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cost of acupuncture treatment

Quench Summer Heat

It is so hot this time of year here in North Carolina. It’s a perfect time to talk about “external pathogenic heat”. With temperatures at or above 100 degrees lately, fatigue and dehydration due to heat exposure are not abstract concepts right now.

Watermelon for summer heatYou may be familiar with the concept of heat exhaustion and heat stroke from western medicine. Chinese medicine also concerns itself with injury to the body due to exposure to excess environmental heat. Having been at it for a few thousand years longer than western medicine, Chinese medicine goes beyond simple rest and rehydration protocols. Certain foods and herbs have been identified as particularly good for “beating the heat”. Here are a few you can use:

Watermelon- everyone knows that it is delicious and refreshing this time of year. Our bodies intuitively know that it is energetically cooling as well as hydrating.

Mung beans- not as fun and delicious as watermelon, mung beans are a traditional cooling therapy. You can often find these in an Asian grocery. In summertime these are often made into a cooling soup. You can even boil the beans in a few cups of water to make a cooling tea.

Chrysanthemum flower- also often found in an Asian grocery these dried flowers make a delicate and lovely tea that has cooling properties. Just drop a few flowers into some hot water or hot green tea.

Green tea- easy to find and, unlike coffee, has a cooling effect on the body.

Stay cool out there!

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

cost of acupuncture treatment

Sleep Helps Weight Loss

Night time is the time of day when our bodies regenerate. For millenia the Chinese have known the importance of quality sleep in the regeneration of the “yin”, or most substantive aspects of the body. Western medical research is starting to discover what Chinese Medicine has been telling us about the importance of sleep all along.

A recent study of 472 obese adults shows that well rested people loose more weight. This finding is completely unsurprising through the lens of Classical Chinese medical theory.

When the yin aspect of the body is not nourished with sleep the body naturally desires to balance the internal aspects of yin and yang. Sleep deprived people often turn to food as a source of yin in lieu of the yin regenerated through sleep. As you can imagine:

  1. food is a terribly poor substitute for sleep
  2. more food (particularly the high-carb, high-fat foods people crave) leads to more fat and weight gain

If you have not yet read my “tips for falling asleep” article, I encourage you to do so. Without proper sleep you are likely to find meeting your body weight goals to be more of a challenge. Acupuncture and effective sleep habits can make achieving quality sleep possible. Reaching your target weight is hard enough; why make it harder?

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

cost of acupuncture treatment

Ginseng and Green Tea – Poor Combination

In last week’s blog post I wrote about how, despite is presence in so many products, ginseng is an inappropriate herb for many people. In fact it can cause problems. This is especially true for younger people on fatty western-style fast-food inclusive diets to whom these products are frequently marketed.

Today I want to look at one of the most popular products containing ginseng currently- sweet green tea with ginseng.

I would call these products a marketing triumph, but as a “supplement” a huge failure. The problem is that even if ginseng happens to be appropriate for the person consuming this product, they won’t see much if any benefit.

They way I see it there are are four reasons these products score a huge FAIL. These are:

  1. Green tea neutralizes the effects of ginseng.
  2. These products contain no herbs that harmonize or moderate the ginseng.
  3. They don’t taste like ginseng, so they can’t contain much of it.
  4. These products contain vast amounts of sugar.

The first point is that green tea neutralizes the effects of ginseng. You are supposed to avoid tea (as well as turnips and daikon radish) when taking herbal formulas containing ginseng. Fail one!

The second point is that ginseng is used alone in these drinks. In Chinese Medicine the ginseng is almost always combined with other herbs into an herbal formula designed to create a specific effect. These formulas often contain herbs to moderate the harsh side-effects of certain herbs (like ginseng). They also may be there to enhance or to focus the effects of the main herbs in the formula. Fail two!

I’ve tasted ginseng. I know what it tastes and smells like- it’s pretty yucky, like bitter dirt. I don’t taste or smell it in these drinks. They can’t contain much of it. Fail three!

