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chinese medicine

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 

How Does Acupuncture Work?

How Does Acupuncture Work?

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

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.

3 ways to stop freezing hands & feet!

3 ways to stop freezing hands & feet!

You're the first person to wear sweaters in the office when fall arrives. No this is not something you have to live with. Here's 3 ways...

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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