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May 17, 2017

How Does Acupuncture Work?

 by Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald

When I first started practicing acupuncture in the 1980’s, the most frequent question asked by patients was “does acupuncture really work?”

These days, thanks to advances in research, medical endorsements, and plenty of positive press, the conversation has changed from “does acupuncture work” to “how does acupuncture work?”

Up until recently, its profound effects could only be described by explaining the Traditional Chinese Medicine principle of “Qi”—the energy or “life force” that flows through our body, organs, and systems. If our qi is balanced, we experience health, if it is imbalanced—too strong or too weak—in one organ or system, we experience disharmony that leads to disease.

For some patients in those early years, the explanation of Qi theory was enough…or at least enough to sustain them until they experienced results from their treatments. But for others it was a tough concept to grasp, especially in Western culture where we have such reverence for the tangible, explainable, and scientific.

Fast-forward to present-day, and neural imaging and advanced anatomical research is proving the science behind the how acupuncture works on a physiological level.

In today’s post, we will step away from Qi theory and instead look at the hard-science behind how acupuncture works to treat disease.

The Mechanics on How an Acupuncture Treatment Works

If you have already experienced acupuncture, go ahead and skip to the next section, but for those who haven’t, here are the mechanics behind how an acupuncture treatment works:

An acupuncture session starts with a thorough intake including health history, tongue diagnosis (where we look for specific signs of disease by observing the shape, size, and color of your tongue), and pulse taking.
After that, the patient lies on a treatment table (like a massage table) and the acupuncturist inserts hair-thin needles into specific acupuncture points on the skin.
These acupuncture points all correspond to specific organs in the body which are connected through your meridian system—think of it as an invisible pathway of energy running through your body.
The needles are placed on acupuncture points to re-balance the Qi of your systems and organs. Though it may sound painful, the needles are so thin you typically feel nothing more than a firm to gentle tap on the skin.
Then the patient is asked to rest and relax (and it is relaxing) while the needles do their work.
After some time has passed (usually 20-45 minutes) the needles are removed and, unless the acupuncturist determines otherwise, the treatment is complete.

Patients almost always leave feeling deeply relaxed, rebalanced, pain-free, and often more energetic than when they arrived.

Now that you know the mechanics of a treatment, let’s look at the physiology and science behind how those needles work their magic.

Korean Study Proves the Meridian System Exists on Physical Level

As mentioned above, Meridians are the energy pathways that connect the Qi to the different acupuncture in relation to the organs and systems of the body.

For example, if you were suffering from asthma your acupuncturist may place needles along the lung meridian point (among others) to balance that lung energy.

Meridian theory has always been difficult for the Western population to grasp, as Meridians could never be measured on a physical, anatomical basis…until 2013 when Korean researchers began proving the existence of Meridians through a newly discovered system coined: The Primo Vascular System or PVS1.

Researchers from the study state:

“The PVS is a previously unknown system that integrates the features of the cardiovascular, nervous, immune, and hormonal systems. It also provides a physical substrate for the acupuncture points and meridians….

“We propose a new vision of the anatomical basis for the PVS and the vital energy—called “Qi”—as an electromagnetic wave that is involved very closely with the DNA in the PVS. DNA provides genetic information and it functions as a store of information that can be obtained from the electromagnetic fields of the environment.”

The new research on the Primo Vascular System’s existence is an exciting development in validating an age-old Eastern philosophy in the West; but there is more science to back up how acupuncture works on specific ailments, let’s look at this now.

How Acupuncture Repatterns Your Brain to Feel Less Pain

Pain and musculoskeletal conditions, are one of the top reasons people seek acupuncture, and they are also the most documented conditions in which acupuncture has proven effective.

But, how does acupuncture work, physiologically, on pain?

Neural imagining research, such as reported by Autonomic Neuroscience 2, have shown acupuncture produces specific changes in the regions of the brain that control and process pain. Other studies from the American Pain Society3 found similar results for pain, but also cognitive and sensory function, and research using MRIs found the same results held true for patients with carpal tunnel syndrome4.

How Acupuncture Relieves Stress and Stress-Related Conditions

Stress relief is another top reason people receive acupuncture. As we have talked about in previous posts, stress lies at the root of nearly all chronic degenerative disease.

