The Concussion & Whiplash Connection

Posted on October 4, 2016. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Children, Chiropractic, Health, injury, rebuild, Pain | Tags: , , , , , , , |

football-playerBy Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

 

Head injuries can happen in a variety of ways and are more prevalent in activities that involve a lot of physical movement.  Playing an aggressive sport like football, soccer, wrestling, or any such type; one is bound to get knocked or bounced around a bit.  Following a hard hit to the head is a possible concussion.  A person can bounce back normally from a low-grade concussion but there are warning signs to look for and keep in mind:

Nausea and vomiting
Headache
Blurred vision
Dizziness
Lethargic and slow to move
Unable to concentrate or remember
Balancing or coordination problems
Slurred speech
Ringing in the ears

With these symptoms there is some varying degree of concussion experienced and should be looked over by a physician to be on the safe side. Simply put, the impact on the head causes the brain to bang against the inside of the skull and create swelling or trauma.  The extra pressure can lead to cognitive impairment and some of the symptoms seen.  Something else that is often overlooked is the neck trauma.  If a person gets concussed, they often get whiplashed.  Sometimes with a hit, the head snaps which jerks the neck back and forth.  Maybe there’s a fall, so there could be a twist in there too.  So, the secondary damage is what happens within the neck area.

Recently I had a patient who took quite a hard fall and had symptoms of a grade 1 concussion but also had a quite painful neck afterwards.  Often the neck or back issue isn’t felt until after the concussion settles down.  Even if the concussion problem heals, there can still be a problem in the neck which could last for several days or even months.   With whiplash, such as in an auto accident, if the person is young and healthy, there could be damage up to a point but if you deal with a slightly older individual, who has an arthritic neck and their joints don’t fit or align properly, their tissues and muscles are less elastic and they are likely to be damaged far more seriously.

Chiropractic care and acupuncture can be very helpful.  It is important to gently work and mobilize the neck and examine for proper function and proper movement very carefully.  The upper back should also be checked because a certain amount of neck pain often originates from the upper back.  All the muscles and tissues are connected to one another so we work with the upper back to make sure the spine, joints, and muscles are working properly because they are the base that the neck sits upon.  The acupuncture can help with relaxation of the injured muscles helping reduce inflammation and being able to help with decreasing pain as well.

Accidents happen, it’s a part of life, but getting the proper treatment and care is an important step which shouldn’t be missed.

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Why Does My Back Hurt?

Posted on February 2, 2016. Filed under: Chiropractic, Health, Joints, Pain, Posture, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

bigstock-Back-pain-14431652By Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

There are many reasons why your back is hurting.  It could be poor posture, an injury, long term wear and tear, etc…  But the pain you are feeling, like fire shooting through your veins or the dull ache that seems constant is usually a form of inflammation.  Whether the problem stems from doing too much or too little, the result can end you up in the same place.  One of the worst things you can do is go from one extreme to another.  If you sit behind your desk all day long and then decide to go out and aggressively clean the entire yard (like shoveling mulch, pulling weeds, etc.) you could be setting yourself up for a painful injury.

Our backs have discs that are designed to cushion the bones.  When we move, those discs work like little squishy sponges.  When we move to the right, that part of the disc compresses while the other side stretches.  These discs need to ingest a certain amount of nutrients to stay healthy.

For the person who sits most of the day and doesn’t move around, the discs essentially start to starve because nutrients aren’t being circulated and they start to become brittle.  When they become brittle, they start to flake and decay and become inflamed at a quicker rate.  So by living a sedentary lifestyle and doing nothing, you can actually harm yourself even more.

For the opposite type of individuals whose career involves moving around a lot, especially those that are athletes, they too can experience problems.  For example, if a long distance runner has improper technique, the discs in their spine or “shock absorbers” can wear out faster.  Even though there is plenty of motion going on, the body is overwhelmed and can’t re-supply all the nutrients it needs quick enough to rebuild, so inflammation starts in that way as well.

