Not too long ago a patient of mine starting tell me about all the amazing work she was doing at home. It seemed every time she came in for a treatment, she had just finished donating a box of this or that to a local charity. She also had a smile on her face from ear to ear. From her gate to her shoulders, she even appeared lighter.
I asked her about the transformation, and she said it was from the work she had been doing with the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tyding Up” by Marie Kondo. I was so impressed that I bought a copy.
Kondo lives her life teaching others how to clean up their messes. Being the father of a 3-year-old and 5-year-old I can relate. It’s crazy the amount of toys and books they have added to our already full house and how often I’m telling them to pick up their stuff! She had a very clear directive, “only keep what sparks joy in my body, let go of the rest.”
It seemed simple enough. I started with my closet. Following Kondo’s instructions, I moved every piece of clothing from my closet and put it on my bed. Then I began the process of holding each item in my hand to see if it “sparked joy” in me. To spark joy…hmmm…that’s different for everyone I assume. For me, there’s a sensation that happens in my belly, I know it clear as day. I used it as my joy “measuring stick.” If I felt void of the sensation when I picked up the article of clothing, then it went in my donation pile – no questions asked. Two hours later, I had 5 FULL bags of clothes to donate. Best of all, I had a closet that looked and felt good again.
I never realized how heavy those clothes weighed on me before I removed them from my life. Months have passed since I purged my closet of clothes and I am pleased to say it still feels good. It feels even better to learn how to let go. I have no doubt I will continue to use this method in other areas of my life.
“The Life-Changing Magic of Tyding Up” is a short, easy and truly transformative read. I highly recommend it!
What’s showing up these days…
It must be February, as I’m seeing a lot of patients with back issues – shoveling and people slipping and falling! If you’re experiencing back pain, please come in. We can usually shift the pain rather quickly, and help you get back to your regular activities.
What are you planting?
A question I often get from new patients is how often do I need to come in? It’s a fair question and not always an easy one to answer. Honestly, it depends on what we’re working on. An easy rule of thumb is twice a week until the desired shift occurs. For people with pain our goal is to get ahead of it – then we can back off the treatments. All the while, the pain should be decreasing and/or changing.
For someone who has allergies, the treatment plan will look a little different. This is the perfect time to start working with folks who experience spring allergies – the work now will pay dividends in the spring! Often times I work in a reactionary mode, treating the symptom versus the condition that leads to the symptom. It’s much easier if we can treat the condition and build up your body so it can react differently to the allergen. People who get treated regularly tend to have a much easier time come spring and summer. Tomatoes don’t grow overnight; they take time and tending. The same can be said for us.
Calling all trusted healthcare practitioners!
Doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, body workers and talk therapists! Our goal is to partner with these good folks to help speed up the recovery of their patients and alleviate their health concerns. Most healthcare practitioners are happy to learn there is affordable acupuncture in their community. If you trust and recommend someone in any of those fields, please email me their contact information and we’ll be happy to reach out to them on your behalf.
Help us raise funds to fight hunger in Maine via our Good Shepherd Food Bank Virtual Food Drive! We’re asking for donations between $5 and $10 – every $1 provides 4 meals for a Maine family in need. Our goal of raising $400 this month can feed an entire family for a whole year!
Click here to donate!
If you’ve visited Maine Center for Acupuncture recently, you’ve surely noticed the striking new artwork gracing the walls of our treatment room! This wonderful new addition comes to us from artist Dominique Krasow. Read on for a Q&A with Dominique to learn more about the piece, and how it all came together.
What’s your history and experience with MCA?
A friend knew I was trying to quit smoking and recommended acupuncture, which I had never heard of as a remedy for that. I found MCA, listened to an interview with Ryan, and made an appointment that day. I’ve been going once a week for the past few months or so, and I love it.
What do you find special about MCA? What does the Center mean to you?
There’s something very calming, a feeling like meditating that I get when I arrive at MCA. Ryan is super friendly and aware – almost intuitively – of what people need. I am kind of a “Type A” personality so anything that centers me is wonderful. I look forward to my appointment every week and don’t think I will ever go without having acupuncture in my life.
How did this project come about?
I talk about my artwork anytime I get to know someone – it’s a huge piece of my life – and as Ryan got to know me we talked about the art I was creating. I showed him some pictures of the different work I do, and at the beginning of September he asked me if I would be interested in creating a piece for the acupuncture room. I was totally excited because I knew what the room felt like, so creating this piece was also internal.
