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It's Summer time... and the living is easy, when you follow these great TCM Summer tips!
The Summer Solstice isn’t until June 21st, but these 90 degree days are making me feel like Summer is here! For me summer means farmers markets, fresh veggies, warm nights, and BBQ’s with friends and family. As soon as this season hits, you can find me in our backyard on the hammock! This season is a time for growth not just for all of the seeds you planted in spring, for your flowers and gardens, but for yourself! It is a great time for both mental and spiritual personal growth, which we will get to later!
YANG within YANG
Summer is the most Yang season in Traditional Chinese Medicine, which makes since because it is ruled by the element of Fire. It is full of abundance and the outward expansion of energy. The organs related with the Fire element are the Heart and Small Intestine. And thus the heart, mind, and sprit are the focus during this season.
The Heart “holds” the mind in Chinese Medicine. When the Heart is imbalanced we either have “lack of joy” i.e. depression, or we may have an excess in joy, i.e. manic behavior. Some other symptoms that come with and imbalance in the Heart, are nervous exhaustion, agitation, and insomnia. The summer is the time to start the meditation practices that have been getting neglected, or to add in the extra hikes or swims you have been missing in the colder months. Meditation gives the mind time to rest, regroup, and refocus on what is important to your mind, heart, and soul! While adding in a few more activities is a great way to get your blood circulation pumping!
The Heart physically circulates the blood through the body. And in Traditional Chinese Medicine there is a connection between the blood and the “shen” or our emotions. When the blood is deficient, the shen cannot be held, thus making us more agitated, nervous and fearful. But when the blood is abundant and can flow freely, the shen is calm. That is why both mental, spiritual, and physical practices are so important during this season.
As far as meditation goes, I know everyday we don’t feel like we have time to sit and meditate for 20 minutes or more, so I shoot for 5 minutes. I prefer guided meditations and love the app Simple Habits. They provide you with different guided meditations for 5 minutes each day, and of course you can do more then one round in a day if you want! I have found that the commitment of 5 minutes a day feels doable, and not like another task on my already long To-Do list! It gives me time to just sit and be in my body, and since it is on your phone you can do it anywhere! I have done it in my office in between patients, in my bed before I even get up, and even a few times in my car (before I start driving of course)!
So, lets talk about food in the Summer, because I love eating with the seasons! Summer is a great time to hit up your local farmers markets and score great deals on local veggies! If you live in Denver, one of my favorites, which started last weekend, is The Pearl Street Farmers market on Sundays! There you can buy a whole bag of local veggies for $10! I am talking like a whole potato sack of veggies! It is a steal! We usually go every other week and get our bag full, but with a bigger family you can stop by once a week, and it will still be cheaper then the store!
With the Summer heat, in TCM we focus on eating cool or yin foods, so our yang doesn’t go into excess, which is easy to have happen with how hot it gets! Below is a list of some great cooling foods to add to your diet this summer. And also make sure you are drinking lots of water! Adding cucumber to your water makes it even better and cooling for your system!
Here is a list of foods that are beneficial to eat in the summer months:
Allergies got you down? Spring is here and for a lot of people that means allergy season! In Chinese medicine allergies occur because there is a deficiency in a particular organ system, but in all cases Wind is also part of the diagnosis. Wind is able to penetrate and get in because of the weakness in an organ system. Wind can come in many forms wind cold and wind heat is typically seen more in patients with cold and flu symptoms, while wind damp can be seen in seasonal allergies. Wind damp symptoms are typically a sudden onset of symptoms that can come and go (just like wind) including: sneezing, itching of eyes and throat, heavy sensation in head and copious mucus.
The combinations of herbs, acupuncture, and diet can treat the symptoms of acupuncture, but also get to the root of the cause to better support your system to fight off allergies in the future!
DIET For Allergies
Diet plays a huge role in controlling and preventing seasonal allergies. Sweets, dairy, cold, and raw food all increase mucus build up. When the mucus accumulates the allergens are able to stimulate a stronger reaction! So what should you eat to help defend against seasonal allergies? Soups, warmed or steamed veggies, and grains that are easy to digest. We want your digestive system to be as healthy as possible, because with a healthy digestive system there is less likely for mucus build up and the body is better equipped to fight of any invasions! Adding warming ginger and cinnamon to your diet is also helpful! And last eating food in spring that support the Liver in Spring like salmon, scallions, eggplant, broccoli, and dandelion greens will also be beneficial!
