A Fall hello from Great Cranberry

I hope this newsletter finds you staying in the moment as much as possible and continuing to find things in your daily life that make you smile and give you some ease.

The sketch above was done by my new friend, Kulani Granholm, who sat in the room while her mother received acupuncture. I love to introduce young people to acupuncture and Kulani asked some really good questions. I hope that the experience will continue to demystify acupuncture for young people so that they will be more willing to consider it as part of a beneficial, normal healing modality as they begin choosing health care options for themselves.

I have to laugh!

Have you had a good laugh in recent memory?  I know, I know. How can I expect anyone to laugh in the middle of an ongoing pandemic and seemingly unprecedented stressful election year? I don’t know but I’m managing to have a good laugh on a regular basis. Probably because that was my birth family’s reaction to stress. When I was growing up the worse the situation the funnier and cruder our jokes became. It felt good to laugh, even in the middle of a bad situation. This year has tested even my family’s ability to crack a smile mid-crisis. Even so, doing everything we can to release pent up stress is vital (I would even say essential) to our health. This newsletter, like all my previous communications, is about reminding you of the bottom line things that you can do to support your overall wellbeing. I won’t go into detail (until later!) about the things that I’ve harped on in the past. but I will briefly outline them below:

  1. Water! Drink lots of water!
  2. Eat healthy food, avoiding sugar and processed food.
  3. Move your body everyday – walk, run, bike, garden!
  4. Daily breathing and calming your mind. 15 minutes every day of sitting quietly and breathing gently and clearing your mind.
  5. Get enough sleep.

Now, I’d like to dive deeper into 3 areas mentioned above: Water, breathing and calming your mind. Read more about oceans, keeping my mouth shut and remembering what I want.

Ocean inside and out!
Drinking ½ your body weight in ounces of pure water every day is a baseline requirement for optimal cellular function. If you’re drinking a lot of caffeine and alcohol you need to add 8 oz more for every beverage that contains caffeine or alcohol. What I haven’t talked about before is the need to balance your water intake with enough high quality salt. Our blood and bodily fluids have about the same pH as ocean water so it is important to ingest enough salt through our diet and beverages. I was reminded in a newsletter by Jenny McGruther NTP about the benefits of water and salt in the human body. She talks about making Sole, a mineral rich solution to add to your morning glass of water. I got the salt and made some Sole last week. I’ve been adding a teaspoon to a glass of water every morning and I love it! I’m sleeping better and have more energy. Albeit, I will talk about the other things I’m doing in conjunction with the salty water, but I do think it is a piece to the puzzle! Here is a link to Jenny’s website with the recipe: https://nourishedkitchen.com/sole-water/

I’m keeping my mouth shut!


I know this lead in would intrigue you! It could mean so many things these days. And while I am practicing keeping my mouth shut when what I want to say isn’t helpful or kind, I am also literally taping my mouth shut at night to encourage nasal breathing. I have been a mouth breather (and snorer) for many years. And I guess I thought (and my husband was resigned to) that there was nothing to be done about it. I have also been struggling with sinus congestion for many years. The sinus congestion (and snoring!) haven’t responded to dietary changes and goodness knows I’ve eliminated everything at one time or another. I was introduced to the idea that mouth breathing can be corrected by a friend (thanks Jacqueline!) that suggested I read Breath: The new science of a Lost Art by James Nestor. I haven’t finished the book yet, but as is my typical MO I’ve taken a deep dive down the rabbit hole of breathing and the importance on our health, both mental and physical. If you snore, have asthma, chronic sinus congestion, allergies, wake up tired with a dry mouth or a slowed metabolism you could be a mouth breather. From everything I’ve read and listened to so far, breathing through your nose is vital to good health and can be the missing piece for many who are struggling with chronic ailments that haven’t responded to other treatments or lifestyle changes. There are tons of interesting youtube videos talking about breath right now, including mouth taping. Since I’ve started the bizarre ritual of taping my mouth shut at night, I’m waking more rested, I have more energy, and the best thing of all – my sinuses are clearing up!!! My husband is so thrilled that I’ve given him permission to remind me to shut my mouth (and because I’ve stopped gurgling and snorting at night!)

