Do you ever feel kind of stuck in your body? Like you know you are eating (most of the) right things and you're (mostly) drinking enough water and exercising but your skin feels kind of bumpy on your arms and you just feel thick inside?
Energetically these are signs of stagnation in the body and sometimes the body needs a little extra help to keep things moving. My first recommendation is always Acupuncture, but my next one is an easy step that YOU can do at home in just a few minutes a day. It can help improve your circulation overall, enhance the natural detoxification abilities of the skin (our largest detox organ!), help to clear your skin and decrease those little bumps AND even shift cellulite. Oh, what is it you ask? Skin Brushing!
Truly, helping our bodies to detoxify is an important part of any wellness regime and caring for our skin is a simple and excellent way to stimulate our body’s natural detoxification mechanisms.
How To Skin Brush:
1. Starting from the feet, brush the soles as well as the upper side using a long-handled natural brush. Using long, sweeping strokes, brush up the legs, covering all of the skin’s surface area, concentrating on the thighs and buttocks.
2. Put one arm up in the air, allowing gravity to help drain the lymph to the armpit, and sweep down the arm with gentle strokes, drawing towards the armpit.
3. Brush the torso by brushing towards the heart, and when doing the lower abdomen, brush up the right-hand side, just on the inside of the hip bone, across the transverse colon beneath the ribs and down the left-hand side, then gently across the pelvic area to complete the circle. Repeat.
4. When working near the breast area, brush over the top of the breast, always aiming for the armpit – and remember, be gentle over sensitive areas.
Skin brushing should be performed once a day, preferably first thing in the morning or before a bath or shower and on a dry and naked body.
After brushing your body, rinse off in the shower while alternating temperatures from hot and cold. Alternating temperatures will bring more blood to the outer layers of the skin and stimulate blood circulation, further invigorating the skin.
We sell skin brushes in the office, or you can buy them on Amazon.com. Its important to get a brush that has soft natural fiber bristles, and my favorite are the ones with a detachable handle - little more versatile for different body areas.
I guarantee if you try it for 10 days you will be AMAZED by how your skin feels and by the renewed energy you experience due to increased Qi and Blood flow in the body. If you're looking for one simple thing to make you feel better and BE healthier, I highly recommend adding this to your regime.
Until next time, Be Well!
If you suffer from headaches, you are not alone. Over 50 million of us experience some form of a severe headache at some point in our lives. Whether you experience minor head pain or severe migraines, headaches can take valuable time out of your day and your life, and leave you searching for relief.
Many seek relief by reaching for drugs and other medications. This may work temporarily and can help you get out of pain fast. Unfortunately, common headache medications do not address the root cause(s), and when used over long periods of time can cause unwanted side effects.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offer a safe and effective approach to relieving headache pain without causing harmful side effects. These healing modalities provide a comprehensive diagnostic protocol that can help your acupuncturist understand and address the root cause(s) of your headaches.
Causes of Headaches: There are many factors in TCM theory that may play a key role in the root cause(s) of a headache. These include body constitution, emotional health, excessive work, social activities and exercise, improper diet, physical trauma and hormones. Headaches can also be diagnosed according to specific symptoms, times of occurrence, location, type of pain, and triggers.
A natural path to relief: Acupuncture and TCM take a holistic, or whole-body approach to health. Your practitioner will take a detailed health history, and perform a physical exam to determine how and why your body’s vital energy, or Qi (pronounced chee), is out of balance and identify what type of headache you are experiencing. To determine the most effective care, he/she will focus on illuminating the root cause(s) of the problem.
Slow and Steady Wins the Headache Race
It is important to remember that acupuncture is not a quick fix. Changes may occur quickly or over a longer period of time, depending upon your overall constitution and health. An average course of treatment in China is 10 treatments in 10 days and then we reassess. In the US we find this largely unnecessary and virtually impossible - I see most patients once a week for 6 treatments to begin and then we reassess.
Your course of treatment, however, will always be unique. Whether it is one visit to address an acute problem, or several visits to address a chronic problem, it is suggested to closely follow care recommendations of based on your individual diagnosis to maximize your healing potential.
Simple Ways to Alleviate Headache
Below are a few ways that you can make simple lifestyle changes that may help alleviate or even prevent headaches:
Want to Know More? Contact me!
If you want to know more or have questions about Acupuncture for Headache relief, feel free to contact me or book an appointment or free consultation. You can also leave questions in the comments section below and I'll be happy to answer you to the best of my ability!