Posture can also attribute to back pain.  If you take a bowling ball and hold it straight up, it’s not so hard to do, but if you keep moving it forward inch by inch, for every inch you let your arm creep forward, it will increasingly feel heavier and be harder to hold.  Imagine your head like the bowling ball with all that stress on your neck, there will probably be pain in the upper back which eventually will travel down the spine to include pain in the lower back as well.  The neck and back overwork all day long, the tissues hyper stretch out and they become inflamed and begin to hurt.

That’s why I recommend getting a checkup.  Having your posture analyzed and corrected  can help pinpoint some of the reasons you may be having back pain and help get you on the track to feeling better and reducing that back pain.

 

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Slowing the Aging Process

Posted on November 20, 2015. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Aging, Chiropractic, Exercise, Health, Hormone, Joints, Pain, Posture, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

~ by Dr. Greg Steinerbigstock-Mature-couple-having-fun-in-co-13905050

Growing old is inevitable, but getting old shouldn’t be used as an excuse.  For those who say, “I can’t do this because I’m getting older”, that’s an insufficient answer.  You don’t have to fear aging and let it prohibit you from the things you want to do.  There are a number of things that can be done to slow the process or at the least, allow you to age well.

Many processes going on in the body effect how we age.  Circulation is one of them.  It’s similar to having narrow roads, with fewer trucks on the road making deliveries.  Circulation is our transport system for our bodie’s resources, namely oxygen and nutrition.  As we age, we have a less efficient delivery system.  Also influenced by age is mobility and elasticity.  The gradual need for reading glasses demonstrates a decrease in elasticity in eyes.  It’s kind of ironic how we age that certain things get saggy while other things stiffen up.  Hormones can also get out of whack.  Testosterone & estrogen usually become unbalanced and growth hormone, responsible for repair also decreases.  Imbalanced thyroid levels and insulin can lead us to  suffer from fatigue and other issues.  And let’s not forget about inflammation.  There is inflammation that comes from a recent injury (like breaking a toe), but there’s also inflammation from an injury from 10 years ago.  Some of this stems from scar tissue forming, which over the years becomes less elastic and reduced circulation in that area.  Natural anti-inflammatories in the body work at a slower rate so we feel pain in that particular spot.

But know this, all of those things, at least by some degree are correctable.  Stretching for elasticity and mobility is helpful, but won’t necessarily solve everything.  Due to the computer generation, people these days can barely turn their neck left or right.  It’s double the problem from what I was seeing 20 years ago.  If the neck isn’t kept flexible, it can promote shoulder pain and headaches as well.

Chiropractic can be very helpful in restoring and maintaining mobility and flexibility.  Some people stretch and stretch yet still can’t touch their toes.  Usually this indicates a ligament issue.  Their bones and spine aren’t flexing.  One of the secrets to having a bouncy, happy walk isn’t about being flexible, it’s about having your bones & ligaments moving properly.  If everything is aligned and moving correctly, and the structure is perfectly aligned, the individual has a light, bouncy walk with or without flexibility.

Diet and exercise can help circulation.  Acupuncture and herbs are also useful in promoting circulation as well as helping reduce inflammation.  If you improve the circulation, you’ve got a better supply system which can transport out the waste products.  The healthy diet can then provide the right nutrition to be transported in.  Blood tests can determine how well hormones are balanced.

Everything is tied into one another.  Just like a plate of spaghetti, if one noodle falls off, it usually takes several with it.  Just be sure to treat all the issues together as a whole rather than trying to look at each “noodle” independently.

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Is your child overworked with sports? Take the right precautions to prevent injury and keep them healthy!

Posted on October 13, 2015. Filed under: Children, Chiropractic, Exercise, Pain | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

drgregportrait1

By Dr. Gregory Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

Pressures to succeed are considerable where children are in multiple or select sports exercising and practicing at a fairly very high level, often 6-7 times weekly.  Every child’s body is by constitution, different, and some bodies are better suited and more adaptable for excessive exercise and muscle strain than others.  Whether it be practicing gymnastics at an elite level, working out as much as 30 hours per week or select soccer or football, the repetitive movements these children go through can begin to show on their bodies.  The trouble is that even though kids are still pliable, springy and flexible, their bodies are still growing and they still need to repair and recover.   When an individual works out and exercises, there’s always a little bit of breaking down the muscle, but then the body needs to repair itself.

