Chinese Medicine Vs. the Opioid Epidemic Part III

In 1874, English researcher, C.R. Wright, first synthesized heroin by boiling morphine and acetic anhydride. Wright’s early testing of heroin – then known as diacetylmorphine – showed very undesirable side effects such as anxiety, sleepiness and vomiting immediately following administration in all participants. Accordingly, Wright discontinued his research.

Over 20 years later in 1895, German scientist Heinrich Dreser and his colleagues at the pharmaceutical company Bayer continued Wright’s studies and declared diacetylmorphine successful in treating many common respiratory ailments. Bayer began manufacturing diacetylmorphine and marketed it under the brand name Heroin. Heroin was unregulated at the time and soon became widely available in many over the counter forms.

 Considered another miracle drug, Heroin was used to treat headaches, colds and other common ailments. Many doctors prescribed Heroin to women suffering from premenstrual syndrome, hysteria and other so-called “female complaints.” Most of heroin’s biggest users at this time were wealthy, upper-class individuals.

Ironically, in the early 1900s Heroin was given to active morphine and codeine addicts as an alternative to – and as a solution for – their addiction. The philanthropic St. James Society even mounted a campaign to mail free samples of heroin to morphine addicts. As one might imagine, this “miracle drug” mindset and ever widening distribution resulted in an alarming drug epidemic particularly in northern industrial slums, Heroin was no longer the vice of the rich, and everyone was now welcome to the drug.

By 1924, the New York deputy police commissioner reported that 94 percent of those addicted to drugs who were also arrested for criminal activity were using heroin. Heroin and crime became synonymous and, as a result, that same year Congress unanimously passed a law banning the manufacture, distribution and import of heroin in the United States.

 Big corporations like Bayer and Merck took another fifty years to get back into the heroin business with the help of the US government but this time they made a synthetic version, a chemical copy with clean marketing names like oxycontin, vicoden and fentanyl that were distributed in shiny packages of clean white pills. They couldn’t market it for getting high so they said it was for pain, everybody has pain. As a result America has been flooded with hundreds of tons of synthetic heroin in pocket sized blister packs or little amber bottles. Most of the drugs go to the right people initially for the right reasons but one cannot underestimate the appeal of an opiate high and there is an ever growing illegal trade in the drugs. But, do not be misled to believe that the majority of addicts are of the black market variety, the vast majority got hooked via prescriptions from their doctors and only resort to the black market when their prescriptions run out.

So, once again the United States is facing a national opioid epidemic, and medical systems are in need of non-pharmacologic strategies that can be employed to decrease the public’s opioid dependence. Acupuncture has emerged as a powerful, evidence-based, safe, cost-effective, and available treatment modality suitable to meeting this need.

Acupuncture has been shown to be effective for the management of numerous types of pain conditions, and mechanisms of action for acupuncture have been described and are understandable from biomedical and physiologic perspectives. Further, acupuncture’s cost-effectiveness can dramatically decrease health care expenditures, both from the standpoint of treating acute pain and through avoiding addiction to opioids that requires costly care, destroys quality of life, and can lead to fatal overdose.

Numerous federal regulatory agencies have advised or mandated that healthcare systems and providers offer non-pharmacologic treatment options for pain. Acupuncture stands out as the most evidence-based, immediately available choice to fulfill these calls. Acupuncture is already being successfully and meaningfully utilized by the Veterans Administration and various branches of the U.S. Military, in some studies demonstrably decreasing the volume of opioids prescribed when included in care.

Mechanisms underlying acupuncture’s analgesic effects have been extensively researched for over 60 years. Acupuncture has been shown in studies to be effective for the alleviation of inflammatory, neuropathic, cancer related, and visceral pain. Mechano-transduction of the needling stimulus at specific points on the body triggers the release of ATP and adenosine, which bind to local afferents. Among the non-opioid neuropeptides, substance P, vasoactive intestinal peptide, and calcitonin gene-related peptide have been investigated for their roles in both the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of acupuncture. What all that science means is that acupuncture analgesia activates the production and release of endogenous opioids like endorphins. It is proven that acupuncture, used in conjunction with Opioid Like Medications (see Corydalis), alleviates pain with a lower OLM dose for patients.

So there it is; acupuncture and herbal medicines with absolutely no harmful side effects, that are cost effective, readily available and already active in a community near you. At Atlantic Acupuncture we have been successfully treating patients with pain, addictions and any combinations thereof for over twenty five years and look forward to working ever more as the needs continue to arise.

