Allergy Season

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According to pollen.com, pollen levels in the Kalamazoo area are starting to climb this week. Pollen from trees, grasses and weeds can trigger allergic reactions, which affect the sinus and respiratory tract. Even though spring is usually called “allergy season”, it is not the only time of the year people experience pollen allergies. Many plants pollinate year round. For those who suffer pollen allergies, acupuncture can offer relief.

Allergies are hyper reactions by our immune systems to otherwise harmless substances. The symptoms can be the classic runny nose and itchy eyes, but they can also be intestinal cramping, hives or even anaphylaxis. It is estimated that one in every five people have some type of allergy and even if a person does not have a history of allergies, they can develop at any time. The good news is that a simple muscle testing procedure can help identify what your body reacts to and acupuncture can help give lasting relief. This combination is the essence of NAET.

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NAET, or Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique, is a rather ingenious diagnostic and treatment process. It starts with determining a baseline of strength and weakness within an isolated muscle group. A frequently used muscle group is the ring formed between the thumb and one of the fingers in the shape of an “O”.

Once a baseline is clearly established, any environmental substance like rye grass or tree pollen or any type of food (like dairy or wheat) can be evaluated for how the body responds to it. The patient simply holds the possible allergen in one hand and the NAET practitioner uses even strength to attempt to open the “O” ring. If the ring holds strong, this typically means that the substance tested has no negative effects on the body. If the ring is easily opened, this typically means that the substance tested does have a negative effect on the body. The beauty of this process is that the patient can easily feel the difference between a weak and strong indication and it can be validated before and after treatment.

The treatment is fairly straight forward as well. While holding the allergen, a patient is coached though a regimen of deep breathing exercises while the practitioner applies acupressure along the spine. This process is followed by a prescription of acupuncture points that “set” the clearing that takes place. If possible, the patient should avoid the item that has been cleared for the next 24 hours. The next session, the same muscle group can be used to recheck the previously cleared item. If it goes weak, the process is repeated. Depending on the level of allergic reaction, it may take a few sessions. This is definitely a process, but well worth the effort. People who are plagued with low energy, general achiness, dull headaches and stuffy sinuses should certainly consider Acupuncture and NAET.

For Valentine's Day: The Sweet Benefits of Dark Chocolate

On Valentine's Day, thoughts often turn to that heart-shaped box of chocolates. Studies have often shown the health benefits of dark chocolate, but yesterday's podcast from the University of Florida Health Science Center actually set out to explain why. Here's an excerpt from their commentary:

We know chocolate comforts a broken heart, but studies show dark chocolate literally helps the heart by improving flexibility in the arteries and preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels.

It sounds counterintuitive, but dark chocolate may also help prevent diabetes. A study published last year in the British Journal of Nutrition found the flavonoids in dark chocolate help control insulin sensitivity.

You can read the whole transcript here, or you may listen to the audio file I've posted. So if you reach for that piece of chocolate today, make sure it is dark chocolate. Happy Valentine's Day! 

Can eating seafood reduce depression?

As January comes to a close, I discovered a recent podcast from the University of Florida that looks at the link between eating seafood and a lessened risk for depression. Here is an excerpt from the program's transcript:

A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology found that eating seafood is linked to a 17 percent reduced risk of depression. To conduct the study, the research team analyzed data from relevant studies published between 2001 and 2014. They focused on 16 studies, including data from more than 150,000 patients. Most of the people the researchers analyzed were from Europe and North America. Results showed there was a 20 percent reduced risk of depression in men and a 16 percent reduced risk in women who ate seafood on a regular basis.

Depression is the world’s leading cause of disability, affecting an estimated 350 million people. By 2020, depression is also predicted to become the world’s second-leading cause of disease. This studies findings are certainly worth considering as these winter months continue.

World No Tobacco Day

 Jamie Starkey, LAc, Lead Acupuncturist at the Cleveland Clinic  Photo via The Plain Dealer

Jamie Starkey, LAc, Lead Acupuncturist at the Cleveland Clinic Photo via The Plain Dealer

The World Health Organization has set today as World No Tobacco Day. They remind us that tobacco kills around 6 million people each year. More than 5 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 600,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

As I've observed in my own practice, acupuncture is a very effective method to help those who wish to "say no" to tobacco use. Jamie Starkey, Lead Acupuncturist at the Cleveland Clinic's Center for Integrative Medicine, shared the following thoughts on acupuncture and smoking cessation:

Acupuncture may not be as well known as nicotine patches or gum, but it can offer relief, especially in the acute phase of withdrawal when you’re wrestling with anxiousness, irritability and gnawing cravings.  Some people try acupuncture because they cannot tolerate the drugs used for tobacco cessation. Unlike prescription medications, acupuncture has no side effects and it can offer additional benefits for sleep quality and mood.  It is not recommend to be used in conjunction with nicotine patches or gum, but in lieu of.  Additionally, as with any tobacco cessation therapy, it is important that each participant be committed and be prepared to self-identify as “a non-tobacco user”.

Seasonal Allergies

According to pollen.com, pollen levels in the Kalamazoo area are at their seasonal peak this week. For those who suffer seasonal allergies, acupuncture can offer relief.

Allergies are hyper reactions by our immune systems to otherwise harmless substances. The symptoms can be the classic runny nose and itchy eyes, but they can also be intestinal cramping, hives or even anaphylaxis. It is estimated that one in every five people have some type of allergy and even if a person does not have a history of allergies, they can develop at any time. The good news is that a simple muscle testing procedure can help identify what your body reacts to and acupuncture can help give lasting relief. This combination is the essence of NAET.

NAET, or Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique, is a rather ingenious diagnostic and treatment process. It starts with determining a baseline of strength and weakness within an isolated muscle group. A frequently used muscle group is the ring formed between the thumb and one of the fingers in the shape of an “O”.

Once a baseline is clearly established, any environmental substance like rye grass or tree pollen or any type of food (like dairy or wheat) can be evaluated for how the body responds to it. The patient simply holds the possible allergen in one hand and the NAET practitioner uses even strength to attempt to open the “O” ring. If the ring holds strong, this typically means that the substance tested has no negative effects on the body. If the ring is easily opened, this typically means that the substance tested does have a negative effect on the body. The beauty of this process is that the patient can easily feel the difference between a weak and strong indication and it can be validated before and after treatment.

The treatment is fairly straight forward as well. While holding the allergen, a patient is coached though a regimen of deep breathing exercises while the practitioner applies acupressure along the spine. This process is followed by a prescription of acupuncture points that “set” the clearing that takes place. If possible, the patient should avoid the item that has been cleared for the next 24 hours. The next session, the same muscle group can be used to recheck the previously cleared item. If it goes weak, the process is repeated. Depending on the level of allergic reaction, it may take a few sessions. This is definitely a process, but well worth the effort. People who are plagued with low energy, general achiness, dull headaches and stuffy sinuses should certainly consider Acupuncture and NAET.