Coronavirus and TCM: Staying Healthy at Home

 

Navigating stay at home orders, working from home, schooling from home and the myriad other new things that are now a daily part of life is stressful. It can be easy to get overwhelmed with each new development and all the unknowns that surround our lives because of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Traditional Chinese medicine offers something old and grounding to turn back to during this time.

The idea that supporting mental health is a significant factor in supporting physical health is a central tenet of traditional Chinese medicine. Beyond acupuncture and herbal remedies, TCM takes a holistic approach to health that includes simple things you can do each day to foster physical health through supporting that mind body connection. Here are six things you can incorporate into your daily routine to mitigate stress and stay healthy right now.

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7 Ways to Supercharge Your Immune System

The immune system can get bogged down for a number of reasons, whether it is from being overworked, or chronic allergies, we all are looking for ways to improve our overall health and wellbeing. Below are tips to improve and strengthen immune function to keep the body in its best shape and fight off illness.


Lemon and Peppermint oil

Both of these oils have detoxifying and healing properties for the body. Part of a strong immune system is cleansing and ridding the body of toxins. By adding a few drops of lemon oil to your water every day, the oil will help clean the blood and toxic buildup in your body. Peppermint oil is known for its healing properties for headaches, indigestion, and a large variety of stomach ailments. Add peppermint oil or peppermint tea to your daily routine to aid digestion and help reduce cravings of sugary foods.

Probiotics

Good bacteria, such as probiotics, are necessary for a healthy digestive system and as a result, overall immune function. When you take antibiotics to kill bad bacteria in your body, you are also killing the good bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium along with it. When this happens, the body can become out of balance and result in chronic stomach pain. Taking a probiotic supplement or drinking liquids with probiotics in it such as kefir and kombucha can help keep your digestive function inline and improve your body’s food absorption.

Reduce Stress

Emotional stress can cause a number of physical problems like insomnia, stomach pain, and headaches. Because of this, the body can become very sick from chronic stress. Ways to reduce stress include exercise, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been shown to increase the white blood cell count in the body and stimulate the immune system. By placing acupuncture needles in specific points of the body, acupuncture works by bringing the body back to balance and increasing blood and energy flow.

Echinacea

Echinacea is an effective natural herb for preventing illness. The herb has been shown to increase the body’s white blood cell count, boosting the immune system. You can find this flowering plant at most stores in liquid or pill form.

Exercise

Exercise is good for the body and mind in just about every way, one of them being immune health. Moderate exercise promotes circulation and blood flow, which keeps the body’s cells moving and working. Try adding just 20 minutes of exercise to your daily routine, whether it is walking, yoga, or jogging.


Sources:
Web MD Article
Harvard Article

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It’s possible to get acupuncture again, here’s what to consider

 

As the country moves toward reopening, reintegrating acupuncture treatments into your life will become an option again.

Just as businesses and community members in Minnesota are weighing their own personal choices amidst changing state guidelines, it is a personal choice whether or not you feel safe to visit an acupuncturist. If you’re interested in receiving treatment again in Duluth, please reach out to me to see what policies I’m adopting as I integrate the ongoing nature of the coronavirus pandemic into my business.
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The Flu & You

The flu, you, and Chinese medicinal clinical studies have suggested that using acupuncture as a preventative approach to colds and flu can reduce the incidence of upper respiratory tract infection and shorten the duration of the illness. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine work by rebalancing the body’s systems, regulating the body’s healing energies, and enhancing the immune system.

Even though germs, bacteria, and viruses are everywhere—in the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink—according to Chinese medical theory, they do not cause disease. Illness occurs when our Wei Qi and our meridian organ systems are weak and out of balance. When this occurs it creates a hospitable for germs, bacteria, and viruses to thrive, leading to a cold, the flu, or worse.

What in the world is Wei Qi? One of the main theories supporting acupuncture and its treatment of colds and the flu is the concept of Wei Qi. The concept of Wei Qi is similar to the Western concept of the immune system. It functions as a barrier protecting and defending the body against foreign substances, which can cause illness and disease. When it is strong and abundant, we remain healthy. When the supply of Wei Qi becomes inadequate, health is compromised and we become vulnerable to outside invaders.

