How to Treat Fall Allergies Naturally

Fogginess, a nasal drip with a slight cough, sneezing and itchy or dry eyes? Fall allergies may be the culprit. Warmer than usual temps this time of year are worsening allergy factors. We have noticed an increase in complaints of symptoms and all the leaves haven’t even fallen yet!

We’re Garden Acupuncture and have a specialty allergy program that may be the boost your body needs.

Fall Allergies & Eastern Medical Philosophy

Our immune system can become stressed when we come into contact with pathogens and allergens. In Eastern Medicine our immune systems are related to Qi, the body’s energy, life force or defense mechanism. When there is an imbalance/stress of our body’s Qi, we develop symptoms like fall allergies. Also according to Eastern Medicine, seasonal allergies are created by the element wind affecting the body which also consequently weakens the immune system. This is why most seasonal allergies occur in the windy seasons of Spring and Fall. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which includes acupuncture, is a wonderful and natural way to lessen symptoms of fall allergies. When allergy treatment is started early enough prior to the allergy season, you can prepare and strengthen your body and as a result possibly avoid symptoms all together.

“I have suffered from severe seasonal allergies- and the nasty side effects of over-the-counter allergy medication- for many years. I went through several years of weekly allergy shots, which offered no symptom relief- there was no end in sight as to the number of treatments I’d need before ever experiencing relief. I finally turned to acupuncture. Lisa and Alex treated me both before and during allergy season- I always experience immediate and total relief! Acupuncture treatments are relaxing and restorative too- an added bonus.”

-Wendy

 

“shutterstock.com/altafulla”

 

 

 

 

 

Why is Acupuncture effective for treating fall allergies?

The American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy reviewed multiple research studies of groups receiving acupuncture versus control groups. The researchers determined that acupuncture treatments improve allergies.

They stated treatments “produced significantly higher diminution of nasal symptoms” and continued “our meta-analysis showed that the acupuncture group has superior effect(s) in reduction of both rhinitis symptoms and the requirement for anti-allergic medication compared with the control group.”

Study Shows Acupuncture Treatment Improves Allergies, Soothes Sinuses and Decreases Nasal Symptoms. Acupuncture has the ability to modulate cytokines which are immune system cell secretions as well as the ability to induce anti-inflammatory actions. These two properties make acupuncture an effective tool in addressing allergies.

We’re located in Park Slope, Brooklyn on Union Street and our team has over 50+ years experience. Our office accepts many insurance plans! Don’t have insurance? No problem. Let us know you found us through DNAinfo and you’ll receive a special discount on the package.

Give us a ring and ask us questions! 347-987-4399

Explore our website! GardenAcu.com

Start Getting Relief and Book Now! Click here to schedule.

We look forward to answering your questions, meeting you at your first visit and getting you some relief!

By |October 13th, 2017|Acupuncture, Allergies, Hay Fever, Itching, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Building a Strong Support System While Trying to Conceive

Fertility Communities & Why You Need Them.

Here at Garden Acupuncture we specialize in fertility and we know how important it is to not go through the process alone. Your significant other, friends and family may not always understand how you are feeling and keeping things bottled up isn’t always the greatest way to go. So where do you turn? We are excited to share a free resource called Fruitful.

Elyse Ash is the brilliant founder and CEO of this beautiful community of fertility warriors. Fruitful is a free mentorship program that matches those going through their fertility journey with a supportive individual who has experienced it first hand.

 

Building a Strong Support System While Trying to Conceive

By Elyse Ash, Founder of Fruitful Fertility

 

Infertility is a complicated, emotional, messy-as-all-get-out experience for 1 in 8 couples. And for good reason; infertility can quickly hijack your life.

Because when you’re trying to conceive, you’re also trying to deal with relationship stress, financial disagreements, hormonal imbalances and oftentimes mental health struggles, too.

And while your usual support network of friends and family members may try to be there for you, it’s really tough for anyone who hasn’t been through infertility firsthand to understand. Usually you just receive a string of platitudes like, “Try to relax,” or “It’s going to be fine.” Even your bestest best friend probably doesn’t really understand the level of despair you feel when you get your period.

