Omega-3 for Depression

Everyday we are bombarded with nutritional advice and new supplements for various health conditions, but one in particular is making great strides in combating a multitude of health issues!

Omega-3 has been known for it’s cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory properties but studies are now demonstrating that a diet rich in Omega-3 helps protect levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain!  Doctors don’t really know exactly why that is, but it’s certainly exciting!  It means that if you suffer from depression type symptoms, you may greatly benefit by adding Omega-3 to your diet either through food sources or supplementation.  Not only will your heart be happier but so will your mood!

Now that we have proof of how important adequate amounts of Omega-3 is to our body, lets take a look at how to make sure we are getting enough!  This can be done through food sources, which in my opinion is always a great place to start.  Your body knows what to do with whole food as far as breaking it down and processing it naturally.  Eating an Omega rich source like oily fish 2-3 times a week would be sufficient for most.  If you find you don’t particularly care for the food sources, perhaps a simple supplement would be a better fit.

Food Sources

  • Sardines
  • Wild Caught Salmon
  • Flaxseeds
  • Chiaseeds
  • Walnuts
  • Soybeans


Choosing an Omega-3 supplement can be a daunting task.  Understanding what it is help determine the best fit for you.  Omega-3 is comprised to two main components – EPA which is the anti-inflammatory aspect and DHA which is the beneficial brain component.  So when you’re searching for the right one, read the label!  We like Nordic Naturals ProOmega due to their low mercury levels, testing, and quality.  I also really like that they add natural flavor (lemon or strawberry) to them so if they happen to repeat a little while your body adjusts to them, it doesn’t leave a fishy aftertaste in your mouth.

If you decide to add Omega-3 supplements to your daily routine, talk to your doctor to be sure there aren’t any interactions with any other medications you may be on.  However, studies have shown that the administration of Omega-3 in conjunction with antidepressant treatment is superior to antidepressant treatment alone.


Stop The Pain


At StillWaters Healing Center, we are often asked what is the number one thing we treat.  I’d have to say it’s PAIN.  All different kinds – chronic, acute, localized, widespread, mystery pain…you name it, we’ve seen it and have a great track record for recovery!  Most pain patients seem to have one thing in common: over the counter pain medications stopped working and they don’t want to take prescription pain meds.  Over the counter pain medicines are not meant to be taken daily for prolonged periods of time and can actually hinder your bodys ability to heal itself.

Here’s a fun little drug fact:  Physicians in the United States annually write almost 100 million prescriptions, 20 million in England, and 10 million in Canada.  Americans alone purchase 30 billion NSAID tablets annually!  The effects of long term use of over the counter pain medications have increased exponentially and ironically (or not ironically) so have autoimmune diseases.  Hmmm.  There is more great info in this blog!

Acupuncture is such an amazing healer!  It’s a whole-body complete medicine in itself.  It’s especially wonderful for aiding injuries.  By increasing bloodflow to an injured area, reducing inflammation and jumpstarting healing – after a little time of letting your body do the work, you’ll be back to enjoying the great quality of life you’ve always had!  Stop struggling with pain and popping bandaid pills – it’s time to heal your body!

Sleepless in Orlando


After an exhausting day, you settle into bed for the night.  You close your eyes and take a deep breath trying to get your body ready for relaxation, only nothing happens.  You lay there thinking.  Maybe about your day, the people you interacted with, an important project at work, or family.  Whatever it is, you can’t fall asleep and it’s beyond irritating that this is becoming the “norm” for you.  You’re aware of mood swings and lack of concentration during the day, leading to over eating and poor dietary choices.  You need to sleep but you’ve tried everything, to no avail.  Or have you?

Acupuncture is recommended by the National Institute of Health as an effective treatment for insomnia by improving sleep quality, total sleep time, sleep efficiency, and daytime functioning.  It works by restoring the internal sleep-wake cycle by regulating the natural flow of Qi, and also by reducing stress and anxiety.  At StillWaters Healing Center, we not only provide a soothing environment for your treatment, but we can also provide dietary recommendations, herbal supplements, and other suggestions along with Acupuncture to help you achieve your goal of restorative sleep.

It is important for patients to understand just how deep rooted insomnia is, in reference to Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Sleep issues may be slow to resolve but the benefits are long lasting once the sleep cycle is beginning to balance out.  Acupuncture treatment for insomnia requires consistency in order to be most effective.  Remember – it’s your body doing the work and insomnia doesn’t happen overnight.  Be patient.

