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Archive for the ‘Inflammation’ Category

Smoothies for healthy living and detoxingSo here’s the thing. Protein shakes are not traditionally a part of Chinese Medicine. It is a concept borrowed from Western culture to help Western patients make changes in their health. Protein shakes are cold in nature. They overstimulate Vata in Ayurveda. Fruit sugars can aggravate Candida conditions. I don’t recommend them always or feel that they are the end all be all of perfect health choices. Is having a cold smoothie, packed with freeze dried supergreens, powered protein and frozen berries a perfect breakfast? No. Is it better than skipping breakfast or heaven forbid, a fast food breakfast. Hell yes. I’m not talking about the kind you get at Smoothie Land that’s packed with sugar and artificial everything either. I’m talking about the kind made at home with physician grade supplements and organic ingredients. The kind that might be a part of a detox diet.

The issue that Chinese Medicine has with smoothies is that foods which are cold in nature can damage the digestion. The digestion is thought of as a fire cooking food in a pot. If you dump cold food directly into the pot, the fire has to burn hotter to get its job done. This is why water should be taken at room temperature and ice cream should be kept to a minimum and ideally only in the warmer months. Smoothies also contain a fair amount of sugar, albeit in the form of whole fruits. Too much sugar can damage the digestion and particularly the Chinese Spleen. Protein powders themselves can be hard on the digestion. It is important to find one that contains a kind of protein that is easy for your body to handle. I like Rice Protein or Pea Protein.

What a girl to do? Would I like it if everyone sautéed some dark organic greens and ate them with a nice piece of organic beef fillet every morning? Yes. Or better yet, congee cooked with Chinese herbs or egg and rice for breakfast? Yes. Hopefully you have tried some of these yummy non-Western breakfasts because they set you up for an awesome day.

For short periods of time, when protein and other foods might be limited in your daily diet, I think smoothies are great. Take a food and supplement based cleanse for instance. Plunk in 20g pf protein and vitamins in a blender, add greens, probiotics, and detoxifiers and make it tastes like a treat? Great idea. Would I prefer to recommend stews and soups? Yes, and I do. Whoever wants to have those for breakfast with some supplements added let me know and invite me.

So let’s talk about ways to minimize the impact of the cold nature of smoothies. First, don’t add ice. ½ a frozen banana is cold enough and it’ll taste yummy. Second and the easiest thing to do, is to leave your smoothie out for 20 min. or so and let it warm up a bit. This isn’t a gourmet experience people it’s a vehicle for all those delicious, nutritious powders you’re eating.

An important point to consider is the fact that the vast majority of Western patients I see clinically have pathogenic heat and dampness as part of their constitution. Here’s an example. A person has trouble digesting certain foods and a weaker constitution. At the same time they have another pattern of bacterial overgrowth/imbalance or inflammation. In Chinese Medicine we would treat the heat/ damp excess condition first, or at least concurrently, with the weaker digestion root cause. This individual will benefit from a cleanse, complete with cold smoothies in the short term (3 weeks or less). Once a few layers of excess are cleared off it is much easier to strengthen the underlying pattern.

Chinese Medicine has a long herbal tradition of using heat and damp clearing formulas first, to pave the way for tonics later. So see? There is a historical basis for smoothie use after all 😉

Ways to offset the cooling nature of smoothies and add more life

Add warming herbs and good fats: Chia seeds, flax seeds or oil, hemp seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger (fresh or dried) add tons of flavor, add nutrients, warm things up and balance the cooling smoothie.

Warm up your digestion first: Have a cup of hot tea. I like to let the tea brew while I make the smoothie then drink the tea while I let the smoothie warm up a bit.

Lindsey Lawson Acupuncture in Seattle WALindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncturist. She is passionate about healthy, happy living, exercise and food- both functional and delicious. She is a regular blogger.  For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545.

 

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shoulder

 

Frozen shoulder can be a painful and often debilitating condition. The main visible sign associated with frozen shoulder is a limitation in range of motion and movement. There can be a number of factors in its development:

1) A history of broken or fractured bones in the shoulder or arm that leads to a lack of movement, eventually causing immobilization.

2) Injury to the rotator cuff muscles. These muscle help stabilize the joint and aid in movement. The injury causes the muscle to stiffen.

3) Post surgery trauma usually involves the formation of scare tissue, which can limit movement.

4) Unknown causes

In all of these situations it’s believed that the initial injury eventually leads to inflammation of the capsule surrounding the joint, causing the signs and symptoms associated with frozen shoulder. This condition can be seen in all segments of the population, however, it’s most common in women over the age of forty.

From an East Asian medical perspective the signs and symptoms associated with frozen shoulder can occur from the same or similar causative factors as mentioned above but how these factors affect the joint and the surrounding tissue is different. The injury tends to cause local stagnation or obstruction of Qi (functional energy) and blood, which leads to the limitation in range of motion and pain.

