Many days, I understand, it’s hard to get up out of bed just to repeat the daily grind. You’ve done it for so long, and worked so hard, what’s the point anymore?!?! I want you now to take three deep breaths, and if you’ll humor me, please listen to the first 2:15 of the following link before continuing to read this article. I will time you, so I’ll know if you come back to the article ;).
Click here>>Yo-Yo Ma: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
According to Medical News (news-medical.net), a survey on self-care conducted online in May and June 2019 showed “Nearly half of doctors (46%) say patients do not seem very interested in the topic, while a majority of patients (72%) say they are interested in discussing self-care with their health care provider, which includes lifestyle changes, healthy diet, regular exercise, stress management, and other alternatives to conventional medical treatment.” How can this gap between physicians’ impressions and patients’ desires be bridged?
First, we need to answer: What is self-care?
Self-care as defined by Oxford English Dictionary is “The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health.” So, two very important key elements are present in this definition. One, self-care is a practice, implying that the action is done or performed repeatedly. Two, it is done to preserve or improve one’s own health.
Self-care is fun and successful in preserving or improving one’s own health when the action is ultimately chosen by the individual and also when the repeated practice (of the action) is performed. And, even though self-care is for one’s own health, it is not a solo activity. Self-care is best learned first from a teacher or coach with proper technique so that it can be practiced appropriately, and only from disciplined practice of self-care can preservation and improvement of health occur.
We can gain a tremendous amount about learning, practicing, and progressing in self-care from musicians like Yo Yo Ma, and particularly from the Suzuki method of teaching, learning, and performing music.
As Yo Yo Ma mentions after the first piece he plays in the Tiny Desk Concert, he initially learned the piece one measure at a time, practicing and gradually learning more of the piece one day at a time, and doing it daily. He states “so, it’s actually not painful to learn something if you do it incrementally.” I am certain, as a Suzuki Violin teacher, that Yo Yo Ma not only practiced the single measure per day, but reviewed each previous measure, made necessary revisions and added daily to his solid technical and musical foundation. The Suzuki method uses an incremental structure for many music students, by providing a solid foundation.
Self-care is most readily accessible when linking it with the fundamentals of health – Stress, Diet, and Sleep. These three experiences serve as key observation points to provide a distinctly personalized feedback system to practitioners as well as to the patient. In fact, the patients mentioned in The Harris Poll survey above reported “their top self-care practices as getting enough sleep (66%), eating healthy foods (62%), taking care of their mental health (60%), and exercising (59%).” For simplicity we will group mental health and exercising in to the fundamental of stress.
Likewise, the Suzuki method is rooted in fundamentals that include beginning at an early age, learning in small chunks, “mother tongue” learning, repetition, and continuous review of previous repertory. By first learning good posture and instrument set-up before trying to “play” any music, students lay a solid foundation that can then be built upon with simple bow strokes of “Mississippi Stop Stop” and “Down Pony, Up Pony” on the A string and E string. By listening daily to well-performed recordings of their own pieces and other music, daily review of previously learned material, and repetition of current techniques and pieces Suzuki students quickly progress in their instrument and musical ability.
Similarly, self-care techniques must be introduced in a simple, approachable, and functional way. Someone with intense low back pain will likely not be able to go to an advanced yoga class or run a 5K without first modifying their posture, gradually adding small stretches and movements, and incremental strength training.
One of my favorite foundational medicine daily practices is a mindful eating exercise. It beautifully addresses two of our fundamentals in health – both diet and stress. By being truly present with our food in our meals and snacking, we get the time to allow our senses to be incorporated which in turn allows our system to function as intended. For example when we practice mindful eating, grehlin and leptin, the ‘hunger hormones,’ are better regulated as are all of our digestive enzymes; when simply smelling our food, we initiate the release of saliva which contains amylase and lipase (among a host of other microorganisms and nutrients), necessary enzymes for beginning digestion of starches and fats.
