If you suffer from gastrointestinal issues, such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea, you may be tired of relying on medication to manage your symptoms. Functional medicine offers a holistic approach to treating digestive problems by addressing the root cause of your issues. Learn how functional medicine can help you achieve better gut health.
Identifying the Root Cause of Digestive Problems.
Functional medicine takes a personalized approach to identifying the root cause of digestive problems. This involves looking at a patient’s medical history, lifestyle factors, and environmental exposures to determine what may be contributing to their symptoms. Functional medicine practitioners may also use specialized testing, such as stool analysis or food sensitivity testing, to gain a deeper understanding of a patient’s gut health. By identifying the underlying cause of digestive problems, functional medicine can help patients achieve long-term relief from their symptoms.
Common digestive symptoms we treat
The most common symptoms of digestive disorders include bleeding, food sensitivities, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, pain, nausea and vomiting.
Personalized Treatment Plans.
One of the key benefits of functional medicine for digestive problems is the creation of personalized treatment plans. Rather than simply treating symptoms with medication, functional medicine practitioners work with patients to address the root cause of their issues. This may involve changes to diet and lifestyle, targeted supplementation, and other interventions tailored to the individual patient. By taking a personalized approach, functional medicine can help patients achieve lasting relief from digestive problems and improve their overall health and well-being.
Questions? Want to Learn More
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Bloating is probably the number one digestive complaint that we come across here at SFIM.
Occasional bloating can be normal but if you are experiencing bloating after every meal, when you first wake up in the morning, and if it's accompanied by other symptoms, there's probably something that needs to be addressed.
Don't jump to worst case scenario. If you start to experience bloating, there are some common reasons why you could be bloated and there are some steps you can take to reduce it.
Reasons for Bloating
What's not normal to have a completely flat abdomen all day long while you're nourishing yourself properly with enough calories to sustain good health. So, now that we've gotten that out of the way. There are also some other functional, but not problematic reasons why you might be bloated.
Here are just a few of them:
- eating too fast
- eating too much
- diet high in sodium and carbs
- drinking carbonated beverage
- Menstrual cycle is about to begin
If you've crossed all those off your list and are still bloated, here are some other health-related reasons for bloating you can consider doing a deeper into:
- lactose or gluten intolerance
- gut bacteria imbalance
- low in stomach acid
- food sensitivity
Practical Tips for Attacking Bloating
Tip #1 - Dial in your good eating habits.
Bloating is often a result of your body struggling to properly and efficiently digest your food. When food moves through your digestive tract before you can digest it all, your gut bacteria get free reign at it, which can result in bloating. So to minimize this, make sure to engage your parasympathetic system (that good old, rest and digest) while eating. Don't eat on the run, taking 2-3 deep breathes at the table before eating, and chewing your food thoroughly
Tip # 2 - Eliminate bloat triggers.
Unfair fact - some foods will cause bloating no matter who we are. Foods like gluten, dairy, sugar alcohols, and starches just tend to make us more bloated than other foods. If bloating is messing with your day, try eliminating these foods from your diet for a time and monitor for improvement.
Tip # 3 - Determine what foods you're sensitive to.
If you have any underlying food sensitivities, those are bound to cause bloating. By using a food journal you can try to identity what sensitivities you may have. When you're sensitive to a certain food, eating it creates inflammation in your GI tract, leading to issues digesting and absorbing all your food, the symptom - bloating arises.
Tip # 4 - Address underlying gut infections.
Imbalance in the microbiome is a prime culprit when it comes to bloating. Whether that's a bacterial imbalance, parasitic infection, or something else, figuring out what's actually happening in your gut and treating it is your best bet for clearing up that bloating.
If you still need some help and guidance after implementing these tips, drop us a line, we're more than happy to help!
Addressing Stress and Burnout
Burnout tends to affect both women than men due to the numerous plates we are supposed to keep up in the air. Our roles as a parents, partners, worker, child, friend etc…. are putting constant demands on us. in this hyper connected yet disconnected world.
So that feeling of running on empty, whilst not giving ourselves the time to refuel and recover is an all too familiar feeling.
What is the burnout trifecta?
- Exhaustion: Feeling emotionally exhausted, depleted, and a loss of energy.
- Cynicism: Having a negative attitude toward clients and those you work with, feeling irritable, and withdrawing from people and activities you once enjoyed.