Yours in good health,

Robert & Cindy Kienitz

Atlantic Acupuncture

Vero Beach, FL

Chinese Medicine Vs. the Opioid Epidemic Part II

Morphine is the prototypical opioid and is the standard against which all other opioids are tested. Morphine was first isolated in 1803 by Friedrich Sertürner this is generally believed to be the first isolation of an active ingredient from a plant.

Going straight to human trials, Sertürner tested small doses of morphine on himself and “some boys” and found that the effects of the drug were pain relief and euphoria. He also noted that high doses of the drug could lead to negative psychiatric effects, nausea, vomiting, depression, cough, constipation and slowed breathing. Pain relief with the use of this compound, however, was ten times greater than that experienced with opium use.

The pharmaceutical company Merck began marketing the drug commercially in 1827.  Sertürner originally named the substance morphium after the Greek god of dreams, Morpheus, as it has a tendency to cause sleep. Physicians labeled the drug as “God’s own medicine” for its reliability, long-lasting effects, and “safety”. Morphine became more widely used after the invention of the hypodermic syringe in 1853 which happened to coincide with the advent of the American Civil War. Thousands of civil war soldiers, who were wounded during combat, or more commonly became sick in camps, were first dosed with morphine in field hospitals during the war. Many came home struggling with addiction to narcotics that were first tasted on the battlefield or in a hospital.

Since about 1596 Chinese doctors had been using different types of pain relievers primarily from the class of medicinals that invigorate blood. There are many herbals medicines in this category but one of the most useful and most promising in modern times is Corydalis rhizome or Yan Hu Suo. Corydalis YHS invigorates the blood, promotes the movement of qi bio-energy and alleviates pain.

Pharmacological and chemical research has shown that Corydalis is a very strong analgesic and is 40% as effective as morphine when similarly dosed. The herb is a very mild hypnotic and sedative so it has been used for sleep disturbances but with no after effects such as grogginess or lowered reflexes.

While Corydalis has no known central nervous system effects its known side effects are reductions of menstrual flow in women with menorrhagia, reduction in headaches and fatigue.

YHS is very widely used in the treatment of pain in China and, more important to this discussion, is being used as a replacement for opioids. Modern medical research shows that YHS is effective in suppressing nociceptive responses to thermally induced acute pain; chemically induced inflammatory pain as well as injury induced neuropathic pain. Because one of the major drawbacks of the narcotic analgesics is the development of tolerance, YHS was tested for the development of tolerance (addiction) to its antinociceptive effect. It was shown that unlike morphine YHS does not result in development of tolerance after long term daily administration.

So there we have a traditional herbal medicine that is both effective in combating pain, has no addictive properties, withstands the scrutiny of modern science and is inexpensive.

We use YHS as well as other herbal medicines and acupuncture therapies in our Vero Beach clinic for pain management and to help with withdrawal from narcotic addiction. Our results have always been very successful and as the opioid epidemic continues to grow we expect to see more and more cases of this sort.

In our next installment we will again look at the evolution and future of narcotic addiction in the west and how acupuncture therapy plays a part to combat this far reaching social and human problem.

Yours in good health,

Robert & Cindy Kienitz

Atlantic Acupuncture

Vero Beach, FL

Chinese Medicine Vs. the Opioid Epidemic Part I

In this series of articles we would like to explore the history of opioid use, some of the hidden reasons its use has become epidemic and how traditional Chinese medicine can help with the resolution of personal opioid addiction.

Opium was first introduced to China by Turkish and Arab traders in the late 6th century CE. Originally opium was used in drug combinations and compounds made by the Arabs and prescribed orally to relieve tension and pain. During this period opium was experimented with by Chinese physicians but seen to have “little worth, as would be expected, having come from barbarians”. The drug was used in very limited quantities in China until the 17th century at which point, the practice of smoking tobacco finally spread from North America, through Europe and into China. Opium laced tobacco smoking soon became popular throughout the country.

Chinese medical texts from this period describe the making and smoking of opium/tobacco/hemp products in detail and one author wrote, “After one has smoked opium tobacco twice, it is impossible to free oneself from it”. The same text went on to say, “Their (opium users) bodies and limbs become emaciated, the bodies’ depots and palaces (organs and tissues) dry out and one cannot stop until the body has been utterly destroyed”.

