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Did you know there are an estimated 74% of Americans suffering from some digestive problem or discomfort? This is one topic that most people avoid talking about from embarrassment or just hope the problem will mysteriously go away on its own just as it showed up, or they think it is normal to have diarrhea on a daily basis. Many of their symptoms are not pretty, such as needing to rush to the bathroom at a moments notice.
In this article, I'm going to show you how you can begin today to find relief so you can feel better and stop letting your digestive problems ruin your life! Sound good?
To begin the healing process, we've got to move through the discomfort of discussing these debilitating symptoms so we can get to the root cause, and more people (perhaps you), can get on with their life.
To begin, let's establish if you are suffering from digestive problems:
Do you experience stomach pain?
do you experience gas and bloating?
Find yourself constipated or have bouts of unexpected diarrhea?
Sensitive and reactive to certain foods?
Constantly worry about needing to be near a bathroom?
If your answer is “yes” to one or all of the above questions, and you want to find relief, it’s important that you begin little by little addressing the issues starting today.
But first, let’s get one thing straight:
Your digestive problems are NOT just about your digestion.
There is a big misunderstanding out there that when digestive symptoms rear their ugly head, it’s your digestion that you should focus on fixing. This seems logical, but the reality is that your digestion is a symptom of something else, and is influenced by many other factors. This is why, often, when western doctors prescribe medications such as antacids, they might provide a temporary relief, but the symptoms usually come back or evolve into another disorder.
The root cause wasn’t dealt with.
So, what is the root cause of digestive disorders? If we shouldn’t focus on our digestion directly, what should be focused on to move through these difficult symptoms and heal our bodies?
In my 29 years studying the human condition, and 16 years seeing patients in my acupuncture private practice, there is one thing that outweighs all others as the root cause of digestive disorders: STRESS
Why does stress cause stomach problems?
Stress with anxiety, or worry are directly tied to digestive problems because when se are stressed, our body's natural digestive process is interrupted and unable to function. Cue symptoms such intestinal discomfort, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), diarrhea, constipation, etc.
In Chinese medicine, energetically it is the connection of the "heart and small intestine". When we experience a conflict with our heart center (anxiety) it will show up in our intestines as we try to make sense of what we are experiencing emotionally. We feel it in our GUT.
Metaphorically we often use terms such as not being able to "digest" something or wanting to "chew" on an idea for a while. Commonly referred to as the gut-brain connection.
Now, the tricky thing here is that when people are under pressure and experience digestive disorders they enter into what is known as a vicious cycle. Stress and anxiety about their intestinal problems becomes in and of itself, stressful. If you experience stress and anxiety in the first place, then your stress pattern will show up around your digestion.
What happens when you ignore your digestive problems?
The endless loop of stress keeps going and going like the Energizer Bunny. And this worsens your symptoms, driving them further and further into a stress cycle pattern in your body. This can lead to chronic systemic inflammations and trigger autoimmune conditions. There is always a starting point for chronic and serious diseases. The longer you wait, the more chronic it becomes and the more important it is to address this problem cycle immediately. (Let's get curious about what is going on contact me 917-294-3805, email@example.com).
So many times, I see people who are stuck in this cycle, afraid to do something about their digestive problems because they have reached a place of hopelessness and resignation. They think they will never find relief and it feels like their symptoms have taken over their life.
3 Tools for Escaping the Digestive Stress Cycle
Here’s what you can do to begin getting out of this vicious cycle now:
1. To control or not to control?
Part of what makes us stressed, worried and/or anxious is obsessing over things that we can’t control. So, to become aware of these things, make a list of everything that bothers you. What do you have control over, and what do you not? Release what you don’t have control over. Let it go!
2. What is urgent and what is a priority?
In our busy lives, it is easy to get caught up in dealing with the "fires" - those things that are urgently needing to be dealt with; the texts, emails, and phone calls that pop up. As I'm sure you know, this fuels ours stress response. You must begin addressing the tendency to focus only urgent matters by re-assessing the priorities in your life. What are you big picture goals? What do you want in the long term? These things don't always appear as urgency, but they should be prioritized. Ask yourself each day, do my actions contribute to my dreams/goals? Determine how to focus moving forward.
