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Jul 30
Natural Sleep Aids: Acupuncture, Massage & Yoga
Posted by mbsilbs in Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Live Well Newsletter Articles on 07 30th, 2009| icon3Comments Off on Natural Sleep Aids: Acupuncture, Massage & Yoga

Natural Sleep Aids

Natural sleep aids, along with “alternative remedies,” are viewed by many people with skepticism. They bring to mind images of witch doctors, shamans, tonic peddlers, and those “miracle” vitamins and gadgets that are hawked on late-night TV ads. We are justified in being skeptical of products that promise cures and carry no proof of effectiveness other than testimonials from people who refer to the pricey product as “magical” or “miraculous.” Most of the magic is in the form of smoke and mirrors designed to sucker you into spending your hard-earned cash.

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­Such scams, unfortunately, can mask the fact that there are a few alternative approaches that may very well help you manage your health and, in particular, your sleep. Some of these alternatives may be less expensive and may be easier on the body than pharmaceutical options. That’s not to say that all alternative remedies are necessarily effective, are less costly than medication, or are free of side effects.

Nor should they be relied on to combat serious sleep disorders or insomnia that causes severe daytime fatigue; such conditions require medical intervention. But some alternative therapies may help in combating insomnia caused by stress. Indeed, nearly all the remedies discussed in this article are aimed at helping you to relax so that sleep comes more easily.

On the next page, learn about how acupuncture works, along with the benefit of acupuncture on sleep.

Acupuncture and Sleep Disorders

Acupuncture, a form of alternative medicine, is becoming an increasingly popular method to treat many medical conditions, including sleep disorders. Acupuncture dates back thousands of years and is rooted in Eastern healing practices. It’s based on a concept that all disease, including sleep problems, is the result of an imbalance of subtle energy moving throughout the body. This energy moves along 14 pathways in the body called meridians. Through the ages, practitioners have identified and charted these meridians. Treatment by an acupuncturist involves inserting very fine needles at various points along these meridians to increase, decrease, or balance the energy flow.

In the Western scientific community, there is a great deal of skepticism about the use of acupuncture, mainly because there have not been a lot of well-designed, well-controlled studies proving its effectiveness. The National Institutes of Health, however, has recently stated that there is enough evidence to indicate that acupuncture can be helpful in controlling nausea and certain types of pain.

Acupuncture has also been suggested — and in the East, used — as a remedy for insomnia, although scientific proof of this particular benefit is lacking. Still, acupuncture might be worth a try, especially for people suffering from chronic pain that affects their ability to get enough restful sleep.

Most people have heard about someone who has been helped by acupuncture but are reluctant to try it themselves because they fear having needles inserted into their body. But the consensus of most people who have used acupuncture is that the procedure causes little or no discomfort, and many swear by the benefits they’ve received. Side effects from acupuncture are also rare and appear to result mostly from treatment by unqualified practitioners.

If you decide to try acupuncture for your sleep problems, seek out a licensed practitioner, if your state governs this profession, or one certified by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncturists. In addition, check to be sure the acupuncturist uses sterile, disposable needles, to decrease any risk of transmission of blood-borne infectious organisms.

A close cousin of acupuncture is acupressure. Acupressure relies on the same meridian points as acupuncture, but finger pressure, rather than a needle, is used to stimulate points along the meridians to increase, decrease, or balance the energy running through the body.

Massage and Sleep Disorders

Massage is often used to help babies sleep, and it can be useful in treating sleep disorders in adults. Massage is one of several hands-on strategies known collectively as bodywork. And if you’ve ever had a good, thorough massage, you know the feeling of being “worked over.” But you also know how relaxing it can be.

The benefits of massage are many. It is regularly used in sports clinics and rehabilitation centers to loosen or soothe sore, aching muscles. Massage also helps to reduce stress, improve circulation, release tension, lower heart rate and blood pressure, and possibly even strengthen the immune system. These relaxing effects may therefore make massage a helpful aid in restoring restful sleep. Massage may be especially beneficial in treating sleeping problems that stem from stress, migraine headache, pain, and muscle and joint stiffness.

You might want to spring for a massage from a professional. One session may be all it takes to get you hooked. If you do opt for a professional massage, be sure to tell the practitioner if you have any particular illness or injury that they should be aware of, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia.

One of the good things about massage, of course, is that you don’t have to visit a professional to capture its benefits. You can ask your partner, friend, or family member for a soothing rubdown. You can also give yourself a mini massage, focusing on the muscle groups that are within reach. Using small, circular movements with your fingers and hands, you can massage your scalp, forehead, face, neck and upper shoulders, lower back, arms, legs, and feet. There are also a variety of massaging devices available in various price ranges that can help extend your reach or provide soothing heat as well as relaxing vibrations.

Homemade Massage Oil

Oil allows your hands to move freely over the body during massage. While a variety of massage oils are on the market, you can also make your own. Choose a vegetable-based oil that has little or no scent of its own. Almond oil is a good choice because it is light and odorless. Avoid olive oil, which is too heavy and pungent. Then, to enhance the experience, you can add a few drops of an aromatic essential oil, such as lavender or chamomile, both of which tend to have a relaxing effect.