If you’ll humor me once again, please pick a small item to eat (i.e., a raisin, a cherry tomato, a dark chocolate truffle) and use it in the following exercise: Mindful Observation
When creating a wellness routine, we will pick things you actually will look forward to trying. Try it for 30 minutes/day, and reflect each day on the successes and challenges. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and learn a new instrument or practice one you’ve already mastered. Although it will likely benefit you to do so, you don’t have to add anything new. You just get to practice the basics everyday, and when you have challenges, simply pay attention to the challenge, investigate where it came from, and gently nudge your body, mind, and/or spirit in the right direction again with the fundamentals. Please come see me for more tips on starting your daily self-care practices and return to WELLNESS!!
The skin is the largest organ in the body and is often a reflection of our systemic health. When we observe how the skin reacts to stressors we can often catch chronic or even potentially serious issues early. The most common issues people face include acne, bug bites, cold sores, eczema, hives, ringworm, rashes, psoriasis and shingles. Many of us suffer from these common skin issues that can range from an inconvenience to something demanding enough to consume or interfere with our daily lives.
At Everspring Health, we’ll look at the health of your skin and any history you might have with a skin condition. Based on your diagnosis, we can make a plan that will seek to reduce symptoms and address any underlying systemic cause. Stress, diet and sleep will be the prime elements of an effective lifestyle focused medical program as well as a specific nutritional program to target the primary symptoms.
We often use therapies such as acupuncture and massage to help address systemic issues and help with the body’s normal system regulation. Since each case is unique, each treatment will be specifically tailored to you and your needs. Dermatological conditions are often the hardest to treat because of the daily commitment needed to support the healing process. We will educate you about these demands but it is important to understand that if these issue have been chronic for sometime it make take some time to appropriate repair the tissue not just eliminate the symptoms.
At Everspring Health, our pursuit of healthy weight involves creating a solid awareness of how stress, diet and sleep influence our body composition. Too often we are made to believe that a healthy body is an extension of healthy weight, when in reality healthy weight is an extension of a healthy body and healthy mind. The people who are credited with the healthiest and longest lives focus on living good and fulfilling lives, they don't chase marketing fads. They eat real food, they relax alone and socialize with friends, they move as a natural part of their day and their weight naturally corresponds with this reality. There is no issue in pursuing healthy weight as a primary goal but the most successful people who pursue this goal embrace the fundamentals of health and build it into who they are and the lifestyle they lead. By creating a foundation of fundamentals it allows us to understand the principles of healthy weight a true reliable resource evolves, one where we can always return to for reliable results. The Everspring Health healthy weight program focuses on awareness in our daily lives, on nourishment of our body and mind, where healthy movement is a natural extension of our day.
The fundamentals begin with awareness. Awareness is focused on three lifestyle factors: stress, diet, and sleep because these three things influence all disease and are primary fundamental principles in the pursuit of healthy body composition. When discussing stress we are looking to reduce inflammatory burden on the body which is demanding on tissues and creates waste products that can interfere with healthy cellular function. As we are able to get waste out of the way, we want to leverage diet to make sure each cell gets the nourishment it needs to optimally function so the body can safely lose weight. Sleep then becomes key time to remove waste from the body and the to make sure the cells and tissues get a change to repair to function at their optimal level.
Once we establish a connection to our body and awareness of how our lifestyle habits influences our body then we seek to understand how movement influences our day. For many, we have the opportunity to move more in our day than we might realize. We should first seek to maximize this opportunity as this fits right into our daily life. From here we can begin to seek other opportunities to move in ways that are both enjoyable and productive. The key here is to seek to move in a way that is sustainable and productive. Too often, our ambitions lead to burnout or injury and our troubled relationship with weight continues.
