Scottsdale Acupuncture

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Can Acupuncture Treat Plantar Fasciitis?

Posted Tuesday, November 24th, 2020 by ABA

Can Acupuncture Treat Plantar Fasciitis?

Traditional Chinese Medicine is grounded in the belief that acupuncture can help reduce the amount of pain patients experience when acupuncture points around the body are stimulated. Clinical studies have shown that acupuncture has proven quite useful in the treatment of a wide range of disorders and disharmonies. But can it help people suffering from Plantar Fasciitis? Let’s take a more in-depth look at this disorder and how acupuncture might help overcome it.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

This disorder is an inflammation of the Plantar Fascia ligament located on the bottom of the foot that results in heel pain. Plantar Fasciitis is so widespread that Podiatry Today says it’s at pandemic levels. Some studies report that one in six Americans suffers with this condition.

The Plantar Fascia ligament is the foundation for the arch of the foot. When you place too much pressure on it, the ligament might develop a small tear. If it continues to stretch or tear over an extended period, it might become inflamed. This inflammation is what causes Plantar Fasciitis. The pain can often be sharp or stabbing. Usually, it will be the most intense in the morning. It will become duller as you move, but if you’ve been sitting or standing in the same place for a while, it will re-occur. If you exercise, the pain will often be most intense after you’ve finished working out.

There are a few risk factors to be aware of. First, this condition tends to be most common among people between 40 and 60 years old. Flat-footed people might also be at a higher risk of this condition. It’s also possible that being overweight might increase the risk of developing Plantar Fasciitis. It’s also most common amongst people who spend a lot of time on their feet.

How Is Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosed?

If you believe you have Plantar Fasciitis, you’ll need to get it diagnosed. The diagnosis will allow you to start treatment as soon as possible. To identify this condition you’ll need a physical examination by a medical doctor or podiatrist. They will ask you about the type of pain you’re experiencing and perform a throughout exam to rule out other potential ailments.

How Should You Treat Plantar Fasciitis?

Often, Plantar Fasciitis will last for a few months. During this time, there are a few ways you can reduce the pain and speed up the healing process. First, you might want to apply a heating pad, which will increase the flow of blood that will help clear out the inflammation. You might also want to stretch and massage the affected area. It’s also recommended that you rest the foot and try to reduce the amount of time you spend standing up.

How Can Acupuncture Help?

If you’ve developed Plantar Fasciitis, you’ll probably experience a considerable amount of pain. As a result, you’ll want effective treatment. Many studies have shown that acupuncture can be a valuable treatment option. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits acupuncture can provide.

Pain Relief

Acupuncture practitioners believe that the pain receptors around the body control the pain you experience. By stimulating specific acupuncture points, acupuncturists can affect local nerve endings. This stimulation will help provide pain relief. It will also affect your brain. Studies have shown that there is less activity in the parts of the brain that process pain during an acupuncture session. These effects don’t take long to manifest. Typically, it takes just a few treatments before the pain starts to fade.

Improved Sleep

Because Plantar Fasciitis can be painful, it can make it harder for you to fall asleep at night. This can have significant impacts on your quality of life. For example, you might find it more challenging to focus at work. During acupuncture, you’ll be placed into a more relaxed state that can make it easier for you to overcome the pain and get a good night’s sleep.

Improved Mental Health

Plantar Fasciitis might also affect your mental health. Trying to deal with the pain might make you feel depressed. It’s also possible that you might feel stressed, especially if it affects your performance at work. Acupuncture can help you overcome these problems. A range of acupuncture points can be targeted to help you feel more relaxed. Because of this, many patients report feeling calmer at the end of their session.

Drug-Free Treatment

While your doctor might prescribe painkillers, many people want to take a natural approach to manage pain. This approach will ensure you don’t get addicted to painkillers. Some people might also have an allergic reaction to these substances. Because no drugs are involved, acupuncture is one of the safest ways to treat the discomfort caused by Plantar Fasciitis.

How Long Does An Acupuncture Session Last?

One of the benefits of acupuncture is that it treats you like an individual. The practitioner will tailor the treatment based on your needs. In general, though, the session will last for between half-an-hour to an hour. In most cases, the needles will be left in your skin for around 28 minutes.

The number of sessions you’ll need will also vary based on your condition. As we mentioned, most people will feel relief after four to five treatments. However, you might want to continue getting acupuncture to help you continue to manage the pain during the recovery period. It’s best to talk about your condition with your licensed acupuncturist to develop a plan that will work for you.

Conclusion

Plantar Fasciitis is a widespread condition. It affects one in six Americans. It can cause shooting pain in your foot, and the discomfort can often take months to go away. Thankfully, there is an effective way to treat this pain: acupuncture. It can help you improve your quality of life, without drugs. If you have Plantar Fasciitis, consider booking an appointment with a licensed acupuncturist to find out how they can help.

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Can Acupuncture Treat Frozen Shoulder?

Posted Thursday, July 23rd, 2020 by ABA

Can Acupuncture Treat Frozen Shoulder?

The pain caused by a shoulder injury can be intense and may end up reducing your mobility. This can significantly impact your daily life by making it difficult for you to perform routine daily tasks. Though several conditions can cause shoulder pain, one of the most common is frozen shoulder. Typically, this affects between two and five percent of people aged between 40 and 60. It tends to affect more women than men.

People who have a frozen shoulder often experience much pain. Still, some are reluctant to visit a doctor, fearing that they’ll be prescribed highly addictive pain-reduction pills. Thankfully, there’s a natural alternative: acupuncture.

Let’s take a closer look at what frozen shoulder is and how acupuncture can help treat it.

What Is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder is stiffness that occurs around your shoulder. It can make it painful to move your arm, limit your mobility, and interfere with your life. The reason it’s called a frozen shoulder is because of the three stages of this condition. First, you have the freezing phase, which is the gradual development of pain in your shoulder. During this stage, your range of motion will become more limited. Next comes the frozen stage, when you may notice the pain has started to ease. However, your range of motion will remain limited, as though your shoulder is frozen in place. Finally, you’ll have the thawing phase. The pain will begin to diminish, and you’ll be able to move your shoulder freely again.

In most cases, frozen shoulder can be diagnosed by its symptoms and physical description. As a result, you won’t need any MRIs or X-rays. But your acupuncturist might still want to run a few tests to confirm their diagnosis.

Frozen shoulder affects everyone differently. However, it commonly has a few consequences. For example, some people may find it reduces their performance at work, mainly if they’re in a physically demanding role. Other people may find the pain is worst at night, making it harder for them to get to sleep.

No one knows exactly what causes frozen shoulder. However, a few things might increase your chances of developing it. First, it tends to be most common among people with diabetes. It’s also more likely to occur if you’ve had your arm in the same position for a long time – for example, if you needed to wear a sling while recovering from a broken arm. One of the best ways to prevent frozen shoulder is by exercising your shoulders regularly to maintain a reasonable range of motion in the joint.

Using Acupuncture to Treat Frozen Shoulder

As we mentioned, frozen shoulder will typically go away on its own. However, it can take up to three years for you to recover. For many people, this will be too long, especially if the pain or lack of motion is making you uncomfortable and impacting on your life. Thankfully, acupuncture can be an effective treatment.

Acupuncture is based on the idea that, when a condition is treated, the mind and body can’t be separated. As a result, an acupuncturist will use needles on specific pressure points. This procedure clears your body’s energy pathways (referred to by practitioners as “unblocking your qi”). This brings the body back into balance and can help relieve pain and muscle stiffness.

Some studies have investigated whether acupuncture can improve range of motion in the shoulder. For many, the stiffness is one of the worst parts of having frozen shoulder. A study at the University of Medical Scientists in Iran looked at a group of 40 people of various ages who suffered from frozen shoulder. They found that the group who received acupuncture treatments achieved the best results. Most importantly, these patients had improved range of motion after their session and felt less shoulder pain.

There are a few explanations for these results. First, it’s been shown that acupuncture can stimulate nerves in muscles and tissues. This process releases endorphins in your brain, which act as a natural painkiller. Acupuncture can also be a great way to reduce inflammation in your shoulder and enhance blood circulation in the area. Because of this, the range of motion in your shoulder will slowly begin to improve.

Your acupuncturist will tailor the treatment to suit your needs and deliver the best results. However, this could involve focusing on the “yanglingquan” point, which is located in your leg. They also might use a deep-insertion needle on the side of the affected shoulder. This point is useful since it passes through the meridian of the “jianjing,” which is associated with tension in the neck and shoulders. How long your acupuncture session will last and the type of needles used will depend on your unique circumstances.

Conclusion

Frozen shoulder can be deeply unpleasant, as it dramatically reduces the range of motion in your shoulder. It can have a great impact on your daily life and make it harder for you to do your job or the activities you love. But it doesn’t have to be this way. As we’ve seen, there’s compelling evidence that shows acupuncture can be a natural solution to frozen shoulder. It can both ease the pain and anxiety caused by the condition and improve the range of motion in your shoulder. The results prove that acupuncture can be an excellent risk-free treatment.

Get in touch with us today to experience the benefits that acupuncture can offer you!

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Can Acupuncture Reduce Stress?

Posted Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020 by ABA

Can Acupuncture Reduce Stress?

In times like this, when widespread worry is one of the only things tying us together, people are seeking ways to reduce stress and begin to think clearly again. The effects of long-term stress on a person can be incredibly harmful not only to the mind, but to the body. People with higher anxiety are actually at higher risk for cancer. Their high stress levels weaken their immune system. Further, high stress levels can cause fatigue, muscle pain, insomnia, and many other symptoms that can damage the body.

Stress is often triggered by the human brain’s fight-or-flight response to everyday occurrences such as an overload of emails, running late for work, or in the case of recent events, a pandemic. Stated more simply, stress can be any thought or feeling that causes your brain to feel threatened. This is why, to our brain, an email backlog can be just as stressful as an animal attack. However, many people are reluctant to seek out doctors. They fear they’ll be prescribed pills and medications they could avoid with other treatments.

Studies of Acupuncture’s Effects on Stress and Anxiety

In several studies of people suffering from anxiety, acupuncture reduced stress where other treatments were ineffective. It’s been proven that acupuncture helps to stimulate the release of oxytocin, a hormone that’s been tested as an anti-anxiety drug, and that it reverses and addresses stress effects such as high blood pressure and insomnia. By targeting the fight-or-flight response, acupuncture can help you become much more rested and relaxed and signal your brain that it is safe to settle down. In this state, your body can begin to heal the effects of stress and prepare for a comfortable sleep.

As far back as 2003, a World Health Organization study on acupuncture reported that acupuncture stimulates the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, while also altering neurotransmitters that have positive effects on brain chemistry. The study found that acupuncture shuts down the part of the brain responsible for stress and pain. This helps the limbic system physically alter the body’s experience of stress. Patients even claim that acupuncture provides faster-acting relief for their symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress than the medications and other therapies recommended to them.

Acupuncture has even been found to have positive anti-depression effects. In a University of York study of 755 people suffering from moderate to severe depression, acupuncture had substantial positive impacts on depression. As such, acupuncture has become a highly sought out, drug-free treatment for stress, anxiety, and depression. Many anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs have adverse side effects that acupuncture doesn’t have, making it a safer and much more comfortable method of relief for the patient.

The Traditions and Science Behind Acupuncture

According to the Chinese definition, acupuncture brings the body back into balance by unblocking the “qi” that flows through certain internal pathways. Instead of seeing the mind and body as suffering from two different ailments, acupuncture doesn’t disconnect the two. As such, if you were to tell your acupuncturist that you’re suffering from high stress levels and experiencing hot flashes, he or she will see the two conditions as interrelated and connected. In the Chinese belief, the mental and physical ailments and aspects of a person are woven tightly together.

This explanation is a bit more abstract than the Western medical description, which says acupuncture eases anxiety by helping to regulate the nervous system. To physicians who understand it, acupuncture brings the branches of the autonomic nervous system – the “qi” in Chinese medicine – back into balance with each other. Acupuncture, at its roots, is about restoring balance in the body to ease stress and anxiety.

Some claim that acupuncture merely provides a placebo effect, but science backs up the treatment’s positive impact on the body. Brain scans show that the balancing effects of acupuncture on the limbic system aren’t just a placebo. Additionally, acupuncture is so risk-free. There’s little reason for people to be concerned about it, since its effects on the body and mind are overwhelmingly positive. Acupuncture treatment can help boost energy, relax the patient, reduce anxiety, stress, and depression, and overwhelmingly help your body heal.

Conclusion

The science and tradition behind acupuncture’s positive effects are clear and should be enough to quell any doubts about its utility. Today, for many people, stress, anxiety, and depression are being exacerbated by the global situation. Finding a way to ease stress is essential to the well-being and healing of minds and bodies. Acupuncture has a long history of doing this to help people cope with the worst stressors the world can throw at them. Why not give it a try?

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Can Acupuncture Treat Neck Pain?

Posted Monday, May 18th, 2020 by ABA

neck, pain

Acupuncture has a long history as a treatment for pain, and has recently gained acceptance among Western health practitioners as an alternative treatment for pain and other illnesses.

The word acupuncture means piercing needles.The term stems from the Latin words “acus”, meaning “needle”, and “puncture”, meaning “to pierce”. Developed over 2000 years ago in China, acupuncture is an alternative – and part of a more holistic – method of healing the body. Such methods include massage, diet, herbs and heat therapy. Over the course of the country’s long history, Chinese medical practitioners refined the process and practice of acupuncture. In the last century, the western world came to accept acupuncture as an alternative approach to more intrusive forms of treatment such as injections, medications, or surgery for pain relief and other conditions.

Western health professionals recognize the connection between physical and mental health and how they affect each other. They believe acupuncture addresses neck pain along with many other illnesses by stimulating nerves, muscles, connective tissue, and even boosting the body’s natural painkillers.

Acupuncture Treatment for Neck Pain

Since 2003, based on a review of clinical trials, the World Health Organization (WHO) has accepted acupuncture as a viable and effective form of treatment for 28 diseases and conditions. In addition to neck pain, acupuncture also treats back, knee, and dental pain, depression, headaches, and more.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) also issued a statement in which they acknowledged the efficacy of acupuncture and called for the implementation of educational standards for licensing and accreditation to ensure the quality and safety of treatments as acupuncture is integrated into medical practices. Both the WHO and NIH agree that acupuncture is an effective and minimally invasive alternative treatment for chronic neck pain and other illnesses.

Neck pain is a prevalent ailment among adults. Globally, between 30-50% of adults report chronic neck pain. In fact, neck pain is the third most common cause of chronic pain in the USA, and the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide.

Chronic neck pain usually includes one or more symptoms. These symptoms include a stiff neck, sharp pains, trouble lifting heavy objects, and headaches. Spinal column nerve inflammation—radicular pain and cervical radiculopathy—can also cause headaches. This chronic pain can disrupt sleeping habits and interfere with the performance of daily activities, which affects one’s overall quality of life.

In 2017, the Journal of Pain reviewed the use of acupuncture for treating chronic pain. Their findings on acupuncture treatment of musculoskeletal pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headache, and shoulder pain were positive. Acupuncture performed better by relieving pain and increasing function in patients tested against placebo groups. They also found that acupuncture treatment has lasting effects. Eighty-five percent of patients who attended between 6 and 15 half-hour sessions continued to feel the positive impact of their acupuncture treatments after one year.

