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Self-Care and Spiritual Wellness for Those with Cancer

by Scott Sanders

 

Cancer is one of the most prevalent diseases in the United States and across the world. Data from 2010-2012 revealed that 39.6 percent of men and women will have a cancer diagnosis at some point during their lifetimes -- that’s four out of ten American adults. If you do get cancer, seek medical assistance from an oncologist and follow a treatment plan. However, there are also steps that you can take to care for yourself through your illness.

Addiction Prevention                                                                                                                                              

People who are diagnosed with cancer not only have to wrestle with its physical symptoms, but they also often combat prescription opioid addiction, as well. These prescriptions might include morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that the nationwide cost from abusing prescription opioids could be as high as $78.5 billion. Take some precautions whenever you’re prescribed medicine. Talk to your doctor to make sure the dosage is safe and appropriate for your condition. Then have the same conversation with your pharmacist. Finally, if you ever feel sedated, as if you’re drifting through a fog, stop taking it and consult your oncologist.

Sleeping

People with cancer often say they don’t sleep well for a variety of reasons. Many medications keep you up at night. Plus, you’re wrestling with nausea, chronic pain, and frequently going to the bathroom. As such, it’s important to take steps to ensure you’re getting enough sleep. Take your medication on time every day. Unplug your iPad or iPhone, limit how much TV you watch, and give yourself permission to relax. Cut down on your sugar, alcohol, and nicotine intake, and go cold turkey on non-prescription drugs. If it helps, listen to classical music. Try to follow bedtime patterns that help you drift off, such as putting on a face mask, opening a window in the spring, or keeping a noise-machine going.

Eating

Proper nutrition is essential for everyone, but perhaps more so for people with cancer. Eating right stabilizes your metabolism, makes you feel stronger and more energetic, and reduces your risk of coming down with infections. So if you were mostly foraging on fast food and soda, switch up your diet. Fruits and veggies are a must. Go for proteins like nuts, eggs, low-fat yogurt, and lean meats like chicken and omega-3 fatty fish. Slash carbs, but don’t avoid whole grains found in flour, breads, and cereals. And, of course, drink water. Lots of water. About 60 percent of the human body is water, so it’s vital to keep replenishing it.

The Spiritual Side

For effective cancer treatment, nothing replaces going to the hospital and consulting with an oncologist. However, spiritual treatment also exists for cancer patients who want to focus on holistic healing rather than only attending to their physical symptoms. People who are given a cancer diagnosis confront their own mortality, and they often turn to spirituality for meaning. Spiritual treatment can help ease feelings of anger, anxiety, isolation, or hopelessness and lower your risk of committing or considering suicide. This is not a clinical or empirically tested treatment, but if it gives you a sense of inner peace, there’s no reason you shouldn’t explore it.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, seek the expertise of an oncologist as soon as you can. Keep in mind that you are more than just your physical symptoms, so make sure you’re treating yourself right. Drink enough water. Sleep eight hours a night. Cut all the toxins and impurities out of your diet. You’ll feel better, which may help you recover faster.

 

Scott Sanders is the  Author and Creator of cancerwell.org

Image via Unsplash

What to do when you are left waiting...

by Dr. Elizabeth Langer

As a culture addicted to constant stimulation, any type of action feels good.  Even if the result is unfavorable, taking action is still better than waiting.  Because when you are waiting, you are held in a sort of limbo with no guarantee that you will receive your desired outcome. 

This hatred of waiting can manifest in many ways.  Take traffic, for example.  When you are stuck in traffic, this can create a lot of stress, because you are anxious to get to your destination.  You can't control the traffic...  unless you are the yutz who is causing the jam!  But if you've read this far, I don't think you are a yutz, so let's focus on what you can control...  your attitude.  You can either get upset because you are stuck or you can use that time productively.  Meditate, talk to your kids, or listen to your music.  

Your patience is also tested when you are waiting on money.  Entrepreneurs go through periods where they have to wait for clients to either sign up or to pay.  Employees sometimes have to wait from paycheck to paycheck.  Trust me, I understand that when money is tight, it can send everything else in your life into a tailspin.  So what can you control?  If you don't have kids - or are fortunate to have family who will babysit - this is the time to take action!  Get a second job!  It doesn't have to be grueling labor, in fact it could in fact be fun!  Another way you could make the waiting period better is to look into some means of passive income.  If you have kids (or no free sitter), you really need to work on your inner calm and patience because the stress of being in limbo can turn you into psycho-mom (or dad).  It's not easy, especially when you have no food and no money.  

