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Archive Articles M

Alternative, Complementary and Integrative Health articles written by some of the most beloved, respected, outrageous and progressive healers and thinkers in the global healthcare field today! Hundreds of topics are covered, including articles on health maladies, disorders and therapies. Some of the topics covered include Aromatherapy, Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture, Exercise, Nutrition and Lifestyle Changes, Energy Medicine, Crystals and Homeopathy. You may access other health topics, all organized alphabetically.

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Archived Articles

A * B * C * D * E * F * G * H * I * J * K * L * M * N * O * P * Q * R * S * T * U * V * W * X,Y * Z * Featured Articles


Massage and Aromatherapy

by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.

Massage and Aromatherapy go hand and hand. Whether you are a practicing professional or a practicing adventurer, these are both complementary and wonderful healing art forms.

Many of today's health problems arise from stress. Because stress upsets the delicate integral balance of all your body's functions, regaining this balance requires a holistic approach.

With Aromatherapy, scents can induce an amazing power as they influence our moods. Our sense of smell is the most direct path to our emotions. This is the principle behind the ancient art of aromatherapy.

Essential oils are used in a variety of ways. You can inhale them directly from the bottle. You can use them for skin care, hair care, and body care, as well as, for many beauty purposes. Personal hygiene, aromatherapy baths, foot baths. Giving and receiving aromatherapy massages. Inhaling aromatherapy oil blends to relieve congestion, clear your head and make breathing easier. You can also make wonderful fragrances with essential oils.

Aromatherapy can help prevent or ease an assortment of ailments. Essential oils can boost the immune system. You can treat aches, pains, injuries, with essential oils. Aromatherapy can help reduce stress, lift depression, restore emotional well-being. You can disperse essential oils through the air in your home or office to increase productivity or alter moods.

By diffusing essential oil in the air during massage, you can create a mood of relaxation and soothing comfort for your client. It allows your client to let go of the stress they came in with. It "lets down their guard" so to speak, and allows you, the practitioner to work on muscle tissue that is more at ease. Some great oils to diffuse during your massage session are Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Clary Sage or Geranium. These are just a few wonderful oils. It is always great to experiment yourself and find and work with the oils you are drawn to.

Your massage oil will also produce incredible results long after your client (or friend) gets off the massage table. Depending on your oil, you can create a relaxing, muscle soreness relieving blend (Lavender) or an invgorating and stimulating blend (Bergamot) or a calming and stabalizing blend (Cedarwood). Mixing these essential oils with a carrier base oil will safely dilute the essential oil enough to protect from any skin irritation.

So experiment! Touch and Smell are two of our most rewarding gifts to give AND receive.


Massage and the Dermatomes

by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.

There are many different approaches to massage and applications of it. "Massage Therapy" is a holistic procedure that affects all systems of the body; digestive, elimination, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic, endocrine and nervous systems. It is accomplished through specific manipulations with the hands on the soft tissue of the body for therapeutic effect.

Basic anatomy explains that our central nervous system (CNS) is comprised of the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system (PNS) consists of cranial nerves, which branch out of the brain, and spinal nerves, which branch out of the spinal cord. The region where the nerve branches out from the spinal cord is known as the Nerve Root. Each nerve travels from the spinal cord and then divides into a posterior division (dorsal rami) and an anterior division (ventral rami). The dorsal rami innervate the posterior muscles and skin of the trunk; the ventral rami, from, T1 to T12, innervate the anterior and lateral muscles and skin of the trunk.

You can find a dermatome map by Dr. Netter here: Dermatome Map

Motor fibers and sensory fibers emerge from the spinal nerves. The motor fibers innervate particular muscles, while sensory fibers innervate particular areas of the skin. A skin area innervated by the sensory fibers of a single nerve root is known as a Dermatome.

A group of muscles primarily innervated by the motor fibers of a single nerve root is known as a Myotome (muscle). There is a total of 31 sets of nerves branching out of the spinal cord.

A Plexus is formed by the remaining anterior nerve divisions, which then distribute to the rest of the body. The nerves from each plexus innervate specific muscles and areas of skin in the body and are numbered according to the location in the spine from where they exit. The following are the four main plexuses:

The Cervical and Brachial plexuses innervate the upper limbs. The Lumbar and Sacral plexuses innervate the lower limbs.

Cervical plexus, C1 - C4, innervates the diaphragm, shoulder and neck
Brachial plexus, C5 - T1, innervates the upper limbs
Lumbar plexus, T12/L1 - L4, innervates the thigh
Sacral plexus, L4 - S4, innervates the leg and foot.

Having knowledge of dermatomes and myotomes can help us to differentiate different dysfunctions. Certainly if there is no dysfunction, massage techniques that focus on massage in the direction of the dermatomes and myotomes make for a soothing, intuitive experience in touch therapy.

The sensory perception is what our body acknowledges. this is another reason why the "flow" of the massage is so very important.

Coupled with other sensory stimulants such as aromatherapy and sound/music therapy and you can create the most insightful massage you have ever given!


Massage and the Kidneys

by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.

The effects of massage on the kidneys are numerous. Massage allows better circulation. This in turn stimulates all organs allowing for blood to flow more freely, oxygenating the glands allowing the kidneys to excrete salt and other waste products.

Massage boosts the immune system.

Massage assists in helping the kidneys to stimulate urine absorption and flow. Your kidneys are bean-shaped organs, each about the size of your fist. They are located near the middle of your back, just below the rib cage. The kidneys are sophisticated trash collectors. Every day, your kidneys process about 200 quarts of blood to sift out about 2 quarts of waste products and extra water. The waste and extra water become urine, which flows to your bladder through tubes called ureters. Your bladder stores urine until you go to the bathroom.

The wastes in your blood come from the normal breakdown of active muscle and from the food you eat. Your body uses the food for energy and self-repair. After your body has taken what it needs from the food, waste is sent to the blood. If your kidneys did not remove these wastes, the wastes would build up in the blood and damage your body. The actual filtering occurs in tiny units inside your kidneys called nephrons. Every kidney has about a million nephrons. In the nephron, tiny blood vessels called capillaries intertwine with tiny urine-carrying tubes called tubules. A complicated chemical exchange takes place, as waste materials and water leave your blood and enter your urinary system.

At first, the tubules receive a combination of waste materials and chemicals that your body can still use. Your kidneys measure out chemicals like sodium, phosphorus, and potassium and release them back to the blood to return to the body.

In this way, massage assists your kidneys to regulate the body's level of these substances. The right balance is necessary for life, but excess levels can be harmful. Of course, clean, healthy kidneys do this work on their own. Massage will enhance and complement their already amazing functions.


Massage and Music: The Marriage of Touch and Harmony

by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.

We already know that the power of touch can register on so many levels of our physical, emotional and spiritual bodies. Touch therapies are the connection between matter and etheric levels of our energy. The greatest expression of acknowledgement can be as simple as the laying of hands on another to comfort, to love and to heal.

Adding music and its therapeutic aspects, can bring together the power of heighten awareness, moving the healing process to another level.

As a massage and music therapist, I have had the pleasure of having both in my life for over 20 years. In a massage session, it is a part of the ritual to have soothing music playing during a session. But how many of us have any awareness of the music as it applies to your massage work?

Working with the power of music can add another level of transformation for the patient. They may not even realize what the connection was, once they get off the table, but are acutely attuned to how much stronger, aware and better they feel.

Knowing some basic music terminology is not really necessary as a massage therapist, but I know on some level, you can be astutely conscious of when the music crescendos (gradually rising in volume) or decrescendos (gradually lower in volume). You can hear the tempo or pacing of the music and understand how to work within this tempo.

Bringing the music into your hands and allowing it's flow out through your (fingers) instrument can translate through the patient's body into the most moving and therapeutic journey they can experience.

Know your music. Be aware of its tempo, its highs and lows and how it builds a phrase and chorus. Knowing your music allows you greater interpretation of its flow as you give your massage.

Tips for the Marriage of Massage with Music:

1. Flow and rhythm are the two most important aspects of a massage.

2. These are two of the most important elements in music, as well.

3. Relaxation has an average tempo of 30-60 beats per minute. This is a musical composition in adagio tempo. When choosing music for your sessions, this is a good thing to look for.

4. Working with the music gives a sense of being in sync with the body. For example, as the music crescendos or rises, your hands can follow, moving up the body or moving up the scale (a selection of related notes placed in ascending order by pitch).

5. As the music decrescendos or descends, your hands can follow by moving down the body or moving down the scale (a selection of related notes placed in descending order by pitch).

6. If you have music playing and the next song changes in tempo, speeding up, you can move your hands not with the tempo but by decreasing your movement by moving in half time (half the tempo of the beats in one measure or phrase).

7. Sometimes, when your music is moving on to the next song, there is silence between the musical tracks. This silence can be awkward unless, you continue your hand movements as though they are expressing the same music. It is as if your body takes over for the rhythm of the silence and can be very moving to the therapist as well.

