How’s Your Thyroid Health?

Nearly 20 million Americans are living with some form of thyroid disorder, and many don’t even realize it. The butterfly-shaped gland in the neck regulates hormone levels, energy levels, body weight, and mental health. When it is over or under productive, a lot can go wrong. 

Hyperthyroidism (Overproduction of thyroid hormones)

Increased appetite and weight loss
• Nervousness, excess perspiration, heart palpitations, increased heart rate, higher blood pressure
• Muscle weakness, sometimes with trembling hands
• Lighter or shorter menses
• More frequent bowel movements with occasional diarrhea

Hypothyroidism (Underproduction of thyroid hormones)
• Tingling of numbness in hands
• Increased sensitivity to cold
• Constipation
• Heavy menses
• Dry skin and hair
• Lethargy
• Depression and/or slower mental processes

Acupuncture and herbal remedies can help regulate the release of thyroid hormones and restore immune function. It can also regulate energy levels, stabilize emotions, and help manage sleep and menstrual issues. There are also foods that can increase or decrease thyroid hormone production. 

January is National Thyroid Disease Awareness Month. If you have been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder or are living with any of the symptoms listed above, call us today at 615-939-2787 to set up your appointment. We’ll get to the point of the problem and help your body get back in balance.

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Back up your immune system with acupuncture

Back up your immune system with acupuncture

We’ve had a lot of clients make appointments because they’re curious about acupuncture. They want the experience, but are in generally good health and don’t have any problem areas to work on. If only we were all that lucky!

Acupuncture is still highly beneficial, even if you aren’t experiencing pain or feeling discomfort in another way. It helps keep keep up circulation and digestion; decrease inflammation; supports the immune system, and even helps you look and feel younger. To see how acupuncture can help you, call 615-939-2787 to book your next appointment.

Be the change you want to see in yourself

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” As much as I love the sentiment, that’s a pretty tall order. Are you being the change you want to see in yourself? We are, after all, our own toughest critics.

While we have an opportunity to start over every day, we only get one go around in this life, and just one body to live in. You owe it to yourself, and to the other people that love you and hold you accountable for any number of things, to take care of yourself and your body.

A number of people come to us when they’ve tried what we consider more “conventional” medicine, but haven’t found the results they’re looking for. Others come to us because they don’t want to take medications for the long term, or are trying other options for healing before having surgery. And an increasing number of women are coming to us for help with fertility issues, which acupuncture is becoming increasingly recognized for.

Just the other week, a client called with the good news that she was pregnant. Five doctors told her it wasn’t possible, but she wasn’t ready to give up. When we spoke, she gave credit to God and to acupuncture. She deserved to give some of the credit to herself, also. She refused to give up on a dream that she and her husband shared, and she drove 90 minutes each way for her sessions, followed the recommended diet (most of the time), and took the herbs that we suggested for her. She made the change she wanted to see in her own life happen, and it started by deciding the change would start now, and picking up the phone. We quickly saw some of the changes her body needed to make to get into a better state of health so she could foster a healthy pregnancy. It did take some time for her to get pregnant. Each month there would be the excitement of the promise of maybe, and the disappointment of not yet. But she didn’t give up, and she just recently heard the heartbeat for the first time.

Healing takes time. There’s no silver bullet, and sometimes progress plateaus. Acupuncture is like dieting or starting an exercise regimen in that regard. You might go from a pain level of eight to a two after your first treatment, and start to climb back up before your next session. That’s to be expected as your body works to get to a higher level of health. Just getting there isn’t enough, you have to maintain. And we encourage doing more than just receiving acupuncture treatments – diet, certain exercises, drinking plenty of water, getting rest, taking time for yourself each day, and possibly taking herbs or vitamins all contribute to your overall health.

If you’re tired of living in pain, not sleeping enough, suffering with allergies, or other chronic conditions, or if you’re fortunate enough to be in good health and want to support that, we’d love to hear from you and be part of your journey. If you’re in the Nashville area, take the first step to be the change you want to see in yourself, and set up an appointment. If you don’t live nearby, but have questions about acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, or health in general, send us a message – we’re happy to answer those questions for you.

Feeling less than great simply isn’t good enough.

You can reach us at 615-939-2787 or through this site.

The Real Problem with Sleeping Problems

Is How You (Don’t) Sleep Making You Sick?

