There are more than 80 chronic illnesses that are immune related including rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, and celiac disease.
Autoimmune diseases result when the immune system mistakenly attacks its own body’s tissues. Immune deficiency is more common than most people think; around 20 percent of the population suffers from some form of an autoimmune disorder, according to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association.
Although symptoms vary greatly depending on the specific disease, commons symptoms include chronic fatigue, joint pain, muscle weakness, weight loss, dry eyes and abdominal pain.
Autoimmune diseases are not always easily treated, as they are a chronic illness with no known cure. However, there are natural ways to ease and reduce symptoms such as acupuncture treatment.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is believed that immune deficiencies come from an imbalance in the body. When there is a stagnation in the body’s natural energy flow, called Qi, the body becomes out of balance, whether it is from a deficiency or excess of yin or yang.
Acupuncture works by addressing the body as a whole. By using specific acupuncture points on the body, the treatment is able to release any blockages and return the body back to its natural balance.
Research has shown that acupuncture can affect the release of hormones, proteins and chemicals in the body, which can affect blood pressure and the immune system.
Although there is no cure, immune deficiencies can be managed properly to have the best quality of life possible. Acupuncture has also been shown to help boost mood and lower stress and anxiety, which can be triggers for increased symptoms.
If you think you may have an autoimmune disease and are not getting a diagnosis, don’t give up. Immune deficiencies are hard to diagnose because of the wide range of symptoms. It may take multiple doctors to get a correct diagnosis.
Acupuncture is a safe, non-invasive treatment option that can decrease symptoms and improve overall well being.
Do you think Acupuncture can help yourself or someone you know? Want to know more? Please don't hesitate to contact us with questions or to book online anytime!
Getting pregnant can be frustrating when it isn’t happening as easily as planned. There are many reasons you could be dealing with a difficult pregnancy including egg health. There are many factors that play into egg health including blood circulation, stress and hormonal balance.
Hormonal imbalances in women are common and can result in weight gain, fatigue, skin problems, infertility and PMS. Hormones are an important part to our body’s growth and development, mood, reproduction and metabolism.
There are many reasons that some women have a higher risk of breast cancer including both genetics and environmental impacts.
Many women feel their metabolism has slowed over the years, making it harder to break down and burn calories and fat.
Don’t let the cold and flu season get you down this year. There are many natural ways to boost your immune system to prevent illness and to improve energy levels.
The kidney is an especially important organ in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Not only does it flush out the unwanted toxins from our body, but is believed to support the body’s reproductive system as well as regulate the circulation of fluids in the body.
In TCM, the kidney is the source of yin and yang, housing your Pre-Natal energy. This means that it houses the Qi you enter the world with, determining your Yin and Yang baseline - the cooling and warming energies that keep your body in balance.
When the kidney/bladder system is weak and not functioning properly, this can result in different problems and imbalances throughout the body.
A common issue that many people experience related to the kidney is an overactive bladder. TCM has been treating this problem for more than 2,000 years. Acupuncture and TCM work by addressing the problem as a whole. When the body is experiencing urinary problems, it means there is an imbalance throughout the body.
When there are problems with the kidneys, there is a deficiency of the body’s natural energy flow, called Qi. Acupuncture treats the specific issue, such as an overactive bladder, by correcting the overall imbalance in the body. Once your qi is returned back to its natural state of balance, the kidney/bladder system will begin to function as it should.
Acupuncture also helps the kidneys by stimulating more blood circulation, which then improves overall function as well as lowers blood pressure.
Kidney disease is often related to immune problems. Through stimulation of blood flow and focusing on specific acupuncture points on the body, acupuncture can boost the immune system.
Herbs for kidney health:
The second week of March is Brain Awareness Week, which I just couldn't ignore this year. Brain Health is a hot topic in my family these days - my mother has Vascular Dementia and lived with us for the past 6 years. In August she had a stroke and we were no longer able to keep her at home due to her high fall risk and low cognitive function. It has been a huge transition for us, and a huge reminder of how important brain health is to long term health and wellness. The truth of the matter is that you can never start paying attention to brain health too early, and the more you can prevent instead of treat the longer you will have a healthy brain.
