Maintaining Peace of Mind and Body~

Maintaining Peace of Mind in the Time of COVID-19

It’s been three weeks since the state of Illinois issued “shelter in place” orders to its nearly 13 million residents. Since then thirty-nine other states have followed suit, bringing the total number of states with stay at home orders to 40. It is estimated so far that 297,000 million US citizens have been ordered to stay in–a whopping 90 percent of the country’s population.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has made the unimaginable, a reality, in a very short period of time. The experiences we are all sharing can only be described as novel, as in the adjective meaning new, interesting or unusual. This brings us to an old Chinese curse: may you live in interesting times. Who will argue these times are not interesting?

As hundreds of millions of us in the US and more than a billion people across the globe remain largely confined to our homes for an extended period of time, we can develop new routines and strategies to maintain our peace of mind.

In New York City, Derek and his partner make sure they go to bed and wake up at the same time. Each night, no matter the weather, the couple takes a long walk before retiring for the evening. With this routine, the pair keeps a sense of normalcy.

Here we offer some of our favorite suggestions for your self-isolation routine.

Physically Isolate but Stay Connected

A big part of staying grounded through social distancing is staying socially connected. Physical isolation from others does not have to mean social isolation.

How perfect that available technology today allows us to stay in touch with anyone, at any time. Online groups, social media, videoconferencing via Zoom, Google Hangout, Skype and FaceTime are saving the day. Maybe some of us find that we are more in touch with family and friends than ever before.

The prevalence of online support from our trusted sources is also skyrocketing. Messages from our health care practitioners, spiritual teachers, friends, and other important social groups abound. They are true gems, shining ever more brightly because of their necessity.

Take time, too, to think of who can you help by being in touch? Who can use a friendly ear or even just a short note to let them know you are thinking of them?

Eat Right

The best thing you can do at the moment for yourself, and for society, is remain healthy. These are epic times and you are a part of it. For an exercise in self-exploration, consider your daily decisions as epic as well. When we are dealing with intense emotions (grief and fear may be common now) the decision to eat a healthy lunch, as opposed to snacking on junk food, for example, takes on extra importance.

Mealtime is the perfect time to exercise judgment. In an effort to minimize over-eating, there are several hacks. First, keep regular meal times. Eat at a properly set table, and eat only when in this dining area. Start with a small portion of food and take more only if you are not full. Try these foods that combat stress.

On the flip side, now is not the time to make harsh demands of yourself. If you gorged yourself on your stockpile of carby foods within the first day of your quarantine, give yourself a break. We are facing something unprecedented here, and we are all doing our best. Particularly, if you are someone who has issues with food, now is not the time to be overly demanding of yourself. In the words of body positivity advocate Megan Jayne Crabbe, “it’s OK if your body changes because your routine has.”

Start Your Day Right

An excellent way to start the day is to center yourself, before checking social media, and tuning into the news. This can take the form of meditation, stretching, breathing exercises, or taking a walk. Even if only for a minute, close your eyes and flood yourself with positive intentions and images. Take it a step further and offer the world your beautiful thoughts.

Before connecting with the rest of the world, first nourish yourself with a good breakfast and a cup of hot tea or coffee. This type of self-discipline helps you feel strong, allowing you to calmly digest the day’s news, at your pace, when you are ready. It also puts you in a position to help others who may need your compassion that day.

Again, stay flexible with yourself. These are unpredictable times, some days simply getting up and out of bed deserves an acknowledgment.

Less News, More Music

While staying informed is essential in a pandemic, being glued to the TV or the Internet is counterproductive. Set aside dedicated time to read the news and peruse social media. The media we consume is powerful as is the food we eat. News and media organizations are tasked with creating an enormous body of content in the forms of articles, video, and social media posts, much of it with headlines designed to grab our attention–often through sensationalism and fear. You don’t have to read all of it.

In addition to limiting your time spent consuming media, also choose your sources wisely. Be mindful of how you feel when you watch videos or read articles or posts. If you feel enraged, polarized, scared, or confused perhaps it’s the integrity of the content you’re taking in.