8. Starting on a new muscle group immediately after the above silence between songs can be very affective if you start on the down beat of the music. (The first beat; given by the conductor with a downward stroke or the "and" of a new phrase).

9. In some portions of the music you may be playing, there are accents or a Marcato (an emphasized note; or heavily accented phrase). Utilize this with your massage technique. This works well on the extremities such as hands or feet.

10. An Arpeggio (describing notes in a chord played individually (one after another) as opposed to simultaneously) coordinates beautifully when working on the spine or hamstrings.

11. In Italian, Camminando (following easily and gently) or in Spanish (meaning to walk) can be a free and easy technique when transitioning from one muscle group to the next.

12. Harmony (the sounding of two or more tones simultaneously; or the vertical aspect of music) is our ultimate goal in any touch therapy.

So, next time you are giving a massage to your patient, don't just put on some music and expect it to do the work for you. Engage along with the music to enhance the power of your touch and to bring your patient to yet another level of their healing journey, and yours!


Men's Health: Guidelines for Good Arterial Health

by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.

From a healthy heart to a good sex life, the proper flow and circulation of blood in our arteries is one of the most important things we can do to maintain good health and push back the aging process.

There is a common denominator between good arterial health and disorders such as heart attack, obesity, diabetes and high glucose levels, as well as sexual health. That common denominator is blood.

One of the single most preventatives is a proper diet. Because diet strongly influences weight, sex hormone production, including testosterone, the health of our arteries and its flow, it is important to cut back on excess meat consumption, full fat, dairy products and a lack of vegetables and fruits in the diet.

Herbal medicine is a wonderful preventative solution. Complications can arise when taking herbal medicine and allopathic drugs your doctor has prescribed. Great caution should be used especially if you are on blood thinners, diuretics or any other heart related medication. Consult your doctor with any questions you may have, before taking additional herbs or supplements.

Blessed Thistle: Strengthens the heart.

Capsicum: Blood pressure and health of blood vessels, Capsicum stimulants circulation, enhances blood flow and is considered to be food for the circulatory system. Capsicum assists in lowering blood pressure and breaking down cholesterol buildup.

Cayenne Pepper is renowned, not only for healing the entire digestive system, and for arthritic pain relief, but also for the heart and circulatory system. It acts as a catalyst and increases the effectiveness of other herbs when used with them. Cayenne has been known to stop heart attacks within 30 seconds. Cayenne has a high source of Vitamins A & C, has the complete B complexes, and is very rich in organic calcium and potassium, which is one of the reasons it is good for the heart. Consider the synergy of taking both cayenne and Hawthorne berry together.

Cornsilk: Natural diuretic.

Folate (800 mg daily), a B complex and Zinc (15 mg daily) have shown to increase fertility and improve sperm motility.

Garlic: A rich source of potassium, zinc, selenium, vitamin A and Vitamin C, is commonly used to fight infection, increase circulation and help prevent cardiovascular disease. Consider eating raw Garlic every day; since it is a very effective antifungal agent, or use it in tincture form. Research has shown that garlic is an anti-cholesterol remedy and is recommended for heart and circulatory problems. This is a wonderful natural antibiotic and detoxifier which protects the body against infection by enhancing immune function, as well.

Goldenseal: Berberine, an active ingredient of goldenseal, can dilate blood vessels. Therefore, it may prove useful in the treatment of certain causes of both irregular heartbeat and heart failure.

Gotu Kola: Strengthens the heart and helps lower blood pressure.

Hawthorn Berry: a member of the rose family, was recognized by physicians in the early 1800s for its ability to treat disorders related to circulation and respiration (breathing). Considered a "cardiotonic" herb, the flowers and berries of the hawthorn plant have been used in traditional medicine to treat irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, chest pain, atherosclerosis, and congestive heart failure. Hawthorn berries contain large amounts of bioflavonoids, which help dilate and strengthen the walls of blood vessels, relax arteries, and improve circulation of blood to heart muscles. studies suggest that Hawthorn berry extract improves heart function and exercise capacity in those with CHF. Participants in research trials also report significantly improved symptoms (like reduced shortness of breath and fatigue). Hawthorn extract may even prove to be as effective as low doses of ACE inhibitors (a leading class of heart medication) in improving symptoms of congestive heart failure. Hawthorne must be taken daily to be affective.

Kelp: Helps to clean and maintain the arteries.

L-arginine (2 grams daily), an amino acid found in pumpkin seeds and L-citrulline (500 mg twice daily) may possibly increase nitric oxide production, which in turn increases blood flow and therefore can prevent erectile dysfunction and increase sperm count. Foods high in both these amino acids include pumpkin seeds, almonds, cocoa and real (dark) chocolate, garbanzo beans, peanuts, salmon, soy and walnuts.

Mistletoe: Used as a cardiac tonic to stimulate circulation, reduce blood pressure and arteriosclerosis and strengthen capillary walls. Constricts blood vessels and stimulates heart beat.

Motherwort: Improves blood flow circulation and reduces heart blood pressure and palpitations.

Myrrh: Quickens the hearts action.

Olive Leaf Extract: Naturally support the circulatory and immune systems.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids found in flaxseed and fish oil, appear to help protect against prostate cancer. Take 3 grams daily.

Rosemary: Is considered a heart tonic.

Saw Palmetto has been clinically proven to inhibit the enzyme involved in converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. These powerful berries from the saw palmetto palm tree, improve urine flow and decrease inflammation of the prostate gland. Take 160 mg, twice daily.

Consider Vitamin E, especially mixed tocopherols, which appears to work in synergy with lycopene to help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Take 400 IU daily.

Vitamin C works in synergy with Vitamin E and helps increase its function. Take 600 mg, twice a day.


Men's Health: Coping with Andropause

by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.

As men age, they can experience a phenomenon, which is similar to female menopause, called Andropause. By the time a man reaches the age of 30, testosterone levels begin dropping by about 10 percent every decade. Young men often have testosterone levels exceeding 1000ng/dl. Look at the comparison of an 80 year-old men, whose average testosterone is 200ng/dl.

Between the ages of 40 and 55, bodily changes occur very gradually in men and may be accompanied by changes in attitudes and moods, fatigue, a loss of energy, sex drive and physical agility. In addition, attitudes, psychological stress, alcohol, injuries or surgery, medications, obesity and infections can contribute to its onset. This also seems to happen at a time in a man's life when they begin to question their accomplishments, values and direction in life. Therefore, it is often hard to realize that the changes that are occurring are often related to more than just external situations.

Although age does play a factor in testosterone levels, there is no way of predicting who will experience andropause symptoms and to what degree of severity. Neither is it predictable at what age symptoms will occur in a particular individual. Each man's symptoms may be different. It has been shown that a man's physical health and mental well-being can play apart in the varying degrees of signs and symptoms. Men who eat right, exercise on a regular basis and are content in love and work, seem to experience symptoms, much less and or later in life than those men who are obese, physically unfit, unhappy or depressed.

Productivity is at the center of a man's existence. A man's productivity is what gets him noticed and appreciated. This helps him climb the ladder of success, bringing home the "bacon" and be recognized as the bread winner. As he ages, the productivity tends to switch to self-satisfying tasks and those, which give him purpose.

The Scoop on Human Growth Hormones (HGH)

Some scientific evidence shows that trophic factors, such as growth hormone, estrogen, and testosterone, may help combat the aging process. Growth hormone, in particular, may reduce frailty and help older people maintain independence, but studies are showing mixed results. The National Institutes on Aging (NIA) in Bethesda, Md., was awarded grants to eight researchers to study the HGH in 1992. To this day, studies are mixed in their results. Taking growth hormones may cause sometimes, serious side effects, including carpal tunnel syndrome, worsening of diabetes, high triglyceride levels and fluid retention leading to congestive heart failure. "The clinical usefulness remains unclear," the NIA said in a statement.

Top 10 Ways To Cope With Andropause

1. Change your diet: Cut back on the fried foods, saturated fats and sweets! Eat cleaner, healthier, live food. Eating is a learned behavior so poor eating habits can be "unlearned".

2. Get moving: Exercise not only is a great remedy for depression, it is a great hormone builder. It truly gets the juices flowing!

3. Have more sex: Safe, satisfying, mind-bending. Remember, our mind is our most powerful sex organ. Use that to your advantage.

4. Find more satisfaction in your work: Not doing the job of your dreams? Don't you think it's about time you did! Put your fears away (for once) and just go for it already!

5. Make your relationship the best it can be: If you have one, mix it up a bit. Make it "new again". Go back to the basics... Send flowers, go somewhere new, go out on a "date". If you don't have a relationship, then try directing your intentions in the right place.

6. Coping strategies are important: Talk to others who may be experiencing what you are feeling. Find some therapy in a group session, a private therapist or go online and find a chat room.

7. Strengthen mental attitudes: Positive thinking. Maintain a sharp, mental approach. Live intelligently!

8. Take control of your life: You are responsible for living a longer life. You alone. You are in charge as to how long and how well you will live.

