Is the Paleo Diet Everything It’s Cracked Up to Be?

You may have noticed that every few years or so, a new diet fad pops up. Paleo diet, South Beach, detox, macrobiotics. There’s even a grapefruit diet! In some cases, these fads can be based in healthy living and even scientific research. But other times, the trend can be full of misconceptions and outdated information. And fads like those can possibly have a negative effect on your health!

But because Dreamclinic stays on top of the trends and the latest research, you have a trusted health source in us.  And for one diet, the paleo diet, that has been gaining in popularity, it’s time to separate fact from fiction. Today, we’ll be seeing how this diet trend stacks up, and whether it’s healthy or harmful to your body.

What Exactly is the Paleo Diet?

This is an excellent question. It also seems that whenever a diet fad pops up, there are variations on what people say counts and doesn’t count. However, the paleo diet is fairly easy to define. At its core, the diet is about getting back to how our ancestors may have eaten long ago. This often means more fresh foods and less processed foods and no flour products.  Imagine eating only what a caveman had access to.

What Might a Typical Paleo Meal Look Like?

The best way to get a sense of how a meal might look is through well-known recipe sites. You can check out a few here and here. But examples include, roasted chicken breast, fresh fish, hard-boiled eggs, trail mix, and fresh fruit and vegetables. But instead of regular bread buns, you might try avocado buns. Or instead of turning to dairy, you’d rely on alternatives.

What About the Critics and the Gurus?

Every health movement seems to have them: the people that claim to know it all and the people who say it’s all wrong. The paleo diet has many hardcore adherents that say it helps with weight issues and allergies. But we also wanted to give you a rounded perspective on this diet trend. What are the critics saying? One common criticism is that there isn’t any single diet that our ancestors ate. After all, when you think about it, different areas of the world had access to different resources. Another criticism compares how paleo diet gurus aren’t living in caves or putting on loin cloths like our ancestors either.

But What Does the Science Say?

At Dreamclinic, we  always turn to the latest research when it comes to new trends. And for the paleo diet, studies are showing positive aspects. For example, there’s evidence that the diet promotes weight loss and helps reset metabolic issues. And this scientific study showed improved circulatory function, increased insulin sensitivity and improved blood pressure. This was true even for people who tried the diet out for a short period.

What’s the Final Verdict on the Paleo Diet?

Whether or not the positive results from this diet can be attributed to its approach is still debatable. Eating less processed foods and consuming less  sugar is normally a good health move and may account for much of the benefits.  Une thing is for certain—trying this diet is sure to change your outlook on how we eat in the 21st Century.

Ready to talk to an expert at Dreamclinic for a massage or acupuncture session that can transform your health? Get in touch with us!

There is still time to get your Celebration of Health package.

How to save 20% on your appointments.

massage health

You are busy but you stay active, you eat right and…you get massage on a regular basis!  And your whole being thanks you for the diligence with which you take care of yourself.  At Dreamclinic we have created an annual summer promotion just for you.
This is the time of year when Dreamclinic offers its popular Celebration of Health package, offering our absolutely best value on bodywork. The Celebration of Health massage package gives you 6 hours of free massage when you purchase 24 hours of massage. Hours never expire and are fully transferrable to friends and family.

The Celebration of Health offer is available for a limited time each year.  It takes place August 1st – September 30th.

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What does regular massage do for you? It lets you manage stress, stay flexible and keep your muscles free of knots and aches so you show up fully energized and at your best at work, at home, and at play.  The Celebration of Health package allows you to share the ‘massage habit’ with family, friends or with your team.

“Love the service and therapists here. I always feel refreshed, relaxed and 1000x better after a treatment… I have for the last 4 years purchased the Celebration of Health package so that I can get the most bang for the buck since I go to Dreamclinic at least once a month.” 
– 5 Star Customer Yelp Review by P.L.

