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How Acupuncture Can Help With Arthritis

How acupuncture helps

Acupuncture treats the patient by addressing the whole body. When the body is out of balance, pain and illness can arise. Acupuncture works by returning the body back to its natural balance and energy flow to eliminate pain and to improve overall health.  

There are more than 2,000 acupuncture points on the body. When these specific points are stimulated through small acupuncture needles, it can help relieve pain by improving the body’s nervous system, which can jumpstart the production of pain-reducing endorphins.

Research studies

A study in Germany found that 304,674 people with osteoarthritis experienced less pain and stiffness after 15 sessions of acupuncture. The treatments were done during a three-month period and lasting results were seen for another three months after treatment was stopped. The patients who had the acupuncture treatment reported better quality of life and function than those who had no treatment.

A study done at the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at the University of Michigan Medical School found that of 20 women who were diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the half that received acupuncture treatment had increased activity of the pain-reducing receptors in the brain.   

A trial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine studied 570 men and women with osteoarthritis. For the men and women who received 23 acupuncture treatments for about 6 months, results of less pain and better functionality occurred, compared to those with the placebo treatment.

Arthritis can be painful and persistent, resulting in frustration when it isn’t easy to find relief. Acupuncture is a non-invasive, alternative treatment that has been proven in numerous studies to help reduce pain and increase mobility.  

Source: Arthritis Foundation

6 Foods to Help Your Arthritis


Fish are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which work as a natural anti-inflammatory. Some of the best fish to consume include salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring, which are all rich in omega-3s. The recommended weekly amount is around six to eight ounces of fish.


Healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil, avocado and safflower oils are packed with healthy fats and anti-inflammatory properties.


Because it contains sulforaphane, broccoli has been shown to slow and prevent the progression of osteoarthritis. Broccoli is rich in vitamin K, C and calcium, which is known to help strengthen bones.

Green Tea

Green tea has many health benefits, one including reducing pain of arthritis. The tea is full of antioxidants that work to lower inflammation and the disintegration of cartilage.

Citrus Fruits

Fruits like oranges, limes and grapefruits are very acidic and full of vitamin C. Vitamin C can help aid healthy joints for those with arthritis and work as an anti-inflammatory.


Beans are beneficial for many reasons. They are a great alternative to meat for protein and are rich in folic acid, magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium. Red beans, kidney beans and pinto beans are known to improve muscle health and the heart and immune system.

Having a natural and well-rounded diet is a part of any healthy lifestyle, but can be especially beneficial for arthritis and chronic pain.


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High Blood Pressure

Have you recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure (HBP)?

You’re not alone! According to the CDC, one in three U.S. adults have high blood pressure and only half of those have their condition under control.

Many health factors intertwine to cause HBP including:

  • genetics (family history)
  • other conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease
  • diets too high in sodium and too low in potassium
  • a lack of physical activity
  • excessive alcohol and caffeine intake
  • tobacco use
  • chronic stress
  • obesity

While many medications exist to help control high blood pressure, they do not always work well and can have adverse side effects. Chronic high blood pressure is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’ as there are often no bothersome symptoms, making it easy to ignore. However, if left untreated HBP significantly increases one’s risk of stroke and heart disease. Fortunately, for people willing to be proactive there are many natural ways to lower blood pressure and mitigate the side effects of medication.

4 Tips for naturally lowering blood pressure


The first step in naturally treating your HBP is to accept it. Denial will keep most people from consistently developing and maintaining lifestyle habits that bring blood pressure into healthy ranges. It’s especially easy to do because often in the initial stages HBP has no obvious symptoms that impair enjoyment of daily life.

Get acupuncture!

Several recent studies on the effects of acupuncture on hypertension indicate that it can have a significant impact on lowering high blood pressure and managing the side effects of medication (Cevik, 2013). Researchers at University of California at Irvine have been studying the neuroendocrine mechanism underlying the significant clinical effect acupuncture has on the treatment of hypertension for the last 15 years. They have discovered that electroacupuncture (EA) at the points P 5-6, Li11-10, St 36-37 and Ht 6-7 lowered hypertension and that low frequency and low current electroacupuncture (EA) produces significant results. Notably when P 5-6 receives only acupuncture without needle manipulation to stimulate ‘deQi’ sensation there was no effect on hypertension. EA is used to deliver consistent stimulation to the underlying nerves which send impulses to the rVLM part of the brain, a part of the medulla which interacts with the cardiovascular system. EA at low frequency at P 5-6, Li 11-10, St 36-37 and Ht 6-7 causes a release of enkephalin neuropeptides, endorphins, and GABA which has a net effect of lowering high blood pressure. In an eight week study with participants receiving EA acupuncture once per week, there was a clinically significant result lowering of BP by 12-18 mmHg and results lasted up to four weeks post treatment. (Zhou, 2011)

