Alternative Health Trends for 2012

Explore the benefits of the next wave of popular alternative health treatments and supplements available to you now.

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Dr. Oz went on a search for the next big things in alternative medicine. Learn about the three cutting-edge treatments and supplements you need to look out for in 2012 so you can take better – and smarter – care of your health.

The Next Big Thing for Pain Relief: Moxibustion

Information provided by Jamie Starkey, Lac, Lead Acupuncturist, Center for Integrative Medicine, Wellness Institute, Cleveland Clinic

Moxibustion is an acupuncture technique involving moxa, the herb mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), this herb is used to invigorate the flow of Qi and blood, promote a pain-relieving effect, and deeply penetrate the area of discomfort with soothing warmth. Qi takes on various roles in our body. For example, it is the energy that keeps us from falling ill, the energy that forces our heart to beat, or cells to divide. In TCM, Qi is a moving force that travels along pathways in the body noted as meridians. When Qi is flowing without obstruction or without deficiency, we are in a perfect state of health and wellness. It is the moment an imbalance occurs, that we begin to fall ill and manifest in various symptoms of disharmony. 

In moxibustion, the moxa herb is lit on fire and can either be placed on top of the needle (Needle Moxa); applied without the use of needles, as it can be burned in stick form as the acupuncturist hovers and swirls the stick of burning moxa above various acupuncture points; or the moxa can be indirectly placed on various acupoints on the body using a thin slice of ginger or other barrier to shield the skin. Moxibustion is particularly effective for cases like tight muscle spasms, low back pain, frozen shoulder, or various osteoarthritic joint pains, especially when pain is worsened by damp and cold weather.

For more on moxibustion and pain relief therapies involving acupuncture and other methods practiced in Traditional Chinese Medicine, click here.

The next big thing for 2012 is “at-home moxibustion”. All you need is the moxa herb (mugwort), a spray bottle and a heating pad. Spray the herbal extract onto the problem area and apply the heating pad fro about 30 minutes to alleviate muscle pain and cramps.

The Next Big Anti-Ager: Ubiqinol

Information provided by Pina LoGiudice ND, LAc and Peter Bongiorno ND, Lac, Directors of Inner Source Health

Naturally produced in our bodies, ubiquinol is an active form of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which has been shown to have quite powerful antioxidant potential. First discovered in the 1950s, CoQ10 is known to help many of the diseases associated with aging. Although CoQ10 can be found in foods such as meat and fish, its content in them is very low.

In our practice, we have found clear benefits supplementing with ubiquinol for issues of heart disease, blood pressure, gum and oral health, and even nervous system challenges.

Every cell in the body is in the business of producing energy to keep you vital and healthy. The energy each cell produces is in the form of a molecule called ATP. This ATP is made in the “energy powerhouse” of the cell called the mitochondria. Ubiquinol has been shown to promote ATP production in the mitochondrial inner membrane.

From moment to moment, we are burning energy and aging. As a result, free radicals are produced in our body which will damage all cells, including vessel walls, nerve tissue, and the linings of our organs. Also, environmental toxins that enter into our body can also cause damage and increase oxidant levels allowing a further break down of our body’s cells and repair mechanisms.

Ubiquinol does not only help support your body’s energy production, but it also is considered one of the strongest antioxidants available. It has the ability to protect your body's cells from damage caused by oxidative stress and free radicals by sopping up the oxidants causing the damage. Removing oxidant attack allows your body to repair and restore health.

For more on why ubiquinol is essential to staying young, click here.

The Next Big Thing for Blood Pressure: Bonito Peptide Supplements

Information provided by Bryce Wylde, Bsc, RNC, DHMHS, Alternative Medicine Expert and Host "Wylde on Health"

Approximately 20% of North Americans have high blood pressure, or hypertension. Hypertension is a serious condition in which increased blood flow exerts undue pressure and stress against the walls of the blood vessels. As the most common primary diagnosis in the US, hypertension accounts for more than 35 million physician office visits per year. Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to an increased risk of serious health conditions, including congestive heart failure, heart attack, stroke, atherosclerosis, brain damage, vision loss, and kidney failure among other things.

The typical mindset is that we aren’t worried until we have a blood pressure reading high enough that our physician is required to react by intervening with prescription medication. But with a blood pressure cuff in every pharmacy these days and all of the available information on how to achieve and maintain ideal body weight and composition through diet, lifestyle and exercise, we need to start taking the responsibility upon ourselves to keep and maintain optimal blood pressure. You don’t want to resort to prescription medication when recent research shows that only 34% of individuals with hypertension respond favorably to drug treatment.

When prescription medications are required, the way some of them work is to inhibit the activity of an enzyme called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) and they have been shown to lower blood pressure effectively and be relatively safe. But they can be accompanied by numerous side effects, including dry cough, dizziness lightheadedness, headaches, and impotence. As a result, individuals with high blood pressure have turned to natural alternatives known to lower blood pressure, such as increasing exercise, decreasing stress, implementing favorable dietary modifications, and integrating dietary supplements into their daily regimen.

An effective natural supplement to consider is the extract of the Bonito fish. Bonito (Sarda orientalis) is a fish belonging to the tuna and mackerel family that is traditionally consumed in Japan. Japanese researchers have identified a patented process to isolate specific active bonito peptides (separated proteins) with demonstrated blood pressure-lowering effects in animals and humans. These peptides – not to be confused with fish oils – work similarly to ACE inhibitor drugs but without the side effects.

Bonito peptides provide safe, effective and natural blood pressure support for individuals with pre-hypertension (systolic blood pressure: 120-139 mm Hg; diastolic blood pressure: 80-89 mm Hg) or Stage I hypertension (systolic blood pressure: 140-159 mm Hg; diastolic blood pressure: 90-99 mm Hg). In fact, there are already three human clinical trials that have been successfully conducted using bonito peptides in subjects with borderline or mild hypertension. In a recent study, researchers used an optimized bonito peptide mixture of 1.5 grams daily.

Clinical trial research suggests that bonito peptides are approximately 64% effective in reducing blood pressure in borderline and mildly hypertensive subjects. In these short-term clinical trials, no adverse side effects were reported, suggesting that bonito peptides have an excellent safety profile.

If you are experiencing mild to moderate high blood pressure, talk to your family doctor about bonito peptides along with lifestyle modification to see if this type of natural approach may be right for you.

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