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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!

If you feel this was helpful, please share or send me a message!

Top 5 Safe Supplements to Fight the Flu

by Dr. Elizabeth Langer

I get it. When you have the flu, you don’t feel like getting out of bed, let alone coming into the office. You feel crappy and want to rest – which you should! But other than acetaminophen or ibuprofen, there really aren’t any over-the-counter medications that can help to relieve your symptoms. And because the flu is a virus, you really shouldn't be taking antibiotics. Fortunately, there are basic supplements available that can help to boost your immune system and get you back on your feet.

1. Mushrooms

As a food, mushrooms are a wonderful source of B vitamins, trace minerals, protein, and fiber.  They are a great source of beta-glucans, which are miraculous polysaccharides that keep your immune system strong.   While they are a tasty addition to soups and stews, taking a combination of them in a supplement is a powerful when to fight the flu .Popular types of mushrooms that are in supplements include: reishi, shiitake, cordyceps, maitake, oyster, cremini, and lion’s mane mushrooms.  

Reishi mushrooms are a powerful way to fight chronic disease. Their anti-inflammatory properties help to not only fight the flu, but can benefit people suffering from asthma, bronchitis, cancer, heart disease, cholesterol, hormone imbalances, adrenal fatigue, and mood disorders.  

Shiitake mushrooms are antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal.  They protect your DNA from oxidative damage and are beneficial for not just the flu, but many other conditions, which are anti-inflammatory.  Shiitake mushrooms provide energy and can help you to balance blood sugar.  They contain all of the essential amino acids, linoleic acid, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, copper, and manganese.

Cordyceps mushrooms increase stamina and endurance and are used in anti-aging nutrition, because they help the body produce ATP.  ATP is essential for helping our mitochondria function at optimal levels.

Maitake mushrooms are not only key components in fighting the flu, but can also help to reduce the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. 

Oyster mushrooms help to reduce muscle aches and joint pain. They are a great source of iron, and help to prevent anemia.

Cremini, or white button, mushrooms contain linolenic acid, and minerals such as copper, potassium, protein, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, niacin (vitamin B3), and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). 

Lion’s Mane mushrooms stimulate the immune system, along with promoting the growth and function of nerve cells. This mushroom is also good for joint inflammation (arthritis), and gastrointestinal problems.

2. Vitamin C

This one is pretty obvious, but it's a "tried and true" remedy and deserves to be one of the top five.  The trick is in getting the right vitamin C.  First, be careful with chewable tablets, because they often contain sweeteners such as sugar or worse (i.e. fructose, dextrose, sucralose, and other horrible concoctions).  Secondly, the type of vitamin C that you take is important.  The Linus Pauling Institute will beg to differ, but I personally advise my patients to take approximately 1,000 mg of Ester C with bioflavonoids.  Not that ascorbic acid is bad for you, but Ester C is natural and the bioflavonoids help your body to absorb it, and it’s also a little easier on your stomach.   However, you can take more, but once you start to get loose stools or diarrhea, you should back off on the dosage.

3. Oregano Oil

The extract of the oregano herb is commonly used to treat all respiratory problems in addition to the flu, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, pneumonia, and bronchitis.  The active oils in oregano, thymol and carvacrol, have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Oregano oil is also great for digestion, as it calms nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  It also stimulates sweating, a natural detox mechanism that can help to reduce a fever. 

4. Vitamin D3

Taking vitamin D3 is especially important in the winter or in climates with very little sun. Vitamin D3 is a steroid which naturally balances the hormones in your body, while stimulating your immune system.  Unless you are a strict vegetarian or vegan, take the D3 as opposed to D2.  Your body will better absorb this natural form and you decrease your risk of toxicity.  A safe dosage is 2000 IUs, but I take 5000 every day – some people take more.  Vitamin D reduces the level of cytokines, inflammatory proteins, while increasing the amount of antimicrobial proteins that destroy viruses. Taking vitamin D3 may help to prevent the flu from developing into full-blown pneumonia.

