Can Chiropractic Care Help My Headache?

By: Dr. Ivana Monserrate, DC

Do you suffer from headaches? You are not alone. Nine out of ten Americans have suffered from a headache at least once in their lifetime. They can be dull, throbbing, constant and even debilitating. How do you take care of your headaches? Do you try to fight through it? Do you stop to lie down for a few minutes? Or do you take medication and hope for it to go away? It does not always occur to suffering patients to try chiropractic care. Recent studies suggest that chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, may lessen symptoms and frequency of headaches.

Majority of the population are confined to a sedentary lifestyle in which they may sustain an improper posture.  This unfavorable positioning can cause joint irritation and muscle straining of the scalp, neck and upper back, leading to a headache. At times, there can be certain triggers that are the culprit. Triggers can include types of food, alcohol, environmental stimuli (noise, light, change of weather, etc.) or everyday behavior (excessive exercise, stress, insomnia, etc). In rare cases, a headache can be the cause of a serious condition such as a brain tumor, hypertension or diabetes. Some patients may experience an aura before or simultaneously with a headache.  Auras can be any type of perceptual disturbance including a strange light, an unpleasant smell, or confusion. There are red flags of headaches that can be emergent. Some examples of red flags include having the worst headache you have ever had, any head trauma, neurological signs or symptoms, cognitive changes (confusion, drowsiness or giddiness), vomiting without nausea, low diastolic blood pressure associated with the headache, and any severe neck rigidity.

Chiropractors are well trained in identifying the source of the headache through history and examination. In the office, chiropractors can perform manual therapy to the surrounding musculature and joints along with spinal manipulation to improve function and alleviate any stresses.  Chiropractors also can offer nutritional advice, recommend supplements and educate patients on correct posture, ergonomics and stretching techniques.

There are different categories of headaches in which each demonstrate unique symptoms.  A migraine type of headache is one-sided, pulsating in nature and may be associated with an aura. Cervicogenic headaches are caused by an abnormality of the structures within the neck.  This type is usually one sided as well and can last from three hours to a week. Pain and tenderness in the neck and head usually coincides with this type. With specific neck movements or maintained neck positions the intensity of cervicogenic headaches may be increased. Cluster headaches are typically severe, occur at night and are most common amongst females. While they are short in duration, they can last for weeks or months at a time. Lastly, tension type headaches are the least severe. Ranging from mild to moderate intensity they can be felt on both sides of the head. With all types of headaches, if very severe, a patient may experience nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to noise and light, nasal congestion, and/or watery eyes.

How can you prevent a headache from occurring?

  1. Take a break and stretch your head by moving through comfortable ranges of motion every 30 minutes to an hour, especially when in a prolonged posture.
  2. Engage in low intensity aerobic exercises, such as walking.
  3. Avoid clenching your teeth to avert from stressing the jaw and the neighboring muscles.
  4. Continuously drink water throughout the day to prevent dehydration.
  5. Manage and modify everyday behaviors (sleep, stress, not skipping meals, etc).
  6. Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Sleep on your side or back with the head supported at level with the spine.

In conclusion, chiropractors undergo extensive training on how to help their patients in more ways than just for low back pain. Chiropractic care does not have the amount of side effects as other non-conservative methods and is a superior alternative when it comes to headaches.


Dr. Ivana Monserrate, DC is a Chiropractor at ProClinix Sports Physical Therapy & Chiropractic in Armonk and Ardsley. 

Stretching Tips for Staying Healthy this Summer

By: Rachel Amarosa, ATC

With spring here and summer quickly approaching, people are more active and participating in more indoor or outdoor activities and events.  This article will provide information on how to stay pain free so you can keep enjoying the activities you love.  One way to prevent injury is by having a proper warm up routine before activity and cool down routine after.  These should both include 10 minutes of stretching.

In general, there are a few different types of stretching.  The real question is, which is best and when?  First, it is necessary to understand why stretching is so important.  Stretching, especially prior to a workout or athletic event, loosens your muscles and tendons to increase flexibility and range of motion.  It also promotes blood flow and circulation to the muscles and certain types of stretching can increase your body temperature.  When your muscles and body are warm from 10 minutes of a warm up/stretching routine, they work more efficiently, maximizing your performance and reducing your risk of injury.   As mentioned above, there are several different types of stretching, however, people often do some static stretching or nothing at all.  Static stretching is when you hold or sustain a position to stretch a joint or muscle, typically for up to 30 to 60 seconds.  The focus is on relaxing the area you are stretching to go further into the range of motion.  However, research has shown that static stretching can relax the body too much, causing little to no rise in body temperature, which may inhibit your muscles ability to fire.  Therefore, static stretching is a better stretching technique for after an activity (during your cool down routine) than before because it simply does not prepare your body enough.  So, what type of stretching should you do? The answer is dynamic stretching.  

Dynamic stretching uses active muscle effort and momentum to stretch muscles to the end of range without holding.  For example, walking lunges with a twist is a type of dynamic stretch that helps stretch and warm up your legs, hips, back, and core muscles. Dynamic stretching will also better prepare your body for different types of movement.  It will increase your flexibility, range of motion, and body temperature, which will greatly reduce your risk of injury.  Dynamic stretching is viewed as a proper and efficient way of both stretching and warming up.  Research shows dynamic stretching will improve the flexibility of your muscles and joints and is the most efficient way to maximize your movements and improve your performance.  

Be proactive this summer.  Prevent injury by implementing a 10 minute dynamic stretching program before activity and a static stretching routine after in order to keep doing the activities you love.  For more information about stretching or about how to get a program designed for you, please call (914) 202-0700 and ask to speak with Rachel.  

Rachel Amarosa is a certified athletic trainer at ProClinix Sports Physical Therapy & Chiropractic in Armonk, Pleasantville, and Ardsley.  

Preventing, Identifying, and Rehabilitating Tennis Injuries

By: Dr. Brian Dombal, PT, DPT

Tennis season is in full swing. As with any sport, tennis players at all levels can experience aches, pains, and injuries when playing tennis. Two-thirds of tennis injuries are a result of overuse and the other one-third is due to a traumatic injury or acute event. Overuse injuries most often affect the shoulders, wrists, and elbows.  Understanding the most common tennis injuries, learning stretches and tips to help prevent injuries, and knowing when to see a doctor are immensely important in keeping tennis players on the court this season.

Elbow pain is one of the most common ailment that tennis players experience. Lateral epicondylitis, more commonly known as Tennis Elbow, is tendonitis caused by inflammation of the tendons on the outer bony prominence of the elbow. Tendonitis in the inside of your elbow is called Golfer’s Elbow. Both injuries are usually caused by the repeated strain and overuse of the forearm muscles through repetitive flexing, rotating, gripping, and swinging. To avoid elbow pain and injury, it is important to stretch and strengthen your forearms and wrists. Stretch your forearm by pulling your hand back and then pushing it forward slowly several times. Another good stretch is rotating your wrist in circular motions several times in both directions. Light weight training can also help strengthen your forearm muscles. Additionally, it is always a good idea to get properly sized for a tennis racket and possibly work with a tennis pro to ensure proper technique.

Shoulder pain is another common complaint of players as a result of playing a lot of tennis. The shoulder is the most flexible joint in the body, and has the potential for hundreds of different positions.  The rotator cuff helps position and stabilize the shoulder properly in the shoulder socket, and when it is weak or tired, there in an increased risk of irritation and inflammation which will result in pain with overhead motions like serving. Stretching and strengthening are very important in preventing shoulder pain.  Great shoulder stretches include shoulder rolls, neck rolls, cross-body arm stretches, cow-face poses, and standing wall stretches. Ways to strengthen your rotator cuff include shoulder raises to the side, shoulder circles, internal/external rotation with resistance, and crosses with light weights. Massage and trigger point release also helps break up any tightness in the shoulder.

