It’s been 3 weeks since the new Indigo Healing Acupuncture opened on West Hwy 290 serving the communities of Dripping Springs, Driftwood, and Austin with integrative holistic healing!
Good Qi served Tuesday through Saturday by appointment.
Services include acupuncture, no-needle acupuncture, traditional fire cupping, Chinese Herbs, moxibustion, and supplements review.
The clinic offers:
In Oriental Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body-mind-spirit is treated as a whole. The hands and lungs and back are treated together. There is no division between the physical body and the mind, nor is there a division between the physical body and the spirit. You are treated as a whole person, which is what we call holistic medicine.
Acupuncture treatments affect and heal the mind-body-spirit in ways that conventional Western medicine cannot. During an acupuncture treatment, needles are placed on precise body points that activate healing and open your connection to Spirit. Many acupuncture points are named for this ability, such as Shen Men (Spirit Gate). During or after a treatment session, you may feel euphoric as physical pain diminishes and your Qi flows freely through your meridians. This is a wonderful window of time to easily connect to Spirit and express your true desires.
To you, Spirit may be God, the Universe, All-That-Is or whatever you perceive to be the origin and manifestation of your Life Force. By connecting to Spirit through prayer, reading sacred texts like the Bible, meditation, or manifestation, Spirit will always respond to each of your requests in one of three ways:
To schedule a consultation or appointment to heal your mind-body-spirit, contact Michelle here.
This case study of insomnia is a real-life example of how Chinese Medicine is combined with modern Western medicine to create the best outcome for our patients. This approach is called integrative medicine because it combines traditional holistic medicine with the science of Western allopathic medicine.
Insomnia is generally defined as an inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or a combination of both. Chronic insomnia is difficulty sleeping for a month or longer. Insomnia afflicts up to 15% of the world’s population. Insomnia occurs when the biological drivers of sleep, circadian rhythms and homeostasis, are disrupted by emotional upset and chronic stress.
This letter is an example of how we coordinate care with a patient's primary doctor:
Dear Primary Care Physician,
I have a patient suffering from chronic insomnia and would like your assistance with this case.
The patient is a 32-year-old male with a chief complaint of restless sleep. The history of present illness is insomnia difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep during the last six weeks. Sleep improves with daily exercise, is exacerbated by stress, crying baby, too much computer screen time. No night sweats, but sense of heat. Patient goes to bed at 11pm and is restless until 1-2am. He wakes 1x to urinate, usually between 4-5am. Vital signs are pulse 64 bpm, BP 118/68, 13 breaths per minute, body temp: 98.8 degrees F.
Based on the patient’s symptoms and tongue and pulse presentation, the TCM diagnosis is Heart and Kidney Yin Deficiency insomnia.
In a review study conducted by O’Brien & Weber (2016), acupuncture was found to regulate “various neurotransmitters and hormones, such as endorphins, serotonin, norepinephrine, adrenocorticotrophic hormone, cortisol, acetylcholine, melatonin, substance P, gamma-aminobutyric acid, and nitric oxide, known to be involved in sleep regulation. Acupuncture can also regulate higher cortical function, the HPA axis, and somato-visceral reflexes."
The patient has agreed to receive a 60-minute Chinese Medicine treatment two times a week for four weeks. Reassessment will occur at the sixth appointment. Progress is tracked with the Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile (MYMOP) questionnaire. The patient completed the initial MYMOP prior to the first acupuncture treatment and will fill out a follow-up MYMOP questionnaire prior to the first appointment every week. An initial acupuncture point protocol was:
The patient received the traditional Chinese herbal formula Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan (Ginseng and Zizyphus formula) with instructions to drink three cups per day in-between meals for four weeks.
The patient is advised to avoid caffeine and alcohol, exercise in the morning (so as to not interfere with sleep in the evening), avoid spicy and greasy foods, drink water throughout the day and cease consumption by 8pm at night, and discontinue use of all electronic devices at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime.
Prior to his first acupuncture treatment, the patient identified insomnia with a MYMOP score of “6 - as bad as it can be”. At his third appointment, he reported better sleep and a lower MYMOP score of "3". I expect him to obtain more high-quality sleep within the next two weeks of treatment and report another reduced MYMOP score.
