Health WellNews

Five Facts You Might Not Know About Acupuncture

Acupuncture is just one facet of a more inclusive medical system known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This medical system has been around for about 3,000 years and it has helped thousands of people live long, happy, healthy lives. Acupuncture uses tiny, solid, stainless steel needles that are inserted into the body, which stimulates the nervous and immune systems, bringing balance back to the body.

According to the National Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, it is estimated that only 10 percent of Americans have tried acupuncture. But according to a survey by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, those numbers are too high. They estimate only four percent of Americans have actually tried or used acupuncture. For those who have used acupuncture, the rates of success are at 75 percent or better. And many who have received acupuncture are impressed by the amount of attention to detail most acupuncturists give when treating their patients. Acupuncture treats the body holistically, looking at mind, body and emotions in order to give the best treatment possible and cover all bases of the person’s ailment.

Many people are hesitant to try acupuncture, because it can feel foreign and hard to wrap your head around. And with so few people actually using acupuncture, it is no surprise there are a lot of things people don’t know. Here’s a list of five things most people are surprised to find out when it comes to the practice of acupuncture.

Acupuncture does NOT hurt

Licensed acupuncturists hear it all the time, “I don’t like needles.” Well, realistically, who does? But the needles used by acupuncturists are the width of a human hair, very flexible and most people don’t even feel them. In fact, quite a few people who receive acupuncture regularly, actually fall asleep and take a nap once the needles are placed.

Acupuncturists are highly educated

To receive a degree in acupuncture, you are required to attend postgraduate school. This means most acupuncturists already have a bachelor’s degree before they even begin acupuncture school. The acupuncture license is a three to four year master’s degree that includes over 3,200 academic hours. That’s almost as much as most medical doctors.

There are free bonuses to getting acupuncture

Many people seek out acupuncture for a specific ailment. But the glory of this ancient medicine is you will also receive some free bonuses, like improved sleep, better concentration and improved mental attitude. Your whole being gets treated through acupuncture!

Acupuncture helps with almost everything

Most people think of acupuncture for pain relief, but the truth is it can treat so much more. Acupuncture can help with anxiety, depression, addiction, weight issues, insomnia, digestive issues and of course any kind of pain.

Not all acupuncture is the same

There are multiple styles of acupuncture: five element, TCM, Tan, Tung, auricular, abdominal, scalp, Korean, etc. No two are exactly alike, but they all have one common thread, helping people get and stay healthy.

So now that you know a little more about acupuncture, what are you waiting for? There’s no better time than the present to get going when it comes to your health. And there’s nothing stopping you except you.

Family Exercise in the Winter

You’re not imagining it. As the days grow shorter and the air cooler, the kids are getting restless and you may be too. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), kids need at least 1 hour of physical activity…every day. Adults should be partaking in either 2.5 hours of exercise at a moderate level OR 1.25 hours of vigorous exercise per week, minimum. Don’t let this cold season give you an excuse to skip the physical exercise and crawl back under your cozy covers. Here are some fun ways to incorporate movement and physical activity through the winter months for the whole family.

INDOOR EXERCISE

-Resistance Training- Bodyweight exercises are a great way to improve balance, flexibility, and strength without any bulky equipment. With a simple Google search, you can EASILY uncover a variety of exercises using the resistance of body weight alone.

-Boxing- Get your heart pumping with a simple boxing routine. Boxing provides a full-body workout, ducking, blocking, and throwing punches. Focus on your footwork for a cardio heavy conditioning workout that’ll get you sweating.

-Play Games- Purchase your family some soft nerf balls and start a game of indoor dodgeball. Try setting up an indoor basketball hoop for fun way to start laundry day. Consider dance parties in the kitchen while putting away dishes. Use commercial breaks to challenge each other to dance contests or during study breaks from online schooling. Try making a hopscotch or obstacle course with painters tape. Get creative and have fun with it!Get creative and have fun with it!

-Family Mindfulness- Competitive activities teach children to master their bodies, and often this can lean hard into focusing on their weaknesses. And while activity and goal setting are imperative to growth, we need to remember to teach our children to be content with themselves in a noncompetitive and appreciative way as well. Activities like Tai Chi, Yoga, or Meditation can help children feel at one with their bodies, teaching them to respect their physical and emotional selves.

SEEK OUT RECREATIONAL FACILITIES

Ready to get out of the house but not into the cold? No worries, we have exercises for you too.

