Thursday, January 10, 2019

Research Update: Acupuncture and Pain Management


Research Update: Acupuncture and Pain Management



A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine examined how acupuncture can be used to treat low back pain. The researchers looked at multiple trials to determine that acupuncture shows great promise in relieving chronic low back pain. The trials were inconclusive about acupuncture for acute low back pain. Since chronic low back pain is more common, it makes sense the majority of the trials scrutinized found more evidence to support acupuncture usage for this condition.

Pain affects everybody at some point in their lives. It may be either acute or chronic. But regardless of the type of pain, it can be debilitating. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly 100 million Americans have suffered from pain that lasts more than 24 hours and millions more suffer from acute pain. Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability in the United States also, which ultimately affects not only the pain sufferer, but also those around him or her.

Many people go to see their regular doctor when they have pain. Many more go to the emergency room. But the treatments received don’t always provide relief. Everything from pain pills to surgery may be suggested to help pain sufferers. And because of over-prescription of pain medications, there is now an epidemic in the United States. Opioids, one class of prescription painkillers, has turned into a legitimate killer, causing more and more people to overdose and die. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it is estimated that nearly 2.1 million people in the U.S. are suffering from substance abuse disorders directly related to opioid pain relievers.

This is where acupuncture comes in. Acupuncture is part of a nearly 3,000 year old medical system known as Traditional Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture uses hair-thin needles to stimulate specific pressure points on the body. By invigorating these points, the brain is triggered to release endorphins, which are natural painkillers. The energy within the body is also moved and adjusted. According to TCM medical theory, when the energy is blocked or weak, then pain and illness can attack the body.


One of the advantages of utilizing acupuncture to treat pain is the acupuncturist doesn’t need to diagnose the cause of the pain before treating it. Since acupuncture has no real adverse side effects when performed by a qualified and professionally licensed practitioner, pain relief can begin the very first time a patient is treated.


The treatments are very customizable because this medicine is not a “one size fits all” type of solution. This means that as the pain shifts and changes, the patient will receive customized treatments that not only address the pain and inflammation, but they also work on resolving the root of the problem. Most patients who are dealing with pain also have added stress, insomnia and depression or anxiety. Acupuncture is great at treating all of these conditions. So the patient gets more than just pain relief.


Acupuncture is so effective at treating and relieving pain now showing up in hospitals and emergency rooms. In fact, Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota is now successfully using acupuncture in its emergency room to treat conditions ranging from car accident injuries to kidney stones. Their initial results show pain scores are just as low with acupuncture as they are with those given analgesic painkillers. Another positive action regarding the utilization of acupuncture came just recently. The Food and Drug Administration released proposed changes that plan to educate health care providers about treating pain. The new guidelines recommend doctors get information about acupuncture and suggest it to their patients before prescribing opioids.


With these kinds of recommendations and testimonials, it is hard to believe only about 10 percent of Americans have ever tried acupuncture. But that statistic is slowly changing as more and more people are seeking natural and alternative methods of dealing with pain and disease. Why not check it out for yourself? Contact me to Free Eliminate Pain Evaluation.


New York Sports Acupuncture 
Dr. Bishara Wilson, DACM, L.Ac.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

How Can Meditation Help Me?



How Can Meditation Help Me?



Life is full of ups and downs. And everybody tends to get overwhelmed at times. But there are many ways of dealing with what happens. Some people go to the gym to workout. Others meet up with friends and enjoy a nice meal with lots of conversation. But sometimes it comes down to what we can do by ourselves, for ourselves. Many things are beyond our control. However, we can take responsibility for the state of our mind and meditation is a wonderful tool that helps us do that.


Meditation has been around for millennia. The earliest written records of meditation come from the Hindu traditions around 1500 BCE. Other forms of meditation developed in Taoist China and Buddhist India around the sixth and fifth centuries. The exact origins are subject to debate. But regardless of the origin, meditation practices have stood the test of time and are used all over the world.


Meditation is a way to transform the mind. Meditation practices can increase concentration, emotional positivity, clarity and a sense of calmness. Meditation can also give us the ability to see the true nature of things around us. There are many different forms of meditation, but they all have the same purpose, to calm the mind and help us find our center. When we engage in a particular form of meditation, we learn the habits and patterns of our minds and then we can actually change old habits.


Scientific research tends to focus on two types of meditation, mindful meditation and focused-attention meditation. Through the use of MRIs, scientists have developed a more thorough understanding of what actually takes place in our brains when we meditate. The most dramatic effect is that our brains stop processing information like they normally would. The frontal lobe, which is responsible for reasoning, planning, emotions and self-consciousness, tends to stop functioning during meditation. The parietal lobe, which processes sensory information, slows down. The thalamus, which is the area that focuses our attention by interpreting sensory information, actually shows a slowing of incoming information. So all of these things combined, allows our brains to relax.