To stay informed, going directly to the source can also be useful. Be sure to check facts with the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization directly.

On the flip side, DO take in plenty of music. “When we satisfy our desire to eat, sleep, or reproduce, our brain releases dopamine—the “feel-good” neurochemical involved when we experience pleasure and reward. Turns out this same chemical is released when listening to music” according to an article in Psychology Today.

Take it from an Astronaut

Who better to advise on dealing with isolation than someone who lived for a year in space?

In these days of COVID-19 astronauts are stepping up to share their advice.

“When you are living and working in the same place for days on end, work can have a way of taking over everything if you let it,” retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly says in his now well-read New York Times article. “I deliberately paced myself because I knew I was in it for the long haul — just like we all are today,” he says.

To maintain a healthy pace, Kelly recommends carving out time for non-work activities and one could argue this includes working on yourself. So be sure to always give yourself a break.

“You can be successful in confinement if you are intentional about your actions and deliberate about caring for your team,” according to astronaut Ann McClain. “When we work together, we will continue to be #EarthStrong.”

People from all corners of the earth are sharing an extraordinary journey together, changing our personal lives and transforming our societies. Striving to maintain a peaceful mind does not mean you must become the Buddha, it simply means you seek balance when you feel overwhelmed or disturbed. The gift of great trials is that they always inspire us to let our humanity and ingenuity flourish. Use the time now to develop your healthiest self by remembering the words of an ancient Chinese adage, He who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left.

The Importance of Practicing Daily Meditation
For many of us, the word meditation conjures up images of people sitting serenely on the floor, with hands neatly postured on the lap. Although some will argue there is a strict definition of what meditation is, there are many ways to achieve a meditative state- and not all of them require one to be seated or even have the eyes shut.

Meditation engages the mind with the goal of transforming intrapersonal consciousness. It is more than sustained concentration, although that is an element. In a deep state of meditation, a person potentially enters into a state where mundane thoughts wither. The mind receives training to ‘see things as they are.’ This doesn’t change the nature of physical reality, but meditation has the power to favorably influence reactions and responses to outside events, as well as to personal ‘inner events.’

Arriving at a thought-free, peaceful state is a tall order. It is OK if thoughts arise and quickly pass. The mind tends toward restless mental action. In these cases, it is important to not react negatively to your thoughts. Simply let the mind flow, without judgment or force. Two common meditation techniques include concentrating on maintaining a steady, rhythmic breathing pattern or visualizing something pleasant.

Beginners can start with the goal of sitting comfortably for five minutes and gradually increase the amount of time from there. Experienced sitters may practice for an hour at a time, but even five to twenty minutes is sufficient. Forcing oneself to sit for long periods of time can cause frustration, which defeats the purpose of meditating. Take into consideration the appropriate length of time for the mind and the body to engage. Sticking to a manageable timetable helps condition and discipline the mind.

Walking meditation is great for those who prefer to indulge their senses. What differentiates it from an ordinary walk is the intention. These walks intentionally encourage the mind to remain constantly aware of itself. The gait of the walk is deliberate. Concentration is focused on the sights, sounds and smells of the surrounding area. Keeping silent is key. If unwanted thoughts pop up, rely on the eyes, ear, and nose to take your consciousness to a quieter state of mind.

The benefits of meditation include a reduction in stress levels. And with a reduction in daily stress comes a whole host of positive things. The immune system strengthens, sleep comes easily and deeply, cravings for addictive substances lessen and relationships improve.

Another benefit is the opportunity to learn more about oneself. Sitting, walking, or staring, without distractions, can let a person experience latent thoughts or emotions. Without outside influences, the mind can freely examine itself. This process of self-discovery brings to light our strengths and weaknesses. This is why meditation is a life-long practice producing different results in each person.

Stress Busting Foods

The foods that you eat play a crucial role in your overall well-being as well as your ability to handle stress.

Over 1400 chemical changes occur as stress hormones, such as cortisone, sap important nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium from the body.

