Insomnia: What to Avoid Before Bedtime

Insomnia – What to Avoid Before Bedtime

Man suffering from insomnia- needs acupunctureAvoid insomnia for many reasons! I’ve written on the topic of sleep before, including some tips for sleep and insomnia before. There are many things that can be done to deal with insomnia besides medication. Acupuncture can make a huge difference in your ability to fall asleep when it is time for bed and it can help you achieve truly restful quality sleep without drugs or herbs.

Acupuncture is just one technique of many available for dealing with insomnia. When you are lying in bed, wide awake at 3 A.M., it is a small consolation that you can make an appointment tomorrow, or the next day for acupuncture. You want to sleep that very night!

Don’t Bring Technology to Bed

A recent Bank of America consumer trends report found that roughly 71% of survey respondents sleep with their smartphones and 23% actually fall asleep with their tech tool in their hand. It’s time to break free from the dependence and reclaim your bed.

Don’t Drink Coffee

A cup of coffee contains anywhere from 80 to 120 milligrams of caffeine per cup, and you probably already know you should avoid it right before bed. Even though you might like the idea of a hot drink after dinner, did you know that although bedtime might still be several hours away, this could disturb your sleep. Why? Because caffeine can stay in the body for up to 12 hours.

Don’t Eat Spicy or Fatty Foods

You should have dinner at least two hours before going to sleep to give your body enough time to begin digesting it. If you’re used to eating something right before bed, stick with sleep-promoting foods like simple carbs or a glass of milk but stay away from spicy food.

Oh, and do go ahead and make that acupuncture appointment or set up a free face-to-face consultation. Sleep does not need to be hard to come by.

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

Cold and Flu Prevention Ideas

Cold and Flu Prevention

Chris Lehmann at Eastern Sun Acupuncture (in MA) wrote a great blog post recently about Flu and Cold prevention. I’ve talked about this topic some in my newsletter, but since Chris had some great ideas that I didn’t cover I thought I’d share it. Thanks for the great post, Chris!

Here it is: Flu and Cold Prevention

I am hopeful that there is not much winter left for us down here in North Carolina, but if you take a look at the flu map (as I write this) you can see that this is still a serious issue for most of America right now. Adopting these ideas can help prevent illness, which can come at any time of year. Take care of yourselves, everyone!

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

Pistachio – A Cancer Fighting Food

Pistachio- cancer fighting nutPistachio – A Cancer Fighting Food

Pistachios are one of my favorite nuts. They don’t seem to receive the same respect for being a healthy food like walnuts, almonds, cashews, or even peanuts.

As recently blogged about at the MD Anderson Cancer Center Blog and Dr. Weil’s Blog, it appears as though pistachios may help prevent cancer- specifically lung cancer. Pistachios are a great source of a form of Vitamin E named gamma-tocopherol.

A study conducted at Texas Woman’s University – Houston Center found that a diet containing about 2oz of pistachios per day significantly increased the levels of gamma-tocopherol in the blood.

My take-aways from this are two-fold. First of all, 2oz of pistachios is a lot- about 117 kernels according to the study abstract. Secondly, this study was small and wasn’t designed to show any direct effect on lung cancer, or any other type of cancer. So it’s impossible to infer what a handful of pistachios every now and then will do for your health. Still, to me, this is all the justification I need to eat some yummy pistachios! So think about the pistachio, a cancer fighting food.

More Facts About Pistachios

  • They’re nutrient-dense.
  • They have as much protein as an egg.
  • Their shells may help you eat less.
  • They’re heart-healthy.
  • They’re grown in the U.S.
  • They’ll fill you up, not out.
  • They’re great for cooking and baking.
  • They’ll help you snack smarter.
  • They open on their own.

Pistachios grow in heavy grape-like clusters surrounded by a fleshy hull (they’re actually related to mangoes!). When they ripen, the pistachio kernel grows inside until (in most cases) the shell splits open.

