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Dry Skin? Try These Natural Remedies

Dry Skin? Try These Natural Remedies

With this year's extreme cold winter we have had in Toronto, you may have turned up the heat on full blast just to keep temperatures moderate indoors. As a result, you may have noticed drier skin. You might even be waking with a dry mouth and nose.

The worst part is your hands and feet are like a desert! No amount of lotion or Vaseline seems to keep them from drying up again. 

In this blog I'm going to share with you a few simple solutions to re-hydrate your body from the inside out. In doing so, you won't have to apply as much lotion continuously, and your mouth and nose should not be as dry when you wake up in the mornings. 

First let's dive into why this is happening. With dryness, there's actually 2 factors going on. 1. External dryness, 2. Internal heat. Dryness can be moistened with foods that help generate more fluid in the body. Here's a few that can help:

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1. Honey

Honey has so many healing properties. Moistening dryness is just one!

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2. Kiwis & Bananas

Great for relieving thirst. Bananas also have moistening properties that are good for regular bowel movements and help dry skin.

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3. Oatmeal

Any kind of porridge is good for restoring fluids. In asian culture congee is one made with rice and water in a ratio of 1:6.

Heat on the other hand doesn't disappear by moistening it. You actually have to clear it out of your system. 

But where is this heat coming from? It's the middle of winter, so if it's not externally generated, it must be coming from within.

"What generates heat internally though?" you might wonder. And the answer is stress.

That could be tight deadlines, or having to multi-task non-stop. You can think about a computer overheating, when it has too much to process, or hasn't been shut off in a while. Our brains need the same "TIME OFF". Otherwise, we crash and burn.

Add more meditation, or go for a weekend getaway. This is great for bringing down stress levels. In addition, here are some foods you can add to your diet to clear the heat/inflammation from your body:

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1. Peppermint

Great for clearing heat, emotional frustration, and ‘chilling you out’.

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2. Pears

Pears are a 2-in-1 combo. Not only do they clear heat, but they also moisten dryness. This is the go-to for feelings of thirst, especially if you have been eating spicy lately, or fried foods. The heat clearing properties will get you feeling refreshed and thirst quenched.


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3. Watermelon

Great for clearing heat from your system. In fact watermelon is something we typically crave during the intense summer heat. However, due to its cooling nature, it should be eaten in moderation.



I hope you enjoyed these tips. Feel free to book an acupuncture & food therapy session to dive deeper into your health concerns.

What Gluten Intolerance And Stress Have In Common

What Gluten Intolerance And Stress Have In Common

From bloating, to diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain - gluten intolerance can be a pain to live with. Trying to avoid gluten can be a mission in itself. But did you know that gluten intolerance, and stress have a common link? And that by controlling one you may be able to control the other?

Gluten intolerance is essentially a form of inflammation – the body’s hyperactive response to a protein(gluten) found in wheat[1]. What if I told you that stress also creates an environment in your body, which makes you more prone to inflammatory conditions like gluten intolerance, IBS, and celiac disease[2]? And what if that minor clue, was in itself, the solution and cure.

 

Here I’m going to discuss how you can get gluten intolerance under control by managing your stress levels and inflammation with acupuncture & food therapy.

 

Many clients of ACUSOUL who suffer from IBS, celiac disease, or gluten intolerance – have noticed that it gets worse in times of stress. More importantly, the illness itself may have began during a time of high stress.

 

For example, when you entered the workforce your stress levels may have been more elevated than when you were in school[3]. That may also be the time when you noticed the gluten intolerance began. It may not have been flaring up consistently everyday, but that’s because your stress levels also vary day by day. Paying attention to the environment, your lifestyle, and emotionally how you felt when the illness began is critical to addressing it.

 

What stress does is increase blood pressure, cortisol levels, and your body’s inflammatory response[4]. This increase in cortisol, and blood pressure has an obvious impact on your heart health. At the same time the inflammation being increased makes the gluten intolerance and IBS more pronounced in the intestinal organs.

Thus, with acupuncture we would target the Heart to bring down stress levels and the intestinal organs to control diarrhea and constipation. As a result you may notice better sleep, feeling more relaxed, and less tension in the upper back and jaw, as well as less bouts of diarrhea or constipation, and less bloating. If you’re not familiar, feel free to read our article on "How acupuncture works”.

