Jicama

It is possible to get bored of eating only a type of food as a health food lover. A great way to avoid this is to try out new-to-you foods with great health benefits. Jicama is a sweet and crunchy vegetable alternative to turnips and carrots.

What Is Jicama?

Jicama, also called Mexican turnip, yam bean, or Mexican turnip, is a sweet and crunchy root originating from Mexico. It belongs to the bean family. However, its tuberous root is consumed, and many consider it a root vegetable.

Jicama has thick and brown skin like a light brown beet. On the other hand, it looks like a raw potato inside and tastes like an apple. However, jicama is not as sweet as an apple, and it does not brown like an apple after cutting.

How To Eat Jicama

The traditional way of eating jicama is peeling and slicing it into strips. You can munch it raw with lemon or lime juice and chili powder.

Furthermore, jicama has porous flesh and can absorb flavors very well. Therefore, you can marinate jicama with citrus and spice and then add it to a salad. Jicama can also be combined with papaya, mango, or pineapple to make tropical fruit salad.

You can cook jicama, but it does not require much heat. Jicama also goes well with olives, greens, hummus, grilled fish, and roasted pork. You can also add it to Mexican-style soup or chili.

Benefits Of Jicama

Nutrient Dense

Although jicama has low calories, it is rich in nutrients. Jicama is low in sugar and fat but rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins.

It is an ideal food choice for people that wants to lose weight and still get a healthy balance of vitamins and minerals.

Furthermore, jicama is a great alternative to starchy and higher carbohydrate vegetables.

Helps To Regulate Blood Sugar

Jicama is rich in fiber and has a low glycemic index, which helps prevent spikes in blood sugar levels. This makes it a good food choice for people who have diabetes.

For Boosting Heart Health

Jicama comprises several nutrients that can improve heart health. Jicama contains potassium, iron, copper, and nitrates that help to relax the blood vessels, lowering blood pressure. This boosts heart health by lowering cholesterol levels and improving blood circulation.

Aids Digestion

Jicama has a rich amount of dietary fiber and water to help increase stool bulk. Jicama also contains a fiber called inulin that helps increase bowel movements frequency for people suffering from constipation.

Reduce Cancer Risk

Jicama is rich in prebiotics, fibers, antioxidants like Vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and selenium that help prevent cell damage and cancer in the body.

Summary

Jicama is a sweet and starchy root vegetable with lots of health benefits. It is very low in fats, sugars, and calories but rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and fibers. It is also very versatile, and can be eaten cooked or raw.

After you come in for your treatment at Holistic Health Care Centers, go home and enjoy a delicious meal with Jicama. We are wishing you well!

Moxibustion and Dysmenorrhea

A study conducted by Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has determined that the use of moxibustion at specific days during a woman’s menstrual cycle can decrease pain associated with menstruation. Dysmenorrhea or painful menstruation is a big problem for many women. This study used moxibustion, an accessory modality of TCM, to treat the pain associated with menstruation. The study and its systematic review showed moxibustion treatments were more effective at relieving pain only when the moxibustion began prior to the onset of actual menstruation. This is also the theory behind Traditional Chinese Medicine, that it should be used as preventive care. The efficacy of using moxibustion during the premenstrual time period holds great promise for those who are debilitated by dysmenorrhea. 

Dysmenorrhea, or painful menstruation, is experienced by more than half the menstruating women in the world. It is one of the most commonly encountered gynecologic disorders and for those suffering from severe dysmenorrhea, it can mean they are incapacitated for up to three days or more every month. The main cause of dysmenorrhea is increased or abnormal uterine prostanoid production and release, which then gives rise to abnormal uterine contractions and pain. The treatment of dysmenorrhea usually involves some sort of pain medication and rest, but there are alternatives.

TCM is a medical system that incorporates numerous methods for treating disease and illness. One of the tools found in the toolbox of the Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner is known as moxibustion. 

Moxibustion is a technique that involves the burning of mugwort, known as moxa, which is an herb that facilitates healing. The purpose of moxibustion is to stimulate the flow of blood and energy throughout the body. Moxibustion creates a pleasant heating sensation that penetrates

deeply into the skin, but does not create a scar or any pain. To perform moxibustion, a practitioner lights one end of a stick of moxa and holds it close to the acupuncture point for several minutes until the area turns red. There are also adhesive cones of moxa that can be applied to the skin. These are then lit and allowed to burn until the fire reaches the base, which is when they are removed to prevent scars.

