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  Good Morning,  Nutrition and Hormonal Balance As an acupuncturist in the area of fertility, I realize tha...

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Adrenal Fatigue and Alternative Medicine


Good Morning!

Adrenal Fatigue and Alternative Medicine

Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue include: 
low energy levels 
feeling tired even after you sleep 
excessive fatigue 
difficulty concentrating and feel overwhelmed 
nonspecific symptoms people experience: 
poor digestion 
craving salty and/or sweet foods 
food or environmental allergies 
joint pain 
low back pain in the area of the kidneys 
sighing, yawning 
impaired memory 
reduced sex drive 
anxiety and irritability 
low immune function 
recurrent infections 
consistent low blood pressure 
extreme sensitivity to cold 
difficulties that develop premenstrual syndrome 
difficulties that develop during menopause

The adrenal glands, of which you have two, are a part of the kidney system. These endocrine glands sit on top of the kidneys and are mainly responsible for releasing hormones in conjunction with stress through the synthesis of corticosteroids such as cortisol and catecholamines, such as epinephrine. Adrenal glands affect kidney function through the secretion of aldosterone, a hormone involved in regulating blood osmosis. The adrenals release three classes of hormones responsible for maintaining metabolic processes by managing blood sugar levels, regulating inflammation, regulating the balance of salt and water, controlling the "fight or flight" response to stress, maintaining pregnancy and initiating and controlling sexual maturation during childhood and puberty. The adrenal glands are also an important source of sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. The result of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) result in:

blurry vision 
rapid heartbeat 
sudden mood changes 
sudden nervousness 
unexplained fatigue 
pale skin 
difficulty sleeping 
skin tingling 
trouble thinking clearly or concentrating

The cortex is the area surrounding the core and is responsible for fluid and electrolyte balance in the body using corticosteroids. These corticosteroids are responsible for the proper metabolism of fat, protein and carbohydrates.

The term "Adrenal Fatigue" is not considered an acceptable medical diagnosis. It is actually a term, coined by a doctor in the mid 90's, to cover a group of non-specific symptoms people would experience when the adrenal aspect of their endocrine system was not functioning at optimum levels, resulting in many of the above symptoms. Western endocrinologists and conventional tests cannot diagnose adrenal fatigue because they are only able to diagnose extreme dysfunction in the adrenals, such as Addison's disease, a potentially fatal condition where the adrenals essentially shut down.

The best way to establish a baseline diagnosis is with a saliva testing for cortisol levels and measurement of thyroid hormones in the blood in order to confirm the irregularities within the endocrine system. Simple boosting of cortisol levels or other hormones is not efficient enough in treating the balance of multiple organ systems. Finding the root cause of the disorder is essential.

It is also important to differentiate adrenal fatigue vs. chronic fatigue syndrome. CFS is typically a post-viral fatigue syndrome characterized by disabling fatigue occurring chronically, after minimal exertion, and with duration of at least six months. As adrenal fatigue affects a group of body systems, treatment is incomplete if it just targets individual symptoms.

The right nutrition for adrenal fatigue is essential. You must eat first thing in the morning. There is no compromise here. A low-glycemic (low-sugar) diet, consisting of sufficient protein and good fats, low-glycemic carbohydrates, eaten in smaller, more frequent portions throughout the day are the secret. Eat 6 - 8 servings of vegetables a day and some fruits (apples, mango, papaya, plums cherries and pears). Eat organic meats and dairy products in small portions. Water is your best choice. Other healthy choices are green tea, herbal teas, natural vegetable juices, goat's milk, almond milk, rice milk and carob (a great substitute for chocolate beverages). A snack before lunch and after lunch is also essential as it helps maintain blood glucose levels, boost the immune system and keeps the adrenals on track. 
Foods to Avoid

Non-organic meats and dairy products are loaded with preservatives, hormones and antibiotics.

Suffering from adrenal fatigue due to blood sugar issues, you should be careful about high sugar levels found in bananas, grapefruit, dates, figs, raisins and oranges and avoid them.

