Dr. Darshan S. Khalsa's Blog

THOUGHTS ON WHOLEHEALTH WELLNESS…..VISIT US AT WWW.KHALSAMEDICINE.COM TO LEARN MORE

Our Long Deep Breathing App has been upgraded! February 11, 2011

Filed under: stress,wellness,yogic breathing techniques — Dr. Darshan S. Khalsa @ 10:21 pm
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Our Long Deep Breathing iPhone App has new been updated with some new features and it now supports many other breathing exercises besides Long Deep Breathing.

I received a number of requests to expand the App and enable control of the duration of the inhale, hold-in, exhale and hold-out.  Now the App can do this and for those of you who already have the Long Deep Breathing App already it is a free upgrade.   (For new users:  cost is 99 cents, Works on iPad Touch, iPhone, and iPad, requires operating system iOS 4.1 or later— Just go to the iTunes store and search for Long Deep Breathing, or click this link:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/long-deep-breathing/id337291691?mt=8 )

Most forms of conscious breathing are very beneficial and breathing exercises (called pranayams in yogic terminology) have been used for millennia to improve physical, mental and spiritual health.  Try the One Minute Breath—20 seconds to inhale, 20 seconds of holding the breath in, then 20 seconds to exhale.  You can use the App to help you gradually build your lung capacity by starting with shorter intervals and gradually lengthening the intervals as you practice over the weeks.

For me having a chime sound and meditating with my eyes closed enables me to go deeper into meditation than if I’m watching a clock or timing my pulses.

Here is what Yogi Bhajan said about the One Minute Breath:  “Use the One Minute Breath each day.  Practice it to the point that you have mastery.  All knowledge of the universe, here and hereafter, of the underworld and the heavenly skies, will dawn on you.”    Even if you don’t achieve all this, you will still feel many benefits!   (Yogi Bhajan is the man who brought kundalini yoga to the western world and I have been following his teachings since 1971.)

So try out the App…my patients and new yoga students love the Long Deep Breathing part of the App…..now more advanced yoga students can time more complicated pranayams!

 

 

Cold and Flu Prevention November 8, 2010

Late October/Early November is the traditional start of flu season. Here is what usually happens:  The schoolchildren eat excessive amounts of Halloween candy.  The extra sugar acts to suppress their immune systems.  At the same time, cool, damp weather begins and the children are inside more.  Soon various forms of flu are spreading from child to child in a receptive environment and from there the flu spreads to the adults.

How do we prevent the flu? The general recommendations for strengthening the immune system are still primary: stress reduction, regular acupuncture, good diet along with steps to improve digestion, good hygiene (frequent hand washing, etc…).

I also teach patients various acupressure techniques that are effective for immune building and disease prevention. In addition, I’ve been dispensing two different supplements to patients to help build their immunity and one supplement to keep in reserve at home in case a cold or flu starts. We dispense only to current patients since no formula is indicated for everyone.

Two supplements that we often give to patients to boost the immune system:

The first supplement is a Chinese Herbal Formula called Yu Ping Feng Wan, “Jade Wind-Screen Pills”. This is a very old formula in continuous use at least for the last 700 years in China. It contains Huang Qi (Astragalus), Fang Feng (Siler), and Bai Zhu (Atractylodes). The action of this formula is to build up your immunity, hence the name: create a precious (Jade) Screen around your body to shield you from pathogenic influences (Wind). Yu Ping Feng San is a good formula for almost everyone to take as we enter cold and flu season.

We also sometimes give patients another good modern formula that combines enzymes, Chinese Herbs and Western Herbs called ProSol™ Immune. Here are some of the ingredients of this formula: PHysioProtease™ is an enzyme blend that activates the immune system to promote healing and seeks out areas of inflammation and tissue damage. Astragalus root extract – An antioxidant that helps protect the liver, has many known immune stimulating properties. Goldenseal root – Contains several alkaloids shown to have anti-microbial and antibacterial properties. Echinacea angustifolia root – Has antiviral, anti-fungal and immune-stimulating effects

What do we do when our immune boosting preventive measures are not adequate and we feel ourselves starting to get a cold or flu?