Meditation is a practice of focusing our attention and being aware of when it meanders and because of this, meditation can improve our focus when we are not meditating also. It’s a lasting effect that comes from regular meditation practices. 


Another positive effect of meditation is that it allows us to have less anxiety and stress. The more we meditate, the looser the connections of certain neural pathways become. The area of the brain that triggers strong reactions becomes less “tight” and in contrast, the frontal lobe strengthens, allowing us to more easily look at things rationally. For example, sometimes when we experience pain, our minds go to the worst possible scenario and we become anxious. The more a person meditates, the more rational their thinking becomes and thus the feelings of anxiety decrease. 


Probably the most studied benefit of meditation is compassion. People who practice meditation regularly have been shown to have more empathy. The part of the brain that processes emotional stimuli, the amygdala, normally slows down during meditation. But just like the aforementioned lasting effects of meditation, compassion and empathy are also affected long-term. Thus those who practice regular meditation tend to look at others differently and show them more understanding and compassion.


Memory is another area that is helped through the regular practice of meditation. Studies have shown that those who meditate are able to adjust the brain waves that screen our distractions and therefore increase their productivity. Part of this is because meditation actually increases the amount of grey matter in the brain. The greater the amount of grey matter, the more positive the emotions, the less age-related diseases affect us and the less our cognitive functioning decreases.


Over time, meditation can greatly improve the quality of life in numerous ways. Researching the different forms of meditation is the best way to get started. Try as many as possible and go with the one that resonates best with you. Your body will definitely thank you.


New York Sports Acupuncture
Dr. Bishara Wilson, DACM, L.Ac.
888.375.5444





Saturday, December 29, 2018

Seven Ways to Set and Achieve Your Goals



Seven Ways to Set and Achieve Your Goals


No matter what you’re trying to accomplish, setting goals is one way to help you get there. Often, when people have no goals, they lack motivation, focus and direction. Setting goals also provides a benchmark to determine whether or not you are succeeding. But how do you set goals if you’ve never done so before? Or what if you have set goals in the past, but you didn’t achieve them? Do you just give up and tell yourself that goal setting doesn’t work? That’s one option, but let’s put things into perspective.


1. Set goals that motivate you. What does this really mean? The goals you set for yourself should be important to you, making you feel there is value in achieving those goals. Setting goals irrelevant to your life, will not inspire you to take action. To determine if a goal is important to you, write down “why” this goal matters.


2. Break the larger goals down into smaller, more specific goals. For instance, if your goal is to lose 60 pounds over the next year, break that down into smaller more achievable goals. Set a goal of losing five pounds per month for the next 12 months. This makes the larger goal more feasible and accessible.


3. Write down your goals. The physical act of writing down a goal makes it tangible and real. And writing those goals in ink versus pencil, makes it more permanent. Also, be conscious of the wording you use. In place of “I would like to” use “I will”. This gives your goals more power


4. Make an action plan to achieve your goals. In other words, don’t just focus on the end result. Spend time working on the steps it will take to get you to your ultimate goal.


5. Adjust your goals periodically. Goals may change as you age or as you start to change. Your goals should be adjusted accordingly, allowing for flexibility and growth.


6. Be specific. Even though your goals may change periodically, you still want to be as specific as possible when setting a goal. For example, don’t just set a goal of “getting fit”. Set a goal of running a 5K marathon by a certain date that will help you achieve the fit and healthy lifestyle you are ultimately striving for.


7. Don’t give up. Many times, when we are faced with failure, we tend to give up on our goals. But some of the most successful people in history failed numerous times before they got it right. And they all had to stop, adjust and reevaluate their goals as they went along. The difference between winning and losing is staying the course.



If there is something you want to achieve, set a goal to get there. And above all, never give up. We are capable of doing and achieving so many things in our lives. All it takes is determination and goals.


New York Sports Acupuncture
Dr. Bishara Wilson, DACM, L.Ac.
888.375.5444

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Acupuncture for Harnessing Willpower



Acupuncture for Harnessing Willpower


Ever had one of those days or weeks where you just can’t pull yourself out of bed in the morning? Or perhaps you just can’t say “No!” to the dessert tray. Regardless of the activity, willpower is what keeps some people disciplined. But it doesn’t make you a bad person if you have dessert with every meal, buy more shoes than you really need or take longer to get going in the morning. It just means your willpower isn’t strong. And just like any other habit, that can be changed.


Willpower is like a muscle. It can be trained. Willpower also uses energy and is limited, just like muscles. Exerting self-control uses energy and over time, this energy can become depleted, making it easier to have the dessert, buy the shoes or sleep in past your alarm. So if you’re somebody who has difficulty with willpower, what can you do?


