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Acupuncture in Boulder, Louisville, Broomfield, and Superior Colorado

Acupuncture in Boulder with Jack Schaefer MAcOM providing alternative medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine to the Boulder, Louisville, Superior Colorado areas.

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Travels in China part 2

I just wanted to share a little more of my study trip to China with you all. This trip actually marks the 11th or 12th time I have been to China to further my studies. It has been a huge investment in time and money, but worth all of it. In the end it has helped me as a practitioner immensely. Hopefully the skills that I am learning on this trip will benefit all that come to our office.

I am currently in Beijing, where I have spent the most time in China until these last two trips. I am here to visit a few old friends and teachers and tie up some loose ends.

A good friend and I are planning on bringing a group of people to China in 2018 on a study trip. It will be open to the public. The focus will be on traveling to Daoist temples and learning about traditional Chinese culture, Daoism, meditation, tea, and a whole lot more. If you are interested in this let me know so that I can make sure you get the info as it comes together.

See you back in the states in a few days!

Travels in China

I just wanted to share a China update with you all. I arrived a few days ago and took a connecting flight to Wenzhou. It is a beautiful area on the coast pretty far south and not too far from Taiwan.

After getting here we got reacquainted with the temple that we stayed in last year and Huang Shifu the teacher we are working with. He is a unique Daoist Abbot who lived in a cave on a mountain for a few years meditating.

From him we are learning a lot, but the crown jewel is an old handwritten herbal manual that he got from his teacher. We are currently translating it in the hopes of sharing it with the west.

I will keep you abreast on what is happening here.

Patient Self Care Resources

Information to help you take care of yourself without drugs or surgeries.

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Boulder Acupuncture Clinic

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Mountain West Wellness Health Online Store

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Jack Schaefer, founder of Mountain West Wellness, is commited to helping you achieve optimal health.

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Are Your Eyes Red and Inflamed?

In the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver energy flows upward into the eyes. When this energy is flowing smoothly and working as it should, your vision is clear and sharp, you have efficient night vision and the eyes are bright and well-lubricated.

When out of balance, the liver can generate heat that rises upward. This heat can manifest in dry eyes, itchy eyes or eyes that are red and irritated. Think about how red one’s eyes can get after a night of drinking. Alcohol adds heat to the liver, which in turn rises upward and creates hot, red eyes. The facial flushing you see after a night of imbibing is also indicative of this heat.

When the liver blood is deficient, you will see symptoms of dryness throughout the body, particularly in the eyes. Dry, scratchy eyes are a sign of liver blood deficiency, and floaters (those little black spots that can appear in the periphery of your vision) are also indicative of this deficiency.

When liver blood deficiency becomes more pronounced, patients can develop something we acupuncturists refer to as “Internal Wind.” Wind manifests as symptoms of shaking, tics, tremors or issues such as rashes that move around from place to place within the body. You know that annoying eye twitch you get that you are convinced the world can see, even though everyone tells you they don’t notice it? Those tics are a sign the body is deficient in energy, and wind has developed to shake things up. Internal wind can also show up as issues that itch, such as dry, itchy eyes.

The kidney plays a role in keeping the body well-oiled and lubricated. If the kidney yin is lacking, you might experience dry, creaky joints, dry skin and eyes.

Fermented Foods and Intestinal Health part 2

continued from last post...

The gastrointestinal tract acts as a “second brain.” It has the ability to constantly transform us. The Human Microbiome Project is an ongoing study confirming microscopic bacterial colonies in our digestive tract have very important jobs to do. The bacterial colonies help keep us healthy both physically and mentally. But because of human intervention, these bacterial colonies in our guts are becoming sick, depleted and are dying.

To rejuvenate these gastrointestinal bacterial colonies, many people are turning to TCM for help. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas are great methods of reviving our gastrointestinal Qi. The stomach and spleen are the two main pathways TCM practitioners focus on when treating somebody who exhibits digestive Qi deficiencies. TCM can help to repair the Qi of the spleen and stomach meridians. But TCM can’t do it alone.

This is where fermented foods come into play. Fermented foods have been around for centuries as well. Fermentation is one of the oldest attempts to preserve food. But in today’s world, fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kimchi and yogurt are being utilized to help restore the healthy bacterial colonies found within the gastrointestinal tract. In fermentation, bacteria or yeast feed on natural sugars found in foods. This makes certain foods easier for the gut to digest and allows for the nutrients to be absorbed during digestion. People who do not ingest fermented foods can actually develop immune deficiencies which can lead to serious illness and disease. For instance, sauerkraut, which is fermented cabbage, actually has anti-carcinogenic components that can help prevent cancer. Yogurt can help prevent colorectal cancer, breast cancer and yeast infections. Kimchi has been shown to help improve symptoms of asthma and other allergic reactions, while also lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels.

Incorporating fermented foods into the daily diet and getting regular acupuncture treatments that help balance out the body’s Qi, can lead to a very healthy gastrointestinal tract. And when the gut is happy, the body is happy.

Fermented Foods and Intestinal Health part 1

The modern world is changing every single day. Because of this constant state of change, our bodies are frequently having to adjust. We have a food supply being degraded and depleted of nutritional content, which in turn, causes our bodies to become depleted. Our soil and water is contaminated with antibiotics and deadly fertilizers. All of which become part of the food chain we rely upon. Because of this, antibiotics are failing and superbugs like MRSA are on the rise. Lack of nutrition and the overuse of antibiotics are just a couple of the things wreaking havoc on our intestinal health. But there are ways to combat this and keep the gut healthy. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been around for thousands of years and the approach of this medical system is to treat the patient holistically. TCM has been shown to be effective at treating a wide variety of ailments, including digestive issues. Part of this is because TCM focuses heavily on diet and nutrition.

Qi is equated with energy and every organ, pathway and cell in the human body is composed of energy. For the body to function properly, Qi needs to be sufficient at all times. One of the best ways to maintain sufficient Qi is through our daily diet. Science is proving what TCM practitioners have known for centuries, our digestive health is vital for the cells of the body to function optimally.

part 2 continued

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Anodyne Infrared Light Therapy

Anodyne Infrared light therapy is a useful adjunct therapy

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Fighting Flu Season With Chinese Medicine

While the flu is actually not a season, we have become programmed to think of it as the months of November through March. On average, the flu hospitalizes thousands every year, especially the young and elderly. There are also a number of deaths related to the flu, mostly due to people already having compromised immune systems.

The flu, also known as influenza, is a highly contagious respiratory infection that is caused by a number of viruses. To date, there are approximately 26 to 30 different known strains of the flu virus. This is one of the reasons the flu vaccine has only mild efficacy. The flu vaccine itself, typically only covers five to seven strains of the flu.  Symptoms of the flu include fever, coughing, a sore throat, fatigue, muscle aches, pains, runny nose and watery eyes.

The good news is we can avoid the flu by implementing healthy habits and taking care of ourselves throughout the year. The best way to treat a disease is to avoid it.  Traditional Chinese Medicine is a great tool to have in the toolbox for preventing the flu.  Utilizing botanical Chinese formulas and acupuncture treatments can be very beneficial in keeping the flu at bay.

Regular acupuncture treatments help boost immunity, while balancing and regulating the body’s energy. Studies have shown acupuncture can reduce the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections and shorten the length of time that somebody is ill.

TCM herbs are also a great way to ward off the flu. Two herbs in particular are specified for strengthening Qi and boosting the immune system. The first is huang qi and the other is dang shen. There are a couple of other herbs commonly used as antivirals too. These are banlangen and daqingye.

