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- Jean Donati Acupuncture604 E. Joppa RD
Towson, MD 21286410-984-3700
- • Seven Healthy Fall Habits •
- • 5 Ways to Stay Fit This Fall •
- • Improve Your Mental Health with Regular Meditation •
Spring is the season of growth, regeneration, increased activity, and new beginnings. The transition from winter to spring can allow us the ability to get more done and spend more time outside. Generally, spring is regarded as a happy season, especially for those living in places with colder, darker winters. Most of us look forward to the spring’s warmer weather and longer days. As everything around us blossoms in the sun, so too should we embrace this renewal.
As with any seasonal change, we must pay close attention to our body’s needs during this turbulent time of seasonal change. Moving from the indoor sleepy coldness of winter and into the warm, active spirit of spring can be tough on your system when not handled with care. For many, spring months also bring allergies, high blood pressure, headaches, sinus pain, congestion, anger, irritation, and tendon problems. Many of these problems can be attributed to increased wind in the environment. And while there is nothing that can be done about external weather factors, internal wind can be addressed and diminished using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the many modalities it incorporates.
Chinese Medicine places emphasis on living in tune with the seasons. TCM theory divides the year into five seasons! These five seasons each have associations and physical qualities that can be seen in both the external or “natural” world and also within our bodies. These elements interact daily, creating balance and harmony — or stirring up chaos within the body.
TCM associates spring with the liver and gallbladder. The gallbladder governs decision-making and controls the sinews of the body, while the liver is in charge of detoxification and keeping the energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”) flowing smoothly. The liver tends to be a bit of a “bully” for many people, overwhelming bodily systems, so it’s important to keep it healthy. Often, winter months leave us with stagnant feelings in areas like relationships, work, and in our bodies. If we experience frustration, physical pain, or sadness, it may be a sign that energy is not flowing optimally. The liver and gallbladder are also related to the tendons, storing blood during periods of rest and releasing it to the tendons during times of activity. Because this pair of organs are responsible for the smooth flow of Qi and blood throughout the body, our daily activities should reflect this.
6 Ways to Rebalance Your Liver and Gallbladder
Stretch daily. Regular stretching is a great way to start and end the day. Adding yoga or tai chi to your daily routine can be very beneficial for the liver, tendons, and the body as a whole.
Get outside. Spending more time outside is another easy and powerful way to strengthen the liver and gallbladder energies in the spring. Moving around outside can get your heart rate up and keep you warm — if the temperature is still quite cold where you live, consider a warm-up exercise routine for inside before you brave the cold. Remember to dress in layers, wear boots instead of gym shoes, wear a warm hat, gloves, and socks, and, most importantly, protect your neck with a nice warm scarf.
For people with kids and families, getting outside is an excellent way to stay healthy and have fun together. Consider a walk with the dog, visiting a new park, playing basketball, soccer, rollerblading, biking, or even a good old game of frisbee with your family and kids. If you live in a wintery area, you might even seek out a local ice rink! In fact, at a moderate pace simply skating laps can burn up to 500 calories per hour while toning the muscles in your lower body and core that keep you mobile and limber. If ice skating sounds too cold for you, a bunded-up bike ride is another favorite spring activity. Because of its cardiovascular nature and use of the big quadriceps and gluteal muscles, biking will warm your body quickly.
Eat more greens. Eating fresh leafy greens is supportive of the liver’s detoxification function and can also help strengthen vision, thanks to the vitamins and nutrients in these veggies. And luckily, fresh greens are abundantly available in springtime!
Understand the elements. In TCM spring is associated with the element of wood. When a person is completely balanced, transitioning from one season to another doesn’t feel like a big deal. However, knowing what elemental type you are can be beneficial in determining how you will react to each passing season. For instance, a person who has a wood element constitution may experience anger during the spring. This is because the wood element is already closely associated with the emotion of anger and spring brings added stimuli that can trigger bits of rage.
