Currently viewing the tag: "health"

Medicines are well known life savers; they save millions of lives every year from hundreds of dreadful diseases.

No matter how prepared we are, we can still be susceptible to infectious diseases and they can come back to haunt us.

The human microbiome is an ecosystem that is a collection of trillions of microbes; human and microbial cells, each have a specific genetic expression and collectively make us a ‘super organism’. Newborns start to pick up microbes at birth. This is a selective process and gradually introduces complementary and useful microbes that help the body to undertake essential body functions.   It adds around 8 million genes to the estimated 20,000-25,000 human genome. Within a period of three years a mature microbiome is developed.

The human microbiome resides in the mouth, gut, vagina and on the skin, but varies greatly between the different body sites. As an example the microbiome difference between the mouth and the gut is comparable to the difference in microbes in the ocean and soil.  Skin microbes prevent pathogens from colonising the skin and stimulate the immune system. Similarly gut bacteria functions include; synthesis of vitamins and neurochemicals, assist digestion and strengthen the immune system. For this reason science has firmly established the relationship between a healthy gut microbiome to overall wellness and good health.

Although comparable, the mibrobiome also varies from one person to the other. Likely influencing factors include, host genetics, diet, environment and exposure to specific microbes in early life.

Medicines: A Miracle or a Martyr?

Over decades we have been witnessing a serious rise in antibiotic prescriptions. Historically, antibiotics have a proven role in warring against harmful bacteria/viruses saving us from countless infections. Unfortunately they are not discriminatory and like many battles the price we pay is in the collateral damage to our microbiome.

According to the research data published by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), one out of four antibiotics negatively affects the growth of gut bacteria. The carefully nurtured gut microbiome falls out of balance, thus upsetting our delicate intestinal ecosystem consequently increasing our risk for disease and chronic conditions e.g. IBS, diabetes, leaky gut, food intolerances.

These findings raise another serious question; could these changes also contribute to antibiotic resistance?, and in the same way can other non-antibiotic drugs similarly damage the microbiome ? Commonly prescribed medicines (NSAIDs, antipsychotics, anti-diabetics, proton pump inhibitors, and so on) have been known to create changes in microbiome composition.

To further answer this the EMBL study screened more than 1,000 marketed drugs to try and understand their effects on 40 strains of gut bacteria. The study’s conclusive statement was that more than 24% of the marketed drugs affected the growth of at least one bacterial species.

In 2019, Belenky and his colleagues published a study in Cell Metabolism. The study was conducted in mice. It was found that antibiotics changed the metabolism and composition of the mice gut microbiome.

Although still not the full picture, these studies offer a snap shot of the potential damage common drugs can do to healthy gut microbial function.

Therapy, Diet & Microbiome

Medical studies suggest that a healthy diet; low in simple sugars and high in fiber increases the susceptibility of gut microbiome to certain antibiotics. Researchers found that adding glucose to a mouse’s diet (normally low sugar, high fiber) increased the susceptibility of certain bacteroides to amoxicillin.  This validates the importance of how our diet can protect gut microbiome from the disturbing effects of antibiotics.

Most importantly, any excessive or unnecessary medication can seriously damage your gut function. Changes to your diet, and seeking alternative therapies can help to reduce the need for medicines, whilst the introduction of prebiotic foods (e.g. garlic, onions, yogurt, kefir, fermented food, bone broth) and probiotic supplements will enhance microbiome function.

A new study has shown improvements in mice gut microbiome with electro acupuncture and moxibustion treatments. Similar microfloral changes were reported by another study using electro acupuncture on obese rats.

To further reduce the need for prescription medicines, therapies like acupuncture, massage and hypnotherapy can be effectively used in place of or as an adjunct for many conditions e.g. pain, anxiety, depression and other conditions.

 

Are you frequently experiencing physical exhaustion as well as emotional fatigue? Do you often find yourself fighting for energy? If the answer is affirmative, then it is time to start making some healthy changes to your diet and charge up your routine life.

Energy Absorbing Demons

Do you know that even some unnoticeable habits like poor nutrition can cause energy exhaustion? “Why I always feel tired?” is one of the most frequent complaints that health practitioners are receiving around the world. Well, the answer is not so complex to understand as it is the direct result of what we eat, do, and don’t do.