Along with TCM, there are other things we can utilize to avoid catching the flu. Regular exercise, ample sleep and a proper healthy diet are two of the best things anybody can use to stay disease-free. Exercising enough to break a sweat without overdoing it has been shown to reduce the incidence of the flu. So incorporating practices like tai chi, qi gong and yoga can actually reduce physical and emotional stress, while strengthening the immune system and preventing disease.

Eating a healthy diet is essential for preventing any disease, not just the flu. This includes eating a very balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Foods that contain beta-carotene are especially helpful at boosting the immune system.  Carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes and garlic are good examples of beta-carotene rich foods. Also drinking at least 64 ounces of water on a daily basis is highly recommended.  Ample fluid intake helps the body flush out invaders and toxins, while keeping the mucus membranes and upper respiratory tract healthy enough to fight off the virus.

Taking advantage of what TCM can offer, while incorporating healthy daily habits will insure this upcoming flu season passes by without wreaking havoc on any of us.

Winter and Your Kidney Health Part 2

There are two types of essence:  

1.Pre-natal is from your parents and can be likened to one’s basic constitution and DNA.  

2. Post-natal is what is transformed from the food you eat and lifestyle.  

The second you have more control over health-wise. Ideally, there is a nice balance of kidney yin and yang energies, but if there is yin deficiency, there will be symptoms such as heat, sweating, dryness, irritability, insomnia and low back pain. If there is yang deficiency there are more cold signs such as cold extremities, cold and painful lower back, increased urinary frequency, fatigue, premature greying, water retention and low libido. There can also be an emotional component manifesting as increased phobias and anxieties. Many of the above mentioned symptoms can be tied to the thyroid and adrenal fatigue in Western medicine. 

How to care for your kidney this winter: 

Keep warm: The kidneys are affected by exposure to cold. Try a nice scarf to protect your neck from the elements, and keep your feet and low back warm in those frosty winter months. Moxibustion, which is heated mugwort, is a wonderful supplement to acupuncture that warms particular acupuncture points on the body. 

Eat warm: Foods that are beneficial to the kidneys (in moderation) tend to be dark in color such as black beans, sesame seeds, seaweed, kelp, lamb and beef. Other beneficial warming foods include ginger, cinnamon, miso soup, soybeans, walnuts, chives and Goji berries. It’s best to see your acupuncturist or other health care professional to get an idea of foods that are good for your particular constitution, as some of these foods can be harmful if taken in large amounts (kelp and seaweed, in particular). It’s also best to not eat too many cold, raw vegetables or cold smoothies. Also try to ingest food and drink at room temperature. There are wonderful herbal formulas to assist the kidneys that your acupuncturist can include in your treatment plan. 

   Light exercise: Light exercise such as tai qi, qi gong or walking has wonderful health and anti-aging benefits and won’t cause exhaustion. 

Avoid overwork, overexertion, high stress: Overdoing it depletes your kidney energy, and you might experience ill effects of burnout that are usually associated with adrenal fatigue. Ancient Chinese medical texts also recommend curbing excessive sexual activity to keep kidney energy strong and vibrant and to increase longevity.

Winter and Your Kidney Health Part 1

The organs in Chinese medicine are more than just a physical representation. The organs include not only their physiological function, but also mental, emotional, spiritual and elemental qualities that align with nature and the seasons. Let’s explore the kidneys.

The kidney element in Chinese medicine governs water and is associated with the season of winter, where the energies are turning from the hotter yang months to the more yin of winter. Each organ has an element associated with it: liver and wood, stomach and earth, kidney and water, for example. There is also an emotion, a color and flavor associated with the organ system. For the kidneys, the emotion is fear, the color is dark or black and the flavor is salty. It also opens to the ear, has the direction of north and is paired with the bladder. The kidney element houses willpower and manifests in the teeth and luster of the hair.

The kidneys are the body’s root and contain both yin and yang energies. Yin is associated with what is dark, still, cold, feminine and is inward. Yang is more outward, hot, bright, moving and masculine. The kidneys control reproduction, growth and development and are associated with bones and marrow. The kidneys are said to store jing, which is likened to essence, what you’re born with and what’s inherited from your parents.

See the rest in part 2...

5 Ways to Help Alleviate Insomnia (Part 1)

Insomnia is a phenomenon almost everybody experiences at some point in their life. And most of us don’t know how or why it happens.  Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling asleep, despite being tired. Combatting insomnia may be easier than you think. Here are five simple ways to fall asleep faster and stay asleep all night.

1. Turn off your phone
In today’s society, we are almost surgically attached to our phones, iPads, laptops, etc. And while the devices keep us informed and connected, they are also harm us when it comes to our sleep.  Smartphones and other gadgets emit blue wavelengths. These wavelengths suppress the production of melatonin in our bodies. Melatonin is a natural hormone that makes you feel sleepy. Also, the light given off by your devices can actually stimulate the mind, thus causing poor sleep. So as hard as it may be, buy a regular alarm clock and turn off the phone.
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2. Keep a sleep schedule
Sleep is just as important to proper health as eating healthy-wholesome foods. In other words, make sleep a priority. You don’t have to give up dinner with friends or that periodic concert, but staying out late every single night will eventually take its toll. Make a sleep schedule and do your best to stick to it.  Lack of sleep has been proven to increase blood pressure, depression, weight gain and stress. Why do this to yourself when you don’t have to? Once you set your sleep schedule, your body will react favorably.

3. Meditation
How many of us groan when we hear the word “meditation”? Meditation really isn’t difficult but people constantly tell themselves it can’t be done because they can’t shut off their minds. But what most people don’t realize is the goal of meditation is not turning off your mind or your thoughts. Meditation helps you cope better while telling your sympathetic nervous system to relax. When the thoughts come in, you should acknowledge them but do not dwell on them. That’s what meditation helps you do. And there are many different types of meditation. For beginners, guided meditation tends to work best because you are listening to somebody guide you through the journey. Why not give it a try?

See Part 2 for the rest...

Why Am I So Tired (Part 2)

In part 1 we describe a few common reasons for fatigue. In Part two we discuss one more insidious cause...

You are damp.Dampness is a concept somewhat unique to Chinese Medicine – it refers to an abnormal processing of fluids in the body. Dampness can “lodge” itself in many different areas, and as such, can lead to numerous symptoms. When dampness is pervasive throughout the whole body, usually one experiences a kind of constant fatigue – this can be both physical and mental. Patients who are tired from dampness describe feeling “sluggish,” “heavy,” or “fuzzy.” This kind of fatigue is greatly improved by making dietary changes, such as reducing the intake of dairy, cold temperature or raw foods, and greasy or fried foods. Dampness is also helped by regular exercise – which helps to break through that sluggishness, and also trying to remove yourself from damp environments.

In all of these situations, acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine can be a huge help. Acupuncture and herbs focus on creating balance in the body to restore energy and vitality, rather than giving you false energy like coffee or an energy drink. You don’t deserve to be tired all the time - the combination of diet, lifestyle changes, and Chinese Medicine can get you back on the road to health, vitality, and feeling great!

Why Am I So Tired? (Part 1)

A very common complaint that acupuncturists hear from our patients is that they constantly feel tired. Sometimes this fatigue is related to lack of sleep, but sometimes no amount of rest seems to alleviate the sleepiness.

From an acupuncture and Chinese Medicine perspective, there are numerous imbalances in our bodies that can cause the constant fatigue. Here are some of the most common imbalances that can lead to fatigue, lethargy, lack of energy and motivation, and tiredness.

