Migraine triggers don’t necessarily cause a migraine; they are simply factors that increase the likelihood of getting a migraine. Triggers play a role in activating the process that leads to a migraine. Not every trigger causes a migraine for every person, even if a person is sensitive to a particular trigger.
But how much do you really know about controlling your migraines? New research suggests you not know as much as you think.
According to Timothy T. Houle, Ph.D. and co-author Dana P. Turner, M.S.P.H., both of the Wake Forest Baptist anesthesiology department, migraine sufferers make inaccurate conclusions about what triggers their migraines. Houle and Turner conducted a 3-month study of 9 women who suffered from migraines. They tracked the women’s hormone levels, stress levels, and the weather. The women kept daily diaries. At the end of the study, the scientists could not accurately predict which triggers would cause a migraine.
Their conclusion—most people can’t isolate the many complex variables in everyday life to accurately determine their migraine triggers. That means triggers are complex and situational. So what can you do?
Pay attention to your own habits and migraines.
While researchers may disagree about the accuracy of pinpointing migraine triggers, it’s important to remember that you know your body better than anyone. Living with migraines for years gives you deeper insight to what brings on migraines for you—if you observe them. If you find a correlation between a trigger and your migraines, trust it!
Part of the difficulty of identifying triggers is that some triggers may be active only under certain circumstances and involve layers of complexity. For example, you may be able to eat cheese or drink wine sometimes with no negative consequences, but consuming these things late at night or during a stressful time might contribute to a migraine. Many people are more susceptible to migraine when multiple triggers are present at once.
As your care providers, it’s important to always support your own knowledge of your body and your migraines. You know your triggers and I respect your intuition.
Common Migraine Triggers
Hormone changes can trigger migraines. Sometimes birth control pills increase migraines (while sometimes pregnancy prevents them). Monthly hormonal cycles can contribute in big ways to triggering migraines.
Food and Nutrition
What you eat and drink contributes a lot to your sensitivity to developing migraines. Typical food triggers include aged cheeses, processed meats, yeast breads, peanuts, legumes, caffeine, alcohol (especially red wine), chocolate, vinegar, fermented foods, tannin-heavy fruits (like citrus, raisins, red plums, etc.), and many more. In addition, some people are sensitive to sulfates, nitrates, nitrites, food coloring, and other food additives.
Lifestyle and Habits
Many triggers have to do with your daily habits, lifestyle, and environment. Stress can be a major factor that contributes to migraine development. No surprise there!
Other triggers can be fatigue, lack of sleep, over-sleeping too much, missing meals, changes in barometric pressure, or certain light hues or brightness. Strong smells such as paint, gasoline, or heavy perfumes can also be triggers. Buying an air filter for your home can be a game-changer for your migraine management.
While genetics don’t “trigger” a migraine, they play a role in how likely you are to suffer from migraines in general.
Quick tips for migraine management:
Acupuncture has proven to be a very effective treatment for balancing the constitution thereby reducing sensitivity to triggers. Acupuncture is a safe, natural, and minimally invasive way to take control of your health. Don’t wait, let’s schedule your appointment today!
Arthritis is one of the most common joint ailments, affecting over 54 million adults in the United States. Caused by a swelling of the joints, it can range from bothersome to extremely painful and can be a hindrance to everyday activities. Arthritis, along with other types of joint health issues, can be one of the most life-altering conditions to live with—because it can hinder everything from one’s ability to get regular exercise to how much someone can go to work.
Thankfully, applications of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture can be amazingly helpful as arthritis treatments and general joint health maintenance protocol.
Within the theory of TCM and acupuncture, our essential life energy or qi (pronounced “chee”) flows along the meridians of the body. When the flow is constricted or imbalanced, we may experience illness or pain. The needles used in acupuncture are carefully placed along points connected to the meridians, stimulating those places to correct and encourage the flow of energy.
In TCM, the entire body is understood as a multifaceted mechanism whose parts function in concert—not silo-ed sections to be treated in isolation.
