A recent article published by Sepalika.com provides information from multiple research studies that confirm the best way to manage diabetes is through proper diet. More specifically through the use of “superfoods.” The multiple studies showed various superfoods such as oily fish, broccoli, blueberries, beets and chia seeds can all help in the fight against diabetes. These foods have been shown to lower blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity and improve blood sugar control. This is very promising for those suffering from diabetes because it may ultimately help them reverse this disease.
With diabetes being the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, the research never seems to end. Over 29 million Americans suffer from this disease and the numbers aren’t getting any better. Diabetes is caused by a dysfunction of the pancreas. There are two forms of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. Type 2 can be reversed through the use of proper diet and exercise. This is where superfoods come into play.
Superfoods are defined as foods thought to be nutritionally dense and thus good for one’s health. There is no set criteria for determining what is truly a superfood though. Superfoods don’t have their own food group, as they can be either plant-based or animal-based. Popular superfoods have very large doses of vitamins and minerals that can help us fight off diseases and live longer lives. Some of the nutrients found in certain superfoods include antioxidants, healthy fats, fiber and phytochemicals. However, just because a food is considered a superfood, that doesn’t mean that one should eat unlimited quantities. For example, many superfood juices are still high in sugar and should be used in moderation.
For those suffering from diabetes, superfoods can provide a plethora of nutrients that can help balance blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, which may ultimately provide for disease reversal.
Here are some examples of superfoods that are very beneficial for diabetics to consume. Beans are a great source of protein and they are high in soluble fiber, which lowers blood glucose levels. Berries have been shown to decrease insulin resistance due to the content of compounds known as anthocyanins, which are members of the phytochemical family. Flaxseed has been shown to decrease fasting blood glucose levels.
Non-starchy vegetables are low in carbohydrates, which means a little goes a long way when it comes to filling up the gut and fighting hunger. Polyphagia or the urge to excessively eat, is a common symptom in diabetics. Non-starchy vegetables may be the answer to this problem. These veggies are also high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals. Non-starchy vegetables include artichokes, asparagus, broccoli and beets. The American Diabetes Association also endorses most non-starchy vegetables as low glycemic index foods, which means diabetics can eat them with abandon and still avoid excessively high blood glucose levels.
As with anything, moderation is the key. But the use of these superfoods may be very helpful for those suffering from diabetes. In most cases, Type 2 diabetes is reversible. The question becomes what does the patient desire more. This will ultimately determine the outcome.
A study published by the Healthcare Medicine Institute found acupuncture can effectively decrease symptoms of diabetes. This study actually looked at two clinical trials and determined both showed improvement for the participants. The first trial focused primarily on the usage of acupuncture, coupled with moxibustion. The second trial aimed to study diabetic gastroparesis and how it can be treated using acupuncture. Both trials concluded the overall symptoms of diabetes sufferers can be greatly decreased through the use of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. The trial that used both acupuncture and moxibustion yielded an 84.78 percent efficacy rate for those diagnosed with yin deficient diabetes and a 69.75 percent efficacy rate for those diagnosed with yang deficient diabetes.
Diabetes is now labeled as an epidemic in the United States, with nearly 29 million Americans suffering from the disease and another 86 million on the verge of becoming diabetic, as they deal with prediabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of kidney failure, lower limb amputations and adult-onset blindness.
Diabetes is caused by dysfunction of the pancreas. There are two forms of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Type 2 diabetes is the most common and it affects the way the body processes blood sugar or glucose. While Type 2 diabetes is usually reversible through proper diet and exercise. The usual treatments include daily injections of insulin and blood sugar monitoring. But due to the standard American diet (SAD), many people in the U.S. are constantly struggling and unfortunately, losing the battle. This is where TCM may be able to help.
In numerous studies, TCM has been shown to lower blood sugar levels, decrease the symptoms of polyphagia (urge to eat constantly), polydipsia (excessive thirst) and polyuria (excessive urination), improve microcirculation and enhance blood flow to the peripheral areas of the body.
