As the dark nights and short days of winter are upon is, it is not uncommon to feel more tired, lower energy, and a desire to stay inside a warm house and cozy up with a good book. For many of us, this is a passing experience that can be cured by a weekend getaway or a few sunny days. However, for some, these symptoms can be indicative of a form of depression called Season Affective Disorder. According to the web site familydoctor.org, as many as ½ a million people have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It is not surprising that SAD is more common in the Northern part of the country. Symptoms of winter-onset Seasonal Affective Disorder include: loss of energy, depression, anxiety, oversleeping, changes in appetite and difficulty concentrating. There are a number of natural ways to treat SAD. [Read more…]
Receiving a diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is very scary and confusing for many women, especially when trying to conceive. PCOS is a syndrome—this means one size does NOT fit all. Classically, women with PCOS were overweight, had inappropriate hair growth and did not menstruate regularly. However, many of the PCOS patients I see do NOT fit that description. Some women have insulin resistance, acne, irregular periods or cysts on their ovaries. Or not. Traditional treatment for PCOS involves birth control pills, blood sugar regulating medications, low carb diet and exercise. When trying to conceive, all of those options are great—with the exception of birth control pills! [Read more…]
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, each season is represented by one of the elements of nature (such as wind, cold, damp or heat). The element associated with summer is heat or FIRE!
Fire energy is considered YANG Energy. Yang is big, yang is expansion yang is excess. As you know, summer is all about expansion. The flowers are in full bloom, the days are long, we spend lots of time outside doing physical activity.
In TCM, every element is also associated with an organ. The organ associated with Fire is the Heart.
When we think about the summer and taking good care of our “heart” we should be thinking about the following.
The Heart Energy (qi energy) is thought to rule our spirit. We call this the shen. The shen oversees cognitive function and mental activity. The shen also oversees the seven main emotions (joy, anger, sadness, grief, fright, apprehension, worry). Oftentimes, emotional imbalances are associated with the Heart. [Read more…]
As a practitioner that specializes in the childbearing year, I treat a lot of couples going through the process of getting pregnant. I’ve found that across the board, the journey can be very stressful. From checking your temperature to taking medication to timed intercourse, it certainly takes the fun out of trying to get pregnant. One thing that can be helpful is being intentional of your mindset during the process. Patients often oscillate between trying to control the situation and feeling desperately out of control. Creating an intention for yourself can alleviate a lot of that anxiety, stress, and depression.
Creating an Intention for your Fertility
This practice is simply used to focus the mind, rather than letting anxiety and fear get the best of us.
Release the past: If our mind is cluttered with memories of yesterday or anxiety regarding tomorrow, we cannot truly create from a blank slate.
Breathing in, I allow myself to come into this present moment. I choose to consciously release the past at this moment. I internally declare that the past has no power over me and I release and let go. (Deep sigh of relief).
Step 2. Create an intention:
With an intention, you begin by stating your desire. Be sure to use juicy adjectives like loving, nurturing, and fully self-expressed. You want your intention to feel like it really resonates with why you desire to have a child. Be sure NOT to intend things that are out of your control (like by when you will be pregnant, that it will be genetically yours, that you won’t have to do IVF, etc.) These thoughts generally arise from the ego and are our way of trying to control situations. In an ideal world, you want to be able to live into this intention no matter if you get pregnant or not. The “bigger” you create the intention (see numbers 3 & 4 below), the less likely it will be about trying to get what you want, and the more it will be about becoming the person you want to be in the world. Who we are for the world is the biggest gift we have to offer ourselves and others.
The flow of the intention can go something like this…
- I would love the opportunity to be a loving mother to a healthy child.
- My intention at this time is be a nurturing mother in a beautiful family with a child.
- Who I am is the possibility of peace, love, and joy.
- I am a stand for loving families on the planet.
Step 3. Release and let go.
