Holistic Health Herbal Medicine for Chest & Sinuses

Holistic Health to treat everyday problems and Help De-congestion

holistic health tips for decongestionA study published by the National Institute of Health looked at the use of Chinese herbal formulas in conjunction with conventional medicine for the treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis. The study surveyed 4,294 patients who utilized holistic health Medicine and of these, nearly 97 percent received herbal remedies. The most commonly prescribed herbal formula for this condition was Xin Yi Qing Fei Tang. While the study did not look at the outcome of the use of the herbal remedy, it is conclusive more people are turning to alternative medicine in order to treat everyday problems like congestion.

Congestion of the chest and sinuses is something everybody has experienced at some point during their life. It can be caused by allergies, the common cold or even changes in the weather. Regardless of the cause, it makes life difficult when we are unable to breathe properly. Many people reach for over-the-counter decongestants as a first line defense. But there are side effects to be aware of when using anything synthetically made in a lab.

Natural remedies, like holistic health, are safer and can generally be used long-term without the side effects. An estimated 30 million people suffer with sinus problems, and congestion is one of the top symptoms associated with sinus issues. Most people who suffer with sinus issues have them for the majority of their lives. This is because once the problem has been cleared up using conventional medications or treatments, the sinus cavities themselves have not been completely drained and the body still sees the remaining mucus as a foreign invader it must attack.

This is where holistic health Medicine surpasses conventional medicine. Holistic health addresses the symptoms and the root of the problem. So not only will the congestion be targeted, but so will be the cause of the congestion. Too much sugar causing excess phlegm?  hronic allergy flare ups? Weak lungs due to asthma or COPD preventing you from expelling the pathogens? All of these things can lead to chronic congestion and holistic health can help.

Holistic health uses many tools to treat congestion. The two most commonly used are acupuncture and herbal formulas. One of the most commonly used herbal formulas is Cang Er San. This formula contains xanthium fruit, magnolia flower, angelica root and mint. If yellow mucus is present, then cooling herbs like honeysuckle flowers and Scutellaria root are added to address the excess heat. But the base formula unblocks the nasal passages, reduces inflammation and expels toxins, all of which lead to congestion.

Another popular choice of holistic health practitioners is Bi Yan Pian. This formula works to clear the nasal passages and it usually accomplishes this within five days to a week. The herbs in Bi Yan Pian work to disperse wind, expel toxins, relieve inflammation and dissolve phlegm.

Contact our Tigard office to find out how holistic health medicine can help you with any respiratory and congestion issues you might have.

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Acupuncture Help for Sports Injuries

Help for Portland Sports Patients with Acupuncture & Nutrition

Almost everybody has injured themselves participating in sports. It’s definitely not uncommon and because sports injuries are so common, most professional athletic teams have trainers, physical therapists and doctors on their payroll. The newest member of the healthcare team for most athletes is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which incorporates everything from acupuncture to nutritional counseling to help injured athletes heal.

Sports injuries treated by Portland acupuncture.Acupuncture for Sports Injuries: Acupuncture is an extremely effective method of dealing with sports injuries because it stimulates the central nervous system. This triggers the release of neurotransmitters like endorphins that act as natural painkillers to alleviate pain. Acupuncture also stimulates blood flow to injured areas, while decreasing inflammation. All of these actions help speed up the recovery time of the athlete or the weekend warrior.

There are several stages of injury. The first stage is the beginning stage where there is inflammation. The second stage is the sub-acute phase that begins after the first week following the injury. This stage is where damaged tissues are healing. If the injury is not completely healed during this time, then it becomes chronic and goes into the last stage of progression.  During the chronic stage, swelling and inflammation are usually gone, but pain and stiffness take their places. Regardless of the stage in the injury/healing process, acupuncture can help.

Acupuncture Points for Sports Injuries:

  • Large Intestine 4 – This point is located bilaterally on the back side of the hand, in the webbing between the forefinger and the thumb. When the hand is made into a fist, the point can be located in the center of the mound of flesh created. This point is used for relieving pain anywhere in the body.
  • Large Intestine 11 – This point can be found bilaterally at the outer end of the elbow crease created when the arm is flexed. Large intestine 11 is used to decrease inflammation throughout the body.
  • Gallbladder 34 – This point is found bilaterally on the outer side of the lower leg. It can be found in the depression in front of and below the head of the fibula. This point is known as the influential point of the tendons and it particularly helps with pain and swelling around the knee.

