National Sleep Awareness Week

This week is  National Sleep Awareness week. This week, we ask everyone to commit to better sleeping habits for the next 7 days. According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 1/3 of Americans have trouble sleeping every night, and 51% of adults say they have problems sleeping at least a few nights each week. 43% of respondents report that daytime sleepiness interferes with their normal daytime activities. More and more scientific studies are showing correlations between sleep and overall health.

Insufficient sleep can cause decreased growth hormone secretion that is linked to weight gain, and impairs the body’s ability to use insulin, which can lead to the onset of diabetes. Frequent waking disrupts heart rate and can aggravate hypertension and cardiovascular problems. The hormone melatonin which naturally increases after sundown and during the night in a normal circadian rhythm, increases immune cytokine function and helps protect us against infection. Insomnia impairs our mental clarity, ability to handle stress, compromises our immune system and ability to moderate our emotions, triggering depression and anxiety.

In Eastern Medicine, poor sleep is probably one of the most common problems clients share, whether or not it was the chief complaint that brought them in to seek treatment. Difficulty falling asleep is only one of four kinds of insomnia. Insomnia also includes waking up too early and not being able to fall back asleep, waking up frequently, or waking up feeling unrefreshed. Each kind of insomnia is diagnosed differently according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and we can treat each type with different Acupuncture points and herbal formulas, according to a differential diagnosis.
From the perspective in Eastern Medicine insomnia is strongly related to the Heart and “Shen”. The Shen can be thought of as ones overall spirit and psychological state and the Heart is responsible for “housing the Shen.” Disruption of the Shen can lead to the signs and symptoms of insomnia – overthinking, restlessness, and anxiety. A few of the meridian systems which often contribute to the disruption of the Heart and Shen, are:

The Liver system, is disrupted by excessive stress and/or anger, fatty foods and alcohol. These factors lead to heat in the Liver which can rise up, disrupt the heart and Shen and lead to restlessness and irritability, possibly even violent nightmares.

The Spleen system, is disrupted by a poor diet, late-night eating and excessive worry and overthinking. As the Spleen is responsible for Blood production and the Blood of Chinese medicine nourishes the Heart and Shen, one may experience sleeping issues at night.

The Kidney system, is disrupted by anxiety and fear, overworking and poor sleep. The Kidneys play a large role in the Yin aspect of the body – it’s receptive and calming nature. When the Yin of the body is depleted, the heat of the body can flare up and one may experience sleeping problems with night sweats, for example.

In addition to Acupuncture and Herbs, here are some tips to get you started on the road to good sleep:

Make sleep a priority. Disengage your mind from the stress of the day. Turn off the computer or television (especially the news!), and turn off the phone. Meditate or take a hot bath. Read a book or write in a journal. Journaling is a great way to work through an emotionally stressful day or to shake off your mental “To DO” list.
Go to sleep by 10:30pm. In Eastern Medicine, it is believed that 10:30 P.M. is the best time for a full cycle of sleep, because the Qi in the Gallbladder/ Liver regenerates itself between 11pm and 3am. Western Medicine concurs that our Adrenal system repairs better when we get to sleep before 11pm.


Avoid caffeine in the afternoon, or try switching to green tea, which has more antioxidants and less caffeine than coffee.

Don’t drink ice water. According to TCM, it taxes your Spleen and your body has to work extra hard to heat up the cold water you are drinking. So if you drink really cold water at night, your body is working on overdrive and it over-stimulates your body causing you to stay awake. Conversely, avoid over-stimulating hot foods. Hot peppers, alcohol, and coffee overstimulate the nervous system causing an imbalance in the liver, which will disrupt your sleep.

Reduce your exposure to artificial light! Artificial light disrupts our circadian rhythm and throws off our sleep. Just a single ‘pulse’ of artificial light at night disrupts the circadian mode of cell division, which can not only impact our sleep, but also increase our risk of cancer. Another study showed that the blue light emitted from alarm clocks and other digital devices suppresses melatonin production in a dose-dependent manner. Turn off the computer or television 2 hours before bedtime and cover or remove any electronics in your room that have bright lights. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, if you place your hand twelve inches in front of your face and you can clearly see it, then your room is not dark enough for proper sleep.If you can’t do these things for some reason, use a sleep mask or blackout shades.

In short, Good Sleep=Good Health!

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Folate vs. Folic Acid

January honors Folic Acid Awareness. In truth, we are really honoring Folate. There a several things to really know when it comes to Folic Acid. First and foremost, Folate is what is the human body needs. Folate is vitamin B9, and it is necessary for proper cell division, growth and repair. It is also necessary for proper fetal development, and it can prevent serious birth defects. Folic Acid is artificial folate, used in fortified and processed foods that we should all be avoiding. Some reports indicate that almost half of the population have a genetic variation called MTHFR that prevents them from converting the artificial folate found in fortified foods and some supplements to a usable form. To ensure optimum folate consumption, it is best to supplement with a METHYLATED B-Complex, especially if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Even if you aren’t pregnant, taking a methylated supplement can help your immunity, skin, mood, and cardiovascular health. Whether you do or do not have the genetic variation that prevents you from converting folate, it is best to increase your folate levels naturally by eating plenty of asparagus, spinach, turnip greens, broccoli, lentils and garbanzo beans.

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Reiki Attunment

Reiki is a profound tool for use in self-care. In fact, most Reiki practitioners who have studied Reiki healing practice some form of Self-Reiki on a daily basis. One beautiful aspect of Reiki is that once you take a Reiki class, you have the knowledge and use of it for life. It is always there for you, a toolbox of wellness in your hands.
Often, a person may have sought out Reiki for healing benefits. You may have heard about it from your physician or medical provider. You may have heard great results friends or family. Or you may have heard about it in the news, such as on the Dr. Oz show.  Reiki has gained in popularity over the last decades because – it works! Often people who have had the good fortune of receiving a Reiki session or series of Reiki sessions desire to take a Reiki One class, or First Degree Level. After taking Reiki 1, you have a beginning set of tools that you can use at anytime, anywhere for your benefit in self-care.

Five minutes of Reiki a day can provide a calming, lasting benefit.

Like meditation, Reiki calms and centers you. In addition, Reiki also energizes and provides clarity of mind as well. This is because it works energetically to both provide relaxation and to strengthen and assist your body’s energy pathways to function optimally. Some practical application of Self-Reiki include: preparing yourself for the day, using Reiki for calm in traffic, ten minutes of Reiki for added calm before you go to sleep, five minutes before a meeting or presentation, five minutes of Reiki before calming and assisting others, and an infinite array of situations.

But always remember that self-care is important to keep you at your best, so a few minutes of self-Reiki a day can do wonders.

Jesyka Bartlett RMT will be hosting a Level 1 Reiki practitioner attunement Saturday October 17 from 10-6pm. The class includes a guided meditation to find your Reiki guides, Reiki for self-care, and a 21-day chakra clearing cycle. It also includes follow-up gatherings for experience sharing and community building on Saturday October 17th and 24th from 1-3pm. It will provide an opportunity to share where you are, how it’s going, and what you’ve discovered.

This Reiki practitioner attunement will focus mainly on self-care rather than on caregiving.

The one day course will be followed by a 21-day chakra clearing cycle, aiding your shift into approaching life as a Reiki practitioner.

Healing Katrina and Beyond

Balance Integrative Health hosts HEALING KATRINA AND BEYOND AUGUST 29th

Healing Yoga 11 am – 12 pm

Start your day with a healing yoga class with Dmitri Khorov. Focus your breathing and move through the mind/body/spirit of a healing yoga practice. This class is designed to open your awareness through gentle movements.

Free Community Care12:30 -4pm

Balance Integrative Health is offering free community care. Chris DesJardins, LPC,NCC,CCTP, Jesyka Bartlett, RMT, Noell Eanes, Mac, RYT, ACA

Chris, Noell and Jesyka will guide conversations about our memories of Katrina. They will discuss why and how our brains store trauma the way they do. They will discuss and teach ways to process and clear what we have not moved past yet. These practitioners, and others, will introduce and demonstrate methods and skills from their areas of expertise to help each of us honor the past that lead us here while freeing ourselves for the promising future ahead for each of us.

Meditation 4 pm- 4:30pm

End the day with a quite meditation in honor of Katrina lead by Dmitri Khorov

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August Marks Psoriasis Awareness Month

psoriasisawareness

August is the official month for psoriasis awareness and here at Balance Integrative Health in New Orleans, our focus is to spread awareness about psoriasis, to educate, and to provide relief to those who suffer from psoriasis.

Did you know that your skin is an organ?  It is. In fact the skin is the largest eliminatory organ the body has, which means out of all the organs ridding your body of toxins (liver, kidneys), your skin has the most work to do. When you have eruptions on your skin, it is because your skin is reacting to a known toxin, or in some cases, a perceived toxin. Psoriasis is a non-contagious autoimmune disease that commonly takes the form of red patches on the skin. These patches occur from an over-active immune system when your skin perceives toxins and sends out signals to speed up the growth of skin cells. Traditional treatment of psoriasis includes topical ointments and baths, and in some extreme cases, medications to rid the body of inflammatory response.  To this date, there is “no cure” for psoriasis, only treatments that lesson the symptoms.

What if we honored the fact that the body is working perfectly, and responding to something that just isn’t right?  The team here at Balance Integrative Health is invested in a multi-dimensional approach to healing, so psoriasis is the perfect example of how we can create success stories.

Acupuncture can help with the stress and psycho-emotional effects that dealing with psoriasis and eczema have on a person.  It can also balance the immune system response so that flare-ups are not so severe.  Our medical doctors can order tests for specific allergies, and our nutritionists can help guide you with an elimination diet to help identify triggers.

