By Julia Sanfilippo Have you seen this cool new ad from Under Armour featuring 22-time Olympic-medal winner Michael Phelps? It is an inspiring video that shows the strength, determination, and recovery required to be a record-setting world champion. If you pay close attention starting 44 seconds into the video, you’ll see Phelps getting cupping! Cupping is a Chinese medicine technique that has been used for centuries for many different conditions. Acupuncturists commonly use cupping as an adjunct therapy to acupuncture. For people with needle fears, cupping on its own can offer a great alternative treatment. Phelps isn’t the only famous person to discover the benefits of cupping. Celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow have been photographed with distinctive cupping marks on their backs and shoulders. What was once a mysterious, almost scary-looking treatment in the West is now hitting the mainstream due to its numerous health benefits.
By Sarah O’Leary Winter has a reputation for being the season of sadness. Seasonal affective disorder afflicts many people in winter, with frequent reports of depression. But anxiety may be even more popular. You may not necessarily associate anxiety with the winter season, but in fact, many people experience a spike in their anxiety level this time of year. From an acupuncture perspective, this makes sense. In acupuncture, humans are viewed as microcosms of the natural world that surrounds them, so seasons play a significant role in how we feel. And each season has an associated emotion. Winter’s emotion is fear. For many people, fear is experienced as an increased sense of anxiety.
By Sara Calabro Insomnia is rampant. So many people are walking around exhausted, medication-dependent, or resigned to a sleepless existence. More and more—since an Ambien-induced night’s sleep just isn’t the same as a natural night’s sleep—people are turning to acupuncture and other non-drug therapies for insomnia. Insomnia is one of the most common complaints seen by acupuncturists. Regular acupuncture treatments can be extremely helpful for combatting insomnia. Acupuncturists customize treatments based on the specific brand of insomnia from which someone is suffering. Some people have trouble falling asleep while others can’t stay asleep. Some are woken from frequent dreams while others can’t stop their minds from spinning. Some wake up every single night at 1:34am. Others sleep like babies until 3:37am.
By Marisa Fanelli Since the warmth of summer has been slowly fading into cooler nights and shorter days, I have had a noticeable influx in patients seeking relief from depression. This isn’t uncommon—each year I see it happening with the season change. In the world of acupuncture, there are five major organ systems, each of which is connected to an emotion and season. During that season, the corresponding organ is at its most vulnerable and the emotion tends to show up more prominently. Fall is Lung season. And the emotion associated with Lung is grief. From an acupuncture perspective, it makes perfect sense that there is a heightened sense of melancholy this time of year.
By Sara Calabro What are your hopes for 2015? Want to feel healthier? Eat better? Get in shape? Try new things? Have better relationships? Me too! And I’m planning on using acupuncture to achieve all of it! Not literally. I’m not going to go for an acupuncture treatment and walk out with glowing skin, a six pack, and resolved childhood issues. But, I am going to allow the tenets of acupuncture to influence my attitude and actions so that I can live optimally in 2015. In the same way we talk about practicing yoga or practicing meditation, you can practice acupuncture. You can use the theories of acupuncture to help guide the decisions you make every day that ultimately determine your physical and emotional health. Here are 15 ways you can incorporate acupuncture into your life—and soar to new heights—in 2015.
By Tara Akuna Hot apple cider, chunky sweaters, and crackling fireplaces. It’s that time of year again, when we pull out our cozy-time favorites and huddle indoors to stay warm. As we approach winter, cold dark days urge us to slow down, conserve energy, and rebuild our strength for the coming spring. According to Chinese-medical theory, people should live in harmony with nature. The colder months are perfect for slowing down, resting, and becoming introspective. The food we eat also plays a key role in the conservation and rebuilding of energy this time of year. When you think of fall and winter, think warm food. Soups, roasted veggies, and slow-cooker meals are some of the mainstays necessary for building energy and a healthy immune system. In addition to warming your food through preparation, all foods contain certain energetic properties, so eating foods that are warm in quality is just as important as how they are prepared.
By Sara Calabro Here we are, about a month into fall. We’re a few days away from Halloween, about to officially enter the holiday season. This weekend we’ll turn back the clocks. Change is afoot. As the days get darker and the holiday engine kicks into high gear, you may discover your body and mood shifting. Lower energy, higher stress levels, changes in sleep patterns, and digestive disturbances are all common this time of year. If you notice yourself and the people around you changing in these or other ways in the coming months, remember: Change is good. It doesn’t always feel that way. Change actually can be quite difficult, and many of us struggle with it. Whether it’s a big lifestyle change or slight alteration in routine, having to adapt sets us off our games. I’m a champion change resister myself. I love my routines and tend toward situations I can predict and control. But acupuncture has been a big help to me in letting go of the reins a little bit. In acupuncture theory, change is the primary ingredient for becoming a healthier person. Recognizing this allows us to approach all situations, regardless of how challenging, with greater hope and flexibility.
By Sara Calabro Happy 2014! The new year is officially underway, so it’s time to get serious about any changes or improvements that you’ve committed to making in 2014. How are you going to be healthier? In what ways will you be different at this time next year? Acupuncture can help you get to that desired place. It can make you healthier and happier—in ways you probably never imagined. Through receiving acupuncture, becoming aware of its principles, and incorporating acupuncture-inspired self-care techniques into your life, you can enjoy physical and emotional benefits that may have eluded you in the past. This is your year! Here are 14 things that acupuncture can help you achieve in 2014.
By Adam Cantor Chronic pain is a growing and complicated issue. Millions of people feel stuck with their pain, suffering day in and day out with no resolution in sight. For many, acupuncture can shed light at the end of this very dark tunnel. We know that the nature of chronic pain can vary widely, from musculoskeletal and neurogenic to gastrointestinal, urogenital, and gynecological. However, less attention gets paid to the emotional component of chronic pain, which can be caused and exacerbated by negative emotions such as anger, frustration, and anxiety. Pain conditions that are emotionally charged—which, ultimately, describes all cases of pain, since being in pain produces negative thought patterns—often are unabated by the pain killers and anti-inflammatory medications that are so commonly prescribed. Treating chronic pain effectively requires approaching it holistically. This is where acupuncture excels.
By Sara Calabro Imagine a world where people get acupuncture every day. We’d be less stressed, suffering through fewer addictions, and experiencing less pain. Unfortunately, acupuncture on the daily is financially and logistically impossible for most of us. The good news is, there are several therapies that serve as great complements to acupuncture. They are free, available to almost everyone, and effective at prolonging, enhancing, or mimicking the effects of acupuncture. While daily acupuncture may be idealistic, you can use other activities to cultivate some of the same benefits that acupuncture provides. Here are five things that are easy to incorporate into your life right now.
By Eric Kerr Ladies love acupuncture. Most acupuncturists will tell you that they see more women than men in their practices. More women also become acupuncturists. And women’s health is a very common specialty among practitioners, male and female alike. In acu-land, women are all the rage! What about the fellas? Acupuncture can be an especially potent therapy for men. It’s time more guys discovered its benefits. Early in my acupuncture training, I knew I wanted to focus on men’s health. Being a man, I understand that men tend not to seek out healthcare in the same way women do. This is precisely why acupuncture can be so powerful in men.