9. Stay creative: Fresh ideas are one of the best approaches for improving any area in your life. Get inspired from things around you.

10. Stay healthy: Good arterial health is a must. High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, excessive stress, poor diet, lack of exercise are your ticket to a downward spiral.


Men's Health: Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.

The term erectile dysfunction covers a range of disorders, but usually refers to the inability to obtain an adequate erection for satisfactory sexual activity.

More common in men older than 65, it can occur at any age. As men age, it is normal to experience changes in erectile function. Erections may take longer to develop, may not be as rigid or may require more direct stimulation to be achieved. An occasional episode of erectile dysfunction happens to most men and is normal. Men may also notice that orgasms are less intense, the volume of semen is reduced and recovery time takes longer.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) may not only be a sign of a physical problems but there is often an emotional problem that must be addressed. Symptoms for ED include: occasional inability to obtain a full erection, inability to maintain an erection throughout intercourse and/or complete inability to achieve an erection.

When ED proves to be a pattern or a persistent problem, it can interfere with a man's self-image as well as his and his partner's sexual life. Stress is a major player that can knock you down a few notches and ways of managing that stress must be taken seriously. Making sure you maintain good blood flow is one of the most important things you should be aware of as you age. Therefore, ED is categorized into two separate root causes:

Physical causes for ED may include:
1. Nerve damage from longstanding diabetes (diabetic neuropathy)
2. Cardiovascular disorders affecting the blood supply to the pelvis
3. Certain prescription medications
4. Operations for cancer of the prostate
5. Fractures that injure the spinal cord
6. Multiple sclerosis
7. Hormonal disorders
8. Alcoholism and other forms of drug abuse
9. The first signs of an underlying medical problem.

Long term diseases of the lungs, liver, kidneys, heart, nerves, arteries or veins can lead to impotence. So can endocrine system disorders, particularly diabetes. In some men, erectile dysfunction may be caused by low levels of the hormone testosterone (male hypogonadism).The accumulation of deposits (plaques) in the arteries (atherosclerosis) also can prevent adequate blood from entering the penis. In fact, the penis and the strength of the erection is the male barometer of his overall health.

Psychological causes for ED may include:
1. Stress, anxiety and fatigue.
2. Impotence is also an occasional side effect of psychological problems such as depression.
3. Negative feelings such as feelings that you express toward your sexual partner or that are expressed by your sexual partner (resentment, hostility or lack of interest) also can be a factor in erectile dysfunction.
4. Low self-esteem, a feeling of inadequacy or insecurity about a situation.

The physical and nonphysical causes of erectile dysfunction commonly interact. For instance, a minor physical problem that slows sexual response may cause anxiety about attaining an erection. Then the anxiety can worsen your erectile dysfunction.

There are three steps to a normal erection:
1. Arousal is the first step, which men achieve from the senses of sight, touch, hearing and smell, and from thoughts themselves.
2. The Nervous System Response occurs when the brain communicates the sexual excitement to the body's nervous system, which activates increased blood flow to the penis.
3. The Blood Vessel Response is an actual relaxing action that occurs in the blood vessels that supply the penis, (not excitement) allowing more blood to flow into the urethra, which produces the erection. If something affects any of these factors or the delicate balance among them, erectile dysfunction can result.

Top 10 Ways to Keep It Up

1. Limit or avoid the use of alcohol and other similar drugs.

2. Stop smoking.

3. Exercise regularly. Do both muscle strengthening and cardio.

4. Reduce stress.

5. Get enough sleep.

6. Deal with anxiety or depression.

7. Loss Weight. Avoid fatty foods and cut back on portion size.

8. Follow the guidelines for good arterial health.

9. Seek counseling for yourself or with your partner.

10. See your doctor for regular checkups and medical screening tests.


Men's Health: Testosterone Boosters

by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.

In men, symptoms of low testosterone may show as signs of hormonal issues such as changes in hair growth or sexual function. The quality, quantity, morphology and motility of a man's sperm is also looked at.

Physical examination and routine laboratory tests for men include:

1. Hormone testing: a blood test is done to determine the level of testosterone and other male hormones.

2. Physical examination: includes the genitals and questions about medical history, illnesses and disabilities, medications and sexual habits.

3. Semen analysis: is the most important test for men. Your doctor will ask for one or more semen samples. The laboratory determines the number of sperm present and any abnormalities in the morphology and motility of the sperm. Sperm counts can fluctuate from one sample to the next.

4. Ultrasound: a transrectal and scrotal ultrasound can help the doctor look for evidence of conditions such as retrograde ejaculation and ejaculatory duct obstruction.

Factors that may decrease sperm:
Illness
Excessive Caffeine
Stress
Excessive alcohol consumption
Street and certain Prescription Drugs
Some over the counter medications
Injury to the testicles
Blockage in the Vas Deferens
Excessive Heat to the testicles
Vitamin Deficiencies
Varicocele:a varicose enlargement of the veins of the spermatic cord that may cause infertility through a significant decrease in the quality and quantity of the sperm.

Normal Semen Values
Volume (mL) 2.0
Sperm Concentration (million/mL) 20
Motility (%) 50
Forward Progression (0-4) 3
Normal Morphology (%) (WHO) 30
Normal Morphology (%) (Strict) 14
Total Sperm Count (million) 40
Total Motile Sperm (million) 20
Total Functional Sperm (million) 6

This is a glossary of terms your doctor may talk about or will show you on lab test results:
Aspermia: No semen ejaculated
Hematospermia: Blood present in semen
Leucocytospermia: White blood cells present in semen
Azoospermia: No spermatozoa found in semen
Normozoospermia: Normal semen parameters
Oligozoospermia: Low sperm concentration
Asthenozoospermia: Poor motility and/or forward progression
Teratozoospermia: Reduced percentage of morphologicall normal sperm
Necrozoospermia: No live sperm in semen
Globozoospermia: Round headed acrosome-less sperm

A variety of factors can result in low testosterone, including infertility in men. Approximately 25% of infertility is directly due to the male partner. Low sperm count or anatomical abnormalities are often the two main reasons for male issues.

Several other factors can contribute to this including exposure to excessive heat or fever, radiation, toxins, alcohol consumption or acute injury or testicular injury. Anatomical abnormalities such as an endocrine disorders or varicocele, a diluted vein of the spermatic cord can also cause a problem. Varicocele can be treated successfully with surgery. Environmental exposures, smoking, and use of recreational drugs (e.g., marijuana, cocaine, hashish) may reduce sperm count or cause abnormal sperm morphology. If there are no anatomical abnormalities then here are ways to improve sperm:

1. Reduce Your Heat: Men with low sperm counts are often advised to optimize the temperature of the testes as sperm production is slightly lower than body temperature. This is the reason why the testes hang away from the body in the scrotum. Remedy this by wearing looser fitting shorts instead of bikini-style underwear. Other ways to reduce heat include keeping your laptop on a table top or cushion. Do not use your lap top directly in your lap and avoid over use of hot tubs and steam .

2. Drink Less Alcohol : Excess alcohol consumption is associated with a decrease in the percentage of normal sperm.

3. Eat More Organic: A study done with members of the Organic Farmers's Association suggesting that organically grown foods may enhance sperm count. Sperm count was more than twice as high in these men as in a control group of workers.

4. Get Acupuncture: Acupuncture was used on 28 men twice a week for 5 weeks and compared to men who received no treatment. Following acupuncture, a statistically significant increase in the percentage and number of sperm in the total ejaculate was observed (in comparison with controls), with improvements in the shape. Also progressive motility in ejaculate increased from 44.5% to 55% following acupuncture treatment.

5. Take Your Supplements:

This is one of my favorite perscriptions I give my male patients. These three supplements are only natural. One is plant based, the other is a natural steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands and the third is an omega fatty acid. They must be taken together, twice a day for 30 days. The results will be so great that you will want to continue this protocol, but I would only recommend doing this only 6 months apart (twice a year).

1. DIM (diindolylmethane) is a plant compound called an indole and has been shown to help regulate and promote a more efficient metabolism of estrogen, and an optimal ratio of estrogen metabolites. DIM balances estrogen levels, promoting health and well-being. This powerful phytonutrient is found in broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts, unlike other phytonutrients like soy isoflavones, has no hormonal properties in itself.

2. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a natural steroid hormone, one of the hormones produced by the adrenal glands. After being secreted by the adrenal glands, it circulates in the bloodstream as DHEA-sulfate (DHEAS) and is converted as needed into other hormones. DHEA is chemically similar to testosterone and estrogen and is easily converted into those hormones. DHEA production peaks in early adulthood and declines in production with age in both men and women. Therefore, many diseases which correlate with age also correlate with low levels of DHEA production. Standard dosage is 100 mg twice a day.

