Ways to Keep Your Memory Sharp

memory loss, forgetting thingsWays to Keep Your Memory Sharp

 If you find you are becoming forgetful it can often mean that your mind is elsewhere, most likely stressing about things that just might not happen

Your memory is important at any age. You can start minding your mind by incorporating these healthy habits into your life. It is never too early to cultivate a strong memory that will stay with you for years to come.

1. Don’t forget about physical exercise

Believe it or not, when you’re exercising your body, you’re exercising your mind as well. Aerobic exercise gets your blood pumping, which increases the oxygen going to your brain and lowers your risk of disorders such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease that can lead to memory loss. If you can, start with some exercise in the morning. This can clear your head right off the bat to stay focused and alert during the day. Exercises that require coordination are especially helpful for keeping the mind active such as simply throwing a ball back and forth.

2. Make sure you’re sleeping

Sleep is one of the best ways to make sure your brain and memory are in tip-top shape on a daily basis. To get the most out of your sleep, aim for 7.5-9 hours every night. Make sure to shut off the electronics at least an hour before bed to help the mind shut off as well. Try to limit your caffeine and alcohol intake earlier in the day. Both can result in a shallow sleep. For more help on sleeping go Here

3. Keep your brain stimulated

Research has shown that keeping mental stimulation as we age is very important for lowering the risk of dementia. Stay social, interact with others, learn new skills, play mind-exercise games like crossword puzzles or Sudoku. Interacting with others and continuing to learn is vital for keeping the brain healthy at any age.

4. Be aware of your stress

Chronic stress can not only make someone miserable, but also cause serious long term effects. Stress over time has been shown to destroy brain cells and damage the area of the brain that creates new memories and recalls past ones. To avoid memory loss, minimize your stress. Don’t take on too many tasks if they overwhelm you, sometimes it is ok to say no. Make sure you have outlets to relieve stress whether it is physical exercise or talking with someone about your frustrations.

5. Don’t forget about your superfoods

Certain superfoods have shown to be significant in preventing memory loss. Make sure to get your fruit and vegetable servings in, many are filled with antioxidants that help protect your brain cells. Eat more foods with omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna and foods cooked with olive oil. Green tea is another option that has powerful antioxidants to protect from brain damage.

Your memory is important at any age. Its never too soon to start incorporating healthy habits and keep a strong memory for years to come.

Sources
http://bit.ly/1SzWG6s     http://bit.ly/20BNwg4

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Acupuncture for Addictions

Auricular Acupuncture for Drug Addiction

The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association, NADA, was established in 1985 to promote the NADA protocol acupuncture treatment for addiction. The non-profit organization promotes advocacy and the use of a non-verbal, pharmaceutical free approach to behavioral health.

The protocol uses five specific acupuncture points on the ear to treat addiction and to be an alternative to methadone.

The NADA protocol is slightly different from full body acupuncture treatments. The treatment usually involves Auricular acupuncture which is needling in both of the patient’s ears for about 30 minutes.

The treatment is also carried out in a group setting allowing for support for those being treated as they recover from addiction.

Clients are treated in a quiet, peaceful room. Each Client gets the exact same treatment. Group treatment is emphasized to address feelings of denial and create an open, safe environment.

Those in recovery from addiction commonly report feeling an improved sense of purpose and well being after treatment.

Acupuncture is known for its relaxing benefits, which is especially helpful for those in recovery. Clients are able to destress in their treatment process which helps them continue to make progress.

Acupunture for Alcohol Addiction

Most common benefits of the NADA protocol include:

  • Improved retention of rehabilitation programs
  • Better mood and outlook
  • Less anxiety
  • Less cravings
  • Better sleep
  • Reduced need for prescription medication

There are many factors that come to play in addiction treatment.

 

The NADA protocol is about more than just acupuncture, but really about being a step in a sometimes long road to recovery.

Along with counselling, support groups and/or 12-step programs, the NADA protocol can help make recovery easier and more successful.

