It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! ~ Mark Twain

Slipping and sliding into the spring of 2017 reminds one of the season that embraces the bounce and beauty of life. How robust colors and lifted spirits begin to emerge shouting an opportunity for renewed, revamped or renovated health and wellness.

Utilizing the many healing components of acupuncture and naturopathic medicine is a way you can raise your body and mind to the next level during the bloom of spring. Surpassing the temporary fixes of conventional medicine and, instead, investing in natural maintenance choices or searching for the root cause of any ailment just may turn this spring season into your new health turnaround.

Sneeze Less

For some, enjoying the sweet smell and radiant bloom of spring can be a yearly challenge that drives one indoors during a time many opportunities of nature abound. Allergies are a sweeping provocation that makes a growing factor of people wishing spring couldn’t turn into summer fast enough.

With an acupuncture and naturopathic medicine protocol there is a good chance that if you are an allergy sufferer, your symptoms can be significantly reduced.

A recent CNN report (2/20/17) of a Time Magazine article titled, ‘Acupuncture may be antidote for allergies’ stated,

“Acupuncture already helps to relieve pain in some patients, and the latest study hints that it might relieve sneezing and itchy eyes as well…Most patients plagued with sniffles brought on by seasonal allergies turn to antihistamines for relief, but when they don’t get relief, some opt for alternative treatments like acupuncture, in which tiny needles inserted just under the skin at specific points in the body are used to reduce certain symptoms.”

The study concluded that,

“Acupuncture led to statistically significant improvements in disease-specific quality of life and antihistamine use measures after 8 weeks of treatment compared with sham [random] acupuncture and with RM [rescue medication] alone,”

Surprising Spring Allergy Supplements

In conjunction with acupuncture therapy, there are good botanical formulas that work with your body’s natural healing capability rather than attempt a conventional, side effect producing approach to only quell symptoms.

A naturopathic doctor can asses your individual presentations to determine the best approach that may work for your system. This is the unique quality of alternative medicine as it does not rely on a ‘one-size-fits-all’ method but rather takes the time to look at each patient as a completely new opportunity for healing.

There are a variety of herbal and nutritional supplements for allergy relief that have been in the mainstream eye for some time but other, unique botanicals either alone or working alongside other remedies may surprise you.

Some of these include:

  • Quercetin

The University of Maryland Medical Center cites the flavonoid quercetin (kware-seh-ten) as a possible allergy relief supplement stating that,

“In test tubes, quercetin prevents immune cells from releasing histamines, which are chemicals that cause allergic reactions. As a result, researchers think that quercetin may help reduce symptoms of allergies, including runny nose, watery eyes, hives, and swelling of the face and lips.”

  • Bromelain

Derived from the middle of the pineapple fruit, bromelain is a popular enzyme used to break down stubborn food proteins. However, taken on an empty stomach bromelain turns from a digestive enzyme to a healing enzyme.

In a study published by the journal, Evidenced-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine it was found that,

“…bromelain helps modulate the entire immune system. It was observed in the study that CD11c (+) dendritic cells and DC44 antigen-presenting cells [two key players in allergy response] were kept at bay, which proves that bromelain does more than mask the primary immune response that most people suffering from allergies experiences (stuffy/runny nose, itchy eyes and skin, etc.). It can actually prevent allergies by addressing the root cause – a hyperactive, over-sensitive immune system”

  • Stinging Nettle

Similar to the homeopathic approach of ‘like-cures-like’, the leaves of the stinging nettle plant contain histamine properties which, when ingested in capsule, tincture or tea, may help reduce symptoms of natural histamine release.

Phytotherapy Research cited work done by the HerbalScience Group in Naples Florida which found that,

“…bioactives have been identified in nettle that contribute to the inhibition of pro-inflammatory pathways related to allergic rhinitis. These results provide for the first time, a mechanistic understanding of the role of nettle extracts in reducing allergic and other inflammatory responses in vitro [lab setting].”

  • N-Acetyl L-Cysteine

The amino acid N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC) was studied when applied to eosinophils, oxidant-sensitive cells considered as key effectors in allergic inflammation.