Your energy is weakened or strugglingSimply put, when systems in our body are compromised (through illness, heredity, stress, or lifestyle choices), they can’t produce the abundance of good, positive energy our body (and mind) needs to function. Many different systems in our body can produce a feeling of fatigue when they are weakened. When the Qi or our Spleen and Lungs is compromised, we often feel like we don’t have enough energy to get through the day. This sort of fatigue often improves with good sleep, hygiene and a healthy diet. When our Liver Blood energy is weakened (through overwork, poor sleep, poor diet, illness, or excessive bleeding), the fatigue we experience is hard to shake. We may feel restless, and have a hard time falling asleep even though we are tired. This type of fatigue is improved by eating more dark leafy greens and more organ meats, to nourish the blood energy. A deficiency of either Kidney yin or Kidney yang – our two most fundamental energies – can also result in fatigue. This kind of fatigue manifests as true exhaustion. It is very important to give yourself ample time to rest, to recover from this type of tiredness. Dietary changes, as well as herbal medicine, can also be very helpful.

Your energy is stuck.Fatigue does not always stem from a weakness in your body’s energy. Sometimes fatigue comes from energy not moving properly. Health, in Chinese Medicine, is all about the smooth flow of energy through the body. When something alters that smooth slow – illness, injury, trauma, stress, poor lifestyle choices, etc – fatigue can be a result.
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When your body’s energy is not flowing the way it should be, your body actually has to exert a lot more energy to keep you running well. The kind of fatigue that comes from Qi Stagnation (energy not flowing well) can present as a fatigue that is actually better with exercise or movement. It is the kind of fatigue that makes it really hard to get to the gym, but completely disappears once you complete your work-out. Qi stagnation fatigue can make us feel “tired but wired,” and can also be closely related to feeling overwhelmed or run down by stress.

This sort of fatigue is helped by exercise, movement, and stress-reduction techniques.

See the rest in Part 2...

Chinese medicine diet for spring

Eating with the spring season can help you maintain a more vibrant body.

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Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Related Articles

This page contains many of our articles about acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine

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Chinese Medicine Diet for Autumn in Boulder

Eating with the seasons can help you maintain a more vibrant body.

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5 Ways to Alleviate Insomnia (Part 2)

In the last post we talked about the first tips for improving sleep. Following are two more great tips.

4.  Bedtime Yoga
Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that combines physical exercise, mental clarity and spiritual beliefs all rolled into one discipline. Bedtime yoga poses are very low-key and quite simple. Utilizing yoga just before going to bed can signal to your brain that slumber time is approaching. Poses such as forward bends, happy baby pose, cross-legged bends and corpse pose all have been shown to help the body prepare for restful sleep. Also for those who are a little more skilled, inversion poses like shoulder stands can help alleviate stress and calm the mind.

5. Acupuncture
Really? Getting poked with needles will help me sleep better? The simple answer is YES!  Acupuncture works with your own body to help bring it back into balance. If you have stress, you have an imbalance.  Acupuncture needles are strategically placed on points that will calm the mind, balance hormones and settle the nervous system. Most people will notice some change after just one treatment, but to get the full effect and truly eliminate insomnia, you should commit to several treatments. And always seek out a properly trained and fully licensed acupuncturist to get the best results.

There are many other ways to fight insomnia too, but these are some of the best. Give these five methods a try and then focus on the ones that resonate with you. Over time, your body and mind will thank you and there won’t be any harsh side effects…just good sound sleep. Sweet dreams!

3 Points to Balance Your Qi This Fall

It is best to always have your energy aligned and balanced. To make sure your energy is balanced throughout this fall season here are three acupressure points you should utilize to ensure this. Acupressure is a great way to stay healthy and to balance energy, check out these points!

1. Large Intestine 4 (LI 4)
A reliever of headaches and tense muscles, LI 4 is a great point to use to balance energy. In addition to making sure you are balanced it promotes healthy bowel functionality throughout the body. LI 4, is referred to as He Gu, or the “Adjoining Valleys.” It is the point where energy cleanses the body and clears out what is no longer needed, this point clears the system and replenishes Qi. Position your left hand flat with your palm down, now squeeze your thumb and index finger together, locate a fleshy mound that appears between the two fingers and press on this point with your right thumb above and index finger below.

2. Large Intestine 11 (LI 11)
To relieve pain within your arm, shoulder or elbow use this acupressure point. LI 11 also regulates the digestive tract and the blood, in addition, this point cools heat and alleviates dampness. LI 11, the earth point of the large intestine meridian, is located at the crease of your elbow. To find this point bend your elbow in a 90-degree angle, place your thumb on the outside of the elbow crease and press.

3. Lung 2 (LU 2)
Yu Men, or the Gateway of Gathering Clouds is the gateway where we are able to receive fresh sunshine, the rain and cloudy days. This point is very useful for balancing energy when you are overwhelmed with stress, it calms the body. To find LU 2, locate the area above the collarbone where it meets the shoulder blade, at this location there should be a depression, apply pressure there to harness the balancing powers of this acupressure point.

Links to Other Great Informative Sites

Links to Other Great Informative Sites

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6 Truths About the Not-so-sweet Side of Sugar

A study published by the JAMA Internal Medicine found that more than 70 percent of Americans consume more than the recommended daily amount of sugar. Sadly, most of us are addicted to sugar, which happens to be hidden in most of the foods and drinks we consume. Added sugar can cause a whole array of problems that can be short term as well as long term. If you are experiencing health problems, lowering your sugar intake may be one of your best options. Below are 6 truths about the ugly side of sweets.

No nutrients
Refined sugar has no nutritional value and it is recommended to consume as little as possible. The first step in eliminating sugar is from drinks such as soda, juice and mixed alcoholic drinks. Because of the large amounts of sweetener in these drinks, it can make them very addictive and hard to quit drinking.

Harms your liver
Sugar can be just as damaging on your liver as alcohol and lead to fatty liver disease. When you consume too much fructose, your body becomes insulin resistant resulting in various problems that can cause disease.

Raises cholesterol
One study done in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that participants who ate the highest levels of added sugars showed the biggest increase in bad cholesterol levels and triglyceride blood fats and the lowest levels in the good cholesterol levels.

Leading cause of obesity
In America, sugar is one of the leading culprits of obesity. It is estimated that 80 percent of food products in the U.S. contain added sugar. The best way to lose weight and lower your risk of obesity is to eliminate all processed foods and drinks.

Bad for your teeth
It should be a no-brainer that sugar is bad for your teeth. You may remember growing up having the dentist tell you as a kid to eat less candy to prevent cavities. As an adult, we know it’s not only candy that will cause cavities, but sugar that is found in your favorite drinks and everyday foods as well. Best way to sustain healthy teeth and gums? Cut the processed and refined sugar.

Can lead to type 2 diabetes
When your body is consuming too much sugar, your glucose levels become too high, which can be toxic to the body. When this happens, your body has a harder time producing enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels normal. This can then lead to type 2 diabetes.

Sources:
http://bit.ly/1VXrUuThttp://bit.ly/1U6W5uRhttp://bit.ly/1Onu7xU

Ways to Help Your Memory

Don’t forget about physical exercise
Believe it or not, when you’re exercising your body, you’re exercising your mind as well. Aerobic exercise gets your blood pumping, which increases the oxygen going to your brain and lowers your risk of disorders such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease that can lead to memory loss. If you can, start with some exercise in the morning. This can clear your head right off the bat to stay focused and alert during the day. Exercises that require coordination are especially helpful for keeping the mind active such as simply throwing a ball back and forth. 


