In recent weeks, there has been an increase in people turning to acupuncture for support to help with stress and physical pain. In my practice I have noticed people are having trouble staying asleep as their minds just can’t seem to shut off – and they say it’s because of COVID-19.
Alongside this, there are many more tight shoulders to help release these days in clinic. Not only because posture became a concern while working from home, but because our bodies are guarded, so our shoulders are working hard to protect the “Heart” and “Spirit” from the outside world.
The use of acupuncture to support these tough times is a good idea. We need to calm the mind, help reduce its running around endlessly, and there is good help for this!
The Stomach and Spleen organ systems are recognized in Chinese Medicine as being responsible for overthinking and worry when they are out of balance. They are a Yin and Yang pair, so they easily influence each other, and if we needle a Stomach point like ST 36*, it helps bring balance to its best friend quickly. It sends an army of support to the Spleen so its pattern of ruminating can take a break.
*ST 36 is an acupuncture point which calms the mind and is a strong “QI” mover. QI (or Chi) is the energy flow created along the pathways that connect the acupuncture points on the body.
And of course, we will want to reduce the Heart and Small Intestine’s involvement in nighttime overthinking. The Heart needs to rest at night, go into its special cavity in the chest to cozy up for the night. But if it feels unsafe, after a couple of hours of sleep, it doesn’t trust it’s okay to be alone in its home. It wakes us up feeling all anxious, and the mind continues to race. With the Heart and Small intestine’s special bond of being another Yin and Yang pair, using the point SI 3 (small intestine point #3) is perfect. It helps with the Heart’s dilemma of not feeling safe while sleeping, it is the Master Point for calming the Brain, and (drum roll please!) it is the key meridian (channel of energy or QI) that opens up the shoulder! Now, we have a recipe for the overthinking, the anxiety and shoulder pain.
If you are new to acupuncture, please consider booking in for a free 15-minute consultation and issues specific to your concerns can be explained in more detail. The needles used in acupuncture are very thin, allowing for an incredibly gentle approach that calms the nervous system, and is a safe and hygienic treatment that can help make a difference.
Meet with Diana by contacting Pure Body Health Victoria: (778) 265-0043
Stress can manifest in many forms: such as hair loss, anxiety disorders, digestive issues, and muscular pain, something we’re all familiar with. In my clinical practice I’ve often seen patterns between emotional stress and physical pain.
When experiencing stress, our body’s nervous system fires up causing a cascade of internal events. A common example of this is clenching our jaw muscles, which can lead to headaches and stiff neck muscles. This is something most of us do without even noticing! Although we may not “feel” stressed, our nervous system can take longer to process emotions which can lead to undiagnosed pain that won’t go away.
This can be confusing for both the client and therapist as there isn’t an obvious physical impairment. As an RMT it’s our duty to provide care and find the best course of action for our client’s health. However, there are limitations to providing emotional support due to the nature of the therapeutic relationship, and this can sometimes be a barrier to helping our clients. If you feel you are suffering from unremitting pain it may be worth trying the counselling route, or managing your pain through indirect therapies such as meditation and mindfulness.
At Pure Body Health, we offer many services that indirectly manage stress both efficiently and effectively. One of which is a unique form of therapy that you may have never heard of before called Access Consciousness BARS®. The BARS® is described as, “gently touching points to release the electromagnetic charge of all thoughts, ideas, attitudes, decisions, and beliefs that may have limited you in the concerned life areas.”
If you would like to learn more about Access Consciousness BARS®, please contact our Registered Acupuncturist, Diana Alvarez, who will be happy to share her experience and insights.
If you frequently find yourself up waking up at 3-4 am, there may be a simple answer…you are stressed. Fortunately for most – there is a solution, but first we need to understand why you wake up.
Why Stress Causes You to Wake Up at 3-4 am
Stress causes the adrenal glands to fire off adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline gives you a burst of energy to deal with stressful situations (the well known “fight or flight” response. Adrenaline also raises the heart rate, increases respiration, dilates the pupils, slows down digestion and causes muscles to contract. It’s like caffeine on steroids!
