12 Flu Natural Remedies

People with a depressed immune system or nutrient deficiencies may be more prone to catching the flu or a cold. Stress, lack of sleep and exposure to toxins can worsen flu symptoms.According to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on December 8, 2017, flu activity has been increasing in the U.S. since early November. Based on data from October 1 to November 25, 2017, researchers found Influenza A viruses predominated in all age groups and Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Oklahoma all had widespread flu activity. (1)

Luckily, there are flu natural remedies that can help.


What Is the Flu?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. These viruses spread through the air from person to person.

Download 12 natural flu remedies here.

Signs and symptoms of flu may include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • runny nose
  • muscle or body aches
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

Although anyone can get the flu, young children, pregnant women and adults 65 years old and older are at greater risk of developing serious flu-related complications. (2)


Conventional Treatment

Conventional flu treatment includes antiviral drugs and vaccines. As I’m sure you know, I do not recommend you get a flu shot as a preventative measure for the flu. These vaccines can cause side effects and often contain dangerous chemicals and preservatives. On rare occasions, they may even cause severe allergic reactions.

The CDC recently made some additions to the 2007 guidelines on nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to protect oneself and others against the flu. Some of the recommendations for personal NPIs include: (3)

  • Staying home when you’re sick.
  • Staying home if you’ve been exposed to a sick family or household member.
  • Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
  • Washing your hands or using hand sanitizer.
  • Covering your nose or mouth with a mask or cloth if you are sick and have to be around others at a community gathering of people.

Implementing these behaviors can help stop the spread of flu. You may be wondering how to get rid of the flu in 24 hours without medicine. If you or a loved one already has the flu, read on below for some home flu natural remedies you can use to find relief from your symptoms.

12 Flu Natural Remedies

So, how do you get rid of the flu naturally? Home remedies for the flu include vitamins C and D, herbal supplements, essential oils, probiotics and eating healthy. Try these flu natural remedies to help relieve your symptoms.

1. Vitamin C (1,000 mg 3–4x daily)

  • Vitamin C helps with immune system function and boosts white blood cells.
  • Take 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily to ward off a cold or the flu and up to 4,000 milligrams daily when you are experiencing symptoms.
  • Eat whole fruits and vegetables.

2. Vitamin D (2,000 IU daily)

  • Vitamin D is produced in the body by sunlight and regulates the expression of over 2,000 genes, including those of the immune system. Recent research shows that low vitamin D levels are linked to higher rates of cold, flu and respiratory infections. (4)
  • Many physicians believe that current recommended daily amounts of vitamin D are far too low, and that 2,000 rather than 200-400 units per day is a better choice.
  • To treat cold or flu, take 2,000 units per kilogram of body weight once a day for three days.
  • You can also order home testing kits to test your vitamin D levels.

3. Echinacea (1,000 mg 2–3x daily)

  • This herb can help your body fight off infections, but it is best to take it at the first sign of illness.
  • An extract of echinacea was tested in a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial in 2013. Researchers found that the echinacea effectively treated respiratory tract infections in the short- and long-term, and didn’t cause the same resistance as a popular flu medication, oseltamivir, often causes when treating this illness. (5)
  • Echinacea acts as an anti-inflammatory, which can help reduce bronchial symptoms of cold and flu.
  • Echinacea directly attacks yeast and other kinds of fungus.
  • Different preparations have different concentrations of echinacea. Some common preparations and dosages include:
  • Tablets containing 6.78 milligrams of echinacea extract, two tablets three times a day.
  • 900 milligrams of Echinacea root tincture daily.
  • Five to six cups of echinacea tea on the first day of symptoms, and then 1 cup a day thereafter.

4. Elderberry (10 mL daily)

  • It is believed that this herb can deactivate the flu virus and naturally boost immunity.
  • The flowers and berries of elderberry are said to boost the immune system, treat flu and relieve sinus pain.
  • Elderberry does seem to attack flu viruses and reduce bronchial inflammation. A preliminary study found that it reduced severity and length of flu symptoms when given at the first signs of symptoms.

5. Oregano Oil (500 mg 2x daily)

6. Zinc (50–100 mg daily)

  • Zinc supports immune function and has an antiviral effect. (6) It works best when taken at the first sign of illness.
  • Zinc may lessen the symptoms of the cold virus but excessive amounts aren’t good for you. Zinc pills and sprays do not seem to be effective.
  • Take 50–100 milligrams of zinc daily to ward off or treat cold and flu symptoms.

7. Brewer’s Yeast

  • Brewer’s yeast contains B vitamins, chromium and protein. It is used for cold, flu and other respiratory tract infections.
  • Brewer’s yeast stimulates intestinal enzymes to help relieve diarrhea, fights bacteria in the intestines and improves immune response to viruses that infect the lungs.
  • Research has found that Brewer’s yeast reduces the risk of getting a cold or the flu and helps symptoms dissipate more quickly.

8. Essential Oils for Flu

  • Rubbing peppermint and frankincense essential oil into the neck and bottoms of the feet can naturally support the immune system.  Also, clove oil can protect the body against infection and can speed recovery from the flu.

9. Chiropractic Care for Flu Prevention

  • During the 1918 flu epidemic, flu patients that received chiropractic care survived much more readily than those that didn’t. (7)
  • A 2011 study showed some promise for chiropractic care and its potential to help boost the immune system. (8)

10. Probiotics 

  • Restoring the beneficial bacteria in your gut can help boost your immune system considerably.

11. Get Fresh Air

  • Indoor winter environments can be a source of concentrated toxins and germs. The dry air we inhale as we heat our homes during the winter makes airways more reactive and sensitive to viruses.
  • An added bonus to time spent outdoors in the winter is the extra bit of sunlight you receive.

12. Top Foods for Flu Recovery:

  • Light, easy to digest foods: Include soups with bone broth, cooked vegetables or herbal teas to help with digestion. Don’t force yourself to eat.
  • Water: Adequate hydration is the key to flushing out the virus from your system. Fluid helps your body to flush bacteria and viruses from your system. Drink approximately half your body weight in ounces daily of either spring water or reverse osmosis filtered water. Green and black teas are potent immune system-boosters and antioxidants. Try to drink at least 8 ounces every two hours.
  • Hot water with lemon, honey, and cinnamon:  Honey and cinnamon helps prevent mucus buildup and keeps you hydrated.
  • Ginger: Make a ginger tea and add raw honey.
  • Garlic and onions: Both of these vegetable help boost immune function.

7 Real Life Steps to Stay Cold & Flu-Free All Year Long

Step 1: Eat Real Food

Now if you’ve been a regular reader on my site, you’ll know what I mean by “real” food. But for those of you who don’t, let me explain. Real food is the food that is most natural, found in nature with the least amount of processing involved before it reaches your table.

This is the food that is provided by our Maker to keep us healthy and alive without debilitating diseases. Foods like apples, carrots, raw nuts and seeds. Foods that haven’t been loaded with hormones, pesticides and other unnatural chemicals. These are the foods you can grow (or raise) in your own backyard in an organic garden or by raising your own chickens for example.

The other foods that many Americans consume on a daily basis are what I like to call “fake” foods. These are the foods you’ll find on shelf after shelf, aisle after aisle at the grocery store. Foods that have been highly processed, modified and so transformed from their original state that they hardly resemble the original food at all.

Think Doritos, soda, fruit snacks, microwave meals, etc.

Eating a variety of real foods provides your body with all the nutrients it needs to function and stay healthy. This should be your first food choice on a daily basis.

Step 2: Exercise

Although when you think of preventing a cold you don’t necessarily think “I’d better exercise if I don’t want to get sick,” this is one of the best ways to improve your overall health and stay healthy during cold and flu season.

According to researcher Michael Flynn who studies the impact of exercise on the immune system at Purdue University, 30 minutes of exercise, three or four times a week, is the best way to boost your immune system. Any more will actually begin to have the reverse effect. (9)

Flynn explained that one study found running 10 miles a week boosted the immune system but raise that to 20 miles a week and you increase the risk for infections.

This is why I recommend burst training as opposed to long distance cardiovascular exercise.

Step 3: Get Plenty of Sleep

Now this old wives’ tale still holds true today. When you’re sick you need to get plenty of rest, but you can’t really “catch up” on sleep or make up for weeks or months of too little sleep.

Getting enough sleep on a regular basis is key to maintaining good health. Studies show that lack of sleep is associated with health problems and the inability to lose weight. According to the Harvard Women’s Health Watch, one adverse effect of not getting enough sleep is a compromised immune system. (10)

Step 4: Enjoy Life!

There’s nothing like stress to bring on all sorts of physical ailments including colds and flus. According to Laurel Mellin, associate clinical professor at the University of California in San Francisco and founder of  EBT Inc., 80 percent of health problems are stress-induced.

Mellin has developed a new approach for dealing with stress. It involves using the tools already in place in your brain to move through stress and quickly get to feeling peaceful and balanced. (11)

One of the best ways to beat stress is to balance your life with fun. Remember the saying “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”? Well, no play will make Jack a miserable and dull boy. Take time to enjoy life and build joy everyday. Whether it’s taking time to listen to your favorite music, or going to the movies or theater, or playing sports with your family or friends, it’s vital to include fun in your day — especially when it’s the last thing you feel like doing.

Step 5: Get Plenty of Vitamin D

More and more is being revealed lately about the vast health benefits of vitamin D. Previously known to impact bone health, vitamin D deficiency is now implicated in many health issues.

According to long time vitamin D researcher, Dr. Michael Holick, the best way to obtain vitamin D is through safe sun exposure. That’s right, he advises you to get sun – but safely. In his book entitled “The Vitamin D Solution,” Holick says that a lack of vitamin D (that many Westerners are unknowingly suffering from) can wreak havoc on the body, including the immune system.

To beat a cold or flu make sure you get plenty of safe sun exposure on a regular basis. If you live somewhere that only gets sun seasonally it’s a good idea to take a vitamin D supplement until your levels are adequate enough to take you through these sunless seasons.