Make sure you’re sleeping
Sleep is one of the best ways to make sure your brain and memory are in tip-top shape on a daily basis. To get the most out of your sleep, aim for 7.5-9 hours every night. Make sure to shut off the electronics at least an hour before bed to help the mind shut off as well. Try to limit your caffeine and alcohol intake earlier in the day. Both can result in a shallow sleep. 


Keep your brain stimulated
Research has shown that keeping mental stimulation as we age is very important for lowering the risk of dementia. Stay social, interact with others, learn new skills, play mind-exercise games like crossword puzzles or Sudoku. Interacting with others and continuing to learn is vital for keeping the brain healthy at any age. 


Be aware of your stress
Chronic stress can not only make someone miserable, but also cause serious long term effects. Stress over time has been shown to destroy brain cells and damage the area of the brain that creates new memories and recalls past ones. To avoid memory loss, minimize your stress. Don’t take on too many tasks if they overwhelm you, sometimes it is ok to say no. Make sure you have outlets to relieve stress whether it is physical exercise or talking with someone about your frustrations.

Don’t forget about your superfoods
Certain superfoods have shown to be significant in preventing memory loss. Make sure to get your fruit and vegetable servings in, many are filled with antioxidants that help protect your brain cells. Eat more foods with omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna and foods cooked with olive oil. Green tea is another option that has powerful antioxidants to protect from brain damage.

Your memory is important at any age.
Start incorporating these healthy habits to keep a strong memory for years to come.


Sources
http://bit.ly/1SzWG6s, http://bit.ly/20BNwg4

6 Ways to Help Your Arthritis

Exercise
For those with arthritis, exercise, no matter how little you do, is one of the best natural treatments. For those with severe arthritis, even the smallest amount of walking can make a difference. Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for those with arthritis because it puts the least amount of impact on the joints. Strengthening exercises are also recommended to keep muscles and joints strong.

Acupuncture
One of the most common reasons people seek out acupuncture is for arthritis relief. Acupuncture can help relieve pain from arthritis and increase blood flow and circulation, reducing inflammation. Through the specific placement of needles on acupuncture points on the body, acupuncture realigns the body back to balance.

Capsaicin Cream
Made from the chemical that gives chili peppers their heat, Capsaicin cream has been known to relieve arthritis pain. The cream works by decreasing the body’s pain receptors and as a result, lessening the overall pain caused by arthritis. The cream can be bought without a prescription at your local drug store.

Fish Oil
Fish oil is beneficial for numerous reasons, one of them being its anti-inflammatory properties. Because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, trials have found that the oil can reduce morning stiffness and the need for pain medication for those with arthritis. Fish oil is a supplement that is safe and recommended to take every day for the most beneficial effects.

Mind-Body
Mind-body techniques like meditation, relaxation and tai chi have been seen to improve overall quality of life for those with arthritis. Tai Chi is a martial art that involves slow, easy movements along with deep breathing. This exercise can improve the body’s motion and physical fitness without being too demanding on the joints and muscles. Although meditation and relaxation do not necessarily reduce pain, they have been found to improve mood and health in arthritis patients dealing with chronic pain.

Diet
Studies have shown that some patients benefit from changes in their diet by eliminating food that may contribute to their arthritis pain. By removing allergens from the diet, overall inflammation can be reduced. Common diets that have been seen to be beneficial include a mediterranean diet rich in nuts, fish, vegetables, fruit and olive oil. Foods that are not recommended include red meat and dairy as those can cause inflammatory reactions.

Sources:http://bit.ly/1YtHTib

Tips for Better Sleep

Many of us find it hard to fall asleep at night and stay asleep, as a result we often wake up feeling groggy and not rested. Sometimes improving sleep is as simple as changing your habits during the day. Below are easy ways that can dramatically help you get a good night’s rest!

Cut yourself off in the afternoon. Believe it or not, even having caffeine at 2pm can affect your sleep. Make sure to get that last cup of coffee in beforehand and watch out for certain drinks you may forget have caffeine in them such as soda and many teas.

Try restorative yoga.
Practicing deep breathing and stretching before bed can help relax the mind and body. Try spending even just ten minutes to stretch and practice mindfulness.

Limit your screen time.
Let’s face it, we are all addicted to our phones and computers. It’s tempting to look at your phone until the moment you fall asleep. Turn off all electronics an hour before bed to help the brain get into sleep mode. The screens on your devices make it hard for the brain to relax.

Acupuncture.
If you are finding yourself struggling with insomnia you may want to consider acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture is non invasive and has been proven to reduce stress, help chronic pain and increase quality of sleep.

Aromatherapy.
Lavender has been proven to lead to a better, deeper sleep and help those with insomnia fall asleep more easily. Sniff or rub lavender oil on your wrists before bed to feel the effects.

Exercise.
Exercising regularly has many health benefits. It can also help you get a better sleep. Even just 20 minutes of some form of exercise a day can make a difference.

Cut down on the alcohol.
Although some drink a glass of wine before bed to unwind and fall asleep, you are actually more likely to get a poorer quality of sleep. If you do decide to drink, do so earlier in the night to ensure a deep sleep.

Sources:http://bit.ly/1Wc7jQe

Dry Needling and Acupuncture

A modern term for an ancient method of acupuncture.

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Tips to Improve Vision

Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that eye diseases are related to deficiencies in the liver and kidney organs and result from an imbalance in the body. There are many ways to improve eye health and prevent damage down the road. Finding the root of the problem and taking preventative measures is important when it comes to eye health. Below are simple ways for healthier vision.

Eat right.
Certain foods are great for eye health. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been known to improve eye health. Specifically, try adding in more spinach, kale or collard greens into your diet. Fish such as salmon, tuna and halibut are filled with omega-3 fatty acids, which are also great for eye health.

Give it a rest.
If you’re like most working adults and spend hours on the computer every day, make sure you’re taking breaks from screen time to reduce eye strain.  The best strategy is the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes looked 20 feet away from your computer for 20 seconds.

Protect your eyes.
Protect your eyes just like you would your skin when in the sun. Make sure to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from damaging UV rays. Make sure to find sunglasses that offer both UVA and UVB protection.

Quit smoking.
There are many health reasons to quit smoking. A lot of people aren’t aware that smoking can expose your eyes to high levels of oxidative stress, which damages blood vessels. Smoking can increase your risk for many health problems that affect the eye. Contact a doctor to discuss ways to quit.

Know your history.
Many eye problems can be genetic. See if family members have any eye conditions and make sure to get regular check ups if this is the case to help maintain healthy vision.

Take care of your contacts.
It is easy to get into bad habits when it comes to contact wearing. Make sure to replace your contacts at the recommended time. Wash your hands before touching your contacts and take them out at night to give your eyes the rest and oxygen it needs.

Acupuncture.
A number of studies found that acupuncture may have positive effects on people who suffer from chronic dry eye. One study showed that acupuncture could help reduce tear loss that those with dry eye usually experience. Common eye problems that acupuncture can treat include glaucoma, cataracts, chronic dry eyes, macular degeneration, optic neuritis, optic atrophy.

Sources:http://bit.ly/1LrUITqhttp://1.usa.gov/1R6z2k4http://bit.ly/1SvF80Ohttp://bit.ly/216XbvH

Tips to Improve Vision

Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that eye diseases are related to deficiencies in the liver and kidney organs and result from an imbalance in the body. There are many ways to improve eye health and prevent damage down the road. Finding the root of the problem and taking preventative measures is important when it comes to eye health. Below are simple ways for healthier vision.