Problems stem from when the demands exceed the re-cooperation.  It’s similar to taking money from the bank but not putting it back in, it’s always running on a deficit. This can be done for a while, but eventually, it needs to be paid back.

I’ve worked with many young athletes, one being a 15 year old, very talented and motivated soccer player with persistent back pain.  He had worked out so much with the same repetitive motions that finally his back gave.  His back just wouldn’t get better and it mystified a lot of people. What he had was a stress fracture on his spine.  In his case, he had to completely stop the sport for a while and then rehab it.  He eventually was able to get back to it and it fortunately wasn’t a “career ending” injury, but if he had kept on, it could’ve turned for the worse.

There’s a fine line between working and overworking.  What happens eventually is that in the early teens, those children who have worked so hard for years, start to show damage and stress patterns.  Kids are exuberant; they have a good repair capacity and if they overwork it, it’s a bit more forgiving because they are still growing.  They have growth hormone and testosterone so they’ll repair up to a point.

To fix this situation, 1st there’s evaluation.  Even kids can break.  They are not supposed to have long term pain but short term pains aren’t uncommon:  growing pains, strains & sprains, etc… But if they complain about the same area week after week, there’s most likely a problem there, possibly ligament or bone issue of some kind.  The 2nd thing to look for is crooked posture, not just the slouch, but one shoulder or one hip higher than the other.  Watch them walk and observe if one foot is out or in more than the other one.   Helping correct these things on a child may take a short amount of work, but once they’ve grown and had the issue for years, the work required to reverse it could be extensive.

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Natural Allergy Relief

Posted on April 7, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

bigstock-Mature-couple-having-fun-in-co-13905050~by Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

There are many ways to treat allergies.  Many of the over the counter allergy medicines go by the name of anti-histamines thus eliminating histamine response.  These meds serve as temporary fire extinguishers that can give some relief albeit short-lived and must be used repeatedly to keep the symptoms at bay.  Other allergic reactions may be to dust or mold which can be effectively removed in most households thus eliminating or reducing the severity of the problem.  But air-borne irritants like pollen are almost impossible to avoid; they even stick to our clothing when we go outside and thus we “wear” them wherever we go!

It’s important to note that there are allergies and there are hyper-sensitivities which chemically are slightly different.  An allergy can show up on a scratch test, yet a hyper-sensitivity may not although the symptoms such as scratchy or itchy eyes or throat, runny nose, and sneezing are still present in both types.

A completely drug free, natural alternative for allergy or hyper-sensitivity symptom relief can be found in a treatment called NAET (stands for Nambudribad’s Allergy Elimination Technique) which works wonders when combined with acupuncture.  Even though acupuncture is well established and has been utilized for centuries, it still remains controversial with western medicine.  That said, I’ve had remarkable success with patients implementing these techniques in helping not only determine the root cause of the allergy but also overcoming its effects.

The testing is somewhat provocative (to provoke a response) in that you try to provide a sample of the possible allergen and introduce it to the patient.  If they have a weakness or some other symptom in the body after exposure to it, a determination can be made.  It’s important to have an experienced practitioner who can identify even the subtlest of reactions in the patient.  The real usefulness of this is that there is a more precise and targeted application of the acupuncture.  With these treatments, the allergen is identified and then the body is taught how to reduce the allergic response to it.  A recipe is created on how to help the individual deal more effectively with their allergies.

What some people don’t realize is that there is often an interaction between food and atmospheric allergens as well.  For example, if a person has low grade inflammation all the time because of the type of food they are eating (i.e. gluten or dairy intolerance) and you add pollen into the mix, their allergic reaction may be even more intense.  These sensitivities to some degree are cumulative to each other.  If we can get a handle on the food or dietary allergies/sensitivities plus the environmental sensitivities, the patient not only learns what their triggers may be but can get good results naturally without having to rely on medications for relief.

