In Chinese medical theory, food is considered medicine. Food has qualities and functions biochemically and energetically that target specific organs. Not only that, but the action a particular food takes to benefit that organ in terms of taste, color and temperature is what is included in Five Element theory. Food has a relationship to both the natural elements as well as the organs in the body and balances the elements of fire, earth, metal, water and wood to healthy, generating cycles.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) everything is thought of in terms of yin and yang theory. Yin is often dark, cooling, moist, still, and internal where are Yang is bright, hot, moving, dry, and outward; Our bodies are constantly trying to achieve a balance between these two forces. There are even some foods that are considered a force of yin and some food is considered more yang. Depending on one’s constitution, some foods might exacerbate a hotter constitution while others would promote a cooling effect. Each person realistically needs a unique approach to food intake, as not all foods deemed “healthy” are good for everyone across the board. It is not recommended to self-diagnose, so see your Chinese medical provider to get a proper diagnosis of your particular constitution and advice on foods that may be right for you according to this theory.
Color is one way to determine which organ a food will target. Ideally, one eats what is in season and includes a wide variety of flavors and colors. Colors in vegetables have beneficial antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents as well as phytonutrients:
Green: Green goes to the liver channel, a wood element. Foods that are green are spinach, lettuce, green beans, broccoli and avocado. Generally, these foods are more cooling and contain sulforaphane, an anti-cancer compound, as well as important vitamins like beta-carotene, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B complex, vitamins C, A and K.
Red: Red food tends to benefit the heart, a fire element. Red foods include tomatoes, carrots, strawberries, peppers and apples. Hawthorne berries and goji berries have been shown to benefit the heart and prevent heart disease, and vegetables with red color often have lycopene, a substance shown to help prevent cancer. Orange vegetables like carrots have carotenoids and lutein, powerful phytonutrients.
Yellow: Yellow benefits the spleen/stomach, the earth element, involved with digestion. Yellow foods include soy, barley, egg yolks, yellow peppers, lemons, summer squash and cantaloupe. Yellow foods boost your mood and contain bioflavonoids, carotenoids and vitamin C.
White: White benefits the lungs, a metal element. These foods moisten the lung and include white beans, radish, wild rice, garlic, cauliflower, potatoes, mushrooms and jicama. These are packed with potassium, magnesium, fiber, and antioxidants. Garlic contains allicin, which when crushed or chopped is anti-fungal and an antibiotic.
Black: Black benefits the kidneys, the water element. Examples of these beneficial foods are seaweed, black beans, black sesame seeds, kelp and black rice. These foods are loaded with vitamins and minerals that strengthen bones, benefit the thyroid, and promote longevity.
The next time you create your meal, include a combination of colors and flavors to not only delight your palate but also to keep your organs happy and balanced. Eat what’s in season, cook your vegetables, as cold, raw vegetables are harder to digest, eat slowly and include some kind of exercise during the day.
We often say in Traditional Chinese Medicine that the liver is the system most easily susceptible to stress. Stress knots the Qi (energy) and makes its flow stagnate - this happens most quickly in the liver energy system. The liver, in TCM, is in charge of the smooth flow of Qi throughout the body. This means that if Qi flow is impaired (ie, by stress), the liver system will suffer. Likewise, if the liver energy system is weak or stagnant (from lifestyle choices, diet, trauma, emotional stress, illness or genetic factors), Qi flow throughout the body may be impaired.
Common symptoms of liver Qi stagnation include irritability, anger, tension headaches, migraines, trouble sleeping, PMS, irregular menstrual cycles and just a general stagnation of feeling stuck or blocked.
Chinese herbs can be a very useful treatment for moving stuck liver Qi and helping it to flow smoothly, to reduce these sorts of symptoms. Chinese herbs are safe and effective when prescribed by a licensed practitioner. To effectively treat liver Qi stagnation, other supportive energy systems must also be moved or nourished, depending on the person. For this reason, these herbs are almost never taken alone, but rather as part of a formula targeting liver Qi stagnation as well as the backdrop on which is occurs.
