In traditional Chinese medicine, autumn is characterized by several things:
Similarly, the human body naturally wants to pare down, introvert, and begin a season of focused energy. At times there is a shift on the fall equinox when the energy that previously flowed outward in the summer turns inward in preparation for the winter ahead. Even if you aren’t heading back to the office yet, most people experience feeling that change is in the air. We begin to organize our homes, offices, and calendars, and look to the months ahead with a “new year” sense of goals for what's to come.
Traditional Chinese medicine is a therapy for the entire body, mind, and spirit. Just as psychotherapy helps the mind release tension, acupuncture helps the body release emotions of grief, sadness, and memories as well.
In our practice we use acupuncture, herbs, and dietary therapy to help improve digestion and support the process of letting go. We utilize acupuncture points that have a descending action and improve the circulation of Qi and blood. Similarly, we address the lungs which are so frequently damaged by the dry, crisp air that characterizes autumn and winter.
The following is a list of foods and supplements to support the lungs and the large intestine.
The Large Intestine
With all the gorgeous weather we’ve been experiencing, I hope you're taking a long lunch break and heading outside to enjoy it.
There’s no magic pill for any ailment, mental or physical (although Xiao Yao San, Zinc, and Mushrooms are pretty close!), so the best you can do during this time (especially during the Fall) is support your body when the seasons are changing and colds and flus begin to pop up.
The number one way to this is to simply walk for 45 minutes each day. It doesn’t have to be vigorous, and can be broken up into chunks such as 20 mins of strolling on your lunch break and 25 mins after dinner. (The added bonus here is that your digestion will be supported and your blood sugar will stabilize more effectively).
No matter how you do it, getting that walk in is important.
According to David Nieman, Ph.D., “A daily walk helps shake up and spread out your Natural Killer cells – which is the first line of defense for your immune system – making them more vigilant.” He adds, “Don’t push yourself. Exhaustive exercise can actually impair the immune system, so pace yourself to where you can comfortably talk while you walk.”
How does it work?
Exercise significantly increases lymphatic return. Your lymphatic system is responsible for immunity and maintaining fluid balance in the body. It consists of lymphatic vessels & capillaries, and is similar to your circulatory system – except there is no pump to move your lymph fluid the way the heart pumps the blood. You must do it manually through muscular contraction.
Your lymph carries your body’s natural defenses (such as B cells, T cells, and Natural Killer cells) throughout your system so that they can get to work and clean house. Natural Killer (NK) cells attack and destroy bacteria, transplanted tissue, host cells infected with viruses and cancer cells. Prevention is key! A healthy lymphatic system is important for overall health whether you have a cold or not.
Walking isn't just good for your immune system - it can also help speed recovery and reduce pain, especially chronic pain. For starters, building up surrounding muscles through walking helps stabilize hurting joints and also increases lubrication of the cartilage. "Cartilage doesn't have a blood supply but does have living cells," says Dr. Virginia Byers Kraus, a professor at Duke University's Molecular Physiology Institute. "So the way it gets nutrition is by dynamic motion — putting weight off and on as you walk and move. The fluid inside the joint flows into and out of the cartilage like a sponge, so all the nutrients in the joint fluid get into the cartilage" and help slow any degradation there.
What Inspires Me To Walk Every Day
One day while skimming through the LA Times I came across an article that really spoke to me and even today reminds me to get a walk in every day, any way I can
Dry needling and trigger point therapy has been used for decades in Chinese Medicine and acupuncture but it’s become an increasingly popular drug-free way to treat musculoskeletal pain.
Just like in acupuncture we use thin, dry needles — “dry” in the sense that they don’t inject anything into the body — that are inserted through the skin into the muscle tissue. Our main focus is muscle and connective tissue and trying to restore mobility.
How Does It Work?
When muscles are overused or strained, they can develop knotted areas called myofascial trigger points that are irritable and cause pain.
An overused muscle undergoes an energy crisis where, because of prolonged or inappropriate contraction, the muscle fibers are no longer getting adequate blood supply. If it’s not getting that normal blood supply, it’s not getting the oxygen and nutrients that will allow the muscle to go back to its normal resting state.
