How to get the most out of supplements you take

It seems that a lot of patients have been asking us lately: “How can I get the most out of the supplements and herbs I take?”

A lot of people take supplements and herbs with all kinds of drinks, and oftentimes either those drinks are cold or on ice.

human body temperature at 98.6 degrees
The temperature of the human body is 98.6 degrees

That can go OK, but the most optimum way to take herbs and/or supplements would be with warm water. The reason for this is that the human body’s temperature is at 98.6°F. The body would best absorb  supplements and herbs at close to that temperature, without burning yourself obviously.

What is  the difference between acupuncture and acupressure?

The answer to that is quite simple. Acupuncture affects your body in a very precise way and on a deeper level then acupressure. Acupuncture can stimulate as deep as the organ system, for example the liver or the kidneys. When we place an acupuncture needle into a specific point, say on the top of the foot, it can actually cause a functional change in the liver.

acupressure

Acupressure, although potentially powerful, may not cause as deep and as precise of a change. As a result, acupuncture’s results tend to be more permanent than acupressure.

We find that in certain cases, you may get much faster results utilizing both scopes of practice. With some patients, we recommend continued stimulation of certain acupuncture points outside of the clinic for best results, although in many cases, it is not necessary.

In short, one is neither better or worse than the other. Depending on the condition, they can both be very helpful.

If you have any questions about acupressure, we’re always here to help. Give us a call or shoot us an email and we’d be happy to assist you.

How to develop healthy habits

“Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.”
– Mark Twain

“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”
– Samuel Johnson

Although the quotes above certainly are embracive, let’s talk about habits and how they relate to your health. We have seen that there are certainly lifestyle and dietary habits that can lead people to lose function, thus developing symptoms. Clinical experience shows us that patients making gentle, subtle changes in diet and lifestyle can increase Acupuncture’s results by 30 to 40%.

Our recommendation is to do those things that are easiest to change first, perhaps making 1 to 2 changes per week. Another recommendation is to make changes that you enjoy: when working with patients, we don’t tell them “to exercise”; rather, we suggest that they do a physical activity (that will cause perspiration) that they truly enjoy and then it doesn’t seem like work or require discipline.

Is Lifestyle Causing Your Pain?

Mature woman suffering elbow painPatients always ask us if they can do the activities that might be contributing to their symptoms.

For example, a woman with recurrent elbow problems who plays tennis asks if she should keep playing tennis. In the typical western medical community, the general answer is “you’ll probably just have to live with it…unless you stop playing tennis.”

Our answer is not as simple. In Oriental Medicine, with the theory that your body is made to last 120 years, the answer is: it depends. One of the reasons the medicine was developed was to deal with the aches and pains of everyday life. So our answer is to what degree will you be able to do these things.

We chart your body’s function very closely to show overall comprehensive and objective health. Over the years, we have discovered that you can do activities without exacerbating your main pain concern in the exact proportion of functional improvement achieved with Acupuncture. For example, if a patient has a 32% improvement in overall function, they could play 32% more tennis without the elbow worsening.

The key:  use medicine that increases function so that you can live the life that you want and do things that you want to do!

To learn more or ask other questions, feel free to email me at curry@milwaukeeacu.com.

Nothing in this document is intended as a substitute for your doctor’s diagnosis and/or treatment. This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.

Eating Before Bedtime: An Acupuncturist’s Point-of-View

Digitized copy of the Suwen (First Volume) of the Yellow Emperor's Classic.
Digitized copy of the Suwen (First Volume) of the Yellow Emperor’s Classic.

The ancients of Chinese medicine had some pretty brilliant ideas about the body and how it functions. One of the fundamental text books in Oriental Medicine (and in Acupuncture) is called The Yellow Emperor’s Classic.

Written before the birth of Christ, it is a documented conversation between the Chinese Emperor at the time and his Acupuncturist, Qi Bo. The book explains in detail the subtlety of the body and its relation to the natural world around it. It contains the basic concepts of Oriental Medicine and most acupuncturists are required to read it at some point through their training.

One key tip as an example of the medical brilliance of this time period is the following:  always eat your evening meal no less than two hours before going to bed at night.

Why?

The body’s first instinct is to deal with whatever is in the digestive system, all other functions are put on the back burner until that is accomplished. In Oriental Medicine, we believe that the body heals itself while you’re sleeping.

The liver is the most active between 1:00am and 3:00am; during that time, it should be purifying the blood. In this case, if a meal is eaten and not fully digested before this time, the liver may not be able to fully do its job, which can lead to many issues down the road. An immediate feeling would be one of “food stagnation,” that weird feeling in your stomach when it feels full and uncomfortable after you’ve eaten late at night and gone straight to bed.

Modern assistance for busy lives would include the following: if you have to eat close to when you lie down to sleep occasionally, use digestive enzymes with that meal (such as the ones that we carry in the office) to break down the food more rapidly. If you have any questions about your specific situation, feel free to give us a call at (414) 332-8888 or email us at info@milwaukeeacu.com.