Naturopathic doctors and researchers have identified certain nutritional triggers that seem to be universal among those suffering from psoriasis and eczema.  These include:

  • Tobacco and alcohol
  • Nightshades: Tomatoes, white potatoes, peppers, paprika, eggplant
  • Sugar and refined carbohydrates
  • Red meat (except for lamb)
  • Fried foods

According to “Healing Psoriasis” by Dr. John Pagano, thin, porous intestinal walls are one of the reasons people develop psoriasis. Toxic molecules then escape through the thin walls of the intestine and into the bloodstream. The skin then helps to rid the body of these poisons.  Supporting the healing of your intestinal tract as well as changing the diet and reducing stress are all part of the plan to alleviate the suffering that psoriasis and eczema causes.

If you are struggling with psoriasis or eczema, a multi-dimensional approach may be the only way to truly heal your body. Schedule a consultation with us and we’ll take a full evaluation of your symptoms and frequency of flare-ups, as well as external factors such as general health, diet, daily routine and common life stressors. By doing this we can create a tailored treatment plan specific to you that is most likely to lead to results. Simply give us a call at (504) 522-9645 to get started.

Free Day of Health

Come join us on Saturday August for a free day of health. Start your Saturday with a FREE YOGA CLASS. Join us after for a free cooking demonstration and FREE FOOD. After, enjoy some workshops and demonstrations and get yourself balanced with some FREE ACUPUNCTURE. Then have a rest before you hit the town for White Linen Night!!!

FREE EVENTS

Saturday August 1

FREE WORKSHOPS 11am – 4pm

Join us for a free day of health, showcasing all of BIH’s therapeutic services with free open access to members and non-members. We will have lots to learn and there will be friends to make.  Everyone is invited.

 FREE YOGA CLASS 11am – 12pm

Yoga refers to a set of physical exercises and sequences of asanas, designed to align your joints, muscles, and bones. Yoga has been successful in treating chronic conditions such as asthma, allergies, headaches, hypertension, depression, heart disease and obesity.

HEALTHY COOKING DEMONSTRATION 12-1pm

Learn to cook healthy, fresh and delicious.  All ingredients and instruction are provided by our wonderful chef Andrew. Come hungry.

 FREE COMMUNITY ACUPUNCTURE 2pm – 4pm

Free Community Acupuncture…drop in and check out Balance Integrative Health.

If you’ve never had acupuncture before, this is a great introduction to the experience. We treat you in a community setting for 20 -30 minutes. Give it a try and see how great you feel!

New at Balance Integrative Health!!!

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BIH is now proud to offer daily yoga classes, a fully stocked natural supplement and herbal pharmacy & a FREE HEALTH DAY on AUGUST 1st!!!!  Check out the juicy details below…. Free Day at Balance: We hate to boast, but we love to share – join us for a free day of health on August 1st!  Get a taste of all we have to offer. Start by joining us for a yoga class, enjoy a healthy lunch cooking demonstration and samples, Thai Yoga demonstration, health evaluations/screenings, and free community acupuncture. This event is open to the public, new members receive $10 off their 1st month of membership. Bring your friends, your partner, your child or just yourself and take note of how beautiful balance and wellness really are. #joinbalance In collaboration with Golden Ganesh Yoga, BIH now offers Yoga T-F @ 5AM, T&Th @ 6PM, and Sat @ 11AM with Dmitri Khorov. Additionally, Dmitri offers Meditation T-F @ 6am (after yoga).  Dmitri uses a broad spectrum of Hatha Yoga, meditation and breath work to start or strengthen any practice. His Saturday class focuses on Core Strength and will get you a great work out. See schedule and pricing online. #joinbalance BIH is now re-stocked our supplements and green pharmacy….products include physician grade Probiotics, B-12, Folate, Magnesium and more. We recently sampled the Klair Labs Ther-Biotic ourselves. It’s fantastic…not to mention free of EVERYTHING!! Balance integrative health accepts most major health insurances, call to schedule an apt with Dr. Fotino today.  Her integrative approach incorporates lifestyle and diet in addition to traditional western medicine to achieve optimal wellness. To our Clients: Our business is here to stay. We ask that you help us spread the word. We offer a $25 gift card for all video and written testimonials. Whether you rate us on Yelp, Facebook, Goolge +, YP, be our messenger to keep our businesses growing. Offer valid for members and regular patrons. Members that refer another member can receive a free service as well… Ask for details. Integrative Medicine means we take the time to get to know each other so we can work together toward the best health you can achieve. We may decide to use conventional, alternative, or integrative approaches, but the decisions are made in a collaborative way -Martin Rossman, M.D. With Gratitude and Appreciation, Your Balance Integrative Health Staff Be the change you with to see in the World-Buddah

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Infinite Possibilities

infinite possibilities

 Infinite Possibilities NOLA

June 27-28th 1-5pm

 Are you ready to take a huge leap forward in some areas of your life?!

Do you want to know whether your beliefs are working FOR you or against you??

If you answered yes, join us this weekend for Infinite Possibilities NOLA. Attending this 2-day workshop taught by Certified trainer Noell Eanes, M.Ac. will leave you feeling empowered and inspired!

  • Discover the limiting beliefs that may be holding you back from your dreams and desires.
  • Make peace with your emotions and learn how to make them work for you.
  • Learn exercises and visualization techniques that work!
  • Meet like-minded positive people and have lots of fun!

Space is limited, so sign up ASAP.  Visit our website at bihnola.com/events for more details or call (504) 522-9645 to reserve your spot!

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Migraine Causes and Treatments

headache

June is National Headache and Migraine Awareness Month. If you’ve never had a migraine, count yourself lucky!  Almost 5 million people in the U.S. experience at least one migraine attack per month. There are different types of migraines, but the most common migraine symptoms are:

  • Throbbing, pulsating pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Nausea
  • Sound sensitivity
  • Vision changes
  • Aura
  • Vomiting

The underlying causes for having a migraine are not certain, but we do know common triggers that can bring them on. Things that can trigger a migraine can be food related like food additives, aged cheeses, salty foods, skipping meals, processed foods, aspartame, MSG, cured meats, dried fish and fruits. Additionally,  bright lights and TV, extreme fatigue, dehydration, odors, caffeine in excess or withdrawal from caffeine, eyestrain, alcohol, hormones and menstrual periods and changing weather.

If you are one of the unlucky people who experiences migraine attacks, avoiding these triggers may help.  Acupuncture has been proven to help with the severity of migraines as well. Research published in The Canadian Medical Association Journal found acupuncture was able to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines in practically all of the participants of the study who received traditional acupuncture. The study was held over four weeks, with twice-weekly acupuncture sessions. Three months after the treatment, people who received acupuncture continued to report a reduction in migraine days, frequency, and intensity.

The proper supplements can help with migraine relief as well.  Some of these include magnesium, B12, and Coenzyme 10. You may need to consult with your doctor to make sure these do not interact with other medications or supplements, so scheduling an appointment to go over a complete treatment plan may be the best plan of action.

Don’t let another day of suffering go by if you have chronic migraines.  Call us today at 504-522-9645 to discuss your treatment options!

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World Water Day

water_blog

When you turn on a faucet, do you ever stop and think about the resources necessary to make the resulting water flow possible? Most people don’t, which is why “World Water Day” exists, which is on March 22nd this year.

World Water Day was initiated in 1993 by the United Nations to bring awareness to our world’s water resources. Each year, one of various UN agencies involved in water issues takes the lead in promoting and coordinating international activities for World Water Day. This year, the theme is “Water and Sustainable Development”. This theme calls us to realize the impact we have on nature when we use water, recognizing that water is a precious resource!
One of the best ways to preserve water is to turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth. This simple act can save up to 4 gallons per minute. (That’s up to 200 gallons a week for a family of four!) Here are some other simple things you can do to honor World Water Day:

-Use filtered water instead of buying bottled water
-Cut down on your time in the shower
-Fix any leaky faucets to save both water and money

If each individual takes a few small steps, we can make a major impact!

Sleep Awareness

Blog_sleepawareness

According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 1/3 of Americans have trouble sleeping every night. Also, 51% of adults say they have problems sleeping at least a few nights each week. 43% of respondents report that daytime sleepiness interferes with their normal daytime activities.  More and more scientific studies are showing correlations between sleep and overall health.

Insufficient sleep can cause decreased growth hormone secretion. This decrease is linked to weight gain and impairs the body’s ability to use insulin, which can lead to the onset of diabetes. Frequent waking disrupts heart rate and can aggravate hypertension and cardiovascular problems. The hormone melatonin, which naturally increases after sundown and during the night in a normal circadian rhythm, increases immune cytokine function and helps protect us against infection. Insomnia impairs our mental clarity and ability to handle stress. Insomnia also compromises our immune system and ability to moderate emotions, which can trigger depression and anxiety.

Our Acupuncturist, Noell Eans finds that poor sleep is probably one of the most common problems clients share with her, whether or not it was the chief complaint that brought them in to seek treatment. Difficulty falling asleep is only one of four types of insomnia. Insomnia also includes waking up too early coupled with the inability to fall asleep again, waking up frequently, or waking up feeling unrefreshed. Each kind of insomnia is diagnosed differently according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). We can treat each type with different Acupuncture points and herbal formulas, depending on the results of a differential diagnosis.

From a TCM perspective, insomnia is strongly related to the Heart and “Shen”. The Shen can be thought of as a person’s overall spirit and psychological state. The Heart is responsible for “housing the Shen.” Disruption of the Shen can lead to the signs and symptoms of insomnia – overthinking, restlessness, and anxiety. A few of the meridian systems, when disrupted, often contribute to the disruption of the Heart and Shen.

  • The Liver system is disrupted by excessive stress and/or anger, fatty foods and alcohol. These factors lead to heat in the Liver, which can rise up and disrupt both the Heart and Shen.  This can lead to restlessness and irritability, possibly even violent nightmares.
  • The Spleen system is disrupted by a poor diet, late night eating, overthinking and excessive worry. The Spleen is responsible for Blood production. In Chinese medicine, the Blood nourishes the Heart and Shen.  So one may experience sleep issues at night resulting from Spleen system issues.
  • The Kidney system is disrupted by anxiety, fear, overworking and poor sleep. The Kidneys play a large role in the Yin aspect of the body, or its receptive and calming nature. When the Yin of the body is depleted, the heat of the body can flare up and one may experience sleeping problems, such as night sweats.