Chinese Herbal Formulas for Sports Injuries:  Herbs and combinations of herbs, known as formulas are used frequently in TCM. They can be used topically in the form of balms or salves and they can also be taken internally. Most herbal formulas have specific herbs in them that help target the injured areas. For instance, Ge Gen Tang is an herbal formula that contains herbs that are aromatic and therefore they rise. This is why Ge Gen Tang is a good choice for neck injuries. Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang is another herbal formula frequently used to treat knee injuries. Juan Bi Tang is a popular herbal formula used to treat general musculoskeletal and joint pain. And Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan is used to treat internal bleeding caused by traumatic sports injuries.

Nutrition for Sports Injuries:   Proper nutrition is vital for everyone, not just athletes. But for those who push themselves physically, it can be even more important. The number one nutrient needed and should be used by all athletes is water. A dehydrated joint or tendon is more likely to tear. Collagen is another component of the joints that needs to be nourished and this can be done by ingesting vitamin C, which can be found in citrus fruits and dark leafy greens. For those that work out aggressively, omega 3 fatty acids are a great way to keep inflammation at bay. Omega 3’s can be found in oily fish, seeds and walnuts.

As you can see, acupuncture is a great way to deal with sports injuries. If you are experiencing any stage of an injury, contact our Portland area office for more information on how we can help.

Take a Preventative Naturopath Health Approach To Stress

Beating Stress & Staying on Task with Naturopathic Treatments

Preventative naturopath health includes nutrients from blueberries & other foods.The dictionary defines stress in multiple ways, but only one matters when we discuss how stress affects our physical bodies. Stress is defined as a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stress actually does have a function in our bodies. Stress is the body’s way of signaling for help or a break in the routine. If we don’t listen to these signals, we can develop imbalances in our bodies, which can then lead to illnesses.

Cortisol is the hormone most closely related to stress. Cortisol is a big component of the “fight or flight” response we feel when we are scared or threatened. In small bursts, cortisol is helpful. However, when stress becomes chronic, then the cortisol levels become elevated. This puts the body in a constant state of being on edge, eventually causing insomnia, depression, anxiety, digestive issues and even mental illness.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) provides many ways of combating stress and keeping our minds focused. Here are just a few examples of how this ancient medical system can help.

Acupuncture for Stress:  Acupuncture acts like physical therapy for the nervous system. Tiny needles retrain the nervous system and brain to behave as it should normally. For the nervous system to act and respond accordingly, cortisol has to be at normal levels and only used when a true “fight or flight” situation occurs. Studies show acupuncture does this.

Acupuncture reduces stress by keeping the heart rate normal. When the body is stressed, the heart tends to pump faster, and in some cases, a person may even develop heart palpitations. Our heart rate is closely connected to our vagus nerve. If the vagus nerve is stimulated, so too will the heart rate. There are specific acupressure points on the arms and hands that calm the vagus nerve and the heart.

Acupuncture Points for Stress and Focus:

  • Yin Tang – Yin Tang is located directly between the inner edges of the eyebrows. It is a reflex point of the pituitary gland. Yin Tang calms the mind and relaxes the body by helping control hormone secretions.
  • Kidney 1 – Kidney 1 is located on the bottom of the foot, at the junction of the anterior one third and posterior two thirds of the line connecting the base of the second and third toes and the heel. Kidney 1 can sedate and calm the mind, while also regulating blood flow to the upper part of the body, aka the brain.
  • Du 20 – This point is located on the top of the head, midway between the apexes of both ears. Du 20 has been noted to improve mental clarity and awareness, while also enhancing memory.

Chinese Herbal Formulas for Stress and Focus:  Combinations of herbs, known as formulas are used frequently in TCM. An herbal formula known as Bu Nao Wan is frequently prescribed for people who have memory problems related to weakness in the kidney system of TCM. Several of the herbs in this formula have been used for centuries to calm the mind and improve focus.

Xiao Yao San is another popular TCM formula that is used frequently to address stress.  This formula is knowns as “Free and Easy Wanderer” because it helps remove any stagnation in the energetic pathways that can lead to stress and difficulty focusing or staying on task.

