All posts by Brett Lewis, L.Ac.

July 2016

6 Truths About the Not-so-sweet Side of Sugar

A study published by the JAMA Internal Medicine found that more than 70 percent of Americans consume more than the recommended daily amount of sugar. Sadly, most of us are addicted to sugar, which happens to be hidden in most of the foods and drinks we consume. Added sugar can cause a whole array of problems that can be short term as well as long term. If you are experiencing health problems, lowering your sugar intake may be one of your best options. Below are 10 truths about the ugly side of sweets.

 

No nutrients

Refined sugar has no nutritional value and it is recommended to consume as little as possible. The first step in eliminating sugar is from drinks such as soda, juice and mixed alcoholic drinks. Because of the large amounts of sweetener in these drinks, it can make them very addictive and hard to quit drinking.

 

Harms your liver

Sugar can be just as damaging on your liver as alcohol and lead to fatty liver disease. When you consume too much fructose, your body becomes insulin resistant resulting in various problems that can cause disease.

 

Raises cholesterol

One study done in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that participants who ate the highest levels of added sugars showed the biggest increase in bad cholesterol levels and triglyceride blood fats and the lowest levels in the good cholesterol levels.

 

Leading cause of obesity

In America, sugar is one of the leading culprits of obesity. It is estimated that 80 percent of food products in the U.S. contain added sugar. The best way to lose weight and lower your risk of obesity is to eliminate all processed foods and drinks.

 

Bad for your teeth

It should be a no-brainer that sugar is bad for your teeth. You may remember growing up having the dentist tell you as a kid to eat less candy to prevent cavities. As an adult, we know it’s not only candy that will cause cavities, but sugar that is found in your favorite drinks and everyday foods as well. Best way to sustain healthy teeth and gums? Cut the processed and refined sugar.

 

Can lead to type 2 diabetes

When your body is consuming too much sugar, your glucose levels become too high, which can be toxic to the body. When this happens, your body has a harder time producing enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels normal. This can then lead to type 2 diabetes.

 

Sources:
http://bit.ly/1VXrUuT

http://bit.ly/1U6W5uR

http://bit.ly/1Onu7xU

 

 

June 2016

Acupuncture and PTSD

PTSD is a physiological disorder that can result from being exposed to a traumatic event.  The disorder results in several different symptoms including anxiety, irritability, insomnia and flashbacks. The effects of post-traumatic stress disorder in someone’s life can be far reaching.  Feelings of hopelessness, shame and despair, problems at work or with relationships, serious health problems, depression, anxiety and drug or alcohol abuse are not uncommon. Getting help can be hard at first, but can have a great impact for helping PTSD.

 

A recent study into the efficacy of acupuncture as an adjunctive treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has shown promising results. Researchers investigated the effects of acupuncture in adjunct to normal treatment approaches and the results showed significant improvement. Studies in the past have shown that veterans with PTSD are wary of seeking treatment for PTSD as many do not believe that mental healthcare can be effective. Researchers hope that with the increased efficacy of the adjunctive acupuncture treatment, veterans will be less reticent towards seeking treatment for PTSD.

 

The acupuncture treatment also saw secondary benefits for those treated as many reported a decrease in depression and pain as well as a general improvement in mental and physical well-being. PTSD can be debilitating and even more so with little or no treatment.

The Military Stress Recovery Project (MSRP) is a unique program that provides free community acupuncture to veterans and active duty soldiers with PTSD and their family members.

 

Treatment in a MSRP clinic is unique for several reasons.  Patients are treated in a group setting, sitting in comfortable chairs.  There is an environment of calm and support. The patients are treated using the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) protocol, a series of 5 needles placed in one ear. The program is designed to address all the needs of people with PTSD.

 

The MSRP clinics have been very successful.  Patients report stress reduction, improved mental clarity, improved energy, enhanced performance, better sleep, fewer bad dreams and headaches, less anxiety and depression, reduced anger and pain, improved general health and better relationships.

 

Those suffering from PTSD should consult a doctor about treatment and discuss the option of acupuncture as well because it has been proven to help.

 

Sources

http://bit.ly/1Os0ndF

http://bit.ly/1rSwjDe

 

 

May 2016

6 Alternative Treatments to Help with Arthritis

Exercise

For those with arthritis, exercise, no matter how little you do, is one of the best natural treatments. For those with severe arthritis, even the smallest amount of walking can make a difference. Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for those with arthritis because it puts the least amount of impact on the joints. Strengthening exercises are also recommended to keep muscles and joints strong.

 

Acupuncture

One of the most common reasons people seek out acupuncture is for arthritis relief. Acupuncture can help relieve pain from arthritis and increase blood flow and circulation, reducing inflammation. Through the specific placement of needles on acupuncture points on the body, acupuncture realigns the body back to balance.

 

Capsaicin Cream

Made from the chemical that gives chili peppers their heat, Capsaicin cream has been known to relieve arthritis pain. The cream works by decreasing the body’s pain receptors and as a result, lessening the overall pain caused by arthritis. The cream can be bought without a prescription at your local drug store.

