Creative Integrations | Gina Zuleger | Acupuncture | Herbal RemediesI know, cheesy name . . .

but it is actually perfectly descriptive! These blog’esque entries are borne from the conversations Gina and I have in the morning as we get our day started. Yes, over tea.

So welcome to the caffeinated musings of a couple of health practitioners who have the time (aka no kids) to wonder . . . and research . . . and share . . .

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Ok, so get this: the word “stress” is 100% made up. Dr. Hans Selye created the word in 1926 to talk about how external things effect our bodies. However, the word was not meant to be used alone. It was supposed to have a prefix: either “Eu” or “Dys” in front of it.

Eu = good  – – – Dys = bad

For example, Euphoria means good feeling; Dysphoria means bad feeling. Likewise, Selye desired these prefixes to be included to create a distinction betwixt the two types of  stressors: Eustress (good stress, builds up and makes you stronger) and Dystress (bad stress, breaks you down and makes you weaker).

This distinction implies a threshold or tipping point where eustress becomes dystress and vice-versa. Think about sprinting. Sprinting a 100 meters 3-6 times with a minute or two rest in between a couple times a week will give most everyone a bit of muscle, some increased speed and deserved swagger. But sprint 30-60 times with 12 seconds rest in between every day and you will end up in the hospital. Clearly, somewhere along the way, these bouts of exercise went from being eustress and became dystress.

This bring up the million dollar question: where is that threshold? Well, it is completely different for each and every person. And it changes based on the time of day. It differs every day, every month, every season and every year. As you age it changes. As your mood changes this threshold re-calibrates. The food you eat and the thoughts you think will make that ever-moving target bandy about. Yes, I said “bandy about.”

Its gets better too: every organ system from muscular to cardiovascular to endocrine to immune all have these moving thresholds for every individual and collective function and structure.

Please don’t get overwhelmed! The answer, as with most everything in this world, is inside you . . . and you alone. If you get quiet and listen . . . and be honest about what you hear . . . these thresholds become shockingly apparent. Through paying attention to your body’s signals will you learn where these threshold are and your ability to stay on the eustress side of the equation will be effortless. This internal awareness is where many secrets are held. But more on that another day . . .

For now, when you are at the gym and Pat Benetar’s “Love is a Battlefield” comes on the iPod (you heard me) and some Crazy-Hot-Spandex-Clad Adonis or She-Ra throws you a wink and you decide to power through 57 more pull ups . . . stop. Instead, listen to what your body is telling you. Do you want to push through for the sake of building yourself stronger/happier? Or because critical eyes are watching you? Or because you are guilty about the pizza/ice cream you ate last night? Or . . . ? Many thresholds, many things to ponder . . . thankfully you have your entire lifetime to sort these things out.

If nothing else, whenever you ask someone how they are and they say, “Stressed,” tell them about Hans Selye and how we want to have stressors in our lives. We just want to be Eustressed.

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No joke. Researchers just linked Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s) to store-bought chicken. That is to say, any chicken that is fed antibiotics falls into this category. Turns out there is a drug-resistant strain of E.Coli out there now that is immune to antibiotics and being found in our retail foods . . . specifically chicken.

This Superbug is causing UTI’s to increase dramatically worldwide. Antibiotic use in agriculture strikes again. Ready for your fun fact of the day? The FDA says that, “80% of the antibiotics sold in the United States are fed to livestock.” Blech. And it gets better, researchers interviewed for this article said “that chicken carries bacteria with the highest levels of resistance to medicine.”

Not to get all fear-based and scary, but commercial food lots are producing some of the meanest superbugs out there. It’s going to get bad real soon-like. Please buy antibiotic free meats whenever you can. Demand it from your restraunts and make sure your kids know that all that cheap food out there is really (really!) not good for you!

Here’s the link for the whole story (there are video’s from ABC News at the bottom of the page if you are scared of reading):

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With the addition of Lady Kristen Lloyd to our staff, Gina constantly studying and taking classes (it really never stops) and Christopher finally succumbing to his clients demands, we’ve got some new services for y’all!

New Massage Modalities

Kristen, massage therapist extraordinaire, has many arrows in her quiver, but there are two that of particular interest: Lymphatic Drainage and Trigger Point Therapy. Lymphatic Drainage is a gentle technique that works through the body’s interstitial and lymphatic system to activate the  circulation and stimulate the functioning of the immune and parasympathetic nervous systems. More on that here. Trigger Point Therapy is a massage style that releases those stubborn, irritable spots in the muscle. Highly focused work that really works . .  more on that here.

