NEW! February 2010: What’s New

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Pinprick to quit cigs

When it comes to physical symptoms of smoking addiction, acupuncture could be the right step for you.

Toss the cancer stick and pick up…the needle? While there are plenty of therapists, herbalists and hypnotists out there ready to help you kick the habit, acupuncture doesn’t usually come up on the radar as a smoking cure-all.

Known as the Chinese practice of inserting thread-thin, sterile needles along the body’s pressure points, acupuncture is said to redirect and balance energy flow and is most frequently used for pain relief. However, according to local expert Adrienne Carlee, acupuncture can also aid smoking cessation by helping with physical symptoms—cravings and withdrawal—as well as the stress and anxiety of giving up a longtime habit.

“Quitting is a different experience for everyone,” says Carlee, who adjusts her treatment program (and the points she targets) to meet individual needs. Beyond needle work, she also coaches clients in breathing and other techniques for coping with stress. While her program usually involves eight weekly appointments, she notes that the challenge of overcoming an addiction may require more visits. She encourages combining acupuncture with other treatment options—great for upping your quitter odds.—Lucy Zhou

Get fit while you sit

Coming off that New Year’s fitness frenzy—caught in a cubicle and battling winter doldrums—a gal’s gotta get creative when it comes to making time to workout. While you might think long hours at the office mean saying “so long!” to a trim tush, we’ve got good news: Even sitting deskbound can be an opportunity to exercise, with a little resourcefulness and the right mindset. Mahogany, fitness manager at the Charlottesville Gold’s Gym, offers tricks for toning up on the job:

1) “Too many people get trapped with a water bottle,” he says. Planning trips to the water fountain and bathroom instead will get you out of your chair and moving.

2) For when you can’t leave your desk, Mahogany suggests “tapping” while you’re sitting. “I do this all the time at work. Keep your feet moving under your desk, or make mini high-knee motions—anything you can do to wake your body up will help.”

3) To tighten and tone, leg lifts, arm raises and seated crunches (accomplished by leaning forward for a few seconds and contracting your abs) can all be done without leaving your seat. While you might get raised eyebrows, remember, it’s all about your health, says Mahogany. Rest satisfied knowing you’ll soon have the best buns in the office.—L.Z. 

More to the point

Francesca Conte, a marathon runner who works at the Charlottesville Running Company, says the foot was meant to run barefoot. The next best thing? Well-fitting tennis shoes.

In news sure to entice stiletto-devotees, a recent article in the India Times says stress placed on joints while jogging in running shoes can be worse than those from walking in high heels. The favored solution? Barefoot running is best, though not always practical.

Francesca Conte, Charlottesville marathon runner and general manager of the Charlottesville Running Company, agrees:  “The foot was built to run barefoot,” she says. “If you had to chase after someone and were barefoot, you would tippy toe, not land on your heel.”

Makes sense for high-heel lovers—the weight is, similarly, placed on the ball of the foot. Still, Conte isn’t convinced. “I have worn high heels very rarely and they are very uncomfortable,” she says. Sure, landing on your heels while running can be bad for the joints, but Conte warns that high heels can lead to shortening of the Achilles tendon, among other things.—Jane Anne Murphy 

Longer, better, faster, stronger

 

Contrary to what you’ve heard, washing your hair is actually better than cutting it, if you want to get some quick length.

No one wants to hear “oops” at the hair salon, but it’s happened to the best of us: the horrified hair dresser, your luscious locks on the floor, and suddenly not even prayers to the Good Hair gods can help.

Playing the waiting game can be torture, but with so much advice out there on how to make your head sprout à la Chia, figuring out who to listen to can make matters worse. Kerri Vernon from Be Hair Loft, a new salon on West Main Street, suggests ignoring the hype about more frequent trims. “Your hair won’t grow any faster if you cut it more often,” Kerri says, though getting rid of split ends helps prevent breakage.

While many might chant “trim, trim, trim,” what’s more important is getting the nutri-tion that your whole body needs to keep you going, claims Kerri. More spe-cifically, vitamins A, B, C, and E are all essential for hair health, while iron- and protein-rich foods are shown to encourage growth. Since circulation also affects hair health, Kerri says, exercise and scalp massages are another way to get things going.

In short? Whole health means hair health. Take care of your body and see your hair get growing.—L.Z.

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