Monday, December 21, 2015

Balanced Eating During the Holidays

Pie.  Cookies.  Chocolate.  Eggnog.  Champagne.

The holiday season is filled with good foods.  You eat and drink with your friends and loved ones to celebrate how much you care about them.

But we all know that too much of a good thing is no longer good.  Too many rich foods can lead to extra pounds, digestion upsets, mood swings and a generally "yucky" feeling.
It's all about balance.

Good, healthy holiday eating can make the difference between an enjoyable holiday season and a miserable one.  The trick is to enjoy treats without overdoing them.  Make a healthy holiday eating strategy and plan to enjoy the holiday celebrations without feeling bad the next day.

Healthy Holiday Eating Strategies
Strategy #1 Moderate
Decide on a moderate way to approach the treats that are most tempting to you.  Avoid brash decisions like "I won't have any holiday cookies this year."  It’s easy to break unreasonable rules.  Instead, make a moderate healthy holiday eating plan. 
For example, if cookies are your nemesis, allow yourself to eat 1 cookie at the holiday cookie exchange.  If you can't decide between your 2 favorite cookies, have a half of each.  Either way you won't feel deprived but you won't overdo.  Pick your battles to get maximum enjoyment with minimal deprivation.

Strategy #2 Substitute
Find healthy alternatives for rich, high calorie food.   Substitute nuts and fruits (both fresh and dried) for cookies or candy.  Drink juice instead of soda, and herbal tea instead of juice.  Make eggnog with skim milk instead of cream.
During a meal, eat mostly vegetables instead of potatoes and stuffing.  And remember, sweet potatoes with brown sugar or marshmallows are closer to a dessert than a vegetable.

Strategy #3 Avoid Hunger
The hungrier you are, the more likely you will binge on bad foods.
Remember to eat breakfast.  Eat a healthy meal before you go to a party.  Start every big meal with hot soup.

Fill up with healthy food so you don't race to the bad stuff.

Strategy #4 Maintain Healthy Routines
Don't stop your healthy habits just because it's a holiday.  Continue to drink lots of water and get enough sleep.  Make time to exercise.  Spend meaningful time with your loved ones. 

Take time to meditate or pray.  Get outside.

Maintain the healthy habits that you already have.  When you feel good, you'll be less inclined to eat foods that make you feel bad.

Strategy #5 Journal
Keep track of what you eat and how you're feeling.  Write about your stresses and emotional upsets.  Compose poems and short stories.

Keeping a journal will give you a non-eating outlet for stress, and remind yourself how good it feels to be healthy, happy and creative.

Strategy #6 Trick Yourself
Trick yourself into thinking you’re eating a lot.

Use small plates to make modest pie portions seem larger.  Pour drinks into tall, skinny glasses to drink less.  Fill your dinner plate with salad before adding the entrees.  Full plates make small portions seem big.

Strategy #7 Partner Up
Get a healthy holiday eating buddy.  Partners make it easier to keep your healthy commitments in the face of indulgences.  They provide accountability and support.

Strategy #8 Commit
Look through this list of strategies and pick the ones that are the most helpful and the least difficult.  Write down your list of healthy holiday eating guidelines and post them where you see them several times a day.  Commit to following them.  Don't allow yourself excuses to break your rules.

Strategy #9 Tune Up
Now is a great time for an acupuncture tune-up.  Acupuncture helps balance your body so it's easier to make healthy choices.

Call me today to schedule your appointment.  I'll help you create a healthy holiday eating plan that doesn't take the fun out of the holidays. Mike Worley, L.Ac. 951-698-7977.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Seasonal Affective Disorder and Acupuncture

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Tomorrow is the first day of Autumn. Changes are afoot. Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that people experience at the same time every year. Most often, symptoms start in September or October and are relieved in April or May, however some people experience SAD at different times of year.

The symptoms include:
• • Irritability
• • Headaches
• • Extreme fatigue, lethargy and sleepiness
• • Increased appetite
• • Carbohydrate cravings
• • Lack of concentration
• • Decreased libido

No one knows exactly what causes SAD but most of the theories involve light. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects mood, is triggered by light. Some people believe that decreased serotonin is the culprit. Others blame melatonin, a hormone that affects sleep and mood, because it is affected by darkness. In either case, light plays a role.

Western Medicine Treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder 
Western medicine treats SAD with medications, psychotherapy and light therapy. There are 2 types of light therapy. For bright light treatment, you sit in front of a light box for 30-45 minutes every day. For dawn simulation treatment, a dim light comes on while you sleep and gradually gets lighter. Many people find light therapy very effective, and a recent Canadian study confirms this. Scientists found that light therapy was just as effective as Prozac for alleviating SAD, with fewer side effects and faster results.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatments for SAD 
TCM takes a holistic view of the body and seasonal cycles, and understands the energy behind them. All life is made of qi, or life force. One of the principles of qi is that everything is made of yin and yang. Yin is the feminine side, nourishing, cold and dark. Yang is the masculine side, active, warm and light.

Autumn marks the beginning of the yin cycle of the year. Daylight decreases, temperatures drop and nature takes a rest. Just as animals slow down and hibernate, our bodies slow down. It is a time for reflection and quiet activity.

If your constitution is particularly yin, from gender, genetics, environment or lifestyle, the yin cycle may hit you hard. Contemplation and rest may become isolation and depression. Your winter cycle becomes seasonal affective disorder. The holidays put an additional stress on your system. At a time when your body wants to slow down, holiday activities speed up. Parties, shopping, travel and holiday celebrations create tension between what your body needs and what you're doing. This stress depletes your body even more, contributing to exhaustion and cravings for carbohydrates to replenish your depleted energy.

To stay balanced in the winter and ward off SAD, conserve your energy. Practice quiet, yin activities like restorative yoga, Tai Chi, qigong, walking or journaling. Eat warm, slow-cooked stews and soups. Add yang spices like garlic, ginger, black pepper, cloves and basil to your foods. Limit cold drinks and raw vegetables. Rebuild your energy to prepare for spring.

Most importantly, make an appointment with me for a seasonal acupuncture treatment. By balancing your qi, your seasonal affective disorder symptoms can be relieved.  Winter doesn't have to be a time of sadness, exhaustion and binge eating. Call me to discuss your treatment options today, 951-698-7977 Mike Worley, L.Ac.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Why do I feel so relaxed after acupuncture?

Following an acupuncture session, many patients expressed that they felt a very strong relaxation during and after the initial treatment. This relaxation is not only about a relaxed body while lying on the treatment table, but about feeling mentally peaceful and emotionally happy. Some people have told me they never felt this deeply relaxed in their entire life. This relaxation effect usually is the first reaction of acupuncture treatment. It means the patient has responded with the treatment very well. In Chinese medicine, this relaxation is a sign that balance and free energy flow has been restored. Some may notice their body was floating, as if they were weightless, or on the contrary, they felt heavy, as if their body was sinking into the bed.

The relaxation can last for hours or days depending upon who you are. Following a treatment, many also felt increasingly aware of their inner feelings. This is a typical reaction if the body shuts down from the external stimulations and starts to repair itself. The best thing you can do in this situation is rest, take naps or go to bed early. Our body only can repair itself while we are sleeping at night. Sleep makes a huge difference to our overall well being.

If you are in Temecula Valley or Murrieta, come see Mike Worley, LAc for your relaxing treatment. 951-698-7977.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Acupuncture and Fertility

The treatment of infertility with acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine dates back over 2000 years. These ancient, time tested techniques improve fertility rates and support a woman's whole body, unlocking unlimited potential for health, healing and childbearing.

Studies reported by The American Pregnancy Association suggest that the most effective fertility treatments involve a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine and traditional medical interventions.

Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical Center in new York reviewed recent studies and concluded that acupuncture helps to:
  • Increase blood flow to the uterus, improving the chances of an ovum implanting on the uterine wall.
  • Reduce anxiety and stress. The hormones that are secreted during stressful situations can significantly decrease fertility.
  • Normalize hormone and endocrine systems that regulate ovulation, especially in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
  • Positively affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, which plays a key role in fertility.
  • Regulate the menstrual cycle.
In a 2007 study, researchers found that acupuncture may improve the quality of life in patients undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). It was also found that women receiving acupuncture reported significantly less abdominal pain, nausea and stress two hours after oocyte aspiration, compared to women receiving conventional analgesia.