Please order a CBC differential lab test and Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) for this patient and contact me with the results.
I appreciate your willingness to share in the care of this patient.
Michelle Wendt, L.Ac. DACM, Dipl. OM
Oriental medicine provides a holistic approach to healing from a broken heart. Symptoms of a "broken heart" can manifest as difficulty sleeping, depression, anxiety, poor appetite or overeating, inability to focus, acne, asthma, tight muscles and soreness, TMJ, sciatica, headaches, migraines, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and more.
Indigo Healing Acupuncture offers a comprehensive 12 week program to help you process the end of your marriage and reclaim a new vibrant life.
This customized package includes acupuncture, Chinese herbs, traditional fire cupping/gua sha, and self-care suggestions to boost your Qi and bring forgiveness & hope back into your life. This program is offered on a limited basis and a pre-consultation by phone is required.
Contact Michelle to learn more about this one-of-a-kind Holistic Divorce Recovery program.
Today is the first day of Spring!
Spring is the season of the Wood element. In Oriental Medicine, the Wood element corresponds to the Liver & Gallbladder. People with a Wood constitution are Type A overachievers who seek control. Their body shape is long & lean, like a tree. Daily exercise & fresh air are absolutely required by Wood types! They are driven pioneers who take initiative & thrive on action. When Wood-types sense a loss of control or life isn't going their way, they become even more controlling and easily frustrated. When they become unbalanced, they often suffer from migraines, tension headaches, indigestion, tight achy muscles, alternating constipation/diarrhea, mood swings, and irritability. Common vices include alcohol & coffee.
Luckily, Oriental Medicine can bring an overacting Wood element back into balance with the other 4 elements (Fire-Earth-Metal-Water) and alleviate symptoms.
By the way, your custom AcuGraph report will measure the energy in your meridians to determine your primary 5 element constitutional type! Contact Michelle to schedule an appointment today!
Now introducing love cups at Indigo Healing Acupuncture!
Traditional Chinese Fire Cupping is a relaxing treatment to remove stagnation and improve the flow of Qi and blood. Glass or ceramic cups are heated with fire to create a vacuum and applied to the skin to create suction.
Fire Cupping is pain-free and typically leaves painless circular marks that gradually disappear within 3-5 days as healing occurs.
I tell patients it feels like a reverse massage… instead of muscle compression via pressure, the cups pull up the skin which allows fascia and muscle fibers to lift & stretch.
Fire Cupping also supports the function of the lymphatic system by improving the flow of infection-fighting lymph fluid which helps rid the body of toxins and metabolic waste.
After a treatment with Traditional Chinese fire cupping, it's important to drink water and non-caffeinated beverages so the lymphatic system can work its magic.
To schedule an appointment for relaxing Traditional Chinese Fire Cupping, contact Michelle.
What is a myth?
"A myth is a widely held but false belief or idea."
What is balance?
"An even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady."
As a Chinese Medicine practitioner, I often talk about balance & harmony. I use acupuncture, fire cupping, moxibustion, and herbs as tools to cultivate optimal qi (life force) in the mind-body-spirit. But is total balance & harmony realistic in this crazy thing we call life? Or are we all chasing a myth? A perfect story with a perfect ending?
This tweet from Randi Zukerberg got me thinking:
In just one tweet, she asked an incredibly challenging question...
If there are 5 keys to a balanced life:
How many can you do well? One? Three? Five(!)?
I'll give an honest answer: At this point in my life, I can only do 2 (work & family). There is simply not enough qi or time in my day(s) to excel in the other areas. Yes, some days I hit the jackpot and can add sleep to make it 3, but nights with more than 7 hours of sleep are truly rare.
So, why are we all chasing this myth of having a perfect symphony of days spent cultivating friendships, building empires at work, spending quality time with family, exercising & eating well, and sleeping like a log every night?
More importantly, what is missing from this list in your life? Spirituality? Simple downtime?
Chinese Medicine is awesome at cultivating qi, but the truth is no one is in perfect balance & harmony, all of the time. It's a myth, a fabricated story. They key is to pick what is right for you at this time in your life and the rest will follow in its own time.
