SFMA Exercise Hip Hinge with Dowel

SFMA Exercise Hip Hinge with Dowel

In the following video, Dr. Nicholas Cifelli explains the SFMA exercise, Hip Hinge with Dowel, as demonstrated by our wonderful aide, Alison.

Meet Our New Acupuncturist, Kristen Giancaterino, LAc!

Meet Our New Acupuncturist, Kristen Giancaterino, LAc!


Kristen Giancaterino is a licensed, board certified, and graduate of the nation's leading Acupuncture college, the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) in New York City. Her training consisted of thousands of hours of Clinical experience at the college’s busy downtown community clinic. The academic program also consisted of thousands of hours of classroom, outside study, and externship time. This includes but is not limited to;  advanced needling techniques, tui na massage, five element acupuncture, cosmetic acupuncture, and the treatment of orthopedic, pediatric, and modern western diseases.

Her focus is treating chronic pain, anxiety, stress, and many other modern diseases. Kristen has had great success in treating:

  • Back Pain
  • Sciatica
  • Groin Pain
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Carpal Tunnel
  • Post surgery/Scar Tissue Pain
  • Joint Pain
  • Hip Pain
  • Knee Pain
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • TMJ
  • Allergies
  • Hypertension
  • Fertility

In addition to completing the Acupuncture program, Kristen is also a certified in administering therapeutic grade essential oils and a practitioner of the Raindrop Technique.  She is licensed as Acupuncturist under the New Jersey state board of medicine.  Kristen has achieved board Certification from the NCCAOM, consisting of Acupuncture, Biomedicine, and Oriental Medicine.

Kristen developed a love for Acupuncture as college student while getting treatments for stress, back pain , and UTI’s at local acupuncture college near her home town. She discovered a drug-free solution to ailments that plagued her and was inspired. After enrolling in Pacific College’s Master’s program, Kristen participated in a externship at New York University-Hospital for Joint Diseases called Initiative for Women with Disabilities. IWD is a multi-disciplinary women’s medical center where women are treated for a wide variety of disabilities and chronic autoimmune conditions. In addition to weekly acupuncture treatments, she interacted with medical staff and social workers to plan the best course of health care for patients.

Kristen has seen & felt the benefits of Oriental Medicine and Essential Oils on one’s spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health and wants to provide you with a worry-free, stress-free recovery from your illness or ailment.

Call Mana Physical Therapy today at 732-390-8100 to schedule your acupuncture appointments with Kristen!

SFMA Single Leg Bridge with Core Activation

SFMA Single Leg Bridge with Core Activation

In the following video, Dr. Nicholas Cifelli explains the SFMA exercise, Single Leg Bridge with Core Activation, as demonstrated by our wonderful aide, Alison.

SFMA Half-Kneeling Chop With Band

SFMA Half-Kneeling Chop With Band

In the following video, Dr. Nick Cifelli explains the Half-Kneeling Chop exercise, while being demonstrated by our wonderful aide, Alison.

SFMA at R U Fit Event

SFMA at R U Fit Event

We are proud to be sponsoring R U FIT? along with Rutgers' Center For Exercise & Aging and Department of Kinesiology. R U Fit is a free educational and interactive series presenting ways to stay fit, learn new exercise, and improve quality of life. From this past Monday 10/30, during the "What are the Modes of Fitness?" event, Dr. Cifelli is shown conducting a portion of the Selective Functional Movement Assessment. This maneuver is specifically observing for full extension of the spine. If there is a limitation with this movement, he would dive deeper into the movement and determine exactly where the limitation is coming from. We will be at the Brunswick Square Mall in East Brunswick, NJ, the following two Mondays to continue at the "How is your Balance?" (11/6) & "Exercising at Home" (11/13). All events start at 9:30am and wrap up by 11am. Come out to learn a little bit and say hello to our staff. There are even free prizes and giveaways just for coming out!

We are proud to be sponsoring R U FIT? along with Rutgers' Center For Exercise & Aging and Department of Kinesiology. R U Fit is a free educational and interactive series presenting ways to stay fit, learn new exercise, and improve quality of life.

From this past Monday 10/30, during the "What are the Modes of Fitness?" event, Dr. Cifelli is shown conducting a portion of the Selective Functional Movement Assessment. This maneuver is specifically observing for full extension of the spine. If there is a limitation with this movement, he would dive deeper into the movement and determine exactly where the limitation is coming from.

We will be at the Brunswick Square Mall in East Brunswick, NJ, the following two Mondays to continue at the "How is your Balance?" (11/6) & "Exercising at Home" (11/13). All events start at 9:30am and wrap up by 11am. Come out to learn a little bit and say hello to our staff. There are even free prizes and giveaways just for coming out!