A study conducted by medical researchers at Georgetown University5 showed acupuncture works on balancing the stress response by reducing the levels of a specific protein (protein neuropeptide Y (NPY) linked to the fight-or-flight response and chronic stress.

Acupuncture has also been proven to increase your body’s production of endorphins and other feel good hormones and chemicals, while reducing stress hormones like cortisol, which also explains the relaxing and rejuvenating sensations patients experience from treatment.

Given the role chronic stress plays in nearly all disease, the findings of these studies are significant as they prove acupuncture’s beneficial effects on nearly all types of chronic disease.

How Does Acupuncture Work for Fertility?

Acupuncture treatments for enhancing fertility have become popular among individuals and couples suffering from infertility.

It is so popular that many Western reproductive health experts often refer patients to acupuncturists when modern science fails.

Case in point: a 2002 German study of 160 women published in the Reproductive Health Journal of Fertility and Sterility found that when acupuncture was added to traditional In Vitro Fertilization procedures, their effectiveness was substantially increased (34 pregnancies in the acupuncture IVF group, vs 21 pregnancies in the IVF-only group).6

But how does acupuncture enhance fertility in men and women?

Studies have shown acupuncture can alter the release of various hormones associated with fertility, such as prolactin, oxytocin, luteinizing and growth hormone, and modulate thyroid function7, 8, 9. This, coupled with the stress-reducing affects which also affect hormones, goes a long way to explaining the connection between acupuncture success with fertility in men and women.

What Other Conditions Has Acupucnture Been Proven to Work For?

We touched on how acupuncture works on the top conditions it is sought out for. BUT, its effects don’t stop there.

In 2003 the World Health Organization published a report entitled: “Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trial” 10 on the efficacy of acupuncture in treating over 100 conditions including:

Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
Biliary colic
Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
Dysentery, acute bacillary
Dysmenorrhoea, primary
Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
Headache
Hypertension, essential
Hypotension, primary
Induction of labour
Knee pain
Leukopenia
Low back pain
Malposition of fetus, correction of
Morning sickness
Nausea and vomiting
Neck pain
Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)
Periarthritis of shoulder
Postoperative pain
Renal colic
Rheumatoid arthritis
Sciatica
Sprain
Stroke
Tennis elbow
It has been such an honor to observe the resolution of these, and countless other ailments in my patients and colleagues throughout my 30+ years in practice.

Today, the scientific part of my brain loves reading and sharing the latest research behind the why and how acupuncture works. And the other part me that originally fell in love with Chinese Medicine 30 years ago, still connects with the theory of energetic medicine; the Qi, the meridian system, and the profound impact of the energetic body/life force on the physiology of all living things.

I hope today’s post has helped you see the validity of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in a whole new light, I am continually amazed at the results I see in patients, and I hope this information has inspired you to consider acupuncture in your journey towards greater health. 

References:

1:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24290797

2: "Neural mechanisms of acupuncture as revealed by fMRI studies." Autonomic Neuroscience (2015).

3: “Inserting needles into the body: a meta-analysis of brain activity associated with acupuncture needle stimulation.” Journal of Pain (2003).

“Somatosensory cortical plasticity in carpal tunnel syndrome treated by acupuncture.” Human Brain Mapp (2006)
5: https://www.georgetown.edu/news/acupuncture-stress-reduction-study.html  

6: “Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy.” Reproductive Health Journal of Fertility and Sterility (2002)

7: Pullan PT et al: Endogenous opiates modulate release of growth hormone in response to electro acupuncture, Life Sci 32: 1705-1709, 1983.

8: Smith FWK: The neurophysiological basis of acupuncture. In Schoen AM: Veterinary acupuncture , St. Louis , 1994, Moxby, pp 33-53.

9: Bossut DFB et al: Electro acupuncture-induced analgesia I sheep: measurement of cutaneous pain thresholds and plasma concentrations of prolactin and B -endorphin immunoreactivity, Am J Vet Res 47:669-676, 1986.

10: “Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trial”

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April 9, 2017

On Our Radar: April 2017

At the Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

Click to learn what's on our radar this month.

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March 4, 2017

On Our Radar: March 2017

At the Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

Click to learn what's on our radar this month.

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January 30, 2017

On Our Radar: February 2017

At the Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

Click to learn what's on our radar this month.