Moxibustion is used to help people with cold or stagnant conditions. Burning moxa is believed to expel cold and warm the body, which creates a smooth flow of energy and blood. Moxibustion can be used to treat dysmenorrhea because it stimulates the flow and release of the hormones that cause uterine contractions. By stimulating the release of these hormones, the body can then expel them which leads to decreased pain. Moxibustion is also great for women who suffer from fibroids, which is a stagnation and buildup of blood in the uterus. The warmth from the burning mugwort actually increases blood flow and this can help decrease the size of the fibroids over time.

As with acupuncture, only a licensed practitioner should be called upon for treatments such as moxibustion. If you believe moxibustion may be helpful with your dysmenorrhea, be sure to discuss this with me during your next scheduled appointment at Holistic Health Care Centers.

Acupuncture for Wellness

Should I get acupuncture if I’m not sick? This is a question people often ask. For more than 2,500 years practitioners of acupuncture & Oriental medicine (OM) have emphasized the importance of preventative medicine rather than waiting until disease begins. Yang-sheng is the preventative branch of OM, yang-sheng means to ‘nourish life’. The tradition of drinking bone broth to nourish wellbeing comes from the yang-sheng branch of OM.

Another key concept from the yang-sheng tradition of acupuncture & OM is emotional balance is the key to wellness and longevity. According to OM there are external and internal factors that bring health out of balance. The external factors include environmental factors (weather, pollution, viruses, etc.) while the internal factors are our emotions. The key to maintaining health is keeping our emotions in balance and not get stuck in any emotion.

Western allopathic medicine usually doesn’t recognize the role of emotions in creating illness beyond acknowledging stress exacerbates or causes 80 percent of all illnesses. According to OM theory, specific emotions are linked to specific parts of the body: being stuck in an emotion can bring that part of the body out of balance. Acupuncture & OM can help us stay healthy by balancing our emotions.

OM theory identifies specific emotions that bring us out of harmony in specific ways. How did this theory develop? OM practitioners have kept meticulous records for 2,500 years; there is a long tradition of scholarly observation and analysis of case studies. Through this long history patterns of health and disease were identified; these patterns held consistently true and thus became an integral part of OM theory.

In one of the oldest books on OM, “The Inner Classics of the Yellow Emperor, “compiled around 100 B.C.E., said excess joy slows and scatters qi, excess anger causes qi to ascend, excess sadness and grief weakens qi, excess worry knots and binds qi, fear descends qi and fright induces chaotic qi. The good news is each excessive emotion can be ‘harnessed,’ transformed and channeled into a virtuous emotion, which restores harmony and wellbeing. This transformation of emotions from excess to virtue is a vital aspect of yang-sheng branch of acupuncture and OM.

Among the most common of excess emotion is the tendency of overthinking, worry and rumination; this will tend to result in digestive issues and/or fluid metabolism concerns, as well as muscular tension and pain. To transform overthinking and worry into the virtue of creativity and dynamic insight, develop a regular meditation practice, even five to 10 minutes once a day can make a difference! You will develop the discipline to redirect worry and overthinking into dwelling in the present moment more often. A quote from “The Dhammapada” (The Buddha’s Path of Wisdom) expresses this, “As the bee collects nectar and departs without injuring the flower, or its color or scent, so let a sage dwell in his village.” Notice when you worry or overthink about something, think of your thoughts like a bee. Allow yourself to collect the ‘pollen’ of your thought while also germinating future ideas and transform your thoughts into honey. A bee does not cling to only one flower.

Also try using acupressure at St36 and Sp3 to transform worry into creative action.

St36 is the great harmonizer point: this point does it all! St36 energizes your motivation to accomplish your dreams while improving your energy, digestion and boosting the immune system! Locate this point by placing one hand just below the outer kneecap (index finger by the knee cap), use your other hand to find St 36 (just below your pinky finger) just off the outer shin.  Pair St36 with acupressure at Sp3 to clarify your mind and regulate your digestion. Locate Sp3 along the inside of the foot, run your finger along the edge of the big toe until your finger ‘falls’ into a divot, about a three-finger width from the base of the big toe.

Look for future articles for tips on transforming other excessive emotions and nourish your vitality and wellbeing with the wisdom of OM.  And don’t forget to book your appointment at Holistic Health Care Centers to keep you and your family healthy and well!

