Scottsdale Acupuncture

Author archive - Paul Kerzner

Having Back Pain? Try Acupuncture! – Part 2

Posted Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 by Paul Kerzner

back pain, acupuncture, health

This post is the second part of a series titled “Having Back Pain? Try Acupuncture!”  If you’ve not already done so, we recommend that you first read Part 1, as it provides information about back pain, its causes and how acupuncture can provide relief. Please click here to view that post: [Link]

Who should I receive acupuncture from in order to treat back pain?

When receiving acupuncture to alleviate back pain, it is important to only seek treatment from a licensed acupuncturist. While it is true that chiropractors, naturopaths and medical doctors can perform acupuncture, the training that they have is extremely limited in comparison to that of a licensed acupuncturist. A licensed acupuncturist is required to have thousands of hours of training – roughly 3,000 hours – before they graduate and obtain certification. Contrast that with chiropractors, who typically have less than 300 hours of training. Naturopaths and medical doctors are not required to have any additional hours of training before they can perform acupuncture, and many physical therapists perform acupuncture – although they call it by a different name – with no more than a weekend workshop’s worth of education.

In a previous blog post titled “The Importance Of Receiving Acupuncture From A Licensed Acupuncturist” we go into further detail about this very subject, and we also suggest that you take a moment to read through it. Receiving acupuncture from a licensed acupuncturist is very important and will prevent any unnecessary risks. Numerous serious injuries have been reported by patients of other practitioners who perform acupuncture without sufficient training.

How does acupuncture treat back pain?

There is an old saying in Traditional Chinese Medicine: “Where there’s stagnation there’s pain, and where there’s pain there’s stagnation.” Often when patients experience back pain, there is some form of stagnation which could be due to physical trauma, an old injury or even repetitive motion(s). When the flow of energy or blood is inhibited, it can create blockage that leads to stagnation. It is important to note that there can be many other causes for back pain from a Traditional Chinese Medical perspective; this just happens to be one that is quite common.

A licensed acupuncturist is trained to be able to resolve stagnation by using acupuncture needles as well as a few other treatment modalities including cupping and gua sha (also known as scraping). Certain acupuncture points will be selected based on the specific area of pain. By resolving the stagnation, pain will soon be alleviated allowing the patient’s quality of life to return to normal.

As mentioned above, stagnation is only one cause of back pain. There are many other disharmonies that can create this ailment. A licensed acupuncturist will use differential diagnosis to identify what issues exist which could be the root cause of the back pain. Since acupuncture is natural and holistic, it has the ability to treat the root cause as well as the symptoms it’s creating in order to provide long lasting relief.

If you, or someone you know, is living with back pain and is looking to alleviate it, now is the time to try acupuncture! Above & Beyond Acupuncture located in downtown Scottsdale, which is close to Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa and Glendale.  Call us or schedule an appointment online.

Having Back Pain? Try Acupuncture! – Part 1

Posted Monday, April 27th, 2015 by Paul Kerzner

back pain, acupuncture, health

Are you experiencing pain in your upper, middle or lower back? Is that pain affecting your quality of life? Have you been taking over the counter or prescription pain medication without getting any significant and long lasting relief? Are you interested in treating your back pain naturally and holistically?

At Above & Beyond Acupuncture, we treat a variety of aches and pains, and we have found that back pain is one of the most common pain that patients seek treatment for. Due to how many people suffer with back pain, we want to provide you with some helpful information and discuss how effective acupuncture can be in providing relief without the use of any type of medication.

How common is back pain?

Almost everyone has experienced some form of back pain in their life, or at least knows someone who is currently experiencing pain or discomfort in their back. The American Spinal Decompression Association (ASDA) states that low back pain affects around 80% of the population at some point in a person’s life. They estimate that roughly 20-30% of the population will be experiencing some form of back pain at any given time. [Link] Those percentages indicate that millions of Americans are suffering with back pain at this very moment!

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has provided information that exemplifies how common and serious back pain is. Here are some of the statistics they posted: [Link]

• Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.
• 50% of all working Americans report having back pain each year.
• In the workplace, back pain is one of the most common reasons for employee absenteeism.
• Back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.
• Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain.

What are some common causes of back pain?

There are many possible causes of back pain; we want to provide you with a few of the more common ways this type of pain can take place.

The Mayo Clinic posts the following conditions that cause back pain: muscle or ligament strain, bulging or ruptured discs, arthritis, skeletal irregularities and osteoporosis. [Link]

Other causes of back pain include: torn discs, diabetes, pinched nerves, anxiety, stress, poor posture, overexertion, fatigue, excessive lifting or bending over, poor physical condition, old age, being overweight/obese and/ or smoking.

Can acupuncture help relieve back pain?

Acupuncture, which is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, has been used for thousands of years to treat numerous ailments including aches and pains. Millions of people worldwide have successfully benefited from this natural medicine in obtaining relief from back pain, thereby avoiding the need for medications and possibly invasive or even dangerous surgery.

There have been many studies done on the efficacy of using acupuncture to treat back pain. Many of these studies have produced significant and supporting results exemplifying that it can provide true relief. The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study that provided verifiable proof that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is therefore a reasonable referral option. [Link]

In part 2 of this series, we will discuss who you should receive acupuncture from to treat back pain, as well as how acupuncture can provide relief.

If you are suffering with back pain and are located in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Tempe or Mesa area(s), come on down to Above & Beyond Acupuncture. Call us or schedule an appointment through our website. We are ready to help you feel better!

Honoring The Good & The Bad Times

Posted Monday, April 20th, 2015 by Paul Kerzner

good times, bad times, honor, challenge, emotions

Are you going through a rough time right now? Does it feel like things just keep getting harder? Have you been experiencing a lot of ups and downs in your life? Do you keep making the same mistakes over and over again?