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January 4, 2017

On Our Radar: January 2017

At the Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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December 7, 2016

On Our Radar: December 2016

At the Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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November 8, 2016

On Our Radar: November 2016

At the Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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October 1, 2016

On Our Radar: October 2016

At the Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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September 6, 2016

On Our Radar: September 2016

At the Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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August 9, 2016

On Our Radar: August 2016

At the Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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July 4, 2016

On Our Radar: July 2016

At the Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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June 7, 2016

On Our Radar: June 2016

At the Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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May 8, 2016

On Our Radar: May 2016

At the Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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April 10, 2016

On Our Radar: April 2016

At the Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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March 4, 2016

On Our Radar: March 2016

At the Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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February 3, 2016

On Our Radar: February 2016

At the Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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January 14, 2016

On Our Radar: January 2016

Happy 2016! At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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December 16, 2015

On Our Radar: December 2015

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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November 1, 2015

On Our Radar: November 2015

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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October 4, 2015

On Our Radar: October 2015

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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August 30, 2015

On Our Radar: September 2015

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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August 2, 2015

On Our Radar: August 2015

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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July 18, 2015

On Our Radar: July 2015

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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June 14, 2015

On Our Radar: June 2015

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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May 25, 2015

On Our Radar: May 2015

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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April 11, 2015

On Our Radar: April 2015

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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September 27, 2014

Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald on Shelter Dogs and Prison Inmates in The Huffington Post

prison inmates and shelter dogsDr. Patricia Fitzgerald, founder of the Santa Monica Wellness Center and HuffPost Wellness Editor, writes on The Huffington Post about a special relationship between shelter dogs and prison inmates. In her article entitled "Who Rescued Whom? Shelter Dogs and Prison Inmates Give Each Other a New 'Leash' on Life", Dr. Fitzgerald explains a program by Karma Rescue, a nonprofit that saves at-risk dogs from high-kill shelters across Southern California.

Fitzgerald writes, "Karma Rescue partnered with the California State Prison Los Angeles County in Lancaster to create "Paws for Life," a program that matches rescued dogs with inmates who train them to boost their odds of adoption. Programs that pair inmates with shelter dogs exist across the nation, but this is the first program in California to take place at a high-security prison with inmates serving life sentences."

The results of this unique program were amazing - both for the prison inmates and the dogs. Read Dr. Fitzgerald's article HERE to find out how this program has changed not just the inmates taking care of the dogs, but the entire prison.

September 3, 2014

On Our Radar: Summer Edition

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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August 1, 2014

Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald Shares the Special Ways Dogs Touch Our Lives on HuffPost

Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald, founder of the Santa Monica Wellness Center and HuffPost Wellness Editor, writes on Huffpost's The Third Metric about 30 things that only dog owners understand. As someone who has volunteered in animal rescue for a long time, Dr. Fitzgerald knows what she's writing about, and shares her top things that only dog owners experience.

Fitzgerald writes: "I'm constantly reminded of how dogs bring alive the Third Metric values of well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving. They bring us joy. They keep us in the present moment. They make us laugh. They touch our hearts in the most unique way."

To read Dr. Fitzgerald's full article in The Huffington Post, click here.

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July 22, 2014

On Our Radar: July Edition

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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July 5, 2014

Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald on Mindfulness in The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post's The Third Metric seeks to redefine success beyond money and power. Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald, founder of the Santa Monica Wellness Center and HuffPost Wellness Editor, writes on Huffpost's The Third Metric about how we can bring mindfulness to our choice of words to reduce stress and bring more joy into our lives.

Fitzgerald writes: "With an intention to bring mindfulness to your choice of words, you will notice words and/or phrases that don't feel good and that don't add value to your life. Now you can start playing around with language and see what phrases feel lighter and better and help you move in the direction that will bring more joy and peace into your life."

To read Dr. Fitzgerald's full article in The Huffington Post, click here.

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June 13, 2014

On Our Radar: June Edition

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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May 17, 2014

On Our Radar: May Edition

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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May 3, 2014

On Our Radar: Spring Edition

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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March 28, 2014

Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald on Well-Being on HuffPost Live

HuffPost's Third Metric seeks to redefine success beyond money and power. Arianna Huffington's new book 'Thrive,' explores the four components of the Third Metric: well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving.

Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald, founder of the Santa Monica Wellness Center and HuffPost Wellness Editor, was interviewed on HuffPost Live about the importance of well-being. To watch Dr. Fitzgerald at minute 17:00, click here!

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March 23, 2014

On Our Radar: March Edition

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this month, read on.

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February 16, 2014

On Our Radar: February Edition

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this week, read on.

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January 25, 2014

On Our Radar: January Edition

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this week, read on.

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January 4, 2014

Santa Monica Wellness Center Welcomes Tara Schachter, LAc

Santa Monica Wellness Center is proud to welcome Tara Schachter, L.Ac., our newest associate acupuncturist. Tara has been mentoring under Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald, founder at Santa Monica Wellness Center, for several years and will continue to do so now as a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist.

For more about Tara and how to make an appointment for a treatment, click here.

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December 27, 2013

On Our Radar: New Year’s Edition

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this week, read on.

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December 27, 2013

Dr. Fitzgerald’s Herbal Spotlight: Holy Basil

One of my favorite herbs is Holy Basil. I have been very familiar with it as an adaptogenic herb, helping the body deal with the effects of stress: aiding in sleep, calming the mind, promoting a feeling of well-being. I'll never the forget the morning I found out that it has even more amazing properties...

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December 8, 2013

On Our Radar: Health News We Read and Recommend

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this week, read on.

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November 23, 2013

Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald contributes to Redbook Magazine and Woman’s Day

Dr. Fitzgerald contributes to Redbook Magazine

Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald, founder of Santa Monica Wellness Center, recently contributed to articles on natural healthcare and wellness in Redbook and Woman's Day. See what health tips Dr. Fitzgerald is sharing with readers of these favorite lifestyle magazines. Read on...

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November 9, 2013

On Our Radar: Health News We Read and Recommend

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this week, read on.

Comments (0). Leave a Comment.

October 12, 2013

On Our Radar: Health News We Read and Recommend

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this week, read on.

Comments (0). Leave a Comment.

September 27, 2013

On Our Radar: Health News We Read and Recommend

At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we started "On Our Radar" - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this week, read on.

Comments (1). Leave a Comment.

September 6, 2013

On Our Radar: Health News We Read and Recommend


At The Santa Monica Wellness Center, we not only help you obtain and maintain optimum, abundant health. We also seek to educate our patients and the community about ways to stay healthy and keep them informed about latest news and advancements in integrative healthcare. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health and achieve your fullest potential.

That's why we introduce "On Our Radar" to you - a regular blog series on latest health news we read and recommend for you to read, too. The more informed you are, the more empowered you can be when it comes to your wellbeing.

To learn what's on our radar this week, read on.

Comments (0). Leave a Comment.

August 31, 2013

Read Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald’s Latest Huffington Post Article on Heart Health for Women

Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald's latest article on The Huffington Post shines a light on a women's health concern that's often neglected: heart disease. In her article, the Santa Monica Wellness Center founder points out why it's time for women to pay more attention to this health concern.

In fact, the Huffington Post has joined forces with the American Heart Association to educate women on how they can promote heart health and decrease stress. Dr. Fitzgerald highlights that "Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, and every year it kills significantly more women than all types of cancers combined."

You can read Dr. Fitzgerald's important article on Huffington Post Healthy Living here. Please share it with other women who might find this information useful!

Here's a preview of Dr. Fitzgerald's latest article on HuffPost Healthy Living:

Dr. Fitzgerald's Huffington Post article

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July 13, 2013

Hear Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald Speak at Dr. Lissa Rankin’s Book Launch Event in Hollywood

Mark your calendar for Sunday, July 21, to hear Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald, founder of Santa Monica Wellness Center, speak at Dr. Lissa Rankin's Mind Over Medicine book launch event in Hollywood.

To learn more about this exciting event that is hosted by Mastin Kipp from The Daily Love and to get your tickets today, click here!

