WELLNESS-Statistics show that over 3 million American adults suffer from anxiety and there is no evidence that number will be declining any time soon.  With big cities becoming more and more populated and news of climate change and drought and war, there is a good chance that anxiety is on the rise. Besides getting help from doctors and other health care providers like acupuncturists, there are other things you can do to help stave off anxiety.  

Exercise.  Studies show that through regular exercise we aid the brain in releasing endorphins, which help to reduce the perception of pain. Endorphins don’t only affect the brain. They also affect the body.  Many people who exercise report a feeling of euphoria during or shortly after their workout.  This is often referred to as runners high.  Endorphins also have a sedating affect on the body, which help to pull us out of fight or flight and into a more relaxed state.  

Besides the chemical affects, exercise is also a way for people to get a break from their normal way of thinking.  Many report exercise as feeling like a form of meditation.  At the very least, it is a break from our usual cycle of thoughts.  When exercising vigorously it is required to think about the physical body and pay attention to the breath.  Both of these behaviors are normally acted upon when one is in meditation, and meditation is another highly affective way to combat anxiety.  

If one exercises outside, they are also getting a change of environment, which has the ability to drop anxiety levels. Throw in some fresh air and exercise and it often works as a quick way to take the edge off. If it’s not an outdoor park but rather a gym, this will still be helpful.  Simply changing your surroundings and getting out of the potentially stress producing space you are in, whether it’s your home or work, can help to decrease anxiety levels.  

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Part of feeling anxious is also feeling a lack of control in ones life.  Exercise is another way to feel like you have control. Going to the gym or the park and working out is something you are doing for you and only you.  Your partner or boss or family has very little to do with your exercise regimen therefore giving you a stronger sense of control in your life.  

It has been well documents that people who exercise more experience lower levels of anxiety.  This does not have to mean spending a fortune on a gym membership or personal trainer.  It can be as easy as picking a time every day and going for a brisk walk or jog outside. 

The important thing is that you get your heart rate up and hopefully break a sweat. The sweating helps us to eliminate toxins from our body and the elevated heart rate will strengthen your heart and allow for the brain to release endorphins.  

A morning workout is recommended because those great chemicals you get will help to carry you through your day feeling less anxious and more confident.


(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)






Vol 13 Issue 39

Pub: May 12, 2015

WELLNESS-It only took 50 years of research indicating that fluoride is unhealthy, but the US government finally responded by demanding a lowering of fluoride levels in our drinking water. Currently almost all of Western Europe drinks non-flouridated water with at least half of the countries listed NEVER allowing fluoride in their water.  These places include: Denmark, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Sweden, Scotland, Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and almost all of the UK and Spain.  Water fluoridation also stopped completely in Japan, Isreal, and even the soviet union over 25 years ago.  

For those of us that grew up in the 60’s and 70’s we have been getting fluoride in the tap since childhood. The department of Health and Human Services announced in 1962 that tap water be fluoridated with between 0.7 and 1.2 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water. The new recommendation that they are making will not allow fluoride to exceed 0.7.  

Back in the 60’s and even as recently as the 80’s and 90’s most of us were drinking tap water and getting those high doses of flouride. These days more people are drinking bottled water but statistics show that 61% of Americans still drink tap water. Facts provided by the USDA indicate that the biggest consumers of tap water is the poor.  This comes as no surprise.  

 The CDC used to tout fluoride in the water as the reason the US has less teeth decay than other countries, but recent studies show that teeth decay is decreasing at the same rate in western European countries as well pointing to better health care as the reason as opposed to fluoride. 

There is a reason the fluoride controversy has gone on as long as it has.  The Flouride Action Network states that “Fluoride is a highly toxic substance that can cause a range of adverse health effects. Certain members of the public are at particularly high risk of harm.” Their site goes on to list all the potential nasty effects of consuming fluoride included but not limited to arthritis, bone fracture, brain effects, cancer, diabetes, endocrine disruption, hypersensitivity, pineal gland, flourosis, thyroid disease and others.  