Yoga and Sleep Disorders

Yoga, which deals with the energy of the mind and body, can help alleviate sleep disorders. Most people have heard of yoga, but relatively few in the United States have ever practiced this ancient self-healing art. Although often associated with Eastern religions and practices, it is increasingly being adopted by Westerners for its numerous benefits. The most notable of these are increased circulation, better flexibility of muscles and joints, relaxation, and improved sleep.

Yoga is based on the principle that the mind, body, and spirit work in unison. If the body is sick, it affects the mind and spirit. If the mind is chronically restless and agitated, the health of the body and spirit will be affected. And if the spirit is depleted, the mind and body will suffer. There are many forms of yoga, many of which use various poses that incorporate stretching and breathing exercises to integrate mind, body, and spirit. (Don’t worry: You don’t have to lay on a bed of nails or twist your body into a pretzel shape to achieve yoga’s benefits.)

Yoga can help with sleep problems by loosening tight muscles, releasing tension, and putting you into a deep state of relaxation. But it’s a type of relaxation that requires fixed attention to work well. The breathing and stretching exercises are designed to slow down your racing thoughts and pull you into the present moment. The practice of yoga helps stem the flow of stress hormones that your body produces when you are under stress. Indeed, when your body, mind, and spirit are connected and relaxed, you are more resilient to stress. You will also undoubtedly sleep better.

Try one of these exercises before getting into bed to enhance relaxation:

  • Lie on the floor or a bed with your arms near your sides and your legs slightly parted. Relax your entire body by letting it sink into the floor or bed. Breathe in slowly through your nose, and pull the air deeply into your lungs until you feel your abdomen rise. Slowly exhale. Be attentive to how your body feels as you breathe in and out. Repeat with as many breaths as you need to feel calm.
  • Sitting comfortably in a straight-backed chair, with your back supported and legs uncrossed, practice the same breathing technique mentioned in the previous exercise. After two or three deep breaths, raise your hands above your head and stretch as if you were trying to touch the ceiling. Continue breathing while you stretch. Be attentive to how your body and your mind feel as you breathe. Repeat until you feel more relaxed and ready to sleep.
  • Standing, with your feet shoulder-width apart, inhale deeply, clasp your hands together and raise them above your head, and gently raise up on your toes. Stretch your whole body upward. Exhale slowly as you bring your arms back down to your sides and lower your heels to the floor. Repeat one or two more times.

Don’t Forget to Breathe!

Have you ever noticed that when you are tense, you sometimes forget to breathe? When we are under stress, our muscles instinctively tense. Tight muscles, especially in the chest, shoulders, and abdomen, restrict the flow of oxygen into the lungs and make breathing more shallow. Shallow breathing allows less oxygen to reach the brain, which can actually decrease alertness and increase fatigue. The remedy: Remember to breathe. One of the best things you can do when you’re stressed is to take a few slow, deep breaths to bring more oxygen to your brain and help release those tight chest and abdominal muscles.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Virgil D. Wooten, M.D., is the medical director of the TriHealth Sleep Centers at Good Samaritan and Bethesda North hospitals in Cincinnati. He is also a diplomat of the American Board of Sleep Medicine, a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and a consultant, writer, and speaker on sleep-related subjects. Dr. Wooten has more than 25 years of research, clinical and teaching experie

Jul 30
Foot Levelers ® Custom Made Orthotics
Posted by DWSadmin in Chiropractic on 07 30th, 2009| icon3Comments Off on Foot Levelers ® Custom Made Orthotics

Foundation of Your Body

Your feet are the foundation of your body. They support you when you stand, walk, or run. And they help protect your spine, bones, and soft tissues from damaging stress as you move around. Your feet perform better when all their muscles, arches, and bones are in their ideal stable positions.

The foot is constructed with three arches which, when properly maintained, give exceptional supportive strength. These three arches form a supporting vault that distributes the weight of the entire body.

If there is compromise of one arch in the foot, the other arches must compensate and are subject to additional stresses, which usually leads to further compromise.

It’s a chain reaction.

Healthcare professionals know alleviating pain in one part of your body often requires treating a different part. The pain you feel in your neck could be caused by a misalignment in your spine that is caused by unbalanced positioning in your feet. See? It’s a chain reaction.

By stabilizing and balancing your feet, Foot Levelers orthotics enhance your body’s performance and efficiency, reduce pain, and contribute to your total body wellness. Our orthotics complement your healthcare professional’s treatment when you stand, walk, and live your active life.

Everything changes when your feet hit the ground!

Call today for your complimentary digital foot analysis, (952) 746-8150.

Jul 30
Stop Dreaming About Quality Sleep and Do Something!
Posted by mbsilbs in Uncategorized on 07 30th, 2009| icon3Comments Off on Stop Dreaming About Quality Sleep and Do Something!

Stop Dreaming About Quality Sleep and Do Something!
media_photo_sleep_stopdreamAn old Chinese proverb states, “Only when one cannot sleep does one know how long the night is.” Anyone who’s ever experienced an occasional bout with insomnia-and that’s most of us-can relate to this all too well.

