Most of you probably know what Chinese animal you are from going to eat at Chinese restaurants… what does it mean? What do those animals represent and what is the connection between “what animal we are” and the reasons we are getting sick at times or experiencing life in a certain way? And how is it related to acupuncture?!
Our nervous system is an amazing specimen. It controls everything that we are…every thought, action, sensation, and reaction. Everything! The autonomic nervous system is one of the important divisions of our nervous system, which is constantly working to control our involuntary internal environment. The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is further divided into the Sympathetic (SNS) and Parasympathetic (PNS) nervous systems. The Sympathetic nervous system controls vital responses that are related to Fight or Flight situations. [Read more…]
Ask the Acupuncturist: For Couples Trying to Conceive
The infertility journey can be a long and confusing one. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine is a useful and important tool to use along the way. Many people have questions, don’t understand or want to learn more about acupuncture and Chinese herbs.
Join Julie Shindler-Cohen, MSTOM, Dipl. OM for an evening to learn more about Chinese medicine, ask your specific questions and gain support from others. These meetings are limited to a few couples per session, so RSVP soon!
When: Thursday October16, then
Every 1st Thursday of the month, 7-8pm
Where: MI Associates of Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine
7001 Orchard Lake Road #120
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
RSVP: (248) 737-7126
There is no cost to attend
Julie Shindler-Cohen, MSTOM, Dipl. OM, is a registered acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist. Julie earned her degree from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago and completed an internship at the Zhejiang College of Medicine in Hangzhou, China. Julie has obtained additional training in infertility under Jane Lyttleton and pregnancy under Debra Betts. Julie has a passion for treating couples experiencing infertility and uses her knowledge and experience to assist couples during their journey.
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…]
I have been working as an acupuncturist specializing in infertility for over 8 years now. If I told you all the stories of loss and despair that I’ve heard, you probably wouldn’t believe it. In summary, it is devastating to be told that you may not be able to have children. I know there are people who may not want children, but that is their choice. But to be told you may not be able to conceive takes away the freedom to choose. And when a couple who is struggling with infertility is asked, “when are you going to start having kids?”, it’s like pouring salt into the wounds.
One thing I see regularly, patient by patient, is that as a society we are very under-educated in regards to taking care of our bodies. Think about how many hours of schooling you needed in order to get a degree. Now compare that to how many hours of training you’ve received in regards to your health. For most people, they’ve had practically zero hours of training in how to take care of their body. To make matters worse, infertility is even more misunderstood than other diseases. As a culture we have a basic understanding of diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure but when it comes to infertility, there are actually a multitude of issues someone could have. Infertility can be attributed to things like; a woman not getting her periods or not ovulating regularly, having blocked tubes or poor egg quality/quantity or having hormonal imbalances. There may also be male factors like low sperm count or poor morphology. The reasons for infertility are different for everyone and can also be very difficult to pinpoint
Our societal understanding of infertility is that a woman must “relax” in order to get pregnant. Over the years, I’ve found that stress can be a contributing factor to infertility but generally, it is not the only factor. One comparison I use for this is thinking that
someone needs to “relax” in order to have a bowel movement. Infact, having a bowel movement is the culmination of a specific series of processes in our bodies that our minds really have no control over. We can do everything we can to stay relaxed but we cannot force it, just like we can’t will ourselves into being pregnant. There are some disease that our minds are not capable of shifting. I don’t deny that relaxation and endorphins are good for the fertility client, but it’s simplistic thinking to assume that if all women would “just relax,” they would become pregnant.
The subject of whether or not a couple wants to have children is a very sensitive one. What I’ve hoped to shed light on is that the issue is not always whether or not they want to have a baby. So next time you’re speaking with a couple and are tempted to ask them when they are having babies (Moms and Grandma’s: I’m talking to you too!), please think twice. Even though your intentions are good, you may cause sadness and anxiety for your loved one. As with anything in our society, let us strive to become more educated and more compassionate to others. Because, as Plato says, “Be kind. Everyone you meet is in the midst of a great struggle”.
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…]
Hello. My name is Monica Mae Leibson and I am a Registered Acupuncturist in the State of Michigan. I know that my job isn’t a typical one and I often get funny looks when I tell people what I do. So here’s a glimpse of a typical day of mine, in pictures.
Located in West Bloomfield MI, I work in an office complex with 3 acupuncturists, a naturopathic doctor, a craniosacral therapist, and an oriental bodyworker.