- Inefficacy: Experiencing diminished personal accomplishment, a perceived decline in competence or productivity, and expending energy at work without seeing any results.
While no gender is immune to burnout, research discovered that men and women process these burnout dimensions differently. Women typically experienced exhaustion first, followed by cynicism, then inefficacy. The men, on the other hand, tended to experience cynicism first and then exhaustion.
Physical and Emotional symptoms
- Chronic fatigue, from being tired every day to full on exhaustion where you just can’t face the day ahead.
- Lack of focus and concentration
- Physical symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal pain, dizziness, fainting or headaches (all of which should be medically assessed).
- Increased illness.
- No appetite
- Anxiety and depression
Burnout and Fatigue in Chinese Medicine
TCM aside, our Kidneys (combined with our Adrenal Glands) are one of our most important organs systems. Together, they connect our brain to our instincts and intuition. The Kidneys influence our hormonal rhythms and response to stress, shock, fear, and trauma: think, the release of cortisol and your body’s Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis. That pathway is responsible for regulating your body’s sympathetic “fight or flight” response.
In TCM, the health of the Kidneys are expressed through the brain, bones, ears, and hair. With that theory in mind, doesn't it makes sense that when our Kidney Qi declines that mild memory loss, osteoporosis, deafness, and hair thinning become more prominent. While this can all occur with age, environmental and lifestyle factors also weaken Kidney Qi. These include sleep deprivation, substance abuse, nutrient deficiencies (from poor appetite/diet/digestive issues), and long hours of physical/mental exertion without rest.
On an energetic level, the Kidneys are the root of our body’s life force, they hold our reserves of Inherited Qi and Vital Essence (Jing). Think of the Kidneys as our body’s savings account, a reservoir that we too often take from but don't often replenish.
When your Kidney Qi is abundant, you’ll have a healthy sense of self, direction, and will-power to pursue your goals.
How Can Acupuncture Help?
Acupuncture reminds the body how to repair, regulate, and heal itself again.
From a Western-scientific standpoint, it:
- Down-regulates your body’s stress response by shifting it from a “fight or flight” state to one that can “rest and digest.” This is why patients fall asleep during treatments, hear gurgling/stomach noises during sessions, feel a deeper sense of calm, and report having better quality sleep sometimes in as little as one treatment.
- Increases body’s natural feel-good hormones to reduce pain.
- Reduce cortisol and increase serotonin to alleviate anxiety, depression, irritability, and stress.
- Promotes circulation to the brain to improve cognitive functioning as well as the viscera to regulate autonomic functions. Think - heart-rate: reduce palpitations, digestion: improve nutrient absorption, appetite, and energy levels; regulates bowel movements.
- Increases circulation to relax tight muscles and reduces joint stiffness
- Enhances the body’s the body’s immune system to decrease inflammation and reduce inflammatory processes
For patients that come in during and in the aftermath of burnout, their appointments are their designated time to unwind, re-cultivate their energy reserves, and re-establish resilience to life’s stressors. It’s a time where you are not on high-alert so your body can heal in the ways it needs to.
We can also pair this with functional medicine and herbal medicine for a knock-out combo.
5 Easy Ways to Address Burnout
- Eat well. Focus on foods that are nourishing and easy to digest. Think of ditching salads for cooked and roasted foods.
- Sleep well. Revenge staying up late has no place here! Get into a good sleep cycle
- Drink Water. Keep water close to you, you're actually thirstier than you realize
- Learn to say NO. There are so many demands on our time that we can’t possibly do it all and you don't have to.
- Plan some activities to lower your stress levels. Find out what makes you feel good
So what happens to our sleep if this rhythmic release of cortisol is distorted?
- Feeling tired and wired when we lie down for sleep
- Waking up alert between 1 – 3am like clockwork
- Night Sweats so strong we need to change our t-shirt and invade our partner’s side of the bed!
- Waking 1 – 2 hours before our alarm with no chance of falling back asleep.
Luckily, correction of the cortisol rhythm (HPA-Axis) can be done by utilizing acupuncture and functional medicine. With severe cases, we do recommend a simple salivary cortisol test to determine exactly what is happening with your hormones. Once we know the unique nature of your cortisol disruption it can be treated with a combination of acupuncture, lifestyle changes and supplements that gently signal the body to release hormones at the right time and in the proper amount.
