Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity." -Hippocrates
1. Just two weeks ago, I was complaining to my husband about feeling 'time poor'. I was craving more time for yoga, meditation, down-time with the kids and with him, but was so busy that I wasn't sure how to find the time for everything I wanted to do! Well, wow, look how quickly things have changed in just that short amount of time. (Be careful what you wish for, haha!)
These times have suddenly become very different and there is a lot of stress, fear, worry and anxiety to be sure. However, many of us have also been given the rare gift of time, and knowing that this is a short-lived window of our lives, I think we should make sure not to miss it! Now can be a time to focus on your health, your self-care and some quality time with your loved ones, if we remember to slow down and make it a priority.
Of course we understand that not everyone has been given this time. Many, many people are working overtime in hospitals and many other essential services to help us battle this horrible pandemic. But for those of us who need to step back and stay home, we should be grateful for their sacrifice, help out in anyway that we can, and take good care of ourselves and our loved ones in the meantime.
Below are some suggestions for using your time to fill in some of the blanks on your self-care and wellness:
1. Start a meditation, deep breathing or mindfulness practice:
Starting the day by centering your self, breathing and enjoying some quiet can really set the day right. Especially if you find yourself in the position of being a homeschooling parent, feeling grounded and centered will be very helpful. Try the insight timer app for free guided meditations. This week, we've also created an EFT/Tapping meditation to help with anxiety relief that is posted below.
2. Spend time in nature:
Nature is healing and calming. Getting away from the stress of the world, breathing the fresh air and moving your body can work wonders. Now is your chance to find some nature trails and hikes near your home, just make sure they are not in busy or crowded locations. You could also just walk right out your door and go for a walk around the neighborhood. The added benefit here is that you can wave hello to your neighbors and feel a sense of real connection to your community.
3. Move your body!
Exercise releases endorphins that help with stress and relieves pain. Spending more time at home, can make the body and mind feel stagnant and this is the perfect way to get things moving again. Do something you enjoy, whether it's jogging, walking, yoga, cycling, strength training etc. Also, consider learning something new! With so many great online platforms, if you've wanted to try a barre, pilates or zumba class, now is your time! If you have kids at home, get them involved in doing a class online with you. It's a great way to move your bodies and have fun together!
4. Reclaim your time by remembering to unplug:
We live in the most distracting culture, in the most distracted time in history! Now with the COVID-19 pandemic occurring, many people's distraction online is even higher. Social media can be uplifting, but it can also increase your anxiety and fear. While it's important to know what's happening in the news, checking in too often can be harmful to your mental health. Take time to walk away from the virtual world and be in the present moment without all of that stimulation. It will feed your energy and your spirit more than you can imagine.
5. Try new recipes, drink more water and eat healthy!
When you are home for extended periods of time, the snacking can get out of hand (believe me, I know from experience!). But this time at home can also be an opportunity to try new recipes, experiment making healthier homemade snacks with your kids, keeping yourself hydrated and trying some immune boosting soups, teas etc. We will be posting recipes and videos regularly with inspiring things to try. One of the healthiest things you can make is a 'bone broth' soup. Try slow cooking a broth and really get all of the micro-nutrients and immune enhancing benefits from it! There are many great online recipes and on one of our recent blog posts as well!
We truly miss seeing all of you in our clinic and can't wait until we can be together again! Let us know how we can support your wellness during this challenging time.
Hi Everyone! At our most recent nutrition workshop, we took a closer look at some of the potential benefits of consuming collagen supplements. Many people think of collagen for their skin (and they are not wrong), but the benefits go deeper than that. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is extremely balanced in terms of amino acids and is not regularly consumed in the modern America diet where lean muscle meats have replaced organ and ‘bone-on’ meats in the day-to-day diet.
Collagen is important to maintain the structure & function of almost every part of the body. Our bones, ligaments, tendons, skin and gastrointestinal tract greatly depend on the consumption of collagen rich foods. Collagen nourishes the connective tissue which improves not only skin health but the joints, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, fascia and tendons of the body, helping to improve mobility, elasticity and strength.
In terms of skin health, collagen quickens healing and slows down skin aging & wrinkling. 70-80% of the protein in the skin is collagen and consuming more will improve the strength and flexibility of the tissue matrix.
