How to Deal With Holiday Stress

Acupuncture and holiday stress, Upper west side, manhattan, NYC

Let's face it, every year we all go through the same thing. We either dread the holidays or we rejoice in the season. For some, the holiday is one of the best times of the year, but many people experience a level of stress that is like no other. For those individuals, here's a few things you can do to have an enjoyable holiday season.

First thing you should do is embrace that this time of the year makes you stressed and understand that it is okay to have those emotions. Once you're in tune with how you feel, you will be able to combat the situation with a clear mind. 

Secondly, learn to say no to people. You have to love yourself first before you can love other people and you have to prioritize yourself first before you can do so with others. If you have small children, that is different...

Third, turn off your television, play music you enjoy and dance! Dance in your kitchen while cooking, dance in your living room while cleaning, dance in your bedroom while dressing. Or just dance while doing nothing else!

Fourth, buy yourself a gift. The season is about giving to others, but sometimes you just want to buy something for yourself. Buy new perfume, or soft and warm socks, or satin pajamas. Buy yourself something that makes you feel good.

Fifth, hug someone. No, really hug them! I love when people give real hugs, it's different and it lets the person know that you are really aware of their presence. 

Last but not least. Get Acupuncture! It'll give you a sense of peace while enduring all of your stress. 

Happy Holidays!

Acupuncture for Shoulder Pain

Acupuncture for shoulder pain, Acupuncture Upper West Side, Manhattan, NYC

Does this sound familiar?

You have an all day seminar today and you're excited to be out of the office you attend 5 days per week. You've heard the presenter is very well known, so the information should be interesting. 

You get to the seminar, find comfortable seating and become engaged in the content the speaker is presenting. About an hour into the presentation, a deep heavy achy pain on the left side of your shoulder develops. You cannot shift your body too much because you will turn away from the speaker. You place your opposite hand on your shoulder and give it a tight squeeze to alleviate the pain. It feels good while your hand is in place, but does not last long. Now you have to endure this pain for the remainder of the presentation. 

What does this pain mean?

The pain on top of your shoulder presenting with a deep heavy sensation is very popular with most people and is directly related to acupuncture point Gallbladder 21. 

Each acupuncture point along the body belongs to a specific organ. In this case Gallbladder 21 is a point along the Gallbladder channel. The channel starts at the eye, goes to the head, the shoulder, the side of the body and down to the feet. 

How can Acupuncture help?

Most people has this type of pain, no matter their occupation. When I am palpating tender points along the body, the point on top of the shoulder is almost always one of them.

Here is how I treat this pain. Before beginning acupuncture, I loosen the muscle with a little tuina massage. I grasp and pull and rock until the muscle becomes nice and loose. This also helps with acupuncture insertion, tight muscles can sometimes be resistant. After tuina, acupuncture happens. Gallbladder 21 is the first point I'll use, but it is often coupled with other points along the channel.

When acupuncture is inserted, I'll usually add electrical stimulation to get a stronger effect with relaxing the muscle. When the acupuncture session is complete, cupping is added. This is a bonus and will have the shoulder feeling loose and fluid. An organic oil is applied to the area and warm cups are glided across the skin. This effect increases further relaxing.

What you can do yourself.

If you are into essential oils, there's a good blend to use (you can mix yourself). It contains peppermint, wintergreen, clover bud, and helichrysum. I purchase this already mixed. The oil should be massaged into the skin, make sure to use a carrier oil, like coconut, to avoid irritation. You can also use pain patches when you are anticipating being in the same position for a prolonged period of time. The pain patch I give my patients is called Pain Terminator and it is amazing!

If you have any additional tips, comment below or if you'd like to learn more about acupuncture and how it can help you call/text (646) 854-6619.

Could over-the-counter drugs be the cause of your headache?

Rebound Headaches, Acupuncture, Upper West Side, Manhattan, NYC

What are rebound headaches?

Rebound headaches are associated with over-the-counter and prescription drugs. It comes about when those drugs are taken frequently over a long period of time. Most people who suffer from headaches reach for Tylenol or aspirin as a quick fix for alleviation and that is ok, but when people who suffer from headaches regularly reach for pain medication, it can become a problem.

