
are basically anything that draws your attention away from you being present. In my training, fatigue can draw me away from being present. When I am not present, I am physically weaker. Notice this for yourself the next time you are exercising. If in
your exercise routine you begin to experience fatigue, notice where your focus is. Are you one hundred percent present in the task at hand? Probably not. Most likely your mind is wandering
or you’re thinking about when the time clock will ring to stop exercising. Or you’re thinking about all the things you need to
do in your day, or foresee a stressful day at work. These are all symptoms of the monkey mind and they just drain your energy.

By focusing with intensity in the moment and at the task at hand, cravings from the monkey mind are unable to grab your attention.

'Imagine' Less Stress

In the movie “Up In The Air” the main character goes around doing motivational speeches with a backpack. He uses the backpack as a visualization tool. He asks his audience to imagine wearing the backpack and then loading it up with all the stuff in their lives. He asks them to start with the small stuff on their shelves and then add the big stuff like their house and car. As soon as everything is stuffed in he asks them to feel the weight of the backpack on their shoulders. Then he tells them that they are going to set the backpack on fire. He asks them to choose the few things that they would quickly remove from the backpack. What would it be? What is most important? Is the rest just stuff? It made me think.

After that he asks them to put the people and relationships they have into the backpack and feel the weight of it all (with no fire this time). If you think about the emotional weight that we all tend to take on day in and day out in physical terms things can get pretty heavy. If you really think about it, the weight of that backpack is too much for anyone to bear.

What’s in your backpack?

Now, I am not saying to throw out those relationships or those things you have worked so hard to attain. But use this analogy as a practice in visualization to reduce stress.

For those of you who have not come to one of my Peak Performance workshops, visualization does not require a lotus pose and humming – it is simply the practice of using your imagination. If you doubt your ability, think about the last time you saw a scary movie. I’ll bet you double-checked the locks on the doors and pulled your covers up tight that night. We all visualize and when you combine our imagination with emotion, the brain has a hard time distinguishing what is real and what is imagined.

If you are willing to give it a try, sit comfortably and close your eyes (so that you are not distracted). Think about all the things that are stressing you out right now (all the past and future worries) and let them flood your mind for a moment. Push them all into that backpack and feel the weight of it all at once (just for a moment, though; we don’t want to cause a panic attack). Then visualize yourself taking one item at a time out of the backpack, tie each one to a balloon and release it “up in the air.” It might sound silly but if you really let yourself feel the experience of letting go of your worries, you will reduce stress on your body and mind.

Yes, it takes practice. Yes, you may look down to see that everything you thought you let go is still sitting in that backpack. Just keep going until you feel a sense of relief. The time you spend will reduce each time as it gets easier to let things go and focus on the present. There is no stress right here right now as you read this e-mail. There is no threat to your survival if you are sitting at a desk somewhere with a computer. I know you know that, but take a minute to review your situation. Are your shoulders tensed up around your ears? Are your teeth or lips clenched? Are you crouched over in a protective pose? Are you holding your breath? These are all signals that your body is under stress. Your brain thinks that you are reading this e-mail in a lion’s den and so your body is getting ready to take a bite or run for your life. Take a deep breath in through your nose, close your eyes and relax your shoulders and neck. Do this several times during each day. Set an alarm on your phone or computer so that you don’t miss the opportunity to re-ground yourself in THE NOW. It only takes a minute or less to stop, breathe and focus. Trust me, it will make all the difference in the way you see your life and your ability to handle your day.

J

January Jumpstart

We all have desires. A desire is the seed of all actions that we take. We all are great at planting seeds, especially at the first of the year. But the problem that most don’t realize is that it is only a seed. A seed by itself can never become anything without the right environment consisting of proper soil and ongoing nourishment. To give you some reality on this matter, get a seed and put it on your desk and wait for it to grow. Now for those who say, ‘of course the seed needs to be put in dirt and given some water.’ Ok, put it in dirt and water it one time and come back a month later and see what happens. We all know that a plant needs to be continually attended to for it to thrive. The same goes for outcomes we want to achieve. In other words, we continuously need to keep our attention on our outcome of what we want. Be very clear on what you want. Most people know what they don’t want. That brings their attention to what they don’t want. Once you decide on what you want, only bring your attention to those things that will move you in the direction of your outcome. Now along the road, you will have many enticing exits that will detract you from your destination. The key here is to keep your attention forward. Along the way you will have some detours, crazy drivers, speed bumps, storms. Continue to keep your attention moving forward. There will be times you will experience gridlock. This will most likely challenge your commitment to stay on the road to your destination or give up. I tell you now that this is where the greatest successes stories are created. The reason is because most others simply get off the next exit. The reason this is can be the most challenging test on the road to your destination is because it requires more fuel than expected. This fuel is the WHY behind WHAT you want.

Your desire for wanting to achieve that goal must be compelling. It must be something that pulls you. When you think about this outcome, it brings joy to your life now. Your point of power is now. Not tomorrow, not yesterday, but now. If you have the ability to think a thought that is emotionally charged with the idea of a compelling future; that will be your fuel. The more I interact with people in the process of assisting them to achieve their health goals the more I realize that a strong enough why behind what you want is one of the two most important factors for success. I know you’ve heard this before from me but it is truly the fire behind your desires. The more compelling reasons you have in achieving your outcome the further you will go. If you set up your goal and your reasons for achieving them do not have any powerful feeling behind them then get ready to fail when you get the first few negative hits of daily life (New Year’s Resolution Syndrome).

Most people who fail may have started with a clear, compelling goal but truly never believed they could achieve it in their heart of hearts. They just went through the motions hoping that if they kept trying they would succeed. Some actually do. But over time, if your belief is not strong enough, you will eventually give up. When you generate a feeling of expectation (as if you have just ordered something from a catalog and you are waiting for it to arrive) you have completed your internal alignment of getting what you want. What is interesting is that the physical actions required to achieve that goal then become less work and more a joy of knowing you are on the right path. This is what I call a purpose-driven life. If you would like me to help you in this process make sure you bring it up on your next appointment and I’ll give you more personalized support in your specific goals. If you haven’t been in for a while and you are ready to make a change, I’ll be ready for you.

In my office, I have a picture with a powerful statement strategically placed where all new patients start at our wellness center (that’s just outside of room number one, for those of you who missed it). I would like to leave you with that statement as you start a NEW YEAR of YOUR LIFE. It is a picture of a butterfly emerging from a caterpillar cocoon. It states: “Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are, for what you could become.”

k

Know More About Menopause

As a woman approaches mid life, in her mid forties to early fifties, her estrogen production declines, she stops ovulating, and her supply of eggs runs out. This stage of her life is called menopause, or “change of life.” Menopause is not a disease. It is solely a life transition. The body never stops making estrogen entirely, but its production falls to levels insufficient to cause menstruation. Even when menstruation has stopped, however, sporadic ovulations can still occur. Therefore, it is advisable to be aware conception can still occur until two years after menstrual periods have ceased. Half of all women will stop menstruating by age 48; by age 52, 85 percent of all women will have reached menopause. Women who smoke will reach menopause 1 2 years earlier than nonsmokers.

One out of five women will experience no symptoms at menopause; their periods simply stop. The symptoms experienced by the others can include hot flashes, mood swings or depression, dry skin, mild headaches, backaches, and fatigue. About 49 percent will suffer hot flashes, and of these women 15 percent will seek medical relief because they find them so severe. Another side effect of menopause is an increased risk of heart attack due to lack of estrogen.

Of greater concern is that all women do experience some loss of bone density at menopause. Estrogen is crucial for the ability of bones to absorb calcium from the diet, and as a woman’s estrogen levels drop during menopause, bone loss increases. This can lead to clinical osteoporosis, particularly in women who have small frames and lower bone density.

Your doctor can answer your questions concerning calcium supplements, hormonal therapy, and the benefits of a balanced diet and exercise in preventing osteoporosis. A study at Western New Mexico University showed that postmenopausal women who participated in high intensity exercise programs greatly increased their cardiovascular endurance. Also, exercise increases bone density in women over forty, many of whom are at high risk for menopausal bone loss.

M

Marie's Most Glorious Recipes RELATED: Properties of Food

Marie’s Most Glorious Recipes

Dressing #1

• Flaxseed oil

• Olive oil

• Apple cider vinegar

• Balsamic vinegar

• Salt/pepper to taste

• Dried parsley

• Squeeze of lemon juice

• Can also put in:

• Turmeric

• Raw honey

• Spicy/brown mustard

Oil to vinegar ratio should be about 2:1…maybe a little more vinegar. Add all other ingredients, add to taste. Be careful with the mustard. A little goes a long way. I love lemon…I use the juice from about half a medium sized lemon.

Dressing #2

• Apple cider vinegar

• Your favorite hummus (my favorite is Majestic Sprouted Hummus…it’s SOOOOO good!!!)

o Mix and enjoy!!

Turkey Sweet Potato Tacos

• 1 medium to large sweet potato (diced into very small cubes)

• 1 pack of ground turkey meat (you can use a lot less than this if you want. Think of the potato as a substitute for the meat, and the meat is just for some extra flavor)

• 1 medium onion (diced)

• 2 TBSP fresh ginger (minced)

• 3-5 cloves garlic (minced)

• Corn tortillas

• Toppings for tacos:

• Spinach

• Cilantro

• Diced tomatoes

• Spices:

• Salt

• Pepper

• Chili powder

• Any other spice you like

Sauté onions, garlic, ginger for about 5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes…sauté until potatoes are soft. Add turkey and cook all until meat is cooked. Add spices to taste. Serve on corn tortillas with spinach and cilantro…or just eat as a salad! You can add a small amount of my dressing on the top if you want.

Quinoa Veggie Salad

• Chopped veggies…any kind you want (e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, watercress, green onions, peas, parsley, cucumber, avocado)

• 1 box Quinoa

Cook quinoa according to box directions. Mix hot quinoa and veggies together. This slightly steams the veggies…aiding in digestion. Add lighter veggies in last (e.g. spinach, avocado, and watercress). Can add nuts, raisins, and fruit to your liking. (I like to add toasted pine nuts). Pour dressing on salad. Toss.

Enjoy!!!

Mung Bean Soup

• 1 cup mung beans

• 1 cup basmati rice

• 9 cups water

• 4-6 cups chopped assorted veggies

• 2 chopped onions

• 1/3 cup minced ginger root

• 8-10 cloves minced garlic

• 1 heaping tsp turmeric

• ½ tsp pepper

• 1 heaping tsp garam masala

• 1 tsp crushed red chilies (more or less to taste)

• 2 spicy peppers (habanero, jalapeno, Serrano) – optional

• 1 TBSP sweet basil

• 2 bay leaves

• Seeds of 5 green cardamom pods

Soak beans for about 8 hour. Rinse and then bring to boil. Add onions, garlic, ginger. Add veggies. Add turmeric, pepper, garam masala, and crushed red chili. Rinse rice and add. Add spic peppers, basil, bay leaves and cardamom pods. Reduce to medium heat and stir throughout the next two hours, or until veggies and mung beans are cooked to your liking. Can serve with Bragg’s liquid aminos, avocado, cilantro, and yogurt for extra taste.

Sesame Salmon with rice and Stir Fried Veggies

SALMON

• 1 large salmon filet

• 0.5 cup sesame seeds

• 4 TBSP Grade B maple syrup

• 2 TBSP minced ginger

• 3 cloves minced garlic

In small frying pan, sauté garlic and ginger. Add sesame seeds and maple syrup, and bring to a simmer…about 5 minutes. Squeeze lemon and salt and pepper on salmon. Pour sesame syrup over salmon filet. Broil from about 5min. Enjoy!!!

STIR FRY

• 1 bunch of whatever veggie you have in the fridge. (I like using broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, etc.)

• Bragg’s Liquid aminos

• 3 cloves garlic, minced

• 2 TBSP ginger, minced

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• Salt and pepper to taste…only if you want

Sauté garlic, onions, ginger in coconut oil for about 5 minutes. Add chopped veggies, salt, pepper, and a splash of Bragg’s. Sauté everything for about 2 minutes on high heat. Cover and take off heat (let sit for 3-5 minutes). Enjoy!!!

RICE

Make rice and serve with veggies and salmon!!! You can also substitute any other type of grain (e.g. quinoa, brown rice). If you want to make this meal vegetarian, add any beans or lentils to the veggies. They are a great source of protein.

African Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup

• 1 TBSP Oil

• 1 Large onion, chopped

• 3-5 cloves garlic, minced

• 2tsp fresh ginger, minced

• 1.5tsp ground coriander

• 0.5tsp ground cinnamon,

• 1 pinch ground cloves

• 3 medium tomatoes, chopped or one 28oz can chopped tomatoes with juice

• 1.5 lbs sweet potatoes, chopped

• 1 carrot, chopped

• 4.5 cups water

• 1 tsp salt

• 1 pinch cayenne pepper

• 2 TBSP crunchy peanut butter (or any other nut butter)

• 1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Heat oil in a large saucepan or your soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion about 10 minutes. Until lightly browned. Mix in the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir in tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Cook for about 5 more minutes. Pour water into the saucepan, and season mixture with salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. Remove from heat. Blend soup until smooth…I like to keep some chunks in mine. Season with cayenne pepper. Add peanut butter (or other nut butter of your choice) and heat through. Serve warm with fresh cilantro on top. Variations: for more of a peanut flavor, use up to 1/3 cup peanut butter. Also, you may substitute 1-2 cups of the water with vegetable broth.