Although coffee, chocolate, alcohol and soft drinks give you an "energy rush" they should all be avoided, since the backlash is a severe drop in blood sugar levels as there affects run out and further deplete the adrenals. 
Herbs and Supplements to Consider

It is best to visit a professional, certified herbalist who is savvy in both Western and Chinese herbs, supplements, mineral and vitamins and who understand the mechanisms behind how they work! Herbs for adrenal fatigue are best used in combination with vitamins and need to be individualized or tailored to each patient's specific needs and contraindications. There is no "one size fits all" approach. This is difference between Western medicine and Naturopathic/Eastern medicine. Herbal treatment for adrenal fatigue should include herbs used to modulate adrenal secretion (or "Yin Tonic" formulations) as well as to increase the body's ability to respond to stress (or "Adaptogen" formulations).

Herbs for adrenal health are best used in combination, and these combinations need to be individualized and tailored to each patient's specific needs and contraindications. For simplicity's sake, there are two ways to think about herbal treatment for adrenal fatigue: Herbs can be used to modulate adrenal secretion (i.e., a "tonic" approach) or to increase the body's ability to respond to stress (an"adaptogenic" approach).

Adrenal Support Formula: combines the whole adrenal and adrenal cortex with a combination of herbs that nutritionally supports the adrenal glands. Panax ginseng and Eleutherococcus senticosus, or eleuthero, are used primarily as adaptogens, nontoxic substances which improve overall health of the body by a wide range of physical, chemical, and biochemical factors. This formula enhances both the effects and production of certain adrenal hormones and maintains a healthy immune response.

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) also comes to the West through its long use in Chinese medicine. It is typically used in combination with other herbs, especially Rehmannia and Eleuthero. Astragalus is both a tonic and an adrenal support herb. Its key components are polysaccharide fractions, isoflavonoids, saponins, triterpenoids, and gaba-aminobutryic acid. These substances can affect growth hormone levels, blood glucose, general inflammation, blood pressure, blood flow, and water balance in the body. Astragalus can be combined with Eleuthero and Echinacea for patients who are "run down" and experiencing recurrent respiratory infections.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) root comes from India's Ayurvedic medicine tradition. It is particularly useful for stress induced sleeping problems especially when you take Ashwagandha immediately before bed. Recent East Indian trials showed that Ashwagandha improves both DHEAs (DHEA-sulfate) and testosterone levels.

B Vitamin Complex: is a multifunctional blend of the highly crucial vitamins including B-2, B-6, B-12, Niacin and Pantothenic acid to help maintain a sufficient daily intake. These vitamins are essential for normal formation of blood cells, and also support vision health, a healthy nervous system and energy metabolism.

Black Cohosh Root (Cimicifuga racemosa), as a long-term glandular tonic. It is used in North American Indian medicine for malaise, gynecological disorders, kidney disorders, malaria, rheumatism, and sore throat. It was also used for colds, cough, constipation, hives, and backache and to induce lactation. In 19th-century America, black cohosh was a home remedy used for rheumatism and fever, as a diuretic, and to bring on menstruation.

DHEA is a natural steroid hormone, one of the hormones produced by the adrenal glands. After being secreted by the adrenal glands, it circulates in the bloodstream as DHEA-sulfate (DHEAS) and is converted as needed into other hormones. DHEA is chemically similar to testosterone and estrogen and is easily converted into those hormones. DHEA production peaks in early adulthood and declines in production with age in both men and women. Therefore, many diseases which correlate with age also correlate with low levels of DHEA production.

Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus): is an adaptogen herb used to support cognition, alertness, immune function, and physical stress. The most recent research on adaptogens views them as stress adaptogens which act like mild stressors to the body, and the body's protective response is what accounts for the therapeutic benefits.

Fo-Ti Root (Ho Shou Wu): a Chinese herb that's broader and slower in action than but similar to ginseng, works very well on tonifying the kidneys.

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is a common herb well known for its ability to enhance peripheral circulation and for its neuroprotective effects. Often overlooked is the fact that Ginkgo can favorably affect stress levels. In one study, it lowered cortisol levels in healthy patients undergoing glucose tolerance testing.

