Blue Heron Holistic Health Shaping Healthy Bodies, Minds, And Hearts Through Chinese Medicine

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Summer Transition Energies & How To Support Your Body

The season of late summer is upon us. Late evening light wanes and is paired with cool mornings. The crisp smells of the coming autumn are on the tips of our nose buds. With the season transition towards fall we may find ourselves in or out of balance with the element of Earth that governs the time between seasons.

For years I loathed the changing of the season and found it difficult to adjust to the shorter days and the heat leaving. I still love summer and am saddened that I must let it go, but as I become healthier in my body by getting the rest I need, eating whole foods and nourishing myself with a loving community, I find this time easier. My Earth element was out of balance by my constant overthinking due to the stressful relationships that I attended to. (Remember the element of Earth’s emotion is worry, rumination, overthinking and analyzing). As I have shifted my life into one of thriving, being honest with myself and devoting my life to my mission and purpose, I have continued to feel greater ease as this seasonal shifting time. Are you in balance?

The Earth element is associated with the organs of the stomach and spleen, so digestion will be highlighted. Are you taking the time to chew and enjoy your meals? Have you attended to eating with the season? We have an abundance of foods available to us that are in season and that can be enjoyed this time of year. Getting all the colors of the rainbow on your plate should come easily.

This season has to do with nourishing ourselves and feeling the abundance in our lives. Are you satisfied? Do you have enough and are you able to share your abundance? If you find yourself feeling resistive to change, are overindulging, overly-ingratiating, forgetful, extremely fatigued, worried, foggy-brained or needy of attention, then you are experiencing Earth out of balance. An inability to nourish the body or mind is an imbalance as well. Physically, the body can be affected by nervousness, hurried eating, and our food will not be assimilated if this is the case. If you are “holding on” to emotions and thoughts, you may experience constipation. An inability to “stomach” the ideas of others or resisting the end of summer may cause indigestion for some.  Muscle issues such as tension (inflexibility), stiffness, edema, loose or flabby skin or muscles and cracking or peeling of the skin also shows a disharmony.

By getting Amma bodywork, you can build on nourishing yourself and have the imbalances shift. Your energy will increase, your digestion will improve and your emotions will feel balanced as a result of a session. Transformation Coaching can help you to thrive and create the life that you are meant to live, in alignment with your highest mission and purpose.

Get things flowing!

Namaste,

Tanya

The Cost of Health Care

“I believe that the medical system is the number 1 risk to human health today on the planet outside of war.” –Sayer Ji (author, researcher and founder of GreenMedInfo)

Most of you who have found me and work with me understand the value of holistic care and want to receive something that addresses the body, mind and spirit. My approach with Amma and Coaching is to continue to meet people’s health needs in a natural way. One reason I found Eastern medicine is because of seeing my granddad suffering for years on medications. He knew the interactions from the medications were giving him new symptoms, but he felt that he had to take the prescriptions to stay alive. You can imagine the disempowerment this brought. Prior to his retirement, he had a career that he loved, but once he was supposed to be living his golden years, he was in chronic pain. He would tell me when I visited, “I’m not worth a darn.” It hurt to know he felt hopeless, helpless and was only getting some small benefits from using Western medicine. His life was prolonged, but there was no quality. What makes me the saddest is that he wasn’t able to develop a deep relationship with me and my family because of it. Now I know that he had dreams and hopes and ideas just like you and I. And he is part of the reason I have dedicated my life to helping others be free from chronic pain.