Cell Phone Ergonomics: How To Avoid The "Smart Phone Slump"

Cell Phone Ergonomics: How To Avoid The "Smart Phone Slump"

If you are one out of the every five people on this planet who owns a smart phone, now is the time to start thinking twice about looking down at your phone to check email or Facebook.

By the time you are done reading this article (and, please, no slouching while reading) you will be clued in on some actionable tips you can put into practice right now to combat “the smart phone slump,” and eliminate or greatly reduce the pain and problems that come along with it.

What the Research Says

In a study conducted by Dr. Kenneth K. Hansraj, Chief of Spine Surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, it was found that as the human head tilts forward the forces seen by the neck surge. When we hold our head in a healthy, neutral position, the forces to the cervical spine are about 10-12 pounds. But look what happens when we tilt our head forward:


This graph from the study described above shows the effects of the tilt that accompanies cell phone use.

Repetitive increases in stress of this nature may lead to all sorts of neck problems, including early wear and tear, degeneration, and possibly the need for surgery.

A Case Study

You may look at the photo below and think nothing of it, because this is what we typically see when we are out and about, and it is even the stance we are accustomed to taking when using our own smart phones and devices.


Looks pretty normal, right?

But let’s take a closer look, and see what Dr. Hansraj was referring to in his research.

Here's what is actually happening. 


With the help of a plumb line and angle lines, we can see this man’s head is tilted at approximately 45 degrees. That means our coffee shop guy has gone from putting the normal 10-12 pounds of weight on his neck to a massive 49 pounds!

Every day, people like you and I spend an average of two to four hours with our heads tilted over reading and texting on our smart phones and devices. Cumulatively this amounts 700 to 1,400 hours per year of excess stress placed on the cervical spine. To make matters even worse, high school students are spending an extra 5,000 hours bent over reading, texting, and typing on their devices. Imagine the impact that is having on our necks and backs!

What You Can Do to Avoid the Slump

The following are my simple and easy tips for eliminating the smart phone slump and avoiding these negative side effects:

1. Hold Your Phone at Eye Level

Hold your phone at eye level when typing on your phone. This may look funny, but it will force you to hold your head, neck, and shoulders in a better position.

My favorite thing about holding the phone at eye level is that it has a built-in time restricting feature, and not to mention a slight embarrassment factor. As in: you will notice when you hold your phone at eye level your shoulder muscles tire quickly, and it just looks funny.

This will force you to only use your phone for short periods of time, whereas when you sit and comfortably look down at your phone, you may be able to use your phone for long periods without experiencing any form of discomfort (physical or social).


Hold your phone at eye level to avoid excessive tilting.

2. Lie on the Floor

If you are at home or in a setting where you feel comfortable being on the floor, then lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Hold your phone over your face to text and surf the Internet. This position will put your head in the same plane as your shoulders, and will allow the muscles of your neck and upper back to relax.

Just like tip number one, your shoulder muscles will quickly begin to fatigue in this position - which is a good thing! This will heighten your awareness of the amount of time you are spending using your phone.


Or lie on your back to help the neck and upper spine relax.

3. Voice to Text

If your phone has a voice transcription feature, learn how to use it and talk your text messages, social media posts, and emails. This may take a little time to get accustomed to, but your neck, shoulders, and back will thank you.

4. Remove the Distractions From Your Phone

The most drastic, highly recommended, and by far most effective of all of my tips: remove social media, email, and games from your phone. I know this might sound crazy, but think about it - there was a time in your life when you didn't have social media, much less even a portable cell phone.

Instead, try scheduling designated time to handle your emails and social media from your computer where you can set up your ergonomics to support good body positioning as you type.

It's Worth the Change

Avoiding the cell phone slump is simple and anyone can do it. It just requires a little self-discipline and awareness. But it’s worth doing for the difference it will make in your neck, back, and the rest of your body, too!

Using Foam Rollers In Physical Therapy

Using Foam Rollers In Physical Therapy

Over the last few years, Physical Therapists have begun introducing a variety of exercises that utilize Foam Rollers to reduce pain and improve flexibility. Once learned, these exercises can be used on a daily basis to improve flexibility and circulation while massaging sore and tired muscles and reducing stress associated with inflammation, scar tissue and joints.

Once used by dancers and elite athletes, foam rollers have grown in popularity at local gyms, rehabilitation settings and even at home. The actual foam cylinders vary in length, diameter and hardness. Patients and athletes can use foam rollers to exercise nearly every body part.  In fact, they are proving to be more effective than traditional static stretching.