Oftentimes this is the hardest part. But just practice it and see how your heart opens. You can speak your intention with love and gracefully follow it with a releasing meditation.
“I have shared my intention with the universe and know that it has been received. With that knowing, I release and let go. I release the attachment of my intention and choose to stay focused on who I am being, rather than what I am asking for.”
“I choose to have faith in this life. I know it is not always easy but regardless of the outcome, I choose to have faith in my journey.”
Step 4. Rinse and repeat
I recommend writing down the intention you’ve created and include the releasing meditation. You can carry it around with you in your wallet. You could put it on the mirror in your bathroom. The honest truth is that you might need to say it a lot during each day. Worry and anxiety can be so familiar to our brains that it becomes our automatic thought process. This will truly be a lesson in consciously creating your thoughts. Overtime, your efforts to make a shift in your mindset will leave you with a sense of peace and optimism.
Monica Mae Leibson earned her Masters degree at the Santa Barbara College of Oriental Medicine (SBCOM), and is a NCCAOM Board Certified Acupuncturist. Monica has been trained in the treatment of physical and musculoskeletal injuries, working with alcohol and drug detoxification, as well as working with hospice patients. She has received extensive training in Chinese herbs, physical medicine and anatomy and physiology.
Monica has also obtained specialized training in Chinese Medicine and Infertility, studying under both Dr. Randine Lewis (author of The Infertility Cure) and Jane Lyttleton (author of Treating Infertility with Traditional Chinese Medicine). Monica and her infertility practice focuses on integrating Traditional Chinese Medicine with Reproductive Medicine.
Monica has been trained as a Birth Doula and Postpartum Doula. As a specialist, she educates clients about their options during birth. Through acupuncture and education, she supports a woman’s body during pregnancy so they are less likely to need induction or medical intervention. She also uses acupuncture and acupressure during birth to relieve pain and assist a smooth birth.
Her Postpartum Doula work includes educating women about breastfeeding, hormone regulation and infant health.
Monica is the past Treasurer and Membership Chair of the Michigan Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and uses Chinese Medicine to empower her clients to access their physical, emotional, and spiritual power. Monica combines her art of healing to express the divine creativity within all of us. When she’s not assisting patients in their healing, Monica spends her with time with her family, and also enjoys singing, dancing, and painting.
Over the eight years I’ve been in clinical practice, I’ve seen people for a variety of physical medicine issues. The initial intake includes a lengthy review of medical history and at the end, I always check in with how people are doing emotionally. As a holistic practitioner, I’ve learned that emotions can trigger physical issues. On the flip side; pain, insomnia, digestive issues, fertility, or any other issue can certainly create its own emotional reactions. The bottom line is that we are emotional beings that are inside a physical body. It’s truly a beautiful design.
Acupuncture has proven itself to be an amazing tool for releasing old emotions and supporting us to move forward in our journey. Emotions start as a neuro-chemical release in the brain. The release triggers a physical sensation which can range anywhere from digestive upset to sweating, heart pounding, headaches, etc. Not all emotions lead to these intense reactions but they generally manifest somewhere in the body. When we allow ourselves to truly experience the emotional cascade, the physical response lasts for anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes. What is very common, though, is that people will resist their emotions and try to stop themselves from feeling them altogether. As a society we look down on others and ourselves for feeling anxiety, depression, fear, etc. The new age thought of being able to create and manifest our lives can make people feel even worse because they don’t seem to allow any room for upset. I’ve seen so many people over the years who say that they HAVE TO stay positive in order to get what they want. That’s a lot of pressure! The Law of Attraction does NOT state that you have to be happy all the time, (we will save that for another blog). The point is that it’s OK to experience all different sorts of emotions. It is, in fact a necessary part of being a sentient and compassionate person. Oftentimes when we do experience emotions, rather than allowing them to naturally come and go, we hold on tight and aren’t able to release them from our minds and bodies. Acupuncture is a very effective way to facilitate a release. With this in mind, I am offering a specific treatment aimed at balancing stress and emotions and gently releasing emotional blockages.
