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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Natural Healing for Skin Problems

Posted on March 3, 2016. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Allergies, detox, Healing, Health, Immune System, inflammation, Pain, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Magnifying Glass - Healthy LivingBy Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

Usually at some point in our lives, we experience some type of skin malady, be it acne as a teen, eczema, dry scalp, psoriasis or rash.  The range of cause is diverse and can include exposure to external irritants (toxins/chemicals often found in soaps, lotions, and shampoos), infestation (ringworm), fungal, nervous system (shingles), allergies and even stress.  Many of these external skin conditions are actually representations of an internal disharmony.

The standard medical approach is to treat the inflammation with an anti-inflammatory, but that doesn’t always treat the cause of it.  Traditional Chinese medicine views it a different way.  For example, eczema is seen as an imbalance of body’s energy which allows external pathogenic factors to attack causing itch, inflammation, as well as dry and red skin. Chinese medicine treats eczema not by suppressing the immune response but rather correcting the imbalances that are causing the eczema. By correcting or removing these imbalances your body is able to heal on its own.

Acupuncture has been used quite successfully for skin conditions.  When the body is out of balance, there is often illness. If the skin problem looks red, this means the patient has heat (inflammation) in the blood. The redder the skin, the more heat in the blood. This gets worse in hot weather. Most cases of eczema involve heat (inflammation) in the blood. If the skin feels dry, this means the condition involves blood deficiency.  If the skin blisters or oozes or has pustules, this means that the patient has a condition called “dampness” in Chinese medicine.  Once those representations have been identified, the patient is treated accordingly.  If the skin conditions are identified as “heat” then acupuncture points would be used to literally “cool off” or counteract the heat and restore the balance.  Different points are used to restore and normalize things.

 

One of the greatest effects an individual can have on their own body is by modification of their diet.  Omega oils and essential fatty acids like wild-caught fish and flaxseed oil are extremely beneficial and can reduce eczema and psoriasis symptoms.  Refined foods and sugars have been determined to increase inflammation and therefore should be avoided.  Those with food intolerances should avoid any potential allergens which could be gluten, dairy, shellfish or peanuts.  There are also several Chinese herbs that work well according to the ailment which include Zhi Yang, Rhubarb, and Fen Ci.  All in all, the best approach is holistic, which considers the whole body.  Food choices, sleep, exposure, and even emotional health all play a role in our health and well-being.

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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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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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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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Time to Change Your Personal Care Products

Posted on March 4, 2014. Filed under: Allergies, Children, Health, Hormone | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Be sure to read ingredient labels

Be sure to read ingredient labels

~ By Dr. Greg Steiner

Have you ever looked at the label of ingredients on your personal care products?  Most of the words are near impossible to pronounce, and definitely don’t seem like things we’d find in nature.  With all the products we put on our body (i.e. shampoo, body wash, lotions, perfumes, etc…) it’s no wonder so many individuals have developed allergic reactions and skin issues.  If you’re one of the lucky ones who don’t seem to be affected by the chemicals found in personal care products, you can still be headed towards trouble in the future.  While small amounts of these products don’t usually overwhelm our system, an ongoing accumulation of toxins can make the body less able to withstand them.  While there are hundreds of different types of chemicals found in our personal care products, here are just a few you should try to avoid:

  • Sodium Lauryl and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS)—Foaming agents which make products lather. Usually found in toothpaste, shampoo, body washes and soaps. These noxious substances are skin irritants.  Be wary of those labels that say “Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (derived from coconut oil)” as they are trying to make it look like it’s natural but the way they make coconut oil into SLS is through a highly chemical and toxin producing process.
  • Parabens—Used to preserve products for longer shelf life.  Can also be disruptive to hormones
  • Artificial Fragrances aka Phthalates (like benzene and toluene)—Used to make things smell good, but have been found to be hormonal disruptors. Instead look for products that use essential oils for natural fragrance.
  • Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)—Common preservative in skin care products. It’s been attributed to thyroid problems and has shown to cause reproductive disorders.
  • Propylene Glycol–Found in many industrial and commercial products, including antifreeze, liquid laundry detergent solvents & paint as well as personal care products. The side effects of this common product include irritation and sensitivity to the eyes, skin and mucous membranes,
  • Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)—Often used in oven cleaner products as a powerful de-greaser. Found in many baby wipes, skin cleansers, lotions, shaving cream, lip balm, contact solution and laxatives.  PEG has been linked to kidney damage, leukemia, breast, uterine, and brain cancer.

As far as ingredients go, more is not better.  Try to choose natural products with a shorter list of ingredients.  Many of the ingredients found in bottles are just cheap fillers and not really important to the quality or effectiveness of the item.  Also, try to select products that can provide more than one use.  Shampoo can also work as a body wash, some facial moisturizers can also be used on the cuticles, etc…Or be bold and make your own personal care products.  There are dozens of recipes on the internet using coconut or olive oil, castile soap, vinegar, and essential oils which provide a great natural substitute and save money too!

