Saturday, July 29, 2017

FIRST TRIP TO THE ACUPUNCTURIST

Well it's been three days since my first acupuncture session. I wanted to wait a few days just to give the treatment time to take effect. But I'm getting ahead of myself, so let's start at the beginning.
My Acupuncturist is a medical doctor in her sixties. She decided to become an Acupuncturist because she was searching for an alternatives to drugs and surgeries and all the side effects.

She first had me fill out a medical report, much like at a regular doctor's office. Then she did something that a regular doctor wouldn't do, she asked me a series of questions about my likes and dislikes. Favorite color, did I like spicy or sweets and other such questions. I'm not sure the reasoning behind these questions. I have to ask her the next time.

As we went over my medical history and current complaints: sore back, restless legs, chronic leg pain & fatigue we decided to concentrate on the restless legs and fatigue for the first session.

Then I went into a room with a table, like a massage therapist would use. I laid face down, she lifted my shirt and began inserting the needles. I really didn't feel any pain in fact when she told me she had inserted fifteen needles, I was surprised because I had only felt 3/4 and only a very small pin prick. Once in I didn't feel them at all. Next she heated up a mugwort a traditional Chinese herb. It resembled a cigar. The she place the lit end to the needles. I felt a warm feeling radiate thru my back, very pleasant. Then she left me for ten minutes. When she came back in she removed the needles. Again there was no pain and very little sensation of removing the needles.

Next I turned over and she inserted needles in my legs, ankle and feet. I felt the needles go into my feet but again only slightly and once in no feeling of the needles. Finally she insert a number into my head. She didn't heat up the needles, but she did leave them in for another ten minutes.

All in all It was a pleasant, calming experience, no pain or discomfort. My body felt relaxed. She told me not to expect too much in the first session, but I could tell that the needles were doing their job. Also my Acupuncturist told me that usually the first session's treatment wears off in a week or so depending on how active I am. Of course the next day I went fishing in a boat all day and between casting and hauling the boat in and out of the lake it was hard to really tell how effective the treatment was.

However after three days I still feel better less pain and less fatigue. My next treatment is in two weeks and I can't wait. Here's a few things I would recommend to anyone planning to try acupuncture.

1. Find an experience Acupuncturists. Acupuncture is as much an art as a medical procedure. The more experienced the Acupuncturist the more knowledge and practiced they will be in their "art".

2. Be opened to the experience. It's okay to have some anxiety over the idea of needles being inserted into your body, but for 1,000's of years acupuncture has successfully treated all kinds of aliments. So be open to the concept that acupuncture maybe the solution you have been looking for.

3. Be honest and frank with your acupuncturist. Don't hold back important medical information. She can't treat you if you keep don't fully disclose all your aliments.

4. If you do experience pain let the acupuncturist know. Unless you are hyper sensitive to pain you should barely feel anything.

5. Plan on spend 1 1/2 hours the first time. You'll have to fill out forms, medical history and be interviewed so give yourself plenty of time. The last thing you want is to feel rushed and stressed.

6. Give the treatment time to work. How fast you'll notice relief depends widely from patient to patient. Some may notice immediate relief and some may take longer. For me I did notice some relief and the next day felt even better.

Acupuncture can be just the treatment you need to cure your pain and want ails you. Give it a try. I did and I'm glad I did!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Acupuncture and Back Pain

Can acupuncture cure back pain? Can acupuncture cure restless legs? How about fatigue and stress? Is acupuncture the cure all I've been searching for? I hope to answer these questions for myself and others as I go undercover to investigate and expose acupuncture. (Only kidding about the undercover stuff.)

First of all a little background. I'm pushing 71 years young, and for most of my adult life, I've strived to stay in shape, eat right, exercise, etc. In 2009 I injured my back requiring surgery and rehab. I have suffered from restless legs for years and take Requip at night, so I can sleep. Finally, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014. I had a radical prostatectomy, no radiation and so far has been cancer free.

Since having my prostate removed, I've been suffering from fatigue. I haven't been diagnosed with chronic fatigue, but everything I read about it suggests that what I have. Now I have tried all the conventional ways of dealing with fatigue, restless legs, and constant pain, especially in my right leg.
Back in March, I started receiving massages about twice a month and although feeling great afterward haven't  had any long term relief. So my wife suggested acupuncture. I recently made an appointment and will report on my experience in the hopes it may help others considering trying acupuncture treatments.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Breathe: Just Breathe!

