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Acupuncture

6 Reasons You May Be Having Sleepless Nights

 

One of the first and most important steps to healing is making sure you’re getting enough quality sleep every night for the body to do its internal restorative work. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is understood that the yang qi that keeps our minds and bodies busy during the day goes internal at night to be available to the deeper detox and repair systems of the body while the yin qi takes over externally to rest our conscious minds and shut down muscle activity. This yin/yang trade-off, when working in balance, is the very foundation of good health according to TCM.

 

The nature of yin is cool and calm. It is associated with quiet, darkness, stillness…all the soothing feel you melt into when really truly resting. A body in a yin state will slow its heart rate and metabolism. Biomedicine relates to the parasympathetic nervous system. Its main purpose aligns with yin qi: to keep us calm and conserve energy. While the sympathetic nervous system is what switches on our fight or flight response and is more correlated with Yang qi. Yang is expansive, stimulating, warming, and gets us moving. In general, yang qi is more accessible during the day, while yin qi dominates the nighttime.

 

Sleep disturbances are one of the main manifestations of too much yang and/ or not enough yin. In order to correct issues like insomnia, we need to look at how we are living in accordance with that natural balance.

 

Here are 6 ways you might be throwing off your own sleep and wake cycles:

 

1) Ingesting Too Much Yang: Before bed, or in general, spicy food, alcohol, or stimulants can disturb sleep. Spicy food and alcohol cause heat in the system, which creates excess yang in the body. Too much coffee also keeps yang qi stuck at the surface to be available for activity. Even just having a large meal before bed can block the yang energy from going deep in the body at night.

 

2) Too Much Activity/Excitement: The yang qi is needed deep on the inside of the body at night, don’t hold it hostage with outward energy requirements. Stop exercising at least 90 minutes before bedtime. This allows for endorphin levels and body temperature to return to levels that are conducive to sleep. Try not to argue before bed, or even get too excited. Give yourself time to wind down & transition.

 

3) You need to Cool Down: Literally. Yin is associated with coolness. To invite your yin qi to come out at night keep the bedroom temperature between 60-67℉.

 

4) Too Much External Stimulation: Lights, especially blue light from TVs, phones, and computer screens prevent melatonin release in the body, making it harder to fall asleep. If you have to finish work on a computer, wear blue blocker glasses. Also, yin time should be quiet time, so turn off the tv and any sources of noise that can disturb the peace.

 

5) Too Much Stress, Not Enough Rest: We live in a yang-obsessed world. This creates stress as many of us are over-worked and over-stimulated, while not always having time for a healthy self-care practice (meditation, walks, etc.). This leaves us with a restless mind (disturbed Shen in TCM terms), and can keep us lying in bed exhausted, but unable to sleep. The challenge is to resist the modern-day pressure to keep up and create more self-care time to support a more balanced lifestyle.

 

Finally, consider the

6) Feng Shui of the bedroom:  A Feng Shui specialist can analyze the yin yang balance in your bedroom. For instance, the bed should be opposite the room’s door, but not directly in line with it (this is called the command position in feng shui). The headboard should be against a solid wall with balanced night tables on each side. It is also important to keep the area under the bed clear, not for storage. Many people find simple feng shui adjustments can have a perceptible effect on things like sleep and wake cycles.

 

In addition to these considerations for improving sleep, don’t forget the value of relaxing into a healing state on the acupuncture table. Acupuncture is a cost-effective self-care tool and can help reset your yin-yang balance for better sleep and overall health, call today!

Effortless Healing: Can Imbalances Clear upon their Own?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Yes, but…. there are a few things to consider when relying on our ‘natural propensity towards health’. The most important of which is entropy, the second law of thermodynamics, a disorderly force we must contend with. It runs counter to the organizational efforts of nature, but also works in balance with them, in yet another dynamic expression of yin and yang.

Entropy is played out in living systems as the natural deterioration of the body. As we age past mid-life our body tissues and physiological systems gradually lose their vibrance. Structure and function suffer, as entropy takes over in the process of decay necessary to the cycle of life. So, where we are in the stages of development/decline in life is a big determining factor for the ability to self-heal.

How much entropy are we up against? Imbalances have a much better chance of resolving themselves while we are young and more in the yang (growth) phase of our life versus the yin (decline) phase. The severity of disease or injury also dictates the level of counter-entropy efforts needed.

