Acupuncture Can Be Used to Enhance Healthy Living

Healthy living comes with some basic mantras like "eat fruits and vegetables," "don't smoke," and "get some exercise." It can even come with some suggestions like "take a yoga class" and "get acupuncture." It's not rocket science. In fact, it's far from rocket science, which is probably often performed in a sedentary manner by a concentrating, stressed-out scientist, alone in his lab, sitting on a stool, with quick and unhealthy processed snacks within reach.

Healthy living is basic science. Eating is pretty basic. What should we eat and drink? Green tea is good. It contains phenols, which cleanse the liver. Artichokes are excellent - they can decrease cholesterol levels. Walnuts, chestnuts, and almonds also fight cholesterol. Strawberries have antioxidants. Fish have essential oils. Celery has fiber. Soy milk is a high-calcium, high-protein replacement for cow's milk, which often contains antibiotics and hormones. Plus, it's vegan, so it's harvested without animal use and misuse. Avoid red meat, saturated fats, processed foods and excessive refined sugar. Healthy food is kind of a no-brainer. So is not smoking. Smoking killed 2.5 million Americans in 2010 - on average, each person lived 22 years short of their life expectancy. Smoking is a major cause of coronary artery disease, cancer, and emphysema. Cigarette smoke contains 4,000 chemicals, many of them highly toxic. Secondhand smoke causes asthma and leukemia in children. Smoking is slowly becoming outlawed in more public places, beaches, college campuses, restaurants and pubs. The focus on the rights of the non-smoker, over a smoker's right to smoke, is indicative of a new society that is more healthfully-minded.

Exercise is also finding its place in today's society with an increasing number of companies offering on-site gyms to their employees, desks with built-in stationary bicycles, dedicated biking and jogging lanes on many streets, and health plans with weight-loss incentives. Exercise improves sleep, mitigates depression, staves off diabetes and heart disease, improves blood circulation and respiratory function, and increases agility, strength and flexibility. What's not to love? Exercise is a walk in the park, if you walk just a little bit briskly. To get the health benefits of exercise, you don't, and in fact shouldn't, exercise excessively. There are other ways to improve or maintain your physical health. Acupuncture is a growing trend that is believed to stimulate the body's natural healing mechanisms. Many practitioners believe that acupuncture relieves an imbalance of yin and yang energy. The trained application of needles inserted into the body's meridians, which are the fourteen channels though which energy flows, opens blockages and lets the energy flow freely and get back in balance. Patients report relief from pain, stress and illness after an acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture may also strategically wake up an immune system to battle illnesses. The needles can essentially direct the body's natural defenses to pay attention to an ailing system. Massage and yoga are also gaining a following as they become increasingly used for health, therapy, stress relief, and realignment of the spine. Herbal supplements may have their place in healthful practices, but be cautious about what you put in your mouth, and do your homework with your doctor, not just on the Internet. Be well. And have a glad of red wine - it's good for the heart.