As a Chinese herbalist, I am often asked “which herbs are good to eat?” Well, that is a very broad question. First, different herbs are good for different things. We all have unique energetic imbalances and require different treatments. If we eat an excessive amount of “warming” or “cooling” herbs, this can lead to a severe imbalance in the digestive tract! Also, many Chinese herbs are not so commonly found in your local grocery store. (I have yet to find fresh rehmannia root or even white peony) However, diet and digestion is so important in Chinese medicine, that there are a few herbs that can be used across the board to support good health! [Read more…]
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…]
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.
Menopause and peri-menopause are natural occurring processes which take place when the secretion of estrogen and progesterone in our body diminishes. As a result, menstrual cycles become irregular and eventually stop. Menopause becomes “official” when a woman has not had a cycle for one year. Symptoms of menopause can vary from woman to woman. However, typical symptoms include: hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, changes to skin and hair, sleep and mood. Symptoms vary from woman to woman as does the length and severity of symptoms. There are many women who are looking for an integrative approach to managing peri-menopause and menopause and there are a number of options available.
A study conducted at Henry Ford Hospital and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (volume 28, number 4) compared the use of acupuncture vs. Effexor for the management of hot flashes for patients undergoing treatment of breast cancer. In this study, 50 patients were assigned either to receive acupuncture 2 times a week for 2 weeks followed up by once a week for 4 weeks or take Effexor. Both groups experienced significant decreases in hot flashes, depressive symptoms and other menopausal quality of life symptoms indicating that acupuncture is at least as effective as Effexor; with none of the side effects commonly associated with this medication.
Most remarkably, the duration of reduced symptoms lasted much longer with acupuncture (2 months) vs. Effexor in which most symptoms returned within 2 weeks after the medication was discontinued. [Read more…]
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.
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.
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…]
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…]