Beet Salad

BEETS

• Beets – BUNCH

• Beet greens (rinsed and cut into bite sized strips)

• Onions – ONE LARGE

• Garlic – 3-5 CLOVES

• Ginger – ~2 TABLESPOONS

• Pancetta (if not making vegetarian dish) ~1/2-1CUP

DRESSING

• Flaxseed oil

• Olive oil

• Apple cider vinegar

• Balsamic vinegar

• Salt/pepper to taste

• Dried parsley

• Squeeze of lemon juice

• Can also put in:

• Turmeric

• Raw honey

• Spicy/brown mustard

Oil to vinegar ratio should be about 2:1. Add all other ingredients, add to taste. Be careful with the mustard. A little goes a long way. I love lemon…I use the juice from about half a medium sized lemon.

Cut off stems as soon as you buy them (put aside for later use). Rinse and cut beets into quarters if beets are big. Toss beets in oil salt and pepper. Put in casserole dish…cover. Bake in over at 400F for 40-60min. fork should easily sink into beet. Check beets often if they are smaller. It might take a shorter time. Take beets out of oven. Peel should come off very easily, but be careful, they’re hot! After peeled, cube into smaller pieces. Stir Fry diced onion, garlic, and ginger in a frying pan (I like to use my Wok. That works best for me) with a small amount of coconut oil. Avocado oil works too. If making with pancetta, use its fat as the oil (cook first until slightly crispy, then add onions, garlic, and ginger). Stir fry until onions are wilted…about 5min…medium heat. Turn heat to high and toss in sliced beet greens for a hot second…until they are wilted. Take off heat. Mix beets and beet greens together. Toss with dressing…ENJOY!!!

YOGI TEA

• 2 quarts water

• 15 whole cloves

• 20 black peppercorns

• 3 cinnamon sticks

• 20 whole cardamom pods (split pods first)

• 8 fresh ginger slices (cut ¼ inch thick…skin on)

• ½ teaspoon black tea leaves (about 1-2 tea bags)

• Almond milk (other milks too if you prefer…e.g. rice milk), raw honey, agave syrup to taste

Bring water to boil. Add cloves and boil one minute. Add cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and ginger. Cover and boil for 30 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours. Remove from heat, add black tea, and let cool. Strain and store in refrigerator. Reheat when you want a cup and add almond milk and honey/agave to taste (if you want).

Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Congee

• ½ cup rice (preferably white, but brown will do. You could also try other grains as well. Traditionally it is made with white rice though)

• 4-6 ½ cups water OR broth (4 cups = thick, 5 cups = medium, 6 ½ cups = thin)

Wash rice thoroughly!!! Put rice and water/broth in crock pot over night…about 6 hours. If you don’t have a crock pot, bring to a boil on the stove top, then simmer for 6 hours…stirring occasionally. Remember, it’s better to have more water/broth than less Enjoy!!! Add anything you like to the congee. Spices, veggies, and meat will make it taste awesome! Just remember, food is medicine. Choose your add-ins well!!! Ideas: ginger, carrot, fennel, leek, mung bean, radish, poppy seed, pine nuts, sesame, chicken, pork, etc.

Properties of Food

KEY

Energy = Qi (the energy your body has to function. Energy of the individual organ systems as well as energy in general)

Damp = Having to do with the digestive system. When there is damp, the digestion slows and becomes less efficient. A less efficient digestion means less nutrients to your body, which means decreased energy in general. Damp conditions can easily turn into phlegm.

Phlegm = actual phlegm in lungs and sinuses. Phlegm can also slow digestive function…even more than a damp condition.

Astringent = holds fluids and prevents leakage (i.e. holds in body fluids and stops diarrhea)

Barley = sweet, cool. Good for digestion and energy.

Corn = sweet, neutral. Good for digestion, reduced appetite, difficult urination, edema.

Caution: Look out for GMO. Most corn in the United States is GMO. Try farmers markets.

Oats = sweet, bitter, warm. Good for digestion, energy, benefits heart, reduced appetite, diabetes, indigestion.

Caution: Can aggravate dampness, especially if adding too much dairy and sugar

White rice = sweet, neutral. Strengthens digestion. Good for generalized weakness, reduced appetite, nausea, vomiting, thirst, dry mouth.

Rye = bitter, neutral. Dries dampness, moves stuck energy. Balances damp foods like cheese.

Asparagus = bitter, pungent, cool. Promotes urination, benefits kidneys. Good for edema, painful urination, urinary dysfunction, constipation.

Caution: Too much may irritate the kidneys.

Avocado = sweet, cool. Nourishes fluids and blood. Moistens lungs and bowels. Good for dry lungs, intestines and skin.

Caution: Too much may clog up digestion…too damp. May increase phlegm.

Green beans = sweet, neutral. Strengthens digestion, kidneys, and increases fluids. Good for dry cough, diabetes, frequent urination, thirst, dry mouth, diarrhea, and vaginal discharge.

Caution: Can aggravate tendency to constipation.

Beets = sweet, neutral. Benefits liver, nourishes blood, strengthens heart, and moistens intestines. Moves stuck energy, good for menopausal symptoms, insomnia, anxiety, nervousness, and dry constipation.

Broccoli = sweet, bitter, neutral. Clears heat (fever in summer), benefits liver, moves stagnation, and improves vision. Good for abdominal pain, gastric ulcers, eye inflammation, visual weakness, thirst.

Brussel sprouts = sweet, pungent, warm. Good for moistening intestines, strengthening digestion. Good for constipation, common cold, whooping cough (soup), gastric ulcers (fresh juice), mastitis and skin eruptions (topical).

Carrot = sweet, neutral. Strengthens digestion, benefits liver, improves vision, stops cough. Good for indigestion, abdominal distention, constipation, diarrhea (well cooked).

Caution: Be careful with juice and raw forms when undigested food is in stool and/or diarrhea. Juice is very sweet. Excessive consumption will cause dampness, and clog digestive function.

Cauliflower = similar to broccoli. Good for the lungs.

Cilantro = pungent, warm. Regulates energy, benefits stomach. Good for reduced appetite, common cold, measles.

Caution: with eye disease.

Cucumber = sweet, cool. Clears heat, stops thirst, promotes urination. Good for edema.

Caution: with diarrhea, especially with undigested food in stool.

Garlic = pungent, sweet, warm. Warms and improves digestion, kills parasites. Good for sore throat (uncooked), whooping cough, TB (in congee), indigestion (pickled).

Ginger = pungent, warm. Warms digestion, lungs, stops vomiting. Good for digestive disorders, lung congestion.

Caution: with excessive heat internally.

Leek = pungent, sour, warm. Regulates energy, blood, warms digestion, benefits liver, stops bleeding. Good for chronic diarrhea, rectal bleeding, hemorrhoids.

Lettuce = bitter, sweet, cool. Promotes urination. Good for edema, hemorrhoids, blood in urine, difficult urination, insufficient lactation.

Caution with weak digestion.

Mustard greens = pungent, warm. Transforms phlegm, regulates energy, and warms digestion. Good for cough, nausea, vomiting.

Onion = pungent, warm. Transforms phlegm, stimulates lungs, benefits digestion, and regulates blood and energy. Good for phlegm in lungs and sinuses and high blood pressure.

Parsley = pungent, warm, bitter, salty. Improves digestion, promotes urination, and strengthens teeth.

Caution: during lactation. It can dry up the milk.

Pumpkin = sweet, bitter, neutral. Strengthens digestion and energy, transforms phlegm, aids in discharge of pus. Good for chronic asthma, diabetes, and stabilizes fetus in the womb.

Peas = sweet, neutral. Strengthens the digestion and liver. Good for hiccoughs, vomiting, belching, constipation.

Potato = sweet, neutral. Strengthens digestion, benefits energy and stops pain. Good for abdominal pain, gastric ulcers (fresh juice).

Caution: avoid green and sprouted potatoes. They contain the toxic alkaloid solanine.

Spinach = sweet, cool. Moistens and lubricates intestines, clears heat, nourishes body fluids, stops thirst, nourishes liver, and improves vision. Good for constipation (especially in the elderly), diabetes.

Caution: spinach is rich in oxalic acid. It should be avoided by those prone to kidney stones. It should not be cooked with foods rich in calcium…this will avoid excessive calcium oxalate formation.

Sweet potato/yam = sweet, neutral. Strengthens digestion, laxative, increases fluids. Good for insufficient lactation, visual weakness, constipation, fever/thirst (uncooked).

Caution: although strengthening to digestion, if over eaten, they can cause dampness and cause indigestion and abdominal distention.

Watercress = pungent, bitter, cool. Clears heat, promotes urination, and regulates energy. Good for jaundice, painful urination, cough with yellow phlegm, sore throat, bad breath, flatulence.

FYI: Used uncooked in salads, juices or lightly cooked in soup.

Apple = sweet, sour, cool. Increases fluids, stops thirst, clears heat, benefits digestion, stops diarrhea. Good for indeterminate gnawing hunger, fever, thirst, hangover, lung heat from cigarettes.

Banana = sweet, cool, astringent (unripe). Good for digestion and intestinal fluids. Good for thirst, dry mouth, hunger, fever, high blood pressure, constipation, bleeding hemorrhoids, dry lungs, dry cough (fresh, ripe); diarrhea (steamed unripe).

Caution: diarrhea (ripe), phlegm congestion.

Cherry = sweet, warm. Strengthens digestion. Benefits energy and blood, expels cold and damp. Good for joint pain, arthritis, gout, blood deficiency (anemia).

Date = sweet, neutral. Strengthens digestion, nourishes blood, and moistens lungs and intestines.

Caution: dates are very sweet and should be used sparingly as they can aggravate phlegm and cause abdominal distention.

Grape = sweet, sour, cool. Strengthens liver and kidneys. Benefits energy and blood, increases fluids, and promotes urination. Good for lower back ache and weakness, palpitations, night sweats, thirst, dry mouth, hepatitis, edema, concentrated urine, difficult, painful urination, blood in urine, joint pain, arthritis.

Caution: excessive use may weaken the eyes.

Lemon/Lime: very sour, astringent, cool. Clears heat (especially in summer), increases fluids, benefits stomach and liver. Good for thirst, nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, flatulence, indigestion.

Caution: excessive amounts can damage fluids and blood and aggravate dryness. It may aggravate gastric ulcers.

Orange = sweet, sour, cool. Benefits digestion and increases fluids. Good for thirst, dry mouth, hunger, hangover, nausea, vomiting, arthritis.

Caution: don’t eat with common cold, or cough with phlegm. Oranges can cause irritability, restlessness and allergic symptoms in children and should be limited.

Mulberry = sweet, sour, cold. Nourishes energy and blood, clears heat, and nourishes liver and kidney, laxative. Good for visual problems, dizziness, insomnia, diabetes, constipation, anemia, high blood pressure.

Caution: diarrhea, digestive weakness

Pear = sweet, sour, cool. Clears heat, nourishes fluids, moistens dryness, and benefits lungs. Good for thirst, dehydration during fever, diabetes, dry cough, sore throat, hoarse voice, constipation, hangover.

Caution: digestive weakness, especially with undigested food in stool, diarrhea, cough without heat or dryness.

Button mushroom = sweet, cool. Supplements digestion, moistens dryness, nourishes lung fluids, transforms phlegm. Good for weakness, insufficient lactation, dry cough, weak immunity, chronic hepatitis.

Shiitake mushrooms = sweet, neutral. Strengthens digestion and energy. Good for frequent urination, diabetes, hypertension, chronic hepatitis, high cholesterol, stomach and cervical cancer, weak immunity.

Almond = sweet, warm. Good for the lung. Clears phlegm and cough, moistens intestines.

Caution: phlegm, loose stools, diarrhea

Black beans = sweet, warm. Benefits kidneys, promotes urination, and nourishes fluids and blood. Good for low back pain, leg ache, infertility, kidney stones, difficult urination, menopausal flushing.

Black sesame = sweet, neutral. Nourishes fluids and blood, lover and kidneys, moistens intestines. Good for visual weakness, tinnitus, dizziness, hair loss/gray, dry constipation, insufficient lactation, numbness.

Caution: weak digestion, diarrhea

Chick peas = sweet. Benefits digestion and energy. Dries dampness

Caution: digestive and energy weakness, damp accumulation…don’t eat in excess.

Coconut = sweet, warm. Nourishes fluids and blood. Good for weakness, emaciation, malnutrition, dry skin and hair.

Caution: coconut (especially the milk) can generate phlegm.

Kidney bean = sweet, neutral. Benefits kidneys, promotes urination. Good for weakness, urinary dysfunction, edema, diabetes

Mung bean = sweet, cool. Clears heat, promotes urination, alleviates toxins. Food poisoning, lead poisoning, conjunctivitis, high blood pressure…usually used as tea in these situations.

