Keeping our immune systems in good shape is always a wintertime priority. This year, in the midst of the pandemic, it’s no surprise that it’s even more important than usual.
Thankfully, HHA’s acupuncture extraordinaires — Carla San Diego and Joe Del Giodice — were kind enough to share their expert advice on staying healthy during cold and flu season. They also illuminated just how vital acupuncture is for resetting the nervous system, which is connected to immune system function (it’s all connected!).
Read on for simple tips to feel your best this winter.
The Effects of Fight or Flight Mode
It’s no stretch to say we all experienced a heaping of additional stress in the past 12 months. The beauty of acupuncture lies in its ability to address the recipient of all this extra stress: the nervous system.
While the nervous system is designed to respond to change, the amount we’ve been experiencing has been unprecedented. Our nervous systems have been tasked with processing a global pandemic, political strife, isolation, and so much more. It’s no surprise that this astronomical change has sent most of us into fight or flight mode.
In this state, the body lowers immune function. In fact, it lowers any function that isn’t considered essential to your immediate survival, such as digestion, reproduction, and sleep. As a result, Carla notes that many patients are now reporting new symptoms. She’s seen an increase in dizziness, mental fogginess, fatigue, dryness, back and neck pain, constipation or other GI discomfort, irregular periods, or insomnia, all of which can compromise the immune system.
Finding Your Way To Rest and Digest
The great thing about acupuncture is that it essentially resets the autonomic nervous system, which means you can find your way to rest and digest mode. In this state, we’re able to experience overall wellbeing and a deeper sense of relaxation. Many clients describe experiencing a sense of “letting go” during a session.
Taking care of yourself also means getting back to the basics. Our bodies need basic things to keep going, let alone thrive. Check out Carla’s recommendations below:
1. Juice/fuel/Qi. It’s essential to eat a healthy, balanced, nutrient-rich diet and to stay hydrated. Check out Joe’s organic winter salad recipe on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6P8roR_hn0) for some inspiration!
2. The ability to process this juice/fuel/Qi. Immune function begins in the gut. Are you drinking enough water to process everything? Is your digestion functioning? Are you urinating and moving your bowels daily to get rid of toxins?
3. Rest. Just as your phone rests while charging and your computer goes to sleep, your body charges while you rest in sleep.
4. Movement. It’s important to move regularly to get the juice/qi flowing. This doesn’t just mean sweaty cardio exercise. Your body needs to move inwardly also, which is why meditation, yoga, Qi Gong, relaxing walks, and dancing are all great options.
“When you’re getting enough (not too much or too little) of these four things, your immune system will protect you as it’s supposed to and your nervous system will take care of the rest,” says Carla. “You will feel good, stay well and be happy...or at least, have more joyful moments.”
Safety Precautions at HHA
Because the last thing we want is to add to your stress during your pursuit for stress relief, we want to emphasize that Carla and Joe are taking precautions to create the safest possible environment.
Beyond the precautions you’d expect (wearing masks, taking client temperatures), both practitioners have limited their hours and number of patients, which gives plenty of time for sanitation and proper ventilation in between sessions. Surfaces are disinfected between all client sessions and disposable coverings are used on the massage tables.
“I continually run an air filter/purifier with a medical-grade H13 HEPA filter, and confirm all appointments the day before with an inquiry of symptoms and exposure,” shares Carla. “Hand sanitizer is provided throughout the office. I also get a rapid and PCR test regularly.”
Joe also incorporates immune enhancement and stress relief into every acupuncture session, regardless of the purpose for the treatment.
To learn more or schedule an appointment, Joe can be reached at (201)653-7700 ext.3. “Not everyone gets the same points, but it’s personalized based on their circumstances and evaluation that day,” he said. “I also instruct my patients to be abundantly hydrated and to eat well on the day of treatment. Piggybacking the treatment with proper hydration and nutrition will show the biggest benefits.”
Finally, as a special bonus, Carla is offering a New Year special through the end of March for new patients: Six visits for the price of five (unless you’re using insurance). For pricing details, she can be reached at (917) 830-5877.
Here’s to a healthy, happy winter!
Hannah Chenoweth is a Hoboken-based conference producer and freelance writer who enjoys covering all aspects of health and wellness.