Archive for April 2012
One of my clients avoided bananas, while another shunned tuna salad. Still others wouldn’t go near tossed salads, sausage biscuits, fried foods or orange juice. These foods seem to have nothing in common, but were eliminated from the diet because they triggered symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
At least one out of 10 Americans suffers from IBS, and it might be as high as one in five. Women are more likely than men to have it, but IBS occurs in men, too. It can surface anytime between the ages of the early 20s to the late 40s.
IBS is a disorder that changes how the large intestine functions, but it doesn’t damage the intestine or lead to other diseases.
It’s not celiac disease (gluten intolerance), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or colon cancer; these diseases damage the intestines. Because some IBS symptoms may be similar, those diseases should be ruled out by your doctor.
Symptoms include bloating, abdominal pain, cramping, gas, constipation and/or diarrhea, and mucus in the stool. They can be mild to severe, and often come and go. Some people experience discomfort all the time.
IBS affects quality of life because it can interrupt daily routines and limit activities. Sometimes the pain is temporarily disabling.
It’s unclear why people develop IBS. It could be because of a family history of IBS, or it could result from a bacterial infection.
Problems in the intestine may be the culprit. The nerves may be more sensitive, causing gas and stools to be painful. If the intestine contracts too fast or too slowly, diarrhea and constipation worsen. It could be a miscommunication between the nerves in the intestine and the brain, causing irritability.
Stress and anxiety don’t cause IBS, but they can worsen symptoms.
The treatment of IBS is highly individual and might include changes in eating habits, use of probiotics, counseling to decrease stress, and medications, if prescribed by your doctor.
Keeping a food diary is the first step to controlling the symptoms. Record what you eat, any symptoms and when they occur. Note what foods make you feel better, or worse, and eat accordingly.
Sometimes large portions aren’t well-tolerated, so aim for five to six smaller meals each day.
Gradually increasing fiber daily might help control constipation. Select whole grains and high-fiber foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables.
Increasing soluble fiber found in applesauce and oatmeal, along with bulking agents, such as psyllium (Metamucil), might help diarrhea.
Include six to eight daily cups of water along with other beverages to help digestion.
Different foods can be specific triggers for people with IBS. See the accompanying list for foods to avoid and those better tolerated.
Nutrition help for IBS
There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why one person with IBS tolerates a certain food, but another suffers when eating the same food.
Keep track of the foods you tolerate and problematic ones; it can help your doctor plan your treatment. Also, working with a registered dietitian can help you determine the best foods to eat. These foods are potential triggers for IBS.
Dairy might not be tolerated because of fat or lactose content. If you’re lactose-intolerant, use lactose-free milk, cheese and dairy products. If you tolerate lactose, use skim, 1 percent or 2 percent milk and low-fat dairy products. Avoid heavy cream and rich cheeses.
Avoid rich, heavy meals. Use lean cuts of meat and poultry, avoiding highly marbled meats and chicken skin. Choose lean deli meats and avoid luncheon meats, bologna, hot dogs, bacon and sausage. Bake, broil, roast and grill your foods instead of frying them.
Eat any vegetables you tolerate for their fiber. However, these vegetables can cause gas and might need to be limited or avoided: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, dried beans and peas, leeks and onions.
Sorbitol is a sweetener used in many products because it doesn’t promote tooth decay, or raise blood sugars of people with diabetes. However, large amounts of sorbitol can cause gas, diarrhea and bloating. Avoid it! You’ll find it in sugarless gum and candies, toothpaste, lower-sugar granola and meal-replacement bars, and some low-calorie desserts and candies.
Alcohol might stimulate or irritate your intestines, so avoid it as much as possible.
Sodas and carbonated beverages might produce gas and cause bloating.
Coffee, tea, hot chocolate and chocolate in general contain caffeine, which stimulates the intestines and can worsen diarrhea. Caffeine-free versions are usually tolera
The lactose in dairy products such as milk might trigger irritable bowel syndrome
Spring season is here, and although that means flowering gardens and cool, sunny days, for many people it also means the agony of allergy season!
