Acupressure Routine for the Lungs

by Norah McIntire, L.Ac.

As the rates of infection surge around the country, I wanted to share this simple resource with you. It is a very easy acupressure routine to support the lungs. It can help you recover from illness, ease allergies or enhance asthma treatment. Doing the routine regularly can also support continued wellness.

The acupuncture/pressure points in the video help open the chest, regulate the breath, and alleviate anxiety. You can do the routine several times per day if you are suffering acutely with a respiratory issue. I hope you find it helpful. Please feel free to pass it on to anyone who you think may benefit from it.

A reminder that I currently have availability for online herbal consultations and personalized treatment plans. Please reach out if I can help in any way during this time.

A Season of Grief

Autumn is associated with the Metal element and is a time of cooling temperatures and shortening days. It is the season to begin to gather energy and begin an inward focus.

This element is represented by the Lungs and Large Intestine, organs that rule taking in and letting go appropriately. This is both on a physical and an emotional level.

Just as your lungs take in air and expel it, on an emotional level this element rules taking in that which is rightfully yours and letting go of that which has fulfilled its purpose. This includes the process of grief, of having to let go, especially of that which we feel we still need.

And current circumstances have presented many of us with great loss. We have had to let go of people, jobs, relationships, businesses, socializing, pets, natural spaces, our regular way of life.

On a personal note, we recently had to say goodbye to our 13-year-old dog, the magnificent Tuxedo Jones.

And grief is hard. The process of grieving can "take your breath away" and can keep us from breathing deeply. Sometimes grief can manifest as shortness of breath or a cough.

And the way to process grief is literally to keep breathing, to keep inhaling and exhaling while we feel what we feel.

I’m writing this because I think it is important to acknowledge that things are difficult, that loss is difficult, that uncertainty is difficult. And we don’t have to think positively or be artificially cheerful. Loss comes with the territory of being on the planet, of the cycles of nature, and we aren’t in charge of it.

We can only go through our grief or get stuck refusing to feel it.

So, if I can be of assistance during this time, please reach out. I have put together an online program to support respiratory health. You can read about it here. You can also watch my class Taking Care of Your Lungs During This Hot Mess here.

If you want support but aren’t sure what you need, definitely reach out and we can figure out what resources might help you. (norah@acuadvantage.com)

Keep breathing. 

“It is in being at peace with the notion that heaven gives and takes according to its own divine plan that loss and grief may be healed.”
Lonny S. Jarrett, Nourishing Destiny

Foods for Wildfire Season

by Norah McIntire, L.Ac.

We are once again in the midst of devastating fires here in California. Even if you are not in an evacuation zone, you are still affected by the deterioration in air quality. The huge increase in particulate pollution can aggravate existing respiratory issues such as asthma and allergies, as well as just stress a healthy respiratory and immune system.

There are some actions to take to protect yourself. You should follow the recommendation to stay indoors and run the air conditioner to protect yourself and your loved ones, especially if you are prone to respiratory issues. In addition, however, there are also some natural, food-based steps everyone can use to provide extra nourishment for the lungs. These suggestions are below.

Foods to help nourish and soothe the lungs according to Traditional Chinese Medicine nutritional therapy are:

*Mushrooms, especially shiitake, reishi, and tremella
*Radishes, including daikon radishes
*Onions and turnips
*Carrots
*Cabbage, bok choy, chard, cauliflower
*Apples, pears, peaches, cantaloupe, watermelon
*Honey
*Green tea can also be helpful because it provides anti-oxidants

You can also place moist, cool green tea bags on the eyes to soothe itchiness and burning. And, of course, remember to drink plenty of clean water.

Please remember I can also prescribe specific herbal formulas to help based on your needs.

If you are having respiratory symptoms or a flare-up of allergies, and want some some acupuncture and herbal support, please call for an appointment: 323-475-9282. I would love to help.

What Is Qigong?

by Norah McIntire, L.Ac.

Join me for the upcoming Introduction to Qigong class! Starts August 24. Information here. Register here.

The phrase qigong essentially means energy practice or energy work. It is similar to tai chi (which tends to be more familiar to people) in certain ways, but the basic idea is a repeated series of movements that you practice to cultivate your energy and health.

