I started getting acupuncture treatments about eight years ago, and I have been going regularly ever since. I have learned a great deal about holistic health from my wonderful acupuncturist, Adele Reising. She has helped me to understand how to take care of my body through the foods that I eat, the vitamins I take, what I drink, and the way that I sleep – just to name a few. In fact I have started so many new habits upon her suggestion that my physical and emotional health have actually begun to improve dramatically.

To my knowledge, in Chinese Medicine the body is understood in a more holistic way. When you go in for a treatment, your acupuncturist may tell you that the pulse of your liver is low or weak, and he or she may then place needles in various places on your legs or your torso as a way of strengthening the pulse of your liver. For many years I felt the effects of the acupuncture in improved health, but I didn’t really understand how it worked – until one day I was sitting on the 6 train heading from 68th street down to Union Square. The train was stopped somewhere between 68th Street and Grand Central Station because of a problem with a train ahead. Suddenly, I understood… I saw the body as a series of train tunnels. I imagined the flow of blood through the arteries and veins into  and away from the various organs and tissues of the body and I had a deeper glimpse into the intricate relationships within the body. Chinese medicine is an advanced system developed over centuries, which understands the highly intricate relationships within the body and is therefore able to treat not only symptoms but more importantly the causes of imbalances that lead to health problems in everything from chronic pain to infertility to auto-immune disorders. The various methods for sticking needles in specific points on the body serve to clear the channels, the train tracks, the lines of communication within the body so that the individual being treated can live up to their own individual potential for good health.

I am an advocate for holistic medicine. This does not mean that I do not also see the value in Western Medicine, and in fact I hope that we are moving closer and closer to a time when the two modalities will combine their strengths and their resources to work together for improved health of all – in fact this is already the case in some hospitals and a handful of countries.

For now I’d like to pass along to you one recipe that Adele suggested for me last fall to help me reduce my anxiety and improve my sleep. I was speaking with some students before class last week about the addictive cycle of coffee. When we drink coffee we stimulate the body and make it hard to sleep deeply. When we aren’t able to sleep deeply we have the need for more coffee to get us going in the morning. Adele recommends a wonderful tea brewed with black sesame seeds and goji berries to take before bed, which is soothing to the nervous system, which allows for a better nights sleep, which can begin to eliminate the need for coffee. Please advance to the upcoming link, which will take you to a newsletter that Adele wrote for Gwyneth Paltrow’s Web-site, Goop, where she has given the recipe for her black sesame tea, as well as some other helpful tips for reducing the effects of stress on the body.


About Joyce Englander

I teach weekly yoga classes in New York City, which focus on moving mindfully and gracefully with the breath. I believe that learning yoga is similar to learning a language, and the more you are around it the more fluent you become. This blog is an opportunity to share my thoughts and re-visit lessons from class; to create a bridge for students to translate their classroom experience into real life. I am interested in how practicing yoga can help to improve people's lives and reduce needless suffering.
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