Archive for February 2012

Relearn how to eat

When was the last time you thought about HOW you eat? No, I’m not talking about what you eat, that’s another posting or two or three, probably lots more.

Think about how you eat. Do you notice that you finish your snacks or meals without knowing how that happened? I recall studying in university and eating my favourite study snacks, Wheat Thin crackers. At that time I thought those were healthy. Now I know better. Especially as I would sometimes reach to the bottom of the box without even knowing how I got there! A whole box! Not a great choice for dinner.

Think about whether you chew your food. It’s too easy to scarf down a meal like a dog. Well, even my dog Hana chews her food better and more than many people I know. Have you ever seen a dog chew lettuce, really chew each little piece? She does! Smart dog! Chewing your food is the start of your digestive process. Skipping this step makes it harder for your body to digest your food.

Be mindful when you eat. Here are some tips:

1. Nicely present your food to yourself. Make it look appealing. You might appreciate it more.

2. Before you eat, think about how this food will nourish you, not just physically, but also emotionally (do you feel good eating this?).

3. Chew your food well. If counting bites helps, try that for awhile.

4. To slow you down, try some of these simple tricks. Put your utensils down between bites. Try eating with your non-dominant hand (it might get messy, but it’s also good for your brain). Eat with chopsticks, not just Asian food, but other foods as well.

Unlike either of my dogs, however, stop eating when you are no longer hungry. If you give your body time to assess how you feel as you slow down your eating, you will have better cues and satiety. Stop eating before you feel you HAVE to stop eating. If you realize you need more food and are still hungry, you can always go back for a bit more.


Acupuncture reported: it he accurate?

This morning I just read an article written for the online version of the newspaper The Vancouver Sun. The Sun is a reputable newspaper, but clearly not immune to inaccuracies. Case in point (no pun intended), their recent article called, “The Intricacies of Acupuncture” by Randy Shore.

The question “What is acupuncture?” is posed. The answer they give includes a paragraph that reads, “The theory is that acupuncture unblocks and rebalances the flow of energy, or Qi, through the body. The modern practice of medical acupuncture – as practised by medical doctors – uses wires inserted into known anatomical structures rather than points dictated by ancient philosophy or astrology.”

So much wrong with this last sentence! Acupuncture is medical acupuncture. We treat medical conditions and I don’t follow astrological charts to do so! Yes, acupuncture uses the philosophies of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to choose acupuncture points, but just because they are founded on ancient practices doesn’t keep them stuck in a time 3000 years ago. Just as we no longer use sharpened stones as acupuncture needles, so too have we modernized our practice. We learn anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology. We recognize the structures that we are needling as acupuncture points and meridians, but also as muscles and other soft tissues.

I have a degree in kinesiology from the University of Guelph where my training in how the body works included anatomy with a cadaver dissection lab, neuromuscular anatomy, basic physiology, respiratory physiology, cardiovascular physiology and applied sciences of human gait analysis and ergonomics. Traditional Chinese Medicine’s “philosophies” are actually observations that were made over thousands of years and came to conclusions about how the body works. The TCM scientists of the time correctly identified many of more modern science’s current understandings.

Many of my colleagues take extra training in modern forms of acupuncture in addition to the 3-5 years of training and 1-3 provincial licensing exams — depending on whether we train to be registered acupuncturists or registered Dr. of Traditional Chinese Medicine, with the latter requiring the most training. Motor point acupuncture, trigger point acupuncture, studies of myofacial tissues, and biopuncture are all modern forms of acupuncture that I trained in that many “medical acupuncture” performing MDs have not studied.

I do not divorce myself of either the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine or the current understanding of the physiological structures of human anatomy. It’s Yin and Yang. Knowledge, recognition, and practice of both strengthens the results.

Where registered acupuncturists (R.Ac.), registered TCM practitioners (R.TCM.P), and registered Dr. of TCM (Dr.TCM) differ from MD “acupuncturists” is that we have MORE training for the practice of acupuncture. And perhaps even more important is that we can use both the 3000 (or more) years of observational studies of the human body as well as the more modern practice and study of current medical knowledge.

So, while I have asked some stars about their thoughts on acupuncture, those stars are human (acting and sport), not the ones in the sky.

Read more:


The way you do the things you do…

For months I had been complaining that the garage door opener in my building was not working well. I would point and press the button…no door movement. Press again…nothing. Try a different angle, put my hand out the window, get out of my car. So frustrating! Some of my neighbours also complained about the same thing.