Here are three foods that can replenish your supply of these nutrients and enhance your ability to manage stress:

Cauliflower—Cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and kale are chock full of stress-relieving B vitamins. Cauliflower is also one of the very best sources of vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid.

Pantothenic acid helps turn carbohydrates and fats into usable energy and improves your ability to respond to stress by supporting your adrenal glands. Fatigue, listlessness, numbness, and tingling or burning pain in the feet are all indications that you may need more vitamin B5 in your diet.

Salmon—Salmon is a healthy and delicious way to get your dose of B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin B12 supports the production of red blood cells, allows nerve cells to develop properly and is essential to the synthesis of the happy brain chemical serotonin.

Among the many benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, a 2003 study published in Diabetes & Metabolism found that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduced the stress response and kept the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine in check.

Blackberries—Blackberries are jam-packed with Vitamin C, calcium and magnesium. Vitamin C has shown to be a powerful stress reducer that can lower blood pressure and return cortisol levels to normal faster when taken during periods of stress.

Magnesium and calcium act together to help regulate the body’s nerves and muscle tone. When there is too little magnesium in your diet, nerve cells can become over-activated and can trigger muscle tension, muscle soreness, muscle spasms, muscle cramps, and muscle fatigue.

Blackberries have more than double the amounts of vitamin C, calcium and magnesium than their popular cousin, the blueberry.


Loving Kindness Meditation

Treat Yourself to a Loving Kindness Meditation

According to Harvard Health Watch, experts reviewed dozens of studies published over the past two decades and found that meditation may improve a host of factors linked with heart disease. Even a mere 5 minutes of meditation a day is enough to create measurable positive change in lab tests.

It is so important to create a meditation practice. Please remember, it is a practice. Just like exercise or learning any new skill, you will have good days and more challenging ones. The MOST IMPORTANT thing is showing up and being consistent. Just Do It.  Every Day. Just A Few Minutes. And you will reap the cumulative benefits.

There are many ways to meditate, but I’d like to share with you the Loving Kindness Meditation, and give you a few ideas on how to make it a lovely ritual that you will look forward to.

Create a Ritual

Here are some ideas to enrich your meditation experience.

1. Light incense. Sandalwood and Nag Champa are great options for creating a peaceful, calming atmosphere.

2. Light a candle. Candles create a soft, warm glow that provide comfort and gateway to the spiritual realms. Gazing into a candle can calm the mind and bring the gazer into a light meditative trance state. Have a dedicated meditation candle that adds meaning to your ritual. For example, white candles signifies purity, red for energy, green for peace, pink for love, and purple for abundance. If you have a specific intention for your meditation practices, this candle can help you focus on that intention.

3. Listen to music. Music streaming apps like Pandora, Apple, Spotify, and YouTube have music for meditation. Try searching for “Spa Music.” You can also look for nature sounds like the ocean or falling rain. There are no rules for the type of music used for meditation. Many people, however, do best with music without vocals, unless they are chants specifically for meditation and healing.

4. Use a chair or pillow. You can meditate seated on a chair with your feet on the ground, or sitting on a pillow. You can meditate while laying down, if its before bedtime and this often leads to good sleep. Whether in a chair or on the floor, sit with your back fairly straight, so that the energy flows freely through the midline of your body. Feel dignified, relaxed and upright.

Loving Kindness Meditation

The Loving Kindness Meditation is a practice from Buddhism. First, you feel love and compassion for yourself, and then send it out to others. There are many versions, but here is a simple one recently shared on the Calm meditation app.

Repeat these words and feel them in your heart.

“May I be Happy.
May I be Safe.
May I be Healthy.
May I be At Peace.”

Repeat and feel this a few times.

Next, think of someone you love and imagine them before you. Send these words and feelings to them.
“May you be Happy.
May you be Safe.
May you be Healthy.
May you be At Peace.”

Next, think of someone who triggers you, who makes you upset or who you are in conflict with, and send them these words and intentions.
“May you be Happy.
May you be Safe.
May you be Healthy.
May you be At Peace.”

