Your Heartburn Might Be Acid Reflux

Raise your hand if you’ve ever experienced heartburn. If you could see me right now, you’d notice my hand is raised very high! If I even look at certain foods (especially fatty foods and carbonated beverages), I can feel that familiar burning in my esophagus.

It turns out heartburn is a very common condition that impacts an estimated one out of every five people. It is described as a painful or burning sensation that begins in the upper part of the abdomen and moves upward. Many people experience this unpleasant sensation after eating certain foods. It can also be triggered by wearing clothing that’s too tight around the midsection or by lying down too soon after eating.

But what if you’re actually dealing with acid reflux rather than heartburn? If you’re wondering what the difference is between the two, here’s a brief overview of what acid reflux is and how it differs from heartburn.

What You Should Know About Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is a condition that happens when stomach acids and potentially other contents from your stomach make their way back up through your esophagus. As you can imagine, this can be very painful and irritating. But more than that, they can be damaging to your body and your overall health.

The reason stomach acid comes back up through the esophagus in people who have acid reflux is often because the sphincter in the lower esophagus doesn’t work properly. Whether it’s weakened or damaged, the sphincter fails to close all the way and allows the harmful contents of the stomach to come up where they don’t belong.

Another common cause of acid reflux is a hiatal hernia, which is an abnormality in the stomach that occurs when the upper portion of the stomach and the lower esophageal sphincter move upward into the diaphragm area. The diaphragm normally keeps the stomach separated from the chest, but in cases where a hiatal hernia is present, the diaphragm can’t prevent stomach acid from rising up into the esophagus.

Other potential causes of acid reflux disease include:

  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Spicy foods
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Taking too much ibuprofen, aspirin, or some blood pressure medications
  • Lying down or bending over immediately after eating a heavy meal
  • Snacking or eating too close to bedtime
  • Drinking too much alcohol

Generally, eating a healthy diet low in processed foods and sweets can help minimize the symptoms of acid reflux.

Symptoms of Acid Reflux

But what if you’re not sure whether you have acid reflux or something else? Well, here are some common acid reflux symptoms to look for:

  • Sour taste in your mouth
  • Burning sensation rising from your stomach into your chest
  • Regurgitation of food (this often happens when burping)
  • Difficulty swallowing food
  • Dyspepsia (a burning sensation in the middle part of your stomach)
  • Frequent bloating
  • Chronic upset stomach
  • Excessive burping or vomiting
  • Feeling uncomfortably full
  • Dry cough
  • Chronic sore throat (especially in the mornings)
  • Asthma symptoms

These are all common symptoms of acid reflux. If you ever experience a tightening or squeezing sensation in the chest, or heartburn that seems different than usual, you may want to seek emergency treatment, as you might actually be experiencing a heart attack!

Acid Reflux Treatments

There are a few things you can do to minimize your acid reflux symptoms and improve your quality of life. They include:

  • Medication prescribed by a doctor
  • Surgery
  • Lifestyle changes (including losing weight and eating a healthy diet)
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding late meals
  • Sleeping on an incline
  • Avoiding carbonated beverages

I have found great relief from my acid reflux symptoms, and I have confidence you can, too! You may want to begin by making lifestyle changes, then visiting your doctor if your symptoms don’t improve or if they’re already severe. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel when you’re not dealing with acid reflux anymore!

Reduce These Six Foods To Fight Your Battle With the Bloat

Do you notice you feel gassy, bloated, or overly full, especially after a meal? That feeling stems from gas or air accumulation in the stomach and digestive system. While bloating can occur with the menstrual cycle or with certain medications, often the foods we eat create this uncomfortable sensation. Check out this list of foods to avoid when you need to keep the bloat at bay.

Beans

While beans are a staple of a healthy diet because of their rich fiber content, they can also cause unwanted abdominal gas. Sugars that naturally occur in beans ferment when they come in contact with digestive bacteria, resulting in that familiar gassy feeling.

Some people find that soaking dry beans rather than eating canned beans helps with this issue. You can also swap out your favorite beans for rice or quinoa as a side dish. If you can't live without beans, black and pinto varieties are the easiest to digest for most people.