If any of this is true for you, you might want to ask yourself this question:

Do you honor both the good times and the bad times?

At some point, everyone goes through challenging times where things seem difficult and bleak. While these moments are undesirable, they provide us with an opportunity to learn valuable lessons. It is important to be grateful for these moments and to remember – although it may not be apparent to you while you are experiencing difficulties – that bad times can be as helpful and valuable as good times.

At Above & Beyond Acupuncture, we work with patients who are experiencing many of life’s challenges. One thing we suggest is the principle outlined above: to honor both the good times and the bad ones. By implementing this perspective, there will be opportunity to find value and meaning regardless of the circumstances which are presently unfolding, or the eventual outcomes.

Why should I honor the bad times?

Life is full of peaks and valleys: one moment you’re up and the next you might be down. There will always be good times and bad times along each of our journeys; this is something you can depend on. The best way to handle the challenging times is to keep things in perspective, and to try to remain objective. Of course, this could be difficult to achieve in the moment. That is why it might be helpful to temporarily remove yourself from the situation, experience or person so that you can clear your head and take stock of what is taking place.

Even though you might perceive something happening to you as “bad”, there could be potential for change and growth in the situation which should be considered (and perhaps may not initially be recognized). We are not suggesting that you disregard your feelings; how you feel is extremely important. By honoring these moments, you are embracing them with the understanding that they can be as much help to you as the good times are. Sometimes in the long run, the difficult lessons may even turn out to be the most valuable ones, both because of the work involved in learning them and because you may not have expected that anything good could come out of the “bad” situation.

As humans, we have a desire to want our lives filled with good times; however, we must be cognizant that our realities are a conglomerate of all types of experiences and feelings. If we only have good times, we wouldn’t recognize them as such; it is the bad times that help us define the good ones. This is an important fact that should be remembered when going through challenging moments, as it can provide a helpful perspective.

If you, or someone you know, have been having a tough time in life the best thing that can be done is to first remember that things will change. Nothing lasts forever. The feelings being experienced in that moment won’t last, so hang in there and soon enough a shift will take place. It is also important to note, as we have stated above, that you must honor those challenges so you can learn from them (and hopefully not repeat them).

The Buddhist saying “This too shall pass” is usually used as a consolation for someone going through a hard time. However, the full meaning of the phrase is that all things shall pass, both the good and the bad, which is why it is important to live flowing with the present moment.

We hope this blog provided some helpful information about why it’s important to honor the good times and the bad ones as well. If you’re in the Scottsdale, Phoenix, Tempe or Mesa neighborhood(s) and are going through a challenging moment in your life please consider coming in for a treatment.

Feeling Stressed Out? Try Acupuncture!

Posted Monday, April 13th, 2015 by Paul Kerzner

stress, acupuncture, mental health

Stress has become a common (sometimes daily) occurrence in the lives of many people in modern society. Without the proper techniques and methodologies for dealing with stress, it can directly and significantly impact an individual’s mental and physical health. Being that this condition is so prevalent, the pharmaceutical industry has taken note and provided a wide array of prescription medications for those suffering from stress-related symptoms. While these medications might prove to be effective at managing the symptom(s), the problem with taking them is that they don’t address the root cause of the issue that is creating the stress, nor do they provide tools on how to better deal with stress. In addition, most (if not all) medications – both prescription drugs and over the counter “remedies” – have significant side effects.

The American Institute of Stress has some startling data about how many people are suffering from stress and the effect it is having on their bodies. [Link] Here are some of the statistics they posted:

• 44% of Americans feel more stressed than they did 5 years ago
• 1 in 5 Americans experiences “extreme stress” (shaking, heart palpitations, depression)
• Work stress causes 10% of all strokes
• Stress is the basic cause of 60% of all human illness and disease
• 3 out of 4 doctor visits are for stress-related ailments
• Stress-related ailments cost the nation $300 billion every year in medical bills and lost productivity

Just that information alone is true cause for concern, as we can see what a real problem stress has become for large portions of the population. Without an end in sight, many people are looking for alternative ways to handle stress while doing their best to avoid medications.

What are some natural ways of dealing with stress?

There are quite a few things people can do to help alleviate stress that are easy, convenient and effective. We’d like to provide some suggestions, but please note that there’s some subjectivity as to what will work best to help reduce your specific stress.

One of the best ways to deal with stress is to exercise on a (semi) regular basis. Whether you like running, swimming, hiking, lifting weights, practicing yoga, biking or a brisk walk, your body will release endorphins that will make you feel good. In addition, you will also have a sense of accomplishment after you finish exercising, and that is an amazing feeling.

Being present (or striving to be present) is an effective tool when dealing with the challenges of stress. Many times people who feel stressed out become hyper-focused on something that took place in the past, or else they are worried about the future. By shifting the focus to the present moment, one can obtain a different perspective. In a previous blog post titled “The Power Of Being Present”, we go into detail about what this means and provide information on how to become more aware of and centered in the present moment. If you find yourself constantly thinking about the past or future, we advise that you read through this article as well.

Here is a list of other things you can do to help alleviate stress: write/journal about how you are feeling; spend time with loved ones and family; practice breathing exercises; seek help from a skilled professional; sit outside in nature; spend time with pets; relax and get acupuncture.

Can acupuncture help relieve stress?

Acupuncture is an effective and natural way of alleviating stress. Eastern medicine takes a holistic approach towards dealing with people experiencing stress. Instead of just relieving the symptoms, a licensed acupuncturist will provide a treatment that brings peace and harmony to the entire body while resolving the root issue.

One remarkable feature that acupuncture has on the body is its ability to affect the nervous system, which is comprised of the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for a person’s ability to respond to stress and either fight or take flight. The problem is that many people are permanently stuck in fight or flight mode; this directly inhibits their ability to relax. Acupuncture has a calming effect on the nervous system, allowing the body to switch over to be guided by the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the system that is responsibility for resting and relaxing, providing the body an opportunity to calm down and return to balance.