New Blood Labs

Ever wonder if the reason your pain won’t go away is because of something you are eating? Yeah, no one wonders that. Rather unfortunate too. We have seen MANY folks spend years and thousands of dollars trying to sort out their pain issues . . . only to find out they have a raging dairy allergy causing all that inflammation. So Gina has had her nose in functional medical books for over a year now and is now integrating blood analysis labs into her practice. Simple finger pricks to get a few droplets of blood and you can have a look at exactly what foods you are and are not allergic too. It will blow your mind.

New Exercise/Stretch Programming

Christopher has been prescribing stretches and exercises here and there for Gina and his client’s for years. It is amazing how a few targeted stretches and movements can alleviate pervasive pain and aches. After many clients asking for an hour of Xtopher’s time to put together a proper program, he has finally decided to put these programs together for clients formally. NOTE: this is not personal training. It is merely a few poignant exercises and stretches laid out to re-program and rehabilitate movement patterns and weaknesses in the body. Super useful and meant to be done without much in the way of tools and weights and such. More on Exercise/ Stretch Programming Here.

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We finally updated our web presence and, well, we are pretty proud about it.

The site, of course has areas that discuss who we are and what we do (acupuncture/herbs, massage therapy, exercise physiology) but it also has a nice little area called Resources that we think you will find most useful – it breaks down into four sections: Practitioners Worth Using, Websites Worth Knowing, Books Worth Reading and Recipes Worth Making. Soon we will add a section on Living With Allergies (section on gluten, dairy, nut, soy, corn, etc free living)

Also, the site has some useful search functions. In the upper-righthand corner of every page (its ok, go ahead and look) there is a search box. Type some key words in there and you will find what you are after (provided what you are after is on our site!). But if you need paperwork or directions or that ridiculously awesome roasted nut recipe just type it into the search box and all will be well.

Lastly, there is a section called Over Tea . . . This is, essentially, our blog area. We will upload articles and interesting things all the time. Every once in a while we’ll slap it all together in a newsletter and fire it out. Should you want to receive our delightful musings in your inbox, click here to sign up for the newsletter. Overall, our posts are short, sweet and to the point! There will always be a link at the bottom for the whole article or further blitherings if you wear fancy glasses and like that kind of stuff (like us!).

Ok, do enjoy the site and if you have content you would like to see, questions you would like answered or anything else (within reason, of course) hit us up through the contact section and we will do our best to accomodate!

Thanks and welcome to the new-ish site (we actually launched it several months ago)!!!

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Creative Integrations | Newsletter| Acupuncture, Massage, Exercise Physiology, Herbs, Wellness(sigh . . . sorry about that)

But yes! We are finally putting together a quasi-monthly newsletter for all our beautiful peeps, patients and patrons! We say “quasi” since we will only fire these things out when we have fabulously interesting things to say . . . might be 3 weeks . . . might be 6, who knows these things?

Anyway, we do wholly promise not to clog your inbox with lame newsletters that are thinly veiled attempts to market to you. These newsletters are built to give you interesting, useful info so you can be the Super Smarty-Pants at the water cooler (and maybe get you to happily live to 1000 with Gina, Xto4 and Lady Kristen too!).

If you want to opt out of the newsletter, please do it. We will not be offended or give you sour looks when you come in. Truly, we want these newsletters to brighten your day a bit and make you better equipped to deal with the Big Bad World out there. No, I didn’t say Big Pharma . . . but it is implied.

Oh! And the newsletters will be short and sweet. In the email you receive from us, there will be a quick list of topics covered where you can click on if you are interested and you will go to a more detailed page on out site. After the quick list o’ topics there will be the same list below with a few sentences on each topic so you can better decide whether or not you want to click and read more. Super fast, super easy. Why aren’t all newsletters like this? (you watch, they all will be soon! And you can say you know the inventor! But then I nabbed the layout idea from someone else so you will actually be lying. Sorry about that)

The newsletters will be lovely, you’ll see . . .

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Back pain effects everyone, whether directly or indirectly. It is the product of our Sitting Culture. We sit at work, when we travel around, when we “relax” at home. Some of us sit more than we move in a day . . . and, get this: our bodies aren’t designed for prolonged sitting. The pelvis is not made to bear all that pressure and weight alone.

In an international study, it was found that the people with the healthiest backs in the world were Laotian rice farmers (whoda thought?) These farmers spent all day bending down, bending over and never did they sit. Time to eat? These farmer’s simply stood or squatted. They don’t own chairs . . . and they have the lowest incidence of back pain and back injury.

So, you can terrace the backyard and spend the remainder of your days tending your rice fields . . . and squatting during all meals . . . or, you can get a bit proactive and offset the Ways of the Sitting Culture.

Since throwing out all our chairs and standing during rush hour traffic just isn’t a possibility, the answer to keeping back pain at bay is to be found in some simple exercises and stretches. No need to go crazy and spend hours and hours on this, just 10-15 minutes a day will make massive improvements. Who knows, you may increase your exercises/stretches because you love them so much . . . it has been know to happen.