In addition to Acupuncture and Herbs, here are some tips to get you started on the road to good sleep:

  1. Make sleep a priority. Disengage your mind from the stress of the day. Turn off the computer or television, especially the news, and the phone. Meditate or take a hot bath. Read a book or write in a journal. Journaling is a great way to work through an emotionally stressful day or to shake off your mental “To Do” list.
  2. Go to sleep by 10:30 PM. In TCM, it is believed that 10:30 PM is the best time to begin a full cycle of sleep. The Qi in the Gallbladder/ Liver regenerates itself between 11 PM and 3 AM. Western Medicine concurs, stating that our Adrenal system is better able to itself when we get to sleep before 11 PM.
  3. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon, or try switching to green tea.  Green tea has more antioxidants and less caffeine than coffee.
  4. Don’t drink ice water. According to TCM, it taxes your Spleen and your body has to work extra hard to heat up the cold water you are drinking. So if you drink very cold water at night, your body is working on overdrive. The water can over-stimulate your system, causing you to stay awake. Conversely, avoid excessively hot foods. Hot peppers, alcohol, and coffee also over-stimulate the nervous system, causing an imbalance in the liver, which will disrupt your sleep.
  5. Reduce your exposure to artificial light! Artificial light disrupts our circadian rhythm and throws off our sleep habits. Just a single ‘pulse’ of artificial light at night disrupts the circadian mode of cell division, which can not only impact our sleep, but also increase our risk of cancer. Another study showed that the blue light emitted from alarm clocks and other digital devices suppresses melatonin production in a dose dependent manner. Turn off the computer or television 2 hours before bedtime and cover or remove any electronics in your room that have bright lights. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, if you place your hand twelve inches in front of your face and you can clearly see it, then your room is not dark enough for proper sleep. If you can’t do these things, use a sleep mask or blackout shades.

In short, Good Sleep=Good Health, so get some sleep!

Colorectal Health Awareness Month

colonrectal_awareness_blog

Chinese Medicine and the Early Detection of Colorectal Cancer

For thousands of years, tongue diagnosis has played an important role in the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine. TCM practitioners often rely on tongue diagnosis to differentiate syndromes by examining variations in the tongue’s color, texture, shape and coating to evaluate a patient’s condition.

According to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University & the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, changes in the tongue may prove to be particularly helpful as an early warning sign in the early detection of colorectal cancer.  The tongue is one of the first parts of the GI tract that’s visible, so changes in its appearance or texture are an important indicator.  Early detection of cancer is important. Often called “the silent killer” colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in the West and can develop over years, while exhibiting few symptoms.

In what is believed to be the first study of its kind in the United States, investigators have begun taking computerized images of patients’ tongues to determine if an examination can provide an early indication of colon cancer.

Tongues are photographed with a calibration chart to confirm color before being analyzed by Yang Cai, PhD, a systems scientist at Carnegie Mellon. Determined to learn more about the relationship between the appearance of the tongue and certain cancers, Dr. Cai talked to Chinese medical experts and collected volumes of medical literature. One intriguing study, published in the Chinese-language Journal of Oncology in 1987, examined the tongues of more than 12,000 patients and found “significant changes” in color, coating and texture in the tongues of cancerous patients compared to those without cancer.

The results of Cai’s informal investigation led him to Dr. Robert Schoen, director of colorectal and gastrointestinal cancer prevention and control research at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI). While Schoen admits to some skepticism, he allowed Cai to add his research project to Schoen’s ongoing study with the Early Detection Research Network. If tongue screening proves accurate, it would give providers an inexpensive, noninvasive alternative to a traditional colonoscopy.

“From a clinical standpoint, it’s not really much of a burden to the patients to stick out their tongue and have a picture taken,” Schoen explained. “If one could see some characteristics of the tongue correlated to the presence of adenomatous polyps that have the potential to transform into cancer that would be great. Then you could just go around and take pictures of people’s tongues. That’s a lot simpler than doing colonoscopies.”

For Dr. Cai, the goal of his project is not to replace the conventional means of detecting colorectal cancer simply by looking at the tongue, but rather as an alternative screening method that can accurately and effectively produce an early warning sign. That sign may be as simple as having a patient see a physician for a more complete evaluation, but it may make a significant difference in terms of cancer treatment, intervention, and a positive outcome of care.

For more information on the tongue diagnosis research project, contact Dr. Cai at ycai@cmu.edu .

References:

Snowbeck C. Researchers exploring whether tongue can reveal colon cancer. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette October 1, 2002.

12,448 cases of the clinical observation of cancer patients’ tongues. Journal of Oncology (Chinese) 1987;7(3).

American Heart Month

hearthmonth_blog

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. To prevent heart disease and increase awareness of its effects, Balance Integrative Health is proudly participating in American Heart Month. And for good reason:  heart disease is the leading cause of death in Louisiana.

Even when heart disease does not end in fatality, the costs are great: time off of work, loss of time with loved ones, increased medical costs, the cost of decreased health, and the ability to fully enjoy life!  In fact, in 2003, Louisiana residents spent a total of almost half a million days in the hospital due to cardiovascular disease!

Instead of provoking fear, we want to empower you to make positive changes!  Heart disease is preventable in most cases. You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease.

Here are some steps you can take to lower your risk for heart disease:

  • Watch your weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Stay away from secondhand smoke
  • Control your cholesterol
  • Control your blood pressure
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Get active
  • Eat healthy

If you need help taking positive action in the right direction, Balance offers many different modalities that can be extremely useful.  Our physicians can test for risk factors. Acupuncture can help with smoking cessation and breaking negative patterns that lead to bad habits. Massage can help with stress and relaxation as well as lower blood pressure.  And our nutritionists can help you design a personalized eating plan geared toward heart health!

You deserve to be healthy, be happy and get the most out of life!  Give us a call at (504) 522-9645 today or fill out a form online to schedule your first appointment!

Random Acts of Kindness

kindness_blog

“No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted” -Aesop
This February we celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Month! Sure, many of us learn to be kind for kindness sake or because it’s the “right thing to do”. Did you know there are many health benefits of performing even the smallest acts of kindness?
Kindness makes us feel happier. Those warm, fuzzy feelings actually benefit our hearts, and slow down the aging process biochemically! Kindness produces a “Helper’s High” by elevating levels of dopamine in the brain, releases the heart-protective hormone Oxytocin, and calms the Vagus nerve.

Oxytocin helps expand our blood vessels by releasing nitric acid. The release of this acid decreases blood pressure, assists the Vagus nerve in regulating heart rate, and reduces levels of free radicals in the cardiovascular system. Free radicals are inflammation causing agents that “corrode” our bodies causing premature aging.

Kindness plays a big part in our evolutionary process as humans by allowing us to form bonds with each other and keeping those bonds strong to ensure our success as a species.**
Wow! Mean people not only suck, they are at risk for more health problems and less success in life. Let’s all be extra kind to them this February. Kindness is contagious!

Here are some great brain jogging ideas and stories to inspire us:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/random-acts-of-kindness/
http://www.randomactsofkindness.org/kindness-ideas
http://www.giveforward.com

*“Why Kindness is Good For You.” By Dr. David Hamilton. Hay House Publishing. 15 Feb, 2010.
**“Cooperative behavior cascades in human social networks.” By James H. Fowler and Nicholas A. Christakis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 107 No. 10, March 9, 2010.

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Valentine’s Massage Special

valentinemassage

Looking for a gift to give your special someone for Valentine’s Day?
Help your honey to relax with a gift certificate for a 60 minute massage to Balance Integrative Health. This 60 minute massage is usually a $109 value, but it’s yours for only $79 from now til’ 2/14/15.

Massages not only feel amazing and help us to relax, but they also have a number of proven health benefits. We offer many different types of massages to choose from. If you’re unsure which one is right for you, one of our LMTs will be more than happy to make some recommendations for you.

To take advantage of this special promotion, simply call us at (504) 522-9645 or fill out the form below.

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Healthy Weight Week

healthyweightweek

This week we’re celebrating national Healthy Weight Week! Being that it’s January and most New Year’s resolutions revolve around weight loss, weight has probably been on your mind.  Even if you are a healthy weight, you are hearing about it in the media, from your friends, and at the dinner table with your family.

First of all, what is a “healthy” weight?  You may have heard of BMI, or Body Mass Index.  This has been the long-time standard in evaluating morbidity in regards to “healthy” vs. “unhealthy” weight, but is it accurate?  And more importantly, does it matter to you?  Does it make a difference to you?

In asking this question of New Orleanians, it is clear that a complete picture of a person is necessary when it comes to assessing what “healthy weight” means.  Uncontrollable elements that affect weight are height, bone density, body type (endomorph, mesomorph, ectomorph), and body composition (the innate ratio of body muscle to fat). Perhaps a more useful definition would include how a person feels.  Do you feel capable of climbing up stairs, for instance?  Do you have energy to get through the day? Does it feel good to be in your body?

Following the Eastern Medical philosophies, the belief is that the important factor in dealing with weight issues is getting to the root cause of said issues.  Positive body image and establishing a healthy relationship with food is what counts, and can help you reach your weight goals. Stanford University School of Medicine conducted a study, which concluded that participants with a positive body image were more successful at losing and maintaining weight for a year than those who were discontent with their bodies.

To sum up, during Healthy Weight Week, the focus shouldn’t be so much on gaining and losing weight, but rather on restoring balance, health and well-being. This national initiative is all about accepting yourself where you are, and moving forward from there. Here are some tips for all of us to remember:

  • Set realistic guidelines for yourself.
  • Focus on positive lifestyle changes. Just as many weight issues start with small steps in the wrong direction, small steps in the RIGHT direction REALLY add up!
  • Appreciate yourself. Create positive relationships with family, friends, and food.
  • Enjoy your eating experience by eating a variety of foods. Do not diet or obsess on food, weight, or calories. Eat when hungry, stop when full.
  • Move your body. Find a form of movement you enjoy: ride a bike, do yoga, learn to dance or join a local sports league for fun.
  • Take time out for yourself to do things that nourish your body. Try our combo massage and acupuncture treatments, which will leave you feeling balanced and rejuvenated.

