5 Tips from Chinese Medicine to Stay Healthy in Autumn

5 Tips to Stay Healthy in Autumn

Good health is not just physical. It’s emotional, mental, and social, too, and a matter of managing our stress levels. I treat lots of patients out-of-balance due to stress and lifestyle. I hope these 5 tips to stay healthy in autumn help you find balance in your life this fall.

1. Cover Your Neck

Many of you already know this one, because you’ve heard me say it for years. In Chinese Medicine, a draft on the back of the neck, especially if your pores are open from sweating, exercise, the shower, etc., can let drafts enter the pores and create a cold. Covering your neck is a great way to prevent colds. Wear shirts with collars and/ or scarves (or both!) to keep your neck warm and protected.

2. Eat More Cooked, Warm Foods

It’s time to switch over to eating more cooked, warm foods. Especially now that the temperature dropped a lot, there’s less warmth in the air to support the body’s own heating system. Start eating more cooked foods, like soups and stews, and decrease the salads and raw, uncooked foods. It’s time to break out the crock pot. And, sorry people, the time for ice cream this year is over.

3. Decrease Your Activity Levels

Now is the time to wind down from the active times of spring and summer, and prepare for (what should be, but often isn’t) the most quiet and restful time of year, winter. Fall is the transition time, and time to slow down, rest more, and sleep a bit longer. Most likely, the cool gray weather is already helping you with this one. Follow mother nature, slow down, and recharge your batteries.

4. Take time to Reflect

Autumn is the season of Metal in Chinese Medicine, and Metal is clear and reflective. It’s a great time of year to slow down, reflect, reevaluate, and meditate. Sometimes we need reminders to do this, and fall is the perfect time. Reflect on where you’ve been, where you are now, and where you’re going. Realign and rebalance if you need to. This is the time to rebalance your lifestyle from the active of summer, to the more calm and restful in winter. If you’re not meditating, now is a perfect time to start.

5. Enjoy the Harvest

Autumn is harvest season. It’s time to harvest the fruits of your labors for the year. If you’ve been all work and no play, now is a good time to plan a vacation, do things that make you happy, and enjoy fruits of your hard work. Identify the things that cause stress in your life, and cut out the ones that you can.

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Seasonal changes this time of year cause lots of colds, and are a great time for a “tune-up”. So if you’re overdue for a treatment, now’s a great time to get balanced and healthy to prepare for winter.

Also make sure you’re stocked up on your Chinese herbal formulas in case a cold does try getting started. We’re stocked up and ready for cold and fu season in the office. Let us know if you need refills.

If you have any questions, call to see how we can help you feel better today.

 

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Olympians use Awesome Chinese Cupping for Muscle Pain!

Happy Summer! Are you watching the Olympics? If so, maybe you’ve noticed the swimmers with round bruises on their backs and shoulders. They’re from cupping! People have been asking me about this all day today. Lol.

Cupping is an ancient Chinese technique that helps pull stagnation, or blockages of energy flow out of the body tissues. The swimmers are using cupping to “bring more oxygen” to the muscles. If there’s a blockage of blood and energy flow, it can cause pain and/or decreased function. Cupping is one way to clear the blockage and restore proper flow of energy and blood to the area (which would, of course, also bring more oxygen).

Modern athletes and trainers are just discovering what we’ve known for thousands of years: Chinese Medicine rocks!

Cupping is great for large areas of muscle pain, like the back and shoulders, which is why you tend to see the round bruises on those areas of the swimmers. It’s also great at pulling mucus out of the lungs when people have colds.

And if you’re wondering if it hurts – no! It does leave a bruise, but it generally doesn’t hurt. I describe the feeling as “weird, but good”. So, yes, I do cupping. If you want to try cupping, give us a call to schedule an appointment. You can look like an Olympic swimmer, too. Lol.

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The Natural Medicine Chest: Part 2

Epsom Salts Rock!

I couldn’t resist having fun with the title. Epsom salts have been around forever. Many of us have the green carton under our sinks. And many of us forget they’re under there and to use them!