3. Reset your nervous system.
When you are stressed, your nervous system goes haywire, basically going into survival mode. Your nervous system regulates your body functions so when it is in survival everything could be a considered a threat and that makes it hard to calm down. Calming and regulating your nervous system is an important key to addressing your digestion. Meditation is one way to help shift the vibration in your body, which calms the nervous system. However, if you don't have a calming practice like meditation or yoga (moving meditation) you could be in a kind of nervous system spin cycle. That frantic energy makes it challenging to focus and calm yourself down enough to start meditation if you have never done it before. So before worrying about adding more to your plate, know that our body has its own form of meditation and that is BREATHING. This is a start to bring consciousness and awareness around your nervous system. It will most likely not enough to address the deeper stress cycle pattern with your digestion and I recommend you combine it with acupuncture, which is the fastest way to shift and reset your nervous system really quickly.
These three tools will help you begin the process of ending the digestive stress cycle. But I want to be clear that this is a process. It will take time.
So many times, I see patients who are stuck in this cycle and are frustrated because they don't know how to begin to heal. The problem literally is ruining their life.
My biggest wish is that you know you CAN find relief from your digestive disorder. You can go back to living a life that doesn't tie you to the bathroom. But you must start addressing your issues today.
Here's the next steps to set you on the path to success for overcoming your digestive issues and getting your life back:
Decide to do something to take car of it NOW.
Get professional support. Curious how I can help? Contact me here.
Work on getting better, (use the steps) instead of focusing on "what's wrong with me."
Be generous with yourself and allow the time to heal. It takes time.
To Your Health!
Tsao-Lin E. Moy, L.Ac., MSOM, LMT, C. SMA
A Match: The Powerful Connections Between Pilates and Acupuncture
In recent years, holistic approaches to health have all seen a surge in popularity – and with good reason. More than just placebo effect, practices like acupuncture promise to have a measurable impact.
Simultaneously, Pilates has seen a resurgence in popularity – bolstered by its focus on core strength and balance.
These two disciplines– Pilates and acupuncture—have much in common. From similar effects on the body to a concentration on mental cohesion, Pilates and acupuncture offer a world of tangible benefits, especially when practiced simultaneously.
So, now that we understand that Pilates and acupuncture have similar effects on the body, it’s important we understand why.
Acupuncture works by targeting “meridians” or the points that surround various muscle and organ groups. The needles of acupuncture serve to regulate the nervous system and naturally the body responds to these points and the tissues that surround them.
Pilates works in a similar fashion – with a focus on bodily movement. A typical Pilates regimen features movements designed to engage and rebalance the “myofascial meridians”. When these fascial and muscle chains are working in coordination the body can work as an integrated whole – a collaboration of many systems.
So, what really happens when you combine Pilates and acupuncture? According to new research published by The Mayo Clinic, acupuncture was found to dramatically relieve lower back pain and improve overall mobility.
With the addition of Pilates, the overall impact of acupuncture is only increased. Given that the overarching goal of Pilates is to improve core balance and function, the two practices can truly work in tandem – building a healthier and more balanced you.
No mention of any physical activity or natural health treatment is complete without noting mental and emotional benefits. Interestingly, both acupuncture and Pilates directly focus on your body’s natural energies – albeit in slightly different ways.
Indeed, Pilates instructors and professional acupuncturists share a recognition of the psychological and cognitive reach of both disciplines. According to acupuncture experts at Integrative Healing Arts, the “stress response” of acupuncture helps “us to experience whole body balance – aligning ourselves on physical, energetic, emotional, and spiritual levels.” When adding Pilates and Acupuncture one can imprint the positive changes happening in their acupuncture sessions into conscious changes in how their body feels and moves.
Similarly, the Pilates staff at Mongoose Bodyworks note that their discipline is most concerned with “improving one’s kinesthetic awareness” and that acupuncture specifically relaxes the nervous system and increases blood flow which in turn improves kinesthetic awareness making it a “wonderful co-treatment with Pilates…especially for movement re-education.”
The message? Acupuncture and Pilates just go together.
If there is one thing we all have in common, it’s that we are getting older.
But what we don’t have to have in common is the aging of our bodies or minds. We don’t have to feel older - or even look older for that matter!
The problem is, we think we have more time. When we think about our health we draw from our experience and attitude of our 18, 20, 25 or even 30 year old self. Here is where we have ignored the truth of how and what we have been doing to be healthy and what we need to be focusing on as a priority. In some cases we have been in complete ignorance, but it is never too late to take charge of your health destiny.
Do a simple scan for yourself. Have you put these issues in the bucket of “normal” as you get older?”
