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In our last post we discussed ways Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can strengthen confidence and well being and also remove obstacles like pain and stress. In this post we will show more ways you can gain a stronger can-do spirit through TCM by getting rid of what is weighing you down and taking time for your health.

Better Sleep

In TCM, problems with sleep indicates a fundamental imbalance of Qi, or energy. There are a variety of reasons you may be suffering with sleep issues and a TCM diagnosis can help pinpoint what is occurring with your particular constitution. Our energy meridians indicate the balance between our organs, blood, and energy. Someone who has difficulty falling asleep or who wakes up every morning at 3AM usually has an imbalance in the Liver Meridian. Excessive worry or dream disturbed sleep indicates an imbalance of the Spleen Meridian and so on. A practitioner will help determine where your imbalance is to come up with a unique treatment plan that utilizes acupuncture and a custom herbal medicine formula.

A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that :

  • Acupuncture was superior to medications regarding the number of patients with total sleep duration increased for [greater than] 3 hours.
  • Acupuncture plus medications showed better effect than medications alone on total sleep duration
  • Similarly, acupuncture plus herbs was significantly better than herbs alone on increase of sleep rates. There were no serious adverse effects related to acupuncture treatment in the included trials.

Treating insomnia with pharmaceutical sleep aids can be immediately helpful but will only treat the symptom, not the imbalance, and can have unwanted side effects. Acupuncture can give you the long-term healing you need.

Help with Change/Addictions

Auricular (Ear) Acupuncture is such an effective tool for fighting addiction it is used in more than 2,000 drug and alcohol treatment centers in the US. Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, N.Y has 35 years of experience with this treatment and delivers 100 acupuncture treatments per day!

You may not need help transitioning out of substance abuse, but the same protocol, modified for each individual, is helpful for easing the discomfort of quitting smaller habits. We often use it to help our patients quit drinking coffee or smoking. It is also helpful for sugar withdrawal. If you need to make big changes in your diet, we recommend acupuncture treatments to help you with withdrawal or detox side effects like headaches and cravings.

Time for Self-Care

Take time to pamper yourself! Acupuncture treatments can be deeply relaxing and together with the aroma therapy we use with each treatment, your session can feel like a spa visit. The bonuses are that you are healing underlying health imbalances, boosting your immune system, and strengthening your confidence. You deserve it!

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The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences. – Eleanor Roosevelt

What is empowerment? What does it mean to you? The Oxford dictionary defines empowerment:  “Make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights”.

How can we become stronger and more confident in controlling our life and claiming our rights? Because that sounds really good! Based on what we see every day in our practice and what we have experienced ourselves, we would like to share the ways that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can strengthen confidence and well being. Also, how it can help to remove some of the things that weigh us down so we are able to move with lightness and vitality towards our goals and what makes us joyful.

Stress Relief

There are numerous research findings that show how acupuncture relieves stress. One study showed that acupuncture regulates steroid hormones to reduce biochemical reactions to stress. It upregulates hormones in some areas, while downregulating in other areas to maintain balance within the body when it is exposed to stress. Amazing!

Other studies show that acupuncture significantly reduces depression.

We are all expected to juggle so much in a 24/7 world. Helping your body to regulate stress is a gift you can give yourself.

We wrote a more in-depth post about treating anxiety with acupuncture that you can find here if you’d like to learn more.

Confidence

Feeling grounded, alert, or more confident are qualities many of our patients describe as unexpected perks during their treatment. There are many reasons why this could happen but it often occurs when working on the Gall Bladder meridian. In TCM, the organs have distinct roles and qualities. The Gall Bladder is known as The Official of Decision Making and Judgment. It makes the decisions of when to break down, assimilate, and clear nutrients and waste. It secretes the potent bile fluids required to digest and metabolize fats and oils; it provides muscular strength and vitality; and it assists the lymphatic system in clearing the toxic by-products of metabolism from the muscular system.

The emotional qualities it governs are daring, decisiveness, and judgement. It also is an organ that spurs action—helping with courage and initiative. The word for daring in Chinese is is da dan (‘big gall’). In English, we have a similar expression. When someone does something bold, we might say, “They have a lot of gall!”  In ancient Chinese medicine, the names of acupuncture points describe the gifts they can bring. Acupuncture point, “Gall Bladder 37 Bright and Clear Junction (Luo Connecting) Point” has the spiritual connotation of bringing lightness to dark, so that we can see clearly.  Sometimes people describe feeling like all the cobwebs were cleared from their mind.

Pain Relief

We see many patients with chronic pain. Sometimes patients express surprise at realizing just how much the chronic pain was draining their overall energy once they experience some relief. Don’t suffer! Acupuncture can help alleviate and manage your chronic pain condition or an episode of acute pain. Pain relief from acupuncture is so effective, it’s being utilized in important ways around the world:  on-site in children’s hospitals, like Boston Children’s Hospital, to ease the use of pharmaceuticals for injured American members of the military, and quite poignantly, it was used by Iraqi doctors during drug shortages, to successfully treat mothers during caesarean section births.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are non-invasive, symptom-free tools available for you to use to better your life. In the next post we will show how TCM can empower you by giving you better sleep, by assisting you in making lifestyle changes and overcoming addictions, and simply by taking time for self-care!

