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Why moving might be the biggest mistake you'll make: Create bliss here, now.

From afar, the grass always looks greener 
For Christmas I got an interesting book, Why We Make Mistakes by Joseph Hallihan. One of his chapters is titled, The Grass is Always Greener, and tells the story of a young Wisconsin couple who moved to sunny LA. They were certain they would be happier. What happens after we live in an area for a long time is we settle into a rut and we stop meeting new people, stop doing new things, and stop learning about our community.

To spoil the end of the Wisconsin couple's story, they did not find bliss in Southern California and moved back to the Midwest. It turns out that human beings are happiest when they are participating in local activities regardless of location or weather. 

Create bliss by connecting to you community and your environment
In Five Element Acupuncture, bliss is created by the Fire Element. If you are not constantly expanding your relationship to your community your Fire Element dwindles and you lose your bliss. You can increase the energy in your Fire Element by getting out of the house and connecting with other people. It may be a struggle at first, but you will find your self more enlivened and more satisfied with your life as you become more connected. 

When we do not feel connected to our communities and surroundings, we assume that moving to a spot with better weather will make up for our lack of joy. It won't. Central New York has a ton of activities and you don't have to fight city traffic to get to them. When you get there, smile and introduce yourself. You'll be glad you did, and so will the people you meet.

Ideas to support your Fire Element and create bliss:
Have a drink at the local pub every Tuesday after work.
Go cross-country skiing.
Set up a bird feeder outside your window and keep a journal of the birds that visit.
Join a yoga class.
Go to church every Sunday.
Join a book club.
Go snowshoeing.
Visit into a small shop you've never been into. Meet the owner.
Join Rotary.
Start following a local college or high school team and go to all the home games.
Buy milk, beef or eggs from a local farmer. Visit him/her once a week.
Join a spinning class.
Subscribe to a concert series at Hamilton College, Colgate University, The Stanley, The Kirkland Art Center

Does anxiety make you dread the alarm clock?

A teacher of mine once said, "Life is fired at you point blank." When we are in good spirits, mentally calm and physically healthy, we are able to deal with life's ups and downs. When we are unbalanced, the anticipation of "one more thing" is overwhelming.  What if there was a way to become "bulletproof?" What if you had the strength and resolve to face life head-on and not flinch? Can you imagine waking up each morning and looking forward to the day? Is that even possible? I wouldn't be giving this talk if it weren't, but before I explain how, you need to understand the basic physiology of anxiety.

How the physiology of anxiety traps you
I didn't make a mistake. I mean physiology and not psychology. We live in a world dominated by characters like Dr. Phil and Oprah Winfrey. They constantly remind us that with a positive mental attitude you can overcome any obstacle. It's simply mind over matter. However, what these personalities fail to recognize is the mind to matter highway is a two-way street. Your physical state influences your mind. This is how anxiety takes over your life. You become trapped in a constant state of fight or flight. Your conscious mind is no longer in control. What I call the inner caveman takes over as the hard-wired survival mechanisms are in control.

How your inner caveman takes control
Deep within the brain there is a bundle of cells called the amygdala. The amygdala was designed to keep us safe and happy. Long ago, when a herd of wooly mammoths was stampeding, early humans wouldn’t have survived if they paused to think things through. This evolutionary mechanism is perfect if you have to dive out of the way of a car while crossing the street, but today's dangers are rarely physical. Unfortunately, the inner caveman cannot tell the difference between a life ending threat and a threat that is merely unpleasant. To the caveman, only two states exist, care free or life-threatening. If you are not care-free the caveman kicks in trying fix the problem, right now.

When problems cannot be fixed quickly
Do you ever find yourself wishing life were simpler, that's your inner caveman struggling to find simple solutions to complex problems. Life is so much more complicated now than it was for cave dwellers. For example, let's imagine a money problem that hit's close to home for me: three daughters in college at the same time. If a caveman had those money problems, he would either kill the boss and take his job or just run away to another village. Problem solved. If only life were that simple, but it's not. When problems are ongoing, we get trapped in a constant state of stress. Our inner caveman, the amygdala, shuts down conscious though in favor of instinctual flight or fight behavior. Instead of being able to calmly and rationally work through complex problems, life becomes a waking nightmare that we are desperately trying to find a way out. Luckily, there is a way out.

Introducing acupuncture for anxiety
Acupuncture offers a way out of the anxiety trap. Recent studies at Massachusetts General Hospital show that acupuncture calms brain activity in the amygdala sending your inner caveman back into his cave to wait for real danger. With your flight or fight responses quieted, your body is able to relax and shift into healing mode. Instead of you trying to climb off of life's roller coaster in the middle of the ride, you can face the upcoming challenges confident that no matter what happens next, you have the courage to face the challenges and see them through.

How to avoid holiday jet lag

Do you suffer from jet lag when you travel? Did you know that acupuncture can help you recover from and even prevent jet lag? Let me explain.

Every morning your body re-sets your body clock to synchronize with the small changes in time of the rising sun. When you travel across time-zones, the huge shift in time zones is more than your body’s time adjustment mechanism can handle in one day. That’s why it normally takes days to recover from jet lag. With one acupuncture treatment you can bypass this adjustment phase. Acupuncture can do this because there are special points to adjust your body clock. They are called Horary Points. (“Horary” is Latin and means “related to time.”)

Introducing Horary Points
Horary points are special acupuncture points that are used to synchronize the body’s internal clock. Because there are 12 horary points, one for ever two hours in the day, acupuncture can re-orient your internal body clock when you cross multiple time zones. This can be done before you travel, by synching your body to the time zone you are flying to, or it can be done when you arrive at your destination.

Now that you know that acupuncture can help with jet lag, don’t lose valuable vacation time waiting for your body to catch up. Call me for a treatment.

Hospitals are adopting acupuncture.

According to FoxBusiness, Integrative Medicine May be Just What the Doctor Ordered

Advocates describe Integrative Medicine (IM) also called complementary or alternative medicine, as a practice that focuses on the whole person...Integrative care combines conventional Western or allopathic medicine with treatments like herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, biofeedback, yoga and stress reduction techniques.

More than 30 years ago, it was rare for hospitals to offer IM, but research funded by the National Institute of Health [NIH] has done much to prove its effectiveness and safety. This testing has fostered tremendous growth in the hospital community and at hospitals in academic medical centers.

According to the American Hospital Association’s most recent statistics, approximately 21% of community hospitals reported inclusion of IM therapies in 2008, up from almost 9% in 1999.

Read more

Are you gettig enough sunshine?

Sunshine exposure and vitamin D levels have been shown to influence, pain, heart disease, diabetes, parkinson's, cancer, infections, weight gain, mental health and many other conditions. Now that Spring has sprung, and the midday sun has enough power to activate your body's production of vitamin D, it's time to review your vitamin D supplementation.

1) Get your 25 hydroxy vitamin D levels tested. If you are lower than 65 you need to supplement and/or get out in the sun.

2) Get 15 minutes of midday (11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) sunshine on your face and arms each day. Any type of sunscreen or UV coating on glass will stop your body from making the vitamin D. Many face creams and even make-up now has sunscreen added.

3) Take at least 2,000 i.u of vitamin D3 a day even during the summer.

4) If you cannot get out in the sun regularly you need to take at least 5,000 iu of D3 a day.

5) If your test shows your vitamin D levels are low, you can take as much as 10,000 i.u a day to recover from your deficiency.