ACUPUNCTURE for Allergies
Acupuncture can both relieve the symptoms of allergies, but it can also get to the root of why you are having them! Often in my clinic I see treatment for the symptoms of allergies frequently relieves the symptoms immediately or within the next day! During our treatment I will also determine which organ is deficient, in general for allergies it is either Lung, Kidney, Spleen, or Liver. Each organ deficiency often presents as different allergy symptoms.
For example more issues with sneezing or coughing: your Lung Qi may be deficient. Issues with itchy red eyes: your Live Qi may be deficient. Excess mucus in your nose and throat: your Spleen Qi may be deficient. And Kidney is often involved in all of them, but generally is deficient in people who have experienced chronic allergies most of their lives. In this case the best time to treat the root of your allergies is actually in Winter, which is the season which relates to the Kidneys. Treatment in the winter can actually prevent the allergies from coming in the spring.
To find out if acupuncture is right for you to fight your seasonal allergies, book an appointment or free consultation today!
It’s officially Spring! Although the snow we had on Sunday didn’t feel like it, but I know in the last week or so I have started to feel the changes take place to bring us into one of my favorite seasons!
Spring a time of renewal and cleansing
Spring is the time to get up and moving after hibernating in winter. Spring cleaning is a real thing, not just for our houses, but for our bodies. After the cold months of winter where we were craving rich earthy foods, our appetite in spring eases, and we start to need less food, as there is no longer a need to store energy to stay warm during the cold months of winter. Because of this spring is a great time to reset your body and reach your weight goals. The natural trends of this season of eating less and moving more, supports you in this process.
The organs of Spring: the Wood Season
Why else is spring a great time for cleansing and renewal? Because spring is represented by the Wood Element in TCM, and that includes the Liver and Gallbladder organs. Both of these organs are incredible in their abilities to cleanse and release.
Among the livers many functions in Western Medicine is the formation, cleansing, and filtration of blood to help the body eliminate toxins. And in Eastern Medicine the Livers functions go well beyond the physical function and it includes the spiritual and emotional qualities as well. The Liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi in our bodies, its energy moves upward and outward. It is responsible for keeping the flow of blood, energy, and emotions moving to support the body, mind, and spirit.
When Qi cannot move it can become stagnant: causing stress, anger, irritability, and depression. If you do not follow the flow of the seasons, this Qi stagnation is likely to occur. Often within the transition between Winter and Spring I will have patients who come in with many of the emotional symptoms already mentioned. By regulating their bodies with acupuncture, food, and regular moment, their emotions will quickly begin to balance out!
Other problems that are associated with imbalances in the Wood element are: muscle tension, sciatica, headaches, visual issues, menstural irregularities, PMS, digestive issues, and High Blood Pressure. Spring can be a time when these can get aggravated or become worse, but it is also the time to treat and relieve these!
Wind can occur in any season, but is generally strongest in Spring. In TCM wind can penetrate and become internal wind causing symptoms such as: dizziness, cramps, inching, spasms, tremors, pain that comes and goes, twitching, pulsating headaches, and ringing in the ears. The nape of the neck in TCM is called the “wind gate.” It is the place that is most vulnerable to wind and cold, which is why wearing a coat or scarf is so important during this season.
How to Stay Healthy this Spring
Foods For Spring
1. Green Foods: During spring, it is recommended to eat foods green in color and rich in chlorophyll that help accelerate rejuvenation of the liver. This includes things like spirulina, chlorella, parsley, wheat grass, kale, Swiss chard and collard greens.
2. Radishes: Pungent in flavor, radishes are perfect for the spring time. They help move liver Qi and open up the liver meridian.
3. Sour Citrus Fruits: Foods like lemons, limes and grapefruit are all good choices that help cut fats that may have been stored up in the body during the winter months, while also keeping the liver Qi moving smoothly.