Gum and Hard Candy

While not technically a food, chewing gum can cause bloating because we tend to swallow air. The same phenomenon occurs when sucking on hard candy. If you use mints or gum to keep your breath fresh, you might not realize this hygiene habit results in a gas increase that can cause flatulence, swelling and even pain.

Processed Foods

Most snacks and meals that come in packages are packed with sodium, one of the leading causes of belly bloat. Some of the saltiest options include canned soup, baked goods, deli meats, fast food, sauces and salad dressings.

Processed foods also tend to be high in fat, which causes bloating because it moves slowly through the digestive system. Pizza, fast food, meats, cheeses and baked goods are the biggest culprits in this category. Saturated fat should represent no more than about 10% of your daily caloric intake. In other words, if you eat about 2,200 calories a day, limit fatty foods to less than 220 calories. 

If you tend to grab convenience foods on the go, look for healthy options such as dried fruits, nuts and rice crackers. I like to package them in small sandwich bags and throw them in my purse so I can snack during the workday or on an outing. Not only will you notice less bloating, but your overall health also will likely improve if you cut out processed foods. 

Onions and Garlic

While these savory veggies add flavor to all types of dishes, they can also make you feel bloated. Garlic and onions contain fibers called fructans that contribute to the development of gas in the GI tract. For a similar taste without the risk of bloating, try trading your garlic and onions for chives, basil, fennel, leaks, collard greens or celery.

Carbonated Beverages

You already know that sugary sodas are bad for your health, but even diet versions of carbonated beverages can lead to bloating. Reduce your consumption of beverages with bubbles if you tend to experience gas. Better choices include fruit juice, tea, coffee and, of course, good old-fashioned water.

Whole Grains

If you boost your intake of whole grains because of their health benefits, you may notice increased bloating. While brown rice, barley, oats and other whole grains are full of fiber, as well as nutritious ingredients, the fiber content also causes gas during the digestive process. Dietary experts recommend slowly increasing the number of whole grains you eat rather than switching from white bread and rice overnight. 

If eliminating these items from your diet doesn't solve your bloating issue, see your health care provider. He or she can determine whether underlying health problems may be causing excessive gas. 

6 Reasons Why I Keep a Health Journal ( Every Senior Should)

A health journal is exactly what it sounds like: a diary for recording information about your health. Writing in it doesn’t take long, and the benefits are amazing. Aging doesn’t have to be some big mystery. Journaling about your health is like having a map to guide you to personal wellbeing.

1. Alleviates Inflammation and Pain

Some foods, movements or lifestyle habits make pain and inflammation worse. There are also good foods, such as turmeric, that have powerful anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects for many seniors. The key is to figure out what helps and hurts you personally. That’s where your health diary comes in.

2. Teaches You What Your Body Likes

I’m a big believer in listening to your body. By keeping a health journal, you can find out if certain things are triggering mood changes, anxiety, pain or sleep problems. You can also discover positive triggers that help you sleep better, feel happier and stay healthier. For example, if you notice that valerian tea helps you sleep like a baby, then you’ve discovered an important secret for your health!

3. Makes You Happier

Natural foods and positive activities have the power to improve your mood. Many people feel less stressed or depressed when they follow a Mediterranean diet of fresh fish, lean meats, olive oil, fruit, herbs and lots of leafy green veggies. Exercising — even if it’s just going for a walk in the morning — can be another key to feeling happy and energized. Your health journal keeps track of things that help you wake up with a smile.

4. Helps You Make Smart Decisions About Your Health

I love my health journal. It turns me into a detective. After a few weeks or months, I can see “clues” that warn me when something is going to make my body hurt, make me irritable, or mess with my immune system. That way, I can avoid many of the aches and pains that are supposedly “normal” in aging.

5. Keeps You in Control of Aging

I don’t like it when people make decisions for me without asking me first, and I really don’t like feeling helpless. That’s what’s amazing about journaling. It gives you a measure of control over your health. Your family history may not let you avoid gout completely, but you can definitely figure out ways to have fewer gout attacks and better mobility.