I don’t believe that medications are needed forever, or that they should even be a first go to. Now you all know I believe in a time and place for medication, but what has hit home for me again recently are how many people are suffering on medications and the risks involved from long-term use. As I have moved into working with more chronic illness, I see the ramifications on a weekly basis of long-term medication usage, as well as surgeries that may have been unnecessary, and that have continued to do more harm than good. When faced with a choice between the cost of CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) and Allopathic (Western) medicine, consider these statistics: The American Pain Foundation found that in 2006 only 23% of clients felt their treatment with the use of opioid medications was “very effective”. And according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, deaths from opioid overdose went from 4,030 in 1999 to 16,651 in 2010. In that same year, prescription painkiller overdoses killed 15,000 people. These are huge numbers that we should be scared about. Surgeries don’t get much better results. Surgeries for sciatica and low back pain cost up to $50 billion in health care costs annually. One of the studies that looked at surgeries vs. non-surgery techniques including acupuncture, physical therapy and massage showed the outcomes to be the same within two years. In a study of those with arthritis and two groups: one using standard medicine and the other using acupuncture found those who used the acupuncture or herbs got the same or better results. The Institute of Medicine put a cost for the management of chronic pain of $261 to $300 billion for medical treatment in the U.S. With all of that said, we have more reason to believe in the efficacy of alternative therapy. I continue to work with those in chronic pain, those with autoimmune diseases, adrenal fatigue, hormonal and menstrual imbalances. And I believe food is medicine. The right supplements and herbs can help carry us along until we find homeostasis. I created Blue Heron Holistic Health because I want to uplift people and get them to a place where they are healthy. When people become healthy, they have quality relationships; they serve their friends and families, their communities, and this precious planet.

Cheers to Holistic Health!

~Tanya

Let Go of Stress

Were you rushing out the door to work this morning or to your last appointment? We often feel stress in our busy lives… When you’ve come home and you hear that reminder ding on your phone one more time. When you are driving along and you are startled by someone blaring on their horn. When you feel the construction from the nearby street vibrating through your house and you spill your tea down your shirt. When we are told from our supervisor we need to make an improvement at work, but we’ve been doing the best we could every day. When we feel like we give and give and our partner tells us we aren’t doing something enough and they need more help. How many stressors are you bombarded with on a daily basis? While these are all things that we at times deal with, I’m going to share ways to bust through stress and especially emotional, nutritional, environmental and spiritual stress. We all know that we live in a society that doesn’t honor the body and soul or its needs. But, we all live in it and have to navigate it.

Nutritional stress is one that you hear a lot about from me. The soil, air and water are all full of toxins, so even when we are doing our best in terms of eating whole foods and organic, we are not always able to get the nutrients we need. Of course we are all on a spectrum on our eating and healing journey and some of us are still eating foods that are not so nutritionally dense, or lacking in nutrition. Yes, these foods are processed. But remember, we aren’t aiming for perfection, only working to get better. And when we don’t get the nutrients we need for our body, there are break downs that happen. You have heard from me about some of the vitamins that are synergists, such as calcium and magnesium. These are ones that work together as a team. In the body, there are many of these that need to be in play to get the body into full alignment and orchestration. Some of us are putting things into our body that are drawing minerals and vitamins out such as coffee, birth control pills and medications. While there may be a need for some of these, there is a causal effect in the body. These things and others can deplete the body and we can experience nutritional stress that will manifest in ways such as fatigue, cravings, mood swings, muscle tension, insomnia and sometimes even more chronic issues. When you come in to see me, I can tell you what foods and supplements you will need according to your patterns and symptoms to get the body synergizing.

Emotional stress has a role from the nutritional stressors as you can see. When we are already having a lack of nutrition, it can affect the mood. I studied Cultural Anthropology in college initially and indigenous people work maybe 4 hours out of the day. The mere fact that we have to produce often is probably the largest modern day stressor. The importance of feeling our emotions and finding a way to express it in a healthy way is imperative to healing. We are leaving an old way of being where we had to stuff our emotions or were told to suck it up and keep going. But we know those ways never helped any of us and now we are learning to undo this programming. Finding a healthy way to express yourself is of vital importance to healing the body. And deep listening to our issues is also needed. We need to set aside our judgments of how we “need” to be, “should” be, or “could” be. Our body and soul have the wisdom to teach us when we stop and listen. And using Emotional Freedom Technique can help you feel and release these emotions. Let me teach you how to do this, and you will have this tool for life!

The other stressors we experience today are from technology, noise and light pollution and environmental malaise. What do I mean by that? In Chinese Medicine they have something called Geomancy. This is how we are in relation to where we live, the landscape around us, both in our home and outside of it. If there is a noisy freeway outside of our home, this will be a stressor. Our health is directly influenced by our environment. This is why the practice of feng shui has been helpful to people and we are rediscovering its value to our overall health. And remember, cell phones are a new phenomenon and the EMF’s emitting are being proven to have detrimental effects to us. I recommend at least one day a week to not go on your social media or email. Keeping notifications off of emails and app alerts unless absolutely necessary will help you find more peace in your day to day being. Be sure and turn your phone on to vibrate when you want your family time in the evenings and weekends, and also put your phone in airplane mode if it’s in your bedroom while you sleep. Finding a way to bring beauty and balance to your home will greatly assist your health. And if you aren’t happy where you are living, begin steps to make that move so you can have the peace and happiness you deserve!