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, these teas contain massive amounts of sugar! One very popular brand contains 54g of sugar per bottle. They even offer an “extra sweet” version with 69g of sugar! With the ginseng neutralized by the tea the primary effect of these drinks will be the result of the sugar they contain. Large amounts of sugar swamp the stomach and pancreas, causing large amounts of insulin to be dumped into your bloodstream. The result? A big energy crash and mental fatigue as soon as the caffeine wears off. Exactly the opposite effect being advertised! Fail four!

If you want more energy avoid sugar, exercise, and schedule an appointment with your friendly local acupuncturist.

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

cost of acupuncture treatment

Dump the Ginseng!

Ginseng for energy or acupuncture?Dump the Ginseng!

Non-medicinal products containing ginseng abound in America. You can find:

  • Sweet iced green tea with ginseng
  • Multivitamins with ginseng
  • B Vitamin complex with ginseng
  • Energy drinks with ginseng

Ginseng comes to America from its use in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. In Chinese herbal formulas ginseng (红参 or “ren shen” in Chinese) is used as an energy booster. And it is a really powerful energy booster when used in these formulas.

The problem is that the inclusion of ginseng in all of these products is primarily for marketing purposes. Some brilliant marketing person probably figured out that their products would sell better if they were marketed as containing this amazing herb. So many of us are dragging ourselves through life with low-energy that the promise of a quick fix can be very appealing. The problem is this:

Ginseng is completely inappropriate for most of the people to whom it is being marketed!

Don’t self-medicate with ginseng. If you are not middle-aged or older with symptoms like low appetite and a cold body, ginseng is probably not for you. If you are experiencing low energy do your body a favor and skip the caffeine-loaded energy drinks, mega-size coffee or ginseng-containing products.

There are many different causes of low energy. A licensed acupuncturist can help you get to the source of your low energy. You shouldn’t need rocket fuel just to get through your day.

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

cost of acupuncture treatment

Artificial Sweeteners Are Not For Fat Loss

The sweet flavor from a dessert adds insulin to the blood, making weight loss difficultArtificial sweeteners are not for fat loss.

There is a concept in Chinese Medicine that refers to the energetic impact that the flavor of food imparts. The ancient doctors called this the impact of the Five Sapors (Wu Wei), or flavors. This idea has been essentially ignored in “the west” until recently. If you are trying to lose weight (fat) or are diabetic you will want to take note. You will see why diet drinks and artificially flavored foods are not your friends!

The ancient Chinese identified five flavors and associated these with the energetic system that they most affect:

  • Sour – Wood
  • Bitter – Fire
  • Sweet – Earth
  • Pungent – Metal
  • Salty – Water

For example, this means that if I eat a sour food that it will increase the Wood energetics in my body. They went further than this to say that the taste of the food, without even swallowing it, would immediately start to impact the body.

Flash forward a few thousand years to 2008 where a study was conducted on “Cephalic phase insulin response after taste stimulation“. In the study human volunteers tasted various solutions which contained either sugar, artificial sweetener, plain water, starch, etc. The subjects then spit out the solution.

Chinese Medicine would predict that the sweet solutions, the sugar and artificial sweetener, would impact the Earth energetics resulting in increased insulin release and other earth-related effects. So what did they find?

A significant increase of plasma insulin concentration was apparent after stimulation with sucrose and saccharin. In conclusion, the current data suggest that the sweeteners sucrose and saccharin activate a CPIR even when applied to the oral cavity only.

Surprise, surprise. As soon as the tongue sensed the sweet flavor, even if it was from an artificial sweetener, the pancreas started dumping insulin into the blood. This is one of the reasons artificially sweetened foods aren’t especially helpful for people looking to reduce fat on their bodies and loose weight. Your body doesn’t much care if it is getting real sugar or fake sugar. Extra insulin will be released and that’s going to make you hungry. Your body will require that you eat those missing calories one way or another. Sweet is not your friend if you are looking to loose fat.

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

cost of acupuncture treatment

Pistachio – A Cancer Fighting Food

Pistachio- cancer fighting nutPistachio – A Cancer Fighting Food

Pistachios are one of my favorite nuts. They don’t seem to receive the same respect for being a healthy food like walnuts, almonds, cashews, or even peanuts.