5. B Complex

Taking a B complex everyday will not only help fight the flu, but it will increase energy, nerve conduction, and circulation.  There are eight B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12), and I recommend that patients take them all together in a complex form, unless otherwise indicated by blood work.  This prevents you from developing an imbalance in your system.  Vitamin B5, especially helps to support the adrenal glands, thereby providing you with the ability to fight off infection and make a full recovery.  Also, it is a good idea to take methylated B vitamins, as they are better absorbed in the body.

These supplements are usually safe to take and in most circumstances, do not interfere with medication. However, if you are taking certain medications, it would be a good idea to talk with a trusted health care provider before adding any to your diet.

If you have any questions, please call or shoot me an email and I will be happy to talk with you!

Fight the Flu!!!

Flu season has arrived a little early this year. It seems like everywhere you go, someone is coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose. You hope its just allergies, but then you start to hear about people being sick to their stomach!

Then one morning, you wake up coughing and sneezing. Your muscles ache and your head is spinning. Your stomach lurches and you know...

You have the flu.

So what do you do?

Don't spread it to others!

If you are sick, please call off work. You need to rest and it's no good to be getting your coworkers since. Besides, how good of a job can you really do when you have to keep putting your head down?

Wash your hands. Please! We are not children and it is just plain disgusting when people do not wash their hands. Hands should be washed after using the bathroom, before meals, and really any other time they need to be cleaned. It’s not a bad idea to wash your hands after entering your house because you were probably handling car keys, money, gas pumps… Many objects carry germs.

For those who do not know how to perform this procedure, work up a good lather with soap and sing “Happy Birthday” two times. Alcohol can also be used for disinfection.

Cover your mouth if you have to cough or sneeze. Kids in preschool are taught to cough into their elbows. If you do cough into your hands, please wash them.

Try not to touch your mouth or eyes if you are at risk of coming into contact with the flu.

Eat a nutritious diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Basic nutrition can help to prevent and treat the flu. Eating a wholesome diet provides your body with the nourishment it requires to fight the flu and enhance recovery.

Hydration is essential. Drinking plenty of water will help to keep your electrolytes balanced and help flush the virus from your body. To give your body an extra cleanse, try adding some fresh-squeezed lemon.

Food may have to be consumed to tolerance, but it is important to keep up your strength. Broth is a gentle and effective food that helps your body receive essential nutrients. Try to add some vegetables, beans, or chicken if tolerable. Barley and rice are also good additions. If you must get canned broths, try to use those low in sodium, sugar, and preservatives.

If you can tolerate them, try to eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. To improve digestion, cook or steam your vegetables slightly. Garlic and onions boost immunity and combat bacteria and viruses, so add them to your diet.

Certain foods, such as dairy, should be avoided. Milk products create phlegm and can make symptoms worse. They produce excessive mucous and slow digestion. If you are worried about calcium and vitamin D, drink almond, rice, or coconut milk.

Avoid sugar. Bacteria feed off of sugar and though the flu is caused by a virus, a weakened immune system can give bacteria the opportunity to thrive.

Snuggle Up with a Cup of Tea...

Teas have so many healing properties and there are so many to choose!   There's a tea for everything! My two favorite teas for the flu are ginger and peppermint. They help soothe aches and pains, are naturally free of caffeine, and can calm an upset stomach.

Another reason I like ginger and peppermint is that they work very well with the basic principles of traditional Chinese medicine. Ginger is warming and will rev you up if you are cold, weak, and experiencing chills. Peppermint is cooling and soothes many upset stomachs as well as relieves headaches.

*Tip* Look at your tongue! If it's red, drink peppermint, and if its pale, drink ginger! 

Or Bullet-Proof Coffee!

You might want to skip this one if you have the stomach flu. But if you have a cough, sore throat, aches and pains, give it a try. Now there are many different types of "Bullet-Proof" Coffee, but the way I like mine is black with about a half teas-spoon of coconut oil.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a safe and natural method of preventing and treating the flu. Your body will be more resistant to fighting infections and better able to eliminate any pathogens that are making you sick. If you do contract the flu, you may feel a little worse after your first treatment, but your follow-up visit should alleviate the unpleasant symptoms.

If you have the flu, you may be more sensitive to needles and their insertion. Your treatment should not use too many needles, and you may want to ask for the extra thin needles.

