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Can't Sleep? Try This!

Getting a good, restful sleep is one aspect of health that is often overlooked. Our bodies need sleep in order to heal and grow. Here are a few tips to help you catch some ZZZs.

1. Get enough exercise during the day.
Our bodies are made to move, and if we don’t expend enough energy during the day it might be hard to fall asleep at night. Our lifestyle is quite sedentary compared to what it used to be, many of us spend the day at a desk or behind a computer.

Try moving your body a little more. If you can’t incorporate regular exercise into your day: Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park further away than usual. Go outside for a brisk walk on your lunch break. Practice ten minutes of stretching or yoga before going to bed.

2. Turn off your screens before bed.
Technology like cellphones, TVs, and iPads emit blue wavelengths of light. This blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, which is needed to regulate our sleep cycle. Simply put, screen time at night tricks our brains into thinking it is daytime.

Try limiting screen time (or better yet, turn off your devices) a few hours before going to bed.

3. Breathe deeply.                                                                                                               We carry a lot of stress around with us. Taking a few minutes to let go and relax at the end of the day can help to fall asleep easier and sleep more soundly.

Try a breathing exercise while lying in bed. Inhale deeply for 4 counts, and exhale for 5 counts. As you inhale, bring into your mind something that caused you stress, worry, or anger throughout the day. As you exhale, allow that feeling to leave your body with your breath and feel your muscles release any tension they might be holding. Start with 3 breaths, and see if you can work your way up to 10.

4. Eat light at night.                                                                                                     Eating a heavy dinner or eating late at night can make it harder to fall asleep. Your body needs energy to digest food, which can keep you awake for a few hours after you eat.

Try not to eat a few hours before hitting the hay.

5. Enjoy a cup of tea before bed.                                                                                     The ritual of making and drinking a cup of tea will help you to unwind after a long day. Aromatic herbs like chamomile, lemon balm or lavender will calm your mind and body, making it easier to relax and ultimately, fall asleep.

Try a cup of herbal tea before going to bed. Sit quietly and let the warmth and aroma of the tea soothe your senses while you sip.

 

These tips work best for mild or occasional insomnia. If you consistently have trouble with your sleep, give us a call and come in for an acupuncture treatment.                   Sweet dreams!

Can't Sleep? Try This!, Photo Credit: Erica Robinson Photography

Fall: A Time for Letting Go

It’s that time of year again, folks! The nights are long, the air is crisp, the smell of pumpkin pie and warm apple cider fills our homes. But the TEAM (Traditional East Asian Medicine) view of autumn is much more than cozy sweaters and cinnamon spice. It’s a time for contemplation, reflection, and letting go of that which does not serve us.

The summer months are fulled with activity--days are long, plants and wildlife are alive and thriving, and we spend more time outside doing things like swimming and barbecuing. As we move into the winter, everything slows down--the days are shorter, animals go into hibernation, plants are dormant, and we spend more time inside getting cozy under a blanket.

Our body and mind should reflect the changes that are happening in the environment. Letting go of unnecessary burdens in our lives allow us to connect with ourselves more deeply, and find peace in our hearts.

While I was walking in the woods the other day, I started to notice individual leaves as they fell from the trees. I was awe-struck, and had to stop and sit to watch them. Have you ever watched a single leaf fall from a tree? It’s mesmerizing. I probably spent a half hour simply watching the leaves as the fell to the ground, one by one, swiftly and gently. Some would get caught in a glimmer of sunlight, some would pick up a little gust of wind and twirl around and around in many directions, some would bypass any other branches or leaves and fall straight to the ground. No matter how, they all found their way to the ground with poise and ease.

Fall: A Time for Letting Go, Photo credit: Erica Robinson Photography

Watching the leaves fall from the trees was a beautiful reflection of what our bodies and minds need at this time of year.

Shed what does not serve us.

Just as the trees let go of their leaves to get through the winter, so must we let go of thought patterns, habits, ideas, beliefs that are not for our highest and greatest good, that do not support our health and growth as human beings.