3. Fish Oil: Take 2,000 mg of rich, omega 3 fish oil, in doses of 1,000 mg, twice a day.

To increase testosterone levels, consider taking DHEA 100 mg in divided dosage (50 mg, twice a day) with DIM-plus 60 capsule size (one capsule, twice a day for a total of 100 mg) for a total of two capsules per day along with a "good fat" such as flaxseed or fish oil 1,000 mg, twice a day (2,000 mg total per day).

Another favorite combination of supplements I recommend for long term use are my Male Performance formula. Take this all natural herbal combination, two pills, twice a day. Along with this, take 2,000 mg of L-Arginine (one of the best male amino acids) in divided doses (1,000 mg), twice a day. (Take up to 3 months at a time. Take a break for a month and then go back on the 3 month regime.)

Chrysin maximizes testosterone by inhibiting aromatase activity. Chrysin, commonly found in the plant Passiflora coerulea, is structurally defined as 5,7-dihydroxy-flavone. Chrysin has demonstrated an ability to maximize testosterone by inhibiting aromatase activity.* Aromatase is the enzyme responsible for the conversion of androstenedione and testosterone into esterone and esterdiol respectively. Testosterone is responsible for increases in lean body mass and strength. 100% pure 5.7-dihydroxyflavone. Supports healthy testosterone levels* and promotes lean muscle mass*.

Vitamin C research suggests it may prevent sperm from "clumping" together and that it increases sperm count. Superoxide dismutase and glutathione - research shows that these and other antioxidants may improve sperm quality. Dose: 1,000 mg twice a day.

Vitamin E supplementation with this antioxidant has been shown to increase sperm motility and to enhance the ability of the sperm to penetrate the egg in test-tube studies. Dose: 400 IU daily. Talk to your doctor prior to starting Vitamin E, particularly if you are currently taking aspirin or other blood thinners.

Selenium: Dose: 200 mcg daily. Improves sperm motility.

Coenzyme Q10: Take 10 mg daily. Increases sperm count and motility.

Zinc is an essential nutrient for proper sperm production. A deficiency may result in lowered testosterone levels.. The usual recommended dosage of zinc is about 15 to 30 mg daily, coupled with 1 mg of copper for balance. Too much zinc can be toxic. Do not exceed a dose of 15 to 30 mg daily This mineral is found in great amounts in the outer layer of sperm and plays an important role in the production of the hormone testosterone.

Vitamin B12: Take 1000 mcg daily. A B-12 deficiency reduces sperm motility and sperm count. Even if no deficiency exists, B-12 supplementation may help men with a sperm count of less than 20 million per milliliter or a motility rate of less than 50% Zinc and B Vitamins (B6, B12, and folic acid) are critical nutrients in the male reproductive system for proper hormone metabolism, sperm formation and motility.

L-Arginine (Kidney Yang tonic) especially enhance sperm count. Studies indicate that this amino acid may improve sperm motility. Take 4 gr daily. Needed to produce sperm. If the sperm count is below 10 million per ml, arginine probably will not provide any benefit.

L-Carnitine (Yin and Blood tonic) especially enhance sperm count. Researchers have found that L-carnitine is found in much greater amounts in sperm tissues than other cells. Preliminary studies suggest that L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine may be able to stimulate sperm motility in certain situations. The role of L-carnitine on sperm maturation and sperm quality however, is still unclear. Several clinical studies have evaluated the effect of L-carnitine on men with a low sperm count, a reduction/loss in sperm movement, or men with both conditions. These studies have evaluated only small numbers of men who took oral carnitine supplements for varying lengths of time. Some patients enrolled in these studies experienced increased sperm counts and/or increased sperm motility. Take 3-4 grams daily. Required for normal sperm function.

Flaxseed oil: Take 1 tbsp daily. Is a source of essential fatty acids.

Fish Oil: Take 2,000 mg of rich, omega 3 fish oil, in doses of 1,000 mg, twice a day.

Ginseng: increases production of testosterone and helps with sperm production. Avoid if you have high blood pressure or Yin deficiency (with heat signs).

The Problem with Low Motility and Morphology

Guaifenesin (natural source is Beechwood) can improve motility by thinning out the semen allowing for sperm to swim up stream easier. Vitamin C and Zinc can also help.

If your morphology is less than 30%, consider Pycnogenol is the patented trade name for a water extract of the bark of the French maritime pine ( Pinus pinaster ssp. atlantica ), which is grown in coastal south-west France. Pycnogenol contains oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) as well as several other bioflavonoids. Preliminary human data suggests that supplementation of Pycnogenol may lower glucose levels and improve endothelial function.

Nutrition

The importance of a healthy diet cannot be overstated. Our amazing machine, the reproductive system requires the proper vitamins and minerals. Nutritional deficiencies can impair hormone function, inhibit sperm production, and contribute to the production of abnormal sperm. If you can not muster up the ability to get on a routine and eat a diet rich in green vegetables and colorful fruits, then at the very least, take a good multi-vitamin daily!

Include consumption of legumes and soy (which are a high in phytoestrogens and phytosterols).

Eat a natural foods diet that focuses on fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, poultry, legumes, nuts, and seeds. No celery or cucumbers.

Drink 1/2 of body weight in ounces of water daily (e.g., a 150 lb man would drink 75 oz of water).

Pumpkin seeds are naturally high in zinc and essential fatty acids, as well as olive oil, which are vital to healthy functioning of the male reproductive system.

Eat 1/4 to 1/2 cup a day of pumpkin seeds to help maintain a healthy reproductive system.

Avoid excessive environmental estrogen and dietary sources of free radicals including saturated fats, hydrogenated oils and trans fatty acids.

Anti-hypertensives, anti-neoplastics and anti-inflammatory drugs, can impair sperm production.

Eliminate processed and refined foods (e.g., white flour), junk food, sugars, alcohol, and caffeine.


Men's Health: Maintaining/Building Muscle Mass

by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.

This week is Men's Health Week and I will be discussing everything men are interested in, health wise.

Men's bodies are at their physical prime in their early 20's through late 30's. As we age, appropriately, we start loosing muscle mass as muscles begin to atrophy. Even if we maintain a certain weight, as we age, the muscle mass can be off set by fat cells. It is widely believed that between the ages of 40 and 60 an average man loses 35% of muscle mass due to the drop in hormone levels namely, testosterone. Compounding this situation is the fact that each year after a man turns 40 his metabolism slows by 2%. This coupled with less exercise and overeating all add up to more fat cells and less muscle.

Building and maintaining muscle mass works best when you put into practice a combination of tips.

1. Resistance Training: weight resistance is very important, include regular weight training. Building muscle mass requires the process of breaking down, building and recovery of the muscles in order for them to grow. Resistance is essential for making a muscle stronger. When a muscle has to work against a load placed on it, it adapts to the stress by creating new muscle fibers and making neurological changes that ultimately make it stronger. Muscles respond to virtually anything that offers resistance. No matter what your age!

A regime of 8 - 12 reps for 3 sets of one exercise is recommended. The amount of weight you lift will vary per workout... and that's ok. What is more important is that you should lift enough weight to challenge your muscles. To do this, lift enough weight to only squeeze out 8 - 12 reps. If you can do more, your weight is too light. If you can not even do 8 reps, your weight is too heavy. Your reps should decrease with each of your 3 sets for that exercise. Another words, your first set, you will probably be able to do 12 reps. With the next two sets, your reps should decrease back to the 8 to 10 reps, due to muscle failure. You may need to add more weight for your second or third set.

The muscles now need to repair and recover.

2. Stretching: is a great tension reducer. Just as there are different types of flexibility, there are also different types of stretching. Stretches are either dynamic (meaning they involve motion) or static (meaning they involve no motion). Dynamic stretches affect dynamic flexibility and static stretches affect static flexibility (and dynamic flexibility to some degree).

When done properly, stretching can do more than just increase flexibility. Benefits of stretching include:

*enhanced physical fitness
*enhanced ability to learn and perform skilled movements
*increased mental and physical relaxation
*enhanced development of body awareness
*reduced risk of injury to joints, muscles, and tendons
*reduced muscular soreness
*reduced muscular tension
*increased suppleness due to stimulation of the production of chemicals which, lubricate connective tissues
*reduced severity of painful blood stagnation or injury in males

3. Cardio and Muscle Mass: Cardio work is great for the heart and burns calories. So it is important to look at your goals. Since we are talking about maintaining muscle mass, (not getting lean or building mass and staying lean) I will focus on maintaining mass.

For maintaining/building mass, you must do weight lifting and cardio on different days. When you want to maintain and/or maximize muscle growth, divide your weight workouts into 2 to 3 body parts per workout session. Lift three days a week. Cardio should be done only 2-3 times per week, as excess cardio works against your goal. Recovery days from the weights are important to take. Do your cardio on your days off from weight lifting. It is believed that by doing excessive cardiovascular exercises, like the treadmill or exercise bike, will decrease muscle mass. For maintaining muscle mass, maintain a slower speed and a higher incline on your cardio equipment.

