Back to School Immune Boosters!

Back to School Immune Boosters!

YAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY! The kids are back in school! Time to get everything done that was on pause this summer. Oh but wait, back to school means back into the germ factory! Yikes! How can we keep our kids (and ourselves) healthy this season? With Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) techniques of course. You can help boost the whole family’s immune system with a few fun and easy TCM techniques! Chinese Medicine has been practiced around the world for over 2,500 years and includes five branches: acupuncture, acupressure and bodywork, nutrition, movement and exercise, and Chinese herbal formulas. When you can’t get in to see your friendly neighborhood acupuncturist, try these easy in home techniques that you can do yourself!

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Acupressure Technique: The Three Passes

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Beginning at the wrist crease at the base of the thumb, use your first two fingers to push up to the elbow crease. Repeat 100 times on each arm. Three Passes not only regulates the immune system, but also works to relieve digestive issues. You can try the three passes technique on yourself and your kids. Have your kids make a game out of it – who can get all the way to 100 without losing count?

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Nutrition: Baked Pears

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Pears are great for many types of lung issues including asthma and dry cough, common ailments during the Fall season. When paired with walnuts, honey, and cinnamon in this recipe, you will also be nourishing your kidneys and moving your Lung Qi, all which will aid in your recovery!

Recipe adapted from SkinnyTaste

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:
2 large ripe pears
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp honey
1/4 cup crushed walnuts

Method:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the pears in half and place on a baking sheet (You can cut a sliver off the other end so they sit upright). Using a measuring spoon or melon baller, scoop out the seeds.

Sprinkle with cinnamon, top with walnuts, and drizzle 1/2 teaspoon honey over each one. Bake in the oven 30 minutes. Remove, let cool and enjoy!

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TMC Lifestyle Technique: Daily Affirmations for Health and Clarity

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Most days we hit the ground running as soon as the alarm goes off, and for many of us, that morning fog lasts well until lunch. Running around like a crazy person can really jack up your stress level! and when our stress levels rise, our ability to fight off infection plummets. Try this simple daily affirmation/meditation technique to help sooth day today stress,and boost your disease fighting power!

Set your alarm 5 minutes earlier than you usually do. Use this time to lie in bed with your eyes closed and choose a few words as the day’s intention or affirmation that you can come back to throughout the day. Continue to repeat these words in your head as you make your morning coffee or tea, on your commute to work, or during any moments of stress to help ground your Qi and bring you back to that sense of clarity you woke up with. Your affirmation can be anything that’s positive, that speaks to you. Make up your own, or try one of our favorites:

“Today will be a great day”
“I am Healthy, I am well”
“I am in charge of my feelings”
“I am enough”
“I have the same amount of hours in the day as Beyoncé.”

These TCM techniques will help keep your stress levels from knocking you out of balance during this busy season. A more positive and nourished mind (and body!) will be more able to fight any of those colds, flus, or seasonal blues that come your way.

Baked Pears with Walnuts and Honey

Baked Pears with Walnuts and Honey

adapted from Skinny Taste
pears-nomnom

Pears are great for many types of lung issues including asthma and dry cough. When paired with walnuts, honey, and cinnamon in this recipe, you will also be nourishing your kidneys and moving your Lung qi, all which will aid your recovery!
Ingredients:

  • 2 large ripe pears
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 cup crushed walnuts

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the pears in half and place on a baking sheet (You can cut a sliver off the other end so they sat upright). Using a measuring spoon or melon baller, scoop out the seeds.

Sprinkle with cinnamon, top with walnuts and drizzle 1/2 teaspoon honey over each one. Bake in the oven 30 minutes. Remove, let cool and enjoy!

Acupressure for Healthy Skin

No matter how hard we try, our self-care routines can get away from us sometimes.

Wait, what’s a self-care routine?!?! You mean I can take care of myself and not just my kids, spouse, boss, sister, brother, mother, dogs and cats!?! No Way!

Absolutely! In fact, the corner stone of preventative medicine is self-care. And it is much easier to incorporate into your day to day routine than you think!

A wonderful way to take care of yourself is to use Traditional Chinese Medicine acupressure points to stimulate energy and blood flow to the skin. These easy to follow acupressure techniques will not only refresh and recharge you, but they help smooth fine lines and support healthy glowing skin. Follow this acupressure routine each morning to help you start your day, or at night just before bed. Start with clean, fresh skin; and apply a thin layer of your favorite moisturizer.

