Tag Archives: U.P. holistic magazine

Fall Prevention through the “Matter of Balance” Program, UPCAP (Upper Peninsula Commission on Area Progress)

fall prevention for seniors, senior balance, U.P. holistic magazine, U.P. wellness publication

Falls are the number one cause of injury, hospital visits due to trauma, and death from an injury among people age 65 and older.  There are many factors that can increase the risk of falling such as past falls, trip hazards, balance problems, improper footwear, poor vision, medications, rushing, memory problems, and so much more. Falls among older adults is a serious issue, but there are many ways to reduce the risk of falling. UPCAP, the U.P.’s Area Agency on Aging, recommends anyone with a fear of falling or who has a history of falling attend a “Matter of Balance” class.

This nationally recognized, evidence-based program was developed at Boston University. The classes are designed to benefit older adults who have sustained a fall in the past, or those who have a fear of falling. People who develop a fear of falling often limit their daily activities which can result in physical weakness, making the risk of falling even greater.

A “Matter of Balance” has been shown to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels among older adults.

It includes eight 2-hour sessions (either once a week for eight weeks, or twice a week for 4 weeks) for a small group of 8-12 participants led by two trained coaches. After attending these classes, participants gain confidence by learning to view falls as controllable.

They also set goals to increase physical activity, giving them increased strength and balance. Participants also learn to make changes at home to reduce fall risk. This may be something as simple as the placement of a rug or a cord.

UPCAP and many community partners offer Matter of Balance classes throughout the U.P. You can visit http://www.upcap.org and click on the Events link to see if an upcoming workshop is in your area. If you don’t see one, please dial 2-1-1 to and ask to be put on the waiting list for the “Matter of Balance” workshops.

Once you are on the waiting list, you will be contacted when a workshop is scheduled in your area. If your group or organization is interested in hosting a “Matter of Balance” class, please contact Tonya LaFave at UPCAP at 906-786-4701.

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Green Living: Our Debt to Trees, Steve Waller

green living, importance of trees, U.P. holistic magazine, U.P. wellness publication

Summer rises slowly from the northern forest floor. Buds burst into bouquets, injecting their sweet smell into our sterile yards and homes. Last year’s leaves slowly decompose and feed the fruits, nuts, and spices that we harvest and stock on store shelves. We feed our families tree parts.

Pancakes are covered in tree sugar. Dates, figs, olives, palm oil, cinnamon, allspice, pimento, nutmeg, and cloves all come from trees. Cocoa trees are used to make cocoa and chocolate. The berries of coffee trees yield our blessed coffee beans. Our homes are made of wood—walls, cabinets, flooring. Wood warmed our ancestors for thousands of years. Burning coals generated enough heat to extract precious metals from rock. The paper this article is printed on was a tree.

Tree seeds, apple pips, and plum stones have delicious edible tissue.

Animals including mammals (us) and birds eat the fruits and discard the seeds. Pine cones are hoarded by red squirrels. Bears help disperse seed by raiding squirrel caches. Trees feed an entire army of insects who spend their summer gnawing away at the leaves and stems.

Most showy flowering trees are insect-pollinated. Wind-pollinated trees, like evergreens, take advantage of increased wind speeds high above the ground. That is why so many pine cones are near the tree tops.

green living, importance of trees, U.P. holistic magazine, U.P. wellness publication

Many trees are interconnected through their root system, forming a colony. Interconnections are made by a kind of natural grafting or welding of vegetal tissues. The networking was discovered by injecting chemicals, sometimes radioactive, into a tree, and then checking for its presence in neighboring trees. They are networked. They share resources and communicate with each other. Read The Hidden Life of Trees (Peter Wohlleben) for amazing details.

We plant trees for beauty and shade from the hot sun. Trees form wind breaks, hold moisture and soil after heavy rains. They cool the air like air conditioners, and are homes to birds and mammals. New subdivisions look bare and sterile until young trees invade the neighborhood.

green living, importance of trees, U.P. holistic magazine, U.P. wellness publication

In the cold winters of the north, trees must grow rapidly in the short summer season when the temperature rises and the days are long. Light is limited under their dense cover and there may be little plant life on the forest floor, although fungi may abound.

The tiniest tree is a dwarf willow (Salix herbacea) found in arctic regions, maxing out at only three inches tall. A coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), named Hyperion after a person in Greek mythology, is no less than 380 feet tall.

I was recently on a road trip, cruising through the dry treeless southwestern states. The lack of trees amplified the heat and wind, keeping the land dry and barren. Animals, even birds, were rare. I felt relieved and most at home when I re-entered the land of trees, where the streams could flow, plants grow, and the wind is broken.

There are an estimated 3.04 trillion trees—

half in the tropics, a quarter in the temperate zones and the rest in the northern evergreen forests. About 15 billion trees are cut down annually, and about 5 billion are planted. In the 12,000 years since the start of human agriculture, the number of trees worldwide has decreased by 46%.

green living, importance of trees, U.P. holistic magazine, U.P. wellness publication

Many butterflies, moths and all other critters that feed mostly on trees are actually made of trees! We are what we eat. We eat trees. We too are rearranged tree stuff!

We should love our trees. We depend on them. Our lives would be miserable without them. We need to understand and support trees better. We owe them appreciation and respect.

