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Archive for October, 2011

One of the biggest blocks I see in my practice is when people believe that making positive lifestyle changes has to be a very difficult and arduous process.
I believe that this is one of the areas that acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be incredibly helpful, as I have seen many patients make changes almost effortlessly after their acupuncture treatments.

It is not uncommon during the treatment process for old cravings to fade away, unhelpful people to fall out of one’s life, and for more life-affirming patterns to take hold.

Change doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it truly can be quite seamless. Chinese medicine theory suggests that the natural state of the human being is based on awareness, balance, and intelligence. Acupuncture can help put people back in touch with these natural qualities. As this happens, any external patterns that do not match up with these natural qualities will fade away–either immediately or gradually.

Now, this does NOT mean that acupuncture is a magic bullet. You can’t expect to come in for 1 treatment and lose 20 pounds or have pain that has plagued you for 20 years be completely removed. Typically, the treatment effect is a cumulative one that you will notice over multiple sessions.

The point here is that at your core, you are already a whole, awake, and fully alive person who only wants what is healthy in your life. If change feels really hard, it just means that you haven’t quite accessed this wonderful nature of who you are. Acupuncture can certainly help you get there, but it really depends on if you’re ready to experience this.

If you are, then making healthy changes isn’t really hard or easy. It just is.

With that said, if you have been holding back on receiving treatment because making lifestyle changes seems too hard, we encourage you to give us a call, especially if the message in this email makes sense to you.

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

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Question

I went to see my natural medicine practitioner for depression and she wants to work on my digestive health. I don’t get the connection.

Answer

Many people would be surprised to learn how greatly gut health affects brain health. A poor diet, inflamed gut, and intestinal permeability definitely can promote depression.

Depression a not-so-obvious symptom of poor digestion

Sometimes digestion issues are obvious; they cause gas, bloating, heartburn, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal pain. For others the main symptom is not so obvious—depression. An unhealthy diet and compromised gut health can promote depression in several ways.

Poor nutrition

When one eats a junk food diet laden with processed foods, trans fats, sugars, and artificial chemicals, the brain suffers. The brain needs healthy fats, high-quality protein, abundant vitamins and minerals, and a diet low in starchy foods and sugars.

Gluten

Gluten is directly linked to depression in some. It causes gut inflammation, which can lead to inflammation in areas of the brain that regulate mood. Some people digest gluten into gluteomorphin, an opioid similar to heroin or morphine that can cause depression (not to mention constipation). Gluten can also cause autoimmune attacks in the brain with symptoms of depression.

Dairy or other foods may also cause depression, depending on sensitivity.

Leaky gut

Leaky gut happens when the lining of the intestines becomes overly permeable. This allows undigested foods, bacteria, and other pathogens into the bloodstream, creating inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation in the brain may cause depression.

Inflammation in the gut also inhibits absorption of nutrients necessary for good brain function. An example of such a nutrient is tryptophan, an amino acid found in proteins. The brain synthesizes tryptophan into serotonin, a brain chemical that promotes feelings of well-being and joy.

Always consider gut health

Depression is a complex, multi-faceted condition that can have its roots in various causes. However the role of diet and digestive health should always be included in a functional approach to depression.

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Question

It seems ever since I took antibiotics I haven’t been the same. I’m sick more frequently, my digestion is messed up, and I have chronic yeast infections. Why?

Answer

Antibiotics are one of modern medicine’s life-saving miracles. However if preventive care isn’t taken, their use, and especially their abuse, can lead to chronic health problems.

Good bacteria serve us

The digestive tract contains an estimated 2–4 pounds of beneficial bacteria that are an integral part of our immune system. They resist bad bacteria, and they aid in the digestion of food, the absorption of nutrients, and the synthesis of B vitamins and vitamin K.

These beneficial bacteria coat the lining of the intestines, providing a protective barrier against toxins. They also nourish the gut lining and ensure appropriate production of immune cells, helping to maintain balance in the immune system and prevent autoimmune disease.

Antibiotics wipe out good bacteria

While antibiotics eradicate disease-causing bacteria, unfortunately they wipe out the good bacteria too. This leaves the digestive tract defenseless, and it compromises both nutrient status and immune balance.

Antibiotic use makes it easy for bad bacteria, yeast, and fungi to over multiply, wreaking havoc on digestive and immune health. The overgrowth of yeast, or Candida, is especially common. This can produce a wide range of troubling symptoms, including yeast infections, sugar cravings, skin rashes, brain fog, and more.

Overgrowth of bad bacteria produces toxins and antibiotic-resistant strains

Also, pathogenic bacteria, yeast, and fungi produce toxic substances that make their way into the bloodstream and the rest of the body. These toxins have been linked to allergies, and health ailments in the digestive, respiratory, immune, and nervous systems.

Research also shows that antibiotic use develops long-lasting strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Restoring beneficial bacteria vital

This explains why antibiotics can contribute to myriad health problems, even though they may have successfully treated a condition. Unnecessary antibiotic use should be avoided. If they are necessary, one should work with a practitioner to learn the best way to restore the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.

