Most women don’t realize that their #1 health threat is heart disease, which happens to be the leading cause of death for women in the United States. According to the centers for Disease Control (CDC), 610,000 people die from heart disease every year, of these, 289,758 are women. That means 1 in 4 women will succumb to heart disease this year.
This fact is often overshadowed by misleading media coverage and even some healthcare professionals that would have you believe that “heart disease” is a predominantly male disease, and women are not as susceptible as men, because they have higher estrogen levels, which protect them. Not a fact!
The truth comes in the form of research data that indicates both sexes are actually affected equally. Although, it’s most likely the case that more women than men are affected by heart disease because of the following: Symptoms are more subtle and often ignored in women, symptoms in women can differ from those of men, women are underrepresented in clinical trials, women usually have a later onset of the disease than men (as much as 7-10 years), and the fact that women slightly outnumber men (almost 2:1) in most states.
The good news is that heart disease is a preventable disease, and the first and most important step in disease prevention is always self-education. Hopefully, by the end of this article you will have the basic knowledge to identify symptoms of heart disease, especially those that are more gender specific, you will learn what factors put you at risk; and you will gain the knowledge to modify your lifestyle, in order to help prevent heart disease from happening to you.
As mentioned above, the symptoms for women differ slightly from those of men and tend to be more subtle. Below, is a general list of symptoms, followed by the more subtle symptoms experienced by women.
General Signs & Symptoms of heart disease for both men and women:
Gender Specific Symptoms Often Ignored by Women:
And of course . . . make sure you continue with your maintenance
visits with your acupuncturist.
Considering there arn't that many worthy probiotics out there, and taking probiotics can be quite expensive; it should be the consumer’s priority to know what they’re buying and whether it will be beneficial to them or not. Below are three questions you want to answer before spending your money on a probiotic.
Here are 3 important questions you want to answer when choosing a quality probiotic:
1. Is it alive/active? This is pretty simple. A dead bacterium will have zero health benefits, so don’t bother buying or taking it. You want to look for the words, “live cells”, “live organisms”, “active cells” or “viable cells”.
2. Is the potency of the product guaranteed until the expiration date? Aside from question #1, this is probably the most important question you want a clear answer to. Frequently, a manufacturer will label their probiotic supplement as “guaranteed potency at time of manufacture”. If you see this on the label, DO NOT buy! It’s completely irrelevant if it’s potent at the time of manufacture; that does you no good. Along the same lines as “alive” or “dead”, if a product loses its potency while it’s sitting on a shelf, there’s no reason to take it. You want probiotics that are potent for the entire “shelf life” of the product. This means that you will get exactly the amount of probiotic (ex. 50 billion CFU), the label says you will get at the time of consumption.
3. How many CFUs are there? CFU stands for colony forming units, which is the number of viable probiotics contained in a supplement. This number is usually given as the total amount contained in the product. It is preferred if the manufacturer gives a CFU number for each strain the product contains, but this is rarely the case.
The CFU number is very important because you need a certain amount of probiotic in order to achieve the desired therapeutic effect. Different illness' require different amounts of probiotic based on research. Also, keep in mind that a larger number doesn’t always equal greater efficacy. Most probiotic studies only used products that contained 1 -10 billion CFUs.
Here are the probiotic brands that I personally use and recommend to my patients.
These can all be purchased online at: The Healing Lotus Store.
Posted by: Scott Stewart, MSAc,, LAc., Dipl.Ac.
Here is a recently published article by the Mayo Clinic that appeared in the September volume of the Journal of Integrative medicine.
This investigative research uses an evidence-based approach to dispel some of the most common myths surrounding the practice of acupuncture and its underutilization in America's growing population of sick people.
Here's a nice little video put out by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) promoting Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as an intangible cultural heritage of China.
The Chinese character for acupoint is "xué" (穴), which translates into English as hole, cave or lair. The significance of this meaning can be found in the strokes of the character. The top of the character represents a "roof", and the bottom half refers to the number "eight". Together they refer to a hidden passage to the Eight Treasures, which are Viscera, Bowels, Qi, Blood, Sinews, Vessels, Bones, and Marrow.
In Chinese classical texts like, The Yellow Emperor's Cannon of Internal Medicine (Huangdi Nei Jing Su Wen), acupuncture points were described as specific sites where the Qi and blood from the zang-fu (organs) and meridians could reach the body's surface. This allowed access to the organ systems and the Qi & blood.
