Friday, May 14, 2010

Get Infected!

I wanted to recommend a podcast I discovered recently: Infected!

Don't be scared off by the title - it's not a podcast about contagious zombies. It's a very intelligent podcast about staying healthy in our increasingly complex society. So far in a little over twenty episodes they've covered topics as diverse as nutrition labeling facts, infertility and, of course, acupuncture.

I was especially impressed with their coverage of acupuncture. I've been practicing now for almost eleven years, and teaching oriental medicine on a graduate level for over five years. In my experience a lot of the concepts used in acupuncture are very foreign to the western mind, and students and patients alike can have difficulty grasping them. The hosts of the show were amazingly adept at explaining these concepts in a way that didn't oversimplify them but also didn't talk over people's heads.

If you want a good understanding of acupuncture I highly recommend that episode.

The most recent episode gives a lot of great info about vitamin C. They also mentioned the email I'd sent them in regards to the quality of the acupuncture episode. It was fun to get name-checked by a couple of people for whom I have a good deal of respect.

Please check out their show and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

At Innova, we fix shoulders, not chakras...

One of the things that I think turns people off to acupuncture and Oriental medicine is that the diagnostic system sounds so wonky to our modern, scientific minds. We talk about Yin, Yang and Qi (Chi). To the average person, a lot of acupuncturists sound like they're talking about a philosophy or a belief system. Compounding this problem is that some people in my field are very dogmatic about their beliefs and try to impose them on their patients.

Is acupuncture a belief system? Do you need to change your beliefs or ideas about the world for it to work? Of course not. At its root, acupuncture is a system of healing that is very grounded and pragmatic.

At Innova Acupuncture, we try to maintain that sense of balance and grounding. Our goal is to focus on three things: what you want, what you need and how to get results quickly. When I go to my mechanic I don't need to know all the things he did to make my car run well. I just want to know it runs well. When someone walks out of my office, I'm interested in them knowing that their hip pain is gone, or that their knee injury is healing faster.

I'll always take time to answer questions about what I did for those patients interested in learning more about their body, but I don't expect my patients to be physicians or philosophers just to get better.

New Scientist recently published the results of a study about healing spinal damage using acupuncture. The study showed that the participants "in the acupuncture group also had less nerve cell death and lower levels of proteins known to induce inflammation after spinal cord injury and make neural damage worse."

Did it work because they believed in it? Well, in this study, the test subjects were rats, so I'd say their belief system didn't really come into play. Check out the article and see what you think.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Which Foods Should You Buy Organic?

Found this a while back on Lifehacker.

Organic vegetables can be expensive, and when making choices about whether to buy organic or not, it makes sense to know which veggies are the most chemical-laden. Here's a blog entry about a little cheat sheet to remember which veggies are better to buy organic and which are safe to buy standard.

There's a link on the blog to a printable pdf so you can make a little handheld one to take to the store with you. I hope this is useful.