IBS: The Crossway Between Your Brain and Stomach

photo_imsqauredcom

IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is a diagnosis based on symptoms, not anatomical or physiological markers. The hallmark symptoms of IBS are: abdominal pain or discomfort,
bloating, and constipation and diarrhea, either episodically alternating between both, or one predominating.

The causes of IBS are trifold:
1. Motility: the signaling is off, resulting in either rapid or slowed transit time in the gut
2. Visceral perception: tests show either high (diarrhea) or low (constipation) sensitivity to pressure in the upper and lower intestines
3. Stress: frequency of life stress and/or poor ability to process stress

Additional, but statistically less significant factors include reduced ability to absorb certain sugars, malabsorption of bile acids from fatty foods, and food allergies.

Western medicine versus eastern medicine in treating IBS:
Diagnosis is based on experiencing the hallmark symptoms for 12 consecutive weeks within a 12 month period.

Dietary recommendations include avoiding caffeine, alcohol, gums and candies with the sugar sorbitol, citrus fruit if fructose intolerant, and reducing consumption of gas-producing foods such as beans and cruciferous vegetables, while increasing fiber in the diet. Additionally, stress management is strongly emphasized, which includes regular exercise.

Western medicine recognizes, through research studies, the benefits of Chinese herbal formulas in the treatment of IBS.

The two additions eastern medicine offer are acupuncture, which is a tremendous stress-buster, and dietary counseling, limited only by the patient’s willingness to make changes in eating habits and content.

http://mountaintopacupuncture.com/the-crossway-between-your-brain-and-stomach

—————————–
At Mountaintop Acupuncture, we have over 30 years experience. To read more, please click here.

If you have questions and concerns about acupuncture treatment, we offer a free 20-minute phone session: click here: for contact information to call or e-mail us.

We’re located in the DTC, in Centennial, near Greenwood Village, Englewood, and Cherry Hills, Colorado.

Insurance is welcome and accepted.

 

Insomnia

full_issuecomIn our practice, people frequently mention problems they have surrounding sleep. When insomnia is recent, treatment resolves it quickly because acupuncture’s affect on the nervous system is strong, so when we focus on this issue the results can be profound. Long-term insomnia is a different scenario in part because the perception is that it’s an intractable struggle, but again, with patience, acupuncture and its modalities can break the undesirable habit of insomnia in most cases. In this blogpost we are summarizing the western and eastern approaches to treat sleep problems.

The Importance of Sleep

1. Sleep allows the body’s restorative metabolic processes to do their work.

2. The neutral position and inactivity of sleep allows the spinal discs to re-absorb fluid lost from the compression experienced throughout the day’s activities.

3. Sleep and the lack of sleep affects physiologic activity: immunity, the need for REM-cycle sleep, cardiovascular health, and psychiatric conditions are all subjects of ongoing research.

4. Sleep rids the body of the fragments of thoughts and feelings we have throughout the day. Research on cerebro-spinal fluid shows that’s part of its job as it cycles through our brain and spine.

Insomnia….as defined by Western Medicine

Insomnia is characterized by having difficulty getting to sleep, or staying asleep, or waking up several times during sleep, or experiencing non-refreshing sleep for at least one month.

There are two types of insomnia: primary and secondary. Primary insomnia derives from an unknown physical or mental condition. Secondary insomnia may be psychological, physiological, learned, and/or chronic, and it may be caused by a medical condition such as depression or pain.

Along with the suggestion of lifestyle changes, sedating drugs are the primary treatment.

Insomnia….as defined by Eastern Medicine

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) characterizes insomnia similarly, viewing it through the lens, for lack of a better expression, of body-mind-spirit. Insomnia is not treated as a disease condition, but as a symptom.

Regulating sleep and dietary habits are emphasized, and we have methods of sedation as well. Our extra arrow in the quiver is our ability to free constraint, using gentle measures.