Avoid overstimulation. It is also recommended to avoid excessive stimulants during the spring months. Things like coffee and caffeine supplements are considered expansive and energizing, which can be somewhat helpful during the cold winter months. However, during the spring, when life is abounding, excess energy can actually become harmful to the body. Symptoms can manifest themselves as headaches, insomnia, anger, and more.
Get your seasonal tune-up. To keep the liver and gallbladder working smoothly, things like acupuncture, herbal formulas, nutritional counseling can make a world of difference. Acupuncture can balance the body as it reacts to the changes in the weather and activity levels. Regular acupuncture treatments have also been shown to boost immunity. Spring can also cause flare-ups associated with seasonal allergies and acupuncture treatments can help with the inflammation, sneezing, runny nose, chest congestion, and watery eyes that accompany the allergic reactions. But most of all, acupuncture can help regulate those emotional imbalances that are often common during this transitional period.
As with any health care regiment, always be sure to seek out a fully licensed and properly trained professional, such as myself and my colleagues. By incorporating some simple practices into your life, you may just have a more enjoyable metamorphosis from winter into spring. If you need a little motivation to ease the transition, don’t hesitate to give us a call to schedule your next appointment. 410-984-3700. https://East2WestMedicine.com
Reflect on Your Health!
Reflection is when an image or idea returns to us, such as looking in a mirror, rethinking an event, or reviewing an idea. We can take a closer view and reconsider our original thinking.Reflection has other connotations in acupuncture. Outer appearances reflect inner health, so a well-trained practitioner of acupuncture will observe very different aspects of your appearance than you typically study when you look in the mirror. In acupuncture, bodily observation includes looking at the face, eyes, body type, demeanor, and tongue. Two thousand years ago, when acupuncture and Chinese medicine were in their infancy, there were no X-ray machines or the very sophisticated magnetic imaging of today. These healers and diagnosticians depended on their finely tuned observational skills to assess their patients. Some of those early ideas seem simplistic today, but many elements of diagnosis persist because outer appearances provide clues to a person’s health. The new year is a perfect opportunity to reflect and use that knowledge as a catalyst for change. Acupuncture can help achieve the change you seek as it assists in illness prevention, minimizes aches and pains, relieves stress, improves energy, and helps you find yourself in better balance. This calm and clarity strengthen your resolve as you start the new year with new goals. Additionally, seasonal acupuncture treatments nurture and nourish your kidney Qi, which can greatly enhance the body’s ability to thrive in times of stress and aid in healing, preventing illness, and increasing vitality. Call for your appointment today, and let us help you prepare for the year ahead!
Releasing Stress for a Healthy New Year
The start of the new year is a time of looking forward to the future, setting goals, and putting in motion the steps necessary to achieve them. Moving directly from a busy season immediately to actively working towards achieving goals can create additional stress and pressure to do well. Unchecked stress is often the cause of illness and deterioration of health. Finding a release valve for your stress can help you stay healthy. Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of acupuncture in treating stress, and anxiety, and lowering blood pressure. Acupuncture can help achieve the changes you seek by assisting in illness prevention, stress relief, minimizing aches and pains, improving energy, and finding balance.As a normal part of life, stress enables us to get things done. Left unmanaged, however, stress can lead to emotional, psychological, and even physical problems. Stress causes a disruption in the flow of vital energy, or Qi, through the body. This can throw off the immune system and cause new symptoms or aggravate already troublesome health conditions and, over time, more serious illnesses can develop. Stressful situations that last long can create ongoing low-level stress that puts continual pressure on the nervous system and can cause the overproduction of stress hormones such as cortisol. The extra stress hormones sustained over an extended period may wear out the body’s reserves, leading to fatigue, depression, a weakened immune system, and serious physical and psychological ailments. According to Chinese medicine, stress, frustration, and unresolved anger can play an important part in throwing the immune system off and allowing pathogens to affect the body. Through acupuncture, these energy blockages can be addressed. Acupuncture points can help energy flow smoothly and alleviate not only the symptoms of stress and anxiety but the stress and anxiety itself. Acupuncture improves blood circulation throughout the body, which oxygenates the tissues and cycles out stress hormones like cortisol and other waste chemicals. The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and relaxes the muscles. While it isn’t always possible to remove the external forces causing stress, the ability to effectively deal with stress is a choice. Take time to cultivate the energy you need to handle your stress more skillfully and effectively. If you or someone you know is experiencing stress or a related condition, contact us for more information about how acupuncture can help you regain peace of mind and stay healthy!