My own experience using NADA protocol was with St Domincs Community Response Project and Tallaght Probation Project where we  provided NADA protocol for drug abuse and stress reduction for family members effected by addiction.

If you would like to explore this treatment for yourself or for a group you manage we can have a chat if you book an Exploration Call here

I have included some links so that you can continue with some more research NADA

http://www.acudetox.com/

http://www.acudetox.com/

http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/abc/nadaprotocol.php

 

 

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Headaches – How Acupuncture Helps

headacheIf you suffer from headaches, you are not alone. Over 50 million of us experience some form of a severe headache at some point in our lives. Whether you experience minor head pain or severe migraines, headaches can take valuable time out of your day and your life, and leave you searching for relief.

Many seek relief by reaching for drugs and other medications. This may work temporarily and can help you get out of pain fast. Unfortunately, common headache medications do not address the root cause(s), and when used over long periods of time can cause unwanted side effects.

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offer a safe and effective approach to relieving headache pain without causing harmful side effects. These healing modalities provide a comprehensive diagnostic protocol that can help your acupuncturist understand and address the root cause(s) of your headaches.

Causes of Headaches: There are many factors in TCM theory that may play a key role in the root cause(s) of a headache. These include body constitution, emotional health, excessive work, social activities and exercise, improper diet, physical trauma and hormones. Headaches can also be diagnosed according to specific symptoms, times of occurrence, location, type of pain, and triggers.

A natural path to relief: Acupuncture and TCM take a holistic, or whole-body approach to health. Your practitioner will take a detailed health history, and perform a physical exam to determine how and why your body’s vital energy, or Qi (pronounced chee), is out of balance and identify what type of headache you are experiencing. To determine the most effective care, he/she will focus on illuminating the root cause(s) of the problem.

It is important to remember that acupuncture is not a quick fix. Changes may occur quickly or over a longer period of time, depending upon your overall constitution and health. Whether it is one visit to address an acute problem, or several visits to address a chronic problem, it is suggested to closely follow care recommendations of your acupuncturist to maximize your healing potential.

Below are a few ways that you can make simple lifestyle changes that may help alleviate or even prevent headaches:

Track your triggers – Try to keep track of when your headaches start. Migraine sufferers may find it especially helpful to keep a diary of symptoms. Certain types of foods and hormonal changes can be possible causes.
Stress relief – Stress can contribute to many types of health concerns, including headaches. Talk to your practitioner about healthy ways to handle stress.
Exercise – Physical activity is an important part of any healthy lifestyle and is a great antidote for stress.
Healthy habits – Do your best to eat healthy, organic foods, stay hydrated and get enough sleep every night.

Skin Brushing to Detox – read about it here.

Download your Self Help Sheet for Headache Pain HERE

Acupuncture care – is extremely effective in reducing the frequency and severity of many types of painful conditions, including headaches and migraines, naturally. By working with your acupuncturist and adopting some simple lifestyle changes, you will be on your way toward a healthier, happier, pain-free life.

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Smiling Inside – Healing Meditation

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I love this meditation because it brings “it all back home” It collects your energy into your centre and gives you an opportunity to tune into you. It is the perfect meditation to do when you here yoursself saying things like  

“I’m all over the Place”,

“scatterred”

“too many demands”

“too much to do”

“too much going on”

Based upon Taoist meditation practices, the Inner Smile Meditation can have profound effects on your body and mind. This simple meditation suggests that you “smile” to all of your internal organs and glands.

It is a way of saying “thank you” to your body for working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

Focusing your attention and smiling in this way can calm your autonomic nervous system, revitalize your internal organs, and increase your flow of blood and Qi.

Below is the simplest of versions of the Inner Smile Meditation for your main Meridian Organ Systems. It can be used to boost your fertility if you focus on loving kindness to your womb.

