Love Your Liver!

As March unfolds and St. Patrick’s Day festivities commence, amidst the choice of a pint for many, it's important to pause and address the topic of liver health. The liver has many roles in the body:

  • Filtration
  • Digestion
  • Metabolism and Detoxification
  • Protein synthesis
  • Storage of vitamins and minerals

As a result of these key functions, liver dysfunction can have a cascade of effects including:

  • High cholesterol
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Dysglycemia
  • Early breakdown of joints

Is that last one a surprise to you? It was to me! I was listening to a podcast on kissing spine— an arthritic condition in horses that has become more prevalent. The discussion went to findings in dissections of horses with kissing spine showing bone level bruising throughout the body AND liver pathologies, and that further, when horses with kissing spine were given liver supportive treatments, the disease progression slowed dramatically or even stopped. So I had to dig deeper—was there research into the role of liver dysfunction in arthritis in people?  And the answer was a resounding yes.

Now in classical biomedical standards, the liver is not considered diseased until it’s near failure— jaundice, ascites, major problems...but there is also a clear association in the literature between hepatitis B infections and arthritis. So why wouldn’t earlier-stage liver issues from other causes have the potential to cause joint and bone changes? The research certainly points that way. Given all the things our liver does for us, I’ve had a change in perspective. With the abundance of liver-supportive herbs available to us that are safe, why not just plan on a quarterly liver cleanse to help keep that lovely organ happy and healthy?

*If you take supplements, herbs, or prescription medications—do review this protocol with your health care provider or herbalist*  

Do keep in mind—all the cleanses and tonics in the world won’t be able to make up for a poor diet! So on a daily basis, remember that your food and drink choices matter! Sugar, alcohol, and junk food add a strain to your liver. Herbal teas, nutrient-rich veggies, and fruits support your liver.

On a daily basis the following herbs can gently support your liver and blood:

  • milk thistle
  • goji berries
  • schisandra
  • cilantro
  • parsley
  • chrysanthemum 
  • nettle
  • oat straw
  • black tea
  • green tea
  • white tea
  • dandelion (leaves, root, and flowers)

In terms of a safe liver cleanse, MediHerb has some lovely herbal complexes to both cleanse and support the liver. So every quarter, I recommend the following protocol: Raja Wellness Quarterly Liver Cleanse

Starting the cleanse with LivCo around the full moon taps into the clearing energy of this celestial body (stay tuned next month where I discuss parasite cleanses and the pull of the full moon for more details). Then take a break for a few days and start the “tonifying” phase with Livton to support the liver as the energy of the new moon helps guide the herbs into a building phase. For most people, doing this 4 times per year will be sufficient. If you don’t regularly take prescription medications, aren’t drinking alcohol on a weekly or daily basis, get plenty of exercise, and manage your stress—then 1-2x per year will be plenty for this cleanse.

In addition to the herbs, I recommend following a liver-friendly diet rich in plant-based proteins, vegetables, and some high-quality fish in addition to nuts, olive oil, and fruits. There is a multitude of research into nutrition for longevity, reduced disease, and health. The common theme among these findings is: to eat a diet high in vegetables, plant-based proteins, and whole grains with small amounts of fruits, grains, and animal proteins. Olive oil, coconut oil, and nuts all have protective properties for the brain and liver. As Jack Lalanne used to say “The longer the shelf life, the shorter your life”. Those handy packaged “foods” are often no longer actual food but merely a food-like product! 

Stress and psychological factors have a direct impact on the function of the liver. The more you can regulate stress through lifestyle and exercise, the better the liver will function. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver is represented by the wood element—spring is the time of liver growth with new growth reaching and bending to new heights. A healthy wood element is flexible like the young tree, bending with the wind rather than breaking. The color associated with the liver is green and stones like peridot and malachite can support liver function. And yes, regular acupuncture has been shown to reduce stress and increase overall health- even for healthy patients a quarterly “tune-up” with your acupuncturist can keep new problems from emerging. For patients with a high-stress life or who engage in intense physical training-  monthly sessions help keep problems at bay.

Why are we so passionate about mental health at Raja Wellness? 

The link between mental health and cardiovascular health is quite significant. Stress, especially chronic psychological stress, has a profound impact on the cardiovascular system. When the “stress response” is activated, the body secretes glucocorticoids, epinephrine, and other hormones, while inhibiting the secretion of growth hormone, insulin, and reproductive hormones. The sympathetic nervous system is also activated, leading to increased heart rate and blood pressure, among other physiological changes that divert blood to areas needed for immediate survival, such as the muscles and lungs, and away from non-essential areas like the gut and reproductive organs. This response is adaptive in the short term, but chronic activation due to chronic stress can lead to serious cardiovascular issues such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, and myocardial ischemia.