Implementing an hour of Chinese Medicine into your week can help cultivate qi in your life so that you can remain upright and steady, like a tree firmly rooted and swaying in the gale-force winds of change & challenge. So, pick your two or three and own the knowledge that it's enough for you in this moment.
As a Licensed Acupuncturist, one of my favorite skills is reading a patient’s pulse to find out what’s going on in their body-mind-spirit. In Oriental Medicine, this is called pulse diagnosis. Within seconds, I can find out whether a patient…
… is having nightmares
… is digesting a greasy hamburger
… is constipated
… has a headache
… has back pain
… is about to catch a cold
And, my favorite pulse revelations:
… is pregnant
… is pregnant with a boy or girl
… is pregnant with multiples
Patients often ask me, “How in the world can you know that from my pulse?”
The short answer is, the pulse reveals everything.
Pulse diagnosis has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years. There are over 25 distinct pulses and each has its own unique characteristics. Licensed Acupuncturists spend at least 4 years in graduate school learning & practicing traditional pulse diagnosis. It’s a skill that develops with practice and study over time.
Now, let’s circle back to my favorite pulse revelations, pregnancy and fetal gender...
I can generally detect pregnancy in a pulse shortly after implantation between cycle weeks 3-4. The pulse reveals pregnancy about a week before any modern medical pregnancy test or bloodwork will register enough hCG to deliver a positive result. Discovering a pregnancy pulse is always the highlight of my work day!
The gender of the fetus appears in the pulse as early as cycle week 5. To minimize error, I monitor the pulse carefully between weeks 5-7 before I share the news. Sometimes, parents don’t want to know, so I record the gender and deliver it to them in a sealed envelope for later use. Anatomical ultrasounds typically occur around cycle week 20, so learning a baby’s gender by cycle week 7 gives parents plenty of extra prep time to shop for pink or blue!
Are you ready to get a pulse diagnosis?
Request an appointment here!
A guest blog this week from my friend and fertility expert, Heidi Brockmyre, L.Ac.
Just like nature cycles through 4 seasons during the course of the year, your body cycles through 4 phases during each menstrual cycle.
As you tune into the changing seasons of the year, you eat different foods and switch clothing to support your body as it adjusts to the environmental changes.
These adjustments are intuitive. You instinctively know to eat in-season produce, drink warm teas during the winter, and eat refreshing watermelon to stay hydrated during hot summer months.
In our modern Western society, however, you may not be as in tune with the needs of your body during each phase of your menstrual cycle. Supporting each phase helps you to maintain a regular healthy menstrual cycle, balance your hormones and sustain the health of your eggs and lining.
In the West, we aren’t taught much about our reproductive systems at all, let alone about the 4 phases of our menstrual cycle. Most of my patients don’t even know what fertile cervical mucus is until they start reading up on how to increase fertility and chart their cycles.
A healthier cycle is the prerequisite for improving fertility and a healthy pregnancy. It's like tilling the soils to prepare for an abundant harvest. By gaining insight into the rhythms of your cycle, you can influence the health of your cycle, which is why it's so important for me to teach you the wisdom Chinese medicine has to offer on the subject.
Primary Goal in Chinese Medicine: Move Blood
Each phase typically lasts about 7 days if you maintain a regular 28 day cycle. The first phase of your cycle begins with the first day of your period. Although you may only have flow for 1-3 days, this first week is considered the first phase.
The primary goal during this phase is to properly shed your uterine lining. Energy needs to be flowing in the right direction, which is down and out of your body. This is a delicate phase. A lot of movement is taking place and so your body should rest and be allowed to do it’s thing.
It takes energy for the body to release the lining. If it’s disrupted, you may not properly shed the lining and old stagnant blood can stick around, causing clots. It’s important to stay hydrated and you may need additional electrolytes. If you crave red meat, you likely need the iron. Otherwise avoid eating heavy and greasy foods.
During your period, avoid exercising. Gentle stretching and light walking are acceptable.
Phase 2-Follicular Phase
Primary Goal in Chinese Medicine: Build Yin and Blood
Phase two begins around 1 week after your period starts and lasts until ovulation.
The primary goal during the second phase is to rebuild blood and substance to nourish a healthy uterine lining and support the maturation of a healthy egg for ovulation. As soon as your flow stops, it’s a good idea to begin nourishing your body and building up blood and fluids again.