This applies to physical things, too--clothes you haven't worn in years, old books you haven't read, anything you save because you "might need it some day".

Take some time for meditation, reflection and contemplation this season: do you have any limiting beliefs about yourself? Holding onto a grudge that is only weighing you down? Is your house cluttered with things that you don’t use anymore?

LET. THEM. GO.

You’ll be amazed at how much lighter you feel when you do.

 

Nutrition is not "one size fits all"

In the last blog post, we talked about how you can eat in order to get more out of your food. Now, we’ll talk a little bit about what to eat. Many of us have learned that when it comes to nutrition, there is an ideal, “one size fits all” diet for optimum health--lots of salad, smoothies, yogurt; not much meat or fat.

In the views of Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM), this “one size fits all” idea doesn't ring true. There is not one diet or way of eating that benefits every single person.

TEAM is all about balance, and individualizing treatment (which includes diet) to give each person specifically what they need. For instance, someone who has diabetes and high blood pressure will not benefit from the same foods as someone who is dealing with a chronic illness like Lyme disease or fibromyalgia.

When looking at the nutritional and medicinal value of food, TEAM doesn’t look at nutrients like vitamins, fats, or proteins. Food is classified by its energetics.

Energetics? What the heck does that mean!?

For the purposes of this post, I am going to grossly simplify a complex topic and boil it down to one thing: temperature. Think of it like you would think of the environment around us. One of the biggest ways we classify our environment is by temperature: HEAT and COLD. Just like the weather is hot and cold, there is heat and cold inside our bodies. We all have a combination of heat and cold, but one or the other is almost always predominating. The purpose of TEAM is to balance the heat and cold--where there is balance, there is health.

How do you know if there is more HEAT or COLD in your system?

If you have more COLD in your system, you might experience:

  • Always feeling cold, wanting be wrapped up in blankets, dislike of cold weather
  • Craving for warm food or drinks
  • Fatigue after you eat.
  • Bloating and/or loose stools
  • Pain that is fixed and stabbing
  • Symptoms that are worse when the weather is cold
  • Frequent urination
  • Pale complexion

If you are someone who tends more toward the COLD side, in general you want to:

Avoid:

  • Cold foods: Ice cream, yogurt, anything below room temperature
  • Raw Foods: raw veggies/salads, sushi
  • Iced Drinks

Enjoy more of:

  • Food and drink that is warm in temperature.
  • Warming spices: ginger, cinnamon, fennel, cumin, rosemary, cloves
  • Warming grains: oats, spelt, quinoa, brown rice
  • Legumes: black beans and lentils

If you have more HEAT in your system, you might experience:

  • Feeling warm often, dislike of hot weather
  • Craving for cold food or drinks
  • Constipation
  • High blood pressure
  • Thirst (especially for cold drinks)
  • Concentrated, yellow urine
  • Bright red tongue
  • Reddish complexion

If you are someone who tends more toward the HOT side, in general you want to:

Avoid:

  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • Coffee
  • Red Meat
  • Eat less food in general

Enjoy more of:

  • Cooling foods: fresh fruits and vegetables (citrus fruits, apples, banana; lettuce, cucumber, celery)
  • Soy products (Organic or non-GMO)
  • Sprouts
  • Peppermint
  • Drink lots of fluids

The lists above are generalizations. Not everyone will experience every one of these things. And, as I mentioned above, everyone has a combination of heat and cold in their system. On top of that, certain ailments can stem from either heat OR cold (arthritis, for example).

If you want to get a clear picture of what foods will benefit you from a TEAM perspective, give your local acupuncturist a call for a consultation.

In the meantime, check in with yourself: Do you fall into the "more hot" or "more cold" category? Try to incorporate some of these suggestions into your diet and notice how it makes you feel!

Open House!

Are you familiar with acupuncture and/or Reiki? Are you curious to know what it is, how it works, or how it can help you with any issues you’ve been having in your life? Here’s your chance to get some answers!