 

Fish Oil

Fish oil is beneficial for numerous reasons, one of them being its anti-inflammatory properties. Because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, trials have found that the oil can reduce morning stiffness and the need for pain medication for those with arthritis. Fish oil is a supplement that is safe and recommended to take every day for the most beneficial effects.

 

Mind-Body

Mind-body techniques like meditation, relaxation and tai chi have been seen to improve overall quality of life for those with arthritis. Tai Chi is a martial art that involves slow, easy movements along with deep breathing. This exercise can improve the body’s motion and physical fitness without being too demanding on the joints and muscles. Although meditation and relaxation do not necessarily reduce pain, they have been found to improve mood and health in arthritis patients dealing with chronic pain.

 

Diet

Studies have shown that some patients benefit from changes in their diet by eliminating food that may contribute to their arthritis pain. By removing allergens from the diet, overall inflammation can be reduced. Common diets that have been seen to be beneficial include a mediterranean diet rich in nuts, fish, vegetables, fruit and olive oil. Foods that are not recommended include red meat and dairy as those can cause inflammatory reactions.

 

Sources:

http://bit.ly/1YtHTib

 

 

April 2016

Acupuncture for Immune Deficiency

There are more than 80 chronic illnesses that are immune related including rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, and celiac disease.

 

Autoimmune diseases result when the immune system mistakenly attacks its own body’s tissues. Immune deficiency is more common than most people think; around 20 percent of the population suffers from some form of an autoimmune disorder, according to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association.

 

Although symptoms vary greatly depending on the specific disease, commons symptoms include chronic fatigue, joint pain, muscle weakness, weight loss, dry eyes and abdominal pain.

 

Autoimmune diseases are not always easily treated, as they are a chronic illness with no known cure. However, there are natural ways to ease and reduce symptoms such as acupuncture treatment.

 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is believed that immune deficiencies come from an imbalance in the body. When there is a stagnation in the body’s natural energy flow, called Qi, the body becomes out of balance, whether it is from a deficiency or excess of yin or yang.

 

Acupuncture works by addressing the body as a whole. By using specific acupuncture points on the body, the treatment is able to release any blockages and return the body back to its natural balance.

 

Research has shown that acupuncture can affect the release of hormones, proteins and chemicals in the body, which can affect blood pressure and the immune system.

 

Although there is no cure, immune deficiencies can be managed properly to have the best quality of life possible. Acupuncture has also been shown to help boost mood and lower stress and anxiety, which can be triggers for increased symptoms.

 

If you think you may have an autoimmune disease and are not getting a diagnosis, don’t give up. Immune deficiencies are hard to diagnose because of the wide range of symptoms. It may take multiple doctors to get a correct diagnosis.

 

Acupuncture is a safe, non-invasive treatment option that can decrease symptoms and improve overall well being.

 

https://www.acufinder.com/Acupuncture+Information/Detail/Treating+Autoimmune+Disorders+with+Acupuncture+and+Oriental+Medicine+

 

http://www.aarda.org/autoimmune-information/questions-and-answers/

 

 

March 2016

Ways for a healthy brain

The second week of March is Brain Awareness Week. This is a perfect time to explore ways to keep your noggin working and healthy. Below are easy, simple ways to keep your brain in good shape.

 

A healthy diet is a healthy mind

There are many reasons to keep a healthy lifestyle and feed your body with foods that make you feel and perform your best. Diets that are low in saturated fats and cholesterol and higher in omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to promote brain health and protect brain cells. Taking a fish oil supplement with DHA or eating fish such as salmon can help improve brain development at any age. DHA, a type of omega-3, may also help prevent certain neurological disorders. Vitamin E and lutein can also help brain health. Incorporate leafy greens such as spinach and kale into your lunch or dinners.

 

Keep your brain stimulated

At any age, brain exercises are a great thing to get into the habit of. Keeping your brain stimulated can help retain your memory as you get older as well as your capability to learn new skills. The brain is never done learning. Exercises like reading, crosswords, number problems and games like sudoku can help keep your brain stay active and working. If you find yourself experiencing chronic stress, practice daily meditation for as little as five minutes a day to help reduce inflammation and support immune health, which are both controlled by the same area of the brain.

 

Socialize

Keeping in touch with friends and family and continuously working on building relationships helps your emotional state as well as your physical health. Surround yourself with people who challenge you, understand you and keep a positive tone. Join organizations or clubs you are interested in and make new connections. Feeling connected to others is always important for your mental wellbeing.

 

Quit the bad habits

If you smoke, now is never a better time to quit. Consuming an excess in substances such as alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs can lower cognitive processes and decrease overall functioning and health.