Peanut = sweet, neutral (raw), warm (roasted). Supplements digestive energy, moistens lungs, benefits fluids. The whole peanut, including the brown skin, is used. Good for postpartum blood and energy deficiency, insufficient lactation, chronic cough, blood in urine.

Caution: loose stools and diarrhea, phlegm.

Walnut = sweet, warm. Warms and supplements kidneys/constitution, moistens intestines. Good for low back ache, frequent urination, impotence, low libido, chronic asthma and cough, urinary tract stones, dry constipation.

Caution: diarrhea, phlegm and asthma, dry conditions. Overconsumption can aggravate the heart and cause mouth ulcers.

Beef = sweet, warm. Strengthens digestion, supplements energy and blood. Good for anemia, emaciation, reduced appetite, diarrhea, general weakness, lack of vitality.

Caution: damp heat conditions, psoriasis, hot skin disease. Too much can clog digestion.

Chicken = sweet, warm. Strengthens digestion, energy, blood, and benefits constitution. Good for postpartum insufficient lactation, anemia, and general weakness.

Eggs = sweet, neutral. Nourishes fluids and blood. Good after long illness, during and after pregnancy, threatened miscarriage, diarrhea, emaciation.

Caution: phlegm

Cow’s milk = sweet, neutral. Moistens dryness, benefits lungs and stomach. Good for emaciation, dry conditions, especially in the lungs, gastric ulcers, constipation, diabetes.

Caution: undigested food in stool, weak digestion, phlegm, diarrhea. The healing properties are only from organic, no antibiotic, unprocessed varieties.

Pork = sweet, salty, neutral. Nourishes fluids and blood, moistens dryness. Great for the lungs, dry cough, dry mouth and throat, energy and blood deficiency, especially following illness and pregnancy, constipation.

Caution: heat and phlegm

Salt = salty, neutral. Benefits kidneys/constitution, moistens dryness, softens hardness. Good for digestion, and bowel movements…in small quantities.

Caution: edema, diabetes, high blood pressure. Excessive salt damages the blood and weakens the bones.

Pepper = pungent, hot. Warms digestion, stimulates appetite. Good for abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, early stages of cold and flu, congestion in the lungs.

Caution: eye disease, fluid deficiency, hemorrhoids.

Vinegar = sour, bitter, warm. Improves digestion, disperses stagnation in blood, stops bleeding. Good to combine with rich, oily foods. Good for abdominal and hypochondriac masses and accumulations, dizziness, fainting, and food poisoning.

Caution: weak digestion, arthritis, early stages of a cold

Mind / Body Balance

It has become quite obvious for me how much mental attitude impacts our state of health. If you have a strong desire to improve your health it provides significant momentum on the road toward optimal health. On the other hand, if you experience chronic states of anxiety or depression, that can be like trying to drive with your emergency brake locked. You may get to where you need to go, but with much more effort required and a not-so-pleasant smell coming from your car.

Research shows undeniable evidence that the central nervous system and the immune system communicate regularly. Maladaptive behavior as measured by symptoms of anxiety or depression can lead to changes in the endocrine and nervous system and how it drives you toward either disease or optimal health. The death of a spouse, depression, the stress of a job, examinations, and the strain of care giving have all demonstrated to produce immune dysfunction. Stress management strategies such as tai chi, chi kung, yoga, meditation, biofeedback, social support have all been found to improve immune function. One of the main reasons for the immune-enhancing effect is an increase in blood concentrations of endogenous opioids, especially enkephalins and endorphins. These same hormones are also strongly stimulated and released with acupuncture. I often emphasize to my patients that what we are doing each time you receive acupuncture is resetting brain-body communication, activating the ideal environment for self repair and optimal function. This all occurs by way of activating the nervous system to increase blood flow containing oxygen, nutrients, hormones, and immunological substances to every cell of the body. What is even more important is that we are reconditioning the body to get into this ideal physiological state every time you receive acupuncture. Just like an athlete who trains a specific movement over and over until it becomes second nature, by continuing to reset the nervous system into this self repair state by way of acupuncture, you are training the body to be in that state more often.

Now here is the most important thing that I tell my patients, especially those who I have been part of their wellness family for a long time. Acupuncture becomes an external conditioned stimulus that creates the ideal environment. The longer one receives acupuncture, the more the body is conditioned to reset itself. To multiply and magnify this effect to acupuncture, you can incorporate exercises like guided imagery, meditation, tai chi, chi kung to reactivate the similar state triggered by acupuncture. This means that you can trigger the immune-enhancing, analgesic-stimulating properties of enkephalins and endorphins. This is why Chinese doctors for the past 3,000 years have complimented acupuncture with chi kung, tai chi and other relaxation techniques. If I have not taught you one of these exercises, ask me to on your next treatment.

When we speak of physical balance, a system called Proprioception comes into play. This is the perception of one’s own body position and movement. Proprioception is controlled by nerve endings called Proprioceptors that relay information about the musculoskeletal system to the central nervous system. Proprioceptors detect changes in tension of force of muscles, tendons and joints. The primary function of proprioceptors, in addition to position, movement and balance, is to maintain muscle tone and to protect the body from injury. In high physical and emotionally taxing situations, a considerable amount of input into the nervous system can easily cause this system to become faulty leading to chronic tension, pain and stress. We have all felt this after a long emotionally demanding day in how tight our shoulders can get or how sitting too long at your desk causes ongoing low back tension and pain. These are examples of the proprioceptor nerves hitting threshold causing an automatic self sustaining reflex. Acupuncture resets and releases these dysfunctioning nerves/muscles by sending a strong neural signal on this proprioceptive pathway. Outcome: muscles relax, pain reduces, feel-good hormones are released and systemic autonomic nervous system homeostasis (also known as feeling and being in balance).

Every day throughout our days, weeks, months and years stress builds up in our bodies. Most just learn to live with a symptom. The body adapts and we go about our day. We get used to the tension, pain, or stress because that is what we see around us. We think that these are symptoms of just getting older. Long ago I used to think that until I realized that it was no longer acceptable for me or for my patients to think that way. To live a higher standard life you can no longer become reasonable with your health. You can no longer become ‘ok’ with just getting by or learning to live with symptoms. If you want to improve your health, you can no longer accept what you see around you as normal; common yes, but not normal. Acupuncture, therapeutic exercises, and the princples of Chinese medicine I teach my patients have been a major part of the Chinese healthcare for over 3,000 years. Make it part of yours and take your health to the next level.

Methyl Mercury in Fish

Make safer seafood choices. What you might not know can hurt you.

FISH SPECIES RANGE TESTED (ppm) RECOMMENDATION
NO TILAPIA (all farmed) Don’t Eat
Bass, freshwater 0.15-0.34 OK
Catfish, fresh and saltwater 0.10-0.31 OK
Cod Trace Excellent
Crab 0.10-0.15 Excellent
Founder 0.00-0.08 Excellent
Haddock Trace Excellent
Hake Trace Excellent
Halibut 0.12-0.63 Guessing
Lobster 0.10-0.14 Excellent
Mackerel 0.10-0.23 OK
Mahi Mahi (dolphin) 0.11-0.21 OK
Marlin 0.10-0.92 Guessing
Orange Roughy 0.42-0.71 Don’t Eat
Oysters 0.00-0.09 Excellent
Perch, freshwater 0.00-0.31 OK
Perch, salt/rose fish/red rockfish Trace-0.03 Excellent
Pike 0.00-0.10 Excellent
Pollack 0.00-0.10 Excellent
Salmon (fresh & canned) – wild caught, not farmed 0.00-0.11 Excellent
Shrimp 0.00-0.09 Excellent
Shark (NO!) 0.23-2.95 Don’t Eat
Snapper, red 0.07-0.26 OK
Swordfish (WATCH OUT!) 0.26-3.22 Don’t Eat
Trout 0.00-0.13 Excellent
Tuna, canned only 0.10-0.75 Bad Guess
Tuna (fresh and frozen) 0.10-0.75 Bad Guess

Samples from imported Shark were lower (7.0); Imported canned and fresh tuna were the same as above as was swordfish; October 1990 – October 2001 FDA sampling data; Recommendations by David Getoff, C.C.N.; (Note: FDA action level is 1 part per million); (Additional info added from Oct. 92 – Sept. 94, FDA sampling)

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No Symptom. No Problem.

If you are already my patient you have heard this first part before, but you are also probably used to me repeating things that are vital to optimal health so hang in there and hear this one more time. Symptoms are the LAST thing to occur, not the first. Any symptom that you are having is an alarm going off courtesy of your brain trying to alert you to an existing problem. These “alarms” do not sound until malfunction reaches the point of breakdown – disease. Have you ever heard of someone who everyone thought was totally healthy having a heart attack or suddenly being diagnosed with a serious disease like heart disease or cancer? Just because you have no symptoms – or the symptoms seem to be “normal” or just not that bad – does not mean you are healthy.

Chinese medicine is here to supplement emergency Western medicine so that you don’t have to walk around in fear of being struck down with a disease seemingly out of nowhere. Being proactive to prevent health problems has always been the basis of Chinese medicine. Right now in history we are at a wonderful place where Western medicine and Chinese medicine are starting to integrate more fully as patient-centered care. It is about using the best of all medicines to care for the person as a whole instead of focusing in on the disease. I encourage you to continue to take advantage of this integrative care system and tell your friends and family about how they might integrate Chinese medicine into their current healthcare plan. It might just save a life.

Understanding how to use this wisdom and science behind more than 3,000 years of Chinese medicine is what sets my patients apart from others who have been exposed to Chinese medicine. The mindset of the Optimal Health patient is that of a Peak Performer – someone who wants to go to the doctor to stay healthy and always learn more about how to maintain optimal health. These people maintain the highest commitment to their health. This level of excellence keeps them in the driver’s seat when it comes to their health and body, instead of the backseat with no control. Does this mean these people never get sick, injured or stressed out? Absolutely not, but their mindset about their health affects what decisions they make when it comes to handling health challenges (or any challenges for that matter). They are always ready to get right back on track because they have a clear focus on what they want. This certainty in life is what I want for every one of my patients. It is why I do what I do everyday to help remove roadblocks and inspire individuals to always keep moving forward.

You may be sitting there thinking ‘I can’t be one of the people he is talking about.” I can assure you that you are wrong. Everyone has the qualities and capacities of a peak performer. It is part of my purpose to work with you to bring out that part. Peak performers are always happy and grateful but never quite satisfied and so they are never stagnant. So, if there is something in you that desires more out of life, talk to me about how we can make a change. Big or small… let’s start something together!

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Put The Holidays Aside

For those of you who have known me for more than a few holiday seasons, you are used to me talking about Holiday Eating & Mindfulness around this time of year. NOT THIS YEAR. For my newer patients, I encourage you to read my article on this topic and ask me questions about how to apply these strategies to your individual life. For the purpose of this newsletter, however, I want to set the holiday season aside. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and be with yourself right now in this moment. Linger there and you will find your heartbeat start to slow down and your shoulders start to lower from where they have been hovering up around your ears.

The calendar and clock lets us know where we are in time and space relative to the standards of our society. We often get so swept up with what “time” it is and forget to take notice of the moment. “Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count.”

Stress only exist in the past or the future. Unless you are actually a lion tamer with the circus, there is no stress and no fear in your present situation. Any stress you feel is a manifestation of your thoughts about past experience or your fears about the future. “You can’t change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future.”

My message that I want you to apply to your lives is to set your own pace, your own standards, your own goals and then reach beyond that when you see opportunity. “Life is all about timing… the unreachable becomes reachable, the unavailable become available, the unattainable… attainable. Have the patience, wait it out. It’s all about timing.” (Stacey Charter). By being present and aware you are constantly positioning yourself for success. You already have this power… it is part of your human physiology. The Reticular Activating System (RAS) in the brain allows your nervous system to focus in on only the things that are more important to your life. It is a safety mechanism that keeps you from going into information overload. Let it work to your advantage. If you are constantly rushing into the future or dwelling in the past you might miss an opportunity right in front of your eyes. Schedule moments in your day where you can slow down and re-focus before taking the next step. I guarantee you will experience positive results.

Just remember not to chart your progress based on the expectations of others. Confucius was one of China’s most famous teachers, philosopher, and political theorist. He said: “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

Plan To Succeed

Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan. -Tom Landry

When I start talking about goals, people sometimes get that glazed, deer-in-the-headlights look. Our society has set the standards so high on many things that the idea of achieving those ideals can be daunting and sometimes terrifying. I am here to tell you that you are already an expert at achieving goals. You do it everyday when you plan to be somewhere and then show up, or decide on something you want to buy and then make the purchase. A goal doesn’t have to be something that is grand and beyond your reach. Every goal starts with a desired result. Then you implement a plan to reach that result. The final piece to this process is taking action. A plan has no real purpose and will never have an outcome until it is put into action.

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now. -Alan Lakein

Planning does not have to be a complicated process. Think about the last time you went to the movies. You had a specific movie time in mind and so made arrangements to leave work or home at another specific time in order to drive, purchase tickets and snacks and secure seats. You didn’t just hope that you would end up seeing the movie, you made a plan and then followed through with that plan to your desired outcome. When you set a goal you must imagine the results as if it has already happened. Visualize yourself at the movies or somewhere that you have been before as a warm up and then practice seeing yourself in the place or circumstance that define your goal. Bringing your outcomes into the present time with vivid imagination and emotion will fuel your acceleration toward that goal and help you maintain focus.

