Archive for September, 2014

How Acupuncture Can Help Weight Loss

Posted on September 16, 2014. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Exercise, Healing, Health, Weightloss | Tags: , , , , , , , |

~by Dr. Greg Steinerweightloss
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

How does it work?
Acupuncture can help weight loss in many ways. Success usually comes from a multi-faceted approach which involves measures designed to:

• Curb appetite
• Reduce cravings
• Boost metabolism
• Improve digestion
• Regulate obesity-related hormones
• Strengthen liver function for better digestion
• Reduce stress
It is the culmination of several techniques combined that produce the overall weight loss effect. There’s not one main acupuncture point that will do everything.

For example, many people eat because they are stressed. Oftentimes, it’s called “comfort eating” because they believe that certain types of foods will in fact make them feel better and eat them even when they aren’t really hungry. This is often a “psychological” response instead of “physical hunger”. There is a “need” to want to feel better or comforted. Acupuncture has been thought to help stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel good” hormones. This can create a calming, relaxing effect, which counteracts the need for excessive eating brought about by increased stress, frustration, or anxiety.

Stress is known to release the chemical cortisol. Cortisol is designed to help reduce inflammation, but if stress is too high and for a sustained period (like high pressure jobs, dealing with family issues, etc…), the body pumps out too much cortisol and imbalances occur. We see that tissues start to degrade faster; the immune system gets depressed, and combined with long term inflammation puts fat around the mid-section. That “spare-tire” develops. Too much stress alters brain chemistry and is strongly related to an imbalance in hormone function as well.
Cravings also make it difficult to lose weight. These come in many forms including sweet or salty, carbs and protein, or even specific cravings for a certain food. Often these cravings involve the ingestion of processed, de-natured food providing us with too many empty calories and an excess of carbohydrates. And because the body doesn’t get the right nutrients that it needs, the person can still be hungry after they eat.

Acupuncture can overcome these cravings by helping improve digestion. When digestion works more efficiently, the brain gets the message that the body has been fed, and with that message, reduces the cravings. The metabolic pathways work better and nutritional intake increases. There are a variety of acupuncture points that are very effective for overcoming cravings and even acupressure points that the individual can learn to do while at home, away from the clinic.

Hormonal balancing is also key to successful weight loss. Correctly balancing hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, the thyroid and insulin can improve the results significantly. If insulin is better balanced, the person is less likely to be reaching for unhealthy snacks during the day. When blood sugar fluctuations go up and down drastically throughout the day over a long period of time, insulin levels in the body can be severely affected. Studies have linked type 2 diabetes to this, which is largely preventable. We look at insulin as a fat storage hormone; too much of it makes the body gain weight.
How many visits will it take?
The length of treatment varies from one individual to another. Cravings control can actually come pretty quickly, ranging from the 1st visit to 2 weeks. Stress reduction is the next tier which usually occurs within 2-3 weeks. Hormone balancing is more complex and will take longer. One of the biggest advantages to using acupuncture is that there are no side effects or addiction and it’s a completely natural process.

Taking care of our body is like tuning our car. If you tune it up but don’t change the oil and run a bunch of garbage gas in there, you’ll have trouble. Look at the food we eat as the gas. Make it good.

The first step to weight loss is using acupuncture to help you to start feeling better. By combining proper exercise and eating healthy foods, you can create an upward spiral. Acupuncture can jumpstart the process and speed it along faster. Contact our office to set up your first visit and get started on your weight loss journey.

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Using Chiropractic to Improve Posture & Reduce Pain

Posted on September 3, 2014. Filed under: Children, Chiropractic, Healing, Health, Posture | Tags: , , , , , , , |

incorrect neck alignmentJust being aware of the proper neck & shoulder posture is the beginning of correcting the problem. With so many people hunched over computers and work stations these days, developing a forward leaning head posture is becoming more and more common.  Today’s “Age of the Internet” persuades everyone of all ages, especially our youth to spend what most would consider “way too much time” with eyes glued to the computer or smartphone device.  More often than not, the head is kept in a prolonged position with the neck bent and  leaning forward.   The problem is worsened when a person stands up, but instead of pulling their shoulders back and standing tall, they round them and allow the head to lean forward.

