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All posts by Alicia Johnson

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Hormone Balance and Fertility with Acupuncture

Many people know about using acupuncture for pain, but not everyone is aware of the benefits of acupuncture when you are trying to balance your hormones.  Check out this video.

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Suffering From Mommy Brain?

After a woman has a baby, her progesterone levels can drop enough to actually cause shrinking of the learning center in the brain.  Arg!  Suddenly you’re forgetting everything!.  Ideally this gets better over time.  There are natural ways to work with mommy brain.  Try this simple method that is easy, free, and you can start today.  Meditation has been shown to help with atrophy (shrinking) of the brain.  Try meditation each morning and see if your memory gets better.  You will get better at this every time you do it and can learn to do it very quickly, even when you are with others and run into stressful situations.

This classic method includes guided meditations, guided imagery, and soothing sounds to help you reach a different state of mind.

Of course, for people with serious hormone imbalances, you still might not feel like yourself.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Interested in receiving my information on fertility in a series of emails?  It’s free, and organized for your convenience.  Contact my assistant at DrJohson@aspirehealthkc.com and ask to receive the optimizing fertility series.  This includes the blogs on the website and a few extra tips.

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Cut the Sugar!

In honor of my 1 year anniversary without any refined sugar, I would like to share this video with you. My 1 year no sugar challenge has been such a good experience, I have decided not to have any dessert at the end. I don’t want to add it back in!

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Can We Block Bad Genes in Our Kids?

Some vitamins are vital to the health of your DNA.  Recent research has shown that the body has a mechanism for blocking “bad genes”.  Genes that promote diabetes, obesity, and other common problems are masked with “methylating agents”.  Methylating agents bind to our DNA so the bad genes are not used.  What are methylating agents?  They come from the diet from vitamins like B12 and folic acid.  Many Americans are deficient in both.  To protect the health of your DNA and your children’s DNA, make sure you are getting plenty of B12 and folic acid.  It is a good idea to supplement these things unless you are sure you are getting enough.  Want to find out if you need more?  Track your diet on www.fitday.com for a week and see for yourself.

multivitamins-pills-spilling-bottleMany drug store multivitamins are made of the lowest quality ingredients possible.  In fact, if I had to choose between a high-grade multivitamin once per week and a daily vitamin from the drugstore up the street, I would choose the former.  You need to make sure you are getting enough nutrients to protect your DNA, but make sure the nutrients look like the ones in your food.  The cheap ingredients in your vitamin are not chosen for quality.  They are chosen because they are cheap.  Your body might not be able to use them, and low quality vitamins may even interfere with the utilization of the good nutrients you are getting from food.  Don’t trust that the most expensive vitamin at the health food store is a good one either.  Have an experienced person review your vitamin to make sure it is a good one.

Interested in receiving my information on fertility in a series of emails?  It’s free, and organized for your convenience.  Contact my assistant at DrJohson@aspirehealthkc.com and ask to receive the optimizing fertility series.  This includes the blogs on the website and a few extra tips.

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Alternative Medicine is Expensive!

I can’t tell you how often people comment on how expensive it can be to have even short consultations with alternative medicine providers. I have even had a few patients tell me that my visits cost more than visits with their doctors. Actually, most of the time the cost is much lower; you are just not used to paying it! The average provider spends 7 minutes with you and bills $220 for the visit. That’s quite a bit of money coming in by the hour. With most holistic practices, the money we bring in gets re-invested in you and your care. It gets put into quality, not advertising. It goes to staff, supplies, utilities, extra comfortable chairs and tables, chemical free hand soap, green cleaners for the office, and time spent giving you care and attention. It rarely goes to some high paid CEO.

Check out this video about where your money goes in the conventional system:

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The Full Moon and Our Hormones

Think all that stuff about full moon causing period and hormone changes is crazy? In fact, there is a scientific explanation for the effect of light on fertility.  Before nightlights and alarm clocks, women slept in the dark most of the time.  The only time they were exposed to light while sleeping was from the moon.  The skin on the eyelids is very thin, and the retina still recognizes exposure to light even when our eyes are closed.  Many animals in nature have hormonal cycles that are directly related to light cycles.  This is important for 2 reasons:

  1. Premenstrual mood swings
  2. Infertility

In some women, artificial light in the bedroom can lead to menstrual irregularities as well as irregularities in fertile cervical mucous.  In fact, there is strong evidence showing that even severe mood swings before menses can be traced back to light exposure at night.  Some women are much more sensitive to night time light exposure than others.  It is believed that this is because of complicated hormonal interactions.

Serotonin is produced during exposure to light.  Serotonin is a powerful neurotransmitter that affects mood as well as other neurotransmitters.  After dark, serotonin levels drop.  This is why many people experience seasonal depression when they are not exposed to enough light during the day.  Their serotonin levels get too low.  If people are exposed to too much light at night, their serotonin levels never drop off at night.  This causes prolactin to increase.  Prolactin is the hormone responsible for making nursing moms infertile.  Increased night prolactin levels, specifically between 1am and 6am, keep the body from becoming pregnant.   Infertility from prolactin is a protective mechanism to keep the woman from becoming too depleted from nursing while carrying a new baby.  Being exposed to light at night triggers a similar hormonal response.  Prolactin levels increase and fertility decreases.  Women with hormone related mood changes often report substantially more rage and anger when they have light exposure at night.  Again, some women may be much more sensitive to this than others.

