Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Now starring in.....

You can now find me at www.thirdspacewellness.com! This is a dream in the making.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Free "shutdown stress relief" acupuncture sessions 10/1/13

"Be the change you wish to see in the world."-Gandhi
I'd like to see a little more chilled out Washington DC area so I'm offering a little peace and calm.

Calling all feds! Stressed out by the shutdown? Wandering aimlessly with no office to go to? Come get some free stress relief!

I, along with Rachel Brumberger, (we are licensed acupuncturists) will be offering free group-style acupuncture sessions to federal employees and contractors affected by the government shutdown.

When: 10/1/13,  2pm-6pm

Where: A pop-up location in Downtown Silver Spring, MD. Metro accessible. Email joy@thejoyofacupuncture.com for the address.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Did you get enough play time this Summer?

As I see the kids getting ready to go back to school, I’m reminded of how recess used to be.


I was recently motivated to go running by my friend Yogitastic’s blog post “I hate running”. I too am normally a hater when it comes to running. Love the idea, can’t find a way around the shin splints.

Reverse psychology must be true though, because with my newly aroused curiosity of just how horrible running is, I picked up running over the past few weeks.

Here’s how it went each time:
Jogged a few minutes, walked a few minutes, stopped and stretched, did a few qi gong moves, talked to a bird, got distracted by the way the light was streaming through the trees, went to stand under the streamy light, jogged a bit more, walked, stretched, jogged, did a few lunges to get home.

I spent the time focusing on moving in a way that was fun rather than judging myself for not going faster, longer, harder. I paid attention to my gait, the way my feet were striking the ground, the way my hands were swinging. I worked out a tightness in my heel that has not reappeared thanks to all this ankle movement.

It felt good to feel good.

Why is it that adults don’t seem to move unless there is a structure for it - a gym, a class, a teacher, a dvd, a type of weight to use. Kids move just to move. They don’t wait for jungle gym time to jump around. They move often, in all kinds of ways. I remember growing into junior high and feeling the self-imposed need to contain and compose myself. That was the death of spontaneous movement.

Before summer is gone, bop around a bit to loosen up. [I don’t want to hear about it though if you throw your shoulder out of socket or pull a hammy doing upside down jumping jacks.]

Play. It does a body good.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Please take a chill pill

My business partner and I recently met with an accountant.

The accountant raved about our business concept of opening a wellness center offering acupuncture, yoga and more. He said he became a believer in natural medicine when he started going to a chiropractor about 10 years ago, and now every time his busiest time of work, tax season, rolls around, he prevents his usual onslaught of stress-induced headaches by going to his chiropractor and using self care techniques at home.

I asked him how this has made a difference in his life, and especially at work. His co-worker immediately piped in with a smile saying to him, “I’ve worked with you over 20 years and over the last 10, since you started using natural medicine, I’ve seen you become more relaxed at work.”

That’s exactly what it’s all about: finding ease in your life - finding ways to relax - even in the midst of tense situations.

Our accountant illustrated perfectly the goal of our future wellness center: we want to offer all kinds of ways for people to relax and be peaceful in their body, no matter what.

That “no matter what” part is the key. It’s easy to relax at home after work on the couch, or on a Sunday afternoon in the sunshine. The question is, can you relax and be peaceful in your body in the middle of an important meeting, as you’re giving a presentation, in the midst of driving in traffic, in the heat of an argument with your partner?

Cortisol is killing us. Cortisol is what skyrockets in our bodies when we are stressed out. When cortisol increases, our normal life-giving functions like breathing, digesting, eliminating or even reproducing get put on the back burner because our bodies are stuck in survival mode.

Tension not only restricts normal functioning, it’s contagious. Think about the last time a co-worker stormed into the office, or sent you an email in all caps. Or when your partner came home from work all-a-grump. How did that feel to you?

When you choose -consciously or unconsciously- to hold on to a constant state of stress, it’s the same as walking around with a highly contagious virus and you’re sneezing it onto everyone you come in contact with. Ew. I’ve got my own tension to let go of; can you please be responsible for your own damn tension and cover your mouth at least?

I’m practicing this concept of relaxing no matter what. I’m finding there are a few times during the day when it is appropriate to be tense. A few. 90% of the rest of the day goes smoother, for my own body and for those around me, when I relax. I’m working on taking my own junior high advice and ‘take a chill pill’.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Goalicious: using your body to set goals

How often do you listen to your body to help you set goals, make decisions, and maintain your health?

I just completed a major goal: receiving my master's degree and license to practice acupuncture. It's been 3 years and 3 months of heart-opening, brain-breaking work to get here. And my motivation all along was to live a life and a career in which I could move and breathe and work with ease in my body.

“Our bodies change our minds
Our minds change our behavior
Our behavior changes our outcomes.”
This quote is from a Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy. She speaks about how powerful and dynamic our bodies are, even when we’re not conscious of it.

