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Five Reasons You Should Try Acupuncture

When I get asked what my career is and I reply that I’m a Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine practitioner a common response is “Cool! Tell me more.”. I love these moments as it’s an opportunity for me to educate an individual about the amazing benefits of acupuncture.

5 Reasons You Should Try Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been performed for thousands of years, but has only gained popularity in the United States since the 1980s. The fact that as the years go by, the number of people using this form of holistic medicine is growing exponentially is an indication of it’s effectiveness and depth of health conditions it can treat. As acupuncture has become more mainstream, the amount of research studies and clinical trials have increased only further proving it’s efficacy.

There are a number of amazing benefits to regular acupuncture care. The following explains just some of the reasons why you should add it to your health regime:

1) It treats the root cause of your symptoms

We take an over-the-counter pain reliever or NSAID for our muscle tension and headaches, an anti-histamine for our allergies, birth-control pills for our menstrual cramps and an anti-diarrheal for our IBS. These medications, though, are masking your symptoms and not treating the root cause of why you have the symptom in the first place. They may be a temporary relief, which at times is necessary, but when a condition becomes chronic, the issue lies in the person’s body constitution. That’s where acupuncture and Chinese Medicine come in. It treats each individual uniquely, based on what their body needs and what traditional diagnostics are showing. By treating the root cause of a health condition, the individual’s health stabilizes and their body becomes more in balance.

2) It reduces the body’s stress response

Your stressors aren’t going to disappear with acupuncture, unfortunately, but your body’s response to potential stress will be reduced. Acupuncture helps to relax the sympathetic nervous system, which kicks in to high gear when we are in “fight or flight” mode. We need our fight or flight response when we are in danger, but do we need it sitting in traffic or at our job each day? Daily activities will be more enjoyable when we are in a more relaxed, coherent state.

3) It can balance your hormones

Monthly irritability, mood swings, food cravings, cramps, sound familiar? These are all signs of hormone imbalance, all of which acupuncture can help to correct. By increasing circulation to the ovaries, uterus, hypothalamus and pituitary glands, acupuncture can treat the underlying cause of these unenjoyable symptoms. It is also effective at helping the liver remove toxic estrogens from your body, a common cause of hormone imbalance.

4) Better sleep

When our sympathetic nervous systems don’t feel the need to release cortisol all night long, the body can more easily go in to “rest and digest” mode and sleep soundly through the night. Our bodies heal and repair when we sleep. If we don’t sleep, we don’t heal, period.

5) Improved digestive function

In my opinion, Chinese medicine is one of the best forms of therapy for digestive imbalance. If digestion is not functioning properly, other body systems will be affected. By bringing circulation of fresh oxygen, nutrients and hormones to the digestive tract, the system can rebuild and begin to digest our food and fluids efficiently. Signs of an out-of-balance digestive system include constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, upset stomach, heartburn, immune system weakness, such as seasonal allergies, and much more. When the digestive system is working properly, food and fluids are turned in to blood and energy which result in more energy and a stronger immune system.

If you are experiencing any of the unfortunate symptoms listed above, consider treatment of the underlying cause of your health concern. By tailoring acupuncture treatments to your needs, the body is the ability to heal and flourish.

About the Author

View More: http://alycarroll.pass.us/stephanieStephanie Braunwarth is a board-certified Licensed Acupuncturist with a special focus in womenʼs health, fertility and nutrition. Stephanieeducates her patients about the importance of treating the underlying cause of a health condition and encourages them to take an active role in their health.

Stephanie serves patients at Des Moines Acupuncture Clinic in Des Moines.

Des Moines Acupuncture Clinic

FREE 10-day Intro to Perfectly POSH

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Vision Board: Why EVERYONE Needs One!

It’s 2016! How did you spend your New Year’s Eve? The kids and I hung out at home and I worked on creating my goals for 2016.

I am super excited for 2016. I know it’s going to be a great year all around! To help keep me focused and committed to a great year, I updated my vision board.

Vision Board

I HIGHLY recommend a vision board for everyone and they are so much fun to make! I made one about 6 months before Amelia was born and hung it right by my bed side. After almost 2 years, I have new goals, so I wanted to update.

It’s pretty simple creating a vision board. You can use a bulletin board, poster board, etc. Check out Pinterest for some awesome ideas here!