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Using  “Micro” Goals for Success in Health & Wellness

Posted on February 6, 2015. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Chiropractic, cleanse, detox, Exercise, Healing | Tags: , , , , , , , |

make things happen~By  Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

How does one actually reach their ultimate goal, whether it be for weight loss, better health, or improved fitness level?  Saying, “I will lose 50 pounds” can be daunting in of itself and can set you up for disappointing results.  I’ve found that setting “micro” or mini goals can help you achieve better results and provide enough satisfaction to keep you motivated and moving forward.  These small goals can be measured in minutes, hours, or even day by day.  Setting a small goal say from breakfast to lunch time may only involve 4-5 hours, but it provides an attainable timeline that is reachable and can be reset until the next goal is achieved.  Little blocks of time can help provide emotional satisfaction in a meaningful way that can help you keep going throughout the day.

By looking at bite size chunks of time, you can talk yourself into success.  For example, when trying to eat healthy (no junk food, fried foods or sweets), instead of trying to get through the entire day without eating any of it, break down your day from breakfast to snack, snack to lunch, etc… set it up in a way that will provide you with some sense of accomplishment.  When you reach 2-3 of those “micro” goals, you’ll be more motivated to keep going.  The idea is to not feel desperate or deprived, but driven & excited about your albeit small successes.

This type of planning works well for people who plan to go through a cleanse or fasting program.  Most people can’t fast for 24 hours, they usually get through two meals and give up.  By breaking those 24 hours into smaller segments and reaching those small goals you’ve set, you emotionally feel success and your confidence is boosted.  The funny thing about cleansing is that once you’ve eliminated certain foods like sugars or salt for just a week or two, your taste buds change and your cravings for those items are significantly reduced.

Writing your successes down in a notebook or a journal can help keep you on track.  This written record provides an extra set of accountability.  No one wants to see failure written down.  Be sure to keep things positive!

These small, mini goals can be implemented into various aspects of your daily life – whether it be for diet, exercising, or even reducing stress.  By creating this structure and adhering to it over time, you become more disciplined and eventually can reach your goals by force of habit.  Good Luck & Great Success!

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Arm Yourself Against Viruses & Bacteria

Posted on November 7, 2014. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Chiropractic, detox, Healing, Health, Immune System | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Improves-immune-system

By Dr. Gregory Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

 

It seems these days that people use disinfectant sprays and hand sanitizers like they’re going out of style – all for the protection against germs, bacteria, and viruses.  The awareness is definitely there, but there are other things that can also be done to protect our health.  One of those is building a strong immune system so that when those nasty “invaders” come knocking at our door, we’ve got fierce, invincible “soldiers” that can fight them off!

Taking herbs are a great way to build the body’s defenses.  Some are great to help prevent sickness as well as help your body heal faster if it does catch a bug.  Good ones to try include:

Garlic – Known to help prevent colds & strengthen resistance to illness.  Also renowned use as an antibacterial and antifungal.  Russian soldiers were known to have used crushed garlic to treat wounds with in order to prevent infection and promote healing.

Ginseng – Can help prevent colds and reduce their severity.  Helps strengthen the immune system by stimulating production of virus fighting cells in the body.

Echinacea – Commonly used cure-all against cold and influenza.  Used to prevent & shorten duration of colds as well as reducing symptoms caused by them.  A popular natural anti-biotic.

As colder weather and holidays quickly approach, people tend to get sick more often because they’re in a more closed environment.  This is especially true in office buildings.  More often than not, the ventilation system is just blowing “bugs” that are there from one room to another.  This is a good reason to try a natural approach such as acupuncture or chiropractic.

Acupuncture is an amazing system of medicine because it restores balance to the body. When the body is out of balance, it cannot respond to pathogens, pain, stress, or injury properly. In balance, the body can effectively respond to said insults and heal much more quickly.  Having a balanced system is key to maintain and improving health, and acupuncture is an effective and safe method to do so.

