Effects of Acupuncture on Alzheimer’s

June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

Among people over 65 years old, Alzheimer’s is the disease that is found to cause most cases of dementia. Dementia is the loss of cognitive function so severe it interferes with daily life and ranges in severity from the loss of memory, ability to think, reason, plan and can even interfere with basic problem solving. While Alzheimer’s disease and related Dementias are more common among aging adults, it is not a normal part of the aging process.

Alzheimer's is a progressive and irreversible disease that slowly destroys long term memory and disturbs basic cognitive function as well. Often those suffering from Alzheimer's eventually lose the inability to carry out everyday tasks. Studies are showing acupuncture can help improve the lives of those who are suffering from Alzheimer’s in a variety of ways.

Acupuncture Has Long Been Used to Fight Anxiety and Depression
With the loss of cognitive function, so too comes the loss of independence. Displaced feelings of overall fear, loss, and helplessness are not uncommon. These emotions can manifest into depression and/or anxiety. A study from Wellesley College evaluated participants who were receiving acupuncture treatments 2-3 times per week for three months. This study was able to conclude that regular acupuncture treatments can improve mood and energy among this demographic.

With Alzheimer’s and related Dementias becoming an increasingly serious problem for today’s elders it is certainly worth investigating the options for its prevention. With more research being done showing promising early results, acupuncture should definitely be taken into consideration to offset these diseases. Acupuncture is safe, natural and side-effect free. Ask me for more information.


sources:
http://www.acupuncture-online.com/alzheimers.htm
https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/aetr/2008/00000033/F0020001/art00002
http://www.healthcanal.com/alternative-therapies/46963-cuhk-research-indicates-acupuncture-can-improve-cognitive-functions-of-elderly.html
http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1244-acupuncturebraincellgb34du20
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3813990/

Holiday Bonus Notice

Hey Y'all-

Please remember we are closed next week for Thanksgiving. If you have an emergency, please contact your PCP or 911. Sarah will check the messages daily and return any of immediate concern promptly. If you start feeling ill and need herbs, please call and we can arrange a pick up for you.

When we get back, our Annual Holiday Bonus Packages will be available! Keep yourself and your loved ones healthy by purchasing our Health Treatment Plan 10 Pack and get a BONUS session from November 30, 2020- January 15, 2021. That's 11 sessions for the cost of 9- can't beat it. And yes, we do have gift certificates if you want to let someone know you love them by giving them the gift of health.

Wishing you all a wonderful, fun, and safe Thanksgiving!

Dr. Stefanie and Sarah

We Want to TReat Your Brains!

Neurological disorders cover a wide swath of health issues. According to the World Health Organization, nearly one billion people suffer worldwide from some sort of neurological disease, disorder, or injury. Unfortunately, there often are not a lot of treatment options available for issues with the brain. Left untreated, issues such as headaches, brain injuries, seizures, strokes, Parkinson's disease, and a whole lot more, which (very understandably) can lead the patient, their family, and friends to experience depression, anxiety, insomnia and other side-effects.

While neurological diseases manifest frequently in the brain, the chances are high that they may actually begin elsewhere in the body. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) looks at problems in the body from the point of view that the very base of our being is the cell. Further, when the cell is broken down, it is energy, and TCM treats the disruption in the energy flow. This different perspective allows practitioners of TCM to help those suffering with neurological disorders in ways for which other perspectives don't allow.

Acupuncture for Neurological Disorders: Acupuncture is just one of the tools in the Traditional Chinese Medicine toolbox. Specifically, acupuncture works with the nervous system in the body to regenerate cells and promote healing. The use of specific acupuncture points can create a closed circuit between the point and the neurologic control center in the brain. By giving the body and brain the necessary tools, the two can work in conjunction to heal. From a scientific perspective, acupuncture shifts and moves energy, while stimulating blood flow and increasing cellular level oxygen.

Nutrition for Neurological Disorders: A healthy diet can help keep the brain and the body functioning properly while reducing the risk of developing a serious neurological disorder. Even things like chronic headaches can sometimes be cured by supplementing magnesium into the diet. Nutrients like omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, vitamin B12, amino acids and folate are all crucial when it comes to brain health. Being deficient in even just one of these can lead to memory loss, tremors or other debilitating symptoms. Foods like fish, avocados, hemp seed, flax seed, whole grain breads and a variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables will provide the nutritional components listed above.


Hearty Bone Broth Watercress Soup

Bone broth has widely been referred to as “nature’s multivitamin”. It makes for a hearty, nutritious, soup that has been a kitchen staple for hundreds of years. Watercress is also a great source of omega-3s, which is great for the brain and has been shown to reduce chronic inflammation.

