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What is Moxibustion and How Can it Help.

 

Traditional Chinese medicine is a medical system that incorporates numerous methods for treating disease and illness. One of the tools found in the toolbox of the Traditional Chinese medicine practitioner is known as moxibustion.

This technique involves the burning of mugwort, known as “moxa”, which is an herb that facilitates healing. The purpose of moxibustion is to stimulate the flow of Qi (pronounced “chee”), strengthen the blood and maintain general health. Qi is translated as life energy.

HOW MOXIBUSTION IS APPLIED TO ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENTS
When visiting your acupuncturist during the winter months, they may use Moxibustion to warm your cold extremities, lower back or even your abdomen. Moxibustion is a form of fire heat treatment that stimulates specific acupuncture points of the body and is a great way to warm the body slowly, with lasting effects. Your acupuncturist may also recommend herbs to strengthen your immune system, balance body heat or to manage stress.

 

Moxibustion exerts its therapeutic effect by modulating the microbiome and intestinal mucosal immunity. It is used to great effect in tandem with acupuncture points, enhancing and maximizing the effects of the acupuncture needles. Moxa is used both directly and indirectly, depending upon the intended effects.

THE BENEFITS OF MOXIBUSTION

Moxibustion can be used for many reasons because it provides many benefits and one of the most common uses of moxibustion is to warm the body. Many people who have autoimmune diseases, low immunity and blood conditions are frequently cold and the warming properties of moxa make it a great choice for these types of conditions (usually those who have a cold or stagnant condition). The practice of Moxibustion expels cold and warms the meridians, which leads to smoother flow of blood and qi.

 

Moxa is also a good choice for those suffering from aches and pains. The warming properties of moxa allow it to increase blood flow by warming the blood. Increased blood flow means increased oxygenation to the tissues, muscles and tendons that are sore.

 

Another benefit of utilizing moxibustion is increased immunity. Studies have shown moxibustion significantly increases the white blood cell count in the body, which is the major component of the immune system. Moxa strengthens the immune system and helps re-balance autoimmune diseases.

 

Despite the fact that moxibustion involves the burning of mugwort, it has been shown to be very beneficial for cooling areas of inflammation, which again, relates to blood flow. Moxa improves blood flow to areas of inflammation, while promoting the natural radiation function of the skin. This also works on chronic inflammation diseases like arthritis.

 

 

As moxibustion has many benefits and can be used to treat multiple diseases and ailments, it might be a good addition to a person’s health regimen. It is recommended that only properly trained and fully licensed practitioners be used and a quick internet search can easily provide the names of those located nearby. There’s never a better time than now to start incorporating healthy living habits, ask me for more information.

 

Balance Your Body- Stave off COVID-19

If you feel like you’re battling frequent colds, a cough that won’t quit, or just seem to be tired all the time, it may benefit you to find time for a daily walk or simple exercise routine. Doing this a few times per week can have many health benefits and help build your immune system.

Viruses such as COVID-19 take hold in our bodies when our immune systems are at their weakest points. Below are a few ways to help increase your immune function so your body can function as it’s meant to and stay balanced!
 

Overindulging on Alcohol

If you drink everyday, or frequently, you may notice that you are more susceptible to catching colds and drinking is shown to dramatically impair the immune system.

If you have a hard time refraining from drinking, these self-massaging acupuncture points help the body release toxins, control cravings and become more grounded.

 

Liver 3: Located on the top of the foot. Start in the space between the big toe and the second toe, now walk your fingers back along that depression onto the top of your foot until you run into a bone and you can’t go any further. This is Liver 3. It helps to balance the liver energy of the body, and helps reduce stress.

 

Large Intestine 11: Located on the lateral elbow, at the end of the elbow crease. Large Intestine 11 clears toxins from the body, as well as releasing heat. It also balances digestion and helps to regulate body temperature.

Excessive Sugar Intake
When you look at a nutrition label, what’s the first ingredient you look for? For many of us, we’ve been trained to look for the calorie count per serving, but did you know that we need to we limit our sugar intake too?

The AHA suggests that men eat less than 36 grams (9 tsp) of sugar per day and that women have no more than 24 grams (6 tsp). To add perspective, the average person eats nearly 15 teaspoons of sugar each day (that’s almost double the recommended amount)!

Why is the consumption of sugar an issue? When we consume sugar, our bodies break it down and become inflamed. This decreases our immunity because it weakens the white blood cells ability to fight off infection!

If you have a sweet tooth and want to make a sweet treat that also optimizes your immune function, try making this TCM herbal tea below:
• 4 cups water
• 3 tsp dried thyme

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
    • 2 tbsp raw honey

    Add all ingredients to a pot and bring to a low boil and then simmer for around 10 minutes. Once it’s done simmering, turn on low heat, stir in honey and then pour through a strainer. Enjoy!

 

Immune function has never been more important. If balancing your body is now a priority to you, schedule an appointment with me so we can create an individualized acupuncture plan just for you to help keep your immune system in tip-top shape!