A good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there. -H. Stanley Judd

What do you want? You must start with a destination – an outcome. Have you ever been at a shopping center and looked at one of those directory displays? You want to buy shoes so you look for shoe stores on the map. Then you look for that little star indicating YOU ARE HERE. If you don’t know where you are starting from you will never be able to map to your destination. It’s the same with goals. Be honest about where you are so that you can move forward from there. If you continue standing still you will never get what you want… in this case shoes. Also, remember not to confuse the destination with the outcome. The goal was not to enter a shoe store, it was to buy shoes. So, if you did not prepare by bringing your wallet then you will not succeed. Use the people around you who have been where you are and achieved your goal, or something similar. I guarantee you that someone, somewhere at some point was in the exact same place that you are in now. Don’t waste time re-inventing the wheel. Use their experience and hindsight to find out what you will need and prepare your plan accordingly.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. -Benjamin Franklin

Most goals are more complicated than buying shoes or seeing a movie and so most plans need to be more intricate and specific. So, figuring out exactly what it is that you want, what you are going to need and who can help you are essential questions to address before even attempting to create a plan. You must prepare carefully, otherwise your plan may fall apart at the first sign of resistance.

Lose weight. Sleep better. Eat healthier. Start exercising. These are common goals with one major flaw – they are not specific. Lose 10 pounds of fat – this is specific enough but perhaps too far out of reach. Long-term goals are good to have but make sure you break them down into realistic, specific, short-term outcomes. Lose 3 pounds by October 11. That is a clear outcome and it will get you one step closer to your overall goal. Be detailed in your definitions of what you want. To say you want to lose X number of pounds has no weight (pardon the pun). Define what you will feel like in your clothes, how you want other people to look at you, the activities that you will be able to do more easily… create a full and sensory picture of your life at that goal. This will help you focus on the journey from where you are and the benefits you will achieve in the pursuit of that goal instead of just the end point or number in this case.

This is only a glimpse of the strategies that I have to share with you all. For those of you that know me well, you know that I am always interested in growth, in being better in every moment and every aspect of life. I share this with my patients because I see so much potential in each of you and I want to be part of creating a spark and giving you the fuel to rocket forward to a better life. I want you to be grateful and happy with where you are and what you have but I never want you to be satisfied to the point that you remain stagnant.

Proactive & Preventative

Chinese medicine is based on health NOT disease. This means that the primary purpose of the doctors is to help educate patients on ways that they can proactively maintain health and prevent injury.

Many of my patients come to my center initially because they have had an injury. In the case of an acute injury, acupuncture can serve as a frontline therapy to rehabilitate the patient back to 100 percent. More often, however, I see patients with chronic symptoms due to an old injury /accident.

Sports medicine research has demonstrated that an injury in one area can cause the body to compensate with other areas. This leads to weakness, fatigue, loss of strength and coordination and ultimately an increased probablity of another injury. In addition, pain, swelling, inflammation, scarring and atrophy leads to reduced circulation and hinders the body’s ability to repair itself. Acupuncture is a powerful approach to accelerating this repair process. But even acupuncture is a passive therapy so it should not be the end. YOU have to be proactive and preventative to avoid what we in the medical community refer to as Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs).

MSDs are disorder that can affect the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilidge, blood vessels, or spinal discs. Part of my purpose is to educate as many people as possible how to prevent these unneccessary injuries from occurring; how to understand the potential symptoms leading up to this type of injury; and how to access the natural methods of treatment available.

For my patients, I am only able to briefly touch on some of these healing and prevention strategies during their appointment times. Since this training is so vital for not only my patients but their friends and co-workers, I want to offer a free workshop so that I might present this information in its entirity.

“An Educational Approach to Injury Prevention and Safety” is unlike any safety training course you have seen before. This free workshop will cover the wisdom and science of Chinese medicine combined with most cutting-edge research and techniques. It is valuable information that could save you or someone you know from a lifetime of pain and suffering due to an injury.

I will be presenting this workshop at our center on August 30th for my patients and their guests who participate in an a brief injury prevention survey. You can fill out this survey on your next visit or online (click here to access the survey page). The survey results will help me to better serve our community through my volunteer education efforts. I commit myself to doing at least 40 workshops each year at no charge to encourage proactive health and disease/injury prevention.

Other workshops that I do regularly around San Diego include topics on weight loss, hormones, depression, arthritis, gastrointestinal function and, of course, pain and stress reduction. For a full list of topics available for free workshops, see our website or ask my Health Education Coordinator, Judianne. I will speak for any group of any size on any topic of natural health. If you think you may know of a group, organization, club or workplace that should consdier having a free workshop, please let me know at your next appointment, call or email me a note. Your ideas are very helpful in stearing me toward people that want to learn about what they can do right now to be more proactive and preventative in their healthcare.

Putting YOU First

If you are not deliberately putting yourself first and creating what you want, life demands will pull you in every direction like a puppet. Sound familiar?

When you are not deliberate in moving toward what you want by way of your thinking, speaking and doing, you will get what just shows up. That’s generally not a pretty sight. Your life becomes a matter of which way the wind is blowing. This is what I call living without purpose. What does that feel like? It feels like most of your day consists of things out of your control and you never feel like you can catch up.

Well, during the month of May, I am going to remind you even more about breaking this cycle and putting yourself first (this article focuses mainly on the ladies since May is traditionally about women, but it is just as important for guys).

When I speak to you about being in optimal health, I consider both your body (your hardware) and your state of mind (your software). If your state of mind is just trying to survive rather than experiencing joy, your body will respond with the protective mechanisms that make up the stress/survival response (my patients reading this should know what I am talking about). This can lead to a physical breakdown and a stress overload. When you deliberately create each and every day in the direction of what you desire, you start your life with the powerful momentum of control. When you are in control of your inner world, no matter how turbulent your outside world may get, it is only temporary and cannot touch the depths of who you truly are and what you desire.

Putting yourself first demonstrates the highest respect for you. More is demanded from women today than in any other time in history, so you must demand more from yourself. Being the best you can be requires your standards to be at the highest level. Not only in self respect, but also in care for your body, the foods that nourish it, the input you allow in your mind, the choices you make, and the environment and people you decide to be among.

Look at this month as a month not just in changing your diet, losing weight, or simply a promise to get on the treadmill, but rather a step up in your standards in who you see yourself becoming. Make a commitment to yourself that you will no longer accept what is in front of you or what you are told. Focus on KNOWING what you desire for your life and allowing nothing to interrupt your progress.

As you read these words you have the choice to let what you are reading fade from your memory or let it be a new start to the rest of your life. READY… decide to make a change right now! I know you may be reading this while sitting at work or home after a long day, but there is no time to waste. You MUST make a change right now! Stand up and say it out loud or write it down (if you are not in a place to be vocal). Commit to doing something, anything to put you first today.

That felt good, right? The next step is to pass on that feeling. Give this article to someone else to read. Give them a Gift of Health for Mother’s Day. Ask me and my staff about how you can make a difference for the women in your life during National Women’s Health Week.

Q

Questions to Get You Moving Forward

Be honest with yourself. Take time to think about what you want.

1. What do you want to change about your health?

2. What emotional or physical pains do you anticipate you will experience when you follow through with this change?

3. What emotional or physical pleasures do you think you would continue to experience if you do not follow through?

4. What will it cost you in all areas of your life if you do not change right now and long term?

5. How will it make you feel if you do not ultimately get the results you are looking for in your life?

6. What will you gain in all areas of your life, immediate and long-term, if you take action right now?

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Research: Acupuncture Benefits Blood Pressure & Heart Function

A study published in the J Tradit Chin Med 1996;16:273-4 by Weihai et al reported that it was found that acupuncture treatment and nifedipine (an antihypertensive medication) were equally effective in reducing blood pressure in 62 patients with hypertension. These positive results are supported by other controlled trials.

• According to a study done by Bobkova et al it was shown that acupuncture-related decline of arterial pressure occurs in participation of pituitary and adrenal hormones as well as the polypeptides beta-endorphin and neurotensin.

• According to a study done by Anshelevich et al it was concluded that acupuncture resulted in a hypoaldosteronemic effect which showed statistically significant correlation with a decrease in the arterial blood pressure. The results obtained made it possible to regard the effect of acupuncture as one of the most significant mechanisms of its therapeutic action in hypertension.

• A study done by Radzievsky et al established that as a result of acupuncture a stable hypotensive effect, improvement or normalization of contractile function and diastolic values, a decrease of energy loss, reversal of myocardial hypertrophy were achieved. It is the decrease of sympathetic influences on the circulation system that plays an Important part in the onset of these positive changes.

• According to a study reported in the Journal of the British Medical Acupuncture Society the clinical picture Improved in 96% of those patients with hypertension who were treated with acupuncture.

• A recent study which appeared in the American Journal of Physiology by Chao et al showed that electroacupuncture significantly reduced myocardial ischemia and improved regional myocardial dysfunction. This finding suggests that electroacupuncture causes myocytes in the ischemic region to resume near-normal contractile function. The authors conclude that acupuncture may be a useful therapeutic approach for the treatment of angina in some patients. In this regard success with this approach has been reported.

Sources available upon request.

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Some Stress-Busting Foods to Consider

Blueberries—Besides having been identified as one of the healthiest foods around, blueberries are very high in vitamin C, which has been shown to give the body added reserves to help it deal with high levels of stress. Also, blueberries contain a high amount of fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels that fluctuate too much are a major contributor to stress for some people.

Brown rice—All whole grains, including bulger wheat, quinoa, oats and brown rice contain plenty of B vitamins and also supply serotonin producing carbohydrates that do not spike blood sugar levels. They also contain plenty of healthy fiber.

Dried apricots—These are rich in magnesium, which is a stress-buster. Some people even say that magnesium helps reduce heart palpitations brought on by stress. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant as well. Apricots are also high in fiber and vitamin C. Don’t eat too many of them, though, because they also contain quite a bit of fructose, a type of sugar.

Sweet potatoes—Sweet potatoes can be particularly stress reducing because they can satisfy the urge we get for carbohydrates and sweets when we are under a great deal of stress. Instead of reaching for a donut, eat one of these instead. They are packed full of beta-carotene and other vitamins, and the fiber helps your body to process the carbohydrates in a slow and steady manner.

Tea—Researchers in England have found that people who drink tea de-stress more quickly than those drinking a fake tea substitute. Tea contains catechins, polyphenols, flavonoids and amino acids that affect your brain’s neurotransmitters and ultimately reduce blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Plus, green tea is naturally caffeinated so you can still get a little skip in your step.

Green vegetables—Broccoli, kale, and other dark green vegetables are powerhouses of vitamins that help replenish our bodies in times of stress. Many vegetables also contain potassium, which is good for our nerves and can calm them. Also, when we eat a diet high in vegetables, we do not feel weighed down by our diet, and it is easier to get stress-reducing exercise.

Oranges—Oranges are very rich in vitamin C. When you are stressed, your body releases even more free radicals than usual. Vitamin C helps to keep the free radicals in check, and repairs the body. Basically, it helps protect the body from the cumulative effects of stress.

Turkey—Turkey contains an amino acid called L-Tryptophan. This amino acid triggers the release of serotonin, which is a feel-good brain chemical. This is the reason why many people who eat turkey feel relaxed, or even tired, after eating it. L-Tryptophan has a documented calming effect. Chicken is also high in this amino acid. However, don’t eat them fried, or your body will be so busy digesting the fats that you will miss out on the benefit of these foods!

Water—While technically not a food, it is important to have sufficient water intake, as even a mild state of dehydration can stress your entire body. Keep your nerves steady by staying well hydrated.

Spinach—A deficiency in magnesium can cause migraine headaches and a feeling of fatigue. One cup of spinach provides 40 percent of your daily needs for magnesium.

Salmon—Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart disease. A study from Diabetes & Metabolism found that omega-3s keep the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline from peaking.

Avocados—The monounsaturated fats and potassium in avocados help lower blood pressure. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says that one of the best ways to lower blood pressure is to consume enough potassium (avocados have more than bananas)

Something Old... Something New... Chinese Medicine

Bionic limbs, a smart mouthguard to monitor athletes for concussions, and genetically modified mosquitoes designed to reduce disease are among the Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2012 selected by a panel of Cleveland Clinic doctors and scientists during its annual Medical Innovation Summit. It’s amazing how quickly technology and science has leapt forward even just in the recent past. It seems like we are always searching for the newest technology, procedures, medications and more. Whatever is newer and faster must be better. But Chinese medicine is not new. In fact, it was initially developed more than 3,000 years ago.

Recent studies continue to elevate Chinese medicine as an integral part in our modern healthcare system. As a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, it is my job to educate my colleagues, patients and community members about the science behind the modalities of Chinese medicine. That is why I take time away from my office and my family to do free workshops and provide free counseling and education in San Diego.