Ingredients:
*4 C beef bones- organic and grass-fed, preferably
2 C potatoes- chopped
5 C filtered water
2 C watercress leaves
1 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 C chives- chopped
2/3 C onion- chopped
2 C cauliflower- chopped
1 C peas
1/2 t onion powder (or to taste)
1/2 t garlic powder (or to taste)
1/2 t salt (or to taste)
1/2 t pepper (or to taste)

For Broth: Add 4 cups of bones to a pressure cooker, cover with water and 1T apple cider vinegar. Cook on high pressure for 6 hours. Drain the liquid from the bones into a pot on the stove over medium heat

Add onions, cauliflowers, peas, potatoes, watercress leaves, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Serve hot and garnish with chives

*The supermarket has several options for organic pre-made bone broth that make for an easy substitute! Just add the vegetable and spices and simmer for 30 minutes.

For this and other recipes and research, click here.

Packages and New Patient Portal

In an effort to help you be and stay as healthy as possible, we are once again offering a bonus session if you purchase a pre-paid health package of 10 treatments through June 15th. As previously announced, we are operating on normal hours Monday through Friday. Some of you may be nervous about coming in for needed treatment because you are immune deficient. If that is the case, please know that we are able to treat you safely in our office by practicing health and safety practices recommended by the CDC and TX Board of Health. We are able to work with our schedule and yours to ensure that you can be treated without overlap with other patients, should that be a necessity for your health.

Another way we would like to support you in getting and staying as optimally healthy as possible is to fight back against the stress and comfort eating we have all been experiencing. You have two opportunities for the Clean Eating Challenge in June- on the 1st and 15th. Join us to get back on track to healthy eating, fueling your body and immune system to be able to operate at full capacity and reduce inflammation with the support of fellow participants. Ask us for details!

We are happy to announce that we are moving to a new HIPAA Compliant Electronic Healthcare Records System starting June 1, 2020! We believe this will enable us to provide even better service to our amazing patients. This system will include a new Patient Portal, meaning you will be able to go online to book appointments, upload labs, complete and access your records, add a credit card to keep on file, and download your billing statements. We ask that everyone complete the online Intake Forms, regardless of how long you’ve been a patient, to integrate into the new system. You will also be able to access an online link to high quality herbs and supplements to be drop shipped to your home or work. With this system, we also can offer HIPAA compliant TeleHealthcare appointments- a great alternative for those of you who may not be ready or able to come see us in the clinic at this time. With the transition, please be patient if you receive an extra email or two for a few weeks. 🙂

An Update: Back to Regular Hours

Hello!

We hope you are all doing well, staying safe, and following social distancing and sanitation guidelines. As you are likely aware, Greg Abbott has loosened the restrictions on elective medical, which includes our clinic. With these new guidelines, we are looking forward to getting you back into your care plans, while responsibly maintaining protections.

The office is open for normal hours with appointments on the half hour to limit contact and maintain the cleanliness of the rooms. We will continue wearing masks for the foreseeable future and practicing social distancing as much as possible in the front area. Please help by wearing a mask when coming to see us. The waiting room remains closed to limit the spread, please come and go accordingly. If you have someone driving you, they should wait in the car. We will continue taking everyone’s temperature upon entering the clinic.

If you need to make an appointment and are high risk or living with someone who is high risk, please let us know so we can schedule you accordingly to limit your exposure to other patients.

Sarah is continuing to work from home as much as possible, please keep that in mind when leaving messages. She will get back to you as soon as possible and within 24 hours to answer any questions, fill herb requests, or schedule appointment. As always, you can also schedule appointments online.

We have missed seeing your smiling faces and look forward to cautiously moving ahead while being as safe as possible.  

Be well and we hope to see you soon!

Dr. Stef and Sarah

Is Your Gut Bacteria Causing Your Depression?

The first population-level study on the link between gut bacteria and mental health identifies specific gut bacteria linked to depression and provides evidence that a wide range of gut bacteria can produce neuroactive compounds. Jeroen Raes (VIB-KU Leuven) and his team published these results today in the scientific journal Nature Microbiology.

Studies of the relation between gut bacteria and depression show a clear connection between the two. Researchers have identified specific groups of microorganisms that positively or negatively correlated with mental health. Two of which were consistently depleted in individuals with depression, regardless of antidepressant treatment. 

The link between low microbial count and biodiversity in the gut is being shown in studies as having a link to depression and a reduced quality of life.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM- including Acupuncture) is very effective in treating depression and  righting issues with the gut. TCM diagnoses each patient on an individual basis and treats the specific symptoms, while addressing the root cause of the illness. 
 
To read more about the connection of gut bacteria and depression, here.