Finally, imagine the whole world, all living things. And send this intention.
“May you be Happy.
May you be Safe.
May you be Healthy.
May you be At Peace.”

Let any resistance to sharing this with others just be. Feel the Happiness, the Safety, the Healthiness, the Peace in all of the cells of your body. Enjoy.


So Proud and Honored to be one of 2019’s…

Chicago Holistic Medicine

Chicago Holistic Medicine is an Oriental medicinal clinic that helps patients from all over the Windy City. Licensed acupuncturist Robert Wallace uses acupuncture as well as massage therapy, herbal medicine, and nutritional counseling to resolve a range of health issues. These include arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and chronic pain. Additionally, Wallace can support patients who are undergoing cancer treatment.

Chicago, IL 60613


Investing in Your Health

Buying an automobile is probably one of the biggest financial investments you’ll make.  When you consider all the hard work that went into your purchase I’m sure you would agree that it only makes sense to protect your investment so that you get as much return on it as possible.  You understand that even though your car runs great, performs magnificently, and looks wonderful on the outside it is imperative that you keep up with regularly scheduled maintenance to keep it running smoothly.  Routine oil changes are essential to the life of your car’s engine.  It would be foolish to sink tens of thousands of dollars into a new vehicle only to neglect the maintenance and drive it to an early grave.

Restoring your health through acupuncture requires an investment of both your time and money, and is truly one of the best investments you can make for yourself.  If you have completed, or are in the process of following through with a schedule of comprehensive acupuncture treatments, then congratulations on your commitment to excellent health!  However, to remain at the pinnacle you worked so hard to achieve it is essential to incorporate acupuncture wellness care into your lifestyle.

Once you have completed an initial or comprehensive care plan it is important to follow up with routine visits to maintain your newfound level of health.  After all, if it was worth the investment to regain your health, then you owe it to yourself to maintain it.

The key is to remain proactive and to stay one step ahead of potential problems before they have a chance to develop.  It is far less costly to take your car to the mechanic for routine maintenance work than it is to wait for a breakdown.

Keep in mind, however, that even with routine automotive maintenance there is still the potential to develop trouble between service appointments.  When the warning lights on your dash alert you to a problem, it is best to get it checked right away rather than wait until your next scheduled service.

The same goes for your body. When pain, injuries, or illness occur between wellness visits, resist the temptation to hold out until your next scheduled visit.  If your body is talking to you, listen to it.  The sooner a problem is addressed, the easier and more cost effective it is to get you over it.

Your body is meant to last you a lifetime.  It is not leased and there is no trading it in.  Isn’t it time you started caring for your body as well as you treat your car?  Just like oil changes, fuel line flushes, and tire rotations, wellness visits will keep you running strong for a lifetime!

Call or Email Now to Schedule Your Next Maintenance [Oil Change] Appointment! Yours in Health, Robert


Acupuncture For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Relief~

Acupuncture: A Viable Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Repetitive stress injuries (RSI) are the most common job-related injuries and are responsible for the highest number of days lost. One of the most well-known types of repetitive stress injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) accounts for over two million visits to physicians’ offices and approximately 465,000 carpal tunnel release operations each year, making it the most frequent surgery of the hand and wrist.

Symptoms of repetitive stress injuries include tightness, stiffness, pain, tingling, numbness, coldness and loss of strength in the arm. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive stress injury that refers specifically to the inflammation of a specific ligament that puts pressure on the median nerve.