This empathy gap and lack of understanding is why 61% of women going through infertility don’t tell ANYONE about this struggle; not their moms. Not their friends. No one. Which is absolutely heartbreaking, because the only thing worse than going through infertility is going through this mess alone.

The good news? Today, suffering in silence is completely optional. There are many ways to find new TTC (Trying to Conceive) friends who know what you’re going through and can help support you in a real, meaningful way. You don’t have to be an extrovert or even look anyone else in the eye! In fact, there’s a whole underground world of women sharing their journeys and supporting one another right under your nose; and it’s kind of amazing!

So how can you build your TTC Tribe of fellow infertility warriors who can help emotionally support you on your journey? Here are a few awesome ways you can start connecting with other women who know what it feels like to spontaneous burst into tears when you walk past the baby section at Target.

 

1. FruitfulFruitful is a free fertility mentorship matching program. Individuals struggling emotionally with infertility are paired with a mentor who has experienced it firsthand but is now on the other side. The service is free and a great way to talk one-on-one to someone (either via text, phone, email or in-person) who truly understands the struggles of TTC. The benefit of having a mentor? It’s less competitive than going through the experience with someone else actively trying to conceive, and mentors are also able to offer the perspective, knowledge and guidance that only comes with a bit time and of distance.

2. Instagram – The Instagram #TTC community is another great option for finding support. Just search the hashtag #TTC or #IVF or any other fertility code word and you’ll see hundreds of women (some anonymous, some loud and proud) sharing the most intimate details of their journey – from positive OPKs to confessionals about ditching their friend’s baby shower. It’s also a great place to read other women’s stories and find “cycle buddies” who are also going through what you’re going through. The only downside? Lots of BFP pregnancy test photos, bump pics and ultrasound scans…so if you’re easily triggered, this is a huge downside.

3. Private FB Groups – Private Facebook groups are another great resource for finding others going through the experience, but it offers a lot of the same pitfalls as Instagram (potentially triggering posts and photos from others TTC). Perhaps the greatest downfall of Facebook groups is that even if the group is private, it’s still connected to your personal account. And as you probably already know, nothing on Facebook stays private for long.

4. Support Groups – In-person fertility support groups are another great way to find fellow infertility warriors. Listening to someone tell their own story, and in turn sharing your own, can be incredibly powerful. There’s something about really hearing someone’s story first-hand and seeing their pain, hope and beauty that makes you feel less alone. The only downside is the availability of these types of groups in more rural areas and also, it can be terrifying for introverts to share their story or even go to the support group in the first place.

 

Are there any other resources you’ve found useful? Please share your favorite fertility communities and why you love them in the comments below. And remember, you do NOT have to go through infertility alone.

 

 

About the Guest Post Author: Elyse Ash

Elyse Ash is the founder and CEO of Fruitful Fertility. She and her husband Brad have been trying to conceive since September 2014 and live in Minneapolis with their cat Puck. Elyse loves poetry, hockey, social justice, Beyonce and pretending she’s into yoga.

 

6 Ways Acupuncture Can Support Men’s Health

Acupuncture Can Support Men’s Health.

“Evgeniya Porechenskaya/Shutterstock.com”