I’ve been recommending to patients a Chinese Herbal Formula called Gan Mao Ling Wan to keep on hand for just that time. This formula has antibacterial and antiviral properties and can be very effective at helping the body overcome an initial disease onset. This formula is not as effective at building the basic protections as Yu Ping Feng Wan or ProSol™ Immune, but is more effective for initial disease onset. Here are the ingredients of Gan Mao Ling Wan: Ge Gen (Pueraria Root); Da Qing Ye (Baphicacanthus Leaf); Bo He (Mint); Ju Hua (Chrysanthemum); Jie Geng (Platycodon); Xing Ren (Apricot Seed); Lian Qiao (Forsythia) Gan Cao (Licorice). Gan Mao Ling Wan, if taken at the onset of a cold or flu, can often help your immune system throw the disease off quickly.

Be prepared for flu season! If you wish to maintain optimal health through this coming flu season, please schedule an appointment. We dispense only to our patient base, so if you are not already a patient, you will need to make an initial appointment. Our best wishes for your good health this flu season!

 

 

Preventing Cancer October 8, 2010

In a sense, we all have cancer.   We all have a small proportion of cancer cells among the trillions of cells that make up our bodies.  The normal healthy immune system easily deals with these, breaking down the cancer cells harmlessly while performing all the other immune functions.  What is normally called Cancer, (groups of cancer cells that become large enough to diagnose) usually occurs after a long period of immune dysfunction.  Allergies, inflammation, poor diet, stress, genetics, poor digestion, exposure to environmental toxins and inability to detoxify all can contribute to this immune system dysfunction.

Our task with WholeHealth WellnessTM is to do everything we can to maintain healthy immune system function before cancer can develop. It seems significant that to my knowledge no patient who has had regular care using WholeHealth WellnessTM has ever been diagnosed with cancer. This is probably not statistically significant and will undoubtedly change at some point; still it is very comforting both for patients and for me as a practitioner.

Acupuncture, herbs, enzyme therapy, homeopathic detoxification, stress reduction, and bioenergetic clearings are all components of WholeHealth WellnessTM .   Using these modalities, we seek to balance and enhance your immune system so that cancer and other diseases never develop in the first place.

Remember the old saying:  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

 

 

Did you know that acupuncture is often used to relieve the side effects of chemotherapy?

The National Cancer Institute recently compiled numerous studies showing the beneficial effects of acupuncture on chemotherapy patients.  Reduced pain, less fatigue and less nausea are the main effects. Patients who receive acupuncture while undergoing chemotherapy experience reduced pain, less fatigue and less nausea than patients receiving chemotherapy alone. There is also an enhancement of immune function that occurs with those who receive acupuncture.

Here is the link to the National Cancer Institute compilation about acupuncture and chemotherapy:

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/acupuncture/HealthProfessional/page5

In addition to acupuncture, our chemotherapy patients often receive digestive enzyme supplements to help with healing and energy.  We generally do not give herbs while a patient is receiving chemotherapy since there could be some interactions with the chemotherapy and we view our role in cancer treatment as an adjunct to the Western Medicine primary care.  However, once the course of chemotherapy is completed, there are many wonderful herbs that can help patients to recover rapidly.

Of course prevention is always easier and more effective than treatment after an illness has occurred.  The true and higher calling of our medicine is to prevent illnesses from occurring in the first place.  I’ll discuss how this applies to cancer in the next post.

 

 

Did you know that very popular heartburn/reflux medications contribute to osteoporosis? October 1, 2010

From an article in Health Daily News on May 25, 2010:  “Blockbuster heartburn medications such as Prevacid, Prilosec and Nexium will now carry a warning on their labels linking the drugs to a heightened risk for fractures, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced.”

Here’s a link to the rest of the article:

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=116609

While these heartburn medications are advertised as harmless, in fact long-term use significantly impairs your ability to metabolize proteins and minerals.  The most obvious result we see in our practice is fatigue.  However, it is now apparent that reduced bone mass is another long-term side effect.   You need your stomach acid to digest your foods!

