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Put Insomnia to Rest:

How acupuncture can help you overcome this common problem:

If you have difficulty falling asleep or wake-up during the night you are experiencing symptoms of insomnia. Insomnia is more than just having a poor night's sleep. As this can be frustrating for most sleepers, insomnia sufferers can attest that the real effects of months or years of poor sleeping habits are most noticeable during the daytime. Long-term effects of insomnia include physical tiredness/lethargy, an inability to concentrate or focus and emotional disturbances such as irritability or depression. Furthermore, studies prove that individuals who get a minimum of 6-7 hours of sleep per night have lower blood pressure, reduced levels of stress and inflammation, suffer from less colds and flus, have better memory and are better able to control body weight. Sleep is an important time for us to physically and mentally regenerate, restore and recover from our everyday stressors, without it we are missing out on its amazing healing capacities. All the more reason to make sure you have a restful night's sleep.

In Chinese Medicine, the concept of yin and yang applies to a delicate balance of opposing energies within the universe and oneself. Yin relates to stillness, darkness and cold and its energy is predominant during the nighttime. Yang relates to movement, brightness and heat and its energy is predominant during the daytime. People who have trouble sleeping are not in sync with the energy of the universe. Their yang energies are more active at night - for example, their mind is overactive, they have vivid dreams or their bodies simply don't feel ready to sleep. Some individuals will toss and turn in bed all night while others will get out of bed to do household chores or go on the computer. These activities stimulate your senses and further perpetuate the sleepless cycle.

From a Western Medicine viewpoint, the hormone Melatonin is partly responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle by chemically causing drowsiness and lowering our body temperature, signaling to our bodies that it's time to sleep. Individuals who suffer from insomnia tend to have lower nocturnal outputs of Melatonin. A 2004 study on the effects of acupuncture for the treatment of insomnia concludes that acupuncture increases nocturnal melatonin secretion and reduces insomnia and anxiety (Spence et al, Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 2004). Acupuncture helps to regulate an individual's sleep-wake cycle by causing the body to release its own natural melatonin at the appropriate time of day. This is beneficial to the patient because acupuncture produces a long-term, sustainable effect on the body that cannot be achieved with melatonin supplements or medication.

Acupuncture is a widely used remedy for insomnia and is becoming increasingly popular as individuals who have developed a high tolerance for medication are looking for a permanent solution for their sleep issues. Regular treatments will gradually correct your insomnia and allow you to enjoy the wonderful benefits a good night's sleep has to offer.

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Acupuncture for Allergy Clearing

With the warm sun of the summer beaming down on us, it's a wonder anyone would dread the beautiful flowers and fresh cut grass around us. The truth is, for many people this signals the onset of allergy season. Grass and weed pollens are most prevalent in late spring and summer causing many suffers to seek relief with medications, mainly anti-histamines. These medications are very effective at managing the allergic response, but unfortunately, this immediate quick-fix solution comes with a price - side effects of allergy medications include: temporary loss of smell and taste, headache, fatigue/drowsiness, stomach cramping, wheezing or a dependency to medication. To make matters worse, your allergies will still be there next year!

The strength of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is that it takes a curative approach to treating allergies. Not only is the goal to provide symptom relief in the acute phase, but also to prevent the recurrence of future episodes. Acupuncture looks for a solution to your problems by assessing your body and its response to external stimuli. Some patients will have a stuffy nose, thick phlegm and red, burning, itchy eyes. Another patient may have a runny nose, slight chills, sneezing and a lot of loose phlegm, while another patient may exhibit sinus congestion and dry phlegm. The important thing to note here is that the allergy is not defined by what the patient is allergic to but by how the allergy specifically affects the patient. Two different patients can be exposed to the same allergen, but each will experience a different response. Chinese Medicine has the ability to identify specific dysfunctions unique to your body and regular acupuncture treatments will work to correct these dysfunctions. Your body will be functioning at its optimal level, which means either your allergies will be completely gone or greatly reduced.

It's never too late to start. If you or anyone you know suffers from allergies and would like to live the rest of your life allergy-free, then consult your Registered Acupuncturist, Amanda Merenda, for an appointment today.

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Your Gastrointestinal Health

Many people feel embarrassed to discuss their bowel habits, however, symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, urgency, blood and mucus in the stools, severe gas and bloating and abdominal pain/cramping are believed to occur as often as the common cold. Because gastrointestinal issues are rarely discussed, the treatment and management of these conditions do not receive much attention and may leave a person feeling unsure about where and how to seek help.

Acupuncture is an effective means of treating, managing and even preventing symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn's disease, Ulcerative Colitis and undiagnosed conditions such as chronic constipation or diarrhea, gas and bloating. Acupuncture can help to relieve the frequency and duration of episodes associated with these disorders and can eventually eliminate all signs and symptoms. Regular acupuncture treatments will also help to reduce food sensitivities and decrease the stress and anxiety associated with unpredictable bowel habits.

A recent study at the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine has found that regular acupuncture treatments reduce intestinal inflammation and restore epithelial barrier disruption in people with Crohn's disease.

If you or someone you know is suffering from any of these conditions and are looking for a natural, drug-free treatment acupuncture will not only target the symptoms, but also prevent recurrent episodes.

Patient testimonial:

"My acupuncture sessions with Amanda have really helped me get through my colitis flare ups. It has dramatically reduced the duration and severity of my symptoms in a short period of time. I believe that each acupuncture treatment heals my body in a way that medication cannot. I am so thankful for acupuncture because it has made a huge difference without all the nasty side effects of medication! Not only has my colitis improved, I feel healthier overall!" -J.F

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Boost Your Immune System!

The Winter season is upon us and along with the snow comes the dreaded cold and flu. Fortunately, acupuncture is effective for not only preventing colds and flu's, but also treating the symptoms once they arise.

How does acupuncture treat colds and flu's?

The cold, windy winter weather weakens the body's defense mechanisms leaving it vulnerable to bacteria and viruses. Acupuncture works by initiating the body's own healing mechanisms to restore itself to a healthy state. Acupuncture will boost one's immune system in order to protect the body from pathogenic factors. Studies have shown that red blood cell counts and specific immune enhancing chemicals are elevated in the body for three days post-treatment.

What can I expect during a treatment?

Treatments are designed specifically for the individual and needles are inserted at various locations on the body, depending on each person's needs. The needles remain in the body for about 20 minutes while the patient lies down. Acupuncture needles are extremely fine (unlike the needles used for injections or vaccines) and are designed to enter the skin with limited resistance. Most patients are surprised to discover the treatments are relatively painless and very relaxing.

HOME REMEDY FOR THE COMMON COLD

A great, easy treatment for the common cold is Ginger Root. Known in Traditional Chinese Medicine as 'Shen Jiang', Ginger can be used to dispel pathogens, stop vomiting and relieve cough.

Make yourself a cup of ginger tea: Chop 2-3 pieces of fresh ginger root and place in water. Boil the water and ginger until the water turns light yellow. Allow to cool, and then drink!

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Migraines, Headaches & Acupuncture

The symptoms of headache disorders have become all too familiar to a large proportion of the population. Each day, many individuals are dealing with unilateral or bilateral head pain accompanied with nausea, vomiting andsensitivity to light or sound.

Despite recent advances in research, migraines and headaches are a poorly understood neurological disorder with an unclear pathogenesis. Fortunately, research studying the effectiveness of using acupuncture to treatheadaches has been positive. Acupuncture has been shown to modulate cranial blood flow and decrease the severity of pain, frequency of migraine onset and prevention of future episodes.

There are many different types of headache classifications, the most common are: tension-type headache, migraine, cluster headache and chronic daily headache syndrome. The most important aspect of diagnosing and treating headache disroders is to identify the underlying cause. This means assessing every aspect of the individual and looking for imbalances on a physical and energetic level.

Treatment would consist of a series of acupuncture sessions about two times per week, as well as avoiding triggers and increasing one's physical activity level. The goal of treatment is to correct each individual's dysfunction by promoting the body's natural healing mechanisms.

Studies suggest that acupuncture is as effective as and possibly more effective than conventional drug treatments. It has fewer side effects and is aviable treatment option for those seeking natural care and permanent relief.

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Detox your body with Acupuncture

Acupuncture detox is a standardized auricular (ear) acupuncture protocol used for the treatment of behavioural health issues such as addictions, mental health issues or disaster/emotional traumas. Five sterilized needles are inserted in each ear while the patient sits quietly for 30-45 minutes.

Acudetox has been used to successfully treat individuals with substance and smoking addictions, gambling/sex/food addiction, insomnia, ADHD and Post-traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD).

Patients report increased relaxation and reduced stress, craving reduction, decreased withdrawal symptoms, mental clarity, improved sleep, increased energy and a better appetite. Research studies have shown that addicts who participate in acudetox not only experience the physical benefits of the treatment, but also have a higher abstinence rate post-treatment and a decreased rate of relapse.

Acupuncture detox is a drug-free, non-judgemental solution for people suffering from addictive behaviours. It is an effective treatment for individual's committed to making a change in their lives and the lives of their families.