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

Eat Healthy, Save Money – Buy Food in Bulk

Eat Healthy, Save Money – Buy Food in Bulk

Eating healthy is an important part of any wellness plan. My wife (Melissa, The Avocado Queen) and I have decided that one place where we simply won’t scrimp is in the area of how healthy we eat. Still, with the economy not yet running at full steam and warnings about inflation in the news, there are plenty of smart ways to save money on healthy food.

One no-compromise way to save money on healthy food is to buy in bulk. This works great for dry foods like nuts, pasta, rice, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, beans, green tea, and dry spices. It also makes sense to stock up when you find a good deal on almond butter, pre-made curry (always check the ingredients for preservatives and unwanted chemicals on any pre-made foods), almond milk, soy sauce, or any other food with a naturally long shelf-life.

There are plenty of locations in the Raleigh/Durham area where you can buy in bulk or buy healthy foods. Just google for the locations in your area.

  • Sam’s Club
  • BJ’s Wholesale House
  • Whole Foods
  • Harris Teeter
  • WalMart Super Stores
  • Target Super Stores
  • Lowe’s Supermarkets
  • Publix
  • Kroger Supermarkets
  • Food Lion Supermarkets
  • Fresh Market

There are also specialty stores in Durham.

  • Whole Foods in Durham
  • Durham Co-op
  • Bulldega Urban Market
  • Li Ming’s Global Market
  • Around the World Market
  • Mediterranean Grill and Grocery

With the cost of food rising and predicted to climb higher in the near future you can save quite a bit of money this way. Everyone likes saving money!

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

Sticking to Your Resolutions

Sticking to Your Resolutions

It’s February and I’m making resolutions. I’m an acupuncturist, so I could say that I’m working on the Chinese calendar. But the truth is that any time inspiration strikes is the time to make resolutions or declarations.

There is a reason that I’m letting everyone know about mine. I’ll explain why in a minute. Here they are:

  1. At least five minutes of meditation a day. Om.
  2. Daily yoga asana practice. Practicing most days is not at all like practicing every day.
  3. Yoga teacher training! I am committing to the upcoming Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Garden starting in September.

It is my hope that you will begin and/or continue to set new stretchy goals for yourself in your health and in every other domain. And once you have resolved yourself to a new goal or action, I hope you tell everyone who will listen. Have your support network work for you to help keep on track. By being accountable to someone outside of yourself you will be much more likely to follow through.

I am sharing my particular resolutions not because my resolutions are so important that you should know about them. I’m sharing because I hope that it will inspire or encourage you to do the same.

Sometimes people stick to their resolutions and sometimes they don’t. What new stretchy resolutions and goals are you taking on in your life? I’d love to hear about them, so please let me know by leaving a comment!

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

Introduction to Ayurvedic Medicine

Ayurvedic Medicine

Yesterday I was fortunate to get to sit in on a presentation by Reuben Schooler introducing ayurvedic medicine. Ayurvedic medicine (or simply ayurveda) is an ancient Indian practice of medicine. Reuben is a practitioner of ayurvedic medicine, a yogi and registered yoga teacher, and a licensed massage therapist.

Ayurveda is the only currently practiced medical system that may actually pre-date Chinese Medicine and acupuncture. I have been curious to learn more about ayurveda for some time, so I was really excited for this opportunity.

With only a couple of hours to present on thousands of years of medical history Reuben had quite a challenge before him. I thought he did a great job that left me wanting to know more. I came away with a lot of respect for the food-based therapies of ayurveda especially.

Reuben, thank you so much for generously sharing of your time and knowledge.

Readers, if you have a personal experience with ayurvedic medicine I’d love to hear about it. Did it work for you? What was the experience of treatment like? Please leave a comment below.

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

Food for Energy

Food for Energy

A neat blog I follow bodyhacker recently blogged about 7 Foods for an Energy Boost. Being married to Melissa, The Avocado Queen I am a huge fan of food, so I took particular interest in that post. I don’t always agree with what I read on bodyhacker (this article being no exception), but like many of their articles, it does provide “food for thought”, so to speak.