Both the WHO and NIH acknowledge acupuncture as an appropriate treatment for neck pain. When compared to other methods, acupuncture often relieves pain better and is less invasive than treatments such as injections or surgery. In a recent survey, SpineUniverse found that patients were more satisfied with acupuncture treatments than injections as a way to relieve neck pain. Injections are designed to alleviate symptoms of pain, but do not treat the underlying problems. On the other hand, acupuncture attempts to bring the body into balance not only to relieve the patient’s current pain, but also to prevent future pain. Injections also use steroid medication which some patients have adverse reactions to, whereas acupuncture involves no medication.

While treating neck pain, acupuncturists stimulate acupoints both local and distal—distant from the pain’s location. The distal acupoints “Hegu” (LI 4), “Shousanli” (LI 10), and “Quchi” (LI 11) are traditionally used to relieve neck and shoulder pain. Many local acupoints based around the neck and spine are used in treatments as well, such as Jingbailao  (EX-HN15), Jianzhongshu (SI-15), and “Fengchi” (GB-20).

To treat neck pain and other conditions, practitioners place tiny needles at points throughout the body to stimulate nerves, muscles, and the body’s natural painkillers. These places on the body are called acupoints. According to acupuncture theory, the body has more than 2,000 acupoints, which maintain and correct the body’s life force when stimulated in specific combinations.

Acupuncture treatment involves needle insertion, manipulation, and removal. Because the needles are thin, they do not usually cause discomfort. During a session, between five and 20 needles are generally inserted at varying depths. Although pain is uncommon, an aching sensation is not unusual and indicates the needle has reached the appropriate depth. The acupuncturist manipulates the needles as needed, moving or twirling them, and applies heat or electrical pulses to the needles. The applied needles stay in place for up to 20 minutes, and their removal does not usually cause any discomfort.

To prevent any risk of infection, US practitioners are required to employ sterile, one-time-use only needles that are sealed before use and disposed of properly after treatment. Licensed professionals use from 1 to 20 FDA-approved needles during a treatment session. Needle sizes and lengths vary, but they are approximately 20 times thinner than typical injection needles, which minimizes the possibility of pain or bruising. Needle length may range from 3mm to 125mm (used for larger patients), but the thickness only ranges between 0.16mm to 0.50mm.

What to Expect from a Licensed Acupuncturist

All acupuncturists are required to pass the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) exam. Alternatively, an individual can complete the NCCAOM program in the foundations of Oriental medicine, acupuncture, and bio-medicine to become a licensed practitioner. Individual states may have additional prerequisites as well.

A licensed acupuncturist will ask about your symptoms and lifestyle. After an initial consultation and treatment that may last up to an hour, a typical treatment plan entails one or two sessions a week, each usually lasting for about half an hour.

Acupuncture performed by a licensed professional is safe and painless. The risk of complications is minimal, and no medications are involved. For these reasons, this less intrusive method may be a reasonable alternative to injections or surgery to relieve neck pain.

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Can Acupuncture Boost My Immune System?

Posted Sunday, April 5th, 2020 by ABA

Can Acupuncture Boost Your Immune System

Acupuncture is an alternative medical practice. It was first documented in China around 100 BCE, although evidence of its use extends to 600 BCE. The procedure is based on the manipulation of ‘life energy’ or ‘Chi’, which is done by inserting extremely thin needles into the skin at particular points called acupuncture points. Acupuncture facilitates healing through the balancing of life energy. Chi flows throughout the body in a system of 12 channels (or meridians) that correspond to the body’s organs and systems. The manipulation of this energy can open blocked channels and allow the body’s healing force to attend to diseased areas. From a more western point of view, acupuncture can be used to manipulate or stimulate specific organs, systems, and bodily functions through the stimulation of particular nerve-rich areas on the skin.

Although it is considered as an alternative medicine, acupuncture has become relatively common in western culture, and especially since 1998, when the National Institutes for Health (NIH) issued a consensus statement on acupuncture and its practical use in health treatment. The World Health Organisation (WHO) currently recognizes a total of 361 acupuncture points on the human body and lists a total of 28 diseases or conditions that are proven to benefit from acupuncture treatment. Today, in western society, acupuncture is used to alleviate pain, nausea, and vomiting—especially in cancer patients—arthritis, stress, and tension (an associated disorder), and to treat respiratory diseases. Source: Mayo Clinic.

Acupuncture and Immunity

Can acupuncture boost your immune system? The answer is not surprising: yes, it can! According to Acupuncture Massage College, in some cases, acupuncture therapy is prescribed for immune deficiency disorders such as allergies, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue, psoriasis, and cancer. Since inflammation is the natural pathological progress of many diseases, many argue that the strength of acupuncture in boosting immune function lies in its ability to reduce inflammation. Studies have also shown that acupuncture can affect a rise in immune interferon levels. Interferons are the chemical messengers used by the immune system to communicate between cells.

The acupuncture point named Stomach 36 (ST36) is well known for its immune-boosting effects. Stimulation of this point (located just below the kneecap on the outer part of the leg) is believed to regulate the activation of Natural Killer cells (NK cells) known for their ability to attack and kill cancer cells.

The human immune system consists of the white blood cells produced by bone marrow; antibodies made in the thymus and tonsils; and the spleen and the lymphatic system, which removes dead cells and materials from the system. These systems interact and communicate to coordinate the body’s defense system. First, white blood cells detect foreign particles in the body. In response, the body launches a defense in the form of fighter cells and antibodies. It keeps a record of infections, so future immune reactions are faster and more effective. If any of these aspects are weakened due to illness or bad lifestyle choices, our immune system is compromised.

Research and scientific evidence from clinical trials show that acupuncture can regulate immunity and promote anti-inflammatory effects. In one study, early stimulation of acupuncture point ST36 resulted in an increased concentration of the antibody SIgA, as well as T-lymphocytes in the intestinal mucosa. It resulted in lowered mortality due to sepsis.

In conjunction with moxibustion, acupuncture helped restore the balance between immune cell subsets during treatment of Crohn’s disease patients (Liang et al. 2015).

Additionally, prevention and early treatment of disease is a big part of TCM. Acupuncture is often used before the onset of an illness to boost immunity, thereby potentially bypassing disease altogether.

What to Expect from Acupuncture Treatment

Your first treatment with an acupuncturist may last for up to an hour. The acupuncturists will carefully evaluate your particular case and decide on the correct combination of acupuncture points to stimulate and the duration of the treatment. A total of 361 acupuncture points are located all over the human body, including the hands, feet, and ears, where points are more concentrated. Follow-up treatments tend to be shorter, typically between 20-30 minutes, and may be necessary depending on the specific case.

The skin is disinfected with alcohol before a very thin sterilized needle or disposable needle in inserted precisely at each specific acupuncture point. Once inserted, the acupuncturist may adjust the position of the needles, heat them, or even electrically energize them for an enhanced effect. Treatment is not painful or uncomfortable, although a slight prick may be felt on insertion, followed by tingling or warming around the site.

Acupuncturists typically train for about three years. They may specialize in additional TCM, such as herbology, to complement their practice. When performed by a licensed practitioner using disposable needles acupuncture is safe, and complications are unlikely.

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Can Acupuncture Help Me Heal?

Posted Tuesday, November 19th, 2019 by ABA

Can Acupuncture Help Me Heal?

Acupuncture is a widely used natural medicine that’s considered a valuable alternative to traditional and potentially addictive pain medications. At its core, acupuncture is an efficient way to relieve pain and alleviate illness. According to the University of California, Berkeley, acupuncture is scientifically proven to address symptoms like nausea and pain.

What is Acupuncture?

By placing sterile needles at specific nerve points in the body (acupuncture points), licensed acupuncturists can stimulate the body’s healing capabilities to relieve pain, nausea, and a variety of other health symptoms. Many doctors believe that acupuncture affects the body’s hormonal and neurological systems and stimulates the release of beta-endorphins, which cause happiness and even euphoria.