What do you want?
I’m finding that the on-going pandemic and political unrest in our country right now has many of us focused on what we don’t want much of the time. If you’re like many Americans, you’re watching the news, talking to friends and family and thinking about what you don’t want most of the time. If you think a thought, even if it’s true, and it feels bad, you are adversely affecting your cellular function. And if you are doing that chronically, it won’t be long before you manifest a physical ailment. So, what can you do? Especially if you want to stay informed and be part of the solution and you believe that if you take your eyes and mind off the unrolling events they will be get even worse without your constant gaze and angst? That’s a hard belief to buck but I practice every day acknowledging what I don’t want and then very quickly stating what I do want. Starting to think (and talk if it feels good) about what you do want, feels better in your body and doesn’t engage your stress hormones. What if more and more of us kept returning our attention and thoughts, over and over again, back to what we do want instead of what we don’t want. We could tip the scale! How crazy and wonderful would that be?! Thinking and holding positive thoughts only helps everything. An open and joyful heart has more influence, not only on your physical body, but on every person and situation that you care about. Sick, strung out people have a harder time coming up with the solutions that we are all seeking. I’m challenging myself and you, to choose the better feeling thought, over and over, until it’s second nature. And when I’m struggling to let go of a thought that hurts, I take council from some very wise friends, who are there for me whenever I need them. Their message is always the same – stay in the moment, take a dust bath, eat a worm and most importantly – chill out!!


                     Turning compost with my Advisory Council!


Incorporating acupuncture into your wellness program supports deep healing.

Many people think of acupuncture as something you do when a health complaint has gotten loud enough and painful enough to no longer ignore or if conventional treatment hasn’t been totally effective. And acupuncture is great in acute situations, especially pain, and often helps to resolve lingering complaints. However, I believe that acupuncture’s greater gift is derived when it is incorporated into a regular wellness program. So many times, people find their way to the acupuncturist wanting treatment for something that could’ve been avoided all together or at least minimized in severity with a committed wellness regimen that included acupuncture.

Regular, rhythmic acupuncture lowers stress, boosts immunity, supports sound sleep and good digestion, not to mention vital emotional and mental support. When the effects of stress in the body is lessened by acupuncture on a regular basis, your body is better able to remain stable and you are often able to avoid common ailments such as colds and flus, aches and pains and more importantly, have a better chance of avoiding more serious health issues.

I can’t write about how we heal without always speaking about the importance of incorporating a daily breathing/meditation practice. Taking some time every day to breath deep and quiet your mind is the number one activity, above all else, to feel better and heal on all levels. Just 15 minutes every day can improve your health at a deep cellular level. And after all, we’re just a wonderful, complex bag of cells that function optimally with lower stress. And most of the stress effecting our cellular function is from chronic, negative thought patterns.

However, even as I know this is true, I, like most people, don’t always do such a great job of keeping my stress levels down and am thankful that there are things like acupuncture to give me a hand and keep me balanced.

For scheduling and fee options and to read more of my articles, please go to my website: colleenbunkerlac.com

Happy 2020 everyone! Did you make a New Year’s resolution pertaining to your health? If so, how’s it going?

Don’t Put the Cat Before the Horse!

 Happy 2020 everyone! Did you make a New Year’s resolution pertaining to your health? If so, how’s it going? It’s February and sadly many people are already discouraged and struggling to maintain the goals they set for themselves. As an acupuncturist I find myself giving pep talks and offering words of encouragement to my patients who really want to incorporate lifestyle changes to improve how they feel, but can’t seem to get any lasting momentum going in that direction. Over the years I have found that many people put the cat before the horse (I know, I know, it’s supposed to be cart before the horse but I’m into cats and one of my resolutions is to be even sillier than I already am) when embarking on a big lifestyle change which ultimately sets them up for failure. For instance, starting a running practice is a great idea but not if you haven’t at least been walking on a regular basis. A drastic change of diet is another popular resolution but just cutting back on sugar would be radical enough for many people and a better way to begin. It has been my personal experience and that of many of my patients, that lasting success is more easily obtained when certain bottom line criteria are in place before trying to incorporate a big lifestyle change. Those bottom line requirements are proper hydration, a deep breathing/meditation practice to relieve stress, restorative sleep and a healthy diet and good digestion. If any one of these categories is lacking then you’ve put the cat before the horse😺and forward progress will be harder!


