Showing posts with label Judson Chaney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Judson Chaney. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

This Summer, Soak Up The Slow

By Judson Chaney, ND, Lac
Acupuncturist

This summer, make time to soak up some slow.

Yes, in case you were wondering, that wasn’t a typo. Summer time is a natural time of high energy and activity. The sun is out, the days are warm and long, and winter thankfully, seems ages away. Life is in bloom all around us and that energy helps to fuel and supercharge our days.  

In continuing our emphasis on mindfulness in daily life, I recommend prioritizing some time to slow down this summer. Whether enjoying a day off, a weekend, or taking a vacation, remind yourself to slow down a little and enjoy. It may seem like common sense, but have you ever come back from a day off or a vacation feeling like you need a vacation? Maybe you needed to slow down a little bit...

The modern world, for most of us, is already filling the corners and spaces of our days that used to be used for daydreams. Our minds have many constant competitors for our attention, and as such are frequently occupied. Coupled with the natural fast paced energy of the season, it is no wonder summer can feel like it is over before it begins.  

So do yourself a favor this summer - make it last; soak up the slow. Check the sky more and your phone less.  Compare sunrise to sunset to see if one is more beautiful. Go for a walk. Count fireflies. Notice how the flowers grow and change. Do what you love, and allow yourself the space and time to love it.  Above all, remind yourself to slow down and enjoy. Summer is here, let’s make it last.  

Visit www.HackensackMeridianHealth.org/IntegrativeMedicine or call 732-263-7999 to learn more about Hackensack Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine and our Five Pillars of Health & Well-Being.   

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Importance of Flexibility


By Judson Chaney, ND, Lac
Acupuncturist

My last blog entry was about making your mornings mindful. In it I suggested you choose three things to help set yourself up for a successful day each morning. For this entry, I would like to share one of the items on my own top three list.  



Flexibility. As we grow older, one universally recognized change we experience is a decrease in natural flexibility. Alas, the days of youth with its effortless cartwheels and back bends, how quickly time goes by!  


All is not lost; it now simply requires your input of time and effort. We can counter balance some effects of aging by employing mindfulness. Making time each morning to stretch and improve flexibility is a great way to start our day. Which is why it is on my top three list to include each morning. I schedule 10 minutes prior to my morning commute to work on basic flexibility motions. There are many great options and programs out there and I encourage you to find one that works best for you and your body. Just remember to keep it simple.

Treat yourself like an athlete and your day like a challenge. Stretch before you begin. I know that I feel my best when I start my day off with stretching. My body feels more awake, more alive, and better cared for throughout the day. I feel more calm, centered, and have more flexibility in not only my body, but in my ability to adapt to the demands of the day as well. Get started today, your body will thank you for it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Start the New Year With a Mindful Morning

By Judson Chaney, ND, LAc
Acupuncturist

Winter Greetings everyone! As the New Year approaches, many of us begin the age old tradition of thinking of New Year’s resolutions to help improve and advance our lives. In my world, the most often encountered New Year’s Resolution has to do with improving health - exercising more, losing weight, making healthier food choices. These are all wonderful of course, and if they work for you, then please have my best wishes in the New Year. If you are searching for a different type of resolution for the New Year to improve your health, I would suggest the following goal: Start each day with a mindful morning.

What do I mean by this? The morning is an excellent way to start each day in a healthy, energized, mindful way. When you currently think about your daily routine in the morning, are your thoughts pleasing, or are they stressful? For many of us, mornings are a hurried and stressed time, we rush to get things done and prepare for our day. More often than not the mornings can leave one feeling tense or drained before the day has even begun. Therefore, I propose the following challenge to you: think about your morning, and think of three ways you can make it less stressful, more calm, and a healthier start to your day. Write them down on a note and tape it to the mirror you use to get ready in the morning as a daily reminder. When you consider these three things and how to accomplish them daily, you will begin to shift and prioritize your life towards living well every day, and starting off each day in a mindful and healthy way. Simple changes such as eating a healthier breakfast, to an extra 15 minutes to walk the dog, or a 5-minute daily stretching and breathing routine can cause a wonderful ripple effect throughout your entire day, and well into the New Year. Start simply and aim for consistency, and I wish you a healthy and happy 2018!