According to Acupuncture and oriental medicine (OM) theory there are about 11 different patterns of hypertension, with most people presenting with a mixed pattern. The most common OM pattern for hypertension is called Liver Yang Rising (LYR). LYR is always a secondary pattern; underlying primary patterns can vary from years of chronic stress and internalized tension (liver Qi stagnation), years of overwork, chronic sleep disturbances and menopause can lead to yin deficiency or years of digestive irregularity and excessive weight can lead to a buildup of phlegm (high cholesterol). A professional acupuncture practitioner will carefully evaluate your overall health to determine your pattern and select the best points to regulate your HBP.

Try Acupressure

Acupressure applies gentle pressure at acupoints. Pause and linger along tender points (no more than 30 seconds at a time). Press gently as aggressive, deep pressure can irritate nerves. The pressure should feel pleasant.
Begin by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position with your body supported. H 7 is located on the wrist above the pinkie finger. Next move over to locate P 6 by placing your ring finger at the inner wrist crease, laying the middle finger and index finger along side, bend your index finger and press in the center of the forearm (should be between two tendons). Locate St 36 by placing one hand just below the outer knee cap (index finger by the kneecap), use your other hand to find St
36 (just below your pinkie finger) just off the outer shin.

Make your own Acupressure patches
You can try make your own acupressure patch: place a small round seed, dried round bean, or bead on the points using a bandaid or medical tape to affix in place.


Inhaling Clary Sage essential oil was found to be more effective in lowering blood pressure than lavender oil. Participants inhaled clary sage for an hour. Try using a diffuser with clary sage essential oil one to three times throughout your day.

Please feel free to call Heidi at (218) 724-3400 if you have further questions or concerns.

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TCM and Summer

Summer is a time of abundant energy, long sunshine-filled days and warmth. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, summer has many different associations that help define it. The element of summer is fire, the color of summer is red, the emotion of summer is joy and the governing organs are the heart and the small intestine. But what does all of this mean? Let’s find out.

The TCM system relies heavily on the five elements and how they work and interact within the body. In TCM, there are multiple levels. The first is that of yin and yang. At the most basic level, yin is like water and yang is like fire. As mentioned, fire is the element of summer. Thus fire is yang in nature, which means it is symbolic of maximum activity. During the summer months, everybody and everything is more outgoing or outward in nature. And as the heart is the main organ associated with the season of summer, it should be paid close attention to and nourished to remain healthy.

The heart’s main function is to circulate oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. In TCM, mental activity is also associated with the heart. This is known as Shen in Chinese medicine. The Shen is sometimes compared to our mind, but it is actually much deeper than that. The Shen includes our thought processes, memory, consciousness and emotional well-being. And summer is the most appropriate time to calm the Shen and provide it with enrichment that will last throughout the whole year. When the fire element is balanced, the mind is calm, sleep is sound and the heart organ is strong and healthy. If the fire element is not balanced, there may be depression or an excess of joy, which manifests as mania. Symptoms of an unbalanced fire element include heartburn, insomnia, agitation, nervousness, digestive upset, rashes, palpitations and excessive perspiration.

There are quite a few ways to keep the heart and fire element balanced during the summer months. Meditation and deep breathing are easy to do, plus, they require no expensive equipment to perform and can be done anywhere.

Going outside and engaging all of your senses is another easy way to nourish heart health. A technique known as “grounding” has been gaining popularity over the past decade and science is showing it can be very beneficial. All one has to do is walk or stand in the grass while being barefoot. The energy from the earth is quite healing. And while you’re there, take time to listen to the sounds of nature that surround you and enjoy the fragrances of the flowers. These things are also grounding and have a calming effect on the mind and body.

Probably the two most important things you can do for heart health during the summer months is drink plenty of fresh water and eat cooling foods. No matter what season of the year, water is vital and it is recommended we drink at least 64 ounces per day. Cooling foods like fruits are good at keeping fire under control, which is healthy for the whole body.
Lastly, if you are experiencing a heart or fire imbalance, consider adding acupuncture to your routine. Acupuncture is very good at reducing or increasing the body’s yang/fire, depending upon your individual needs. Call Heidi today at (218) 724-3400 to learn more.