At Everspring Health we talk about the value of a healthy life and the relationship with a healthy body, mind and spirit. We seek to help you create reasonable health goals and create a lifestyle that results in long-term optimal weight. We use clinical therapies to help improve digestion, regulate metabolism and reduce stress. As movement and exercise plays a more key role, we help you develop a program that will balance workouts with proper rest because that is most productive. We help you develop a personalized dietary plan, which will help you sustain a long term healthy weight and empower you to understand how food influences your life. Ultimately, we create a space where you can be healthy, and then we let your weight adjust to your improved level of health.
Stress is one of the three primary influences of health we seek to address for every program we provide because it plays a role in everyone’s quality of life. Short-term demands of stress can influence how we feel which can influence how we carry ourselves (posture) and can further interfere with how we sleep and eat. Long-term stress can lead to exhaustion and even more substantial experiences with depression and anxiety. At Everspring Health we seek to help you develop and cultivate your mental health program whether it be self directed, lead by us or facilitated by another provider. Many people who come to us don’t feel the need to go to a counselor, but are looking for a space to cultivate a more mindful experience in their daily life, increase energy while seeking long-term relief from the demands that stress imposes on their day. Others come with a clinical diagnosis and treatment plan already in place and we create an integrative program working alongside your current program to support the progress you might already be experiencing.
Creating a balanced, integrative, whole person program begins by examining your past history and along with a series of constitutional diagnostics: some people may have experiences labeled as anxiety that are actually normal despite them not being ideal, some are experiencing discomfort that should not be considered acceptable and others have a little bit of both which often leads to compounding stressors. Integrative diagnostics will help us understand what’s normal for you and what can be improved upon thus leading to a more complete program customized to your needs. We can employ acupuncture and massage, as well as using herbal therapies to help ease stress and get you functioning at peak capacity. We also make sure to examine how your diet and sleep might be affecting your mood because these two components are crucial to a stable, productive mood. With proper diagnosis, patience, and persistence we can help you find long-term solutions to what you’re experiencing and enable you to be in control.
The desire to break undesirable habits varies from person to person and thus the programs for helping one quit must also vary. The cornerstone of any program must include the motivation to actually quit and change one’s lifestyle for the better. In any addiction body chemistry is highly invested in the chemical pathways on which it has been trained over the course of months or even years. To break these chemical pathways one will inevitably be challenged by the body as it will prefer to reinforce the current habit versus deciding to break from these normalized patterns. It is for this reason that having the desire and motivation to quit is really a key component for changing our lifestyle.
The next key component is to make sure the body is well supported to reduce the demands from both the chemical withdrawal as well as the habitual withdrawal. At Everspring Health, we want to know why and how your habit formed and what enables it to remain a part of your daily life. Does it help alleviate stress? Is it something you do with friends? Is there a pattern to when or where your habit is strongest? Understanding how your habits influence your life helps us build a strategy that will be the most successful for you. As mentioned above we need to both break from the body chemistry as well as the mental or emotional connection with the substance. Everspring’s lifestyle, health and healing programs integrate well with any outside program you may be utilizing, including support groups.
Acupuncture, diet and sleep along with herbal therapies can all reduce the intensity and frequency of cravings, and even get rid of them entirely. At the same time we educate you about what the cessation process will be like, and how you can position yourself to be most successful. Ultimately, we help you understand and identify what kind of life you want to create - one that doesn’t need to rely on an addiction - and proceed towards creating that experience. By pursuing what we want it becomes much easier to let go of the things we don’t want.
Our society tends to tell women with discomfort related to PMS or menopause that it is normal and provide little support to help improve the quality of your life. Your body's natural cycles are not something you should have to suffer through, hide from, or feel guilty about; you are not alone and many women experience similar challenges. It is important for you to know that there are very effective therapies available which can reduce and eliminate many issues, such as pain, irregular cycle, mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, dryness, clotting, chronic infections and many other gynecological challenges which can occur at all stages of a woman’s life.