We are offering several Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction classes in the New Year. Check our website, or call 732-263-7999 to learn more and register. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Red Light, Green Light, 1, 2, 3: Notes From The Field On Coping With Chronic Health Conditions

By Judson Chaney, ND, LAc
Acupuncturist

It is no secret that I love what I do. As an acupuncturist, and naturopath, I am provided a unique opportunity to work with individuals to encourage greater health and well-being, to reduce stress and pain, and hopefully to improve quality of life. What I love the most about what I do is that it feeds my love of learning. I love to learn about new information and research regarding health conditions, and treatment approaches. More so however, what really impacts me is what I am able to learn from my patients’ experiences and challenges, as they share and communicate with me during the therapeutic process. Everyone has a story. These stories are all unique, and special in different ways. Through the stories my patients share, I am provided a unique window into other ways of experiencing and living this life, and what that can entail. It is both an honor and a privilege.     

A common reason why people come to see me as an acupuncturist is for chronic health conditions.  The most common and striking example of this of course is chronic pain, but there are so many other chronic health conditions that affect people on a daily basis. I would like to share with you an insight I have gleaned from my work, in hopes that it may help you, or someone you know. The title of this post is a reference to a children’s game involving a traffic light - the reason being is that a traffic light can be a wonderful metaphor to help us deal with the challenges of a chronic health condition.  

Most of us, whether we are in good health, or suffering from a chronic complaint, have good days and bad days. For most, we shrug off the bad days and move on. However, when someone is experiencing the challenges of a chronic health condition, those bad days can take a much greater toll. The return of a symptom, or the worsening of pain after it had been lessened for a period of time, can have a cascading negative impact. I have witnessed this effect and impact first-hand, as I have seen patients deal with the toll of a flare-up in pain or auto-immune disease after a period of improvement or remission. The resulting outcome at times is that not only does this affect them in the present moment, but it can also steal from their future experiences as well. People understandably start to wonder about the future, "What will I, or will not, be able to do?," "What can I expect tomorrow, or next week, or how might this affect the vacation I was planning?" The emotional impact of this process can be significant. As someone who has dealt with both auto-immune disease and chronic pain personally, I can empathize and understand this reaction. I also have worked to understand the reaction and to navigate around it. This is where the traffic light comes in….

When we are driving from point A to B, invariably we may be confronted with the ever present traffic light -- the wonderful red, yellow, and green moderator of traffic flow which keep our roads running smoothly and safely. The traffic light, however, does not consider your individual needs and destination when it changes from green to red. It just happens, it just is. You may be late for work, or just on a weekend cruise, it does not matter to the traffic light. It changes red to green, green to red, cars go, and cars stop.

How often, when at a red light, does this affect your outlook on the future? In the course of my lifetime, I cannot think of one example. It may be an inconvenience surely, but ultimately when the light turns green, we press on and continue down the road.  

The perspective I am trying to convey and share is that when dealing with a chronic health condition, there can be set backs, flare-ups, and even times when we feel like we have to start over.   It is helpful therefore to think of these occurrences in a way similar to how we experience a red light.  They represent an unexpected, yet understandable delay, and a temporary one. In a way, by doing so, we give ourselves permission to experience our lives in the present, even if it is unpleasant, without letting that experience cascade into our future. This perspective can allow our resources to focus on the challenges as they arise in the present moment. More importantly, in my opinion, is that it allows us to acknowledge and recognize the possibility of a positive change in the future. 

I wish you patience and understanding when waiting for the red light to change. May you encounter many green lights ahead farther down the road. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Creating Mindfulness in a Busy World

By Judson Chaney, ND, LAc
Acupuncturist

I recently had a great conversation with a friend, discussing his family vacation to Florida. The family drove the entire way down from the northeast, all the way to Florida and back, even though flying was an option available to them. What impressed me was that the family planned the trip to include the voyage down to Florida as a major component of the vacation, taking extra time to stop and see sights, and attractions along the way. They all understood that the stops and excursions during the voyage were just as important as arriving at the destination. To be honest, I too was more interested in hearing about some of the quirky roadside attractions they encountered than the destination. In other words, it was really the journey that mattered. I thought that this was a wonderful metaphor for mindfulness.

Being mindful is to simply be aware or conscious of something. As a passenger on a car trip, it may be the sights out of the car window, feeling the wind through your fingers, or stopping to take in a scenic overlook. In health and healing it is applied to focusing ones awareness to the present moment, and all of the thoughts, sensations and feelings one may be experiencing.

The ancient Chinese labeled the brain as a “curious” organ. The brain seeks to recognize patterns, and cultivates questions regarding not just the present moment, but the past and future as well. This function is crucial to our survival. In my opinion, our ability to seek out information, cultivate questions, and grapple with possible outcomes has been a key component in our advancement and success as a species.