Until next time, Yours In Health,
Do you suffer from gas? bloating? discomfort? intestinal irritation? You may have Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS - a condition that's digestive condition characterized by chronic stomach pain, bloating, irregular bowel movements, diarrhea and/or constipation. It's estimated that upwards of 15% of the United States population suffers from IBS, many of whom do not even realize it.
I am one of those sufferers, and my symptoms started when I was a teenager. In my 20's I pursued Chinese Medicine for relief and was amazed to find that it completely controlled my symptoms after 3 months of treatment. Unfortunately, after a very high stress time my symptoms returned and I learned I had become Soy and Gluten Intolerant. Now, as long as I avoid those foods, get regular Acupuncture and maintain a healthy diet my IBS symptoms are under control.
What is a healthy diet you might ask? That can be highly individual, aside from the expected - avoiding foods I'm allergic to, avoiding sugar, high alcohol intake and caffeine. Diet, exercise and alternative interventions like Acupuncture really can be the key to easy management of IBS and even though there's no known cure for IBS, individuals can definitely prevent symptoms from occurring.
In lieu of personalized dietary counseling, here is a Top 4 List of foods to avoid if you have IBS to help keep symptoms at bay.
Although they are loaded in beneficial nutrients like vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, manganese and fiber, Brussels sprouts should be avoided by people with IBS. This fun-sized vegetable can worsen the symptoms of IBS by promoting excess gas and abdominal pain. While each and every case of IBS is unique, most people report adverse symptoms after consuming Brussels sprouts.
Another food that you should consider avoiding raw is broccoli. This crunchy, stalky vegetable is high in fiber and it promotes gas – two elements that can worsen IBS symptoms. It's important to note, however, that cooking broccoli may eliminate some or all of its negative effects. So if raw, uncooked broccoli triggers a bout of IBS, try steaming or sautéing it. A quick toss with some olive oil, lemon juice and a dash of salt and voila - delicious, less (or no!) gas producing broccoli is at your disposal. Cooking broccoli may allow you to reap the nutritional benefits of this vegetable without irritating your digestive system.
The truth is that any high-fiber vegetable may cause digestive issues in people with IBS, so don't assume that broccoli and Brussels sprouts are the only culprits, but these two have been commonly reported as irritants.
You may want to think twice before eating a milk-filled bowl of cereal for breakfast in the morning, as it can worsen IBS symptoms. Normally, the small intestines do a pretty good job at breaking down lactose. If there's no enough enzymes to perform this operation, however, some of it will travel to the large intestines where the it's fermented. Not only will this cause gas, but it can also cause bloating, cramps, spasms and diarrhea.
It should come as no surprise that beans is on our list of foods for IBS sufferers to avoid. Beans (legumes) contain a special type of sugar known as oligosaccharide, which the body is unable to break down. Since they aren't broken down in the same manner as other sugars, oligosaccharides pass through the small and large intestines, at which point bacteria converts them to gas.
Interested in Learning More?
I actually wrote a research paper on IBS which you can access HERE on my website for more detailed information about IBS from a Chinese Medicine perspective. Regardless, if you're looking for advice or treatment from someone who understands, please contact me today to learn how you can get on track to better health.
Until next time,
Tired of Struggling with Skin Balance and Sensitivity? Here are 5 Oils and 6 Alternative Tx That Can Improve Your Skin Today
Do you find yourself struggling to keep your skin clear? Moist? Balanced? Even though you feel like that should kind of be over by now? If so, you're not alone.
Skin issues can happen at any age. Whether you have dry, oily or sensitive skin, it can get complicated.
Although there are many products on the market that promise to “cure” your skin ailments, natural alternatives have proven to be effective and one of the safest options for skin treatment.
Here are 5 different oils that are easy to add to your skin maintenance routine and can help with some of the frustrations you may be facing:
Moringa oil has been around for thousands of years and was originally used by ancient Egyptians. This oil contains antioxidants and fatty acids that help prevent the skin from sun damage and aging while being a natural moisturizer.
Argan oil is used today as an effective anti-aging treatment. Regular use of argan oil can help tighten the skin and increase oxygenation and nutrients in the cells.
Because of its high content of Vitamin C and Omega fatty acids, rosehip oil is an excellent treatment for restoring the skin and helping heal scar tissue. This oil will help your skin feel replenished and brightened.
Hemp seed oil
If you struggle with oily skin and blocked pores, believe or not, this dry oil can help. Hemp seed oil has a high content of Omega fatty acids that can reduce pore size and eliminate acne. This oil is also used to treat psoriasis and eczema because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Coconut oil has many uses and benefits. Not only is it used for skin treatment, but can also be used to whiten your teeth. If you spend a lot of the time in the sun and have dry skin, coconut oil can be used to replenish and moisturize your skin. If you’re looking to whiten your teeth, doing a coconut oil rinse has been proven to remove bacteria and plaque.