Step 6: Take a Whole Food Multivitamin

Taking a multi-vitamin is a great step towards protecting your health. But not all multi-vitamins are good for you. It’s vital that you choose a whole food multi-vitamin, not a synthetic one. Whole food multi-vitamins are as close to the real source of the vitamins and minerals that you can get. In fact, your body will be better able to recognize it, digest it and absorb the nutrients in it. Be sure the multi-vitamin you choose has the ISO certification on it. This ensures that you are getting a high-quality vitamin.

Step 7: Avoid Sugar

Sugar is one of the worst things to consume, especially if you’re trying to stay healthy — and who isn’t? Sugars weaken the immune system and help bacteria to grow. Avoiding sugars is key to staying healthy, particularly when you’re under stress or in the middle of cold and flu season.

There are great, all-natural sweeteners on the market so you don’t have to go without. Try stevia or raw honey in moderation. (And avoid artificial sweeteners — they’re fake foods!) Be sure to check labels of the foods you’re eating and avoid sugars here too.

No one wants to come down with a cold or the flu anytime. When you take the above seven steps to stay healthy, you’ll not only beat colds and the flu, you’ll also be protecting your body from other more serious chronic diseases that could really compromise your health down the road.


Precautions

If you  or a loved one experience complications from the flu, such as pneumonia, or have a high fever that won’t go down, see your healthcare provider right away. If you catch the flu and you have a chronic condition, such as asthma, or you are pregnant, see your doctor.


Key Points

  • The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus.
  • Conventional flu treatment includes antiviral drugs and vaccines.
  • Try  flu natural remedies to help relieve your symptoms.
  • See your doctor right away if you get the flu and you have a chronic medical condition or you are pregnant. Also, get medical care if you experience flu complications, such as pneumonia.

Bulging Disc Back Pain

 

Do you have a bulging disc that’s causing you back pain strong enough to interfere with your job, family life or normal day-to-day activities? Feeling afraid that you’ll never be able to get your pain under control for good and that it might just continue to worsen as you get older?

You’re not alone. Many people with a bulging or herniated disc feel confused, frustrated and worried about their condition. In the general population, about 1 percent to 2 percent of all people are believed to have a somewhat serious bulging disc. The older you get, the likelier you are to develop disc problems because over the years spinal discs lose their structure, elasticity, lubricating fluid and become more brittle.

Many people suffer from herniated or bulging discs, and conventional treatments are expensive and invasive. Click here to learn natural healing treatments. for both back issues!

The good news is you can help prevent cracks, bulges or inflammation in your spinal discs from developing or worsening by changing certain aspects of your lifestyle. Let’s talk about how you can effectively help heal your bulging disc in the fastest way possible, allowing you to finally get some relief without needing to rely on medications or, even worse, unnecessary surgery.


Bulging Disc Treatments: 7 Ways to Find Natural Relief from Back Pain

A bulging disc is a very common occurrence that results in a spinal disc compressing against an adjacent nerve root. The disc essentially pushes out of its normal place and starts impinging on nearby nerves of the spine, sometimes causing pain. For some people, bulging discs can cause a good deal of discomfort, at times progressing enough that they can become disabling and affect someone’s quality of life greatly.

There are different severities of bulging or herniated discs — some that are more problematic than others. Not everyone with a bulging disc experiences pain or even any noticeable symptoms at all, although many do. In fact, it’s now understood that many people with bulging herniated discs function without any pain at all and aren’t even aware of the problem. Studies show that bulging discs are common — more than 50 out of 100 older people examined using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have some degree of a bulging disc — but the underlying causes aren’t well-understood, which makes appropriate treatment difficult. (1)

If you’ve visited a doctor about a painful bulging disc, you might have been given medications, such as over-the-counter painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugsmuscle relaxers or steroids to help control your symptoms. While these might work in the short term to keep you more comfortable, they won’t target the underlying cause of the bulging disc or prevent another one from forming.

Estimates show that only about 10 percent of people wind up getting corrective surgery to treat a bulging disc. (2) Luckily for many people, disc problems heal within several months (sometimes as little as within one month) and pain will subside, especially if you take steps to lower swelling and inflammation. On the other hand, for some people pain can linger on for many months or come and go. Unfortunately, developing a bulging disc makes you more susceptible to having future back problems, so this is why it’s important to do all you can to remain strong, flexible and at a healthy body weight as you get older.

What are some therapeutic options that can help correct disc problems without the risk for side effects? These include seeing a chiropractor or physical therapist, improving your diet, staying active, stretching, and more.

1. See a Chiropractor for Spinal Adjustments

chiropractor can help determine the type of bulging disc you’re suffering from, plus help you pinpoint some of the underlying causes. After diagnosis, a chiropractor will perform targeted adjustments to help realign the spinal discs and prevent protrusion into the spinal canal. (3) The exact type of adjustments performed depends on what the chiropractor finds during a physical exam.

Adjustments can include flexion-distraction, muscle stimulation, physiotherapy, supplementation, and at-home stretches, exercises or treatments. I recommend referring to the CLEAR Institute website for help understanding how chiropractic adjustments and targeted exercises can help correct the spine without the use of bracing or performing risky surgeries.

Chiropractic adjustments have been well-researched for treating symptoms of bulging discs, including sciatic nerve pain, stiff neck and chronic lower back pain. A study published in the Official Journal of the North American Spinal Society found that chiropractic adjustments helped adults with sciatic nerve pain feel less local pain, have fewer number of days with pain, and fewer cases of moderate or severe pain compared to people who didn’t receive adjustments. (4)

2. Visit a Physical Therapist

If pain from a bulging disc makes it hard to move around or work normally, a physical therapist can assign specific exercises and stretches to improve your range of motion, strength and flexibility.

Before doing any heavy lifting or new types of exercises that can trigger even more pain, talk to a physical therapist for help starting. Also pay close attention to your symptoms, noticing what helps reduce pain versus what makes it worse. You might find that certain things (like heavy lifting, sitting for long periods, running or jumping) aggravate symptoms and you need some time to rest before continuing them. (5)

Once you learn the correct form and exercises, you can continue to practice at home to keep your back muscles strong and prevent another injury. Physical therapy can also be extremely helpful for working on developing good posture. For example, improving strength in your back keeps your shoulders back and down while you walk, your chin and neck straight while you sit, and your navel tucked in to protect your lower back while you go about day-to-day activities.

3. Stay Active

People who remain active into older age tend to experience less fragility, loss of mobility, injuries and inflammation. Sitting for prolonged periods of time can cause bulging discs and back pain to become even worse, since staying inactive weakens muscles and puts more pressure on the spine, especially if you’re overweight.

As long as you’re not in severe pain that keeps you from being able to move around, try walking daily and doing other forms of exercise you enjoy, like exercises to strengthen your core to prevent low back pain. This can help you maintain flexibility, strengthen and protect your back, and keep you on your feet more often. Try to simply take more steps every day, and consider getting a pedometer or fitness tracker, which can motivate you to keep increasing your walking distance slowly and safely.

Performing weight-bearing exercises (especially those that build strength in the lower back), doing light exercises in a pool, performing simple bodyweight exercises, dancing, cycling and swimming are all good choices for injured or older people who might not be able to do more than light activities. These are low-impact forms of exercise and customizable depending on your fitness level. Stretching and lengthening the spine are also beneficial. Stretching can help develop good posture while reducing inflexibility, stiffness, inflammation and pain.

 

Bulging discs by the numbers - Dr. Axe

 

4. Get Enough Sleep and Rest

Overworking your muscles, bones and joints can lead to inflammation and weakened discs, which is why you want to avoid overtraining. Make sure to make it a priority to get a good night’s sleep (seven to nine hours a night for most adults), plus give yourself enough rest between workouts(especially if they’re intense and involve lots of repetitive motions). This is important for keeping stress hormones under control, supporting a healthy body weight and reducing the risk for further injuries.

5. Work on Correcting Your Posture

Ideally you won’t spend many hours a day sitting down behind a desk, but if you do, it’s even more important that you take time to focus on good posture, stretch frequently and get up and move around. Take breaks every 20–30 minutes to avoid sitting for many hours while working at a desk or sitting down watching TV. Incorporate targeted posture exercises into your day to loosen up tight areas (like your lower back, neck and hamstrings), and retrain yourself how to sit, walk or drive with proper posture.

While working, consider using a supportive ergonomic chair that supports correct back posture. During your leisure time, try to do specific stretches or light isometric exercises that strengthen your spine and core, stretch your legs, and loosen up your shoulders and neck.

6. Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

High levels of inflammation weaken your bones, muscles and joints, which makes it more likely that you’ll deal with disc problems. While inflammation alone might not cause a bulging disc, it can make spinal injuries harder to recover from and further exacerbate painful symptoms.

One of the best ways to control inflammation is to eat a nutrient-dense diet filled with healing foods, while lowering your intake of things like sugar, processed meats, chemically sprayed crops, refined grain products, alcohol and packaged snacks. This helps you stay at a healthy weight, which reduces the load placed on your lower back.

What are some of the best anti-inflammatory foods for combating pain? These include leaf green veggies, healthy fats including extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, “clean and lean proteins” (cage-free eggs, grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish), and fermented foods which contain probiotics. Other important factors for reducing body-wide inflammation include avoiding smoking/recreational drugs, lowering stress and sleeping well.

7. Reduce Pain Using Essential Oils, Massage Therapy, Heat and Acupuncture

Heating packs, acupuncture treatments and massages are all beneficial for back, neck and limb pain. Acupuncture is a type of Traditional Chinese Medicine that uses tiny needles to help unleash the body’s natural flow of energy. It might sound intimidating, but it’s practically pain-free and has been approved by the FDA as a treatment for back pain of all kinds.

One meta-analysis that reviewed the effects of acupuncture on 2,678 patients with chronic back pain from 13 randomized controlled trials found that acupuncture helped decrease pain intensity and level of disability while improving spinal flexion and quality of life compared to not receiving treatments. (6)

Using heating packs on the painful area or receiving a therapeutic massage can also soothe back tightness and inflammation, but these need to be performed at the proper time to be safe and beneficial. Heat can actually do more harm than good following an injury, so avoid heating the painful area for at least the first 72 hours. Icing the swollen area during the first 72 hours using ice packs, followed by targeted heat therapies, is a safe way to treat back pains.