Celebration of Health Package (30 massage hours) – $2208
$73.60 per one hour of massage
Savings of over $550
Limited time: August 1st – September 30th.

Our guarantee: Your hours never expire. This is our best discount available.

Stop in at one of our 4 locations or call 206-267-0863 to purchase a Celebration of Health package today.

Give your body the gift of health! Don’t lose the opportunity to lock in our biggest savings of the year.

Save 20% with the Celebration of Health Package here.

Queen Anne Location is Moving Feb 13th


dreamclinic massage queen anneOur Queen Anne clinic is moving.

Dreamclinic is proud to announce we are moving our Queen Anne location to a larger space, opening February 13th in the former Brenneke Massage School space at 160 Roy Street on Queen Anne in Seattle.  Dreamclinic Queen Anne moves from its former address in the Marqueen Hotel (just 2 blocks east from current location). Hours of operation remain the same, Monday through Saturday 9am to 9pm and Sunday 10am to 6pm.  The new space features six treatment rooms versus three at the former location, offering increased appointment availability for clients.

The Brenneke School of Massage that formerly operated here, was renowned nationwide for the quality of their teaching.  The opportunity to move our clinic to the Brenneke location brings the story full circle in that Dreamclinic founder, Larisa studied massage at Brenneke, and now Dreamclinic is maintaining the highest standards for quality of massage in Seattle. We will be performing massage where some of the most skilled therapists and educators in our industry learned their craft.

About Brenneke School of Massage

Heida Brenneke began massage in her home in 1974 and opened her first formal location, the Brenneke School of Massage in 1980. From that point on, Brenneke set the standard for massage producing several of the industry’s leaders and countless passionate massage therapists. The Brenneke School of Massage was purchased by Cortiva Institute and eventually closed in 2007. Dreamclinic, known for the highest quality is keeping the Brenneke spirit alive in Seattle.

Come visit us at 160 Roy Street, WA 98109

Forget the Chocolates: Your Next Valentine’s Gift for Them is Far More Enticing

With the holiday of love right around the corner, you probably have gift giving on your mind. And if you’re anything like most people, you’re also trying to think of something for your partner or friend that breaks from clichés. After all, while gifts like chocolates or flowers are appreciated by many, you really want to “wow” your special someone with a gift that shows you’ve truly thought of them.

For the day that’s totally dedicated to showing your devotion, fondness, and yes, even your burning passion, you want to offer them a genuine token of your affection. And, of course your gift should reflect all those feelings you have for everything they’re worth. The perfect choice? A day when they can indulge with a relaxing, professionally given massage. Let’s see why this gift goes beyond boring and common place to elevate the mood.

Wrapping Their Senses in Richness

When you choose to gift a massage in Seattle, you’re not just giving a gift card to any other place. In truth, you’re sharing the ticket to an entire journey of relaxation and enjoyment. From the moment your special someone arrives, our experts in massage will make them feel welcome, while providing them with a rich, health-focused day. With their skillfully applied massage, your loved one will be able to totally let go, even as they’re revived, no matter how hectic their month.

Giving Them an Affordable, Yet Luxurious Reward

And let’s be honest: you don’t want to break the bank while making sure your loved one is completely rewarded. Luckily, a massage isn’t just economical; it really is an upscale treat of comfort, satisfaction, and stress relief. As a Valentine’s Day gift, it’s effects go far beyond any one day and last into the month, ensuring that your loved one continues to have you on their mind for some time to come.

Making an Entire Day of Your Valentine’s Day

Equally true, when you choose a massage as a Valentine’s Day gift, you’re giving more than just another outfit that might end up hidden in the closet or a piece of expensive jewelry to be tossed with all the rest. Above all, a massage in Seattle gives you the option to make your Valentine’s Day a whole day of indulgence. Whether you take your partner or spouse on a food tour of the city and then combine it with a massage or you take in a movie, but finish the outing with a surprise massage, you’re only limited by your own creativity. This fact undeniably makes a massage a unique Valentine’s Day gift. (Gift certificates sold online here)

Clearly, when it comes to Valentine’s Day gift ideas, a massage makes the list. Not only will you be giving them an uncommon present, you’ll also be showing them the attention they deserve, even as they’re attention is turned to what a thoughtful gift-giver you are. How easy is it to set up an appointment? Just give us a call or schedule online. 