4. Nutrition: maintaining and/or increasing muscle mass through resistance training requires adequate calorie intake. Protein is key. Protein is found in large amounts in the body. Proteins are the main building blocks in our system and the primary make-up of most of our cells. Proteins are a much slower and longer-lasting source of energy than carbohydrates. Proteins help maintain proper acid-alkali balance in our bodies and are needed for the maintenance of our muscle, connective tissue, and skin.

When you are exercising eating protein becomes even more important. As the muscles need protein to grow, therefore, it is important to eat at least 1g of protein per pound of body weight. Additionally, it is a good idea to have a protein-rich snack after your weight training workout.

Eating at least 5 times a day is not only important for maintaining muscle mass but for keeping your metabolism at an optimum level. Small, frequent meals helps maintain, strengthen and tonify muscle.

Eat a portion of carbohydrates and a portion of protein every meal. Exercise expert, Bob Cooper, through his research has found that what people need is "carbohydrate management, not carbohydrate elimination". He suggests that by reducing carbohydrates by 20% of daily needs and within 48 hours replenishing the glycogen in the muscle by eating 100% of daily carbohydrate requirements, this will allow for fat loss, without muscle loss.

Eat fish 3-4 times a week for the essential oils. Omega 3s from fish oil can enhance the conversion of food protein to muscle protein. 1,000 mg of high quality fish oil (high amounts of DHA and EPA) twice a day (total of 2,000 mg) is necessary for regulating hormone levels.

Consider making healthy choices such as organic vegetables and fruits, as well as, dairy and meats from livestock raised without hormones. It is important to avoid hormone-altering toxic chemicals that disrupt testosterone levels and make your body work even harder to maintain balance. Wash vegetables and fruits well.

Drink 6-8 glasses of water everyday.

Most people do not get their required daily allowance of vitamins and minerals from food. I highly recommend taking a good quality (preferably organic) multivitamin everyday.

As far as additional supplements go, there are two I would recommend you try. I have based this information on my past experiences with these supplements, as well as what I see in my male patients who work with these supplements.

Creatine is produced naturally in the human body from amino acids such as L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine. It is primarily producred in the kidneys and liver. It is transported in the blood for use by the muscles. Approximately 95% of the human body's total creatine is found in skeletal muscle. Since creatine is manufactured in the human body it is not an essential nutrient. approximately half of stored creatine originates from food (mainly from meat). A study, involving 18 vegetarians and 24 non-vegetarians, on the effect of creatine in vegetarians showed that total creatine was significantly lower than in non-vegetarians. Since vegetables do not represent the primary source of creatine, vegetarians can be expected to show lower levels of directly derived muscle creatine.

In my 20's and 30's, when I first did creatine, you had to do a week of "loading" creatine into the muscles 3 times a day for a week, then pull back to 1-2 servings a day. Now, because of the breakthroughs in chemistry, the discovery of many types of creatine make it possible to simply skip the loading process for a week and start at a dose of 1-2 servings per day. Extensive research over the last decade has shown that oral creatine supplementation at a rate of 5 to 20 grams per day appears to be very safe and largely devoid of adverse side-effects, while at the same time effectively improving the physiological response to resistance exercise, increasing the maximal force production of muscles in both men and women.

My other suggestion, which I have personally found amazing results with, is HMB. B-Hydroxy B-methylbutyric acid (HMB) is a metabolite of the essential amino acid leucine. It plays a role in protein synthesis and has been shown to increase muscle mass and decrease muscle breakdown. HMB is used for increasing the benefits from weight training and exercise. It was discovered in pigs, and small quantities can also be found in grapefruit, alfalfa, and catfish.

Well-controlled scientific studies have found increases in muscle mass and decreases in body fat in 70 year old men. It has helped patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and for treating diseases of the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease), high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

In combination with the amino acids l-arginine and glutamine, HMB is also used for treating weight loss, weakness, muscle wasting and diarrhea in people with HIV or AIDS (AIDS-related wasting) and with cancer and trauma victims with severe injuries.

Doses in research studies have been 1.5 to 3.0 grams per day, usually divided into 2-3 doses. Three grams of HMB per day helps muscles combat protein breakdown, assist in muscle repair and support increased endurance.

3. Sleep: is absolutely an essential component keeping that muscle mass. It is also the secret for staying young, energetic and healthy. Good quality sleep is imperative for the the body to repair itself. The body slows down considerably as we sleep in order to rejuvenate and regulate hormone levels. The release of natural HGH (human growth hormone), assists the body in the development of muscle mass. Studies have shown that natural growth hormone is produced during the late REM cycles of sleep. Therefore, a good nights rest will keep HGH production at optimum levels.

Exercise is also a good remedy for sleep. Exercise exhausts the muscles and the mind and can help us have a greater night's sleep. Be sure to exercise in the morning or afternoon. Exercise stimulates the body and exercise or strenuous activity before bed may make falling asleep more difficult.

4. Acceptance: is the last part of the puzzle that is important to grasp. The ego body is telling us we want to be young and beautiful forever and always look and feel like we did in our 20's and 30's. The truth may be hard to accept sometimes, but changing the way we look at ourselves is the key to feeling good about who we are as we age. This is the part of the journey we call "our life". Accepting who we are as we gracefully age is accepting ourselves with "great potential".

Maintaining and/or building muscle mass as we age is not an impossible task. It is a matter of taking control of our situation and achieving our goal through diligents and basic discipline.

References

1. http://www.ohio.edu/research/communications/

2. http://www.buckinstitute.org/theInstitute/news.asp?id=26

3. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-02/bu-tm020408.php

4. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/muscle-aging/

5. The Fat Loss Coach by Charles Remington

6. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/YDROXYMETHYLBUTYRATE

7. "Are you doing too much cardio? How to balance aerobic exercise and weight training to meet your fitness goals" by Bob Cooper.


Men's Health: The Weakest Part Of A Man (Physically)

by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.

I was at the beach this past Memorial day and was astonished, when I started noticing a pattern in men (of ALL ages) and that was the lack of control and amount of fat many men have, starting from their navel to their pubic bone! It is not unusual as a man ages that this starts becoming more pronounced, yet I was seeing these basketball ponches of belly fat on young guys!

Over the years, I have had many male patients of all shapes and sizes. The majority of the times a man whom seeks treatment with me, tends to be searching for help in the three most important areas a man cares about, his sex drive, losing weight and coping with the signs of aging. Most often the situation I am talking about here, often affects all three of these issues in men and that issue is belly fat. I am referring to the part of a man that is most often the weakest and that is his lower abdomen.

I have struggled with my own weight over the years. As a dancer, your weight becomes a central player in your life. It was because of dance that I lost my baby fat as a teenager. As I grew older and changed careers my other life as a yoga teacher, gym rat and healthcare professional have kept me in tune and constantly aware of my body and how I would lose and put on weight. Into my 40's when my metabolism seemed to change more drastically, I really became aware of how my diet was the number one controller of how my body reacted and looked.

No matter what your age, your diet is the key to those flat, washboard abs! You can do all the crunches and cardio you like, but if you are putting the wrong foods in your mouth and at large quantities, you will never have the great abs you may be working for.

A man must maintain his weight based on his height and proportions. If you are overweight and you cannot even see your shoes when you look down, a restricted caloric diet is essential. In this case, a man should restrict their calorie intake to 1500 a day. You must be aware of your calorie intake. If you are unsure about the calories in your meal, I feel it is essential to learn this amazing tool for affective weight loss. Record in a ledger or journal the calories of everything you put in your mouth for one week. Be in tune to the total calories you consume daily, and make an effort to replace high-fat foods with low-calorie ones like vegetables and fruits.

If you are a man who does physical exercise, is conscious of what you eat and still needs to lose a few vanity pounds, it is important that you do three things.

-Make sure you are having protein with every meal.
-Lift heavier at the gym, with longer periods (days in between workouts) of rest
-Be extremely cautious of your calories from fat. Keeping fat intake to less than 40g per day should be your goal.

We know from the science that 1 pound of fat is equal to approximately 3,500 calories, so a daily calorie deficit of 500 (calories less), should result in 1 pound per week of fat loss. Of course, we have to take into account body weight and height, age, gender, and exercise level, but maintaining these guidelines can make an extreme difference.

I cannot stress enough how discipline is the second most important aspect in losing weight or achieving those strong abs! It is the secret to the most effective, efficient and well strategize plan you can give yourself! Being successful, losing weight, maintaining relationships are not tasks that come easy for most people. They are all things we must work hard at creating, keeping and maintaining!

So again, diet is the key to flat lower abs. All those sit ups will not bring those abs popping out through the layers of fat. As you lose the weight, those abs start to emerge themselves. Working on them in the gym will help to bring out the definition. As that layer of fat dissolves, your abs become more pronounced.

Two exercise secrets to maintaining those lower abs come in the form of isolations.