Lack of physical exercise, overdependence on caffeine, inadequate sleep, smoking, lack of proper body hydration, and excessive consumption of sugar and alcohol are some of the most prominent reasons for your physical as well as emotional exhaustion.

Energy Boosting Dietary Habits

1. The Science of Wholesome Nutrition

According to Harvard Health Publishing, incorporating a balanced diet is of paramount importance. Nutritionally, your diet should include balanced portions of healthy fats, proteins, vitamins, anti-oxidants, unrefined carbohydrates, and minerals. Choose unprocessed foods packed in vitamins and mineral e.g. healthy oils found in nuts, fresh green vegetables, whole foods, lean meat cuts, fatty fish with higher omerga 3 content such as, salmon, sardines, mackerel, and fresh fruits must be the key architect of your routine diet.

2. Consume Smaller Meals

Eating smart is also the key here. Heavy meals are a burden on our digestive system, but also negatively hamper brain activity triggering a state of fatigue. Our brain demands a steady supply of essential nutrients, and thus, it is helpful to divide your meals into 5-6 smaller portions a day. It not only keeps you charged up, but also improves your mood.

3. Low Glycemic Foods

Our body is slow to absorb sugar from low glycaemia foods, which helps in preventing energy lag and reduces energy highs and lows. Energy levels are more consistent and constant. Increasing consumption of foods with low glycemic index such as nuts, high-fibre non-starchy vegetables, whole grains like oats, lentils, whole wheat, and healthy oils such as olive oil.

4. Timing Is Crucial

People are known to skip their meals thinking that it will make no difference. As per nutrition researcher and professor of nutrition, Dan Benardot, PhD, RD, FACSM, “Never let your tank get on empty,”. Our body demands fuelling from time to time as it is biologically adapted to receive food at regular interval. It is imperative to have your breakfast, lunch and dinner around your routine time. Skipping meals or having them at irregular time lowers down blood sugar and depletes our energy level.

5. Energy Boosting Foods

To keep you charged up throughout the day, include following energy boosting foods as much as possible. Foods to include more in your diet are salmon, tuna and other fatty fish, bananas, sweet potatoes, apple, whole eggs, avocado, quinoa, yogurt, oatmeal, lentils, beans, strawberries, oranges, green tea, nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.) and seeds (flaxseeds, chia seeds, etc.) These foods have shown to facilitate energy production within body cells. 

6. Caution with Deprivation Diet

If you are following any health diet that encourages you to deprive yourself of food, then it is time to rethink. Staving yourself, no matter what health goals you are trying to achieve, reduces metabolism, which encourages our body to preserve as much energy as possible and shuts down energy release mechanism. It leads to the feeling of lethargy and physical exhaustion. A better option would be to reduce the volume of food you eat but be clever about what you eat. In this way you will still consume the much needed proteins and carbohydrates but also the essential vitamins and minerals.

7. Body Hydration = Energy

This seems like the most obvious tip, yet millions of people face energy drain due to improper body hydration. Even mild dehydration can deplete your energy level. When our body is ideally hydrated, it ensures that all essential physiological functions are carried out optimally. It maintains ideal energy level and promotes better mood. Ensure that you are drinking at least 2 litres or 8 (8-ounce each) glasses of water every day.

Apart from effective nutrition for the body, therapies like acupuncture and massage are also a potent solutions to regain your lost mental energy level and feel charged up. They can de-stress you, enhanced your blood circulation, promote better sleep, assist in rest and healing and facilitate positivity in your mood.

 

 

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Dizziness is a common medical complaint prevalent in 15-30% 1, 2 of the general population. However, it is a non-specific symptom which can refer to light headedness, imbalance, true vertigo or syncope (partial of full loss of consciousness). It can be a symptom of several diseases ranging from minor circulatory problems such as blood pressure fluctuations, inner ear balance problems to more serious nervous system disorders. Unlike dizziness, true vertigo is the sensation of spinning around. This can be migraine related, benign positional paroxysmal vertigo and Meniere’s disease.  Treatment for dizziness and vertigo varies but commonly includes anti-emetics and benzodiazepines, and specifically for vertigo the ‘Epley manuever’ can be useful. In unresponsive or resistant cases longer term and use of stronger medicines increases the threat of unwanted side-effects. 

Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine that has been used to successfully treat many diseases for over thousands of years. Research3 on sixty emergency patients who presented with dizziness or vertigo divided into two groups; one received acupuncture and the other control.  Results showed significant improvements in their overall discomfort, dizziness and vertigo symptoms and lowered heart rate.

How Does Acupuncture Treat Dizziness?

Acupuncture is known to work locally at the point of needle insertion as well as stimulate the nervous system causing the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. It increases the release of endorphins and neuropeptides, thus triggers biochemical changes which works on body’s homeostatic mechanisms to boost emotional and physical health4. These anti-inflammatory and stress reducing mechanisms alleviate factors responsible for causing dizziness, including nervous tension. In uncomplicated cases a 100% recovery is possible. In the case of low blood pressure, acupuncture improves the body’s ability to regulate the blood pressure, and the ability to handle anxiety and stress more effectively.

In the case of vertigo due to Meniere’s disease5 immunomodulatory and vascular elements acts as anti-inflammatory and modulate any related infection, as a result alleviating symptoms. Similarly, in migraine related vertigo changes the way pain is processed in the brain and spinal cord thus reducing the migraine frequency. According to a Cochrane6 review of 22 trails the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment for migraines could be as good as prophylactic drugs.

 

You can live without Dizziness or Vertigo

The dreadful feeling of recurring dizziness or spinning is a handicap to normal life. In many cases sufferers are unable to continue to work, or struggle to care for their family and themselves. Where medical treatment is ineffective, people start to believe that they have to live with it, but this is not the case.

Chinese medicine is based on healthy flow of Qi throughout the body. Qi is the body’s vital energy that flows in pathways known as meridians or channels.  From this perspective the cause of dizziness or vertigo is a condition of either a Deficiency or Excess. In the case of Deficiency, there is not enough Kidney Qi reaching the head, whilst a condition of Excess is an accumulation of Phlegm and other pathogenic elements that cause stagnation, preventing the body’s warming Qi from reaching the head. Acupuncture treatment aims to strengthen the body function to remove the Deficiency, or clear any Excess so that Qi can flow freely. Consequently, re-balancing and maximizing the body function.

Acupuncture has the advantage of being a safe treatment option without the risk of side effects or taking additional medication. It focuses on normalizing the body functions by stimulating the body’s parasympathetic nervous system lowering stress, reinstating body homeostasis and promoting healthy blood flow particularly in the head.

 

The latest  US death linked to vaping has been reported. This makes it the ninth person to die from an outbreak of a mysterious lung diseases, with the Centre of Disease Control confirming over 530 people now affected. First reported in April this year, symptoms include fatigue, coughing, breathlessness, vomiting or diarrhoea. The first case has now been reported in Canada.  The White House has announced plans to ban flavoured e-cigarettes.  Over 20 countries, mainly in South America, the Middle East and South-East Asia, have already banned the sale of vaping products, India and Korea being the latest to join them. With such uncertainty on e-cigarette (EC) legislation and amidst calls to ban, the US supermarket giant  Walmart has ceased all sales entirely.

E-cigarettes

In 2014 and 2018 I wrote about the potential dangers and long term harm of EC, which at the time was extremely high on the media agenda when UK sales had sored 340% in a single year (2012). Its was promoted as the safe alternative to tobacco smoking. Significant rise in the number of never-smoking youths taking up EC has been noticeable. Advertisements of nicotine-free liquids with fruity and sweet flavours offer a sizeable incentive and social approval to young people to start using EC. The Forum of International Respiratory Societies has deemed EC smoking to be a significant public health issue as it encourages smoking behaviour.

No firm evidence has been established on the exact causal constituent but the finger is still on the many ‘flavours’ and ‘carrier substances’ that cause physiological effects. Effects include changes to our immune system and alter the healthy biology of the lung tissue. The inhaled gaseous mixture is deposited in our lungs and undergo changes. A chemical propylene glycol causes upper airway irritation. EC smoking releases volatile organic compounds and (ultra) fine particles into the atmosphere giving rise to potentially toxic passive vaping for others.

