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
The whirlwind that is the end of the school year is finally over, and there’s no homework, no carpools, no baking 50 cupcakes to take to the school party. Hopefully you are finding time to enjoy the little ones (and bigger ones too). I remember as a child we would go to the beach for a family vacation after school was out, and then my parents would send us off to summer camp. I always thought that my parents missed me terribly when I was away, but I know now that they probably couldn’t wait to get some freedom from us kids. It’s okay to give yourself a little break. Here are some suggestions: Continue reading
The clinic will be closed July 2 – 6. Part play, part learning, I will be taking a much needed vacation, celebrating the Fourth of July, and then will finish the week with a training program targeting Digestive Issues in New York. I look forward to coming back refreshed and armed with more information to solve tough digestive issues.
I’m continuing to offer the FibroFatigue program that focuses on Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Chronic Fatigue. I’m seeing several people who are suffering from Lyme disease who have most, if not all, of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue. There is a lot of overlap, and this program addresses those symptoms even if the patient hasn’t officially been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue. Included in this multi-step program are acupuncture, herbal medicine, breathing exercises and movement therapy with my support all along the way. Please share this information with that friend or family member who struggles to socialize with others due to pain and/or fatigue. I can help.
Have you ever come into the clinic and wondered “what is that smell??” No, we promise no one is smoking in the clinic. Moxibustion or moxa is the burning of the chinese herb mugwort on or over an acupuncture point, and is considered an integral part of the acupuncture treatment. It’s use can be traced far back to the Warring States Period (475 B.C. to 221 B.C.). The herb is dried and aged, and then ground so that the fine fibers remain. Many properties of moxa make it theraputic; even the odor can be healing.
When would we use moxa? Great question! It has many uses.
- I use it with patients who are very weak who may not be able to tolerate acupuncture.
- It is warming. Cold slows the flow of blood and contracts tissues, so I frequently use it with patients who tend to be cold, and to warm the uterus in patients who are trying to become pregnant.
- It helps to stop pain. Moxa is very penetrating and can disperse blockages that cause pain.
- It supplements and boosts your energy.
- It can be used as a preventative against disease.
- It can facilitate labor induction in pregnant patients by stimulating the body in a variety of ways, from increasing oxytocin release to cervical softening.
- It can even cause a breech baby to turn into head down position.
In the clinic, we either burn it on top of a slice of ginger placed on the skin, directly on the skin or atop an acupuncture needle. As crazy as it sounds to use something smokey around people with respiratory issues, moxa stimulates deep healing from the inside out, and actually helps strengthen the lungs. Moxibustion is great at helping to decrease inflammation and increase localized blood flow and lymphatic circulation, all of which promote healing. So you can breathe a sigh of relief that nobody is smoking here, just helping others heal.
I am so excited to announce the launch of a new program at Balanced Energy Wellness. This program is specifically designed to help patients suffering with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and Chronic Pain. It is an evidence-based program that targets eight separate, overlapping causes of Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and Pain, and is designed to heal the body in stages for lasting results.
The Fibro-Fatigue program uses a combination of therapies such as Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Diet Therapy, Breathing Exercises and Qigong/Movement Therapy. In addition to treatments and education, I’ll provide one-on-one guidance with a focus on self-care to keep patients actively engaged in their healing process.
Results from the program can include:
- Improved sleep
- Less pain
- Better digestion
- Stabilized emotions
- More energy
- Improved quality of life
Whether it’s you or your best friend that is struggling to find lasting relief from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue or chronic pain, this program offers a path towards improved health. I have been working with a team of other acupuncturists, doctors, and herbalists from around the world on this program, and I’m super excited to offer these treatments to our community.
For more information about this program, please go here . I am also happy to speak with you personally to answer any questions to might have.