Good News and Practice Updates

As we approach year THREE of Allen Acupuncture & Wellness, LLC, I wanted to communicate some important practice updates, including a new PHONE NUMBER and LOGO (see below).

First, things are going very well.

Sara Allen, AP, Dipl. OM, FABORM

A pandemic doesn’t stop people from experiencing pain, and it only adds the the stress, anxiety, and inflammation many people feel in their bodies.

The good news is that the body is still able to heal (yes, even in a pandemic), and PEOPLE ARE GETTING RELIEF from their symptoms, from pain to anxiety to allergies and many more conditions.

Patients suffering with back pain, headaches, shoulder and neck pain, knee pain, etc… have had their pain relieved through acupuncture, cupping, tuina massage, injection therapy, and at-home therapeutic exercises. People with neuropathy have had their nerves “turn on” again. Just yesterday, a patient with a post-surgical drop-foot complication was able to lift the foot for the first time in over two months. Those suffering with digestive issues have found relief. And allergy symptoms have gone away.

Secondly, COVID PROTOCOLS at the clinic are WORKING.

COVID-19 Safety Protocols keep patients safe

There have been ZERO COVID transmissions at the clinic in almost 4 months. The MASKS, extra cleaning, patient social distancing, and air sanitizers will continue even when Palm Beach County moves into Phase 2. While I cannot guarantee a COVID-free zone, it is relatively SAFE to come in for acupuncture–safer than almost anywhere except your own home. I take the level of trust patients have to keep them safe VERY seriously and do everything I can to go above and beyond. (Click for more information about the COVID-19 protocols).

Third, the schedule is full almost every week.

Because I am spacing out patients, one per hour (two per 1.5 hours if in the same household) with cleaning time between, the schedule often gets MAXED OUT. There are people I am not able to “fit in” when they need to come in because of it. While it’s awesome so many people are finding relief through acupuncture, it means the 24-hour cancellation fee policy must be more strictly enforced. Please be patient. I am doing my best to accommodate everyone, but I also have a family that I like to see:)

Kids and Teens Welcomed Back!

Kids/Teens welcome with masks

Next, as of September 1, children and teens are welcomed back to the clinic as long as they can wear a mask while in the office. Parents are welcome to wait in the waiting room or observe the session. Siblings of the patient will be allowed in the waiting room on a case by case basis. All those entering the clinic are screened for COVID symptoms.

New Number, New Logo, New Catch-phrase.

Lastly, there is a NEW NUMBER for Allen Acupuncture, equipped with many HIPAA-compliant features, including texting. Please change it on your phones:

561-285-8562.

And here’s the NEW LOGO! The GREEN communicates the Vibrant Life and Growth that can be achieved. The flower illustrates a dimension of kindness and empathy patients will experience as part of their treatments. And the hexagon with its symmetry and structure highlights the logic, knowledge, experience I apply to treatments in order to get the BEST results patients need and want. There has been a full redecoration in the office to highlight the new LOGO (You can check out the photos and leave a review of Allen Acupuncture on Google).

This past year, I added another Board Certification Specialty to my name: FABORM, a Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (Click for more information on ABORM). It illustrates a high level of learning and proficiency in the area of fertility and reproductive health. The board certification required hundreds of hours of additional classes and study as well as a very difficult exam in California.

So the new by-line (catch-phrase) for Allen Acupuncture is:

Natural Fertility. Natural Pain and Allergy Relief.

I hope to see you soon! Please reach out by email, phone or text: 561-285-8562.

Reopening Clinic and Protecting Patients

Reopening May 15th

I have had so many of my awesome patients texting, calling and reaching out on social media to see when the clinic is reopening.

You might be feeling like I am–yearning to get back to “normal”… But what will our new “normal” be? What does that look like for health and wellness?

Allen Acupuncture will be REOPENING on a reduced schedule May 15th!

Non-essential services are now allowed in Florida with COVID-19 screening and proper protective equipment. There is so much to get in place to insure patient safety that I will not be reopening until 5/15/2020.

I am so excited to reopen! I’m so happy to be able to help people feel better.

Sara Allen, AP, Dipl OM

Once open, there will be NEW SAFETY MEASURES in place (details on the COVID-19 Protocols page). I am also available for “checking in,” telehealth (online) visits, herbal pick up hours, etc…

What treatments are patients are looking forward to most on reopening?

  • Anxiety, Stress, Insomnia, and Depression. Many of you have expressed the emotions you feel during this “Stay Home” time. These can contribute to insomnia. Acupuncture can help!
  • Pain. Some of you are suffering with pain and missing your acupuncture treatments.
  • Fertility. People have been waiting to get back to improving their health so they can have the child they have been dreaming of.
  • Allergies. Patients have been struggling with allergies and are looking forward to their NAET-like treatments to clear their allergy.

Looking forward to reopening, I have added safety layers to the clinic. I have purchased PPE (personal protective equipment), hand sanitizers, AIR SANITIZERS, and cleansers.

I’m doing all of this to PROTECT YOU. And we all need to protect each other.

We can protect each other by wearing masks.

The latest data shows 50% of people with COVID-19 have NO SYMPTOMS. Another 30% have very mild (cold-like) symptoms. Another 20% have severe symptoms and may require hospitalization. And as of this blog post, approximately 2% of documented cases die.