4. Bitter Leafy Greens: Spring is the appropriate time for liver cleansing, which is what the bitter flavor does. So adding things like dandelion greens, arugula, radicchio, mustard greens and spinach will help tremendously.
5. Chicken: Ever heard the term “spring chicken”? Well this is the appropriate time of year to enjoy pasture-raised, locally grown chicken. And pairing chicken with some of the aforementioned foods can make for a very healthy and liver happy meal.
Don't let the Flu get you down!
This years flu season has been one of the most widespread, and according to the CDC during the third week of January, more people sought care for the flu and flulike illnesses than any other period compared for nearly a decade. Since the start of the season on October 1st nearly 12,000 people have been hospitalized with confirmed influenza. The strain this year according to the CDC is on of the nastiest strains, H3N2, which causes four types of the flu, two influenza A and two influenza B viruses. This particular strain has been around for about 50 years, and is able to change rapidly.
Symptoms of the flu include: fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, as well as vomiting and diarrhea. Each person will experience a different range of these symptoms and does not usually include all symptoms.
The flu is very unpredictable in how long it will last, but it is know that the flu activity peeks from December to February, so we are right in the heart of the worst of it! If all this information scares you, remember there is something you can do, so even if you get the flu, you will recover quicker and have less sever symptoms!
So how do you avoid the flu?
The Flu and TCM
From a Chinese Medical perspective the flu is caused by external pathogens similar to Western Medicine) but the difference is the flu is looked at in combination with the individuals constitution. In order for someone to get the flu or be penetrated by an external pathogen there must be a deficiency or weakness to let it in. Overwork, not sleeping, or eating poorly can all lead to weaknesses allowing the pathogen to enter.
A persons constitution paired with the strength or nature of the pathogen also will determine how severe, what symptoms, and how the flu will present in each person. This helps to explain why two people in the same household can be sick with the exact same flu, but the symptoms and severity will differ.
All of this leads to explain why acupuncture is so important not just for the treatment of the flu, but also for the prevention!
As you can see above peoples constitutions vary and so their treatments for prevention and treatment of the flu varies as well. There is not one single herb or point prescription that can be used to treat the flu and boost someones immune system. First we have to look at you and your constitution to find where there are weaknesses and imbalances, and then focus on those to strengthen your immune system and get it to work optimally.
1. Prevent cold and flus
2. Treat early stages of cold or flus and shorten the severity and recovery time
3. Eliminate the need for more serious interventions such as hospitalization
4. Strengthen the body after a cold or flu to prevent roccurence
One of my favorite things when treating colds and flus is when people come in and tell me “I am getting sick, and I can already tell it’s going to be bad,” and instead of it taking them a week or two to get over it, they are well in a day or two! Acupuncture is incredible that way! But, the best time to treat the flu is before you get it!
That is why I am making February, FIGHT THE FLU FEBRUARY: and I am offering four treatments paid up front and booked for the month of February for $200, that is an $80 savings! You get one whole treatment completely free plus and extra $10 off just for good measure! Acupuncture works better in conjunction with itself, meaning the effects get stronger when it is used back to back. You can schedule your appointments in a variety of ways which we will decide together based on your needs. For example if you are currently sick I may schedule two in a week so we can really fight it off, or if we are working on immune boost and prevention we may just do one a week for the full month.
Your health is important to me and you deserve to have a Flu Free February! Schedule your first appointment and then we will book the next three of the package at the end of that session when I have evaluated the best treatment plan for you!
Also, just as a side note, we can work on other things besides immunity and flu relief during these treatments, but that will be one of the main things we focus on during each treatment!
If you have any questions about the flu of Fight the Flu February Package please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s beginning to feel a lot like Winter! And in Chinese Medicine Winter represents the most Yin time in Chinese Medicine opposite to Summer the most Yang time. Yin is the dark, while Yang is the light. Yin is cold, while Yang is warm. And Yin is slow and inward, while Yang is quick and expansive. As with all of the other seasons it is important to adapt your diet and activities as the seasons change, to help prevent illness.
