November 23, 2011

Resolve to get healthier this year!

Happy New Year!  It’s resolution time and some of you might be wishing for better health this year.  Read below for my top 5 list of healthy changes you can make that will have a big impact on your health.

  1. Quit Smoking. You will immediately reduce your risk for heart attack, stroke and lung disease.  Your lungs will begin to heal the damage caused by smoking and you’ll be less vulnerable to viral and bacterial lung infections.
  2. Quit Drinking Soda. Sodas contain ridiculous amounts of sugar and high fructose corn syrup which means they are a significant source of empty calories.  Not to mention they are often highly acidic, causing damage to your digestive tract.  Replace with water or, if you must, sparkling water and a dash of unsweetened fruit juice.
  3. Move Your Body. Slowly and steadily increase the amount of aerobic exercise each week to improve lung capacity, heart rate, blood pressure, immune response, digestion, sleep, mood and even your sex drive!  Not sure where to start?  How about these suggestions for winter exercise:  snowshoe or cross-country ski with friends on the weekends or start swimming at your local pool.
  4. Eat More Whole Foods. Start filling your grocery carts with foods at the periphery of the store – fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, whole grains (often found in bulk).  The foods in the middle of the store tend to be highly processed, making them higher in fat, sugar/high fructose corn syrup and salt.  Whole foods have everything you need in a completely natural, unprocessed package.
  5. Chill Out. Don’t underestimate the impact of deep relaxation on your body and mind.  Like exercise, regular meditation, yoga, prayer, relaxation, visualization or self-hypnosis can improve digestion, sleep and mood.  It matters less how you relax and more that you make time for this crucial element of health in your life.

Most of these changes will take commitment and willpower, some of them will take asking others for support and help, but any or all are guaranteed to lead to a healthier you in the months to come.  How can acupuncture help?  Acupuncture treatments can help you quit smoking, help reduce anxiety or depression that may block you from making changes, help reduce joint and body pain so you can get moving again and help improve digestion so that you can get the most out of all those yummy whole foods you’ll be eating.

Ready to get started?  Click here if you’d like to make an appointment online or call us at 924-6624.

November 2, 2011

5 Tips for a Healthy Cold and Flu Season

Ah, yes, it’s that time of year again.  Everyone around you is getting colds, some have already had a flu, and you want to do everything you can to avoid being ill.  While some viruses will be unavoidable and you probably will have at least one cold before the season is out, following these simple steps may help keep you healthier this winter:

  1. Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands! Cliché but true, washing your hands is the single best way to stop the spread of germs.  Scrub your hands with soap under hot running water for at least 10 seconds (about the time it takes to sing Yankee Doodle Dandy) and take advantage of any hand sanitizer available in public places, preferably after you’ve touched the door knob and before you touch your face, mouth or nose.
  2. Get moderate exercise. Moderate exercise (not too little – like walking from the fridge to the couch, or too much – like training for an ultra marathon) has been shown to result in a healthier immune system.
  3. Get enough sleep. Modern humans are famous for getting too little sleep.  If you tend to burn the candle at both ends, try to take extra good care of yourself while everyone else is getting sick and if you suffer from insomnia, now is a good time to get treatment or try a new remedy if what you’re using isn’t working.  Sleep is when your body does its best healing and repair, which includes hunting down viral particles, so it is crucial to good health.
  4. Disinfect surfaces in your home and office. Disinfect phones, door knobs, computer keyboards and any other place touched by multiple people during the day.
  5. See your acupuncturist for a “tune-up” and a bottle of his or her favorite cold remedy. As the seasons shift, our bodies may need a little help adjusting to changes in light and temperature.  Having an acupuncture treatment early in the season can tap into your body’s self-regulating mechanism and help it transition from fall to winter.  It’s a good time to stock up on natural cold remedies too, so they are in your medicine cabinet just when you need them.

Wishing you a healthy, joyous and prosperous 2011!  Click here to make an appointment online or call us at 924-6624.