In 2008, the British Medical Journal published research which concluded that acupuncture can be offered as a significantly, clinically relevant adjunct to IVF, relaxing the uterus and increasing blood flow for the successful implantation of an embryo within the uterine lining.

An acupuncturist's approach to fertility. According to the theories of acupuncture and TCM, infertility is caused by an imbalance of Qi and blood affecting the healthy functioning of one or more of the organ systems. When Qi, our vital energy, and blood are circulating freely throughout the body, every cell, tissue and organ is properly nourished and can function well. Acupuncture and TCM can raise the fertility potential of both women and men by improving the quality, quantity, balance and flow of Qi and blood.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Acupuncture For More Than Just Pain

We all know the common ways to avoid becoming ill. Exercise, healthy and balanced meals, vitamins and lots of water, right? Did you know another way to boost your immune systems is through acupuncture.
Murrieta Acupuncture, Mike Worley LAc

In the west, acupuncture is commonly thought of for use with pain management, as it is quite effective at reducing/eliminating pain from the body. This is only one issue that acupuncture can treat; there are many more ailments it can resolve naturally and holistically. The whole basis behind acupuncture, which is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, is to support harmony and balance within the body. Acupuncture views the body as a whole, and hence is a form of holistic medicine. A licensed acupuncturist has the training and ability to effectively treat a variety of illnesses by providing a diagnosis, implementing a treatment plan and making use of a variety of treatment methods.

You do not have to be sick or in pain to try acupuncture. One of the best reasons to get acupuncture is to keep your body healthy and operating properly. It is far better to spend a little money, time and energy on staying healthy than to have to spend a lot more recovering from an illness. Acupuncture is proactive and is focused on promoting the body’s ability to protect and heal itself.
For thousands of years, Traditional Chinese Medicine has been used to treat sick people without the reliance of modern medicine and prescription medication. Millions of people have benefited from this natural medicine and so can you. Contact Murrieta Acupuncture at 951-698-7977 and let the wellness begin!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Can acupuncture help elderly patients?

Today, people are living longer than ever. Many older people deal with issues related to arthritis, aches, pains, trouble with balance and walking. I am often asked if acupuncture can help with these types of conditions. The fact is that it can! People from all ages can benefit from acupuncture. No matter the age, the body's natural ability to heal itself is present. Due to various illnesses and environmental conditions, the immune system can be compromised, but this is also another way acupuncture can help.  By boosting the body's natural defense mechanisms, we can improve the quality of life for all types of people from all walks of life.

The process of healing by acupuncture can be a bit slower than what you might be used to from seeing a typical western doctor.  An acupuncturist will not be giving you some pain killers and promising to feel better by tomorrow. Following a treatment, you may notice some immediate improvement which can last from hours to a day or so. With each subsequent treatment, this improvement will continue to last longer and longer. Depending on how chronic or how long you have had a condition, will have direct impact on how quickly you can find relief from your issues. Younger people rebound very quickly, while people have been quite ill or older will take a little more time for their conditions to improve and resolve. All ages can benefit from acupuncture.  See me, Mike Worley, LAc. in Murrieta inside Chiropractic Plus.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What is Qi? Video from Murrieta Acupuncture

The west does not have an exact equivalent to the concept of Qi, which is a fundamental aspect of acupuncture.
  • Qi is energy in the very broadest sense possible.
  • Qi is universal.
  • Qi embraces all manifestations of energy, from the most material aspects of energy (such as the earth beneath your feet, your computer, and flesh and blood) to the most immaterial aspects (light, movement, heat, nerve impulses, thought, and emotion).
Life, it is said in the Chinese medical classics, is a gathering of Qi. A healthy (and happy) human being is a dynamic but harmonious mixture of all the aspects of Qi that make up who we are.

Qi is in a state of continuous flux, transforming endlessly from one aspect of Qi into another. It is neither created nor is it ever destroyed; it simply changes in its manifestation.
In order to talk about the relationships between the various aspects and manifestations of Qi within a given context, Chinese philosophy employs the concept of yin and yang.
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Monday, January 12, 2015

Auricular Acupuncture with Mike Worley, LAc

The ear provides numerous acupuncture point locations for treating a variety of health conditions. The entire body can be mapped out on the ear.  This can provide access to some locations on the body that otherwise could not be reached, such as the brain.  Contact Mike Worley, LAc to set up your acupuncture appointment, 951-698-7977.