7 Acupuncture Tips for a Healthy Fall | AcuTake

acupuncture-tips-for-fallFall is right around the corner.

New seasons are an opportunity to assess our states of health and realign with our natural rhythms.

From an acupuncture perspective, fall is about refinement. It’s time to pare down, to let go of the excesses we allowed ourselves in summer and focus on what’s necessary for winter.

In acupuncture theory, humans are viewed as microcosms of the natural world that surrounds them. Weather and climate, particularly during the transition from one season to another, factor significantly into acupuncture diagnoses and treatment plans.

The transition into fall is especially noteworthy because it signifies moving from the more active seasons to the more passive. This directly impacts how we feel, and how we prevent and treat illness.

How to Stay Healthy This Fall

Each season is linked with a natural element, organ and emotion. The element, organ and emotion of fall are, respectively, Metal, Lung and grief. These three things usher us throughout the season, serving as barometers for where we’re at and offering insight on how to be better.

With Metal, Lung and grief as our guides, here are seven acupuncture tips for staying healthy this fall.

Make a list of your priorities

Fall is when we ought to embrace our Metal-esque qualities: strong, definitive, focused, discerning. It is time to get down to business, to gain clarity about what really matters to us.

As satisfying as this can be, it also can be overwhelming. If I hunker down at work, how will I make time for the kids? If I focus on cooking healthy meals and eating at home to save money, how will I socialize with friends?

Make a list of which priorities deserve your attention. Write them down and glance at the list periodically throughout the season.

Fall heightens our innate ability to get stuff done. Take advantage of it by reminding yourself where to focus.

Wear a scarf

Acupuncturists are always going on about wearing scarves. It’s for good reason.

Lung, the organ associated with fall, is considered the most exterior organ. It is the first line of defense against external pathogenic factors. As the weather turns cold and the wind picks up, the Lung organ is extra vulnerable.

Further, pathogenic factors such as cold and wind invade the body at the back of the neck, so keeping that area protected is very important in the fall. Even if it’s sunny, always bring a scarf when you head outside.

Do acupressure on Lung 7

One of the best points for strengthening the Lung organ is Lung 7. It helps promote the descending function of the Lungs, which makes it a great point for cough, shortness of breath and nasal congestion.

Lung 7 also is one of the most effective points for neck pain and stiffness. As mentioned above, wearing a scarf helps, but for protecting yourself against any residual wind and the resulting head and neck tension, Lung 7 will come in handy.

Lung 7 is easy to access yourself. Make a thumbs-up sign. When you do that, you’ll see a depression at the base of your thumb (referred to as the anatomical snuffbox). From that depression, Lung 7 is located approximately two finger widths up your arm.

Stay hydrated

Dryness of all kinds is common in fall. Since Lung is the most exterior organ, it is the organ that relates most closely to the skin. Dry skin and even rashes tend to show up in fall. Drink a lot of water and keep your skin hydrated with non-alcoholic (alcohol will dry you out more) moisturizer.

Another reason to stay hydrated is to regulate digestion. The Lung’s paired organ is Large Intestine, so sometimes digestive issues can flare up this time of year. Constipation, due to the dryness of the season, is most common, especially in people who struggle with the “letting go” aspect of transitioning into fall.

Use a neti pot

As fall encourages us to let go of the inessential priorities in our lives, many of us also find ourselves letting go from our nasal passages. Bring on the tissues! Fall is the most common time of year for the onset of nasal infections and post-nasal drip, both of which plague many people well into winter. Keep a neti pot in the shower and use it regularly throughout the season to help keep your nasal passages clear.

Reframe grief

The emotion associated with fall is grief. This is the time of year to pull inward, to grieve letting go and to reflect on any unresolved sadness. This can be an adjustment after the surge of energy and mood that many of us experience during summer, but it is normal to feel somewhat somber and pensive in the fall.

The inability to settle into this emotional shift, or transition out of it, may suggest an imbalance. However, before labeling yourself with seasonal affective disorder, or SAD—a common biomedical diagnosis for people who feel depressed in the colder, darker months—consider that you may be experiencing a natural heightened awareness of grief. If you sense it might be more than that, by all means, see your doctor.

