How to Make This a Great Thanksgiving

Even if you are by yourself

In past holiday newsletters, I’ve offered advice on how to have a less-stressed holiday season.  This year requires a different twist on that theme.

A long time ago, I had a boss who taught me how to take advantage of change/chaos. The secret is to figure out what the opportunity is. And I’d like to offer that in these times, the opportunity is to take time for yourself, find joy and gratitude. There is no doubt that these are stressful times, and honestly, adding a family gathering or holiday party to the mix at this time would add even more stress. Most times I’m giving advice on stress relieving techniques to cope with the chaos of holiday shopping, family gatherings, and work parties. But all of that is so last year!

How is stress affecting you now?
For some we turn to food to calm our nerves. How about looking at food preparation and eating as an opportunity to express thanks? Our mindset before eating or preparing foods has a big impact on how we digest food. I’ve taught classes on mindful eating and one thing that I always emphasize is practicing gratitude during preparation, cooking and eating what we have. That is the idea of preparing and eating meals with calmness and enjoyment so that the parasympathetic nervous system is engaged which, incidentally, helps with digestion. Taking time to appreciate the work that went into growing and harvesting the fruits and vegetables, is an example. Eating slowly and appreciating all of the flavors is so beneficial to your body and mind.

Bring in Gratitude and Joy

Did you know that you can’t experience two opposite emotions at the same time? So by expressing gratitude or joy, you can’t simultaneously feel sorrow or fear. So look for those opportunities to do the things you enjoy doing during the holidays, even if you are by yourself and can’t be with family members. Do you love to decorate for the holidays? Then do it, even if you are the only one who will see it!

How can you express gratitude during this time? What comes to mind when I ask “what are you thankful for?” Notice, I didn’t ask “what is missing from your life?” It’s all about how you frame things. While I’m missing my family this Thanksgiving, I am grateful that they are all healthy and safe. I’m also thankful that there will be less stress and I can cook whatever the heck I want to cook without having to worry about the special requests from everyone. I can take a deep breath for a few days! I’m looking forward to it. I’m also grateful to spend some quality time with my partner, David and my cute doggie, Jess!

This year, I am extremely grateful for you, my patients! You bring me great joy and I care about you all. Please see the special holiday offers below and take this opportunity to treat yourself, friends or family to the gift of wellness!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Coping with Stress

Well, 2020 has certainly been a doozie! As if the Coronavirus wasn’t enough, there’s so much happening in our country right now with fires, hurricanes, unprecedented job losses, riots, and politics that it’s no wonder most of my patients are stressed. I’ve seen a big increase in anxiety, depression and all around feeling of stress in my patients. So if you are feeling it too, you are not alone.

Stress is sometimes used as a catch-all word for many symptoms but the fact is that stress is definitely real. It can be the cause of both emotional and physical symptoms like anxiety, depression, hypertension, fatigue, headaches, addiction, obesity, pain, and more. Managing stress is key to keep these feelings from getting out of control.

What’s happening?

When you face a challenging situation, your body releases chemicals, including cortisol and adrenaline. These chemicals are released to help you handle the situation by putting you into a high alert state and preparing your body to take action. Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol increases sugars in your bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues. This all sounds good, but too much is bad for your health.

July Clinic Updates

It’s great to be back in business! I’m really enjoying seeing everyone and feel my work is helping me as much as it is helping you.

As most of you have probably seen, this virus isn’t going away any time soon, so precautions will need to remain in place for the foreseeable future. Everyone wants to get on with life and we want this thing to go away, but it’s not in any big hurry. This means we need to stay vigilant and take care of ourselves like never before. I encourage you to reread the blog posts I did back in February for some tips on keeping your immune system strong, and this one with acupressure points you can do at home. Fall is just a few short months away, and then we will be back into flu season again. It’s uncertain what COVIDs next turn will be, so I’m advising everyone to take these measures now if you haven’t started already:

Immune boosting foods
  • Eat a healthy diet – avoid sugar (like the plague)
  • Take Vitamin C, Zinc, and Vitamin D,
  • Get outdoors and exercise (just be careful in the heat),
  • Get an acupuncture immune boost,
  • Practice stress reduction techniques like meditation, deep breathing and yoga
  • Ask me about Herbal preventative formulas that might be right for you

We’ve clearly seen that those with heart disease, diabetes, obesity and some other underlying issues are most at risk, and we all need to put our health as a top priority so we are equipped to fight off any cold, flu or other illness that comes our way.

