You may have heard amazing stories about acupuncture from friends or family but still feel unclear about what it could do for you.
You may have heard amazing stories about acupuncture from friends or family but still feel unclear about what it could do for you.
A common question I have been asked is how does acupuncture work?
As you attempt to adapt to the changing seasons, life can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. Learn how to manage your resources, or better yet, improve your health to better able to handle the ups and downs of life using acupuncture & food therapy.
It can be EXHAUSTING keeping up with yourself sometimes. Your body knows it, but do you?
As we enter fall, temperatures begin to drop, trees begin to lose their leaves, marking a time when things slow down in nature. We too ought to slow down in life. Most of us, however, are still working harder than ever in a competitive workplace, trying to keep up with our demanding lifestyles, and still trying to cram in more into our already busy schedules.
If you already caught a cold, have a bit of runny nose, or a sore throat, this is your body signalling that you need to SLOW DOWN.
It's a clear sign you're operating on overdrive as you lack the resources to manage your body's immune system. To prevent things from getting worse HERE ARE SOME TIPS:
1. Hit Pause
Ever feel that "stress-mode" come on, as if you're in a panic, as if you don't have enough time to get through the amount of work that needs to be done? Once we get into this mode, our minds get ahead of ourselves, thinking about the next 10 possible scenarios that could happen. We begin to lose track of what we need - TIME, SPACE, FOOD, and REST.
The next time you catch yourself feeling the pressure of stress, give yourself 1-2 minutes to just sit down, breathe deep and slow, and allow your mind to pause for a moment so your body can catch up with you. You'll feel your energy come back again, and your stress levels drop significantly, which will make you more effective to the people you're trying to serve.
2. Chai Tea
With warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom this tea can help boost the body's immune system, and balance off fall's cooler climate. The next time you feel cold in the office, or at home after a long day, warm up with a nice cup of chai.
3. Let Go Of The Unnecessary
Trees let go of their leaves during fall. Fall is also a time when the large intestine is more active, the main organ for elimination of waste from your body. A problem in this department can be a sign that you have a hard time letting go of things.
Some of you have a tendency to hang on to your busy schedules. Not realising that many of the things you do, you either don't really want, or need to. Let's practice letting them go.
Take a look at your schedule, and ask yourself which things do you actually want to do, or absolutely HAVE to do. Then eliminate everything else. This will clear your schedule, clear your stress, and give yourself the time and rest you need to slow things down in your life. Then you can hopefully schedule in some self-care, like acupuncture.
You can also apply this to "Things" in your home. Clothes, electronics, books, paperwork. If you haven't used or looked at it in the past 3 years, chances are you can let it go now.
Have a wonderful fall season, and enjoy the cooler climates by going for walks in the park, and breathing in the fresh crisp air. Don't forget to wear a scarf.
If you're interested in booking some self-care acupuncture time, feel free to book online. We focus on creating the change your body needs to heal through pain, chronic conditions, or mental emotional blockages using acupuncture & food therapy. Our acupuncture clinics are located downtown Toronto, and Forest Hill. Our practitioners are registered acupuncturists, and we provide a receipt for insurance purposes.
A lack of sleep can put you on edge, make you feel overwhelmed, or exhausted and zoned out when it matters most…Learn one of the best Acupressure points you can try at home for regulating your sleep cycle!
Acupuncture works by stimulating points on the body that reduce inflammation. Where the inflammation appears in your body determines which acupuncture points we select to clear it out.
Some of you that struggle with this condition, whether it's a rash or some form of eczema, have had it for years. You’ve tried the steroid creams, the anti-inflammatory meds and are wondering how acupuncture & food therapy can help.
You remember it like it was yesterday. You bent over to lift something and WHACK!
It’s your New Year’s resolution to get fit this year. You’ve made the decision to hit the gym or train for a marathon so you can get the body you want. There’s only one thing holding you back. That annoying pain in the bottom of your foot that acts up even just during your warm up! Argh! How are you EVER going to achieve your fitness goals this year?! Every time it feels like you’re just getting started, the pain tells you you’ve got to slow down, stop for a moment, and give your foot a rest.
