The year-end holidays are supposed to provide a feeling of peace, celebration and rest. But for many people, this time of year brings much more pressure and anxiety due to financial responsibility, year-end goals, and family obligation, ritual and gift-giving
Logic tells us that we can control our anxiety by learning to be calm. Quiet contemplation and meditation are indeed useful tools, however ‘mind traps’ during times of reflection can cause some folks even MORE anxiety. Renowned author Anne Lamott says “my mind is like a bad neighborhood, I try not to go there alone.” For many, partnering with a professional in talk therapy is an effective treatment to combat anxiety, but in all cases, acupuncture adds a component that physically and psychologically strengthens the way your body works.
I have heard many promises and resolutions recently, a New Year’s tradition. And while every person has their own approach to wellness (diet, fitness, meditation, etc.) I know for certain that Acupuncture adds wellness to life, in countless ways.
Just last week, a married couple was at the front-desk; she requested a financial summary for 2011 because she misplaced a few invoices. Upon receipt of the print-out her husband glanced at the summary (typically the wife handles the payments), and he said something like “Whoa, that really added up!” She replied calmly, “Can you imagine how high our healthcare expenses might have been if we WERE NOT coming regularly for Acupuncture?”
The expression holds true for many people here at One Earth, because Community Acupuncture offers financial flexibility and preventative care where our current healthcare system fails.
The goodness of Acupuncture needs to be available to you as often as you need it; I remain dedicated to providing excellent care in a nurturing environment. Additionally, I will continue to offer personal suggestions that can help you along the way.Here are a few tips to incorporate into your healthy lifestyle for the new year:
- Find the joy in quiet time. Distractions console us but they also make us miserable! Shut off your cell phone, power down the PC, turn off the TV. Go for a long walk and ‘forget’ your phone. It is important to rest your brain, your spirit and your nervous system. Some large corporations are forcing employees to shut-down their phones and computers and are finding that their employees become more productive. Try it.
- Eat seasonal foods like Mung Beans – enjoy in soups or made into glass noodles, mung beans are versatile; they are used in Chinese Medicine to clear heat and toxins from the body, relieve water retention and calm the nerves. And herbs like Cinnamon and Ginger are very warming and help digestion.
- Lemons are an excellent source of Vitamin C, especially important this time of year when we need to keep our immune system strong. Use lemon in water or tea (hot or chilled) to break-up phlegm in your throat from sinus drip, but also to moisten a dry mouth or throat.
- Make yourself the priority. In the chaos of work and family schedules, make sure you PLAN time for yourself on a regular basis.
- Acupuncture, herbal medicine and dietary therapy all aim to correct the stresses we put our bodies through every day. Maintain equal portions of work, rest and play, as well as a nourishing diet and emotional flexibility – imbalance leads to excess, in the form of weight management issues, water retention, sluggishness, poor skin and hair, and poor sleep.
Just as your car needs regularly scheduled maintenance to perform at its best, so too your body needs regular care to facilitate optimal health. By incorporating acupuncture into your life, you’ll be taking an active role in caring for your whole self. An acupuncturist can detect and resolve imbalances or disruptions in the flow of qi, before you start feeling symptoms. After all, do you wait for your teeth to start decaying before visiting a dentist?
The process is the product. There are so many challenges in life and impressions from others that impact our being – but creating your own health employs a self-discipline that carries within the seeds to help you grow, bloom and flourish.
Ninety-Five percent of the people who come to One Earth Acupuncture, visit due to pain and suffering. Illness can be viewed as an opportunity to reset and redirect one’s life. Yet our culture labels us with a disease that most carry as a burden. Mechanical procedures and pills minimize our spirit and compromise our sense of feeling whole and well.
The greatest reason to live is to feel good. Once you allow this positive perspective into your consciousness, you allow a transformation to occur in your health and wellbeing. Fortunately, more and more Americans ARE discovering the tremendous benefits associated with Chinese Medicine.
