The Trouble with Supplement & Nutrition Advice

The Trouble with Supplement & Nutrition Advice

Spring is right around the corner. This is the time of year where people often are reigniting those New Year’s resolution to get healthy. Often with health programs, people start to ask questions about supplements and nutritional support. In my practice, I see a lot of people struggling with where to turn for this type of advice. There’s a ton of information out there coming from a variety of sources. Websites, blog posts, Facebook, online webinars, independent brand representatives, healthcare practitioners, friends, family and support groups are among the leading resources. Many see the most obvious choice would be their primary care physician. Unfortunately, I’ve also talked to some patients frustrated with the limited time available for their doctor to speak on the subject. This forces them to go elsewhere for answers. Where should you turn for nutritional and supplement advice? In the state of New York, there are few guidelines concerning who can recommend supplements. Unfortunately, in the United States, a lot of training related to nutritional supplements is vendor-driven. When the driving force behind such training is for the sale of a particular product, the person selling it may simply be restating manufacture claims. This means they may be unwittingly offering a solution that doesn’t truly address your needs or worse, one that exacerbates your condition. It can be particularly difficult to discern which resources are credible and which are biased. Consequently, I see situations like the following often: A patient comes in having heard specific advice from a friend selling X Brand of supplements. Though the friend’s heart and desire to help others may be in the...
Cold and Flu

Cold and Flu

The cold and flu season is upon us. This season, I’ve become increasingly aware that a lot of people don’t realize that Acupuncture, supplements and herbal medicine can be incredible resources to help mitigate the cold and flu. First, a little background. The viruses that cause the cold and flu are around us all the time. It’s only when our immune system is caught off guard that we end up feeling sick. Our bodies have a strong defense against bacteria and viruses, so much that we may not ever know we were exposed. It is when our immune system becomes taxed that we become more susceptible to illness. Many factors affect the immune system including fewer sunlight hours, cold weather, dry air, stress, physical fatigue, emotional upsets, poor diet and lack of exercise. Generally, there are four stages of a cold or flu. Because your body needs different things, each stage requires a different approach. Onset This is the moment we notice we are a little off. The body has had some exposure and is starting its fight against the pathogen. Symptoms include stiff neck, chills, sore throat and fatigue. Drinking ginger tea and miso soup with scallions can support the body as it tries to kick out this cold before it starts. Rest is a must and sweat if possible. Consider taking the day off to get ample rest. One afternoon of rest may prevent a week of sick days. Onset is the ideal time to call your Acupuncturist for a treatment and herbs. During This is the time most of us associate with being ‘sick’ and we...
Acupuncture for Pain

Acupuncture for Pain

People often want to know: “Will acupuncture relieve my chronic pain?” In my practice, patients experience at least one of the following benefits, often all three: Immediate relief of pain This benefit is the one most often sought by chronic pain patients. Although this instant relief is welcome, in many cases, this is not true healing and pain can return as quickly as it went. Just like a sunburn, aloe may help relieve pain, but only continued care and time can heal the wound. Immediate results address only the symptoms. True healing of the root cause happens over time. Gradual reductions in pain (along with other symptoms) This is when true healing occurs. At this point of care, we are working to address the root imbalance and providing long-term relief. Learn more about the stages of care on the Your Visit page. The relationship with the pain changes For many who suffer from chronic pain, their pain dictates their life. It can rob them of joy. With Acupuncture, I see many patients change their relationship with the pain. Pain may always be a part of your life but it doesn’t have to run your life. In my opinion, this last benefit is truly the greatest benefit when getting treatment for chronic pain. Witnessing a person get control of their life and experience joy is one of the most rewarding aspects of my work as an...
5 Simple Steps for More Energy

5 Simple Steps for More Energy

As a child in the late 70s‒early 80s, I remember seeing a bumper sticker that was quite popular following the oil crisis: “If you are over 40, an energy crisis isn’t new.” I was baffled and curious so I asked my parents about other energy crises, but I’m not sure I clearly understood their answer. After all, what does a 7-year-old know about low-energy? Now I’m 42…I get it. As we age, our bodies become less forgiving. I am constantly seeing numerous people in my practice that suffer from fatigue, low energy, and not having that extra ‘oomph’ to get everything done in a day. For many, this struggle is real yet there are choices we can make to support healthy energy levels at any age. 1. Get a good night’s sleep. Many low-energy people rest a little when they get home from work, getting a small boost of energy. Then, because they got “pumped up” from a late-day nap, they will put off sleep to get a few more things done. In reality, this compromises a good night’s sleep. Make sure to set a clear bedtime that allows at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep, depending on your individual needs. As your energy level declines towards bedtime, having a definitive finish to the day mentally and physically prepares you for sleep. 2. Have a well-balanced breakfast that includes both protein and fat. You may have noticed that many breakfasts foods are primarily carbohydrates. When we eat carbohydrates, we get a quick energy rush followed by a significant crash. When you skip breakfast, you are robbing your body...
Nourish yourself to improved health

Nourish yourself to improved health

I am incredibly passionate about nutrition and believe it should be the bedrock of any wellness program.  The Chinese Medicine approach to nutrition is part of what attracted me to study Acupuncture.  The model views the body much more like a garden versus a machine and sees the digestive process as much more than a thermodynamic equation, allowing for the ebb and flow within the sphere of health. Nutrition and healthy digestion go hand-in-hand and support each other.  It is difficult to get all the benefits of healthy eating if the digestive system is not functioning well.  Likewise, if we are primarily eating foods that don’t nourish, we will not have a well-functioning digestive system. As an Acupuncturist, I work with Qi, the vital life force. According to Chinese Medicine theory, Qi is the basis for critical body functions such as movement, metabolism, warmth, healing, as well as many physiological processes.  We make Qi from the oxygen we breathe and the food we take in.  Without good healthy Qi, it is difficult for the body to heal itself. In my Acupuncture practice, I’ve observed that without foods that nourish and a well-functioning digestive system, people take longer to heal. For this reason, early on in our relationship patients and I discuss diet, water intake, digestion, bowel movements, and urine output.  Ideally, we should be drinking half our body weight in ounces, eating 4-5 times a day and experiencing digestion without gas or bloating.  We should have at least one bowel movement each morning and our urine output, other than first thing in the morning, should be light in color....