Exercise 1. This sit up is done by laying flat on the floor or exercise mat. Bend your knees to a 45 degree angle with your feet on the floor. Ankles close together but not touching.
A. Lace your fingers and place them behind your head. Engage the movement from your core center lifting your head and upper shoulders off the ground. Keep your lower back on the ground. Lift your toes toward your chest. Keep the heels on the ground.
B. Slightly tuck and lift your coccyx bone off the ground.
C. Return your toes and head back to the starting position. Repeat 20-40 times.

Special notes: Do not pull on your head with your hands. The hands are just at the head for placement not for yanking your upper body toward your lower body. The lift comes from engaging your lower abdomen, not pulling your head upward. The slight tilt and lift of the coccyx bone is all the contraction you need to stimulate the lower abs.

Exercise 2. Slightly more advanced. This sit up is done by lying flat on the floor or exercise mat. Tuck your fists, one under each buttock. Slightly tuck your coccyx bone down by tipping your pelvis up. Nothing leaves the ground. Bring your feet and ankles off the ground and bend your knees at a 45 degree angle and center them over your pelvis.
A. Your knees are centered over your pelvis and ankles stay together.
B. Now, pull your lower abdomen in tight, initiating the movement from your lower abdomen and rock (very controlled) the knees ever so slightly toward your chest as your coccyx bone lifts slightly off the ground.
C. Bring your knees back over your pelvis. Repeat 20-40 times.

Special notes: Do not let your knees return back any further than your pelvic bones. Otherwise, you put stain on your lower back. Also, you keep your head on the floor. You may want to roll a towel up and put it under your neck for support (the back of the head should still touch the floor.)

Variation to this exercise. Instead of bring the knees to the chest, slightly straighten the knees and lift the heels toward the ceiling just about two inches, as your coccyx bone lifts slightly off the ground, then return.

So, to recap, the secrets to great lower abs are a proper diet, (calorie and fat controlled) and two great lower ab exercises. This combination will give you the flat lower abs that completes the six pack. When we are weight proportional and not struggling with belly fat, our hormones are more regulated. This means better sex drive and also the metabolic boost we need to feel and look younger. You will also find your pants fit better and if you're consciously pulling those abs in when you walk, they will help to prevent lower back pain and keep your core strong and upper carriage taller!


Foods To Boost Your Metabolism

by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.

1. Grapefruit: In a 2004 study at the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, California, researchers investigated the effect of grapefruit on weight loss and found that eating half a grapefruit before a meal can help us lose weight. The researchers studied the effect of grapefruit capsules, grapefruit juice and real grapefruit. All three seemed to help, but eating the real grapefruit got the best results. Grapefruits also contains cancer-fighting compounds like liminoids and lycopene, and red grapefruit has been shown to help lower triglycerides. Half a grapefruit has only 39 calories. This makes it a great breakfast food, a super snack between meals or make it a dessert!

2 Sardines: Sardines are high in protein, which helps stabilize blood sugar, making you feel full and helps stimulate metabolism. They're a great source of omega-3s, which not only strengthen the cardiovascular system but also are helpful in boosting mood. Sardines are also free of contaminants, such as mercury and heavy metals.

3. Pumpkin: is considered one of the greatest weight-loss foods ever. Canned pumpkin is absolutely loaded with fiber and has only 40 calories. Dozens of studies show that high fiber intake is associated with a many health benefits, including weight management. Pumpkin is also among the easiest food in the world to prepare. You can sweeten it with your favorite low or 0-calorie sweetener, sprinkle it with blood-sugar-lowering cinnamon and nutmeg for good measure, throw in some healthy almonds and make it one of the best tasting weight-loss treats around. It's filling and delicious. Makes a great dessert, snack or side dish.

4. High-protein diets are associated with weight loss for a variety of reasons: Protein stimulates metabolism, helps you feel full longer and helps decrease the desire to overeat. Protein is important because it allows the brain to synthesis the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, which help keep your mind attentive and alert. Excessive protein levels make the organs of digestion work much harder to process this food and robs your energy stores. Find the balance for YOU. Listen to your body! It will tell you what makes you feel good and what does not. Especially in the long term. Consider these great protein foods such as lean beef, lean pork, chicken, turkey, salmon, tuna, and sardines.

5. Carbohydrates provide glucose for energy. Excessive carbohydrates can increase blood sugar levels to dangerous levels, which then makes your body shut down to protect itself. Again, find the balance that is right for YOU. Listen to your body! It will tell you what makes you feel good and what does not.

6. If you have issues with excess heat, (sweating, red face, red skin, inflammation) look at eating foods that have a cooling nature. If you have excess cold (cold fingers, toes, hands, feet, cold abdomen, especially below the navel), look at eating foods that have a warming nature. Neutral foods help to regulate our system.

7. Green Tea is a natural weight-loss stimulant and is a great slimming solution Green tea is rich in antioxidants, promotes heart health, assists digestion and regulates blood sugar and body temperature. It raises the metabolic rate and speeds up fat oxidation, and therefore helps people lose weight. Drink it daily to boost your metabolism. Some research has shown that five cups a day is the magic number for fat loss. As an added benefit, the theanine in green tea is also a great natural de-stressor.

8. Apples and Pears are both great foods for boosting metabolism and weight loss. Apples contain naturally-occurring chemical compounds known as phytochemicals, polyphenols, or flavonoids, some of which have been proven to have antioxidant activity that inhibits, or scavenges, the activity of free radicals in the body. Cell damage from free radicals can be a factor in certain cancers, heart disease, strokes, and other conditions. The major antioxidant components in apples are polyphenols contained mainly in the skin known as quercetin glycoside, phloretin glycoside, chlorogenic acid, and epicatechin. Water rich fresh fruits such as pears, will dilute the calories in your foods, so you can eat more and not overdue the calories. This high fiber fruits is nutritious and keeps the digestive system on track as well as helps to steady the insulin levels, which is going to prevent fat storage. Overweight women who ate the equivalent of three small apples or pears a day lost more weight on a low-calorie diet than women who didn't add fruit to their diet, according to researchers from the State University of Rio de Janeiro. Fruit eaters also ate fewer calories overall.

9. Soups are super! According to a Penn State University study, soup is a super appetite suppressant because it's made up of a hunger-satisfying combination of liquids and solids. In the study, women chose one of three 270-calorie snacks before lunch. Women who had chicken and rice soup as a snack consumed an average of 100 fewer calories than those in the study who opted for a chicken and rice casserole or the casserole and a glass of water.

10. Low-Fat Yogurt has shown to boost weight loss efforts, according to a study in the April 2006 issue of Obesity Research. People on a reduced-calorie diet who included three to four servings of dairy foods lost significantly more weight than those who ate a low-dairy diet containing the same number of calories. Low-fat yogurt is a rich source of weight-loss-friendly calcium, providing about 450 mg (about half the recommended daily allowance for women ages 19-50) per 8-ounce serving, as well as 12 grams of protein. It includes calcium, protein and a ton of other nutrients as well as good bacteria for you digestive tract.


Boosting Your Mood Due To Lack Of Light

by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.

With the change of time and the decreasing amount of sunlight we get this time of year, research has shown that mid to late Fall brings mood swings and depression. It is not known why some people (those between 18 and 30) are more likely to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) and why it seems to affect women more than men ... unless the statistics are based on the fact that women are more ready to admit to depression and ask for help than men.

Below are some of the best tips for beating the blues:

1. Getting Your Omega 3's: Some of the best choices for omega 3 essential fatty acids are salmon, fish oil, flaxseed oil, pumpkin seed oil, soy products, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, turnips and ruta-bega.

The health benefits of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) have been discussed for years. So it is important to know when you are shopping for omega 3 in fish oil form that you look at the EPA and DHA numbers on the label. Your goal is to find a fish oil that is close to this 1,000 mg number as this is the omega 3 number. I have seen fish oils on the shelf that are 1,000 mg per pill yet they only have less that 400 omega 3's (EPA and DHA). So even if your fish oils is 1,000 mg per pill, you must look at the combined numbers of the EPA and DHA to come as close as you can to this 1,000 mg. If you supplement with essential fatty acids, be sure you are getting enough. Take 1,000 mg in divided doses, twice a day for a total of 2,000 mg per day.

2. Seratonin: 5-Hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) is a neurotransmitter. Tryptophan, in addition to being a precursor to serotonin, is also a precursor to niacin and melatonin. Tryptophan is found in such foods as turkey, cottage cheese, seaweed, spirulina, soy, spinach, egg whites, crab and halibut. It is a well known contributor to our overall feeling of well-being. Serotonin has various functions, which include the regulation of mood, sleep, appetite, muscle contraction, as well as cognitive functions such as memory and learning.