Let's shift your focus to your health.  Are you sick and waiting for the doctor to call?  For your test results?  All that anxiety isn't going to push the results in your favor.  It's only going to make you upset.  Or are you wanting to lose weight, but are in too much pain to exercise?  Are you are waiting for the pain to subside so you can start burning some calories?  Can you try to love yourself and bless the fact that you have an abundance of food?  And can you start to reduce certain things in your diet (i.e. processed foods) that could contribute to your inflammation?  Maybe you know of a good acupuncturist who could help?  

Or maybe you are trying to conceive?  Whether you are waiting for the test results or are waiting to see if you got your period, how do you stay in faith while you are waiting for your miracle?  In a tender time when everything seems beyond your control, remaining patient and finding peace can seem impossible. 

No matter what the circumstance, patience isn't something that comes easily.  Not only is it a skill, but it is also a fruit of the Spirit.  So attaining patience doesn't mean working harder.  It means letting go.  As you exhale the tension and frustration, patience will naturally come in when you rebound and inhale.  You just have to ask for it.

If there is anyway in which I can help, please don't hesitate to contact me!

 

Top 5 Causes of Female Infertility

As an acupuncturist and chiropractor, I always look to simple and natural solutions to solve most health problems. Even though many of these conditions are treatable with natural and holistic medicine, it is still important that you are aware of all of your options. A strong understanding of the allopathic world is essential, because information is POWER and there are few things more disempowering than not being able to have a baby.

While there are many different causes of infertility, let's learn about the top five that plague so many women.

1. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is the most common cause of infertility in women. According to Dr. Louise Chang, it affects over 7 million women. Multiple ovarian cysts form and then create a hormonal imbalance, causing your body to produce androgens (male hormones) and decrease your ability to ovulate.   While it is not impossible to get pregnant with PCOS, if your ability to release eggs is impaired, then getting pregnant can be that much more difficult.   Symptoms of PCOS include insulin resistance, obesity, abnormal hair growth on the face or body, irregular or missed periods, acne, skin tags, male-pattern baldness, and anxiety and depression.  

If you think you may have PCOS, it is so important to get treated because you make be a greater risk for diabetes, heart disease, endometrial cancer, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. At this point there is no conventional cure, however there are methods to help you manage your symptoms and prevent co-morbid illnesses.  

2. Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a painful condition that occurs when your endometrium, or uterine lining, develops outside your uterus.   Your endometrium can develop on your ovaries, creating cysts, or on your fallopian tubes. Though this tissue can be removed, scarring can occur that can block the passage of sperm, preventing a pregnancy. 

In addition to infertility, symptoms of endometriosis can cause pelvic pain, excessive bleeding, painful periods, pain with intercourse, and pain with urination and bowel movements. You may also experience nausea, fatigue, and irritable bowel syndrome. Endometriosis can be treated many ways naturally, but the allopathic treatments include medications and surgery. Medications include NSAIDS, naproxin, contraceptives, and drugs that decrease estrogen and increase progesterone.    

3. Pituitary Problems

The pituitary gland is commonly known as the "master gland" because it controls the ENTIRE endocrine system! If you have dysfunctions with your pituitary gland, this can create problems throughout your entire body.   It communicates with your thyroid, your adrenals, your pancreas, and your ovaries. If you have pituitary problems, natural medicine, such as acupuncture, nutrition, and chiropractic are wonderful for creating balance and managing your symptoms. However, having a good endocrinologist is essential. Many times, these conditions must be managed with medications and not receiving the proper treatment can leave you VERY sick!

Two major hormones that are produced by your pituitary gland that stimulate ovulation are follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and lutenizing hormone (LH).   The most common signs of imbalances of FSH and LH are irregular or absent periods. Hyperprolactinemia occurs when the anterior portion of your pituitary gland produces too much prolactin. In short, this decreases the amount of estrogen in your body. Sometimes, this goes away on its own, but medications can be prescribed.

Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid is under-functioning and does not produce enough T4. This condition can interfere with ovulation. Fortunately, this is an easy fix! Most medications are relatively safe during pregnancy, and if you are trying a natural route iodine, diet, and Yoga may be beneficial.

Adrenal insufficiency occurs when your adrenal glands don't produce enough cortisol (stress hormone) and ATCH. This condition is also known as Addison's disease. Even though it has a bad reputation, cortisol is a vital hormone that is necessary for immune function, stress response, and homeostasis.   If you have adrenal insufficiency, you just have to take your medications. Hydrocortisone is preferable to other steroids, as this is the closest to the natural cortisol produced by your body.

Cushing's Disease occurs when a benign tumor on your pituitary gland wreaks havoc on your entire body. Common symptoms include trunkal obesity, excessive hair growth, moon face, spinal distortions - "Buffalo hump," weakening of bones & skin, fatigue, acne, and of course... elevated cortisol. Some docs will go by the "watch and wait," which is fine if your symptoms aren't too bad, but it's better to get the surgery sooner rather than later. When the tumor is small, they can go up your nose or through your eye. Even though this sounds scary, it is a relatively low-risk procedure and it's better than them opening up your skull. Trust me on this - I went through this and I'm okay. 

4. Premature Ovarian Failure

Premature ovarian failure occurs when your ovaries no longer produce eggs. However, you can miss this if your doctors marginalize you and label you as "menopausal" or "perimenopausal." This is why blood work is so important! Symptoms of premature ovarian failure are often associated with a decrease in estrogen and may include irregular or missed periods, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, irritability, and of course, infertility.

If you have premature ovarian failure due to chemotherapy, it is most likely that your oncologist has discussed this with you. If not, you need a new doctor.

But if you have premature ovarian failure due to genetics or an autoimmune condition, it doesn't hurt to tune up your Throat Chakra and ask your doctor to get some blood work. Some tests that your doctor might want to consider would be to test your estradiol levels, your follicle stimulating hormones (FSH) levels, and your prolactin levels. Genetic testing may include a "kareotype" that would examine your chromosomes for any problems and an FMR1 test to make sure that both of your X chromosomes - as females we are XX - are intact.

This is really important because in addition to infertility and discomfort, prematurely low estrogen can lead to osteoporosis, heart disease, and dementia.

5. Unknown

Sometimes there is no known cause for not being able to have a baby.   In some ways, this can be the saddest of all because there is no way to put a name on it. Even though in away, this is good, because you and your partner may both be very healthy, it still hurts.

And the doctors don't know why?   Since there is no "reason" you are left feeling even more helpless.

But this is when you really want to focus on alternative methods like acupuncture, massage, herbs, and nutrition. These methods will support and nourish your body and help you to be better able to support a baby.

Whatever the reason for your struggle with fertility, know that you are not alone. I encourage you to reach out for support to friends, family, coaches, and counselors.  

If you would like to learn more and be part of a group of kind and caring individuals, please feel free to join our Facebook group, Hope & Healing Fertility.

 

The Easiest Way to Get Pregnant!

If you have been struggling to get pregnant, it's no secret that diet plays an important role in your journey to fertility. Women are often placed on super-strict diets that require the complete elimination of their favorite foods. While a nutritious diet is important, drastic changes can be stressful and overwhelming.

And if the doctor doesn't bother to take your constitution into account, the results can be disastrous.  

Since I am all about making things easy, I want to share the simplest way to get pregnant...

Can you guess?

Eat one egg every day.

That's it. Fertility diets can really be that simple.

In my practice, I come across a lot of women who mention that they want to have a baby. So without me giving them a complete fertility treatment, I share that the easiest way to increase their fertility is to add an egg to their diet.  

And 80% of the time, it works!

Now if you are among the other 20%, please don't stress! There is nothing wrong with you, but you just may need some extra help.  

To find out a little more about easy tips for fertility, please feel free to join our Hope & Healing Fertility Facebook group! If you'd like some more personal attention about your fertility struggles, I would encourage you to shoot me an email!

How do Balanced Chakras Increase Fertility?

You are probably aware that you need to be healthy physically in order to conceive a healthy baby.   Mothers-to-be are often placed on strict diets that will not only nourish their babies, but will also nourish their bodies to support a developing baby.

But did you know that there is an energetic principle to fertility?

