Some Benefits of Tai Chi Chuan

As you may know, Karen, Valerie and I are long-time practitioners of Tai Chi Chuan (TCC). TCC is an ancient martial art from China. When practiced properly, it encompasses moving meditation, gentle physical exercise, Chi Kung (energizing), Taoist philosophy and self defense.

There are many benefits to TCC. It develops strong legs as well as helping maintain upper body strength. It greatly improves sure-footedness and balance. Several studies have found that senior citizens who practice Tai Chi have fewer falls and fewer broken bones. It also helps reduce stress and improves coordination and mental focus.

One of the things I noticed when I first started Tai Chi was an improvement in my immune system. At that point I would succumb to a cold or flu about twice a year. Not bad considering I get exposed dozens of times a week whenever there’s something going around. When I started Tai Chi, that was cut to one or none/year!

Here’s a couple of links to stories on Reuters reporting on studies demonstrating the ability of Tai Chi to improve immunity and help the body fight shingle and type 2 diabetes.

http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSCOL87507220070308 Diabetes

http://www.reuters.com/article/gc08/idUSL234039820070323
Shingles

Tai Chi has been known for years as a useful form of exercise for arthritis sufferers. Here’s a link to a study that was done showing real benefit for patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knees.

http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE49P0VB20081026

We’re fortunate to have one of the best Tai Chi Chuan instructors in the country right here in the Quad Cities. Scott Caulpetzer teaches classes in the evenings on Monday and Wednesday as well as several day classes. His main class is Saturday morning at 10:00. if you’re interested in Tai Chi classes, you can contact him at: 322-4002 or ask about classes next time you’re in the office.

Dr. Hogg

Making Your New Years Resolutions Come True

Well, the holidays are over with all the parties and special treats. I hope your holidays were wonderful and (at least reasonably) healthy! We’re starting an New Year in many ways. Not just 2009 but with a new, very different, president and new challenges both as a nation and individually.
This is traditionally a time to reflect and take stock of our lives. What serves us? What doesn’t? What do we want to accomplish in the coming year? What do we want to accomplish in our lives? What aspects of our lifestyle brings us closer to those goals and which get in the way?
So we make resolutions at the beginning of a new year. Maybe we decide that this is the year we lose weight, take up an exercise program, learn a new skill, get a new job, improve our relationships or release a habit that no longer serves us as we progress toward our life goals. Whatever you resolve to change or accomplish in the coming year, I want you to know that my staff and I are here to help you meet your goals.
One of the powerful tools we have available is the Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET). Using NET we we can work together to find out if there are any old, buried (or unburied) emotional associations that may be sabotaging your conscious desire to make change in your life. We can then zero in on the past incident that you’re unconsciously reacting to and defuse it so that, although the memory is still there, the emotional reaction that has been blocking your progress is cleared thus helping the desired change to occur.
I know many of you have experienced the life-changing effects of NET just as I have. Whether you want to change your diet or exercise program, find your perfect job or life partner, break an old habit or
start a new, positive one, NET can often be key to smoothing the way. Sure we can accomplish things in spite of these old emotional stresses and blocks but it’s like driving with the parking brake on! I’d love to help you get out of your own way and help release your full, wonderful potential.
For more information on NET please ask me or my staff or check out the NET website
Another great tool I use for changing habits is auriculotherapy (ear acupuncture). This technique is especially effective for addictions. Addictions don’t have to be just to the obvious things like drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Other common addictions include food and work and gambling. Auriculotherapy along with NET and specific nutritional therapy are extremely effective in helping people who want to break an addictive habit. In fact auriculotherapy is so effective that it’s part of the drug rehabilitation program for drug-related crime prevention in Florida, New York, Nevada and Israel.
As we begin this New year together, I’m excited about working with you to make the changes you want in your life, your family, your community and the world! Each one of us, as we become truly healthy on all levels are freed to make contributions only we can give, which affects everyone around us.
Our office motto is “We change the World by optimizing health”. YOU change the world by being all you truly are!
Dr. Hogg

Resolutions

Well, the holidays are over with all the parties and special treats. I hope your holidays were wonderful and (at least reasonably) healthy! We’re starting an New Year in many ways. Not just 2009 but with a new, very different, president and new challenges both as a nation and individually.

This is traditionally a time to reflect and take stock of our lives. What serves us? What doesn’t? What do we want to accomplish in the coming year? What do we want to accomplish in our lives? What aspects of our lifestyle brings us closer to those goals and which get in the way?

So we make resolutions at the beginning of a new year. Maybe we decide that this is the year we lose weight, take up an exercise program, learn a new skill, get a new job, improve our relationships or release a habit that no longer serves us as we progress toward our life goals. Whatever you resolve to change or accomplish in the coming year, I want you to know that my staff and I are here to help you meet your goals.

One of the powerful tools we have available is the Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET). Using NET we we can work together to find out if there are any old, buried (or unburied) emotional associations that may be sabotaging your conscious desire to make change in your life. We can then zero in on the past incident that you’re unconsciously reacting to and defuse it so that, although the memory is still there, the emotional reaction that has been blocking your progress is cleared thus helping the desired change to occur.

I know many of you have experienced the life-changing effects of NET just as I have. Whether you want to change your diet or exercise program, find your perfect job or life partner, break an old habit or start a new, positive one, NET can often be key to smoothing the way. Sure we can accomplish things in spite of these old emotional stresses and blocks but it’s like driving with the parking brake on! I’d love to help you get out of your own way and help release your full, wonderful potential.

For more information on NET please ask me or my staff or check out the NET website at www.netmindbody.com

Another great tool I use for changing habits is auriculotherapy (ear acupuncture). This technique is especially effective for addictions. Addictions don’t have to be just to the obvious things like drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Other common addictions include food and work and gambling. Auriculotherapy along with NET and specific nutritional therapy are extremely effective in helping people who want to break an addictive habit. In fact auriculotherapy is so effective that it’s part of the drug rehabilitation program for drug-related crime prevention in Florida, New York, Nevada and Israel.

As we begin this New year together, I’m excited about working with you to make the changes you want in your life, your family, your community and the world! Each one of us, as we become truly healthy on all levels are freed to make contributions only we can give, which affects everyone around us.

Our office motto is “We change the World by optimizing health”. YOU change the world by being all you truly are!

Dr. Hogg

Getting Through the Cold and Flu Season

This year has seen some of the most severe Winter weather and, not surprisingly, the worst cold and flu season we’ve had for a long time. I thought everyone could use some tips to help stay healthy or recover faster if you are already sick.

First, a big part of the problem is the extreme weather. Weather that is very cold or, even worse, temperatures with extreme shifts really add to our stress levels. Stress hormones like cortisol and cortisone suppress our natural immune response. These hormones have such a powerful action that a synthetic version, prednisone, given to organ transplant patients to suppress their immune system and prevent tissue rejection.

While we can’t change the weather, we can dress for it. Keep a close watch on the weather reports and make sure you’re dressed warm enough for the weather. Help to decrease your “thermal stress” by putting on your coat even if all you’re doing is dashing out to get the mail or take out the garbage. Several layers work better than one heavy one, especially if you’re going to be outside for awhile. Remember to wear a hat! The head has a bountiful blood supply (that’s why head cuts bleed so freely) and a lot of heat is lost through an uncovered head.

Hydration is a problem in the Winter too. There’s a process called “hydrolysis” that white blood cells (WBCs) use to zap viruses and bacteria that requires adequate water in the body. Cold, dry weather sucks the moisture out of us, usually without making us thirsty, so it’s very easy to become dehydrated in the Winter. To combat this, make sure you’re getting at least 8 cups (½ gallon or 2 quarts) of water every day. This must be pure water, not juice, milk or tea. The body treats these as food and uses them differently. Keeping the inside humidity between 35% to 50% will also help with hydration as well as keeping the mucus membranes in you nose and throat moist, healthy and more resistant to infection.

Diet is important. We tend to less fresh fruit and especially vegetables in the Winter. These are full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that help boost our immune system. We should be getting 6 – 10 ½ cup servings each day of fresh or lightly cooked fruit and vegetables. Refined sugar and sugary foods should be reduced or eliminated, especially if we’re already sick. A tablespoon of sugar can lower our immune response by as much as 40% for 4 hours!