Regardless of age, however, and even the severity of our condition, we can still tap into our innate healing energy under certain conditions. And yes, some of those conditions can be practically effortless, depending on how you look at it.

One condition is: to stop doing the things that are pushing your body into a state of entropy. Don’t keep eating toxic food, don’t keep putting yourself in overly stressful situations (as much as you can control it), in other words: don’t keep banging your head against the wall.

The other condition is that your Qi must be strong. In TCM terms, Qi is that natural healing force. It is that spark of life that organizes chaos into form and function. Qi can be supported by even minimal efforts such as adequate sleep, meditation, or simply sitting quietly in a restful but conscious state.

While some of us call it Qi, others think of it as the inborn system of self-preservation. Zhigou Wang, a biomedicine researcher from China, breaks down the ways the human body resists entropy into 4 processes: self-organization, self-defense, self-healing, and anti-wear and tear.

Self-organization can be witnessed in the miracle of development, the way a single cell matures into a full-grown organism. Scientists at Tufts University looked at this miracle in the early stages of tadpole development. In doing so they documented a perfect physical representation of the organizing power of Qi: patterns of visible bioelectrical signals outlining and directing the development of the embryo.

Self-defense includes our immune system, inflammatory response, endogenous antioxidants, stress response, autophagy, and apoptosis (the destruction and removal of sick cells).

Self-healing includes compensatory mechanisms like the increase in heart rate that occurs to compensate for slow circulation due to heart damage. This is also the category of cell/tissue renewal. Think of a wound healing or a broken bone that seems to magically repair itself over time. When a large number of cells are destroyed, surrounding cells replicate to make new ones. Self-healing also happens on a molecular level with DNA repair. There is a natural editing process at work correcting damaged or mutated DNA. Finally, anti-wear and tear is simply the daily process of upkeep necessary to mend minor internal injuries that arise from continued use of the body’s tissues.

And while these self-preservation mechanisms can help to slow or even reverse the degradation of our living system, there are no guarantees (well, except eventual death).

Effortless repair and renewal do happen, even in seemingly miraculous ways, but every little effort to support this process gives us a better shot at healing and a better chance at enjoying the best quality of life. Acupuncture is one of the best tools for supporting all aspects of this self-preservation system. It has been shown to strengthen immunity and regulate inflammation, aid in tissue renewal, and even DNA repair.  It does this because it supports the driving force of this self-preservation system, that spark of life, that intelligent bio-electrical energy that organizes and directs our growth and healing: or as practitioners of Chinese medicine have called it for millennia: Qi.

Yes, it takes effort to call and make an appointment but once you are on the table you can relax and allow your acupuncturist to support your own effortless healing abilities. The gentle placement of needles at various acupuncture points will free up the flow of your own qi-driven self-preservation system.

 

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095809921003866#!

[1] https://now.tufts.edu/news-releases/face-frog-time-lapse-video-reveals-never-seen

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4540978/

[1] https://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1939-acupuncture-muscle-regeneration-discovery-2

[1]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19873920/

Valentine’s Day: Empower Your Heart With Your Kidneys!

This Valentine’s day, whether you celebrate romantic love with a partner, enjoy the love of family and friends, or simply go on with life, marking another day on the calendar, it can be a chance to at least take a moment and honor one of the most important relationships in our lives. In Chinese Medicine philosophy, the relationship at the core of our existence that helps to give our lives meaning, joy, and power is the sacred harmony between our heart and our kidneys.

Valentine’s day lands right smack in the dead of winter, while we are deep in kidney time. Winter’s focus is on the kidneys which represent the water element, so it is a great opportunity to remember its balancing organ, the heart, which corresponds with fire. The relationship between water and fire in the body influences much more than just aspects of our physical health. It actually determines how we engage our purpose in life, how we connect what we love with what we do.

In terms of physical health, this balance between the heart and the kidney function in the body is required to regulate heart rhythm, sleep cycles, water metabolism, temperature, and mental and physical stability. The heart, located in the upper (yang) part of the body, must descend its yang qi (fire) to warm the kidney yin and prevent cold stagnation. The kidneys, located in the lower (yin) part of the body, must ascend their yin qi (water) to prevent the heart fire from becoming overactive. If there is a miscommunication that leads to disharmony in this relationship we can see issues of hyperactive heart fire such as palpitations, anxiety, insomnia, even mania. If an overactive heart fire dries up the kidney yin, we can have issues like dizziness, tinnitus, weak back and knees. Not enough fire to warm the kidneys can lead to cold limbs, fatigue, and edema. The heart and kidneys share a special relationship in Western medicine as well, as they rely on each other for proper circulation, water and waste metabolism, and blood pressure. Disorders of one organ can lead to issues in the other, which is why doctors often say ‘what’s good for your heart is good for your kidneys’ and vice-versa.

