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…]
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…]
Ask The Naturopath…
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Summer is a time to grow and expand. We see trees blossoming and the sun shining radiantly. We can match our internal energy too by waking early in the summer, playing in the garden, and exploring the natural world around us. Traditional Chinese Medicine places great importance on eating right for the season. Eating less and eating light foods on hot days is a natural way of being in tune with the rhythms of the summer months. There are also specific foods that keep us in balance during this time.
These foods are sure to keep us hydrated so that our bodies can handle the heat of summer :
Fruits: apples, watermelon, lemons, lines
Fresh Foods: salads, sprouts, cucumber, tofu
Teas: chrysanthemum, mint, chamomile
4 Cups cooked brown rice
1 green onion, chopped
2 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped
1 Cup peas, slightly cooked
2 Tablespoons umeboshi vinegar, 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon olive oil (optional)
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds (toasted) or pine nuts
Mix ingredients together, toss gently with dressing, marinate for several hours
Let marinate several hours
Recipes from Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford
A few moments with Eran Reznik
Q: Tell us a bit about your background and how you got into massage.
I knew for quite some time that I wanted to help people through practicing some kind of holistic medicine. Living in Israel at the time, the most serious training program was Traditional Chinese medicine. I studied to be an acupuncturist. I also wanted to be able to connect and help people through touch so I joined a Shiatsu program
Q: What makes your massage unique?
I believe touch is an essential tool in healing and have always been told I have gifted hands!. When I graduated from TCM school I wanted to expend my tools and went to study massage therapy.
The treatments I do are very different from the average massage. I combine techniques from massage, shiatsu, the use of acupressure points and the vast knowledge I have received in my Chinese medicine training. I look at the body as a whole and make the connection between the emotional and mental state to the physiological condition and the way the body is aligned.
Q: What type of conditions do you see in your practice?
I see many orthopedic issues involving lower back or hip pain and lots of shoulder and neck tension that are accompanied by chronic headaches and migraines. Most of them are inner connected to emotions that, when aligned, allow for the proper movement of energy in the body.
Julie Shindler-Cohen, MSTOM, Dipl. C.H., Dipl. Ac.
In Chinese medicine, the impact of seasonal allergies are related to the qi energy of the lung. The lung’ qi is our “defensive qi” and thereby prevents environmental factors from invading the body. Whenever the body is affected by any outside influence (like weather, mold, cats, dogs), this is a sign that the “lung qi” is not strong enough to protect the body. This is why there are two treatment strategies for seasonal allergies!
First, when symptoms are severe, the treatment strategy is to release the pathogen from our body. Acupuncture is the #1 way to accomplish this. Most patients notice an immediate difference in their allergies after acupuncture.
The second treatment strategy is to support the lung qi so that allergy symptoms will be reduced or eliminated in the future. Acupuncture, along with Chinese Herbal Medicine and diet can make a significant difference! This is a strategy that we work on as maintenance treatment before allergy season begins!
Acupuncture and Fertility Study
“Doctors with expertise in reproductive medicine have recently published that acupuncture and herbs are useful in the treatment of infertility, complications related to childbirth and for several other gynecological concerns. The doctors cited research stating that acupuncture and herbal medicine improve the success rate of in vitro fertilization. Pregnancy rates are improved in subfertile women undergoing IVF and in women with PCOS wherein ovulation may be restored using acupuncture. In the latter, acupuncture is noted as a treatment option for both reproductive issues and endocrine disturbances for women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).”
According to Reproductive Medicine Specialists from Penn State University, University of Gothenbery and Heilognjiang University
Make this a happy & healthy Summer.
Don’t take a vacation from your health.
Call for an appointment today.
JULY Office Specials!
Naturopathic Medicine Consultation:
$20.00 off your consultation with Dr. Diana Quinn!
$55.00 for new patients first massage with Eran Reznik!
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.
In early January, on a beautiful winter day, I broke my collarbone while enjoying an afternoon of snowshoeing. What I learned after visiting the ER is that the collarbone cannot be casted or set. It is in a precarious place with interdependency on many other bones and ligaments. It has to heal by itself. I was given a necessary prescription for medication and told to rest and come back in 3 weeks.
Fortunately I knew better and knew, through a combination of modalities, I could do a lot better than “just resting”. Don’t get me wrong – rest is critical when you are recovering from an injury! However, I knew it alone would not be enough help me heal. [Read more…]
I recently held a seminar with Dr. George Nicoloff, who is board certified in Integrative Holistic Medicine. We were so excited to have over 60 people attend! We agreed to speak on the connection between the gut & immune system, as we know how deeply interwoven they are. We shared a lot of information in just a short time. So although this is not comprehensive, here is a portion of our presentation:
In Chinese Medicine, the relationship between the Lung (immune) and Large Intestine (gut) meridians:
Ways to care for the Large Intestine:
- Maintain regular bowel movements through diet and exercise (and if needed, acupuncture & herbs)
- Eat foods that are warm and easy to digest (temperature is important to gut) Steam vegetables as opposed to eating them raw (only eat raw in spring and summer)
- Be careful with food combinations: Protein, fat, complex carb at every meal. Protein the size of your palm, carbs the size of your fist, fats the size of your thumb. See “Game On Diet” by Krista Vernoff
- Eat slowly & intentionally. Chew thoroughly.
Lung Meridian =
- Practice deep breathing
- Avoid toxic substances that are inhaled (toxic candles (lead and paraffin which is a petroleum biproduct), fumes, toxic household products)
- Cardio exercise (strengthen lung and increase capacity)
- Break a sweat (releases toxins)
- Keep neck covered in wind/cold/rain
Good foods: Rice, carrot, sweet potatoe, ginger, garlic, seaweeds, fibrous foods such as apples & oats
Not so good foods: Heavy dairy, excessive citrus
From Dr. Nicoloff’s slides:
Healing Leaky Gut
There is a simple solution to help transform unhealthy intestinal function back to health:
L. acidophilus NCFM / B. lactis BI-07 = Reinoculate with probiotics to balance immune function, combat microbial overgrowth, improve lactose digestion, reduce bowel distress.
Nutritional & Botanical Therapeutics=
I feel so fortunate to have found such a great doctor who takes time with each of his patients and has a background in holistic medicine. And between acupuncture visits and supplements/herbs, the immune & digestive system can be truly repaired.
Those who think
they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for
(1826-1893) from The Conduct of Life
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!
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…]