Let’s face it, heel pain sucks. You start to think “Is this what getting old feels like?” and “Am I going to be stuck with this heel pain for the rest of my life?” You may have been told before that you have "plantar fascitis", which worries you because you're not sure if there's a cure for that!
Relax. Take a deep breath. Heel pain ISN’T something you need to live with for the rest of your life. And guess what? It’s NOT a sign that you’re getting old. It can be corrected, and you can get your active, healthy lifestyle back again!
In Chinese Medicine, pain is usually a result of a blockage in the body. These blockages are often created by stress and tension, or over-exhaustion. Here’s how:
Stress causes your body to tense up and your blood vessels constrict. This leads to decreased circulation and blood flow to various parts of your body, depending on where you hold your stress. Then out-of-nowhere you’re hit with pain.
Over-exhaustion, on the other hand, causes a different type of blockage. This drains the body’s energy. Your body is taking care of a lot of things all day, every day. Your over-used heel is likely last on the list of your body’s priorities. Which means, it never fully heals. (Pun unintended.)
With many of my clients, after removing such blockages and improving circulation to the bottom of their foot through acupuncture - the pain disappears! The best part of it all is after a few sessions you can finally go ALL-OUT again in your workouts, sports, or other activities you love to experience without heel pain holding you back.
I also recommend a foot soak you can do at home. Simply fill a tub with hot water, pour in some epsom salts (half a cup), and soak your feet for 10-15 minutes. Not only does the warmth improve circulation, but epsom salts have minerals like magnesium that lower blood pressure and help the body to relax.
So, if you’re ready to get your workouts back in gear again, you can book a session at one of our acupuncture clinics in Toronto, where we’ll discuss your health concerns, and get to the bottom of that annoying heel pain.
Do you feel tired, even if you get a full 8 hours of sleep? Coffee doesn’t seem to be as effective anymore does it? It’s year end, and your lack of energy is making you drop the ball when it matters MOST! You want to end the year with a bang! but it’s feeling like it might end with a thunk.
You could be suffering from burnout.
You’ve worked hard all year long, and now’s the time to finally crush those year end goals whether they are business goals, projects around the house, or even starting 2018 a few pounds lighter. If you’re like most people in Toronto, the demands of your daily life are as high as ever, but you’re lacking an inner resourcefulness to energetically complete everything. The holidays are an added stress, especially when all you want to do is sit on the couch, turn on Netflix and pass out for a couple of hours.
Don’t worry, I have a special recipe for bouncing out of burnout I’m going to share with you. But first, let’s understand what is burnout?
When burnout sets in, most people turn to drinking more and more coffee. Coffee taps into your adrenal glands which give you the adrenaline rush you think you need to push through, feel awake, and keep chugging along throughout the day. Too much coffee, and the adrenal glands begin to run out of resources - which means, you actually burn out FASTER.
The adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys, and in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) symptoms of overwork or exhaustion can be corrected by boosting your body’s powerhouse - The Kidneys. Here I’m going to share with you a personal favourite for restoring your kidneys so you can accomplish those year end goals, get back to feeling 100% again, and hopefully give you that extra boost you need to HAVE FUN and enjoy this holiday season!
Goji Walnut Energy Ball
For the past few months, I’ve been putting together my favorite healing recipes. If you’re struggling with back pain, digestive issues, low energy, or cold hands and feet, there is a whole-food nourishing recipe in this cookbook for YOU! Heal your body from the inside out….and enjoy some tasty morsels while you do it! Nourish your body and soul with Mindful Kitchen. Right now I’m offering an end-of-year special. Save 40% by clicking here. Right now Mindful Kitchen is only $5.99!
Grab it today and start feeling better.
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We have important news! Neck pain isn’t normal. Neck pain isn’t something that you have to accept.
Unfortunately, too many people think that mysterious neck pain is just a “normal part of getting older.”
Think of all the inconvenience annoying neck pain has caused you.
You just woke up one day, turned your neck one direction, and all of a sudden it hurt like HELL.
Now you have to skip the gym this week. You flinch in pain if you turn your head too fast. You feel like you’re trying to walk around a mine field of posture positions just to avoid another stab of pain.
Let’s get you back to feeling freedom of movement without any mystery pain!
Let’s get you back into the gym. Let’s get you through the workday without a stab of pain from nowhere. Let’s get you back to feeling comfortable, relaxed, and not having to sit or stand in awkward positions just to avoid pain.
What is the most common culprit for neck pain?
Stress! And here’s how…
When you’re under stress, your body tenses up. The first part of your body that your system wants to protect is your neck – with good reason. Your neck is one of the most vulnerable parts of your body, and in nature, predators, like lions, always attack at the neck.
So when you’re stressed, or feeling anxious, the tension you create actually reduces the circulation of blood that’s supposed to nourish your tendons and ligaments.
….then all it takes is one quick move in the wrong direction, or sleeping in an uncomfortable position, and WHACK! Your neck is strained.
One trick I want to share with you is one of the best acupressure points on the back of your hand for alleviating neck pain:
It’s about 1 inch above your knuckles between your index and middle finger. Found it? Press on it hard, and take a few deep and slow breaths as you try moving your neck again. Now, I hope that this temporary relief gives you … well, some relief!
And if you would like to finally eliminate this pain (and many others), then might I suggest that you look into an acupuncture session. My clients notice a significant change even in the first session. Why is that? Because acupuncture improves circulation, and pain is either the result of constricted circulation or the pain has caused you to take on poor postures which also hinder your body’s circulation. That’s just one way that acupuncture can free yourself of pain. And there is the BONUS that it also nourishes the tendons and ligaments that are out of whack - also due to poor circulation and poor posture. It’s all connected!
If you’re interested in relieving the pain I am available at both the downtown and forest hill acupuncture clinics in Toronto.
We’ll discuss the problem in more detail, provide some food therapy recommendations and do some acupuncture to free you from the pain in your neck.
Feeling restless at night? Unable to turn off your mind? or waking up at the same odd hour each night? Sleep is crucial to your overall well-being. Here are some tips to help you get your beauty rest.
Did you know acupuncture can relieve more than just pain? Here, we'll discuss acupuncture's benefits in relieving you of seasonal allergies, digestive complaints, and insomnia.
SPRING is a time of GROWTH as new plants sprout up from the earth. This season relates to the Liver in Chinese medicine - whose job is to filter toxins from blood (western perspective). Here are some foods to help support your liver's detoxing functions:
Peppermint and chrysanthemum are great for relieving stress and frustration. Avoid alcohol, or greasy and fried foods, as these can weigh you down making you feel sluggish, and irritated.
Emotionally and physically spring sparks within us the need for change, exploration, and movement - expressions of a healthy Liver in Chinese medicine. Failing to do so can leave us feeling frustrated, stressed, and depressed. Now is the time to travel - satisfying our need to explore. That doesn't have to be somewhere far, and expensive, but just someplace different than what you're used to. A change of environment helps to inspire us, and spark creativity when we're stuck.
Spring also marks a time of growth. Putting your energy towards personal goals, or projects is optimal this season. Spring gives the Liver more energy to perform its role of having a clear vision, setting goals, and planning ahead. Remember to plan with the resources you currently have. Overcommitting yourself to many goals can lead to many incomplete tasks, and possibly depression.
Now that the weather is getting warmer, enjoy a walk in the park. This combines movement with reconnecting to nature. The Liver also enjoys stretching, which can help ease frustration and stress. The Liver Channel runs through the inner thighs, and calves. Make sure to spend more time stretching these muscles and ligaments before and after workouts.
If you're looking for a quick tune-up this Spring, feel free to book an acupuncture appointment to nourish & awaken your body.
