2020 has proven to be a year of trials and growth for all of us. With a new school year in full swing (as full as it can be at this time...), it’s important to have an open dialogue with our children about what to expect, how to stay safe and how they can express themselves even with certain restrictions.
GET THEM A MASK THEY CAN BE EXCITED ABOUT
Children don’t have the full scope-of-understanding about this virus like us adults do. They may be confused, find it frustrating that they have to cover half of their face (which is a means of self-expression) and not be able to function in a way that they’re used to.
Getting your child a mask that they enjoy may encourage their desire to wear it, thus keeping them and others around them more safe. Affordable and unique masks can be found on sites such as Etsy and can range anywhere from $5-15. I have masks in my office and can make them to order as well, just ask!
Private sellers make masks with anything from floral print, to superheroes and video game characters such as Spider Man or Fortnite. I favor Marvel, Star Wars and Harry Potter for the kids myself.
RECESS GAMES AT A DISTANCE
Depending on your governing state and the rules that they apply when it comes to COVID-19, you may find your child becoming antsy not being able to play with their friends at recess like they used to. Here are some fun socially-distanced activities that you can incorporate so that kids can still enjoy their play time.
Fitness Relay: Set up into teams of 3 (ensuring everyone is at least 6 feet from one another). Set up cones in front of each team in a straight line to distinguish the start and finish areas. The leader will call out an exercise (jumping jacks, pushups, toe-touches, etc.) and when the leader yells “go!” The first players of each team will run to the cone and perform that exercise. Then, they run back to the starting cone and the next person goes. The first team to have all players finished, wins!
Mirror, Mirror: Players pick a partner and face each other keeping at least 6 feet of distance. One child is deemed the leader, and the others must mirror their movements. Talking and/or giving hints isn’t allowed! So pay close attention. The leader tries to come up with as many movements as possible while the others follow along. Switch leaders after 2 minutes.
MOBILE APPS AND GAMES
There are some mobile apps that can be downloaded on cell phones to help kids stay connected while social distancing. Of course, we encourage family discussions before a game is downloaded to ensure that it lines up with online safety as well as family values.
That being said, a few apps that we have found to be fun include Online Uno (a classic card game), Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and even Pokemon Go!
With the Covid19 pandemic still among us, we all walk a little weary into the back-to-school season. The good news is, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help. Consider a TCM perspective for not only those anxious feelings, but also as a modality to keep the immune system functioning optimally. Here are 4 ways to optimize your immune system this season to reduce your family’s chances of catching the Coronavirus, and other unwanted illnesses.
1. Focus on Your Circadian Rhythm
The circadian rhythm (CR) govern’s the body’s natural cycles and helps to regulate appetite, sleep and mood - this cycle is influenced and controlled by light from the sun. There is an entire field of study called Chronomedicine that focuses on illnesses and disorders that occur when the body’s biological clock is disturbed, such as Jetlag, which you’ve likely experienced.
Biochemical changes are known to occur when behavioral patterns are altered due to the division of night and day. We bring this topic to light (pun intended) because of the current Pandemic at hand. Many work, school and daily schedules are altered due to the fact that the majority of the population is unemployed and don’t have to abide by a schedule.
We encourage you to try and maintain at least a bedtime/wake-up time so that your body can function the way it’s meant to. The more inconsistent a sleep schedule, the more your life can be affected.
2. Optimize Your Immune System
Cold and flu season is just around the corner, which means our chances of catching the CoronaVirus and/or another illness increases drastically as we head into the Fall months. These types of illnesses have a higher incidence rate in school kids, the immunocompromised and in the elderly September onward, so it’s best to keep our bodies healthy and in the best condition possible heading into the new seasons. This can be done by consuming food and drink that help to optimize your body’s immune system functions such as the home remedy below.
A healthy tea that you can drink to help stave away colds is as follows:
Boil the above for up to 5 minutes, strain and then consume it just before bed. This recipe suggests that you will sweat quite a bit as it’s intended to open the pores in order to release trapped pathogens.