Summer Self-Care: Pressure Points to Keep Your Fire in Check

In Chinese Medicine, each season is associated with one of the five elements and specific organ systems, and those organ systems have their own pathways of energy and information. Summer is associated with the fire element and the Heart and Small Intestine organs. The Role of the heart is to house the mind and circulate the blood (that also carries consciousness) throughout the body. The small intestine has the job of sorting and processing the food broken down by the stomach. It also contributes to the clarity of consciousness by energetically separating the pure from the impure. The pathways that enable qi and information to go to and from these organs travel along the arms.

Summer is unique in that it has 2 additional organ systems that play supporting roles in the balance and maintenance of the fire element in the body. These are the Pericardium and the Triple Burner. Not considered traditional organs in western medicine, the pericardium is the protective membrane that surrounds and protects the heart. The Triple Burner, while lacking a western medical analogous structure, is more a functional concept that helps to define the body in terms of 3 spaces (the upper, middle and lower ‘burner’) while integrating the organs within those spaces. Both the Pericardium and Triple Burner organ systems are involved in the regulation and circulation of warmth in the body and have pathways along the arms as well.

            While there are other channels that run along the arms (namely the lung and large intestine meridians, associated with the metal element and Autumn), having all 4 fire element channels coursing through the arms is more than enough reason to focus some attention on this part of our body in the summer.

            Before we talk about specific pressure points to manage your personal fire energy, remember that simply stretching and moving the arms is an easy way to awaken and energize these channels for seasonal health! Stretch your hands all the way to the tips of the fingers (where the channels begin, end and connect). Stretch your arms and body to feel the stretch throughout your chest, back and shoulder joint, activating your small intestine and triple burner channels. Get on the floor and relax in a star shaped stretch and make sure to feel the opening of energy in your armpits where the heart and pericardium channels travel through.

 We can think of the fire element as the energy correlated with consciousness and warmth (among other things). The fire element requires maintenance to keep it in balance just like a fire that must be fed but also controlled. During the summer months, the fire element is naturally nourished by sunshine, activity, community, and the joy of the season. But there are times when we can get overwhelmed by any of these in excess.

Important acupressure points to know If you’re ever feeling over-heated or over-stimulated are Heart 8 (HT 8) and Pericardium 6 (PC 6). To locate HT 8, make a loose fist and where your pinky tip touches your palm is the spot. Dig in gently to cool your jets. PC 6 is a great point for anxiety and feeling like you just need to turn down the volume on life and get centered. Make a fist, squeeze, and notice 2 tendons along the center of your forearm. You’ll find PC 6 about 3 finger spaces below the wrist crease, between those tendons. Fuel your fire this summer and let it burn but remember these points when you need a moment to simmer down. Book your acupuncture treatment at Holistic Health Care Centers today to get your fire in balance!

Kindness Story:  What Goes Around Comes Around

(Tim Hetzner, July 24, 2022)~ Brought to us by Joan Caton

“In the late nineteenth century, a member of the British parliament went to Scotland to make an important speech. He travelled to Edinburgh by train, then took a horse-drawn carriage southward to his destination. But the roads were bad, and the carriage became mired in mud. A Scottish farm boy came to the rescue of the team of horses and helped to pull the carriage loose. The member of parliament asked the boy how much he owed him. ‘Nothing,’ the lad replied. ‘Are you sure?’ the politician pressed, but the boy declined payment. ‘Well, is there anything I can do for you? What do you want to be when you grow up?’ The boy responded, ‘I want to be a doctor’. The member of parliament offered to help the young Scot go to university, and sure enough he followed through on his pledge. More than a half century later Winston Churchill lay dangerously ill with pneumonia; stricken while attending a wartime conference in Morocco. A new ‘wonder drug’ was administered to him, a drug called penicillin that had been discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming. You’ve guessed it: Fleming was the young Scottish lad who came to the aid of the member of parliament. And the member of parliament was none other than Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill’s father. Yes, what goes around comes around. Jesus told the truth when He said, ‘Give, and it will be given to you.’ So, when God tells you to sow a seed of kindness into the life of someone else, it’s because He has a harvest of blessing waiting for you somewhere down the road.”

What Fleming did way back when he was a young lad made a difference for Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill, and himself (although he was kind without expecting anything in return). How can you make a positive difference via kindness?  How can you pay it forward in some way?  The kindness we express now does a world of good for the future!  Keep Giving!

