Thinking About Acupuncture, Don’t Fear the Needle

Posted on July 29, 2016. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Acupuncturist, Children, Health, inflammation, Pain, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

~by Dr. Gregory Steiner

Child receiving AcupunctureMany of us have heard about the benefits of natural healing, the thought of not being dependent on medications, the ability for the body to function optimally based upon proper diet and exercise, and holistic therapies that can heal us of afflictions. Eastern medicine has educated us on the benefits of massage, herbal and aromatherapy, and even acupuncture.  Unfortunately, many of us are reluctant to seek acupuncture treatment because we have a fear, a fear of the unknown and a fear of needles.  But what does the “typical” thought of needle conjure in the mind? Maybe we were traumatized when we received immunization shots as a child, anesthesia shots for fillings, or some other type of injection leaving our brains to associate needles with pain and uncomfortable situations.  Luckily, acupuncture performed correctly by a trained professional causes virtually no pain!

I’m afraid of needles, does acupuncture hurt?
Rest assured that acupuncture needles are in no way similar to hypodermic needles.  First of all, a medical hypodermic needle has a hollow point and sharp edge and must “break” the skin to either insert or withdraw fluid. Acupuncture needles are solid, round-point thin and wire-like and are sterilized and disposable.  With their small size, they are more comparable to a strand of hair.  They are hardly like needles at all.  The depth the needle goes is so shallow that it doesn’t even draw blood.  A helpful comparison is that  between 20 and 40 acupuncture needles can actually fit inside the hollow shaft point of a hypodermic needle (depending on size).  These needles are so small and thin that some of them can actually be passed through a balloon without popping it!

What does it feel like?
Many patients describe the feeling of the needle as either a tingling or pulsating sensation, or a dull ache which soon passes, or not feeling anything at all being inserted.  It only takes a second for the doctors to insert the needle and when working with an experienced practitioner, should relatively be painless.  If by chance, there is discomfort, the needle can be quickly removed and repositioned.  Pain isn’t something that should be felt or elicited; in fact, the acupuncture is used to do the opposite and help alleviate pain.

What is it used for?
Acupuncture can help with a variety of issues, including reduction or elimination of pain, whether it be for the back, neck, shoulders or joints to name a few.  It can help with headaches, stress & anxiety, and even help balance the body which in turn can positively affect the thyroid, menstruation issues, and hormones. It has also been used to increase energy levels and has been effective in weight loss and allergy symptom relief.  The list can go on and on for the benefits that acupuncture can provide.

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Repairing Your Body After Injury

Posted on July 14, 2016. Filed under: Aging, Exercise, Healing, Health, injury, rebuild, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Heat map Acupuncture doll

By Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

In its simplest terms, aging could be described as the body’s failure to repair. We grow, we mature, we reach various physical and mental peaks, and then…..we age.  When we are young our hormones, e.g. testosterone and growth hormone – are at high levels and command our bodies to grow and repair; our circulatory system is efficient as it transports those hormones and necessary nutrients towards muscles and organs; we have more enzymes that we know what to do with that make the chemical process necessary for growth and repair work at super speed. Though other factors are involved, hormones, transportation, enzymes and nutrients form the basis for growth, and its first cousin – repair.

Have you noted when an athlete of say, 20 years of age sustains an injury he or she seems able to be back on the field in just a few weeks? If an athlete of age 30 sustains an identical injury, it’s often much longer before return to play. At age 40, who knows?  The younger athlete’s speed of recovery demonstrates all those factors in play, working fast and in a coordinated way.

Of course with every injury comes scar tissue. If you tear a hamstring, it will eventually heal, but somewhere within the muscle will likely be a cluster of tough, stringy tissue that while strong, is nowhere near as elastic as the original muscle, nor does it have the same circulation properties which means the scar won’t receive or use nutrients as effectively as original tissue. One thing that I’d say every aging fitness person or athlete knows very, very well is what a painful body feels like. All the accumulated injuries of younger years are still present in scar tissue, and as the body loses efficiency and elasticity, the aging athlete feels them all the more. That’s why putting a strong emphasis on ‘repair’ is crucial to prolonging your active life and living a vigorous lifestyle.

While a team doctor for Master’s weightlifters in Scotland, I would often converse with coaches and lifters who had travelled to Eastern Europe and Russia to train, learn and exchange ideas. Though many bits and pieces of knowledge were exchanged during these travels, two factors truly stuck out. First, the emphasis on conditioning no matter what the sport practiced; and second, how much effort they would put into restoration.  One way of summing up the ‘conditioning’ emphasis was to say ‘an athlete is as good as his legs,’ meaning that legs take real effort to condition, and if the legs are strong and have stamina the whole person probably does too.

Repair then, is replacing what has been lost, mending what has been torn, restoring arrangements in what has been disrupted and so on. To live is to be injured, but through nutrition, good body mechanics, enzymatic replacement, and the right type of conditioning your body has the ability to restore itself.