A Common Concern for Many
Understandably, if you are stressed or upset it can be impossible to fall asleep, but why does it always wake you up at 3-4 am? We are all goverend by the circadian rhythm (the day / night cycle set by the movement of the earth around the sun). According to Chinese Medicine 1- 3 am is when your liver regenerates. To do so, it needs glycogen (storage form of glucose). The problem is that adrenaline surges day and night cause your cells to use up glycogen. So if you are often stressed, your body may not have enough glycogen for the liver to regenerate at 3am. If your liver cannot get the glycogen it needs, your adrenal glands will compensate by releasing adrenalin, which is why you are wide awake and ready for action, not exactly a state you want to be in at 3am.
Chinese Medicine 24-Hour Organ Clock
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, our internal organs work to a 24 hour ‘clock’, with certain times of day being peak times for that organ. This is the time that the organ will carry out its most essential functions.
Large intestine: 5am-7am
Small Intestines: 1pm-3pm
Endocrine system/pancreas: 9pm-11pm
Gallbladder: 11pm -1am
I Don’t Want to Wake Up at 3am – An Easy, “Do It Yourself” Remedy
If you always wake up at 3am or have trouble sleeping, this simple home remedy has changed peoples’ lives so why don’t you give it a try?
Adrenal Cocktail Recipe
½ cup orange juice (freshly squeezed from ½ an orange)
½ teaspoon cream of tarter (available at any grocery store)
½ teaspoon Himalayan or Celtic salt (available at any grocery store)
Just mix all the ingredients and drink before bed or make a double batch and keep by your bedside.
*You may also do this in the morning to deal with stress throughout the day, but always be sure to drink it before bed as well.
The Science Behind it: Why The Adrenal Cocktail Stops You From Waking Up at 3am-4am
The Adrenal Cocktail is made up of ingredients that replenish vital organs (liver, pancreas, cell electrolyte balance) and stabilize glucose levels to keep you from waking up at 3am.
Freshly squeezed orange juice: gives the liver glucose it needs to regenerate.
Cream of tartar: High source of potassium, an essental element for maintaining the sodium/potassium balance in cells, vital organs (liver), muscles, nerves, and the digestive system.
Himalayan salt delivers 84 essential minerals and elements found in the human body, nourishing the adrenals and maintain the body’s sodium/potassium pump (inside each cell).
To get a better idea of whether or not you may have adrenal fatigue, take your FREE, mini Adrenal Fatigue Quiz HERE!
Ask the Expert on us! Book a FREE 15-min Meet & Greet Consultation with Dr. Angeli Chitale, ND, to find out how Naturopathic Medicine can Restore your Adrenal Function.
When you are feeling good, in control of your life and the world is smiling back at you – you are in your happy zone. POP! Suddenly you realize you have missed an important meeting or deadline and the mountain overwhelm begins as your mind starts racing to lists, deadlines, meetings, and appointments looming for what seems like miles ahead. Time feels like it is shrinking and pausing is long forgotten.
How do you get back to balance?
We all feel this way from time to time. It is important to recognize that most of our daily stress is mental – and for the most part, there is no immediate threat to our life. How we perceive what is going on and respond to it is what makes an event, person, or thing stressful or not stressful. Easier said than done, I know…but consider this:
We have the ability to create AND control our inner reality:
When we look within, and aknowledge our needs, we may find signposts on a roadmap to create a more balanced approach and perspective. We may notice we spend too much time in one zone (mental) and not enough in another (emotional or physical). By refocusing and prioritizing we can bring ourselves back to balance by reclaiming and nourishing neglected parts of our lives.
How important is it?
Simply put, stress is when the body and mind are not in balance with what is actually happening in the outer world. The impact of stress on health is well studied and documented. Research studies point to 4 areas where stress can contribute to illness:
The gut-brain connection is well recognized in medicine and research is pointing to the many ways stress interferes with digestive function. Bloating, gas, IBS, constipation, diarrhea, pancreatic insufficiency, nutritional deficiencies, blood sugar imbalances and chronic GI inflammation can all be symptoms of stress.
ND TIP: Avoid eating too fast (chew each bite 30 times) and avoid foods which deliver a quick fix (sugar rush) and lead to an energy crash later (focus on good fats, proteins and fiber for lasting energy).
