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 The experience of getting an acupuncture treatment can vary widely, depending on where you go. Not all acupuncturists are created equal—and nor are their work spaces. Acupuncture is offered everywhere from luxury spas and physical-therapy offices to minimalist community clinics and 1970s Airstreams. Some acupuncturists outfit their spaces with Buddha statues and artwork of Chinese characters while others hang anatomy posters and foster a Western-medical vibe. Regardless of your preferences, there’s an acupuncture space out there for you. Take a tour of the wide world of acupuncture clinics. Which one feels like you?
By Sara Calabro As someone who’s an acupuncturist, who runs a website about acupuncture and talks to other acupuncturists on a daily basis, it’s easy to become convinced that everyone is an educated acupuncture junkie. But lately, I’ve been reminded that this is not the case. In recent months, I’ve found myself having more frequent conversations with people who have never had acupuncture. It’s been a great reminder of how foreign acupuncture—the experience of getting a treatment as well as the underlying theory—still is to the majority of Westerners. Myths and misconceptions about acupuncture are rampant in a society whose medical culture is dominated by pharmaceuticals, surgeries, and other quick-fix interventions. In my recent encounters with the uninitiated, three themes come up again and again. Here are the top three things that surprise people about acupuncture.
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 Sara Calabro Thanksgiving is Thursday. Get ready to bloat! Sorry to be a downer, but seriously. Often, the meals we share on Thanksgiving are memorable for more than just good times with family and friends. Bloating and indigestion can be epic on Thanksgiving, and they can put a major damper on otherwise joyous celebrations. We asked acupuncturists from around the world for do-it-yourself recommendations for reducing bloating. Here are 11 tips for staying comfortable this Thursday, in the days that follow, and whenever else you experience bloating.
By Denise Cicuto Have you seen Iron Man 3? At the end, there’s a scene when main character Tony Stark is undergoing surgery. If you look closely, you can see acupuncture needles in his chest. That’s Hollywood, but historically, acupuncture actually has been used, mostly in China, for anesthesia during surgery. It’s no longer standard practice, but with acupuncture becoming increasingly present in mainstream medical settings, we may see it make a comeback in surgical procedures. In the meantime, acupuncture can go a long way toward keeping people healthy before and after surgery. You don’t have to be a superhero to reap the combined power of acupuncture and surgery.
By Melissa B. Light Kids and needles—bad combo, right? After all, kids hate getting shots. So, how is it possible that acupuncture is a good idea for helping your children stay healthy? Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) techniques, including acupuncture, can be amazingly effective at treating a variety of childhood ailments. Common complaints like ear aches, respiratory infections, digestive troubles, bedwetting, ADHD, and much more can be resolved with pediatric TCM techniques such as acupuncture and tuina bodywork. I see it happen every day.
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 Sara Calabro This is part two of a series on acupuncture points for reducing stress. In part one, we explain how we gathered these points, and introduce the first 10. If you haven’t read part one, do that first. Then, check out the remaining 11 points below. They are all located on the head!
By Sara Calabro Everyone has a go-to stress response. Some people escape to sunny beaches. Others reach for wine. Many buy things they don’t need. Many more ignore it. All stress responses, assuming no one gets hurt or goes bankrupt, have their merits. Whatever works! However, many common coping mechanisms for stress are unrealistic, inconvenient, or unsustainable. After all, how many of us can jet off to the Caribbean every time life gets stressful? Acupuncture treatments, as well as the theoretical tenets of acupuncture, have much to offer in the way of long-term stress reduction. But what about in-the-moment stress relief? You’re about to give a big presentation. You’re waiting to hear about test results. The turbulence on your flight won’t let up. Several acupuncture points can help calm you down. We asked acupuncturists, what is your all-time favorite acupuncture point for stress reduction? A key criteria was that the point had to be accessible for performing self-acupressure, so neither acupuncture needles nor an acupuncturist are required to benefit from these points. They can be pressed anywhere, any time for immediate stress reduction.