A more profound analysis of this relationship has to do with the spiritual energy held in these organs according to TCM. Our heart is the home of our Shen, our heart-mind, the aspect of spirit associated with our consciousness, our desires, insight, and passion. Kidneys house the Zhi, the aspect of our spirit associated with our willpower. This is what gives us our ‘umph’ to face challenges and keep going, our self-discipline, our drive. Together these motivations, our desire coupled with our drive, empower us to carry out our soul’s life plan.

This Valentine’s day, wake up and stretch, rub your lower back to charge up your kidneys, and activate your willpower. Breathe deep, adjust your posture and stick out your chest to let your heart lead the way. Feel the connection between these 2 organ systems in the body, letting you will empower your passions. This internal harmony can fill your life with love on Valentine’s day and every day.

Roses and chocolates are great on Valentine’s Day, but why not also get some acupuncture to help support your heart-kidney connection? You’ll leave feeling balanced at your core and in love with life!

 

GERD Awareness

Did you know that acupuncture can help with several digestive issues? Yes, it’s true!

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid frequently flows back into your esophagus – the tube connecting your mouth and stomach.

If you suffer from this, or you’ve ever suffered with it, you might have felt hopeless and frustrated at times that there are no known causes and the only known treatments are either medications or dietary adjustments.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know what causes it in the first place, so that you can start treating and healing the root cause?

Enter Chinese Medicine (CM). CM has known for thousands of years that the blueprint of many physical manifestations is an imbalance of our Qi (energy). Reflux esophagitis in CM focuses on transforming, harmonizing, and restoring the normal movement of the stomach Qi to prevent it from “rebelling” upwards. The treatment with acupuncture and/or herbs focuses on restoring the normal functioning of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), enhancing gastric motility, and improving gastric emptying.

Stomach Qi usually rebels because of:

  1. Eating in a hurry
  2. Eating when stressed or angry
  3. Burning the midnight oil
  4. Eating while walking or standing, repeatedly and overtime
  5. Anxiety
  6. Drinking too much water with a meal or shortly after which diluted digestive enzymes make digestion very difficult.

If we take a little look at the most common lifestyle factors which cause or exacerbate GERD, or the upward rebelling of Stomach Qi, we can see that simply doing the opposite of what causes it will be helpful. Also introducing calming practices like meditation, walking in nature, and of course coming for acupuncture treatment. Because whilst changing our habits will help to prevent GERD from returning, healing the problem, and lessening the damage done by the issue is the forte of CM.

Quick At-Home Tip: Something very simple you can do at home to help yourself is after every meal, stroke down the midline from the bottom of your rib cage to the top of your belly button for about two minutes gently. This will help the Qi to move downwards instead of rebelling upwards.

Here’s some more good news: In a 2018 study Acupuncture was trialed over a period of 6 weeks with daily treatment for GERD, with a few days break in between each week of treatment, and the TCM control group fared significantly better than the Western medicine control group. There were also far fewer side effects (virtually none) in comparison to the control group who were taking Proton Pump Inhibitors and other medications for GERD.

The conclusion of the study – compared with PPIs or Prokinetics therapy alone, TCM single therapy can better improve the clinical total effective rate and symptom relief and decrease the recurrence rate and adverse events in the treatment of NERD. Our results suggest that TCM will be a promising alternative therapy for NERD patients in the future.

So, if you or someone you know is suffering from GERD, there may be hope on the horizon! Give us a call to see if we can lend a helping hand.

 

Source:

Xiao J, Yang Y, Zhu Y, et al. Efficacy and Safety of Traditional Chinese Medicine on Nonerosive Reflux Disease: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018;2018:1505394. Published 2018 May 24. doi:10.1155/2018/1505394

 

 

Kicking Butts with Acupuncture – Why Wait for the Great American Smokeout?

Have you tried to give up smoking? Trying ‘this and that’ therapy or modality to no avail? One of the reasons your previous attempts may not have worked for you long-term is because they rely, for the most part, on willpower alone.