  1. Stress & Anxiety: We all have it and there is no avoiding it. The important thing is having an outlet and the tools to help your body process it! Acupuncture has been proven in studies to help lower stress hormones and *everydayHealth has a wonderful article about how acupuncture can help keep your stress and anxiety under control.
  2. Cardiovascular Health: Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men. Almost 50% of men don’t know there is an issue until it is too late. Prevention plays a huge role. Acupuncture can help with Heart Rate Variability and Hypertension among other factors by having a an effect on the parasympathetic nervous system. Check out this article on Mind Body Green about why a cardiologist prescribes acupuncture.
  3. Sleep Quality: You need to let your batteries recharge. Sleep is an essential time that your body uses to rest and repair. It is not just about getting your 8 hours but needing quality, deep sleep. Acupuncture has been shown to outperform some sleep drugs by enhancing Slow Wave Sleep. Catch some zzz’s Brooklyn!
  4. Nutrition & Hydration: There’s no question that maintaining a nutritious diet and drinking enough water can help keep your body and mind healthy. What foods are best for you? We can help guide you depending on what your body specifically needs but nature gives us a big clue as to what foods benefit different parts of our body. Take a look at these 10 foods that mirror the body parts they provide nutrition for according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. 
  5. Chronic Pain: Do you suffer from chronic pain? Have an old injury or maybe were in an accident? Is the pain changing your normal function? Avoiding pain relief or taking lots of medications to deal with pain can put extra stress on the body. Commonly opioids are prescribed and for men that can mean unexpected and unintended side effects like Opioid Induced Constipation and long term use can lower testosterone levels. Why not make yourself more comfortable without drugs? The director of Integrative Pain Management, a Medical Doctor at Mount Sinai Hospital, backs up the effectiveness of acupuncture! You can read the full article here. This is a small excerpt from the yahoo health news article: The evidence supporting complementary medicine is real and growing, says Houman Danesh, MD, director of Integrative Pain Management at Mount Sinai Hospital. “It’s no longer hokey,” he tells Yahoo Health. “There’s something like 27,000 medical articles on acupuncture alone, so its effects have been widely researched.”
  6. Fertility: Fertility is not just a female concern! Stats show that the percentage of infertility problems are 35-40% female conditions and 35-40% male conditions. The last 20-30% is a combination of the two plus a percentage of unknown causes. Traditional Chinese Medicine has been used for nearly 3,000 years to treat fertility problems. Studies have shown acupuncture and Chinese herbs to improve sperm quality and the structural integrity of sperm. When addressing male fertility, combining traditional Assisted Therapies with Traditional Chinese Medicine greatly increases success rates. Couples and individuals should understand the true causes of male factor infertility and seek care at a reputable, caring facility when considering IVF.

Here is a great resource to learn more about how our team specializes in Whole System TCM for Fertility: Garden Acupuncture Fertility Program

If you need a referral for Reproductive Medicine, here are two great facilities we recommend:

Manhattan: RMA of New York.     Dr. Joseph Davis

Brooklyn: Genesis Fertility.     Dr. Grazi and Dr. Ross

aiga-toilet-men

 

 Schedule An Appointment Today

10 Tips To Manage Stress

You can’t control or prevent stress but you can address how you respond to it and you can help create an environment around and within yourself to better process it. Often stress is only associated with emotions and you should absolutely include tools and habits in your life to manage worry, excessive thinking, fear, anger, frustration and grief due to the very strong mind-body and brain-gut connections. There are other very powerful forms of stress that build and linger in the body that are important to recognize. Extra strain on any of your body systems equals stress in your body on a hormonal level.

Let’s talk about stress.

Stress has become a major buzzword but has the meaning of it been lost? Many have only come to associate it with emotional distress. To understand how and why stress is influencing your body and how it can contribute to health issues it’s important to get back to basics of what stress actually is.

Stress from a healthcare perspective is describing a response. It is a response to the change in demand or an increase of demand on the body/mind from a normal, balanced state. The resulting effects can be on your body, mood or even behavior. A stressor is the thing that initiated the response. An increase or change of demand on the body/mind can be perceived as positive or negative depending on the stressor and the circumstances it is happening in, but either way, it causes a reaction.

You can’t “Just Relax”.

The stress response is an automatic reaction and you can’t just shut it off, take it easy and not worry so much.

Every human comes in contact with stressors so every human experiences stress. The difference is how your body/mind processes this response and how long it has to be in that state. The fight-or-flight response doesn’t just kick in if a bear is chasing you. The body can react dramatically to non-life threatening situations too. Dreading taking the subway at rush hour every day for work, traveling, lack of quality sleep, consistent poor diet laden with damp foods, your environment and excessive exercise are just a few things that can cause stress on the body; taking the focus away from normal functions. If your body is in a chronic state of reacting, it may choose to protect or warn you with symptoms. When stress is long term, your body has to find new ways to operate and it might not operate in the way you would expect or want.