The truth is that we have to assume that we are all asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19. And this disease is spread by respiratory droplets–not just from coughing but speaking, singing, and laughing as well. So to protect each other, we will wear masks in the clinic. Everybody. All the time.

Is reopening SAFE?

There is NO WAY to guarantee a COVID-19-Free Zone. There is ALWAYS risk involved in leaving the house. Most of us have braved the Virus to go shopping for essentials or to go to doctor’s visits. Because of the additional risk, patients are required to sign an additional COVID-19 Waiver in order to receive treatment.

Anyone who is a “vulnerable individual” should STAY HOME unless it becomes medically necessary to come in. See the CDC info on what makes someone “vulnerable”.

Patients will be PRE-SCREENED before coming. If a person experiences ANY COVID-19 symptoms, there will be NO cancellation fee in this case. Once at the office, patients will be screened for virus symptoms before entering the office.

Mona Lisa in PPE

Once the clinic reopens, there are new, SHORTENED office hours with only one patient per hour (except for 2 family members). This is to allow for disinfection of surfaces and air between patients.

We are going through this together, slowly and safely. When you see me, you may not see my smile under my mask, but I have learned to smile with my EYES:)

If you would like to set up an appointment, please visit the COVID-19 Protocols page before calling or texting 561-285-8562.

Coronavirus Closing & Telehealth

Coronavirus has already changed our world.

While COVID-19, the Coronavirus, is spreading exponentially throughout our world, country, and community, we have all had to find a new “normal”. I hope this post/email finds ALL of you practicing “social distancing”, washing your hands many MANY times a day, avoiding touching your face, and with a healthy fear/respect for this disease.

NON-Essential Medical Care Suspended

For almost 3 months, we’ve watched coronavirus march across our planet, irrespective of age, celebrity, borders, or health. It’s sobering to watch the numbers climb daily (CLICK HERE to see the current world info, and HERE to find the current Florida count). We all must do our part and stay put!

To that end, the Governor announced yesterday that all non-essential medical services are suspended until further notice. That includes acupuncture, physical therapy, chiropractic, and any other service that doesn’t “save a life” or prevent death. Indeed, this means that the clinic is CLOSED until further notice

It’s a good thing, really, because with so many untested people in our county alone, we don’t really know who might have COVID-19 and who doesn’t, who might have touched something you’re touching or coughed in the hallway before you came into the building…? It is MUCH safer for everyone to stay home.

Allen Acupuncture is HERE for YOU during Coronavirus!

There are options to continue care.

Many insurance companies pay for Telehealth.

I am able to do Telehealth visits using a variety of platforms. We could use Zoom or Skype (for new or current patients), or even a phone call (if you are a current patient). The main rule is that you must RESIDE in Florida, where I have my medical license. These visits will be shorter and at a reduced cost.

Telehealth Acupressure.

We can go over/demonstrate acupressure points you can massage on yourself to help boost your immune system, get rid of pain, improve digestion or sleep… There are many ways I can teach you through our Telehealth visit–after all, I was a teacher for almost 20 years!

Herbal Prescriptions.

Telehealth Herbal Supplements

We can discuss your history and symptoms. I may ask for your temperature, heart rate, or even to see your tongue. These pieces of information help me make a holistic diagnosis so that I can prescribe the right herbal formula to help you. Natural herbs are a FANTASTIC way to help your body heal while the clinic is closed. ALSO, there are herbs which help to boost the immune system, clear phlegm, lessen pain, and treat many other conditions. I can “drop ship” herbs to patients through several companies, or order “custom” formulas (teas) specially made for a patient’s symptoms and diagnosis.

Medical Advice.

I may have insight as to helpful supplements for your wellness, when to go see your primary care, or even if you should consider testing for coronavirus. In the state of Florida, I am a Primary Care Provider… I have to know who and when to refer my patients for care.

Group Classes.

There may be opportunities for ONLINE group classes to learn at-home treatments for various conditions. STAY TUNED for more information…

MEANWHILE…

Here’s my Wellness “To Do” List:

