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!
Well, we couldn’t avoid it for long and
now COVID-19 is here, right in our county. We have our first
presumed case at Fayette Piedmont. Let’s not panic, but we can
expect it to get worse before it gets better. There are many things
we can do to protect ourselves, and we all need to be vigilant about
it. Here’s what I’m doing at the clinic, and I’m asking for your
cooperation so that we can all stay safe and well.
Firstly, if you have a fever, dry
cough, fatigue and respiratory symptoms, contact your medical
doctor, urgent care clinic or Emergency Room right away to seek
testing and treatment. I am not equipped to test or provide
comprehensive treatment for COVID-19.
If you feel ill, even if it’s just
a tickle in your throat, or a low grade fever, PLEASE DO NOT come
into the clinic until we speak. I welcome your phone call, text or
email to ask whether or not you should come in, and am happy to ship
herbal formulas to your home should you need them.
Please use the hand sanitizer on
the table when you enter the clinic I encourage you to wash your
hands or use hand sanitizer when you leave the clinic as well.
I’ll be taking extra precautions
to wipe down door knobs, bathroom fixtures, surfaces and treatment
tables frequently. And just so you know, table linens are changed
and I wash, wash, and rewash my hands between patients.
I’ll be using moxa on most
everyone. If you aren’t familiar, it’s an herb that is burned that
has properties that clear viruses and bacteria. It is also used to
boost the immune system. Not only does it help you, but it also
clears the air. Even though the clinic may smell a little smokey,
the smoke has been shown to be beneficial. I use a smoke cleaning
air filter, but the smell does tend to linger.
During this pandemic, we are asked
to limit activities and contact with others. Fortunately, with a
small clinic, I rarely have more than one person in the waiting room
at any one time, so there is minimal contact with others. However,
if you are uncomfortable coming in at any time, please give me as
much notice as you can and I’ll reschedule your appointment for
The Role of Chinese Medicine in this Pandemic
Back in February, the Chinese
government declared that Traditional Chinese (herbal) Medicine should
be used in conjunction with western interventions in the treatment of
COVID-19. Through my contacts here and in China, I’ve been getting
reports about those efforts and am relieved to report that the
patients who are getting incorporated TCM treatments are recovering,
even from the most dire circumstances.
With all of the scare about the coronavirus, you may be asking yourself what you can do to keep from catching it or any other flu-like virus this year. Chinese medicine is being used along side western medicine in China to combat it, and I’ve been keeping up to date on the formulas being used. Rest assured, I have both preventative formulas and formulas to treat these viruses in stock. Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself.
Let’s talk about prevention first as that’s the easiest way to keep from getting sick.
Wash your hands frequently. This is by far the best way to prevent the spread of sickness. You need to wash with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds. That’s the amount of time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice, or Twinkle, twinkle little star.
Clean your environment regularly – We know that most respiratory viruses are spread by droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs. The virus can live on surfaces for a period of hours to days. Door knobs, sink and toilet handles, kids toys, etc. are all breeding grounds that need to be disinfected, especially if someone in your home is or has been sick. I also burn moxa or sage to help fumigate a sick room (also great for an immune system boost).
Keep your hands away from your face. For some of us this is hard. A simple itch of the nose and the hand goes up instinctively. But this is exactly how germs get into your body. Eyes, nose, mouth and ears are all places where viruses can enter.
When traveling via plane or public transportation, wipe down surfaces with anti-bacterial wipes. Arm rests, seat back tray tables and the video screen – anything you might touch are all candidates for disinfecting. You may even want to take a mask in case your seat mate is coughing or sneezing. You may want to wipe down your hotel room when you arrive as well.
Stay away. It goes without saying that you’ll be better off if you stay away from sick people. But sometimes that’s difficult when you have a sick child or relative who requires your care. Double up on all of the precautions above, keep that person in a designated sick room, and keep everyone else away. If there’s lots of sneezing and coughing, consider wearing a mask. And by all means if you are the one who is sick, stay away from others. They will appreciate that you aren’t sharing the bug with them.