Acupuncture is extremely effective for treating repetitive stress injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome, and often eliminates the need for surgery or the use of anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids. In fact, one of the most common reasons that people get acupuncture is for repetitive stress injuries.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The carpal tunnel is suitably named as it is literally a tunnel located in the lower arm, that encases and protects part of the median nerve. The median nerve controls sensory functions and enables the palm, plus all fingers (except the pinkie), as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move. Even though some repetitive motions such as typing on the computer or using the phone are not strenuous activities in and of themselves, if performed often enough, a cumulative effect builds up.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, also known as median nerve entrapment, occurs when swelling or irritation of the tendons in the carpal tunnel results in pressure on the median nerve, causing pain in the palm side of the wrist and pain and tingling in the fingers. These symptoms often, but not always, result from inflammation due to frequent, repetitive physical movements. However, inflammation can also be a product of an injury, such as a wrist sprain, or certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms usually start gradually and become worse over time, especially if the same motions are repeated on a near daily basis. Those with carpal tunnel syndrome usually experience frequent burning, tingling, or numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers, especially the index, middle and ring fingers. Pain can sometimes travel up the arm and affect the shoulder. The symptoms often first appear during the night. As symptoms worsen, people might feel pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm during the day. Decreased grip strength may make it difficult to form a fist, grasp small objects, or perform other manual tasks. If not properly treated, CTS can cause irreversible nerve damage and permanent deterioration of muscle tissue.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with Acupuncture

From an Oriental medicine perspective, a repetitive stress injury is seen as a disruption of the flow of Qi and Blood (Xue) within the area, and is associated with cold, dampness or wind penetrating the muscles and sinews. Acupuncture points, stretching exercises, herbal remedies and nutritional supplements are chosen to treat accordingly.

In addition to reducing the swelling, inflammation and pain, acupuncture addresses any headaches, neck pain, shoulder stiffness and sleeping problems that often accompany this condition. Your treatment may also take into account any underlying conditions that contribute to its development, including posture, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid problems, diabetes and hormonal changes of pregnancy and menopause.

If you or someone you know suffers from a repetitive stress injury, please call to find out more about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you. 

Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Relief

If you are on a computer all day, or if you are engaged in any other repetitious daily activity, consider setting an alarm for every 20 minutes. This will help remind you to change your posture, perform some stretches, or just take a break. Keep your head up and your shoulders relaxed, but not slouched. Maintaining good posture, whether sitting or standing, can help keep symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome at bay. Here are some easy exercises to help relieve pain and other symptoms.

The first exercise is called the prayer stretch. Put the palms of your hand together, press lightly and hold the pose for 30 seconds. Take a break for 10 seconds, then repeat up to four times. In a variation of this pose, you can hold your hands out in front of you as though you were pushing them up against a wall. Hold for 30 seconds, then shake your hands out. Repeat up to four times.

To stretch in the other direction, make your hands into fists and bend your wrist downwards. This can be done for about 30 seconds, and then the wrists should be straightened and the fingers relaxed. Do this up to four times. Another very simple technique is to make a fist, then open it up and fan out your fingers. Do this as many times as feels good.

This last exercise can also help give your neck a good stretch. Take one hand, with the palm side up, and extend it to your side. If using your left hand, then extend it to your left side. With your arm completely extended at the level of your shoulder, with your palm still facing upwards, point your fingertips downwards. You should feel a good stretch throughout the entire length of your arm. To increase this stretch, gently tilt your ear towards the opposite shoulder. If your left hand is extended, then you will tilt your head to the right.

If you are concerned about any symptoms you may have contact us for an appointment today! 

In This Issue

  • Acupuncture: A Viable Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Relief
  • Reduce Your Repetitive Stress Injury Risk

Reduce Your Repetitive Stress Injury Risk

Managing repetitive stress injuries often requires some lifestyle changes, and it can take time to work out a strategy that works best for you.

Here are a few minor changes you can implement to minimize stress on your hands and wrists:

Alternate Tasks

Avoid doing the same task for more than a couple of hours at a time and alternate between tasks that use different muscle groups where possible.

Fatigue is a sign that you need to take a break. Take small breaks to gently stretch and bend your hands and wrists and readjust your position.

Reduce Pressure

Many people use more force than needed to perform tasks involving their hands, which can increase pressure and cause irritation.

Be mindful of the speed and amount of pressure used to perform tasks. Ease up, slow down and grip using your palm or whole hand to distribute the load.

If using tools such as riveters or jackhammers for extended periods, take frequent breaks or operate the tool at a speed that causes the least amount of vibration.

Cultivate Good Posture

Incorrect posture can cause your shoulders to roll forward, shortening neck and shoulder muscles and compressing nerves in your neck, which can affect your wrists, hands and fingers.

