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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Hey, It’s Hay Fever! Fret Not, Acupuncture Relieves the Sneezes!

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Are you one of the 30 million Americans that suffers from hay fever? Acupuncture can help!

Ah, Autumn…bringing apples, ragweed and hay fever!

In spite of its name, hay fever does not mean that somebody’s allergic to hay and is suffering a fever. Hay’s hardly ever an allergen, and hay fever doesn’t cause fever.  So now that we’ve got that straightened out,  hay fever, (or allergic rhinitis, if you want to get technical) is a common condition that shows signs and symptoms much like a cold with sneezing, congestion, runny nose and sinus pressures. Hay fever can start affecting people at any age, it generally develops during childhood or early adulthood.

Why does it happen? Like all allergies, hay fever stems from a glitch in the immune system, a result of it mistaking a benign substance as a harmful one.  Instead of attacking harmful foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses, it tries to neutralize “invaders” that ordinarily are quite harmless — in this case weed pollen grains that fill the air from August through October.

In someone with hay fever, breathing in these tiny particles sets off a cascade of biochemical reactions, resulting in the release of histamine, a protein that causes the unenjoyable symptoms of  sneezing, congestion, and fatigue. Histamine can also cause coughing, post-nasal drip, itchy eyes, nose, and throat, as well dark circles under the eyes and asthma attacks. Add irritability and insomnia, and hay fever can definitely make you feel very un-fabulous.

Some people are only mildly affected by hay fever and rarely reach a point where they decide to seek medical attention. However, for many, symptoms may be so severe and persistent that they are unable to carry out their daily tasks at home, work or at school properly. Many people wish to avoid over the counter medications due to concerns about side effects, especially pregnant women.

Acupuncture is one of the major holistic therapies used through thousands of years to address the underlying energetic relationships in the body that enables the allergy symptoms to arise. In fact, the World Health Organization states that “In controlled studies, it has been shown that acupuncture is more effective than antihistamine drugs in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Acupuncture’s lack of side-effects is a distinct advantage in treating this condition…” In addition, a study published in The Medical Journal of Australia carried out by researchers at the University of Melbourne also suggests that acupuncture is effective in the symptomatic treatment of persistent allergic rhinitis. (MJA 2007; 187 (6): 337-341).

Acupuncture treatments aim to give immediate relief from the symptoms, and further, it can address the variety of underlying causes.

Point sites for the underlying causes will be found on an individual basis after a thorough case history. Point sites for immediate relief include local points near the actual symptom places such as the sinus areas, and others not so obvious to understand such as near the hands or feet. The point sites are always on the skin and the surface of the body. A patient will happily experience immediate improvement of the symptoms, and be encouraged therefore to continue to pursue the underlying causes in future treatments. Long term, the symptoms cease to arise and the reactiveness calms.

Less sneezing, more living fully!

For more information, visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com

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Schizophrenia – and Other Emotional Disorders – Treated Positively with Acupuncture!

 

Ease Emotional Disorders with Acupuncture

Ease Emotional Disorders with Acupuncture

 Acupuncture is an excellent ally for those who suffer from emotional disorders.

Acupuncture has been used in China for more than 2000 years to treat mental health disorders, including schizophrenia. 

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by the inability to distinguish reality from unreal experiences, illogic, disconnected emotional responses, and unusual behavior. Schizophrenia is possibly genetic and may also be triggered by events and physical circumstances. Initial onset may be very mild and may be characterized by irritability, insomnia, lack of concentration, emotional disturbances, delusions, hallucinations, and disjointed logic. Schizophrenia affects less than one percent of the population and is often treated with pharmaceutical medications. Antipsychotic drugs have been used to treat schizophrenia since the early 1950s. While effective for some, antipsychotics can still leave many of those treated with disabling adverse effects, and safer, more effective health care interventions are being researched to try and redress this problem. Acupuncture is good for reducing anger, fear, sadness, worry, anxiety, depression, and stress of all kinds, with very few side effects, and has been shown to assist with schizophrenia.

New research concludes, “…that patients diagnosed with schizophrenia would benefit from acupuncture treatment alongside conventional treatment.” Acupuncture was effective in alleviating schizophrenia and the side effects of psychiatric medication. Acupuncture was also found to improve energy levels, sleep, physical disorders, and motivation.