At Above & Beyond Acupuncture, we specialize in the treatment of anxiety, stress and depression by providing an array of holistic treatment methods. We have helped many patients experiencing stress who were seeking alternative ways to get relief. Our goal is not only to alleviate the symptoms of these common ailments but to target the source of the distress and provide tools so that people are better equipped at handling it.

If you’ve been feeling stressed out and are in the Scottsdale, Phoenix or Tempe area, please give us a call or use our online scheduler to setup an appointment at your earliest convenience. We are ready and able to help you feel better!

Feeling Sick? Try Acupuncture!

Posted Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 by Paul Kerzner

sick, acupuncture, scottsdale

Are you feeling a bit under the weather? Do you keep getting sick? Do you find yourself taking prescription and/or over the counter medications too often? If so, then we suggest you consider improving your health with acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

How can I avoid getting sick?

Everyone gets sick at some point in their life, no matter how healthy they are. While it is true that healthier people do get sick less often, no one is completely impervious to illness. With that being the case, it is far better to have a proactive perspective on health where your efforts are spent strengthening your immune system and taking good care of your body. This can be accomplished a number of ways, including (but not limited to); getting consistent sleep, eating organic fruits and vegetables, taking a high quality multi-vitamin, drinking sufficient amounts of water, implementing a regular exercise routine, avoiding drugs and alcohol and receiving acupuncture treatments.

Can acupuncture help me feel better if I’m sick?

In the United States, acupuncture is commonly correlated with pain management, as it is quite effective at reducing/eliminating pain from the body. This is only one issue that acupuncture can treat; there are many more ailments it can resolve naturally and holistically.

The whole basis behind acupuncture, which is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, is to support harmony within the body. When a person gets sick, regardless of how or what the illness is, it creates a state of disharmony that needs to be addressed properly. Acupuncture views the body as a whole, so treatment is focused on the elimination of the disease as well as returning the body back to balance.

A licensed acupuncturist has the training and ability to effectively treat a variety of illnesses by providing a diagnosis, implementing a treatment plan and making use of a variety of treatment methods. By using this methodology, acupuncture supports the body’s resources to battle disease and improve quality of life for those who are sick.

Why do I need to get acupuncture if I’m not sick?

One of the best reasons to get acupuncture, regardless of your state of health, is to keep your body healthy and operating properly. It is far better to spend a little money, time and energy on staying healthy than to have to spend a lot more recovering from an illness. Eastern medicine is proactive and is focused on promoting the body’s ability to protect and heal itself. This is an important mindset, one that will allow you to avoid illness. While you might not need to get weekly treatments, we do suggest getting acupuncture bi-weekly or monthly to maintain good health and wellness.

For thousands of years, Traditional Chinese Medicine has been used to treat sick people without the reliance of modern medicine and prescription medication. Millions of people have benefitted from this natural medicine and so can you.

If you’re in the Tempe, Phoenix or Scottsdale areas, we recommend that you contact us to make an appointment to receive a treatment at Above & Beyond Acupuncture. Let’s work together to keep you happy and healthy!

Do What You Love, Love What You Do!

Posted Sunday, April 5th, 2015 by Paul Kerzner

love, passion, work, health

Do you do what you love? Do you love what you do? When was the last time you thought about this very subject? Have you been too busy running errands, working hard or have you just been too exhausted to even think about it?

Many people strive to lead lives that are filled with love, joy, and happiness. At the core of this pursuit is developing and maintaining a passion for life and the many things that comprise it. It is important to find people, places and things that you enjoy deeply and which enable you to derive a sense of satisfaction.

This blog post encourages you to take some time to think about the things going on in your life, and to ask yourself if you are doing what you love, and loving what you do. Taking time to think about this will help you to develop a fresh perspective on the life you lead. Delving into this topic can also allow you to make some helpful changes, as you will be able to shift away from the things you don’t like towards the things that you love.

Are you doing what you love?

Life in the 21st century is a busy one; there are so many things to do and so few hours in the day to do them. Often, we find ourselves running around taking care of various responsibilities that require our attention, time and energy. Many people accomplish these things without deriving any true sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from them.

So how can we change that? How can we shift towards doing what we love when we have all these things to take care of on a daily basis? Those are good questions that will yield subjective answers that contain a variety of possibilities. It is true that there will always be tasks that need to be taken care of, but we can start shifting our attention towards activities that we truly enjoy. We can also strive to find joy in even the most mundane of activities.

Do you love what you do?

People often define themselves based on their career(s). Having a job that helps to fulfill your life purpose is an amazing thing to have; yet most people work at jobs they aren’t passionate about. There are many reasons for this, ranging from the salary a person earns to their situation(s) in life. Since work tends to take up the majority of time a person spends during the week, having a profession that is undesirable can create a lot of problems. If it isn’t possible to make a career change, then it’s imperative to find people, places and things outside of work that can create a sense of meaning and satisfaction for you. In a previous blog post titled “What Is Your Life Purpose”, we provide information as to how a person can discover their life purpose. If you get a moment we suggest you take the time to read through this article, as it directly relates to the one you are reading right now.

One of the most important things in life is to do what you love and love what you do. When you make a conscious decision to do what you love, life can be filled with endless possibilities. This is because your attention is centered on the enjoyment of whatever you’re doing in that present moment and loving it. By combining your ability to be present with a love of what is being accomplished, you can experience an overwhelming sense of peace and happiness, and share it by virtue of your very presence. These are things that the world can always use more of.

Do Acupuncture Needles Hurt?