In light of Brain Awareness week, therefore, this is a perfect time to explore ways to keep your noggin working and healthy. Below are some easy, simple ways to keep your brain in good shape that my family and I try to observe.
A healthy diet is a healthy mind
There are many reasons to keep a healthy lifestyle and feed your body with foods that make you feel and perform your best. Diets that are low in saturated fats and cholesterol and higher in omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to promote brain health and protect brain cells. Taking a fish oil supplement with DHA or eating fish such as salmon can help improve brain development at any age. DHA, a type of omega-3, may also help prevent certain neurological disorders. Vitamin E and lutein can also help brain health. Incorporate leafy greens such as spinach and kale into your lunch or dinners.
Keep your brain stimulated
At any age, brain exercises are a great thing to get into the habit of. Keeping your brain stimulated can help retain your memory as you get older as well as your capability to learn new skills. The brain is never done learning. Exercises like reading, crosswords, number problems and games like sudoku can help keep your brain stay active and working. In particular, learning NEW things can help your brain create new neural connections bolstering its strength and vitality. You don't have to be good at something new, you just have to try to learn it so taking a new class or picking up a new hobby for 3-6 months can be brilliant for your brain.
Furthermore, if you find yourself experiencing chronic stress, practice daily meditation for as little as five minutes a day to help reduce inflammation and support immune health, which are both controlled by the same area of the brain.
Keeping in touch with friends and family and continuously working on building relationships helps your emotional state as well as your physical health. Surround yourself with people who challenge you, understand you and keep a positive tone. Join organizations or clubs you are interested in and make new connections. Feeling connected to others is always important for your mental wellbeing.
Quit the bad habits
If you smoke, now is the best time to quit. Consuming an excess in substances such as alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs can lower cognitive processes and decrease overall functioning and health.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is believed that the spleen, kidney and heart organs all impact mental capacity and brain activity. These organs influence memory, concentration and recall. When one of these organs is experiencing deficiency or an imbalance, our brain can not function to its fullest. Acupuncture addresses the organs with specific points on the body to return the body back to balance and health.
I will be completely honest that this has been one of my biggest challenges throughout my life. As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder from an early age, I have times where my relationship with food seems "normal" and times where I still struggle with overeating and sugar addiction. How well I do depends on so many factors, and my emotional state in the moment is always high on the list.
Speaking of lists, however, when I feel very off kilter with my eating running through a list of what to do to bring myself back to center is one of the rituals I engage in to help ground myself. This is the overarching list that I try to adhere to and I actually run through it in my mind almost like a mantra during stressful times. This is even something you could post on the fridge, especially during the holidays, to help keep you on track when you need that little extra reminder to eat mindfully!
We’ve always the heard the saying to enjoy everything in moderation, and that is definitely true when it comes to food. Don’t try to deprive yourself during special occasions and holidays in particular, it most likely won’t go over well. Having an extra treat here and there won’t kill you. You’re allowed to indulge a bit, just keep portions small when it comes to desserts and make sure you limit how often you eat them. Going the whole season without any treats is cruel and will most likely end in binging later, so have your guilty pleasures, just keep them in moderation.
Watch the alcohol
When the times call for celebration, this most likely means more alcohol. Not only does alcohol add on empty calories, but can also lead you to eating more while drinking. If you are at a gathering, limit yourself to one or two drinks to cut down on the unhealthy cravings you might be feeling afterward.
Focus on the protein
Protein-packed foods are a great way to fill up without adding a lot of sugar and empty carbohydrates. Pack your plate with low-fat meats like turkey and chicken. If you’re vegetarian, eat more of the tofu than the side dishes that are most likely to be sugar and carbohydrate heavy.
Fill up on the water
Don’t forget about water! The celebrations especially are an easy time to drink more sugary beverages than normal. Substitute drinks for water, and drink a lot of it. Not only is water essential for your health, but drinking a glass before a meal can fill you up more as well, preventing you from overeating.
Take your time
Eating too fast is one of the easiest ways to overeat. When you don’t give your body the chance to digest food and feel full before you stop eating, chances are you’re going to end up eating more than you want. Eat slowly and enjoy each bite to give your body a chance to catch up. This way, you’ll end up getting full faster and eat less.
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.