The organ that represents Winter is the Kidneys. And in Traditional Chinese Medicine the Kidneys are what gives us our essence as we are born and holds onto our most basic energy through our lives. And since the Kidneys are the organ of Winter and it holds such an important energy that supports us on the deepest level, Winter is the best time to focus on strengthening the Kidneys. And you may ask how do I do that? Well, rest is one of the best ways to support the Kidneys, and that is why Winter forces us to slow down and relax!
The Winter is a great time to look inward; meditation, writing, reading, Tai Chi and Qi Gong are some ways that we can slow our bodies and minds, calm our emotions and raise our spirits while we support the energy of the Kidney! Another great way to do this, which is also one of my favorites (because I LOVE my bed!) is getting more sleep! Winter is the time to go to bed earlier and sleep a little later, any excuse to do that sounds good to me!
During the Winter season eating foods that are naturally grown during this season is very important: squash, potatoes, root veggies, winter greens, carrots, mushrooms, apples, and pears are all good examples of this!
But since Winter is the season of the most Yin and thus cold, warming foods should also be apart of your diet, such as soups and bone broths. You can also add in foods that specifically nourish the Kidneys such as black beans, kidney beans, bone broths, lamb, chicken, walnuts, dark leafy greens, chestnuts, and black sesame seeds. Salt is the taste of the Kidneys so adding unrefined sea salt is also a good idea, but remember moderation is key!
Now that you have an idea of the foods you can start adding for Winter, it is also important to keep in mid the cooking process. You should be cooking your food for longer periods on a lower heat, so bake, roast, strew, or slow cook. This will infuse the food with warmth that can help keep the body warm during these cold months! I use my crockpot and cast-iron pots a ton during this season!
Other tips for this season:
1.Wash Hand regularly- this is cold and flu season but this is especially important before touching your face, which can bring those bugs right inside your body
2.Get plenty of sleep- we already talked about this one but its a good reminder:)
3.Reduce stress- this is important year round, but especially important during Winter- stress depletes your energy which you need to conserve during winter, it can also deplete your immune system
Easy Asian Chicken Soup
▪ 220g thin dried egg noodles
▪ 7 cups chicken stock
▪ 3 spring onions
▪ 8 slices (15g) fresh ginger
▪ 2 teaspoons soy sauce
▪ 3 chicken breast fillets, trimmed & thinly sliced (chicken can be replaced by fish, pork or tofu)
▪ 1 long red chili, seeded & finely chopped (leave out or put in less to make child friendly)
▪ 1 bunch of broccolini or any other vegetables of your choice (cabbage, bok choy, snow peas, baby corn, asparagus, kale, and carrots work really well in this recipe)
▪ 1 clove of crushed garlic (optional)
Cook Noodles. Place stock, spring onions, ginger, soy sauce (and garlic) in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, add chicken & chili and simmer for 5 minutes. Add noodles and veggies and cook for 1 minute before serving.
Slow Cooker Beef Bone Broth
• 3-4 pounds mixed beef bones marrow bones, oxtail, knuckles, short rib, etc. (grass fed high quality bones are the best to use- I have also used chicken bones which work well too and are a little bit cheaper to use!)
• 2 medium onions
• 2 medium carrots
• 3 celery stalks
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Heat oven to 400°F.
2 Spread the mixed bones on a baking tray in a single layer and place it into the oven. Roast the bones for 30 minutes. Flip bones and roast another 30 minutes.
3 While the bones are roasting, chop the carrots, onions and celery. (You are discarding these later so a rough chop works great!)
4 Place roasted bones, chopped vegetables, bay leaf and apple cider vinegar into a 6-quart crockpot. Cover completely with cold filtered water. (All the ingredients should be submerged by about 1 inch of water.)
5 Cook on low for 24 hours. Add water as needed to keep all the ingredients covered in water, and periodically skim the foam off the top of the pot.
6 After 24 hours, the broth should be a dark brown color. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer and discard the bones, vegetables and bay leaf.
7 Before storing, pour into separate containers and cool to room temperature. Once cooled, chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Skim off the accumulated fat at the top of the container, if there’s any. Store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months
* If you can't find bones from your local store, (just ask your butcher they usually have some back there) I have used bones from the meat that I have cooked. Just save the bones for later!