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Question

My practitioner diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s and celiac disease, two autoimmune diseases. It seems many of my friends have an autoimmune disease too, including eczema, arthritis, Type I diabetes, and even multiple sclerosis. Why is it so common now?

Answer

Incidences of autoimmune disease, in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue, have skyrocketed and continue to climb, affecting as many as one in nine Americans.

Hygiene hypothesis incomplete

The media darling for an explanation is the hygiene hypothesis—that lack of early childhood exposure to sufficient filth improperly prepares the immune system for later battles.

While likely valid, it too neatly dismisses more significant factors linked with triggering autoimmune disease:

Environmental pollutants

We live in a sea of more than 80,000 chemicals. The few that have been studied have been shown to play a role in triggering autoimmune reactions. People who work with toxic compounds, such as pesticides or solvents, are significantly more likely to die from autoimmune disease. One study also showed that infant fetal-cord blood contains 287 pollutants.

GM foods

Although the impact of genetically modified (GM) foods on humans has not been studied, multiple animal studies link them with immune dysregulation, inflammation, and an increase in allergies—factors that trigger autoimmune disease.

Poor diets

Many people today eat a diet that sets the stage for autoimmune disease. This includes foods full of artificial chemicals, sugar and starchy carbohydrates, and trans fats. Gluten in particular has been linked to autoimmune disease.

Leaky gut

In leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, the lining of the intestines becomes too porous, allowing undigested food and pathogens to slip into the bloodstream. This triggers inflammation and leads to immune dysregulation.

Chronic stress

Chronic stress from diet, poor health, lack of sleep, and excess sugar and caffeine also leads to inflammation and immune dysregulation, setting the stage for autoimmune disease.

What can you do?

The best medicine is prevention. To help your body cope with the burdens of modern life, eat an anti-inflammatory diet and work with a practitioner to address the health imbalances that make you more vulnerable to autoimmune disease.

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I firmly believe that every single person would actively pursue acupuncture treatment IF they understood more about it.
I understand that it can be uncomfortable to try new things, especially when it involves needles, along with a lot of new theories and ideas. If you have felt reluctant to try acupuncture, we totally understand. And we are here to help.
The truth of the matter is that acupuncture is not for everyone. Some people have severe acute medical issues that require other forms of intervention. Others are unable to relax because acupuncture does involve the use of needles.
It’s also true, though, that the vast majority of people in our modern world would greatly benefit from regular acupuncture treatment. Most people are just amazed by how great acupuncture makes them feel.
It is very common for someone to say, ‘that was it??’ after I insert the first needle, as they are shocked that they felt so little. Even if you are sensitive, there’s a good chance that you will notice little if any discomfort from the acupuncture needles. They are so fine that the patient rarely notices more than a little pressure, tingling, or mild ache around the needles (which is often described as pleasant).
Our point is this: If you have been reluctant to try acupuncture because it is new, but you could use some help with your health, energy, or overall quality of life, then we welcome your phone call.  Our mission is to make your acupuncture experience not only tolerable, but deeply relaxing, invigorating, and healing.
Many of our patients were reluctant to make that first call, yet almost all of them have been beyond pleased with how gentle and effective the treatment has been for their health care needs. We want to the same to happen for you!
Call us today at 503.513.4665 or simply reply to this email and we will set up your first appointment.
To trying new things,
Anja Middelveld, L.Ac., NTP
Phone # 503.513.4665

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Question

I’m tired frequently and I have some chronic health issues I can’t seem to resolve.

Answer

Although multiple factors can cause both tiredness and chronic health issues, anemia should always be investigated. Unresolved anemia will thwart your journey to better health.

Anemia prevents normal function

Blood delivers oxygen to cells in the body and brain so they can function normally. Anemia starves the blood of oxygen. As a consequence function, maintenance, regeneration, and healing in the body is impaired.

Iron-deficiency anemia

More than 400 types of anemia exist, however the most common form is iron-deficient anemia. This often is due to inadequate diet or poor absorption of nutrients caused by compromised intestinal health (leaky gut)—often seen in those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. Other causes are uterine fibroids, internal bleeding, chronic disease, liver disease, or genetic disorders.

B-12 anemia

Another common form of anemia is B-12 anemia due to inadequate diet or compromised intestinal health causing poor absorption of B-12.

Pernicious anemia

Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks intrinsic factor in the stomach, a substance necessary for the absorption of B-12. Pernicious anemia is often found in those with other autoimmune diseases, particularly the autoimmune thyroid disease Hashimoto’s.

Symptoms of anemia

Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, pale skin, a fast or irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, cognitive problems, cold hands and feet, and headaches. Symptoms of B-12 anemia can include a pins-and-needles sensation in the hands or feet, a loss of sense of touch, clumsiness, and a wobbly gait. Some people with iron-deficiency anemia also develop pica, a craving for ice, dirt, paper, chalk, or other non-foods.

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