I’m including a link here to a utube video for those of you who like more information, You can skip to 27 minutes in if you want a summary. but don’t cokmplicate it there is enough on this page to get you started  so I’ve put the link to the end of the page.

more information, please refer to Mantak Chia’s book, Taoist Ways to Transform Stress into Vitality.

Choose a quiet spot and keep warm throughout the meditation. Sit comfortably at the edge of a chair, feet flat on the ground with your back straight. Breathe deeply and relax. Clasp your hands together, left hand on bottom and right hand on top, palms touching, and rest them in your lap.

Close your eyes and feel a connection between the soles of your feet and the ground.
Focus on the midpoint between your eyebrows. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, just behind your front teeth. Put a smile on your face and journey down to the wonderfully amazing body that keeps you alive, alert and active.

Heart -See your heart as a vibrant red color. Focus the energy of “joy” into your heart. Feel it pulse with love. Breathe in and exhale with the sound of HAW.

Lungs – Radiate the feeling in your heart to your lungs. Picture your lungs as pure white. Focus on letting go of sadness and grief. Exhale with the sound of SSSSSS.

Liver – Keep the feeling spilling over into your liver, which is just under your ribs on the right side. Picture it as a vibrant grass-green. When exhaling, let go of anger and frustration with the sound of SHHHH.

Spleen – Continue to the left, under the ribs. Shine a vibrant yellow color into this organ. When you exhale, let go of overthinking and worry, and use the sound of WHOO.

Kidney – Focus your attention on your lower back, just below and under your ribs. Imagine a deep blue-purple light. Breathe in courage and exhale fear. When you exhale, use the sound of WOOO.

Once you have traveled through your body, begin to focus your attention on your navel. Smile down to your navel, and focus your attention there.

Mentally move the energy in a spiral at the navel 36 times. Women start the spiral counterclockwise, men start it clockwise. Next, reverse the spiral direction and bring the energy back into the navel, circling 24 times. You can use a finger to guide the spiral motion.

anatomy-254120_1280It is ok if you don’t know the exact locations of your organs. Just bringing awareness to your organs is benefit enough. Your body will love you just the same.

Perform each exercise 9 times, twice a day. These exercises can affect your body and mind, so it is advisable to consult with your healthcare provider.

Here is your link to more information,

Mantak Chia’s book, Taoist Ways to Transform Stress into Vitality.

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Insomnia self help

Acupressure points for insomnia

insomnia,sleeeplessness,accupressure,stressHere are some tips that you can use to help balance and support your health during this time. Please feel free
to call me if you have further questions or concerns.

Acupressure Points for Insomnia
Rubbing acupuncture points with your finger for 30 – 60 seconds can stimulate and promote the circulation of Qi within your own body, restoring health and well-being.

Pericardium 7 (P 7): In the middle of the wrist crease, between both tendons.

Functions: Clears the Heart and calms the spirit, expands the chest, dispels fullness from the chest, reduces fire from heart and harmonizes the Stomach. Main point to treat insomnia.

Heart 7 (HT 7): With palm facing up, on the inside of the wrist, on the little finger side of the crease where the hand meets the wrist.
Functions: Calms the Shen (mind), pacifies the heart, clears the channels, sleep disturbance, sedates and regulates the internal organs.

Pericardium 6 (P 6): On the inside of the forearm, in between the tendons, approximately 2.5 finger widths below the wrist crease. Functions: Opens the chest, regulates Heart Qi, calms the Shen (Spirit), harmonizes the Stomach, relieves nausea and vomiting, insomnia, opens and relaxes chest tightness.

Here are a few more tips to help you get a better nights rest.
If you have any questions, please contact me

Yogurt – Yogurt contains tryptophan, an amino acid, that is essential to help your body produce neurochemicals to help you sleep.