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Are you pregnant and experiencing swelling of your hands, feet, or face? These are signs that your body is not metabolizing water properly. This can happen for two reasons in Chinese Medicine - a weakness in the Kidneys or a sign that your energy has become stagnant. Both can easily occur during pregnancy, and here's why:
According to Chinese Medicine your Kidneys are the key organs involved in reproduction & development. Hence, as they work hard on growing your little one, they may become depleted and fail to perform regular body functions of metabolizing water. Talk about motherly-instincts being wired into you, your body will first put all of its resources towards nurturing the growing baby inside of you before taking care of yourself. The swelling which occurs with a Kidney deficiency usually manifests more in the ankles, and feet. Foods that can boost kidney function according to Chinese Medicine are pumpkin seeds, and walnuts. Black beans are another good option as they boost kidney function and have a drying quality to help eliminate edema.
Feeling irritated? sighing a lot? As the mother progresses into her third trimester of pregnancy, the baby gains weight rapidly at about 1/2 a lbs per week. The increased weight not only makes you feel heavier, but can leave you feeling stagnant as well. If you experience swelling in your hands, and face these signs indicate that your energy has become stagnant according to Chinese Medicine. You may even feel some achiness in your finger joints. If so, it may be time to include some stretching, or prenatal yoga in your morning rituals to promote the flow of your energy and alleviate stagnation. Foods that can help are leafy greens, peppermint tea, and spices such as garlic, onions, or chives in moderation.
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We tend to perform the same motions day in and day out. The majority of the time this isn't an issue as long as we have the right posture, and are using the right technique. It's when we aren't being mindful of these things that we tend to develop imbalances, which leads to pain, and tension.
The imbalances poor posture creates is endless, from pain in your shoulders, to pain between your scapulas (upper back), to lower back pain. All of these areas become obstructed, and can even lead to tingling sensations running down your leg, or through your arm. Acupuncture can actually help to alleviate pain by improving circulation, and re-activating energy channels that run through the areas of pain. So how does it work? From a western medicine perspective, when your body detects an acupuncture needle, or a foreign object in the body, your immune system naturally sends its immune cells to scope out the area. Indirectly what this does is increase blood flow to the area, and improve circulation. In Chinese Medicine, pain is a sign of stagnation, or a blockage. By examining what area you experience pain, this tells the acupuncturist what energy channels to open using the acupuncture points along the channel. Other signs of stagnation are a tendency to sigh, feeling depressed at times, or pain along the ribs.
When your body is feeling tired, you might find yourself getting lazy, having a tendency to slouch, or just using piss-poor technique. And then just like that, you hurt your neck, or your lower back lets out. For the next week, you're spending your spare time rubbing tiger balm, and vaporub, along with ice and heat packs to try and relieve this agonizing pain.
But it's not just the bad technique that leads to injury and pain. It's the fact that your body is tired that leads to injury as well! When you're tired, your body has a more difficult time keeping things together. The first thing we do when we're tired is we slouch. It's like your body is too tired to hold itself up, so it just lets yourself go aloof.
This concept can be used to understand why people get slipped discs or bulging discs leading to sciatic pain. And may also explain why in the elderly their organs prolapse as their bodies are slowly running out or resources to hold everything in place.
In this case, popping needles into where it hurts does little to improve your condition. When acupuncturists do acupuncture, we focus on the internal imbalances. In this case, we need to improve your energy. The best organ for that is the Kidneys. Just think about adrenaline - it's a form of energy, and where it comes from (the adrenal glands), which sit on top of your kidneys! So by using acupuncture to stimulate points that strengthen the kidneys, you should expect to notice an improvement in your condition by the end of that acupuncture treatment.
For some of us, the areas we get pain, also feel hot, and appear red at times. These are signs of "Heat" in Chinese Medicine, or "Inflammation" in western medicine. In Chinese Medicine, some points have the function of "Clearing Heat". This may seem like a foreign concept, but actually western medical studies have been performed to prove acupuncture's effectiveness in reducing inflammation . Other signs of heat in the body are a red face or rosacea, unquenchable thirst, constipation, or dark urine.
By paying attention to your body, you can become more mindful of what is causing the pain.
If you're looking for relief from pain, ACUSOUL is an acupuncture clinic in Toronto that provides relief to pain, along with many other health issues. If you haven't already done so, book an appointment today at one of our Toronto acupuncture locations.