Chiropractic care is well known for pain relief (neck, back, etc…) but it can also help with illnesses!  Our bodies have nerves everywhere and if they are out of “whack” or alignment, their functionality is reduced.  For example, if the nerves on the sides of the spine to the intestines aren’t in the right placement, improper nerve pressure can cause the intestines to work at a sub-optimal level.  One of the effects could be creating a slower transit time to move bacteria out of the system.  The nerves in our body are the command and control.  When something turns on, something else should turn off.  If they’re out of sequence, problems start to happen…

Watching what you eat makes a big difference in the health of your immune system.  Sugar and alcohol consumption can wreak havoc on your defenses.  And don’t forget to drink lots of water to help flush out those nasty “bugs” from your body.

 

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Tips for Texting to Protect Our Neck & Spine

Posted on October 7, 2014. Filed under: Children, Chiropractic, Pain, Posture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

by Dr. Gregory Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinictexting_posture

It seems the entire world is immersed in digital media.  It has become a part of almost everything we do.  Cell phones, once considered a luxury item are now prevalent in most homes and viewed as a necessity.  Many parents see them as an important factor in keeping their kids safe by being able to contact them at any time or place.  While this solves some issues, it’s raising others…

Today’s younger generation, (toddlers to teens) are being raised with mobile devices.  Though kids’ slouching has been an ongoing issue (usually due to laziness or not knowing the proper way to sit or stand), kids today are developing terrible posture because of how they position their bodies while using these devices.  As they peer into the device, they are usually hunched over with their shoulders rolled forward, and heads down.

Poor posture can lead to constricting of the chest cavity, which in turn causes problems with blood flow and getting full deep breaths, and over time can cause a whole host of chronic health conditions.  When a person doesn’t get full enough breaths, the cardiovascular system doesn’t work at full efficiency because it’s compressed.  When proper lung capacity isn’t continuously utilized, it becomes a struggle to get deep breaths. Over the short-term, kids will most likely be tired and low on energy. But there’s more… There are nerves in the upper back that control the heart and lungs that can eventually deform.  If the spine deforms at an early age, there is constriction and the possibility of disrupting their nerve supply in the upper back which can further effects on heart, lungs and even stomach digestion.  And because there is constant tension on the neck as well, they are far more likely to develop chronic headaches.

Having the head bent forward too often can also produce ill effects.  Every inch of forward head posture places an additional 10 lbs of pressure on the muscles and joints of the neck.  Good news is that it can be corrected.  Young people can be fully corrected because the bones are still growing (usually until the early 20’s).  While the bones are still growing there is a possibility for full correction because you can literally guide the growth, But everyone can benefit with a combination of posture correction as well as chiropractic care and corrective exercises.

One thing I do in my clinic is show patients what good posture is.  When children are taught at a young age how to “stand up straight” it can virtually shape the way they carry themselves throughout life (not only with posture, but showing confidence as well!) Teach your kids an example of good posture by having them stand with their back against the wall with heels, glutes, upper back and back of head against the wall with the chin somewhat down.

And follow some of these Tips for Texting:

  • Maintain an upright posture while texting – Avoid bending your head down and rounding your shoulders
  • Hold your phone up to face level when using
  • Rest the thumbs by using alternative fingers
  • Utilize voice-to-text so you can speak you’re message that will be typed out
  • Use a neutral grip when holding the device. A neutral grip is when the wrist is straight, not bent in either direction
  • Reduce your keystrokes. More keystrokes equals more strain on your hands and thumbs—so keep your messages brief

 

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Increasing Your Longevity – Are You Moving in the Right Direction?

Posted on June 18, 2014. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Aging, Exercise, Fatigue, Healing, Health, Weightloss | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Will you live a long & healthy life?

Will you live a long & healthy life?

By Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

Living a long life sounds like a great thing, right? Fortunately, our society has made leaps and bounds in finding ways to preserve the lifespan (medical procedures, devices, medications, etc…) but what is truly important is the quality of the life you have left.  In this case, quality can lead to quantity (translated: living better=longer # years alive).  There are many ways to deal with the aging process, and following a pro-active approach to optimal health and fitness can be your means to extended longevity.

The “Quality” of food you eat can make a big difference in your health.  Much of our food today has been grown with a considerable amount of pesticides and chemicals.  Opting for organic whenever possible can increase the quality of the food you consume.

