What is the best way to Hydrate? There are a lot of differing opinions out there (much like with food) and many of them are sound and good. So how do you know which is best for you?
The Answer: You have to tune in and find out. Here are a few quick tips on the best way to make the most out of drinking your water.
1. Drink 2-4 cups with lemon upon waking.
When we sleep, our bodies are very busy repairing and detoxing. When we awaken, we are actually quite dehydrated. When you wake up squeeze a wedge of lemon into a glass of water and drink it. The lemon helps cleanse your liver and flush out toxins as the water hydrates you. My Nana used to do this every morning. It’s a terrific way to start hydrating and getting in your glasses of water. Then drink a tall glass of water.
2. Don’t drink water while you eat.
When we chew, we release digestive enzymes –digestion begins in the mouth. If we down water with our food, we dilute our digestive juices and hamper, digestion and absorption. Wait 20-30 minutes before or after you eat to drink your water — in between meals.
3. Drink throughout the day, and stop a few hours before bed.
Start first thing in the morning. Drink water when you’re hungry instead of reaching for a snack right away. See if water can quench your perceived hunger. Timing differs for everyone, find your optimum stopping point so that you may have a full night’s rest without waking for trips to the bathroom.
4. How much?
While it’s important to hydrate, how much water depends on what you’re eating. If you’re diet is rich with raw fruits and vegetables, you’ll find you need less water. If you eat a lot of cooked foods (the water cooks out) you’ll require more water by the glass. It’s important for you to be the judge. In the winter we tend to drink less water. A basic rule of thumb is the drink half your body weight in ounces. Example: 140lbs = 70 ounces of water per day. Keep in mind, too much water drinking can tax the kidneys.
Not enough water can cause dehydration, increased appetite, dry skin, hair, brittle nails, sluggishness, constipation and whole host of other things. There are many health professionals that believe the root of illness and disease is chronic dehydration. Our job is to tune into our unique body to find out what it needs.
When I follow the steps above, I stay regular (who doesn’t want that?), my skin looks great, my energy flows, and I feel good. I do however, have to make a conscious effort to hydrate, the habit comes and goes for me. What about you?
Test out steps 1 -3 for a week and let us know what you find out. How much water are you drinking now? What are your water drinking goals?
Read about Hydration’s Role in Healing.
Water affects every system in the body.
When we see muscle tissue that’s slow to heal –or the healing mechanism doesn’t spark in the body quite as well– often the culprit is dehydration.
Water helps keep the the muscles pliable. The muscle has a more difficult time healing itself after treatment if the person is not properly hydrated. If your body is well-hydrated before acupuncture the healing potential is heightened. It usually takes 2-3 days to become fluid. Many of us are chronically dehydrated.
Water helps keep the blood alive and healthy. Without water the blood gets sticky.
The body’s tissues are what holds the water in the body. The way to get the water into the tissues – here’s the secret: Drink a bunch of water and then stretch. If you sit still it will go right through you, if you move it will go into the the soft tissue of the body – the muscles and the fascia.
If the fascia is dry, the conductivity and communication in the body is hampered.
Whenever you have enough water in the fascia system – the connective tissue– the body can work more efficiently at immunity, tissue healing (muscle repair), oxygenation, brain function, and heart health to name a few.
Hydration goals: Drink half your body weight in ounces per day – for example 140lbs = 70 ounces water per day.
The quality of water is important. Taste and cleanliness are paramount (no chlorine or fluoride) opt for local spring water.
Drink mindfully, good water.
Read more about healthy hydration techniques in article 4 Ways to Make the Most Out of Water.
So, 2020, eh? With all of the restrictions and constrictions we’ve been experiencing this year, let’s be sure to be even more loving to ourselves than ever before. Winter is a time of going inward, of being in the deep recesses of pre-creation, the place of potential, the place of darkness, the womb of possibility – before the seeds get planted. It’s a time of dormancy, of quiet, of stillness. We reside now deep within the kidneys, the place of our essence.
