The gift that keeps on giving…is it diamonds? A Kodak camera? The Jelly of the month club?
No, it’s the gift of good health. Health is the gift that offers the recipient their best chance at enjoying life. Health confers energy, freedom, the ability to embrace the fullness of our existence and conquer challenges. Before reviewing some ways to obtain, maintain and of course give the gift of health, it is important to understand what exactly it is.
While Western Medicine mainly views health as the absence of disease, many of us have come to realize it is an interdependent state of balance. In simple Chinese Medical terms: Health is harmony with nature. Inherent in that philosophy is the understanding that we, as humans, are a part of nature. We belong to a dynamic web of life that invites us to re-connect and enjoy the benefits of homeostasis.
So here are 3 easy ways to give (and receive!) the gift that keeps on giving:
Hydrate: First thing in the morning, drink some warm water, and bring a glass to your loved one! The body goes through a detox process overnight and the water helps to flush out toxins. It also helps hydrate the digestive tract for the smooth intake of food throughout the day. Water also cushions your joints and tissues. Optimal water intake has been found to be around 2.5-3.5 liters per day. A good rule of thumb is to check your urine color, make sure it’s in that goldilocks zone: not too dark, not too light. It sometimes helps to remind ourselves that we are creatures of nature who require basic elements (like water!) for survival, elements we can forget when caught up in our technology-focused culture.
Eat Healthy: While the words “healthy diet” can stir up a lot of confusion when it comes to the latest trends in nutritional lifestyles: keto, paleo, vegan, carnivore, intermittent fasting etc., don’t feel overwhelmed. Remember sometimes the simplest adjustments can make the biggest difference. The most important thing to keep in mind when trying to eat healthier is to cut out artificial food. Recent studies confirm this common sense approach. Again, think of yourself as a creature of nature. Your body knows how to process food found in nature, not ones created in a lab. So read the ingredients and make sure you recognize them. Shop the perimeter at the grocery store and, as much as possible, try to avoid filling your cart with boxes, bags and jars from the middle aisles. When your fridge and cabinets are stocked with foods direct from the source (that source being, you guessed it, …nature), you will be more likely to cook something healthy and delicious for you and your loved ones!
Get out in Nature: What better way to get back into harmony with nature than to actually BE in nature?! This is also a (clever) way to cover a few more health-boosting tips in one. Just taking a walk in nature counts as exercise. It also usually stimulates deeper breathing (picture yourself in a natural setting with beautiful scenery, what’s the first thing that you do? Take in the view with a deep breath? Me too). The quiet moments often afforded by time in nature are an important step towards meditation, which, in itself, is one of the best things we can do for our health, the benefits of which would take up much more than this article can cover. So, for the sake of brevity, let’s get back to nature. A 2020 study based on 20,000 participants shows significant health benefits with a threshold of at least 2 hours per week in nature. Can’t get out in nature? Then bring some to you! Simply having a plant in your room has been shown to lower stress, and boost recovery from illness in hospital rooms. So invite a friend for a hike, or put a pretty bow on a lovely house plant for someone you know who could use it!
Bonus Tip: Get Acupuncture! Acupuncture is one of the best tools for re-balancing our energy and harmonizing with the rhythms of nature. It is useful for the prevention and treatment of disease as well as the maintenance of good health. Schedule your appointment today and remember acupuncture gift certificates are another great way to give the gift that keeps on giving!
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.