Acupuncture, Stress, and the Holidays

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The holidays are a busy time of year for most of us. We get easily wrapped up in holiday planning, baking, attending parties, traveling, and we neglect to take care of ourselves. At the end of it all, we wind up feeling heavy, tired, and probably a little depressed. This is probably one of the most important times of year to keep your health at the top of your to do list. Stress, a plethora of circulating illnesses, poor party eating and drinking, lack of sleep and travel all conspire against us this time of year, and wear down our immune systems. So how do you stay healthy amidst all of the distractions? There are a few simple things you can do to maintain your health right now:

1. Get Acupuncture
2. Drink lots of water
3. Take these 2 supplements: Elderberry and Vitamin D3

Acupuncture

No time for acupuncture? Surely you can fit in an hour a week for a little Rest and Relaxation. If you have insurance coverage, you may need to use that, or use your HSA money before the end of the year, so call and check your benefits. The benefits of a few “tune-up” treatments this time of year are huge, and include:

  • an increase in white blood cells (read: boosted immunity)
  • precious time to relax, quiet your mind, and unload your stresses on someone whose job it is to listen to you
  • instant relief from that __________ (fill in the blank): stress headache, backache, insomnia, digestive discomfort, etc so you can enjoy that holiday party tonight

An added bonus to visiting my office in NW Portland is that you are already in one of the premier boutique shopping districts in town, so before or after your treatment you can check off those final gifts from your shopping list. Moonstruck, anyone?

After acupuncture.
After acupuncture.

Water

Partaking of too much eggnog this holiday season? Alcohol, although a fun part of the holidays, also has some negative side effects (beyond the obvious hangover potential).

Alcohol can dehydrate you, and it is already so dry this time of year, what with all of the time we spend in heated buildings and cars, so do yourself a favor and increase your water consumption and watch that scaly skin and those chapped lips disappear.

If you consume enough alcohol to feel tipsy or drunk, you are compromising your immunity. Any sugar in that drink? Even 1 tsp of sugar (about 4g) can depress your immune system for 5 hours. Add to that all of the sweets that are floating around the office or your kitchen, and this can easily lead to round-the-clock immune depression. Drinking adequate water can help to flush toxins you are exposed to, and also it helps circulate those immune cells (like white blood cells) to different parts of the body.

Important Winter Supplements

  • Elderberry extract. The black elderberry (sambucus nigra) is a wonderful addition to your family’s daily routine. It is a safe supplement, even for children, and is clinically proven to prevent illness, as well as to decrease intensity and duration of colds and flus if you do get sick. Also, it tastes good:)
  • Vitamin D3. I once heard a comedian refer to the Portland as the “land of eternal evening.” I find this to be a rather accurate portrayal this time of year, and it is becoming well-accepted that most of us here in the NW are seriously deficient in our Vitamin D. The benefits of Vitamin D are becoming well documented: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618.php, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitamin-d/NS_patient-vitamind/DSECTION=evidence and include: decreasing the risks of developing cancer, decreased risks of multiple sclerosis in pregnant women, improved brain function in later life, increase immune system, maintaining healthy body weight, decrease incidence of asthma attacks in asthmatics, and the list goes on and on. It is also linked to helping people who are at risk of developing seasonal depression (SAD). I frequently recommend it in my practice, and you can ask your MD to run a simple blood test to find out whether you have adequate levels of Vitamin D.

So, call this my holiday survival guide. Simple, effective, and all things that I implement in my life. If you follow my suggestions, I think you will have a happy holiday indeed. Also, feel free to call (5 oh 3 – 44two – 1205) or email me if you are interested in giving someone in your life the gift of health with an acupuncture gift certificate. Here’s to you!