Naturopathic Gene Therapy – Exercise!

Exercise changes DNA – even after just 1 workout

blank-imagePatients at Solutions Acupuncture & Naturopathic Medicine learn very quickly when they come to our Phoenix office that I am not Anti-Western medicine.  I love medicine! All types of medicine! I happen to practice Naturopathic Medicine and Acupuncture because I see that it is the most effective path for dealing with so many health issues.  But certainly there’s a time and place for Conventional Medicine.

The area of Conventional Medicine that I believe holds the most promise, is Genetic Medicine; The ability to impact genetic expression may be the key to curing cancer, autoimmune disease , alzheimer’s etc.

I had always thought that this was an area of medicine that Naturopaths would be left out of; It’s really the provence of high-tech medicine. But a new study proves me wrong!

Exercise, even a single workout, has measurable effects of genetic expression.

Time Magazine is reporting on a study in the medical journal Cell Metabolism that measured changes in the DNA of muscles cells post-exercise.  What these researches found was nothing short of astonishing!

Off the Couch and Into the Lab

How the study worked is like this:  The researches took a group of habitual non-exercisers and put them on an exercise bike.  Small samples of quadriceps muscle tissue was biopsied before and after exercise.  The muscle cells after exercise showed increased gene activity and their DNA showed alterations in methylation levels.  Methylation is a process of shifting Methyl groups around on the DNA which determines which switches get turned on and off – to produce different proteins, enzymes or increase or decrease cell replication.  The point is, with billions of dollars being invested in genetic research every year, we have at our disposal already a potent modifier of genetic expression – Exercise!  If you could put this effect in a pill, you’d have the wonder-drug of the century!

Hope for the Lazy!

What’s most heartening about this research is the benefits start right after your first workout! You don’t have to get into super shape to start influencing your genes.  They did, however find that more strenous exercise led to even more changes.  Just think of the compounded effect of years of exercise on your genes! (not to mention your jeans).

The lesson I take away from this research is that Lifestyle Changes – the Core of Naturopathic Medicine and Acupuncture – have profound impacts on our genetic expression.  We are actually rebuilding ourselves day-in and day-out based on our lifestyle decisions.

This gives us incredible power over our own health.  The question we all must ask ourselves is, what will we do with this power?

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Get blogging below! How have lifestyle changes impacted your health?  How will this research impact your own approach to exercise?

4 Steps to Stop Spring Allergies – Right Now! : An Acupuncture & Naturopathic Perspective

Naturopathic Strategies to Stop Allergies in Their Tracks

sneezeSpring is here!  And with the blooms and sunshine come the sniffles, watery eyes and scratchy throats.  We’re hearing it at our Phoenix office left and right; people are saying this is the worst allergy season ever – and it’s only March!  So when people call asking if our unique style Acupuncture and Naturopathic Medicine can help with their allergy symptoms, we tell them “Of course!”, but there are even a few things you can start doing for yourself right now to nix those pesky symptoms.

Here are 4 steps you can take today!

1. Hit the Showers!

One of the best strategies for controlling allergy symptoms is limiting your exposure to those pesky pollens.  But just closing the window is not enough.  Pollen has a nasty habit on clinging to our hair and hitching a ride with us as we go about our day.  So if you find yourself sneezing your head-off while your indoors, your head (or rather, your hair) just may be the problem.

I encourage my allergy patients to shower and wash their hair twice daily during peak season. Use a mild natural shampoo and send those pollens down the drain.  This simple step can dramatically lower your pollen exposure and dramatically lower your seasonal misery.

2. Hit the Sheets!

…if they’re clean sheets!    One of the more dastardly strategies pollens employ to ruin your day is that they like jump off your hair and clothes and on to your bedding.  That’s right, your pillow case is probably littered with pollen at this very moment.  So all night long as you snooze away with your face squished into your favorite comfy pillow, it’s like wearing a pollen face mask!

This  nightly dose of allergens can drive your immune system crazy, making your more susceptible and more symptomatic all day long.

Here’s what you do: Change your bedding daily!  Sounds crazy, but get your self a bunch of sheets and pillow cases and just change them out continually throughout the season.  Wash them in the hottest setting with some organic, natural detergent and then they’re ready to use again.

Not only will you sleep better tonight, but you’ll have a much happier tomorrow.

3. Blow it Out Your ….

So you’re probably getting the point here that these pollens are sticky little buggers that like to cling to every surface they can get a hold of and then continue to spread their histamine inducing brand of joy to all who are susceptible.  Well, it gets worse.  Not only do they love to adhere to your clothes, hair and bedding, they also enjoy sticking to the inside of your nose.

Inside our nose, the mucous we produce to get rid of pollens and other irritants can often create a sort of fly-paper effect;  the pollens actually get stuck in our nose and can’t get out.   There they sit, just aggravating your mucous membranes and causing your body to release bucket-loads of histamine.

You gotta get those pollens out!  One of the best tools for this is a Neti Pot; an ancient Ayurvedic tool for cleaning the nasal passages.  A Neti pot looks a little like a small geenie’s lantern, with a long neck and tip that fits nicely into your nostril.  You fill the well of the Neti pot with water, often with a tiny touch of salt, lean foward at the waist and then pivot at the waist – so that you’re facing sideways. This sends the solution in the Neti pot flushing, through your nasal passages, rinsing the pollen right out.

There’s lots recipes for just what to put in the Neti pot, but most of them come with a little solution of water and some gentle herbal extracts that soothe the tissues as well.

4. Be an Environmentalist

One of the key strategies for putting spring allergies in their place is to get some concentrated time in a pollen-free environment.  You don’t have to rent a hermetically sealed box to accomplish this, you just have to invest in a decent HEPA air purifier.  These little units scrub the air and trap most allergens in their sophisticated filters leaving your indoor environment clean, and you breathing easy.

I highly recommend keeping a HEPA air purifier in your bedroom.  This gives you, hopefully, 8 hours of sweet sanctuary.  You’ll feel remarkably better in the morning and less reactive throughout the day.

There you have it!  4 Drug-Free Steps to Start Feeling Better Right Away.

Join The Conversation…What techniques have used to fight back against seasonal allergies.

