Facebook icon Forward icon

Welcome Spring!

As we enter the months of spring, you may hear buzz words like "declutter" and "spring clean". These are reminders that it's a good time to start the process of simplifying. We propose starting the spring season by taking time to simplify. Scan your environment for resources that are already in place and readily available to you, then purge what's not necessary. Doing an inventory of your surroundings can help you to eliminate redundancy. Make life a bit easier by returning back to basics. Compile a list of life's simple pleasures (think bare feet in the grass, watching a sunset, opening a window to evening air) and set a daily intention to allow yourself time to indulge in these wonderfully satisfying joys.

Simplifying your life may mean something different to each of you. It may mean sorting through physical clutter by tackling an unorganized garage or an overfilled closet, or emptying an overwhelming inbox. We're constantly inundated with news stories and social media. How about simplifying your life by filtering the information overload? Explore turning off the TV or removing an addictive smartphone app. Your interpretation of simplifying could be directed toward material consumption, or it could be nutritionally-focused, as you aim to incorporate more nourishing foods to your diet. Whichever way you choose to simplify, let the beauty of spring be your start to a simply refreshing season! It will serve you well. And remember, we are happy to offer wellness resources as well as encouragement for great self-care. In the words of Wu-Men:

"If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life."

In great health,

The University of Arizona Integrative Health Center team

Making Space for Wellness

Is your home environment a soothing, healing sanctuary, or is it a source of chaos, or chemical and emotional stress? Dr. Weil's Blog provides an assortment of ideas for creating your own sanctuary. Your home should be a place where stress is left at the door and your soul is nurtured. To create a comfortbale and more inviting space, consider making the following changes:

•Include all of your senses by surrounding yourself with beauty. Artwork, essential oils, soft lighting, smooth textures and calming sounds all provide a relaxingly pleasant environment.
•Set aside an area for practicing peacefulness. A place for reflection and meditation can provide shelter from noise and distraction.
•Clear out clutter. Fewer items can mean less frustration. A low-maintenance home environment can be refreshing after a hectic day of meetings, errands and chores.
•Create an atmosphere of love. Display handmade gifts or meaningful photos of loved ones, friends and pets.

•Bring the outdoors in. Plants, flowers or pieces of wood, rocks and other natural elements can create a feeling of nature in your inside environment. Consider plants that filter indoor pollutants. These varieties include Gerbera daisies, Boston ferns, English ivy, chrysanthemums, Areca palms, spider plants and golden pothos according to Foliage for Clean Air Council.
•Read a book instead of watching television, or listen to music. Consider installing a small fountain to provide a soothing hum.
•Paint a room to correlate with how you want to feel while in that room. Colors like blue and green promote relaxed feelings and may be a good choice for the bedroom.
•Allow natural light to flow into your home. Take advantage of the sun's cycle by hanging linen curtains on windows. If you have a nice garden or view from a window, keep those windows uncovered as much as possible when you are home. 



Interested in Chinese Medicine?

photo source

by Scott Phelps, L. Ac.

In Traditional Chinese medicine the seasons are associated with specific elements. For instance, spring is associated with wood, summer with fire, fall or autumn with metal and winter with water. In this segment we will explore the elements of the spring and summer.

The element of wood and it’s association with the season of spring is just one of many affiliations. The color is green, and one of the foods to eat during this time is sprouts. The flavor is sour, so fermented or pickled foods are good in moderation during the Spring-time. The reason for eating sour in spring is that it helps regulate the tendency for spring energy to expand uncontrollably.  Spring is also associated with the liver organ and is a good time to cleanse the body. 

The summer season is associated with the fire element and the color red. When we think of foods for the summertime, the bitter flavor is predominant. Bitter drains heat, which helps cool the body during the summer. Foods that are cooling in nature are also good during this time. Mint, melons and most fruits are all cooling in nature. The organ associated with the fire element is the heart.  Doing things that nourish your heart during this time is important.  Laughing in a simple way to nourish the heart. Doing things that bring you joy are also important.

Traditional Chinese medicine has many correspondences according to the seasons, and the above are just a few. Later we will explore more of these correspondences and their relationship to our health.

