Girl wearing Red Backpack to illustrate backpack tips.Once again, the fall season is upon us. From children going back to school to our turning back the clocks for daylight savings, there’s a lot in life to adjust to as we transition into autumn. However, it doesn’t have to be difficult—here’s a few tips that you and your family can follow to maintain a healthy balance well into the holidays.

Help children avoid backpain during “Back-to-School”

As students head “back-to-school,” this also means they’re back to walking with new backpacks loaded with books, electronics, and after school sports gear. Children wear them on their backs, sling them over one shoulder, and even tow them if the backpacks have wheels. Most children lean forward, or twist sideways, to counter the weight of their heavy load.

With all the gear they carry, it’s no wonder children, and especially in teenagers, suffer from lower back pain.
To help them protect their backs this school year, here are three tips from the National Posture Institute on choosing the best pack:
• Select a padded back will minimize direct pressure on the back.
• Choose wide padded shoulder straps to avoid hindering circulation to the arms.
• Get waist and chest belts to transfer weight from the back and shoulders to the trunk and pelvis.

If your child does complain of back pain, make an appointment at Healing Point Acupuncture—we can alleviate the condition and provide additional solutions that will help.

Achieving a healthy food balance with berries

Achieving Food Balance:

Chinese Medicine honors the Laws of Nature. The elements of:

Fire > Earth > Metal > Water > Wood

are symbolic representations for five aspects of our spiritual and emotional lives that correlate with the cycles of nature, human experience, and human health—they comprise the 5-phases of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

Keeping these elements in balance and in motion is the foundation for health and longevity. However, when there’s an imbalance, this generates symptoms—and these symptoms provide clues to the kinds of changes necessary to bring health back into balance.

When your metal element is out of balance:
Congestion, constipation, and rigid thinking are the most common complaints.

Here are some tips for maintaining your metal element equilibrium:

This reduces anxiety and increases clarity/focus. Conscious breathing opens up airways to allow oxygen to flow freely. Oxygen is vital for your brain function, metabolism, and energy. More oxygen = better breathing = more energy!

Movement for Lung Health

Stretch and move your body. It is normal to get breathless during exercise. However, regular exercise can increase the strength and function of your lungs.Diet and Nutrition:Eat well. This goes hand in hand with exercise in keeping your lungs clear, healthy, and not overburdened.

Good foods for healthy lungs include apples, nuts and seeds, cabbage, broccoli, kale, carrots, turmeric, garlic, onions, oranges and pomegranates.

Stay Hydrated. Pure, clean water is essential for keeping blood flowing to and from the lungs. It also keeps our lungs hydrated and the mucus flowing. Again, as the weather grows colder, warm beverages and soups are beneficial.

Woman sleeping to achieve a healthy balance of sleep.

Achieving Sleep Balance:

The amount of sleep a person needs depends on many factors including their age and overall state of health. For most adults, 6.5 – 8.5 hours is essential to maintain health, appearance and performance. But when the seasons change and the mornings are colder, it’s tempting to stay under the covers longer. When it gets dark before we have left work, it’s also easy to feel tired, but this doesn’t mean that we need more sleep. In fact, getting too much sleep will make one feel even groggier in the daytime.

The diminished amount of daylight can impact your quality of sleep. If you’re feeling groggy in the morning and tired throughout the day, try adjusting your sleeping routine to promote better sleep. It’s also a good indication that you need to come in for a seasonal “acupuncture tune-up.”

Tips for a good night’s sleep:

Make the most of the darkness: Our sleep and wake cycles are regulated by light. Darkness stimulates the body’s production of melatonin, that natural hormone that tells the body’s circadian system that it is time to sleep. Create good sleep habits:

  • Turn off electric equipment at least an hour or two before going to bed.
  • Be sure the bedroom is very dark — yes, this means no televisions, pads, or eBooks with backlit screens.
  • While enjoying the darkness, relax to soothing music, meditate or practice breathing techniques for relaxation. It can help you wind down the night.
  • If you’re not quite ready for sleep, sitting quietly with candlelight is very soothing, just be sure the candles are out when you are ready to retire.

Emotional Balance:

Nature instructs us about our own cycles of creating and letting go. Fall is the season for setting clear boundaries, clearing out old and unresolved issues, and letting go of built-up grief—leaving us receptive to the pure and new. The metal element returns us to our essence and reveals what is most precious in our lives.

Getting a seasonal assessment of your health even when you are feeling fine is a good way to stay on top of your wellness goals. Acupuncture ‘tune-ups’ can help to recalibrate any imbalances to help maintain health and wellness throughout the fall.