Acupuncture has its roots in China, but the modern-day practice and results certainly fall into the realm of Western medical science. The ancient Chinese believed that the flow of qi (pronounced chi) in the body could be influenced at specific points, giving rise to the acupressure points we know today. These points have been identified as nerves, or nerve clusters, that can be stimulated to affect the body on a biological level.

Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture is scientifically/clinically proven to work to relieve pain, nausea, and even depression. The National Institutes of Health, run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, refers to acupuncture as a treatment for specific pain conditions and acknowledges that ongoing research seeks to reveal what other symptoms acupuncture is effective at treating. One of the largest studies done on acupuncture conclusively proved that there is a difference between real and placebo acupuncture, meaning that genuine acupuncture has scientific merit.

Acupuncture is typically recommended for people suffering from chronic pain, which would usually require the person to take traditional pain medication that may become addictive. The process can ease chronic pain naturally and reduce or eliminate the amount of pain medication the chronically ill person is taking. Acupuncture is not addictive and can be a valuable option enabling those with chronic pain conditions to manage that pain.

Acupuncture is also recognized as a remedy for nausea, especially nausea caused by chemotherapy. Many chemotherapy patients have successfully managed chemo-related nausea either entirely or in part through the use of acupuncture. While the effectiveness of acupuncture for nausea is less scientifically supported than it is for pain, many sources still recognize that it can have soothing effects.

It’s also been shown that the combination of care given by an acupuncture specialist and the pain-relieving and mood-lifting properties of the acupuncture process can relieve the symptoms of depression. Its pain relief and mood-improving properties are especially helpful for those with chronic pain, who are often able to ease their depressive and pain symptoms during the acupuncture sessions.

Will Acupuncture Heal Me?

Acupuncture is thought to stimulate the body’s nerves to release hormones called endorphins (the “happy hormones”), which is why it’s so effective in treating pain and depression. This same stimulation and hormonal manipulation can help promote nerve growth and healing in the body. The Johns Hopkins Hospital recognizes that acupuncture stimulates these healing processes to promote both physical and emotional well-being.

Some doctors even believe that acupuncture can repair nervous system damage through nerve stimulation. It’s possible that acupuncture can help damaged nerves heal and regrow. Nerve healing may happen due to the unique stimulation of acupuncture points by needles or other methods.

Another benefit of acupuncture is the care and time taken by acupuncture specialists. An acupuncture session is a time to reward and heal yourself and get relief, and the acupuncturists work hard to ensure you get the best experience possible. This positive feeling of being cared for can bolster the relieving effects of acupuncture and further reduce your pain and worry.

Many scientific studies suggest that positive thinking can prevent disease or halt it in the early stages. Acupuncture works in much the same way. By relieving your pain and worry, acupuncture allows you to heal more quickly, unhindered by negative emotions and the presence of stress hormones in your system.

Conclusion

Acupuncture is an essential option for those dealing with pain and other uncomfortable symptoms from a variety of sources. It can even promote healing and growth in your nervous system and release positive hormones like endorphins to make you feel emotionally better. If you’re looking for a non-addictive, traditional alternative to other treatments or medications, acupuncture is an excellent option for you.

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Can Acupuncture Reduce Inflammation?

Posted Wednesday, May 15th, 2019 by ABA

acupuncture inflammation relief

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is a defense mechanism in the body’s immune system. If the immune system detects pathogens, infections, or any foreign object in the body, it responds by releasing white blood cells and other inflammatory mediators. These mediators stimulate nerves and cause the blood vessels to dilate, allowing more blood to reach the injured tissue to promote healing. This process may also create heat, swelling and redness around the area.

Although inflammation is a vital function of the immune system, chronic inflammation can have long-term effects on the body. It has been linked to conditions including asthma, cancer, heart disease and various autoimmune disorders. Factors that can cause inflammation in the body include an unhealthy lifestyle, chronic stress and environmental allergens.

Acute inflammation can usually be treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen and aspirin, but corticosteroids may be prescribed for chronic inflammation. These drugs may offer temporary relief from the symptoms, but they are also known to cause many long-term side effects.

How does acupuncture reduce inflammation?

Acupuncture is an effective and safe treatment for both acute and chronic inflammation.

It is a form of treatment in which extremely thin needles are inserted through the skin in certain points on the body. It works on the energy meridians of the body by unblocking the obstructed ‘Qi’ (pronounced chee), or life energy.

It stimulates the nerves to correct any imbalances in the system by targeting painful trigger points. The needles used in acupuncture therapy are disposable, which minimizes the risk of infection during treatment.

Acupuncture helps to reduce inflammation by stimulating the production of hormones like cortisol and dopamine and inhibiting the generation of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the body. It also facilitates the release of specific neuropeptides, which can have profound physiological effects.

Various studies have documented how acupuncture effectively reduces bodily pain by promoting the release of natural painkillers called endorphins. Acupuncture is known to have positive effects on various diseases – such as arthritis, psoriasis and fibromyalgia – associated with chronic inflammation. The vasodilative effects of acupuncture work to reduce joint pain and stiffness.

Studies show significant decreases in back pain and knee pain when electro-acupuncture is used on patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. In electro-acupuncture, low-intensity electrical impulses are applied to the needles. This prevents the release of mast cells that trigger an inflammatory response in the body and is useful for the treatment of conditions like sepsis, Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

People suffering from type-2 diabetes show higher levels of inflammation due to increased insulin resistance. Acupuncture can reduce inflammation caused by diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity and lowering blood glucose levels.

Some studies suggest a link between chronic stress and inflammation. Chronic stress leads to elevated levels of cortisol, which can result in high blood pressure, digestive issues, insomnia and lowered immune function. Fortunately, acupuncture can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression by reducing the secretion of cortisol. This helps to relax the body. It also modulates the sympathetic nervous system and improves blood circulation, which helps counteract the physical effects of stress. Acupuncture also significantly helps to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety by affecting the production of serotonin. It alleviates inflammation caused due to stress and protects you from stress-related disorders like diabetes, hypertension, stroke and heart disease.

If you suffer from inflammation, you may want to consider acupuncture therapy as a form of treatment from a licensed acupuncturist. Depending on your symptoms, they may suggest the required number of treatments. The advantage is that the side-effects and complications of acupuncture are significantly lower than those of medication. Acupuncture addresses the underlying causes as well as the symptoms of inflammation, while reducing the risk of developing diseases associated with it.

You might also benefit by making a few changes to your lifestyle. Try stress management, reducing smoking and adding a moderate amount of exercise. Dietary changes – like increasing your consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, foods high in fiber and adding spices like turmeric into your diet – may also help. Reducing your intake of processed foods, aerated drinks and processed sugar is also known to reduce inflammation.

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Suffering From TMJ? Try Acupuncture!

Posted Saturday, November 24th, 2018 by ABA

TMJ, pain, acupuncture

What is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the jawbone to the skull and supports jaw movement during eating and talking.

Temporomandibular syndrome or disorder, commonly known as TMJ or TMD, is a condition that affects the temporomandibular joint and its surrounding nerves and muscles. TMJ disorders affect over 10 million Americans and can arise due to one or more factors such as jaw injury, genetics, poor posture, arthritis and stress.

What are some symptoms of  TMJ?

Common symptoms associated with TMJ include pain while chewing, jaw stiffness, and jaw-locking or ‘grating’ that often cause severe discomfort and tenderness. Swelling around the jaw area or pain around the ears and on the sides of the face are also common.

It’s possible to treat TMJ pain using over-the counter anti-inflammatory drugs, corrective bite plates, stress management or jaw exercises. However, the relief is often temporary, since there is no known cure for the disorder. It’s also difficult, since no specific test (other than an analysis of symptoms) can determine its cause.

