Just Say "No" To Stress
Coherence. If you haven’t heard this word the context of stress before that’s okay, its really just a fancy way to say “mindful and connected.” When you feel stressed out, coherence a goal to strive for; its that place where your mind and your heart and your body are aligned and you feel it. You feel present, centered, aware and you move through any given moment with conscious purpose.
Physiologically, coherence can be recognized by a calm nervous system, low (or lowering) stress hormones and an even heart rhythm. Stress disrupts coherence and engenders the opposite — a hyperactive nervous system, stress hormone (cortisol) release, an uneven heart rhythm — and the effects of stress on the mind and body can be widespread including:
5 Practical Tips for Stress Management You Can Implement Today
How to best manage stress in your life depends on your individual needs, but here are 5 relatively universal tips that can help reduce stress and the effects of stress on your life.
Acupuncture for Stress Management - Proven Stress Relief
In Chinese Medicine stress has a specific energetic pattern that primarily affects the Liver meridian. Over time and with increased severity, stress can affect the Qi of Heart and Spleen as well and at each level, different symptoms present themselves. With 3,000 years of clinical data behind it, Chinese Medicine - with Acupuncture as a primary treatment modality - has proven techniques for moving Qi and reducing stress in the body.
In an exciting twist of events, western research is actually catching on to this fact! A study published in the Journal of Endocrinology gained press in 2013 explored the biological mechanisms involved in acupuncture’s stress-relieving abilities. They discovered that acupuncture actually reduces stress hormones in the blood stream meaning that acupuncture can actually reduce stress on a molecular level!
The research showed that acupuncture can work on both the short term and long term, chronic stress cascade in the body lending credibility to the use of acupuncture for both acute and long term stress reduction.
A Parting Note on How to Make Stress Your Friend
I hope you find the tips above useful and, if you are looking down the barrel of a new high stress time or struggling to manage stress in your life in general, please consider getting some acupuncture treatment. It works! And now there is research to prove it. Neat, huh?
I leave you with my favorite TED talk on making stress your friend - the central message here is that stress does serve a purpose in your body, and being stressed about stress is actually worse than dealing with stress itself. Does that make stress management unimportant? Certainly not, prolonged stress is not great for you, but dealing with the stress itself is enough without getting stressed about the stress!
Until next time,
6 Supplements You'll Swear are Magic
Summer is such a beautiful time of year here in the Pacific Northwest. All the lush greenery just comes alive under the nourishment of the sun and provides shady places for our (vampiricly pale) bodies to rest. I know travel is the norm in the summer time but man, Portland is so beautiful its hard for me to think about going anywhere.
Pacific NW musings aside, however, Summer brings with it some predictable activities and some predictable ailments. Primary among them are allergies, insomnia due to the long days or travel and injury. With a few trusty supplements, some simple health tips, and some regular Acupuncture of course, these ailments can be minor and manageable nuisances instead of Summer Fun Stoppers.
Here, therefore, are my favorite tips and supplements for for Summer health:
Health Tips for Insomnia
Insomnia can be caused by many different factors, but from an energetic perspective heat is often the primary offender. Energetic heat, which is compounded by the heat of the summer Season and sometimes called a Yang Excess, can irritate the Shen or Spirit which resides in the heart and settles at night to create sleep. Heat in the Heart is like having a stuffy hot bedroom you can’t air out - the Shen doesn’t like it and hence, sleep becomes an issue.
Simple things you can do for insomnia in the Summer time include sleeping with an eye mask or heavy curtains to block out the long summer light, drinking chamomile and mint tea in the evening, and making sure you have no screen time for at least 30 minutes before lights out.
Here are my two favorite supplements for Insomnia:
Kavinace - This amino acid and B vitamin complex is deeply calming - it can even stop panic attacks! I works in about 20 minutes and helps most people get to sleep with ease. Available in office.
Magnesium - Mg relaxes smooth muscle, calming muscle tension and lowering blood pressure. This leads to peaceful Zzzzz’s. 200 mg at night recommended, available OTC or within the "Calm" supplement in my Amazon store.
Health Tips for Summer Allergies
Summer brings with it beautiful flowers with lots of pollen which means itchy eyes, a runny nose and sneezing for those of us with allergies.