Chai Hu (Bupleurum): Chai Hu is one of the most commonly used herbs to regulate the liver Qi and treat Qi stagnation, so it can be used in formulas targeting depression, stress, tension headaches and menstrual pain. It also has a function of harmonizing the liver and the spleen energy systems, for treating indigestion, bloating and flank pain. It has a rising action, so needs to be used cautiously in patients with high blood pressure, but making it ideal for patients with sinking energy causing issues such as prolapse or hemorrhoids.
Xiang Fu (Cyperus Rhizome): Xiang Fu directly spreads and regulates liver Qi, for treating symptoms such as hypochondriac pain, menstrual pain, irregular periods, epigastric pain and stress. Xiang Fu moves the Qi but is said to “move the blood within the Qi,” meaning it can move stuck blood by moving the Qi, and that it is a powerful Qi mover. It is an excellent herb for gynecological issues stemming from liver Qi stagnation.
Bo He (Field Mint): Bo He is an herb for “releasing exterior heat,” which means fighting off acute infection with symptoms such as sore throat, fever, cough and headache. However, it has a secondary function of mildly soothing the liver Qi. As such, it can be a great supportive herb for liver Qi stagnation. It can therefore be used to treat menstrual issues, emotional issues, PMS, temporal headaches or pain along the sides of the body.
Yu Jin (Turmeric Tuber): Yu Jin is an herb used to move stuck blood. It is therefore frequently used in formulas to treat pain following traumatic injury to an area. However, it also has the function of moving liver Qi, so it can be added to formulas for symptoms such as chest and flank pain, muscle pain or menstrual pain.
Fo Shou (Finger Citron Fruit, “Buddha’s Hand”): Fo Shou is another herb that directly regulates the liver Qi, specifically for symptoms such as rib pain or belching. It also strengthens the digestive system through tonifying the spleen and stomach, as well as drying dampness and transforming phlegm to treat chronic wet coughs.
For the most effective and safe treatment, consult a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Safe home treatments for liver Qi stagnation include mint tea, turmeric tea and exercise.
Having recurring migraines is similar to parenting a temperamental toddler. When they go from being annoying to actively disruptive and mildly infuriating, there is often little one can do but grit your teeth and persevere. The helpful suggestions for managing this occurrence involved a mixture of expert opinion, anecdotal hearsay, individual tinkering and a big dose of patience. So where does acupuncture fit into this picture?
We'll start with expert opinion. Consider a 2013 systematic review that compared actual and placebo effects of several interventions for the treatment of migraines (1). The study showed that sham acupuncture had a stronger placebo effect than the oral pharmacological placebo, and furthermore the placebo effect of acupuncture was shown to be as strong as the true, active-drug treatment. So the research currently suggests even if one were to receive only the placebo benefit of acupuncture, it may still be as effective as taking a pharmaceutical for the treatment of migraines.
That is promising research, but let's add anecdote for good measure. It is possible to stop a migraine in its tracks if one is able to see an acupuncturist during the acute stage of migraine. The release of endogenous opioids, the body's natural pain-relievers, combined with the stimulation of endorphins, can turn the worst headache into no more than a mild annoyance within that hour-long session. Acupuncture also treats nausea and vomiting, and it balances the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (2), which is implicated in migraine pathology (3).
Now for individual tinkering. Acupuncture is hyper-individualized, with each treatment responding to your body's symptoms at that exact moment, in a way specific to only you. Coming in for acupuncture during the acute stage provides the acupuncturist with valuable information about how your body is experiencing the strongest symptoms of migraine attack. This informs the treatments given afterward to prevent or reduce the severity of the next migraine. Weekly treatments downregulate stress hormones and create a more clear baseline from which to observe physiological patterns such as dietary and environmental triggers. This can help make your individual-lifestyle adjustments more effective in reducing migraines.
And finally, patience is still the key when treating migraines. Acupuncture must be used regularly for an individually determined period of time in order for its full benefit to become apparent. In the same way that eating one kale leaf will not make one a beacon of health, neither will having just one acupuncture treatment. The goal is to set up and then reinforce a pattern of signaling in the body that is closer to the “rest and digest” mode of existence and further away from the “fight and flight” mode that governs our modern lives. Each acupuncture treatment helps reinforce the beneficial relaxing mode that reduces the prevalence of migraines.