Nutrition for Stress and Focus:  Proper nutrition is vital for everyone. But when it comes to stress and focus, nutrition for the kidneys is crucial. The kidneys are the source of our vital essence and if damaged, our health will suffer. Foods like black beans, kidney beans, asparagus, plums, blueberries and blackberries are all beneficial for strengthening the kidneys.

As you can see, TCM is a great way to deal with stress. If you are having difficulties dealing with stress, contact our Tigard office to see how we can help with naturopath health treatments.

CITATIONS:

  1. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/16/acupuncturecouldhelppreventstress_n_2883996.html
  2. http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/mpacms/at/article.php?id=27927
  3. http://blog.aoma.edu/blog/chinesemedicineforstressrelief
  4. https://www.consciouslifestylemag.com/foodsforanxietybodycalm/

 

 

 

Research On Staying Focused with Holistic Health Help

Taking a Holistic View on Your Health Can Help Improve Cognitive Function

Take a holistic health approach to improving your focus with herbs.A recent study published by the Journal of Neural Regeneration Research found acupuncture treatments can lead to improved cognitive function. Functional brain MRIs showed an increase in the communication areas of the brain associated with higher level cognitive function and memory. When cognitive function is improved, so too is one’s ability to stay focused and on task. This study also concluded acupuncture treatments can increase neural plasticity, which decreases naturally as we age. All of this demonstrates acupuncture can indeed improve overall brain function, allowing people to live more fulfilling lives.

Staying focused can be challenging in the world we live in. We are constantly bombarded with sights, sounds, smells, interruptions and more. It can be really frustrating. A recent study by Microsoft found the average human has an attention span of only eight seconds! By comparison, a goldfish has a nine second attention span. We, as a species, can’t even remain focused as long as a goldfish. This speaks volumes about the state of the world.

Part of the problem is our bodies were designed to move and we have become too sedentary. Our nervous system doesn’t know how to respond to this. And it also affects our muscles, tendons and circulatory systems. The more time we spend on our phones, tablets, etc., the more stagnant everything becomes. Our muscles shorten, tighten and atrophy, our circulation becomes sluggish and our brains foggy. For everything to function properly, you have to get up and move. But there are other ways to increase focus and concentration.

Holistic health can be very helpful when it comes to improving focus and concentration. There are specific acupuncture points, as well as individual herbs and herbal formulas that can be utilized.

One of the most commonly used acupuncture points for improving focus is called Du 20 or Governing Vessel 20. This point is located on the top of the head, midway between the apexes of both ears. Du 20 has been noted to improve mental clarity and awareness, while also enhancing memory.

Yin Tang is another favorite point of licensed acupuncturists. Yin Tang is located between the inner ends of both eyebrows. Yin Tang improves concentration and memory, while also clearing the mind and lifting the spirits.

There are a couple of individual herbs used in holistic health that can be very helpful for improving focus. The first is known as Dan Shen or Salvia. Holistic health uses this herb to increase blood flow and a study done in 2003 showed focus and memory were improved on subjects who used this herb.

An herbal formula known as Bu Nao Wan is frequently prescribed for people who have memory problems related to weakness in the kidney system of holistic health. Several of the herbs in this formula have been used for centuries to calm the mind and improve focus.

If you or somebody you know suffers from attention deficit issues, acupuncture might be exactly what they need to get back on track. If you are interested in holistic health and increasing your focus, make an appointment at our Tigard office.

Acupuncture & Natural Medicine for Sprains & Strains

Oregon Natural Medicine for Sprains & Strains

We’ve all heard of and maybe even experienced a sprain or a strain. But do you really know the difference? A sprain is defined as a stretch or tear of a ligament. A strain, on the other hand, is defined as an injury to a muscle or tendon. Sprains can result from a fall, a sudden twist or a blow to the body that forces a joint out of place, while a strain can happen from twisting or pulling a muscle or tendon.