Various studies, including one by the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, found that patients felt significantly less pain and had an easier time walking after receiving legitimate acupuncture treatments.
Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
There are many different types of arthritis, some with very few treatment options as dictated by Western Medicine.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one variety that can be hugely disruptive to sufferers’ lives. RA is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease that’s linked with progressive joint damage, resulting in severe chronic pain and long-term mobility issues.
Western medicine comes up short when trying to treat RA. Yet many clinical trials have shown that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has advantages in the treatment of RA.
Osteoarthritis & Preventing Knee Replacement
Another common and very detrimental type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, particular in the knee joints, and especially affecting older adults. When knee osteoarthritis gets severe enough, total knee replacement is the final treatment option.
A wide-ranging study of over 34,000 patients in Taiwan showed that TCM treatments reduced risk of total knee replacement in patients with knee osteoarthritis, and that enhanced benefits results from long-term treatment. The longer a patient used TCM, the less likely they were to need a knee replacement.
We are all getting older day by day, and with it brings changes to our bodies and overall appearance. From fine lines and wrinkles to saggy skin, no one can escape from the natural aging process. Still, there are some methods that can help you slow down this inevitable process and maintain your youthful look.
Try them for yourself! Follow these three beauty tips to aging gracefully:
1. Reduce Wrinkles with Retinoids
If and when you start to notice the development of wrinkles, you should invest in an anti-aging skin care product that contains retinoids. Retinoids—the overarching term for the active ingredient retinol—are an effective way to combat signs of aging. Derived from vitamin A, this ingredient works to increase the collagen production in your body, which helps to plump the skin.
And it doesn’t stop there! Retinoids are also responsible for developing new blood vessels, allowing you to achieve a healthy, rosy complexion overtime. So, by incorporating a retinoid skin care product into your regime—whether it be a prescription anti-aging cream with tretinoin (retin-A) or another over-the-counter retinol treatment—it’ll be easier for you to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and other tell-tale signs of aging.
2. Get Enough Sleep at Nighttime
By now, you’ve probably heard of the term ‘beauty sleep,’ but do you know why that is? Because the hours you spend snoozing is the time your body spends rebuilding and bettering itself for the following days to come. Specifically, as you rest, your body releases a hormone that serves to restore the elastin and collagen in your body—both of which are two essential building blocks to preserving your youthful-looking complexion. This explains why when you don’t get enough sleep, it shows.
Aside from just that, getting the right amount of hours of sleep at night can also speed up skin cell turnover. As explained by Jeanine Downie, MD, director of Image Dermatology in Montclair, “If you don’t get enough sleep, your skin won’t renew itself and will start looking dull—especially as you age, when cell turnover is slowing down.” For this reason, no matter how chaotic your schedule gets, try and aim to get anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep per night as this will keep you feeling good, and looking good in the long run.
3. Shield Your Skin from the Sun
Don’t be mistaken, there is nothing wrong with soaking up the vitamin D that comes from the sun, especially during the warmer months. However, it’s important that regardless of how much time you spend outdoors—or even indoors for that matter—you’re still taking the proper precautions by shielding your skin from the dangerous ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Both UVA and UVB rays are extremely powerful at penetrating and damaging your skin. Too much exposure to either type of radiation can lead to negative short-term and long-term effects including: sunburn, sunspots, hyperpigmentation, melasma, sagging and other signs of premature aging, and in some cases, skin cancer.
That said, remember to always apply sunscreen or SPF as the last step of your skin care routine in the morning. Even if you do not plan on soaking up the sun outside, UV radiation can still find a way to get to you from the inside of your house and cause the same harmful effects. To ensure you’re fully shielded from the sun, stick to a sunscreen or other product with an SPF of at least 30 on a daily basis, and an SPF 60 or greater on the days in which you plan to spend outside, as this will further ensure your complexion is fully protected.
