What Is The Exstore System?

Greetings and happy holidays!  I hope this finds everyone well.  I have some exciting things to share with you.  This year I celebrated my 15th(!) year in practice.  It seems hard to believe.  Persisting in anything for 15 years is a challenge.  One of the things that keeps my going is the constant search for newer and more powerful acupuncture techniques.  I have traveled around the country, gone to endless seminars, and read dozens of books.  Acupuncture is a huge field and there are many, many styles to choose from.  There are many Chinese styles, but also Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and even western style or “dry-needling.”  I have explored many of these but over the years I came to rely on the treatment of “trigger points” as a primary tool.

The trigger points (or “knots”) in the muscles are the source of a great many pain problems.  For years, I have studied trigger points and how to release them. Many of you are familiar with the acupuncture trigger point techniques I have used and the profound relief they can provide.  Getting the muscle to twitch or “jump” (sometimes referred to as dry-needling) can release tension and pain instantly.

As good as these techniques are, I am always on the lookout for ways to make them better.  To find a way to make them faster, more accurate and more powerful.  I constantly research and test new methods.  Some work ok, some are so-so, but rarely do I find something that blows me away.  I can honestly say finding the EXSTORE system was a game-changer for me.

In the past several months, we have introduced the EXSTORE method of assessment and treatment.  Those of our patients who have experienced this technique have been very happy with the outcomes thus far and we are excited to tell you about it. In 15 years of practice, nothing else I have found has made such a huge difference.

The EXSTORE system is a method of assessing pain patterns quickly and finding the root cause.  Basically, we test the strength of the muscles to find which ones are neurologically inhibited (weak).  These muscles are not doing their job of supporting the body structure and can lead to pain and dysfunction.  After pinpointing which muscles are weakened, we apply acupuncture plus electric stimulation (similar to a TENS unit), which immediately “wakes up” the muscle, changing the strength instantly!  When the muscles are reawakened, the body will be able to move better and the painful situation will improve, often dramatically.

The EXSTORE technique is combined with all the other methods we have, including cupping, gua sha, kinesiotaping and others.  However, it is now the foundation on which these other techniques rest.  This combination has produced much better results than I have had previously, for sciatica, neck pain, knee pain and many other common conditions.  It even works great for IBS, PMS, and other internal complaints.  If you have not experienced this technique I invite you to call today at 630-369-3237 and give it a try!

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Allergies Relieved by Acupuncture in Study

Medication for allergiesAllergies Relieved by Acupuncture in Study

It’s summer and that means it’s time for fun… and allergies!  There is good news though!  Allergy sufferers who received 12 acupuncture sessions had fewer symptoms and required less antihistamine medication compared to a control group, as reported in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Seasonal allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hayfever, is usually a result of allergies to plant pollen.  Stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing are the familiar foes of spring and summer.  For some people, antihistamines offer relief.  For others, the side effects of antihistamines (dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness) make them unappealing.  For others, they simply don’t work.  Increasingly, people are turning to acupuncture for relief of allergy symptoms.

Led by Dr. Benno Brinkhaus, researchers from Charite-University Medical Center, in Berlin, Germany,  randomly selected 422 volunteers.   All hay fever sufferers, they were divided into three groups.

Twelve treatments were administered over eight weeks in the first year. Patients in all three groups were allowed to take antihistamine medication whenever their allergies worsened.

The results showed that those in the acupuncture  group reported better improvements in their symptoms over the eight-week period of treatment, as well as needing fewer antihistamine drugs, in comparison to the other groups.

Eight weeks of ending their treatment, the benefits of the acupuncture faded. However, Dr. Brinkhaus, a medical doctor and acupuncturist, said that does not necessarily mean that the benefits of acupuncture have been eliminated.

Our experience at Naperville Acupuncture Center is that people do benefit from receiving acupuncture for allergies. On average, we treat people once or twice per week during the peak allergy season.  Some people also receive and herbal formula.  The symptoms and frequency of allergies are diminished, and the need to take medication is reduced. However, allergies are not permanently eliminated.  Call today to find out how we can help you!