Personally I enjoy the livelihood I have chosen; I believe those who have met me see the comfort and joy I carry-out in my work. Without great attention to my own health, (as an acupuncturist) I would be unable to maintain proper care for others. I am glad to share the benefits of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine to help YOU FEEL GOOD again.
My husband and I have been using acupuncture for over 15 years – we originally started when my husband was diagnosed with cataracts and we wanted to get the best care to support his vision. It wasn’t long before we realized that acupuncture and Chinese Medicine really contributed to our WHOLE health, not just (his) eyes. We were very happy to meet Evelynne and receive care at One Earth, she is very attentive to our needs and effective at her craft. We are especially grateful that she offers affordable acupuncture as we are on a fixed-retirement income – our health insurance won’t cover acupuncture, but at One Earth we can pay out-of-pocket and manage that in our budget. If I were to say what acupuncture does for me? I would say BALANCE – with regular treatments I feel balance consistently, you know as we age there are many ups and downs, and getting acupuncture helps me to really feel centered. In addition, I have to say that it is a huge comfort knowing Evelynne is available for us when we have a crisis. – Reverend Mother JoEllen Werthman, Bucks County, PA
Importantly we need to take extra precautions to protect ourselves during this radiant summer season. Summer is a time for fun and games; however, it also holds risks such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, skin cancer, food poisoning and even tetanus.
Enjoy your fun and healthful summer!
Sunlight, as we know, can be either helpful or destructive to our health, depending on our exposure level. The ultraviolet rays of the sun are a natural sterilizer, killing bacteria and fungus on the skin as well as promoting the production of vitamin D, a substance essential for bone health. It can also stimulate the immune system, raising the levels of natural killer cell activity. Too much sun exposure, however, can cause skin damage and more serious conditions such as skin cancer, heat stroke, dehydration, and suppressed immune function. To maximize benefit from the sun, limit direct exposure to thirty minutes or less daily, within two hours of sunrise or sunset.
It is critical to understand the early signs of heat exhaustion that can creep up if we do not stay well hydrated. Know the signs for yourself and also your children and the elderly. Symptoms may include light-headedness, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, headache, nausea, and sometimes vomiting and cool, clammy, pale skin.
While it is extremely important to drink plenty of fluids, to stay in the shade, and reapply sunscreen throughout the day, these measures alone are not enough. The intake of proper nutrients can aid in optimizing your health during these hot summer days. However, how do you know what foods are beneficial in the summer time?
It is well noted in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that one should eat in accordance with the seasons. This theory, derived from the ancient healers who followed the Laws of Nature by observing the patterns of the season, led them to eat and live accordingly.
Summer is perceived as the time when energy is abundant and the mood is high. This season is about expansion, growth, activity and creativity. Succulent fruits and brightly colored, leafy vegetables that are grown during this time reflect this principle, and so should our daily consumption of foods. Foods that are in season are usually displayed at the local farmer’s market. Organic fruits and vegetables that are on sale at the supermarket is also a good gauge as to what is currently in season.
Another guideline to follow this season is to eat foods according to their energetic qualities. Chinese Nutrition offers different dimensions in food analysis than Western Nutrition. Chinese Nutrition does not focus on counting calories, carbohydrates, fats, proteins and other biochemical natures of food. Rather, it classifies food according to its energetic temperature, taste, ability to moisten and strengthen, calm the mind and reduce accumulations. There are five temperatures of food to consider – hot, warm, neutral, cool and cold. The hot and warm temperatures dispel cold and warm the body. It includes foods such as ginger, garlic, chicken and lamb. The cool and cold properties clear heat, reduce toxins and generate body fluids. Cooling foods include a wide variety of vegetables, fresh fruits and juices. As you can perceive, the types of foods that should be incorporated more into the summer diets are cooling foods. For those salad lovers out there, this is a good time to enjoy a light refreshing summer vegetable or fruit salad. Have you ever noticed during those hot summer days, all you crave is a light and cooling meal? Your body is trying to tell you something!