Aging is something that, like it or not, we all have to endure overtime. But luckily, with these three tips, you can gracefully delay this process. As you continue throughout the years, don’t forget to remind yourself about the tips listed above and take full advantage of the benefits that come with them. It doesn’t matter if you’re in your 20s, 30s, 40s, or 50s, there is no better time than now to incorporate these practices into your everyday routine. So get started today!
In TCM theory, weakening of key female reproductive health aspects might be linked with genetic defects, overwork, too little rest, injury from too much menstrual bleeding, emotional distress, improper diet, too much alcohol, or too much chilled food. Contemporary TCM practitioners believe that some medicines and medical interventions, like long-term use of hormonal birth control methods, can also have a detrimental effect on the female system.
Is there a natural, non-invasive way to help ease symptoms of women’s health issues? Yes!
A multitude of scientific studies have shown that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an effective way to treat many gynecological health conditions, and to maintain general good health for women. That includes acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, which are finally gaining more and more scientific validity in the Western Medicine arena—thought they have been used successfully for centuries!
Women’s health issues that can be supported by TCM include reproductive health (fertility and pre-natal care), menstrual wellness, menopause and perimenopause symptoms, and so much more. Because so many gynecological issues involve painful symptoms, and acupuncture is proven to provide pain relief, it’s natural that acupuncture is so helpful when it comes to women’s health.
So much of our health depends on the flow of blood throughout our body and to our organs—this is even more important for women. Scientific studies show that acupuncture is effective for improving blood flow to vital organs as it relaxes blood vessels, and reduces high blood pressure.
5 million people in the United State suffer from fibromyalgia, and most of those are women. Fibromyalgia is complicated and can be difficult to treat, because of its many linked causes and symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, acupuncture can help reduce the pain of fibromyalgia symptoms.
Recent studies have found that acupuncture may improve menstrual health and help women conceive. Because these studies are so new (since TCM has been rejected in the Western world for so long, and is only beginning to become a part of scientific medical research and practice), more research is needed.
An analysis of 15 studies found that acupuncture treatment was significantly effective in treating PMS, compared with medicine and sham acupuncture. While more, larger studies are needed to fully confirm the scientific evidence of acupuncture to treat Premenstrual Syndrome symptoms, there is a slew of promising research to back it. Since PMS has such varied effects on different women—from moodness to severe abdominal pain—there are also a variety of ways acupuncture and TCM may be used to help. In particular, sstudies show that acupuncture and acupressure are sure-fire solutions for mood swings, depression, pain, and anxiety—some of the major symptoms of PMS.
Ancient ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Chinese, utilized chromotherapy or color therapy to heal and stimulate the body and mind.
Modern science confirms that different colors do indeed have an impact on our attention, energy, focus, mood, and even memory and wellbeing. Colors are associated with different emotions and energy states. For example, a 2014 study of college student’s interior spaces suggested that vivid colors may enhance short-term memory and improve cognitive function.
It’s easy to understand that different colors affect our brains and bodies differently when we consider that color is “simply” different wavelengths falling upon our eyes and stimulating our brains. In fact, Isaac Newton discovered this while in quarantine during The Great Plague of London in 1666! How relevant.
When light reflects into the human eye, it stimulates the hypothalamus—the part of our brain that governs hormone and endocrine systems, our body temperature, appetite, sexual functions, sleeping, and behavioral patterns, and so much more.
Color psychology (how colors affect our mood and bodies) and color symbolism (cultural ideas associated with colors) are distinct but connected. They both come from traditional ideas and human observation and relate to how we interact with and are affected by the world around us.
Feng shui, a practice connected to Traditional Chinese Medicine and its healing modalities, is the art of creating harmony in our interior spaces. Feng shui is informed by how our personal energy relates to the natural world and our environment. While the complex system of feng shui governs spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”), we can see how color therapy is related to the principles of feng shui.
How do the primary colors of red, blue, yellow, and green and their combinations and variations affect us psychologically?
Red: Associated with power, danger, heat and aggression. Red is stimulating and attention-grabbing.