Britain and other European countries undertook opium trafficking because of their chronic trade imbalance with China. There was tremendous demand in Europe for Chinese tea, silks, and porcelain pottery, but there was correspondingly very little demand in China for Europe’s manufactured goods and other trade items. Consequently, Europeans had to pay for Chinese products with gold or silver. The opium trade, which created a steady demand among Chinese addicts for opium imported by the West, solved this chronic trade imbalance. This is possibly the first instance of Big Business (East India Trading Company) and Government (Great Britain) using the highly addictive properties of opium products for profit to the detriment of the common person and the common good.

Along with the slave trade, the traffic in opium was the dirty underside of an evolving global trading economy. In America as in Europe, pretty much everything was deemed fair in the pursuit of profits. Such was the outlook at Russell & Company, a Boston trading company whose ultra fast clipper ships made it one of the leaders in the lucrative American trade in Chinese tea and silk by trafficking in British opium.

British opium trafficking thrived, opium addiction increased, and opium importations grew rapidly during the first century of the Qing dynasty (1644–1912). By 1729 opium had become such a problem that the Emperor prohibited the sale and smoking of opium. That failed to hamper the trade, and in 1796 opium importation and cultivation was harshly outlawed. In spite of such decrees, however, the underground opium trade continued to flourish.

The Chinese government continued to curtail the entry of opium into the country resulting in embargos and seizures of British ships carrying opium as cargo in 1839. The British, in the defining moment of “gunboat diplomacy”, began the opium wars. It is a fact that the opium wars are what began the so called “century of humiliation” in China and led to the Chinese eventually adopting Communism as its national political party.

Ya-P’ien was the proper Chinese name for medicinal opium. It was considered sour, astringent, toxic and warm in nature and used primarily for chronic diarrhea and premature ejaculation in males. Mixed with other herbs, opium was used for paralysis, pain in the joints, dizziness, malarial fevers and chronic cough. Opium was also said to have “A miraculous effect in cases of pain in the stomach and bowels”.

In modern Chinese medicine the herb Ying Su Ke is the dried opium poppy husk which nature is considered sour, astringent, neutral and toxic and is used for chronic cough, chronic diarrhea, vaginal discharge and any kind of pain especially in the sinews and bones. The truth of the matter is that there are many herbal medicines that are as effective for these conditions but do not have the toxic side effects of Ying Su Ke so the herb is learned in schools but not much used in clinical practice even in China.

In our next installment we will look at the continued refinement of opium into ever more effective pain killers with more efficient delivery systems, greater profits for the pharmaceutical industry and increased dangers of addiction.

Yours in good health,

Robert & Cindy Kienitz

Atlantic Acupuncture,

Vero Beach, FL

Senility, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Part IV

In this last Blog in our series on the subject of senility, dementia and Alzheimer’s we want to focus on some other measures that can be taken to keep our minds healthy and active during our full 120 year term on this planet.

It has come to our attention that the people who seem to have the longest lasting and best minds are those who engage in lifelong learning

For years, researchers have noticed that people with more education and intellectually demanding careers, tend to have a lower risk of dementia. But the evidence had been less clear on whether intellectually engaging activities may be protective when started later in life.

In recent studies, researchers separated lifetime intellectual enrichment into two categories: early to mid-life and mid to late-life. Not surprisingly, high lifetime intellectual enrichment was associated with higher cognitive function. However, people who engaged in mid to late-life cognitive activity also had less cognitive decline over time.

The effect of mid to late-life cognitive activity was particularly strong in people who did not have a high score of cognitive enrichment in early to mid-life. In other words, it’s never too late to start training your brain!

The studies specifically looked at people with certain genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. As expected, older people with those genotypes had lower cognitive function overall, but older people with the risk factors who had a high level of lifetime intellectual enrichment were shown to have their cognitive impairment delayed by nine years on average.

So what kind of intellectual enrichment can be effective? Trials have found that elderly people at risk of cognitive impairment that volunteered in elementary schools experienced gains in cognitive function and improved executive function. And, while brain training games and crosswords are popular and also show benefit, one should also consider other types of intellectually challenging activities, such as learning a new skill or activity, particularly in the context of a social environment and all the better when the social setting is among younger people.

