Nutrition and Acupuncture

If you have recently started to see an acupuncturist, you will find that there are many people who are joining you in the practice. As your begin in a new journey to better health, you will start gaining healthful momentum over time and examine other areas of improvement to bolster your acupuncture treatments and other therapies. The simplest routines one can perform on regularly are consumption of nutrient dense and balance meals, exercising appropriately for your current state of health, and getting regular sleep, rest, relaxation.

Before changing your diet completely, it would be wise to speak with a medical professional and your primary care physician about your current state of health to ensure optimal results. Your doctor will likely perform a comprehensive check-up with blood work and make sure there are no major red flags. He or she may provide list of restrictions or provide alternative foods or modification according to your health. Share these results with your acupuncturist. They will help you add specific foods with medicinal properties or health benefits. Always start small and easy—change is difficult, and difficulty often leads to poor results or inconsistency or noncompliance. Slow and steady wins the race. If change is slow and difficult, your acupuncturist may also recommend herbal supplements tailored to your needs. It is important that you mention your allergies and other dietary restriction to your practitioner before taking anything.

With modified diet, herbal supplements, and acupuncture, your digestion will improve and as a result sleep and energy level will also likely benefit as well. This is why it is very important to do the simplest things in a correct manner. Doing so produces cumulative benefits. It all starts with picking quality ingredients, cooking with balance and with proper methods, and enjoying your meals in a peaceful and enjoyable environment.

To ensure optimal absorption and extraction of nutrients from food, chew thoroughly and slowly. Take the time to enjoy your meals and give your body an opportunity to properly digest. Eating in a peaceful and social environment can help self-regulate portions and help you feel satiated. Eating while stressed or distracted like while working, watching YouTube, or television can undo our mindful eating habits.

Generally speaking, we can benefit from cooking our food. While salads are promoted as healthy or "clean eating", our practitioners promote cooked food. Bioavailability of important nutrients are unlocked when we apply heat to food. Scientific American and medical journals have reviewed studies that state benefits cooking vs. raw vegetables. Eastern medicine generally agree with this idea, especially if a patient tends to have gastrointestinal weakness, bloating sensation, and tends to feel cold easily. 

Chronic Constipation

When you talk to your acupuncture practitioner, open up the discussion and include other seemingly unrelated symptoms that you've been experiencing along with difficult bowel movements and constipation. Diagnosis and treatment plans vary depending on pattern of disease that is specific to you. Etiologies of constipation are numerous and treatment plan in eastern medicine can be vastly different from one to another.

Chronic constipation is usually a deficient pattern in Traditional Chinese Medicine whereas acute constipation is more likely to be considered excess pattern. Deficient pattern means that a person's overall health constitution or certain biological system function (in this case, GI tract) has over time fatigued. Excess pattern usually involves pathogenic factors such as inflammation, bacterial infection, or lifestyle changes that causes mental-emotional and/ or physical stress.

In eastern medicine, a deficient constitution or a chronic condition, is a sign of weakening function. Instead of treating the patient's symptom, a skill practitioner will always educate his patient to first stop worsening the condition before treating. What good is a treatment if it will happen again? Some conventional therapies to alleviate chronic constipation include medicine, laxatives, dietary fiber, and nutritional supplementation (fibrous vegetables). Your acupuncturist will likely encourage you to keep eating your vegetables, but with one subtle important distinction. Cook or blanch your vegetables whenever you can instead of eating all your fresh vegetables in salads. But why?

A weakening GI function does not need more work than it can handle. By cooking vegetables (not excessively--like deep frying) and eating moderate portions, the body is better able to process fibrous vegetables and absorb nutrients efficiently. Marketing and juice companies have persuaded us to join the raw food movement, but this is not ideal for deficient patients. In fact, I would argue that it is not ideal for any person. Patients tend to benefit a great deal for such a small change in how they prepare their meals.

Your trusted acupuncture professional will keep track of your progress and help your body restore its functions. It is important to follow up and maintain as chronic issues tend to happen over time and usually require time, effort and patience to recover.