1)Meissner, K, et. al. Differential effectiveness of placebo treatments: a systematic review of migraine prophylaxis. JAMA Internal medicine. 2013 Nov 25;173(21):1941-51.
2) Wang, S-J, Zhang, J-J, and Qie, L-L. Acupuncture relieves the excessive excitation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal cortex axis function and correlates with the regulatory mechanism of GR, CRH, and ACTHR. Evidence based complementary and alternative medicine. 2014; 2014.
3)Tietjen, G. and Peterlin, B. Childhood abuse and migraine: epidemiology, sex differences, and possible mechanisms. Headache. 2011 Jun: 51(6):869-879.
Acupuncture is an ancient medical practice that has been delivering documented and positive results for a multitude of conditions. This practice has taken place for thousands of years and has been a reliable source of treatment for many ailments. Acupuncture is done by inserting needles into the skin at specific points on the body helping to correct imbalances and restore the natural flow of the body's energies, thus returning you to a more natural state of well-being.
Evidence for the Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Back Pain
The National Institute of Health (NIH) has published a number of studies that show acupuncture is quite effective as a pain management therapy. They have demonstrated that it is effective in treating neck, back, and joint pain in a multitude of studies.
In their examination of treating chronic pain using acupuncture, the NIH concluded that, “Acupuncture appears to be a reasonable option for people with chronic pain to consider.” They found that those undergoing treatment during the study had positive results and subsided pain. According to PracticalPainManagement.com, “A review article found pain relief using acupuncture comes from deactivating the source of pain, modulating endorphin levels.” Even WebMD.com writes that, a “[…] recent review of 22 acupuncture studies showed that it provided short-term relief from chronic back pain.”
This implies that alongside acupuncture treatment, eating well and taking care of your body in other ways such as eating well and exercising regularly can help your back pain.
Pain Relief is Just One Benefit of Acupuncture
For those suffering from long term, chronic pain - only one thing matters: relief. Chronic pain can degrade the quality of a person’s life, and make day to day activity unbearable. Those who suffer from it can lose their ability to work, and often lose the desire to do the things they enjoy.
Effective pain management can absolutely improve a person's quality of life. While western pain relievers do work, the side effects and risk of addiction make them sub optimal. The job of the acupuncturist is to address chronic pain and offer a non-addictive, non-westernpain relief option. Acupuncture is safe, natural and drug-free.
When we consider the ability of acupuncture to decrease the need for opiates and other dangerous painkillers, it’s easy to see how acupuncture not only relieves pain, but also saves lives.
Give us a call today if you or a loved one is suffering from back pain.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) utilizes many different modalities to help keep the body free from disease. These modalities include acupuncture, moxibustion, nutrition, qi gong, tai chi and herbal formulations among many others.
Chinese herbal medicine has been used for millennia to keep the body free from disease and to also help remove disease when it attacks by strengthening a weakened immune system by increasing red and white cell counts, T-cell count and enhancing humoral and cellular immunity. Herbs can be used alone or combined with other herbs to make more effective formulas used to strengthen the immune system when the body is fighting illness. Chinese Herbal remedies and nutritional therapy can treat a wide range of health conditions, including immune deficiency, by stimulating and balancing the immune system. TCM strives to regulate immune function and treat the underlying cause of the disease by reducing symptoms, speeding up the healing of infection and normalizing the body’s immune response. And while not all of the herbs we will discuss here are specific to TCM, they can be found and utilized easily.
Reishi Mushroom: This fungi is sometimes called the “great protector” because it guards the body against the detrimental effects stress can have on the physical body. When taken regularly, it has been shown to improve immunity, while also calming the nerves. Specifically, it can help inhibit tumor growth in both breast and prostate cancer.
Elderberry: Elderberry is a commonly used medicinal plant that is known all around the world. Elderberry has been gaining popularity over the past few years, and rightfully so! The berries and flowers of elderberry are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that can boost your immune system. Elderberry is most often taken as a supplement to treat cold and flu symptoms.
Ginger: Ginger can be used fresh, powdered, dried, as oil and juice, and is even added to processed foods. Ginger has a long history of use in various forms of traditional and alternative medicines. It has been used to help digestion, alleviate nausea, reduce the risk of heart disease, and help fight the flu and common cold. Ginger can also reduce inflammation and alleviate exercise-induced muscle pain.
Probiotics: Having the right gut bacteria is linked to numerous health benefits, including weight loss, improved digestion, and healthier skin. There is now substantial evidence that probiotics can provide benefits by improving and modulating immune function, regulating inflammation, and cell-to-cell signaling. Certain probiotics have even shown to decrease airway hyperresponsiveness and inflammation by inducing regulatory mechanisms.
A great way to nourish a healthy gut is to consume foods filled with beneficial bacteria, rather than adding supplemental pills. This includes cultured dairy products like yogurt and kefir; fermented vegetables such as kimchi or sauerkraut; miso, tempeh, natto, and other fermented soy products; as well as kombucha (a type of fermented tea).
Astragalus: This herb is a favorite among TCM practitioners and has a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine for a variety of conditions, especially for those who are already fatigued. This herb is specifically known for its ability to strengthen the Wei Qi. Astragalus root is often used as a tonic to increase stamina (the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort). Astragulus promotes healthy resistance from the occasional physical and emotional stressors, all the while supporting healthy immune functions.
The appropriate dose of astragalus depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. Also worth noting, there are over 2,000 different species of astragalus.
As you can see, herbs can be very beneficial and help keep the body free from illness. The herbs mentioned above are just a few examples that would be good to have on hand to help boost your immune system.
Please be proactive in your health, always seek professional advice when adding any kind of supplements to your daily routine.
To all of you, my dearest patients, I have a sad message today. After 14 years in business I am closing my Portland location and refocusing my practice closer to home in La Center, Washington only.
I have not made this decision lightly, but for my business to survive this pandemic there is a cost and at this time, that cost is the extra expense of my Portland practice at Southpark Square. The challenge of continuing to practice in this new era of Coronavirus with the extra steps and precautions required, plus the added need to manage childcare in a different way, has led me to realize that the best path forward for my practice and my family is to stay small and stay local to home.
Some of you in Portland have been with me since the very beginning and some of you are new to my practice. To all of you I give my deepest and sincerest thanks for trusting me with your care. It has been such an incredible honor to be of service, and to have been part of your lives for however long.
I am still practicing in La Center if any of you want to brave the drive! I will also continue to offer Telehealth options to anyone who is interested in acupressure, dietary and lifestyle advice, herbal prescriptions or therapeutic exercises - all available for booking online anytime.
For those of you for whom this is not an option, I want to refer you to my dear dear friend Lara Dilkes, LAc at PDX-Acupuncture (https://pdx-acupuncture.com). Lara and I went to school together and she is MY Acupuncturist. She is lovely and amazing and I trust her implicitly. Her practice is close to mine in downtown Portland on 3rd and she is a joyful spirit and a gifted provider. If you see her please tell her that I referred you, I promise you will get the best of care!
This whole experience of the coronavirus pandemic is so unexpected and for me, ever evolving. In many regards life feels forever changed for me, but as I mourn the loss of some experiences and freedoms, I celebrate others - the renewed sense of commitment to my own health and wellbeing instead of tumbling along in my typical (inherited?) workaholic fashion, the added time with my children, the appreciation of so many little things I took for granted.
While reality itself may be objective, our experience of it is subjective and in the end, our “truth” becomes whatever story we tells ourselves about our experience. So I ask you - what is your truth in this moment? What will you remember and tell yourself about this time and will that story help you be well and grow to be the best self you can be?
Ultimately this is the reason I have decided to close my Portland practice - my highest calling and highest self involves a hybrid of caring for my family, managing a sustainable business and caring for myself so that I can continue to care for my family and my patients. Staying in La Center will allow me to do that, and I hope you can understand.
I’m reminded of a quote from one of my favorite books as I start to see Portland in my rear view mirror. It goes:
“Everything that happens in your life—every single thing—leaves a scar. A permanent scar. You’re not supposed to get over it. To get over something—to erase the mark it left on you—erases part of who you are.”
― Matthew Woodring Stover, Blade of Tyshalle
I don’t think of Portland as a scar per se, but as an indelible mark on my life that I would never forget, regret or give up. Each of you have left your own mark on my life in the best possible way, and for each line and remembrance I say thank you.
Millions of people (as many as 50 million per year) suffer from recurring allergy symptoms. The causes of allergies are as many as the people who suffer from them. The severity of an individual’s reaction to a given allergy can vary greatly from one person to another and one allergic event to the next. Allergies range in severity from minor to mild, to irritating to severe, and some allergies can even be deadly.
The most common, most problematic allergic sensitivity is Hay Fever or allergic rhinitis. Many people miss work and other important activities on a seasonal basis when severe Hay Fever symptoms are not controlled.
For these reasons, many people seek relief from allergies, and fortunately there are many healthcare options available for those who are looking for better ways to treat their allergies. One of the most promising, and often overlooked treatments can be acupuncture and acupressure.
The Effect of Acupuncture on Allergies
While medication can reduce inflammation and suppress other symptoms of allergies, medications almost always come with undesirable side effects. Few medications can resolve the underlying problem that makes a given person allergic to a given substance. Conversely, acupuncture has been used for a number of years now by a wide range of practitioners to successfully relieve allergy symptoms.
Acupuncture is an ancient practice developed in mainland China. It has been used for a wide variety of conditions. Since becoming popular in the West, it has been frequently used as a complement to western medicinal options.. Acupuncture helps to correct functional imbalances and restore the flow of your body’s innate energies, thus returning you to a more natural state of well-being. And hopefully allergy-free!
Acupuncture, and Its Effect on Allergic Rhinitis
This study took aim at the most troublesome of all allergies, allergic rhinitis. It corroborates the reports by patients and practitioners that acupuncture is an effective way to treat allergies.
The study looked at 422 patients who tested positive for pollen allergies and presented with allergic nasal symptoms. The researchers randomly assigned participants to three different groups. One group was given 12 acupuncture treatments and took antihistamines as they normally would. The next group took 12 sham acupuncture treatments and antihistamines as they would normally do to combat symptoms. The third group took only antihistamines with no acupuncture treatments.
The research team found that those who received both real acupuncture and antihistamines reported the largest decrease in symptoms. They also reported using antihistamines less frequently than the other two groups.
While this study was limited to one allergy, it is promising that other, if not all chronic allergies, can be successfully treated through the regular use of acupuncture and/or acupressure.
If you or someone you know suffers from allergies, give us a call, maybe acupuncture can help
Your immune system is the most important part of your body when it comes to staying healthy and fighting off disease and illness. It works by detecting harmful pathogens and viruses and acting as a defense against them. When your immune system is not running properly, the body becomes more susceptible to illness.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has focused on immune health for centuries. TCM believes that disease and illness arise when there is an imbalance of Wei Qi in the body. When these energies are not in equilibrium, the body’s natural energy flow, Qi, experiences disturbances, and oftentimes results in illness.
To keep the body working properly, modalities such as acupuncture, Gua Sha, herbal medicine and acupressure, are used to bring the body back into balance. These methods of healing are what ultimately support a healthy immune system.
Acupuncture can help boost the immune system through specific acupressure points on the body. Here are a series of acupressure points to boost immunity and support your Wei Qi.
Acupuncture for immunity
KIDNEY 27: To locate this point, place your hands on either side of the depression on the lower clavicle bone. From here (with your fingers below the clavicle) separate hands approximately 1-2in horizontally (outward toward shoulders).
An excellent immune-boosting point used for common colds, influenza and for people that have compromised immune systems. Kidney 27 is known to open the chest, descend lung and stomach Qi, and stop coughing.
LARGE INTESTINE 11: Large Intestine 11 is located on the tip of the elbow. The easiest way to find this point is to bend your arm, look down the outer side of your forearm to the elbow, LI 11 lies there where the elbow crease meets the joint.
Acupuncture can be a great way to get your immune system flowing as it should be. Other ways to stay healthy and keep your immune system in tip-top shape is to take Vitamin C, get plenty of sleep each night, avoid alcohol and other hindering depressants.
LUNG 7: Lung 7 (LU 7) is located on the inside arm above the wrist. To find this point interlock your fingers (palms snuggly together) and direct your attention to your lowest thumb. On the outer edge of your thumb, you will find the crease of your wrist. The point lies roughly one inch down toward the elbow, in a depression between the sinew and the bone.
This is a very common point to use for systematic relief of cough, headache and/or stiff neck. As the Luo point of the Lung channel, this point is used to treat anything related to the lungs (asthma, wheezing, bronchitis, cough, congestion etc.) and can help symptoms associated with a weakened immune system.
STOMACH 36: ST 36 can be found on the anterior (front) aspect of the lower leg. To identify the acupressure massage point, measure roughly four fingers below the kneecap on the outside edge of your shinbone. You will know you’re in the right place by flexing your foot back to feel the muscle below (the tibialis anterior muscle) begin to flex.
Performing acupressure on Stomach 36 is like a Vitamin C shot for your body. It is one of the most effective acupuncture points for strengthening the immune system, recovering from fatigue and boosting endurance.
Get into a comfortable position so that you can easily access all points. Apply finger pressure in a slow, rhythmic manner to enable the layers of tissue and the internal organs to respond. Never press any area in an abrupt, forceful, or jarring way. Keep track of the results of your self-acupressure practice to pay close attention to your progress and well-being.
Begin with Kidney 27 and work your way down the body.
Strive to complete this routine at least once in the morning and once before bed.
For more tips on how to take advantage of your body’s natural defense, message us for questions, or read our blog!
Many women are taking steps to ensure they’re in good health. Between a wellness visit to your doctor, a quick exercise, or a healthy meal, there are plenty of ways to make your health a priority without having to sacrifice any of your typical daily activities. In doing so, you’ll be sure to feel your absolute best, each and every day.
Here are four easy ways to help kickstart your journey to good health:
Improve Your Sleep Schedule
Ever heard of the saying, “sleep is the foundation of youth?” Whether you’re familiar with the phrase or not, there is some truth behind it. Sleep is incredibly vital to maintaining good health, and sleep deprivation can have consequences. Memory issues, weight gain, lack of focus, and weakened immunity are just a few ways in which poor sleep can negatively impact your body. If you find yourself wondering how to improve the quality of sleep you’re getting, look no further.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, you should first stick to a set sleep schedule. By waking up at the same time each day, you will regulate your internal clock, allowing yourself to not only fall asleep but also stay asleep at night. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, that establishing a nighttime routine can help you fall asleep more easily. Allowing your mind to have the time to wind down from the day’s activities can be incredibly beneficial to the amount and quality of sleep you get.
Take Time For Yourself
Ensuring that you have designated “me” time each day is incredibly important to your overall health. Allowing yourself time to relax can have you feeling refreshed, and help to improve other aspects of your life (such as your mental health). This time is unique to you and your interests, however, if you’re unsure of where to begin, we’ve got you covered.
Consider revamping your morning and evening routines, as this will require you to set aside time twice a day and pamper yourself. When you’re feeling stressed, your skin is bound to break out, which can ultimately cause your mood to worsen, creating an ongoing battle between your skin and mental health. But, by utilizing your routines to practice a solid skincare routine you can easily treat those pesky blemishes and remain stress-free.
Keep in mind, however, that a solid skincare routine is only as good as the products you use. Besides utilizing the basics, (cleansers, moisturizers, etc.), it’s also important to incorporate treatment products in your regimen as these will work to target your unique skin concerns. A reliable acne cream with an active ingredient like tretinoin, for example, will help to combat blemishes and breakouts by speeding up cell turnover time and removing dead skin that typically clogs pores.
Aside from your routines, you should also consider picking up a bullet journal. This hobby combines daily planning, a diary, and written meditation to leave you feeling organized and with the ability to reflect on your daily progress throughout the month. Arguably, the best part about bullet journaling is that it’s completely customizable! You design the pages and what you wish to record, but if you need a place to start you can also find some ideas here.
Fuel Your Body
The food you consume throughout each day is converted into the energy you need to function, so without a well-balanced diet, you cant support a strong mind and body. A mix of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, is vital to a healthy diet and can provide you with a handful of benefits.
Supplements such as vitamin C or omega 3s, for example, can provide you with an immunity boost and improved brainpower, allowing you to fight off pesky germs, and have a clear, fully-functional mind.
You should also keep in mind that while putting good foods into your body, it’s essential to have a positive relationship with food as well. While making an effort to care for your body, you don’t want to fall into negative habits that negate all the hard work you’re doing. Calorie counting and yo-yo diets can do more harm than good. To avoid this, focus on foods you like that make you feel energized and refreshed.
Work Up a Sweat
It’s no secret that exercise is good for your health, but do you know just how beneficial it can be? The benefits of exercise include an improved mood, increased energy, better sleep, and combat certain health conditions. Physical activity leads to stimulation in the brain, releasing chemicals that can leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. Additionally, it can be fun and a means for you to make new relationships and connections.
No matter if you’re hiking through the great outdoors, on a peaceful jog, or in the gym lifting heavy weights, there’s plenty of ways to increase your heart rate and work up a sweat. You will even find that many gyms are offering online classes due to current events, so consider seizing this opportunity by taking the opportunity to try something new, like pilates or yoga.
Why do some people always catch a cold, and others don’t?
Viruses, germs, and bacteria are everywhere. They are in the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink, but not all of them are bad or harmful.
Think of the immune system as your body's security detail. The cells, tissues, and organs that comprise it help repel foreign invaders like harmful bacteria, parasites and other microbes that can cause infections. Disorders of the immune system range from everyday annoyances like mild seasonal allergies to serious illnesses like leukemia. Stress, lack of sleep and other common conditions can contribute to a weakened immune system, which can make you vulnerable to infections.
When a particular meridian/organ system is already weak and unable to resist “outside” invasion, it is therefore prone to attack by germs, such as viruses and bacteria. Illness and disease can only result when our body provides a hospitable environment.
Your meridian channels control the flow of healing energy, called Qi (“chee”) throughout your entire body, including your organs. The function (health) of your lungs and the strength of your immune system all depend upon the quality, quantity, and balance of healing Qi. According to Chinese medicine, the "true cure" of disease is simply NOT to kill germs, but to reestablish and build up the body's amount of Qi so it can fight them off naturally. Ultimately, an adequate amount of Qi is required to restore the integrity of your meridian and organ system. Germs simply struggle to set up camp in a strong and healthy body.
It is also thought that your body has a protective layer surrounding it called Wei Qi. Your Wei QI also acts as a protective barrier to help keep illness at bay. When your Wei Qi is weakened, you become more vulnerable to illness.
Germs gather and thrive only in weakened parts of a person’s body. When there is an imbalance of Qi, the normal functions of your body will ultimately be affected. This can compromise the normal immune system response to germs and lead to illness.
The onset of disease requires both a pathogen and a host. When germs are strong, but the environment of the host (you) is stronger, the disease could be resisted. If the host is weak, however, then your environment can become a hospitable refuge for viruses, germs, bacteria, and other microbes to set up shop.
Good news! Acupuncture therapy can treat a wide range of health conditions, including immune deficiency, by stimulating and balancing the immune system. The goal is to strengthen the body’s response to foreign invaders, therefore, preventing illness and disease. Acupuncture can strengthen a weakened immune system by increasing red and white cell counts, T-cell count and enhancing humoral and cellular immunity. Acupuncture can regulate immune function and treat the underlying cause of the disease by reducing symptoms, speeding up the healing of infection and normalizing the body’s immune response
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.