Here are some foods and supplements that are especially helpful:

Vitamin C is a classic. I suggest at least 1000mg/day for prevention and 5000mg/day if you’re sick. When you get well and cut back, it’s best to go slowly, cutting back `1000mg every 2 days until you’re down to 1000 again.

Vitamin D is getting a lot of attention in the last couple of years. It turns out this “sunshine vitamin” is needed in larger amounts than previously thought as well as providing benefits far beyond the classic bone density. One of the things D does is to help regulate our immune system. One of the reasons people get sick more often in the Winter is that we aren’t out in the sun (always assuming there’s any sun to be out in!) the way we are (or should be. More on that later) in the Summer. Taking oral vitamin D3 (the most bio-active form) can be an answer. Unfortunately, vitamin D can be toxic if too much is taken so it’s important to get tested and monitored to make sure the dose is right for you.

Garlic is like some kind of wonder herb. In addition to helping with cholesterol and blood pressure, it is a good immune system builder, actually has antibiotic (kills germs on contact) properties and works as an expectorant for lung congestion. Garlic works best if taken raw. An easy way to take raw garlic is to mince ½ clove and mix with a tablespoon of unsweetened yogurt. Just pop the mix in your mouth and swallow it without chewing. Do this 2-3 times/day for an active cold or flu. This will minimize “garlic breath”. We also have “odorless” garlic capsules here at the office.

Coconut oil has special types of fatty acids in it that are antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. It should be virgin, cold processed coconut oil. We have a good brand available at the office. A lot of the benefit is lost if coconut oil is used for cooking so, for immune support, eat it right out of the jar. I recommend about 3 TBS/day.

There are many herbs like echinacea, astragalus, goldenseal, elderberry, oregano (especially good for bacteria) and olive leaf that can be very helpful. I find that what is needed varies from virus to virus and person to person so it’s best to get tested to find out what will work best for you.

Just as stress will weaken your immune system, anti-stress will strengthen it. Yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and deep relaxation techniques have all been shown to increase resistance to infection. Also sleep is essential! Nothing will knock your resistance down faster than chronic sleep deprivation. Anything less than 6 hours of sound sleep/night is considered sleep deprivation. I find most people need from 7 to 9 hours/night depending on their constitution and lifestyle demands.

Last but not least, it’s important to come in for regular care during high-risk times like this. Dr Robynn and I can check various aspects of your immune system (liver, spleen, thymus, lymphatic drainage etc) to make sure they’re working as well as they can. Massage stimulates receptors in the skin that increases many immune factors in the blood so scheduling with our massage therapist, Valerie can also be very helpful.

I hope these tips will help make the rest of the Winter easier and healthier for you. Hang in there, Spring is on the way!

Dr. Hogg

Key Ideas for a Healthy Diet

As a result of many requests from my patients, I have decided to start a series of newsletters on diet and nutrition. This is an extremely large subject which I don’t expect to be able to cover fully in a series, let alone a single newsletter. What I’d like to do in this series is to sort of hit the high points in nutritional theory as well as my own personal and clinical experience.

In this first installment, I’d like to lay out some general guidelines for diet and nutrition. I fell that guidelines must be general for two reasons. First, nutrition is an infant science. What we think we know (nutritional “science” is made up largely of theories which are sometimes contradictory and frequently proven wrong as new data comes in ) about nutrition is only a small percentage of what there is left to learn on this subject. Secondly, and most importantly, each person’s metabolism is unique. While it is true that we all have needs for general categories of nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and water, the amounts and best form of those nutrients may vary substantially from person to person. This, of course, is why Applied Kinesiology (AK) testing procedures are so useful and important in working out nutritional needs. These procedures allow the well-trained Doctor of Applied Kinesiology to tailor-make a nutritional program for the individual by “consulting” with the ultimate authority – each patient’s body.

With this in mind, I’d like to list some general nutritional guidelines which are fairly well agreed upon and which I have seen work consistently in my patients.