Exercises to Stretch the Back & the Legs:

These back exercises should be performed in a pain free manner. If pain is experienced, it is best to discontinue the exercises and consider being evaluated by a licensed physical therapist that specializes in treatment of the spine. If one already has low back pain or other health condition, it is advisable to first be evaluated by a physician and, as appropriate, receive guidance on how to do the following exercises by a spine specialist. Legalese out of the way . . . start with The Piriformis Stretch:

Piriformis Muscle Stretching Exercise

The piriformis muscle runs from the back of the femur (thigh bone) to the sacrum (base of the spine). Tightness in this muscle has been linked to sacroiliac joint dysfunction and even sciatica-type pain along the sciatic nerve. To stretch the piriformis, lie on your back and cross the involved leg over the other. With both knees bent, place both hands together under the knee of the other leg (the lower leg), and gently pull the bottom leg toward your chest and hold both thighs closely until a stretch is felt in the buttock area. Breath into the tight area . . . there should be no pain.

  • Hold 30 seconds
  • Repeat
  • 1-2 times per day

Psoas Major Muscle Stretching Exercise

The Psoas Major muscle attaches to the front portion of the lower spine and can greatly limit low back mobility when tight. It often is one of the sources of low back pain in patients who have difficulty standing for extended periods or kneeling on both knees. This
muscle can be stretched in a half kneeling position (kneeling on one knee). Rotate the leg outward and tighten the gluteal muscles on the side you’re stretching. Next, lean forward through the hip joint rather then bending through the lumbar spine. A stretch should be felt in the front of the hip that the patient is kneeling on.

  • Hold 30 seconds
  • Repeat
  • 1-2 times per day

Hamstring Muscle Stretching Exercise

The hamstrings run from the back of the pelvic bone to just below the back of the knee. They are responsible for bending the knee and assisting the gluteal muscles to extend the hip. These muscles are very important to stretch because, when tight, they make it nearly impossible to sit up straight. People who do not sit with an erect posture run the risk of early onset of degenerative disc disease and neck pain. Tight hamstring muscles are also associated with low back pain. One way to gently stretch hamstring muscles is to lie on the back and grasp the leg behind the knee with the hip flexed to 90 degrees and the knee bent. Attempt to straighten the knee with the toes pointed back toward you.

  • Hold 30 seconds
  • Repeat
  • 1-2 times per day

Strengthening Exercises for Low Back Pain Relief


The next few exercises are examples of some basic stabilization exercises that aid in low back pain relief. Having strong midline support is critical to decreasing the stresses placed upon the lumbar spine (lower back) and pelvis. It should be noted, however, that often muscles that appear to be weak may actually be inhibited by an antagonist muscle (muscle on the opposite side of the joint) or by faulty lumbar facet joint mechanics.

Generally, an inhibited muscle will not respond to resistance training. Therefore, if low back pain or hip pain is being experienced, it is important to first see a spine therapist in order to screen for muscle inhibition. Attempting to strengthen an inhibited muscle may cause a substitution pattern that only reinforces a painful movement pattern. In general, it is advisable to see a spine specialist who specializes in back pain prior to beginning any exercise program.

In addition, unlike stretching exercises, it is important to take a few days off per week from strengthening exercises to allow the body to rest and build strong muscles. A licensed physical therapist can help design a strengthening exercise program to fit an individual’s specific needs and help with pain relief. In general, a spinal stabilization exercise program usually includes strengthening the abdominal muscles in the front and the gluteal muscles in the back.

Transversus Abdominis Muscle Strengthening (Abdominal Exercise)

Many people think of performing abdominal crunches or situps to strengthen the abdominal muscles. While “six pack abs” look nice to some, it is more important to work the Transversus Abdominis (TVA) through abdominal exercise to achieve spinal stability. When retraining the TVA, it is important to maintain a neutral lumbar spine (don’t try pushing the back all the way into the floor). The back is most often in a neutral spine position, so it makes less sense to strengthen the back in a flexed or extended position.

Lie on one’s back with the knees bent. Knees and feet should be shoulder width apart. Draw the belly button toward the spine while maintaining a neutral spine. Upon exhalation, reach toward the ceiling as if trying to grab a trapeze overhead. Then raise the head and shoulders off the floor, just to the point where the shoulder blades are barely touching the floor, and hold 1-2 seconds. Inhale upon return and repeat at the end of the next exhalation. Continue until it is not possible to maintain a neutral spine or when fatigued.See Figure 4.

  • Hold 1-2 seconds
  • Repeat until fatigued
  • 1 time per day
  • 4-5 days per week

Gluteus Maximus Muscle Strengthening (Buttock Exercise)

To strengthen this muscle, lie on the stomach with the hips and legs off the end of a table or bench. Tighten the buttock on one side and extend the leg up toward the ceiling while maintaining a neutral spine. Movements should be slow. Initially, it is common to only be able to perform a few repetitions at a time.