A behavioural shift may sometimes be needed to alleviate symptoms that may be psychological in origin.

Can acupuncture treat TMJ?

Various studies suggest that acupuncture can help control symptoms associated with TMJ. Acupuncture is an ancient branch of traditional Chinese medicine in which thin needles are inserted in the skin and manipulated to balance the body’s energy meridians. Depending on the condition being treated, heat or electric stimulation may also be applied during acupuncture. Its practitioners – and the millions of people who swear by the ancient practice, especially in China – believe that acupuncture can restore one’s health by unblocking and balancing the body’s ‘Qi’(pronounced “chee”).

Acupuncture is usually painless and safe when done by a licensed therapist, although you may encounter a faint tingling sensation or a dull ache around the points. These feelings usually subside in a while.

Extensive research has been conducted to prove the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating various conditions, including TMJ. In 1970, studies documented that acupuncture triggers biological reactions that help reduce pain by activating the release of neurotransmitters and endorphins in the body. Endorphins play an important role in stabilizing your mood and relieving pain. The stimulation from acupuncture may also enhance nerve signal quality and alter pain perception, thereby reducing pain.

Acupuncture has been widely used as a complementary therapy with Western medicine, especially for pain management. It is known to reduce pain and inflammation caused by TMJ. It helps treat underlying causes like stress and system imbalances by boosting immunity and eliminating toxins from the body.

Acupuncture helps relax muscle spasms and stiffness caused by TMJ dysfunction. It helps to relieve stress held in the jaw muscles, allowing the jaw to unclench and the joints to move freely.  The number and frequency of acupuncture sessions you need will depend on your condition. Consult your therapist to discuss what might work best for you.

In summary, acupuncture is a great option to consider for the treatment of TMJ disorders. It can reduce pain and accelerate recovery or be used for to manage TMJ symptoms over the long term. It also offers a host of other benefits, such as mental relaxation and improvements in overall well-being.

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What is Intermittent Fasting?

Posted Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018 by ABA

intermittent, fasting, diet, weight loss

From gaining a greater level of self-control and awareness, to weight loss and fat-burning, the benefits of intermittent fasting have long been touted and are now backed by clinical research and studies. When done properly, alternating between periods of fasting and eating can lead to a healthier, longer, more meaningful life.

Introduction to Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting (IF) is a dietary plan that involves cycling between periods of fasting and skipping meals entirely, and periods of normal food consumption. This alternating diet plan allows you to restrict/limit calorie consumption and augment cell and hormone functions.

During fasting periods, all forms of food are avoided, but drinks like water, coffee and juices may be allowed. The goal is to avoid the intake of calories. Supplements can also be taken to avoid nutrient deficiencies, especially during extended fasts.

Research into Intermittent Fasting

The benefits of fasting have been touted for centuries by spiritual gurus and, more recently, by fitness experts – and finally there is substantial research to verify these claims. Clinical studies involving human subjects substantiate the medical effects of intermittent fasting.

One study into the effectiveness of fasting for weight loss showed promising results among the majority of participants, as the fasting encouraged food and caloric restriction and improved eating habits. Another study (on rats) showed that intermittent fasting could be linked to an overall increase in lifespan in subjects; on average, rats that fasted lived longer than fully fed rats.

Yet another study into the power of intermittent fasting showed an improvement in heart health. Ultimately, a lower intake of “bad” calories and a reduction in cardiac risk factors like diabetes and inflammation will reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Another promising clinical study showed a correlation between regular intermittent fasting and a reduction in the development of certain forms of cancer.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Regular fasting can do wonders for the human body—in fact, the body is designed to go for extended periods without food without suffering harm. But the benefits of intermittent fasting extend beyond mere physical merits. There are psychological and cognitive benefits as well, making IF a valuable dieting plan.

The benefits of intermittent fasting include:

  • Cancer prevention
  • Weight loss and fat burning
  • Cellular repair and regeneration
  • Reduced insulin resistance and lower risk of diabetes
  • Prevention of inflammation
  • Improved cardiac health
  • Improved brain and cognitive function
  • Alzheimer’s and stroke prevention

Forms of Intermittent Fasting

The most common forms of intermittent fasting are:

  • 16:8

This requires you to fast for 16 hours in a day, while allowing yourself only an 8-hour feeding period. The most common way to perform a 16:8 fast is to skip breakfast and avoid any meals after 8 p.m.

A person may decide to break his fast by 12 noon, allowing himself an 8-hour window, until 8 p.m., to eat meals. The implication of this pattern is that you are forced to eat just 2 meals a day, rather than 3.

  • 20:4

The 20:4 fast allows for an even shorter eating window, 4 hours. This meaning you fast for 20 hours daily. You may either eat a single meal, or two smaller portions during your 4-hour eating window.

  • 24-hour Fasts

A 24-hour fast, as the name implies, involves a full day’s worth of fasting between meals. The most common variation is the dinner-dinner fasts—eating dinner on the first day, and waiting till dinnertime of the second day to have your next meal.

  • 5:2

The 5:2 fasting plan divides your week into two sections: fasting and non-fasting days. Formulated by famed diet expert Dr. Michael Mosley in his book, The Fast Diet, you have 5 days of regular eating and 2 days of fasting.

During the 2 fasting days, you can consume up to 500 calories, which can be consumed all at once or spread out over the course of the day.

  • 36-hour Fasts

The way to perform the 36-hour fast is to prepare to skip eating for an entire day. You have dinner on Day 1, completely skip eating on Day 2, and then have breakfast on Day 3. Skipping a full day of eating makes this form of IF more effective than shorter fasts, as your body burns more excess calories during your full day of fasting.

  • Extended Fasts

Usually performed by religious sects and more disciplined fitness gurus, extended fasts involve multiple continuous days of fasting. There are verified reports of people fasting for up to 10 months, but in many cases extended fasts are usually just a couple of days to a few weeks in duration.

To avoid depletion of essential nutrients, it is important that extended periods of fasting be performed under the supervision of a licensed health practitioner. It is usually recommended to perform extended fasts while supplementing micro-nutrient loss with a dose of multivitamins and supplements.

Risks and Side-Effects of Intermittent Fasting

Done right, intermittent fasting promises a host of benefits for individuals who adopt it. But like any dieting plan, there are risks and side effects to consider before embarking upon this course.

There is a risk of overeating, as compensation for lost calories, after a fasting period. The learning period is marked with hunger, which may cause you to eat even more than normal to suppress the urge.

Pregnant women, people on prescription medication, children, and elderly persons must fast under supervision. The benefits of fasting must be weighed against the risks of food restriction to avoid harmful caloric and nutritional deficiencies.

What Is Meditation Good For?

Posted Tuesday, August 7th, 2018 by ABA

meditation

What is meditation?

Meditation is a learned skill of focusing the mind, used around the world and within every culture, for religious purposes as well as to relieve stress, create calm and clarity. Used in both business and privately, it aims to foster peace by creating a balance of heart, mind, body and spirit. When practiced correctly, it creates self-awareness and allows a person to live a more purposeful life in harmony with the world around them.

Health benefits of meditation

There are many health benefits to the practice of meditation that go beyond the relief of stress, depression and anxiety. During any life or health crisis, meditation can provide a clear perspective so one can make decisions consciously and with purpose. Whether it’s cancer, recovering from a heart attack, living with an autoimmune disease, studying for a test, preparing for dental or other surgery, meditation can balance you, and create calm and focus. There are many scientific reasons you should start meditating on a daily basis.

Getting personal with your self

For some individuals, the thought of sitting still seems foreign. Sometimes even our relaxation time is stressful. When we sit and relax at the end of the day, we often spend a good hour reading emails on our computer. When faced with a nice glass of iced herbal tea and good conversation, we opt to plant our face in our phone and type away 10 text messages while sipping and talking. We climb into bed for a restful night’s sleep, then turn on our television and watch the news. A soothing bath turns into a quick cleaning of the tiles and a replay of our busy day running through our head.

