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Managing allergies and colds in the time of isolation

by Stacey Kaplan LAc, LMT

Hello!

I hope you're keeping healthy and well! It's Spring! There are beautiful buds popping out on tree branches, bushes and coming up from the ground. Inevitably, that can mean allergies being kicked up for many of us. Here are some at-home remedies to keep at home during this time, and beyond, to help keep your isolation pod thriving.

Daily lifestyle choices are the best way to bolster your immunity:
Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Get some light exercise daily.
Make sure you're getting to sleep at night, and eating well throughout the day.
Wash your hands many times a day.
Make some deliberate quiet time for yourself every day. Whether that's mediation, sitting quietly, reading a book that uplifts you or listening to an inspirational podcast, set aside time to do something that connects you to yourself. I know this can be challenging while social distancing at home with kids, roommates, family or by yourself, but try to commit to this for your own sanity and for those around you.

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If symptoms do come up, here are some of my go-to's that help me stay healthy:

1. Oil of oregano. This is my go-to for any time I feel a little scratchiness in my throat or some sinus congestion creeping in. It is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, it basically helps fight all the bad stuff. The brand matters here, there are a lot of brands that are not meant for internal use out there, I use "North American Herb & Spice" brand, "Oil of Wild Oregano, Oreganol" (https://www.amazon.com/North-Herb-Spice-Strength-Oreganol/dp/B007729D2K/ref=sr_1_9?keywords=north+american+herb+and+spice+oil+of+oregano&qid=1585148475&s=hpc&sr=1-9) . It is oil of oregano mixed with olive oil. Start with one drop under your tongue as needed, it is an extremely intense sensation in your mouth, so have some water near by if you need to wash it down. Once you're ok with it, you can let 2 drops dissolve under your tongue a couple times a day when you're feeling symptoms, or just once a day as maintenance.

2. Fresh grated ginger and peppermint tea. I always keep some fresh ginger at home, it has so many wonderful medicinal uses. Brew a cup of peppermint tea and grate (it must be grated here, not just cut up) about a half inch of peeled ginger into the tea. Let sit for about 5 mins before drinking, but do drink it warm. This is great for sinus pressure and headaches, especially due to allergies.

3. Eucalyptus steam. Keep a bottle of pure eucalyptus essential oil around to help keep your sinuses open. For a steam, boil a pot of water, add a couple drops of eucalyptus essential oil and with a towel draped loosely over your head, breathe in the steam from hot water and eucalyptus. Do this multiple times a day if your sinuses are clogged, for a couple minutes at a time. You can also diffuse eucalyptus oil throughout your home, or mix it with a lotion or oil for a DIY chest rub.

4. Thieves essential oil blend. I use an essential oil blend called Thieves which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties. It is great to diffuse in your home to clean the air, add a couple drops to water as a mouth wash, also great for toothaches. Clove essential oil works great for everyday tooth aches as well. These must be the highest quality essential oils, as you are taking them internally. I am happy to talk more details about which brands are safe for internal use if you're interested, just let me know.

5. Coconut oil pulling. Swishing coconut oil around in your mouth for 15-20mins a day has big benefits. It kills bacteria, soothes inflammation and can have other health benefits. Measure out about a tablespoon of coconut oil, swish that around in your mouth for 15-20mins (you can start with 5mins and work your way up), then spit it out into the garbage (not your sink or toilet). Rinse with water afterward. This can also double as a great excuse to take that quiet time, since you can't talk while you're swishing!

I am happy to talk more in depth about any of these tips, please reach out any time!

If there are specific topics you'd like me to address, please let me know. I will do my best send out tips and suggestions that I think will be helpful through this crazy time. Please know that I am thinking about you and am looking forward to connecting in person again soon!

Feng Shui tips for your isolation pod

by Stacey Kaplan LAc, LMT

Hello!

I've reluctantly closed the office until it is safe to be in direct contact with each other again. It's clear that social distancing is the right path forward to stem the flow of this virus. Each of us will have our own obstacles to overcome with this life changing adjustment.
It is my goal to provide some helpful tips based on Chinese medicine, Feng Shui and other healing modalities, to help keep us sane and thriving through this unprecedented time.
Since most of us are at home a lot more than usual, I'd like to offer some Feng Shui basics to help make your spaces at home as productive and peaceful as possible.
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The basic rules of good Feng Shui:
1. Have nothing broken. Broken items bring down the energetics of everything around them. Only if the item has deep sentimental value, should you repair it with care and keep it.