Let’s start with water. In a nutshell, proper hydration supports every function in the body. Period. Our bodies are made up of upwards of 70% fluids. Water is a vital part of those fluids. If you are even slightly dehydrated and you add in a new, daily physical activity, you will be putting stress on your whole system. Cartilage, which cushions our joints, is made up of 80% water. Dehydration slows the delivery of vital nutrients needed for cartilage repair and joints are left susceptible to injury. Chronic unintentional dehydration lowers blood volume, putting stress on the heart and causing palpitations and increased heart rate. Lower blood volume also results in less blood and oxygen getting to muscles. Muscle strains, tears, and bone fractures are common effects of exercising while dehydrated. If you have embarked on a new exercise routine and you’re not properly hydrated you’re putting the cat before the horse 😹and setting yourself up for injury and discouragement.

I recommend drinking ½ your body weight in ounces of pure water every day. Add 8 oz. extra for every caffeinated or alcoholic beverage. If you aren’t even close to the baseline, then start out slow and build up over several days to a week. When increasing your water make sure to include plenty of good quality sea salt to your diet. The pH of our body fluids is close to that of sea water so it is important to keep your electrolytes balanced, especially salt. For further reading about dehydration and chronic illness I highly recommend reading Your Body's Many Cries for Water by Dr. F. Batmanghelidj

Deep Breathing/meditation...

The simple act of taking 10-15 minutes every day to sit quietly and breath deeply can have a profound impact on your health. Like water, the cells of your body also need plenty of oxygen. Giving your cells a charge of fresh oxygen on a daily basis is a sure way to boost your metabolism, lower stress, decrease pain, improve your digestion and lower your blood pressure, just to name a few. I come from a long line of shallow breathers. My mother holds her breath and I learned it from her. There is always a way to blame everything on our mothers!  If you aren’t breathing deeply every day, then you’re putting the cat before the horse!😸

Daily deep breathing is as important as staying properly hydrated and sleeping well. For more inspiration and information on deep breathing meditation and the benefits checkout the following links:

Benefits of Deep Breathing UB therapist Andrea Watkins, LCSW
Take a deep breath Harvard Mental Health Letter
50 Ways Deep Breathing Benefits Your Health music2meditate.org


Now let’s talk about sleep! If you’re not a good sleeper and you’re always chronically tired, and you’ve decided to start a new, strenuous activity to boost your metabolism, you’re putting the cat before the horse!😹 Sleep is the place where your body repairs and refreshes itself. Muscles that don’t get a chance to repair at night are more prone to injury. Like dehydration, consequences of chronic sleep deprivation effects every organ and system in the body and goes beyond muscular skeletal injury, including an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke. Making a resolve to find ways to improve your sleep is truly something worth focusing on in this new year and will be a very important foundational building block to your overall health goals. If you’d like some good tips on improving sleep please visit the following websites:


8 Tips for Beating Insomnia and Improving Your Sleep Chris Kresser, M.S.
Twelve Simple Tips to Improve Your Sleep  A resource from the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School
How to Sleep Better Melinda Smith, M.A., Lawrence Robinson, and Robert Segal, M.A.  


Healthy diet and good digestion...

I listed food last because I think that unless you’re hydrated, rested and sufficiently chilled out, your digestion is impaired and what food you do eat isn’t being digested and metabolized very well anyway. When you regularly engage your sympathetic nervous system (releasing your fight or flight hormones) your digestion system slows or shuts down. When your body thinks it is being chased by a tiger digestion slows or evens stops so that the body can divert all its internal energy to facing a perceived threat. Eating in a relaxed mood and chewing thoroughly promotes good digestion. The food you choose in that atmosphere has a better chance of nourishing your body. What food you choose to eat is a personal choice but one thing is for sure, if your diet is heavy on sugar and processed foods and you want to establish a long term wellness and exercise program then you’re putting the cat before the horse! Making a New Years resolution to quit added sugar (except on very special occasions!) would be one of the absolute very best things you could do for your overall health.

The take away?
Resolving to implement and maintain even one of the above recommendations would be a wonderful goal for this New Year. Rocking all of them would make you feel amazing and set you up to reach all your goals around health and beyond!


If you need more convincing and some strategies to go sugar free please check out the following websites.
Research on Sugar and Health Chris Kresser, M.S.
Top 10 Big Ideas: How to Detox from Sugar Mark Hyman, MD

Move your liver Qi! What?!

Almost everyone has heard of Qi these days and knows, according to Asian medicine anyway, it’s needs to flow smoothly in our bodies or we feel less than great. In Chinese medicine every organ has a function in our overall health and the Liver has many jobs, but the most significant role is to promote the smooth flow of Qi and Blood in the whole body. An old Chinese proverb says “if the Qi and Blood are free flowing in the body then there is no disease” That is one of the reasons acupuncture is so effective in treating many illnesses and speeds recovery after physical injuries or operations – it gently reminds your body of its natural rhythm and flow and promotes your body’s own healing capability.
Aside from acupuncture, there are many ways to promote Liver function, both from a Western and Eastern point of view. The obvious ones are reducing stress, limiting sugar, caffeine and alcohol, more exercise and daily meditation. The one thing that often gets overlooked as a wonderful way to promote the flow of Liver Qi is being creative. Getting into the zone is one of the best ways to support Liver function and therefore the smooth flow of Qi in the whole body. Being creative is different for everyone. The act of creating can take many forms and it doesn’t have to be the usual things we think are creative like painting, writing etc. Being creative can be something as simple as clearing a space on a cluttered shelve and arranging a pleasing bouquet or re-creating space in your home or office so that you just love it when you walk in.

Like laughing, getting in the “zone” and letting our creative juices flow, has a real and measurable physiological impact on our bodies. According to an article in Forbes magazine by health coach Ashley Stahl, being creative increases happiness, reduces dementia, improves mental health, boosts your immune system and makes you smarter! There is a lot of scientific research that substantiate these claims and many large leading edge corporations are providing space and time for their employees to be creative as a way to promote health, along with job performance and satisfaction.

In this New Year I’ve finally made the decision to honor my inner found object (trash)artist and am regularly scouring the beach for materials. I have even made a makeshift studio space in our garage. To inspire you here is a picture of me playing with my beach findings. I’ll keep updated. But one thing is for sure, liberating my inner trash artist is the very best thing I’ve done to relieve stress and move my stagnant Liver Qi in years! So get out there and uncover your creative genius!


Here is me getting happier, healthier and smarter! 😻

When I first met Colleen. by Deborah Brink Woehrman


“We live in a vastly complex society which has been able to provide us with a multitude of material things, and this is good, but people are beginning to suspect we have paid a high spiritual price for our plenty.”
Euell Gibbons

When I first met Colleen Bunker, LAC, with her needles and certification as a Nutritional Therapist, I was waking up at 2 or 3am many mornings and lying restless for hours. I suffered a chronic hip pain and hoped acupuncture might help me to hike the mountains and snooze through the night. Almost 50, enrolled in massage school, and learning to use my brain, body and hands in new ways, I felt stressed.

Colleen had begun acupuncture school at age 45, after years of managing a whole-food co-op in Maine. Before that she had an acre market-garden, three green houses and grew food for the store and elsewhere.

While working at the co-op, her father fell terminally ill and moved into her home. She still had two teenage boys around, and a man on the board of the co-op noticed her distress: “You need to come see me,” he said, and those visits were her introduction to acupuncture.

She also met her now-husband, Joe, at the co-op, also a board member. They eventually moved to Vermont where he studied Meditation and Conflict Resolution. She continued to receive acupuncture treatments, and several years later they moved to Portland, Oregon where she enrolled at OCOM (Oregon School of Oriental Medicine).

After her three-years of study, she spent six weeks in China, practicing her new art. Back to Portland, she landed her gig at the North Portland Wellness Center where we met.

“I could’ve been going to a Zen monastery,” she laughs. “It was intense mental stress, hard on me, hard on my body.” If she knew then what she knows now about the changes of a woman’s body as we age, she probably wouldn’t have chosen this path.

Yet, she loves her work, especially when patients want more than simply the needles to cure them.

“I often become an all-around support person,” she says. “People come to me with pain, because they aren’t sleeping well, with Diabetes or to quit smoking. I can’t cure any of that. It must come from inside. Lifestyle changes are essential, and some people won’t come back when I say that.”

