Day 3 of Tech Challenge

1/29/16    10:26PM

I have succeeded! 2 minutes before 9PM, I put away my laptop and my phone. I didn’t have the TV on so I didn’t need to do anything there. I didn’t go to a dollar store just yet, but I did get the time from the kitchen clock to take my magnesium.

Side note: magnesium is a great supplement to take when you have difficulty falling asleep. I take 1/2 a tsp of Calm Magnesium and it helps me relax. It is also great for muscle aches and constipation. Before starting a new supplement, consult your doctor to see if this is the right course for you. This blog is only meant to inform, not provide or replace medical advice.

Anyway, the reason why I’m not asleep yet is because I gave a couple of persons a last minute treatment. Now that’s done, I’m going to wash up and go to bed.

7:36AM

I was tempted last night to turn on the TV. I didn’t have anything that I wanted to watch in particular but I have a strange need to have noise while getting ready for anything. This is actually something I am actively working on. The world has become so noisy that we have forgotten how to be in silence. My goal is to become comfortable with silence. It’s amazing how freeing it is when you get off the grid for even just a few hours.

I fell asleep pretty quickly once I put my head down on my pillow. I had pretty good sleep last night. I didn’t wake once at all. It still took a little bit of time for my body to feel fully awake but the fact that I stayed asleep is a victory. Seems turning technology/electronics off about an hour before sleep does allow for some quality sleep.

Day 2 of Tech Challenge

01/28/16 11:17PM

So, obviously, you can see that I failed my challenge again. But! I had a very good reason. I was out late at a Lakers game. And seeing how this is one of few games left in Kobe Bryant’s career, I believe that even non-Lakers fans will understand.

I did, however, put away all of my electronics once I knew everybody got home safely. My phone is on silent and put away, my laptop is in my backpack,  and my TV is turned off.

I’m going to attempt sleep since I don’t know what time it is anymore. My phone is the sole source of time-telling in my room. How did I tell time before I had a phone? Oh, right! Clocks. I may need to make a trip to a dollar store. Good night!

8:52AM

I slept through the night pretty well but woke up at 5AM because I was freezing. I had forgotten to leave my space heater on and the temperature in my room dropped incredibly low. I woke up feeling as if my face was stuck in a refrigerator. I was still tired so I waited for the room to warm up before I could fall back asleep.

I hope to do better tonight.

Day 1 of 30 Day Tech Challenge

I wrote in a journal each night so that I remember how I felt, succeeded, or failed.

01/27/16 9:10PM

I missed the mark by 10 minutes… which is pretty stupid considering I wasn’t even paying attention to what was on the TV. I left it on while going to the kitchen to get some water. I was so uninterested in the movie that I didn’t even bother to pause it. Side note: “Along Came Polly” is not a good movie… didn’t even giggle once… not even a “ha!”

But that leads to another question. Why did I continue to leave it on even though I didn’t like it? It’s not as if I paid a rental fee for it. It was on Netflix. I could have watched anything else. Is this perhaps an addiction to being brain dead? Is the zombie apocalypse going to happen, not by high contagious virus but by voluntary brain death?

Why did I find this habit to be important enough to forego sleep? Let’s see how I feel the next morning. Do I get better sleep right out of the gate or is there a huge adjustment period?

 

Later that night… 9:41PM

Well, I found out another reason why I keep turning on my phone/computer. Research. My mother came into my room complaining about some discomfort. Though I didn’t feel any cause for worry, I wanted to double check and did some research. I find myself doing this often. It could be research for my family’s health or for a patient. I am constantly doing research online or on an app or in an ebook, etc. But what good does my research do in the middle of the night? But at the same time, I don’t want to forget why I researched something in the first place and then forget to research it. Excuses? Probably.

It’s almost 10PM. I’m going to give sleeping a try.

7:30AM

I woke feeling somewhat rested with a little tossing and turning.

30 Day Tech Challenge

Many of my patients come in to see me because they have trouble getting a good night’s rest. They have trouble falling asleep and feel that they do not sleep enough. Sometimes it is a much deeper rooted physiological problem. At other times, it is due to the modern world.

We are too connected! We feel compelled to have a backlit screen in our faces until the very last moment before we go to sleep. It’s either our computers, phones, or our televisions. And because we feel compelled to watch the last episode or read the latest blog, we go to bed later and later. We miss that golden opportunity when our bodies are prepared to fall asleep. I, myself, am very guilty of that.

So, I am going to make myself a challenge. I will shut off all electronics by 9PM every night and go to sleep by 10PM. This includes my computer, cellphone, iPad, TV and even my Kindle. No distractions allowed!

I will post any and all successes and failings. I feel that this will help me to better understand what all of this technology does for me that keeps me so addicted and find solutions that will keep me on the good path to good sleep.

Stress Inflammation Pain, Part 3

Diet plays a very important role on how our bodies feel. The huge spike in chronic pain cases is indicative of a society embracing a diet that is harmful to our bodies. From poor diet, a condition, described as “dampness in the body,” becomes a problem in the body. Why? Well, let us discuss what damp is.

According to TCM (traditional Chinese Medicine), damp is a condition of the body when things become sticky and dense and heavy. Because of this viscous material in the body, things are not able to circulate properly in the body, such as blood and/or qi (energy). When things are stuck, the body reacts by trying to either push through the blockage or avoiding it all together. When the body tries to push force the blockage out, it uses a lot of energy and sends a lot of qi and blood to the site of the problem. When this happens, it is similar to an overheating car trying to go up a steep climb. In the body, it is recognized as inflammation. Other times, the body will give up after a time and stop feeding qi and blood to the area which results in weakness and numbness in the area.