Eat right.
Certain foods are great for eye health. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been known to improve eye health. Specifically, try adding in more spinach, kale or collard greens into your diet. Fish such as salmon, tuna and halibut are filled with omega-3 fatty acids, which are also great for eye health.

Give it a rest.
If you’re like most working adults and spend hours on the computer every day, make sure you’re taking breaks from screen time to reduce eye strain.  The best strategy is the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes looked 20 feet away from your computer for 20 seconds.

Protect your eyes.
Protect your eyes just like you would your skin when in the sun. Make sure to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from damaging UV rays. Make sure to find sunglasses that offer both UVA and UVB protection.

Quit smoking.
There are many health reasons to quit smoking. A lot of people aren’t aware that smoking can expose your eyes to high levels of oxidative stress, which damages blood vessels. Smoking can increase your risk for many health problems that affect the eye. Contact a doctor to discuss ways to quit.

Know your history.
Many eye problems can be genetic. See if family members have any eye conditions and make sure to get regular check ups if this is the case to help maintain healthy vision.

Take care of your contacts.
It is easy to get into bad habits when it comes to contact wearing. Make sure to replace your contacts at the recommended time. Wash your hands before touching your contacts and take them out at night to give your eyes the rest and oxygen it needs.

Acupuncture.
A number of studies found that acupuncture may have positive effects on people who suffer from chronic dry eye. One study showed that acupuncture could help reduce tear loss that those with dry eye usually experience. Common eye problems that acupuncture can treat include glaucoma, cataracts, chronic dry eyes, macular degeneration, optic neuritis, optic atrophy.

Sources:http://bit.ly/1LrUITqhttp://1.usa.gov/1R6z2k4http://bit.ly/1SvF80Ohttp://bit.ly/216XbvH

Tips to Improve Vision

Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that eye diseases are related to deficiencies in the liver and kidney organs and result from an imbalance in the body. There are many ways to improve eye health and prevent damage down the road. Finding the root of the problem and taking preventative measures is important when it comes to eye health. Below are simple ways for healthier vision.

Eat right.
Certain foods are great for eye health. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been known to improve eye health. Specifically, try adding in more spinach, kale or collard greens into your diet. Fish such as salmon, tuna and halibut are filled with omega-3 fatty acids, which are also great for eye health.

Give it a rest.
If you’re like most working adults and spend hours on the computer every day, make sure you’re taking breaks from screen time to reduce eye strain.  The best strategy is the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes looked 20 feet away from your computer for 20 seconds.

Protect your eyes.
Protect your eyes just like you would your skin when in the sun. Make sure to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from damaging UV rays. Make sure to find sunglasses that offer both UVA and UVB protection.

Quit smoking.
There are many health reasons to quit smoking. A lot of people aren’t aware that smoking can expose your eyes to high levels of oxidative stress, which damages blood vessels. Smoking can increase your risk for many health problems that affect the eye. Contact a doctor to discuss ways to quit.

Know your history.
Many eye problems can be genetic. See if family members have any eye conditions and make sure to get regular check ups if this is the case to help maintain healthy vision.

Take care of your contacts.
It is easy to get into bad habits when it comes to contact wearing. Make sure to replace your contacts at the recommended time. Wash your hands before touching your contacts and take them out at night to give your eyes the rest and oxygen it needs.

Acupuncture.
A number of studies found that acupuncture may have positive effects on people who suffer from chronic dry eye. One study showed that acupuncture could help reduce tear loss that those with dry eye usually experience. Common eye problems that acupuncture can treat include glaucoma, cataracts, chronic dry eyes, macular degeneration, optic neuritis, optic atrophy.

Sources:http://bit.ly/1LrUITqhttp://1.usa.gov/1R6z2k4http://bit.ly/1SvF80Ohttp://bit.ly/216XbvH

Ways to Improve Brain Health

The second week of March is Brain Awareness Week. This is a perfect time to explore ways to keep your noggin working and healthy. Below are easy, simple ways to keep your brain in good shape.

A healthy diet is a healthy mind
There are many reasons to keep a healthy lifestyle and feed your body with foods that make you feel and perform your best. Diets that are low in saturated fats and cholesterol and higher in omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to promote brain health and protect brain cells. Taking a fish oil supplement with DHA or eating fish such as salmon can help improve brain development at any age. DHA, a type of omega-3, may also help prevent certain neurological disorders. Vitamin E and lutein can also help brain health. Incorporate leafy greens such as spinach and kale into your lunch or dinners.

Keep your brain stimulated
At any age, brain exercises are a great thing to get into the habit of. Keeping your brain stimulated can help retain your memory as you get older as well as your capability to learn new skills. The brain is never done learning. Exercises like reading, crosswords, number problems and games like sudoku can help keep your brain stay active and working. If you find yourself experiencing chronic stress, practice daily meditation for as little as five minutes a day to help reduce inflammation and support immune health, which are both controlled by the same area of the brain.

Socialize
Keeping in touch with friends and family and continuously working on building relationships helps your emotional state as well as your physical health. Surround yourself with people who challenge you, understand you and keep a positive tone. Join organizations or clubs you are interested in and make new connections. Feeling connected to others is always important for your mental wellbeing.  

Quit the bad habits
If you smoke, now is never a better time to quit. Consuming an excess in substances such as alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs can lower cognitive processes and decrease overall functioning and health.

Acupuncture
In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is believed that the spleen, kidney and heart organs all impact mental capacity and brain activity. These organs influence memory, concentration and recall. When one of these organs is experiencing deficiency or an imbalance, our brain can not function to its fullest. Acupuncture addresses the organs with specific points on the body to return the body back to balance and health.

Sources: http://bit.ly/1PZsyVf

Colon Cancer and Chinese Medicine

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States with about 60,000 deaths from it every year. Like all cancer, treatment can be long, uncomfortable and come with many side effects. Those getting chemotherapy may experience nausea, vomiting, postoperative pain, cancer related pain, insomnia and anxiety. The chronic pain can significantly impact quality of life. Most patients are prescribed medications such as opioids for pain that have side effects and are highly addictive.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is believed that colon cancer comes from a number of underlying factors such as spleen yang deficiency, kidney yang deficiency, kidney yin deficiency and liver yin deficiency. Acupuncture works by addressing these deficiencies to return the body back to balance. Using specific points on the body related to these organs, acupuncture stimulates the body’s natural energy flow, Qi, and blood flow to improve organ health.

Going through chemotherapy treatment can cause severe fatigue. One study showed that acupuncture resulted in a 30 percent improvement in a baseline fatigue score.

Insomnia and anxiety are one of the most common symptoms that cancer patients experience. Acupuncture has been proven in numerous studies to be just as effective, if not more, than prescription drugs in improving sleep and decreasing stress and anxiety levels. This alternative treatment has also been shown to improve overall mood.

Acupuncture can help boost the immune system. Chemotherapy can greatly lower the body’s immune defense, leaving one in a vulnerable state due to a decrease in white-blood cell count. By increasing blood flow and stimulating Qi, acupuncture is a great way to improve immune function.

Cancer and cancer treatment is nothing to take lightly. A diagnosis can drastically change one’s life not only physically but mentally as well. If you have been diagnosed with colon cancer and/or going through chemotherapy, it is important to remember that there are alternative, safe treatments that can help make the process easier. If a loved one is going through treatment, support is the best thing you can do for them. March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and there is no better time to get tested and become educated on the facts.

Sources: http://bit.ly/1olvPDB, http://bit.ly/1Toqw3p, http://1.usa.gov/1SQPl8h

Heart Healthy Tips to Reduce Stress

In this fast-paced world we find it’s pretty hard to slow down. Everyday stressors are the norm and although some stress is good, too much can hurt the body not only mentally but physically as well. Work, family, finances and everything in between can start to take a toll on your health. Below are tips that not only help to reduce stress but are good for heart health as well.