Garden Acupuncture’s Tips For Managing Stress:

  1. Oxygenate and Hydrate. Do not look at your phone the second you wake. When you first wake in the morning, take a few cleansing deep breaths. You can even try some breathing exercises such as the 4:7:8 technique. Then drink a full glass of room temperature water. Continue drinking water throughout the day. A good way to get an idea of how much you should be drinking is to go by your body weight. Divide your weight in half and then drink that amount in ounces per day. For instance, if you weigh 100 lbs then drink 50 ounces of water per day. We suggest measuring your water out for a few days so you know what the correct amount of water looks like.

  2. Acknowledge the people you begin your day with. If you live with friends, family, a significant other or a roommate, take the time to say good morning. Welcoming the day with kind words and a hug, kiss or even a high five can set the tone for a more positive day.

  3. Make mealtimes sacred and don’t skip them. Pay attention to how, what and when you eat. Choose healthy options and chew properly! And while you are eating, stay focused on that activity and the company you are with. If you are scrolling through a newsfeed, you are not being mindful of your current action. Don’t miss out on the special benefit of healing, nourishment and connectivity meals and mealtimes provide.

  4. Designate time to absorb news and social media BUT put a cap on it for the day. It is totally ok to have a stopping point. Knowing when to disengage is just as important as engaging. By scheduling time for this activity and creating a boundary you accomplish two things. First, you allow yourself time to participate. And since the time is limited, it might encourage you to be more mindful of what you are consuming. Second, by creating a boundary you can be aware of when you are crossing it. Yes, there will be days where news and viral videos take over, but, it is up to you to balance it out. Make sure to create space in the next day for quiet, calm and relaxation sans screen time.

  5. Get distracted. Sometimes you need to actively redirect your attention to something else in order to give your mind a break. While this should not become the go-to solution every time, it can be a good tool if you are having a difficult time stopping a runaway mind. Watch a funny movie, listen to loud music or even better, get outside and get your body moving! Have a mindfulness coloring book? Break out some crayons and get creative!

  6. Create a bedtime ritual. Whatever your normal bedtime is, two hours prior to that, do not watch tv and do not go on your phone. Commit to this. There is no reason to get your mind racing before you are trying to sleep and the light from phones and televisions disrupt natural sleep patterns. Use this time to take a warm bath, read poetry, listen to soothing music, do more breathing exercises, pick out what you are wearing and pack lunch for the next day…whatever you find relaxing.

  7. Yoga, Meditation, Massage and Acupuncture. These four practices can all help reduce stress and anxiety. Sometimes you need outside intervention. Acupuncture directly can help recalibrate stress hormones in the body through the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis pathway as explained through studies and from a western perspective. But emotions have a deeply rooted place in Traditional Chinese Medicine and how they have a relationship to specific organs and energetic organ systems. This explanation can really turn into a mouthful. We invite you to call us if you want to nerd out about it or come get treated! If you want to get your feet wet with more information about emotions and TCM, read this and this.

  8. Exercise. Ok, we know this is probably not your favorite option but DO IT. Move your body and increase circulation of blood and oxygen and circulate your lymph. THIS WILL HELP you feel better and stay healthy. Don’t have the motivation to go to a gym? No problem. Run up and down the stairs in your house, apartment building or subway station, jump on a mini trampoline in your living room while watching Netflix, blast a terribly fun pop song and dance your heart out for the entire song. Just don’t over do it.

  9. Cry, Scream, Sing & Laugh. Let it out. Feeling sad? Let yourself have a good, loud, ugly cry. Getting that bottled up in the chest feeling from being so mad and frustrated? Scream into a pillow! Need a positive boost? Belt out a song! (Yes, singing releases endorphins.) And a good giggle never hurt anybody. Have you heard of this lady, The Laughing Diva? Check her out.  

  10. Puppies and Kittens. That’s right. We went there. Animals have a wonderful way of calming us down. They are pure and kind and loyal and just want love and affection. Give your pet some extra snuggles and playtime. Don’t have a furry buddy? I bet one of your friends does. Take a walk together! Or, volunteer at a shelter like Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue.

Dominated By Bowels & Bathroom Availability.

“Dean Drobot/Shutterstock.com”

Do you have digestive issues? Or have you been told you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome? If you’re among those finding yourself avoiding intimacy, skipping meals, doing military style recon on the bathroom situation at work or social events; read on!