Bone broth can be used to cook with or can be drank on it’s own. It has nutrients from the gelatin, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that are in it. It can help your digestive system and immune system.
How to fall for Fall: An Acupuncturist perspective of Autumn and how to stay healthy during the transition!
Now that summer has officially ended, we move into my favorite season FALL!
Fall is associated with the Metal element in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The organs that are related to the Metal element are Lungs and Large Intestine. We will get into both of those organs a little later in this blog. But first I want to talk about another association with autumn and the Metal element, the stage of development for fall is Harvest.
The development of Harvest means exactly what you think it means, to reap the rewards of the seeds you have planted and create new life in the different projects in your life. To me fall always feels like the start of a new year, more than January 1st! All of the exciting adventure of summer comes to an end, and the real work begins. As a kid this meant going back to school, but as an adult who works through summer, fall signifies the start of new and exciting projects, and really focusing on work, instead of all the fun outdoor activities of summer!
Fall is the time for change. Nature knows to do this automatically as the long warm days become cooler and shorter, but as humans we sometimes resist the changes of the seasons. As the leaves began to change and let go of the trees they used to cling to, we need to do the same! This is a great time to clean out things that no longer serve you, by doing this you can make room for the new experiences and things that are coming during fall.
All of the changes that come with fall is all to get us ready for winter. It gets us physically and emotionally prepared for the cold dark months that are to come. It represents a time of acceptance for who we are and what we are doing.
Each element comes with its own set of characteristics that help us understand it better, and gives us a better idea on how we can support ourselves during its season.
The emotion of Metal is grief or sadness. This is a reflective time, a time of introspection. It gives us the ability to let go of the past, just as the leaves let go of the branches that were once their home. The organs Lung and Large Intestine represent the letting go and receiving of the body.
The Lungs in Chinese medicine inhale pure Qi (air), and exhale dirty Qi. They are in charge of regulation of the entire body. When the lung is out of balance, routines become inflexible and rigid, and the body itself begins to stiffen. It also gives way for illnesses of the Lungs, including bronchial infections, sinusitis, allergies, and asthma. With proper treatment and support of the Lungs at the beginning of Fall you can help your body to fight and avoid these lung related issues. Regular acupuncture treatments at the start of the season is a great way to create a stronger immune defense.
The Large Intestine is responsible for elimination. Only when the body can release the old and toxic can it give way to the new and pure. This is how the Lungs and Large Intestine are related. Without the Large Intestine doing its job of releasing, the Lungs would struggle to do its job of bringing in the pure Qi. When the Large Intestine is out of balance symptoms such as IBS, constipation, gas, and abdominal pain may be present. A Large Intestine disfunction can also be a sign that someone is having trouble letting go. Acupuncture is an effective way to teach your body that it is ok to release and let go of things that no longer serve us. It also is very effective for treating many digestive disorders.
So besides acupuncture what are some ways you can get your self ready for fall and keep your self healthy through the process of changing seasons?
Get Organized! This is the time to reflect on what you have accomplished during summer, and then build on it. Instead of taking on large projects like you do during summer, instead make a list of small manageable tasks that can be completed in less than an hour. That way you cross things off your list in a way that makes you feel accomplished.
Practice Letting Go! Let go of items in your house you no longer need, but also old emotions and pains. This is the time to forgive and move on, or I like to say bless and release ignorer to make room for new and positive feelings. Carrying around all of the old resentments weigh us down, and make the transition into each season even harder. A way to do this is write down what you are carrying around on a piece of paper and then burn it, as the smoke lifts into the air, the weight lifts of your shoulders as well. The Hawaiian idea of Ho’oponopono is something else you may want to look up to help you with moving on and relaxing old pain.
Make time for downtime! Summer is the season of go, go, go, but as we enter fall we need to start slowing down and getting back into daily routines. In Chinese Medicine it is said that during autumn the spirit is more accessible. So it gives you a perfect chance to get back into your meditation and connect with your higher self. Even just 10 minutes a day makes a huge difference.
