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 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.
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.
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.
If you're interested in learning more, please don't hesitate to contact us for a free Acupuncture consultation which can be done in person or over the phone anytime. Book in online using the "Book Now!" button at the top of the page!
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. As a mom of two preschoolers, a wife, a business owner, and a caregiver for my mother with dementia I know a little something about being overstretched and stressed out. I will be completely honest that sometimes I manage my stress well, and sometimes I most definitely don't, but I know that when I prioritize stress management as part of my day it is always better no matter what comes.
Below are tips that not only help to reduce stress but are good for heart health as well in small celebration of American Heart Month this month. These are all stress reducing techniques that I strive to implement myself. Try to implement at least one thing on this list (or your own list!) on a daily basis and see how stress treats you moving ahead!
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.
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 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. Acupuncture for stress specifically has been shown to actually decrease stress hormones in the blood stream almost immediately.
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.
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.
Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show your loved ones how much you care. My husband and I actually had our first official date on Valentines day so we always do something simple but special to mark the occasion. Sometimes it is truly the little things that do the most to show someone that you love and care.
So in the spirit of Valentine's Day and American Heart Month, below are some ideas to make this year’s holiday a memorable AND de-stressing heart healthy one:
Start the day off right
Make a homemade breakfast for your loved one or close family and friends in your life. Everyone can appreciate waking up to something homemade. Try doing breakfast in bed for your significant other or hosting a friends and family brunch at your house.
Show your appreciation
Don’t forget to tell your loved one how much you appreciate them. Show them how much they mean to you by making a creative list of all the reasons you are happy they are in your life.
Plan the day
Make a plan for the day! Decide to do an activity that you both enjoy whether it is getting outside, going to a museum or going out to the movies. Splurge a little for the day.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Take this day to put everyday stressors on the backburner. Life gets busy, and a lot of times we take it out on the people we care about the most. Try to forget about trivial problems and enjoy your loved one’s company! The small things you may fight about don’t matter, especially today.
Take the pressure off
Instead of doing Valentine’s Day gifts this year, make a decision with your significant other to put the money toward something else for the both of you. Instead of feeling the pressure to go buy a gift, plan a weekend getaway together or even a day trip to enjoy each other’s company. Better yet, consider a gift certificate for some much needed Acupuncture (hint hint!) or massage that you can redeem together for a special de-stressing treat.
Take care of yourself
Your loved ones care deeply about you, so make sure you are taking care of yourself as well. Keep your health in check and remember that it is ok to be selfish sometimes. The people in your life want to see you happy as much as you want to make them happy.
Every day can be Valentine’s Day
Remember that any day is the perfect opportunity to show how much you care and love the people in your life. Strive to make your loved ones smile today and every other day as well. The small gestures can go a long way.
Have you ever felt depressed or found yourself in a dark place in your mind? Where things that once brought you joy just don't, or where you know you should be putting one foot in front of the other but it just feels too hard to bear? I have. I know how frustrating and overwhelming it can be, especially when you know you have plenty of reasons to be happy but for some reason you're just stuck and you can't shift out of it.
I also know from experience that while depression cannot be simply cured by “mind over matter”, that it can be treated and improved significantly. That the lack of motivation to do regular daily activities, the inability to find enjoyment and the overwhelming amount of negative thoughts can shift given time and attention if you give yourself that time and attention and can find patience and compassion for yourself within the process. Above all I firmly believe that depression is not an illness that one should have to suffer through alone, and that treatment and therapy can be crucial to the healing process back to better health.
I have times where I feel very present and whole, and other times where I still struggle personally with both anxiety and depression. From experience I can say that 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.
Here is a short list based on both research and experience that you might find helpful and that I hope if nothing else, you will give a try if you feel you are suffering:
1. Put yourself and your mental health first
It 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 that how you take care of your health now, will affect you for years down the road. If you are suffering from depression, making regular time for self care is essential, and seeking treatment is the first step back to better quality of life which can truly make all the difference.
2. Get a routine going
It may be hard to keep up with 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. By practicing eliminating these feelings in the moment we improve our resilience to deal with stress over time.
3. Reach out
Don’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.
Acupuncture has been proven to be extremely beneficial for those dealing with depression. Acupuncture can boost serotonin levels and, by releasing blockages in the body's energy flow, improve calm and focus. The rest you receive during Acupuncture is also an excellent time to practice mindfulness when you are not distracted by your usual environment. By rebalancing the body our mental, physical and spiritual health improve.
Depression is not easy, but it can get better. Contact a medical professional about the best treatment options for you and consider alternative treatments such as acupuncture to help improve your resilience, your mindfulness and to help you feel confident that you have tools in your toolbox that help shift that negative state when you're in the thick of it. As someone who has been there, I understand the challenges and pitfalls. I also understand how powerful Acupuncture can be as part of the healing process and I'd be honored to help you explore that option too.
Yours in Health,
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.