Thank You Pain!

woman in the field

This year I started feeling sick. I am extremely grateful that it is nothing serious. I know how precious that is. I also know that I am so grateful that I got sick. Grateful that my back started aching and I felt nauseous for weeks on end. Normally I feel good. Tired, with a business, home, marriage and 2 little boys, but physically I usually feel good. I treat people in my acupuncture practice all week long who come in with various ailments, people trying to get away from discomfort, just as I was. When one day I found myself taking an antacid and an ibuprofin in one day I thought – STOP! I wondered how I had gotten to pill popping without taking the time to sit in my body and actually figure out what was wrong. My point is this: our aches and pains can be gifts. Thank them. They are telling us when we have veered off our true paths. This isn’t in any way to minimize serious or life threatening illnesses, which some of my clients are struggling with. But for the back pain, the headache, the fibromyalgia, the heartburn, for these daily troubles there is a wealth of information in those discomforts. Our bodies are trying to tell us things that we have not been hearing. Our bodies, lives, souls may have been trying to steer us in a certain direction subtly at first, then less subtly, then through a slight headache, and finally by pain or illness that actually gets in the way of our lives. That is the point. Our higher selves are getting in the way. To make us stop. And sit and listen. Not every ailment will magically disappear just by doing this, but it is amazing how many problems will lessen, ease, release. One example I’ve seen over and over is people with hands who hurt, young people with no arthritis have come to me several times over the years with hands that ache and hurt all the time. I have often found that these people are doing too much. They often aren’t good at asking for help (something I relate to!) and they have taken too much on. In addition to treating them with acupuncture I have suggested seeing if there are things they could offload, or get help with. It seems that this second thing is really what helps the hand pain dissipate. Strange but true. For me I realized I had stopped taking care of myself. I had spent a bitter cold, snowy winter indoors, cooking and eating and taking care of my family, but I had lost connections so important to myself – to nature, to creativity, to exercise,
to spirituality, to fun. When I sat with the physical problems that had been bothering me I had an Oprah AHA moment. I realized I needed to make changes, some very small, some very big. I have started with the small ones, including removing chocolate and wine from their position at the base of my food pyramid, planning my summer garden, and dusting off my meditation table. It doesn’t matter what the changes are: realizing you’re angry with someone, you need to change a relationship, train your dog not to chew up all your new shoes, work a few less hours a week, spend more time at the mall, whatever it is that you need but aren’t getting. It’s different for every person, and it changes constantly. Which is a pain in the butt. Sometimes literally. But when your body starts feeling bad, remember it might be good. Thank it. Thank the hemorrhoids, depression, eye infection, aching joints or gas. Those lovely symptoms are gifts delivering a message to you. Make sure you take time, sit, breathe and listen to the message. Sometimes the cure comes right from within you, making the changes your life and spirit need to thrive.

Acupuncture Helpful for Many Cancer and Cancer Treatment Symptoms

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Acupuncture Shows Promise in Cancer Treatment
By: Acufinder Staff Writer

There have been many advances in the early detection and treatment of cancer. While the standard medical care for cancer is effective, the treatments are aggressive and cause numerous unwanted side effects as well as a lowered immune system. Acupuncture has received much attention as an adjunctive therapy in cancer treatments for its use in pain relief, reducing side effects, accelerating recovery and improving quality of life.

What Acupuncture is used for during Cancer Treatment

Acupuncture provides a total approach to health care for people with cancer. It can be used to address many of the concerns that come up during and after chemotherapy, radiation, biological therapy and surgery.

According to the National Cancer Institute, acupuncture may cause physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain. These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones, and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. It is proposed that, by these actions, acupuncture affects blood pressure and body temperature, boosts immune system activity, and causes the body’s natural painkillers, such as endorphins, to be released.

Areas that acupuncture has shown the most promise include:

  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Dry Mouth, Night Sweats and Hot Flashes
  • Stress, Anxiety and Fatigue
  • Pain Management
  • Increasing White Blood Cell Count

Nausea and Vomiting

The strongest evidence of the effect of acupuncture has come from clinical trials on the use of acupuncture to relieve nausea and vomiting. Several types of clinical trials using different acupuncture methods showed acupuncture reduced nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, surgery, and morning sickness. It appears to be more effective in preventing vomiting than in reducing nausea.

Other symptoms caused by cancer treatment

Clinical trials are studying the effects of acupuncture on cancer and symptoms caused by cancer treatment, including weight loss, cough, chest pain, fever, anxiety, depression, night sweats, hot flashes, dry mouth, speech problems, and fluid in the arms or legs. Studies have shown that, for many patients, treatment with acupuncture either relieves symptoms or keeps them from getting worse.