After you’ve given the inflamed area time to start healing, try using a heating pad on low or medium for 15 to 20 minutes several times per day, laying down with the pad placed on your back or wrapping it around your lower back while you sit down. A hot shower or bath is another convenient, effective way to dull pain. Add Epsom salt to a hot bath, along with soothing essential oils, such as peppermint or lavender oil, to further penetrate and relax the inflamed area.

Heating and massaging painful areas helps relax muscles, loosen up tight tissue, increase blood flow and even increase the production of painkilling, calming chemicals, such as endorphins. While there’s some controversy over whether or not massage therapy is appropriate for people with disc problems, many think that this can be a valuable means of helping reduce soft tissue and nerve pain located in the lumbar region that’s affected by a protruding disc. However, before beginning massage treatments it’s a good idea to get clearance from your doctor if you’re unsure about the severity of your condition (7). For a safe pain-reducing treatment you can utilize at home, try making a homemade muscle rub using peppermint essential oil, which penetrates stiff muscles and reduces inflammation.


Bulging Disc vs. Herniated Disc: What’s the Difference?

Disc problems go by many names: herniated discs, slipped discs, collapsed discs, ruptured discs, etc. This can become confusing for patients, especially since different health care professionals don’t always agree on the different definitions and various causes of disc problems.

The good news is that despite the confusion about different terminologies, the underlying causes of most disc problems are usually very similar. Doctors might refer to your disc pain by different names depending on what they observe during a physical exam or when questioning you about your back pain, leg pain, medical history and lifestyle, but the same treatment options work for almost all types.

If you’ve been given several different diagnoses and are confused about what is causing your back pain, here’s what you need to know:

A herniated disc is more like a disc opening and spilling its insides out, while a bulging disc is the disc stretching and protruding outward. Herniated discs are also called ruptured discs or slipped discs more often than bulging discs are. Compared to herniated discs, bulging discs are more common, and they might also go unnoticed more often since they can cause less pain. Then again, each person’s symptoms are different.

The main difference between the two is that a bulging disc is thought to be caused by pressure that forces the disc to stretch, while on the other hand a herniated disc is primarily caused from a crack developing in the tough outer layer of the disc’s cartilage. (8) With a herniated disc, once a crack forms it’s possible for the disc’s softer inner cartilage to move through the crack and touch surrounding nerves, similar to what happens with a bulging disc.

 

Bulging disc vs. herniated disc - Dr. Axe

 


Bulging Disc Symptoms

Common symptoms of a bulging disc can include: (9)

  • localized pain felt in the spinal area, lower back, middle back, limbs, neck or head
  • tingling or pain that travels down to the fingers, toes and wrists
  • numbness and weakness in the area of the body where the bulging disc is
  • pain and numbness in the buttock and down the legs (sciatic pain)
  • headaches
  • trouble moving normally due to muscle aches, throbbing or weakness

Although bulging discs are most likely to develop in the back (estimates show that about 90 percent of bulging discs occur in the lower back, or lumbar area), they can also affect other parts of the body when the abnormal disc comes into contact with nerves that connect to the hips, buttocks, legs, neck and feet. The spine affects far more than just the back. It extends up to the neck and through the limbs, which is why it’s not uncommon for pain to be felt almost throughout the whole body.

The type of pain caused by a bulging disc is a clue to where the abnormal disc is located:

  • Lumbar bulging discs most often cause pain in the buttocks, legs, feet and abdomen.
  • Cervical bulging discs most often cause pain in the head, neck, shoulders, arms, elbows, wrists, hands and fingers. (10)
  • Thoracic bulging discs cause pain in the hands, chest, back and abdomen.

Causes of Bulging Discs

While they can develop at any age, bulging disks are most common in people over the age of 30, and for reasons not totally understood they’re twice as common in men as in women.

Discs act like soft cushions that buffer the space between vertebrae, which are the small bones in the spinal column. Normally, discs serve as our natural absorbers of shock, allowing us to move around and remain flexible. In healthy adults, discs have a soft, gel-like center (called the nucleus pulposus) made up of flexible cartilage, surrounded by a tougher layer (the annulus fibrosus) that keeps them held in place.

As someone becomes older, experiences more inflammation or becomes injured, the outer layer (the fibrous portion) of the discs becomes more susceptible to being stretched, pulled or bulged out of the normal place they occupy. Once bulging, a disc becomes wider, stretched and also might become slightly squashed at the same time. Some experts say a bulging disc looks almost like “a hamburger that’s too big for its bun.”

Growing pressure around a disc and poor posture are two common reasons why discs can start to bulge. When a normal disc experiences accumulating pressure, it starts to expand abnormally outward where it can come into contact with sensitive neural tissues. Eventually the bulging disc protrudes into the spinal canal, which is what triggers the sharp pain or tingling sensation that’s associated with disc problems. (11)

Whether pain is felt in other parts of the body or not, the bulging disc itself is located in the back. The most common type of bulging disc is located in the lower back, which is called the lumbar region (specifically an area called lumbar vertebra L4 and L5) where the sciatic nerve, among other spinal nerves, is located. This is why bulging discs are the most common cause of sciatic nerve pain, which results in frequent leg, lower back and neck pain or tingling.

Other than the lumbar region of the back, discs between cervical vertebrae(the neck) and the thoracic spine (the upper or middle back) can also bulge and come into contact with pain-omitting nerves.

The cervical spine is very sensitive to pain since it holds the spinal cord, which is responsible for sending chemical messages to and from the brain. Bulging discs in the neck are likely to cause pain that expands to the head, scapular area, shoulders, arms, forearm and hands. (12) In general, the lower back and neck are more susceptible to bugling discs than the thoracic spine because these are the areas under the most strain and pressure, since they help us move, bend over, twist, turn and do many exercises. Estimates show that only about 1 percent of disc problems occur within the thoracic spine since these vertebrae are connected to the rib cage, which helps keep them in place. (13)

Now that you understand how a bulging disc develops, let’s look at the underlying cause of a bulging disc. What causes the disc to protrude outward in the first place?

Disc pains are sometimes said to be age-related and just a “normal part of getting older.” While there’s plenty you can do to help prevent bulging discs, it’s true they’re more common among older people, since aging causes intervertebral discs to weaken. Other factors besides old age that contribute to bulging discs include:

  • Wear and tear of the discs (another side effect of getting older)
  • Loss of mobility and flexibility in the spine
  • An injury to the spine or neck
  • Being overweight
  • High amounts of inflammation due to factors like a poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking or drug use, and high amounts of stress
  • Degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis/degenerative joint disease
  • Improper form when exercising (such as lifting weights incorrectly)
  • Working at a job that causes excessive back and neck strain
  • Being tall (studies show that taller individuals tends to have more bulging discs)
  • Having poor posture

Bulging Disc Takeaways

  • The following ways can help naturally treat a bulging disc: see a chiropractor for spinal adjustments, visit a physical therapist, stay active, get enough sleep and rest, work on correcting your posture, eat an anti-inflammatory diet, and reduce pain using essential oils, massage therapy, heat and acupuncture.
  • A herniated disc is more like a disc opening and spilling its insides out, while a bulging disc is the disc stretching and protruding outward.
  • Common symptoms of a bulging disc can include: localized pain felt in the spinal area, lower back, middle back, limbs, neck or head; tingling or pain that travels down to the fingers, toes and wrists; numbness and weakness in the area of the body where the bulging disc is; pain and numbness in the buttock and down the legs (sciatic pain); headaches; and trouble moving normally due to muscle aches, throbbing or weakness.
  • The type of pain caused by a bulging disc is a clue to where the abnormal disc is located: lumbar bulging discs most often cause pain in the buttocks, legs, feet and abdomen; cervical bulging discs most often cause pain in the head, neck, shoulders, arms, elbows, wrists, hands and fingers; thoracic bulging discs cause pain in the hands, chest, back and abdomen.
  • In general, the lower back and neck are more susceptible to bugling discs than the thoracic spine because these are the areas under the most strain and pressure, since they help us move, bend over, twist, turn and do many exercises.
  • Factors besides old age that contribute to bulging discs include: wear and tear of the discs; loss of mobility and flexibility in the spine; an injury to the spine or neck; being overweight; high amounts of inflammation due to factors like a poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking or drug use, and high amounts of stress; degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis/degenerative joint disease; improper form when exercising; working at a job that causes excessive back and neck strain; being tall; and having poor posture.

This article from Dr. Josh Axe.

Natural Approach for ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) are neurological and behavior-related conditions that cause difficulty in concentrating, impulsiveness and excessive energy.

Individuals with ADHD symptoms not only have a challenge in concentrating, but have a challenge sitting still. Those with ADHD are typically more disruptive than individuals with ADD.

ADHD often has an onset age of 7, but this disorder can continue through teen years and well into adulthood. It’s estimated that ADHD affects 9 percent of American children between the ages of 13 and 18 and over 4 percent of adults.

According to the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health, “the number of children being diagnosed with ADHD is increasing, but it is unclear why.” Most physicians and research indicate the increase in ADHD is directly linked to the food we eat.


Root Causes of ADD/ADHD

According to several international studies, ADHD has a genetic link. In addition, there are environmental factors, and dietary concerns that many researchers believe increase the risk and in many cases, worsens the symptoms.

Refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, and chemical food additives, nutritional deficiencies, preservatives and food allergies are all causes of ADD/ADHD.

In children, a partial cause is related to a lack of interest or forcing children to learn in a manner to which they are not geared to learn. Some children learn better by seeing or doing (kinesthetic), rather than by hearing.


Symptoms of ADD/ADHD

The severity of symptoms can vary greatly from individual to individual, depending on environment, diet and other factors.

