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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 •
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
We are now in the midst of Winter. The season is cold, dark, and quiet. Winter is for us, as for all of nature, a time on internal work: meditation, containment, concentration, and storing our energy. We use this season for rest, and for the replenishing of our reserves, gathering strength for the year ahead. Like the seed that cannot sprout until it has gathered sufficient strength, our ideas and plans cannot manifest if our energy is dispersed or drained.
In Chinese medicine, the element associated with Winter is Water. Let us talk a little about water and its associations. Water can take on many different qualities in nature. It can take the form of a stagnant pond, or powerful rapids. It can be a smooth flowing stream, or water raging out of control. The water element can show up like this in all of us. When our water energy is balanced, we are a calm lake or stream. Our energy is moving, neither stagnant or overflowing. When we are out of balance, we may become a flooding river, or when immobilized with fear, a frozen creek.
The organs associated with winter are the kidney and bladder. In Chinese medicine, when we talk about organs, we are talking about the energetic aspects of the organ in an individual, not about Western anatomy and physiology. The kidney, in Chinese medicine, are the root of the life force energy or Qi. The kidneys create the fire and warmth to sustain bodily functions and to provide energy to the other organs. The bladder controls the expenditure of energy. You can look at the kidney as being the the bank account, and the bladder as the ATM machine. The acupuncture points along these pathways of energy can be used to fill the reserves and awaken that place within us where our real strength, courage and wisdom lie.
Abundant reserves within us give us the courage and strength of will. When we lack these reserves, we may feel fearful. In Chinese medicine, the emotion of fear is associated with the element of water and the season of winter. The emotion of a distressed water element is fear of not having enough of what it takes to meet the challenges that lie ahead, fear of being unable to complete what we have envisioned, or fear of not being prepared for what we might have to face. It is as if we do not have enough stored away to survive the winter.
How does an imbalanced water element show up in an individual? In Chinese medicine, the individual is viewed on levels of the body, mind, and spirit. Dis-ease often manifests on more than one level. On a physical level, one may feel fatigued, lacking energy (the energetic bank account or ATM depleted). Water also lubricates the body. We are, after all, 85% water! With lack of lubrication comes stiffness. Do your bones or joints hurt more in winter? Are you more anxious? Thoughts, ideas, muscles and joints move easier when they are lubricated.
In terms of the mind and spirit, do you feel like you want to do things but you simply cannot? That you seem to be stuck on the sofa with your mind saying “I should do this, or I should do that”, but you simply cannot get up enough energy to get it going? Or maybe you seem to be going all the time—frantically moving from one thing to another –always running about but never truly getting much accomplished.
Within the energy of water lies our will, our ability to keep on keeping on. So what can you do? My number one advice is to remember to take time to relax completely for at least 30 minutes during the day. This means to kick back, listen to music perhaps, but definitely relax your body and mind.
Acupuncture is not just for pain. It addresses the underlying condition and is used to balance the whole person. You cannot separate the body and the mind—balance one and you balance the other. Emotional blocks can be moved and physical symptoms can be cleared as a person is brought back into healthy balance. Just some of the areas that acupuncture addresses; the digestive, reproductive, immune and respiratory symptoms, anxiety, depression, that annoying “stuck” feeling and, of course, physical discomfort.
To maintain the fire of the kidney, a winter diet ideally would be warming and substantial with more whole grains, less fruit, and lots of steamed or baked vegetables, especially root vegetables. Soup is a great addition to the diet during winter as it is easy on the digestive system and keeps our inner fire warm. Warming herbs and spices like ginger, chili peppers and cinnamon are wonderful additions to your diet this time of year.
Exercise such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong are very good for inner balance, as they build strength, improve immune function and cultivate Qi (energy) through breathing, meditation and slow movements. If you have lower back pain, you may find that rest, warm foods, and activities that support that support your inner balance may supplement your water energy and diminish your symptoms. Remember, the kidneys and bladder are governed by water. Give them all the help you can by drinking more water.