Lower Stress and Anxiety
  • Follow CDC guidelines for coronavirus. Right now, hand washing, social distancing, and staying home are at the top of their guidelines. These change almost daily, so stay current on their advice.
  • Get good sleep. This arms your immune system to fight, should you need to. In one bit of research on fighting the coronavirus, Melatonin may play a role in the immune response for this virus, so get some sleep!
  • Lower your stress and anxiety. Some of you may need to do a Telehealth session with me to help, but going on a walk outside (away from people), doing yoga or meditation at home are also great options. Turn OFF the TV or news if it’s raising your anxiety, get off the couch, and GET MOVING.
  • Eat HEALTHY. It has NEVER been so important! Our temptation when stressed is to eat unhealthy, fatty or sugar-laden foods. Drop the chip and have some soup, steamed veggies, or fresh fruit. Try to STAY AWAY from raw vegetables which weaken digestion (read a previous post about that HERE). Try NOT to eat after 6 or 7pm to allow your body to optimize digestion.
  • Take supplements. With coronavirus, there is a discussion as to whether Elderberry Syrup is helpful or not, and I will keep you posted as we learn more… But we do know they have been using Vitamin C in high doses to help those who are sick in China. We also know that taking Vitamin D, Zinc, and B complex are all helpful to keep the immune system in top shape.
  • Try Essential Oils. There are many that show anti-viral capability. Each brand has its own anti-viral mix. Most of you who have been in the office know I use Healing Solution’s “Health Shield” in my diffuser along with their “Breathe Blend” (from Amazon). I can think of no better pairing to help boost our lungs and kill viruses in the air of our homes. You can make your own hand sanitizer with essential oils, too (see Facebook video, although some information is outdated now).
  • Do something new, or something you haven’t had “time” to do. Restart that hobby you’ve been missing, read a book, write an encouraging note, finish that project, Kon-Marie your house… Choose to do something that brings you joy:)
  • Pray, connect with others, and have a positive attitude. All three of these have been shown to help people and to even help the body heal. Prayer can help us stop cycles of anxiety and bring peace in the midst of chaos. Prayer can help us have a positive attitude, which can make all the difference when we’re stuck at home. Reach out to others. Call a friend, family member or neighbor to make sure they have what they need emotionally, physically, spiritually. There are so many churches and houses of worship having online services, small group studies, etc… It’s easier than ever to connect on a deep level with others. Some us are alone while we wait, and others have a full house. We can be a beacon of light to one another in these times and mindfully connect with others on social media.

And if you suspect you have COVID-19?

Do you have Coronavirus?

Do you have sore throat, fever, chest tightness, or cough? It’s a very scary thought! Here’s the CDC symptoms “checker” website. PLEASE DO NOT SHOW UP AT YOUR DOCTOR’S OFFICE! Here’s the CDC’s Guidance for “What to Do if you might have Coronavirus”

The Florida COVID-19 Call Center is available 24/7 | 1 (866) 779-6121 | COVID-19@flhealth.gov; Here’s the link for contacting your Florida County’s Board of Health .

Hopefully, we will check in with one another over the next couple of weeks. My prayer is that all of you stay healthy and well while we wait.

Please feel free to reach out at 561-285-8562, sara@allenacupuncture.com, on Facebook: Allen Acupuncture, or Instagram: Allenacupuncture. I’m happy to answer any questions or help you get started using Telemedicine!

Health and Travel

Travel can benefit your health.

According to AAA, almost 49 million people are traveling for July 4th weekend this year. What are the health benefits and challenges of taking time off and getting a little change of scenery?

Health Benefits of Travel

Travel provides time to connect with others.
  • Time to Rest. With hectic, reachable-at-every-minute work lives, people have more stress than ever from overwork. Physical problems such as weight gain, sleep issues, depression and anxiety, and inflammation worsen with long work days with far too little rest. Most people also work on days off, doing chores and catching up on projects that couldn’t be done on work days. This means people are in great need of rest!
  • Time to Connect. Whether you’re traveling alone or with a group, vacation or time away is a great time to reconnect with people. Take time to have conversations with strangers or loved ones. Enjoy the human experience by connecting with humans and shift focus away from production. Your heart will benefit!
  • New views. There’s nothing that invigorates the mind and soul more that seeing or experiencing something new! Whether it’s taking time to notice something you’ve been too busy to see like a sunset or a painting, or if you’re actually going somewhere new, a change benefits the body and mind.
  • Unplugging. Take a break or lessen the use of technology. In all the recent studies on the uses of technology, the results are the same: all our online connections and media make us more stressed and anxiety-ridden people. Read a real book instead of one on the phone. Play a card or board game. Reduce your viewing time and have more conversations. The blue light in our technology changes the serotonin/dopamine balance in our brains–so restore your body’s natural balance on vacation by having less screen time!

Challenges of Travel

Travel can present some health challenges.
  • Exercise and movement. It’s important to get up and move every few hours if you’re driving or flying to prevent blood clots. And although resting is important, light exercise each day during your vacation will release endorphins to further reduce stress and cortisol levels.
  • Sleep. If you are already one of the 60 million Americans who suffer from insomnia and sleep problems each you, you may be dreading potential sleep loss on vacation. Bring along an eye mask to help darken a different room, and bring along a nightlight for the bathroom so the room stays darker when people get up in the night. Stay on the same sleep schedule you have at home. Avoid eating or drinking caffeinated beverages late at night. And if all else fails, try some herbs or CBD oil to help get to sleep when you’re wired.
  • Eating. Although it’s tempting to indulge on vacation, reserve the calorie splurges to once a day to help maintain a healthy weight and avoid digestive problems. If you do have stomach upset, a little ginger tea can help aid digestion.
  • The Unexpected. Try to have a positive attitude when encountering the unexpected–because it WILL happen. Whether it’s a travel or hotel problem, or traffic or an illness–let these experiences be part of the journey–and know that the things that go wrong often make the best travel stories when you get back! Take a few deep breaths, get a little perspective, and try to smile your way through it.

Allen Acupuncture on the Road

Follow our adventure on Facebook or Instagram.

The Allens of Allen Acupuncture are hitting the road for the next two weeks. Thanks to our house sitters for watching the 2 dogs, 1 hamster and a fish! And emergency acupuncture needs are being covered by Dr. Dongfeng Zhou of Zhou Wellness in Tamarac.