Then a couple of weeks ago I was in the garage when our building’s newest tenant drove up to the door on the outside and pressed the button on his garage door opener and it opened first try. No problem.

How was it that he did that so easily? This is going to sound ridiculously simplistic, but he drove his car right up to the gate. Many of my other neighbours and I drove toward the gate, but stopped about 8 feet back. This new neighbour drove up to within a couple of feet. It makes me laugh now that I hadn’t thought of that myself!

Simple works!

So, let me ask you this…

Do you have pain? Are you struggling with a health issue? Have you tried a lot of different things without success?

Have you tried the same thing over and over again without success? Perhaps it’s time to rethink what you’re doing and see if there’s another way. Perhaps you’ve heard the quote by Einstein:

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Of course one of my favourite solutions to recommend is Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture. Why? Because making an appointment for a consultation is simple and getting a treatment plan and treatment is effective!


I heart TCM

One of the inside jokes we have as Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners is that TCM has two hearts and no brain. It may sound like it, but it’s really not a dig. In TCM we discuss function more than form. The two hearts are the physical heart and the emotional heart.

The “no brain” is because we don’t discuss the physical form of the brain on its own. We discuss the brain as being encompassed by the marrow and that is most linked to the energy of the TCM Kidneys. Long-term memory is also more directed to the TCM Kidneys. Short-term memory, focus, and concentration are most connected to the TCM Spleen.  Various emotions come to play via the assortment of TCM organ systems, but the “house” of emotions (the centre of our emotions) comes from the TCM Heart.

The emotion allotted to the TCM Heart is joy. So if you want to improve both your physical and emotional heart, find ways to incorporate more joy in your life. There are so many reasons to do so.

  1. Don’t you like to be happy?
  2. Joy, like other emotions, can be contagious.
  3. Happiness improves your ability to learn by about 31%!
  4. Happiness may make you more successful, in marriage, business, income, health, and friendship!
  5. You will handle stress better.
  6. Happiness may help protect you against getting sick!
  7. Joy helps reduce inflammation and protect your heart!

The physical heart works so hard! It gets no holidays, no time off. It keeps us alive! Do you take good care of your heart? Do you offer it regular exercise to help keep it strong? Do you eat healthy foods that provide it with the nutrients it needs? Do you help it to recover with sufficient sleep, rest, and some sort of relaxation routine like meditation?

If you have high (or low) blood pressure, high cholesterol, have suffered a cardiovascular condition like a heart attack or have angina, you need to take extra special care of your heart. Taking pharmaceutical medications is not enough.

Some supplements and herbs that can help your heart include:

  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Essential fatty acids (EFAs), especially the omega 3s DHA and EPA
  • Selenium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamins C, B, E
  • Plant sterols
  • Chinese herbs: Shan zha, gou qi zi, dan shen

* Keep in mind that each and every person is different, so it’s important to get a proper assessment to determine what best suits your body and what might not be right for you.

Acupuncture is also very effective at improving blood circulation, reducing stress, lowering high blood pressure, regulating heartrate, and more.

I heart TCM because TCM hearts my heart!


What to do…after the flu

A friend of mine asked me to post some info on what to do after a bout of the flu or food poisoning. She called it a “forced detox”. That’s one way to put it!

If you have had diarrhea or have been vomiting, the first and most important thing is to rehydrate. You might want to consider a homemade “Gatorade”. Healthier than it and also easy to make:

Mix 2 cups (16 ounces) of water with 1 tablespoon of honey and the juice of 2 lemons.

Because your stomach may still be sensitive and you might be easily nauseated, you’ll want to start back into some easy-to-digest foods. Soups heavy on the broth and light on substance may help. I resonate with making something called ochazuke. My mom gave it to my sister and I when we were sick as kids. It consists simply of green tea poured over cooked white rice. Perhaps you prefer a chicken noodle soup or congee.

Ginger tea or ginger in your soup can help to settle your nausea and assist your sensitive digestive system. Under-ripe bananas might help to reduce diarrhea.

Once recovered, continue to be extra kind to your belly and nourish your body with good whole foods.

Remember too to get enough sleep as that will help speed your recovery.

Finally, a visit to your natural health care provider can help you get back on your feet again.

What’s your favourite way to rebound after a “forced detox”?

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