While they can be used for many aspects of a rehabilitation or exercise routine, foam rollers are commonly used after a workout with the primary goal of gaining range of motion in a particular muscle mass or joint or to help reduce the muscle pain associated with a vigorous workout.   The person using a foam roller uses their body weight and applies direct pressure to the given muscle mass.  The person is able to adjust the pressure and rolling motion provides a massaging action as well as a neuromuscular stimulus.

Foam rollers can help reduce muscle pain. Arising from various sources, muscle pain can be due to trigger points which are areas of the muscle that have been injured. In theory, the inner most contractile fibers (Actin and Myosin) are “locked” together and are not able to release due to damage to the Sarcomplasmic Reticulm (SR),  whichis responsible for the up-take of calcium. The calcium ion is essential for the contraction to occur, but if it is not re-absorbed it does not allow the fibers to “un-lock” causing a “trigger point” to form.  The use of the foam roller helps to massage the trigger point area and enhances blood flow into the injured muscle tissue which helps to “heal” the SR.

Muscles that are exercised aggressively are subject to micro damage that leads to pain.   The pain that develops following a vigorous exercise routine is a result of swelling of the individual muscle cells.  This is referred to D.O.M.S. or delayed onset muscle soreness.  The cell swells due to the damage and the pressure rises within the cell.  The foam roller can be used to massage the swollen muscles and helps to reduce the pain.  The gentle massage of the damaged muscle tissue helps to stimulate blood flow and “pump –out” the excess fluid that accumulated in the cell.

Most recent research has indicated that the use of a foam roller post exercise greatly enhances range of motion and reduces muscle pain that is associated with aggressive exercise.  The foam roller can be used in conjunction with a manual stretching program.   There is some concern regarding the use of static stretching and its effect on the strength of the stretched muscle group.  There are studies that have shown a reduced capacity to generate force following static stretching, but the foam roller has not been linked to this decrease in force potential.  The foam roller can be used at any time during the rehabilitation session and can have a drastic effect on the range of motion of the joints in the “rolled” body part.

Physical Therapists incorporate foam rollers into their treatment protocols to enhance range of motion, massage sore and tired muscles and help stretch tight muscles that can produce poor posture.  Scientifically, there is no set number of repetitions or amount of time that is a standard for foam roller use.  It is standard practice to have the person perform the foam roller routine daily for several weeks or until their symptoms have resolved.  It is believed that a maintenance program of use can help to prevent the symptoms from returning.

Foam rollers are used extensively in many healthcare settings and have grown in popularity due to their effectiveness and ease of use.   The person using the roller can perform the routine without additional help.  The increase in flexibility and the decrease in muscle pain helps to restore normal function in the involved body part.


Excerpt by by ACE Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Institute, 


Physical Therapy may be as Good as Surgery for Common Back Problems

Physical Therapy may be as Good as Surgery for Common Back Problems

“People in pain are poor decision-makers,” says the investigative journalist Cathryn Jakobson Ramin, author of a new book, Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery.

Approximately 80% of Americans experience back pain at some point in their lifetime with millions in chronic pain.  Many people are lost as to what to do and are taking unnecessary addictive opoids leading to tolerance to the drug causing the pain to escalate.  In some cases the increased pain is actually caused by the opoids.

Also consider this: In a poll at a 2009 conference in Bonita Springs, Florida, 99 out of 100 surgeons who were asked whether they’d elect to have lumbar fusion surgery if it were recommended to them said “absolutely not.”

The truth is, as Ramin’s extensive research indicates, all that most people need to do is keep moving. At Mana Physical Therapy we are committed to listening to your story, getting you moving, and helping you meet or exceed your goals for Physical Therapy.


Acupuncture for Weight Loss? We're All Ears!

Acupuncture for Weight Loss? We're All Ears!

Author: Amir Khan
Excerpt from: https://www.everydayhealth.com/weight/acupuncture-for-weight-loss-were-all-ears-8823.aspx

The key to shedding those holiday pounds may be in your ear, according to a small new study published in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine. Researchers from Kyung Hee University in South Korea found that acupuncture performed on five specific points on the outer ear was effective at helping patients lower their BMI, more so than acupuncture done on a single point or at random.

The researchers performed either five point acupuncture, single point acupuncture or sham acupuncture, which is when needles are placed at random, on the ears of 91 overweight adults with a BMI of 23 or more, and asked all of the patients to adhere to a restrictive diet. The patients given the five point acupuncture saw a 6.1 percent BMI reduction over eight weeks, compared to 5.7 percent of the single point group. The sham group did not see any BMI reduction.