No... Not just in having energy to do the "baby dance," or in a New Age "woo woo" way.    

Good energy/Qi/Prana is important for very practical reasons. Your chakras, for example, are directly related to your endocrine system, which produces and regulates hormones. And if you've been struggling with infertility, you know the importance of balanced hormones.  

If you aren't familiar with your chakras, they act as energy vortexes that help to facilitate the circulation of Qi, or vital energy, through your body You have seven major chakras, and they are each associated with their own function, element, endocrine gland, and color.

Fun, huh?'

So let's start at the "Root..."

Root Chakra

With your Root Chakra, Muladara! This grounding energy center is associated with the Earth element and the color red.  It is located at the base of the spine, in the perineum - the thin membrane that separates your vagina from your anus. You can become aware of your perineum when you perform"Kegal" exercises.

Your Root Chakra is associated with safety, security, and having a strong sense of belonging. It is linked to your adrenal glands and when imbalanced, fear, neediness, and self-destructive behaviors, such as addictions are the result. I don't think I need to say how problematic addictions can be for a developing baby... But I will say that it is important that your foundation is strong, so your baby can be supported.  

Sacral Chakra

The Sacral Chakra, Svadhisthana, is associated with the water element and the color orange and located in your uterine area, right below the navel. In TCM, this area is known as the "Dan Tien, a major focus point for Qi Gong and Tai Chi practice. This is is the place where your baby will grow!

Svadhisthana is responsible for your reproductive organs: your uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. While it is true that your Sacral Chakra is associated with sensuality and sexuality, it is also connected to creativity and manifestation. Any imbalances will appear as guilt, poor self-esteem, insecurity, and lack of emotion.

Solar Plexus Chakra

The Solar Plexus Chakra, Manipura, is associated with fire, is yellow in color, and is located in from your solar plexus to your naval. It is the center of your personal power, your will, confidence, judgments, and discipline. Manipura is the seat of your ego, and how you perceive yourself in the world.

May I ask a personal question... Why do you want a baby?

While I am certain that your reasons are heart-felt and genuine, some women may find that they experience problems because they have placed so much of their identity in having children. Let go of your personal image and you may find it easier to conceive. By releasing your ego, you also release your anxiety and can begin to enjoy your journey to creating a happy, healthy baby.

Your Solar Plexus Chakra is connected your digestive and metabolic systems, specifically, the pancreas.   Your pancreas controls your blood sugar and plays an important role in managing conditions such as PCOS, and preventing gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.

Heart Chakra

The Heart Chakra, Anahata, is extremely important on your journey to a family. This chakra holds your peace, love, and joy, not just for yourself, but for your partner and your baby! Anahata is usually green in color, although may be pink in some cases. It is located in the center of your chest, and is charge of your thymus gland, which is important in the regulation of the immune system. Anahata also controls your heart, lungs, and your upper burner in TCM.

This chakra serves as a connection between your upper and lower chakras. As it provides a transition of Qi between your Earthly body and you aspirations, spirituality, or Higher Self, but acts as a center for love to radiate.   When there is an imbalance in your Heart Chakra, you may experience defensiveness, jealousy, and unforgiveness. Or you may be a desperate people-pleaser and focus all of your energy on getting people to accept you. When Anahata in harmony, your baby will grow and develop with all of the love, peace, and joy you could imagine.

Throat Chakra

Your Throat Chakra, Vishuddha, allows for the purification and passage of energy between your head and your body. This gland is associated with the thyroid. If you thyroid is underactive or overactive, this can cause problems with conception. The main function of this sky-blue chakra is authentic expression and communication. Speaking your truth and setting boundaries are essential for a strong Vishuddha.  

Consider this...

On your fertility journey, there is a chance that you may encounter a couple of naysayers and people who "mean well" but are overly critical and putting their noses where they don't belong. If you decide to get acupuncture for fertility, they will tell you to get IVF. If you choose IVF, they will tell you to get acupuncture. And that is only before you are pregnant!  

And while this is a bit funny, if you are not able to set boundaries and enforce them, then you will allow these people and circumstances to get in the way of the happiness of your family. You matter. You deserve to be heard.   You don't need to be mean, but tell them to buzz off... Nicely.  