Ginseng Root (Korean - Panax Ginseng): is traditionally used in western herbal medicine to remedy physical or mental exhaustion, lowered immunity and facilitate adaptation to stress. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) it is considered a key herb for reinforcing vital energy and longevity. Ginseng Root, (Siberian): along with astragalus for immune support are key tonics for the adrenal and endocrine systems.

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra and G. uralensis) is a staple of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for adrenal insufficiency and ulcers. This herb contains triterpenoid saponins that influence cortisol-cortisone balance throughout the body. Glycyrrhizin is the main active compound in licorice. At higher amounts, however, it has a strong effect on the kidney and allows cortisol to interact with aldosterone receptors, which affects sodium/potassium balance and increases blood pressure. For this reason, patients taking higher amounts of licorice need to be monitored closely. That is why, in TCM, it is used to assist the other herbs in a formula and is not the main ingredient.

Mate: (pronounced, "mah-tay,") is an herbal tea native to South America. Mate is considered more nutritious than black tea (or coffee), and though it also has some caffeine, it's effects are energizing, rather than jittery.

Multivitamins for Women and Multivitamins for Men are an essential part of any balanced lifestyle plan. It provides adequate amounts of key vitamins and minerals for the adrenals and metabolic processess. Consider your multivitamin carefully, as often, the least expensive have the poorest amounts and proper ratios needed for daily intake. You can find a good list of what should be in your vitamins here.

Pregnenolone, (3-alpha-hydroxy-5-beta-pregnen-20-one): is a natural steroid hormone produced in the body from cholesterol. It has been described as the â€Å"Grandmother of all Steroid Hormones,” since all steroid hormones, over 150 of them, are derived from pregnenolone. Pregnenolone has been linked with positive support of the immune system, mood and memory. In the body, it takes one or two metabolic pathways, converting to DHEA and/or progesterone. It is likely that the body will convert pregnenolone appropriately, according to its needs. Studies show that the body makes 60% less of this hormone at age 75 than it does at age 35. Pregnenolone, a natural precursor to over 150 steroid hormones, helps support the immune system, mood and memory.

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) is an adaptogen herb with a long history of traditional use. It also has a number of positive human trials in the areas of stress and fatigue management, enhancement of mental performance and treatmentof mild depression. Rhodiola exerts these beneficial effects by regulating key mediators of the stress response including cortisol, nitric oxide, molecular chaperones (HSP70) and stress activated protein kinases.

Triphala : an Ayurvedic remedy, has been used as a long term glandular tonic. This combination of three fruits is one of the best bowel formulas in the world! Assists natural internal cleansing, Gently maintains regularity, nourishes and rejuvenates the tissues, supports healthy digestion and absorption and is a natural antioxidant. 
Exercise for Fatigue?

Absolutely. Consider exercises that are not overstimulating such as heavy lifting or aerobics. Do something more calming such as Pilates, restorative yoga or tai chi. Exercise gives you energy. Study after study supports those words, including one by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. More than 200 federal employees were placed on a moderate, regular exercise program. The results: 90 percent said they had never felt better. Almost half said they felt less stress, and almost one-third reported they slept better. 
Get Acupuncture

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are the oldest, continually practiced, and professionally administered health care system in the world. It is a documented medical system spanning over 2,500 years based on comprehensive philosophies, rational theories, clinically tested and empirically verified by over 100 generations of highly educated practitioners. Chinese Medicine is a total system of internal medicine which is comprised of a diagnostic procedure based on signs, symptoms and treatment styles including acupuncture, herbal medicine, exercise, diet and meditation is one of the Studies have shown that acupuncture helps to regulate the HPA axis (hypothalamus pituitary adrenal axis) therefore, correcting problems that arise from adrenal hormone and neurotransmitter derangement like depression, anxiety, fatigue, and insomnia. Acupuncture can help suffers of adrenal fatigue by stimulating key points associated with the kidney. In some cases, acupressure may be done by massaging just inside the ankle between the medial malleolus and the Achilles tendon. Massage the area in a clockwise motion for five minutes on each side of the foot and repeat daily. 


Empowering Resolutions: Starting and Keeping Exercise In Your Life


Good Morning!

