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3 Ways to Prepare for Seasonal Changes

As the transition from summer to fall begins, changes start to happen externally as well as internally. The days become shorter and the air gets cooler; our bodies change to adapt as well. Here are three ways to prepare for the fall season ahead along with the beginning of the yin cycle.

1. Let go of Negativity

The autumn season represents the time when the lungs and large intestine are of the utmost importance. This season is especially an important time to let of negative energy in your life.

Negativity doesn’t just affect your psychological health but your physical health as well. You can help get rid toxicity in your life by being aware of the causes and surrounding yourself with positive energy and people who make you happy.

2. Spend time Outside

Because fall is focused on the lungs, spending more time outside can help strengthen this organ and increase your immune system as cold and flu season starts to emerge.

Spend time in nature away from city pollution where you can breathe clean, cool air. Autumn time is the perfect opportunity to do this and refresh and strengthen the lungs.

3. Acupuncture

Acupuncture treatment can help you physically as well as mentally prepare for the change in seasons.

Some find it difficult to let go of the summer season and transition to shorter, cooler days. Acupuncture can ease this transition and make sure your body and energy are flowing properly.

Sources

http://www.chinesemedicineliving.com/blog/nutrition/seasons/fall/

Dry Needling – What’s all the buzz about?

Recently there has been a lot of buzz around the term dry needling.  What is dry needling and how does it compare to the practice of acupuncture?  Let me lay out some of the facts:

  • Acupuncture is a technique with a 5,000 year history.
  • Written in the 4th Century, the Huang Di Nei Jin, one of the earliest texts on Chinese medicine and Acupuncture, includes a reference to a technique of needling directly into a painful area, called an Ah Shi point.
  • Licensed and Certified Acupuncturists complete over 3,000 hours of training to obtain a Masters. This includes over 600 hours of clinical hands-on training and 700 hours covering theory and treatment techniques. 
  • Dry needling is performed by Chiropractors and Physical Therapists who complete continuing education workshops. The training varies, but in many instances, dry needling can be practiced after the completion of a single 4 day course (36 hours). 
  • Dry needling is a technique that was developed by a physician in the 1970’s who discovered that injections into a painful muscle relieved pain. The physician evolved into using an empty syringe and hypodermic needle to perform what he called ‘dry needling’.
  • Dry needling is now performed using the same exact thin, solid filament needles as used by Acupuncturists.
  • Dry needling utilizes trigger points, which in many instances, match up with traditional Acupuncture points (without knowledge of how these points work).
  • Dry needling focuses on the symptom of pain by exciting the knotted muscle into twitching to relieve pain. The process is usually painful. 
  • Acupuncture not only addresses the pain, but the underlying cause of the pain. Acupuncture is generally less painful, more relaxing and the effects are longer lasting.
  • Acupuncture treats pain, and many other health conditions including headaches, digestive problems, stress, allergies, colds and insomnia; just to name a few.

I am a Licensed and Certified Acupuncturist, and am probably a little biased on the subject, so I am not sure what the hype around dry needling is all about.  Dry needling is really just the most basic form of Acupuncture, being performed by someone who specializes in something else.  Dry needling is usually practiced with minimal training, as an add-on service.  Due to the lack of training coupled with aggressive needling techniques there is a concern for the potential of causing harm to the patient.  I’m not saying that these other professionals are not well trained for the field they are licensed in; they are, but they are not necessarily trained well to practice dry needling or acupuncture.  

I don’t know how you decide what professionals you are using, but I would think most people want to choose a highly trained specialist to perform the services they are receiving.  I know I would! (and do). I have a whole address book filled with contacts of choice professionals for my personal needs. 

My specialty is Acupuncture.  As a fully trained Acupuncturist, there are many pain issues that I can help resolve quickly with just a couple of needles in a distal area of the body, away from where the pain actually is.  This is beneficial because it can resolve pain without a painful treatment or resulting in an inflammation flare-up. And I can also help resolve many other health complaints.   I love working with patients that are seeing other licensed professionals – Chiropractor, Physical Therapist and Massage Therapist, and I often refer patients to utilize these services to assist the patient with issues beyond my training and abilities.    