Rather than as a “healer” Colleen, hesitantly, thinks of herself as a “teacher”. She sees herself as someone who inspires others toward their own wellness and wholeness. “Very quickly, as quick as I can, I want to see past whatever they present. People come in telling their stories. Sometimes there’s no crack, but I’m of no service or value to people if I simply join them in their story.”

“People see the needles placed behind the ears on TV infomercials. They come to me wanting these needles to make them quit smoking. Often they come because someone else told them they’d better–a spouse or roommate. I tell them there is no needle protocol to cure their addiction. You have to decide inside yourself. You have to decide you want to do it. Set a date, and I’ll help you do it. Acupuncture will help.”

She’s learned that she can’t help someone to heal when they are stressed. “But I can knock them out with needles,” and sometimes that’s the kind of rest a person needs most.

“Of course it’s satisfying when a patient says ‘This was so helpful,’ but we heal ourselves,” Colleen insists. “Our physical health manifests from our thoughts. When I can inspire someone to change how they think–and the needles help–it’s a good day.”


After beginning her work as an acupuncturist, Colleen began to feel under-prepared to work with some of the patients who showed up–especially those with diabetes. She wanted to understand more of the science around blood-sugar regulation and be able to explain the importance of nutrition to her patients.

“My nana was the first to instill in me that what you eat makes a difference in your overall health. You can reverse illness with food,” Colleen says.

“I come from farmers and gardeners, and fishermen. Eule Gibbons, along with Adele Davis, were people that my grandmother was interested in, and I would flip through their books the way a child does. They made me aware that not everyone thought about food the same way. It sparked an early interest in how food might influence health.”

“I could see something wasn’t working at the clinic, but I didn’t know what. Kaiser was putting people on plant-based diets, with more carbs, and this isn’t the answer.” She felt frustrated and soon enrolled with the Nutritional Therapy Association in Olympia, Washington.

Trying to help people regulate their blood sugar and understand how Type II Diabetes can be caught early and cured became a mission. Another area of interest has been working with women.

There is no specific “Diet for Women Over 50”, but a balanced whole-foods habit of eating becomes that much more important as we age–especially for woman. The ovaries no longer produce hormones, and more demand is put on the adrenal glands and, especially, the liver. Eating good fat become more important for hormone production in the body.

For any patients interested, Colleen will share what she knows. “But I no longer try to convince anyone to eat how I think they should eat.”

About a year into my visits, Colleen changed her own diet: Hot flashes were happening often, her sleep was restless, and, worse, “brain-fog” began to tax her in a way that felt threatening to her work and ease. She stopped eating gluten, dairy and sugar, and her mind became more clear.

For breakfast she typically eats two over-easy eggs, sweet potato, avocado, greens and drinks coffee. She’ll change it up, but the key is to balance macro-nutrients: Carbohydrates, Good Fat, and Protein for every meal.

“People are still really afraid of fat, but eating a high-carb diet is the problem for most–especially naked carbs (which are a lot like eating sugar, turning into body-fat unless immediately utilized for energy). To avoid “Naked carbs”, pair rice with avocado; bread with cheese; apple with almond butter; pasta with olive oil–a carbohydrate with a good fat!

Like our mothers told us, “Chewing is important. The process works better when we chew well. Digestion starts in your brain.”

To support the liver, limit consumption of caffeine, alcohol and sugar she advises. “Sugar is toxic to anyone, but don’t try making the change while your sister’s baking her cookies! Enjoy your life.”

“I don’t have it daily, even weekly, but I have a piece of cake once in a while. Get away from adding and needing sugar,” she suggests.

Other dietary adjustments can help people depending on their circumstance. Anyone with an autoimmune challenge can benefit from avoiding gluten. “There is lots of evidence,” she says. Gluten increases inflammation, and those of us who suffer achy joints and arthritis can feel more ease by avoiding foods that increase the pressure on joints.

If we all choose whole foods–a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, meat, dairy and whatever protein-good fat-and carbs that fit into our preference, with each meal–we can find our balance and maximize well-being.

“Most people know what they’re eating too much of. The best thing is to become intuitive–and to listen to yourself.”


