by Danielle Kassin, Dipl. OM, LA
Are you plagued by chronic headaches? More than 45 million Americans (one in six) suffer from chronic headaches, 20 million of whom are women. Scientific research shows that acupuncture can be more effective than medication in reducing the severity and frequency of chronic headaches.
The pain that headache and migraine sufferers endure can impact every aspect of their lives. A widely accepted form of treatment for headaches, acupuncture can offer powerful relief without the side effects that prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause. Headaches and migraines, as well as their underlying causes have been treated successfully with acupuncture and Oriental medicine for thousands of years. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be used alone in the management and treatment of headaches, or as part of a comprehensive treatment program.
Traditional Chinese Medicine does not recognize migraines and chronic headaches as one particular syndrome. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of of techniques such as acupuncture, tui-na massage, and energetic exercises to restore imbalances found in the body. Therefore, your diagnosis and treatment will depend on a number of variables including:
Is the headache behind your eyes and temples, or is it located more on the top of your head?
When do your headaches occur (i.e. night, morning, after eating)?
Do you find that a cold compress or a darkened room can alleviate some of the pain?
Is the pain dull and throbbing, or sharp and piercing?
Your answers to these questions will help your practitioner create a treatment plan specifically for you. The basic foundation for Oriental medicine is that there is a life energy flowing through the body which is termed Qi (pronounced chee). This energy flows through the body on channels known as meridians that connect all of our major organs. According to Oriental medical theory, illness or pain arises when the cyclical flow of Qi in the meridians becomes unbalanced. Acupuncture stimulates specific points located on or near the surface of the skin to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions that cause aches and pains or illness.
The length, number and frequency of treatments will vary. Typical treatments last from five to 30 minutes, with the patient being treated one or two times a week. Some headaches, migraines and related symptoms are relieved after the first treatment, while more severe or chronic ailments often require multiple treatments.
Do you or someone you know suffer from headaches or migraines? Call today to find out how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you!
Headaches Dramatically Reduced by Acupuncture
Since the early seventies, studies around the globe have suggested that acupuncture is an effective treatment for migraines and headaches.
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center analyzed the results of more than 30 studies on acupuncture as a pain reliever for a variety of ailments, including chronic headaches. They found that acupuncture decreases pain with fewer side effects and can be less expensive than medication. Researchers found that using acupuncture as an alternative for pain relief also reduced the need for post-operative pain medications.
In a study published in the November 1999 issue of Cephalalgia, scientists evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of migraines and recurrent headaches by systematically reviewing 22 randomized controlled trials. A total of 1,042 patients were examined. It was found that headache and migraine sufferers experienced significantly more relief from acupuncture than patients who were administered “sham” acupuncture.
A clinical observation, published in a 2002 edition of the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, studied 50 patients presenting with various types of headaches who were treated with scalp acupuncture. The results of this study showed that 98 percent of patients treated with scalp acupuncture experienced no headaches or only occasional, mild headaches in the six months following care.
In a case study, published in the June 2003 Issue of Medical Acupuncture, doctors found that acupuncture resulted in the resolution or reduction in the frequency and severity of cluster headaches, and a decrease or discontinuation of pain medications. It was concluded that acupuncture can be used to provide sustained relief from cluster headaches and to stimulate the body’s natural production of adrenal cortisol to aid in discontinuing corticosteroids.
According to the July 2005 issue of the British Medical Journal, a randomized controlled trial in Germany found that acupuncture cut tension headache rates almost in half. Researchers divided 270 patients who reported similarly severe tension headaches into three groups for the study. Over the project’s eight-week period, one group received traditional acupuncture, one received only minimal acupuncture, and the third group received neither treatment. Those receiving the traditional acupuncture reported headache rates of nearly half that of those who received no treatments, suffering 7 fewer days of headaches. The minimal acupuncture group suffered 6.6 fewer days, and the non-acupuncture group suffered 1.5 fewer days. The improvements continued for months after the treatments were concluded, rising slightly as time went on.
They say that when you have aches and pains, you should stay active to keep the blood flowing and the muscles working. Often people will suggest stretching and exercising, but plenty of times we can be in so much pain that even thinking about doing Yoga or Zumba hurts. We’ve tried the pills, the acupuncture, and the balms, but we still have pain.
There have been many advances in pain management, one of the most effective methods to reduce pain without any pills, needles, or even movement is MLS Laser Therapy. Essentially, it’s a high powered ray of light that stimulates cell growth and cell function. Because it gives your cells a jumpstart, pain is reduced, and because there are no side effects, it can increase your ability to heal more quickly and take part in physical activities and physical therapies. There are dozens of scientific studies to confirm this.
- No Side Effects
- Non Invasive
- Pain Free
- Feel Relief in as little as one treatment
- Improves nerve function
- Improves microcirculation at cellular level
- Improves tissue regeneration
Dr. Julio Contreras, 74, has been treating pain for over 40 years, and he, as well as his son, work with Om’echaye providing medical services. When I sat down with Dr. Julio Contreras, my first impression was that I was meeting with a calm and caring man. As we began speaking, I realized that I was in the presence of greatness. This man was a military doctor for thirty years. He rose to the rank of Colonel (one of the very highest). When he retired from the military, he was the Medical Director of the Armed Forces Hospital in Caracas Venezuela. I understood that this man had been treating the most serious types of pain his whole life. When he came to the United States, he had an even more difficult situation to deal with.