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July 5, 2013

The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money and Power

Ask someone what their definition of success is and the answers will vary. Some will equate success with having lots of money. Others will equate success with career advancement. Some will equate success with having a happy marriage, good relationships with their children, and fulfilling friendships. Some might describe a combination of these factors. I don't know about you, but when I hear someone refer to a person as successful, they are usually referring to the elements of money and or some type of external power, i.e. career or social position. I personally don't remember hearing someone describe parents who work hard to provide for their children with the priority of creating a healthy family life as successful. Not that such parents wouldn't be admired for what they do, but the word "success" isn't what I've heard expressed. Or least I haven't heard it regarding such circumstances.

Time to redefine success beyond money and power. That was the theme of the conference that I was truly honored to participate in as a panelist.  On June 6 Arianna Huffington and Mika Brzezinski hosted a conference in New York called "The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power." This conference brought together women -- and a few good men -- to focus on redefining success to include well-being, wisdom, our ability to wonder and our ability to make a difference in the world.

I was fortunate to be able to share the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and its almost "built-in" Third Metric. In TCM you can't actually be successful in life unless you are balanced. Anything that puts you off balance is not at all considered admirable, much less successful, in TCM. In fact, if a patient of mine, for example, comes in and tells me about their new promotion as work, I will be happy for them if it is something that inspires them and will not burn out their body, mind, and spirit. A promotion that would require more hours working at something they are not inspired by would leave me concerned that their health would eventually take its toll. Certainly I understand that some people are just trying to make ends meet. However, as their health care practitioner, my commitment is to help guide my patients to create lives that are healthy, balanced, fulfilling, and ultimately joyful.

At this conference, influencers from all walks of life - CEOs, media, medical, education, policy - joined together in the conversation to redefine success. You can see the takeaways here, the New York Times' piece on it here, the photos here. There is an entire Third Metric section on The Huffington Post where you can read more about redefining success beyond and power to include well being, wisdom, wonder, and the honor of giving back.

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June 5, 2013

Dr. Fitzgerald Provides Food for Thought at PLMI’s Thought Leaders Consortium

Dr. Fitzgerald was honored to participated in Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute's Thought Leaders Consortium. The group was lead by one of Dr. Fitzgerald's mentors, the "Father of Functional Medicine", Dr. Jeffrey Bland. The intention of the group was to explore ways to empower patients on how to access optimal health care. We have a paradox of the crippling amount of preventable chronic disease in this country and, at the same time, abundant information and research regarding ways to prevent as well as reverse chronic illness. Dr. Fitzgerald opened the discussion by presenting strategies on how to harness the power of the Internet and social media to educate and empower people on effective ways to create and maintain optimal health. Experts from academia, media, clinical medicine, and professional trade organizations all added jewels to the meeting. The meeting turned out to be highly collaborative, and the participants left knowing they had created a good foundation for PLMI's mission to be realized. 

An article in Integrative Medicine: The Clinicial's Journal can be found here.

An article from The Institute for Functional Medicine can be found here.

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May 15, 2013

Dr. Fitzgerald’s Breakfast Smoothie Featured in The Huffington Post

Dr. Fitzgerald emphasizes with her patients the importance of a good breakfast. It is important to have some type of healthy protein, healthy fat, and a small amount of carbyhydrate is also permissable. Dr. Fitzgerald reminds her patients to not have a high-carbohydrate breakfast because the result will be unstable blood sugar, low energy, and cravings throughout the day. Recently The Huffington Post published an article asking health editors to share one of their healthy breakfasts. It was a warm spring day in Santa Monica, and Dr. Fitzgerald's breakfast that morning was a breakfast smoothie. You can see the smoothie and other great breakfast ideas featured in the article by clicking here.

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March 24, 2013

Happy Spring! Let Your Health Blossom: Wisdom from Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)  is loaded with wisdom, especially when it comes to the rhythms of nature. TCM looks at each season as a opportunity to create balance by incorporating elements of the season into your lifestyle. You can find Dr. Fitzgerald's 10 tips for improved health and vitality this spring here.

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January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Twenty Health Experts shared their resolutions and hopes for 2013 in The Huffington Post. Our very own Dr. Fitzgerald was featured in the article. Click here to see her insights for abundant health and harmony for 2013, and enjoy what other health insiders have to say.

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December 12, 2012

25 of Dr. Fitzgerald’s Favorite Herbs for Health

Twenty-five of Dr. Fitzgerald's favorite herbs were recently highlighted in The Huffington Post. Click here to view photos of the herbs and descriptions of their healing properties.

