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If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
November, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 11
Healing with Simple, Healthy Food
By Aimée Gould Shunney, ND
When it comes to your health, there is no better way to take control and create positive outcomes than by focusing on diet and lifestyle. As massage therapists, you know the power that regular self-care has for your clients.When they make time for stress reduction, keep to their exercise regimen and eat well, they report less pain, better energy and deeper satisfaction with their lives. Yet these simple dietary and lifestyle measures are often overlooked in conventional medicine.
Nutrition, for example, has somehow become "alternative medicine" to many. What could possibly be more fundamental to health than the food we put into our bodies? As a naturopathic physician, diet is an integral part of every treatment plan I create. Whether a patient comes in for aches and pains, hormone imbalance, depression or elevated cholesterol, proper nutrition is essential to helping them reach their unique health goals. While there are many "super foods" available to us, I find that there are five food groups I repeatedly recommend for their stellar nutritional performance. Be sure your clients (not to mention you and your family) eat plenty of these foods to feel great today and reduce the risk for chronic disease tomorrow.
Eat a Rainbow
You can actually follow the rainbow on your plate to the pot of gold at the end. As luck would have it, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is your best bet for reducing your risk for virtually every chronic disease. In addition to the vitamins and minerals in these foods that provide nutritional support for optimal function, research has shown they also contain phytochemicals that include pigments such as carotenes, chlorophyll and flavonoids, which have potent health effects including protection against cancer.
By filling your plate with a variety of colors including red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple, you'll be giving your body the full spectrum of pigments, each with their own powerful antioxidant effects and health benefits. Some highlights worth mentioning are sweet potatoes, berries and dark-green leafy vegetables.
Sweet potatoes are very high in vitamin C and beta-carotene, a safe-to-consume version of vitamin A. Higher dietary intake of carotenes have been shown to reduce the risk for certain cancers, heart disease and eye issues. Unlike many other starchy vegetables, sweet potatoes have actually been shown to help stabilize blood sugar and are, therefore, a delicious treat for those trying to control diabetes or lose weight.
The reds, blues and purples of berries indicate their high flavonoid content. In addition to their potent antioxidant effects, flavonoids have impressive anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antiviral and anticancer properties. Berries are a great way to make your morning smoothie delicious (try adding organic frozen berries) and, like sweet potatoes, are a healthy sweet for those watching their blood sugar.
Dark-green leafy vegetables are a great source of calcium, in addition to containing both carotenes and flavonoids. Many of these – kale, collards, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens – are also part of the cruciferous vegetable family. These foods are worth special mention because they have more phytochemicals with demonstrated anticancer effect than any other food family.
Preliminary studies suggest the average person would need to eat about 2 pounds of broccoli (or other cruciferous veggies) per week to see significant cancer risk reduction. Since the cancer-fighting compounds are more concentrated in the less-mature plants, the same reduction in risk theoretically might be seen with just a little over an ounce of broccoli sprouts each week.
Look for them at the farmer's market or next to the alfalfa sprouts at your local health food store. Cruciferous vegetables are also formidable antioxidants that improve the body's ability to detoxify, support estrogen metabolism and help eliminate toxins.
The Power of Fish
Fish contain long-chain omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA. These essential fats must be taken in from our food, as we don't make them ourselves. As it turns out, these omega-3s are incredibly important for every aspect of our health, especially when it comes to decreasing chronic inflammation in the body and therefore, reducing our risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer – the top three killers in the U.S. Omega-3s have also been shown to support mood and memory, reduce allergies and decrease pain.
When I was in medical school, I was taught that omega-3s could be supplemented as fish or flax (walnuts, hemp, chia, etc.). Research in the past 15 years, however, has shown that we don't reliably convert the short-chain omega-3 fats found in plant sources to the long-chain EPA and DHA that have been so well-studied for their health benefits. To get a reliable source of EPA and DHA, you need to eat fish or take a pharmaceutical-grade fish or algae oil supplement.
In addition to the omega-3s in fish, it is an excellent source of protein and dense nutrition including the minerals iodine and selenium. Wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, anchovies, herring, mackerel and Arctic cod are among the fish that pack the best omega-3 punch.
Most people need at least one serving of fish daily to balance their omega-6 fat intake (another essential fat with equally important, but pro-inflammatory effects that is found in meat, dairy and vegetable oils); and frankly, many people require more. In this case, supplementation is often necessary. I generally recommend 1,200 mg to 1,500 mg combined EPA+DHA daily, although I often dose higher amounts based on the person's diet and general health issues.
These foods provide live CFUs (colony- forming units) for the gut. These beneficial bacteria help prevent bacterial and yeast overgrowth, support digestion of fiber, promote bowel regularity and enhance immune function. Recent research even suggests balanced gut flora positively impacts mood. You can consider taking a probiotic supplement, but eating fermented foods like yogurt (look for those containing live cultures), sauerkraut, kimchee, miso, tempeh and kombucha can also add a delicious twist to your diet while promoting optimal health.
Do you know that we don't make a single mineral in our bodies? That means we have to get them from our food. Sea vegetables or seaweed have many times more mineral content than land vegetables, offering the broadest range of minerals of any food. They also contain lignans that have anticancer and hormone-balancing properties and fucans, which can reduce the body's inflammatory response.
Easy ways to get sea vegetables include eating sushi or buying nori sheets and eating them as snacks or as a "tortilla" to wrap hummus, black bean dip and/or cut veggies. You can also cook beans, soups and stews with kombu and then discard it when done. The minerals will get infused into the food (which will also make beans, etc., easier to digest). Lastly, you can use kelp flakes as a condiment to sprinkle on your food instead of salt.
Cooking with spices to improve the taste of your food can also provide potent health benefits. Cayenne is an effective pain reliever, helps digestion and supports a healthy heart. Cinnamon has been shown to help reduce fasting blood sugar, triglycerides and cholesterol. Ginger is a powerful digestive aid and a potent anti-inflammatory. It has also been shown to decrease nausea and alleviate menstrual cramps.
Turmeric packs a hefty antioxidant punch and has been shown in many studies to reduce inflammation. It holds promise for both the prevention and treatment of various cancers, as well as in the prevention of heart disease and as a brain-protective agent. And of course, don't forget garlic and onions, which reduce inflammation, support heart health and promote healthy detoxification. Figuring out how to integrate these foods into your daily life is key.
Dr. Aimée Shunney is in private practice in Santa Cruz and Campbell, Calif., where she blends conventional medical diagnosis and treatment with the use of natural therapeutics. Dr. Shunney specializes in women's health, functional endocrinology and family medicine. She is also co-host of "Green Tea & Honey," a podcast about integrative medicine, delicious food and the joys of eating; and co-creator of Cleanse Organic, a 28-day fully supported whole-foods cleansing program designed to optimize health and create sustainable healthy living choices. She currently serves on the Nordic Naturals Advisory Board. Visit www.drshunney.com to learn more.
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