Energizing Your Week and Easing Your Stress: 4 Secrets of Swedish Massage

You may have heard of the Swedish Massage and wondered what experiencing one was like. Or maybe you’re familiar with the name, but aren’t all that sure what the benefits are to you. Maybe you’ve even had one, and yet, you weren’t sure how it differed from other types of massage. Still, when it comes to your well-being, you’ve probably heard from a friend or two how a regular massage has done wonders for them. Well, we’re here to share some of the secrets of the Swedish Massage with you today. But let’s cover the basics before we dive into the relaxing and rejuvenating aspects of this style of massage.

First, this type of massage is one among many, but it’s one of the best for those of you just getting started with massages. As a Western style, it focuses on your body’s anatomy and physiology in a way that’s grounded in science and health. It’s also what many people know as the basic massage, which you’re likely familiar with. The most interesting part is that it also has a medical history that stretches back over 100 years. That’s a long time to perfect the techniques needed to get you relaxed and feeling good!

How can this type of massage energize your week and ease your stress? Excellent question!

Indulging Your Senses in Tranquility

When your Swedish Massage starts, you’ll be amazed at how the simple act of lying down and being still can make you feel. And is it any surprise? In our modern world, we’re always going, going, and going. Often, we don’t take enough time to merely relax and let go. But during a Swedish Massage, the first thing you’ll notice is how great it is just to take time to be calm in a soothing environment.

Customizing Your Massage Experience

Another enjoyable aspect of Swedish Massage is how this style revolves around customization. If you’re in the mood for a softer, less intense experience to ease out of your day, your therapist will use a lighter touch for your kneading and stretching. At the same time, if you’ve had a hard day at work, and you’d like more intensity, you can choose that too. Your therapist can also spend extra time on an area that might be bothering you. The choice really is all yours.

Reducing Your Aches and Pains

And really, in addition to being comfortable and customizing your intensity, the best part about a Swedish Massage is how it helps fully relax your muscles and the rest of your body. Sometimes, it’s difficult for us to tell how our bodies are slowly tensing up over the course of a day or a week. In fact, research has even shown that Swedish Massage eases pain that might build up in your body, even chronic pain.

Resetting Your Body’s Natural Cycle

Finally, whether you choose a clinic in Seattle or anywhere else in the world, you’ll find that Swedish Massage puts your natural rhythm back in order. By now, it’s not a secret that your body goes through regular cycles of waking and sleeping, working and relaxing. You can even think of it like nature’s ebb and flow for your internal clock. And probably the biggest secret of Swedish Massage is that it greatly reduces stress and puts you back on a healthier path. That same research we mentioned earlier? It’s also shown that even for people suffering from depression, massage can have huge benefits. That’s some power right there!

And in reality, you’ll find that Swedish Massage has the potential to completely re-direct your weekly direction. From cultivating your body’s health to refocusing your attention, this style of massage is a surefire way to get energized, even while cutting down on your stress levels. And if you haven’t yet experienced a Swedish massage or it’s just been awhile, one of our three Seattle area clinic locations is ready to give you a comfortable and amazing experience. Give us a call for an apportionment or schedule online. 

Dry Needling for Injury Prevention and Recovery

Why dancers are having their trigger points released with a needle.

We are all looking for a little magic when it comes to injury prevention and recovery. So it’s no surprise that dancers, always on top of new health trends, have recently started getting into dry needling. The treatment promises instant relief to some of dance’s most nagging injuries by releasing trigger points in the muscles with a needle. But it also has medical professionals buzzing with controversy. When your physical therapist pulls out a needle, should you question whether it’s safe for you?

