Welcome to March!  Though it roared in like a lion, a kinder, gentler season is on the way.  Are you ready to welcome Spring?  Spring cleaning is a familiar concept, but what are you doing to prepare your body, mind and spirit for a season of growth and new possibilities?

Think Acupuncture!

If you already receive regular acupuncture treatments to maintain your wellness and help prevent illness, excellent!   If this isn’t something you have considered as of yet, think about it.  Acupuncture helps to maintain homeostasis–the body’s sense of balance.  It has been proven to reduce inflammation and pain, reduce cortisol levels that become elevated during stress, and promote endorphin and enkephalin production, neurotransmitters that enhance pain relief, promoting restful sleep and a reduction in fatigue.

Acupuncture is also helpful for migraine and tension headache sufferers.  Even those that have experienced intense migraines for many years, sometimes decades, often find relief with an acupuncture treatment plan.  The therapeutic effect of acupuncture is usually cumulative, so it’s important to adhere to a treatment plan.  Rarely does one or two acupuncture treatments eradicate years of migraines or any chronic condition.  Your practitioner should be able to give you an idea of duration of treatment for an expected therapeutic effect after your initial consultation.

Nurture with Food

There is still a chill in the air, so continue to eat lightly cooked and warm-natured foods until the weather warms considerably.  Don’t forget to keep your plate colorful for nutrient density.  Lightly cooked green leafy vegetables, red tomatoes and apples, purple beets, cooked carrots and butternut squash, green apples and pears are all good to include.  If possible, eliminate processed sugar completely for optimal health.  If you find this very difficult, at least reduce your intake to start.  Keep your protein focused on 3-4 oz. servings and consider including meatless options such as beans (any kind including soybeans), eggs, and smaller amounts of nuts, if possible.  When the climate does change to a more Springlike temperature, use caution with cold beverages.  Iced  and frozen drinks impair digestion and slow the flow of qi through the meridians.  This can result in digestive dysfunction, difficulty with weight management and other illness over time.  Focusing on whole foods and eliminating processed foods leads to increased energy, better digestion and elimination patterns.

Keep Moving

Spring is the season for growth and movement, so it is imperative that you continue your physical activity routine.  If you haven’t started, now is the time!   You can begin with as little as 5-10 minutes a day of walking or marching in place and build from there.  Aim for 30 minutes daily.  If you’re not even close yet, increase the time you exercise by 5 minutes daily until you reach your goal. Consider whether you enjoy group or solo activities best, and then select and commit.  Schedule it on your calendar; enter it into your phone as an appointment.  Be accountable to yourself.  You can do it!

Schedule a Physical

How long has it been since you’ve visited your primary care provider’s office for a general physical?   Visiting Urgent Care due to influenza or a severe respiratory virus–both of which have been rampant this year, doesn’t count.  If it’s been over a year since you’ve seen your primary care provider, schedule an appointment for a physical.  Prevention is your best defense.

Manage Stress

As with every season, continue your stress management plan.  If you’re asking, “what plan?”, you need to develop one that you can implement daily.  For some, this involves meditation and/or prayer, journaling, listening to peaceful music, attending a support group….there are many ways.  What works for one person, may not work for another.  Think about what you find stress-reducing.  And don’t forget the simple art of breathing.  Taking a few minutes each morning and evening to focus on the breath is not only calming but life-enhancing.

As we move forward closer to Spring, take a few minutes to pause and reflect on your own wellness path.  Where are you on that path?   Remember what the famous Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Wishing you a healthy and happy Spring filled with new opportunities!

Until we chat again,