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From a food standpoint, here are some foods that help reduce inflammation, regulate the heart, and may help with symptoms of gluten intolerance:

1. Turmeric – with high anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, digestive regulating properties, this spice is great for inflammatory conditions like gluten intolerance, IBS, or celiac disease.

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2. Beets - Calm the heart, lubricates the intestines to help with constipation.

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3. Watermelon – Clears heat from the heart, stomach, and bladder. Alleviates thirst, and induces diuresis. Essentially promoting the body’s ability to clear inflammation, and rehydrate.

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 If you’re interested in seeing what acupuncture & food therapy can do for you – book a session here. We’re an acupuncture clinic located in the heart of downtown toronto, and forest hill. We’ll discuss your health concerns in detail, come up with a treatment plan, and provide food recommendations customized to your body’s intricate needs.

1. https://nyulangone.org/conditions/celiac-disease-gluten-sensitivity-in-adults/diagnosis

2. https://www.rn.com/featured-stories/stress-inflammation-immunity/

3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/karlynborysenko/2018/11/01/generation-z-is-coming-to-work-and-their-stress-is-already-high/#40e00704273b

4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/signs-you-are-gluten-intolerant

5. http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/1999/06/04/27924.htm 

3 Tips For Energy That Lasts

3 Tips For Energy That Lasts

Here are 3 ways to help you wake up with more energy, get you through those mid-day slumps, and feeling like you CAN do anything you set your mind to.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Here we break down how acupuncture works from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective.

ADAPT TO YOUR LIFE'S SEASON

ADAPT TO YOUR LIFE'S SEASON

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.

3 Tips To Boost Your Immunity This Fall

3 Tips To Boost Your Immunity This Fall

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.

Regulate Your Sleep Cycle With Acupuncture

Regulate Your Sleep Cycle With Acupuncture

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!

Skin Rashes: A Home Remedy & How Acupuncture Can Help

Skin Rashes: A Home Remedy & How Acupuncture Can Help

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.

How To Clear Plantar Fascitis With Acupuncture

How To Clear Plantar Fascitis With Acupuncture

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.

Say goodbye to your NECK PAIN!

Say goodbye to your NECK PAIN!

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.”

It’s not!

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.

This week I want to help you free yourself from this 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:

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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. 

5 Tips To Improve Your Sleep

5 Tips To Improve Your Sleep

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.

Swelling During Pregnancy & What To Eat

Swelling During Pregnancy & What To Eat

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: 

Kidney Deficiency

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.

Stagnation

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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What's The Right Tea For You?

What's The Right Tea For You?

In Chinese Medicine, the goal is to bring harmony and balance to the body, mind, and soul. We can accomplish this through acupuncture, food therapy, or even choosing the right teas. Your body's imbalances speak loudly in many ways, and if we are attuned to how we feel we can choose the right tea to re-balance ourselves. Green tea has become quite popular nowadays with all the research indicating green tea has high antioxidant qualities. However, green tea is considered cooling in Chinese Medicine and may not be right for everyone.

1. Peppermint Tea

If you feel cold all the time, or generally low in energy, green tea may not be the healthiest choice for you. If, however, you tend to feel hot easily, get nose bleeds, mouth sores, or are suffering from a sore throat, peppermint tea could make you feel better.Peppermint has cooling qualities that clear heat and soothe the liver, an organ which can get quite heated in a high stress environment. This makes peppermint a perfect way to rebalance after a heated discussing, or a stressful day at the office. 

 

2. Black Tea

On the other hand, black tea's high caffeine content, and energizing properties might be the right choice if you feel sluggish, tired, or just need a boost of energy. In fact, a common tradition which is still carried out today is to drink black tea at Dim Sum. This is because alot of food served at Dim Sum can be quite greasy, and cause some of us to feel tired, and heavy after the meal. Pu-Erh tea, served at Dim Sum, is used to help cut the grease, boost energy, and wake you up again. This tea gets its name from Pu'Er, a city in Yunnan province, China where the tea is fermented, and aged. 