Give these acupressure techniques an extra boost by using your facial moisturizer mixed with one of the essential oils listed below. Simply add a single drop (really! just one drop!) of one of the following essential oils into a dime-size dollop of your favorite moisturizer.

  • Rose Oil, which can be used for sensitive or aging skin
  • Clary Sage Oil, which can be used for decreasing inflammation
  • Rose Hip Oil, which contains omega fatty acids 3, 6, and 9, and Vitamin C, which all help in regenerating skin cells and minimizing signs of aging while reducing fine lines

Yin Tang (in purple)

Acupressure on Yin Tang can be used for furrowed brows and forehead lines.

For furrowed brows, start at the acupressure point, Yin Tang, located between your eyebrows, then lightly push upwards toward the hair line fifteen times. (pink arrow)

To relieve forehead lines, begin above the eyebrows on the forehead and move outwards to the hairline, repeating fifteen times. (red arrows)

Gall Bladder 1 (in blue)

Gall bladder 1 is located just to the side of your eyes. For crow’s feet, using your middle fingers, push and hold Gall Bladder 1 for five seconds then release. Repeat this fifteen times.

Large Intestine 20 (in green)

LI 20 is located just to the side of your nose. For smile lines, using your middle fingers, put pressure on Large Intestine 20 for five seconds then release. Repeat this fifteen times.
furrows of worry mel gallbladder 1 LI 20

More easy and practical self care tips like these can be found on our YouTube channel “Year of CHI’

Empower your life with Traditional Chinese Medicine; subscribe to the Year of CHI today!

Gall Bladder Cleanse for Spring!

green-apple-fruitwallpaper-1024x768This time of year, many people are interested in cleansing to let go of the last of winter’s heaviness and excess. In TCM, the the change of the season is a great time to make dietary changes. While there is no one nutrition plan or cleanse thats right for everyone, many people in our culture experience stress, indigestion, gas, tension in the shoulders and neck, and a bitter taste in the mouth. These can all be signs of sediment in the gall bladder.
We can recommend this dietary cleanse, adapted from Healing with Whole Foods, designed to help you feel your best and get your system running smoothly!
For 21 days avoid: heavy meats, all dairy, eggs and nuts
Eat lots of: unrefined grains, vegetables, fruit (especially pears), legumes, lemons, limes, parsnips, seaweed, and turmeric (you can take it in pills, or I like mine in my smoothies!)
In addition: eat 1-2 radishes in between each meal
drink 5 cups of chamomile tea every day
pour 5 teaspoons of cold-pressed flax oil over one meal per day
after your 21 days, reintroduce some of those heavier foods you might have been missing slowly! add just one new food group back into your diet every few days.

Not sure you can make it 3 weeks without your beloved peanut butter? We feel you! Try a 2-3 days of the lighter modified diet above, then try this quick trick one day gall bladder cleanse.
Beginning when you wake up and throughout the day eat only organic green apples, at least 5-6 for the day. Drink water, herbal tea, and fresh apple juice throughout the day as well. At bedtime, warm 2/3cup extra virgin olive oil to body temp, and mix with 1/3cup lemon juice. Slowly sip the drink then immediately go to bed when finished, lying on your right side with your right leg drawn up. The sediment in your gall bladder should pass the following morning. The next day, eat lightly following the guidelines listed above.
For more spring cleaning tips, subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Boost Your Digestion!


or How to survive SXSW in Austin, without really trying

Try these super easy techniques from the Year of CHI, and be sweet to yourself this year!

FU rub acupressure technique:
furub

Acupressure is best described as using your hands to promote the movement of energy throughout your body. The FU rub, or tummy rub, is a great technique to use for yourself or your kiddos everyday for general health, improved digestion, and strong metabolism. You can also use the FU rub to help ease constipation or diarrhea.
Place your hands one on top of the other just over your navel, use the amount of pressure you would if you were petting a dog you love, not too hard, but not too light either. Rub around your belly button 36 times clockwise then 36 times counterclockwise for general health and improved metabolism. To help relieve constipation, rub clockwise only 36 times. If you’re experiencing diarrhea, then rub 36 times counterclockwise only.

