The Secret to Better Mornings?

For many of us, a cup of coffee is as much a part of the morning routine as brushing our teeth. By the time we’ve started our morning commute, the caffeine has kicked in, and we’re ready to take on the day. Two hours later (if not sooner) many of us are feeling sluggish again and pouring the next cup. 

Coffee itself is not a bad thing - in fact, it has some great antioxidant benefits and may even reduce the risks of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Excessive consumption can be problematic, though, especially in how dehydrating coffee is. And if you’re buying special brews from coffee shops, it can take a real toll on the wallet and waistline (there are 48g of sugar in a very popular coffee beverage that is available in the fall…).

There’s something you can do as a more effective wake up in the mornings than a cup of coffee:

Drink 8-16 oz. of water. 

Your brain is primarily made up of water. Our bodies are dehydrated in the mornings. Having a glass of water before your coffee or tea helps replenish the body and refresh all of the systems. Adding a slice of lemon also adds some great antioxidant benefits and flavor benefit. 

Acupuncture Ups Memory For Dementia Patients

New research demonstrates that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of vascular dementia. Published in the Chinese Journal of Gerontology, clinical and laboratory research finds acupuncture significantly effective in improving cognition and memory. Laboratory results and objective measurements confirm these findings; acupuncture successfully increases glucose metabolism in the brain areas related to cognition and memory. In addition, cerebral blood flow improves with acupuncture. As a result, the researchers note that acupuncture is effective in alleviating vascular dementia. 

The research team investigated Professor Jingyuan Han’s approach to clinical care for patients with vascular dementia. His treatment protocols employ three main Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) protocols for the application of acupuncture: tonify qi, regulate blood, essence nurturing. The approach is based in the three jiao vaporization protocol. This technique focuses on unblocking obstructions as the primary mode of care followed by tonification as the secondary mode of care. From a biomedical perspective, this translates into an approach to care that primarily focuses on enhancing the micro-circulation of blood and nutrients to affected regions of the brain. Secondarily, stimulation of nutrient production for strengthening purposes is then accelerated with acupuncture techniques.

Prof. Han commented on the research. He notes that the pathogenesis of vascular dementia within the TCM system involves three main components: kidney deficiency, phlegm stasis and turbid toxins. He adds that many internal organs, both zang and fu, are involved in all three jiaos. As a result, his approach focuses on stimulating invigorating and restorative functions throughout the body. Prof. Han uses a variety of TCM acupuncture points based on classic differential diagnositcs including Danzhong (CV17), Zhongwan (CV12), Qihai (CV6), Zusanli (ST36), Xuehai (SP10), and Waiguan (SJ5). 

Clinical research on human subjects demonstrates that this approach to care is effective for the restoration of cognition and memory for vascular dementia patients. Laboratory results confirm that this approach improves the ability to learn, re-learn and memorize. Objective measurements reveal that acupuncture protects against oxidative damage by improving SOD and GSH activity in the brain. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) and total glutathione (GSH) are antioxidant enzymes. Acupuncture also successfully downregulated inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), a key enzyme for generating nitric oxide (NO). Additionally, acupuncture improved cerebral blood flow and cerebral glucose metabolism. 

This approach to acupuncture care was shown to increase the expression of GLUT1, glucose transporter 1, in cases of vascular dementia. GLUT1 is involved in cellular respiration, regulation of glucose levels and vitamin C uptake. Upregulation of GLUT1 promotes intercellular transport and benefits brain glucose metabolism. The laboratory results indicate that upregulation of GLUT1 by acupuncture alleviates ischemia and anoxia related cognitive impairment.

- See more at:

Stop Colds Before They Start

It’s that time of year again! The kids are back in school and day care, and they share nothing better than germs. No matter how good we are at washing hands, those pesky bugs travel with people of all ages, and suddenly cold and flu season is upon us. 

Acupuncture is a great way to keep your immune system in fighting shape. Regular visits can boost your systems and keep your body in great condition so you are in a better position to resist infection. Did you already catch a bug? We offer Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques, such as Tui Na and cupping, that can help shorten the duration of illness. We also have herbal remedies available for symptom relief without medicine head side effects. To learn more, please visit, or call 615-939-2787 to set up your appointment today. 

Squashing Stress

Your body experiences stress on a regular basis, and most of the time can manage it quite well. After a while, though, excess amounts of stress can lead to problems with digestion, circulation, sleep, and more. Acupuncture and massage therapy are wonderful ways to help your mind and body relax and de-stress, but when you need stress relief between your visits, these techniques could help. 

Balanced Breath
Inhale for 4 counts; exhale for 4 counts. Repeat 2 or 3 times. 

Divide and Conquer
Take a deep diaphragm breath. Exhale half of the breath, count to three, and finish the exhale. Repeat three times. 

If, at any point, you start to feel dizzy, resume your normal breathing rhythm. Be careful to not repeat these patterns too often, especially in the beginning of your practice. 

Is Acupuncture Right For You?

For almost everyone who has asked themselves that question, the answer is YES.