“Auricular acupuncture therapy is based on the understanding that the external ear represents all parts of the human body, including the internal organs, and provides acupuncture points corresponding to these parts,” the researchers, led by Sujung Yeo, MD, a researcher at Kyung Hee University, wrote in the study. “Auricular acupuncture therapy for obesity has been reported to be relatively safe, economical, effective and to reduce body weight by decreasing the desire to eat.” 

The difference between five point and single point acupuncture was thought to be mild, researchers said, and this study shows that while five point is more successful, it is not markedly so. However, 24 of the study participants dropped out before the end of the study, 15 of which belonged to the sham acupuncture group, which may have skewed the results.

The Truth Behind Why You're Not Losing Weight

People are constantly saying that they can't lose weight, yet Jillian Michaels hasn't come across anyone who hasn't benefitted from her help. Here are her top 3 keys to weight loss.

Previous studies have shown ear acupuncture to be very effective for weight loss, said Houman Danesh, MD, director of integrative pain management at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, though how it works is still unclear.

“Mainly the way it works is through appetite suppression,” Dr. Danesh said. “But how it does that is the million dollar question. From an Eastern medicine point of view, your body is out of balance. Acupuncture corrects that imbalance, you stop overeating.”

“From a western medicine point of view,” he added, “acupuncture is thought to affect your brain. It releases endorphins, which is probably part of the mechanism.”

Acupuncture can also affect your nerves, which can further reduce your appetite, said Jamie Starkey, lead acupuncturist with the Cleveland Clinic Center for Integrative Medicine.

“A lot of the nerves in the ears can stimulate other nerves,” she said. “Acupuncture works by stimulating your ear nerves, which affect your vagus nerve and, in turn, affects your gut and suppresses your appetite.”

Patients can expect to lose up to 5 pounds over the course of a two-month treatment, Danesh said, but while it is effective, it’s not for everyone.

“If you’re looking to lose 50 to 100 pounds, this is definitely not the way to go,” he said.

And while acupuncture is effective, it’s not a panacea for obesity, Starkey said.

“These improvements are temporary,” she said. “While they are using the technique, they are seeing improvement. But once the treatment ends, they often regain the weight. It’s important to realize that acupuncture does help, but you cannot ignore diet or exercise.”

“The goal of acupuncture is wellness,” Starkey added. “You have to utilize every tool you have available to kick start your metabolism and weight loss, and acupuncture does just that. But it’s not a magic bullet.”

Our Acupuncturist, MK Park, specializes in weight loss acupuncture treatments.
Call 732-390-8100 today to schedule your appointment.

The Health Benefits of Regular Acupuncture, And All Treatable Conditions

The Health Benefits of Regular Acupuncture, And All Treatable Conditions

Author: Michelle Schoffro Cook
Excerpt from: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/the-health-benefits-of-regular-acupuncture.html

According to Chinese legend, wounded soldiers who were struck with arrows often recovered from the puncture wound to discover other afflictions had also gone. And, so began the art of acupuncture. Since its inception over 5000 years ago, there have been thousands of research studies proving the healing effects of needling the body in specific locations.

The idea behind acupuncture is that there are hundreds of points or acupoints that surface on the skin of the body. These wells of energy are connected below the surface like rivers of energy; however, blockages caused from injury, infection, stress, poor diet, or other factor, causes these rivers of energy, or meridians, as they are called to become blocked. Similar to a dam, the energy stops flowing properly and the result is any number of possible health problems, including: pain, inflammation, fatigue, and illness. To restore health, practitioners of Chinese medicine needle specific points to free the flow of energy, thereby alleviating any of the possible illness symptoms along with the energy blockage.

Because restoring energy flow in the body can alleviate a wide variety of possible symptoms and health conditions, acupuncture can be beneficial for almost any health condition. Most people feel a sense of deep relaxation during the treatment and often a boost in energy afterward. They may experience a reduction in pain and an improvement in sleep quality.

In 1979, The World Health Organization (WHO) originally published a list of conditions that can be healed by regular acupuncture treatments, and then refined the list based on scientific proof of the effectiveness of acupuncture for certain health conditions. According to WHO, regular acupuncture has been proven to improve the following list of conditions or symptoms:

  • Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
  • Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
  • Biliary colic
  • Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
  • Dysentery, acute bacillary
  • Dysmenorrhoea, primary
  • Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
  • Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
  • Headache
  • Hypertension, essential
  • Hypotension, primary
  • Induction of labour
  • Knee pain
  • Leukopenia
  • Low back pain
  • Malposition of fetus, correction of
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Neck pain
  • Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)
  • Periarthritis of shoulder
  • Postoperative pain
  • Renal colic
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Sprain
  • Stroke
  • Tennis elbow

The World Health Organization also found that there are a wide variety of other conditions that benefit from acupuncture but additional research is needed. These additional 63 conditions include:

  • Abdominal pain (in acute gastroenteritis or due to gastrointestinal spasm)
  • Acne vulgaris
  • Alcohol dependence and detoxification
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Bronchial asthma
  • Cancer pain
  • Cardiac neurosis
  • Cholecystitis, chronic, with acute exacerbation
  • Cholelithiasis
  • Competition stress syndrome
  • Craniocerebral injury, closed
  • Diabetes mellitus, non-insulin-dependent
  • Earache
  • Epidemic haemorrhagic fever
  • Epistaxis, simple (without generalized or local disease)
  • Eye pain due to subconjunctival injection
  • Female infertility
  • Facial spasm
  • Female urethral syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia and fasciitis
  • Gastrokinetic disturbance
  • Gouty arthritis
  • Hepatitis B virus carrier status
  • Herpes zoster (human (alpha) herpesvirus 3)
  • Hyperlipaemia
  • Hypo-ovarianism
  • Insomnia
  • Labour pain
  • Lactation, deficiency
  • Male sexual dysfunction, non-organic
  • Ménière disease
  • Neuralgia, post-herpetic
  • Neurodermatitis
  • Obesity
  • Opium, cocaine and heroin dependence
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain due to endoscopic examination
  • Pain in thromboangiitis obliterans
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (Stein–Leventhal syndrome)
  • Postextubation in children
  • Postoperative convalescence
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Prostatitis, chronic
  • Pruritus
  • Radicular and pseudoradicular pain syndrome
  • Raynaud syndrome, primary
  • Recurrent lower urinary-tract infection
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Retention of urine, traumatic
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sialism, drug-induced
  • Sjögren syndrome
  • Sore throat (including tonsillitis)
  • Spine pain, acute
  • Stiff neck
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
  • Tietze syndrome
  • Tobacco dependence
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis, chronic
  • Urolithiasis
  • Vascular dementia
  • Whooping cough (pertussis)

Keep in mind that there are different styles of acupuncture, typically divided under two main classifications: scientific or traditional Chinese methods. Scientific acupuncture is the form practiced by many chiropractors, physiotherapists, and other medical professionals in the West and tends to primarily involve needling points in the area of the pain or affliction. For example, needling the points around the knee if the knee is injured or inflamed. More traditional Chinese methods may involve needling the points around the knee but may also involve points that seem completely unrelated on other parts of the body.

Also, acupuncture needles are much finer than those used for other medical procedures like vaccinations. Most people barely feel them but if you’re still not comfortable with the idea of needles, you can reap many of the same health benefits with regular acupressure treatments (using finger pressure on acupoints instead of needles.

Avoid using acupuncture if you have a bleeding disorder (like hemophilia), are taking blood thinners, are pregnant, or are prone to abrupt falls in blood pressure.

MK Park, our licensed Acupuncturist at Mana Physical Therapy, can help with any of these conditions, as well as those that are more complicated. He is currently treating all day on Fridays. Call 732-390-8100 today to set up your appointment!

Acupuncture and Stretching Helped My Sciatica

Acupuncture and Stretching Helped My Sciatica

An excerpt from: https://www.spine-health.com/blog

Acupuncture and Stretching Helped My Sciatica: An Open Letter from a Spine-health Reader

I remember the moment I first injured my back very clearly, even though it was 7 years ago. Though I was an active, healthy, 46-year-old man with no previous spine issues, I felt a sharp twinge of pain in my lower back as I lifted groceries out of the trunk of my car.

The pain was noticeable, but bearable, so I just took some over-the-counter pain medicine and ignored it. 

A few days later, I started to notice a mild tingling sensation in my right leg. I mentioned this to my friend, who is a physiotherapist, and she recommended I call my doctor right away.

I didn’t take her advice to call the doctor right away, and as I hit the 3-week mark after my original incident, the pain in my back grew worse, and the tingling in my leg was getting progressively more bothersome. Looking back, I wish I had gone to see my doctor sooner. Finally, I made an appointment with my doctor.

My doctor referred me to get an MRI, and I was consequently diagnosed with a herniated disc at the L4-L5 segment.

I was happy to hear my doctor did not recommend surgery. He prescribed a course of NSAIDs and instructed me to start some gentle exercises.

Healing through physical therapy

After 6 weeks of taking my pain medication I was still in quite a bit of pain, so my doctor recommended I see a physiotherapist (similar to a physical therapist in the United States).

My physiotherapist provided hands-on treatment and recommended stretches to do at home. The stretches I found particularly useful were the back extensions like these: 

The goal of these stretches is to increase the size of the nerve canal, which has been compressed as a result of the herniation.