The following is a list of foods that can help prevent dehydration and alleviate thirst – Watermelon, Apricot, Cantaloupe, Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange, Tomato, Asparagus, Sprouts (alfalfa, mung bean), Bamboo, Beets, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Chinese Cabbage, Corn, Cucumber, White Mushroom, Snow pea, Spinach, Summer Squash ( Zucchini), Turnip, Watercress, Millet, Pearl Barely, Mung Bean, and Lentil.
Other helpful tips for the summer season:
Keep a pitcher of water with slices of lemon and/or cucumber around the house for you and your family to enjoy. Blend some watermelon with water to make a delicious watermelon juice drink.
Cook with small amounts of spicy or pungent spices to balance the cooling properties of foods.
Eat in moderation. Over consumption of any food, especially cooling foods, can lead to food stagnation and phlegm accumulation, which leads to sluggishness and possibly diarrhea.
Do not leave your food out for too long. The hot weather tends to increase food spoilage.
Stay away from dairy, heavy, greasy, fried foods.
Keep in mind that these are general summer nutrition tips for everyone. It is important to acknowledge that you are your own unique individual. Your diet should reflect this principle regardless of the season.
And don’t forget to consult your physician or pharmacist about important side effects of medications that may affect your water metabolism, exposure to sun and/or food addition to your diet.
One patient’s experience:
“I started acupuncture with Evelynne in the summer of 2010. I have a recurring problem with eczema, mostly only in the summer. I have had the problem for years and tried MANY topical medications (and even some pills) but none gave me relief. The itching in my scalp was very intense and most embarrassing I would occasionally get a rash on my face. Evelynne had told me that ‘acupuncture is a PROCESS’ and during my first visit I had a lot of hope; I admit that the results were not immediate and after about 6 treatments I was kind of disappointed. But flash forward 1 year, after steady treatment I am ecstatic that I have had no itching or rash!” — Kris P, age 38
Evelynne’s note: Acupuncture has been known to help with a wide variety of disorders including eczema. Herbs in conjunction with acupuncture can have a more powerful effect in treating the root of the cause. If your eczema tends to be dry, red, and itchy an acupuncturist would label it as a “wind heat” problem; if your eczema is moist, oozing fluid, red, and itchy we would see it as a “damp heat” problem.
Often eczema develops at an early age in conjunction with allergic asthma. What’s interesting is that the Chinese Lung — not to be confused with the actual organ-lung – is related to the skin. The Chinese Lung is linked to the pores and the Chinese Kidney is said to nourish and moisten the skin. Acupuncture will both treat your symptoms as well as treat the underlying causes of your condition. Duration of treatment will depend on each individual case.
As many as one in 10 Americans are affected by allergies or allergic rhinitis (a complex of symptoms characterized by seasonal or perennial sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, tearing eyes or sore throat in response to airborne allergens). There are three main types of seasonal allergies including spring type, summer type and fall type, however, it may occur in some individuals without regard to season (called perennial allergic rhinitis). Statistics illustrate that most people with allergies have a history of being treated with repeated antibiotics as children, as well as eating a diet high in sugars and sweets, dairy products and fruit juices. Stress may also play a part in the condition.
While allergies can put a damper on the joys of Spring, it is important to understand that natural relief in the form of Acupuncture can be long lasting. Unlike medications that have multiple side-effects and decreased effectiveness over time, Acupuncture helps to balance the body in a manner that improves an individuals’ general immune response.
Acupuncture is excellent at treating symptoms of allergies. Many symptoms are located above the neck – head stuffiness, headache, itchy eyes, etc. This means the energy is not flowing smoothly from the head into the rest of the body, and vice versa. All the yang meridians flow from the hands up to the head, or from the head down to the feet. By opening the energy channels in the neck and shoulders, complete circulation allows for improved overall balance in the body. Acupuncture also treats symptoms very locally: by placing small, sterile needles right on points of pain or symptoms like the head or side of nose, allowing the stuck energy to dissipate and move more smoothly throughout the body. Patients are often amazed at the immediate relief they feel following an Acupuncture treatment. In fact, most patients who utilize Acupuncture long-term to treat allergies report a 95% reduction in symptoms.