Acupuncture can help decrease the pain and improve range of motion by removing the obstruction or stagnation, loosing the affected muscle and improving circulation. It’s also helping at decreasing inflammation. Along with the acupuncture treatments, tui na, a style of East Asian bodywork that incorporates massage techniques with movement and stretching can be extremely beneficial. The tui na works in conjunction with the acupuncture to speed up the healing process. Please give the office a call if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment.

Author:

Derek Kirkham, DAOM, MS, EAMP, LAc. Acupuncturist & clinic director at Glow

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MTHFR testing at Glow Seattle WAIt’s hard to find a clear explanation of methylation defects out there. This is because they are only just being recognized (though NDs have been trained about this for years) and it’s also quite complicated. Methylation can be thought of as activation. So, while vitamins are cofactors for numerous actions in the body, many of them need to be methylated (activated) in order to work. We all have gene mutations that we don’t know about and one of those is a possible defect in activation of folic acid, or MTHFR defect. About 50% of people seem to have this (think about the common knowledge of folic acid deficiency and neural tube defects in babies).

• When we don’t activate folic acid well, this leads to a buildup of homocysteine, which is associated with heart disease.

• Research has shown that treating  those who have genetic defects in methylation can help with depression.

• Defects in methylation have also been associated with pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Methylation helps to make the myelin sheath on nerves, the equivalent of wire coating. Defects in methylation can lead to increased pain sensitivity.

• Methylation is one way that the body detoxifies (gets rid of toxins). When we give the activated forms of the vitamins, we can start detoxification pathways that have been sluggish for a long time and therefore experience side effects.

• Another place that methylation works is in DNA repair. Our DNA breaks and is repaired all the time. Cancer happens when DNA breaks and isn’t repaired properly. So, proper methylation can help to prevent cancer.

It’s important to remember that this is not the answer for everything. Just because you have the genetic defect doesn’t mean that you will actually have the problem. In addition, we need to factor in things like other genetic defects, hormone imbalance, thyroid and adrenal function, toxicity, gut health, blood sugar balance, nutrient deficiencies, and mental health needs. Side effects of methyl folate without necessary cofactors can include aches, headaches, insomnia, irritability, acne, skin rash, anxiety, and nausea. It is important to take dosing slowly; the proper schedule can take months. Side effects can be due to improperly pushing detoxification or to other genetic defects not being accounted for.

Other possible genetic defects include trouble breaking down homocysteine, trouble breaking down the brain’s adrenaline, trouble processing serotonin (involved with mood), trouble processing B12, trouble with other liver detox pathways, trouble making the calming brain chemical GABA, and trouble breaking down histamine (involved in allergies and brain stimulation).

Because of the complicated nature of these issues, it is best to approach them with a provider who is trained in this area. I do genetic and/or blood testing and interpret the results in the context of your whole health picture as we take a comprehensive approach to your treatment plan.

Candace McNaughton, ND  Trained as a family practitioner to address acute and chronic conditions, Dr. McNaughton focuses on autoimmune disease, allergies, and digestive issues.  She facilitates healing as a knowledgeable guide and partner, helping her patients make lasting changes and achieve health goals.  She graduated from Bastyr University in 2003.

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We take the idea of cleansing and reinterpret it through the lens of East Asian medicine. Elemental DetoxIt’s called Elemental because it’s basic yet essenstial. Change your diet and your eating habits and enjoy better health. This 3 week, food based cleanse, is an opportunity to transform your body, habits and health. It supports your needs for individualized, optimal wellness.

Why Detox?

Traditional Medicine has a history of cleansing as a path toward greater health. Our environment and diets have become more and more polluted and un-natural. Processed foods, environmental toxins, and hormones in our meats are just a few things that place a heavy burden on our body. Our pathways of elimination including our digestion, liver, skin, and urination can become sluggish and less efficient in ridding our bodies of toxins. This can in turn affect a variety of things including hormones, reproductive health, mental health, allergies, digestion, skin and musculoskeletal (pain) complaints. A cleanse gives the body a break from additional stressors coming in and allows it to process and eliminate stored up toxins. The results can be incredible.

The beauty of East Asian medicine is that it is always evolving. It’s a system that can adapt to new information, adjust, and add value. When this medicine was first created there was not the level of toxicity and stress that we face every day in modern society. But now there is. Looking at the modern client it is easy to see that their systems are overwhelmed. They also often have combination patterns from an East Asian Medical view. Meaning, for example, they may be deficient (frequently cold, pale, and low energy) but also excessive (sluggish digestion, irritable, with headaches.) This situation lends itself well to treatment though the Elemental Detox.

Habitual Choices vs. Conscious Choices

This program allows you to get down to basics and align your body, mind, and spirit. It takes 3 weeks to begin a new habit. The goal is to give the body and mind a reset button. It can provide a fresh start and a clean slate that can make other aspects of treatment with acupuncture and herbs more effective. It takes commitment, but countless patients have done it and succeeded with great results.

The plan includes coaching  with Lindsey Lawson MS EAMP (billable to insurance for those with acupuncture coverage), supplements, recipe packet, and daily health recommendations.