They are all wonderful! Find out more about them.
When a patient comes to see me, I start by doing a thorough medical intake where I review their health history as well as daily lifestyle. Even though most patients come in with a specific chief complaint, chinese medicine views the body holistically and so I check in on how all the other body systems are functioning as well.
To understand the nature of the patients symptoms through the lens of Traditional Chinese Medicine, I feel the pulse and look at the tongue. These diagnostic tools help me to assess where a patients energy is out of balance.
To learn more about tongue diagnosis, Julie Silver wrote this great article.
To learn more about pulse diagnosis.
Then comes the fun part, the acupuncture! This is a typical looking treatment for the back, although treatments are always catered to the specific person and ailment. The patient is lying comfortably on a massage table with clean linen. For my colder patients, or during the winter months, there’s a heating pad on the table and a therapeutic heating lamp as well. Patients love it!
Acupuncture is an ancient medicine that uses small sterile needles to promote blood flow and oxygen in the body. It modulates the immune system so it is helpful for if a patient has an overactive immune system (autoimmune disorders) or underactive (chronic colds and sore throats). It releases endorphins which is helpful for getting patients out of the “fight or flight” mode in the brain and into the “rest and repair” mode. This is another reason people heal deeply with acupuncture.
There are over 365 acupuncture points in the body! The points that are most commonly used are between the knees and feet, between the wrists and elbows, on the abdomen and on the neck & back. We generally use between 10 & 20 acupuncture points in one session.
The patient lies on the table for between 20 & 25 minutes, so that deep relaxation and healing can occur.
Afterwards, patients feel relaxed and refreshed. To hear about how patients respond (in their own words), read this: http://www.acupunctureinmichigan.com/testimonials/
I hope you enjoyed my day at work!
~Monica Mae Leibson, Dipl. Ac., Reg. Ac.
Over the last 20 years, we have become more aware of the many challenges couples face in getting pregnant. Individuals are marrying later in age and couples are waiting longer to have children. In addition, Environmental toxins and our own diet can have direct impact on our health and trying to conceive. From a western medical viewpoint, advanced age and ovulatory dysfunction, PCOS, thyroid issues as well as male fertility can all play a part in having difficult conceiving.
There are many ways to take care of our bodies and support a successful pregnancy. During these times, many couples turn to integrative medicine as an alternative or in complement with western medicine.
Acupuncture has many benefits for women trying to conceive including increasing blood flow to and relaxing the uterus, improving egg quality and quantity, and increasing the thickness of the uterine lining. A study done in Germany found that acupuncture can increase the chances of pregnancy for women undergoing and IVF cycle. When we are under stress from dealing with fertility, our nervous system activates the “fight or flight” response and can cause a myriad of health issues. Acupuncture is very effective in calming and balancing the sympathetic nervous system.
Nutrition and Supplements
The essential fatty acids in flax seed has been known to lengthen the follicular phase and delay early ovulation, increase the frequency of ovulation in women who do not ovulate regularly. L-Arganine, an amino acid, taken in high doses, has been shown to improve fertilization rates in women who had previously failed cycles. Bee Pollen and its close friend Royal Jelly are both rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals and have also shown to increase fertility. Antioxidants such as OPC’s (which are bioflavanoids) stimulate our body’s own natural antioxidant defense and clean free radicals from the blood stream. [Read more…]
Most of our clients who come to the office bristle at the thought of having their tongue diagnosed. When we first ask to see the tongue, most are embarrassed. “I did not brush my teeth before I came in” or “I ate blueberries” are common responses. We are often asked to explain what we are looking for and what changes we have noticed. With this in mind, I thought I would to explain the importance of Tongue Diagnosis in traditional Chinese medicine.
Like other diagnostic methods in TCM, the skill and intuition of the acupuncturist is an important part of tongue diagnosis. It is not uncommon to have 5 acupuncturists each have a different take on the tongue. . An experienced practitioner will be able to give a more accurate interpretation.
First off, it is important to understand the relationship of the tongue to the inside of the body. The color and shape of the tongue reflects the quality of the circulation of qi and blood in the body. A pale tongue, for example, may indicate that the body is lacking some of the qi/blood nourishment it needs to flourish. The tongue coating is indicative of the body fluids (or lack thereof) in the body. The tongue is a very important diagnostic tool for the digestion – a coated tongue, for example, can reflect a sluggish digestion. A geographic/red tongue can reflect heat in the stomach which may manifest as Acid Reflux. [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…]