These specific sites were used to administer acupuncture treatments with needles of varying size, as well as treatments with other modalities such as, moxibustion, hot stones, cupping and guasha.
Acupoints were, and still are today, used as diagnostic sites which reveal internal states of disease. When an organ system becaomes excess/deficient or dysfunctional, the acupoint related to that organ will show morphological changes. In practice, acupuncturists will observe any changes in the appearance of acupoints, including; color or any type of dermatological changes, as well as, any temperature differences. The acupuncturist will then palpate along the meridians checking the points for any changes in resistance. when there is no resistance, and the finger falls into the acupoint, it's said to be deficient. When there is great resistance / the point is pushing back, there is excess.
Scientifically speaking, acupoints have some pretty interesting qualities that further illuminate how amazing our bodies are.
For instance, research has shown that acupoints are able to absorb and emit light and sound, hence the more modern addition of such modalities as laser acupuncture, and sound vibration through the application of tuning forks.
In sum, acupoints inherently have a dual function due to the fact that they are an opening, that connects the internal organ systems to the external world outside the body. This unique physical feature allows Eastern physicians to both diagnose the patient using observation and palpation, and most importantly, to treat the patient utilizing a wide array of therapeutic modalities.
Recently, you might have seen something on the news about the New York attorney general’s office conducting an investigation into various retailers selling adulterated supplements.
Adulterants are foreign substances that are not listed on the ingredients label, and are considered impure substances that contaminate, or degrade an otherwise pure material.
Among the stores being investigated, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Target, and GNC, all received cease and desist letters to discontinue selling supplements contaminated with material not listed on the label. These and other retailers across the U.S., not just in New York; are doing this. It just so happens that the New York attorney general’s office is taking steps to do something about this serious problem, which unfortunately, which has been occurring for decades.
In addition, over the past few years there have been more than one instance of this type of supplement fraud involving both a brick and mortar retailer and on-line sellers.
In 2013, counterfeit supplements were being sold on Amazon.com. This was very alarming, because the counterfeit supplements had labels with name brands on them, but were in fact adulterated. The problem with over – the – counter (OTC) supplements or those purchased from an on-line retailer is that, “you don’t know what you’re getting and the products are of low-quality at best.” “Basically, you get what you pay for.”
Even though Amazon acknowledged the problem and took steps to try and counteract the counterfeiters, its going to be a very difficult issue to regulate for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there are millions of sellers who sell their products through Amazon, many of whom operate outside the US. Secondly, there is the fact that Amazon makes a lot of money in commissions from the products sold on their website. Just as a side note, you also have to worry about OTC name brands that are intentionally adulterating their products in order to increase their profit margins; sadly this is not uncommon.
When you buy these cheaper brands you also have to take into consideration that you’re not getting exactly what you’re paying for. Standardization of ingredients has long been a problem, one thought to be reconciled; but many brands still skimp on the ingredients. One case in point was brought to light in 2013, when an independent study was conducted on 12 different OTC brands of vitamin D. What they found was the level of vitamin D was most often much lower than what was reported on the label, and sometimes there was a difference between capsules within the same bottle. (ABC News Report, 2013)
These are perfect examples of why we always recommend that patients purchase products from the clinic, because we receive our products directly from the manufacturer; no middle guys or unknowns. Of course, I can’t speak for all practitioners, but based on my own integrity, when I recommend a supplement from a brand that we carry, it’s because I’ve done the research and validated the quality of the products, as well as, reputation of the company; and those same products I would personally use myself.
All the brands offered by Healing Lotus Acupuncture do rigorous DNA testing to ensure a high - quality product that contains exactly what’s listed on the label’s ingredients. All the active ingredients are standardized so you get the same amount in every dosage. The brands we use also adhere to strict monitoring & management of quality control.
You can view these brands and their websites here. (Brands we use) Knowing what’s in the product can be very important, especially for those patients out there who have allergic reactions to particular substances. What would happen if you had an allergic reaction to a supplement, but the ingredients weren't accurate? You wouldn't be able to tell the doctor what exactly you took.
I hope this has been helpful for those looking to expand there knowledge on what you should know before buying a supplement. If you have any questions, please send me an email and I will be more than happy to respond.
If you're interested in buying high-quality supplements from a reputable company, we recommend Thorne Research.
Enjoy quick and convenient delivery of pharmaceutical grade supplements to your home.
When you make your first purchase please let them know we sent you by using our referral code: HCP1071726.