Posted Saturday, March 28th, 2015 by Paul Kerzner

acupuncture, needle, pain, sensation

One of the most important tools a licensed acupuncturist uses when practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine is the acupuncture needle. The acupuncture needle truly defines the procedure and is often the center of many questions at Above & Beyond Acupuncture.

Many patients ask if acupuncture needles hurt when inserted into the body. This inquiry is relevant and common to almost everybody interested in getting an acupuncture treatment. We felt it was important to take some time to provide information about acupuncture needles and how they feel when used by a licensed acupuncturist.

What are acupuncture needles made out of?

Modern acupuncture needles are made out of stainless steel and come in various lengths and gauges of width. Acupuncture needles have a stainless steel shaft, with a handle made out of copper, steel or plastic.

How thick are acupuncture needles?

Needle thickness is a something many patients are curious about; there is a belief that the thicker the needle the more potential for pain. The thickness of the needle used for treatment depends on a variety of conditions ranging from the acupuncturist’s preference to the specific ailment being treated. [Link]

Acupuncture needles are solid with a fine point, unlike hypodermic needles that are hollow and primarily used for intramuscular injections or for drawing blood. Hypodermic needles have a sharp cutting-edge point, something that acupuncture needles do not have. A helpful comparison is that most acupuncture needles are so thin that you can fit about 10 of them inside the shaft of a hypodermic needle.

Who is allowed to use acupuncture needles?

While it is true that acupuncture needles can be purchased by people other than acupuncturists, it is strongly advised that you only allow a licensed acupuncturist to needle you. Please note that chiropractors, naturopaths and physical therapists are not licensed acupuncturists. They may perform acupuncture (or “dry needling”) but in reality acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine that is performed by licensed acupuncturists who have extensive and thorough training.

A licensed acupuncturist has attended acupuncture school, has a master’s degree, a professional license and is required to have thousands of hours of training. In a previous blog post titled “The Importance Of Receiving Acupuncture From A Licensed Acupuncturist” we provide information about why you should only get acupuncture from a licensed acupuncturist. If you are considering getting acupuncture we strongly urge you to read through this post.

Do acupuncture needles hurt?

When patients receive an acupuncture treatment for the first time they often report having a variety of sensations. Some people describe feeling a dull ache, a tingling or pulsating sensation or experience nothing at all. There are other people who state that they feel a small pinch when the needle is inserted but the sensation dissipates quickly. In a previous blog post titled “What Does Acupuncture Feel Like” we went into detail about what a patient might experience during a treatment. If you’d like to learn more about how acupuncture feels we suggest you read through this article.

Very rarely will a patient report feeling any pain after a needle is inserted; if so, it will quickly be removed. Pain isn’t something that should be felt or elicited, in fact a common reason acupuncture needles are used in the body is to alleviate pain. What is more common is that patients will state that they will feel some discomfort after being needled but after they settle in and relax the sensation soon passes.

If you’ve been thinking about getting acupuncture but have been worried about whether or not it hurts, we hope that this blog post helped to alleviate some of those fears. If you have any questions or concerns please contact our clinic at your convenience.

Schedule an appointment online »

Home Remedies For Constipation – Part 2

Posted Saturday, March 21st, 2015 by Paul Kerzner

constipation, home remedy, digestion

This post is the second part of a series titled “Home Remedies For Constipation.” If you’ve not already done so, we suggest you read part one, as it provides information about what constipation is and also shares a few natural remedies. Please click here to view that post: [Link]

I’ve heard that exercise can help relieve constipation, is that true?

In the 21st century many people lead sedentary lives and don’t get enough (or any) exercise. When the body isn’t moving things tend to get stuck, and digestion is one of those things that gets backed up. An easy way to treat constipation is to get cardiovascular exercise. By going for a long walk, a jog around the neighborhood or by running a few laps you can help get those bowels moving.

While there isn’t a specific scientific reason why a lack of exercise is directly correlated with constipation, it has been shown that getting cardiovascular exercise can help get smooth muscle in the colon moving. And, when running, there is an up and down motion taking place that can help to move impacted fecal matter through the intestinal track. This is particularly helpful for those people who have been suffering with constipation for extended periods of time.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are the bacteria that are found inside the intestinal track that help to promote digestion. This type of bacteria is good for the body by helping to keep the gut healthy. There are common probiotics that are available as supplements and can also be found in foods. A few examples would be: Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Sacchromyces boulardi.

Are probiotics helpful for treating constipation?

There have been numerous studies done on the effectiveness of taking probiotics to resolve constipation. These tests prove that taking probiotics is an effective method at resolving this gastrointestinal disorder. Researchers at King’s College in London found that on average, probiotics slowed “gut transit time” by 12.4 hours, increased the number of weekly bowel movements by 1.3, and helped soften stools, making them easier to pass. Probiotics that contained Bifidobacterium appeared to be the most effective. [Link] For those suffering with constipation, taking probiotics can provide substantial relief and improve the health of their digestive system.

Is apple cider vinegar effective for treating constipation?

Apple cider vinegar has become one of the more popular health remedies that has the potential to alleviate a variety of ailments including constipation. It can be ingested and acts as a natural laxative to help induce bowel movements and relieve constipation. Apple Cider Vinegar assists our body in performing natural bowel movements since it contains significant amounts of pectin, which is a water soluble fiber that helps to improve digestion by normalizing the acid levels in the stomach. [Link]

In a previous blog post titled “Health Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar” we go into detail as to what apple cider vinegar is, its health benefits, recommended daily dosage and which brand to use. If you are interested in learning more about this amazing natural health remedy we suggest you take some time to read through that post.

Constipation is something that most people suffer from at some point – regardless of age, health or constitution. It is important to properly understand why you’re getting constipated and what you can do about it. If you, or someone you know, has been suffering with constipation, we hope that these natural home remedies are able to provide substantial relief. Please be aware that it is highly advisable to seek the help of a medical professional if you’ve been experiencing chronic or severe constipation.