Simple things you can do for allergies in the Summer time include using a Netti Pot or Sinucleanse to do a salt water rinse of your nasal passages morning and night, drinking green tea which can open the sinuses and decrease inflammation and using eye drops like Refresh Tears or Systane (available OTC) to physically wash allergens out of the eye and create a barrier to decrease exposure.
Here are my two favorite supplements for Summer Allergies:
Chuan Xiong Wan - is a Chinese herbal remedy for headache and sinus pressure. I always keep some in my cupboard for allergy season when my sinuses get over pressured. Available in office or online via my Amazon store.
Quercetin: is an anti inflammatory and anti allergy compound. You can find it in many health food stores or online via my Amazon store or eLink herbal dispensary.
Health Tips for Injury
Summertime means getting out and about and doing more fun things! Hiking, biking, walking, running, you name it! But getting into exciting activities often means we get over ambitious and injure ourselves. While many things happen that you just can’t predict, that doesn’t mean that good preparation ever goes to waste.
Simple things you can do to prevent or decrease the likelihood of injury include warming up and stretching before and after exercise for at least 5-10 minutes and hydrating well with an electrolyte mix like Recharge or Coconut Water before and after exercise as well. If you sustain a new injury, start with the RICE protocol for the first three days: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and seek help from an Acupuncturist, Physical Therapist, Chiropractor, or Sports Injury doctor such as an Osteopath depending on the severity of the injury.
Here are my two favorite supplements for injury and injury prevention:
Ilex 15 - This is an herbal remedy typically prescribed for colds and flus, but it is also an anti-inflammatory. This makes it a PERFECT summer supplement for an active lifestyle. It will bolster the immune system while keeping muscles, tendons and sinews supple and healthy to boot. 3 tabs 2x/day for prevention, available in office or online via my Amazon store.
Yunnan Bai Yao - This is an herbal remedy for injury available in powder, tincture and patch form. If you write on a bruise with the tincture you will literally see the letters come through as they heal first in the middle of the bruise! Available in office.
Get Acupuncture! Comment with Questions.
If you want to know more or pick up some of these supplements just give me a call or send me an email and I will be happy to help. You can also post in the comments section with questions below. Acupuncture is excellent for allergies, insomnia and injury, so don’t forget to keep that in mind if one of these pesky summer issues comes up and book in online, okay?
Until next time,
A Learner's Guide to Qi
Qi, pronounced “Ch-ee” is the central concept that Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture are based on and it can be a hard one for the Western mind to grasp. To date, there is no single Western equivalent to Qi and there is no scientific data to validate or replicate its effects. However, Acupuncture continues to be researched extensively and continues to prove that it has positive, repeatable and physiological effects on the body that cannot be explained by Western medicine in any single unified way. Why on functional MRI does the eye zone of the brain light up consistently when the point Gall Bladder 37, located on the lateral aspect of the lower leg, is needled? Why does Acupuncture in the ear assist in weight loss success? Why do some Western medications that act on the kidneys have side effects in the ears? None of these things can be precisely explained by current Western science, yet they are all very clear according to Chinese energetic theory. The connecting factor? Qi and the pathways of Acupuncture Meridians or Channels.
What Is Qi?
According to Chinese Medicine, Qi is a life force or energy that courses through the body in a systematic way and it is essential to health. It flows through the organs, tissues, muscles, bones and sinews, and each energetic channel delves deep into the body and connects to a branch which expresses on the surface where it can be accessed with Acupuncture or Acupressure to effect specific changes.
The basic theory behind how Acupuncture works, states that these energetic channels or Acupuncture meridians are intimately intertwined with the physical body; where one goes, the other will follow. If the physical body is out of balance, the energetic system will be out of balance too and vice versa. If we balance the energetic system, therefore, the physical body will also become balanced because it will follow suit. In this way, correcting imbalances in your Qi will correct imbalances in the physical body and stimulate healing.
Each organ has its own Qi and within that Qi is a balance of Yin and Yang, Qi and Blood and other energetic factors. The true “magic” of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine lies in the complex energetic interactions between different organ systems and different factors within organ systems. Subtle changes in ones energy can reverberate through this complex web of Qi interactions and create big effects.
