ARTICLES AND INSPIRATIONS
The driving idea behind acupuncture is that we’re already in possession of everything we need to be well. Acupuncture does not add or subtract anything. Rather, it prompts the body to do what it already knows how to do. It reminds you that you have the power to heal yourself.
This does not mean that external interventions such as pharmaceuticals or surgery should always be shunned — in many cases, these are life-saving measures. But it does mean that becoming healthier, whatever that means to you, is within your control. When it comes to improving our physical and emotional health, most of us are capable of a lot more than we think. By using a therapy like acupuncture, which embraces rather than ignores our innate healing capacity, you’re making a statement that you believe in yourself.
Conventional medicine requires us to think in absolutes, to label things good or bad, black or white. We’re either sick or we’re healthy. Our numbers are too high or too low. We’re happy or we’re depressed. Yet in between these extremes, subtle yet significant shifts occur. Acupuncture works in this gray area and teaches us to reflect on the small changes happening within and around us all the time. In acupuncture, this is progress.
Unwillingness to accept change is a huge source of stress and anxiety for many people. Through reframing change as a marker of progress rather than something to be scared of, you will learn to love it.
Deep conscious breathing can influence mental, emotional and physical states and effect profound change to wellness. The breath is the most profound tool known for purifying and revitalizing the Body/Mind. Something as basic as the breath reflects how you feel about yourself, as well as how you relate to the world. If your breath is shallow, all of your body’s vital systems will be functioning at a minimum level. If your breath is long and deep, however, the respiratory system can function fully and properly, and oxygenation of the body cells will be complete.
From an acupuncture perspective, many ailments are caused by things not circulating properly in the body. Breathing deeply really helps open up circulation of blood, lymph as well as all the energy meridians in the body. It can help increase the healing effect of an acupuncture session and allow the healing to continue well after the session is over.
So breathe deeply through the day and start to feel better right away!
Pediatric Acupuncture is on the verge of becoming a mainstream treatment for childhood illnesses, especially for chronic conditions such as asthma, allergies, eczema, cough, digestive problems, behavioral and mood disorders and sleep problems (just to name a few).
Acupuncture can help stimulate the body to heal itself without drugs that may cause unwanted or harmful side effects. In the hands of a fully trained and licensed acupuncturist, it is one of the SAFEST ways to help your child heal.
In Chinese medicine we believe that each child is unique and we customize each treatment plan to the child’s individual needs. Sometimes generic western treatments may not be able to adequately address the challenges faced by a child and parents may be told they’ll just “grow out of it.” No parent wants to accept such a fatalistic view when their child is suffering!
“Acupuncture provides an amazing alternative to chronic pain medication. This is especially true for patients who may have to cope with pain for most of their life. In addition it helps with anxiety and depression,” says Paul Kent, MD, co-principal investigator of an acupuncture for children study and pediatric oncologist at Rush University Medical Centre.
New Understanding Of Why The Ancient Practice Eases Anxiety
Good news, acupuncture fans: It really does help relieve stress. And now, a new study is giving a closer look at why.
The new study explores the biological mechanisms involved in acupuncture’s stress-relieving abilities, something science has yet to fully understand.
The researchers discovered that stress hormones were lower in rats that had received acupuncture. Results were published in the Journal of Endocrinology.
The body secretes an assortment of hormones into the bloodstream as a reaction to stress, which the researchers were then able to measure in the rats. They assessed blood hormone levels secreted by the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the adrenal gland — together these are known as the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis. They also measured a peptide involved in creatures’ “fight or flight” responses, called NPY.
Researchers discovered that the “…acupuncture blocks the chronic, stress-induced elevations of the HPA axis hormones and the sympathetic NPY pathway,” Eshkevari said in the statement.
Since stress has been linked with so many detrimental health effects from heart disease to digestive issues and insomnia, it is important to deal with stress before it makes you unwell!
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we observe nature and seasonal changes to learn proper ways of staying healthy. When we live in harmony with the season, we are also ensuring harmony within our bodies.
Autumn is a time where the yang/warmth of the sun begins to lessen and give way to the yin/cooler seasons of fall and winter. In autumn one must begin to store our energy in order to make it through the winter in a healthy state. One must slow down from the busyness of summer activities. The movement of autumn in Chinese medicine is downward, and this is evident in the root-based vegetables that are available during that time.