Home Remedies For Constipation – Part 1

Posted Saturday, March 14th, 2015 by Paul Kerzner

constipation, home remedy, health

At Above & Beyond Acupuncture, we treat a variety of gastro-intestinal disorders, the most common being constipation. Almost everyone has experienced constipation, so we wanted to take the time to share some home remedies that can treat this condition.

**Please note that if you’ve been suffering with this ailment for a prolonged period of time, it is important to seek the help of a medical professional.**

What is constipation?

Constipation is a health condition that is defined by having fewer than three bowel movements a week. A person who is constipated will have bowel movements with stools that are hard, dry, and small, making them painful or difficult to pass. [Link]

It is important to note that some people think they are constipated if they don’t have one bowel movement every day. This is not always the case, as some people have different bowel movement patterns. There are some people that can have up to three bowel movements a day while others may only have three a week.

What are some common causes of constipation?

Some of the more common causes of constipation are; poor diet, inadequate fluid intake, medications (antacids, antidepressants, pain killers, iron tablets and diuretics), excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, abuse of laxatives, pregnancy, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), anxiety/stress/depression, old age and intestinal obstruction.

A person’s constitution and their genetics play a large role in how they will experience constipation, as some people will have a propensity for being constipated regardless of how healthy or active they are. It is important that the people who fall into this category take preventative measures to avoid exacerbating this condition.

How common is constipation?

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases states that constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal problems affecting about 42 million people in the United States. [Link] That means 1 out of every 7 to 8 people will be constipated at some point during the year.

What are some home remedies for constipation?

With so many people experiencing constipation on a regular or semi-regular basis, pharmaceutical companies have taken note, and provided numerous over-the-counter and prescription medications to provide immediate relief. While these medications might be effective, they may contain chemicals that can have adverse side effects on the body. Instead of relying on medications, there are a variety of home remedies that can be used to alleviate constipation that are natural, holistic and don’t have any side effects.

What is the water method?

One of the most common home remedies we share with our patients experiencing constipation is the water method. It has proven to be the easiest, most effective and natural way to alleviate the symptoms for people who have been constipated for any amount of time.

The water method is simple; all you need to do is keep 12 to 14 ounces of water next to your bed at night. As soon as your wake up in the morning, before getting out of bed, sit up and drink the entire glass/bottle of water. It’s important that the water is room temperature, so leaving it bedside is crucial. Follow this regimen for at least 3 weeks so that you will be able to get the maximum effect as it could take some time to get the bowels moving. [Link]

This method has been used by a number of patients at Above & Beyond Acupuncture with great success. It is usually the first home remedy recommended. Whether the constipation is acute or chronic, the water method has proven to be able to treat constipation (when used consistently).

Can eating more fiber treat constipation?

An age-old remedy for constipation is to increase the amount of fiber in a person’s diet. Fiber is material that cannot be digested by the body, and it acts like a sponge. As fiber passes through the digestive system it will draw water from its surroundings, making it swell, which will soften stool and add bulk. This process will then help to pass the bowel movement. [Link]

While you can purchase fiber supplements from the pharmacy or grocery store, we suggest focusing on consuming foods that are rich in fiber. Here is a short list of some natural food products that are high in fiber: raspberries, pears, apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries, barley, oatmeal, brown rice, split peas, lentils, baked beans, almonds, artichokes, green peas, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and sweet corn.

In part 2 of this blog series we will provide more home remedies that can treat constipation. We hope you find this information useful and effective.

How Do You Feel Right Now?

Posted Saturday, March 7th, 2015 by Paul Kerzner

feel, healing, energy

When did you last sit down and analyze what is going on with your body? If you’re like most Americans it’s not something you do often, or even ever. This day and age we have so many things to take care of on a daily basis with very little down time. As a result, we forget how important it is to set time aside to do something simple that has tremendous value.

One of the biggest challenges many people face is that they don’t know anything is wrong with their body until an illness has already set in. By knowing how you feel and taking the time to scan the body you will learn how to identify signs/symptoms that there might be a problem developing and will have an opportunity to treat it.

So how do you feel right now?

Take this moment to stop whatever it is you’re doing and check in with yourself. Set aside the various tasks you’ve been working on and the thoughts you’ve been consumed with. Walk away from your computer, put your smart phone down, turn the TV off and go somewhere quiet and peaceful. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and begin to feel your body.

While taking deep breaths in and out, run a scan from the very top of your head all the way down to the tips of your toes. Place your attention towards sensing if anything feels off, seeing if there’s any pain, discomfort or tension. It is important to take your time with this exercise, be slow and methodical making sure not to rush. As you continue the scan make sure that your thoughts are placed on what you’re doing. If your mind starts to wander be sure to focus it back to the task at hand.

What am I looking for when I scan my body?

What you’re looking for are places within your body that stand out, this doesn’t have to mean they feel painful but more so there is a discomfort. If you do find an area of your body that has some tension place your attention and energy towards it sending healing thoughts. The body has an amazing ability to heal itself, so learning how to harness your own healing energy is a useful and valuable skill. Stay focused on the affected area until you feel the tension/pain/discomfort begin to slowly release. This process can take some time to learn but with practice it can be accomplished.

If you find it difficult to stay seated or that your mind keeps wandering please remember practice is the key to success. A helpful tool that can be used to harness your healing energy is meditation, as it will help calm the mind and body. In a previous blog post titled “The Many Benefits Of Mediation” we provide details about what meditation is, its health benefits and some different types of meditations. If you’re interested in learning more please take a moment to read through that post.

We suggest that you check in with your body as often as possible; it will prove to be a useful method of maintaining your health and wellbeing.

What Defines Your Character?