Another important factor in continued long term mental acuity is the use of specific Chinese herbal medicines. As we mentioned in our last blog, the use of herbal medicines for specific conditions should be managed by a doctor of Chinese medicine, but for prevention of senile conditions there are several herbs that can be very helpful.

Herbs like acorus, ginkgo, Siberian ginseng and many species of edible mushroom all have shown to increase cognitive function and memory in numerous scientific studies.

Although often marketed individually, it has been found that using these herbs in specific combinations actually give the best results. For instance, the leaf of the ginkgo tree is particularly useful for increases in long term memory but not so much for short term, while acorus root is very good for short term memory but not as good the gingko for long term memory.

Edible mushrooms like hericium, ganoderma, reishi, shitake and miatake have long been used for longevity and mental acuity in Asian cultures and for the past sixty or so years we have learned that about any edible mushroom produces these same benefits to some degree.

Here at Atlantic Acupuncture, we have developed a formula we call “Brain Food” that is made up of the most effective balance of the four major brain enhancing herbs. In a concentrated (5:1) formula we have engineered and compounded a proprietary a blend of acorus root, gingko leaf, hericium mushroom and Siberian ginseng into a formula that has the best potential for deterring all of the thirty-one patterns of diagnosis that are associated with dementia, senility and Alzheimer’s.

You can order a 30 day supply of concentrated Brain Food for $30.00 + S&H today by calling 772-217-0990 or contact us at

Yours in good health,

Cindy & Robert Kienitz

Atlantic Acupuncture

Vero Beach, Florida

Senility, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Part III

In our last Blog we explored the way dietary modification and exercises like Qigong can help prevent senility, dementia and Alzheimer’s. In part three of this examination we want to speak of how more specific conditions and therapies are arrived at by the diagnosis of their signs and symptoms.

Of the thirty-one patterns of diagnosis that are associated with dementia in Chinese medicine, nine patterns pertain specifically to the heart, three pertain to the liver and seven pertain to the kidneys. The remaining patterns have causative factors that range from trauma to age related stasis and stagnation of blood and Qi.

Due to the complexity of diagnosis of these conditions we advise the expertise of a Doctor of Chinese medicine. We are trained to understand and diagnose the various patterns and their signs and symptoms through the use of specific diagnostic tools, especially tongue and pulse diagnosis.

The science of diagnosis by inspection of the tongue was chronicled as far back as the Shang dynasty (1700 BCE) and has been continually updated and perfected since that time. There are four basic aspects of tongue analysis that include the tongue body, its color and shape, the coating including color, thickness, distribution and root, moisture showing the condition of body fluids and the ‘spirit’ which is kind of the Gestalt of the tongues presentation.

All of these signs allow us to determine not only the organs involved in disease progression but also the probable causes and prognosis of the disease.

Pulse analysis developed during the same period as tongue diagnosis but has more of a focus on the channels and pathways of Qi and their relationship to the organ and tissue systems of the body.

The Chinese pulse is taken at the radial artery of both wrists. There are 31 pulse types that can be felt at three different positions and at three different depths on each wrist for a total of 279 possible pulse presentations that relate to the major channels of Qi flow in the body.

The combination of tongue and pulse diagnosis is an incredibly sophisticated tool for finding the precise cause, location and prognosis of any disease and with this skill set Chinese doctors are able to parse out which of the thirty-one types of dementia may be present or about to occur.

In example, a person presenting with forgetfulness, absent mindedness, short attention span, inability to concentrate, insomnia, anxiety, agitation, heart palpitations, loss of appetite, a pale tongue with a white coat and a thready rapid pulse will be diagnosed with a heart blood and spleen Qi deficiency.

Based on that diagnosis the treatment principle would be to reinforce and benefit the heart and spleen, nourish the Qi and calm the mind.

An appropriate herbal remedy for this condition would be Gui Pi Tang or ‘Restore the Spleen Decoction’.

This determination of pattern diagnosis, treatment principle and remedial medicine would be followed for any possible condition that a person might present with and is what makes traditional Chinese medicine so very effective in treating any condition.

Because dementia takes so many forms it is important to get the appropriate diagnosis before any remedial herbal medicines are prescribed.

In our fourth and final installment on the subject of dementia we will look at prevention and the things that can be done to keep our minds and spirits clear, calm and healthy.

Yours in good health,

Cindy & Robert Kienitz

Atlantic Acupuncture

Vero Beach, Florida

Senility, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Part II

In our last Blog we explored the way Chinese medicine looks at the pathology of senility, dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases with the focus on the movement of Qi (bio-energy) and the formation and movement of blood and its components or essence.

