Category Archives: Wellness

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Is Dry Needling for Me?

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If you’re going through physical therapy, at some point you may be asked if you want to try “dry needling.” You may be wondering what this is, if it will hurt, and whether it will do any good. Today, we’ll explain the in’s and out’s of this practice so you can decide if it is right for your treatment plan.

 

  • Needles, Really? Dry needling is also known as intramuscular stimulation, and is related to acupuncture only in that it uses a small needle. Dry needling is based in western medical theory and practice. The needles used are filament needles, which are very small. Some patients do not feel the needles being applied at all, and it is rare to have significant discomfort.35059030_l
  • What Conditions can Dry Needling Help? Dry needling is not an independent treatment and, therefore, should always be used in conjunction with other modalities. Many patients with the following issues have found significant relief from dry needling: neck, back, or shoulder pain, joint conditions such as golfer’s elbow, headaches, hip and gluteal pain, knee pain, sciatica, muscular strains, ligament sprains, and other types of chronic pain. It is also helpful in relieving the discomfort associated with physical therapy treatments.
  • Is it Dangerous? No, provided a trained professional administers the dry needling it is not dangerous and has very few side effects. The most commonly reported side effect is some soreness, which lasts for a few hours up to two days.
  • How Will it Help Me? When you are injured, your body produces inflammation, and the area goes into a tension state to protect itself from further damage. This contracture inhibits circulation that is necessary for healing to occur. When the needle is applied to the damaged area, it begins to break the contracture and pain cycle. The body also sees the needle as a foreign invader and will activate the immune system, aiding healing.

 

Ultimately, the decision of whether to try dry needling is completely up to you. Some patients simply cannot abide the idea of needles. However, many patients, dubious at first, find that dry needling was extremely helpful in their healing and rehabilitation process. To find out if dry needling might be a good option for you, request an appointment with us today.


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Four Ways To Treat Your Body With Love This Valentine’s Day

It’s a common myth that in order to treat yourself, it has to be with something that isn’t healthy.  By reversing this old wives’ tale, you can take control of your own physical and emotional health this Valentine’s Day. Here are our favorite ways to show yourself some love without compromising your health.

 

  • Don’t Skip The Candy Aisle Entirely. By 18207180_lmaking a few small changes in the sweet indulgences you long for, you can not only reduce the negative health consequences, but also actually give your immune system and metabolism a boost! Trade the milk chocolate in for dark chocolate or drop the candy hearts and replace them with chocolate covered strawberries. Check out this list of other quick and easy, sweet yet safe choices from Health.com.
  • Look Your Best In New Workout Gear. We all know the benefits of regular physical activity to our bodies, but there can also be a mental aspect. When you have great looking workout clothes that you love to put on, not only will you enjoy the workout more, you’ll feel better about yourself, even before you start to sweat. Maybe this is the right time to sign up for a subscription box like Fabletics, for fashionable activewear?
  • Start From The Bottom Up. Look down. All the way down. How long have you had those sneakers? Most of us hang on to our active footwear way too long. Check out these tips to see if it’s time to upgrade your kicks!
  • Take It Outside. It’s easy to get into a rut in the winter when you’re stuck indoors for weeks on end and the sun seems to be a myth. But getting outdoors, yes, especially in the winter, can have some surprising health benefits. From getting that crucial Vitamin D to building tolerance for colder temperatures, working out in the cold can be a terrific gift to give yourself!

 

It’s not hard to see that you can treat yourself with a little more love this Valentine’s Day, without feeling guilty afterward! Ready to make some other healthy changes in 2016? Request an appointment now.


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Could Craniosacral Therapy Be Right for You?

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15More and more patients are seeking holistic remedies to lessen the need for pain medications and other more invasive interventions. The draw of many holistic modalities is that they enhance the body’s natural capacity to heal itself. One such intervention is Craniosacral Therapy.