We are having an open house on Thursday, September 29 from 6-8pm. Sarah will be at the clinic, awaiting all of your burning questions. We’ll have tea and snacks to fill your belly while we chat about acupuncture and Reiki. Drop in any time, and stay as long as you would like.


But that’s not all! While you are here, you can also:

  • Take a tour of the space, and see where all the healing happens.
  • Learn self-care tips you can use every day to improve your life.
  • Experience Reiki first-hand--we’ll be offering some short demonstrations.
  • Enter the raffle for a free consultation and treatment!


Come and learn about this gentle, holistic medicine and what it can do for you.

 

Call or send us an e-mail for more information!

(781) 860-8808 / info@acupartners.com

   

Digestion: It's not just about what you eat

In Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM for short), your digestive organs play a huge role in your overall health. If they aren’t happy and in proper working order, you will most likely have some other issues. It might be something seemingly insignificant like bruising easily or seasonal allergies, or it could be something more impactful on your life like IBS or migraines.

On the surface, some of these things may not seem to be connected to the state of your digestive system, but in TEAM we view all the systems of your body working together. When one piece of the puzzle isn't working properly, other pieces are affected. 

TEAM is all about creating balance in the body. When there is not enough of something, you add to it. When there is too much, you reduce. If it’s too warm, cool it down. If it’s too cold, warm it up. To keep our bodies healthy we need to find balance, and we can do that not only with the foods we eat, but HOW we eat. That is what I’m going to focus on in this post.

So let’s get back to the inner workings of the digestive system for a moment. Just like most of us, our digestive system is happiest when it has to do the least amount of work. The more work it has to do to break down the foods you eat, the more energy is taken away from other things your body needs to do. Your digestive system likes warm things, and it likes them a little broken down so that it can easily turn that food into fuel for your body without doing a lot of extra work. 

Here are some things you can do to support your digestion:

  • Chew your food thoroughly. One simple way that you can help kick-start the digestion process is to chew your food well. Not only are you physically breaking up the food when you chew it, there are also enzymes in your saliva that chemically break down food into smaller pieces that are more easily digested in your gut. 
  • Keep the ice out of your drinks. Extremely cold things can be damaging to your digestive system. Even on hot summer days, stick to room temperature water/beverages. (This goes for food too, but I will talk more about that in the next post!)
  • Be mindful when you eat. Sit down, make a plate for yourself, and enjoy your food. When your body is relaxed, there is adequate blood flow to your gut and your body will have more energy to focus on properly digesting your food. Eating on the run, or eating in a highly charged emotional state (such as fear or anger) prevents that from happening.

We can receive more nourishment from our food when we focus on how we eat, as well as what we eat. By incorporating some of the above tips in your life, you may notice less bloating or heartburn after eating. In the long run, you will absorb more nutrients from the food you eat and your digestive system will be happier because it is less stressed.

In the next post, I will talk more about what to eat (and avoid) to keep your digestion happy and in optimum health.

Until then, be mindful at mealtime. Notice how you feel before, during, and after you eat. Are you eating slowly and enjoying your food? Are you eating in a calm emotional state? Are you chewing thoroughly? Simply check in without judgement, and enjoy every bite!

 

 

One last thought for 2015

by Rachel Hartstein, L.Ac., B.Sc.

"The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."

That pretty much sums up our absence from your inbox. (And this blog.)

We could say we've been so very busy: with life, with family, with the clinic, with YOU … and that would be true.

But we had wanted so badly to stay in contact and we have so many things we want to share!

So - we could just feel really down about that. Honestly, we'd be lying if we said we hadn't felt icky about promising to write regularly, and then NOT doing that.

But a core value of our holistic practice - the very thing we believe to be at the root of health - is the ability to acknowledge, accept, even welcome, that which IS.

Whether it brings discomfort or joy, pain or contentment, only after we fully embrace the present do we free up the energy to move toward a different and better future.

