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?
Well, here we are, February–what I call the longest month of the year! As the snow has piled up, I’ve noticed some changes in what folks are coming in to be treated for. I went from seeing everyday symptoms like digestion trouble, sleep concerns, colds, and sinus congestion to more acute issues stemming from falls on the ice and overuse of the back and elbows from shoveling. So, I’d like to offer the following “insurance policies.” Both can dramatically improve your ability to have a pain-free winter and each cost roughly as much as one acupuncture treatment. Together, our goal can be to work on your everyday concerns and keep those acute injuries at bay!
Policy #1: Save Your Back
For snow removal, I recommend using this ergonomic shovel. It will help reduce unnecessary strain on your back. It may take a little longer to do the work because the amount of snow you can move is smaller, but your body will thank you–trust me!
Bonus: if you buy a new ergonomic snow shovel Murphy’s Law will guarantee you won’t have to use it! You’re welcome. 🙂
Policy #2: Prevent Slips and Falls
A slip or fall on the ice can be painful take a long time to heal. I treat falls every year, and acupuncture can help speed the healing process, but wouldn’t it be nice to know there is an easy and inexpensive way to prevent the injury?
Wearing these strap-on ice cleats over your shoes and boots will dramatically decrease your risk of falling. I have many patients and professional colleagues who wear these and report feeling 100% confident while walking in slippery conditions. There are many brands available online and locally, and most cost about the same as one acupuncture treatment.
We look forward to seeing you soon, and hope that you’ll consider my recommendations for preventative measures that will keep you healthy, strong, and injury-free this winter! Schedule online now.
Ryan Nitz, MAc., LA.C, owner of Maine Center for Acupuncture