Most of us know that acupuncture can help with chronic pain associated with arthritis, injury, and demanding lifestyles. Acupuncture is growing in popularity for other areas, as well, including allergy treatments and fertility. There is a whole host of other conditions that acupuncture can bring great relief for, also, including digestive issues, sleep disturbances, menopause, stress/anxiety, smoking cessation, and weight loss. Acupuncture can even help improve your sex life and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. 

If you’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, or if you’ve reached a point when feeling ok just isn’t good enough, congratulations! Realizing that you deserve more is one of the best things that you can do for yourself. Making a commitment to take the steps to change how you feel is the next step. Affinity Acupuncture in Brentwood can help you on your wellness journey. We offer acupuncture, massage therapy, nutritional counseling, and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Our services are safe and highly effective, and we offer evening and weekend appointments for your convenience, as well as cost-saving packages and an exclusive membership program. 

Call us at 615-939-2787 or visit our website,, to schedule a free consultation today. 

Regulating the Irregular With Acupuncture

Occasionally, the systems in our bodies get thrown off balance. Most of the time, it’s due to a trauma of some sort - illness, injury, or stress. In acupuncture speak, that creates a blockage that may affect other systems, as well. For women, it can create irregular periods or severe PMS symptoms. The application of acupuncture needles can help open up the blockages and return your body to a more normal state of function. 

A lot of women experience imbalance in their menstrual cycles, or unpleasant symptoms associated with menopause. Their periods are irregular, or particularly light or heavy. Acupuncture can help regulate the system so your body restores that balance. It can also help with many of the symptoms women experience during and around menopause and periods, especially with bloating, temperature fluctuations, and mood swings. Our treatments can help you get to a better state of normal, which is especially helpful if you are trying to become pregnant, or hope to conceive in the next few years.  

Your “monthly gift” doesn’t have to be a burden. If you are experiencing irregularity with your period, or are struggling with PMS symptoms, call us today to find out how we can help get you to your desired level of health. You can schedule through our website,, or by phone or text at 615-939-2787.

Healthful and Delicious - Curry Stuffed Eggplant

These days, eggplant is available year-round in the grocery store, but these veggies are at their peak from August - October. Eggplants are rich in vitamins and minerals, including fiber, copper, and folate. Eggplants are brain food - they have antioxidants that protect the fatty membranes around brain cells. As an added bonus, they are low in calories, and have a meaty texture that is satisfying in vegetarian meals.*  

Curry Stuffed Eggplant
1 medium-large eggplant
Kosher salt
Extra virgin olive oil
1 can coconut milk
1/2 c vegetable broth
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
Mushrooms (optional), quartered
1 lb ground turkey or chicken (optional)
Curry powder (you can use a store blend or make your own)
Ground turmeric

Cut off the crown of the eggplant. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise,and lay skin-side down in a 9x12 pan (glass or metal) coated with cooking spray. Cut out the center portion of the eggplant, and cube it. Sprinkle salt on the eggplant and let it rest for 1 hour. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in a 375 degree oven until tender, approximately 45-hour. When the eggplant is roasting: 

In a medium-hot deep skillet, drizzle extra virgin olive oil. Saute meat if you are using any. When the meat is browned, remove and drain. Add cubed eggplant, onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms, season with salt, and saute until the veggies become tender. Return meat, if you’re using it, to the pan. Sprinkle with curry powder and turmeric, and cook over low heat for one minute. Add vegetable broth and coconut milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until sauce is reduced to your liking. Adjust seasoning as needed. 

Spoon filling into roasted eggplant halves, and enjoy. 

*Eggplants, bell peppers, and tomatoes are members of the nightshade family, which may lead to inflammation in individuals with arthritis and digestive issues.  

Acupuncture Plus Massage Stops Vertigo

From Health CMI:

Researchers conclude that acupuncture combined with massage is effective for the treatment of cervical vertigo. This condition is a type of dizziness often caused by abnormalities in neck proprioceptors or by vascular compression. Patients experience a feeling of spinning. Cervical vertigo may be caused by head or neck trauma, neck arthritis, surgery to the neck, Meniere’s disease, inner ear disorders and other issues. Common treatments include physical therapy, medications including muscle relaxants, cervical blocks and surgery. In this new acupuncture continuing education study, the combination of acupuncture and massage is shown to produce significant positive patient outcomes with a total effective rate of 95%.

Cervical vertigo differs from other types of vertigo in that this diagnosis refers to cases wherein proprioception of the neck is disturbed. Proprioception is the ability to sense the body’s position, motion and equilibrium. For example, a blindfolded individual can sense if their leg is lifted or their hand is raised above their head. Disturbances in proprioception of the neck may lead to dizziness, cervical vertigo. Intensity may range from mild to severe. Associated symptoms include loss of balance, lightheadedness, blurry vision, nausea and vomiting.