Below are the three most common types of collagen and some of their benefits
One of the main reasons that collagen is so healthy is that it is the source of some important amino acids that are not always easy to come by in the standard American diet. One of those Proline which make up 50% of total amino acids found in collagen. It helps regenerate cartilage, form connective tissue, promote skin health and support joint health. It also supports the lining of the cardiovascular system. The other amino acid is Glycine which is important for supporting gut health, restful sleep, healthy blood sugar levels, tendon & joint health. It makes up 20-30% of the amino acids in collagen and stimulates the body’s production of glutathione, known as the master antioxidant.
One of the main teachings in my nutrition workshop, is that supplements are great for filling in the nutritional blanks if needed, but really we should look at food first. That is why the class is called, Food As Medicine! Below is a chart with the best food sources of collagen as well as collagen boosting foods (foods that help you absorb, breakdown and assimilate the collagen you ingest)
I hope that this information is inspiring and helpful for you and please share with anyone else you know who may benefit. I want to give a shout out to Dr. Axe who is a wealth of information on this topic and has inspired much of my learning about wellness and nutrition. If you are interested in collagen supplements, his are excellent! Also if you are inspired to learn more about collagen/bone broth and their benefits for the digestive system, his book Eat Dirt is a favorite of ours!
This is the perfect time of year to try and make bone broth. There are so many recipes online that I will leave the search to you, but it truly is the best source of collagen and many other important minerals! I highly recommend giving it a try.
"It is easier to build strong children, than to repair broken men"
Many people don't realize that acupuncture & Chinese medicine are an amazing treatment option for children. Our body is naturally designed to self-heal and self-regulate. At a young age, children tend to heal very quickly because they have incredible blood flow and receptive energy. In fact, children tend to respond quicker than adults to the treatments for that very reason! Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about pediatric acupuncture. We hope that this dispels some of the myths and inspires some of you to give it a try for yourself or someone in your family!
1. What age groups do you treat with pediatric acupuncture?
Treatment with this style of non-insertive and gentle insertive techniques are for newborn to age 10. Of course, this is a general rule and sometimes exceptions are made for some older children. Generally, children age 10 and up can be treated in our group space with more traditional acupuncture.
2. Does my child need to have something wrong with them in order to receive acupuncture?
One of the basic tenants of Chinese medicine is that prevention is always better that needing a cure. Some parents choose regular acupuncture treatments to keep their children healthy through the normal process of growing. Others schedule acupuncture to help their children through various illnesses or health issues.
3. What are some of the conditions acupuncture can treat?
4. Will needles be used during my child’s treatment?
In some cases, very small needles may be used on your child. However, in many cases, we begin with non-needle treatment strategies. Some of the methods used are gentle stroking of the acupuncture channels and points on your child’s head, back, belly, legs and arms for an overall balancing of your child’s body. Specific acupuncture points may then be treated with magnets, small metal balls (press balls), lasers, gentle electro-stim or acupressure.
5. What happens during my child’s first treatment?
The initial consultation & treatment is 45 minutes to give enough time for connecting with your child and learning everything we need to know about their health history. We will gather information on your child’s overall health, sleep, appetite, mood and energy, check their pulse, look at their tongue and discuss goals for treatment. Then an acupuncture treatment will take place. Usually a treatment takes 10-15 minutes since children respond more quickly than adults. We also encourage them to rest for a few minutes after the treatment if they are able. We will provide recommendations on a treatment plan and may also discuss suggestions for diet, acupressure or other remedies that may be used at home.
6. What are follow-up visits like?
Follow-up visits for children are 15 minutes long and take place in our stretching area. This allows for a one-on-one treatment in a semi-private setting that won’t disrupt the ‘grown-ups’ in the group treatment space. We will have time to check-in with both parent and child while giving their treatment.
7. How much do treatments cost?
The initial consultation & treatment is 45-minutes long and costs $75. Follow-up visits are 15-minutes long and cost $50 if you pay as you go, or $195 for a package of 5-visits ($39.50/each).
8. How does acupuncture work in children? What’s the science?
Modern scientific research has shown acupuncture to have specific biological effects: Acupuncture promotes the release of endorphins and enkephalins, which are pain blocking biochemicals. When these hormones are released, blood flow in the body improves carrying with it beneficial nutrients, hormones and oxygen to the tissues and organs. It also activates the parasympathetic nervous system to move the body into a balanced state known as homeostasis.
Treating acupuncture channels and points is different in children than adults. Their bodies are working very hard to grow and develop and their energy (qi) is much closer to the surface of their bodies. Therefore, we can treat them using these non-invasive techniques more easily.
9. How many treatments will my child need and how often will he/she need to come?
Since every child is different, each plan will be customized to them. However, as a general rule most children respond very well to acupuncture and will see some response within the first few treatments. We usually start with 1-2 treatments per week and re-assess after 5-10 treatments.
