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Acupuncture and Gut Health

Acupuncture and Gut Health

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.

OrganFunction
MouthChewing, beginning of food breakdown through saliva
EsophagusPeristalsis – the movement of organ walls, allowing food and liquid to move through the GI tract
StomachWhere food and digestive juices meet
Small intestinePeristalsis
PancreasProduces digestive juices that help break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
LiverProcesses nutrients absorbed by the small intestine
Large intestinePeristalsis

Recent studies show that acupuncture can help promote or decrease peristalsis and reduce certain acid outputs.

Some of the areas acupuncture can impact:

Acid Reflux

Colitis

Crohn’s Disease

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Constipation

Weight Fluctuation

Fatigue

Bloating

Diarrhea

Nausea

Sour Stomach

Cramping

Abdominal Pain

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.

Acupuncture for Allergies

Acupuncture for Allergies

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.

Contact Affinity Acupuncture for Nashville Acupuncture treatments and techniques.

Trust Your Gut

Trust Your Gut

Trust Your Gut

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.

Contact Affinity Acupuncture for Nashville Acupuncture treatments and techniques.

 

Find Acupuncture in Nashville

Find Acupuncture in Nashville

Have you been curious about the benefits of acupuncture but haven’t had the opportunity to give it a try? Or, have you been looking for that perfect acupuncturist in Nashville to address specific issues?

There are many reasons to seek the services of a qualified acupuncturist. The list of benefits is long, the process is relaxing, and our Berry Hill location is easily accessible for our Nashville patients.

But what exactly do you stand to gain from visiting Affinity Acupuncture?

Relaxation

Acupuncture is done in a quiet room. You will be asked to lie on a table as the acupuncturist addresses your specific needs. This is performed through manipulation of the body’s natural acupressure points. This process releases endorphins as well as opens up the body’s natural pathways.

Acupuncture leaves the patient in a state of relaxation. Many people find the experience akin to meditation and leave the office in a state of calm. Visiting an acupuncturist can provide a number of benefits but the most immediately apparent will be the way you feel during and after a session.

Visit Affinity Acupuncture in Berry Hill for your Nashville acupuncture needs!

Pain Relief

Acupuncture has been used as a means of pain management for a very long time. In fact, acupuncture has been practiced for over 3,500 years. The staying power has as much to do with positive aspects as tradition.

Acupuncture is used to treat numerous types of chronic pain. This includes back pain, abdominal pain, facial pain, and a variety of others. Affinity Acupuncture will work with you in Nashville to address your personal issues in the most effective means possible.

Nutritional Guidance

The foods we eat have a massive effect on how we feel. Quite literally, everything you eat is used to create your body tissues and to power your body’s functions. The foods we eat have been used to combat illness for thousands of years.

Affinity Acupuncture will work with you to figure out your nutrition goals. A plan will then be put in place for a realistic path toward achieving these goals. Follow up visits will track progress and adjust any methods or recommendations as needed to account for new challenges and changing goals.

Women’s Health

There are a number of aspects related to the health of a woman that require special attention. Different phases of life bring changes and considerations that need to be made to preserve the comfort and well-being of a woman.

Menopause is frequently viewed with apprehension and fear. However, it doesn’t need to be as bad as some people might say. Mood swings, headaches, night sweats, hot flashes — these symptoms can be managed and mitigated. Attention to diet, acupuncture, and traditional Chinese medicine can be used to address these issues. In fact, only 10% of Chinese women experience these issues that commonly plague women in the west. Use of these methods quite likely plays a role in this.

Wrinkle Reduction

People are constantly in search of the next method of avoiding the effects of aging. One frequently used means of reducing the signs of aging is to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Botox is commonly used with this in mind. However, many people don’t like the idea of injecting their face with a toxin. Affinity Acupuncture offers a much more natural means of addressing wrinkles.

Mei Zen Cosmetic Acupuncture is used as an alternative to Botox. Our patients see positive changes over the course of a five-week treatment plan. It can lead to the reduction (and sometimes the disappearance) of fine lines. Smoother cheeks, softer skin, and faded age spots are all possible benefits of Mei Zen Cosmetic Acupuncture.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

The oldest medical textbook in the world is over 4,700 years old: the Huang Di Nei Jing or Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. Chinese medicine incorporates the various fields of acupuncture, herbal medicine, cupping, exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle counseling. These focuses are rooted in the Taoist philosophy of change, growth, and harmony.