Patients were treated with acupuncture at a rate of twice per week for ten weeks. Acupuncture caused a decrease in the “side effects of antipsychotic medication; decreased auditory, visual and tactile hallucinations; decreased anxiety and paranoia; improved sleep patterns…increased motivation including increased sex drive and ambition to further themselves in education and work; improved socialization and concentration…reduced addictive behavior in relation to alcohol and cigarettes; improved diet and weight loss; and improved exercise regimes.”

Acupuncture does help to identify causes and relevant events with effects residing in the body memory. We pinpoint some of the stressed and traumatized areas, release and reduce the levels of stress, so a new level of calm and comfort is gained. Point sites may be on the upper back, neck, lower back, hands or feet. The pathways involved have their own exit points which may be chosen to be treated. A common exit area chosen is at the shoulder/neck area. The symptoms of a person suffering from an emotional disorder are different in every case, depending on a combination of a person’s biological and personality makeup. Treatment is always on a case-by-case basis, a whole-person approach!

For more information, please visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com

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Reference:
Ronan P, Robinson N, Harbinson D, Macinnes D. A case study exploration of the value of acupuncture as an adjunct treatment for patients diagnosed with schizophrenia: results and future study design.. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2011 May;9(5):503-14. Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, Kent, UK.

Photo: Sadness Man In The Shadow by George Hodan

Open the Drapes, and Play the Music! Acupuncture Relieves Migraines!

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The Sun is a Friend Again! Acupuncture Helps with Migraines!

Migraines are in no way pleasant to deal with. Some people suffer days of pain. And it certainly can be debilitating, leading to an inability to go to work, school, or attend social activities.

In the worst attacks some sufferers of migraines become so debilitated that the pain seems unbearable, a temple is throbbing and they have to retire to a darkened room. Then often comes hours of excruciating pain and feelings of  nausea, then a welcome relief as they may vomit, the pain recedes and they can perhaps fall to sleep.

Migraine is a condition defined by a painful headache and nausea, often accompanied with an increased sensitivity to light and sound, the aforementioned vomiting and a pulsating sensation, which is usually only present in one side of the head. Typically, a migraine can last from a few hours to as long as three days, which in some cases may completely incapacitate the person suffering an attack.

Approximately 75% of sufferers are female. Signs that a migraine is imminent include the Prodrome phase (typically involving mood swings, fatigue and muscle tightness) followed by the Aura phase (visible bright flashes, dizziness and loss of sensation in extremities).

Triggers for a migraine include stress, changes in sleep and eating patterns, foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG) or tyramine (red wine, certain cheeses, smoked fish and chicken livers, among others), menstruation, and sensory overloads (such as bright lights, loud noises and certain odors).

Acupuncture can bring relief to those suffering from migraines, and without the side effects that prescription and over-the-counter medications can bring. And the less time with a migraine, the better!

In fact, a recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal demonstrates that acupuncture can reduce the days each month suffered with migraines to be reduced by half.

In the four-week study, almost 500 adults were treated with either traditional Chinese acupuncture or a sham treatment in which acupuncture needles were inserted in nonspecific points. Participants did not know which type of acupuncture treatment they were receiving.

After completing the study, all of the participants — including those in the sham group — reported fewer days with migraines than before the study began. Before the study, most suffered monthly migraines, on average six days of migraines a month. After the completing the study, they reported migraines on an average of three days in the month.

In the month following the treatment, all of the participants also reported improvements in the frequency and intensity of migraines. However, lasting effects were seen only in study participants who received traditional acupuncture. Three months after treatment, people who received traditional Chinese acupuncture continued to report a reduction in migraine days, frequency, and intensity. People who received the sham treatment did not.

In our own practice at CT Acupuncture, we have worked with migraine patients, (classic, cluster, and variations on the theme) for over 25 years, and our surveys have shown close to 100% improvement on virtually all the patients we have treated. Migraines can be treated preventatively, and a few treatments will clear up most migraine patterns, permanently! The points chosen are usually on the upper back, neck, ear, abdomen, and the temple area of the head. Leg points are also relevant. Each person is evaluated individually – history and other problems (symptoms) are taken into consideration, so the treatment points will vary. The treatment is painless and gentle.