Children may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms of ADHD/ADD (2) :

  • Difficulty in concentrating and diminished focus
  • Easily distracted
  • Easily bored
  • Difficulty organizing or completing tasks
  • Prone to losing things
  • Doesn’t listen
  • Difficulty in following instructions
  • Fidgety behavior, squirming
  • Extreme difficulty being still and/or quiet
  • Impatience

Adults may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms of ADD/ADHD (3):

  • Difficulty focusing and concentrating on a task, project, or conversation
  • Overwhelming emotional and physical restlessness
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Prone to anger and a hot temper
  • Disorganized
  • Low tolerance of people, situations, and surroundings
  • Unstable relationships
  • Increased risk for addiction (4)

The most common treatment of ADD/ADHD today is using medications such as Ritalin and Adderall, both of which have been linked to suicidal thoughts and personality changes. Ritalin is a central nervous system stimulant, that can cause nervousness, agitation, anxiety, insomnia, vomiting, an increased heart rate, increased blood pressure and even psychosis.

Adderall is an amphetamine that is highly addictive with prolonged use. Side effects include tremors, hallucinations, muscle twitches, high blood pressure, fast or irregular heartbeats, and extreme mood swings.

With these side effects, it is easy to see why so many people are seeking effective natural remedies for ADHD. The good news is there are natural remedies for ADD/ADHD that are both effective and without the scary side effects of prescription medications, and this includes following an ADHD diet.


Top 5 Natural Remedies for ADHD

While I believe that incorporating new foods into the diet alongside eliminating dangerous triggers foods are important, these five supplements represent key natural remedies for ADHD.

1. Fish Oil (1,000 milligrams daily)

Omega 3 supplements have been shown to benefit ADHD patients, as the EPA/DHA in fish oil are critical for brain function and are anti-inflammatory. Supplementation has been shown to reduce symptoms and improve learning.

2.  B-Complex (50 milligrams daily)

Children with ADHD may need more B-vitamins to help with the formation of serotonin, especially vitamin B6.

3. Multi-Mineral Supplement (including zinc, magnesium and calcium)

I recommend that anyone with ADHD take 500 milligrams calcium, 250 milligrams of magnesium and 5 milligrams zinc twice daily.  All play a role in relaxing the nervous system and a deficiency may exacerbate symptoms.

4. Probiotic (25–50 billion units daily)

ADHD may be connected to digestive issues, therefore taking a good quality probiotic daily will help maintain intestinal health.

5. GABA (250 milligrams twice daily)

A calming amino acid, ask your doctor before taking GABA, as it can interact with other medications.

Bonus ADD/ADHD Remedy

Rhodiola Rosea has been proven effective at improving the focus of both adults and children. It works by increasing the sensitivity in the neurological and nervous system that produce serotonin and dopamine, which are both essential for effective ADHD symptom control.


Essential Oils for ADHD

According to a study conducted by Dr. Terry Friedmann, essential oils of vetiver and cedarwood are very effective in improving focus and calming down children with ADHD. (7)

For memory and concentration, rosemary and peppermint oils have been shown to improve alertness while enhancing memory. For a calming effect, Ylang Ylang and lavender are effective, while frankincense brings emotional wellness, clarity and heightened cognitive function.


Top Foods for ADHD

Additive-free, Unprocessed Foods — Due to the toxic nature of food additives, it is best to eat unprocessed, whole foods. Additives including artificial sweeteners, preservatives and colorings that exist within processed foods may be especially problematic for those with ADD/ADHD.

Foods High in B-Vitamins — B vitamins help maintain a healthy nervous system. Make sure to include organic wild animal products and lots of green leafy vegetables in your diet. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Vitamin B-6 is needed for the body to make and use essential brain chemicals including serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. In fact, one preliminary study has found that B-6 is slightly more effective than Ritalin in improving behavior! (8) Incorporate wild tuna, bananas, wild salmon, grass-fed beef and other foods rich in vitamin B-6 for the improvement of ADHD.

Poultry — Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that helps the body to synthesize proteins and aid in the production of serotonin. Serotonin plays significant roles in sleep, inflammation, emotional moods and much more. In many individuals suffering from ADD/ADHD, imbalances in serotonin levels has been indicated according to the University of Michigan Health System. (9) Serotonin is related to impulse control and aggression, two of the symptoms of ADD/ADHD. (10)

Eat Breakfast — For some people, and especially those with ADHD, breakfast helps the body properly regulate blood sugar and stabilize hormone fluctuations. Eat a breakfast that contains at least 20 grams of protein. Try my Thin Mint Protein Smoothie that has 20 grams of protein from whey. It is a tasty and filling way to “break the fast.”

Wild-Caught Salmon — Not only is it rich with vitamin B-6, it’s also packed with omega 3 fatty acids. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a clinical trial indicated that lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids had more learning and behavioral problems (like those associated with ADHD) than boys with normal levels of omega 3s. (11) Individuals, including children, should consume wild salmon at least twice per week.


ADHD Foods to Avoid

Sugar — This is the primary trigger for most children, and some adults with ADHD. Avoid any forms of concentrated sugar including candy, desserts, soda or fruit juices.

Gluten — Some researchers and parents report worsening behavior when their child eats gluten, which may indicate sensitivity to the protein found in wheat. Avoid all foods made with wheat such as bread, pasta and wheat cereal.  Look for gluten-free or even grain-free alternatives.

Conventional Dairy — Most cow milk dairy contains A1 casein that can trigger a similar reaction as gluten and therefore should be eliminated. If problematic symptoms arise after eating dairy, discontinue use. Goat’s milk, however, does not contain the protein and is a better option for many individuals with ADD/ADHD.

Food Coloring and Dyes — Children with ADHD can be sensitive to a variety of food dyes and colorings, therefore all processed foods should be avoided. Coloring and dyes appear in nearly every commercially processed food. Food dyes can be found in sports drinks, candy, cake mixes, chewable vitamins and even toothpaste!

Caffeine — While some studies have shown that caffeine may help with some ADHD symptoms, it is wise to minimize or avoid caffeine, as these studies have not been validated. In addition, the side effects of caffeine, including loss of loss, anxiety, and nervousness, can contribute to the symptoms of ADD/ADHD. (12)

MSG and HVP — These two additives are believed to decrease dopamine levels in both children and adults. Dopamine is associated with the brain’s pleasure and reward systems. For individuals suffering with ADD/ADHD, balanced levels of dopamine are essential.

Nitrites — Commonly found in lunchmeat, canned foods and many processed foods, nitrites are linked to an increase of childhood type 1 diabetes, certain types of cancer and IBS. In addition, it can cause rapid heart rate, difficulty breathing and restlessness that worsen ADHD symptoms.

Artificial Sweeteners — Artificial sweeteners are just bad for your health, but for those living with ADHD, the side effects can be devastating. Artificial sweeteners create biochemical changes in the body, some of which can harm cognitive function and emotional balance.

Soy — Soy is a common food allergen and can disrupt hormones that cause ADHD.

Personal Food Sensitivities/Allergens — Eliminate the top seven allergens, including soy, wheat and conventional dairy mentioned above, as well as peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and shellfish. In addition, eliminate any foods or beverages that are personal allergens. This might include papaya, avocados, bananas and kiwis (for those with latex allergies) and/or coriander, caraway or fennel (all from the same family) and/or chocolate.


Lifestyle Changes for Children with ADHD

The challenge for the parents of a child with ADD/ADHD is not only to find an effective natural remedies for ADHD and ADD, but also to create an environment that supports their creativity and spurs learning. Here are some lifestyle changes that may help.

Show Affection (and Ask for It) — Children living with ADHD need reassurance they aren’t a bad child. If you only respond to the negative behaviors, it can trigger more negative behaviors. Find ways to compliment your child while holding them accountable for their actions. Remember, they are more than just the behaviors of ADHD. Give them the chance to “WOW” you.

Provide Opportunities for Success  A child knows when you are truly excited and happy for them. Provide them with opportunities where they can succeed. Engage them in creative activities such as painting and sketching. Many top art competitions in the world have “quick sketch” competitions that force artists to provide their best work in 30 to 45 minutes. Celebrate your child’s focus and creative spirit in these types of challenges.

Regular Physical Exercise & Outdoor Playtime  For children with ADHD, burning some of the excess energy of the day can help to balance hormone levels and provide your child with the building blocks for healthy bones and muscles.

Create a Child-Friendly Organizational System  Find the methods of organization that work best for your child. This may include a notebook with a checklist of daily “to dos,” a chart on the wall, or reminders in their smartphone or tablet. Teach them how to prioritize tasks including schoolwork, home chores, exercise and fun activities.

Teach Your Child to Cook  Since ADD/ADHD is linked to the foods consumed and has a genetic link, it is essential that your child learn what foods cause ADD/ADHD and which ones can cure it. Spend time with your child exploring interesting ways to cook wild fish, grass-fed beef, free-range poultry and fresh fruits and vegetables. Engage them in the menu planning and cooking process, and the dietary changes recommended above will be significantly easier to implement.


Lifestyle Changes for Adults with ADHD

Create an Organizational System That Works for You — There is no one organization solution that works for everyone. Find the system that works best for you. A simple pen and paper checklist may be what some need, while others will need a more technical application that could include setting automatic reminders, prioritizing tasks and more.

Use Technology to Your Advantage  There are a variety of apps available for smartphones and tablets for productivity. These tools can help you to plan ahead and prioritize tasks. In addition, consider noise-cancelling headphones to help stave off the distractions in your home or office.

Exercise — Regular exercise not only helps build muscles and bone, but helps to relieve stress. In addition to your regular exercise routine, try something that engages your “fun” gene too. Dance, martial arts, playing tennis or volleyball, are all great ways to burn calories, balance hormones and reduce stress.

Get More Sleep — Insomnia is a common side effect for adults with ADD/ADHD. With a proper diet, exercise and relaxation techniques, you can get the rest you need. Practice good sleep habits, including routine bed times and turning off technology 45 minutes prior to sleep.

The dietary changes, supplements and recommended lifestyle changes above will help you conquer ADD/ADHD. The solutions above are equally effective for children and adults alike.