Create Lasting Resolve to Reach Your Goals with Acupuncture
Acupuncture can help achieve some common changes people seek as it assists in illness prevention and stress relief, minimizes aches and pains, improves energy, and nurtures balance. This calm and clarity strengthen your resolve as you take the next step in achieving your goals.Here are a few ways that Acupuncture can help you achieve your goals: Improved Quality of Life If pain is keeping you from living life to the fullest, acupuncture can help as it has no side effects and can be helpful for all types of pain, regardless of the cause or where it is located. Increasingly, people are looking for more natural approaches to help relieve painful conditions instead of relying on medication. In addition to reducing pain, acupuncture also hastens the healing process by increasing circulation and attracting white blood cells to an injured area. Eliminate Stress Stress reduction is always on the top ten list for New Year’s resolutions, and for good reason; it is often the cause of illness and deterioration of health. Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in treating stress and anxiety and lowering blood pressure. In addition to acupuncture, Chinese medicine offers a whole range of tools that can be integrated into your life to keep stress in check. Get in Shape Renewed enthusiasm to exercise to enhance fitness levels, train for a competition, or lose weight can come at a painful price for those who try to do too much too quickly. Recent studies show that acupuncture effectively treats sports injuries such as strains, sprains, musculoskeletal pain, swollen muscles, and shin splints. Lose Weight Losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you reach your goal weight and maintain it by promoting better digestion, smoothing emotions, reducing appetite, improving metabolism, and eliminating food cravings–all of which can help energize the body, maximize absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, suppress the appetite and reduce anxiety. Call today to see how Acupuncture can help you keep your resolutions and prepare for the year ahead!
In This Issue
- Reflect on Your Health!
- Releasing Stress for a Healthy New Year
- Create Lasting Resolve to Reach Your Goals with Acupuncture
- The Willpower Connection
- Stick Out Your Tongue
- Energy Renewing Ear Massage
The Willpower Connection
Is there a body/mind connection to willpower?According to the principles of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, there is. Willpower, or “Zhi,” is said to reside in the kidneys, and the state of the Kidney Qi directly correlates to the fortitude of our willpower. In Chinese medicine, disease prevention begins with a protective layer around the body’s exterior called Wei Qi, or defensive energy. If you catch colds easily, have low energy, and require a long time to recuperate from an illness, your Wei Qi may be deficient. Nourishing Qi can help greatly enhance the body’s ability to thrive in times of stress, aid in healing, prevent illness and increase vitality. According to Chinese medicine, recharging your battery and regenerating vital energy, Qi, will help you live, look and feel your best!
Stick Out Your Tongue
Chinese medicine has used tongue diagnosis for thousands of years. An experienced practitioner can look at your tongue and begin to understand your internal problems, but you can also be aware of the information that your tongue provides.Look for changes in the color of your tongue, teeth marks, shape, and coating. These changes may indicate that something is amiss. A healthy tongue is naturally the same pink-red color as your lips. Note any changes in the shape of your tongue. If it’s too pale, puffy, or red, it may indicate an imbalance. Healthy tongues have a thin white coating. If you see a thicker coating developing, you may be catching a cold or the flu. So if you see changes take precautions, rest, sleep more, keep warm, and call us!
