anxiety

Anxious and stressed-out? Stress Relief Tea is here!

Do you feel stressed-out or anxious?  Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep?  Are you depressed or just not feeling quite like your usual self? Do you have PMS, cramping or irregular periods? If you answered “yes” to any of these then Stress Relief Tea would be a great herbal formula for you!

Stress Relief Tea is based on the herbal formula Xiao Yao San. Xiao Yao San has been used for over 900 years in China to address issues such as these. With our modern American lifestyle stress, anxiety, depression and sleep issues are at an all time high making Stress Relief Tea sweet relief indeed!

Stress Relief Tea works by acting on the stress pathways in the body. As Americans, we often sit all day at a desk but our bodies are meant to be active. Physical activity keeps the qi flowing which wicks away stress and dampness. Sitting all day and having generally high stress lifestyles we build up excess stress (i.e. cortisol) and that stress wreaks havoc on our bodies and disrupts normal happy hormones like serotonin, dopamine, and melatonin. Stress Relief Tea helps the liver to regulate cortisol levels in the body, which in turn helps to balance the other happy hormones while reducing the negative effects of cortisol on the body. Curious about how excess cortisol impacts the body? Here is a great (and very accessible) overview on how chronic stress affects your brain: https://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-stress-affects-your-brain-madhumita-murgia

So what else makes Stress Relief Tea so special (besides the fact that it tastes great AND it addresses the most common complaints I see in my Decatur GA acupuncture clinic)? For one the actual herbs used. This isn’t your leafy green tea here - IT’S FULL OF ROOTS. These herbs are so dense with healing plant compounds that you can brew the tea bags up to three times for maximum potency! This stuff is no joke - the earth these herbs grow in makes earthworms that are up to 12 inches long.  It is sulfur & sulfite free, sugar free, gluten free, caffeine free. The herbs are tested to make sure that you are only getting the purist stuff. Stress Relief Tea has no caffeine or added sugars. It's chock full of powerful phyto-compounds that heal from the inside out.

If you are ready for some stress relief give me a call at 404-695-0905 and we’ll get you started!  

Love and the Heart in Chinese Medicine

In this, the month of love, I want to take time to explore the meaning of the Heart in Chinese Medicine and how I treat the Heart in my Decatur acupuncture practice. According to Chinese Medicine all organs have a function or responsibility. These functions may be physical, emotional or spiritual. The Heart has a special place in Chinese Medicine as it is considered the Emperor (or Empress as the case may be) and rules all the other organs.

The Heart is also houses the Shen. The Shen is a complex concept in Chinese Medicine but generally encompasses the Spirit/Mind and covers all mental and spiritual functions. When the Shen is strong you have strong mental functions like the ability to think sharply, strong intellect, good long-term memory and quality sleep. Shen is also our vital life force and zest for life, the sparkle and shine in our eyes. When you look into the eyes of someone suffering from depression or great sadness their eyes often have a dullness or lack of focus. Shen is our ability to love ourselves and others, to trust, to have self-confidence and to have direction and purpose in life. Lastly Shen is our connection with Source/the Divine/God

There is a powerful connection between the Shen and Blood. According to Chinese Medicine, Blood grounds the Shen so that when Blood is sufficient mental faculties are strong and a person is happy and peaceful. When Blood is deficient we may see a mental restlessness, excessive dreaming, dream-disturbed sleep or insomnia, anxiety and depression.

According to Chinese Medicine each organ has an associated emotion and joy is the emotion of the Heart. Both lack of joy and excessive joy (i.e. over excitement) can injure the Heart and, in the other direction, a Heart disharmony can produce a lack of joy or elation. I see this strong mind-body connection daily in my practice.

Broken heart syndrome has been well documented by Western medicine. Broken heart syndrome symptoms mimic those of a heart attack however there is typically nothing structurally wrong with the heart; the apex of the heart balloons outward. Broken heart syndrome is called this because the incident often happens after a shock, a sudden death of a loved one or after ongoing intense emotional stress.

Clearly our Shen has a tremendous impact on our health and is one of the first things I take into account in my treatment approach.  Harmonizing the spirit is a goal in just about all treatments as stress impacts our Shen and most of us experience stress. This is why, at least in part, most people leave their acupuncture appointment with me blissed out and relaxed. Does your Heart need some love? Does your Spirit need lifting? Do you just need all those frayed edges smoothed out? Time to schedule an acupuncture treatment for your Heart!

 

What does acupuncture treat? Here is a snapshot of last week in my practice!

