Self Care Sunday - Restorative Yoga

Welcome back to Self Care Sunday. This week let's talk about some restorative yoga. There are many styles and types of yoga, all used for different things. Restorative yoga is a practice more about allowing the body to relax and rest. There is minimal effort put into postures. You take some time setting yourself up in comfort and then relax into it for a few minutes at a time. 

Some of the benefits of restorative yoga are:

  • It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. Turning off the flight or flight response (stress) and tapping into the rest and digestion cycle of the body. This is calming in the mind and physiologically in the body. 
  • Helps create body awareness. Slowing down for a few minutes and noticing the sensations in the body is helpful for the rest of our day. Noticing something like tight shoulders and neck, make us more mindful when we sit down at our desks of our posture.
  • Improves immunity
  • improves respiratory and blood circulation
  • Anyone can do it, nearly anywhere!

The beauty of this weeks self care, is that it can be as short or as long as you would like. 10-15 minutes on a lunch break at work, half an hour before bed or whenever you'd like.  Make sure to schedule this time though. We often have wonderful intentions of doing something and put it off until "tomorrow". So plan your time this week to practice restorative yoga once or twice. 

Tips to get the most out of your practice:

  • Turn off your phone and other distractions.
  • Grab a sweater and/or blanket in case you get cold. 
  • Grab a pillow or two.
  • Find any other comfort items available given the space. Candles, eye covers, bolsters, yoga blocks or straps. 
  • Put together some calming music to listen to. 

You can set a gentle timer to remind you to move after 5 or 10 minutes to the next pose or back to work, in case you fall asleep. Below is a few poses you can try or you can search the internet for a few more. 

After a few poses, end in savasana, by lying on your back without props, take note of how your body feels, taking a few big deep breaths and moving on with your day.

Legs Up The Wall

Legs Up The Wall

Seated Forward Fold

Seated Forward Fold

Morning Brooke

Morning Brooke

Childs Pose

Childs Pose

 

Love, 

Jen

 

Acupuncture and What You Need To Know

Have you ever wondered about acupuncture? I mean maybe you know a little bit about it, like the fact it's people sticking tiny needles in you and what you've seen in movies or from friends. I've heard acupuncture work for so many people I just had to know all about it. What is it exactly and why it works. So I sat down with Andrea Wingrave from Acupuncture Edmonton to learn all about it. 

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) modality that involves the insertion of hair-thin needles into specific points on the body. These points lie on meridians or pathways along which the body’s life-giving energy called Qi (pronounced “Chee”) circulates.  Disease is caused by an imbalance of the normal flow of Qi through these meridians, whether there is too much, too little or it is blocked from flowing altogether.  When the points are stimulated, the Qi flow regains its proper balance and the body begins to heal itself.

How does it work?

Acupuncture is based on the TCM theory that our vital energy (Qi) circulates in our body along defined paths or meridians. When this flow of Qi is out of balance due to trauma/injury, poor lifestyle, stress or improper diet, acupuncture helps restore the flow and allows your body to heal itself.  Modern science tells us that acupuncture stimulates certain areas of the brain, triggering: hormone production and secretion; inflammation reduction; blood circulation; pain reduction; appetite supression, etc.  There is so much more to learn in this area, you can read more here:

Does it help with stress?

Acupuncture stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is induces a "rest-and-digest" state (the true opposite of the fight-or-flight state).  Patients usually feel very relaxed during and after their treatments.  Some fall asleep with the needles in, others report having a very good night's sleep on treatment days

What are some conditions you see typically or can treat?

  • Headache and Migraine
  • Trigeminal Neuralgias
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Sciatica
  • Jaw Pain
  • Chronic and Acute Low Back Pain
  • Neck and shoulder Pain
  • Hip Pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Knee Pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Sports Injuries and Pains
  • Constipation/Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Gastritis
  • Nausea
  • Sinusitis/Rhinitis
  • Common Cold and Flu
  • Bronchial asthma
  • Premenstrual Syndrome
  • Dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps)
  • Spotting and Excessive Menstrual Bleeding
  • Amenorrhea (Loss of Menstrual Period)
  • Pregnancy Support
  • Impotence
  • Infertility
  • Incontinence
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • MS symptoms
  • Gout

Is acupuncture safe? Will it interfere with current medications?

Acupuncture is completely safe when administered by a Registered Acupuncturist. Acupuncturists are required to use only single-use needles which are disposed of after use. Any mild side effects such as bruising or dizziness is self correcting. Tell your acupuncturist about all the medications and supplements you are taking.  In some cases acupuncture can make your medication work better and/or lessen the side-effects caused by these drugs.   If you have a severe medical condition, or if you're not sure, always talk to your doctor before seeing any paramedical practitioner.

What to expect?

During your first visit I will ask you to sit and chat about your health history; I will ask you additional questions about your ailment(s), general health and lifestyle. You will be asked to show your tongue and I will take your pulse to complete my TCM diagnosis.

Next you will be asked to position yourself on a massage-type table either facing up or down or on your side depending on where the needles will be placed.  While you get settled I will leave the room to wash my hands.

To begin the treatment each point will be swabbed with alcohol then each needle is inserted to the correct depth. The needles used to stimulate acupuncture points are very slender; only the finest quality solid stainless steel, pre-sterilized, single-use, disposable needles are used. They are inserted beneath the skin’s surface into the muscle to a depth appropriate for each point. The sensation from the needle varies – you may feel nothing or you may feel heaviness, a mildly dull ache, a nervy sensation or tingle.

Once all of the needles are in place, you will be left to relax for several minutes (approximately 30). Many people fall asleep during this time since the treatment puts the body into a relaxed state.  When the treatment time has elapsed, the needles will be removed and any other complimentary therapies will be administered as needed. 

Will it hurt?

Getting acupuncture from a Registered Acupuncturist who uses TCM shouldn't hurt.  The odd time, you may feel a tiny poke which means the needle has come in contact with a very small blood vessel. Let your acupuncturist know and a simple re-direction of the needle will rectify this.

What is the cost?

When you see a registered acupuncturist, your first appointment will include a complete assessment during which you discuss your health history and your current complaint(s). This is followed by a full 1 hour treatment.  The initial appointment costs around $100.  Follow up treatments (typically 1 hour) usually cost between $60-80. Some clinics are set up to directly bill your insurance company on your behalf.  Most medium and large sized companies offer health benefits that include between $500 and $1000 that can be spent on acupuncture treatments.

Do you use other modalities other than acupuncture?

Depending on the condition being treated, electro-acupuncture, cupping, gua sha, basic massage, and/or diet therapy may be used.

Tonight I'm heading over to Acupuncture Edmonton for a treatment. I'll be tweeting my experience, but come back next week for a full blog post on how it went!

If you'd like more info on Andrea and her clinic you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram  and her website

Love, 

Jen