From Our Acupuncturist...

photo source

by Annie Meigs RN, L. Ac.

During this transitional season as we prepare for summer, it's important to carve out some time for self-care practices. I would suggest taking time for the breath. I call it doing the “The Lay Down” and “Belly Breathing”. This involves finding a comfortable position, preferably on your back, and relaxing for 15-20 minutes. It may be helpful to play some gentle music to help you unwind. You don’t need to have a focus during this time, just allow yourself to sink deeply into the relaxation and find a sense of calm. This self-care practice can be helpful in managing anxiety and panic attacks as it often allows us to return to that comforting feeling we have after meditation or an acupuncture session.

Another idea would be to do Belly Breathing. Shifting the origin of your breath can help you relax and breath more deeply. It calms the sympathetic nervous system. For this practice you also lie down comfortably on your back, then gently rest your hands on your abdomen, just below your belly button. Begin to breathe. Your hands should rise and fall with each breath. There is no need to deepen the breath or count its length. This is how contented babies breathe. We have unlearned this natural breath, but with practice can regain it.

If you would like to experience the wonderful benefits of acupuncture, please call the IHC to make an appointment with Scott or Annie.

May is Osteoporosis Prevention Month

May is National Osteoporosis Prevention Month. Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones, characterized by decreased bone mass and strength. Individuals with osteoporosis are at an increased risk of fractures, which can result in pain and significant disability. This degenerative bone disease is diagnosed with a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan to measure bone mineral density. When it comes to identifying a root cause, there are multiple variables to consider including genetic predisposition, hormone regulation, environmental exposure, activity level, nutritional status, and age.

Integrative medicine emphasizes prevention of osteoporosis with recommendations to build and maintain healthy bones. At IHC, we encourage you to have a conversation with your care team and supportive health professionals. Consider a holistic approach to nutrition, supplementation, exercise and environmental health and remember to focus on prevention through lifestyle modification!

Lower Your Risk for Bone Disease

Bone health is more than just calcium intake. Minerals, vitamin D and getting adequate physical activity are all important components of healthy, strong bones.

Follow these guidelines:
•Don't smoke and avoid second-hand smoke as much as possible.
•Avoid soda and carbonated beverages.
•Enjoy coffee and alcohol in moderation.
•Consume salt and red meat moderately.
•Consume low-glycemic foods from the Mediterranean Plate.
•Use olive oil for low temperature cooking and dressing salads.
•Have a serving of dark, leafy greens daily.

Can’t tolerate milk? Not to worry, many people who avoid animal products are able to obtain enough calcium from other sources like tofu, beans, nuts and seeds, vegetables and blackstrap molasses. For more plant-based food sources of calcium, click here. One of the most important additional benefits of whole food sources of calcium is that they supply minerals and micronutrients that promote bone health.

Dr. Weil suggests incorporating these lifestyle changes for osteoporosis treatment:

•Get enough calcium. Choose high quality dairy products such as yogurt and non-fat milk. Eat more sardines (with bones), dark green vegetables like collard greens, bok choy and broccoli, soy products like tofu, and calcium-fortified soy milk and orange juice.
•Make sure you get enough vitamin D. 
•Decrease your sodium intake. Avoid salty processed foods and fast food. Eliminate adding salt to your food before tasting it.
•Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and beta carotene in these foods have been associated with higher total bone mass. A diet rich in fruit and  vegetables and moderate in animal protein and grains may minimize the acid-ash residue of the diet, good for osteoporosis treatment.
•Limit caffeine intake.
•Avoid alcohol or drink only in moderation.
•Increase weight-bearing activities, such as walking, weight training and calisthenics. Schedule time to exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week with the goal of reaching 150 minutes each week.

For more information about osteoporosis, visit Dr. Weil's Blog or the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Integrated health care, also known as "coordinated care, comprehensive care, seamless care and transmural care, is a worldwide trend in health care reforms and new organizational arrangements focusing on more coordinated and integrated forms of care provision. Integrated care may be seen as a response to the fragmented delivery of health and social services being an acknowledged problem in many health systems" per Wikipedia.