Learn how to get underneath the whole allergy problem and uproot it!  Read our Free Report

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Dr. E’s Article From Healthy Living Magazine – Phoenix Acupuncture Clinic & The Wonders of Garlic

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Alot of you have been waiting for the link to our article that was published in the most recent Healthy Living Magazine.  Well, the link is not active yet, so I thought I’d just Publish the text here… Enjoy and look for it on Newstands!

Fight Seasonal Allergies with AGE
By
Steven Ehrlich, NMD

It’s been said that allergies are a phobia of the immune system. Normally harmless substances such as tree pollens or pet danders are being tagged by the body as potentially dangerous and targeted by your immune system for destruction. In its overzealous determination to keep you safe, your body inadvertently afflicts you with the misery that so many know as common seasonal allergy symptoms: sneezing, runny nose, water eyes and even shortness of breath and eczema.

So how can we stop this immunological over-reaction and learn to enjoy the great outdoors again? One important part of an overall holistic approach to treating seasonal allergies is supplementing with Aged Garlic Extract (AGE).Hitting the Immune System’s Gas & Break Pedals Optimum health demands a strong and active immune system to guard against infections and
malignancies but we also want our immune system to be calm and temperate to avoid allergies or auto-immune diseases. That being the case, a substance that at once both strengthened the immune system to fight pathogens and kill cancer cells and yet at the same time restrained the immune system from over reacting to harmless allergen would and invaluable health tool. AGE is just such a tool.

The research on garlics’ immune enhancing properties is compelling. Animal studies show tumor growth inhibition from increased immunostimulation resulting from AGE. In the study, a certain type of lung cancer was transplanted into mice – those mice treated with AGE showed tumor growth inhibition as well as an increase in Natural Killer (NK) cell activity

1. NK cells are one the most potent aspects of immune defense. Here we see the remarkable immune boosting side of AGE. The specific anti-allergy effects of AGE were demonstrated with something called “antigen specific ear swelling”. Essentially this is a phenomenon where mice exposed to a certain allergen experience swelling in the tissue on their ears – you can imagine the embarrassment of those poor allergic mice. Those mice that were treated with AGE showed significantly less ear swelling up allergen exposure.

2. We see from these studies that AGE is a potent “Immune-Modulator”: able to stimulate the immune system in doing some of the  most vital protective roles with greater vigilance and yet dampen it’s tendency towards over reaction when exposed to allergens. AGE can step on the gas when your immune system needs to get revved up to fight off an invader or take care of some menacing malignant cells and it can push on the brakes when your immune system might otherwise be throwing a tantrum over some harmless tree pollen. This makes AGE an ideal immune supplement; a sort of immunological smart pill.

Unburden Yourself

One of the founding principals of Naturopathic Medicine is Tolle Causam, “Treat the Cause”. When we ask, what is the cause of this hypersensitive immune system in the seasonal allergy patient, many potential answers emerge. One of the most overlooked factors is the constant burden of harmful viruses and bacteria that many people carry around with them throughout the year.

Pathological micro-organisms can live and fester in a person wreaking havoc on their immune system without them ever knowing it. We’re all aware of what it feels like when we “catch-abug”, but those cold and flu symptoms only emerge when the body gets so overwhelmed by a harmful pathogen that it erupts in a violent immune response. But what about when the load of pathogens is just under the threshold of causing an all out “sickness”? In these cases we can feel run-down, fatigued, and just not at 100%. What we’re experiencing is the subtle compromising of our immune system. We may have some minor nasal congestion, chronically blood shot eyes, etc.. Our immune system is bothered yes, but just not enough to mount an all-out war. If this situation continues, our immune system starts to experience the wear-and-tear of being chronically under stress. It begins to see the world as a dangerous place, full of potentially harmful invaders and it can develop an “itchy trigger finger” where even benign substances, like tree pollen, can be seen as a threat. Obviously, relieving our body of this onerous burden of pathological bateria and viruses is an important step in calming down our immune system and getting rid of seasonal allergies. Enter AGE.

Throughout the ages Garlic has been known for its antimicrobial properties. In Ancient Egypt garlic was prized by slave and Pharaoh alike and references to garlic are even inscribed on the pyramids. The Romans and the Greeks also relied heavily on Garlic in their own
pharmacopoeia. Hippocrates himself was known to recommend garlic for the treatment of pneumonia and other infectious illnesses3.
Modern science has taken traditional healing wisdom about Garlic and brought it to a whole new level with the discovery of S-Allyl Cysteine (SAC) one of the key components of Aged Garlic Extract. SAC is a water soluble, sulfur containing compound with  demonstrated antimicrobial properties. AGE products such as Kyolic™ Garlic supplements that contain standardized amounts of SAC give people the power of having this microbe scrubbing compound in an odorless supplement that can be used daily to fight the overgrowth of harmful pathogens. As the immune system is freed of the burden of the constant fighting against these microbes it can finally relax. It can stop its hyper-vigilant, reflexive tendency to attack anything it comes into contact with, and simple pollens and molds can pass through the body without triggering immunological red alerts.

How’s your Mucus Today?

A key component to any seasonal allergy treatment program is managing your mucus. Mucus is like an oil slick created by the body to trap invaders and send them “running” from the body. If mucus is thick and viscous, it can instead become a breeding ground for  bacterial and viral growth. Thin mucus not only resists bacterial and viral growth but it helps prevent harmful microbes from getting deeper into the body and further aggravating the immune system. It’s a common scenario: Seasonal allergies increase mucus production. Thick mucus starts to cause congestion which becomes an incubator for harmful microbes. The growing levels of harmful microbes further aggravates the immune system and results in even more mucus. Soon a person finds themselves with a full fledged sinus infection or bronchitis and is often forced to resorting to antibiotics. This leaves them even more vulnerable to hypersensitivity
reactions, such as allergies, in the future. AGE can help avoid this destructive cycle by keeping mucus thin and flowing and keeping levels of antimicrobial SAC high to cleanse the system of any immune aggravating pathogens.

Use the Right Tools

While including garlic in your diet may have many health benefits, to get the most impact we need to turn to supplements with standardized SAC such as Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract. Studies show that people with Seasonal Allergies suffer with lost wages and lower quality of life.4 AGE is serious natural medicine to tackle a serious problem. Note that Garlic may interact with certain medications, particularly some medications used in fighting HIV as well as blood thinners such as Coumadin (Warfarin) and others, so speak to your doctor. Spring will be here soon enough and as your friends reach for their tissues, nose sprays and eye drops you can be enjoying the weather again; with a little help from AGE.

  1. Immunomodulatory Effects of Aged Garlic Extract, Kyo, Uda, Kasuga and Itakura, The Journal of
    Nutrition, 2001
  2. Ibid.
  3. The Medicinal Use of Garlic, Gary Huber,MD. Amazing Herbs.com
  4. Opthalmic Epidemiology 2004 Feb; 11(1):17-33

The Food-Pain Connection – An Acupuncture & Naturopathic Perspective

Back Pain, Migraines, Arthritis … The Answer May be as Close as Your Next Meal

tomatoI’m a detective.  Okay, I’m really a physician, but my job is essentially that of a health detective.  People come to our Phoenix Acupuncture & Naturopathic Medicine Clinic with all sorts of mysterious symptoms and I hunt for clues to what may be the true cause for all of their maladies.

We are very blessed to help so many people who have been at the end of their rope.  A patient remarked, exasperated yesterday “You mean I spent the last several years and $250,000 on medical tests that got me nowhere, and you figured out my problem in a couple of weeks!?”  Ummm, yes….?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because I’m such a genius (although my mother might say otherwise!); it’s because YOU are such a genius.  You! You’re body!  It’s brilliant…It’s constantly speaking in the language of symptoms – telling us where it’s out of balance, what it needs.  The art of medicine is being able to listen to these symptoms; to speak the language of illness and the language of health.

Something that always blows people away is when I discover food toxins to be the source of their health issue.  Food toxins are chemicals that occur naturally in foods that can be toxic to certain people who are unable to metabolize them.  Gluten is a popular example of a food toxin.  Theobromine and Paraxanthine/1,7- Dimethylxanthine are other’s, maybe a little less known.  We have some pretty powerful and unique ways of testing a patient for issues with food toxins and the results can be life changing.

I read a letter today that a patient had sent to one of my esteemed teachers, Dr. Michael Lebowitz.  It was from a mother of a little girl who had bizarre symptoms of mouth sores, joint pain, skin lesions and behavior problems that no doctor’s could figure out.  Fortunately this mother had done some research and found out about Dr. Leibowitz and his pioneering work on food toxins.  As it turned out, the little girl was unable to handle Solanine – a component of nightshade vegetables.  Nightshades include, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, tobacco, Ashwaganda and others.  After eliminating this class of foods from her diet, the mother had a new little girl on her hands; pain free, sore free and enjoying life.

I’m grateful we can offer this in-office food toxin testing (Which, by the way is different than food allergy testing) to our patients.  It can really be the key that turns a person’s health around!

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Talk Back:  Has food been an issue in your health recovery?  Share your story..

5 Surefire Ways to Get Sick – An Acupuncture & Naturopathic Perspective

How to Get Sick

self-destruct-resized-600In our Phoenix Acupuncuture & Naturopathic Medicine clinic, I spend a lot of time listening to people’s stories:  Stories of health lost.  Stories of a robust vitality that once was. Stories of what folks would do if they could only recapture their health again.

Through listening to these stories, and then, thankfully, guiding people back to health and vitality – with our unique blend of Balance Method Acupuncture & Naturopathic therapies – we’ve learned quite a bit about how people wind-up sick in the first place.

So, as a little bit of a twist, I’m going to focus this blog entry not on how to get well, but on how to make your self sick!  My hope is that many of you will recognize yourself in some of these behaviors and be motivated to change your story now while your health is still intact!

1. Get Yourself Into A Bad Relationship

This is such a commone feature among patients in our Phoenix clinic who are suffering from a chronic degenerative disease of one form or another.  Whether it’s with a spouse, sibling, lover or boss, dysfunctional relationships literally drain the life force right out of you.  In physiologic terms it creates a chronic state of stress known as Sympathetic Dominance – trashing your immune and endocrine systems.

Even dysfunctional relationships from the past can wreak havoc on your health.  We have a section on our intake form for a chronology of life stresses and childhood abuse is commonplace. These wounds run deep and can color how a person views the world and responds to stressful situations; making them more prone to stress related illness in the future.  Relationships are vital to our health but bad relationships destroy our health.

2. Keep a Tight Lip

What makes the aforementioned dysfunctional relationships even more toxic, is a person’s reluctance to EXPRESS the pain they are feeling from it.  In many ways, it’s not what happens to us (stressors) that impacts our health, but rather our internal response to it (stress).

One finding we see often during the Oriental Pulse Diagnosis portion of our physical exam, is an excessive amount of stuck, stagnant emotional stress in the body.  And as the Law of Thermodynamics states, “Energy is neither created or destroyed; only transformed”.

Everyday we see the ravages of the energy of old, repressed emotional pain transformed into physical illness.

If only these people had an outlet to safely express their emotions, thoughts, etc they could have vented off some of this psychic pain before it took its toll on their bodiies.

3. Live the Sweet Life

With even 60 Minutes covering the toxic effects of sugar, villifying sugar has gone main stream.  Well, good.  Sugar is a killer.  It can be neurotoxic, immunosuppressive, hormonally devastating and psyhologically addicting.  Eating “excessive” amounts of sugar is like tying your health & vitality to an anchor – you’re whole system is weighed down and suppressed.  From allergies, inflammation, and cancer to heart disease and depression – sugar is often the culprit.

What the internet buzz has missed though is the dangers posed by consumption of artificial sweeteners.  While there’s much debate about the “hard science” behind claims against artificial sweeteners, my clinical experience bears out the truth that these chemical sweeteners wreak havoc on the human body.  Whether they be migraines or digestive disorders or a whole host of other symptoms, artificial sweeteners muck up the works quite nicely.

4. Have a Seat

A sedentary lifestyle is a sufe-fire ticket to chronic disease-ville.  Human beings were built for movement.  Our entire lymphatic system relies on our own movement to function.  A study by the American Cancer Society found that those people who sat the most die sooner. Wow! Put that in your barcalounger!

According to the researchers, sitting for six hours a day as oppossed to three hours increased the death rate by 40% for women and 20% for men.  Even additional exercise was not enough to counteract the effects of exsessive sittting.

So if you’re looking for a way to really do-yourself-in, find a comfy couch or settle in to your office chair and sit for a spell…or two.