For the most part, we are trying to follow my travel advice with one exception: we want to take you along! Please follow our crazy cross-country travels on Facebook or Instagram! It’s going to be fun and full of adventure!

Share YOUR adventure!

And before we know it, we’ll be back, hopefully refreshed, and with a few more stories to tell. Be sure to comment on Instagram or Facebook and share YOUR adventures! If you want to set up an appointment, please call 561-922-7535. And if you want to know if your insurance will cover acupuncture, click HERE.

Is Sunscreen Safe?

Not all sunscreens are safe!

It’s summer time and sunscreen season! Outdoor activities, from hikes to beach days to sports, require us to be in the sun. And no one wants a sunburn or sun-damage–or, worse, skin cancer. With many conflicting opinions, from dermatologists to organic product advocates, sunscreen use seems a little confusing. UNTIL NOW.

Let me preface this conversation by saying I do not sell any sunscreen products. Allen Acupuncture is all about wellness and helping people get or stay healthy.

Sunscreen chemical study

I read a disturbing article in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) from May 2019. This study reports the levels of sunscreen chemicals found in people’s blood plasma.

Chemicals are absorbed through the skin

It has long been known that the skin absorbs what we put on it. This is the theory behind essential oils as well as medications that are delivered by patches (everything from nicotine patches to birth control). But for some reason, there has been some debate as to whether the skin absorbs sunscreen chemicals.

Now, we have a definite answer. YES, the body absorbs these sunscreen chemicals. Not only that, but the body doesn’t get rid of them well, and they accumulate in the blood (and therefore the body).

Let’s break down the study.

First, it was a small study involving 24 healthy people. Second, the people had to put on sunscreens over 75% of their body (like when wearing a bathing suit) every 6 hours. They did this for four days, and measured the results with bloodwork after a few hours, during the four days, and even up to seven days after the sunscreen applications. The POINT is that this mimics what a person would do if they were on vacation or in the sun a lot–or even more scary, if a person has sunscreen in their make-up, their lotion, and then applied it a couple of times during the day.

Sunscreen chemicals are absorbed through the skin.

The FDA hasn’t really studied the dangers of the sunscreen chemicals. First, we have to prove that these chemicals are found in the blood above 0.5ng/mL (that’s nanograms per milliliter). This is what the study was trying to do.

Four chemicals were tested: Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, Octocrylene, and Ecamsule. Oxybenzone is in 95% of commercial suncreens. The BENZONES have been shown to be hormone disruptors that mimic estrogens in the body. They are closely tied to endometriosis. They are worse than BPA (which most of us know to avoid in plastics now) as hormone and immune system disruptors. There are actually 12 sunscreen chemicals that have NOT BEEN PROVEN SAFE. But the FDA needs to study them more with clinical trials to prove their toxicity.

FINDINGS–this is CRAZY!

DAY 1: The study showed that with just ONE application in ALL PARTICIPANTS, Avobenzone levels were higher than the allowed 0.5ng/mL within 6 hours of application. Oxybenzone levels crossed the threshold in 2 hours, and Octocrylene levels were elevated within 6 hours. Ecamsule levels on day 1 passed the maximum in 5 of 6 participants.

DAY 4: By the fourth day, the participants reached the maximum blood levels. If the recommended maximum is 0.5ng/mL, here’s the average levels on Day 4:

  • Avobenzone: 3.4ng/mL–680% more than FDA max
  • Oxybenzone: 191.3ng/mL–38,260% more than FDA max
  • Octocrylene: 5.5ng/mL–1100% more than FDA max
  • Ecamsule: 1.5ng/mL–300% more than FDA max

DAY 7: Blood levels were still elevated over the 0.5ng/mL levels, even though participants stopped putting on sunscreen on DAY 4. After application, some of the chemicals took over 84 hours to break down only HALF of them.

Why is this important?

Avobenzone is a hormone disruptor

If the FDA hasn’t studied the long-term or cumulative effects of these chemicals, and other studies have shown them to be hormone disruptors, commercial sunscreen brands can be MORE HARMFUL THAN HELPFUL. We just don’t know the effect of chemical levels that are 38,260% ABOVE the recommended FDA levels. We cannot assume that these chemicals are NOT the cause of cancers in the body. Many cancers are triggered by estrogens–and these mimic estrogens. This is SERIOUS stuff!

What IS safe?

Our body needs sun to produce Vitamin D

First of all, the SUN provides our skin with the essentials for producing VITAMIN D. This is an essential nutrient associated with a strong immune system, healthy bones, and improved absorption of other minerals, to say the least. Supplements of Vitamin D are helpful, but can’t replace our own bodies’ Vitamin D production. We NEED about 15 minutes or more of sun exposure every day to make Vitamin D.

On the other hand, the SUN exposes us to harmful Ultraviolet rays (both UVA & UVB) that damage the skin. This is RADIATION. Side effects of UV rays are sunburn, sun poisoning, and skin damage–and ultimately, may cause skin cancers.

