Function = Health

Some define health as the absence of disease. At Gulf Coast Wellness, we think that’s setting the bar a bit low. There must be something that happens in between being perfectly healthy and having a disease. Ever wonder what that is? Watch this video to find out!–BUT WAIT—if you haven’t watched my What is Qi video yet, PLEASE watch that first

Myths and Facts About Chinese Medicine I

Myths and Facts About Chinese Medicine II

Myths and Facts About Chinese Medicine III

Chris Kresser—Chinese Medicine Demystified


What is an Acupuncture Physician?

In the State of Florida, an Acupuncture Physician is a Physician who is licensed by the Florida Department of Health to practice Acupuncture. In case you’re wondering, all physicians are typically referred to as Doctor, as in, “Hi, I’m Dr. Shark.”

Medical licensing is regulated by the states, so the specific requirements for medical licenses vary from state to state.  Several states, such as Alabama, still do not have a licensure process to practice Acupuncture.

This definition brings up two questions:

  1. What is Acupuncture as defined by Florida law?
  2. What is required to receive this license?

First off, “Acupuncture” as defined by Florida includes a lot more than the practice of Acupuncture itself, which is essentially the insertion of very fine needles at specific locations in order to produce a physiological response which results in pain relief or the activation of healing.  In the state of Florida, Acupuncture means the entire system of Chinese Medicine. This includes diagnosis, nutrition, physical/orthopedic exam, herbal medicine, supplement prescription, rehabilitative exercise, intramuscular injection of non-drug substances (such as vitamins or saline), and the ordering and interpretation of lab tests and images (such as blood work or x-rays).  The primary difference between what a Medical Doctor (MD) and an Acupuncture Physician (AP) can do is that the MD can prescribe pharmaceutical drugs and an AP cannot.

What is responsible for this difference? It’s the focus of the medical training of each respective physician. Both MD’s and AP’s spend 4 years in medical school, with similar prerequisites for science education in undergrad. Both physicians study important subjects such as Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Pharmacology, Internal Medicine, Orthopedics, Dermatology, and External Medicine. But there is a major difference in the way these subjects are approached.

The driving force behind the difference in approach is the difference in treatment. Medical Doctors’ primary treatments are pharmaceutical drugs and surgery. Their diagnosis primarily directly restates the symptom (e.g. high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, migraines) and seeks to find supporting markers on specific tests which indicate the need for medical interventions—because drugs and surgeries are designed to treat these single symptoms individually.  Acupuncture Physicians’ primary treatments are natural interventions that stimulate the healing process in the body either through activating a specific neurological response (Acupuncture) or by providing particular nutrients or substances (Herbal Medicine, Nutrition, Supplementation). As a result, MDs’ diagnostic processes tend to be more specific (focused on one abnormality at a time), and APs’ more holistic (focusing on the entire body or entire functional system).

There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. In general, MD’s are unparalleled in their treatment of emergency conditions. Because of their specificity, they can quickly treat and control life-threatening occurrences like heart attack, inability to breath and major traumas. If the threat of death is imminent, the Emergency Room is probably the best place for you. But because of this focus on health problems as single, isolated events, conventional Medical Doctors are often unable to produce satisfactory results when it comes to conditions that are not immediately life threatening: chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic pain, auto-immune disease and mood disorders. Some Medical Doctors are recognizing this failure and seeking additional training after medical school in a relatively new field called Functional Medicine (FM). An MD who practices Functional Medicine is striving to be far more holistic, though there is a lot of variance between practitioners since this holistic training is not required for their medical license. Though many FM doctors still tend toward their original training of single-problem focus, if you have a chronic condition and the option of choosing an MD trained in Functional Medicine over one trained only in the conventional system, definitely pick the FM doctor. They will be much more likely to consider effective non-drug approaches.

 

Acupuncture Physicians, on the other hand, are trained from the get-go to look at the body through a holistic lens, that is to say that they are analyzing how various systems fit together in order to determine the root of the malfunction.  Rather than zeroing in on a single symptom, such as nasal allergies or an abnormal lab result, AP’s are trained to look at really big picture indicators like digestive function, inflammation and constriction of tissues and blood vessels, detailed health history and the relationship between “physical” and “mental” disorders. This holistic approach gives AP’s the advantage when it comes to pain and chronic disorders. The reason is that chronic disorders are never isolated, single body-part events. They always involve multiple systems and evolve through complex mechanisms. If they didn’t, they would never become chronic; they would simply heal themselves or be quickly eradicated by a short-term problem-focused approach like those typically offered by an MD. And there is no drug on the market that corrects the neurological pain impulse the way that Acupuncture does. Pain medications merely dull or mask the pain in the hope that the body will get better on its own in the meantime. My friend Bob Doane puts it best, MD’s treat the symptom and hope the problem goes away; AP’s treat the problem and hope the symptom goes away.