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The One Simple Summer Eating Tip to Make You Feel Fantastic

Healthy eating tips for the summer are a little tricky.

Since the weather is warm, you need light, cooling foods. Juicy peaches, sweet watermelons, tomatoes hot off the vine… The right foods are easy to find. One trip through your garden or a walk through a farmer’s market and you’ll have the perfect summer meal.

But since you’re outside exercising and working in the garden, you build up an appetite. You work hard and play hard. You crave calories to keep the fire burning. Are cucumbers the first food you reach for after rototilling the garden? Probably not.

Unfortunately, many times craving calories trumps craving fresh food. You satisfy your appetite with a meal of tortilla chips and soda. Or brats and beer. Or hamburgers and ice cream.

And afterward you feel full, bloated and hot.

Fortunately there is a solution. It is possible to eat well, have energy and avoid feeling bloated.

The trick is in the timing.

With an easy tweak to your natural summer diet, you’ll feel fantastic.

Summer Eating Tips

It should come as no surprise that I recommend eating lots of fruits and vegetables in the summer. In fact, I recommend eating fruits and vegetables all year, but in the summer they are especially important.

Summer is a yang season and is associated with the fire element. Fire governs the heart and small intestine. When fire is balanced within the body, the heart governs and circulates the blood properly and the intestines properly digest food. Emotionally you are balanced, sensitive and enthusiastic. You feel good.

There are a few simple guidelines to keep fire balanced.

  1. Focus on yin foods. Yin foods are wet and cool. Fruits and vegetables (especially green vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers and watercress) are yin. For protein, eat fish or seafood instead of meat. Smoothies and salads are yin and are excellent summer meals.
  2. Eat moderately. Avoid huge meals.
  3. Eat bitter foods. Bitter foods support the fire element. Coffee, tea and chocolate (without sugar) are all bitter and moderate amounts of them are appropriate for summer health. This is the season you can call your coffee a health food. Asparagus, bitter greens like kale, arugula or escarole, celery and rhubarb are all good foods for the summer.

Strawberry-Grapefruit Smoothie

Yield: Makes three 1 3/4-cup servings

Ingredients:

1 grapefruit, peeled, seeded and chopped

2 cups hulled fresh or frozen strawberries

1 sweet apple (such as Honeycrisp or Pink Lady), peeled, cored and chopped

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

1 cup water

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Recipe from: Whole Living

Eat Big in the Afternoon

If you focus on yin and bitter foods, your diet is cooling and light. But what happens when you need more energy than a slice of watermelon provides?

This is when the timing of your meals matters.

If you need a heavier meal, eat it mid to late afternoon. “Picnic time” is the best time to fuel up. Avoid eating a big meal early or late in the day.

A healthy summer eating plan starts with a breakfast of fruit, smoothies or yogurt. Have a salad for lunch. Eat a heavy meal later in the afternoon and end your day with more fruit.

By eating mostly fresh, light, wet foods and including a heavy meal only in the afternoon, you will help your fire burn bright but not out of control. You’ll feel light, cool and energized. Your heart, circulation and digestion will be strong. You won’t feel bloated or full.

Traditional Chinese Medicine uses nutrition as a tool to maintain health and promote healing. Eating a yin diet with your heavy meal in the late afternoon is good general advice, but your constitution may need a slightly different routine. The proportion of yin food matters and varies from person to person. To get the best summer eating tips, contact me and together we’ll make a plan that’s perfect for you.

 

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Relieve Your Arthritis With Acupuncture

Arthritis is a painful and oftentimes debilitating condition that’s characterized by inflammation within one or more joints. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 2 people will develop osteoarthritis of the knee by the age of 85. It’s important to note, however, that there are several different types of arthritis, with osteoarthritis being just one. Other common types include rheumatoid arthritis, gout, septic arthritis, Still’s disease, and ankylosing spondylitis.

While most people living with moderate-to-severe arthritis resort to prescription medication to mask their symptoms, a safer and more effective form of treatment may come in the form of a 2,000-plus-year-old Chinese practice called acupuncture. Numerous studies have found acupuncture to offer relief of many different types of arthritis. And best of all, it doesn’t come with the adverse side effects associated with arthritis medication.