Third-Eye Chakra

The Third-Eye Chakra, Ajna, is located between your eyebrows. Though its color is usually indigo, it can sometimes appear as purple.   Ajna is responsible for imagination, visualization, intuition, and critical thinking. It is associated with the pituitary gland, the master gland that controls your entire endocrine system.  

Imbalances may manifest as living in a fantasy land, overindulging in psychic delusions, or on the opposite end, lack of clarity and completely rejecting anything spiritual.

This chakra will be important on your fertility journey because it will allow you to visualize your goals and help you to connect to your own wisdom and trust yourself. 

Crown Chakra

Your Crown Chakra, Sahasrara, is located at the top of your head. It's color is purple, although in cases of extreme connection to your creator, may manifest as white or even gold. The function of your Crown Chakra provides you with a higher state of consciousness and connects you to God, the Divine, your Creator.   You don't have to be religious to experience this connection... All you have to do is ask for it.

Sahasrara controls your pineal gland. This tiny gland produces melatonin and seratonin, both hormones that are responsible for your body's inner rhythm. Unfortunately, the pineal gland has a tendency to calcify as we age. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that good melatonin can be a little bit pricey?

Imbalances in your Crown Chakra may manifest as close-mindedness, cynicism and derision to spirituality; or conversely, extreme disconnection with your body and obsession with spirituality.

So why is Sahasrara so important on your journey to fertility? This journey will be filled with challenges and trials. And even after you have your baby, parenting can be intense. Having a connection with something greater than yourself will give you the strength to carry on when times get tough. And this connection will help you to see the bigger picture.

If you would like to learn a little more about fertility, or how a balanced chakra/endocrine system can help you on your journey, please feel free to shoot me an email or join our Facebook group, Hope & Healing Fertility!

Healthy Foods for Fibromyalgia Syndrome

How Diet Impacts Fibromyalgia Syndrome

If you suffer from fibromyalgia syndrome, you most likely experience extreme fatigue and digestive problems in addition to pain. While it is important to have a diet that fights inflammation, it is also important to eat foods will not exacerbate your digestion and make you feel worse. If your digestion is problematic, it is more difficult for you to adequately absorb nutrients from food.

An optimal diet plan for someone with fibromyalgia syndrome is based on whole foods and is high in consumption of fruits and vegetables. Though you don’t have to be a vegetarian, it is beneficial to include a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

But that’s not saying anything new.

When it comes to an anti-inflammatory diet, there are many different opinions on what works. Many thrive on 100% raw vegan diet and others feel that they need to consume meat in order to be healthy. Depending on you and your personal beliefs, a sensible middle ground can almost always be reached.

However, there are certain foods that help fight pain.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These polyunsaturated fatty acids must be consumed in foods because they are not made by our bodies. Omega-3’s are important for a healthy circulation, nerve conduction, and are beneficial to the integrity of cell membranes. Not only do omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation, they also reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. They are found in foods such as fish, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and dark green, leafy vegetables.

Proteins

Proteins are essential for the building and repair of tissues in the body and are easy to obtain in the diet. Proteins are found in meats, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes, whole grains, and vegetables. Fish is a great source for protein because unlike red meat, it does not create as much inflammation. However, game meats such as venison and bison don’t seem to cause as many problems as beef. Consume in moderation and see how you feel.

Can you get enough protein from vegetables? Yep! Don’t go by me… Go by the American Dietetic Association (1) and the American Heart Association (2). And for those with sensitivities to soy, protein can be found in other plant-based sources such as beans and legumes. Lentils, peas, chick peas, black beans, and kidney beans all have high amounts of protein. Adzuki beans are not only high in protein, but are particularly beneficial for inflammation. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, contain a high amount of protein as well as other nutrients that fight inflammation. Watch the salt in some of these products.

Whole Grains

Though certain grains may cause problems in people with sensitivities, consuming whole grains provides many important B vitamins and beneficial nutrients. Oats, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, and barely provide energy and help to neutralize inflammation. 

Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables contain necessary vitamins and minerals that our bodies require to function. Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K help to fight pain. Vitamins B and C both work to stimulate neurotransmitters which help to regulate the body, making it stronger and more resilient. Important minerals that can relieve inflammation are zinc, magnesium, and potassium. Some vegetables that may benefit those with fibromyalgia include kale, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, Swiss chard, spinach, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels’s sprouts, and cabbage contain nutrients that can keep our bodies healthy.