Natural medicine & acupuncture for strains & sprains.There are specific ways of telling the difference between a sprain and a strain based on the symptoms that appear. Symptoms of a sprain include pain, swelling, instability, bruising and loss of functional joint ability. Sometimes there is an audible pop when the injury occurs. There are different levels of sprains too. A Grade I or mild sprain is generally caused by overstretching or the minor tearing of a ligament, but the person will still have joint stability. A Grade II or moderate sprain is more intense, but the person only experiences some loss of joint function. A Grade III or severe sprain occurs when there is a complete tear in the ligament and the person is unable to put any weight on the joint.

Strains, on the other hand, have very different symptoms. Most people who experience a strain, will report pain, limited range of motion, muscle spasms and possibly muscle weakness. There may also be cramping, swelling and inflammation.

Instinctively, when a person experiences a sprain or a strain, learned first aid skills take over. Things like taking the pressure off the joint, raising the joint and applying ice to alleviate swelling and inflammation are all great places to start. Icing a sprain or strain is only good for the first 48 to 72 hours, as it will help decrease swelling. However, prolonged use of ice may impair movement and also interfere with the healing process because it constricts the tissues and impedes blood flow. But there are other possible solutions to healing a sprain or a strain. And one of these would be to see an acupuncturist or natural medicine practitioner.

Natural medicine practitioners have many tools at their disposal that can assist in increased healing of a strain or sprain. When either of these injuries occur, the muscles surrounding the area tighten up in an effort to protect the injured site. This can then lead to stiffness in that joint. This is the body’s natural defense mechanism that decreases strong blood flow to the area. Natural medicine practitioners use acupuncture and other modalities to help loosen up the muscles and increase blood flow to the area, which brings in tissue-healing oxygen and nutrients.

Increasing blood flow is just one way natural medicine can help. There are also specific acupressure points that reduce swelling, decrease inflammation and alleviate pain. Through the use of regular acupuncture treatments following a sprain or strain injury, the body can heal faster. The more frequently a person comes in for their acupuncture treatments, the quicker the results will occur.

If you are having problems with strains or sprains, make an appointment to see how natural medicine and acupuncture can help you.

Acupuncture Equals Disease Prevention Say New Studies

Multiple Studies Find Acupuncture Treatment & Prevention Uses

Studies find acupuncture treatment and prevention uses.

Well-recognized for its therapeutic effects, acupuncture is increasingly being appreciated for its ability to promote wellness and contribute to the prevention of a broad range of conditions. A new study, which demonstrates the promise of acupuncture as a complementary approach in improving psychological and pain symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a natural disaster, is published as part of a Special Issue on Acupuncture to Foster Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Medical Acupuncture, a peer-reviewed journal from by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

The article entitled “An Observational Study on Acupuncture for Earthquake-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Experience of the Lombard Association of Medical Acupuncturists/Acupuncture in the World, in Amatrice, Central Italy” was coauthored by Carlo Moiraghi, MD and Paola Poli, MD, Medical Association of Lombard Acupuncture (Milan, Italy), and Antonio Piscitelli, MD, School of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (Milan, Italy).

The researchers studied the effects of acupuncture on the victims of a 6.0 earthquake that caused nearly 300 deaths and left 30,000 people homeless in Amatrice, Central Italy. The acupuncture effort was led by two medical associations: Lombard Association of Medical Acupuncturists (ALMA) and Acupuncture in the World (AGOM).

Treatments were performed by medical doctors who had at least 3 years of clinical experience with acupuncture. Each subject received four 20-minute acupuncture treatments over consecutive days. Before the acupuncture treatment, more than 68% of the study participants reported having both pain and psychological symptoms that could be associated with PTSD. After the third treatment, both the pain and psychological symptom scores had significantly improved, with no serious adverse effects attributed to the treatment.

Co-Guest Editor Songxuan Zhou Niemtzow, MD (China), a Traditional Chinese Medicine physician in Alexandria, VA, states, “If acupuncture had an alternative name, it could be called ‘prevention,’” in her editorial entitled “Acupuncture: Prevention Workarounds.”

In the editorial “Prevention at the Core of Acupuncture,” Co-Guest Editor Nadia Volf, MD, PhD, Paris XI University (Paris, France) writes “although acupuncture can be a wonderful tool for treating a number of diseases, this therapy can be an even more wonderful tool for preventing them.”

For more information on how acupuncture can help you, contact our Portland area office to make an appointment.