I recommend epsom salts to patients all the time for aches, pains and swelling. They’re completely natural and safe, with no harmful chemicals. It’s simply magnesium sulfate, minerals we all need. The best way to use them is in a bath or soak. Just so you know, in the old days, people also used them internally as a laxative, but I recommend them for soaking in.

Simply fill up the bathtub with hot water, dump in epsom salts, stir them around until they dissolve, and soak for a while. If you have any kinds of aches, pains, or swelling, try an epsom salt bath. It’ll also make your skin feel nice and smooth.

If you don’t have a bathtub, or can’t get in and out of it, try this: soak a washcloth in some hot water with epsom salts dissolved in it, and apply to the area that hurts, or is swollen. You can do this for about 15-20 minutes.

Another way to use them that I recommend a lot, is a foot soak. If your feet hurt, or are tired (or swollen), you can fill a bucket with hot water, mix in epsom salts, and plunk your feet in.

And even if you’re taking a bath with no aches or pains, it’s totally fine to add in some epsom salts. It’ll make your skin soft.

Overdo it with your workout or exercise? Take an epsom salt bath.

Easy, cheap and effective. When you buy epsom salts, get the cheap stuff. I remember someone telling me they got a small quantity that was lavender scented for about $20. That’s way too much, and the scent may be artificial chemicals that your skin will absorb. Just get the cheap stuff with no additives. The only ingredient should be magnesium sulfate, and it should only cost about five bucks. Avoid ones with chemicals. If you want to scent it, you can buy pure lavender, or other essential oils, and add a few drops to the bath. That keeps it natural and chemical-free.

And, if you’re overworked and burned out, a bath is a great way to relax. Try adding some epsom salts and see how much better you feel. Enjoy!

 
If you have any questions, call to see how we can help you feel better today.

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The Natural Medicine Chest: Part 1

The other night, I was cooking dinner and turning over a piece of chicken, when it dropped off the fork, and landed back in the pot. The boiling sauce splashed up and landed all over the inside of my wrist, on the soft sensitive part. Owwwww! It hurt like a son of a gun, and immediately turned red and was starting to blister. I rinsed it off with water, and went straight to the medicine cabinet for the homeopathic Calendula Cream. I smeared the cream onto the burn, and every time it got absorbed, I put more on. I did this for about five minutes. The burn hurt like heck, but each time I applied the cream, it hurt less, and the area of redness started to shrink. By continually applying the cream, the blisters that were starting to form never completely materialized. Later that night, the area was only slightly red, was mildly sore, and there were only a hint of raised areas where the blisters were going to be. By the next morning, it was all gone, with no sign of anything! Calendula rocks!

So today’s remedy is Homeopathic Calendula, in cream or gel. You can use it on burns and cuts. If you put it on a paper cut, you can almost watch it heal, it can work so fast. I also recommend it to patients to put on new wounds or surgical incisions, once there’s no more oozing, and the wound or incision is closed, clean and dry. You can use it a few times a day for this type of wound.

Make sure to get homeopathic Calendula cream, gel or ointment, not herbal. Homeopathic preparations are energy medicine, and a massage cream with calendula, for example, doesn’t work the same way. Look for it in the homeopathic aisle of the health food store. Please note that homeopathic calendula pills do NOT have the same function, so get topical cream, gel or ointment – whichever you prefer, or what they have in stock.

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2016: Year of the Fire Monkey

Happy Chinese New Year! Learn what’s in store for 2016: the Year of the Red, or Fire Monkey. Each year the energy changes, and affects all of us. Find out the Monkey energy affects the weather, health and the economy. Enjoy!

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Humidity and Health: Late Summer Video Blog

Humidity and Health

Check out my first video newsletter, where I talk about diet, weather and health in late summer in the year of the Earth Sheep. Let me know what you think about it.

I made a slight boo boo on the start date of Fall.  Energetically, fall started on August 8th; in the video I said it started on August 5th. Oops! Enjoy the video.