Autumn is considered the season of the Lung organ and the lung is closely related to our immune system. For many people the season of autumn brings an increase in pain. Old injuries start to act up making some people stiff and sore.
Using Traditional Chinese Medicine approach, here are some tips to staying healthy through the Autumn:
Eat seasonally. The Autumn is a good time to eat warm, cooked foods. It’s time to reduce the amount of salads, smoothies, iced drinks, and try to eliminate cold foods straight from the refrigerator. Eat a variety of seasonal foods. Soups are also excellent at this time of year.
Fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria to keep your immune system strong. Introduce probiotic-rich foods into your diet: including sauerkraut, kim chi, miso, kombucha, rejuvelac, fermented soda, yogurt, kefir, and other fermented foods. Although food sources are best, you can also take a probiotic supplement- choose one that contains acidophilus and bifidus.
Pears and Pear Juice: A Natural Protective and Restorative for the Lungs : Pears are considered very helpful for the Lungs. Pears are naturally moistening and cooling, soothe dryness, and strengthen the Lungs. They are delicious to eat through the Autumn and are very soothing for coughs and sore throats. They are perfect for nourishing and protecting the mucosa of respiratory tissue against the ravages of dryness, heat, and toxins. Eat pears in the autumn and winter for prevention, and if you have been sick, to help restore healthy lung function.
At the first sign of a cold or flu, rest and get extra sleep. Drink teas, sip soup broths, and eat nutritious whole foods. Decrease processed sugar, and if you have phlegm, avoid dairy products (especially unfermented dairy). Honey soothes sore throats and helps with coughs. Perhaps take a soothing hot bath. Mild exercise is okay; intense exercise will only deplete your immune system further.
Tip of the season: Keep your neck and throat well protected from the chill and winds of autumn! Wear scarves or items that keep your throat and neck warm. This can help keep away stiffness and pain from the weather as well as help keep you stronger against the cold and flu bugs!
Regular acupuncture treatments are helpful to keep the immune system strong. Acupuncture treatments can also be really helpful to alleviate symptoms if you do catch a cold. Herbal remedies are also helpful to stay healthy and prevent and treat colds and flu as well as aches and pains that often come at this time of year.
The cold and darkness of winter urges us to slow down. This is the time of year to reflect on our health, replenish our energy, and conserve our strength.
Winter is Yin in nature; it is inactive, cold, and damp. Remain introspective, restful, and consolidate your Qi through the season and prepare for the outburst of new life and energy in the spring.
Avoid raw foods during the winter as much as possible, as these tend to cool the body. During winter you should emphasize warming foods:
- Soups and stews
- Root vegetables
- Miso and seaweed
- Garlic and ginger
Eating warm hearty soups, whole grains, and roasted nuts help to warm the body’s core and to keep us nourished. Sleep early, rest well, stay warm, and expend a minimum quantity of energy.
Staying Healthy This Winter
Seasonal changes affect the body’s internal environment. With the wind, rain, and snow comes the colds, flu, aches, and pains.
Here are a few tips to staying healthy this winter:
- Wash your hands regularly. Studies have shown that one of the main reasons that we catch colds and flu in the winter season is that we are indoors and in closer proximity to others in cold weather.
- Get plenty of sleep. The Nei Ching, an ancient Chinese classic, advised people to go to sleep early and rise late, after the sun’s rays have warmed the atmosphere a bit. This preserves your own yang Qi for the task of warming in the face of cold.
- Reduce stress. Find a way to relax and release stress on a daily basis. Such methods may include acupuncture, massage, craniosacral therapy, yoga, meditation, or whatever method you use to release the stress and pressures of modern life.
Build Up Your Protective Energy
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can prevent colds and flu by building up the immune system with just a few needles inserted into key points along the body’s energy pathways.
Spring is the time for get up and do. It is the season of activity. A time of stirring after the cold of winter and one can feel the plants and nature waking up just as our body’s energy also rises.
Spring is the season of wind, both in the environment and in our bodies. It is the season to eat foods with upward energies, such as green, sprouting above-ground vegetables, sprouts, fresh tender foods.
