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Healthy Lungs, Healthy Life

by Stacey Kaplan LAc, LMT

Hello!

I hope you're staying healthy and as sane as possible. It's been so wonderful connecting with some of you via video sessions! I never envisioned my work translating well without needles or physical proximity, but the sessions I've had so far with you have been remarkably fulfilling and productive. It's been so enriching for me to help you navigate through the issues coming up using only what you already have. Thank you for continuing to allow me to help you problem solve through some of the inevitable struggles and challenges coming up during this time.

Since this virus primarily attacks the lungs and stifles breathing, I've found it's been even more important to focus on breathing techniques during this time. Also, in Chinese medicine, the lungs are responsible for keeping the outer-most layer of Qi in the body (analogous to the immune system) healthy and robust, able to clear out pathogens and let in the good stuff. So here are some simple, but effective, exercises to help keep your lungs (and your whole body) clear and hardy, ready to interact with the outside whenever we're allowed to do that again.
1. Belly breathing. Breathing deeply into your belly has been proven to calm the nervous system and help ease the body out of "fight or flight" mode. This exercise takes anywhere from 1 minute to 5 minutes, depending on how much time you have. This can be done throughout the day in between tasks, before & after big meetings, or whenever you feel like you could use some grounding and centering.

Sit comfortably, feet on the floor and spine erect without straining. Close your eyes, or just soften your gaze. Feel the grounding and support of your feet on the floor and your butt on the chair. Feel a slight pulling up toward the ceiling from the top of your head so that all the vertebrae of your spine can gently stack one on top of the other. Your head stacks on top, in alignment with your spine. Place one hand on top of the other & over your navel. Focus on taking 10 breaths into your belly, feeling the rise and fall of your hands with each breath. Try to keep your chest as quiet as possible, it will move naturally, but you want the biggest movement happening in your belly. There is no need to "quiet the mind" or "relax" here, though that may happen as you do this, it is not the focus of this exercise, so don't put that pressure on yourself here. After at least 10 breaths (you can do more if you want), bring your awareness back to the grounding of your feet & butt and slowly open your eyes to face what's next in your day.

2. Shake, vibrate, dance, move! Clear your lungs and whole body of stagnation by vigorously shaking and moving your body for about a minute, or more when you can. When possible, put on music and call it dancing. Really move all of your limbs and your spine vigorously to release anything that's been getting pent up in your body. Do this after a stressful meeting, a tough interaction with family or friends, or whenever you feel the need to release unwanted energy.

3. Open your chest throughout the day by clasping your hands behind your back and taking some breaths into that openness. You can also bolster your hand or whole forearm on a door frame, and lean your body in the open doorway to stretch out the muscles of the front of your chest. Be sure to take 1-3 breaths while you are in these positions.

These are just a couple ways that we can help keep our lungs, and whole body, healthy while in isolation. There are lots of different techniques that we can utilize for specific ailments including breathing techniques, acupressure, qi gong exercises, feng shui adjustments and Chinese herbs and dietary changes. Let me know if you'd like to set up a video session to discuss your individual needs!

I am happy to talk more in depth about any of these tips, please reach out any time! There is so much information out there right now to help get us through this time, please use and incorporate whatever resonates with you. This is a time to re-set our norms and re-asses our priorities, a time for great growth and unprecedented change!

Offering telehealth sessions!

by Stacey Kaplan LAc, LMT

Hello!

I hope you're staying healthy and as sane as possible! A central tenant of Chinese medicine is that change is really the only constant in life and we will maintain health only when we learn to live in relationship to change and not in resistance to it. Through practice, I've become relatively good at taking the small, daily, inevitable bumps in the road in stride, for the most part. But I am consistently surprised to find places where I'm unconsciously resisting change.

Early on, I had some requests for online consultations and sessions during this time in isolation. Since I have always worked hands-on with people, I wouldn't even consider that possibility. However, in an attempt to stay adaptive and open to possibility, I have done a couple of online sessions and they've proven to be fulfilling and beneficial all around. Who knew?!

In the spirit of being adaptive to change, I am now offering online or phone sessions until it's safe to come together in person again!


We can meet using FaceTime, What's App, or set up a Zoom meeting online. If that kind of tech is not your forte, a good old phone call is good too.

Sessions will be 30-40 mins long and then I'll also send a full follow up recap of what we discussed in our session so you have our plan in writing to refer to afterward. The cost is $60, and any herbs that might be prescribe will be extra. Since it's unclear whether insurance will pay for these sessions, they will have to be covered out of pocket, but they can always be submitted afterward to insurance for potential reimbursement.