According to Chinese medical theory, allergies relate to imbalances in the meridian and organ systems of the body. These imbalances could stem from many different causes such as: stress, poor diet, consitutional weakness, pollutants and environmental toxins such as dust, mold, animal dander, bacteria, viruses and pollen.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine counterattack allergy symptoms by working to support and strengthen Wei Qi (pronounced “way chee”). You can think of Wei Qi like the body’s immune system. If Wei Qi is strong and abundant, one remains healthy. But if Wei Qi is compromised, one becomes more suceptible to toxins, pollutants and stresses on the body. If the supply of Wei Qi is abundant and flowing freely through the body, allergy symptoms can be greatly reduced or eliminated. Traditional Chinese Medicine also considers the spleen, kidneys, and lungs when treating allergies. Deficiencies or weaknesses in any of these organs can make one more prone to allergy symptoms. Acupuncture treatments can build, balance and support these organs to increase health and wellbeing.
Many allergy sufferers prefer acupuncture to other methods of allergy treatment because it is a drug-free, safe, and natural method for eliminating symptoms and providing relief. Here are some other tips that can help you minimize the adverse effects of allergy season:
- Keep your windows closed during allergy season to prevent dust and pollen from entering your home.
- Do not hang your clothes to dry in the sun as they will gather dust, mold and pollen.
- Add spicy foods and omega-3 foods such as flax seeds, walnuts, salmon, sardines, soybean, halibut, callops, shrimp, tuna and tofu to your diet.
- Flush your nose with a Neti pot.
- Wear a dust mask when working in the yard or housecleaning.
- Schedule regular acupuncture appointments to keep your organs strong and your Wei QI flowing.
Protein is a macro nutrient composed of amino acids that is necessary for the proper growth and function of the human body. While the body can manufacture several amino acids required for protein production, a set of essential amino acids needs to be obtained from animal and/or vegetable protein sources.
An Alternative to Red Bull: An introduction to Adaptogenic Herbs
“Adaptogens” are a group of herbs that seem custom-made for our stressed out times. By definition, adaptogens are “non-specific,” so rather than targeting one particular symptom or part of the body, like much of Western medication, they increase your resistance overall against physical, chemical and biological stressors. They’re non-habit forming, even when taken over long periods of time and, most importantly, they are normalizing — they create balance in the body without negatively influencing any particular body system at the expense of another.
Basically, adaptogenic herbs are to stress what a hot bowl of homemade soup is to a cold, rainy day — relaxing and yet restorative and, in short, just what the doctor ordered.
Herbs used to restore a healthy stress response are traditionally prepared as formulas, not taken as individual herbs. As an introduction to this fascinating subject, here are seven of my favorite adaptogenic herbs often used in such formulas and some basic info on how they can help you relax and recharge:
In the Emergency University Hospital Commander Faustino Pérez Hernández de Matanzas developed a clinical trial showed the effectiveness of using acupuncture in patients diagnosed with hypertensive emergency. This treatment was more effective than the indication of Captopril orally.
The sample consisted of 61 patients, predominantly female and aged between 48 and 67, divided into two groups: one of 28 who received conventional drug treatment with captopril, and another 33 to that applied procedures of Acupuncture.
Those treated with acupuncture showed a better therapeutic response to reevaluate patients an hour after established treatment, when compared with the group that was given Captopril.
A team of Japanese researchers revealed study results at the Experimental Biology 2012 meeting that show how acupuncture therapy mitigates skeletal muscle loss and holds promise for those seeking improved mobility through muscle rejuvenation.
Migraine Headache and Traditional Chinese Medicine
Migraine headache is a common condition with a prevalence of 17.6% females and 5.7% males. It was estimated that 23 million persons older than 12 years of age have severe migraine headaches. Medical research showed that there was a 60% increase in the disease from 1980 to 1989. The social and economic effects of migraine are staggering, between $2 to $17.2 million are lost in productivity per year. A successful treatment plan for migraine headache has not only medical but also serious economic and social implications.