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October 18, 2012

Healthy Mind, Healthy Bones: New Research Connects Healthy Mental Outlook with Better Bone Density

 

Chinese Medicine has correlated a healthy mental outlook to the health of the bones for thousands of years. Qigong, meditation, acupuncture, nutrition, and herbal medicine are important aspects of a Chinese Medicine protocol for healthy bone density. Recent research has correlated various psychological aspects, such as having positive relationships with others, having a purpose in life, and self-acceptance.

When people think of osteoporosis or osteopenia, often calcium is the first thing that comes to mind. But calcium is only one of many components to healthy bone density. A comprehensive program that includes nutrition, exercise, and reduced stress is important for optimal bone density, and of course abundant overall health. Read more about the connection to positive mental outlook and bone density here.

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August 21, 2012

Qi Gong Effective for Pain Relief

Qigong, a practice that emphasizes breathing, mindfulness, and movement, has its roots in Chinese Medicine and martial arts. A recent study showed the effectiveness of qigong for reducing the pain of fibromyalgia.

 

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July 4, 2012

Healthy Food: 50 of the Best in the World

 

Dr. Fitzgerald was recently part of an expert Panel at Huffington Post Healthy Living who presented some food for thought. There are so many healthy and tasty foods; it was hard to limit our choices to fifty! Check out the article, and let us know if you would add to the list with some of your favorite healthy foods.

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May 2, 2012

Wired and Tired? 7 Herbs to Reduce Stress and Boost Vitality

Feeling a bit stressed and overwhelmed? Read Dr. Patricia's latest article on nature's helpers.

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March 28, 2012

What To Expect At Your First Acupuncture Treatment

Dr. Fitzgerald was featured in The Huffington Post offering insights for a first-timer acupuncture patient. Click here to read the article.

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February 19, 2012

Gluten-Free: Weeding through the Truth and the Hype

It's pretty easy to notice the increase of gluten-free products on the market. There are bakeries in Los Angeles dedicated to providing gluten-free products, such as Babycakes NYC, Fonuts and The Sensitive Baker. More and more restaurants have gluten-free offerings. Sections in grocery stores are dedicated to offering gluten-free items. Why does this trend seem to be increasing in popularity?

It is long recognized that those who have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, must absolutely avoid gluten. Yet more and more people who haven't tested positive for celiac are reporting benefits from avoiding gluten. Often they will ask their doctors for a test for gluten sensitivity and are given a test for to rule out celiac. I have witnessed the frustration of many patients who knew that they had sensitivities to gluten products, and when the celiac tests came back negative, they felt as if their doctors were discounting their concerns. They actually did not receive a complete gluten sensitivity panel, simply a test to rule out celiac. There are very few labs that do the complete test, and most doctors are not yet aware of the availability of the full panel, so only the celiac panel is done.

If you feel better after avoiding gluten, it is probably best to stay away from it. Consult with a nutritionist or nutritionally-oriented practitioner to make sure that you have a balanced diet as you are avoiding gluten. If you want to be tested, make sure your doctor is ordering a complete panel to track gluten sensitivity.

Okay, back to why is this trend increasing in popularity? People have eaten wheat products and products containing gluten for many, many years. There are even many references to wheat in the Bible. It seems that the wheat of today is not the wheat of our grandparents nor the wheat of biblical times. My dear colleague, Mark Hyman, MD has written a great piece in The Huffington Post that brings light to this interesting and complex topic. Click here to read the article.

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January 2, 2012

Warm Up, Slim Down, and Get Healthy with Delicious Winter Soups

Winter is officially here. It's the season of long nights and short days, of reflection and looking inward, and of thinking of ways to keep warm: scarves, gloves, fireplaces, cuddling... and soup. Ahh, soup.

When I want to remedy that "cold to the bone" wintertime feeling, a delicious steaming bowl of soup often comes to mind. Here are four great reasons to eat more soup this season, followed by some easy and delicious recipes.

Click here to read the rest of the article and the recipes from The Huffington Post.