For many people, removing the ADD/ADHD trigger foods and replacing them with healthy foods that naturally fight ADD/ADHD will dramatically help treat this common neurological and behavioral disorder. Remember, detoxing from years of chemicals and unhealthy foods takes some time. Stick with the program above and kick ADD/ADHD for good!

Micronutrient Test for long Term Evaluation

ARE YOU IN CONTROL OF YOUR HEALTH, OR IS IT CONTROLLING YOU?

Nutritional balance plays a key role in optimal wellness, chronic disease prevention and managing the aging process.

  • Do you find yourself feeling stressed, tired and maybe a little depressed?
  • Do you take prescription medicines to alleviate symptoms of certain conditions, but wonder why the condition exists at all?
  • Do you want to boost your immune system now, to possibly prevent chronic disease later?

SPECTRACELL’S MICRONUTRIENT TESTING OFFERS THE MOST ACCURATE, SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN METHOD OF ASSESSING NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES.

Be Proactive, NOT Reactive

Traditionally, a person waited to go to the doctor at the first signs of a symptom.  Today, individuals are looking for way to not only manage illness with personalized treatment plans, but they are also seeking to achieve a higher level of wellness.

Eating a balanced diet, exercising and taking a multivitamin is simply not enough.  Each person’s body is unique in its own way.  Due to the complexity of the human body, an individualized healthcare approach is the only way to guarantee optimal results.

What is Micronutrient Testing?

SpectraCell’s Micronutrient tests measure the function of 35 nutritional components including vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and amino acids within our white blood cells.  Scientific evidence shows us that analyzing the white blood cells gives us the most accurate analysis of a body’s deficiencies.

What results will I see?

SpectraCell’s Micronutrient lab results include an overview page with all deficiencies listed, numeric and graphic reports easily identifying deficiencies and repletion and supplementation recommendations.

sample results - mnt graphs

SpectraCell’s Micronutrient test includes:

Vitamins

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Biotin
  • Folate
  • Pantothenate
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin K

Minerals

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Copper

Amino Acids

  • Asparagine
  • Glutamine
  • Serine

Fatty Acids

  • Oleic Acid

Antioxidants

  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Cysteine
  • Glutathione
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin E

Carbohydrate Metabolism

  • Chromium
  • Fructose Sensitivity
  • Glucose-Insulin Metabolism

Metabolites

  • Choline
  • Inositol
  • Carnitine

SPECTROX

for Total Antioxidant Function

IMMUNIDEX

Immune Response Score

Vitamin, mineral and antioxidant deficiencies have been shown to affect the function of the immune system which can contribute to degenerative processes such as arthritis.

 

Uncover food and chemical sensitivities with the Alcat Test

A small sample of your blood is sent to the laboratory overnight. Upon receiving the sample, the blood goes through a multi-step quality assurance process. During testing, your white blood cells are tested against foods and other substances in a process known as flow cytometry and cell impedance methodology. After testing, the results are presented in a clear and easy to read color-coded format.

The power of knowing

There is a new paradigm in health and medicine – personalization. Health can be improved and maintained by knowing how food plays a role in your body.

The Alcat Test enables you to take advantage of leading technology to create a personalized nutrition plan resulting in benefits that can be seen and felt.

The results from the Alcat Test can help determine which foods and other substances may trigger unwanted inflammation. The personalized nutrition plan based on your immune response can assist with food choices that are better for your health and well-being. When complying with the Alcat Test results, many clinical symptoms associated with food sensitivity may be substantially improved or possibly prevented altogether1-6.

Watch

Good to know

The Alcat Test has been independently evaluated and demonstrated a high degree of benefit 2, 6. Positive results related to a broad range of symptoms have been reported in more than 30 published studies.

Sensitivity vs. Allergy

An allergy is a reaction that triggers the release of antibodies that results in immediate symptom onset. A true food allergy causes an immune response that can affect multiple organs and in some cases, be severe or even life threatening. Food sensitivity symptoms are delayed and are typically limited to digestive problems, but they can lead to chronic inflammatory health issues.

Associated Conditions

Symptoms such as migraines, aching joints, fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, and others have been linked to food sensitivity and chronic inflammation. The Alcat Test is designed to assess sensitivities to over 450 food, chemical and environmental substances. These sensitivities are shown to be associated with both acute and chronic conditions.

  • Gastrointestinal disorders, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), indigestion, constipation, nausea, diarrhea, bloating, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s Disease1, 3, 7-9
  • Metabolic disorders, such as obesity, Type II diabetes, inabilitiy to lose weight 2, 7, 10, 11
  • Inflammatory conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, arthritis or asthma, autoimmune disorders 1, 5, 9, 12-15
  • Others, such as fatigue, headache, migraine, cognitive impairment 9, 16

Clear test results

Utilizing Alcat Test results to create an individualized nutrition plan, based on your immune system, enables you to make food choices that are better suited for your health and well-being. With the Alcat Test many clinical symptoms associated with food and chemical sensitivities can be substantially improved or possibly prevented altogether.

Test results include:

  • Easy to understand color-coded test report.
  • Foods to avoid list.
  • Comprehensive “Understanding your Alcat Test Results” guidebook.
  • Personalized rotation plan.
  • Practical shopping guide and restaurant card.

Test over 450 items

Over 450 individual foods, additives, colorings, molds, functional foods, medicinal herbs and chemical substances (such as environmental, chemical, pharmaceutical substances) can be tested.

About our lab

Cell Science Systems, Corp. is a specialty clinical laboratory that develops and performs laboratory testing in immunology and cell biology supporting the personalized treatment and prevention of chronic disease. Cell Science Systems, Corp. operates a CLIA certified laboratory and is an FDA inspected and registered, cGMP medical device manufacturer meeting ISO EN13485 2012 standards.

Committed to quality

Cell Science Systems fulfills high quality standards in accordance with state, federal and international regulations.

  • CLIA-ID#10D0283906
  • CE Marked. TUV Certified and safety monitored
  • Supported by the EU and the State of Brandenburg
  • ISO 13485:2003 + AC:2012

The Top 4 Essential Oils for Headache

Millions of people across the world suffer from headaches every day for a variety of reasons, and they’re often not sure what to blame! There are so many causes, which include stress, fatigue, allergies, hormones, nutritional deficiencies, constipation, poor posture, low blood sugar, and alcohol or drug consumption. Then, of course, there’s the wicked combination of a couple of those causes. If you suffer from frequent headaches and struggle to find an effective treatment, there are no shortage of natural headache remedies out there. But perhaps you haven’t tried the one option, the one principle ingredient/s that can make the biggest difference? I’m talking about essential oils for headaches.

The Top 4 Essential Oils for Headache

The most common headache treatment is a painkiller, but these pills come with a host of ugly side effects, like kidney and liver damage; plus they don’t deal with the root of the problem.

Essential oils serve as headache treatments because they safely and effectively treat the headache trigger, getting to the root of the problem instead of minimizing the pain temporarily. Plus, when using essential oils for headaches through a diffuser, there are no nasty side effects and you are in complete control of your dose — adjusting it for the type of headache you experience.
How Do Essential Oils Treat Headaches?

Unlike pain relievers that are commonly used to treat headaches and migraines today, essential oils serve as a more effective and safer alternative. Essential oils provide relief, aid circulation and reduce stress. They also have a ton of other health benefits and boost your immune system instead of wreaking havoc on your vital organs.

Really, there are few safer, more beneficial ways to soothe headaches than by using essential oils for headaches. It should come as no surprise considering aromatherapy has long been used to treat pain and headaches.

Every headache has a trigger. One major cause of headaches is hormonal changes in women. Fluctuations in estrogen can trigger headaches in many women, especially immediately before or during their periods when estrogen levels drop.

Some women develop migraines during pregnancy or menopause due to hormonal imbalances. Hormonal medications can even worsen headaches, so using essential oils as a gentle and natural treatment is recommended. Lavender and rosemary oils, for instance, are soothing oils that relieve pain and ease tension. Both oils are used to treat PMS symptoms and hormonal imbalances, including headaches and migraine attacks.

Another major headache trigger is stress, which can be reduced by using lavender and peppermint oil aromatically. Changes in sleeping patterns can also lead to a headache — luckily, lavender works as a mild sedative that helps people suffering from insomnia or a lack of sleep.

Headaches may also be the result of intense physical exertion, allergies, sinus pressure (sinusitis), congestion, certain foods and sensory stimuli. All of these triggers can be minimized or even eliminated with essential oils. No wonder they have been used for thousands of years — these miracle oils have the ability to treat just about any health condition.

Top 4 Essential Oils for Headaches

  1. Peppermint oil
  2. Lavender oil
  3. Eucalyptus oil
  4. Rosemary oil
  1. Peppermint

Peppermint oil uses and benefits include its long-lasting cooling effect on the skin, ability to inhibit muscle contractions and role in stimulating blood flow in the forehead when applied topically.

Applying peppermint essential oil topically across the forehead and on the temples effectively alleviates a tension headache. In a 1996 study, 41 patients (and 164 headache attacks) were analyzed in a placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover study. The peppermint oil was applied topically 15 and 30 minutes after a headache began.

Participants reported pain relief in their headache diaries, and peppermint oil proved to be a well-tolerated and cost-effective alternative to usual headache therapies. There were also no adverse side effects reported after peppermint treatment. (1)

Another important study was conducted in 1995 and published in theInternational Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology. Thirty-two healthy participants were evaluated, and essential oil treatment was investigated by comparing the baseline and treatment measurements. One effective treatment was a combination of peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil and ethanol.

Researchers used a small sponge to apply this mixture, which has a muscle-soothing and mentally relaxing effect, to the participants’ foreheads and temples. When peppermint was mixed with just ethanol, researchers found that it reduces sensitivity during a headache. (2)

In order to improve blood circulation, reduce pain and relieve tension, dilute two to three drops of peppermint oil with coconut oil and rub it into the shoulders, forehead and back of neck.

  1. Lavender

Lavender essential oil has a variety of therapeutic and curative properties. It induces relaxation and relieves tension and stress — working as a sedative, antidepressant, anti-anxiety, anxiolytic, anticonvulsant and calming agent. There is also growing evidence that lavender oil serves as an effective treatment of neurological conditions and disorders.

