Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What Do I Do With This Kid? – Tips for frazzled holiday parents

With all of the other current stresses: your job, the economy, the in-laws, etc. it can seem insurmountable to add to that children who just won’t behave. Then the question becomes, what can I do about it?

What many parents don’t realize is that there is a great deal that can be done with acupuncture and Chinese medicine to help children with behavioral issues. Children are actually easier to treat and quicker to respond than adults. The same conditions acupuncture treats in adults, such as depression, difficulty focusing, insomnia, excessive nightmares, hyperactivity, poor impulse control can also be treated in children. Treatment can at times replace the need for medication or lessen the dosage. (In cases where a child is on medication, the overseeing physician will need to work with the acupuncturist and any other health professionals.)

Treatment for children often involves electro-stimulation with or without needles depending on the child and severity of the condition. Ear acupressure, where tiny magnets are placed on specific points on the ear, diet therapy, and Chinese herbs are also given.

Aside from more serious issues, it is important to remember that children are very sensitive to their environment. All of the stresses you feel they are feeling as well, but with less ability to cope properly. There are a few tricks you can use at home that will remedy more minor behavior issues.

Acupressure, or massaging specific points on the body, is very helpful to calm the mind as well as increase the bond between parent and child. The area between the eyes, what we call "Yin Tang" is very effective to quiet the mind. Simply begin at the bridge of the nose and use slow, firm pressure with your finger and slide up to the hairline. Repeat 3 times. Then place both thumbs between the eyebrows and slowly press out to the temples. Return to the center, but slightly higher than the eyebrows this time, and gently press out to the hairline. Repeat, moving slightly higher each time until you have covered the whole forward. You can finish with a little scalp rub. The key is to have calm energy yourself, and to move slowly and deliberately. You are not only stimulating the acupressure points, you are teaching your child how to stay calm in a stressful situation.

Massaging the feet helps to ground the energy of the body. It is perfect right before bed to promote restful sleep. It is also used for headaches and hyperactivity. Rub the feet using firm, slow pressure. End with Kidney 1, located on the sole of the foot. It is in the center of the foot, just under the ball of the foot (I will send you diagrams of the points). Kidney 1 is the most grounding point on the body and is excellent to calm the energy down when someone is stressed or fearful.

An easy tea to relieve stress is made from rose buds (Mei Gui Hua). Bring a cup and a half of water to a boil. Remove from heat. Put a handful of rose buds in the water, cover and steep for ten minutes. Another easy tea is made from the flowers of the Floss Silk tree (He Huan Hua) which are prevalent in Southern California. Use the same procedure as for the rose buds. These teas are very safe and can be taken as often as needed.

When You Just Can’t Help Yourself - Home Tips to Combat Holiday Overeating

Right in the middle of the time when we are busy with our jobs, kids, and families, and with the current additional economic stress, come the barrage of holiday parties where we have to look great and be at our best. At the most stressful time of year you will be constantly tested, by the extra cookies and goodies that miraculously appear at the office to the never-ending holiday parties chocked full of every sinful food imaginable. Is it humanly possible to resist?

Combating cravings involves a two pronged approach: short-term fixes to help you get through right now and long-term fixes where you correct the underlying imbalance.

Many of the measures that would curb cravings are not always easy or even possible to follow. For example, getting adequate rest alone will cut out a great deal of overeating scenarios. When we are overworked or over tired our bodies naturally gravitate towards quick fuel sources like ice cream and potato chips. Another commonly quoted tip is to never allow yourself to get really hungry. This is another time when we make poor food choices. Before you go to a party or family get together make sure you are not famished.

So you know all of that, but what do you do if you have young kids and/or a demanding job, or what if you’d love to take the time to get balanced and eat right but you need something that will work for tomorrow night? Thankfully there are a few things you can do.

Make an appointment to see a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist for ear acupressure. Ear acupressure works in a similar way to reflexology in that the ears are a microcosm of the body. Stimulating various tiny points on the ears will affect changes in different parts of the body. Ear acupressure has been studied in depth by Western scientists who have even devised a specific protocol called the NADA protocol used in the treatment of addiction, by both detoxifying the body and inhibiting cravings.

Ear acupressure doesn’t hurt and doesn’t pierce the skin. Tiny seeds or magnets are placed on specific points with clear tape. They will stay there for 3-4 days. Simply massage your ear throughout the day as you remember. The whole appointment takes 10-15 min. and you are on your way. This simple treatment is amazingly powerful and you will find that rather than fighting yourself out of a Christmas cookie you will simply not be interested.

Before you leave you will also want to pick up a bottle of Chinese herbal pills that you acupuncturist will pick out specifically for you. These herbs will start addressing the cause of why you get into trouble. Are you low on energy? Or stressed out? Is your absorption poor? The proper herbs will help resolve this, and being in pill form they are easy to take. A popular formula given at this time of year, for example, is Jia Wei Xiao Yao San. This formula addresses stress, inflammation, digestive weakness, and slight anemia, all common causes of gnawing cravings.

Now these are short-term fixes and will not be enough long-term. Long-term change requires an understanding of why your body is craving certain foods. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, cravings arise from an internal imbalance in the body. Cravings can be divided into 2 categories: cravings for sweets or for salty foods.

Cravings for sweets relates to a weakness in digestion and blood deficiency. An effective acupressure point is St 36. This point strengthens digestion, absorption, and builds the blood. Locate the point just below the knee, just lateral to the shin bone.

Cravings for salty foods indicates Kidney deficiency. A powerful point to strengthen the kidneys is KD 6. This point helps to increase stamina, aids in restful sleep, and smoothes urination. Locate it by feeling just under the medial ankle bone. Feel for a tint hollow that is tender to the touch.

To truly correct this problem you will need to consult a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist who will perform regular acupuncture, suggest the proper herbs, and give a dietary guideline to follow. At first, natural medicine will seem demanding, requiring lifestyle changes and tuning into your own body, with positive results coming more gradually than when taking medication, but you will find that you also will experience no side effects and that changes will be permanent because you took the trouble to fix the problem.