When you arise in the morning,
think of what a precious privilege it is
to be alive, to breathe,
to think, to enjoy,
- Marcus Aurelius
I grew up in the Mediterranean, where it was a custom to enjoy an afternoon coffee with family and friends, or an early morning coffee in a local café on the boardwalk while reading the news or watching the stillness of the sea and getting ready for the day. Coffee was a ritual connected with pleasant times with loved ones or just by yourself. It was, in a way, a free daily de-stressing psychotherapy. No one ever suspected there could be something wrong with that.
Nowadays I hear claims that coffee is a toxic stimulant, increases stress, depletes the body of nutrients, and can be harmful to thyroid and overall health.
What does coffee truly do to the body?
I looked for research on this topic in the US National Library of Medicine and these are some of the conclusions:
1. There is no association of coffee intake with cancers of the stomach, pancreas, lung, breast, ovary, prostate, esophagus, small intestine, gallbladder and biliary tract, skin, kidney, brain, thyroid, as well as for soft tissue sarcoma and lymphohematopoietic cancer.
2. Coffee consumption may play a protective role against development of benign or malignant thyroid neoplasms.
3. Coffee might protect liver in different ways: by lowering liver enzymes, protecting against fatty liver disease, and protecting against liver fibrosis.
Liver dysfunction is closely related to hypothyroidism. Any beneficial effects on the liver indirectly benefit the thyroid.
4. Caffeine intake may decrease risk of breast and ovarian cancer by protecting against estrogen dominance (lowering estrogen and increasing progesterone levels).
This is very important for thyroid health since estrogen is one of the most thyroid-suppressive hormones.
The list can go on, but I believe this gives enough scientific evidence to coffee drinkers that there is not much harm in coffee to be afraid of, to say the least.
Coffee is an herb with a long history of medicinal use in medical-dietary systems of old cultures. It has been used as a respiratory, gastric and renal stimulant, efficient diuretic and antilithic, it assists in digestion, promotes intestinal peristalsis, increases mental activity, etc.
In Chinese Herbology it is classified as an herb that “dredges the Liver to regulate the flow of Liver qi, purges the Gallbladder, opens the Heart orifices, warms the blood circulation, detoxifies, and gently tonifies”. In its medicinal properties it is very similar to bupleurum (chai hu).
With all this being said, let’s not forget that moderation is the key to healthy balance. While moderate amounts can serve as a valuable therapy (as with any herb, food, or medicine), excessive amounts can have harmful effects. Overindulgence or adding artificial sweeteners and creamers to coffee can alter its benefits.
It’s important to note that some people cannot tolerate coffee because of health conditions like blood sugar instability, insomnia, gastric issues etc. Each of those underlying conditions were not caused by coffee itself.
For the best advice regarding the use of coffee, or any other herbal teas and medicines, ask your Traditional Oriental Medicine physician as they are officially educated and Board certified in Medical Herbalism. Be aware that just because something is natural and has helped someone else (or is currently popular!) doesn’t mean it is good for you too.
East meets West, old meets new. We are always looking for the most advanced treatment options, and the latest scientific and technological advances to incorporate with traditional Chinese medicine in our clinic.
Each of the two therapies have their well-known and proven healing benefits. They also strongly complement each other. Combined together, they accelerate the healing processes for many pain conditions, and greatly benefit skin conditions - from inflammation to rejuvenation.
We are now offering Celluma LED Light Therapy as a stand-alone, or add-on to acupuncture, for pain or skin treatments.
Although the effects are cumulative, most patients feel, or see, an improvement with just one or two sessions.
Many ancient cultures practiced various forms of light therapy, from worshipping the Sun as a deity that brings health (i.e., they were aware of the health benefits of light), to 1000+ years old Chinese and Indian medical scripts about combining the herbs and sun exposure to treat certain ailments.
More recently, therapeutic effects of red light on wound healing were incidentally discovered in the late 1960s by a Hungarian physician Endre Mester, while he was researching the use of laser in surgery and medicine. The evidence that low power light modulates pain dates back to the early 1970s, when Dr. Friedrich Plog (Germany) first reported pain relief in patients treated with it. His main work was creating the apparatus for laser therapy primarily used for acupuncture (AkupLaser System Plog), replacing the needle with the light beam (1975). Dr. Plog received numerous academic awards for his work in Europe, Asia, Canada and United Nations.