The department of health and human services issued a statement on April 27th saying that “While additional sources of fluoride are more widely used than they were in 1962, the need for community water fluoridation still continues,” said U.S. Deputy Surgeon General Rear Admiral Boris D. Lushniak, M.D., M.P.H. “Community water fluoridation continues to reduce tooth decay in children and adults beyond that provided by using only toothpaste and other fluoride-containing products.” 

There is no mention of any types of danger or disease risk by the use of Flouride in the water, but at least the reduction in the fluoride levels in tap will expose our poorest Americans to this potentially dangerous chemical a little bit less. In time with more pushing, fluoride will probably be removed all together from our water supply confirming once again that what is often deemed “safe” by our own government agencies isn’t always the case.  


 (Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)





Vol 13 Issue 36

Pub: May 1, 2015

WELLNESS-Last week Pepsi announced that it was removing the sweetener Aspartame from Diet Pepsi. I wish I could say that this corporation was discontinuing the use of this chemical because of the numerous studies showing potential links it to diabetes and cancer, but the real reason is declining sales of their diet Pepsi line. Volumes fell over 5% last year motivating the company to look at why 

What they found is that consumers are becoming more health conscious and savvy to what is and isn’t good for them. An Italian study put on by the European Ramazzini Foundation on aspartame was published in the European Journal of Oncology in June of 2005 titled “Aspartame induces lymphomas and leukemias in rats.” In 2007 the FDA discredited the study and then in 2013 they completed a full review of aspartame and ruled out any risk of cancer.  

As far back as 1980 there was an FDA inquiry that comprised of three independent scientists. Each one found that Aspartame “might induce brain tumors.” Previous to these studies the FDA had banned Aspartame only to have it legalized again in 1983 after some potentially nefarious political restructuring.  In 1987 a renowned neuroscientist named Dr. John Olney (the same guy that helped ban monosodium glutamate) pleaded with the FDA in an open letter to ban Aspartame. His attempts fell on deaf ears. 

Any search you conduct on the history of this chemical indicates that it is unhealthy at best and outright dangerous at worst. There are studies showing that Aspartame damages the brain and others pointing to an Aspartame and Leukemia link. More information continues to flow in and none of it is good. Consumers of this chemical also report myriad conditions potentially related to Aspartame, and the addictive quality keeps people coming back for more.  

By now we realize that each time we spend money on food or beverages we are voting.  Voting for what we want on the shelves at our supermarkets.  It would be naïve to think that the powerful corporations that are controlling so much of our food and beverage content are solely concerned with our health. Equally or more important to many of these companies is the bottom line financially. If we are to stay healthy and ensure that only healthy compounds are included in our foods, we need to “vote” carefully. 

Pay attention to what’s in the food you are purchasing.  If there is any question about the healthfulness of a food or chemical, do your own research. While many people make fun of “the university of google,” there is much information to be gleaned from the internet and your local library. Be your own primary care provider. If there is any question about something in your diet talk to your health and medical providers, but also realize that we are all products of our education.  Do your own research for no one will care for your body as well as you do.  

 (Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)



Vol 13 Issue 35

Pub: Apr 28, 2015


Last night someone got shot in my neighborhood.  I don’t think they were killed but it was still very disturbing to hear a gunshot right outside my building.  I was hopeful that it was just a firework, but I knew it wasn’t  When I heard the police show up and heard people crying outside I knew that I was not mistaken about what I heard.  I never saw an ambulance so I don’t know if the upset people were just scared or if someone was actually hurt.

The whole thing is sad and horrible and makes Hollywood feel like a war-zone.  I walk my dog all the time and it was a reminder that anyone living in a big city or anywhere else is not ever totally safe from harm.  We can make choices to reduce the danger as much as possible, but beyond that we need to continue on our path as gracefully as we can.  