While you’re traveling along the journey of receiving Acupuncture for Insomnia, you’ll want to make sure of the following:

  • You aren’t drinking too much water before bed
  • You aren’t looking at a tv or device within 1-2 hours before bed
  • You practice some form of relaxation technique such as breathing exercises, yoga, stretching, mediation, or journaling within 30 minutes of bed

So much happens during sleep such as hormone regulation, muscle and tissue repair, cellular repair, immune support, and body system checks.  All of these things are vital for quality of life.

It is estimated that 50-70 million Americans suffer with a sleep disorder.  Without proper sleep there is an increase in long-term health effects such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Obesity
  • Mood Disorders
  • Mental Health Issues
  • Immune Dys-Function
  • Alcoholism

It’s not surprising that with the many health effects poor sleep creates, that the life expectancy is shorter.  Data from 3 large studies showed sleeping 5 hours or less for prolonged periods of time, increased mortality risk by 15%.

Time for a nap?  I think so.

What is Sciatica?


Sciatica is inflammation/irritation of the sciatic nerve caused by a pinched nerve or herniated disc.  It is characterized by pain in the back, buttocks, or leg.  It commonly causes a burning sensation radiating through the buttocks and even into the foot.

Sciatica can be mistaken for piriformis syndrome, which is caused by a muscle spasm of the piriformis muscle, located in the buttocks region.  The symptoms are very similar to sciatica and therefore should be evaluated for proper treatment.

At StillWaters Healing Center, we evaluate and treat both of these conditions using Acupuncture, Tuina, Electrical Stimulation, and herbal anti-inflammatories.

Back pain and Sciatica are the number one reasons people seek Acupuncture care.  It’s no surprise that most clinics boast a 90% success rate with treating sciatic pain.



Fertility “Cures”


I have a difficult time with claims of different nutritional supplements, diet plans, and procedures claiming to “cure” a couples fertility issues. My first problem with this is that being fertile does not necessarily mean you are a healthy individual the same way that being “infertile” is not necessarily an indication that you are sick.

Most of the couples I see have been given percentages of fertility based on AMH levels, FSH levels, shape of their uterus, and past medical history. Their OB’s never rate their stress or nutrition levels and blow off their BBT and Ovulation Charts.

The truth is, making a baby isn’t solely up to science. If it was, we would have 100% success with IVF. As it is, IVF success is on average 20-35% successful for women aged 30-45. A recent study at Tel Aviv University cited that Acupuncture increased conception outcome by 26%! That’s like doubling your chances by just being poked by a few needles.

But how?
One theory is that Acupuncture works with the Neuroendocrine system to control how the brain signals your ovaries to release hormones. Another theory is that Acupuncture helps manage the stress of trying to conceive which in turn returns hormones to an optimal level. Fertility drugs are supposed to be so precise and controlled, so why would they need any help with performance?

I’d like to suggest that we take a step back from science for the moment and start looking at the person instead of the bloodwork. Twenty percent of infertility is due to what the medical community “scientifically” refers to as “unexplained”. I’d like to think that’s where Acupuncture’s success rate comes into play – by evaluating the whole person, we are able to bring balance back to an unbalanced body. By addressing our patient’s and stressors, and teaching them how to correctly determine ovulation despite what a pee stick might say, we are empowering them to take a look at their fertility as something that changes month to month, rather than a statistic that is out of their control.


Scary Effects of Stress


No one is immune to stress – not you, not me, not your yoga instructor.  Here are some scary facts about Stress you may not have known:

  1.  Feeds Cancer: Wake Forest University published a study that found when stressed, anti-cancer drugs were less effective at killing cancer cells.  More over, the adrenaline produced also prevented cancer cells from dying.
  2. Increases your chance of Diabetes: We have known for some time that stress causes extreme cardiovascular effects like high blood pressure, palpitations, and heart attacks.  Last year, the Journal of Occupational Medicine found that diet and energy expenditure changes when stressed produced hormone fluctuations consistent enough o classify patients as diabetic when there was no prior history of diabetes.
  3. Thinking about stress can be worse than stress itself.  Several studies published in the American Journal of Cardiology showed that thinking about stressful events raised levels of C-reactive proteins.  Similarly those that believed they were stressed had a higher risk of heart disease.
  4. Stress is contagious.  A 2011 University of Hawaii study found that stress is as contagious as the common cold.  Secondhand stress, or empathetic stress can be picked up just by observing someone who is highly expressive and anxious – verbally or nonverbally – and can negatively effect the nervous system by causing upset stomachs, insomnia, or anxiety itself.