This connection between mental health and cardiovascular health highlights the intricate intertwining of psychological and physiological factors. The body's response to chronic stress can have detrimental effects on the cardiovascular system, emphasizing the importance of managing and addressing mental health to promote overall well-being, including cardiovascular health.

Acupuncture has many benefits for cardiovascular health:

1. Stress Reduction: Stress is a known risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Acupuncture has been shown to modulate the body's stress response, potentially reducing the impact of stress on the heart and blood vessels.

2. Blood Pressure Regulation: Studies indicate that acupuncture may help in regulating blood pressure. By targeting specific acupuncture points, practitioners aim to optimize blood circulation and blood pressure levels, contributing to better cardiovascular function.

3. Inflammation Management: Chronic inflammation is closely linked to cardiovascular conditions. Acupuncture may exert anti-inflammatory effects, potentially reducing the systemic inflammation associated with heart disease.

4. Enhanced Circulation: The stimulation of acupuncture points is believed to enhance microcirculation, improving blood flow to vital organs including the heart. Enhanced circulation can promote heart health and overall cardiovascular function.

5. Complementary Therapy: Acupuncture is often used as a complementary therapy alongside conventional medical treatments for cardiovascular issues. It may help alleviate symptoms, improve overall well-being, and enhance the effects of standard cardiovascular care.

While acupuncture has clear benefits for cardiovascular health, we recommend individuals consult healthcare professionals before integrating acupuncture into their treatment regimen. Moreover, acupuncture alone may not be enough for people dealing with chronic stress. 

Learning to manage our stress is a key part of maintaining heart health—and that’s where professional mental health care is so important as part of your overall wellness. 

Herbal formulas also play an important role in heart health. Many formulas have been shown to reduce cholesterol and blood lipid levels, decrease inflammation, and increase peripheral circulation. For example, Clear Mind Formula is one of my favorite herbal formulas for heart health, especially here in Kentucky because of its natural antifungal and antimicrobial properties. This is a raw herbal concoction that we make in-house. We do recommend consulting with a trained herbalist before incorporating any herbal remedies into your care plan. 

or

For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 270-506-3853 today!


References:

1. Wayne PM, Kaptchuk TJ. Challenges inherent to t'ai chi research: part II-defining the intervention and optimal study design. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2008;14(2):191-197.

2. Fu, C., Zhao, N., & Liu, Z. (2013). Chronic pain: acupuncture and related therapies. Springer Science & Business Media

3. Chen J, Ye C, Yang Z, Zhang C, Li P, Xu B, Wu A, Zhang X, Xue X. Erchen decoction to reduce oxidative stress in dyslipidemia phlegm-dampness retention syndrome mice: In vivo mechanism revealed by metabolomics (liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry). Phytomedicine. 2023 Jul;115:154808. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2023.154808.

Acupuncture has gained popularity recently for its benefits in improving immune system function. This holistic approach involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow and restore balance. While acupuncture is commonly known for its effectiveness in pain management, it also offers numerous advantages for boosting the immune system.

One of the primary benefits of acupuncture is its ability to reduce stress levels. Stress has a significant impact on the immune system, weakening its response to pathogens and increasing the risk of illness. Acupuncture helps to regulate the body's stress response by promoting the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood enhancers. This, in turn, reduces stress and anxiety, allowing the immune system to function optimally!

Furthermore, acupuncture has been found to enhance the production of immune cells, such as natural killer cells, which play a crucial role in defending the body against viruses and cancer cells. A study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine found that acupuncture increased the activity of natural killer cells, suggesting its potential to improve immune system function.

In addition to boosting immune cell production, acupuncture also improves circulation. The flow of blood and lymphatic fluid is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system, as it helps transport immune cells and nutrients throughout the body. By stimulating specific acupuncture points, blood circulation is enhanced, allowing immune cells to reach their destinations more efficiently.

Moreover, acupuncture has been shown to regulate inflammation, a key factor in immune system function. Chronic inflammation can impair immune responses and lead to various health conditions. Research published in the Journal of Neuroimmunology demonstrated that acupuncture can modulate the production of inflammatory cytokines, reducing inflammation and promoting a balanced immune response.

