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Discovering The Power of Acupuncture

Great article from the Buffalo News.
November 6 2014

You may not like the idea of being needled, but acupuncture has been a go-to therapy for 5,000 years. And this Chinese healing art, which uses hair-thin needles to stimulate points in the body that affect chi or qi, the life energy, has been in the news lately – not just because celebs like pop star Alicia Keys and bike racer Vincenzo Nibali (winner of the 2014 Tour de France) use it to stay energized, but because modern medicine is discovering more and more about the powers of acupuncture to heal the mind and body.

The World Health Organization says acupuncture may help ease digestive problems, including constipation and diarrhea; chronic sinus and lung infections; all sorts of pain, from headaches and migraines to neck pain, back pain and osteoarthritis; infertility; and even urinary and menstrual problems.

At the Cleveland Clinic, where Dr. Mike is Chief Wellness Officer and there are more than 10 certified acupuncture practitioners in the Wellness Institute’s Center for Integrative Medicine, a review of the best research found good evidence that it works to ease gastroesophageal reflux, nerve pain and post-surgery pain.

No wonder the number of North Americans being needled jumped from 2 million in 2002 to more than 14 million in 2007. And now at least four states include health-insurance coverage for acupuncture under the Affordable Care Act, with more states likely to follow.

So, if you’re one of the folks who likes the idea, and the treatments work for you, here are some recent insights into what acupuncture can do for you:

1. Relieve stress: Levels of neuropeptide Y – a combo of 36 amino acids that acts as a neurotransmitter and constricts blood vessels – skyrockets when you’re tense, triggering the fight-or-flight response. Acupuncture helps control levels of neuropeptide Y, lowering blood pressure and relaxing muscles.

2. Sooth pain: In a new University of California San Diego study, after 31 kids ages 2 to 17 had tonsillectomies, acupuncture muted their throat aches within minutes.

3. Cool a hot flash: A new review of 12 studies involving 869 menopausal women concludes that acupuncture reduces the number and intensity of this annoying menopause symptom.

4. Melt pounds: When 91 overweight people followed the same healthy diet and got real or sham ear acupuncture, those who got the real thing lost weight.

5. Promote energy for cancer patients: In two recent University of Pennsylvania studies, women receiving chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer reported reductions in tiredness, anxiety, depression and joint pain after receiving acupuncture.

We know that in some studies, sham acupuncture produces results almost as good – or as good – as the real thing. Perhaps the sham technique – pricking acupuncture points – works as well as inserting needles … or, in some cases, acupuncture works because people want it to. Future research will help sort that out.

What we know for sure? Here’s how to get the most out of this healing therapy:

• Talk with your doctor first: Don’t stop medications or other treatments on your own. Instead, ask your doctor about combining the two.

• Check your insurance: Some plans cover it; others may offer a discount if you use certain providers. If you have a health spending account, you’ll probably be able to use it for acupuncture, too.

• Find a certified practitioner: There are 27,835 acupuncturists in the U.S. who’ve been certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Find one at Medical doctors with acupuncture training are listed by the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture on the Internet at Ask if your practitioner is certified and state-licensed; it’s a requirement in 42 states and Washington, D.C.

• Know what to expect: Needles are thin, sharp and sterile – only disposable, prepackaged needles should be used. You may feel a twinge or nothing at all when they’re inserted. Depending on your health, you may need one to 10 treatments or visits that continue for several months. We hope you get the point!

Dr. Mehmet Oz is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Dr. Mike Roizen is chief wellness officer and chairman of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Roizen is a Buffalo native and returned to the city on Tuesday to talk about seven steps toward better health.

Omega 3 vs Omega 6 Fatty Acids

This is a good article from Dr Andrew Weil on the differences between Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.