Glaucoma Awareness Month

glaucomaawareness

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, and there are many preventative measures and early stage treatments for this common eye disorder. Glaucoma is an eye condition in which the optic nerve becomes damaged over time. This reduces peripheral vision, which then leads to blindness. One cause of the optic nerve damage in glaucoma is higher-than-normal pressure within the eye, or intraocular pressure (IOP). Age and genetics can put you at risk. Prevention is key! Here are some considerations if you have a family history of glaucoma, or have recently shown a higher than normal IOP reading:

1)   Rule out food allergies and intolerances.

2)   Reduce inflammatory foods in general.  These foods include beef, pork, dairy, sugar, wheat, etc. A great source of easy to follow guidelines and recipes is The Anti Inflammatory Diet and Recipe Book by Dr. Black, ND.

3)   Ensure proper blood flow to the brain with Acupuncture or CranioSacral Therapy.

4)   Reduce caffeine and maintain proper, even hydration throughout the day.

5)   Address high blood pressure, if it exists.

6)   Perform cardiovascular exercise 3 hours daily to lower pressure.

 

Consult with a Nutritionist and consider adding the following supplements to your diet:

1)   Co-Q10 100-200 mg (especially if on a statin to lower cholesterol)

2)   Zinc 50 mg/d

3)   Vitamin B6 100 mg/d

4)   Bioflavonoids 1000 – 3000 mg/d

5)   Vitamin C 4-6,000 mg daily (to bowel tolerance)

6)   Flax or fish oil 2,000 mg/d (use caution if on a blood thinner)

7)   Magnesium 200-400 mg/d

8)   Potassium, from food sources, to equal 1,000 to 3,000 mg/d

9)   Selenium 200 mcg/d (eat 4 Brazil nuts a day)

Qi Gong for the Eyes:

Here’s a simple exercise to do to relieve stress and increase the vitality and blood flow to your eyes for any condition. Perform this simple technique 2-3 times a day, or more if you like, since so many of us spend our days staring at a computer screen. It is especially relaxing before you go to sleep:  Rub your palms together for one minute or until they become quite warm – hot.  Cup your eyes with your hands.  Relax all the muscles that surround the eyeball and hold it in place.  Imagine that you inhale (through your nose) warm, rosy light into your eyes and exhale it out your mouth.  Last but not least, of course get your examinations regularly!

Are you suffering from the effects of glaucoma and looking for relief? We offer treatments and remedies from nutritional counseling to acupuncture that may help. Give us a call at (504) 522-9645 for more information, or fill out a form online.

Detox December

detoxdecember

You might think that December is a strange time to detox.  Most of us think of spring as the season to let go and start anew.  December is also a great time to detox!  Why?  Because we are bombarded with stimuli that can throw off our sense of balance; between the shopping craze, family gatherings, rich food, constant parties, and expectations, that can throw off our sense of balance.

Statistically, New Year’s Eve is the holiday that Americans drink the most alcohol, though Christmas is not very far behind. Drinking alcohol can have inflammatory effects, including fatigue, tremors, anxiety, restlessness, and even increased blood pressure, that are often felt during a “hangover”. Aside from moderating your intake of adult beverages, you can “pre-detox” by following these steps:

Taking the following supplements before drinking have been proven to stave off the effects of over-indulgence: Thiamine, Milk Thistle, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC).  NAC is particularly helpful. It is a form of the amino acid cysteine. It is known to help increase glutathione and reduce the acetaldehyde toxicity that causes many hangover symptoms. Try taking NAC (at least 200 milligrams) 30 minutes before you drink to help lessen the alcohol’s toxic effects.

1)     Try this age old Mediterranean remedy: take a spoonful of olive oil before drinking to help prevent hangover.

2)     Stay hydrated before and after drinking: coconut water is a great way to replenish electrolytes.

A relaxing way to detox and wind down in December is to take a nice, hot bath.  Detox baths are great when you feel like you need to reset your body. Plus, detox baths have health benefits that last long after the bath is over.  Here are a few suggestions:

1)     Essential Oil Detox Bath– Combine a handful of Epsom salt, ½ cup of baking soda and 10 drops of essential oil of your choice.  Our suggestions are organic lavender oil for calming, chamomile for soothing an aching head, and rosemary for rejuvenation. Add all ingredients to the bath, then soak for 20 minutes.  This combination draws out toxins and lowers stress-related hormones, while balancing your pH levels.

2)     Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Bath– This bath only has one superstar ingredient.  Pour 1-2 cups of raw apple cider vinegar into a hot bath. Apple cider vinegar baths are great when you feel like you want to sweat out toxins and reduce inflammation. Soak for 30 minutes in the hot bath, and make sure you rehydrate with plenty of water: this bath will make you sweat! Apple cider vinegar baths are particularly helpful with certain conditions, like arthritis and gout. Check with your doctor if you have any health conditions, such as high blood pressure or a heart condition before using this natural apple cider vinegar detox bath recipe.

3)     Baking Soda Detox Bath– That little box you usually keep in your fridge can actually help neutralize the chlorine added to many urban water sources!  And just as it absorbs odors, it can absorb toxins from your body.  Add 1 cup Epsom salt, 2 cups baking soda, and (optional) 10 drops glycerin to hot bath water, then soak for at least 30 minutes.

4)     Ginger Detox Bath- This one is GREAT for December since it helps invigorate the body and may help stave off the common cold. Add 1 teaspoon of ground ginger or ½ cup of freshly grated ginger to a hot or warm bath. Soak for 15-20 minutes, and drink plenty of water afterwards! Please keep in mind that the ginger bath will likely make you sweat for at least an hour afterwards, so wear a bathrobe.  If you are allergy-prone or have sensitive skin, test ginger on your skin for irritation before dipping into the bath.

Taking a bath will prep you for one of the most interesting and overlooked ways we can detox in December: get more sleep. Did you know that your brain has a unique waste management system, similar to the lymphatic system in your body? This system, dubbed the glymphatic system, is activated during sleep! By pumping cerebral spinal fluid through your brain’s tissues, the glymphatic system flushes the waste from your brain and back into your body’s circulatory system. From there, the waste eventually reaches your liver, where it’s ultimately eliminated. The season of winter is the time to rest in Chinese medicine, so make time for yourself amidst the chaos of December to let yourself get some good quality zzzzz’s.

Lastly, we offer a variety of detox treatments at Balance Integrative Health. Acupuncture, nutrition and massage work very well together to provide a complete detox experience. Try one of our package specials to help you detox mind, body and spirit this season!

AIDS Awareness Month

aidsawareness

More than 1 million people are living with HIV in the United States. Can ancient Eastern Medical practices, like acupuncture and herbs, have the potential to enrich their health and quality of life?  Can these ancient practices combat this modern epidemic?

The answer is yes. Acupuncture may be thousands of years old, yet is uniquely effective in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. Acupuncture can boost the immune system, keeping the body resilient and capable of fighting infection.  Acupuncture also relieves the symptoms of the disease, such as fatigue, chest tightness, digestion issues, flu-like symptoms, and viral rash. It can also reduce the side effects of antiretroviral medications like AZT, which may include chills, rash, confusion, dizziness, headache, diarrhea, nausea, weight loss, muscle pain, liver enlargement and a decrease in blood cells.

Regular Acupuncture can be a great ally in alleviating the stress, anxiety and depression that can follow a positive HIV/AIDS diagnosis.   Eastern Medicine emphasizes treating the whole person, including emotional stress, which can adversely affect the overall health of a person. *

People who receive a positive diagnosis are often advised to start drug therapy as soon as possible; however, the side effects of these drugs can be toxic.  Some patients do not develop symptoms of HIV right away. In fact, several years sometimes pass before symptoms appear and T-cell counts begin to plummet. For these reasons, some patients hesitate to start taking medicine right away.  Some of those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS prefer to look for alternate treatment options to combat the disease and slow its progression into full development. Eastern Medicine is one of these alternatives. Many public healthcare models using Eastern Medicine have gained a wide acceptance in the local HIV/AIDS community. Further research is currently underway.

For local screening, treatment, counseling services please contact:

NO/AIDS Task Force (504) 821-2601 2601 Tulane Ave, Ste 500, New Orleans 70119 Fax: 504-821-2040 www.noaidstaskforce.org

For the latest research, go to: www.aids.org

If you are considering Acupuncture as a treatment for AIDS, or any other illness or discomforts, consider our Acu-therapy package, which is currently at reduced pricing for the holiday season.

How To Quit Smoking

SmokeOut

Quitting smoking is one of the best things we can do for our lungs, body, mind and spirit. Within just a few weeks after quitting, our lung tissue begins to repair. The first couple of weeks after quitting can be the most challenging. Detoxification symptoms like headache and irritability only last a few days, but the longer term psychological impact can be harder to get through. We talked about how acupuncture and herbs can help you to detoxify and reduce cravings in our Healthy Lung blog post. Now here are some more great tips to help you stay on track!

Create Your Why:  The first step in achieving anything is wanting to! “It’s bad for me” is too vague a reason to quit for most of us, so whether it’s for your family, to look and feel younger, to save money, whatever…personalize your motivation.

Create Your Reward:  Use that money you’ll be saving by not smoking on healthy ways to treat yourself like regular massages, acupuncture, yoga, healthy cooking, or that meditation class you’ve been wanting to take! I have a friend who long dreamt of going on a trip to Thailand.  He decorated a jar with pictures of all the things he wanted to do and see there. Every week, he put the money he would have spent on cigarettes in the jar, and in just a little over a year, he had saved more than enough money for his dream trip!