This is considered the yin phase (versus yang) of your mentrual cyle. Yin is the substance and fluid material of your body, while yang is energy that fuels movement and function.
Although it’s important during all 4 phases of your cycle to get a good night’s sleep, your body especially needs it during this time. In fact, it’s best to be in bed before 11:00 PM each night. According to the Chinese medicine circadian clock, it's at this time that your body starts replenishing it’s blood supply and healing the tissues of your body while you sleep. By missing out on quality sleep or getting to bed too late, you may not replenish your blood supply adequately, which can affect the health of your lining and eggs, especially if this is a chronic habit.
I also recommend eating plenty of nourishing foods, like soups and stews, iron-rich vegetables and lots of organic animal protein to give your body the support it needs to rebuild your blood supply and mature an egg for ovulation.
Avoid excessively sweating and overly rigorous exercise during this time. You may find that your joints are stiffer, you’re more prone to headaches and fatigue.
Self-acupressure is also a very effective tool for supporting your body during the follicular phase of your menstrual cycle.
Primary Goal in Chinese Medicine: Promote Yang (Warmth and Movement)
Phase 3 begins with ovulation and lasts for one week following ovulation. This phase begins when the “yin” (blood and fluids) have built to a climax and then the energy transforms into yang as the body signals that it's ready for ovulation.
The yang phase is about warmth and movement. This is why your basal body temperature should rise immediately after having ovulated. The hormones released during this phase of your cycle warm up the body to promote the release of the egg-containing follicle. The warmth encourages dilation and blood flow so that the egg can be released from the follicle and travel unobstructed down the open fallopian tubes.
During this phase, it’s important to keep your feet, low back and abdomen warm. Stretching the hips, low back, and pelvic area can help increase blood flow and movement in the reproductive organs while relieving congestion.
Avoid cold foods, raw vegetables, and phlegm producing foods, like sugar and dairy as these can cause congestion and fluid build up in your tubes and uterus. Congestion makes it difficult for the sperm to reach the eggs and for an embryo to make the journey down the tubes.
Phase 4-Implantation or Pre-Menstrual Phase
Primary Goal in Chinese Medicine-Regulate the Flow of Qi (Pre-Menstrual Phase) or Promote Yang (Implantation)
This phase begins about 1 week after ovulation and ends the day get your period or confirm pregnancy with the first day of your late period.
Your temperatures should continue to stay high during this phase and typically drop off right before you being your period. This phase continues to be about warmth and the movement of energy or “qi”. If implantation took place (usually between 7-10 days after ovulation), then warmth and blood flow will continue to be the main priority.
Self-acupressure to promote implantation using a study-proven series of specific points is an effective tool for encouraging your fertilized embryo to successfully implant.
If you are not pregnant, then your body is gathering energy to shed the uterine lining and adjusting hormones. Sometimes this energy gets bottlenecked or doesn’t flow smoothly, resulting in a variety of PMS symptoms like moodiness, bloating, and headaches.
It’s important during this phase to minimize stress, as stress disrupts the flow of qi and can make the symptoms worse. Caffeine and alcohol should also be avoided. Exercise and stretching helps regulate the flow of qi. Peppermint tea helps to relieve PMS symptoms and improve the flow of qi.
Your body performs infinite miracles every moment of every day in every cell. The better you understand your body, the better you can support it. The more in tune you are with your cycle, the more you can till the soils of your fertility.
Heidi Brockmyre, L.Ac is Fertility Expert and Experienced Acupuncturist. She practices out of her San Diego clinic using acupuncture, shamanic healing and other holistic medicines to improve the well-being of her clients, including those struggling with specific health complaints, and women who are trying to conceive, are pregnant, or are in postpartum recovery. Heidi has continued to develop more programs to help women all over the world take control of their fertility health through online courses and products. Heidi also run a mentorship program to help other acupuncturists achieve the same global reach, so that together we can create a worldwide health paradigm shift. Get Heidi’s Free Library of Resources Here.
Hey, are you...
Have no fear, Enlighten Herbal Elixir is now available at
Indigo Healing Acupuncture!
What is it?
Enlighten Herbal Elixir is a hot beverage containing eight Chinese herbs. The herbs work together to help relieve:
What does it taste like?