Certain fruits are powerful for pain relief. Dried fruits can actually increase inflammation at times, but this may have more to do with them containing sugars or other preservatives. Fresh fruit is best, but frozen can work just as well. Juices are okay… But they are often highly processed and lack fiber. Check to see that they are from 100% juice. Fruits that will benefit pain include papayas, pineapples, cherries, apples, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, lemons and limes, and avocados.

                                                  Nightshades and Pain                                                  

Though vegetables in the nightshade category contain many nutrients that help to relieve pain and inflammation, some may find that these foods may exacerbate certain symptoms. If you find yourself experiencing pain and discomfort when eating foods such as tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, and white potatoes, you may be sensitive to a chemical called alkaloids which exist in nightshades. For people with sensitivities to alkaloids, they can contribute to inflammation in joints and interfere with nerve function and digestion.

To help manage your symptoms, it may be beneficial to either reduce them or eliminate them completely from your diet. If these foods don’t bother you, by all means, eat up!

Foods for Good Digestion

Ensuring proper digestion is critical in managing fibromyalgia syndrome. Heartburn and acid reflux not only cause pain and discomfort, but they can also erode the esophagus and digestive tract. Irritable bowel syndrome, often experienced by people with fibromyalgia, wreaks havoc on the body with its alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea. Constipation prevents proper elimination and can cause a buildup of waste, feelings of sluggishness, and fluid retention. Diarrhea can dehydrate the body, adversely affecting the balance of electrolytes.

It can be challenging to find foods that react well with your constitution because each person is affected differently. Some of the foods listed above, while wonderful for fighting inflammation can seriously aggravate digestion. Fruits and vegetables are great. However, some cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli can create gas and bloating.

A great way to enjoy vegetables and reap the maximum benefits and reduce digestive discomfort is to steam them slightly. It breaks them down so your body can better absorb them. True… some of the nutrients will be destroyed, but your body will be better able to absorb the foods that it consumes.

There are certain foods which are a little "safer" for most people, such as oatmeal - not the pre-packaged instant type. Healthy oatmeal may require a little more time and effort to prepare, but the health benefits are worth it. Oats have a lower glycemic index and act as a good overall tonifier. Water with lemon is usually pretty mild, though drinking water at room temperature is better if you have a delicate digestive system.

Consume with Caution

There are certain foods in every diet which should be reduced or eliminated entirely. With fibromyalgia syndrome, the negative effects of these foods can be experienced with greater intensity. Though these foods may not need to be removed completely, there are certain foods you may want to limit. Alcohol, caffeine, red meats, dairy, and pre-packaged foods are inflammatory. White flour and white sugar may also create excess inflammation. Sugar-substitutes, such as aspartame and saccharin can be more harmful to our bodies than regular sugar.

Fried and greasy foods are known to make you sick, but the over-use of "healthy" oils can also contribute to pain and inflammation. Extra virgin olive oil and flax seed oil are usually beneficial, but should be consumed in moderation and not be exposed to high temperatures.

So what works for you?

Its trial and error when finding a diet that works for you. If you find a health care provider who can work with you, please take advantage. There is no "one-size fits all." But look out for practitioners who are striving to make a profit or are pushing extreme diet plans. Also be careful of practitioners who will not work with your dietary beliefs. Look for plans that are sensible and well-rounded.

Understanding how foods affect our bodies is important for everyone. By paying attention to how our bodies react to different foods, we can become empowered in taking control of our health and wellness.

If you found this information helpful, please share! If you would like to learn more about how I could help you, please shoot me a message or call at 412-860-0246!

References

"Vegetarian Diets." American Heart Association., 28 11 2011. 16 Mar 2012.http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/Vegetarian-Diets_UCM_306032_Article.jsp.

"Vegetarian diets." Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 109. (2009): 1266-1282. 

Five Healthy Ways to Boost Your Qi!

by Dr. Elizabeth Langer

Sometimes you are just feeling "blah." You feel completely off and can't seem to get your energy up. You are so overwhelmed with exhaustion that you feel it in your bones. Your digestion is sluggish and you may be experiencing constipation, diarrhea, or symptoms of IBS. Worse yest, you are always getting sick!