Steve Waller’s family lives in a wind- and solar-powered home. He has been involved with conservation and energy issues since the 1970s and frequently teaches about energy. He and a partner own a U.P. wind/solar business called Lean Clean Energy. He can be reached at Steve@UPWallers.net.

Reprinted with permission from the Summer 2019 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

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Spotlight On… Alicia Smith, Owner of Acupuncture of Marquette 

Tell us what happens at Acupuncture of Marquette.
Basically, we do a health intake with all different kinds of questions and develop a complementary health treatment plan using acupuncture. Sterile, non-reusable needles are used on the meridians, which are pathways through the body affecting the nervous system.

 

How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture looks at the whole body as an ecosystem and helps balance it. In Eastern theory, acupuncture points are being chosen to balance the body’s chi or life force energy. It’s also fascia-related – the interconnected tissues of the body send electrical impulses throughout. One area can impact another. Western medicine describes acupuncture as increasing blood circulation, and decreasing inflammation and tight muscles. And acupuncture may remove blockages, for example blood stasis, phlegm accumulation, stomach accumulation.

Groups of qualities (yin/yang) are considered in deciding where we need to balance you. Yin is water, fluid, slow-moving, fleshy, cooling; yang is fast-moving, hot, dry, loud. It’s a way to compartmentalize what is not in balance in the body. Someone with a very red face, maybe constipation, is considered to have yang excess and yin deficiency. Post-menopausal symptoms also indicate yin deficiency.

Certain acupuncture points have certain qualities.

Acupuncture can have a local quality – you may have tennis elbow and we are providing acupuncture there, but this also affects digestion because it’s on the large intestine meridian. Acupuncture points work on the body both distally and locally. For example, we can work with headache issues by moving energy away from the head and bringing it to the hand. This helps a lot with stress.

There are all different types of acupuncture needles – some longer, some shorter, different diameters. I tend to be gentler, using them without having to go so deep into people. I think a good acupuncturist meets the person’s energy where it’s at, addressing the person’s disposition and issue.

There are also different theories on how acupuncture treatment should be created. Some use abdominal diagnosis, palpating the stomach. Others use their sense of smell, seeing the skin color, taking the pulse, looking at the palm, feeling temperature differences, and/or running their hands up and down meridians to see where blockages are.

What do your clients most commonly come in for?
Often pain—back, neck, arm. Also infertility issues, anxiety, depression, PTSD syndrome. We can work on back pain and anxiety at the same time.

Acupuncture is a viable treatment option. It’s non-invasive, with no side effects beyond possibly feeling tired. In today’s world of medicine, much more invasive procedures are often used. Now more medical professionals are recommending acupuncture before prescribing surgery.

What do your clients like about it?
They feel very relaxed afterward. They feel comfortable in my clinic because the building is a house. It’s personal. They feel safe talking about what’s going on, being in a traditional setting rather than one where a medical record is created that follows you through life and could potentially be used against you. If you’re diagnosing using Chinese medicine, the insurance companies typically don’t understand it.

What kinds of benefits does it offer?
All ages can benefit from acupuncture. It doesn’t interact with medications. That’s why I really like this natural form of medicine. It’s very safe when done by a qualified professional, not a weekend class attendee. Acupuncture creates an environment in your body to help it heal.

If you don’t feel right, or are in a slump, potentially even just one treatment could help you. It can help with transitioning with the seasons, grief, over-consumption of anything that’s throwing you off in some way so you haven’t felt right since. It can help you safely move off of pain medication.

Some will take the input and heal faster. Some acupuncture points will go double-duty and work on additional things such as infertility or depression. There’s also a set of points that help the system as a whole. Doing acupuncture, you’re opening all the meridians. They’re interconnected, so your body’s going to do what it needs to do.

What are your qualifications and experience?
I went to Bastyr University in Seattle and did my internships, Bachelors, and Masters degrees. I took the pre-med program at NMU, and am on the verge of completing my PhD through the California institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. I’ve been in practice since 2013.

What made you decide to become an acupuncturist?
I was dissatisfied with the Western medicine approach… Once I made the switch to Bastyr, I found acupuncture seemed to make sense. I wanted to work with my hands and practice a form of healing that did no harm… I found through my research that acupuncture has been around for a very long time and has a whole culture behind it. This was humbling, to embark on learning a system of medicine that had helped people heal for centuries.

What do you enjoy most about your practice?
I enjoy seeing all different types of people and treating all different types of conditions. I see a lot of first-time acupuncture patients. Here it’s newer, whereas it was very common in Seattle. I really like my patients, and living in the natural environment of the U.P., offering personalized care in a comfortable, cool, little clinic.

Why should someone come to Acupuncture of Marquette?
For pain and stress relief, balance, like when you feel you need a tune-up, wellness care, so life can be even better. When you fall off your wheel and need some support. When you want to find non-invasive, non-pharmacological help.

What else should people know about acupuncture?
It doesn’t hurt, and it’s not scary. It’s really relaxing. It’s a different type of medicine from a different paradigm and culture—not a pill in a bottle, not an injection with fluids in it. The dangers of trying it with a board-certified acupuncturist are very minimal.

Acupuncture has been around for a very long time. America is a melting pot, and this type of medicine is a gift we should embrace. It may seem to you that it’s different, that it’s strange, that maybe it doesn’t work, but have you actually tried it?

Reprinted with permission from the Summer 2019 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

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