Stay warm. The weather can be really fickle this time of year. One day it’s cold and rainy, and then the next day is 70 degrees. Make sure to dress appropriately especially on cold, windy days. In Chinese Medicine we say that all pathogens come on the wind, so protect your head and neck and keep warm by wearing a scarf or hoodie.
First let me say thank you to all of my patients and colleagues in the healthcare business for making 2019 a great year. I treated more patients than ever before and as always learn so much from talking with my patients and seeing their healing happen.
If you’ve ever seen the Chinese Astrology charts (like on a Chinese Restaurant placemat), you might observe that this is the Year of the Rat, more specifically, the Metal Rat. Learn more about the Chinese Astrology forecast here. But the New Year, in Chinese culture, doesn’t start until later this month on January 25. Why? Because Chinese New Year is really the celebration of the beginning of Spring.
For most of us we consider January mid-winter. It’s cold, and usually rainy here in our area. In the US, we typically say spring officially begins on March 21st, the spring equinox. However the Chinese feel that, energetically, spring begins when the light begins its return, the days start getting longer, and the dormant forces under the frozen ground begin to come to life again. It signifies new beginnings and a fresh start. Continue reading →
Where do you want to see yourself in 2020? While you are taking some downtime during the holidays, it’s the perfect time to reflect on your accomplishments for this year, and think about your 2020 New Year’s goals. The key is to be realistic, so you don’t give up like mostpeople after just a couple of months (80% of New Year’s resolutions are dropped by February)!
Perhaps you’d like to see yourself in better health, or maybe you want to simply stay well. The key is to set goals that are small enough to be doable, but big enough to still give you that feeling of satisfaction when you are still going strong well into the year.
Here are my top three healthy living resolutions for the new year to “take back your health”.
1. Weight Loss – Usually on everyone’s list after the holiday season, I recommend that you simply resolve to make better food choices. When shopping, stick to the outside aisles at the grocery store where you find fresh fruits and veggies, and stay out of the center aisles where all of the processed foods live. Try to resist the temptation to buy your kids favorite cookies, or Dad’s diet soda and opt for healthier options instead. Consider involving your family in planning and cooking healthy meals. When you plan and cook together, the more likely your family members will be to eat well. Maybe you need a little help? Here is a new cookbook that I’ve been testing with my “Food As Medicine Cooking Workshops”. I’ve got copies at my clinic that will make a perfect gift. Continue reading →
What better way to show your love and appreciation than with the gift of health. Just in time for Holiday Giving, you can now purchase gift cards online for your friends and family. I’m offering several options for new patients:
Consultation only – $59, For new patients, this can be used to discuss how Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Nutrition Therapy and/or Movement may be able to help meet your wellness goals. This amount can be applied to a Full New Patient Appointment.
Full New Patient Appointment – $130, for new patients, this includes a consultation and Acupuncture Treatment or Basic Nutrition Plan customized for the patient.
A 6 Treatment Package(includes initial New Patient appointment + 5 additional treatments). $550
Existing patients – check your latest newsletter from me for some special deals!
Many people look forward to the holiday season and the start of a new year. It often provides an opportunity to spend quality time with family, take a few days off from work, or go on a winter vacation. But if the thought of holiday season gives you visions of stress and chaos, you are not alone. While the holiday season can be a fun and joyous time, it can also be very stressful. The combined effort of shopping, attending social events, and entertaining guests can quickly become too much to handle.
The body’s reaction to stress is meant to protect us. Our natural reactions to danger or challenge can be positive, but when we feel intense pressure or feel out of control these reactions become negative stress. The “fight or flight” response from the sympathetic nervous system occurs as we react to physical and mental changes in our equilibrium. In Chinese medicine, excessive emotional stimulation or suppression causes imbalance, thereby injuring the body and producing disease. And if you read last month’s newsletter, you know that stress is one of the things that will lower your immune system.
