Natural Health, Uncategorized

It’s OK to be Tired

napThere, I just gave you permission. Probably no one has done that since you were about 3 and you took daily naps. I have so many people come to me for acupuncture and one of their main complaints is fatigue, exhaustion, low energy. They hate it and they want their energy boosted. Then when I ask about their schedules they are: full time moms, and or working full time, caring for parents, pets, a home, volunteering, exercising a lot, gardening or skiing or running marathons or who knows what else. And I tell them, I think you’re tired…because you’re tired. It is so American to think we can fire on all cylinders 24/7 and never run out of energy, but it is decidedly Un-American to be tired. Ever. We are a nation of accomplishers (ok I made that word up) and doers and achievers. Not nappers. One of my Chinese professors, an MD in China, told me that when he worked there 20 years ago, it was totally acceptable, and most people did this, to close your door or sit in your chair around 2pm and rest for 20 minutes. I think you might get arrested if you tried that in America. Or at least lose your job. I don’t know if that is still true in China, with such a different economy and work environment now, but I thought that was fascinating.

At one point I went to my MD and said I must have low thyroid or anemia I was so exhausted and I requested blood work (which she did. I was fine). She was from India. She asked me “2 very young little boys, work, home, and no help at all? No, your thyroid is fine. You are just tired. Do yoga.” I loved that Dr. But she was right. I was tired, because I was TIRED! So of course I do a full intake on every client who comes to see me, and many of them do need their energy and their digestion and their overall Chi to be boosted, which I do through acupuncture herbs and the recommendation of mediation or yoga. But I almost always now add, that we should not forget to allow ourselves to be tired. We are tired. Our bodies are telling us so loud and clear. And so….we should rest. Easier said than done. But we should not think this is an illness to be cured, rather it is a need to be met. Lie on the sofa, even if you only have 5 minutes. Or let yourself be lazy and not do the 100 things you need to do on that one morning both kids are in school. Just start be recognizing, that we already do so much, we should be kind to ourselves, as if we were 3 again, we need to lie on our blankies and have some quiet time. At least I know I do, and I do it every chance I get. Which is not that often. But when I do it, I make sure I do the most important part of all, I enjoy it. I don’t feel guilty or berate myself. I soak it up. One Z at a time…Zzzzzz….

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Uncategorized

Happy First Day of Spring! A Time to Plant the Seeds of Your Intentions!

spring_flower_by_raylau-d4rremu

It’s that time of year, even in Maine it is warming up. Earlier than usual, but here it is, the first day of Spring. The earth is soft and muddy, birds are singing their joyful spring songs, and I am looking at seed catalogs. It’s time to start planting the tiny seeds that will miraculously grow into a lush, abundant garden in a few months. And so it is with our intentions, plans and dreams. All winter, the most Yin or cold, quiet, restful time of year in Chinese medicine, we gather resources, we rest, we plan. And now that Yin time of year is turning to Yang – the more active, warm, productive time of year. The ideas and intentions we created and meditated on during the winter have, by now, formed into actual ideas, plans. These plans are the seeds of what we will create this year. A seed is really just a concentrated piece of energy, information, intention. And now is the time to start planting so those seeds can slowly grow and bear fruit!

As it is with actual seeds, we need our intentions to be specific. If your intention is “I want to be happy,” that’s great. But it’s more likely you will reach your goal if your seed is more specific like, “I want to spend more time relaxing/swimming/learning to fly a plane” whatever it is that will make you happy…You need to know what you want. And you need to be specific. The universe will mirror  your intentions, will bring to you whatever energy you are putting out. So if you can specifically envision what you want, you are more likely to have it grow successfully. Seeds are very specific. You don’t plant a seed and maybe it’ll be a sunflower, maybe it’ll be an eggplant. You plant a specific seed and that specific plant will grow. So know what you want, concentrate your energy on specific intentions, then plant them. But that’s not the end, once planted you must tend them carefully.

As we plant our seeds we need to be sure to nurture them, new plans or ideas are fragile at the beginning, we can’t plant the seed and just walk away, then months later be upset the we don’t have a lush garden. Seeds need to be protected, watered, given sun and warmth and protection from wind or snow. And when they first emerge from the ground, don’t be upset if they don’t look exactly like what you wanted. Keep nurturing, keep your intention focused. I read once that if you pulled up every tomato plant as it emerged because it didn’t look like a tomato, you’d never get a tomato. At first a tomato plant is a tiny green shoot that doesn’t look like it could ever produce a big red vegetable. But nurture the plant and it will eventually give you exactly what you wanted.

So go outside, soak up some equinox sun and birdsong, focus your intentions and plant them as seeds in your mind, in your life. Now is the time for those ideas that have been quietly forming all winter to start to move into the realm of action, where you make your first moves to make the dream into a reality. And all the while don’t forget to stop and Spring garden!

Natural Health, Uncategorized

Happy Fall Equinox!

imgresThere are only two days a year when there are equal amounts of dark and light at the equator – Fall & Spring equinox. It is marked with rituals around the world and throughout the ages as a time to celebrate the richness of the harvest and to acknolwedge both abundance and balance – tangible and intangible – in our lives. The pagans would light a candle and bless the cakes and ales put on their altar. This day in the Wiccan calendar is known as Mabon and the cakes represent the masculine forces in nature, and the ales in the chalice represent the feminine. Again it is a time to honor balance, between the seasons, the light and dark, the masculine and feminine, and in all ways.

In China the fall Equinox falls on September 23 and is the half way point between “First Fall and First Hoar Frost”. At this equinox it is tradition to make sacrifices to the moon (in the Spring they are made to the sun), as the moon, the dark, the cold, the yin is the time of year approaching. Rice filled dumplings are eaten to celebrate this time. Though because September 23 doesn’t always fall on a full moon, and it is important that the moon be full for these rituals, so now it is often celebrated at the “mid-autumn festival” which is timed around the first fall full moon. Dumplings are given as gifts. This is the moment when yin and yang are in perfect balance. One fun tradition in China is to try and balance and egg on it’s end. This can only be accomplished on the equinox. Because yin and yang are in balance right now, it is important to eat foods that balance heat and cool, and to start preparing the body for the cool weather ahead – continuing exercise to boost immunity, and eating foods the strengthen the lungs (important for preventing illness in TCM) such as rice, honey, nuts and dairy products.

So here’s to a day to celebrate balance, abundance, harvest and health as we head into the colder, darker months ahead!

Natural Health

Juicing and Summer Beauty

I thought I had to re-post this from my absolutely favorite blog – Beltainecottage.com – as it was titled New Leaf! A wonderful post, like all her others, on healthy, nature and living in rhythm with the pulse of life. Traditional Chinese Medicine doesn’t take the view that fasting is good for the body, certainly not if one has any underlying health issues, and certainly not for 20 days, so I post this with an added piece of advice based on TCM  – that if one wants to cleanse it is better to simple eat very clean for 20 days rather than fast. Rice, vegetables and clear broth are all clean in TCM and help support the body fully. That said, a juice fast for 2 or 3 days can be very energizing and cleansing. Either way – here’s to healthy eating and living!

A New Leaf

Natural Health, Uncategorized

10th Century Anglo Saxon Remedy Kills Deadly Superbug!

manuscriptFascinating! These ancient remedies are good stuff. The ancient Chinese herbal remedy for alternating fever and chills, among other things, is now the herb being developed by pharmaceutical companies as the #1 treatment for malaria. Ancient wisdom. I love it.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/31/health/anglo-saxon-potion-mrsa/index.html

Natural Health

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.

Natural Health, Uncategorized

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…!