Exercise

Not only is exercise a good way to relieve stress, but is great for strengthening the heart as well. Try getting some sort of physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day. Focus on activities that get your heart pumping. Exercise will reduce your stress and improve your overall health short term and long term.

Give yourself a break

It is easy to forget to give yourself time to relax when you’re busy taking care of others. Schedule time devoted to yourself and what relaxes and makes you happy. Go for a walk, read a book or take a bath. These activities can calm you and clear your head.

Meditate

Meditation and deep breathing has the power to slow your body and mind down. Try meditating for even just five minutes a day. Practice deep breathing to help lower your heart rate. When you’re feeling overwhelmed and handling too much, meditation is a great way to slow down.

Break your habits

Consistent stress can lead to unhealthy habits such as drinking too much alcohol and smoking. Although you may feel these substances help you cope in the moment, the long term damage far outweighs the short term benefits. Both smoking and alcohol can cause heart damage. Turn to alternatives if you’re reaching for a cigarette or a drink and reach out to family and friends to help you break the habit.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an effective alternative medicine that can help improve heart health as well as lower stress. By the specific placement of needles on acupuncture points, the treatment works to treat the entire body back to optimal health. Acupuncture can help reduce blood pressure, decrease stress and improve sleep.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is another alternative treatment that is beneficial in lowering stress. The treatment has been shown to reduce heart rate, lower blood pressure and increase blood circulation. Through manual manipulation, massage can relax not only the body but the mind as well.

Let go

It can be hard to accept that things in life don’t go exactly as planned. Practice letting go of what you can’t control and accepting that the future is unknown. It is easy to stress about the future. Remind yourself to live in the moment.

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6 Ways to Reduce Blood Pressure

Affecting one in three adults, high blood pressure is one of the most common health issues in America and most often the result of busy schedules and high-stress jobs. Sometimes it can be hard to slow down, however, addressing high blood pressure is very important to improving overall health and quality of life. Below are natural ways that can help lower your blood pressure.

Work less
Working less hours is one of the hardest commitments for Americans for multiple reasons. According to a study done by the University of California, Irvine, those who worked more than 41 hours a week had an increased risk of hypertension by 15 percent. Try to stick to 40 hours a week in the office. Take advantage of those vacations days when you can, you deserve it!

Drink less caffeine
A study done by Duke University Medical Center found that consuming around three cups of coffee has a lasting effect on blood pressure. Caffeine tightens blood vessels, which results in an increase in blood pressure. When caffeine increases blood flow, it magnifies the feelings of stress you are probably already feeling. Try to cut down on the coffee and turn to decaf.

Tune in
Researchers at the University of Florence in Italy found that listening to calming music for 30 minutes daily can help lower blood pressure. Listeners who practiced this daily ontop of deep breathing lowered their average systolic reading by 3.2 points. Taking the time every day to listen to music and relax is simple and effective.

Acupuncture
Acupuncture is an effective natural treatment for hypertension. Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that when one has high blood pressure, the body is out of balance. Acupuncture works to relax the body and mind and return the body’s natural energy flow back to balance. TCM believes the Liver and Kidney organs are associated with high blood pressure and focuses on these acupuncture points to relieve stress.

Massage therapy
Massage therapy is well known for reducing stress and hypertension. A study done at the Wirral Metropolitan College Department of Medicine found that patients experienced less muscle tension and a lower heart rate after massage therapy treatment. Massage is non invasive and not only relaxes the body, but the mind as well.

Lowering your blood pressure is not something that happens overnight. Sticking to a healthy diet and exercise plan and finding a natural treatment that works for you can help you get back on the road to health and reduce stress and hypertension. < br>

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6 Ways to Improve/Maintain Youthful Skin

Green tea - Green tea is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help sooth and reduce redness in the skin. Some experts believe green tea can help reduce collagen destruction that leads to wrinkles. Try starting with even just one cup of green tea a day so increase your antioxidant intake.

Vitamin C - Topical vitamin C applied to the face has been shown to increase collagen production and protect against UV rays. When L - ascorbic acid, a type of vitamin C, is used, research showed the vitamin can improve pigmentation as well as inflammatory skin issues.

Reduce stress -Stress is not only felt mentally, but physically as well. Stress can cause breakouts due to an increase in hormones, making the skin oilier and lessening the body’s defense against bacteria. Make sure to get adequate sleep and give yourself time off for relaxation to calm the mind and reduce stress.

Monitor sun exposure - It is common knowledge that high amounts of sun exposure over the years damages your skin and causes wrinkles. Make sure to always wear sunscreen on your face to protect against harmful UV rays. Even if it is overcast outside, you are still exposed to UV rays. It is important to wear a high SPF sunscreen on your face year round to prevent wrinkles and skin cancer.

Omega-3 fatty acids - Increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids is not only good for overall health, but can also help reduce wrinkles and keep the skin looking youthful. These fatty acids can be found in salmon, nuts, seeds, and fish oil supplements.

Acupuncture - Facial acupuncture has become increasingly popular in the past ten years in rejuvenating the skin. Reports have found facial acupuncture can reduces lines on the face and leave skin smoother and glowing. Acupuncture is a natural and non-invasive treatment that does not have side effects. Treatment can also leave one feeling overall more relaxed and at ease.

Recipe for Healthy SkinZucchini Chickpea BurgersThis vegan and gluten-free recipe is filled with healthy ingredients to boost the skin and overall health!Ingredients (serves 6)2 tablespoons olive oil3 cloves of garlic, minced1 small onion1.5 cups of zucchini squeezed dry½ cup of toasted sunflower seeds¾ teaspoons of sea salt1.5 cups of canned chickpeas1 cup of cooked quinoa2 tablespoons of dijon mustard1 tablespoon of lemon juice2 tablespoons of fresh chopped dill½ teaspoon paprikaSaute onion and garlic in a pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When tender, add zucchini and saute until cooked. Season to preference with salt and pepper.Grind sunflower seeds, sea salt, pepper until ingredients are coarse crumbs. Add quinoa, chickpeas, dijon mustard, lemon, dill and paprika to mixture. Mix until ingredients are broken up with some texture remaining. Add zucchini, onion, and garlic to mixture.Shape into 6 patties and cook on medium heat with olive oil in a pan into golden brown.

Sources: http://dailym.ai/1md99Vp, http://bit.ly/1NetFxO, http://bit.ly/1NPJuYL, http://bit.ly/21VFuQX

Zuowang and Surpassing Pu

A short article about Zuowang Meditation.

Continue reading "Zuowang and Surpassing Pu"

7 Ways to Detox After the Holidays

Get rid of leftovers
The holidays bring delicious homemade food, and along with that come the leftovers. Holiday leftovers can be just as good as when you cook the meal the first time and become a tempting go-to snack. Time to let go. Toss the leftovers, they most likely aren’t the healthiest dishes and it’s time to start fresh.  

Stay hydrated
Most Americans do not drink enough water, and there is no better time to start than now! Fill up your glass at least 8 times a day. Some find it easier to carry a water bottle throughout the day to remind yourself to keep hydrated. Staying hydrated can flush out toxins and detox your body, as well as keeping you feeling good.

Hit the gym
Sweating is another great way to flush out toxins. Exercise has many health benefits long term and short term. Find just 30 minutes a day to get some form of exercise, whether it’s going on a run, yoga or simply going for a walk. Getting your body moving is important for your metabolism as well as overall health.