Acupuncturists treat very specifically and individually, making sure the underlying cause of allergies, and any other symptoms, are cleared. When the body is in balance, symptoms disappear and health is restored. This is the main benefit of acupuncture: bringing a person into balance so that the body may heal itself of any ailment physically, mentally or emotionally.
Many people feel dissatisfied, unhappy and anxious on a regular basis. It’s an especially common problem this time of year, when the cumulative impact of short days and relative inactivity casts a long shadow on how we feel.
These feelings have a major impact on our health and productivity. Although heart disease and cancer will kill more Americans, depression has become the most disabling of nonfatal conditions in the United States and worldwide. Clinical depression is diagnosed in 16 to 18 million Americans each year. Countless others will suffer from unhappiness that hasn’t reached the level of clinical diagnosis – it is described as ‘feeling blue’, having physical symptoms such as confusion, pain, fatigue or sleeplessness.
Many things in life lead to ‘feeling depressed’, including lost love, financial woes, pain, injury, illness, loneliness, and the aging process, only to name a few. But in fact most often people report having no specific reason for feeling down. They just feel depressed.
In my own journey I have experienced loss and hopelessness. In fact, I witness it on a regular basis. For me, it is Chinese Medicine that provides the most relief when I become out-of-balance; during an acupuncture treatment I experience deep relaxation as my grief and stress vanish away.
For this reason, and witnessing the healing process of many patients, I firmly believe in “the body’s incredible capacity to heal”. I live and work in a place of hope, a place where fear can truly transform into a teacher, to restore the brain, renew the body, mind, spirit and motivation for life. This is a perspective that is critical to making the journey through depression, whether it be forcibly or gently, to mobilize one’s body and spirit to become ‘unstuck’ and happier.
There are many means to assist in finding your unique place of hope. These include acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, good nutrition (eating whole foods), exercise, guided imagery, deep breathing, spiritual practice, or a creative outlet like music and art.
In some instances, talk therapy with a professional counselor can be essential.
Some practical advice is to make your environment at home brighter; get outside; socialize; and exercise regularly.
According to James S. Gordon MD, author of Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven Stage Journey Out of Depression, ‘Depression is not a disease, the end point of a pathological process. It is a sign that our lives are out of balance, that we’re stuck.’ The book is an extremely useful guide that includes educational information and practical advice toward harmony and happiness.
Traditional Chinese Medicine, which includes acupuncture, provides a unique approach that addresses your personal imbalances both physically and emotional. Unlike pharmaceuticals, acupuncture offers relief without side effects. Combined with other methods mentioned above, your life will become brighter and more hopeful.
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission more than 70,000 people required a doctor’s visit in 2008 due to shoveling-related injuries. A quarter of those visited the Emergency Room and approximately 900 were admitted to a hospital. The number one injury is low back strain with a more severe injury due to a herniated disc.
Snow shoveling requires a weight lifting component as well as aerobic. Combined with frigid temperatures, which constricts blood flow in your arteries and vessels, your heart can quickly become compromised as blood supply goes down and energy required goes up. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered that heart disease related deaths rose 22 percent in the week following a snow storm. Men were responsible for the majority of numbers in the spike, which may be explained by shoveling snow.
Important Tips for Shoveling
Warm-up indoors prior to going outside to shovel. If your lifestyle is more sedentary, consider hiring someone to shovel for you or ask a neighbor. Dress properly by wearing layers. Stay Warm! Do not catch a chill. If you become damp or wet and feel chilled then it is time to change clothes to keep warm. Also wear appropriate footwear that provides warmth, dryness and best traction.
Lift snow in small amounts using mostly leg strength and being most careful NOT to twist your body or back. Do not over-exert yourself by doing it all at once.
Use the right tools by choosing a shovel with a grip that takes the most stress off of your back. If using powered equipment, be sure you follow all safety protocols.
If you feel sore the day after shoveling, be sure to schedule an appointment with your Acupuncturist. Muscle tightness and strain can be relieved more quickly with immediate care. If untreated, weakness along the meridians (energy channels), especially in the neck and back can lead to a frail immune system and subsequent common cold.