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissues are connective tissues that connect different bones of the body. Soft tissues include ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Trauma or sudden forces, like collisions, can damage these delicate tissues, causing pain, swelling, inflammation, and reduced mobility.

What Is A Soft Tissue Injury? Soft tissue injuries are the damage to the muscles, ligaments, skin, connective tissue, or tendons, usually due to trauma or overuse. Most soft tissue injuries are sudden or uncontrolled movements like rolling over your ankle, causing a bruise or sprain.

Types of Soft Tissue Injuries

The most common soft tissue injuries that you can experience are Sprains, Contusions, Lacerations, Abrasions, Whiplash, and Avulsions.

Lacerations, abrasions, and avulsions are soft tissue injuries where the tissue is separated from the body, causing blood loss and open wounds, which could get infected.

On the other hand, contusions don’t have open wounds. When present, bleeding is usually trapped within the tissue, causing swelling of the affected area. This can then create extra pressure on the blood vessels and reduce blood flow to the tissue around the injury spot. Sprains are acute traumatic injuries that tear or stretch the soft tissues instead of a cut to the tissue. Strains are more of an overuse injury and can occur when you stress the connective tissues above their limits, causing irritation or injury.

Whiplash is a soft tissue injury resulting from a sudden and forceful impact on the neck caused by a rear-end collision. Whiplash usually occurs to the soft tissues in the neck, surrounding the shoulders or the base of the skull, causing swelling, reduced range of motion, and severe pain.

How Long Can It Take To Recover From Soft Tissue Injury

You can recover from grade 1 soft tissue injuries in 1-2 weeks, while it will take 3-4 weeks to recover from grade 2 injuries. However, grade 3 soft tissue injury can take much longer based on your age, occupation, and general health.

Can I go to a Hospital When Suffering from Soft Tissue Injury?

It is possible to have a fracture with a soft tissue injury. You can determine whether a soft tissue injury requires complete examination if:

• The surrounding bony structures are painful

• Unusual shape or deformity

• You cannot place a weight on the injured area.

• You heard a crack or pop when you got injured.

Using Chiropractic Care and Physical Therapy To Treat Soft Tissue Injuries can provide symptomatic relief and speed up recovery from soft tissue injuries. The type and severity of a soft tissue injury will determine the best treatment option that your doctors will recommend.

Chiropractic Spinal manipulation is an example of a treatment option for soft tissue injuries. It involves the manual manipulation of the spinal cord to help realign the spinal cord and remove pressure from the nerves to relieve the pain and inflammation.

Furthermore, spinal manipulation will help boost the body’s healing power, and the muscle will gain strength. Book your chiropractic appointment with Dr. John today.

Receiving a body massage can help relax an overused soft tissue to help stimulate healing as well.

Physical Therapy treatment will speed up the process and improve long-term rehabilitation. We recommend “active rest” instead of total immobility as the best plan for soft tissue rehabilitation. Contact Dr. Amy Flaherty to book your physical therapy appointment today.

Receiving a body massage can help relax an overused soft tissue to help stimulate healing as well. Book your appointments at Holistic Health Care Centers to compliment your doctors plan.

Common Sleep Problems

Sleep disorders are health conditions that affect your ability to sleep well regularly. According to a study, more than 40 million people in North America suffer from sleeping disorders every year. In a report, more than one-third of adults in the United States get less than 7 hours of sleep daily. Furthermore, more than 70% of high school students get less than 8 hours of sleep on weeknights.

What Are Sleep Disorders?
Sleep disorders are health conditions that affect your sleep or prevent you from sleeping well. This can then lead to daytime sleepiness and several other symptoms. There are several types of sleep disorders (around 80) that everyone can experience. However, the most common ones are insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome.

Symptoms Of Sleep Disorders:
The symptoms you can notice when suffering from sleep disorders vary based on the type of sleeping disorder and its severity.

Some of the common sleep disorder symptoms are:
• Daytime fatigue
• Difficulty falling asleep
• Unusual breathing patterns
• Strong feeling to nap during the day
• Anxiety
• Unusual movement while asleep
• Depression
• Weight gain
• Lack of concentration
• Impaired performance
• Your sleep/ wake schedule changes unintentionally.