When did the project start and end?
I started to work on the piece at the beginning of September. I actually had another idea originally of using reclaimed wood, but after looking at the wall I decided to use 3×2 wooden panels, which is often what I use in creating my pieces. I finished the piece toward the middle of October.
What tools and materials did you use?
I am a total child when it comes to creating a piece, because everything excites me. I’m a Mixed Media artist – which, let’s just say, is both exciting and challenging – and on this piece I immediately could see glass, material, rocks, so many different layers of texture that I wanted to use. Overall, I used paint, glass, rocks, beads, material, alpaca glue as texture and the three wooden panels. I love texture – it is what I am all about.
What was the process of conceptualizing and executing the work? Were there any challenges you encountered?
When Ryan asked me about creating this piece he gave me total freedom, which is such a gift as an artist. I immediately had a feeling of flow and freedom and empowerment. I wanted this piece to embody a sense of calm and being centered, since this is my experience when receiving acupuncture. I loved that I could see – almost immediately – the colors and feeling I wanted to portray. I often use Google to look at pictures of what I’m seeing or feeling and so I found a picture of the wave, the flow, and brought it to Ryan, and we also talked about colors. Both the size of the piece and the colors were very important – too much yellow and it would jump out at people; if the blues were too bright it would feel overwhelming. I painted and re-painted the piece three times before I was happy with the background. In my head I could see exactly what I wanted, but until it came out exact I couldn’t begin to add texture. I eat, sleep and live in a piece when I create it, so sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with how I want something to be. I am a piece of my art work, and that is very important to me.
What does the finished work symbolize and embody to you?
It was very exciting to create this piece, but the real excitement was looking at it once it was hung. I had this vision the entire time, but once it was hung I saw the vision totally come to life. The flow in the wave and the textures and colors were what I was hoping to embody. The lighting and the shadows in the room hit it just right. It was even more exciting to have Ryan’s positive response and to hear about the reaction of others. I love hearing the stories of how people describe the piece. It feels like a success, and that’s the point.
Is there anything else you want to add about the project?
I am very much a child at heart. Getting dirty while working is my favorite thing ever. I love to get deeply involved in a piece and I’ve learned that often times I have to sit – sometimes for days, sometimes for weeks – watching and thinking about the next step before I can continue. My vision is usually clear in my head, and sometimes I just have to stop and know that I will create exactly what I vision. It is humbling.
Where else can people see your work?
I have some small pieces of “veggie” artwork for sale at Fiachre on Pleasant Street, and two large pieces for sale at Knaughty Hair Salon on Commercial Street. At The Bar of Chocolate on Wharf Street I have a seven-foot panel hung, called “A Day In Paris”. Hair Innovations on Fore Street commissioned me for a piece that is hung behind their front desk. I am also in the process of creating a website of the work I’ve done and the work I hope to create. I can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Let’s refresh. The metal element deals with autumn. It’s about learning to let life in and let life go. Just like an inhale and an exhale – we can’t have one without the other. Metal is also the element that deals with acknowledgment and grief. Yes, it’s a jam-packed element! Which brings me back to routine.
I live a life of little routines. This comes in handy, particularly when raising young children. Routines help give my family structure. Think of it this way: if I poured a pitcher of water onto the beach, the water would go everywhere. But if I dig out trenches and give the sand structure, when the water is poured again it has a direction to flow. If I listed all the routines I have with my children between 6am to 8:30am it would make my head spin! However, I know this allows my kids and I and to have a much more peaceful morning, full of creativity and possibility. Not to mention everyone gets cleaned up, dressed, fed, and out the door to school.
I heard a quote this past week that I’d like to share. To paraphrase: when you have a specific routine in place, you don’t ever have to start it over again. This is my goal with MCA. I hope to help create routines with my patients.
It’s much easier to keep things moving than starting again from square-one, or when the body is in crisis. When patients come in for maintenance care, it makes treatment easier. A great example is my folks with sleep or allergy issues – when I treat them throughout the year, they are less affected when allergy season comes around. There can be a great deal of freedom in routine.
Take a look at your life. Where is there chaos? How can a few routines help make your life more peaceful? When you uncover that chaos, breath deep. Just in doing so adds structure and creates a more peaceful you.