Breathing is something we all do without thinking. From the first gasp of air when we're born to the last gasp of life when we die. Breathing is one of a few things we do automatically, but we can also control how we take a breathe.

We can hold our breathe, take a deep breathe and pant. Pregnant woman learn a number of breathing techniques to ease their delivery. Most of us can't hold our breathe more than thirty seconds. Without  breathing we'd be brain dead in a very few minutes.

Despite the necessity of breathing, most of us don't really think about the breathe we take, but we should. Here are three breathing exercises everyone can do and should do several times a day.

Feeling Tired? Then try the Bellows Breathing. Here's how:
  • Rapidly inhale thru your nose, keeping your mouth shut. Make sure your inhales and exhales are the same duration. Keep your breathes short and exhale with some force like blowing out candles.
  • Only do three in and out breaths at a time expanding your diaphragm, then breathe normally.
  • You can repeat the cycle, but only do this exercise for 10-15 seconds and gradually buildup the time.
  • Try this exercise when you need a burst of energy, like in the afternoon when you're feeling drowsy.
2. Breathe Count:        
  • With this exercise you're going to count as you inhale and exhale.
  • With your mouth shut breathe thru your nose for a count of four.
  • Now hold your breathe for a count of seven.
  • Next open your mouth and exhale with a whooshing sound for the count of eight.
  • This is one rep. Start by doing four reps. This is a great breathing exercise when you want to relive some stress.
3. Breathing Meditation: This is a great tool to help you relax and practice a quick meditation.

  • Sit comfortably and take a few slow deep breathes.
  • Then take a breathe and count "1" when you exhale.
  • Then take another breathe, exhale and count "2".
  • Continue to the count of five.
  • Pause and take a couple of normal breathes then do another cycle.
  • I use this exercise to begin my meditation, but I also use it when I first lie down in bed as a way to relax and quiet my mind.
Doing these breathing exercises as needed during the day will relax you and at the same time energize you. So breathe, Just Breathe your way to a better you!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Aging And Attitude

My last post was about the Art of Aging. It's a fact that barring some fatal accident of illness we all will age. Some of us will be healthy and active and some will suffer debilitating illnesses. Some of these diseases and illnesses we can resolve thru an operation or meds. We are fortunate to live in a time of amazing medical advances. But some people maybe because of life style choices or genes find old age a struggle. It always amazes me how one individual in good health and financially secure ages badly while another in poor health and little money seems to thrive. What's the difference? It's ATTITUDE!

There's been mountains of books written about positive thinking and attitude. From Dale Carnegie to Tony Robbins millions have read their books, watched videos and/or gone to see them speak. I'm not going to try to reinvent the wheel here or compete with these giants. But Positive Thinking and a Positive Attitude makes the difference on how well you age.

In practicing the Art of Aging a positive attitude will be your secret weapon. But how do I get a positive attitude when I wake up with aches and pains? How can I feel positive when I look in the mirror and see an old person staring back at me? I can hardly pay my bills so how can I feel positive about the future?

Well I'm no psychologist, no doctor with degree, but as Aretha Franklin said it's all about respect. Respect yourself and the unique and special person you are. In order to love life and look forward to enjoying each day you need to like and respect yourself. That body of yours has taking care of you all these years despite the abuse, wear and tear you have put it through. With a little TLC it can continue to function for many years to come.

Like most journeys developing your Art of Aging starts with a single step and like most art forms in order to get good at it you need to practice. So practice the art of aging by working on one aspect of it each day. You know what the famous violinist said when asked how she got to play at Carnegie Hall? Practice - Practice - Practice!

So practice the Art of Aging. Join an exercise group or just walk around the neighborhood. Make a new friend. Work on your budget and get help if needed. Count your blessings. Be grateful for each day, each beat of your heart, each breathe you take! And Fake It Till You Make It!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Art of Aging

It may seemed funny to write an article about the Art of Aging. Some may say art? What art? You get old, feeble, lose your ability to take care of yourself and then you die. There's no art to it! But they are wrong. Sure all those things are going to happen if you live long enough. But it's how you face the challenges of aging that become an art. Like all form of art some of us are pretty good artist and some of us aren't. But with a little practice all of us can put some Art into our Aging.