In addition to the benefits above, acupuncture has been known to also assist with other things that may contribute to improved immune function:

Balancing Energy Flow (Qi): According to traditional Chinese medicine theory, acupuncture helps balance the flow of vital energy, or "Qi," through the body's meridians. When Qi flows smoothly, it is believed to support overall health, including immune function.

Stimulating Lymphatic Flow: The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in the immune response by filtering out toxins and waste products. Acupuncture may help stimulate lymphatic flow, aiding in the removal of these substances.

Improving Sleep Quality: Quality sleep is essential for a healthy immune system. Acupuncture may help improve sleep patterns and address conditions like insomnia or sleep disturbances that can weaken the immune system.

Supporting Organ Function: Acupuncture is believed to influence the function of specific organs, which can indirectly impact immune health. For example, the spleen is considered important for immune function in traditional Chinese medicine, and acupuncture may be used to support its function.

It is important to note that acupuncture should not be considered a standalone treatment for immune system disorders or diseases. It is most effective as a complementary therapy alongside conventional medical treatments. Consulting with a qualified acupuncturist and healthcare professional is crucial to ensure a comprehensive and personalized approach to immune system support while supporting your specific needs and goals.

Book an appointment HERE with one of our highly qualified Acupuncturists today!


References:

1. National Library of Medicine: Acupuncture and Immunity

2. National Library of Medicine: The Global Coherence Initiative: Creating a Coherent Planetary Standing Wave

In honor of Father’s Day, I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight how acupuncture and TCM helps men’s health; and to remind men that they need to take care of themselves too. Statistically men are less likely than women to seek health care and married men tend to see the doctor more often than single men, but still less often than women (even accounting for pregnancy needs). One of the biggest complaints I hear from male patients is they are too busy or they don’t want to walk out with another pill to take. 

I started this with a search of “top reasons men go to the doctor” and could only find research and articles on why men should go to the doctor—it seems we haven’t really looked at why they do go when they do in much detail. I did find this gem from The Cleveland Clinic and their support of the MENtion It Campaign—an initiative to encourage men to seek care. Despite the fact that the majority of men want better health to care for their families, less than half of those who listed that as a priorit, seek regular care. 

The top reasons why? They don’t want to know they have to make a lifestyle change, or fear of finding out what they have. We get it—but there are better options than neglecting your health. And if you don’t want to take a pill when things are going wrong, yes, you will need to make a change.  But aren’t you and your family worth it? So if you have an issue—MENtion It! We are here to listen.

One advantage acupuncture has over other options is we treat the whole body during a session—you may be coming in for back pain or knee pain, but we will also be addressing sleep, digestion, immune function, endocrine balance and more. If you think about it, it is truly a great value! Similarly, our approach using herbal formulas is to select a formula that addresses as many issues at once as possible—so you can take one thing and have multiple issues get better.  And unlike just treating a symptom, when we are able to get to the root of the problem, and as a result, you feel better and stay that way even without being on herbs all the time.

Menopause gets a lot of notice, but did you know men go through a similar process called Andropause? First written about in 1946, a landmark paper in JAMA entitled, “The Male Climacteric” characterized it with nervousness, reduced potency, decreased libido, irritability, fatigue, depression, memory problems, sleep disturbances, and hot flushes. Hypogonadism is broad scientific term and it refers to a “clinical syndrome caused by androgen deficiency, which may adversely affect multiple organ functions and quality of life.”1  Decreasing testosterone levels are linked to a number of disease processes and shorter life-span. The traditional approach is supplemental testosterone, but acupuncture and traditional East Asian herbal medicine have also been shown to regulate testosterone levels in the body, improve mood, sleep, endocrine function and cardiovascular health.

Speaking of hearth heath—statistically 1 in 4 men will die of heart disease and it’s complications. Men tend to develop heart disease earlier in life than women and are less likely to make the lifestyle changes necessary to reverse heart disease. Coronary artery disease is one of the most common forms of heart disease among men and responds incredibly well to lifestyle and diet changes. Tons of this research can be found here.

JAMA: Intensive Lifestyle Changes for Reversal of Coronary Heart Disease

If you made it this far into the article, congratulations! As a thank you for being loyal reader, use the code “mentionit” for 10% off you next order from our website. Discount code valid 6/15/23 - 7/15/23. Not valid with other offers, not valid for gift cards. Other restrictions may apply.

Did you know half of men who have heart attacks have no symptoms before it happens? Or perhaps, didn’t know they were having symptoms. One of the earliest signs of heart disease is erectile dysfunction. Another early sign of heart disease is new onset anxiety2. Mental health issues and heart disease are often tangled together and in many cases of anxiety being caused by low grade (not yet detectable) heart disease, the typical anxiety medications don’t work well. Acupuncture is very effective for both mental health and cardiovascular health—and as we mentioned above, can address both issues in the same sessions!