Stress fractures are commonly the result of increasing training too quickly. When your muscles tire, more stress is placed on the bone. When this happens, the breaking down of the bone overtakes the rebuilding, leading to weakness in an area of the bone that is under high stress. Stress fractures are preventable with proper strength and endurance training prior to playing a lot of tennis. Standing flat footed on an incline is a great stretch for shins and calf muscles. Appropriate footwear is also very important to preventing stress fractures.

Muscle strains happen most frequently as a result of quick, sudden moves. To lessen the risk of muscle strains, you should do a good warm-up followed by proper stretching. The warm-up could include a slow jog, elliptical, or riding a bike at low intensity. Proper stretching should be slow and deliberate, and should cover all of the major muscle groups that you will be using while playing.

Playing tennis at any level can injure muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments and nerves. It is important for tennis players to be informed and educated on how best to identify, prevent and rehabilitate any pains or injuries. Changing a few habits (stretching before playing tennis); adding a few strengthen activities (simple daily exercises and light weight lifting); making slight adjustments to your swing and serve (to improve biomechanics and technique); and seeking treatment as issues arise (massage, physical therapy, and trigger point release therapy) will all make a difference in preventing injuries and keeping tennis players on the courts playing.


Dr. Brian Dombal, PT, DPT is a physical therapist at ProClinix Sports Physical Therapy & Chiropractic in Armonk. He can be reached at 914-202-0700.

Will Good Fats Make You Fat?

By: Rebecca Meyerson, MS

There is still confusion among many people about whether good fats make you fat.  Common questions from clients include, “Is guacamole fattening?” and “ Are you sure nuts do not have too many calories?” and “Will coconut oil raise my cholesterol because it is high in saturated fat?”  

It seems logical to restrict these high fat foods from your diet thinking they might add weight to your waistline; but in reality nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut oil have many health benefits. These benefits include lowering cholesterol; lowering blood sugar; protection against cancer; improving heart health; supporting joint, bone and nerve health; increasing nutrient absorption; lowering blood pressure; and weight loss.   

Good fat can help lower cholesterol.  Your body makes eighty percent of cholesterol, and the other 20 percent comes from diet.  Cholesterol comes from fat, which in turn makes hormones.  It is important to choose your fats wisely. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats help lower the LDL (bad cholesterol), and raise the HDL (good cholesterol).  These include raw almonds, pecans, walnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, and wild salmon.

Saturated fats (palm oil, red meat) can raise your LDL and lower your HDL.  Trans fats (found in processed and fried foods) can also raise your LDL and lower your HDL. Weight gain is linked to low quality, processed, chemically treated, packaged foods with hydrogenated oils and trans fat. Check your labels for partially hydrogenated oils and for trans fat greater than zero.  

Replace your refined oils and rancid fats.  Good quality oils include avocado oil, coconut oil, and cod liver oil.  These will boost your immune function and help burn fat by improving your metabolism and help to balance out hormones.

When women do not consume enough good fats, they can stop menstruating, which could lead to health issues including infertility.  When men do not consume enough good fats, it reduces testosterone, which is necessary for reproduction.  Good fats have been linked to higher libido and regulation of male and female hormones.  

Some studies have shown that these good fats can protect against certain types of cancer.  Research has linked that continuous high levels of inflammation have contributed to different types cancer. When it comes to good fats, omega 3 fatty acids help to fight inflammation, lower blood pressure, and overall heart health.    
Here are some helpful ways to incorporate these good fats into your daily diet.  Try adding in a handful of nuts or avocado salsa to your salad. Have a baked piece of salmon for dinner. Eat carrots and celery with almond butter as a snack. Cook your fish or chicken in coconut oil. Enjoy a vegetable frittata (using organic eggs) for breakfast. Below is the recipe for a healthy vegetable frittata:


Serves 2

1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

6 free range, organic large eggs

¼ cup almond milk or rice milk

½ cup carrots shredded

½ cup zucchini shredded

¼ cup sun dried tomatoes

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

6 cremini mushrooms, sliced

2 fresh basil leaves, chopped

½ tsp herbamare

½ tsp oregano

*optional* organic goat cheese or nutritional yeast(vegan substitute)

Preheat coconut oil on medium heat in a medium sized pan. Place eggs and milk in a bowl and whip with a fork for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients to mixture except mushrooms. Stir to combine. Pour mixture into prepared pan and top with sliced mushrooms. Allow cooking for 10 minutes. At 8 minutes turn your oven broiler to low and sprinkle goat cheese on top of the frittata. Bake at 350 degrees until the top is golden for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle goat cheese on top of the frittata. Slide under broiler for about five minutes, or until it begins to brown.

For further healthy recipes and blogs, please visit my website

Rebecca Meyerson, MS is the certified Nutritionist at ProClinix Sports Physical Therapy & Chiropractic in Armonk. She can be reached at 914-202-0700. 


Concussions in Youth Sports

By: Megan Smithuysen, LAT, ATC

Chances are that if you have a youth athlete in your household, then you are familiar with the signs and symptoms of a concussion. Thanks to organizations such as the National Football League (NFL), the word “concussion” has become a household term. According to health insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield, medical claims data shows a 71% increase in reported concussions in American youth since 2010. Organizations like the NFL have very publicly endorsed the importance of not only recognizing and treating a concussion, but endorsing concussion education as well. Several studies show a direct correlation between the media’s concussion coverage and an increase in athlete reporting rate. As familiar as most parents are with the word concussion, many are not familiar with the management aspect that comes after a concussion diagnosis.

In 2011, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a statewide youth-concussion legislation known as the “Concussion Management and Awareness Act.” This law essentially requires all public school districts to adopt and implement rules, regulations, and a protocol for the recognition, treatment, and monitoring of students who are suspected of sustaining a concussion. Private schools are encouraged to create and adopt similar policies.

There are three main components to the “Concussion Management and Awareness Act.” The first component is that schools must obtain a parent/guardian signed permission slip before any student participates in an athletic program. By signing the permission slip the parents/guardians are recognizing the assumed risk of playing a sport. Second, any student suspected of sustaining a concussion must be immediately removed from play. This is where a Certified Athletic Trainer steps in. In accordance with the law, a Certified Athletic Trainer performs what is called a sideline concussion evaluation. This consists of a series of cognitive and physical tests that showcase common signs and symptoms of a concussion. It is the Certified Athletic Trainer’s job to then make the appropriate medical referral and provide the student and their parents/guardians with further care instructions. It should be noted that the law does not designate coaches as able to evaluate a student for a suspected concussion. The coach’s role is to be able to recognize the common signs and symptoms of a concussion and bring the student to an appropriate medical personnel who may then conduct the evaluation.  

Students who have been diagnosed with a concussion require both physical and cognitive rest. Cognitive rest requires that the student avoid participation in activities that require concentration or mental stimulation. Some common examples of these activities include working on computers, watching TV, playing video games, texting, loud music, bright lights, studying, reading, writing, and completing homework. For students whose concussive symptoms are significant, a 504 plan may be appropriate for their plan of care. Section 504 is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that requires a school district to make appropriate accommodations for individuals with disabilities to ensure their academic success. While a 504 covers a wide range of disabilities and accommodations, for a student recovering from a concussion, these usually consist of extended due dates, extended testing time, and extra help. The student’s doctor and the school district’s Guidance department will dictate the specifics of the 504 if needed.

The third component of the “Concussion Management and Awareness Act” is that any student suspected of a concussion must obtain full medical clearance from a licensed physician before returning to their respective sport. Once the full medical clearance has been given to the school nurse and/or Certified Athletic Trainer and the student remains symptom free for 24 hours, they then begin a monitored graduated return to play. While the law does not mandate a specific graduated return to play, it does outline a recommended progression based on the 2012 Zurich Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport.  The following is the recommended return to play provided by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA).

