What Can Go Right in 2013

What if the future is more bullish than the bears assume? All the fiscal cliff talk has certainly increased stock market volatility. In addition to this constant seesawing, the market is contending with anxieties about Europe, with the Eurozone now officially in another recession, and the strong possibility of higher taxes on capital gains and dividends in 2013 plus surtaxes on varieties of net investment income.1 Even so, 2013 may turn out to be a good year for stocks. Our economy looks to be healing, and that may give investors around the world more optimism.

A housing comeback appears evident. Our economy won’t fully recover from the downturn until the housing market does. We have strong indications that this is happening. The October report on existing home sales from the National Association of Realtors showed a 10.9% annual improvement in the sales pace, with the median sale price rising 11.1% in a year to $178,600. (The median sale price increased in October for an eighth straight month.) The Census Bureau noted a 17.2% annual rise in new home sales in October. Lastly, the Conference Board’s November consumer confidence poll found that 6.9% of respondents planned to buy a home in the next six months. In November 2010, less than 4% did.2,3,4

QE3 is open-ended. The Federal Reserve will keep buying mortgage-linked securities for as long as it sees fit, and the Wall Street Journal has reported that the Fed will likely broaden the effort to include the purchase of Treasuries in 2013 (compensating for the absence of Operation Twist next year). So cheap money should be around in 2013 and beyond thanks to the Fed’s bond-buying efforts and its dedication to maintaining historically low interest rates.5

Earnings could improve. This last earnings season was as disappointing as analysts believed it would be, but we could see gradual improvement across upcoming quarters. Citigroup sees earnings growth of 5% this year even with minor fiscal tightening.6

Consumer confidence may be translating into personal spending. Back in November, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index reached a mark of 73.7; the highest level since February 2008. Chain-store sales were up 3.3% during Thanksgiving week from the week before, and up 4% from last Thanksgiving week according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.7

There are economists who think 2013 could be a key transitional year, a step toward a more robust economy at mid-decade. If solid economic indicators inspire companies and consumers to spend and invest more, 2013 might surprise even the most ardent stock market bears.

  1. cbsnews.com Return of Europe recession is bad news for U.S. 11/15/12
  2. investorplace.com Existing home sales climb in October 11/19/12
  3. latimes.com/business LA new home sales 11/28/12
  4. wsj.com/economics Price rise shows a better balanced U.S. housing market 11/27/12
  5. marketwatch.com Treasury’s Operation twist program & long term rates 11/28/12
  6. cnbc.com Earnings Outlook Now in Congress Hands 11/21/12
  7. investors.com Fiscal cliff fears don’t sink durable goods confidence 11/27/12


Damien helps individuals invest and manage risk. He is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and a principal of Walnut Creek Wealth Management. These are the views of Damien Couture, CFP® and not intended as investment advice. Your comments are welcome. Damien can be reached at 925-280-1800 x101 or Damien@WalnutCreekWealth.com.

The Cliff Ahead: What Will It Mean?

For the past two years, like Thelma and Louise driving through the country in their fun convertible Thunderbird, we have been enjoying ourselves in the days of a large $5M estate tax exemption and a low top tax rate of 35%. Unfortunately, just like for Thelma and Louise, these heady times were bound to come to an end. At the end of 2012 the estate tax exemption will default back to $1M and the top tax rate will rise back up to 55%. So here we are revving our engines and staring out over the hood of the Thunderbird at the cliff that is December 31, 2012. Are we destined to drive off the cliff or will some kind of legislative miracle save us – and getting Congress to agree on anything will be a minor miracle?

We all knew this day was coming so many made large gifts out of their taxable estate in order to take advantage of the generous exemption amount before it comes to an end. The decision to make such large gifts is unique to each individual as many factors go into it: financial composition of the individual, assets available to gift, etc. Many also took pause because of the potential for a “claw back” tax. I doubt it is a coincidence that this concept takes such a menacing name. The basic idea is that there is a possibility that the government will still be able to collect the taxes you avoided by taking advantage of the high exemption and making an exempt gift in 2012 if ultimately the estate tax exemption is lowered.

