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Healthy Habits

Take A Walk After Eating To Improve Digestion

     14215967966_3179056801_nIn Chinese Medicine digestion is one of the most important processes that takes place in your body.  Proper rest and movement allows your body to digest food and drinks properly.  During the day many people eat on the run and after dinner we sit and watch television or lie down.  These are poor habits that will contribute to many chronic problems.

     Generally you should sit down and just focus on eating.  Do not watch television or read.  Try not to eat in a hurry and focus on chewing your food.  Allow your mind to be relaxed.  After you finish eating, sit and relax for about fifteen minutes then get up and go for a walk.  Try to take a walk in a park or some other relaxing place.  You do not need to walk quickly or even have a destination.  Just walk and try to take it easy. continue reading »


cold-feet     Cold is a major disease factor in Chinese medicine.  Cold causes qi and blood to slow down and stagnate.  This slowing down has an effect on your physical body as well as your mental and emotional body.  Cold is referred to as a yin pathogen and overtime will harm the bodies life force or yang energy.

       Chinese Medicine theory always reflects on the natural world and how the functions of the body are reflections of the natural world.  For example all of the external pathological factors causing illness are phenomena that exist in nature.  These being wind, dampness, dryness, cold, heat, and summer heat.  All are related to a particular season and patterns of disease.  In this posting I will mostly discuss cold because as Americans we expose ourselves to coldness more than any other pathological factor.  This is due partially to the way we dress but mostly due to  the way we eat and drink.  All processes in the human body require warmth.  When excessive cold is introduced into the body it causes functioning of many different organ systems to slow.

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Drink Hot Water For Better Health Part II

     hot-waterIt has been quite a while since I wrote the original posting on the benefits of drinking hot water.  I was inspired to write more on the benefits of drinking hot water since we are in the middle of the winter season and this is the most important time of the year to consume warm food and beverages.  The original post was put up in 2012 and I have gained some more insight and easier ways of explaining the benefits of consuming hot water rather than cold.

     While working with patients I have noticed how different temperatures of water effect people in three distinct ways.  In very basic terms ice water will cause and aggravate many chronic health conditions.  Drinking room temperature water will not have a negative effect on health. It also will not have a very obvious effect on improving health aside from drinking enough fluids will keep a person hydrated.  Consuming hot water on the other hand will not only prevent the worsening of a patients symptoms but will also act as a mild treatment for many chronic conditions. continue reading »

Go To Bed Early To Combat Chronic Disease

    14924181236_5b5df42345_zMany patients come to see me in Mamaroneck seeking acupuncture for various conditions.  Most of these patients not only get acupuncture and herbal medicine but they also get help through lifestyle adjustments.  Adjusting your sleep is one of them,  Going to bed at a reasonable time can have a strong effect on your mental, emotional and physical health.

    In ancient China people believed the cycles of the body followed the cycles of the natural world.  They thought if you go against these natural cycles disease will arise.  The ancient Chinese also believed you should not only dress properly for the seasons but you should also attune your exercise, rest, sleep, diet and lifestyle to fit with the changing of the seasons.  For example, in winter time you should eat more warming and nourishing foods such as meat, root vegetables, cabbage and other winter vegetables.  You should also eat more cooked foods and fewer raw foods.  In the winter time you should also go to bed earlier and sleep a little later.  Exercise should be more contemplative and meditative.  Qigong and meditation are good for the winter time.  Life should slow down during this time of the year.  The winter time in Chinese medicine corresponds to the water element.  In Chinese Cosmology the organ related to the water element are the Kidneys.  The Kidneys should be nourished during the times that correspond to the water element.

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Walking Backward To Ease Lower Back Discomfort


Ira Wahrman practicing walking backwards in Rego Park.
Ira Wahrman practicing walking backwards in Rego Park.

     If you go to the park in Beijing in the early morning you will see many people practicing many different types of exercises that would seem bizarre to us Americans.  One exercise that most people find bizarre is called 倒着走 the pinyin is Dao zhe zou which is translated as walking backwards in English.  As an acupuncturist I enjoy exercises like this and I often practice in Rego Park.

    So why do so many Chinese people practice this exercise and why do many Chinese doctors prescribe it to their patients as part of their treatment?

    Walking backwards has many benefits for the hips, waist, knees, spine, brain, heart and, sexual function to name a few.  It can also help to improve posture.

    Many people that suffer from chronic back, hip and knee pain or weakness could benefit from this exercise because the action of walking backwards will take the stress off the knees and lower back and engage the muscles in the front of your thighs and abdomen.  As a result this will allow the muscle in the lower back and waist to relax.  This relaxation can over time adjust the alignment of the pelvis and take pressure off of the lower back.  It will also allow the gluteus and hamstring muscles on the back of the thigh to relax as well.  Many people that have back pain and weakness have very poor flexibility and tightness in these areas.

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