3. Vitamin D: Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin which refers to either D2 (ergocalciferol), synthesized by plants or D3 (cholecalciferol), synthesized by humans in the skin. Vitamin D3 is produced in the skin after 10-15 minutes of sunlight exposure from the sun or artificial sources. It occurs naturally in such foods as catfish, fish oil, cod liver oil, mollusks, salmon, shrimp, sardines in oil, mackerel, soy milk, formula milk for babies enriched with vitamin D, margarine, butter and eggs. These sources are rich in vitamin D and are often recommended for consumption to those suffering vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is important for your body as it helps your body synthesis calcium and phosphorus from your food. Other mood related symptoms are depressive behavior and Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). Vitamin D regulates normal cellular differentiation and therefore, helps prevent cancer and helps insulin secretion. Deficiency of this vitamin is the cause of rickets and osteomalacia. vitamin D may provide protection from osteoporosis, hypertension (high blood pressure) and help those with fat malabsorption syndromes (such as cystic fibrosis) or inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn's disease).

The current recommendation for adult intake of vitamin D is 400 IU per day, but findings from a study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine suggested that a vitamin D intake of 600 IU was insufficient to maintain adequate vitamin D levels in the body in the absence of sun exposure. They proposed an increase of the minimum daily recommended adult dose to 1,000 IU per day (Glerup, 2000), for those people who are not deficient. The typical vitamin D dosage for those with deficiency is 5,000-10,000 IU for a 150 pound person. Check with a health care provider knowledgeable in vitamin D supplementation.

4. Vitamin C: is a boost of sunshine found in such foods as citrus fruits (i.e: oranges, grapefruits), sweet red peppers, tomatoes, strawberries and broccoli. Vitamin C acts primarily in cellular fluid. Vitamin C scavenges free radicals and cleans up waste products. In addition to its anti-oxidative activities, vitamin C benefits many other body functions. Vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, which is an important component in the structural make up of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone. Vitamin C also plays an important role in the synthesis of the neurotransmitters and norepinephrine. Neurotransmitters are critical to brain function and are known to affect mood. Vitamin C, even in small amounts, can protect molecules in the body, such as proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) from damage by free radicals.

Linus Pauling, Ph.D, a leading researcher of vitamin C and two-time winner of the Nobel Prize, advised adults to take 2 to 10 grams per day. People require at least 60mgs of vitamin C per day in order to prevent scurvy. The optimal amount of vitamin C is closer to 400 to 3,000 mg per day, in divided doses, more if the body is under stress.

5. Zinc: is an essential trace mineral. Zinc is included in most daily vitamin and mineral supplements. It's antioxidant properties protect against accelerated aging of the skin and muscles and helps speed up the healing process from colds, flu or after an injury. Zinc gluconate glycine and zinc acetate are used in throat lozenges or tablets to reduce the duration and the severity of cold symptoms.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 9 mg/day for women and 14 mg/day for men. The most zinc is found in red meats, especially beef, lamb, liver, wheat (germ and bran) and various seeds (sesame, poppy, alfalfa, celery, mustard). Zinc is also found in beans, nuts, almonds, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and blackcurrant.

6. Exercise: is a perfect mood booster! Exercise is what your body instinctively wants to do especially under stress: fight or flight, and it works. It burns off some of the stress chemicals which tension produces. Therefore, a tired muscle is a relaxed muscle. Regular exercise builds stamina that can help anyone battle stress. Regular exercise is especially helpful for individuals suffering from mental health conditions involving symptoms of anxiety and depression. It is more beneficial to do exercise outdoors, as sunlight is the key to treating S.A.D.

7. Try a light box: Light and color have been valued throughout history as sources of healing. Today, the therapeutic applications of light and color are being investigated in major hospitals and research centers worldwide. Results indicate that full-spectrum, ultraviolet, colored, and laser light can have therapeutic value for a range of conditions from chronic pain and depression to immune disorders.

The oldest form of light therapy is natural sunlight, which is the ultimate source of full-spectrum light. For those living in areas that see very little sunlight this time of year, there are other options; full-spectrum light therapy, bright light therapy, various forms of UV light therapy, syntonic optometry, cold laser therapy, and visual color therapy. 10-15 minutes with a full spectrum light box can easy the mid season blues!


Morning Stretch and Meditation

by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.

The word nourishment is an enriching word meaning to promote the growth and to furnish or sustain with nutriment. This is what we need everyday. Nourishing the soul, enriching the mind and strengthening the body.

When you wake up in the morning, take a few minutes, while you are still lying in bed, to gently massage your temples, forehead and back of your head.

Gently open and stretch your mouth and move your jaw around. Rotate your eyes around in all four directions. Give yourself a long stretch by reaching your arms over your head and lengthening your spine. Rotate your arms at the wrist and feet at the ankles. Roll to a fetus position and gently push yourself up. Place you feet on the floor and then take a deep, deep breath. Fill your lungs with a big nourishing inhale and long exhale. Do this a few more times.

Gently stand and reach your hands up over your head. Reach... then gently bent slowly at the waist and reach your hands to the floor. Now do this a few more times each with an enriching inhale and exhale. Wake up your hamstrings and intercostals as you reach and stretch. Bend and reach to the sides. Clasp your fingers behind your back and gently stretch your arms and shoulders back. Deep breaths EVERY time.

Breath Meditation Flow of energy. Air is the primary nutrient. Survival without it is measured in minutes. It is so important that you do it without thinking. Your breathing is the voice of your spirit. It's depth, smoothness, sound, and rate reflect your mood. If you become aware of your breath and breathe the way you do when you are calm you will become calm. Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing. With the addition of music and it's rhythm, the "musical breath" can even help stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders. Fall into the rhythm of the music and breathe. Focus on your breathing and the music.

Focusing on the breath is one of the most common and fundamental techniques for accessing the meditative state. Breath is a deep rhythm of the body that connects us intimately with the world around us.

Close your eyes, breathe deeply and regularly, and observe your breath as it flows in and out of your body. Give your full attention to the breath as it comes in, and full attention to the breath as it goes out. Whenever you find your attention wandering away from your breath, gently pull it back to the rising and falling of the breath. Inhale through your nose slowly and deeply, feeling the lower chest and abdomen inflate like a balloon. Hold for five seconds. Exhale deeply, deflating the lower chest and abdomen like a balloon. Hold for five seconds. Do this three or four times, then allow your breathing to return to a normal rhythm. You will begin to feel a change come over your entire body. Gradually you will become less aware of your breathing, but not captured in your stream of thoughts. You will become more centered inward. You will just "be there."


New Moves, Fresh Start, Get Motivated!

by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.

The New Year can be a time of new and invigorating power! The holidays are over and most of us are broke, fat and have become lazy over the last month. Between the stress and strain of holiday pressures, parties and procrastinating, we have only enough energy left to get by, exist and run on auto-pilot until the pop of New Years' Eve is over. Well, now's your change to take advantage of The Three M's. Get motivated, get moving, get out the mirror!

Motivating ourselves is the fire, which jump starts our actions. Find a good reason to be motivated...good health, better career, a new relationship....whatever your reason, make your choice and stick to it! Then use tools to get you motivated. Try inspiring music, the power of scent (lemon, orange, floral scents) or a more mind centering process like yoga, meditation or hypnosis.

Moving is the action to your motivation! There is a mountain of proof that movement is the best thing for mind, body and spirit. Moving helps with depression, increases our cardiovascular system, moves energy (Qi) and blood, stimulates the brain, increases hormone production and takes us from one place to the next. Use movement as a tool.

A mirror is a reflection of ourselves. How many times have we seen ourselves in others, both the good and the bad. A mirror is also a great tool. A mirror will tell you the truth. Look into one. What do you see? Since it can reflect back our true self, take advantage of its power and speak your positive affirmations into it. An affirmation is a word, phrase or statement asserting the existence or the truth of something. It is the act of affirming, asserting or stating something. Speaking your affirmation into the mirror is the best way to make your words a reality.

Use these 10 helpful ideas to get your moon over the mountain!

1. Listen to Uplifting Music!

Music can inspire! Some music is designed to have a positive and reaffirming effect on emotions and mental clarity. Singing along to a familiar song or showtune might be all you need. Music is a magical medium and a very powerful tool. Music can delight all the senses and inspire every fiber of our being. Music has the power to soothe and relax, bring us comfort and embracing joy! Music subtly bypasses the intellectual stimulus in the brain and moves directly to our subconscious. There is music for every mood and for every occasion. Music Therapy is incorporated in a number of areas of medicine.

2. Use Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy has been clinically shown to ease stress and improve moods. Essential oils of plant, fruit, and flower essences are created to center and enhance the body and mind in order to help us in preventative measures, as well as, an effective cure for many illnesses. Scents can induce an amazing power as they influence our moods. Our sense of smell is the most direct path to our emotions. This is the principle behind the ancient art of aromatherapy.

3. Get A Massage

Massage Therapy has been proven to reduce anxiety and sadness and to lower cortisol, the stress hormone. Massage Therapy not only treats those parts of you which are a problem, but also affects the whole of your metabolism through normalizing your circulatory, muscular and nervous systems and their interdependent functioning.

4. Enjoy Good Fat

Hormones that regulate Serotonin, our bodies' main mood-boosting chemical, are stimulated by fat consumption. Before reaching for a piece of cake or a cookie, try a piece of salmon. Not all fats are created equal and you should AVOID saturated fats. Instead, eat foods
containing 'good fats' such as fish, nuts and olive oil. These foods help with depression and low self esteem by boosting Serotonin.