Some planners thought that after the election results were in we would get a better idea of how things might play out. Some Republicans want a complete repeal of the estate tax, while others would like to extend the current law. However, as President Obama was re-elected, his plan to lower the estate tax exemption to $3.5M and raise the top tax rate to 45% might be more of a reality. However, he is also fighting hard with Republicans on a plethora of other tax issues, including income taxes. It is possible that the estate tax debate might be conceded by the President in an effort to make gains on other tax policies. There is also division amongst the Democrats about the looming reversion back to the $1M exemption as such a “low” exemption could negatively impact many farms and ranches.

There is still a lot of uncertainty on how the estate tax will play out at the end of this year but as we get closer to the deadline we should start to see how resolved each party is on their position and what concessions will or will not be made. With any luck by the time this article is published in January Congress will have come to an agreement on the estate tax and we can all plan accordingly. Let’s just hope we don’t find ourselves with a white knuckle grip on the steering wheel of our Thunderbird as we fly off the cliff into the default of a $1M estate tax exempt

 

0113-Legal-Lines

Christopher Jew- Associate Trial Attorney – Mr. Jew practices in the area of trusts and estates, including estate planning, conservatorships, probate of decedent’s estates and trust administration. He also has extensive experience in probate and trust litigation often involving undue influence and financial elder abuse. Mr. Jew serves as court appointed counsel for proposed conservatees for the San Francisco County Superior Court. Additionally, Mr. Jew contributes to De La Housaye & Associate’s transactional practice, including contract drafting and negotiations.

Sakura

There is an anomaly in the dining out universe. Have you ever noticed that when we encounter a positive dining experience our first reaction is eagerness to share the details with the people closest to us while simultaneously planning our return visit, except when it comes to sushi? With sushi restaurants it seems to be this covert operation of research and development. Hours of sampling and analyzing. Picking that one restaurant that you will call “your sushi restaurant” but like a poker player with pocket Kings, you keep it close to your chest, only to dole out the information when the situation calls for it. An important date or out of town family member will benefit from your research but you’ll be damned if your going to tell the guy in accounting; you don’t want the whole world to know!

Today I will share with you “my sushi restaurant.” Sakura in Crow Canyon Commons, San Ramon is my Japanese home away from home. No other place I know greets you like Tony does, and he has been doing it for over 17 years.

I didn’t realize how special it was until my 3rd visit, and here is why. My first visit was the research part. Fish focus heavy and Sakura nailed it. At the same time I got to meet the gregarious character behind the bar named Tony, who (in hindsight), paid close attention to our names upon introduction.

The second visit was developmental—a bit more daring in the fish selection. A real “let’s open this thing up and see what she’s made of” outing. Again…nails, and Tony, who had us repeat our introductions from the first visit months prior with little to know fanfare. The third visit was well over a year later. I walked into Sakura at 7pm on a fairly busy night.—“TOBY-SAN”—a genuinely excited Tony yelled from behind the roll he was constructing. Game-Set-Match!

No matter how much time passes between my visits, it’s always the same sprinkled with the knowledge he gained from my life on the prior visit. “TOBY-SAN, how is your wife?”; “TOBY-SAN, how old is your baby now?” He is incredible. Fifteen plus years in the business and I have never seen such light in another human soul so effortlessly shared with hundreds.

Okay, what about the fish? Tony does what true Sushi Chefs have been doing in Japan for generations. Every morning before you have even thought about your snooze button, Tony makes his way to the fish market to find out what is fresh. If it’s good, he buys it, then trucks it to San Ramon and prepares it with the artistic ability reserved more for those with brushes rather than knives. Knowing there is nothing I won’t try, he seems excited to peel back my head and drop previously un-heard of creations directly on my brain. I have had an oyster with layers of flavor and texture that would have Narsai David quitting his job for lack of anything better to write about. I have had Bonito fish that transform me into a samurai and my wife a geisha. I have had whole pickled baby octopus that looked as though it may actually leave my plate in a mad dash for the sanctuary of the ocean. And Tony always has OO Toro!