Here are the HEALTHY, SAFE OPTIONS:

Wear safe sunscreens and cover up.
  1. Choose sunscreens with Zinc Oxide or Titanium Oxide. These chemicals have been proven SAFE for the body.
  2. Cover up. Wear a “swim shirt” or cover up that blocks out UV rays. These shirts can get wet and then dry quickly. They also “breathe” so you don’t get overheated.
  3. Wear a hat. A BIG hat. A baseball cap may shade the forehead and nose a bit, but the ears, cheeks, chin and neck are still vulnerable. A wide-brimmed hat with good ventilation is the best choice. One that can get wet and then dry quickly is a bonus.
  4. Use an umbrella/parasol. They are not just to avoid getting wet. Many umbrellas provide great SPF protection from the sun and cooling shade, too.
  5. Wear Sunglasses. The eyes can be severely damaged by UV rays, both in the short- and long-term. Cataracts, retina damage, and overgrowth of the whites of the eyes can be caused by UV radiation.
  6. Limit Sun Exposure. The most damaging UV rays are between 10am and 4pm. Plan your days to be outside more in the mornings or late afternoons when the sun isn’t as strong.

The Takeaway

There are many ways to protect your skin from UV radiation

Remember that there is BIG money behind the commercial sunscreens. Big money means lobbyists advocating for sunscreen companies–to doctors, lawmakers, and the FDA. Just like many medications are being proven toxic and dangerous to the body LONG AFTER they have been used (Prilosec, Advil, etc…), we will eventually know for sure what is obvious right now: commercial sunscreen chemicals are absorbed through the skin and dangerous to the human body.

Have fun in the sun!

So have fun in the sun, and wear SAFE sunscreens. If you do get a burn, there are herbs and acupuncture that can help you recover faster. Click here to learn more about setting up an appointment.

Compassionate Care for Infertility

Acupuncture & Infertility book available on Amazon

This week is National Fertility Awareness Week. Celebrities such as Dylan Dreyer on the Today Show and others are sharing their personal infertility struggles and finding support from friends, family, and medical interventions. At Allen Acupuncture & Wellness, achieving a healthy pregnancy is one of my specialties–in fact, I have co-authored a book called Acupuncture & Infertility, available on Amazon.

What is INFERTILITY?

It is the inability to achieve or retain pregnancy while trying for a certain amount of time–the amount of time varies, depending on whose definition is used. Some conditions causing infertility are:

Infertility can be overcome with natural therapies.
  • Endometriosis & Fibroids
  • PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) or POI (premature ovarian insufficiency)
  • Thyroid dysfunctions
  • stress, malnutrition, celiac disease
  • poor egg quality, high FSH, and immune imbalances
  • poor sperm quality and quantity
  • recurrent miscarriages

If the person has never been able to conceive, it is categorized as primary infertility. But just as devastating is secondary infertility, which is the inability to conceive or retain pregnancy after previously giving birth.

I utilize acupuncture, herbs, and nervous system balancing techniques to help women achieve fertility in a compassionate setting.

How can acupuncture , herbs, and other therapies help?

Acupuncture has been proven to increase the odds of pregnancy with IVF, with some estimates as high as a 40% increase. Alone, acupuncture has been shown to reduce stress, balance hormones, and increase circulation to the ovaries and uterus, or testes in men. This helps couples get pregnant!

Herbs help treat underlying problems of infertility.

Herbs enhance fertility and increase the value of treatments. With many herbs that improve circulation to the abdomen and nourish the reproductive system, egg and sperm quality is improved, pregnancy is retained, and healthy babies are born!

The nervous system balancing techniques are unique to Allen Acupuncture and Wellness. Using a massage technique called Tui Na, I help balance out the nervous system and eliminate dysfunctions. For example, I have seen fibroids shrink and endometriosis vanish. Hot flashes and irregular menstruation from hormone imbalances become a thing of the past.

Dietary and lifestyle changes can have a HUGE impact on fertility. For example, in some women, cutting out sugar for a few months can help them get pregnant. For others, choosing the right forms of exercise with the right intensity will be the difference. Individualized recommendations are made based on the individual patient. No two people are the same, so the treatments will not be cookie-cutter either!

What now?

If you are struggling with infertility, please know YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There are others dealing with the same issues you are. And you will find compassionate, holistic care here.

Waiting is hard!

If you know someone who is struggling with infertility, or miscarriage, it is so important to show support. And may I offer some tips to communicate well with your friend or loved one?

  • tell them you are here for them and share your love and concern.
  • avoid sharing success stories of others you know–each person’s case is unique and the details of an acquaintance may not be encouraging to the person struggling.
  • don’t say it will be okay. It might not be, and it definitely doesn’t feel that way.
  • please allow your friend to share their feelings… or not share…
  • if you are pregnant and your friend is struggling, don’t feel guilty! The person who is struggling with infertility is happy for you. Just be sensitive.

The takeaway…

There is hope!

There is hope! Acupuncture, herbs, and balancing techniques are just the start of what can be done to help a couple with infertility. In addition, stress and anxiety about the whole process will be reduced through these therapies.

The good news is that, while many insurance companies do not cover infertility treatments, many DO cover acupuncture! You can verify your insurance benefits HERE.

Help is just a click, call or text away! Call 561-285-2862 for more information how acupuncture could help you fulfill your dreams of a child.

Cupping–Spring Cleaning for Muscles

Kids love cupping!