It is generally a good idea to eat foods in as near to their natural state as possible. The more processed (refined, milled, cooked, irradiated, homogenized, pasteurized, hydrogenated, artificially flavored, colored, and preserved) a food is, the lower it usually is in nutrition. Several vitamins and all enzymes are destroyed by prolonged cooking and many vitamins and minerals are leached out of food by cooking in water – unless you’re making soup or you’re going to drink the cooking water, then this becomes less of a problem, (soup is a good food). When a grain is refined into white flour, it usually has both the bran and germ removed, stripping away dozens of nutrients and leaving you with the starch and a few vitamins and minerals the food companies put back in to “enrich” it.

Chemicals that have been added to food to color it, flavor it, or prolong shelf life are often given their final test by using us as guinea pigs. Many food additives that at one time were thought to be safe, were later discovered to cause degenerative diseases, cancer etc. The most recent example of this is aspartame, otherwise known as NutraSweet which is now used in virtually all artificially sweetened beverages and most other “low cal” foods. This substance was put on the market almost untested. So far it has been involved in certain types of urinary diseases, and learning/concentration problems. It is also well established that aspartame will degrade into formaldehyde if exposed to temperatures over 85 degrees F. I’m not trying to pick on NutraSweet, but I feel this is a good example of the kind of chemical russian roulette the FDA and food companies play with the American consumer.

Another good reason to eat food in as close to its’ natural state as possible is to obtain synergistic factors. These are substances naturally “packaged” with vitamins and minerals that will aid in their digestion and absorption and may even be necessary for a vitamin to perform its’ role as a nutrient. Phytonutrients are important nutrients, found most abundantly in darkly or brightly colored fruits and vegetables. The more intense the color, the higher the phytonutrient content is likely to be. Phytonutrients seem to be involved in many health benefits including protecting the cardiovascular system, improving the aging process and protecting against certain types of cancer. Once again, phytonutrients are often lost as foods are processed and changed form their natural state.

Since nutrition is such a young science, it is very likely that there are many essential nutrients that we may not know about. People living mostly on processed foods would be missing both known and yet to be discovered nutrients. An obvious example of this principle is the difference between infant formula (once thought to be a scientifically superior infant food) and mother’s milk. Contrary to scientific beliefs of a couple decades ago, it is now well accepted among enlightened pediatricians and obstetricians that breast fed babies are generally healthier and develop faster, have less colds, etc. than formula fed babies.

When my patients hand in their diet charts, most of them are deficient in two areas; vegetables and water. The body uses water for many important chemical reactions. It is also important in regulating blood pressure and body temperature and helping rid the body of toxins. White blood cells use water to help hydrolyze and destroy bacteria, cancer cells, etc. This same process of hydrolysis is used in the digestion of the food we eat (but don’t drink a lot of water with your meals) There is evidence that the body treats water differently from other fluids (milk, juices, tea, etc.) and that, while one could stay alive drinking only other fluids, pure water is needed for optimum good health. As a general rule of thumb, the average adult will need about 8 cups of water per day. The quota will need to be increased with very hot or very cold weather, for lactating women, very active people or any other condition which would increase water use.

Vegetables are a source of many vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber. Since some of these nutrients are destroyed by cooking, most vegetables are better eaten raw. Some notable exceptions are carrots (the high cellulose content may interfere somewhat with nutrient absorption unless they’re cooked, but if you want more fiber in your diet, they should be eaten raw),most beans, (many beans, especially soybeans, contain an enzyme that inhibits protein digestion. This enzyme is destroyed by heat.) and, in some cases, raw spinach, which is high in oxalic acid and can aggravate certain types of urinary disorders. The best way to cook most vegetables to preserve nutrition is to steam them for anywhere from 5 -20 minutes.

Other general dietary considerations would include: cutting down or eliminating refined (white) sugar and sugar products and exercising moderation in your intake of animal fat and meat. More on these topics in future newsletters.

As you can see, even a basic introduction has turned into a rather long newsletter topic! I hope this information will get you off to a good start. Please give me your feedback, ideas, etc. on this diet series.

NEXT TIME YOU HAVE A “SLOW DRAIN” DON’T CALL A PLUMBER

What do swollen ankles, swollen glands, tonsillitis, sore throats, anemic conditions, low energy, fat digestion problems, poor healing of cuts, pneumonia and low resistance to disease have in common? These common health problems may seem unrelated but they can all be symptoms of a blockage in lymph flow known in Applied Kinesiology (A.K.) as “lymphatic retrograde”.