Feeling run down or like you catch every bug that is going around?
Immune function can become depressed under stress. Stress decreases levels of the body’s natural antibody defense such as secretory IgA. Secretory IgA is produced by mucous membranes lining all the body’s openings to the outside world: our eyes, nasal passages, throat, lungs, skin, digestive and reproductive tracts all produce secretory IgA to protect these vulnerable areas from infection from the outside.
ND TIP: Many published studies have demonstrate taking vitamin A can boost secretory IgA levels
Pain and Inflammation: The root cause of the disease process…
Stress and inflammation go hand in hand. Inflammation is the beginning of every disease process. Glucocorticoids are steroid hormones made by your adrenals. Glucocorticoids are important because they work as natural anti-inflammatories. Studies have shown glucocorticoids are reduced in states of chronic stress experienced by caregivers. This reduction of glucocorticoids causes inflammation to go up in the body. And where there is inflammation, there is pain. Pain from chronic injuries, myopathies and neuropathic pain, can all be addressed by treating inflammation and supporting adrenal gland recovery.
ND TIP: Support adrenal function during times of high stress and activity by taking extra Vitamin C and B-complex. For Chronic Adrenal Stress: Many adaptogenic herbs help the body adapt to long term stress. Ashwaghandha (indian ginseng), Rhodiola, Eleutherococcus (siberian ginseng) are wonderful tonics to restore function of the adrenals.
Depression and Anxiety
Serotonin the “feel good” neurotransmitter (brain chemical) has been widely researched. Did you know it is made in the digestive tract and then travels to the brain?
Serotonin makes us feel content. Stress decreases blood flow to the digestive organs, slowing down digestion and serotonin production. Serotonin is not the only neurotransmitter affecting mood, but is the focus of many conventional medical treatments for both anxiety and depression through the prescription of anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications such as SSRI’s and SNRI’s.
ND TIP: Restoring digestive health may help reduce anxiety and depression in succeptable individuals (Seasonal Affective Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, Insomnia) . The gut-brain connection and gut flora (good bacteria) is cited as a key factor in treating mood disorders in several studies. In other words, a good probiotic may improve your gut health as much as your mood!
We asked some team members at PBH what brings them back and here is what they had to say:
Spending time outdoors in nature
Connecting with people
Riding my motorbike for hours down a long road
Sitting and relaxing with good food and good wine
Meditation and quiet time to reflect
So we want to hear from you – What brings you back to balance?
Here is a hint: it is likely something you really enjoy doing and feel good after doing it.
What You Can Do (Right Now) to reduce your stress and get back to balance:
Meditate for 5 minutes (breath in for count of 7 sec count, hold for 4sec count, release for 8 sec count).
Take a 10 – 30 minute fast or slow walk.
Have a mini dance party to your favourite song.
Have a cup of nerve tonic herbal teas (lavender, peppermint, oatstraw, hops).
Eat a nourishing treat (ex dark chocolate, almonds, smoothie, bone broth immune tonic).
Make a list of all your accomplishments so far (today, or this week).
Take a nap!
How to Restore Your Health – Naturally:
Restoring balance is the key to preventing the downstream effects of illness. Illness can be triggered by stress, infection, inherited tendancy / genetics, medications, wear and tear, accidents and surgeries.
Naturopathic Medicine focuses on health recovery, wellness and prevention. The naturopathic approach shares diagnostic tools with conventional medicine such as routine check ups, physical assessments and lab tests. Naturopathic treatments focus on a proactive approach to create a health management plan. Think of it as your roadmap to recovery! Natural and non-invasive methods are used to restore health such as diet, nutrition, homeopathy, herbal medicine, physical therapy, counselling and acupuncture.
Dr. Angeli Chitale is a Naturopathic Doctor and has been granted prescribing authority in BC for the prescription of medications. Dr Chitale takes a balanced approach to patient care using both conventional and naturopathic medicine with the understanding that the art of practice is getting the patient the right medicine at the right dose at the right time.
Questions? Ask the expert on us! Book a FREE 15 min Meet and Greet consultation with Dr. Chitale.