After the experiences of tobacco smoking, we have still now learnt that inhaling anything other than clean air is not good for our health.  In the UK there is still a belief that vaping is a safer alternative to tobacco smoking, however, this may be changing.  A small study conducted with GPs and nurses found that practitioners were uncertain of the safety and longer-term risks of EC. Some were unsure about their ability to advise on its use.

Acupuncture is widely used for addictions. In particular smoking and drug addiction. It offers a safer alternative when compared to the suspect risks of EC smoking, and a useful adjunct to prescription opiates for difficult cases of drug addictions. Auricular acupuncture or acudetox techniques involves inserting small needles into the patient’s ear. These can be used in conjunction with body points. Treatments help to ease withdrawal symptoms, reductions in cravings, anxiety, sleep disturbances and the need for pharmaceutical medicines.

 

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More than ever, your body is in strong need for a coping mechanism that can fight off the chemical/toxin onslaught. One way or other, those health hazarding toxins, environmental pollutants, pesticides, heavy metals, carcinogens, chemicals, and allergens find their ways into our body thorough direct touch, food consumption, inhalation, or by some other means.

In the midst of a hectic routine lifestyle, keeping your body toxin free and ideally nourished is a cumbersome task. That is why we want to talk about simple and easy to follow detox tips to effortlessly incorporate in routine lifestyle.

Are you frequently experiencing unexpected weight gain and/or prolonged periods of being under stress? Do you often find yourself feeling foggy and fatigued for no reason? If yes, then it is time to detoxify your body and gift it with full and flourishing health.

What is Total Natural Detox?

The approach towards achieving total body detox aims at flushing out toxins and other harmful elements in a natural way. By strengthening your immune system, achieving natural detox protects your body against many serious diseases. It allows you to perform your best by being at your best. It is centered around;

  • Promoting natural weight loss
  • Preventing a state of fatigue and improving energy level
  • Delivering a solid immune boost
  • Rejuvenating health & fitness levels

How to Achieve Total Detox

Sleep Detoxification

Research studies have supported our brain’s role in detoxification through its waste management system. When we are asleep, this system gets activated, which is referred in scientific term as the glymphatic system.

This system facilitates pumping of cerebral spinal fluid through brain’s tissues, which then pushes harmful waste back to our body’s circulatory system. From then, the liver takes on to promote toxin excretion as its routine functions.

When we deprive our body of adequate sleep, it hampers the functions of the glymphatic system and leads to toxin build up. A relaxing sleep at night ensures optimum functioning of the brain to support our body’s detoxification process.

Alcohol Curb

Our liver metabolises around 90% of total alcohol consumption. Liver enzymes convert alcohol to acetaldehyde through metabolism. Acetaldehyde is a known cancer causing chemical. Liver identifies acetaldehyde as a harmful toxin and assists in its excretion from body.

Excessive alcohol consumption causes liver inflammation along with fat build up. It affects liver’s toxin excretion capabilities, which then leads to toxin build up such as acetaldehyde. Limiting alcohol consumption is a smart and effective way to keep your body toxin free.  

Sweat Out Toxins

Did you know that our skin is capable of flushing out metallic toxins like lead, mercury and arsenic? Exercise is a great way to get rid of toxins through sweating. You do not necessarily need to join Gym classes. Start with a mild-moderate workout sessions including stretching, jogging, pushups, crunches, etc. and then move your way up. 

Hydration for Health  

A state of ideal hydration has been associated with total body detox. As mentioned earlier, the liver and the brain facilitate toxin excretion. However, it is water that serves as a transportation medium for these toxins and other types of waste. Ensure that you are drinking at least 2 litres or 8 (8-ounce each) glasses of water every day to maintain a state of optimum hydration.

Clean Eating

The concept of clean eating is not news to most of us. Clean eating has become a way of life to stay healthy and most importantly for natural detox. Get rid of harmful processed foods including commercial fried foods, fast foods, refined snacks, sugar based drinks, fruit juices and beverages. Excessive sugar, salt and oil leads to toxin build up. Incorporate clean eating by consuming more wholesome fruits, fresh vegetables, healthy greens and other healthy organic foods.