We all know that spending time in nature is healing and I recommend finding more ways to incorporate this into your spiritual practice. Spiritual stress is a common one today. This is why the self-help movement has become so large. A practice or ritual is important. When you take time for meditation, yoga, walking, journaling, and resting, you are honoring your body and soul and you will often arrive at answers that you didn’t have before. There is no right way to get in touch with the divine, but practicing it will bring inner peace. Finding a community that supports and is in alignment with your values is also a way to meet your spiritual needs. Lastly, when we are of service, we feel our best. This boosts our immune system and feeds our feel good hormones in our body. Remember though that volunteering should be something you love and feel great about during and after you leave.

Stress builds in us and it erupts in many ways. For some of us it’s anxiety, some a back ache, for others it will develop into premenstrual issues, digestive issues for others and the list goes on. When you come in, I can help you to understand the ways in which stress is affecting you in your body and mind and I will coach you through that while you get the energy moving. I am always pleasantly surprised to see what Amma can do to assist in healing the mind, body and soul.

Here’s to letting it all go! 

Many Blessings,

Tanya

Year of the Yin Fire Rooster and You!

The year of the Yin Fire Rooster began a few weeks ago on the New Moon, January 28th. Every year I like to talk about the energies from the changing of the guards with Chinese Astrology. So, let’s have some fun and explore what the rooster is calling in!

The rooster is best known for its greeting to start the day. Its exuberance, diligence, patience, and timeliness are all characteristics that can be found in a rooster year. We also see that the rooster can be boastful and is very confident in its self, and not afraid to honestly call it like it is. Devoting some time to beauty and what we want to see in the greater world as beautiful will be a good place to put attention. The rooster is not only lovingly devoted, but resourceful, hardworking and delights in doing things to the best of its abilities. Roosters are true to their word so you can trust they will be a good friend as well as walk their talk. Taking charge in your life and owning your power will be themes both individually and as a collective. The rooster is a leader, popular, active, and talkative, as well as dressed for success. This year it will behoove us to make planned action, get organized and take risks only if they are calculated. Perseverance will be a helpful energy from our friend the rooster, as this is a fire yin year and the energy can be tumultuous. With the dedicated and observant rooster on hand though, we can expect to solve issues and make great strides if we apply all we learn. They also signify a feminine aspect and we will want to pay more attention to our intuition. Overall, we can expect more predictability with a rooster year, but the fire will make things intense and there will be a lot of action and growth. Get out there and energize your life by owning your beauty and power and you will have an amazing year!

To Great Health & Prosperity!

~Tanya

Why a Candida Cleanse?

Here’s the skinny on what the heck candida is, why you may have it, and could benefit from a cleanse!

Candida is a fungus that is a form of yeast that lives in our intestines and in our mouth. We all have some and it aids our digestion when it is in healthy parameters in our body. Candida or yeast overgrowth breaks down the intestinal wall linings when it overpopulates. Once this happens, the waste from it goes into the bloodstream and causes leaky gut. At first, too much candida will go unnoticeable. After time however, they will lead to sugar cravings and then you may experience such discomforts as gas, bloating, persistent heartburn, constipation, or diarrhea, fatigue, brain fog, recurring vaginal infections, vaginal or rectal itching, urinary tract infections, kidney and bladder infections, athlete’s feet, toenail or fingernail fungus, dandruff, or skin rashes such as eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea, white spots on the tongue or inside the mouth, burning tongue, severe seasonal allergies, difficulty concentrating, poor memory, mood swings, anxiety, or depression. Once it progresses even longer this imbalance can manifest into an autoimmune diseases such as MS, Lupus, Hashimoto’s, Graves’, other thyroid dysfunctions, cancer and other conditions from low-immune systems. Do you or a loved one suffer from one of these?