When we as practitioners meet and talk with any client, or when we work with our needles or our hands, our goal is to make space for the whole of each person: their pain, their struggle, AND the potential for them to grow and change and heal.

As we enter this New Year 2016, we'd like to offer the intention for all of us to be more fully present to what IS; to accept and even embrace our faults, pain, and dis-ease ...

… AND to keep moving forward with the unwavering certainty that we can transform and transcend any and all obstacles to our health and happiness, no matter if - or even how many times - we might stumble.

We also want to take this opportunity to THANK YOU for allowing us to walk with you on your journey to health, and to be a witness to your life. It is a profound honor and responsibility that we do not take lightly. We know how blessed we are to have your trust and your confidence and your support.

With gratitude and love, we wish you a
Healthy and Happy New Year!

All About Reiki Part 3: The 21 Day Challenge

by Sarah Fuller, Lic.Ac., M.Ac.

During the month of December, I created a challenge for myself: send distance Reiki healing to one person every day for 21 days. (What is Reiki, you ask? You can read about it in this blog post.)

There were multiple reasons for putting together and carrying out this challenge, but the most important one was to share my life’s passion with others. Offering my services to friends and family who have enriched my life and supported me throughout the years gave me a way to share that passion, and also give back to them what they have given to me. 

There is a big part of me that wishes to change the world, and I always think about what my role is in that. Because Reiki is such an important part of not only what I do, but who I am, I thought “Why not start there?” And so, this is what came of it. Creating this 21 day challenge opened doors to a new perspective on what I was doing and how I was working.

I opened up a calendar for friends and family to sign up for a 30 minute session of distance healing. It filled up fast, and the high demand called me to extend beyond the 21 days I had originally planned on. I was amazed at how many people were receptive to my offering. Not just friends and family, but old friends I haven’t spoken to in years, acquaintances I barely knew, people from different parts of the country, experienced Reiki practitioners, and people who didn’t even know what Reiki was! 

As with other types of healing, everyone experiences Reiki differently. But, I find there are some things that are are very similar across the board.

Almost every person who received Reiki reported that they felt:

  • Deep relaxation 
  • Decreased stress levels 
  • A deep, restorative sleep 
  • Waking up the following morning feeling refreshed and energized
  • Increased clarity 
  • Emotional or energetic releases 

As the month progressed, I could feel a collective energy emerging--the excitement and gratitude for what was being created was palpable on my end. It extended beyond anything I have ever felt in a single distance healing, like we were all living in one big Reiki bubble. Everyone had a positive experience, whether they enjoyed 30 minutes of relaxation, had a single good night’s sleep, or received insight that gave them clarity in a challenging situation. 


Here are a few responses I received:

"I could feel a very powerful energy coming through the top of my head and filling me up. It was relaxing and empowering at the same time. I felt energized and uplifted for several days afterwards." -C. 

I went into the session feeling very upset...The entire time I felt like a ball of stress and anxiety, and I kind of felt like I was resistant to the Reiki. However, at 8:28, I felt a tremendous and unexpected wave of release and clarity.” -T.

Before I had the Reiki I just got back from dinner with my folks. I ate too much and had an upset stomach. After Reiki my stomach was not upset. I was really tired after, so I just stayed in bed and fell asleep to the night. I woke up this morning feeling really refreshed. I am usually dragging on a Monday morning." -E.

I fell into a really deep peaceful sleep for about a half an hour.  When I woke up, my whole left side felt better...As soon as I closed my eyes, I had a vision of you in front of me with this beautiful lit-up blue orb in your hands.  You looked at me and said, "Here, this is yours.  This is the kind of healing that you give to other people, and now I'm giving it back to you." Needless to say that resulted in a lot of tears running down my face!!!  Even now as I'm typing this I'm getting weepy. :)   I had a very good cleansing cry” -L.

 

Sharing Reiki in this way was an incredibly fulfilling experience. Because this "challenge" was so successful, I plan on doing more in the future. 

Leave a comment if you would be interested in participating!