Last, but not least is prostate health. Benign Prostate Hyperplasia responds very well to acupuncture and herbal therapies3. Acupuncture can increase urinary output, reduce the size of the prostate, and beyond hyperplasia is effective for treating Prostatitis as well. 

Harvard Study on Acupuncture Relieving Prostatitis Symptoms

These results tend to be long-lasting after the initial course of treatment. Prostatitis alone is responsible for over 2 million doctors visits a year, and is often recurring and has no clear cause. So even if we can’t convince you to see your doctor once a year (yet), schedule an appointment with one of our acupuncturists, check out our online resources, and remember—Dads are an important part of the family and it’s important they get the care they need so they can take care of others!


1 Singh P. Andropause: Current concepts. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Dec;17(Suppl 3):S621-9. doi: 10.4103/2230-8210.123552. PMID: 24910824; PMCID: PMC4046605.

2 Celano CM, Daunis DJ, Lokko HN, Campbell KA, Huffman JC. Anxiety Disorders and Cardiovascular Disease. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2016 Nov;18(11):101. doi: 10.1007/s11920-016-0739-5. PMID: 27671918; PMCID: PMC5149447.

3 Zhang W, Ma L, Bauer BA, Liu Z, Lu Y. Acupuncture for benign prostatic hyperplasia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2017 Apr 4;12(4):e0174586. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0174586. PMID: 28376120; PMCID: PMC5380320.

I wanted to share my thought process and observations with my own recent experience with alpha-gal. 

Alpha-gal, short for Alpha-galactose, refers to a complex sugar molecule found in the tissues of non-primate mammals, including cows, pigs, and other animals. It is also present in certain insects like ticks. Alpha-gal is known to trigger an immune response in some individuals, leading to an allergy called Alpha-gal syndrome. People with this condition may experience delayed allergic reactions after consuming red meat or products derived from mammals. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include hives, gastrointestinal discomfort, or even anaphylaxis. Alpha-gal has gained attention in recent years due to its association with tick bites and its impact on dietary choices and lifestyle adjustments for affected individuals.

Almost 5 years ago when I was doing my initial training with Dr. Soliman, about 1/3 of the class-tested weak to alpha-gal who didn’t think they had it—including myself. That explained why sometimes after I had bacon and eggs my stomach was off—I was beginning to think I had pepper sensitivity but we checked pepper too and only alpha-gal was weak. We did each other's needles as part of learning the process and 3 weeks later after I took out my needles, I had no issues with bacon and eggs. During that 3 weeks, I didn’t eat mammal meat or drink milk but otherwise, I didn’t kill myself avoiding mammal while the needles were in because I didn’t realize I even had an issue. Since then, I haven’t had any issues with mammal.

In an interesting twist of fate, my last tick experience resulted in a tick that tested negative for carrying any pathogens (thanks to the University of Kentucky tick tracking program, that testing was free for me) but I found myself experiencing what I thought was food poisoning about 6 weeks after the bite. I rarely get a stomach bug, but it didn’t feel quite like food poisoning. During that time, there was a stomach bug going around, so I stayed home to not share any bugs with my patients. I felt rough all day, but better by dinner which included mac & cheese with pork sausage…and I started feeling off again. I realized both dinners had pork. I took a Pepcid and within an hour I started feeling better—never progressed to vomiting. By the next morning, I felt great but was reasonably certain I had alpha-gal. It felt a lot like my patients' stories (I see a lot of alpha-gal patients!). It was going to be a couple of weeks to get into my doctor to get the blood test, but I see this every day. 

The next morning at the office to get a clear test, I pull the basic alpha-gal filters: I check (alpha-gal, beef, pork, lamb, gluten, and MCAS) and to not bias my testing (because I know I might be weak to all of them), I add in some I’m pretty sure are safe: chicken, eggs, oats, rice, and avocado. My office manager has a good sense of feel and with a little coaching, I have  good confidence in her ability to provide even pressure with each filter. She randomly puts them in the tray and tests me without looking at the labels with me looking away from the tray so I can’t see them—some test weak, some test strong…no surprise.

What was a surprise was the results—not the alpha-gal testing weak (I was pretty sure on that one), but the individual meats don’t test weak, nor does the gluten. It’s surprising as is the rice and the oats, but it also explains why I felt so bad the day before. I had a large bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and again for lunch to settle my stomach and felt bad all day. I conducted further testing using my specially formulated spays (currently in development, stay tuned!) with promising results. Now the question is how much mammal do I need to avoid to feel good? The meats and large amounts of dairy are out, but perhaps I can keep the cream in my coffee...