● Lower energy
● Easily run-down
● Feeling like you’re playing “catch-up”
● Gaining weight
● Skin sagging
● Digestion issues
● Low stamina
● Lack of libido
● Feeling of joy sucked out of your life
● Aches and pains
● Menopause symptoms
● Alienated/disconnected from society
There are three categories that people fall into with regard to aging. The first is thinking there is nothing you can do about getting old, so you plan on and accept the decay. The second is grabbing for the latest fad in exercise, diet, quick fix, magic pill or surgery and hope that science and technology will figure out how to reverse aging. The third category is the individual that consciously chooses to shift their paradigm of health.
The problem is most people fall into categories one and two. Unfortunately, as a society we tend to accept that aging happens. We think, “I’m getting old and it’s out of my control, so what am I supposed to do?”
This feeling of being out of control - accepting “fate,” as we label it - causes us to lose all hope and come to expect that it’s normal to succumb to the ailments of getting older.
Are you surprised to learn that none of these symptoms/feelings are “normal,” even as we get older?!
No matter what your age, you CAN have:
➔ High energy
➔ A slim and beautiful body
➔ Smooth, wrinkle-free skin
➔ Great digestion
➔ Long-term stamina
➔ A high libido
➔ Positive mood
➔ Peaceful, deep sleep
➔ Sharp memory
➔ Pain-free body without aches or pains
➔ No menopause symptoms
➔ Connection to community
➔ A feeling of belonging
➔ Joy! And so, so, so much more
So, what can you do? How can you take control of your health to reverse the process of aging so that you can look and feel great, even while the number of candles on your birthday cake continue to climb?
The solution is to start from the inside.
Aging begins on the inside and reflects on the outside. And this means that it’s often what we don’t see that has the potential to cause us the most painful physical and emotional strife as we get older.
In my 20 years as an acupuncturist and health professional, and 31 years studying the human condition, here are some of my best suggestions to tackling getting older, so that you can prevent the debilitating symptoms of aging:
1. Stop accepting your fate is the same as your parents
It’s really easy to accept that “My parents struggled with weight/sleep/moodiness [insert symptom of aging here], so that means I will struggle too.” But the fact is you are NOT your parents. You have different goals, dreams and options. Plus, since you are reading this I know you are committed to doing what it takes to invest in your health now (even if you aren’t currently struggling), so that you don’t have to face the consequences later. Your fate is solely up to you!
2. How you think matters
Practice curiosity, optimism, appreciation and gratitude. Look through the world with a child's eye (the anti-aging eye) To kids, everything is wondrous and amusing. This mindset is what keeps you young, which is why I always incorporate mindset exercises into my sessions (yes, it’s not just acupuncture!).
3. Let go of things staying the same or being as they were - look forward
When’s the last time you thought… “I remember when I was feeling amazing, going to the gym five times a week, when I was such-and-such. Oh, the good ole’ days.” The reality is, that was then. This is now. When you look back and idolize a specific time in your life, you stay stuck in the past. Change happens now.
4. Take preventative care of your physical, emotional and spiritual health
One of the greatest deceptions is thinking that because you have health insurance you don’t have to be concerned about your health.. But having insurance doesn’t insure health nor that responsibility is on you. Too often, our health gets put on the back burner until a time of crisis. Preventative care (true anti-aging!) goes back to the solution we talked about above: start from the inside. This means practicing a positive mindset (number 2 above), taking care of your emotional body (energy, awareness) with sessions such as acupuncture, and finally your physical body with treatments such as massage (which I always incorporate into my sessions).
My biggest wish for you is that you seek out this support before the threshold of pain kicks in or becomes much worse. Only with this type of care will the body benefit over time and possible problems from aging will never become problems at all.
Now it’s time to ask yourself…
How do you want to feel as you get older? Like you are mentally, emotionally and physically aging, or like you simply can’t wait to add another candle to that cake next year?
Whether you are suffering from current aging symptoms, or you are desiring to take control of your health and practice preventative anti-aging a great next step is to schedule a complimentary “Take Charge of Your Health” 30 minute call with me.
During this call we will:
★ determine what your anti-aging and health goals are
★ discuss what’s preventing you from feeling amazing, no matter your age
★ I will provide a recommended plan to address your issues, symptoms and reach your health goals
My schedule is quite booked, but I’ve reserved a few times to provide support to those who are wanting to take charge of their health now.
To grab one of the limited call times, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know this week and I will send you information to book.
To Your Health!
Tsao-Lin E. Moy
L.Ac., MSOM, LMT, C. SMA
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It’s that time of year again!
The holidays have snuck up on us and January is right around the corner.
Where did the time go?
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