Food Additives in Cold Stone Creamery
Chinese Herbs & Supplements, Self-Care

Animal Study: Food additives promote colitis, obesity and metabolic syndrome

Food Additives in Cold Stone Creamery

Article on Food Additives Research

Widely used food additives promotes colitis, obesity and metabolic syndrome, shows study of emulsifiers — ScienceDaily.

Study Cited

Dietary emulsifiers impact the mouse gut microbiota promoting colitis and metabolic syndrome

Key Points

• Carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80 were found in mice to alter gut microbiota in such a way as to induce inflammatory bowel disease

• “emulsifiers induced low-grade or mild intestinal inflammation and metabolic syndrome, characterized by increased levels of food consumption, obesity, hyperglycemia and insulin resistance

What foods/products contain carboxymethylcellulose?

Carboxymethylcellulose is a food thickener, binder and stabilizer. It is also known as Cellulose Gum, Sodium Salt, sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, and CMC. According to, this food additive can be found in:

• Food Items: ice cream, dressing, cheese, icing, toppings, gelatinous desserts, infant/baby formula, candy, cottage cheese, cream cheese spread.

• Non-Food Items: K-Y Jelly, toothpaste, laxatives (it’s also considered a type of fiber), hand cream, antacids, diet pills, water-based paints, detergents, various paper products, artificial tears and in laundry detergents.

What foods contain polysorbate-80?

Polysorbate-80 is an emulsifier that thickens food and prevents oil separation. It is also known as Polyoxythylene Sorbitan Mono-Oleate, or Tween 80.  It can be found in foods like whipped cream, ice cream, sherbet, mayonnaise, and salad dressing. (Yup, that includes Cold Stone Creamery.)

Alternatives and Treatment

As per usual, our greatest alternative is eating non-processed foods. Take a peek at the ingredient lists of what you’re eating – how many foods do you spot in a day with these ingredients? If you have inflammatory bowel disease and you’re looking to support your gut health, consider working with an herbalist. While studies remain limited and heterogenous, a 2013 systematic review on the efficacy of herbal therapy in inflammatory bowel disease concluded, “herbal therapy for the treatment of IBD show encouraging results.”

Reiki decreases anxiety post-heart attack

Post-Heart Attack, Reiki Decreases Anxiety

Post-Heart Attack, Reiki Decreases Anxiety | Reiki Energy Work for Everyday People.

Reiki supports relaxation and decreased anxiety after heart attack

Heart Attack (aka Myocardial Infarction)

20-Minutes of Reiki: A whole lot of good

In a small 2008 study, researchers compared the effects of Reiki (light-touch energy work they call “relaxation therapy”) to those of classical music on post-acute coronary syndrome (ACS) inpatients. In the study, patients had to have had an ACS episode within 72 hours before receiving 20-minutes of treatment (either Reiki or classical music), or simply participating in a control group of minimal distraction.

How Reiki relaxes the body

So, what did the researchers conclude? “Reiki increases vagal activity and decreases anxiety in patients after ACS.” In specific, they found Reiki significantly:

  • increased high frequency (HF) component of HRV
  • increased respiration rate interval
  • reduced reported anxiety
  • increased sense of relaxation

What is the HF component of HRV?

The HF component will decrease during periods of time pressure or emotional strain; so seeing Reiki’s ability to increase this is consistent with the participants’ experiencing less anxiety and more relaxation.

What is ACS?

Acute coronary syndrome  is an umbrella term for conditions in which the blood supplied to the heart is suddenly blocked, such as is the case in heart attack or unstable angina.

Energy work and the Heart

Energy Center Lao Gong in the Hand

Energy center, Lao Gong, in the hand is a point along the Pericardium (heart protector) channel.

They say many healthcare providers die from complications to the heart because they tax the organ’s energy so extensively, in caring for others and especially in channeling its energy through the hands as is the case for many bodyworkers including massage therapists. While I can appreciate the sentiment, I think it’s notable to also reference Louise Hay’s work in which she references coronary thrombosis as a condition of “feeling alone and scared,” a manifestation of feeling, “I’m not good enough. I don’t do enough. I’ll never make it.” In the same book, You Can Heal Your Life, she also lists heart attack as a condition of “squeezing all the joy out of the heart in favor of money or position, etc.” Unfortunately, these sentiments are not uncommon to many individuals, especially those working such demanding jobs/hours as do healthcare providers.

Anxiety and the Heart

In Chinese medicine, we believe when the heart is balanced, one experiences joy. When the heart is unbalanced, one experiences anxiety about big-picture concerns. It’s not surprising then, to hear Louise Hay’s mapping of these conditions to thoughts like, “I’m not good enough. I don’t do enough. I’ll never make it.” More importantly, understanding Reiki’s effect to quell anxiety is an important finding when it comes to caring for folks post-heart attack (or other ACS episode). It means supporting the heart energetically, and reducing overall stress on the body. This is no small detail, as stress can affect heart beat regularity and, indirectly, this population’s risk of arrhythmic sudden death after myocardial infarction.

