Don’t Go On Your Next Vacation Without These Essential Supplements

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Going on vacation is supposed to be fun.  However, time zone changes, problematic digestion and difficulty sleeping often can ruin some of the relaxing benefits.  I’m just back from a trip to Oaxaca and I’m sharing some of the supplements I take when traveling to make sure I don’t need a vacation from my vacation.

1) Probiotics.  I recommend them often anyways, but especially when traveling to countries that have different organisms than what we are accustomed to.  

2) Anti-Microbials, such as Oregano Oil or Biocidin.  With the same idea in mind, preventing organisms from taking hold in the first place is the best treatment when traveling to other countries. Take them separately from your probiotic.

3) Melatonin. While I don’t promote melatonin for long term use, it can be helpful when changing time zones to help you fall asleep can help you keep up with a changing schedule. (Caution with certain thyroid disorders.)

4) Magnesium. Many of you know this as my favorite supplement. In addition to helping regulate the nervous system, it can promote better sleep and keep the digestion moving (when traveling can otherwise make things sluggish.) Most people run a little deficient in magnesium anyways, so taking it supplementally agrees with just about everyone.

Now, enjoy your getaway and safe travels!

Springtime Liver Clearing Elixir

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Liver energy really starts to stir in the Spring!  It’s a very ambitious and motivating energy which moves up and out in a direction of “orderly reaching.” (Think about nature, with all the new growth that fights its way up to the surface to come alive!) It’s a very strong, “go-getter” type of energy. However, if the liver system gets sluggish or blocked in any way, it will be prone to constraint and irritation, like being in a straight jacket when you want to stretch out! This manifests as irritability, muscle spasms, increased PMS and red, itchy eyes.  I can’t tell you how many people start to come into the office needing relief from a stiff neck and back this time of year in addition to allergy relief.  It’s like clockwork!

To work with the energy of the season:

  • Start gently moving again if you have been hibernating all Winter.

  • Get up a little earlier.  

  • Think about cleaning up the diet and home.  It’s a nice time for a cleanse, or cutting out alcohol at least. It will come easily with Spring’s momentum.  

  • Start working on any new ideas or projects that have been brewing in the back of your mind- you will finally have the motivation to make progress!

As always, the change of seasons is a great time to come in for a tune-up if it’s been a while since your last treatment!  Let’s get ahead of allergy season, prevent that “change-of-seasons” cold, keep the neck and back moving freely and keep the moods even!

Springtime Liver Clearing Elixir Recipe:

One of the most powerful ways to keep the liver from congestion is vinegar!   While it might sound distasteful to drink vinegar, the following blend is really quite refreshing!

In 8 oz. of water, mix:

  • 1 tablespoon of unrefined organic apple cider vinegar (I like Braggs.)

  • A dash of local honey

Enjoy!

Need a Quick Mood Boost this Fall?

Photo credit: Anita Austvika

Photo credit: Anita Austvika

The acupuncture point Neiguan (P6), or “Inner Pass,” belongs to the Pericardium Channel and has many useful functions pertaining to the 
spirit, heart, and chest.

While it’s commonly known for treating nausea (sea sickness wrist bands, anyone?) it also has the function of “regulating the heart and calming the spirit,”  which helps everything from palpitations to heart pain, chest tightness as well as pacifying the mind.

To find P6, place 3 fingers at your wrist crease and the point is located between the tendons on the inside of the wrist. You can apply gentle pressure to stimulate the point. Interestingly, this point treats hiccoughs too!

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4 Ways to Get Relief From Spring Allergies

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Spring has officially arrived which means sunlight, warmer days, Cherry Blossom festivals and fresh energy. This also means allergy season which can include symptoms like itchy, watery eyes, sinus congestion, sneezing and foggy headaches for many people this time of year.

In Chinese Medicine, allergies come about because the body’s “protective wall,” called Wei Qi or Defensive Qi is weakened and not able to keep the external environment out, hence a battle is waged between your system and the external stressors (pollen, grasses, etc.,)  

Obviously, one cannot avoid the environment as a whole, so the solution lies in building your system up from the inside, so that the protective layer is firm and creates proper boundaries. In Western terms, this translates to regulating the immune response by reducing inflammation and histamine release.

Here are a few things you can do to get rid of your allergies so you can stop and smell the flowers!

1.  Give Acupuncture A Try

Starting acupuncture in the weeks leading up to allergy season is a great way to regulate your immune system before things get out of hand. Studies have shown acupuncture’s effectiveness for treating allergic rhinitis as well as eye symptoms.

2.  Reduce or Eliminate Sugar and Dairy

While some argue that dairy has no effect on mucous production in the body, years of anecdotal evidence in my clinic have inexorably linked the two.  I find that when patients eliminate sugar and dairy from their diet, allergies are dramatically reduced.

3. Consider Herbal Remedies

Going the “natural route” with herbs and supplements, yields a fantastic result in the battle against allergies.  A go-to product in my clinic, Natural D-Hist,  uses enzymes, antioxidants and Stinging Nettles to reduce histamine response and inflammation without the drying effects of traditional anti-histamines.  

Traditional Chinese Medicine formulas such as Gui Zhi Tang and Yu Ping Feng San are widely used to “build up the protective barrier,” with good effect.  Your herbalist can help find the right blend for your particular constitution and pattern.

4. Try Facial Cupping

This very simple home treatment is gaining popularity for its beauty applications, by boosting circulation in the face and keeping fluids from accumulating in the tissues.  It is great for opening up the sinuses and de-puffing the eyes!  Try a home-use set like this from Lure.

How to Create a New Habit and Make it STICK

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Here we are at the beginning of a new year and our minds fill with ideas about how we are going to make changes towards living a better life. You want to start meditating, exercising, waking up earlier or flossing twice a day.  But how long does it ACTUALLY take?  (Hint: longer than you think.)  What can you do to give it staying power?  (Hint: MANY things!)

Some have been under the assumption that starting a new habit only takes about 30 days. That has been a circulating rumor for a while. How frustrating to have a month come and go, only to find you are still not easily sprinting out of bed at 6:00 A.M. to run those 3 miles before work!

So, what’s the deal?  66 days.   

When Phillippa Lally and her team of researchers actually performed a behavioral study, it was found that SOME participants formed simpler habits in as little as 21 days, but some took up to 240 days and the MAJORITY established their new habits around 66 days.  

Here’s what you can do during those 66 days to set yourself up for success:

1)  Only try 1 new habit at a time (and take baby steps.)   

If you want to start exercising, begin with a commitment to 10 minutes a day instead of an hour to avoid overwhelm.

2)  Write it down.

Putting your goal in writing establishes a firmer commitment. Period.

3)  Set a reminder.  

Put an alert on your phone, or stick a post-it on your computer or bathroom mirror. DON’T just count on your brain to remind you.

4)   “Anchor” the habit and stay consistent.

Attach your new habit to an existing one and do it at the same time every day,  such as flossing your teeth right after you brush them, and always upon waking/ going to bed.  (Provided you brush your teeth twice a day!!)

5)  Remove triggers.

It may go without saying, but getting rid of all the cookies and your “secret stash” of cigarettes will make it all the harder to surrender to them in a tempting moment.

6)  Replace lost needs.

If your nightly glass of wine is associated with relaxation but you want to cut back on drinking, then replace it with another ritual like a cup of tea or a hot bath.

7)  Reframe your assumptions about yourself.

“I’m just not a morning person” can be reframed to “I didn’t used to get up early, but now I do.”

8)  Allow for imperfection.

It was also found that missing a day here or there did NOT hinder success. So, if things go awry, just resume the next day. No problem. 

Good Luck!