    Pain relief from acupuncture

    I spent a lot of time extensively researching my condition. As a result of all this research I was convinced I needed to try acupuncture. I figured that I may as well give as many potential therapies a try.

    I booked an appointment at a local acupuncture clinic. The exercises were helping, but I was still in pain. It was rather daunting at first to enter a darkened room and allow a stranger to stick needles into me. But, my experience with acupuncture was very positive, and it provided almost instant relief. After 10 sessions, I was pain free, and I credit a big part of my healing to it. 

    I continue to work on staying pain free by doing my stretches and getting acupuncture as needed. I hope my story can give anyone searching for natural pain remedies hope.


    We thank our reader, Dan, from BackSpasmAdvice for sharing his story with us, and we hope it gave some of you inspiration to keep looking for a treatment that works for you.

    Keywords: East Brunswick, Acupuncture, Acupressure, Low Back Pain, Sciatica, Pain Relief, Physical Therapy, Stretching, 

    Acupuncture Can Help With Addiction

    Acupuncture Can Help With Addiction

    The NADA 5-point Ear Acupuncture Protocol for Addiction Recovery

    Acupuncture can be useful through all phases of addiction treatment, and there is a specific acupuncture treatment designed for treating addiction called the NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) protocol.

    During the detox/withdrawal phase acupuncture can help reduce pain and combat cravings. It is also often used as a complementary therapy within alcohol and drug rehab as it has shown to help improve retention rates and support continued engagement in treatment. In addition, the benefits of acupuncture can be used as a tool to help maintain long-term addiction recovery.

    The NADA 5-point treatment involves placing five needles into five points in each outer ear and leaving them for about 30 minutes. This can be done within small groups or individually and often takes place within an atmosphere targeted at further promoting a calm and meditative state during the treatment.

    The five points targeted by this system are:

    1. The autonomic point.

    Calms the nervous system and aids relaxation.

    2. The Shen Men “spirit gate” point.

    Reduces anxiety and nervousness.

    3. The kidney point.

    Supports the healing of internal organs and calms fears.

    4. The liver point.

    Helps with detoxification, blood purification, and managing aggression.

    5. The lung point.

    Helps clients let go of grief and promotes air circulation. This is the most common combination of acupuncture points used on people suffering from addiction, specifically in the beginning phases of treatment or within an addiction treatment centre. However, the NADA 5-point protocol is only one of many potentially helpful acupuncture treatments, and an acupuncturist will work with the individual to determine which combination of acupuncture points will provide the best results depending on the situation. Therefore, acupuncture can provide multiple benefits to people long into their addiction recovery.

    5 Benefits of Acupuncture for People in Addiction Recovery

    Acupuncture is not a cure for addiction, but it can be one of many tools that people can make use of in their addiction recovery. The following five benefits of acupuncture make the therapy a useful inclusion in a holistic relapse prevention plan.

    1. Reduces cravings.

    Managing intense cravings is a challenging hurdle for many addicts, especially in the early stages of addiction recovery. Acupuncture, specifically the 5-point protocol described above, can be an effective alternative strategy to help reduce and manage drug and alcohol cravings.

    2. Provides stress and anxiety relief.

    Stress is one of the most common relapse triggers, and relapse prevention requires finding healthy ways to manage and relieve stress. Research suggests that acupuncture can be effective for providing stress and anxiety relief, and can be integrated as part of an overall stress management routine for people in addiction recovery.

    3. Helps treat depression.

    Evidence is also beginning to support acupuncture as an alternative medicine to treat depression. Depression and substance abuse disorders frequently co-occur, and should ideally be treated together. Managing underlying mental health disorders is an important aspect of maintaining long-term addiction recovery.

    4. Helps manage chronic or acute pain without medications.

    Unfortunately many people slip back into addiction after being prescribed strong pain medications. People recovering from any type of addiction need to be careful about taking addictive prescription medications, which makes finding safe and effective pain relief sometimes an issue. Acupuncture is actually most widely used and supported as an effective form of pain relief because of its ability to stimulate the body’s natural pain killers and can be a life-saver for those who do not want to take medications.

    5. Improves sleep problems.

    Taking care of the body by getting proper sleep is one of the cornerstones of relapse prevention. However, for many people sleep problems can threaten their addiction recovery. Clinical studies support the use of acupuncture to treat insomnia, again without the use of potentially addictive medications.

    The benefits of acupuncture can be utilised to support a well-rounded addiction recovery. Of course like any form of treatment, acupuncture is not one size fits all. Finding a supportive and caring acupuncturist who listens to your needs is imperative in the effectiveness of its treatment. Many would agree that acupuncture is a low risk alternative therapy that could provide significant benefits to people in recovery when accompanied by a professional and effective addiction treatment program.