According to researchers, aromatic and topical use of lavender oil affects the limbic system because the main constituents, linalool and linalyl acetate, are rapidly absorbed through the skin and are thought to cause central nervous system depression. For this reason, lavender oil can be used to treat headaches caused by anxiety disorders and related conditions.

Lavender oil benefits include relieving feelings of restlessness and disturbed sleep, two symptoms of headaches. It also regulates serotonin levels, which helps minimize pain in the nervous system that can lead to migraine attacks. (3)

A 2012 study published in European Neurology found that lavender essential oil is an effective and safe modality in the management of migraine headaches. Forty-seven participants were investigated in this placebo-controlled clinical trial. The treatment group inhaled lavender oil for 15 minutes during a migraine headache. The patients were then asked to record their headache severity and associated symptoms in 30-minute intervals for two hours.

The difference between the control and treatment groups was statistically significant. From the 129 headache cases in the treatment group, 92 responded entirely or partially to lavender oil inhalation. In the control group, 32 out of 68 recorded that headache attacks responded to the placebo; the percentage of responders was significantly higher in the lavender group than the placebo group. (4)

To reduce muscle tension, boost mood, aid sleep and relieve stress, diffuse five drops of lavender oil at home or in the office. You can also apply lavender oil topically to the back of neck, temples and wrists to relieve stress or tension headaches. To relax your body and mind, add five to 10 drops of lavender oil to a warm-water bath and take deep breaths so the sedative properties begin to take effect and reduce headache tension.

  1. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus works as an expectorant — it helps cleanse the body of toxins and harmful microorganisms. It also opens the nasal airways and eliminates sinus pressure that can lead to a nasty headache, all while promoting emotional balance and boosting mood.

A clinical trial published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine states that inhaling eucalyptus oil can decrease a person’s pain and blood pressure. The study involved 52 patients who recently underwent total knee replacement surgery. Eucalyptus oil treatment promoted emotional stability in the patients, reduced edema formation and had anti-inflammatory effects. These pain-reducing and relaxing effects can be beneficial to people suffering from tension headaches. (5)

A 2011 study conducted in Israel evaluated the efficacy of eucalyptus oil when used on patients with respiratory conditions that can lead to cough, sore throat and tension headaches. Patients reported that eucalyptus oil improved breathing and reduced runny nose.

Researchers reported that the oil showed anti-inflammatory effects when used to treat respiratory conditions. It exhibited antibacterial, antiviral and antimicrobial properties that alleviate sinus pressure caused by an inflammatory response. (6)

Dilute two to four drops of eucalyptus oil with a carrier oil, and apply it topically to the chest, back of the neck, temples and forehead. This eliminates nasal buildup and clears your airways — alleviating the sinus tension that leads to a headache or migraine attack.

  1. Rosemary

Rosemary essential oil has been used in folk medicine to treat headaches and poor circulation because of its stimulating, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It has a calming effect and improves personal orientation and alertness.

Rosemary oil also reduces stress and emotional triggers that can cause headache attacks. It also aids digestion and soothes an upset stomach, which can be a symptom of a severe headache. (7)

An interesting 2013 study published in Addiction and Health evaluated the efficacy of rosemary oil as a form of herbal therapy for the alleviation of withdrawal syndromes in patients with a history of opium abuse. Some opium withdrawal symptoms consist of dysphoric mood, nausea, muscle aches, headaches, fever and insomnia. Rosemary treatment proved to reduce these symptoms when taken internally for four weeks. It reduced tension and muscle jerks, alleviated pain, improved sleeping patterns, and treated convulsions. (8)

Take one drop of rosemary oil internally by adding it to tea, water or soup when experiencing headache or migraine attacks. To reduce headache pain, mix two drops of rosemary oil with two drops of peppermint oil and one teaspoon of coconut oil, and rub it into the temples, forehead and back of neck.

You can also blend these top four essential oils for headaches with chamomile essential oil, cineole oil, spearmint oil and other oil blends that include other hydrosol flowers.

How to Use Essential Oils for Headache Relief

Migraine Headache:

A migraine is a severe and painful type of headache associated with throbbing pain, nausea and heightened sensitivity to light. Migraines can be triggered by stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation and hormonal changes. Massage lavender or peppermint oil into the temples and back of neck to relieve migraine headaches and ease feelings of nausea and anxiety.

Tension Headache:

These are called “stress headaches,” and they’re characterized as dull, constant pressure or pain. Tension headaches are typically brought on my feelings of pressure. Use eucalyptus or peppermint oil topically on the temples, forehead and wrists to alleviate stress and reduce tension. To ease the mind, add 5–10 drops of lavender oil to a warm-water bath, or follow this recipe for my Homemade Healing Bath Salts.

Sinus Headache:

When the membranes of the sinus cavities become inflamed and swollen, you may experience pressure in the forehead area where these cavities are located, resulting in a sinus headache. Use eucalyptus oil topically on the chest, top of nose and temples to open up the nasal passages and relieve sinus tension.

Sugar Headache:

This is pain that’s caused by low blood sugar levels. Combine equal parts lavender, rosemary and coconut oil, and apply topically to the back of neck, temples and forehead. Or take 1 drop of rosemary internally with a smoothie or cup of soup.

2016 Best Of Fairfield Awards

Image result for best of award Fairfield county

Dr. Yang Wellness Center has been selected for the 2016 Best of Fairfield Awards for Chiropractors.

The “Best of Local Business” Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, they identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2016 Fairfield County Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. The Award program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in their community. This organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, chambers of commerce and other business advertising and marketing groups. Their mission is to be an advocate for small and medium size businesses and business entrepreneurs across America.

Acupuncture For Auto Accident

REASONS TO VISIT Dr. YANG WELLNESS CENTER AFTER AN AUTO ACCIDENT CALL 203-954-1900

Car accidents cause millions of injuries every year. Although you may think nothing is wrong at first, injuries like whiplash or back problems don’t always become apparent right away. Dr. Yang can help to resolve the pain that often comes from automobile accidents. Even if the accident was minor, it’s possible to suffer with long-term problems if you put off treatment. Here are several reasons why you should see Dr.Yang after an accident.

REGULAR DOCTORS CAN MISS THINGS

You may notice pain immediately after the accident, but even if you don’t, you could still have an injury. In these cases, soft tissues may have been damaged, and this could become a painful condition later on. Unfortunately, X-rays are unable to detect such injuries. Although an MRI can show soft tissue injuries, it’s so expensive as to be impractical if you’re not experiencing pain. A chiropractor is typically able to detect soft tissue injuries that regular doctors often miss.

HEALTH INSURANCE MAY COVER CARE

After your accident, it’s wise to see a chiropractor even if there’s no pain. If your healthcare insurance won’t cover the cost, your car insurance likely will. While you won’t know if your insurance covers chiropractic care until you ask them, this type of care is usually considerably cheaper for insurance providers than covering surgery or years of medication and doctor’s visits. A chiropractor specializes in realigning the body’s joints that might have been forced out of alignment because of damage to ligaments and muscles from your accident.

MINIMALLY INVASIVE

When seeing Dr. Yang, there’s no need to worry about surgery. Rather than scalpels and incisions, chiropractors utilize very precise manual force to return joints to their proper alignment. It’s not recommended to have surgery for neck or back pain without talking to a chiropractor first.

Unlike trips to a regular doctor, your time at the chiropractor’s office is typically a pleasant experience, and most people notice improvements right away. Furthermore, research has shown that routine chiropractic care can enhance your general health and improve body function.

IT’S SAFE

Because our holistic care is non-invasive and completely natural, it’s considered to be very safe. Dr. Yang undergoes years of specific training like Veterans Hosipital and is required to adhere to state licensing laws. Assuming your chiropractor is properly trained and licensed, you’re at little risk. In many cases, children can also benefit from chiropractic care after car accidents.

NO DRUGS

Chiropractic means “by the hand.” It is a completely manual therapy that doesn’t use drugs for treatment. While over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription painkillers may offer short-term relief from discomfort caused by injuries, chiropractic care targets the root of the problem and offers a longer-term solution.

Drugs can also have numerous unwanted and unpleasant side effects, which can range from nausea to neurological damage. Choosing chiropractic treatment effectively removes these risks because you don’t have to rely on medication to feel better.

If you’ve been in a car accident, we encourage you to visit Dr. Yang Wellness Center for a chiropractic, acupuncture exam. Even though you may not be in pain now, many injuries can take days to become apparent.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. Who will pay for my medical bills?   In the State of Connecticut, treatment for all injuries suffered in an auto accident is paid for by your “med-pay”, and unless you specifically wave this coverage on your insurance policy, meaning in most cases you will have no out of pocket costs. If your medical costs exceed $5,000, depending on your policy, you still may be completely covered. Also, if you have a lawyer that you’re working with, we can work with you on a lien basis. This means we will wait for your case to settle to get paid.
  2. Why is it important to get care after an auto accident?   Research has shown that even a minor auto accident can have long lasting residual effects. With the proper care we can help you heal properly with high quality chiropractic care, acupuncture and rehab care to reduce your pain.
  3. What if I didn’t get care right after my accident does that mean I can’t get care? No, if your pain is related to you auto injury you have up to a two year to get care in Connecticut Law.
  4. How long does it take to heal properly?This is all depending on the severity of your auto accident. It is extremely important that you get diagnosed properly and get the proper treatment to deal with your injury.
  5. Would my insurance premium go up if I get care?If you are not at fault, your premium will not go up. If you are at fault, your premium will go up regardless if you use your “med-pay” or not. The residual effects of your auto accident will cost more in the long run if you do not get proper treatment right away. you do not get proper treatment right away.

BENEFITS CHIROPRACTORS PROVIDE AFTER CAR ACCIDENTS

While many cars are designed to withstand damage up to 12 miles per hour, the same cannot be said of the human body. Even a minor car accident can cause pain and suffering to those involved. Some studies have shown that whiplash can occur in a car accident when a vehicle has only been traveling three miles per hour. A chiropractor can help relieve pain and heal injuries no matter how minor or major the car accident was.