Boosting the Immune System

Human studies on the effect of acupuncture on the immune system of cancer patients showed that it improved immune system response, including increasing the number of white blood cells.

Pain Management

In clinical studies, acupuncture reduced the amount of pain in some cancer patients. In one study, most of the patients treated with acupuncture were able to stop taking drugs for pain relief or to take smaller doses.

Acupuncture is also very useful for support if you are undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or hormonal therapy. Because chemotherapy and radiation therapy weaken the body’s immune system, a strict clean needle method must be used when acupuncture treatment is given to cancer patients.

To learn more about how acupuncture can safely and effectively be incorporated into care for people with cancer, please call anacupuncture practitioner in your area for a consultation today.

Source: National Cancer Institute. www.cancer.org

Chinese Year of the Snake is Ending. Time to Shed Your Skin…

snake skinThe Year of the Snake is ending. Soon we will enter the exciting year of the Yang/Wood Horse which I will write about at Chinese New Year at the end of the month. Was your year of the snake a complicated one? Snake years are an interesting combination of things. Snakes are seen as symbols of wealth in China as snakes seem always able to find a meal. Images of snakes wrapped around a rabbit are often hung on doors and windows during spring festival to indicate prosperity. But the snake is also considered jealous and suspicious, even malevolent. So if you have had a year that was confusing or particularly full of ups and downs, you may be glad to see the snake slither away at the end of the month.

But as with all years, we have gathered information and experiences, good and bad, that help us grow. And as we grow it’s important to shed our old skins. Let go of things that held you back, inhibited your growth or got in your way. The things you no longer need will only weigh you down as we gallop into the year of the horse so take a moment to let those things fall off you like the snake does and be ready to begin a new year newly emerged, fresh and just a little bit older and wiser.

More on the year of the horse coming soon…!

Cancer Care and Acupuncture

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Getting a diagnosis of cancer can be a very scary time. I have had people tell me they feel powerless and out of control as masses of tests are performed and then treatments undergone. While it’s wonderful to have so many advances in medicine that make more and more cancer survivors able to beat the disease and lead full healthy lives, it can be an overwhelming and painful time. Because of this, it is a wonderful time to introduce acupuncture and herbal medicine into one’s life. Acupuncture has been proven to help alleviate many symptoms of chemotherapy and radiation, including nausea and pain. The National Institute of  Health has officially endorsed it for treatment of symptoms relating to cancer and cancer treatment and many insurance companies now cover acupuncture for treatment of those problems. Acupuncture has also been shown to increase white blood cell production in a healthy way so that while a person is undergoing treatments that often devastate the immune system, acupuncture can be helping to support that system, to keep the body in balance and to offer much needed deep relaxation. For thousands of years acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have been used to help keep people’s bodies in balance and working at their best – from digestion to immunity, sleep to pain relief.

In addition to my 4 years formal training in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and the internship I completed at at a top hospital in Beijing, China in 2000, I have been in practice for 13 years and have completed many courses specifically on cancer care and Chinese medicine. I also worked extensively with cancer survivors at York Hospital in Maine where I started the acupuncture program in 2001. I worked with clients from those just diagnosed, to survivors healthy and many years post treatment, and also to those having palliative care in the final stages of life. I have continued to work with those dealing with cancer throughout my years in practice and now, in addition to work in fertility, am focusing specifically on this offering – acupuncture and diet and lifestyle for cancer patients and survivors.  I offer professional, deeply relaxing and rejuvenating treatments offered gently and with compassion. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer, or is a survivor looking to stay strong, please feel free to email or call me with any questions or to make an appointment.

New Year’s Resolution No. 1 ~ Love Yourself!

I’m creating a place to come and be inspired. Find new ideas. Remember how to love life again. And remember to have fun. This is it. This is life. Right now. Live it with joy. And learn/remember/keep on loving yourself. The answer to all the questions is: Love Yourself.

I know most religions teach that the main purpose in life is to love others. I firmly believe the goal in life is to love ones self. That sounds awful and it’s not really the end of the story. I believe the goal in life is to love others, to be generous and giving and inspiring. But I believe the only way to REALLY do that, honestly, deeply and with real truth, is to love one’s self so deeply that that love spills over onto everyone and everything in one’s life. THAT is living a loving life. Not being nice because your religion tells you to or because you feel superior doing so or because you don’t want to feel guilty. Love because you can’t help it. Be kind because kindness radiates from you. Love yourself and be kind to yourself so fully that you shine with it. That is what makes a life joyful, that is what makes children grow up strong and healthy, that is what will make the world a better place, because it’s real.

So here’s to 2013.  A year with wonderful energy to it. A year of good things I think…here’s to one more place out here on the internet to bring together a few good ideas, quotes, projects, inspirations and silliness.

 

with love

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