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Health and wellness are a critical component to a balanced life.  Here are the Acupuncture Center of New Jersey, we committed to educating you and empowering you to take control and learn more.  Our practitioners are all devoted to every patients’ unique journey through the prevention and natural treatment of disease to optimal wellness and vitality.  Learn more at: http://acupuncturecenterofnj.com  based in Morristown, NJ or call (973) 984-2800.
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How to Use Essential Oils for Migraines

How to Use Essential Oils for Migraines | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

Photo: Liyao Xie / Getty Images

 

For the past 20+ years I've had nearly daily migraines. The thing is, often conventional medicines don't work. So, I've come to rely on an ever-increasing array of natural treatments. But since I can't spend my entire life at an acupuncture appointment, I've sought remedies that fit into my portable pharmacy, accessible at home, at work, and everywhere in between. Enter: aromatherapy (aka essential oils), increasingly being used as an on-the-go migraine treatment.

 

Here, everything you need to know if you want to add essential oils to your migraine-relief routine.

How Aromatherapy Can Relieve Migraines

Before we go any further, let's get a few things straight: While aromatherapy has increased in prevalence in our current wellness-obsessed world, this "trend" is far from new. A major player in two of the world's most ancient medicinal practices, Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, aromatherapy refers to the practice of using essential oils (the most concentrated extracts from plants) to heal an array of ailments.

 

When we smell essential oils, we literally ingest their particles into our lungs and our brain, where they affect the central nervous system before making their way into our bloodstream, explains aromatherapy expert Hope Gillerman, author of Essential Oils Every Day. "Then they interact with the endocrine system (hormones) and even our organs," she says. This immediate entry into our bodies makes them uniquely potent—especially for their ability to offer quick relief.

 

While "little research has been done on aromatherapy in the treatment of migraines," there are many patients for whom aromatherapy helps, explains neurologist and migraine specialist Susan Broner, M.D., assistant professor of clinical neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College. (Related: The Benefits of Using Essential Oils, According to the Latest Research) 

Peppermint Essential Oil for Migraines

Peppermint reigns supreme when it comes to using aromatherapy for migraines. Why's it so magical? From the second you apply it, you'll feel a tingling feeling—"it simultaneously relaxes tension and stress, while stimulating circulation and healing," explains Gillerman. After all, "the menthol contained in peppermint is used in almost all topical pain relievers," she says, noting that "a 2007 study comparing peppermint to Tylenol showed there was no significant difference in effectiveness between peppermint oil and acetaminophen, and no adverse effects were reported.

 

Note that peppermint oil is very strong so be sure to keep it away from your face (and babies and pets) and hold off on using it if you're pregnant.

Lavender Essential Oil for Migraines

Like peppermint, "lavender is a highly versatile oil to use topically for pain and to relax muscles and inhale or diffuse for stress and anxiety," says Gillerman. It has a long history of blending well with peppermint for migraines.

 

"Some studies have found that the use of aromatherapy, particularly lavender essential oil, reduced pain levels," says Dr. Broner. Though it's unclear why it helps, it is possible "that the connection between fibers in the olfactory system (which regulates our sense of smell) and the trigeminal nucleus, which is one of the main regulators of migraine activity, may account for lavender's effectiveness," she adds.

Guidelines for Using Essential Oils for Migraines

It's a good idea to consult your physician before incorporating essential oils into your routine, but Dr. Broner recommends several ways to ensure that you're playing it safe when using these treatments.

 

  1. "Stick to pure essential oils, without added chemicals, as harsh or even artificial chemical odors can trigger migraines," says Dr. Broner. 

  2. While lavender and peppermint are the most popular migraine options, it's important to find a scent you like since "not everyone responds positively to the same odors." And since migraine sufferers often have a heightened sensitivity to scent, introduce aromatherapy cautiously—and skip it if the smells are too strong for you, she says.

  3. "When using a topical agent, make sure it's something gentle that won't harm or burn the skin," advises Dr. Broner. There are a number of ways to use essential oils, but many are not intended for direct application to the skin."
Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

Acupuncture alone does an amazing job of treating migraines. The right essential oil, though, can really give a treatment that extra oomph or push your healing into new territory. Come on in to the Acupuncture Center of New Jersey to see how we can help you.

 - Dr. Teddy Treantafelles, DACM, LAc [ACNJ Practitioner]

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Give Yourself Permission to Sleep Longer. It is What Nature Intends

Give Yourself Permission to Sleep Longer. It is What Nature Intends | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

A solar term is a period of about two weeks, based on the sun’s position. ‘Light Snow’ (Nov. 22 through Dec. 6) is the second solar term of winter, and it is unlike any other, according to traditional Chinese wisdom. During this time, the yang energy from the sun moves toward the heavens, and the yin energy retreats deep into the earth.

Impact on People

Those who already suffer from depression may find it gets worse during this period of time.

5 Tips to Live in Harmony With ‘Light Snow’

  1. Sit on a chair. Lift your feet off the ground and knock your feet together 12 times.
  2. Soak your feet in warm water before going to bed.
  3. Go to bed early, and get up late to preserve yang energy.
  4. Wear a turtleneck or a scarf to protect the neck area.
  5. Cover up your waist and lower back with clothing made with natural fibers, such as cashmere, wool, silk, or a cotton blend.

Seasonal Foods

This is the perfect time to make preserved meat and vegetables.

 

Warm milk tea is excellent to repel the winter chill. Enjoy it with nuts or a ginger biscuit. Warm fruit wines are also great. It is wonderful if you add in goji berries or preserved fruits before heating. Just a little bit is enough, and be careful not to drink too much.

 

Bean soups, such as kidney beans, red beans, white beans, soybeans, or peanuts with ginger root, are delicious and help one to feel joyful during cold days.

 

Slow cookers or clay pots are the best tools for slow winter cooking. Get one and place it on top of the fireplace to create a nice holiday vibe.

 

Ginger is also excellent. The warming power of ginger and cinnamon is especially helpful to push excess humidity out from inside our bodies. Those who don’t enjoy ginger can use coconut milk and cinnamon instead.

 

Helpful foods for this time include banana, carrot, citrus, pumpkin, shiitake mushrooms, truffles, black beans, cashew nuts, black sesame seeds, tomatoes, celery, and walnuts.

Seasonal Herbs and Essential Oils

Adding seasonal oils to bath water, warm foot baths, or in oil burners, can help to create balance during this season. Essential oils of bergamot, orange, mandarin, lemon, ginger, cinnamon, rose, lemon balm, verbena, and galanga are all good.

Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

Living with the season is the height of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Knowing which foods to eat and how to modify your lifestyle is thought to be the key to good health. Come on in to the Acupuncture Center of New Jersey and take a step towards balance in your life.

 - Dr. Teddy Treantafelles, DACM, LAc [ACNJ Practitioner]

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This Mask Is Like A Virgin Mojito For Your Face

This Mask Is Like A Virgin Mojito For Your Face | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

"One of the best ways to enjoy late summer, which is its own special season according to traditional Chinese medicine, is to embrace the mix of warm and cool weather that's to come. If you find yourself wishing you were on vacation, use it as an excuse to give yourself an at-home spa day.

 

This mask was formulated for warmer days to bring a cool, calming energy to the skin. Use it on mild sunburns, as a weekly hydration treatment, and/or when it's too damn hot to do anything else.

DIY Mint & Aloe Face Mask

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons raw local honey
  • 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel
  • a spray or a few drops of a rosewater toner
  • organic fresh mint leaves (2 to 4 leaves is all you need)

 

Directions

  1. Bruise and mash up the mint with a mortar and pestle to release the essential oils.
  2. Stir everything together.
  3. Apply it all to your face.
  4. Leave the mask on for 10 to 20 minutes."
 
Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

 Living in harmony with the seasons is a major concept in Traditional Chinese Medicine. In fact, we even needle slightly differently depending on the time of year. Come on in and experience for yourself what the Acupuncture Center of New Jersey can do for you.