6. Makes It Easier for Your Doctor To Pinpoint Health Problems

Always take your health diary with you when you have a doctor’s appointment. The details in there can help your doctor discover the underlying cause for symptoms. For example, instead of instantly responding to a rise in blood pressure with medication, the doctor may see lifestyle clues that you can change instead.

An Easy Way to Journal About Your Health

Keeping a health journal doesn’t need to be complicated. Some people prefer good old-fashioned pen and paper. Others use modern smartphone apps to make things easier. What should you keep track of?

  • Foods you eat (including snacks)
  • Vitamins or supplements
  • Medications
  • Amount of water you drink
  • Sleep quantity and quality
  • Exercise
  • Illnesses or health problems
  • Pain or inflammation
  • Energy levels
  • Mood
  • Digestive health and/or bowel habits

Don't forget to include details about surgeries or new treatments. Whatever works for you, I highly recommend getting into the habit of journaling about your health. It can help you stay active and feel great as you get older!

Childhood Obesity: The Epidemic and Cure

More and more children are becoming obese. While alarming, the cause is not surprising. Like adults, obesity in children results from the consumption of too many calories, leading to a BMI measurement that places them into a category beyond the ideal weight classification for someone their age and height.

The rising numbers are alarming because medical professionals are beginning to see younger patients presenting with high blood pressure, liver disease, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and more. While medical researchers continue to dig into potential treatment options for obese children, the primary treatment remains preventative.

If parents want to protect their children against the potential health consequences of obesity, they must take responsibility and control for incorporating a healthy diet in the home. Additionally, parents can help children maintain efficient physical activity every day — a minimum of one hour per day.

Exploring the Underlying Causes of Childhood Obesity

Not all factors of obesity stem from unhealthful eating; there are also genetic and medical conditions to consider before diagnosing the underlying problem. However, despite other contributors to weight gain, most cases of obesity, especially among children, stem from unhealthy foods and a sedentary lifestyle. Understanding the lifestyle and genetic predisposition of children will help determine the cause of the growing crisis of obese children. Still, it is not as simple as saying eat less and exercise more.

To understand the problem, it is necessary to break down obesity into several factors: behavioral, environmental, medical, and genetic. Behavioral factors contributing to weight gain include eating a nutrient-poor diet, consuming more significant portions, spending too much time in front of a computer or television, and spending too little time being active. Environment factors include access to junk food over healthy food and limited access to parks or physical activity. Genes also play a role in the risk of obesity, but they do not determine the outcome. Finally, certain medical conditions can contribute to weight gain, including specific treatments and medications for those conditions.

Is Childhood Obesity Really a Problem, or Is It Overblown?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 19.3% of children and adolescents or 14.4 million young individuals are considered obese by BMI measurements. While that number might not sound too jarring, it has tripled in the past 30 years and continues to grow.

Even among two to five-year-old children, the number is growing and is currently sitting at 13.4%. The percentage increases to 20.3% for children ages six to 11. These numbers are not overblown, and if they are anything, they are a favorable estimate, meaning real numbers are likely higher than these estimates. Additionally, those numbers only worsen when factored into the socioeconomics, with lower-income and minority communities showing a greater presence of obese children.

Something has to be done to curb the numbers and improve the health of children. Without intervention, children are sure to experience negative symptoms and consequences throughout their lives.

Symptoms and Consequences of Childhood Obesity

Children will suffer psychologically and physiologically from poor diets and sedentary lifestyles. In many cases, children begin to suffer from depression as they hit their teens. They may suffer from body-image issues. Additionally, they will experience greater health risks, including asthma, heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, cancer, and reproductive problems later in life.

Prevention is the most effective tool to prevent childhood obesity, meaning healthy eating and exercise. Parents must instill their children with a nutritional foundation to make the best choices as they get older.

Do you have any advice for concerned parents?

Overcoming Your Fear of the Weight Section at the Gym for a Healthier Stronger You

Walking into a gym is often intimidating, especially for a newb. To a beginner, there is nothing more frightening than the weight section, the place where all the muscled-up bods are flexing and grunting away, showing off their skill and physique. While this section of the gym can seem intimidating, it is also where you get lean and build muscle mass. In other words, it is the area of the gym that provides the most advantage to getting in the shape you want.