2. No clutter. Having cluttered surfaces clouds thinking and keeps energy from flowing smoothly. Start de-cluttering one area at a time; you'll feel better when one area is flowing well and have more peace of mind to tackle what's next.

3. Zen surfaces. Every horizontal and vertical surface should have 50% breathing room. This applies to surfaces like shelves, bookcases and countertops as well as walls. Find ways to make sure that there is some breathing room in between items. If you were to move everything on a countertop to one side, would it take up more than half the countertop? If so, try to arrange things so there is a little more space in between items and see if there are items that could be put elsewhere to allow for a bit more open space.

4. Have only items you love. Your eyes take in tens of thousands of images daily. Make sure the ones they see in your home feed you deeply. Go through item by item in the different areas of your home and ask yourself: would I spend good money on this today?

5. Create a sacred area in your home. This can be an arrangement of three or more 'special' items on a shelf or end table, or a grouping on a wall. Set this up in a place where you are able to take a moment in your day to observe and acknowledge its beauty and/or sentiment.

I know making these changes can feel a little overwhelming sometimes, especially if you're in a small space or one you share with kids or multiple roommates. Start by making these changes in one room at a time, or even one area of a room. One that you spend a good amount of time in like your bedroom or office space. Small, intentional changes can create big shifts in consciousness.

If there are specific topics you'd like me to address, please let me know. I will do my best send out tips and suggestions that I think will be helpful through this crazy time. Please know that I am thinking about you and am looking forward to connecting in person again soon!

Office renovations and covid19 update

by Stacey Kaplan LAc, LMT

Hello!

I am excited to announce that the office will be upgraded & beautified over the next couple months! I've been eager to make some changes to the common areas in the office for a while now & it's finally happening. I'm so looking forward to making it a more comfortable and welcoming space for you to enjoy.

In the mean time, everyone in the office is committed to obsessively cleaning doorknobs, chairs, countertops and surfaces throughout the day in light of COVID-19 coming to town. The face rest has always been cleaned with alcohol after each use, needles are always single use only and my hands are washed before, after and often during each session, so all normal practices will continue. I'll continue to monitor the progress, but as of now I am still open and happy to see you! However please refrain from coming in if you are symptomatic, think you may have been exposed to the virus or are considered high risk.
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It is my mission to help you cultivate the best health possible for your whole self. As with acupuncture or massage treatments we're working to open up any impediments to your body's natural healing process. The spaces where we live and work also need some attention paid to making sure energy is flowing smoothly, eliminating or minimizing impediments to your natural state of flow. This process of optimizing the spaces we inhabit is called Feng Shui. It's like acupuncture for your home/office.

I am excited to begin offering in-home/in-office Feng Shui consultations soon! Most likely staring after the office upgrades have been completed. I've been steeped in the practice of Feng Shui for about a year now and am ready to start offering this practice to others. Please let me know if you're interested in these services, they won't be offered as part of the online booking system.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with you to achieve your health and wellness goals, now and into the future!
Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Goodbye Monkey, Hello Rooster

by Stacey Kaplan LAc, LMT

January 28 2017 ushers in the year of the Rooster according to the Chinese Lunar calendar. I love reflecting on the year past and thinking about the year ahead through the lens of these animal signs. Looking back on 2016, a monkey seems the perfect animal to describe it. Let's see what the rooster has in store for us in 2017...

For me, and many other people I've talked to, 2016 was a year filled with phrases like "wow, how did that happen" and "that's not what I was expecting". A year of the unexpected. A year fit to be called monkey. Monkeys are intelligent, quick-witted, agile, curious and confident. They also have the potential to be manipulative and deceptive. This was a year filled with abundant creativity and change in so many different ways, some good, some not so much.

This Saturday marks a shift into the more calculated, predictable, organized sign of the rooster. Roosters are hard working, confident and trustworthy. They are also highly social, crave the limelight and can be blunt when it comes to offering their opinions (ie. it's dawn, get out of bed!).

The rooster symbolizes new awakenings. This is a prime time for hard work, organization and courage. A time to set intentions and make and execute plans. Which also means it's an important time to take care of your health. We have to be and feel well in order to work hard and create change. As they say on airplanes, you have to secure your air mask before helping others. We have to feel strong and robust in order to be there for others and ready for what comes next.

Come on in for your wellness visits and help make this the healthiest year yet!

Autumnal Transition Into Winter Tips

by Stacey Kaplan LAc, LMT

Life feeling a little heavy lately? Has it been tougher to ward off colds? If so, you're in good company.
Fall is a time for turning inward and shedding what we no longer need. This introspection can sometimes lead to feelings of sadness, heaviness or being stuck, which can make it tough for the body to function efficiently and fight off those viruses and bacteria.