After almost ten years of working at the North Portland Wellness Center, Colleen has observed, “It’s much easier to change your diet than to change the chronic thought patterns that stress you out.”

“Many women are rockin’ with their diets. They say, ‘I’ve done everything you want me to do, and I’m still miserable.’ But they haven’t changed the way they live. They haven’t looked at their daily habits.”

In Chinese Medicine, the liver is associated with creativity. When we are not living in a way that nourishes this organ, stress can reek havoc in our bodies.

“Take up anything you think you want to do,” Colleen encourages. “And think, ‘I’m going to cut everyone a bit of slack, beginning with myself.”

“A change of thought isn’t going to happen overnight, but over time, if you shift, things change,” she smiles. “Going to work and going home need to feel the same as going on vacation. If it doesn’t, focus on anything that is working. Appreciate everything. If you’re a teacher, mediate on the one child who inspires you. You do it for yourself and not for them, but you will benefit them.”

At Terra Farma Farm in Cobert, OR, Colleen holds a baby goat. The farm supplied her with a lot of meat, eggs and raw milk.

“If you’re too rigid, working too hard, driven to control too many people, and not working toward more ease and flow in your life, things aren’t going to change for the better.”

And, she says, “If you have total ease and flow every day, then you have more leeway in your diet.”

“When a woman comes to menopause or peri-menopause and suffers continuous hot flashes, sleeplessness and other symptoms, her life isn’t balanced,” Colleen says. “We must look at the whole picture, our overall satisfaction, lingering frustrations, unresolved anxiety, and negative feelings.”

Colleen with friend Colleen Donnelly in China.

She also insists pain isn’t necessary. “You might need to change your habits, including your diet, but feeling pain isn’t a given.”

Though our food and life choices become more important as we age, a good diet matters for all. “If women in their 20s would eat a whole foods diet and learn to live well, they would age more easily. Not all women suffer hot flashes just like not all women suffer painful menstruation or morning sickness.”

Colleen is a straight-talker, and I like that.

“You attract people who resonate with your style,” she says. “Other people can help us to make shifts, but it must come from within.” Those who only want needles to “cure” them of their problem don’t tend to return to her for long.

Cutting down on my sugar intake has helped. With encouragement from Colleen, I began making sauerkraut and make sure to get some probiotics into my gut each day. Drinking more than a half-glass of wine in one sitting seems to tax my system in the way eating a chocolate chip cookie with refined sugar will leave me feeling a bit off-kilter. I also pay attention to how I move in the world, my thoughts, and I meditate most mornings. More recently I’ve cut out gluten, at least for now: I love walking and hiking, and I’ll do what I can to keep enjoying these simple pleasures. The pain I reported when first visiting Colleen is much less and often not present at all.

Both of us jumped into a new study of bones, muscles, numbers and meridians to memorize at a time when many people were settling into a groove, climbing career ladders, or newly freed of the child-rearing demands that had shaped their lives for decades. We were both beginning anew, and these choices invited plenty of stress, yet we both now enjoy being creative in new ways–good for the liver!


At the beginning of October, Colleen and Joe began a three-week journey across the United States. They have returned to her native Maine. Before departure, she had begun eating her favorite Sourdough Hard Red-Wheat Boule from her favorite Portland bakery near Mt. Tabor. Like my choice to keep adding milk to my coffee, eating cheese, yogurt and even the occasional ice cream, she’s choosing to again indulge in good bread. She’s back to gluten.

Colleen’s new treatment center on Mt. Desert Island, Maine

It’s always a matter of balance. No one way of eating, just like no one way of living, will fit every life. “Acupuncture is great as is nutrition, joy and meditation. There is no best path, no one way.”

As she remakes her life on Mt. Dessert Island in Maine, she will create her own way of healing, no longer employee of a wellness center. She’s excited for this new venture. Look her up when you’re out her way.

More and more people are discovering the wonderful benefits of acupuncture for reducing pain and inflammation. It’s clinically proven to be effective for joint pain, shoulder pain, low back and sciatic pain, neck and jaw/TMD pain. Basically, most musculoskeletal pain responds very well to acupuncture.