Dietary Suggestions to Support Your Gut Carbohydrate-rich foods such as winter squash, carrot, rutabaga, parsnip, turnip, garbanzo beans, black beans, peas, sweet potato, yam, pumpkin (no, a pumpkin-spice latte does not count!), onion, leek, ginger, cinnamon, fennel, and garlic all help support your gut and keep you healthy. Try adding these to your diet and come see us so we can help you get back to a better life. 

Dairy-Free Savory Squash Soup Recipe: (serves 4)
2 1/2 C butternut squash- peeled, seeded, and diced
1 large russet potato diced 
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic- chopped
Pinch each of oregano, basil, rosemary, and thyme (are we going to Scarborough Fair?)
1/4 C green peas
1/4 t fresh lime juice
Parsley- finely chopped

1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add squash, potato, onion, garlic, and herbs. Reduce heat to medium and cook covered for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. 
2. Puree the soup, then add green peas and lime juice. Cook 5-7 minutes, or until peas are tender.

Serve hot and garnish with parsley and enjoy!

*source: Forks Over Knives- The Cookbook, by Del Sroufe

Acupuncture and Depression

Acupuncture & Depression

 A study published by BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine looked at the effects of acupuncture in the treatment of depression. For the study, rats were exposed to three weeks of chronic unpredictable mild stress, which put them into a state of depression. Once depression had set in, the rats were then treated using two acupuncture points for 10-minute sessions. What was discovered was that depression-like behaviors were decreased using this treatment method. Therefore, it was determined by this particular study, that acupuncture indeed has positive effects on the symptoms of depression and can be used as a means to treat the disease.

Depression is defined as a mental disorder characterized by feelings of dejection and severe despondency.  Worldwide, nearly 350 million people suffer from depression and nearly 16 million of those are in the United States alone. Statistics show women tend to be more likely to experience depression and young adults between the ages of 18 to 22 are also at higher risk. Symptoms of depression include extreme irritability over minor issues, anxiety, restlessness, irrational anger, lack of interest in everyday activities, thoughts of death, insomnia, severe fatigue, weight gain/loss, difficulty concentrating and unexplained aches and pains. When these symptoms occur for more than a few weeks, depression may be the reason behind them.

As shown in the aforementioned study, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is very effective in treating depression, not only short-term, but also long-term. Modern medicine usually treats depression with antidepressants and psychotherapy regardless of the presenting symptoms. In contrast, TCM diagnoses each patient on an individual basis and treats the specific symptoms, while also addressing the root of the illness.

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can help alleviate symptoms of depression while also attacking the root cause(s), thus bringing the body and mind back into balance. The body and mind are inseparable and should be treated as a whole, which is the approach used by acupuncturists. When we experience emotional challenges and become upset, our physical body may become affected as well. Then a vicious cycle begins because the emotions are greatly impacted by what we can and cannot do physically.

The theory behind treating depression using TCM, all revolves around the concept of Qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi is considered the vital energy that flows through the body and animates everything. When Qi is blocked or stagnant, illness can take root, either physically or mentally. Qi flows throughout the body on energetic pathways or meridians. Each energetic meridian is associated with an organ and each organ has its own emotion. For example, the emotion of the liver meridian is anger. When Qi is blocked and liver Qi stagnation occurs, anger can then manifest. From the same standpoint, if a person is excessively angry, the flow of Qi can be blocked creating stagnation.

Acupuncture releases endorphins and activates natural pain killers. By doing so, it improves the flow of Qi throughout the body while eliminating blockages and bringing balance to the mind and body. Endorphins counter the symptoms of depression and allow the person to resume a normal life.

If you are suffering from depression and are looking for a natural way of dealing with it, please contact us. We can help you navigate the waters of depression without the harmful side-effects of pharmaceuticals, while helping you get back to a happier life.

SOURCE: https://bmccomplementalternmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12906-016-1356-x

TCM & Neurological Disorders

Neurological disorders cover a wide swath of health issues. Everything from headaches to seizures, strokes to Alzheimer’s disease, and a whole lot of stuff in between fall under the category of neurological disorders. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 1 billion people suffer worldwide from some sort of neurological disease or disorder. Depending upon the disorder, there is usually not a lot of hope for those suffering that they will ever recover. This leads to a lot of depression, anxiety, insomnia and other afflictions that can develop from being diagnosed with a neurological disorder.
          
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) looks at this and most other problems, from a much different angle. At the very base of our being is the cell. When the cell is broken down even further, it literally can be translated into energy. Energy in TCM is sometimes called Qi (pronounced “chee”). While neurological diseases manifest frequently in the brain, the chances are high that they may actually begin somewhere else in the body. Traditional Chinese Medicine treats the patient holistically instead of compartmentalizing the issues. This leads to a greater overall and fully customized treatment plan for each patient.  
          