During our brief intake, I will assess which emotions are out of balance. I will also feel the pulse and look at your tongue, which are Chinese Medicine diagnostic tools. We will then get started with our hands on treatment.
These sessions work well for people who are experiencing:
- A recent emotional breakdown
- Life transitions (job loss, aging, engaged to be married, divorce, grieving)
- High stress situations or inability to cope with current stress
- Chronic emotional issues that you’ve been working on in other ways with little success
The treatment will consist of Essential Oils (both inhaled and applied topically when appropriate) for your specific emotional needs. I will also create a customized meditation to release the grip of emotional stress and allow you to tap into your inner wisdom. The final modality will be acupuncture to facilitate a natural endorphin release and move emotional blockages that have gotten lodged in the body.
I am so inspired and look forward to working with you to release past emotions and create a new & exciting future.
I am proud to announce that I recently became a fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (ABORM), the first in the state of Michigan. The ABORM is a group of acupuncturists that have extensive experience in treating infertility and work together with Western medical practitioners to create a level of professionalism and excellence within the field. Many long-time ABORM members are the leaders in the community of Chinese medical reproductive medicine. The ABORM was created to set a standard of excellence in treatment of Chinese medicine and infertility. Fellows must acquire a specific amount of continuing education credits in Chinese reproductive medicine and at least 2 years of practice before being eligible to sit for the ABORM certification exam. Fellows are only inducted after passing this examination. [Read more…]
I just spoke at the Holistic Moms Network meeting in my area. What a great group of women! I love to see people committed to following a healthy way of life and passing it on to future generations! I will say that there was a fair bit that I explained while going through these handouts, so I’m not sure how much of it will translate easily into a blog. But those who couldn’t make the seminar have asked for it, so here it is 🙂
Please feel free to ask me if you have any questions!
Monica Mae Leibson, Dipl. Ac., Birth Doula, Postpartum Doula
Intro to Acupressure for Children
Acupressure can be a great way to help your child heal quickly from illness. Choose a time of day when your child is most calm, be it after a bath or just before bedtime. Kindly let them know that this will feel good and help them to get better. For young children, best to create a silly song and dance to go with the session. To stimulate the points you can choose from a few methods: [Read more…]
Many people turn to acupuncture and Chinese medicine for anxiety and depression. For many people, anxiety only presents itself in specific situations. For many others, however, a constant sensation of anxiety can be present on a daily basis. Understanding the “presentation” of anxiety is key in treating it from a traditional Chinese medical perspective. [Read more…]
Many of you who are reading this are aware of the unlimited benefits of getting acupuncture and bodywork on regular basis! However, what do you do with your children when it comes to their health?
Children have very dynamic life and their bodies are rapidly changing. They are under a constant struggle between acclimating to new environments vs. their natural instinct of being who they are. As adults we have a hard time juggling between those factors at times, can you imagine how overwhelming physically and emotionally it can be for your kid? [Read more…]
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on the theory of “Qi Energy”. Qi energy is what guides all functions in our body – breath, movement, reproduction, digestion are all functions of qi. In TCM, every organ has Qi energy and each organ’s qi oversees different functions of the body. Every organ has a season in which the functions of that organ are “in the spotlight”. The organ (and qi) associated with the spring is the Liver.
Spring is a good time for rejuvenation and change. It is a also good time to think about supporting the Liver. In TCM, the Liver Qi regulates the flow of qi throughout the whole body. There are over 20 kinds of qi that the Liver QI keeps flowing smoothly. Stress in our life tends to effect the Liver qi. When this happens, the Liver qi does not flow smoothly, and it gets stagnant. Headaches, PMS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Depression, Irritability are all thought to be associated with Liver Qi stagnation. There are many ways we can support the Liver and assist it in its job. [Read more…]