Middleway Medicine Blog

News Diet

by Clark Zimmerman, LAc.

I do a cleanse every spring. In addition to avoiding sugar, alcohol, coffee, dairy and gluten; I also up my water intake, exercise and meditation. I typically begin reluctantly, and become a little impatient and crabby until I get over the hump and start to feel energized and more alive. When I did my annual cleanse this year though, something was a little different.  I was avoiding all of the problematic foods as I normally do, and I was exercising and drinking plenty of water, but I couldn’t seem to get over the hump. I was still grouchy a week into the cleanse. Then my wife mentioned to me that she noticed that every time I read the news my mood would sour and I would become visibly distressed.  She suggested I go on a “news diet” which involved avoiding the news for one week, instead reading something inspiring or that would promote personal growth.  I reluctantly agreed and though it took some getting used to, something interesting happened.  My mood lightened, my sleep improved, my conversations changed.  I ended up taking a month away from reading the news and it seemed to have a greater impact on me than all of the dietary changes that I was making.  I then realized how much of an impact being so plugged into current events was having on my health.

People used to get their news from the newspaper or from word of mouth.  Then television came along, and now we have the many news feeds the internet, twitter and Facebook.  It seems that everywhere you look there is the news pushing into our lives.  It is one thing to be informed, it is another to be fixated. While we should be informed about the world we live in, we should also be careful not to become saturated and overwhelmed by the huge amount of information available.  

Many of us start our morning by checking some sort of news source, which tends to begin our day on a stressful note.  Then we check in throughout the day, constantly reminding ourselves of the conflict and anxiety that is part of being alive.  Unfortunately most news sources owe their existence to the reporting of the dramatic and terrible things that are going on in the world.  It is rare to read good news, because so often the good things that are happening in the world are underreported as they don’t garner as much interest from the readers.  Media companies are first and foremost businesses so they mostly report on things that make them the most money. Unfortunately this gives the impression that the world is more dangerous and depressing than it truly is. 

So how do we stay informed without becoming overwhelmed?  The answer to this question is different for everyone, but I would suggest asking yourself whether your news intake is helping you become a better, more helpful person, or is it creating excessive amounts of anxiety in your life.  One way to get some perspective is to do a news fast of some sort.  It may be a few days, weeks or months.  The trick is to give yourself enough time to create some room for perspective.  Try to find where your personal threshold is to be informed enough to a helpful participant in the world, without becoming numb or overwhelmed by all of the pain and suffering which is a part of life.  Another thing that I find helpful is to find sources of positive, solution based news to mix in with news of the worlds problems.  If we find inspiration from the news it can create more joy and hope in our life, which can help us stay healthy and engaged in the practice of making the world a better place.

 
Continue Reading

Wei Qi-immune support

By Ann Zimmerman, LAc.

According to the wisdom tradition of Chinese medicine, our Wei Qi circulates on our body’s surface, protecting us from pathogens like bacteria and viruses.  This can be loosely related to how Western medicine views the immune system. In Chinese medicine, the belief is that viruses, bacteria and other pathogens are always present and generally non-threatning  to our health unless our Wei Qi has been compromised.

Compromised Wei Qi then leaves our body’s defenses weak against whatever pathogens one might be exposed to in daily life.  If a person keeps a lifestyle, such as an unhealthy diet or inadequate sleep over time, then they will ultimately deplete their body’s Wei Qi. Thus leaving them very vulnerable to developing illnesses.  In addition to how lifestyles can effect our Wei Qi is the variable  factor of extreme weather or stress.  Changes in weather, such as large swings in temperature, moisture or wind also weaken our Wei Qi.   On a windy fall day, a person with a poor diet who is lacking sleep, will most likely be a person who dealing with some stage of illness.

Stress also depletes our Wei Qi by fatiguing our ability to rest deeply. Often causing indigestion, anxiety, increased pain and insomnia. One of the great bummers of stress is that it does compromise your Wei Qi, often leaving us overwhelmed and sick, at the same time.