To your happy digestive system, using the brilliance of Oriental medicine…

Nothing in this document is intended as a substitute for your doctor’s diagnosis and/or treatment. This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.

Treating Acne Naturally

Basic definitions:

Acidophilus: A microorganism that is added to dairy products or prepared as a dietary supplement, is part of the normal intestinal and vaginal flora, and is used therapeutically especially to promote intestinal health. (In Chinese Medicine acidophilus has a “cooling” nature. Meaning, if taken for long periods of time it will cool the digestive system, reducing metabolic function.)

Bifidum: A type of “friendly bacteria” that helps maintain health in the large intestine. Increases the acidity of the region it inhabits and makes the area inhospitable to dangerous bacteria.

Source: Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary, © 2007 Merriam-Webster, Inc.

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There are some critical components to skin health. Here are some ways to treat acne naturally:

Incidentally, for individuals dealing with acne,

  1. Build function-Acupuncture and herbs,
  2. Seasons change: cleanse (we recommend the “ultimate cleanse” by Nature’s secret),
  3. Acidophilus/Bifidum complex,
  4. Tea tree oil gently applied in small dosages to lesions.

One of our acupuncturists, David, recommends the following:

The two types of Echinacea (Angustifolia and Purpurea) taken regularly through the course of the day will fight the bacterial cause of acne.

  1. Take 1 (Augustafolia) every 2 hours.
  2. Alternate with 1 Purpurea every two hours.

Mix 8 oz. of carbonated spring water with 1 teaspoon of baking soda every morning to help alkalize the blood, which helps to prevent acne breakouts.

Note: it seems with acidophilus, like many supplements, it is important to chose the highest quality available where you shop. When shopping at a health food store for such a thing make sure it’s in the refrigerator. It seems the more expensive versions use products with a wide variety of different intestinal flora, including at least acidophilus and bifidum. For example, we’ve seen patients do very well after a course of antibiotics by taking an entire  60 capsule bottle (say, 2-4 capsules per day), using the recommendations on the bottle. The good news is if you get acidophilus that was not refrigerated and happens to be dead there is no negative effect. It simply passes through the digestive system causing no positive or negative effects.

Best of health to you! If you have any questions on this topic or anything else, don’t hesitate to call. 414-322-8888

 

 

Note: Nothing in this document is intended as a substitute for your doctor’s diagnosis and/or treatment. This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.

 

How to Say “No” and Mean It!

angry-womanThat two letter word is very powerful. When you use it, you find a freedom you never knew existed. When you fail to use it, you will be taken advantage of repeatedly.

But why do we have such a hard time saying “no”?

Part of it is due to our desire to be liked. Many of us are people-pleasers and we will do just about anything to get people to like us. But once you’ve agreed to do something, that fleeting pleasure is past, and you are now stuck doing something that could possibly take hours, even days of your life to accomplish, and the person you agreed to help doesn’t like you any more than they did when you first met.

Or, you might be afraid of appearing rude. Many of us were taught that when someone senior to us asked us to do something, we were honor-bound to agree. It was very rude to refuse. It could be seen as a sign of rejection.

And the worst reason of all is being afraid of losing out on an experience or an opportunity. People in corporate America find themselves in that position quite often. They might enjoy the team they’re working on, but if they are tapped on the shoulder to go work on another team, or even to move to a different division a state or two away, being afraid to say no can uproot an entire family. All because they were afraid they wouldn’t be chosen for opportunities in the future.

Let’s look at a different way to approach these scenarios. Rather than looking at saying no as rejecting or refusing something, consider instead what you really and truly want to say yes to. We all have our needs, our plans for the future, our own interests and passions. When we agree to do something, it really has to answer the question, “Will it help me or hurt me?” If it will hurt you in some way, you really do need to refuse. If it will help you and you want or need to do it, then by all means, agree to do it.

The next time you find yourself in a position to say yes or no, try this; don’t commit right away. Say, “I don’t think that will work for me right now.” You can always think about it and change your mind, but resist giving reasons for saying no, and then stand firm until you have had time to reflect on a very considered answer.

Once you have done this several times, it will begin to be a healthier habit than simply agreeing to do something to be liked or agreeable. Making this one change in your life will give you more time for the things you really want to do.

Angry Woman by Vera Kratochvil

Food as Medicine: The Winter Months

Utilizing food as medicine is a powerful tool that anyone can use to not only feel their best, but to avoid ailments that correspond to their life or environmental stresses that may be present. The concept of using food as medicine is a long held tradition of civilizations throughout human history, yet sometimes can be forgotten in our fast paced and often stressful world. The following is meant to give you an idea of what type of conditions affect your body and its ability to function based on environmental factors, and how you can balance these factors by choosing the appropriate foods.

