Holistic Acupuncture

Dr. Allan Bazzoli, M.D.


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Vibrational Acupuncture

When I have lunch with the director of the OSU Integrative Medicine center, we always come to the same conclusion about health.  When treating chronic medical issues in patients, improving their health boils down to changing lifestyle, lifestyle and lifestyle.  Unlike acute medicine, where drugs and surgery are life saving, chronic medicine treatments just don’t work without making significant lifestyle changes.  I’ve talked about those changes in other posts on this blog so I won’t waste much time or space.

Simply put, adding exercise, a clean diet, more water, much more sleep, stretching, deep breathing, being grateful, releasing old emotional trauma, time in the woods etc. changes your health in large part by improving the flow of energy in and around your body.  Clearly, energy flow is vitally important for good health.  In fact, it is the essence of life and well-being in Eastern Medicine.  Unfortunately, Western Medicine continues to cling to the bonehead notion that fixing organs without addressing the energy component is the only path of medical treatment.  What a myopic miscalculation which is slowly, maybe not so slowly, bankrupting the country.

Those familiar with acupuncture know it is based on the premise of stimulating energy flow, called Chi, along the 12 major energy channels called meridians.  Recently, I started adding different sound modalities to my acupuncture treatments after hearing a Tibetan singing bowls program 6 months ago. The goal was to see if adding different sound vibrations with an acupuncture treatment would enhance and deepen the acupuncture session.  The results have been a resounding yes. 

Three of the sound vibration therapies I use are the Solfeggio tuning forks, my own chanting and Himalayan singing bowls.  The Solfeggio sound frequencies were used in ancient Gregorian chants for healing.  Chanting has been a part of my life since my college days when I learned the benefits while taking a course on Buddhism.  I chant the universal OM chant as another sound vibration.  The Himalayan bowls, forged in Nepal, add a subtle mystical sound quality to the acupuncture treatment.

Because of a lifelong interest in crystals and how different ones affect energy flow, I am beginning to explore the possible use of crystals to stimulate Chi flow.   I’m in the early stages of using the energy frequencies/vibrations of different crystals to again enhance my acupuncture treatments.  These frequencies, I suspect, will be different from those stimulated by sound therapies.

To some people, using different vibratory frequencies with acupuncture for healing may seem “way out there” but then the thought of using four billion microwave frequencies, called cell phones, every day was even more “far out there” 30 years ago.

Not all patients come to me for these different vibrational tools during an acupuncture session.  But those who have feel the vibrational component adds a much deeper healing dimension to the treatment.   I’m trying to combine old and new healing approaches aimed at improving energy flow around the body.  That’s the catalyst for improved patient health and well-being.  That’s the beauty of Eastern medicine.

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Happy Birthday, Mom

Dr. Allan Bazzoli, MD is a practitioner of Acupuncture, Holistic Medicine, and Physical Medicine in the Mt. Vernon/Central Ohio and Columbus area.  He is available for speaking engagements on a variety of holistic medical topics.  This material can be distributed free to the public as long as there is no remuneration and credit is given to the author.

 

 

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Simple Health Choices

Recently, an E-mail news article from the Maryland University of Integrative Health center caught my eye.  The article, written by Dr. John Schumann, stated the obvious to those of us in health care.   There are simply no shortcuts  to health.  The power of prevention and a healthy lifestyle are just so well documented, they can’t be ignored.

Here’s Dr. Schumann’s list to stay healthy:  1. Get enough sleep.  Eight hours a night minimum.  2. Move your body throughout the day. Prolonged sitting is the new silent killer.  3. Eat well (Michael Pollan’s diet of healthy foods, mostly plants, not too much).  4. Interact socially. Isolation leads to depression among many other health issues.  5. Spend time reflecting on what you are grateful for.  Daily gratitude actually improves the immune system.

I would add three others:  6. Drink enough water to have a clear pee twice a day, morning and late afternoon.  Hydration is a very good thing for every organ in the body.  7. Engage in some form of daily mind/body activity such as deep breathing or meditation (see my previous posts), yoga or t’ai chi.  8. Lastly, deal honestly with unresolved emotional issues, UEI’s as I call them.  Everyone has them lingering below the surface, disrupting our lives in subtle and not so subtle ways.  Forgiveness is the path to solving their harmful effects on the mind, body, spirit.