Finally, if you receive acupuncture, winter is a great time for a tune up. If you do not receive acupuncture, winter is a great time to start building your reserves.
Welcome to the Jean Donati Acupuncture Autumn newsletter.
Inside you will find interesting information about the season of autumn, the element of metal, the lung and large intestine (the organs associated with metal), how metal shows up in all of us, and ways to strengthen your body, mind, and spirit in this season. Enjoy!
We are now truly into the autumn season. The leaves are changing, the air is crisp, and daylight is decreasing. In Chinese medicine, the autumn is the season of the metal element. It is a time of winding down, clearing out, and of gathering reserves for winter. The movement of autumn is inward and downward, taking us from the buzzing fullness of late summer into the deep stillness of winter. The energy of autumn, the metal element, moves us to eliminate what we no longer need, and reveals to us again, what is most precious in our lives.
The organs associated with the metal element are the lung and large intestine. The function of the lung in Chinese medicine is to receive inspiration. The lung takes in the pure and lets go of what is no longer needed. If the lung is not functioning well, waste builds up and we are unable to take in what is pure. Instead of tranquility, inspiration and freshness, we have symptoms such as bronchitis, shortness of breath, cough, allergy, asthma, congestion, colds and flu, constipation, spastic colon, and diarrhea. In terms of the mind and spirit, depression and stubbornness or an inability to let go may occur if the lung is not functioning well.
The function of the large intestine is to let go of what is toxic from the body, but not just on the physical level. Think of how much rubbish is sent our way every day, which affects our mind and spirit as well. We need to be able to eliminate the mental and spiritual rubbish or our minds become toxic and constipated, unable to experience or take in the beauty around us. A well functioning colon allows us to do this effectively.
In an individual, the metal element represents internal resolve and strength, self worth, self-esteem, vitality, and endurance as well as the ability to let go of emotional upsets and grudges. A person with well-balanced metal is organized, self disciplined, conscientious, precise, meticulous, and logical. They are straightforward. Metal qi bestows a deep inner strength. A person with unbalanced metal is disorganized, overly critical, unable to sense their value, and often lacks inspiration. They may seek respect and recognition from the outside because they feel a lack of worth on the inside. They have difficulty letting go of things because they identify their worth with those things.
As we move into the cold damp and windy weather of autumn, we need to nourish our yang energy. One way to do this is by eating foods prepared by long, slow baking, roasting, or stewing. Use warming herbs and spices such as ginger, garlic, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and pepper. Foods prepared in this way warm the body.
Foods that reflect the quality of autumn are heartier in flavor and more astringent. Foods like turnips, ginger, garlic, and horseradish are thought to assist in cleansing grief (the emotion associated with the metal element). Roots like carrots and turnips and winter squash help ground us and increase our ability to focus.
Foods to incorporate
To Clear Phlegm: Almonds, baked pear, garlic, onion, black tea, peppermint, thyme, and mustard
To moisten dryness: Baked peaches, apples, pears, tofu, butter, and eggs
To generally strengthen the lungs: Lung chi enhancing foods include pungent spices, ginger, garlic, rice, oats, carrots, mustard greens, sweet potato, yam, molasses, and almonds.
Foods to Avoid: Dairy products (introduce phlegm and create mucus), orange and tomato juice, beer, wheat flour pork and rich meats, peanuts, sugar, bananas
Oven Roasted Vegetables (Recipes for Self Healing, Meridian Press)
Choose 4-5 root vegetables (carrots, turnips, winter squash, pumpkin)
Chop into bite sized pieces and place in oven safe dish
Mix toasted sesame oil with sea salt and black pepper and pour over vegetables
Sprinkle with sesame seeds, rosemary and thyme
Bake at 400 for 1 hour
The Cold/Flu/Virus Season is upon Us
Autumn is the best season of the year to pay attention to the health of our lungs.
Some suggestions on how to strengthen our lungs are as follows:
*Keep your immune system up, and cover your neck whenever outside.
*Stay out of drafts, and avoid air-conditioning. Dress appropriately.
*Increase rest and go to bed earlier.