Suffer migraines no longer!

For more information, visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com

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“Does Your Face Hurt? Yes, It’s Killing Me!” Acupuncture Relieves Facial Pain

Facial Pain Relieved with Acupuncture

Facial Pain Relieved with Acupuncture

It’s hard to smile at the world when your face is in pain.

But here’s some good news worth smiling over! Acupuncture is extremely effective in treating chronic pain, including facial pain.

Chronic facial pain arises from two common causes: trigeminal neuralgia and TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorders). Trigeminal neuralgia occurs with damage to any of the three branches of the trigeminal nerve. There are three areas of the face which are served by the trigeminal nerve, roughly corresponding to the forehead and eyebrow, the eye and cheek and upper jaw, and the lower jaw. Usually one sided, facial neuralgias can occasionally affect both sides of the face. Typically, the pain is extremely penetrating and intense, and can be triggered by movement of the facial muscles or touching a “trigger” point on the face or inside the mouth. While causes of trigeminal neuralgia are unclear, relief of pain with acupuncture is much more predictable and safe than treatment with drugs or surgery.

TMJ, (temporomandibular joint disorder) a disorder in the jaw joints, can arise from dental problems, mental stress, or neuromuscular disorders. Most people with TMJ problems have pain that comes and goes, but some have chronic (long-term) pain.

TMJ problems often cause these symptoms:

  • Pain, particularly in the chewing muscles or jaw joint or an ache around your ear
  • Limited movement or locking of the jaw
  • Pain in the face, neck, or shoulders, or near the ear
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds when opening your mouth
  • Trouble chewing
  • Headache
  • A sudden change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together
  • Also, sometimes earaches, dizziness, and hearing problems

Among the many ways to treat TMJ, several studies show that acupuncture is very effective and relatively safe. In general, acupuncture stimulates the nervous system and causes the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body’s homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being.

A recent British study of 70 cases of dental patients receiving acupuncture for TMJ indicated that 85% of patients benefited with an average reduction in pain intensity of 75%. A 2008 study reported high long-term patient satisfaction and improvement of symptoms 18 to 20 years following acupuncture therapy.

Research has also shown that acupuncture may specifically help in the management of facial pain by acting on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the ‘analytical’ brain, which is responsible for anxiety and worry. Acupuncture works for both acute and chronic pain.

You can eliminate symptoms of TMJ with lifestyle changes — your health history will be discussed to discover which lifestyle habits to tweak in order to eliminate symptoms as well as applying acupuncture to key points that will relieve stress and restore energy circulation to the affected joints. Acupuncture can help to both relax these targeted muscles and decrease the overall stress level in the body to relieve TMJ discomfort.

For more information, please visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com

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Bergström I, List T, Magnusson T. A follow-up study of subjective symptoms of temporomandibular disorders in patients who received acupuncture and/or interocclusal appliance therapy 18-20 years earlier. Acta Odontol Scand. 2008 Apr. Vol. 66(2):88-92.

 

The Season Changed! Now You’re Depressed! ~ Acupuncture Soothes Seasonal Affective Disorder ~

Acupuncture Helps with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Acupuncture Helps with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Do you suffer from SAD?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects over ten million of us in the United States each year, two-thirds of which are female, but males may have symptoms that are more severe. While the true cause of SAD is not known, it is commonly thought that decreased melatonin levels caused from the limited exposure to sunlight in the winter are involved, as well as decreased serotonin levels which may trigger depression. Our biological clock (circadian rhythm) which lets our body know when to sleep and to be awake is also disrupted when the seasons change and may cause feelings of depression.

Other factors that may contribute to SAD include genetics, hormones, and stress. Whatever the cause, SAD causes people to suffer irritability, headaches, extreme fatigue and lethargy, increased appetite, carbohydrate cravings, an inability to concentrate, and decreased libido. Yay, change of season!!

As with other types of depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder can get worse and lead to serious problems if it isn’t treated. These can include suicidal thoughts or behavior, social withdrawal, school or work problems and substance abuse. In certain conditions, medication and psychotherapy may be necessary, and the advice of a physician should be heeded.