Eating Natural Healthy: Five Foods for Summer

Natural, Seasonal, Healthy Foods for the Time of Utmost Yang

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a medical system thousands of years old and incorporates many different modalities. TCM theory emphasizes that Mother Nature provides the right kind of food for the right kind of environment. For instance, if the weather is cold, then warming, nutrient-dense foods are best for the body. Likewise, when summer rolls around, it is best to partake of cooling foods and foods abundant during this season.

Summer natural healthy foods for the Portland area.Summer is a time of great abundance. Or as the Chinese refer to it, the time of utmost yang. The days are longer and warmer. And everything and everybody seems to be more active. The warmth of the summer sun encourages growth and maturation. In TCM, summer relates to the element of fire and the heart and small intestine energetic pathways or meridians. Because summer is a time of growth, many fruits and vegetables become abundant during the season. And because the season tends to be the warmest, it is important to stay cool and hydrated.

The summer months are generally hot and therefore the body needs to be kept cool. This is the perfect time to eat more raw foods that can clear heat. But as with anything, don’t overdo it. Too many cold or raw foods can wreak havoc on the digestive tract causing spasms, tightness and contractions. This will make the body work harder to warm the food being eaten, which can then deplete the Qi of the spleen and stomach meridians. Therefore cooked foods and even soups are still recommended during the warm summer months. They are usually made with seasonally-available foods or eaten at room temperature to avoid any digestive conflict.

It is best to avoid heavy, greasy and fried foods during the summer months, as they can also clog up the digestive system. They can also create excess phlegm in the lungs leading to respiratory problems. And when cooking during the season of summer, it is best to create meals quickly and simply by grilling or stir frying.

As mentioned, foods cooling or neutral in nature and hydrating foods are all good choices during the summer months. Here are some foods recommended to eat throughout the season of summer.

1. Summer Vegetables: Things like peppers, eggplant, onions and summer squash are all good choices. They tend to be high in water content which helps keep the body cool.

2. Greens: Foods like cabbage, kale, broccoli, Swiss chard and spinach are great choices to add to a salad or even to stir fry. They tend to be neutral to cooling in nature.

3. Melons: Melons are high in water content, so they are great to have around on those really hot summer days for replenishing lost fluids. They are also non-calorie dense, so they won’t be heavy on the stomach.

4. Seafood: While most meats tend to be warming in nature, seafood is not. It leans more heavily toward the cooling nature of food. This makes it a great choice for summer dinners. It’s also high in protein and easy to throw on the grill.

5. Fruit: Summer is when there is an abundance of fruits. Most fruit tends to be cooling in nature, but the high sugar content can be detrimental to the spleen. The best choices are fruits grown in tropical climates, as they have the highest water content.

If you need more help understanding or designing a proper seasonal eating plan, stop by our Portland area office or make an appointment. We want to help identify what plan works best for you.

Could this Body Part Explain How Acupuncture Works?

New Research Explains How Fascia Uses Qi Energy in Acupuncture

How does energy move through the body? Can it be scientifically measured? And how might energy healing be the future of medicine? These questions and more are at the heart of Energy Medicine, the new book by acupuncturist Well+Good Council member Jill Blakeway, DACM, LAc. Here, in an exclusive excerpt, she explores why fascia—the connective tissue underneath the skin—are so fascinating.

Research shows fascia may use qi energy in acupuncture.Thousands of years ago, the Chinese identified energy channels (sometimes referred to as meridians), a kind of highway that can be mapped within the body along which the acupuncture points exist. The concept of energy channels and the points that access them sounds esoteric and has often been dismissed as myth or metaphor. But recent research suggests that not only do they exist, but they’ve been right in front of our eyes all along.

Helene M. Langevin, a clinical endocrinologist who was curious enough about her patients’ interest in acupuncture that she took a course in Chinese medicine and then carried her newfound skills into the lab with her at the department of neurology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, led a study that found a measurable “pull out force” after every needle grab. And the strength of this grab was, on average, 18 percent higher when measured at acupuncture points as opposed to non-acupuncture points. The needle grab is more vigorous at these points because they are more conductive of electrical energy.