Believe it or not, regular acupuncture treatments can increase your willpower. Acupuncture is just one subset of an ancient medical system known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). But it is by far, the most commonly known and used. In TCM, the word for will is zhi. In TCM, Zhi is associated with the kidneys. So if the energy of your kidneys is strong, the will is also strong, this is how acupuncture can help increase willpower. The needles used in acupuncture treatments actually stimulate the energy of the kidneys, thus increasing willpower.


There are two sides of the coin for every organ in TCM, the yin and the yang. With regards to the kidneys and willpower, the yin is the substance that provides the drive, while also accepting the circumstances we’re given. And the yang aspect of willpower is our expression of ourselves in terms of goals, vision, ambition, and aspiration. When both yin and yang are in balance, willpower is strong. However, fear frequently gets in the way of this balance and tends to override our purpose and goals. Why? Because fear is the mind’s way of keeping us safe and protecting us from harm. But anybody who has ever overcome adversity can tell you fear probably never entered their mind or they did it regardless. All because of the willpower to attain their goals.


The reason TCM works so well at addressing and correcting problems with willpower is because it addresses the body holistically. TCM looks at everything: the body, mind, environment and the emotions. This allows for treatments to be customized to the needs of the patient instead of a one size fits all approach. Customized treatments allow for better outcomes.


New York Sports Acupuncture
Dr. Bishara Wilson, DACM, L.Ac.
888.375.5444


Saturday, December 22, 2018

Research Update: Acupuncture and TCM for Motivation



Research Update: Acupuncture and TCM for Motivation


A study published by the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine looked at the holistic effects of acupuncture treatments. The study looked at how acupuncture treatments were conducted and evaluated. One of the areas this study looked at is how acupuncture influences the function of the brain. By using functional MRI imaging, the researchers were able to see certain areas of the brain were stimulated during the acupuncture treatments. The anterior insula and striatum, areas involved in motivation processing, were very responsive to the treatments. The study confirmed acupuncture on specific points can activate motivation centers in the brain, thus leading to increased physical motivation in the participants.


Everybody experiences times where they have no motivation. Lack of motivation can be caused by many things: weather, depression, nutritional deficiencies, rejection and even not exercising.


Lacking motivation can be detrimental to your health. Even though everybody knows they should be exercising and eating right and getting proper sleep, many of us choose not to. This becomes a bad habit that can actually develop into depression, fatigue, insomnia and even nutritional deficiencies that can cause even worse physical problems. We tell ourselves we don’t have time or we have no motivation or willpower. These are just stories we tell ourselves. EVERYBODY has time to care for themselves. It’s just a choice we have to make.


Acupuncture can help put the pep back in your step when it comes to motivation. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), lack of motivation is considered some sort of blockage along the energetic pathways that run throughout the body. Most commonly, this affects the gallbladder and liver pathways. Over time, this lack of motivation frequently develops into depression. When the body is depressed, nothing seems possible. But the fact of the matter is that, there are underlying causes to depression that begin with the lack of motivation.

The reason TCM works so well at addressing and correcting motivation problems is because it addresses the body holistically. When people go to their doctor and tell them that they have no motivation, they are frequently prescribed antidepressants. But the problem with antidepressants is they don’t address the underlying causes of the issue. TCM looks at everything: the body, the mind, the environment and the emotions. This allows for treatments to be customized to the needs of the patient instead of a one size fits all approach.
As mentioned, the liver and gallbladder pathways are most commonly associated with lack of motivation. When either or both of these pathways become blocked, motivation dissipates and people become depressed. One of the first things that happens is emotions become involved and send signals to the digestive tract. This is why many times, people who lack motivation or who have developed depression have no appetite. Energy comes from eating healthy foods. But when we have no appetite, we tend to crave things like sweets and carbohydrates because they give us the “emotional high” that temporarily sedates the depression and lack of motivation. But this quickly goes away and we end up right back where we started.
The gallbladder pathway is important when motivation is lost. The gallbladder pathway is associated with courage and decisiveness. Lack of motivation causes most people to not be decisive. The inability to decide or act or the lack of motivation to act is associated with a weakness of the gallbladder system. Regular acupuncture treatments can help with this issue, as well as moving energy along both the liver and gallbladder pathways, thus restoring balance to the body and increasing motivation.
New York Sports Acupuncture
Dr. Bishara Wilson, DACM, L.Ac.
888.375.5444



CITATION: 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Five Ways to Wake Up and Get Active



Five Ways to Wake Up and Get Active


Everybody experiences times where they have no motivation. Lack of motivation can be caused by many things: the weather, depression, nutritional deficiencies, rejection and even not exercising. For many, this seems contradictory. If I have no motivation, how am I supposed to go exercise? Well, it all comes down to choices and doing what is best for your body.