- Dr. Teddy Treantafelles, DACM, LAc [ACNJ Prractitioner]

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7 Ways to Detox Your Body Naturally

7 Ways to Detox Your Body Naturally | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

Learn to love bitter greens

To properly help cleanse the liver, says Axe, you should look for a balance of flavors in your diet—salty, sweet, sour, and bitter. “Most people get enough sweet and salt in their diets but not near enough bitter and sour,” says Axe. Sharper tasting bitter greens like arugula, kale, watercress, mustard, and dandelion greens, are bitter leafy greens that pack a nutritional bang along with their detoxifying effects.

Drink your lemons

Start your day by filling a pitcher with a few squeezed lemons, ice, and water—just like at the spa! Drinking lemon water gives you extra vitamin C—plus potassium, magnesium, and copper—and helps you absorb more nutrients like iron and calcium from the other foods you eat. According to Dr. Axe, better nutrient absorption often means less bloating. Lemon water stimulates the liver and the flushing out of toxins because it acts as a mild diuretic, which can also help you shed excess water weight.

Ancient herbs

There are herbs and supplements that help detox the liver, such as milk thistle, the ancient herb bupleurum (a revered natural remedy in Chinese medicine), and dandelion root. Says Dr. Axe: “Bupleurum has been shown to improve general liver function and detoxification, as well as prevent certain cancers in women, and treat depression related to PMS and menopause.” Make a tea with the herbs, adding a slice of sour lemon and fresh lemon balm or mint for a balance of flavors extra feel-good phytochemicals. 

Bone broth redux

Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers knew the wisdom of using up chicken and meat bones to make a strong broth for occasional ills and as a basis for hearty soups. Bone broths are good for your immune system and your soul, says Dr. Axe. It’s his first line of treatment for leaky gut syndrome, improving joint health, and boosting the immune system. “It’s one of my favorites when I’m doing a detox because it’s really high in amino acids like glycine, which actually supports liver detox,” he says. “I add lots of vegetables and even green apples.”  

Fun ways to drink more water

Lemon water is fine, but if you’re serious about spring cleaning from the inside-out you’ll need more water of any and every type. How much should you drink? Dr. Axe advises his clients divide their body weight by half and drink that much in ounces. So, if you weigh 130 pounds your water intake should be 65 ounces a day. If that seems overwhelming, make your water more interesting with flavorful additions like berries and crushed mint, cubed melon, and sliced jalapeno, or cooling slices of cucumber with lemongrass. 

 

Beet it

Known as a blood cleanser, beets produce nitric acid, which helps increase blood flow throughout your body. According to Dr. Axe, eating beets or drinking the juice provides a boost of vitamin E, carotenes, phenolic acids, and betalains, a type of antioxidant that helps repair and regenerate cells in the liver. Make a cleansing beet, grapefruit, baby greens, and feta salad or combine beets, apples, celery, lemon juice, and a few sprigs of cilantro for a power refresher.   

Seaweed, the new kale 

One of the most nutrient-dense vegetables you can eat, seaweed is high in antioxidants and boasts an array of phytochemicals like polyphenols and fucoxanthin. Seaweeds like dulse, wakame, nori, and kombu are an ancient food source for sea-dwelling communities; they also happen to be popular in traditional Chinese medicine for treating everything from urinary tract infections to tumors. Recently, studies on Asian women found low breast cancer incidence in women who ate lots of seaweed.Seaweed’s potent nutrients can help detox your blood and kidneys and have diuretic properties to help you shed excess water while boosting your immunity.

 
Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

The adage that food is medicine gets downplayed a little too much in my opinion. As is, you are what you eat. What you put into your body is what you are using to replace the 230 billion or so cells your body produces each day. So make it count by eating foods your body needs and can make the best use of.
- Dr. Ted Treantafelles, DACM, LAc [ACNJ Practitioner]

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The Surprising Way Pineapple Yellow Can Affect You

The Surprising Way Pineapple Yellow Can Affect You | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

When you think of the color yellow, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

 

If you answered “sunshine” and “cheer,” you’re not alone. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, has spent the last 30-plus years researching color word association. According to her findings, the color yellow just plain makes people happy—which, in turn, inherently makes them drawn to it.

 

The association with sunny summer days is part of the reason Pineapple Yellow often makes its way into our homes and closets. While quite bold, yellow exudes feelings of optimism and confidence. It gives people energy, making the shade perfect in spaces designed for entertaining.

 
 

But yellow also has a hidden talent—one that might make it especially useful in areas like the kitchen and dining room. According to Dr. Jingduan Yang, a fifth-generation practitioner of Chinese medicine, the color yellow also “stimulates the energy of the spleen,” which in turn may be able to improve things like digestion and metabolism. It can also reportedly nurture your muscles and reduce your worries. (Hello, miracle worker!)

 

Which means, if you don’t have Pineapple Yellow in your life just yet, it might be time to harness this super-color immediately. 

 
Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

Each of the organ systems in Chinese medicine have an associated color and positive and negative emotions. As seen here, yellow focuses on the stomach, spleen, and pancreas. It can foster feelings of hope and openness; and, it will combat worry and overthinking. I teach a Qi Gong form that goes through each of organ systems helping us reduce negative emotions and cultivate positive ones. Come on in and ask me about it!
- Dr. Ted Treantafelles, DACM, LAc [ACNJ Practitioner]

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Could the Placenta Have Serious Health Benefits?

Could the Placenta Have Serious Health Benefits? | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

When a natural health remedy reaches the mainstream due to its popularity among the celebrity set, its credibility is often called into question. The likes of January Jones, Kim Kardashian and Alicia Silverstone all claiming to have eaten their own placenta may lead some to call the trend a flash in the pan, but the postpartum practice is hardly new.

 

“A woman eating her own placenta as a means of strengthening herself is something from midwifery, which is ancient,” says Jeffrey Winsauer, from Garden Acupuncture in Brooklyn, New York. As a specialist in the field of fertility for more than two decades, Winsauer has seen placentophagy, the practice of consuming placenta, benefit new moms as well as women who are struggling to become pregnant.

 

One of the most common concerns that his patients have when they’re expecting is postpartum depression. “Generally speaking, you could say postpartum depression is from a deficiency,” he says. “The woman has been having surges in these various hormones [while pregnant], and now those hormones are not present. And not to suggest that it’s like meat or something like that, but certainly in the placenta are some of those hormones.”

 

 

Winsauer’s first encounter with placentophagy was in China, where he studied traditional Chinese medicine at the Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine before completing a one-year residency in gynecology and infertility at Shenzhen TCM hospital. “The human placenta is part of the traditional Chinese medicine pharmacopeia,” he explains. “And today, human placenta is something that is strongly used within mainland China for women’s health.”

 

Among those most commonly prescribed donated placenta in China are patients with polycystic ovary syndrome, which can cause infertility, among other reproductive problems. Whether the results stemmed from the placenta alone or a combination of treatments is difficult to determine, but Winsauer did see notable success rates in those struggling with fertility who were prescribed the organ. “I’ve seen it work when used correctly,” he says.

 

As a licensed acupuncturist in the U.S., Winsauer cannot legally prescribe the placenta of others to patients dealing with infertility. And while he recognizes why anyone might dismiss this unorthodox idea, he stresses the importance of open-mindedness. “I understand it sounds a little gross, I get that,” he says. “But this is one of those things that, if there was some growth within our society, it could provide a little help to the greater issues.”

Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

Placenta is most often consumed dried and powdered in pill form. Its main function is to restore Kidney Yang. Yang of the Kidney is the root of warmth, metabolism, and movement for the whole body. Human placenta is also rare in that it boosts Kidney essence, which could manifest with early senility, absent-mindedness, hair loss, withered loose teeth, tinnitus, and infertility. When you’re burning the candle at both ends, Kidney essence is the reserve tank you’re pulling from. A tank that is not easily refilled.

- Dr. Ted Treantafelles, DACM, LAc [ACNJ Practitioner]

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Gua Sha: The DIY Beauty Tool For An Inside-Out Glow

Gua Sha: The DIY Beauty Tool For An Inside-Out Glow | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

"Gua sha (pronounced gwa sha) is an ancient self-care practice used in traditional Chinese medicine in which a tool, usually made from jade, bone or horn is scraped across the skin to redirect energy flow. In doing this, stagnant energy is broken down, reducing inflammation, increasing blood flow and stimulating the lymphatic system to promote healing in the body. It’s a simple but rigorous technique that has been used for centuries to treat ailments such as fever, muscle pain and tension, inflammation, chronic coughs, sinusitis and migraines.