In the same way, these tiny needles with their own Acupuncture Qi imparted by the practitioner are a subtle tool that can create incredible healing.
Balancing Qi - Short Term Recovery, Long Term Success
According to Chinese Medicine, balance in the body looks like a classic picture of health - healthy glow to the skin, bright presence behind the eyes, having enough energy to get through the day and sleep well at night, waking rested, having a balanced mind and clear mental process, being even in your emotions and able to recover emotionally quickly when life throws you a curve ball, being a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water. Tongue and Pulse assessment are also central to Acupuncture, and when in balance, the pulse should be moderate, meaning not overly strong with a hard bounding vessel but not weak or hard to find either. The tongue should be a pale pink to red color, free of scallops along the sides, and with a thin white (clear) tongue coat.
Modern life and diet can make achieving this full list difficult, but Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are always working with you towards that goal - towards achieving the picture of health that YOU want which includes as many of the items above as possible within your vision, and then working to keep you there. Moving along the physical, mental and energetic path to health is often so healing that even if your “picture” never perfectly matches the one above, your symptoms may be completely resolved. Monthly or quarterly maintenance treatments help you stay on track by balancing your Qi which can keep the physical body in line.
Cultivating Qi Like a Master - Meditation
Ever watch a Bruce Lee movie or better yet, an interview or demo? Have you ever wondered how he could do all those amazing physical feats? Certainly he had incredible focus and was a masterful athlete, but he was also a martial artist in the deepest sense - a master of Qi cultivation. His book the Tao of Jeet Kune Do is much about this - finding The Way through self discovery - and the simplest Qi Cultivation that can serve your health long term, is meditation.
Want to balance your Qi at home? Try this simple meditation exercise for 5 minutes a day and after one week assess how you feel - you might be surprised by the results!
SIMPLE BREATH COUNTING MEDITATION
Your goal is to be present and keep and empty mind for next five minutes.
No More Sagging!
Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture, also called Facial Acupuncture or Cosmetic Acupuncture, is often referred to as a “Botox Alternative.” While this is true - the effects of Facial Acupuncture are most often likened to that of a natural Botox treatment - Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture does so much more.
Rejuvenation really is the best term for what Facial Acupuncture can do. It can lift, firm, tighten, enhance muscle done and dermal contraction, improve complexion, reduce wrinkles and eliminate some fine lines, relax facial muscles and more. The most amazing part? All of this is done naturally by improving Qi and Blood circulation and stimulating YOUR body to heal and turn back the clock. Want to know how Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture does it? Read on…
How Does Facial Acupuncture Work?
The exact mechanism of action for how and why Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture can do what it does has not been researched from a western perspective. Theoretically, however, there is both Chinese Medicine theory and Western Scientific theory.
Chinese Medicine states that Facial Acupuncture works in many ways. Primary among them are these three principles:
Western Medicine has the following ideas about how Facial Acupuncture might be doing the magic it can do:
The Real Magic of Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture
Theory is one thing, but knowing that Facial Rejuvenation has a 3,000 year history, and having a bank of clients who can attest to the changes in their skin, I can say with confidence that no matter the theory, the reality is that it works. The real magic of Facial Acupuncture lies in the fact that it stimulates your body to turn back the clock naturally for long lasting anti-aging effects.
The Qi and Blood improvement, the constitutional wellbeing, the increased collagen and elastin - all of these are things your body does with the proper Facial Acupuncture nudge, and that means they are things your body can keep with proper maintenance as well. The effects of Facial Acupuncture don’t just wear off like Botox, they can actually stay with you for years to come.
Since we are fighting the natural process of aging, however, some maintenance is required and how much maintenance after an initial series depends on your age and the specific geography of your face. The only way to determine what it would require for you, is to come in for a consult or treatment to get a true assessment of your skin and your goals.
Contact Rebecca with Questions
Facial Acupuncture is an amazing anti-aging treatment and tool. Its something I feel very passionate about because the transformation I see in men and women when they feel more confident in their presentation to the world can be truly astonishing sometimes. If you have questions contact me via email anytime or book a free consultation online. I am happy to help in any way I can!
Until next time,
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.