Living Well in San Rafael with Acupuncture

Are you a resident of San Rafael, CA, and interested in hearing some tips on living well from San Rafael Acupuncturist Gigi Shames?  Would you like an acupuncturist’s perspective on the best places in San Rafael to eat, shop, walk, hike, swim, do yoga, and so on?

While growing up in Marin in a medical family, I always appreciated the abundance of healthy food and great activities that are available in our wonderful and various cities; and San Rafael where I now have an Acupuncture practice, is an excellent example.  San Rafael has so many options for wellness, and this is by no means a definitive list!  These are possibilities I have encountered from my observations as a San Rafael Acupuncturist, and from stories my patients tell me, and I hope you enjoy checking them out.

Of course, right off the bat we can say that receiving once-or-twice-per-month Acupuncture is the perfect way to balance your body, mind, and spirit, and especially your hormones! I would be happy to see you for at my clinic at 4340 Redwood Hwy #A-22, San Rafael CA 94903.  In fact, you can get $45 off your first treatment just by mentioning the new patient promo.

Now, if you live in San Rafael near the 101 freeway, your sleep might be affected by all the highway noise.  The same is true if your neighbors happen to be a bit more boisterous.  However, your sleep is precious for your health, and there are ways you can ‘program’ yourself to get better, more deep and fulfilling sleep.  For insomnia, two hours before bed dim all the lights in your house and turn off phones and computers. Enjoy a hot bath, read and relax. Remember that compared to the long arc of human history, it has only been in the past twelve decades that electricity has become widely available. For millions of years prior to that, we were generally going to sleep soon after sunset because there was little else to keep us awake and distracted.  If highway or neighborhood noise is problematic, consider earplugs or a small ‘white noise’ machine for your bedroom.

San Rafael often gets more sunshine than many of the other cities around the Bay Area, and fifteen minutes of sun per day raises your vitamin D levels, boosting your mood and immune function.

Take a day of rest per week (even if you have to force yourself to do so). Rejuvenation for the body and mind is worth its weight in gold! You will be more productive the rest of the time if you rest sometimes.  One way to really rest on this day is to avoid driving around in downtown San Rafael traffic by walking, biking, or letting Golden Gate transit buses get you where you want to go.

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. To quit and stay off cigarettes forever, make sure you cultivate good habits to replace the smoking habit (like exercise, writing or sketching, meditation, Acupuncture for addiction).

Boost your heart health by eating well; for example, brown rice, brightly colored vegetables such as bell peppers and beets, plenty of greens, yams, lean meats, and veggie sprouts.  Café Gratitude on Fourth St in San Rafael offers a wide array of beautifully colorful, mostly vegan meals made with fresh vegetables and fruits.  And for groceries, Whole Foods on Third St has the largest selection of organic foods and health foods to be had.  I adore the delicious Sol Food restaurant on Lincoln (how can you not?) especially those amazing salads and Puerto Rican rice and beans, but remember to eat red meat only in moderation and avoid fried or greasy items.

Do something fun for your exercise, whether that is dance, biking, hiking, yoga, or running down the street after your untrained dog who keeps pulling the leash.  You can walk around downtown San Rafael and get plenty of exercise that way, or hiking around the residential hills of San Anselmo.  My friends rave about Bikram Yoga San Rafael on Second St; of course, if heated yoga rooms are not your preference, consider the pools and exercise equipment at the Jewish Community Center on N San Pedro Rd or the YMCA on Los Gamos Drive (coincidentally the Y is right near my office at Preventive Medical Center, so some of our practitioners at the Center are regulars there).

Weight Loss Tip: In Chinese Medicine dairy creates “Dampness” which causes excess weight. (I sometimes ask my patients, When was the last time you went to a Chinese restaurant and saw cheese or butter or cream on the menu?)  The Thai restaurant Citrus & Spice on Fourth St is fantastic, and most of the menu items are dairy free and/or can be modified for carnivores or vegetarians to your preference.

For mild cough or for allergies, twice daily take a small spoonful of local honey and place at the back of the throat to dissolve. Local honeybees ingest and process the pollens that surround your county, and if you consume the resulting honey it can help eliminate allergies. Also, honey coats the throat to reduce friction and irritation.  You can certainly purchase local honey for Marin and Sonoma counties at Beekind in Sebastopol, although the San Rafael Whole Foods might also source it.

For a more serious bronchitis, steam several cored Asian pears for 30 minutes & eat the whole fruit with a spoonful of local honey drizzled over.

If it’s springtime in San Rafael, wrap yourself up to avoid the wind.  To avoid colds, wear a scarf to protect the occiput (called “The Wind Gate” in Chinese Medicine).

Living under constant stress is not at all healthy. But let’s face it: Right now many of us are, and we are starting to notice the toll this unremitting stress takes. Human beings were designed to handle short periods of intensely high stress such as being chased by an animal predator, but after surviving such a threat we are meant to enjoy long periods of peaceful relaxation. We were not designed to live with a low level of constant stress the way continuous pressures of our fast-paced modern society keep us afraid, overwhelmed, and “running on empty.” If you feel like you have been under too many pressures for too long, stress reduction Acupuncture can help you enjoy a more peaceful life.  Also, feel free to check out Open Secret Bookstore on C St in San Rafael for books and audio CDs to help you cultivate relaxation and meditation in the midst of your busy daily life.

For appointments in San Rafael (also available in Cotati and via phone coaching) please book online on our home page (Acupuncture) or call (415) 233-0165

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