JuneBodyWhat Is It?

Dry needling uses filiform needles—the same kind as traditional acupuncture. But although the tool is the same, the approach is different. Based in ancient Chinese medicine, acupuncture seeks to balance the flow of energy along pathways in the body called meridians. Dry needling, on the other hand, arose out of Western medicine in the 1940s: Dr. Janet Travell, a specialist in pain referral patterns, identified trigger points in the body that would relieve pain by releasing tension in the associated muscles. Initially she injected the trigger points with fluids such as saline. The term “dry needling” originated when she discovered that the technique had the same effect without the injection.

How It Helps

The practitioner inserts the needle using a technique that elicits a “twitch response,” an involuntary reaction in the muscle that enables it to release tension. The immediate elongation of the muscle fibers allows the muscle to relax. “When the needle taps the tight tissue, it creates a micro-trauma which brings a lot of blood to the area,” says Bianca Beldini, a licensed acupuncturist and physical therapist at Sundala Center for Wellness in New York City. “Immediately when you take the needles out, the patient’s range of motion improves and their pain decreases.” Acupuncture techniques vary, and this twitch response is not something that acupuncturists would normally go for, unless they use the trigger-point dry needling technique.

The Effects

Many dancers find that the muscle release dry needling provides has dramatic results. “I have needled dancers the same day as an injury and they are able to return to rehearsal after treatment,” says Erika Johnson, director of dance medicine at Marathon Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine in Massachusetts. “This is obviously case dependent, but it’s exciting to see this trend.” While it can’t help every injury, Johnson has used dry needling on muscle strains and spasms, tendonitis, sprained ankles and many of dance’s other most common injuries.

For New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns, who has been treated by Beldini since she first joined the company in 2003, the approach combining dry needling technique with more traditional acupuncture has helped her heal faster and feel better. “If I have a strained calf, she is able to fix it within two sessions probably,” Mearns says. She admits that she was nervous about the needles at first. “But the needles are so tiny and the release that I get from them is deeper than any other therapy.”

The Timing

The first time a dancer experiences this type of needling, Beldini often encourages them not to dance for the next 24 hours. This gives them a chance to find out how long they will experience soreness. “The twitch response can release a fair amount of lactic acid, so the dancer is typically quite sore after,” explains Beldini. A good practitioner will be able to perform the technique gently and minimize this soreness as they get to know your body better. Mearns can be needled by Beldini and dance pain-free the next day. In fact, during performance seasons she sees Beldini every Monday even if she’s not injured because the treatment has become so therapeutic. “It’s a process,” says Mearns, “but once you get to that place where you can really handle that deep release in your muscles, your body will be completely different.” 

Why the Controversy?

Few dispute the effectiveness of dry needling. But controversy circles around who is qualified to do it. Many acupuncturists argue weekend courses aren’t enough to qualify physical therapists to needle people. “Acupuncturists aren’t just throwing a needle into one muscle to get a twitch response, but we’re needling into a bunch of different things,” says acupuncturist/physical therapist Bianca Beldini. In fact, several states have ruled that dry needling is outside the scope of practice for a physical therapist because it involves puncturing the skin.

Yet some in the physical therapy community feel they are qualified, since they are myofascial and biomechanical specialists. “Physical therapists have been treating trigger points and myofascial restrictions with their hands for decades, and the filiform needle is simply an extension of this,” argues dance medicine specialist Erika Johnson. In fact, Johnson feels that becoming a practitioner of dry needling has helped her develop a greater appreciation for when acupuncture is a better treatment, and regularly refers dancers to acupuncturists.

In a perfect world, every dry needling specialist would have training in both practices, but this is a rare combination because both specialties require extensive training. Make sure that anyone treating you with a needle has been trained to use it and has experience with physically active clients like athletes and dancers.

