In Chinese medicine we view stress as a sign of stagnation for both energy and blood. This is why exercise is recommended in order to relieve stress; by taking the body through a certain degree of movements and rigor you are increasing the flow of blood and energy. Through acupuncture we correct this flow to its natural state by using specific points to calm the mind, promote deep breathing, and boost energy.
When you experience stress the body secretes certain hormones into the bloodstream in order to relieve that stress. These hormones are released through the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and the adrenal gland. This trifecta is known as the HPA axis. Another factor that is involved with stress is our “fight or flight” response which is induced by the increase of neuropeptide y (NPY) co-transmitter. Through acupuncture, we block the stress-induced elevations of the HPA axis hormones with the sympathetic NPY pathway while normalizing stress hormone levels.
During an acupuncture treatment you are given 20-30min on the treatment table, during this time patients usually fall asleep due to the calming effects of each point and soothing music that is often played in a treatment room. This is a good time to turn off the brain, forget about your worries, and allow yourself to take a moment to rest.
Acupuncture is a system of medicine that has existed for 2000 years and it works by activating the body’s own healing mechanism to promote self-healing.
As Acupuncture Physicians, we are only a tool in helping to correct an imbalance within the body. Acupuncture can be used to treat a wide range of conditions including physical and emotional pain. Despite its ability to effectively treat certain conditions, it is often categorized as a placebo effect. I assure you – it’s not. There’s scientific reasoning as to why acupuncture works.
Here are 3 ways that acupuncture works:
1. Acupuncture stimulates the release of powerful pain-killing and anti-inflammatory substances from the brain. Each treatment stimulates the release of enkephalin which is involved with regulating the nervous system’s response to harmful or potentially harmful stimuli. By creating this reaction we improve the body’s circulation of blood and energy to the affected area, thus promoting healing.
2. Acupuncture changes the way your brain responds to pain and can modify internal organ function to treat many complex diseases. The brain views areas of the body as according to the “cortical homunculus” – which is a distorted view of the body. Areas such as the head and fingers are viewed as a much larger image in comparison to other areas of the body. When we needle these larger images, we create a powerful reaction in the brain that allows for healing to occur. Needling these larger images can be described as distal acupuncture since we are needling far from the site of pain or the affected area. By doing so, the body releases beta-endorphins which are described to be much stronger than morphine. Beta-endorphins help numb and dull the pain. Each point has a nerve reaction. For example, the cardiac nerve is located within the deltoid, so when we needle this area we can stimulate the heart.
3. Acupuncture has many local effects including relaxation of contracted muscles and increase in blood circulation. When certain ailments arise, we believe that it’s due to a lack of circulation of blood and energy. So, by improving circulation we bring in new nutrients thus decreasing the symptoms of the disease at hand. When a patient is needled in the area in which the symptoms occur, it is enriched with new blood and nutrients. This causes a reduction in pain and inflammation along with relaxation of nerves and muscles.
Acupuncture works through a wide range of approaches, theories, and techniques in order to provide patients with an effective treatment. There are multiple ways of tackling a condition when it comes to acupuncture, and all with little side effects. If you’re interested in receiving acupuncture treatments, call 321-332-6984 to schedule an appointment. If you are curious but still not sure if this modality of healthcare can help you, call us to schedule a free consultation and learn more with no obligation.
Earn your spots just like Olympic champion Michael Phelps
– Tony Ambush
The Olympic Games are an amazing gathering of athletes from all over the world. During the Olympic season I feel connected to the world through sport. That feeling is amplified when a member of our home team does exceptional work in their sport of choice. While watching Phelps during these 2016 games I have been excited to see all the spots on his body. I have been a proponent of Traditional Chines Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture for many years.
4 Benefits of Cupping
Increases blood flow and circulation
Reduces of tension in muscles
Improves muscle tone
Removes toxins in body by activating the lymphatic system
Cupping is an ancient form of medicine that has been used to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being and as a type of deep-tissue massage. Cupping therapy is typically practiced by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners. The theory behind cupping is that it moves or stimulates the body’s natural energy (Qi).