Perhaps more crucially, however, Langevin and her colleagues found, experimenting with acupuncture on a piece of rat abdominal wall, that when they rotated the needles the connective tissue underneath the skin became “mechanically attached.” Writes Langevin: “Even a small amount of rotation caused the connective tissue to wrap around the needle, like spaghetti winding around a fork.” Langevin also found that the tissue remains stretched in this way for the duration of the acupuncture treatment, causing chemical changes at a cellular level that increase electrical conductivity.

Connective tissue, long underplayed by western medicine and science, has recently become of interest, particularly among molecular and physiological researchers, as new evidence has demonstrated that such stimulation to the connective tissue can be sensed at a cellular level, decreasing chronic inflammation, reducing pain and even potentially inhibiting the growth of cancer cells or fibrotic tissue.

Connective tissue is everywhere inside of us—“one could draw a line between any two points of the body via a path of connective tissue,” Langevin points out. And it has many functions: it holds organs in place, offers a path for nerves and blood vessels, stores energy and attaches muscle to bone, and, yes, conducts electricity. The latter ability is thanks to a critical component of connective tissue: collagen. There are layers of water bound to collagen fibers that form a uniquely conductive pathway, allowing an electrical charge to travel rapidly throughout the body.

In his book The Spark in the Machine: How the Science of Acupuncture Explains the Mysteries of Western Medicine, British surgeon and emergency medical specialist Dan Keown explains that a specific form of connective tissue, known as the fascia, may well explain the way in which the electrical charge generated at the acupuncture points travels deep into the body.

Fascia underpins our skin; it also attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs. It is also extremely strong, “so strong,” as Keown points out, “that in the days of Björn Borg and John McEnroe, professional players’ tennis strings were made from the fascia from the gut of a cow.” Fascia is impenetrable to almost all biological substances; it is so impassable that it becomes a kind of slide, or slippery pathway, for a number of things in our bodies: water, air, blood, and even electricity. In fact, not only is fascia an electrical conductor and resistor, capable of transmitting electrical signals throughout the body, but it can also, amazingly, generate its own electricity.

Fascia, then, it is theorized, is the conduit for electrical energy, or qi, as it travels throughout our bodies. “These pathways of fascia have been detailed beautifully by anatomists,” Keown points out, “only they were not describing the fascia but the tissues that they enclosed.”It is even a principle of surgery to cut along the fascial planes—conscious always not to cut into the fascia unless absolutely necessary as it leads to an increased risk of adhesions, essentially cutting across the body’s system of organization— without realizing that these pathways are not simply there to make their incisions easier. “When the West talks of fascial planes, the East talks of acupuncture channels,” Keown writes. “There is no contraindication in these two views; it is just a question of interpretation. The West may still have no comparable force to [qi], but that is only because it has not attempted to explain the holistic power behind embryological self-organization.”

Incidentally, fascia also plays a key role in demystifying an anomaly that sometimes occurs in acupuncture research. In some studies, researchers use “sham acupuncture”—which can mean administering needles at non–acupuncture points or using retractable needles that do not penetrate the skin—to measure its effects against “real” acupuncture. In some of these studies, legitimate acupuncture only works slightly better than its sham counterpart, leading some researchers to conclude that acupuncture, in general, is nothing more than a placebo. However, given the conductive nature of fascia, needling anywhere along a fascial plane should have some conductive effect, if not as strong as when treating at the accurate points. As for the needles that don’t penetrate the skin, acupressure or shallow needling can create a small oscillation that stimulates the electrical activity enough to mildly activate the acupuncture points.

For more information on acupuncture to make your appointment, contact us at our Portland area office.

Article courtesy of WellAndGood.com.

How to Manage Stress at Work with Natural Health Tips

Destress at Work with Natural Health Techniques

Tea is a natural health tip to destress.Today the average worker experiences stress levels higher than in previous decades. There are many causes to the increase in stress but there are also many ways to effectively combat these stressors and experience a life with less stress and more happiness. One of the main reasons people feel so stressed out is that with the invention of the Internet, email and, most notably, the smartphone, it often feels like you are attached to work, you can never fully disconnect and be released from your work duties. The pressure to always be connected is hard to let go of, especially when your smartphone is in your hand. One way to combat this is to set guidelines for yourself on when you will and will not answer an email or message. Turn the phone off when you are home and off of work, if that is not possible, schedule when you will check your messages so it can be planned and contained instead of all consuming. When you are not at work, make sure you can keep those boundaries firm and not be drawn to work 24/7.

