My patients frequently ask if there is anything they should be doing at home to improve their health. Many times I’ll recommend diet and lifestyle changes, breathing exercises, yoga or qigong. Today I want to share an acupressure point that you can do at home to calm you down when you are feeling stressed.
Yintang is one of the most widely used acupuncture points for calming the mind, relieving anxiety and grief, improving sleep and reducing headaches and nasal congestion. It is located between the eye brows. Use the tips of the first and middle fingers to very gently massage this area in a circular motion for a couple of minutes when you are feeling stressed. As you massage, allow all the muscles of your forehead to soften and relax (saying “ahh” can be useful here).
More ideas about how to manage stress.
I’m always being asked at my clinic if Acupuncture can boost the Immune System. The answer is yes, and it is amazing at doing this!
If you tend to get sick during the winter months, making you feel lousy and causing you to miss work or school, then listen up. Having acupuncture treatments and taking Chinese herbs before the cold weather hits can change this. Traditional Chinese Medicine theory claims that colds and flu happen when our protective surface energy is weak, allowing pathogens (bacteria and viruses) to enter our body.
A healthy balanced body has a strong and effective immune system. If you’ve had long term stress, recurring infections, excessive use of medications like antibiotics or chemotherapy, surgical operations or traumatic life events, your immune system may already be very low. All the things that leave us feeling run down, tired lethargic or depressed will lower immunity and compromise how our bodies respond to pathogens. The time to boost your immune system is now, before the cold winter months arrive. Continue reading
This is the first in a series of monthly videos that will teach you acupressure points that you can do at home. In this video I talk about one of the most widely used points for boosting the immune system.
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
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.
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
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.