Shoulders and neck should be relaxed to open the chest and allow your head to float upwards without strain.

When using a keyboard, wrists should be in a relaxed middle position and in a straight line with your forearms at elbow height or slightly lower.


Maintaining Optimal Health & Vitality as You Age

Healthy Aging and Living Life with Vitality

Oriental medicine has a long history of healing and rejuvenation that teaches us a great deal about aging well. Two thousand years ago, ancient Chinese scholars described the stages of aging in the Huang Di Neijing (The Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic). They remind us that we cannot change our genetics, but we can change how we live to extend and improve the quality of our lives.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine emphasize prevention over treatment. This makes a great deal of sense because treating an illness that has already damaged the body is much more difficult than preventing the illness from occurring in the first place. It is never too late. You can begin today.

One of the basic tenets of acupuncture and Oriental medicine theory is the belief that all disease results from the imbalance of yin and yang forces. Yin qualities include darkness, quiet, moisture and formlessness. Yang qualities are represented by light, noise, dryness and form. Running is a yang activity, whereas the rest that comes afterwards is a function of yin. Resting allows for the renewal of depleted energy reserves, which, in turn, makes activity possible. This is one way to describe how the dynamic relationship between yin and yang powers our life force.

The challenges of aging also result from this lack of balance between yin and yang energies. This means that some conditions and symptoms of disease associated with advanced aging may be mitigated by bringing these two energies into harmony again. For example, dry eyes and poor vision can be addressed by acupuncture treatments that focus on nurturing yin and increasing yang. Yin fluids will provide lubrication to the eyes, while an increase in yang helps ensure more energy can reach the top of the head to help improve vision.

A healthy mind and body need not decline with age. Oriental medicine promotes living a balanced life and the basic components help point you on the path toward a long and quality life. Prevention of age-related cognitive and physical issues involves safeguarding the yin, yang, and jing (adrenals, hormone balance, and genetic endowments) throughout your life span by maintaining a healthy diet and active lifestyle, avoiding toxins, keeping harmony in your environment and relationships, and maintaining balanced activity and rest. Whatever your starting point, you can make positive changes to enhance the quality of your life.

Call today to learn how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help maintain your health and improve your vitality as you age! 

Managing Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes brittle or porous bones due to a reduction in the bone mineral density. Bone is comprised of living tissue, which is constantly dying and renewing itself.

Normally, old bone is cleared away as new growth occurs. However, when new bone cannot be generated, bones become soft and weak. So, should a fall or coughing fit occur, a fracture may arise. In more severe cases, a break can occur without a noticeable event.

Usually the early stages of osteoporosis do not include noticeable signs or symptoms. In later stages, back pain, loss of height, poor posture or easily occurring bone fractures may happen.

Although anyone can develop osteoporosis, it occurs most frequently among post-menopausal white and Asian women.

Other contributors include low calcium intake, prolonged use of corticosteroid drugs, heavy alcohol consumption, smoking and an inactive lifestyle.

A patient suffering from the consequences of brittle and porous bones may be diagnosed by a practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine with a deficiency of yin. Healthy bone depends on a system of blood vessels to deliver nourishment.

Considered a thickened form of body fluids, blood falls under the domain of yin. When yin is in short supply, dryness is the natural result. A disruption or deficiency in the blood supply to the skeletal system may interfere with its ability to properly lubricate and nourish bone.

In addition to receiving acupuncture treatments to help nourish yin, there are some things you can do at home to address your symptoms of osteoporosis, including increasing physical activity and consuming foods high in calcium that support the skeletal system.

An increase physical activity that includes resistance, flexibility and weight-bearing exercises will strengthen muscles, improve stability and balance, help slow mineral loss and improve cardiovascular health.

If you have osteoporosis, work with a therapist to select appropriate exercises for your health. Choosing exercises with slower controlled movements such as Tai Chi or Qi Gong and avoiding high-impact exercises with jerky movements will reduce the risk of fractures.