5. Work Nights

One thing I find frustrating is the number of people who come to our Phoenix office due to chronic pain or illness who are working night shifts.  Shift work, as it’s often called is associated with an increased risk of Diabetes, Depression, Obesity, Gastrointestinal Disease, Fertility Issues and even Cancer.  There’s even a new illness called “Shift Work Disorder” that’s characterized by insomnia and fatigue.

We see shift workers having stunted self-healing abilities, hormonal irregularities and problems keeping inflammation in check.  Shift work is a great way to get yourself good and sick!

Well, there you have it; 5 Steps to Destroying your Health.  These are the behaviors we see day-in and day-out among our new patients who come to our Phoenix clinic searching for “Solutions”.   It’s my wish that this list should serve as a Wake-Up call to those of you who still have their health or are trying to get it back.

Change your habits – Change your life…Now.

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Now it’s your turn! Let me know what you think of this list.  Are there any other health-sabotaging behaviors that should have made the top 5?  Comment Below…

Do I Have to Relax for Acupuncture to Work?

Is Acupuncture a Medical Procedure or A Spa Treatment?

meditation_cartoon-resized-600A wonderful new patient at our Phoenix clinic asked me a great question last night.  She said, “You know Dr. Ehrlich, I have the most stressful job and I ran here right from work for my treatment and I feel pressure to relax to get the most out of the treatment…Should I just come on my day-off?”

I hear this all the time.  People are convinced that Acupuncture is supposed to be “relaxing”.  We’ve been inundated with pictures of people getting acupuncture treatments in pristine, yoga studio-like environments, with their eyes closed in tranquil repose….  Just check Google Images for “Acupuncture” – You’d be convinced that Acupuncture is just another item on the menu at the local day spa.

Unfortunately, the state of Acupuncture in this country has been so degraded that in truth you actually are more likely to find Acupuncture being offered at the local day spa than at the local hospital.  This is not the way acupuncture was meant to be practiced and it is not the way we do it at Solutions Acupuncture & Naturopathic Medicine.

Acupuncture is medicine.  Now, it’s great if you can relax while taking your medicine.  I firmly believe that your Amoxycillin, Zantac, Methotrexate or Insulin will work better if you take it while in a state of relaxation (Not to mention your Viagra!), but relaxed or not, the medicine is still going to work!  Well, the same is true for Balance Method Acupuncture.  “Don’t worry about relaxing, or being in any certain state…” I told my patient last night.  “The Acupuncture will work no-matter-what.”

Now, it just so happens, that they way Balance Method Acupuncture works is by correcting imbalances in the body and when those imbalances are corrected we often feel this blissful state of relaxation…but that’s just a side-effect.  What we’re really after is the profound shifts in health that Acupuncture can bring about, not some fleeting feeling of relaxation while on the table.

That’s why when people come to our Phoenix clinic they’re often surprised and relieved to find that although the energy is relaxed, our office does not feel like some psuedo-sanctimonious “Healing Center”.  Our clinic feels more like a mix between your family doctor’s office and a Starbucks!  Some patients do “Zen Out” during treatment, but plenty of others listen to books on tape, read from their kindles or even watch NetFlix on their phones (headphones, please). Some patients who are in our double-room will chit-chat the whole session away.

So to answer my patient’s question, No, you do not have to relax during the treatment to get the benefits of Acupuncture – So don’t stress-out about relaxing! The medicine does the work… so you don’t have to!

Want to Learn More About What Balance Method Acupuncture Can Do For You? Download Our Free E-Book

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How Do you feel during Acupuncture Treatment? Share your thoughts below!

Acupuncture & Naturopathic Secrets for Beating Chronic Illness – Part I

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Crucial Steps to Getting Well

When new patients begin treatment at our Phoenix clinic, they’re usually filled with a mixture of hope and fear, excitement and uncertainty.  The question that’s often most pressing in their minds is “Can you really help me?”   So many of our patients come to us after “trying everything” that it’s very hard for them to imagine themselves ever finding any real solutions.

The truth is, we’ve found that the severity of the disease is not the true determining factor in how well a patient will progress.  The most important question that best predicts how well a patient will do, is when we ask them to tell us their “Commitment Level” to healing, on a scale of 1-10.  Patients who answer with a number lower than 8 are not allowed into the practice.

Let’s face it, the bottom-line is that healing is about change.  Illness is a sign that something is not working and we have to be open to fundamental change:

Change in diet,

Change in lifestyle,

Change in thought processes, etc..

Those patients who can dig-in and “go for it” with these changes are the one’s that are most successful.

Bringing a patient to the awareness that they are going to need to make fundamental changes in their life to get their health back is often a delicate dance.  By the time people find their way to our Phoenix Acupuncture & Naturopathic Medical Clinic they are often exhausted by their illness.  Many are too tired to contemplate a major lifestyle overhaul at the moment. But a major overhaul is often exactly what is needed.  So what’s a patient to do?

Our strategy is to begin a therapy that starts increasing balance and energy and decreasing symptoms immediately: Balance Method Acupuncture .  Our unique style of implementing this ancient form of acupuncture starts putting some new wind into the sails of these depleted folks straight away: Often sleep, energy, and pain improve rapidly.

Now that hope has been rekindled and they are starting to feel better, our patient’s are able to  get excited about the positive lifestyle changes that they can implement to take their healing to the next level.

In the next few posts we’ll discuss these 3 areas of change that make the most fundamental improvements in health: Diet, Lifestyle & Thinking.  Stay tuned!

Talk Back!  Have you been able to make changes in your life for health?  Share your challenges and triumphs below….@

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Gluten Sucks!

Naturopathic Docs Have Been Right All Along; Gluten Sucks!

gluten_freeMy mind is blown! Not because the article I’m going to share with you today tells me anything new, it’s because it validates what Naturopaths have been saying all along.  GLUTEN SUCKS!

A new study in The American Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reports on a landmark discovery showing significantly higher rates of schizophrenia in children of mother’s with a gluten sensitivity.  Basically, if mom’s gluten sensitive, the child is much more at risk for schizophrenia!

It was over a decade ago that I first learned in Naturopathic Medical school that during World War II, when wheat supplies were at an all-time low, the psychiatric hospitals in London saw a tremendous drop-off in mental illness. Now, years later, not only does this research point towards a possible scientific link between gluten sensitivity and mental illness, they even quote the statistic about the psychiatric hospitals in London during World War II!