Light Therapy has been used in those countries ever since by many clinicians but was still not accepted by the mainstream medico-scientific world in the USA until 2002, when FDA first approved laser diode phototherapy.
In 1998, Prof Harry Whelan and his group at the NASA Space Medicine Laboratory developed ‘NASA LED’ – a new generation of LEDs that can achieve useful bioreactions through cellular photoactivation without heat or damage (which are common danger of laser). US photobiologist Kendric C. Smith renamed the previously used term ‘low level laser therapy’ (LLLT) to ‘low level light therapy’, to include LED energy.
“Phototherapy is Becoming Mainstream:
The increasing number of papers on LLLT in the Photobiomodulation sessions presented at the 2010 and especially the 2011 meetings of the American Society for Lasers in Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS) bear witness to the fact that LLLT is no longer quite the bête noir it used to be in the USA, although there is still too much skepticism, and it has achieved a reliable status worldwide. LED phototherapy has now been well-proven to work and is reported to be effective in a large variety of clinical indications such as pain attenuation, wound healing, skin rejuvenation, some viral diseases, allergic rhinitis, other allergy-related conditions and so on.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3799034/)
What is Celluma?
Celluma is unique and quite unlike any other low-level light therapy device available today. Based on NASA research, Celluma delivers blue, red and near-infrared light energy simultaneously, to safely treat a wide variety of conditions.
Each wavelength is absorbed by different molecules that act as a signaling mechanism for different cellular processes. It has been successfully used to:
- Increase circulation
- Accelerate tissue repair
- Decrease wrinkles
- Decrease inflammation
- Improve skin tone, texture, and clarity
- Ease muscle and joint pain, stiffness, spasm
- Reduce arthritis pain
- Kill the bacteria that causes acne
As I am getting ready for another trip, the little butterflies in my stomach are becoming increasingly active. This feeling is a mix of excitement, overwhelm, and determination.
Every new travel alone is a new search of myself.
Breaking of a routine that is often defined by others, doing things only I want, looking the way only I care of, finding the strengths I forgot I had, completely engaging all my senses in capturing new places and experiences. Above all it is constantly and consciously being with myself, and fully listening to my inner voice that so often I unwillingly ignore.
Every new travel brings me closer to myself, my real home.
Eastern Medicine, whether dealing with Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine or both, is no more faith-based than Western Medicine. Animals have been successfully treated with Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine ever since people have, and they don't have any beliefs. They do not know what is placebo effect either.
In 2017 in South Florida someone found the Gopher tortoise with a cracked shell, and took it into the South Florida Wildlife Center for help. It was successfully treated by acupuncture:
“Horses have been receiving acupuncture for almost as long as people have—since the practice began in China some 2,500 years ago. As beasts of burden, horses were of tremendous value to the Chinese, and their health was almost as important as that of their owners. Today veterinary acupuncturists can treat nearly any animal, from a bear to a porcupine to a dog. Training courses, such as those from the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, teach licensed veterinarians how to incorporate acupuncture into their practice.” (National Geographic):
Acupuncture helps millions of Americans every year. The attached survey by US Department of Health and Human Services - National Institutes of Health is from 11 years ago. The use of Acupuncture in the USA has come a long way since then:
Acupuncture is officially recognized by the National Institute of Health (NIH) (https://nccih.nih.gov/health/acupuncture/introduction), and the World Health Organization (WHO) (http://www.who.int/traditional-complementary-integrative-medicine/en/), to be effective in treatment of a wide variety of medical problems.
If administered properly, Acupuncture is one of the safest available therapies. For the safety and effectiveness of our medicine, NIH emphasizes the importance of your clinician’s training and credentials. Acupuncture Physicians in the State of Florida are licensed by The Department of Health’s Board of Acupuncture (http://floridasacupuncture.gov/), after completing 4-year Master’s Program, thousands of clinic hours, and successfully passing four comprehensive National Board exams.
The biggest factor in success or failure of our therapy is how motivated our patients are to get well by keeping their appointments, taking the prescribed herbal medicines and supplements, and, last but not least, making the recommended diet and lifestyle changes. Our medicine in most cases is not a quick fix, although the effects can be felt almost immediately. Our treatments help awaken your body’s natural healing systems, but, for the long-term results, we expect you to take the ownership of your health. Your energy level is dependent on the amount of rest you get, the kind of food you eat, hydration, exercise, regular relaxation, lifestyle. With our recommended changes in your lifestyle, along with our natural treatments and therapies, you can feel better and be able to do more of the stuff you love.