Empowering Resolutions: Starting and Keeping Exercise In Your Life

This month we will be keeping tabs on your New Years Resolutions, in order to empower you, help you to stay on track and give you some great tips for keeping your promise to yourself. 

Exercise is what your body instinctively wants to do especially under stress: fight or flight, and it works. It burns off some of the stress chemicals which tension produces. Therefore, a tired muscle is a relaxed muscle. Regular exercise builds stamina that can help anyone battle stress. But even something as casual as a walk around the block can help you burn off some of the tension that you carrying around. 

Exercise and Love It!  Want to drop the depression? Want to get the blood circulating again? How about stop the aches and pains? Get back to exercise! It is the secret to better brain health, bone strength and good sex! What is stopping you? Here is a secret... exercise by doing something you love! It has to get your heart rate going and you have to do it for 30 minutes. Be creative, get motivated, get moving! 

How To Do It 

By increasing lifestyle activities each day, try doing four 10-minute increases at least five days a week. The idea is to just do more of what you are already doing. Here are some great ideas on getting motivated:

*Walk, don't drive. 

*Take the stairs at the office â€" not the elevator. 

*Play with your kids instead of watching them play. 

*Bike to the store. 

*Stretch while you watch TV. 

*Get up from the sofa to change the channel. Channel surfers get 
quite a workout. 

*Park at the opposite end of the mall from where you're headed. 

*If you've got an exercise bike at home, peddle away for 5 minutes while you're talking on the phone or waiting for the washing machine 
to finish. 

*Walk the treadmill while watching a favorite TV program. 

*Listen to music and dance your way through housecleaning. 

*Start slow â€" a few minutes at first. Then, pick up the pace and go longer. 

*Workout clothes are not necessary, but wear good walking shoes. 

*Don't let missing a few days become your excuse to quit. 

*Even if you miss a few days, you won't lose all the benefits you've gained. 

*Be flexible. Do what you can when you can. 

*Take advantage of opportunities. If you're watching your child's soccer game, walk around the field. 

*Playing golf? Skip the cart. 

*Find a partner. Climbing stairs at the office will be far more interesting if you chat away the minutes with a co-worker. 

*Instead of building your life around exercise, build exercise around your life. 


Monday, January 20, 2014

Color Therapy and Crystals


Good Morning!

Color Therapy and Crystals

Color healing, light therapy and chromotherapy are all terms used

interchangeably with color therapy, which is a set of principles used

to create harmonious color and color combinations for healing. This

form of energy medicine is based on the belief that the human body is

composed of energy fields. When the energy is properly distributed

and circulating freely, the body is healthy. Imbalances or abnormal

amounts of energy are believed to indicate an excess or deficiency.

Color is energy. The energy vibration of that color is what you need,

in the moment, in order to improve and balance your physical and

emotional state.

Chakra Balancing, Aura Cleansing, Colorpuncture, Light Therapy and

Color Therapy modalities of healing are profound and are great

integrative therapies that can be used in conjunction with many other

forms of health care.

History of Color Therapy

Color therapy is a technique of restoring imbalance by means of

applying color to the body. It was a popular method of cure even in

ancient times. Some 2,500 years ago, Pythagoras applied color light

therapeutically and `color halls' were used for healing in ancient

Egypt, China and India.

The first color wheel was invented by Sir Isaac Newton. He split

white sunlight into red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, and blue. He

then joined the two ends of the color spectrum together to show the

natural progression of colors. Newton went a step further and

associated each color with a musical note.

Johann Wolfgang Goethe began studying psychological effect of colors

about a century after Newton. Goethe created a color wheel showing

the psychological effect of each color. He divided all the colors

into two groups: the plus group (red, orange, yellow) and the minus

group (green, blue, indigo, violet). Colors of the plus group produce

excitement and cheerfulness. Colors of the minus group are associated

with weakness and unsettled feelings. Goethe observed that blue gives

a feeling of coolness and yellow has a warming effect.

The pioneer of modern color therapy was Niels Finsen of Denmark.