Understanding WHY you have the addiction in the first place is the first step to true healing. It is highly likely that the reason you acquired the addiction was an imbalance in some organs of your internal holistic ecosystem. Namely the organs of the Lung and Liver.

When our organs are out of balance, we tend to crave external substances as the body attempts to bring itself back into balance. The Lung and Liver have a very close relationship. The liver has over 2000 functions, and it is very easy for us to overburden it with more when we ingest substances that require a lot of ‘detoxing’ out of the body. The liver can become excessive and stagnate leading to emotional imbalances.

The emotions associated with the lung are sadness and grief. You may have turned to smoke for comfort after the loss of someone close to you, as many people do. Sadness and grief also weaken the lung further. So, it becomes a perpetual cycle. Smoking may temporarily quell feelings of long-held grief and sadness we don’t want to feel, but then the toxic overload burdens the liver further which impacts and weakens the lung further, it becomes a vicious, downward spiral.

When the organs are happy and working in harmony there is a smooth flow of qi between the organs and throughout the whole system. This free-flowing qi gives us an immense sense of wellbeing. Perfect health gives us an immense sense of well-being. We are always seeking this state – albeit subconsciously for the most part. The addiction appears to give us that feeling, but it is temporary and holds the imbalances in place rather than rectifying them.

TCM works to strengthen the function of your organ systems, helping to uncover the root cause(s) of a particular problem. When the internal function is strong and balanced there is less of a perceived need for external quick fixes. Acupuncture treatment can promote the release of endorphins, change one’s taste toward tobacco to unpleasant, thus give up on smoking. Acupuncture can calm the mind and relax the body, it can boost our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

So, why wait for the Great American Smokeout? You can start feeling better as soon as today!

The Immune System in Traditional Chinese Medicine

A study published by the National Institutes of Health evaluated the efficacy of acupuncture for stimulating or regulating the immune system by comparing the results from several studies that each used different methods of acupuncture. Through the use of electroacupuncture, moxibustion, herbs and acupuncture, the studies concluded Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be helpful for the immune system. The combined studies demonstrated that moxibustion helped repair the gut mucosa of rats suffering from ulcerative colitis, electroacupuncture can increase the number of T cells in the body and that general acupuncture can decrease inflammation, which plays a vital role in the immune system.

 

Your immune system is what keeps you healthy and helps you ward off pathogens like the flu or a cold. Most of us don’t spend a lot of time worrying about our immune system until we’re sick. Then we reach for the over-the-counter medications to help relieve our symptoms. By looking to TCM instead, we can be proactive about supporting our immune systems in a safe and natural way.

 

According to TCM, the body is protected by something known as the Wei Qi (pronounced “way chee”). The Wei Qi, or defensive Qi, is comparable to the immune system in conventional medicine. It acts as the first line of defense when the body is under attack from external pathogens. If the Wei Qi is strong, then the body is capable of fighting off bacteria and viruses. Extreme stress, lack of sleep and a poor diet can all play into how strong the body’s Wei Qi is and how well it performs.

 

There are multiple tools in the TCM practitioner’s tool box that can assist in keeping the immune system strong and healthy, including acupuncture, moxibustion, electroacupuncture, herbs, cupping and nutrition.

 

Each of these tools has a similar effect on the body. TCM can regulate immune function, while also treating the underlying causes of the disease. This is done by reducing the symptoms, speeding up the healing, decreasing excess phlegm, decreasing inflammation and boosting the immune-mediated cells in the body that help ward off invasions.

 

Studies show regular acupuncture treatments can actually increase the number of T cells the body produces. T cells destroy harmful bacteria and viruses in the body. Acupuncture needles stimulate the brain into thinking an invader (virus or bacteria) has entered the body. The brain signals the increased release of T cells and white blood cells to fight off the intruder. The amazing part is the increased cellular response lasts for several days after the acupuncture treatment.

 

RECEIVING REGULAR ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENTS CAN ACTUALLY PREVENT THE BODY FROM GETTING SICK.

Treatment of sinusitis

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the paranasal sinuses (air-filled cavities inside the bones of the skull) that increases the production of mucus.

Sinusitis is a common health problem especially during the seasonal changes in Gauteng, due to excessive amounts of dust and pollen in the dry air. Sinusitis affects the person’s quality of life due to the often painful symptoms of constant nasal congestion and runny nose. Common illnesses related to sinusitis is infection, allergy and structural problems of the nasal passage.