Now we would like to look at preventative measures that we can all take, regardless of family history and age, to help keep our minds active and clear for our full 120 year life span!

Brain Food

Dietary tips to improve brain health begin with the adage “a little bit of everything and not too much of anything”.

The foods that have been shown to directly improve micro-vascular circulation are avocado, beans of any kind, beets, blueberry,  broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cayenne pepper, coffee, dark chocolate, eggs, fish, garlic, green tea, goji berries, nuts of any kind, oranges, spinach, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, turmeric and watermelon.

Adding one or more of these foods into your daily diet, in moderation, have been shown to greatly benefit the circulation of the entire body and of course, the brain.

Breath and Movement

We are only as healthy as our breath is good. Richly oxygenated blood comes from two sources, the food we eat and the air we breathe. Any exercise that increases the flow of blood systemically will also increase flow of blood to the brain and that exercise should be a daily occurrence.

We recommend bringing your heart rate up to twice its resting level, so if my resting heart rate is 60 beats per minute I would perform my preferred aerobic exercise to bring it up to 120 beats per minute and maintain that for 20 – 30 minutes every day.

This number can change depending on your age, weight general fitness level etc. but doubling the resting heart rate is a very attainable goal for just about everybody.

Another part of the equation for better mental health is Qigong. The practice of Qigong in ancient times was primarily to promote longevity and mental development through promotion of the whole body system. The combination of posture or movement, controlled breathing and, what the Chinese call mind-will, are the three principles of Qigong exercise.

Qigong styles have been constantly scientifically studied since the 1950’s and have been shown to improve microcirculation and peripheral circulation, prevent vascular spasm and help in treating conditions like Reynaud’s syndrome, angina and migraines.

Jade Dragon Qigong in particular increases slow, high amplitude brain waves and improves cerebral blood flow so that there are fewer incidences of stroke.

Qigong practice decreases stress response, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, while subjects show marked improvements in memory, concentration and interpersonal sensitivity.

Jade Dragon Qigong practice regulates blood pressure, cholesterol and hormone levels as well as mental acuity, vision, hearing, skin elasticity and bone density. Qigong also enhances immune function and physical strength moving one toward a longer, healthier life span. Sixty plus years of research in China shows that daily Qigong practiced by geriatric persons significantly increases life span and quality of life.

Jade Dragon Qigong instructional DVD’s can be purchased through our website, at our office in Vero Beach Florida and at

Yours in good health,

Cindy & Robert Kienitz

Atlantic Acupuncture

Vero Beach, Florida

Senility, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Part I

Many people are confused about the terms senility, dementia and Alzheimer’s. The terms are often lumped together under the overarching tent of dementia, with senility seeming to be on the lower and milder end of a continuum and Alzheimer’s being at the higher or more profoundly affected end of that same spectrum.

While the term “senility” is no longer popular among conventional medical professionals, further confusion arises when we are told that there are many other cognitive disorders associated with aging that fall under this rubric like, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, Frontal-temporal dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob syndrome, Dementia with Lewy bodies, Pick’s disease and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome to name a few.

Based on many years of research and clinical experience I have come to understand that the conventional medical model of the decline of the internal organs and the brain does not fully describe the causes and circumstances of senility, dementia and conditions like Alzheimer’s.

Traditional Chinese medicine tells us that birth, growth, youthful vigor and the decline and debility of aging are all related to the relative balance of Qi (bio-energy) and blood. In fact the chief mechanism of senility and related conditions is the loss of harmony of Qi and blood and those disharmonies and imbalances are mainly due to what Chinese doctors refer to as blood stasis.

Blood stasis simply means that the blood is not transported to where it is needed because it is physically blocked; certain components of blood are missing or incomplete, or there is a combination of blockage and deficient blood factors.

Physical blockage of blood can be due to many causes, vessels may experience narrowing or collapse, there may be occlusions such as accumulations of fats or plaque deposits within the vessels causing atherosclerosis and there may be frank blood clots. Frequently we see some combination of weakened vessel walls and narrowing due to deposits as major causative factors.

Qi and blood are the basic substances that constitute the human body and maintain the activities of life. Qi is the basis for all metabolic and physiological functions and blood is fundamental to constructing, enriching, moistening and nourishing the body. Without blood there is no Qi and without Qi the blood cannot perform its functions.