What's going on?

Most likely you are experiencing a common condition in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) referred to as Qi deficiency. The good news is that there are many ways to boost your Qi naturally so you can feel like you again!

But what is Qi and how does it keeping you healthy?

Qi, more commonly known as Chi, is the fundamental energy that sustains life and makes things work. According to TCM principals, Qi is the substance responsible for keeping us alive and making our bodies move. It powers respiration, digestion, circulation, and elimination.

When Qi is imbalanced or depleted in our bodies, we get sick. If we are injured, Qi (and Blood) stagnates or "gets stuck." If the injury is sustained for too long, then the Qi (and Blood) becomes deficient.

Qi circulates throughout our bodies in channels known as Meridians. We cannot see this system, but research is being done and it's visibility is being shown in Quantum Physics. Some scientists have identified it as the Primavascular System.

So now that you have a little bit more of an understanding of what Qi is and what is is responsible for in your body, let's talk about five ways you can boost your Qi so you can stay healthy and live a healthy life!

  1. Eat a Healthy Diet                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This doesn't mean to go on a diet, rather commit to eating sensible and well-balanced meals that give your body energy.    And a healthy diet for one person may not be the same for another.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   However, there are a few basic rules to eating well.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     First, stop eating crap! All the cookies, crackers, and chips contain chemicals that clog your arteries, make you gain weight, and suck your energy because your body has to work extra hard to digest. This doesn't mean that you can't treat yourself, but when these "treats" happen once a week or even once a day, this can be a problem.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Another basic tenet is to eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables. Two of the healthiest diets, Paleo and Raw Vegan, have one thing in common, they are both high in fresh fruits and vegetables.   Fresh fruits and vegetables will give you most of the vitamins and minerals your body needs, plus a good dose of fiber to keep you regular with good digestion!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Chew your food! There is a saying that the "stomach has no teeth."   In our society, it is considered "hip" to be "on-the-go" or "too busy" for meals. That attitude comes with consequences. If you don't take time to chew and savor your food, you don't digest as well. This means that in addition to not absorbing your nutrients, you will also be more likely to experience gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.                                                                                                                                              
  2. Move!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               I I know that this may seem counter-intuitive, but if you don't take time to exercise, your energy will continue to decline in a rapid spiral. And this doesn't mean that you have to go all out at the gym. Try walking 30 minutes after meals. Maybe something gentle such as Yoga or Tai Chi?   If all you can do is some light stretching, please do it. You won't get better if your body continues to stagnate. If you have a pre-exisitng condition, by all means, consult a trusted health care provider.                                                                                                                                                             
  3. Practice Qigong/Tai Chi                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Qigong and Tai Chi are internal martial arts that cultivate Qi, and develop strength and stamina. So if you were a sickly kid or have lived a life that was hard on your body and spirit, practicing Tai Chi and Qigong are absolute necessities. To learn a little more about them, click here                                                                                                                                                                      
  4. Acupuncture                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         And I'm not just saying this because I'm an acupuncturist. Acupuncture can stimulate points on your body that will help to increase your energy and get you out of pain. Many times acupuncturists will offer adjunctive therapies such as moxibusion, cupping, therapeutic massage/Tui Na, or dietary counseling. Many often prescribe herbs. If you are afraid of needles, acupressure can be almost as useful. Many massage therapists and chiropractors will often integrate acupressure into their treatments for maximum relief.            
  5. Turn Off and Tune In                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           By this point, you have most likely heard about how cell phones give you cancer, how microwaves poison your food, and you will need glasses if you sit too close to the television. So I'm not going to lecture about that.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 But with all the craziness out there, the constant stimulation of our cell phones, iPADS, computers, and television can make it very difficult to tune into yourself.   And because it's hip to be "on-the-go," the pressure to conform can be overwhelming. Seriously, how many of your Facebook friends are really going to grab a coffee with you? Granted, some may live across the globe, but for the most part, no. The constant bombardment of the simulated reality of your "friends" and "followers" can leave you feeling disconnected and ungrounded. And when that happens, your energy can easily become drained.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 And the constant electromagnetic radiation and heat can be damaging to your eyes... Okay, I lectured after all.

These are just a few of the ways you can boost your Qi. If you would like to learn a little more, send me a message and we'll talk!

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