Surgical operation would be the first choice for structural nasal problems, and oral antibiotic, antihistamines and local cortisol spray would be prescribed for sinusitis by doctors. There are many chronic sinusitis sufferers that have experienced only temporal relief from antibiotics and nasal spray, reason being that the long term use of antibiotics weakens a person’s immunity, cortisol sprays thin the membrane of nasal passages, and the body then becomes vulnerable to allergens and germs.

Chinese practitioners use Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture treatments to open the nasal passage, drain the mucus and strengthen the immunity, which will prevent re-infection and assist the long term healing of sinusitis.

The environment of the sinusitis person is also a large factor as well, that is why avoiding certain foods such as dairy products and keeping the living areas dust free are recommended. Articles

Back pain and sciatic

More people are seeking medical assistance for back pain and sciatic due to lifestyle problems such as stress, poor diet, less physical activity, bad posture from sitting long periods in front of computers, TVs, etc. It is estimated that up to 80% of the world’s population will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.

The pathological diagnosis of back pain and sciatic are osteoarthritis, prolapsed lumbar disc, degenerative disks, weak abdominal and back muscles, and trauma. The common treatments are pain killer, anti-inflammation or surgery. Many clinical case studies have shown that back pain and sciatica can be treated effectively through the treatment of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine without experiencing any side effects.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes, “If there is no free flow, there is pain”. External invasions of the body, such as cold, dampness, strain, and trauma through improper exercise or accident, will affect the free flow of Qi and blood, resulting in pain.

Headache Disorders

Headache disorders are among the most common disorders of the nervous system. Globally, it has been estimated that 47% of the adult population have experience headaches at least once within the last year in general. Headache disorders include migraine, tension/stress headache, cluster headache, etc.

The pain that headache and migraine sufferers endure can impact every aspect of their lives. Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine have been used to relieve Headaches and Migraines, as well as their underlying causes without any side effects associated. This form of treatment for headaches due to its efficiency and high success rate has become widely accepted in modern society.

Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that there is a life energy flowing through the body which is termed Qi. This energy flows through the body channels known as meridians that connect to all of our major organs. According to Chinese medical theory, illness arises when the cyclical flow of Qi in the meridians becomes blocked or weakened due to causes such as excess blood stasis, Qi/blood deficiency, and excess cold/dampness in the body.

Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points located near or on the surface of the skin which has the ability to unblock the energy channels, thus relieving the pain. Modern science research shows that by inserting acupuncture needles on the specific energy points of the body, can stimulate the body to release natural pain-killer, anti-inflammation and anti-stress hormone (endorphins).

Chinese herbal medicine uses mainly plant based ingredients to restore the balance of the body by nourishing Qi/blood, regulating the flow of the Qi, and expelling the cold/dampness in the body.

For some people who are afraid of acupuncture treatment, the option of only Chinese herbal medicine will be prescribed.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). Irritable bowel syndrome commonly causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation and mucus in the stool.

Stress is the product of modern life. Chinese medical practitioners believe that the liver regulates the Qi flow of the body. Long term stress and sudden emotional trauma can lead to the stagnation of the Qi flow and cause all the symptoms of IBS. If a person’s spleen energy is weakened by overwork, poor diet, insufficient rest, excessive worry, then diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating will be accompanied. The liver Qi Stasis and spleen Qi Deficiency can generate Damp-Heat in the body, thus producing mucus in the stool.

The basic Chinese principle for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome is to relieve the Liver Qi Stasis, strengthen the Spleen Qi, and eliminate the Damp-Heat in the body. The Chinese formula “Tong Xie Yao Fang” is commonly prescribed for the treatment of IBS. Acupuncture treatment on the energy points of the liver, spleen and big intestine would be selected by the trained doctor to harmonize the liver and spleen Qi

The allergy or intolerance of food, leading to irritable bowel syndrome is not yet clearly understood, but certain foods have been reported to worsen the condition, such as chocolate, spices, fats, fruits, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, milk, carbonated beverages, alcohol, and should be avoided if possible.

Patients with irritable bowel syndrome can also benefit by doing meditation and practicing other stress-reduction techniques.