One way to check yourself is to stand against a wall and have someone look at you from the side.  If you are in complete alignment, they would be able to see an imaginary line through the center of the shoulder and up to the head.  The line should land through the middle of the ear.   (see photo for illustration)

An excellent way to help correct poor neck posture is the use of retraction & nodding neck exercises.  These types of exercises are designed to help gain control over postural neck muscles which have become weak and fatigued over time.  There are many methods in addition to these varying from lifting weights, muscle therapy, vibrational traction, manipulations, and postural re-education.   The list is almost endless of simple home based measures to state of the art appliances & tools.  Any help in the right direction is beneficial.

One great exercise starts with moving the head backwards to a position over the shoulders, then nodding up and down (with the head as far back on the shoulders as possible).  This nodding action affects the deep flexor muscles and can bring on an immediate pain reduction response.  Impaired muscle function has been shown to be a feature in painful neck disorders and exercises to retrain performance of the muscles can be effective in long term pain relief.

A variation of this same technique is to place your finger on the front of your chin.  Next, draw your chin backwards (away from your finger).  Proceed with this motion and go back and forth without dropping your head or looking down.  Repeat the motion several times.  This can be done every 30 minutes or so when sitting for extended periods of time.

Recovery from an injury like whiplash or headache prevention requires more than a symptomatic approach.  There are many different exercises that can be prescribed.  Dr. Steiner can help identify the best ones for your particular situation.

 

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How to Fit Into the Swimsuit

Posted on September 2, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

How to Fit Into the Swim Suit….

The pools are open, the water is warming up, and the patients are worried about the excess rolls around the hips and middles…and – oh no! – the thighs we well!

Several factors blend together to contribute to living the overweight life. Of course we are specifically speaking of over-fatness, not just “weight.” The extra jiggle, those rippling waves that move across the fat tissue is also caused by water contained within as well.

Very often sincere, sad and frustrated patients complain that they don’t eat all that much, that they are paying a personal trainer a small fortune to help them burn calories and build muscle, and that they are utterly fed up with the situation. Other patients are undone by cravings that they know all too well, and it’s usually for sweets or starches. Still others simply don’t do anything more physical than click a mouse all day, every day. Others still have a difficult hormone imbalance in which thyroid, reproductive, pancreatic or adrenal hormones are out of balance.

Weight loss is always more than one thing to deal with, as we just discussed. The interesting point is that exercise should not be the key to weight loss, which probably sounds like a contradiction to good, sound weight-loss advice.

In the ideal word, with a person’s appetite and hormones working at their optimal best appetite and energy expenditure should balance, day in and day out, in times of work and in times of rest. If you physically work or exercise a lot, you should be hungrier. If you lie around and do nothing, you shouldn’t be particularly hungry. How often do we see just the opposite? In my clinic the answer is every single day, as people eat from boredom, anxiety, a need for reward, or a need to self-punish. So, what exercise is really for is to build strength, tone and shape into your muscles and sturdiness into your ligaments and bones. If you absolutely must exercise a lot to lose weight congratulations on having the motivation to find a system that works, but know also that your exercise acts as a cover-up for an appetite-food intake imbalance. You are also likely to gain a ton of weight if you ever quit exercising.

It’s interesting to note that right here in our neighborhood that there are many ex-football athletes who are now “big,” but whose appetites still are stuck in their playing days, but who last worked out hard years ago!

Ideally appetite should also guide what you need. One of the healthiest people I’ve ever known makes a good illustration. She is now in her 40’s, has 4 children, still weighs less than 110 lbs,. and never has had a cavity. She craves nothing, and has been told that she has the best cholesterol values ever measured in one clinic. Some days she eats nothing but meat, perhaps a conventionally “balanced” diet the next, perhaps salads the next, and hardly anything the day after. She is not a programmed, plan-following eater. What she does have is even better – an appetite/food intake balance that is working normally and perfectly.

This then is one key: to get to the point where your systems work normally. Not revved up, hyped up, or deviated in some way but normally – which is really optimally.

To clarify, I use the word “normal” in this instance to refer to a fully-functioning natural state of operation, each part of the system working with every other to insure health. This then, is the goal of “natural” medicine, to simply do what is required to bring your body back to a normal state of health.

If your body is operating normally, your weight will take care of itself, and be easy to maintain. How about that?

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