1. Grab magazines that inspire you!

Everyone’s inspirational magazines differ. It depends on what your goals are and what you like. If you want to focus on remodeling your home, you may have a bunch of DIY magazines. If you want to focus on health, you may have fitness and health magazines. So, the first step is to gather the magazines you want to use, to create your vision board.

2. Grab some scissors, wine and start cutting!

This is my favorite part, because there is no right or wrong way. You can dream as big as you want. If you want to travel to Europe this year, cut that picture out of Europe and put it on your board! The more you look at it, the more you will focus on how to achieve that goal!

3. Place cut outs on your board.

I like to use a bulletin board, because I can change it up in the future. Your visions do change over time, because you accomplish these goals, so you create more. Using a bulletin board and push pins allows you to change things easily. Organize how you want all of your cut-outs to lay on your board. Do you want sections that focus on each topic? Do you want your most important visions on top?

4. Hang your vision board. 

You want to hang your board some place where you see it EVERY DAY. The more you see this board, the more you are reminded what your goals and visions are for yourself. Mine is hanging right beside my bed. Every morning, I wake up and it’s the first thing I see. Every night, before I go to bed, it’s the last thing I see.

What goals do you want to focus on this year?!

Mary’s Berries

You may have seen my post about elderberries and elderberry syrup. It’s been one of my must have items when cold and flu symptoms start showing, or even better, to prevent them! I was introduced to a new superfood this summer, aronia berries. Aronia berries are also known as choke berries and are about the size of a blueberry, but more bitter.

Aronia berries are different then any other super berry such as acai berries, blueberries, elderberries, and so on. Aronia berries have the highest dose of anthocyanins! HUH?! I had no idea what that was either. Anthocyanins is the dark purple pigment color of the berry. This is the part that carries the greatest benefits such as:

  1. Strong antioxidant properties
  2. High levels of vitamin C
  3. Protect against colon cancer, diabetes, & heart disease
  4. Slow down aging
  5. Protect skin from environmental pollutants, tobacco smoke & UV radiation

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Now that I’ve told you all about these wonderful, super powerful berries, let me tell you where you can find them!

Marys’ Berries, located in Leon, Iowa is ran by Mary Johnston and her husband. In October of 2010 they planted 1100 plants and in 2013 they had harvested about 1200 pounds! Aronia berries start producing on their third year. Last season, they picked about 3000 pounds! That is a lot of aronia berries! Mary’s Berries are organically certified and they only use water.

Mary explained that they are a lot of work, including: weed eating, watering, mowing, and crawling around on the ground pulling weeds. They are ready for picking towards the end of August, beginning of September. She knows when they are ready by measuring the sugar content of the berries.

Each year they sell most of their berries to Sawmill Missouri Valley, but do offer for people to come pick their own for $3 per pound, which sounds like an awesome deal. Mary’s daughter, Sarah Norman, also sells them for $6 a pound if you are not wanting to make the trip to pick your own.

Sarah, Mary and her husband have had tremendous results taking aronia berries daily including the removal of inflammation, it also has helped protect them from viruses, flus, and colds.

Now that you know about aronia berries, you know where and how to get them, let’s talk about how you can consume them. The best part! 🙂

There are three different ways you can consume aronia berries:

  1. Whole, blended in smoothies
  2. Baked into yummy treats
  3. Made into a concentrated syrup

Sarah Norman, daughter of Mary, regularly makes a concentrated syrup. Here is her awesome recipe you can try at home!

Aronia Berry Syrup by Mary’s Berries

1 pound aronia berries fresh or frozen

Water to cover

1-1.5 cups raw honey

1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon

Stock pot

Immersion blender

Mesh Strainer or Cheese Cloth

Put berries in a small stock pot and add water until berries are covered. Bring to a simmer for at least 30 minutes and mash/immersion blend them as the berries begin to pop open. After simmering for at least 30 minutes pour through a fine mesh strainer or through cheese cloth, over a bowl and press the berries to get all the juice. Get 2 pint jars and fill about 1/3 full with raw honey (1/2 – 3/4cups depending on sweetness preference). Add 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and then pour in still warm juice leaving plenty of headspace to blend. Blend the juice, honey, and cinnamon until completely combined, then top off with more warm juice and shake to combine all.