Researchers from the Department of Pharmacology, University of Valencia, Spain published their study in Clinical and Experimental Allergy: Journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology concluding that,

“Inhibition by NAC of human eosinophil functions in vitro is potentially useful in the treatment of allergic inflammation.”

The New Sprout: Spring Transition Recipes

Like the seeds that begin to awaken and resonate under the frozen soil at the end of February, you too are in a transition stage during seasonal change. It is important that this transition from Yin to Yang be done slowly and with great care.

Most people take seasonal change for granted and go on living their lives without any concern for how their body may be reacting inside. However, if such a change is tuned into through increasing physical activity, diet and mental energy, you may gradually walk into the warm sunlight of spring as a stronger, more compassionate being than most around you.

One of the best ways to begin shoring up your constitution for the transition of spring is through how you fuel your body. Mindless eating can often act as a kind of vibrational numbing agent, tamping down your physical and mental energies through the ingestion of fast foods, processed sugars, fats, dyes, preservatives, alcohol and more. Many have become duped by the Big Food Corp machine, easily swayed with glitzy advertising, false ‘natural food’ claims and the eating ignorance of “I want, what I want, when I want it”.

Revamping how you approach food, especially during a seasonal transition, could be an essential key to catapulting your health to a level you have always wanted but did not know how to achieve. Eating for spring is to rise up your energy rather than bring it down with heavy laden choices such as salty, fatty foods. Ascending recipes are a way you can gently cleanse your body while revving up its energy reserves for a clear, clean walk into the warmer seasons.

Some ascending recipes include:

Spicy Sesame Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:
2 medium cucumbers, preferably homegrown or organic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced into thin discs (I used a mandoline for this)
1-2 tablespoons minced green onion (bottom parts only)
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Splash of tamari or soy sauce (or a pinch of sea salt)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Place sliced cucumbers in a medium bowl. Allow to rest for 10 minutes or so, then pour off any liquid that’s been exuded from the cucumbers.
  1. Toss in the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Chill before serving, or enjoy at room temperature.

Serves 2
Source: Cookaholic Wife for Healthy Green Kitchen

Spring Vegetable Coconut Curry Recipe

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons organic coconut oil or ghee
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
4 whole ramps, chopped fine (use 4 cloves of peeled garlic if you don’t have ramps)
1 Serrano chili pepper, minced (leave the seeds in if you want your curry to be spicy)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into cubes
1 – 14 oz. can organic whole coconut milk
1 cup fiddleheads, rinsed very well and cleaned of all debris (use 1 cup asparagus tips if you don’t have fiddleheads)
1 cup chopped dandelion greens (use collards or kale if you don’t have dandelion greens)
1 bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped (I used half of a red one and half of an orange one)
1 large tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon sea salt- optional

Preparation:

  1. In a large skillet or wok, melt the coconut oil or ghee over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook for a minute or two until they “pop”, then add the ginger, minced ramps, and chili pepper. Stir everything around for a minute or so.
  1. Add the chopped sweet potato to the pan along with the coconut milk. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little water if the liquid seems too thick.
  1. While the sweet potato is cooking, place your clean fiddleheads in a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 10 minutes (fiddleheads are a wild food, and this is the recommended preparation so that you don’t become ill from them…better safe than sorry). After they’ve been boiled for 10 minutes, drain and set aside.
  1. Add the fiddleheads, the dandelion greens, the bell pepper, and the tomato to the sweet potatoes. Simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender, again adding a little water if necessary.
  1. Mix in the spices (and salt, if using). Cook for another minute or two. Taste and adjust the spices, if necessary. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly while you proceed with the chutney.

Serves 2-3
Source: Healthy Green Kitchen

Correspondence Reminder and Tips to Harness Spring

Each season has specific associations that were followed for centuries when it came to the natural cycle including body and mind. This is a reminder of how you can pay attention to the correlations of spring. If any of these are in excess or are lacking, your body may struggle, being unable to take advantage of spring (or any season) as each relies on associations being in optimal balance. This is where acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can be highly useful.