Our lives are busy so it might seem easier to see just one professional for all of your needs; but is it the best decision?  I hope that I have helped you understand what the buzz is all about when it comes to dry needling and Acupuncture.  All I ask is that you make educated and informed decisions when choosing your services. 

Hospice Acupuncture

As a Licensed Acupuncturist I am always looking for ways to improve my skills and knowledge.   After meeting the wonderful ladies of Endless Journey Hospice Care,   I was compelled to find out more about hospice and the role Acupuncture could play during end of life care. http://endlessjourneyhospice.com

In my search I found The National Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Acupuncturists (NAHPCA) which offers training specifically geared towards Acupuncture for Hospice.  www.NAHPCA.com

From the NAHPCA website:

The National Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Acupuncturists (NAHPCA) establishes a specialized protocol for treating people at the end of life. Acupuncture treatments are customized to address the stages of grief and help move the patient through emotional blocks to a new level of acceptance which promotes a more peaceful death…. 

NAHPCA is an organization dedicated to broadening the circle of care for patients at the end of life to include Oriental Medicine (a system of medicine that includes acupuncture, Chinese herbs, bodywork, and numerous other healing modalities). Research has proven that combining treatments in Chinese Medicine with hospice and/or palliative care modalities leads to significant benefits in patient comfort levels. Safe and effective treatments may be used with all forms of terminal illnesses and the wide variety of emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual distress patterns associated with death and dying. In addition, acupuncture can be helpful for family or loved ones who are suffering with loss and grief.

 

The training curriculum from the NAHPCA included the history and philosophy of hospice as well as specific information for assessment and treatment protocols for the patient approaching the end of life.  

No one should suffer from pain or emotional issues in life or in the time leading up to death. Chinese Medicine and hospice both embrace a whole-person approach to care, treating the mind, body and spirit.   Acupuncture can and should play an important role to help the dying patient with physical, emotional and spiritual issues. Family members can also benefit from Acupuncture.  It is a safe and effective treatment for all.

Death is a difficult subject for most of us to think or talk about.  Many people celebrate and participate in the beautiful beginnings of life, the birth,  death should be no different.  

Need a Hospice Acupuncturist? I am proud to be a Certified Provider of Acupuncture for Hospice and Palliative Care.   It would be my privilege to be a part of end of life care for your loved one.  

7 Steps to Detox After the Holidays

Blog-img 7 Steps to Detox After the Holidays_6401.  Get rid of leftovers

The holidays bring delicious homemade food, and along with that come the leftovers. Holiday leftovers can be just as good as when you cook the meal the first time and become a tempting go-to snack. Time to let go. Toss the leftovers, if you have not already done so,  they most likely aren’t the healthiest dishes and it’s time to start fresh.

 

2.  Stay hydrated

Most Americans do not drink enough water, and there is no better time to start than now! Fill up your glass at least 8 times a day. Some find it easier to carry a water bottle throughout the day to remind yourself to keep hydrated. Staying hydrated can flush out toxins and detox your body, as well as keeping you feeling good.

 

3.  Hit the gym

Sweating is another great way to flush out toxins. Exercise has many health benefits long term and short term. Find just 30 minutes a day to get some form of exercise, whether it’s going on a run, yoga or simply going for a walk. Getting your body moving is important for your metabolism as well as overall health.

 

4.  Ditch the sugar

The holidays are a notorious time that the sugar intake starts ramping up. Now that they are over, it’s time to remove added sugar to your diet. Limit how often you eat dessert and when you do, eat in moderation. Replace sugary foods with natural sweet foods like fruit. Fruit can fix your sweet tooth and also give you a boost of vitamins.

 

5.  Drink green tea

Green tea is packed with antioxidants and nutrients to help your body get back on track. It is one of the healthiest beverages you could choose, it can act as a replacement for coffee, lower your risk of cancer and protect your brain as you age.

 

6.  Get Acupuncture

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine believe in addressing the body as a whole when illness arises or the body is run down. Because of this, acupuncture treatment works by returning the body back to balance and restoring its natural energy. Certain acupuncture points can detoxify important organs like the kidneys, colon, lungs, liver and skin. If Acupuncture is not already part of your wellness routine, consider adding it this year.