 

Self-care is a focal point of Chinese medicine, where it is known as Yang Sheng (nourishing life) and traditionally, Gua sha was practiced at home. As is the way with many ancient wellness traditions (here’s looking at you, Ayurveda!) it’s become increasingly popular in the western world. Much like cupping or acupressure, many acupuncturists and practitioners offer Gua sha massage as a treatment in their clinics. Like a sports massage, but with a prop, it is performed with medium to intense pressure all over a person’s back, neck, arms and legs, honing in on whichever areas are in particular need of attention.

 

A gentler version of the Gua sha technique works beauty wonders when practiced on the face. What’s more, there’s no need to see a therapist as it can be done at home as part of your everyday skincare routine, taking it back to its ancient roots as a method of self-care.

All you need is a Gua sha tool, and around one minute a day to see instant results and long term benefits. Studies have shown that this daily ritual improves microcirculation by up to 400 per cent, reduces wrinkles, rejuvenates, tones and smoothes skin, boosts collagen, combats pigmentation, dark circles and puffy eyes, defines jawlines (hello contouring!) and even decongests the sinuses. It’s literally like rubbing your way to healthier, glowier skin. As it essentially works from the inside out, you’ll also notice a release of tension and relaxing of facial muscles, so if you clench your jaw at night it’s a great way to ease any soreness in the morning. If you often get eye twitches from lack of sleep or stress, holding the Gua sha over your eyes with gentle pressure can also help to relieve and relax the muscles.

 

To make sure you’re using the right tools for the job, it’s best to go for a Gua sha made of jade. Aside from looking beautiful on your dresser, this green stone is revered for its cooling properties. Avoiding anything made from bone and horn for obvious reasons, you should also steer clear of cheaper alternatives which could be made from acrylic or other artificial substances that can irritate the skin. Applying facial oil before massaging will help the stone to glide easier while moisturising the skin too."

 
Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

If you have any sort of puffiness, heaviness, or areas of sharp pain. Gua sha can be invaluable to decongesting the area and allowing things to move freely again. I often use it with patients that have tight and sore backs. Come on in and check it out.

 - Dr. Ted Treantafelles, DACM, LAc [ACNJ Practitioner]

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What Is Your Insomnia Saying About Your Health?

What Is Your Insomnia Saying About Your Health? | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

Contrary to most westernised medicine, which focuses on treating and masking the problem, The Chinese Body Clock Method looks at an ailment and traces back, to the source of the problem. By following the symptoms you can easily pinpoint ways to improve your health and wellbeing.

 
Sleep is one of the best places to start. According to the body clock, the most important times to be catching some beauty rest are during the gallbladder phase (11-1)liver phase (1-3), and the lung phase (3-5). If you’re waking up during one of these blocks it’s very likely that you have an imbalance or a problem that correlates to the corresponding organ system.
 

The Gallbladder Phase is the first phase of your body’s detox, where it releases bile, repairs tissue, and builds new blood cells. During the hours of 11-1, the body is processing waste and generating energy for the next day. Without quality sleep during this time, you might wake up feeling exhausted and lacking energy to get through the day. If you're searching for an answer to your emotional problems, the gallbladder is also correlated with the feelings of bitterness and resentment. So, if you’re having trouble falling asleep during this time you may have some emotional issues holding you back.

 

The Liver Phase follows the Gallbladder Phase, from 1-3, and is your body’s optimal detoxing time. Your deepest sleep should take place during these hours as your body moves out waste products from the day before. For those of you midnight snackers. this is the worst time to be eating, since digestion diverts energy away from detoxification. Waking up during this time could mean you have liver issues, trouble detoxing, or pent-up anger and resentment that needs to be dealt with. Side note: too much alcohol consumption the day before can tax your liver and prevent it from carrying out its job, so if you want a good night's sleep, be mindful of how much you party!
 
The Lung Phase, from 3-5, is also important for detoxing, but mainly within the lungs. During these hours the body loosens mucus and waste in order to expel it; so, if you wake up coughing that might indicate you need a  diet change to prevent mucus buildup. “The lung phase is the true start of a new day,” explains Terri Brown L.Ac., “this is why monks traditionally wake up at 3am to begin chanting.” However, waking up this early for rigorous activity can startle the body too much. If you’re an early morning gym-goer, try to soothe your body in these early hours with some gentle breathing exercises. 
 
Taking time to tune into what’s bothering you throughout the day can help you pinpoint better ways to execute self care. If you’re curious about the ways Chinese Medicine can benefit you and your beauty sleep, we recommend seeing an acupuncturist. 
 
Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

If you have symptoms that keep appearing at a certain time of day, it can indicate a disorder in a certain organ system. It is likely tied to the clock shown here, but can sometimes be the system that is opposite (12 hours off) from the current time. Your acupuncturist can take this information to help tailor a treatment just for you. Come on in!

 - Dr. Ted Treantafelles, LAc, DACM [ACNJ Practitioner]

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Ginseng Can Do What?

Ginseng Can Do What? | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

Ginseng is a plant that has been adopted as an herbal supplement. Being the most medicinally valuable element of the plant, its root has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. There are many variations of this plant – most notably red Korean ginseng, American ginseng and Asian ginseng. The compounds found in the root’s complement one another to provide health benefits.

May Reduce Inflammation

The compounds found in ginseng- more particularly ginsenoside – may possess anti-inflammatory properties. According to test-tube studies published in the journal Molecules, ginseng compounds can potentially deter inflammation. Another study found improvements in people dealing with skin inflammation. Click here to find out more.

Boosts Cognitive Ability

The Ginseng root could be the brain boost that you need. It could also be part of Alzheimer’s treatment. According to one study, patients with Alzheimer’s disease showed positive brain improvements, once they began consuming the root in conjunction with their other medication. Aside from protecting your brain against free radicals (which can prevent the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s), studies have also found that the root can help to improve your memory, behavior and concentration.

Improves Sexual Performance

Ginseng could be nature’s Viagra. Although more studies are needed in order to draw definite conclusions – the effects of ginseng on erectile health look promising. One study highlights the potential for this root to be used as an alternative form of treatment for men suffering from erectile dysfunction. Additionally, another study found significant improvements in regards to erectile dysfunction symptoms.

 

In regards to female reproductive health, a study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that ginseng can help ease menstrual cramps as well as combat symptoms associated with menopause. Click here to find out more about this effect of the root.

Potential Anti-Cancer Properties

Although more research is needed, there have been some studies that highlight ginseng’s anti-cancer properties. Studies have shown that individuals who include the root in their diet can reduce their risk of developing certain types of cancer. This is likely due to its potential to hinder tumor growth.

Control Blood Sugar

Ginseng could be used as a remedy in regards to the prevention or control of diabetes due to its ability to control blood sugar levels. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition saw 10 individuals consume sugary drinks – which are regularly responsible for the sudden spikes and dips in blood sugar that can lead to a development of diabetes. Upon
consumption, the American ginseng managed to help improve their blood sugar levels. Korean red ginseng can also help to increase insulin sensitivity which is important for diabetics.

Stress Relief

Being an adaptogen, the root possesses the properties to help combat mental, physical, and environmental stress. While nourishing and strengthening our adrenal glands, adaptogen also help to reduce the stress hormone- cortisol. According to one animal study -which was done on rats suffering from chronic stress – ginseng was found to be a potential alternative treatment for stress-induced disorders.

How Can You Include It Into Your Diet?

The root can be enjoyed in a number of ways. It can be eaten raw (simply steam it to soften it) or be stewed in hot water to make a refreshing cup of tea. It can also be added to soups and stir-fry’s. Aside from its whole form, ginseng is available as supplements in the form of capsules, tablets, powders, and liquid extracts. If you intend on taking supplements, limit your dose to 200 to 400 mg daily."

Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

When you read about all the amazing things an herb can do, the urge can be to just go out and get a bunch. But where they really shine are in formulas that we prescribe as Chinese medical practitioners. We blend them to boost certain functions and balance out potential harsh reactions. Come in and find out if you could benefit from an herbal formula.

 - Dr. Ted Treantafelles, DACM, LAc [ACNJ Practitioner]

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4 Surprisingly Easy and Natural Ways to Fight Heartburn Fast

4 Surprisingly Easy and Natural Ways to Fight Heartburn Fast | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

"When you're done stuffing your face with your favorite food or drink, one thing you're not looking forward to is the possibility of heartburn. As your chest, throat, and esophagus are suffering from what feels like they are on fire, your body is not so secretly letting you know that what you're trying to digest isn't going to happen without a bit of a battle.

 

"Digestion is a complicated process," said Elizabeth Gavino, a nutritional therapy practitioner. "Part of our digestive process is for our stomachs to produce hydrochloric acid (HCl) to help with the breakdown of food, yet 95 percent of the population do not produce sufficient amounts of HCl, and we further exacerbate the situation when we are stressed, drinking too much fluid with food, and/or taking antacids."

 

But there are ways to seek relief, and they are anything but ordinary. Check out the four surprising ways to fight heartburn fast, so you can continue eating your favorite food, or fall asleep, without feeling so ill.

Sleep on an Incline

To make sure your sleep schedule isn't interrupted, Chris Brantner, a certified sleep science coach at Sleepzoo, says to change the way you lie down in your bed when you're feeling heartburn. "Sleep on an incline," Brantner said. "Lying flat on your back puts your stomach and throat on the same level. As you can imagine, this makes it easy for acid to travel back up the esophagus. By propping yourself up, you drop your stomach and help keep the acid where it belongs."

Drink Throat Coat Tea

If you're hesitant about eating more food when you have the burn, you might want to turn to a liquid source for relief. Dr. Elizabeth Trattner, a Chinese medicine and integrative medicine doctor, says that gulping down a cup of Throat Coat tea could do the trick.

"Throat Coat is a tea that contains mucilaginous herbs," Dr. Trattner said. "These herbs, like slippery elm, coat the throat, but it is the same cells that line the esophagus and stomach as well, making it a great and natural remedy."

Use Apple Cider Vinegar

Dr. Jeremy Overholt, a chiropractor at Inner Vitality Chiropractic, says that many times heartburn is caused by the lack of acid in the stomach that results in more rigorous muscle contractions to mix the food and digestive juices, causing sloshing of stomach acid into the esophagus.

 

"Due to its acidity, diluted (with water) apple cider vinegar can help offset the stomach acid deficiency and calm the overactive contractions," Dr. Overholt said. "Generally one to two tablespoons is all that is necessary to bring the stomach into balance. I recommend taking it diluted in one cup of lukewarm water just ahead of your largest meal of the day. Or you can take smaller portions multiple times throughout the day. It is advised that if you habitually drink apple cider vinegar to drink it through a straw to ensure that the acidity of it doesn't affect the enamel of your teeth."

Try Peppermint Oil

If you want to go the herbal route, Dr. Trattner suggests using a peppermint oil. "It helps with nausea, upset stomach, and all digestive disorders," Dr. Trattner said. "I use peppermint oil for digestive spasms. Peppermint oil is sold in special enteric-coated capsules to get into the intestines and bypass stomach acid. If I ate too much and cannot get to bed, I will take a peppermint oil capsule a half hour before bedtime so I don't feel as full before sleeping, which can actually cause delayed onset of sleep."

Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

Chinese medicine looks not only on how we can help you, but how you can help yourself and how your daily habits are feeding into any discomfort you are feeling. Use these easy tips to help with reflux and heartburn.

 - Dr. Ted Treantafelles, DACM, LAc [ACNJ Practitioner]

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The Simple Elimination Diet That Could Change Your Life Forever

The Simple Elimination Diet That Could Change Your Life Forever | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

"You may not realize it, but the foods you're eating every day could be slowly corrupting your health and shortening your lifespan. But how do you know? For many people, toxic foods are hard to spot, especially for those who've already cleaned up their diets and feel like they are eating healthy.

 

For example, I recently saw a patient who came in because she'd gotten a facial and was told she had “allergy skin.” She had already gone mostly gluten-free, was a trained health coach, and overall had a very healthy diet. But after speaking with her, I realized that she had signs and symptoms of system-wide inflammation: needing allergy shots for dust and mold, and having gas and bloating that were only soothed by taking digestive enzymes.

 

This patient had already done a lot of the hard work in solving her issues, but it was clear that she still had leaky gut, which is the underlying cause of many people’s allergies and inflammation. She came in because she wanted food allergy testing. She left with an elimination diet. Here’s why.

 

Testing can be illuminating, but the “gold standard,” meaning the last word, in figuring out if foods are causing inflammation (contributing to everything from autoimmune arthritis, to irritable bowel, to acne), is to cut out the culprit foods for about a month and see how you feel when you reintroduce them.

 

I actually recommend that everyone—yes everyone—do an elimination diet at least once.

 

So how do you do it and not make it complicated? Here is my easy 7-step plan for doing your own elimination diet. You might be surprised by what you learn!

 

1. Take stock. It’s hard to know where you're going unless you know where you are.

Do you have skin issues? Digestive issues like gas, bloating, or intermittent constipation? Bad allergies? How's your energy level? What about your mood? Ever feel like you suffer from brain fog? These are just some potential symptoms of food sensitivities.

So, before you begin an elimination diet, start at your head and go to your toes, and make a list of everything you notice in your body, however subtle or long-standing the symptom has been. This sets you up to notice important changes when they happen.

 

2. Eliminate the usual suspects for 23 days.

The basic elimination diet is as simple as this:

No gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, fast food, or alcohol for 23 days.

 

Why 23 Days?

Antibodies, which are the proteins that your immune system makes when it reacts to foods, take around 21 to 23 days to turn over, so if you don’t quit things to which you're sensitive for at least that time, you won’t get the full effect of eliminating them.

 

Why Booze?

Eliminating alcohol is partly for the detox factor. But alcohol also has a lot of sugar that helps things like yeast and harmful bacteria in your gut thrive. So when you eliminate alcohol, you may feel better in a few weeks, not just because of the absence of a sleep disruptor and a depressant in your life, but because you've actually changed the flora in your gut that are critical to keeping you healthy!

 

3. Cr*#! What DO I eat?

If this is your reaction, do not freak out! You can do this. The diet requires a little grocery shopping and taking a few extra minutes a day to prepare food.

 

We’re all habituated to fast-food, easy prep, and taking two seconds to round up and scarf down a meal. The problem is that typically food that can be prepared and consumed this way makes us sick over time.

 

New habits take 21 days to form, so the yogis say, which is also why we’re doing a 23-day elimination diet! We want these new habits to die hard.

 

4. But seriously .... what do I eat?

  • 30% “clean” protein, i.e. organic, hormone-free, grass-fed, happy, lean beef, chicken, and wild fish and shellfish
  • 70% vegetables, legumes (think beans and lentils), nuts, seeds, seaweeds, and gluten-free grains like quinoa

See, it’s that simple!

 

5. What to eat & what to avoid

DO ...

  • DO eat fish. (But watch out for fish on the NRDC’s high mercury list like tuna and swordfish.)
  • DO eat lots of fiber, fresh whole foods, and unprocessed meals you make yourself.
  • DO eat lots of healthy fats found in olive oil, ghee, coconut oil, sunflower oil, flax oil, walnut oil, and avocados.

 

DO NOT

  • Do NOT eat processed health bars if possible. They often have 15 grams (or more) of sugar. If you need them for an emergency snack, the kinds I like are Go Raw pumpkin bars and Kind’s “Nuts and Spices” variety, because they are very low in sugar.
  • Do NOT carbo load on gluten-free breads, cereals and crackers. Totally cool to eat some of these, but in an ideal world, you’re not just replacing a lot of refined carbs with a lot of gluten free refined carbs.

Watch out for oats, they almost always have gluten!

 

6. How do I reintroduce foods the right way?

This is also much simpler than people make it out to be.