Preventing disease has been the center of Chinese Medicine, since its inception.

In the ancient Chinese text, the Neijing states, “To administer medicines to diseases which have already developed  is comparable to the behavior of those persons who begin to dig a well after they have become thirsty, and of those who begin to make their weapons after they have already engaged in battle. Would those actions not be too late? 

The fall and winter time tends to be a much harder time of year to stay healthy. If you know that

you are headed toward winter with compromised Wei Qi, please be good to yourself and start repairing your health before you get sick.  Start practicing better lifestyle habits; eat better, get more sleep, stay hydrated, exercise, and limit sugar. Start/resume taking vitamins and herbs that improve your health and reach out for help if you need it before you get sick.  We have seen a couple rounds of illness already pass thru the valley, if you are sick now or still not fully recovered consider using Chinese medicine to help restore your Wei Qi.  To your good health!

Continue Reading

The Truth About Opioids

By Clark Zimmerman, LAc.

My grandmother was never a fan of air conditioning.  I remember visiting her farm in the heat of summer and spending a lot of my time swimming in the pond, rather than sweating buckets inside the house.  Though my mom insisted it was because she had lived through the depression and didn’t want to spend the money, grandma insisted that air conditioning made you more sensitive to the heat.  “If you just learn to tolerate the heat, and drink iced drinks or go swimming” she reasoned, “than there is no real need for air conditioning.”  I thought of my grandma’s wisdom while reading a recent study by Peter M. Grace and Linda R. Watkins of the University of Colorado.  The study found that opiate pain medications, such as morphine, oxycodone, and Vicodin can have the “devastating consequences of making pain worse and longer lasting”.  Like my grandmother’s opinion of air conditioning, it seems that rather than effectively treating pain, opioids often can help us feel more comfortable in the short term, but can cause lasting sensitivity to pain.

As opiate addiction continues to grow in the U.S., and deaths from overdose by opioids become more common, people are beginning to ask if the benefits of opioids are worth the risks that are involved. This recent study is the latest bit of evidence that something needs to change.  The healthcare community is truly beginning to evaluate when to use opiate medications and when other treatment options would be more appropriate.  This latest research suggests that the conditions that can benefit from opiate use are not as numerous as we once believed.  In my practice, I have seen many people who began using opiate pain killers to treat a traumatic injury or a nagging condition with the belief that things would quickly improve and the pain medication would no longer be necessary.  When the pain lingers because their injury is not properly addressed or because their lifestyle that contributes to their pain is not altered, they become dependent on the medication.  This results in the unfortunate situation of needing more medication to achieve the same amount of pain relief, which can easily lead to opiate addiction.  Another thing worth mentioning is that the body experiences pain to help get your attention.  If, for instance, you tear a muscle lifting a heavy box, you feel pain so that we know to quit using that muscle until it heals.  If you cover up the pain with medication, sometimes it allows you to keep doing physical work that your body cannot perform.  This can often result in more damage to your body.

I believe that opiate pain medications are often prescribed when other treatments  such as ice/heat, rest, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic/osteopathic manipulations, physical therapy, or herbal preparations would be a better choice.  These treatments attempt to address the underlying problem that is causing the pain, rather than cover up the pain in general.  It seems that we are coming to a point as a society where this issue cannot be ignored any longer.  Opiate pain treatments do have a place, but only in very specific situations of severe and otherwise untreatable pain, and only under the close supervision of a skilled and attentive medical practitioner.  Not only is widespread opiate  medication creating problems in our communities, it now appears that it is largely ineffective.

Continue Reading

Practitioners

Clark Zimmerman, LAc, MAcOM
Ann Zimmerman, LAc, MAcOM
Ryan Baker, MAcOM, LAc, RPh

Hours

Mon–Thurs 9–6
Friday 9–4

Contact

Phone: 541-535-5082
Fax: 541-535-3026

Send Us An Email

Schedule Appointment