Not only are we well into winter with temperatures dropping and our family, friends and colleagues all coughing and sneezing around us, but now we are all getting even busier than usual with Christmas shopping to do and various festive gatherings to attend. Stress levels tend to go up during this period, healthy eating and exercise can get neglected as we over-indulge, and our health can start to suffer as our liver and digestion takes a battering.
So how do we stay healthy and strong at this time of year whilst still enjoying ourselves?
In this post I have put together 10 simple and easy to follow tips to help keep you in tip top health over the festive period:
1) Eat a good breakfast - According to Chinese Medicine you qi (Chi =energy) flows through your body in a circuit being strongest in a different organ system/ part of the body at different times of the day. The organs of digestion are considered to be most energised and thus strongest between the hours of 7am and 9am - there is a reason people say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your breakfast should contain plenty of protein and good fats whether you eat animal products or not in order to help maintain stable blood sugar throughout the day. Mushrooms are a great source of B vitamins essential for good energy and if you have over indulged the night before try a smoothie made with spinach, (high in folate for cellular repair), and potassium rich kiwi or banana to help replace electrolytes lost through the diuretic effects of alcohol.
2) Exercise in the morning- If you are used to working out after work try switching your exercise routine to the morning so you don't end up neglecting your body whilst you are busy partying. In Chinese medicine we say that the Liver likes to move and so if you didn't have time to exercise in the morning be sure to get up and dance at the Christmas Party to help your body cope with any unhealthy foods or drinks you might be consuming. Exercise is also known to aid digestion and so after you have enjoyed your Christmas Lunch I always recommend going for a 20-30min walk to help your body deal with all the delicious food you have just eaten.
3) Eat Mindfully - It can be very tempting to mindlessly graze at a Christmas buffet and before you know it you have overeaten. I recommend that before you dig in you have a good look at the buffet or dinner being offered and make sure to pick foods high in protein as well as lots of vegetables to fill you up. Also avoid hanging around by the buffet so you are not tempted to keep picking up food when you are already full. If you are going to a party where there is going to be a buffet try having some healthy food and snacks before you go so that you are
sated, and therefore, not tempted to overeat when you are there.
4) Avoid fried and greasy foods - According to Chinese Medicine these foods overwhelm the organs of digestion and can make you feel sluggish and bloated. I would recommend therefore, that you keep this in mind when attending festive functions and instead pick foods that are not fried or greasy, such as, lean protein and vegetables for example, carrots to dip in humus rather than a piece of fried meat.
5) Keep hydrated - alternate an alcoholic drink with some water as this will help counter the diuretic effects of alcohol. Lemon water is particularly beneficial to the liver (drunk through a reusable straw to protect the teeth) as it helps to cleanse the liver and the sour taste is associated with the Liver in Chinese Medicine. If you have overindulged the night before some hot water and lemon will help your Liver recover. Dark green, (the colour associated with the Liver in Chinese Medicine), vegetable juice can also help cleanse and support the Liver when you have overindulged.
6) Magnesium - Magnesium baths can be a great way to help detoxify the body and heal aching muscles after too much dancing. If you can't get organic magnesium bath flakes or you do not have a bath try taking a high quality organic magnesium supplement instead.
7) Oil of Oregano - A natural antiviral and antibiotic this can help fend off colds and flu bugs at this time of year. If you find that your immune system is a bit low I also recommend booking in for a Herb consultation as Chinese Medicine is all about prevention, as well as treating disease, and Chinese Herbs are excellent at eliminating colds and flu, as well as strengthening the immune system.
8) Reishi Mushrooms - are great at reducing inflammation in the body excellent after any overindulgence. They also support the liver's detoxifying functions and have been shown to decrease cognitive decline so adding some to your cooking or supplement routine can be very beneficial especially at this time of year.
9) Sleep - It is important that you have a good sleep routine. The Liver in Chinese Medicine is responsible for the smooth flow of qi (Chi- energy) and blood around the body, as well as being one of the body's main detoxifying organs. The Liver likes routine, and so, keeping to the same waking and bedtime hours will help keep your Liver qi flowing smoothly throughout your body and prevent problems with detoxification.
10) Don't stress - Meditation is something I recommend to all my patients as it is such a great stress reliever. Stress levels tend to go up at this time of year with frantic Christmas shopping, travelling to relatives, and we all have that one relative that just knows how to push our buttons :) Meditation then can help you to de-stress and deal with such situations more calmly. The easiest way to meditate if this is new to you or something you find difficult is to listen to a guided meditation, (there are many free ones online). I also offer one to one meditation sessions for anyone wanting to learn more and find a way to integrate this into their daily routine, (also a great Christmas gift).
Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, Reiki and Meditation can also all help you stay healthy this winter and if you book in before 22nd December 2017 you will get £10 off your appointment fee - please quote 'Christmas10' at booking - Book Now 0207 724 4004.
In Chinese Medicine winter is seen as the season of yin, when the energy of the earth retreats inwards to rest. You can see this all around you in nature with both plants and animals entering a hibernation phase. So what does this mean for you and your health?