Our ancient physiology still wants to exist in harmony with our natural signals. If we proper align the HPA-Axis we enjoy alertness during the day and calm restorative sleep at night. If you are struggling with insomnia and let’s reset your stress hormones and give you back the biological right to a good night’s sleep!
5 Things To Know About Dry Needling
If you can't tell, we love Dry Needling
Our Dry Needling sessions are one on one, focused, and intensive sessions aimed at relieving pain and restoring health to the soft tissue.
We have a lot of patients, friends, and family curious as to what Dry Needling actually is.
Since we utilize this technique, it is important to for patients to know what to expect from treatment, and what conditions can benefit from this therapy.
The most common issues we treat in the office
- Pelvic floor dysfunction
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Low back pain, neck and shoulder pain, hip pain, calf pain
- Persisting pain that worsens over time
- Aching pain in the muscle
- Deep muscular pain that is not improved by massage or chiropractic
- A tender knots or adhesive spots in the muscle
- Difficulty sleeping due to muscular pain.
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1. WHAT IS DRY NEEDLING?
2. DRY NEEDLING AND ACUPUNCTURE ARE TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF APPOINTMENTS
Dry needling focuses on skeletal, muscular, and neuroanatomy. This allows for the identification of damaged and sensitive tissues, taut bands, and trigger points as well as injured and overused tissues. At SFIM we utilize an extensive examination that includes movement analysis and orthopedic evaluation. Needles are not generally retained. A muscle twitch is elicited and then the needle is removed.
3. WHAT ARE TRIGGER POINTS?
4. WHY YOU FEEL THAT MUSCLE JUMP?
5. DOES IT HURT?
Bonus - Is Dry Needling Covered By Insurance?
Click here to enter your insurance information to see if your plan covers Dry Needling.
Our dry needling appointments are focused, one on one sessions. Fees are $250 for initial consultation, exam and treatment, $200 for follow up sessions
Please Reach Out With Any Questions!
What exactly is Long-COVID you ask?
That is a great question and one that doesn’t really have a great answer. The mechanisms that cause Long-COVID are not yet well understood, it is a diagnosis used to describe a collection of symptoms that develop after a person is acutely infected with COVID-19.
There is no way to predict who might develop Long-COVID, it can affect both those who become seriously ill, and those with initially mild infections. There is a wide range of symptoms associated with Long-COVID (the CDC lists some of them here) and those symptoms can vary in terms of severity and predictability as well. This variability and the lack of understanding around the causes of the disease mean that there are not very many cohesive treatment strategies for Long-COVID, which can be disheartening for people dealing with it.
Fortunately for us, we don’t need to understand the mechanisms of Long-COVID to help its sufferers manage their symptoms and feel more resilient. One of acupuncture’s magical qualities is its ability to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, often referred to as our rest and digest state. It is the optimal state to be in if we are trying to reduce inflammation, promote healing and elevate mood. And while we might be biased on this one, we think community acupuncture is especially powerful for people who are dealing with chronic illness because feelings of isolation are known to have a big impact on how well we heal.
The symptoms of post-covid we are most treating in the office are:
- Fatigue that is persistent & often worse with activity
- Unrefreshing sleep Waking up exhausted after a full night of sleep
- Cognitive/neurological problems Difficulty remembering things, poor concentration, brain fog, inability to process new information
- Muscle or joint pain
- Digestive symptoms Nausea, diarrhea and/or constipation
- Increased sensitivity to light, smell, or sound
- Racing heart beat
For anyone out there dealing with Long-COVID we encourage you to stay hopeful, and get empowered.
Connect with others, gather information and get acupuncture!
These remain forever connected even as the spine develops and creates space between them.
For many people this knowledge about the pelvic floor and jaw connection shifts their body awareness forever. They discover if they immediately ease up any tightness they’re holding often subconsciously at these two major points in their body the jaw and pelvic floor their whole body function improves
Pelvic Floor or the Root Chakra in Eastern tradition, is tied to fear, especially around our families, well-being, money, and safety. This is fascinating when consider that too often we hold tension in the jaw as a way to repress anger, frustration and fear–you can see how important this connection is.
Are you noticing a connection between one or both, if so pay attention to where you are holding tension and learn how to address these biomechanics of your body that are affected both physically and mentally.
To target these areas of the body we use a combination of acupuncture, dry needling, gua sha and fascia release
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