Let’s detoxify to live to your fullest. Keep your body disease free as well as toxin free to accomplish total body detox.

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Are you familiar with waking up felling sluggish, groggy and irritated after pulling an all-nighter, staying up till wee hours, or finishing a night shift?

Unfortunately, apart from feeling exhausted and lethargic, improper sleep does more harm to our health than we assume. We are not only paying fines for sleep deprivation in terms of lack of focus and bad mood; it has greater consequences for our long-term health.

The Vicious Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Despite rising awareness about the importance of proper sleep at night, health disorders associated with lack of adequate sleep are on continuous rise. It is estimated that approximately 1/3rd of human population suffers from health hazarding effects associated with poor sleep, working on computer and stress.

Alone in the US, approximately 50-70 million people are suffering from chronic health problems linked with sleep and wakefulness. Diabetes, heart diseases, obesity, and shortened life expectancy are the most common health disorders linked with poor sleep at night.

Research studies conducted on a group of volunteers state concluded that people getting inadequate sleep are at higher risk of falling victim to chronic diseases such as impaired control of blood glucose, increased inflammation, increase blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. According to these epidemiological research studies, long term sleep deprivation is also linked with the development of health problem in people who are initially healthy.

Why Sleep Matters?

Usually, while we are sleeping, our body goes through a healing process; it provides a much needed energy boost to our body in order to effectively carry out hundreds of routine functions.

In order to function properly and sustain healthy energy level throughout the a day, a person needs good sound sleeping of 8 hours at night. Sometimes, our day starts with sluggishness and fighting for energy; usually, it happens due to inadequate sleep that prevents our body from getting sufficient relaxation.

Mental Well-Being

Critical mood disorders including depression, mental distress, stress and anxiety are linked with chronic sleep deprivation. Adequate sleep keeps us focused at work by improving mental clarity and reducing stress level. As per a study, mental exhaustion, sadness and depression are correlated with people getting less than 4 ½ hours of sleep per night.

Diabetes Prevention

Research studies point out to a strong connection between development of diabetes and getting less than 5 hours of sleep. It increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by adversely affecting the way our body utilises glucose.

Immune Boost & Sex Drive

Adequate sleep improves our body’s immune strength and saves us from health problems associated with a weakened immune state. Lower libido is common among men and women not getting enough sleep at night. Sleep apnoea in men is associated with lower libido due to lower testosterone levels.

Healthy Heart

As per research studies, if a person is suffering from hypertension, even one night of sleep deprivation leads to increased blood pressure the following day. Poor sleeping pattern is well known to be associated with stroke, increases blood pressure, and the development of many cardiovascular diseases including coronary heart disease. Adequate sleep improves our cardiovascular health and helps in reducing high blood pressure.

Healthy Weight Loss

Sleep promotes natural weight loss. In truth, sleep deprivation means putting on more and more weight. If you are sleeping less than 7 hours, it increases your chances of gaining more weight.

Increased Life Expectancy

It is not surprising that sleep deprivation is associated with lower life expectancy. Epidemiological studies narrate that sleeping 5 hours or less at night increases mortality risk by 15 percent.

So what’s you are going to pick? Heart disease, obesity, diabetes, shortened life, or a soothing, relaxed sleep at night?

 

References:

NHS. Why lack of sleep is bad for your health. NHS, UK. 2018. [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/why-lack-of-sleep-is-bad-for-your-health/ [Accessed 5 March 2019]

Harvard Medical School. Sleep and disease risk. 2007. [Online] Available at: http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/consequences/sleep-and-disease-risk [Accessed 5 March 2019]

NIH. Sleep deprivation. NIH. 2016. [Online] Available at: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/sleep/conditioninfo/sleep-deprivation [Accessed 5 March 2019]

Neurocore. How sleep affects mental health. Neurocore. 2018. [Online] Available at: https://www.neurocorecenters.com/blog/how-sleep-affects-mental-health [Accessed 5 March 2019]

 

The most innovative of changes to healthcare is the ability to personalize one’s care to their individual medical and personal needs. This new paradigm in medicine uses smart technologies and patient participation to prevent and treat disease. Personalized healthcare works by being able to tailor treatment and care that takes into account not just patient symptoms but also their genomics or genetic profile, brain circuitry, family dynamics, cultural and environmental exposures. Analysis of this data enables the doctor or nurse to understand the patient’s unique characteristics and develop prevention strategies based on individual risk profiles.