Even as our healthcare system continues to transition to a more patient-centered model, focused on prevention, Chinese medicine is still limited in its exposure to patients. That is why I so often encourage my community, my friends and my patients to educate as many people as possible about the benefits of Chinese medicine as a natural approach to optimal health. It is only with your help that I can continue to help more people and I appreciate your continued support. As always, I encourage you to bring your friends, family and neighbors to any of my free educational workshops. If you want your co-workers to learn more, I’ll be happy to come to your office and speak at no charge on any topic of natural health.

There are many reasons that Chinese medicine is growing in popularity in the United States. For one, many people are trying to avoid or reduce dangerous or addictive medications by replacing them with more natural approaches. Secondly, Western doctors are becoming more aware and supportive of modalities such as acupuncture as a referral for patients. And one of the most compelling reasons for a rising interest in the use of Chinese medicine is that IT WORKS!

So, if Chinese medicine has such a long history and it is proven effective, why isn’t it a more significant part of our health plans? Most companies have wellness programs of some kind in place to promote health education and avoid loss due to illness or other chronic health problems, including obesity. So, why isn’t the average employee becoming a model of health? Why is our life expectancy as a nation still lower than some third-world countries? It’s not the lack of education and knowledge. Each one of you has probably participated in or least heard about health fairs or lunch and learn events in the workplace. These programs are usually once a year or, maybe with a devoted HR team, a couple times a year. It’s an avalanche of information – most of which we already know (eat healthier and exercise more). That information is usually appreciated and then tucked away somewhere until the next “get healthy week.”

Knowledge is not power. It is what you do with that knowledge that makes you powerful. My patients know that optimal health is not something you achieve overnight, but it is something that requires regular maintenance and attention. Health is not a one-size fits all equation. Each individual is unique and requires personalized care and coaching. This is the missing piece for most wellness programs I have seen. Does it mean that the human resources staff just doesn’t care enough? NO, but they don’t usually have the time, resources or training to implement a true community of wellness. That is why I am starting to offer complete corporate wellness services for companies of any size in San Diego. If you think your workplace could benefit please let me know whom I can contact. I can provide a free analysis and proposal outlining a customized wellness plan that is effective and efficient. With my help you can help your entire company of co-workers to avoid injury and illness, be more productive in their jobs and live happier and healthier than ever before. All you need to do is plant the seed by sharing what you know about Chinese medicine.

More and more people are discovering the powerful results that Chinese medicine can provide and telling their stories. With that in mind, please read and share some of our patient success stories. If you haven’t shared your success with us, please send me an e-mail or recommend us on Facebook.

Stress & Dangerous Trends

More than ever, office and professional employees are struggling to balance the demands of life with personal health maintenance. This healthcare crisis demands that we change the way we approach wellness and that starts by changing our philosophy of health. The common philosophy is “no symptom, no problem.” As long as I don’t have any symptoms I am healthy. The statistics say otherwise.

The 5 most dangerous trends facing employees are…

1. Depression results in more sick days than most other ailments (such as ulcers, diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis).

2. Weight gain affects job productivity…
o Weight increase of 64 lbs translates to 9% lower wages.
o Decrease in BMI by 10 pts. increased wealth by as much as $12,720 annually.

3. Medication. Long term exposure to common medications can lead to severe health problems.
o NSAID’s [Motrin (Ibuprofen) & Voltaren (Diclofenac)] may cause such serious side effects as gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer, gastrointestinal bleeding, tinnitus, blurred vision, dizziness and headache.
o Cox-2 inhibitors [such as Celebrex (Celecoxib)], are associated with significantly higher risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attack and stroke.

4. Anxiety
Research has shown that people who experience heightened levels of anxiety are four to five times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.

5. PAIN
Almost thirteen percent of the total workforce experienced a loss in productive time during a two-week period due to a common pain condition:
o 5.4% for headache
o 3.2% for back pain
o 2.0% for arthritis pain
o 2.0% for other musculoskeletal pain

Not surprisingly, pain can be a trigger leading to all four of these other conditions. Chronic pain can cause a person to become depressed, gain weight, over use medications, and develop anxiety attacks. Have you ever known (or been) someone in a state of chronic pain? Were they (you) overly sensitive? Did they (you) experience emotional ups and downs? Did they (you) seem to be in a perpetual “stressed out” state?

Pain and Stress are partners in crime. Chronic pain leads to stress and chronic stress leads to pain. It’s a viscous cycle and, unfortunately, it is a daily reality for many people. The secret to breaking the pain/stress cycle is based on understanding how your body functions. Your autonomic nervous system handles all forms of stress and strain on the body, including emotional, physical, chemical and environmental stressors. When that system is not functioning at 100 percent, the body begins to break down. If your demands far exceed your recovery, that breakdown will be accelerated and the body will start to trigger alarms to alert you to the problem. These alarms are called symptoms. Most people think that symptoms are an indication of a new problem. The truth is that symptoms are the last phase of the body’s dysfunction, not the first. Most of the nerves in your system (roughly 90 percent) control function of all the organs and tissues of the body. Only 10 percent of those nerves control pain. That means that the body can be at more than 60 percent malfunction before you even start to feel any symptoms.

So if you are already in pain and have been stressed out for a long time does it mean it’s too late? NO! That is the beauty of the body’s innate intelligence. Your body has an amazing built-in self-repair process that, once triggered, can reverse damage and return itself to homeostasis (proper, balanced function). Does this mean you can continue with your current philosophy of health and worry about reversing the damage later? NO! When the body starts to malfunction, eventually a disease process begins that can have irreversible consequences. What is the first symptom of heart disease? A heart attack – 40 percent of which are fatal. There is no cure for fatal. So, don’t wait until it’s too late. Start supporting function.
Oftentimes people in pain are so focused on getting out of pain that they don’t look beyond the symptoms to the underlying causes. If you are awaken by your fire alarm going off due to a fire, what should you do? Remove the batteries to get the alarm to stop beeping so you can go back to sleep? Or, maybe just put on some noise-canceling headphones so you can learn to live with the noise? NO! Find the fire and put it out. Go to the source of the problem. If you don’t, you will surely suffer more severe problems in the near future. It is the same with your body. Listen to the alarms and follow them to the source of your problem. It is okay to turn down the noise with medications but don’t assume that once you have silenced the alarm, the problem has disappeared.

The job of your physician is to remove the cause of the dysfunction or disease so that the body can have the opportunity to heal itself. Acupuncture can restore balance to the body, improve autonomic nervous system function, and speed up that healing process. That takes care of the pain for now and helps heal the internal problem, but what about the external triggers – your work, your responsibilities, your bank account… all the things that are fueling your stress. There is no surgical procedure for removing unwanted people, places and situations from your life. But, there are ways to control how these things impact your physiology in addition to acupuncture.

Tai Chi, yoga, meditation, physical and mental exercises, deep breathing, guided visualization, stretching, trigger point release (acupressure)… the list goes on and on. There are so many things you can do to help reduce the impact of stress on your system. However, none of these things will make any difference if you don’t first change your philosophy. If your philosophy is to run after the problems after they appear then you are only going to run out of steam. You MUST make your health a priority so schedule some time to Stomp Out Stress!

Not sure where to start? Ask me. Even if you are not a patient – ask me. I want to help! Start by coming to my Pain & Stress Reduction training or schedule a free workshop at your workplace, home or community organization.

Survival of the Stress-Less

We all have so much to do in such little time. We have expectations to achieve, deadlines to meet, things we think we SHOULD do, things we HAVE to do and things we LIKE to do also. We are limited to one body in one place at one time, so trying to tackle all of these things in our minds at once can cause a huge strain. Technology has advanced so much that it gives us a perceived outreach to handle more than one thing at once from our one physical space on the planet. However, our own mainframe computer called the brain is constantly pushed into overdrive. If we are not careful, overload and ultimately meltdown occurs. Don’t let it happen to you this year.

Before technology tucked us all ‘safely’ behind a screen, the nervous system depended on your physical perceptions of a threat. You see a tiger. It sees you (dinner). Your nervous system knows that if you don’t make it up a tree immediately, you will be dinner. The system requires every ounce of explosive power to sprint to that tree. Therefore, the nervous system will shift a higher amount of blood flow into the arms and especially into the legs to make it happen. Now, realize when blood flow shifts to the extremities it must flow from somewhere else. That somewhere else is from the main organs of the body. The brain will cause what is called vasoconstriction in the organ system so that blood flow is pushed at high velocity into the extremities.

This program is still in effect in today’s world but with no real tigers triggering it, only perceived. Now, you’re probably thinking, I consciously know the difference between a real and perceived threat. You are correct in that you know the difference ‘consciously.’ But the problem is that we are not fully conscious all of the time. In fact, according to research, we are only conscious maybe five percent of our day. The other 95 percent of the time, our subconscious is running the show. A perfect example is when you first learned to drive a car you were extremely attentive and fully conscious of your surroundings. Now compare that with 10 years later driving your car. How many things are you being extremely attentive to and how many things are on automatic pilot. Have you ever driven to a destination that you do routinely and have thought, “I don’t remember any of my drive today!” You then have this brief uneasy feeling that you weren’t paying attention. This is a glimpse of what is happening most of the time in our day. It is not always a bad thing because most things that are routine can be automatically done. But when we are routinely feeling emotions like overwhelm, fear, anxiety, depression and worry it activates the same signal of stress to the nervous system even if you know consciously that your boss is not a saber-toothed tiger. This automatic process, when left unattended, leads to insufficient blood flow to major organs and tissues in the body. Over time those organs cease to function without life-sustaining nutrients normally brought through by blood flow.

This old stress/fight/flight connection also suppresses your immune system. If your body is trying to fight a bacterial infection and suddenly you are running from a tiger, the brain/nervous system sees the more imminent external threat as higher priority. The nervous system will shift its resources (blood flow) toward the demands to fight the external threat instead of focusing on moving immune substances to fight the internal threat. In short, once stress goes up, immune function goes down. You add holiday foods into the mix to create a deficit of health enhancing nutrients and a back up in the detoxification system in the body and you get a common holiday recipe: it’s called getting sick.

Yet another negative side-effect of stress is limited brain function. Have you ever noticed that when you’re stressed out or overwhelmed you can’t think straight. It is not just you. We are hardwired under stress to vasoconstrict the blood vessels in the front of the brain, causing blood flow to shift to the hindbrain. What does this mean? The forebrain is the center of thinking and reasoning and logic. This part of the brain is much slower than the hind brain which controls reflex activity for emergencies. Adrenal hormones constrict the vessels of the forebrain reducing its ability to function AND these hormones repress activity in the brains prefrontal cortex. So in a stress response we primarily work from hind brain reflex mechanisms. So when we are in stress/overwhelm/worry, we are less intelligent.

These are just a few of the dangerous effects of stress on your system. But I can’t leave you hanging there or else we’ll be perpetuating that same stress response I described by making you worry. I want to share a few secrets about how to offset stress so that you can enjoy this time of year with the people you care most about. There are many ways to interrupt the stress response, but I just want to touch on two simple ones that are proven to dramatically reduce the effects of stress on your nervous system. Yes, one of them is acupuncture.

All stress begins at the level of thinking. Your brain is constantly making associations. When you think about one thing it immediately associates to another thought and then another and so on. The perceived threats (stress) that we covered already are false associations created in your brain. So the first way to break the stress response fuel lines is to create ‘gaps in thoughts’ to break up those associations and slow down the tidal wave of stress. A simple activity is bringing your attention to your breathing for one minute. I mean full attention, not while your driving, watching the news, reading the paper. When you take as little as one minute to create a consciously intended gap from thought to your breath, you interrupt that constant flow of subconscious stress associations you don’t even know you are having. A one minute gap in thoughts interrupts the flow of negative subconscious chatter. Your ‘to-do list’ will still be there and all that awaits you will not come crumbling down. Now let’s step it up a notch. If you take many ‘one minutes’ through your day, you will create a more profound shift. The challenge is we get so caught up in our day that we forget or simply say ‘I don’t have time’. Instead of making more time, just take a glimpse at your day and see where it would fit in easily. Before getting out of your car, there’s your ‘one minute’. Before turning the key on the ignition of your car is another one minute gap from thought. Upon lying down before going to sleep and upon waking are other ‘one minute gaps’ from thought you can take.

Gaps from thinking can also be created with activities that require high amounts of concentration. As most of you know, I’ve competed in full contact martial arts for years. My training at that time was always in preparation for the next match. Today, I still train and spar, but my intention is not preparing for the ring, but rather in training myself to create gaps in thinking. When a punch is coming at me, there is no time to think, otherwise I get hit. This is why some people experience euphoria in intense competition or other experiences that require full present time awareness. You don’t need to fight full contact or sky dive to achieve this state. The one essential ingredient is to find something that brings you a high amount of joy. When you are doing something that you love, no one has to tell you to pay attention. The simple act of doing what you love means that you are fully attentive, therefore creating a gap in thinking. To the degree we are present, fully conscious and engaged in the now, there is no stress. The mind causes us to stress because it takes us to past which we cannot change or pulls us into future unresolved worries. The problem is our nervous system is responding to past and future in the present time leading to a strain on the system because you cannot change it in the present. You end up feeling stuck, also known as depressed or overloaded. In short, anxiety.