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Good friend of the nest, and writer, Eric Hawxby is our featured guest blogger. A big thank you to Eric!

As we emerge from the longest, coldest Winter since The Ice Age; consider the Spring season is traditionally known as one of rebirth. It is at this time of year that our natural inclination is to lay to rest our sedentary wintry lives and begin a new existence refreshed and renewed.  Spring-cleaning is performed, dust-bunnies are shooed with a sweep of the broom, ushering in the bunnies of Easter (Spring). While binge-cleaning our homes is a great way to clear the air and freshen the psyche, it’s also an ideal time to treat our bodies to a gentle Spring-cleaning of its own.

Generally speaking, Winter is the season of rich and heavy comfort foods, not only during the holidays but during those bitterly cold nights hunkered down on the couch, armed against Arctic Blasts with our favorite take-out food. Traditional Chinese medicine correlates Spring-time with the liver—our body’s vigilant and dedicated house-keeper. It rids our bodies of dangerous toxins helping it to stay healthy and balanced. In this modern era we are assaulted with toxins which we absorb into our systems every time we breathe, eat, and drink. Toxins are even absorbed through the body’s largest and most vulnerable organ—our skin. At The Nest, in order to honor this Spring, we are celebrating the liver and all that it does to keep us living healthy, productive, and joyful lives.

There are many ways to gently assist the detoxification of our bodies. By cleansing ourselves of built-up toxins we can help boost and sustain our energy levels, enjoy a glowing complexion, and restore balance to our natural bio-rhythms. It’s important to remember that when approaching a cleanse or detox regimen that your goal isn’t to shock your system with an abrupt and drastic fasting or by over-doing it with supplements designed to flush your system; these practices can cause serious short and long term problems for you. Instead, start simply by first reducing the toxins you ingest through the foods and beverages you consume. Cut out or reduce your intake of sugary, chemically-sweetened sodas, alcohol, carbonated drinks, and coffee. Instead, moderately consume organic fruit juices, unsweetened teas and make a concerted effort to drink 8 glasses of  purified drinking water. Avoid drinking out of plastic containers. There are free smart-phone apps that can monitor and encourage your intake of water. Adding fresh lemon and cucumber to your glass of water aids the detox process and is palatable and refreshing. Organic green-tea will help cleanse the body of free-radicals whose only goal is to accelerate the body’s aging process. While growing older is an inevitable and beautiful part of our life-cycle, we don’t need free-radicals pushing us towards the grave. Catechins, found in green-tea, will help you fight off these fun-haters. On the go, order a green-juice drink from the neighborhood health-food joint, or make your own incorporating watercress, spinach, ginger, broccoli, add some fresh mint for taste.

Your Spring detox plan should also include eating smaller meals made with as many whole, fresh, organic ingredients as possible. Mom may know best, but Mother Nature knows even better. Make a point to eat natural foods that come into harvest during the season of the region in which you live; in addition to seasonal produce from other areas. Some healthy Springtime bounties include: artichokes, nettles, lettuces, asparagus, New Potatoes, and Spring carrots. Add some of that fresh mint to your smoothie or iced tea or eat a few leaves as-is. Morels, peas, radishes, rhubarb, green garlic, fiddleheads, fennel, naval oranges and lemons are at their best during the Spring season. Incorporate them into your favorite recipes.

Another effective way to cleanse and rejuvenate the body is by taking a dry sauna or steam bath to open pores and sweat out the accumulated toxins inside our bodies. Obviously, exercise is a great way to induce sweating and should be incorporated into any lifestyle regardless of the season. Detoxing should be a gentle and healthy component of your health regimen. Over-exercising or too much time in the sauna will dehydrate your system and stress the body’s ability to regulate temperature and will purge your body of necessary electrolytes. Treat your body with care and respect and you will be rewarded with the gift of health.

Chinese Medicine modalities can also help facilitate the cleansing and detoxing of our bodies. Cupping and Scaling are gentle and effective ways to increase circulation and draw out harmful radicals traveling through the blood-stream and residing in our muscles. Chinese foot-plasters can also be beneficial in expelling toxins via the many acupuncture points of our feet and are worn while sleeping. Your health practitioner at The Nest can advise you on these treatments and determine if they would be necessary and of benefit to you. Chinese herbal supplements to aid in detox can be specifically designed for the individual needs of our clients. It is always wise to consult a health-care professional before making drastic changes to your diet and exercise regimens. In our modern times we tend to take aggressive approaches to exercise and fad ‘diets;’ while it’s important exchange the harmful habits for healthier ones. The rabbit may be Spring’s icon, but heed the tortoise for slow and steady always wins the race.

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