What could go possibly wrong? Many of us may have experienced a time when our problem solving brains do not want to stop. It may surface as insomnia, anxiety, a relative sense of unease, restlessness, or inability to relax. Sometimes, even when there are no problems to solve, our brain is more than willing to imagine something for us to work on in our spare time (isn’t that fun). In doing so, we can miss out on many experiences happening around us because we are focusing on everything else except the present moment.

So what are we to do? Today we are exposed to more information, streaming at a faster pace than ever before in human history. Our natural tendencies towards curiosity and problem solving can be inadvertently set to overdrive. This can be taxing mentally and physically and can be a key contributor to our total overall stress levels. This internal overdrive, although beneficial in intent, can ultimately become an obstacle to our enjoyment of life. I would suggest taking a moment to cultivate mindfulness each day. When you find your thoughts racing, or worries compounding, try to take a step back from the situation and take a deep breath.

Next, employ mindfulness to your advantage by building on your natural tendencies for thought. If you are person who is very visual, and you find it easy to imagine images, pictures and movies, use your eyes to seek something pleasing to look at near you. This can be something from nature, such as a tree or a bird in flight, it could be a painting on the wall, a building you like, a sunset, or the way the rain falls into a puddle. Take a moment and really allow yourself to see and observe. Note the different aspects of it in your mind and let your eyes soak in as much of the beauty and interest they can find.

If you are more inclined to have an internal dialogue, and your mind is full of an ongoing conversation, use your ears to listen to the world around you. If you are outside, pay attention to the wind as it moves through the trees, or the sounds of the rain, or the chirping of birds. Note how many sounds you can distinguish and pay attention to and let the world around you become awake and alive with sound.

What is most important about the above examples is not what you are looking at or listening to, but rather that you are paying attention in the present moment. In doing so we acknowledge and connect with the world around us, and provide our curious brains food for thought. We take a mental break from the streams of thoughts that may become burdensome at times, and allow ourselves to be present.

To utilize the example of the road trip again, the journey is long, and at times the road can make us weary. It is healthy and necessary to pull the car over every once in a while, take a deep breath, stretch our legs, and allow ourselves a moment to take in the sounds and scenery along the way. Happy Travels…

To learn more, sign up for our 5-week Mindful Awareness summer class next month at Riverview Medical Center on Wednesdays from July 12, 2017 to August 9, 2017, 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Acupuncture and Headaches

By Judson Chaney, ND, LAc
Acupuncturist

The changing of the seasons from winter to spring can be a wonderful time of year. The days grow longer, warmer, and life outside begins to wake from the slumber of winter. Recently, I was enjoying time working in my garden, and I reflected on how fortunate I am to practice acupuncture. I feel this way because of the many wonderful changes and benefits I see this gentle therapy can have for patients. In my experience over the years, I have found that it works better for some conditions more than others.

One condition in particular I have seen positive and consistent benefits are in the treatment of headaches. Spring is a wonderful time, however its bounty and beauty can have a hidden effect on the observer. The unfurling of leaves, and budding of flowers can trigger allergies, and inflammation in many of us. In some, that allergy and inflammation can contribute to sinus pain, headaches, and even migraines. I have used acupuncture in my practice to effectively benefit both migraine and tension headaches, for people with short term episodes, as well as individuals who have been suffering chronically for years. I am not alone in this observation, as recent studies are indicating more and more that acupuncture can be beneficial for people suffering from chronic headaches.

One of my favorite aspects about the therapeutic use of acupuncture is that it is a drug-free, gentle, and safe approach. If you, or someone you know suffers from headaches I would encourage you to consider trying acupuncture as part of your therapeutic treatment plan. Whether the headache is from stress, tension, or just all the beautiful flowers outside, acupuncture may help ease the discomfort so you can get back to life, or in my case, back to the garden…

Please call 732.994.7855 to schedule your treatment. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Seeking Out The Winter Sun

By Judson Chaney, N.D., L.Ac.
Acupuncturist
Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine

My last post was on creating healing rhythms in the New Year. Living in the Northeast, one rhythm I have become more and more aware of is the seasonal change of falling into winter. The days grow shorter, and darker, and the weather can turn from sunny to overcast. Even on clear days, the intensity of the sunlight we experience is diminished in comparison to summer. Many of us can feel the effects of this change in various ways that range from changes in mood, lowering of energy levels, and changes in sleeping and eating patterns.