Phase 1– Low impact activity such as walking or riding a stationary bike, Approx. 20 mins.

Phase 2– High impact activity such as running or skating. Approx. 40 mins.

Phase 3– Sport specific non-contact activity.

Phase 4– Full controlled contact in a practice setting.

Phase 5– Return to full activities without restrictions

In order to advance through the phases the student must remain symptom free for 24 hours in between each phase. If the student regresses and becomes symptomatic during a phase, then they must rest until all symptoms have resolved and may start again on the last completed symptom free phase. The return to play is closely monitored by the Certified Athletic Trainer and documented daily.

The New York State law goes a step further then several other state laws in requiring coaches, physical education teachers, school nurses, and Certified Athletic Trainers to complete a biennial concussion training. The NYSPHSAA requires all caches and physical education teachers to complete the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “HEADS UP in Youth Sports” course and all school nurses and Certified Athletic Trainers to complete the CDC’s “HEADS UP for Clinicians” course. These can be found on the CDC’s website along with a concussion training course designed specifically for parents.

The “Concussion Management and Awareness Act” is vitally important in reducing the risk of concussions causing long-term damage and encourages parents, athletes, and coaches to take preventative steps to avoid serious head injury. Concussion management requires a collective effort among coaches, school administrators, and Certified Athletic Trainers along with parents/guardians to monitor an individual student’s recovery. The exact details of every school district’s concussion management protocol vary. For that reason it is a smart idea to familiarize yourself and your athlete with your district’s protocol.


Megan Smithuysen, LAT, ATC is the certified Athletic Trainer at Putnam Valley High School and works in the clinic at ProClinix Sports Physical Therapy & Chiropractic in Armonk. She can be reached at 914-202-0700. For more information, visit

Shoulder Impingement: What is it and How Do You Get Rid of it?

By: Dr. James H. Cassell IV, PT, DPT

Shoulder impingement is the most common injury I see in my clinic. Shoulder impingement or rotator cuff tendonitis, occurs when one of the four rotator cuff muscles (called the supraspinatus), is pinched underneath the highest bony piece of the shoulder joint (called the acromion process).  There is not a lot of room for the rotator cuff muscle to fit between the tip of the shoulder and the upper arm bone (also called the subacromial space), and any disruption of the normal shoulder mechanics can cause friction. This friction can lead to inflammation in the area, limited mobility, fraying or even tearing of the tendon. Typical symptoms of shoulder impingement include pain when reaching to the side (abduction), but classically, the pain occurs with overhead motion, as this range creates the most compression of the muscle between the two bones. Patients may also report pain down the outside of the arm or in the elbow when performing an overhead motion. There are many contributing factors to consider. Overhead activity, poor posture, and repetitive motions can influence the positioning of the shoulder blade on the ribcage.

Overhead athletes and people with labor-intensive careers are frequently diagnosed with shoulder impingement, as they are repetitively minimizing the space where the rotator cuff muscle is located. If the strength of the muscles of the shoulder blade and the rotator cuff are not balanced properly, there may not be enough space created, leading to impingement of the muscle. The athletes most affected by shoulder impingement are swimmers, baseball pitchers and tennis players. The occupations generally affected are painters, electricians and hair stylists/barbers.

While repetitive overhead activity is a precipitating cause of shoulder impingement, most of my patients are not overhead athletes; rather they are your typical population. The primary cause of the shoulder impingement is poor shoulder blade control due to muscle imbalances. Generally speaking, most people are in a slouched posture throughout the day, whether from sitting, driving, reading or texting. Most of the activity humans do is in front of the body and below eye level, which pulls the shoulder blade forward and upwards on the ribcage, which minimizes the space. For short periods of time, this is not an issue, as the shoulder blade is designed to move in such a manner.  However, if the shoulder blade is in this position for multiple hours every day, the muscles in the area adapt to the shortened or lengthened positions. A lengthened muscle is a weaker muscle and a shorter muscle is a stronger muscle. The muscles that are generally tight and strong are the chest and neck muscles, whereas the back muscles are typically weaker.