 

Craniosacral therapy is a non-invasive physical therapy technique used to treat or manage symptoms of a variety of medical issues, including, but not limited to:

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  • Migraines
  • Chronic pain in the neck and back
  • Motor-Coordination impairments
  • Concussion and traumatic brain injuries
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • TMJ Syndrome
  • Central nervous system disorders

 

The craniosacral system runs from the brain, down the spine, and into the sacrum. It is a network of bones, membranes, and cerebrospinal fluid that protects the central nervous system. Disruptions to the craniosacral system and, subsequently, to the central nervous system can cause a variety of negative impacts throughout the body. Such disruptions can be caused by:

 

  • Traumatic jamming
  • Surgical procedures
  • Cranial fractures
  • Infection
  • Sports injuries

 

Craniosacral therapy involves a qualified practitioner applying light pressure to various points on the body where disruptions are originating. First, the clinician will take your full medical history and examine various parts of your body, including the head, spine, and ribcage. He or she then identifies sites of disruptions in your body by “tuning in” to small, rhythmic movements of the central nervous system.  The pressure corrects the disruptions in the craniosacral system, enabling the central nervous system to function properly, leading to more efficient self-healing within the body.

 

Patients do not need to remove their clothing and will be lying on their back for most of their session. Most patients report tingling sensations in their body during the treatment, which is completely normal. After treatment, patients generally feel very relaxed.

 

If you would like to learn more about craniosacral therapy and how it could benefit your condition, request an appointment with a specialist at the Advanced Health and Wellness Center of New Jersey today. We are committed to helping you regain your body’s optimal functioning through gentle, holistic techniques and interventions.


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Three Ways to Fight The Winter Blues

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Many of us have heard of “seasonal depression” that can occur in the darker, colder winter months. While only a small portion of the population meet diagnostic criteria for clinical Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), many experience its symptoms, such as depressed mood, lack of motivation, or desire to sleep excessively. The winter blues affect us all in different ways, but there are some precautions we can take to fight them off. Check out these three tips for keeping the winter blues away. Untitled design (14)

 

  1. Stay Active. Keeping a regular physical fitness regimen in the winter is a great way to keep your energy levels and mood regulated. Instead of taking an afternoon nap, power through and hit the gym on your way home from work. Take a class at your local fitness or recreation center. If you don’t have a gym membership, buy a few different fitness DVDs and get into a routine that works for you. Exercise has been shown to raise levels of feel-good brain chemicals known as endorphins.
  2. Treat Yourself. Sometimes getting out of bed and showing up for your daily obligations can be a challenge, especially during the winter. Give yourself a reward–and something to look forward to–at least once a week. This can be a trip to the spa, a one-hour massage, or any other restorative, enjoyable activity you can think of.
  3. Learn a New Skill. Get your mind and body engaged in learning something new to fill your time in positive, productive ways. The sense of accomplishment we get from mastering something we previously had no ability to do is a great way to bolster self-esteem, too. Even better, make the skill something that will benefit your health. Why not try Tai Chi? This practice is a slow and graceful form of martial arts that has been shown to alleviate stress and promote overall health and well-being. Tai Chi is offered at many community and fitness centers, including at Advanced Physical Therapy of Freehold.

 

 

These strategies are preventive measures against the winter blues. If you find yourself already falling into a winter-induced funk, request an appointment with the experts at Advanced Health and Wellness Center of NJ to learn how we can help.


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Holiday Spices With Surprising Health Benefits

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Spices are a great way to season food without extra sugar or salt. What’s more, research suggests that many spices may offer a variety of healthy benefits, from fighting inflammation to helping prevent Alzheimer’s. Load up on these classic flavors in your holiday dishes for a healthier season!

 

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Nutmeg

Nutmeg has long been used as an at-home health remedy to treat indigestion and, when applied topically, to treat acne. It’s relatively high in magnesium–a mineral which has been proven to help treat insomnia in elderly patients, and which may help improve duration and quality of sleep. Macelignan, another compound found in nutmeg, has been shown to have a neuroprotective effect, which hypothetically means it may help stave off Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Just be careful, as consumed in too large of quantities (like, downing a whole shaker quantities) nutmeg can be toxic!

