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.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
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!
Top Health 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!
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.