Treatment for shoulder impingement is fairly straight-forward, focusing on strengthening the weakened muscles and stretching/massaging the tight muscles in an effort to restore a normal balance throughout the region. Exercises that are typically performed are row variations, band external rotation, dumbbell external rotation, serratus punches and prone Ts, all of which strengthen the upper back and shoulder musculature. Stretching of the neck muscles requires no equipment and can be performed sitting.Pectoral stretching can be performed against a doorway. The physical therapist will also identify which muscles require extra focus and will perform a combination of deep tissue massage, trigger point release, Graston Technique® and contract-relax stretching.

Shoulder impingement treatment durations vary greatly, depending on how long the patient has been experiencing the symptoms, compliance with stretching and exercise as well as occupational hazards that are unavoidable. Additionally, patients may have bone spurs in the shoulder, causing the impingement. Bone spurs may be removed via surgery, though the research has shown that an effective physical therapy program can increase the subacromial space 2-3 times more than surgery can.


Dr. James H. Cassell IV, PT, DPT is a physical therapist at ProClinix Sports Physical Therapy & Chiropractic, practicing in their Armonk location (within Equinox). He can be reached at 914-202-0700. 

The Truth About Gluten Free Diets

By: Rebecca Meyerson, MS (Certified Nutritionist)

Gluten free diet has become a popular fad in today’s society.  Is it true that even if you do not have celiacs you can benefit from a gluten free diet?

Yes, there is some truth to this.  Gluten is the protein that is found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and is hidden in many processed foods (including natural flavors and starches).  A gluten allergy is the body’s inability to break down this protein found in gluten.  Celiac disease is the most severe form of gluten intolerance.  It involves the body treating gluten as a foreign invader.  This may contribute to leaky gut which leads to constipation, diarrhea, bloating and other skin issues.  

However, even if you do not have a gluten sensitivity or celiacs disease, a gluten free diet can be beneficial for your overall health.   When gluten is undigested it can lead to issues with digestion as well as attacking of your immune system.  In addition to digestion issues, other physical symptoms can arise such as psorasis, skin rashes, joint pain, brain fog and overall inflammation in the body.   Gluten may affect the absorption of other vitamins, minerals and nutrients.  

Implementing a gluten free diet, does not have to be so hard.  Here are some examples of gluten free options: rice, corn, quinoa, buckwheat and millet.  There are many packaged goods that are labeled gluten free.  Although it is free of gluten, it does not mean that it is a healthy product.  Aim for packaged goods with five ingredients of less.  Remember the order of ingredients go from the largest amount to the least. Although we know these products do not contain gluten, we want to take note of the added sugar, salt and other preservatives that still may be present.   Please visit my website to find out about the elimination program as well as healthy gluten free recipes. 

Rebecca Meyerson, MS is a certified nutritionist at ProClinix Sports Physical Therapy & Chiropractic, practicing in both their Armonk location (within Equinox) and their Ardsley location (within House of Sports). She can be reached at 914-202-0700. 

10 Tips to Stay Healthy While Traveling

By: Rebecca Meyerson, MS (Certified Nutritionist)

1)  Double up on your probiotics.  It is important to switch your probiotics monthly, as your body gets used to certain strands of probiotics.  Suggested brands: Garden of Life (90 billion), Klaire Labs, Zana Juices, and Health Force.

2) Travel with healthy snacks.  It is important to always throw a bag of raw nuts or healthy protein bars in your bag so that when you are in airport or at a holiday party you have something healthy to fall back on.

3) Consume raw garlic either naturally or in capsules.  It is known for its antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial properties.  Garlic can also repel mosquitoes. Avoid bug sprays with deed in it.   

4) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  It is not a myth that we need half of our body weight in ounces of water/day.  It will help with nausea and muscle cramping on the airplane, as well as over eating.