Light at night  →  serotonin change   →   higher prolactin   →  reproductive hormone change.

Consider blocking out all of the light in your bedroom.  Even cover the alarm clock.  Turn off any night-lights and have curtains over the window.  You may open the curtains when there is a full moon for some light exposure.  If you have severe mood swings before your period, you MUST avoid night time light exposure!

Interested in receiving my information on fertility in a series of emails?  It’s free, and organized for your convenience.  Contact my assistant at DrJohson@aspirehealthkc.com and ask to receive the optimizing fertility series.  This includes the blogs on the website and a few extra tips.

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The Top-Secret Solution to Dry, Cracked Skin– Revealed!

With the cold weather rolling in, it’s time to start thinking about what you are going to do about dry cracked hands. For some people, lotions burn and really don’t help a whole lot. This year I have been combining vitamin D and pracaxi oil for a great healing and moisturizing oil. Many of you know that I have recommended pracaxi for almost everything topical: acne, scar treatment, stretch marks, and facial cleansing.

For those of you who have not heard of it, that’s because it is rarely used in the US. It is used cosmetically in Brazil, but in the US, you generally will only see it as the active ingredient in a tissue healing prescription. The picture here is a study of the use of this prescription on a burn. The active ingredient, pracaxi oil, is a natural bean oil that reduces inflammation, fights infection, and helps regenerate tissue. This picture is an actual case study, not a crazy ad!

Case Study: Facial Burn

Case-study-picture-of-pracaxi

I think that you will see the use of this oil increase over the next few years. For now, real pure pracaxi oil can be a bit hard to find. I order it from a natural oil wholesaler that sells it to people who make cosmetics. I found that my patients wanted it, but didn’t want to go through the process of buying it in bulk from a wholesaler. Because it is hard to find, I wouldn’t trust ordering online from just anyone for something like this. Counterfeit oils are really common. I continue to order lots of it for myself (I use it on my face and hair) and also offer small amounts on the shelf at Aspire Health for your convenience. This is really a great oil to incorporate into your routine. Feel free to post questions!

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Acupuncture for Fertility

Acupuncture is being used more and more as a safe and effective means of balancing hormones and treating infertility.  Want to understand more?  Check out this video.  Studies have repeatedly shown that for the cost of fertility treatments, it is worth checking out.

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The One Fertility Signal I Have Women Look For

Checking ovulation tests, temperatures, and charts will work for many women who want to track their cycles.  I like something that is pretty simple and easy to do.  Check for cervical fluid.  If it is there, you should try to conceive.  Rising levels of estrogen in the body cause your cervix to secrete cervical mucous.  This is the signal that your eggs are developing and that you are fertile.  85% of the time, ovulation takes place on the last day of cervical mucous or the day after the last day.  The egg has the potential to be fertilized for the next 12-24 hours.  The cervical mucous serves to keep sperm cells alive while the little guys wait for ovulation.  Cervical mucous can keep sperm alive for 3-5 days.  This makes it an excellent marker of fertility.  The best time to have intercourse is the 4th day of the cervical mucous and the day after.  The cervical mucous will also keep sperm alive for 3-5 days, so all days of the fertile cervical mucous are fine.  Some experts recommend waiting 48 hours to allow your partner’s sperm count to increase.  Don’t know how to check for cervical fluid?  Read on…

  1. Before urinating in the morning, wipe with tissue to collect any cervical mucous at the vaginal opening.
  2. If there is mucous visible on the tissue, pick it up between your thumb and forefinger.
  3. Press the mucous between your thumb and forefinger.
  4. Slowly separate your thumb and forefinger.  Watch the mucous.  Fertile mucous should form strands and be the consistency of raw egg.  It can also be creamy, milky, or the consistency of thin paste.  It is easy to confuse this fluid with fluid left in the vaginal canal following intercourse.  Try to practice checking for mucous when you have not recently had intercourse.
  5. Write down the days that you have slippery mucous on your calendar if you want to keep track of your fertile days.

Interested in receiving my information on fertility in a series of emails?  It’s free, and organized for your convenience.  Contact my assistant at DrJohson@aspirehealthkc.com and ask to receive the optimizing fertility series.  This includes the blogs on the website and a few extra tips.

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What is Acupuncture?

My favorite thing about using traditional Chinese medicine is being able to individualize treatment. There are acupuncture points for dry mouth, dry eyes, TMJ, numbness, and other things that are quite difficult to address
with conventional medicine. There are diagnoses that simply don’t exist in Western medicine, so we can address and explain things that have been missed by other providers. There are countless ways to treat problems with stress, head pain, sleep, or hormones.

This video can help explain acupuncture for people who are curious. In my office, most of the acupuncture I do is for sleep, mood, stress, hormone balance, and fertility. Of course, acupuncture is great for pain and I try my best to fit you into my schedule if you have back pain or neck pain that can’t wait.

If you have other questions or comments, please feel free to share!

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