Posted Sunday, March 1st, 2015 by Paul Kerzner

character, define, scottsdale

Do you define yourself by the circumstances in your life? Are you defined by your accomplishments and the possessions you have amassed? Have you crafted stories about these things that you repeat over and over again? These questions are important, as they help illuminate how easy it is to define our character based on external events, possessions and accomplishments. We must understand that the definition of our character has nothing to do with these things; they are all part of our external reality.

So what defines my character?

The true definition of a person’s character has to do with his actions in response to the events in his life. What this means is that your character is clearly defined by what actions you take when things happen to you.

There are certain defining moments in life that provide character definition. These moments can vary depending on the person, yet everyone will experience them. A common example is how you perform under extreme duress or in times of uncertainty. Were you able to rise to the occasion and do the right thing? Did you perform admirably or did you fall short? When reflecting back on that moment, your actions help to provide definition of your character.

When delving into this subject, one of the realizations many people face is that they are dominated by their ego. It plays a major role in interpreting their reality. Ego-based thinking is primarily concerned with survival, and can easily become hyper-focused on acquisition and/or domination of people, places and things. On the flip side, the ego can also make a person feel a variety of negative emotions, leading him to act out in response to those feelings. The ego perpetuates a mindset that life should be based on events, circumstances, possessions and accomplishments. While these things are important to many people, it’s essential to understand that true character is not defined in this manner. In a previous blog post titled “Ego Identification,” we discussed what the ego is, how it controls you and how you can control it. Learning how to identify your ego is important, so we suggest you take the time to read through that post.

Another challenge faced by some people seeking to define their character is a behavioral trait known as a “storyteller”. These people will create stories comprised of past events that help to provide them with a sense of identity, as well as a source to derive a definition for their character. These stories are not always factual. They also can easily be embellished as they are repeated over and over again. They will regurgitate these tales so many times that they become a part of their reality. If you find yourself embodying some of the behaviors of a “storyteller,” it is important to understand that who you really are has nothing to do with the stories you tell.

We hope you have found this post informative. The next time you are faced with something happening to you, try to resist the tendency to focus on the event or circumstance. Rather, ask yourself, “What am I going to do about this?” Don’t just focus on the event; place your energy and attention on your actions while aiming to respond to the best of your capabilities.

Learning To Detach From Outcomes

Posted Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 by Paul Kerzner

Learning To Detach From Outcomes

At Above & Beyond Acupuncture we help patients identify behavioral patterns that can inadvertently cause unnecessary and undesirable results. Expectations—and the emotions they elicit—are a common topic of discussion. It is something we help to address and correct as it can be a source of conflict in interpersonal relationships. Having high expectations can cause high levels of disappointment when one person expects another to respond in a certain way to his or her actions.

What does it mean to detach from outcomes?

Detaching from outcomes means that when you do something for someone else, it is done without any expectation of reward. The act is done solely for the sake of doing it fully and completely.

Many people rarely perform tasks without the motivation that there will be something received from their efforts. When people become overly focused on what to expect from a given activity, they lose the ability to be present. The desired outcome becomes the sole focus of their actions.

Why would I want to detach from outcomes?

By detaching from outcomes in your life, you begin to shift your focus away from the future. You become more present, aware and conscious. One of the biggest problems with being attached to outcomes is that your attention is in the future—where anything is possible. In a previous blog titled “The Power Of Being Present,” we discussed how important it is to be present, and provided some helpful tools to achieve it. If you find yourself thinking about the past or focused on the future, we suggest you take the time to read that article.

Why does it feel so difficult to detach from outcomes?

Living in a capitalist society, people have become ingrained with a reward-based perspective. It starts in school by being rewarded with good grades and continues into a career where a person gets paid to perform well in his chosen career. While it is understandable that many of the actions people take are to obtain something in return, always being attached to specific outcomes can cause conflict and disharmony.

Instead of always looking at the anticipated outcome and using that as the basis for your actions, you should begin to shift your focus to what it is you’re doing in the moment. Being fully engrossed in the present—and accomplishing your objectives to the very best of your abilities—will free you from living a life that is always focused on future outcomes that might never materialize.

If you find that most—if not all—of the things you do in life are geared toward future expectations and rewards, we strongly encourage you to consider changing your perspective and behavior. By learning how to detach from the outcomes, you will free yourself of self-imposed constraints, limitations and conflicts, allowing you to be a more present and fruitful human being.

Home Remedies For Insomnia

Posted Saturday, February 14th, 2015 by Paul Kerzner

insomnia, home remedy, natural

So, you’ve been having some trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep and it’s starting to affect your health and well-being. Well, you’re not alone. Pharmaceutical companies have taken note of the significant uptick in people experiencing insomnia and in response have provided a wide variety of medications. While these medicines can be somewhat effective, they do not address the root issue that is causing the insomnia. Aside from that fact, one of the biggest issues with these medications is the laundry list of side effects that they can cause—many of which are highly undesirable.

Statistics have shown that millions of Americans suffer with insomnia every night. Not getting enough sleep is a serious issue that will affect a person’s quality of life. At Above & Beyond Acupuncture we treat insomnia while focusing on the core issue(s) that cause this ailment. Instead of having patients primarily rely on taking prescription sleep medications, we provide natural solutions, including a variety of home remedies. If you are dealing with severe and chronic insomnia, we suggest you seek medical care, whether that is from a Western or Eastern medical professional.

What are some home remedies for insomnia?

The first home remedy we share is one of the most important and should be followed regardless of what type of insomnia you are experiencing. When trying to resolve sleep issues, it’s imperative that all electronics are turned off and put away at least one hour before your desired sleep time. The stimulation caused by interacting with electronics interferes with our natural sleep rhythm, as the light from the digital display interferes with the body’s sleep cycle. Many people find it challenging to set their electronics aside, but then wonder why they have insomnia. It’s recommended that you give this remedy at least seven days, as it can take the body some time to readjust; but we assure you, this will have a positive impact on your sleep.