Build your best defense against stress by managing your stressors with exercise, a healthy diet, and positive uplifting people.  If you’re already stressed, give us a call!  Acupuncture can help!



Top 3 Things To Look For In An Acupuncturist in Orlando


There are a few key things aside from the obvious education, credentials, licensing, and insurance you’ll want to consider when searching for your most compatible Acupuncturist.  I like to recommend searching the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine if you don’t have a referral from a friend.

  1.  Do they LISTEN?

It seems it’s especially difficult to feel like someone is actually listening to you.  Maybe because life in general is so busy – go go go!  Whatever the reason, you want to make sure your Acupuncturist is really listening to your concerns.  Eye contact and an engaged demeanor are vital to a successful treatment.  When the physician is connected with you, I believe your treatment will be so much more healing.  Listening and connecting goes both ways though, so pay attention when they talk to you.  Acupuncturists are human balls of an incredible amount of knowledge!

2.  Do they ASK questions?

Although it may seem like all the answers to every possible question about your body are in the 10 pages of new patient paperwork, I can assure you if you have a good physician – they’ll have more questions!  Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine evaluates the entire body as a whole, so the Acupuncturist may ask questions that you don’t think are relevant to your issue.  Maximize your health by providing as much information about your body, even when you don’t think it’s relevant!

3.  Do they ANSWER your questions?

You should never leave the doctors office with the same or more questions.  Of course no doctor is going to have 100% of the answers to give you but they should be able to answer most of them, at least when it comes to their experience working with a particular issue, what success they expect to see in a given time frame, and what type of treatment or adjunct treatments they recommend.  So often we feel rushed, especially in appointments.  You want to find a physician that isn’t rushed and takes their time, thoroughly answering all of your questions, regardless of whether you are having a treatment that day or not.

Finding the right Acupuncturist in Orlando that fits you is truly a personal decision that only you can make.  Of course, having a referral from a friend or relative is always a good place to start but ultimately make your own gut decision!  Good luck!

Moxa what?


Perhaps if you’ve ever been to an Acupuncture Physician or Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor you have heard this mysterious word…moxibustion (or moxa for short).  I decided we needed to know more about this stuff and found some pretty interesting things!

Moxa is made from mugwart.  Which is a plant that contains multiple kinds of essential oils and flavanoids, that are believed to carry a whole host of benefits!  Mugwart was documented for medicinal uses as far back as 3BC in a poem!  I can’t even wrap my head around how long ago that was!  I’ve found that it’s used in some medicinal way by just about every culture in the world…in the world!!!  That’s crazy!

This magical plant is dried and commonly used as a heat therapy in a few different ways.  In our office it’s used in an indirect way, so as to not touch the skin.  The form we use is a smoke-less compressed kind, rolled into a fancy cigar shape.  A physician lights it on fire and blows it out, much like incense.  It also has an incense type aroma, personally a relaxing and calming smell to me.  As it burns, it’s used to warm either Acupuncture points or the already inserted needles themselves.  It’s seriously so stress relieving because it’s warm and relaxing but with actual health benefits as well.  If I could have moxa done at each visit, I totally would just for its smell and  calming effects!

It is believed that moxa can help with chronic problems such as pain, colitis, and constipation but also for stroke, cancer, and hypertension when coupled with Acupuncture!  It’s even used to turn babies!  What?!  It works by increasing circulation, which creates smoother flow of qi (energy/blood) through the meridian of your body.  This stuff is amazing!  Maybe the next time you’re in Orlando – ask your TCM doctor or Acupuncturist if you would benefit from Moxa therapy!

I truly loved my experience with moxa and I sincerely hope you do as well!

Parkinson’s Disease Awareness



In the last decade the amount of research being conducted to determine what effect Acupuncture has on the brain and the body has grown exponentially, perhaps driven by it’s expanding role in Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

But Western Medicine in our Western World has always been the first line of attack. Western medicine has had a great deal of success in battling Heart disease, bacterial and viral infections and of course any catastrophic physical injury inflicted on the body. But when it comes to chronic persistent diseases that are quite simply a malfunction of our own body’s ability to maintain homeostasis, it has had few successes and must resort to drugs that at least temporarily, relieve symptoms.