We have a better way.  Acupuncture along with some of our herbs and enzymes can dramatically improve your digestion and eliminate reflux symptoms.  Plus you will feel more relaxed!

 

Did you know that acupuncture improves your chances of success with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?

Filed under: acupuncture,stress,Uncategorized — Dr. Darshan S. Khalsa @ 1:12 pm
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We have helped many women increase their fertility and have babies, both with and without IVF. Acupuncture helps both by decreasing stress and by redirecting blood and energy flow to the reproductive system.

Here’s a link to a summary of seven NIH studies on this issue of fertility and IVF:

http://nccam.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/020808.htm

Other recent studies have shown that elevated stress markers were inversely correlated with fertility. This makes a lot of sense…when we are stressed, energy is going to arms, legs, elevated heart rate, short term mental activities and other functions that we would need for “fight or flight”. Therefore our body energy is going away from our reproductive system, our digestive system and all of our other “repair and restore” functions.

 

BATTLEFIELD ACUPUNCTURE AND THE ARC OF ACCEPTANCE September 5, 2010

My previous blog post was about a pain reduction technique  called Battlefield Acupuncture.  At Khalsa Integrative Medicine we utilize both the beginning and the advanced Battlefield Acupuncture techniques and the pain reduction results have been outstanding! I believe that this technique will move much closer to mainstream acceptance within the next few years.

New ideas or medical therapies typically go through a three-step process as they move into mainstream acceptance.

The first step is to be ignored; the second step is strong opposition from mainstream medicine, and the third step is acceptance.

In the first step, therapies are often ignored when they don’t fit into the mainstream ways of thinking (It couldn’t possibly work, so why bother investigating?)

In the second step, there is some acceptance or success with the new idea, so the entrenched way of thinking begins to strongly oppose the idea. (The idea couldn’t possibly work and here are all the reasons why it couldn’t possibly work, the results must be phony, etc…, etc…)

The third step begins when there is enough success with the new idea or therapy that people many people want to use it regardless of whether it fits into mainstream medical thought. (We know it works, even if we don’t yet understand all the reasons why it works.)

An article last week in the military newspaper Stars and Stripes about Battlefield Acupuncture illustrates this three-step process very well.

Here’s the link:  http://www.stripes.com/military-turns-to-acupuncture-as-alternative-to-prescription-painkillers-1.116167

Here’s some of the article:

“As the number of prescriptions for opiate painkillers skyrockets — and more troops admit abusing those drugs — the military has been forced to look beyond conventional ways to treat pain.

“This is a nationwide problem,” said Brig. Gen. Richard Thomas, assistant Army surgeon general. “We’ve got a culture of a pill for every ill.”

In June, the Army surgeon general released a report addressing the lack of a comprehensive pain-management strategy, suggesting alternative treatments including meditation and yoga.

Even though some in the medical field maintain that acupuncture has never been proved effective, the Air Force sees it as one of the more promising alternatives to combat pain.”

The article goes on to quote many patients and doctors saying what great results they are getting with alternative techniques in general and Battlefield Acupuncture in particular, and other doctors saying it can’t possibly work and therefore it doesn’t work.

It looks like we are somewhere between steps two and three in the arc of acceptance—the technique has had enough success that it is no longer ignored, and it is now accepted by some and strongly rejected by others.

Over the years, I have seen the same arc occur with acupuncture in general, organic foods, yoga, meditation, herbal medicine, energetic medicine, kinesiology, and many other modalities.  This gradual acceptance is part of the process we go through individually and collectively when we are exposed to new ideas.

I am very gratified to see such a conservative and traditional institution as the military begin to embrace alternative therapies.  In this the military is beginning to exemplify the highest form of conservatism:  a practical examination of what works and what doesn’t work.  Then, if it works let’s use it more, if it doesn’t work let’s try something else.

 

PAIN, SUFFERING, AND THE ROAD BACK TO HEALTH July 23, 2010

Pain is one of the major reasons that people seek medical attention, and physical pain is responsible for about 25% of patient visits to our practice.  Pain is very mysterious… sometimes a small stimulus can lead to great pain and likewise, very simple treatments can often lead to great pain reduction.

