Weight Loss With Acupuncture

Blog | July 3, 2017 | By Darin Zimmerman, LAc.
AcupunctureLarge Photo

Over the last twenty years the percentage of obese and overweight Americans has increased dramatically.  The CDC reports obesity almost doubling from 2004 to 2014 and the total percentage of overweight Americans from 56% to a staggering 70%.  Excessive weight can lead to several debilitating and life threatening health conditions including but not limited to: heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, several cancers and sleep apnea.  Because of this epidemic our market has been saturated with countless weight loss fads; but all seeming to direct one back on the weight loss and weight gain roller coaster.

Acupuncture has treated internal disorders for thousands of years by treating the specific individual and their internal pattern of disharmony.  Specific points on the body were discovered and stimulated, creating a reaction in the body to heal its self.  Over the last thirty years countless studies have proven the efficacy of acupuncture for several health related issues.  Weight loss has obviously been a popular topic in the Acupuncture realm.  Studies have shown significant weight loss over 12 week acupuncture treatment protocols, which include acupuncture, ear acupuncture, ear pellets, (band aid adhesive to keep pressure on the ear points until next visit) light exercise regimen and food recommendations.

It is important to know that Acupuncture is an adjunct modality to weight loss.  Even though studies have proven its efficacy against placebo and “sham acupuncture” it is imperative to incorporate all the lifestyle aspects into the treatment.  Get off the roller coaster and get on an Acupuncture protocol so the body can heal, re-balance and reset itself to accept the new habits and a healthier weight.

Meditation and Yoga Can Reverse Inflammation at a Molecular Level

Blog | June 21, 2017 | By Dr. Stephanie Graham, N.M.D.

A recent research review published in the Journal Frontiers in Immunology showed that mind body interventions such as meditation, yoga and Tai Chi may decrease the expression of pro-inflammatory genes. When the body’s ‘fight or flight’ mode is activated by stress, there is an increase in production of factor kappa B (NF-kB), which regulates how our genes are expressed. When the body is under stress, the NF-kB activates genes that secrete inflammatory cytokines. This can accelerate aging and lead to health conditions such as cancer and depression. According to the 2017 study, people who regularly practice mind body interventions show a decrease in the production of NF-kB cytokines, thus reversing the pro-inflammatory expression of the gene. Consider adding meditation, yoga or Tai Chi to your daily routine to reap the health benefits at a molecular level. Talk to a Doctor at Arizona Natural Medicine to find out more ways to help defend our bodies against the effects of stress.


How to Prevent Swimmer’s Ear

Blog | May 22, 2017 | By Dr. Stephanie Graham, N.M.D.

Swimmer’s ear, or otitis externa, is a bacterial infection of the skin of the outer ear canal. This is different than a typical ear infection (otitis media), which affects the middle ear. Swimmer’s ear can start after frequent water exposure such as swimming, diving, water skiing, going to water parks or other water activities. If water gets trapped in the ear long enough, it can facilitate bacterial growth resulting in an infection. Symptoms may include a feeling of fullness in the ear, hearing changes, itching, pain or discharge.

If you plan to do a lot of swimming or other water activities this summer, learn how to protect your ears from infection:

  • Wear earplugs specifically designed for swimming
  • If you are prone to swimmer’s ear, wear earplugs in the shower
  • Dry the outside of your ears with a towel or cloth after bathing or swimming. Avoid using Q-tips because they can cause abrasions to the skin inside the ear canal and contribute to infection.
  • Make a solution using 1 part white vinegar and 1 part rubbing alcohol. Add a few drops to each ear after swimming. (Do not use any drops or solution in the ear if you suspect a punctured ear drum).

Having frequent bacterial infections in the ear may be a sign that there is an imbalance in body. Speak with your Naturopathic Doctor at Arizona Natural Medicine about how to fortify the immune system and help your body be less prone to infections.