On day 24, pick one thing you eliminated—like gluten, OR dairy, OR eggs—but not more than one, and eat it.

 

See how you feel over the next 48 hours. If you have no reaction after two days, eat that same food again, and for a second time, notice how you feel. From there, it’s up to you whether or not to re-incorporate that food into your diet on a regular basis.

 

Once you’ve made a call on the first food you reintroduce, pick another one and follow the same steps.

 

7. This all works best when you pay attention to you.

Throughout the diet and the reintroduction process, notice how you feel. Maybe you'll see changes you weren’t expecting. Maybe your sleep quality or your energy level is better. Maybe the redness in your skin is gone, or your belly is flatter.

 

No blood test can tell you what life without a particular food will be like. When you find out for yourself, you could be saving yourself a lifetime of inflammation, annoying symptoms, and in some cases, even life-threatening diseases."

Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

It can be really hard to change the way you eat. With this simple short exercise, you can clearly see and feel if you are different when cutting out the most common culprits to inflammation and intolerance.

- Dr. Ted Treantafelles, DACM, LAc [ACNJ Practitioner]

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Tai Chi May Be As Good As Exercise for Treating Chronic Pain Like Fibromyalgia

Tai Chi May Be As Good As Exercise for Treating Chronic Pain Like Fibromyalgia | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

"There are more questions than answers when it comes to fibromyalgia, or chronic pain. What doctors know is that it causes muscle pain throughout the body, fatigue, sleep problems and even psychological impairment and depression. What they don’t know is what causes it and how best to treat its generalized symptoms.

 

In a new study published in the BMJ, researchers report encouraging results involving one way to reduce the painful effects of fibromyalgia: with tai chi, an ancient practice originating in martial arts that has since become part of traditional Chinese medicine. The mind-body practice involves both physical and psychological exercises that promote health.

 

 

In the new study, scientists led by Dr. Chenchen Wang, director of the Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine at Tufts Medical Center, and her colleagues studied a group of 226 people with fibromyalgia for a year.  Wang found that while all of the people reported fewer symptoms at the end of the year, all those in the tai chi groups reported more improvement in their symptom control than people in the aerobic exercise group after 24 weeks. And among those assigned to a tai chi regimen, people who practiced tai chi for a longer period of time showed greater improvement than those who did it for a shorter period.

 

Wang measured a variety of things related to fibromyalgia, including the intensity of pain, people’s ability to function, fatigue, how tired they felt in the morning, whether they were depressed, how well they could perform their job and how well they slept. Regardless of which exercise group they were assigned to, all of the people in the study continued to take whatever medications they were using, and over the year started to reduce the amount of pain killers, antidepressants, muscle relaxants and other drugs they were taking. 

 

Wang says that tai chi may therefore be particularly useful for people with chronic fatigue, since it involves both the mind and body. People are taught to include meditative and relaxation skills in their movements. Many people with chronic pain are also not able to exercise due to their physical or psychological symptoms; some who start aerobic type exercises often stop. Indeed, those assigned to the tai chi classes in the study attended 62% of them, while people assigned to aerobic exercise attended 40% of their classes."

 

Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

I often say that when your doctor says "I don't know", your next step should be to your acupuncturist or Chinese medicine doctor. That's because we don't treat symptoms or diseases. We treat the person and help their body heal and regulate itself.

 - Dr. Ted Treantafelles, DACM, LAc [ACNJ Practitioner]

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What Is the Interstitium? Scientists 'Discover New Organ'

What Is the Interstitium? Scientists 'Discover New Organ' | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

"The interstitium, the shock-absorbing tissue underneath the skin, gut and blood vessels, has been identified as an organ for the first time according to a new study. 

 

Researchers think the layers of the body previously believed to be dense, connective tissues are in fact interconnected compartments filled with fluid. According to the team co-led by New York University's (NYU) School of Medicine, the interstitium is an organ in its own right and one of the largest in the body. If the research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, is widely accepted, the interstitium could be regarded as the body's 80th organ. 

 

Supported by a mesh of strong and flexible connective tissue proteins, the interstitium protects the organs, muscles and vessels that keep our bodies alive by absorbing bumps and shocks.

The scientists behind the research hope that the discovery will help determine why cancer that affects this area of the body becomes more likely to metastasize. It could be because the fluid in the interstitium drains into the lymphatic system, which plays a vital role in the immune system. 

 

 

The research also offers new insight into how our body ages, including our skin, the stiffening of limbs and the progression of fibrotic, sclerotic and inflammatory diseases.

 

According to the team, the spaces that make up the interstitium were missed because scientists have relied on fixed tissue on microscope slides to study the human anatomy. The process of preparing tissue for examination involves draining away fluid and dyeing it, causing the meshwork to flatten like a pancake.

 

"This finding has potential to drive dramatic advances in medicine, including the possibility that the direct sampling of interstitial fluid may become a powerful diagnostic tool," he said."

Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

Acupuncture has long held that there is another organ. One that didn't match up with Western medical findings. It is called the San Jiao or Triple Warmer and is responsible for fluid transport throughout the body. Now Western medicine may have finally found the corresponding structure.

 - Dr. Ted Treantafelles, DACM, LAc [ACNJ Practitioner]

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This Simple Chinese Dish Can Improve Your Health

This Simple Chinese Dish Can Improve Your Health | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

"Congee, also known as “zhou” or “jook”, is a grain-based medicinal porridge served for centuries in traditional East Indian and Chinese homes. Zhou is a common meal eaten daily throughout Asia. When you incorporate it as a regular dish, you will see improvement in digestive functions and an increase in overall energy.

 

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) recognizes the health benefits of rice congee. It can either be eaten alone, with garnishes, or with the addition of healing herbs. Medicinally, congee is used to promote good health and strong digestion.

 

According to TCM, because this simple porridge is easily digested and assimilated, it harmonizes digestion and also supplements blood and qi (life energy). Congee can relieve inflammation and nourish the immune system.

 

Some common ingredients used to flavor congee are chicken, pork, green onions, ginger, tamari, coconut milk, dates, and raisins. Experimenting with different ingredients will keep this otherwise bland porridge more interesting. Chicken and ginger congee is a flavorful and nourishing congee recipe.

 

Congee can ease digestive disorders, inflammatory conditions, and chronic illness. Start a new healing ritual and experiment with congee.

 

Chicken and Ginger Congee

1.5 cups long-grain white rice

8 cups (2 quarts) chicken stock or broth

4 cups water

4 quarter-size slices of fresh ginger

¼ cup minced ginger

6 scallions- 2 whole, 4 thinly sliced

2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces

Salt

Chopped roasted peanuts, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and hot sauce, for serving

Directions

In a slow cooker, combine the rice, stock, water, sliced ginger, and whole scallions. Cover and cook on high, stirring occasionally, until the rice has broken down and is soupy, about 4 hours.

Next, pick out and discard the ginger and whole scallions. Stir the chicken into the congee. Cover and cook on high, stirring a few times, until the chicken is white throughout (about 15 minutes).

Season the congee with salt. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with minced ginger, sliced scallions, peanuts, soy sauce, sesame oil and hot sauce at the table.

Congee can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently, whisking well to break up any lumps.

Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

Congee is simple to make with simple ingredients, which is what makes it so easy on you and your digestion. Giving your digestion this little break or boost can be just what your body needs to start healing itself. A neat trick is to use a chopstick to keep the slow cooker slightly open after it starts to boil so that it can reduce.

 - Dr. Ted Treantafelles, LAc, DACM [ACNJ Practitioner]

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These 5 Spices Have Serious Health Benefits

These 5 Spices Have Serious Health Benefits | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

Besides taking any meal from bland to bold, adding spices to your winter dishes provide some serious health benefits too. Spices have a unique ability to add flavor and nutritional value (and even a feeling of warmth and comfort) to any meal, without adding calories or salt. Add one, or all, of these spices to your meals this winter for a nutritious and tasty addition.

 
1. Cayenne

This spice has quite the kick in flavor and in the health department. The compound, capsaicin, has been linked to lower blood pressure and could even provide relief from arthritis pain. Some researchhas found that it might aid in weight loss. It can be added to warm water with lemon, ginger and honey as an amazing winter immunity elixir. And you can always sprinkle it over winter vegetables, eggs, chicken or fish for some major flavor.