More and more people are discovering the wonderful benefits of acupuncture for reducing pain and inflammation. It’s clinically proven to be effective for joint pain, shoulder pain, low back and sciatic pain, neck and jaw/TMD pain. Basically, most musculoskeletal pain responds very well to acupuncture. What most people aren’t as aware is the myriad of other health issues that can be successfully treated with Chinese medicine. Headaches and migraines, allergies, pregnancy support, fibromyalgia, cancer recovery and hormone balance are just a few conditions that benefit from acupuncture. It is very common for people who initially sought acupuncture for pain to continue to get regular treatment after the pain is resolved. This is because acupuncture innately supports the whole body, no matter the current focus of the treatment. They notice that their sleep is better and they feel less stressed and they didn’t get the flu (even though people were dropping like flies around them!) Getting regular acupuncture, as part of a preventive care program, boosts immunity, lowers stress and is especially helpful for chronic mental and emotional issues. 
This time of year, when the weather is cold and days are short, people who suffer with mood disorders such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or PTSD, often feel a worsening in their symptoms. Acupuncture can prove to be a very valuable healing tool for them, allowing them to remain engaged and joyful in their lives.Bottom line, acupuncture is a safe, natural and effective form of medicine that can treat a wide variety of health conditions. If you, and/or someone close to you, are frustrated with your current physical or mental health and want to feel better, why not give acupuncture a try and experience for yourself all the healing benefits it can offer.

Water and Brain Function

If you’re already a patient of mine, then you’re probably groaning by now. I admit that I do sometimes go on about the amazing benefits of water, but I would be remiss not talk about the vital role of proper hydration in my first newsletter. I guess you could say that I’m passionate about water and the crucial role it plays in our overall health and in our ability (or inability) to heal. And because water is so vital to every aspect of our physical and mental well-being I’m going to break down the many functions into individual topics. In this article I’m going to focus solely on hydration and brain function.

Did you know that the brain is 73% water?! I don’t know about you but as a human well over 50 myself that made me sit up and pay attention. Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, who wrote “Water: For Health, For Healing, For Life: You’re not sick, you’re thirsty” states that chronic unintentional dehydration plays a major role in memory and cognitive decline. If holding on to your little grey cells has become more important of late, then making sure you’re properly hydrated is huge step in the right direction. How well you’re hydrated determines the amount of oxygen that the brain is receiving at any point in time. Oxygen, along with all the minerals and other nutrients needed for optimal brain function, is carried in the blood. It makes sense then that when a person is even slightly dehydrated and oxygen and vital minerals are not being sufficiently delivered to the brains cells that cognition and mood would be effected.According to F. Batmanghelidj, MD, “water is directly needed for the efficient manufacture of all neurotransmitters, including seratonin.” Seratonin is your feel good hormone. Without sufficient serotonin in the brain, you’re more likely to feel anxiety and depression. Neurotransmitters not only play a role in hormone production, they allow the brain to send and receive information from everywhere in the body. Dehydration sets us up for developing dreaded “neurological issues.” Current research is exploring the role of chronic dehydration and the increased risk of developing neurological diseases as Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s disease.

Also, did you know that with even slight dehydration grey matter in the brain actually shrinks and pulls away from the skull, putting stress on the area around it giving us a classic dehydration headache. That’s why drinking a big glass of water often alleviates the pain. Chronic long term dehydration can cause the brain to age prematurely. Signs of premature brain aging are short and long-term memory loss, slower response time, loss of smell and balance problems, to name only a few. Command central, your brain, simple can’t run effectively without enough water.

How much water do you need to drink daily? Half your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 160 lbs. you need to be drinking 80 ounces of pure, preferably filtered, water every day. Fruit juice and soda do not count towards hydration. If you drink caffeinated and/or alcoholic beverages regularly then you need to drink more, but most people aren’t even close to the baseline requirement so I recommend starting there. I encourage all my patients to do the math and then figure out how much their favorite water vessel holds and how many refills are needed to meet the requirement. 100% of my patients who excepted my 2 week water challenge reported feeling better on all levels.

So the take home is this: Proper hydration is essential for optimal brain function and I hope I’ve inspired you to do the 2 week challenge, to see how much better you can feel. Stayed tuned for my next installation on hydration and cardiovascular health.

Note: If you aren’t even close to baseline in your water intake, increase slowly over a few days. If you have any major health issues such major organ failure, please consult your MD before upping your water intake.