Weather Affecting Your Mood?

 

It rains in Portland, a lot. Everyone that walks through our doors comments on the undesirable weather and how it makes them feel – tired, unmotivated and depressed. This is not a great way to experience the world or your life. But there is hope! A single acupuncture treatment can make you feel not only relaxed and calm but also energized and invigorated. Our patients feel so much better walking out the door.

A very large percentage of our patients come for treatment of anxiety and depression. Whether they come to us for these concerns specifically, or it comes up down the road, we are all affected. Everyone tends towards different emotional imbalances and acupuncture is a great away to help you find balance, feel more grounded and experience a better quality of life, no matter the weather.

The Power of Antioxidants

Everyone has heard about antioxidants, but what do they really do and why are they good for us? Antioxidants are made in the body, but we also get them from our food. They act like little protectors for our cells that neutralize free radicals roaming around in the body. Some of the familiar antioxidants include vitamins A, C, E, the mineral selenium, beta-carotene (carrots) and lycopene (tomatoes).

Free radicals are basically unstable molecules, each missing an electron, thereby going around and stealing electrons from other cells in a process called “oxidation”. This destroys healthy cells and tissues. Free radicals are normal by-products of our metabolism, and are even created with exercise, but are also by-products of metabolic waste as the body tries to rid itself of allergens and toxins. Other things that can cause an increase in free radicals include exposure to chemicals (indoor and outdoor), stress, radiation, and the standard American diet (!).

If the body doesn’t get enough antioxidants to mop up the free radicals, many health issues can occur such as arthritis, allergies, inflammation, aging skin, fatigue, and cancer.

How do we get more antioxidants? The USDA put together a list of foods that are the best sources of these super molecules:

 

Clove oil from fresh cloves
Acai berries
Dark chocolate
Pomegranate
Rosemary
Prunes
Blueberries
Kale
Spinach

You can click here to get more details about the power of antioxidants. Basically, eating a ton of fruits and vegetables (at least nine 1/2 cup servings) is going to help protect your cells from free radical damage and have you feeling strong and energetic! Use this easy smoothie recipe to get a big dose of antioxidants on the go:

**Add 1/2 cup blueberries (can be frozen), 1/2 cup raspberries (can be frozen), 1/2 cup fresh spinach or kale, and 1 cup water. You can add some ice if the berries are fresh and not frozen. (Oh, and that’s three servings of fruits and vegetables down!) Blend and go!

Environmental Working Group

We love the Environmental Working Group! I refer to them all the time. As a mother, it is such a great resource to help me decide what to buy, to ensure the safety of my family. Whether it’s baby wipes, sunscreen or a water filter, they help me feel confident in the products I choose to bring into our home.

The mission of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is “to protect the most vulnerable segments of the human population—children, babies, and infants in the womb—from health problems attributed to a wide array of toxic contaminants. They replace federal policies, including government subsidies that damage the environment and natural resources, with policies that invest in conservation and sustainable development.”

In our quest for health, the EWG is great tool to educate ourselves and enable us to make better consumer decisions. In today’s world, we are are all exposed to an excessive amount of chemicals and this website is one way to help minimize our exposure, check it out: http://www.ewg.org/.

My favorites are pictured below: Premier Zero Waste Reverse Osmosis water filter, Seventh Generation Baby Wipes, and California Baby Sunscreen.

Colds, Flu, and Kids

With this year’s cold and flu season upon us, I am noticing the massive amount of kids coming down with runny noses, sore throats, coughs. although every kid seems susitible, some get hit harder than others. While this exposure to bacteria is important, and allows kids to build up their library of antibodies, there is lots we can do to build up their immune systems, so it can do it’s job of fighting infections quickly, efficiently, and effectively. When kids are hit by one bug, and it knocks them down it can be hard for them to come back to their full strength before another exposure comes along. With just a little bit of support, kids can begin the season ahead of the game, or regain their strength, so they don’t have to spend November to March with a runny nose.There are many tools and tricks you can implement at home to help reinforce the immune system. Making sure that kids have a well-balanced and varied diet can sometimes be a challenge. Working toward a diet full of whole foods will definitely help give kids a leg up with immunity. In addition though, because we can’t always sneak in enough fruits and veggies, there are things we can do to supplement their diet and ramp up the immune system. Sleep is also another extremely important factor in immunity. Most 3-6 year olds still need 11-12 hours of sleep a day. Take advantage of the early sunset and try enforcing an early bedtime.

Another tool to try for your child is acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Acupuncture and/or acupressure can be extremely helpful to your child to fight off infection, both during a cold or sickness and as preventative medicine. Similar to allopathic medicine, in Chinese medicine we look at the common cold as an invasion of a pathogen into the Lung. We view this pathogen as a type of wind. Through a series of questions and inspection of the child, we use to determine if it is a wind-cold or a wind-heat, or in summertime, summer-heat with dampness. Wind-cold is classified by low fever with chills and lots of white thin phlegm; whereas wind-heat usually is exhibited through sore throat, yellow thick phlegm, and high fever with mild chills. Often, a kid will be prone to one or the other, and you might notice that your child’s symptoms when she gets sick often look the same. We then chose acupuncture points which will expel the wind-cold or wind-heat and well as supplementing and boosting “wei” or defensive qi, otherwise know as the immune system. To read more about this syndrome you can visit: http://acupuncture.com/conditions/commoncold.htm.

In my practice, I tend to use a combination of acupressure and acupuncture with most kids. We always start with the pressure, just pressing the points, and then I gauge the child’s comfort level. Most kids will allow me, even in that first session, to do at least one or two needles. I always make sure the kids feel very comfortable and they know that I would never sneak up on them. They are so relieved after the first needle, realizing they don’t even feel it, and so proud of their bravery. And the results continue to amaze me. Kids are so quick to respond, and usually their coughs and runny noses taper off and quickly go away. Often parents will come back saying that their little one’s cough stopped in the car and didn’t come back, or that everyone has been sick at their school, but not their child! And the best is that the kids feel the results, they feel better and then are even more willing to be brave for more needles. It is so neat to watch them come back, excited to report their results and ready to feel better!