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What is the best way to keep your New Year’s resolution for better health?

Make it something easy and enjoyable that you actually want to do.

A key part of weight management, healthy blood pressure, hormone balance, and overall better health is stress reduction.

Exercise and acupuncture are both excellent ways to reduce stress. In a research article on acupuncture’s physiologic effects on the body, researchers in Stockholm Sweden stated “Both exercise and acupuncture . . . cause the release of endogenous opioids and oxytocin essential to the induction of functional changes in different organ systems. Beta-endorphin levels, important in pain control, . . . have been observed to rise in the brain tissue of animals after both acupuncture and strong exercise.”

The release of these ‘feel good’ substances helps us to feel less stress (and less pain). Evidence also shows that the elevated levels of endorphins and oxytocin after acupuncture can remain long after the acupuncture treatment has ended.

The exercise part of the equation is up to you, but monthly, bi-monthly, or even seasonal acupuncture treatments can do wonders for your health. And, if you have pain issues or a lack of energy, acupuncture can help with those too.

Resolving to improve your health could be the best choice you will ever make, but only if you actually follow through on it. Why not make it easy on yourself? A relaxing hour, or half hour, break in your day for an acupuncture treatment could make the difference.



b2ap3_thumbnail_katiewinslow_thumbnail.jpgRegardless of your health history and physical background, almost anyone is a candidate for acupuncture. If you have an ailment, acupuncture can help relieve it. If you feel well, acupuncture can help you maintain wellness, boost immunity, and manage stress. At Integrative Medicine, practitioners provide acupuncture in collaboration with Dr. Nielsen’s recommendations. Patients very often see greater improvement in their condition when treated by both an MD and an acupuncturist. If you are interested in a consultation or appointment, contact our office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_20130805165357_weightLoss1.pngMany people are familiar with the use of acupuncture for pain relief, alleviation of nausea, or its use in conjunction with IVF. Not as well known is that acupuncture is an excellent complement to a healthy weight loss program. It is by no means a quick fix, but, it can be an important piece of the puzzle for people struggling with weight issues.

Acupuncture is a major part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM views excess weight as a symptom of a deeper underlying imbalance in the body. This imbalance can have a physical or psycho-emotional basis (or both). Until the underlying health issue is resolved, lasting weight loss is difficult, even with the most restrictive of diets.

TCM considers stress to be one of the most common causes of excess weight (or in underweight individuals, the inability to gain weight). Acupuncture can help to relieve stress and address other deeply rooted issues contributing to weight problems, allowing the body to naturally and easily shed unwanted pounds.

RESEARCH HAS SHOWN ACUPUNCTURE TO:

  • Reduce appetite1 2
  • Reduce food cravings3
  • Modulate gut bacteria4
  • Modulate hormones (specifically hormones that play important roles in metabolism, appetite regulation, and fat accumulation)5
  • Modulate neurotransmitters that promote a feeling of well-being, and reduce the effects of stress on the body.6
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Enhance motivation

FURTHERMORE, ACUPUNCTURE INDIRECTLY AIDS IN WEIGHT LOSS BY:

  • Improving sleep quality
  • Raising immunity
  • Increasing energy
  • Relieving pain that restricts a more active lifestyle.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Ac.jpgFor maximum benefit, I recommend starting with a series of six sessions. Although people frequently notice some changes after one treatment, the effects of acupuncture are cumulative and the response is much stronger if treatments are done regularly for a period of time. Acupuncture is not a magic bullet. For significant weight loss it must be combined with healthy diet and lifestyle changes. But with little to no negative side effects, and so much benefit, why not give it a try?

1Yao H1, Chen JX, Zhang ZQ et al. Effect of acupuncture therapy on appetite of obesity patients. 2012 Dec;37(6):497-501 Available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23383461

2Aust Fam Physician, Richards D, Marley J. Stimulation of auricular acupuncture points in weight loss. 1998 Jul;27 Suppl 2:S73-7 Available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9679359

3Kang OS, Kim SY, Jahng GH, et al. Neural substrates of acupuncture in the modulation of cravings induced by smoking-related visual cues: an fMRI study. Epub 2013 Feb 28. Available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23455593

4Xu Z, Li R, Zhu C, Li M. Effect of acupuncture treatment for weight loss on gut flora in patients with simple obesity. Epub 2012 Sep 8. Available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22961606

5Güçel F1, Bahar B, Demirtas C. Influence of acupuncture on leptin, ghrelin, insulin and cholecystokinin in obese women: a randomised, sham-controlled preliminary trial. Epub 2012 Jun 22. Available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22729015

6Sheng-Xing M. Neurobiology of Acupuncture: Toward CAM. 2004 Jun; 1(1): 41–47 Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/ articles/PMC442119/



b2ap3_thumbnail_katiewinslow_thumbnail.jpgRegardless of your health history and physical background, almost anyone is a candidate for acupuncture. If you have an ailment, acupuncture can help relieve it. If you feel well, acupuncture can help you maintain wellness, boost immunity, and manage stress. At Integrative Medicine, practitioners provide acupuncture in collaboration with Dr. Nielsen’s recommendations. Patients very often see greater improvement in their condition when treated by both an MD and an acupuncturist. If you are interested in a consultation or appointment, contact our office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.