“I knew about the benefits of the laser about three years ago. My wife has lumbar spinal problems, with three herniated discs. Last year in October I received an invitation in Aventura hospital for a treatment with laser therapy for my wife. I took my wife to the appointment, and she received one treatment with the machine. With only one treatment she felt better. Because of this, I did more research on Cutting Edge Technologies (the laser machine brand). The company sent a person to speak with my son and me about the benefits of the machine. Because of this my son decided to buy the machine last December. My wife is better. Sometimes she feels pain, and I give her one or two treatments, and she feels better for months.”
Dr. Contreras and his son chose to purchase this machine because it was helping their wife and mother. After its success, they wanted to bring this therapy to others, which is why it was brought to Om’echaye. Two doctors, over half a century of experience between them, chose this treatment for their closest relative. For acute problems like tennis elbow, shoulder pain, post-surgery or trauma, MLS laser therapy will cause pain to fully subside after about three treatments. It’s even effective for chronic illness like herniated discs, bursitis of shoulder, ligament or muscle tear, neck pain, arthrosis of the hips, knee and ankle, and hands.
Perhaps we are recovering from a surgery and the pain still just has not subsided. Perhaps we might need a surgery if the pain doesn’t stop, but would much rather not put ourselves through such a heavy procedure. What options do we have? MLS Laser therapy is the answer.
By Samson Hertz
Photo of Samson Hertz and Susan Farkas
Every living thing needs fuel to survive. Most plants are nourished by the sun. Some deep-sea life feed off of minerals expelled from beneath the earth’s crust. Most animals, we humans included, require the consumption of nutrients through food. Every part of our body must be maintained by a steady flow of raw materials and fuel to keep going – proteins, sugars, amino acids, and minerals. Digestion breaks food down into many smaller parts, and our body sends these building blocks where they are needed. Our cells are like mini factories that use these blocks to do things like sweat, breathe, grow hair, bleed, shed skin, heal bones, and even make children. The products in our food literally become us, hence the phrase, “you are what you eat”!
One of Om’echaye’s founders and partners, Susan Farkas, has dedicated her life and career to developing a deep understanding of how this process shapes our lives. She has a profound love and respect for the nutritional arts, and has designed proven methods to magnify the positive aspects of food intake. She has brought these methods to Om’echaye to help us reconfigure our approach to food, specifically with programs like her Seven-Day-Cleanse, 21-Day Healthy Weight Loss Program, the Om’Diet, and others. However, let me be clear in her intentions:
"I don’t do diets"
“I don’t do diets. I do lifestyle. This should be the last ‘diet’ in your life. I change relationships with food. Cooking is a must. We must choose our food carefully and with intention, and create recipes with intention. Eating is an opportunity to introduce vital information to your body’s cells. I help people understand what is ‘good food’. –Susan Farkas.
I see Susan as a teacher. Through participating in her programs, I found myself learning not just about what and how to eat, but also about my own internal psyche. It’s amazing to see how what you consume will affect your mood and personality. She concentrates on foods that feel good to eat and empower your body to feel awake, energetic, and alive.
Susan works in the field of “Integrative Medicine”. Integrative medicine is a field that combines both eastern and western practices and healing philosophies in order to create the best road to health and wellness. It is not just about healing a current ailment or masking symptoms. Rather, it is about preventative medicine, and more importantly, it is about boosting your body’s natural healing abilities.
“Allow the innate ability of the body to heal itself. The question is: are you giving your body the raw material, the nutrients to do so?” -Susan Farkas
If you think about it, nature is remarkable. We are extremely complex beings – some scientists even say that that human brain is the most complex facet of our entire universe – and we owe it all to nature. Susan aims to unlock the powers of nature and return us to ancient wisdoms through food. Humans have been developing medical practices for millennia without all of the mechanical and pharmaceutical technologies that we have now. Susan believes that we can take lessons from ancient teachings like Traditional Chinese Medicine, such as fine-tuning how we nourish our bodies, and integrate that with modern western medicine.
“In Chinese medicine, food is part of your diagnosis. Food becomes one of your healing methods. It is one of the most important tools in prescribing.” -Susan Farkas
Her attitude towards healing, wellness and life in general is to take the best parts and leave the rest aside, and that is reflected in her delicious Mediterranean recipes. Without bogging down the body with fats and sugars that slow you down, there is a way to still keep a high level of taste. Without overloading the body with salts, there is still away to have a satisfied stomach. We all know that it’s better to eat less, but there is a way to do it without constantly feeling hungry. To achieve this balance takes someone like Susan, who cares about food and cares about people. She has masterfully struck these balances in her food programs.
