During a ballet intensive training camp as a teenager, one of my master ballet instructors, James Clouser, said: "Do it right, right now." He meant, take the opportunity to find the proper technique in our bodies right away rather than waiting until the bad habit was deeply engrained. By making the necessary changes right away, as dancers we would be eliminating a lot of hard work by not having to go back to fix old patterns. It also increased my potential to be the best dancer I could be. Not surprisingly, this principle can be well-applied to other areas in our lives other than athletics, including our health. By learning and implementing healthy habits now, we avoid diseases in the future. While this may not be true for every disease pattern, it is true for many chronic health problems plaguing our society today. Consider spring allergies. Environmental allergies are a result of misplaced immunity; our immune systems respond to an allergen (such as pollen) by creating a histamine response which leads to itchy eyes, watery runny nose, sneezing, skin problems, fatigue, and sometimes digestive disturbances. To ease such miserable symptoms we often reach for antihistamines which hide symptoms but often cause other not so fun side-effects. Furthermore, antihistamines do not solve the immune imbalance leaving the person vulnerable for further allergic symptoms.Why talk about spring allergies in the winter time? Because if we address the root of why our immune systems are compromised NOW, the histamine response will be diminished when the allergens are in the air in the spring. To understand why one's immune system is imbalanced, a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) provider will diagnose the causative factors uniquely for each patient and then will make herbal, lifestyle, and dietary recommendations based on that specific diagnosis. Let's use the example of the diagnosis of Lung and Kidney Qi deficiency. From a TCM perspective, this diagnosis may be made for a patient complaining of fatigue, shortness of breath, a history of asthma and allergies, low back pain, and feeling colder than most people. Factors leading to each disease pattern vary from person to person. To solve the problem and balance the immune system, often a well-rounded approach to treatment is necessary. For example, for Lung and Kidney Qi deficiency, the following treatment strategy would be recommended for the patient:• Receive acupuncture - modulates the immune system• Lifestyle advice - take advantage of the colder winter weather when the sun is down longer by resting more. • Dietary advice - avoid cold foods such as salad, breakfast shakes, and raw fruits.• Chinese herbs - tonify Lung and Kidney qi. • Behavioral health - explore prolonged grief (weakens the Lung qi) and stress (weakens the Kidney qi)Sometimes the most effective way to address such health issues effectively and in a timely manner is by working with a unified team of providers who work together with you to help you achieve your truest health potential.At Healing Horizons we offer you this opportunity with our Wellness Programs. For addressing a health concern like allergies, we recommend our original wellness program. Launched just in time for 2013 New Year's resolutions, we also offer a Healthy Weight Management wellness program that focuses on laying a foundation for establishing a healthy weight, body and mind. April L. Schulte-Barclay is a doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine and is a licensed acupuncturist. She is licensed by the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners and is certified by the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She is founder and clinic director of Healing Horizons Integrated Health Solutions, located at 2139 N. 12th St. #7. For more information, call 970-256-8449.
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