 

Cinnamon

For many, the warm scent of cinnamon is synonymous with the change of seasons. This fragrant flavoring has been linked to several health benefits. Studies suggest it helps lower blood glucose levels in diabetics and pre-diabetics, making it a potentially important tool in helping high-risk patients manage their glycemic levels. Manganese, a mineral found in cinnamon, plays an important role in overall blood sugar regulation. Cinnamon’s antimicrobial properties help with oral health and fighting bad breath, and in preventing bacterial growth in food and beverages.

 

 

Ginger

While ginger’s usefulness in helping relieve nausea and indigestion is widely known, it’s worth noting that this spice offers a number of other benefits too. It’s been shown to help relieve and prevent allergies. Ginger also offers anti-inflammatory benefits, and has been shown to effectively ease joint pain in arthritis sufferers.

 

Keep in mind that the amount of these ingredients typically used in recipes is relatively small–incorporating them in isn’t necessarily a magic bullet. It is, however a great–and tasty–step toward a diet that makes you feel better. For more tips tailored to your metabolism and needs, we encourage you to request an appointment with our wellness experts.


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#OptOutside and Two Other Holiday Health Trends to Check out this Holiday Season

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One thing we’re grateful for this holiday season? That health and wellness continues to climb the list of priorities for some many in our community and country at large. Increasingly, it seems like many of us have decided to do away with accepting “good enough” and really pursuing better health. It’s a sentiment that’s evident in some of the big trending stories and concepts that have been making headlines of late; for instance:

 

#OptOutside & REI’s Revolutionary Approach to Black Friday 5802400_l

Outdoor performance gear retailer REI caused a stir this year by announcing its stores would be closed for Black Friday. Instead, the company is urging customers to #OptOutside, and spend some time enjoying the great outdoors. Black Friday craziness can have a festive feel for some of us, but it’s also often an incredibly stressful event–whereas spending time outside offers all kinds of health benefits. Improved sleep, lower blood pressure, better mood, and reduced ADHD symptoms in children are among the many benefits of outdoors time cited by NY’s Department of Environmental Conservation. Check out where to score some fresh air in NJ here.

 

Genetic Testing

With the recent FDA approval of direct to consumer genetic testing, more and more people are opting to send in their samples. In return, they’re getting all kinds of fascinating data on their ancestry, health, and physiology. This kind of testing, whether through your healthcare provider or via a direct to consumer kit, can be a great tool in improving your fitness and overall health. If you’ve had a test done independently, consider contacting a wellness specialist for additional insight into your results, and assistance incorporating your findings into an action plan.

 

Better Food Choices

As Forbes notes in their recent report from food and beverage consultants The Hartman Group, consumers are “redefining” food culture. “As shoppers, progressives are no longer thinking about condition management (lowering cholesterol or blood pressure) or dieting (low fat, low carb) but are focused on real quality food, positive nutrition, fresh, less processed foods and beverages and fun,” the report notes. This means less focus on bland, traditional “diet” food and more focus on offerings that are fresher and have solid nutritional value. It’s all about quality versus quantity–and that’s good news for your body and your palate!

 

Ready to hop on the trends, and improve your health? Request an appointment with our specialists today for customized care to help your feel your best.


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girl eating healthy Halloween treat

Healthy Halloween Handouts

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At the Advanced Health and Wellness Center of New Jersey, we’re all about healthy lifestyle choices. And while a little bit of candy every so often isn’t such a bad thing, neither is offering something a little different this Halloween. Edibles aren’t the only option. There are lots of great treats out there that promote healthy habits and active lifestyles at candy-comparable price points–especially if you stock up early. For best results, we recommend offering several options. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Seed Packets

Seed packets are an inexpensive gift with the potential to provide a long-term educational benefit. Gourds, squashes and–of course– pumpkins are great seasonal picks. Bonus? Pumpkins pack a nutritional punch.

Light Up Wearables

LED lights aren’t just fun–they’re a great way to help keep kids safer. With the days getting shorter, it’s important to make sure your kids are visible at dusk. Lights designed to clip on to shoelaces, backpacks, etc. are a cute, creative, and calorie-free handout.

Sweatbands

Headbands and wristbands are colorful, retro accessories great for dress up and inspiring future athletes. Plus? They’re less likely to pull or snap the way those rubber bracelets that have also been trending tend to, which means lower risk of injuries.

