2013 was a big year for our family because we welcomed our son, Myles, into the world. Before having my daughter I really didn’t know anything about children’s health and since having her, I’ve done additional training in pediatrics and alternative medicine. This time around, I implemented all my tools from the start. When my son has had issues with sleep, I used homeopathy & essential oils. When I had to work hard to maintain my milk supply, I used acupuncture and herbs. When he had a fever that was not too high, I allowed it to break naturally, instead of using medication. When he was having constipation, I used massage, probiotics, fish oils, and diet changes. And for everything from fussiness to teething, I use the most natural healing aid I’ve been given, breastfeeding. This year has allowed me to use what I’ve learned about natural health for my children and ignited my passion to share it with others.
Working in healthcare, I’ve found that people often assume that when someone is skinny, they must be healthy. By the same token they assume that when someone is overweight, they must be unhealthy. In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), we know that there are many different body types and ways that people manifest health as well as disease. Oftentimes, looks can be deceiving.
Personally, my family tends to be thin. But, we also tend towards heart disease and diabetes. Although we don’t gain weight, we manifest disease with other symptoms and pathologies. For example, when I eat poorly one of my eyes gets red and swollen. In TCM, the Stomach meridian travels through the eyes. Therefore, red eyes would be classified as stomach heat (red and swollen = heat).
Western Medicine might treat the symptom (branch) using eye drops or other medication. However, TCM is able to see that the issue arises from a deeper internal imbalance and treat the underlying condition- the Stomach heat (root) with acupuncture, herbs and diet/lifestyle changes. This is a reminder that I need to focus on eating well and taking better care of myself.
In TCM, Spleen and Stomach “Qi” are responsible for transforming food and drink into Qi energy. Qi energy is used for all of the body’s functions – from digestion to immunity to hormonal regulation. The Spleen and Stomach become overtaxed with inappropriate eating habits, excessive worrying, and limited physical activity. In order to keep the Spleen & Stomach functioning properly, it is best to limit the following foods: greasy foods, processed sugars, spicy foods, and excessive amounts of raw, cold foods.
Modern holistic medical approaches are starting to recognize the strong connection between digestive health and overall wellbeing. This news is especially exciting for the Chinese medical community because it is something that has been understood for thousands of years!
Tip #1-Have someone on your “birth team” who knows acupressure.
Anyone can learn acupressure, but most likely this person would be a doula, massage therapist, midwife, or birth partner. Acupressure has been shown to decrease pain during labor. Neurologically, the brain can only comprehend one type of sensation at a time. When a woman’s body experiences pain during labor, acupressure will block that pain because it senses a new, more acute sensory experience. Pressure receptors in the brain override pain receptors which lead to a reduction in pain. An example of this phenomenon is the natural instinct to squeeze a stubbed toe – the pressure sensation immediately reduces the pain sensation. Acupressure also helps to decrease anxiety, and reduce the likelihood of interventions during a birth. It truly supports a woman in having her best possible birth experience.
Schedule your pre-birth acupuncture session today and learn the most commonly used acupressure point.
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…]
As acupuncturists, we sit with 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 speculate the effect the emotions have on our health.
I want to make a pitch for making 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! Doesn’t make sense! [Read more…]
As women, we are pressured to keep our figures intact and the world around us supports our desire to be thin and svelte. At the same time, we are watching our bodies change – most of which is beyond our control. Midlife hormonal changes take precedent to our old ways of eating what we want and being able to exercise a few times and “work it off”. Our mind and body are in conflict and there is no sense of balance between the two. In addition, the images we see in the media feed our desire to keep youthful and fight creating a healthy state of balance.
For the past 10 years I have been working in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine. TCM looks at our body (and our world) from a viewpoint of balance. It is the goal of TCM to support our body in achieving a healthy state of balance. Balance does not mean perfection. We are conditioned to think of the perfect body as the images that we see in the media. In TCM, balance means a harmonious way of feeling, being and thinking. Everybody (and body) has their own natural state of balance and every body’s balance is different. My balance is different than your balance. I remember once, in my early days of acupuncture school, some of the senior students telling me that, after learning about TCM, I would “never look at my body the same way”. And they were right. [Read more…]
It’s happening. Kids have been in school for less than 2 months and already the bugs are beginning to fly—the stomach flu, the common cold, etc. And it’s barely even October! But don’t worry, it’s not too late to support your immune system. In fact, by adapting certain dietary and lifestyle practices we can reduce or avoid getting sick at all!