At Everspring Health, we’ll look at your relationship with your body, as well as inquire about your mother or other female relatives’ experience with their reproductive cycles. Based on your diagnosis, we can make a personalized plan that will both reduce symptoms and pursue better health. Therapies, such as acupuncture and massage, can be integrated with appropriate supplements to help create a healthy balance and we target the influence stress, diet and sleep have on your hormone system. Since each woman is unique, each treatment will be specifically tailored to you and your needs. Solutions are often more accessible than you might think, though it is important to note that due to the nature of the reproductive system it can take time to regulate. We work with you to create a lifestyle that further dissolves the pain and discomfort associated with your reproductive cycle. Ultimately we help you pursue a healthy rhythmic cycle and enhance your quality of life by balancing your body and providing peace of mind.
Digestive issues cost the US $51 billion a year and are some of the most common challenges individuals face on a daily basis. Many people think that some of these issues are ‘normal’ and are just a part of life but they don't have to be. The variety of issues individuals experience can be quite diverse: abdominal bloating or pain, frequent gas, fatigue, irregular bowel movements, low appetite, excessive hunger, GERD, IBS, IBD, Crohns disease, Colitis, SIBO, C Diff and many more. Whether you experience mild and uncomfortable symptoms or you have a more severe digestive challenge, these issues can be reduced and often controlled quite effectively.
At Everspring Health, we can usually do something right away to give you short-term relief from your digestive disorder while developing a personalized health program seeking to eliminate to condition as much as possible. We start by learning everything we can about your past and current health history in order to form an accurate diagnosis. You will be educated on how diet and stress affect how you feel, as well as how sleep affects the digestive tract. Herbal and dietary therapies are often a primary strategy, alongside acupuncture and massage. Each person is different – some people will need to come in more frequently, while others will need to return less. We can find a long-term solution with time and patience.
40 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders each year, with an additional 20 million suffering from occasional sleep problems, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. It’s common for people to have trouble sleeping – it can be seen as a normal and acceptable discomfort that some of us simply have to deal with. In reality, insomnia, unproductive sleep, or other sleeping issues are not something you should have to deal with.
At Everspring Health, we can help you understand what is normal with regards to sleep and how to cultivate a normal sleep schedule. We look at a variety of factors, starting with your history: when did you start having troubles with sleep? When do you wake up? Do you have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or both? Is it linked to a stressor or recent life change? Once we’ve learned everything we can about what’s going on, we examine your diet and stress levels throughout the day, and talk to you about how these lifestyle factors can affect your ability to go to sleep or stay asleep at night. We help alleviate the anxiety response sleep issues often provoke, and regulate stress hormones through changes in diet, acupuncture and massage, and herbal therapies. We also look at other environmental factors, like if you use your computer, a TV, or other electronics in your room, or if you have pets or a spouse that might affect your sleep patterns.
We approach the situation with the understanding that people with sleep disorders are actually tired, but are being prevented from sleeping due to environmental, physical, or personal reasons. Together, we work to create a setting where you are able to sleep comfortably and successfully night after night.
Back pain is the leading cause of workplace disability worldwide and one of the most common issues we deal with here at Everspring Health. From repetitive stress injuries to poor posture to back pain with unknown causes, we see it all. So, when you come in to see us we begin by looking at your history with back pain and all possible influential factors: where it came from, what it feels like, if it changes based on varying activities, body movements, temperatures, seasons, or times of day.
We want to know everything we can about your experience in order to develop a treatment strategy that will work for you, specifically. Acupuncture and massage are used to help relieve as much of the immediate pain as possible and begin the normalization the muscle tissue. We use therapeutic methods like trigger point release, positional release and physical exercises to seek to correct the impeded functional range and retrain the tissue. Our integrative approach partners chiropractic and physical therapy as a part of an effective treatment program. We fully examine lifestyle habits stress, diet, sleep, posture and use further observations to improve your body’s ability move through range of motion to ideally alleviate pain permanently. If you have a current course of treatment – like chiropractic, physical therapy or surgery – we’ll work with your doctors to provide the best relief possible.
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