By Kathleen McGuire via Dance Magazine

Understanding Muscle Knots

Just about anyone has experienced muscle tension at some point.  We often call this ‘muscle knots’  because they literally feel like knots in our muscles.  For some people muscle knots are occasional, for others, a daily condition that really takes away from the fun in life.

Muscles are a funny business because they are probably less well understood than other body parts like skin or our eyes and ears.   What is behind our muscle knots?  Well, muscle knots can be the result of trigger points or adhesions, different in cause but leaving us equally frustrated.  Triggger points are a type of spasm or contraction that radiates to other parts of the body whereas, adhesions are essentially a restriction to free muscle motion because the muscle, or the membrane surrounding the muscle, is literally stuck somewhere.

Treating muscle knots with massage is a common practice because it is highly effective. Stretching or yoga are also highly beneficial.   For those that are curious about what causes the knots in the first place, Nicole Mosier, in her article “Knots, Adhesions and Trigger Points” does a nice job discussing the anatomy of our so called muscle knots!

To schedule a massage for your knots at one of our clinics, please visit our Online Scheduling page.

Manage Stress to Reduce Muscle Tension

Neck PainIf you’ve ever suffered from a tension headache, neck discomfort, or lower back pain, you know how much of an effect stress can have on the body. When we become stressed, our adrenaline rises, making us more likely to be on guard against what the body perceives as danger. When this stress happens, our muscles tense up as a reflex reaction. While the body does this as a way of protecting us against injury and pain, chronic tension in reaction to stress has the opposite effect.

Chronic stress causes the body to be in a frequent state of alertness, which in turn causes our muscles to be tense and taut for extended periods of time. This can trigger other reactions in the body and may even lead to disorders or disease. These reactions may include tension headaches and migraines, a tight and tender jaw, cramps in the stomach and back, and digestive issues, among others. If not treated, the muscle tension leading to aches causes us more stress and perpetuates the cycle. It can also lead to other issues such as irritability, fatigue, and depression.

While millions of people suffer from chronic pain due to daily stresses, in some cases, the tension in our muscles may be the result of an injury. It’s important that this injury is treated properly in order to keep it from turning into a chronic condition. Some may react by avoiding physical activity for fear of pain or reinjury, however, disuse of the body only increases muscle tension and atrophy. The best way to recover from an injury is to maintain a moderate level of activity that’s been recommended by a physician. Relaxation techniques, massage, and acupuncture may also be particularly helpful during this time.

To help manage your stress, reduce muscle tension, and eliminate chronic pain, follow these five tips:

Get enough sleep: Between seven and eight hours a night is ideal for making us less vulnerable to the stress that can cause headaches and digestive issues.
Eat a healthy diet: Eat plenty of fresh produce, fiber, and lean protein, and drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Avoid too much caffeine, which can interfere with sleep.
Exercise: At least 30 minutes of exercise a day triggers the production of endorphins that help us relax and combat stress.
Meditate: 20 minutes of daily meditation has been shown to reduce the severity of muscle tension by 28 percent and feelings of anxiety by 44 percent. Other relaxation techniques such as yoga and deep breathing may also be helpful.
Get a massage: Regular massage will not only release tension in the muscles, but improve a sense of calm and well-being that can counteract stress long after the massage is over.

If you’re feeling the pain of stress, schedule an appointment with one of our licensed massage therapists, who can design a custom plan for your specific needs.


Chinese Medicine for the Treatment of Constipation

Acupuncture for constipation, Redmond Acupuncture, Bellevue AcupunctureConstipation is a condition that may be distinguished by a number of symptoms, including stomach aches, infrequent bowel movements, and unusually hard stools. An estimated 42 million Americans persistently suffer from the condition, making constipation one of the most common Gastro-intenstinal issues in the United States. Occasional bouts of these symptoms are typically nothing to worry about. However, chronic constipation may lead to more serious complications such as colonic conditions and urological disorders, while having an overall negative impact on quality of life.

