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Healthy Eating for Winter

 

Healthy Eating for Winter

 

Winter, is a time of colder, shorter days that teach us to conserve our energy.  So naturally, when there is less reason to be outdoors, the body tends to want to stay inside where it is warmer.  The body’s metabolic rate will be slower, which means that eating foods full of sugars can become detrimental over time.  When the metabolic rate slows, the body naturally holds on to fat and we gain weight.  Just as most animals hibernate throughout the colder winter months, so too should human beings take the information being given and use it accordingly.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, winter is a time of preservation and building up strength for the spring.  Winter is a time when the kidneys are highly active.  They have functions that help the body preserve energy.  Foods that are loaded with salt can actually burden the kidneys and cause them to work overtime.  This can lead to kidney disease or kidney failure when done for many years.

Tonics are what should be primarily eaten during the winter months according to TCM.  Most tonics include warming herbs, fatty foods and meats.  The human body is designed to absorb these rich foods especially well at this time of year.  By tuning into nature, humans can be guided toward the proper nutrients.  Since fruits are not usually abundant during the winter months, it makes sense that we should not be eating large quantities of them.  Foods such as salads and raw foods can deplete the immune system during the winter months because the gastrointestinal system will have to work overtime to metabolize the cold foods and warm the body.  If a person has a dislike of cold weather, joint aches and pains, sore low back or catches cold frequently, then there is too much of an imbalance and that person may be consuming too many cold foods.  

It is recommended to eat warming foods during the winter months.  Foods that will strengthen the kidneys, blood and energy.  Foods that would be best include root vegetables, dark leafy greens, black beans, oats, quinoa, pumpkin, kidney beans and walnuts.  Fruits, like blueberries and blackberries, can be warmed by adding spices like cinnamon, so that they don’t tax the system too much.  Dark berries are low in sugar and are also tonifying to the kidneys.  Herbs such as ginseng, garlic, onion, ginger, parsley and basil all have warming properties too that can be used when cooking.

Soups and stews are particularly good to eat at this time of year.  Those that utilize bone broth as a base can be very tonifying.  These types of foods help warm the body’s core and keep us fully nourished.  Cooking should be for longer periods over low heat using less water.  This will infuse the food with heat and lasting nourishment.

TCM nutritional therapy is a very important component of the medical system.  The food consumed can have profound effects on the body that affect our health and well-being.  Along with paying close attention to the foods that are abundant during the seasons, it is also recommended that locally grown foods be utilized.  This may help decrease the possibility of allergic reactions. 

To find out more about how Traditional Chinese Medicine can help you, contact me.  I would be honored to help guide you along your wellness journey.

UPCOMING EVENT!

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Armed Forces Day is May 21, 2016. As a way of saying “Thank You” while giving back to the community, Three Moons Acupuncture will be providing FREE stress buster acupuncture treatments to all military personnel, past and present. This is a generalized relaxation acupuncture treatment using very few needles, provided in a community style setting. No appointment is necessary and walk-ins are welcomed. The event will take place from 9 AM to 6 PM and will be held at 6500 67th St., Kenosha, WI 53142, inside Hammett Clinic of Chiropractic. For more information, please visit our Facebook page or call us at (262)977-8793.

Do You Know What You’re Getting?

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Have you heard about this new thing going around called dry needling?  Well if not, here’s a little information on it.  Dry needling IS acupuncture.  But there are definite differences when you compare the two side by side.  Dry needling typically consists of a 1-2 day seminar and it is considered illegal in most states, except Texas.  So how can you tell the difference and how do you really know what you’re getting?  Here’s a chart that breaks it down for you:

 

Physician / Certified Acupuncturist  —  NOT what you want

♦ Certified physicians, physical therapists or chiropractors with as little as 50 hours of training

♦ Training that is often made up of video taped lectures or home study

♦ Not required to complete the national certification exam to prove competency

♦ Minimal clinical experience in acupuncture and / or no actual patient treatments before certification

♦ Not required to regularly complete continuing education courses

 

Licensed Acupuncturist — DEFINITELY what you want

♥ Licensed acupuncturists (L.Ac.) have an average of 2,700+ hours of master’s-level training

♥ Master’s level, on-site training at a nationally accredited school or college of acupuncture

♥ Hundreds of hours of clinical experience and a minimum of 250 actual patient treatments before licensure

♥ Required to pass the national certification exam in acupuncture in order to become licensed by the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine)

♥ Required to do regular continuing education to maintain national certification

 

And here are a couple of great resources for your further education on the subject.

http://acupuncturesafety.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/NCASI_10_Key_Facts_8.5x11_Brochure.pdf

http://www.liveoakacupuncture.com/dry-needling

Hopefully this will allow you to make an informed decision when choosing an acupuncturist.  When looking for a qualified acupuncturist for serious concerns, chronic conditions, or long-term benefits, start your search for practitioners who are licensed acupuncturists (L.Ac.). They will have the highest level of training in the field. You will find a list of licensed acupuncturists at www.NCCAOM.org.

You can schedule an appointment with a qualified licensed acupuncturist today by calling (262)977-8793 or by using our website online scheduling tool at www.threemoonsacupuncture.com.  We look forward to helping you along your healing journey.