PLEASE, Wear a Mask

Part of staying healthy right now means we need to continue to wash our hands frequently and wear masks when around others that aren’t part of our household, especially in indoor spaces with several people and poor ventilation. I know, I know, masks are a real pain. They are uncomfortable and hot; trust me I know!

Wear a Mask

But research and experiences from other countries where cases have been low show that wearing a mask helps to prevent transmission. I wear a mask to keep my “respiratory droplets” from getting to you (even though I don’t think I have been in contact with anyone who has it, I just don’t know). I hope you will wear a mask for me.

In fact, as our infection rates and hospitalizations continue to go up all across the south, I really insist that my patients wear a mask while in the clinic with me, especially while we are in close distance of each other. I am okay if you take it off once I’m out of the room, or when you are face down on the table. Your mask helps to keep me safe so that I can continue to help as many people as possible. If you don’t have one or forget yours, I have one for you.

If I am exposed to the virus, that means I have to close the clinic for 2 weeks minimum. None of us wants that to happen. When we both wear a mask, our chances of transmitting the virus are reduced significantly. That said, if you come to the clinic and find out later that you were exposed and may have been contagious while in the clinic, please let me know so that I can get tested and not inadvertently infect others.

Yes, I know the death rate from this virus is pretty low and the majority “recover”, but if you know anyone who has had COVID-19 with symptoms, you don’t want to get it. The after effects can linger for months, and we really don’t know what the long term effects will be. However, we do know that internal organ damage is a very possible outcome. Please err on the safe side and take precautions… for everyone.

Thank you! Okay, I’ll get off the soapbox now.

Welcome back!

The clinic reopened a month ago and all has been going well. Everyone seems genuinely happy to be coming back in for treatments and I’ve gotten good feedback on the new scheduling system. I know I am happy to be back doing what I enjoy.

I’m still following all of the CDC recommendations which means I’m limiting the number of people who are in the clinic at any one time and am doing extensive cleaning and letting the rooms air out between patients. The down side of this is that I can’t treat as many people and the wait list is growing. Appointment times fill up quickly. I ask for your patience and help with booking.

If you need a specific day or time, it’s best to book early. If you need to cancel, please give me as much notice as possible so that I can accommodate someone on the wait list. I appreciate your help!

Hopefully, in another two weeks or so, I’ll feel confident that it’s okay to open up more appointment times, and get the schedule back to normal. Hopefully!

Clinic Procedures – Things to Know

For everyones safety, we have implemented the following procedures to comply with CDC and government guidelines to ensure we are operating a safe practice. Please review these prior to scheduling and arriving for your appointment.

  • Patients are asked to stay home if they are experiencing illness, are having symptoms of flu or virus, have been confirmed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, or have had any contact with someone who has been confirmed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.  Additionally, those with compromised or weak immune systems or other conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease are encouraged to stay home a bit longer.  I advise telehealth sessions and herbal medicine for these patients.
  • Upon scheduling your appointment, you will receive screening questions via email. I require that you answer these questions before your appointment.
  • I will be wearing a mask and ask that you do as well.  If you do not have one, or if you forget, I will give you a disposable mask, but I have a limited supply, so please bring your own if possible.
  • I will only have one person in the clinic at the time and there will be no waiting in the lobby.  I ask that you wait in your car or outside on the porch until I come to get you.  I also ask that you have family members and visitors wait for you in the car or outside unless you require their assistance.
  • Please use the hand sanitizer in the lobby or treatment room when you arrive and when you leave, or use the sink in the restroom to wash your hands. Then head straight to the treatment room.
  • Patients will have their temperature taken and will be screened for COVID-19 upon arrival. No patient will receive a treatment if their temperature is over 99.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • I am implementing higher level cleaning practices – I will have HEPA air cleaners with UVC sanitization in each treatment room and will sanitize EVERYTHING that is touched between treatments.  I will alternate treatment rooms so there is adequate time for air cleaning and sanitation.
  • I am allowing additional time between patients for sanitizing rooms, and to give me a breather from wearing a mask.
  • I will offer limited appointment times due to the number of appointments I can accommodate with new procedures.  This will all be new to me too, and I appreciate your patience as I dive into this new way of working.

