Here's Why You Need To Start Meditating Today!

If you haven't already noticed, the world has been kind of a stressful place lately.  It's during these really intense times in life that we have a choice:  go to a place of anxiety or find ways to counteract that stress and find a place of calm.  No matter what is going on in the external world, this is always a choice.  

The stress in the outside world may not instantly go away, but finding tools to calm and connect on the inside will keep us healthy, strong and actually much better equipped to respond to those challenges, whatever they may me.   

Generally I tell people that technology is a distraction from that connection, and that is mostly true. The one big exception I've found is the power of technology and certain apps and websites to support my meditation practice.  I've used a few different apps for yoga and meditation: yogaglo, calm, headspace etc.  But most recently I've discovered the Insight Timer and it's by far my new favorite (and bonus, it's free!).  The insight timer is like the social media of meditation.  There are literally thousands of free guided meditations and a really nice timer setting if you want quiet meditation time.  You can invite friends and also see how many others around the world are meditating with you!  If you and a friend join, it's a great opportunity to find an accountability partner for your practice, which can be extremely helpful to really following through on making it a regular part of your life.  You can find the app by clicking on the link below.


Meditation has many well known benefits. It literally slows down your brain waves and when scientists have studied the brain during meditation, they've seen some incredible changes.  This is amazing to me.  The following brain scans have revealed some of the following findings when people meditate even short periods of time (around 20 minutes/day):

1.  Increased grey matter in parts of the frontal lobe that controls focus and flexibility in our thinking.
2.  The prefrontal cortex has also shown increases in grey matter.  This area is responsible for executive functions such as emotional regulation and problem solving.
3. Increased thickness in the hippocampus that governs learning and memory.  It is also very susceptible to stress and PTSD related issues.
4. Decreased amygdala size.  This area is responsible for our 'fight-or-flight' response, so the smaller size is very beneficial to how we respond to stress.

There may be some reading this blog that are thinking, "I've tried meditation and I can't sit still.  I'm just not wired to sit still and do that kind of thing."  I used to give people a pass when they said that, but not anymore!  Since reconnecting to my meditation practice recently and feeling how powerful its benefits are, I'm instead inviting people to let go of that old story that they can't meditate and perhaps take another look at this practice that has such incredible benefits for the body and the mind.  

Many patients here at the clinic, have started their meditation practice while lying in their chair getting a treatment.  Using apps such as these to guide you into meditation during acupuncture is an awesome way to start, especially if you find you have a challenging time lying quietly in the chair.  Acupuncture is an amazing opportunity to slow down, remember to breathe and undo the stress of the outside world.

Start tuning into your ability to turn within, to deepen your breath and slow down the stream of thoughts in the mind.  A teacher of mine has started calling this practice 'Brain Training" instead of meditation.  So if you'd like to look at this more as a science experiment and less as a spiritual endeavor, I invite you to do so as well.  Either way, the benefits to your life and to those around you will be the same!

This meditation below is one of my incredible teachers, Elena Brower.  Hope you enjoy it!


Rebounding: Bounce Your Way to Amazing Health!

Lately everywhere I looked someone was telling me to try rebounding as a way to get healthy.  I had no clue what they were talking about, so finally I googled it and realized they were saying, just jump on a trampoline!  Really?  We have a small kid version at home already, so I started bouncing and wow, yeah, my kids are on to something, this feels really good.  So of course as the nerd that I am, I needed to research the benefits of rebounding to motivate me.  So here goes!

1. Rebounding moves your lymph
Your lymphatic system surrounds every cell, carrying nutrients to it and carrying away waste products.  In fact, your body contains three times as much lymphatic fluid as blood.  But your lymphatic system has no pump like the heart is to the blood, making it totally dependent on movement and exercise to circulate.  Lymph moves through vessels that run up and down from the legs & arms to the torso, so the up and down movement of the rebounder is ideal for stimulating the movement of this crucial fluid.  

2. It benefits your immune system
The motion of rebounding causes immune cells like T-Lymphocytes and macrophages to be up to five times as active.  The job description of these cells includes eating up bacteria, viruses and even cancer cells.  So helping them along and preventing them from being stagnant will directly enhance your immune

3. Stimulates cellular detoxification
I've heard people call rebounding cellercise, because of the beneficial effects it has on nourishing and cleansing ALL of the cells in the body.  This effect is due to the gravitational force (G-force) that is placed on the body with each movement.  When jumping up, the cells engage, at the top of the bounce have a moment of weightlessness and then accelerate when descending.  This works to quicken the movement of oxygen, nutrients, hormones, enzymes and wastes through the cells, for complete cellular cleansing.

4. It can improve your eyesight!
Rebounding helps strengthen your ocular nerves and muscles (eye muscles are very weak). What other exercise or piece of home gym equipment can workout your eyes?  It can also benefit the lymphatic flow to the eye by stimulating the movement of it's fluid.

5.  Strengthens Digestion and Enhances Elimination
The digestive peristalsis is re-calibrated and improved by a regular rebound practice.  Just maybe don't bounce on a full tummy!

Other reasons that rebounding is great includes:
-Low impact on joints and bone
-Strengthens the heart muscle and improves circulation
-Tones the endocrine system, especially the thyroid, to increase output
-Lowers blood pressure

So are you ready to bounce?!  I decided to buy a new mini-trampoline instead of using my kids' trampoline and will attach the link to the one I bought on Amazon.  Prices vary widely, but I decided to start with a lower cost rebounder.  It was less than $40 and seems good to me.