An advantage that qigong has over tai chi is that there is less of a learning curve. Tai chi is taught as a form, a series of movements strung together. This is fantastic but can take a long time to learn. Qigong exercises, on the other hand, can be short and sweet individual movements which makes them easier to learn and master.

There are many types of qigong, some slow and meditative and others vigorous and martial. The elements that they tend to have in common regardless of the particular style, however, is an emphasis on mindfulness, posture, and breath.

Because there are slow and gentle styles, qigong can be great for those who have limitations that prevent them from engaging in rigorous exercise regimens. Qi gong can also be fantastic for those who are looking to incorporate meditation into their daily routines.

According to Western research, suggested benefits associated with qigong include improved cardiovascular biomarkers, regulated immune system activity, increased bone density, decreased anxiety and improved pain levels.

Another advantage is you do not need fancy workout equipment, expensive fitness clothing or a gym. You just need a little space and the willingness to practice. Qigong can actually be a very enjoyable habit.

Check out this video for an extremely easy qigong exercise for a quick boost of energy. (As with all qigong exercises, listen to your body and do not force yourself past any limits). And if you dig it, I'm offering a beginning qigong class online that starts on August 24.

Qigong and the Immune System

by Norah McIntire, L.Ac.

Register for the upcoming Introduction to Qigong class! Register here

One benefit that is traditionally associated with a qigong practice is improved immunity and resistance to pathogens. According to the model of Chinese medicine, qigong stimulates pathways, energy centers, and acupuncture points that provide greater overall vitality of the body. Certain practices are also tailored specifically to stimulate areas associated with the body’s defenses.

However, the real goal is not just a stronger immune system, but a balanced immune system. The immune system can overreact, as in the case of autoimmune disease (rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, etc.) or allergies. One of the dangers of COVID-19, for instance, is an overreaction of the immune system, called a cytokine storm, that ultimately damages the tissues and structures of the body in the effort to fight an invader.

The ultimate goal, then, is an immune system that is regulated and behaves appropriately when encountering stressors.

Here is one Western study that suggests there was evidence that qigong does in fact help regulate and balance the immune system, including the body’s inflammatory response.

One way this happens is by balancing the nervous system and decreasing the stress response. Qigong can be a very easy and enjoyable way to relax and nourish the body according to both Eastern tradition and Western science.

If you want to take advantage of the health-boosting benefits of qigong, I am teaching a four-week class for beginners that starts August 24. Please join us!

Register here. For more information about the class, go here.

Your Natural Superpower

by Norah McIntire, L.Ac.

Before I knew better, I used to get irritated when a helping professional would tell me to breathe deeply when I was worried or upset. I thought that guiding me to breathe was trivializing and disrespectful.

"Didn't you hear what I said? That's it? Breathe?" Puh-leez.

Then I became a tai chi and qi gong practitioner. Then I understood.

Your breath is your direct line to your nervous system, and when you are under stress, being able to regulate your nervous system is like a superpower. You maintain or regain access to the part of your brain that thinks, analyzes, and acts creatively and constructively.

So, no matter what the stress is about or whether it is a big or small stress, breathing is the first step. Sometimes that is easier said than done, so I made you a video to help.

See the video below for an easy breathing technique that can help you keep your cool while you are in the thick of it.

Easy Qi Gong for Lung Qi

by Norah McIntire, L.Ac.

As we go through this time of evolutionary stress together, I wanted to continue to offer my support and the powerful support of Chinese medicine.

In addition to following CDC guidelines, including washing hands, physical distancing, and wearing face coverings, what else can we do to take care of our health and nourish our physical and emotional resilience?

One practice I personally am very consistent with these days is the ancient practice of qi gong, which has existed in some form for over 5000 years. Qi gong combines meditation, breathing, physical movements, and posture practice for whole body benefit.

Plus, it can be exercise that is enjoyable to do. I think it feels awesome!

Research on qi gong has suggested it can have positive benefits in the areas of bone density, cardiopulmonary function, blood pressure, anxiety relief, and immune function/regulation.

So, my dog Tuxedo and I made a video of a short and simple qi gong routine to help support the Lungs, according to Chinese medicine. Tuxedo does a little voiceover work for it, demonstrating the power of her Lung qi.