During my cleanse diet, something unusual happened. I ate the meals, and physically felt full, but for some reason I was still hungry. I asked Susan why that was, and she replied that that is a natural thing. She said that we become addicted to sugars and to feeling a certain type of fullness. What the detox taught me was that I have to learn to listen to my body’s natural cues. I must ask my stomach, “are you really hungry, or do you just feel like eating?”
I think that one of the beauties of this program is that you end up learning by experience. If I want to keep eating good and healthy food like this, I have to shop and cook myself. If want to keep this eating schedule, I have to precook my meals and have things ready for the day, or at least block out dedicated cooking time. It taught me to become a mindful eater. I wholly recommend these food programs to anyone who would like to learn how to eat better, get a little structure in their lives, or just to get healthier. It aids in weight loss, and certainly teaches you about yourself. You realize your own strengths and limitations, and begin to become more inspired to lead a healthy life. Susan Farkas is truly a genius when it comes to living a nutritious lifestyle, and she is a pillar of Om’echaye Wellness.
“I love Om’echaye. We dreamt it together, and made this happen. We want to change the world. We believe in what we do, and it’s great to see it all happening almost six years after. I deal with food. I love cooking, and I love food. If I change one mom, I change the whole house. This is not just about nutrition, it is about integrative living. It is living by integrating food, diet, exercise and wellness, with self-care and self-love.” Susan Farkas
Have you had a chance to read our alternative medicine specialist’s latest blog yet? If you have, then you already understand what a Vitamin D deficiency is, how it can affect you and how it is diagnosed. There are many issues that can arise from a Vitamin D deficiency, and unfortunately, some are at a much higher risk than others to get it. The following is a list of the most common causes for Vitamin D deficiency:
You don’t consume enough Vitamin D.
In addition to getting your Vitamin D from the sun, there are many natural sources that you could get it from, but unfortunately for vegans, many of them are animal based, like fortified milk, egg yolks, fish, cheese and beef liver. If you have omitted these kinds of foods from your diet completely, you are putting yourself at a higher risk for Vitamin D deficiency.
You have limited exposure to the sun.
The main source of Vitamin D is from the sun, but if your skin isn’t exposed to the sun, you aren’t likely to get enough Vitamin D.
Fat cells can alter the way that Vitamin D is released into the bloodstream, so it makes sense that people with higher BMIs often have low levels of Vitamin D in their blood.
Your skin is dark.
Melanin, which is what gives dark skin its color, hinders the skin’s ability to produce Vitamin D. That is why people with dark skin, especially if they are older, have an increased risk for Vitamin D deficiency.
Are you at risk for Vitamin D deficiency? If so, contact us today to learn about our functional blood tests.
Animal proteins should be limited in diet to let a process called methylation to take place which is extremely important for our health. Whether the process of methylation is really affected by the intake of animal proteins shall be discussed here.
Nutrients are never completely harmful. Some nutrients are more actively passive against the human body and some are more compatible, but both consist of some form of purposeful health traits. An example would be the need to balance muscle meats with vegetables, organ meats, skin, and bones. All diets, whether the core ingredient being animal foods, plant foods, or somewhere in between, emphasized on the well-being of the human being consuming it. This article focuses on why methylation is harmed by animal protein taken excessively and also what we can consume to maintain a healthy life not affecting the process of methylation.
A methyl group is nothing but a carbon bound by three hydrogen atoms. Like all living beings, we are made of compounds containing carbon, hence we are organic compounds. The addition or subtraction of single carbons plays a role in regulating different things within our cells, and is important to hundreds of health effects. Methylation is important for growth, healing, preventing cancer, lengthening life span, and optimizing mental, emotional, and physical health.
The nutrients important to methylation are vitamin B12 and methionine. Vitamin B12 is B vitamin that is found exclusively in animal products, in shellfish and the dark flesh of fin fish.
Homocysteine is a reaction caused by animal protein to methyl groups that causes it to have negative effects on the body. It is dangerous, and homocysteine is, moreover, not capable of donating methyl groups. The role of folate and vitamin B12 is folate passes a methyl group to vitamin B12, and vitamin B12 passes that same methyl group to homocysteine, thereby converting homocysteine back to methionine. This emphasizes the need to balance muscle meats with the skin and bones that are naturally attached to them.
The question that is posed here is this: Is it better to achieve this balance by restricting methionine, or is it better to achieve this balance by adding vitamin B12?
Restricting methionine is one method of preventing homocysteine from accumulating. Supplying the nutrients that synergize with methionine prevents homocysteine from accumulating and allows the synthesis of these three incredibly important compounds.
Glycine and vitamin B6 are needed to allow methionine to provide to the synthesis of glutathione. A diet of fruits and vegetables increases the synthesis of glutathione, increasing the amount of the amino acids needed to synthesize glutathione.
The more practical method of practice is to balance the meat that you are consuming with leafy green vegetables. You should consume food that is not restricted by social and cultural ties as there is a reason these food types are restricted. Eat a balanced diet and eat what your body feels is appropriate.
Animal proteins are definitely a not harmful food as long is balanced with other traditional foods. Hence instead of completely going vegetarian to protect your methylation, consume what you need to consume and having a balanced diet is most important.