3. Keep a Balanced Lifestyle
Eating properly isn’t enough to stave off the CoronaVirus, but having a balanced lifestyle increases your chances of fighting off COVID-19.
The following are several important items that can help keep your body healthy and balanced when fighting off any illness.
4. Exercise and Water Consumption
If you’re following the above steps, eating healthy foods and taking your vitamins, none of it will matter if you’re not properly hydrated, especially if we’re exercising.
Did you know that your body loses water through simple actions such as digestion, breathing and sweating? Water also helps your body dissolve vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from the food you consume. It then delivers these vitamin components to the rest of your body for use.
If you maintain a balanced amount of exercise and water consumption, you’re helping to give your body the tools it needs to fight off illnesses. Remember the importance of rehydrating by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water.
I understand that these are challenging times, and, the best chance we have to get through this is, by taking care of our bodies, minds, and supporting our overall well-being, with a variety of tools and techniques - reach out if you have questions, I can help.
The United States is in the middle of an epidemic like no other. We are currently losing almost 100 people per day as a consequence of the current opioid crisis. The opioid crisis is due to the addiction and abuse of both prescription and illegal opioid substances like Vicodin, Oxycontin, and the illicitly manufactured Fentanyl.
The opioid crisis started in the 1990s and has escalated every year since. A large part of this increase is due to pharmaceutical companies and conventional medical doctors.
During this period of time, medical doctors were being pressured to treat chronic pain more aggressively. In response to this pressure, doctors began prescribing long-term use of opioids for the pain. At the same time, the pharmaceutical companies were touting opioids as non-addictive and not harmful. The end result is that doctors were prescribing drugs at higher rates and more people were finding themselves addicted.
Despite what the pharmaceutical companies said, opioids are highly addictive substances and alter the way the body responds to pain.
The standard method of treating opioid addiction is to send the person to rehab or to have them quit cold turkey. In a rehab facility, the addict is taught how to address their addiction and use other methods in place of taking the drugs. Success rates at rehab facilities vary, and ultimately, if the addict is not surrounded by supportive people and activities, the chances they will return to using opioids after leaving the rehabilitation facility are much higher. But this is not the only option for those suffering from opiate addiction.
Acupuncture is an alternative treatment method that can be very beneficial in treating not only addiction to opioids but also the underlying reasons why a person may begin taking pain medications in the first place.
Acupuncture is part of an ancient medical system known as Traditional Chinese Medicine and it can be used to treat a host of issues.
Specifically, there is a technique known as the NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) protocol that has shown to decrease cravings during opiate withdrawals. This protocol uses five acupuncture points in the ear to modulate the neurotransmitters in the body, stimulating the endocrine system, which allows for relaxation and a “resetting” of the body overall.
These five points address different symptoms that can be associated with addiction and withdrawals. The lung point helps maintain a steady breathing pattern, which also helps address grief and sadness that can sometimes be associated with withdrawals. The Shen Men point addresses anxiety, stress, and depression. The autonomic point works on balancing the nervous system. The liver and kidney points help with detoxification, while also addressing anger and fear.
This addresses the opioid addiction itself, while other acupuncture points on the body can treat the underlying pain that may have led to the opioid addiction in the beginning. Acupuncture has a great track record for treating pain and decreasing inflammation. There are also points on the body that can help with all the emotional stuff that often accompanies addiction. Studies show acupuncture can also improve mood and sleep while decreasing the need for pharmaceuticals.
Opioid addiction is a serious matter and not something to be ignored. Be sure to discuss any alternative treatment methods with your physician or counselor, in order to get the best treatment tailored to meet your specific needs. Adding acupuncture to any conventional treatments can increase the odds of a successful release from opioid addiction.