Cupping therapy involves heating the air inside a glass cup which creates a vacuum. The cup is then quickly placed on the skin resulting in the skin being pulled into the cup. When removed the cup leaves behind a red, circular welt
Here are two common cupping techniques:
Dry – (Fixed/Stationary) – The cups are placed on the skin in various locations, for varying periods of time. Location, cup size & length treatment will vary based on the focus of the treatment for that session.
Wet – (Moving/ Gliding) – A lubricant such as massage lotion or oil is placed on the skin before the cups are set in place. After the cups have been placed they are pulled along the skin. This technique offers benefits similar to that of a deep tissue massage.
Cupping therapy may also be done with cups designed to work with a pump instead of heat. This can allow an individual to apply cupping techniques on their own.
Regardless of which method you choose, be sure to have a professional practitioner work on your body. It is important that you seek advice from your medical doctor or an acupuncture physician before applying any cupping techniques. Anjanette Mojica, our resident Acupuncture Physician, can help steer you toward a gold medal in your personal health. You might not win an Olympic gold medal, but you’ll feel like a winner when you add cupping therapy to your self-care plan. If you would like to know more about cupping, contact our office at (321) 332-6984.
How 3 Colors Can Help Your Kids Steer Clear of Unhealthy Foods
It’s back to school for everyone! Summer is over and kids are heading off to school. The jam packed school year has begun. Traffic Light Eating can show you how 3 simple colors can help you and your kids work towards better food choices. Nutrition is the key to help students produce Olympic size growth, academically. We’ve all heard, “Knowledge is power;” give your family the advantage. Help them stay on track and achieve their goals as they work towards the finish line.
Help your family stay healthy while on the go. This is a simple & fun way to help your kids learn about making better food choices.
RED, YELLOW and GREEN are a fun simple way to help you family stay health while on the go. Through the Traffic Light Eating model we help you identify which foods are best (GREEN); which foods to cut back on (YELLOW), and which are best to eliminate altogether (RED). Our philosophy is; a diet isn’t something you do. Your diet is what you eat. Through Traffic Light Eating we help explain why it is important to steer clear of food colorings, artificial sweeteners, and other food additives. We also increase understanding as to why fruits, vegetables and natural food sources are best for nutritional health.
Traffic Light Eating was developed by the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute. We offer classes in Traffic Light Eating to individuals, families, schools, corporate offices, and other groups. To find out more about nutrition and Traffic Light Eating call our office or fill out the information request to the right on this page.
Orlando has seen its share of tragic events recently. After prolonged exposure, some people experience reactions that are out of the ordinary for them. Some of the more common reactions include: anxiety, withdrawal, grief, guilt, nightmares, intrusive images, increased alcohol or drug use, fear, depression, change in appetite, or sleep disturbances. Here are seven tips to help manage the stress:
Talk about it. By talking with others, you can relieve stress and realize that others share your feelings.
Take care of yourself. Rest, exercise, and eat properly. If you smoke or drink coffee, try to limit your intake since nicotine and caffeine can exasperate stress.
Limit exposure to images of the event. Watching or reading news about the incident over and over again will only increase your stress.
Find time for activities you enjoy. Read a book, go for a walk, or do something else you enjoy. These healthy activities can get your mind off the disaster and keep stress in check.
Take one thing at a time. When under stress an ordinary workload can sometimes seem unbearable. Pick one task at a time and work on it. “Checking off” tasks will give you a sense of accomplishment and make things feel less overwhelming.
Avoid drugs and excessive drinking. Drugs and alcohol may temporarily seem to remove stress, but in the long run they will only make it worse.
Ask for help when you need it. If your feelings do not go away or are so intense that they interfere with your ability to function in daily life – seek help from a counselor. You could also join a support group. Don’t try to cope alone. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
As a result of generous contributions, the Mental Health Association of Central Florida is now offering FREE counseling for ANYONE impacted in any way as a result of the Pulse nightclub shooting and other recent tragedies in our community. If you or someone you know are having difficulty managing after the recent tragic events in Orlando, please contact the Mental Health Association of Central Florida at (407) 898-0110.
Tips for dealing with anxiety and other troubling emotions following the shooting at Pulse nightclub
Earlier this morning I learned that over 50 people have been killed in a nightclub shooting and another 50 or more injured in the worst mass shooting in American history. As a resident of Orlando and as the owner of a counseling center I was immediately concerned for the safety of friends, neighbors, and clients. I was dealing with a host of intense emotions including anger, confusion, fear, and anxiety. I want to share some simple practical tips for dealing with this crisis and the uncomfortable feelings that will be present.
Do something. Feelings of helplessness are inevitable during a tragedy like this. Doing some positive action such as giving blood or making a financial contribution to a charity like the Red Cross can restore some sense of personal empowerment.
Connect with family and friends. Resist any temptation to isolate and avoid relational connection. Let those closest to you know how much you love them and what they mean to you.
Stay healthy. Make sure you continue to eat nutritious food and get at least some type of mild exercise. Try to eat a fruit or veggie at every meal to help keep your blood sugar stabilized and balance your cortisol levels. Going for a walk around the block, jumping on the treadmill, or taking a dip in the pool will help burn off some of the excess stress.
Limit your news time. While it is good to stay informed, over stimulation to negative news can take a toll on your health. Limit your exposure to the news to increments of 30 minutes or less. Do at least one of the suggestions above before watching or listening to another news cycle.
Get professional help. If this event causes you to have severe anxiety, panic attacks, vivid nightmares, sleep disorders, or thoughts of wanting to harm yourself or others, than please seek professional help as soon as possible. The professional counselors at Total Health Guidance are available for in-person or over the phone therapy sessions from 8am to 8pm. You can reach a therapist for a free consultation by calling 321-332-6984.
Proper Nutrition Can Help Reduce Symptoms of Withdrawal
Weaning the body off of any addictive substance; food, drugs, alcohol, etc. take a toll on the body’s ability to function properly. The essence of recovery is changing negative behaviors into positive ones. Good nutrition, relaxation, and proper self-care all play important roles in a successful change. Proper nutrition and making healthy food choices is a good step toward creating a healthier lifestyle.
For people in recovery it is import to note the impact of nutrition. Fat contains more calories per gram than alcohol. While drinking, addicts experience a sense of being full regardless of how much they’ve eaten. These empty calories can lead to malnutrition. Drug abusers can experience similar affects. The alcohol and drugs keep the body from properly absorbing nutrients and expelling toxins. Putting the body through this type of nutrition depletion can lead to many health problems such as gastrointestinal disorders or the inability to digest foods properly.
In order to combat the negative effects of alcohol and drug abuse, addicts need foods high in nutrients. Proper nutrition can facilitate the rebuilding of damaged tissue and organs. Foods high in protein and complex carbohydrates are extremely beneficial to an addict suffering from poor nutrition.
It’s not new news that food can affect our mood. We know that sugar and caffeine can contribute to mood swings. A deficiency in specific nutrients like folic acid or B-complex vitamins can also have a serious negative impact. The processing of tyrosine and tryptophan can be diminished by alcohol and drug use. These two important amino acids are responsible for the production of norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. These neurotransmitters are essential for emotional stability, mental clarity, and a general state of well-being. A decrease in levels of these neurotransmitters negatively affects mood and behavior which in turn can lead to a greater desire to for more drugs, etc.
There are many beneficial reasons to promote proper nutrition for everyone. For addicts, it is even more important due to the affects that alcohol, drugs, sugar, caffeine and other addictive substances have on the body. The average person may suffer from a reduced level of nutrients as a result of poor nutrition. For an addict in recovery, there is a need to replenish a depleted resource. Proper nutrition is even more important in this situation as the addict’s body is working overtime to repair damage caused by using.
You can’t fix a person’s addiction, but you may be able to support them in their struggle. One way is to help ensure they are working on improving their diet. Help them work towards good clean foods and avoid foods that can negatively affect their mood. The body needs proper fuel to repair itself. We should continue to strive for the best nutrition possible. It’s a journey. Total Health Guidance can help to keep you moving forward and find the best nutrition sources for you. If you or someone you love is struggling in this area, please call our office at 321-332-6984 and ask to speak with one of our healthcare professionals. You are not alone.
Gary Zukav once said in his book The Heart of the Soul that the foundation of all addiction is “deep emotional pain”.
Factors that contribute to the development of addictive behaviors can include childhood trauma like sexual abuse or neglect, mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, or learning disorders, having a family history positive for addictive behaviors, as well as environmental stress and our ability to cope with them. Unfortunately, many addiction treatment centers focus primarily on education about addiction which only scratches the surface of the underlying issues of addictive behavior.