 

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Are you Gluten Sensitive? How to find out

Posted on October 2, 2013. Filed under: Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

bigstock-Sad-woman-get-abdomen-pain-aft-35464244

Gluten intolerance

~By Dr. Gregory Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

There’s been quite a bit of buzz lately about “gluten”.  It’s usually referring to “gluten intolerance” or new food products on the market labeled “gluten-free”, but what does this all mean and how does it affect me?

What is Gluten?  It’s a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye.  It gives many bread items elasticity and a chewy texture.  It also serves as a thickener, adding more bulk & substance to food items.

What are the symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity?  Studies have shown there is a variety of symptoms people display indicating possible gluten sensitivity:

  • Migraine Headaches
  • Low energy, brain bog or feeling tired after eating a meal which contains gluten
  • Bloating, diarrhea or constipation, gas
  • Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, psoriasis, MS
  • Hormone imbalance such as PMS or unexplained infertility
  • Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
  • Anxiety, depression, severe mood swings, and attention  deficit disorder
  • Inflammation, swelling or pain in joints such as fingers, knees or hips

In general, gluten sensitive patients typically have a more acute onset of symptoms which can range from hours to days whereas those diagnosed with “celiac disease” have reported suffering for weeks to years.

How can I test for Gluten Sensitivity?  The best way to determine if there is an issue with gluten is to exclude it entirely from your diet for at least 3 weeks and then slowly reintroduce it.  Because gluten is a very large protein, it can take months or possibly even years to clear it completely from your system, so the longer you can eliminate it from your diet, the better.  (Remember, you’ve probably been eaten foods comprised of gluten all of your life, so it will take some time to remove it)

When you eliminate it from your diet, it must be 100%.  Even trace amounts from cross contamination can be enough to cause an immune reaction in your body.  Besides the well-known “wheat” containing products like bread, pizza, cookies, crackers, and pasta so many of us consume, gluten is also a hidden ingredient in many foods.  Most fried foods have a coating which contains gluten, along with bologna and hot dogs, sauces and gravies and even most bottled salad dressings.  Be sure to read all ingredient labels thoroughly.

How do I treat gluten intolerance?  The answer is pretty simple, yet challenging.  Because our standard American diet is so full of starchy, carbohydrate laden, glutinous foods, it seems near impossible for total exclusion.  But fortunately, gluten-free products are starting to line the shelves at local supermarkets.   Just know that fresh fruits or veggies will be your best choices for gluten-free eats.

 

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Natural Relief from Headaches

Posted on August 30, 2013. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Acupuncturist, Chiropractic, Healing, Health, Pain | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Stress~By Dr. Gregory Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

Headaches can develop from a variety of issues. Not enough water (dehydration) is one of the most common types which can easily be remedied by drinking an adequate supply of water daily (usually 10-12 glasses). Other types of headaches can result from muscular tension, poor posture, hormonal imbalance, diet, etc.. Toxicity can also lead to headaches, whether its junky food or exposure to chemicals (think household cleaners & air pollution). Toxins jams up metabolic pathways by blocking off hormones or high jacking an organ to where it produces too much of one thing and not enough of another. All these things funnel into a cause for a headache. For example, if you inhale too many fumes while painting your house, you get a headache. If you catch a bug, which is a form of toxicity, you get a headache.

In today’s day and age, pain relievers can be a useful temporary tool to alleviate the pain, but many people have had headaches for so long that they have become dependent upon medication and feel they have no other option than to take them. Unfortunately, these pills only mask the pain, they don’t correct it. As an alternative to medication, many people are seeking natural forms of pain relief. Acupuncture & Chiropractic care are two of the top choices.

The type of headache you have can help determine the best course of action for treatment. Many headaches are generated from muscle tension. It’s very common for tension to occur at the base of the neck, having generated from the upper back area. If a person holds their head forward (often seen in those who text or regularly use cell phones) a lot of tension develops in the neck over time and the muscles start to become habitually over tensed and over stretched simultaneously; this sets up a chronic inflammation which generates headaches. Chiropractic adjustments and repositioning the muscles can work wonders.

Other types of headaches such as migraines, cluster, those behind the eyes may not be muscularly related can benefit from Acupuncture. The wonderful thing about Acupuncture is that it can create a reduction in inflammation and muscular relaxation all on its own. It can change up the blood flow and circulation to provide pain killing relief as well.

Acupuncture can benefit just about everyone, the pain relieving effect especially. It can supplement or augment everything or it can stand alone. For certain types of treatment, chiropractic may be the best choice. Overall, using Acupuncture and Chiropractic combined can produce an even greater positive effect and long lasting results.