The good news is, Autumn is a great season to let that stuff go! In Chinese medicine, Fall is the season of the lung and large intestine, which means that it is an optimal time to let in clean, life-sustaining air and eliminate things that are no longer beneficial to our body.
Meditation can help give us the time and attention we need to make that discernment and get the body functioning optimally again. Eating in-season food will help keep us aligned and balanced too.

Here are some tips:

  • Incorporate more aromatic herbs and spices like garlic, ginger, cayenne and horseradish into your diet to help open your nose and breath deep.
    Eat in-season vegetables as often as possible; squash, pumpkin, turnip, sweet potato, apples, and pears to name a few.
  • Focus on your breathing while exercising. This is inherent in yoga and qi gong, but make sure you're moving with your breath and breathing fully during whatever exercise you choose. Even when walking around or sitting at a desk, make sure you're filling your lungs fully with air so that your abdomen rises and falls with each breath.
  • Meditation can be a useful tool to help us recognize what is blocking us from feeling our best and how to move it along or let it go. Here are some helpful links to guided meditations and lectures:
    https://chopracentermeditation.com/ Oprah and Deepak Chopra are starting a new series of guided meditations on October 31 focusing specifically on getting "un-stuck".
    https://www.udemy.com/awaken-your-heart-creativity-wisdom-with-tara-brach/?couponCode=TARAEL90&utm_source=Tara%20Brach%20-%20Contacts&utm_campaign=f2749a728e-Udemy&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_74c7b6ae48-f2749a728e-320924461 Tara Brach is offering a new lecture series with guided meditation at a 90% discount before November 2. It is on-demand so you can access them whenever you want.
    https://www.headspace.com/ Headspace is a handy guided mediation app with options for sitting, walking, commuting and eating meditations.
    These are just a few inexpensive options that I know about, there are so many more ways to get into mediation and connect back to yourself, please don't limit yourself to just these.
  • Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are great ways to address specific ailments or patterns that are keeping you from feeling your best. Come on in for a treatment to discuss your specific concerns.

It is a great time to connect back with yourself and allow your bodies wisdom to guide you back to health. Let's take advantage of it! As always;
Whatever your injury, Chinese medicine advocates immediate treatment. Treat minor problems promptly and they are much less likely to develop into larger, chronic conditions.

Spring Back Into Health

by Stacey Kaplan LAc, LMT

Ah, Spring. Trees and flowers are blooming, daylight is extended and temperatures are on the rise. I know it happens every year, but it always seems like such a nice surprise after Winter.

This re-awakening of nature's life and beauty also has a tendency to stir up pent up emotions we've been hibernating with through the cooler months like frustration and restlessness. Also being stirred up... Allergies.

Check out these tips on how to replenish your vitality through this lively, rejuvenating season.
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Start your day off with a glass of warm, or room temperature water with lemon before breakfast. This can help stimulate the digestion, support the liver and give you a little vitamin C boost.


Step up your physical activity a bit. Try getting outside for brisk walks more often. Spending time outside in nature is emotionally and physically soothing.
Eat locally grown produce. Some of my Spring favorites are; artichoke, asparagus, chives, collard greens, spinach, Swiss chard, watercress, radish, fennel, mint and parsley.


Use a sinus rinse to help flush allergens out of your sinuses. Always use pre-boiled or distilled water in your neti pot.


Get rid of some old baggage to make room for change and growth. Maybe sort through your wardrobe and donate what your don't wear. Or, find ways to de-clutter your inbox.


Write down things that make you happy in life and commit to cultivating those things in a small, or big, way every day.


Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are very effective in combating allergies and soothing emotional volatility. Come on in for treatment to help support you through the season!

Happy 2016!

by Stacey Kaplan LAc, LMT

Happy and healthy new year to you!
Welcoming in a new year can be an exciting and daunting task. We often make resolutions that are challenging and beat ourselves up if we don't stick to them. Lets start this year off with gratitude and realistic health goals that will help make 2016 our best year yet!

Try keeping a daily gratitude journal. Keep a journal and pen by your bed to write down 3 things you are grateful for that day. Studies have shown, time and time again, that having gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.

Start each day with the recognition that this is the only time this particular day will ever happen. Remind yourself to be present and mindful throughout the day so that you don't miss these once in a lifetime moments.

Make a resolution to be the best you possible. Then work on details that will help you maintain that.


Here's to the best year yet!