Lacking motivation can be detrimental to your health. Even though everybody knows they should be exercising, eating right and getting proper sleep, many of us choose not to. This becomes a bad habit that can actually develop into depression, fatigue, insomnia and even nutritional deficiencies that cause worse physical problems. We tell ourselves we don’t have time or we have no motivation or willpower. These are just stories we tell ourselves. Everybody has time to care for themselves. It’s just a choice we have to make. So here are some ways to help us wake up, get motivated and get moving.



1. Acupuncture - Acupuncture can help put the pep in your step when it comes to motivation. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), lack of motivation is considered a sort of blockage along the energetic pathways that run throughout the body. Most commonly, this affects the gallbladder and liver pathways. Over time, this lack of motivation frequently develops into depression. When the body is depressed, nothing seems possible. But there are underlying causes to depression that begin with lack of motivation.


2. Feng Shui – This ancient art is used to energetically balance the home through the placement of the furnishings inside. The bedroom is particularly important because we spend so much time there. Feng Shui tells us your bed should be placed where it allows you to see the door without being in the direct path of the door opening. This allows for a sense of security, which can lead to more restful sleep.


3. Gratitude – Being thankful for everything you have in your life really does make a difference. Instead of seeing the day ahead of you as a burden and worrying about everything you have to do, be thankful you woke up again. This will shift how you look at things throughout the day and the rest of your life.


4. Exercise – Whether you’re a gym rat or not, exercise is vitally important. Going for a walk or a jog first thing in the morning can be refreshing and get the blood pumping. Studies show regular exercise in the morning can actually lead to more energy the next day.


5. Meditate/Pray – Meditation and prayer allows the body to relax and the mind to calm down. Using this tool shortly before going to bed can be very beneficial. And as we all know, when the mind is quiet, the body relaxes more and we get better, more restful sleep, which gives us more energy and motivation to tackle the next day.


Try incorporating one or all of these practices into your life and see how much it affects you. And remember, studies show it takes 21 to 30 days of doing something consistently for it to become a habit. Are you up for the challenge?


New York Sports Acupuncture
Dr. Bishara Wilson, DACM, L.Ac.
888.375.5444

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Acupuncture and Seasonal Affective Disorder



Research Update: Acupuncture and Seasonal Affective Disorder


A study published by the National Institute of Health looked at the management options for treating depression. Depression is one of the most prevalent symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. This study was conducted by the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments. They looked at multiple complementary and alternative methods for treating depression, including light therapy, acupuncture, exercise, yoga and natural health supplements like Omega 3 fatty acids and St. John’s Wort. The study concluded acupuncture is most commonly used as a third line of treatment for those seeking alternative methods to deal with depression, despite the fact it tends to be very effective.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is really a form of depression that affects people worldwide. It is most commonly experienced during the fall and winter months. The symptoms of SAD include depression, hypersomnia, lethargy, difficulty concentrating, overeating, negative thoughts and decreased social interaction. Higher levels of anxiety are experienced at the end of the summer season as those who suffer from this ailment start to anticipate the coming months of less sunshine and increased symptomatology. Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture are great choices for treatment of this condition. 


Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is very effective in treating depression, including Seasonal Affective Disorder. Modern medicine usually treats depression with antidepressants and psychotherapy regardless of the presenting symptoms. In contrast, TCM diagnoses each patient on an individual basis and treats the specific symptoms, while also addressing the root of the illness. TCM incorporates multiple modalities such as acupuncture, Chinese herbs, tuina massage, cupping and exercises like qigong to help restore balance to the body. Traditional Chinese medicine also treats the person holistically instead of treating mind and body separately.


The theory behind treating depression using TCM, all revolves around the concept of Qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi is considered the vital energy that flows through the body and animates everything. When Qi is blocked or stagnant, illness can take root, either physically or mentally. Qi flows throughout the body on energetic pathways or meridians. Each energetic meridian is associated with an organ and each organ has its own emotion.


Acupuncture releases endorphins. By doing so, it improves the flow of Qi throughout the body while eliminating blockages and bringing balance to the mind and body. Endorphins counter the symptoms of depression and allow the person to resume a normal life.

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can help alleviate symptoms of depression while also attacking the root cause(s), thus bringing the body and mind back into balance. The body and mind are inseparable and should be treated as a whole, which is the approach used by acupuncturists.


If you are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder or depression and are looking for a natural way of dealing with it, contact me to find out more about how acupuncture may be right for you. 


New York Sports Acupuncture
Dr. Bishara Wilson, DACM, L.Ac.