The tissue near the trigger point becomes more acidic, and the nerves are sensitized, which makes the area sore or painful.
Stimulating a trigger point with a needle helps draw normal blood supply back to flush out the area and release the tension. When muscles are this tense, even the prick sensation can also fire off nerve fibers that stimulate the brain to release endorphins – the body’s own “homemade pain medication.”
To locate a patient’s trigger points, we palpate, searching for painful, knotty areas and perform orthopedic testing.
Once a trigger point is located, the we insert a needle through the skin directly into it. At times we might need to move the needle around a bit to try to elicit what’s called a local twitch response, which is a quick spasm of the muscle. This reaction can actually be a good sign that the muscle is reacting.
Some patients feel improvement and change in their pain and mobility almost immediately after a dry needling session.
It’s important to continue to keep the affected muscles loose by continuing to move them within their new range of motion after treatment, he adds. There can be some soreness for 24 to 48 hours afterward.
Our Sessions Combine Dry Needling, Gaston, Cupping, and KT Taping As Needed To Address Fascia and Muscle Pain Mobility Issues
Microneedling is a state-of-the-art, medical aesthetic procedure that encourages your skin to revitalize and renew itself naturally. It is an innovative, more affordable and gentler alternative to laser resurfacing treatments and chemical peels.
Microneedling achieves smoother and younger looking skin with minimal downtime.
Microneedling stimulates your skin’s natural production of collagen and elastin, reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, scars, and other signs of aging on the face or anywhere on the body.
We use the new, state-of-the-art FDA approved MD Pen. This medical grade microneedling device penetrates deeper than others – with finer, more comfortable needles.
Results after 5 sessions
Results after 6 sessions
Results after 4 sessions
Your gut has an incredible amount of control over your overall health but it can be kind of confusing to understand why or how to identify what symptoms are cause for concern.
The gut microbiome contains a mix of good and bad bacteria that plays many important roles in our body: protecting against dangerous bacteria, regulating metabolism, aiding in digestion, creating vitamins, managing hormone levels, and disposing of toxins. It makes sense when there's a deficiency in the system
Spring is nature's birthing season, where green and newness becomes abundant. It signals a six-month period of daylight, the sun, and that yang will be dominating our lives here in the northern hemisphere. It is a time for fresh starts, reflection, new ideas, and exciting plans as energy everywhere ramps up.
Remember that in every season food is medicine.
Eating fresh and in season produce at your local farmers market is ideal, with an emphasis on leafy greens, lettuces, sprouts, and live vital foods. These foods are associated with freshening, cleansing, and building the body. Eating more green foods increases the intake of chlorophyll into our systems and our blood. This is extremely beneficial in oxygenating and purifying our blood which reduces systemic inflammation. This can be accomplished by taking a supplement or simply by eating more green foods.
So let's celebrate this beautiful spring by embracing the wood element and its values! Here are some ideas for the transition:
- *Let Go! Leave behind resentment or frustrations and make a plan to start anew.
- *Make some noise! Anger is the emotion of the unbalanced wood element; when channeled properly, it can be a force for change and transformation.
- *Grow! Plant some seeds or starts to feel connected to nature's cycles.
- *Choose! Make a plan and begin it. The wood element has strong creative energy so paths chosen at this time are more likely to manifest.
- *Cleanse! Make some dietary changes to support your liver and gallbladder, the wood element's organs. Add more leafy greens and drink more liquids to detoxify.
- *Heal! Acupuncture treatments are a great way of moving stagnation both physically and emotionally.
The second product that I really like, and in a perfect world I would start all my patients on for a month before treatment is curcumin. It is a potent anti inflammatory- in the gut or otherwise. In Chinese Medicine we use curcumin for pain, abdominal pain, menstrual pain, and shoulder pain. Our product from Designs for Health is bioavailable and really effective.
Welcome to the Year of the Metal Ox!
February 26th marks the last day of the Chinese New Year celebrations.
If you haven't already, its a time to take stock, and to set positive intentions for the coming year. The key to wisdom this year is acceptance. The Ox is: strong, reliable, fair and conscientious, inspires confidence in others, calm, patient and methodical.