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!

Holiday Foods You Can Indulge on Without Gaining Holiday Weight

It’s about this time of year that you start googling ways to avoid the holiday weight gain. Sure, you could start getting up earlier to exercise, say no to that second slice of pumpkin pie or even eat a granola bar so you’re not as hungry for Thanksgiving dinner, but who are we kidding? If I’m getting up early, its to peruse the catalogs for my son’s Christmas presents. Pumpkin pie is literally at every holiday gathering. I’m pretty sure eating one slice at every party doesn’t count as dieting. As for eating before Thanksgiving dinner – snacking before dinner never stopped me from enjoying my fill at Thanksgiving – and 2 hours later, and the next day, and the next week!

Here’s a list of holiday foods you don’t have to feel guilty about – and will even help you avoid those holiday pounds:

1. Pomegranate
Pomegranates are high in antioxidants which fight inflammation – the leading cause of obesity-related diseases.

2. Turkey
Turkey’s have less than 12% of the recommended daily allowance of saturated fat per 4 ounce serving.
They pack plenty of protein and vitamin B to keep your energy up through all your holiday shopping.

3. Artichoke
Now we’re not talking about the dip, but Artichokes contain tons of fiber, which help stave off hunger.
They also contain inulin, which has clinically shown to lower blood sugar.

4. Dark Chocolate
70% or darker is the key here. Eating a thumb full before and after meals can actually cut your appetite by 50%!

5. Butternut Squash
Squash is a calorie bargain! Substituting this yummy gourd for sweet potato can cut your calorie intake by 100 per cup!

Traveling Through Art to Oriental Medicine

People often ask me what made me decide to “abandon Art” to become an Acupuncturist.  I’ve been an artist ever since I can remember and in ernest at age 12 when I won my first award.  I have a Bachelor’s and a Masters in Fine Art and I’ve taught at the University of New Mexico and the Atlanta College of Art.  I marketed my work over the course of 27 years exhibiting in New Mexico, Atlanta, Maine, and Pennsylvania.

It seems I’ve been all my life an artist, still am though I rarely now touch a brush to canvas. I have a new canvas, new materials and new tools these days that are just as fulfilling as my old ones. The canvas is the patient.  They are an already existing painting that has its own color, rhythm, and light that create a certain pattern. It is a very creative act to discern that pattern and from there to see where and how it became disharmonious causing their health to falter. The medium is Oriental Medicine with it’s 3,500 years of experimentation, experience and knowledge. The tools of course are needles, tui na (chinese medical massage), cupping, moxibustion, and custom herbal formulas.

I will always love Art.  It is part of all of us!  As an artist I never knew if my paintings ever really made an impact on anyone’s life.  The real difference for me between Art and Oriental Medicine is that I know this medicine makes a difference in the world.  I get to see that and be part of that every day.  In many ways, my Art career was a training ground for what I was meant to do!  I love what I do and I feel so blessed that I am able to do it!!!

~ Constance Fraatz, AP/DOM