Sugar and Your High Blood Pressure

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Did you know? Eating too much sugar contributes to high blood pressure. And this article based upon a fairly recent study mentioned below suggests it could have a greater spiking effect than salt.

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As unhealthy as I knew overeating sugar and refined carbohydrates can be, this is new and useful information. When you’re always telling people to consume less sugar, bread and pasta, you want to offer the best reasons possible. It’s even possible to eat too much fruit because of the high fructose content. The connection to high blood pressure can hopefully convince more people to cut back while still enjoying the joys of sweet-tasting food.

In good health!

Josh Zimmer, Ap/DOM

New Harmony at The Gabriel Center

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Acupressure Massage For Neuropathy

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Peripheral Neuropathy is a common condition involving a mix of sensations – none of them comfortable. Millions of people are affected, with mainstream medicine offering  no clear drug-based fix.

Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to painful shooting pain that might even cause a burning feeling. A person may experience a truly bothersome mix. Because of the discomfort, people may start to walk and exercise less due to weakness and loss of balance. It drains confidence.

Diabetics are particularly prone to Neuropathy, as are stroke victims, whose conditions easily attack the nerve endings at the far ends of the body. That makes hands and feet real focal points of frustration. But opportunity, too.

A big piece of the Neuropathy puzzle is lack of circulation, and I usually quick results with acupressure massage or, as it’s known in Chinese Medicine, Tui Na. It’s an effective alternative, or partner, to medications usually handed out for the condition, like pain killers, anti-seizure medicine, capsaicin cream and anti-depressants.

While exercises and stretching can help reduce pain and increase sensation, they don’t always address the problem with the hands-on directness of acupressure massage, which combines point stimulation with the fingers with deeply invigorating hand techniques.

“Rolling”, for instance, creates a penetrating vibrational stimulus on deadened or hyperactive nerves that harmonizes imbalances with new blood flow.

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In just a few sessions – a little too spread out for my liking – a new patient of mine, a woman in her 70s, says she has less pain in her feet.

Also, I’ve been using acupressure, which opens up the energy channels through the affected areas for both local and general body relief. The stronger your body is the greater are its recuperative powers!

Instead of simply relying on drugs, exercises and physical therapy, consider the benefits of Tui Na acupressure massage. You may discover you’re recovering even faster than before.

Licensed Acupuncturist Josh Zimmer, Ap/DOM – New Harmony

The Gabriel Center – Sarasota, FL

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Better Ankle Care – Why?

A lot of people say their feet and ankles hurt. Upon further inspection, it’s clear that right above them, their calves and achilles heels are tight and painful, too.

Wouldn’t that make walking more of a chore? What if we decide – either consciously or unconsciously – not to walk as much. By exercising less,  you’ll be sacrificing an important part of your health.

Ankles

Before detailing my approach to ankle pain, which involves stretching and, yes, Traditional Chinese Medicine modalities like acupuncture, tui na massage and herbal ointments, here’s an informative New York Times piece a recent study exploring the consequences of weakening ankles.

The study looked at why runners slow down over time. But I think the findings are relevant to non-runners, as well, because in the process of conducting their research they collected new evidence shedding light on the specific nature of ankle muscles and why they weaken faster than others as we age.

Part of the reason is natural aging. However – and this is critical – the study implies there are useful steps we can take to strengthen and loosen our ankles so the decline unfolds at a slower rate.

The downsides to bad ankles were highlighted in another recent study published in The New York Times. The upshot: people with unhealed ankle injuries walk significantly less.

Less walking risks weight gain, decreased range of motion and balance and, potentially worse, a loss of confidence in the ability to lead a normal life.

The feet and ankles are extremely important in Chinese Medicine. The abundance of points there speaks to the concentration of energy channel flow through those areas. It helps explain why acupuncture, along with acupressure on the points and massaging of the local energy channels (tui na), help promote new flexibility. But since people don’t get acupuncture or tui na everyday, consistent stretching becomes essential. It can help you avoid the pitfalls of chronically stiff ankles.

The first NYT article mentions exercises recommended by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. But here’s a way to start – with the exercises pictured below. For my ankle-calf-achilles stretch routine, I incorporate jumping – with or without a jump rope – to promote strength, balance and elasticity.

Ankle Stretches 1 Ankle Wall Stretch

Watching patients suffer from an area of the body we don’t pay much attention sparked a much-welcomed change in my stretching routine.

So start thinking more about your ankles!

Josh Zimmer, Ap/DOM

New Harmony – Bringing New to Harmony

Sarasota, FL

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Hard to Believe? The Microbiome and What It Does

Hard to Believe? The Microbiome and What It Does

There’s a good reason the ancient Chinese and other historic cultures attached so much value to healthy diet and digestion (what we’re talking about here is a process that doesn’t leave us tired, overweight, burdened with abdominal cramps, excessive gas and free of chronic diarrhea or constipation). They knew what science is now beginning to embrace: that the family of microbes living in our digestive tract – our Microbiome – is an essential partner in everyone’s health.

Hint: a diet of fresh, unprocessed food is essential to breeding and maintaining healthy bacteria.

They evolved with us in a journey covering millions of years. To get familiar with your all-important intestinal flora, here’s a basic list of what those microscopic creatures do for us every moment of the day, according the research summarized by renowned neurologist David Perlmutter, MD in his book “Brain Maker.”

  • Aid in the digestion and the absorption of nutriets.
  • Form a protective barrier against harmful viruses and parasites
  • Detoxification. The Microbiome neutralizes dangerous toxins.
  • Supports the Immune system by controlling certain immune cells, effectively combating a wide variety autoimmune issues. Multiple Sclerosis, for example, is an autoimmune disease.
  • By assisting the immune system, the Microbiome plays a major part in controlling inflammation, recognized as a key factor in many modern chronic diseases.
  • Produces vital enzymes and chemicals the interact with other important parts of the body, such as vitamins and neurotransmitters.
  • Helps us manage stress by influencing our hormones.
  • Helps with sleep

Josh Zimmer, Ap/DOM

New Harmony – Sarasota, FL

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The Next Frontier in Human Health

The Human Microbiome Project

For the past several years, the National Institutes of Health has devoted exciting new energy and resources to understanding the complex microbial environment that helps us live – our “Microbiome.” A major component of the Microbiome is the bacterial communities that reside within our intestinal tract, that all important pathway that processes our food, absorbs nutrients, excretes what’s not needed and, on the whole, plays a major role in how we feel. Many, if not most, chronic conditions involve some degree of digestive malfunction. This is a big idea in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Understanding how imbalances between good and bad intestinal bacteria will help the modern world better combat disease and the underlying causes of it.

NIH Human Microbiome Project

The Importance of Good Diet

Thank you, Dr. David Perlmutter, for taking such a detailed look at our Microbiomes. “Brain Maker” once again emphasizes the dangers of eating the wrong foods all the time. Processed foods and excessive sugars, along with a dearth of fresh vegetables and water, create many of the conditions behind chronic conditions affecting people at all stages of life.

Brain Maker