It is advisable before receiving Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture treatment, to have a thorough physical examination by a physician to rule out other causes of the symptoms such as chronic colitis, colon polyps, gastrointestinal tumors and other diseases.

Acupuncture for Fertility

When used in conjunction with Western fertility treatments, acupuncture increases conception rates by 26% without side effects. According to several studies and medical research, acupuncture can increase fertility by increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs, reducing stress and balancing the endocrine and hormonal system.

Acupuncture can provide better blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, thus stimulate the production of healthy eggs, movement, and improve the uterine lining thus assisting implantation.

One of the ways acupuncture treatment increases fertility is by reducing stress. When people are under stress, the hormone cortisol is released in the brain. This alters the brain’s neurochemical balance, thus changing hormone levels and disrupting the balance of hypothalamus – pituitary – ovary axis, which is the key to the reproductive cycle. Stress can also create spasms in both the fallopian tubes and the uterus, which can interfere with movement and implantation of a fertilized egg.

In men, stress can alter sperm counts, motility, male hormone production and cause impotence. Acupuncture infertility treatment counters the effects of stress and cortisol by releasing endorphins in the brain.

Acupuncture is the insertion of fine disposable needles into specific energy points on the surface of the body. Chinese medicine believes Qi (energy) is the life force of the body and it runs mainly in 14 major pathways, called meridians. Qi (energy) promotes the physical functions of the body, moving smoothly through the meridians. When the flow of Qi is disrupted through poor health habits, stress or other circumstances, pain and/or disease can result. Acupuncture can regulate the body’s physical and mental function, balancing the energy and restoring health. Acupuncture helps to keep the normal flow of this energy, thereby increasing a couple’s chances of conceiving.

For some people who are afraid of acupuncture treatment, the option of only Chinese herbal medicine will be prescribed.

Are You an Alchemist? Time to Make Gold!

Alchemists attempt to purify and perfect, historically to transmute base metals into gold, or allegorically, to purify the basic elements of our consciousness into the gold of pure spirit through the process of inner transformation.

 

True alchemy appreciates that the purity of the process is what determines the purity of the result. Making gold requires precision like baking. It is not simply a creative experiment (like some of us might call our cooking). Recipes, order, structure, measurements, and procedure all take precedence over carefree approaches. Alchemists must honor the details of the ritual, the science of the process.

 

Alchemists, therefore, embody the metal element in Chinese Medicine. Metal is associated with refinement for the sake of purity. This relates to the season of Autumn in that it is a time of drawing inward to the purity of the core and letting go of the excess. In Autumn, trees draw their sap inward towards the roots, while simultaneously sending impurities upwards towards the leaves that they will shed. It’s also harvest time, when we take the edible essence provided by the earth and discard the husks and stalks that are no longer needed. This is a time to be careful in separating out what is essential from what can be relinquished. This careful precision is the key to the alchemist’s process of extracting order from chaos.

 

Are you an Alchemist?

 

Do you keep your living space tidy and organized?

Are you detail oriented?

Have you ever been called a ‘perfectionist’?

Do you follow recipes when you cook?

Is purity a value for you in any area of your life?

Do you pride yourself on your integrity?

 

Most of us have at least some of the metal element energies within us, in some areas of our lives. They may even be in excess when it comes to certain aspects of our personality. For instance, if we are overly rigid in regards to our own expectations of our education or career, this can lead to stress and lack of joy in the process. Or on the flip side, if we completely drop expectations and make half-hearted efforts in our work or projects, we lack that sense of refinement attributed to the metal element, and allow for sloppy results.

 

Exaggerated expressions of the metal element are seen in dogmatic, authoritarian strict personalities that prefer control and are bound to routine. Associated health concerns include issues of rigidity and dryness such as stiff joints and muscles, dry skin, poor circulation, restricted breathing, constipation and a reserved, flat affect unable to confer much emotion. While a collapsed version of the metal energy leads to a decay of personal values and a reliance upon external constraints (such as in a fearful adherence to a strict religion or structure) or someone who has given up on structure completely and tends towards disarray and chaos. In the extreme collapse of metal, someone may simply become numb. Health issues due to deficient metal energy manifest as weaknesses like shortness of breath, anemia, loss of body hair, easy perspiration, and stress incontinence.