October 8, 2011

Acupuncture for Your Aching Back

It seems like everyone, at some point in their lives, will experience some degree of pain in the lower back.  For some, it’s just a twinge after lifting something heavy, shoveling snow, hauling wood or doing too much yard work.  For others, that first twinge turns into chronic pain that can interfere with sleep, standing, sitting, activity, exercise or work, causing them to seek some kind of treatment.  If you’ve never had back pain before, your first thought might be to mention it to your doctor.  He or she might prescribe ice, rest and a non-steroidal ant-inflammatory drug (aspirin, ibuprofen, acetominophen), or might order an x-ray or MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging, a test that provides a much more detailed image than x-ray), or refer you to a Physical Therapist, Orthopedic Surgeon or Pain Specialist.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that he or she will suggest that you try acupuncture until you have exhausted more conventional therapies.  This is too bad for a number of reasons:

  1. Acupuncture is much more effective when used as an early treatment for any kind of pain – the longer you wait to get treatment for pain, the more likely it is to become chronic.
  2. You do not need a specific diagnosis for your back pain in order to get relief from acupuncture – while you are waiting for a diagnosis to be made, acupuncture can provide pain relief.
  3. Recent clinical research has shown acupuncture to be more effective in treating back pain than conventional therapies, including surgery.
  4. The risk of side effects from acupuncture are minimal, especially when compared to the side effects of painkillers, anti-inflammatories, injections and surgery.
  5. Results can be immediate – I have seen many patients walk out feeling 25-50% better after just one treatment.
  6. Acupuncture is a great adjunct to just about any other treatment:  chiropractic, massage therapy, physical therapy, etc.

We also offer free consultations, over the phone or in person, to answer your questions and help you figure out if acupuncture is the right treatment for you.

Ready to make an appointment?  Click here to make one online or call our office at 924-6624.

December 8, 2010

A Traditional Chinese Medicine Approach to Fertility

Fertility vs. Infertility

The word infertile means unable to conceive.  Unless you know for sure that you cannot ever conceive a child, we think it’s important to begin focusing on your potential to conceive, rather than on the lack of potential.  Western fertility clinics will tell you what percentage of their patients get pregnant and won’t accept you as a patient unless they believe you can get pregnant with the help of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or other procedures.  In a Chinese medicine clinic like mine, however, helping you become pregnant is not our only goal.  We use acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to improve your general health and vitality so that you are more likely to conceive, carry and deliver a healthy baby, and no patient is turned away due to age or diagnosis.  While no one can guarantee you a pregnancy or a baby, we can promise you a careful and honest assessment of your fertility through the lens of Chinese medicine and make recommendations for lifestyle changes, diet adjustments, acupuncture and herbal therapies that will enhance your fertility.

Treatment for Both Partners

Most of our fertility patients are women and usually they are already well aware of the reproductive issues that are blocking conception.  Conception, however, requires both egg and sperm, so treating only the female half of a couple ignores an important part of the equation.  In about 40% of couples with difficulty conceiving, there is a problem with the male partner’s sperm.  If left undiscovered and untreated, problems with sperm can delay pregnancy for several years.   I routinely recommend that both partners receive a medical evaluation of their fertility andthat both receive treatment with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.

Female Fertility

With women, our initial conversation revolves around the details of your menstrual cycle, gynecological health, previous pregnancies and the results of any fertility tests or treatments.  If you have been using basal body temperature (BBT) charts and/or ovulation predictor kits (OPK) to pinpoint your most fertile days, I’ll ask you to bring your charts to each appointment.  Because BBT charts give us clues about how your reproductive organs are functioning, they can be extremely helpful in arriving at the correct Chinese diagnosis and treatment plan.  We recommend weekly acupuncture sessions and daily herbal medicine* for 4 to 6 menstrual cycles, during which your cycles should become more regular and symptoms of hormonal imbalance like ovulation pain, PMS, painful or heavy periods should lessen or resolve.

If you’ve already decided to try intrauterine insemination (IUI) or IVF treatment, you can still benefit from acupuncture.  Studies have shown that acupuncture may increase the odds of pregnancy with IVF by about 20% – 40%.  Typically, it’s best if we begin treatment one to two months before an IUI or IVF cycle, and continue weekly until insemination or embryo transfer.  A specific treatment protocol is offered before and/or after embryo transfer (IVF only) to help relax the uterus.  Following insemination or embryo transfer, we focus on calming your mind and easing anxiety while you wait to find out if you are pregnant.