Paid image epsom saltsSoak Your Feet or have a bath  – Soaking your feet in hot water with a little Epsom salt, or having a bath with a handful of epsom salts helps activate the “relaxation” response and prepares your body for a good nights rest. Do this about 15-minutes prior to going to sleep. (Large bags of Epsom Salts are avalable in the LIttlejohn Centre)

Melatonin – Melatonin is a natural hormone produced in our brain’s pineal gland that helps to regulate sleep and wake cycles. When melatonin levels are low, less of the hormone is released into the bloodstream, and restlessness or wakefulness results. Whether you can’t calm your mind or just toss and turn, a sleepless night can leave you frustrated. Melatonin supplements, may be able to help.

Drink Tea – Drinking a relaxing mixture of herbal tea can help lull you into a deeper sleep. A mixture of Valerian root, Chamomile, Hops, and Passion flower have all shown to be helpful in regulating sleep.

Spritz – Spritz a small amount of Lavender spray on your pillow at night for relaxed and sweet dreams.

Turn off mind chatter  – if you find your mind active and full of mindless thoughts , simply observe withought engaging with them, say not now and return to the following breathing meditation. 

Bedtime Breathing Meditation – Learning to relax at bedtime can be difficult for many people. Here is a simple breathing exercise that can help you relax both your body and mind.

1) Exhale completely through your mouth.
2) Inhale through your nose to a count of four.
3) Hold your breath for four more counts (or whatever feels
comfortable).
4) Exhale through your nose for a count of eight.
Repeat until you fall asleep.

 

Insomnia, sleeplessness, tiredTurn off technology

Avoid the stimulating effects of late-night exercise, computers, cell phones and television at least 1 hour before you are ready to go to sleep. Avoid eating a big meal about 2-3 hours before retiring to bed.

 

 

Schedule your acupuncture treatment for the evening and plan to go striaght home and into bed straight away. Your acpuncture treatment will calm your body and remind your body on how it feels to be relaxed.

I have evening treatments sessions available call me and we can arrange for you to have a good nights sleep.

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Spring Time Detox

Garden with some tulips and narcissus

Springtime  –  Time to Spring Clean,

Our mothers and grandmothers had the sagacity to invent Spring Cleaning (I could have said wisdom but then I wouldn’t have learned a new word)  They opened up thier houses, windows and doors, washed everything, pulled out sofas and beds, all in an effort to clear the stagnant energy that has built up over the winter and invite the new energies of birth and regrowth in.

Opening windows and doors cleaning windows all allow light and clean air to penetrate the deep dark corners of the house, pulling out sofas and washing curtains were all about the hustle and bustle of the New Year and beginning of growth. It was the time for de cluttering, sorting through clothes and bedlinen, sorting out what was still good, needing repairing or throwing out or passing on.

Detox your life and body

Winters can be difficult for some and by the time we get to the end of January we begin waiting for Spring to Spring. Give your Spring a quick start by getting on with some de-cluttering and de toxifying our mind body and spirit. Pick a drawer a press any drawer or press and go through it ruthlessly throw out anything you haven’t used or better still save yourself the time and simply tip it into the bin and use your time to go for a walk.

 


 

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Healthy Holiday Eating Strategies to Stay Fit–and Still Have Fun

Cakes. Biscuits. Chocolate. Wine. Champagne.

Dublin AcupunctureThe holiday season is filled with good foods. You eat and drink with your friends and family to celebrate how much you care about them. But we all know that too much of a good thing is no longer good. Too many rich foods can lead to extra pounds, digestion upsets, mood swings and a generally “yucky” feeling.

It’s all about balance.

Good, healthy holiday eating can make the difference between an enjoyable holiday season and a miserable one. The trick is to enjoy treats without overdoing them. Make a healthy holiday eating strategy and plan to enjoy the holiday celebrations without feeling bad the next day.

Here are a few strategies to help you eat healthy over the Christmas Holidays

Strategy #1 Moderate

Decide on a moderate way to approach the treats that tempt you most.  Avoid big brash decisions like “I won’t have any holiday treats at all this year.” It’s easy to break unreasonable rules. Instead, make a moderate healthy holiday eating plan.