IF I HAD A FOOTBALL I’D SPIKE IT!!!

At our Phoenix Acupuncture & Naturopathic medicine clinic we see so much illness linked to gluten sensitivity that it begins to boggle the mind that WonderBread doesn’t come with a warning label.  We routinely see……

  • Digestive Disorders
  • Headaches
  • Joint Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety/OCD
  • Autoimmune Disorders

…either caused by, or made worse from gluten consumption.

Interestingly, the The American Journal of Clinical Psychiatry study only counted maternal gluten sensitivity as measured by IgG response (a specific component of the immune system).  In Naturopathic Medicine, we look at a variety of other markers to indicate sensitivity; meaning scores more people can be gluten sensitive than what will show up on standard blood tests.

Considering there’s really no nutritional value to gluten to begin with and there’s now an abundance of gluten free staples available at major grocery chains … there’s little reason not to go gluten free or at least mostly gluten free.

Why wait for the research to catch up to the nutritional wisdom that Naturoapth’s have passed on from generation to generation!

 

Acupuncture & Naturopathic Secrets for Beating Chronic Illness – Part II

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Dietary Strategies for Healing

Woah!  It’s been a long time since we had a new article up here – we’ve been literally swamped with patients at our Phoenix Acupuncture & Naturopathic Medicine clinc!  My apologies for the cliff-hanger; We spoke two blogs ago about 3 fundamental areas that a patient needs to be willing to make changes in in-order to achieve a profound change in their health and recover from chronic illness.  Those 3 areas were:

  • Diet
  • Lifestyle
  • Thought Processes

Today we’re going to talk about Diet.

So what should you eat to get well?  What’s the best diet to support your Acupuncture & Naturopathic therapies at Solutions?

When starting to discuss diet many people push a particular philosophy or diet book and things can get pretty politcal pretty fast.  We do not endorse any particular diet here at our Phoenix clinic.  Rather, we try to educate patients in a philosophy of using food to build their health.  I start with a few basic premises:

  1. As a natural being, you respond best to the consumption of things as they are found in nature.  That means unprocessed.
  2. There are no bad Macro-Nutrients: Protein, Fats and Carbs are all essential for good health.
  3. Make it workable and enjoyable:  It’s not realistic to tell people to grow their own wheat grass and never have a piece of cake again for the rest of their life.
  1. A teacher of mine, Dr. Charley Cropley, used to say, “The only thing you should ever eat, is food.”  Food is that which nature provided us to eat, not a food product produced from some manufacturing plant.  An apple: Food.  Fruit Roll-up: Food product.

    People consume far too much processed food today.  Even for health concsious consumers, It’s very easy in this era of mass-marketed “health food” to go through much of your day fueled by all sort of bars and shakes and powders – all of which bear little resemblence to the foods they may be flavored with or are derived from.

    Real food (fruits, vegetalbes, meat, fish, grains, seeds, etc) is what youre body is made to digest and absorb.  Food products, even if they contain “x” amount of vitamins and minerals are completely foreign bodies to your system.  You can’t process them well and they will cause either overt or subtle symptoms – but know this; They will destroy your health. Dump ’em!

    Typically I tell people, if there’s more than 3 ingredients on a package label… be suspicious!

  2. Low Carb. Low Fat. High Protein. Low Protein. There’s no end of opinions here – each with their expert spokesperson.  Let’s make it easy – clearly agribusiness has pushed us to consume grain products far beyond what is healthy: Chips, sandwich bread, waffles, pasta, etc.  All staples of the American diet – it’s too much.  Tone down the carbs (but dont’ eliminate them completely!) and use natural sources like yams and squash and small amounts of rice and possibly sprouted grains. Lots of carbs exhaust your endocrine system and are pro-inflammatory.

    Make friends with healthy fats such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut oil and avocado. Use these liberally.  Healthy fats are anti-inflammatory, feed your brain and heal your gut.

    While you’re at it, it’s time to make-up with meat.  Meat is good for you!  Use free range, organic (worth the price to avoid the hormones and get the good fats from free roaming farm friends) and make sure not to over-cook it.  Meat is chocked full of vitamins, amino acids, and body building proteins essential for good health.  Good quality meat is good quality food.  Bad quality meat is bad food.

  3. Make it simple. We give our patients some simple guidelines to follow:  Do’s and Dont’s – (See Gluten Sucks.)  Put together a sample day’s eating and then tailor it based on their specific food sensitivities or health needs.  But in general are goal is to teach people a way inserting good, whole food into their lives.  Cook a lot in advance.  give your fridge a makeover.  Get some good cold packs and keep cool lunch cases.  Give yourself permission to have some healthy treats; organic dark chocolate, all fruit sorbet – IN MODERATION.  And unless you have an eating disorder, don’t run away from a piece of cake on your birthday.

    IN SHORT, after we’ve identified a patient’s food sensitivities and have them cut the general garbage from their diet – add in some quality fats and proteins, it’s amazing what the body can do.  This diet creates the perfect environment for our Balance Method Acupuncture and other specialized Naturopathic interventions to really do their work:  Inflammation gets extinguished, muscles relax, joint tissue gets rebuilt, hormones balance and the immune system becomes tranquil and strong.

    We tell our patients that their journey back to health requires a plane with two wings.  One wing is the treatment we provide.  The other wing is the lifestyle changes we coach our patients to bring into their lives.

    So what are you waiting for…Fasten you seat belts!

Acupuncture & the IBS Epidemic

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Dr. Ehrlich’s 4 Point Plan for Healing an Angry Gut

I know “4 Point” plans don’t sound quite as sexy as a “3 point” plan, but what can I say, in our Phoenix Acupuncture & Naturopathic clinic, we find it takes 4 points to get the job done!  Let’s talk about it.

On Monday I was honored to be asked to speak at the national convention of the American Association of Medical Assistants.  My topic was “How Medicine Can Be Truly Holistic“.  We had a great time and the talk generated a ton of interest.  In discussion with some of the M.A.’s afterwards it came up that they were seeing lots and lots IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) in their clinics. If fact one of the women told me her college age son and all his friends have IBS; They’re all dealing with constipation or diarrhea. What’s going on here?!