So many of us are suffering with this and it often grows out of control due to stress and diet. The Western diet and protocols has greatly contributed to this problem. The main culprits that cause an overgrowth are sugar, alcohol, refined carbohydrates and processed foods. Even some fermented foods such as kombucha can contribute to this problem. Oral contraceptives, heavy metals and use of corticosteroid drugs and antibiotics also cause candida overgrowth and contribute to killing off or crowding out the good bacteria in our gut.

This year, I will help you to kick that candida! It will take a little perseverance on your part, and with support from me you will and can do this! Make 2017 the year to be healthy and make you come first! There are two ways you can get support: one is through an Amma session which will help your body detox and I will give you all the protocols at the end of the session. During your Amma, I will talk you through pointers and planning. The second is through a Coaching session in which we will cover all the information in-depth on what to eat, what not to eat, supplements and lifestyle needs. These sessions will include 45 recipes to assist you! With all this support you can be candida free and feel and look your best this year!

Looking forward to assisting you,

Tanya

9 Ways to Get Through the Winter & Holidays with Sanity

  1. Get outside and get sunshine when you can! When you can’t take a D3. Many people will want to take a D3 even if they are getting some sunshine because of the cloud covers, it can be hard to get enough. 5000 IU’s daily is recommended.
  2. Get physical every day! Find a way to move that brings you enjoyment. Don’t forget to include your family! Teaching children to be active will help them to stay healthy through life and will create fun bonds especially when you are enjoying nature together. All of the chores or playing with kids or family members counts. If you don’t have kids, grab your partner or a friend. I highly recommend walking or hikes, but gym time or classes can be fun too. Get playful! Sacred sex with your beloved is exercise too.
  3. Drink more water! Water is life and many of our issues stem from dehydration! Warm or room temperature water is best so your digestion is not impaired from the cold. Herbal tea is even better since you can enjoy many flavors and get the herbal benefits. Be sure and warm the digestive fire in the morning with something warm.
  4. Sleep. Winter is a time of building yin. This means going inward and resting more. We need to get extra sleep and allow our bodies to rejuvenate. Think hibernation.
  5. Learn to say no. Some social time builds our immunity too, but we must strive for a strict balance in this season. We may need less time with parties, obligations and gatherings. Be okay with saying no.
  6. Find ways to get positive touch and bodywork! If you are having a craving or addiction issue, it may actually be touch you need. Pets are great ways to get that need met as well. Schedule each month an Amma treatment to build immunity.
  7. Watch less TV, and spend less time on social media. The less time you spend being subjected to commercials, the media, and feeling the “need” to be engaged constantly (this includes your phone), the better you will feel about yourself (and get to know yourself). Also, you will be less likely to unnecessarily consume. The less you expose yourself to EMF’s the healthier your mind and body will be.
  8. Look at your emotions and feel into them. Perhaps more emotions and stress come up around the holidays for you. Be present with yourself. Learn that you are okay to have feelings and that you are allowed to express. Find ways to let out the emotions without taking them out on someone else. Take the time to sit with those uncomfortable emotions and cry. The release will bring healing on many levels.
  9. Keep the Gratitude Attitude. When we are thankful and we see all of our abundance, we are in tune with who and what we truly are~ a part of Spirit, God, of Universe. We will always be taken care of. We only need to see the perspective of how much we do and always have and with that focus, more will come to us. Breathe.

Many Holiday Blessings of Warmth & Abundance,

Tanya

Proven Ways to Stay Well

It’s that time of year again! Time to figure out how to stay well! As an Amma Therapist, I am often treating clients through the fall, winter and spring with colds and flus. Many people come in to see me with symptoms of runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes, sore throat, fever and aches. All of those things are often pushed out within a one hour Amma session! That means that yes, usually by the next day or the day after, they feel that they no longer have a cold or have very minimal symptoms. That is the best deal you can get to stay well. Now, there are things that need to be done to keep the cold from coming back, and there are things to prevent them.

In order to stay well, we must address the physical body. How do we get sick in the first place? Usually it is because we are overdoing it, stressing ourselves and not giving ourselves enough sleep or rest time. If you want to be well the best ways to prevent illness is listening to your body, getting adequate sleep, getting regular Amma treatments, getting sufficient stretching and movement time in, and eating well!

