William Alexander, L.AC, is a renowned acupuncturist in Tennessee, specializing in chronic pain cases, specifically those previously deemed as “hopeless” or “untreatable”. In addition to owning and Operating Affinity Acupuncture and Integrative Care, William has served as Treasurer for the Tennessee Acupuncture Council and a member of the American Society of Acupuncture’s Insurance Committee. William has also proposed bills to the state of TN in order to protect the safety and integrity of clients and the practice of acupuncture.
When William opened Affinity Acupuncture and Integrative Care in 2012, he tirelessly devoted himself to creating an environment where clients get the results they need with an unparalleled level of care, comfort, and respect. William knows that no single approach is the right one for every individual. He uses the time-tested science of acupuncture and the most cutting age and innovative integrative medicine – including a technology originally developed by NASA that assists in increasing blood flow and expediting recovery and healing – to treat a variety of debilitating diseases.
For over a decade, William has specialized in treating chronic pain, peripheral neuropathy, and musculoskeletal pain. Clients often refer friends and family for pain, allergies, headaches, fibromyalgia, sciatica – even the “acupuncture facelift.”
William treats clients of all ages, with specialized training in geriatrics. Dawn, one senior client, received treatments for peripheral neuralgia so severe it kept her awake at night and in too-large shoes. Dawn enthusiastically describes life after William’s treatments: “It’s life altering. As far as I’m concerned, he saved my life.”
It’s walk outside and sweat season here in Tennessee and other parts of the world – the pavement is literally melting in parts of Europe. Staying locked indoors isn’t an option for most of us, so we need to be able to keep our cool when the mercury is near 100.
Eat for the Heat
Get creative with meals that don’t require the stove, like salads, fresh fruits, and sandwiches. Or, make a large batch of something that doesn’t require reheating, like pasta salad, so you only have to cook once.
Also, keep portion sizes small. Digestion uses a lot of energy, and the fuller you are, the more heat is produced in the process. Foods with a lot of sugar and stimulants, like caffeine and alcohol, also impact temperature regulation.
Eat foods with a high water content – cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, cucumber, and celery.
Add peppermint to your iced tea – menthol produces a cooling effect.
Get Plenty of Water – In and On the Body
Drink water before you’re thirsty to help avoid heat stress.
Focus on pulse points – wrists, neck, the inside of your elbows and knees, and the tops of your feet. A cold, wet towel or bandana on these areas, or running them under cold water, helps lower body temperature.
Keep a water bottle nearby for a spritz. You can even add cucumber juice or aloe vera juice to the water, which each have cooling properties.
Know the Signs of Heat Illness
Dizziness, weakness, nausea, pale skin, and a rapid pulse can indicate heat illness. If someone with these symptoms goes from heavy sweating to dry skin, that could indicate an escalation from heat exhaustion to heat stroke.
Improve Heating and Cooling Measures
Caulk any gaps around doors and windows Keep the blinds closed, especially at mid-day Run ceiling fans counter clockwise to pull the cooler air up from the floor and down toward you Put a bowl of ice in front of standing fans
Grab Some Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera gel has naturally cooling properties, and can help lower the body’s temperature when applied to the skin, especially on pulse points.
In a recent post, Trust Your Gut, we talked about the importance of gut health, and how a healthy gut is important to the immune system and balancing the gut-brain axis and nervous system. We have gotten so used to tummy troubles that a lot of people suffer daily, even without a diagnosed digestive disorder; at times, it can be hard to pinpoint the source of the discomfort. Americans are inundated with articles about food sensitivity, overconsumption, and other factors that lead to gastrointestinal problems. The good news is, acupuncture is a safe, effective approach to improving overall gut health, which has a positive impact throughout the body.
Acupuncture can help improve the performance of the different organs in the abdomen, as well as the nervous system, and balance hormonal imbalances – all of which impact gut health. An overactive nervous system alone decreases digestive function, which has a negative impact on how effectively our bodies absorb nutrients and process waste.
The Major Players
Generally, when we think about gut health, the stomach gets all of the attention. There’s more to how the digestive system works.
Chewing, beginning of food breakdown through saliva
Peristalsis – the movement of organ walls, allowing food and liquid to move through the GI tract
Where food and digestive juices meet
Produces digestive juices that help break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
Processes nutrients absorbed by the small intestine
Recent studies show that acupuncture can help promote or decrease peristalsis and reduce certain acid outputs.