Yellow: Joy, humor, and playfulness. Also associated with hope, creativity, self-esteem and purification.
Green: Green is a calming color, perhaps because it reminds us of nature. It can help people feel comfortable in new environments and is associated with universal love, environmental awareness, and peace. Studies have shown that being in a green environment can reduce heart rate (as compared to a red or white environment).
Blue: Blue encourages intellectual activity, can lower blood pressure, and is soothing. Depending on the intensity, blue can either stimulate intellectual activity (bright blue) or calm the mind and aid concentration (softer blue).
Next time you’re redecorating, getting dressed, or visiting your acupcuntursist’s office, consider how your mindset and energy change as you engage with different colors. You might be surprised!
1: The Effects of Color on the Moods of College Students: Sevinc Kurt, Kelechi Kingsley Osueke (2014)
2: Color and psychological functioning: The effect of red on performance attainment: Elliot, A. J., Maier, M. A., Moller, A. C., Friedman, R., & Meinhardt, J. (2007)
3. Adaptive Effects of Seeing Green Environment on Psychophysiological Parameters When Walking or Running: Walid Briki, Lina Majed (2019)
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, each season is ruled by a particular organ system and spring is connected to the liver. What does this mean? You probably notice changes in the way you feel, both physically and mentally, as the seasons change. Many of us feel more contemplative and introspective during the winter months. Once spring hits, we may feel ready to recharge and get things done. ]
Liver energy is strong and assertive, the type of energy you need to create plans and propel them into motion. However, if your liver is out of balance, you might notice that you’re more irritable or on edge than usual.
Here are a few signs that your liver is in need of an acupuncture tune-up:
1. You've noticed an increase in headaches, and these headaches seem to feel worse when you aren't active. Generally, headaches tend to manifest at the vertex of your head.
2. You feel constipated or bloated. Your bowel movements have become irregular, alternating between constipation and loose stools. Hard, difficult stools that appear pebbly are also a sign of liver imbalance.
Is it Time for a Liver Tune-Up?When liver energy is out of balance, you can feel agitated, irritated, and generally out of sorts. Sometimes irritation flares into outright anger more easily than it would if this energy was flowing smoothly.
4. (ladies...) You may notice PMS symptoms have been worsening. Bloating, breast tenderness, sensitivity can all be exacerbated by liver imbalance. If your periods are more painful or clotted, this can also be due to a stagnation of liver energy.
5. Your eyes are red, itchy, or irritated.
6. Shoulders, neck, or jaw are uncomfortably tight. If the liver energy is out of balance, it can flow upward. This causes inflexibility, and everything in your body to “rise up”: you might grind or clench your teeth, hold your shoulders up, experience symptoms of TMJ, or have headaches at the top of your head.
7. Maybe you’ve noticed that your allergies are in full force, complete with itchy, red, watery eyes.
If you are suffering from any of these issues, your body is crying out for a visit. Please, come and talk to me! Let's get you a Spring tune-up with tried and trued TCM solutions that can help right away.
You might have heard of Feng Shui referred to in the Western world as a tradition that’s similar to interior design. However, in Chinese culture, Feng shui is understood as a far more complex and rich system. It is a practice intended to create harmony in our interior space, and relates to our personal energy, the natural world, and our environment.
The ultimate goal of feng shui is to create energized and balanced spaces by drawing in positive energy. It draws on a system of interactions and laws about how humans perceive our physical environment. The art of feng shui governs spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”).
The terms Feng (meaning wind) and Shui (meaning water) in Chinese tradition are the two natural elements free to move and circulate everywhere on earth. They are also considered to be the two most basic elements required for human life: water and air. The combination of wind and water determines our climate, and therefore food supply. These two free-flowing elemental qualities have profound effects on individuals and society as they affect our mood, lifestyle, energy, and health.