In the autumn we begin to eat mostly cooked foods. We can add in more pungents at this time, as well as bringing in some sour and bitter to keep a good balance. Focusing on squashes, root vegetables (especially turnips, beets and parsnips), basil, cardamom, rosemary, thyme, spinach, kale, turnips, baked pears and apples), warm lemon water and nettle tea.

As metal is the element for the autumn season, we must address the principles of metal. There are metals in the body and we must look at minerals and detoxification. See my last email and blog for detox tips. Are you getting enough foods with minerals? If you aren’t sleeping well, you may have a mineral deficiency.

Metal is also a conductor, so has to do with communication. How are we communicating in this season? We must be assertive and know when to speak up for ourselves and loved ones. If you are having trouble communicating your needs, you may have a metal imbalance. Amma therapy also addresses these in treatment.

Remember, the best way to stay well is to be preventative! Giving yourself the gift of Amma each month is a way to honor your body’s need for rest, positive touch, energy balancing, and letting go of ways in which we have become “stuck”. In order to serve you better, I am offering a 15% discount this month to boost your immunity.

To Health!

Tanya

Body Psychology: A Holistic Approach and the Modern Day Experiment

There is so much information out there on how to be healthy and what to eat. A big focus with my clients in guiding them to health in treatment is with Holistic Nutrition. But, as I often tell clients, it’s not just what  you eat, but how  you eat that makes a difference.  We are living in a time where people are having record weight gain, including children. Many people are sending their body mixed signals with not knowing what to eat, eating when they shouldn’t and feeling bad about their choices. There are challenges for each of us in keeping up on science research and sorting it from the trends.

We humans will always be evolving in our knowledge and even our body’s nutritional needs will continue to evolve. This particular time in history is especially interesting though, because in no other time in human evolution have we been exposed to as many environmental toxins, and in no other time have we eaten “foods” that do not exist in nature. Couple that with how our lives are taken over by media and electronics and we live more sedentary lives. In addition we are increasingly spending less time out in nature than in past generations. Our lives are full of stress and as we expose ourselves to more anger and violence through the media, our bodies respond by raising our insulin and cortisol. This constant stress makes our bodies weak and we are prone to illness and autoimmune conditions.  We are the Great Experiment.

You may have heard “Food is Love” and “You are What You Eat”. Perhaps you have heard the expression there are two types of people: Those who ‘eat to live’ and those who ‘live to eat’.  If we want to find health, then it is imperative to think of health in a holistic concept of nourishing the body, mind and spirit.

My recommendations to make this happen include making a commitment to create the healthiest gut ecosystem possible. We can do this by consuming whole foods which are foods that are grown in nature in their original form, unprocessed and unrefined. Processed foods and especially sugar are what we want to limit, as these are what create inflammation and stifle healthy gut flora.

This does not mean being perfect or never eating desserts or giving up an entire food group. There are do’s and don’ts, but these are for each individual based on their metabolic and biochemical needs. What is important is that most of the time we eat foods that are full of nutrition, that we enjoy them, and eat mindfully.  We all can help this process by becoming curious about our connection to foods, to our body’s needs, and learning when we are eating out of distraction, being tired, or to cover up an emotion.

Part of this curiosity can be channeled into each of us being our own best doctor. This may sound like an oxymoron, but it takes educating ourselves with reputable research which often entails seeking out a mentor who is knowledgeable about Holistic Nutrition.  This can be in the form of reading things from sources outside of media that may have an agenda. Once we have solid information, we can make informed decisions. We can and must also listen to our bodies. You are the only authority on your body! We each get to make decisions and learn through them. We can see what our intuition says. And when the body detects something foreign such as a chemical toxin that ends up in our foods, our bodies will reject these foods through pain and discomfort. When we continue to not listen, it will ‘up the ante’ and give us issues with these foods through food sensitivities, intolerances, allergies, or illness.  As these things come up in our lives we can see what changes we need to make and seek out help when it’s appropriate.