Conventional Western Medicine
Migraine headache is a recurrent neurovascular headache disorder characterized by attacks of debilitating pain associated with photophobia, phonophobia, and nausea and vomiting. The highest incidence of migraine occurs between the ages of 20 and 35, and is often associated with a positive family history of the disease. Migraine headaches are classified into two diagnostic categories: migraine with and without aura. Migraine without aura (common migraine) consists of unilateral or generalized cephalgia, throbbing or pulsatile in nature, in conjunction with nausea, vomiting, and photophobia. Migraine with aura is preceded by a 15-20 minute episode of visual or sensory aura. Auras are most likely visual alterations, usually experienced as hemianopsia and scotomata that enlarge and spread peripherally.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
From the viewpoint of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), migraine headaches are classified according to the overall condition of the patient, not only the nature of the headache. The headache is a result of disturbance or imbalance of Yin-Yang within the Zang-Fu organ system or the Channel system (Meridians), which are the two principal systems that regulate the functions of the body and mind. The diagnosis of TCM is the unique pattern differentiation of the clinical symptom-complexes, which represent specific pathological conditions that can be adjusted or reversed to physiological conditions by TCM therapeutic techniques such as medicinal herbs, acupuncture and Qi Gong therapy.
The disharmony of the Liver system is the most common reason causing migraine headache. According to the Zang-Fu theory, the Liver is the organ system that regulates the flow of Qi as well as stores the soul (related to mental activity). The smooth flow of Qi regulates emotional activities as well as ensures that the overall body activity operates normally. The disharmony of the Liver system, most commonly deficiency of Yin energy or excess of Yang energy, causes irregular Qi flow and Blood stasis, and accumulates Heat inside the body. Both the Qi stagnation and the Heat accumulation may result in migraine headache. The Liver type of migraine shows moderate to severe intensity, sometimes with pulsating quality and aggravation by walking stairs or physical exercise. This type of migraine is commonly in conjunction with emotional strain or stress, feeling of oppression in the chest and hypochondrium, depression or anxiety, reddened tongue with thin coating, and taut pulse.
Deficiency of the Kidneys is another common reason to cause migraine, especially for those patients with a long history of headache. According to the theory of the Five Elements (Phases), Water (Kidney) energy produces Wood (Liver) energy. The Kidney deficiency, caused by prolonged illness, may result in the Liver Yin deficiency and trigger headache. The Kidney deficient type of migraine shows mild to moderate intensity and is commonly in conjunction with weakness of lower back, low energy, lassitude, pale tongue, deep and weak pulse. Clinically there is a third type of migraine, which is the combination of the Liver type and the Kidney type of headache. The Liver Qi stagnation and Kidney deficiency may co-exist in the same patient.
What are migraine triggers?
A migraine trigger is any environmental or physiological factor that leads to a headache in individuals who are prone to develop headaches. Only a small proportion of migraine sufferers, however, clearly can identify triggers. Examples of triggers include:
Diet a common migraine trigger
Diet is one of the most frequently cited triggers of migraine, however it is not always the type of food you put into your mouth that causes the problem, the Migraine Association of Ireland (MAI) has warned.
According to the association, missing meals, changing food patterns, dropping blood sugar levels and dehydration can all play a role too.
“Migraine can be set in motion by a number of triggers, including stress, hormonal fluctuations, changes in routine and certain environmental factors. However, diet is one of the most frequently cited migraine triggers. About 20% of sufferers cite dietary factors as triggers,” explained MAI information officer, Donna Walsh.
AVERTING HEADACHES WITH ACUPUNCTURE AND
Is acupuncture an effective treatment for migraines and other types of headache? “Yes, indeed,” is the confident answer of acupuncture practitioners around the world. Every day, headache sufferers come to acupuncture clinics in the United States and China and find relief for their symptoms. For people who have been plagued by headaches for years, this relief comes as a gift from one of the most ancient healing traditions in the world. Chinese herbal medicine is another valid modality for treating and averting headaches. The use of traditional Chinese herbs to treat headaches is just beginning to be appreciated by American patients.
On your first visit a detailed assessment is carried out. This includes, Chinese tongue pulse and facial diagnoses, past and current medical history, nutrition diet and lifestyle assessment. An allergy/food intolerance test may also be advised. Depending on the diagnosis, a specific treatment plan will be advised. All consultations are private and by appointment only. This may involve a combination of the following.
Acupuncture is a complex form of medicine, it is used to diagnose and treat illness, prevent disease and achieve optimum health. It is recognised by the W.H.O. and has been used for thousands of years.