Following the discovery, in 1877, of the bactericidal action of solar

ultra-violet energy, Finsen studied the possibility of assisting the

healing of wounds with visible light. He subsequently used red light

to inhibit the formation of smallpox scars and, in 1896, founded a

Light Institute ( now the Finsen Institute of Copenhagen) for the

phototreatment of tuberculosis. In 1932, Gerrard and Hessay, two

Californian psychologists, scientifically established that:

• blue light has a calming effect

• red light has a stimulating power on human beings.

Blue and red colors are considered at the two extremes with yellow

representing the midpoint. These are also the three principal colors

in a rainbow.

Every substance on earth contains color. Even the rays cast on earth

by celestial bodies contain color in the form of white light. The

rays of the sun contain seven different colors - violet, indigo,

blue, green, yellow, orange and red. These are natural colors which

are highly beneficial to the maintenance of health and for healing


Healing With Color and Crystals

There are numerous ways to heal and balance with color and crystals.

Crystals are color and light captured in a solid form. Crystals incorporate the

energy from their minerals, the intense pressure it took to create them and the

"energetics" from the color they have created over time!

A good rule of thumb is this: "Energy follows thought". Where we put our

thoughts, this is where the energy goes. By concentrating on a

particular healing color, it is the visualization of that color that

will be projected. If we focus on a color, the energy emanates from

our body and begins to change the frequency that resonates with that

particular color.

Color and crystals are captured light energy. Light, which is split into

different wavelengths vibrating at different speeds and different frequencies,

instilled in a crystal. Objects that ABSORB all wavelengths and DO NOT reflect

any, is black. Objects that REFLECT all wavelengths and DOES reflect everything,

is white.

Between black and white lies COLOR. Colors are wavelengths of energy

that, to us, appear as color because of the potential and

capabilities of the object to either absorb or reflect the energy.

This basic principle is how we experience color.

Every substance on earth contains color. The rays of the sun contain

seven different colors - violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange

and red. These are natural colors, which are highly beneficial to the

maintenance of health and for healing diseases.

Crystal Light Therapy

Crystal Light Therapy has been valued throughout history as a remarkable source

of healing. Today, the therapeutic applications of light and color are being

investigated in major hospitals and research centers worldwide. Results indicate

that full-spectrum, ultraviolet, colored, and laser light can have therapeutic

value for a range of conditions from chronic pain and depression to immune


The oldest form of light therapy is natural sunlight, which is the ultimate

source of full-spectrum light. For those living in areas that see very little

sunlight this time of year, there are other

options; full-spectrum light therapy, bright light therapy, various

forms of UV light therapy, syntonic optometry, cold laser therapy,

and visual color therapy.

Crystals and Color from a Psychological Perspective

This color experience provides the opportunity to discover for

yourself, the impact colors can have on your well-being. The need for

a particular color's vibration seems to differ from day to day or

even from hour to hour.

When you absorb a color vibration it travels, via the nervous system,

to the part of the body that needs it. Each body has its own optimum

state of well-being and is constantly seeking ways to maintain or

restore a balanced state. Utilizing color, is one way you can help

yourself to harmony!

You can experience the affects of color therapy by the food you eat,

light you experience, clothes you wear, colors you meditate on and

the colors that surround you.

Crystals can be a very affective tool when bringing color into your

life. The color of crystals are associated with the Chakra and Aura

systems are coorelate to the specific layers and centers. Below is a

partical listing of crystals and the Chakra:

Chakra/Crystal/Color Correspondence (a partial example)

The Root Chakra, 1st chakra: red or black: lodestone, ruby, garnet,

smoky quartz, obsidian, onyx, hematite.

The Spleen Chakra, 2nd chakra: orange: carnelian, coral, orange

jasper, orange jade

The Solar Plexus Chakra, 3rd chakra: yellow: amber, topaz, citrine,

yellow calcite, yellow jasper

The Heart Chakra, 4th chakra: green or pink: emerald, tourmaline,

aventurine, malachite, rose quartz, rhodonite, rhodochrosite

The Throat Chakra, 5th chakra: blue: turquoise, aquamarine, lapis,

sodalite, quartz, angelite, aqua aura

The Brow Chakra, 6th chakra: purple: lapis, iolite, amethyst

The Crown Chakra, 7th chakra: white or clear: quartz, diamond, white