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The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine

The Pharmaceutical industry is a powerful and profitable $400 billion per year beast of an industry. While it has brought ground-breaking advances, one cannot overlook the corruption and harm this industry has brought upon us both physically and financially. Medical errors account for 240,000 deaths in the U.S. annually, making it the third leading cause of death. Read more

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7 Ways To Alleviate Arthritis Pain

7 Ways To Alleviate Arthritis Pain

Arthritis is a condition characterized by painful inflammation and stiffness in the joints. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 52.5 million U.S. adults suffer from either arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, fibromyalgia, or lupus.

In Chinese Medicine, pain is caused by a blockage of Qi, or the energy flowing through your body, particularly the joints, in arthritis. Here are some things you can do to help ease your pain:

#1) Take a Joint Supplement

Whether your arthritis is minor or severe, get into the habit of taking a daily joint supplement. Glucosamine and chondroitin are powerful compounds which have been proven to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis. These two compounds are building blocks of cartilage, and taking a supplement containing them will protect and strengthen your own body’s cartilage while subsequently protecting your joints. It’s important to take these supplements every day, long-term, in order for them to work.

#2) Maintain a Healthy Weight

One step in reducing the pain and inflammation of arthritis is to manage your weight. People who are overweight may experience more arthritis flareups, and with worsening symptoms. The excess weight places pressure against the already inflamed joints, causing additional pain and stiffness.

#3) Exercise

It may be difficult to stay active when the slightest movements cause sharp pain in your joints. However, gentle movement like walking, Qigong, Tai Qi and yoga can help. Studies have shown that regular, low-impact exercise (e.g. walking or swimming) will reduce the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.

#4) Meditate

You might be surprised to learn that meditation can alleviate arthritis pain and discomfort. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) even published an article on its website, citing meditation as being an effective form of treatment for people with joint pain.

#5) Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for good health, but they are particularly beneficial for people suffering from arthritis. Omega-3s strengthen and protect the joints, which in turn alleviates the symptoms of arthritis. Fish oil is an excellent source of omega 3s, and there are options available for vegans and vegetarians.

#6) Detoxification

Many times when people start to get joint pain in the fingers, it’s really a build-up of toxins in the body. Unfortunately, we live in a toxic world, overloaded with pesticides and chemicals. If the body can’t get rid of the toxins, they build up in the system, and joint pain is one of the symptoms. There are simple detox protocols that can help.

#7) Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a great way to alleviate the pain and discomfort of arthritis. This centuries-old practice involves the placement of fine needles to restore the body’s flow of energy (Qi) and stimulate its self-healing mechanism. When performed by a licensed acupuncturist, it can remove the energy blockages that cause the pain, thereby relieving the symptoms.

Call today to learn how you can live pain-free!

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Acupuncture For Arthritis

Acupuncture For Arthritis

Arthritis is a painful and oftentimes debilitating condition that’s characterized by inflammation within one or more joints. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 2 people will develop osteoarthritis of the knee by the age of 85. It’s important to note, however, that there are several different types of arthritis, with osteoarthritis being just one. Other common types include rheumatoid arthritis, gout, septic arthritis, Still’s disease, and ankylosing spondylitis.

While most people living with moderate-to-severe arthritis resort to prescription medication to mask their symptoms, a safer and more effective form of treatment may come in the form of a 2,000-plus-year-old Chinese practice called acupuncture. Numerous studies found acupuncture to offer relief of many different types of arthritis. And best of all, it doesn’t come with the adverse side effects associated with arthritis medication.

wrist-pain-photo

Acupuncture for Arthritis: How It Works

Acupuncture is based on the belief that our bodies have an essential life/energy force (referred to as Qi). This force flows through the body, traveling along 20 channels (referred to as meridians). Normally, Qi flows unrestricted, keeping the individual healthy while warding off disease and illness. However, there are times when the Qi will become stagnant, blocked or dislodged from its normal position, leaving the individual susceptible to illness.

