Ancient advice for health during Winter says “Desires and mental activity should be kept quiet and subdued, as if keeping a happy secret. Stay warm, avoid the cold, and keep the skin covered.” With the cold weather, hibernation of animals, decrease in plant life, and few daylight hours, winter was the toughest season to maintain health in the ancient world.
Even though the #1 New Year Resolution is weight loss, the winter months really aren’t ideal to try and lose weight. Why? Because human health has long been considered to be closely tied to nature. As organic creatures, it stands to reason that we humans are affected, directly and indirectly, by the natural environment including weather, climate, or duration of daylight.
These factors, particularly less daylight and our natural instinct to hibernate, make losing weight more difficult and frustrating which leads us to give up on that goal altogether. Less sunlight means we aren’t getting as much vitamin D. It appears that lack of vitamin D reduces fat breakdown and triggers fat storage—so calories you consume are stored in fat cells rather than being used for energy. A second factor is an increase in melatonin, the hormone that signals your body that it is time to sleep, and is triggered by darkness. Since winter means less hours of daylight, melatonin levels tend to increase and increased melatonin is associated with increased appetite. It can feel like a losing battle. Continue reading
Whether it’s Grandma Jones who has arthritis, or your sister who is always stressed out, we’ve got just what you need to give them a gift of wellness. Tis the Season for Giving!
The Weight Loss Gift Basket includes Microgard +, a wonderful herbal formula that not only helps with digestive problems, but regulates the gut microbiota, stimulates an increase in digestive enzymes and helps break down proteins, fats and sugars, affecting the whole metabolism and helping to reduce body weight. I’m combining that with Sweet Change to help get that sweet tooth under control. It’s a mouth spray that eliminates sugar and food cravings and supports healthy blood sugar levels. Additionally my Tibetan Herbal Footsoaks will increase your blood circulation as if you have been exercising, will reduce pain and give you more energy. This combo will give you a great start toward meeting your body weight goals in the New Year.
For those who need to reduce stress and improve sleep, I’m offering a Stress Relief Gift Basket that includes my Stress Free Tea, an herbal formula in tea form that calms irritability and moodiness, and regulates sleep, and Rescue Formula, a formula that settles the mind, and eases depression, anxiety, insomnia and that feeling of being “out of sorts”. I’m also including an Organic Neck Wrap that can be heated in the microwave or crock pot and placed around the neck and shoulders to relax the tension than many of us carry in that area. Continue reading
Did you know that nearly 80% of New Year’s resolutions have been abandoned by February? December is the perfect time to reflect on the goals you set in 2018 and think about where you’d like to see yourself in 2019.
Whether you have some health condition that you want to resolve, or if you simply want to remain well, here are three healthy living resolutions to try in the new year to “take back your health”. 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 realize it’s March (or even November!) and you’re still going strong.
1. Weight Loss – This is probably the #1 New Year’s Resolution. Unless you have a critical health condition that demands you shed some pounds, a better idea may be to simply resolve to make healthier food choices. One of the key ways to do this is to surround yourself and your family with healthy options to expose them to nutritious foods. The more involved your family is in planning and cooking healthy meals, the more likely they are to eat them, so try planning a weekly family menu together. 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 Johnny’s favorite cookies, or Dad’s diet soda and opt for healthier options instead. You can make these changes incrementally so that it doesn’t feel so much like an exercise in deprivation.
If your current health situation (or someone you care about) requires shedding some pounds in the new year, then check out my Weight Loss Gift Basket that you can give to someone or to yourself. Continue reading
It seems everyone is stressed these days. It’s enough that every day life events are stressful, but when there are disturbing events happening all around us like natural disasters, politics around the elections, and hate crimes, our emotions can simply overwhelm us. And guess what, it’s November already, and for some the anticipation of stress during the holiday season can easily send us over the tipping point to a feeling of being out of control. I am seeing more and more people at the clinic for stress related concerns like anxiety, depression, insomnia, digestive issues and a number of other symptoms. You may need time out!
The sympathetic nervous system, which activates the “fight or flight” response, is there to help us defend ourselves and keep ourselves safe. However, our nervous system does not know the difference between hearing about a natural disaster or other news event in another state from one that is happening directly to us. Our nervous systems tend to react the same. And it seems like every day there is something else coming at us that triggers our fight or flight response, so we are on high alert most of the time. Our parasympathetic nervous system – the “rest and relax” part of our nervous system – doesn’t get engaged enough to balance it out. As a result, our body produces too much cortisol over a long period of time and that can cause a host of issues from digestive problems, weight gain and increased blood sugar to pain, depression, and insomnia. Some research even shows that constant stress ages us more quickly.
Acupuncture regulates the nervous system and also regulates the hormones to lessen those “fight or flight” hormones and to release the “feel good” hormones. The use of acupuncture has been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety levels and stress in individuals. Studies have found that acupuncture relieved symptoms such as migraines, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and pain resulting from post traumatic stress. The improvements due to acupuncture were also found to be very rapid, significant, and long lasting. I’ve had patients tell me they are better able to handle stressful situations after having acupuncture treatments.
Finding ways to manage stress so that you are better able to cope when something triggers your fight or flight response is key. I know it’s not always feasible to get to the clinic when this happens, so here are some ways you can manage the stress yourself. Continue reading
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.
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.
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
Our goal in Spring, as with other seasons, is to align ourselves with the movement of the prevailing season. Spring is a time of upward, expansive movement, and a time of creativity and new beginnings. According to Chinese Medicine, Spring is aligned with the Liver and Gallbladder which are responsible for the smooth flow of energy throughout the body and the storage and detoxifying of the blood. In the same way that many of us engage in spring cleaning during this time of the year, our bodies do the same thing physically and emotionally. Now is the time we see the buds on plants and trees begin to swell, ready to burst forth with strong determination of new growth and beauty. Our activities should also focus on moving forward with strong determination and creativity. If you skipped the January New Year’s resolutions, now is a great time to take those steps toward making this the best year ever. Spring is the perfect time to stop procrastinating and face the challenges that can impede our forward movement and creative nature.
Now is a good time to let go of stimulants like coffee and alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs. The movement of Spring gives us that boost naturally. Take advantage of this natural boost of energy to begin or renew your exercise program, to shake off the cobwebs and feel alive and refreshed. Movement helps to get the blood and lymph flowing and allows us to sweat out toxins that have accumulated during the dormant winter. This is spring cleaning for our body.
How do you know if you need acupuncture at this time of year? Continue reading