Acupuncture, one of the many modalities used in TCM, uses hair-thin, solid needles to trigger the body’s regulatory systems that then release chemicals that stimulate the secretion of hormones, reduce pain and inflammation and help the body restore homeostasis. The blood glucose lowering effects of acupuncture are due to the down-regulation of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that encourages the liver to create glucose, which is thought to be the reason that insulin sensitivity is increased.
Another facet of TCM that can help greatly with diabetes patients is diet and herbal formulations. There are many foods and herbs that have showed significant hypoglycemic action. These include mung beans, rehmannia, astragalus, lycium bark and fruit, ginseng and even asparagus root.
TCM offers hope for those suffering from diabetes without the adverse side effects frequently associated with the prescribed medications. If you or somebody you know suffers from diabetes, consider contacting a fully licensed TCM practitioner to see what they can do for you.
During an initial session of acupuncture, most practitioners began with an extensive health intake that goes over all of the systems in the body. We use this to determine certain patterns of imbalance, allowing us to treat the root cause of issues. This is one way we differ from Western medicine.
I have learned throughout the years when someone makes an appointment to deal with their pain, this is all they are concerned about. I understand completely. If I pulled a muscle in my back and went to a doctor who gave me medication to help with digestion, I would be confused and annoyed he wasn’t dealing with the issue I came in with. So, when I see patients, I focus on their presenting issue. I know once this problem has resolved, they will likely see other beneficial side effects from the treatment, such as:
If you're intrigued or interested in learning more, please don't hesitate to book in using the links above and below or to contact me for more information. I'm happy to help!
Yours in Health,
Traditional Chinese Medicine, a medical system that has been around for nearly 3,000 years, views the body differently than modern medicine. When the body is broken down to its core, its tiniest molecules can be classified as energy. This means every element of the universe resides within the human body, to some degree. And every organ has its own properties and energies that must remain balanced for the body to function properly.
The energies within the body must be a perfect synergy of elements. This allows for homeostatic balance, biochemical balance, longevity and harmony between the body and mind.
The food we put in our mouths can either fuel us or slowly kill us. By knowing which body type we fit into based on the five elements, wood, fire, water, earth or metal, we can then eat a balanced diet that will allow us to remain healthy and strong throughout our lives. Here are some guidelines that may be helpful.
The wood element body type tends to be slender with a long face, body and fingers, similar to a tree. The liver, gallbladder, tendons, ligaments and sinews are all controlled by the wood element. Recommended foods for the wood body type include anything sour, and green foods with stalks. Make sure to exclude alcohol, processed foods, high fat foods and most dairy, as these foods can restrict the free flow of energy and blood, while wreaking havoc on the function of the wood element.
The fire element body type tends to possess a pointy nose, chin and top of the head. The fire element body is shaped like a torch, pointed on the top, narrow at the bottom and flared in the middle. The fire element handles the circulatory, glandular and immune systems. This includes the heart, small intestine and the lymphatic system. Recommended foods for the fire body type include bitter foods, grains, vegetables, dark leafy greens, beans and seeds. These foods tend to keep the fire at bay, avoiding an overabundance. Foods to avoid include chocolate, salt, meats, stimulants and hot spices.
The water element body type has a tendency towards “thickness.” The face tends to be large and round, with a wider base, while the body is full and chubby. The water element rules the kidneys, bladder, bones, nerves and teeth. Recommended foods for the water element body type include pure water (not what is contained in juices, coffee, etc.), blue, purple and black foods, root vegetables and seaweeds and seafood. Foods to avoid include sugars, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, frozen and excessively raw foods.
The earth element body type tends to be short in stature, with a short body, short fingers and neck. The face tends to be square, while the body is pear shaped with rounded buttocks. The earth element rules the digestive and structural systems within the body. This includes the stomach, spleen and muscles. Recommended foods for the earth element body type include root vegetables, leafy greens and light proteins such as legumes and fish. Foods to avoid include refined carbohydrates, dairy, iced drinks and processed foods as they gunk up the digestive system and overtax the spleen and stomach.