The World Health Organization sees integrated health as a concept bringing together inputs, delivery, management and organization of services related to diagnosis, treatment, care, rehabilitation and health promotion. Integration is a means to improve services in relation to access, quality, user satisfaction and efficiency.  

Patient Testimony

"UAIHC is all I had hoped it would be. The entire staff is first class. They take time to really listen and also quickly resolve any issues. It's a treat to have a physician like Dr. Rula who customises a health program for you and spends the time necessary discussing it with you. After blood tests, supplements were recommended to support my body and brain. Although I'm in good health, I can feel the difference. The convenience of purchasing supplements at the clinic is appreciated. My favorite discovery is the power of energy movement. I needed the simple stress reducing exercises. For me accupuncture has improved conditions ranging a from painful achielles tendon to a viral chest congestion. Both of the staff accupuncturists are excellent. I plan to continue with UAIHC."

Recipe: Julie Morris’s Raw Mint Chip Superfood Green Smoothie

Smoothies are a great way to create an infinite number of nutrient-packed, refreshing combinations that support good health. Try blending anti-inflammatory fruits and veggies with healthy fats and quality proteins. One of the great things about smoothies is that the taste of greens can actually be masked by sweeter flavors and adding "extras" like cacao (unprocessed chocolate) or pure vanilla can transform a fruit and veggie blend into a decadent springtime treat. If you're a fan of mint chip ice cream, you'll want to give this smoothie a try!

•2 cups frozen spinach
•2 cups frozen bananas
•1⁄4 cup raw unsalted cashews
•3 Tbsp cacao nibs
•2 Tbsp (packed) fresh mint leaves, minced
•1 tsp vanilla extract
•2 cups rice milk (original variety)
•1⁄2 cup coconut water
•sweetener, to taste (optional)
•1/4 tsp chlorella (optional for a superfood boost)

​*Note that cashews will provide some protein, but you can also add a scoop of quality plant-based protein powder. We recommend doing this if your smoothie is serving as its own meal. You can also sub the rice milk for any milk alternative.

Blend all the ingredients together (I use a Vitamix) until smooth.Taste, and sweeten as desired. Makes two 18-ounce servings.

Source: Healthy Blender Recipes

Class Schedule

Reminder: Yoga and Tai Chi and are now being held at the Integrative Health Center. Please check to IHC website for schedule updates.

MBSR classes will continue to meet in the DMG building, Children Rehabilitation Services, 3141 N. 3rd Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85013. Current members, please register for all classes at the front desk or email us at info@azintegrativeclinic.org. For a monthly view of our classes, access our online Class Schedule.

Mat Yoga

This is a basic, self-paced class emphasizing the fundamental poses of yoga to reinforce foundation and focus. Appropriate for all levels of student. Meets weekly. Taught by Leah Randolph and Dr. Emily Zaragoza

Tai Chi/Qigong

Tai Chi and Qigong are a gentle series of circular and stretching movements that help relieve stress while increasing one’s natural energy. Benefits of a regular practice include improved blood pressure, circulation, muscle and joint flexibility, balance, mental clarity, and peace of mind. This class is appropriate for all levels and experience, including seniors and those with physical challenges. Meets weekly. Taught by Scott Phelps

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
Email us at info@azintegrativeclinic.org to register for fall class. Date TBD.

Mindfulness practice is ideal for cultivating greater awareness of the connections between mind and body, as well as of the ways our unconscious thoughts, feelings and behaviors can undermine physical health and mental wellness. Mindfulness can be helpful for reducing stress, relaxing your mind and calming the internal chatter we often experience during our hectic lives. MBSR was developed in 1979 by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at UMASS Medical School. This is a manualized, evidence-based, 8-week program. It is highly participatory and deeply engaging experiential learning. Taught by Breon Michel, MAPP, ACC

Optimizing Weight and Lifestyle
Email us at info@azintegrativeclinic.org to register for fall class. Date TBD.

This class is designed for patients who are interested in examining the role of behavior change as it relates to weight loss. We will discuss the role that mindfulness, physical activity, food and mood play in overall health. By reviewing practical, everyday tools we will explore ways to gradually transition deterring habits into healthy opportunities to live your optimum wellness vision. Taught by Leah Randolph, MA and Candice Candelaria, MS, RDN