3. Rose Tea & Chai Tea

Feeling cold at the office? this may be due to a lack of circulation, or a lack of warmth in the body. I have two options for you - rose tea and chai tea. More than just a romantic gesture, roses, when consumed as tea are good for gently warming the body, while promoting circulation. Its invigorating qualities help to remove stagnation, which builds up when we're constantly doing something we don't want to do. It also has medicinal properties which nourish the skin, and promote digestion. In Chinese medicine, it is occasionally used for people that have irregular menstruation, blood clots, or painful periods. Chai tea on the other hand, has its origins in India, and blends black tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian  spices and herbs. With strong invigorating, and warming properties, this makes it a great choice in the winter time if you're feeling a runny nose, or the beginning stages of a cold. It will not only warm your body up from the inside out, but could potentially cause you to break a sweat, preventing exterior pathogens from invading your body. 

4. Matcha Tea

Feeling anxious, panicky or just not well grounded? Matcha tea is known as an anticancer tea, having 137 times more antioxidants compared to regular green tea. It's interesting to note Matcha tea's cultivation, and production are closely related to the effects it has on the body. Grown in a shaded environment for up to 3 weeks, this makes Matcha tea a more cooling, and calming tea. Once picked, it is stone-ground into a fine powder - having the ability to ground your mind at times of anxiety and fear. In fact, traditionally at Japanese and Chinese ceremonies, matcha tea was prepared and served as a way of embodying a meditative spirit. A great tea to have at the end of a long work week, when you are looking to wind down, quiet the thoughts of the mind, and focus on yourself. 

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5 Habits For a Healthy Summer

5 Habits For a Healthy Summer

Summer is the season of joy, movement, energy, and activity! Staying in harmony with the seasons is an age old tradition according to Chinese Medicine. Follow these tips to stay balanced this summer.

1. Get Outdoors

Enjoy this nice weather while we have it. For those of us that tend to spend all day in an office, hidden from the sun, it's important we get outdoors when we can to stay balanced this season. The sun offers us a good dose of vitamin D, which is important to prevent depression, and ensure good kidney function. If you're the type of person that feels cold all the time, getting more sun is one of the easiest and most natural ways to warm your body up. Just set a reminder on your phone every 2 hours to go outside and get some fresh air. It will not only keep you balanced this summer, but you may find you're more productive too!

2. Socialize 

For many of us this can can be as simple as enjoying drinks with friends, camping, having a BBQ, or a day at the beach. The one thing these activities all have in common is - more time spent with the people you love. The season of summer resonates with Fire, the elemental nature of the Heart organ, which is nurtured by the emotion of Joy in Chinese Medicine. During the summer, you will want to nourish your Heart by socializing, and experiencing more joy with the people you love. Camping is great for this, because we tend to gather in groups around a campfire - indirectly nourishing your Heart and Fire element.

3. Eat Fruit

Fruit is naturally "in-season" during the summer months. Of course in North America we can get fruit all year around but Summer offers fruit which has been picked ripe, and grown locally, improving the health of the fruit and its benefits to our bodies. Summer in general is the season when the amount of energy we receive from the sun is strongest, warming our bodies up, and boosting our energy as we experience more daytime. Given this increase in warmth in our bodies, this makes eating raw fruit a viable option as our bodies have more warming "Yang" energy to transform the raw fruit into vital nutrients. It's also a great way to stay hydrated if you're spending much of your time outdoors. BBQ tends to create toxic heat in the body. You may experience more nose bleeds this time of the year, mild afternoon fever, sweating more easily, or a desire for cold drinks. These are all signs that there could be excess heat in the body. Good fruit options for clearing heat are pears, cantaloupe, watermelon, and bananas. Caution to those who are pregnant, and individuals who feel cold all the time, or have a weak digestive system as these foods may be contraindicated.

4. Exercise

It's important that we exercise throughout the year, but Summer is the season we should be most active according to Chinese Medicine. If you're finding it difficult to exercise at the end of a long day, try waking up earlier to go for a quick run. The sun rises earlier this time of year, which shortens our natural sleeping patterns, and makes it easier to be an early bird.

5. Realize Your Potential 

Summer being the most expansive, and energetic of all, is the season when our goals, visions, and dreams should be realized. Whatever dreams you've been holding onto for the past year, or visions you have for your life's potential, don't hold them back anymore, put them into action. The joy and satisfaction from making your vision or dream a reality, will boost your spirit and nourish your Heart. Ultimately, making you realize that any dream you have, big or small, can come true. Summer is the season to live your life with joy, happiness, and love. Go out, and do that which satisfies you deep within your heart. Make your dreams a reality this summer.

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