Going Green on the Inside

green acu appleWind generators, solar power, geothermal heat, natural cleaning products, organic clothing. There are seemingly endless means by which to shrink your carbon footprint and lessen your impact on the environment.

But while our planet manages to garner heavy doses of TLC, there continues to exist a large dumping ground for dangerous toxins, chemicals, and man-made impurities.
Our bodies are under the influence of more and more artificial products, and their cumulative effect over the past few decades is beginning to show.

Despite significant advances in the healthcare delivery system, obesity rates are skyrocketing, autoimmune diseases are on the rise, and there are more medicinal and surgical procedures being administered than ever before.

Antibiotics continue to be abused, and prescription medications of all sorts are showing up in water supplies across the nation.

While emergency medical care is absolutely essential, continually dispensing medicine for conditions better treated naturally or more conservatively is misguided, and in many cases downright dangerous.

One of the greatest things about acupuncture is that it facilitates healing while preserving the sanctity of the human body and mind. It’s the ultimate green healthcare!
If a body is already ailing, what sense does it make to subject it to an onslaught of dangerous chemicals? It is far more productive to nurture the body by bringing it back into balance naturally and allowing it to rid itself of disease.

But aside from the health advantages of limiting your consumption of drugs, it is simply more efficient to tap into the renewable resources within the body than it is to try to power it from the outside. The body is healed and powered by the meridian system, proper diet and exercise.

As we continue to uncover the long-term effects of medicine and other chemical products, the responsibility falls on us as consumers to be sure that we are making the best decisions for us and for our planet, and it is imperative that our choices regarding healthcare be included in the mix.

Will we continue to make choices that poison our body and the world around us, or will we trust in cleaner, healthier alternatives that support the body’s natural balance?

5 Tips to Help With TMJ

tmj painCommonly known as TMJ, temporomandibular joint pain affects over 10 million Americans and can involve difficulty chewing, jaw muscle stiffness and painful popping or clicking, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Although for some people the pain of TMJ goes away on its own, others develop long-term problems and need treatment to help their pain.

Here are five tips you can practice at home to help your TMJ symptoms.

1. Jaw Exercises:  Try opening your mouth as wide as you can without feeling pain, move your jaw to the right and hold for 10 seconds, do the same to the left and repeat five times.

Massage the muscles around your jaw hinge in a downward motion.
2. Relaxation:  Stress and anxiety are very common inducers of TMJ. Some people tend to clench their jaw when feeling stressed or anxious, which results in TMJ symptoms.

Practice deep breathing. The best way to do this is to lie on your back, place your left hand on your stomach and right hand on your chest. Count to five to inhale, hold your inhale for two seconds, and exhale for five seconds.

Stretch your spine. Interlock your hands behind your head and bend forward with straight legs so that your head is reaching for the floor. Stay in this position for at least ten seconds accompanied with awareness to breathing. This practice can deeply stretch and relax your spinal chord and reduce TMJ pain.
3. Vitamins and Minerals:  Deficiencies in calcium and magnesium are found to be common in people suffering from TMJ. The International Dental Association conducted a study on 50 TMJ sufferers who added calcium and magnesium supplements to their routine and found pain relief in 70 percent of the participants.
Magnesium rich food: Cashews, avocados, almonds soybeans, sesame butter, spinach, squash, sunflower seeds, rice, flaxseed.

Calcium rich food: milk, banana, almond, spinach, coconut, yogurt.
4. Herbal Remedies:  Rhus Toxicodendron: This herb can help relieve jaw stiffness.
Kava Root: If your TMJ is due to stress or anxiety, Kava can be used to calm your nervous system and in turn, reduce TMJ symptoms caused by anxiety like a stiff jaw.
Magnesia Phosphorica: This homeopathic remedy can ease muscle stiffness and has an antispasmodic effect.

5. Acupuncture:  Acupuncture has proven to be effective in treating TMJ in a number of ways. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, TMJ often represents an imbalance in the liver and gallbladder meridians which traverse the areas usually associated with TMJ pain. Acupuncture points focused on these areas can stimulate the healing process, and return the meridians and the body back to balance, improving your TMJ symptoms.

Sources:
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/temporomandibular-joint-dysfunction
http://home-cure.net/home-remedies-exercises-natural-cures-tmj-treatment/
http://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/kava-cure

 

Say “Hi” Inside

happy organsBased upon Taoist meditation practices, the Inner Smile Meditation can have profound effects on your body and mind. This simple meditation suggests that you “smile” to all of your internal organs and glands. It is a way of saying “thank you” to your body for working 24 hours­­­, 7 days a week!

Focusing your attention and smiling in this way can calm the autonomic nervous system, revitalize the internal organs, and increase the flow of blood and Qi.