Male Fertility

We recommend that men have a sperm analysis done as soon as you both suspect there is an issue with trying to conceive and/or if he is over 40.  If the analysis reveals an issue with sperm count, motility (movement) or morphology (shape), then it is important for him to receive treatment too.  It takes about 90 days for new sperm to generate, so the treatment received today will take at least that long to begin showing measurable results.  In some cases weekly acupuncture visits and daily Chinese herbal medicine are needed, in other cases daily herbal medicine along with one acupuncture treatment right before ovulation or sperm donation (for IUI or IVF) is enough.

Vitality and a Healthy Pregnancy

Whenever reproductive dysfunction keeps you from conceiving, your body is telling you that all is not well.  Even when your fertility problems are “unexplained” by conventional testing, there may be signs and symptoms that point to energetic imbalances that can be addressed with Chinese medicine.  The healthier you and your partner become, the more likely you are to conceive a child.  The healthier you both are at the time of conception, the better environment you provide for your growing baby.

Once a pregnancy has been confirmed, you may choose to continue treatment with acupuncture for anxiety, morning sickness, insomnia, the aches and pains that accompany any pregnancy or, toward the end of your pregnancy, as pre-birth treatment to help your body prepare for labor and delivery.

To find out more about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can enhance fertility, or to make an appointment, please call us at 603-924-6624.

July 7, 2010

Acupuncture on Vacation? Tips for Continuing Treatment While You Are Away from Home

So you’ve been having consistent acupuncture treatment and you are feeling so much better – good for you! However, your summer vacation is coming up and you are worried about missing your regular treatment(s) and inviting those troubling symptoms back into your life. What should you do?

  1. Don’t panic and don’t cancel your vacation!  The health benefits of vacation, both mental/emotional and physical far outweigh the ill effects of a small gap in treatment.
  2. Ask your acupuncturist if he/she knows of another good acupuncturist close to where you will be vacationing.  If not, try an online referral service like www.acufinder.com where you can look acupuncturists up by zip code, read about a practitioner’s credentials and specialties, get contact information and be sure that the practitioner is legit.
  3. No acupuncturists listed in the area where you’ll be?  You may still be able to find someone local who just doesn’t advertise online.  Be sure to ask if the practitioner is a Licensed Acupuncturist in that state or province (MDs and chiropractors who perform acupuncture typically have much less extensive acupuncture training than Lic Ac’s), ask what style of acupuncture he/she practices (your own acupuncturist can tell you what style you’ve been receiving and you may want to stick with that if you’ve had good results) and ask about cost and/or insurance coverage if that’s important to you.  Note:  Whenever you are seen by a new practitioner, that person will need to evaluate you, so it will be considered a first-time appointment – anything else could be considered malpractice!
  4. If no acupuncture will be available or if you won’t be in one place long enough to make an appointment with another acupuncturist, ask your practitioner if there are things you can do while you are away to keep from sliding back and experiencing an increase in symptoms.   He or she may give you breathing or relaxation exercises, stretches, herbs, materials for performing moxibustion on yourself or may indicate points on your body where you or your travelling companion can apply acupressure on a daily or every-other-day basis.
  5. Enjoy yourself and relax!  Even if you do lose some ground in your treatment while away, you will re-gain it quickly when you return to home and regular treatments.  Do make an appointment for the week you get back, so you don’t lose even more time by forgetting to make an appointment in the post-vacation chaos.

Book an appointment online with Julie Permut, Lic Ac or call 603-924-6624 for appointment availability or to ask a question about acupuncture.

March 31, 2010

Acupuncture on CBS – Can Acupuncture Work for You?

Check out this clip from CBS News about acupuncture! Acupuncture is rarely shown realistically on television and acupuncturists are rarely interviewed about what we do every day. Feel free to post a comment here if you have questions about what you see or call me at 603-924-6624.

Enjoy!

Make an appointment online with Julie Permut, Lic Ac or call 603-924-6624.

March 23, 2010

Acupuncture’s Real Effect on the Body

With all the talk about Qi (Chee) and Energy, acupuncture often gets relegated to the status of New Age quackery, but science begs to differ!  There is actually quite a bit of scientific evidence out there that acupuncture has a real, measurable effect on the human body, and, at 2500 years old, there’s nothing “New Age” about it.  Check out this article in the Wall Street Journal, “Finding the Science in Acupuncture”.