As recently blogged about at the MD Anderson Cancer Center Blog and Dr. Weil’s Blog, it appears as though pistachios may help prevent cancer- specifically lung cancer. Pistachios are a great source of a form of Vitamin E named gamma-tocopherol.

A study conducted at Texas Woman’s University – Houston Center found that a diet containing about 2oz of pistachios per day significantly increased the levels of gamma-tocopherol in the blood.

My take-aways from this are two-fold. First of all, 2oz of pistachios is a lot- about 117 kernels according to the study abstract. Secondly, this study was small and wasn’t designed to show any direct effect on lung cancer, or any other type of cancer. So it’s impossible to infer what a handful of pistachios every now and then will do for your health. Still, to me, this is all the justification I need to eat some yummy pistachios! So think about the pistachio, a cancer fighting food.

More Facts About Pistachios

  • They’re nutrient-dense.
  • They have as much protein as an egg.
  • Their shells may help you eat less.
  • They’re heart-healthy.
  • They’re grown in the U.S.
  • They’ll fill you up, not out.
  • They’re great for cooking and baking.
  • They’ll help you snack smarter.
  • They open on their own.

Pistachios grow in heavy grape-like clusters surrounded by a fleshy hull (they’re actually related to mangoes!). When they ripen, the pistachio kernel grows inside until (in most cases) the shell splits open.

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

cost of acupuncture treatment

Eat Healthy, Save Money – Buy Food in Bulk

Eat Healthy, Save Money – Buy Food in Bulk

Eating healthy is an important part of any wellness plan. My wife (Melissa, The Avocado Queen) and I have decided that one place where we simply won’t scrimp is in the area of how healthy we eat. Still, with the economy not yet running at full steam and warnings about inflation in the news, there are plenty of smart ways to save money on healthy food.

One no-compromise way to save money on healthy food is to buy in bulk. This works great for dry foods like nuts, pasta, rice, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, beans, green tea, and dry spices. It also makes sense to stock up when you find a good deal on almond butter, pre-made curry (always check the ingredients for preservatives and unwanted chemicals on any pre-made foods), almond milk, soy sauce, or any other food with a naturally long shelf-life.

There are plenty of locations in the Raleigh/Durham area where you can buy in bulk or buy healthy foods. Just google for the locations in your area.

  • Sam’s Club
  • BJ’s Wholesale House
  • Whole Foods
  • Harris Teeter
  • WalMart Super Stores
  • Target Super Stores
  • Lowe’s Supermarkets
  • Publix
  • Kroger Supermarkets
  • Food Lion Supermarkets
  • Fresh Market

There are also specialty stores in Durham.

  • Whole Foods in Durham
  • Durham Co-op
  • Bulldega Urban Market
  • Li Ming’s Global Market
  • Around the World Market
  • Mediterranean Grill and Grocery

With the cost of food rising and predicted to climb higher in the near future you can save quite a bit of money this way. Everyone likes saving money!

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

cost of acupuncture treatment

Food for Energy

Food for Energy

A neat blog I follow bodyhacker recently blogged about 7 Foods for an Energy Boost. Being married to Melissa, The Avocado Queen I am a huge fan of food, so I took particular interest in that post. I don’t always agree with what I read on bodyhacker (this article being no exception), but like many of their articles, it does provide “food for thought”, so to speak.

In this bodyhacker post, in particular, I take exception to the number of fruits on the list. Fruits have lots of simple sugars (fructose mostly- as in “high fructose corn syrup”), which can lead to an energy crash after eating them. It is true that most fruits compensate in the body through their high fiber content. Still, I wonder if there aren’t other sources of these energy boosting vitamins and minerals that don’t contain so much fructose and might be better candidates for this list.

For vitamin C sources I suggest bell peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cabbage. For potassium consider spinach and mushrooms. For dietary fiber, how about dark leafy greens, broccoli, and cabbage?

Details aside, it is easy to forget how much our food effects our health. From our energy to our skin to our mood to our stress levels to our sleep, we are deeply affected by our food.

Eat well, folks! Use food for energy.

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.