For physical pain, I often use a technique called “Battlefield Acupuncture”; we insert small gold plated needles into the outer ears and pain intensity usually drops dramatically in a matter of minutes. We see this happening over and over again, even with people who have been in pain for months or years….how can this possibly work?  Read on for our explanation…

What is pain?  We know it when we feel it.   Pain is often defined as an unpleasant sensory or emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.  In a larger sense, pain can include emotional suffering not specifically tied to tissue damage, but to damage of any sort.  Pain may come in all degrees of intensity, from mild to intolerable.  Duration and frequency of occurrence can increase our feelings of pain or suffering.

Pain can serve a very useful purpose to motivate us to withdraw from damaging or potentially damaging situations, protect ourselves while healing occurs, and to avoid the causes of pain in the future. Most pain resolves promptly once the painful stimulus is removed and the body/mind has healed, but sometimes pain persists despite removal of the stimulus and apparent healing of the body; and sometimes pain arises in the absence of any detectable cause.

The Western medical view is that physical pain is initiated by stimulation of nociceptors in the peripheral nervous system, or by damage/malfunction of the peripheral or central nervous systems. Traditional Chinese Medicine and other forms of Energy Medicine take a very different view:  We view pain as being primarily caused by a blockage of energy. There is an energetic network underlying our physical bodies. When this flow of energy is blocked or constricted for any reason, the body/mind senses this as pain. This applies to emotional suffering as well as physical pain.   (A classic statement of this concept for emotional pain is that attachment leads to suffering, but that is a topic for another day.)

On a physical level, pain causes our muscles to tighten, which in turn compresses the nerves and decreases blood flow.  The nerve compression can increase the feeling of pain, while the reduction in blood flow prevents tissue healing.  Pain caused by trauma is a little different since there is also an inflammatory component; in that case the swollen tissues can also reduce blood flow and compress the nerve endings.

Whatever the cause, reducing or eliminating the energy blockages reduces pain and speeds healing by increasing blood flow.  Emotional pain is more complicated, but restoring energy flow results in much the same results and reduces emotional suffering as well.

We use many techniques to remove blockages and restore energy flow in our practice: body acupuncture, herbs, homeopathy, electrical stimulation, yogic breathing, ear acupuncture,  and more.  We try to select the specific modalities that will result in the most rapid improvement for each individual.  For physical pain, I like Battlefield Acupuncture because of the often immediate and dramatic pain reduction it brings….please see our previous blog post about Battlefield Acupuncture for more specific information about this wonderful technique.

While no medical treatment works on everyone all the time, it seems clear to me that people are enduring far more pain and suffering than they need to.  Simple acupuncture techniques that restore energy flow can often dramatically reduce pain and speed recovery times.  Our own clinical results and twenty-five centuries of acupuncture history have demonstrated this over and over.

 

Stress, Digestion, and Allergies June 22, 2010

In our practice we find stress and poor digestion to be the two health problems at the root of most others.  We find that up to 80% of the symptoms that people initially present with are improved when stress and digestion are dealt with first.  We also find that the remaining symptoms become much easier to deal with.   We see less pain, less fatigue, better sleep, improved fertility, moods improved, and reductions to allergies when we deal with stress and digestion first.

When stress is reduced, immune system function is automatically improved.  Good digestion gives us the energy to heal.  This is why simultaneously reducing stress and improving digestion results in improvements to so many other symptoms.

 Keys to digestion improvements:

  • Reducing long term chronic stress:  Stress initiates the “fight or flight” syndrome—our body energy goes to where it is needed for “fight or flight” : To the arms, legs, and short term mental functions.  Consequently our energy goes away from digestion, immune system and all of the bodies repair and restore functions.   Long term chronic stress substantially impairs our digestion system.
  • Avoiding highly processed foods (the center aisles of a supermarket mostly contain highly processed industrial foods)
  • Avoiding foods grown on soils with heavy fertilizers and pesticides use.  These result in nutritionally deficient foods.  Our bodies have to work harder to draw nutrition from these foods.
  • Supplementing with digestive enzymes:  Digestive enzymes are what our bodies use to break down the foods we eat.  As we get older our bodies produce less of these; supplementing can result in great improvements to digestion.