10. Do you practice Chinese herbs or make supplement/self-care suggestions?
We’re so glad you asked! We are very passionate about helping to find all of the tools that are going to get your child feeling better. Often it takes a comprehensive approach including herbs and/or supplements, dietary changes, mindfulness practices etc. to truly bring about lasting change. Again, since each child is unique, we will custom these suggestions to each of their needs. We carry a complete line of pediatric herbal tinctures as well as some key supplements that can benefit your child’s overall health.
11. Are siblings allowed at the treatment?
In order to limit distraction for the patient, we strongly encourage one parent and one child to come together. Of course, we know this isn’t always possible, so if a sibling needs to join you, we ask that they remain in our waiting area during the session. Because we want to create a space of healing for your child, we also ask that the parent puts away their cell phones during their session.
We would love to explain more and answer any other questions you may have, so call us at (508) 393-1212 or email email@example.com!
THE PROBLEM: Stress is truly a silent killer in our culture. We are constantly barraged with the demands of life, violence on TV and anger on the internet! This is all on top of the business of life where most of us just have too much on our plates.
If your life is anything like most of the people I know, then you are busy, too busy, with seemingly not enough time to take care of yourself. Maybe you have kids, a job, a long commute and activities outside of work. It can feel like the giving never ends, and then it leaves you depleted and overwhelmed. Revving on this gear over time will eventually lead the body to being depleted due to the over stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system or 'fight or flight' response.
THE SCIENCE: Essentially the same physiological effects to stress happen today, as did when we were all literally in survival mode in our day to day life. If a tiger was charging at you, stress hormones like adrenaline would be released, the blood from your internal organs would rush to your legs and say, "run like hell!"
Now there is no tiger chasing most of us (hopefully!), but instead it's a crying baby, a tense interaction at work, or getting cut off in traffic. Either way the response inside is the same, the body gets cut off from its blood flow and the entire body suffers. So then over time, symptoms arise: back pain, neck tightness, digestive distress, insomnia, not to mention the anxiety! Then before you know it, you have been slapped a label like IBS, Fibromyalgia or Depression. How did this happen?!
THE WAY BACK TO BALANCE: Well I am here to tell you that there is an antidote to the 'fight or flight' and it's found in the parasympathetic nervous system, or 'rest and digest' or 'calm and connect' mode. We can't always change external circumstances or our responsibilities but we can always change what is happening inside. I am a huge fan of an amazing book called, "The Urban Monk, by Pedram Shojai. In it he says, "The world outside us begins to change as we shift our inner state."
Ever notice how when you are in a calm and relaxed state, that your kids are magically less crazy than usual? I know that I have!! Getting ourselves calm and balanced on the inside is key to having life on the outside not just flow smoothly, but to truly shine.
HOW ACUPUNCTURE CAN HELP: Here is where the science of acupuncture comes into play. Many think of acupuncture as just moving an invisible energy called Qi (pronounced chee), and yes I do believe there is an activation of energy at play. Remember we can't see our cell phone signals, but we know they are real....lots of energy is beyond our sight.
However, what I'm talking about are actual physiological changes that happen in the brain during acupuncture that change our hormonal responses to stress. When a needle is inserted into the body, it stimulates the sensory nerves to send a signal to the brain to activate a response. Recent research suggests that acupuncture stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone and signaling substance that regulates the parasympathetic nervous system. It is also sends a signal through the nervous system to the brain, where chemicals such as endorphins, norepinephrine and enkephalin are released. When the body receives these feel good and pain relieving hormones, then the calming effect can go even deeper.
Regular weekly acupuncture can help shift the body into this 'calm and connect' mode, enhancing the quality of our lives on many levels. When life gets busy, all too often the good stuff that relieves stress can get cut out, but carving out your 'me-time' for acupuncture will set your entire week right!
Acupuncture is increasing in popularity and with good reason! It's helping many people with chronic health issues and with breaking the cycle of chronic pain. But, although many are trying it and seeing results, few know how acupuncture actually works to heal the body. Below is a simple explanation of the 3 main ways that science and research is finding about how acupuncture works! As always, let us know if you want to 'nerd out' in more detail! Enjoy:)
The Acupuncturists at Open Circle Acupuncture & Healing are self-described 'nerds' about all topics of health and healing. We believe strongly in the power of self-care & a healthy mindset in supporting the healing of the body! We hope you enjoy our blog.