In Chinese medicine (CM), immunity is strongly related to digestion. Immunity has to do with the state of energy (qi) in the body—the more qi, the stronger the immune system. Qi is created via digestion and thus, food choices are critical in boosting the body’s immunity. Specific foods have the ability to support (or take away from) overall immunity. Take a look at some of our favorite immune-supporting foods and dietary tips! [Read more…]
What was your primary concern that brought you in for acupuncture treatment?
I originally came in to see Monica Leibson for Fibromyalgia symptoms such as intense joint and back pain, exhaustion, and depression.
What were the benefits you experienced from acupuncture, expected and unexpected?
Relaxation; allergy, cold, and asthma relief, pain relief; more energy; ability to accomplish more in a day with little to no pain.
What were some of your misconceptions about acupuncture before you began treatment?
I was worried it would not work. I was afraid it would not be able to help with my chronic pain.
What would you tell people who have never had acupuncture?
I did not believe this kind of relief was possible. If I see anyone with pain or a lot of stress they should definitely try acupuncture with Monica Leibson. It has made my life 100 times better and my family sees the relief I get as well.
– Rebecca K.
White Lake, MI
Research: The Relationship Between Stress and Infertility
A Synopsis for Harvard Medical International and their Centers of Excellence and Constituents
Alice D. Domar, Ph.D.
The Mind Body Centre for Women’s Health at Boston IVF
Infertility has been defined by the World Health Organization as “the inability of a couple to bring pregnancy to term after a year or more of regular unprotected intercourse”. Approximately 10-15 percent of couples of childbearing age experience infertility. The psychological impact of infertility can be profound and depressive symptoms are more common in the infertile population than in matched fertile women.Approximately 10 percent of infertile women meet the criteria for a major depressive episode, 30-50 percent report depressive symptoms, and 66 percent report feeling depressed after infertility treatment failure. The majority of infertile women report that infertility is the most upsetting experience of their lives. Infertile women report equivalent levels of anxiety and depression as women with cancer, HIV status or heart disease.
Recent research indicates that psychological distress may impair fertility and that depressive symptoms may reduce the efficacy of infertility treatment. Several studies conducted within the past three years support the theory that psychological distress can have a significant adverse impact on successive rates in vitro fertilization (IVF). In one of the studies, women with depressive symptoms were half as likely to conceive as women who were not depressed, and in the most recent study of 151 women scheduled to undergo an IVF cycle the chance of a live birth was 93 percent higher in women with the highest positive-affect score. Researchers have concluded that the success rates of high-tech infertility treatment can be adversely affected by psychological stress.
Mind/body treatment of infertility patients has been shown to both increase pregnancy rates as well as reducing psychological distress. In a recent study conducted at the MBMI, 185 women who had been trying to conceive for one to two years were randomized into either a 10 week mind/body group, a ten week support group, or a routine care control group. The birth rates during the one year follow up period were as follows: – Mind/body 55%, support 54%, and controls 20%. In addition the mind/body patients reported significantly greater psychological improvements than the support or control patients. Patients in the clinical Mind/Body Program for Infertility show benefits as well; in four published studies on several hundred women with an infertility duration of 3.5 years, 42 percent conceived within six months of completing the program and there were significant decreases in all measured psychological symptoms including depression, anxiety and anger.
Infertile women report elevated levels of psychological distress and this distress may reduce their chances of conceiving. Mind/body treatment has been shown to be effective in both significantly increasing pregnancy rates as well as reducing psychological stress.
Many patients want to know what else can be done–outside of the treatment room–that will balance their energy. My answer is always the same—meditation! This may sound scary/impossible/weird to some people, but the ancient practice of Qi Gong offers “instructions” on how to meditate. For me, this is easier than traditional meditation for 2 reasons. First, the goal is not to quiet the mind. Instead, the qi gong practice gives instructions on how to cultivate and move your energy, or qi. Second, in regularly performing qi gong exercises, you begin to cultivate and move your own qi. (I tell many people that qi gong is “self- acupuncture”) In general, qi gong allows each person to ask their body what it needs and use one’s own energy to bring the body back into balance. [Read more…]