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The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
February, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 02
Supplementation: Is It Necessary?
By Keri Marshall, MS, ND
Your need to supplement or fortify your diet depends on many factors. If everyone ate a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, organic dairy products and cold-water fish every day, there may not be a need to supplement the diet with vitamins and minerals.If everyone got plenty of exercise outside with regular exposure to sunlight, there may not be a need to supplement the diet. Unfortunately, this just isn't the case. Our busy lives prevent us from eating the diet we wish we could and from getting exercise outside, often leaving us depleted of vital nutrients.
Keeping your immune system strong and resilient by maintaining a proper diet, nutrition and exercise can be hard for any massage therapist, as well as for their clients. For those whose dietary needs are not being met, supplementation can be of great support to maintain optimal health. If your health is compromised or your vitality is depleted by stress or illness, then you may also be able to benefit from specific supplements.
The question is, just how many people are using dietary supplements regularly to maintain health? According to an October 2012 survey by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), 68% of American adults now take dietary supplements, with multivitamins being the most popular. Forty-nine percent of all adults report taking multivitamins, with 71% of supplement users reporting that they take a multivitamin in general, and 53% report taking a multivitamin daily. While the majority of supplement users take a multivitamin, at least 23% are taking a fish oil supplement.
What Do We Really Need?
Our bodies require essential nutrients and vitamins every day in order to function normally. Without them, our bodies begin to accumulate molecular and biochemical byproducts, such as free radicals, that may cause damage to our cells. The human body is hardwired with innate mechanisms to repair itself and return to homeostasis if fed a variety of nutrients to keep the engine running. Giving the body the nutrition it needs to carry out these functions can have a significant impact on delaying the aging process and achieving a longer, healthier and happier life.
One of the most important things you can do for your health is to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. In fact, you should aim for between seven to nine servings a day. But ... not everyone eats even close to this amount of healthy plant matter and, as a result, may have difficulty obtaining all of the vitamins and minerals they need to maintain optimal health.
Many of us have heard the cliché that we should eat from the rainbow, but may not really understand what it means. Fruits and vegetables come in a wide range of colors and each of those individually colored foods has a unique phytochemical profile with an array of nutrients. For example, blue and purple foods are rich in an antioxidant nutrient called anthocyanins, which help support heart health and optimize immune function. Orange fruits and vegetables contain carotenoids, which help the eyes, heart, mucous membranes and promote healthy joints.
Most Americans are not getting enough fruits and veggies and follow more of what we call "The Western Diet," which is high in "bad" fats, sugar, white flour products and fried foods. It does not provide a variety of foods nor does it provide nutritionally dense foods. And, for some with lactose intolerance or other food intolerances, vital nutrients may be limited unless there is dietary supplementation.
Conventionally grown foods today are also to blame for providing fewer nutrients than they used to due to poor soils and growing processes. So, you may be trying to eat all the right things, yet still come up short because the foods are not as nutrient-dense as you might assume.
Even more worrisome is 100% of the vitamins and minerals we eat, either through food or supplementation, are not absorbed by the body. The excess gets removed via urine and other means of excretion. Because of all of these factors combined, I would absolutely recommend to my patients that they take a daily multi-vitamin/mineral supplement.
What About Fat?
The typical Western diet is highly deficient in omega-3s, or healthy fats, in large part because people choose to eat foods — often unknowingly — that are concentrated with omega-6 fats. And omega-3 rich foods are often difficult to find. Refined and processed foods, many cooking oils, dressings and overconsumption of corn and soy are the main culprits for increased levels of omega-6 fats in the diet. In and of themselves, omega-6s are not unhealthy, they're just over-consumed, and omega-3s, found primarily in cold-water fish, are under-consumed.
Omega-3s are considered "essential" because they are required for optimal health but cannot be produced by our bodies and, therefore, must be consumed daily through diet or supplementation. All fatty acids we consume reside in our cell membranes, where they impact every biological process in our bodies — such as cell division, circulation and blood pressure. Omega-3s are clinically proven to support the body's natural anti-inflammatory response, which in turn optimizes heart, brain, metabolic, joint and tissue health. With adequate intake of omega-3s, cells function properly, and overall health is supported.
Achieving balanced intake of these fats is important because omega-6s are pro-inflammatory and omega-3s are anti-inflammatory. It is vitally important to ensure balanced intake by limiting omega-6 foods and taking a quality omega-3 fish oil supplement, along with eating a healthy diet including fish. The typical Western diet works against this goal and, as a result, most people do not obtain the suggested daily minimum of 500 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Consumers are searching for a solution to correct this deficiency and purified fish oil supplements are a safe and effective source of these essential omega-3s.
Key to the success of any delivery system for supplementation is palatability. Fishy smell, taste or aftertaste are common deterrents to continued daily use. Research shows that fish oils only smell unpleasant when oxidation has started to degrade the oils' lipids, causing rancidity. Rancid lipids may also contain free radicals that can damage proteins, DNA, and ultimately the cells in the body. Utilization of oxygen-free processing methods, such as the patented systems used by some high-quality companies, protects the oils from oxidation and guarantees an exceptionally fresh product that tastes great and will encourage continued use.
Vitamin D is another nutrient that many people lack, in part because of excessive use of sunscreen, but also because people tend to spend less time outdoors than they used to. Most people can make enough vitamin D by spending at least 15 minutes a day outside, without sunscreen, with a good amount of skin exposed. What this means in practical terms is going for a walk outdoors in shorts and a T-shirt or tank top, without first applying sunscreen. Not everyone can do this for a variety of reasons, although with the exception of seasons and inclement weather, everyone should try to spend at least 15 minutes a day outdoors, weather permitting. The fresh air and bonus of getting exercise are also vitally key to optimal health.
The reality, though, is many of us live in places where we cannot wear shorts year round. For people who live in the beautiful Northwest, sometimes the sun does not shine for weeks on end. In cases such as this, Vitamin D can be a very important nutrient to supplement. I recommend getting a baseline test done by your primary care physician before beginning supplementation, because you then have a baseline number to track for progress. A baseline number also allows you to determine how much you may need to supplement. A recent CRN survey indicates that up to 22% of people take Vitamin D supplements daily to fortify their diet.
How To Choose
But, more than anything, people are easily confused as to how to choose the best quality dietary supplement. Products that are third-party tested are superior to those that aren't. When taking a supplement, you want to be assured that what it says on the label is, in fact, what is in the supplement. Be sure that the company is adhering to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) to ensure compliance with industry quality standards and required testing.
Finally, review the ingredients. With a small amount of education, you can spot which are quality products and which are not. Avoid unnecessary binders, fillers, preservatives and additives. Most company websites will help you discern if they have gone out of their way to produce a superior product and if you don't see it, don't be afraid to ask the company for proof of quality. Quality and absorption are key to making sure you get your money's worth to optimize your health!
Dr. Keri Marshall is a licensed Naturopathic doctor who specializes in pediatrics, women's medicine and chronic disease management. A published author and media favorite, Dr. Marshall appears regularly as a scientific and nutrition expert on national radio and TV. She is Chief Medical Officer for Nordic Naturals.
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