Causes of Sleep Problems:
Several factors can cause sleep problems. However, the main effect of sleep disorder is a disruption in the body’s natural cycle of slumber and daytime wakefulness.

Some of the causes of sleep problems are stated below:
• Physical disturbances like chronic pain from ulcers, arthritis, etc.
• Environmental issues like taking alcohol, caffeine, your partner is snoring, etc.
• Medical issues like sleep apnea, asthma, etc.
• Psychiatric disorders like anxiety disorders
• Genetics
• Nightshift work
• Aging
• Medication

Treatment Of Sleep Disorders:
The treatment of sleep disorders will depend on their underlying cause. However, treatment of sleep disorders typically involve a combination of medical treatments and lifestyle changes.

Medical Treatments:
Some of the ways to treat sleep disturbance by medical means are:
• Taking Sleeping pills or using sleep aids
•Taking medications for underlying health issues
• Using a dental guard
• Taking allergy or cold medication
• Using Melatonin supplements
• Using a breathing device or doing surgery in cases of sleep apnea
Note: you should consult your healthcare provider for advice on the most suitable
treatment plan.

Lifestyle Changes

Here are some ways to treat sleep disorders by making lifestyle changes:
• Create an ideal sleep environment by ensuring the bedroom is comfortable, quiet,
cool, and dark. You can buy an earplug if noise keeps you awake or get a sleep mask if light affects your sleep.
• Always think positive thoughts about the next day when going to bed.
• Take your nap for not more than 30 minutes and avoid taking a nap after 3 pm in the day.
• Besides sleeping and intimate relations, avoid using your bed for activities like watching television, eating, working, etc.
• Exercise regularly
• Avoid drinking stimulants (coffee, tea, etc.), alcohol, tobacco, or take heavy meals at least four hours before bedtime.
• Create a regular and relaxing bedtime routine by listening to soothing music, meditating, taking a warm bath, or reading before bed. Try to get up at the same time
every morning, including on vacations.

Conclusion
The effects of sleep disorders on the body can be very disruptive that you will need
immediate relief. However, it can be hard to treat sleep disorders if you suffer from a long term case. Make sure to consult with a physician if you experience any of the symptoms described.

Also, feel free to contact Holistic Health Care Centers to see how chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy treatments, and lifestyle changes could improve sleep. ♦

TCM Hepatitis

Hepatitis is an attack on the liver brought on by a virus. It results in liver inflammation and various symptoms. Prognosis is broadly dependent on the type of infection, as there are different variants of the virus. Types A and E are acute, while B and C are often chronic infections. Hepatitis type B or C can go away on its own, and may or may not show symptoms. 3 out of 4 people with Hepatitis type C don’t even know they have it. Sometimes, however, these infections, symptomatic or not, can lead to serious liver damage, scarring (cirrhosis or fibrosis), chronic liver disease and death. In fact,  1.5 million people die each year as a result of hepatitis, giving it rank as the 8th largest killer in the world, with hep type C killing more Americans than HIV.

There is a vaccine available for types A and B but none for C or E. (D is a co-infection of B). All variants affect the liver, causing inflammation and possibly scarring. B and C are transmitted through body fluids like blood or semen. An infection with type B or c can lead to cancer or liver failure. Symptoms of these chronic infections include abdominal pain, a swollen liver area or belly, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine, light colored stools, fatigue, nausea, fever, loss of appetite, and joint pain.  Type C can also present with bleeding, bruises, blisters, and itchy skin. Over 300 million people worldwide are living with Hepatitis type B or C.

Biomedical treatment generally relies on antivirals for at least 6 months to help slow the viral spread. Side effects of these meds include headaches, dizziness, fever and depression. In the case of liver failure, an organ transplant is often needed.

The liver, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is referred to as the army general of the body because it governs the movement of qi (energy) and directs with strong authority. This role of energy leader is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. In Chinese Medicine, much of the disharmony that can occur in the body is thought to be a result of stagnation, when the smooth flow of energy is disrupted. Good liver health can be a key to the prevention of many diseases. Protecting the liver from viral damage is one main concern in preserving liver health.

Chinese medicine looks at this infection as an invasion of pathogenic forces of toxic heat and dampness. But there is always a relationship between the pathogen and our body’s internal environment. So in TCM, treatment will not only expel the toxic damp-heat (the viral energies), but help to harmonize internal imbalances that determine how the pathogen takes hold in the body.