Allergies and food intolerances can cause symptoms including, migrane, rash, itch, runny nose, sneezing, headache, red or dry eyes, inflammation, irritation, aches and pains, toxic overload, bowel and digestive upset,
Flu like symptoms, low immune system, nutritional deficiencies, organ and system imbalances, raised PH levels and chronic fatigue. This can lead to illness or trigger existing conditions. We treat a wide range of conditions. The testing used is non-invasive and pain free. It incorporates Chinese medicine, bio-resonance and muscle testing . We test for a wide variety of foods, chemicals, and airborne substances. We also check for nutritional deficiencies, organ imbalances, and toxins, PH / acid balance, intestinal flora and the immune system. Depending on the diagnoses, a treatment plan will then be advised for you. This may involve exclusion diet, acupuncture / needle free acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, nutrition diet and lifestyle changes. Any exclusion diet will be fully explained and include recommendations for alternative foods. All consultations are strictly private and by appointment only.
It is important that we are eating the right foods, that these foods are being broken down properly, and that the nutrition from these foods is properly absorbed. Symptoms of deficiency or mal-absorption of nutrition are numerous and need to be identified and treated ASAP.ORGAN IMBALANCES In Chinese medicine, health is at its optimum when there is natural balance between yin and yang, smooth flow of Qi/energy and harmony amongst the organs. Organ imbalances can occur were there is exhaustion, pain, allergies, stress, infections, poor diet and lifestyle insomnia etc. It is important to identify and treat these imbalances as soon as possible to avoid illness. TOXINS
Our systems are bombarded with toxins every day. For example, air pollution, drugs, heavy metals, excess salt and sugar, preservatives and additives, chemicals and fumes. Allergies can cause toxin levels to rise within the body. Many toxins are fat soluble and are stored in the fatty parts of the body. Symptoms can include allergy reactions, Premenstrual Syndrome, weight gain, joint pain, bad breath, headaches, constipation, digestive upset, premature ageing, poor concentration, fluid retention, Candida, gallstones, acne, bad breath, body odor, erratic blood sugar levels and M.E. Toxins can be stored in many parts of the body. It is therefore important to detox, to avoid toxic overload.
PH / ACID BALANCE
PH balance / acid balance can be altered by diet, stress, infection, and allergies. Acid can cause or trigger existing conditions eg. gout, acne, aches and pains, indigestion, psoriasis, red itchy skin, cellulite, heartburn, constant fatigue and illness.
have been used for hundreds of years. Specific herbal formula’s can be used to successfully treat most conditions. For example, migrane, allergy symptoms (sneezing itching burning stinging pain), increase absorption of nutrition, improve the immune system, stress, Candida, asthma, IBS, fatigue, digestive conditions, detox the system, skin conditions, oedema, and weight gain or loss. Any Chinese herbs that are recommended will be fully licensed.Joanne Mc Govern – Dip Ac., Lic Ac., Dip. Chinese Herbs, Dip. Nutritional Adviser, Dip Stress Management.
Vitamins are more than just little pills to pop; they are the building blocks and support system of our bodies. Well-rounded, healthy diets can provide all a growing body needs, but the reality of our busy lifestyles and sometimes finicky eating patterns can lead to vitamin deficiency. Knowing what to look for is part of the battle. The following signs of vitamin deficiency in children are by no means complete, but it will give you a good idea of potential problems. Signs your child lacks Vitamin D Vitamin D deficiency in children is a common problem. My niece was recently diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency after exhibiting some puzzling symptoms. Signs that your child is not producing enough include late teething, irritability, poor growth, and muscle cramps. Seizures and breathing difficulties could also be traced back to insufficient vitamin D.
Combat vitamin D deficiency with exposure to sunlight, milk, cheese, yogurt, and egg yolks.
Signs your child lacks Vitamin A Vitamin A deficiency can lead to serious vision problems. In children a vitamin A deficiency can start to show up as tiredness, hair loss, weakness, and weight loss. Other symptoms include dry eyes, scaling of the skin, and respiratory infections.
Combat vitamin A deficiency by ensuring children eat plenty of yellow-orange vegetables such as carrots, yams, and squash, as well as eggs and cheese.