Now that we have discussed how dampness in the body can create inflammation and pain, let’s talk about how dampness becomes created in the first place.

Dampness comes a from a dysfunctional digestive system.

Your digestive system can be broken due to:

  • not eating enough
  • eating too much
  • many years of eating heavy, greasy and nutritionally empty foods
  • long term illness
  • sedentary lifestyle

Ways you can tell if you are suffering from dampness within the body is:

  • you wake up feeling heavy and sluggish
  • you have cystic acne
  • you catch colds easily
  • allergies
  • you’re tired all day, fatigue
  • overweight
  • you have to use a lot of tissue to wipe after each bowel movement
  • congestion

Foods to avoid when there is damp in the body: meat, dairy, eggs, sugar, refined flours, and processed foods.

For a more complete diet guideline, please go to your nearest acupuncturist. The reason for this is because there are a variety of reasons you may have developed dampness in the body and it may also manifest itself in a variety of ways. For instance, you have dampness in the body with heat symptoms, you may also need to avoid spicy foods. But if you have dampness with cold symptoms, you will need to avoid raw food or cold food.

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment.

Vegan Chocolate Pudding

Some time ago, I have decided to eliminate dairy, meat and white sugar from my diet, so that I may prevent a certain health condition from recurring. There’s nothing like experiencing a catheter to convince one to be as healthy as they can be.  Though I don’t find it particularly difficult to have this new lifestyle, there are certain times when I crave dairy.

One of the things I crave is pudding. So I searched the web and found an adaptable recipe (eatyourkimchi.com) and changed some bits to fit my tastes. Hope you like it.

Vegan Chocolate Pudding Recipe

  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk (or any other milk you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar (or stevia, or honey but it won’t be vegan)
    • adjust to your taste

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Leave in the refrigerator to set for 5 hours. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Quit Smoking with Acupuncture

Nicotine is a powerful addiction. To overcome it, one feels as though they are going through the trials of hell. And when one falls off of the wagon, utter shame is felt, which then leads to more smoking. It is a nightmarish merry-go-round that you just can’t seem to get off.

But know this: you are not alone. There are 42.1 million smokers in the US alone. Nearly 70% of these smokers want to quit. So when you are standing in the smoker’s balcony, 7 out of 10 of them are smoking with you, wishing that they could escape the hellish grasp that nicotine has on them. But if the desire to quit is there, why can’t we quit?

One of the reasons is motivation. As selfish as human beings can be, we are still social animals. So when we tell ourselves that we want to quit for our own health, it doesn’t motivate us enough to quit. But when we change our motivation away from ourselves and place it upon someone else, say a loved one, like a daughter or son, the motivation is stronger.

Another reason is because of habit. It takes only a week for nicotine to be fully metabolized out of the body but because of habit, even after a week, you still feel the need to reach for a cigarette. Does the following sound familiar? You wake up and the first thing you do is go outside to light up a cigarette to have with your morning coffee. Or whenever there is massive traffic, you light up, to either pass the time or “relieve” the stress of traffic. Or you light up after every meal because you feel as though it helps with your digestion or relieves your constipation. There are many more examples, but as you can see, smoking takes up a lot of your time and energy throughout the entire day. How do you go from having it in such a huge part of your life and then go without it?

And the very main reason, of course, is addiction. All over the body, there are nicotinic receptors. Receptors act like locks or doors and when the right key (in this case, nicotine) is placed in these locks, the receptors unload the pleasurable side effects of nicotine. The addiction begins when regular use of cigarettes introduces more than enough nicotine than the nicotinic receptors have use for, which then leads to the disappearance (downgrading) of the receptors. What use are more receptors when the body gets enough nicotine through one “door”? Because of this, the use of cigarettes increases because the effects of nicotine wear off more quickly. When you then quit, the receptors that disappeared increase to more than there were before you started smoking because they are trying to grab as much nicotine as they can. That’s when the insatiable cravings for smoking pounds at you, leaving you with horrible side effects. This leads us to nicotine withdrawal side effects.

Here are the side effects of nicotine withdrawal (information from Webmd.com):

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Fatigue, drowsiness, and insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety
  • Depressed mood
  • Increased hunger and caloric intake
  • Increased desire for the taste of sweets
  • Tobacco cravings

These are difficult side effects to have to go through. And because it’s difficult, it’s easier to convince yourself to start smoking again. And that is where acupuncture comes in.

Acupuncture allows your body to detox nicotine out of your system more efficiently. It also reduces the withdrawal side effects so that staying smoke free is an easier decision to make.

What you can expect from a smoking cessation acupuncture treatment:

-About a week of acupuncture treatments

-Includes an initial overall assessment of the patient so that each smoking cessation is customized to each individual

-During the treatment, one may experience sweating and a bitter taste in the mouth (don’t worry, this is the nicotine coming out of your system)

-Ear seeds (a sticker with seeds on it that provides acupressure to the ears) will be given so that the patient may massage them between acupuncture sessions

-Herbs may also be given to alleviate (which will be an additional cost to the program)

-Nicotine supplements (nicotine gum, e-cig, vape, nicotine patches) will not be allowed as it contradicts the purpose of the treatment, which is to detox the body of toxins

What you can do during and after the smoking cessation acupuncture program:

  • Regular exercise (walking 30 minutes at a brisk pace every day)
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables
  • Writing down your reasons for quitting
  • Writing down why smoking will benefit you
  • Meditation (stress tends to be an easy trigger for cravings)

It is also highly recommended to come back at least once a month for a treatment to keep the nicotine cravings at bay.

If you want to quit smoking, look for an acupuncturist near you and ask about their smoking cessation program.