I recommend variety in exercise for several reasons, one of the main ones being that this causes us to move different muscles and different joints in different ways. This is important because if we do not do this, if we move the same way all the time for many years we actually can wear joints out. This is why we have so many knee, hip, and shoulder replacements happening. So as everyone who knows me knows, I am partial to yoga for this very reason - it moves your body in a thousand different ways (probably not an exaggeration). Yoga invites your joints to move in ways they normally would not in day to day living. But some people do not like yoga which I understand. Pilates is also good. Or just doing a variety of things like running and basketball or touch football or ballet or body weight exercise or lifting weights or boxing. Just mix it up some.
This is just my personal opinion, perhaps more so than my usual blog posts. In my opinion its better to do some exercise every day (or nearly every day) instead of doing a big workout a few days a week. I believe this really from just experimenting on myself. What really taught me this was doing a certain type of yoga call ashtanga yoga. In ashtanga yoga you do a certain set of poses (depending on your level) 6 days a week. I did this type of yoga for a solid 3 years and I was in great shape. I felt great and I moved I thought like I was 10 or 15 years younger. If we do some type of exercise 6 days a week the benefits really add up. Just like learning the piano or guitar where they say to really advance to practice some every day, even if it is only 10 or 15 minutes. I think exercise is the same way. What do I do now for exercise? Twenty to 30 minutes of yoga 6 days a week first thing in the morning, treadmill for 10 minutes and my rebounder (mini-trampoline) another 10 minutes. Every other day or so I do some medium hard weight lifting. I take Saturdays off as a recovery day and now and then a lighter day where I might just do yoga if I feel I need it.
The latest evidence is that yes, coffee is good for us all. The latest actual research says that up to 5 cups a day is not only OK but has great benefits like lower risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver cancer and Parkinson's. The only caveat I would include here is that from a Chinese medicine standpoint, if you tend to run warm, coffee is a drink that adds heat to body. So if this sounds like you then drink it in moderation or maybe not every day. Most things are best in moderation. Except maybe water!
A microsystem in acupuncture is any part of the body from which you can treat the entire body. The Chinese, very early on, recognized the symmetry of the human body. They noticed that our hands look similar to our feet and also move and work in a similar way. Our forearm looks very similar to our lower leg and so on. They also realized that parts of the body look similar to the entire body. They noticed this especially in the feet, the hands and the ear (imagine an upside down baby image in the ear, imagine the back of the hand as the human back, the front as the gut area, the fingers as the arms and legs). There are many such microsystems but perhaps the most common are the ear, used in aricular acupuncture, and the foot used in reflexology. This is why in reflexology the entire body can be treated by rubbing the feet. We use ear acupuncture every day in our clinic. We might use needles in the back to treat back pain and add the back point in the ear to make the treatment more effective. We often get asked why we typically treat just one ear with the needles. This is because each ear represents the whole body so you don't need to do both of them. Korean hand acupuncture is also a commonly used microsystem where usually just the hand is needled in a typical treatment.
I get asked this a lot by my patients. Actually it is very simple. What these 2 modalities have in common is that they both are stimulating acupuncture points. Acupuncture points are just places on the body that have been found to have healing properties. These points were mapped out over thousands of years by the Chinese and continue to be added to and modified to this day. The main difference between acupuncture and acupressure is that the stimulation by the needles is usually much stronger. Another difference is that with acupuncture many needles can be stimulated simultaneously and this can give a more complete treatment. With acupressure only one point at a time is being stimulated so generally less points will come into play in an acupressure session. But there are many acupuncture points that can be pressed on at home that will yield good results. You will just get better results in an acupuncture clinic where several points can be combined to make a stronger treatment.
I haven't been writing my blog because all the news is really the Covid virus. But just a quick update to say that we are indeed up and running and actually have been rather busy. It is good to see all our regular patients again and welcome new ones. We are doing things differently starting with everyone being required to wear a mask. Also, we have taken all but one chair out of our waiting area and are spacing out patient so that you will most likely go right into the treatment room, no waiting and rarely seeing another patient. We are also opening up windows in the waiting area and also between patients in the treatment room, just to keep the air flowing better. We are using Lysol on all surfaces and doing extra cleaning at the end of the day. And of course we are washing our hands and changing the linen after each patient. We are doing our best to keep you safe.
Me, being a skeptic by nature (in some arenas), found this study intriguing study. You can check out the article here.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the fasting growing autoimmune disease in our country. I suspected this because it seems like half of the commercials on television are drug commercials to treat RA. So I looked it up and sure enough it's the fastest growing segment of autoimmune disease. RA generally occurs in women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. This makes sense to me because I have never seen a male with RA in my practice. I have treated this condition many times in my practice and in general it responds well to acupuncture, especially if some simple Chinese herbs are included, such and the one they nickname 'the women's herb' or dang gui in Chinese pinyin. Some of the women I have treated have responded well enough that they have come off their RA drugs, or they never had to start them. It is interesting that this illness usually starts at about the same time that women go through menopause. Menopause in our medicine is due to a natural imbalance that occurs during this hormonal change. This change called menopause brings on more heat or inflammation in the body and this can cause a tipping point into a number of named diseases, one of them being RA. So the menopause factor must be addressed in order to treat the root of the condition, to cure it instead of just medicate the symptoms.
This is probably the most asked question I get from patients. Of course you can google this. But it's probably a good idea to know how the person who is doing acupuncture on you answers this question. I like to write my blogs from my own personal experience. This is just how I think of it, from 20 years of study and doing acupuncture on patients. Simply put, acupuncture works by manipulating the Qi of the body. What Qi is is another blog; but just think of Qi as the energy that gives movement and life to us, the energy that moves your limbs and makes your heart beat and your stomach digest. So acupuncture, through hundreds of access points or acupuncture points manipulates or changes this energy in some way. It is the Qi that keep us healthy, so acupuncture assists the Qi in keeping us healthy and out of pain. The acupuncturist knows how to use combinations of points to do this. The function of each of these hundreds of points has been studied for thousands of years. It's more complex than this, but this is a good start.
My Dad was a track star in high school and a running back on the football team. But after high school he never really worked out again. That's just the way things were back then. Most people didn't work out or do much in the way of sports after their school days. But luckily times have changed. More people seem to be staying more active nowadays into their 70s, 80, and even 90s. And studies like this one show that it is worth it. This blog and my last blog both reference studies that show that we should keep on being as active as possible for as long as possible. If you are not someone who moves a lot then find some activity you enjoy - from walking to tennis to yoga. And keep at it.
Monte Jackson, owner Acupuncture Center of Richmond