While in the office there are many ways you can destress yourself. The easiest one is to take deep breaths. If you are in a tense moment, stop what you are doing, close your eyes and take a deep breath and then another and another until you feel your body calm down. Take a minute to center yourself. Once you are more grounded, you can act instead of react and handle the situation more calmly. Breathing is so important and it is free, easy and you can do it anywhere you are.

When on lunch or a break try to get outside and take a walk. The fresh air and nature are beneficial in many ways. The sun will help your body produce vitamin D which is essential for good moods and emotional wellbeing. Being outside in nature has a calming effects, as well as just the physical exertion of taking a walk.

If you like tea, drinking a warm cup of tea can be relaxing, especially an herbal tea with chamomile or mint. Eating well can also be key in having a life with less stress. Nourish your body inside and out. If you are feeding it well, it will treat you well. Sugar and highly-processed foods can cause spikes and big drops in blood sugar which can acutely affect your mood and exacerbate any stress you may be feeling. Eating foods whole and lower on the glycemic index can help stabilize your blood sugar and prevent the shifts that can cause mood swings.

Lastly, find a support system, whether it is inside or outside of the company you are in, to help you when you need it. People who you can use as a sounding board with your concerns and can help you strategically work to find solutions in the workplace to have a happier and more productive office environment. Having people around you who help build you up and help you achieve your goals are the people you want around you. Distance from those who will try to bring you down or cause unnecessary stress. Make an appointment at our Portland area office for more natural health treatments.

How Stress Physically Affects Your Body & Acupuncture Can Help

Acupuncture & Other Options to Create Balance in Our Bodies

Acupuncture Helping Balance Your Body from Stress.Stress. It’s not a word that makes most of us feel elated or excited. However, stress, by design, is the body’s way of signaling for help or a break in the routine. If we don’t listen to these signals, we can develop imbalances in our bodies, which can then lead to illnesses.

The dictionary defines stress in multiple ways, but there is only one that matters when we discuss how stress affects our physical bodies. The definition is this, “stress is a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension”. The definition itself indicates stress can affect our bodies.

One of the most visible way stress affects our bodies is our appearance. People who are under chronic pressure and stress tend to look older and fatigued. This happens because cortisol, the stress hormone in our bodies, builds up, which then increases the amount of free radicals in skin cells. Free radicals damage the skin cells causing them to become dull and dehydrated. Women typically show this more than men.

Another big player in the stress game is digestion. Many people today suffer from heartburn and upset stomach on a regular basis. These symptoms can be caused by excess stress. Stress causes the body to alter gastrointestinal motility by moving blood normally used in the digestive process, away from your belly and midsection, as part of the “fight or flight” response that usually occurs when you are stressed. Thus, the lack of blood and fluids in the gastrointestinal tract can lead to increases in stomach acid, causing stomach upset and heartburn.

Minor stress will stimulate the immune system which helps us heal from illness and disease.  However, chronic stress can actually compromise the immune system, once again due to the cortisol hormone. Chronic stress sufferers tend to get sick more often and the illnesses may last longer. This is also a factor in people who develop terminal illnesses like cancer.

Excess stress can cause your heart to work too hard and usually for too long a period. These factors can then lead to sustained increased blood pressures or hypertension. Hypertension puts more stress on your blood vessels, which can increase your possibility of a stroke or heart attack.

Chronic stress can also be detrimental to your muscles and can then lead to chronic aches and pains. Muscles are supposed to tense up when under stress. But when you are constantly stressed, the muscles never get the chance to completely relax. Tight muscles result in headaches, back, neck and shoulder pain. Over time, those tight muscles and chronic pain can cause many to seek pain relief through prescription pain medications.

That’s the bad news. The good news is you can address and treat stress naturally. Getting proper nutrition and removing stressors will help greatly.  Acupuncture is also a wonderful tool for fighting stress. As few as two needles can reset your body and decrease your daily stress levels. Another method is to couple acupuncture with practices like qigong, tai chi, and/or meditation. Talk with our Portland area acupuncturist to find out how to resolve your stress the natural way.