So what do I mean by the Art of Aging? Quite simply it's this. Despite all the physical, mental, financial challenges aging can be a time of renewal. Aging as an Art to me means putting on a smile and facing the day with optimism despite an aching back. It's dressing with a little flare of style. It's having the wisdom to know that all things eventually pass: a rainy day, a headache, bad news, politicians, life itself. It's living in the moment and embracing life with all it's troubles, challenges and joys.

Here are some things that I use to put some art into my aging.

1. Have a sense of humor. Sometimes putting on a smile is the hardest thing I do. But as we all know it takes more muscles to smile than to frown.

2. Have a sense of  style. Remember when we all had to dress for success? Well being retired and old is no excuse to wearing old worn out clothes. Sure I have a pair of faded jeans and a favorite T Shirt. But I pair them with a nice belt, watch & sneakers or dockers. If money is tight visit the thrift shops. My wife and I usually stop by our favorite thrift shop every couple of weeks and usually find some nice brand name clothes and sometimes even brand new items.

3. If you're a man wear a fedora. Instead of a ball cap. Men's hats are making a big come back and a nice hat really adds to your style. If your a woman wear a red hat or something with color.

4. Get fit! Being in shape at any age helps you face the physical challenges of aging, improves your mood and makes you look younger.

5. Become an interesting person. Read some of the classics, start a hobby, buy a Harley or the cra of your dreams. I bought a 2007 Jaguar S Type for my 70th birthday. It's British Racing Green, low mileage and in perfect condition. It only cost me $8500 dollars far less than a new car. But I love it as soon as I get inside and turn the key I feel like a million bucks!

6. Volunteer: Find a cause you believe in and volunteer. Every organization needs volunteers and getting involved gets you out of the house and meeting different people.

7. Socialize: Get up off your couch and go out and meet people. Join a club, join a senior center, church, etc expand your circle of friends.

Most of all have fun! This can be your Golden Age despite all the challenges of aging. Practice the Art of Aging and thrive!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Why Everyone Should Take A Power Nap.

Power naps should be a job benefit! Along with health care, paid vacations and coffee breaks, a short snooze in the afternoon should be included in any job description. Why? Well besides being one of life's small pleasures a short nap has many benefits.

1. Improved memory.
2. Gives you an energy boost.
3. Increases creativity.
4. Improves your mood.
5. Increases productivity.

I was fortunate being an on the road salesperson I would routinely pull over and take a short nap in the afternoon. The quick snooze always gave me a boost of energy and helped me get through the rest of the day.

If you love a good nap you're nor alone. Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein,  John Kennedy and Salvador Dali all enjoyed a nap. So if these famous people could nap and still run a country, create great art and discover the Law of Relativity just think what a nap could do for you.

The trick is not to sleep to long. If you do then you'll enter deep sleep and probably wake up groggy.
Here's dome tips on taking the perfect nap.

1. Find a comfortable spot.
2. Keep in short 20-30 minutes max.
3. Do it in the afternoon.
4.Play some soothing music.

Sometimes you have to be creative. If you're on the road like I was then pulling into a safe rest stop works. I knew a person who always took a long bathroom break in the afternoon. Not my idea of a comfortable spot, but it worked for him.

Several companies now allow their employees to take a nap. If you're a member of one of them great. If not maybe you can talk to your HR person with the idea of instituting a nap break. A silly as it may sound there's a lot of solid data you can give showing the ROI of your company provided the time an a place for power naps.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Put Your Fitness Program on Auto Pilot!

If you're like me you are constantly on the go and sticking to a fitness program is a challenge. Summer time is the time to be outdoors, road trips, weekends at the beach, etc. Who has time to workout! But what if you could put your fitness program on Auto Pilot?

Well you can and here's how.

1. Put your workouts on your calendar.

2. Let everyone know your workout schedule and ask them to join you.

3. Schedule your workouts for first thing in the morning & get up early ready to workout.

 4. Get everything ready the night before; workout clothes, shoes, drinks, everything you need so in the morning you're ready to go.

4.  If your on vacation, say at the beach find a fun/new spot to run/walk.

5. Plan a destination after your run/walk: ie: coffee shop or just a bench with a great view.

6. If you can't find an hour for exercising fit time during the day for short burst. See previous posts for "Bathroom Workouts".

7. Enjoy the summer finding new and creative ways to exercise.

Don't lose all the progress you made just because it's summer and you're on vacation. By sticking to the above suggestions you can put your workouts on auto pilot and still enjoy the summer.