 

2. Cinnamon

This is always my go-to spice recommendation because of its versatility, warmth and potential health benefits. Cinnamaldehyde, the compound found in cinnamon that gives it its flavor and smell is believed to have antimicrobial and antifungal properties in traditional Chinese medicine. Cinnamon also acts as an antioxidant, providing anti-inflammatory benefits. You can “sweeten” your coffee, winter smoothie, oatmeal, roasted root veggies and soup, with this delish spice instead of sugar.

 

3. Cardamom

 

Sometimes referred to as "the queen of spices" this ingredient can swing sweet or savory, and it’s warm flavor pairs well with cinnamon to make the ideal winter duo. Beside the anti-inflammatory benefits from flavonoids, cardamom also contains a compound called cineole, which can act as an antiseptic and is promoted as a way to fight the bacteria that causes bad breath.

 

4. Ginger

Long known for its benefits like improving digestion and nausea and being a sniffle buster, most of us will benefit from sneaking a little bit of ginger into our daily diets. You can’t go wrong in the cold winter months with carrot ginger squash soup, but even adding a couple of slices of fresh ginger to a mug of warm tea in the morning can potentially up your health game.

 

5. Turmeric

 

This yellow spice contains curcumin, which some research indicates is a powerful antioxidant and a way to fight inflammation in the body. Whether there are health benefits from the traditional medicine is unclear, but who doesn’t love a delish warm beverage you can turn to on cold winter days? Get adventurous and swap an afternoon coffee for a turmeric latte. Or, revamp any go-to recipe by adding a dash. Have a curry you swear by? Don’t be afraid to add a sprinkle. Yellow looks good on you!

Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

In Chinese medicine, we will almost always give formulas with different herbs mixed together kind of like creating a flavor profile in cooking. Keep an eye out for these spices, which can also be used in our formulas. The first four are all warming, so watch out if you tend towards acidic stomach or feeling warm.

 - Dr. Ted Treantafelles, DACM, LAc [ACNJ Practitioner]

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8 Things to Know About Using Dandelion Root for Detox

8 Things to Know About Using Dandelion Root for Detox | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it
Many people look at dandelions as pesky weeds that overtake lawns and gardens, but they're actually useful plants. Dandelions are perfect for herbal remedies and are filled with vitamins and minerals. Herbalists have been known to use it to detoxify the liver and gallbladder, treat infections, relieve muscles aches, and use it as a diuretic. Here are some things to consider before you start a detox.

 

Interesting research

Although there aren't a lot of studies on the herb, dandelion root may contain some promising substances in the fight against diabetes and certain types of cancers. Research published by Korean scientists in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences suggests that the root may help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels by helping control fats in the blood. In a study on chemo-resistant melanoma—an aggressive form of skin cancer most prevalent in Americans 25 to 29—researchers of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Windsor found that specific antioxidants in dandelion root extract helped prevent the drug-resistant melanoma cells from multiplying. Other research findings suggest the herb may be useful in taming inflammation, preventing urinary tract infections, taming an upset stomach, and easing arthritis-like pain.

 

Why people turn to dandelion

While the herb has been popular for detoxing (here are some other detoxing ingredients to add to your skin-care routine), dandelion root has a long history of use in a variety of cultures: Native Americans were known to boil dandelion in water and take it to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and upset stomachs. Traditional Chinese medicine turned to dandelion for stomach problems, appendicitis and breast issues. And early Europeans used it to remedy fevers, diabetes, and diarrhea.

 

One possible reason dandelions are prized for their medicinal value is that they're chock-full of vitamins. They're a great source of vitamins A, C, and K. Once cup of dandelions has 112 percent Daily Value of vitamin A, 32 percent vitamin C, and 535 percent vitamin K. These vitamins help to support a healthier immune system, maintain bone health, and regulate normal blood clotting.

 

How to use dandelion root

Traditionally, the root was roasted and consumed as a beverage while the leaves were used in salads, along with other raw-vegetable meals, soups, and sandwiches. Today it's still used very much the same way, most popularly in tea and as a coffee substitute to act as a dandelion root detox. It's also available in capsules, powders, and extracts.

 

Are there any risks?

While there are at least 13 home remedies that can harm you, dandelion is one of the least problematic medicinal herbs. Some experts believe they're a better source of nutrients than commonly eaten greens. "However, people with ragweed allergy should be cautious when using dandelion, as it may cause an allergic reaction," says Andrew Weil, MD, Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. He also explains that dandelion can counteract antibiotics, decreasing their efficacy, and slow down the rate in which the liver breaks down certain medications. It's important to note that medical professionals know little about its impact on pregnancy and breastfeeding, so if pregnant or nursing, it's recommended to speak to a doctor first.

 

 

Implement dandelion into your diet slowly

Like anything, it takes the body a little to adjust to new substances. Due to dandelions' diuretic nature, it's suggested to start consuming dandelion products gradually. For instance, only drink one cup of dandelion tea for several days to give your body time to adjust. You can start to increase to two or three cups a day. Its effects are similar to that of coffee, which is known to cause people to go to the bathroom quicker. (This is why coffee makes people poop.)
Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

There are so many amazing and interesting herbs in the Chinese medicine pharmacopeia. Dandelion root is great for detox especially in those who tend towards stress/irritability/anger and are usually the warm person in the room. Your acupuncturist can find the right combination of herbs to help you while minimizing side effects.

 - Dr. Ted Treantafelles, DACM, LAc [ACNJ Practitioner]

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5 Things You Need To Know About The Year Of The Dog

5 Things You Need To Know About The Year Of The Dog | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

If you ask me, we could all stand to be a bit more like dogs. They’re intuitive, loyal, social, playful, courageous—all qualities we strive for, Noah Rubinstein, doctor of Chinese medicine and clinic director of The YinOva Center in New York City, points out.

And there’s no better time to get down with the dogs, at least according to the Chinese zodiac. On February 16, the Lunar New Year, we bid adieu to the crowing, confident Rooster and turn instead to man’s best friend.

 

The Chinese calendar rotates through 12 different animals as well as the five elements, with each year consisting of a combination of the two,” Rubinstein explains. This year pairs the Earth element with the dog for a grounded, altruistic vibe. “For the first time in a while we’re going to start to feel a bit more down to earth; a little less frenetic and less flamboyant than last year’s rooster, or even the previous year’s monkey,” says Rubinstein.

 

And as we cultivate our most canine qualities in this earthly environment, Rubinstein says, “it will open the space to create the world we want to see around us.” Sounds about right for the sure-to-be transformational 2018 ahead.

 

1. Find your pack

It’s time to gather your squad, be it your family, your brunch crew, your BFF, your partner, or even a club you’re in or a political institution that you’re part of. Getting organized in groups provides cohesion and stability for us in an uncertain world. That’s what finding your pack is all about!

 

What the dog shows us is that these connections can be made without bringing a lot of ego to the equation. If you look at a pack of dogs, you see that it’s made up of all shapes, sizes, and scruffs—their association is about more than superficial identification. Dogs can be competitive, for sure, but they know that their connection brings them important fortunes that they couldn’t achieve on their own.

 

This year will bring greater awareness of who we are and who we want to create a better world with, so when it feels like everything is going sideways, focus on the change you want to make in your community or your country. Now is the time to get involved.

 

2. Heighten your situational awareness

The dog’s keen senses and hyper-awareness of the surrounding world go beyond sight and smell: It can be downright intuitive. If you’re feeling blue, chances are, your pup will lay his head on your lap; if something is wrong or out of place, he’ll track down what it is. This may not always be easy; sometimes, dogs are anxious or stressed inside (just like we are!), but their inner fears rarely stop them from showing the courage we all wish we had.

 

But one thing that dogs really don’t like is surprises. This year, finding our “inner woof” will require stepping out of our bubbles and stepping up our awareness of what’s going on around us in our homes and the world. It may be scary at first, but this increased alertness will reduce some of the surprise factor, allowing us to feel more in control and able to be our own best guardians.

 

3. Pace yourself

Have you ever played ball with or tried to hide something from a dog? They are ridiculously tenacious and will play until they run themselves sick. As you find people and communities that reflect your passions this year, take care not to drive yourself into the ground. Just because there is an opportunity to do something doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. You don’t have to chase every ball.

 

Also, be sure to check in with your health. The distractions of work and play can push our health into the out-of-sight, out-of-mind column. Your days may be busy, but don’t lose your life balance—even if you are the alpha.

 

4. Be of service

Here is a heartfelt shout-out to all the guiding, calming, bomb-sniffing, alarm-sounding service dogs out there: Thank you for helping to protect us from ourselves! Service is about understanding our own value while also seeing beyond ourselves and recognizing that we all have something to contribute to others around us. This is the greatest good we can aspire to.

 

The Dog teaches us to be socially aware and engaged, but without the ego that the Rooster exhibited last year. This will be a year to practically integrate awareness of our own selves with the world around us. You can start small (in your own family, even, or in your neighborhood). It can be as simple as helping at a community garden, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or participating in a get-out-the-vote drive.

 

5. Be mindful of your nutrition

A dog will eat anything—oftentimes, the wrong thing. If he spits it out, all is well. But if he doesn’t, things can get pretty ugly. In Chinese medicine, digestion is associated with the Earth element and provides the potential for transformation and growth. The Earth element this year guides us to be thoughtful about what goes into our bodies. Put good stuff in, and you’ll thrive. Eat junk, and it will all be a little harder.

 

Cultivating healthy nutrition for yourself this year isn’t just about food, though. It’s also going to be what you feed your mind and your heart to create a more whole you. So, in this Earth Dog year, take a cue from the family pet and be loving, loyal, and protective of yourself—just leave his eating habits on the table.

Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

What does it mean that it's now the Year of the Dog? Check out this article to find out what you should be enhancing and focusing on in the year ahead, according to the Chinese zodiac.

 - Dr. Ted Treantafelles, DACM, LAc [ACNJ Practitioner]

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What's The Meaning Of Chinese New Year's Year Of The Dog?

What's The Meaning Of Chinese New Year's Year Of The Dog? | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

As is typical to the canine nature, people born in the year of the dog are said to be characterised by their loyalty, though they sometimes struggle to communicate, at times giving the mistaken impression they are stubborn.

Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

This is a fun article about the meanings of the Chinese horoscope. Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2018 Year of the Dog!

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This Ancient Diet Is the Original "Personality Type Quiz"

This Ancient Diet Is the Original "Personality Type Quiz" | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

Fan of the Myers-Briggs personality test and theories? Want something like that for your diet? It has existed for centuries within Chinese medicine! POPSUGAR sat down recently with clinical nutritionist Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNC — a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner — who explained more about the five types in TCM and what each should be eating.

 

There are five elements: wood, earth, fire, water, and metal. Learning which one you are can lead you to a perfect diet, specifically for your body's makeup and your needs. And if you're eating the right foods for your body, you can help eliminate illness, curb symptoms, and possibly even treat disease.

 

The first step is to get your diagnosis. This is most accurately done by a acupuncturist or a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner. Some nutritionists specialize in this and could also provide a diagnosis. They use a multitude of methods for diagnosis, but some tactics include looking at your tongue, checking your pulse, and asking you some medical questions.

 

Once you've discovered your element, you can find a "custom and personalized plan," according to Dr. Axe. He told POPSUGAR, "You should be eating for your element, but also eating seasonally," and explained that you should nourish a specific organ based on your constitution/element to help relieve symptoms and restore balance to the body. Check out which season you'll thrive in, in addition to which emotions (positive and negative) you experience most, your body type (in general, not always!), health issues to look out for, and some foods to add to your diet.

Wood

Season: Spring
Emotions: Inspiration, frustration
Typical body type: Lean
Susceptible to: Liver or gallbladder issues
Foods to eat: Sour and bitter foods; green foods (sauerkraut, dark leafy greens, fresh veggies)

Earth

Season: Late Summer/early Fall
Emotion: Compassion, worry
Typical body type: Round
Susceptible to: Candida and dampness issues, spleen and stomach issues
Foods to eat: Warm vegetables; mildly sweet foods (pumpkin, sweet potato, spaghetti squash, corn)

Fire

Season: Summer
Emotion: Joy, anxiety
Typical body type: Proportionate, with smaller hands and feet
Susceptible to: Heart issues, high cholesterol, circulatory issues
Foods to eat: Spicy foods (peppers, hot sauce)

Metal

Season: Late Fall/early Winter
Emotion: Happiness, grief
Typical body type: Strong, chiseled features; muscular
Susceptible to: Lung, colon, and immune system issues
Foods to eat: "White foods" (cauliflower, garlic, or horseradish); probiotic-rich foods (yogurt or kefir)

Water

Season: Winter
Emotions: Courageous, fearful
Typical body type: Soft and rounded
Susceptible to: Kidney, adrenal, and thyroid issues; hormonal imbalances
Foods to eat: Dark-colored foods (cherries, beets, spinach, cranberries)

 

Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

"You are what you eat" is said so casually nowadays that it loses a lot of its very profound meaning. And for everyone what you should be eating can be vastly different from what the person next to you should be eating. Chinese medicine has thousands of years of experience in helping people know what foods to eat tailored just for them.

 - Dr. Ted Treantafelles, DACM, LAC [ACNJ Practitioner]

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Can Tai Chi Help You Live Longer?

Can Tai Chi Help You Live Longer? | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

"T’ai Chi is an ancient Chinese practice that dates back thousands of years and stems from the philosophy of Taoism. Rosa Lee has been practicing T’ai Chi every day for the past 15 years and attributes this daily practice to keeping her in good health. She states that it helps her feel safe, strong and flexible as well as giving her peace of mind.

 

T’ai Chi is a holistic practice that has been gaining popularity in recent years with many studies tying this practice to improved health, wellness as well as longevity. T’ai Chi is a moving meditation practice that can promote wellness on the physical level, but also the mental, emotional and spiritual. Rosa Lee admits that she does not know much about the philosophy of Taoism but nonetheless receives many benefits from her daily practice.

 

Evidence-based studies have shown that the health and wellness benefits of T’ai Chi practice may include increased bone density, lowered blood pressure, increased physical strength and balance, increased immune function, decreased anxiety and depression as well as decreased inflammation. Rosa Lee has seen some of these benefits in her life as well as finding the daily practice of T’ai Chi just plain fun.

 

This ancient practice of T’ai Chi is based on the philosophy of Taoism which seeks balance and harmony in life. T’ai Chi is a philosophy and can also be practiced as an exercise that brings about relaxation and mindfulness. T’ai Chi Chuan is also a form of T’ai Chi and some emphasize a martial arts component. Both T’ai Chi and T’ai Chi Chuan can be considered a form of Qigong which is the study of Qi or energy which emanates throughout the body.

 

Qi is life force, energy and information that flows through all things. It can also be spelled as “Chi”, or in other healing systems known as ki or prana. It is through the flow and balance of Qi that one can attain health and harmony. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which includes acupuncture and acupressure work with Qi as well through balancing the opposites of yin and yang. Both TCM and T’ai Chi work with the meridians or channels through the body which flow Qi.

 

There are many different forms and styles of T’ai Chi such as Yang and Chen style. Movements with names such as “Waving Hands like Clouds” and “The White Crane Spreads its Wings” give indication of how beautiful and graceful the practice of T’ai Chi can be. These slow and constant movements have a practitioner shifting the weight and keeping body alignment while assuming various foot positions and hand movements to the various sequences in the form. T’ai Chi can be practiced alone or with a group. It is always a good idea to learn from an instructor who has had years of practice to learn the proper techniques."

Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

Self care is a big component of traditional Chinese medicine and Tai Chi is a great way to build some of that into your life while reaping pretty amazing benefits that could include decreased anxiety and increased flexibility. I recommend both Qi Gong or Tai Chi to all of my patients.