Cancer, Autoimmune disease, Parkinson’s, Depression, Anxiety, Stress all fall into that limbo land of Western medicine. In the case of these diseases, we are not trying to stop an outside invader from attacking us (like Tuberculosis, Flu, Cholera, etc) the attack is from within. With these chronic diseases there is no invader. It is our own body that is malfunctioning.

In Parkinson’s for some unknown reason, the dopaminergic neurons become deteriorated and can’t deliver dopamine to the area of the brain that controls motor function. No dopamine, no nourishment to relay signals from the brain to the muscles and sinews of the body. Thus resulting in halting gait, tremors, muscle fatigue and stiffness.

We know through research that there is inflammation in the mid brain with Parkinson’s disease. Yet pharmaceuticals that reduce inflammation do not seem to help the symptoms of Parkinson’s. Levadopa, Carbadopa are still the leading drug protocol that when used early in the disease have the most effect to stave off the progression of the disease for 2-5 years for most but start to lose their effectiveness after that time.

Oriental medicine is based on viewing the body wholistically. The medicine, be it herbal or Acupuncture, is completely individualized. The diagnosis is one that takes into account, indeed relies upon the interactions of multiple systems functioning in our bodies.

Today we actually know that one of the most important outcomes of Acupuncture and it’s mechanism of action, is it produces a down-regulation of the Autonomic Nervous System, which re-calibrates the central nervous system. Now what that means is that the stress response of the body is mediated by Acupuncture through the body-brain connection. The result is a reduction in both pain and inflammation. When inflammation, pain and the stress response are adjusted, the body can do what it was designed to do: create balance return to homeostasis.

Does this mean it cures Parkinson’s? Of course not. It means that the environment of the body has been shifted which may allow the body to re-calibrate itself, hopefully stopping or slowing down the progression of this disease.

What we do know for a fact is that stress plays a major role in this disease, causing deficiencies on many levels. If Acupuncture did no more than to reduce the stress and therefore the inflammation, it would be a major contribution for your overall health. But recent research has proved it does more than this.

There is, in short, many good reasons to consider a more wholisitic “body environment” approach to this disease as well as all chronic “system failure” diseases. Most importantly there is hope both in Western Medicine as it begins to shift it’s perspective to a more individualized, wholistic approach as well as in Oriental Medicine, which over the course of 3,500 years has developed and expanded it’s unique mind-body approach to Disease.


Technology and Your Health

As I sat this morning and people watched, I happened to notice everyone (and I mean everyone) looking down at their cell phones. This is not an unusual sight these days and I often hear people make negative comments about it, yet we all do it! I started to wonder what this is doing to our physical and mental health.  Here’s just a little of what I’ve found:

  • Being on your phone is affecting your spine! A study found that when you tilt your head 60 degrees to stare at your phone, you’re putting 60 pounds of pressure on your neck. This is most certainly going to wreak havoc on your neck, shoulder, and back tension creating pain! Just be aware of your alignment when scrolling or texting on your phone! Keep your head up and hold your phone out in front of you.
  • You may develop tension headaches due to digital eye strain! We’ve all heard the saying that staring at a tv or computer will hurt your eyes…but there is actual truth to that! Research shows that a main reason we develop eye strain from looking at screens is due to the dark text on a bright screen. If you struggle with temple headaches, try adjusting the contrast on your screen.
  • Have you been feeling a bit anxious lately? There has been a steady increase in anxiety in the USA over the last 8 years.  With the amount information at our fingertips, we’ve become Dr. Google when it comes to figuring out what’s going on with us! Because we’re self-diagnosing ailments…we could be essentially contributing to our own anxiety! Try researching stress relieving techniques or something positive that motivates you instead of things that worry you! Maybe – just maybe – you’ll start feeling a little less anxious!

Do your children or grandchildren enjoy screen-time too? What electronics are doing to our kids brains is IN-SANE! You’ve got to read this article! [Psychology Today Article]

I’m not by any means saying devices are evil and ruining society. I just think the amount of time we spend on them should be balanced with the amount of time we spend not on them. The level of stress we remain under day after day is directly linked with our mental and physical health. So, you potentially have the ability to alleviate some disfunction in your body by making a minor adjustment to your daily screen time. If you could feel dramatically better by making a small change…would you?