This article uncovers one of the ways in which acupuncture helps to relieve chronic pain. This is a similar finding to research which has been ongoing at the University of California Irvine for the past 10 years
I know everyone has heard this before, but it is especially important when the snow is as damp and heavy as it is right now. Bending at the waist and using your back to bear the weight of each shovel full can cause severe spinal inflammation. Another safe physical technique is to make sure you don’t “reach” with your shovel. Use compact strokes as close to your body as possible while bending your knees and using your legs to lift and turn to remove the snow. Take frequent breaks every 10 minutes or so and make sure to drink plenty of water. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you’re not sweating, you are actually sweating more! Dehydration increases muscle tension and inflammation while also reducing your muscular endurance.
Take a few minutes to stretch while you take a break and it will go a long way to prevent soreness later. If you feel that you have injured a muscle or joint while shoveling, use ice and ibuprofin until you can seek medical attention. Of course, your friendly acupuncturists and massage therapist at Integrative Health Centers are here for you if you need us!
I will be adding all day Friday to my schedule starting the week of January 31st, so come on in and get some acupuncture! It’s that time of year when the cold Baltimore weather and snow removal starts to make the body ache. I’ve already got the heat lamps warming up…
I’ll be trying to post more frequently this year as part of my new year’s resolution for the practice. Any topics people might be interested in or questions you want answered are welcome. In the meantime, take it easy and breathe.
Check out the link on our front page or the newsletter you should have received recently for $25 off any of our services at any location. If you use it for massage it has to be at least 60 minutes or more.
Come on in for a seasonal tune-up to help prepare for cold and flu season.
Dry and hot best describes our summer so far and I’m sure most of you have had enough of this recent heat wave. I doubt any of us are looking forward to the next BGE bill. I wish I could offer you some advice about how to save money on cooling this summer, but unfortunately that is not my area of expertise. I do know a few ways to help you avoid any health related conditions brought on by excessive summer heat.
Heat stroke is more common when the temperatures rise above 100 degrees and beyond drinking plenty of water, there are other ways to reduce your risk of heat stroke:
1. Much like avoiding sunburn, it is best to engage in outdoor activity between 6am and 10am or after 3pm
2. Eating watermelon can combat the effects of heatstroke. Of course the high water content helps, but there are also compounds in watermelon that help lower the body’s temperature.
3. Generally eating raw foods such as salads, lightly cooked vegetables and plenty of fresh fruit is ideal in the height of summer. These foods have a “cooling” effect on the body from a Chinese medicine perspective.
4. Eating foods high in omega 3 and 6 oils will also help protect you from sun exposure. Sunscreen is essential, but foods rich in these oils also help to improve and protect the skin.
If you feel symptoms of heat exhaustion such as dizziness, fatigue, nausea, headaches or muscle cramps, these are early signs that can lead to heat stroke. Get yourself indoors and immediately begin to cool your core body temperature. Drink plenty of cold water. Apply cold compresses to your neck and forehead. If your symptoms persist it is advisable to take a cold bath. if any of these symptoms are severe and your body temperature rises above 101-102 degrees I would head to an ER immediately.
Huang qi is a major Chinese herb to strengthen the essential qi of the body. It “lifts” the qi, for sensations of dragging downward, prolapse and uncontrolled bleeding. In modern times it has been used in cancer patients to counter the fatigue from chemotherapy. The word “huang” in Chinese means “yellow”, and yellow is the color associated with the Spleen energy. When our Spleen energy is low we feel tired as our qi literally drops, causes heaviness, prolapse and bleeding. As mentioned in an earlier blog, the property of herbs changes when prepared in different ways. When this herb is not cooked or baked with other herbs, in it’s “unprepared” form, it travels to the exterior portions of the body and can stop sweating, eliminate collection of fluid, and bring sores and boils to a head to eliminate pus.
Stress manifests on many levels, including at the most immediately visible part of us – our skin. Skin gets it’s body and texture from fibers called collagen and elastin. These fibers are generated more slowly as we age, thus the wrinkles we all get as the years go by (and as we hopefully gain wisdom and experience as a consolation prize). When we experience stress our adrenal glands release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol shuts down less immediately urgent body processes as our body prepares for “fight or flight”. One of these “unnecessary” processes is the manufacturing of collagen. Thus when we are under ongoing stress over long periods of time our skin loses collagen. So in addition to the natural slowing down of collagen manufacturing as we age, stress slows this process down even more, in effect aging us even faster. We’ve probably all known or seen people who have undergone difficult problems, traumas, death of a spouse, or any prolonged stress, and who then seem to age drastically.
Of course we can’t always control what life brings us. But to a great extent we can control certain other aspects of our lives to alleviate the impact of stress. Adequate sleep and regular exercise are crucial to combat the effects of stress. Various breathing techniques are immensely powerful as well. Acupuncture has a profoundly beneficial effect on the nervous system. This is why all acupuncture protocols to improve the skin include not just local points for the various wrinkels and sags, but also systemic points to regulate the nervous system and thus help cortisol levels come back to normal. A face lift is fine as far as it goes, but in Chinese medicine we aim deeper. The healthy glow that comes from a deeper level of healing cannot be obtained from a mechanical stretching of skin over bone. The free circulation of qi and blood gives the face true radiance.
Australian researchers tracked 8,800 men and women for six years and found that for every hour of daily TV viewing, risk of dying from cardiovascular disease increased by 18%. People who watched more than four hours of TV daily were 80% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those who watched less than two hours.
Humans evolved to move. Our ancestors had to run down and kill lunch, and even berries and roots had to be foraged. Prolonged sitting slows down the central nervous system, increases fatigue, weakens muscles and stiffens joints, and reduces enzymes in the capillaries that burn fat. Taking an occasional aerobics class and then sitting the rest of the week does not reduce the harmful effects of sitting. Activity needs to be increased daily, and throughout each day. Even just standing while performing certain tasks is helpful. We burn five calories an hour sitting, and fifteen calories while standing. In other words, we need to increase our activity even while not exercising. Get up during the commercials, park further from the mall, take the stairs rather than the elevator, and even look into a “standing desk” if feasible at the work place.
From a Chinese medicine point of view, qi needs to move. Lack of movement leads to stagnation of qi, and negative consequences to our health will follow.
Recent studies have shown the benefits of Maca Root for issues with fertility in both males and females. This root, which is derived from the radish family, comes from Peru and has been touted for its use in helping couples conceive. It is considered an adaptogen whereas it works on the endocrine system by bringing the body back to a state of homeostasis. Some foods like soy products contain specific hormones such as estrogen that could further imbalance the body if estrogen levels are too high (or balanced but progesterone levels too low). An adaptogenic works with the body and brings it back into balance. Maca root has also been known to increase energy, build weakened immune systems, and regulate hormonal imbalances. Paired with acupuncture and Chinese herbs, the Maca Root is a great adjunct to Traditional Chinese Medicine for fertility. See the link below for more information: