Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Acupressure for Sea Sickness

Long before I knew anything about acupuncture or eastern medicine I was just a bratty kid who hated spending weekends on Lake Michigan. Aside the fact that other people might see me with my parents (gasp!) I would, without fail, always get sea sick. Nothing seemed to help me overcome my queasy-feeling weekends. That is until my mom found sea sick bracelets at a drug store. Although I had no idea how that could possibly help, I figured it couldn't hurt.

The bracelet basically looked like a sweat band with a plastic ball sticking out of it. The directions stated to put the band with the ball pressing into the skin a few inches from the wrist crease. What was amazing was that it worked. I also found interesting was that the ball had to be pressing in just the right spot or it wouldn't work. Even better, after some time I no longer needed to wear the bracelets because the water didn't seem to have that same queasy effect on me anymore.

So what was that mysterious place in my wrist that took my tummy troubles away? Its an acupuncture/pressure point called PC6 or in Chinese "Neiguan". It is located in between the tendons about 4 finger breaths from the wrist crease. Its great not only for sea sickness but also morning sickness when pregnant, any kind of tummy troubles, palpitations, hiccups, or when feeling dizzy, anxious or stressed.

Sarah Zender LAc
Whole Health Acupuncture 50 E Turner Ave Elk Grove Village IL 847.357.3929

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Acupuncture and Women's Health

Chinese Medicine and Women’s Health

Chinese Medicine’s greatest diagnostic tool is observation, particularly that of the tongue and pulses, to understand what is taking place inside of the body. Keeping the circulation of blood and energy flowing smoothly through out the body is what allows the body to function most optimally. Deficiency or stagnation of energy or blood can cause a break down in the body’s ability to maintain health. If energy or blood is not moving properly it can cause a break down in the body’s ability to function properly, leading often times to pain. Chinese Medicine is so profound at treating women’s issues because of this intention of balance. Symptoms that present before or during menstruation like cramps, breast tenderness, and irritability that many women consider normal is actually the body’s way of trying to send a message that an imbalance is taking place. Later in life when menopause begins hot flashes and insomnia are other so called normal processes in the eyes and bodies of western women. These experiences are not necessary and when balanced can bring about a higher quality of life without side effects or the risk of increase in getting cancer.

It is my personal experience and belief that stress impacts a women’s cycle very intimately. I don’t know one woman not impacted by stress. Women are most family’s caregivers and most women put the needs of the family before their own needs.

While going through graduate school and working full time my body began to fatigue more and more easily. I did not get quality sleep yet slept more and more because my body never got the opportunity to recover from my long days. Then my period started doing a strange thing, it would start for 10 days and then stop for 10 days and start again. I started to sleep more and function less over a 2 month period. My gynecologist did a routine exam and gave me a clean bill of health. This left me confused and frustrated because I knew I did not feel well. Fortunately, I was studying Chinese Medicine and had access to an Acupuncturist. I received weekly acupuncture treatments and took an herbal formula prescribed by my acupuncturist for a full menstrual cycle. I continued my herbs for another month after this. My bleeding stopped after my first acupuncture treatment and at the end of my month of treatment I resumed back to my normal period with no PMS symptoms before or during my cycle. This meant no breast tenderness, no cramps, no cravings, no bloating, or constipation. My sleep cycle also returned back to normal and I was able to make it through my days without napping and had energy to do more then just make it through my day; my life began to thrive again. I no longer had dizziness or fatigue and feelings of depression lifted in the first 2 weeks.

This experience also gave me a greater awareness of myself. When I am in a period of life where I have more stress I know my sleep is the first thing that is affected and leaps directly into my menstrual cycle function. Chinese Medicine is a gift that offers one the time to pay attention to what the body is saying. Everyday your body subtly tells you what it needs; the problem is if you don’t listen then your body has to start yelling for you to pay attention. The quicker you can recognize what your body is trying to say, the quicker you can return back to health. Illness starts with a single cell that is out of balance and then starts to grow quickly affecting every aspect of your body and life. The quicker the attempt of balance is made the faster the recovery process.

Acupuncture is not a silver bullet that can cure all. It is, however, a tool that can assist in the process of healing. Because the process of acupuncture takes time what can happen often times is that people slowly make other lifestyle changes. In my case I organically took some time to evaluate my diet and made it a priority to eat more mindfully. I also restarted my yoga practice that had fallen by the wayside as my life became busier and made it a point to recognize when my body was telling me I was moving past what my “best” was.

As women we are often taught to put our needs last, however if we are not functioning optimally we won’t be able to take care of everything else that needs our attention optimally either. Chinese Medicine offers a tool of empowerment where suffering in any capacity is optional.

Sarah Zender LAc

Whole Health Acupuncture

50 E Turner Ave

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why Having Friends is Good For Your Health

The introduction to the book Outliers describes the tiny city of Roseto, Pennsylvania and the work of Dr. Stewart Wolf. Wolf conducted studies on the town in the 1960s and found that virtually no one under the age of fifty-five had died of a heart attack or showed any signs of heart disease while the rest of the country was undergoing an epidemic of heart disease. The death rate of men over the age of sixty five was half of what the rest of the United States was as well. Roseto’s death rates from all causes was actually 30-35% lower then expected.

Another amazing anomaly of Roseto was that there was no suicide, no alcoholism, no drug addiction and very little crime; no one was on welfare or had peptic ulcers. John Bruhn a sociologist involved in the studies stated, “These people were dying of old age. That’s it.” Wolf discovered that Rosetans were not on a special, healthier diet then other Americans either. Incredibly Rosetans took in 41% of their calories from fat. Rosetans also smoked heavily and many were overweight. Genetics also didn’t seem to be a factor.

Wolf discovered that the secret to Rosetans good health was their lifestyle. They lived 3 generations to a house and respected their elders deeply. Neighbors took the time to visit with each other and went out of their way to cook meals and simply support one another. In the 1950s when the medical community was used to the paradigm that our health depended on our genes and our individual lifestyle (perhaps it still is) it was nearly mind boggling to consider how the collective impacted not only the individual but the community as well.

I was excited to read these findings and thrilled at the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (it’s an interesting read). What thrilled me most was the importance of community to our health. This is exactly the intention of Whole Health Acupuncture’s approach to wellness using the community acupuncture model. The ancients have always prized community as a pillar of quality life.

Our society has more access to communication in a variety of ways and yet we have less and less physical contact. We know that if a baby has all of its needs met: food, clothing and shelter with the exception of being touched enough he will die. I can’t find any evidence that suggests that the need for touch, for understanding and companionship disappears as we get older. The majority of marketing these days convinces us that we need the “purple pill” to feel better, we own our IBS instead of our healthy bodies. It is through our diseases that we receive attention, feel loved and find identity. The goal of (community) acupuncture is the exact opposite. Through self awareness and a quiet space one can experience the body’s innate ability to heal itself. It is through the support of others that our health soars, as it is through supporting others that our health soars.

Every Monday and Thursday through out the month of November we are promoting healthy friendships. Bring in a friend who has never had acupuncture with us and you and your friend will both receive a free treatment. Bring in as many friends as you like!

Sarah Zender LAc

Whole Health Acupuncture 50 E Turner Ave Elk Grove Village IL 847.357.3929


Natural Remedy for Depression, Isolation, and Loneliness

In Chinese Medicine it is pretty clear that the body is interconnected. When one organ or channel becomes imbalanced, the rest will start to become imbalanced as well. This is the same reason why an acu point on the top of the foot can be used on the opposite side of the body to treat a one sided headache.

Modern medicine is catching up to ancient wisdom. Wayne Dyer reports that in recent studies of serotonin levels people who extend acts of kindness raise their serotonin levels. Not only does the person acting kindly towards someone feel the effect, the person receiving kindness and those witnessing kindness also receive a boost in serotonin levels.

I felt so impacted by this notion of raising serotonin levels that I made it a practice to be as kind as I could to those around me. Not only did my mood improve, I also felt like I had more energy, that I smiled more for no reason, that life didn't seem so stressful. What did it really cost me to give the man standing on the off ramp of the freeway the leftovers of the lunch I couldn't finish, or reaching for a bag of rice for a woman too short to reach it at the grocery store, cleaning the toilet that hadn't been washed in a month (instead of arguing about who's turn it was), leaving a couple extra bucks for a waitress, the list could continue. The most amazing impact of this experiment that I found was that people, strangers, began extending the same kind of kindness to me in small ways, in large ways. I have become acutely aware of the goodness returning in my life ten-fold.

Imagine the impact you could have, not only in your own life, but in all the lives around you if you started to look for the small acts of kindness around you instead of the disasters, if you consciously made an effort to be kind, or if you consciously made an effort to receive kindness. Remember its the little things in life that can make the most difference.