What does cupping have to do with Springtime? Spring is a time for new beginnings. For flowers and trees to bloom. For Konmari-ing the house. But what many may not know is that our bodies needs a little spring cleaning, too! (Keep reading to discover more and for a special discount offer!)

Spring’s energy has a direction, which follows the growth of seeds: the inside (seed) moves outward (seedling) in the process of germination. Some ancient texts also call the direction “upward”. The same direction occurs in our bodies. In South Florida, the direction may not be as dramatic, but as warmer temperatures arrive, the blood vessels dilate, and circulation moves closer to the surface so the body can better regulate the body in warmer temps and more physical activity.

As stated in a previous post about eating for the seasons, it is easier for the body to go WITH the nature of the season, instead of fighting against it. So, at this time of year, it is very beneficial to have cupping done.

Spring is the time for Cupping!

Cupping is the application of a cup-like device to the body with negative (suction) pressure. It pulls from the deep tissue (inner) toward the surface (outer). It follows the direction of Spring, and going with season is synergistic for healing.

Why cupping?

Cupping is an ancient therapy that dates back thousands of years. The first “cups” were animal horns, then bamboo or clay pots. The suction of the cups was produced by rapidly heating the air inside the cup and quickly placing it on the skin. The heated air creates the negative pressure to pull the skin/tissue into the cup. In modern times, this practice is called “fire cupping” and utilizes glass cups. Another form is with silicone cups. The last is with plastic cups with a valve at the top. A pump pulls a metered amount of air out of the cups; the advantage to using these cups is complete control of the suction on the cup.

Shoulder cups for pain relief

Cupping has many advantages. One relates to the negative pressure on the tissues. It is the opposite of touch. The pulling can release muscles spasms, break up adhesions, and, most importantly, pull toxins to the skin’s surface such as inflammatory markers, lactic and uric acid, and “old” blood residues that have been sitting deep in the tissue. The skin can better circulate these painful chemicals away to bring relief. Fresh blood supply can then come in to better heal the tissue. In addition, it can help the body release its own opioids for pain relief, and most patients find it very relaxing.

Cupping can also activate the immune and lymphatic systems and has been well-documented to treat skin issues such as herpes zoster, acne, boils, etc… Cupping on certain areas has been shown to clear respiratory infections and activate white blood cells to fight infections.

For more “scientifically worded” info on the benefits, please feel free to click on the following links:

Modern Cupping

Many celebrities and athletes advertise the advantages of cupping. Michael Phelp’s bruises in the 2016 Olympic Games announced the advantages of this therapy to the world. He used it to recover from strenuous workouts and the rigors of competition. In 2013, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, and others have sported their round skin marks publicly.

What about the Bruises??

Cup bruises show underlying problems

First, let’s be clear: these marks look like bruises but do not hurt. Bruising with cupping is common, and each bruise type signifies a different underlying problem in the body. In a healthy body with good circulation, bruises can last 3-4 days. If they last longer than 7 days, the body has a circulation problem and may need acupuncture or herbs to help increase circulation. Here’s what the cupping bruises can mean:

  • Light purple: insufficient blood supply in the tissues
  • Dark purple or brown: old blood sitting deep in the tissue, also called “stagnation”
  • Red or brown flecks: toxins or “heat” in the muscles–the kind that sometimes cause the burning sensation in the muscle (don’t worry, the cupping doesn’t “burn”).

Cupping at Allen Acupuncture & Wellness

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Cups for back pain relief

Typically, cupping can be included in an acupuncture treatment along with needles, allergy elimination, or auricular therapy. The tight or painful areas can be cupped, releasing the tissue and relieving the problem. Most people find it relaxing because it also releases endorphins just like acupuncture. Kids and adults LOVE it! Children as young as 7 to adults in the 80’s regularly request cupping along with their other therapies because it helps them feel better.

WHAT’S THE DEAL???

Here’s the DEAL! I think everybody should at least TRY cupping! To help expose more people to the benefits, Allen Acupuncture is offering a SPECIAL, 20-30 minute cupping session for only $35! That’s cheaper than a crappy massage!

Tell your family, friends, co-workers, etc… to call or text (561-922-7535), click or email Allen Acupuncture & Wellness for this special deal, now through May 15th, 2019. Make that appointment today!

Year End Health Savings

Calendar Year

The year is almost at a close. In addition to health insurance, many people have Health Savings Accounts (HSA) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) to help pay for deductibles, medications and copays.

Most people don’t realize that HSAs and FSAs can be used to cover acupuncture visits.

These funds can be used to cover acupuncture even if the insurance policy doesn’t cover acupuncture.

HSA funds can usually rollover to the next year, but normally, any left over money over $500 in FSA accounts normally cannot be carried over to the next year–this is the last week to use what’s there. In many ways, that money has already been spent, but it hasn’t been used. It’s “use it or lose it.” What better way to use that money than on health and wellness?

Why use HSA or FSA for acupuncture?

An appointment at Allen Acupuncture & Wellness can help address many health concerns: joint or back pain and discomfort, digestive or weight problems, allergies and symptoms, anxiety, depression, insomnia, hormone imbalances, colds, flus, and weakened immune systems… The list goes on and on!