I always ask Tony how business is, and with an obvious heavy heart his last three responses have been, “Not good Toby-San. Not good.” This will not happen on my watch. Sakura is a goldmine of everything we look for in a dining experience. The Oakland A’s call this place home. A friend of mine, in her mid-twenties, has celebrated her birthday there every year since she was eight.

I’m not suggesting you should go — I’m telling you! Support the things that make this area so special before we wonder “what happened?”

Sakura Japanese Cuisine
3151C Crow Canyon Place, San Ramon, CA Tel.925-277-1628

Wedding Bells For The Bride This Year? Choosing The Right Bridal Make-Up

Weddings are so very special. Planning a wedding can take months and can be very time consuming with all the details involved. One detail you don’t want to overlook is your make-up. When choosing your make-up style for your wedding you want to make sure you look updated and use the right cosmetic colors.

Plan as we might, unforeseen wedding day crisis may pop up from unwanted blemishes to under eye circles. Luckily, you have choices to seek out good beauty professionals that will assist you and make your day effortless and help you look your best. I have seen so many ruined bridal pictures by wearing the wrong color foundation to wearing purple or blue eye shadow. A bridal consultation is about what the bride wants. We like to use soft and natural tones to enhance the beauty of the bride. Remember, you will be taking a lot of pictures on this most special day; so wearing the correct make-up colors is vital.

Beauty and the Bride
The ultimate make-up application for a bride should be polished and formal without taking away from her own natural beauty. The right make-up for wedding photography creates refinement and pushes a look forward with a natural simplicity with a bridal trendy look. Using soft colors and warm undertones are keys to complimenting the bride’s own style and skin tones, which will photograph beautifully. We, as make-up professionals have a keen eye for detail, color balance and we will help you and your wedding party look their best in pictures.

When a bride comes in to our studio for a consultation, we always ask them what they want to look like and what they are looking for. Usually girls know what they want but they just don’t know how to achieve it; the consultation should be a collaboration of what the bride truly wants and what the artist suggests. This is a formal event, so being finished, flawless and a little above natural should be the option, but also looking like yourself, “soft and glowing.”

At The Rouge we specialize in wedding make-up and have been doing so for over 20 years. Our brow and beauty experts stay current with the latest trends and styles, giving the bride and wedding party the best and the utmost updated looks that are formal yet polished. We do pre-bridal consultations Tuesday through Saturday by appointment only. Please come by and enjoy our gorgeous line of cosmetics by Fleur Visage. Starting the year off right and choosing the right wedding make-up artist is just one more thing off the bridal checklist!

Baseball’s Steroid Era Coming to a Head with this Month’s Hall of Fame Vote

The Baseball Hall of Fame is announcing the results of this year’s election on Jan. 9, just about when this issue of Alive will hit the street. The results for two recent players will be of particular interest.

Barry Bonds was perhaps the greatest hitter since Babe Ruth and won seven MVP Awards. Roger Clemens was perhaps the greatest pitcher since World War II and won seven Cy Young Awards. Both are eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Neither is likely to get in. How is that possible? In a word, steroids.

Bonds and Clemens are widely believed to have used performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) during their big league careers. Both played far longer than normal and put up incredible numbers. Many of us in the Bay Area were thrilled by the performances of Bonds during his 15 seasons with the Giants. During that time he set the single season and career record for homeruns.

Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro each had what would be considered Hall of Fame careers and have been up for election for several years. Both are associated strongly with PEDs, and neither has come close to receiving enough votes for enshrinement.