When the words circulation and body fluids are used, most people think of blood. There is, however, a second system that circulates body fluids called the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is much smaller and simpler than the blood circulatory system but it still performs many important functions. These functions are of three primary types: 1. lymph system filtration 2. collection of fluids and proteins from between the cells 3. pickup and distribution of fats from the small intestine.

1. IMMUNE SYSTEM FILTRATION Located throughout the lymphatic system among the lymphatic vessels (the lymph version of veins) are lymph nodes. These nodes are actually lymph filters. One of the functions of the lymph system is to pick up bacteria, viruses, cancer cells, debris from old cells etc., and bring them to these nodes where they become trapped while antibodies are produced in the nodes to destroy this unwanted or dangerous material. When the nodes become filled with bacteria or debris and as antibody production increases, the nodes expand and are referred to as “swollen glands”. In addition to the nodes, there are special disease fighting areas such as the tonsils, thymus gland, spleen and parts of the liver which are all part of the lymphatic system. Good function in these disease fighting areas depends on a good flow of lymph to and from each node, tonsil, etc.

2. The second function of the lymphatic system involves COLLECTION OF FLUID, PROTEINS, AND OTHER NUTRIENTS that leak out of or are missed by the blood circulation. Normally this fluid, protein, etc. is collected from the tissues and returned to the blood system at the right subclavian vein in the upper chest.

3. Although most nutrients are picked up from the small intestine by the blood, FATS WHICH HAVE BEEN BROKEN DOWN INTO TRIGLYCERIDES ARE PICKED UP BY THE LYMPH SYSTEM and emptied into the blood at the subclavian vein. Fats are not only an important energy source (especially for the aerobic or oxygen using muscle fibers) but form important components for many cell parts and are especially important for nerve cells.

A lymphatic retrograde problem occurs when muscle weakness or spasms in the neck and chest cause a restriction or blockage in the lymph flow. This restriction usually occurs right before the lymphatic vessels empty into the subclavian veins, and the lymph drainage in the whole body can be affected.

Because of the restriction, lymph nodes, tonsils, etc. cannot get rid of the dead bacteria, digested cells, etc. They swell up and may become irritated and inflamed (tonsillitis). Because the lymph flow is blocked, bacteria and viruses can’t be brought to the nodes in a normal fashion and one of the body’s major defenses against disease is crippled. I have seen many chronic infections such as viral pneumonia, tonsillitis, persistent flu, swollen glands, sore throats, etc. show great improvement or even vanish within hours of doing the A.K. lymphatic retrograde therapy.

When the lymph system is blocked, fluid can’t be removed from the tissues properly and conditions of edema or “water retention” may develop. If water retention is caused by poor lymphatic drainage then classic remedies such as “water pills” (diuretics to make the kidneys work harder at taking fluid out of the blood) will not solve the problem. The pull of gravity tends to make collection of fluids from the legs and feet more difficult and if a lymphatic retrograde problem is present, the swollen ankles referred to earlier may result. This swelling often reduces dramatically (including loss of “water weight”) after lymphatic retrograde therapy.

When lymphatic flow is sluggish, pickup of triglycerides from the small intestine is also impaired. For reasons as yet not fully understood, the restricted lymphatic flow seems to interfere with red blood cell production in some people producing a lowered hematocrit. Here, again, I have seen several cases where the low hematocrit increased or normalized after lymphatic retrograde therapy.

Although a great number of problems may result from poor lymphatic drainage, it is important to remember that other conditions can produce many of these same symptoms. Fortunately, Applied Kinesiology muscle testing can quickly discover whether a lymphatic blockage is to blame for these problems and allow the A.K. Doctor to effectively correct numerous conditions that would be very difficult to treat otherwise.

So, if you’re feeling puffy, stuffy or just plain tired, remember, your problem may be a “Slow Drain”.

“YOU CALL THIS SUCCESS?”

Have you ever experienced a severe band of pain across your lower back or neck? Have you ever hurt your back, knee, ankle, elbow, etc. badly for no apparent reason? If so, you may have been a victim of “success syndrome”.

