Calm – for Migraine, Headaches, Muscle Tension.

 

Migraines can be complex.  Often patients are trying to figure out what triggers their migraine.  This can be very confusing and frustrating process.  Let’s look at an example with chocolate as a potential trigger.  You may think chocolate is a trigger as you had chocolate just before the last two migraines.  Then, because you love chocolate, you brave it and have chocolate again, and no migraine.   So, you think you are in the clear with chocolate and have some again and – boom – a migraine.  So, is chocolate a trigger or not???

This confusing aspect of migraines was best explained to me by Dr. David Buchholz, a neurologist from The John Hopkins School of Medicine in his book “Heal Your Headache”.  He describes what he calls a threshold, under which there is no migraine, and over which there is migraine.

Each patient often has several triggers.  Examples of triggers include certain foods, barometric pressure, stress, tension, sleep status, chemicals such a fragrance, light, hormonal shifts, the list goes on.  So, when you are exposed to a trigger, you may still be under your migraine threshold, and you don’t experience any symptoms.  But say you are exposed to two or more of your triggers all at once.  For this example, let’s assume your triggers are chocolate, and sleep deprivation.  If you have both of those at the same time, you may then go over your threshold and end up with migraine.  If you only eat chocolate, you may stay under your threshold, and no migraine. I suggest reading Dr. Buchholz’s book if you want to learn more about triggers and thresholds.

What is the point of all of this?  Well, a very common migraine trigger is stress and anxiety, which results in muscle tension with subsequent migraine.  The Chinese Herbal Formula, Calm is fantastic for reducing tension, stress, anxiety and associated muscle tension.  Calm is available in capsule form, it is easy to take, and has no side effects.  Taking Calm, in conjunction with acupuncture will get you on your way to being migraine free.

Take Care,

Dr. Ann

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Calm: a Chinese Herbal Formula for Stress, Anxiety, Headache, PMS, Muscle Tension

 

 

Are you feeling:

  • Tense
  • Stressed
  • Anxious

 

Are you suffering from:

  • Headaches,
  • PMS,
  • Muscle aches

 

You need Calm!  With Calm, you don’t feel drowsy, lethargic, brain fog, or any negative side effects, you just feel more relaxed.

 

Over time, constantly living in a stressed state without recharging leads to serious health problems.  Acute and chronic stress can affect the brain (feelings and emotions) heart (high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, coronary artery disease), muscles (pain and stiffness), the stomach (acid reflux, IBS, ulcer), and the immune system (frequent illness).

 

Calm is available in easy to take capsules and you can adjust the dosage based on the level of symptoms you are feeling.

 

So why not feel more Calm, you will love it!!

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Three reasons why acupuncture is better than drugs for migraine headache

Today I would like to talk about three reasons why acupuncture is better than drugs for migraine headaches:

Acupuncture works right away

If you happen to come into our clinic when you are in the midst of a migraine episode, chances are you will leave feeling much better.  The acupuncture method we use has an immediate effect.  Before you leave the office, your symptoms may be completely gone.  If not, they should be significantly reduced.  This is a good sign for both the patient and the doctor, we can observe the improvement right away, which is very reassuring.  Your symptoms may return, but with some time, we should be able to make them go away long term.

There are essentially no negative side effects from acupuncture

Outside of some possible minor bruising or momentary discomfort, there are no negative side effects from acupuncture. The same is not true for the drugs used for migraine.  First the over the counter drugs; such as the very popular Excedrin Migraine or Advil Migraine and the generic pain relievers; ibuprofen, acetaminophen and aspirin.  These are not safe just because they are available without a prescription.  The most common side effect is abdominal pain and bleeding.  In addition, the ingredients: aspirin, and acetaminophen are known to cause rebound headaches!!!

Botox is a prescription treatment for migraine.  Here are the most common reported side effects from Botox: allergic reactions, rash, itching, headache (yikes), neck or back pain, muscle stiffness, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath.  Then there are the triptans, the most well-known of these is Imitrex.  Side effects of triptans include: dizziness, fatigue, headaches (yikes again), tingling of the skin, dry mouth, hot flashes, chest pain.  Topamax is a drug that is prescribed to prevent migraine.  It often takes a while to become effective and also has significant side effects such as: tiredness, drowsiness, dizziness, nervousness, numbness or tingling, coordination problems, diarrhea, weight loss.

The newest medication just released in May 2018 is Aimovig. This is also a drug used for prevention.  It is administered by injection once a month.  The annual cost is $6,900.  So far the reported side effects include: injection site reactions, cramps, muscle spasms, and constipation.

Acupuncture address the root cause of migraines, it is not a Band-Aid

None of the pharmaceutical treatments actually address the cause of migraines, they are not a cure, but a management technique, some would say a band-aid.  To resolve the cause of migraines requires a comprehensive whole-body method.  Acupuncture, along with life style approaches, possibly in conjunction with Chinese herbal medicine address the entire body with the goal of eliminating migraines all together.  Every patient is different, so each is evaluated, and a customized plan is developed.  Whether your migraines are related to stress, hormones, food or other triggers, a customized whole-body approach will optimize your health and function and allow you to live the pain free life you deserve.