Personalised medicine is an evolving practice which has become increasingly popular in the past two decades owing to its ability to streamline care. Specifically, it is being introduced into routine clinical practice and becoming a part of cancer prevention, diagnosis and prognosis. Within therapeutics it focuses on molecular targeting, increasing efficacy and decreasing toxicity.  One the biggest barriers to developing personalized medicine are the cost of resources, the complexity of developing an acceptable system for sharing genomic data and translating data into clinical practice. For personalized medicine to expand and become a part of future of medicine then long strides need to be made to provide training to healthcare professionals1.  More recently, this form of personalized healthcare has been advocated to be included into educational curriculum for primary care providers. It has even insisted that doctors familiarize themselves with the unique mental, social and emotional factors of a patient that influence their health condition2.

Integrated Medicine has been referred to as a form of personalized medicine. Both put the individual at the centre of healthcare. It allows for medicine to be viewed as a philosophy, through an understanding of the patient.  This promotes the likelihood that your doctor will see you as a whole person – thoughts, feelings, mental state included – and not just another prescription to write. Integrated medicine is especially beneficial to the patient because it allows you to have a say in your treatment and be educated on the actual decisions your doctors are making. It promotes a compassionate care environment where the patient feels heard by their health provider, which ultimately helps balance the feeling of power disparities between patient and doctor.

A healthy doctor-patient relationship is a promising option for the future of healthcare. It has the ability to create a unique dialogue that could change the way doctors care for patients for the better. Personalised medicine should be seen as a movement that encompasses wider medicine and healthcare. It must be based on cohesive, tight collaboration between the patient, medical professionals, researchers, scientists and social scientists3.

 

References

  1. Rehm HL. Evolving health care through personal genomics. Nat Rev Genet. 2017;18(4):259–67. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28138143
  2. Brooks AJ, Koithan MS, Lopez AM, Klatt M, Lee JK, Goldblatt E, Sandvold I, Lebensohn P. Incorporating integrative healthcare into interprofessional education: What do primary care training programs need? J Interprof Edu & Prac. 2019;14:6–12. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405452617301635
  3. Pavelić, K. , Martinović, T. and Kraljević Pavelić, S. (2015), Do we understand the personalized medicine paradigm?. EMBO rep. 2015; 16: 133-136. doi:10.15252/embr.201439609

Have you recently felt struggling to organize your thoughts? Do you often forget to complete important tasks at work? Our thoughts and emotions are dictated by the brain. Memory is the most important factor to succeed in life. Our memory power and concentration go hand in hand; we think clearly when our brain is in its most optimum state of health. Any form of unbalance in brain functions leads to poor concentration, clouded thinking, and confusion. 

Acupuncture to Optimize Brain Power

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicinal therapy that has been around for more than 3000 years. It consists of inserting tiny, thin needles into specific points of a body to stimulate and balance the flow of Qi energy, enhance circulation and release useful hormonal and substances in our body.

Disposable sterile needles are used through gentle insertion at specific body points. More than 400+ points are known. Also referred to as “Acupuncture points”, they lie on 14 major pathways known as “meridians”. Each meridian links to individual body systems, including internal organs. Disruption to this flow is seen as blockages or sluggish Qi flow. Qi encompasses spiritual, physical, and emotional energy. Acupuncture acts by unblocking or stimulating these pathways to facilitate these functions.

Do you know that our intellectual thinking is mutually dependent with other physiological systems?. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine Shen (mind and spirit) is our higher self; consciousness, emotions and thoughts. It influences long term memory, encompasses our wisdom and oversees mental and creative abilities. Brain memory is closely linked to the health and performance of the spleen, heart, kidney, and liver. According to the Five Element theory all of them are mutually inter-dependent e.g. spleen nourishes the heart, or disharmony between the heart and kidneys results in insomnia, anxiety and menopausal symptoms.  Emotionally, the spleen controls worry, the heart is responsible for love and happiness, fear is the realm of the kidneys and anger is associated with the liver (1, 2, 3, 4). Acupuncture positively influences the ability to think clearly by improving long term memory.