I frequently have people ask what sort of conditions acupuncture can treat.  I realize that many people may not know how effective acupuncture is for a wide range of conditions so I was inspired to share with you a short list of some of the conditions that I treated last week in my Decatur office. It’s not meant to be comprehensive and many people come in with more than one issue.  These are their chief complaints.  If you’re wondering if acupuncture can help you, give me a call at 404-695-0905 or book an appointment online to find out!

  1. Several IVF support patients
  2. Hip and low back pain
  3. Chronic diarrhea
  4. Several patients with chemotherapy induced neuropathy of the hands and feet
  5. Congestion in the ear
  6. Idiopathic neuropathy of the feet
  7. Several patients experiencing chronic anxiety
  8. Bronchitis
  9. Several patients experiencing depression
  10. Menopause symptoms and bloating
  11. Low back and groin pain
  12. Painful menstrual cycle
  13. Nerve damage sequela
  14. Seasonal allergies
  15. Insomnia
  16. Hand pain
  17. Colitis
  18. Sinus headache
  19. Fatigue and general well-being
  20. Psosas constriction with hip pain
  21. Fatigue and lowered immune system
  22. Fertility support
  23. Cancer treatment support

As you can see, acupuncture effectively treats a wide range of conditions and this was just a snapshot of one week!  I would love to help you bring your health back into balance and feel like your best self yet.

Amp Up Your Well-Being With Gratitude

This blog post has nothing to do with acupuncture...but it does cover something that I talk with my patients about and that I practice daily.  Gratitude.  It is part of a holistic approach to great well-being.  Many of my patients come in because they are stressed out, anxious, depressed, irritable or have just lost their zest for life.  Acupuncture gets them back on the road to more peace and joy.  Practicing gratitude amplifies and sustains the effects of the acupuncture treatments. 

Did you know there is a science behind gratitude as an essential part of happiness?  Researchers have discovered that gratitude boosts the neurotransmitter dopamine…the same neurotransmitter that the antidepressant Wellbutrin increases.  Prozac works on the neurotransmitter serotonin…so does gratitude!  According to neuroscience researcher Alex Korb (author of The Upward Spiral) you don’t even have to find something to be grateful for, the process of searching for it is sufficient!  Take in a daily dose of gratitude and watch the inner shift take place.    

So, how can you cultivate gratitude on a daily basis?  Here are a few ideas to try out.  Add your own ideas in the comment section!

Some ways to practice gratitude:

  • Keep a gratitude journal in which you list things for which you are thankful. You can make daily or weekly lists.  Daily is better for creating a new habit, but just keeping that journal where you can see it will remind you to think in a grateful way.
  • Make a gratitude collage by drawing or pasting pictures.
  • Practice gratitude around the dinner table or make it part of your nighttime routine.
  • Make a game of finding the hidden blessing in a challenging situation.
  • When you feel like complaining, make a gratitude list instead. You may be amazed by how much better you feel.

So don’t wait for Thanksgiving, start giving thanks today.  For gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word. We have to learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit. And that can take some time. That’s why practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a gift. 

Broken or Broken Open?

We all have had or will have experiences that break us, at least a little.  Heartbreak.  The loss of a loved one.  Illness.  We can allow these experiences to be a stopping point and get stuck there or be a learning point and a catalyst for growth. 

When we are deep in the pain it can be hard to see the learning, the opportunity for growth and change.  Sometimes we get stuck there for years.  We may yearn for the past or spend our time fantasizing about the future.  Either way we are not able to fully live in the present.  We may allow ourselves to get so bound up by heartbreak we cannot open to new love.  Or maybe we are paralyzed by the fear that what killed our mother/father will befall us as well. 

What on earth does all of this have to do with acupuncture?  Acupuncture can have a powerful effect on an emotional and spiritual level.  According to Daoist traditions different acupuncture points and channel systems influence the psyche on a deep level.  If you are stuck in emotional pain acupuncture can help open you up to a new way of seeing, instigating a shift in perspective that allows you to become unstuck.  A shift from being broken to be broken open.  As the great Sufi mystic Rumi said “The wound is the place where the light enters you.”  When you are broken open you can heal, you can grow, you can gain a level of insight that may have previously been unavailable. 

If you are ready to move from feeling broken to the experience of being broken open give me a call today!

P.S. Thanks to Reverend David Ault (www.davidault.com) for the inspiration for this blog post!

Relieve Your Anxiety With Acupuncture

Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at different times.  We may become anxious before a test, when faced with a problem at work or driving on 285 in rush hour.   However, for some people, anxiety occurs with such frequency and/or intensity that it interferes with their daily well-being.  