Below is the Inner Smile Meditation for the main Meridian Organ Systems. For more information, please refer to Mantak Chia’s book, Taoist Ways to Transform Stress into Vitality.

Choose a quiet spot and keep warm throughout the meditation. Sit comfortably at the edge of a chair, feet flat on the ground with your back straight. Breathe deeply and relax. Clasp your hands together, left hand on bottom and right hand on top, palms touching, and rest them in your lap.

Close your eyes and feel a connection between the soles of your feet and the ground.  Focus on the midpoint between your eyebrows. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, just behind your front teeth. Put a smile on your face and journey down to the wonderfully amazing body that keeps you alive, alert and active.

Heart – See your heart as a vibrant red color. Focus the energy of “joy” into your heart. Feel it pulse with love. Breathe in and exhale with the sound of HAW.

Lungs – Radiate the feeling in your heart to your lungs. Picture your lungs as pure white. Focus on letting go of sadness and grief. Exhale with the sound of SSSSSS.

Liver – Keep the feeling spilling over into your liver, which is just under your ribs on the right side. Picture it as a vibrant grass-green. When exhaling, let go of anger and frustration with the sound of SHHHH.

Spleen – Continue to the left, under the ribs. Shine a vibrant yellow color into this organ. When you exhale, let go of overthinking and worry, and use the sound of WHOO.

Kidney – Focus your attention on your lower back, just below and under your ribs. Imagine a deep blue-purple light. Breathe in courage and exhale fear. When you exhale, use the sound of WOOO.

Once you have traveled through your body, begin to focus your attention on your navel. Smile down to your navel, and focus your attention there.

Mentally move the energy in a spiral at the navel 36 times. Women start the spiral counterclockwise, men start it clockwise. Next, reverse the spiral direction and bring the energy back into the navel, circling 24 times. You can use a finger to guide the spiral motion.

It is ok if you don’t know the exact locations of your organs. Just bringing awareness to your organs is benefit enough. Your body will love you just the same.

Perform each exercise 9 times, twice a day. These exercises can affect your body and mind, so it is advisable to consult with your healthcare provider.

5 Steps to Improve Your Hearing

ear hearingMany of us have already experienced or will experience some amount of hearing loss. This can be due to aging or noise-induced factors. Exposure to loud sound over time can permanently damage the ears and result in hearing loss.

If you find yourself struggling with hearing and feeling the need to turn up the TV or your music louder, you may be experiencing hearing loss. Here are five steps to improve your hearing and prevent further damage.

1. Wear protection:  If you know you will be around loud noise and won’t be able to avoid it, like at a large event or while using power tools, wear ear plugs. You can find ear plugs at most grocery stores and they can severely protect your ears from damaging loud noise.

2. Limits:  To keep volumes at a moderate level on devices or stereos, consider adding a volume limit. Most devices have a feature where you can set a maximum volume. This way, you won’t be able to turn your volume up to the actual maximum.

3. Give yourself a break:  Research has shown that being in a quieter setting can train your ears to better focus on the quiet sounds and increase overall hearing. Try to take even just ten minutes a day and go somewhere secluded where there is not a lot of external noise and disruption.

4. Foods:  These foods have been shown to improve hearing and prevent hearing loss.

Salmon and other fish: The omega 3 fats and Vitamin D found in Salmon and other like foods have been shown to strengthen the blood vessels in the ear’s sensory system, which then can improve hearing. Research has shown that adults who eat fish twice a week reduced their risk of age-related hearing loss by 42 percent.

Spinach, asparagus, beans, broccoli: These foods are high in antioxidants and folic acid. Antioxidants can help lower the risk of hearing loss by reducing free radicals in your body that can damage the nerve tissue in the ears.

Dark chocolate, oysters, cashews: Foods high in zinc like dark chocolate, oysters and nuts can improve your body’s resistance to age-related hearing loss.

5. Acupuncture:  A study conducted by the College of Oriental Medicine in South Korea measured the effects of acupuncture on patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss and found that half of the patients showed improvement in hearing after acupuncture treatment.

Acupuncture points can stimulate the strength in the auditory cortex to the brain, thus increasing the brain’s ability to react to auditory stimuli.

Learn how to be aware of the symptoms of hearing loss including difficulty understanding what people say, having to raise the volume higher and muffled sounds. If you think you are suffering from hearing loss, try these tips and contact an acupuncturist today.

Sources:
https://audicus.com/you-hear-what-you-eat-5-foods-that-can-prevent-hearing-loss-and-hearing-aids/

http://www.everythingzoomer.com/12-tips-for-better-hearing/#.VT_XA2RVhHw

http://www.howtogetbigforearms.com/health/how-to-improve-your-hearing-top-10-ways

http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/530-acupunctureceushearinglosskorea

http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/720-mrihearing

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hearing-loss/basics/symptoms/con-20027684