When most people hear the word acupuncture, they don’t immediately think of relaxation. They most likely question how inserting tiny needles into their body could be considered a form of relaxation. When you consider that acupuncture is part of a medical system that has been around for over 2500 years, you have to understand that this is one heck of a track record and it has more properties and benefits than one may realize.
One thing that is important to know about acupuncture is that unlike modern medicine, which focuses on the symptoms of a disease and addressing it externally to alleviate those symptoms, acupuncture looks at solving problems within the body much differently.
Acupuncture focuses on the root cause of the problem, utilizing the body’s own ability to heal itself when it is given the proper tools. Just like doing long division, when we’re out of practice, we sometimes need a nudge to get back in the groove, our bodies work the same way. Think of it this way, when you have a sore muscle, you compensate by using other muscles or shifting your weight so that that area of your body doesn’t have to bear the entire load, which can then lead to pain in another area. The brain just has to be reset and reminded of the right way to actually function, and that’s what acupuncture is used for.
A key principle of acupuncture is something called qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi is most frequently translated into energy and according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is the vital force that resides within all of us and everything that surrounds us. Qi moves throughout the body via pathways called meridians. According to TCM theory, there are 14 main meridians and 12 of those correspond to specific organ systems in the human body and the other 2 meridians run up the front and back of the body.
Along these pathways are points known as acupoints. Acupoints tend to have high concentrations of nerve endings that are all capable of triggering biochemical and physiological changes throughout the body. These changes can occur instantaneously or over time, depending on the individual. When a needle is inserted into an acupoint, sensory receptors are stimulated and a chain reaction occurs. The sensory receptor stimulates the nerve, which then transmits impulses to the brain, specifically the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system. This interaction between the hormones, glands and your brain create a powerful reaction that regulates bodily processes and brings about homeostasis.
Licensed acupuncturists go through several years of schooling, training and national testing to earn the privilege of treating and healing people. Most states require the completion of approximately 2500-3500 hours of formal education from an accredited acupuncture institution. This leads to a four year Master’s Degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine and acupuncturists can even go on to pursue an advanced doctoral degree, if they choose.
If you have never tried acupuncture, I encourage you to! Even if you have no known illnesses, aches, or pains, acupuncture can still be beneficial overall. We all have stress and over time, stress can make people sick. Acupuncture can fight stress and help prevent disease. You won’t believe how incredible you feel after a good acupuncture treatment.
Feel free to reach out to us and schedule an appointment to talk about the benefits of acupuncture!
Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and is practiced in many different forms which include herbal remedies, cupping, and massage, which have all been used for thousands of years. The basis of TCM is the idea of qi, the body’s vital energy.
TCM treatments promote the movement of qi throughout the body in order to help bring balance back to the body. The goal of acupuncture is to correct this imbalance which can cause a variety of ailments and conditions that you may currently have.
Acupuncture uses very thin needles (which have been compared to being as small as cat whiskers) that stimulate pressure points and other areas of your body. It stimulates qi by placing needles in specific spots, often along meridians. Meridians are the channels that qi travels in the body.
Acupuncture can help with many health conditions, including:
Below are the top five ways that acupuncture can help
1. Relieves Pain
Acupuncture can help alleviate many types of pain that may range from headaches and migraines to neck and back pain. These studies have shown its effectiveness in treating lower back pain, migraines, tension headaches, and knee pain. Acupuncture works differently for everybody. For some, a single treatment can alleviate symptoms for several months while others need a more routine treatment schedule.
2. Improved Sleep
Another thing that Acupuncture can help improve is sleep and insomnia. Scientists believe that acupuncture increases the production of brain chemicals that promote relaxation, thus allowing for better sleep.
3. Uplift Mood
Acupuncture can help with improving mood, including helping with depression, stress, and anxiety. The needles from acupuncture treatment release endorphins in the body. Endorphins are hormones that provide a boost in mood, encouraging happiness and relaxation.