The change in weather and heavy rains have reminded me of a simple remedy for keeping healthy. A patient came in today talking about how she was “bone cold.” It’s true: the rain and wind can trigger a bone-chilling feeling. When I get that feeling, I turn to ginger root.
Ah, the wonderful world of ginger root! It’s a good friend to many in New England during the fall and winter months. Ginger does a lovely job of helping to kick out the chill and warm up your body. I often tell my patients if they feel like they’re coming down with a cold and can’t make it in for a treatment, do the following:
- Buy a hunk of organic ginger
- Slice off 10-12 twelve pieces, roughly the size and width of a quarter (see photo above)
- Add 20-30 ounces of water to a small pot or tea kettle
- Toss in the ginger
- Bring the water to a low boil, cover it up and continue to boil for 10-15 minutes
The result should be a bit spicy. You can always mix in honey to sweeten it up if you wish, or just add a bit of water if it’s too spicy. Sip this elixir throughout out the next day or two, and make more as needed. You’ll be feeling better in no time.
Hey folks, we’ve heard from some of you that when you schedule an appointment online you sometimes have to re-enter all your information. That’s a pain in the you-know-what, so we’ve contacted our scheduling company, Cliniko, to ask for some advice.
Here’s what they said: (we decode this for you, just keep reading!)
As it currently stands, that “Remember me” function is the only way to keep someone’s information stored in that window. This isn’t actually a “Cliniko-specific” thing, but rather a “browser-specific” thing. If the “Remember me” feature isn’t working for people, it’s very likely that there are some components of their browser set-up that are causing things to not be remembered — such as using private browsing, or not having cookies enabled (cookies are things that will “remember” data, and this would be true for that Cliniko bookings page, an email login, Facebook, etc. Without knowing which browsers people are using it can be hard to troubleshoot from afar, but here’s an example of how Google Chrome talks about enabling or disabling cookies — this may be of use.
Okay, so what they’re saying is that the “remember me” box works only when it can connect to a function on your web browser (Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.) Keep in mind, that turning on a function that will save your MCA scheduling information may also save other information that you enter all the time on your computer (name, e-mail address, etc.). Some folks love this function of their web browser, other’s don’t. If you don’t, we suggest you skip ahead to suggestion #3.
Did you click “remember me” but it didn’t save from the last time you booked an appointment? You need to enable cookies on your browser. Cookies? Yum! Not those cookies; these are bits of information that store your data and help to auto-fill forms like in our online scheduling. Don’t worry, cookies are generally harmless.
We’ve gathered some links that will bring you to instructions for enabling cookies on different browsers. If this doesn’t work, try googling it further. We’d love to help more, but we happen to know more about acupuncture than about computer stuff! 🙂
This link gives instructions for: Internet Explorer 4 and 6 for Windows, Internet Explorer for Mac, Firefox for Windows and Mac (OS X), Safari for Mac (OS X), Opera 7 for Windows or Mac, Netscape Navigator 6 for Windows or Mac.
Here’s an article and more instructions: What are cookies? And How to enable them.
For video instruction, go to YouTube.com and search “enable cookies” and find the video that goes with your web browser.
For cell phone users:
Apple iOS (iPhone, iPad)
From the home screen tap the ‘Settings’ icon, then choose ‘Safari’. Find the ‘Accept Cookies’ option and set the required cookie behaviour.
Tap the ‘Internet’ icon to start the browser, then press the phone’s menu button. From the list of options, choose ‘More’, and then select ‘Settings’, then ‘Privacy and Security’. Scroll down the resulting list and check or uncheck the ‘Accept Cookies’ item.
The next time you’re in, ask Ryan to just schedule you for the dates you have in mind. Remember, our hours are as follows:
|Tuesday:||9:30AM – 12:30PM & 3:00PM – 6:30PM|
|Wednesday:||9:30AM – 12:30PM|
|Friday:||9:30AM – 12:30PM|
|Saturday:||9:00AM – 12:00PM|
We hope this information helps. We want scheduling your appointments to be easy and stress-free! See you soon.
– The MCA team
In the June newsletter I wrote about my knee injury and how I realized I needed to change my behaviors around physical fitness and nutrition. At the time of my accident, I was operating under “false wellness”—that is, the idea that I was more in shape than I actually was. The recovery period has helped me understand how important getting back into shape is. As promised (to myself and to you!) I have been modifying my routine with wellness in mind, and I’m happy to share my notes!
