Reduce Sciatica Pain with Acupuncture

Multiple studies show acupuncture is more effective than medication for effective treatment of sciatica pain. Sciatica is most often caused by an acute injury to the intravertebral disc – the fatty pad between the vertebrae. Usually some nerve root compression happens as the disc pushes out of its natural canal onto the nerve roots that sits along the spine.

From a Chinese Medicine perspective, sciatica is a gallbladder meridian channel disorder. Pain may be considered a blockage of energy or blood flow, like a dam holding up water when it is meant to run down stream. When sciatica is treated with acupuncture on points along the gallbladder meridian, it will help the energy flow again by promoting qi and blood circulation. The addition of an infrared heat lamp on the area of the disc herniation will help promote healing by stimulating the cells beneath the surface of the skin.

A herniated disc will usually take up to six months to resolve, however the pain intensity may be managed and healing may be promoted using acupuncture. The results usually last 3-5 days after the treatment, so weekly to bi-weekly treatments are recommended. Typically 6-8 treatments will serve the healing process best, but relief may be experienced in as little as 1-3 sessions.

Acupuncture pain relief seems to be instigated by the stimulation of high-threshold, small-diameter nerves in the muscles. Animal experiments have revealed that regeneration of crushed sciatic nerves is better with acupuncture than diclofenac sodium (a type of pain medication).

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND is licensed to provide acupuncture and has been trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture therapy is part of her holistic care as a Naturopathic Doctor. A 30min initial intake at $80, followed by a package of 3 acupuncture treatments at $65 each will get you well on the way to living pain free while your herniated disc heals. Call today to book your evaluation and appointment. We can get started the same day if you mention the “sciatica” as your reason for calling.

Common symptoms of sciatica:

  • Sciatica usually affects only one side of the lower body.
  • Pain in the rear or leg that tends to be worse when sitting
  • Burning or tingling down the leg, past the knee
  • Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg or foot
  • A constant pain on one side of the rear
  • A shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up
  • Depending on where the sciatic nerve is affected, the pain may also extend to the foot or toes

If you have issues with bowel or bladder control, progressive loss of strength in the lower body, or numbness in the upper thighs please seek emergency medical attention as you may have a life-threatening injury.


Ji M., Wang X., Chen, M., Shen Y., Zhang X., and Yang J. 2015. The Efficacy of Acupuncture for the Treatment of Sciatica: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Hindawi Publishing Corporation. Volume 2015, Article ID 192808, 12 pages.

Could the Flu Shot Make You Sick?

A recent Canadian Study Shows of those who received both the 2013-2014 and the 2014-2015 flu vaccine were actually more susceptible to getting the flu.

Over the past number of years, the flu vaccine has not always been as effective as planned or hoped. This article from Global News is only one of many stating some facts. People often feel they are immune to getting the flu if they get vaccinated. Evidently, this not always the case.  Studies have shown, it usually reduces your chances if the strain in the vaccine closely matches the strain in circulation. It is impossible to forecast 100% what the strain will be, so it is usually the best odds calculation of how the strain will mutate, then the vaccine is created based on the best educated estimate.

At the end of the day, there are other things we need to do to prevent getting sick. Remember that antibacterial hand washes are for bacteria, not viruses and the flu is a virus. Think about long enough while you are washing your hands properly with soap and water. Boost your immune system to keep it strong to fight against any bacteria or virus, eat a healthy diet, sleep well and exercise regularly. If you need help on any of the above, see your naturopathic doctor. There are some great botanicals, mushrooms, acupuncture, and hydrotherapy treatments that can keep you healthy through the cold and flu season.

If you do get sick (we are human after all), please stay home, rest, and drink your chicken soup broth.

7 Secrets to Sticking With Exercise

7 Secrets of Sticking With Exercise 

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister

Staying fit is a super power, wellness-wise. Exercise can improve your energy levels, sleep quality, body composition, and overall health. While these perks are great, hectic lives can make sticking with an exercise program tricky. Simple shifts in your behaviors can help minimize these barriers, making reaching and maintaining your fitness goals almost as easy as pushing play.