FU push acupressure technique:
fupush

For the FU push or abdominal push, use the palms of your hands. Start with your hands just under your ribs about the distance of your hip bones (which is smaller than you think it is ladies! I promise!) Push from your lowest rib to your hip bones 20 times, moving downward only. Use daily for a metabolic boost, or anytime you are feeling bloated, or your digestion is feeling sluggish.

These simple acupressure techniques only take a minute to do, and they can help you to feel lighter, and have more energy!

Easy Herbs for digestion:

One easy healthy habit you can add to your routine is to wind down with a cup of tea each evening before bed.   In Chinese Herbal Medicine, both ginger and peppermint are used to help sooth the stomach, detoxify your system, and aid in digestion. While you can use either peppermint or ginger, in TCM we say that peppermint is better for those that run a little hot (Do your friends call you feisty? You might prefer peppermint) and ginger for those who tend to run cool (do you carry a sweater with you everywhere, just in case? You might prefer ginger). You will typically find that you prefer one over the other, so choose which one you enjoy the most. You can add a teaspoon of local honey and/or a squeeze of lemon to taste. Add honey if you are suffering from seasonal allergies, and lemon when you want an extra detoxifying boost. Use your teatime to slow down and relax. Turn off your devices, read or check in with your family. Breathe in the delicious steam from your cup and just be.

For more easy ways to empower your life with Traditional Chinese Medicine, subscribe to Year of CHI on YouTube

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Take a Brain Break!

Give Your Brain a Boost! Take a Brain Break!

by Light Family Acupuncture
September, 8th 2015

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You’ve started to eat healthier, you’ve been taking your herbs and getting your TCM treatments, you’ve even started getting better sleep! Go you! But sometimes, no matter how well you take care of yourself, it can be difficult to stay focused and clear headed at work, or to stay completely present with your littles. You start the day off fine, but that last hour before lunch? Forget it.

You need to take a brain break! (No facebook doesn’t count, sorry.) When you get that not so smart feeling, take five minutes and try one of the brain boosting strategies!

Movement “snack”

One of the best ways to get your brain working again, is to get your body moving! When we focus all our attention on a computer screen or even on a nice, friendly paper document, we can be so absorbed in what we are doing that we don’t realize we are super stiff or sore until it gets painful. SAH moms and dads, I know you’ve been sitting on the floor all weirdly slumped over those legos for hours.  Set a timer for yourself every 60-90 minutes and get up and get into your body! Stretch, swing your arms, jump up and down, dance! (perf for those with toddlers!) Anything that gets you reconnected with your body for a few moments will help your brain refocus when you get back to it!

Take a snack break snack

Oh yay! We love snacks! That’s easy I do that all the time, and I can snack while I work. Hold the phone there, we need to give the brain a little break remember? Choose a healthy snack that you love. A handful of nuts, fruit, veggies and dip, hummus – do try and avoid highly processed foods as these have little nutritional value and can actually make you feel more sluggish later! But instead of wolfing it down while you work, give yourself five minutes and stop everything else you are doing and bring your full attention to nourishing your body.

Get outside

Head gone all computer fuzzy? Office so freezing cold with AC you wear a sweater in the summer? Been listening to that frozen microphone play “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” for infinity?  Take a quick walk around the building, pop the wee one into the pram for a jaunt around the hood, or step out on to the balcony and just turn your face towards the sun. If you can, take a seat, close your eyes and take several deep breaths of fresh air.

Meditate

Can’t get outside? No room to dance? Forgot your snack pack? Set a timer for five minutes, turn all your alerts and phone on silent, close your eyes, and sit. Yes really. That’s it. Just sit, sit and focus on your breath flowing in and out. You will be amazed by how calm you feel when that timer goes off!  (Got a little one at home? Try meditating at nap time)

Taking a break might seem counter productive (but I have to finish this by yesterday!!) but when you can focus with your full attention, you will work faster and produce better results! You will also feel more centered and calm and ready for anything. Ready? Set? Break!

Independently Healthy

Meditation is one of the best ways to care for your body.

Meditation is one of the best ways to care for your body.

At Light Family Acupuncture, we will be celebrating Independence Day all month long with our series on being INDEPENDENTLY HEALTHY–tips on being proactive in taking care of your body. There are five pillars–also known as The Five
Branches–that Traditional Chinese Medicine rests its theories upon. Understanding the Five Branches in TCM enables each of us to take our health into our own hands!

The first branch of TCM is acupuncture. The primary idea behind acupuncture is that good health is dependent on the balance of the body’s life force (Qi). This healthy balance can be achieved by tapping into our body’s meridians–which can be thought of as rivers of Qi. Acupuncture helps maintain or restore balance by triggering the release of endorphins (our body’s natural pain killer) which then in turn calms the nervous system and allows the body to function more efficiently. Although it is not recommended to practice acupuncture on yourself if you are not a licensed acupuncturist, you can still practice your healthy independence by making the smart decision to come see the amazing Melissa at LFA!

The second branch of TCM is herbal therapy. With the help of a skilled herbalist like Melissa, you can help restore your balance to maintain health. Herbal therapy is the primary therapeutic modality in TCM and is fundamental to achieving harmony and balance, especially in severe cases. Interested in herbs? Let us know and we will guide you to the best ones for you.

The third branch of TCM is dietary therapy. This branch holds the key to health and can truly empower all of us. Many ailments are linked to our diets, and we can achieve a healthy balance by simply tweaking what foods we decide to take into our bodies. TCM considers food not only for its nutritional value but also its energetic property (Qi) and what organ systems it helps strengthen. Hippocrates says it best with, “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.”

The fourth branch of TCM is bodywork therapy, which includes shiatsu, tui-na, acupressure, and thai massage. This branch deals with meridian theory and the acupuncture points that the first branch, acupuncture, rests upon. Although where acupuncture uses needles, bodywork therapy uses a more hands-on approach with massage and pressure. This is a great way to take your health into your own hands, literally!

The fifth branch of TCM is movement therapy, which includes all forms of exercise that use the movement of breath to help open blockages in body. This therapy refers to exercises that improve health and longevity and may include special postures to achieve correct alignment and is always practiced with a quiet mind. Qi gong (energy cultivation), tai chi, yoga, Pilates, and meditation all fall under this category.

Stay tuned with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter this month for tips to help you tap into the Five Branches all on your own. Be independently healthy for all your life–you’ve got the power in you!

Showing Appreciation

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With Father’s Day just around the corner, now is the time to show appreciation to those under-appreciated: whether it’s fathers, mothers, teachers, grandparents, or friends. It’s important to give thanks to those who tirelessly give and give to make our lives more enjoyable and rich. Here are some tips to help you show your appreciation on Father’s Day and everyday!

· Always say thank you each and every time he does something thoughtful for you.
· Give him compliments and always be specific!
· Do something that is important to him.
· Work on those habits of yours that might annoy him.
· Say “I love you” with feeling.
· Speak highly of him to family and friends.
· Surprise him flowers, coffee, lunch, or his favorite treat.
· Read The Five Love Languages.
· Discuss your bucket lists together then decide on doing one of the items together.
· Spend time reveling in your favorite memories of the past.
· Compile romantic snapshots of your partner’s worth. Every day write down something your partner did that made you experience strong feelings of love or appreciation. Describe the event and why it was important with you. Share the snapshots with your partner on a special occasion.
· Help him with chores when he is overstressed.
· Make a list of reasons why you love him and then share it with him.
· Make a sacrifice and rearrange something to make time for something romantic.
· Write a love note before he goes out of town, then slip it into his traveling bag.
· Fully listen to what he has to say rather than always thinking of what you will say next.
· Resist the urge to tell him he’s wrong.
· Laugh!
· Smile!
· Write him a letter about how he has changed your perspective for the better.
· Support his dreams.
· Support and nourish his health.

You Might Be a Metal-Type If…

letitgo loveyourelement

 

 

 

 

 

We are made up of all five elements–water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. We also all have certain tendencies to have a dominant type of element. Since autumn is Metal element time, I thought now would be a perfect time to give a shout-out to all the metal-types out there. You might be a metal-type if …

You are well-organized, methodical, efficient, and disciplined.
You live according to principle.
You are well appreciated for your integrity and commitment to reason.
You remain aloof, maintaining emotional distance from others.
You prefer conformity over strangeness.
You are very patient and meticulous.
You are a perfectionist.

When the metal element is out of balance, contraction and closing in occurs. Emotional expression might be suppressed and mental attitudes can become very fixed and rigid. Health issues that might arise with imbalanced metal element include asthma, constipation, dry hair and skin, sneezing, anemia, poor appetite, stiff joints, sinus congestion, and headaches.

Ways to remedy a metal element imbalance include activities that cultivate buoyancy of spirit and openness, including deep breathing, meditation, forgiveness of others and yourself for not living up to perfect standards, acupuncture, chamomile tea and lavender oil to calm the mind, and a diet rich in foods that help fight the dryness of autumn (pears, apples, oranges, peaches, green beans, pork, eggs, clams, oysters, grapes, olives, cabbage, tofu, soy milk, spinach, seaweed, peanuts, almonds, mushrooms, and pine nuts.) Because skin is an important body structure related to the metal element, massaging and brushing of your skin regularly can help you to avoid indifference to sensation or emotion, which indicates metal element imbalance.

Let it go, live boldly.

Like our Metal element shirt pictured above from our line of “Love Your Element” t-shirts? Call or email us to order yours today for only $18!

512-775-4057

lightfamilyacupuncture@gmail.com

Back to School Lunches That are Cool

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Although it’s back-to-school time, the sweltering dog days of summer will prevail deep into the fall semester.  The sticky sweat on the back of your legs continues to plaster you to the car seat and that 3 minute trek to the bus stop leaves you sun burnt.  Since it’s highly unlikely we can wear our bathing suits to school and work, what we choose to eat and drink can help us fight the heat.  Below are ten different fruits and vegetables that are all cooling, meaning they help you stay cool in hot weather and help you to replenish vital fluids that are lost from the constant blazing sun of summer.   They are ideal for convenient packing in the kiddos’–and adults’–lunchboxes.  Stay cool, everybody!

Bananas

Bananas are a very cooling fruit that are wonderful to eat during the hot Texas times, plus they are so easy to pack for work or school lunches! Bananas benefit the lungs and intestines. They can help alleviate thirst and help with relieving constipation.  They also naturally detox the body.

Frustrated with bananas ripening too quickly? Click here for 17 ways to use overripe bananas.

Broccoli

Broccoli is a cooling food that acts as a diuretic.  It helps improve vision and can help relieve inflamed eyes.  Broccoli contains high amounts of pantothenic acid and vitamin A, which both improve skin.  Broccoli is a great source of iron too!

Check out this yummy recipe for Parmesan Roasted Broccoli.

Celery

Celery is extremely cooling, can improve digestion, and even reduces vertigo and nervousness.  Eat celery to avoid or clear up acne breakouts.  Celery can lower blood pressure and reduce headaches.  Celery is a good food to eat to decrease an excessive appetite.  Celery contains high levels of silicon, which can repair joints and connective tissue.

Click here for freakishly delicious celery recipes.

Cucumber

Cucumber has a cooling effect and can uplift a depressed spirit.  It can counteract toxins and is great for improving skin.  Cucumbers can help prevent bladder infections. Cucumbers contain erepsis, which is a digestive enzyme that helps break down protein and cleanse intestines.

Check out all of these cool as a cucumber recipes!

Grapefruit

Grapefruits are a cooling fruit that can help improve digestion.  They can even stop belching!  There’s even a neat trick in using grapefruit to reduce fever–simmer pulp for 10 minutes in 6 oz. of water, then drink and enjoy.

The heat getting you down?  Try some of these grapefruit recipes that are sure to brighten any of your darkest days.

Oranges

Oranges are cooling and can improve poor appetites.  Oranges help replenish vital fluids after a long day out in the sun, making them a perfect addition to school lunches.  Oranges are also naturally anti-inflammatory and can even help improve weak gums and teeth.

Click here to learn seven different ways to use fresh oranges.

Spinach

Spinach is cooling and is chock full of nutrients including carotin, Vitamin C, and protein.  Spinach also contains high levels of folic acid, which plays a very important role in development.  Spinach improves bowel movements and vision.

Not sure how to include spinach in your meals?  Here are thirty different spinach recipes.

Strawberries

Strawberries are very cooling and help improve appetite.  They moisten the lungs and can alleviate thirst.  They can give relief to a sore throat and hoarseness.  Eat strawberries before a meal, and they will help promote good digestion.  Strawberries are a great food to eat when feeling irritable.  Strawberries contain high levels of silicon, which assists in connective tissue and arterial repair.

Strawberries are great additions to desserts.  Here are twenty different ways to make healthy strawberry treats.

Watermelon

Watermelons are a cooling fruit that can have an uplifting effect on the spirit.  They moisten the intestines and are a natural diuretic.  Eat watermelon to heal canker sores quickly.

Change it up a bit and try out these twenty different watermelon recipes.