Create Your Happy Place:  Identify, then avoid your triggers (think about when you want to smoke the most… is it a companion to alcohol or coffee? Or do certain times of day, places or people trigger you? Find pleasurable activities to indulge in instead, especially one that gets you outdoors and moving, like gardening or walking.  At work and can’t get away? Take a deep breath break. Take a veggie break! Studies have shown that eating more fresh fruits and vegetables actually make cigarettes taste worse.

Create Your Buddy System:  Don’t go it alone! If you can, find a quitting buddy to enjoy non-smoking activities with or join a support group like www.quitnet.com. Any endeavor is easier when you have support.

Most importantly, in the words of Winston Churchill, never, never, never give up! Backslides will happen and are part of the process. Don’t beat yourself, just pick up where you left off, review your previous strategies and see where you can make improvements.

We offer a special smoking cessation package featuring Acupuncture and Stop Smoking herbal tincture. Get started on your path to a smoke-free life and schedule your appointmentor call (504) 522-9645 for more information.

Also, Watch this inspiring slide-show about how quickly our bodies can repair:  www.healthline.com/health…/quit-smoking-timeline

 

Acupuncture and Diabetic Neuropathy

diabeticneuropathy

For those suffering from Diabetes, one of the major complications you might deal with is Peripheral Neuropathy (PN): tingling, burning pain, numbness, and muscle weakness in the extremities. Over 60% of diabetics experience mild to severe neuropathy due to damage to the nervous system.

Acupuncture can be highly effective in relieving these often debilitating symptoms. One of the most documented studies on Acupuncture and Neuropathy was done in 1998 on forty-six diabetic patients with chronic painful peripheral neuropathy. 77% showed significant improvement in their primary and/or secondary symptoms!

Eastern medicine views Neuropathy as “dampness”, which blocks the flow of Qi (energy) and Blood in the meridians. Acupuncture improves the circulation of Qi and Blood, nourishing the nerve tissues of the affected area to help repair nerve functions and reduce pain, as well as addressing the underlying factor that is causing dampness to accumulate.

Cutaneous Acupuncture using a “Plum Blossom” or “Seven-Star” needle (a tool made of seven tiny needles attached to a long hammer-like handle) is one method Acupuncturists may use by superficially tapping along the affected meridian, starting at the legs and arms and down to the toes or fingers to move the qi and blood. Frequency of treatment is essential for an effective outcome, so your Acupuncturist will set up a treatment plan based on your individual needs. One of the advantages of the Seven-star treatments is that the practitioner can show you how to use it at home in between treatments to achieve the maximum benefits!

If you or someone you know suffers from diabetes, give us a call to learn more about setting up a diabetic treatment plan using acupuncture. You can even combine your acupuncture treatments with nutritional consultations to get the maximum benefit to your health! Call us at (504) 522-9645 or schedule an appointment online.

*Acupuncture for the treatment of chronic painful peripheral diabetic neuropathy: a long-term study: 1998 Feb; 39(2):115-21.Abuaisha BB1, Costanzi JB, Boulton AJ. PMID: 9597381 (PubMed).

Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Tips for Every Season

balancedmindfuleating

The holiday season is approaching, and for many this can be a stressful time of year. No need to worry; you can still enjoy yourself and stay on track with all your health and wellness goals. Here are a few nutrition tips to help keep you feeling healthy and nourished.

Mindful eating

Practice eating your meals at a table without TV, a computer screen or phone. It’s easy to mindlessly finish off a bag of chips or box of cookies when distracted. Eating when under stress or in a hurry can disrupt digestion; take your time and enjoy your food. Become aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decision to begin and end eating. Remember to slow down, chew your food and breathe between each bite. Allow yourself to enjoy the foods you love in a balanced and health-supportive way.

Balanced meals

Eating balanced meals helps us to feel satisfied by providing our bodies with the nutrients it needs to function. It can also prevent late afternoon or midnight binges that we are prone to when we skip meals or graze on empty calories all day.

A balanced meal consists of vegetables, protein, healthy fats and whole grains/starches. Fill your plate with a variety of vegetables. Include at least one green leafy vegetable and one other color of vegetable with every meal.  Include a source of protein such as chicken, fish, tofu, eggs or legumes. A smaller portion of your plate should include a high-fiber whole grain such as brown rice, quinoa or starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and squash. Choose healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, fatty fish, nuts and seeds.

Limiting added sugar

Excess sugar intake can lead to weight gain and poor energy levels. Sodas, fruit juices, candy, cakes, white bread/pasta and cookies are foods that should be limited or avoided all together if weight loss is one of your health goals.

Add more fiber and nutrient rich vegetables to your diet. Make sure to have a protein source with snacks and meals; this may help curb sugar cravings. If you really are craving something sweet, try a piece of dark chocolate or fresh fruit.

Exercise

Exercise is crucial for weight management, weight loss and prevention of weight regain. Increasing physical activity can also help reduce diabetes and cardiovascular risk. Aim for at least 30 min of moderate physical activity a day 5 days a week. Many of us lead sedentary lifestyles, which can be a burden on our health. Bottom line: Move more, get your heart rate up and don’t be afraid to break a sweat.

Do you find it hard to manage your diet and keep your meals balanced and portions controlled? You might benefit from a meeting with one of our Nutritionists, Katie and Mariam. Our Nutritionists can give you some great insight into your nutritional needs and create a nutrition plan just for you! We also have a special Nutrition package available that  can get you off to a great start. Call us at (504)522-9645 or schedule an appointment to learn more!

Healthy Lung Month

HealthyLungs

October is Healthy Lung month, timely as in Chinese Medicine, the Lung energy relates to Autumn.  It is considered the most delicate organ, as it is the only organ with a direct opening to the outside world.  Along with our skin, it is responsible for inspiration and elimination, as well as spreading vital energy to all the other organs.

Keeping our lungs healthy is crucial to our overall health. Here are some simple steps to ensure lung health:

  • A diet high in cruciferous vegetables like cabbages, kale, broccoli, bok choy, and cauliflower help keep the lungs healthy due to a phytochemical called sulforaphane that actually detoxifies carcinogens before they damage cells.
  • Move!  Regular exercise allows the heart to better keep our lungs oxygenated.
  • Avoid VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, that exist in paints and other household products.  Wear a protective mask if you do have to work with VOCs.
  • Invest in a good air filter to remove mold, pet dander, dust and other allergens.  Avoid artificial air fresheners and make sure your home and work place are well ventilated.
  • If you smoke cigarettes, QUIT!  If you don’t smoke, don’t start!

Quitting smoking is one of the best things we can do for our lungs, body and mind.  Within just a few weeks after quitting, our lung tissue begins to repair.  The first couple of weeks after quitting can be the most challenging, but Acupuncture and herbs can help!

One of the most commonly used Acupuncture treatments for smoking cessation is the NADA protocol.  NADA stands for the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association.  The NADA protocol uses acupuncture points in your ear.

Did you know that we all have a microcosm of our body imprinted on our outer ear?  Acupuncturists can effectively treat the whole body using ear points.  Ear points also stimulate our brain’s release of feel-good chemicals, such as dopamine and endorphins.  The NADA protocol works effectively for drugs & alcohol withdrawal, weight loss, insomnia and anxiety.  The protocol consists of the following five points, located on the outside of each ear: Shen Men, Sympathetic, Kidney, Liver and Lung.

Shen Men and Sympathetic points address psychological imbalances and calm the nervous system.  The Kidney point strengthens our core energy.  The Liver point assists the smooth flow of qi.  Lastly, the Lung point helps invigorate the Lung energy.

We use a special herbal remedy at Balance Integrative Health to help ease the transition for cigarette smokers who want to stop the damage to their lungs.  One of the constituents in our formula is lobeline, a nicotine-like substance that eases cravings without being addictive.  It also contains other ingredients that act as an effective expectorant to speed the release of toxins from the lung tissue.

Throughout the fall, we will be offering a special smoking cessation package, featuring Acupuncture and our Stop Smoking tincture.  Celebrate Healthy Lung Month by calling us at (504) 522-9645 or scheduling your appointment today!

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day

AOMday

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day is observed annually on October 24. It is part of an effort designed to increase public awareness of the progress, promise, and benefits of Acupuncture and Oriental medicine.

An estimated 36% of U.S. adults use some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), according to a survey by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.  The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is a component of the National Institutes of Health.  CAM practices identified by the survey were Acupuncture, Acupressure, herbal medicine, tai chi and qi gong.

A survey by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine found that approximately one in ten adults had received Acupuncture at least one time.  60% of those surveyed said they would readily consider Acupuncture as a potential treatment option. Nearly half (48%) of the individuals surveyed who had received Acupuncture reported that they were extremely satisfied or very satisfied with their treatment. In addition, one in five (21%) of the total NCCAOM survey respondents reported that they had utilized some form of Oriental medicine other than Acupuncture, such as herbs or bodywork (e.g., shiatsu).

These and similar studies clearly demonstrate that CAM therapies such as Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are common practice in today’s health care system. The studies also support the need for accurate and reliable information regarding consumer treatment options.

We recently posted a blog on how Acupuncture can be an effective form of breast cancer prevention and treatment. Acupuncture can also effectively treat a number of conditions and that list is ever growing. We also offer a form of Needleless Acupuncture exclusive to our clinic. If you are interested in acupuncture and want more information, give us a call at (504) 522-9645 or schedule and appointment with us online! You can also fill out the form below and we’ll contact you.

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Preventing Breast Cancer Through Nutrition

breastcancer

In the past few years, cancer diagnosis rates seem to be on the rise. This has lead to many people wondering not if they will get cancer, but when. Many of us have had some type of experience with cancer, either personally, or through family or friends. There are many factors that can increase the chances of having breast cancer, but did you know that there are also factors that can reduce those risks?

While breast cancer has a strong genetic component, it doesn’t always mean that if a relative suffered from cancer you will be next. Early detection is key to controlling and defeating breast cancer. If you have a family history of breast cancer, you may benefit from more frequent breast exams. Conducting monthly self-breast exams is one of the most important preventative measures you can take.