 

Making New Year’s Resolutions Stick

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It’s that time of year again…New Year’s resolution time.  While most people have good intentions and try to set new goals for themselves, the reality of it is that most of us start off like gangbusters and then fizzle out fairly quickly.  And we use every excuse in the book, don’t we?  Did you know that acupuncture can actually help you keep those resolutions and make some of the changes you’ve wanted?  It’s true.  Think about some of the most common New Year’s resolutions: lose weight, quit smoking, stress less, be more productive, etc.  All great and attainable goals, but as humans we tend to sabotage ourselves if something becomes a chore.  And that happens all too often with New Year’s resolutions.  Life takes over, we get too busy and those goals we have set for ourselves are the first things we take off the to-do list.  Well, here are some ways that acupuncture can help you stick to those goals you’ve set for yourself:

 

1.  Lose weight – Probably the #1 New Year’s resolution and usually the first one to be abandoned.  Acupuncture can help you reach your goal weight and stay there by promoting better digestion, reducing your appetite, smoothing your emotions, eliminating food cravings and improving your metabolism.  A study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience found that acupuncture does all the things listed previously and even mobilized the body’s energy reserves.  In the study, participants who received acupuncture, experienced an significant reduction in weight as compared with the control group.  But don’t think acupuncture will do all the work for you.  You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and make the appropriate lifestyle changes as well.

2.  Quit an addiction – Whether you’re trying to quit smoking or something else, acupuncture can help.  More and more research is providing proof that acupuncture is a promising method of helping alleviate addictions.  Acupuncture treatments can help with symptoms like jitters, irritability, cravings, restlessness, insomnia and fatigue.  Ask a licensed acupuncturist how it can help you attain this goal.

3.  Stress less – Here’s another resolution that is usually at the top of everybody’s list.  But try as we might, it’s a tough one to achieve.  Let acupuncture help you.  Stress can lead to illness and the overall deterioration of your health.  Numerous studies have demonstrated how acupuncture can lower stress and anxiety, while even lowering your blood pressure.  Just ask someone who has had acupuncture.  Most people tend to feel relaxed after a treatment.  Plus most acupuncturists can send you home with tools you can use daily to help relieve your stress.  These tools include Tui Na, Qi Gong exercises, meditation and even acupressure.

4. Increase productivity – Have problems focusing or remembering the tasks ahead of you for the day?  Once again, acupuncture has been proven to help in these areas.  Certain acupuncture points, when stimulated, can lead to improved concentration and focus, which in turn, increases your productivity.  Give it a try and impress yourself and your boss.

5. Relieve pain naturally – So many of us have daily aches and pains that can impair our lives.  While pharmaceuticals like ibuprofen and aspirin can help, more and more people are looking for natural alternatives due to the adverse side effects of drugs.  Acupuncture has not side effects and some studies have shown that pain relief following acupuncture treatments can last for months in some cases.  Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain both before and after acupuncture treatments have shown dramatic decreases in activity in the pain centers of the brain – up to a 70% decrease!  And in addition to reducing pain, acupuncture can actually speed up the healing process by increasing circulation and immunity to an injured area.

This is just a sample of the wide variety of issues that acupuncture can treat.  Give us a call and set up an appointment to see if acupuncture is the right path for you.  This ancient form of medicine may be just what you need to help strengthen your resolve.

Holiday Survival Guide (The Traditional Chinese Medicine Version)

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The holidays can be wonderful, exciting and festive with lots of parties, friends, family and celebration.  But even the happiest elf can become exhausted and overwhelmed by all the running around associated with the holiday season.  In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as well as in nature, winter is the time of slowing down and going deep within.  Take a look at how nature reacts to the winter months.  Most animals hibernate or at the very least, become less active and conserve their energy.  And plants become dormant until the warmth of the spring sun cues them to bloom again.  People are the same way.  During the winter months, people usually prefer to stay inside by a warm fire instead of staying out late or going to parties.  So why not follow nature’s lead?  If you’re feeling tired and worn down during the last few days and weeks of the year, listen to your body.  Take time out for yourself.  Conserving your life force energy or qi and following the path of Mother Nature will ultimately help you stay healthier and live a longer life.  Here are some things to consider that will help you survive the hectic yet joyous holidays.

 

1.  Stay warm – Bundling up can help preserve your qi.  Especially pay close attention to your neck and legs.  Wear a scarf and warm leggings when going out.  When you preserve your qi in this manner, it will help you ward off pathogens and help you stay healthy.

2.  Indulge in moderation – This is a good tip for the whole year, but especially during the winter months when we tend to be not as active.  If you want to avoid gaining the holiday weight, only eat to about 75% capacity.  Limiting your intake of sugary cookies, cakes and drinks can help conserve your stomach’s energy, which is crucial for good metabolism.  It’s also better to lean towards warm and cooked foods versus raw foods.  The warm foods also help your stomach function better.  The stomach in TCM, helps replenish qi, so we always need to keep our tummies happy.  Spiced hot apple cider is a perfect choice for those cold winter nights.

3.  Minimize holiday stress – Stress is a huge factor in our lives and it can sometimes multiply tenfold during the holidays.  And because of that, you should look for ways to limit your stress.  Finding constructive and practical ways to de-stress will help you conserve your qi.  Working out, meditation, yoga or even a good hearty yell are all ways to relieve stress during the holidays.  Relieving stress is particularly good for the liver, which is the organ that is most affected by stress in TCM.  And the liver is a key player for metabolic health.  So do your liver a favor and find a way to de-stress that works for you.

So why not give it a try?  There’s really nothing to lose.  Just follow nature’s lead and you’ll remain happy throughout the holidays and all year round.  HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!