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This year’s flu season has hit early and hard. Turn on the TV or radio, and it’s likely you’ll be scared from going outside. Hiding can be an option if you work from home, but for the rest of us, the best we can do is to be ahead of the game by putting a little energy and focus into strengthening our immune system.
We’ve put together a list of ten easy things you can do (which might bring back old memories of your mother – and sometimes moms do know best).
In the unfortunate event that you do fall ill to the flu, keep in mind that a visit to the doctors at Aloe Wellness will help you feel better sooner.
- Dr. Nguyen and Dr. Mehta
Summer time is easy…or is it? Yes, many of us are on vacation, and visions of long days sipping lemonade on the porch while the kids chase fireflies in the yard sound nice. However, summer can be a time of health challenges as well.
Travel stress, dehydration, sunburn, insect bites, allergies, and insomnia all increase during the hot weather months. As the temperature and humidity climb, our desire to exercise often plummets and spending time outside in the heat can be draining. Who really wants to go for a run when the air feels like a wet sponge and it’s hard to breathe?
When you add high humidity to high air temperatures, heat indices climb, making it feel much hotter than it really is, since perspiration doesn’t evaporate as readily in humid, hot air. Hydration is key. That means drinking water, and plenty of it. A good rule of thumb is to divide the body weight in half and that is how many ounces the typical person should drink daily (obviously, if it is hot outside and you are sweating a lot, you will need more). So if a 150 pound woman wants to calculate her water intake needs, she would require 75 ounces of water per day at a minimum (that’s about 9 cups, or a little more than half a gallon of water per day). Keep in mind more water is needed if you are more active, or spend more time outdoors where you sweat more. Excess sugar intake and coffee consumption also further contribute to dehydration.
Adding lemon, cucumber, mint, or other cooling flavors to water makes it more enjoyable to drink. We typically recommend drinking cool water, not iced (unless it is so hot outside that ice is too good to pass up).
If you hydrate well, the rest of the summer doldrums are more manageable. Sunburn is a particular worry during the summer, and nothing can ruin a vacation faster than a nasty burn from too much UV exposure. Sunburn is a sign of inflammation. Eating foods that have natural anti-inflammatories will help prevent sunburn. These foods contain carotenoids such as lycopene (tomatoes, watermelons) and beta-carotene (carrots) and consuming them during high sun-exposure months is effective and protecting the skin from UV damage. Obviously, staying out of the sun or using a good SPF is crucial, but fruits and veggies are a natural and internal aid to protect us from sun damage.
Summer should be a fun season, with plenty of leisure time for most people. Making sure you drink plenty of water and protecting yourself from sun damage are important strategies to enjoying the summer and staying well.
–John Moore, LAc
The word “acupuncture” deserves some new PR. The word itself is not exactly pleasant (it is a combination of two words, “acus” – the Latin word for “needle” along with the word “puncture”, which is, well, puncturing something). The funny thing about acupuncture is that most people who receive it find it to be incredibly relaxing and restorative, and is increasingly used by people to help them manage stress in a drug free way.
If you have heard of acupuncture but fall into the “I hate needles” camp, get in line. Fear of needles is a common issue with people who are new to this ancient medicine. And who really likes needles, anyway? Most of us have childhood memories of getting our shots and having blood drawn in doctors offices, and all needles are therefore bad in our minds as a result. Many people decide to not try it because of the fear factor, when in reality acupuncture is incredibly safe, minimally invasive, and very
What is important to keep in mind about Acupuncture is that A) it has been around a very long time,
at least 3000 years, and has stood the test of time, B) the needles are incredibly thin, very flexible, and
quite sharp, about the width of a human hair or slightly bigger so that insertion is typically very painless,
and C) the insertion of needles in specific points can calm and rejuvenate the body and mind, which
leads to the relief in the body of stress-related issues such as inflammation, hypertension, and adrenal
“But how can poking me with needles relax and rejuvenate me?” you may be asking. Here is the great
mystery of Acupuncture, and theories abound as to how and why it works. One theory, and the one I
ascribe to, is that acupuncture facilitates the smooth, unimpeded flow of circulation in the mind and
body. Blood, lymph, oxygen, and of course, QI (“chee”) that mystical substance spoken of in the Daoist
classics, circulate freely during and after a treatment. (More about Qi later).
The smooth and harmonious flow of circulation is a precept that informs the Chinese view of health and wellness in the human being. If you don’t have smooth, harmonious flow of circulation in any system, you have a breakdown. A traffic jam where nobody can drive or move their cars is an example of impeded flow of circulation. A clogged kitchen sink full of gunk and grime will not drain, and stagnates the entire flow of the kitchen…you can’t prep a meal without a sink! A kinked garden hose is another example. You can’t water your garden if the water is blocked by the kink. What acupuncture does is “unkink” the hose and get things moving freely and harmoniously, allowing things to pass from their origin and on to their final destination, where the cycle begins anew.