It would be easy to get down on the city or on all the guns and violence, but instead I will make a point today to let the people I care about know. Staying positive in the face of violence is not easy, but I choose to take this as a reminder of how precious life can be and will do my very best to choose my focus wisely.

When the wind is up and the air is cooling down, we are more likely to contract upper respiratory infections. For those of you familiar with Acupuncture, you may already know that the points around the neck and throat are susceptible to wind moving in and contributing to colds. One way to protect ourselves from catching a cold is to protect our necks and throats with scarves and to bundle up properly.

In addition to dressing properly, eating warming foods like soups and stews is another way to keep our bodies strong during the fall and winter.  Foods that are very cooling such as too many raw veggies or cold drinks should be substituted with foods like hot soup and stew. Our bodies are already working hard to stay warm, so adding cold food just gives our systems more work to do in an already challenging season.

Bundle up and stay warm, and let me know if you have any questions regarding a healthy diet during the fall.

Recently, I have made many big changes in my life including moving to a new city, buying a new car, and moving my Acupuncture practice to a new location. All of these changes gave me a good reason to put certain projects in my life on hold. The challenge began when the dust finally settled and I still wasn’t engaging in accomplishing my goals. At that point, the “break” turned into good old fashioned procrastination.

In doing some research on the subject I have discovered that procrastination is not only inconvenient, its also damaging to our health and well being causing elevated levels of stress and anxiety. Needless to say, that was all I needed to read to get off my heinie and implement a plan!

In at article from the Association for Psychological Science, http://bit.ly/1stefbl one of the most effective ways to move past procrastination is to begin with forgiving yourself for whatever it is that you have been putting off. Nine times out of ten, stress and fear are the underlying emotions of procrastination with the fear of “maybe I won’t do it right” usually the leading reason people procrastinate.

I invite all of you to implement a simple reward system for yourselves. In order to get things done, I am now using desktop calendars to help me accomplish goals in different areas of my life. I have a list of things I get a star for, and when I accomplish a goal, I write it on the calendar and put a star sticker next to that accomplishment. I aim for a certain number of stars a week, and if I get them I allow myself a healthy reward of my choosing. If I don’t reach my goal, I forgive myself and move on.

Let me know if you have any questions about this system or if you have a system you use that may help other people, please share!

Stay Healthy!


There is so much information out there today about Ebola, and most news outlets seem to be choosing to hype it up and instill fear.  

On the other hand, there are people saying that there are many other things to worry about more and that Ebola is a minor problem. The truth falls somewhere in the middle.  

It would be unfair and inhumane to minimize the Ebola Epidemic especially considering how many people have lost loved ones to this awful disease.  

At the same time, focusing too much attention on this problem and obsessively watching the news for updates doesn't do anyone any good at all and can arguably be bad for your health.  

For me, I decided to find a way to donate money to the cause and refocus my attention right here at home where I can make a bigger difference in the day to day lives of my patients and the people around me. There is a way to stay informed without allowing the news to dominate our thoughts.  

What we put our attention on grows, so let's choose to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.  

If you are interested in donating money, I used Unicef as it is a tried and trusted charity. 

Christian Cristiano covers Wellness for CityWatch. He received his Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and his B.S. in Business Administration and Marketing.  He is a licensed acupuncturist and wellness expert who personally works with patients to help them achieve their healing objectives.  acupuncturebychristian@gmail.com

In Chinese Medicine we learn that the environment has a direct impact on our health and often can be the culprit in making us sick.  If it is cold and damp and windy outside, it is very important to dress properly and especially to cover up the neck with a scarf.  The neck is where many of the "wind points" in acupuncture are located, and because of this, the neck is an especially sensitive area of the body that can be attacked by the elements making us vulnerable to colds and flu.

In the winter we need to be sure to take advantage of the early sunsets and get extra rest.  Curl up with a blanket and movie more often and keep warm.  Enjoy the longer nights and the chance to spend more time indoors with loved ones.  It's nice to follow the lead of mother nature and slow down.  Stay warm and stay well this winter season!