The Qi mechanism is responsible for getting the blood to where it is needed. The heart Qi in particular has that duty along with the governance of the entire vascular system. With advancing years the Qi and blood tend to undergo pathological changes such as loss of balance, stasis and obstruction which may lead to the occurrence of various diseases and senility of the organism.

The constituent blood factors are referred to as essence. In Chinese medicine these factors can be everything from vitamins and minerals to various types of blood cells, Ph levels and body salts. Essence is the broad spectrum of these components and is part of what the Chinese refer to as the “three treasures” which are Qi, blood and essence. If any of these treasures are in decline disease is soon to follow.

Chinese medicine looks to signs and symptoms to tell us what systems are affected in order to determine treatment principles. Changes in what we term “spirit and spirit orientation” include cognitive ability, memory, positive outlook and adaptation to change. This is probably the most important symptom and may be seen alone or along with palpitations, chest pain, stroke or hemiplegia, cough and asthma, dizziness, vertigo, difficult sleep, hair loss, diminished visual acuity and auditory power, senile patches (aka liver spots), varicosity, fatigue, poor appetite, edema, impotence, numbness, aching and body pain. These symptoms may occur singly or in groups and lead us to determine the type of condition and kind of treatment.

Preventative treatment is always our first choice but we can treat most conditions at any stage of the continuum. Next time our focus will be on prevention using dietary therapy, exercise and Chinese herbal medicines.

Yours in good health,

Cindy & Robert Kienitz

Atlantic Acupuncture

Vero Beach, Florida

The Healing Power of Zoup!

An ancient Chinese proverb states that a good doctor treats with food first, then resorts to medicine.

A healing zoup can be your first step in maintaining your health and preventing illness. The therapeutic value of zoup comes from the ease with which your body can assimilate the nutrients from the ingredients, which have been broken down by simmering.

Here are some healing zoup tips that will preserve your wellness and longevity:

Lose weight with zoup
Obesity is on the rise throughout the industrialized world, resulting in a startling increase in the rates of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. You can count yourself out of the statistics if you eat a bowl of zoup at least once a day. Nutritious low-salt zoups will nourish you as they flush excess wastes from your body. It has been found that people who eat one serving of zoup per day lose more weight than those who eat the same amount of calories, but don’t eat zoup. Homemade zoup is your best bet, because canned zoups tend to be loaded with salt and chemicals. My advice is to use organic vegetables whenever possible. The herbicides and pesticides that can be present in conventional produce can assault the immune system and overload it with toxins.

Build your immunity
Your immune system needs a lot of minerals to function properly and the typical Western diet does not always hit the mark. When you slowly simmer foods over low heat, you gently leach out the energetic and therapeutic properties of the foods, preserving the nutritional value of the foods. Keep in mind that boiling can destroy half of the vitamins found in vegetables, so cook zoup over a low heat.

Immune-Boosting Zoup
In a chicken or vegetable stock simmer these ingredients for 30 minutes: cabbage, carrots, fresh ginger, onion, oregano, shiitake mushrooms (if dried, they must be soaked first), the seaweed of your choice, and any type of squash. Cabbage can increase your body’s ability to fight infection, ginger supports healthy digestion, and seaweed cleanses the body. Shiitake mushrooms contain coumarin, polysaccharides, and sterols, as well as vitamins and minerals that increase your immune system’s function and the remaining ingredients promote general health and well-being. Eat this zoup every other day to build a strong and healthy immune system.

Detoxify your body
Zoup, as a liquid, is by nature helping you flush waste from your body. When you choose detoxifying ingredients, such as the ones featured in the recipe below, you are really treating your body to an internal cleanse. The broth below boasts many benefits: it supports the liver in detoxification, increases circulation, reduces inflammation, and replenishes your body with essential minerals.

Super Detoxifying Broth
Simmer the following for 1–2 hours over a low flame: anise, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Swiss chard, cilantro, collards, dandelion, fennel, garlic, ginger, kale, leeks, shiitake mushrooms, mustard greens, daikon radish, seaweed, turmeric, and watercress.

Drink 8 to 12 ounces twice a day. You can keep this broth in your fridge for up to one week; however, it is always best to serve zoups when fresh because each day, the therapeutic value tends to decrease.