We get to be scientists as we get curious, seeing how our bodies react each time we eat. And also it means not beating ourselves up when we make a mistake or eating something we know is “bad”. When we constantly bombard ourselves with body judgment and criticism, we are not sending our body love. Our relationship to ourselves is modeled to our children as well. If we want them to be healthy and live long lives, then we must show them how to do this. Here’s an example. Sugar isn’t bad but how we use it can be. (It is arguably a drug that we as a society deem acceptable and overuse.) So talking to the young people in our lives about their choices is imperative. Having conversations with ourselves and our loved ones such as, “How does your body feel after you eat the sugar coated cereal?” is a strategy to empower us. By listening to how our bodies interpret what we put into it, we gain control and are able to make healthy choices through knowing the consequences.

Our body sends signals to us about our health all day long. We need to listen to our bodies telling us when we aren’t getting enough down time, or when we are pushing ourselves too hard during exercise, or not moving our body when it is begging us to! Being aware of adrenaline coming up after listening to loud and chaotic music, or to the stress response in our body after watching an action movie is important if we want to calm down the nervous system. Looking at our environment and assessing how it is impacting our health is necessary too. Living in areas where there is a lot of noise, air or light pollution can be a drain on your health. Last of all we need to spend time with ourselves and figure out the input we are receiving from body signals. We may have so many bombardments with physical, spiritual, emotional and mental needs that it may take some time to sort and process it all.

While we live in a world that seems to be accepting of denying body wisdom, we each have the responsibility to choose differently. When we don’t listen to our bodies they become sick. As someone who had a chronic autoimmune condition and suffered for years, I choose to be proactive in continuing learning to take preventative care of my body. I encourage you and support you to do the same!

Wishes for Optimal Health,

Tanya

 

Spring Energetics

The season of spring is upon us and with it comes more yang (activity), longer days and nature is awakening from its dormancy. Yay flowers, colors, and growth!!! With the season of planting, ideas are birthed and this is a time of creating new growth in all areas of life. What is your vision for your life and for your health? This is a good time to take an inventory, make new goals or check your progress.

Wood is the element from the five element system of Chinese Medicine that governs this spring season. When we are in harmony with the wood element we are flexible in our lives and we have good judgment. We are able to focus, organize, plan, make decisions and stay calm.

With a wood disharmony a person may exhibit poor flexibility (problems with ligaments and tendons), spinal problems, headaches, and neck and back tension. Being out of balance can add to poor immunity and illness can come up. From a psychological/emotional standpoint a person may become unrooted, anxious, angry, easily irritated, controlling, lack vision, or unable to decide or plan.

Enjoying sour foods during this season will assist in keeping the body in harmony with the wood element. Be careful to not overdo it, as too much sour also shows an imbalance.

The liver and the gallbladder are the organs associated with the spring. These organs are able to purify the blood, regulate metabolism, influence hormones and store vitamins for later use. If the gall bladder and liver are overloaded you will have more of the disharmonies mentioned above. It is important not to overdo alcohol, drugs, fried foods and meats. It is time to add a little more raw veggies in and sprouts are a great addition. Spring can also be a great time to cleanse. Let’s talk before you begin though, to be sure your body is up for doing so.

Come in this month for a check in on your health goals! Amma therapy brings the organs into harmony, and you will feel at ease and have clarity once again!

Here’s to a Healthy and Vibrant Spring!!!

~Tanya

Daylights Savings: A Good Idea?

How many of you wake up to the sound of (alarm) going off to get your day started? Raise your hands. How many of you would like to wake naturally? I know I would and was prior to this last Daylights savings. And it took me a long point in life to get to a place where I could do this!

According to the Journal of Sleep Medicine a 2009 study said that it can take from one day and up to 3 weeks for some people to get back adjusted to their schedule. “Like anytime you lose sleep, springing forward causes a decrease in performance, concentration, and memory.”

How many people in this room experienced more high stress episodes or emotional breakdowns in their lives over the last two weeks after we “lost” an hour? How many saw an increase in mistakes or accidents? How many experienced a decrease in concentration? I asked these same questions on a poll that I took on my Facebook page the week after Daylights Savings had happened to see how it affected people.