The traditional methods of treating Seasonal Affective Disorder usually involves light therapy. Light therapy is based on the theory that increasing exposure to bright lights will increase the levels of melatonin in the body. For some cases, antidepressants are also prescribed. Most of these drugs work by increasing the actions and effects of the chemical stimulants noradrenaline and serotonin in the body.

While all these treatments can control depression, they do not address the underlying causes associated with it. Furthermore, antidepressants can produce side effects such as anxiety, palpitations, insomnia, high blood pressure, reduced libido, excessive sweating and rash. When these side effects are added to the original symptoms that weren’t pleasant to begin with, it’s understandable that people would be looking for an alternative therapy for this disorder.

Acupuncture!

Treating depression with acupuncture has a positive and holistic effect on depressed patients, and avoids the potential side effects of traditional medication. Besides the reaction to the lack of light, depression may also be the result of a “dysregulation” of the seven emotions — joy, anger, worry, contemplation, grief, fear and shock. If acupuncture is able to reestablish a balance among these emotions, the symptoms of depression are relieved.

Acupuncture can be very helpful for those who suffer from seasonal depression as they can bring the body to a more balanced state, and even prevent complications.

Besides acupuncture, it is also helpful for people to stay active — without overdoing it, and ensure that they have proper nourishment, rest, and time for introspection. It’s important to reach out and stay connected to those close to us, but it is also important to take the time to reflect inwards — as the seasons change, so do we, and there is opportunity for growth!

For more information on how acupuncture can help you attune to the seasons, check us out at www.ctacupuncture.com

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Improve Focus, Calm the Fidgets and Outbursts! Acupuncture Helps with ADD/ADHD and Tourette’s Symptoms

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Improve Symptoms of ADD/ADHD and Tourette’s with Acupuncture!

Acupuncture can be a helpful tool in the struggle to deal with ADD/ADHD and Tourette’s syndrome. The often challenging symptoms for all of these disorders can cause problems at home, school, work, and in relationships. Acupuncture can help relieve the symptoms and eliminate displays — improving attention and focus, calming fidgety or hyperactive behavior and managing mood.

Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes individuals to make sudden sounds and unusual movements, such as jerking the head or blurting out obscenities. The first signs are usually simple tics. These can progress to multiple, complex movements including respiratory and vocal tics. Tourette’s syndrome is more common for males than females, the ratio being 3:1. Tourette’s begins in childhood, usually between the age of 2-15 years, and is seen in all ethnic groups. The causes of Tourette’s syndrome are not clear.

ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are disorders that are usually associated with one another to describe a syndrome which consists of symptoms including a lack of ability to maintain attention to a subject for a prolonged period of time (from moments to minutes), a sense of disconnectedness from the current “flow” of activities around them, an inability to follow directions, and a hard time sitting still, among other symptoms.

Although commonly linked, ADD and ADHD manifest themselves behaviorally in very different ways. People with ADD tend to be somewhat passive, and more withdrawn than their ADHD counterparts. People with ADD are more easily overwhelmed, while people with ADHD tend to be brasher and have a harder time connecting with the people around them. Both conditions can be extremely painful for the patient socially and psychologically. They too have symptoms that may begin in childhood and continue into adulthood — in fact, up to half of adults diagnosed with the disorder had it as children.

ADHD and Tourette’s syndrome are often diagnosed together, and some medical experts believe Tourette’s is directly associated with ADHD, according to the Institute for Traditional Medicine. Tourette’s syndrome tends to be more severe and more difficult to treat if it appears in combination ADHD and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). While stimulants are usually prescribed for ADHD, other medications that manipulate brain neurotransmitters are typically used for Tourette’s.

Acupuncture is a wonderful ally to traditional therapies for each of these conditions. A benefit to acupuncture as a complementary therapy is that acupuncture can also help to address some of the negative side effects of some of the medications currently used to treat the disorders. Most ADD and ADHD medications are associated with some sort of side effects ranging from dizziness, sleeplessness, dry mouth, abdominal pain, changes in appetite, and other symptoms. The side effects experienced will vary from patient to patient, and each experience is unique. However, some people don’t wish to risk adverse side effects of these medications, and are choosing to use acupuncture on its own.

