For most of us, Chinese herbs are an alternative and unknown form of medicine. However, in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) they are an integral part of healing! Many people liken Chinese herbs to medication but they couldn’t be farther apart. First, Chinese herbs are natural substances—roots, berries, twigs, barks, etc.—whereas medications are chemically engineered. Medications are often given alone to affect the body while Chinese herbs are administered in formulas, which are unique combinations of herbs that are used to achieve maximal therapeutic effect while also addressing possible side effects. But the coolest thing about Chinese herbs, as far as I’m concerned, is how they are categorized. [Read more…]
Cinnamon has been all over the wellness-news lately for a plethora of health benefits. From blood sugar regulation to anti-inflammatory properties, Cinnamon is the current “it” herb. Gui zhi, as I like to think of it, has been in the Chinese medical materia medica for thousands of years and has always been an important part of Chinese herbal medicine. [Read more…]
Many people hear about using acupuncture to help with addiction and smoking cessation. As acupuncturists, we’re asked how exactly acupuncture can be used to attain this goal. There are many different facets to treating addiction and one of the most powerful tools we use in acupuncture is the NADA protocol. [Read more…]
Whenever I visit a reproductive medical office, it boggles my mind that couples would undergo infertility treatment without incorporating acupuncture and Chinese medicine. The entire process of infertility treatment can feel like an emotional rollercoaster and acupuncture is a healing modality that can benefit both the mind and body. There are countless studies coming out that show the benefit of integrating acupuncture with traditional medical treatment but, as a practitioner, I have come to realize many more benefits that are not so obvious.
First, healing touch is missing from Western treatment. Women often go through a battery of tests and procedures that are very personal but there is no human to human contact that provides any sort of healing. The power of human touch is often underestimated in its ability to affect treatment outcomes. It is a means of connecting a person’s mind with the body and to forge a deeper relationship within themselves. Especially in the treatment of infertility, this connection between the mind and body will greatly affect a woman’s experience and ability to get through treatment with less stress and more peace.
Another benefit of acupuncture for our patients is having a “guide” through the emotional and physical changes. All of the acupuncturists in our office have experience with working with women and infertility. In addition to understanding of the process as it relates to procedure, we also have a significant amount of emotional insight that we share with our patients. We spend an entire hour with each person, which allows us to talk AND listen. We learn from our patients just as much as they learn from us and we always support them physically and emotionally. Also, many women who undergo infertility treatment keep it as a “secret” and don’t share with others. Coming in for acupuncture provides a safe place for women to talk about their experience in a safe setting.
Finally, acupuncture and Chinese medicine can also increase a woman’s response to fertility medications and treatment. We have had many women come to us after failed infertility cycles who, after sessions of acupuncture and Chinese herbs, have increased response and better outcomes upon returning to traditional treatment. Chinese medical treatment focuses on each person’s unique energetic landscape. Whether it be regulating the menstrual cycle or treating chronic insomnia, Chinese medicine addresses the entire body and all of its systems. Continued treatment allows for balance of energy and to remove any pathology that block healthy outcomes. I often tell my patients who are preparing for IVF that acupuncture treatment beforehand helps to “clean up the landscape” and prepare the body for better response to the medication.
It’s inevitable. Seemingly everyone comes down with the common cold during the winter months. Conventional medicine has little to treat it and we all just suffer through the runny nose, sneezing, fatigue and “tickly” throat.
But I don’t have time for that this year.
In addition to a baby at home, my “cold” last year turned into the flu and pneumonia and the mere thought of getting a cold is like striking a raw nerve. So when I began to get that tickle in the back of my throat with body aches, I used EVERYTHING in the book (and then some) to fight back! So this list is based solely on my personal experience, but it worked! In the past, I too would surrender to the cold and wait for it to pass. There are countless tips for staying well and fighting a cold but here’s what worked for me:
1) Elderberry syrup. It is used as an anti-viral, anti-bacterial supplement. As prevention, I take one teaspoon every few days but once symptoms present themselves, I took 2 teaspoons daily
2) Vitamin C! Emergen-C packets, 2-3 times per day
3) Fresh ginger tea. I boiled about 1 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Ginger is used to promote sweating and thereby expel the cold pathogen in the Chinese material medica.
4) Oscillococcium. This is an over-the-counter homeopathic remedy. It’s used for cold and flu symptoms. I didn’t think I had the flu again this year, but you could never be sure….
5) Acupuncture and cupping. I always get aches in my neck and upper back with a cold. Cupping is a manual technique to “release the exterior” in TCM. In other words, it used to expel the cold from the muscle layer. Acupuncture is used in a similar fashion.
6) Chinese herbs. There is a whole chapter in the Chinese material medica about fighting cold symptoms. I used a basic formula that matched my symptoms and made some modifications to support my immune system.
Thoughts? Share with me!
I recently attending the Center for Mind/Body Medicine’s conference entitled “Food As Medicine”. The conference was inspiring, to say the least. It made me think about diet in general and how it affects our health. According to the many speakers, diet can be the difference between living a long, healthy life or not. One speaker asserts that by eating a healthy diet can affect the expression of genetics, specifically in the case of cancer! No matter the presenter’s background, all agree that our diet and food choices are ultimately our best medicine or worst poison. If you want to talk about preventative medicine, diet cannot be ignored. After 4 days of lectures, the amount of information can be overwhelming but I have come up with a few dietary basics that are good “food for thought” as we prepare our next meal. [Read more…]
Eben Alexander’s memoir, Proof of Heaven, details his experience while in a coma for 8 days. The interesting twist of his memoir is that he was a neurosurgeon who completely dismissed his patients’ accounts of consciousness and existence beyond the physical world because the concept did not fit within the scientific understanding of brain function and reasoning. And yet, when he contracted bacterial meningitis (a very, very RARE occurrence) and his brain was completely shut down, he experienced an afterlife that supported the experiences of all his patients’ accounts that he had dismissed for years. The revelation that came out of Dr. Alexander’s experience was that human beings are much, much more than science recognizes. Moreover, our minds are not just the mechanical workings of our brain function! Instead, there is an energy/spirit in all people which means that our behavior and life choices include much more spirituality than most of us understand. [Read more…]
I recently had the pleasure of being hospitalized for 8 days. I call this a pleasure because I have never been hospitalized before and it was quite a learning experience (that I hope to never repeat). Also, because my personal experience with Western medicine is relatively limited, my hospital-stay can be likened to a fast-track course in how Western medicine operates. It was fascinating! [Read more…]
Acupuncture is, among many things, a transfer of energy. When we needle a point, we are using the needle to active the acupuncture point’s unique function. Each acupuncture treatment is a combination of points that are used to treat each person’s Chinese medical pathology. However, I have found that the concept of intention is just as important in an acupuncture session as the point prescription. Intention is the idea that when the acupuncturist is inserting needles, they direct their energy into the overall intention of the treatment. [Read more…]
In today’s world, we only think about getting medical attention once a problem has arisen. People don’t think of getting treatment for ourselves beyond our yearly physical. However as society is becoming more health-conscious, we are beginning to realize there are several ways to take care of ourselves before illness arises. Of course, there are several different approaches to do this but let’s explore the benefits of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. [Read more…]