Acupuncture and Arthritis: How It Works

Acupuncture is based on the belief that our bodies have an essential life/energy force (referred to as Qi). This force flows through the body, traveling along 20 channels (referred to as meridians). Normally, Qi flows unrestricted, keeping the individual healthy while warding off disease and illness. However, there are times when the Qi will become stagnant, blocked or dislodged from its normal position, leaving the individual susceptible to illness.

By placing thin needles directly under the skin, a licensed acupuncturists can stimulate the flow of Qi, correcting blockages and other abnormalities. Furthermore, acupuncture aids in regulating the nervous system, which in turn produces the natural pain-relieving chemicals called endorphins.

Studies Reaffirm Acupuncture For Arthritis

A group of German researchers conducted a study on 304,674 patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee. Researchers split the patients into two groups, one of which received traditional routine care, while the other received 15 sessions of acupuncture. Researchers concluded that patients who had received acupuncture experienced better knee function, less pain, and an overall better quality of life than their counterparts.

Another study – this one originating out of China – found that both acupuncture and electroacupuncture were effective at reduce pain, inflammation and tenderness in parts of the body by arthritis. Granted, this was a small study with just 36 patients, but it’s just one more study attesting to the healing power of acupuncture.

Call us today at (630) 369-3237 to learn how you can get back on track to better health!

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Acupuncture for Fertility

Alternative Treatments for Fertility

About 10 percent of couples struggle with infertility and an inability to conceive, according to the Centers for Disease Control. For those struggling to have children, fertility treatment can become tiring and expensive very quickly. There are numerous alternative treatments including Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that have been thought to improve fertility.

Acupuncture

More and more people are choosing acupuncture for fertility.  By increasing blood flow and Qi (pronounced “chee”) to the reproductive organs, acupuncture can help increase fertility. Stress has been noted to cause infertility in women due to an increase in the hormone cortisol. A change in hormones can cause the body to be put out of balance, affecting fertility. Acupuncture can help by decreasing stress with acupuncture points and returning the body to balance.

Acupuncture for fertility treatment has almost no side effects, compared to Western medications and hormone treatments that can cause lasting side effects.

Chinese Herbs

Women who received Chinese herbal treatments once a week for about three months were found to be twice as likely to become pregnant as women who didn’t receive the treatment, according to a study in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine.

Chinese herbal therapy uses more than 150 herbs found in groups of about 15 herbs in each treatment. The treatments are made of formulas that include natural ingredients such as bark, root, leaf, flower and plant extracts. These treatments are most commonly given in pill or tea form.

Clinical studies in China have shown that 70 percent of those struggling with fertility who were treated with Chinese herbs have become pregnant.

Ask an acupuncturist or naturopathic doctor on how you can receive Chinese herbal treatment.

Yoga

Yoga is another way to increase fertility by reducing stress and increasing blood flow, which can help gynecological function.

Breathing practices that are done in yoga can help to relax the mind and lower cortisol levels, bringing hormones back to a normal balance.

Some poses can increase circulation to the reproductive organs including Seated Angle Pose. This pose consists of sitting with your legs stretched out to stretch the hamstrings, bringing more blood flow to the pelvic area.

If you have experience or supervision, yoga inversions such as headstands or shoulder stands can be extremely helpful fertility boosters as they balance the hormones.

Simple lifestyle changes can also help boost your fertility including eating a healthy diet, avoiding alcohol, smoking and environmental toxins, and getting sufficient sleep.

Acupuncture for fertility can be a less expensive, non-invasive option for improving fertility!

Sources:

http://www.pacificcollege.edu/acupuncture-massage-news/articles/1192-how-does-acupuncture-for-fertility-work-increase-chance-of-conception-without-side-effects.html

http://www.conceiveeasy.com/get-pregnant/chinese-herbs-for-infertility/

http://www.babble.com/pregnancy/brenda-strong-fertility-yoga-tips/

http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/stories/alternative-therapies-for-fertility

http://www.parents.com/getting-pregnant/infertility/treatments/can-alternative-therapies-help-you-get-pregnant/

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