5) Airports, airplanes are filled with bacteria.  Invest in a hand sanitizer, either Silverbiotics( colloidal silver) or Thieves by Young Living.  The regular brand hand sanitizers contain carcinogenic chemicals.

6) Sleep is  necessary for your body to repair itself.  Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per day for optimal immunity.  With difficulty sleeping melatonin or 5 HTP have known to be of great assistance.

7) Always fill up on healthy fats and proteins before attending a holiday party, or while you are at the airport.  We tend to over eat when our body does not have enough protein.  

8) Exercise causes a boost to the immune system, as well as flushing out your lungs of antibodies in your body.  Find a gym while you are traveling or even do a fitness tape in your hotel room.

9) Your body undergoes stress when rushing through the airport, sitting in traffic or just the lines when holiday shopping. It is important to manage it through massage, meditation or any other activities that will lower your cortisol levels.

10) Boost your immune system with Glutathione, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Oil of Oregano.  Also activated charcoal and digestive enzymes are important to take while traveling.  

Rebecca Meyerson, MS is a certified nutritionist at ProClinix Sports Physical Therapy & Chiropractic, practicing in both their Armonk location (within Equinox) and their Ardsley location (within House of Sports). She can be reached at 914-202-0700. 

Acupuncture and Its Benefits

By: Jaime Marks, L.Ac. (Acupuncturist)

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been practiced for thousands of years. Through empirical research, and practical experience, acupuncture is one of the primary modalities used by a Chinese Medical Practitioner to restore balance in the body.  Primarily, by inserting thin and sterile needles into acupuncture points along well mapped out channels along the body, a practitioner will access qi (energy.) The concept of qi is analogous for energy flow in the body. In order to achieve optimal health, it is essential that there is a smooth flow of energy along these channels. Only when there is a disruption of energy in the channels, qi and blood circulation is obstructed, creating pain and pathology in the body. Acupuncture can redirect and reestablish the proper flow of energy, unblock accumulations, and allows the body to restore it’s balance at a very deep level.

The benefits of acupuncture extend to a wide variety of conditions: improve sleep, reduce stress, improve digestive complaints (nausea, abdominal pain, flatulence, bloating, constipation, diarrhea) emotional disorders (anxiety and depression,) musculoskeletal conditions (sports injuries, chronic pain, tension/stress, arthritis,) respiratory problems (asthma, allergies, the common cold,) gynecology (infertility, irregular cycles, pregnancy, menopause, fibroids, PCOS), autoimmune conditions (Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease- Crohn’s and Colitis, Lyme’s Disease, Muscular Sclerosis,) as well as many other disease states.

The most common questions regarding acupuncture are generally the following: How does it work? Is it safe, and does it hurt? Can it be used in conjunction with Western Medicine?

Acupuncture, is a comprehensive medical system that can address health concerns on it’s own. It also works synergistically with Western Medicine and other modalities (Physical Therapy, Chiropractic care,) lifestyle modifications (nutrition, exercise, meditation, and exercise programs) can help individuals improve a patient’s overall health, and quality of life.

Many studies indicate that acupuncture has multiple biological functions. The responses that occur are thought to activate pathways in the Central Nervous System and effects various physiological pathways in the brain that can lead to an analgesic effect, and hormone regulation.  Furthermore, acupuncture promotes and reestablishes the circulation and flow of blood, promotes the flow of lymph, has an effect on balancing the nervous system, reduces inflammation, and alleviates pain.

Chinese Medical Professionals visually describe acupuncture as a metaphor for a tree. The tree bark represents how practitioners’ see and treat the body as a whole. The root of the tree mirrors the underlying factors that can be contributing and causing the problems/symptoms.. Many of the core imbalances or dysfunctions present in many different branches of the tree and manifest into various symptoms a patient seeks treatment for. Typically the same imbalances will appear in multiple systems of the body and present across various specialties in Western Medicine. In contrast, Chinese medicine treats the root cause, instead of focusing on the branch symptoms.