Detox your body! A gentle please at the start of fall will help your immune system fight of the colds and flus of the season. A cleanse can be as simple as eating healthy fruits and veggies and only complex carbs for a day. It is the refines carbs that slow us down and clog up the bowels, so avoiding them will help the Large Intestine in letting go, which as we have discussed opens your body up to hold more of what is pure and good for you.
Drink more water! Being in Colorado where it is already dry this is a recommendation that I often give my patients, but Fall is also associated with dryness in Chinese Medicine, so it is even more important to be taking in more fluids. Water is also helpful to bulk the foods in our Large Intestine promoting bowel movements.
Breathe Deeply! This is the season of the Lungs, so treating exercises that strengthen the Lungs will also help to increase energy and calm the mind. In this time of year it is especially important to make sure you are exhaling completely, ignorer to expel the dirty Qi to make room for more pure Qi. So instead of focusing on the inhale let the inhale happen naturally as in response to your deliberate exhale.
Get Walking! This is the time to get our last minute outdoor time in before winter rolls in, so spend time outdoors taking walks around the neighborhood, before the chilliness of winter brings our exercise indoors.
And Last, Cover Up! The sun is going down earlier and the mornings are brisker, so be prepared. Keep the back of your neck covered with a sweater or scarf when the tempters are lower to prevent the ear fall sickness from attacking.
Change of Season also means the change of Food!
The weather is getting cooler, so your food should get warmer. The start of the fall is the time to start eating less cooling foods such as salads and raw foods that you would eat during summer. Warmer foods with longer cooking times will support the immune system and nourish the body for the winter months. It will also be easier on the digestive system. Since as we mentioned earlier Metal is related to dryness adding moistening food into your diet is important. Below is a list of foods that are beneficial for fall!
Garlic, Sweet Potato, Ginger, Onion, Cabbage, Pears, Walnuts, Black Pepper, Radish, Rice, Chili, Cinnamon, Leeks, Miso, Soy Beans, Almonds, Asparagus, Broccoli, Cucumber, Celery, Apricot, Banana, Eggs, Olives, Pickles, Vinegar, Apples, Plums, Grapes.
When we change and live with the spirit of the seasons it is easy to stay healthy. When we fight against the seasons, we often become sick and tired physically, and emotionally. The metal element gives us acceptance and self worth, so now is a perfect time to focus on ourselves and give our bodies some extra self love!
Here are some delicious fall recipes. These recipes are are adapted from the cookbook, Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen by Yuan Wang, Warren Sheir, and Miko Ono.
Healthy Lungs Fritillaria Pears
4 TBSP fritillaria (chuan bei mu) powder
4 large ripe pears, any variety
8 teaspoons honey, or to taste
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp cardamom
Toasted almond slivers
Wash the pears but leave the skins on. Cut off the top 1/3 of the pear and save for later. Remove the core of the bottom part of the pear to create a hole that leaves the bottom and outside of the pear intact.
Place 1 Tbsp of the fritillaria powder, 2 tsp honey, ¼ tsp cinnamon and 1/8 tsp cardamom in the hole of each pear. Replace the tops onto the pears.
Place the pears in a steamer, cover and cook for 40 minutes or until soft.
Sprinkle the pears with the toasted almond slivers and serve warm.
Honey Sesame and Walnut Spice Balls
½ cup (about 2 ounces) black sesame seeds
1/3 to ½ cup (about 2 ounces) chopped walnut pieces
3-4 tablespoons raw honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1/4 tsp cardamom
If your sesame seeds aren’t already roasted, toast them in a wide skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally. Continue frying until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. When they are done, transfer the seeds from the hot skillet to a bowl so they don’t overcook, and let cool for at least 1 minute.
In a food processor, add the sesame seeds, walnuts, and 3 tablespoons of the honey, pulsing until mixed well.
Roll into 3/4 inch balls. If the balls don’t stick together at first, add a little more honey and pulse the mixture until uniform.
Serve- and don’t tell anyone how easy this dish was to make!