I do a 24-hour strict no-mammal or dairy diet and I feel great. Then I had my usual cream in my coffee—no symptoms initially, but around midday, I realize I have no motivation—I don’t want to be outside, I don’t feel like riding my horse, I can’t focus on anything I’m doing! Sure these aren’t allergy symptoms in the traditional sense, but they are not “my normal” by a long shot. I then eliminate regular cream for the next few weeks. I used coconut cream in my coffee and my brain wasn’t falling apart the afternoon! I take my specially formulated sprays and prep mammal-free meals for the week; including a dairy-free dark chocolate espresso bread with 9g of protein, no refined sugar, and no saturated fats. It’s not gluten-free; I adapted it from a gluten-free paleo recipe and swapped the coconut flour for organic white flour, so it easily could be.

In the end, it turns out allergies aren’t monolithicit’s not always the same reaction to different things. I hear patients all the time tell me they tolerate dairy just fine and their allergist said they could have it because it didn’t show on the blood test—but just because you aren’t having hives, throwing up, or experiencing the “typical” allergies it doesn’t mean you are tolerating it. I’m not saying some people don’t tolerate dairy just fine with alpha-gal, I see patients who do. But it’s worth cutting things out for a few days to see what improves. 

It’s not easy to do—I get it! My husband is not thrilled with this turn of events because he does a lot of our cooking and now he’s having to adapt for me. I thought a cake we made turned out pretty well, but he didn’t like it. Once I figure out why, I can hopefully tweak the recipe to work for both of us (I suspect he tastes too much coconut from the coconut oil or it wasn’t sweet enough for his taste). Apple sauce, banana, or shredded zucchini would have worked to tweak the taste too. I’ll try it again and see what happens. Cooking is an alchemy of transforming a pile of things into something else, and there’s more than one way to get there!

I’m pretty aware of what my body is feeling these days, I’ve learned the hard way to listen to it. My hope is you don’t have to suffer from not listening to your body—to be curious and notice not just the physical sensations you experience but mentally and emotionally how you feel as well and take that into account when making your food choices.

Yours in health,

Jenny-Marie

As a person who was raised to look at every creature as having a place and purpose in the world—I admit there is a short list of critters I just can’t find a reason to have around.  At the top of my list is the tick. Some of the most stubborn diseases we treat come from a bite from these tiny bloodsuckers. Worse yet, the range of conditions keeps growing; both in terms of geographical regions and the types of pathogens they carry. 

Early diagnosis and removal of the tick are essential in preventing the development of severe complications. Additionally, preventive measures such as wearing protective clothing, using insect repellents (we are currently working on developing one!), and conducting regular tick checks after outdoor activities can help minimize the risk of tick bites and subsequent diseases.

One of our local universities is doing a study analyzing ticks that are being sent in from around the region to map what they are carrying and where they are found. I highly encourage you to support the University of Kentucky in this initiative and as a bonus, they will send you a report of their findings (here is a sample):

For me, it was peace of mind to know that the ticks I found attached to me were not carrying anything harmful.

University of Kentucky Entomology Page

University of Kentucky Guide to Identification and Testing and form link

So what was I worried about?  In our area, Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are common, and along with those, Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis are possible infections. Even before I had the results—I took steps to protect myself. I don’t often recommend antibiotics unless absolutely necessary but for people who tolerate doxycycline well it’s definitely worth a call to your doctor to discuss doing a prophylactic round of antibiotics after a tick bite. Not all of us have that option though—I have a genetic anomaly that puts many medications on the “avoid if possible list”, including most antibiotics, so I have developed other strategies for care. I took 2 weeks of strong anti-microbial herbs that have an excellent track record against most tickborne diseases and also boost immune activity as a precaution. As an additional concern, since one of the ticks was a Lone Star Tick, there was a chance of developing an allergic reaction to mammals (see our Alpha Gal article for more information about this unusual allergy).  Fortunately, I didn’t develop that either but if I had—yes, acupuncture can help with that too!

If you made it this far into the article, congratulations! As a thank you for being loyal reader, use the code “tickssuck” for 10% off you next order from our website. Discount code valid 6/15/23 - 7/15/23. Not valid with other offers, not valid for gift cards. Other restrictions may apply.