TCM uses acupuncture and herbs to improve liver function and tonify related organs when needed. Treatment is aimed at expelling the pathogenic forces, while internal patterns such as: Liver Qi Stagnation, Spleen and Kidney yang Xu (deficiency), Liver/Gallbladder Damp Heat, Liver and Kidney Yin Xu, and Blood Stasis are addressed. Through this more holistic approach, the body’s natural immunity is fortified to prevent future pathogenic invasion.

Chinese herbal medicines have displayed strong antiviral activity in patients with chronic Hepatitis B, along with the ability to significantly improve liver function. Chinese Herbal protocols have even proved to work better than modern medical treatment (in terms of lower mortality) in an 8 week study of patients suffering from Hepatitis B related liver failure, as well as providing better symptom relief.

Acupuncture has also shown to be an effective treatment option for patients with liver damage as a complementary therapy with little to no adverse reactions. In multiple studies looking at acupuncture’s effect on cirrhosis (often caused by Hepatitis), patients experienced symptom relief and improvement in liver function.

Acupuncture is one of the best ways to support liver function because it assists the liver in its primary job of stimulating the flow of energy in the body. Call Holistic Health Care Centers today to set up a liver-fortifying, energy balancing and immune boosting treatment!

5 Surprising Benefits of Massage for Athletes

It is probably not surprising that massage can be beneficial for athletes. Those of us that ask a lot from our physical bodies on a regular basis can benefit from practices, like massage therapy, that support our bodies in staying healthy and performing at their highest level. In this post, we dug a little deeper and came up with five reasons massage is beneficial for athletes that you might not think of or expect.

Massage can alleviate breathing pattern disorders.

Athletes need to breathe well to perform well. In almost any sport you do, breath is important. Being able to take deep, full breaths helps to regulate your heart rate and ensures your muscles are getting regular surges of fresh oxygen. Some people, athletes included, experience what is known as breathing pattern disorders, shallow and rapid breath patterns that only utilize the muscles in the upper body, rather than the diaphragm and intercostal muscles involved in normal breathing.

Massage can actually help athletes breathe deeper and alleviate breathing pattern disorders. Massage helps lengthen and relax the muscles, including the smooth muscles of the diaphragm area, the intercostal muscles and the abdominal connective tissue. Releasing and lengthening these muscles helps improve blood flow and oxygen delivery throughout the body. One of the side effects of breathing pattern disorders is a rise in the pH level of the blood due to the imbalance of carbon dioxide and oxygen created by limited blood flow, which can cause a tightening of the fascia. In general, massage works through tight and constricted fascia, the sheath of tissue that surrounds muscles, so massage helps to alleviate this side effect of restricted breathing. Massage can also improve mobility in the shoulder girdle, creating more space for respiration to occur.

Massage can improve posture and form.

Having correct form is very important for athletes of all kinds. From runners to rock climbers, posture and form can mean the difference between winning the gold and staying home.

Besides the time it takes to learn correct posture or form, our bodies sometimes get into habits of poor posture and form due to physical stress. When the body is stressed, it will naturally modify its posture to reduce stress in the area that’s hurting and distribute that pain to other areas of the body.

A slightly altered posture can lead to pain and imbalance in the body that can affect an athlete’s performance and make him or her more vulnerable to injury.

Massage therapy can help reduce stress in the body, allowing it to return to its normal shape. Massage softens the muscles, allowing them to relax enough for the bones to move back into their normal structure. Massage can also target specific muscle groups in order to release tightness in the body that might be preventing you from moving in the most optimal way.

Massage can help with chronic pain.

For athletes, chronic pain can manifest itself as repeated stress on one specific area of the body that is never fully allowed to heal. During a massage, research has shown the body produces hormones called endorphins, which inhibit pain receptors, essentially reducing the intensity of the feeling of pain in the body. Endorphins also reduce overall stress in the body, which allows athletes to rest more easily and fully. Ultimately, this rest is what will allow the body to heal, so endorphin production doesn’t just reduce the sensation of pain, it also allows the body to relax and access the natural healing it needs.

Massage can reduce cortisol production.

At the same time that regular massage increases the production of endorphins, it decreases the production of cortisol, a hormone that causes stress in the body. Research has shown repeatedly that massage decreases cortisol production, which has a damaging effect on the physical body as well as the mind, impairing an athlete’s ability to perform at his or her best.

Massage can build new mitochondria.