Researchers from the Rehabilitation Department of No. 2 People’s Hospital of Linhai City (Zhenjiang) randomly divided 84 patients with cervical vertigo into two groups. Group #1 received standalone Chinese medicine massage treatments. Group #2 received a combination of acupuncture and massage treatments. After two weeks, patients in group #2 achieved an overall effective rate of 95% compared with 79.95% for group #1. Based on the clinical outcomes, the researchers conclude acupuncture combined with massage is a highly effective approach for the treatment of cervical vertigo. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) categorizes cervical vertigo as a disease of dizziness. TCM differential diagnostics identify several underlying syndromes giving rise to cervical vertigo including qi and blood stagnation, liver and kidney yin deficiency, qi and blood deficiency and vascular issues causing insufficient blood supply to the brain. The combination of acupuncture and massage is identified by the researchers as having several beneficial effects: improved blood oxygen supply, enhanced microcirculation of blood to the affected region, reduced muscle spasms and pain. Transcranial Doppler (TCD) measurements confirm that the combination of acupuncture and massage increase blood flow in the vertebrobasilar arteries and brain. In addition, TCD measurements confirm that needling the acupoint Jingming (UB1) significantly improves cervical vertigo patients’ speed of blood flow in the vertebrobasilar arteries.

The massage treatments were administered with patients in a supine position. The therapist, seated near the patients’ heads, applied massage therapy to relax local muscles of the neck, shoulders and upper back. Points of tenderness received special attention along with acupressure to acupuncture points Fengchi (GB20), Jianjing (GB21), Baihui (DU20) and related points for 1 - 2 minutes per each acupoint. In some cases, the therapist applied upward static force pull-outs for 15 seconds per pull. The duration of each massage was 30 minutes. The massage treatment was applied every other day with one week comprising one course. The entire treatment lasted for wo courses. 

The patient took a prone posture with head slightly leaning forward and neck muscles relaxed. One cun filiform needles were used. Acupuncture needling was applied to Fengfu (DU16), Baihui (DU20) and Xuanzhong (GB39) bilaterally with even reinforcing and reducing manipulation methods. The depth of insertion was 15 to 25 mm and the retention of needling was 30 minutes per acupuncture session. The treatment was applied once daily for a course of two weeks.

After two weeks, both groups demonstrated positive clinical outcomes. The massage group had 17 patients cured, 8 patients having made remarkable improvements, 5 patients having made moderate improvements and 8 patients having made no improvements. The combination group had 80 patients cured, 5 patients having made remarkable improvements, 8 patients having made moderate improvements and 2 patients having made no improvements. Based on the above outcomes, the researchers conclude that the combination of acupuncture and massage is safe and effective for the treatment of cervical vertigo.

Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture - The Facelift Alternative

We all want to have amazing experiences in our lives, but that doesn’t mean we want the evidence of that experience showing up as lines on our faces. Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture is a safe, easy, and affordable way to keep you looking as young as (or younger than) you feel. 

A series of concentrated acupuncture sessions can erase fine lines, lift drooping eyelids, fade age spots, decrease sagginess, and reduce wrinkles.  The acupuncture needles stimulate circulation, toning and rehydrating the skin.  Muscle tone improves, pores tighten up, and collagen production increases – all without surgery or toxins.  Your body knows how to bounce back – acupuncture helps stimulate the process. 

Many people see initial results after just one treatment, but the effects increase and last with repeated treatments.  Affinity Acupuncture offers packages, and recommends twice-weekly treatments for optimal results. We charge $75 per session, or $720 for a 12-session package. For $59 per month, our exclusive Membership Program includes one private acupuncture treatment or massage with additional visits for $49. 

The average cost of a Botox treatment is $125-400 per treatment area, and needs to be repeated every 3-4 months. 

A facelift costs over $6,000, not including operating room expenses and anesthesia. The recovery is uncomfortable and takes time. 

Both methods get results, but also come with significant expense and risks, as well. Facial Rejuvenation acupuncture is a safe and affordable alternative with proven results. As an added bonus, your acupuncture sessions can also focus on areas including boosting energy, decreasing pain/inflammation, improving sleep, promoting good digestion, balancing hormones, and much more. 

Free consultations are available. To set up your appointment today, schedule through our website,, or call/text 615-939-2787. 

New Moms, Let Us Take Care of You

When William and I welcomed our twins, we were amazed at the intense emotional connection that we felt with them. As much as we prepared, the experience was full of surprises - not all of them pleasant. One of the things that you can never fully prepare for is the physical demands that pregnancy, childbirth, and caring for a newborn takes on a body. 

As hard as it is to have that little infant out of your sight (or even out of your arms) for a fraction of a second, it’s important that new moms remember to take care of themselves, too. Taking the time to rest, recover, and heal allows you to take even better care of the little one. 

At Affinity Acupuncture, we offer prenatal and postnatal massage, which helps improve circulation, reduce pain and physical discomfort, and remove toxins from the system. Gazing down at the little one in your arms hour after hour causes a lot of strain on the neck!

Our acupuncture services are also very helpful for new moms. They can help regulate hormone levels (newborns aren’t the only ones experiencing random sob sessions), reduce stress & anxiety, and help support milk supply. 

New moms, the most important thing that you have to do is take care of that little baby. Allow yourselves to take a break, though, and let us take care of you for a while. When you take care of yourself, you are in a much better position to take care of another. Call today, 615-939-2787 to set up your next appointment.