Enlighten Herbal Elixir tastes good. It has a golden color and smooth consistency that feels great on the throat.
Still have doubts an Elixir made out of Chinese herbs can taste good?
Over the past month, Enlighten Herbal Elixir has been extensively taste-tested and approved by one of my most discriminating patients… my two-year old daughter! She loves it and serves it up at her tea parties!
How do I know it will work?
This Chinese formula has been used for over 900 years. Western science has conducted clinical studies on its ability to treat the conditions listed above. For a list of clinical studies, contact Michelle and she’ll email it to you so you can see the evidence yourself.
Why is it so hard to find?
Enlighten Herbal Elixir is currently farm-direct to only 150 clinics in the US. Indigo Healing Acupuncture is blessed to be one of those clinics! The Sichuan farm produces herbs in a sustainable manner, therefore quantities are very limited. All raw herbs are stored in humidity and temperature-controlled warehouses and the dried herbs are free from sulfur and sulfites. Thin Liquid Chromatography qualitative analysis and High Performance Liquid Chromatography qualitative/quantitative analysis are conducted on the raw and dried herbs to ensure the highest level of active constituents of the herbs are preserved. There is further testing to check for pesticide residue and heavy metals. In short, the eight herbs in this elixir meet strict European Union standards for quality and potency.
Contact Michelle to find out if Enlighten Herbal Elixir is right for you!
Congratulations! You’ve just had an amazing acupuncture treatment that has left you feeling completely relaxed and high on life.
You’re probably thinking, “Wow! I wish I always felt like this! How can I get this feeling to last?”
The truth is, despite how good it feels, only about 20% of acupuncture’s healing power happens while the needles are in. About 80% of the healing effect occurs in the 24 hours following the treatment.
To sustain the healing effect, you must avoid three things 24 hours after the needles come out:
Cold is the #1 arch enemy in Chinese Medicine:
All of these cold things can all counteract the benefits of acupuncture by contracting the flow of qi and slowing down the healing process.
2. Alcohol and recreational drugs
After an acupuncture treatment, your body works hard to transfer the energetics of the needles into acute healing and homeostasis (balance). Alcohol is warming to the body, yet can significantly alter the 24 hour cycle of qi. Alcohol and recreational drugs disrupt the healing process (and in the case of getting drunk, can completely cancel out any treatment benefits).
Consuming alcohol or getting high after a treatment is effectively wasting your time and money.
Sex is considered an activity that promotes the free flow of qi. However, after an acupuncture treatment, sex can demand too much qi and inhibit healing. It is best to wait until the day after acupuncture to get your qi moving between the sheets.
So, now that you know what to avoid, what should you do during the 24 hours after an acupuncture treatment?
The best thing you can do is rest your body and relax your mind:
Allow the natural high to sink in for 24 hours while your body-mind-spirit take the time needed for healing.
I’ve always had “problem” skin. Red, painful cystic pustule acne plagued me until my late 20s. After years of anti-acne face washes, toners, topical antibiotics and astringent creams, I had it under control enough to hide my problem areas with just a little concealer.
When I was in my early 30’s, my acne changed from cystic to a plethora of small red papules on my forehead, cheeks, and chin. My dermatologist prescribed retinols and steroidal creams to reduce the inflammation. They worked a little, but my skin was still red, irritated, and bumpy. The texture of it made me very self-conscious as there’s no way to hide bumps with everyday makeup!
At the same time, in my early 30’s, I started waking up in the middle of the night like clockwork. It was always 1am when severe abdominal cramps roused me from sleep. Dripping with sweat, I would sit in the bathroom not pooping or passing gas, but just breathing and waiting for the pain to pass. The cramping would usually stop within 20 minutes.
After a few weeks, I made an appointment with my primary care physician. She ordered a CT scan of my pelvis, which revealed nothing. She recommended taking an osmotic laxative once a day to ensure the cramping wasn’t caused by constipation (full disclosure: it wasn't).
Flash forward another two years, and I was in my first year of graduate school for Chinese Medicine. I was receiving almost daily acupuncture treatments from my teachers and classmates. My chief complaint was chronic acne.