Ditch the sugar
The holidays are a notorious time that the sugar intake starts ramping up. Now that they are over, it’s time to remove added sugar to your diet. Limit how often you eat dessert and when you do, eat in moderation. Replace sugary foods with natural sweet foods like fruit. Fruit can fix your sweet tooth and also give you a boost of vitamins.

Drink green tea
Green tea is packed with antioxidants and nutrients to help your body get back on track. It is one of the healthiest beverages you could choose, it can act as a replacement for coffee, lower your risk of cancer and protect your brain as you age.

Acupuncture
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine believe in addressing the body as a whole when illness arises or the body is run down. Because of this, acupuncture treatment works by returning the body back to balance and restoring its natural energy. Certain acupuncture points can detoxify important organs like the kidneys, colon, lungs, liver and skin.  

Relax
Don’t forget to relax and give yourself some downtime. The holidays are hectic and stressful, which can lead to bad habits and bad eating. Give yourself some time now that they are over to relax. Find activities you enjoy and make sure you make time for them every week. Detoxing is not just for improving your body physically, but mentally as well.

http://www.modernreflexology.com/acupressure-points-for-body-detoxification/

5 Ways to Not Overeat This Holiday Season

Moderation
We’ve always the heard the saying to enjoy everything in moderation, and that is definitely true when it comes to holiday foods. Don’t try to deprive yourself during the holidays, it most likely won’t go over well. Having an extra holiday treat here and there won’t kill you. You’re allowed to indulge a bit, just keep portions small when it comes to holiday desserts and make sure you limit how often you eat them. Going the whole season without any treats is cruel and will most likely end in binging later, so have your guilty pleasures, just keep them in moderation.

Watch the alcohol
The holidays are a time for celebration, which most likely means more alcohol. Not only does alcohol add on empty calories, but can also lead you to eating more while drinking. If you are at a gathering, limit yourself to one or two drinks to cut down on the unhealthy cravings you might be feeling afterward.

Focus on the protein
Protein-packed foods are a great way to fill up without adding a lot of sugar and empty carbohydrates. Pack your plate with low-fat meats like turkey and chicken. If you’re vegetarian, eat more of the tofu than the side dishes that are most likely to be sugar and carbohydrate heavy.

Fill up on the water
Don’t forget about water! The holidays are an easy time to drink more sugary beverages than normal. Substitute drinks for water, and drink a lot of it. Not only is water essential for your health, but drinking a glass before a meal can fill you up more as well, preventing you from overeating.

Take your time
Eating too fast is one of the easiest ways to overeat. When you don’t give your body the chance to digest food and feel full before you stop eating, chances are you’re going to end up eating more than you want. Eat slowly and enjoy each bite to give your body a chance to catch up. This way, you’ll end up getting full faster and eat less.

Most of all don’t forget to enjoy the holidays and the delicious food that comes with it, don’t be afraid to indulge a little!

Steps to Stay Smoke Free

So you’ve quit smoking, or maybe you’re trying and not sure how long you will last. Either way, quitting is not easy, and staying smoke-free in the long term is even harder. You may have periods of time when you’re feeling confident and a cigarette is the last thing on your mind, or you may all of a sudden have intense cravings. Below are some ways to help keep you smoke-free for a better, healthier life.

Stay positiveHaving good and bad days are a part of life, and same goes for quitting smoking. Some days are going to be easier than others, but it is important on the bad days to remind yourself why quitting is worth it. Health should be number one in your life and according to the CDC, quitting smoking will lower your risk of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory complications and more. If you have been a smoker, you know the side effects well. Staying positive and motivated to keep the bad habit away will pay off tremendously in the long run. Talk to others who have quit or join a support group. It is always great to hear from others who are going through the same experience as you and to see success stories.

Know your triggers Smokers usually have triggers that give them the urge to light up. Be aware of what these are and find ways to avoid them. Common triggers include stress, drinking coffee, after a meal, drinking alcohol, if someone else is smoking or feeling restless. Once you know your triggers, you can know how to handle them in a healthy manner that doesn’t include smoking. When you start to feel an urge, try deep breathing or go on a short walk. Keep your mind and body occupied.

Take up a new hobby/activityKicking a bad habit is the perfect time to take up a healthy one. Spend more time exercising or doing something you enjoy. Activities like biking, swimming or yoga are not only fun but also beneficial for your mental and physical health. If feeling stressed or down is a trigger for you, becoming more active can help lower these symptoms.

Don’t give up The decision to quit smoking was probably one of the best lifestyle choices you could make. You already took that first step, and although it may seem like an uphill battle, staying smoke-free will add years on to your life and improve your quality of life tremendously. Don’t give up, and don’t get down on yourself if you cave. It is never too late to quit smoking and begin the journey to better health.

5 Tips to Help Your Diabetes

There are about 29 million people in the United States who suffer from type 2 diabetes, an illness that is becoming increasingly common and is also highly preventable. With lifestyle changes, diabetes can be managed and prevented.

Aim for a healthy weight

When you have extra weight, this can cause an increase in blood sugar. Maintaining a healthy weight can keep your blood sugar at more normal levels and better overall health.

Exercise

Exercise is very important when it comes to managing or preventing type 2 diabetes. Regular exercise can help lower weight, lower stress levels, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride. Even just by adding in walks into your day can make a difference. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least four times a week.

Diet

Having a healthy diet is a lifestyle change, and that can be hard for people.

Keep carbs in check, they tend to affect your blood sugar the most. Know how many carbohydrates are in the food you’re eating to keep them at the level you need to be for managing your blood sugar.

Avoid processed sugar. Sugar in the form of sucrose or high fructose corn syrup can spike blood sugar rapidly. For people with diabetes, it is especially dangerous.

Be on top of your schedule

Diabetes requires an everyday awareness as well as a schedule when it comes to medication and insulin. If you have trouble remembering to take your medication or test yourself regularly, try setting reminders on your phone or keep a calendar near by. Consistency can make all the difference.

Try acupuncture

Neuropathy is one result of diabetes, acupuncture can help reduce this nerve pain by boosting the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain reliever. Acupuncture has almost no side effects and is a great complementary option to reducing chronic pain.

http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/natural-remedies-type-2-diabetes

Beating Your OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is not something that can be easily cured, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible. Taking an active approach to treating your OCD will only result in positives. When you decide to take the step toward better health, you would be surprised at the results.

The mind gameThose who have never dealt with mental disorders can have a hard time understanding the mental battle those with OCD face everyday. When your illness dictates your actions and defines who you are, it is not as easy as it appears to break a habit or a behavior.

The feelings that consume your mind with OCD often include negative, anxiety and fear driven thoughts that are impossible to get out of your head. Although mental illness can not go away immediately, if you participate in treatment regularly, over time you will be able to see results.

First step is seeking treatment, and sticking with itThere are many treatment options to consider when you decide to get help. Common options include Exposure and Response Prevention therapy (ERP) , which includes exposure to what is feared or obsessed and learning how to cope in healthy ways with the anxiety you feel about it. A licensed therapist will give you the treatment, which should be continued over time. Other treatments that are widely used include prescription medication such as antidepressants. Although these can be effective, they can also cause unwanted side effects and be ineffective in the long term. Acupuncture is an alternative medicine that can have great results for those suffering from OCD and help to lower the anxiety that comes along with it. No matter what options you choose, sticking with them and not giving up is important for the road to recovery.