 

Autumn, the season of metal, is the perfect time to tap into our inner alchemist, organize our space, bring order where it is needed, clean up the chaos, and use ritual to empower our intentions. As always, we must be aware of the equilibrium of energies and compensate for rationality and self-control with passion and spontaneity. A little dose of “go with the flow” helps to balance things out. A true alchemist will recognize that with any ritual, following a set structure is important, as long as you leave room for the magic.

 

Let us help you tap into your magic and nurture your inner alchemist in time for the fall season! Call today to schedule your next acupuncture session!

5 Alternative Treatments and Home Remedies for Psoriasis

 

Alternative Treatment for Psoriasis

For people with psoriasis, suffering from painful symptoms like inflamed, flaking, and red skin is not pleasant. The chronic skin condition is due to an overactive immune system that can be triggered by a number of internal and external factors. Many Western treatments include steroid creams and oral medications that come with a slew of unwanted side effects.

Below are alternative treatments that are safe and natural and can help reduce symptoms of psoriasis, leading you back to better health.

 

  1. Herbal Remedies
  • Aloe Vera: The gel from this cactus plant can be used generously on your skin to reduce redness and scaling caused by psoriasis. Aloe vera can be found in almost any grocery or health store.
  • Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil is thought to have antiseptic properties. It can soothe irritated skin or scalp and can be applied daily.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Because of this, turmeric has been found to reduce psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis flares. Turmeric can be found in pill form as well as powder form to be added to food.
  • Dead Sea Salts: Soaking in a bath with Dead Sea salts or Epsom salts can remove scaly skin and reduce itching. It is recommended that you use warm water and stay in the tub for 15 minutes.

 

  1. Mindfulness/Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation practices have been found to be effective in people suffering from chronic pain like psoriasis.

Meditation is the practice of focusing your attention on the moment and ridding yourself of all external thoughts you may be having. This can lead to a state of relaxation and calmness, bringing balance to your body and mind.

Mindfulness, which is practiced in meditation, includes becoming completely aware of your body, externally and internally. This can be a seated meditation that is focused on awareness of mind, body, and senses.

 

  1. Exercise

Not only is exercise important to maintain overall health and wellness, it is especially beneficial for people with psoriasis.

Because people with psoriasis have an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, regular exercise can prove very helpful.

Many find it hard to exercise because of the chronic pain associated with psoriasis. Exercise programs in the water prove to be an effective alternative that is easier on the body and still allows you to build endurance and strength.

Other simple ways to fit more exercise into your day include short walks, taking the stairs, and stretching.

 

  1. Massage

Seeing a licensed massage therapist can help reduce symptoms and pain. Massage promotes the function of muscle and connective tissue and can increase relaxation and circulation in the body.

 

  1. Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been proven to be effective in minimizing chronic pain in patients. Acupuncture takes a holistic approach with the body and symptoms you may be experiencing. By returning the body to its natural flow, acupuncture can help reduce the intensity of symptoms of psoriasis.

 

Home Remedies:

  • Soak a towel in cold milk and apply to the affected area to relieve itching.
  • Add ½ cup ground oatmeal into a warm bath.
  • Rub the affected area with the inner side of a banana peel.
  • Apply aloe vera gel to the affected area.
  • Cut several fresh willow branches into 3-inch stems and place them in a pot with plenty of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the water becomes black. Wash affected areas with the water three times daily.
  • Slice 15 water chestnuts and soak in 3 oz. of rice vinegar crush and store in a sealed jar. Apply the paste to the affected area and cover it with gauze. Change daily.

 

Sources:

https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis

 

Acupuncture for Mother’s Day

Mother's Day - The Perfect Gift of Acupuncture

What better way to celebrate and support the mothers in your life this year than with an acupuncture appointment?

As a one-time mother’s day gift, acupuncture is a relaxing, revitalizing hour all for herself.

As a regular part of her health routine, acupuncture can keep her from getting sick frequently and offer a holistic treatment option for a variety of women’s health issues.

Not convinced? Here are four ways acupuncture supports women’s health and would make a great gift for any mom or woman you want to celebrate this May. continue reading »

Acupuncture is Preventive Medicine

Acupuncture is preventative medicine

I think we all know someone, or maybe it’s even ourselves, who lives by the refrain, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”

Often used to put off replacing outdated tools or technology, the phase can be connected to how we view healthcare as well. It can be hard to think about our physical health until it is a problem. Something we take for granted, until, as it were, it’s broken. Why would we spend time and money on something before it’s necessary? continue reading »

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