Here are several ways to minimize stress and anxiety so you can thoroughly enjoy this festive time of year and stay well at the same time.
Nix the Sugar
Some call this the “sugar season” which officially begins the day after Halloween and goes through New Years with many occasions to indulge in desserts, festive beverages and the like. If you want to reduce stress, sugar is one of the first things to cut out of your diet. When you’re stressed, your body releases more cortisol, a hormone responsible for helping us manage both stress and blood sugar levels. That’s because when you eat sugary foods, blood sugar levels spike, and the body must release more cortisol to balance blood sugar. The problem is that increased cortisol can also cause sleep issues, decreased immune response, headaches, and unhealthy food cravings. Additionally, rapidly fluctuating blood sugar levels cause feelings that are similar to stress, including anxiousness and fear. By eliminating foods with added sugars—like pastries, flavored yogurt, and soda—and eating more whole foods, you’ll keep your blood sugar stable, boost your immune system and will have fewer mood swings, reduced stress, and a happier body Continue reading →
You asked and I’m delivering! Many of my patients ask “what should I be eating?” While this can be very individual based on what’s happening with your body, there are some general guidelines that Chinese Medicine adheres to. One of which is using food as medicine and eating with the season. In this 2 hour workshop, I’ll be showing you how to prepare some delicious dishes that will help boost your immune system so you can stay healthy this Fall and Winter. And you’ll get to enjoy them too. Please join me Thursday, November 14 at 11:30 am! Seating will be limited due to the nature of the class, so please register early to save your seat.
Even though it’s still hot as Hades outside, we are fast approaching the change of the seasons – summer into fall – one of most susceptible times of the year for catching colds and flu. The weather should be cooling soon (fingers crossed!), school has started, and activities pick up so most likely there’s more stress. And since it’s still so hot, you may be tempted to continue to dress lightly and eat cooling foods. Kids are bringing colds or flu home from school so it spreads through the family and co-workers sharing it at the office. It’s no wonder many of us are sick during this time of year.
Autumn is the season associated with the Lung and its partner, the Large Intestine. If you tend to catch colds or have allergies in the Fall, it’s important to take care of these organs! Together the lung and large intestines are related to immunity through the strength of the protective external layer of our skin. Generally, outside pathogens most easily enter through the respiratory and digestive systems, and the lung and colon are responsible for maintaining the function of these systems so that they are not penetrated by outside pathogens. According to Chinese medicine, the body’s defensive energy is directly dependent on the strength of the lung and colon.
So how do you stay well through this vulnerable time? How do you prevent catching a cold or flu and keep your family will, too? The good news – there are many alternatives to support health through this change of seasons. But you need to get on it! NOW is the time to prepare.
Change your Diet
First of all, change your diet no to reflect the season to come. Cooler weather means ingesting warmer food and drinks. Here’s what to eat:
Switch from salads to soups.
Eat cooked rather than raw fruit – consider crisps, cobblers or pies.
Use lots of spices such as ginger, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, and fennel.
The Fall is prime time for allergies. Whether it’s the beautiful golden rod that we see all around us now that makes you sneeze, watery eyes after you’ve just mowed the grass or hives from your favorite pet’s dander, I can help. I’ve recently gotten some advanced training in treating allergies that is one of the most effective techniques I’ve experienced. This technique called the Solomon Auricular Allergy Treatment (SAAT) makes use of one needle in the ear that is left in place for three weeks. No kidding. One needle.
We do some testing to understand exactly what you are allergic to and then place a very small needle in the ear for each substance that you are allergic to. That’s it. It doesn’t hurt, and you don’t feel it in your ear, even if you sleep on your side. If you have multiple allergies, I can treat about 3 at the time, so will ask you to think about what is affecting you most, and we’ll start there.
Dr. Solomon, who is the originator of this technique, has even treated the Alpha Gal meat allergy successfully with this technique. This is an allergy that is very prevalent in our area and is the result of a bite from the Lone Star tick. In fact I have this allergy and have a needle in my ear now to treat it.