Last but not least, maybe the most surprising benefit of massage is what happens on the cellular level. Research has shown massage after strenuous activity promotes the growth of new mitochondria in our cells. If you took high school biology or were around a few years ago when the mitochondria meme was going around, you will remember the function of the mitochondria. All together now: they’re the “powerhouse” of the cell. What that means functionally is that mitochondria are what converts the food we eat into energy in the form our body can use. The more mitochondria in a cell, the more that cell can make usable energy. For athletes, the more mitochondria they have, the stronger and better they can perform.

We have it all at Holistic Health Care Centers and we are happy to be here for your massage, acupuncture, chiropractor, physical therapy, and energy therapy needs!

Acupuncture and Fibroids – Which Fibroids are you?

Uterine fibroids are benign growths on the wall of the uterus. They represent the most common gynecological non-cancerous tumors in reproductive females. It is estimated that 80% of women will have uterine fibroids at some point in their reproductive years. Many are symptom free and unaware, but for some women, fibroids can cause heavy bleeding, irregular periods, abdominal bloating and back pain (even though these symptoms are often wrongfully normalized). Fibroids can even grow large and press on vital organs like the bladder or bowel, eventually leading to digestive or kidney problems. The cause is not well understood, however.  The theory is that abnormal muscle cells in the uterus are affected by estrogen and other factors in a way that drives tumor growth.

Western treatment depends on severity. If asymptomatic, treatment is not needed, if the fibroid/s cause pain or other problems, treatment may involve surgery to remove the fibroids but unfortunately they can return. The rate of recurrence is high, at 30%. Estrogen contributes to the growth of fibroids which makes hormone regulation a main focus of fibroid management. Lupron is a type of hormone therapy that acts on the pituitary gland to stop estrogen production and start early menopause. A hysterectomy to remove the uterus, however, is the only known way to guarantee prevention of recurrence and is obviously not a desirable option for women looking to preserve fertility.

So, even with surgery, it is important to deal with underlying causes.  Chinese medicine takes a more holistic approach. Fibroids, in Chinese medicine, fall into the larger category of Zheng Jia (masses), as do other growths related to women’s health such as ovarian cysts, endometriosis and reproductive cancers. The causes of these masses are understood to be any of, or any combination of, the following:

Liver Qi stagnation

The liver is the organ that regulates the movement of qi and stagnant liver qi can reveal itself as typical PMS symptoms: irritability, breast tenderness, and cramps. The liver is also the organ that helps to rid the body of excess estrogen, so it is definitely a worthy focus point from both an Eastern and Western perspective.

Blood Stasis

Blood follows qi, so long term qi stagnation can result in blood stasis which is considered when symptoms such as more intense cramping and clots are reported.

Damp-Phlegm

Improper diet and digestion is said to lead to a buildup of damp-phlegm in the body. This accumulation, when condensed by other factors (such as heat, cold or poor blood flow) is thought to set the stage for the growth of various masses in the body.  Associated symptoms can include indigestion, bloating, weight gain, and sometimes a watery menstrual flow.

Cold Accumulation

Exposure to the cold, especially cold that affects the uterus can be another cause of blood stasis which can eventually lead to tumors. Menstrual pain relieved by warmth is a sign of cold in the uterus.

Acupuncture and herbs can help eliminate or shrink smaller fibroids, as well as keep them from returning. Acupuncture redirects energy in the body to address patterns like blood stasis, cold, phlegm, and liver qi stagnation to help to restore a yin/yang (and consequently hormone) balance.

Chinese herbs are associated with a 72% reduction in bleeding in a study where over half of the participants experienced a reduction in size or a complete disappearance of their fibroids!

Another study compared treatment with acupuncture and herbs to treatment with a combination of herbs and steroids. All of the women saw some benefits, but the ones who had acupuncture treatment saw an overall greater reduction in the volume of their fibroids.

A 2002 study looked at alternative medical approaches for uterine fibroids. Upon comparing alternative treatments, such as TCM, bodywork and guided imagery against conventional treatment, the researchers found that the patients thrived in the alternative medical group. Fibroids shrank or stopped growing in 59 percent of the alternative treatment group compared to only eight percent of those in the conventional treatment group.

If you have any signs of fibroids, seek out a Western diagnosis, but also schedule some acupuncture at Holistic Health Care Centers to make sure you are addressing root imbalances, and so you can feel better fast!