Saturday, December 28, 2019

                    Blog #94 Good Health - Important for a Fulfilling Life  

Many people consider good health to be one of  our most precious assets, and for good reason.  Without good health, we may not have the energy or endurance to work at a job, care for others, enjoy the world around us, and achieve and embody the things that matter most to us. 

With the New Year, winter weather, and the flu season here, it is important to take extra good care of ourselves.  There are many vital aspects of self-care.  These include getting sufficient sleep. Sound and peaceful sleep allows the body to heal and rebuild, helps the mind to stay sharp, supports the various organ systems to function well, and keeps us more emotionally in balance.

Proper nutrition is another factor of self-care.  Staying well-hydrated and consuming whole, nutritious, non-processed foods aids in both keeping the body and mind vital and minimizing toxicity.  The better nourished and the less toxic we are the more able we will be to delay or counteract the onset of acute infections.

Regular exercise is also important for maintaining good health.  Walking, running, Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, stretching and weight lifting, playing at one or more sports you enjoy, such as tennis, canoeing, or biking, as well as doing gardening, housecleaning and repair, and wilderness hiking can all be helpful.  Regular exercise can maintain healthy blood and lymphatic circulation, eliminative function and detoxification. Other benefits are improved muscle tone, greater self-confidence and a calmer mind. 

Maintaining strong posture and abdominal breathing helps with all aspects of health and vitality, from feeling centered, to keeping the joints aligned and stable, and establishing  good balance to prevent missteps and falls. 

Also important in maintaining good health are various holistic therapies.  Massage helps relax muscles and improve circulation and lymphatic drainage.  Chiropractic adjusting also does this and especially helps to teach us to keep musculoskeletal and nervous systems functioning optimally.  Acupuncture helps coordinate and balance the body’s electrical and circulatory systems, which can generally support health and well-being.  Tonic and medicinal herbs can help strengthen the body, improve resistance to infection and also remedies physiological imbalances. 

Now, I want to focus on several herbal remedies that often can prevent colds and flu or shorten their duration.  The Chinese herbal formulas Yin Chiao and Gan Mao Ling can help halt the onset of an upper respiratory infection when taken at the very start of symptoms, such as the first hint of a scratchy throat, headache, fatigue or slight warm or chilled feeling.  Yin Chiao treats a more heated condition and Gan Mao Ling is helpful with a more chilled condition.  Since many infections present as a combination of both hot and cold symptoms, it often is helpful to take one each of these remedies, usually three times a day, for two or three days.  Once the infection has fully manifested, these herbs will be of little help.  They can be obtained from stores in Chinatown. Better quality versions of these herbs can be obtained through an acupuncturist from companies like Golden Flower Herbs. 

Another helpful remedy is a combination of vitamin C and Echinacea.  I personally like Standard Process brand Cataplex C and Medi Herb brand Echinacea Premium.  You can tell that an Echinacea supplement is potent if it makes your tongue tingle.  The stronger the tingle and the longer it lasts, the better the supplement.  Usually, taking one each of these morning and night for several days to a few weeks will keep your resistance to colds and flu strong.  A combination of vitamin C and Echinacea will also speed up recovery from upper respiratory infections.  It is best to purchase these from a holistic practitioner rather than from online companies. 

Lastly, Sambucus Elderberry concentrate, preferably in liquid form, is an excellent tonic. Since it is very sweet it is not appropriate for everyone, but most people tolerate it well.  Elderberry concentrate can help support you through the flu season.  Then, it is best to take a break until the next year’s flu season.  Usually one half to one teaspoon one to three times a day will be sufficient.  Sambucus Elderberry concentrate can be purchased at Whole Foods or similar stores. 

This blog’s offer.  Feel free to call me with questions or come in for a consultation and treatment to support your health this year.  Resolve to treat yourself with kindness this year. 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

                   Blog#93:  A Thankful Attitude Can Reduce Holiday Stress

There are many reasons why people feel stressed during the winter holidays.  Busy schedules, tight budgets, tense personal relations, food overload, and traveling or receiving guests are just some of the issues.  However, the end of year holidays can give us inspiration and support inner calm and happiness even in the face of challenging situations. 

Let’s start with All Hallows Eve, All Souls Day, the Day of the Dead and similar holidays. From October 31st to November 2nd, people of diverse countries, religions and cultures renew their connection to deceased family and friends with special foods, decorations, costumes, altars, and other celebrations and rituals.  The living receive guidance from the dead and show appreciation and respect for friends and relatives who have crossed over.  The living celebrate the lives of the deceased and also give thanks for their own ongoing lives.  Death is not seen as a tragic ending or loss, but rather as transition, transformation and continuance for which to be thankful. 