In fact, surveys have shown that between 40 and 60 percent of the general population has trouble sleeping. Daily stress and worries, pressures from job and family, body aches and pains caused by uncomfortable beds or pillows, and a host of other issues can keep a person from getting enough quality sleep.

Sleep is critical to good health and functioning, so lack of it is a serious matter. “Sleep is one of the most important functions of the brain,” says Frederick R. Carrick, DC, PhD, president of the American Chiropractic Association’s Council on Neurology. Through it, our bodies recharge and renew for the next day’s challenges.
As wellness experts, doctors of chiropractic can provide patients with a different approach to their sleeping problems- without the use of sleeping pills, which leave many people in a mental haze the next morning. To start, here are a few helpful tips they would recommend for the sleepless in Seattle (or any city, for that matter):
Exercise regularly. Exercising in the morning is best, but if you must exercise in the evening, do so at least two or three hours before bedtime. Any later, and your increased heart rate can interfere with your sleep.
Limit your intake of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, colas and tea-try to avoid them altogether late in the day and near bedtime. In addition, for each cup of caffeinated beverages you drink each day, drink an equal amount of water.
If you have trouble sleeping and then get thirsty, drink tap water at room temperature (cold water may disturb the digestive system).
Eat an early dinner. Eating after 6 p.m. may interfere with sleep as your body works to digest the food you’ve eaten.
Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. The routine will help your body know when it is time to rest.
Keep your bedroom at a cool, comfortable temperature and try to make it as dark as possible when you’re ready for bed.
Creating a comfortable place to sleep by choosing the correct mattress and pillow is also essential to getting the quality sleep that your body needs to function at its best.

A mattress, for instance, should support the body’s weight evenly and allow the spine to stay in its natural alignment. Choosing the right one is a personal matter.

“There are a wide variety of comfort preferences. It’s very subjective,” says Brian Darcy, operations manager for Springwall, the manufacturer of premium-quality Chiropractic® sleep sets that ACA has endorsed for the past 38 years.

But regardless of whether you like your mattress firm or soft, give it a good trial run before you buy. Darcy recommends lying down on a mattress for a minimum of three to five minutes to get a good feel. Sitting on it simply won’t do.

Useful mattress facts…
A mattress should provide uniform support from head to toe. If there are gaps between your body and your mattress (such as at the waist), you’re not getting the full support that you need.
If you do have back pain and your mattress is too soft, you might want to firm up the support of your mattress by placing a board underneath it. But do this just until the pain goes away; such firmness is not good for “routine” sleeping.
Every few months, turn your mattress clockwise, or upside down, so that body indentations are kept to a minimum. It’s also good to rotate the mattress frame every so often to reduce wear and tear.
If you’re waking up uncomfortable, it may be time for a new mattress. There is no standard life span for a mattress; it all depends on the kind of usage it gets.
Be aware that changes in your life can signal the need for a new mattress. For example, if you’ve lost or gained a lot of weight, if a medical condition has changed the way you sleep, or even if you have changed partners, it could mean that it’s time to find a new mattress that will accommodate those changes and help you sleep more soundly.
If you’re not in the market for a new mattress, and your current mattress is too firm, you can soften it up by putting a 1- to 2-inch-thick padding on top of it – usually available at mattress and bedding stores.
Next, pillow talk…
After investing in a quality mattress, don’t forget to choose an equally supportive pillow, advises Peter Mckay, DC, who is in private practice in San Diego and also works as a consultant for Innovative Choices, the maker of the Therapeutica Pillow-another ACA-endorsed product. “People will spend thousands of dollars on a mattress and then skimp on a pillow that doesn’t support their head and neck properly,” he observes. A good pillow will keep the cervical (neck) section of the spine aligned with the thoracic and lumbar (chest and lower back) sections. “[The sections] move together and should be supported together.”
When choosing a pillow, be selective. When lying on your side, your head and neck should remain level with your mid and lower spine. When lying on your back, your head and neck should remain level with your upper back and spine. In other words, your pillow should not be so thick that it causes your head and neck to be propped up or angled sharply away from your body.
Be wary of pillows that are made out of mushy foam materials. The weight of your head can displace this kind of foam, leaving little support. Choose firmer foam and materials that press back and support the head.
If you find yourself sleeping on your side with one hand propped under your pillow, that’s a clue that you’re not getting the support you need from that pillow.
There is no such thing as a universal fit when it comes to pillows. Find one that is consistent with the shape and size of your body.
Chiropractic Care Can Help…
If you continue to experience pain and discomfort at night or have difficulty falling asleep, visit your doctor of chiropractic. Doctors of chiropractic are trained to treat spinal problems that can interfere with a restful night’s sleep.

They can also offer nutritional and ergonomic advice that can help improve the quality of your sleep.

Jul 29
OPEN HOUSE! Visit Us ~ Wednesday, October 28th!
Posted by mbsilbs in Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Diet and Nutrition, Live Well Newsletter Articles, Spa and Beauty, Specials, TEAM Live Well on 07 29th, 2009| icon3Comments Off on OPEN HOUSE! Visit Us ~ Wednesday, October 28th!

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