To learn how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can assist in prevention and provide osteoporosis support, call for a consultation today! 

Bladder Health and Incontinence

Incontinence and urinary tract disorders commonly arise as one gets older, especially for women over 50. One reason the risk for incontinence increases as we age, is because the bladder lining starts losing elasticity which, in turn, reduces its ability to store urine. This can result in frequent and urgent bouts of urination. If this occurs at night it is called nocturia.

In some cases, coughing, sneezing or pressure on the abdomen may cause an involuntary voiding of urine, known as leakage. Those suffering from incontinence also endure a greater risk for repeated urinary tract infections (UTI).

A UTI occurs when bacteria enters the urinary system through the kidneys, urethra, ureters and/or the bladder. Although signs and symptoms vary according to the location of the bacteria, some common signs include the urgent, persistent urge to urinate, burning on urination, and cloudy urine. These conditions not only signal a malfunction of the urinary tract system, but may lead to social isolation and/or loss of self esteem.

Fortunately, acupuncture and Oriental medicine can address bladder health and reduce the symptoms of incontinence. The July 2005 edition of Obstetrics and Gynecology detailed a study called “Acupuncture for overactive bladder: a randomized controlled trial.” The study aimed to compare acupuncture treatments versus placebo acupuncture for an overactive bladder.

Out of the 85 women initially enrolled, 74 completed the four weekly sessions. The researchers concluded that women who received four weekly bladder-specific acupuncture treatments had significant improvements in bladder capacity, urinary urgency and frequency, and quality of life as compared with women who received the placebo acupuncture treatments.

To maintain bladder health, increase water consumption and avoid irritants such as coffee, orange juice and most soft drinks, which can stimulate the bladder. Kegel, or pelvic floor exercises, can tonify the muscles used in urination.

If you or someone you know struggles with bladder health and incontinence call today! 

In This Issue

  • Healthy Aging and Living Life with Vitality
  • Managing Osteoporosis
  • Bladder Health and Incontinence
  • Health Boosting Foods

Health Boosting Foods

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins are part of any healthy diet. Here are six nutrients that can enhance your health and vitality.

Garlic – Garlic boosts your immunity, increasing your ability to fight off infection. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels. One or two cloves of garlic a day is recommended for optimum health, so include it in your cooking!

Ginger – Ginger has been taken as a medicine by numerous cultures for thousands of years.

This amazing spice is anti-inflammatory, reduces pain, and is excellent for many types of digestive distress (especially nausea.) More than one study has found that ginger may also be a potent cancer fighter.

Goji Berries – Small fruits that grow on evergreen shrubs in the Himalayas, Gou Qi Zi are slightly chewy and have a mild flavor.

High in fiber and containing the highest antioxidant powers of any berry or fruit, they are used in Chinese medicine to increase longevity, strengthen the immune system, improve vision, protect the liver and improve circulation.

The goji or wolf berry is widely available dried, and easily found as whole fruit or juice in natural-food stores.

Green Tea – There has been much research on the anti-carcinogenic properties of green tea. Studies of people in Asia who drink copious amounts of green tea daily have shown a correlation between green tea consumption and lower rates of a variety of cancers.

Green tea is easy to find and can be purchased in most grocery stores and health food stores. It is refreshing iced or hot.

Honey – Known as Feng Mi in Oriental medicine, honey has many health benefits, and is often used in combination with other herbs. It contains anti-oxidants and the darker the honey, the higher the anti-oxidant content and deeper the flavor.

Honey can be eaten or applied topically. It is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal.

Throughout history, honey has been used to soothe and clear the skin, and encourage the growth of healthy tissue. You might enjoy trying raw honey as a facial mask.

Organic raw honey that has not been pasteurized, clarified or filtered is your best choice.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids help keep joints healthy, reduce pain and swelling and can also help with depression, stress, arthritis and menopause.

Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9 oils are fats that directly affect cognitive, cellular and kidney function.

Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids include: salmon, sardines, tuna and other cold water fish; nuts and seeds, notably flaxseeds, hemp seeds and walnuts; and soybeans and winter squash.