*Avoid smoke and environmental toxins. If you smoke, autumn is a wonderful time to Quit!
*Do deep abdominal breathing exercises. Yoga or Tai Chi
*Have a cup of ginger tea -it is pungent and tonifies (strengthens) the lungs.
*Have a good cry. Holding grief in, or refusing to recognize it, is very damaging to the metal element.
*Brush the skin and hair (The Skin is the associated organ of the Lungs) To help strengthen the Immune System, use a loofa to slough off old cells and invigorate the akin.
*Acupuncture treatment can strengthen lung energy to ward off colds, and flu illnesses.
Consider what you need to do to make ready for the letting go of autumn.
Holding your harvest in mind, ask what is overgrown or unneeded. What distracts you from your dearest concerns? What might you wish to simplify in yourself or in your life?
Suggestions for living in harmony with the autumn season:
*Go through your closet, desk, garage, medicine cabinet – any cluttered storage area- and discard what you no longer need. Then donate, sell, or otherwise circulate what might be of value to others.
*Do a mental inventory: Examine attitudes (prejudices, envies, hatreds, jealousies, resentments) stored within your psyche. When possible, contact those with whom you harbor old “stuff.” Attempt to resolve the hurtful old issues, and then let them go.
*For issues you cannot resolve directly with others, or for old issues with yourself, write them on paper, being as specific as possible. Then burn the paper, symbolically…releasing the content.
Take time each day to breathe slowly and deeply. As you inhale the clean autumn air, feel yourself energized and purified. Feel the old negativity, impurity, and pain leave your body and psyche. Then contemplate briefly who you are without these qualities.
For more information about Chinese Medicine, and Acupuncture, please visit my web site www.East2WestMedicine.com or call Jean at 410-984-3700.
Treatment of Neurological Disorders with Acupuncture
A neurological disorder refers to a problem with the nervous system, a complex, sophisticated system that regulates and coordinates the body’s activities. Nerve pain can arise from trauma, inflammation, stroke, disease, infection, nerve degeneration, exposure to toxic chemicals, and nutrient deficiencies.Nerve pain is usually a sharp, shooting pain or a constant burning sensation. Typically occurring in the same location with each episode, it can often be traced along the nerve pathway. Sometimes weakness or impaired function in the affected area occurs, and the skin may be either overly sensitive or numb. Acupuncture can provide symptom relief from some neurological disorders, including: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) — ALS is an irreversible neurological disease that destroys the nerve cells that invigorate the muscles. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome — Also known as median nerve entrapment, it occurs when swelling or irritation of the nerve or tendons in the carpal tunnel results in pressure on the median nerve. Headaches — Headaches that can be treated with acupuncture include migraines, tension headaches, headaches occurring around the menstrual cycle, sinus headaches and stress-related headaches. Myasthenia Gravis — This is a neuromuscular disorder causing muscles under voluntary control to tire and become easily fatigued. Peripheral Neuropathy — This presents as damage to the peripheral nervous system, which transmits information from the brain and spinal cord to every other part of the body. This kind of neuropathy can be caused by diabetes and often affects the feet. Trigeminal Neuralgia — This presents as facial pain and is sometimes called Tic Douloureux. It affects the trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for impulses of touch, pain, pressure, and temperature sent to the brain from the face, jaw, and gums. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been found effective as conjunctive therapy for several neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and in treating pain and inflammation. If you or someone you know is suffering from a neurological disorder or nerve pain, contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment!
Study Finds Acupuncture Effective at Treating Parkinson’s Disease
A 2017 meta-analysis published in the journal Medicine set out to discover if acupuncture alone or acupuncture plus conventional treatment could mitigate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Conventional treatment for Parkinson’s disease involves the use of the pharmaceutical drug Levodopa, but long-term use can cause mild to serious complications.http://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000005836 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5279085/After conducting their meta-analysis, the researchers concluded that acupuncture performed better than conventional treatment alone. Additionally, the combination of acupuncture with conventional treatment produced outstanding results when compared to just conventional treatment. Even more promising was the conclusion that acupuncture could provide relief for symptoms of early-stage Parkinson’s Disease, before the onset of drug therapy. Source: Lee, S.-H., & Lim, S. (2017). Clinical effectiveness of acupuncture on Parkinson disease: A PRISMA-compliant systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine, 96(3), e5836.