5. Get Your Vitamin D

Serotonin is affected by Vitamin D. Studies have shown that consumption Vitamin D makes people feel better. Particularly those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

6. Practice Yoga Therapy

Yoga Therapy is the ancient exercise from India, which has been shown to boost energy, release tension and stress, and help with depression, anger and fatigue. Practicing yoga is associated with establishing harmony,equanimity, balance.

7. Make Humor and Laughter Daily Medicine

Laughter reduces muscle tension. This muscle relaxation and the easing of psychological tension that accompanies it, is the main goal of pain and stress management. This certainly accounts for the stress- reducing power of humor. I often have patients say to me, "well how can I laugh if I'm depressed?" Rediscovering your sense of humor is the end result of your desire to feel better. It is your willingness to look for it. This proactive search for humor is the magical ingredient. The attempted approach to "look for humor in any situation" is a step in the "light" direction.

8. Eat Breakfast

Studies have shown that eating breakfast is associated with greater calmness and less stress. It also improves alertness, which can help your memory and ability to learn. Eating fiber at breakfast is best. Eating fiber in the morning allows for less emotional distress, more energy and more mental alertness!

9. Move!

Exercise is the best medicine for anxiety and depression. It not only keep the body physically and mentally fit but also provides recreation and mental relaxation. It is nature's best tranquilizer. Exercise produces chemical and psychological changes that improves your mental health. It changes the levels of hormones in blood and may elevate your beta-endorphins (mood-affecting brain chemicals). Exercise may also improve the function of the autonomic nervous system. Exercise also gives a feeling of accomplishment and thus reduces the sense of helplessness.

10. Meditation

Meditation works wonders. Every 5 to 10 minutes spent centering yourself in stillness will have positive effects. Meditation improves over all well being. Meditation helps us live a healthier, less stressful life. The physical and psychological benefits are wonderful and many people meditate only for those reasons. The practice of meditation helps us temporarily let the physical world go so that we can begin to see ourselves as we truly are. Taking the time to uncover what the hidden, unconscious emotions and beliefs that contribute to the depression helps create a permanent solution to the problem.


The Healing Sound of Music

by Kate Mucci

A tiny infant lies in a neonatal ward. The heat of an incubator replaces the warmth of her mother's arms; tubes filled with nutrients replace her mother's milk. Every breath is a struggle. Her underdeveloped heart beats erratically. All around her are other infants in distress - the monitors attached to them bleep in time with their struggle to live. Fear is on the faces of anxious parents hovering as close as possible. Nurses scurry to & fro, dealing with crises every moment.

The peace and tranquility of their mothers' wombs is replaced with the whoosh and hiss of respirators, bleeping monitors, parents crying, nurses giving and receiving instructions. Even though these infants are not fully conscious of their surroundings, these sounds affect their ability to relax and sleep. And sleep is essential to helping them gain strength and live.

In the midst of this, a harpist enters the ward. She begins to softly play an ancient lullaby. After a few moments, the monitors steady. Nearly all of the infants breathe more easily; their heart rates steady, and they rest. Many of them fall into deep sleep - the first they have had since the harpist last was here.

The nurses relax, and smiles of relief grace the faces of the parents when they see the tiny souls absorbing the healing power of this beautiful music.

A group of Alzheimers patients are gathered in the assembly room of a nursing home. One tiny, frail woman sits off to the side in her wheelchair. Her eyes are vacant - her mind somewhere far from her body and the room in which it rests.

The activities director introduces a young couple. He carries a guitar, and walks with his wife to the piano. The young woman sits down, and plays a few notes. Most of the residents have not even looked up - they don't hear most of what anyone says - or if they do, they cannot, or will not, respond. But the two volunteers are unconcerned; they smile at each other and the seniors, and they begin to play and sing.

A rousing rendition of Oh, Susannah´┐Żas several of the residents looking up - flickers of recognition cross their faces. A few choruses of How Great Thou Art inspires many of them to stand and walk or wheel their chairs toward the piano. Soon several are singing along to Amazing Grace. A few country and western tunes bring several more residents into the present, and In the Mood has nearly everyone dancing along. Everyone, that is, except the frail, tiny woman in the wheelchair in the corner.

The guitarist is concerned, and calls over a nurse who tells him that the little woman is German, & doesn't know most American songs.

She has also reverted back to speaking German - unable to converse any longer in English, for she cannot remember the words. The young man smiles and signals to his wife. The next tune is the Blue Danube. He watches closely, and sees that the frail old woman's eyes begin to focus. She watches as several of the residents begin to waltz together - wheelchairs and all. When The Beer Barrel Polka starts, this tiny woman, who hasn't smiled or connected in any way with anyone for months, wheels her chair toward the piano. Singing all the way. The other residents clap, and sing along with her, all of them excited to recognize her and each other. The party continues for an hour, when the young couple must go to their day jobs.

When the music stops, it isn't long before most of the residents retreat back into their Selves. But the frail little lady continues to hum - she's remembered a tune on her own now, and hums the melody to Liebestraum until she, too, fades back into her own world. It was only for a short while, but the music gave these lonely patients a few moments of connection, happiness, and memory.

Everyone from tiny infants to octogenarians experience little miracles like this every day. Some are healed, some are given a few moments of relief from pain, still others are comforted in their passage to the beyond. It is the power of music which makes these little miracles possible.

Unfortunately, much of the western medical establishment refuses to acknowledge the incredible benefits of music. It is not employed regularly in most hospitals and medical practices, and is not covered by insurance. Despite the overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence that music heals, the medical establishment will argue that there is no proof of the efficacy of music - nothing which meets the rigorous requirements of the scientific method.

But healing isn't about science. Healing is about people. And real people are experiencing very real results from the healing power of music, often through the efforts of volunteers, in hospices, senior centers, and in cancer and children's wards. Stress is the number one indicator of the likelihood of having a heart attack or stroke. More than diet, more than family history, more than weight. Stress kills. Music offers us relief from stress in many ways. It helps us to open ourselves emotionally and let loose with feelings that may be causing disease. It inspires us to examine ourselves, our lives and our relationships. Through our mind and emotion, music can reduce stress.

Music also has measurable physical effects on the body. Certain kinds of music actually lower blood pressure and heart rate, regulate breathing and lower cholesterol. For individuals with hypertension and related conditions, music can be much more powerful (and safer) than many prescription drugs.

Our immune systems are being challenged every moment. Stress, pollution in the air, our water, our food; new strains of antibiotic-resistent bacteria; they all take a toll on our body's ability to fight disease. Despite the millions of dollars being spent on research, cancer is rampant today. Tuberculosis is actually becoming a problem again, and countless viruses are attacking from all directions. What can we do to reverse the ravages of a weakened immune system? Listen to and make music.

Research has shown that alkaline music (such as soothing classical, East Indian, harp music and chant) actually increases the body's ability to ward off disease.

People undergoing surgery require less anesthesia, awaken from anesthesia more quickly and with less side effects, and heal more rapidly when healing music is played before, during and after the surgical procedure. Patients recovering from heart attacks and strokes respond much more quickly to treatment when soothing music is played in their rooms. Many studies have shown the incredible effects that music has on chronic pain. People suffering from back pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and pain from injuries; all benefit from using music. Physical therapy is much more effective when combined with music. And burn victims experience much less pain when music they choose and enjoy is employed during their treatments.

Individuals suffering from depression need less medication and have more success in psychotherapy when music is added to their course of treatment. Grief, loneliness, even anger; are all managed much better when appropriate music is added to therapy. Autistic children & children diagnosed with attention deficit disorder all react positively to music therapy. Kids with learning disabilities show remarkable improvement in mathematics, reading and reasoning skills when they are exposed to appropriate music. The results are magnified many times when these same children have an opportunity to make music.

That's true of anyone suffering from nearly any malady. Making music - the act of creating melodious sound - is an incredibly powerful healing tool. Physical, mental and emotional challenges are met so much more easily when one can make music! It doesn't have to be performance quality - it just has to be from the heart. Singing, humming, toning, whistling, beating a drum, playing a flute, harp, guitar or piano - anything. When music is made out of love, incredible healing occurs.

On the other hand, music that is negative, or filled with hate or fear, can be emotionally and physically damaging. It inspires more fear, and from fear comes imbalance and disease. And just as the sound of a jackhammer sets up painful vibrations in our ears, music with discordant frequencies or hateful lyrics sets up dissonant vibrations in our bodies and souls. We must be conscious of the negative effects of raucous sounds and negative music, and counteract them with positive music created out of love.

The health of the physical body is inextricably tied to our emotional, mental and spiritual health. Music is a powerful catalyst for healing because it touches the very core of humanity... our souls. With music, we can remember our connection to the Creator and the powerful Healer within. We can take control of our health and our lives as we enjoy The Healing Sound of Music.


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*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader.





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