Lindsey Lawson Acupuncture in Seattle WALindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncturist. She is passionate about healthy , happy living and a regular blogger. For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545.

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By Lindsey Lawson MS EAMP, Acupuncturist, Clinic Director

An estimated 3 million American adults receive acupuncture treatment each year, 1 and chronic pain is the most common presentation.2 I’m an acupuncturist and clinic director at Glow Natural Health Center and I treat pain every day. So it was no surprise to me when research revealed acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating pain in 2012. The great thing about this study is that it looks at 29 randomized, controlled trial studies and analyzed the outcomes. In all, there were nearly 18,000 people who participated, suffering with chronic pain from headaches, osteoarthritis, back and shoulder pain.

There are lots of ways that research can be done to test acupuncture’s effectiveness. These studies looked at “true” acupuncture vs. either “sham” acupuncture or “treatment as usual.” The conclusion was that true acupuncture was statistically better than sham needling and usual care. The authors concluded that acupuncture was an effective and reasonable treatment for the conditions studied. The large sample size and the rigorous nature of the studies make this the best evidence to date of acupuncture’s effectiveness for pain.

1 Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin RL. Complementary and alternative medicine use among adults and children: United States, 2007.  Natl Health Stat Report. 2008;(12):1-23
PubMed

2 Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Eisenberg DM, Erro J, Hrbek A, Deyo RA. The practice of acupuncture: who are the providers and what do they do?  Ann Fam Med. 2005;3(2):151-158
PubMed   |  Link to Article

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By Lindsey Lawson MS EAMP, Acupuncturist and Clinic Director

Being an avid cook I am always looking for easy, delicious and healthy ideas to pass on. Right now I am loving turmeric!! It’s got a mild taste, warming nature and anti- inflammatory properties that make it an excellent choice for healthy living. This bright orange herb is one of my favorites with garlic for a quick chicken dish or on a side of veggies. I love to make soup with the left-overs too ( of course I add more tumeric!). It feels so hearty and nourishing. I try to add it near the end of the cooking process to preserve the health promoting qualities.

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and has been used in East Asian Medicine and Ayurveda for centuries to treat digestive and liver disorders, skin diseases and as an anti-inflammatory. The west is beginning to discover it as well, touting it’s antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer abilities. Combine it with black pepper to make it even more bioavailable. (1) The active ingredient Curcumin is a component of many natural anti-inflammatories and pain relievers. This compound also shows promise in treating Rheumatoid Arthritis. (2)

The raw herb is available in bulk at Glow and  we also carry Phyto-Curcumin which contains the anti-inflammatory CurcuminTumeric for pain releif derived from Turmeric.

1 Shoba G, Joy D, Joseph T, Majeed M, Rajendran R, Srinivas PS.

Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in

animals and human volunteers. Planta Med. 1998;64(4):353-356.

2 Funk JL, Frye JB, Oyarzo JN, et al. Efficacy and mechanism of action

of turmeric supplements in the treatment of experimental arthritis.

Arthritis Rheum. 2006;54(11):3452-3464.

Other resources on Turmeric:

Turmeric extracts containing Curcuminoids prevent experimental rheumatoid arthritis.

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Curcumin.

This is a comprehensive article on Turmeric from the University of Maryland

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Contrast hydrotherapy  is a simple therapy which uses alternating hot and cold water to create a pumping action in the body. The hot water dilates the blood vessels and the cold causes them to contract and reduces inflammation. This helps repair tissues faster and detoxifies the body. It’s very effective, cheap and easy to do. I especially recommend it for sprains and strains (use the” localized version” in this case) and for use  with a detox diet to promote the release of toxins (use the “full body” version in this case.)

Localized Contrast Hydrotherapy I have had great results healing bad sprains with this treatment especially in conjunction with electro acupuncture. For acute conditions use ice only until swelling begins to go down. Submerge affected area in very hot water for 3 min. Plunge area into very cold water for 1 min. repeat three times. Do this 1-2 times daily until bruising, swelling and pain have subsided. For best results use ice water.

Full Body Contrast hydrotherapy Can be done in the shower or even better at one of our local spas like Olympus (women only), or Banya 5.

Shower version (less intense) Finish your daily shower with 3 min. of very hot water followed by 1 min.. of very cold water. Do this three times and end on cold. You will feel invigorated.

Spa version (more intense) This therapy can leave you feeling tired and should be done with caution the first few times especially if you feel run down. Start in the warmest hot tub or stream room available and stay in until you are very warm then move to a cold plunge and stay in for 1 min. Then move immediately back into the hot area. Do this three times. Make sure you are drinking lots of water. Stop if you feel lightheaded. This in my own personal approach and does not take into account health issues that may be present. This is a vigorous therapy not for the faint hearted. DO NOT DO THIS IF YOUR ARE PREGNANT HAVE OR HAVE HIGH OR LOW BLOOD PRESSURE. IF IN DOUBT, CONSULT A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER BEFORE DOING FULL BODY CONTRAST HYDROTHERAPY.

Lindsey Lawson is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Shamanic Practitioner at Glow Natural Health Center.

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