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Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and can be traced back for at least 2,500 years.

The general theory of Acupuncture is based on the premise that there are patterns of energy flow through the body that are essential for health. This energy is referred to as Qi (pronounced “chee”). Disruptions of the flow of energy/Qi are believed to be responsible for disease.

Acupuncture works to correct imbalances of energy/Qi flow by stimulating anatomical points on the body. These points are stimulated using very thin, solid metallic needles placed at identifiable points close to the skin. The needles may be manipulated by the practitioner’s hands or by electrical stimulation.

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Three reasons it’s time to consider Acupuncture.

#1 NEARLY EVERYONE CAN BENEFIT FROM ACUPUNCTURE.

Regardless of your health history and physical background, almost anyone is a candidate for acupuncture. If you have an ailment, acupuncture can help relieve it. If you feel well, acupuncture can help you maintain wellness, boost immunity and manage stress.

#2 THE BENEFITS OF AN ACUPUNCTURE APPOINTMENT OFTEN GO FAR BEYOND THE REASON YOU BOOK IT.

While localized pain such as tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome and back pain are common reasons for seeking acupuncture treatments, the treatment itself provides full-body benefits. Many different acupuncture points are stimulated throughout the body. Those who participate in Acupuncture often report an overall feeling of calm, relaxation and well-being after their treatment

#3 ACUPUNCTURE IS A SAFE ALTERNATIVE TO PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION.

While prescription medication may sometimes be necessary, the risk of adverse reactions and potential side effects can be staggering (all you have to do is turn on the television at night to hear the long lists of medication side effects that permeate commercials). Acupuncture can provide a safe and effective alternative with much less risk and few negative side effects. In addition, Acupuncture has been proven to treat the side effects of many chemotherapies, especially nausea and vomiting.

Are you ready to start your trial of Acupuncture? Contact our office or visit our website for more information.

Yours in Health,
Carin Nielsen, MD



Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative MedicineLooking for a personalized approach to your healthcare? I use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions. Treating symptoms and chronic disease simply by prescribing medication doesn't address the underlying factors that contributed your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface" to find and correct underlying imbalances. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
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Last week, I ran into a patient of mine as she was leaving the office after her third acupuncture treatment with Price DiGiulio, MS, LAc. I had recommended acupuncture a few weeks prior as an adjunctive treatment for her depression. She had been struggling with low motivation and energy, decreased appetite and weight loss as part of a mixed depression/grief reaction over the past year. Despite taking two anti-depressants she was not getting adequate relief of her symptoms.

Before speaking a word it was obvious that the acupuncture was working well for her. There was a brightness in her eyes and facial expression that was not there before.  She appeared more awake, alert and calm. When I asked her how her treatments were going she said “Very well, I’m feeling much better, but what really struck me is that after my last treatment I went home and was starving! I was so hungry I couldn’t get enough to eat. I can’t remember the last time I experienced hunger like that.”

My face turned into one big smile - this is the part where my job gets really cool. What this patient didn’t know is that Price and I had discussed her case prior to her last appointment (she had signed a release for us to do so). We compared our assessments and discussed her care plan – this is Integrative Medicine at it’s best.  I mentioned to Price that her weight loss and lack of appetite were becoming more concerning and were the symptoms that seemed the most difficult to treat with prescription medication. He said he would try specific points to stimulate her appetite. Obviously it worked.

How does acupuncture work?

This is how I explain Acupuncture to my patients:

Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is based on the concept of Qi (pronounced chee).  Qi is thought of as life energy flowing through the body along channels known as meridians. According to Traditional Chinese medical theory, illness arises when the flow of Qi in the meridians becomes unbalanced or blocked. Through acupuncture, specific points on the body are stimulated to “unblock” or balance the flow of Qi through the meridians.

Looking for a more scientific explanation? When needles are inserted (they are not inserted very deep), they stimulate nerve receptors that transmit impulses to the brain. Depending upon where the needles are inserted, different receptors and areas of the brain can be influenced. Choosing specific points can stimulate the release and balance of various chemicals, neurotransmitters and hormones from the brain that regulate various processes in the body, including digestion, mood, perception of pain, energy, well-being, sleep, inflammation and more.

It is thought that acupuncture works for the treatment of chronic pain by stimulating the area of the brain that releases endorphins, natural pain-killing hormones (I have read that endorphins are 200 times more potent than morphine). For treatment of depression, acupuncture is thought to stimulate the release of neurotransmitters that regulate serotonin (a major mood-affecting chemical). 

Acupuncture is prescribed in our office for a variety of symptoms and conditions. As a bonus - when your physician and acupuncturist are working together you are able to get the "best of both worlds".  To learn more about acupuncture or inquire about an appointment contact us at 231-638-5585 or visit our website http://www.carinnielsenmd.com/integrative-therapies/acupuncture.

 

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