Your practice

Consider treating yourself to care. What would deeply nourish your heart’s sense of joy, connection and love? How does it feel to allow yourself to fully receive support? Some of my favorite things to recommend for body-based heart support include Reiki, Watsu or floating. What are some of yours? Share in the comments!

Hand energy center: Lao Gong
Acupuncture, Reiki

New Study Shows Yoga Has Healing Powers (Article/Study, National Geographic)


While yoga is not a Chinese medicine practice, I found National Geographic’s piece, “New Study Shows Yoga Has Healing Powers” interesting in light of what we East Asian Medicine Practitioners know and believe about the body’s acupoints and energy gates. The author cites a recent study, “Impact on Inflammation, Mood, and Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” in which they found poses like the downward-facing dog (see above image) can reduce inflammation in patients fighting cancer.

Physical Benefits of Yoga

While some think yoga is subjectively pleasant and/or helpful, its wonderful to be able to say its effects can also be objectively measured. National Geographic reports, “Blood tests before and after the trial showed that, after three months of yoga practice, all three markers for inflammation [proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), and interleukin-1β (IL-1β)] were lower by 10 to 15 percent.”

Energetic Benefits of Downward-Facing Dog

If you’ll notice, in the Downward-Facing Dog, a person connects with the ground at the palms and soles of the feet; these locations match to what is considered in Chinese medicine four of the body’s major energy gates. An energy gate is where the strength of the body’s energy, or qi, is regulated. At each palm center, we find the acupoint, Lao Gong (“Palace of Toil”); and under the ball of each foot is Yong Quan (“Gushing Spring”). From these points we can draw energy into the body or send energy out of the body. It’s no surprise to me then, that in connecting these energy gates to the earth (as is done in Downward-Facing Dog), individuals naturally release pathogenic energy into the earth for recycling and draw in healing earth energy into their body. Want to be more mindful of this exchange? Imagine breathing in earth energy through your left-hand side, and breathing out stress and inflammation from your right palm and sole.

Want to learn more about using your energy gates? Come join us this March for a 9-week course in Reiki energy work! Deadline for registration, 03/15/14 (limited to 6 students). More at

Acupuncture Points Show High Oxygen Pressure Levels

Studies Show Electroacupuncture Stops Pain

electroacupuncture stops painMRI and biochemistry show electroacupuncture stops pain

In their latest Acupuncture News, Healthcare Medicine Institute (Health CMI) reports, “MRI and Biochemistry Confirm Acupuncture Stops Pain.” In the article, they cite a number of studies that examine the use of new imaging techniques that elucidate acupoints and electroacupuncture, the stimulation of those points with weak electrical current.

Cited in the article is a study just published in Anesthesiology – The Journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, in which researchers conclude:

“Electroacupuncture blocks pain by activating a variety of bioactive chemicals through peripheral, spinal, and supraspinal mechanisms. These include opioids, which desensitize peripheral nociceptors and reduce proinflammatory cytokines peripherally and in the spinal cord, and serotonin and norepinephrine, which decrease spinal N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunit GluN1 phosphorylation.”

What is electroacupuncture?

While acupuncture, the needling of acupoints, has been around for thousands of years, electroacupuncture is a relatively new phenomenon; some folks date the treatment as early as the 1800s, while others place it as late as 1958. Today, we can send a weak current through two acupuncture points using a device and two alligator clip wires. Alternatively, we can use a device that will stimulate a point without the use of needles.Electroacupuncture stops pain, Acupuncture Points Show High Oxygen Pressure Levels

The treatment is comfortable and typically lasts a few minutes up to 45 minutes, depending on what’s being treated with which device. (Most folks report feeling a tingling sensation at the local site that can sometimes radiate down the channel.) Not only is electroacupuncture helpful for treating pain, but also for treating anxiety and depression.

‘Proof’ of Acupuncture Points

The imaging findings cited in the article are quite exciting as science has been struggling to confirm empirically what acupuncturists and their patients have known for millennia: acupuncture points are real. Now by way of CT scan, researchers have found higher densities of micro-vessels at acupoint locations. In their study published December 2013 in the Journal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena, they concluded, “there were large numbers of involutedly microvascular structure in the acupoint areas. Nevertheless, in non-acupoints area, the microvascular structure was relatively simple and flat.”

The adjacent image is from another imaging technology, an amperometric oxygen microsensor, that detects partial oxygen pressure variations at various locations. (I recommend reading Health CMI’s article in full to learn more.) Researchers found acupuncture points showed statistically-significant, relatively higher pO2 levels as compared to other regions.

Feel you might be a good candidate for electroacupuncture treatment? Contact Melissa for an appointment today.