4. Help the Heart
Acupuncture is also good for your heart due to the relaxation and stress reduction that one achieves from the treatments, which are also known to reduce blood pressure. Stress and high blood pressure are commonly related to heart attacks and heart disease.
5. Support the Immune System
Research has shown that acupuncture can boost immune system function. The placement of acupuncture needles can release immune-boosting cytokines. Cytokines are messenger cells that regulate the body’s immune response. By triggering the immune system, acupuncture can help fight infections or illnesses like colds and the flu.
If you deal with any of the above symptoms or think that acupuncture may be right for you- schedule an appointment with us! We’d be happy to support you in achieving your health care goals!
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a system that seems quite foreign to many in the Western world. However, this medical system has been around for over 3,500 years, in comparison to the Western medical system, which has been around since the 19th century. One of the concepts of TCM is that of the meridian or energetic pathways. This article will explore this concept a little more deeply.
What is a meridian? This is something that every acupuncture student asks when they begin their training. The simplest definition is that a meridian is an energetic highway in the human body. Meridians allow for the flow of energy, known as Qi (pronounced “chee”), to circulate throughout the body. Meridians exist in corresponding pairs and each meridian has multiple acupuncture points along the pathway. While it is tempting to think of meridians in the body the same way we think of the circulatory system, this would be incorrect. According to TCM, the meridian pathways are responsible for the “distribution” of the substances throughout the body, but physically, meridians have yet to be identified. Therefore, it is more logical to view the meridian system as an energetic distribution network.
All together there are fourteen main meridians throughout the body. One that runs up the center of the body on the front, another that runs along the spine and the other 12 run from head to toe along the rest of the body. Each limb is traversed by six channels, three that are considered yin in nature and three that are considered yang in nature. Yin channels are located on the inside surfaces and the yang channels are located on the outside surfaces. Each meridian is a yin yang pair, meaning that each yin organ (lung, heart, kidney, liver, spleen) is paired with its corresponding yang organ (large intestine, stomach, small intestine, bladder, gallbladder). In every living thing, there is yin and yang. Yin corresponds to water, darkness and cold, while yang corresponds to fire, daylight and heat. For the body to function properly, there must be balance between the yin and yang.
In addition to the main meridians, there are other meridians called “Extraordinary” meridians that are not associated with the major organ systems. These meridians have very specific functions. They act as reservoirs for Qi and blood. They circulate “substances” around the body, as they have a strong connection to the kidneys. They help circulate Wei Qi, which acts as the immune system. And they provide connections between the 12 regular channels.
When the Qi flows freely, the body remains healthy. However, due to outside causes like stress, the body’s meridians can become clogged or stagnant. When a blockage occurs along the meridians, illness can take hold.
Acupuncture is a wonderful way to unclog the meridians. Acupuncture points, herbal formulas, exercise and proper dietary habits all work in conjunction to keep the body aligned and functioning properly. To learn more, give us a call, we’d love to help!.
Multiple studies have shown acupuncture can be very effective at managing pain. But a study performed by Albrecht et al, is probably one of the most frequently referenced studies. The researchers studied the effects of acupuncture on 424 patients who suffered with chronic shoulder pain. The analysis of the results showed acupuncture as an effective treatment, the participants reported decreased pain and increased range of motion and that it was even superior to the results achieved using conservative orthopedic treatments. This, as well as many other studies, show hope for the future of acupuncture becoming mainstream medicine in the battle against pain.
THE PAIN METRIC
Pain. Who hasn’t dealt with it? It is so common in the United States that it affects more people than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. Pain is the most common reason people go to see their doctor and also why we are currently experiencing an unprecedented opioid epidemic. Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Approximately one in every four Americans have suffered from pain that exceeds 24 hours. The type of pain and location of the pain will determine how it is treated when you go to see your doctor. And typically, the doctor will prescribe over-the-counter or prescription pain medications and they may also order more tests to determine if there is something more serious going on.