At the core of constipation is an imbalance in the body that causes these uncomfortable symptoms. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) recognizes three main roots of constipation: an excess of cold in the body, an excess of warmth, and the disruption of qi, the vital force that keeps our energy flowing smoothly. While many may reach for over-the-counter laxatives to provide quick relief, practitioners of TCM understand that each of type of constipation needs to be treated differently. What’s more, prolonged use of these laxatives may form a dependency that can cause changes in the colon, possibly even leading to cancer.

The proper treatment of constipation depends on its cause. Those suffering from an excess of cold may find herbal remedies to be especially effective. These may include but are not limited to rhubarb, aloe, and bitter orange. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that an ancient six-herb formula was 82 percent more effective in increasing the number of bowel movements, while significantly lowering the number of laxative tablets needed.

In most causes of constipation, acupuncture may help alleviate the condition by opening the channels through which our qi flows. A variety of acupuncture points can be employed, depending on the needs of the patient.The most commonly used are known as tianshu (towards the middle of the stomach), da chang shu (lower back), daheng (mid outer stomach), and neiting (base of the second toe). These have been shown to help move qi into the lower abdomen, cool the intestines, and soften the stool. A 2010 study found that stimulating a combination of acupoints had a 68 percent effectiveness rate on symptoms of constipation, with tianshu perhaps being particularly useful.

As with all medical treatments, it’s important to meet with a qualified practitioner to determine the cause of your symptoms and help design a plan specifically for your needs. If you suffer from chronic constipation, acupuncture and other forms of TCM may be just what you need to find relief from the condition for good. Schedule an appointment today.

Dry Needling for the Management of Muscle Pain

Adult male physiotherapist is doing acupuncture on the back of a female patient. Patient is lying down on a bed and is covered with royal blue towels.

Known by many different names, dry needling is a variation of acupuncture that’s recently been gaining popularity in Western cultures. The difference between the two treatments comes down to the philosophy. Unlike traditional acupuncture, which uses energetic pathways called meridians to improve the flow of qi, dry needling incorporates the scientific study of the musculoskeletal system. Instead of inserting needles into acupoints that correspond to the area being treated, needles are inserted into tender and irritated muscle tissue. When stimulated, these trigger spots (known as “ashi” points) are released.

Here’s how it works: When the needle is inserted into the tissue, the tiny injury causes the body to produce a local healing response. This prompts the production of chemicals in the the neural pathways, which block the pain by disrupting the messages that are sent to the central nervous system. The trigger points, in turn, are able to relax and the tissue is restored to normal function.

The effectiveness of the treatment has been confirmed by numerous studies. A review of these studies, published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy in 2014, found that dry needling can decrease pain immediately after treatment and possibly up to four weeks. It can address several conditions, including tendonitis, headaches, whiplash, lower back pain, and sports-related injuries. In fact, it’s been found to be so effective that NFL teams are even incorporating it into their sports therapy routines.

While dry needling is effective in addressing muscular pain, during the treatment the trigger point are may feel somewhat uncomfortable, indicating that the therapy is working. “Generally speaking, the greater the injury, the more intense the treatment will be,” writes Andrew Nugent-Head in the Journal of Chinese Medicine. The muscles may be slightly weakened directly after treatment, but the patient will see immediate improvement in range of motion and joint use.

Physical therapists and other health professionals have used dry needling for many years with good results and  Acupuncturists are specifically licensed in the use of acupuncture needles to perform dry needling.  In Washington State, there is new legislation restricting Physical Therapists from doing dry needling, although this may not be so in other states.  If you are unable to receive dry needling at a facility where you have done so in the past, look for a licensed Acupuncturist.  If you think you may benefit from the treatment and have not tried it in the past, it’s important to search out a qualified practitioner who has the breadth of training and education to provide treatment that’s effective and safe.  Schedule an appointment today to have a plan designed for your needs.