Celebrate the Winter Solstice

Saturday the 21st of December is the shortest day of the year, the longest night. It is a time when the deep energy of the water element is at its height. Some of the gifts of the water element include deep listening, wisdom and courage. Here are some simple ways to attune yourself with these gifts on this very powerful day.

Have a small solstice party. Bring in some décor like fir branches, pinecones and dried berries to fill your space with natural elements. Solstice celebrations don’t need to be complicated; a solstice ritual can be as simple as sharing a potluck meal and having your guests share a meaningful or transformative story from the previous year. Give the gift of your full listening as they share and allow your own story to be heard and received by your guests.

Set intentions for the upcoming year. Spend some time reflecting on the year that has passed and contemplate what you wish to manifest for the upcoming year. Light a single candle for each intention. With each wish, the room grows brighter — a symbol of the light returning.

Take an ‘energy’ fast. Before the invention of electricity, this season was a very different experience…surviving through the long cold days of winter was not a given. Around sunset, make a point to turn off the television, put the electronic devices away, and turn off the lights. Light candles or a fire and see what shows up when you are able to just be with yourself and your thoughts.

The solstice has been celebrated by cultures across the globe for more than 6,000 years. It signifies the return of light and with it, life. No matter how you choose to spend the day, we wish you an abundance of light, love and happiness in the year ahead.

 

Acupuncture for Headache Relief: A Case Study

by Leslie Lloyd, L.Ac.

If you suffer migraines or chronic headaches, there is hope without resorting to prescription drugs or over the counter medications which can have severe side effects. Light sensitivity, occipital pain, neck tension, and pressure behind the eyes can all be a part of a headache episode. For thousands of years, Chinese medicine has been treating these symptoms with great success. In our practice, headaches are one of the top five reasons clients begin acupuncture treatment. We have successfully eliminated these symptoms entirely for some people and have greatly reduced the intensity and frequency of them for others. I would like to share a recent case study.

A 30 year old woman had been suffering from severe headaches, which had been diagnosed as migraines, since age 11. She would experience anywhere from 2 to 3 headaches a week which lasted 1 to 3 days and were on a pain scale from 6 to 8 out of 10 with 10 being the most intense sensation. She would often need to lock herself in a dark, quiet room, take over the counter pain medication and rest until the headache subsided. She reported a family history of similar type headaches in both her mother and grandmother.

I began treating her on a weekly basis. By the third week, she had gone an entire week without a headache. By week 6, she reported only 1 headache in the past month, which was very mild. It lasted only 1 day and was a 3 on the pain scale. At this point we began to space treatment out to every other week. By week 12, she again reported only 1 very mild headache in the preceding month which occurred right before her menstrual cycle. She didn’t need to take anything for it and it was gone by the next day.

She has continued with treatment on a monthly basis. She still gets a very slight headache right before her period but reports no pain otherwise. She also says that her mood is better with a huge decrease in her anxiety and frustration levels. In addition, her periods have improved, with much less clotting and cramping. This client’s experience is typical of what can happen with regular treatment.

Results like these have prompted some insurance companies to cover acupuncture for the treatment of headaches and migraines. If you or a family member suffers from chronic headaches, know that we can help. To schedule an appointment, click the schedule now button at the top of this page.


 Super Quick Kale with a Kick!

 
--A healthy dish for your decadent dinner this holiday season--

Ingredients:
 
1 bunch of kale - washed, but not fully dried. Stems removed
2 Garlic cloves - fresh, crushed
1/2 Onion or 1 shallot finely chopped
10oz sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Dash of Turmeric powder
Dash of Ginger powder
1/4 tsp of Roasted Red Pepper Flakes - or to taste
Salt and Pepper - to taste
Optional: Handful of dried cranberries, 2 tbsp of crumbled goat cheese
 
Preparation:

In a large skillet, saute onion and mushrooms in olive oil along with turmeric, ginger, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper over medium heat. Once onions are transparent and mushrooms are dark, reduce heat to med/low, add crushed garlic and combine. This should take less than five minutes.

Tear or chop kale into palm-sized pieces or smaller and add to saucepan by the handful. Let sit and steam for about 1 minute and then start to combine with the contents on the bottom of the pan for another minute or so. Once kale has wilted, gotten darker in color, and softer in texture, reduce heat to low and simmer for another minute.

Remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Add goat cheese and/or cranberries and combine for a more holiday color or creamier flavor.

 

Tips for a Healthier Holiday Season

Next week begins the season of holiday hubbub that probably won’t stop until the new year. For most of us, we look forward to celebrating with our friends and loved ones. Unfortunately, these celebrations often revolve around libations and foods that are loaded with carbs, sugar and fat. All of the good nourishing energy we receive from spending time with our families and friends can be hampered by overindulging in sweets and drinks that leave us filling tired and depleted.

Here are some tips to help you stay mindful of your health this time of year and still enjoy the gifts of the season:

  1. When attending a potluck meal, opt to bring a healthier dish. Cooking magazine sites like www.healthyliving.com or www.eatingwell.com have healthier versions of your holiday favorites. At least you know if you bring a healthy dish, there is one thing you can enjoy without feeling guilty.
  2. Take time out to savor your meal. At parties and events, we are often in conversation and on the move while consuming our food. Make a point to take your plate and sit down somewhere to really enjoy the many offerings of the seasons. Be present to each bite, feel the textures, notice the flavors and slow down . Odds are you will eat less and enjoy your meal more when engaging in mindful eating.
  3. Drink plenty of water! Alcohol can be a great accompaniment to a holiday festivity when consumed in moderation. While it can relax us, it also dehydrates us especially this time of year. Drinking lots of water before, during and after parties, will minimize any over indulgence and its’ after-effects.
  4. Remember the true reasons for the holiday season. Whichever holidays you celebrate this time of year, take time to connect with the spiritual aspects of them. Nourishing our spirit is just as important as nourishing our bodies. If you are hosting an event, don’t be afraid to include a moment to acknowledge your beliefs and to remind yourself and your guests why you are gathered together. It can set the tone for a more meaningful experience.