Many people get the occasional heartburn or diarrhea from time to time, but when digestive problems become more frequent or continue for a longer period, it’s time to do something to address them. Do you have digestive issues? Some of the more common problems include:
- or some combination of the above
Causes can vary widely and may include emotional stress, poor dietary habits, antibiotic or drug use, or toxin exposure.
Chinese Medicine views the digestive process a little differently than the way we think about it in Western medicine. Continue reading
By following these five tips, you will improve not only your digestive health, but your overall health and well being.
- Eat warm foods. Did you know that the stomach functions the best when we put warm food into it? Iced beverages and cold foods, like frozen desserts, actually stress the stomach. Cold foods and liquids put out the “digestive fire” needed to efficiently break down your food and make nutrients available to your body.
- Eat less. Eating only until we are 70% full is best for optimal digestion. Your stomach needs some room to digest the food you consume. This maximizes the nutrition you get from your food, and can even help you reduce weight. Recent studies have shown that in addition to cognitive benefits, eating less can increase longevity, improve the function of the nervous and immune systems, and reduce incidence of several diseases that are prevalent in our country, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease, diabetes, kidney disease, neuro-degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and autoimmune disease.
- Eat in a calming environment. Like most Chinese medical practitioners, I recommend eating a meal in a relaxing environment (without reading/ watching the news etc) because this provides the optimum environment to process your food. When we eat while stressed or tense/anxious/angry/depressed etc, there is an impact to the Stomach causing the Stomach to ‘rebel’. This usually leads to nausea, vomiting, heartburn, or that sick feeling of having a knot in your stomach.
- Eat light at night. Eating bigger, heavier meals late at night contributes to food stagnation, causing stomach discomfort and bloating. Long-term food stagnation can contribute to a feeling of heaviness and fatigue, and a tendency toward obesity and poor health. Morning is the time of day digestive organs have the most strength and ability to digest food. In the evening (after 8:00 pm) the strength of these organs is at their weakest and our ability to process and metabolize food is greatly diminished.
- Light exercise helps promote digestion. An old Chinese saying is “Walk a hundred paces after a meal and one can live ninety-nine years.” By taking a short stroll after a meal, you help your body move the food through your digestive system and can even lower your blood sugar. This is especially important after the evening meal when our metabolism is somewhat slower.
Not sure what CBD is? Watch this short video where I explain what it is and some of the many health benefits of it. I’m looking for your feedback too. Let me know if you want to know more about it.
Getting the kids back to school can be stressful! Summer break is over and now there’s shopping to do to get the endless list of school supplies and clothing. Homework is back on the table as are stricter bedtimes for the kids. Kids are excited and anxious about what the new year will bring. And if you have more than one child, are sending one off to college, or are a teacher, the stress can be multiplied. It’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Are you wishing for more energy, more focus, less stress and better sleep? You may be saying “I’d be happy to just have one of these.” But really it’s not too much to expect from regular acupuncture treatments.
Research shows that chronic stress can have a cumulative effect on our physical well-being. Our response to stress affects the autonomic nervous system (fight-or-flight/rest-and-restore), as well as our cardiovascular, metabolic and immune systems. Even everyday stressors can have long term consequences especially when combined with a poor diet and reduced exercise. This goes for kids as well as the adults who care for them. Sleep disturbances, headaches, stomach aches and behavior changes like anxiety and depression are common symptoms of stress.
Stress and anxiety are helped by acupuncture as it triggers the production of our natural feel-good hormones and brings the autonomic nervous system back into balance. It acts on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress promoting relaxation and deactivating the “analytical” brain which is responsible for anxiety and worry. This brings you out of “fight or flight” mode so that you can get rest and restore your energy. Also important in the new school year is boosting your immune system to protect you from both the effects of stress and the latest illness that’s going around at school. In addition to the immunity boost, many people have more energy in the hours, days and even weeks after acupuncture treatment. Patients notice improved mental clarity, which is important when exam week comes around, and you are juggling 15 things at once. It helps to strengthen your constitution. Continue reading
If you are finding it hard to arrange your schedule for a Wellness Visit, here are a few tips for helping you to cope until you can come in.