 

Acupuncture

In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is believed that the spleen, kidney and heart organs all impact mental capacity and brain activity. These organs influence memory, concentration and recall. When one of these organs is experiencing deficiency or an imbalance, our brain can not function to its fullest. Acupuncture addresses the organs with specific points on the body to return the body back to balance and health.
Sources: http://bit.ly/1PZsyVf

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Halloween 2016

Happy Halloween!
Be sure to swing by
Montana Family Acupuncture
to get your new
Helicopter Toy!

Please use these responsibly. Below is a video with assembly instructions. Have fun!

Dear Friends,

We would like to wish you a safe and happy Halloween. Rather than candy, we prefer to give out a healthier choice for you to enjoy; please take only one per person. Please, play with this toy responsibly; aim in a safe direction away from people and glass, only launch in an upward direction, and children not yet capable of good judgement around these guidelines should only use this toy with adult supervision. Thank you for your consideration.

Assembly Instructions:

  1. Attach rubber band to handle base.
    (Pinning one side and stretching the rubber band under the hook will make this easy.)
  2. Attach rubber band to the top of the handle “Y” on each side.
  3. On the helicopter, fold down each wing along the white line and gently crease.
    Adjust fold to about a 45 degree angle.
  4. Fold down the tips of the helicopter wings along the diagonal white line and gently crease.
    Adjust fold to about a 90 degree angle.

halloween-helicopter-photo-instructions-1

USE:

  1. Press switch at base of helicopter to turn light on and off.
  2. Hold handle in one hand with rubber band on handle facing away from you.
  3. Grasp helicopter by the round grip near the wings using your other hand.
  4. Hook base of helicopter onto the rubber band from the top side.
  5. AIM UPWARDS and IN A SAFE DIRECTION CLEAR OF OBSTICALS AND PEOPLE.
  6. Pull back, and release the helicopter
  7. Retrieve helicopter, adjust wings as necessary, and repeat for more fun.

halloween-helicopter-photo-instructions-2

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Holiday Healthy Snack Recipe

Eggplant Ricotta Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • Kosher salt
  • Flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cups breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large plum tomatoes diced
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • Shredded fresh basil

 

Slice the eggplant into thin rounds and add salt. In a small dish, pour
flour. Beat eggs in another dish, and
in a third dish, mix the breadcrumbs
and parmesan. Put eggplant rounds
in flour, dip in eggs and then coat with
breadcrumbs and parmesan.

Heat oil over a large pan on medium
heat. Cook eggplant until golden.

Mix tomatoes with 2 teaspoons of olive
oil and vinegar. Add ricotta to each
eggplant round, top with tomatoes and
basil.

Acupuncture and HIV

More than 1 million Americans are living with human immunodeficiency virus, known as HIV. HIV is not curable, although many live long lives after being initially infected. HIV destroys the body’s T-cells, which makes it harder to fight off infections and disease.

Acupuncture can help promote immunity, treat side effects of medications, and be a complementary therapy for HIV treatment. Many patients with HIV/AIDS suffer from pain and anxiety. Acupuncture can help lower stress in patients as well as pain that results from their decreased immune system.

Patients have found that acupuncture can help relieve symptoms of fatigue, chest tightness, flu-like symptoms and digestion issues that are associated with HIV. Acupuncture proves to improve quality of life for those living with HIV and increase their energy level and mood. Treatment can lower stress and anxiety levels, which are usually high in HIV patients due to the nature of such a serious disease.

Because there are not only physical effects of HIV, but mental and emotional as well, acupuncture is a great complementary treatment to help both the body and mind handle the changes that are occurring because of the illness. Being diagnosed with HIV can be traumatizing in itself, acupuncture treatment can help calm the mind and improve overall quality of life. Although HIV is not curable, it can be managed.

Acupuncture is one additive method of maintenance, which can help improve the quality of life for patients with HIV through balancing the forces through an individualized baseline.” – Claudia Briones

Professionals have concluded that patients who are stressed, anxious and depressed can adversely affect their health. For this reason, acupuncture works well to lower these feelings.

Most people with HIV are taking some sort of medication to help their T-cell count. Because acupuncture treatment is completely natural and involves no drugs, it can be used at the same time as Western medicine to help manage symptoms and side effects.

Acupuncture works by addressing the body as a whole. When the body’s natural energy flow is blocked or stagnated due to illness, an individual does not have optimal health. Treatment works by returning the body back to it’s natural flow and restoring health to organs and the entire body and mind.

A study done at the University of Boston found that acupuncture treatment improved overall quality of life in HIV patients.

It is believed in Traditional Chinese Medicine that HIV, which causes a high susceptibility to infections, are heat toxins in the body and burn the system out, damaging the cooling part of the body. This causes an imbalance between yin and yang in the body. This imbalance is a disruption in the body’s qi, or natural energy flow.

CAM treatments are supportive rather than curative by nature, which helps an individual with HIV not feel like they are in limbo between life and death, but rather feeling, and truly being, alive.” – Complementary Therapies for the Treatment of HIV: In Search of the Evidence. International Journal of STD and AIDS.

Contact an acupuncturist today if you or someone you know is living with HIV and wants to consider a natural, safe, complementary treatment.