Some of the areas acupuncture can impact:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Acupuncture has been effective in treating areas of digestive distress for thousands of years. Your acupuncturist will look at the body as a system, rather than a sum of individual parts, in developing a treatment plan specific to you and your needs.
It’s May, and everything in Nashville is covered in a layer of pollen. We go through it every year, but the scratchy throat, itchy eyes, and runny nose are still an unpleasant harbinger of spring. Some allergens are around us all the time in the form of dust mites, pet dander, or food sensitivities.
Allergies trigger histamines, which are incredibly helpful for the body – they help the body get rid of something bothering you, like an allergy. They’re part of the body’s defense system and want to get rid of the stimulant, which is why you might sneeze, tear up, or itch. When your body is triggered by an allergen, your immune system signals mast cells in the skin, lungs, nose, mouth, gut, and blood to release histamines. The histamines boost blood flow in the affected area, causing inflammation and inviting other parts of the body’s defense system to engage.
Sometimes, the histamine response is dramatic and prolonged, such as when a tick bite triggers an Alpha Gal response and an allergic response to animal products. Acupuncture is one of the only techniques that can effectively reduce the severity of an Alpha-Gal response – there are no drugs, vaccines, or allergy shots available.
Acupuncture Treatments with Affinity Acupuncture
Acupuncture treatments can help with other environmental, seasonal, and food allergies also – by up to 80-95%. A simple protocol involves an exam, one visit, and one needle. We help identify the allergen, place a small needle in the ear for several weeks, and then allergens can be carefully and systematically reintroduced. For allergies severe enough to anaphylactic shock – the goal is not to intentionally reintroduce, but to lessen the severity of response if the body is exposed to the allergen. If you’re interested in finding out if you’re a good candidate for acupuncture to help relieve your allergy symptoms, call 615-939-2787 today, or click on this link.
In recent years, “gut health” has become a popular buzz phrase with scientists, physicians, and on social media. The idea isn’t new – Hippocrates once said that “all disease begins in the gut.” Improving digestive health has been a foundational ethos of Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. As a society, we’ve strayed from prioritizing health and nutrition over convenience, and are seeing the ramifications in increased obesity, heart disease, and other ailments that weren’t as prevalent before processed foods became a mainstay in our diets.
So why does the gut matter? Does having a drive-thru meal once a week really make that much of a difference? Your immune system, mood, sleep, digestion, heart, and brain all say yes.
Over the next few months, we’ll be looking at why gut health is important, and the roles of some of the unsung heroes of the digestive system.
Why it Matters
More than 100 trillion bacteria live in the gut. That’s not a typo. There are more bacteria than human cells in the human body. Gut bacteria help our esophagus, stomach, and intestines work together to comfortably digest foods. When the biome is thrown off, it can lead to heartburn, bloating, constipation, nausea, and loose stools. The little bacteria can’t ward off infection or communicate well with the brain through nerves and hormones.
Roughly 70% of the immune system (by weight) lives in the digestive tract. Without getting too technical, the Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue (GALT) is the largest mass of lymphoid tissue in the body, and helps protect the body from infection in the gut. The gut’s mucosal surface is thin – it to be in order to allow food absorption. That also means that it’s vulnerable to infection. GALT helps protect the body from a large population of plasma cells (which produce antibodies) – larger than the spleen, lymph nodes, and bone marrow combined.
90-95% of serotonin (the body’s mood boosting chemical) is produced in the gut. You read that right. You’re probably familiar with serotonin as a brain neurotransmitter, right? A recent Caltech study shows that certain bacteria in the guy play a pivotal role in serotonin production. The foods we eat impact our moods beyond what we refer to as “comfort food.”
Up to 90% of diseases can be traced back to the gut microbiome. An estimated 70 million Americans have digestive diseases, and almost 1 in 5 have IBS. Those little bacteria strengthen the digestive tract’s wall, protecting us from pathogens. When the pathogens get through, it leads to inflammation and digestive disorders.
Help a Gut out Already
There are some easy things you can do to help give your gut a break (while avoiding any allergens): 1) Eat a variety of whole grains and legumes 2) Minimize eating out 3) Stop eating when you’re full 4) Eat fresh fruit and vegetables every day 5) Have a handful of nuts each day 6) Drink lots of water 7) Avoid artificial sweeteners and minimize candies and confections 8) Keep a food diary. If you get heartburn, feel bloated, or experience other digestive distress after eating certain foods, try eliminating or minimizing them in your diet. 9) Get some exercise 10) Sleep 11) Be careful with antibiotics. If you need them, add yogurt to your diet for the duration of the prescription.