Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tips for Staying Healthy for the Holidays

Tips for Staying Healthy for the Holidays By: Lei Ann Resurreccion, MAOM, Lic.Ac.

As the acupuncturist for the Spa at the Mount Auburn Club, I regularly get asked by my patients for suggestions on how to stay healthy between their acupuncture treatments. Even though the nature of Chinese medicine diagnoses everyone more on an individual basis, here are some general tips for everyone to help keep you healthier this holiday season!

1. Eat according to the seasons. Now is not the time to be eating salads and cold, raw vegetables or citrus fruits. Save that for the summer months. Stick to warm and cooked foods, soups, fruits and vegetables in season (like berries, root veggies and cooked dark greens) and using warm spices like ginger and cinnamon in your meals. Your digestion will be the better for it.

2. Again, in keeping with the seasons, now is not the time for any type of detox diets or cleanses. Think of how nature takes its course. It's our body's tendency at this time of year to want to conserve, hibernate, consolidate our energies. Save detox for the spring time, otherwise it would be ineffective or even decrease your immunity and make you feel worse.

3. If you suffer from chronic muscular aches and pains (who doesn't!), the best thing to do, especially with the cold weather already upon us, is to keep those muscles warm as often as you can. Warmth relaxes the muscles and opens up the blood vessels. More circulation means better healing for those tight and cramped muscles. Buy a microwaveable bean bag or simply soak a washcloth in very hot water and apply to your sore muscles for 10-20 minutes when you can.

4. At the first sign of a cold, traditional Chinese medicine's first line of defense is to SWEAT! The idea is to sweat out the pathogen from your pores before it can get in deeper and make you more ill. So, crank up the heat, pile on the sweatshirt layers, keep your head and neck covered and drink plenty of hot liquids.

5. If this is not effective and you develop more flu-like symptoms, you may turn to your tried and true supplements like echinacea and zinc. The newest herbal remedy of interest these days is elderberry (found in most vitamin shops) which has been found to have anti-viral properties. Take some at the recommended dose and see if that helps cut the duration of your illness.

6. Keep positive. These are stressful times for everyone, but excessive worrying can decrease your body's energy and immunity. Find time for meditation. Slow movements like tai chi can keep your muscles and joints limber and decrease your blood pressure. Take up a hobby that will channel your energies, take your mind off of stressful things and relax you like reading, knitting or other crafts.

If you have further questions or would like suggestions tailored more towards your individual symptoms, come to the Spa for a consultation and treatment!

Lei Ann Resurreccion, MAOM, Lic.Ac.
Licensed Acupuncturist

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