Emotional health-Finding peace Family health General

How Much Sleep Is the Right Amount of Sleep?

How many hours of sleep did you get last night? 

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults aged between 26-64 years, should receive 7 to 9 hours of sleep but not less than 6 hours or more than 10 hours. 

In clinic, l will often discuss sleep quantity and quality. Although l consider sleep to be a non negotiable and one of the pillars of health, I do appreciate the fact that sometimes personal circumstances will impact an individuals ability to sleep soundly. 

Some of us are going through a stressful time and are struggling to settle at night. Some of us have health issues that prevent us from getting the rest that we need. Some of us have little ones and are simply doing the best that we can.

I encourage those not having to navigate through extenuating circumstances to start small. Try going to bed 15 minutes earlier for a week or so and see how that goes.

National Sleep Foundation Recommends New Sleep Times

National Sleep Foundation Email: WASHINGTON, DC, ( February 2, 2015)–The National Sleep Foundation (NSF), along with a multi-disciplinary expert panel, issued its new recommendations for appropriate sleep durations. The report recommends wider appropriate sleep ranges for most age groups. The results are published in Sleep Health: The Journal of the National Sleep Foundation .

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Wishing you wellness,

Mary Clark

Family health General

What Does Moxibustion Feel Like?

Because I work at a holistic health center, people ask me regularly what the different treatment modalities feel like. So, like last week’s post about acupuncture, I’m going to give you an idea of what moxibustion feels like.

If you’ve ever walked into an acupuncture office or holistic wellness center and smelled smoke and wondered what it is, chances are pretty good that it was burning moxa, which is called moxibustion.

Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy in which dried Moxa (mugwort) is burned on or very near the surface of the skin. The intention is to warm and invigorate the flow of Qi in the body and dispel certain pathogenic influences. When burned, it smells a little bit like marijuana, though it’s not related. It comes in several different forms, from a sort of compressed charcoal looking stick, to little capsules that rest on the skin. You can even put it into what looks like a little birdhouse to warm larger areas (see pictures below).

Note: normally, you wouldn’t be wearing all of this clothing and you’d be draped with towels, but we were taking pics just for this post, so…

So what does it feel like? Warm. Deliciously so. The warmth starts locally but kind of spreads out around the area. It doesn’t hurt, and I actually like the smell. I have a little bit of a phobia about fire, but the way the moxa is used isn’t scary. When used on my forehead in particular, it’s soothing and could easily put me to sleep. Honestly, even if it weren’t effective in helping treat various conditions, I’d still like it done just because it feels good.

So my opinion on moxibustion? Um, yes please!

Wishing you wellness,


Family health General

What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?

As someone who works for an acupuncturist (Hi everyone, I’m Emily, the office manager!), I am frequently asked what it feels like and what will happen during treatment? People’s biggest concern is that it will hurt. I totally understand that concern, so let me break down what my appointments have been like. Please keep in mind that everyone experiences physical sensation differently, so what is true for me may not be true for you, but it’ll help you get an idea of what one lay person has experienced in her treatments.

Let me preface this by saying I have chronic illnesses that cause me a fair amount of daily pain, and I’ve had all sorts of treatments done to me over the years, including Western medicine (which usually just means medication). So a little extra pain from a needle doesn’t bother me if it means I’ll feel better after it and have to rely on medication – with all of it’s side effects – less.

That being said, most of the time the needles don’t hurt. Every once in awhile, I’ll have one feel like it’s burning a little or feel a small prick at the moment it’s inserted. When that happens I let my acupuncturist know, and they adjust it and it goes away. It does NOT feel like going for a shot at the doctor’s office or like giving blood or getting a tattoo. That deep pain just isn’t present with acupuncture needles, in my experience.

Sometimes, the points the acupuncturist inserts the needles into will cause a sort of electrical feeling through the muscle. It might twitch a little bit, but it’s not painful – just sort of weird. Honestly, it cracks me up to watch a toe or finger or something twitch without me doing anything. And I’m always blown away by the fact that the acupuncturist might put a few needles in my feet to cure my headache, or in my knee for abdominal pain. It’s crazy, but really cool because it works.

Usually, the relief from whatever pain I’m feeling is pretty immediate. When it’s not, I let the acupuncturist know, and they make adjustments. Once they’ve put several needles in, they’ll let you lay there for a bit, and check in periodically to see if the sensations have shifted at all, and again, they’ll make adjustments as needed. I generally try to meditate, but 9 times out of 10, I end up napping, which feels pretty luxurious in the middle of the day. It’s the perfect way to let go for a bit and “just be” – something I struggle with most of the time.

Because I work for an acupuncturist, I don’t have to wait for an appointment to get treatment for acute symptoms like a migraine. A major benefit! I can sit at my desk with needles stuck in me and go about my work. Not as relaxing, but certainly efficient and it keeps me functional.

This is what is often hiding under my desk at work!

Again, everyone will feel things a little differently, but I don’t think of acupuncture as being painful. Admittedly, it can feel a little odd in some spots, but well worth it for the functionality I gain.

Wishing you wellness,


Family health General Orthopedic rehabilitation Sports Performance

Risk Factors for Shoulder Stiffness

“Shoulder stiffness (SS) is a condition of restricted glenohumeral range of motion (ROM), which can arise spontaneously (primary or idiopathic SS, also known as “frozen shoulder”) or as consequence of a known cause, including surgical procedures on the shoulder (secondary and postoperative SS). Numerous risk factors have been described, both for primary and postoperative SS.

Recent research suggests that numerous clinical conditions have been related to the development of SS. These include, but are not limited to hormonal diseases and endocrine disorders (diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidsm, hypothyrodism), neurological conditions (Parkinson’s), dupuytren’s disease, psychological factors (depression, anxiety), hypercholesterolemia, inflammatory lipoproteinemias and certain medications (protease inhibitors, MMPs inhibitors).

When addressing shoulder pain, it is imperative that other factors are considered. Make sure your healthcare practitioner is taking everything into consideration when deciding how best to treat your shoulder stiffness and pain.

Risk Factors for Shoulder Stiffness: Current Concepts

Shoulder stiffness (SS) is a condition of restricted glenohumeral range of motion (ROM), which can arise spontaneously (primary or idiopathic SS, also known as “frozen shoulder”) or as consequence of a known cause, including surgical procedures on the shoulder (secondary and postoperative SS). Numerous risk factors have been described, both for primary and postoperative SS.

Wishing you wellness,

Mary Clark

Emotional health-Finding peace General

Overcoming Life Challenges on CW22

Recently, I was on CW22’s show, Community Matters, giving a general overview of what acupuncture, Chinese medicine, and personal development coaching can do. You can check out my segment here:

CM Show 111: Life Challenges – Segment 1

Uploaded by CW22Production on 2018-06-05.

If you’re in the greater Raleigh area, I’d love to help you find out just how healthy you can be!