Friday, May 25, 2012

Closest Thing to Fountain of Youth?

Exercise may be the closest thing to the fountain of youth. Not only does regular activity strengthen your muscles and improve heart and lung function, but it can also reduce your risk of major diseases, stimulate the growth of new brain cells, and even add years to your life. Studies show just 30 minutes of physical activity on most days is all that's required to reap big benefits.

The range of health bonuses now attributed to exercise has surprised even doctors.

Here are 10 great benefits of regular exercise:

  1. Keeps you young. Workouts such as brisk walking or cycling boost the amount of oxygen consumed during exercise. Improving your aerobic capacity by just 15 to 25 percent would be like shaving 10 to 20 years off your age. Aerobic exercise may also stimulate the growth of new brain cells in older adults.
  2. Reduces infections. Moderate workouts temporarily rev-up the immune system by increasing the aggressiveness or capacity of immune cells. That may explain why people who exercise catch fewer colds.
  3. Help to prevent heart attacks. Not only does exercise raise "good" HDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure, but new research shows it reduces arterial inflammation, another risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.
  4. Protects men's health. Pelvic exercises help prevent erectile dysfunction and possibly benign prostate enlargement, a common cause of urinary problems
  5. Helps for asthma. New evidence shows that upper-body and breathing exercises can reduce the need to use an inhaler in mild cases of asthma.
  6. Controls blood sugar. Exercise helps maintain a healthy blood-sugar level by increasing the cells' sensitivity to insulin and by controlling weight. Regular brisk walking can significantly cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  7. Protects against cancer. Exercise may reduce the risk of colon-cancer by speeding waste through the gut and lowering the insulin level. It may also protect against breast and prostate cancer by regulating hormone levels.
  8. Combats stress. Regular aerobic exercise lowers levels of stress hormones. For many people, exercise helps relieve depression as effectively as antidepressant medication.
  9. Provides relief for hot flashes. Increasing fitness by walking or practicing yoga enhances mood and reduces some menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats.
  10. Prolongs life. Studies lasting many years have consistently shown that being active cuts the risk of premature death by about 50 percent for men and women.
Adapted from Consumers Reports.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Acupuncture: Natural Treatment Option for Arthritis

May is Arthritis Awareness Month.  So, if you're one of the estimated 70 million Americans suffering from arthritis, you may be curious about natural treatment options and solutions.

Traditional Chinese Medicine aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of techniques such as acupuncture, Chinese herbs, lifestyle/dietary recommendations, and energetic exercises to restore imbalances found in the body. 

And, because TCM involves treating the root cause at the same time your symptoms are being treated, your acupuncturist will discuss your condition from a broader perspective to determine overall imbalances that need to be addressed.

Treating Arthritis with Acupuncture

Acupuncture points for arthritis treatment are located throughout the body, not just directly over the affected area. During your treatment, tiny needles could be placed along your legs, arms, shoulders, and perhaps even your little toe!

Acupuncture needles are very thin; several can go into the middle of a hypodermic needle. Once the needles are in place, most people relax and even fall asleep for the duration of the treatment.  The length, number, and frequency of treatments will vary. Typical treatments tend to last 20 to 30 minutes, with the patient being treated once or twice a week. Some symptoms are relieved after the first treatment, while more severe or chronic ailments often require multiple treatments.

Lifestyle and Nutritional Therapy

Your diet plays a critical role in helping you prevent or control arthritis. The first objective is to help you lose weight if you are significantly overweight because added weight adds additional stress to your joints.  We then look at your diet and make sure the foods you're eating are providing the nutritional support you need to keep your joints healthy.  Often, it's recommended to avoid “damp” foods such as dairy products and greasy or spicy foods. If you have arthritis or knee or hip pain, vitamins C and D can help prevent bone and cartilage destruction.

A few healthy foods you may want to consider having readily available, that can naturally help your arthritis, include:

·         Ginger

·         Cherries

·         Fish

·         Turmeric

There are many Chinese herbs and supplements that are highly effective for arthritis sufferers.  If you are interested in learning more, contact Deborah Farley at 804.288.3927 or

© 2012 Deborah Farley, L.Ac, CHHC, DOM

INTERESTED IN USING THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include the following copy with it:  
Debi Farley is an acupuncturist, holistic health practitioner and owner of Acupuncture Clinic of Richmond, in Richmond, Virginia. She's a leading authority on using nutrition and the principles of Chinese medicine to treat illness and achieve optimal health.  Visit or call 804.288.3927 for details.