Ask your acupuncturist about moxabustion and cupping. Moxabustion involves burning the herb mugwart over your body like incense. Moxa will nourish your body and its warmth provides relief over aching muscles. If you do have the flu, smokeless moxa may be preferable.

Cupping is a procedure involving the use of suction cups, either glass or plastic. The suction helps to draw the pathogens out of the body and increases circulation.

Chiropractic

Chiropractic care is another way to fight the flu. It stimulates the nervous system, which increases circulation, boosts immunity, and improves health. Adjustments combined with trigger point therapy can also help to break up mucous and relieve sore muscles. Your chiropractor may also provide a hot pack or light muscle work.

Don’t forget, your chiropractor is an educated physician and they do possess extensive knowledge on your anatomy and physiology. They simply rely on more natural methods as opposed to drugs to get you feeling better.

Get plenty of rest so you can stay strong!

What's the Difference Between a Cold and the Flu?

Though the symptoms are similar, colds and flus are caused by two different viruses. The common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection caused by the rhinovirus. Like the flu, which is caused by various influenza viruses, symptoms may include cough, congestion, runny nose, sore throat, chills, aches, and fatigue.

Flu symptoms tend to be intense and in severe cases can result in pneumonia and hospitalization.

The flu is transmitted through the air when someone coughs or sneezes. You can also become infected if you touch a contaminated object. The flu is contagious before symptoms appear and can continue to be spread for up to a week.

Flu Shots: A Good Idea?

To prevent the flu, a vaccination is often suggested. The CDC recommends everyone over six months should be vaccinated. But as a health care provider and lover of science, I must disagree.

Let me clarify that I am not against vaccinations. I have been vaccinated against hepatitis B and my daughter receives most of the recommended immunizations. I would rather take the risks associated with a vaccine than her getting measles or polio.

But not so much for the flu.

Flu vaccines do not prevent against all strand of the virus. And there are many different strands circulating each season. Influenza A, B, and C are broken up into various subgroups and to prevent against all of these strands would be difficult. Only a few strands of the virus are selected for immunization. Even if you receive a flu shot, you still have a good chance of catching a strand that you were not vaccinated against.

And don’t forget that viruses mutate. Even if you receive the right vaccination for the strand that you were exposed to, the virus may be altered by the time it gets into your body and you still get sick.

For many people the side effects of the flu shot produce the exact same symptoms as the virus itself. This happens because strains of the inactivated virus are injected into your body. Though the symptoms may not be as severe, they can still make you sick.

Some people may feel it is necessary to receive a flu shot. The flu shot can be a good way to prevent any serious conditions, such as pneumonia from occurring. For high-risk populations such as people with weakened immune systems and chronic lung diseases, a flu shot may be the best option. To find out more, ask your health care provider for information regarding what’s best for you.

In order to fight the flu this season, you do not need to rely on excessive medications. There are so many natural ways to prevent and treat it. Talk with your health care provider about finding the one that’s right for you.

Quit Smoking with Acupuncture

Is your New Year’s resolution to finally quit smoking?  If so, you are in luck.  There are so many ways to quit and it seems like society is finally on board with helping you kick the habit.

And it’s no wonder!  Smoking is not only dangerous, it is also one of the most difficult drugs to quit. To say that withdrawal symptoms are intense would be putting it mildly!

If you decide to quit smoking for New Years, you have so many resources at your disposal! These include nicotine gum, the “patch,” hypnosis, counseling, group therapy, and electronic cigarettes.

Acupuncture can also help. In fact, there is a procedure that involves five needles in your ear and is used to help you with addictions. NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) is a "tried and true" protocol commonly performed by both acupuncturists and drug addiction counselors and typically produces highly successful results.

Acupuncture calms the physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms associated with smoking cessation and will get you through the first 3-4 days of detox. As the chemicals leave your body, acupuncture will help you cope with physical sickness you may experience.  Once the nicotine and other chemicals are no longer in your body, you should begin to feel better physically. 