In a nutshell, constraint is created in response to events, good or bad, experienced as an inner gripping. Once this gripping is let go, the individual can move forward, naturally transitioning the bound mental and/or physical holding to a general sense of ease.

Think of the last time a stranger cut you off in your car or walking on the street. While you didn’t do anything to deserve this behavior, you now have to deal with it. You can crash into each other, you can deflect it and avoid it altogether, or, most commonly, have to suddenly alter your trajectory in the blink of an eye. Most people are a little shocked by such minor events and shake them off quickly. However, multiply the number of external and internal stimuli and events needed to navigate through a typical workday, and we see a lot of anxiety and stress, headaches, digestive disorders, and on and on, piling up and compounding difficulties with sleep.

East and West Agree

Common sense is elusive when we’re sleep-deprived, so here is the list of lifestyle recommendations both medical paradigms suggest:

  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine after 1 pm
  • Don’t take naps during the day
  • Eat at regular times each day, and avoid large meals before bedtime
  • Exercise long before going to bed so that your nervous system has time to settle down
  • Keep on schedule: go to bed at the same time every night
  • Figure out comfortable sleeping conditions:
  1. How much do you want the window open?
  2. How many blankets do you like?
  • Use the bed only for sleep and sex
  • Wind down by reading or bathing before bedtime, versus television or computer viewing
  • If you can’t fall asleep within 30 minutes, get up and engage in quiet activity until you find yourself becoming sleepy
  • Remove the anxiety from focusing on not being able to fall asleep

Acupuncture has the ability to create subtle movement inside of you, freeing up what has been bound or grounding what has become unstable. Herbal formulas are immensely helpful in conjunction with acupuncture, and in our experience, we find difficulties surrounding sleep gradually evaporate in most cases.

—————————–
At Mountaintop Acupuncture, we have over 30 years experience. To read more, please click here.

If you have questions and concerns about acupuncture treatment, we offer a free 20-minute phone session: click here for contact information to call or e-mail us.

We’re located in the DTC, in Centennial, near Greenwood Village, Englewood, and Cherry Hills, Colorado.

Insurance is welcome and accepted.

 

The Nuts and Bolts of Carbohydrates

complex carbs: grains, seeds, nuts, and vegetables

complex carbs: grains, seeds, nuts, and vegetables

Carbohydrates are our primary source of energy and dietary fiber. Carbohydrates are also intrinsically involved in many biologic processes.

It’s no accident that when we are hungry, we reach for carbohydrates, for carbohydrates are the form of energy our bodies prefer and digest first:

-Our cells prefer using carbohydrates to enter into the KREBS cycle, a complicated metabolic process that yields THE energy molecule, ATP

-Our bodies prefer carbohydrates as the energy source because those calories are structurally easier to get to than fats or protein

-Amylase is the enzyme in saliva that begins the breakdown process of carbohydrates into its usable units as sugars

In the context of nutrition, carbohydrates are referred to as simple or complex
-Simple carbohydrates
—monosaccharides = 1 sugar molecule; glucose and fructose are monosaccharides
—disaccharides = 2 sugar molecules = 1 glucose and 1 fructose; lactose and sucrose are disaccharides

-Complex carbohydrates
—polysaccharides = many monosaccharides joined by chemical bonds into chains and branches
—oligosaccharides = 2-10 monosaccharides joined by chemical bonds into chains and branches

Complex carbohydrates provide a higher quality source of energy with a longer breakdown process, which slows the onset of hunger and stabilizes blood sugar levels.