For example, if chocolate is your nemesis,  don’t mindlessly eat by keeping the box of chocolate beside you and at hand.  Allow yourself one or two and leave the box in another room.  Take your time to taste the chocolate so that you are aware that you are eating and how it tastes. This way you won’t feel deprived and you won’t overdo. Pick your battles to get maximum enjoyment with minimal deprivation.

Strategy #2 Substitute

fruit and nutsFind healthy alternatives for rich, high calorie food. Substitute nuts and fruits (both fresh and dried) for biscuits and sweets. Drink juice instead of fizzy drinks, and herbal tea instead of juice. During a meal, eat mostly vegetables instead of potatoes and stuffing.

 

 

Strategy #3 Avoid Hunger

The hungrier you are, the more likely you will binge on bad foods. Remember to eat breakfast. Eat a healthy meal before you go to a party. Start every big meal with hot soup. Fill up with healthy food so you don’t race to the bad stuff.

Strategy #4 Maintain Healthy Routines

Weight control over christmasDon’t stop your healthy habits just because it’s Christmas. Continue to drink lots of water and get enough sleep. Make time to exercise. Spend meaningful time with your family and friends. Take time to meditate or reflect. Get outside for a walk during the daytime hours. Maintain the healthy habits that you already have. When you feel good, you’ll be less inclined to eat foods that make you feel bad.

Strategy #5 Journal

Keep track of what you eat and how you’re feeling. Write about your stresses and emotional upsets and about the good times. Make a list of the great things that have happened in the previous year. Keeping a journal will give you a non-eating outlet for stress, and remind yourself how good it feels to be healthy, happy and creative.

Strategy #6 Trick Yourself

Trick yourself into thinking you’re eating a lot.

Use small plates to make modest dessert portions seem larger. Pour drinks into tall, skinny glasses to drink less. Fill your dinner plate with salad before adding the entrees. Full plates make small portions seem big.

Strategy #7 Partner Up

Get a healthy holiday eating buddy. Partners make it easier to keep your healthy commitments in the face of indulgences. They provide accountability and support.

Strategy #8 Commit

Look through this list of strategies and pick the ones that are the most helpful and the least difficult for you Write down your own list of healthy holiday eating guidelines and pin them up where you will see them several times a day. Commit to following them. Don’t allow yourself excuses to break your rules.

Strategy #9 Tune Up

Now is a great time for an acupuncture tune-up. Acupuncture helps balance your body so it’s easier to make healthy choices.

Call me today on 086 8381017 to schedule your appointment. I’ll help you create a healthy holiday eating plan that doesn’t take the fun out of your Christmas holidays.

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How to End Seasonal Affective Disorder and Start Loving Winter

Many people feel down as winter approaches. This is natural. It’s dark. It’s cold. The Christmas holidays can be stressful.

sadBut for some people every winter is unbearable. You are tired and depressed. You don’t want to get out of bed. You snap at anyone around you and you just want to binge on junk food.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) might effect you more than it effects other. Your moods and energy levels fluctuate with the seasons. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) understands these cycles but the pace of modern life does not. These days, you are expected to be active, productive and creative at all times of the year. There is no accommodation for a slow, quiet winter.

According to TCM, this conflict causes stress, which can result in SAD otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is a type of depression that you can experience at the same time every year. Most often, symptoms start in September or October and you begin to feel some relief in April or May.

The symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Extreme fatigue, lethargy and sleepiness
  • Increased appetite
  • Carbohydrate cravings
  • Lack of concentration
  • Decreased libido

No one knows exactly what causes SAD but most of the theories involve light. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects mood, is triggered by light. Some people believe that decreased serotonin is the culprit. Others blame melatonin, a hormone that affects sleep and mood, because it is affected by darkness. In either case, light plays a role.

Western medicine treats SAD with medications, psychotherapy and light therapy.

