The end of 2012 has been full of devastation, of things that our beyond our control, a forceful destruction of the old to rebirth into the new, on literal and symbolic levels.
This past month, alone, we in the East Coast continue to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, and now our hearts also go out to those in Newtown, CT, after the recent shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Many folks who do not live in the New York Metro Area may be surprised to know that there are still many people without power post-Hurricane Sandy (imagine not having power for more than a month in the middle of winter), who are still homeless, or who are still suffering major financial loss of their homes and property, and/or worse yet, lost loved ones. And, the new problem of homeowners after the Superstorm? Mold and mold cleanup.
And, then, we learned of the shooting of 20 children and 6 adults in Newtown, CT. Who can even fathom the tragedy of what’s occurred? Especially during the holiday season?
It leaves us feeling powerless, questioning the safety of our homes, children, what we have known to be usual safe havens, that suddenly doesn’t feel so safe after all. I’ve been hearing it coming from the mouths of my patients, as well as from those interviewed on tv newscasts who were witness to recent happenings, “I feel so guilty that I survived, that my house is ok, that I have power, that my family is fine and healthy.”
In the work I’ve been doing with Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB)‘s Sandy Response, I’ve come to learn that everyone who’s living in the area is effected by what’s happening – whether they’ve suffered immeasurable loss, were witness to watching it happen, or are living in the city(ies) effected by it. We are all connected, and the condition of secondary trauma is very real. Just ask the first responders of Hurricane Sandy and the Sandy Hook shootings.
It is important for us to hold space for everyone to feel how they may feel, to understand that this holiday may be a particularly trying time for many in our area, due to what we’re still healing from. In addition to that, what are some concrete things we can do?
What You Can Do To Enter Your New Year With Grace & Purpose:
- Contribute to an effort that is serving those who need it, and as little as you feel it may be, understand that it makes a profound difference: whether it be a coat drive, deliver meals to homebound elderly in your community, help with cleanup of mold from residences, provide blankets to those who don’t have power, the list can be endless and very creative. For me, being involved with AWB, and other acupuncture relief efforts in the Tri-State area, has been instrumental for me feeling like I’m contributing towards the healing of my community. Find out about volunteer opportunities at: NYC Service, which has a vast amount of listings in the NY Metro area, including for Hurricane Sandy. For Hurricane Sandy specific volunteer opportunities on the local level, check out Occupy Sandy. For helping out in Newtown, CT, check out this listing by the CT Post. An additional resource, especially if you are a practitioner who can offer a service (such as acupuncture, etc.), check out Lotsa Helping Hands.
- Practice being grateful: something that is helpful when we feel at a loss, or unable to easily comprehend what’s going on around us, is to practice gratefulness. A good time to do this is at the end of the day. Sometimes we may feel that we have accomplished little. I challenge you to write, whether in a personal journal or on a blank sheet of paper, the title, “7 Things I Accomplished Today”, and then complete the list with anything you feel has been an accomplishment for you for that day. It could range from something like, “I finally did my laundry” to “I stood up for myself for the first time in a long time”. You may be surprised that you have, in fact, accomplished a lot!
- Be gentle to yourself: it is easy to judge yourself for not getting things done, or to feel like you have not done enough. Wherever you’re at, it is enough. You are enough. Period. If you include healthier food options that actually augment your energy level, rather than fill it with sugar-filled foods that can totally zap it, that would be another way of being kind to yourself. Get adequate rest, food, water intake, and exercise (when you actually get into exercise, it energizes you, rather than depletes you.)
- Laugh: it brings in oxygen into your lungs, increases blood flow, increases immune response, and can work out your abdominals if you get a good chuckle (Maciej Buchowski, a researcher from Vanderbilt University, conducted a small study in which he measured the amount of calories expended in laughing. It turned out that 10-15 minutes of laughter burned 50 calories!) On that note, check out Laughter Yoga classes, they exist.
- Surround yourself with positive people: it is easier to cultivate a healthier lifestyle when you fill your life with people who you feel enriched by. There is a reason your body energy takes a nosedive when you are around people who are constantly griping about life, picking fights, or directing negative vibes towards you! Instead, choose to be around those who are supportive, constructive, grounded, and positive. You will see and feel the difference!
UPDATES FROM ALCANTARA ACUPUNCTURE:
Gift Certificates: Give a loved one an Alcantara Acupuncture Gift Certificate, and bring wellness treatment of Acupuncture or Reiki into their New Year! They’re fresh off the presses, too! Email me for details!
Come take advantage of the Stress Detox Treatment! If you’d like to give your sympathetic nervous system a reboot, and permission to relax from the hubbub, come in for a quick Stress Detox Treatment – 5 needles in each ear for 30 minutes will greatly lower your stress levels, bring a sense of calm, improve sleep, and is a quick treatment you can squeeze in during a lunch break! This ear needle protocol is also known as the NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) protocol.
NADA is used in hospitals and harm reduction agencies to treat those recovering from addiction, due to its ability to reduce cravings, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and need for pharmaceuticals. It’s also being used in the battlefield, because of its effectiveness in treating PTSD. In fact, it is being used in Acupuncturist Without Borders (AWB) Sandy Response clinics in the New York Metro area post-Sandy to help our community recover from our collective trauma.
Give yourself some quick peace of mind, by planning an in/out 30-minute ear acupuncture treatment in your own private treatment room (most NADA treatments are done in a community-style setting, and 30 minutes is just long enough to take a nap on the table!), with no intake or questions needed (unlike a regular full body treatment), and at half the cost of a regular full body treatment! Email me to book your Stress Detox Treatment now!
ACTION NEEDED: ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS
This one involves making acupuncture a part of Obamacare in NY State. Apparently the committee who decides had inadequate information when they ruled out including acupuncture. Acupuncture is an important component of healthcare, and needs to be included in NY State’s Essential Health Benefits! We need to direct letters to NY State’s Department of Health. Letters should be sent from providers, students, patients, supporters, colleges and societies.
Deadline: Mailed letters TODAY until Jan 10, 2013.
Subject: Acupuncture in NYS Essential Health Benefits
Address and mail letters to:
New York State Health Exchange
Albany, NY 12224
Sample Patient Comment Letter:
My name is __________________________. I am a New York State resident who receives acupuncture for treatment of _____________________. I believe that Acupuncture has helped my condition and I strongly encourage and request that acupuncture services be included in New York Essential Health Benefits.
Sample Provider Comment Letter:
Acupuncture has been wrongly left out of New York State Essential Health Benefits. The CMS/HHS instructed me to contact your office directly as having the ability to make this addition. Acupuncture falls within the requirements of the of the benchmark plans in both Preventative and Wellness Care services and Rehabilitative and Habilitative Services. Acupuncture services should be included within the New York State Essential Health Benefits.
Milliman was the 3rd party agency that reviewed 6 large (50+ employees) and 4 small (less than 50 employees) health insurance plans here in NY State. Based on the findings of this review the Oxford EPO plan was selected as the model for NYS EHB. This plan does not include acupuncture in any capacity other than by option rider. A review of the Milliman review identified a handful of errors in the acupuncture data. Acupuncture Society of New York (ASNY) presented the NYS Department of Health with letters of opposition including letters from other groups (including The Cancer Society, The Autism Society, The Chiropractic Society) and legislators (including Assemblyman Gottfried) asking for a different selection. The time has come to new write letters asking for acupuncture to be included as an Essential Health Benefit. There are 10 required areas in the “Benchmark Plans” for each state. Acupuncture best falls into 2 of these areas; Preventative and Wellness Care and Rehabilitative and Habilitative Services.
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