For many, it is an easy choice. If it is known or strongly believed that these players cheated and broke laws by using PEDs during their careers then they don’t deserve Hall of Fame status. Some think they’re fortunate not to be in prison. Others point out that the Baseball Hall of Fame is filled with dubious characters, so why single out steroid users? Yes, PEDs set a bad example for young fans, but so does racism, alcoholism, wife beating, and drug addiction. There are members of the Hall of Fame who are known to have done all those things.

Another point of view is that the steroid era is just another phase in baseball history, and that since many players from the 1990s and early 2000s were likely using PEDs, all we’re doing is recognizing the best of the best in what was likely a reasonably level playing field.

Before Jackie Robinson played his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers, major leaguers achieved what they did in a time when a large segment of the American population was actively excluded from the game. Would players like Ruth and Joe DiMaggio achieved what they did if they had to face the best possible competition instead of just the best possible white competition?

International scouting has enriched the major leagues to the point where only about 65 percent of players were born in the United States. Would Sandy Koufax and Willie Mays have achieved what they did if their competition came from around the world instead of essentially from around the country?

The real shame is that players with absolutely no direct connection to PEDs, Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza are two examples, have to bear the increased scrutiny of Hall of Fame voters because they played in the steroid era and displayed unusual power.

Ten years ago one could reasonably assert that the very best players in the history of our national game were enshrined in Cooperstown. That is no longer true. Now, Hall of Fame status has to be explained and qualified, which takes something away from the honor for those who have achieved it and also for fans making a pilgrimage to honor the greats of the game.

So … are Bonds, Clemens, McGwire and Palmeiro Hall of Famers? What would you do if you had a vote?

Let’s Make a New and Different Resolution

In my December column I introduced a new reason for avoiding non-thinking, overindulgent eating. That new reason is saving your telomeres. Telomeres are relatively newly discovered protective caps at the ends of our chromosomes, quite similar to the plastic caps at the end of a shoelace. Basically, as you grow older each time the cell divides, the telomere becomes shorter and life ends when it is gone.

Protecting the telomere from undo damage can not only extend life and youthful appearance, but help to avoid many common diseases. The way to do this was my concluding sentence of the last column—stay as close to nature as possible. This means eating natural, organic foods and avoiding anything that you can eat straight from a box.

Nature definitely does not include smoking, processed foods and trans-fats. Another villain is genetically altered foods. Recently it has been proven that excessive stress over long periods can do serious damage as well.

The good news is that it looks like science is on the verge of reversing the shortening of your telomeres and therefore extending your life expectancy. An enzyme called telomerase can increase the length of the telomere, essentially reversing the aging process.

In 2011, Dr Ronald DePinho, professor of genetics from Harvard Medical School, shocked the world by taking elderly mice (the equivalent of humans in their 80’s) and returning them to youthful form, including the ability to reproduce. They regained their vision and grew back a normal, youthful brain.

One of the leaders in what it takes to reverse aging, and is involved in making supplements available, is Dr. Al Sears of Royal Palm Beach, FL. He has published extensively on this subject and his work is available online. Although reversing the aging process has yet to be fully accomplished, the reports of patients that have been following his regime are incredible and it appears that a virtual fountain of youth is on its way. The important thing is that we are now aware of what it takes to prevent accelerating the aging process and how to slow it down drastically.

The key factors that accelerate the aging process are: excessive stress; a poor diet high in processed foods, dairy, empty calories (sugar, junk food and alcohol); and trans-fats. There are many supplements that can be taken to stimulate your body’s production of telomerase. One of those is TA-65, an extract of the Chinese herb astragalus. This extract is available on the internet at $219.00 for a one month’s supply. Since the discovery of TA-65, many other far less expensive supplements have been proven to help, including Resveratrol, Green Tee extract (EGCG), N-Acetyl-Cysteine, Vitamin D3 and Vitamin E.