 

 What are the usual results of chronically impaired digestion?  

  • Fatigue
  • The creation of food sensitivities and food allergies.

 

 How does impaired digestion lead to the creation of food sensitivities and other immune system dysfunctions?

  • When food is poorly digested in the stomach, incompletely broken down food passes into the intestines.
  • The intestinal walls gradually become inflamed, allowing larger than normal molecules to pass through the intestinal walls into the blood stream.  This is sometimes called “leaky gut” syndrome.
  • The immune system senses these incompletely broken down foods in the blood stream and reacts to them as though they were pathogens.  Gradually allergies to certain foods can be developed.
  • The immune system can become exhausted by having to continually react to foods and may become unable to react to true pathogens, leading to chronic illnesses.  Alternatively, the immune system can become too reactive in general, and begin to attack the bodies own tissues.   This can lead to auto-immune conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

 

Remember:  Poor digestion can be successfully treated.  Improving digestion is the first step to clearing allergic sensitivities.  Energy and overall health will also greatly improve once the digestive system is functioning optimally.

 

Allergies June 18, 2010

What is an allergy?

An allergy is an abnormal, adverse physical reaction to an allergen.  The allergens can be either toxins such as automobile exhaust fumes or pesticides, or nontoxins such as pollens or foods.  Allergy sufferers react to small quantities that are harmless to most people.  When exposed to an allergen, allergic individuals develop an excess of an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE).   These IgE antibodies react with allergens to release histamines and other substances from cell tissues.  These produce the familiar allergy symptoms of watery eyes, runny nose, itching, nausea, hives,  etc…  Allergies can also cause a predisposition to colds and flu by compromising the immune system.

However, not all adverse reactions rise to the level of an IgE allergy reaction detectable by a blood test.  These lesser reactions we call sensitivities. Allergies or sensitivities can be either immediate or delayed.  Allergies/sensitivities  are not a yes or no issue, there is a full spectrum of disorders ranging from mild delayed sensitivities to immediate anaphylactic shock.

What are common symptoms of food sensitivities or food allergies?

  • Congestion
  • Headaches
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Diarrhea, constipation or Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Acid reflux
  • Depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders
  • Brain fog
  • Attention Deficit Disorder and Hyperactivity, especially in children

The most common food allergies/sensitivities that we encounter in practice are the following:

  • Wheat (usually but not always to the gluten in the wheat)
  • Milk products
  • Peanuts
  • Corn products
  • Soy products
  • Refined sugar (usually not actually an allergy but more of an overdose)

Notes:

  • Wheat is by far the most common food allergy/sensitivity
  • The production of corn and soy is heavily subsidized and corn and soy or their byproducts are found in virtually every processed food.

Many people are sensitive to one or more of these foods and don’t even realize because they consume one or more of these virtually every day.   When these sensitivities are identified and then avoided, most people experience major reductions to their symptoms within two weeks and sometimes within a few days.

Reasons that food sensitivities have become so prevalent today:

  • Stress
  • Environmental toxins
  • Depleted soils
  • Consumption of over refined foods
  • Chronic poor digestion
  • Foods bred for our industrial food system rather than for taste and nutrition
  • Leaky gut syndrome

Food sensitivities or allergies are not necessarily forever! They can be successfully treated.

How we treat food allergies/sensitivities in our practice:

  • First step is always to identify the sensitivities and avoid those foods at least for a while.
  • We treat the body’s energy and re-educate the body’s immune system to respond more appropriately to these non-toxic food substances.  Often we do this in a step-by-step manner, treating each component of the foods:  amino acids, vitamins, minerals, sugars, etc…
  • Stress reduction
  • Digestion enzyme supplementation
  • Assistance with detoxification and repair of damaged body tissues