WHIPLASH AND NECK INJURIES

Whiplash occurs when the head is suddenly thrown forward, sideways or backward. It can cause destabilization to the spine and severe pain as a result of the sudden movement. Some symptoms of whiplash and other neck injuries include:

  • pain in the neck
  • blurred vision
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • reduced motion in the neck
  • neck stiffness

Sometimes pain from whiplash doesn’t occur immediately following the accident but can emerge in the days, weeks or even months that follow. Seeing a chiropractor immediately after an accident can ensure that the neck is properly cared for so that long-term pain can be avoided.

BACK AND SPINAL INJURIES

Back pain and spinal injuries are often caused as a result of serious car accidents. The force from these accidents is enough to harm the spine and shatter bones. As a result, herniated discs, bulging discs and subluxation can result.

A chiropractor will first perform a thorough exam of the back and spine, which may include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or x-rays. Once any fractures have been ruled out, the chiropractor can then adjust gently, ice or massage the area to treat the problems and reduce pain.

SOFT TISSUE INJURIES

The soft tissue in the back can also become severely damaged as a result of a car accident. When the ligaments are stretched or torn, a sprain can result. Likewise, soft tissue injuries can also occur as strains when muscles or tendons are stretched or torn. Both can cause extreme pain that can manifest itself immediately or several weeks after the accident. Contusions may also occur if a blow to the muscles, tendons or ligaments was sustained during the accident.

The chiropractor will examine the patient for any soft tissue injuries. Adjustments and massage may then be recommended to heal the tissue properly.

NUMBNESS, DIZZINESS AND WEAKNESS

When the force of the accident jars the neck or spine, the network of nerves that travel from these areas can be affected. This can result in feelings of numbness, dizziness or weakness in the arms, hands, legs or feet. A chiropractor can realign the neck or spine after an accident, improving the flow of blood to these areas and healing the nerves.

The human body wasn’t meant to sustain even small amounts of force than can occur in a fender-bender. A chiropractor should always be contacted after any accident to check for any whiplash, neck injuries, back or spinal injuries or soft tissue damage that may have occurred.

TREATING WHIPLASH FROM AN ACCIDENT

DO YOU HAVE A WHIPLASH INJURY?

During this time of the year motor vehicle accidents are more frequent due to the winter weather conditions. Even from a minor fender bender you may still receive a whiplash injury. Whiplash is a term used to describe the forceful extension and then flexion of the neck. When the neck is initially forced into extension this causes a stretching of the flexor muscles including the SCM and scalenes in the front of the neck, and a jamming of the facet joints at the back of the spine. When the head forcefully moves into flexion it causes a stretching and tearing of the extensors muscles, including the cervical extensors, traps, and sub occipital muscles.

SIGNS OF WHIPLASH INJURY

It is not uncommon to feel little to no discomfort immediately following an accident as the body will release natural pain killers in the form of endorphins as well as the heightened adrenaline in the body. Once this wears off and the inflammation begins to set in is when the pain and restricted motion begins. In many cases, even minor accidents can cause symptoms of whiplash which can show up as late as 2-6 weeks post injury. The reason this can happen is because even in a minor accident there is still a stretching and tearing of tissue, so the body’s response is to lay calcium or scar tissue down in the area. After weeks of scar tissue deposition, this may lead to further symptoms, such as headaches, jaw pain, trigger points, and restricted range of motion.

HOW DO I KNOW I HAVE WHIPLASH?

The symptoms of whiplash are very noticeable once they set in. It causes muscle spasms in the front and back of the neck, as well as the shoulder area. It becomes difficult to rotate the neck and head. You may suffer from tightness of the jaw, neck swelling, and tenderness along the back and shoulder area. Those suffering from a particularly severe case of whiplash may notice some obstruction in their vision, ringing in the ears, and other signs of nerve disturbance.

WHAT CAN I DO TO CURE WHIPLASH?

The type of treatment really depends on how the neck was injured. Each unique injury typically requires a specialized approach to healing. One of the most productive ways to assist in curing whiplash is a visit to the chiropractor. We will assess the injury and develop a treatment plan for your specific injury. That may include cervical spine adjustments, soft tissue mobilization, and electrotherapy. We may also focus on relaxing the neck by gently massaging and stretching the neck muscles to relieve tightness.

TREATMENT FOR WHIPLASH

It is important after any type of whiplash injury to seek out your doctor to assess the level of damage, and develop a treatment plan which will not only relieve your temporary symptoms but also prevent further damage down the road. At Dr. Yang Wellness Center, we see many injuries that are due to improperly treated whiplash injuries. What our doctors most commonly see in this instance, are injuries to the Cervical intervertebral discs. After an accident the neck becomes very stiff as a self-protective mechanism to prevent further damage. The problem with this is if motion is not properly restored, the Cervical spine no longer functions with optimal range of motion. This will speed up the degenerative process of the spine, and begin to wear down the disc spaces at a rapid rate. A disc injury in the neck can lead to very intense pain in the neck, shoulder, and arm. In many cases with a Cervical disc injury a patient may only feel symptoms in the arm, such as numbness, radiating pain, weakness, or tingling. In the event a disc injury does occur it can still be treated with very positive results; however the natural treatment process of the disc is 90 days which can lead to a lengthy treatment plan.

This is why our chiropractors recommend seeking out professional help after the injury to properly assess the damage. If quickly and promptly addressed the treatment times can be much shorter and future issues can be avoided. If you have suffered a whiplash type injury, feel free to contact us and one of our whiplash specialists to see if this treatment is right for you.

Have you ever suffered from whiplash? Some people do not realize that the neck pain they endure after an injury is often a case of whiplash. Whiplash is a term used to describe intense neck pain after some type of accident, from car accidents to sports injuries. It causes damage to ligaments, tendons, and the neck muscles. Whiplash occurs when an abnormal amount of force is applied to the neck area that causes the neck to move beyond its normal range. Often, it will take a few days, up to a week, for the neck pain to occur after suffering from whiplash.

  • Spinal Manipulations For WhiplashCervical spinal manipulations are used by chiropractors to restore or enhance the function of joints in the neck muscles. These manipulations often reduce inflammation, reduce pain, and assist in the overall healing of whiplash. They also can restore function to the neck and shoulder areas and improve motion to the areas that are affected by the injury. The type of manipulation will vary from patient to patient and will depend on the type of injury. The cervical spinal adjustment is among one of the oldest and most utilized chiropractic techniques. An adjustment is a practice in which we apply manipulation to the vertebrae to reduce the pain and increase motion.
  • Soft Tissue WorkSoft tissue mobilization is another common technique used to lessen the affects of whiplash. This technique is a type of manual therapy that stretches the soft tissues of the neck, such as ligaments and tendons, in order to relieve pain and restore proper range of motion. Some of the common types of soft tissue mobilizations techniques include manual techniques that apply firm pressure to relax and stretch the muscles. Massage is another technique which uses broad-handed motions to reduce joint stiffness and improve overall neck function. Stretching, neck-strengthening exercises, and therapeutic taping techniques may be some additional techniques that Mountain View Pain Center may use to heal whiplash.
  • ElectrotherapyElectrotherapy is another effective and drug-free rehabilitation technique used to treat whiplash. Electrotherapy, while it sounds scary, is actually a very comforting and useful type of therapy. This therapy aims to increase circulation, relax contracted muscles, and releases endorphins. Applying electric stimulation to certain points on the neck and shoulder area can provide muscle pain relief and accelerate tissue repair.

It is very important to treat whiplash as soon as possible. While you may not feel the pain immediately, the pain will surface. It is imperative to schedule an appointment with Mountain View Pain Center as quickly as you can after the accident. We can provide you with your own personalized treatment plan and ensure that the pain stemming from whiplash is alleviated. By utilizing the above techniques, we will make you feel like your old self again. Please feel free to contact us at 203-954-1900

REASONS TO SEE A CHIROPRACTOR AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT

There are many reasons you should see a chiropractor after you have been in a car accident: to reduce pain, improve mobility, restore proper joint function, and prevent further damage. The first reason is to reduce the pain you’re experiencing. You are not only reducing current pain, but reducing how much future pain you experience, since some injuries take several hours or even days before you get to the extent of them. Shock after even a small collision is common, which is why it can sometimes take your body a little time to show signs of injury. Since your body was jerking around, you want to get some pain relief, which chiropractic care offers you.

It also helps improve your mobility after you have been in a car accident. Aside from the soreness, you may have problem using your limbs and moving in the same way you once did. With regular chiropractic sessions, this problem is remedied quickly. Suddenly, you are feeling much better, more mobile and able to move and stretch. Additionally, chiropractic care helps you to prevent further damage. If you get an injury from the car accident and it is left untreated, this can lead to more complications down the road. For example, neck or spine injury can lead to a more severe whiplash injury, if you don’t get proper treatment for it.

SEE YOUR CHIROPRACTOR IMMEDIATELY A CAR ACCIDENT

Because of the fact that some injuries don’t show themselves right away, it is very important you don’t wait before calling your chiropractor. Don’t wait until you feel pain or discomfort to call. Also keep in mind, the severity of the crash doesn’t necessarily define how bad your injuries are going to be. Even if your car doesn’t have a scratch on it, you can still have back or neck injuries.

Evaluation

After calling your chiropractor, they will first perform an evaluation. This includes asking you questions about your accident and any pain you are currently experience. Your chiropractor will want to know details about your accident, such at what happened, what side you were hit, and how fast you and the other driver were presumably going. During the examination your doctor may see the need for x-rays to determine if there is any underlying issues. Most Chiropractors have onsite x-rays and should be able to take them and discuss them with you on the first visit.

Treatment Options

When it comes to the treatment section of your visit, there are a few possibilities. This will depend on your history with chiropractic care, your injuries and their locations. Treatment possibilities include:

  • Mobilization – Low velocity manipulation to improve the movement in your joints and muscles.
  • Manipulation – A term used for re-aligning your spine; also known as spinal adjustment.
  • Motion Palpitation – Identifying your joints to see how rigid they are and examining their motion capabilities.
  • Physio Therapy– In an auto accident it is very common to receive muscular injuries as well as skeletal, that is why it is important to seek out a chiropractor that offers both services.