In addition to using cleansing herbs in zoups, you can take cleansing herbs in supplements. For a gentle but powerful cleanse using Chinese herbs, Internal Cleanse increases the ability of the liver to cleanse the body of internal and environmental toxins.

Warm up with a hearty zoup
One should always want to eat for the season. Even in the relatively mild winters of Vero Beach, Florida, zoups provide warmth the body craves in cold weather. When you cook foods into a zoup, you are adding a lot of what Chinese nutrition calls “warming energy” into the food. Warming foods to feature in your zoups include: leeks, onions, turnips, spinach, kale, broccoli, quinoa, yams, squash, garlic, scallions, and parsley. As a spice, turmeric aids with circulation, a great boost against the cold weather.

Get well faster
As your mother may have instinctively known, when you are sick, there is no better healing food than zoup. The reason for this is that zoups and stews don’t require as much energy to digest, freeing your body up to fight the infection.

It would be impossible to talk about zoups healing abilities without putting the spotlight on homemade chicken noodle zoup. Studies have found that chicken noodle zoup does seem to relieve the common cold by inhibiting inflammation — helping to break up congestion and ease the flow of nasal secretions.

While chicken zoup may not cure a cold outright, it does help alleviate some of the symptoms and can help as a preventative measure. Many of my patient’s keep herbal formulas for cold & flu in their medicine cabinets so they are there to support recovery when a cold strikes.

In Chinese medicine, you would traditionally be given a tonic zoup specifically tailored to your needs, and for that level of personal care, this level of dietary therapy involves using Chinese herbs in conjunction with traditional zoup ingredients. Some of my patients have been known to grind up add their tablet or pill medicinals that we prescribe and add them to zoups or “zmoothies”

Yours in good health,

Cindy & Robert Kienitz


Dietary Dilemmas…

This time of year, at our clinic here in Vero Beach Florida, we get a lot of queries about weight loss as a New Year’s resolution.

Dietary modification can be very difficult, as is the feeling of being overweight. Many fad diets may promise instant and significant weight loss results, but most of them rely on depriving your body of certain key nutrients and disrupting the natural function of your body’s metabolism.

There are many fad diets that promise to help you lose weight in almost no time at all. After two or three weeks on the diet you find yourself losing enough to be able to brag to your family and friends about it, and you’re so optimistic that this new lifestyle will be your ticket to a smaller waistline that you start to browse the stores for new clothes.

As you continue to lose weight for another couple of weeks something unforeseen happens: you start to feel sluggish, you begin craving something that your diet absolutely forbids you to have, or the general sense of optimism begins to transform itself into a feeling of constriction, frustration, and even dietary imprisonment.

You may decide to have just one snack, or spend just one day eating whatever you want with the intention of going back to the diet the following day. What happens then is that you feel such satisfaction from that treat that the entire effort falls apart and you put the weight back on in practically no time at all.

Does this scenario sound at all familiar?

These five herbs make a harmonious blend of function and taste. From an Oriental medical point of view they are essential in keeping the body in balance because they provide nutrients people often lack, acting not only as medicine, but as also nutritional supplement.

  1. Millet: A well-balanced diet should consist of whole grains instead of refined grains like white rice and pasta, and millet is a beneficial and delicious staple of this category of food. This non-glutinous grain is over 10-percent protein, has high amounts of fiber and B-complex vitamins, and because it isn’t an acid forming food, is easy to digest.
  2. Asparagus: When losing weight, it’s important to favor chlorophyll-rich foods, including asparagus. Asparagus is a nutrient-rich vegetable packed with folate, vitamins A, C, and K, and fiber. Asparagus also contains a carbohydrate known as inulin (not to be confused with insulin) that promotes healthy bacteria in the large intestine – which in turn promotes a healthier digestive function.
  3. Pomegranates: Eating a balanced diet to lose weight should include eating fresh fruits, and pomegranates are a wonderful example of a healthy, nutritious fruit that has antioxidant properties and will help prevent cancer. While the benefits of drinking pomegranate juice have gained a lot of attention recently, you will be more likely to lose weight by eating the fruit fresh to increase your fiber intake and keep the calories down.
  4. Pine Nuts: Pine nuts are the edible seeds of pine trees and are considered an essential ingredient in the tasty Italian mixture pesto. Chinese medicine uses pine nuts to improve gastrointestinal tract and digestive functions, and pine nut oil is even used for appetite suppression. Pine nuts and other nuts are a tasty part of a well-balanced diet intended for weight loss.
  5. Green Tea: It has been found that consuming large amounts of coffee and caffeine can lead to food cravings, increase one’s appetite, and induce stress-related eating. Green tea is a wonderful alternative to coffee in that it does provide a little caffeine but also contains beneficial antioxidants. So drink up!