 

 

 

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/factsheets/womenshealth.htm

 

 

 

ACUPRESSURE VS ACUPUNCTURE

We’re confident that you’ve heard of acupuncture, but do you know where it comes from?

The study and practice of acupuncture and acupressure have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years and is an ancient healing technique. Acupressure and acupuncture apply the same principles, but acupressure uses pressure points instead of needles to achieve the desired results.

TCM & DEPRESSION
Today, we’re here to talk about different acupressure points that are used to reduce depression and anxiety through intentional point-placements and massage. Each of these points are ones that can be done on your own without the help of another person.

 

Acupressure can reduce anxiety and depression by massaging (or using an acupressure stick) the proper locations. Below, several commonly known acupressure points are listed and are known to treat depressive symptoms.

 

ACUPRESSURE POINTS TO REDUCE DEPRESSION
1.  HEART 7 (HT-7) “SPIRIT GATE”

Location: On the crease of your inner wrist towards the ulnar (pinky finger) side. Feel for a hollow place at the base of the pisiform bone.

 

How does it help?: HT7 is often used to strengthen the heart and nourish qi and blood. This pressure point is also known to settle anxiety/worrisome emotions and also quiets the mind. It helps with sleep disturbances and emotional stress, releases tightness in the chest and even aids with heart palpitations.

2. NEIGUAN (PC6)

Location: Find the middle of your wrist, about two finger widths below the palm. Using your thumb and forefinger, press on this location for 2-3 minutes. Repeat on your other wrist.

How does it help?: Neiguan can be used to treat depression and anxiety.


3. CONCEPTION VESSEL 17 (REN 17) “CHEST CENTER”
Location: At the center of your chest, midway between the nipples/center of your sternum.

How does it help?: This acupressure point is also known as the ‘influential point of Qi’ (or energy) which this point helps regulate. Qi often gets stuck (or stagnant) with excess stress and imbalances in life. This point helps to relax your chest and release your diaphragm.

4. YIN TANG “HALL OF IMPRESSION”
Location: located between the eyebrows, in an area also known as the third eye.

How does it help?: This pressure point calms the spirit and takes the edge off emotional restlessness and anxiety. It’s also known to promote a deep relaxation and even helps with insomnia! It is also great at relieving headaches and helps to clear nasal congestion or a runny nose.

 

If you found these home-tips helpful and are ready to take the next step and try acupuncture, contact us to set up an appointment!

Foods to Eat to Help Depression

 

Many have heard the question posed what came first, the chicken or the egg? But how does that concept apply to depression? It’s well-known that when we’re depressed, our motivation and interest in maintaining a healthy and balanced diet subsides in the same way our energy does. Harvard Medical Students positioned that same question in relation to depression; what came first, depression or a poor diet?

 

Thankfully, researchers have addressed this question and found that a healthy diet was indeed associated with a significantly decreased risk of developing depressive symptoms. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, patients were treated for two years with antioxidants or placebos. After two years, those who were treated with antioxidants had a significantly lower depression score.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Eating healthy foods gives you a better chance to reduce your depressive symptoms than eating a diet of processed food that may be high in sugars and fats.

 

Additionally, it’s known that there are approximately 10 times as many bacterial cells as human cells in the body. These bacteria serve many purposes including the curation of Vitamin K, digesting the food we consume and even regulating our immune system.

 

This implies that maintaining a healthy gut bacteria and overall diet can improve your mood.

 

SO, WHAT SHOULD I EAT?
Suggested foods to eat are lots of green leafy plants (including fruits and vegetables), whole unprocessed grains, seeds & nuts, and lean proteins such as yogurt or fish. To break them down even further, take note of the following foods and their purpose (all of which fight depression):

Inflammation: Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, Berries, Mushrooms and Onions.

Mood Boosting & Omega 3: Walnuts, chia seeds, Fish (salmon, tuna and sardines), and even certain brands of egg or yogurt.

Oleic Acid: Avocado, cheese, pasta and meats such as chicken, beef or pork

Antioxidants: Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are some of the highest antioxidant foods available to us. Other foods include sweet potato, oranges, and peppers.

Folic acid and alpha-lipoic acid: Tomatoes, broccoli, spinach and brussels sprouts.

 

WHICH FOODS SHOULD I AVOID?
Avoid foods made with added sugars or flours such as baked goods (donuts and pastries), breads, pastas and cereals. One should also minimize the consumption of animal fats, processed meats such as bacon, and even butter.

 

OTHER ITEMS TO CONSIDER
It’s important to remember that health starts from within. Maintaining a healthy balance of self-care, such as providing yourself with adequate sleep, hydration and physical activity is just as important as eating well.

 

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that supports the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Having balanced health helps with everything from cardiovascular disease, dementia, cancer and even mental health disorders including- you guessed it – depression!

 

 

Don’t forget! Schedule an acupuncture appointment with me if you have any questions about depression and how traditional chinese medicine can help.

Feeling Tired!