First let me say that I don’t measure health by weight or pounds lost—it’s not a great measuring tool because the scale doesn’t reflect the muscles I’ve developed or the fat I’ve burned accurately (remember, muscle weighs more than fat). I take measurements in inches—around my waistline, around my bicep, thigh, and upper chest muscles. It’s here that I can really see a difference! I was tempted to step on the scale when I noticed that my belt needed to be tightened to a different notch, and as it turns out I lost 5 pounds, but I’m more satisfied with the muscle gain.
Nutrition-wise, I am sticking to a few good habits. I don’t eat after 8pm, and I take in more protein at breakfast (usually as a shake). Before, my low- or no-protein breakfasts left me hungry again by 10am or 11am. Now I am satisfied through lunch! I eat a sensible lunch and dinner and that’s about it!
Because my knee isn’t back to 100% mobility yet, I’ve had to pace myself with my exercise plan. I do a lot of yard work andtake short walks, and have begun a super quick (but I won’t say “easy”) workout plan using this app called 7 Minute Workout. For seven minutes, I am prompted through a series of exercises that are not overly taxing on my body. I love this app because I don’t need any equipment, or a gym membership, and I can do it any time. We can agree that we all have seven minutes to invest in our health, right?
Lessons Learned from a Wheelchair
The official date for the start of summer is just around the corner, and something I would have never expected is that I would spend the end of spring working from a wheelchair! As many of you know, I badly injured my knee in a running accident on May 19. I so appreciate all the concern and kind words from my patients, and am grateful for your support as I moved a little more slowly in the treatment room. I am slowly improving with steady progress, and look forward to being fully mobile again soon. Good news is that I’m wheelchair free!
Two lessons I have learned from my accident are just how fragile health can be, and the importance of fitness. Using crutches and a wheelchair revealed my need to be in better shape. So that’s what I’m doing: every day I prioritize moving towards better health. I hope you’ll join me in this journey into fitness, and that you’ll let MCA help you get there.
MCA delivers summer allergy relief
In early summer, I see so many folks with wicked bad allergies. You don’t have to suffer through them any more! Coming in for regular acupuncture treatments can make a world of difference—and will allow you to be outside doing the things you love like gardening, playing with kids, and just enjoying that fresh Maine air! Make your appointment today for allergy relief. Here’s a bonus: our friend Cathleen Miller of Delicious Ginger Teas and Tonics is keeping MCA stocked with her Allergy Relief tea (which has been flying off our shelves!). The organic teas are available for just $5.
Acu Pro-Tip from an MCA patient:
MCA Reviews from YELP:
“We noticed results immediately. My headaches aren’t nearly as frequent, my stress levels are getting better and I’m learning how to really relax.” -Maria M.
“At the recommendation of a good friend I went to see Ryan at Maine Center for Acupuncture. Talk about a revolutionary moment in my life.” -Steff D.
Ryan Nitz, MA.c., LA.c.
I’d like to share a brief story about how acupuncture is really more than what meets the eye. Recently, I had a conversation with a dear patient of mine at the start of her session. We’ve been working together for quite some time and with great success she is now at the point of coming in only for maintenance. On this particular day, she inquired about a body worker who offers something different than acupuncture. I was happy (as I always am when talking about community practitioners) to offer a little information—and while I haven’t personally received this type of modality treatment, I could comfortably speak about the person in question. Then I asked her why she was asking? She let me know that there was a spot in her upper back near the top of her trapezius muscle that was constantly bothering her. I let her know this was the first time I had heard about it and she admitted that it hadn’t occurred to her to ask me about it. Here’s where the story gets good: using my hands, I pressed down on a few acupuncture points and asked if the tension area on her back had shifted. It had! With some surprise in her voice, she let me know the pain was relieved. We decided to use acupuncture to treat that problem area for that session, and I told her “All you have to do is ask.”
The conversation I had with this patient is common, and I have it every few weeks. One of the toughest parts of my job is letting my patients know how to use me and acupuncture—for whatever is ailing them. I imagine I should be more subtle than installing neon sign above my treatment room door that reads, JUST ASK! and so I’m writing this post. Most times the answer is yes, acupuncture can help you with ________ [insert your concern or issue]. It can be as specific as an area of pain or something more general like feeling tired. If you ask the question, I will offer my support. And if I can’t treat your condition with acupuncture, then I will do my best to find you another modality or practitioner who can. We’re in this together, so just ask.