Success Syndrome is a term used in Applied Kinesiology to describe a situation of ligament weakness caused by prolonged or excessive stress. Ligaments are tough bands of tissue that hold joints together. They are sometimes confused with tendons which connect muscle to bone. Tendons are supposed to be stretchy and elastic, ligaments are supposed to have almost no stretch. During prolonged periods of stress or short periods of extreme stress, an imbalance in adrenal hormone production may occur. This imbalance, especially the increase in cortisol production, has the effect ofbreaking down and weakening the ligaments. This weakening of the ligaments sets the stage for overstretching and tearing. The person with success syndrome literally becomes a “sprain waiting to happen”!

Patients have come to me with massive back sprain which they acquired by simply bending over or leaning across a desk. Ligaments in the low back and base of the skull are especially susceptible to success syndrome. A typical pain pattern with success syndrome seems to be a band of intense pain across the top of the hips in back, intense neck pain, or a headache at the base of the skull. Although the above areas are more common targets for this syndrome, any joint may be affected. Injuries of the knee, elbow, shoulder, ankle, etc. may be a result of success syndrome especially if the injury seemed to occur too easily.

Initial treatment for success syndrome is directed toward getting the primary culprits, the adrenal glands, functioning properly. This is accomplished using the “Hypothalamic Set Point Technique to help the adrenals reset to a more normal level of activity. Specific nutrition to improve adrenal function is usually needed in addition. Any bones which are out of position are also adjusted back into position. Treatment to improve the tone of any weak muscles in the affected area is also important. Treatment for success syndrome takes from 2 days to 2 weeks depending on the length and severity of the problem. Most patients experience significant reduction in pain within a few hours of beginning the nutritional therapy.

Once adrenal function is more normal and ligaments are not longer being weakened, nutritional support for the ligaments may be indicated. It is also very important to identify the source of stress in the persons life. Stress may be emotional: such as pressure at work, chemical; resulting from improper diet, structural; due to posture imbalance, or even thermal; weather related. During last summers’ heat wave, I treated two cases of success syndrome caused entirely by the 95_100 degree temperatures! Once the source of stress is identified, I work with the patient to try to eliminate areas of stress where possible or teach techniques for effectively dealing with stress that they’re stuck with.

To avoid success syndrome in your own life, first try to identify sources of stress in your life. Decide which types of stress you can really do without_such as the chemical stress of caffeine and sugar. Work on techniques for dealing with the stress that you can’t avoid. Developing the correct attitude, employing relaxation techniques such as Yoga, meditation and Tai Chi as well as getting proper aerobic exercise will help you handle unavoidable stress. And by all means, if you think that you are developing a case of success syndrome, get into the office for care, so that your desire to be successful doesn’t end up as a pain in the back!

Your Inner Pharmacy

I’m very excited about a new book by my long time friend and colleague, Dr Bob Blaich. He’s a diplomate like me and a former chairman of the International College of Applied Kinesiology. His book, “Your Inner Pharmacy” is all about how your body works, how Applied Kinesiology (AK) works and how to get your inner pharmacy of neurotransmitters, hormones and other body chemicals balanced and working to provide optimal health, improved aging and overall well-being.

Dr. Blaich, does a great job of explaining how stress, (escaping from the saber tooth tiger) affects our health and how AK and lifestyle changes can help combat and reverse the effects of stress in our life. He does a good job of explaining how to combine standard medical care with complimentary/alternative care like AK, acupuncture, homeopathy etc to get the best results.
Have you ever had a hard time trying to explain to someone how AK works or what we do in our office? This book does the best job I’ve ever seen explaining AK. Dr. Blaich practices almost exactly the same way I do so anyone who reads the book will have a pretty good idea what goes on in our office, what kind of exam and treatment to expect and the great results that AK can provide.
While some doctors who write books make you think “He better stick to his day job” Dr. Blaich is actually a good writer! His book is clear, well written and moves right along.
I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in understanding how their body and health works and what *they* can do to help reach optimal health and function.

Borders has been carrying this book and Barnes and Nobel should have it too.

Dr. Hogg