 

 

 

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Getting Tired Too Fast? The Key is Building Endurance

Posted on May 5, 2016. Filed under: Aging, Exercise, Health, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

drgregportrait1test2.pngBy Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

Endurance, also known as stamina, comes in several flavors. We have general stamina – the ability to perform ever so well the necessities and luxuries of our daily lives, without undo fatigue or effort. (Life should NOT feel like an uphill-both-ways struggle! No, not even when we are ‘older’!) More specifically, we have cardiovascular stamina in which our heart, lungs and blood vessels work in coordinated harmony to let us safely exert ourselves in accordance with the needs of the situation we find ourselves in. We also have local muscular endurance, in which specific muscles happily find themselves able to repeat a needed motion again and again and again. We also have an ‘isometric’ stamina which enables us to remain in a position for as long as is needed.

When you read about aging as related to endurance, you read conflicting statements, e.g. “I get tired faster now that I’m older;” vs. “Endurance is the old man’s game.” What are we to make of this apparent contradiction?  Several things act to explain this. First, we have to look quite honestly about how the person of high stamina has lived his or her life compared to the person of low stamina. Is their weight still good? Has their diet been healthy? Has their stress level increased or decreased? Have they exercised diligently and appropriately? Genetics always, always play a role, but no matter what genetic cards we have been dealt, the answer to good aging is always the same: play the hand as best you can, wisely and diligently maximize your genetic strengths and arrange your lifestyle to counteract your weaknesses.

In an athletic sense it often comes to pacing. For example, young people run faster than older people and their ability to recover after exertion is often quicker as well. So, if an older person tries to do repeat sprints with little recovery, he or she might be very disappointed if they try to compete with a younger person. However, some older athletes become very good at getting into a pace and keeping that pace up for a very long time. The legendary Tarahumara people of the Copper Canyon area of Mexico are renowned for the endurance running of their older members, with distances reported to be 100 miles or more, and sometimes kicking a round wooden ball. Of course, they have a lifetime of training and cultural expectations that such apparent feats of stamina are definitely in the realm of possibility.

Many factors can contribute to increasing your stamina.  Basic cardio, high repetition weight training, hydration, and even deep breathing which boosts oxygen intake can all help.  But there is no substitute for having a good proper diet.  It’s better for everything including stamina.  Include protein, healthy fats, low glycemic index foods including vegetables (think veggies that don’t convert to sugar readily) and reduce carbohydrates unless you are doing strenuous activity for at least 30 minutes.  If you feed the “machine” right, it will help you reap the benefits of better strength, vitality and health overall.

 

 

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Do I Need to Cleanse & Detox?

Posted on January 7, 2016. Filed under: cleanse, detox, Healing, Health, Pain, Weightloss | Tags: , , , , , , , |

~By Dr. Greg Steiner

Magnifying Glass - Healthy Living

Cleansing & detoxing seem to be all the rage these days.  There are 2, 5, 7, 10, or even 21 day cleansing programs available that promise to clean out all those harmful toxins that are currently ravaging your body and wreaking havoc on your immune system.  But if you think about it, our body is seemingly bombarded on a daily basis from toxins we get from water, household cleaners, air pollution, chemicals, food additives and the list goes on and on.  Some of these things become neurotoxins in our systems and impair proper nerve function, cause tremors, lack of sleep, inability to focus, unexplained weight gain, etc… Or they can become hormone disruptors, interfering with testosterone or estrogen.  What these neurotoxins & hormone disruptors do is block or disrupt normal metabolism.  They build up within your system and the effect can be cumulative.

What happens if you’re toxic?

The two organs most affected are usually the kidneys and the liver.  The liver is the metabolic power plant, but a lot of these toxins get stored in the fat as well.  When you go on a diet to lose weight and detox yourself, some of these toxins can still be released into your system and be metabolized or even re-metabolized in the body.  If they get into the liver, metabolic pathways may not function optimally.

These symptoms can be very broad and vague with headaches, muscle pain, body odors, or fatigue. Sometimes it’s hard to nail down exactly the issue, but you know you just don’t feel right.  In my own practice, I’ve seen many people vigorously & diligently clean up their diet, use a detox regimen along with drinking lots of water, allowed a little bit of time (patience being a key ingredient in this process), go through almost miraculous changes.  They feel a whole lot better and many have been able to minimize the medications they’re on and in some cases even come off of them.

How do I benefit from doing this?

Detoxification  is a lot about supporting organ function while minimizing exposure.  When you support the kidneys and liver and give them a rest from exposure to toxins or even regular food,  the theory is that your body will work to get rid of the garbage in your system and allow itself to recover and heal.  The real benefit is that while going through your “cleansing & detox” process, the herbs, clean “green” type drinks, and ample supply of water you drink help create the bridge over to living a better lifestyle afterwards.  Cravings for caffeine, sugar, and salty foods become greatly reduced, energy increases, and even your attitude towards exercise and staying healthy becomes predominately positive!

Be sure to do your “due diligence” in research when you start a cleanse/detox.  There is no magic drink or pill.  You’ve got to combine the program with the right type of nutrition for optimal success.