“But what about the needles?” you might ask. How does a needle unkink the hose? My theory is that
the needle asks as a conduit, or a switch if you will, that facilitates the flow. Just like the smooth flow of
water can rinse away dirt and dust if allowed to flow freely, so also does Qi when allowed to flow. Every
human being has 12 acupuncture channels that traverse the body from head to toe. The energetic flow
of these channels is what we access with acupuncture, and the insertion of the needle is the tool we
use. We insert the needle in special points that lie along the channels. Each acupuncture point has a
Chinese name and description from the medical classics. These are still in use today, and these points are needled depending on the patient’s main complaint and presentation.
How do I know it’s a relaxing and rejuvenating experience? Because I have seen it time and time again
with my patients. I have also received many acupuncture treatments myself and know from my own
experience how calming and rejuvenating it can be. A patient receiving acupuncture typically “zones
out” and relaxes within a few minutes. During a typical treatment, the passage of time flies by—half
an hour can often seem like 10 minutes. The internal organs move around as energy and blood course
through them. The body may feel like it is “floating” or “drifting” in a dreamlike, pleasant way. Often
patients will nap while on the table. And when the treatment is over, the sensation is not unlike that of
waking up from a refreshing nap. There is flushed, vital color in the cheeks, the body feels pleasantly
relaxed and sedated, yet the mind is calm and sharp at the same time.
So if you are afraid of needles, don’t worry, most people don’t like them. But acupuncture is different.
It is typically painless, and creates that feeling of restfulness and tranquility that we all too often lack in
our busy lives.
– John Moore, LAc
Aloe Wellness is very excited to offer complimentary Reiki healing sessions from our lovely new Reiki Practitioner, Veena Datta.
Reiki healing can have many beneficial effects including relaxation, pain reduction, and a greater sense of energy and well-being.
Treatments are available in 30 min or 60 min sessions. To schedule, please call 202.966.ALOE (2563). Offer ends May 31, 2012. We look forward to seeing you!
March welcomes the much-anticipated arrival of spring. Transformation from winter hibernation reveals flowers blooming, birds chirping, and longer, warmer days. We shift with spring’s awakening by shedding the winter blues from our home and bodies to create space for new ideas and intentions.
Maintaining health in body, mind, and spirit is especially important during these seasonal transitions to prevent illness–which is the reason why a spring detoxification is so popular.
So what are we detoxing exactly? We live in an ever increasingly toxic world where the air we breathe and the food and water we consume are the most common sources of toxins.
Airborne allergens can include pollen, molds, dust mites, and countless chemicals released from car exhaust or industrial byproducts and pesticides. Drinking tap water in DC leaves much to be desired while drinking bottled water doesn’t fare any better with the exposure of hormone disruptive plasticizers. The standard American diet contains food laden with preservatives, hormones and antibiotics, artificial flavorings, pesticides and colorants that are known to be harmful to the body. To top it all off, exposure to chemicals in our environment from common household items like soap, laundry detergent, lotion and shampoo further raises our toxic load.
These toxic exposures bog our bodies down and make us more susceptible and vulnerable to variety of illnesses including headaches, fatigue, allergies, hormone imbalances, and inflammation.
It becomes quite clear the need for giving the body a break by undergoing a detoxification protocol. There are plenty of detoxification products sold in stores these days, usually with the same key ingredients: fiber to bind the toxins, laxative to encourage the release, and herbal and mineral supplement to support the body’s biggest detox organ – the liver. Other detoxification plans include juicing, fasting, or making a popular concoction called The Master Cleanse. Knowing which products to use or detox system to follow largely depends on the detox goal and how much you’re willing to give up.
In practice, our naturopathic doctors at Aloe Wellness prefer putting patients on a gentle detoxification diet with an emphasis on whole foods: whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Springtime makes this easier with the arrival of colorful and lively fruits and vegetables. Specific foods that enhance detoxification include: garlic and onions, beets, burdock, dandelion, artichoke, and dark leafy green vegetables. More often than not, patients end up introducing more foods in the diet versus taking foods out. The experience allows the patients to become acutely aware of their energy levels as a result of consuming different nutrient dense food.
Along with being mindful of what goes in, you must be sure that those toxins are moving out. For that process, we may support patients through colon hydrotherapy treatments. Colon hydrotherapy facilitates the removal of toxic build up in the colon from everyday poor or fast and convenient food choices. It also helps to strengthen the muscles in the wall of the colon to increase peristaltic tone, which allows for stronger and more complete bowel movements.
Patients usually feel lighter, less bloated, and more energized after a colonic treatment. For more information on colon hydrotherapy, read here.
So why not jump into spring and take advantage of a detoxification protocol that is right for you and can leave you feeling more vibrant and renewed. And always remember to have fun with it!
Join us on March 10, 2012 for our grand opening! Come mix and mingle with practitioners and learn about the services available.