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Mountain West Wellness Health Tips, Issue #031
July 03, 2015

July is here and it is HOT!!! In order to stay cool you can try Jack's watermelon juice recipe. As far as other health stuff goes we have a few great articles on tinnitus and TMJ. Hope you enjoy!

Watermelon Juice Cooler

This simple recipe can help cool your body and keep you hydrated this summer. You need: fresh watermelon, chrysanthemum tea (purchased at any asian market). First make the chrysanthemum tea and refrigerate. Blend about 3 cups of watermelon with about 1 cup of the tea. These two ingredients are magical at cooling the body. In China we used to call watermelon - "Chinese A/C." Watermelon clears heat from the body as does chrysanthemum. This yummy tea is a great post exercise drink in the hot weather! Hope you like it. If you come up with any interesting twists on it please let us know.

Acupuncture and Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a condition characterized by ringing within the ear when there's no actual source of sound present. The strength of the associated ringing can vary from a subtle ring to a loud, headache-inducing noise that's difficult to shake. There may be hope for people with tinnitus with healing methods like acupuncture, that has been proven to relieve symptoms.

It's estimated that upwards of 10-15 percent of the entire U.S. population suffers from tinnitus. The good news is that most people tolerate it well, with the condition having only a slight affect on their normal daily life. However, about 1-2 percent of the population experience severe cases of tinnitus, affecting their mood, sleep patterns and even their general health.

Medical experts continue to debate over what exactly causes tinnitus. There's some belief that ototoxic drugs can damage the inner ear, increasing the risk of tinnitus, while others believe its caused by a chemical imbalance within the brain. The general consensus is that long-term exposure to loud noise can lead to this condition, which is why workers are often required to wear earmuffs or noise-canceling headphones when operating heavy machinery.

People who work in the following industries have a higher risk of developing tinnitus:

Construction Air travel Road work/repair crews Musicians

A recent study conducted by researchers at the Clinic of Tinnitus of the Department of Otorlarynology Head and Neck Surgery found acupuncture to offer relief of tinnitus symptoms. Researchers treated 76 patients with either acupuncture or the placebo called sham acupuncture. While both groups experienced an improvement in their symptoms, the group that received acupuncture had a greater improvement in their symptoms, attesting to the effectiveness of acupuncture.

“We conclude that there was significant reduction of the counting of the moments pre and post needling in both the groups, and in the group study the reduction is greater that in the group control,” wrote the study's researchers.

How can acupuncture stop ringing within the ears? When your body's natural energies are not flowing correctly, it can lead to a number of diseases and illnesses, including tinnitus. Licensed acupuncturists are trained in correcting these blockages by targeting various acupuncture points within the body's meridians. When these blockages are fixed, your body can return to its natural balance.

Temperomandibular Joint Disorder TMJ, its a Pain!

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) is a common condition that is characterized by pain and jaw dysfunction. TMJ is used to describe a wide range of conditions associated with jaw pain and restricted jaw movement. While TMJ isn't life-threatening, it can negatively impact a person's quality of life, causing bouts of insomnia, stress, pain and disability.

It's estimated that up to 30 percent of the world's adult population suffers from TMJ, most of whom are between the ages of 20 and 40. Many people living with this condition simply mask the pain with prescription painkillers or other medications. In doing so, however, they create other problems, such as increased stress on the liver and stomach. Acupuncture offers an alternative treatment that instead of masking the pain, works to reduce symptoms at the source.

While there's no guarantee that it will cure your condition, several studies suggest that it acupuncture does in fact help relieve the pain and other symptoms associated with TMJ. One recent study involving 70 dental patients in the U.K. found that acupuncture relieved their pain by as much as 75 percent. Another study found acupuncture to offer long-term patient satisfaction when used to treat TMJ (acupuncture treatment was given 18-20 years prior to the follow-up).

The 2,000-year-old practice of acupuncture involves the placement of thin needles directly under the skin in specific locations known as acupuncture points. Acupuncturists believe that when we are healthy, our body is in balance and our natural energies are flowing properly. There are times when the body’s natural flow will be blocked, disrupted, or stagnant, leaving the person susceptible to disease and illness. Acupuncture works by releasing these blockages through acupuncture points to return your body to its natural flow.

Acupuncture is also known to stimulate the body's self-healing process, which could in turn relieve the muscle tension attributed to TMJ. People with TMJ often clench or grind their jaws without realizing it. Acupuncture treatment can help relax the muscles from their clenched position.

5 Steps to Improve TMJ

Commonly known as TMJ, temporomandibular joint pain affects over 10 million Americans and can involve difficulty chewing, jaw muscle stiffness and painful popping or clicking, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Although for some people the pain of TMJ goes away on its own, others develop long-term problems and need treatment to help their pain.

Here are five tips you can practice at home to help your TMJ symptoms.

1. Jaw Exercises

Try opening your mouth as wide as you can without feeling pain, move your jaw to the right and hold for 10 seconds, do the same to the left and repeat five times.

Massage the muscles around your jaw hinge in a downward motion.

2. Relaxation

Stress and anxiety are very common inducers of TMJ. Some people tend to clench their jaw when feeling stressed or anxious, which results in TMJ symptoms.

Practice deep breathing. The best way to do this is to lie on your back, place your left hand on your stomach and right hand on your chest. Count to five to inhale, hold your inhale for two seconds, and exhale for five seconds.

Stretch your spine. Interlock your hands behind your head and bend forward with straight legs so that your head is reaching for the floor. Stay in this position for at least ten seconds accompanied with awareness to breathing. This practice can deeply stretch and relax your spinal chord and reduce TMJ pain.

Here is a self-help download for you:

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Stay Healthy!

Jack, Kim, and Lynn

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