Natural Health, Uncategorized

I’m Going to Settle

Woman meditating

That’s right, I’ve decided it’s time to settle. And I’m so happy. That word has such negative connotations, settling – like it means accepting less. And for me, it does mean settling for less, but in a good way! In fact, at the risk of being dramatic, it’s changing my life, this settling. This year has been the most stressful of my life with a major debilitating illness, a 400 mile move with children who struggled with it, financial stress, and then the unexpected death of my mother just two days after she left our house at Christmas. It has been awful. Plus I work, I have acupuncture practices in two different states, and run I a home, am raising two boys and two young energetic big dogs, I was stressed! So much so that it started to impact my parenting, and that’s always where I draw my line. Or maybe where it’s so obvious how badly I’ve been treating myself that I finally see it. A few  weeks of watching my stress and short temper effect my kids and I thought something has to change!! But what? I can’t just never clean my house or do laundry or exercise the dogs or help the boys with their homework or go to work or………you know how it is, the list goes on. So what did I do? I read the word “settle” somewhere, in passing, and it was like a lightening bolt. That’s It! I thought. I needed to teach my mind to settle. Like muddy water in a pond all churned up my mind was chaos. My reality is busy. My mind was chaos. So that even on a rare day where I had a little free time, I still felt totally frenetic and swamped, even if I wasn’t. Because my mind was always in overdrive. I didn’t know how to settle down. How to let my mind settle, let the pool of water settle, let all the junk flying around in the water settle, let my breathing settle. Settle. For some reason this word has helped me enormously. I have meditated on and off for 20 years, but even that sometimes feels like an effort, “Clear the mind” – but sometimes I can’t. But settle, that I could do. I started sitting for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 in the afternoon. This is what’s recommended in Transcendental Meditation, about which I know nothing, but I decided that sounded reasonable. Long enough to make a difference but not a ridiculous thing to ask a busy working mother, like an hour morning and night. 20 minutes I could do. And I have. And the results were instant. I mean instant. No struggling to get meditation “right”, no wondering if my mind was clear enough, my inner voice quiet enough or positive enough. I had no agenda. I just let my mind settle. Tried to empty my mind, but if thoughts wandered in and out, that was fine too, I’d just ask them to be quiet, like patrons joining a violin concert a few minutes late. Just keep your voices down little thoughts and you can stay too.

Whatever it was about that word, it has shifted me. I instantly, that first night, slept through the night for the first time in months. And this week when I’ve woken and instantly gone into my default mode these days – panic – I just tell myself kindly to settle. And next thing I know I’ve gone back to sleep (this is a major development for an insomniac). And I feel as if I had so much more time in my day. That’s the strangest part. I don’t. But I felt all this room to get through my day more peacefully rather than rushing and short tempered and always feeling like I didn’t have enough time. My life on the outside didn’t get less hectic, but my life on the inside did, and so there was all this quiet space that hadn’t been there before and it changed everything about my day. So there it is. Really I am settling for less. Less stress, less chaos, less pressure inflicted on myself by myself, less worry. I see my mind as a cloudy pool of muddy water and I let the silt settle to the bottom, let my mind be clear and wow, it’s beautiful when that happens. I was instantly kinder, more patient with my children, and happier. Just happier, which is always a good thing. So there it is. It’s time to settle. Nothing wrong with settling for less 🙂

Advertisements
Cancer Care, Natural Health, Uncategorized

Cancer Care and Acupuncture

herbssized2.jpg

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.

Enhancing Fertility

Fertility and Mystery

I woke up at 5am today to meet a client at my office for a 6am treatment on the way to her retrieval in NYC. For those of you not involved in fertility treatments, this means they were taking out her eggs. Though in the end, it was egg, singular. She was so disappointed. Crushed really. This is her 8th IVF attempt. She is 43. She is wonderful and hilariously funny and she and her husband are so sweet. I have seen so many people in the past 5 years of giving fertility acupuncture treatments, and by the grace of whoever gives grace, almost all have ended up pregnant. But my heart aches when I see someone really struggle for a long time, not that I’ve known her long, she had never had acupuncture before a few weeks ago. I wish I’d had more time with her. But who knows, maybe this one egg will be her fighter and she’ll get pregnant. I have seen that happen. And in case that soudns discouraging, I had a client last year who had had many failed IVF cycles, maybe 7, she was in her 40s, the doctors told her to give up and go for a donor egg. She said her heart told her to try one more time and she did. She now has a 3 month old son! Then later in the day I saw a woman who got pregnant on her first IVF cycle. Sailing through her pregnancy. It is all such a mystery. Yes there is medication, and acupuncture, and herbs, and diet and visualization and I believe so deeply that they all work together to help this miracle along. But really in the end, it is a mystery, like life itself.

Here’s a suggestion of the day for those readers (anyone, anyone?) going through ART. It’s a CD that I love and that I suggest to all my fertility clients. It’s by Bellaruth Naparstek and her website is http://www.healthjourneys.com. She has guided imagery and meditations on all different things, but there is one for fertility that I just love. Sometimes in the thick of it it is not only hard to relax (to put it mildly) but also to stay positive. She does the work for you – with a sweet, wise voice she guides you through a wonderful relaxing CD. Such a good investment, and not expensive, as it is full of great images and positive energy.