If you find something different or unusual in your self-exam, immediately report your finding to your physician. Your doctor may recommend a mammogram, MRI or ultrasound. DNA testing is also available to determine if there is a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Other risk factors can include age, sex, ovarian function, and estrogen exposure.

Aside from a genetic predisposition, there are many other ways we can be at risk for cancer. The National Cancer Institute suggests that obesity and physical inactivity can affect the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. In order to lower your risk, start making the move towards a lifestyle that includes healthy diet choices and increased physical activity.

Your diet can provide you with many different ways to lower your risk of cancer. The American Cancer Society states that there is strong evidence connecting the consumption foods containing phytochemicals with significantly lower risk of cancer. Foods that contain this plant-based chemical include fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Several studies also prove that foods rich in the phytochemicals anthocyanin and ellagic acid can prevent breast cancer cells from developing. Anthocyanin-rich foods are generally fruits and vegetables with red to dark purple shades. These include pomegranates, grapes, plums, berries, black currants, eggplant, red cabbage, red fleshed peaches and cherries. Ellagic acid is a phytochemical found in cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, pomegranates, walnuts, pecans and other plant based foods.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are two carotenoids that significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer, particularly in premenopausal women. Egg yolks have the greatest amount of both lutein and zeaxanthin. Plant-based sources that are high in lutein include kiwi, pumpkin, zucchini, spinach and red seedless grapes. Plant-based sources that are high in zeaxanthin are orange peppers, corn, orange juice and honeydew melon.

At Balance Integrative Health, we offer nutritional advice and support to help you make healthier lifestyle choices. You’ll not only lower your risk of breast cancer and other diseases, you’ll experience a better quality of life.

For a medical evaluation or nutritional support, call us today to schedule an appointment (504) 522-9645 or schedule one online by filling out the form below!

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Sources:

American Cancer Society.

http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicie?herbsvitaminsandminerals/phytochemicals

 

Godiyal, S.

(2013). Anthocyanin-°©‐rich foods you should be eating. Natural News.

http://www.naturalnews.com/042540_anthocyanins_antioxidants_healthy_foods.html

 

National Cancer Institute

National Institute of Health. Fact Sheet.

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/obesity

 

Oliff, H. S. (2005).

Why Lutein and Zeaxanthin Are Becoming so Popular.

LE Magazine.

http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2005/sep2005_report_macular_01.htm

 

Stoner, G. D. (2009).

Foodstuffs for preventing cancer: the preclinical and clinical development of berries.

Cancer Preventative Research,

2:187.

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Breast Health and Acupuncture

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We all have cancer cells or pre-cancerous cells in our bodies right now, but many of us will never develop the disease of cancer. Why? Because our body’s immune system routinely detects and destroys malignancies before they ever take hold.

Sometimes our defenses break down and can’t react effectively. Factors such as genetic predisposition, chronic stress, depression, diet and lifestyle may contribute to this breakdown. One way to re-engage and re-train our immune system to help prevent and even eliminate cancer is through Acupuncture.

The needles, used in key areas, act as foreign ‘invaders” that stimulate the brain’s signal to “light-up” immune cells. Frequency of treatments and timing are crucial for good results. While Acupuncture can help treat the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, it works best before (when the body doesn’t have to work as hard to overcome the harsh effects of these treatments) and immediately after surgery (before the cancer cells get a chance to spread).

One point used for breast health is Conception Vessel (CV) 17, called Tan Zhong, which translates as “The Central Altar”. Located over the sternum at the 4th intercostal space, this point has been long held as the the “secret point” identified by Taoists as the source of blood in a woman’s body. Stimulating CV17 (often done with Moxa, a warming herb that is rolled and burned over the point) increases and purifies the woman’s blood supply (thereby cleansing all the female channels), benefits the liver, and is considered a key point for early stage breast cancer. Early detection is key!

For local resources go to: komenneworleans.org/

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Increase Your Oxygen

increaseyouroxygen

Did you know that oxygen accounts for 2/3rds of the mass of your body?  Oxygen is the element that is arguably the most essential to life on earth. We can’t live without it for more than a few minutes!  Along with the obvious function of oxygen in our lungs to keep us breathing, it is also involved in the digestion of food and to break down toxins in our bodies. Oxygen deprivation can be associated with numerous chronic diseases.

One contributing factor to reduced levels of oxygen is the environment in major cities, where the oxygen concentrations have been measured as much as 30% below what is considered ideal. Combine that with the shallow breathing that most of us tend to do when stressed, and it results in negative effects on overall health and functioning of our organs. According to some studies, most people only use about 20% of their lung capacity!

Have you ever been taught deep breathing techniques?  Try this fast-acting technique:

  1. Take in one big breath as you normally would and notice what it feels like and what part of your body expands outward.  This step is just to begin to be aware of how we normally breathe
  2. Now, put your hand below your navel, and while you breathe in, imagine your breath traveling down and pushing your hand outward. (Picture Buddha or Santa Claus…this is not a time to worry about sucking it in.)
  3. When you exhale, your abdomen should snap back toward your spine. Do this for three breaths.

This exercise should leave you feeling a little more energized, maybe even a little lightheaded at first.  That is the power of just three breaths!  Imagine if we did this type of breathing more frequently. Deeply oxygenating the body with breathing can actually release endorphins that bring on a state of elevated emotions and help to relieve pain!

You cannot just read about breathing and feel the benefits of higher levels of oxygen; you must experience it directly!  Sign up for our newsletter to make sure you are the first to hear about our upcoming mind-body classes that will teach you about the best ways to keep your system well-oxygenated!

Massage Benefits for Menopause

Massage

Menopause can be a challenging time for women in their forties and fifties, but receiving regular massage therapy can help them find much relief from many of the discomforting symptoms.

When menopause sets in and disrupts the balance of hormones, women may experience emotional fluctuations, hot flashes, insomnia, headaches, increased stress level, dry skin and depression. Different styles of massage can be implemented to better target these various symptoms. Massage has been known to release endorphins associated with the sensation of pleasure, which can help maintain emotional stability.

Shiatsu, a form of acupressure massage based on Traditional Chinese Medicine links an energy path, or meridian, along the body to a specific emotion and organ. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the kidney and spleen energy paths are most affected by menopause, so stimulating and realigning the chi of these meridians is believed to be beneficial to reduce headaches, hot flashes, dry skin, and irregular menstruation.

Circulatory massage such as Swedish and Lymphatic massage are also greatly constructive in balancing the body’s fluids and hormones as well as promoting deep relaxation and reduction of stress. When the body and mind enter a state of deep relaxation, melatonin, the sleep hormone, is stimulated allowing a person suffering from insomnia to more easily fall asleep. Since the process of menopause can last up to several years, regular massage sessions are recommended to be scheduled at a minimum of once a month so that the optimal benefits can be achieved.

What Is Menopause?

Menopause

Menopause is a part of life for all women, yet a surprising number of women and also men have only a gauge knowledge of what to expect when going through this change. Here are a few basics about menopause that everyone should know.

What is Menopause

Menopause represents the gradual decline of estrogen production in a woman until she stops having her menstrual periods. It can be called menopause if there is no period for at least one year. Peri-menopause refers to the transition towards menopause, when the cycle frequency and duration may start to change, and some women may begin to experience symptoms, such as hot flashes and sleep disturbance.

When does it happen?

Menopause usually happens around age 51, though it can start anytime between 40-58, and can occur over several years. Rarely it can occur before age 40, and is then considered premature. Menopause can also be the result of medications (such as chemotherapy) or the result of surgical removal of the ovaries, usually accompanying a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus).

What are the symptoms?

Hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and/or itchiness, pain with sex, depressed mood, poor sleep can occur with menopause

How long do they last?

For some women hot flashes and night sweats can gradually improve over years, but for a small number of women it can be indefinite. Risks for severe hot flashes include obesity, smoking and certain ethnicities.

How are they treated?

There are both non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic ways to address symptoms. Working on optimizing lifestyle is first-line, and then individualized decisions are made if that is insufficient.

If you or someone you know is going through or about to go through menopause, contact us and we can help you with your symptoms through the use of massage, acupuncture, herbal remedies, and nutritional counseling.

The Importance of Self-Improvement

selfimprovement

When we are busy, perhaps the last thing we think of is self-improvement. Life gets hectic and at times it becomes challenging to just maintain the status quo, let alone aiming to improve ourselves. The benefits of self-improvement are numerous, and can make dealing with daily life that much easier.

It doesn’t matter so much what you do, as long as you decide to pursue something: what would you like to improve that will make your life more enjoyable for yourself and those around you? It’s natural and healthy to seek success, comfort, enjoyment, creative expression, physical and mental health, connection, respect, love, self-actualization, and spiritual development.
One thing to keep in mind as we pursue self-improvement is to aspire without attachment. In the book Just One Thing by Rick Hanson, PhD, he stresses the importance of “outer effort and inner peacefulness” as we pursue our goals. The key is allowing ourselves to be rewarded by the journey itself no matter the outcome.

Cultivating that sense of non-attachment, however, can be challenging in our outcome-driven society. One of the things that helps with accomplishing the ability to do that is incorporating some stress-relieving activities into our lives so that we can disengage from the feeling of constant striving.
We offer many different stress-relieving treatments here at Balance Integrative Health. Acupuncture is an amazing stress-relieving and balancing modality, along with our personalized aromatherapy massages. Thai yoga massage and cranio-sacral therapy can also work wonders. Come in or call us for more information and to book your session with our talented practitioners!

We also are having two classes in November on Infinite Possibilities and the Art of Changing Your Life and Living Your Dreams. This will be a great class for those striving for self-improvement. You can check out all the information here.

Yoga: An Introduction

YogaAwareness

Yoga seems to be increasing in its popularity with every passing month, and this month in particular is dedicated to spreading awareness about the practice of yoga.

The word “yoga” actually means union. This definition of union could mean union of body, mind, and spirit within an individual as well as union with all of life. The practice of yoga is much more than what we commonly practice as a form of exercise, as “asanas,” or poses. It is a set of physical, mental and spiritual disciplines that are geared for transformation.