Please feel free to call, email or text me with any questions or concerns.

Clinic Reopening May 5

I hope you are staying healthy and safe!  I’m in the final stages of getting ready to reopen and wanted to share my update and what you need to do to schedule your treatment.  

Step 1 – Set up your login for your patient account.

As I mentioned in previous emails, I have been implementing new software for scheduling and maintaining patient records.  This is how you’ll schedule your appointments online (if you choose to), and how you can view your patient record.  You can also opt to store your credit card for payments to streamline your check out process. 

In the next few days, I’ll send you a Welcome email that will give you the instructions to log in and set your password.  Please be on the lookout for it.

Step 2 – Understand New Clinic Procedures

I am planning to begin seeing patients starting on Tuesday, May 5 and I am implementing several new procedures to comply with CDC and Government Guidelines and Precautions.  Here are some key features:

  • Patients are asked to stay home if they are experiencing illness (even if its just allergies), are having symptoms of flu or virus, have been confirmed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, or have had any contact with someone who has been confirmed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.  Additionally, those with compromised or weak immune systems are encouraged to stay home a bit longer.  I advise telehealth sessions and herbal medicine for these people.
  • I will be wearing a mask and ask that you do as well.  I ask that you use the hand sanitizer in the treatment room when you arrive and when you leave.
  • Patients will have their temperature taken and will be screened for COVID-19 upon arrival. No patient will receive a treatment if their temperature is over 99.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • I will offer limited appointment times in week 1 to iron out procedures. I will get everyone scheduled who wants a treatment, but may not be able to accommodate everyone week 1.  This will all be new to me too, and I appreciate your patience as I dive into this new way of working.
  • I will only have one person in the clinic at the time and there will be no waiting in the lobby.  I ask that you wait in your car or outside on the porch until I come to get you.  I also ask that you have family members wait for you in the car or outside unless you require assistance. 
  • I am allowing additional time between patients for sanitizing rooms, and to give me a breather from wearing a mask.
  • I am implementing higher level cleaning practices – I will have HEPA air cleaners with UVC sanitization in each treatment room and will sanitize everything between treatments.  I will alternate treatment rooms so there is adequate time for air cleaning and sanitation.

Step 3 – Scheduling Appointments

I know there are some of you dealing with severe pain, anxiety and other issues and need treatment.  I would like to accommodate these patients first if possible. 

In fairness to those of you who’ve had appointments cancelled over the last month, I’ll reach out to you next week to get you rescheduled depending on your condition and urgency. 

For everyone else, please call, text or email me to schedule for week 1.  After I’ve gotten everyone scheduled for week 1 that I can accommodate, I’ll open up online scheduling and will send another email to let everyone know.  

My appointment times for the first week will be:

  • Tuesday, May 5 – 10:00 – 3:00
  • Wednesday, May 6 – 10:00 – 3:00
  • Thursday, May 7 – 9:00 – 2:00
  • I’ll do my best to accommodate other times if necessary.

Thank you so much for your support and understanding during these difficult times.  If any of this is unclear, please reach out to me.  Together we will get through this and will get you back on track toward health.
  
Stay safe and well.
Rawls

Clinic Updates and Self Help

Well, we’ve made it through the first week of “Social Distancing” and sadly my first week of the clinic being closed. I really miss you all! Unfortunately, this is going to be around for a bit longer, so I’m closing again this coming week and expect to be closed at least until April.

I am available for phone calls and can provide herbal formulas to you by mail. Herbal formulas can be used for virus prevention, digestive problems, anxiety, or even if you do get sick and are isolated at home (most doctors and hospitals are sending people home unless they are having significant breathing issues). I’ve updated my website so you can schedule an herbal consultation if you are interested.