The discovery of the impact of the telomere and telomerase should be taken very seriously. There is no wonder why diabetes, breast cancer, heart disease and arthritis are epidemic in our society. Why bother cooking breakfast for your kids when you can open a box of ready-made cereal (or better yet, they can) and they can enjoy all that sugar and processed grains, not to mention the fact that they lose a chance to eat with you and relieve stress by talking their plans for the day? For dinner, grab something from a box and nuke it so that you don’t have to take the time to share your love through cooking nutritiously, and then why not turn on the TV so that you can avoid conversation?0113-Dr.-Brown

We evolved without these modern “conveniences” and distractions and it’s time to get back to a more natural lifestyle. That path has been scientifically proven to extend your life. I can’t over emphasize the most important factors that would already have you looking and feeling younger: an all-natural diet without drug, tobacco or alcohol abuse; sensible stress relief; proper exercise and plenty of laughter and love.

Include a commitment to follow the above guidelines in a New Year’s resolution and you could have a vital, active and meaningful life for you and your loved ones in 2013 and beyond.

Robert Brown, DDS has a TMJ and sleep apnea practice in Danville and thoroughly enjoys discussing holistic medicine. You can contact him at 925-837-8048, at info@aodtc.com, or visit his web site at www.aodtc.com.

Trivial Matters – January 2013

Shouldn’t keep talking about places I have been, but am doing this little exercise sitting at Cascada de Baja in Cabo San Lucas. What better excuse to ask a few puzzlers about the land south of the Border?

  1. In the song “South of the Border,” what told the cowboy that he “should not stay south of the border”?
  2. What “mania” possessed the Los Angeles Dodgers in the early 1980s?
  3. Who played Pancho Villa in the 1934 movie “Viva Villa”?
  4. Mel Blanc played a Mexican character on the Jack Benny radio show in a hilarious, oft- repeated bit. What was this character’s very un-Mexican name?
  5. What was the name of the astronaut played by Bill Dana on the Steve Allen TV show?
  6. Who was hailed as the liberator of Mexico from French rule in the 1800’s?

December Answers

  1. “Dr. No”
  2. Ursula Andress
  3. Oddjob
  4. George Lazenby
  5. Timothy Dalton
  6. Barry Nelson

DECEMBER WINNER:
MARIA BARANDICA OF SAN RAMON

WIN LUNCH ON BEN!
The first person to email or mail, no calls please, the correct answers to all of the above questions will win a $25 gift certificate for Restaurante Forli in downtown Alamo, compliments of Ben Fernandez! Entries must be received by Jan 20, 2013. In the event of a tie, the winner will be drawn at random. Please email your answers to info@aliveeastbay.com, or mail to ALIVE East Bay, 3200 A Danville Blvd., Ste. 204, Alamo, CA 94507. Employees and family members of employees of ALIVE East Bay are not eligible. Restaurant may be changed without notice.

The Latest “Secret” to Weight Loss – – LEPTIN

Or, Why Don’t I Lose Weight Even Though I Diet and Exercise

We all know at least a few things that are supposed to make us lose weight. Sayings like “eating less, exercising more” come to mind (turns out that this isn’t that effective). Some of you may have heard that decreased sleep or eating at night will lead to weight gain, while others remember that a healthy thyroid is the most important weight-controlling factor. How about “eat less fat” or “eat less carbs.” Well, it turns out that even though all of these things are important, it’s actually your brain that holds the secret to stable, long term weight loss.

Your brain communicates with all of your endocrine glands through feedback loops that control the actions of each organ. The weight loss success I’ve seen in my office is due to our ability to address errors in communication between the brain and body. This brain-body feedback — homeostasis, is what controls our fat forming or fat burning status.

The brain utilizes several feedback loops to control weight, or more specifically regulate fat. The most important are those that control and modulate the:

  1. Thyroid gland
  2. Adrenal gland
  3. Sugar metabolism / pancreas
  4. Liver / Gastrointestinal imbalances
  5. Inflammation
  6. Sex hormone imbalances

All of these must be functioning well if weight control is to be effective for the long run. To do this, one more feedback loop absolutely has to be managed, and that is the Leptin Loop.