-Swimming- It’s never the wrong time to go swimming. Swimming is a phenomenal physical activity for so many reasons. Firstly, swimming is an age-friendly activity. Being immersed in water provides low-impact therapy for injury rehabilitation or physically limiting conditions. Because swimming involves endurance it is also a great way to keep muscles toned, including those supporting the heart and lungs. Swimming is a full-body workout that is known to improve flexibility, coordination, balance, and posture all the while alleviating stress. Need we say more?

-Rock Climbing- The benefits of climbing are vast as well. Climbing combines mental stimulation and physical power beautifully to burn over 600 calories per hour. Not only does climbing involve the arm muscles used for gripping and pulling, but this sport will also activate legs, back, and shoulder muscles as well. The balance and finesse of this sport work the core to stabilize movements, leading to a stronger and less injury-prone body. Finding an indoor rock wall could be the winter workout you have been looking for.

-Bowling / Trampoline Park- Even with these quarantine guidelines in place and the pandemic following us into the winter, bowling alleys and trampoline parks are beginning to open back up with new safety guidelines in place. On top of the muscle-building motion of the arms and legs with these activities, they also require attention to detail for successful performance. Both of these activities are great for building hand-eye coordination.

OUTDOOR EXERCISE

Moving around outside can get your heart rate up and keep you warm, but if that isn’t enough consider a warm-up exercise routine for inside before you brave the cold. Remember to dress in long layers, wear boots instead of gym shoes, wear a hat, gloves, and don’t forget warm socks.

Try encouraging your kids to get outside. Consider a walk with the dog, visiting a new park, playing basketball, soccer, or even a good old game of frisbee. Skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing are great, but obviously only if you have the snow, equipment, and knowledge. Consider seeking out a local ice rink. Ice skating isn’t just for kids. In fact at a moderate pace simply skating laps can burn up to 500 calories per hour while toning your legs, butt, and similar core stabilizing muscles as rock climbing for fine movements and balance. If ice skating sounds too cold for you, consider bundling up and going for a bike ride. Because of its cardio-heavy nature and use of the quadricep muscles biking will warm your body quickly.

Scheduling the proper time for these activities for you and your family is crucial. Often kids have a lot of energy just after they have just finished school for the day, this is an optimal time to introduce rousing new adventures. Also keep in mind that positive reinforcement is the best way to form new healthy habits, both for you and your kids. Keep the dialogue light and encouraging as you discover these exciting wintertime activities together. While picking up new activities can seem like a large undertaking, you are potentially investing in new lifelong passions. And who knows, you might even end up with a workout you’ll want to do all year long.

Start small and remember to reach out to me if you need any advice.

Season of the Lungs

The theories of Chinese medicine suggest that each season relates to a different organ system. The Fall is the season of the Lungs. It’s the time of year when people are easily affected by environmental influences. Great changes are taking place in the weather and plant life around us. Some people refer to it as the “flu season.”

The lungs are called the “delicate protective organ,” because they are the only organ that comes into direct contact with the external environment. This can make them vulnerable to the environmental influences which can lead to colds, the flu or allergies.
The lungs are also involved in the production of Wei Qi. Wei Qi is a similar concept to what Western medicine refers to as the immune system. Wei Qi provides the body with an “immune system-like” barrier that protects the body from harmful pathogenic factors that can enter into it, and which may eventually lead to illness and/or disease.

Healthy and strong lungs can enhance the proper functions of the entire body. Through an intricate process, the Lungs extract “pure essence” from the air we breathe and combine it with the food we ingest to produce the Wei Qi. This immunity-like system is then circulated throughout the entire body, providing it with a first line of defense.

When the lungs are functioning correctly, we remain healthy, and potentially free from illness, however, when our lungs become weakened or imbalanced, our body may not have the capacity to produce the correct amount of Wei Qi. When this occurs, the stage for “catching” a cold, the flu or allergies is set. Weak lungs and Wei Qi can also lead to asthma, eczema, dry skin and other problems.

The lungs are negatively affected by many factors: an improper diet, emotional stress, unexpressed or long-held grief or sadness, inherited constitution, smoking, bad air or pollution.

The ancient classic text, Zhen Jing, states, “If the lungs function well, it can activate the flow of Qi, and nourish the whole body with Wei Qi, as rain nourishes young crops.” Proper lung function is necessary to keep us healthy and to help ward off illness and disease.