This last week has been surreal, but my thinking is that this is a great time to do some self healing. There are so many things we can be doing right now to help our bodies get stronger so that we can fight whatever comes our way. Here are my suggestions:

MOVE!

While we are stuck at home, there’s a tendency to binge watch TV and Movies, or be on Facebook or Twitter, which usually means we are sitting around like couch potatoes. You don’t need to go out and run a marathon, but some gentle stretching can go a long way towards easing pain, loosening tight muscles and generally keeping your body and mind in a good place. It’s also a good idea to sweat a little to allow your body to push out pathogens and body toxins. You don’t need to work hard to break a sweat – a brisk walk will do it especially now that the weather is warmer (just beware of the pollen right now – see below).

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Clinic Temporarily Closed

I’m so sorry but we remain closed until this all blows over. It is so important to “Social Distance” now, so PLEASE stay home as much as possible. I am available via phone, email or text should you need anything: herbs, pain patches, teas… I am ready to ship to you.

Important Clinic Announcement

Today I’ve made the very difficult decision to reschedule all appointments for this week (March 16-20). In thinking through the decision to close for this week, I considered many different issues. The bottom line is that I care deeply for my patients and feel this is the best course of action at this point so we don’t unwittingly become a center of disease transmission in our community.

Given the fact that testing at this point is very limited, it will be extremely difficult to know a patient’s status or my status with any degree of certainty. Furthermore, according to the latest available data, patients are contagious prior to being symptomatic. The exact amount of time is unclear at this point, but estimates range from several days to about two full weeks. In Georgia, the number of confirmed cases has doubled in one day. As such, the possibility of unwitting exposure to an infectious patient is very high.

I thought about the consequences of closure as set against the consequences of remaining open. Closure will mean economic hardship for me and a significant disruption in scheduling patients into the clinic. It will also deprive my patients of treatments at a time when many are experiencing anxiety, pain and significant disruption of their lives.

Our community has closed all schools and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease is urging citizens to dramatically reduce activity to fight the spread of CoVid19.

As the situation unfolds over the coming days, I will re-assess for appointments scheduled next week. I have spent many, many hours researching what is being said about this disease and how best to protect myself and my patients. It is important to know that you could be a carrier of this infection and not even know! It is a highly contagious condition. Thank goodness most people will recover but there is a high risk population and so many of my patient community fall in that category.

If you are following the news, you will see that Europe is in almost complete shut down and quarantine to slow the spread of infection. I am in touch with health professionals here and all over the world. Those in the areas now experiencing the most cases are urging us to take precautions now to slow the infection rate and to especially protect those over the age of 60.  Most acupuncture clinics and and other “non-essential” providers are closing for a period to help slow the spread.   

My advice to you now is to stay home.

  • Relax.
  • Get outside and take a walk but do not be within 6 feet of others.
  • Take your vitamins! Vitamin D3 5000iu. Vitamin B and C also Multi vitamins
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Sleep and stay well rested.
  • Move your bowels once a day at least. Very important! Here’s why…
  • Stop smoking, limit consumption of dairy products, no sugar, no fried foods. Increase fruits and veggies- especially veggies!
  • Wash your hands and all surfaces several times daily.  This includes the packages that you receive in the mail.
  • Wear a mask in public if you have one. The best is a N95 but it is unlikely that you will find one now. Although it is not being widely advised in our country it is required in all the countries that have kept this infection at bay such as Taiwan and Singapore.
  • Stay positive. Work on those projects you’ve been putting off.

I am available for phone or email consultations. I am available to just talk about things too. I can ship you herbs and pain patches as long as I have them in stock. Many things are on back order, but I may be able to drop ship herbs and supplements to you if they are available.

Being there for you as your acupuncture provider and health adviser is a great personal joy and privilege. I will stay in touch and will contact everyone to re-schedule appointments. I will assess current events and appropriate closures week-by-week and let you know my plans.

We are living in special and challenging times. I love you all and your health is my priority!  I hope to see you soon.

Be well,

Rawls