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.

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Back-Cupping.jpeg
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!

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!

 

Mother’s Day Special

Want a fresh gift idea for Mother’s Day?

Looking to give mom something special this year?

Give the gift of Health and Relaxation!

Allen Acupuncture & Wellness offers a Mother’s Day special: new patient treatment for only $65.

Call 561-922-7535 or visit www.allenacupuncture.com  today.

Mother’s Day is a time to let the mother in one’s life know just how special they are and celebrate all they do! Acupuncture can give the gift of wellness and relaxation to mom this holiday.

Other no-needle options are available, too, such as herbal therapy, acupressure, electric auricular therapy, cupping, and laser acupuncture. Balancing techniques can help regulate emotions, hormones, stress, as well as digestive and sleep issues.

Treat her this Mother’s Day with a wellness visit at Allen Acupuncture & Wellness.

Homemade Remedy for Indigestion

Do you suffer from digestion problems? Acid reflux or GERD? Heartburn or indigestion? Bloating after meals?

Here’s a food therapy tea to help!

Sara’s “Tummy Tea”

3-4 quarter-sized pieces of fresh (peeled) ginger

1/4-1/2 squeezed lemon

2-3 inch section of grated organic orange or tangerine peel

1-2 cups hot water

 

Combine ingredients and dilute to taste. Sip as needed.

 

Better Health for a Better You!

 

Fall: Bye Bye Fork & Hello Spoon!

Fall is a season of changes. In most areas of the country, fall is a transition between the hot, humid summer days and the cold winter ones. Even in tropical South FL, the average temps decrease as well as humidity. These changes can trigger health problems if your body doesn’t adapt. You can help your body adapt by making wise food choices.

No, I’m not talking about the regular idea of healthy eating, but the idea of eating for your health. As cooler temperatures of Fall arrive, it doesn’t make sense to keep eating summer foods like watermelon and salads. Raw foods are cold in their nature, which is great for summertime to keep our interior body temperature cool despite the hot temps. But pumpkin spice drinks and foods, so popular in the fall, are popular for good reason: they have warmer natures. Think about cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg: all the spices of fall. They have a little kick to them, a little “fire”; eat or drink them, and you feel a warm sensation in your stomach. A similar effect occurs in the food temperatures we eat. Instead of salad, make a stir fry or a nice pot of vegetable soup. If cold-natured or cold-temperature summer foods are eaten out of season, they can cause indigestion, bloating, water retention, excess congestion or phlegm, and even diarrhea–as well as weaken your immune system. Instead, eat healthy, warm foods that help your body prevent disease from the inside out.

As your body begins the transition to winter, help it by choosing warmer foods. Your body will be more balanced and healthy to fight the cold and flu season, too. So, put down that salad fork and pick up your soup spoon!