Holiday Newsletter

Dear friends and colleages:

At this time of holiday festivity, we wanted to reach out and proffer what we hope is useful information to you. And also take this opportunity to wish you peace. 

In this issue:

  1. Season Affective Disorder: Western and Eastern Approaches
  2. Holiday Craft Gift Project
  3. Practice Updates

Medical Topic Discussion: Seasonal Affective Disorder
With the days getting shorter and weather colder, many people find themselves low in spirits, easily tired and stressed. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or "The Wintertime Blues" as it is colloquially referred to, is recognized by both Western and Eastern medical traditions as an emotional and physical challenge. 
Western Perspective
Doctors classify Seasonal Affective Disorder as a form of depression which typically lasts from October through April. Women and those living in northern latitudes are particularly vulnerable to SAD. The lack of sunlight during winter months is the most widely-accepted cause: changes to sleep patterns, circadian rhythms and serotonin levels triggered by longer hours of darkness can result in sadness, exhaustion, excess sleeping, craving sweets and carbohydrates and weight gain. There are several methods of treatment for SAD ranging from increased exercise and counseling to antidepressants. One of the most popular treatment methods directly addresses the lack of sunlight in winter behavior patterns. In bright light therapy, patients receive an intense dose of light by sitting in front of a "light box" for an hour or more in the morning. Dawn simulation is a less intense technique that employs alarm clock-like devices with which replicate sunrise so as to keep the patient on their summer circadian rhythms. Western medicine views SAD as a mood disorder that is commonly receptive to light and energetic treatment. 
Eastern Perspective
Seasonal affective disorder is viewed in Asian medicine quite similarly to the way it's experienced. We observe that winter brings a natural process of seasonal constriction. We think of cold as causing contraction. The deep doldrums now characterized in the biomedical perspective as a mood disorder are the typical constrictions of winter gone to extreme. Winter is the season of the kidney. Intensity of the cold environment and the decrease in the warmth of the light cast in the winter can facilitate an entropy of the kidney. Energetically, the kidney houses the will of a person. Weakness of the kidney organ will result in a frailty of the capacity to muster will to engage in anything beyond the comfort of a warm bed. So further, extreme contraction of the organ results in depression and fatigue. As a secondary response the spleen jumps into action thinking that there must not be enough energy in the system, which triggers the craving for sweets and carbohydrates. Acupuncture and herbal treatment can help to nourish the kidney function. Doing so increases bodily energy and eliminates the sweet and carbohydrate cravings. Thus allowing the spleen to tend to its primary jobs of keeping us strong by building blood and circulating bodily humors. As we all know, a circulating humor is a good humor. 
Summary and Strategy
The holidays and the winter that follows are a challenging time of year on all fronts. Even celebration and gratitude for our lives and loves can be energetically taxing. So live with the light. Allow yourself to rest when the sun rests. That means start your day a bit later if you can and try to end it a little earlier. This is the season of rest, going with it's flow helps to fuel the thriving types of activity of summer. 

Holiday Craft Gift Project: Turning Point Treat - Warming Sugar Body Scrub
'Tis the season. Take some time to pamper yourself and your friends with this simple sugar body scrub. Finally a good use for all that sugar that you aren't eating! Sugar is a natural and very gentle exfoliant; it is a great base for those who find their skin more sensitive during the winter months. Instead of the usual olive or vegetable oil as a carrier oil, we recommend sesame oil, which is regarded as a warm element in traditional Chinese medicine. The following essential oils might be particularly helpful for those seeking relief from the winter blues: Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove and fig. These all help promote warmth and emotional well-being while fighting exhaustion and depression. 

*Makes about 5 cups*
4 cups organic cane sugar
2 cup carrier oil (sesame oil recommended)
16 drops essential oil(s)


  1. Stir together sugar and carrier oil in a non-reactive bowl, mixing well. 
  2. Using pipette or dropper, add essential oil, 1 drop at a time. Spoon into container of your choice. Canning jars or any recycled glass jar with a secure lid are great.

Practice Updates
We are excited to welcome Amanda Silver back to the the Turning Point office starting this Friday, December 12. As some of you know, Amanda gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Zachary James Silver, on September 10, 2008. Over the past three months she has flourished as a mother and is now ready to return to a regular schedule of sessions at Turning Point on December 12. Amanda will be working afternoon and evening hours on Monday and Fridays and morning hours on Wednesdays. Give a call to get in to her schedule. 

In other staff news, Kymberly Kelly will continue her Tuesday evening schedule with new morning hours on Friday. Karen Ortiz will be increasing her hours to have availability on Monday afternoon and evening, Tuesday midday, Thursday morning and Saturday. I know it sounds confusing, our goal is to offer the widest coverage possible to meet your scheduling needs. Remember, the Turning Point staff are all highly trained and talented practitioners. Each is has some area of concentration, and all well-suited to serve 

Take a look around the Turning Point site - we've updated a lot of information and would love to hear your feedback. Our web genius/writer Shayne Figueroa is trying to help it render a more accurate insight to all that we do here. 

We at Turning Point wish you a warm and happy winter. 

We offer gift certificates for acupuncture, Reiki and massage - all wonderful ways to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Email us, call (212. 489. 5038) or visit our offices (1841 Broadway) to share a gift of healing. 

We look forward to supporting you toward your fullest enjoyment of the season in optimum emotional, physical and spiritual health.