    Taken from: https://www.thecabinchiangmai.com/benefits-of-acupuncture-in-addiction-recovery/

    Acupuncture Can Help With Weight Loss

    Acupuncture Can Help With Weight Loss

    By Alex A. Kecskes, Taken from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine

    It's a staggering fact that as many as a quarter of all Americans are overweight. In their struggle to lose those excess pounds, Americans spend over 33 billion dollars every year on weight-loss programs. Regrettably, a whopping 95 percent fail in their attempt to lose the weight they need to maintain good health. Fortunately, you can us medical acupuncture for weight loss. 

    Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine, sterile needles at specific body points or "energy pathways." The inserted needles act to stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural "feel good" hormones. This can create a calming, relaxing effect, which counteracts the need for excessive eating brought about by increased stress, frustration or anxiety. In this respect, acupuncture can calm those so afflicted and help them lose weight without resorting to drugs.

    Several studies have shown that when acupuncture is combined with traditional methods of weight loss, patients lose more weight. In these cases, one to three acupuncture weight loss sessions can be safe and effective in helping people achieve reasonable weight loss goals.

    In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the belief is that excessive weight gains are caused mainly by an imbalance in the body due to a malfunction of the spleen and liver organ systems. Skilled acupuncture practitioners will zero in on specific body areas to effect weight loss. Among these are the endocrine system and kidneys, which are addressed to treat water retention and to stimulate nerve and hormonal rebalance. The spleen and thyroid gland are also targeted to effect sugar and hormonal rebalancing. Finally, the adrenal and ovary glands are included to treat weight gain due to menopause or Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Some people notice the effects of acupuncture fairly quickly and only require treatments every other week.

    Another Chinese acupuncture practice for losing weight is ear stapling. This involves manipulating points on the ear to control food cravings. Auricular acupuncture has been used successfully to help cigarette smokers and heroin addicts kick their drug habits.  When properly administered by a qualified acupuncturist, this technique may help some people lose weight. One study, published in Medical Acupuncture, found that ear acupuncture combined with a 2,000 calorie a day diet and 15-minute walk helped reduce weight. The study involved 20 obese women, 22 to 42 years of age. Half of those who received weekly 15-minute sessions of ear acupuncture lost an average of 10 pounds. Those without ear acupuncture averaged only a three-pound loss. Moreover, the women who received the acupuncture treatments reported a decrease in appetite.

    It is important to note that ear acupuncture treatments must be administered by a qualified acupuncturist. For the best results, these treatments should be combined with a reduced calorie diet and appropriate physical exercise. The critical point to be made here is that acupuncture should be viewed as a support system not a sole modality.

    As with all medical conditions, always seek the advice of a doctor before beginning any acupuncture treatments for weight loss.

    MK Park, Licensed Acupuncturist, currently offers acupuncture treatments on Fridays at Mana Physical Therapy. Schedule your appointment today by calling 732-390-8100!

    To Stretch or Not To Stretch?

    To Stretch or Not To Stretch?

    All joints are not created equal.  The joints in our body are in a constant balance of mobility and stability.   Some joints are made with more freedoms of movement than others which is often balanced out by the stability of the muscles around the joints.   Dysfunction and pain arise when this balance is disrupted.

    For example, hip stiffness can be brought on by a tight hip capsule which is often a compensation of an arthritic hip joint.   If your hip is stiff and presenting with less motion, your lumbar spine will provide extra movement to compensate for the stiff hip.  This can lead to hypermobility (think extra motion) of the lumbar spine which can lead to low back pain.  

    If your lumbar spine is hypermobile for compensating for your stiff hip, the muscles around your spine will often increase in resting tone or tension to protect the joint.  Specifically, your hamstrings will increase in tone and adaptively shorten (literally shorten up) to create its own sense of stability.    Unfortunately when someone has back pain, the first thing many people reach for is a strap to stretch the hamstrings which may not be what lumbar spine needs at that time.  Instead, you should be first strenghten the core, improve the mobiltiy of the hip and than think about restoring the proper length of the hamstring muscle.

    To be clear, most stretches are effective however many people immediately stretch a stiff or tight joint which can be doing more harm than good.  The next time you get that urge to stretch be sure to talk with your physical therapist to analyze your movement pattern and lead you in the right direction regarding proper mobility and stability for your body.

    Sole Supports Custom Orthotics Available at Mana Physical Therapy

    Sole Supports Custom Orthotics Available at Mana Physical Therapy

    Low back, hip and knee pain can be the result of poor biomechanics at your foot and ankle. Your body requires proper stabiity and support from the ground up.  Poor biomechanics can be the result of ineffective dynamic stability (think muscles) or can be static (think ligament) or bony faults.  Dynamic stability can be improved with physical therapy however static or bony abnormalties can be more difficult to improve with conservative skilled physical therapy- this is where orthotics  can make a huge difference.