To make an appointment with Julie Permut, Lic Ac, click here to book one online or call us at 924-6624.

March 17, 2010

Acupuncture for Spring Ailments

Ahhh, spring. Can’t you smell it in the air today? The sun is beaming, the temperature is rising, the snow is melting and it’s easy to imagine crocuses and daffodils pushing their way up through the thawing soil.

Then, someone sneezes, reminding us that allergy season is just around the corner. Some are allergic to molds, which are abundant in damp, spring weather, and some are allergic to the various pollens that will begin flying through the air in just a few short weeks. Allergies are rampant here in New Hampshire, but they can be successfully treated with Chinese medicine.  For best results, acupuncture for allergies should start 6 weeks before your particular allergen emerges, but it’s still not too late to reap the benefits of pre-allergy-season treatments. For cases that require daily treatment, I prescribe one of two herbal remedies: Allerease, a supplement that combines herbs which regulate the immune system, dry up phlegm and open the nose, and Bi Yan Pian (Nose Inflammation Pill) which focuses on opening, drying and quelling inflammation in the sinuses.

For some, the damp, cool weather of spring increases the pain and swelling of arthritis. Acupuncture, moxibustion (the application of heat to acupuncture points by burning a mugwort stick an inch away from the skin) and Chinese herbs come together to reduce pain and improve mobility. Arthritis doesn’t have to keep you from enjoying outdoor activities: hiking, gardening, etc., Chinese medicine can help!

Once you are out and about, what happens when you overdo and an injury occurs? The best time to treat a sore joint or pulled muscle is right away! Don’t let those early spring injuries linger into the summer. Usually one or two acupuncture sessions will help a recent soft tissue injury heal more rapidly and prevent it from becoming a chronic pain.

Lastly, as we transition from winter to spring, your body becomes preoccupied with responding to rapid and often dramatic changes in light and temperature (and changing the clocks doesn’t help!), creating the right climate for energetic imbalances to occur. Now is a great time for an acupuncture tune-up to tap into your body’s self-regulating mechanism and help smooth this transition from one season to the next.  Happy Spring!

To make an appointment with Julie Permut, Lic Ac, click here to book online or call us at 924-6624.

March 5, 2010

Good News for Breast Cancer Patients – Acupuncture Can Help

A new study led by researchers at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, suggests that acupuncture can be used to reduce joint pain and stiffness associated with drugs that block the synthesis of estrogen, commonly used to treat some breast cancers.

Read more by clicking this link:  http://www.dnaindia.com/health/report_acupuncture-could-relieve-joint-pain-linked-to-breast-cancer-treatments_1355527

Want to know more about the benefits of acupuncture or book an appointment?  Click here to make an appointment online or call our office at 924-6624.

February 25, 2010

Acupuncture for Snowstorm Warriors

Yesterday, we in the Monadnock Region of NH received over a foot of heavy, wet snow which got heavier and wetter as the snow turned to rain.  Everyone was out shovelling, snowblowing, plowing or otherwise moving snow around, just to get in and out of the driveway and create walkways to wood piles, cars, etc.  It had to be done!  But how many of us woke up this morning with sore back, elbows or shoulders?  Even after running my snowblower, a device designed to eliminate the physical work of shovelling, my back is sore for a day or two.

What happens if the pain doesn’t go away within a day or two?  First:  don’t wait!  Visit your acupuncturist, your chiropractor, your massage therapist, etc., but do get some body work ASAP.  The longer an injury lingers, the longer it takes to resolve with treatment.  Getting treatment early will likely result in a quick turnaround, allowing you to spend less time and money in treatment and more time and money living and enjoying your life.

Acupuncture prompts a reduction of pain and inflammation in a recently-injured joint by triggering a release of endorphins (your body’s pain-killing chemicals) and encouraging new blood cells to migrate to the injury, which will help repair damaged tissue and carry away old blood cells and other debris.  Most of the patients I see with a recent injury feel significantly better after just one visit and find their symptoms resolve after two to three visits.

If you’d like to make an appointment with Julie Permut, Lic Ac, click here to self-schedule online or call us at 924-6624 Tuesday through Friday to make an appointment the old-fashioned way.

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