Dr. Schumann also mentions the world’s so called Blue Zones.  These are places where people live the healthiest and longest lives with many people living well beyond a 100 years.  They include Okinawa, Japan, Sardinia, Italy and Loma Linda, California.  These places have built in healthy diets rich in local plants, lots of walking to most places and plenty of inter-generational social interaction.

Interestingly, these people are modest alcohol drinkers and eat small portions of meat ( Loma Linda being the exception because of the large number of Seventh Day Adventists).  But they don’t use refined sugars which are ingredients in almost all packaged foods.

You can significantly improve your health if you are willing to make most, if not all, of the lifestyle changes listed above.  Preventing chronic illness is far superior to waiting until you develop it.  I’ve said for a long time that the only good cure for cancer is not getting it.  Once you get it, the treatment choices are limited and less than pleasant.  Here’s to a Happy Valentines Day, with a healthier lifestyle going forward.

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Dr. Allan Bazzoli, MD is a practitioner of Acupuncture, Holistic Medicine, and Physical Medicine in the Mt. Vernon/Central Ohio and Columbus area.  He is available for speaking engagements on a variety of holistic medical topics.  This material can be distributed free to the public as long as there is no remuneration and credit is given to the author.


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Walk Your Path

Deep, meaningful quotes can be supportive, uplifting, reassuring and inspiring.  I fell in love with them when I was young.

One of my favorites is by e.e. cummings:  “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.”

It has become increasingly difficult in daily life to be an individual and express those traits that make us unique.  Society puts so much pressure on everyone, at all ages, to conform to what’s called the norm.  The mundane repetition of our lives is so aptly described in that old line, “Get up, go to work, come home, go to bed”.   Day after day.  Routine seems like the obstacle that blocks the flow of creativity and imagination.

Steve Jobs and Apple, Inc., in their iconic 1997 commercial (still on youtube), took this idea one step further.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify and vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things.
They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as crazy, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Albert Einstein was the first image in that commercial.  Most know that he was a Nobel prize winning physicist who thought outside the box.  Most don’t know that near the end of his life, he wished he had spent more time contemplating the mysteries of the universe, especially God.  “I want to know God’s thoughts. The rest are details”, he said in 1955, a few months before his death.

In one of his more famous quotes, Einstein expressed the same idea as Jobs and Cummings but in scientific terms.  Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it.  Match the frequency of the reality you want and you can’t help get that reality.  It can be no other way.  This is not philosophy.  This is physics.”

It’s a constant battle to be creative, innovative and imaginative as we travel thru life.  So here’s to all that embrace their individuality and refuse to sell out.  As Yoda would say, “May the force be with you”.

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Dr. Allan Bazzoli, MD is a practitioner of Acupuncture, Holistic Medicine, and Physical Medicine in the Mt. Vernon/Central Ohio and Columbus area.  He is available for speaking engagements on a variety of holistic medical topics.  This material can be distributed free to the public as long as there is no remuneration and credit is given to the author.


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Meditation

Patients ask, “What exactly is meditation?”.  Not an easy question to answer.  My best description would be, “A calming or clearing of the mind from the constant chatter of daily life”.   Like mud settling at the bottom of a river revealing crystal clear water.  Our minds, like a muddy river, need quiet time to settle.  It’s a gently flowing process which is just as important as the end result.

There are many schools of meditation, some involving guided imagery, music or even walking.  The key is to find a school that has meaning for you, one you can incorporate into your daily life.  For mediation to help change your life, a daily practice is essential.

The hybrid form of meditation that I teach is a combination of mindful breathing followed by a period of calming and clearing your mind.  In meditation terms, this hybrid blends the Vipassana school (breath meditation) with the Zen school (don’t know mind meditation).  So, 10 minutes of breathing followed by 10-15 minutes of quieting the mind.  The idea is to let thoughts gently drift away, returning the mind to a quiet place.