Wind can occur in any season, but it is more of a potent force in spring. Wind in the body it causes symptoms that appear suddenly, twitches, pain that moves around the body, headaches and on an emotional level, more susceptibility to mood swings, nervousness, emotional turmoil. This season corresponds with the liver in Chinese medicine and the above symptoms all relate to the liver in Chinese medicine. This is one reason why it is such a good time of year to do a cleanse to get your body tuned up and strong for the coming months.
Seasonal health tips:
1. Wake up and stretch – Rising earlier and beginning a healthy morning routine of walking or stretching will help alert your brain that it’s time to wake up. As you set your internal clock to the sun, you will be better able to use your energy during the day and rest more soundly at night. TCM says liver stores blood during periods of rest and then releases it to the tendons in times of activity, maintaining tendon health and flexibility. Try a gentle routine of yoga or tai chi moves.
2. Get outside and move – The liver is easy to stagnate in the spring. Fresh air, and outdoor activities of all kinds can keep liver Qi flowing. Especially if you have been feeling irritable, find tranquility in nature by taking a hike or walking through a park to smooth out that liver Qi and move stagnation.
3. Taste sour – Foods and drinks with sour tastes stimulate the liver Qi. Put lemon slices in your drinking water, use vinegar and olive oil for your salad dressing or garnish your sandwich with a slice of dill pickle. It has a contracting, astringent effect and dries and firms. A small amount of the sour flavor is essential for a balanced liver, but be careful not to consume too much or it may cause dryness.
4. Breath easy– Many recent articles have been circulating on the benefits of acupuncture for allergies.
5. Rest your digestion – A good way to cleanse and prepare for renewal is by reducing consumption of rich foods and to eat very lightly for a few weeks.
6. Eat green – Green is the color of the liver and of springtime. Eating young plants like fresh, leafy greens, sprouts, and immature cereal grasses can improve the liver’s overall functions and aid in the movement of Qi.
7. Try acupuncture to smooth out your energy- Relax the body and mind with acupuncture while also feeling invigorated and renewed after the winter!
8. Plant some seeds – Activities for grounding and nurturing like planting in the spring can have a soothing effect on the mind and help anchor any rising Liver energy. Start planting seeds inside now or outside around the middle of May.
According to Chinese Theory, summer is the season associated with the Fire Element. That’s easy for us to imagine; summers here are light, bright, and very warm. Here’s how to make the most of the fire element for your health:
Fire element is associated with the Heart. In Chinese Medicine, the heart rules circulation, and interconnectedness. So get out every day and move your body.
It is a great time to de-clutter and rid yourself of what isn’t supportive or nourishing.
The emotion of Fire element is joy! Strive to enjoy yourself. Appreciate your loved ones and express that to them. Socialize with friends and stay connected.
The sound of the Fire element is laughter- that fits in with the love and joy.
Seasonal Health Tips:
- Awaken earlier in the morning.
- Go to bed later in the evening.
- Rest at midday especially on hot days.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Add pungent flavors to your diet.
- Refrain from anger; keep calm and even-tempered.
- Keep water with slices of lemon and cucumber and sip throughout day.
- Eat in moderation – over consumption of food, especially cooling foods, can lead to indigestion, sluggishness and possibly diarrhea.
- Stay away from dairy, heavy, greasy, and fried foods.
Finally, try acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to help with any health issues that may come up in the summer. Whether you are overheated, injured when playing too hard, irritable, have trouble sleeping etc, these health modalities can really help!
There is something real in you. There is something beautiful in you. If you want to be mesmerized by beauty, be mesmerized by the beauty that is within you. If you want to understand something, understand yourself. If you want to love, love this beautiful breath that comes into you. If you do this, you will be given a gift of peace, joy, love—not in thoughts, not in words, but in feeling.
And that is no ordinary gift.
-Prem Rawat (Maharaji)
May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
Something amazing happens when we surrender and just love. We melt into another world, a realm of power already within us. The world changes when we change. the world softens when we soften. The world loves us when we choose to love the world.
O Great Spirit
Help me always
to speak the truth quietly
to listen with an open mind
when others speak
and to remember the peace
that may be found in silence
– Cherokee Prayer