If you’ve been experiencing racing thoughts when trying to get to sleep, there is a simple home remedy that can help. Get a pot that is big enough to soak both your feet in up to your ankles. Fill the pot with hot (not lukewarm) water—and keep your feet soaking for 30 minutes. If the water cools off, add more hot water. This is an old Chinese remedy for insomnia that works by pulling energy down from your head towards your feet. It is this energy that stirs the mind and spirit, causing the racing thoughts. By anchoring the energy down, it will allow for a more restful sleep and a quiet mind. When making use of this method, it is advisable to do it every evening for three weeks at least one hour before bed.

Tart cherry juice has become a popular natural home remedy for alleviating insomnia. Studies have shown that consuming this juice can help improve not only the quality of sleep, but duration as well. Researchers from Louisiana State University found that consuming tart cherry juice two times a day for two weeks helped increase sleep time by more than 90 minutes among adults who reported experiencing insomnia [Link]. The researchers also found that adults who consumed tart cherry juice in the morning and in the evening were able to sleep more than an hour longer each night (averaging 84 minutes) compared to the placebo, and their sleep tended to be more efficient. These results show promise for people who suffer from insomnia and are looking for a natural alternative to prescription sleep aids.

Meditation is a great tool that can be used to help alleviate insomnia and aid in more restful sleep. Calming your mind as well as your body is something for which meditation has been shown to be extremely effective—especially when preparing for sleep. Guided meditations for sleep are extremely helpful and easy to use. Many can be found for free on YouTube. We suggest that you try a few to find the one that works best. In a previous blog post titled “The Many Benefits Of Meditation,” we discuss in detail what meditation is and how to use it.

Suffering with insomnia is an issue many people face on a regular basis. We hope these home remedies prove useful to those looking for natural methods to improve their sleep.

Health Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar

Posted Saturday, February 7th, 2015 by Paul Kerzner

apple cider vinegar, health, nutrition

At Above & Beyond Acupuncture, many patients express an interest in learning about foods that can improve their health and wellness. One of the more popular items we suggest is apple cider vinegar, as this product has some amazing health benefits. Given how inexpensive and readily available apple cider vinegar is, we wanted to take some time to write about it and encourage you to take it on a daily basis.

What is apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made by crushing apples and allowing them to mature in tanks to boost their natural fermentation quality. Unpasteurized or organic apple cider vinegar contains “mother” of vinegar, which has a cobweb-like appearance and can potentially make the vinegar look slightly congealed. The “mother” is the most nutritious part and is very beneficial to consume.

What are some health benefits of apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar has numerous health benefits. It has been shown to have the following positive effects on the body: removes body toxins, reduces nasal/sinus congestion, stops hiccups, maintains healthy skin, promotes a youthful body, supports a healthy immune system, helps to control weight, improves digestion and assimilation, soothes tight and aching joints and muscles, and soothes irritated skin. [Link]

How much apple cider vinegar should I be taking daily?

The recommended dosage may vary from person to person depending on overall health and constitution. In general, we suggest that patients take 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with 8-10 ounces of water 3 times a day. If that is too strong, it can be reduced to 1 teaspoon 3 times a day. This can be taken with or without food—whatever feels best and is most convenient. It’s advisable to not drink apple cider vinegar without diluting it in water, as it can be tough on tooth enamel.

What brand of apple cider vinegar should I be consuming?

A trip to any supermarket will reveal that there are quite a few different companies manufacturing apple cider vinegar. You want to make sure that the type you choose is organic, unpasteurized and that it contains the “mother.” One of the most famous manufacturers of apple cider vinegar is Braggs, and it is the one we recommend to our patients. While there are other companies producing similar products, Braggs has been producing the highest quality. It is organic, raw and unfiltered—with the “mother” present. It is also naturally gluten-free and certified non-GMO. [Link]

If I’m already healthy do I need to be drinking apple cider vinegar?

The answer to that question is yes; you should be drinking apple cider vinegar to help maintain your good health. It is an amazing, natural product that has the ability to help everybody—regardless of age, gender or state of health. Not only does it have the potential to resolve ailments, it also promotes balance and homeostasis within the body

If you’re looking to add something great to your diet that will benefit your body in a variety of ways, we strongly suggest you start taking apple cider vinegar today!

Speak Less, Mean More

Posted Saturday, January 31st, 2015 by Paul Kerzner

Speak Less, Mean More

When it comes to personal interactions, verbal communication is an essential component. It is the basis for relaying messages, information, feelings and emotions. As our society has become more dependent on technology, communication has evolved to a point where much of the interaction exists only within a digital domain. This presents an impersonal way of speaking to other people; it strips away any body language and facial expressions that might be conveyed when speaking in person. Regardless of whether the communication is in person or taking place digitally, one problem that many people have is speaking carelessly and unconsciously.

Why is it important to speak less and mean more?

The act of speaking just to speak—without any specific purpose—or to speak without being conscious of the words being used, is not only a waste of time, it is also a poor expenditure of energy. When communication takes place without any thought behind it, there remains a lack of value and definition. Whatever message is being relayed can quickly become discounted, viewed more as unnecessary noise than important information. Many people will spend significant amounts of time speaking for no apparent reason, other than the fact they feel the need for senseless chatter. There are others who find that silence is rather uncomfortable, so filling the void with unconscious communication is preferable.

Communication is an essential part of being a human being in that it fulfills a basic need to interact with others. However, it needs to be consciously metered. Measuring what you say and how you say it will allow you to speak with more meaning and value. Speaking less doesn’t have to mean using fewer words or spending less time doing it. What it means is that when you choose to speak, there is thought, meaning and value in the words you use.

How can I speak less and mean more?