There is a natural ebb and flow between the yin (still and nourishing), and yang (moving and growing) aspects of our energy as we move through the year and the seasons. At this time of year our yin energy should be slightly more dominant, but not in excess as your energy should always be in balance. If your yin energy is in excess you may find yourself feeling more sluggish, tired and low than normal. In contrast if your yang energy is in excess going against the flow of the seasons you may find you are suffering from symptoms of dryness such as aching joints, coughs and dehydrated skin. So how can you keep your energy in balance and thus keep yourself healthy this winter?
In Chinese medicine one of the pillars of health is to live in tune with the seasons, and in winter this means getting more rest ideally in a meditative way, as well as, nourishing our bodies with seasonal produce. At this time of year it is particularly important to eat foods that nourish and support our lungs, (our first line of defence against illness), these include foods such as broccoli, pears, garlic, flaxseed, mustard greens, sweet potato and turnip. One should focus on cooking methods that add warmth and qi (energy) to the food we eat such as stews and soups, and focus less on cooler raw foods. At this time of year of rest the energy of your stomach is more sluggish and so warm cooked foods are much better for your qi and easier to assimilate than cold raw foods.
What else can you do?
-Meditate daily for about 20mins if you can
-Practise meditative exercises such as yoga or tai chi
-Wrap up warm - wear a scarf - the lungs are considered the delicate organ in Chinese Medicine so you must keep them warm in winter
-Keep the feet covered - no walking around on cold floors with nothing on your feet
- Breathe deeply - help strengthen the lungs by practising some deep breathing techniques daily
- Book in for a seasonal attunement to get your energy into balance for the winter season.
Seasonal Attunement Now Only £90 (was £125) - BOOK TODAY 0207 724 4004
Facial Acupuncture has been used for centuries in China to preserve a youthful and vibrant complexion. Traditionally used by Emperors’ concubines, this powerful ancient technique is now extremely popular in the west where it has been adapted to suit the needs of the modern patient. It is mainly used now as anti-ageing treatment but can also be used to treat a variety of skin conditions. In my clinic, I combine this treatment with only the highest grade of natural and organic skin care products, to also treat conditions such as acne, rosacea, and pigmentation etc.
What happens during a Facial Acupuncture treatment?
Firstly, I will go through your medical history and particular skin concerns with you, as well as using ancient Chinese methods of diagnosis including, pulse, tongue and face analysis etc to assess your overall health. I will then design a treatment plan individual to you.
Facial acupuncture involves an integrated body and facial treatment. Facial cleansing, body and facial needles, gentle facial acupressure and sculpting facial massage all form an integral part of the treatment, and may be supported by a wide variety of other techniques, including reiki, tui-na, cupping, and crystal skin rollering. Advice on diet, lifestyle, and skincare are often recommended as part of a complete health and beauty programme.
"Facial massage forms a core part of all of my facial treatments as this aids with detoxification and oxygenation of the skin. My techniques that I have perfected over the past 15 years are also designed to help lift, tone and plump the skin bringing out its natural youthful radiance. I know what healthy skin feels like and with every facial that is always what I aim to feel under my fingers as I finish your treatment. I am always adapting my treatments as I go in tune with how the skin is responding in order to get that end result. "
So what are the benefits of Facial Acupuncture?
Benefits may include, but are not limited to:
§ Softening of fine lines and wrinkles
§ More even skin tone
§ Reduced appearance of pigmentation and scarring
§ Softer more hydrated skin
§ Reduced inflammation of the skin
§ Increased healing of spots and blemishes
§ Improved lymphatic drainage in the face including an improvement in puffiness and dark circles
§ Balancing hormonal reactions in the skin
§ Increased dermal contraction leading to firmer skin and muscle tone
§ Fewer enlarged pores
§ Because this treatment also uses body acupuncture to address any underlying imbalances that are affecting the skin you may also notice improvements to your overall health and well-being as a result.
Does it hurt?
You may feel a small pin prick sensation when the needles are inserted but this quickly passes, whilst you might think that having needles in your face would be an unpleasant experience, most of my patients are actually so relaxed during the treatment that they fall asleep.
What are people saying about my facial acupuncture treatments?
"Laura Jones...is a talented and gentle acupuncturist, facialist and reiki healer...there is love and commitment in the way Laura works and a little bit of magic too.. And do you know what? It works...People keep saying to me I look younger."
"I loved it. It was incredibly relaxing - I even had a nap at one point. And it did make my skin glow – the girls in the office were convinced that I was wearing foundation the next morning when I was, in fact, make-up free!"
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‘My skin looked really glowy in a very natural way after my appointment and I went away feeling totally relaxed. Speaking for themselves, the results really lasted and weren’t just the effect of temporary pluming creams. Combined with the health tips and diet advice that I received post treatment, I felt really inspired to re-examine my approach to a healthy lifestyle and would definitely invest in a follow up session.’
To Read the full article please follow the link below:
Book In Today and get £20off your first treatment – 0207 724 4004
(Quote Facial20 at booking - new patients only, terms and condition apply).
Please Note: Facial Acupuncture may be contraindicated for certain medical conditions, and we highly recommend that those with allergies or sensitivities are patch tested at least 48 hours prior to treatment. We kindly ask that you inform us in advance of any relevant health conditions, infections, recent cosmetic procedures, surgeries, and allergies etc so that we can discuss treatment options with you prior to your appointment to avoid disappointment on the day.
Laura Jones is an expert in Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Beauty and Holisitic Therapies with nearly 20 years experience.