The weights section is not reserved for people with 0% body fat or who could win a Mr. or Ms. Universe pageant. It is an area for all gym members. Instead of fearing the section, embrace its potential. To embrace it, though, you need to understand where the fear comes from. For most people, the fear stems from believing they don’t belong or will make a mistake.

First, you absolutely belong; a gym is a space for all genders and body types. Second, you will probably do something wrong, but nothing bad is going to happen. You can’t expect to get everything right when trying something new. However, to help you minimize risks and optimize your odds of success, follow the straightforward four-step plan for overcoming your fear of the weight room.

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

The key to squashing your fear is to remember that everyone started where you are now. Sure, they might look like professionals now, but think about where they were years ago. Additionally, despite the intimidating physiques, most people at the gym are friendly and willing to lend a hand to a fellow member in need.

If you are unsure how to do an exercise or which exercise is best for legs, chest, back, or whatever, ask someone in the weights area. Most people will happily offer advice. However, even if the first person you ask is not that friendly, try the next. No harm will come to you, promise.

2. YouTube Is Good for More Than Cat Videos

If you want to get serious about lifting weights, check out YouTube for instructional videos. Many channels are dedicated to beginners, showing the proper form and techniques of several popular free-weight exercises. Many YouTube instructors will even talk about variations of specific exercises so you can focus on building the fundamentals before getting into heavyweights. However, make sure you check out the person’s qualifications to avoid bad advice.

3. Work With a Trainer

A personal trainer is an investment. Some people cannot afford a trainer right away, or they can’t justify the expense. However, when you can afford one, it is money well-spent. A trainer or teacher can help you develop a comfort level with the weight room. They will also help you design a routine for your body and capabilities. Remember, you do not have to keep a trainer forever; it is a temporary expense.

4. Remember, Your Experience Is a Shared Experience

Every bodybuilder, weightlifter, or average lean Joe started where you are starting. You cannot build muscle and a healthy exercise habit without embracing the weight room. Instead of shying away from the weights, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you belong. Sometimes, a bit of self-motivation can go a long way.

The weight room is an intimidating place for most newbies, but you can get over your fear with practice, preparation, and knowledge. How did you overcome your fear of the weight room?

The Health Benefits of Speed-walking: Why You Should Try It

Speed-walking or racewalking is an Olympic sport. This year, it is gaining some attention as Mexico continues to show its power as a competitor and champion in the endurance activity. While you might not follow the Olympics and might not care who is the reigning speed-walking champion, you might be interested in the health benefits from the activity. Speed-walking is a low-impact, moderate aerobic activity that can improve overall health and mobility. Additionally, it can benefit weight loss goals.

Why Speed-Walking Is Healthy

Although the activity is associated with intense cardio, speed-walking is likely more related to moderate levels of oxygen and blood flow. That means it can help with circulation, allowing your heart to beat at a slower pace and helping you avoid the shortness of breath that can be common with vigorous cardio workouts.

As opposed to high-intensity cardio workouts, speed-walking offers lower levels of oxygen intake that help the heart and blood vessels do their jobs. The low intensity of the exercise means you can sustain the activity for a longer period without becoming winded or fatigued. Therefore, speed-walking ultimately provides a longer duration exercise at sustained levels, which is beneficial to weight loss, balance, and mobility.

How Does Speed-Walking Compare to Other Exercises?

Categorized in the same class of low-impact aerobic activities like walking, jogging, and running, speed-walking is an interval-type workout that can help you build strength and endurance in your muscles, work on your balance, improve your mood, and improve your sleep. In addition, it can help you burn calories and reduce stress.

While speed-walking is an easy and enjoyable exercise for any age and fitness level, you should still be cautious and do the proper research, ensuring you are physically ready for the activity. Like a long-distance run, speed-walking can help build stamina and endurance but can also lead to injuries if you are not properly trained and are not mindful of your body. Before starting any new exercise routine, talk to your doctor to determine if it is a good fit.

The Benefits of Speed-Walking

There are many benefits to this physical activity, and it does not need to take up a lot of time to reap the rewards: 30 minutes per day or 150 minutes per week. While the exercise is an endurance workout, it has several benefits beyond stamina. Researchers have found that speed-walking can reduce the risks associated with osteoarthritis and osteoporosis by strengthening the bones and muscles in the legs. Additionally, walking has been shown to boost heart rate and increase blood flow to muscles, aiding in cardiovascular fitness. Walking can also improve insulin sensitivity and aid weight loss efforts.

Speed-walking might be experiencing some added interest from Olympic coverage, but it will always be an efficient form of exercise. The simple truth is that walking is more accessible than running, and it is less dreaded than other forms of aerobic activity. If you are interested in burning calories and improving cardiovascular health while increasing your stamina, speed-walking is for you.

What are some other unique exercises you have heard of and want to try?

Exercise Your Way to a Healthier Immune System!

Exercising is good for your heart, your muscles and your mood. Did you know it’s also amazing for your immune system? Recently, scientists discovered that working out boosts your defenses against infections.

Why Is Exercise Important for a Strong Immune System?

There are several reasons why exercise is good for your immune system. When you put them all together, you feel happy, healthy and energized.

1. Physical Activity Reduces Stress Levels

Anxiety weakens your immune system. When you’re not sleeping at night and you feel stressed all day, your body is vulnerable to illness. Exercise to the rescue! Any kind of physical activity can lower stress hormones and get your immune system back on track. Even something as simple as getting some fresh air and going for a walk helps!

2. Exercise Strengthens Your White Blood Cells

White blood cells are the most important part of a healthy immune system. They detect and destroy viruses, bacteria and toxins. When you exercise, your body produces more white blood cells and it speeds up your blood circulation so these defenders act quickly. When your immune system catches harmful invaders right away, you don’t get sick.

3. Working Out Gives You a Mini Fever

Viruses don’t like it hot. That’s why your body triggers a fever when you have an infection: it kills off the invaders. Exercise has a similar effect. As your heart rate increases, so does your core body temperature. That may help destroy viruses before they have a chance to attack.

4. Staying Active Alleviates Inflammation

Regular exercise can lower inflammation all around your body — from sore muscles to tender joints. When your body is fighting a war against chronic inflammation, it has to use a lot of “soldiers.” That can leave your body’s defenses wide open for invaders. By reducing inflammation, exercise lets your immune system deploy “troops” to protect you against viruses instead.

The science doesn’t lie! According to one study, people who exercise at least three times a week are 25% less likely to get a cold.

What Are the Best Exercises for Your Immune System?

The goal with exercise is to boost your heart rate and strengthen your muscles. I like to do a blend of cardio workouts and whole-body strength training.

Excellent Cardio Exercises

What I love about cardio is that it gives you a chance to recharge emotionally while you’re increasing your heart rate. If you have the chance, do these exercises outdoors and watch the stress melt away (and fat, too)!

  • Brisk walking
  • Jogging
  • Mountain biking
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Jumping rope
  • Fitness dancing (like Zumba)

My Favorite Strength Training

These are some simple exercises anyone can do at home. Buying a resistance band or free weights isn’t necessary, but they do help with your results. For an extra boost to your strength training exercises, hold each position for a few seconds:

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Push-ups
  • Planks (like push-ups but holding the position using your elbows)
  • Arm raises
  • Leg raises
  • Side leg raises

You should feel the burn, but you don’t want pain. If lunges make your knees hurt, for example, do leg raises on your back instead.

How Much Exercise Do You Need?

Any level of physical activity has benefits for your immune system, but you should aim for moderate- or high-intensity exercises. Start by exercising for 15–30 minutes, three to five days a week. This slims your tummy and helps your body feel great at the same time!

Why I Am a Fiber Enthusiast

There always seems to be some new discovery in the world of health and nutrition, doesn’t there? Every so often, we hear about a new and exotic ingredient that can solve all our healthcare woes and help us finally slim down and enjoy optimal health. But what if the most effective solutions aren’t new at all?

I assert that fiber is one of the familiar ingredients we’ve highly underestimated in our society. While we’ve been searching for the newest and greatest health-promoting ingredients, fiber has been waiting around and hoping we’d slow down and notice its incredible health qualities. Unfortunately, 95% of Americans don’t get enough fiber in our daily diets. In fact, few of us come close to the recommended 20-30 grams of fiber we should be eating every day.

