How’s your summer going?
If it’s anything like mine, and so many people that we talk to, you’ve gotten back in the swing of some of your favorite summer activities. I’ve been mountain biking and hiking, sometimes both in one day! And I also started kayaking. And boy am I sore — legs, arms, you name it. Hello muscles I haven’t used in a while!
As you know, we hired an acupuncture associate (more on Jasmin below) and she joined our practice a few weeks ago. Leading up to that I was working extra (running a hiring process and getting ready for Jasmin to start) and barely exercising. That’s how it goes sometimes. There are times you are going to work more and exercise less. It’s just part of the ebb and flow of life. I always encourage aiming for harmony in life–things are not always going to balance evenly–and listening to how you can partner with life.
So a few weeks ago while I was working on the weekend, I suddenly knew it was time to get back on the bike. I was tired from all that I was doing and yet I suddenly said to myself “I’m packing up at 5 and going riding.” When I started the ride I was dragging a bit, but not surprisingly when I ended the ride I had more energy. I was smart enough to go for a short ride and the next day I was glad. My muscles and my butt thanked me — hello bike seat!
Invigorated from my biking, I decided to do some hiking with friends too. And then I got motivated to get out in our new kayak with my husband. Hello more muscles I haven’t used lately!
This kind of burst of activity is common in summer. We tend to think it’s because there is better weather, but Chinese Medicine thinks it’s also because the fire element of summer is moving us into action and increasing our enjoyment of socializing. We are microcosms of the macrocosm after all.
But if you’re anything like me you need to take care to harmonize the summer fire coming through you so you don’t end up in pain, dehydrated, and exhausted. I want to be able to keep biking AND be able to work. Since I use my body at work I can’t let myself get run down–no one wants to see an acupuncturist who’s arms feel heavy and sore. Here’s what I do to keep myself enjoying summer. With these self care tools on board I’ve been able to keep working with ease and riding after work and on the weekends:
- Acupuncture for Aches, Pains, Injuries: It’s probably no surprise that acupuncture is my go-to recovery strategy so I can keep doing all my favorite activities. Acupuncture is great at reducing inflammation, swelling, and pain from using your body in new ways or pushing it to new levels. Acupuncture is also great at treating more acute injuries like sprains, strains, and bruises–we’ve been treating several of those in summer warriors lately. Most people get fast relief from acute pain and injuries in 1-3 treatments. If it’s a flare up of something more chronic it may take a series of treatments over a couple of weeks. Either way I’m sure you’ll get back to doing what you love faster and with more ease with acupuncture on your side.
- Quick Relief With Creams, Liniments, Patches: I have a natural first aid kit to treat any aches and pains fast. Because I need to use my body at work, I can’t let my body slow me down. I use Evil Bone Water Liniment for bones and joints, Rapid Pain Relief Balm for muscles, and Herbal Pain Patches for stubborn pains. And we just got some of the original Traumeel in case you need something that doesn’t smell like herbs. If you want to add some Chinese Medicine extra punch to your topicals for pain relief, apply some heat on top. Chinese Medicine says heat heat heat for moving circulation, clearing out inflammation, and bringing in healing nutrients. If you like cold do 3 min hot, 20 seconds cold, at least 3 times ending on cold. This acts like a bike pump and flushes things out really well.
- Hydration: Drinking water is one of the best ways to support your body and all that it does for you. I recommend you drink between 1/2 your body weight in ounces –PLUS– 80 ounces of water a day. Because most of us are not drinking natural spring water I recommend adding electrolytes to some of your water each day. I like to get a plain salt electrolyte that doesn’t have sugar or flavor added, but the best electrolyte is one you are going to drink so find something that’s doable for you. When I drink electrolytes I sleep better, my muscles feel better, and my head feels more clear.
- Magnesium: It’s a joke among natural healthcare practitioners that if you don’t know what to do, recommend magnesium. That’s because it’s an essential nutrient for so many functions in our body, it’s depleted by stress, and it’s hard to get enough in our food, so most of us are running around deficient. Add to that the fact that it’s hard to determine if you are deficient–the usual blood serum magnesium test is not helpful because the bulk of your magnesium doesn’t hang out in your blood. So Magnesium is one of the only supplements I think most people feel a true benefit from. You can think of it as the relaxing mineral to calm down anything tight and twitchy–including your mood. I used it to calm down my spasming calf so I could get back on the bike after a hike. And I often take it before bed to support good sleep. For those that find that magnesium is tough on their digestive system there are several forms, and we can help you find one that can work for you.
- Relaxation: Don’t forget to take some time to quiet down and reflect among all the summer fun. If we truly relax (not the still on your phone multitasking kind of relaxing) it doesn’t take long to start the relaxation response that’s counter to the stress response. The relaxation response increases blood flow, slows your breathing, relaxes muscles, reduces blood pressure, releases “feel good” chemicals, clears up inflammation, and lets your body do repair work. A lot of people resist the idea of quieting down so make it fun. Spend some time stretching before you get out of bed, have a cup of tea in your yard in the morning, turn dishwashing into a ritual where you notice the sacred in every day activities, do some even breathing for a few minutes when you get home or stop working if you’re working from home. I love having a vegetable garden because it’s a great reminder to take a break from the hustle and bustle and appreciate the miracle of nature.
The experiment: So now it’s time to take on some of these ideas like an experiment and see if they help you keep riding the wave of summer fire with more ease and enjoyment. Which ones seem easy, fun, doable for you in the next 2 weeks? Try them out and see how you feel.
Get in touch if you want some acupuncture for your aches, pains, or other injuries so you can get back in the game. It’s also one of the best ways I know to quiet down and start the relaxation response for rest and repair. Existing patients can use our online booking system to make an appointment. New patients need to reach out by phone or email since we have so much information to share to make your first appointment relaxing.
Get your water bottles lined up and see how many days you can stay well hydrated and how good you feel!
Reach out if you want help finding the best topicals, electrolytes, or magnesium for you.
Let us know how it goes!
Fun Facts About Jasmin Jones, LAcJasmin joined our practice a few weeks ago and the most common question we get about her is where is she from? Jasmin moved to California from Alaska where she had a private practice for 8 years. She made her way to Sonoma County after some time in Humboldt (hello more sunshine!) studying for and passing the California Acupuncture Licensing Exam. She’s traveled all over the world and even practiced acupuncture in Nepal and on a cruise ship in Europe. She’s been practicing acupuncture since 2008 and Sonoma County is lucky to have her here!
Here’s what one of her patients had to say about her:
“I was considering surgery for an old lingering shoulder injury. I tried acupuncture with Jasmin as one last effort before surgery and it WORKED! I have no more pain, and my shoulder works fine a year later. Thanks.” ~C Evens
There’s more info in her bio on our website.
Here’s to Summer Fire in Harmony With Relaxation,
Christina and Team Thrive