Now, back to the tickborne diseases—part of the challenge with diagnosing tickborne infections is the testing can be very inaccurate with a high rate of false negatives. Most of these pathogens excel at hiding in tissues rather than circulating in the bloodstream allowing them to be hidden in the body and evading detection through traditional methods. Further complicating the issue is for people who have a history of concussion or whiplash injuries, these pathogens can more easily bypass the blood brain barrier and infiltrate the brain creating a host of neurological symptoms. In fact, some studies found that people who have had a concussion or whiplash are 80% more likely to develop chronic issues from tickborne diseases than those who don’t. The link between post-concussive issues and chronic tickborne diseases has only recently been published in the medical literature, but I see it frequently in the clinic. I suspect the 80% is a conservative number based on what I see in the office—so far 100% of my chronic tickborne disease patients have a history of concussion or whiplash.

Acupuncture is a useful adjunct in these cases, but acupuncture alone will not resolve these cases.  It takes an intensive combination of herbs, nutritional supplements, dedication to eating mostly anti-inflammatory foods, and getting enough rest and meditation to help heal the brain to see a full recovery—but the good news is there is hope. It’s not a fast process, but it is effective for the majority of our patients who follow their care guides. So if you or someone you know is struggling with unexplained fatigue, joint pain, brain fog, persistent muscle knots that don’t respond to body work or acupuncture, weird non-diabetic neuropathy and otherwise feel awful but their bloodwork is all normal—odds are very good that we can help!

May is a month loaded with great awareness campaigns—most of which we see routinely in our clinic: Lyme, Mental Health, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and Celiac Disease. Two of those are largely genetic—Celiac Disease and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome—and while we can’t change your genes, acupuncture, herbs, and appropriate nutritional support can greatly improve the quality of life for patients with these conditions. 

Our favorite supplements for Ehlers–Danlos Syndrome are available below; but please note these options are not all vegan or gluten-free so please contact our office for help choosing replacement products for this protocol if you need to avoid mammal or gluten:

Celiac Disease & Gluten Intolerance—What’s the Difference?

As far as Celiac Disease, there is a wide range of experiences: from those with an allergy to gluten creating the sensitivity, to those with true Celiac disease who simply won’t be able to effectively process gluten, to those who aren’t allergic—but react to the lectins in gluten and have an inflammatory response to these grains. While conventional thinking says allergies can only be managed and not treated, we are seeing people’s allergies actually go away (even as measured with IgE in the bloodwork) as a result of a highly specialized technique called “Soliman’s Auricular Allergy Treatment” pioneered by Dr. Nader Soliman, MD, LAc. While this technique is most widely known for helping people with alpha-gal allergies (an allergy to a carbohydrate found in mammal products triggered by tick bites) it actually is effective for most allergies. 

We have helped people with nut allergies, dairy allergies, animal allergies, and even severe environmental allergies—not just pollen, dust, and molds, but more rare allergies such as sunlight and water! Gluten allergies also respond very well to this treatment; which brings me back to my earlier point about allergies vs. genetic limits vs. inflammatory response to other elements of gluten. For someone coming in with just a gluten allergy, this treatment will normally allow them to eat gluten without a reaction if they had a measurable IgE response to gluten in the past, and in many cases, this will disappear.  Those with a genetic intolerance (what we refer to as “true Celiac”) still can’t eat gluten routinely after SAAT, but if they are accidentally exposed to gluten, they report that the reactions are greatly reduced. A similar effect is reported among those with lectin intolerance; they can’t always eat as much as they want, but small amounts and cross-contamination don’t cause the severe reactions they used to have.

For those with true Celiac—the reduced reactivity is a welcome relief; allowing them more options to enjoy meals with friends and family who may not realize what “gluten-free” really means even with the best intentions. For example, many people know that wheat has gluten, but they don’t realize most beers contain gluten. Foods like soy sauce and many spice blends contain small amounts of gluten as well, and for people with Celiac disease, even small amounts can create distressing reactions. Worse yet, labeling requirements are very bad in the US and many products contain unlabeled sources of gluten! In more severe cases, even topical exposure to gluten through lotions, soaps, or hair care products can create a reaction (though so far those reactions seem to be greatly reduced even in the most severe cases after SAAT). 

Have someone in your life who needs to be gluten-free?

We created this handy guide of safe foods and hidden sources of gluten for reference!