  • Hold 5 seconds
  • 4-10 repetitions per side
  • 1 time per day
  • 4-5 days per week

 Gluteus Medius Muscle Strengthening (Hip Abductor Exercise)

This muscle (the hip abductor) is used to raise the leg laterally at the hip and also supports the pelvis when standing on one leg (single leg stance). If this muscle is weak or inhibited, the opposite pelvis will drop when single leg stance is performed. Functionally, single leg stance is performed whenever someone walks. A weak gluteus medius will result in the opposite hip dropping during the gait cycle and can cause an increase in low back pain and hip pain with walking.

To strengthen the gluteus medius, lie on one’s side with the back against the wall. Draw the belly button in while maintaining a neutral spine. Raise the upper leg with the toes slightly pointed toward the ceiling and the heel maintaining contact with the wall. Perform slowly with a 2 second hold at the top.

  • 10 repetitions per side
  • 1 time per day
  • 4-5 days per week

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Click the link below to download the New Patient Paperwork for Acupuncture: aa

New Patient Forms

You download the paperwork by mousing over the bottom right-hand corner to reveal the navigation button bar. To print straight away, click the printer icon. To simply download the pdf, click the hard disc icon:

Creative Integrations | Acupuncture, Herbs, Massage | GIna Zuleger | Christopher Warren


Fill out and either scan/email the paperwork to or fax to 949.757.0097

PLEASE remember to bring the original documents with you to your first appointment! Failure to bring the documents with wet signatures will mean you will have to fill out all over again (it’s a legal/insurance thing).

If you cannot fill out the paperwork and send in to us, simply bring it with you. If you cannot fill out the paperwork, please let us know and plan on arriving 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time to fill everything out. Thanks!


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You know how sliced turkey at Albertson’s/Subway/Enter Lame Food Place Here is crazy expensive, super salty and loaded with nitrates? (you do know this, right?) Well, it is soooo easy to simply buy a whole turkey breast from TJ’s and follow the recipes. YOu will not dry it out and you can make way more sliced turkey for your lunches for way less cash. Checkity:

The recipe is meant to be done with a gravy type sauce, which we’ve been told is great.  Gravy = fat so only make that step if you already hit the gym before work (wink). The basic recipe is as follows:

Place turkey breast skin side down on a roasting pan with the rack.  Cook for about an hour at 275*.  Flip over turkey and cook for one more hour.  Internal temp of breast should be 160* – so measure it.  If it is at desired temp, let sit for 15 minutes.  Really juicy and tender.  Also, there is usually turkey juice on the bottom of roasting pan – pour over turkey.  Even tender and moist as left-overs.  (See the “crisping” instructions at the bottom of the more extensive recipe below. . .)

Here is the more extensive recipe:

Slow Roasting Turkey…in pieces!

Chop: 3 onions/3 stalks celery/2 carrots
Place in bottom of roasting pan
Cover with rack
Pour in 1C chicken broth
Place parts on rack…Turkey breast skin side down on rack over veggies and broth
Brush w/ melted butter S+P
COOK at 275 for 1 HOUR
Flip Breast over – parts too
Check Temp : Breast should be 160 and Parts 175
Take out, let rest

STRAIN veggies out of drippings/press veggies to get all flavor.
Need 3 Cups…add broth if needed to make 3 cups

MELT 3Tbls of Butter till foaming subsides
ADD 3 Tbls flour. WISK to combine cook 5-8 min to broun.
Wisk in broth gradually
ADD 2-3 Bay leaves and COOK 15 Min to brown and cook flavors

HEAT oven to 500
Return turkey parts to oven to crisp and re-heat 15 min.
TRANSFER to tray let REST AGAIN 20 Min before slicing.

Buy parts or cut one up!

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Jan’s Rosemary Roasted Spicy Nuts are your guaranteed smash hit dish to bring to a party. That is, of course, if you don’t eat them all on the way over. Not for those afraid of fat! But who’s afraid of a bit of fat?

Preheat oven to 350.  Place the nuts on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes till nicelyroasted.  Stir and turn to roast evenly.

  • 4 lbs raw nuts:   Pistachios, Cashews, Peanuts, Pepitas etc . . .
  • 6  Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh Rosemary leaves
  • 1 ½  to 2 Tsp. cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 4 Tbs. butter

Mix the spices and butter together in a bowl and microwave to melt butter.  Stir to mix thoroughly.

Toss ½ of the nuts with ½ of the melted spice mixture and return to the oven for 10 more minutes.   Repeat with the other ½.  Serve warm if you like.  Enjoy!

(embarrassingly good)

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