People experience anxiety differently but common symptoms include feelings of panic, fear, or general unease; difficulty sleeping; heart palpitations; racing thoughts; inability to be still; muscle tension; nausea; dizziness and dry mouth.  In my experience, it is common for people who experience anxiety to also ruminate.  They may get stuck reliving a specific conversation or interaction or have mental arguments with another person.  They worry about everyday life situations with no obvious reason for worry.  All of this is exhausting and they long for peace. The good news is that acupuncture is extremely effective in relieving anxiety and there are no negative side effects.  In a recent study of the effect of acupuncture on Generalized Anxiety Disorder researchers note that “a number of Meta analysis and system evaluations point out that acupuncture treatment has more advantages than drugs in the treatment of anxiety disorders….”.

In my clinic in Dunwoody, Georgia I treat anxiety frequently.  Unlike pharmaceuticals, patients often experience a reduction in anxiety in one treatment with continued and sustained improvement with follow-up treatments.  Patients have told me that they feel like their old self again; that they feel positive and full of energy.  Other patients have found a sense of peace and self-love they never experienced before.  My favorite thing is to see patients bouncing in the door with a new sense of lightness and joy. 

In addition to acupuncture I recommend specific lifestyle changes to my patients.  Taiji, Qigong and yoga all enhance a mind-body connection and can help quiet the mind.  By studying some form of meditation patients learn to control and relax the mind.  One quick, in the moment, breathing exercise you can try is to close your eyes, take a deep breath through your nose, hold it for a few moments and release your breath slowly through your mouth.  Repeat a few times.  Open your eyes and check in with how you are feeling. 

Ready to experience a renewed sense of peace and lightness?  Give me a call at 404.695.0905 to schedule your first appointment! 

Be Fearless: An Antidote to Stress

Be fearless.  This one [not small but life changing] act is a major antidote to stress.  So much of our stress comes from fear:  fear of making the wrong decision, fear of disappointing others, fear of failing. 

Be fearless.  Pick a path and follow it with all your heart.  Change your mind.  Pick a new path and follow that one with all your heart.  I’m not saying to be rash or impetuous, although sometimes those things can be good too.  You can carefully consider your path…the danger is when we never move beyond careful consideration.  We can spend years carefully considering career changes or letting go of unfulfilling relationships (trust me on this one, I have firsthand experience).  Heck, I know someone who spent a year considering a hairstyle change!  When was the last time you were fearless? 

In Chinese Medicine we say that fear descends Qi.  In my experience, fear in the form of chronic anxiety also causes Qi to rise and results in heart palpitations, insomnia or racing thoughts.  In Chinese Medicine fear is the province of the Kidneys and a sudden fright can impact the Kidneys.  We see this in our Western understanding of the body as well.  When we experience fear the adrenal glands (which sit on top of the kidneys) secrete cortisol, a steroid hormone that, among other things, causes your heart rate to increase.  More insidious is chronic anxiety, which, in Chinese Medicine is often a disconnection between the Heart and the Kidneys.  

So, how can you become more fearless? 

·      Meditate.  A host of studies have demonstrated that meditation reduces the body’s release of the stress hormone cortisol.  More importantly though, meditation gives us the opportunity to stop running away, to sit with how we are feeling and let it go.  So often we are afraid to feel our fear so we disconnect and distract ourselves.  Most people find that their resistance to feeling caused more stress and anxiety than just sitting with the feelings.  Even meditating 10 minutes a day can have a positive impact on your life.  Start today.  You don’t need fancy cushions and chimes.  Just sit in the quiet for 10 minutes and pay attention to your breath.  That’s it. 

·      Start small.  You don’t have to move across the country or quit your job.  Although you could do that if your heart is calling you to do this very thing!  Pick one fearless act to do today.  Tell your real deal feelings to someone you trust.  Sign up for that weekend retreat your braver self fantasized about doing.  Say no.  Say yes.  Do one fearless act each day.  It gets easier.

·      Get acupuncture!  If you are stuck in fear, in indecision, or in a near constant state of low-grade anxiety acupuncture can unstick you.  It is quite amazing actually.  Like a car stuck in overdrive, our bodies can get stuck in fear and our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) never turns off resulting in chronically high levels of cortisol.  Acupuncture works to return the body to its natural state of balance (sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems working together).  You’ll feel less anxious, less fearful, and less stressed.  Sound good?  Call 404.695.0905 today to schedule a free consultation! 

What act of fearlessness are you going to do today?