I can’t believe it but it is that time of year again… School is just around the corner and for some schools it starts this coming week! Where did summer go?! Going back to school can be a stressful transition for kids, parents, and even the teachers! The change from summer to routines, early mornings, and homework can feel chaotic. With this stress, also comes a decrease immune system, leading to all of the dreaded back to school sicknesses! But there are ways to help make the transition smoother for everyone involved! So teachers this post is for you too, not just for the families getting ready for Back to School season!
As adults we are better equipped than children to handle changes and stress, and often children don't even know that is what they are feeling, but Back to School can even be a challenge for the most equipped!. Below are some too for families and teachers to help their children and themselves through this transitionary period.
1. Parents and teachers this one is for you: Self Care! Yes that’s right when children see you taking care of yourself to manage your stress they learn better habits to handle their own. This can be done through taking time for yourself either through meditation, exercise, or acupuncture to help manage your stress levels. You can’t give with an empty cup!
2. Spend time outside and play: this is great for kids and adults as we start the transition from summer into fall, while it’s still warm enough after school spend time outside. This can be spending 30 minutes to an hour playing games, eating dinner, or just taking a walk as a family outdoors! The vitamin D will help boost the immune system too!
3. Get enough sleep: With more stress and less sleep our bodies hormones cortisol and adrenaline get elevated and our immune response is decrease. If you have read any of my previous blogs you know that acupuncture is great for regulating hormones and decreasing stress. Adrenaline and Cortisol are part of the bodies “fight and flight” response and when this response is active the “rest and digest” response can’t happen, making it harder to sleep and digest food.
4. Eat the Rainbow: what this really means is making sure you and your family are eating a balanced diet. This may be hard to do with homework and after school activities, but it is also best to eat at a time when you can actually sit and eat without distractions, no TV, phones, grading or doing homework, and not in the car while driving, it makes it easier to digest and our body can better extract the nutrients we need from the food. Regular meals and snacks also help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. And of course eating more fruits and veggies help boost our immune system and make it easier to handle stress, because a hefty body leads to a health mind!
5. Acupuncture: you had to know this one was coming;) Acupuncture can help decrease stress by slowing down the bodies stress hormones, and helping the body reach and stay in the “rest and digest” system longer! Also the down time on the table is a perfect way to take a break from the day when you can’t find the time to do it on your own! Acupuncture can also help to boost the immune system, making it easier to fight off those pesky back to school germs.
Other stress relieving activities for teachers, parents and children: breathing techniques, qi gong or yoga, coloring, guided meditations, taking walks.
As a wife of a special education middle school teacher and as an Acupuncturist, I really have a strong passion for the amazing benefits of acupuncture as preventive medicine! It is so much easier to boost your immune system and reduce stress, then it is to fight once you are already sick!
To get yourself or your kids in for a treatment! Call 720-593-8218 or book online at DenverMindBodyEssence.com!
Teachers! To thank you for all you do I am offering 20% off your first treatment, just show your school ID! Valid through September 28th!
In our Western culture we go to the Doctors office after we are already sick to get relief. But recently there has been a shift, people are searching for tools to support their current health and wellbeing. Acupuncture has risen in popularity since this shift has occurred. People are realizing how important maintaining their health is, and how effective Acupuncture is at resolving sickness and pain in a less invasive way.
As more people are turning to alternative medicine and specifically Acupuncture, there are and more scientific research being done. Including the Harvard Medical School (http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/acupuncture-is-worth-a-try-for-chronic-pain-201304016042) who stated that there is a clear benefit to using acupuncture for chronic pain. They provided support as well to the minimal adverse affects of acupuncture in comparison to Western medications.
Having more medical research to prove the benefit of a medical care system that has been in practice for thousands of years is important to many Westerners, but I really believe the true magic of acupuncture can be seen in just one visit. I am constantly amazed the amazing results I see after every treatment, from skeptics and believers alike, the needles don’t know the difference! But acupuncture works better and better the more you do it, the effects start compounding on itself and better results are felt after each treatment!
So how can acupuncture work for prevention?