Derived from the Taoist philosophy and seen throughout Traditional Chinese Medicine, feng shui also believes in the use of the “5 Element System.” These elements interact with one another constantly, creating balance and harmony or inciting chaos. Each element is associated with specific qualities, colors, and shapes that can then be used to influence qualities in your life and home.
Color: Red / Orange - Shape: Triangle - Season: Summer - Focus: Passion / High Energy
Color: Yellow- Shape: Square - Season: Transitional Periods - Focus: Stability / Nourishment
Color: White / Metalics - Shape: Circular - Season: Autumn - Focus: Clarity / Precision
Color: Black / Blue - Shape: Curvy / Wavy - Season: Winter - Focus: Career / Movement
Color: Green - Shape: Rectangular - Season: Spring - Focus: Growth / Vitality
Where you spend most of your time during the day has a massive impact on your emotional and physical health. If you are someone who sits at a desk each day, or maybe you are still working from home, consider these 5 simple tips to bring more life and energy back into your personal and professional spaces.
1) Stay away from poison arrows. Angled furniture creates what is called poison arrows, the attacking energy in feng shui that can deplete and weaken your energy. Reposition your furniture so there are no sharp angles pointing at you while you work. You can also place a plant or another item in front of the sharp corners to neutralize this bad energy.
2) Pay attention to what is called feng shui backing. If your back is to the door or a window, your energy will get weakened. You can create strong feng shui backing by placing a row of plants behind you or repositioning your office chair so you have a wall at your back.
3) Create nourishing energy in your working space with high-energy images. Hang art or photos that bring you happy, uplifting memories to nourish your energy at work.
4) Organize and de-clutter. Only leave the items you really need out on your desk to give your desk and yourself some room to breathe.
5) Energize your space with plants. Plants bring energy from nature into your space and can also purify the air, depending on the species. We suggest spider plants to help purify the air.
In most parts of the country, as your lawn greens, it also turns yellow—yellow with dandelions. For such a beautiful flower, dandelions can cause a lot of homeowners dread. But did you know that your lawn’s enemy is your health’s ally? Dandelions are a great source of nutrition, but few people eat them. Dandelions have been a central herb for Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM) for thousands of years.
Native to the Mediterranean, this incredible flower’s medicinal qualities were also known to the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks. Originally, these groups found dandelions to be beneficial for ailments including fevers, toothaches, constipation, arthritis, diabetes, gallbladder problems, heartburn, and skin irritations, as well as generalized liver, stomach, and kidney disorders...to name a few! Often the roots and leaves of the plant were rendered into a tonic to remove toxins from the bloodstream. Modern science also proves that this bright yellow superfood is incredibly nutritious and full of vitamins.
What are the health benefits of dandelions?
Many people know that dandelions are great for detoxing, but that is just the beginning. The roots are a fantastic liver tonic. The leaves are a digestive bitter and support your circulatory and lymph systems. The flowers are great for your skin. Even the sticky sap is useful — it can erase warts, corns, and calluses. The entire plant is packed with nutrition. Dandelions are high in vitamins A, B, C, and K. They contain a lot of minerals, including calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. Controlling your blood sugar is easy with a dandelion meal. They are a low-calorie, high fiber, and high protein food. Dandelions are also recommended for many health conditions. People with bone health concerns, liver disease, diabetes, urinary disorders, skincare, acne, weight loss, cancer, jaundice, gallbladder issues, anemia, and high blood pressure all benefit from eating dandelions. The nutrients found in dandelion greens may help reduce the risk of cancer, multiple sclerosis, cataracts, and stroke. And on top of all of these benefits, dandelions are anti-inflammatory and may offer benefits to people with inflammatory conditions.
How do you eat dandelions?
In short: any way you’d like. There are so many ways to eat dandelions. A quick internet search will provide lots of recipes and suggestions. The entire plant is edible — leaves, flowers, and roots. As a rule of thumb, use the leaves in the same ways you’d cook with spinach and the roots the way you cook carrots or radishes.