A study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine on the effectiveness of acupuncture on Tourette’s syndrome patients indicated that symptoms were reduced or eliminated in 73 percent of the patients treated with acupuncture therapy.

Acupuncture can help to promote healing, alleviate pain, calm spasms and ticking, bolster the immune system, and generally encourage good health in a myriad of ways. Acupuncture works with the energy force in the body and regulates the flow of that energy, and it can be an extremely effective tool in addressing behavioral disorders. Acupuncture can help to calm the impulses that make it hard for a patient to stay still. It can also work to improve concentration and bolster the immune system and energy of the patient, which can address both the sluggishness or hyperactivity commonly seen in patients with ADD/ADHD.

Enhancing the flow of energy in the body can also assist the patient to maintain a positive outlook, and can help to regulate sleep. The patient will then gain a greater benefit from the therapies available to him or her, and can help with the side effects.

For more information, please visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com

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Sources: Institute for Traditional Medicine; Tourette’s Syndrome — Potential Treatments with Chinese Medicine; Subhuti Dharmananda; January 2004

Photo: Happy Child by George Hodan

 

Don’t Want Your Memories All Alone in the Moonlight? Acupuncture Smartens Your Brain and Decreases Stress!

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Smarten Your Brain with Acupuncture!

Brain power is awesome until it fails you. Who hasn’t spaced on a name right before an important introduction?  And almost everyone has locked themselves out of either their car or their home. Stress, anxiety, or depression can make a person more forgetful, as well as exhaustion.

According to acupuncture and Oriental medicine the mind (Shen) embodies consciousness, emotions and thought. Shen influences long term memory, the ability to think clearly, contributes to wisdom and presides over activities that involve mental and creative functions. When the mind is healthy we are able to think clearly. And remember things like our mother’s birthday.

When the mind is unhealthy or unbalanced we experience confusion, poor memory, and clouded thinking. Disharmony of the mind often manifests as anxiety, insomnia, muddled thinking, forgetfulness and chronic restlessness. It has been found that acupuncture has proved to be helpful for improving memory function, and assist in maintaining balance and reducing stress. And reduces the need for sad Moms and bouquets of apology flowers.

In fact, a new study measures that acupuncture biochemically reduces memory loss due to chronic stress. Researchers applied acupuncture at acupuncture point P6, near to the center of the wrist crease on the anterior surface of the forearm. The researchers measured biochemical and behavioral changes in laboratory rats. It was found that acupuncture stimulation at P6 increased AchE (acetylcholinesterase) chemical reaction activity in the brain.

AchE is an enzyme that converts the neurotransmitter acetylcholine into choline and acetate and plays an important role in synaptic transmission. The study shows that rats exposed to chronic mild stresshad significantly lower AchE activity in the hippocampus of the brain. It was discovered that acupuncture at P6 increased chemical reactivity of AchE in the hippocampus compared with the control group.

The researchers also conducted a passive avoidance test (PAT) to compare the biochemical findings with behavioral examination. The acupuncture group performed better than the control group for the PAT. The researchers concluded that acupuncture at P6 improves memory, increases AchE reactivity in the hippocampus and restores learning and memory after biochemical and behavioral impairments due to chronic mild stress.

Now when we apply that to humans, we can see improvement in reducing stress, remembering your wife’s name and walking out the door with keys in hand!

Improving your diet can also help with improving memory function. Here are some suggestions!

Nutritional Therapy for Poor Memory

  • Vitamin C and Vitamin E are important antioxidants that can improve cell functioning in the brain and protect it by reducing oxidative damage.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids help protect nerve cell membranes.
  • Zinc helps with proper nerve functioning. Take with Vitamin B6 for a synergistic effect.
  • Ginkgo Biloba (40 mg three times a day) helps support circulation in the brain.
  • Flavonoids can protect against oxidative damage (and may reverse) in the brain.

People who are worried about memory problems should see their doctor. If the doctor believes that the problem is serious, then a thorough physical, neurological, and psychiatric evaluation may be recommended.