In addition to interrupting the stress response with the ‘one minute’ exercise, activities requiring intense concentration, and activities that you enjoying doing, acupuncture therapy can be a powerful compliment in interrupting stress by resetting the autonomic nervous system.

Whenever these stress circuits are turned on they can end up being self perpetuating habituated patterns. Acupuncture can be the most direct way to reset these neurological circuits rather quickly. I caution people not to wait for an overload before they reach out for acupuncture (or other stress-reducing techniques). Realize that most of what is going on in the body from a stand point of stress on the system you don’t feel right away. Once you feel it, realize that it’s been building up to get to that point. Acupuncture’s impact on the autonomic nervous system disengages sympathetic stress signals (fight/flight response), causing the body to go into what is called neurological homeostasis. Homeostasis means a fully functioning, balanced nervous system.

Most of us carry some form of acute or chronic stress in our musculoskeletal system as result of excessive amount of demands both physical and more often mental. Younger folks can adapt to it but as we get older we are progressively less able to tolerate these demands. The brain develops what is called plasticity, which means it becomes highly sensitized to things with which it once had no problem. This, in turn, over activates the nervous system more often with less recovery. High amounts of real or perceived demands plus less recovery leads to a break down in the system. By implementing acupuncture into your lifestyle you reduce both acute and chronic stress by interrupting and resetting this process. In addition, acupuncture works by way of activating the serotonergic system of the brain. Pharmaceutical companies make millions on drugs called antidepressants that manipulate serotonin in our bodies. Acupuncture activates your body’s own natural pharmacy.

Give yourself the gift of health and wellbeing. Come in for regular resets, especially during the holidays to offset stress and feel good.

Stress Management Tips

Let’s face it, stress is here to stay. It’s like a bright light in your face… it can create a real strain if you keep focused on it all the time. Stress can be a tool to help us grow but without allowing ourselves time to adapt, the demands become too excessive and our bodies begin to break down. There is a very delicate balance between a stress breakdown and breakthrough. Understanding this amazing ability to adapt and grow from stress as the catalyst to mental and physical growth is your key to freedom. Take these tips. Use them. Share them with others. And start making stress work for you instead of on you.

Signs of Stress Overload
People who are experiencing stress overload may notice some of the following signs:
• physical symptoms, such as stomach problems, headaches, or even chest pain
• anxiety or panic attacks
• a feeling of being constantly pressured, hassled, and hurried
• problems sleeping
• depression or sadness
• irritability and moodiness
• allergic reactions, such as eczema or asthma
• drinking too much, smoking, overeating, or doing drugs

Everyone experiences stress a little differently. Some people become angry and act out their stress or take it out on others. Some people internalize it and develop eating disorders or substance abuse problems. And some people who have a chronic illness may find that the symptoms of their illness flare up under an overload of stress.

Take Control
What can you do to deal with stress overload? The most helpful method of dealing with stress is learning how to manage the stress that comes along with any new challenge, either it being bad or good. Stress-management skills work best when they’re used on a regular basis, what I like to call ‘proactive prevention’. Knowing how to release the pressure cooker of stress buildup and doing it when things are going well builds the foundation when challenging times come up. Here are some things that can help you kill the stress bug.

• Schedule more ‘me’ time. Cut out an activity or two, choosing just the ones that are most important to you.

• Be realistic. Don’t try to be perfect and don’t expect perfection from others. Do your best and expect the best from others. As long as you’re honest with yourself, you will always be doing your best.

• Learn to relax. The body’s natural antidote to stress is called the relaxation response. It’s your body’s opposite of stress, and it creates a sense of well-being and calm. The chemical benefits of the relaxation response can be activated simply by relaxing. You can help trigger the relaxation response by learning simple breathing exercises and then using them when you’re caught up in stressful situations. And ensure you stay relaxed by building time into your schedule for activities that are calming and pleasurable: reading a good book or making time for a hobby, spending time with your pet, or just taking a relaxing bath.

• Get a little more sleep. Better sleep is restorative and provides us with a better energy and improved ability to handle the pressures of the day. Getting enough sleep makes you better equipped to deal with any negative stressors.

• Be good to your body. Experts agree that getting regular exercise helps people manage stress. In addition, eating well to help your body get the right fuel to function at its best. It’s easy when you’re stressed out to eat on the run or eat junk food or fast food. But under stressful conditions, the body needs specific vitamins and minerals more than ever. Some people may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to ease tension. Although alcohol or drugs may seem to lift the stress temporarily, relying on them to cope with stress actually breaks down the body’s ability to bounce back.

• Stand guard at the door of your mind. Your attitude and thoughts influence the way you see things. A healthy dose of optimism can help you make the best of stressful circumstances. Even if you’re out of practice, everyday put into your mind the outcome you want in the day. Keep focused on your outcome and over time, your positive attitude will carry you through and you will reap the benefits.

• Take control of your healthcare. Remember that you are at the center of integrated care. Take the best of all medicines to enhance your health. Taking opportunities to learn more can lead to simple lifestyle changes that could make all the difference.

Build Your Toughness (persistence + flexibility)
Ever notice that certain people seem to adapt quickly to stressful circumstances and take things in stride? They’re cool under pressure and able to handle problems as they come up. Research has identified the qualities that make peak performers seem naturally resilient even when faced with heightened levels of stress. If you want to build your toughness against stress overload, practice what peak performers do:

• Schedule relaxation and fun on at least a weekly basis, daily is best

• See setbacks and problems as challenges and opportunities

• Think of change as an opportunity for growth

• Stay outcome focused and believe with certainty like the ground you walk on that you will succeed if you keep working toward your goals

• Build strong relationships that magnify the feelings you want

• Ask for help when your need it

Safe Alternatives to Prescription Pain Relief: Herbs, Acupuncture, Massage

Prescription pain killers have serious side effects and if taken long-term, they can cause irreversible damage to the body. Some common side effects of prolonged use include ulcers, kidney and liver damage.

In addition to the physical problems, new research is showing environmental effects of the pharmaceutical industry. When drugs enter the sewage system and waterways, they dissolve. This pollutes waterways and wildlife and can cause many health problems.

Alternative approaches are available that are not only free of drugs’ harmful side effects, but also dump less toxic byproducts into the water.

According to Janet Zand, a naturopathic physician, licensed acupuncturist, and Doctor of Oriental Medicine, herbs serve as a natural anti-inflammatory and help strengthen immune function.
“If you strengthen and balance the entire body, then the body often has less pain in general,” she said.

Some herbs have anti-inflammatory properties that ease back pain and muscle aches (camphor and clove), while others reduce bruising and muscle soreness (arnica), relieve arthritis pain (capsaicin, an extract of cayenne pepper), etc.

Acupuncture is another alternative to drug therapy that results in significant pain relief for both chronic and acute conditions including, neck pain, menstrual cramps, migraines, carpal tunnel syndrome and kidney stones. Scientists believe acupuncture stimulates endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers.

Physicians from Beth Israel Hospital in Seattle published a report which showed massage was effective for chronic lower back pain. Similar studies have shown massage helps reduce the pain and swelling in breast cancer patients.

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles also found massages reduce muscle spasms in patients following heart bypass surgeries.

According to Kathleen Miller-Read, licensed massage therapist, “about 80% of my clients come to me because they are in pain.” She uses a combination of Swedish massage, deep tissue techniques, reflexology and acupressure and encourages her patients to make lifestyle changes, including diet, exercise, aromatherapy, and if possible, Chiropractic and Acupuncture care.

SOURCE: “The Natural Alternative to Prescription Pain Relief,” Melissa Knopper, Environmental Magazine.

T

The Pain Problem

When I do my workshops, I often ask people to raise their hands if they experience pain on a regular basis. Unfortunately, I usually get 90 to 100 percent of the rooms raising their hands. I ask my guests to look around and observe how many other people live with pain. Although it is extremely common, pain is NOT normal. If you, or someone you know, experiences chronic pain (daily, weekly, monthly) it is an indication of a health problem. Pain is your body’s way of communicating a malfunction. It is a protective mechanism that can become self-sustaining if it is not addressed.

Over time, pain in and of itself is not the worst part of this chronic condition. Chronic pain interferes with all aspects of a person’s life from productivity to mental and emotional well being. Pain is the second leading cause of medically related work absenteeism, resulting in more than 50 million lost workdays each year, according to the American Pain Society. In addition, 1 in 3 Americans lose more than 20 hours of sleep each month due to pain, according to the American Alliance of Cancer Pain Initiatives (AACPI). Perhaps the most alarming statistic is people with back pain or other forms of musculoskeletal pain are 14 times more likely to consider suicide than the general population. In fact, 19 percent of those individual with any chronic painful condition will think about suicide.

Your body would never do anything to harm itself, but when you are stuck in a chronic pain cycle, your body can no longer pinpoint the exact area of the problem so it goes into extreme protective mode and simply locks down the area with pain and inflammation. A very direct way to alert your brain to the source of a chronic pain contraction is needling therapy… acupuncture. Once we reset those pain receptors and give your body a chance to address the underlying cause of the symptoms, things start to work better and pain signals finally turn off. That first phase of relief begins a cascade of positive changes in a person’s health and life.

A question I get almost as often as “what does acupuncture treat,” is “why do we have chronic conditions if the body is supposed to be able to repair itself?” This was one of the reasons why the Chinese researched and developed acupuncture as a therapy. Even 3,000 years ago, they were seeing patients with chronic conditions. These doctors realized, after a lot of study, that the nervous system handles all the activity in the body, and it handles things in order of priority. They determined that any condition that becomes chronic is not a threat to survival and so the body does not see the problem as a high priority for repair. Blood clotting is the highest priority system when it comes to survival so the Chinese decided to manipulate this system through needling therapy to create a high priority for healing at the source of a patient’s chronic condition. This is one of the very basic explanations of why acupuncture works.

So how do you know if you are setting yourself up for a chronic condition? Symptoms are the last signal of the body’s malfunction, not the first. So, don’t wait for symptoms and assume you are healthy if you experience stressors, especially trauma or emotional tension.

TRAUMA (cumulative like typing or sudden like a car accident). Studies have shown that 10 years after an auto accident, 68% of victims have headaches, radiating pain, and neck pain. This was without stitches or major external injuries. Auto accident victims also have an 80% higher incidence of osteoarthritis and get it faster.

EMOTIONAL TENSION. You do not need to have been physically injured to experience chronic pain and other symptoms. The body only responds to stress in one way. It is the fight or flight response and it applies to real threats and perceived threats alike. Your brain does not interpret the stress of physical stressor and an imagined or emotional stressor. Over time, when your body is constantly running from your mental tigers, it will gradually start to break down from the overload and chronic symptoms, including pain, can manifest.

Other common stressors that can lead to chronic conditions include infection, immobilization or de-conditioning, digestive inflammation and allergies. If you have questions about how to deal with these or other stressors, please ask me. Chinese medicine is all about being proactive and preventative. We have 3,000 years of wisdom and science that can be used to combat all forms of stress and strain on the human body. As a specialist in the medical field, I can help you assess the underlying cause of any symptoms you or people you know are having. I encourage you to extend my offer to help to anyone who you think may be suffering from chronic pain but also to those who you know have been in an accident or had sudden or ongoing emotional trauma.

The F-E-A-R Factor

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can cause us to hesitate, stop or step back in retreat. When you have this experience what you are feeling is actually a cascade of neuro-endocrine signals telling your body to prepare for fight or flight. It’s a primal response for self-preservation. Fear gets a bad reputation as something we have to conquer or overcome. So what if I were to tell you that you could use your fear as fuel? With awareness and a little practice you can make fear your friend and use it to propel you forward instead of burning you up.

“If you do what you fear most, the death of fear is certain.” I found this to be true again and again in my training in the martial arts. I learned to translate the physical feeling of fear into an idea that “my body is preparing to perform at its peak level.” Just like me, you can re-interpret your fears in ways that serve you moving forward.

The first step to harnessing your fear is understanding the threat. Often in our lives, there is no real threat to survival and yet we are overcome with F-E-A-R (False Evidence Appearing Real). Think about a time when you saw a scary movie. Consciously you knew the movie was not real but subconsciously you were still looking over your shoulder after you double checked that the door was locked. When you can learn to recognize that there is not a true threat to your survival your body can start to relax and you can become more efficient.

The second step is practice, practice, practice. Practice visualizing or imagining an experience that brings the greatest fear or stress in your life. Practice seeing yourself victorious in the situation . See and feel yourself overcoming that which you fear over and over and when you are presented with it in real time, you’ll be quite amazed at how much more easily you are able to handle the feeling and push through.

If you allow yourself to step into your fears and focus beyond them on the outcome you want, your nervous system will adapt to recognize fear as opportunity. When you are less reactive in your response to fear you can start to adjust and strategize. By training your brain and body in this way, you will feel fear and automatically step forward instead of stepping back.

Although it may be uncomfortable to practice facing your fears, the only way to grow is to push through resistance. The good news is that in the martial arts and in life anticipation of a punch is MUCH worse that the actual event. With that said, be careful not to let yourself get overloaded. When the nervous system has too much data to process it can trigger fear, anxiety and overwhelm that can lead to depression. Tighten your focus and concentrate on one target – your outcome. Cut out all other options, thoughts, opinions, ideas. Put your blinders on and only look forward. It is a challenge but it will help you master your fears.

Three Steps to Success

When wanting to achieve a goal most people just set the goal and take the most obvious actions to get the result. So if your outcome is to lose weight, you immediately associate dieting and exercise and off you go. You hit a bump in the road and it startles you, but it is still early in the uphill race. I say uphill because it feels like you’re going against the norm and all the things that feel good. Isn’t that what the process of achieving a goal is all about? Pushing against all odds, feeling the resistance and pushing through it, fall and get back up as fast as you can, This is the path we can observe from the greatest success stories. What you don’t see is the source of what drives that powerful, almost superhuman drive. That source is a mental/emotional state that contains three parts, the third being the most important because it causes the shift.

Before deciding to take any physical action, taking yourself through these three steps is absolutely critical, otherwise it will be virtually impossible to achieve and maintain this new goal. Step one is the easy step: What is it that you want? It’s too easy to get focused on what you don’t want. The more clear you are in your outcome the more clear your focus is and the straighter your course of action. “I want to get healthier”, “I want to lose weight”, “I want to get in shape”, “I want to stop taking those medications”. These are honorable goals to strive for but are perfect examples of goals that are either too general or are focused on what one doesn’t want. Be very clear, paint the picture in your mind, create the detail with color, finding references of what you want to feel and look like, for example. Notice that I haven’t talked about what kind of diet or exercise would be best. Most often people are in such a rush to get out of the emotional pain they are in, they have no idea where they are going.

Step two is the compelling why behind what you want. This is the fuel that will get you there. The more compelling reason behind what you want the more powerful your drive. This can be called the ‘convince me’ stage. If you can’t convince me with compelling reasons, I won’t buy it; and neither will you at the deepest level. In other words, it will be a dead goal that will last about a day;, top end, a week or two (sounds like most New Year’s resolutions). This is why most people can’t get past the first few weeks with their goal. It’s never about just having the right diet or the perfect exercise plan – those are only and always secondary factors. Your mindset is what drives everything. You can have the best trainer and top chefs cooking for you, but if you do not have a clear reason behind what it is you want, you’ll be eating the best dessert that your chef made while watching your trainers workout. Before taking another step in wanting to achieve your goal, take a step back and be clear on step one and step two. Stop placing so much energy on action and place a majority of your energy on your mindset first. When times get tough, it will be your mental attitude that will pull you through.

Step three is the biggest hurdle that must be made otherwise your outcome will never be realized for life. This is unfortunately the step that most do not pass. It is here where you see the magical change occur in people from where they are to where they want. This one word is the difference in really achieving what it is that you desire and ultimately failing. Step three is BELIEF. To believe you can achieve your outcome and maintain that belief in the face of your current reality is what will get you to your outcome. You can be crystal clear in what you want and really, REALLY want it, more than anything you wanted in your life, but if you don’t believe, at your core that you will have it, you will not succeed. The emotional charge of your belief must be to the same degree of certainty you have in knowing that the ground you walk on will hold you up, or the same degree of knowing that you will wake up tomorrow morning. It is one thing is to say you believe you can achieve it, and another is to know in your heart of hearts that what you are striving for you will have. Up to now, if you have not achieved an outcome and you have tried everything with such burning fire behind it, your belief may be the only missing ingredient.

The challenge is believing with certainty we can achieve something if we have never achieved it before. Find things that you already believe that match where you are going. Begin focusing on what you do know is already working in your life rather than focusing on what’s missing. The more you bring your attention to where you currently are, the more you drain your power of belief in achieving what you want. You must amplify those things in your life that are working for you to such a degree that there becomes no awareness/ attention on what’s missing and actually becomes unimportant. Sounds obsessive and extreme, but this is what is required. You need to stop putting things that you cannot do anything about in this moment in time such as your weight, your body, getting into perfect shape, etc. ahead of things that you can control right now; that is, your mental attitude and more specifically the power of your belief. Your brain works by way of associations. If you associate enough positively energizing ideas, feel good situations, past success, current and ongoing achievements like, “I am exercising and eating nutritional foods today,” to your outcome, you begin to match things that you believe to be true with absolute certainty with your outcome.

Begin finding statements that you already believe that match your desire. So if your outcome is to lose weight, you have to find thoughts that you believe that will link up and associate with your goal to be thinner. If you begin with thoughts such as, ‘I can be thin again’, it’s too far from your current beliefs. If you make statements such as, ‘every time I exercise I feel better about myself’, that is a belief that you can link up with your belief in losing weight. If you make a statement or think a thought such as, ‘I feel fat in these pants’, it will drain your power of belief. If this thought or statement pops up, in that moment you decide to not make a story about what you observed because that story/comment about feeling fat is the exact reason you are not getting past step three. If you keep reassuring yourself the reality of what is in front of you, you will simply keep believing what you see and stay stagnant. The more thoughts you have that give you powerful positive feeling and hope about your desire, the more momentum you have and the faster you get there. Don’t hesitate, just take that step. If you need help ask me. This is why I’m here.

I must state this again because it is absolutely crucial and that is, you cannot place any attention to the gap or what you don’t have because that will immediately cause a spiral of associations of failure and lack leading to leading to giving up. Now if this does happen. Don’t just give up and begin eating those donuts. Instead just get up, brush off your pants, go back to step one and two and begin finding statements that you already believe that match your desire. “I can do this, I know people that achieved this goal that were 10 times worse off than me. I’ve succeeded in achieving goals in my life that were as tough as this one. Every time I feel resistance it feels like I’m in the gym lifting heavier weights. I know those heavier weights have always made me stronger. I know that this moment is tough, but I know I’ve been through time s like this in this past and gotten me to where I am today”. By just talking yourself through the process by looking for positive connections to your outcome you keep moving forward. A good practice is to step outside of yourself and talk to yourself as if you were the trainer, the coach, the best friend, the mom of you. What would you say?

What I want you to realize is that most, if not all the ongoing work that needs to be done is not about what actions you take, but rather the internal dialogue you have with you. What I mean by ongoing is everyday. Just like your commitment to exercise and diet is scheduled in, you must also schedule these three parts of a mental attitude into your DAILY regimen. When it ‘feels’ like all you need to do is keep driving down this road and you will certainly be there with the same ‘knowingness’ that you that you feel driving home at the end of the day, knowing you will get there, you achieved step three. To the external world it may look like you are pushing through challenges, taking on obstacle after obstacle, falling and getting up, but on the inside you are in a state of bliss, because you know with certainty you are on the road to success.

'Tis The Season

Right now you are probably wondering if you even have time to read this article. We all get busy and, for some reason, this time of year seems to be busier than any other. ‘I don’t have time’ is a common excuse I hear all year long, but it becomes socially acceptable to quit during the holiday season. We can sugar-coat it any way we want by calling it a break, postponing success, waiting for the right time, setting a start date (for January). Any way you spin it, you are giving up on a goal, a target, a plan. If you stop moving forward you are giving up on yourself.

My advice for this month: Slow down if you must, but don’t stop. Have you ever tried to push a stalled vehicle (or anything heavier than you for that matter). When it is completely stopped it takes a mountain of strength and leverage to get it moving. However, once it starts moving (no matter how slowly) the effort it takes to push becomes exponentially less. Momentum is powerful in physics but it’s even more powerful when it comes to psychology and physiology.

When I say slow down you all should know me well enough to know that I don’t mean step back or change your goals. Instead, narrow your focus. The more precise your focus is the more powerful you will be become in your purpose. By focusing on the ‘one’ it takes the overwhelm out of the ‘all’. This does not mean you have to ignore your responsibilities and tasks. Just start asking yourself what each task means and how it can help you can change the meaning so that it aligns with your focus and supports your goal.

Let’s look at an example. Let’s say the goal is to lose weight or maintain your healthy weight. Right now you might be challenged by tempting holiday treats and social invitations. Instead of backing away from all the fun, or worse, throwing out all your progress; try participating with a different focus. What I mean is, go to the holiday parties and really focus on the joy of friendship and family. Savor the time with them and how it fuels you to take better care of yourself. Admire, smell and sample the treats (just a little). Don’t focus on quantity; instead, focus on what the treats represent. Appreciate the person who gave it to you or took the time to make it for you or offer it to you as a welcoming or loving gesture. Heighten your awareness of the things and people around you so that you are more present and focused. This simple strategy puts you in control and can propel you forward by creating more positive associations. That way you don’t end up with a belly full of guilt- and regret-covered chocolates and no idea how they got in there so fast.

For more ideas on these kinds of strategies, read my article on Holiday Eating & Mindfulness. You can apply these ideas all year round to increase your focus and your success.

The Law of Giving

The more we inspire others, the more we become inspired. The more love we give, the more love we get. The more we give the more we receive. This is the law of giving. The key ingredient is give what you want most in your life. But it is important not to expect it from a “I did this for you, now you should do this for me.” Instead, give with the pure joy of giving, as if you are extremely excited to give this gift.

Have you heard of the saying, “We give most what we want in life?” This saying is based on the law of giving. For those that are striving for optimal health, this law can come in very handy. One major challenge in striving for optimal health is achieving healthy weight loss. We tend to have our ups and downs. Using the law of giving, you can actually turn those downs into ups and our ups even higher at will!

Here is how it would work for this situation. First of all, those on the Optimal Health program striving to lose weight, WILL lose weight. That is a guaranteed. Another guarantee is that you will have some plateaus. These plateaus or what I call sticking points can be minimized through practicing the law of giving. Specifically, it is done through inspiring others. When we inspire others we become re-inspired by the energy that is created in that person. I practice this law constantly by continuously inspiring my patients to achieve greater levels of health.

My patients come in and continuously lose weight, have more energy, a bounce in their step and more life in their voice. When they bring this energy into the office they inspire me to stay on track with my health. The inspiration they generate in me bounces right back at them which pushes them to even higher levels of inspiration. It then becomes a continuous ever-growing cycle of momentum. The seminars I do on optimal health create such a charge in the room that everyone leaves extra motivated. Knowing this, anytime I feel my motivation begin to slip, I schedule a seminar on optimal health for them and me.

This universal law is so powerful that once you touch it you will be absolutely amazed! I challenge each and everyone of you to experience this phenomenal law. As you begin to talk about health, weight loss, improved energy, etc., you will not only inspire and be inspired but you will also be held accountable for being a healthy person. That puts the responsibility of practicing what you preach. I have this responsibility daily which keeps me constantly on my toes. So get out there and inspire your family, friends, the person behind you at the grocery store or just about anyone that needs some cheering up and inspiring.

The Sounds of Ringing in the Ears Relieved with Acupuncture

Relief for persons suffering from the annoying and ever-distracting sounds of tinnitus, known as ringing in the ears, can be achieved through the application of Acupuncture.

Ringing in the ears affects millions, and new research data released by York University in England shows that 5 out of 6 patients in a recent study improved after just two weeks of treatment.

The patients in the study ranged in age between 32 and 79 years.

Individuals had been enduring the condition for which there is no known cure from between one and twenty years.

Each group member was given 10 Acupuncture treatments over a two-week period of time. Needle sites and number of points utilized varied from person to person.

The positive result was that 5 of the 6 persons in the sample reported a drop in loudness and pitch as well as fewer hours affected by the tinnitus. Only the oldest member of the group did not respond in this fashion after only 10 treatments. Additionally, the majority of the group reported improved quality of sleep.

“More work is needed, but our results support the idea that Acupuncture might be beneficial for people with tinnitus,” says Dr. Hugh MacPherson, a senior research fellow at York University.

Source

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Using Stress for Good

Lots of different things come to mind when we think about the month of April. April Showers. April Fools. April 15! The tax deadline, on top of your regular life demands, brings an extra dose of stress for many. Stress isn’t always a bad thing. SURPRISE! I’m going to tell you how you can start to manage stress and even make it work to your benefit. This is NOT an April Fools joke! Just think muscles. Let me explain…

The idea that our muscles become stronger and more resilient when they are exposed to progressively increasing stress is relatively easy for athletes to understand. What is not clear in the minds of most athletes is how this toughening principle can be applied to their mental and emotional weakness.

Here’s how it works. Remember that stress is energy expenditure. Muscle stress, then, is generated in the process of expending energy. Heavy weight requires more energy expenditure than light training and are, therefore more stress producing. Likewise, the greater the number of repetitions, the greater the stress. But you already know that. What you may not know is that thoughts and emotions involve energy expenditures just like muscles do. Every thought, every image, every emotion is a form of stress.

Powerful thoughts, images, and emotions are analogous to heavy weight. They require more energy and are therefore more stressful. Repetitiously triggering the same thoughts, images or emotions is not unlike the repetition of lifting a barbell. Both require repeated energy expenditure. In the case as such sports as weight lifting, running, cycling, and climbing, growth occurs primarily in the form of muscle adaptions. In the case of thinking, imagery, and emotions, growth occurs primarily in the form of neurological adaptions.