The “Quantity” of food you eat can also determine how overweight you may be.  I firmly believe that if the diet is right, our appetites should be as well.  If diet is correct and we are sedentary and not expending much energy, then our appetite should be less.  We should require a lower quantity of sustenance than if we were exercising regularly.

The “Composition” of our food, or the type of food we eat, also affects health.  I personally follow a lowered carb approach.  Choosing the right type of carb is important.  I prefer broccoli and spinach along with a lot of vegetable carbs, but not much corn or potatoes (too starchy).  If a person follows a solid diet with protein like chicken & fish, they can get full and be satiated for a while but if they stuff themselves with bread or potato chips until they’re half sick, 30 minutes later they’ll want to eat again when their blood sugar spikes.

The “Structure” of our bodies, how we’re put together, our skeletal structure, muscles and joints can define how we move and the quality of our bones & cartilage as we age.  It can also determine how comfortable you are when you try to become more fit.  If you hurt too much, you’re not going to want to exercise too much, and if you can’t exercise enough, you won’t be able to take care of yourself the way you should.

All in all, the older individuals who look good, live good.  If you decide you want to increase your longevity, some of the aforementioned suggestions can help.  Consider undergoing a thorough chiropractic examination by a qualified professional to determine how fit you currently are and to make sure to catch any potential structural problems before they develop or to correct issues you may already have. Also, modifying your nutrition and eating habits can result in more youthful skin, increased vitality, and subsequent weight loss.  And lastly, I’ve found that acupuncture is a great therapy to tie everything together increasing energy and overall balance.

 

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Fight off Colds & Flu this Winter by Building your Immune System Now

Posted on November 7, 2013. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Exercise, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

fight off the immune invasion~By Dr. Gregory Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

Chinese medicine believes that in our natural state, people are healthy and made to be self-repairing.  This theory states, “You should already be healthy unless you’ve done something to diminish that health”.  You can actually create health not by boosting your immune system, but by eliminating irritation to it.  But because today’s culture focuses on buzzwords such as “building immunity”, let’s talk about just how we can do that.  For example, white sugar is a backdrop to poor health.  It can suppress immune response.  Studies have shown that 1 teaspoon of sugar can lower immunity in the body within 30 minutes.  This opens a gateway for bugs like the flu or common cold to enter.  Peanuts, dairy or gluten (wheat products) are other foods which can promote inflammation and trigger “allergic responses” in the body.  Elimination of these foods for certain individuals can provide a marked improvement in their ability to fight off colds and infections.

Here are some more tips to help build your immune system to better fight off illness in the colder months:

  • Sleep Well:  Restful sleep enhances the immune system function by leading to better hormone level balance.  During good sleep, the body can rest & repair itself.  Sleep deprivation actually suppresses the immune function and activates stress.
  • Eat more “Rabbit Food”: Increase your intake of fruits & veggies.  Stay away from the unhealthy foods that contain a lot of grease, fat, preservatives, and sugar.  These foods can have a very negative effect on your overall health.
  • Drink Water:  Water helps flush toxins and hydrates your body.  Drink 10-12 glasses daily as an average.  If water gets “too boring”, add in some green tea or fresh juice.  Be wary of the sugar content and try to stay away from all sodas.
  • Stop the Stress:  A little bit of stress can boost the immune system; it’s like exercise for it.  Long term and unrelenting stress (i.e. work & relationship issues) can wreak havoc on it.  When stress hits, counterbalance it by relieving the tension through meditation, listening to relaxing music, or taking a walk.
  • Move your Body:  Exercising on a regular basis will boost circulation and keep you in better shape mentally as well as physically.  Whether its jogging, walking or sports, try to get at least 30 minutes of fitness in daily.
  • Consider Acupuncture:  Many studies have shown that acupuncture can boost the immune system.  Not only can acupuncture be beneficial in helping you overcome your cold or flu quicker, but it can also be used for prevention.  It’s a great way to fill in any missing gaps in your immune system.  Acupuncture can balance your energies to get them working in harmony and optimize your system, providing protection from illness.
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