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Acupuncture and PTSD

 

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PTSD is a physiological disorder that can result from being exposed to a traumatic event.  The disorder results in several different symptoms including anxiety, irritability, insomnia and flashbacks. The effects of post-traumatic stress disorder in someone’s life can be far reaching.  Feelings of hopelessness, shame and despair, problems at work or with relationships, serious health problems, depression, anxiety and drug or alcohol abuse are not uncommon. Getting help can be hard at first, but can have a great impact for helping PTSD.

 

A recent study into the efficacy of acupuncture as an adjunctive treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has shown promising results. Researchers investigated the effects of acupuncture in adjunct to normal treatment approaches and the results showed significant improvement. Studies in the past have shown that veterans with PTSD are wary of seeking treatment for PTSD as many do not believe that mental healthcare can be effective. Researchers hope that with the increased efficacy of the adjunctive acupuncture treatment, veterans will be less reticent towards seeking treatment for PTSD.

 

The acupuncture treatment also saw secondary benefits for those treated as many reported a decrease in depression and pain as well as a general improvement in mental and physical well-being. PTSD can be debilitating and even more so with little or no treatment.

The Military Stress Recovery Project (MSRP) is a unique program that provides free community acupuncture to veterans and active duty soldiers with PTSD and their family members.

 

Treatment in a MSRP clinic is unique for several reasons.  Patients are treated in a group setting, sitting in comfortable chairs.  There is an environment of calm and support. The patients are treated using the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) protocol, a series of 5 needles placed in one ear. The program is designed to address all the needs of people with PTSD.

 

The MSRP clinics have been very successful.  Patients report stress reduction, improved mental clarity, improved energy, enhanced performance, better sleep, fewer bad dreams and headaches, less anxiety and depression, reduced anger and pain, improved general health and better relationships.

 

Those suffering from PTSD should consult a doctor about treatment and discuss the option of acupuncture as well because it has been proven to help.

 

 

5 Ways to Eat Without Overeating This Holiday Season

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Moderation

We’ve always the heard the saying to enjoy everything in moderation, and that is definitely true when it comes to holiday foods. Don’t try to deprive yourself during the holidays, it most likely won’t go over well. Having an extra holiday treat here and there won’t kill you. You’re allowed to indulge a bit, just keep portions small when it comes to holiday desserts and make sure you limit how often you eat them. Going the whole season without any treats is cruel and will most likely end in binging later, so have your guilty pleasures, just keep them in moderation.

 

Watch the alcohol

The holidays are a time for celebration, which most likely means more alcohol. Not only does alcohol add on empty calories, but can also lead you to eating more while drinking. If you are at a gathering, limit yourself to one or two drinks to cut down on the unhealthy cravings you might be feeling afterward.

 

Focus on the protein

Protein-packed foods are a great way to fill up without adding a lot of sugar and empty carbohydrates. Pack your plate with low-fat meats like turkey and chicken. If you’re vegetarian, eat more of the tofu than the side dishes that are most likely to be sugar and carbohydrate heavy.

 

Fill up on the water

Don’t forget about water! The holidays are an easy time to drink more sugary beverages than normal. Substitute drinks for water, and drink a lot of it. Not only is water essential for your health, but drinking a glass before a meal can fill you up more as well, preventing you from overeating.

 

Take your time

Eating too fast is one of the easiest ways to overeat. When you don’t give your body the chance to digest food and feel full before you stop eating, chances are you’re going to end up eating more than you want. Eat slowly and enjoy each bite to give your body a chance to catch up. This way, you’ll end up getting full faster and eat less.

 

Most of all don’t forget to enjoy the holidays and the delicious food that comes with it, don’t be afraid to indulge a little!

Fall – Season of the Lungs

Wei QiThe theories of Chinese medicine suggest that each season relates to a different organ system. The Fall is the season of the Lungs. It’s the time of year when people are easily affected by environmental influences. Great changes are taking place in the weather and plant life around us. Some people refer to it as the “flu season.” The lungs are called the delicate protective organ,” because they are the only organ that comes into direct contact with the external environment. This can make them vulnerable to the environmental influences which can lead to colds, the flu, or allergies. The lungs are also involved in the production of Wei Qi. Wei Qi is a similar concept to what Western medicine refers to as the immune system. Wei Qi provides the body with an “immune system like” barrier that protects the body from harmful pathogenic factors that can enter into it, and which may eventually lead to illness and/or disease.

 
Healthy and strong lungs can enhance the proper functions of the entire body. Through an intricate process, the Lungs extract “pure essence” from the air we breathe, and combine it with the food we eat to produce the Wei Qi. This immunity-like system is then circulated throughout the entire body, providing it with a first line of defense. When the lungs are functioning correctly, we remain healthy, and potentially free from illness. But when our lungs become weakened or imbalanced, our body may not have the capacity to produce the correct amount of Wei Qi. When this occurs, the stage for “catching” a cold, the flu or allergies is set. Weak lungs and Wei Qi can also lead to asthma, eczema, dry skin and other problems.