Our bodies have an important biological rhythm known as the “circadian rhythm,” also known as our “biological clock.” The circadian rhythm keeps our body’s metabolism and sleep wake cycle tuned and connected with our location on the earth. Our circadian rhythm is largely set by the influence of sunlight through our eyes on our brain. Each day when we wake up and go about our day, the sunlight we experience triggers a cascade of hormones that helps to regulate and assist our daily biological functions. Anyone who has experienced jet-lag knows the acute effects of a disruption in the biological clock. We feel lagged, grumpy, sluggish, fatigued, etc. We tend to crave sugary fatty foods…Sound familiar? This effect is similar to what happens gradually to many of us during the seasonal shift in winter. In some ways, we are experiencing a form of “seasonal jet lag.”

So what can we do to help with this change (other than move to Hawaii)? I suggest that you set your intent on a simple daily exercise: each morning seek out as much direct sunshine as you can find. A southern window or exposure is a nice place to start. After you find a comfortable, sunny spot, simply close your eyes and face towards the sun for a minute or two. Allow the sunlight to warm the skin of your face and eyelids, and notice the sunlight as it filters through your eyelids into your field of vision. Take this moment to allow yourself a few deep breaths to focus on the present moment, and when you are ready, let your eyes open and begin your day with your new solar charged perspective.

I hope you find this simple, daily exercise to be helpful as you experience winter this year, and I wish you many sunny winter days to enjoy until spring.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Finding a Healthy Rhythm with Group Acupuncture

By Judson Chaney N.D., L.Ac.
Acupuncturist
Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine

One of my mentors once very eloquently described life to me as being "rhythm stacked upon rhythm," in other words we are a symphony of all the rhythms of life and biology, playing side by side. There is the rhythm of the heartbeat, the rhythm of the breath, the rhythm of our hunger and meals, and a rhythm to our sleep and wake cycle. There is a rhythm to our biochemistry, and hormonal cycles. In a grand sense, there are also weekly, monthly, seasonal, and yearly rhythms as well, such as how we start craving yummy savory foods around Thanksgiving, and setting our sights to new plans for the New Year. 

Acupuncture can be a useful ally in helping to establish a new healing rhythm in your life. Acupuncture helps our bodies experience a therapeutic relaxation response. This response can be very helpful in allowing our body the space and resources to respond and recover from life’s demands and stressors. Acupuncture works best when utilized regularly and frequently, because just as the effects of stress are cumulative, so too are the effects of relaxation.   


We are pleased to announce the arrival of Group Acupuncture Services at Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine. Group Acupuncture, also known as Community Acupuncture, is acupuncture provided in a group setting at a low and affordable cost. Group acupuncture helps make treatment more affordable and accessible to everyone, and as such people are able to come more frequently and regularly for their treatment sessions. By coming in frequently and regularly, people are able to receive a greater benefit from acupuncture for their health and wellness. In doing so, they help to establish a new healing rhythm as part of their lifestyle. I encourage you to explore the creation of your own healing rhythms in the New Year, and hope you consider reserving a space for acupuncture within the symphony of your life. Please call 732.994.7855 to schedule your treatment. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Acupuncture and Relaxation

By Judson Chaney N.D., L.Ac.
Acupuncturist
Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine

In the busy world we live in, it can be a challenge to relax. When going from screen to screen, task to task, stress to stress, the juggling required to keep up with the demands of the modern world can overwhelm our bodies’ ability to adapt and perform optimally. Acupuncture can be a great benefit for anyone seeking assistance in relaxing, and moderating the effects of stress on our bodies. 

Acupuncture is rooted in an understanding and wisdom cultivated by over 2,000 continuous years of practice, but increasingly, modern research methods are beginning to illuminate some of the biological mechanisms for its actions and applications. Researchers are showing that acupuncture interacts with our bodies’ nervous and endocrine systems. This interplay of the nervous system and endocrine system is pivotal in our bodies’ response, and adaptation to life stressors. These systems can become overwhelmed, and dysregulated with chronic stress. Our ability to effectively respond to the challenges life provides can greatly influence our ability to perform, and avoid unwanted loss of function and illness.

By tapping into this deeper level of function inherent within our bodies, acupuncture can play a central role in helping to support our ability to restore, regulate, and respond to the challenges of living in the modern era. As a result, patients’ frequently report that an acupuncture session is relaxing and restorative, and many patients fall asleep during their treatment session. It may seem surprising to some that we could fall asleep during an acupuncture session, but as one of my mentors said, “acupuncture helps to connect the body and mind, and most of our bodies are very tired…”. So, if you are looking for a new way to help you relax that works with your body in a natural, gentle, and effective way, consider trying acupuncture.