The Hidden Cost of Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease may be one of the most pervasive and least frequently diagnosed conditions in the US. The current standard test, the ELISA test is estimated to be 70% accurate, but some independent testing has shown the current standard of combining an ELISA test with a Western Blot Test (which is reported to be 99% accurate) may be off more than 50% of the time, especially in cases of neurological Lyme. Worse yet, most doctors haven’t read the research about how a history of concussion or whiplash can make someone up to 80% more likely to develop chronic neurological Lyme because of damage to the blood-brain barrier. If there are other underlying chronic pathogens such as Epstein Barr Virus or Covid, those numbers very quickly get much worse. Diagnoses of Lyme Disease from Columbia University Medical Center

So in a month of Mental Health Awareness—why am I writing about misdiagnosed Lyme? 

“People with psychiatric disorders related to Lyme disease may experience symptoms like fatigue, depression, anxiety, brain fog, rage, sleep disturbances, Bipolar disorder, and more. The longer that Lyme disease goes untreated, the more likely a patient is to develop these symptoms and disorders.” 

The Effects of Lyme Disease, igenex.com

Chronic Lyme can also cause autonomic neuropathy. In these cases, the range of symptoms that can emerge is extremely broad and often leaves providers perplexed because the usual tests for those conditions will all be “normal”. Autonomic Neuropathy, Medscape

Arguably this subject can fill a book (one that I am working on) but suffice to say, many of the treatment strategies that are key to recovering from Lyme are beneficial for mental health, even in the absence of Lyme. Without going too far down into the weeds, it’s important to feed the body real food, minimize sugars (even hidden sugars like grains and breads), focus on nutrient-dense veggies for about 70% of your diet, and then find a balance of grains, fruits, and meats for the remaining 30% that keeps you feeling good. The same goes for mental health—better nutrition supports better mental health. In addition, nutrition to support the mitochondria in the cells can make a huge difference. Some of our favorites can be found here:

Feeling overwhelmed with how to eat healthy? Check out our free Facebook group, Raja Wellness Ways to Health for recipes, tips, inspiration, and to share those techniques that work for you! 

Need one-on-one support? Clean Good Eats is a great resource—they have group classes on healthy cooking, or you can reach out to Dr. Sakinah Bunch for private coaching. 

Yours in Health,

Jenny-Marie

Early in my training as an acupuncturist, one of the hardest concepts to internalize was that in classical East Asia, the brain really had no role in the physiology of the body. Instead, many of the functions we now attribute to the brain were under the domain of other organs. Sometimes those functions were consistent with modern biomedical understanding, and other times they had more relation with the classical ideas of the Greeks. But as a whole, when applied as a system of treatment—the model worked and still works—surprisingly well. As time passes, modern research continues to validate these “arcane” ideas.  

Despite the brain's lack of a defined role, a number of acupuncture points on the head have functions that are clearly neurological functions: controlling vision, improving mental clarity, balance and coordination, regulating digestion, speech, and so on. Early research in monkeys attempted to match the points on the head to the underlying active regions of the brain—and when only about 40% of those regions actually correlated, the assumption was the ancients may have deduced more about the brain than we gave them credit for in a few places, and in other areas, their locations were wildly different. Fast forward another 20 years and the same studies were repeated on humans. It turns out that humans and monkeys have different active areas for certain functions—and when they compared the points to actual human brain activity, more than 85% of the points now correlated to the active brain regions underneath them! Clearly, they knew more than we thought they did.

Today acupuncture is widely recognized for its role in improved neurological functioning—from post-stroke and concussion recovery to reducing the symptoms and rate of progression of diseases like MS, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and more recently as a way to regulate and correct dysautonomia regardless of cause. Modern iterations of acupuncture have evolved with specific systems of scalp acupuncture for neurological disorders and others focused on improving brain function. Auricular, or ear acupuncture evolved from some of these research efforts, recognizing the rich concentration of nerves in the ear and surrounding areas that have direct neurological pathways to the innermost reaches of the brain through the cranial nerves. 

Besides acupuncture—what else can you do to protect what the Chinese once called “a curious organ” or “The Sea of Marrow”, your magnificent and adaptable brain? First and foremost— food matters! I highly recommend Dr. Gundry’s book “The Longevity Paradox” to learn more about what to eat, and as importantly, when to eat to promote optimal brain health. 

In addition, there are a few supplements I recommend for nerve health and additional ones to be taken as soon as possible after any head trauma to help mitigate damage. Remember, if you take any prescription medications, please talk to your pharmacist or me before adding any supplements to your regimen. You can order through our website here:

AcuIntegra Glutathione Booster™ (Biotransformation, Detoxification & Antioxidation Support)

AcuIntegra HericinEx MCT™ (Memory, Neuro Support & Focus)

AcuIntegra Curcumin MCT™ (Inflammation Modulation, Anti-Oxidation Support, Detoxification Support)

Post-head Trauma Recovery Pack Fullscript regimen available here!

