While it’s an ancient, Eastern healing modality, acupuncture is now pretty well accepted as an effective treatment for many modern ailments.
Especially since more people are thinking about health and wellness from a more holistic point of view, a perspective that’s at the core of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
“There are aspects of health that are purely physical,” says Ayla Lavin L.Ac., MSI, an acupuncturist at Modrn Sanctuary in New York City,” but healing has to incorporate all of the levels of the human being.”
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Still, if you’ve never tried it, you may be thinking something like: “They’re going to stick needles where?!”
To help allay those fears (in case acupuncture may be the solution to a nagging pain nothing else has worked for), we’re breaking down a few need-to-know facts, here.
To be honest, calling them “needles” at all sometimes feels like a disservice, since many people picture medical or sewing needles in their minds. In fact, acupuncture needles more closely resemble bristles of a hair brush. They’re super skinny and bendy, and when they poke into your skin, you barely feel a prick. You will feel a dull, achy sensation just beneath the skin, sometimes, which varies in intensity depending on your issue.
The basic concept is based on what Chinese Medicine calls qi (pronounced chi), an energy or “life force” that flows throughout the body. When the flow of qi is blocked or stagnated, health issues arise, Lavin explains. Practitioners place needles on points along 12 meridians of the body to get rid of blockages and get your qi moving again.
Of course, Western doctors don’t recognize qi as an actual physical concept. Still, a ton of scientific research has been done and has found acupuncture to be effective at managing all kinds of conditions, even if MDs don’t quite understand how it’s working yet. Lavin says neck and back pain and headaches are the issues she treats the most, and the research is strongest in this area. She also treats many women for hormonal imbalances that lead to issues like infertility, heavy periods, cramps, and weight gain, or symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and low libido.
Even if your carpal tunnel isn’t totally cured, you’ll likely get some stress relief out of the therapy no matter what you’re actually being treated for, since “acupuncture insertion stimulates anti-stress hormones,” Lavin says. Not to mention the fact that if you go to a spa-like spot like Modrn Sanctuary, you’ll be laying down listening to soothing music and breathing in aromatherapy through it all.
Statistically, acupuncture is about as safe as you can get when it comes to treatment for any kind of health issue. Still, you wouldn’t go see a physical therapist or physician who wasn’t certified, and you shouldn’t get acupuncture from a shady storefront, either. Go to a licensed acupuncturist (usually abbreviated L.Ac. after their name), and feel free to ask about their training, which is pretty intensive if they’re truly qualified.The Keys to Perfect Dental Hygiene (for Overall Health)
By Jill Anenberg Lawrence, HHC, NLC
Sure, you brush, floss, rinse—you know, all that fun stuff—to prevent cavities, get that pesky string of celery out, and freshen your breath. But most people aren’t aware of the deeper benefits of good dental hygiene and the health issues that a toothbrush and other oral health tools can protect against.
Arguably, the teeth are the most important part of the face. They impact how you eat and talk and support facial bone structure. And aesthetically, we spend so much time and money on body parts like hair and nails, when the teeth (and mouth) are the real showstoppers.
So, I’m gonna give you the rundown on why your teeth, tongue, and gums control way more of your health than you ever thought possible. And don’t worry, I’ll also break down exactly how you can practice impeccable dental hygiene for perfect pearly whites.
If eyes are windows to the soul, the mouth is a window to your health.
Say you’re on a first date and he flashes a big smile. His teeth are yellow, tartar is visible, and one laugh shows a discolored tongue. Wait! He didn’t list potential diseases linked to dental health on his dating profile. WTF?
In fact, oral health has been linked to various diseases and conditions. Our mouths are filled with bacteria, and if that bacteria is not properly managed, it can cause inflammation and infections that have the potential to spread throughout the body. Poor oral health has been shown to potentially contribute to health issues like cardiovascular disease and respiratory infections.
In the other direction, many chronic diseases—like diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and osteoporosis—can contribute to oral health problems.
The mouth can also send signals of deeper issues with emotional roots. Think teeth grinding and clenching, which is sometimes caused by anxiety or stress.
Follow these simple steps for dental hygiene that supports your overall health.
Everything that enters your mouth deposits toxins on your tongue, leaving bacteria, germs, and food particles that take a field trip around your teeth, into your gums, and down your throat. If we don’t scrape away these toxins, they get reabsorbed by the body and can lead to the health issues discussed earlier.
And brushing your tongue is for amateurs; nothing actually gets removed from your mouth. This six-dollar tongue scraper can be bought at any health food store or online. As you run the gunk-removing magic wand from the back of your tongue to the front, you’ll be scraping out the soft plaque that collects there before it hardens onto your teeth. Fun bonus: that little cleaning of your mouth carpet gives your tastes buds a clean slate, preventing cravings that can be the result of not being able to fully taste your food (with that layer of leftovers rotting away). The best reason, though, is that breath, yo! There’s no better way to improve halitosis (AKA the reason you’re not sealing the deal on the first date).
Overall, remember these good dental hygiene habits and nutritious foods will keep you from having to say, “aahh” too often (for the wrong reasons!) and benefit your overall wellness. Just scrape, floss, and brush, baby!
Jill Anenberg Lawrence is a holistic health coach, certified through The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Nutritious Life’s Nutrition School. Jill also whips butts into shape as an ACE-certified personal trainer and releases humorous exercise videos on YouTube with silly cameos by her two rescue dogs. Raised by very health-conscious parents, a healthy lifestyle has always been second nature for her, and it’s a topic she’s consistently asked about. Jill’s first passion was laughing so hard her abs got a workout. After many years performing stand-up, she transitioned that love of entertaining into educating others on health and wellness while keeping it fun and edgy. Visit her at jilllawrencehealth.com and follow her on Instagram.