For more information about how acupuncture may help you, visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com

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Sources:

“The effects of acupuncture (PC6) on chronic mild stress-induced memory loss.” Hyunyoung Kima, Hyun-Jung Parkb, Hyun Soo Shimd, Seung-Moo Hanc, Dae-Hyun Hahmd, Hyejung Leed, Insop Shimd. Neuroscience Letters. Volume 488, Issue 3, 25 1-2011, p 225-228.

Photo: Reading Girl by Kathrym Bennett

Say No to Acid (Reflux) During Pregnancy!! Acupuncture Helps with Heartburn (GERD)!

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Acupuncture Helps Heal Heartburn!

Acid reflux, or heartburn, is a common digestive complaint affecting approximately 44 percent of the adult U.S. population at least once a month, and 20 percent feel it at least once a week. It occurs when the sphincter of the lower esophagus does not close completely. As a result, stomach contents leak back into the esophagus and even up into the throat, causing a burning sensation. Because the esophagus and throat do not have the same sturdy lining as the stomach, they cannot endure the strong acids of the stomach and become injured.

Acid reflux is also called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and it can lead to more serious problems. Often pregnant women experience GERD, with up to 80 percent of moms-to-be suffering heartburn, stomach pain or discomfort, reflux, belching and bloating, partly because the stomach has less room and contents are more easily upset. Symptoms tend to worsen over time, and many women avoid taking medicine for fear of harming the developing fetus.

Many people undergo dangerous surgery to heal acid reflux or take drugs that list serious side effects: irregular heartbeats, seizures, trouble breathing and a severe intestinal condition called Clostridium difficile.

The great news is that you don’t need to take any of these risks when you heal your heartburn the natural way!

Acupuncture heals the channels of the entire digestive system, curing the underlying causes of acid reflux. Acupuncture helps ease symptoms and discomfort immediately, relieving indigestion, stomach ache and acid reflux. A 2007 study in the journal, “Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, as well as a 2006 review in the Journal of Gastroenterology suggest that acupuncture may be a viable treatment option for gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, a chronic form of the condition.

Acupuncture may also benefit acid reflux patients who find their symptoms are brought on or worsened by stress, anxiety and emotional issues. Acupuncture works to relieve the body of these stressors by helping to calm the nerves thus inducing a state of relaxation.

Here are some tips that can further help you fight the acid attack!

– Enjoy your food! Take your time eating at the table, preferably with loved ones, instead of in front of a screen.

-Avoid caffeine and nicotine.

– Avoid foods heavy in sugar or fat, especially ice cream.

– Avoid fizzy foods.

– Avoid foods that you’ve noticed give you acid reflux, such as spicy foods, acidic foods such as tomatoes or oranges or gassy foods, such as Brussels sprouts.

– Stop eating several hours before bedtime. This can be done!

– Eat highly nutritious foods. These foods will reduce your cravings for “quick-fix” foods.

– Drink more water. Drink more water. Did we mention drink more water?

– Reduce the stresses in your life. Again, this can be done!

– Increase relaxation with yoga, meditation or Qi Gong.

-See your acupuncturist!

 

For more information, please visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com

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References:

“Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics”; Clinical trial: acupuncture vs. doubling the proton pump inhibitor dose in refractory heartburn; R. Dickman, et al; September 2007

“Journal of Gastroenterology”; Acupuncture for functional gastrointestinal disorders; T. Takahashi; 2006

Photo by: Petr Kratochvil

“No, I’m Not Trying To Look at You Funny!” Acupuncture Works for Acute and Chronic Neck Pain!

Happier Necks with Acupuncture!

Happier Necks with Acupuncture!

Stiff necks make you aware how much you take happy necks for granted, and how painful and cranky-making they are when you get them. And that sneezing hurts a whole lot when you have one.

What causes this awesomeness? Common causes for a stiff neck include poor posture, stress, extra hard work, reading or using hand-held devices too much, holding the neck and/or shoulders in an unnatural position (such as talking on a standard telephone “hands free”), sleeping without proper head support, poor ergonomics while working,  turning and reaching at the same time, or even exposure of the neck to a cold draft. Chronic infections, flu, Lyme disease, etc, can also include neck pain. Many people suffer neck injuries from auto accidents and/or sports or exercise related strains.