Eat Healthy For Your Skin

Blog | May 18, 2017 | By Darin Zimmerman, LAc.
Ingredient Thai Popular Food "Tom Yum"

Collagen is the most abundant protein which makes up about 20% of the body’s mass and is found not only in skin but also in connective tissue and bones. It is often called the glue that keeps us together. Collagen production does naturally decline with age, leading to sagging of the skin, formation of lines and wrinkles, and may cause weakening and stiffness of joints. Unfortunately there is even a more dramatic reduction for woman after menopause.

You need more than good skincare products. You need to help support collagen production from the inside out. You can assist your body to not only produce more collagen but also maintain the healthy skin you have through good diet and supplementation.

First we need to know how to increase the collagen we make naturally. We do this by increasing the nutrients important in collagen production.  Vitamin intake through food and supplements is vital for collagen production and overall skin health. Vitamin C, A, and E are the key players in this production and can be found in foods like broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, oranges, guavas, strawberries, mango, kiwi, walnuts, and beans.

Phytoestrogens are important for woman to consume especially as they age into menopause, helping slow down collagen loss. Genistein, primarily found in soybeans, but also found in smaller quantities in other legumes like fava beans and kudzuis are isoflavones. They have estrogenic properties and block enzymes that break down and age the skin.

Second we focus on foods that protect the collagen we already have. Antioxidants such as Lutein and Catechin found in green and white tea and green leafy vegetables work to neutralize free radicals that can damage and severely age the skin. White tea is also very rich in Phenolic Acid which is known for protecting skin tissue as well. Lutein can be found in dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale. These antioxidant nutrients not only help with collagen production but also protect our collagen and slow down the aging process. So increase foods like kale, spinach, broccoli, beet greens and asapargus and pick up a glass of green tea instead of coffee.

Last but not least, good protein intake is extremely important for collagen production. Protein contains the building blocks called amino acids which are needed in collagen production. In addition, animal protein has a couple different components to add to collagen production. Omega-3 Fatty Acids are found in fish like tuna, mackerel, salmon and cod and also flax seed oil. These fatty acids have many health benefits and keeping the skin soft and elastic is just one.

Gelatin is also a protein based product that helps your body rebuild and restore collagen. Yes, this is the same main component in “Jello” and can be described in the raw as the substance that forms on top of cooked meat after it cools.

Organic Grass Fed Whey protein has been shown to be very effective in the production of collagen because it contains a wide variety of branch chain amino acids. Supplementing a protein powder like this can help make up for inconsistency in the diet, keeping collagen production steady.

So increase your greens, have a cup of green tea, make sure you are getting good sources of protein, and add in a dose of colorful veggies  daily to support collagen production and healthier skin.  Of course, always check with your doctor or licensed health care practitioner to make sure the dietary suggestions talked about are not contra-indicated due to your specific health status.

A Common Ingredient in Beauty Products Can Lead to Hormone Disruption

Blog | April 20, 2017 | By Dr. Stephanie Graham, N.M.D.
Make-up artist applying the mascara to model.

Hormone imbalance has become increasingly more common among younger women. Many women suffer from PMS, menstrual problems, irregular cycles, ovarian cysts, fibroids and infertility. While there are several factors that can contribute to these conditions, a common preservative in personal care products may be one of the culprits. Parabens are used in make-up, hair products, deodorants, lotions, creams and many other medical and beauty products. Because parabens have estrogenic or “estrogen-like” activity in the body, high levels can disrupt the normal balance between estrogen and progesterone. This can lead to “estrogen dominant” conditions like menstrual issues, PMS, infertility and other hormone related conditions.

The good news is parabens can be cleared from the body quickly compared to other environmental toxins because they are not stored in fat cells. The key to preventing parabens from causing health problems is to avoid exposure. You can check your products for parabens by looking at the label: it may say “paraben” or “methylparaben.” But, not all parabens are labeled conspicuously — check for other names such as: “ethyl,” “butyl,” “methyl,” and “propyl.” These are also in the paraben family even though the word “paraben” isn’t in the name. Another way to find non-toxic beauty products is to check them on the Environmental Working Group website at ewg.org. The Naturopathic Doctors at Arizona Natural Medicine are knowledgeable about environmental factors that may affect your health. Make an appointment to discuss your case and find the cause of your hormone imbalance.