The emotional and mental process of quitting smoking is much more difficult. At this point, your treatment plan will change and you will focus on the stress and anxiety and psychological response that you will have. Different acupuncture points may be used and you may be able to start to lengthen the time between your treatment sessions. Combining acupuncture treatments with support groups, coaching, or counseling may also be beneficial.

When you are ready to quit, you will. And just because it doesn't work one time, doesn't mean you shouldn't try again. Be kind to yourself. Though acupuncture is very helpful, having a good support system and a positive attitude is the best medicine.

Boost Your Metabolism Naturally with Acupuncture

A common complaint I see in my clinic is that even when patients eat all the right foods, they still can’t lose weight.  While I can certainly help people with their diets, sluggish metabolism can make losing weight almost impossible.  Acupuncture is a major asset in weight loss because it naturally boosts your metabolism without drugs or potions.

Our metabolism can become sluggish for many different reasons.  As we age, our metabolism naturally slows, and for women, putting on 5-10 pounds post-menopause may not be a bad thing.  Sometimes our metabolism is impaired due to a disease, such as hypothyroidism.  

The great thing about acupuncture is that it can work with almost any condition or treatment plan.

For patients who are overweight due to a slow metabolism, I use an abdominal protocol because it is both gentle on the body, and helps you to better absorb the nutrients in your food.  When you absorb nutrients in your food, you will notice your energy improving and will be amazed at how much easier losing weight becomes.  You may even begin to crave exercise!

So if you are struggling with losing weight, it might be due to your metabolism.  A few acupuncture sessions could be all you need to finally achieve your ideal body!

Fight Food Cravings with Acupuncture

You told yourself that you wouldn’t have chocolate.  But you are standing at the checkout line and the candy bar magically jumps in to your cart.  Or the carton of ice cream in your freezer somehow enters your mouth and attacks your stomach!

Even though you start out with discipline and good intentions, sticking to a diet is tough because food cravings can drive you nuts!

If you are looking for a solution that will take away the edges and calm your cravings, look no further than an acupuncture treatment.  Acupuncture will eliminate the stress of dieting and make the physical withdrawal from your trigger foods all-the-more bearable.  Plus, there is even a detox protocol, NADA, which is commonly used for treating addictions and a Hunger Point in the ear that is specifically designed to fight food cravings!

Enough said.

Losing weight is hard enough.  Why make yourself crazy or load yourself up with dangerous chemicals?  Let acupuncture fight your battle and so you can enjoy the process of losing weight and getting healthy!

Lose Weight With Acupuncture

by Dr. Elizabeth Langer

You want to lose weight?  You are not alone.  Being overweight can make you feel sluggish and can be hard on your self-esteem.  It can also be dangerous for your health.  If you are obese, you have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer. Even being just twenty pounds overweight can increase your chances of developing these conditions. Not only that, but if you are overweight or obese, you may be more susceptible to anxiety and depression.

So if being overweight is so detrimental, then why is it that so many people aren’t losing weight?

Losing weight and keeping it off is not easy. We struggle not only with food cravings and slow metabolism, but we are also constantly bombarded with confusing diet and exercise programs. Advertisements plague us for dangerous weight-loss drugs and potions.  Some people have even undergone surgery.

And yet, the weight remains.

The problem with crazy diets, potions, and surgery is that the cause of the weight gain is not addressed.  There must be a system that can help with losing weight, but also provide emotional support, and offer sound dietary advice.

Acupuncture helps manage weight because it balances our bodies to function at a more optimum level. By guiding our bodies into a natural state of equilibrium, acupuncture improves digestion and metabolism, relieves stress, decreases water retention, and facilitates neurologic functioning to relieve food addictions.

Treatments are based on individual needs and tailored to each patient. Though there are common acupuncture points associated with weight loss, each person and their overall constitution must be assessed in order to achieve desired results. If you are overweight due to an underactive thyroid, you should not receive the same treatment plan as someone who is overweight due to constant hunger and emotional stress. While every person responds differently to treatment, most people usually get results in 8-12 treatments.

Success with weight loss cannot occur with just acupuncture alone. To lose weight and keep it off, diet and exercise must be addressed. Talk to your acupuncturist about a sensible diet plan and exercise program and you will see even better results.