Take care and live well

Ann

Harmony + Health Acupuncture

4020 N 20th St, Phoenix, AZ  85016, 602-571-4262

 

 

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Acupuncture for Migraine Headaches: Linda’s Story

Linda is 36 years old and first came to see me for help with chronic migraine headaches.  She asked me: can acupuncture really help with migraines?  I told her I needed to learn a little more about her history and then we would talk about whether I could help her.

Linda had been having migraines since she was 17 years old.  They used to come about once a month, just before her period.  She managed them with Excedrin Migraine and stayed in bed usually for about half a day.  When she was about 25, the migraines started to increase in frequency and sometimes she also had what she described as tension headaches.  Today she reports having about 10 migraine headaches a month, and 4-5 tension headaches a month.  She has been to her family doctor, and a neurologist, she has taken most of the common preventive medications, and has tried all kinds of over the counter and prescription pain relievers.  She has had Botox injections.  The medications help a little, especially in the intensity of the headache, but she is still suffering.

Linda was a busy woman.  She had two children and worked 30 hours per week as an office manager of a medical office.  Her husband was helpful, but he worked about 60 hours per week and traveled frequently.

Linda was miserable.  She was stressed to the max and exhausted from keeping up with her kids, the house, work, and managing her migraines.  She did not have much of a social life and was feeling trapped.

I told Linda that I was sure I could help her.  We would start with acupuncture treatments two times per week for 2 -3 weeks and we would develop the rest of her acupuncture treatment plan after that.  I told her we would work on developing some relaxation techniques, things she could do at home and work into her normal schedule.  We would talk about nutrition, a topic that can be really confusing since she was always looking for potential migraine triggers in her diet.  I would help her figure out a nutrition strategy, simple things she could do and fit into her already maxed out schedule.  I would prescribe a Chinese Herbal formula if I thought it would help her.  Linda was taking some supplements that she heard could help with migraines.  I asked her to her bring in her supplement bottles and we would look at what she is taking and add or eliminate as needed.

I took care of Linda twice a week for two weeks.  In that period, she had one migraine, on the weekend.  She started taking a Chinese Herbal Formula that I custom made for her and she took it over the next two weeks.  Over that first four-week treatment period, she only had the one migraine, and one tension type headache that went away within few hours.  She started taking magnesium and soaked in an Epsom salt bath about once per week.  She incorporated the nutritional changes I recommended.  By the time she was 8 weeks into treatment, she had gone two weeks with no migraine, only a minor tension headache that went away on its own. She was feeling more energetic and generally happier.  I recommended she continue treatment every other week for a month, and if she continued to be migraine free, she could come in just once a month for maintenance.

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Would you pay 94 cents per day to avoid getting a cold or flu this winter season??

 

What do you do to stay healthy during the cold and flu season?  Here is what I do, and it works well, I rarely if ever get a cold, and I don’t think I have ever had the flu.

Start preparing in October, by boosting your immune system, and carry the protocol through until March or April, when it looks like the flu season has passed.

 

I start by continuing the common-sense things my mom taught me:

  • Wash my hands frequently using soap and water. One of my favorite nurse friends taught me to wash long enough to sing the entire Happy Birthday song
  • Get plenty of rest. I make a point to get 7.5-8.5 hours of sleep nightly
  • Eat well, at least 90% of the time.

And then I invest some hard cash and add some immune building supplements, this is where the 94 cents per day comes in:

  • A daily zinc supplement, I use Zinc Liver Chelate from Standard Process because it is made from a food source
  • I take immune boosting herbs daily, alternating the following:
    • Ganoderma and Shiitake Mushroom – a combination of two different mushrooms known to promote healthy immune function
    • Echinacea Premium – it is very important to find a high quality echinacea, the one I use is from MediHerb, a company that has done a lot of research on echinacea. It is important that the product you take is made with the correct species, and the correct part of the plant.  Mediherb echinacea is made from two different species of the plant, and from the root only, which is were the active components can be found.

Other things you can do to boost your immune system:

  • Know your vitamin D level. Vitamin D plays a key role in the immune system.  If your vitamin D is not between 40 and 60ng/ml, take a vitamin D3 supplement, making sure you take it with food.  To calculate the appropriate dose, see the Vitamin D calculator: https://grassrootshealth.net/?post_projects=dcalculator
  • Increase your vitamin C. Some people like to take a vitamin C supplement; consider liposomal vitamin C.  The best source of vitamin C is food such as the awesome citrus we have in Arizona.
  • Take a probiotic. A major portion of the immune system is generated from the gut, that is why probiotics are helpful.