If you have any questions regarding this article or would like a free 15 minute phone consultation on how acudetox can help you please contact: Amanda 647.299.4631

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Acupuncture for Fertility

"The body will not conceive if a woman is not in a healthy enough state to support a pregnancy" - Justisse Healthworks for Women

From an evolutionary perspective, your body's main priority is survival. This means its basic needs must be met and the body must be functioning optimally before it considers reproducing. This sounds like common knowledge, but how many people have actually looked at the correlation between their sleep, appetite, bowel movements, digestion etc and their reproductive health? Many women are diagnosed by Western doctors with "unexplained" infertility. The truth is, there IS an explanation with Chinese Medicine and the source of the problem usually lies outside of the reproductive system. Acupuncture can increase your chances of conceiving by correcting any dysfunction in other systems (respiratory, circulatory, digestive, urinary, etc.) that are distracting your body from focusing 100% of its resources on reproduction.

Real Life Stories: My Journey to Motherhood
By: Tybie Robertson

At the age of 34, my husband and I were told that our chances of conceiving naturally were 2%. Understandably upset, we decided to research our options for childbirth. Fertility experts informed us that our chances of conceiving through IUI were only 5%, while IVF brought the percentage up to a 55% success rate.
Wanting to gain any advantage in our chances for childbirth, we researched methods that would assist before, during, and after childbirth. Our research brought us to Amanda Merenda. After initial consultations with Amanda we felt that her expertise in acupuncture would benefit us on our journey toward having a child. Beginning acupuncture on a regular basis, and specifically before embryo retrieval and transfer, we felt that Amanda's ability to understand the human body and in turn utilize her skills, directly lead to success for us as we became pregnant on the first embryo transfer.
We continued our relationship with Amanda as she cared for me during my pregnancy. Through my continued visits, Amanda was able to use acupuncture to decrease my nausea and morning sickness, reduce my headaches and even relieve my heartburn. We are now the proud parents of a happy, healthy baby girl.
We appreciate everything that Amanda has helped us with. Whenever I meet someone experiencing fertility issues, I always make sure to recommend Amanda.

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Taking Control of Your Back Pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints I see in my clinic. It is second only to the common cold as a cause of lost days at work and approximately 75-90% of the population will experience lower back pain at some point in their life. It is important to seek treatment at the slightest feeling of pain to prevent this from becoming a recurring issue.
Most patients with lower back pain have a very detailed history of when their back initially began bothering them (usually with an injury in their youth), how it went away for a few years and then was re-aggravated again while doing simple housework, bending to tie their shoes or twisting improperly. Most people hope the pain will go away on its own and only seek treatment when the pain is so severe that it interrupts their daily activities. This 'pain-centered' approach to healing is a dangerous way of viewing health. Pain is a personalized, subjective experience that does not indicate overall function. This means that just because you don't feel any pain, it doesn't mean that your back is in a healthy state. For this reason, many patients end up in a "yo-yo cycle" with intermittent bouts of pain/no-pain in their lower backs.
A combination of acupuncture and exercise will work to eliminate lower back pain, but will also focus on correcting any mechanical dysfunction in the area that is responsible for causing the pain. For example, one's lower back muscles may be significantly stronger than their abdominals and this muscular imbalance may be contributing to on-going pain. Acupuncture will promote muscle nutrition and regeneration, while core strengthening exercises will help to train proper body mechanics during movement and at rest.
Radiating pain from the lower back into the legs or tingling/numbness in the feet usually indicates neurological impairment and should not be left untreated (most people generalize this as 'sciatica,' however there are many different nerves in the lower back that can be impinged and cause symptoms similar to sciatica). The advantage of acupuncture versus conventional forms of treatment is that acupuncture needles are able to directly access the affected nerves, which will reduce inflammation and relieve pressure from stiff muscles surrounding the tissues.
The most important aspect of a good treatment is to start with a good assessment. Callp today to book your appointment and start living your life pain-free and functionally optimal.

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Menopause and acupuncture: What you should know

Definition: Cessation of menstruation for 6-12 months. Usually between age 48-55 years. Symptoms: Vaginal dryness, hot flashes, headaches, tiredness, irritability, anxiety, nervousness, depression, insomnia, poor concentration, spontaneous sweating. Remember: it is NOT a disease! It is a TRANSITION from a reproductive to a non-reproductive stage. It is a natural biological process that EVERY woman experiences. You only need to seek treatment if the symptoms interfere with your everyday life. Acupuncture will help to ease this transition. The good news: the decline in ovarian follicles is a gradual process that occurs across a woman's entire life. This means that the type of menopause a woman experiences is directly related to the lifestyle factors of her early years (diet, exercise, rest, stress level). It is never too late to take care of yourself. If you are currently going through menopause and are experiencing severe symptoms acupuncture can help to alleviate these symptoms and allow you to transition smoothly. If you are a young woman it is important to focus on prevention by living a healthful life right now.

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How To Distinguish The Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

There are 3 main nerves that innervate your forearm and hands: 1. Radial Nerve 2. Median Nerve 3. Ulnar Nerve. Many people falsely believe that any tingling and numbness in their hands and fingers automatically means that they have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), but this is not the case. The ONLY nerve that actually passes through the carpal tunnel (a passageway of ligaments and bone at the wrist) is the MEDIAN nerve. Therefore, in order to have true CTS it must be the Median nerve that is being compressed. This can be diagnosed in the clinic by orthopaedic testing or through a nerve conduction test with a specialist. True CTS will exhibit symptoms on the palmar aspect of the thumb, index and middle fingers and slightly along the inside part of the ring finger. The Median nerve does not innervate the pinky finger, so any numbness in this area means the problem may be due to the ulnar nerve or a completely different condition all together.
Acupuncture works extremely well to treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (or any other type of wrist pain). The advantage with acupuncture is that the needle can be inserted directly into the carpal tunnel which will then 'create space' and relieve pressure on the median nerve. Cortisone injections and surgery are always a last resort, so it's better to try and treat CTS with acupuncture and regular stretching & strengthening exercises first.

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Acupuncture & Hormonal Balance

What are hormones? How do I know if my hormones are balanced?

Hormones are chemical messengers secreted directly into your blood by the endocrine glands. The blood then carries these hormones to specific organs in order for them to function properly. Even the slightest variation in hormone secretion (either excess or deficiency) can lead to major changes in your body and cause disease.

Signs you have a hormone imbalance:
  • persistent weight gain
  • low libido
  • fatigue
  • belly fat and loss of muscle mass
  • anxiety, irritability, depression
  • insomnia, poor sleep
  • sweating
  • digestive problems
  • cravings

Experiencing any of the above health concerns may indicate an imbalance in your hormones. These signs are your body's way of speaking to you and telling you something is wrong - you need to listen! All symptoms you experience are an external manifestation of an internal imbalance and indicate that your body is not functioning at 100% of its full potential. Luckily, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can help to restore your body to back balance and make sure your hormones are doing exactly what they need to do in your body - nothing more and nothing less!

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Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

Restless leg syndrome is more than just unwanted leg twitching at night. Believe it or not, it is a neurological disorder that is characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs resulting in 'restlessness.' Feelings such as aches and pains, pins and needles or a crawling sensation in the legs are accompanied with an irresistible urge to move in order to provide relief from the discomfort. Because this condition occurs at night and significantly disturbs one's sleep it if often discussed in the field of sleep disorders.
   Causes for RLS may be genetic (decreased dopamine levels in the brain), poor nutrition (especially iron) or due to poor circulation in the legs (caused by smoking, diabetes, lack of exercise or other unknown factors).
   The good news - Acupuncture can help! Chinese Medicine relates RLS symptoms to an imbalance in the Liver and Kidney Organs. The Liver-Kidney system gradually declines with aging which explains why this condition is most often seen among those aged 55+. Numbness in the legs indicates a "blood deficiency" pattern according to Chinese Medicine Theory which causes poor circulation and exacerbates the condition.
   The key to a successful recovery is having a thorough assessment and customized treatment plan. Like people, no two treatments are the same, which is why it is important to find out how this issue is affecting you specifically. This allows the acupuncturist to tailor the treatment and yield greater results.

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Lateral Epicondylitis A.K.A Tennis Elbow

You don't need to play tennis to develop this over-use injury

Lateral Epicondylitis (more commonly known as Tennis Elbow) is an inflammation of the tendons on the lateral (outside) part of your elbow. Pain on the medial (inside) part of your elbow is another condition known as Medial Epicondylitis (a.k.a Golfer's Elbow) and shares a lot of similarities with Tennis Elbow. Aside from affecting different tendons, the treatment and outcomes are very similar for both conditions.

Causes

time due to overuse. The main action that causes Tennis Elbow is gripping (usually between the thumb and first 2 fingers). For this reason, you don't need to have played tennis to develop tennis elbow - any repetitive gripping motions will cause inflammation and microscopic tears in the tendons resulting in pain. Tennis elbow is most commonly caused by: racket sports (tennis, squash), weightlifting, carpentry, raking, typing or knitting.

Treatment

The good news is that Tennis Elbow responds very well to treatment. You should notice significant improvement within the first few sessions. Treatment includes regular acupuncture sessions to help reduce inflammation, promote proper muscle nutrition, decrease pain and enhance neural reactivity in the local tissues. Additional interventions such as electro-acupuncture or heat therapy may also be used depending on your response. Of course, treatment success will be even quicker depending on what you do outside of the therapy session. An at-home protocol of ice, stretching and strengthening exercises will significantly improve recovery time as well as preventing this issue from occurring again. After the initial assessment your practitioner may prescribe a home exercise program for you to follow.