One of my teachers observed out loud in class that the redness and papules on my face provided a visual map of the Stomach meridian. That’s when a light bulb went on in my brain that illuminated everything… food was the cause of it!
I quickly purchased a copy of Robb Wolf’s book, The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet and devoured it in one day. The next day, I purged all processed foods and gluten from our family’s kitchen and started the Paleo lifestyle. As Robb recommended, I ate Paleo for 30 days. A few amazing things happened:
If you’ve read this far, then it’s time to acknowledge the biggest mistake I made about my health...
My biggest mistake was not listening to my body, when it was very clearly telling what was wrong!
If I had listened, I would have saved myself years of unnecessary pain, sleepless nights, worry, stress, and embarrassment about my appearance. And money. I would have saved a LOT of money by not trying every acne treatment program I could find.
My so-called healthy vegetarian diet was making me sick. Really sick. I had completely ignored all of my body’s warning signs. Even worse, I hadn’t realized the root of the problem… gluten-intolerance. I had eaten gluten all of my life, so why was there suddenly a problem now?
But the truth was, there were signs all along, I just chose to ignore them or call them something else.
Like mistaking a face rash for acne.
Side note: If I eat gluten now (always by accident), I'll wake up in the middle of the night with those terrible abdominal cramps and wear a face rash for 3-5 days.
The biggest takeaway from my story is that the human body is smart. Smarter than we typically give it credit for. If something is wrong, physically or emotionally, it’s going to show up as what Western medicine calls a sign or symptom.
Be observant because the longer a sign or symptom is ignored, the louder(!) your body will demand your attention.
So, is your body trying to tell you something? Sometimes we all need an outside perspective to uncover the truth, the root of our health problems. Let’s work together to get to the root of solving your health mysteries.
A new shipment of Enlighten Herbal Elixir just arrived at Indigo!
This ultra high-grade Chinese medicinal herbal elixir is farm-direct to only 150 clinics in the US.
Tastes amazing and makes Qi flow smoothly, diminishing pain and stress!
Improves sleep too!
One package is enough for a month of daily sips.
Only 20 packages remain today, they are selling fast!
Order now by contacting Michelle!
When summer temps rise above 100°F, drinking a cup of hot tea sounds like a crazy idea, right?
I don’t know about you, but when I get hot, I get cranky with a monster tension headache.
(Not a good place to be, especially for an acupuncturist!)
That’s when I take a few deep breaths and enjoy a cup of organic Peppermint tea.
Peppermint is an aromatic, pungent Chinese herb called Bo He that is known to release wind-heat from the body’s exterior. It enters the Liver and Lung meridians where it
Peppermint’s cooling sensation is produced by the organic compound menthol. A factoid is that menthol chemically triggers cold-sensitive receptors, which results in a cooling sensation when ingested. It actually relaxes the “smooth” muscles in the walls of the intestine which is helpful for relieving indigestion, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and menstrual cramps.
As amazing as Peppermint tea is, there are some people who shouldn’t drink it:
These are my favorite loose and bagged organic Peppermint teas. Enjoy!
The most important thing to wear during air travel is a lightweight scarf around your neck. Summer or winter, it doesn’t matter and here’s why…
In Chinese Medicine, the Foot Taiyang meridian descends parallel to the spine and the Governing Vessel runs up the back of the spine. Several points on these channels are located on the back of the neck.
These points are susceptible to external conditions, like Wind.
Wind, in Chinese Medicine, is a pathogen that attacks the exterior of the body. If the body’s defenses are not strong enough to deflect it, Wind will penetrate the points and can cause disease ranging from the common cold to influenza or even pneumonia.
Wearing a scarf to keep your neck covered supplements the body’s Defensive Qi and can keep you from contracting an illness while traveling.
To further enhance immunity, add a few drops of essential oil to the scarf before wearing it. My favorites are:
These essential oils are great choices because they smell good and have antiviral properties.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
Exercise. We all need it. Getting in 10,000 steps today is better than the 9,999 steps you took yesterday.
It keeps the qi moving… in other words, it keeps life-energy circulating.
As many of you know, when it comes to health or wellness, I try something out myself before recommending it to patients/friends/family/the guy sitting next to me on the plane/everybody&anybody.
For the past 8 months, I've been testing Beachbody on Demand.