First off let’s establish that IBS is not a diagnosis that identifies a disease state, instead it just describes a set of symptoms; your digestion is, well…irritable. IBS patients tend to have a whole range of symptoms from cramping, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and any mixture there of.

In our Phoenix Acupuncture & Naturopathic Medicine clinic we address IBS from 4 different directions:

  1. Acupuncture to normalize digestion, relieve cramping and relax intestinal muscles
  2. Targeted Supplements to Increase Digestive Power
  3. Identification of Food Sensitivities
  4. Stress Reduction
  1. Acupuncture, particulary Balance Method acupuncture, the style that we practice in our Phoenix clinic, can have profound effects on digestive function  The digestive system is covered primarily by the Ren, Kidney, Stomach and Spleen meridians along with the Liver and Gall Bladder.  By bringing balance to these meridians the entire digestive system can be brought into a profound state of relaxation. I tell my patients that Balance Method Acupuncture re-trains the digestive system to work the way it’s supposed to.  The effects are brilliant!
  2. Targeted Digestive Supplements – We put 99.9% of our IBS patients on 2 supplements right off the bat; a Digestive Enzyme formula and a pro-biotic formula. (Important Note: Quality is extremely important here! Cheap brands DO NOT WORK. We exclusively use only 2 brands which I will not mention here – you can email our office for the names if you wish) The digestive enzyme takes a lot of strain off the digestive system so food is processed more easily.  This prevents further aggravation to the already irritated tissue of the gut lining and gives it a chance to heal.  The pro-biotics feed the digestive system with powerful micro-organisms that produce wonderful healing materials like short chain fatty acids and certain vitamins.  Each capsule is like swallowing a bunch of contractors who are going to caulk and plaster your wounded intestinal lining.
  3. Identifying Food Sensitivities  this is a big one.  If you continue to ingest foods that your body is either allergic or sensitive to ( There is a difference!) you will keep inflamming the intestinal lining.  It’s like add fuel to the fire.  None of the previously mentioned interventions will be able to help until you take these foods out of your diet…. at least for a time.  At our Phoenix clinic we use either blood tests or in-office screening procedure (which I’ll talk about in a different post) to identify food sensitivities.  This step is critical!
  4. Dealing with Stress – Let’s face it, digestion is intimately linked to mood, stress and emotion.  The digestive system produces so many neurotransmitters that it sometimes called the 2nd brain.  Negative emotions, repressed emotions, toxic relationships… all these things have an enormous impact on digestion and in-and-of themselves can cause IBS symptoms. We use our Balance Method acupuncture to purge toxic emotional states from the body, as well as teaching our patients a variety of mind-body medicine techniques to deal with stress and heal from past trauma.  This is a vital step that makes steps 1-3 work so much better. It’s also the one most people like to skip!  Dont.  Your gut may be talking to you about some important issues that need to be dealt with.  It will pay to listen!

Each one these steps deserves it’s own blog post, but I wanted to give a general template of what we do here at Solutions Acupuncture & Naturopathic Medicine.  If your suffering from IBS perhaps you can discuss these points with your own doctor.  Let’s attack this problem and get people’s digestive systems happy again!

What has your experience been dealing with IBS?  Please share your thoughts below

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Acupuncture & Holiday Survival

Acupuncture for Emotional Healing

“I’m Talking to people!”, she said with an amazed look in her eyes.  “That’s nice.”

holiday_stress-resized-600I replied, certain that I was missing something.  “No, I’m talking to people! … The mail man!… my neighbors!….I’ve lived here for 7 years!”  Ahhhh, now it hit me.  Rebecca, like many of the patients who find their way to our Phoenix Acupuncture & Naturopathic Medicine clinic has suffered from depression her whole life.  She’s tried all the standard therapies but she’s never found a medicine that could get her past this emotional barrier that stood between her and the rest of the world.  Finally, using our unique combination of Balance Method acupuncture and customized Naturopathic therapies, the walls are crumbling and, at age 47,  a bright and smilling Rebecca is meeting the world for the first time.

Holiday Stress: Surviving or Thriving?

It’s my great Blessing to be able to say that stories like Rebecca’s are commonplace at Solutions. One of the things that frustrates me to pieces is seeing people suffer needlesslly.  How is it that this non-invasive, natural, and by standards of modern medicine, dirt-cheap style of treatment remains “alternative” while people pop pill after insurance-covered pill to no avail?

As the holidays descend upon us, many of our fellow citizens who suffer with mental illness are experiencing a terrible increase in their symptoms.  Whether it’s the forced merriment, the interaction with family and subsequent triggering that comes with it, or just a change in the weather, this time of year can be brutal for people suffering with Depression, Anxiety or other mental health challenges. But why? When safe and effective natural therapies are available to allieviate their suffering, how come so many people barely make it through the holiday season – or worse, don’t make it at all.  One of our patient’s who’s son is a Fireman said he had to respond to two suicide attempts on Thanksgiving day before noon!

We owe it to our friends, family and communities to spead the word about the mental and emotional healing that is available with the skilled application of Balance Method Acupuncture & Naturopathic Medicine.

Please urge those you care about who may be suffering to get help.  We offer a free Initial Consultation here at Solutions to make sure we are the appropriate clinic for the people who come here.  And if we’re not, we’ll find someplace that is.  The point is that there is real help out there.

Don’t let this holiday season be just something to “get through”.  This year, find your Solution!

 

Acupuncture: A Golfer’s Best Friend

So, I was treating Tiger Woods the other day….

Okay, I wasn’t really treating Tiger Woods, but I should have been!  If Tiger knew what I know he’d be putting the pedal to the floor of his golf cart and racing to our Phoenix, AZ Acupuncture & Naturopathic Medical Clinic.  That’s because I know how amazing our unique style of Acupuncture can be for common golf related injuries.

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Golfer’s Elbow

One of the most common ailments our warriors of the greens experience is Golfer’s Elbow. This is a painful condition of the tendons on the inner part of the elbow.  This is opposite to the pain experienced by their country club cousins known as Tennis Elbow which happens on the lateral, or outside part of the elbow.  Golfer’s elbow sufferers can have pain when swinging a club at first but untreated, pain will often spread to other parts of the arm.  Some patients will also have numbness, tingling or weakness in their arm or fingers and pain even at rest.

Conventional medical treatment usually centers on anti-inflammatories and ice.  Sometimes patients will be sent for physical therapy and in extreme cases surgical options will be considered.