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Practice Deep Breathing Daily

Posted on December 10, 2015. Filed under: Breathing, Exercise, Pain, Posture, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Taking cleansing deep breaths can help your health!

A major cause of illness in the elderly are lung infections. This is partly due to limited or the inability for daily exercise.  When people don’t move around enough, lung fluid can become infected and settle in the bottom part of the lungs where it can’t get out. Taking deep healthy breaths and ideally moving around helps circulation,  one of the best natural defenses against lung infections.

Another reason for practicing consciously deep breathing is that taking shallow breaths means you have to work harder and take more breaths to oxygenate your blood properly.  When you have inferior breathing, it’s less efficient having to take more breaths to try to compensate. You can become more fatigued by not breathing deeply.

Chinese medicine, talks about “qi gong” which is a breathing, energy movement where one is inhaling the good energies and purging bad energies and using healthy visualizations as well.bigstock-Beautiful-young-woman-doing-yo-13202339

Yoga is an excellent practice which provides exercise and necessary stretching of the muscles but also takes breathing to an art form.  This is a wonderful form of exercise and deep breathing recommended for all ages.

 

 

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Staying Healthy & Fit During the Holidays

Posted on December 10, 2015. Filed under: Exercise, Health, Pain | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Fitness womanThis time of the season can be splendid or dreadful all depending on how we deal with it. A lot of it comes down to what a person does or doesn’t do.  One thing to keep up good health is to cut down on the sugar.  It only takes about 30 minutes after consuming sugar for the immune system to start to suffer.  With more sugar in their bodies, people can have an under functioning immune system which is one of several reasons people get sick often.  Through my clinical experience, I’ve also noticed that if people eat more sugar, they tend to hurt more, especially in their joints.  If they hurt more, they tend to exercise less.  It’s a downward spiral.

Another way to stay healthy is to actually go outside and get some fresh air.  During the cold season, we’re cooped up more often and outside much less.  If you spend a lot of time in a closed environment with a bunch of people with compromised immune systems, your exposure to illness will be greater (think schools, offices, department stores, etc.). Try to get outside and get in some sunshine as well.  Most people are deficient in vitamin d in the winter so supplementation is a good idea.  As a matter of fact, a good combination to battle the cold is to take in vitamin C and zinc.  Zinc is good to have a steady supplementation of during cold and flu season (which happens to correspond with the holiday season).  Vitamin d can help boost the immune system and can also help reduce joint pains as well.

And don’t let stress get the best of you either! Holiday shopping, parties, organizing and the like can stress people out and cause the hormone cortisol to increase which is implicated in weight gain.  Part of weight gain isn’t just about having more sugar or over indulgence, it also includes the stress hormone, cortisol.  It’s very important if you have some type of exercise program to keep it up. Don’t wait until New Year’s for the resolution.  It’s best to stay active with some type of steady exercise during the holidays.  It helps keep you fit and is a natural stress reducer.

 

 

 

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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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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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Staying on Target with Your New Year’s Health Resolutions

Posted on December 2, 2014. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Exercise, Weightloss | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

bigstock-Winner--Success-concept-Hike-38730274By Dr. Gregory Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

It’s now January and many of us have made some resolutions for a happier and healthier new year.  But whether your resolution is losing weight, quitting smoking or stopping bad habits, there are steps you need to take to ensure success of those goals.

Many people make weight loss part of their resolution, but many people give up their goal after the first month or two.  So how do you make sure you don’t give up your resolutions by Valentine’s Day?

Write it down & be specific.  People often make abstract resolutions:  “Enjoy life”, “Be happier”, etc… Instead, look for a specific measurable action.  “Do 50 pushups every day”, or “Drink 10 glasses of water daily”.  Just writing down “stay fit and healthy” doesn’t provide enough direction for you to follow to achieve success.

Place your resolutions where you can see them constantly.  Out of sight, out of mind comes into play here.  When you see your written resolutions every day, you’re more likely to follow through with them.

Hold yourself accountable.  Accountability is important to success with resolutions.  That’s why Jenny Craig and AA are so effective.  Make a calendar & check off your list each day or exchange updates with your spouse.  If you miss the mark on one of your resolutions that day, make up for it the next, but don’t beat yourself up for it.

Do what it takes for the best success & follow through.  Making a statement like “Losing Weight” doesn’t give you enough information to help you be successful.  Think about what “Losing Weight” will entail.  By providing smaller steps to achieve the big picture, you can ensure greater success.  Think, “eating 1/3 smaller meals than I usually eat”, “only eating bread once a week”, “eating 4 different vegetables daily (nothing fried)”.  Also consider what you can do in addition to help aid the success of your goals.  Exercise will help with weight loss, but additional therapies like acupuncture (great for suppressing appetite and curbing cravings) and herbal therapy can also support the process.

Don’t quit.  Easier said than done, but even if you’ve slipped backwards and feel like you fell of the wagon.  Get back up and keep going!  Think positive and positive things will happen.

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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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