- Leverage coping skills – Whether it’s meditation, breathing exercises, acupuncture, yoga, hiking, biking or another way you relieve stress, begin to manage difficult emotions and associated stress before and during this transition back to school. The idea is to balance mind and body so that you are better able to handle whatever is thrown your way. We also offer Stress Free Tea, based on a Chinese Herbal Formula used to calm stress, anxiety and depression for over 900 years.
- Get into a routine ASAP – Begin to introduce the changes before school starts back. Keeping a regular bedtime and healthy diet, while making time for relaxing playful activities are all helpful to establish a regular routine that can reduce chaos, stress and anxiety.
- Encourage healthy eating – We all know that our diet can affect both our physical and mental health. Highly processed foods that consist of high sugar, soft drinks, and nutrient poor foods can increase anxiety and depression. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and high quality proteins are important for a healthy immune system (which BTW begins in the gut).
Most importantly don’t wait until things are out of control to take action. I hope you find these tips helpful and that you will think of me when you need help.
WE WILL BE CLOSED JULY 2 – 6. As I announced last month, I’ll be taking a much needed vacation, celebrating the Fourth of July and will finish out the week with a training course in New York that is focused on Digestive Issues. I’ll return on July 9. I am planning to be “unplugged” for much of the week, so if you need to schedule an appointment, please go online to schedule or leave a message on my voicemail and I’ll take care of it as soon as I return to civilization. I look forward to coming back refreshed and armed with more information to solve those tough digestive problems. Enjoy the festivities of July 4th!
The heat is on! In Chinese Medicine, Summer is the Fire Season and is related to the heart, blood vessels, Small Intestine and the emotions. The heart is in charge of memory, consciousness, thinking, sleep and speech. It’s not too uncommon when there is an imbalance during the summer that we see symptoms such as anxiety, inflammation, heart palpitations, and insomnia. In nature, it’s easy to see that extreme heat withers and dries plant life, and we too can easily become overheated during the summer months. By practicing these 5 tips you’ll keep your fire in check during the summer.
- Hydrate. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids during the summer, especially if you sweat a lot. If you work outside or sweat profusely, you may also need to add electrolytes. Coconut water (unsweetened), fresh watermelon juice and water with cucumbers added will all help replace electrolytes.
- Eat lightly and simply. Skip the heavy meals and use a few simple ingredients in your meals. Prepare vegetables by steaming or lightly simmering. Our tendency is to go for salads, but don’t overdo it with cold and raw foods because they weaken the digestive system. Visit your local farmers market to see what is in season and focus on including those ingredients in your meals. Look for brightly colored vegetables and fruits. Greens help cleanse the arteries and cools the heart. They also help control anxiety. Try our cooling Cucumber, Watermelon and Mint Salad.
- Sweat a little. A light sweat will help to cool the body and prevent overheating. While it may seem counter-intuitive to eat spicy, pungent foods such as hot peppers, fresh ginger, and horseradish during summer, they will bring body heat to the surface creating sweat, thereby cooling you down. But heavy sweating causes to much fluid loss.
- Go easy on the ice. Iced drinks, ice cream and frozen treats weaken the digestive system, hold in sweat and heat, and contract the stomach inhibiting digestion.
- Slow down. Focus on calming the heart through slow yoga, soft music, breathing exercises and meditation. Relax.
Summer is a time of activity, travel, and play. Enjoy it!
Makes 4-6 servings
- 2 cups cubed cucumber (English or Persian)
- 2 cups cubed watermelon (de-seeded)
- Juice of 2 limes
- 3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- Salt to taste
Combine above ingredients in a bowl. Serve slightly cool. Optional: Sprinkle crumbled goat or feta cheese just before serving.
Chef’s note: If making salad ahead of time, do not add lime juice and salt until just before serving.
From The Chopra Center.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) , a number of studies suggest that acupuncture works particularly well on chronic pain such as:
- back and neck pain
- knee pain
It often reduces the incidence and severity of tension headaches and may prevent migraines. “Therefore,” the NIH concludes, “acupuncture appears to be a reasonable option for people with chronic pain to consider.”
Late in 1997, the NIH released a consensus statement supporting the use of acupuncture as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for some conditions. According to the statement, there is some evidence of efficacy in relieving the pain of fibromyalgia, post-operative pain, osteoarthritis, and myofascial pain. The NIH panel pointed out that acupuncture is associated with a lower risk of adverse events than those associated with drugs or other medical intervention. Continue reading