ACUPUNCTURE AND PAIN
This is where acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can work in conjunction with your primary care physician. Multiple studies have shown acupuncture can be quite effective at treating pain, both acute and chronic. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration is now urging doctors to obtain information about alternative treatment methods like acupuncture and chiropractic care. This came about in response to the opioid crisis occurring in the U.S. and killing thousands of people, including the rich and famous.
Since acupuncture has no real adverse side effects when performed by a qualified and professionally licensed practitioner, pain relief can begin the very first time a patient is treated.
Acupuncture treatments are very customizable because as a medicine, it’s not a “one size fits all” type of solution. This means that as the pain shifts and changes, the patient will receive customized treatments that not only address the pain and inflammation, but also work on resolving the root of the problem. Most patients who are dealing with pain also have added stress, insomnia and depression or anxiety. Acupuncture is great at treating all of these conditions. So the patient gets more than just pain relief.
THE EFFECTIVENESS OF ACUPUNCTURE
The stimulation of acupuncture points triggers the brain to release endorphins, which are painkilling chemicals that saturate the brain and decrease pain signals, both short-term and long-term. Acupuncture is so effective at treating and relieving pain it is now showing up in hospitals and emergency rooms. In fact, Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota is now successfully using acupuncture in its emergency room to treat conditions ranging from car accident injuries to kidney stones. Their initial results show that pain scores are just as low with acupuncture as they are with those given analgesic painkillers.
With these kinds of recommendations, it is hard to believe only about 10 percent of Americans have ever tried acupuncture. But that statistic is slowly changing as more and more people are seeking natural and alternative methods of dealing with pain and disease. If you suffer from pain of any kind, give us a call so we can give you the relief you’ve been seeking.
Acupuncture is an ancient treatment modality that is backed by thousands of years of documented success. Unfortunately, it is often used as a treatment of last resort. This is because our education is grounded in western science, which has no clear explanation for why or how acupuncture works. It is unfortunate because, in comparison to surgery and prescription painkillers, acupuncture is virtually painless, side-effect free, and imposes zero additional recovery time on the patient after each treatment session is completed.
When people do eventually come to acupuncture, they find it to be as, or more effective than other treatments they have tried so far. This is especially true for the treatment of chronic pain, inflammatory disorders, addiction, and more.
Acupuncture in Pain Management
Where this treatment modality shines is in managing pain. Acupuncture alters the way the nervous system functions, by allowing it to send fewer unnecessary pain signals to the brain. It does this by tapping into the ability of the brain and the nervous system as a whole to manage pain in healthy ways.
Consider the way a small child reacts to pain compared to an adult. When children get a bump or scrape, they often cry bitterly as if they have been badly wounded. An adult’s pain response will tend to be less pronounced. This is because an adult will know on an experiential level and an intuitive level that superficial damage is not a threat to her or his existence.
In short, our nervous systems mature as we do. Therefore, it can be said- based on long experience with the practice- that acupuncture can help our nervous system to develop more refined responses to pain.
Common Types of Painful Illnesses That are Successfully Treated Using Acupuncture
You will find that the types of pain acupuncture is best at treating are the ones that are caused by a disproportionate response of the body to injury or illness. Inflammation, for example, is what happens when the body responds to a perceived threat. But that response can be harmful if it is not properly regulated.
Many have heard the question posed what came first, the chicken or the egg? But how does that concept apply to depression? It’s well-known that when we’re depressed, our motivation and interest in maintaining a healthy and balanced diet subsides in the same way our energy does. Harvard Medical Students positioned that same question in relation to depression; what came first, depression or a poor diet?
Thankfully, researchers have addressed this question and found that a healthy diet was indeed associated with a significantly decreased risk of developing depressive symptoms. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, patients were treated for two years with antioxidants or placebos. After two years, those who were treated with antioxidants had a significantly lower depression score.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Eating healthy foods gives you a better chance to reduce your depressive symptoms than eating a diet of processed food that may be high in sugars and fats.
