Well, we’ve made it through the first week of “Social Distancing” and sadly my first week of the clinic being closed. I really miss you all! Unfortunately, this is going to be around for a bit longer, so I’m closing again this coming week and expect to be closed at least until April.
I am available for phone calls and can provide herbal formulas to you by mail. Herbal formulas can be used for virus prevention, digestive problems, anxiety, or even if you do get sick and are isolated at home (most doctors and hospitals are sending people home unless they are having significant breathing issues). I’ve updated my website so you can schedule an herbal consultation if you are interested.
This last week has been surreal, but my
thinking is that this is a great time to do some self healing. There
are so many things we can be doing right now to help our bodies get
stronger so that we can fight whatever comes our way. Here are my
While we are stuck at home, there’s a
tendency to binge watch TV and Movies, or be on Facebook or Twitter,
which usually means we are sitting around like couch potatoes. You
don’t need to go out and run a marathon, but some gentle stretching
can go a long way towards easing pain, loosening tight muscles and
generally keeping your body and mind in a good place. It’s also a
good idea to sweat a little to allow your body to push out pathogens
and body toxins. You don’t need to work hard to break a sweat – a
brisk walk will do it especially now that the weather is warmer (just
beware of the pollen right now – see below).
Are you pooping regularly? If you’ve been into my clinic, you know I always ask. It’s one of the first things I look to correct if there are issues. Here’s why ….
The relationship between the lungs and
large intestines was first recorded in the Huang Di Nei Jing (aka the
Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine) and became one of the
basic theories of Chinese Medicine. The large intestine depends on
the lungs for movement via the expansion and contraction of the
diaphragm, which works like a pump to regulate abdominal pressure and
move food through the digestive tract. This stimulates the bowels
to move and eliminate waste. But, if the lungs are congested and
bronchial passages clogged, the bowels don’t work as well. The good
news is that lung issues can be helped by purging the bowels.
So, if your lungs don’t function
properly, constipation may be the result. Likewise, if you aren’t
pooping at least once daily, your lungs can’t function properly and
phlegm backs up into the lungs. With COVID-19, the lungs become
congested with jello-like phlegm that is difficult to cough out. You
can’t breathe normally and getting that diaphragmatic breathing
becomes more difficult, making it even more difficult to poop. And
guess what, if you aren’t pooping, your lungs can’t get rid of the
phlegm and infection that comes along with the disease.
Now is the time to get ahead of the
situation and get those bowels moving regularly so if you do get a
respiratory illness, your body can get rid of it more easily. If you
suffer from chronic constipation and/or are taking medications that
stop you up, then you may need to use a fiber supplement, stool
softener, or laxative to relax the intestine, get things going and
keep them going. Research has shown that relaxing the intestines can
be very helpful in treating a number of lung diseases including
asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, pleural effusion, pulmonary heart
disease, adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Acupressure is the stimulation of acupoints using the pressure of your fingers and hands. Here are four acupoints you can stimulate to strengthen your body’s immunity: Da Zhui (DU14), Feng Chi (GB20), Zhong Fu (LU1) and Zu San Li (ST36). To stimulate the point, gently press with the pad of your finger and rub the point in a clockwise direction for about 2-4 minutes (about 100-300 times). You will want to begin to feel a slight warm sensation at the point. Do this morning and evening.
Here’s how to find the points:
Da Zhui (DU14) – located on the spine at the back of the neck and in the depression of the seventh cervical spinous process. It can be found while in a seated position with the head dropped forward. The most prominent vertebrae that can be touched on the neck is the seventh cervical vertebrae, and the depression under the seventh cervical vertebrae is DU14 acupoint. This point is used to enhance the body’s ability to resist pathogens.
Feng Chi (GB20) – Feng Chi (GB20) is located at the base of the skull in a depression about an inch lateral to the spine. GB20 is an important acupoint for treating headache and fever and to expel pathogens.
Zhong Fu (LU1) – LU1 is located on the upper chest about an inch below the triangular depression at the most lateral point of the bottom of your collarbone where it meets the shoulder. LU1 is indicated for respiratory diseases such as cough, asthma and chest pain.
Zu San Li (ST36) – ST36 is located on the lower leg about 3 inches below the kneecap. ST36 is an important acupoint for preserving health and is one of the most used acupoints for boosting immunity. Here’s a video of this one I did a while back.
Lung 7 is an acupressure point you can do at home to help with most any kind of respiratory problems such as asthma, wheezing, cold, sore throat, neck stiffness (especially when related to a cold), or cough. It’s a very powerful point that is frequently used.
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 →
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).
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.