Learn about some causes of IBS from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective and how to treat IBS naturally.

Doing Battle With Your Bowels.

Let’s be real. Most people are not thrilled to talk about their pooping status, passing wind or what seem to be the deafening, bubbling roars their stomach is making. But these are symptoms. And symptoms should never be ignored! This is how your body talks to you to let you know what’s up. These tummy topics might be embarrassing for some but discussing them, understanding what’s causing them and getting educated about your options are the first steps toward relieving IBS. Be freed from the rule of the porcelain throne!

What is IBS?

For the 10-15% of Americans (mostly women) that have to endure this syndrome with unknown causes, life can become a juggling act. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a catch all phrase for a group of symptoms that range in severity including alternating diarrhea and constipation, flatulence, bloating and nausea. The important thing to remember is that if you have irritable bowel syndrome, or any gastrointestinal issues, you are definitely not alone and there are positive things you can do for relief and resolve. I came across this article in The Atlantic written by Anne McGovern; a woman brave enough to share her story that I think perfectly captures the struggle. 

We need to talk. Relationship Problems.

Do your intestines ever get all twisted when you are really nervous for an interview? Or have you ever had an upset stomach after a stressful encounter with a parent, significant other or bestie? How about feeling depressed and chocolate seems to be the anecdote for a sad mood? None of this is coincidence thanks to intertwined relationships within our bodies.

There aren’t structural issues present with irritable bowel syndrome. There are also no infections or chemical imbalances contributing to this diagnosis. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine it is all about moderation and balance. Your diet, environment and lifestyle may contribute to the worsening of irritable bowel syndrome but positive changes in these areas may hold the key to calming your symptoms.

FUN FACT ALERT!

 Did you know a large part of your immune system resides in your gut?

 

The Brain-Gut Relationship

Also called the Mind-Body connection, this is actually a fantastically interesting and majorly complicated relationship that directly impacts your physical/digestive and mental health. The Brain-Gut relationship can even get in the way of your sexual health as explained by Dr. Catalano in this HUFFPOST article.

To super oversimplify, it is kind of like having two computers connected by an ethernet cable in your body. The brain in your head is part of the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the “brain” in your gut is part of the Enteric Nervous System (ENS) and they communicate via the Vagus Nerve sending messages in either direction. For instance, you can think about or smell something yummy cooking and your stomach will automatically start producing digestive juices before food ever gets to your mouth. Or you can be really upset and get a stomach ache. I encourage you to check this video out by Dr. Candace Pert; the amazing doctor who started to figure this all out.

What we eat can alter our mood, our mood can bring on cravings and our emotions can play games with our guts.

 

You can learn more about the brain-gut relationship direct from Harvard and Johns Hopkins here and here.

The Liver & Spleen Relationship

The concept of organs and their functions in Western Medicine differ In Traditional Chinese Medicine. The Yin organs, liver and spleen, and their energy pathways as well as their Yang pairs (Gall Bladder and Stomach respectively) have an important relationship in proper digestion. The Spleen governs and transforms food into Qi and blood and helps to remove dampness. The Liver ensures the smooth flow of emotions, Qi and blood in the body. A weakness/deficiency or dominance/excess in either system can result in improper digestion and produce symptoms such as found with IBS. While a Liver/Spleen disharmony is quite common for those with IBS, deeper conflicts of TCM patterns may be present.

 

Sleep & Stress Relationship

Too much anxiety, worry, anger, stress and fatigue can all physically and energetically interfere with the spleen/liver functions therefore hindering their jobs in digestion.

It is a love hate relationship really. Inadequate sleep can increase stress, stress increases cortisol levels and if the stress response doesn’t shut off it makes it hard to sleep. Fatigue during the day may have you grasping for sugar and caffeine…it is a downward spiral aggravating IBS symptoms.

Diet & Lifestyle Relationship

The composition of particular foods may be harsh on your digestive tract. Food allergies and intolerances contribute to IBS symptoms as well. How, when and what you eat can play a major role in your stress, sleep quality and emotions. Defined TCM properties of foods can alter the liver/spleen function and can irritate your bowels. You can watch our video explaining TCM nutrition! Having a TCM practitioner properly evaluate you and help identify the right individualized diet is key.