The metal element body type tends to have defined facial features and broad, square shoulders. However, their features tend to be thin in nature, such as thin lips and eyelids. The metal element rules the intestinal, respiratory and skin systems, as well as assisting with the immune system. Recommended foods include those that have a dispersing effect and promote energy circulation. Foods sour in nature are best for this body type. Also foods high in minerals like leafy greens and vegetables are good choices. Foods to avoid include dairy, red meat and bitter foods.
Once we know our elemental body type, we can effectively nourish our body without wreaking havoc. Want to know more about optimizing YOUR body according to Chinese Medicine? Book online using the links above or below or contact us for more information!
Problems with pain management are almost always the primary complaint in patients suffering from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). Much of this pain is musculoskeletal in nature such as a sprain, tendinosis or joint subluxation. But often our patient's pain complaints are less clear. This pain can be described as a burning, stabbing pain that moves throughout the body inexplicably and without identifiable causes. Recent research by Cazzato, et al. has demonstrated that patients with EDS have a very high chance of manifesting small fiber neuropathy in the sensory fibers of their skin.
Neuropathy is the inflammation or death of nerve fibers in the outer-layers of our bodies. This is commonly seen in diabetic patients with changes in their blood chemistry. However it has recently been identified that more than 90% of investigated EDS patients demonstrate evidence of localized small fiber neuropathy. This has commonly been identified and treated in the fibromyalgia populations with medications such as Neurontin/Gabapentin, Amitriptyline, Pregabalin and Cymbalta.
This type of pain would be classified as neuropathic pain and is very different from mechanical type musculoskeletal pain. Pain medications like NSAID, opioids and muscle relaxants that are prescribed for musculoskeletal pain are often unsuccessful for treating neuropathically induced pains.
The Cazzato study reported 19 of 24 EDS patients complained of moderate to severe symptoms consistent with neuropathic pain. When their research patients were examined via skin biopsy all 24 demonstrated findings consistent with small fiber neuropathy.
When discussing pain medication with your providers it is important to identify what the underlying pain generators are in order to pick efficacious medicines and interventions. If your pain is a diffuse burning discomfort that bounces around the surface levels of skin, fascia and muscle you may benefit from a medication specifically targeting neurogenic pain.
Not sure where you pain is coming from or why? That is a great reason to come see a Physical Therapist who can manually test your body and evaluate your symptoms to provide direction and advice about the best course of action. As a Doctor of Physical Therapy with advanced training it would be my pleasure to evaluate and assess what is going on to help you find relief and develop a plan of action that will lead to better quality of life. Email me or call 360-952-3074 to request an appointment today for more information.
~Brian Kitzerow, DPT, CMPT, OCS
Acupuncture is an effective method of treatment for seniors struggling with hypertension. The reasons are manifold. Doctors want to reduce medical waste and find more effective ways to actually treat disease, instead of masking symptoms. More medical professsionals and scientists are also realizing that holistic treatments offer effective, non-intrusive health solutions for many conditions. In addition, elderly people have delicate body systems. Many factors like diet, activity and emotional balance affect their blood pressure rate. Modern medicine also comes with a myriad of side effects.
Reducing Medical Waste
Thereâs no doubt the healthcare crisis in America is largely due to spending waste. Insurance carriers and patients spend money on unnecessary expenses and procedures. Yet the healthcare they receive does little to heal their conditions. To reduce waste, physicians are starting to call for better quality healthcare; and cutting out unnecessary pre-op tests, excessive care visits, and over-medication. Scientific research is also starting to show that when you add round-the-clock safety monitoring and body-balancing holistic treatments to a patients' healthcare regimen; overall medical care begins to produce more measurable results.
Ups and Downs
Everyoneâs blood pressure rate fluctuates throughout the day. Seniors are no exception. During the day your bp is higher than when itâs resting at night. It rises after a big meal or when youâre experiencing stress.
Some seniors are at significant risk for developing depression and other emotional conditions because of the drastic changes they experience as they enter their senior years. Many seniors also suffer from food insecurity because their appetites change due to stress and emotional trauma, poor cognition and simply lack of hunger. In addition to causing hypertension, malnutrition can contribute to health conditions like heart disease, gum disease, asthma, psoriasis and lifestyle limitations.