 - Dr. Ted Treantafelles, DACM, LAc [ACNJ Practitioner]

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Chinese Medicine Tips To Make Winter Work For You

Chinese Medicine Tips To Make Winter Work For You | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

"Opposite of the energy provided by sunlight (productivity, activity, outward energy), the sun going down provides an opportunity for rest and rejuvenation. Because the sun sets earlier and rises later in the winter, wintertime is the perfect opportunity to restore and replenish our bodies and our spirits.

 

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers an interesting viewpoint of winter in how it relates to organ function. The organ system associated with winter is the kidneys, which in TCM is the organ system from which our most basic, fundamental energy is derived.

Much like your car gas tank needing to be filled up with gasoline to function, our TCM kidneys also need replenished to keep our body, mind and spirit functioning.

 

So often we choose to ignore the importance of refilling our gas tanks, our kidney energy. We expect ourselves to continue to march on, achieving, doing, performing — without refilling our gas tanks.

 

I found in clinical practice that this is a major cause of autoimmune diseases, fibromyalgia, depression and more. We can only go for so long being depleted in our energy reserves before the body finally breaks down, gets some circuits confused, or simply gives up.

 

Before things get out of control, signs of your kidney energy weakening include, but are not limited to:

  • Low back, knee or heel pain
  • Fatigue (in general or specifically between 1-3 p.m.)
  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Fear
  • Inability to have proper posture
  • Foggy thinking
  • Low libido

 

So what can you do to refill your kidney energy?

■ Live according to the sun. The sun shines less in the winter as a natural encouragement for us to rest.

 

■ Eat foods that naturally grow in the winter. Every winter, on the rare occasion I go to the grocery store, I see watermelon. That is just wrong. When is the last time you saw watermelons growing in the wintertime? Our bodies do not need the cooling properties of watermelon when it is freezing outside. Instead, eat foods that support our root source of energy, like root vegetables and squash. Roasted nuts, quinoa, amaranth, seaweed, bone broth and soups with hearty vegetables also serve the body well this time of year.

 

■ Engage in the restorative acts of meditation, prayer, reflection and planning for the rebirth of the sun's energy in springtime. Contemplating goals is a natural thing to do when in reflection.

Imagine you have been looking forward to going on an adventure and your car was going to take you there. With deep anticipation, you get in the driver's seat so you can go have an amazing life experience. You turn over the engine and start heading down the road. However, about 100 miles down the road, out in the middle of nowhere, you run out of gas. Somehow, in all of your excitement, you had not taken the time to put gas in your car's tank. Now, getting to your destination has become much more of a challenge.

 

You can make your life easier by choosing to take care of yourself. Refill your gas tank so that when the opportunity knocks to go live your life in the richest way possible, you have the health reserves to sustain it.

 

If you are feeling depleted, tired, spiritually drained or are in constant pain, it is hard to know how to fix it. It helps to seek the advice and care of health care professionals who take the time to listen, diagnose and strategize an integrated plan for recovery."

Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

As a society, we are often encouraged either through necessity or societal pressures to burn the candle at both ends. This leaves us feeling just as low as the temperatures in winter. Be sure to fill your reserves back up through acupuncture and these tips.

 - Dr. Ted Treantafelles, DACM, LAc [ACNJ Practitioner]

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10 Natural Alternatives to the Flu Shot - Modern Alternative Health

10 Natural Alternatives to the Flu Shot - Modern Alternative Health | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

This year, instead of getting a flu shot full of mercury and aluminum, try one of these alternatives to the flu shot! Healthy, herbal options for all. When it comes to your health, you might research and decide that the ineffectiveness of the shot and the possibility of reaction causes you to decide to forgo the shot altogether. Others might be interested in having alternatives handy for if they get the shot and still come down with the flu.

Either way, people who get the flu usually have an impaired immune system that was unable to fight the virus off. Here are some natural alternatives you can use to both strengthen your immune system and to deal with the flu if you get it.

 

Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

Flu shots may be necessary for the elderly and chronically ill. But many of our patients use natural alternatives to boost their immune system. I use acupuncture, Chinese herbs and natural, warming foods to prevent flu and infections. This article describes simple remedies you can use.

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Jumpstart to Sustainable Holiday Shopping - Wiser Living - Mother Earth Living

Jumpstart to Sustainable Holiday Shopping - Wiser Living - Mother Earth Living | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it
Americans spend over 1 trillion dollars on holiday shopping. The Environmental Protection Agency reports a 25 percent increase of waste from Thanksgiving to Christmas. It's our responsibility to reduce the environmental impact through shopping sustainable. Inspire yourself with earth-friendly gift suggestions, so you won't end up with last minute, gimmicky trinkets. Consider these thoughtful, sustainable gift ideas as you begin your holiday shopping.
Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

Here are some gift giving ideas for a natural, low-stress Holiday season. There are many healthy alternatives to crazy shopping experiences and unappreciated gifts. Many of these ideas are local made crafts and products that will supports artists and crafts people.

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Jumpstart to Sustainable Holiday Shopping - Wiser Living - Mother Earth Living

Jumpstart to Sustainable Holiday Shopping - Wiser Living - Mother Earth Living | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it

Americans spend over 1 trillion dollars on holiday shopping. The Environmental Protection Agency reports a 25 percent increase of waste from Thanksgiving to Christmas. It's our responsibility to reduce the environmental impact through shopping sustainable. Inspire yourself with earth-friendly gift suggestions, so you won't end up with last minute, gimmicky trinkets. 

Charitable Giving

Donate in someone's honor to organizations like T1International, which is currently working to make insulin available to everyone around the globe. Add charity memorabilia, like a t-shirt, to the gift. 

The Sierra Club Foundation focuses on conservation and preserving the planet through grassroots campaigns and advocacy. A donation in someone's name is the perfect way to say you care about them, and what they believe in.

Repurposed Giving

Scrap pieces of wood can be made into works of art with a Piranha FX, an ultimate wood “repurposer” that can carve, etch or engrave items that would have otherwise made their way to the landfill. A spare wood block can become a precious keepsake; add handmade detail with a Klingspor’s Pyrography/Wood Burning tool. Multiple tips allow for a variation of textures, and it's simple enough for anyone to use. Smaller burning kits, like the Weller 15-Piece from Highland Woodworking are exceptional for beginners.

Consider these thoughtful, sustainable gift ideas as you begin your holiday shopping.

Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

Consider these thoughtful, sustainable gift ideas as you continue your holiday shopping, stress-fee and natural!

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10 Reasons Why Bone Broth is Magic

10 Reasons Why Bone Broth is Magic | Wellness Insights by ACNJ | Scoop.it
"My patients in the office know I'm a bit of a bone broth enthusiast. It's a universal kitchen staple - it shows up in culinary traditions throughout the world from Denmark to Japan to New York City. There's been a lot of hype around the stuff - so it can be difficult to parse the marketing out from the science. I use it in private practice because, in the west, one of the main causes of disease is that we beat the snot out of our guts. Literally. The synthetic chemicals found in processed food in concert with the various forms of sugar we eat as staples of the western diet all come in direct contact with our intestinal lining. The wear and tear caused by the garbage we eat leads us to feeling like...garbage. The quickest way to feeling better is not a $400 a month supplement regimen that you may not be able to absorb anyways. 

 

The quickest way to feeling better is to put your gut lining into direct contact with things that can repair the inflammation and are of high nutritional value. Hence...bone broth. 

1. Reduces Inflammation

2. Aids Digestion

3. Heals Leaky Gut

4. Increases Mineral Consumption

5. Helps your Liver Detox

6. Helps Joint and Muscle Pain

7. Fights infections

8. Smooths Skin

9. Helps Repair and Grow Bones

10. Assists with Sleep"

 

Acupuncture Center of NJ's insight:

As winter bears down on us, our bodies often need a little help in getting the nutrients we need to feel out best. Bone broth is the fast track to getting us there. It sometimes seems like there's nothing it can't do, but even better here is a handy list of what it can do.

 - Dr. Ted Treantafelles, DACM, LAc [ACNJ Practitioner]

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Serving the Morristown NJ community since 1986! Our team is devoted to every patients’ unique journey through the prevention and natural treatment of disease to optimal wellness and vitality. Call today for an initial consultation (973) 984-2800