 
The lungs are negatively affected by many factors: an improper diet, emotional stress, unexpressed or
long-held grief or sadness, inherited constitution, smoking, bad air or pollution. The ancient classic text, Zhen Jing, states, “If the lungs function well, it can activate the flow of Qi, and nourish the whole body with Wei Qi, as rain nourishes young crops.” Proper lung function is necessary to keep us healthy and to help ward off illness and disease.

5 Alternative Treatments and Home Remedies for Psoriasis

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For people with psoriasis, suffering from painful symptoms like inflamed, flaking and red skin is not pleasant. The chronic skin condition is due to an overactive immune system that can be triggered by a number of internal and external factors. Many Western treatments include steroid creams and oral medications that come with a slew of unwanted side effects.

Below are alternative treatments that are safe and natural and can help reduce symptoms of psoriasis, leading you back to better health.

Herbal Remedies

  • Aloe Vera: The gel from this cactus plant can be used generously on your skin to reduce redness and scaling caused by psoriasis. Aloe vera can be found in almost any grocery or health store.
  • Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil is thought to have antiseptic properties. It can sooth irritated skin or scalp and can be applied daily.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Because of this, turmeric has been found to reduce psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis flares. Turmeric can be found in pill form as well as powder form to be added to food.
  • Dead Sea Salts: Soaking in a bath with Dead Sea salts or Epsom salts can remove scaly skin and reduce itching. It is recommended that you use warm water and stay in the tub for 15 minutes.

Mindfulness/Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation practices have been found to be effective in people suffering with chronic pain like psoriasis.

Meditation is the practice of focusing your attention on the moment and ridding yourself of all external thoughts you may be having. This can lead to a state of relaxation and calmness, bringing balance to your body and mind.

Mindfulness, which is practiced in meditation, includes becoming completely aware of your body, externally and internally. This can be a seated meditation that is focused on awareness of mind, body and senses.

Exercise

Not only is exercise important to maintain overall health and wellness, it is especially beneficial for people with psoriasis.

Because people with psoriasis have an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, regular exercise can prove very helpful.

Many find it hard to exercise because of the chronic pain associated with psoriasis. Exercise programs in the water prove to be an effective alternative that is easier on the body and still allows you to build endurance and strength.

Other simple ways to fit more exercise into your day include short walks, taking the stairs and stretching.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been proven to be effective in minimizing chronic pain in patients. Acupuncture takes a holistic approach with the body and symptoms you may be experiencing. By returning the body to its natural flow, acupuncture can help reduce the intensity of symptoms of psoriasis.

Home Remedies:

  • Soak a towel in cold milk and apply to affected area to relieve itching.
  • Add ½ cup ground oatmeal into a warm bath.
  • Rub the affected area with the inner side of a banana peel.
  • Apply aloe vera gel to affected area.
  • Cut several fresh willow branches into 3-inch stems and place in a pot with plenty of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until water becomes black. Wash affected areas with the water three times daily.
  • Slice 15 water chestnuts and soak in 3 oz. of rice vinegar crush and store in a sealed jar. Apply the paste to affected area and cover with gauze. Change daily.

 

Sources:

https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis

 

When You Love Someone With Cancer

When You Love Someone With Cancer

Guest blogger – Jana Nelson

Pedicures, vacuum cleaners and other gestures of love

Taking care of care givers

 

Don’t get me wrong, having cancer sucks.  And while I have not been diagnosed with cancer, I feel a bit like a survivor – because I have intimately loved people with cancer. I’m at four but considering the broken world we live in, I don’t expect I’ve reached my limit.

My grandfather had cancer in his eighties. He was diagnosed, thumbed his nose at most medical advice and lived another decade.  God bless him!

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was in college.  It was scary but a bit far away.  By the time I found out about it, a plan was already in place.  Mom bravely chose to have a mastectomy, opted out of radiation and reconstruction, spent the next five years taking Tamoxifen and committed herself to healthy, intentional living.  She handled it so easily and gracefully that after my initial fears were relieved, I never really associated my mom with cancer.  Fast forward 20+ healthy, happy years, when a series of unusual symptoms found my mom in the emergency room. What we first thought might be blood pressure problems turned into a discovery of advanced cancer in her lungs and brain.  15 months later after giving it all she had, she gracefully exited this world in the arms of her Savior, leaving a permanent hole in my heart.

Six months after my mom’s death, a tumor was found in my dad’s sinuses.  I’ll be honest. I had a few choice words for God at that point. But after a successful surgery and seven weeks of radiation, my dad is cancer-free.

And then last month it was Bonnie.  I hate cancer.