The only way to get an accurate reading at a doctorâs office is for patients to rest for 10 minutes before the doctor takes the reading. Many doctors then take a second standing reading as well. Sometimes doctors ask patients to take readings throughout over a period of 24 hours if they suspect issues like:
What Makes Acupuncture Effective?
Because blood pressure is something that can fluctuate so much, medical professionals are finding that prescribing strong medicine isnât an ideal solution. In addition, doctors readily admit that most of the popular medicines on the market have undesirable side effects.
Just like blood flows throughout the body, energy flows as well throughout body channels called meridians. Acupuncture stimulates these meridians. Each meridian communicates with the brain and corresponds with a body system governing an important function like pain perception, blood pressure, the cardiovascular system and adrenaline response. Strong scientific research backs the statement that acupuncture is an effective treatment for hypertension and many other conditions. Doctors have even performed surgery with no pain medication other than acupuncture.
âBy freelance contributor Sally Phillips
We all know that there are several benefits that occur from participating in regular exercise. But is exercise specifically helpful for the hypermobile type Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) population? And if so, how and why?
We have good evidence that exercise is helpful for many components of our lives. It helps with hormonal control of estrogen, testosterone, progesterone and cortisol. It improves sleep cycles and the hormones involved in regulating our sleep patterns. It helps improve muscle mass and prevents the loss of bone density.
Exercise participation is strongly correlated with reductions in stress, anxiety, and depression, and improvements in mood and the sense of well-being. Exercise is linked with improvements in coordination and decreases in fall risk. Improvements in cognition, focus, and memory are also linked with exercise participation. There has been strong evidence demonstrating that unstable joints are improved with exercise and that exercise can reduce daily pain levels.
As you may or may not know, EDS is a connective tissue disorder. As connective tissue is widespread throughout the body, EDS has wide-ranging effects. Joints are less stable and have a higher incidence of injury and subluxation. Balance (or proprioception) is reduced raising the incidence of falls. Bone density can be effected. Muscle strength is commonly lower in this population (which some researchers have connected with joint proprioception deficits and others with fear of movement). Dysfunctional movement patterns are adopted with impaired coordination. And many different types of pains are experienced.
But is exercise beneficial for patients with joint hypermobility syndrome (JHS) and hEDS? Research is suggesting yes for many reasons. Kemp looked at young patients over a six-week exercise course in one of two groups. One group had a generalized strength and conditioning program, and the other group had a more focused joint stabilization exercise program. Both groups demonstrated decreases in pain levels and functional assessment (roughly 30% improvement!) but the focused group also demonstrated more parental perceived functional gains. Studies by Sahin, Pacey, and Celenay all found similar responses with improvements in both function and comfort. A systematic review (assessment of all the available literature that the authors can find) in 2014 also found evidence for the use of balance retraining based exercises.
There is also limited evidence that just like hEDS, classical EDS (cEDS) responds well to exercise. Moller looked at three cEDS patients who were treated with “heavy” strength training 3 days per week. Measurements of the patellar tendon demonstrated improved strength of the tendon connective tissues from 1795 N/mm to 2519N/mm (>70% increase in strength). Energy levels and perceived strength were both improved in all subjects. And even though these exercise routines were very intensive, pain levels did not increase at the end of the study for 2 of the 3 subjects and were actually lower in the third subject.
In conclusion, the research is currently very supportive of exercise to improve function and comfort in the hEDS, JHS, and cEDS populations. It appears that there are better results from emphasizing trunk stabilization and balance based exercises, but all types of exercise studied showed improvements. It can be very helpful to be treated under the supervision of a physical therapist to oversee a controlled, graded progression of your program, as well as to address existing injuries with manual interventions as they interfere with your exercise program. Clinical experience suggests that exercise is the key intervention to return freedom, function and comfort in your life. Though connective tissue may be lax, muscle remains responsive to exercise and strength needs to be emphasized to compensate for ligamentous laxity.