Whole Health Acupuncture would like to help you raise your serotonin levels in 3 ways. October 25th - 30th we will donate half of all money collected from acupuncture treatments to a local food pantry. Bring in canned goods and receive a gift certificate for a complimentary acupuncture treatment to be used in November. Schedule your appointment today! Give us a call at 847.357.3929

Sarah Zender LAc

Whole Health Acupuncture 50 E Turner Ave Elk Grove Village IL 847.357.3929

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What is Community Acupuncture?

Occasionally new patients are slightly nervous about the idea of receiving their acupuncture treatment with other people receiving treatment at the same time. This blog will help to calm your nerves and get you more excited about being a part of a community.

There are many activities in your daily life that you may participate in where others are receiving a similar service at the same time as you. Here are a few examples:

>> When you eat at a restuarant you may eat alone or with the company of others with people (strangers even!) at tables near by enjoying their meal as well.

>> When you travel alone or with company chances are you may sit next to another passenger on the same flight, train or bus that you might not know.

>> When you work out at the gym you may run on a treadmill next to someone you may or may not know on a treadmill right next to you or wait your turn to use a weight machine. If you like instructor lead exercise chances are your yoga mat or step box will be near other people also there for a work out that you might not know.

>> When you get a haircut all chairs are in one open space and everyone can see everyone else getting a hair cut and heaven forbid even in those silly caps or foils!

>> Pedicures are often done in a communal space with chairs close by your neighbors.

>> If you've ever gone to a swimming pool or beach during the summer time you've also shared the sun and water with others.

>> Many cancer treatment centers have rows of chairs lined up where patients receive chemo therapy at the same time.

All of these examples have a lot in common. They are places where people are, places where community can be developed, new friends can be made, or for some are places of sanctuary and rest.

When you think about a restaurant where would you rather eat: The place that is full of people or the place where all of the tables are empty?

Have you ever tried to work out alone and found that just being in the gym motivated you to push yourself a little harder then if you were at home alone doing it?

The same is true of community acupuncture. The more people resting at the same time the better treatment everyone receives based on the same principles of the gym example. Everyone is there for the same reason, to feel better! A community environment fosters a healthier environment for everyone.

Think about any time you've tried to make positive changes in your life. Its a lot easier when you are surrounded by people that are supporting your efforts rather than people trying to persuade you to give up. Even if you don't speak to the people receiving acupuncture with you doesn't mean their presence doesn't offer support or your silent presence doesn't offer that same support.

The community acupuncture model also helps us keep our costs down. A sliding scale that you choose to pay on seems crazy sometimes to people who are used to paying a lot of money for health care (or just about anything). The sliding scale is a symbol of your commitment to your health and also a way to break down a barrier to your ability to live a quality life. When money is less of an obstacle the only thing holding you back is your ability to show up. We all know that 90% of success in anything is just showing up. We are consistently amazed with the results we see for a variety of ailments when patients stick to a treatment plan and show up. Acupuncture is cumulative, the more you do it, the better it works and with just about anything in life its more fun to receive it with others!

Sarah Zender LAc

Whole Health Acupuncture 50 E Turner Ave Elk Grove Village IL 847.357.3929

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What Does Acupuncture Treat?

You may or may not be aware that 90% of all doctors visits are stress related. Nothing ages our organs faster than unmanaged stress.

If 90% of all illness arises at least in the deepest layer of illness from stress, the simple answer to what acupuncture can help is stress (or just about anything). Acupuncture shines in prevention and has no negative side effects.

The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture as an effective treatment for nearly 4 dozen common conditions including:

Neuromuscular Conditions:

>> arthritis
>> insomina
>> dizziness
>> neck, shoulder, and back pain

Emotional Disorders:

>> anxiety
>> stress
>> depression

Circulatory Disorders:

>> hypertension
>> angina
>> anemia

Respiratory Disorders:

>> allergies
>> asthma
>> emphysema
>> bronchitis

Gastrointestinal Disorders:

>> nausea
>> indigestion
>> chronic diarrhea
>> constipation
>> gastritis
>> ulcers

Sarah Zender LAc
Whole Health Acupuncture 50 E Turner Ave Elk Grove Village IL 847.357.3929

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Herbal Remedy For Colds

Use this simple tea as a remedy for a cold as soon as you feel yourself getting sick.

You will need:

3 cups water
2-3 inches of fresh ginger root, sliced
4-5 scallions, white part only
peel of 2 tangerines

Place all of the above ingredients into a pot of 3 cups water.

Bring it to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for no more than 3-4 minutes.

Strain the ingredients and drink hot.

(if you want to sweeten tea, use brown sugar or honey)

Sarah Zender LAc

Whole Health Acupuncture 50 E Turner Ave Elk Grove Village IL 847.357.3929