As you can see, there are many possibilities and benefits to getting chiropractic care after a car accident. It will help you reduce your pain, improve mobility and keep you from having more severe complications in the future.

TYPICAL INJURIES WE SEE AFTER AN ACCIDENT

Car accident related injuries can often develop into other injuries down the road. Even “fender-benders” can cause hidden injuries that can develop into pain, headaches, and arthritis. Studies have shown that impact as slow as 5 mph can cause whiplash, which can have damaging long term effects on your spine.

Most doctors will give pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs to hide these injuries. Our approach to car accident related injuries is to use specific chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy to help return your spinal function. After a thorough case history and examination, the doctor will recommend any necessary care to help restore proper motion and position of spinal bones. If caught early enough, inflammation can be reduced and scar tissue that leaves muscles weaker, less elastic, and prone to re-injury can often be minimized.

It is important to get your spine examined by a Doctor of Chiropractic immediately. Dr. Yang Wellness Center also works with most auto accident insurances and with personal injury attorneys.

The physical and psychological damage of car accident related injuries can affect many activities you may do on a daily basis. Chiropractic techniques and skills are proven to relieve the associated neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain, mid back pain, numbness/ tingling, low back pain, and other destructive effects of a whiplash injury. Chiropractic and Physical Therapy can help:

  • Reduce pain, inflammation, muscle spasms, and scar tissue
  • Speed healing and recovery
  • Increase range of motion, flexibility, and strength
  • Strengthen and enhance muscle function and tone
  • Restore proper spinal movement
  • Improve your overall quality of life

Seemingly minor, low-impact forces can result in severe chronic injuries. These injuries often times do not appear immediately. Symptoms of neck pain, shoulder pain, and back pain can take days or even weeks after an auto accident before a victim notices.

Seeing your Doctor of Chiropractic for an exam, even if the accident was minor, can have a huge impact on your health and well-being. Research shows chiropractic treatments have been effective for thousands of car accident related injuries. Dr. Yang Wellness Center can help significantly ease patients symptoms and allow them to return to their normal activities.

Call 203-954-1900 Dr. Yang Wellness Center and get an appointment TODAY! We also work closely with attorneys and auto body repair shops if referrals or recommendations are needed.

Acupuncture May Boost Pregnancy Success Rates

When a couple is trying to have a baby and can’t, it can be emotionally and financially draining. But help may be available in an unexpected form: acupuncture.

Medical experts believe that this ancient therapy from China, which involves placing numerous thin needles at certain points in the body, can help improve fertility in both men and women.

“Acupuncture has been around for almost 3,000 years. It’s safe and there are no bad side effects from it,” explained Dr. Lisa Lilienfield, a family practice and pain management specialist at the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine in McLean, Va. “It may not be the only thing that is done in isolation to treat infertility, but it helps get the body primed and maximizes the potential effects of fertility treatments.”

Dr. Jamie Grifo, director of the New York University Fertility Center and director of the division of reproductive endocrinology at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said that “it’s not a panacea, but acupuncture does help some patients have better success.”

“It’s one non-traditional modality to help manage the stress of infertility, and it does improve pregnancy rates and quality of life in some people,” he said.

In addition to relieving stress, Lilienfield said that acupuncture can help increase a woman’s fertility by improving blood flow to the ovaries and uterus. This improved blood flow can help thicken the lining of the uterus, increasing the chances of conception.

It may also help correct problems with the body’s neuroendocrine system. Acupuncture can help activate the brain to release hormones that will stimulate the ovaries, adrenal glands and other organs that are involved in reproduction, according to Lilienfield. Acupuncture’s effect on the neuroendocrine system may also help infertile men by stimulating sperm production, she said.

Studies that have been done on acupuncture and fertility have had mixed results, with some showing benefits and others showing none. Grifo said the differing results may have something to do with the design of the studies. Two areas that appear to be more consistently helped by acupuncture treatments are in vitro fertilization and women who are infertile due to polycystic ovary syndrome.

Two studies — one in Acupuncture in Medicine and the other in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation — found a benefit when acupuncture was used on the day an embryo was transferred into a woman’s uterus.

The study from the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation also found that women with polycystic ovary syndrome and men who had infertility issues with no known cause also benefitted from acupuncture.

The actual treatment session involves placing very thin needles at specific points in the body. In Chinese medicine, these points are believed to be areas where a person’s “qi” (pronounced chee), or life force, is blocked, according to the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. In Western medicine, it’s believed that the needle placement may release the body’s natural painkillers.

Acupuncture is commonly used to treat pain, such as back pain, headache and menstrual cramps, according to the center.

Lilienfield said that acupuncture treatment costs vary, depending on where someone lives and the training of the practitioner. In her center, a treatment costs about $135, and most people receive six to eight treatments for infertility, she said. Insurance reimbursement also varies, she noted, though many insurance companies will pay for acupuncture.

In general, someone younger than 35 is often advised to try to get pregnant for about a year before seeking treatment for infertility. “But, if you’re anxious to get going, six months is a reasonable time to wait,” Lilienfield said. And women older than 35 probably shouldn’t wait more than six months, she added.

Grifo said he doesn’t favor waiting that long to seek treatment. “If you are trying to get pregnant and struggling with it, you don’t need to wait a year,” he said. “And, if you’re over 35, don’t wait six months to get worked up if it’s causing you distress.”

This Article is from The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Publication Date: Oct. 31, 2011

Treating Allergies with Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Western (allopathic) medicine tends to rely on relieving the uncomfortable symptoms of allergy sufferers with the use of medications. While this approach may provide temporary relief, there are often unpleasant or even intolerable side effects. Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine believe that the best way to control allergies is to address their causes by treating the whole person and balancing the immune system.

What are allergies?

In the spring, budding trees, flowers, weeds and grasses release pollen, which is spread through the air by wind. This natural occurrence can trigger an allergic reaction, known as hay fever (allergic rhinitis). Tree pollens are at their height in early spring, while grass and weed pollens arrive in late spring and summer. Aside from these seasonal offenders, other common allergens such as dust, dust mites, mold and animal dander trigger symptoms year-round. Exposure to the allergen results in symptoms such as itchy eyes and throat, sinus congestion and sneezing, asthma, and even diarrhea. What occurs physiologically is a massive release of IgE antibodies, which attach to white blood cells known as mast cells. These cells are mostly located in the lungs and upper respiratory tract, the lining of the stomach, and the skin. When these cells are stimulated, they release a number of chemicals, including histamine, which produce the allergic reactions. This is a misplaced immunity, and a learned response by the immune system.

Of course, not everyone has this reaction. Geographic location plays a role, as it dictates the type of foliage present. There can also be a family history that predisposes sensitivity to certain allergens. An estimated 22 million Americans suffer from allergies, and spend millions of dollars on medications and allergy shots.

Western (Allopathic) Treatment of Allergies

It is important to understand that symptoms are signs of a malfunctioning immune system. In the case of allergies, things that are normally harmless, such as pollen, present a threat. The allergens are not actually the problem. The problem is the person’s reaction to the allergens. The histamine produced when attempting to fight off allergens is what causes the symptoms. Basic allopathic medical therapies, such as antihistamines, rely on inhibiting the allergic response. Other types of drugs used to treat allergic rhinitis or asthma include those that act on the nervous system (Albuterol, epinephrine), while cortico-steroids (prednisone) and decongestants focus on suppressing the symptoms of allergies.

Western medicine also emphasizes the importance of avoiding the allergen. The use of air filters to decrease exposure is encouraged. When avoidance or elimination is impossible or impractical, the next level of treatment may be desensitization, which involves injecting small amounts of the allergen in gradually increasing doses in order to neutralize the number of antibodies present over time. While allopathic medicine is effective in treating the allergic response, side effects such as drowsiness, immune system suppression or over-reliance on medications often result.

Allergies and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), including a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbs, is a safe, natural and effective option for treating allergies. The goal of all TCM is to promote the healthy flow of qi (vital energy) that travels through the meridians of our bodies. TCM interprets the cause of allergic rhinitis, referred to as “bi yuan,” as an imbalance in the distribution of qi. The blockages, excesses, deficiencies and imbalances that can occur in each of the meridians and organs need to be identified and corrected in order to eliminate allergy symptoms.

Bi yuan occurs due to invasions of “wind-cold” that eventually turns to “wind-heat” if not treated properly. Allergy symptoms will either present as wind-cold or wind-heat. Wind, like the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, causes congestion. This wind often coexists with a deficiency of the protective qi or “wei qi.” Wei qi is analogous to our immune system. Those with wei qi deficiency catch colds easily, and their allergy symptoms may be especially acute in spring or fall, which are windy seasons.

Treatment using TCM can dramatically lessen allergic reactions, or in some cases help the sufferer tolerate what caused the symptoms. It also enables most people to reduce or eliminate their dependence on allergy medication. We like to use a two-phased approach when treating seasonal allergies. First, during the pollen season, the focus will be to treat the acute symptoms by expelling the wind-cold or wind-heat. Second, after the pollen season, or when the symptoms have cleared, our focus is on treating the underlying problem by strengthening the immune system or wei qi. After an initial series of treatments, further treatments are provided as needed. Some people may need to return once or twice a year for a booster, while others may need to come more often. Your treatment will always be individualized to meet your needs.

When we treat someone for allergies, we also look for constitutional or more deeply rooted signs. The idea is to treat the person as a whole. According to TCM, people with chronic allergies often show signs of spleen or kidney deficiency as well as lung problems. The goal of the practitioner is to develop a treatment plan that will alleviate the patient’s acute symptoms while addressing the underlying immune system imbalance at the root of the allergy. Treatments often include lifestyle and dietary recommendations. There are also excellent Chinese herbal formulas that help to treat allergy symptoms and strengthen immunity.

This article is from nyacuhealth.com