At Total Health Guidance, we understand the delicate inner-connective balance of the mind, body, and spirit and how each plays a part in addictive thinking and behavior. The wisdom of Western Medicine tells us that if we have a symptom, we take something to mask the symptom. For example, if we have an ache or pain, we take a Motrin. But, what is causing the pain in the first place? Our unique therapeutic packages for addiction recognize that human beings consist of mind, body, and spirit and that these elements exist in a balance which determines positive or negative physical, mental, and spiritual health. Our packages can restore this balance and include weekly therapy sessions, acupuncture for cravings, massage therapy for detoxing and stress management, as well as nutritional coaching.
Balancing the Mind
Research suggests that certain chemical imbalances in the brain play a role in addictive behaviors. Chronic addictive behavior can cause this brain imbalance to become even more deviated, leading to depression, lack of concentration, and emotional instability. Mental health therapy can help identify the root causes of the behavior to ultimately break the vicious cycle of addiction. Some therapeutic techniques used can include EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), which uses eye movements or bilateral stimulation to activate information processing in the brain. Acupuncture is also a very powerful tool which can assist with cravings.
Balancing the Body
What we ingest creates the foundation for the proper functioning of the mind and body. Stimulants and toxins like caffeine, processed foods, refined sugars, additives and poor diet can contribute to an imbalance in brain chemistry. Those entering treatment are typically dehydrated, hypo or hyperglycemic, and protein deficient. Chemical dependency, along with a poor diet, can wreak havoc on a person’s immune system. These factors added together can lead to depression, agitation, low energy, and eventually, relapse. Along with a proper diet, a good vitamin/mineral supplement regiment is necessary to rebuild the imbalanced brain, along with exercise, meditation, yoga and other stress reduction techniques like massage therapy.
Healing the Spirit
Developing a psychological awareness is crucial in the recovery process. Becoming aware of personal speech, thought patterns, body language, emotional triggers, and actions are paramount to recovering from addiction. As this awareness develops, it becomes easier to avoid the pitfalls of negative thinking and negative people and to gravitate towards the positive. We learn that the energy that we put out is what we get back. As this awareness grows, so does the ability to be good to ourselves and others. By trusting in a Higher Power, it is easier to submit to recovery. Spirituality can enrich life and give hope, and inspiration. Ultimately, recovering addicts discover that a life free from addictions is not only possible, but well worth living. Christian counseling can help with developing this spiritual connection, and achieving a life free from addiction. 12 step programs are a spiritual way of life and they are non-denominational, anonymous, and non-controversial.
Treatment at Total Health Guidance is uniquely designed to meet each client’s needs specific to their own personal journey and experience. Our goal is evaluate the whole person to help figure out the root cause of addictive behaviors. If you or someone you know is suffering from any addictive behavior, please call Total Health Guidance at 321-332-6984 for a free and confidential assessment.
The cycle of addiction most often springs from past or recent pain and trauma. The cycle of addiction and the feelings of pain, guilt, and shame keep the addict suspending in a swirling tornado of deterioration. The addict’s relationships, job, and personal safety often suffer from the repetitive process of the addiction cycle. It is often said that an addict will only change once they hit rock bottom. That bottom varies from individual to individual based on their life experience as well as the type of addiction they struggle with.
The addiction cycle starts with a triggering event that in turn triggers emotions or feelings often associated with a pain or trauma. The emotional trigger ignites a desire to squelch that emotion and pain. The need to shut down the emotions is part of the problem many addicts have. The way for the addict to subdue the emotion or feeling is to act out with their drug of choice. This may be alcohol, sex, drugs, food, gambling as well as other vices. Addicts need to find a way to shut down the emotions and feelings that bring up pain and traumatic memories. The stress of a triggering event leads to craving.
Cravings, as experienced by addicts can be described as an overwhelming feeling or desire to use. They desire to sooth the pain and diminish feelings that the triggering event ignited. Most addicts have little practice in successfully managing negative emotions. This difficulty in managing negative emotions can lead the addict to act out and sooth the pain by using. Stress hormones directly affect the reward chemical dopamine. In this time of stress the chemical responses in the body are affecting the addict’s behavior. An addict will seek out the drug of choice which they believe will alleviate the cravings. As craving sensations increase, addicts will eventually return to ritual behaviors.