The best way to look at how acupuncture can work as a preventative medicine is to look at your body like a car. Yes, I said car, but let me explain! You have to change the oil on your car after a certain amount of time or certain miles driven. If you drive your car hard and fast for long distances, like athletes or people who work over forty hours a week, and moms are defiantly included in this bunch because their job never ends, you may end up taking your car in more than someone who just cruises through life and ties their car in after a certain amount of time, knowing they aren’t pushing their car to its limits.
Just like your car you need to get your “oil changed” so that you can function properly and can keep maintaining which ever type of life style you lead. Without maintenance on your car at the proper times, the oil will start to break down and there will be friction which can lead to much more severe issues. In our body energy or “Qi” flows through the body, and when it gets blocked or becomes depleted health issues can arise. The goal of acupuncture is just that, to keep the energy flowing freely. When this occurs the mind, body, and spirit are all balanced.
Getting acupuncture regularly as a preventative treatment can address the issues within the body before they lead to something more severe. When you come in for a treatment for a problem that already exists, my goal and what I always tell my patients is to get you and your body to the point where the issue has resolved and you just see me on a maintenance schedule, to make sure it stays gone!
Coming in once every couple weeks to once a month for routine appointments to basically take out the trash or drain the oil, can leave your mind relaxed and recharged, leave your body free of pain and stress, and leave your spirit in a place where it can lead you to your highest self.
For more information on acupuncture as preventive medicine, you can email me at DenverMindBodyEssence@gmail.com!
How to Beat the Heat this Summer!
In Traditional Chinese Medicine Summer is ruled by the Fire element, we can see this in nature but also in the the body. The focus in this season is growth and joy as well as spiritual awareness between the heart and mind.
It is easy to see the fire element in Nature, especially lately since we have been in the high 90's during the day! What sometimes need further explanation is how this shows in the body, which is what this emails focus is on!
What are the common physical symptoms of Summer? Summer-heat is the Traditional Chinese Medical Diagnosis associated with the symptoms of summer. These symptoms manifest as excess body heat, profuses sweating, parched mouth and throat, comstipation, and heart palpitations. More symptoms related to a Fire element imbalanced will be discussed below!
So how do we beat the heat? The best thing to do is strengthen the immune system, which is somthing that should be part of your healing rituals with any seasonal change! With Acupuncture we focus on strengthening the essence and nourishing Qi, and then regulate the heat.
The Fire Element in Traditional Chinese Medicine.The organs that are associated with the Fire element are the Heart, Pericardium, Small Intestine, and San Jiao. These are not the physical elements in the way we talk about them in Western Medicine, but are rather the elements of the meridians, many of which still have similar functions to their Western organs.
Emotionally this element is associated with the mind. The mind in TCM resides in the Heart and therefor when summer heat affects the Heat the mind can be affected. This can lead to over thinking or anxiety. Agitation, nervous exhaustion, heartburn, and insomnia are other common issues that come with an imbalanced Fire element.
These symptons can all be treated with the use of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Once there is a balance, the equilibrium between the heart and mind can provide some of our greatest rewards!
How to beat the heat!
Rising early- this allows us to benefit from the sun and its nourishing rays, this energy is the most bountiful at this time of the year.
Fill your work, play, and relationships with joy- this is the emotion for the season, and it is even more important to go about our daily activities with joy, passion, and laughter.
Find your life's potential- summer is the time for expansion, energy, movement, and activity, so let the season help you cultivate your desires, this is the season to start new and cultivate what you built throuhout the Spring.
Heal emotional wounds-in TCM the heart is connected to our spirits so summer is the best time to heal wounds we have carried from our pasts. This healing can free up space that we can fill with love, joy, and happiness of the Fire element.
Drink plenty of water- to protect yourself from heat exhaustion, this season is maximum Yang, so it is even more important to stay cool and hydrated.
Eat cool Yin foods- this includes raw foods such as salads and veggies. Many sea foods are also cooling in nature.
Below is a list of other foods for summer:
Apricot, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Strawberries,Tomatoes, Lemon, Peach, Cucumber, Orange, Asparagus, Sprouts, Bon choy, Chinese Cabbage, Corn, White mushroom, Snow peas, Spinach, Summer squash, Watercress, Seaweed, Cilantro, Mint, Dill, Jobe's tears, Bean Sprouts, Duck, Fish.