We all know that there are short term problems with not getting a good night’s sleep – a lack of mental sharpness, irritability, falling asleep at inopportune times, etc.  Did you know there are potential long-term risks to your health also?  For instance, people who sleep less than 6 hours per night are twice as likely to have a heart attack, and four times more likely to have a stroke than those who sleep more than 6 hours.  They are also at greater risk of diabetes and obesity.  Extreme fatigue increases appetite and decreases metabolism, and individuals who regularly get less than 4 hours of sleep 4 nights or more a week may easily be in a pre-diabetic state. 

Half of adults 55+ have at least 1 symptom of insomnia at least 3 times per week including:
– Trouble falling asleep
– Waking during the night
– Waking to early and being unable to fall back to sleep
– Not feeling refreshed upon waking

Women suffer from insomnia more than men due to pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause.

Twenty million Americans take prescription sleep pills regularly. Over $100 million is spent in the US on over the counter sleep aids per year, and that number does not include prescriptions.  Drug oriented OTCs have been studied and found no more effective than a placebo.  Medications alter sleeping cycles, and suppress REM sleep. This can lead to light, restless sleep with nightmares once medications end, or “REM Withdrawl Sleep.”  Many individuals often return to these sleep aids, even the ones advertised as “non-habit forming,” and the cycle continues.  Medications can cause long-term harm to your body.  Additionally, they are expensive, and only treat the symptom of an underlying problem. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that the symptoms of insomnia are the branches of a disease.  An imbalance in the body, usually Chi, blood, Yin, Yan, Jing, or Shen, or a major organ system (lung, liver, heart, spleen, kidney, or liver) causes the imbalance or dysfunction, and acupuncture treatments help realign the body’s systems and help you find balance once more.  Additional methods in Traditional Chinese Medicine, such as herbs, may also help your body better process energy and achieve restful sleep. 

The following may lead to a lack of restful sleep:

The Body
Physical tension
Overeating, especially protein
Irregular sleeping hours
Lack of physical exercise
Dehydration
Menopause
Pain
Smoking
Alcoholism
Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
Sleep apnea (Associated with high blood pressure, increased risk of heart disease and stroke, emotional disturbances and even psychoses.) 

The Mind
Emotional or mental stress
Preoccupation
Overstimulation to the nervous system
TV/video game excess

The Environment
Lack of adequate ventilation; oxygen debt
Allergies – an increased heart rate follows exposure. 
Lights left on at night (disrupts the pineal gland producing melatonin, a sleep hormone)
Temperature extremes in bed
Poor mattress

Diet
Restless Sleepers may have excessive amounts of the following in their diets: 
Caffeine
Alcohol
Heavy metals (such as mercury found in high fructose corn syrup, tuna, swordfish, and mackerel
Salt, which increases blood volume, heart output, and blood pressure. 
Food additives, preservatives, and colorings
Refined carbohydrates, sugar, soda, ice cream or other sweets
Iodine

They may be deficient in:
Vitamin B  
Calcium
Lycopene (found in red and orange foods such as tomatoes, bell peppers)
Total carbohydrates
Protein
Vitamin C
Selenium (found in nuts, mushrooms, meat, and shellfish).  Selenium helps with inflammation.
Lutein (found in green, leafy vegetables)

Iron or copper (found in shellfish, clams, lentils, nuts, and whole-grain foods).  Deficiency may make it take longer to fall asleep, and sleep may be less refreshing.

The body converts tryptophan into seratonin, which is then converted into melatonin.  Both make you feel relaxed and sleepy.  Foods with tryptophan include bananas yogurt, dates, figs, warm milk, dairy, and turkey.  These foods are metabolized best in combination with starches, which make the body release insulin.  This pushes the amino acids except for tryptophan into the muscle cells, leaving the tryptophan alone in the blood stream and ready to go to the brain.  Niacin, a B-vitamin, makes tryptophan work more effectively, and is found in lean meats such as canned tuna.  Melatonin naturally exists in oats, sweet corn, rice, ginger, bananas, and barley.  

Magnesium rich foods can also help you relax and have restful sleep.  Low magnesium levels will stimulate brain-activation neurotransmitters, which leads to overstimulation of the brain. This is especially common in the elderly taking meds that may block magnesium absorption.  Dried beans such as pinto and navy beans, green leafy vegetables, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, and almonds are all rich in magnesium.

Folic acid in spinach, especially if muscle cramping or restless leg syndrome keeps you awake, are good additions to your diet. Inosytol enhances REM sleep

Avoid red meat, chocolate, ham, bacon, sausages, cheese, tomatoes, which contain the CNS stimulant tyramine.

Alcohol does not, in fact, help you get a good night’s sleep.  You may fall asleep easily, because alcohol turns off the hypocretin neurons which keep you awake, but it has a rebound effect and can wake you quickly.