Not only can we detect what kind of imbalances you have, but also treat them and provide preventative measures to keep your body free from pain using acupuncture and food therapy.
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Looking for ways to achieve your health goals this year? Here's a few tips.
Before this year gets busy or out of control, take the time to regularly do something for yourself. It could be as simple as treating yourself to a massage, or acupuncture treatment at the end of a long week. Acupuncture is a way of re-balancing the body back to an optimal state of health. Studies have shown that acupuncture can reduce stress by boosting endorphins, and regulating stress hormones that cause a "fight or flight" response. If you find that you're getting overwhelmed easily, this is a sign that your stress response may need a reset.
Before committing yourself to any diet, take a look at your tongue in the mirror first. It can tell you a few simple things about your body, and help you choose foods to re-balance your health. First look at the size, is it swollen? Or have teeth mark ridges on the sides? This is an indication your body lacks energy. You may be overdoing it - mentally or physically. Take time to eat foods slowly in a calm environment to ensure your body extracts everything it needs. You can find foods that boost energy on the food section of my site. Next look at the coating, is it thick? You may need foods that clear away excess waste from the body such as beans, legumes, and sweet potatoes. If there's no coating at all, or it shows cracks, this could indicate you need to replenish body fluids by eating more fruit, or drinking vegetable soups. If you have any questions at all, feel free to bring it up in your next session.
Setting goals or resolutions at the beginning of the year is a great idea. Don't beat yourself up if you slip up every now and then. We tend to set resolutions like they are strict rules in our life. Know that you may not be able to consistently "go to the gym everyday" because after all, you are human. Life itself has seasons just like in nature. At certain times of the year, you may become more busy, or your wants and desires for comfort take a higher priority over your new years resolutions. At those times, allow yourself to just be you. There are always different parts of our personality we need to nourish. Comfort is not a sign of weakness, it is simply a way of showing self-love. And that should never be considered a failure, but rather a way of expressing different qualities of who you are.
Hope these recommendations help you on your journey in life. Enjoy this year and what it has to offer.
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As the cold winter approaches, it's important we understand how to stay balanced during this season. Winter is the time our energy hides in the deeper layers of our body, making us more susceptible to catching colds. For those who have poor circulation, cold temperatures can slows things down even more, reducing blood flow to your extremities. You may experience cold hands and feet, or become more prone to pain in your body as blood stagnation occurs. Here's what you can do to offset these imbalances.
Star anise, fennel, and cloves not only spice up your meals, but have very strong warming properties that can tonify your Yang (warming) energy according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Add them to soup, or marinate meat with these warming spices.
This brings me to my next point. Meat can have a negative connotation in our modern society especially with factory farming practices. Sometimes we forget the beneficial properties of meat. I always recommend eating organic when possible, and consuming meat in moderation. Lamb and venison can warm the body up, relieving your from cold extremities, feeling cold all the time, or even low libido as these meats strengthen the Kidneys as well. They are often marinated with rosemary - another warming herb that can help you stay balanced during the cold, frigid winter months.
You're probably are starting to question this article - but believe it or not, moderate alcohol consumption was recommended during the Ming Dynasty to help regulate blood flow, improve circulation, and warm the body. All good things in moderation.
TCM is all about balancing Yin and Yang. For those with a deficiency in Yang, they tend to feel cold more often, lack energy, and may even experience low libido, or loose stools. Yang represents warmth, and along the back of your spine lies the Du Channel "Sea of Yang". By choosing points along this channel, acupuncture can boost the body's warming energy to relieve the sensation of cold. If you haven't tried it yet, book your session today at www.acusoul.com.
This time of year it is quite difficult to get more sun, but there are other options. Layer up at the office, plug in a portable heater, or sit by a fire if you get the chance. External heat is just as important as warming the body up from the inside out. As you plan your holiday season, try to spend some time near a fire, whether that's at home as you cozy up next to the fireplace, at a cabin resort, or the inside of a chalet.
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