10 things you can do to improve your health right now

10 things you can do to improve your health right now

Here is a list of some simple things you can do every day to improve your health.  Choose a couple, or follow all the suggestions – start slow and incorporate 1 per week and see how you feel after 10 weeks!

  1. Eat more green, colorful, leafy vegetables – Vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, chard and other commonly found vegetables have a multitude of antioxidant effects, minerals and other nutritive value that everyone can benefit from.  Chinese medicine dietary theory emphasizes eating slightly cooking vegetables, not raw, as the light sauteing or stir frying can make digestion and absorption easier.
  2. Reduce or eliminate processed sugars from your dietHigh sugar intake is now known to cause inflammation in the body, as well as lead to the well-known issues of insulin resistance and diabetes mellitus. Chinese medicine describes sugar as harming the Spleen, which helps absorb nutrients from food (basically the digestive system) as well as distribute fluids throughout the body. Keeping your Spleen system healthy is one of the main objectives in maintaining a healthy body and mind.
  3. Switch from coffee to green tea– If you really need that “pick-me-up” in the morning, green tea is the way to go over coffee.  Coffee’s vasoconstrictive qualities can lead to health problems in the long run, like hypertension, and increasing anxiety and heightening our reaction to stress.  Green tea, whereas it does have some caffeine estimated at about the same amount as a similar sized cup of decaffeinated coffee, the antioxidant and other herbal effects are more beneficial to people than coffee.
  4. Go for a walk with co-workers on work breaks – The benefits of work breaks and movement throughout the day have recently been shown to be very important to over all health.  I’m sure many people have seen the studies showing sitting even 1 hour per day is detrimental to health.  Help offset these effects by taking an active work break at least once daily, or more times if possible.
  5. Schedule time for relaxation and time for yourselfEveryone can benefit from taking their minds off the stress of their work week, or simply taking 30 minutes to lie down and do nothing. Carve some time out of your week to nurture yourself, as often as possible.  Downtime can help you be more productive.
  6. Use at least one wellness treatment to help prevent illness – A holistic health care system like Traditional Chinese Medicine, such as the Natural Health & Fertility Center offers, stresses the importance of illness prevention.  These systems often can detect and treat imbalance before there are symptoms. Treatment often involves acupuncture, herbal supplements, dietary suggestions and other self-help approaches to help you maintain your health. Treatment plans for helping maintain health vary by the individual, but can include weekly treatments during allergy season, to quarterly check-ins to help the body through the seasonal adjustments our bodies make throughout the year. Call at 612-871-2288 for a free consultation about health prevention.
  7. Try to get a good night’s sleep whenever possible – The real reasons we sleep, or how sleep affects our health, has not been well known until some recent studies have revealed sleep benefits the brain and memory, influences weight loss, and many other reasons. Some people look at sleep as a nuisance, and could supposedly get by on very little, whereas others cannot function without it.  Knowing now that the brain needs sleep to flush out wastes from an active day contributes even more to the other important reasons that sleep is very important to maintaining health. Don’t look at sleep as annoying, look at it as a way to nurture your best self and health, even as a way of extending your life!
  8. Join a tai ji or similar approach like yoga that focuses on teaching breathing techniques – Breath is vital to the health of everyone, in fact the Chinese word qi (氣) is closely tied to air and breath. Approaches to regulating and benefiting the breath can help us respond in better ways to stress and help us live fuller, healthier lives. Tilopa Tai Chi Qigong Center is a great local organization where you can learn taiji.  The Faith, Health & Wellness Center’s own Yoga Sanctuary in the Solomon’s Porch building offers a wide variety of yoga approaches to fit everyone’s needs.
  9. Keep laughter around youLaughter has been shown to have many short term and long term effects on the body, from deactivating the stress response and improving relaxation, to actually improving immunity, relieving pain, and improving overall mood. Find more ways and time to laugh in your life, and be healthier as a result!
  10. Massage acupuncture point Stomach 36 every day – Massaging this specific acupoint located just below the knees, is something suggested by Chinese medicine to help promote health and longevity. Contact the NH&FC to learn more about locating this point and adding it to your daily routine.
    St 36 in relation to the bones of the leg

    Stomach 36 on a real leg

Top 5 acupuncture websites

Top 5 acupuncture websites

I have many patients ask where to go online for more detailed information about how acupuncture works and for some further details on what is actually going on when acupuncturists choose points. Here are my top 5 acupuncture website picks for more information on the huge topic of acupuncture.

  1. Acufinder.com – This website is a great resource for finding practitioners across the country, but I especially like their informational resources for the public to research how specific conditions are treated and other more specific information on acupuncture.  There are also some great articles on herbal medicine.
  2. Aaaomonline.org– This patient resources section of the American Association of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine website lists a variety of links and other information, including links to current research studies being conducted by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
  3. Acupuncturetoday.com– Another resource for a basic introduction to acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as detailed information on acupuncture terms, including many articles on treatment of specific conditions and a comprehensive list of links to state organizations and information regarding acupuncture.
  4. ITMonline.org– ITM, based in Protland, Oregon,  was founded by and is directed by Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D.Here is an informative article, written by him, describing acupuncture and its effects on the body described in both the traditional Chinese medicine terms and from the modern Western medical approach.
  5. Acupuncture.org – This site lists studies and other information related to acupuncture treatment and its efficacy.  This tends to take a populist approach, but can be helpful in searching for specific information on what acupuncture can treat, through recent studies and many celebrity quotes.

This list may be helpful for further information, but please contact the Natural Health & Fertility Center directly at 612-871-2288 to learn more about how acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine may help you!

Helpful & healthful TCM recipes: NourishU

Here’s a website with many details about traditional Chinese Dietary principles, recipes, and help with cooking techniques.

PLEASE NOTE:  The author sells herbs from the site, but ask us about the higher quality, pesticide and heavy metals tested herbs we can get for you from a source we trust – Spring Wind Herbs, Inc. in Berkeley, CA.

Fall is typically a dry season.  Here is a sample recipe from the website, to address dryness of the lungs. This recipe uses American Ginseng, which is an expensive ingredient and usually highly treated with pesticides.  A good substitute is dang shen 党参, which we currently have in stock along with the red dates – just ask about it!!!  Add your favorite veggies to make a stew or soup about 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time (step #2).

Herbal soup mix to benefit Qi and Blood
Herbal soup mix to benefit Qi and Blood

Another version of this soup that tonifies Qi, nourishes Blood, and is also moistening to the internal organs is a mixture of dang shen-codonopsis  党参, hong zao-red date 红枣, gou qi zi-lycium (chinese wolfberry)枸杞子, dang gui – angelica sinensis 当归, and shan yao-dioscorea 山药.  We have this herbal soup packet available for purchase for $4.95 – get yours today!!!