Wear It Every Day!

Blog | April 13, 2017 | By Darin Zimmerman, LAc.
Close-up of happy man on beach

In this day of age it is safe to say that most people have used sunscreen at some point in their life.  A vacation on a sunny beach in Mexico or perhaps a three day hike to Havasupai Falls; both trips require protection from the sun all day.  However, it’s not just special trips and occasions that require sunscreen.  UVA and UVB rays are penetrating our skin every second we are exposed to the sun, which is why it is so important to wear sunscreen every day.  It may seem tedious in the beginning, but when you find the right moisturizer with an appropriate SPF for your skin type, it will easily fall into your routine.

Here are 5 reasons why everyone should wear sunscreen every day!

  1. Prevent Cancer!  According to the American Cancer Society skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.
  2. Sun = SPF, Wrong!  Whether it’s sunny, cloudy or rainy; ultra violet rays can penetrate through and still damage your skin.
  3. Don’t Look Your Age! The Skin Cancer Foundation estimates 90% of visible aging is caused by the amount of time spent in the sun.  So if you’re a sun-bather, it’s imperative to apply sunscreen responsibly.
  4. Base Tan = Protection, Wrong!  Yes it’s true the sun will cause you to create more melanin in your skin to where you may not burn as easy.  However, the damage is still being done at the time of exposure and will show itself via age spots, wrinkles, and possibly cancer down the road.
  5. SPF Protection Has Come A Long Way! White zinc covered noses are a thing of the past.  Technology allows us to choose from moisturizers specifically for our face and hands, to heavy duty creams and sprays for the rest of our body.  Sun protective apparel is also available in hats, shirts and pants.

Testing for Insomnia: Do I Have Low Melatonin?

Blog | March 20, 2017 | By Dr. Stephanie Graham, N.M.D.
Happy couple sleeping in a comfortable bed at home

Insomnia is a common problem that affects nearly 30 percent of the population. Many underlying factors can contribute to insomnia and they may be due to a physiological problem or may be related to mental and emotional factors such as anxiety or depression. One common cause of insomnia is an imbalance in the sleep-wake cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm. For the circadian rhythm to function correctly, cortisol (promotes wakefulness) and melatonin (promotes sleep) need to be in proper balance. Oftentimes, stress, overwork, night shift work, chronic pain, or the overconsumption of caffeine or alcohol can disrupt the delicate cortisol-melatonin equilibrium resulting in difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep.

There is an easy way to determine your melatonin levels using a non-invasive saliva test. Melatonin is made in the pineal gland in the brain and can be tested in the saliva. This is generally used in conjunction with an adrenal saliva cortisol test to determine if the adrenal glands are functioning optimally.

Patients who come in for insomnia have often already tried over-the-counter melatonin with some success, but for others it is not effective or can even make insomnia worse. Taking too much melatonin can have a negative impact on sleep and can affect other hormones in the body. For this reason, it is important to investigate the root cause of the insomnia to help guide the treatment plan. Schedule a visit with a Naturopathic Doctor at Arizona Natural Medicine to help evaluate any potential hidden causes of your insomnia.

Healthy Protein Smoothie Recipes

Blog | March 1, 2017 | By Sarv Varta K Khalsa, N.M.D.
fruit smoothies

Starting off your day with a healthy protein smoothie is a great way to stabilize your blood sugar and support your energy through the day.
If you’re using the same ingredients every single day then it may start to feel monotonous and you may lose your desire for your daily protein smoothie. To prevent this from happening it’s a good idea to mix it up a little bit and try different recipes to keep your palate engaged and improve your level of enjoyment of this healthy habit.

Here are 3 recipes for healthy protein smoothies to try:

1) Very Berry Smoothie : Start your day off with a bang with this fruit-packed smoothie recipe. It even includes a little ginger that helps support digestion.

1 scoop protein powder (whey or vegan)
1 cup frozen unsweetened raspberries
¾ cup chilled unsweetened almond or rice milk
¼ cup frozen pitted unsweetened cherries or raspberries
1½ Tbsp honey (or can use a little Stevia instead)
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tsp ground flaxseed
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

COMBINE all ingredients in blender, adding lemon juice to taste. Puree until smooth.