Makes 2 pints.

Important: clean up any spills or splatters immediately! Aronia berries stain!

 It is recommended to consume about an ounce a day which is about 25 berries OR 1/4 cup!

If you are taking the syrup 1 Tablespoon or less is recommended for adults!

So drink up!

 

References

Bellbrook Berry Farm

Health Benefits of Aronia Berries (Chokeberries)

Mary Johnston from Mary’s Berries

Sarah Norman

Superberries

The Body Book Review

I finally finished The Body Book. It was such a great book and I am so happy I picked it up! Now, I know what you are thinking … “another diet book, another exercise regimen, etc., etc.” Nope! Not the case. It is none of that. It is basically a users manual to your body. It is a book that breaks down how your body works and why your body works the way it does. Yes, there are some suggestions of foods to eat, exercises to do, but it’s not all about that.

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I will be honest, this book is pretty much anatomy class all over again, BUT it’s so much more interesting this time around. I promise 🙂 Maybe it was more interesting and the information stuck with me more, because I am actually interested. Or maybe because I’m not thinking about passing notes in class and what I am doing on Friday night 🙂 Also, it helps that the book was written by Cameron Diaz, not another textbook author. It’s real life explanation. A lot of the information you read, you already know, but it’s explained to you, so you UNDERSTAND.

I love how this book was broken down. The first section was all about nutrition …

  1. Water intake! I just started keeping a 16 oz mason jar of room temperature water in my bathroom and chug it every morning when I wake up, BEFORE I do anything else. It’s amazing how much this makes a difference.
  2. Sugar … it’s bad duh! But, why is it so bad?
  3. Carbs are NOT bad! As long as you are eating good carbs.
  4. Microbiome. Sounds boring? But, so interesting!

The second section is about fitness! You are thinking … “yes, I know, I need to workout more. OKAY!” Nope. There is more to it 🙂

  1. The history of why going to the gym and planning for your workout has become a much needed priority today.
  2. The evolution of technology … CRAZY to see how technology has affected our movement!
  3. What happens when you do NOT move.
  4. “Energy In, Energy Out” very interesting topic! Energy = LIFE!
  5. Break down of bones, muscles, and system functions.
  6. Sleep is so important. All technology off! I sleep with a mask now!

The third and final section is about mind! Okay, so you can read this entire book, understand, and agree with everything that is written in it. BUT nothing will change if you don’t DO something. Put your MIND to it!

  1. Connect body and mind
  2. Realize your body is NOT the same as the person next to you. LISTEN to your body!
  3. Break the habits … practice, practice!
  4. “Nothing’s For Free” … discipline!
  5. Plan!

Cameron Diaz says this in the book … we are a machine. You would not let your car go months and months without an oil change would you? Or if you do, is it still functioning correctly? We function at our bests when we eat the right foods to give us energy, drink enough water, and keep moving. If we lay on the couch for days and eat cake and potato chips for days, our machine slowly breaks down over time.

The year is coming to an end and I know the most popular New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight, be healthy, etc. THIS book will help you keep your resolution. Of course, I cannot promise it will help you keep it, because ONLY YOU can make that change. This book will help you in the right direction.

 

Friday Randoms

It’s Friday and I just have to share with you some random things, I’ve discovered this week, and have fallen in love with!

1. Crane Humidifiers

Sunday night into Monday was a tough night for Monte. He was very congested and he slept like crap. I heard about these Crane humidifiers last year, but never brought myself to purchase one. We had a basic Vicks one, that I thought, did the job just fine. Boy was I wrong! Monday I went out and purchased this adorable owl humidifier and Monte slept so much better that night. It uses cool mist and increases moisture in the air for easier breathing. Monte also enjoyed that it was an owl 🙂 I bought mine at Babies R Us and it was 20% off. Great buy!

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2. Green Grounds Cafe

I finally checked out this little gem in Valley Junction. I have heard lots of people talk about this small coffee shop, but never made a stop. I am so happy I finally did! They have awesome lattes (I tried the White Chocolate Raspberry) and delicious, not so good for you scones (I tried the apple cinnamon). They also offer wraps, sandwiches, salads, muffins, and breakfast. They have unique gifts from local artists and also carry Young Living products and I love Young Living Essential Oils. It’s a very large cafe where you could meet others for a meeting or just to hang out. Definitely check it out and support a local business!