Some of the incredible transformations one can experience when practicing yoga occur at the cellular level: a Norwegian study found that yoga practice results in changes in gene expression that boosts immunity. Other physical benefits include fewer headaches and migraines, improved sleep, improved sexual health, reduction in back pain, increased flexibility, better posture and more.

The mental and emotional benefits of yoga include a greater sense of calm, increased self-confidence, and improved resiliency. I actually “prescribe” yoga to some of my clients, since it is a wonderful way to have a body understanding of some of the mental struggles they may have in daily life. Especially in our great city of New Orleans where the idea of moderation can sound foreign, yoga is a great physical way to cultivate that feeling of moderation so when we go out into the world of excess, we can safely navigate our way through.

If you are new to yoga or intimidated by the idea of attending a class, we offer Thai yoga massage. Thai yoga massage is done one-on-one with a practitioner, and is an amazing gateway into the world of yoga. It is a modality that incorporates the tenets of yoga with massage and mindfulness. You will leave the session with a better understanding of how your body moves, increased flexibility and confidence to pursue yoga on your own. If you are a seasoned yogi or yogini, Thai yoga is an incredible way to feel completely supported as you move through the poses while you relax and increase your flexibility. Give us a call today to find out more and book your session.

Pain Awareness

Painawareness

One of things that our patients commonly come in to our office for is pain.  It seems chronic pain has become a bit of the norm rather than an anomaly.

While medications are the most relied-on source of pain management, they are often just masking the underlying cause.  Part of our mission at Balance Integrative Health is to combine the latest in Western medicine with the wisdom of Eastern medicine to come up with a comprehensive plan for pain management.

According to the American Chronic Pain Association, some of the effective treatments for chronic pain include acupuncture, electrical stimulation devices (e-stim), tai chi, yoga, meditation, biofeedback, guided imagery and even hypnosis.

The important thing to remember if you have chronic pain is that there are many, many resources out there to help you manage and possibly completely remediate your suffering aside from medication.  We offer many of the effective treatments listed by the ACPA, and would love to develop a comprehensive plan for relief.  Check out our back-pain package and call today to schedule your first appointment with one of our practitioners.

Join Us for Our Grand Opening Celebration 9/13

grandopening

We’re celebrating our official opening in New Orleans with a Grand Opening Ceremony this Saturday from 1pm-5pm at our clinic location on 2121 Magazine St. in New Orleans.

Join us for an exciting afternoon discovering Balance Integrative Health and what our services can do for you. We’ll have our ribbon cutting ceremony at 1pm and free events and demonstrations starting at 2pm.

Our events will include:

We’ll also be raffling off prizes from Balance Integrative Health as well as from other businesses around the area like Atchafalaya, Stein’s Deli, Cherry Coffee, Langford Market, Dumpstphunk, Tipitina’s, Brooke Bailey and more!

Below is our event flyer to share with your friends and family. This is a free event to the public so all are encouraged to attend and bring as many people with you as you like. We hope to see you there!

 

 

GrandOpeningflyer

Menopause Awareness

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September is the official month of Menopause awareness and Balance Integrative Health will be doing our part to spread awareness to those men and women who don’t fully understand what menopause is and how it affect women.

Menopause is the permanent cessation of the menstrual cycle, which typically occurs in women over 50, but the process may begin as early as 40. Unless brought on prematurely through chemotherapy or surgery, menopause is a natural transition. Conventional medicine, however often views it as disease and it often carries a stigma with it as a time women come to dread. But, did you know that in many other cultures around the world, women don’t experience the symptoms we experience in Western industrial societies?
Symptoms like:
• Hot flashes and night sweats
• Frequent bladder infections
• Decreased libido and vaginal dryness
• Weight gain
• Insomnia
• Depression and anxiety

This phenomenon may be due in part to negative attitudes about aging in our culture, which may be particularly devaluing for women. Other factors include high stress lifestyles, lack of exercise, diets high in processed foods, and the use of plastics that disrupt our hormone receptors. Hormone replacement therapy is the standard Western treatment for menopausal difficulties; however, estrogen supplements have been linked to undesired side effects and increased health risks, like increased rates of breast cancer. Menopausal complications may reduce the quality of a woman’s life and result in discomfort or even debilitation, but they don’t have to.

Oriental Medicine Offers an Alternative

According to Chinese medicine, imbalanced interaction between kidney yin and yang leads to difficulties during menopause. The theoretic framework of yin-yang is used to explain aspects of the human body as well as to guide diagnosis and treatment. Women may have yin or yang deficiencies that affect how they experience menopause.

The kidneys are viewed as the central organs responsible for controlling other bodily functions, and kidney yin and yang deficiencies lead to certain associated menopausal symptoms, with different treatment existing for each type. Symptoms of yang deficiency in menopause may include tiredness, lower back pain, incontinence, and aversion to cold. Symptoms of yin deficiency (the far more common type) include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and irritability. A common treatment plan may include a prescribed herbal formula and a course of weekly Acupuncture treatments over the course of 1 to 3 months.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Liu Wei Di Huang Wan is one of the most commonly used Chinese Herbal formulas for the relief of menopausal symptoms. It works on the principle of restoring Yin due to Kidney Yin deficiency that can cause symptoms such as hot flashes, anxiety and insomnia, mood swings, tinnitus and sore low back. Yin Yang theory works on the principle that we are made up of opposing but complementary dynamic forces that are constantly shifting. Normally Yin and Yang change harmoniously, yet when Yin or Yang are out of balance they affect each other, and too much of one can eventually weaken the other. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can work to restore the Yin Yang balance.

In one clinical study*, 23 patients with menopausal symptoms were treated with Liu Wei Di Huang Wan and experienced marked improvement in 9 patients (39.1%), and moderate improvement in 14 patients (60.9%). The treatment protocol was to administer this formula in pills, 9 grams twice daily, in the morning and at night, for 3 months. Clinical improvements included relief of hot flashes, night sweats, palpitations, anxiety, insomnia, forgetfulness, and others. In addition, after taking the herbs continuously for one year, it was noted that there was a decrease in FSH and an increase of estradiol. The mechanism of action was attributed to the formula’s stimulating effect on the endocrine system. (Zhong Hua Yi Xue Za Zhi; Chinese Journal of Medicine) 1956; 6:546.
Acupuncture
Acupuncture can also offer highly effective relief. One randomized, controlled pilot study of acupuncture treatment for menopausal hot flashes showed a significant decrease in the frequency of hot flashes in 56 women ages 44-55 after receiving Acupuncture 2 weekly for 8 weeks. (The North American Menopause Society December 2008 – Volume 15 – Issue 6 – pp 1070-1078).

Oriental Medicine offers many safe and effective means to minimize stress and balance your body and emotions. We’re here to help you reap the rewards of this valuable life transition! Call for a consultation today!
(504) 522-9645

Psoriasis: A Personal Story and A Remedy

PsoriasisStory

I have been battling psoriasis since I was 17. When I was first diagnosed, there wasn’t much in the way of studies done. All the information known was that for some reason, the skin cell growth rate was accelerated, and that it was not communicable.

Thankfully, we know a lot more. One thing we know now is that anxiety and stress are linked to serious outbreaks. Certain foods can cause outbreaks as well.  With a change of diet, outbreaks can be minimized. There are breakthrough therapies in both Eastern and Western Medicine. Most can be found with a few strokes of a keyboard.

As a psoriasis sufferer myself, I am often challenged. Once I have a breakout, it’s hard to fight from just the inside.  Many topical solutions prescribed by Dermatologists are very expensive.

With questions of whether our insurance covers the doctor’s prescription, or what to wear so the outbreak won’t be seen at work are everyday struggles.  All these issues cause the very disheartening problems we face.

I have a personal stake in this with you.  After many years and trials, I have created a Scrub that helps.  These simple ingredients, carefully combined, help to exfoliate the dead skin cells, while soothing the area so as not to further agitate it.

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Product Use- Product name- Pallas Psoriasis Scrub sold ONLY at Balance Integrative Health-25$

For a severe outbreak:

1) shake or stir the scrub to get all the ingredients reconstituted.

2) take a warm-not hot-wash cloth and pat the area till it becomes supple.

3) scoop a fair amount into hands

4) gently, in a circular pattern, rub the scrub onto the area till it’s well covered.

5) Let it dry and keep on for 5-10 minutes.

6) take a fresh warm washcloth to wipe it off.

If the outbreak covers a lot of mass, sit in a dry bathtub; cover whole body with the scrub, wait about 5-10 minutes, then shower off.  SO NOT USE ANY SOAP OR PRODUCT. I Pat dry- Then apply Olive Oil to the area to finish.

Frequency of use: Use at your discretion. For a severe outbreak use every other day. For maintainence use once a weekly.

I hope my scrub helps you as it has me.

Good Luck!  Pallas Romaguera  LMT LA0691

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Louisiana Harvest Calendar

LouisianaHarvest

At Balance Health we advocate for health in all aspects of your life; including your diet! To help get a balanced, healthy diet you should try and up your daily intake of fruits and vegetables. We recommend sticking to in-season fruits and vegetables as they are easier to come by at any farmer’s market or fruit and vegetable stand. You can even try your hand at growing your own garden! Nothing tastes better than the food you grow in your own backyard and healthy plants can sometimes produce enough for you to share with friends and family.  Get started by checking out this Louisiana Harvest Calendar see what is in season for summer and fall.

LOUISIANA-HARVEST-CALENDAR

 

 

GMO Free July

GMOfreeJuly

Balance Integrative Health is making some impressive health moves. We invite you to join us monthly as we incorporate a new health initiative into our lives. For the month of July, we are focusing on eliminating GMO’s from our diets.

What the heck is a GMO, you ask? GMO stands for genetically modified organism, It simply means that scientists have taken the genetic information (DNA) from a species of plant, animal, bacteria or another organism, modified it, and then artificially inserted it into the DNA structure of another (or the same) organism thus changing its structural make-up. This is different from the hybridization process that happens when cross breeding species of plants and animals.