The flowers and roots can be both meal and beverage. Boil or stir-fry both the flowers and roots as a cooked vegetable. You can even make wine with the flowers and roast the roots for a coffee substitute!
Dandelion leaves are the most common part to eat. They’re wonderful both both cooked or raw. In addition to steaming, boiling, or stir-frying the leaves, try tossing them in a soup or combining them with kale, lettuce, or cabbage in a hearty bowl. Use raw dandelion greens in salads or on sandwiches. Dry the greens and use them for an herbal infusion. You can even juice the leaves or add them to a smoothie.
Surprise your family and friends by gathering dandelion greens and making pesto. Serve the pesto with some crusty bread, delicious cheese, and fresh spring-time fruits. Enjoy your meal while looking at your weed-free lawn.
Makes 2 cups
Serving ideas for Dandelion Pesto
Recipe from: David Lebovitz http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2011/03/dandelion-pesto-recipe/
When people consider starting a cleanse or detoxification program, their minds often turn to boxed or bottled juices and pre-packaged kits. While acupuncture is not typically associated with detoxification, it’s proven to be not only an efficient detoxification technique on its own, but can also help decrease the unpleasant side effects of clearing toxins from the blood.
The College of Oriental Medicine at Daejeon University conducted and published a study showing that acupuncture can reduce liver toxicity while protecting the liver and its functions. While this study was conducted on laboratory rats, the information collected shows great promise as to how it can be used in humans. The rats were injected with an olive oil solution into the abdomen to create an injury to the liver. They were then treated using a specific acupuncture point (Gallbladder 34). The gallbladder and liver meridians are linked through an interior-exterior relationship. Blood work was monitored throughout the study and specific liver values were shown to improve as the acupuncture treatments continued, thus helping to balance the liver and keep it functioning properly.
In TCM, the liver is considered to be an organ that is easily affected by excess stress and uncontrolled emotions. The liver is paired with the gallbladder and the two work very closely as a unit. When one is imbalanced, the other may display symptoms. For instance, if a person is constantly stressed, their liver energies may become blocked — and the gallbladder can become affected. It’s not uncommon for people in high-stress jobs to end up with gallstones. This can happen when the liver becomes imbalanced and emotions bottle up, manifesting in pain and potentially stones.
Anger is the emotion commonly associated with the liver and gallbladder. If a person is frequently irritable, gets angered easily, and has difficulty relaxing or navigating conflict, it’s safe to guess that the liver Qi isn’t functioning properly. There are many methods of balancing the liver and returning proper energy flow throughout the body. Learning to stay calm and channel one’s anger appropriately is a good place to start. Practice some deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or simply take a walk. All of these things are great for balancing stagnant liver Qi.
Acupuncture is another great way to balance liver energies. Regular acupuncture treatments help balance the body holistically and without any major detrimental side effects. During the spring, the liver is especially taxed due to the intense new energies that occur. This makes springtime a wonderful time to begin acupuncture treatments.
Don’t wait for your system to send you a Springtime alarm! Give us a call to schedule your acupuncture tune-up today, and let’s see what we can do to get your liver happy again!
Spring is the season of growth, regeneration, increased activity, and new beginnings. The transition from winter to spring can allow us the ability to get more done and spend more time outside. Generally, spring is regarded as a happy season, especially for those living in places with colder, darker winters. Most of us look forward to the spring’s warmer weather and longer days. As everything around us blossoms in the sun, so too should we embrace this renewal.
As with any seasonal change, we must pay close attention to our body’s needs during this turbulent time of seasonal change. Moving from the indoor sleepy coldness of winter and into the warm, active spirit of spring can be tough on your system when not handled with care. For many, spring months also bring allergies, high blood pressure, headaches, sinus pain, congestion, anger, irritation, and tendon problems. Many of these problems can be attributed to increased wind in the environment. And while there is nothing that can be done about external weather factors, internal wind can be addressed and diminished using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the many modalities it incorporates.