TCM utilizes many different treatment modalities to help the patient get better, including acupuncture, herbs and herbal formulas and even nutrition. Here are some ways that TCM can help those suffering with neurological disorders.
 
Acupuncture for Neurological Disorders:  Acupuncture is just one of the tools in the TCM toolbox. Specifically, acupuncture works with the nervous system in the body to regenerate cells and promote healing. The use of specific acupuncture points can create a closed circuit between the point and the neurologic control center in the brain. By giving the body and brain the necessary tools, the two can work in conjunction to heal the body. From a scientific perspective, acupuncture shifts and moves energy, while stimulating blood flow and increasing cellular level oxygen.
 
Acupuncture Points for Neurological Disorders:
·         Du 20 - Located on the top of the head, midway between the apexes of both ears. Du 20 has been noted to improve mental clarity and awareness, while also enhancing memory. Du 20 is used frequently to treat stroke, epilepsy and dementia.
·         Kidney 1 - Located on the bottom of the foot, at the junction of the anterior one third and posterior two thirds of the line connecting the base of the second and third toes and the heel. Kidney 1 can sedate and calm the mind, while also regulating blood flow to the upper part of the body, aka the brain.
·         Heart 7 – This point is located on the under and outer side of the arm, at the wrist crease. Heart 7 is used to treat mania, epilepsy and dementia.
 
Chinese Herbal Formulas for Neurological Disorders: Combinations of herbs, known as formulas are used frequently in TCM. One such formula used to treat neurological disorders is Tian Wan Bu Xin Dan. This formula treats long term brain disorders like dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. The herbs in this formula stimulate the production of blood flow to the brain.
 
Nutrition for Neurological Disorders:  A healthy diet will keep the brain and the body functioning properly, while reducing the risk of developing a serious neurological disorder. Even things like chronic headaches can sometimes be cured just by supplementing magnesium into the diet. Nutrients like omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, amino acids and folate are all crucial when it comes to brain health. Being deficient in even just one of these can lead to memory loss, tremors or other debilitating symptoms. Foods like avocados, hemp seed, flax seed, whole grain breads, potatoes and a variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables will provide the nutritional components listed above. See below for a delicious recipe utilizing many of these foods!
 
As you can see, TCM is a great way to deal with neurological disorders. If you or a loved one are having difficulties dealing with these types of issues, contact us and we will figure out what we can do for you!

Using Acupuncture to Treat PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is usually associated with past and present military personnel; however, PTSD can affect anybody who has had some sort of traumatic or life changing event, such as a car crash, physical abuse, natural disasters or even the death of a loved one. Any situation causing emotional, physical or mental trauma can result in PTSD. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated around 24 million people are affected by PTSD. That means there are a whole lot of people who need help coping with the disorder. Luckily, Traditional Chinese Medicine offers hope for those people.

Some symptoms of PTSD include insomnia, anxiety, irritability, flashbacks, as well as feelings of shame, despair and hopelessness. All of these can lead to problems at work and home. It can also lead to serious health problems like clinical depression and even alcohol and drug abuse. The effects of PTSD are far-reaching and can be a lifelong battle for those afflicted with it.

Acupuncture treatments for PTSD focus on specific auricular points on the ears. These points are responsible for controlling areas of the brain that help control nervous functioning while decreasing stress levels. The military is even starting to offer battlefield acupuncture for soldiers in the field before they are discharged from active duty. The Pentagon has been investigating the benefits of acupuncture for PTSD and so far, it has been found that combat veterans were relieved of most of their symptoms and their levels of depression and pain were greatly reduced.

Many PTSD sufferers are leery of opening up about their trauma and thus are reluctant to seek psychological counseling. This is where acupuncture can play a key role in helping these individuals. While acupuncturists will take an in-depth medical history, the questioning does not need to become as personal as that required when seeking psychiatric help. This makes it easier for PTSD sufferers to feel safe and relaxed. Also, acupuncture has been shown to provide rapid benefits to patients through faster healing, whereas psychological counseling can take years.

Auricular acupuncture is especially beneficial for those suffering from PTSD.  There are a multitude of auricular acupuncture points that specifically focus on different areas of the brain. For instance, there is a point located at the base of the ear, where the ear lobe attaches to the side of the head that is labeled the Master Cerebral, and the Limbic Point is located in this zone. This point specifically addresses emotional life, the formation of memories, amnesia and alcohol or drug dependency. By needling this point, the patient can get relief from one or all of the these symptoms. This is quite remarkable and this treatment requires fewer needles.

Those suffering from PTSD should consult a doctor about the proper treatment and also discuss alternative medical options like acupuncture. If you or somebody you know suffers from PTSD, please consider acupuncture as part or all of the treatment protocol.