Start with the breathing technique described in my post on deep breathing.  Then move on to clearing your mind of thoughts.  This is not easy; it takes daily practice.  Relax and try to slow the constant thinking of the mind.  When thoughts float in, gently bring your awareness back to your breathing.  This helps to clear your thoughts.  It takes practice, discipline and commitment. But the rich reward of more peace and clarity is well worth it.

One of my favorite Zen sayings is:  “No thinking, no problems.  Clear mind, calm heart”.  For over 30 years, every day, I try to get to that state.  Some days, I’m successful. Others, not as much.  But every day I practice and remember the old Buddhist philosophy, “No effort is ever wasted, no matter how small”.  So I keep on practicing and practicing.

There are many health benefits associated with of a daily meditation practice. One interesting finding was published recently by UCLA researchers (February 2015).  This study clearly showed, on MRI scanning, less gray-matter loss in the brains of meditators versus non-meditators, hence a prominent anti-aging effect.  The researchers were quite surprised at the positive effects seen throughout all areas of the brain.

Other health benefits of a daily meditation practice include lower blood pressure, lower anxiety levels,  a lower incidence of heart attacks and strokes and  a calmer attitude towards life.  So start slow, keep practicing and don’t give up. You will feel positive results in a relatively short period of time.

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Dr. Allan Bazzoli, MD is a practitioner of Acupuncture, Holistic Medicine, and Physical Medicine in the Mt. Vernon/Central Ohio and Columbus area.  He is available for speaking engagements on a variety of holistic medical topics.  This material can be distributed free to the public as long as there is no remuneration and credit is given to the author.


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Wiggin St. Kids

It is so much fun to spend an hour with second and third graders in Wiggin Street School each February, explaining how the human body functions.  For the past 20 years, since my youngest son was a Wiggin St. first grader, I’ve helped young kids appreciate the amazing human body.  I try to make the kids laugh at normal body functions while educating them on the care of their bodies.

I’ve learned over the years that kids this age have little idea how the body works.  But with eyes wide open, most of the them are eager to learn.  When I start to take out the various organs from a model torso, like the heart, lungs and intestines, the kids almost believe they are real.

I remove the lungs from the model and they are a bright pink color.  When I tell the kids that smoking turns the lungs black as tar, there’s a collective ooh and ahh.  Most of them know, even at this age, that, “smoking is really bad for you”.  I make sure each class knows that smoking is the single worst thing you can do for your health.

When I pull the heart out, we talk about junk food.  I tell them that eating junk food is like squirting Elmers glue in the heart, clogging it up.  Then I gurgle and gag as if I’m having a heart attack.  Always lots of laughter.  But it gives me a chance to talk about heart healthy eating, such as a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains versus junk food.

Removing the intestines gives me a chance to talk about normal digestive processes.  We talk about the three things that keep food particles moving along the intestines; drinking lots of water each day, a high fiber diet and daily exercise.

I discuss with them that undigested foods move thru the large intestine, ending up in the rectum.  I always lean into them and quietly say, “Don’t tell your teacher but we call it the poop chute”.   They all laugh loudly in unison while I look sheepishly at the teacher.   Again, I can emphasize the importance of good bowel habits.

When we get to the bladder, I tell them a little story about kids their age sleeping really sound at night.   When the bladder fills and expands, it sends a message to the brain to get up and go “wee wee”.  But at their age, sometimes they are just too tired and I ask what happens next.  Collectively shouting and laughing, they reply, “we wet the bed”.   I reassure them that it is a normal function and everyone their age, and my age, has wet the bed.  Another chance to talk about normal body functions.

The kids get to use a stethoscope, wear gloves and masks, experiment with a variety of hand and leg braces, and end with dipping their hands in hot wax just like the Romans 2,000 years ago.  Great fun, lots of laughs and a good basic education on the human body.

Sometimes I get a hug or two from a couple of the little girls at the end of each class.  Their way of saying thanks, from the heart.  I’m hoping for another 20 years of those hugs………

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Happy Birthday Chris, always a Wiggin St. Kid.