Acupuncture relieves stress

Besides the health benefits, acupuncture is very relaxing. Many patients say that they feel like they’ve spent a day at the spa–yet appointments typically last about an hour. Acupuncture can help reduce holiday stress. It can improve sleep as well, so patients wake up with more energy for daily activities.

Allen Acupuncture & Wellness focuses on holistic medicine and the underlying cause for a symptom. We treat the person as a whole, not just the problem.

Not just acupuncture.

A “visit” at Allen Acupuncture & Wellness might include acupuncture, but often includes cupping, tuina (a Chinese manual therapy), acupressure, muscle testing utilizing applied kinesiology, food therapy and lifestyle tips, and herbal recommendations.

Get a “Second Opinion” on your health.

Why not get another perspective on your health? A “second opinion” on your condition from a holistic perspective? Sara Allen, AP, Dipl OM, works alongside your doctor’s diagnoses and treatments to provide the very best of integrative medicine.

Call 561-922-7535 today to see how you can have Better Health for a Better You before your HSA or FSA closes out for the year and the new year begins!

Do you have health insurance? Be sure to check whether your insurance company covers acupuncture HERE.

Are Side Effects Making People Sick?

by Sara M Allen, AP, Dipl. OM

Why is a newly-released study on side effects so important?

How many prescription drugs does the average person take? According to a 2013 study by the Mayo Clinic, 70% of Americans take at least one prescription drug, 50% take at least two, and 20% take FIVE or more medications. Each of these have a list of side effects. The latest June 2018 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) studied the side effect of depression caused by taking medications.

When a new prescription medication is filled at the pharmacy, a long list of possible side effects accompanies the drug. How many people read the list? Pay attention once taking the medicine? Or have had a doctor follow up with questions about side effects? And sometimes, because the medication is “necessary,” negative side effects are countered by another medication with another list of side effects, which causes side effects that must be countered by another medication, and the wheel keeps spinning.

Every medicine has side effects, and it is unknown how taking multiple medications will potentiate or compound those side effects. In this study on the side effect of depression in JAMA, of the 6.9% of those in the study taking 3 or more medications that have a possible “depression” side effect, 15% of those actually had depression, versus 4.7% which were not on medications with the side effect of depression. This study showed that taking multiple medications with the same possible side effect increases the likelihood of that side effect. (It should be noted that this study excluded people taking anti-depressants for pre-existing depression).

What does the study mean for you and your medications?

  1. Make sure your doctor knows all of your medications and supplements. Make a list of medications before appointments along with dosages. If there are any known drug interactions, it is more likely they will be prevented if your doctor and pharmacist know what you’re taking. Ultimately, you and your doctor are a team to determine which medications you need to be on and whether any of those medications can be reduced or eliminated.
  2. Be educated about your medications. Read the packaging that comes with your prescriptions. Watch out for symptoms and side effects. Sometimes these effects are cumulative and may take a while for your body to express. And sometimes, as this study shows, less-likely side effects may be more likely when combined with other medications.
  3. More is not better. Not only are prescription medications expensive and drive up health insurance costs for everyone, but they have powerful, unknown effects on the body. Modern medicine is a very young medicine, less than 200 years old, and the long-term and drug-interaction effects of pharmaceuticals are too new to fully know. There are few studies like the one in this month’s JAMA which show how drugs may interact with each other. The FDA doesn’t require it, and it would be impossible to study how thousands and thousands of drugs interact when taking 3, 4… or even 9 different combinations of them. Therefore, limit your exposure to these interactions and side effects by limiting your medications whenever possible, and discuss your options with your doctor.
  4. Check out alternative medical solutions. The U.S. Pharmaceutical Industry makes over 440 billion dollars a year. Drug companies and pharmacies make money on prescriptions. Many of these medications just alleviate symptoms of a disease but do not help the body heal. Be willing to check out other options for wellness, which can lessen one’s dependence on drugs. These might include:
  • Diet and lifestyle changes. Let’s be honest. Change is difficult and sometimes inconvenient, but changes can bring health from the inside out. These choices are long-term, life-giving options that do not come with negative or dangerous side effects. For example, diabetic or blood-pressure medications may be reduced by losing weight and exercising.
  • Alternative therapies. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, chiropractic care, and physical therapy are a few alternative therapies that may help with whatever condition you are treating with pharmaceuticals. The goal of these alternative or integrative medical therapies is to help the body heal or treat the underlying cause of the disease or problem. Because these therapies are a process of healing in the body, symptom relief may not be as immediate as popping a pill, but with a little patience and determination the body can heal itself.
  • Herbal formulas, natural supplements, and essential oils. Many modern pharmaceuticals began as plant-based remedies. Almost every civilization on earth has had its special plants for certain diseases. The chemical properties of these remedies have been isolated and improved upon to target a disease or symptom. But what if the lesser-concentrated, holistic plant-package is actually less harmful to the body than its lab-concocted cousin?
    • Chinese herbal formulas have been safely used for thousands of years, and the herbs in these formulas are balanced with each other to minimize the side effects. Only an Oriental Medicine or Chinese herbal practitioner can safely prescribe herbs perfectly tailored to your body and symptoms.
    • Also, supplements can be taken to help the body function properly. Many supplements can take the place of over-the-counter or prescribed medications. Check with your healthcare practitioner to find out which ones might be right for you (and remember, as with prescription drugs, more is not necessarily better!).
    • One of my new favorites, which is actually very ancient, is the use of essential oils to treat certain conditions. When used as directed, essential oils are an excellent alternative to certain prescription or over-the-counter drugs (more to come on essential oils–stay tuned).

Many other side effects can be treated effectively with acupuncture. There are points on the body that help certain problems and symptoms and treat the body’s underlying condition. Whether a medication is causing depression, dizziness or diarrhea, acupuncture can help lessen the side effects of medications. No one should be stuck on the hamster wheel of taking more and more medications to combat the side effects of medications. 

(If you are feeling depressed, please speak to a healthcare practitioner, counselor or mental health provider. And if you are considering suicide or hurting yourself or others—please reach out to someone and get some help, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.)

Hope that’s some helpful information to help you have Better Health for a Better You!

Please feel free to call for your free consultation: 561-922-7535 or fill out this contact form: 

Key Element to Better Sleep and Less Pain

by Sara Allen, AP, Dipl. OM

Want a better night’s sleep? Less pain? The end to muscle cramps?

For at least 50% of my patients, a good night’s sleep is a problem. For another 50%, pain is a main issue. Another 10% have neuropathy or leg cramps. They all have one thing in common: Magnesium.

Magnesium has 12 protons, and its 2 outer electrons means that it ionically bonds easily with other atoms. These combinations with other elements makes it a diverse and wonderful element. It is the center element in chlorophyl for photosynthesis. It is a major component of our bones and multiple enzymes in the human body. It helps balance calcium in the body, aids potassium absorption, and helps regulate neurotransmitters.

Many people have a Magnesium deficiency; some estimates say that 50-75% of adults do not have enough Magnesium in their bodies. Magnesium is found in foods like dark, leafy greens, legumes and other vegetables, unprocessed grains, meats, seeds and nuts, and chocolate. Consuming the following items actually interferes with Magnesium balance in the body: carbonated beverages, refined sugars, diuretic medications or excess tea and coffee, and imbalanced supplements of calcium and zinc; in addition, stress is a major factor prohibiting the proper absorption and use of magnesium, along with improper gut flora from the overuse of antibiotics.

What benefits does Magnesium provide?

A good night’s sleep may begin with Magnesium. It aids in the production of GABA, the calming, go-to-sleep neurotransmitter. Magnesium can help a person reach the deep, restorative sleep necessary to feel well-rested in the morning. It can also help with the “restless” feeling in the body when it’s time to sleep. It can even help with restless leg syndrome.

Recent studies have shown that Magnesium is a great analgesic, meaning that it can take away pain by blocking pain receptors in the nervous system. An analgesic most people are familiar with is Tylenol. Magnesium is also anti-inflammatory. The most common over-the-counter anti-inflammatories are NSAIDs like ibuprofen. But magnesium is a natural, non-pharmaceutical supplement which can do some of the job that more powerful drugs do.

Magnesium relieves muscle spasms by opposing the contraction-action of calcium on the muscles. Too much calcium causes the muscles to spasm tight, while magnesium causes the muscles to relax. Magnesium also dilates the blood vessels, which can increase circulation, especially to hands and feet.  

The same action on bigger muscles to prevent spasms also works on a micro-level in the blood vessels. This dilation of blood vessels can help decrease neuropathy by allowing proper nourishment of nerves and tissues. Also, the anti-inflammatory effect works well on muscles and nerves as well.

In addition to better sleep, and less pain and muscle spasms, Magnesium can also:

  • Stabilize moods and reduce anxiety; it may also help with ADHD
  • Reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure
  • Improve bone mass and prevent osteoporosis
  • Regulate metabolism, especially of glucose and insulin-sensitivity, which can reduce metabolic syndrome or diabetes

If all this sounds amazing, you may be asking HOW much and WHAT supplement to take?

My favorite way of “consuming” magnesium is through EPSOM SALT foot baths. Epsom salt is made of Magnesium Sulfate, which breaks apart into readily absorbable Magnesium ions in water. The skin is not just a protective layer of the body. It is the largest organ in the body! This organ easily absorbs minerals which then get distributed throughout the body. In this way, the digestive system is bypassed for very efficient intake and distribution, especially to the legs and lower body! This is a great way to reduce leg cramps, neuropathy of the feet, and pain in the legs or low back. In addition, the WARM WATER of the foot bath dilates the blood vessels in the feet, increasing the circulation of the feet and legs, which, in turn, decreases the excess blood flow to the head. This small shift of circulation helps quiet the mind to reduce worry and anxiety before bed. Adding dried lavender or 3 or 4 drops of lavender essential oil to the foot bath and letting the feet soak for 15 to 30 minutes increases the sleep-promoting properties of the Epsom salts.

Magnesium dietary supplements are another wonderful way to get more magnesium in the body, especially when paired with Vitamin D3. Because good gut flora is important for proper magnesium absorption through digestion, taking a probiotic and reducing dietary refined sugars and carbohydrates will also help. One caution: in some people, large amounts of magnesium can have a laxative effect.

Lastly, your body may not be processing magnesium properly. Getting an NAET or allergy elimination acupressure treatment for minerals will help your body absorb and utilize this essential element to the fullest.

Here’s to Better Health for a Better You!