This is a good time for REFLECTION
Resolutions are abrupt, sometimes harsh, often with fearful, judgmental, guilt-induced roots. Resolutions are willful, aggressive and single-minded (often setting us up for a backlash).
Reflection is based in awareness, it is open, observational, gentle, expansive and unlimited.
One of the things that we’ve learned about profound and lasting personal transformation is that the temptation to speed along and make swift, hacking changes, doesn’t stick. If you’re ready for it, the ride is longer, deeper and ultimately more rewarding.
This takes different tools. The fun part is, these tools are creative and they run counter to the speed, end-gaming and competitive energy that for so long has run rampant in our collective culture. NOW –brought to you by the big slow down of 2020– we are already somewhat naturally more slowed. This is a place for gratitude to live.
As a soothing concept for our child, we have often provided the parable of the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly. In 2019, we were the caterpillar. Currently, we are in the liminal space – the primordial goo of undoing and recreating. The liminal space is ripe with possibility, it is transformation itself. This cannot be rushed, But it can be leaned into. It’s been long, but we need a bit more time, let us not rush it as it cannot be rushed.
Often, our greatest challenge is in our “inner work.” Why do we get stuck? Why do we sabotage ourselves? Why do we hold ourselves up to such high standards? Are you your own worst critic?
If 2020 has shed a light on anything, it is that NOW is the time to heal ourselves. It’s time for us to emerge and feel powerful without shame. It’s time to stop playing small.
We may not be able to control the pandemic but we can affect personal change. The turn of the New Year is a good time to reflect, release, and dream big. It is NOT a time to feel guilty, or redouble our efforts and make resolutions (also known as more rules).
Prior to March 2020, many of us suffered from subtle levels of stress, anxiety, perfectionism and fear, much of it we could not put a name to. Have you been able to see where your shadows are? Have you discovered new priorities?
How do we co-create personal change that is expansive and effective? How do we leap from where we are now, to where we’d like to be?
Try this simple technique to close out the old and bring in the new.
Step1 : Reflect. Take a few moments before the old year ends and the new one sweeps in and simply reflect. Grab a journal or piece of paper and take a few moments to just sit and gaze. How was your year? Yes, there are the overt traumas and challenges of the collective and personal journey this year – but do you have any silver linings?
What was really wonderful? What would you like to shed- that no longer serves you?
Make a heading at the top of the page and call it “Reflections on 2020”
Now list out “What I would love to keep”
Then list out “ What I am Ready to Let Go of”
Step 2: Dream your future open. Clear out the future by being in the present. Sit quietly for 5 to 10 minutes, relax and do the work of it. Imagine that you can shed all that doesn’t work in your life. Gather it and simply compost it into the earth. Now… think about 2021. It’s clean, fresh, unencumbered. What do you want to place there? What do you want to occur?
On a NEW page start with the Heading, “Visioning and Creating 2021″
Be free, open, and expansive. Use what you’d love to keep and expand upon it until it feels good to you.
Some really enjoy the process of creating a Vision Board.
Really see it. Claim it. Draw it. Write it. Paint it. Sing it. Drum it. Create it into being.
Step 3: Be creative and play. We are creators (you know, we make life…) so create! You don’t have to be a formal artist… just do something to let the energy flow. What might set your heart or spirit free—even for 20 minutes?
Get into the FLOW state. Color, draw, finger paint, do an interpretive dance, make a silly hat, make something. Seal your intentions with creative flow. Thank yourself and go and enjoy the rest of your day.
Remember, you are the conductor of the complex melody of your life. You are a being with power beyond measure. Use your power of reflection and awareness to create.
Have a beautiful celebration to close out 2020 and Happy New Year – welcoming in health, vitality, and possibility in 2021!
Sleep is one of the most important tools we have to support good health. And it’s free.
The bedroom is the place we go to recharge, unwind, and support deep rest.
The bedroom is a sacred space.
Look around with an unbiased eye and take note of what’s happening in your bedroom.
Is it cluttered? Are there pictures or knick-knacks that drain your energy?
Sleep is critical for our physical, mental and emotional health. It is our time to unplug, recharge, detox, and quite literally, rest. This supports a healthy immune system and a healthy nervous system.
Without quality sleep, we experience greater emotional stress, susceptibility to illness (lowered immune response), premature aging , and anxiety.
Here are 7 tips on enhancing your beauty and your health through sleep.
1. Remove the cell phone from your room. If you’re using it as an alarm clock, do yourself a favor and purchase a real one. Cell phones are always sending out and receiving a signal and this is highly disruptive to sleep.
2. Choose an alarm clock with red or orange light, not blue or green. Or go old school. The spectrum of red or orange light is much more soothing to our bodies. If you want to drop a few bucks on a super zen battery operated chime clock, check these out.
3. Sleep in the dark. Our bodies are programmed to sleep in the dark and wake with the light. Have you ever gone camping? Once the sun goes down, sleeping happens much sooner.
Buy black out curtains or simply hang extra fabric to seal out the light. Studies have shown that light while sleeping can affect hormones, mood, and ovulation in women.
4. Keep electronics away from your head. Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) disrupt our health and can trigger anxiety, restlessness, and prevent sound sleep. This includes alarm clocks (you can put this across the room or in the hallway), lamps, really anything plugged in to the wall. If you like to read at night, unplug the lamp before you settle to sleep. Some people even like to flip the circuit breaker.
5. Remove TVs, computers, stereos, and other unnecessary gadgetry from your bedroom. Studies have shown that once you turn off the TV it continues to radiate for 8 hrs. Not so good if you’re trying to rest and repair.
6. If you suffer from insomnia, try eliminating caffeine. Even a small cup of coffee at 8am could affect someone who is extra sensitive and prone to insomnia.
7. Create a nighttime ritual – 5- 30 minutes should do the trick. Here are some ideas to explore:A hot salt bath (or if your feet are hot, a cool foot bath with peppermint soap), slow yoga to meditative music, 10 deep belly breathes, or a foot rub. All of these bring your energy inward, calm the nervous system and prepare the body for sleep.
It’s winter. It’s 2020. And after we wear our masks and wash our hands, and socially distance and do — All. The. Things. We still need to be sure we are caring for our heart, our spirit and our body in a tender and mindful way. We put together a little stay healthy during winter list.
Drink Broth. Drink Tea. Get and stay warm from the inside out.
See our Homemade Bone Broth recipe for a delicious way to support your immune system through winter.
Any tea is wonderful. If you’re really feeling cold, try ginger tea to warm up quick and aid digestion. Fresh ginger is very warming – it is anti-bacterial and anti-viral. It has many other tremendous health benefits. It’s easy to make this into a tea – use vegetable peeler, chop and add to hot water – with a squeeze of lemon and some honey or stevia to taste.
Moxibustion is another way to bring warmth into the body. Chad can show you how you can work with this at home to great benefit – especially on your immune points. Also great at the start of a cold or illness. Call or email us.
Keep your neck covered and your feet warm.
We say this every year – Fall, winter, and spring. Keeping your neck covered and protected from wind is an excellent way to keep external pathogens from entering your system. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine work with heat and cold in the body. Cold constricts flow. Things get stuck. Warmth moves fluids, blood and Qi. Our feet also must stay warm. Most especially during a woman’s moon cycle it is vital to keep cold out of the feet.
Take some things off of your schedule.
Learning to say no, and prioritize quiet and calm has far ranging health benefits. Support your nervous system and schedule downtime and rest.
Drink good quality water.
Does your water have chlorine and fluoride in it? These are Halides which displace the iodine in your thyroid, weakening your system. Opt for quality sources of spring water, or filtered water preferably not in small plastic bottles – but in Non-BPA large bottles. (Plastic is an endocrine disruptor.)
GET ENOUGH SLEEP.
We used all caps for this because this is one of the best ways to support your immune system, and it’s free. Your body needs time to rest and recharge. Many of us know this, but how often does life prevent us from practicing this? Even during these times, lack of sleep due to worry and stress can wreak havoc on our nervous system, digestion, immune system and our muscles and joints.
Connect with JOY.
What brings you joy? This year, we are faced with this challenge ever so more. Joy is the antithesis of fear. It supports the heart spirit. For many, practicing being with the present moment can help lift us up a little bit. You may want to take up painting, photography, get a pet, walk more, play or listen to music. The most important thing is to be gentle with ourselves.
Access the healing power of the natural world.
Don’t underestimate the healing power of nature. Immersing in nature (a hike, sitting with your back to a tree, gazing into a flower, taking a moment- to just be- sitting on a rock) is the ANTIDOTE to disconnection, stress, and disharmony (which eventually leads to dis-ease).
We invite you to cultivate your presence, take time for self-care, care for your being – body, mind, and spirit. We are all on this ride together. Stay Healthy! Call us if you need us. Call us just to talk. We are here.
In Traditional East Asian Medicine, the body’s physiological processes can be viewed through the lens of Five Phase theory.
Each phase relates to a major organ, an emotion and a season.
All things can be viewed through this lens for easy discussion and healing discoveries.
The heart and lungs are relatively higher in the body away from the earth. They process blood and air every second of every day.
The liver and spleen are physically just below the diaphragm in the middle. They process food and blood on a daily or in some cases weekly cycles.
The kidneys are the lowest of these five.
They rule events in life such as birth, puberty, child bearing.
These processes are slow.
In the last 40 or so years the speed of our lifestyles has increased exponentially. Mother Earth is still telling us all to slow down – more.
In 2020 I went from 50 patients per week to 22. It wasn’t by choice. But it was most certainly better for me. More time for conscious breathing, exercise, and hydrating.
Kidney Deficiency usually manifests in the low back and the knees.
This past year has been challenging, heart-breaking, and difficult to varying degrees for each of us. As we press on into this third wave, it is important to understand the stress this has on the kidneys. We are all to some degree in fight or flight. We are in survival mode. Every social pattern we have known has been disrupted and changed. As we move through this transition, the healthiest thing we can do is to acknowledge how this affects the kidneys and support ourselves accordingly.
In the kidneys resides essence or Jing and our will to live.
The connection between the kidneys and the heart is important to understand. If you look at the diagram, you may notice that this is the axis of fear and joy. Water and fire. This is a spectrum. The antidote for fear – is Cultivating Joy. The adrenals and kidneys are directly connected. We want to nourish our kidneys and support our essence. We can do this in the following ways:
- Turn the TV off
- Take a holiday from social media
- Go outside. Make a fire, talk a walk, tend to your yard- connect with the natural rhythms of nature. Feel the wind, see the stars, you get the idea.
- Get plenty of rest at regular intervals
- Hydrate well and often with good quality
- 20 min Gentle movement necessary during the day – yoga, qi-gong or pleasant walk in the park (not a 3 mile run)
- Plan to do less
- Practice self-care
- Drink bone broth or mineral broth if vegetarian
- are at the deepest level of all the organs (this operates on the levels of mind, body and spirit)
- control your entire blood pressure system
- regulate Blood cell production
- regulate all the water in the body (regulate the salinity of the water through the advanced filtration system)
- are related to the element of water and are in affinity with the colors black and blue (where these colors to support the kidneys!)
- In the Kidneys we find the will – including the will to live – the will to move forward and conversely, fear. Kidneys out of balance will be an experience of stuckness/frozen in fear. It is like the roots of the tree are all dried out.
Winter is the time of a deep going within, it is the season of the kidneys, so having loving intention in this direction can amplify our process.
If we can find the gifts, the silver linings and perhaps even find the joy in places and moments we can proceed in that direction, slowly, mindfully and heal.