According to Mindful, you can take a daily two-minute meditation break, wherever you are, and it will make you fully present. Two minutes! Who doesn’t have that amount of time to spare for themselves?

Making time for focused relaxation, connection to one’s self and the universe allows us to better care for ourselves and those around us. We pay less attention to those annoying emails, become fully present in our relationships, get better sleep, clean our house better, and so on.

Business can be a pleasure

By encouraging your employees and staff to meditate, providing them a designated area and offering time for meditation, you show them that you care for their well-being. This time, when utilized, can enhance their concentration and productivity within the workplace. It can create a more positive outlook, which makes for better customer service skills and interoffice relations.

If given the opportunity to meditate, employers can help keep the workforce healthy, which means fewer sick days and time off and better job performance. By creating an atmosphere that includes mediation, you as the employer encourage your employees to eat better, exercise, maintain healthy friendships and make smarter choices . In this way, meditation comes full circle.

Misconceptions about meditation

Meditation can be confusing and a little intimidating to those who have never tried it. At first, the idea of focusing your entire self on one thought, idea or object can seem unattainable. With our busy schedules, it’s even more important to practice meditation than we might believe. Our modern world can promote stress and increase the likelihood of mental, emotional or physical health issues.

When we spend most of our time in hyper mode, finishing projects, running errands, and trying to balance our professional and private lives, sometimes the answer is right before us. Sit still, take a breath, close your eyes, and mindfully focus.

A learned skill

Most people know what meditation is, but few know how to practice it. In our crazy lives, we have forgotten how to just be. As we meditate and time ticks by, all things cease, for just a few minutes whatever any length of time you choose. The ability to attain and maintain focus can be a challenge, especially when you first begin. This is one reason why some people give up on meditation after a short period of time.

Like any skill you learn – from riding a bike, speaking another language, or cooking a soufflé – meditation takes time and practice. Being patient with yourself and the process will allow you to benefit even in the early stages, when your mind tends to wander. Did I leave the coffee pot on? What time do I have to pick up the kids from soccer? Like a leaf floating in the breeze, acknowledge the thought and let it float away, and return your focus. Have an itch on your nose? Is the neighborhood dog barking in the background? Again, acknowledge it and return to your center.

Risks and side effects of meditation

No known side effects or risks are associated with practicing meditation, except maybe peace of mind, mental clarity, and living a more purposeful life. Missing the occasional appointment or errand can happen – but that happens anyway, so why worry about it?

Meditation is medicine!

Meditation offers many health benefits to us all. No matter your social standing, occupation, family status, age, gender or lifestyle, you can benefit from its practice. Simply make the time, practice the art and be patient with yourself and the process. The rewards will last a lifetime.

The Amazing Benefits of Black Seed Oil

Posted Sunday, July 8th, 2018 by ABA

black seed oil

Many people are seeking natural solutions that can help overcome the myriad of health problems we face. Black seed oil is a health product that has been growing in popularity in recent years – but, in fact, people have trusted it for centuries. In fact, usage of black seed oil dates back to ancient Egypt, as it was found in the tomb of King Tut. It has been used for toothaches, abscesses, parasites, and other conditions. Today, numerous health benefits are linked to black seed oil.

What is black seed oil?

Black seed oil is a product crafted from the seeds of the black cumin plant. It is native to southwest Asia, Africa, and the Mediterranean. As previously mentioned, it has been used for centuries for medicinal uses and as a spice.

What are some of the health benefits of black seed oil?

Black seed oil may be very effective in treating a wide array of heath conditions, including:

  • High Blood Pressure

There is evidence that black seed oil can help reduce high blood pressure; one study showed that people with mildly elevated blood pressure noticed a drop in their blood pressure after using back seed oil for 2 months.

  • Asthma

Asthma is one of the most common uses for black seed oil. The product has anti-inflammatory properties that can improve asthma symptoms. Since black seed oil can reduce inflammation in airways, it can also be very helpful with bronchitis symptoms.

  • High Cholesterol

Black seed oil has a high healthy fatty acid content. Fatty acids are essential in maintaining a healthy cholesterol level in the body.

  • Stomach Problems

Black seeds have properties that make them an excellent choice to relieve stomach cramps and pain. When in oil form, black seed oil can reduce bloating, gas, and ulcers.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

Black seed oil can help reduce the inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

What are some other notable health benefits?

It is widely believed that black seed oil has anti-cancer properties, especially when used on the skin to fight skin cancer. Studies have shown that it can help reduce the growth of tumors in lab rats. Black seed oil can also help reduce the effects of radiation, which damages healthy cells. Black seed oil cannot completely replace traditional cancer treatments, but it can be a great addition to the treatment plan.

Great for your beauty regimen

Not only is black seed oil an excellent option to help treat common health ailments; it’s also a great option for your skin. These are some of the ways that black seed oil can help common with skin problems:

  • Wound Healing

Black seed oil is great for healing wounds. It can reduce the amount of bacteria in the wound and reduce inflammation to make it heal faster. It does not help with collagen factors, but it can stimulate various other growth factors to help develop healthy new skin in the area.

  • Acne

Acne is a common problem for both adults and teens. Studies have shown that using a lotion with 10% black seed oil can significantly reduce acne after about 2 months of use.

  • Healthier Skin

Using black seed oil can help improve the skin’s moisture and hydration to give you softer and healthier-looking skin.

  • Psoriasis

Using black seed oil can reduce the incidence of psoriasis when applied directly on the plaque.

Black seed oil can be very helpful in achieving healthy hair as well. By rubbing it on your hair, you will get softer and healthier looking locks.

But is it safe?

Overall, when used properly and in moderation, black seed oil is very safe. But there are some things that you should know about this product. For example, it can increase the way your body metabolizes certain medicines. It’s a good idea to talk with your doctor about using black seed oil to ensure that it won’t negatively impact your health or affect the medicines you are taking.

Black seed oil can be also assist your liver function, but using too much can harm to your kidneys and liver. If you have already problems with these organs, talk to your doctor before using it.

Experiencing Fibromyalgia? Try Acupuncture!

Posted Monday, May 14th, 2018 by ABA

fibro, fibromyalgia, acupuncture

Fibromyalgia affects millions of people every year. It is complex and common disorder that can affect anyone at any age. It can have a massively negative impact on every aspect of the sufferer’s life, affecting them mentally, socially and physically. There is no cure, and it can vary greatly in intensity in those who suffer from it. To find relief from your symptoms you will need to utilize several different approaches, including medical interventions. Acupuncture can be an effective tool in your treatment plan.

Do You Have Fibromyalgia?

Those with fibromyalgia notice several symptoms:

  • Pain

People with fibromyalgia struggle with pain all over their body, including in the muscles and bones. Some people describe the pain as a continuous ache that lasts for a minimum of three months. For doctors to qualify the pain as widespread, the pain cannot be localized to one area. It must be located below and above the waist, and bilaterally on the body. Scientists think that fibromyalgia intensifies the pain a person feels by impacting the processing of pain signals by the brain.

  • Complaints of fatigue

People who have fibromyalgia complain of constant fatigue, even if they have slept well. This is because people with fibromyalgia are often awoken by the pain. They may also have separate sleep problems, like sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome (RLS).

  • Thought process disruption

Fibromyalgia can cause difficulty in focusing, concentrating or paying attention.

What Other Health Problems Are Linked to Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia can coexist with numerous other health conditions that can also be helped by acupuncture. You should be sure to keep your doctor up to date with any problems you may be having. These are common in people who suffer from fibromyalgia, which is why doctors frequently ask you if you are experiencing other symptoms such as neck or back pain, headaches, jaw pain, IBS, and frequent or painful urination. You may also suffer from anxiety as a result of your fibromyalgia.