2) Strawberry-Kiwi Delight: Stay full and fight disease. This high-fiber smoothie recipe becomes even healthier when you use organic kiwis, which contain higher levels of heart-healthy polyphenols and vitamin C.

1 scoop protein powder (whey or vegan)
1¼ c cold apple juice (can do half and half with water for lower sugar content)
1 ripe banana, sliced
1 kiwifruit, sliced
5 frozen strawberries
1½ tsp honey (or can use a little Stevia instead)

COMBINE the juice, banana, kiwifruit, strawberries, and honey. Blend until smooth.

3) Apricot-Mango Madness: Fresh lemon juice adds a tangy splash to this sweet smoothie.

1 scoop protein powder (whey or vegan)
6 apricots, peeled, pitted, and chopped (about 2 c)
2 ripe mangoes, 10 to 12 ounces each, peeled and chopped (about 2 c)
1 c reduced-fat milk or plain low-fat yogurt
4 tsp fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp vanilla extract
8 ice cubes
Lemon peel twists (garnish)

1. PLACE the apricots, mangoes, milk or yogurt, lemon juice, and vanilla extract in a blender. Process for 8 seconds. Add the ice cubes, and process 6 to 8 seconds longer, or until smooth.
2. POUR into tall glasses, garnish with lemon twists, if desired, and serve immediately.

Resource: http://www.prevention.com
(Note: protein powder added as an ingredient to increase protein content).

Low Level Light Therapyy

Blog | February 23, 2017 | By Darin Zimmerman, LAc.

Light therapy can be dated back to the 1960’s where many studies began on its effectiveness for wound healing.  Since then light therapy has broadened from several different light sources and healing capabilities.  Specifically, low level laser therapy or LLLT utilizing light emitting diodes also know as LED’s have become widely recognized over the last decade.  Countless studies have been conducted to measure and prove the efficacy of LLLT in muscle skeletal issues, acne and skin conditions, along with rejuvenating the skin.

LLLT is a delivery system for light energy to penetrate specific levels of the skin wherein a natural, non-invasive healing process occurs.  Biophotas, the creators of Celluma have created an LLLT system with several different wavelength options for specific healing functions all in one machine.  With NASA research and development behind it, this machine has set the new bar for Light Therapy.  In just thirty minutes, this state of the art technology is able to stimulate ATP (cell energy) production in fibroblasts cells (responsible for wound healing and tissue repair), along with increasing oxygen and blood flow in which the body is able to rejuvenate itself faster and more efficiently.

In a Nut Shell, Celluma’s LED Light Therapy

  • Increases collagen and elastin production
  • Diminishes fine lines and wrinkles
  • Kills bacteria while creating a clearer, smoother and radiant complexion
  • Painless, natural and non-invasive
  • Works on all skin types with no recovery time
  • Alleviates muscle, joint pain and stiffness

All of us at Arizona Natural Medicine® are very excited about the new addition of Light Therapy and the vast benefits for our patients.  Be on the lookout for more information on how you can incorporate Light Therapy into your journey to a healthier you.




Inflammation Causes Heart Disease?

Blog | February 20, 2017 | By Dr. Stephanie Graham, N.M.D.
close up of child hands holding red heart

February is American Heart Month and it is a great reminder to start taking better care of our bodies. In the U.S., cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death. Understanding how heart disease develops can give us better tools to help prevent it. In recent decades, research indicates that inflammation, even low level, is a significant risk factor for heart disease. High sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRPhs) is an inflammatory marker that can be tested in routine screening blood work in addition to a cholesterol panel to determine cardiovascular risk. There are many ways to combat inflammation in the body and a good place to start is the incorporation of healthy eating habits and regular activity. Having an adequate intake of antioxidant rich foods like fruits and vegetables and engaging in regular exercise are the foundation for the prevention of chronic disease. Your Naturopathic Doctor can order routine labs and help design a treatment plan based on your individual needs to help reduce your risk for heart disease.