A healthy diet also includes lean proteins like chicken breast, legumes such as lentils, and other whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. While fad diets may promise a large amount of weight loss in a short period of time, there’s almost a guarantee that you will put that weight back on-and then some!

Eat five smaller meals a day, avoid processed foods, chew more slowly, and incorporate more healthy foods into your diet-starting with these five.

Yours in good health

Robert & Cindy Kienitz


Mindful Eating…

Several years ago, before Cindy and I relocated to Vero Beach FL, we conducted a series of Weight Management workshops in conjunction with the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. The workshops were eight weeks long and the participants received acupuncture and psychological counseling as well as training in Qigong, walking therapy, Chinese dietary therapy, cooking classes and classes in mindful eating. At the end of one of the workshops one of our participants had this to say.

“When I faced my own obesity several years ago, I knew I had to do something that would really look at the prime cause of my weight problem. Instead of turning to the old diet answers (“the light is better here”), I asked myself HOW I was eating my food. And I was horrified at my answers to this question.

I considered food as a throwaway commodity, something to get through to get on with the next thing in life. I gulped, shoveled and barely chewed food. I overate at every meal and I had no thoughts about the origins, effort or sacrifice that went into each bite.

For me, the results of this workshop were nothing short of amazing. I began to slow down as I ate, genuinely appreciating my food. I had a new respect for food, its origins and the efforts behind its production. I began to tune in to my own body and my own hunger and to learn to stop eating when my hunger was satisfied (instead of using the empty plate as a signal to stop eating or worse, get second helpings). Slowly, I began to recapture control over my eating and make choices about when to stop.

All of this had a profound effect on my weight. Slowly, two to four pounds a week disappeared. It was as if my body was saying to me, “You finally got it right.” And through it all, it hadn’t been so much that I changed WHAT I was eating it was a change in HOW I was eating. “

 If we disconnect mind from stomach, the mind doesn’t receive signals of repletion. Normally, as the sensation of taste, smell and food texture reach the brain, they contribute to our feeling of satiation. But, when the mind is disconnected and disenfranchised, it’s difficult to feel satiated.

There are two distinct types of overeaters: The ‘Gourmet’ and the ‘Let’s get on with it’ eaters. We need to find a healthy balance between the two.

The ‘Gourmets’ need to learn that they cannot have three, five-course-gala meals every day and the ‘Let’s get on with it’ eaters need to add more festiveness and mindfulness to meals.

10 Tips for Mindful Eating

At home, eat only at a designated place, which supposedly is your dining table. Whenever you eat, sit down. Standing, walking or driving while eating fosters the habit of mindless eating.

  1. Eat at scheduled times as often as possible, people tend to sacrifice their scheduled eating time for unscheduled activities.
  2. When you eat, let that be the only activity you do. This obviously precludes multitasking such as writing checks, reading, watching TV or talking on the phone while eating.
  3. Have rituals around your meals, such as beginning and ending meals with thanks or a moment of meditation. Meals are family-time, talking about the day’s events is a good way to reaffirm you connectedness.
  4. Mind the presentation, a little garnish goes a long way to help appreciation.
  5. Attend to the quality of your food, not the quantity.
  6. Eat slowly and chew the food at least 30 times per mouthful, learn to savor.
  7. Take the next bite only after you’ve swallowed the food that was already in your mouth.
  8. Until you develop a strong mind-stomach connection, eat with full awareness and concentration, which is, mentally registering the whole process from picking the food up, putting it into your mouth, chewing it and swallowing it down.
  9. In order to develop proper control over eating, mindfulness about eating or any other behavior, you have to be totally non-judgmental. You can’t criticize, chastise and dislike yourself and still be able to observe yourself accurately. When negative emotions or any type of emotional excitement gets hold of a person, his or her faculty of self-observation is significantly compromised.

Additionally, we know from our studies of Traditional Chinese Medicine that the mind and body are connected in such  way that any mental emotional state affects the body and that  always includes the digestive system.

Bon Apatite,

Robert & Cindy Kienitz