There are 2 types of OTC drugs used for headaches: acetaminophen & non-steroidals.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a drug found in most households; it is a pain reliever (analgesic) and fever reducer (antipyretic). The drug works by inhibiting the synthesis of prostaglandins, a natural chemical in the body that promotes swelling and inflammation that results in pain. When Tylenol is taken, the activity of prostaglandins is blocked and the reduction of pain is the result, but the drug itself does not reduce inflammation.

Non-steroidals or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID's) include aspirin (Bayer), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve). It too, works by blocking the job of prostaglandins, but unlike acetaminophen, it also helps to reduce inflammation. NSAID's works on a broad range of tissues and acetaminophen works more specifically on tissues of the nervous system. Please keep in mind that over-usage of NSAID's can cause upset stomach and even stomach bleeding; one of the most common hospital admissions in the United States.

Excedrin: A combination drug for headaches.

Excedrin contains aspirin, acetaminophen and caffeine. It works by reducing certain chemicals in the body that creates pain and inflammation; it also constricts the blood vessels which further helps to reduce migraine symptoms. It is great for temporary usage, but once the drug wears off and the blood vessels are no longer artificially constricted, inflammation and swelling of blood vessels can be even more severe prior to taking medication.

Avoiding rebound headaches.

Acetaminophen and NSAID's should be used for irregular occurring acute symptoms only, not chronic symptoms occurring longer than 3 months. If you have headaches more often that not, you should think twice about taking these OTC drugs. If you are taking OTC medication more than 15 times per month, you are probably overusing, resulting in rebound headaches. To avoid rebound headaches, journaling will help. Pay attention to how often you are getting headaches and how often you reach for a quick fix (an OTC drug).

Once you have determined if your ongoing headaches are being induced by pain medication, you can develop a plan to stop. If you stop abruptly, your body may go through withdrawal symptoms resulting in increased headaches.

Acupuncture has the ability to help decrease the frequency and severity of headaches without having to endure side-effects of what medication causes. Acupuncture can also help with the side-effects your body will go through once you stop taking those over-the-counter drugs.

Managing Pain in Fall Weather

Acupuncture, Upper West Side, Manhattan, NYC

While treating a patient this week, I asked the level of pain the patient was experiencing. This is my standard question for everyone at the beginning of treatment so that we can reflect on improvement at the end of therapy or at their next appointment. The patient answered the question stating that the pain level was low, but had also felt slightly increased more than usual because of the seasonal change.

As we all know fall season is upon us and it's bringing in that crisp, cool, and damp weather. I know many people who enjoy fall weather but for people suffering from pain it's another obstacle they have to endure while undergoing pain management. Some people, not all, have increased pain in the morning due to cool and damp weather; it is especially prominent in people suffering from arthritis. 

There are activities you can do at home in between treatments to help combat your pain. First thing is to keep going...I always tell my patients how "stopping" due to pain will have the body "stuck". You have to keep your body moving. Secondly, you can use a heating pad on the painful areas, such as your knees and back to soothe the area and increase circulation. Please keep in mind, if you have numbness, keep the heating level low. 

Third, start to cook with seasonal foods that are found in the fall. A few vegetables to include would be cabbage and squash. Here is a great east Indian-style cabbage dish recipe from the book titled Healing With Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford.

1 medium cabbage, chopped
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp each coriander, cumin, grated ginger
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 cup almond milk

  • Heat oil. Add mustard and cover. Allow them to pop and dance inside the pot for a few minutes.
  • Scatter in remaining spices and stir once.
  • Add cabbage. Saute 8 minutes.
  • Add milk and cover.
  • Simmer on low heat 30 minutes until tender and bright light green.

As always, it's important to see your acupuncturist or health advocate on a regular basis. Sometimes, our body just needs a little attention and encouragement.


Acupuncture for Plantar Fasciitis

Acupuncture for Plantar Fasciitis, Acupuncture, Upper West Side, Manhattan, NYC

If you wake up in the morning with heel pain, or you have heel pain after a period of prolonged standing or other activity, then you're probably suffering from plantar fasciitis. Our plantar fascia is a thick cord-like connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot and it extends from the heel of the foot to the toes. Most people have a gradual increase in pain that becomes chronic overtime. If you've tried everything from stretching to physical therapy or even applying a frozen water bottle resulting in only short-term effectiveness, it's time for you to try something different.

