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Must Read: 6 Reasons To Consider Acupuncture

Must Read: 6 Reasons To Consider Acupuncture

Science has changed a lot about the way we think and live today in the 21st century. Today, old beliefs and practices have either ceased or been replaced with more practical methods. This is especially true in the field of medicine, where the industry is rapidly thriving with thousands of clinical studies and tests being assessed every year to meet regulations on new medical devices and drugs. These tests must be performed to meet the growing demands of our population and today’s technology. This is why we can have our illnesses and symptoms treated efficiently and effectively.

On the contrary, even though our field of medicine has advanced, there are no guarantees of the perfect treatment. Doctors will recommend or prescribe additional medications or alternative treatments still. These alternative treatments come in a myriad of forms, but one of the oldest and most heavily debated is the ancient Chinese treatment of acupuncture.

Acupuncture began about 2,500 years ago in China, where the practice consisted of puncturing the skin with sharp needle-like devices. These specific areas or points where needles are inserted are believed to mitigate certain symptoms by triggering the brain to release endorphins, our natural painkillers. What’s the reason behind this? Practitioners believe that those specific areas in our body are pathways for creating Qi (pronounced “chee”) energies. With the principles of yin and yang, if a certain area of the body is in pain, it is due to the imbalance of energy in that area. These disruptive energies must be balanced, therefore acupuncture steps in to help balance the energy in the body by allowing a consistent flow of energy throughout the entire body.

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However, ever since its exposure to the western culture, acupuncture has been met with serious contentions and studies to resolve it as a placebo treatment. But, it’s rather difficult to ignore it when millions of Americans have reported to seek acupuncture as a complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatment. It’s also been a topic on the Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Oz shows. Even the U.S. Air Force began teaching “Battlefield Acupuncture” to their physicians in the early 2009. With clinical studies, testimonies, and official recognition by institutes and government agencies, here are a few reasons why acupuncture should be considered a serious form of alternative medicine for the next time that you’re in pain.

1. It is safe and painless

This is one of the most common reasons why many people never seriously consider acupuncture: Needles! But, these aren’t the needles you see at the hospital lab. The needles of acupuncture are specifically designed to be imperceptible and be devoid of any serious pain. They are fine, thin needles that have surprised many patients with the lack of pain. However, if during and after acupuncture you do feel minor pain or bruises, those are common side-effects. If you feel serious pain, then you should find another practitioner who’s more competent.

The use of needles can spread infection if not sterile. When it comes to acupuncture, this should be of no concern because the needles are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The needles are disposable with good manufacturing practices and the single-use standards of sterility.

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2. It is cost effective

One great benefit of seeking acupuncture as an adjunct treatment is the cost, along with the fact that some health insurance companies cover the treatment. If your insurer does not cover or only covers specific parts of the acupuncture treatment, still the overall benefits of seeking acupuncture is cost effective in the long run when it comes to serious chronic diseases. Nationwide, the median cost of acupuncture is $100. Here is a quick guide to the average cost in the U.S.

Acupuncture is considered as an alternative medicine, but you can also prevent ailments by being proactive instead of being reactive. While others seek acupuncture after the recommendation of a general practitioner, some treat themselves regularly as if they’re getting a therapeutic massage. Visiting an acupuncturist and receiving regular treatments can benefit your health in the long run.

3. It embraces new technology

Just because it’s an ancient practice doesn’t mean it can’t adapt with newer technology. There is another newly designed treatment of acupuncture that is called electroacupuncture (EA), but instead of needles just being inserted, it is attached to a device that sends electric currents or pulses into your body. Unlike other electrotherapy practices, EA sends the electricity into the body on the focused area. EA has been shown to be effective with heart disease, hypertension, nausea, and weight gain, though it is not recommended for patients with pacemakers or a history of seizures and epilepsy. The fact that acupuncture is able to adapt with growing technology shows its capability and popularity.

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4. It helps treat stress, anxiety, and depression

A popular reason why acupuncture is recommended is due to the fact that it is a drug-free treatment. There are so many medications that can battle stress, anxiety, and depression, yet those medications will have side-effects which may require additional medications. The other general treatment of these conditions is therapy, which can be a long process.

Studies have shown that people who get regular treatments have felt more relaxed and peaceful during the treatment and afterward. Another study published in the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies in October 2013 — with the intent and purpose to investigate whether acupuncture can improve memory as it also reduces anxiety — had surprising results: students who underwent a 20-minute acupuncture session were found to have less anxiety and better memory immediately afterward than those who didn’t have acupuncture.

Getting acupuncture can also help wean a person off medications, but keep in mind that acupuncture is an adjunct treatment. If the counseling and medications are not working, then consider acupuncture. Although it has been proven to treat depression, be cautious during pregnancy. It is recommended to seek acupuncture after 12 weeks of pregnancy to be on the safe side.

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5. It is recommended as the best alternative painkiller

It has been published that Americans spend billions of dollars for alternative medicines or treatments to reduce pain. In 1999, eight medical centers, including Harvard, Duke, and Stanford, created a study to find the best alternative medicines. The top five choices were produced and the very first recommended treatment was acupuncture.

6. It can help with many common illnesses

Doctors and even acupuncturists will inform you that acupuncture should be a side treatment and not a primary treatment for an illness. Never let an acupuncturist diagnose you. Acupuncture is there as an adjunct treatment to alleviate the symptoms on top of other treatments.

But, the battle between science and acupuncture is ongoing. More studies and research are always being developed. However, regardless of the myths and misinterpretations, acupuncture has shown to have positive effects on numerous diseases, symptoms, and conditions such as: allergies, headaches, nausea, pain, sprains, blood pressure, depression, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Featured photo credit: Tomás Fano via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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