Do or someone you know suffer from EDS? Do you suspect but are unsure? Considering coming to All Ways Well for an assessment from an experienced Physical Therapist. Email me questions or request an appointment online today.
~Brian Kitzerow, DPT
In a study published by the National Institute of Health, researchers found negative air ions had a positive effect on the physiological parameters of blood pressure and heart rate, as well as neuronal activity, when applied to a group of rats. It was observed that the negative air ions significantly decreased heart rate and the blood pressure. These findings suggest negative air ions can influence health through the inhibition of neuronal activity.
Negative ions may sound like something unhealthy, but in fact they have quite the opposite effect on the body. Negative ions are oxygen atoms charged with an extra electron. And recent studies suggest breathing air rich in negative ions can have a very positive effect on a person, both physically and mentally.
Negative ions are commonly found in natural places close to moving water. But they can also be felt in the air after a thunderstorm. You know that taste noticed near a beach or waterfall, or after a strong thunderstorm? These are all examples of negative ions saturating the air. Negative ions can clear the air of pollutants like mold, pollen, pet dander, bacteria, dust and foul odors. They do this by attaching to positively charged particles, causing air pollutants to become too heavy to stay airborne. Once they become too heavy, they drop to the ground, which prevents them from becoming respiratory pathogens.
There are numerous health benefits to negative ions. This is why it is suggested negative ionizers be used in the home and office. Negative ions are inhaled and once they are in the bloodstream, they produce biochemical reactions that can increase the chemical serotonin, which helps manage stress and depression. Negative ions also help increase the flow of oxygen to the brain. This can eliminate drowsiness and increase alertness and mental clarity.
The effects of ionization have been studied for decades. Many people claim to feel irritable or they may develop headaches or sinus problems when storms are brewing or approaching. Many elders claim to be able to “feel” the weather in their bones. Scientifically, this equates to the changes in electrical states within the atmosphere that typically accompany storms. In the 1970’s, researchers began measuring metabolic changes in rodents in response to concentration of ions in the air. The studies showed when the rats and mice were exposed to positive ions, they became agitated, aggressive and more prone to respiratory conditions. But these changes were not observed when the rodents were exposed to negative ions.
The best way to experience the positive health effects of negative ions is to spend more time in nature. Stepping outside after a thunderstorm blows through, walking along the beach or even going for a hike in the mountains are all ways of getting exposure to negative ions that can ultimately lead to good health and a positive attitude. If none of these things are possible, adding a Himalayan salt lamp to the home, is another great way to shift the mood. Regardless of how it’s achieved, absorbing negative ions can be a game changer.
There is a large variety of meditation to choose from. It isn’t all just sitting cross-legged with your eyes shut. Let’s explore types of meditation.
Types of meditation include Buddhist practices, transcendental, zen, mantra, chakra, sound, guided and active. How can someone choose where to start? Think about the type of person you are overall, the amount of time and dedication you have, and where your interests lie. What do you intend to get out of meditation?
Here are some benefits from practicing:
The goal of meditation is to quiet the mind and bring your consciousness to the present moment. In addition, meditation helps one connect with the inner self and increases connection to others and the whole of creation. Meditation eases persistent mental noise, improves focus, creativity and is calming. Almost any activity can be meditative if it absorbs your attention and keeps you present. Let’s consider some meditation exercises:
Qigong, tai chi, yoga - These exercises cultivate “life energy” and promote the circulation of energy (Qi) through the focus on breathing and movement. In particular these exercises circulate oxygen and blood. If you are interested in one of these, seek out a qualified instructor.
Activity mindfulness - Walking or doing other enjoyable activities such as sports, art, music or writing promote activity mindfulness. Doing dishes, gardening or cleaning can also be considered a meditation if we are focused and present while enjoying the experience.
Guided meditation - This type of meditation is where one sits and focuses on specific imagery given by an instructor or through audio. This form of meditation is often used in healing, as one can focus on specific parts of the body.
Sound - The focus of this meditation is on a sound, repeated mantra or vibration.