Acupuncture for Healthier Brain & Improved Concentration

We are living in a world where we are constantly bombarded by numerous forms of interruptions, smells, sounds and sights; these make it extremely difficult to stay focused at any particular time but even more so for higher level functioning.

Medical studies conducted by the Journal of Neural Regeneration Research concluded that acupuncture can help to improve our brain’s cognitive functions. The same study narrated that acupuncture can increase neural plasticity and thus improve overall brain function. It helps to restore body balance and improve mental clarity.

Treating specific acupuncture such as BA HUI – GV 20, YANG BAI – GB 14, YIN TANG – GV 24.5, SHUI GOU – GV 26, THREE MILE POINT – ST 36, HEAVENLY PILLAR – B10, DAN ZHONG – CV 17 etc. aims to improve brain health and memory functions.

Acupuncture & Brain Disorders

Medical studies focused on Alzheimer’s diseases conclude that acupuncture benefits the spatial learning process of the brain, and helps to improve memory functions. It is shown to improve brain glucose metabolism and helps improve subtle memory loss associated with dementia. Enhanced energy metabolism in the brain is imperative for the ability to learn, memorise as well as cognitive ability.

This time-tested, natural treatment therapy is a boon for your mental health. It energizes the body and nourishes your mind to sharpen memory, improve alertness, and boost your brain power.

If you are having problems focusing or have problems with memory or concentration, then acupuncture may be a good alternative treatment for you. Along with acupuncture, good nutrition also helps tremendously to boost brain functions. When it comes to brain health, never underestimate the power of a healthy diet. Wholesome nutrition acts as a brain food that keeps it sharp and healthy.

 

 

Unfortunately, Acupuncture cannot offer quick fixes. Acupuncture is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) discipline; its origins are in Taoism which is rooted in the natural world offering a view of health in relation to the natural environment.  Many Chinese philosophers were also contemplative, in depth scientists who devoted their life time to observing natural phenomenon. From this they developed a range of philosophical models to describe human body functions and its relationship to health. In this way they expressed their understanding of health using the language of natural forces and cycles.

TCM teaches us that health is a state of harmony between the many biological and energetic forces within our own body. There is no distinction between us as living beings, our mind and our body. When there is a problem or conflict in any then disease manifests itself as pain or other illness. Attainment of good health is a gentle process of balancing these forces. Healing takes place over a period of time.

In a modern technological world where complex tasks have been simplified to an effortless push of a button, people are often disappointed when told that regaining health is not a simple task, nor is it a short term endeavour. In many cases they have been battling with their health for many years whilst receiving medical treatment. Often patients want acupuncture to be a quick-fix without too much effort. It is amusing to think that they have such confidence in acupuncture. That a single or a few treatments will forever rid them of their health problems. Unfortunately, this is not the case although all acupuncturists would love to have such an ability to heal.

Acupuncture and TCM treatment is akin to gardening- building up healthy fertile soil, eliminating pests, growing complementary plants together, adequate water, sun and suitable temperature to grow the best possible crop. Gardening takes time. It takes regular and consistent care over many months before one can reap the harvest. With constant changes in the environment, wind, rain, sun and snow there is a need for steady ongoing care. Similarly, health is not a constant state of being; there is always an ebb and flow which needs to be cared for. The body needs good nutrition to build up resistance and resilience to overcome disease. The mind needs a suitable environment with the necessary stimulation to experience feelings of contentment and happiness. Spiritually, there needs to be a connection within oneself, others and the natural world. This is the catalyst for a person’s self-healing.