From an acupuncture point of view, Golfer’s Elbow is a problem in the Heart Meridian.  The epicenter of Golfer’s Elbow pain is on the acupuncture point known as Heart 3.

At Solutions we use Balance Method acupuncture.  That means we never stick a needle directly into Heart 3 when it hurts.  That would be barbaric!  Instead we use the science of Acupuncture to turn off pain at Heart 3 by stimulating Acupuncture points that CONTROL Heart 3.  The analogy my teacher, the renowned Grandmaster Dr. Richar Teh -fu Tan, often uses is that if we go in to a room and want to turn on the light, do we go get a ladder and climb up to the ceiling to turn on the light? No! We simply flick the switch on the wall!  That’s how acupuncture is done properly – we find the switches to turn off the pain.

Lori’s Story

We had treated Lor’s daughter in the past for digestive issues, but it took Lori several months of elbow pain before she decided to come see us.  Like most people, Lori figured her Golfer’s Elbow would get better on it’s own – and like most people’s, it did not.  By the time she came to our Phoenix clinic she had constant pain in her upper arm, biceps and elbow.  She did not want to stop playing golf because it was a cornerstone of her social activity.

Applying our Pain Neutralization Techniques (I’ll talk about these in a different article, soon!) and Balance Method Acupuncture, Lori’s chronic pain was 70% reduced after one treatment.  We’ve treated Lori two more times now and she is set to play in a tournament this weekend!

If you’re a golfer, don’t let pain limit your enjoyment, there is a Solution.

Acupuncture: Relief Care vs. Corrective Care

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Acupuncture for Pain Relief and So Much More

This weekend I was chatting with two friends, one a prominent Neurologist and the other a very intelligent engineer.  The engineer was lamenting the fact that his wife’s migraines have been particularly terrible lately.  As my Neurologist friend outlined different high-powered medication options I sat their thinking to myself, “Why do people suffer so needlessly?”  When I finally chimed in, my friend answered that his wife had “Tried acupuncture and it didn’t help.”

I hear this so often I find it a little hard to bite my tongue, but here’s why that statement is so ridiculous:

  1. Acupuncture is not ONE thing, it is an entire body of medicine comprised of over 100 styles and varied approaches.  Saying “I tried acupuncture before” is like saying “I went to a doctor once in my life… didnt’ help.”
  2. Acupuncture for chronic illness can not be “tried” once or twice, it needs to be done with committment. We treat all manner of chronic illness in our Phoenix Acupuncture & Naturopathic Medicine clinic, and we get results where many other doctors have failed.  Why? Because we know how to take people through a process of recovery that yields deep and lasting results.

Relief and Correction

At Solutions, we break care into two categories; Relief and Correction.

  1. Relief is a temporary state of feeling better that is dose dependent with the therapy you are receiving.  If the therapy is discontinued, the relief goes away.
  2. Correction is a permanent state of repair where the body no longer expresses the pain or symptoms of an illness, not because it’s being covered up by a treatment or therapy, but because the disease state itself no longer exists.  In short, the person feels well because the patient is well.

Relief is short-lived and easily attained, often with a single treatment.  Correction takes committment and the guidance of an experienced physician.  We ask all our patients whether they are interested in Relief of Correction.  It’s something worth thinking about: there are many ways to feel good.  Pain meds, medical marijuana… etc.  Sometimes these do even a better job than our style of acupuncture for simple relief.

Correction is healing. And healing rarely comes in a pill bottle (or in a pot brownie!).  And while correction does take time, we see radical and fundamental transformations in people’s health in a matter of weeks – not years.

Don’t Travel Without a Map

Making it to correction takes the right tools and the right trail guide.  Over the last decade I have explored the full length and breadth of clinical interventions for chronic pain, and I have found nothing as powerful as our combination of Balance Method Acupuncture & cutting edge Naturopathic Medicine.  On a daily basis we are blessed to see people who had almost given-up on ever being out of pain or free from illness, breaking through to a whole new existence of pain-free vital health.

Now, I know we could help my friend’s wife.  But in his mind he’s tried acupuncture and it didn’t work.  The acupuncturist who worked on her did her a real dis-service.  Not just because the treatment may or may not have been very good, but because they did not guide her to understand that there was a real and definite path to travel in order for her to get well.

Perhaps we have an advantage in this area because we take a great deal of time to get to know our patients.  Our first two office visit lasts about 2 hours; this is the only way we can gather the crucial data needed to figure out exactly where a patient’s health went awry and what we need to do to get it back.  We then employ our highly effective and unique style of Acupuncture in a series of 3 sessions back-to-back in one week just to see how a person will respond.  Mind you, we are not expecting to cure life long illness in 3 treatments, but these first 3 “rate-of-response” treatments let us know how quickly we can expect someone to travel down this path.  It’s testing the waters.

While most of our patient’s feel enough “relief” with their first 3 treatments to get them excited about the prospects of Correction, if someone does not respond rapidly it doesn’t mean that we can’t find a path to healing for them.  It just means we have to try a few different things.  We pride ourselves on quick and profound results, but there are times when patience is required if the pay-off to deep healing is the real goal.

Like I said, we see incredible results every day in our Phoenix clinic and not just in terms of relief, but in real correction.  Hopefully more people in need will make the decision to pursue corrective care.

If you know someone who’s almost given up hope of recovering their health, please have them come in for a Free Initial Consultation we’d love to be part of their Solution.

Dr. Ehrlich is Certifiable! – In Balance Method Acupuncture, that is!

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Dr. Ehrlich Certified in Balance Method Acupuncture

I hate to brag.  Well, “hate” may be a bit strong, let’s say that in general I find bragging distasteful.  But today, I just have to make an exception.  Today, I feel like bragging!  That’s because I am now one of a very few people in the entire world to be certified by Grand-Master, Dr. Richard Teh-Fu Tan in Balance Method Acupuncture.

An Incredible Honor from the World’s Greatest Acupuncture Physician

After years of studying Dr. Tan’s Balance Method Acupuncture I was presented with an opportunity.  For the first time in his long career of teaching worldwide, Dr. Tan had agreed to certify some select students as Certified Balance Method Practitioners.