Additionally, it’s known that there are approximately 10 times as many bacterial cells as human cells in the body. These bacteria serve many purposes including the curation of Vitamin K, digesting the food we consume and even regulating our immune system.
This implies that maintaining a healthy gut bacteria and overall diet can improve your mood.
SO, WHAT SHOULD I EAT?
Suggested foods to eat are lots of green leafy plants (including fruits and vegetables), whole unprocessed grains, seeds & nuts, and lean proteins such as yogurt or fish. To break them down even further, take note of the following foods and their purpose (all of which fight depression):
WHICH FOODS SHOULD I AVOID?
Avoid foods made with added sugars or flours such as baked goods (donuts and pastries), breads, pastas and cereals. One should also minimize the consumption of animal fats, processed meats such as bacon, and even butter.
OTHER ITEMS TO CONSIDER
It’s important to remember that health starts from within. Maintaining a healthy balance of self-care, such as providing yourself with adequate sleep, hydration and physical activity is just as important as eating well.
There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that supports the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Having balanced health helps with everything from cardiovascular disease, dementia, cancer and even mental health disorders including- you guessed it - depression!
Don’t forget! Schedule an acupuncture appointment with us if you have any questions about depression and how traditional chinese medicine can help.
A study published by the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine and conducted by the West China Center of Medical Sciences, found acupuncture treatments can be effective in the treatment of patients suffering from depression.
According to the study, 163 participants were divided into three groups. Each group received differing forms of treatment utilizing acupuncture or acupuncture and other accessory modalities, twice a week, for a total of 12 weeks. The scale of life was used to evaluate the results at four different times, which allowed for the patients quality-of-life to be objectively followed and determined.
There were eight specific items that were evaluated after each acupuncture treatment, thus leading to the overall quality of life score. The items evaluated were physical function, bodily pain, physical role, general physical condition, social function, energy, mental health and emotional function. The study showed the overall quality of life score was improved significantly in all three groups.
BACKGROUND ON DEPRESSION
Worldwide, nearly 350 million people suffer from depression and nearly 16 million of those are in the United States alone. Statistics show women tend to be more likely to experience depression and young adults between the ages of 18-22 are also at a higher risk. Symptoms of depression include extreme irritability over minor issues, anxiety, restlessness, irrational anger, lack of interest in everyday activities, thoughts of death, insomnia, severe fatigue, weight gain/loss, difficulty concentrating and unexplained aches and pains. When these symptoms occur for more than a few weeks, depression may be the reason behind them.
ACUPUNCTURE AND DEPRESSION
As shown in this study, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be very effective in treating depression, not only short-term, but also long-term.A TCM practitioner makes a diagnosis based upon each patient, on an individual basis and treats according to the root cause(s)of the illness - treating the “whole” person, holistically, taking into account a person's physical and emotional well-being. TCM incorporates multiple modalities such as acupuncture, Chinese herbs, tuina massage, cupping and exercises like qigong to help restore balance to the body.
The theory behind treating depression using TCM, all revolves around the concept of Qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi is considered the vital energy that flows through the body and animates everything. When Qi is blocked or stagnant, it will affect all aspects of a person's health. The goal of TCM is to locate and correct the imbalances which exist.
With all of this information on depression and TCM in mind, the results of the study concluded that the overall quality-of-life score was improved significantly in all three groups. The items evaluated were physical function, bodily pain, physical role, general physical condition, social function, energy, mental health and emotional function.
Acupuncture releases endorphins and activates natural pain killers. By doing so, it improves the flow of Qi throughout the body while eliminating blockages and bringing balance to the mind and body. Endorphins counter the symptoms of depression and allow the person to resume a normal life.
If you are suffering from depression and are looking for a natural way of dealing with it, give us a call, we may be able to help you navigate the waters of depression without the harmful side effects of pharmaceuticals, while helping you get back to a happier life.
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.