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Archive for September, 2011

Question

I’m told food intolerances can affect my health. How can this be true when I don’t have any digestive symptoms?

Answer

Sometimes it’s difficult to connect a food we eat every day with such health complaints as joint pain, brain fog, mood imbalances, congestion, skin rashes, or chronic inflammation. It’s not obvious a particular food is at fault until after you quit eating it for a period of time.

The elimination/provocation diet

A variety of lab panels can diagnose food allergies and intolerances, however sometimes the most reliable test is to go cold turkey on a group of common foods for several weeks. Some of the best foods to eliminate are gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, soy, yeast, and nuts. It’s important to strictly eliminate these foods for two to three weeks for the test to be accurate. You may want to consider going grain-free for best results.

Symptoms pop up after reintroducing the food

Reintroducing these foods one at a time every 72 hours after a temporary abstinence can suddenly elicit a powerful and negative response. Symptoms vary but include digestive upset (bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, etc.), abdominal pain, headaches, joint pain, respiratory congestion, skin rashes, brain fog, mood changes, or flare-ups of an autoimmune condition.

A restored immune system produces reactions

Why would a food you have been eating your whole life suddenly make you feel terrible after a three-week break? Because eliminating it from your diet has allowed your immune system to rest and recover. While eating the food regularly your immune system had to work constantly to buffer the damage, draining it of strength. The elimination diet allows the immune system to become more robust. It is then able to sound the alarms to a food intolerance with uncomfortable symptoms. This lets you know eating that food negatively impacts your health.

Say goodbye to problem foods and hello to better health

Permanently eliminating foods to which you are intolerant allows your digestive system to repair, your immune system to strengthen, and other systems in your body to come into better balance. Many people find chronic health conditions improve or disappear after the elimination, or find they feel more alert and energetic.

If you react to everything

If, however, it turns out you react to practically everything you consume, you may need qualified guidance for advanced gut repair.

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Stress

It has been estimated that over 80% of all doctor visits are stress-related in nature. If you think about it, we were never taught how to handle stress growing up. This is one area where a lot of modern people need a great deal of help, as we often find ourselves ill-equipped to turn off the stress response so that it doesn’t rule our lives.

If you struggle with chronic pain, insomnia, IBS, migraines, or other chronic issues, there’s a good chance that stress is fueling the continuation of your symptoms. In some cases, when the patient learns how to eliminate stress, there physical health improves makes a dramatic improvement.

The key is to learn how to work with your mind in a new way so that you are not constantly feeding thoughts of anxiety, overwhelm, worry, or burden.

Acupuncture is certainly a very powerful way to do this–perhaps one of the MOST powerful methods in the entire world.

But it’s also important to learn how to reduce stress on your own.. And there’s no better way to do that than by changing the way you breathe.

You may notice that when you are stuck in a ‘fight or flight’ response, your breathing is very shallow. What you likely don’t notice is that if you struggle with chronic low-grade stress, you are breathing to only 5% of your lung capacity. Just by breathing deeper on a regular basis, you will notice a dramatic shift in your ability to control stress.

Here’s how you do it:
Spend 5-10 minutes every morning either in bed or sitting in chair consciously breathing more deeply than normal. Feel your breath move in and out of your lower belly. Inhale and exhale fully. Just let your thoughts arise and pass away, but don’t get attached to them. Let them be. Just focus on breathing deeply. Relax every muscle in your body as you do this.

See? This technique is very simple–yet potentially quite profound in the way that it affects your daily life.

Now, your next goal is to breathe deeply throughout the day as much as possible. Do this as you’re going about your daily routine–brushing your teeth, taking a shower, driving, standing in line, and so on. Make it a game to breathe as deeply and consciously as possible throughout the day… and see what happens.

The changes may be subtle at first, but over time you will notice that your stress level decreases in an astonishing way.

If you could use more help overcoming stress, call our office at 503.513.4665. There’s a very good chance we can help you achieve the balance you have been looking for!

Warmly,
Anja Middelveld, L.Ac., NTP
Phone # 503.513.4665
http://www.healingpathclinic.com

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At some point in life everyone deals with major upheavals or emotional distress. These events can trigger a host of unexpected feelings and behaviors from depression and panic attacks to major disruptions in sleep and eating. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can alleviate symptoms associated with mental health issues in treating the root cause of the problem by helping to rebalance the body’s internal environment.

Mental health disorders are medical conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning which result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. The good news about mental disorders is that recovery is often possible. Affecting persons of any age, race, religion, or income mental health disorders have been found to be common and experts estimate almost a third of the population report sufficient qualifying criteria at some point in their life. Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and borderline personality disorder.

From an Oriental medicine perspective mental health disorders can cause a disruption in the flow of vital energy, or qi, through the body. These energetic imbalances can throw off the immune system or cause symptoms of pain, sleep disturbances, abnormal digestion, headaches, and menstrual irregularities, and, over time, more serious illnesses can develop. Acupuncture treatments can correct these imbalances and directly affect the way your body manages your mental health.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Disorders

Oriental Medicine does not recognize any mental disorder as one particular syndrome. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of techniques including acupuncture, lifestyle/dietary recommendations and exercises to restore imbalances found in the body. Therefore, if 100 patients are treated with acupuncture and Oriental medicine for anxiety, each of these 100 people will receive a unique, customized treatment with different acupuncture points, and different lifestyle and diet recommendations.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine have the ability to detect energetic changes that occur in the body and relieve symptoms by restoring equilibrium. The physical and emotional symptoms that you are experiencing will help create a clear picture on which a treatment plan can be created specifically for you.

