Throughout our lives we latch onto habits that we may perceive as innocent. But what happens if that innocent habit accumulates into a negative? This can be as simple slouching at work or staring at a screen till 2AM. Because of this we decided to bring in the big brains! We had a little chat with acupuncturist extraordinaire, Lana Stacy! Keep reading so she can teach you proper digestive health and self-care!
A habit, that some may say is specific to the Northeast, is having iced
drinks in the winter. Why is this bad for us?
From the Chinese Medicine perspective, iced or very cold drinks
are hard on both the stomach and digestion. If you think of your
stomach as an oven, taking in cold food and drink requires more
effort by the stomach to digest it. Cold also tends to make
musculature contract, slowing peristalsis and digestion. This then
leads to constipation, bloating, abdominal discomfort, and other
digestive issues. Stick to hot, warm, or room temperature drinks,
especially in the winter!
How do we combat difficult digestion?
The best way to help digestion, as mentioned previously, is to eat
warm, cooked foods. This is easier on the stomach to digest and
does not slow down the process. It’s a great idea to also ‘eat with
the seasons.’ For the winter, heavier foods such as protein
(specifically red meat) and fats are important to nourish the body
through the cold season. Finally, taking something such as bitters
before and after eating a meal that typically upsets your stomach
will help ease any symptoms.
Additionally, eating at regular intervals is super important. In
Chinese medicine, the spleen is the main organ that controls
digestion and transformation of nutrients. And the spleen likes
consistency! Eating meals at regular times each day promotes
healthy blood sugar levels and promotes healthy digestion.
If someone can’t afford to get acupuncture, what tactics can one use in
order to combat stress and anxiety this holiday season?
SLEEP!!! Sleep is seriously the best medicine for everything. A lot
of us get run down right before the holidays, and reduced hours of
sleep, especially while the nights are longer, exacerbate feelings of
stress and anxiety. Try to get an extra hour or 2 than you normally
would. Afternoon naps are also a great way to let the body
recharge emotionally and physically.
Taking time for yourself. Say no to plans when you don’t feel up to
it and build in ‘alone’ time amongst all of the family and friend
gatherings for the holidays. I think being around lots of family can
be triggering for a lot of people, and setting up healthy boundaries
ahead of time will save you a lot of turmoil.
Can we use acupuncture points at home to help with digestion?
Yes! You can do acupressure on yourself. I would google the
points: CV6, CV12, and Stomach 25. Applying pressure to these
points in a clockwise directions for 2-3 minutes each promotes
smooth digestion, regulates bowel movements, and reduces post-
holiday feast bloat.
What self-care practices have helped you throughout the years that have
also worked for others?
THERAPY! Around half the people in my life see my therapist haha
I have referred so many people to him! Shoutout Eric <3 ! A lot of
people are adverse to therapy because they think it is only for when
things are really bad, but I find that going before it gets to that point
really prevents things from spiraling. Getting to the bottom of your
trauma and triggers, finding patterns, and leaning ways to cope with
them is life-changing. It has helped me to work on issues in my
relationship, my friendships, and family. I learned how to express
myself more effectively, communicate my needs, and set healthy
boundaries.Truly I cannot recommend therapy enough to people.
Another tip is meditation, I try to go for just 10 minutes a day and I
use an app called Waking Up. Sam Harris’s voice is very soothing
and he has a background in neuropsychology and philosophy.
Having a morning routine. For me, this sets the intention for the
day. The simple things such as brushing my teeth, doing my
skincare routine, and making myself breakfast set the tone for me
to have a day of structure and peace.
How can people find you so that they can start their acupuncture journey!