Chinese Medicine places emphasis on living in tune with the seasons. TCM theory divides the year into five seasons! These five seasons each have associations and physical qualities that can be seen in both the external or “natural” world and also within our bodies. These elements interact daily, creating balance and harmony — or stirring up chaos within the body.
TCM associates spring with the liver and gallbladder. The gallbladder governs decision-making and controls the sinews of the body, while the liver is in charge of detoxification and keeping the energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”) flowing smoothly. The liver tends to be a bit of a “bully” for many people, overwhelming bodily systems, so it’s important to keep it healthy. Often, winter months leave us with stagnant feelings in areas like relationships, work, and in our bodies. If we experience frustration, physical pain, or sadness, it may be a sign that energy is not flowing optimally. The liver and gallbladder are also related to the tendons, storing blood during periods of rest and releasing it to the tendons during times of activity. Because this pair of organs are responsible for the smooth flow of Qi and blood throughout the body, our daily activities should reflect this.
6 Ways to Rebalance Your Liver and Gallbladder
Stretch daily. Regular stretching is a great way to start and end the day. Adding yoga or tai chi to your daily routine can be very beneficial for the liver, tendons, and the body as a whole.
Get outside. Spending more time outside is another easy and powerful way to strengthen the liver and gallbladder energies in the spring. Moving around outside can get your heart rate up and keep you warm — if the temperature is still quite cold where you live, consider a warm-up exercise routine for inside before you brave the cold. Remember to dress in layers, wear boots instead of gym shoes, wear a warm hat, gloves, and socks, and, most importantly, protect your neck with a nice warm scarf.
For people with kids and families, getting outside is an excellent way to stay healthy and have fun together. Consider a walk with the dog, visiting a new park, playing basketball, soccer, rollerblading, biking, or even a good old game of frisbee with your family and kids. If you live in a wintery area, you might even seek out a local ice rink! In fact, at a moderate pace simply skating laps can burn up to 500 calories per hour while toning the muscles in your lower body and core that keep you mobile and limber. If ice skating sounds too cold for you, a bunded-up bike ride is another favorite spring activity. Because of its cardiovascular nature and use of the big quadriceps and gluteal muscles, biking will warm your body quickly.
Eat more greens. Eating fresh leafy greens is supportive of the liver’s detoxification function and can also help strengthen vision, thanks to the vitamins and nutrients in these veggies. And luckily, fresh greens are abundantly available in springtime!
Understand the elements. In TCM spring is associated with the element of wood. When a person is completely balanced, transitioning from one season to another doesn’t feel like a big deal. However, knowing what elemental type you are can be beneficial in determining how you will react to each passing season. For instance, a person who has a wood element constitution may experience anger during the spring. This is because the wood element is already closely associated with the emotion of anger and spring brings added stimuli that can trigger bits of rage.
Avoid overstimulation. It is also recommended to avoid excessive stimulants during the spring months. Things like coffee and caffeine supplements are considered expansive and energizing, which can be somewhat helpful during the cold winter months. However during the spring, when life is abounding, excess energy can actually become harmful to the body. Symptoms can manifest themselves as headaches, insomnia, anger, and more.
Get your seasonal tune-up. To keep the liver and gallbladder working smoothly, things like acupuncture, herbal formulas, nutritional counseling can make a world of difference. Acupuncture can balance the body as it reacts to the changes in the weather and activity levels. Regular acupuncture treatments have also been shown to boost immunity. Spring can also cause flare-ups associated with seasonal allergies and acupuncture treatments can help with the inflammation, sneezing, runny nose, chest congestion, and watery eyes that accompany the allergic reactions. But most of all, acupuncture can help regulate those emotional imbalances that are often common during this transitional period.
As with any health care regiment, always be sure to seek out a fully licensed and properly trained professional, such as myself and my colleagues. By incorporating some simple practices into your life, you may just have a more enjoyable metamorphosis from winter into spring. If you need a little motivation to ease the transition, don’t hesitate to give us a call to schedule your next appointment.
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.