There are 2 types of light therapy. For bright light treatment, you sit in front of a light box for 30-45 minutes every day. For dawn simulation treatment, a dim light comes on while you sleep and gradually gets lighter.

Many people find light therapy very effective, and a recent Canadian study confirms this. Scientists found that light therapy was just as effective as Prozac for alleviating SAD, with fewer side effects and faster results.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatments for SAD

TCM takes a holistic view of the body and seasonal cycles, and understands the energy behind them. All life is made of qi, or life force. One of the principles of qi is that everything is made of yin and yang. Yin is the feminine side, nourishing, cold and dark. Yang is the masculine side, active, warm and light.

Autumn marks the beginning of the yin cycle of the year. Daylight decreases, temperatures drop and nature takes a rest. Just as animals slow down and hibernate, our bodies slow down. It is a time for reflection and quiet activity.

If your constitution is particularly yin, meaning you are a quiet personality and like to spend time alone or being creative. The yin cycle of winter may hit you harder than others. Contemplation and rest may leave you feeling isolated and depressed. Your winter cycle becomes seasonal affective disorder.

Christmas holidays in the middle of  Winter put an additional stress on your system. At a time when your body wants to slow down, holiday activities speed up. Parties, shopping, travel and holiday celebrations create tension between what your body needs and what you’re doing. This stress depletes your body even more, contributing to exhaustion and cravings for carbohydrates to replenish your depleted energy.

How to stay balanced in the winter and ward off  Seasonal Affecive Disorder

  • Conserve your energy. Practice quiet, yin activities like restorative yoga, Tai Chi, qigong, walking or journaling.
  • Eat warm, slow-cooked stews and soups. Add yang spices like garlic, ginger, black pepper, cloves and basil to your foods.
  • Limit cold drinks and raw vegetables. Rebuild your energy to prepare for spring.

Most importantly, make an appointment with me for a seasonal acupuncture treatment. By balancing your qi, your seasonal affective disorder symptoms can be relieved.

Winter doesn’t have to be a time of sadness, exhaustion and binge eating. Give me a call on 086 838 1017 to discuss your treatment options today.

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How stressed are you?

HOW STRESSED ARE YOU?

There are many ways to reduce stress, but just how stressed are you, Take this short survey to see just where you are right now.  Tick each one that applies to you.

Focus and Concentration

Psychological Symptoms of stress

  • A sinking feeling that won’t go away
  • Short temper and irritability
  • Waking up worrying
  • Thinking or talking about your problem all the time
  • Lack of sexual desire
  • Feelings of loneliness and isolation
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Inability to relax
  • Feelings of low-grade misery
  • Constant sense of frustration

Physical symptoms of stress

  • Drinking or smoking more than usual
  • Pains in the neck area
  • Tension headaches, aches and pains
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach upsets
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Indigestion
  • Constant exhaustion
  • Sleeping a lot more or less than usual
  • Palpitations

Now count how many you ticked off

0-6          You are coping well at present, but make sure you know how to cope with stress at those times when problems arise

7-12       Stress is starting to get to you and you need to know how to relax. Make time for yourself to discover, what you need to do to feel better

13+         Your stress levels are far too high and your lifestyle needs to change. Remember that stress can seriously damage your health. You should consider booking in for a couple of Stress Relief Acupuncture sessions or contact me for a free 15 minute phone consultation on 086 838 1017 to find out what can be done.

Download my EBook

7 Simple Ways Women can Recover from Feeling Burnt Out and Restore Balance.

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Relationship between Cancer and Stress

Dr-Vincent-Carroll

Here is an article by Dr Vincent Carroll on the introduction of acupuncture and complementary therapies in A.R.C. cancer   support charity  Acupuncture has been made available in both houses in recent months with a view to assisting in the management of stress in the belief that this will lead to better outcomes for clients with cancer.

It is worth pointing out Continue reading “Relationship between Cancer and Stress”

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