If you don’t know what fiber can do for your health and weight goals, you’re in for a surprise! Here are a few of the top reasons why I am now a fiber enthusiast.

Fiber Helps Maintain a Healthy Weight

Who doesn’t want to have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight? The battle of the bulge is a challenging one for many of us, which is why we should try to consume the recommended amount of fiber every day.

Foods that are high in fiber tend to fill us up more effectively than foods with little to no fiber. So if your current diet leaves you feeling famished all day long, the secret may be as simple as eating more fiber! High-fiber foods also tend to have fewer calories than the same volume of low-fiber foods.

Fiber Helps Lower Cholesterol Levels

It’s no secret that keeping your cholesterol within a healthy range can be challenging as you grow older But fiber can help. Studies reveal that foods high in soluble fiber (such as flaxseed, beans and oats), may lower “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) and total blood cholesterol levels. It may even help reduce inflammation and blood pressure while it’s at it!

Fiber Normalizes Bowel Movements

Nobody likes to talk about their bowel habits, but if you struggle to stay regular, it’s time to eat more fiber! Dietary fiber softens the stool and increases its weight and size so it passes more easily. Eating sufficient fiber can also help you out if you tend to get diarrhea often because it absorbs the excess water.

Fiber Helps Control Blood Sugar

If you’re diabetic or pre-diabetic, eating high-fiber foods can slow down your body’s absorption of sugar and help control your blood sugar levels. If you don’t have diabetes, eating a healthy diet that includes sufficient insoluble fiber may help prevent you from developing the disease in the first place!

Fiber May Prevent Certain Diseases

We are all destined to die sometime, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fight for greater longevity. Consuming dietary fiber (especially cereal fiber) is associated with a reduced risk of death from certain diseases (such as cancer and cardiovascular disease).

How Much Fiber You Should Take

Here are daily fiber intake recommendations for adults (as provided by The Institute of Medicine):

  • Men (ages 50 or younger): 38 grams/day
  • Men (Ages 51 and older): 30 grams/day
  • Women (Ages 50 or younger): 25 grams/day
  • Women (ages 51 or older): 21 grams/day

You can determine how much fiber you’re getting each day by looking at food labels and looking up the nutrition information of foods that aren’t prepackaged (such as produce).

Good Sources of Fiber

There are a lot of delicious sources of fiber you can turn to if you need to increase your intake. They include:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole-grain products
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Peas, beans and other legumes

It’s best to get your fiber from whole foods whenever possible. If you’re ready to start experiencing the many health benefits fiber can offer, start digging in to healthy, fiber-rich foods today!

Understanding Moxa, Moxibustion, and Acupuncture, and the Potential Combination for Greater Relief

Moxibustion and acupuncture are two traditional Chinese methods for the treatment of pain and other symptoms. Deciding on the potential benefits of either treatment relies on your understanding of each.

What Is Moxa?

Moxa is made from ground mugwort leaves — a common weed or perennial plant native to Europe, Asia, and Africa; However, it can be found growing naturally in other parts of the world. The ground leaves are then pressed, shaped, and solidified into a cone or stick shape for burning or moxibustion.

According to Daoist traditions and practitioners of Chinese medicine, moxibustion — the burning of moxa near the body’s qi and meridians — can help with chronic pain relief and even digestive issues. The idea is based on the same qi circulation methods as acupuncture, but moxibustion can be used alone or as an aid to the practice.

Moxibustion in Practice

There are two primary methods for using moxa: direct and indirect contact. Direct contact involves placing the moxa directly on a treatment point and lighting the cone, allowing it to burn slowly towards your skin. The practitioner will remove the moxa before it burns your flesh.

Additionally, in combination with acupuncture, a practitioner can place the moxa directly over the acupuncture needle. Performing moxibustion in this way supposedly improves the effectiveness of the acupuncture by permitting the heat to transfer through the needle and closer to the body’s energy meridians.

Indirect moxibustion is arguably safer because your skin never comes into direct contact with the moxa. Instead, the practitioner holds the moxa about an inch from the skin, removing it when the flesh turns warm and red. A practitioner might also place the moxa on a treatment point, but they will use a salt or garlic barrier layer to protect the skin.