Some of these problems can coexist with fibromyalgia because of how your body processes pain signals. Fibromyalgia causes your brain to amplify the pain signals it receives. This means you will feel a lot more pain than other people exposed to the same pain stimuli.

Can Acupuncture Help with My Pain?

There has been much research on the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating fibromyalgia. Most of these studies show that acupuncture can be an incredibly beneficial addition to your treatment plan. There is no cure for this condition, and no one treatment plan works for everyone. A majority of people will find relief from getting these treatments. If you have tried other things and failed to get relief, acupuncture is definitely something you should check out. You have nothing to lose, especially when you’re in constant pain.

Acupuncture is not an instant fix to your problem. It takes time for it to start working. After a few treatments, you should know whether or not it is working for you. It is important that you only go to a reputable practitioner who has experience in acupuncture. This will ensure you get the best-quality treatment.

Acupuncture and Fibromyalgia

Acupuncture is an alternative medicine, a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine used to help relieve the pain caused by fibromyalgia. During treatments, the acupuncturist strategically, yet gently, places thin acupuncture needles in specific acupuncture points on the body. The needles are inserted for about 30 minutes and are sometimes accompanied by either electrical impulses or heat. As long as acupuncture is done by a licensed acupuncturist, it does not carry many risks. Results are usually noticed within the first few weeks of treatment. There are differing results in studies on how effective acupuncture is for relieving fibromyalgia symptoms. However, most point to the helpfulness of the treatment.

Fibromyalgia is painful, but it can be managed effectively. Acupuncture is a great way to treat the chronic, widespread pain that comes with it. It relatively-safe, drug-free and can be used either in combination with or instead of prescription medicines. It is effective for most people. If other treatments for fibromyalgia haven’t worked for you, consider trying acupuncture and see if it helps you feel better sooner.

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What is 5-HTP?

Posted Tuesday, May 1st, 2018 by ABA

5-htp, supplements, health

5-HTP, or 5-hydroxytryptophan, is a chemical byproduct of L-tryptophan, which is a building block of protein. It is made both naturally in the body and synthetically and can be used to treat a wide variety of issues, from insomnia to Parkinson’s disease. 5-HTP can help with these problems because it increases serotonin production in the brain and central nervous system. Essentially, any disease or condition directly affected by serotonin can be treated or supplemented using 5-HTP.

Where Does It Come From? 

5-HTP is synthesized from the seeds of Griffonia Simplicifolia, a plant native to West and Central Africa. It’s a relatively inexpensive herbal supplement that can be found in pill form in any major vitamin store. A bottle of 60 tablets will run you around $10-$20, depending on your place of purchase. In the body, it is produced from tryptophan through the processing of the enzyme tryptophan hydroxylase.

While tryptophan can be consumed through many different foods, such as milk, potatoes, and various greens, this is a much slower and less abundant source of 5-HTP than direct supplementation.

Current 5-HTP Research

Studies have been conducted to determine the effectiveness of 5-HTP in the treatment of anxiety and depression. Current research on 5-HTP has come to a few solid conclusions.  First, 5-HTP crosses the blood-brain barrier. Serotonin cannot do this. It also converts into serotonin without any feedback inhibition. What this means for you as a user is that it essentially becomes a replacement serotonin boost, since serotonin can’t be taken directly.  5-HTP can convert into serotonin infinitely. The only reason it would not is if there was a shortage of an enzyme called L-aromatic amino acid decarboxylase in the body. This enzyme is responsible for the catalyzation of 5-HTP to serotonin.

The ability of 5-HTP to convert into serotonin is hugely important for diseases in the central nervous system. It has been shown that treating CNS diseases with serotonin is the best way to create the best outcomes for patients. Countless people swear by 5-HTP and believe it’s the reason why their depression has been relieved.

5-HTP has been found to be even more effective with the addition of carbidopa, which increases the availability of 5-HTP in the central nervous system. However, this combination is not without its problems. While carbidopa helps 5-HTP work better, it causes most of the side effects associated with the combination.

Depression is not the only subject of 5-HTP studies, however.  In this study, researchers found a direct relationship between increased levels of 5-HTP and increased satiety and lower BMI in overweight females. So, for those with trouble feeling satiated after eating, you may find relief from this problem by supplementing with 5-HTP.

Treating Anxiety and Depression

The two most common uses for 5-HTP are for weight loss, or for anxiety and depression. In the above-referenced study, 5-HTP relieved depression in 43.4% of the participants.

Since its switch from a prescription to an over-the-counter drug, it has gained a cult following of users who absolutely believe in its ability to alleviate depression and anxiety.

How to take 5-HTP

As previously mentioned, 5-HTP comes in pill form. It is readily available in any vitamin store as a regular dietary supplement. It typically comes in either 50mg or 100mg capsules.  It can also be found as an oil, though this is much less common. The recommended daily dosage is usually between 100-500 mg, though if you are taking it without any other drugs or supplements, a higher dosage may be necessary.

However, if you want to boost the potential results of 5-HTP, you can utilize another powerful chemical.  This particular chemical, called EGCG, is a green tea extract. It is a natural addition to 5-HTP. While 5-HTP increases satiety, EGCG boosts energy levels while exercising. So, you’ll be taking in less calories, and burning more. It is a powerful combination for weight loss. Just remember, if you’re taking 5-HTP to help with weight loss, it is recommended that you take it with food for the best results. For more information on the relationship between 5-HTP and EGCG, check out this article.

Side Effects and Risks of 5-HTP

Most people can take 5-HTP without any side effects. The most serious side effect, however, is a condition called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. This condition causes extreme muscle fatigue and blood abnormalities. Other less serious problems may include sexual dysfunction, stomach pain and vomiting, diarrhea, heartburn, and drowsiness. Again, these occurrences are few and far between.

As with any change in your medical routine, it is important that when taking 5-HTP you consult your healthcare professional. If you’re looking for something to help you feel better and less anxious, then 5-HTP is for you!

Experiencing Bell’s Palsy? Try Acupuncture!

Posted Sunday, April 15th, 2018 by ABA

bells, palsy, acupuncture

Bell’s Palsy is the most common cause of facial paralysis. If you are part of the 29% of patients whose facial symptoms persist, then you may have found that Western medicine has little to offer. When common treatments such as corticosteroids, antivirals, physiotherapy and surgery don’t work, or work only partially, there is reason to include acupuncture as part of your treatment plan. In China, for example, Bell’s Palsy is much more common, and for centuries it has been treated using the ancient practice of acupuncture.

Acupuncture is something you can do to help treat the symptoms of Bell’s Palsy, and it can be done by itself or in conjunction with drug treatments. If you are suffering from Bell’s Palsy, you should explore what acupuncture has to offer you.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture involves stimulating specific points on the body. That stimulation is achieved by inserting very thin needles through the skin. These needles are single-use and pre-sterilised, so there is no need to worry about infection risk.

An acupuncture session will typically last for anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes. The first session will include a consultation where you can discuss your condition with the practitioner. For the treatment, you will be asked to sit or lie down. The practitioner will then insert the needles into the specific acupuncture points that will help address your condition.

The needles are inserted to varying depths, depending on the points being stimulated. The needles may be twisted or stimulated with a small electric current. Once the needles are in place, they are left there for between a few minutes and half an hour.

There should be no significant pain when the needles are inserted. You may feel a faint tingling sensation or a dull ache, but it is not especially unpleasant.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which has been evolving for the past 4,000 years. Practitioners who adhere to the traditional beliefs surrounding the practice explain that it works by unblocking the life force (or Qi, pronounced “chee”) that flows through the body. The belief is that illness is caused when Qi is unable to flow freely throughout the body. Once the flow is restored, so too is the patient’s health.