Now before you stop reading, I am NOT affiliated with the Beachbody corporation in any way. I’m not a coach, I don’t get any kickbacks. I’m just a customer who works out at home in front of my computer on a daily basis.
After 6 rounds of 21 Day Fix, I’m 35 pounds lighter and a whole lot stronger. It’s absolutely true that the pounds measured on a scale is just a number. In my case, I am 35 pounds more fit and it feels great. That is why I’m sharing my experience with you.
If you’ve never heard of it, 21 Day Fix is one of many Beachbody on Demand programs. It requires moving (aka exercising) 7 days a week for 30 minutes using a combination of cardio and weights. It also has an accompanying meal plan that is simple and makes a lot of sense nutritionally.
Yesterday, to mix things up, I tried another workout called YOUv2. It was a hilariously awesome way to sweat for 30 minutes. There were spirit fingers, shimmies, and rainbow prances. Via the magic of pre-recorded video, Leandro told me I was a beautiful dancer, which I have never heard from anyone before. I honestly couldn't stop smiling during our 30 minutes together. If you are new to exercising, this workout is a safe and fun place to start.
The most important thing you can do for your health is to stand up and get moving.
Go for a walk, let some guy from Beachbody teach you spirit fingers while performing a walking squat, take the bike out for a leisurely ride, swim some laps across the pool.
It all counts, one step at a time.
When I started studying Chinese Medicine, I realized that not only is it important what I put into my body, it’s also important how I put it into my body.
Water is the ultimate example of this lesson, since it can consumed hot, warm, room temperature, cold, or frozen.
Here are 3 reasons why I don’t put ice in my water:
1. Cold is the Stomach’s enemy
The Stomach is warm and has an abundance of fluids. It receives and breaks down food, turning it into Gu Qi (aka Food Qi). We can’t survive without Gu Qi, so for optimal performance, it’s best to give the Stomach the right temperature of liquid and food (room temperature, warm or hot).
2. Cold impairs digestion
Cold or frozen water inhibits the Stomach’s production of Gu Qi, simply because it cools the Stomach down too much. If you add ice to very cold water, the water can actually cool enough to transform into more ice. Now, I’m not suggesting that ice-cold water crystallizes anything in your digestive track. But, think about it… if you continually drink ice-cold liquids, your Stomach has to work harder to stay warm. Working harder will create an imbalance elsewhere in your body, most likely the Large Intestine.
An imbalance of Stomach qi may manifest as difficulty digesting foods with symptoms such as stomach cramps, hiccups, abdominal pain before bowel movements, or loose stools. Or it could manifest as food retention (aka a food baby) as the burrito you ate for lunch hangs around much longer than you wish. You might notice your pants feeling too tight from abdominal bloating. Or you could feel tired and mentally fatigued. These are all symptoms of qi imbalance.
3. Cold reduces fertility
For women: In Chinese Medicine, the Yang partner of the Stomach is the Uterus (including the ovaries). The Uterus is the most fertile when it’s warm. Therefore, cooling down the Stomach leads to cooling of the Uterus, which reduces fertility. Symptoms of a cold Uterus include painful menstrual cramps or an irregular menstrual cycle (too short, too long, or varied).
For men: Too much cold in the abdomen can impair fertility by disrupting production of quality sperm in the testes. Too much heat is not good for the testicles either. In fact, the testes are just like Goldilocks… the most healthy when they are at just the right temperature, which happens to be a few degrees cooler than body temperature.
Now that you know the effects of ice water on the body, keep in mind that other cold foods such as ice cream, frozen yogurt, and iced-smoothies have the same effect.
To keep your Stomach warm and active, drinking warm liquids (hot water with lemon) 30 minutes before a meal is a great idea. Try it for a few days and see how you (and your Stomach) feel.
Life happens and sometimes it’s hard to resist that perfect ice cream or glass of ice water on a hot summer day. If you indulge in any ice-cold beverages or foods, do so sparingly and drink a warm liquid afterwards to keep your Stomach from feeling the freeze.
Dr. Michelle Wendt, L.Ac., DACM
Dr. Michelle Wendt, L.Ac., DACM practices Oriental & Chinese Medicine in Hawaii and Texas.