Following this holiday, Thanksgiving helps remind us how essential the earth, plants, animals, and other people are for our survival.  Thanksgiving Day and similar holidays are celebrated on varying dates and places throughout the world, including the U.S., Canada, some Caribbean islands, Liberia, Germany, the Netherlands, and Japan.  A common theme is giving thanks for the harvest that will sustain celebrants for another year. Thanksgiving dinners often provide massive quantities of food.  Centuries ago, there was likely a good reason for these large meals.  Then, food often was scarce and people could not be sure how much nourishment they would be able to obtain between autumn harvest and the following spring, when the earth once again became prolific.  Eating big meals in autumn, when food was available, helped people put on a little extra fat, which the body could burn off in the dead of winter. 

Finally, Christmas, Winter Solstice, Chanukah, Kwanza, New Years, and similar holidays all share a similar theme - celebrating the returning of light after maximum darkness. Whether we thank Christ, the savior for bringing us peace and salvation (Christmas), whether we regard with wonder the Sun God gradually returning more light to the world as we start moving toward spring (Winter Solstice), whether we commemorate the miracle of the Festival of Lights, when one cup of oil kept a poor woman’s candles burning for eight days (Chanukah), the themes of enlightenment, blessing and miracles are present.  And the New Year - celebrating the birth of another life cycle, and Kwanzaa - commemorating survival of African culture and traditions throughout the world both embrace survival and rebirth.  

Looking at things from the perspectives of treasuring friends and family, living and deceased, thanking the earth for daily survival, and celebrating the return of light into our days, and mercy, grace and peace into our lives, we could conclude that we have much to be thankful for, and that we can do much to make the holidays happy.  A thankful attitude can help reduce physical and emotional stress and help increase the joy in each day.

This blog’s offer:  please accept my best wishes for happiness, prosperity and health for the coming yearly cycle. 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

                                          Blog #92 Burn-out and How to Avoid It

Recently, I have noticed that many of my patients suffer from exhaustion due to taking care of ailing or dying relative and friends.  Sometimes, these care-takers perceive that they have little or no time to care for themselves during these stressful months or years, and end up experiencing such physical and emotional pain and exhaustion that they have difficulty resuming their normal lives.

It is so important to care for yourself, even during the stressful and demanding times that you function as a care-taker.  Making sure that you eat nutritious food is essential, as is staying sufficiently hydrated.  Some people forget to eat or drink for many hours or even for a day or more.  And though occasionally, fasting is beneficial for health, it is advisable to fast during times when you can rest more than usual and when you are not under significant stress.  Recently, one person diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and caring for a close relative with severe dementia sent her blood sugar spiraling out of control because she was only eating one handful of potato chips a day.  She was unable to sleep and was having headaches, abdominal pain, constipation and almost constant leg cramps.  Fortunately, she was drinking plenty of water.  When she broke her fast sensibly, by first eating a salad and later on, half of a sandwich, her blood sugar returned into a safe range, her sleep returned to normal, the leg cramps, abdominal pain and headaches dissipated, and her bowels resumed moving normally. 

When care-taking responsibilities continue for long periods of time, people can eventually suffer from adrenal exhaustion, depression, and severe fatigue.   Some may develop food sensitivities or an autoimmune illness such as fibromyalgia or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.  Others may develop chronic back pain and degenerative spinal changes may accelerate, sometimes contributing the development of bulging or herniated spinal discs. 

Even though eating properly, staying hydrated, getting sufficient sleep, and periodically obtaining emotional support and physical assistance with tasks may feel like an impossibility, the alternative, self-neglect, will usually cost much more inconvenience time, money and suffering in the long run.  We sometimes feel that the entire world rests on our shoulders and that a loved one will perish if not for us.  However, the world around us shows a very different picture: life will continue on and people will survive even when we pass away.  But we won’t get a chance to experience life anymore, nor will we get the chance to offer help and inspiration to others if we are incapacitated or our lives end due to extreme self-neglect. 

Some people find someone to prepare food for them, find a nutritious food service to deliver meals, or make time for food preparation.  Everyone must allow themselves sufficient time to sleep at night, and also sometimes to rest during the day.  Listening to enjoyable music, reading uplifting literature, or meditating is important, as is getting some exercise, such as yoga, tai chi or walking on a daily basis.  Of course, sometimes care-taking is labor intensive on its own and can be good exercise. 

Over the years, I have noticed that many people develop a significant illness within a year of a loved-one’s death.  One way to prevent this or at least to reduce the severity is through regular self-care.  Often, it is advisable to also obtain supportive care from one or more holistic health professional, such as a chiropractor, acupuncturist, massage therapist, herbalist or nutritionist.  Counseling may also be helpful.  All of this may sound self-evident, but when we are in the midst of overwhelming responsibilities, or in the throes of exhaustion afterward, we often forget all about self-care until it is too late. Then we may end up needing intensive care ourselves. 

This blog’s offer:  consider making an appointment for some supportive health-care, including chiropractic, acupuncture, dietary suggestions, nutritional supplementation, or even Chi Gong instruction.