    Foot orthotics are rigid (or semi -rigid) inserts that you put in your shoes to provide improvements to abnormal biomechanic faults in your ankle or foot.  There are two types of foot orthotics:  Over-the-counter (OTC) orthotics and custom orthotics.   

    OTC orthotics are not custom- you can pick these up at your local medical equipment or sporting goods store.  These can be effective however they are not fabricated from a mold of your foot and do not allow for specific adjustments.  Custom orthotics on the other hand are created from a negative inprint  of your foot which provides invaluable information of your foot type which can yield a more effective orthotic.

    Here at Mana Physical Therapy, we are one of the few certified providers of custom foot orthotics through Sole Supports in the area!  The process takes ~ 10 minutes in our office and consists of us taking a detailed mold of your foot which is then sent out to be fabricated.   Your orthotic arrives in 1-2 weeks and most insurances cover at full cost

    If you are curious about orthoics , think Mana first!

    Check the video below for additional details:

    Cycling:  Tips from Your Physical Therapist     |    Mana Physical Therapy

    Cycling: Tips from Your Physical Therapist | Mana Physical Therapy

    Cycling season is upon us!  

    Cycling can be a safe low impact exercise for people of all ages.   It provides excellent aerobic and anerobic activity to promote cardiovascular health.  Injuries can arise often low back, hip and knee dysfunctions.  Often, poor biomechanics can lead to injury when using a new bike or biking an unfamiliar trail.    If you are starting to bike ride for the first time or are a long time rider, stop into Mana Physical Theray for a bike evaluation.



    Happy Nurse Appreciation Week!!      |     Mana Physical Therapy

    Happy Nurse Appreciation Week!! | Mana Physical Therapy

    The American Nurse Association is promoting National Nurse Week during May 6-12th

    Mana Physical Therapy would like to extend our appreciation for all the nurses in NJ and the country who provide unwaivering care, skill and professionalism in the promotion of health and wellness.  

    Thank you for everything!


    Reduce your Risk of Falling:  3 Balance Exercises to Perform At Home

    Reduce your Risk of Falling: 3 Balance Exercises to Perform At Home

    Your ability to balance is dictated by 3 main inputs from your body:  your visual system, your proprioceptive system and your vestibular system.   Your visual system provides visual input, proprioceptive system gives your joints positional sense in space and your vestibular system is part of the inner ear giving you sense of momentum, gravity and spatial awareness.

    For example, walking on the beach on uneven sand and adapting gracefully is partly based on the effectiveness of your propriceptive system (and the muscles in your core and legs).    If you have been sitting in a parked car while the car next to you pulls out, your inner ear is giving your brain feedback of equilibrium, gravity and space.

    As we get older, we start to lose the mass of the muscles in our core and lower extremities which can lead to weakness.  In addition, the 3 systems discussed above often start to lose effectiveness which can increase your risk of falling.    Here are 3 exercises that you can easily perform in your home to improve your balance and lower extremity strength.   

    Be sure to check with your physical therapist before you attempt any exercises on your own.   In addition, perform all of these exercises in front of a sturdy and stable surface.


    1. Tandem Standing/Walking

    Stand with one foot in front of the other.  Hold this for up to 30 seconds.  Repeat this 5-10x. You can add a challenge by closing your eyes or performing on an uneven surface (throw pillow).

    As your abiity to hold this position improves, you can start to walk along an imaginary line, heel toe walking (tandem walking).  Repeat for 10 steps, back and forth, for up to 4 laps.  To add additional challenge, turn your head slowly to the left and right as you walk forward and backward.

    2.  Single Leg Standing 

    Stand on one leg for up to 30 seconds.  Keep your eyes open.  Perform in your bathroom so you have the countertop/sink to hold on to.  To make it seem less like an exercise, perform morning and night while brushing your teeth.   Perform up to 5x for each leg.  

    If performing with your eyes open is easy, try closing your eyes.  If this gets easy, try standing on a throw pillow.

    3.  Side Walking (Karoke)

    Stand in front of a kitchen counter top.    Place one foot in front the other.  Repeat with the other leg by placing behind the previous.  Repeat this for 10 steps and return back to the start point.  

    If you are having difficulty coordinating this movement, perform side steps to each side and return back.  Be sure to keep your knees straight and your toes pointed forward.

    For additional strategies to improve your balance and strength, reach out to your local physical therapist.  Here at Mana Physical Therapy, we strive to be your practitioner of choice regarding physical therapy care in the region.