Three Teas to Keep You Cool

As summer moves on and the warmer days continue, you will find yourself seeking ways to beat the heat. Herbal teas are a great way to cool both the body and mind. Cooling herbal teas can alleviate symptoms of excess heat and have you feeling your absolute best during these heat-intensive summer days.

Check out these three herbal teas that will ensure you stay cool.

  1. Mint, Elderflower and Rosehips TeaThe combination of mint, elderflower and rosehips makes for a soothing herbal tea. Rose hips provide a much-needed boost of vitamin C, the elderflower lends its immune-cleansing benefits and the mint finishes off the tea with the cooling touch of menthol.
  2. Lemon Hibiscus TeaThis is an herbal blend just as good cold as it is hot. Regardless of the way this tea is poured, it provides specific cooling benefits to the body. Hibiscus is high in vitamin C and combats against high blood pressure, liver disease and other ailments. Lemon has a kick of vitamin C too, but more importantly it is cleansing and a natural diuretic. This tea combination is both cleansing and cooling.
  3. Iced Green Tea with Lemon and MintThe perfect summer refresher. The combination of these three ingredients work together in perfect harmony in order to cool the body down. Packed with vitamin C, menthol and antioxidants this tea will get your constitution headed in the right direction.

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Acupuncture for Stroke Recovery

Strokes are quite common. In fact, strokes are the leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S. Approximately 795,000 people suffer a stroke each year. A stroke results from an acute lack of blood supply to a portion of the brain. Because brain cells are very dependent on oxygen, a few minutes without proper blood flow can be quite damaging. Symptoms of a stroke may include numbness or weakness of the limbs, difficulty swallowing, headache, mental confusion, paralysis, problems with coordination, sudden visual loss and slurred speech. Modern imaging such as MRI’s can help detect how bad the brain damage is following a stroke.

Typical post-stroke care in starts with seven days of hospitalization followed by a couple weeks of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Unfortunately, even after all of this, most stroke victims still have deficits and disabilities. Acupuncture can help to repair these deficits and disabilities.

After a stroke, acupuncture should be started as quickly as possible. Three treatments per week is recommended to begin with following a stroke. Studies show patients get well faster, require less nursing and rehabilitation, perform better self-care and use less money to recover when acupuncture is added to the recovery treatments.

Scalp acupuncture seems to be the most effective method of treating stroke patients. Scalp acupuncture has a couple of different systems, but Zhu’s Scalp Acupuncture is the most commonly used. Zhu’s Scalp Acupuncture prevents or reduces brain swelling or edema, thus halting further damage to brain tissues. It promotes perfusion in the brain, which restores blood and oxygen to the brain cells. It helps break down blood clots and it can accelerate functional recovery.

Scalp acupuncture views the scalp as a microcosm of the whole body. Scalp acupuncture works on zones rather than specific points. The correlation between scalp acupuncture and stroke is fairly easy to figure out, as the scalp is close to the brain. Acupuncture increases blood flow and oxygen to the areas of the cerebral cortex that were damaged from stroke and helps revive the cells and nerve function. Scalp acupuncture also incorporates a lot of what we know about the brain from a biomedical standpoint. Things such as the idea that one side of the brain controls the opposite side of the body. So if a patient had paralysis of the right leg, the acupuncturist would needle the left side of the scalp.

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can also be used in a preventive way to avoid a stroke from occurring. Getting regular acupuncture treatments can help with relaxation and relieving stress that can contribute to strokes. Also adopting a traditional Chinese diet can be beneficial, as it is high in fiber, low in fat, sugar and dairy products. It is proven, populations that eat this kind of diet have a decreased chance of stroke and heart attacks. There is also a Chinese herb, bai guo ye or ginkgo biloba that can help prevent the occurrence of stroke. This herb stimulates cerebral circulation and can prevent blood clots in the brain.

As we can see, acupuncture can be beneficial for those who have already suffered a stroke. But it can be just as beneficial in preventing strokes. This is just one more reason to add acupuncture to your arsenal of weapons when it comes to your health. Call us at (218) 724-3400 to schedule an appointment.

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Today is World Laughter Day!

Laughing is the best medicine, and today we celebrate its healing power on World Laughter Day! 😂🌎 Let’s spread joy and happiness with every chuckle, snort, and giggle.

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