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3. “Disconnect to Connect”

I updated my vision board this week and came across this quote. I will admit, I have an addiction to Facebook, Instagram, checking my e-mail, etc. I have an iPhone and all of these things are easily at my finger tips and so easy to look at. I’ve decided I need to limit my time on the phone. Each day will be a bit different, depending on what is going on. Monday night was my first night. I put my phone down, left it in another room from 5 pm – 9:45 pm (I checked it right before bed). Since I did this I enjoyed some quality time with my family and actually focused on them. I also read almost half a book! And I’ve been complaining I don’t have time to read? REALLY?!? 

I challenge you all to do the same. You don’t even realize how much time you spend on your phone. I always said to my self “I will just check my e-mail quick” “Did someone post something on Facebook? I will check real quick”, etc. Those “quick” checks add up to many minutes you are missing out on your family and/or reading a great book!

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4. The Body Book

Above I mentioned I read half a book in one night … it was The Body Book by Cameron Diaz. I’ve heard good things about this book and decided to pick it up. I absolutely love it! This is a not a diet book and not a workout regimen. It doesn’t tell you, you need to do this and this; to look amazing. It basically explains how YOUR own body works and how to LOVE the body you have been given. Right now, I am in the section on nutrition. It’s amazing how much I have learned, about the food I put in my body and what my body NEEDS to survive and work at its best. Of course, I know too much sugar is bad for you and you need to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, but this book explains WHY. I think it’s easier if you understand WHY and how things work, it’s easier to follow through. When I finish this book I will definitely share my thoughts and favorite things I gained from reading The Body Book.

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What are some new or different things you have come across this week?

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Cold and flu season is just around the corner or in some places has already  hit!

I hate being sick (I know I am not the only one), but I also hate seeing Monte sick. Having sick kids is no fun! It’s especially hard when they cannot really communicate what the problem is, but you just know there is an issue.

I am not a fan of the flu shot, which I will not get into details and a debate about, but I do not find the flu shot worth it.

I believe to stay healthy we need to do more natural things like live a healthy lifestyle! Yes, I know it’s hard this time of year. We start off with Halloween, loads of candy. Then comes Thanksgiving where we fill our bellies so full we cannot move. Then comes the Holiday season with baked goods, candy, sugar, more sugar and more baked goods! Of course, it’s also cold, dark and dreary outside. No one wants to get up and move and we all want comfort food.

We need to remember that what we eat fuels our body, so having these not so healthy items every once in awhile is okay, but we need to make sure we eat plenty of fruits, veggies, good fats, proteins, etc. We also need to get up and MOVE! If we exercise we will just feel better and it will allow us to make healthier choices.

I saw this picture posted on Facebook and it pretty much sums it up! LOVE IT!

Anyways, where I was going with this post is Elderberry Syrup! Have you ever heard of it?! I had not heard of it until recently and I am super excited about it!

This is something you can take as prevention from getting a cold or flu. It’s also something to have on hand when you are sick.

There are recipes all over Pinterest. I chose to follow this recipe. Here is what I did …

  • Place 1/2 cup elderberries, 3 cups distilled water, 1 cinnamon sticks, and 1/2 Tablespoons in pot and bring to boil.
  • Once boiling, turn down heat and let simmer 20-30 minutes
  • Take off burner and let cool
  • Strain through cheesecloth and discard the berries and cinnamon stick
  • Add 1 cup – 1 1/2 cup raw local honey. Stir.
  • Store in mason jar, in refrigerator

This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Take 1 Tablespoon a day as preventative. If you feel like you are getting sick or achy, take several times through out the day.

Along with taking Elderberry syrup I also …

1. Take Emergen – C Vitamin C packets! I will take about every 4 hours

2. Remember my post about the essential oil Thieves? Well, here is another awesome use for Thieves! If you have a sore throat, take a spoonful of raw local honey, add a drop of Thieves, and swallow! You can also rub Thieves on your throat. Make sure to use a carrier such as coconut oil.

3. Hot water with raw local honey also helps soothe a sore throat!

 

What are your favorite remedies to fight off cold and flu symptoms?