Also, most everyone has times of stress, and when we’re stressed, the majority of people who are overwhelmed by it will tell you that the physical manifestation of their stress is tightness, muscle knots, and pain in their neck and upper back. The tightness in the upper back and neck creates a slowdown in the circulation of blood and energy in the area, causing energy stagnation. In addition, as the neck becomes tight and painful, the pain can move upward causing headaches, tooth grinding, and jaw pain; or it can move downward and cause back pain and tightness, wreaking havoc with your sleep, your health, your ability to back the car out of the driveway, and certainly your attitude!

Well, guess what? Acupuncture is very helpful and quickly so! The precise location of the needles depends on the location of the pain and whether it’s sharp or dull, constant or intermittent, and other factors. Often relief is felt at the first treatment, and usually only a few are needed, with range of motion restored. When longstanding pain or injuries are the cause, then more treatments will be needed, and acupuncture will help speed the healing process. In addition, acupuncture is good at reducing the tension in the neck tendons and muscles. It can help relieve the pain and tightness in the neck by increasing the circulation of blood and energy, and it can also help to relieve stress.  Acupuncture has a relaxing effect on many people and some even fall asleep during the treatment.

For more information on how acupuncture can help you, visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com

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Banshee Be Gone! Acupuncture Banishes PMS Symptoms and Lets You Keep Your Friends!

Acupuncture Eases PMS

Acupuncture Eases PMS

Your fat pants are now leggings, due to awesome bloating. The “Girls” hurt. Mood swings. You seriously don’t know if you love him or hate all of humanity.  Headache. Fatigue, anxiety and depression. Massive consumption of baked goods and delving deep into the bag of Halloween candy…and it’s only September.  It must be that time of the month!

Or does it have to be this way…?

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the cyclic recurrence of a group of symptoms that peak 7 to 10 days before menstruation and disappear a few hours after the onset of the menstrual flow.  In extreme cases, PMS can interfere with everyday life and relationships.

Scientists are unclear of the exact cause of PMS, although they have found correlations. Some studies show that glutamate levels in the brain spike prior to menstruation, which can cause mood swings and anxiety. Other scientists suspect that low levels of serotonin or beta-endorphin (both neurotransmitters that promote positive moods) may underlie the symptoms of PMS.

Regardless of the exact cause, premenstrual syndrome is easy to cure! What?! Yes!

Hormone levels naturally fluctuate during the menstrual cycle. However, stress, discomfort and anxiety that arise from these changing levels are not. Minor lifestyle adjustments can help reduce symptoms.

But when PMS gets out of control or too uncomfortable to deal with, acupuncture can help! With its balancing effects, acupuncture restores harmony to the hormonal and energy systems of the body, healing the causes of PMS.

The end result? You feel better, your mood improves, your headache goes away and your energy returns. If you suffer any discomfort during menses, such as cramps or nausea, acupuncture will ease these symptoms for you as well.

Acupuncture is also extremely effective at treating menstrual disorders including painful periods, irregular periods, and amenorrhea. Whether it’s easing PMS or alleviating painful cramps, acupuncture is certainly an excellent ally during what can be a challenging part of a woman’s month!

Here’s some other helpful tips that can help you. Balanced nutrition is crucial for overcoming PMS. Certain foods such as alcohol, caffeine (try herbal teas, especially chamomile), cold temperature foods, sugar, salt, and animal fats exacerbate symptoms of PMS and should be avoided.  In addition, commercial red meats and poultry, which have a residue of steroids composed of female animal sex hormones, should be eliminated from the diet. It feels like it’s all the things that are wonderful in the world, but there are healthier options that are a better choice. Food necessary for a harmonious menstrual cycle include: plenty of organic vegetables, small amounts of fruit, whole grains, legumes (especially soy), seaweed, small amounts of lean hormone-free meats, and fish (especially salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel). Stay hydrated and don’t beat yourself up too badly for the Entenmann’s. 

Exercise also plays an important role in the treatment of PMS. Thirty to forty-five minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least three times per week improves blood circulation and significantly helps reduce symptoms, and greatly reduces menstrual cramping. Also, the fat pants will become baggy!

PMS? Nutrition, Exercise…Acupuncture!

For more information, please visit our site at www.ctacupuncture.com

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