Signs your child lacks vitamin B 12 Deficiencies in vitamin B 12 in children shows itself in a wide variety of ways. Specifically, vitamin B 12 greatly influences the nervous system and affects the functions of the brain and heart. Signs your child lacks the proper amount of vitamin B 12 include abdominal pain, edema, weakness, insomnia, and they may begin to lose their voice.
Signs your child lacks vitamin B 6 Manifestations of a vitamin B 6 deficiency in children include diarrhea, anemia, weakness, irritability, and seizures. Researchers have also pointed to a lack of vitamin B 6 as the culprit behind inattention, impulsiveness, hyperactivity, temper tantrums, and other inappropriate behaviors.
Combat vitamin B deficiencies by offering a wide variety of meat, chicken, fish, nuts, eggs, milk, cheese, beans. Vegans and Vegetarians should look into supplementation in order to maintain a healthy amount of vitamin B.
Signs your child lacks vitamin C Easy bruising is one sign that your child is not getting enough vitamin C. Additionally they may experience joint pain, have dry skin, and poor appetite. Frequent nose bleeds, infections, and illness can also be traced back to a vitamin C deficiency.
Combat vitamin C deficiency by providing plenty of opportunities to eat a wide variety of citrus fruit, strawberries, tomatoes, kiwi, and green vegetables like broccoli.
While the problems caused by vitamin deficiencies are shocking, it is important to note that excessive amounts of vitamins taken in supplement form can be toxic to the body. If you suspect any of these signs point to a deficiency, check with your physician before administering extra vitamins to your child to avoid an overdose.
Joanne Mc Govern – Dip Ac., Lic Ac., Dip. Chinese Herbs, Dip. Nutritional Adviser, Dip Stress Management.
Psoriasis is a noncontagious skin condition that produces red, dry plaques of thickened skin. The dry flakes and skin scales are thought to result from the rapid proliferation of skin cells that is triggered by abnormal lymphocytes from the blood . Psoriasis commonly affects the skin of the elbows, knees, and scalp.
TYPES OF PSORIARIS
The most common form of psoriasis, plaque psoriasis, affects eighty percent of all psoriasis sufferers. Its symptoms are the “classic ” psoriasis symptoms: patches of raised, inflamed red skin covered by silver-colored scales. The scales are actually dead skin cells that build up on the surface of the psoriatic inflammation. Over time, the scales flake off, revealing the red skin beneath, and new scales form. In black Americans these psoriatic plaques are often the same color as the skin.
Although a special psoriasis diet is debatable, studies have shown that certain nutrients and minerals are a great help in the management of the disease and there are certainly some foods to avoid for the prevention of the attack.
Researchers have 5 major nutrient recommendations to include in your psoriasis diet. These are:
TCM AND PSORIARIS
Definition? Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that is characterized by elevated, red, inflamed patches that are sometimes covered with silver scales. Often there is itching, pain, and burning sensation as well. Psoriasis can happen anywhere on the body but most commonly on the knees, elbows, and scalp. Psoriasis tends to affect men and women equally and although it can affect all age groups, it primarily affects adults.
Possible causes? In western medicine, the possible causes of psoriasis are still not clear but the following are a few possibilities that scientists have come up with:
- Autoimmune condition: In psoriasis, a type of white blood cell, called a T-cell, are put into action by mistake and become so active that they can trigger other immune responses, which lead to inflammation and rapid turnover of skin cells. This means that skin cells quickly rise from their origin below the surface of the skin and pile up on the surface before they have a chance to mature. Usually this takes about a month in the average person, but in psoriasis, it may only take a few days.
- Family history: one-third of cases; Researchers have identified genes linked to the disease after studying a large number of families affected by psoriasis.