I would be remiss if I didn’t address the frightening new practice of MD’s and Chiropractors (DC’s) performing Acupuncture in Florida. These practitioners are required to have little to no training in order to perform needling on their patients. I say needling, because they are really not practicing Acupuncture, which as we discussed is a specific holistic therapy; they are merely memorizing some symptom-focused protocols and applying them across the board.

Well, you say, I just have one problem. Why not just let my DC or MD do my Acupuncture? Their appalling lack of training, that’s why! An AP has about 3,000 hours of training and over 1,000 hours internship in the specific diagnostic system and needling technique which allows them to get results. MD’s are not required to be trained at all in order to perform needling, because their license already covers sticking needles in you! If they elect for membership in the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, they are required to have a whopping 220 hours of training, less than 1/10th of what an AP has. Chiropractors (DC’s) are only required to have 100 hours training to stick needles in you in Florida! This is crazy, folks. I would never let someone with so little training treat me. I certainly would never attempt to adjust your neck or perform an appendectomy when you come in for Acupuncture, and DC’s and MD’s shouldn’t be sticking needles in people and calling it Acupuncture.

The one disclaimer I will add to this article is that all of my explanations here are broad generalizations. I did this to simplify the explanation of different types of medical license. However, all doctors are people, and people are individuals with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. In every field there are excellent, qualified individuals who really do get the big picture and know what they’re doing. I have been educated and inspired by many Medical Doctors and Chiropractors through the years. While I’ve studied with a few really outstanding Acupuncture Physicians, I actually get most of my medical information from work done by exceptional MD’s and DC’s. Some of these doctors do have extensive training beyond those required by law or by certification boards. If you’re wondering about a doctor’s training and background—just make sure to ask; don’t assume they’re knowledgeable about a field that may be out of their area of expertise.

I hope I’ve given you a pretty good overview of what it means to be an Acupuncture Physician. I’m happy to answer questions left in the comments section. We’ll be starting up a video blog soon, so please leave your questions in the comments section. Once we get rolling, we’ll answer a question every week. Be well!


GAPS Intro Diet Week 1

 

This is my personal account of my own GAPS experience. It’s important to note that my diet may not be correct for you, even if you are doing GAPS. GAPS should be applied to each individual with consideration of their unique health condition and probable food sensitivities. I am tracking and sharing my own diet here just to demystify it a bit. I hope that questions like, “How do I put together a meal?” and, “Should I be living off broth?”(NO!) will be answered in the way that only an illustration of GAPS in action can.

If you are considering GAPS, please make sure to consult with a certified GAPS practitioner (link to online resource to find certified GAPS practitioner) before starting to make sure the GAPS approach is appropriate for you, and so that you have the support you need to trouble-shoot as you go along. If you’re in the SF Bay Area, you can consult with our clinic (email) directly.

I’ve split the article into weeks to make it easier to find the phase you have a question about, so you can come back and reference these articles easily in the future. Good luck! And remember that we at Wood Tiger Wellness are here to help! Just call 415-424-3213 or email info@woodtigeracupuncture.com

A special note about probiotics: I have been eating large amounts of probiotics for a long time. Because of this I jump right in with huge doses of probiotic foods and supplements. PLEASE DO NOT follow my doses! See a certified practitioner to find out how to taper up correctly.

GAPS Intro Phase 1:

The weekend before starting:

This is my prep weekend. I have to make sure I have enough food on hand to keep me from suddenly having to grab lunch out mid-week. For my wife and I, we’ve decided to prepare the following items in advance:

Duck stock w/ duck neck

Lamb broth w/ lamb shank

Mashed Cauliflower

Stewed Onions

Mashed carrots

And we stocked up on the following:

1 dozen Tomatero Farms  pastured  eggs in case we add yolks this week

10-12 c sauerkraut juice: I get this by using a ladel to get all the juice out of the bulk sauerkraut at Rainbow Grocery or ordering from Three Stone Hearth or Back Yard CSA

Lard, Duck Fat and Lard Butter from Avedano’s

Raw Cream to make crème fraiche: Organic Pastures or Claravale

 

 


Dr. Oz agrees, Cholesterol is NOT a killer!

Wow! I didn’t think I’d see this in the mainstream media so soon!

My clinic has been following the science about cholesterol for years, and we’ve been counseling patients to think more about their overall health and less about their cholesterol numbers. But many people think we’re crazy!

Well, it doesn’t get much more mainstream than Dr. Oz! And he’s here to tell you that the MD’s are catching up to us. Check out this awesome video to find out more.

Thanks so much to Food Renegade for bringing this to our attention. They are a great resource for nutrition-related information!


Is Soy Cruel and Unusal Punishment?

I just got this announcement, and I didn’t even want to wait to publish it. If you’re unsure of the dangers of soy, PLEASE read this!

 

EXPERTS DENOUNCE HIGH-SOY DIET OF ILLINOIS PRISONERS
Too Much Soy Causes Serious Health Problems, Plaintiffs Claim

Washington, DC, June 26, 2012 — Plaintiffs in the lawsuit Harris et al. v. Brown, et al., Case No. 3:07-cv-03225 have submitted testimony of four qualified experts confirming the claim that large amounts of soy in the prison diet can cause serious health problems. In 2004, the state of Illinois began using large amounts of soy in prison menus to save money and use less meat.

Sponsored by the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education non-profit foundation, the lawsuit claims that the soy being fed to the plaintiffs, in the amounts being fed to them, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the eighth amendment to the Constitution, as well as a denial of plaintiffs’ liberty in violation of their due process rights under the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution.

Plaintiff health complaints include chronic and painful constipation alternating with debilitating diarrhea, vomiting after eating, sharp pains in the digestive tract, especially after consuming soy, passing out, heart palpitations, rashes, acne, insomnia, panic attacks, depression and symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as low body temperature (feeling cold all the time), brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, frequent infections and thyroid disease.

Public Health Expert Sylvia P. Onusic, PhD, submitted an analysis of prison menus showing that soy protein in prison meals approaches 100 grams per day, four times greater than the amount recommended by the Food and Drug Administration. Soy protein is added in large amounts to meat patties, meat mixes and sauces, and in smaller amounts to almost all baked goods. The soy in the prison food is a deliberate artificial manipulation using processed soy products, manufactured using highly technical process and toxic chemicals

Toxicologist Mike Fitzpatrick, PhD, provided evidence that even 50 grams of soy can cause thyroid problems, including thyroid cancer. Soy contains compounds called phytoestrogens, which depress thyroid function and cause endocrine disruption.

Physician David Brownstein, MD, submitted his opinion that the amount of soy fed to the plaintiffs is, to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, responsible for causing their health problems, including gastrointestinal distress and bowel dysfunction, vitamin deficiencies (vitamins B12 and D) as well as thyroid disorders.

Laboratory analysis expert William Shaw, PhD, noted that soy protein has the highest oxalate level of any known food and that the prisoners are receiving hundreds of milligrams of oxalates per day. According to Shaw, virtually all of the plaintiffs’ health problems can be explained by their high-oxalate diet. The toxicity of oxalates is well established; oxalates can deposit sharp crystals not only in the kidneys, but in virtually every tissue and organ of the body, including joints, heart, blood vessels, teeth, gums, eyes, skin, brain, nerves, thyroid and thymus glands. Oxalates also block the absorption of many essential minerals, leading to malnutrition.

The defendants have responded by arguing that the Illinois prisoners receive only minimal amounts of soy protein in their diets.

“Presiding judge Harold Baker has stated the importance of scientific and medical testimony in the case,” says Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation. “We have provided both the science and the medical evidence and look forward to the next steps in this trial.

The Weston A. Price Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nutrition education foundation with the mission of disseminating accurate, science-based information on diet and health. Named after nutrition pioneer Weston A. Price, DDS, author of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, the Washington, DC-based Foundation publishes a quarterly journal for its 14,000 members, supports 572 local chapters worldwide and hosts a yearly international conference. The Foundation phone number is (202) 363-4394, www.westonaprice.org, info@westonaprice.org.

http://www.westonaprice.org/press/experts-denounce-high-soy-diet-of-illinois-prisoners


Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Prep time: 30 minutes—but you get lunch for a week!

1 large onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 medium red bell peppers, chopped

1 med green bell pepper, chopped

1 bunch kale, chopped; split into two batches

2 c frozen or fresh okra, chopped

1 can (15 oz) crushed tomatoes

1 c brown rice

1 (12 oz) package Andouille sausage cut into ½ in. rounds

2 t Tabasco sauce

4 T fresh thyme, mince OR 4 t dried

1 t salt (smoked salt is best)

1 t ground pepper

4 c chicken broth

 

3 T fresh parsley, minced

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (pre-cooked is okay, just add them at the very end)

 

Add all ingredients in the first group to a slow cooker in the order listed. Only use ½ the kale.

Cover and cook on low for 8 -9 hours

One hour before it’s done cooking, toss in parsley, shrimp and second half of kale. Stir well.

 

Makes 6-8 servings.

This is a full meal, so no need to add anything else. Just eat or freeze and eat later!

Acknowledgements:

This recipe was only slightly modified from Judith Finlayson’s healthy slow cooker. Check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/Healthy-Slow-Cooker-Judith-Finlayson/dp/0778801330

Check out these other sites for more slow cooker recipes:

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/healthy_slow_cooker_recipes

http://healthyslowcooking.com/

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/quick-recipes/dinner/seven-easy-slow-cooker-recipes/

http://www.cookinglight.com/cooking-101/techniques/slow-cooker-classics-00400000001101/