Eat warm foods

Step away from the salad! The cool, raw, refreshing salads of summer will not do you any favors come fall. Just as we need to start keeping our bodies warmer on the outside, we need to stay warm on the inside as well.

In fall, eat warm, cooked food. Instead of cold cereal with milk, choose oatmeal. Trade the salads for oven-roasted veggies over brown rice. When cooking, throw in some onions, ginger, garlic or mustard—these pungent foods are known to benefit the Lung organ.

Veggie wise, root vegetables such as beets, turnips, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and squash are ideal. If you go for out-of-season vegetables, make sure they are cooked. If you’re craving fruit, reach for something seasonal such as apples, pears, grapes, figs or persimmons.

Wishing you a happy and healthy fall.

3 Tips for Ovary Health

OAK-Teal-Ribbon-2-183x300There are a number of complications that can happen to a woman’s ovaries over her lifetime. Ovarian cysts commonly occur and can go away without treatment, while more serious problems like ovarian cancer require extensive treatment. The best way to treat these conditions is with preventative care. Below are tips to fit into your daily routine for better ovary health.

salmon-heart1) Healthy Foods

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition involving the imbalance of sex hormones, have a higher risk of ovarian cancer and obesity. Because of this, it is even more important that those with PCOS have a healthy diet.

Foods to consider into your diet:

Lean Proteins: Limiting saturated fats can help decrease the body’s inflammation and lower the chance of ovarian cancer. Good sources of lean proteins include fish, chicken, lentils, beans and eggs.

Fruits and Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are never a bad choice to include more of into your diet. They are packed with vitamins and antioxidants to help strengthen your body’s immune system and fight disease. Tomatoes and onions can especially help prevent ovarian cancer.

Nuts and Seeds: Healthy fats are important for ovary health. The unsaturated fats in nuts and seeds can provide omega-3 fats that can reduce inflammation and help decrease your cancer risk.

 

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2) Exercise

Women who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. Along with a healthy diet, it is important to have regular exercise to maintain health. Exercise is thought to help the body’s immune system, which in turn can help prevent obesity and ovarian cancer. Starting off with moderate exercise that includes taking a walk most days or light jogging can even be impactful on lowering your risk.

 

337024-cinnamon3) Herbs

Chinese Herbs:
Cinnamon and rehmannia is a common combination of herbs that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat ovarian cysts. These herbs can be found out at health stores as well as be ordered online.

Brassica vegetable extract:
Brassica vegetable extract is a natural antioxidant that can help prevent disease such as cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Brassica vegetables include kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. These vegetables contain glucosinolates, which work as an anti-carcinogen, helping to decrease the risk of cancer. You can find brassica vegetable extract in your local health food store.

Along with these lifestyle guidelines, consider acupuncture for preventative treatment as well as managing an existing problem to help get you back on the road to better health.

 

Acupuncture and Ovarian Health

Hands-in-Heart-on-belly-470x260Acupuncture has proven helpful in strengthening the body’s immune system, as well as reducing symptoms of cancer treatment. Because acupuncture treats the whole body, it can help increase immune strength that can fight against disease like ovarian cancer and polycystic ovary syndrome. By using acupuncture points, acupuncture is able to release blockages that may be preventing the body from its natural flow.

For those going through cancer treatment for ovarian cancer, acupuncture can act as an important alternative to help with symptoms of treatment. Acupuncture has been known to help nausea caused by chemotherapy and reduce overall pain. Cancer treatment involving chemotherapy and other drugs can have many side effects; acupuncture works to counterbalance these symptoms with almost no side effects or pain.

Although ovarian cysts can sometimes go away on their own, other times they require extra treatment to be resolved. Ovarian cysts can be caused by a number of factors including an imbalance of hormones. Acupuncture works by bringing the body back to balance, regulating blood supply and hormone levels.

If you are battling with ovarian complications or looking for preventative care, consider acupuncture as an alternative safe treatment option.