Omega-3 and omega-6 are types of essential fatty acids – meaning we cannot make them on our own and have to obtain them from our diet. Both are polyunsaturated fatty acids that differ from each other in their chemical structure. In modern diets, there are few sources of omega-3 fatty acids, mainly the fat of cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, black cod, and bluefish. There are two critical omega-3 fatty acids, (eicosapentaenoic acid, called EPA and docosahexaenoic or DHA), that the body needs. Vegetarian sources, such as walnuts and flaxseeds contain a precursor omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid called ALA) that the body must convert to EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are the building blocks for hormones that control immune function, blood clotting, and cell growth as well as components of cell membranes.

By contrast, sources of omega-6 fatty acids are numerous in modern diets. They are found in seeds and nuts, and the oils extracted from them. Refined vegetable oils, such as soy oil, are used in most of the snack foods, cookies, crackers, and sweets in the American diet as well as in fast food. Soybean oil alone is now so ubiquitous in fast foods and processed foods that an astounding 20 percent of the calories in the American diet are estimated to come from this single source.

The body also constructs hormones from omega 6 fatty acids. In general, hormones derived from the two classes of essential fatty acids have opposite effects. Those from omega-6 fatty acids tend to increase inflammation (an important component of the immune response), blood clotting, and cell proliferation, while those from omega-3 fatty acids decrease those functions. Both families of hormones must be in balance to maintain optimum health.

Many nutrition experts believe that before we relied so heavily on processed foods, humans consumed omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in roughly equal amounts. But to our great detriment, most North Americans and Europeans now get far too much of the omega-6s and not enough of the omega-3s. This dietary imbalance may explain the rise of such diseases as asthma, coronary heart disease, many forms of cancer, autoimmunity and neurodegenerative diseases, all of which are believed to stem from inflammation in the body. The imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may also contribute to obesity, depression, dyslexia, hyperactivity and even a tendency toward violence. Bringing the fats into proper proportion may actually relieve those conditions, according to Joseph Hibbeln, M.D., a psychiatrist at the National Institutes of Health, and perhaps the world’s leading authority on the relationship between fat consumption and mental health. At the 2006 Nutrition and Health Conference sponsored by the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine and Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Hibbeln cited a study showing that violence in a British prison dropped by 37 percent after omega-3 oils and vitamins were added to the prisoners’ diets.

If you follow my anti-inflammatory diet, you should get a healthy ratio of these fatty acids. In general, however, you can cut down on omega-6 levels by reducing consumption of processed and fast foods and polyunsaturated vegetable oils (corn, sunflower, safflower, soy, and cottonseed, for example). At home, use extra virgin olive oil for cooking and in salad dressings. Eat more oily fish or take fish oil supplements, walnuts, flax seeds, and omega-3 fortified eggs. Your body and mind will thank you.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Link to original article

Acupuncture for Detox Support

Acupuncture is a healing modality that has been used in China for at least 2,500 years. The treatment involves inserting very fine needles into specific healing points on the body. The process is painless and soothing. By clearing blockages in your body’s energy channels (meridians), acupuncture can restore health and vitality to specific organs and to your whole body. Using acupuncture to offer support and strength to your detoxifying and digestive organs during your detox would be helpful in relieving symptoms and increasing the effectiveness of your detox.

Why should I consider Acupuncture as detoxification support?

Stimulates release of pain relieving endorphins
Significantly reduces withdrawal symptoms
Has substantial “calming” effect
Restores balance between mind and body
Increases blood and lymphatic circulation
Increases energy
Increases resistance to disease
Increases range of motion
Relaxes muscles
Reduces stress and tension
Removes toxins from tissue
Strengthens the immune system
Speeds healing processes
Stimulates emotional memory
Enhances digestion
Alleviates Chronic and Temporary Pain

Acupuncture Improves Memory and Cognition

New research demonstrates that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of vascular dementia. Published in the Chinese Journal of Gerontology, clinical and laboratory research finds acupuncture significantly effective in improving cognition and memory. Laboratory results and objective measurements confirm these findings; acupuncture successfully increases glucose metabolism in the brain areas related to cognition and memory. In addition, cerebral blood flow improves with acupuncture. As a result, the researchers note that acupuncture is effective in alleviating vascular dementia.

Acupuncture effective in treating vascular dementia.

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