Ritual behaviors can be described as activities, thoughts or ideas that addicts engage in as part of their addiction. Once ritual behavior has started it is hard for most addicts to turn away. In a sense, ritual behavior can be seen as preparation leading to using or acting out. For example, a sex addict may start looking at porn and fantasizing about sex. An alcoholic may store up on alcohol several days before binging. The longer an addict is engaged in ritual behavior the harder it may be for them to stop the cycle. Ultimately they may act out on their addiction which leads to feeling of guilt and shame.
For many addicts the next part of the cycle, guilt, is immediate. In this stage guilt arises from having used/acted out. These additional feelings of guilt now act upon the addict and they continue to move in the cycle. The recent guilt from acting out is now the triggering event as they move in the cycle to craving, ritual behavior, using and circling back around to guilt. This continuation of the addiction cycle can create a great deal of stress for those suffering from addiction as well as their family and friends.
Stress is a serious impediment to addiction recovery and may lead to a desire to escape. Escaping reality is a major component of the addiction cycle. It is helpful for addicts to practice ways to slow down, block out distractions and focus on being calm. With these practices, those suffering from addiction can become more self-aware and will be better able to recognize emotional triggers before they ignite the addiction cycle.
Effective approaches to addiction treatment require the client to DO something; exercise, start counseling, join a 12-step program, etc. These are known as active participation steps. Passive options like massage and acupuncture are extremely helpful in managing the stress associated with addictions as well as actually reducing addictive cravings. We focus on treating all the symptoms of addiction including the physical, emotional, relational, financial, and spiritual. Our goal is evaluate the whole person to help figure out the root cause of addictive behaviors. Treatment at Total Health Guidance is uniquely designed to meet each client’s needs specific to their own personal journey and experience. If you or someone you know is suffering from any addictive behavior, please call Total Health Guidance at 321-332-6984 for a free and confidential assessment.
Well, it isn’t an idea that promotes eating while driving. Traffic Light Eating was developed by the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute and is a simple & effective way to help individuals make better food choices. This program was developed with both individuals and families in mind.
The goal of Traffic Light Eating is to help you identify foods as either Red (Stop), Yellow (Slow) or Green (Go) foods. This plan can help you identify which foods are best for you, which to cut back on, and which are best to eliminate from your diet altogether.
Utilizing the Traffic Light Eating principles we help you identify the best oils, breads, meats, sweeteners, dairy, etc. for your diet. Remember, a diet isn’t something you do. Your diet is what you eat. Through Traffic Light Eating we help explain why it is important to steer clear of food colorings, artificial sweeteners, and other food additives. Once you’ve learned about Traffic Light Eating you may want to take cleaning up your diet to the next level. The best way to do that is through a Pantry Makeover.
What is a pantry makeover? Well, we don’t come to your home and paint or decorate your pantry. Your Pantry Makeover starts with additional education on Traffic Light Eating, Healthy Substitutions, and the Dirty Dozen List. We also show you how to read and understand food labels.
Next, you join in as we look through your pantry and refrigerator to help identify your existing foods as either: Red, Yellow, or Green. Together we will identify which foods are best for you to eliminate and those that you may want to add to your diet. After we’ve gone over your current food supply, we help you create a healthier shopping list. The shopping list will help you with moving your pantry & fridge more towards Green. Change is a process. Our efforts are very low key and respectful. We don’t grade you, your pantry, or what you eat. Our goal is to help you make the best decisions nutritionally for you and your family.
If you are in need of additional support, we offer package options where we go with you to the grocer. During the shopping excursion we help you apply the skills you’ve learned during the educational portion of the day. We also offer other nutritional counseling services as well as health coaching. Our team will continue supporting you on your journey toward better health. We look forward to working with you and your family.
We also offer classes in Traffic Light Eating to schools, corporate offices, and other groups. Please call 321 332-6984 to schedule your Pantry Makeover or if you have questions about any of our services.
To find out more about Traffic Light Eating, join us for a free presentation on Saturday, April 2nd, 2016. For more information click here.