Inflammation is an everyday occurrence in our bodies. It generally gets a bad reputation; however, it is necessary to protect our bodies and to allow them to heal. Inflammation occurs with injuries but also in normal daily activities. In both situations, cellular and tissue breakdown can occur (to different degrees). In order to start healing, an inflammatory cascade begins. [Read more…]
We are very excited to welcome Karen Siegel Propis, MPH, MS, RD, LD, LAc, to our practice! Karen will be filling in while Julie Shindler-Cohen is on maternity leave and will maintain a part-time schedule once Julie returns. Karen was founder and owner of the Acupuncture and Nutrition Clinic in Houston, Texas where she had a private practice for acupuncture, herbal medicine and nutrition.
Karen treats a wide variety of emotional and physical problems using acupuncture and herbal medicine. She employs various strategies of Traditional Chinese Medicine to help patients overcome acute and chronic problems with pain, as well as symptoms of menopause, dysmenorrhea, digestive problems, depression and migraines. She is an advocate of working with a team and is pleased to be joining Michigan Associates of Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine.
Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Karen earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Nutrition & Dietetics from the University of Vermont and completed her internship at the University of Texas, Houston. She received a Masters in Public Health degree from the University of Texas School of Public Health and her Masters degree in Oriental Medicine from the American College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in Houston, TX. She is Board Certified and Licensed through the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners and is a Diplomate in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology.
We are thrilled to have Karen on board!
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.
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…]
This testimonial is from a dear friend of mine. I like it because she details how I worked with her WHILE she was going through her western medicine treatments. What I have learned in my 9 years of practice is that there are times for western medicine, there are times for alternative medicine, and most of the time they support each other beautifully.
If you choose to come in for acupuncture, it does not mean you have to forego all western medical treatment. I, too, see a primary care doctor, an obgyn, a naturopathic doctor, etc. We are all a part of the picture of personalized and holistic care for you and your family.
“For those who know me, you know the past year and half of my life has been a very difficult time for me. My back was severely injured leading me to have three major back surgeries, including an anterior-posterior spinal fusion. I was left in massive amounts of pain with permanent nerve damage from my injury. During this time of surgeries and recovery I spent much of time my talking with Monica Mae Leibson, my close friend and also an excellent acupuncturist, alternative medicine, and Chinese herbal medicine specialist. During this year of immense physical and emotional stress Monica Mae Leibson was a huge support and helped beyond what I thought was possible. I went through many treatments of acupuncture, herbal remedies, teas, tinctures and vitamins recommended and given to me by Monica Mae Leibson. Not only did all of these things help greatly with my pain and nerve damage, they also helped me cope with the depression of having these surgeries. When I saw my surgeon one month after my spinal fusion he was completely amazed and astounded that my recovery was going so good and my bones were growing back quicker than he had ever seen before. I owe all of this to Monica Mae Leibson and her help with her incredible skill and knowledge with acupuncture, alternative medicine, and vitamins. I also struggle with depression and major anxiety issues. Monica Mae Leibson has been treating me for years with these problems as well and it has helped more than any other methods I have tried. Monica Mae Leibson is an extraordinary and remarkable acupuncturist and guru of alternative medicine. Monica’s expertise, professionalism, and tranquility will not only amaze you but it will also heal you in ways one might never thought was possible. I urge anyone who has any struggles, physically or mentally, to go see Monica Mae Leibson and get treatments. I assure you that you will be amazed at how wonderful and healed you can feel by these treatments and remedies.” – Emily S. from Livonia, MI
Why is it that so many people suffer from constipation? And how can Chinese medicine help?
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal (GI) problems, affecting about 42 million people in the U.S. – NIH website
Eliminating is related to the concept of letting go. In Chinese medicine, letting go is a quality affiliated with the Metal element (Out of the five elements – Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal) which the lungs and the Large intestine are a part of. Both these organs (more like functions than actual organ) in Chinese medicine are in charge of making sure we are keeping the valuable and are letting go of what is not needed – physically, emotionally and mentally.
On a physical level, the lungs take care of the relatively esoteric gas – the air. They are in charge of using the separating the oxygen from the rest so the body can use it and are eliminating the byproduct of the metabolism in the body, the CO2 – this process has a short cycle and it is repeated many times throughout the day (more Yang in nature). The large intestine deals with more substantial material which is what is left from the food after it is passing through the digestive system which occurs once a day, eliminates all that is not needed anymore and absorbs back water and key nutrients (more Yin in nature). When our body is done extracting the valuable resources from the air or the food – it is letting go of the waste.
On an emotional level – the action of letting go is controlled by the Metal element as well, Grief or Sadness are the emotions related to it. The lungs energy is allowing us to release sadness through crying it has the same energy as a seed the being spread by the wind or a chick that leaves the nest. On a more substantial level, the energy of the large intestine is allowing us to let go of possessions we no longer need. It is the same motion of a ripe fruit falling from the tree on to the ground. All of those are related to the autumn season.
Interestingly, the lung meridian (energy pathway) flows to the thumb and the large intestine meridian flows to the index finger- both fingers are used to form a grip. Letting go is a skill hard to master. It requires the ability to passively do an action, which is a contradiction in a way.
With acupuncture, herbal medicine and nutrition it is possible to work on those aspects and strengthen one’s body and mind ability to let go of what is no longer needed….the outcome is also better elimination 🙂
As Acupuncturists, we sit with many of our clients and talk with them about their emotions. Emotions are an important part of the intake process for Traditional Chinese Medicine. Emotions affect our physical health and physical health affects our emotional well-being.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine – most organ systems have an emotion associated with them. When someone is angry or irritable, we think of the Liver and how to work to balance the flow of Liver Qi. Fear is associated with the Kidneys, Grief, the Lungs, Heart = joy and the emotion associated with the Spleen is worry. Since we so often experience many emotions, one can only predict the effect the emotions have on our health.
I want to make a pitch for starting to make friends with our emotions. So often, we try to push our feelings away. This may be done through drugs and alcohol, food and other addictions, exercise or medications. An informal industry has been developed in order to support us in NOT FEELING. What this ultimately does is add an additional layer to our pain and suffering. We still feel the emotions we don’t want to feel and we self medicate ourselves to get away from the feelings we still feel! [Read more…]