Set reasonable goals. Start with activities that seem attainable and reasonably challenging, then set a goal to engage in that activity at least a few times per week. Most wellness perks, according to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, kick in if you do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderately-intense exercise per week. That’s just over 21 minutes a day.

Schedule it. Prioritize workouts in your calendar like anything else. Schedule routine sessions at times that make the most sense within your lifestyle. Many people find it’s easier to stick to an exercise routine in the morning while others find they have more energy in the afternoons. But neither is ideal if the time isn’t convenient for you. Experiment with various options until you find one that works.

Get the gear. Ideally, your workouts won’t require a lot of equipment. Regardless, stock up on whatever you need to get started and choose quality gear, especially when it comes to particularly important items, such as athletic shoes. Wearing colors and textures you enjoy may also help keep you motivated to suit up and head out.

Plan ahead. Prepare your gear ahead of time to prevent skipping workouts. If you schedule your workouts for the morning, set your fitness attire out the night before. If you plan to exercise on your way home from work, pack a workout bag in advance and bring it with you.

Buddy up. Most everything is more fun with friends. Use the buddy system for increased workout accountability and enjoyment. If showing up or making time to exercise is your biggest challenge, having someone to be accountable to could be all you need.

Sleep and rest well. Quality sleep makes for effective exercise, and helps ensure that you have the mental gusto to show up. Cultivate a healthy sleep schedule, and stick to to routine sleep and waking times as often as you can.

Cut yourself some slack. Aiming for perfection can work against you. If you miss a workout, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, consider it a rest day and get back on it the next day. If you find yourself unable to stick to your goals, reassess. It’s better to work out at a lower intensity or for less time for a while than not at all. If you’re still struggling, seek guidance from a qualified sports trainer or one of the Beachbody experts. Doing so doesn’t show weakness, but strength.


Written by By August McLaughlin.  Thanks To

5 Hidden Secrets of Weight Loss

When diet and exercise aren’t enough… you just can’t shake that extra weight. There may be hidden obstacles that need your attention before you can achieve your healthiest goals.

This Saturday, in a free public health forum, Dr. Laura Brown, ND will discuss ” The 5 Hidden Secrets to Weight Loss” at Guelph’s Goodness Me! Find out what may be the hidden reason for holding you back from your goals.


Saturday Oct 17th at 10-11:30am. Register Here

What do the following products have to do with weight loss?

Find out this and so much more this Saturday, October 17th at 10am at Goodness Me!




A New Thanksgiving Favorite Recipe









  1. With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. In a bowl, combine the spices. Reserve 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) of the mixture for the garnish. Rub the roast with the remaining spices.
  3. On a baking sheet, toss the potatoes with half of the oil (2 tbsp/30 ml). Scatter on the sheet, cut side down.
  4. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the roast on all sides in the remaining oil (2 tbsp/30 ml). Season with salt and pepper. Place the roast in the centre of the baking sheet.
  5. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the centre of the roast reads 118°F (48°C) for rare doneness. Remove the roast and transfer to a plate. Let rest for 10 minutes. Continue cooking the potatoes in the oven, if needed, until golden brown and tender.


  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the chorizo and shallots in the oil. Add the beets and honey. Continue cooking until the beets are warmed through. Season with salt and pepper.


  1. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and the reserved spices. Generously season with pepper. Cut the roast into thin slices. Serve with the potatoes, warm beets and spicy sour cream. Sprinkle with the parsley.


If you prefer your roast medium-rare, a meat thermometer inserted into the centre of the roast should read 125°F (52°C).

Five Health Benefits of Standing Desks

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister

Spending more of your day standing could reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer


There was a time when standing desks were a curiosity—used by eccentrics like Hemingway, Dickens and Kierkegaard, but seldom seen inside a regular office setting.

That’s changed, in large part due to research showing that the cumulative impact of sitting all day for years is associated with a range of health problems, from obesity to diabetes to cancer. Because the average office worker spends 5 hours and 41 minutes sitting each day at his or her desk, some describe the problem with a pithy new phrase that’s undeniably catchy, if somewhat exaggerated: “Sitting is the new smoking.”

