Welcome to Winter: Stay Well…Stay Balanced

winter1Being Present, Listening…To Ourselves

This can be as simple as listening to our hunger pains or as complicated and intense as listening to a life threatening diagnosis. We are so goal oriented that we forget to enjoy, and do the little things that keep us healthy and happy.

Keep it simple. Slow down to allow your breath in and out. Eat when you’re hungry. Sleep when you’re tired. Exercise when you have tension…Why is this so difficult? Time! We don’t have time. There are only 24hrs in a day. A lot has to get done. Or do we? We have to make time for ourselves. Let’s consider breathing for example. In my practice, breathing comes up more often than not. A shallow breath leads to a more acidic environment, a deep breath leads to a calmer more alkaline environment. There is a reason why most ancient body practices such as yoga or taichi, all focus on the breath, and connecting with it. When we are connected or in sync with our bodies, we are more balanced, we are better decision makers, we respond to situations rather than react. So breathe!

This brings me to another important health topic- pain. What is your response or reaction to pain? Do you ignore it, listen to it, breath into it, medicate it? Pain is the body’s way of communicating. If we keep this line of communication open to us we can respond to pain appropriately. Often times we push pain aside to get on with our day, to get things done. Then what happens? Where does that pain go? Wouldn’t it be nice to explore the first signs of pain rather than a few years down the road when you are facing more severe problems and pain? This can be difficult. It takes time, effort and a sense of curiosity of our own bodies. In my acupuncture clinic, I often ask my patients to have compassionate eyes for themselves and take a look inside, be curious, and be gentle. Breath into that pain, connect with it and see what’s going on in there. The body has an interesting way of attaching emotion to pain. Usually when we connect to our own pain, emotion will follow. I suggest to stay with it and breath. At that point the body has an amazing ability to heal and let go one step at a time.

DSC00277Pain, ear pain, ouch! and it’s usually in the middle of the night for children. Ear infections or Acute Otitis Media (AOM), can affect 5 out of 6 children before the age of 3 according to the American NIDCD. Acupuncture, Massage, Shoni-Shin, diet and herbs are all great ways to treat and prevent ear infections.  Ear Infections in children is one of the leading reasons for antibiotic prescriptions in Canada.  Overuse of antibiotics leads to resistance. Pain associated with Ear Infections (with or without treatment) does tend to run it’s course within 24 hrs.   In my clinic, I have set up a protocol of a few different treatments including herbal therapy, cupping, diet changes, Shoni-Shin and  acupuncture.  In the picture I am doing a preventative treatment for my son. He came home from school with a runny nose and sore throat.  Children’s Eustachian tubes are more prone to blockage because of their small size and their angle. (They are more horizontal)  This is one way to increase circulation around his ears and prevent ear wax from building up and thus relieve any pressure or pain.  Here are some tips to help you if you have a little one at home who has just woken up crying with ear pain.

Warm some massage oil and gently massage around his/her ear and neck.

Holding the point right under the earlobe, this tends to relieve the pressure.

Exhale your warm breath into his/her ear. (This is my son’s favorite)

My go to herbal formula is Children’s Ear Formula by Golden Flower.

For more information visit me at my clinic in Simple Remedies at 1111 Fort St. (near Cook). I am often in the store and I would gladly answer any of your questions.

frost2Lastly, we need to listen to Mother Nature; the four seasons. Winter is upon us, the darkest time of the year, when our Qi (or Vital Energy) is in the deepest level of our bodies. It’s when we have more time alone with ourselves and with our thoughts. (As compared with summer where there are far more distractions and it’s easy to stay active.) This can lead to loneliness or even depression. In Chinese Medicine, balance is the foundation to its philosophy, a harmony between Yin and Yang. As we approach the darker months, keep this balance in mind. Take time for introspection, nourishment and preserving your vital energy (more yin), and, staying active and connecting with your community through music, dance or exercise… (more yang). Our body tells us to go to bed earlier, eat warm comforting foods, dress warmly, listen! If we don’t , come spring time when our Qi starts to move outward in our bodies, our immunity will be compromised and we will lack the ability to ward off colds and stay healthy.

Be kind to yourself, take the time to listen and enjoy all the wonders in your life. For healthier kidneys this winter try rubbing your hands together until they feel warm. Place them on your waist towards the back kidney area and rub in circles. Do this before bed every night while counting your circles. You can start with 10/ night and increase up to 100 as you see fit. This will improve your circulation, keep you warmer and help you feel refreshed in the morning. Happy Healthy Winter!  http://www.gigivincentine.ca for more posts and TCM news!

More pictures for Ear Infections

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Tiger Warmer with Moxa to help strengthen immunity
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Tiger Warmer with Moxa to help strengthen immunity
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Ear Seed on Shen Men, a point in the ear to fight infection, as well as the Tiger Warmer
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Tiny Pediatric needles on Ting Gong SI 19 to help promote circulation around the ears
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Cupping on the lung area to stimulate his immune system