Self-healing is true healing, acknowledged by many ancient philosophies and texts. Through the natural rhythm of the universe, humans have an innate ability to self-heal. This ability is masked when the natural balance and self-awareness is lost e.g. when there is unhappiness, mental stresses or a disease state. Acupuncture and TCM treatments aim to return the balance by restoring the smooth flow of qi thus activating self-healing in the body. Unlike medical treatments that only addresses symptoms, acupuncture and TCM treatments also affects the mind, emotions and spiritual self. A strong inner self resides within us which is able to communicate the process of self-healing to the body. Reconnecting to the inner self is key to initiating this process. Acupuncture and TCM can help start this process of reconnection and harmonising.

How long will it take for your garden to grow ?

This January Many people are thinking about weight loss you are not alone.  Its when many  try to shed a few pounds with the aim to have health and happiness.  For some, this is a regular New Year event, the main reason being making a positive change in their life or a variety of reasons. Maintaining cosmetic appearances should not be the main reason  to pay attention to your weight. Sometimes a diagnosis of obesity, heart condition, diabetes or arthritis  may be the impetus  for change.

In the UK 77% of men and 63% of women are either overweight or obese.  In the last 20 years obesity has risen by 16%. Being overweight dramatically increases the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (particularly osteoarthritis),  cardiovascular disease,  diabetes  and some cancers.  There is much evidence to support a strong link that carrying excessive fat around the waistline  triggers long-term inflammatory processes throughout the body.  It also increases insulin resistance,  abnormalities in blood fats and build-up of fat in the liver.

Being overweight isn’t caused by single type of food or a lack of willpower.  Healthy choices are not always easy to make. Eating out,  ready meals and larger portion sizes also  make it more difficult. Our lifestyle has become more sedentary,  we are less likely to walk, run  or cycle.

Which type of diet is best ?

New diets are constantly being lunch throughout the year.  Each diet is promoted to be the diet to end all diets. Unfortunately,  most of these are short term solutions, can be very restrictive and not designed to achieve long-term success. Most diets either restrict calories or minimise carbohydrate (including sugars) and fat intake.

  • Calorie restriction can be highly effective and can improve metabolic imbalances caused by obesity e.g.  inflammation, insulin resistance, raised blood fats  and high blood pressure.  Most  research studies use  around 20%-30%  reduction in calorie intake from the baseline. However, in long-term weight loss there appears to be no difference between diets low in fat compared to diets low in carbohydrates (and sugars).
  • Fasting can make calorie restriction easier for some people. There are many versions of a fasting diet. They include;
    • Periodic fasting : limiting a diet to 500-750 calories a day for  2 to 5 days every month,  or every couple of months.
    •  Intermittent fasting:   commonly known as the “5: 2 diet”  recommends 500- 750  calories a day for 2 days every week. OR  “the 16:8”  fasting overnight (13-16 hours) every 24 hours.  the latter does not involve restricting calories but simply narrows the window in which calories are consumed.

We can’t all just get Thin !  There are many functional imbalances that prevent the best attempts at weight loss.  These include:

  • Imbalances in the gut absorption and digestion
  • Problems with blood sugar control
  • Thyroid gland problems e.g.  hypothyroidism
  • Disruption in adrenal function, causing imbalances in various hormones
  • Imbalances in sex hormones
  • Imbalance in the brain chemistry
  • Problems with appetite controlling chemicals
  • High toxic load

Ultimately,  the most effective diet is one that the individual find easiest to stick with  in the long term.  Usually,  this will be a low glycaemic load (low-GL) diet. Carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolized and therefore there is a slower rise in blood sugar and insulin  resulting in lower and consistent sugar levels.

On their own dietary measures are rarely sufficient to manage weight loss. Diet with exercise is far more effective  both for short and long-term weight management.  Evidence suggests that regular aerobic type exercise or resistance training plus walking approximately 10,000 steps a day.  Exercise not only  burns calories,  but also releases endorphins which improves food cravings and insulin sensitivity. Adequate hydration is also crucial to achieving a healthy weight.  Lack of sleep leads to ghrelin hormone production stimulating hunger and suppresses leptin hormone which controls appetite.  In one study women who slept less than 7 hours and night had a 30% higher likelihood to add 33 lbs over a 16 year period.

Without doubt supplements are essential for healthy weight loss. These include; multi-vitamins, B-vitamins, minerals, fish oil, green tea, probiotics, L-Theanine and others.

 

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