Before making any changes to how you communicate, you must first become more aware of your behavior. Take a moment to think back to the conversations you’ve had over the past day or two and analyze the content. Were you doing your best to talk about issues that were important? Did you make a conscious effort to be concise? Did you spend time focused on the topic or did you find yourself getting off track? Did you find yourself engaged in conversations about nothing in particular? How many conversations did you have that were filled with mindless chatter? Properly understanding your communication patterns and behavior is an essential step toward learning how to speak less and mean more.

One of the easiest ways to speak less and mean more is to be fully present and speak consciously. What this means is that are you engaged with what you are doing in that moment. Being present is something that should be prioritized. It has the ability to change your reality and the communication taking place within it. In a previous blog post titled “The Power Of Being Present,” we discussed what it means to be present and provided some helpful tools. Being present is extremely important. If you’re interested in speaking less and meaning more, we strongly suggest you read that article.

Another effective way to help you speak less and mean more is to start watching your words. While it seems like an obvious way to modify your communication behavior, it’s something many people don’t do. Words create your reality, so when you speak unconsciously you can inadvertently create unwanted situations. In a previous blog post titled “Watch Your Words,” we discussed this topic in some detail. If you find yourself not paying attention to the words you’re using, please read through that article. It will provide useful information that will help you become a more conscious communicator.

Learning how to speak less and mean more is a process that can take some time. The point is not to limit the total number of words that you speak, but more to refine what you do say. If the necessary effort is put forth, a great shift can take place within your daily communications. We encourage you to reduce—and then eliminate—the senseless chatter and replace it with meaningful and thoughtful interactions that will help you lead a more meaningful existence.

What Should I Be Juicing?

Posted Saturday, January 24th, 2015 by Paul Kerzner

juicing, juice, health, vegetables

At Above & Beyond Acupuncture, one of our core beliefs is that nutrition is the foundation of health and wellness. All patients receive nutritional guidance as part of their treatment, providing them with an opportunity to improve their diet. While there are some people who have a basic understanding about nutrition, there remains a large portion of the population that is naive about how their diet negatively impacts their health. Juicing vegetables is one of the easiest and most popular recommendations we provide to the patients with whom we work. It has proven to be something that anyone can do to improve his or her health.

Is juicing vegetables healthy?

Juicing your vegetables is a great way to consume your daily nutritional requirements. While it is true that eating your vegetables is best, most people don’t have the time or desire to do so. Juicing is a great option because when you juice raw vegetables, you obtain almost all of the natural nutrients, including antioxidant phytochemicals. However, juice has one prime disadvantage in that it doesn’t provide the fiber you get from whole vegetables. So while it’s great to juice, it’s also a good idea to eat some of your vegetables. [Link]

What time of the day should I be juicing?

When we discuss juicing, one of the first things we instruct is to make and drink your juice first thing in the morning. It’s best if vegetable juice can be the first thing you put into your body every day. There are many benefits in doing so. The primary one is that you will be giving your body a wonderful variety of vitamins and minerals that it needs to replenish itself. Another great benefit is that it helps the digestive system start clearing and cleaning itself out. Many people report that they have consistent bowel movements after starting a juice regimen. That is especially helpful if you’ve ever been constipated or somewhat irregular. Juicing also helps the body maintain sufficient energy levels throughout the day, helping to eliminate the need for caffeine or energy drinks.

What vegetables should I be juicing?

When patients at Above & Beyond Acupuncture receive nutritional guidance, they are provided with a “juice prescription.” This is a list of what items to juice, how much of each item to use, and where it can be purchased. This prescription contains a combination of vegetables that will mix together to not only be healthy but also taste great.

Here are the contents of the juice prescription (be sure to follow this order):

  • Celery (use 3-4 pieces)
  • Swiss Chard (use 2 big leaves)
  • Kale (use 3-4 pieces)
  • Carrots (use 5 – 10 carrots)
  • Lemon (juice 2 lemons, don’t put them in the juicer)

It is important to note that all items on this list should be organic; this will eliminate the chance of consuming unnecessary pesticides and toxins.

Celery juice has some amazing health benefits. Studies have shown that it has the ability to fight cancer, lower cholesterol, aid digestion, act as a diuretic, fight inflammation, lower blood pressure, alleviate insomnia, aid in weight loss, help to eliminate gallstones and kidney stones, calm the nervous system and help to alleviate allergies. [Link]

Swiss chard is a dark, leafy-green vegetable that contains an impressive amount of nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin B 6, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, iron, riboflavin, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. [Link]

Kale is a green, leafy vegetable that contains a significant amount of Omega 3 ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). It is rich in calcium, copper, iron and potassium, and also high in vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. It has been shown to increase bone density, lower the growth of cancer cells, reduce bad cholesterol levels, help to detox the body, reduce inflammation, improve skin health and aid in weight loss. [Link]

Carrot juice contains many of the vitamins and minerals your body needs every day. This tasty vegetable contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, several B vitamins and potassium. Carrot juice can stimulate the appetite and improve digestion, improve eyesight, prevent cancer, regulate blood sugar, promote lung health, benefit the skin, improve liver function, balance blood acidity, help cleanse acne, fight anemia and help with atherosclerosis. It also has the potential to improve asthma, cholesterol, congestion, constipation, ulcers and water retention. [Link]

Lemon juice provides an impressive amount of vitamin C and also contains small amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese. [Link] It has been shown to prevent kidney stones, support weight loss and aid digestion. It also has anticancer properties. It can help to balance the pH level of the body, strengthen the immune system, and treat the symptoms of a cold.

By starting your day with this juice prescription, you are providing your body with an amazing array of nutrients that promote health and well-being. This juice combination has the ability to help treat a variety of different ailments and can also be used proactively to maintain balance and harmony. We suggest that you start your juicing regimen as soon as possible. Your body will thank you!