Throughout our lives, a variety of factors affect our health and well-being. Although most of the time we recover quickly and regain our health, when these factors are numerous, our internal mechanisms become compromised and weakened. Our Wei Qi becomes depleted, and we get sick. By the time we notice the symptoms of our illness, the body’s self-regulating, self-balancing, and healing systems have already been affected.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine support and strengthen the systems of the body that are involved in the production of Wei Qi, and can help rebalance and support the immune system and stimulate Wei Qi energy. By building up the supply of Wei Qi, and facilitating the smooth and free flow of it throughout the body, the body’s organs and meridian systems become strong, enhancing their ability to effectively fight off illness and disease.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are safe, natural, and effective ways to support the body’s self-regulating, self-balancing, and healing systems. If illness does occur, acupuncture can help you get back on your feet again, helping to stave off prolonged illness without the use of medication and over-the-counter drugs.


Tips for Staying Healthy:

  • Consume 8-10 glasses of filtered water daily
  • Exercise regularly to support the immune system
  • Eat a healthy, organic diet, including foods with beta carotene (carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, garlic, and tomatoes)
  • Limit sugar intake. Sugar taxes the immune system, especially when feeling under the weather
  • Talk to your acupuncturist about herbs that can support your immune system
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Enjoy fun and relaxing activities
  • Stimulate specific acupuncture points that support Wei Qi – such as Stomach 36
  • Schedule regular acupuncture treatments to support the body’s self-regulating, self-balancing and healing systems
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4 Ways to Massage Away Back Pain

Statistics show that almost 8 out of 10 people will experience low back pain at some point during their life, and many of them will be seeking medical treatment for back pain. In some instances, back pain can be fleeting and can be resolved with rest, heat and an occasional anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen.

However, once the damage is done, the recurrence of back pain becomes more common. One reason for this is when we age, our muscles and tendons become less flexible and pliable. It is also very well known that in the United States, people are too sedentary with their lifestyles and being this way leads to excess weight gain that can create added pressure on the body, especially the lower back.

Massage can be a very important tool for relieving back pain and can be used proactively to prevent backaches. Let’s look at some ways that massage can help with back pain.

Hot stone massage is a form of massage that allows the massage therapist to utilize smooth, flat, heated stones. The stones are used to warm up tight muscles and relax them. This gives the massage therapist the ability to work on other parts of the body. They are placed on specific pressure points. As the areas are warmed and relaxed, it then allows the therapist to apply deeper pressure without discomfort.

Tuina (pronounced “twee na”) is a form of Chinese massage often used in conjunction with acupuncture and other Traditional Chinese Medicine modalities to help the body heal itself and maintain balance. There are many different techniques utilized in tuina, including gliding, shaking, pulling, tapping, kneading, rolling and pressing. Tuina combines massage and acupressure to remove blockages in the body, thus leading to improved health and well-being.

Acupressure points can be helpful for relieving back pain. Here are just a couple of the most common:


  1. Gallbladder 34 – This point is found bilaterally on the outer side of the lower leg. It can be found in the depression that is in front of and below the head of the fibula. This point is known as the influential point of the tendons.

  2. Urinary Bladder 40 – This point is located bilaterally on the crease behind the knee, right in the center, directly behind the knee cap. This point helps relieve pain along the spine. It is helpful for relieving muscle spasms and reducing pain associated with sciatic nerve involvement, which stems from the low back.

Self-massage is another great way to relieve back pain. Many people hold their stress in their upper or lower back, which leads to tight muscles, muscle spasms and even headaches. By gently massaging the muscles along the spine, back pain can be greatly reduced. Adding heat before and after massage will help to keep the muscles loose with less chance of spasming.

Regardless of how you choose to deal with your back pain, consider incorporating massage or tuina, into your healing regime. Regular treatments can keep muscles from tensing up, increase circulation, improve posture and strengthen the back to reduce future problems.


Ask us how we can help your lower back pain so you can take back control of your life. Let’s schedule an appointment today!

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