Archive for July 2012

Acupuncture for Athletes, part 2

I was watching the London Olympics men’s gymnastics qualifications today and China and Japan were expected to skip easily through this part of the competition. There were two things that have seemed to have shifted the tides. One was attitude and one was injury. Acupuncture has been shown to be helpful for treating mood and focus, but certainly has far more research to support its role in treating injury.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture can help speed the healing of damaged tissues, improve range of motion and function of movement, and control pain. Many top athletes receive acupuncture either as part of their regular wellness routine or to help a faster recovery from injuries. This includes China’s 7 foot 6 inch basketball player Yao Ming. He used acupuncture to get back onto the court after an ankle injury in 2007. Chinese swimmer, Wang Qun, used cupping, a TCM treatment that suctions glass cups on the back to relieve muscle pain, improve blood flow, and relax tight muscles. Other athletes that have used acupuncture and TCM include Dwayne Wade, Matt Hasselback, Grant Hill, Maria Sharapova, and Jaromir Jagr.

TCM treats not just the injury, but also the underlying issues that can predispose a person to injuries. Part of my role is to determine if repetitive movements, overuse, problems with posture, or improper movements are the cause and if I can guide how to avoid re-injury.

If you have an injury or are suffering pain, take a cue from the athletes who use acupuncture to achieve their peak performance.

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Acupuncture for Athletes

Vancouver 2010 -- me doing acupuncture on mascot Sumi

The 2012 Olympics start today. Very exciting as we get to watch men and women perform amazing feats that they’ve trained so hard to accomplish. As I watch the opening ceremonies, I remember the feeling of participating in and of cheering for our athletes at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

Some of the athletes–and mascots :)– are helped by acupuncture. A study at the Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine showed that athletes who had acupuncture after running 5000m recovered more quickly than those who were not treated.

“Research has reported that properly prescribed acupuncture can decrease heart rate and increase stroke volume leading to a more efficient cardiac output. 

Another study showed that those receiving acupuncture were able to lift more weight and exercise longer. They also had lower heartrates and were able to accelerate faster.

You may not be striving to be in the Olympics, but wouldn’t you like to be able to perform better in your everyday life? Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can help with that!

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The Heart Is King

I’d like you to put your hand on your chest and say thank you to your heart. You know that you need your heart, but how often do you think about it? How often do you make sure that you take good care of it?

Traditional Chinese Medicine calls the heart the “king” organ for good reason!

Stress is something that can have a huge negative impact on your heart. So, managing stress is a key factor to good health. As you may know, I often call acupuncture….ahhhhcupuncture, as it can help to relieve stress.

Other things that are helpful for the heart include essential fatty acids, coenzyme Q10, B vitamins, magnesium, and the Chinese herbs shan zha and dan shen.

Would you like a healthy, stress-free heart? I have tons more info.

Long live your “king”!

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Detox cleansing without pills

Have you been thinking that you’d like to do a detoxifying cleanse, but really are not good at taking supplements diligently? Well, there is another option. But first, let’s learn about three systems essential to eliminating toxins from your body.

The lymphatic system is often forgotten when it comes to cleansing, but this system is incredibly important. When it is not working well, you might suffer from swelling, inflammation, aches and pains, and bloating. The lymphatic system is a complex system that includes fluid-filled vessels, ducts, and glands –including the tonsils, spleen, and thymus. Its function is to carry toxins and waste away from the tissues.

According to the Canadian Liver Foundation, “the liver is the largest internal and most metabolically complex organ in humans.” It is a very busy organ with over five hundred different jobs, including neutralizing toxins, fighting infection, clotting blood, making hormones, and regulating blood sugar. The liver plays an important role in cleansing the blood by metabolizing alcohol and chemicals and neutralizing and destroying poisonous substances in the body.

The kidneys are also vital in eliminating waste from our bodies. When the kidneys are not functioning properly, toxic waste products are not properly eliminated, blood pressure is not well regulated, and key hormones are not made.

We demand a lot from these incredibly important systems, and though they are designed to repair their own damaged cells, we are exposed to more and more toxins, all while modern lifestyles mean that we are putting an ever-increasing demand on our bodies.

I often recommend a cleansing kit of supplements to help the body manage the toxic load and support the organ systems in their tasks of detoxification. But there is another solution. An injection therapy called biopuncture using the remedies Lymphdiaral (for the lymphatic system), Quassia (for the liver), and Pascorenal (for the kidneys) can be done instead. Simple superficial injections are done once a month or more or less frequently, depending on your individual situation.

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Toxins in your perfumes

I recently had a debate with some friends. Should the business group that I belong to enact a “scent-free” rule? I asked that question because I had been sitting next to a really lovely young woman who was wearing perfume. For 90 minutes I sat next to her with a headache and stuffy nose that was caused by the chemicals she was wearing.

There was resistance to the potential creation of this new rule. I received concern that some people might smell bad, like BO, and that would be worse. I answered that people should bathe. Especially if attending a business meeting! And wear clean clothes. And deodorant. Perhaps a light dabbing of essential oils if something is really necessary.

Another concern was that no other business meetings make this requirement. I guess I live in a different world. The world of health. The health team business meetings I attend have a “scent-free” rule. I understand that many people don’t know why avoiding perfumes and colognes would be a good idea. So, I informed. I sent a link about how perfumes and colognes don’t have to disclose their chemical list and many of their chemicals can be toxic (http://www.ewg.org/research/not-so-sexy). Many are hormone disrupters, messing with your thyroid and with estrogen levels. Others are allergens–triggering asthma, wheezing, and headaches.

I liken it to second hand smoke. Perhaps you like to smoke and smoking is legal, so if you want to smoke you can. But because of the health-risks associated with secondhand smoke, you can only smoke in designated areas. I do not have to be exposed to your toxins.

Now, it’s not a big deal to me if I have occasional exposure to perfumes and other chemical scents. After I left the meeting, my headache and stuffy nose resolved right away. But my point is to educate so that wrongs can be righted. Also, others might be more affected than I am.

And why do we even need chemical perfumes and colognes? Perfumes (they used to be made of natural ingredients) were made  initially to cover up the fact that we stunk because we didn’t bathe regularly. Every person at my business meeting has access to a shower or bathtub, so that’s no longer a problem.

Just because other meetings have not created a “scent-free” zone isn’t a good reason for us to follow suit. My mother always told me that just because my friends were doing something didn’t mean I had to do the same if it was wrong/didn’t make sense/would be harmful/etc!

I wonder how many people suffer allergies and hormonal disruption as a result of their own use of chemical perfumes and colognes (and other chemical topical products) or as a result of regular secondhand exposure.

Think about your health the next time you spray on a scent, use Febreeze or other coverup room spray, take a deep breath of new car smell, or smell the “off-gassing” of new carpets, furniture, mattress, etc.

Some things we cannot avoid, but we don’t need to use toxic perfumes. Would you prefer a scent-free zone knowing now about the potential health impact these chemicals might have on your health? Or is the new JLo perfume just that important to you?

 

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