How about the flu shot?

The flu shot may be fine, but it is not that protective.  Last year, according to the CDC, the flu shot was only 36% effective.  This year’s shot is only effective against 3-4 strains of the flu virus.  It will not prevent infection with any other flu strain, a cold, an intestinal bug or anything else.

By taking the measures suggested above, you will boost your immune system against all infection and hopefully have a cold and flu free winter.

May you stay healthy this winter season

Ann

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Why I did a Detox, and how I felt after

In August, I (along with a bunch of our patients) completed the Standard Process 10-day Detox Balance program.  Why would we do such a thing?

First off, its pretty easy, you make some shakes from the delicious detox powder made by Standard Process, and then you follow a nice clean eating program.  You focus on eating vegetables, some fruit, some grains (no gluten), and your protein of choice (meat or vegetarian sources, you decide).  You also avoid sugar, dairy and a few other things.  Everything is spelled out in a nice booklet put together by Standard Process.

 

No matter how clean (or not) you live, you can not avoid toxins.  They are in the air and water (notice the air pollution advisories we had all summer in Phoenix), they come as pesticides and insecticides that are sprayed in every restaurant and business you go in.  They can be found in out personal care products, in dyes and paints, in household cleaning products, the list goes on.

 

The human body has a metabolic system that will detoxify naturally.  The SP Detox program is designed to boost this function and unlock fat-soluble toxins and convert them to a water-soluble state that is easier for your body to remove.

What are some of the signs you need to Detox?  You may have fatigue or difficulty sleeping, indigestion and other temporary gastrointestinal upset, food craving and weight gain, reduced mental clarity, low libido, skin issues, joint discomfort.

 

The program was easy to follow, though I did miss having a glass of wine.  I was never hungry, and I tried some new recipes. The results though were great, most notably, I felt more energy, and sharpened mental clarity.  And just knowing that I was able to clean out my system, that was a good feeling.  So, I am already planning my next Detox, in about six months after the winter holiday season.

Let us know if you want to feel better by completing the 10-day Detox.  You don’t need an appointment; just give us a call and we will have the powder and an information booklet ready for you.

 

Take care

Ann

 

 

 

 

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Acupuncture for PCOS: How Chinese Medicine Can Help

PCOS is a complex disorder that needs a multifaceted treatment. Because of this complexity, Chinese Medicine is the perfect way to provide symptom relief and guide your body back to balance.

 

PCOS, or Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome, shows up in different ways in each person so diagnosing it can be time consuming and frustrating. The general criteria is, at least two of the following:

• Anovulation(no period) or oglioovulation (long or irregular cycles)
• Excess Androgens (male sex characteristics such as facial hair, acne and abdominal fat)
• Polycystic ovaries on ultrasound

 

These symptoms may or may not be present (notice how you just have to have 2 of these symptoms to get diagnosed) and are just the tip of the iceberg with PCOS unfortunately. It’s such a complex problem that it can feel like every system in your body is affected from your weight and metabolism to your mood, energy level, stress level and body image.

 

Because PCOS can has such an enormous effect of quality of life and the way women feel and show up in their body’s we absolutely love treating it with Chinese Medicine. It is typically very responsive to acupuncture, herbal medicine and nutrition therapy; we see some remarkable changes in women’s body’s and lives.

 

So how exactly does Chinese Medicine help with PCOS? Here are just a few ways:

 

Decrease androgens– The mechanism for this is not yet fully understood but both recent studies and clinical observation has shown that acupuncture successfully reduces signs of increased testosterone as well as lab values.

 

Manage Stress – Acupuncture specifically is one of the best ways to calm the “fight or flight” nervous system which is usually dysregulated in women with PCOS. This has a positive effect on insulin sensitivity, normal ovulation, obesity and cardiovascular disease

 

Regulate Metabolism – A combination of nutritional therapy, plant medicine and acupuncture work synergistically to balance hormones that regulate your weight and metabolism. Hormones like insulin, thyroid hormones and appetite regulation hormones are all affect by this synergistic treatment.

 

Improve mood– In a recent study 14 acupuncture treatments over 16 weeks showed improvement in social functioning, energy, vitality and general health in women with PCOS versus the control group which showed no significant improvement.

 

Promote normal menstruation– Chinese Medicine has been successfully regulating and improving periods for thousands of years safe and effectively. We pay close attention to subtle variations through a cycle to target exactly what’s going on from a Chinese medicine perspective. Whether you haven’t had a period in years or have just a few a year, we see women consistently and predictably improve with proper acupuncture and herbal treatment.

 

New research is constantly coming out about PCOS and we are coming to understand it more all the time. One thing we know for sure Is that for the women who suffer from it, it can greatly affect their quality of life. Chinese medicine is the perfect solution to both relive symptoms and restore balance within the body. A complex, interconnected condition requires a treatment that views your body as whole and interconnected. We provide that for you.

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