Energy Renewing Ear Massage
Ear massage is an extremely relaxing and effective therapy aimed at reducing stress, promoting well-being, and addressing various health issues.Here is a great ear massage that you can do for yourself or your loved ones: 1. Rub, in small circular motions with your thumbs, inside the widest upper part of the ears, holding them from outside with the index and middle fingers. 2. Use your index finger to massage inside the smaller crevices if your thumbs don’t fit and along the front of your ear where it attaches to the head. 3. Lastly, massage the earlobes by gently pulling them down and making circles with your thumb and index fing
Acupuncture and Acute Stress…Adrenalin and Acupuncture.
Did you ever have one of those days….You are sleeping soundly then all of the sudden you are awake. You look at the clock, and…Oh NOOOooo…What happened to the alarm? You wake up 15 minutes before you have to leave for work. It is a pretty upsetting feeling. You feel rushed and anxious. Am I going to get to work on time? Your blood pressure is elevated, and you are aggrevated. You yell at the traffic for being slow. It upsets your body and your your energy for the entire day.
This happened to me this morning, so I would like to let you know you what is happening in your body, and what you can do to alleviate those rushed, anxious, and upsetting feelings. First take a deep breath. What you are experiencing is normal. You woke up late and perhaps were startled. Your nervous system has kicked in with adrenalin.
Adrenaline, also called epinephrine, is a hormone produced by your adrenal glands. Adrenaline is known as the “fight or flight” hormone and is released in response to a stressful, exciting, or threatening situation. Adrenaline enables your body to respond quickly to these situations by enabling the heart to beat faster, the blood-flow to increase to the brain and muscles and stimulates the body to make sugar to use as fuel.
When you experience an “adrenaline rush” there is a perception of a threat that sent to the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for emotional processing. This signal communicates to the rest of the body through the nervous system. Symptoms include a boost of energy, rapid breathing, increased heartbeat, and perspiration. This rapid process allows you to dodge out of harms way quickly and return to safety. To assist with returning to equilibrium, it is important to allow the body to rest and repair itself.
Acupuncture along with deep breathing and meditation clearly benefits every aspect of the body and can return it to its normally calm state. There are some acupuncture points to help you with an acute stress reaction or panic attack. Gently massaging these points can help get you back on track and ease your symptoms and energy.
Shenmen (HT7), also called Spirit Gate, is one of the major points on the heart meridian or energy pathway. Because it can nourish the blood, calm and cool down internal fire, it is a good point to calm the mind, clear the emotions and help with anxiety, stress, insomnia, agitation, and palpitations. Shenmen, is located at the wrist crease on the radial side of the arm, where your pinky finger is.
Neiguan (PC 6), also called Inner Frontier Gate, goes to the chest and opens it up. It allows you to breathe easier, stops racing of the heart and palpitations. It calms your spirit or “shen” and mind, so it is helpful for racing and fragmented thoughts. It is also a great point to open the chest and the heart, counteracting the contracting energy of anxiety. This point is also located on the inside of the forearm, about two inches down from the wrist crease, in the middle of the forearm between the two tendons. This point is also good for nausea which can accompany anxiety.
Tanzhong, (CV 17), also called Middle of Chest is a very calming point for the mind and heart. It is helpful to calm the palpitations that come with anxiety. It opens the chest and relaxes the diaphragm. It is located in the center of the chest, on the median line just between the nipples at the 4th intercostal space.
Yongquan, (KD 1), also called Bubbling Spring, calms the mind and clears the brain. It is a very grounding point for the body, mind and spirit. Kidney 1 has a strong downward moving energy that helps settle the mind when someone is stuck in their head. It connects us to the earth and gives us back out footing. It is located on the sole of the foot approximately 1/3rd the way from toes in the depression when to toes are pointed.
So next time you are feeling stressed from whatever reason, remember these calming acupuncture points. Massaging this points with mild pressure for 15-30 seconds (up to 3-5 minutes) can help reduce anxiety stress and panic and put you back into control. Take the time to take care of your body mind and spirit. Jean Donati Acupuncture is here to help ease your nervous system back into calm. Give us a call 410-984-3700.