- Emotional stress
- Skin damage
- Cold weather or changes in climate
- Physical illness
- Some medications including lithium, quinidine, and those that treat high blood pressure and inflammation can trigger an outbreak or worsen psoriasis
Biomedical treatment? Doctors treat psoriasis based on the severity of the disease, size of the areas involved, and type of psoriasis, and the patient’s response to initial treatments. This is called the “1-2-3″ approach. In step 1, topical medications are used. In step 2, light treatments are used (phototherapy). In step 3, oral medications or injections that treat the whole immune system are used (called systemic therapy). Over time, affected skin can become resistant to treatment and will no longer work, especially when topical steroids are used. Also, many psoriasis patients say that they have either not yet found a treatment that really works or they are afraid of the adverse reactions they will have to the medications.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for Psoriasis? In my practice, I see many patients with psoriasis. In most cases, the patient has tried every ointment or medication without success and is seeking an alternative. In the initial visit, I ask the patient many detailed questions and talk with them about the course of treatment. Chinese herbal medicine is my first treatment of choice but quite commonly I will also recommend acupuncture once per week. In all cases, I advise them regarding their diet and supplement intake.
In TCM theory, the skin lesions of psoriasis is mainly caused by an excess of “heat” which can manifest as blood-dryness, heat in the blood, blood stasis, damp-heat, or fire and toxic-heat. The “heat” is often resulting from pathogenic wind entering the body and invading the yin and blood. Also, Qi (energy) and blood obstruction throughout the body due to stress for example, can result in heat accumulation. Liver and Kidney weakness may also lead to the deficiency-type psoriasis. The TCM approach to psoriasis is to differentiate the syndrome and decide on what the underlying cause is. The aim of TCM is to result in a permanent solution after treating the root cause of the illness.
How fast can you see results? The results of TCM treatment will vary depending on each case, although most patients notice visual changes within 1 – 4 weeks. It is very important that patients comply with all treatment requirements for maximum effectiveness including nutritional changes, stress-relief exercises etc.
Nutritional Therapy for Psoriasis? In my practice, the nutritional recommendations I give are detailed and customized for the individual patient. However, the following are just some general therapies for all people suffering from psoriasis:
- Omega 3 essential fatty acids – may reduce inflammation, lubricate skin, and regulate prostaglandins (2000mg per day)
- Zinc (25mg per day
- Folic acid (1mg per day)
- Quercetin (500mg three times per day before meals)
- Avoid red meat, dairy products, and simple refined sugars
- Avoid acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus foods, eggplant, and coffee
- Avoid highly allergic foods such as corn, wheat, eggs
- Avoid alcohol and smoking
Research study: Acupuncture for Psoriasis 61 cases of psoriasis were treated with acupuncture, including 25 patients with complications of joint involvement, and two cases of scleroderma additionally. All of the patients had failed to respond to their western medical treatments. 25 patients were males and 36 were females. Their ages ranged from 22 to 84 years, with an average of about 52 years. Most of them (about 61%) had quite extensive involvement of the body. The average duration of their illness was over 16 years, ranging from 2 to 65 years.
They received an average of about 9 acupuncture sessions.
With the acupuncture treatment, about one-half (30) of the 61 patients had complete or almost complete clearance of the skin lesions. About a quarter (14 patients) of them had a clearance of about two-thirds of the skin lesions. Eight of them had a clearance of one-third of the skin lesions. Only nine patients had minimal improvement. This indicates that acupuncture is an effective therapeutic modality for psoriasis, particularly when the western conventional treatment was ineffective
On your first visit a detailed assessment is carried out. This includes Chinese tongue pulse and facial diagnoses, past and current medical history, nutrition diet and lifestyle assessment. We also check for food intolerances/allergies. Allergies and food intolerances can cause symptoms including, rash, itch, inflammation, irritation, toxic overload, bowel and digestive upset low immune system, nutritional deficiencies, organ and system imbalances, raised PH levels and chronic fatigue. This can lead to illness or trigger existing conditions. The testing used is non-invasive and pain free. It incorporates Chinese medicine, bio-resonance muscle testing and Nutrition therapy
We test for a wide variety of foods, chemicals, and airborne substances We also check for nutritional deficiencies, organ imbalances, and toxins, PH/ acid balance, intestinal flora and the immune system. Depending on the diagnoses, a treatment plan will then be advised for you. This may involve exclusion diet, acupuncture / needle free acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, nutrition diet and lifestyle changes. Any exclusion diet will be fully explained and include recommendations for alternative foods. All consultations are strictly private and by appointment only.
Joanne Mc Govern – Dip Ac., Lic Ac., Dip. Chinese Herbs, Dip. Nutritional
Advisor, Dip Stress Management.