 

7.  Relax

Don’t forget to relax and give yourself some downtime. The holidays are hectic and stressful, which can lead to bad habits and bad eating. Give yourself some time now that they are over to relax. Find activities you enjoy and make sure you make time for them every week. Detoxing is not just for improving your body physically, but mentally as well.

 

Finally, here is a link to some acupressure points you can do yourself to help you with your detox. Acupuncture is great for helping you detox, but also helps reduce pain and  stress and can assist you with your goals to get you to improve and maintain you health, resulting in a healthier version of yourself!

 

http://www.modernreflexology.com/acupressure-points-for-body-detoxification/

Acupuncture to Quit Smoking

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So you’ve made the decision to quit smoking, or maybe you’re trying to quit and not sure how long you will last. Either way, quitting is not easy, and staying smoke-free in the long term is even harder. You may have periods of time when you’re feeling confident and a cigarette is the last thing on your mind, or you may all of a sudden have intense cravings.

Acupuncture has been used to treat addiction for many years.  Curbing addiction, specifically when it comes to smoking, is not something that can be done overnight.  There will be times when you think you won’t be able to stay smoke-free and want to give up.  Considering acupuncture treatment when you are trying to quit can have great effects on helping you back on the road to better health.  Acupuncture works by addressing the body as a whole.  Illness arises when there is a blockage or stagnation in our natural energy flow.  Acupuncture helps to release these blockages and return the body back to its natural flow.

Not only can acupuncture help curb addiction, but aid in symptoms of withdrawal from nicotine once you quit.  Symptoms like jitters, mood swings and restlessness are common when quitting smoking.  When you feel anxious from these feelings, its even easier to feel the need for a cigarette.  Specific acupuncture points  on the ear and body are used to help change the body’s perception of nicotine, help relax and detoxify the body which results in reduced cravings and symptoms of withdrawal.

A study done at the University of Oslo, Norway, found that those who were trying to quit smoking and received acupuncture treatment reported a reduced craving for smoking and a greater distaste for tobacco.

Acupuncture can not completely eliminate addiction, but it is a great aid in the recovery process after quitting.  The first and hardest step is to decide to quite, there are many treatments including acupuncture that can help you after.

 

Below are some other ways to help keep you smoke-free for a better, healthier life.

 

Stay positive

Having good and bad days are a part of life, and same goes for quitting smoking. Some days are going to be easier than others, but it is important on the bad days to remind yourself why quitting is worth it. Health should be number one in your life and according to the CDC, quitting smoking will lower your risk of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory complications and more. If you have been a smoker, you know the side effects well. Staying positive and motivated to keep the bad habit away will pay off tremendously in the long run. Talk to others who have quit or join a support group. It is always great to hear from others who are going through the same experience as you and to see success stories.

 

Know your triggers

Smokers usually have triggers that give them the urge to light up. Be aware of what these are and find ways to avoid them. Common triggers include stress, drinking coffee, after a meal, drinking alcohol, if someone else is smoking or feeling restless. Once you know your triggers, you can know how to handle them in a healthy manner that doesn’t include smoking. When you start to feel an urge, try deep breathing or go on a short walk. Keep your mind and body occupied.

 

Take up a new hobby/activity

Kicking a bad habit is the perfect time to take up a healthy one. Spend more time exercising or doing something you enjoy. Activities like biking, swimming or yoga are not only fun but also beneficial for your mental and physical health. If feeling stressed or down is a trigger for you, becoming more active can help lower these symptoms.

 

Don’t give up

The decision to quit smoking was probably one of the best lifestyle choices you could make. You already took that first step, and although it may seem like an uphill battle, staying smoke-free will add years on to your life and improve your quality of life tremendously. Don’t give up, and don’t get down on yourself if you cave. It is never too late to quit smoking and begin the journey to better health.

I would be glad to help you on your journey to a smoke-free life!  Contact me today to get started.

“To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping.” ~Chinese Proverb