Here are some of the results: “Kids having difficulty and behavior has reflected this at school”, “totally sucky week”,  “I have had a harder time waking up and falling asleep making me more tired throughout the day. Also, I am sick today and I haven’t been sick in a year or so”, “Caught a rare cold”, “Worst week in months…similar to last year when the change happened. I find I still go to bed and try and wake on the old schedule, and take it extra easy, because I am all out of sorts. Normally, I know what time it is, in my gut, all day. When the change happens, I just feel CRAPPY.”, “I missed an appointment, for a MASSAGE. I never miss any, especially not that!”, “Friends have had sudden onset of anxiety attacks”, “I was late because I couldn’t get up in the morning! Have been very sleepy, groggy/foggy and not productive at all…I’m noticing how hungry I seem, too! This whole week has been a hurdle. I made a huge purchasing mistake on my credit card, too! I thought I was paying $89 for software when it was, in fact, $869!!! “, A woman who teaches special ed preschool, put it bluntly, “I have not had a stellar week.”

It’s important to know that when we change the time and have to get up either an hour earlier or an hour later, we are changing the circadian rhythm of the body. To put it another way, our bodies have an internal clock that tell us when to sleep and to do all these physiological processes, most of which we don’t have to think about. Disrupting the body’s sleep cycle is not a part of the natural biological rhythms of the body! You may have heard about when someone tried to explain Daylights Savings to an old Indian chief he said, “Only the white man’s government would be so stupid as to cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it onto the bottom, and think they have a longer blanket.” This makes me laugh every time I hear it!

I will also say that in my FB study, some people said they did okay with the transition. One woman said black tea helped. And I will say that many people who do better ingested higher amounts of caffeine, or regularly use it, or they were already up when it’s dark and so didn’t notice as much of a difference.

In a 2007 study published in the journal ‘Current Biology’. The researchers suggested that humans never really adjust to DST, and they explained that “the biological clock is in tune to natural changes in light throughout the seasons, and doesn’t respond well to artificial or social changes in the time.”

My body definitely wants to wait to get up with the sun. And personally, the saddest part about losing the hour is not getting to slowly gain that hour over the course of days, weeks and months, experiencing that light getting longer and longer.

Each person’s ability to adapt to the time change is different and varies depending on how much sleep you are currently getting, the amount of caffeine and alcohol you consume, as well as how much exercise you are getting. Other things that interfere with the body’s natural circadian rhythm is how much light you are exposed to during the day, how much artificial light exposure before bed, what medications you are on, and what you eat.

How does Daylights Saving impact the body? The journal ‘Open Heart’ did a study in 2014 looking at the number of heart attacks on the Monday following daylight saving time, and heart attacks increased 24 percent. This was compared with the daily average for the weeks surrounding the start of daylight saving time. Researchers also found when people gained an hour of sleep at the end of daylight saving in the autumn, heart attack numbers fell by 21 percent. There were more than 42,000 heart attacks during this study period, looking at a good balance of days at the start or stop of daylight saving time with other days during the study period.

Another study done by the American Academy of Neurology, compared the rate of stroke in more than 3,000 people hospitalized the week after a daylight saving time shift, to the rate of stroke in more than 11,000 people hospitalized two weeks before or after the week of transition.  The researchers released this study based in Finland on February 29th 2016, showing that after daylight savings, stroke was 8% higher. Cancer patients were 25% more likely to have a stroke during that time, and people older than 65 were 20% more likely to have a stroke. We have to be thinking about our stress levels this time of year and risk factors! If you aren’t exercising, are smoking and eating poorly, please pay attention to any chest pains that may occur.

As a Chinese Medical Practitioner, I am always seeing clients for sleep related issues. In fact, it is one of the most common complaints that I see in my office. People typically don’t come in to get help for this, they come in with back pain, with headaches, menstrual issues, with high blood pressure, and then after they tell me about their fatigue, stress, pain and their emotional highs and lows they add in, “Oh ya, and I haven’t been sleeping well.” I find it odd that so many people don’t think about their sleep enough to come in and say first thing, “I am not sleeping well”.

Christopher Barnes an associate professor of management at the University of Washington who researches the impact of sleep deprivation, especially in the workplace says, “As a society, we tend to treat sleep like a luxury or a necessary evil rather than a health issue. We work and live in a culture that tries to cram in so much activity. Because of this, everything else suffers. I always tell my students that sleep makes everything better: your work, your life, your health and your relationships.” I couldn’t give more sage advice.

To health!! ~Tanya