The plant sources of complex carbohydrates provide dietary fiber:
-The cellulose in the plant wall has polysaccharides and oligosaccharides
—The polysaccharides portion is made of insoluble fibers, and because humans lack the enzyme to digest cellulose, this material passes through the digestive tract nearly intact, helping to eliminate other toxins from the body with it

—The oligosaccharides can break down; they are the food source for the micro- flora in our digestive tract

-Compounds from plants are used in our cellular functioning and systemically
— Lower cholesterol, anti-cancer, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral; bind to specific hormones that are in excess to clear the body of them and eliminate with solid waste; reduce hunger cravings
-Compounds from plants are commonly used in industry
—As thickening and binding agents for a multitude of products, from ice cream to pharmaceutical gels

Carbohydrate Digestion, Assimilation, and Synthesis
The storage carbohydrate in animals is glycogen. When not utilized by the body, carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in the liver and in the muscles. Leftover leftovers are stored as fat.

Recommended Amounts
Age, gender, general constitution, and activity levels vary from person to person, so recommending the proportions of protein, fat, and carbohydrate in the diet isn’t possible.

For every gram of carbohydrate you consume, you get 4 calories of energy- this is true for any type of carbohydrate. Here’s a link that gives you a general guideline of amounts for you, including vitamins and minerals for you, based on age, gender, and activity level.

At Mountaintop Acupuncture, we will review of your diet to figure out what your dietary needs are, and offer feedback and suggestions after assessing your condition, health history, and general constitution.

http://mountaintopacupuncture.com/the-nuts-and-bolts-of-carbohydrates

—————————–
At Mountaintop Acupuncture, we have over 30 years experience. To read more, please click here.

If you have questions and concerns about acupuncture treatment, we offer a free 20-minute phone session: click here for contact information to call or e-mail us.

We’re located in the DTC, in Centennial, near Greenwood Village, Englewood, and Cherry Hills, Colorado.

Insurance is welcome and accepted.

Running Made Easy

Here’s a great infographic for runners that talks about everything you need to know for runners and wanna-be runners, from the blogging website “greatistdaily:” enjoy!

everything you need to know if you're already a runner or wanting to jump into the sport

EU-STRESS Maximizes Our Potential

ist2_5118468-green-tree-illustration

Stress, as we use it in common parlance, is negative in its effects, and is referring to distress.

Stress is a common biological response (stay tuned for more to come on the nervous system) and is prevalent in our culture. Common symptoms are irritability, muscle tension, an inability to concentrate, headaches, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and decreased immune function.

Stress manifests in many disease conditions, and while the term connotes a psychological or emotional response to an event, stress can be purely physiologic, as in the case of traumatic or sports injury.

Eu-stress is a positive form of stress that challenges us to reach beyond our potential. As an example of eu-stress, consider what happened in Biosphere I in Arizona: the trees in the biosphere grew but did not thrive, despite adequate sunlight, water, soil, and nutrients. The scientists were at first stumped, but through study and review, found the lack of challenge from outside — wind, rain, and shifting soil conditions — was the reason.

Oriental medicine is very much concerned with maximizing our potential. At its core is the notion that each of us possesses the raw material for a long and healthy life.

It is through our choices that we activate this potential: our DNA will continue to replicate to create our form and all the substances needed to make the body’s processes run smoothly, but when we eat higher quality food and drink clean water, we are ensuring the integrity of our cells and their continued growth. This is even more apt in pregnancy for the developing fetus.

Current research supports the Oriental medicine paradigm: neurogenesis (the growth of new brain cells) is a current hot topic (a PubMed search shows 7,934 entries — that’s 7,934 completed studies!), in conjunction with studies measuring the effects of lifestyle changes on our genetic expression.

To summarize, we need the challenge of stress to grow, and, armed with knowledge, we are capable of going beyond our expectations.

http://mountaintopacupuncture.com/maximizing-potential-with-positive-stress

—————————–
At Mountaintop Acupuncture, we have a combined 34 years of experience. To read more, please click here.

If you have questions and concerns about acupuncture treatment, we offer a free 20-minute phone session: click here for contact information to call or e-mail us.

We’re located in the DTC, in Centennial, near Greenwood Village, Englewood, and Cherry Hills, Colorado.

Insurance is welcome and accepted.