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Dear Insomniacs, Stop Worrying About It!

History suggests sleeping in segments may be more natural and better for us.  The key is getting your bedroom as dark as possible and avoiding computers, smart phones and other light sources right before bedtime.  So enjoy the quiet and peace in the middle of the night…our ancestors did.

The myth of the eight-hour sleep

By Stephanie Hegarty BBC World Service

Woman awake

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A new study finds that people who eat chocolate several times a week are actually leaner than people who don’t eat chocolate regularly.

This article below by Allison Aubrey is excellent, and not just because it justifies my daily indulgence in theobromine, the primary alkaloid in cocoa and chocolate.  Personally, I find chocolate to be great for stress and curbing the appetite for unhealthy foods.  I used to love chocolate chip cookies, but now I cut out the dough and just enjoy the pure chocolate.

The study didn’t state which type of chocolate is best, but I would recommend picking one that tastes best to you so you will stick with it.  Five years ago I would have only the extreme dark chocolate with 88% cocoa, but now I enjoy the smooth milk chocolate from Endangered Species containing 48% cocoa.  These are the little squares I keep in my clinics for patients. I love promoting Endangered Species Chocolate because not only is it the best organic chocolate in my opinion, but they also support and invest in the communities and habitats which grow their cocoa.

I would love to hear your experiences with health and chocolate.


Researchers say some compounds in cocoa may help us fend off fat.

Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty ImagesResearchers say some compounds in cocoa may help us fend off fat.

A new study finds that people who eat chocolate several times a week are actually leaner than people who don’t eat chocolate regularly.

Really, we asked? Last time we checked chocolate was loaded with fat and sugar. But this new research, along with some prior studies, suggests chocolate may favorably influence metabolism.

To test this theory, Beatrice Golomb, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego, asked about 1,000 people, ages 20 to 85, a simple question: “How many times a week do you consume chocolate?” The participants then completed food frequency questionnaires to estimate their caloric intakes of a whole range of foods including chocolate. They also had weight and height measurement taken to calculate their body mass index, or BMI. Read full article

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Acupuncture Effects Brainwaves

This article illustrates the effects of acupuncture on brainwaves. These two points when combined with Pericardium 6 are known as the Buddha triangle and are deeply calming and centering. I use this treatment frequently when helping my patients deal with stress, anxiety, insomnia and depression. The treatment helps the person feel calm but also enables them to focus better. Read more…

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Seasonal allergies treatment with acupuncture

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to look forward to the new season without the dreaded headaches, itchy eyes, sinus congestion?

Last week one of my Seattle patients came in for treatment for his low back pain.  I noticed his eyes were red and he sounded congested.  He was surprised to hear that acupuncture is very effective for treating seasonal allergies.

Acupuncture works for seasonal allergies treatment by strengthening the body’s immune mechanism to process the allergens out more efficiently. It doesn’t mask the symptoms or have side effects like an allergy medication. While I don’t discourage people from taking allergy medication to survive in their daily life, I do feel that the medication suppresses the body’s effort to expel the allergen.  I have helped several people in both Seattle and Anacortes reduce or stop taking allergy medication with acupuncture.

Acupuncture treatments are accumulative and require a series of sessions.  Most people report that they are able to breathe more freely after the first treatment.  With every acupuncture session, its important to evaluate each individual patient to find which meridians need to balanced, strengthened or subdued.  For most allergy symptoms, typically the patient’s lung meridian is weakened which makes them more susceptible to the allergic reaction because the body can’t expel it as quickly as a person with stronger lung Qi. We take in our Qi through our breath in the oriental medicine perspective. On the western side our mouth, nose and lungs are lined with mucous membranes which allow direct access to our capillaries and blood supply.  This is great for letting in oxygen but not so great with the pollens and other environmental toxins. I’ve listed research articles below about the positive effects of acupuncture on treating seasonal allergies.

Acupuncture for persistent allergic rhinitis: a randomised, sham-controlled trial

Observation on the curative effect of acupuncture on type I allergic diseases

Effect of acupuncture in the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized controlled clinical trial


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Study provides a scientific background for the ancient practice of acupuncture

This study provides a link between ancient and modern thought on pain control.  Keep in mind though the main purpose of acupuncture is to help your body heal itself faster, not just temporarily relieve pain.  To get true pain relief, you must heal the source of the problem not just mask it, which is why acupuncture works so well for pain.

Study Supports Acupuncture Effects in Pain Control

By: International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS)

The scientific validity of traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of pain received a nod of support in the May issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia, official journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS).

Dr. Philip Lang and colleagues of the University of Munich used quantitative sensory testing to identify changes in pain sensitivity with acupuncture in 24 healthy volunteers. After applying acupuncture to the leg, the researchers found that pain thresholds increased by up to 50 percent. Effects were noted in both the treated leg and the untreated (contralateral) leg.

Tests Show Measurable and Specific Effects of Acupuncture on Pain

Quantitative sensory testing is used clinically to help physicians understand specific injuries in nerve fibers associated with chronic pain. It includes tests of both thermal perception (heat and cold), and mechanical perception (pressure applied to the skin). The patterns of response provide diagnostic information in patients with nerve injury regarding the type of nerve involved, and possible treatments.

The results pointed to two nerve fibers—the “A delta” pain fibers and the “C” pain fibers—as being specifically affected by acupuncture. Although the effects were modest, the researchers believe they provide the basis for future studies in individuals with chronic pain, where the effects might be more dramatic.

The study also supported the effects of three different forms of acupuncture: manual acupuncture needling alone and with the addition of high-frequency and low-frequency electrical stimulation. All treatments were performed by an experienced acupuncturist, applied to acupuncture points commonly used in pain management.

The results provide a scientific background for the ancient practice of acupuncture, according to Dr. Dominik Irnich, Head of the Multidisciplinary Pain Centre, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Munich, and the study’s leading author. Additionally, Dr. Irnich notes, “Our results show that contralateral stimulation leads to a remarkable pain relief. This suggests that acupuncturists should needle contralaterally if the affected side is too painful or not accessible—for example, if the skin is injured or there is a dressing in place.”

Dr. Steven L. Shafer, Editor-in-Chief of Anesthesia & Analgesia and Professor of Anesthesiology at Columbia University, views the results as an important preliminary finding. “Reproducible findings are the cornerstone of scientific inquiry,” Dr. Shafer comments. “The authors have clearly described their methodology, and their findings. If other laboratories can reproduce these results in properly controlled studies, then this provides further support for the scientific basis of acupuncture. Additionally, the ability of quantitative sensory testing to identify specific types of nerves involved in pain transmission may help direct research into the mechanism of acupuncture analgesia.”

Read the full study in Anesthesia & Analgesia