Acupuncture is amazingly effective for plantar fasciitis! If you're a runner that has stopped, acupuncture will get you back on your feet in no time. If you're a mother who likes to be active with your children, but your foot pain is inhibited you, you need acupuncture. Or maybe you just have foot pain and want to get rid of it!

Treating plantar fascia will include loosening and relaxing your calf muscles with cupping and tuina massage. Many times the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles contribute the increasing pain of the plantar fascia. With loosening those muscles, the achilles tendon will also loosen. Acupuncture for plantar fascia does not include treatment directly on the fascia itself which may contribute to an increase in pain. It is treated by careful and gentle insertion of particular acupuncture points that will "jump start" healing and decrease inflammation.

When seeking acupuncture services, it is best to receive care from a license/certified acupuncturist with a four year master degree in Oriental Medicine, otherwise, there may be complications or even an increase in pain if needling is not practiced correctly.

To schedule an appointment call (646) 854-6619

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder, Acupuncture, Upper West Side, Manhattan, NYC

Fall and winter months can be amazing! There's crisp weather, beautiful leaves, and the humidity is finally gone. But, with everything in life, there's always a downside and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is one of them during colder months of the year. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that affects people who are further away from the equator during fall and winter months. There is less sunlight due to our morning hours starting later and our evening hours starting earlier.

On a typical work week, the sun is not shining in the sky upon awakening and the sun has gone down prior to leaving your super awesome job! Not getting enough sunlight not only causes Vitamin D deficiency, it can also lead to SAD and it affects more than 10 million Americans.

If you have had an increase in the following symptoms over the course of a few weeks, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder.

  1. Fatique or lethargy
  2. Increased appetite/weight gain
  3. Indecisiveness
  4. Low libido
  5. Poor concentration
  6. Withdrawing from social settings
  7. Crying
  8. Irritation
  9. Low mood
  10. Increased stress

There's a few simple activities you can do that will help lower these symptoms. They're common sense, but most times they're overlooked. The first thing you should do is check your diet. Are you consuming too much sugar, drinking too much coffee, or not getting enough fresh foods throughout the day? Diet can play a huge role in your mood. Eat foods that will elevate you such as oranges, pineapple, or a fresh salad.

Exercising is always a good mood enhancer. It doesn't have to be vigorous, just a walk around the block will help! Being outdoors automatically releases your feel good endorphin hormones, which will in return reduce stress. Also, getting outside on your lunch break will ensure a little sunlight, even if the clouds have taken over the sky.

Of course, one of the greatest things you can do is get acupuncture. Weekly treatments, typically during the middle of the week (Wednesday or Thursday) will help you relieve stress and reduce sadness. The special point yin tang (the one I put right in the middle of both eyes) is a great mood 'lifter upper'. I use it for everyone! 

If you'd like to get through these upcoming colder months a little easier, start doing something for yourself now! I encourage you to put YOU first!!

Acupuncture for Knee Pain

Acupuncture for Knee Pain, Upper West Side, Manhattan, NYC

We've all experienced knee pain at different times in our lives. More than likely the pain will decrease when the body heals itself naturally, but other times it can linger around or even get worse with time. 

Knee pain is very common and can be caused by several factors such as arthritis, a torn ligament, an autoimmune disorder causing inflammation or even being overweight. When you choose the option of seeking an Acupuncturist, your diagnosis from your medical doctor is helpful but treatment will not coincide with their diagnosis.

Your course of therapy is based on a pattern of symptoms you're having that incorporates all aspects of life, even more so than just having pain. For instance, if your pain is predominately caused by being overweight (your knees cannot handle excessive weight), we will work on reducing pain but we will also include a plan to help you lose weight.

If your knees have pain due to past surgery, we will recommend a course of treatment that surrounds moving your blood and energy in the area to release scar tissue. No matter your condition, knee pain is pretty easy to resolve but it will take a series of treatments. With the help of acupuncture, you will gain normalcy again, such as walking and climbing stairs; and more importantly, pain medication will slowly start to be reduced as well as the side-effects acquired by its usage. 

If you have questions about how acupuncture can help your condition, feel free to schedule an appointment by calling (646) 854-6619