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Water & Acupuncture = A Good Mix

Posted on July 3, 2013. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Acupuncturist, Healing, Health, Joints | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

water & acupuncture combinedIt’s pretty common knowledge that most people don’t drink enough water.  Some people figure if they drink lots of coffee or soda, or even alcoholic beverages, it counts for water intake.  On the contrary,  instead of quenching your thirst and providing you with hydration, these caffeinated or alcoholic drinks cause your body to lose water reserves instead of adding to it.  So in theory, for every alcoholic or caffeinated drink you take, you have to drink 1 more glass of water to counter balance the effect.  Just make sure you meet the minimum requirement of at least 8 glasses of water a day (64 ounces), and even more if you are vigorously exercising.

Avoid Alcohol & Coffee before & after  Acupuncture
Drinking alcohol or coffee before your acupuncture session can reduce your positive experience.  Because one of the main goals of acupuncture is to bring greater clarity and consciousness to how we really feel, alcohol or coffee before the session can disrupt the bodily awareness.  Since alcohol impairs the senses and caffeinated coffee heightens them, both can potentially counteract or mask the effects of acupuncture.

It’s also important to steer clear of those beverages for a day or two after your acupuncture session as well.  Because acupuncture can help release toxins in the body, staying effectively hydrated will help flush out those toxins.  Drinking clean water works best to do the job. Alcohol and coffee will only work to dehydrate the body, so stay clear.

Interesting Water Facts

  • Most headaches are caused by dehydration.  Simple solution:  drink lots of water!
  • Constipation is a sure sign of not enough water.
  • Hangovers are usually caused by not enough water.  This is due to the fact that alcohol inhibits hormones in the kidney from retaining water therefore allowing your body to lose its reserves
  • At least 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated
  • Being mildly dehydrated can slow down the metabolism as much as 3%
  • One glass of water staved off hunger pangs for 98% of the dieters observed in a Univ. of Wash study
  • Sleepiness & fatigue in the afternoon are triggered by lack of enough water
  • Research has shown that drinking between 8-10 glasses of water daily can significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers
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Our Environment and Health

Posted on March 28, 2013. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Depression, Healing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

~by Dr. Greg Steiner

What surrounds us affects how we feel, and how we feel affects our health.  When push comes to shove; environmental health is a subset of stress management. Environmental health, in its most common usage, concerns itself with toxicities which ‘poison’ the body, and ergonomics, which is the study of how  our bodies do what they do at work when sitting at desks, operating machines, or making the motions required of work.

One of the first things any doctor or nurse learns is the basics of how the body regulates itself towards health.  The fancy word for this is homeostasis. One example is how our bodies regulate our temperature to 98.6 degrees no matter what happens to it. However, it’s more accurate to say that our bodies attempt to regulate our temperature to 98.6 depending on whether its infected, its hormones are working as a team, its properly hydrated, and whether its dressed appropriate to the environment outside.

Eastern medicine and naturopathic Western medicine both put a great emphasis on how the person interacts with their environment. Western medicine does emphasize this to some degree, all depending on the exact discipline and the practitioner himself.  But Western medicine can also look at a person like an experimental variable, more like a statistical or laboratory problem than a living, changing, ‘inexact’ being constantly influenced by an ever-changing environment.

Both approaches have their uses and abuses – for promoting good, general health the naturalistic way is hard to beat- good food, rest, exercise, ‘natural’ remedies if needed,  which are usually easy on the body and have few side effects. The downside is that sometimes, whatever is wrong with a person is just too much for that person’s own repair system to fix without substantial help.  In this situation, naturalistic remedies may just not be strong enough. For the most part, good health practices help healing overall, even when a stronger intervention is required.

Modern medicine can and does provide those stronger remedies, but at times the weakness is that some doctors see the patient as a ‘lab rat’ in a laboratory setting, as though the patient were a specimen living in a fully predictable and fully controlled environment, or perhaps as an engineering problem needing correction. In orthopedic surgery this approach is largely true – if a knee is worn out,  it needs to be replaced, but the story doesn’t end there. Even with a new knee, the ‘person’ needs to recover, strengthen, feel good internally, and do everything possible to help their overall body heal itself.

The real key though, is how a person feels about their environment. However, in this context we’re not speaking of everyday ‘feeling’, but a deep interpretation and gut-level love-hate, like-dislike of their physical and social environment.  I speak of that  place deep inside where we know the unvarnished truth about ourselves and what we really like, fear, hate, and love. This ‘place’ is a combination of thought, interpretation of events, self-judgment, and habitual feelings whether good and bad.

The point is this – it’s in that place, largely dependent on our overall environment and our reactions to it that creates the hormones that create health, or destroy it.

Eastern medicine continues to put a strong emphasis on the person-environment interaction; if that dynamic is out of balance, it acts to restore it with acupuncture, herbs, and good health practices.

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