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December 5, 2011

e-Patient Dave: How An Empowered Patient Healed from Stage IV Cancer and Found a Higher Calling

Dave deBronkart, "e-Patient Dave," was diagnosed with stage IV kidney cancer in 2007. The median survival time for his condition was 24 weeks. Thanks to the help of an online network for patients with his disease, he quickly learned about treatment options and found support for his recovery. The treatment was successful, and now e-Patient Dave is cancer-free and has found a higher calling: empowering patients to have access to the best health care possible -- by connecting with resources online. I was inspired by e-Patient Dave's amazing TEDx video and was fortunate to meet up with him at the recent TEDMED conference.

Click here to read the interview from The Huffington Post.

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November 4, 2011

TEDMED:Can Mushrooms Help the Immune System Fight Cancer? An Interview with Paul Stamets, Mycologist

When many of us think of mushrooms, we may think of culinary delights such as Portobello and Shiitake, or we may think of those "magic mushrooms." But the implication of mushrooms is absolutely profound. They have the potential to dramatically improve our health and the health of the planet, according to mycologist Paul Stamets.


I was fortunate to meet up with Paul last week after he delivered his powerful talk at the TEDMED conference in San Diego, California. Paul was an audience favorite at TEDTalks 2008, and he has quickly become a TEDMED sensation.

Click here to the full article at The Huffington Post

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October 10, 2011

The Science Behind Acupuncture

Acupuncture is becoming increasing popular in the West. Can Western science embrace ideas based on qi, blood, yin, and yang? An interesting article in “The Atlantic” looks at demystifying the science behind acupuncture…

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August 1, 2011

Film Review: 9000 Needles—Two Thumbs Up

I had the opportunity to attend a screening of 9000 Needles, an award-winning documentary about the amazing healing journey of a young man who suffered a life-threatening stroke. He was left paralyzed on his right side, but was determined to experience a full recovery. He did the best he could with medical care in the United States until his insurance ran out and the intensive physical therapy he needed would no longer be covered. His family searched for options, and found a remarkable stroke recovery program in China that utilized the best of Eastern and Western approaches.

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April 3, 2011

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (Movie)

FAT, SICK & NEARLY DEAD is the story of two men who struggle to lose weight, overcome the same rare disease and change their lives for good.  The uplifting story follows Joe Cross on a cross country road trip where he vows to do a juice fast for 60 days (consuming only fruits and vegetables in liquid form).  On his life changing journey, he meets and inspires Phil Staples - a 420 lb desperate truck driver from Iowa - to do the same.  The documentary is a story about hope, wellness, friendship and our ability to change.

 

More information and showtimes: www.fatsickandnearlydead.com

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January 8, 2011

New Insights On How Acupuncture Controls Pain

Synopsis: Acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years. It has been used to treat various pain conditions as well as a multitude of chronic health conditions. Acupuncture, an important modality used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) developed without the use of modern technology. Acupuncture has enjoyed great success worldwide in alleviating suffering, but the question “It works, but how does it work?” has gone mostly unanswered, from a scientific standpoint, until recently. Traditional Chinese Medicine explains the effects of acupuncture in terms of “qi” or life energy, but the qi theory is not understood well in the Western world. A new study using functional MRI testing is shedding some insight on how acupuncture relieves pain.

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January 30, 2010

Calming The Shen: A Chinese Medicine Approach To A Good Night’s Sleep

An approach that can aid in the quest for a good night’s sleep is that of Chinese Medicine. This ancient healing system has offered relief to the sleep challenged for thousands of years. While new to many, Chinese Medicine is mainstream in China, and it is used today for a wide range of conditions by an estimated one-fourth of the world’s population.

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December 30, 2009

Let Food Be Thy Medicine: The Top Healing Foods of the Decade

The healing properties of food have been reported by cultures worldwide throughout history. However, the past decade has presented an explosion of clinical research to show specifically what health benefits individual foods can offer, identifying the various nutrients and phytochemicals associated with these benefits.

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December 17, 2009

K9 Connection: At-Risk Teens And Shelter Dogs Get A New ‘Leash’ On Life

k9 connection, located in Santa Monica, California, is a remarkable organization whose mission is to teach at-risk teens how to train homeless shelter dogs in basic obedience skills in order to increase their chances of adoption. Through the training they provide to the dogs, the teens benefit by learning how to be more responsible and accountable, the importance of goal setting, and how positive reinforcement offers an alternative to force and violence.

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August 19, 2005

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