Beyond what you put On your skin, there are other alternative options to improving your skin below the surface that carry through to what you see over time. Here are some easy steps to add to your daily routine.
Alternative treatments for healthy looking skin:
Avoid food allergies: Most people who have skin issues also have food allergies that can worsen their skin. Common foods to avoid include gluten, dairy and artificial additives. You can eliminate each food group one at a time to test if it improves your skin.
Replace meat and dairy: By replacing these inflammatory saturated fats with unsaturated fats, you will increase your intake of nutrients that can aid your skin. Unsaturated fats to add to your diet include avocado, olive oil, nuts and flaxseed.
Probiotics: Taking a daily probiotic supplement has been proven to reduce symptoms of dermatitis, a disorder causing itchy, red skin. Probiotics add healthy bacteria to your gut and improve your digestive tract system, which in turn improves the overall health and function of your body.
Remove sugar: Remove sugar and processed foods from your diet. Besides not having a rich nutritional value, processed foods can affect and worsen allergies and skin disorders.
Herbal tea: Herbal teas have been shown to reduce inflammation that comes with eczema. Teas to try include chamomile tea, nettle tea or drinking Aloe Vera.
Acupuncture: Acupuncture can stimulate the production of endorphins in the body, which then can improve function of the immune and endocrine systems. Improving these systems can greatly affect the skin and restore it to better health.
Like most common health issues, a healthy diet, exercise and reducing stress can be of great help. Environmental factors can have a large impact on skin and overall health of the body. By following a daily routine that includes eating natural foods, exercising regularly and eliminating excess stress, you can see your skin start to improve as well!
I encourage you to ask questions and leave comments below if you want more information, or contact me anytime to ask more about skin health, Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture and more. Until next time, have a wonderful Summer!
I love my family to pieces, but this week I had one of those days where I just felt like I was running and running and running without a break all day. The kids, my business, my mom, cooking, cleaning, bills, dogs eating and destroying things they aren't supposed to - have you had a day like that recently? And have you ever finished a day like that and just felt like you can't wind down? If so, I can relate.
Luckily, I have some amazing Chinese Medicine tools at my disposal for dealing with the aftermath of days like this (and when I'm in my right state of mind, the during!) because chronic stress without a reprieve is less than ideal for your health.
Think about it this way - what do you think would happen if you kept your car in park and the engine revving at 65 miles per hour?
You guessed it—after a short time your car would break down. If you were lucky, a simple tune-up would fix the problem. If not, the engine might need to be replaced entirely.
Chronic stress without a recovery period is a revving engine that, if left unchecked, can wear out the body and mind. Stress in our professional, personal, financial and social lives can lead to a variety of symptoms and signs of ill health.
Stress increases our body’s production of cortisol and adrenaline. These body chemicals help activate the “fight or flight” response, a normal reaction that is designed to prepare the body to flee danger or fight an attacker.
Unfortunately, many modern stressors are chronic and end up activating the “fight or flight” response for weeks, months, or years at a time. This long-term activation of the body’s stress-response system can wear down the body and mind, setting the stage for illness and disease.
The good news is that acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be extremely helpful in reducing the symptoms, signs and effects of stress. In fact, treating and learning to manage stress and the aftermath of stress is a specialty in my practice, and I've helped hundreds of patients learn what to do to to decrease stress and improve health over the past decade. Some of the ways we can accomplish this include:
1) A customized Chinese herbal prescription to help restore internal health and balance, thus “slowing the engine down.”
2) Safe, gentle and effective acupuncture treatments to help “turn off” the fight or flight response and can enable you to feel calmer and sleep more soundly.
3) Suggestions for a healthy lifestyle, including proper nutrition, meditation, rest and exercise, towards enabling you to maintain health over the long-term.
One of the unique attributes of Chinese medicine is its holistic approach to health and well-being. Instead of masking, or only addressing a few symptoms and signs related to stress, an acupuncturist cares for the whole person, body and mind.
Stop revving your engine! If you or someone you know is experiencing stress, feel free to give me a call. For thousands of years acupuncture has helped millions of people cool their engines before they burned out and I've made it a mission of my practice to help people like you Be Well and Stay Well in every way despite the high stress times our modern world subjects us to day to day.
So if you're ready to downshift to a lower gear with Chinese Medicine as your guide, please book in for an appointment or consultation today. It would be my true joy and pleasure to help you!
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.