Millions of women suffer from gynecological complaints each year. Endometriosis (11% of women in the US) and fibroids (26% of women in the US) are two of the most common and painful issues women face. That’s over 30 million women in the US alone and these numbers are arguably under-reported as many less severe cases are often dismissed as PMS, depression, or part of some other syndrome. Conventional biomedicine has little to offer women in these cases beyond hormone therapies (often with intolerable side effects) or surgical options that can scar and affect future fertility, or as a last-ditch effort—simply offering a hysterectomy (often taking the ovaries as well) and throwing the woman into early menopause. Symptoms of these conditions can be painful and quite literally, draining, as women struggle with heavy, unrelenting bleeding. 

These are not conditions new to women. Endometriosis was first identified 300 years ago in Western medical texts, but references to the condition trace back over 4000 years under the older diagnosis “hysteria”. Similarly, uterine fibroids have a long history.  Uterine fibroid lesions were initially known as the “uterine stone.” In the second century AD, they were called scleromas. The term fibroid was first introduced in the 1860s. Uterine fibroids are the most common pelvic tumors among women of reproductive age, affecting more than 70% of women worldwide, particularly women of color”1. It is not surprising traditional medicines have ways to treat these conditions. 

In my practice I have found acupuncture and herbs together provide the best treatment outcomes for these conditions, and if only one can be used, the herbs are the more important piece (although it takes longer for them to achieve the same results when used without acupuncture). Fortunately, I have been able to work with patients who not only were able to report their progress through improvement in their physical symptoms but also provided me with ultrasounds and other diagnostics from their OBGYNs.  

In one case of a woman in her 40s—her uterine fibroids shrank on average more than 7mm each in a 3-month period, and after 6 months had no visible blood supply. She was no longer a candidate for surgery as her fibroids were effectively “cured”. 4 years later, even without maintenance herbs—her fibroids have not returned. Her heavy periods, severe abdominal pain and fatigue are a thing of the past.

In another case, a woman in her 20s came in for endometriosis and fibroids. Hormone therapies had failed and she was hoping to retain her uterus and chances to have children in the future but she was living with crippling pain that radiated from her abdomen to her back. She described it as “living with barbed wire wrapped around her torso and her spine—like I am being torn from the inside out”. In addition, she had fibroids and chronically heavy periods resulting in fatigue and anemia. To top it all off, she dealt with the emotional stress of the constant pain and fear of losing her chances at motherhood. Within 3 months of treatment, her periods were more normal and the pain was no longer constant but limited to around ovulation and onset of her menses. At 6 months, her cycles were normal and she was pain-free! She had follow-up imaging to evaluate her need for surgery and while endometrial tissue and fibroids were still present, the fibroids were visibly smaller and the endometrial tissue appeared less pervasive on imaging than it had 6 months before when she started treatment. At 9 months she was due for laparoscopic surgery to remove some of the endometrial tissue, and remarkably only 40% of the expected tissue was found and the fibroids were 70% smaller than on the initial imaging. The doctors were able to remove the excess endometrial tissue and fibroids easier than expected. 6 months later she was pregnant with her first child and now has a happy, healthy little girl, and her cycles continue to be normal.

Cases like these highlight why herbs and acupuncture have been used for thousands of years. Together they help women optimize their health safely and effectively. In combination with modern medical techniques, they can give even the most severe cases relief. I highlight the second case in particular because I don’t believe the herbs and acupuncture alone could have reduced the damage enough to help her get pregnant—perhaps if we had started the herbs years earlier before the progression was so severe. It’s important to work with all available resources for optimal health care. So please, if conventional treatments have failed or you want a more natural alternative—find an experienced acupuncturist and herbalist to work with!

Call us at 270-506-3853 or click here to book an appointment today!


1 Qiwei Yang, Michal Ciebiera, Maria Victoria Bariani, Mohamed Ali, Hoda Elkafas, Thomas G Boyer, Ayman Al-Hendy, Comprehensive Review of Uterine Fibroids: Developmental Origin, Pathogenesis, and Treatment, Endocrine Reviews, Volume 43, Issue 4, August 2022, Pages 678–719, https://doi.org/10.1210/endrev/bnab039

The products and statements made about specific products on this web site have not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. All information provided on this web site or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new vitamins, supplements, diet, or exercise program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. Any testimonials on this web site are based on individual results and do not constitute a guarantee that you will achieve the same results.
chevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram