Acupuncture & Stress

It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, or what you do for a living, you are going to experience stress. Stress is a part of our everyday lives. We experience it any time we are faced with change or a challenge. Let’s face it, in a world where we have all had to accept fast-changing adaptations to perform simple daily tasks, ie., work, school, social gatherings, exercising, shopping, stress is a daily companion. Learning to manage that daily companion in a healthy manner can actually lead to a happier, more productive you and acupuncture has been shown to play a key role in healthy stress management.


Muscle tension can lead to other symptoms of stress

What is Stress?

We can all list at least 10 things that cause us stress (stressors), but what is it? Really? 

Stress is the body’s natural defense against predators and danger. When we are faced with a challenge or threat, our bodies have a partly physical response. This response helps us decide whether to stay and confront the challenge (fight) or retreat to safety as quickly as possible (flight). 

When faced with a stressor, the body produces larger quantities of cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. These chemicals trigger physical reactions like:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Heightened muscle preparedness
  • Sweating
  • Alertness

Increased heart rateThese physical reactions improve our ability to respond to a potentially dangerous situation and allow us to act accordingly- fight or flight.


Stress headaches can impair your ability to work and enjoy life

What are the physical and mental effects of stress?

How you react to a difficult situation or change is essential to determining the overall effects of stress on your health. Some of us can experience several stressors in a row or even all at once, and be just fine. Others may have a severe reaction to a single, isolated stressor.

Fact is, even some of the happiest and most joyous of events can be overwhelming stressors for some of us. A new baby, landing a promotion at work, a wedding, buying a home. All of these are reasons to celebrate for sure, but they can all carry their own brand of stress.

So, how does this affect your physical and mental health? In an effort to prepare you for the best reaction to your stressor by boosting your heart rate, alertness, and muscle reaction, your body must slow some normal bodily functions. These functions are usually related to your digestive and immune systems. Slowing down your digestive and immune systems makes you more susceptible to weight gain, sickness, and fatigue. The combination of speeding up some systems while slowing others can also lead to anxiety and depression.


What can you do?

In our daily lives, we are likely to encounter a number of stressors. Typically they present in the form of environmental stressors like noises, aggressive behavior, a speeding car, a job interview or first date, or even a scary movie. Have you ever had the pleasure of trying to guide your child through their school day from your kitchen table while simultaneously trying to present to your colleagues on Zoom? Definite stressor. As with any situation in life, there are several ways to manage stress. Some are definitely more healthy and effective than others. 

Unhealthy stress management can often manifest itself in the form of anxiety, depression, a weakened immune system, stomach problems, trouble sleeping, headaches, or high blood pressure, just to name a few. None of these conditions is something you want in your life. All too often, they may result in substance abuse, overeating, compulsive behaviors, or sudden (and often inappropriate) emotional outbursts.

Since the reality is that we are all going to encounter stress daily, why not learn to manage it in a positive and constructive manner? Often, incorporating a few lifestyle changes can greatly reduce potentially harmful effects of stress. Some of the most effective changes are:

  • Exercise– just a few minutes a day can help your body better manage the physical effects of negative stress
  • Nutrition– you are what you eat. A poor diet simply does not set your body up for success
  • Breathing and Relaxation– try some yoga, meditation, tai chi, or even prayer. Your body and mind will start to settle immediately
  • Acupuncture– acupuncture is proven to help you help you relax and shift into your parasympathetic (rest & digest) nervous system
  • Prioritize– learn to say ‘no’ and accept that you cannot control every situation or solve every problem. Intentionally devote your time and energy to the things that matter most and don’t sweat the small stuff
  • Reduce Your Alcohol Intake– folks often grab a drink when life gets stressful to ‘take the edge off’. Turns out, alcohol only heightens stress levels and increases the likelihood of depression and anxiety

Acupuncture releases ‘happy’ hormones to combat stress

Why Acupuncture?

From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture relieves stress by promoting the movement of Qi in the body. Stress can lead to insufficient movement of Qi through your body and result in:

  • Muscle Tension
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Distractedness

When acupuncture is applied to specific areas of stagnation or along energy channels where the Qi is not flowing properly, not only can the flow be restored, but the symptoms can be alleviated. This can result in relaxation and relief, feeling the way we should when our bodies are getting what they need.

Studies have shown that acupuncture also causes important shifts in our neurochemistry, increasing the ‘happy’ hormones in our bodies. Hormones like serotonin, epinephrine, and dopamine paired with the release of GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid), a relaxation amino acid, work together to combat the effects of the ‘stress’ hormone cortisol. Through the release of these hormones, we are able to shift into our parasympathetic, or rest-and-digest, nervous system and relax from the fight-or-flight response to stress.


There is no ‘one size fits all’ acupuncture approach to treating stress. However, if you work with your practitioner to start alleviating some of the symptoms stress can cause, chances are you will get the relief you seek. Make an appointment today to start taking control of the stress in your life. No one should suffer chronic stress and we are here to help you overcome it!

Becoming The Best version of YOU

It is true what they say, every day is a new beginning. We have the opportunity each and every day to start something new. However, every 365 days we celebrate the beginning of a new year and for some reason, that day is different. Everything feels possible with the start of a new year. 

What if this year, instead of trying to mold yourself into someone you are not, you simply tried becoming the best version of you? We have each been given one life. One chance to grow, love, experience, and enjoy this world. So why not take some time and make sure you are doing all you can with the best version of yourself?

Becoming the best version of yourself can seem like a pretty overwhelming challenge. We think you’re up for it though, so we’ve created a list of 7 simple steps to guide you on your way to becoming the best version of you!


1. Envision What It Means To Be The Best Version of You

Becoming the best version of you is a journey, an adventure. It is an adventure that is specific to you and only you. Every new adventure starts with a vision or a dream. Take some time to envision what this adventure holds for you and what you would like the end result to be. Reflect on who you actually are and think about what you would like to be better. Do you want to be more mindful? Do you want to be more assertive? More fit? More adventurous? Whatever the end result, take some time to dream about it and really fall in love with that vision. Once you can see it clearly, you can begin to take daily steps toward realizing the best version of you.

2. Take Care of Your Body

We have all been given this amazing tiny universe called a body. Each body is completely unique. You are the ONLY you. Right down to your DNA, the very building blocks of your tiny universe, there is no one else like you. It’s truly a marvel when you think about it. Since there is only one you and you only get one body, why not take incredible care of it? Are you feeding your body the best foods? Filling it with the nutrients it needs? Giving it the exercise it needs to perform at it’s best? Are you keeping it free from disease and pain? Be honest with yourself and if you can improve, do it. It doesn’t have to be huge changes. Take small steps to improve every day. If you take the very best care of your body, your mind and spirit will flourish. Give it a shot, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

3. Be Present Every Moment

A mentor of mine used to say ‘It’s not a dress rehearsal’. She would say this when I was distracted by a future task or event. She was one of the top event planners in Las Vegas and we planned elaborate parties for clients with endless disposable income. We would be at an over the top birthday party or wedding, surrounded by the most incredible decor, food, and people. I would be spinning out about all the little details and what needed to happen next, and she would grab my shoulders and say, ‘It’s not a dress rehearsal’. She meant relax, be here, look around and appreciate what is happening now. Life is not a dress rehearsal. We only get one shot. Often we find ourselves thinking five steps ahead and it robs us of where we are at this very moment. Take the time to be present every moment, you may find that you are already a better version of yourself than you originally thought.

4. Take Care of Your Mind

If your body is your own private universe, your mind is the center of that universe. Allow yourself time each day to check in with your mind. Just a few moments to center your thoughts and affirm your intentions. Your mind and your body work together and if they are both being taken care of, they will flourish. If one is not being taken care of, it will negatively impact the other. Try to let go of negative thoughts. Forgive yourself and others if you feel disappointed by an action or event. Feed your mind new knowledge. Read, journal, listen to a lecture. Think of it this way, knowledge is food for your mind and meditation is exercise for your mind. Make sure you give it plenty of both.

5. Practice Gratitude Daily

Take some time each day to appreciate where you are. Be intentional throughout the day to notice small things that you are grateful for. A delicious cup of coffee or tea. A beautiful sunrise or sunset. A super cozy sweater or blanket. It’s easy to become fixated on what we do not have or where we fall short. However, when we appreciate and show gratitude for what we do have and our small wins, we become much more satisfied. We realize how good life is, even at its hardest.

6. Prioritize Your Day

Time is precious. Make sure you are spending your time doing the things that mean the most to you and make you the happiest. Sure, the laundry needs to get done, but is it more important than enjoying that yoga class you love so much? Can you do the laundry later while you cook dinner? I’m not saying let your work and daily tasks fall by the wayside. How about making the activities and tasks that nurture the best version of yourself a priority? There’s an old saying that you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. So maybe it’s time you allow yourself to be priority number one for a while. If you’re tired, take a nap. If your favorite person is in town and wants to see you, make it happen. Make your happiness, your physical and mental wellness your priority.

7. Love Yourself

You are the only you. Love yourself. Sure, you have imperfections, but don’t we all? Don’t waste your precious time and energy obsessing over them. Learn to embrace all of the little quirks and ticks that make you special. Just as learning to practice gratitude will make you more aware each day of how wonderful life really is, learning to love yourself will make you realize how amazing YOU really are. Treat yourself kindly, think positive thoughts, take amazing care of your body and just love yourself.


Above all else, remember that the best version of you is the one you choose to cultivate. It is not up to anyone else. That is, after all, what makes this lifetime so special. We are all different and we all have very unique strengths and weaknesses. Yet, we are all here together to share in this beautiful time together.

So, go forth and do it. Become the very best version of YOU, we cannot wait to see it!

Acupuncture as Preventative Medicine

“The sages of antiquity did not treat those who were already sick, but those who were not sick… When a disease has already broken out and is only then treated, would that not be just as late as to wait for thirst before digging a well, or to wait to go into battle before casting weapons?”

(Nei Jing)

Chinese Medicine uses acupuncture & herbal therapy as a means of preventative medicine

In studying acupuncture in the West we have focused mainly on its potential as a treatment for specific disorders.  For example, research has shown that acupuncture can relieve chronic low back pain, dental pain, and migraine headaches. It can relieve the pain of fibromyalgia and symptoms of osteoarthritis. Acupuncture can aid recovery from sports injuries. It has also been found to help with emotional pain syndromes and reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Yet, we do not focus on acupuncture as part of preventative medicine.


Today, in the United States, the vast majority of patients only seek out acupuncture treatments once they are feeling pain or sickness. 


Well, it turns out that traditionally, acupuncture is used mostly as a means of preventative medicine rather than a treatment for ailments. Traditional Chinese medicine focuses on keeping the body healthy and avoiding illness.  Ancient practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine would administer regular treatments to everyone in the community as a sort of ‘tune up’ to keep them well. These tune ups would help avoid the imbalances that can weaken an immune system and lead to illness. Acupuncture treatments were used in combination with herbs and nutritional counseling to maintain health and wellness. 

Regular acupuncture treatments can keep your body balanced and strengthen your immune system.

Take Control

Let’s face it, our world is full of risk and everywhere we turn there are endless stories of sickness and disease. Every day we are alerted to a new threat from the latest flu or COVID variant. So, why not take the best possible care of yourself and prevent illness? Find a practitioner you are comfortable with and develop a plan for achieving and maintaining your body’s optimal health. It just makes sense. Keeping yourself healthy is a heck of a lot easier and much less expensive than trying to diagnose, fight, and recover from an ailment.

Ready to take control of your health? Schedule a visit today and let us help you on your journey!

Childhood & Adolescent Depression

“Most experts would agree with me that there is more stress today than in previous generations. Stress triggers depression and mood disorders, so that those who are predisposed to it by their creative wiring or genes are pretty much guaranteed some symptoms of depression at the confusing and difficult time of adolescence. I think modern lifestyles -lack of community and family support, less exercise, no casual and unstructured technology-free play, less sunshine and more computer -factors into the equation.”

Therese J. Borchard, author of Beyond Blue

How do I recognize childhood & adolescent depression?

Growing up is hard. Your body is constantly changing. Your emotions are often unexpected and difficult to control. You have little to no control over your circumstances. Social media constantly presents you with new unattainable images of perfection. And hey, don’t forget a pandemic which limits your social engagement. The youth of today are challenged in ways none of us could have imagined. Incidents of childhood and adolescent depression are on the rise.

It is perfectly normal to feel blue once in a while. However, children and adolescents are increasingly being diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and mental illness. According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, common symptoms of depression in children and adolescents may include:

  • Feeling or appearing depressed, sad, tearful, or irritable
  • Not enjoying things as much as they used to
  • Spending less time with friends or in after school activities
  • Changes in appetite and/or weight
  • Sleeping more or less than usual
  • Feeling tired or having less energy
  • Feeling like everything is their fault or they are not good at anything
  • Having more trouble concentrating
  • Caring less about school or not doing as well in school
  • Having thoughts of suicide or wanting to die

Parents, trying their best to help their sons and daughters, are turning to their family doctors for help. Doctors, in an effort to help patients using the methods they have learned, are prescribing medications for young people at an alarming rate. According to a recent article in Science Daily, the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) has recently published a study confirming that depression in childhood or adolescence is associated with higher levels of adult anxiety and substance use disorders, worse health and social functioning, less financial and educational achievement, and increased criminality.

What can I do?

Childhood and adolescent depression, like many mental illnesses, can be very subjective. The best course of treatment truly depends upon the patient and their individual needs. There are an abundance of contributing factors that can lead to an overwhelming list of symptoms. Therefore, there is no one size fits all path to greater mental health. However, frequently there is an underlying energetic imbalance that is contributing to the severity of symptoms. This is where acupuncture can be enormously beneficial. 

Acupuncture can be used alone or in combination with other therapies. ‘Talk therapy’ and or medication can be used as well. Together they can all help to safely treat the symptoms and perhaps some of the underlying causes of depression. Acupuncture can safely aid in the reduction of stress and anxiety. It can also help with headaches, weight loss, weight gain, loss of sleep, and lack of energy. All common symptoms associated with depression. The goal of acupuncture is to create a balance of the systems within your body and open the energy channels within you. When your body is in balance, you are in a better position to combat the external forces contributing to stress and anxiety which could be causing depression. 

It is important that before any course of treatment is chosen, you speak with a professional. Whether treating depression in yourself or your loved one, you should always work with someone trained in mental health to plan your path to wellness. Oftentimes, that path will require a combination of treatment forms and they should all be administered by professionals.

Where do I start?

If you have questions about where to start, your acupuncture practitioner or family doctor are both a wise first step. If you would like to seek assistance from someone outside of your close network, please consider contacting one of the following:

Don’t Let Pain Put a Damper on Your Winter

Like it or not, winter is just around the corner. Some folks love the winter and embrace the chance to enjoy the outdoor activities only available during this season. Others recoil at the thought of ice, snow, and cold wind. One thing we can all agree on is that winter injuries can be debilitating. How many people do you know who have fallen on the ice? What about the pain in your shoulder or lower back after shoveling snow? Or the countless injuries suffered while skiing or snowboarding? Pain like that can ruin your season and cause depression in addition to physical discomfort.

May we offer a suggestion? Okay, perhaps two.

First, be proactive.

  • It takes only moments to injure yourself severely. So, why not take some time now to condition your muscles and prepare for the activities ahead of you? It takes 6 weeks to condition your muscles. Make an appointment with your wellness practitioner to develop a plan. If you begin a regimen now, your muscles will be ready to hit the slopes or head out snowshoeing come late November. They will be conditioned to the strain and movements that these winter activities present and you will suffer less injury. Less injury, less pain. Less pain, less time spent on the couch cursing yourself, or the snow, for a tiny mistake. 

Second, treat pain immediately.

  • Hey, they’re called accidents for a reason. You probably didn’t plan on twisting your knee or straining your back, but you did. Now what? Seek treatment. It may take 6 weeks to condition your muscles, but it takes months to repair connective tissue. The longer you wait to address the issue, the longer you are out of the game. If you feel pain, contact your wellness practitioner. It may be a simple treatment that has you back to normal immediately. It may be more severe and you may be facing multiple treatments and longer recovery. However, if you do not seek professional insight, you could injure yourself further and full recovery may not be an option.

Enjoy The Season!

  • Winter can be miserable, but it can also be magical. Let us help you enjoy the season to the fullest. We believe in an all encompassing approach to health, wellness, and recovery. We believe that pain is meant to alert us to an issue and then be treated. Pain is not to be suffered chronically or ignored. If you are feeling pain or would like to begin a wellness regimen, call us. We are happy to design a treatment plan specific to your body, your needs, and your goals.

Acupuncture & Sports Injuries


We’ve all been there. The weather is perfect, you’ve managed to carve out some time for yourself, and you are enjoying the best run, ride, hike, swim, or climb you have had in months. And then you feel it. That quick pain that lets you know you have just done something ever so slightly wrong and injured yourself. Beyond the physical pain, the mental anguish of knowing you will need to train and heal properly before going out again can be crushing. Whether you are an elite athlete or a weekend warrior, the thought of taking a break and starting over can sink your spirit.

Athletes and trainers at all levels are rediscovering the benefits of eastern medicine. Acupuncture, herbs, and proper nutrition are a welcome alternative to the ‘one size fits all’ approach of most western medicine practitioners. More and more we are seeing NFL players, MLB players and Olympic athletes seek out acupuncture as a means to speed healing, relieve pain, and increase muscle strength and stamina.

Our bodies are intricate systems and acupuncture is designed to intuitively treat and strengthen the body as a whole rather than focusing solely on one or two problem areas. This allows the systems within your body to align and work together towards healing and recovery much more efficiently. Your practitioner will work with you to design a personal treatment. A treatment not only specific to your injury, but specific to the needs of your body. Thus producing lasting results and oftentimes enhancing future performance.

Balance Method Acupuncture

What is pain?

Pain Is Just Stagnation

 

When dealing with chronic, debilitating pain, it’s easy to become wrapped up in the emotions and feelings that long-lasting pain can create in the body. We can become entrenched in our stories behind the pain, the “what ifs,” and the possible self-victimization tied up with it. 

 

But what if I told you that the root cause of pain was simply stagnation? 

 

Beneath the fears, worries, and stories bound up in your personal pain, qi and blood stagnation lie at the core.  If you can think of pain in terms of stagnation or blockages, then dealing with pain becomes more manageable. Why? 

 

Because qi and blood stagnation CAN be moved, regardless of the story hidden behind the pain itself.

 

So let’s unpack this idea of stagnation a bit. What exactly do qi stagnation and blood stagnation mean? 

 

It’s easiest to think of qi as the energy force that moves us and holds us together. When qi circulates, blood circulates. If qi is stagnant, blood becomes stagnant because there is no energy to move it around (Sun, 2007).

 

800 years ago, Li Dong Yuan, a famous Chinese physician wrote:  

 

“Tong zhi bu tong. Bu tong zhi tong.“  If there is free flow, there is no pain. 

 

How does this play into our experience of pain in the body? 

 

Qi stagnation is characterized by dull pain and pain that moves around (including pain that is referred to other places). Some of you have experienced this in the clinic when we’ve chased the pain from one area of your neck to another by using distal needles in your legs. 

 

Blood stagnation is characterized by pain that gets worse with pressure and doesn’t move around. Since qi stagnation often provokes blood stagnation, both pain pictures can exist at the same time, explaining why pain can sometimes feel localized, and at other times refer to other places (Yajuan, 2009). 

 

To illustrate, let’s use a scenario we see all the time in the clinic:  You’ve had a really stressful month at work and you’ve stopped your daily exercise routine, spending most of your time sitting at your office desk. Your body starts feeling tight and tense. Frustration and agitation start to appear, as well as a dull, gnawing pain in your shoulders and neck, where you hold the tension.  The longer this goes on, the worse it gets. Now imagine this happening for years of your life!

 

What We Can Do About It + Western Medicine’s Take

 

Acupuncture is a powerful tool that can help MOVE stagnation.  It promotes the movement of qi in a direct, subtle, and impactful way. 

 

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine have been around for more than 8,000 years.  This ancient practice continues to be used and is recognized today as a viable tool for addressing pain at its “root” as well as its symptomatic “branches.” 

 

At Boulder East West Acupuncture we still sometimes get asked, “Does acupuncture really work?” or “Is acupuncture even recognized as a legitimate health option in the U.S.?” 

 

Although acupuncture is one of the most ancient health therapeutics on the planet, Western Medicine has only recently begun to recognize its virtues. 

 

And it happens to be particularly good at dealing with the reduction of pain, both acute and chronic. Acupuncture has been shown in numerous scientific studies to be a safe and effective modality for managing many different types of pain conditions.  It is being accepted by more and more insurance companies who see it as a cost saving measure that can keep people from becoming dependent on pharmaceutical pain killers.

 

Plus its methodology is fully recognizable from biomedical and physiologic perspectives (Fan et al., 2017). Acupuncture has been medically recognized to promote blood flow (which affects pretty much everything from hormones to nutrients we absorb from our food and beyond), stimulate neurotransmitters (aka helping to “rewire your brain”), relax muscles and tendons, and even promote the release of oxytocin and endorphins (our “feel-good” hormones).

 

So even though the root of acupuncture might discuss difficult to measure things like “qi” and “energy,” there are actual physiologic changes happening that Western medicine is beginning to understand and acknowledge.

 

Contact the Boulder East West Acupuncture & Wellness Center for more information on how you can take care of your pain with acupuncture.

 

Any other topics you’d like me to cover in future newsletters?  Reach out to me at dr.aQui@bouldereastwestacu.com

 

REFERENCES

 

Fan, A.Y., Miller, D.W., Bolash, B., Bauer, M., McDonald, J., Faggert, S., … & Pang, J. (2017). Acupuncture’s role in solving the opioid epidemic: Evidence, cost-effectiveness, and care availability for acupuncture as a primary, non-pharmacologic method for pain relief and management-white paper 2017. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 15(6), 411-425. http://doi.org/10.1016/S2095-4964(17)60378-9 

 

Scheid, V. (2013). Depression, constraint, and the liver: (Dis)assembling the treatment of emotion-related disorders in Chinese medicine. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 37(1), 30-58. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11013-012-9290-y 

 

Sun, P. (2007). Management of postoperative pain with acupuncture. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Limited.

 

Yajuan, W. (2009). Micro-acupuncture therapeutics. Micro-acupuncture in practice. http://doi.org/10.1016/B978-044306732-7.50026-X 

 

Leaky What?? Leaky Gut!

Leaky What?? Leaky Gut!

If you’ve ever dealt with digestive woes, you’ve probably heard the phrase “leaky gut”. Leaky gut syndrome has become a trendy, catch-all diagnosis for many gut-related issues and digestive imbalances. The name, however, can be slightly misleading.

Leaky gut typically refers to increased permeability of the intestinal walls. This occurs when the tight junctions of our epithelial cells become looser, or “leaky” (Byers, n.d.).

But is the gut actually “leaky”? Not exactly… Believe it or not, intestinal permeability is actually a normal phenomenon. In their natural, healthy state our intestines are selectively permeable membranes. They choose what to take in and what to keep out so that we can properly absorb nutrients in our food. Nutrition would not actually occur if your gut was completely impermeable (Yarnell, 2011).

When leaky gut begins it doesn’t mean that all of a sudden the gut is leaking all of its contents out into our bloodstream. What it means is that key junctions in the gut’s membrane are actually functioning poorly, allowing more substances to cross over into our bloodstream than normal. The gut membrane has become hyperpermeable.  This can be caused by a combination of possible triggers.

While leaky gut syndrome is just starting to be professionally researched, we are just starting to demystify what is really going on in that dark, secretive gut of ours.  Since leaky gut’s actual mechanisms are just starting to be understood the term is often used to describe a set of symptoms that indicates an underlying imbalance in the body.

Other Possible Symptoms of Leaky Gut

Another reason why leaky gut syndrome can be so confusing is that not everyone’s symptoms looks the same. The label “leaky gut,” often encases a broad array of different digestive symptoms including gas, bloating, abdominal distention, diarrhea, constipation, and more.

It all starts in the gut, and what starts in the gut doesn’t usually stay in the gut.

Digestive issues are often connected to other symptoms that we can experience throughout the rest of the body.

Common symptoms experienced alongside digestive issues include: headaches, chronic fatigue, brain fog, memory impairment, lowered immunity, joint pain, skin rashes, anxiety, depression, and many others.

Additionally, the gut has its own nervous system. It produces 80% of our serotonin for example, and communicates with other organs and systems in the body (particularly the brain) which can lead to a cascade of potential issues further down the road.

What Causes Leaky Gut?

Like most health conditions, the direct triggers of leaky gut are always unique to the individual and can vary substantially from person to person.

Common triggers that can impact leaky gut-type symptoms in the body include: STRESS (this is a big one!!), medications, NSAIDS (ibuprofen in particular), antacids, oral birth control pills, alcohol, infections (viral, bacterial, and fungal), impaired liver function, and food sensitivities.

What Can YOU Do About It?

Here’s some good news:

If you struggle with leaky gut, there is hope!

Your gut can be repaired using completely natural methods. Be forewarned, however, healing the gut isn’t usually an instant fix and will require a healthy amount of personal diligence in identifying and addressing your own triggers.

At our clinic we have found Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine to be very effective support for your journey back to health.

One of the first things we try to do is to get you out of the stress response and into the relaxation response.   

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs have the potential to get you unstuck from the fight or flight conditioning courtesy of our modern world.  

When we finally get unstuck, our bodies are able to self-organize and we are finally able to self-heal.   

In our clinic we use specific nutritional therapeutics that have been proven to restore healthy gut function. L-glutamine and zinc are two that play essential roles in helping rebuild the lining of the gut by modifying the tight junctions of the intestinal walls.

All Disease Begins In The Gut

Hippocrates said it long ago: “all disease begins in the gut.”  As we learned in this article, leaky gut symptoms don’t only present in the gut itself, but can affect our cognition, emotions, and even our sleep!

Curious to learn more about leaky gut syndrome? Looking for support with your digestive issues? Contact the Boulder East West Acupuncture & Wellness Center for more information and to schedule an appointment.

 

References

Byers, S. (n.d.). What is “leaky gut syndrome”? Retrieved from: https://www.americanherbalistsguild.com/sites/default/files/stephen_byers_-_leaky_gut.pdf

Holmes, P. (1989). The energetics of western herbs (Vol 1). Boulder, Co: Lotus Press.

Yarnell, E. (2011). Natural approach to gastroenterology. East Wenatchee, WA: Healing Mountain Publishing, Inc.

The Colorado sun is very powerful. Protect yourself with these basic pieces of advice from EWG.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US  – more than 2 million Americans are diagnosed every year, it’s 15% higher in Colorado than the rest of the nation.  A 2004 survey found that 45.1% of white adults in Colorado had at least one sunburn in the past year. 1

So before you head out, check out EWG’s 2014 Sunscreen Guide to find top-rated sunscreens.

Sunscreens are NOT created equal!

I pulled these reactions from an email from EWG.  Hilarious.

1. No spray sunscreens!

Convenient, but they may pose serious risks if inhaled and they make it too easy to apply too little or miss a spot.

No spray sunscreens!

2. Super-high SPFs (SPF 50 or higher) are not your friend.

SPF – sun protection factor – refers only to protection against UVB radiation and has little to do with protecting you from UVA rays – the ones that accelerate skin aging and have been linked to skin cancer.

Super-high SPFs (SPF 50 or higher) are not your friend.

3. Oxybenzone can mimic estrogen.

That’s right, estrogen. A number of sunscreens contain the chemical oxybenzone, which penetrates skin, gets into the bloodstream and may act like estrogen in the body! It can also trigger allergic reactions.

Oxybenzone can mimic estrogen.

4. Retinyl palmitate may harm your skin.

On sun-exposed skin, the retinyl palmitate found in some sunscreens has been shown to speed development of skin tumors and lesions.

Retinyl palmitate may harm your skin.

5. Skip sunscreen/bug repellent combos.

Studies suggest that in some cases chemicals that filter harmful ultraviolet rays can interact with insect repelling chemicals in ways that decrease sunburn protection. Also, if you apply these products every two hours (as you should for proper sun protection!), you may be overexposed to the repellent chemicals.

Skip sunscreen/bug repellent combos.

6. Keep away from sunscreen powders and towelettes.

Even the FDA’s weak sunscreen rules bar these products! Their level of protection is quite dubious.

Keep away from sunscreen powders and towelettes.

7. Seriously – no tanning oils!

Tanning oils are just a bad idea. They barely – if at all – protect you from the sun.

Seriously – no tanning oils!

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The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit, non-partisan research organization dedicated to using the power of information to protect human health and the environment. The EWG Action Fund is a legislative advocacy organization that uses EWG research to promote healthy and sustainable policies.

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1.  http://www.epa.gov/sunwise/doc/co_facts_print.pdf