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Winter Solstice 2018

Winter Solstice 2018, Rick DeTroye L.Ac. LLC in Northeast Portland, OR

Yachats, Oregon. Thanksgiving 2018. It was an amazing sunset.

Season's Greetings & Happy Solstice!
I hope this note finds you healthy, relatively unstressed, enjoying get togethers with friends and family, and finding a bit of quiet time amidst the holiday frenzy. This time of year is wonderful, in between rain and wind storms of course, and offers us opportunities to slow down in so many little ways. I sometimes need reminding to take advantage of them! Maybe it's my age, but in the past few years I've relished the long, dark days much more than when I was younger. For some reason, getting up at 5:30 is easier than it used to be and I actually look forward to sneaking out of bed to sip on hot tea by the light of a Christmas tree. It's quite comforting.

A late friend of mine (who was very wise) once spoke with me about Winter. He said the world slowed down and nature's deeper qualities, masked by activity in Spring, Summer and Fall, reveal themselves more readily and more clearly in Winter. Like when trees lose their leaves and you begin to see what's underneath and hidden in their branches. Maybe that's what I sense in the darkness of Winter. It lets me look a little deeper than I normally would, to be a little quieter, to listen more clearly and closely. It forces me to move more slowly and deliberately, both on foot and while driving, and especially with streets and sidewalks wet and slippery and sometimes covered with snow. It affords me the opportunity to step back and look at life and be grateful for all that comes my way.

All in all, I'd say it's been a great year. Thanks to all of you for helping. I appreciate your continued trust, referrals, and allowing me to assist you with your health care.

And now, on to a few updates and health tips...

We Are All Receptionists At Heart: The transition to on-line appointment scheduling has gone pretty smoothly. Most people have found it easy to use and it's saved everyone time, including me! Thanks for giving it a try. The only glitch seems to be with cancellations. In order to cancel or reschedule an appointment, save the original appointment confirmation notice that comes to you via text and/or email. A link on that notice will take you to a page for appointment changes. If you delete the notice, you lose your ability to cancel or make needed changes. As always, I'm happy to set up appointments and make needed changes for those who deleted their confirmation or would rather not use the online service.

Don't Forget Your New Cards: Most health insurance plans provide calendar year coverage, which means some people will be changing plans. For those folks who have acupuncture coverage and are changing plans, please bring in your new insurance cards so I can make a copy for your chart and double check your benefits.

Warning! Please Read The Fine Print: Sorry to be the bearer of less-than-glad tidings, but for patients with insurance coverage from Moda and Regence, please read the details of your acupuncture coverage carefully. Though they do offer plans with more liberal acupuncture benefits (such as City of Portland and Federal Workers Benefit), both companies sell plans (usually individual plans) that require pre-approval for treatment and have specific restrictions. When I treat someone with this type of policy, I have seven days to submit a treatment plan requesting approval for that treatment and subsequent follow-ups. Treatment is only approved for acute conditions related to musculoskeletal pain. No treatment will be approved for chronic conditions or issues outside the scope of musculoskeletal pain. In truth, many companies are reluctant to cover acupuncture for chronic conditions, but some allow a bit more flexibility. In the case of pre-approval, Moda and Regence do not. They expect to see musculoskeletal pain improve and resolve in a relatively short amount of time. And, payment for charges is possible only when they approve treatment. If approval is denied, payment for the service becomes the responsibility of the patient. I know these are rather blunt facts, but they're important to know if you're choosing or have already signed up for one of these plans.

Black Is Not A High Visibility Color: A few years ago, a different friend scolded me for not wearing reflective clothing when walking at night. I was a little defensive at first, but after mulling it over I realized how invisible I must have been to bikers and drivers. My wife and I immediately bought reflective vests and have worn them ever since. Since then, a number of people have commented on how visible we are at night while wearing them. I'm convinced the vests saved us from getting hit more than once. If you're riding or walking at night, please spend the little bit it costs to insure your safety. Wear a bright yellow reflective jacket or vest, carry a flashlight, put fresh batteries in your bike's headlight or taillight, wear a headlamp, put reflective bands on your wrists and ankles. I realize every time I walk into New Seasons wearing my reflective vest, carrying a flashlight and lugging a daypack with a blinking red light attached, I look like a crossing guard. I also know that a trip to the store without getting hit by a car makes my lack of fashion sense well worth it. Black may look great in a restaurant, but it is not a high visibility color!

Haramaki Love: In cold weather, wearing a hat will keep you warm. Wearing a hat and scarf will keep you even warmer. But, wearing a hat, scarf and a haramaki provides the ultimate in warmth. A haramaki? Yes, a haramaki. I can't say enough about the benefits of wearing a haramaki. It's like wearing a neck gator around your waist, trapping body heat while sealing out cold and wind. On cold days at work, I'll even wear one in the office. It gets chilly in there sometimes! Check them out here: https://haramaki-love.myshopify.com. I recommend the Luxe Black model. I own three of them! Also, check out the Benefits section of their website for more info on how a haramaki helps your body stay warm and how it can help you stay healthy.

Pray For Snow: No, really. Pray for snow. Portland is so beautiful when it snows...

And, Lastly: Whatever holidays you celebrate this season, I wish you well and hope you're able to enjoy them with friends and family. Since I celebrate three holidays, I'll also wish you Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas and Happiest of New Years. Have a great Winter and remember, the days get longer from here on out!