12641392491982759135Inhalation_diagram.svg.hiWe will begin with the present winter months, and how choosing the right foods (as well as avoiding some others) can help to balance your body’s function as old man winter blasts us with factors such as cold and dryness. The lung’s function is very important to staying healthy during the winter months. It acts as the “front line” of your immune system, and is also very susceptible to external conditions. This is due to the proximity of the lung to the outside world. When you step out on a sub-zero morning and take that first icy breath, your lung is literally taking in the external environment with very little to filter out conditions that are hard on it. This, coupled with our tendency to stay indoors with little outside ventilation like open windows, is why it’s not a coincidence that winter is the most prevalent season for colds and flu.

Based on the two main factors present during the winter season, cold and dryness, we can choose foods that both warm and moisturize our bodies. We can also focus a bit more on boosting lung function so that our immune systems remain strong during the cold and flu season.

cinnamongingerhoneyonionSome foods to include for winter are ginger, green onion, cinnamon, and honey (not necessarily all together!) Ginger and green onion warms the body, ginger especially for the lung. When used together they also have a powerful immune boosting effect that can ward off early stages of colds such as that tickle in your throat or a mild body ache. Cinnamon also warms the body and gently increases circulatory function, which is lessened by the colds constricting effects. Honey is warming as well but is also moisturizing, helping to keep tissues from becoming affected by the dryness factors present during winter.

There are also foods that can directly boost lung function to keep the immune system strong. Both pears and broccoli help the lung, and can utilize the above listed ingredients perfectly. Pears gently cooked with honey and cinnamon make a great winter snack or dessert to come home to after a long winter day. And broccoli lightly stir-fried with ginger and green onions is a delicious side dish for any meal.

Both of these dishes can help boost your body’s function to remain strong during this very taxing season, but some foods should be avoided during the winter months. Raw foods have a cold factor to them, as the body needs to spend resources to warm them up for digestion. We should therefore lightly cook any vegetables during the winter. This also means that cold beverages are especially taxing on the digestive function and should also be avoided.

By adding these easy to find ingredients and avoiding the cold and raw ones, we can all bear the long winter with better health and vitality.

Summer Health Tips from an Acupuncturist

Every summer, we field a lot of Questions about natural ways to deal with common summer problems. Here are some of our tips:

  • Bug Bites can be itchy and annoying. To help with itchiness and irritation associated with bug bites, we recommend using White Flower Oil.
  • For toenail fungus, Wan Hua Oil works great!
  • One can acquire a burn injury from fireworks and grilling, among other things. To ease the pain and discomfort, we recommend using Ching Wan Hung- a Chinese liniment you rub directly onto the skin.
  • For sunburns, we also recommend using Aloe Vera Tree Tree Gel. (We carry it in our clinic, in case you can’t find it anywhere else)
  • If you run into any poison oak or poison ivy, Rhus Toxicodendron (or Rhus Tox) is a homeopathic remedy that works well. You can pick this up at most health food stores.
  • For swimmer’s ear, ask us about Moxa (Artemisia Vulgaris/ Mugwort). It is an herb that is burned and the smoke is let into the ear canal. Please consult us before using moxa. Our Acupuncturists will be more than happy to show you how!
  • Remember to stay hydrated! It is recommended that you drink half of your body weight in fluid ounces every day. (Example: a 150lb. person should be drinking 75 oz. of water daily!) Taking homeopathic cell salts and electrolytes daily will help your body stay hydrated. For the electrolytes, we prefer Electro-mix by Dr. Price, which can be found in our clinic and online (instructions for use are right on the packet). It sounds like a lot, but your body will thank you! Drinking an adequate amount of water will also help prevent things such as heat exhaustion and kidney stones. Here is a video blog about staying hydrated: Staying Hydrated
  • A lot of people experience breathing problems in summer as the sun reacts with air pollutants to form smog, which irritates the lungs. Regular acupuncture can boost lung function to improve asthma, allergies, or any other lung-related condition.
  • Summer is a time when many people also experience headaches. These could be related to the heat, squinting in the sun, heat exhaustion, or other things. Headaches are among the top 5 things we treat in this clinic using acupuncture and Chinese Herbs.

If you have a question about something that is not covered here, give us a call. We are here to help! (414) 332-8888

Health secrets of the Ancients-The Emperor’s physician recommends:

Given the usual activity of the digestive system, it is strongly recommended to eat 3+ times per day; however, to ensure that one never eats within the 2 hours before sleep. For example, if one goes to sleep at 11:00pm, it is recommended to eat before 9:00pm, at the latest. Eating after that time can lead to “food stagnation” (a feeling of bloating and slowing of the digestive process caused by incomplete metabolism) the next day. Repeated late meals may lead to long-term digestive problems.

If one has to eat close to bedtime periodically:

    1. Take Natural Vitality’s “Digestive Essentials” 5 minutes before eating that night.

 

    1. Take Mayway’s “Pill Curing” to clear up the food stagnation symptoms the next day. (also good to take after rich, fat-laden meals)

 

 

 

Nothing in this document is intended as a substitute for your doctor’s diagnosis and/or treatment. This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.