With this understanding, how do you build mental and emotional weakness into strengths? How do you attack habits of negative thinking, low self-confidence, impatience, or poor self discipline? The first and most important step in converting mental and emotional weaknesses into strengths is to start expending mental and emotional energy in targeted directions. This becomes a form of mental and emotional practice in the same way motor skills are practiced. Each and every time a thought or image is processed, the adaptation process is stimulated. The more you think a particular thought, the more often you trigger the same image or emotion, the stronger it becomes.

The adaptation process is also influenced by the intensity of the mental or emotional event. Making thoughts and images come alive with emotions, sounds, colors and sensations of all kinds increases energy expenditure and neurological stimulation. And that’s the basis of the adaptation process.

Hundreds of repetitions (energy expenditures) are required for a complex motor skill to hold up under the pressure of competition. Old bad habits suddenly reappear when motor skills are newly formed or insufficiently practiced. Mental skills operate in exactly the same way. Converting bad habits of thinking to good habits and turning good habits into strong beliefs takes time and lots of targeted energy expenditure. Weak thoughts, images, or emotions constantly break down under intense pressure.

The important thing to understand here is that motor skills and mental and emotional skills are acquired in similar ways. Just as targeted repetitions will transform weak motor responses into strong ones, targeted repetition will transform weak thought and images into strong beliefs.

So, focus on the good things that you have and want, and practice tossing the negative stessors out the window. You are going to encounter stress but once it’s in your “court” you can do what you want with it. Trust me, you want to toss it out. It’s not easy, but you can do it with practice. I believe in you!

W

Where Are You Now?

This month’s article was inspired by two people who have influenced my life. The first is Walt Disney for his commitment to a vision; his ability to bounce back after most would have given up; and his ability to ignore the people who told him that something can’t be done. The other individual has had an even stronger and more direct influence on my life, and has unknowingly provided me with a message that I think every person who sets an outcome to achieve should pay close attention.

It was January 24, 2010 at approximately 5:30 a.m. I was coming back from a refreshing morning run with my dogs. As usual I run through my backyard to finish up my training. That morning was a little different. As I ran past my living room window I heard shouts of joy and I saw my wife smiling with her hands up in total excitement as if we just won the lottery. She was hugging my son Roman. Well it wasn’t the lottery, but something just as good for a parent. It was the first time my son had successfully used the potty (that is bathroom talk for all you non-parents). My son, not realizing that he performed the greatest feat any 2-year-old can achieve, was so excited. A moment later I ran in and amplified the experience by hugging him and cheering him on even more. My son learned that going to the potty was the cause of all this fun and excitement, so all he has to do to spark another congratulatory riot is repeat the act.

This reminded me of a principle that I was just talking about in my Peak Performance workshop last week. Celebrating the small victories is so critical if we want to reinforce a certain outcome – at any age. Trust me; my son is now developing a neuro-association which equals pleasure whenever he sits on the potty. You don’t need to high five everyone when you go to the bathroom but there are small victories to be had each and every day if you take a moment to look at your day and appreciate your own efforts.

Here is the other lesson we should take from my son. Chances are we will not always succeed on getting him to the potty in time. In fact we will probably not succeed most of the time for a while. Does that mean we give up? If my wife and I had a new year’s resolution that starting January 24 my son would be totally trained in using the potty, we would have set ourselves up for failure. This is the reason why most resolutions fail. Most people make their goal highly unattainable. This doesn’t mean the goal is unreachable. It simply means that you didn’t set it up in a way that can be achieved. Like any parent knows, potty training will have many misses (ha ha) but we never give up. If we did, most of us would be walking around with Elmo potties everywhere we go.

So, stop for a moment and look at what you want to achieve in 2010. Is it something that contains achievable steps? If so, great! Does it consider that you may get off track, maybe more than once? If not, change your strategy! I’ve got news for you. The greatest successes in the world have had the most failures. When most people stop three feet from the gold, the one who says, “I will never give up; never surrender,” will be the one standing at the end. All I ask you is to see and feel the small victories daily. Set your game up to win. Create rules that will keep you moving forward even when you get hit and knocked down. I know you have it in you! Re-ignite your dream, refocus your commitment, and create that fire. See your outcome within your reach but don’t get stuck on the end result only.

One last thought. Consider moving through this year with a slight shift in your philosophy. Welcome discomfort and uncertainty. Don’t just sit in it or turn and run the other way. Be the 1% that pushes through discomfort. Cross that threshold to a new you. The temporary fear and pain you experience is only your old conditioned self resisting change. Focus, dream big, take the hits that WILL come and keep moving forward. That is your formula for success. I’ll meet you there!

What Happens To Your Body in an Accident?

An object in motion tends to stay in motion. When your car is stopped suddenly, your body continues to move forward in your car. When your body is stopped suddenly, your internal organs continue to move forward in your body. When you internal organs are stopped suddenly, they are pulled from their connective tissues – ligaments, blood vessels, bones, for example.

Worrying about major physical injuries, whiplash and spine trauma are only the first things to consider in the case of an accident. After evaluation and testing by emergency medical specialists, your next priority should always be restoring your body to optimal function.

“Trauma that doesn’t necessarily incapacitate you at the time may have long-term effects that you don’t see for 10 or 20 or 30 years,” said Dr. David Thurman of Center for Disease Control in a recent CNN interview. “And that’s why experts urge prevention, because even an injury that seems minor and happens in less than a second can haunt you for a lifetime,” the interviewer responded.

Studies have shown that 10 years after an auto accident, 68% of victims have headaches, radiating pain, and neck pain. The surprising part of this statistic is that is accounts for accident victims without stiches or major external injuries. In addition, auto accident victims have an 80% higher incidence of osteoarthritis and get it faster.

Without treatment, pain and inflammation can persist for years after a trauma. The body’s innate protective mechanism can become oversensitive and its healing capacity can become interrupted indefinitely. Most disease conditions are due to ‘collateral damage’ of the body trying to restore balance. From a physiological standpoint this is called ‘allostasis’ also known as a compensatory mechanism. In other words, when the body over compensates it can lead to aggravation of the condition.

The Biomedical Acupuncture model explains the procedure of needling therapy (acupuncture) as a specialized modality that impacts physiology to normalize all of functions, producing optimal health.
Biomedical Acupuncture is based on scientific evidence that has evolved our understanding of the interrelations of the human body. The musculoskeletal system, nervous system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system and immune system work together in providing a functional outcome greater than any of its parts can perform alone.

Systemically, acupuncture works by way of nerve pathways to address radiating or referred pain in addition to healing the localized areas. On example is in the case of disc compressions or other spinal injuries. Interestingly enough, not all pain that is felt with the diagnosis of disc compression on the nerve is actually coming from the disc. The nervous system adds to the element of pain by causing additional muscle guarding around the disc to protect it from further injury. Unfortunately, muscle guarding can play a major role in the pain complex. Once the appropriate muscle distribution and motor nerve is identified, biomedical acupuncture can interrupt the signal and reset the muscle, releasing the contracted fibers causing the spasm. Because acupuncture cannot affect the disc, if pain reduces with a diagnosis of nerve compression, it clearly demonstrates that the main pain generator was the muscle contraction and not the disc. This is why biomedical acupuncture can be both a diagnostic as well as a therapeutic modality in determining cause of a condition, as well as supporting recovery.

Biomedical acupuncture in combination with physical therapy and/or pharmaceutical management can offer significant results. Ask your doctor how you might integrate this therapy into your current protocol for care

What Is A Certified Nutrition Specialist?

With all the different areas of holistic health care, new titles and specialties are emerging all the time. It is important to understand what these professionals specialize in and what their educational background and credentials cover before employing their services. Not all practitioners using the term “nutritionist” in their title, for example, have the same training.

History
Traditionally, nutritional advice may have been given by mom, grandma or the family physician. Opinions varied on what should be eaten, how much and for which conditions. However, over the last few decades emerging research has lead to the conclusion that what we eat has a profound effect on our overall health. Consequently, schools now offer courses of study specifically in the areas of diet and nutrition.

Identification
One way to identify an actual certified nutrition specialist is to look for the designation C.N.S. (certified nutrition specialist). The Certification Board of Nutrition Specialists has strict educational requirements. The American Certification Board requires that applicants hold an advanced degree (masters or higher), have clinical experience, and pass the board exams in order to hold the title nutrition specialist, or C.N.S. Today, people see a nutrition specialist for help with weight loss, to address a specific health concern such as diabetes, or for help planning healthy meals for family members with special needs.

Misconceptions
There is a misconception that nutritionists, certified nutrition specialists and registered dietitians are all the same. To practice as a certified nutrition specialist, as mentioned above, requires an advanced degree along with specific training. A dietitian, or registered dietitian (RD) requires only a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or dietetics. It also requires that the dietitian keep up with current nutrition trends by completing 75 continuing education hours every five years. Dietitians are often employed by hospitals, nursing homes and other medical practices. Note that many use the term “nutritionist” in their professional titles, but have not received a college level or advanced degree. When seeking the services of a nutritionist, ask for her credentials.

Benefits

The benefit of consulting with a CNS is that, beyond a knowledge of the current dietary guidelines, certified nutrition specialists are often trained in herbs, vitamins and minerals, and a nutritional approach to many health conditions. Because of their training, a nutrition specialist can also help treat diseases related to nutrient deficiencies and is well versed in the use of nutritional supplements to enhance medical treatment. Additionally, most nutrition specialists are involved in current research in the field of diet and nutrition.

Considerations
Always check with your doctor or health care practitioner before following nutritional advice that may be contrary to conventional medical care. While nutrition is an important aspect of holistic health care, never discontinue medications or other treatment plans without consulting the prescribing physician.

References

Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists

American College of Nutrition: Certification Program

American Dietetic Association: Qualifications of a Registered Dietitian

Article reviewed by M.J. Ingram Last updated on: May 3, 2011

What Are You Eating?

Food additives are innocent until proven guilty. This seems to be the position the Food and Drug Administration takes when it comes to food additives. Because March is National Nutrition Month®, I thought it would be nice to reveal the truth about those seemingly trustworthy “government” labels on the back of all packaged foods.

In 1977, the FDA announced the use of saccharin in foods and beverages be banned because the artificial sweetner was found to cause malignant bladder tumors in laboratory animals. In the same year, the Calorie Control Council, a group made up of commercial producers and users of saccharin ‘influenced’ Congress and therefore the FDA to delay the ban indefinitely. In 1997, the Calorie Control Council successfully requested the National Toxicology Program to de-list saccharin as a carcinogen.

In 1958, Congress established a Generally Recognized As Safe list of foods called GRAS. Those substances that were being added to food over a long time had to be recognized by scientists as GRAS. In 1997, the FDA allowed responsibility to be shifted to the manufacturer as to what is GRAS, which exempted these food giants from pre-market clearance by the FDA. The powerful food manufacturers cannot be trusted when it comes to putting their food ‘products’ in our mouths because their number one concern is profit not health. The food manufacturers use ingredients such as silicone that do not need to be listed when it is in low doses in food, according to the FDA. There have been no long-term studies that show the effect of these known toxins when ingested. So why take the chance and trust the ignorance of food manufacturers?

After reading this information, you may feel sick to your stomach. After you go home and take a look into your cupboards and refrigerator, you’ll most likely be shocked if you further research what you’re putting in your mouth. However, don’t give up on grocery shopping. I firmly believe that what you focus on most in life you will receive. If you focus on the frustration that many foods that you have eaten contain one or more unhealthy ingredients, it will only drop you into the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” depression. My advice: Focus on doing your best to take in the most whole and nutritious foods available. Just with this slight shift in intention, you will make healthier choices. We live in a very synthetic world, which mean that sometimes as hard as we try, some things will slip by, and that’s OK. As long as the staple of what you place in your mouth is supportive to the maintenance and improvement of you mind/body health.

What should you choose? Whole grains instead of refined grains. Meats that have not been processed, injected with hormones or antibiotics, or meat that has been ground of cured. When it comes to vegetables, fresh is best. It’s simple. Don’t fuss over it. Just get over the fact that a carrot is not as sweet as that scone you usually eat for a snack. If you eat bread, choose whole-grain bread with a handful of ingredients you can actually pronounce, instead of Wonder Bread with a list of toxic ingredients so long it barely fits on the package. Ever ‘wonder’ why Wonder Bread has such a long shelf life?

Breakfast is the fuel that starts our day, so it is essential to ingest the most optimal fuel at this time. Again, choose whole instead of processed or refined foods. This mean when you read the label of your oatmeal, it should only say 100% whole oats. Instead of sprinkling sugar over those oats, cut up some whole fruits for a little sweetness. Make sure when you order at a restaurant, that you let them know that MSG will cause you go into convulsions. Trust me, the restaurant owner will cook and serve the food personally without the toxins.

Taking the extra step in the little things when making food choices will go a very long way in your health and the health of your family. Food in its natural state is the best choice (organic is even better). As for packaged foods, looking at the length of the ingredients is a quick way to figure out a food’s health value. The longer the list of words (especially those you don’t understand), the more likely it is that you should pass on buying that item.

So, the next time you shop, consider the details. A lifetime of better health is well worth the extra thought in the grocery aisle!