GMO’s were originally created to produce food that yield a bigger crop, and have more resistance to bacteria and pesticides. As time has passed, there are more and more studies that link serious health issues to the long-term ingestion of foods containing GMO’s.

Some of the health issues caused by GMO’s are an increase in allergic reactions, severe liver damage, severe kidney damage, seizures, digestive problems (IBS, Crohn’s Disease), tumors, infertility, hormonal disruptions and more.

It’s time to take this seriously. Food is where we derive our energy for our cellular growth. It is or source for life. The good news is that our bodies are regenerative. Our bodies replace their cells regularly. That means that by beginning to eliminate GMO’s from our diet, we can change the impact it has on our body over time.

HOW TO EAT GMO FREE IN NEW ORLEANS

Now that we have identified that GMO’s can be potentially disastrous to our health, let’s figure out how we can go about doing that in July. Here is a list of the top crops that are genetically modified in the U.S. food supply (this is not all inclusive and all the foods listed may not be GM in all circumstances)

Corn -(90% of the corn in the U.S. is genetically modified)…this includes corn oil, corn starch, corn syrup, corn meal, maltodextrin and any other corn derivitaves.

Sugar Beets- (not “cane sugar”)…if it says sugar, it’s most likely made from beets and is GM.

Soy-this is contained in processed foods. It includes soy lecithin, soy protein isolate and soy sauce.

Canola- this is found in vegetable oil and many processed foods

Cotton-it is generally fed to animals (which we may then eat) and is also in cottonseed oil

Alfalfa- this is fed to livestock (which we again may eat) and is also available in the produce section or as an ingredient in processed foods

Papaya

Zucchini and Squash

When it comes to identifying GMO’s it’s really pretty simple. Many are labeled “GMO Free Project”. If it is organic, it is likely not GM. If it has any of the aforementioned ingredients in it and isn’t labeled as above, it is likely GM.

There is a huge movement called “Just Label It” that supports the labeling of GM foods in the ingredient list. This is not currently required in the US, although 64 other countries, including China, Australia, Japan and the UK require this labeling. You can find our more by visiting their website www.justlabelit.org.

When it comes to produce, there are easy ways to tell what you are buying. Conventional produce has a 4 digit code on the label. Organic produce will have a 5 digit code beginning with a 9. A GM product will have an 8 in front of the code. For example, bananas are generally labeled 4011. Organic bananas are labeled 94011. GM bananas would be labeled 84011 (not really available so don’t worry). You can also go to local farmer’s markets (check out www.Hollygrovemarket.com), join a CSA, or take a stab at growing your own veggies and herbs with organic seeds.

When it comes to processed foods, it can get a little tricky. It will probably require you to stop eating foods out of a box and fast food. That can actually be a good thing!! Going GMO-Free is probably the easiest way to become healthy and never have to worry about a diet or counting calories. If we care more about the quality of food we put in our body, the quantity will not be as much of an issue.

To show you how easy it is to go GMO-Free without fear (“it’s too complicated, it’s too expensive’), we are offering a free pantry evaluation and after that a grocery store visit to replace the food. The winner will be featured on our website with their success story. Who wants to be the luck winner/volunteer?

– Noell Eanes, M.Ac. and Wellness Consultant

Discover Your Element

5elements

The Dynamics of the Five Elements

The ancient Chinese observed nature as a way to gain a deeper understanding of human nature and what was happening in the body.  They recognized that we as humans originated and evolved with nature, so there must be parallels between what happens in nature and what happens in us.

Each element in Chinese Five Element theory has a season associated with it, and each season has an energetic nature. For instance, Spring is a time when new growth happens.Element The upward, rising energy of Springtime is associated with the Wood element. The word “wood” really stands for any plant life that grows. Bamboo is one of the most widely used symbols of healthy Wood energy…it grows straight up, so it has direction, but it also extremely flexible, which helps it withstand the ebb and flow of environmental circumstances.

Each element manifests in our body systems as well.  Some of these categories include: Organ, Body Tissue, Sensory Organ, Body Fluid, and Emotion. In this article, we will review what each element/season governs!

Water is often stated as the “source of life,” and likewise, in Chinese Medicine, Water governs the Kidneys, which are thought to be of utmost importance when it comes to energy in our body.  The season associated with Water is winter, and Water also governs the bladder. The sensory organ is the ear, so hearing or lack of hearing is a Water element issue. The health of the Water element is reflected in head hair; likewise, we will often see men and women who have exhausted their energy in this element lose their hair prematurely.  The emotion associated with Water is fear, and oftentimes this manifests as either fear or fearlessness.

Water generates growth of spring and the Wood element.  Wood governs the liver and the gallbladder organs. Because Wood governs the liver, alcohol and other toxins can take a toll on the balance of this element! The body tissues associated with Wood are the muscles and tendons. The health of the Wood element is reflected through the eyes, and ability to see. Not surprisingly, then, the body fluid that is governed by the Wood element is tears. The emotion of the Wood element is anger; Wood wants to constantly grow, and when things impede the process, it becomes frustrated!

Fire is the element associated with summer, and the organs related to it are the small intestine, heart and pericardium.  The sensory organ is the tongue, so anything related to speech and self-expression can be affected by the relative strength or weakness of this element. The body tissue reflected by the Fire element are the blood vessels, and the body fluid is perspiration.  The Fire element expresses itself through the complexion and the emotion is joy!  Fire likes to laugh.

The next element along the natural cycle is Earth, which is reflected in nature as the abundance and harvest that we see in the season of late summer. Earth governs the stomach and spleen, and some of the other physical associations with it are the mouth and saliva.  Have you noticed your saliva start to flow when you’re hungry and you smell good food?  Earth expresses itself through the health of the lips and the emotion of the Earth element is sympathy.

Earth generates Metal, so naturally Metal is the next element.  Metal is reflected in autumn, when it begins to get cold and the leaves fall off the trees. Metal governs the large intestine and lung, and the sensory organ is the nose. The body fluid associated with Metal is mucous, and the overabundance of it or scarcity of it will often be affected by the balance of this element.  The emotion of grief is associated with the Metal element, and letting go is one of the themes that comes up often.

If you wonder which element you are, we have a quick fun quiz for you to take: http://www.onlinequizcreator.com/discover-your-element/assessment-5583

Five element theory has many more dynamics to it than what we have covered here!  Hopefully this has given you a basic understanding of how each one of the elements relates to your body and those around you.  Spending time in nature is a great way to observe these elements in action! Each person usually has one element that is predominant.

Written by ~ Noell Eanes, M.Ac., ACA, RYT

Stress…Good or Bad?

Have you ever wondered about the effects of stress on the human body? Most people can relate to stressors in their lives that were difficult to handle or even surpass. Thus it is easy to conclude that stress is bad. However it can be a positive, motivating influence in our daily lives. So stress is good. How then, do you know if the stress youʼre experiencing is good or bad? Weʼre here to help you understand the difference and identify when our services might be helpful to each unique situation.

Think about a time when you experienced anxiety in preparing for a vacation. This is the type of stress that gives us excitement and the energy to make sure that our trip checklist is completed; that all at home is in order while weʼre away; and that everything we need to have a pleasant time is taken care of. And then at the point when the car, weighted down with all the luggage and several last minute items, is rolling out of the driveway do we breath that sigh of relief and are able to begin enjoying our adventure. The type of stress that youʼve just experienced is called Eustress.
Another scenario could be taking care of a disabled family member or elderly parent. While some would find this to be a daunting task, for others it might be the thing that gives purpose in their lives. There are stressors in our lives that actually propel us to get up in the morning and lead purposeful lives.

Eustress is not the stress that makes us ill or unable to function. It is, in fact, the stress that allows us to perform daily activities, reach our aspirations and even feel a sense of accomplishment.

Unlike Eustress, we can be faced with chores, expectations or even personalities that can have a negative effect on our ability to coexist in our homes, workplace and society. Stress that becomes too difficult to bear is defined as Distress. If the stress of planning for vacation was so severe that you were unable to enjoy yourself then your time off from work might be better served by staying closer to home. Likewise, if taking care of your loved one has a negative and limiting effect on your lifestyle, you could be suffering from Distress. When stress is unmanageable, we feel the negative effects in our mood, physical ability, coping skills, all which could lead to mental and physical ailments.

So now that you know that some stress is good, you may feel better about whatʼs going on in your life. When stress becomes a concern, Balance Integrative Health can help you sort through it all and get you back on path to an enjoyable vacation; or whatever life is handing you.

Check out our Acupuncture, Massage or Ayurveda Services to help de-stress your life!

The BIH Difference

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Balance Integrative Health (BIH) was created on the foundation of not only helping patients manage pain and disease, but also promoting wellness and working to prevent illness in the future.

Lena Sendik, Founder and Owner, has always been a part of the Healthcare system through schooling and occupation. She has worked in hospital administration, private and group practices and the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. In the last decade, she began to notice a change in the tone of conversation. When it came to healthcare, a lot of patients, physicians and staff felt insurance companies held their fate in their hands.

Lena set out to open a clinic to help patients achieve a healthy balance in life as well as in personal healthcare options. After studying healthcare models in other states and throughout the world, she noticed they focused on personalized and individualized care. Those models work because patients partner with healthcare staff in order to develop a working relationship. The focus is on working together to return to a healthy state of being and then maintaining it.

This Integrative model allows patients to participate in their own treatment plan and provides choices based on recommendations from a variety of healthcare professionals. These professionals provide services from all aspects of healthcare: both traditional and “alternative”. These complementary services are blended together individually, on a case-by-case basis, to heal the underlying cause of patient discomfort as well as treating the initial symptoms.

One of the most important features of this model is that insured services are blended with out of pocket services. This provides healthcare options for many different people. It also allows patients a higher level of empowerment regarding their treatment.

Lena continues to work towards building affordable healthcare for those that need it. She is dedicated to offering services that promote wellness and help patients achieve the balance needed for a more enjoyable life.