Understanding Acupuncture

Like moxibustion, acupuncture focuses on the alignment and unification of qi and energy meridians within the body, but it does not rely on heat. Acupuncture uses the specific placement of thin needles into the body. It is also traditional Chinese medicine, and it is primarily used for pain and stress management.

The acupuncturist will insert between five and 20 needles in a single session. These needles are placed at different depths. You may feel minor discomfort, but most patients do not feel anything when the needles are inserted.

Once the needles are placed, the acupuncturist might manipulate each to affect the qi better. The needles can be manipulated in several ways, including moxibustion.

Should You Use Moxibustion or Acupuncture or a Combination?

Neither moxibustion nor acupuncture has significant research backing up claims of the treatments. In fact, some studies suggest patients that simulated acupuncture works just as well as the real thing. Other research advises that acupuncture works best for those who believe it will work, suggesting a psychological link to any perceived benefits.

Ultimately, whether to use acupuncture, moxibustion, or some combination of the two is a personal choice. If you believe the therapy has practical benefits, schedule an appointment with an experienced acupuncturist. If you are skeptical, it might be best to seek treatment elsewhere. In either case, you should discuss any pain or potential treatment options with your doctor before committing to an appointment.

What are your thoughts and feelings on moxa and acupuncture? Do you believe it is a fair treatment for chronic pain conditions?

The Corruption of the Term Lymphatic Health

The lymphatic system is a legitimate and essential part of the human body. Its primary function is to supply the body with white blood cells to stave off infection and disease and remove toxins from the system. Lymph is the fluid that contains white blood cells and navigates the circulatory system.

Therefore, when speaking generically about lymphatic health, there is no disagreement that it is crucial. However, where the conflict arises is in the definition of lymphatic health and the corruption of the concept by money-hungry entities, like many of the detoxification brands built on shoddy science; even worse, are those companies co-opting legitimate science and twisting the research to meet marketing goals.

Lymphatic Massage and Facial Rollers

Manual lymphatic drainage massage is a therapy that offers significant benefits to people suffering from lymphoedema. However, it is only beneficial for a specific tissue swelling and only provides temporary relief to patient symptoms, not a cure.

For those unfamiliar, lymphoedema is a chronic and often painful condition that causes swelling, primarily in the arms and legs. It is the result of an ineffective or malfunctioning lymphatic system.

Being as the lymphatic system is a source of transportation of white blood cells and a clearinghouse for toxins, skincare and beauty brands latched onto an effective therapy and disseminated the information as overwhelmingly beneficial to all. It was an understood deceit.

Despite there being little to no evidence of lymphatic massage benefits to the general public, brands brandished tools and techniques under the guise of detoxifying massages. These corporate entities and individual celebrities pushed their pseudo-science as actionable and legitimate. They made clever claims that lymphatic massage could reduce the risk of diseases like cancer — clever because most companies never directly stated such claims, only insinuated them. 

Beauty Industry and Lies

It is not surprising that the beauty industry has taken sound science and bastardized it into a profiteering machine. The practice is quite common; for example, despite little evidence to support detoxification claims, the industry has managed to turn it into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. 

Consumers seem hungry for innovation in the health industry. Whether that hunger comes from a recognition of mortality, fear of illness, or a genuine interest in improved health is anyone’s guess. However, it is as clear now as it always has been that dietary trends, like lymphatic massage, are not essential to health for the average person.

Traditional Health and Wellness Advice Remains Constant

For those wishing to be healthier, lose weight, and improve wellness and mobility, the solution is the same as it has been for decades, centuries even: a balanced diet and exercise. The key to a healthy lifestyle is tried and true; momentary fads, temporary trends will not outlive the fact-based rules of nutrition and physiology.

Lymphatic health is a natural result of healthy eating, exercise, and hydration. Unless you are directly affected by a lymphatic disorder or illness, you will likely see little benefit from lymphatic massage or any of the other devices, therapies, or tools trying to piggyback off of the growing interest.

Do you have any thoughts on the beauty industry's habit of distorting science for profit?