An Adjunctive Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that progressively damages the central nervous system. This happens due to the wearing away of the myelin sheath, a protective layer encasing the nerves. Some patients initially experience strong symptoms which suddenly disappear as the disease enters a period of remission. Others may experience a more insidious process wherein mild symptoms develop slowly over time but ultimately increase in severity.There is promising evidence that use of acupuncture and Chinese medicine as an adjunctive therapy can help mitigate symptoms and some complications of multiple sclerosis, including depression, problems thinking clearly and emotional instability. An article called “Acupuncture and Multiple Sclerosis: A Review of the Evidence,” was featured in the journal Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, volume 2014. In this article, the authors assessed the validity of using acupuncture and Oriental medicine to treat symptoms of multiple sclerosis. To do this, the researchers reviewed many scientific studies on the subject to reach their conclusions. Researchers demonstrated that remyelination, repair of the damaged myelin sheath, occurred in a significant amount of study participants. The article also showed potential in regards to treating the mental and emotional challenges faced by patients with multiple sclerosis were measured and shown to improve — including subjective feelings such as depression and the ability of the patient to handle their illness.
Relief from Myasthenia Gravis Symptoms
Myasthenia gravis is a neuromuscular disorder that causes muscles under voluntary control to tire and become easily fatigued. More than half of those diagnosed with myasthenia gravis have eye problems as their first symptoms, including droopy eyelids (ptosis) and double-vision (diplopia). However, roughly 15 percent of sufferers report that their first symptoms started in the face or throat muscles.Someone with difficulties with the face or throat muscles may experience altered speech, limited facial expressions, and difficulty chewing and swallowing. The most severe symptom is called a ‘myasthenia crisis,’ in which the muscles used for breathing no longer function. This is a life-threatening condition, and emergency medical help is required immediately. As myasthenia gravis may affect any muscle under voluntary control, weakness could occur in other areas besides the face and throat. The arms generally are more affected than the legs, and symptoms may present in the hands and feet, although this is not as common. The exact cause of this condition is unknown, but researchers have learned that the disease prompts the immune system to block signals from the nerves to the muscles. There is also evidence that a protein that helps the muscles receive messages is prevented from doing so. It is also believed genetics may play a role. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can support the treatment you receive from your primary care provider. As this disease is complex, all the things that bother you are reviewed, not just the signs and symptoms specifically related to the disease. If you or someone you know is suffering from a neurological disorder, contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment! 410-984-3700
In This Issue
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Symptom Relief
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an irreversible neurological disease that destroys the nerve cells, or neurons, that invigorate our muscles.Neurons are found in the brain and spinal cord, which comprise the central nervous system (CNS). As these cells weaken and wither, so do the muscles associated with them. Ultimately, this leads to a paralysis of those muscles. Early warning symptoms of the disease include weakness and fatigue of the arms or legs, and sometimes difficulty with speaking clearly. Other symptoms that may appear in early stages of ALS include:
In later stages of the disease, more severe symptoms reveal themselves. The muscles responsible for breathing, swallowing, and moving the body deteriorate to the point where they can no longer function. There is no known cure as of yet. The causes of ALS are not well understood, but it is accepted that genetics and chemical imbalances within the brain may play a role in the disease’s development. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can assist in managing the symptoms of ALS, including muscle weakness and cramping, fatigue, and emotional issues. According to acupuncture and Chinese medicine, the kidneys are responsible for the production and control of a vital substance called marrow, which produces essential components that make up a healthy central nervous system. The brain is considered a repository for marrow, and is thus termed the Sea of Marrow. When the kidneys are deficient, this condition can negatively impact the central nervous system. When kidney deficiency occurs, it is important to nourish and revitalize them, so they can in turn help nourish and revitalize the brain.