Your body is incredible. It’s constantly picking up information through your senses and sending you messages. Here are some ways that paying attention to those messages can help you navigate daily life:
Setting goals
I’ve learned a new approach to setting goals: deciding how I want to feel rather than what I want to do. Setting a goal based on how I want to feel does two things: it clarifies my motives and allows room for several routes to achieve the goal. For example, I could set a goal of losing 10 pounds this spring. Or, I could examine why I want to lose 10 pounds. Will it make me feel lighter? Happier? If my motive is truly to feel lighter and happier, there are many ways I can work toward achieving that goal in addition to simply losing 10 pounds. I could check out a new class through Routeam. I could meditate. And I could seek out everyday experiences that bring me happiness.
A couple other people who are also talking about this concept: Danielle LaPorte and Samantha Dublin (aka Yogitastic).
Making decisions
I was recently talking with a friend who was torn between two job offers.
Through my training in acupuncture, I see first-hand how much of our mental and emotional turmoil shows up in the body. So I asked my friend, “How do you feel in your body when you think about each job?”
She called me the next morning to say that listening to her body helped her make the decision; thinking about one job made her feel sick while thinking about the other made her feel like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

Maintaining your health
By listening to your body you can auto-correct imbalances. For example, the flu doesn’t just come out of nowhere. Your immune system has to be struggling first in order to be susceptible to picking up the flu. When your immune system is flickering, you know your warning signs if you pay attention: feeling dehydrated, feeling exhausted, gnawing headaches. If you listen to these signs early and act on them (which is the hard part: clear your schedule, avoid junky food, fill up on water and go to bed), your body will thank you and can devote all of its energy to tackling the sick cells.
Here’s an exercise to check in with your body’s signals right now:
  • Collect the data: wiggle your toes, relax your belly, unfurrow your brows. Now go through each of your senses. Smell the air, see the colors in front of you, hear the nearest sound and the farthest sound that you can, taste what’s happening on your taste buds, feel your backside fully on your seat.
  • Analyze the data: Any areas in your body that are tight? Sore? Notice any senses that are heightened or dull?
  • Adjust: What can you adjust now to correct a symptom or simply relax?
I’m speaking from experience when I say that I believe you can use these steps all day, every day, to help you set new goals, to achieve existing ones, to make minor, mid-size, and major decisions, and to prevent or recover from illness.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Food diary time again

It's been a while since the last time I kept a food diary. And now I'm doing it again.

I just started seeing a great nutrition counselor, Maureen George, and was prescribed a gluten free diet for 2 weeks. I'm skeptical about all specific diets, since my motto in life is everything in moderation. But hey, for the sake of perhaps learning something new about my body, I agreed.

It's been one week now, and so far, the jury is still out on gluten & me. What I have been reminded of, however, are two things:

  • Everyone should keep a food diary at some point in time: it's like looking in a mirror when you think you're looking good... only to find your shirt's been mis-buttoned and you've had gunk in your teeth. Time to straighten it up.
  • Eating while entrenched in an activity like working, talking, walking, typing, problem-solving or driving is a recipe for knotted digestion. According to Chinese medicine, excessive thinking and worry while eating can cause the body to compete for where to send the qi. Someone's going to lose, either your soon-to-be foggy brain or your grumpy gut.
With that, I'm going to stop typing now so I can eat my kale then drink my water in peace. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Flu phobia? Boost your immunity.

Had the flu already this season? Once or multiple times? 
Instead of walking around in fear of it, here are some reminders to help your immune system auto-correct symptoms early:

·        Repel: Wash your hands, wash them often.
·        Release: Eliminating toxins through urine, stool, and sweat keep viruses and bacteria from festering. Another way to draw out toxins is by taking a bath in epsom salts.
·        Romp: Your lymphatic system helps removes toxins and manage hormones, and it relies on your movement to circulate, so… play! Anything from stretching to spinning is important to activate your immunity.
·        Reboot: Get your shuteye. Aim for 7+ hours. Naps count.
·        Replenish: Eating whole foods that are in season and packed with vitamins and minerals fuel your blood cells, which renew themselves every 120 days. And you already know this: drink more water!
·        Relish: Emotions play a role in your health. Anger, fear, anxiety, grief and depression dampen your immune system. Get plenty of Vitamin D and seek out joy in your life to regulate your feel-good hormones like serotonin. 

Take a second to check-in with your body now and see if any adjustments or tune-ups are needed to get you through this season. If you or your family keep getting knocked down by the flu, you may want to consider visiting your nearest acupuncturist to get additional help boosting your immune system.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

In anticipation for the year that lies ahead

A poem, by Rainer Maria Rilke:

The Future

The future: time's excuse
to frighten us; too vast
a project, too large a morsel
for the heart's mouth.

Future, who won't wait for you?
Everyone is going there.
It suffices you to deepen
the absence that we are.

Translated by A. Poulin