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!
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.
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?
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.