Monday, November 10, 2014

How to stay healthy this winter following Eastern medicine guidelines

MAYWOOD, Ill. (Nov. 10, 2014) – While mainstream medicine recommends eating right, exercising and getting your flu shot to stay healthy during cold weather months, Eastern medicine takes this advice a step further.

“Traditional Chinese medicine teaches us to live in harmony with the seasons to protect our health,” said Aaron Michelfelder, MD, a family medicine and integrative medicine physician at Loyola University Health System. “Making certain adjustments to our diet, sleep regimen and lifestyle will make us more in sync with nature and better equipped to cope with the plunging temperatures."

Dr. Michelfelder recommends the following Eastern medicine tips to “winterize” your body and protect your health this season:

Eat warming herbs and foods. The environment and the food we eat can create imbalances in the body, according to Eastern medicine guidelines. Using warming ingredients for meals that are in season to counteract any imbalances created by the cold weather. Warming herbs and foods include cinnamon, ginger, garlic, spicy foods, sweet potatoes, squash, meat and nutrient-dense soups and stews. Save raw, leafy greens for the summer.

Eat less. We typically are not as active during the winter so we require less food. Cut down on your caloric intake.

Sleep more. Traditional Chinese medicine recommends following the sun and sleeping more in the fall and winter because we have fewer hours of daylight. It is best to get nine to 10 hours of sleep as opposed to the recommended eight hours in the summer and spring.

Slow down. We should expect ourselves to slow down naturally and be less active during winter months. This is a hard concept for many Americans to grasp given our busy culture.

Meditate more. As our bodies naturally slow down, it is best to slow the mind as well through meditation. Don’t resist what the body is naturally meant to do this time of year.

Turn to acupuncture. An acupuncture winterizing treatment naturally restores balance and boosts energy levels.

Practice self-care. Get a massage, engage in social activities and take a vacation, if possible. Self-care will help you recharge your body.

“Our immune system is naturally suppressed in the winter,” said Dr. Michelfelder, who also is a professor at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. “Try not to fight the seasons. If we are not aligned with the natural cycles of life, we won’t be able to recharge our immune system to protect our health.” 

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located on a 61-acre campus in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH) on a 36-acre campus in Melrose Park, and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. At the heart of LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that houses the Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, a burn center, a children's hospital, and Loyola Outpatient Center. The campus also is home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. The GMH campus includes a 247-licensed-bed community hospital, a Professional Office Building with 150 private practice clinics, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

About Trinity Health

Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 93 hospitals, as well as 122 continuing care programs that include PACE, senior living facilities, and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $17.6 billion and assets of $23.4 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity Health employs about 131,000 colleagues, including 7,500 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity Health is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services — ranked by number of visits — in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs. For more information, visit www.trinity-health.org. You can also follow @TrinityHealthMI on Twitter.