Affinity Acupuncture will meet with you to discuss your goals through traditional Chinese medicine. What are you looking to gain? What would you like to address? This conversation will inform the techniques used to restore your health.

Gastrointestinal Relief

Gastrointestinal disorders can be incredibly uncomfortable. Constipation, diarrhea, spastic colitis, gas — these symptoms can have a consistent negative impact on our lives. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been shown to provide relief from GI discomfort.

The World Health Organization has proven through controlled clinical trials acupuncture to be an effective treatment for various gastrointestinal issues. Affinity Acupuncture can work with you to find treatments for your GI problems.

Contact Affinity Acupuncture today for Nashville Acupuncture treatments and appointments!

Benefits of Acupuncture

Benefits of Acupuncture

Traditional Chinese medicine describes acupuncture as a means of balancing energy that flows through pathways within your body. This is done through the insertion of very small needles at strategic points on the patient’s body. It is generally used to treat pain although it can also be used to treat mental health issues like the management of stress.

This practice has been around for over 4,000 years. Acupuncture has remained a steady source of treatment since then, although it has gone through some changes throughout the years. The same basic concept has remained the same, however. And whether you’re seeking acupuncture for neck pain, fertility, or any of the other positive outcomes you can visit Affinity Acupuncture for help in Nashville.

Let’s look into the specifics of acupuncture to see how we can benefit from it.

Are you interested in seeing what acupuncture can do for you? Visit Affinity Acupuncture to set up an appointment today.

How it Works

The systems by which acupuncture affects the patient differs depending on who you ask. The traditional Chinese interpretation is based around energy.

The energy inside your body is referred to as qi (pronounced “chee”). This qi travels throughout your body by way of 12 separate pathways, known as meridians. And although these meridians don’t follow similar pathways of blood flow and nerves, they do represent the major organs as well as the functions of the body.

Our bodies contain competing energy flows, known as the yin and the yang. These make up our qi. And it is the harmonious congruence of these two forces that keep our bodies in good health and make us feel better. An improper balance of these forces is what leads to illnesses. 

There are 361 points on our bodies that can manipulate the flow of our qi. Strategic placement of tiny needles helps direct our energy in the appropriate way to balance out our yin and yang, resulting in a more well-balanced qi. 

Western scientists have further studied acupuncture and come up with other theories as to why it works. The first theory is that acupuncture works by stimulating neurohormonal pathways. The needle effectively stimulates a nerve in the patient’s body. The nerve sends a signal to the brain which releases hormones such as endorphins, which promote good feelings in the body which increases the pain threshold.

Another theory is that acupuncture reduces proteins in the body that promote inflammation. This reduction in inflammation is linked to a reduction in pain. 

Yet another theory relates directly to acupuncture’s positive effects on nerve damage. It says that insertion of the needle stimulates the brain to secrete a factor that stimulates nerve growth, effectively re-growing the damaged nerve. 

But whether you subscribe to the eastern or western explanation of why acupuncture works, the benefits are all the same. But what can acupuncture be used to treat? 

What It Treats 

Acupuncture is used to treat a number of various conditions. Most notably, it is used to assist in general health, sleep, and digestion. It reduces stress, inflammation, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Acupuncture also increases fertility and energy. 

Acupuncture has been proven through clinical trials to be an effective treatment for the following:

  • Allergic rhinitis  

  • Biliary colic 

  • Depression 

  • Dysentery, acute bacillary 

  • Dysmenorrhea, primary 

  • Epigastralgia, acute 

  • Facial pain 

  • Headache 

  • Hypertension, essential 

  • Hypotension, primary 

  • Induction of labor 

  • Knee pain 

  • Leukopenia 

  • Low back pain 

  • Malposition of fetus, correction of 

  • Morning sickness 

  • Nausea and vomiting 

  • Neck pain 

  • Pain in dentistry 

  • Periarthritis of shoulder 

  • Postoperative pain 

  • Renal colic 

  • Rheumatoid arthritis 

  • Sciatica 

  • Sprain

  • Stroke 

  • Tennis Elbow

These and other conditions have shown positive effects from acupuncture treatment. 

What to Expect 

Many people feel somewhat lethargic after an acupuncture appointment. This is commonly related to a feeling of deep relaxation. However, treatments affect everyone a little differently. In fact, some people feel energetic from a quick boost of adrenaline after the appointment.