Lifestyle also needs to be addressed. Movement of your body helps your digestive tract move, keeps blood flowing and can help nutrients absorb more effectively. Physical activity, what mechanisms and tools you have in place to process stress, your routines throughout the day and your interactions with the world around you all ultimately relate to your overall health on a macro and micro level.

Relationships are complicated.

How your Diet, Nervous System and Energetic Pathways Overlap.

Nutritional counseling is an important part of any Traditional Chinese Medicine protocol. It is not just about “eating healthy” but rather eating the right foods, at the right times, that are right for the individualized patterns presenting for you. A few simple examples…Overwhelming your body with dampness for instance (such as dairy products are categorized) can bog down the spleen and cause digestive issues. When you weaken the spleen, the liver may over act on the spleen relationship and further cause digestive issues. So foods that are spicy or damp, meals that are too big and eaten at the wrong time, or foods that are cold are some examples of nutrition that you might be consuming that are making digestion and elimination difficult.

Foods are categorized by properties and those properties can hinder, repair or rejuvenate organ systems, effectively making food a form of medicine.

Every organ in TCM is classified in an element group and also associated with different properties. Some of these properties include things like an emotion, sound, color, taste, time & season. For instance, the Liver emotions are anger/irritability and the Spleen emotions are overthinking/worry. The fact that anxiety and stress play a role in digestion is not a surprise in Chinese Medicine.

Foods you eat can trigger certain emotions by calming or stimulating neurotransmitters in the gut. Did you know that almost all the chemicals associated with emotions (or their receptors) located in the brain are also located in the gut? This includes neurotransmitters that may be familiar to you such as dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine and a source of benzodiazepines (which are found in xanax).

What you can do about it.

To round this up, your diet, emotions and lifestyle totally matter for IBS! Putting undue stress on your gut and making your digestion an extra thing your body has to deal with will strain your immune system making it easier to get sick or not recover as quickly.

Traditional Chinese Medicine, which includes acupuncture, has shown to be effective at decreasing stress levels, improving sleep quality and managing IBS symptoms. Acupuncture not your thing? You may want to give meditation, yoga or relaxing massages a try. And good sleep hygiene is an absolute must. Establish a positive ritual around bedtime and shut off your phone! Also go to bed at a reasonable hour and wake at the same time everyday. (ahem… in the morning…don’t sleep til noon.)  We highly recommend getting zen and catching some quality zzz’s.

10 Tips To Help Your Tummy & Ease IBS Symptoms 

  1. Actively Engage in Stress/Anxiety Relief. Click here for our 10 bonus tips for stress reduction!
  2. Improve Sleep Quality & Sleep Habits.
  3. Avoid Dairy, Caffeine, Alcohol and Cold/Raw Foods. (Ease up on the salads (which are cold and raw. Eat veggies but steam them!)
  4. Drink Room Temperature Water and Stay Hydrated! Avoid cold and frozen beverages.
  5. Get your body moving! Exercise might be a daunting term, so think outside of the box if the gym, yoga or running isn’t going to make it on your to do list. Jump rope, walk flights of stairs or ride a stationary bike! Many of us sit long hours at work. Try taking walking/stretching breaks if possible and perhaps stand while working.
  6. Quit Smoking.
  7. Don’t Overeat and Don’t Eat Late at Night.
  8. Take Extra Care in Chewing Your Food.
  9. Pending The Advice of Your Health Practitioner, fermented foods and probiotics may be helpful in restoring good gut bacteria.
  10. Keep A Daily Diary for 2 Weeks. Track your diet (what you eat and when), activities and emotions. You may notice triggers that worsen your symptoms and this will be helpful information for your health practitioner.

 

Garden Acupuncture regularly and successfully helps women and men of all ages address many digestive issues such as IBS, constipation (including opioid induced constipation), diarrhea and gas/bloating. Acupuncture is a wonderful modality to help decrease the effects of stress in the body as well as improve sleep quality. Live a more comfortable life and address your symptoms!

 

Send us a note, drop us a line at 347-987- 4399 or schedule an appointment today!