Leptin, a hormone produced by the white adipose (fat) tissue was first discovered in 1994. At first the immense importance of this hormone was not fully apparent. Some scientists now feel that Leptin is the most important hormone in the body. Leptin acts on the central nervous system by suppressing food intake and stimulating energy usage. Essentially, it tells the brain when we are full. But research began to show that overweight individuals have far more serum leptin than normal weight people.

The question became “Why would Leptin, a hormone that normally maintains leanness be so high in those that are the most obese? The answer was found in diabetics.

Type II diabetics can produce plenty of insulin but it is not used because of constant high levels of sugar. The elevated sugar and insulin cause the cell receptors to “burn out” or to become resistant to insulin.

This same process occurs with Leptin, and if the levels are high, Leptin Resistance will result, confusing the brain and causing more weight gain rather than less. At that point it is almost impossible to get skinnier.

Like insulin resistance, Leptin resistance is inflammatory and leads to progressive weight gain and difficult plateaus of weight loss. But the beneath the “spare tire” lies a physiological dysfunction that dramatically increases your risk for chronic inflammatory and autoimmune conditions ranging from diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, to stroke and dementia.

Leptin only operates correctly when the thyroid, liver, adrenals, and blood sugar are normal. Because of this, attempts at developing a weight loss drug made with Leptin have been ineffective. And it’s also the reason we can turn your metabolism around. An anti-inflammatory, healing diet is the answer. This diet will reset the hormone system; normalize blood sugar; and support the thyroid, liver, gut, adrenals and lead to healthy functioning Leptin and insulin loop. The diet consists of eliminating inflammatory grains, moderating protein, increasing healthy fats, and incorporating sugar-stabilizing veggies.

Targeted supplements are usually required to increase the function of the other feedback loops we talked about earlier. Each individual has a different need and requires a different approach.

Short term effectiveness and long term stability of weight loss is hinged to the seven feedback loops. Remember it’s not only about the exercise or the calories. It’s about the evaluation where we find out by blood and hormone testing, what approach/feedback loop would be the most effective for you now and in the future.

Dr. Don Davis, D.C., DACNB is a BOARD CERTIFIED CHIROPRACTIC NEUROLOGIST in Walnut Creek. He has been serving individuals with chronic pain for 30 years. For information about how you can get a free consultation with Dr. Davis, call (925) 279-4324 (HEAL). Visit us at WalnutCreekThyroidInstitute.com

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

0113-Movie-Rev---Best-ExotiCome and spend your Autumn years in an Indian Palace.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the story of a small group of British retirees who answer the call. An eclectic band of strangers who decide to “outsource” their later years to a less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self, obviously the brochure pictures from an earlier time.

Marigold Hotelhas an interesting storyline but the coup de grais is the ensemble of Emmy and Golden Globe award winning actors and actresses. I could sprinkle them into this review but I prefer to divulge them all at once. Tom Wilkinson is Graham Dashwood, a recently retired judge with a secret. Judi Dench, the Grand Dame, is Evelyn Greenslade, a widow who has never had a job but whose previously successful husband died leaving her penniless and in debt. Maggie Smith is Muriel Donnely, a woman who spent her whole life “in service” to a family who has terminated her for a younger woman. Bill Nighy plays Douglas Ainslee, a man who has tolerated a shrew of a woman his whole married life and is now stuck with her in a foreign country because their daughter borrowed their retirement money for a new business and can’t pay it back. Madge Hardcastle, a mature single woman who is looking for a place she can still afford to live the life she so desperately clings to is played by Celia Imrie. Wow! Is that an amazing cast or what?

There is also a beautifully talented Indian cast led by Dev Patel who plays Sonny Kapoor, the endearing but inexperienced manager of the Marigold whose brothers are all successful when he has yet to find his place in life. The hotel was his dead father’s dream so he has taken it as his own. He wants to build a place so wonderful that the residents would refuse to die! When asked by Madge if everything was going to be alright, Sonny answers, “Everything will be all right in the end, so if it’s not alright, it is not yet the end”.