In these sessions, we will utilize a combination of some of the following to create a health plan that works for your specific needs right now:

Acupressure, Breathing techniques, Qi Gong health cultivating exercises, Feng Shui changes to your environment, Chinese herbs, Dietary adjustments, Mediation, Visualization and Stretches.

Many of you have wonderful self care tools in your tool box to utilize during this time, so please double down on the techniques you know work for you as we navigate through this period.

If some guidance might be helpful in that respect, then I am happy to explore what tools could help bring you back into some balance and cultivate resilience.

These sessions are open only to existing clients. Please reach out to me via email, text or phone to book an appointment, or respond to this email!
Stacey@RestoreWellnessNY.com
917.834.7367

Survival tips for tech-intense times

by Stacey Kaplan LAc, LMT

Hello!

What a crazy time! Aside from front line healthcare workers, who need all the support we can give, we're all on our devices much more often now. They not only serve as a way to get work done, but also a way to stay socially connected and keep in touch with each other.


I've heard from lots of you about the havoc this is wreaking on your neck, shoulders, back and head, and I totally get it. Most of us don't have the most ergonomic work station set up at home, or a work station at all. This coupled with the increase in time we have to be on our devices makes it all the more important to remember to take intentional breaks for self care throughout the day. All the extra screen time will lead to headaches, sinus pressure, eye strain and stiffness and pain in the neck, shoulders and back.

Here are a couple easy self care tips to help you through this tech-heavy time:


1. Schedule in breaks. Set an alarm on your phone for every 20-30 mins when you know you'll be at your computer for a prolonged time. During those 2 to 5 minute breaks, do some combination of the following:

Close your eyes. Concentrating on a screen close up puts a lot of strain on your eyes and the muscles at the base of your skull. Closing your eyes helps to disengage those muscles & gives them a much needed break from that strain.
Move your head around. Look left to right, then look up and down, and then right ear to right shoulder & left ear to left shoulder, repeat a couple times. Roll your shoulders in circles one way, and then the other. Arch and curl your spine, as well as you can while seated in your chair. I usually couple this with closing my eyes.
Get up and walk around. Even if it's just a lap or two around your couch, get moving with the intention of releasing any pent up energy. Maybe shake your body a bit while up.
Stretch. Get up and do a quick hamstring stretch, or quadriceps stretch. Stretch out your calves. Bend your torso from side to side. This doesn't have to mean rolling out your yoga mat, just spending 30-60 seconds in each stretch will work wonders when done throughout the day.
Focus your eyes on something far away. Our devices utilize our ability to focus close up, so during breaks pick something at the other end of the room, or even out a window, to focus on for a couple seconds. Also, look up, down, side to side and in circles. Cultivate all aspects of our visual capacity to keep your eyes from straining and causing headaches.

2. Take 1 to 2 minutes to breath into your belly as your sit down to work and also when you're done. This is extremely helpful when working at home as the lines between work and not-work become blurred. It can be super helpful to do with kids before they start their online school work. Really mark the fact you are starting this new activity now so that you're not still half-way doing the billion other things you were just doing. Do this in between subjects if your doing school work, or in between online meetings, or tasks.

3. When you do take breaks from work, do not reach for your phone right away. Give your body some time without tech.

4. Drink water. It can be extra tough to remember to drink water throughout the day when we are out of our routine. Fill up a water bottle or big glass and keep it with you so it's right there as a reminder. Our body needs hydration to function properly. Dehydration will absolutely lead to headaches, muscle pain, eye strain, irritability and food cravings.

5. Use a heat pad on your shoulders at the end of the day, or throughout the day. This will help keep your neck and shoulders a little more relaxed while you work. I love the microwavable heat pads; you can re heat them as needed, they hold in heat for a while and you're not tethered to an outlet.

6. Remember to breath into your belly throughout the day. Even in the most ergonomic chairs, we can get ourselves into a hunched up position if we're at a computer for a while. This is even more pronounced when we're on tablets and phones. That hunched up position is an indication that our breath has gotten stuck in the upper lobes of lungs. When we expand the breath into the belly, the muscles of the upper body have a fighting chance at relaxing a bit. Belly breathing also calms the nervous system and helps bring the body into homeostasis.

I am happy to talk more in depth about any of these tips, please reach out any time! There is so much information out there right now to help get us through this time, please use and incorporate whatever resonates with you. This is a time to re-set our norms and re-asses our priorities, a time for great growth and unprecedented change!

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!