Spring Correspondences

Element: Wood
Color: Blue-Green
Direction: East
Energy: Outward Expansion, Effortless Growth
Weather: Wind
Emotion: Anger
Sound: Shouting
Organs: Liver, Gall Bladder
Tissue: Tendons, Ligaments, Nails
Sense Organ: Eyes
Taste: Sour
Icon: Dragon
Life Stage: Birth, Infancy, Beginning

Tips on the best way to rebalance and maintain the essential correspondences of spring as according to Classical Chinese Medicine are:

  • Rise Early/Retire Early – Start your day from the onset, don’t linger in bed. Go to bed by 11pm to enter deep sleep during Liver’s time from 1:00-3:00 am
  • Join Nature – Combine your life force qi (chee) with Nature’s through hikes, gardening, sports, bicycling, etc.
  • Stretch – Stuck qi begets disease. Keep qi flowing with daily stretches.
  • Light Meals/Eat Green – Eat liver supporting meals for healthy nutrition and detox but don’t overdo it. Garnish meals with lemon, lime, apple cider vinegar, etc to include the spring taste association of sour.
  • Drink Herbal Teas – These teas support liver energy – peppermint, green tea, goji berries, dandelion leaf or root, nettles, chrysanthemum, chamomile, turmeric.
  • Rest Your Eyes – Keep your eyes fatigue-free so your liver remains clear; these work in unison.
  • Get Creative – Spring is a time of the wood element which means the challenge of anything creative stokes these juices. Creativity doesn’t have to be artistic it can include anything you are passionate about such as cooking, gardening, furniture building, etc.
  • Confront Your Anger – Hidden anger congests liver so confronting it any way you can will open this energy for more optimal health.
  • Embrace Bodywork: Massage, acupuncture, chiropractic and Tai Chi all contribute to less energy stagnation and more healing movement.
  • Meditate – Keeping your ego at bay and your mind clear can enhance even the simplest tasks.


News and Noteworthy

Eating Disorders

Anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating are all complex disorders that have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. It has recently been shown that using a naturopathic program may help reverse eating disorder symptoms and restore a normal approach toward food.

The Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC) states that,

“Naturopathic Doctor’s typically use a very comprehensive intake with new patients, and take the time to ask about diet, desired weight, anxiety, depression, and more, which aids in eliciting warning signs for eating disorders.”

Acupuncture Increases Bone Strength

Healthcare Medicine Institute reports that,

“Researchers at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, in association Heilongjiang University, Harbin, China, find electroacupuncture with load-bearing exercise is effective for increasing bone mass density (BMD) and bone strength after sciatic nerve injury. Their laboratory tests, conducted on rabbits, also show that levels of the neuropeptide Substance P (SP) were increased in correlation with bone health by application of electroacupuncture. This study shows that damage to the peripheral nervous system (PNS) can have a detrimental effect on bone health, and that electroacupuncture at Huatuojiaji (Jiaji) points enhance the effects of load-bearing exercise for the improvement of bone health and peripheral innervation.”

Harvard Recognizes Rise in Homeopathy

Published in Harvard’s American Journal of Public Health, a Harvard research study found that homeopathy use by the United States population has increased 15%. This is good news for a treatment that has taken huge criticism over the years but is still backed by millions of personal accounts of healing.

Integrative Practitioner states that,

“The principal investigator was Michelle Dossett, MD, PhD and the team also included placebo expert Ted Kaptchuk, OMD. They hail from Harvard’s School of Public Health and from a Harvard Medical School affiliated hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess. The teams notes that prior studies of homeopathy “suggest potential public health benefits such as reductions in unnecessary antibiotic usage, reductions in costs to treat certain respiratory diseases, improvements in peri-menopausal depression, improved health outcomes in chronically ill individuals, and control of a Leptospirosis epidemic in Cuba.”

Integrative Med Solutions, we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you. In many cases, insurance covers portions of the acupuncture treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health.  To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980 or Click Here to schedule an online appointment.

*Please Click Here to see a current list of Insurance Companies that commonly carry acupuncture benefits for its members. Please call 914.337.2980 or securely email

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