Acupuncture is extremely safe when administered by a qualified and licensed professional. Thin sterile needles are inserted and disposed of after each use so there is minimal to no risk of infection. There have been very few complications reported to the FDA of people who are treated with acupuncture each year.

Lastly, acupuncture needles cause minimal to no pain.  It is very normal for individuals to feel apprehensive about needles.  However, acupuncture needles are hair-thin and very different then hypodermic needles used at a medical doctors office to draw blood or get a shot.  The sensations and perceptions may vary.  Patients report a pleasant sensation of warmth, heaviness, dullness, tingling, or numbness.  The patients who report discomfort describe it to be a minor prick feeling that disappears rapidly.  Many patients indicate they feel a deep sense of relaxation and increased energy after a treatment. While the responses to treatment may vary, it is not uncommon for the therapeutic effects to appear hours or days after a treatment.

Jaime Marks, L.Ac. is an acupuncturist at ProClinix Sports Physical Therapy & Chiropractic, practicing in both their Armonk location (within Equinox) and their Ardsley location (within House of Sports). She can be reached at 914-202-0700. 

Let Food Be Thy Medicine

By Rebecca Meyerson (Certified Nutritionist)

As we all have heard before, “You are what you eat.”  It is recommended to eat a balanced diet, eliminating processed foods and reducing inflammatory triggers including dairy, gluten, corn, sugar, and soy. With that being said, it is important that we build up our immune systems, so that we are not susceptible to colds and viruses. The immune system is your natural defense against viruses, bacteria and  other harmful microorganisms. Your body is compromised when your immune system is weak, and your body can not fight invading microorganisms. Here are some health-supportive foods to incorporate into your diet as flu season approaches.

1) Garlic is best consumed raw, however you can still crush, mince and chop it to throw in to your favorite tomato sauce, soups or dressings.  It is known for its antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial properties.

2) Ginger is a spicy root that brings great flavor to your soups or stir-frys and can be grated into green juice or warm water for a delicious cup of tea.  Ginger is a great aid in digestion and calms nausea.

3) Sweet Potatoes are a sweet root vegetable that can help satisfy sweet cravings. They are great with kale in a sauté or boiled in a vegetable soup. Also, let’s not forget sweet potato fries (see recipe below). The beta carotene in sweet potatoes is known to help treat respiratory infections.

Sweet Potato Fries

2 large sweet potatoes

1 ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp. pink Himalayan salt
 (or any salt you have on hand)

½ tsp. paprika

¼ tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into strips that are about ½ inch wide.

Add oil, salt, paprika and cinnamon and spread on the potatoes, then onto the baking sheet in a single layer.

Cook for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, until slightly browned

4) Mushrooms are a wonderful vegetable to add to your omelet or grill them and add to your salad. Mushrooms are loaded with antioxidants, which help build your immune system.

5) Red Bell Peppers be eaten raw in a salad, roasted in the oven, or even grilled.  They have more vitamin C then oranges and are great for preventing illness.

6) Probiotic Rich Foods will assist with improving the digestive process and immune imbalance. Examples of these foods include kimchi (fermented cabbage), apple cider vinegar, Kombucha (fermented tea), and kefir (preferably non dairy versions).

In addition to nutrition, there are a few other factors that are critical for boosting your immune system.

1) Sleep– this is the time that your body is repairing itself.  Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep daily for optimal immunity.

2) Sunshine– natural sun adds D3 which helps to strengthen your immune system.  Aim for 20 minutes of the sun, daily

3) Exercise– causes a boost to the immune system, as well as flushing out your lungs, airways, and hanging your antibodies in your body.

4) Managing stress– Stress leads to elevated cortisol levels which may weaken the immune system.  Therefore, it is important to manage stress whether it is through massage, meditation or any other hobbies that you may enjoy.  

Rebecca Meyerson, MS is a certified nutritionist at ProClinix Sports Physical Therapy & Chiropractic, practicing in both their Armonk location (within Equinox) and their Ardsley location (within House of Sports). She can be reached at 914-202-0700.