Here are just a few acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help with:

Depressive Disorders – Common symptoms of depressive disorders include: a decreased interest in most activities, insomnia, fatigue, and feeling empty and worthless. Even when depression is sub-clinical, the body’s immune system is compromised and the symptoms reduce functioning and impair work performance and social relationships. Acupuncture treatments can correct these imbalances, support the immune system, and directly affect the way your body manages stress and your mental health.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) – a condition of the brain that makes it difficult to concentrate or control impulsive behavior ADD/ADHD does not just occur during childhood. Acupuncture can help enhance concentration, reduce fidgeting, augment mood management techniques, reduce hyperactivity and enhance concentration.

Anxiety and Stress Disorders – Anxiety comes in a wide range of manifestations, from mild worrying to more physical responses such as nausea, insomnia, shortness of breath and panic attacks. Some anxiety is a healthy response to the stress of daily life and new situations; however, anxiety that occurs randomly or excessively is a sign to take notice. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help balance both the mental and physical symptoms of anxiety and help to create harmony and spaciousness.

Mental health issues are best managed when health professionals work together to meet the unique needs of each individual. Acupuncture is an excellent addition to any treatment plan as it is used to help the body restore balance, treating the root of the disorder, while also diminishing symptoms.

If you or someone you know struggles with a mental health disorder or if you would like to know how to optimize your mental health, please call to find out more about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be integrated into your mental and emotional wellness plan today!

 

Acupuncture for Irritability and Moodiness

Everyone suffers from irritability and moodiness from time to time, but if you find that a short temper and frustration are becoming a constant issue for you, then acupuncture may be able to help.

Often irritability and moodiness are the consequence of chronic stress in your life. Over time these emotions can progress into more serious emotional conditions such as anxiety and depression as well as other health conditions such as digestive problems, trouble sleeping and the tendency to get sick more frequently.

Liver Qi Stagnation and Emotions

Emotional disorders can be associated with a number of different patterns of disharmony within Oriental medicine however, anger, irritability, and frustration are all signs that our qi (life force) is not flowing smoothly. The liver is responsible for the smooth flowing of qi (life force) throughout the body and for smoothing our emotions. When the liver’s function of moving qi is disrupted, qi can become stuck. This is referred to as liver qi stagnation.

Liver qi stagnation is one of the most common patterns of disharmony seen in today’s patients. In addition to irritability and moodiness, signs and symptoms may include: distending pain in the area below the ribs, stuffiness of the chest, sighing, abdominal distention, nausea, sour regurgitation, belching, diarrhea or constipation, feeling of a lump in the throat, irregular periods, painful periods and distention of the breasts prior to periods. Liver qi stagnation is commonly associated with PMS.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine is excellent at relieving liver qi stagnation. Treatment for irritability and moodiness associated with liver qi stagnation focuses on moving qi and supporting the liver and spleen organ systems with acupuncture, lifestyle and dietary recommendations.

If you are concerned that your emotions may be interfering with your health and wellness, please call today to see how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you!

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Why is menopause so hard for some women?

Question
I’m going through menopause and feel like I’m falling apart. I get severe hot flashes, mood swings that border on psychosis, and my brain isn’t working. Why?

Answer
As the ovaries begin to wind down production of the sex hormones the adrenal glands, our stress organs, are supposed to take over that job. Unfortunately by the time most women reach menopause their adrenal glands are worn out and not up to the task of making sex hormones.

Chronic stress taxes the hormones
In the face of stress our adrenal glands secrete adrenal hormones to help our bodies cope and adapt. However we were designed to call on this action only on an occasional basis. These days our adrenal glands are on constant red alert.

Factors that activate the adrenal glands include lack of sleep, being over scheduled, excess caffeine, inadequate nutrition from a poor diet, and too many sweets and starchy foods. Lesser known stressors include chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease, overgrowth of yeast and bacteria in the intestinal tract, leaky gut, and chronic viral or bacterial infections.

Hormones are vital for proper function of body and brain
As a woman nears menopause her ovaries begin to produce fewer reproductive hormones, including estrogen and progesterone. Women still depend on these hormones even after fertility for proper function of the brain, thyroid activity, immune system, and other systems in the body.

Because so many women enter menopause with fatigued adrenals, their adrenal glands cannot produce enough sex hormones or produce them in an appropriate manner. The result is deficiencies or swings in hormone production, which disrupts the function and health of other systems in the body. This causes the symptoms so commonly seen today, including hot flashes, memory loss, poor cognition, depression, strong mood swings, and more.

The best option is prevention
Natural medicine offers many solutions to help women transition through this period more safely and comfortably. However the best option is prevention. Ideally a woman will work to shore up her adrenal health, which is a whole-body diet and lifestyle approach, well before menopause.

Working preventively will help prevent or minimize the unpleasant symptoms associated with the transition into menopause.

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