Acupuncture: Ancient Medicine Goes Mainstream

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“Chinese Medicine works with the innate capacity of a person to heal themselves. So it’s not necessarily about the needles that are being inserted into acupuncture points, but rather that patient in front of me has the capacity to heal themselves and right now, they just don’t know how.”

~ Dr. Jeffrey C. Yuen, Dean of the Acupuncture Program at the Swedish Institute and Daoist Priest of two lineages: 88th generation of the Jade Purity Yellow Emperor Lao Zi School and 26th generation of the Complete Reality Dragon Gate School.


Lisa Orlando, Lic. Ac.; Dipl. Ac.

Yin Yang Acupuncture

[email protected]


When I advise my acupuncture patients that they need to drink more water, they often say, “I wish I could but I can’t seem to make it happen.”   The main thing to know is it won’t happen on its own.  You have to think of it as a campaign – like a campaign to run for President only not nearly as hard!  You do have to put some time and effort into it, however.  Here are some protocols that have helped me on my own campaign.


Most of us know about the importance of proper hydration.  According to US News and World Report and other sources, the amount of water we drink is dependent upon our weight. Here’s the formula: 

X (your weight) divided by 2 = the amount of ounces of water per day you need to drink each day.  Divide that by 8 to get the amount of cups you need to drink.

For example, if your weight is 120 lbs., you need to drink 60 ounces or 7.5 cups. (60 divided by 8). So the standard “8-cups-for-everyone” formula is not as precise as the above.  Some of us need more ounces; some need fewer.


If you are not used to drinking any water at all – and that is many of us – then I suggest you work your way up to your calculated amount over time. I recommend that you have a designated water bottle(s) that you fill up at the beginning of each day. It’s easier if you have your water right in front of you as opposed to filling up glass by glass. It’s too easy to forget which glass you’re on. (Was that 3 or 4?)  If you prefer to use one glass, it helps to keep a tally as you go through the day. Make a tick mark on a pad of paper at your desk or on your cell phone after you drink each glass so you can keep an accurate account.  It’s imperative to keep an accurate daily account.  If you don’t, you will have lost your hydration campaign.  

Adding a squeeze of half a lemon to each glass makes the water go down a lot easier, and it’s a healthy choice.  The acid of the lemon turns alkaline internally — helping to neutralize acids in your diet that may lead to inflammation. Those lemon press squeezers are fun – or a regular citrus juicer is fine to use.  Both make for a good arm work out.

The best time to hydrate is to begin in the morning and continue through the afternoon. You’ll notice that you’ll be less hungry (and less tempted to succumb to those sugary office snacks or whatever treats within arms distance) because you’ll be busy drinking your water.   And your body will be busy processing the water.

It helps to think of hydrating as part of your daily job – just like brushing your teeth. If you normally eat lunch, you may find that you don’t want as much because you’re full. How great — most of us adults eat more than we need.  Growing children are a different story.   And remember when you do eat, you want to stop drinking 30 minutes before and resume drinking 30 minutes afterward so as not to dilute the hydrochloric acid (HCL) in your stomach. HCL production diminishes with age, so it’s important for optimal digestion not to dilute it.

A lot of us start the day off well, but then get distracted as the workday demands our attention. So here’s the trick: every time you use the restroom, you need to immediately drink more water. “Fluids out, fluids in” is a good mantra. This is where many of us get sidetracked and stop hydrating. You’ll find you’ll reach your designated amount relatively easy this way—and often ahead of schedule.

If you work out in the morning, you’ll find it’s easy to drink water because you’re losing water as you sweat.  But you may want to have a bathroom nearby.  Don’t worry about stopping your work out to use the restroom.  You can keep your heart rate up if you don’t linger.

If you don’t follow the “fluids out; fluids in” protocol, your hydration campaign will be over. 


If you’re someone who snacks all day—participates in what we call the grazing movement—that’s not ideal for hydration. Your body has to switch gears back and forth and you’ll find you won’t be interested in drinking your recommended amount.  Your body has to assimilate the water — that’s when it’s actually absorbing fluid. That’s why I recommend getting your designated amount of water into your system first.  Then, you’ll see how hungry you really are. Often, we reach for food when we’re fatigued or feel faint, when it may actually be water that our body is demanding.  Why not find out by drinking a glass or a half glass of water?


No doubt, it’s not as easy to hydrate when you’re traveling, but it’s do-able.  Book the aisle seat if you can so you don’t have to climb over others to get to the restroom. 

But you do it if you have to.  I’ll make light of it, especially if I have to disrupt people more than once, “Please forgive me. Just getting in my eight cups of water!” I’ll say.  Who knows, you may make a convert.  

Remember — it’s your job to hydrate every day.  Like every job, sometimes we’re good at it and other times, not as good. There are often good reasons why we don’t get in our full amount on some days.  But the idea is to be aware of that deficit so that being dehydrated doesn’t become the norm it once was.  When you have a day that you couldn’t hydrate well, you make sure that on the following days, you do.  If you’re on the road, yes, you have to make pit stops. 

When it comes to hydrating at the office, I don’t advocate following the advice of Chris Gardner.  He’s the stockbroker who wrote the book “THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS” which was made into a movie starring Will Smith. There’s a scene where he lists the things he had to do to rise to the top.  In this clip, the character says, “I wasn’t drinking water so I wouldn’t waste time in the bathroom.”

I would argue that a hydrated employee is an alert and productive employee.  We all know what our plants look like when we don’t water them with its leaves shriveled and dried up.  That’s what will become of our cells.  


No weight loss, weight management, skincare, or exercise program will work well without adequate hydration. You will see the results immediately. Chinese Medicine recommends room temperature or warm or hot water. You’ll be able to assimilate it more easily and you won’t expend the resources required to warm up water that’s cold or iced. 

Some of my patients report that their headaches have lessened after they started their hydration campaigns.  Others tell me they’re more clear-headed and feel less fatigued.  For those dealing with swelling in the ankles or elsewhere, you’ll see a noticeable difference. It may seem counterintuitive but the body releases fluids when it has plenty to work with and holds onto it when it doesn’t.

Water is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself but because it’s free or relatively inexpensive, we don’t appreciate its value.  And we don’t recognize that a lack of water in the body can be at the root of so many health problems.  The solution can’t be that simple, we tell ourselves.

Given how much better you will feel and function, your hydration campaign is worth the time and effort.  As my Sicilian-born Grandfather used to say as he would raise a glass of water, “Aqua Viva!” It means “living water” or “water of life.”   Even though he enlightened me on the subject as a child, there were decades I didn’t make it a daily practice until I ran into some serious health conditions.  Hydration is still something I have to think about and plan for every day.  In his memory, here’s to your health!  

If you find this helpful, please share it with others.   

Lisa Orlando, Lic. Ac.; Dipl Ac.