In this bodyhacker post, in particular, I take exception to the number of fruits on the list. Fruits have lots of simple sugars (fructose mostly- as in “high fructose corn syrup”), which can lead to an energy crash after eating them. It is true that most fruits compensate in the body through their high fiber content. Still, I wonder if there aren’t other sources of these energy boosting vitamins and minerals that don’t contain so much fructose and might be better candidates for this list.

For vitamin C sources I suggest bell peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cabbage. For potassium consider spinach and mushrooms. For dietary fiber, how about dark leafy greens, broccoli, and cabbage?

Details aside, it is easy to forget how much our food effects our health. From our energy to our skin to our mood to our stress levels to our sleep, we are deeply affected by our food.

Eat well, folks! Use food for energy.

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

Green Tea – More Amazing Than We Thought

Green Tea- healthy like acupuncture

Green Tea

Medical researchers have had good evidence for the health benefits of green tea for quite some time now. Evidence for its ability to prevent cancer (and perhaps slow the progression of) through a high antioxidant content (through polyphenol compounds) has been supported by years of scientific studies.

Now a study published in the journal Phytomedicine is showing that green tea provides more health benefits than anyone suspected. In particular they show how it helped with the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

In this study what they found was that the body’s digestive enzymes created forms of these antioxidants that are more potent than the raw antioxidants originally present in the tea!

Feeling nerdy? Here’s the article in pubmed.

In my next acupuncture newsletter I’m going to talk about how green tea relates to a cancer-preventing lifestyle. I’ll also share what many women do in China that decreases their risk of breast cancer by an amazing 89%! You’re going to want to check this out, so sign up now so you won’t miss out.

Update: On the Dr. Weil blog I found a neat post called “5 Reasons to Drink Green Tea“. He lists five reasons to drink green tea besides its cancer fighting properties.

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

Hangover Help

Hangover Help

Happy 2011!

Did you wake up to the new year with a hangover? It can be a painful reminder that more isn’t always better. Well, what’s done is done. So how can we make the day less miserable?

Rehydrate

Dehydration is a big cause of hangover pain. Lots of water is great help. I especially like coconut water to rehydrate.

Supposedly coconut water’s mineral content makes it a natural sports drink. (8oz is supposed to contain more potassium than a banana.) I don’t know how true that is, but it does seem to do something different for my body than just plain water.

Stomach Upset

For all sorts of temporary stomach upset a Chinese Herbal formula named Po Chai is my go-to. This is a very popular formula so you can find it in most Chinese / Asian grocery markets. It’s often kept behind the counter- just ask for it.

Po Chai comes in a vial full of mini pills. You take one or two vials all at once. You also may need to repeat the dose, so be sure to purchase at least 4 vials.

I keep some around my home just in case someone catches a stomach bug… or over-indulges in alcohol.

Have a fantastic New Year everyone!

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

Conquering Stress E-Book… Coming Soon

Conquering Stress

The topic of stress management has been coming up a lot for me lately. While it seems like everyone is stressed out, hardly anyone seems to be doing anything about it! That’s really been bothering me, because stress causes or exacerbates so many of the most deadly diseases in our society today.

As a society we have been successful in changing the dialog on tobacco and the incredible health risks it presents. The number of Americans who smoke has gone down dramatically over the last few decades. We’ve changed our behavior and the way we think about that health issue. So from that example I know that it’s possible to change the dialog on stress.

And we really need to, because one can make the case that stress is at least as dangerous to our health as smoking.

So, I’m writing an E-Book called Conquer Stress Now. I could sell this book for $39.97, promote it, and possibly make a bit of money. There’s a guy out there doing exactly that. That’s not what I’m going to do, though.

Subscribers to my newsletter are going to get this e-book on how to conquer stress for free. Yep, I’m giving it away. It’s just a thank you from me to you for being a newsletter subscriber and:

  • staying connected with me
  • staying on top of your health with free health tips and ideas
  • staying informed of healthy events in our community

Here’s how to sign up for the newsletter (it’s free too!):
sign up for our free acupuncture newsletter

In the meanwhile, be sure to check out this article about handling stress.

Are there any topics or concerns about stress you’d like to make sure I cover in the e-book? I’d really like to know. This is your book too. Please leave me your questions or thoughts in the comments below!

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.