Posted by: Scott Stewart, MSAc., Dipl.Ac., LAc.
Tongue diagnosis is an important diagnostic feature in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), because it gives the practitioner vital information about what’s going on inside the patient’s body, or in other words the functional activity as related to the organs. When morphological changes are present on the tongue they represent physiological and pathological changes within the body in terms of fluid pathology, thermal variations between hot & cold, energy levels, Qi & blood, and the severity of illness or disease. These manifest as changes in tongue vitality, shape, size, color, coating, papillae, and movement. Below I will describe the significance of one of the most common tongue features seen in Western patients - glossitis or swollen tongue (with teeth marks).
Swollen with teeth marks (scalloped)
In TCM, a swollen tongue is usually accompanied with teeth marks on the sides of the tongue, also referred to as a scalloped tongue. This pathological manifestation is associated with Spleen deficiency, Spleen Qi deficiency, and Spleen Yang deficiency with an accumulation of dampness.
It’s very common in Western patients to see Spleen deficiency, which can be caused by an improper diet, eating fast foods, fried and greasy foods, cold foods and drinks, and worrying / overthinking; all of which tax the Spleen and cause a reduction in its functional capacity of transformation & transportation.
The importance of this functional role can be seen in the Spleen’s ability to work with the Stomach to transform nutrients from food into energy, transport those nutrients to other organs and tissues of the body in the form of nourishment, and finally, to transport waste downward to be eliminated. When this metabolic mechanism is disrupted, dampness (fluid) that should have been eliminated begins to accumulate, and is reflected in a swollen image of the tongue.
In terms of biomedicine, glossitis can be a sign of nutritional deficiencies such as; iron, folate and B12 depending on the color of the tongue, although, nutritional deficiencies are not diagnosed by tongue analysis; further testing is needed, like a blood test.
Read more about the Spleen in TCM
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Posted by: Scott Stewart, MSAc., LAc., Dipl.Ac.
You’ve probably heard me mention the Spleen before, either as being deficient, dysfunctional, or not functioning at 100%. It often sounds like I'm speaking another language, but remember, in TCM the descriptions we give are always metaphorical and don’t always transliterate into Western medicine.
As I always stress, the Spleen is very important because it helps transform food and drink from our diet into usable nutrients, which are converted into Qi and blood. The Qi is then transported to other parts of the body where it is used by different organ systems. If the SP is healthy and performing it's duties, you’ll have a good appetite, good digestion, and regular bowel movements.
During this process of transportation, if the SP is healthy, the usable nutrients are separated from the non-usable ones. The “pure” nutrients ascend up to the Lungs & Heart as clear Yang Qi, and are distributed to the rest of the body. The “impure” nutrients descend down to the colon as turbid Yin to be eliminated. This raising up of Qi also refers to the stabilizing force that holds organs in place and prevents them from prolapse.
Spleen controls the flow of blood via SP Qi. The SP Qi prevents the blood from going outside the vessels. When the SP Qi is deficient and unable to command the blood, you can see such signs as: bruising, blood in the stool / urine, uterine bleeding, etc.
The muscles and extremities are controlled by the SP by way of the process of transformation and transportation, because the muscles and the sinews need blood and nutrients for nourishment, if they don’t get this they can become weak and flaccid, or even atrophied.
The mouth is related to both the Spleen and the Stomach, because this is where food & drink are first received. If the SP is not functioning properly your appetite will not be normal and you won’t be able to taste all 5 flavors. If the SP is deficient and dampness accumulates, then there will be a sweet taste in the mouth. Dry mouth and hunger can also occur if the SP Yin is deficient.
The color and luster of the lips can reflect the harmonious state of the SP as it manifests on the lips. If there is an abundance of Qi and blood then the lips will be red, moist and lustrous. If there is a disharmony in the SP then the lips will be pale and dry.
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When you say needles . . . people automatically think about the big needles used for getting vaccinations.
Not so . . . acupuncture needles are as thin as a hair, and you barely feel them going in. Give it a try!
Posted by: Scott Stewart, LAc., Dipl.
The only side-effects of acupuncture treatments that people complain about are the positive ones. Increased energy, improved sleep, feeling more relaxed, better digestion, and improved concentration / mental clarity. These are common testimonials of patients after they’ve had an acupuncture treatment. Some other benefits of Eastern medicine include: Proven to be more cost-effective, it’s natural and non-invasive, and the effects are longer lasting. What are you waiting for?