I don’t pretend to know first-hand what cancer is like. What I know is cancer, once removed. I know what it feels like when the people you love the most receive news that rips your heart out.  And I know what it’s like to feel helpless.  I have juggled schedules and driven all over the countryside for countless appointments and procedures, shuffled young children hither and yon, rearranged bedrooms to house my beloved sick parents, ignored my very sympathetic husband and generally put life on hold while I loved someone who had cancer. I wouldn’t dream of trying to tell anyone what to do for a cancer patient. But I can tell you what was done for me – the person helping to care for their loved one with cancer.

You often hear people with cancer admit that it’s difficult to ask for help, awkward to be taken care of and uncomfortable to be the focus of so much attention.  If you are one of the care givers, receiving help feels worse.  With both my parents, but particularly during my mom’s long and difficult journey, I can tell you about the love that was lavished on me…and I wasn’t even the sick one.  I often felt like a fraud.  But with the clarity that comes from hindsight, and with humility and gratitude beyond words, I readily acknowledge that my friends carried me on their shoulders so that I could support my mom.  Their extravagant care, that made me so uncomfortable, is one of the most precious gifts that God has given me in this life.

While every situation is different, my hope is that my story might prompt your creativity in supporting those that you love.  Because I was loved so well, I now know how to love others who are walking in my shoes. I am prepared to share from the abundances of riches I received.

Here are a few things I learned:

SICKNESS IS EXPENSIVE – Half of my mom’s care was with me in Dallas and half near her home, a four-hour drive for me.  I’m a stay-at-home mom and my sweet husband carries the financial burden for our family.   A friend gave me a $500 Visa card to cover gas and travel expenses. And often hugs and handshakes included cash.

MOMMY GUILT IS ON OVERDRIVE – I have two young children. At the time of Mom’s diagnosis they were in Kindergarten and 1st grade. I worried constantly about all the shuffling, travelling and just plain lack of energy I had to give them.  Countless friends babysat, did car pool pick up for me and just generally filled in the gap for us. Family friends even included my two children on their annual trip to the State Fair of Texas, a brilliant memory for them that they still talk about.

SERIOUSLY, I HAVE TO COOK?! I am not a natural whiz in the kitchen. I blame my mother.  However when I was being pulled in every direction, I could not even fathom meal planning.  Yet, our family was fed for months. Despite my protests about not being the sick person, a calendar was created and meals arrived regularly. Restaurant gift cards were handed to us. Dinner invitation came regularly. It is embarrassing how well we ate during that season of our lives. 

THERE’S A STRANGER IN MY BED – Needless to say, my husband took on the lion’s share of managing our little household. I was meeting myself coming and going, away as much as I was home. But because he loved me and my mother, he held it all together and never complained about being ignored.  An anonymous gift of movie tickets and a restaurant gift card came at just the right time for a much-needed date night.

ARE MY ROOTS SHOWING? With everything going on, I had no time for myself and I even felt guilty thinking about superficial things while my mom was so sick. A friend whisked me off for a pedicure and then paid for it. We just sat and talked and it was heaven. I needed someone to remind me it was okay to indulge in a little luxury – living is what life is all about, after all.

LIVING IN A PIG STY – When you are going non-stop, cleaning your house is the last thing on anyone’s mind. More than once, friends showed up and just cleaned. And when my vacuum cleaner wouldn’t work, they went out and bought me a new one. I swallowed my pride, accepted their unbelievable gift of unconditional friendship and love.

If you love people, my best advice is to try and meet their physical needs. Don’t ask or they’ll tell you they’re fine. Obviously everyone has different boundaries so think about who your friends are and how you can best show them love.

My other tip is to remind care givers that they aren’t forgotten. I received cards, emails and texts that carried me though my exhaustion some days.   When mom was sick, it didn’t seem fair that life went on as usual for everyone else.  Just knowing that Mom and I weren’t forgotten was golden to me.

My prayer and expectation with cancer is always restoration and remission.  I’m so grateful that I’ve had that with my Dad and I fully anticipate a cancer-free life for Bonnie after this season has been completed. But sometimes the answer isn’t what we hope. In my case, God’s plan was for my mom to be healed…just not here on this earth.  And when my heart was broken wide open and I was weary to the bone, my sweet friend Bonnie packed up her bag of healing, got in her car, drove five hours to be with my family to celebrate the amazing life of my mother.  She stayed in our home and she offered my family her very best –her gifts that met our physical and emotional needs with massage, acupuncture, chocolate and tissues. I’ve always loved her but those few days, I loved her just a little bit more.

My story is but one. My list doesn’t even scratch the surface. Each gift came just when God knew I needed it.  Each one was a blessing, a treasure. None surpassed another. They were all jewels, not just for me but for my husband and kids, and my mom – the one I had the privilege of helping.  Behind each gift was a friend, someone who actually spent time, initiative or money to do something for me.  For their tangible outpouring of love, I will before grateful.

So look around. See who needs you. Get on out there and love someone.

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