Mantra - Mantra meditation is repeating a mantra such as “Om” or “Om mani padme hum.” transcendental meditation, a very popular and well-known practice includes a mantra and is usually practiced about 20 minutes twice a day. It might be a good idea to seek out an instructor for transcendental meditation, as it has specific techniques that might require a higher level of assistance.
Sitting - Sitting meditation is very common and can incorporate focus on sound, a mantra or breathing. Practices tend to originate from Buddhism, and established positions, such as the lotus, have been taught to encourage deeper inner connection.
Binaural Beats - This is a modern addition to the meditation circle. Binaural beats are special frequencies that put the brain into meditative states such as alpha or theta. The frequencies, which synchronize brain waves, have benefits such as increased awareness. Binaural beats tend to quickly enhance mood. They can be found easily using an Internet search.
If you are ready for meditation, start slowly with one that looks enjoyable. Better yet, start right now by looking around you or going through every part your body with thoughts of appreciation.
Did you know shushing someone might actually may be beneficial to your health? There are six healing sounds known to Taoist qi gong practice that vibrate specific organs and promote emotional and physical well-being.
It has been shown sound vibrations promote healing and provide a type of massage to the organs. Six main organs that benefit from this sound vibration include the liver, heart, spleen, lungs, kidneys and triple burner. These are known as yin organs in Traditional Chinese Medicine and are associated with wood, fire, earth, metal and water. The key to vibrational healing is a relaxed attention to the organ to release stuck energy and emotion. It is not even necessary to voice the sounds; a whisper will do or even a mental rendition of the sound. There are many methods of qi gong practice for sound healing. You can explore more on YouTube or seek a qi gong teacher for more specific practice.
Liver: The emotion associated with the wood element, is the liver. The organ associated with the liver is the eyes. When someone is very angry, they tend to get bloodshot eyes due to rising energy. Visualize the liver and send love and attention to it. The sound of the liver is “sshh” (xu in pinyin). Give a nice breathless “sshh” down to your liver, releasing all the air in your lungs, relaxing and releasing any anger. Repeat five times.
Heart: The heart, a fire element, can get overwhelmed with frustration, hate and strong emotions. The heart’s emotion is joy, and the heart is involved with circulation and mental clarity. Visualize the heart in red and send down love and attention. The sound of the heart is He, pronounced “haaaaa” with the mouth wide open. Repeat five times, releasing all the air from the lungs and sending an inner smile to your heart.
Spleen: The spleen, the earth element, is involved with digestion and transformation of food. It can get bogged down with overthinking and worrying, anxiety and weight gain. Send the color yellow to your stomach area and give a breathless “hooo" (a guttural sound from the throat, not as in ”who” or “woo” but as in “hoe”), Hu in pinyin. Repeat five times, sending love to your spleen and stomach area, releasing all the air from your lungs.
Lungs: The lungs, the metal element, take in oxygen, circulate it and breathe out the old. The lungs are especially sensitive to external factors in the environment. The lungs are adversely affected by grief, sadness and depression. Send the color white to the lungs with an inner smile, release any sadness, and sound out “sss” with your tongue behind your teeth (si). Repeat five times.
Kidneys: The kidneys are associated with reproduction, sexuality, longevity, bones, urination, and your basic constitution. The kidneys are the water element and are associated with fear and phobias. Trauma will affect the kidneys, so visualize the kidneys in a dark blue or black and release fears with the sound “chooo" (chui). This is the whispered sound of blowing out a candle. Repeat as above.
San Jiao (Triple Burner): This meridian covers the top, middle and lower part of the body and is involved with irrigation and regulation of fluids. The sound associated with the triple burner is “sheee” (xi), a breathless sound to move the heat from the top part of the head down through the feet. Visualizing this heat moving downward helps boost sexual energy and warms the lower body.
The key to sound healing is to expel the old and bring in the new energy physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Seek out a teacher if you are interested in adopting these exercises more in depth. These sounds should not replace seeking medical treatment for any acute or chronic physical or mental condition.
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