With the growing world-wide fame of Balance Method Acupuncture many practitioners have been claiming to practice this phenomenal technique.  Unfortunately, many of these practioners had very little actual training with Dr. Tan; perhaps they had taken a seminar, or read his books.  Many of these Acupuncturists did a hodge-podge of different techniques with Dr. Tan’s Balance Method just being one of many tools in their tool box.  This is hardly mastery and no way to fully unleash the incredible healing potential of this technique.

But some of us knew:  We knew that Dr. Tan was not magical but that his method was.  We knew that if we committed to following Dr. Tan for years – learning from him, taking classes with him, observing him in his own clinic, that we too could come to master this method and bring nearly instant relief and renewed health to patients in need.

Now, Dr. Tan has decided to distinguish these select students with this great honor.  I am humbled to be among those selected for this certification.  I feel incredibly privileged to bring this amazing and powerful healing modality to my patients in our Phoenix Acupuncture Clinic.

Solutions Acupuncture & Naturopathic Medicine is often the place people turn to when they’ve “tried everything else”; When both conventional and other “alternative” medical modalities have failed.  They come to us because we get results- They’ve had either a sister of a brother or a friend who found their own Solution at our Phoenix office and frankly, they don’t want to suffer anymore.  Well, it is our dedication to Balance Method Acupuncture and to the teachings of Grand Master Tan that allow us to get phenomenal results where other practitoners have failed.

I hope to continue to live up to Dr. Tan’s great honor.

If you or a loved one have been suffering with pain or illness, please call our office and see if our application of Dr. Tan’s techniques may be your Solution.

 

Change This One Thing to Unlock Your Healing Potential

You’re As Sick As You Believe You Are

focus-resized-600Running a busy Acupuncture & Naturopathic Medicine clinic in Phoenix gives me an opportunity to see people in all different stages of health and disease.  One would think that someone limping and hobbling into our clinic doors would have much less chance of a full-recovery than the patient who sprily springs in to catch a quick treatment on their lunch break:  Not necessarily so.

When it comes to healing, you can’t judge a patient by his or her disease.  What you can judge them by, is their beliefs.

A person’s beliefs about their illness is perhaps the single most important factor in determining their ability to get well.

The mind has a natural tendency to move the body towards whatever we focus on.  We see this whenever we drive; If we look off to one side of the road for too long, the car will start drifting in that direction.  It’s the same with our health:  If we focus on our illness and lack of health, that’s the direction we move in.  If we focus on the fact that we are getting stronger and healthier with each treatment, then our health will be automatically propelled in the direction of wellness.  Our mind is so powerful, it actually makes our health-image into our reality.

I understand that for many people switching their mental image of themselves from that of a sick person to that of a healthy person is easier said than done.  Some of our patients have been sick for so long and have tried every specialist and prestige medical center before finding our Phoenix Acupuncture & Naturopathic clinic.  We often joke that even though we preach the virtues of preventative medicine, for most people, we are the Physician of Last resort.  So when a patient starts treatment with our unique combination of Balance Method Acupuncture & cutting-edge Naturopathic therapies, and for the first time in their life they are actually seeing real results, something peculiar happens – they are faced with an identity crisis.  For so many years they’ve been this “Sick” person and now they are starting to get a taste of feeling better.  Do they cling to the identity of a being “Sick” or do they embrace a new identity as a healthy, vital person who is moving forward on their healing journal.

How a patient handles this “identity crisis” makes all the difference in the world.

If we choose to see ourselves as healing then we will move in that direction.  If we continue to identify as a “Sick Person” our mind will actually use the body to sabotage our progress just so that we stay consistent with our own view of who we are.  We can tolerate sickness, but we cannot tolerate inconsistency.

I’ve seen this countless times: a patient who is making remarkable progress will suddenly have a set-back that will sending them running to their old pills, specialists and doomsday visions about their health.  If we can just get them to take a beat; to look at the situation with new eyes – to see that, no they are not 100% yet, but they have left that old country of “sick person” where they have resided for so long.  Maybe they are not as well as they could be yet, but they are not who they used to be.  If a patient can get this, then a set-back can become a break-through.  Seeing how quickly they regain their progress after a minor lapse becomes empowering. “Yeah, this whole feeling better thing was not just a flook.  I really AM better!”

Some people are so strongly attached to their identity as a sick person, that when faced with the new and very real possibility of getting well, they will sabotage their recovery with unhealthy behaviors.  Others, simply through the awesome psycho-somatic effects on the body from the mind will actually re-manifest their illness out of fear of leaving a long-held identity.

Challenging our limiting beliefs about what is possible is a crucial component of recovering from illness or chronic pain.  Can you see yourself getting well?  Can you visualize yourself as a healthy, vital person?  Can you view your body as your trusted friend instead of an enemy?

When we have courage the challenge our long-held identity we open our life to unlimited potential.

We will talk more about this in future posts.  But for now, follow the link below for a quick 2 minute video about looking at things from a new perspective.   Check it out!  – CLICK HERE

A Nice Little Guide to Getting all Your Vitamins

Just wanted to pass on a link to a great little slide-show Yahoo put together on just what foods contain what nutrients, from Vitamin A to Zinc. Click Here

1-best_foods-resized-600There’s been a lot of talk this year about whether certain supplements are good for you or bad for you, etc.  I think everyone could agree, however, that eating more nutrient rich foods is a good idea.  Take a look at this quick slide-show and keep it in mind when you’re shopping for your family.

Oh, and on the subject of shopping, we have a new arrangement with a supplier of Physician Only supplements to directly ship supplements to our patients.  Now you don’t have to hope we haven’t run out of your particular supplement or wait for us to special order.  The prices are same as what we could offer, orders get to Phoenix in 2 days and there’s free shipping on orders over a certain amount.  This is a BIG improvement over our current system.  We will still keep a very small select medicinary in the office for those things that this supplier just can’t carry.  The link is on the bottom of our Home Page.  You will need a special code to prove you are a patient of ours and eligible for this site, call Sjon at the office to get it.  602-374-6902

One more item of business:  We added a new page to our website called “Not for Everyone”.  We wanted to communicate that Solutions is a special place for people who are ready to make real changes.  Take a look, please.  We are so grateful to be the SOLUTION for people in crisis, we wanted to let people know that there is real hope for those who are committed to taking action. Let us know what you think, either by commenting below or sending an email. Thanks.   Click here —–>  Not for Everyone