I truly enjoyed this film that expertly intertwines six vastly different people with six diverse stories. They are all forever transformed by the shared experience of a new environment, less luxurious than promised but majestically teeming with life and love. They find a place where they can begin again when they dare to let go of their pasts.

The message of not allowing your age to define you is front and center. Getting out of our comfort zones is less and less appealing as we grow older yet these new friends find a vibrant life waiting in a place and time they didn’t expect.

Welcome to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful. The talent is amazing. The scenery is spectacular (better than Eat, Pray Love in my opinion). The story is heartwarming, hope-giving and real. What’s not to like? Rent it or buy it (I plan to watch it again) but enjoy it with someone you can chat with about it afterwards. As always, I love your comments at chastings@rockcliff.com.

Sciatica is a Pain in the Rear!

The condition known as Sciatica is one of the most common conditions that we treat at Align Healing Center. Some of the typical symptoms of Sciatica are sharp pain in the low-back and/or buttocks accompanied by numbness, tingling, aching or burning down the back of the leg. In severe circumstances, weakness in the leg may also be seen.

The Sciatic Nerve is large and travels down the back of the leg to the foot. The nerve is buried deep within the muscles of the buttock and leg making it difficult to treat with common physical therapy methods. The Sciatic Nerve is composed of several smaller nerves and originates from the low back. It passes under the piriformis muscle (underneath the main buttock muscles) on its way down the leg. Irritation of the Sciatic Nerve at any point along its path is commonly known as “Sciatica”.

Understanding Sciatica
Let’s talk about nerves for a moment. Nerves are the electrical wiring of the human body. They carry the signals that allow us to move, feel, digest, detoxify, respond to our environment, and so much more. Plain and simple, if the nerves do not work the body will not work. That being said, it is important to understand that unlike other tissues, the primary blood supply to nerve tissue is actually located WITHIN the nerve itself. So, if a nerve becomes impinged or compromised, so does the blood supply to the nerve. Without proper blood supply, the nerve does not receive the energy and nutrition that are needed for the nerve to heal itself. Over time neural impingement leads to a painful chronic condition called Neuropathy. The definition of neuropathy is a disease or injury affecting nerve cells. The common symptoms of Neuropathy include sharp pain, burning, muscular weakness, numbness or tingling either at the site of the nerve injury or wherever the nerve travels. The condition known as Sciatica is a form of Neuropathy that specifically affects the Sciatic Nerve.

What can I do to relieve my Sciatica without drugs or surgery?
Since 1999 Align Healing Center has been offering many different modalities to heal Sciatica. We have found that a combination of Class IV laser therapy and spinal decompression offer outstanding results in healing stubborn Sciatica. Class IV Laser Therapy allows the practitioner to stimulate healing within the damaged tissue by delivering the necessary energy directly to the injured area. This creates an optimal healing environment that reduces pain and inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms and stiffness. In addition to laser therapy we implement spinal decompression to restore spinal disc health. Decompression works by gently stretching the spine, creating a vacuum effect which can restore disc height and even reduce the severity of bulging disc conditions associated with chronic pain and neurological symptoms.

We have found laser and decompression therapy to be most beneficial for patients with pinched nerves, arthritis, herniated discs, and degenerative disc disease. This unique combination of non-invasive therapy offers a chance for realizing a permanent cure. The treatment is finite and typically lasts for about a month. This eliminates the long-term care commitment forced upon patients by other symptomatic sciatica treatments. With proper care and rehabilitation of your spine and nervous system you can be back to your healthy self quickly!

Dr. Niele Maimone, DC of Align Healing Center in Danville, CA has been active in natural health & wellness since 1999. For more information or to set up a consult call 925.362.8283 or visit www.alignhealingcenter.com.