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Welcome Autumn

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!

Welcome Autumn

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

Autumn Recipe

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?

Welcome Autumn

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.

Acupuncture for Anxiety or Panic

Acupuncture and Acute Stress…Adrenalin and Acupuncture.

Jean_Donati_Acupuncture_PanicDid 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.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Acupuncture

Words Post Traumatic Stress disorder

PTSD and Acupuncture

Those who have experienced trauma including, physical, emotional and sexual trauma can experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for months to years after the initial event.  Traumatic events can include physical events such as experiencing or witnessing a car accident or near-death experience, physical combat such as faced by veterans in war, and sexual trauma in the form of incest, rape or unwanted sexual encounters.  Individuals can carry the remnants of those events with them for a long time.  These remnants often continue to affect them in profound ways, disrupting their relationships, their overall mental health, and their daily lives.  Acupuncture is one of the modalities which can address the physical and emotional aftermath of traumatic events and assist on the path of healing.

 

What is PTSD?

PTSD is a physiological disorder that can result from being exposed to any traumatic event.  The disorder results in symptoms that can be different for each individual.

Possible symptoms include:

  • Some PTSD sufferers relive the traumatic event over and over. Flashbacks, memories, and nightmares are common.  Often, sounds, smells, and sights can trigger a flashback.
  • Avoidance is also common. Individuals with PTSD avoid people, places and events that remind them of the event.
  • Numbing is another self-preservation mechanism. Numbing can include difficulty expressing emotions, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, and the loss of memory of parts of the traumatic event.  Certain memories may resurface yeas after the event took place.  This is a common occurrence.
  • Arousal can be exhibited by anger, irritability, trouble concentrating or sleeping, feeling on guard and being easily startled or surprised.

The effects of post-traumatic stress disorder in someone’s life can be wide ranging.  An individual with PTSD may have feelings of hopelessness, shame and despair.  There may be problems at work.  Relationships may be strained.  Serious health conditions such as depression, anxiety and drug or alcohol abuse are not uncommon.  Other health issues include insomnia, stress, anxiety, depression, digestive disorders, anorexia, bulimia, difficulty with concentration and focus, and  headaches.

 

How Can I Help my Friend or Relative with PTSD?

There are many ways you can help your friend or relative with PTSD.

  • Learn everything you can about PTSD. Knowledge is power. The more you know about the disorder, the better you can understand what your friend is going through and why they are responding the way they are to specific triggers.
  • Offer your assistance. This may be going to physician visits with them, keeping track of medications, or going with them to therapy.  If your friend is learning new techniques to cope with stress try learn the new techniques with them.  Be supportive as possible.
  • Be available and fully present to listen. Listen with a compassionate open heart.  Don’t judge, argue, or problem-solve.  Your friend my not be willing or able to talk.  That is ok, just sitting with someone in silence may be what they need.
  • Plan fun activities to get them out and about. Be aware of events or environments that are difficult and plan events to be as stress-free as possible.
  • Pay attention to any comments about hurting themselves and report them to the therapist or doctor. If necessary, call 911.
  • Sometimes supporting someone with PTSD is challenging. Get support for yourself so you are able to help your friend or loved one.  Seek safety and help immediately if your friend or relative becomes violent or threatening.

PTSD Crisis Resources

If you or your loved one is in crisis:

  • Call 911.
  • Go to your nearest Emergency Room.
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in Spanish/Español 1-888-628-9454.
  • Go to the veterans crisis website at https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ to chat live with a crisis counselor at any time of day or night.
  • Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or chat online 24/7 at https://www.rainn.org/resources

There are many new treatments available for people who have experienced physical, emotional or sexual abuse, assault, and trauma.  Acupuncture can foster a safe environment for healing and growth.  Jean Donati Acupuncture has experience in treating patients with PTSD.  For more information, please call 410-984-3700 for a confidential discussion.

Acupuncture Treatment of Pain

When Are you going to treat my pain???

Over the past few days, I have had several patients ask me …”I am coming in for neck pain or back pain or shoulder pain…where are you going to put the needles”?  Or if I have been seeing the patient I am asked “when are you going to treat my pain… why don’t you just put the needles where my pain is?”

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the flow of energy or Qi, moves in specific pathways called meridians.  There are 14 major pathways, and these pathways interact with each other.  Initially, when I first see a patient, I like to make sure that the overall energy is clear, so I do a few “clearing treatments” before I focus on shifting any energy in a specific pathway.