Much of this research has been spurred by James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic. “The way we live now is to sit all day, occasionally punctuated by a walk from the parking lot to the office,” he recently said during a phone interview, speaking as he strolled around his living room. “The default has become to sit. We need the default to be standing.”

All this might sound suspiciously like the latest health fad, and nothing more. But a growing body of research—conducted both by Levine and other scientists—confirms that a sedentary lifestyle appears to be detrimental in the long-term.

The solution, they say, isn’t to sit for six hours at work and then head to the gym afterward, because evidence suggests that the negative effects of extended sitting can’t be countered by brief bouts of strenous exercise. The answer is incorporating standing, pacing and other forms of activity into your normal day—and standing at your desk for part of it is the easiest way of doing so. Here’s a list of some of the benefits scientists have found so far.

Reduced Risk of Obesity

Levine’s research began as an investigation into an age-old health question: why some people gain weight and others don’t. He and colleagues recruited a group of office workers who engaged in little routine exercise, put them all on an identical diet that contained about 1000 more calories than they’d been consuming previously and forbid them from changing their exercise habits. But despite the standardized diet and exercise regimens, some participants gained weight, while others stayed slim.

Eventually, using underwear stitched with sensors that measure every subtle movement, the researchers discovered the secret: the participants who weren’t gaining weight were up and walking around, on average, 2.25 more hours per day, even though all of them worked at (sitting) desks, and no one was going to the gym. “During all of our days, there are opportunities to move around substantially more,” Levine says, mentioning things as mundane as walking to a colleague’s office rather than emailing them, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Failing to take advantage of these constant movement opportunities, it turns out, is closely associated with obesity. And research suggests that our conventional exercise strategy—sitting all day at work, then hitting the gym or going for a run—”makes scarcely more sense than the notion that you could counter a pack-a-day smoking habit by jogging,” as James Vlashos puts it in the New York Times. The key to reducing the risk of obesity is consistent, moderate levels of movement throughout the day.

Scientists are still investigating why this might be the case. The reduced amount of calories burned while sitting (a 2013 study found that standers burn, on average, 50 more calories per hour) is clearly involved, but there may also be metabolic changes at play, such as the body’s cells becoming less responsive to insulin, or sedentary muscles releasing lower levels of the enzyme lipoprotein lipase.

Of course, all this specifically points to danger of sitting too much, not exactly the same as the benefit of standing. But Levine believes the two are closely intertwined.

“Step one is get up. Step two is learn to get up more often. Step three is, once you’re up, move,” he says. “And what we’ve discovered is that once you’re up, you do tend to move.” Steps one and two, then, are the most important parts—and a desk that encourages you to stand at least some of the time is one of the most convenient means of doing so.

Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Other Metabolic Problems

The detrimental health impacts of sitting—and the benefits of standing—appear to go beyond simple obesity. Some of the same studies by Levine and others have found that sitting for extended periods of time is correlated with reduced effectiveness in regulating levels of glucose in the bloodstream, part of a condition known as metabolic syndrome that dramatically increases the chance of type 2 diabetes.

A 2008 study, for instance, found that people who sat for longer periods during their day had significantly higher levels of fasting blood glucose, indicating their their cells became less responsive to insulin, with the hormone failing to trigger the absorption of glucose from the blood. A 2013 study [PDF] came to similar findings, and arrived at the conclusion that for people already at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the amount of time spent sitting could be a more important risk factor than the amount of time spent vigorously exercising.

Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Scientific evidence that sitting is bad for the cardiovascular system goes all the way back to the 1950s, when British researchers compared rates of heart disease in London bus drivers (who sit) and bus conductors (who stand) and found that the former group experienced far more heart attacks and other problems than the latter.

Since, scientists have found that adults who spend two more hours per day sitting have a 125 percent increased risk of health problems related to cardiovascular disease, including chest pain and heart attacks. Other work has found that men who spend more than five hours per day sitting outside of work and get limited exercise were at twice the risk of heart failure as those who exercise often and sit fewer than two hours daily outside of the office. Even when the researchers controlled for the amount of exercise, excessive sitters were still 34 percent more likely to develop heart failure than those who were standing or moving.

Reduced Risk of Cancer

A handful of studies have suggested that extended periods of sitting can be linked with a higher risk of many forms of cancer. Breast and colon cancer appear to be most influenced by physical activity (or lack thereof): a 2011 study found that prolonged sitting could be responsible for as much as 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 cases of colon cancer annually in the U.S. But the same research found that significant amounts of lung cancer (37,200 cases), prostate cancer (30,600 cases), endometrial cancer (12,000 cases) and ovarian cancer (1,800 cases) could also be related to excessive sitting.

The underlying mechanism by which sitting increases cancer risk is still unclear, but scientists have found a number of biomarkers, such as C-reactive protein, that are present in higher levels in people who sit for long periods of time. These may be tied to the development of cancer.

Lower Long-Term Mortality Risk

Because of the reduced chance of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, a number of studies have found strong correlations between the amount of time a person spends sitting and his or her chance of dying within a given period of time.

A 2010 Australian study, for instance, found that for each extra hour participants spent sitting daily, their overall risk of dying during the study period (seven years) increased by 11 percent. A 2012 study found that if the average American reduced his or her sitting time to three hours per day, life expectancy would climb by two years.

These projects control for other factors such as diet and exercise—indicating that sitting, in isolation, can lead to a variety of health problems and increase the overall risk of death, even if you try to get exercise while you’re not sitting and eat a healthy diet. And though there are many situations besides the office in which we sit for extended periods (driving and watching TV, for instance, are at the top of the list), spending some of your time at work at a standing desk is one of the most direct solutions.

If you’re going to start doing so, most experts recommend splitting your time between standing and sitting, because standing all day can lead to back, knee or foot problems. The easiest ways of accomplishing this are either using a desk that can be raised upward or a tall chair that you can pull up to your desk when you do need to sit. It’s also important to ease into it, they say, by standing for just a few hours a day at first while your body becomes used to the strain, and move around a bit, by shifting your position, pacing, or even dancing as you work.


Read more:

Acupuncture reduces Tamoxifen induced hot flushes

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know acupuncture protects against hot flushes for postoperative women treated with Tamoxifen?

Acupuncture reduces hot flushes by up to 60%: A 2007 randomized clinical trial of 59 post-operative women provides significant evidence.

Breast cancer is an estrogen sensitive cancer. After mastectomy, therapy includes Tamoxifen, a drug used to soak up any estrogen in the body to prevent further development of cancer. The lack of estrogen creates a state of menopausal like symptoms such as hot flushes/flashes.

Ten weeks of acupuncture treatment provided relief from hot flushes during both day and night by up to 60% at 12 weeks following treatment and by a further 30% during the next 12 weeks.

In the control group sham acupuncture was provided and during the treatment period a reduction in hot flushes during the day of 25% was achieved. The sham group had no relief from night hot flashes and did not experience any benefit, and in fact their hot flushes returned after the sham treatment period ended.

Naturopathic Doctors are trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) including herbal therapy and acupuncture. TCM has been practiced in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years. Acupuncture is defined as the application of stimulation such as needling, moxibustion, cupping, and acupressure on specific sites of the body.

People living with cancer use acupuncture for pain management, control of nausea and vomiting (N/V), diarrhea, fatigue, hot flushes, xerostomia, neuropathy, anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance.

Book your session online with Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND for cancer related naturopathic therapy including acupuncture.


Jill Hervik ,J and Mjåland, O. 2009. Acupuncture for the treatment of hot flashes in breast cancer patients, a randomized, controlled trial. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. July 2009, Volume 116, Issue 2, pp 311-316. Springer Link. Accessed Oct 03, 2015.

Lu W, Dean-Clower E., Doherty-Gilman, A. and Rosenthal, D.S. The Value of Acupuncture in Cancer Care. Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 2008 August ; 22(4): 631–viii. doi:10.1016/j.hoc.2008.04.005.