Western medicine believes that acupuncture works because it stimulates the body to produce more natural substances. It is especially good at stimulating the production of endorphins. Endorphins are sometimes referred to as “happy hormones”. They are responsible for making you feel good and are effective at providing pain relief.

Does Acupuncture Really Help Bell’s Palsy?

The use of acupuncture to treat Bell’s Palsy has been considered controversial in America by practitioners of Western medicine. In China, where Bell’s Palsy is far more common, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are widely used and available. Many studies suggest acupuncture is an effective treatment when performed in isolation; others suggest that it is best used as a complementary treatment, alongside the use of drugs. Other studies suggest that it has no beneficial effect at all.

In 2015, a group of doctors surveyed all the research done to date on the efficacy of acupuncture as a treatment for Bell’s Palsy. They reported that when they looked at the results of trials that collectively included a total of 1541 individuals (both adults and children), there was a statistically significant better outcome for those who were treated with acupuncture than those who received alternative treatments. Their findings suggest that acupuncture can be beneficial when used in isolation or as a complementary treatment.

The report also concluded that acupuncture is a completely safe treatment option for Bell’s Palsy, and that there was no evidence of it causing harm or side effects in patients, young or old.

How Much Treatment is Needed for Bell’s Palsy?

The sooner you start receiving acupuncture, the more effect it is likely to have. You would usually be advised to have two sessions per week to help deal with the symptoms. The number of sessions and how long it takes to resolve will depend on the individual. Your acupuncturist will be able to discuss this with you during your first session.

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What is CBD?

Posted Saturday, March 31st, 2018 by ABA

CBD, health, wellness

What is CBD?

CBD is a chemical that is extracted from hemp plants and turned into an oil extract. It does not get you high. However, it has been, and continues to be tested to ascertain the full range of its beneficial properties. It has been shown to be effective in treating epilepsy, chronic pain, inflammation and disorders that affect mood and anxiety. There are few or no side effects. It is legal in most states but may require a prescription/permit.

Introduction to the world of cannabinoids

Cannabis is a complex substance. You may know that different strains of cannabis produce different effects – some have psychotropic effects (they get you higher), while others are more effective at treating pain and inflammation. The reason for the variations is that cannabis is made up of roughly 400 different chemical compounds. Altering the balance of these compounds results in different effects.

It has been known for a long time that THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis responsible for the feeling of euphoria. When heated, either during smoking or cooking, THC breaks downs into chemicals that affect our brain chemistry. THC is only one of the 400 hundred chemicals found in cannabis.

Another chemical in cannabis is CBD – cannabidiol. Despite its name, you will find larger amounts of CBD in hemp plants than in cannabis plants. For the sake of clarity, it’s worth explaining the difference between cannabis and hemp, as this is an understandable point of confusion for many people.

Both cannabis and hemp are the same plant, but each is selectively bred over time so to create different qualities. It’s like how both Great Danes and chihuahuas are both dogs, but after years of breeding, are now very different dogs. Currently, hemp is selectively grown to produce high levels of THC – but in its more natural form, the plant contains much higher levels of CBD.

Research into CBD

Scientists have been experimenting with CBD and found that it has therapeutic value. What’s more, it can have a medicinal effect without any associated ‘high’. This makes CBD a much more palatable solution than medical marijuana that contains THC. The applications of CBD are wide and varied, and are the subject of many clinical studies.

CBD affects the body in two different ways. First, it interacts with brain receptors (CB1 receptors) that affect, among other things, pain, emotion, mood appetite and memories. CBD also impacts the body’s immune system by affecting CB2 receptors that are linked to inflammation and pain.

Benefits of CBD

In lab tests, CBD has been shown to significantly reduce chronic inflammation and pain. It is a promising candidate for a non-addictive option for chronic pain treatment.

CBD’s ability to reduce anxiety, pain and insomnia, as well as mood symptoms associated with disorders such as PTSD and addiction, means that it is the subject of a wide range of studies. All of them are assessing how beneficial CBD can be in helping people to quit smoking or opioids. There has also been much interest in using CBD to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or panic- based disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

There have been many reports of CBD’s efficacy as a treatment for epilepsy. Use of the oil has been clinically shown to drastically reduce the incidence of seizure in many patients.

How do you take it?

CBD is primarily taken in the form of an oil extracted from hemp. The oil can be taken orally from a dropper or added to food or drinks. It can also be used as a topical treatment that can be massaged into the skin. The dosage depends on the condition it is being used to treat, but typically ranges from less than 1mg up to about 1,000mg.

You should seek professional advice before taking CBD, as it has not yet been approved by the FDA. It is a very new product that has garnered a lot of interest as of late.

Side Effects of CBD

There have been very few noted side effects of CBD, even at exceedingly high doses, which makes it a very safe treatment option. There have been some reports of it causing fatigue and, sometimes, diarrhea.

Risks of CBD

As no long-term studies of the effects of CBDs on the human body have been completed, you are advised to talk to a professional before you begin using CBD oil. Indefinite use of CBD is not recommended.

Legal Status of CBD

Generally, CBD oil is legal in most states. However, you should speak to a healthcare professional if you believe that CBD will be beneficial for you, as you may need a prescription to get it.

Treating Back Pain with Acupuncture

Posted Thursday, February 16th, 2017 by ABA

back, pain, acupuncture

Acupuncture is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine which utilizes acupuncture needles to stimulate certain parts of the body with the purpose of alleviating pain, discomfort, stagnation and illness. It has been used to treat back pain and all other types of pain in the body for thousands of years.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture is a Chinese medical practice which was created over four thousand years ago. There are an exceptional number of acupuncture cases that show its profound effects on the human body. The needles used in acupuncture treatments aid in stimulating the nervous system; including, the brain and spinal cord. The stimulation releases chemicals which affect different parts of the body.

During this process, anywhere between one and twenty needles are strategically inserted into acupuncture points. These needles can penetrate the skin for several inches or they can just break the surface.  Spine-health.com states that where these needles are placed depends entirely on the condition that is being treated. They can be placed into areas of muscle, fat, or even under scalp tissue.

The Effects

The effects of acupuncture on the body vary deeply based on who is receiving the treatment and how long their condition has existed. The most common effects are a tingling sensation, total relaxation, and some people even feel energized. The treatment has rarely been described as painful because the needles that are used are entirely different that the typical needles which are used for injections; in fact, they’re twenty times smaller. Along with its lack of pain, acupuncture has been proven to be safe when performed by licensed acupuncturists. There is always concern for safety when needles are involved; however, these are FDA approved and sterile. The few complications with this practice makes it even more appealing, but there are those who do not know how to practice it properly. Acupuncture performed by physical therapists (also known as dry needling) can potentially lead to punctured organs and injuries to the nervous system.

Acupuncture and Back Pain

According to WebMd’s website, back pain is one of the top reasons why people visit the doctor’s office; however, back pain can be treated using acupuncture. This website also states that acupuncture may work at preventing back pain by releasing natural opioids. Opioids are a chemical which the brain releases in order to reduce the amount of pain one experiences and improves the quality of sleep.

Back pain reportedly affects over a million people in the United Kingdom, according to the British Acupuncture Council, especially lower back pain. For those who want to replace existing medication or for those with the most severe symptoms, acupuncture might be their best option.  Studies have shown that real acupuncture, compared to no acupuncture or simulated (sham) acupuncture, is one of the most effective ways to treat back pain.

Conclusion

Acupuncture is a legitimate alternative to traditional forms of medication. Apart from back pain, this practice can also help in relieving the pain of arthritis, knee pain, neck pain, and more.  Whatever one’s reason for needing acupuncture, his or her pain will certainly be lessened. As with any method of care, be sure to speak with your practitioner about the length of time and intensity it will take to treat our specific pain level.

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