Frisbees

Frisbees and mini frisbees are a great way to encourage and foster active play. They’re inexpensive, too–right now you can get a set of 72 on Amazon for under $10.

Want more ways to improve your health and well being this holiday season? Request an appointment today!


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Alternative, Holistic, Integrative, and Complementary Medicine: What’s the Difference?

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Alternative, holistic, integrative, and complementary medicine are all terms that are often used interchangeably when discussing a certain approach to health care. Although they do share a common thread, understanding the subtle differences between these terms helps demonstrate the goals and philosophies behind each. Here’s the rundown:

Alternative Medicine: Alternative medicine describes practices not taught in or offered at standard western medical institutions, such as medical schools and hospitals. Many alternative medicine methods are based in eastern medicine or traditions of indigenous people. Some of these methods or practices include herbal medicine, acupuncture, and therapeutic massage.

Complementary Medicine: Complementary medicine is alternative methods used alongside conventional or Western medicine. For example, a patient may be taking a conventional Western medication for arthritis and also use acupuncture to manage their pain or other symptoms.

Holistic or Integrative Medicine: Integrative medicine describes an approach that seeks to treat a person as a whole– think, “treat the patient, not the disease.” As with complimentary medicine, it’s not so much an alternative to traditional western medicine as a way patients can improve their quality of life and even potentially improve the outcomes of their more traditional treatments through things like nutrition, exercises and therapies designed to reduce stress, etc.

Interested in learning more about these approaches to medicine? The Advanced Health and Wellness Center will be hosting a series of free lectures on topics in integrative medicine. The next lecture will be Wednesday, September 30th. You can register here, and join the conversation in the comments!


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Wellness-Inspired Gift Ideas

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Ever noticed how many birthdays you seem to be celebrating in September? It’s not just in your head–September is THE birthday month. Just check out this infographic!

To help you with all those birthdays, check out these gift ideas. They’re all about encouraging healthy choices without being boring, judgy, or bland, so that you can feel as good about giving as they will about receiving!

Blender

A good blender is a game changer for anyone who struggles to eat his or her daily share of produce. Smoothies are just easier–and more fun. Take a look at all the things you can do with kale or spinach! Bonus points if the recipient is a parent–apparently smoothies are the best for coaxing picky eaters into getting their nutrients! This is a peak wedding month, too, so consider investing in a quality piece (preferably with a sound muffling cover–good blenders are LOUD) for a couple you adore. CNET has a great roundup of 2015’s best models.

Professional Massage

It can be hard for busy, working professionals to take time to indulge in some quality self-care. Make them with a gift voucher for a professional massage. Treat yourself while you’re at it–a medically trained masseuse can help you work on a long term plan to keep you feel fresh and energized all year long!

Fitness Tracker

Now, this one is a little trickier, etiquette-wise. We recommend it only for someone you’ve discussed it with previously–preferably in a context other than weight loss. The last thing you want is to make the birthday gal or guy feel self-conscious. Ideally, you should have a tracker too–half the fun of quality fitness trackers is the ability to “team up” via the corresponding app to cheer each other on virtually throughout the day. You can learn more about the best versions on the market here.

Park Pass

Know any outdoorsy types–or aspiring outdoorsy types? A park pass could be a perfect gift for them. In New Jersey, $50 grants you access all year to all the parks (most cost $5-$10 for each entry). Bundle it up in a cute little travel guide like this one for a sweet gift that’ll keep on giving. Time outdoors offers lots of health benefits, from  reducing stress to boosting the immune system.

A Healthy You

It’s cheesy, but it’s true: the best gift you can give your loved ones is to take good care of yourself. That way, you’ll have the energy, health, and enthusiasm to keep making memories with them for years to come. If fatigue, pain, or struggles with your weight have been holding you back, request an appointment today, and give your friends and family the joy of seeing a healthier, happier you.


Good health requires balance. Physical fitness, nutrition, sleep, pain management, and stress relief all contribute to a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. At the Advanced Health and Wellness Center of New Jersey, we help patients struggling with weight loss, fatigue, fibromyalgia, and other conditions using holistic techniques. Request an appointment and get started on a path towards comprehensive wellness.