It’s generally recommended to continue seeking relaxing atmospheres after an acupuncture session. Find a quiet place to sit down or even go for a massage. This is a healing process so more the more time you give yourself to take it easy, the better your chances become of experiencing the benefits of the treatment. 

Try It for Yourself 

The best way to learn about the benefits of acupuncture is to try it firsthand. Those in the Nashville area interested in acupuncture for neck pain, fertility, or any other ailment should visit Affinity Acupuncture. 

Affinity Acupuncture serves both the Nashville and Franklin areas. Visit us today to set up an appointment.

What to Know Before Your First Acupuncture Appointment

What to Know Before Your First Acupuncture Appointment

Acupuncture is a relaxing experience. However, new patients might feel a little anxious before their first visit. There are a lot of unknowns and misconceptions about acupuncture. But going for acupuncture treatment in Nashville doesn’t need to make you nervous. Acupuncture is calming, relaxing, and can soothe many sources of aches and pains. Here is what you can expect on your first visit, so you’re anxiety over the treatment can be replaced with excitement.

Preparation

There are a few things you can do to set your first acupuncture treatment up for success. This preparation starts hours before you even show up for your appointment. The first thing you can do is avoid coffee and alcohol. These stimulants can cloud your mind when one of the goals of acupuncture is awareness. This effectively walks the benefits backwards before you even start.

Be sure you wear loose and comfortable clothing. This makes it easier for the acupuncturist to place the needles where they need to go. Proper placement is essential to the success of treatment. You want to be able to relax and worrying about clothing will take your mind away from one of the major benefits of being there in the first place.

Don’t show up to your appointment with a full stomach. At the same time, don’t show up hungry. An empty stomach can leave patients feeling light-headed and dizzy after an appointment. You’ll want to eat some food before coming in, just don’t go overboard. Eat a meal maybe two hours before going in. But if you’re unsure, err on the side of eating as opposed to not eating.

Finally, you’ll want to show up at your appointment early. Give yourself at least fifteen minutes to fill out some paperwork.

Ready to give acupuncture treatment a try in Nashville? Contact Affinity Acupuncture and make your appointment today!

During the Treatment

Acupuncture treatment is like going to the doctor’s office, but more relaxing. It might help to frame your experience like this. Expect to be asked questions about your medical history and current symptoms of anything you’d like to be addressed. You should also expect the acupuncturist to give you a short examination and to assess your general health. This information will help the acupuncturist tailor your treatment to you specific needs.

After the initial examination and health assessment, you’ll be asked to lie down. Soft music might be played, the lights will be dimmed, the whole experience is curated to instill a calming mood in the room.

Many people are afraid of needles. Getting their blood drawn or receiving shots make them tense up and grow anxious. These people might be afraid of experiencing acupuncture because of this fear. But the needles used in a doctor’s office are much different from those used in acupuncture. For one thing, acupuncture needles are much smaller than those used for vaccines. These smaller needles make far less impact with the body while also remaining near the surface. They aren’t inserted as far as the needles you might be used to.

Another concern is that of hygiene. But again, this concern doesn’t need to exist. The needles used for acupuncture treatments are sterilized and disposable. This means they are discarded after they are used. The needles used in your first treatment with be the first treatment for the needles, as well.

The acupuncturist will ask you to lie down and get comfortable. They will then insert about ten needles in strategic spots. These needles will remain in place between twenty and thirty minutes. This process can be repeated at the acupuncturist’s discretion.

Afterwards

Much like before your acupuncture appointment, there are a few things you can do to get the most from your treatment. The session itself should have been relaxing and restful, and it’s recommended you try to elongate that feeling as much as possible. Following acupuncture with massage is a great way to give your body and mind the time to process the treatment. If that’s not possible, simply allowing yourself to relax for a couple hours after the appointment works as well.

As before the appointment, avoiding alcohol and caffeine afterwards is recommended. You want to remain mindful and present and these substances will only dull your awareness. Likewise, they will dehydrate you. Remaining hydrated, while good practice all the time, is important after an acupuncture treatment.

Maintain healthy eating practices to avoid introducing toxins to your body. Again, this is a good practice to maintain all the time. But this will help maximize the benefits of your acupuncture treatment.

As far as side effects from the treatments go, the most you can expect is some slight bruising. But if you have some soreness or pain from anything else you should avoid using ice packs and cold treatments. Instead, use heating packs to soothe any soreness.

Schedule an Appointment Today!

Are you looking for acupuncture treatment in Nashville? Visit Affinity Acupuncture to see how they can help you today.