Monday, October 29, 2012

Acupuncture, Yes.

Figuring out what medical expenses qualify for flexible-spending accounts can be tricky. Yesterday, a Wall Street Journal article highlighted this very issue. This short piece reminds me - to remind YOU - that we have arrived to the season of the "benefits rush." It is the end-of-year period when employees make a mad dash to use up remaining funds in medical flexible-spending accounts.
"People want to make sure they don't lose the money," says Craig Hankins, who leads consumer-engagement programs in UnitedHealthcare's product and innovation group. Employer-sponsored flexible-spending accounts, or FSAs, allow workers to sock away pretax earnings for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Unlike health-savings accounts available to those enrolled in qualified high-deductible health plans, FSA funds can't be rolled over from year to year. What does and doesn't count as a qualified medical expense, however, can be confusing. Fortunately for our patients, Acupuncture is covered by FSA accounts! Call or email today to schedule appointments before the end of the year. As life grows more hectic and holiday plans (and the flu season) is underway, isn't this the perfect time for Acupuncture? And doesn't coverage by your employer make it all the sweeter?

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Video: Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia (FM or FMS) is a medical disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain and a heightened and painful response to pressure. Other symptoms include debilitating fatigue, sleep disturbance, and joint stiffness. Fibromyalgia is estimated to affect 2–4% of the population, with a female to male incidence ratio of approximately 9:1. The term "fibromyalgia" derives from new Latin, fibro-, meaning "fibrous tissues", Greek myo-, "muscle", and Greek algos-, "pain"; thus the term literally means "muscle andconnective tissue pain".

Researchers estimate that the majority of fibromyalgia patients try alternative treatments to relieve their symptoms. The ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture is one that helps. A study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings shows acupuncture relieves fatigue and anxiety in fibromyalgia patients for up to seven months after the treatment. We find overall that acupuncture for FMS has a positive effect, and acupuncture combined with western medicine strengthens the curative effect. 

Want to try acupuncture but not sure what to expect? Call us directly or check out our online FAQ's.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

An Introduction to the Essentials

Nature provides us with a vast array of medicinal plants that humans have relied upon since the beginning of humankind.

Today, those same medicinal plants are still used in a distilled and concentrated form we call essential oils. Safe, effective, and affordable, essential oils do far more than just smell good: they heal!

This weekend, I attended a seminar to further my training (and feed my interest!) in the use of essential oils with Chinese medicine. We at Health On Pint Acupuncture use only pure and certified organic essential oils, guaranteed to be as safe and effective as nature intended. 

Essential oils combined with acupuncture often provide far greater results than either treatment alone. The effects extend beyond relaxation or calming the mind and spirit (though they are excellent at those). The scientific body of research is growing constantly with proven uses for essential oils including killing many types of harmful bacteria and providing pain relief!

Health On Point Acupuncture is dedicated to providing healing with and education of essential oils to anyone interested in at-home, holistic health care. We are in the process of putting together essential oil and self care packages for the season, please let us know if you are interested! For more information, e-mail or call us.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Food Matters: A response to the Stanford Study

As many of my patients know, I have a not-so-secret love affair with Mark Bittman. First, and perhaps most importantly, I credit my husband's interest in food and cooking skills (which began about 72 hours after our son was born) to Mr. Bittman's now defunct Minimalist articles (and videos!) in the NYTimes.

At the same time, I adore his published cookbooks and online instructions, but I can't help but obsessively follow his food blog. The blog has taken a more political turn in recent years, and I am completely on board. As a sort of homage to Mr. Bittman, I plan on providing excerpts from his work, every now and then, for my readers. Below is from an October 3rd article. Let me know what you think!

I tried to ignore the month-old “Stanford study.” I really did. It made so little sense that I thought it would have little impact.

That was dumb of me, and I’m sorry.

The study, which suggested — incredibly — that there is no “strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods,” caused as great an uproar as anything that has happened, food-wise, this year...

That’s because headlines (and, of course, tweets) matter. The Stanford study was not only an exercise in misdirection, it was a headline generator. By providing “useful” and “counterintuitive” information about organic food, it played right into the hands of the news hungry while conveniently obscuring important features of organic agriculture.

If I may play with metaphor for a moment, the study was like declaring guns no more dangerous than baseball bats when it comes to blunt-object head injuries. It was the equivalent of comparing milk and Elmer’s glue on the basis of whiteness. It did, in short, miss the point. Even Crystal Smith-Spangler, a Stanford co-author, perfectly captured the narrowness of the study when she said: “some believe that organic food is always healthier and more nutritious. We were a little surprised that we didn’t find that.” That’s because they didn’t look — or even worse, they ignored.

In fact, the Stanford study — actually a meta-study, an analysis of more than 200 existing studies — does say that “consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

Since that’s largely why people eat organic foods, what’s the big deal? Especially if we refer to common definitions of “nutritious” and point out that, in general, nutritious food promotes health and good condition. How can something that reduces your exposure to pesticides and antibiotic-resistant bacteria not be “more nutritious” than food that doesn’t?

Because the study narrowly defines “nutritious” as containing more vitamins. Dr. Dena Bravata, the study’s senior author, conceded that there are other reasons why people opt for organic (the aforementioned pesticides and bacteria chief among them) but said that if the decision between buying organic or conventional food were based on nutrients, “there is not robust evidence to choose one or the other.” By which standard you can claim that, based on nutrients, Frosted Flakes are a better choice than an apple.

Read the rest of the column here.

If you are interested in additional information about Mark Bittman's cooking and philosophy, do let me know. I plan on sharing some of my favorite seasonal recipes (modified Bittman meals!) soon.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Acupuncture Can Ease Kids' Pain

Last year, an analysis in the journal Pediatrics concluded that acupuncture was safe for kids "when performed by appropriately trained practitioners," and officials at pediatric hospitals estimate that at least a third of U.S. pain centers for children offer acupuncture.

Victoria Rust, 17, receives acupuncture treatment.
                                                  / photo courtesy Washington Post
When medicine caused stomach bleeding and had to be stopped, a doctor at Children's National Medical Center suggested acupuncture.

Rust and her mother agreed to let a physician place thin needles into her stomach and other spots; within minutes, the West Virginia high school student felt better.

"I was mellowed," she said. "The pain didn't come." Children and needles may seem an unusual pairing, but doctors say a growing number of families are choosing acupuncture.

Last year, an analysis in the journal Pediatrics concluded that acupuncture was safe for kids "when performed by appropriately trained practitioners."

Officials at pediatric hospitals estimate that at least a third of U.S. pain centers for children offer acupuncture. The federal government's National Health Interview Survey, which last asked about acupuncture in 2007, estimated that about 150,000 children were receiving needle treatment annually for conditions such as pain, migraine and anxiety.

"People will often bring it up before I bring it up," said Jennifer Anderson, an anesthesiologist at Children's who is also a licensed acupuncturist. Anderson and other doctors said acupuncture is a safe adjunct to traditional treatments. A 2008 review of studies published in the Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology cited evidence that acupuncture is effective for preventing nausea after surgery in children and for alleviating pain.

Acupuncturists often develop ways to ease children's fears, including describing the needles as little hairs.

Angela Gabriel, an acupuncturist at the Center for Integrative Medicine at George Washington University Medical Center, said some children are fearful of needles, but "by 8, 9 or 10, a lot of kids think it's cool."

As one of only a handful of Board Certified Acupuncturists in Iowa City, Rachel has completed additional training with a focus in pediatrics. If you believe your child may benefit from acupuncture, contact Rachel today. We offer sessions before and after school hours, as well as special pricing for pediatric patients.
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