By placing thin needles directly in the body, a licensed acupuncturist can stimulate the flow of Qi, correcting blockages and other abnormalities. Furthermore, acupuncture aids in regulating the nervous system, which in turn produces the natural pain-relieving chemicals called endorphins.

Studies Reaffirm Acupuncture For Arthritis

A group of German researchers conducted a study on 304,674 patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee. Researchers split the patients into two groups, one of which received traditional routine care, while the other received 15 sessions of acupuncture. Researchers concluded that patients who had received acupuncture experienced better knee function, less pain, and an overall better quality of life than their counterparts.

Another study – this one originating out of China – found that both acupuncture and electroacupuncture were effective at reduce pain, inflammation and tenderness in parts of the body by arthritis. Granted, this was a small study with just 36 patients, but it’s just one more study attesting to the healing power of acupuncture.

Give me a call today to learn how you can get back on track to better health!

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Alternative Treatment for IBS

Alternative Treatment for IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common disease suffered by an estimated 25-45 million people in the United States. Symptoms include chronic abdominal pain, bloating, excess gas and irregular bowel movements. Symptoms can be brought on by a number of triggers including food allergies, anxiety, insomnia and stress. Although there is no known cure to IBS, there are alternatives to prescription medication that can help relieve symptoms. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are great alternative treatments for IBS. In addition to the information here, we’ve got a free IBS self-help tips sheet for you.

Get my Free IBS Tips

Herbal Therapies

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses herbal remedies to treat a number of ailments and diseases including IBS. Here are some you can try on your own:

Peppermint has been studied and used to help treat IBS discomfort. Because it is a natural antispasmodic, peppermint can help decrease muscle spasms in the gastrointestinal tract. Common ways to use peppermint include peppermint tea or peppermint oil, both can be found at your local health store and most grocery stores. Peppermint is cooling, and may help if you have acid reflux, and/or burning abdominal pain.

Ginger can also be used to help IBS symptoms. Ginger works as an anti-inflammatory and is thought to strengthen the gastric lining and decrease nausea. You can buy ginger tea as well as make your own by boiling water with ginger root. Ginger is warming, and may help if you have have nausea, low appetite, gas and bloating.

Fennel can immensely help bloating and gas due to IBS. Fennel is considered a carminative, meaning it has properties that prevent the formation of excess gas in the gastrointestinal tract. Fennel can also help heartburn, indigestion and common stomach pain. You can find fennel seeds in your local health food store to make tea.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is commonly used to treat chronic abdominal pain, bloating and other IBS symptoms. There has been at least one study done that specifically looked at acupuncture as a treatment for IBS. Acupuncture has been shown to relieve pain and stress, which are common triggers for IBS. This is done by regulating blood flow and Qi (pronounced “chee”) through acupuncture points.

Probiotics

Probiotics are healthy bacteria that normally live in your gut. It has been thought that those with IBS do not have enough probiotics in their intestinal tract. You can easily add probiotics to your diet by taking probiotic supplements found at your local health store.

Meditation and Exercise

Qigong, meditation and exercise are excellent stress relievers, and in turn can relieve IBS symptoms that are commonly caused by stress and anxiety. Not only does exercise release endorphins that help fight stress, but regular physical activity can help regulate your gastrointestinal system.

Research done at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on meditation and IBS found that women who practiced mediation had around a 38 percent reduction in symptoms, according to U.S. News. Meditation focuses on deep breathing and staying in the moment to relax the mind and body.

Alternative treatment for IBS, including TCM and acupuncture can largely decrease your IBS symptoms and help you live a more pain-free life! Your acupuncturist can diagnose your triggers and prescribe the correct herbs to help your individual symptoms. In the meantime, get my Free IBS Tips . Please let us know if you have any questions, and to find out how we can help you feel better now.

 

Sources:

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/diet-fitness/digestive-disorders/articles/2011/05/09/mindful-meditation-might-ease-irritable-bowel-syndrome

http://www.helpforibs.com/footer/acupunct.asp#studies

http://www.aboutibs.org/site/treatment/complementary-or-alternative-treatments/

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