Get ready for hard workOvercoming OCD is not easy, and you may feel like your treatments haven’t been effective and you’re ready to quit. At this time, it will the most crucial to stick with your plans and to continue working on lowering your anxiety. There are exercises you can do every day to help little by little including practicing mindfulness and meditation. Bottom line, don’t give up, you’ll be surprised on the results you will see. Overcoming a mental illness is no easy task and life seems to get in the way too often. However, at the end of the day the only person who can help you, is you.

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Overcoming Depression

One of the most common frustrations for those suffering from depression is the lack of motivation to do regular daily activities, an inability to find enjoyment and an overwhelming amount of negative thoughts. Depression cannot be simply cured by “mind over matter”, but that does not mean it can’t be treated and improved significantly. Depression is not an illness that one should have to suffer through alone, treatment and therapy can be crucial to the healing process back to better health.

Along with treatment options you may be considering, small additions to your daily routine can prove to have significant effects on lowering depression symptoms over time.

Put yourself and your mental health firstIt is easy to put your health on the backburner when life gets busy and stressful. Maybe you are hating the office job you have, or you're fighting with a spouse. When life gets tough, it is easy to neglect our bodies physically and mentally. Look at life in the larger terms and understand how you take care of your health now, will affect you for years down the road. If you are suffering from depression, seeking treatment is the first step back to better quality of life and can truly make all the difference.

Get a routine goingIt may be hard to keep and be motivated about a routine. However, by setting goals and habits on a daily or weekly basis, you are continuing to improve upon your condition. Just stick with it. Try to set goals for exercise, if you can go on a jog just three days a week, you’ll be boosting your serotonin, your mood and your physical health. Take time to go outside in nature and get some fresh air. Depression is hard, but getting out of your normal environment can help you get out of your head for a bit. Practicing mindfulness is something everyone should do on a daily basis. Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment and not the past or future. By doing so, we let go of anxieties we feel about the future or negative thoughts we have about the past, eliminating feelings of worry.

Reach outDon’t go through this alone. Chances are there are people in your life that love and care about you very much. Although it may seem hard to reach out or socialize, being around people can help you feel more connected. It is easy to isolate yourself when depression is consuming your mind and thoughts, but talking to friends and family can have profound benefits on beginning the process to better health.

Depression is not easy, but also doesn’t mean it can’t get better. Contact a medical professional about the best treatment options for you and consider alternative treatments such as acupuncture.

Acupuncture For Prostate Health

Whether you are looking to reduce your risk of prostate disease or treat an existing condition, acupuncture may be able to help. Because of its holistic approach, acupuncture can help relieve symptoms associated with prostate problems like frequent and painful urination.

A report titled Traditional Chinese Medicine and Prostate Health published by Pacific College found Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to be effective in the treatment of prostatitis, urinary tract infections, and symptoms associated with prostate cancer supportive care.

There have been multiple studies that have proven acupuncture helpful. A Chinese study published in 2008 found that electroacupuncture, a form of acupuncture, had a 96.4 percent rate of effectiveness for treatment.

In modern practice of acupuncture, each patient is assessed and given a treatment plan to reduce their symptoms. Acupuncture accomplishes this by addressing the body as a whole and using acupuncture points to stimulate meridians that then return the body to balance and natural flow.

The principle behind this practice is that our bodies have a natural energy flowing through them at all times. When our body’s energies become stuck or stagnant, our bodies are susceptible to disease and illness, including prostate cancer and prostatitis.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among men in the United States with around 290,000 new cases diagnosed each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you are at risk or currently dealing with prostate cancer or prostatitis, you are not alone.

Consider acupuncture as an alternative, safe treatment to reduce symptoms associated with prostate problems and restore your body to better health.

Give me a call today to give your body the treatment it deserves.

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Recipe for Autumn Balance

Below is a recipe to bring your body to balance in autumn. These foods will strengthen your immune system as your body becomes more susceptible to illness with the changing weather.

Butternut Squash Soup

1 large butternut squash1 medium onion2 cloves of garlic 1 stalk of celeryboiled chicken meatsalt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg

If you have a blender, blend the squash until smooth for a puree-style soup. If not, you can chop up the squash instead.

Begin by chopping up all ingredients and boiling the squash in a large pot. After the squash is mostly cooked, add the vegetables and chicken to the pot. Simmer the soup for a few minutes. When the soup is done, add spices as desired.

Butternut squash soup is not too difficult to make and contains nutrients like vitamin A to help protect your body from the upcoming flu and cold season.

Sources: http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/chinese-food/medicinal-cuisine.htm

4 Yoga Poses that Go Well With Acupuncture

Meridian Yoga is a form of yoga that actively works with the same meridian system as acupuncture. This form of yoga uses poses to activate and balance energy in the 14 meridian paths. These meridian paths are known as the energy pathways in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), they allow your body and energy to flow and function properly. Meridian Yoga will improve the function of your organs and allow your body to be in its healthiest state physically and mentally. Below are a few of many yoga poses that can increase your energy flow.

1. Downward dog

In your yoga practice, downward dog can always be the home base pose. It is a staple that can be used in almost every yoga practice.

This pose focuses on the arms and shoulder meridians, which can improve heart and lung function. Increased function of these organs can help fight against allergies, viruses, anxiety and trouble sleeping. Downward dog can also help digestion and allows for increased blood flow.

2. Warrior II

Warrior II focuses on the lymphatic system and the hips and knees. The emphasis on these joints are related to the gall bladder, spleen and stomach meridians. These organs help the lymphatic system by increasing digestion and immune fluid.

3. Wheel and other backbends

Wheel and other backbends can effectively and sometimes very intensely stretch the stomach and spleen meridians. This pose can help prevent your body from acid reflux, heartburn and other stomach issues.

4. Tree pose

Tree pose is a standard balancing pose that can be adapted based on your skill level. It focuses on the small intestine meridian and increases abdominal circulation. Tree pose can also calm and relax the mind and nervous system, bringing more self-awareness.

Contact me to learn more on how yoga and acupuncture can pair together and begin a path to better health!

Sources: HYPERLINK "http://www.oceanflowyoga.co.uk/news/pose-of-the-month-vrksasana-tree-pose/" \h http://www.oceanflowyoga.co.uk/news/pose-of-the-month-vrksasana-tree-pose/

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Germ Warfare

You never have to wonder when the cold and flu season is around the corner. The pharmaceutical industry will be sure that you are reminded of its arrival. The pharmaceutical industry and the medical community at large are depending on you to leave the fate of your health and well being up to the workings of chemical-laden pills and shots rather than the innate power that runs your body and the living world around you.

The reality is that germs don’t make you sick. Rather, your body’s inability to fend off germs and foreign invaders is what results in you succumbing to illness.Think about it… How is it possible that a family of 5 people living under the same roof can have completely different reactions during flu season?Assuming that everyone is exposed to the same germs and viruses, if the sickness were attributed completely to the virus, everyone would get sick and exhibit the same reaction and symptoms.

What happens in reality is that one or two family members get ill while the others don’t. Clearly the issue is not the germs, but the body’s response to them, caused by an individual’s immune system.

Chances are the last time you got sick you were running yourself ragged, missing sleep, eating improperly, slacking on your nutrition, all stressed out from work, skipping your acupuncture sessions, and neglecting your workouts. This is a vicious pattern that many of us fall into and it’s one that weakens the body and allows germs to take hold.

Your best defense against the flu, colds, or any other germ-borne illness is not to drug yourself, but to bolster your internal defenses. You stand your best chance of being at your healthiest when you have an optimally functioning nervous system and immune response.

So come in for an acupuncture tune-up, keep your lifestyle habits in good order, and maintain a positive attitude. Do so, and those pesky little germs don’tstand a chance!