Your energy is like a garden.   I want flowers or crops to grow, so I need to make sure the ground is ready for planting.  This means removing any unnecessary weeds, or rocks or debris.  This is what the clearing treatments do.  They make the energy channels clear and ready for shifts in energy.  The clearing treatments are generally on the front, or back of the body and can consist of 2-4 treatments if necessary.  This is to ensure that the energy is moving in the proper direction, not being contaminated.  It is like removing a kink form a hose so you can let the water flow.

There is another important thing to note.  Say you come in for wrist pain, there are 6 pathways that encompass the wrist area.  These include the heart, small intestine, triple heater, pericardium, lung and large intestine pathways of energy.  They all start at the fingertips and go up the wrist, to the forearm.  Some of these pathways diverge to the chest, face and back.  So, needles may not be placed in the wrist for wrist pain if there is a blockage of energy along a pathway is say the small intestine at the level of the scapula or shoulder blade.

Traditional Chinese medicine takes all of this into account.  So, when I am asked “When are you going to treat my pain?”  My answer is… I already am…I started with the first session.   Sometimes clearing the general energy blocks (which can include internal and external factors such as emotions, heat, cold, wind, damp, excess or deficiency, side to side energy pathway balance) can make a profound change in the symptoms you came in with and others you were not aware of such as sleep, mood, digestion and concentration.

 

My treatment protocol consists of the following…

Clear general energy blocks -Internal Dragons, External Dragons, Aggressive Energy, Alkabane (side to side balance).  1-4 treatments if needed.

Clear local pathway energy blocks form one pathway to another (Entry/exit blocks) if needed

Treat meridian root cause with local and distal points at each treatment after the clearing treatments

Ashi points or painful points not specifically on an energy pathway.

Treat Constitutionally.

As a team, we are teaching your energy how to stay open and clear, but sometimes life gets in the way, and blockages can reoccur.  Each part of this protocol may need to be done, or just one part, or perhaps several at the same time to shift the energy when it needs to shift.  Each treatment builds on the one before, so it is important to have regular and frequent treatments early in your treatment course.  As your symptom resolves, the length of time between treatments can be increased as long as you remain symptom free.  Once we get to this point, I generally like to have my patients come back monthly for a tune up so that we can continue to keep their energy clear and keep them symptom free.

 

Health Benefits of Acupuncture and Yoga

The Health Benefits of Acupuncture and Yoga

Acupuncture is an ancient healing technique originating in China over 5000 years ago.  It is the process of moving qi (chee) or energy, in the body to decrease pain, facilitate health, wellness, and allow the body to heal itself.  Disruption of qi energy is responsible for pain and illness in the body.  By using certain acupuncture points, this energy is allowed to move freely and decrease pain and improve health.

The practice of yoga can be traced back to Northern India 5000 years ago.  It incorporates body postures, meditation, breathing and relaxation techniques all dedicated to moving prana or energy.

Acupuncture and yoga share the philosophy of connecting the body, mind, and spirit.  Through the practice of acupuncture and yoga, you can experience many health benefits.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine the benefits of acupuncture and yoga include….

*Pain relief, in particular, improving back pain.

*Easing arthritis symptoms.

*Benefiting heart health

*Relaxation for improved sleep

*Increased energy, brighter moods and mental clarity.

*Stress relief

Both and acupuncture and yoga benefit the whole person by enhancing health of multiple body systems and increasing the sense of well-being.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes acupuncture to be helpful for many conditions affecting the body, mind, and spirit.  These include pain, stress, nausea and vomiting, headache and sciatica, plus many more medical conditions.

Come enjoy Acupuncture with Jean Donati Acupuncture in Towson, MD., and Yoga with Janet.  Your body will thank you for it.

Schedule an acupuncture appointment with Jean Donati Acupuncture in Towson, MD here  https://www.East2WestMedicine.com

Schedule a virtual yoga class with Yoga with Janet here   https://www.yogawithjanet.yoga/

 

Notes:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/286745

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/9-benefits-of-yoga

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/acupuncture#:~:text=Acupuncture%20points%20are%20believed%20to,physical%20and%20emotional%20well%2Dbeing.

https://holistic-health.org.uk/acupuncture-evidence-project-deeper-look/

https://holistic-health.org.uk/world-health-organisation-recommends-acupuncture-100-conditions/#:~:text=And%20based%20on%20their%20research,of%20all%20our%20world’s%20citizens

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/156488#what-is-acupuncture

 

 

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