Dr. Allan Bazzoli, MD is a practitioner of Acupuncture, Holistic Medicine, and Physical Medicine in the Mt. Vernon/Central Ohio and Columbus area.  He is available for speaking engagements on a variety of holistic medical topics.  This material can be distributed free to the public as long as there is no remuneration and credit is given to the author.


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Spilling Coffee

Dave came to see me Tuesday about numbness and pain in his lower legs and feet.  I’ve known him for years and knew he was a Vietnam veteran and a diabetic.  We talked about his leg and foot problems at length.  After performing electrodiagnostic testing, it was clear that Dave had a peripheral neuropathy related to Agent Orange exposure while serving in Vietnam.

While discussing the limited treatment options, he remarked to me that, because of his increasing right arm and hand tremor, he has not been able to drink a cup of coffee in the morning for years without spilling it on his nightshirt.  He even thought that playing golf this summer was very unlikely.

I mentioned that I see these tremors in anxiety disorders and sometimes with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and that I’ve had success using acupuncture.  Dave decided to try one treatment.  I told him, “You will see improvement in a day or two if the treatment is successful”.

The next day, I happen to see him on the other side of an indoor track where we both walk in the winter.  He shouts, “Hey Doc, look”.  He raises his right arm to show me the tremor is barely noticeable.

I run to catch up to him on the other side of the track.  He smiles as he tells me that he drank his coffee this morning without spilling a drop for the first time in more than two years.  “Not a drop on my nightshirt”, he says shaking his head with a disbelief in his excited voice.

Dave came to the office once a week for the next three weeks for acupuncture.  He was delighted with the outcome.  I did remind him that he may need a few acupuncture treatments from time to time.  He laughed and said that was such a small price to pay.

The goal of my medical practice is to improve a patients’ daily quality of life, not necessarily a cure for their underlying disease process. Dave is delighted to drink his morning coffee, every morning, with a dry nightshirt.  Playing golf this summer is probable instead of nearly impossible now that the tremor is almost gone.

Small improvements to some, but life is lived in those moments.  Moments like drinking coffee in the morning without spilling a drop.

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Dr. Allan Bazzoli, MD is a practitioner of Acupuncture, Holistic Medicine, and Physical Medicine in the Mt. Vernon/Central Ohio and Columbus area.  He is available for speaking engagements on a variety of holistic medical topics.  This material can be distributed free to the public as long as there is no remuneration and credit is given to the author.


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Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is one of the simplest and easiest of all stress reduction techniques.  It can be performed anywhere, any time of day and costs nothing.  There are many approaches to deep breathing but the one I recommend for patients is a simple 4-8-6 breathing pattern.

Find a comfortable sitting position with your hands resting gently across your lap or on your legs, palms up.  Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.  Inhale deeply thru your nose to the count of 4, hold your breath to the count of 8 and then exhale deeply thru your mouth to the count of 6.  With practice, you will naturally focus on your breathing and won’t need to count.  I recommend 10 minute segments once or twice per day.

By focusing on the breath, you bring your awareness to the present moment.  The near constant brain chatter so many people experience daily quiets itself. The worries of yesterday and tomorrow are replaced by mindful breathing in the present moment.  The present moment is where life is lived.

Most patients find this technique very relaxing physically and calming mentally.  An added benefit is the increase of oxygen in the blood stream thru this concentrated breathing approach.  That helps relax tense muscles especially in the neck and low back areas, tight from our chaotic lifestyles.

Deep breathing is usually my first mind/body suggestion for helping patients find and restore a sense of balance in their lives.  I recommend this technique first before moving patients on to other mind/body approaches such as mindfulness and meditation.

Holistically, when deep breathing is combined with lifestyle changes such as an exercise program and improved nutrition, significant positive health benefits are seen.  These include lower blood pressure, lower incidence of heart attack and stroke and a calmer, more balanced feel for life.

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Dr. Allan Bazzoli, MD is a practitioner of Acupuncture, Holistic Medicine, and Physical Medicine in the Mt. Vernon/Central Ohio and Columbus area.  He is available for speaking engagements on a variety of holistic medical topics.  This material can be distributed free to the public as long as there is no remuneration and credit is given to the author.