Tag Archives: acupuncture

New Moon and Kidney Energy

Seed

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Have you ever held a seed in your hand before placing it in the dirt and marveled at its size? How can something so tiny possibly hold everything it needs to create a whole other plant that will bear roots, leaves, flowers and fruit? It almost seems inconceivable. This is the energetics of the water element, of the kidney/urinary bladder system. For ease I will simply refer to all of this as Kidney energy but all of the associations are included. (to be clear we are talking about the energetics of the kidneys as is related to Chinese Medicine not your physical organs) Just like a seed the kidneys are often referred to as “the root of life”. This is where our essence or Jing is stored. Think of essence like a seed- everything is there to create life. The essence we hold in our bodies comes from 2 places: our parents’ energy at conception (genetics) and energy of our lifestyle (food and movement). The energy of our lifestyle is considered most important because it is constantly being replenished whereas the energy from our parents is set and finite.

What this basically means is that the Kidney system is the foundation of the rest of the organ systems. The function of the kidneys is to store the essence as well as govern birth, growth, reproduction and development, produce marrow, fill up the brain, and control the bones. The energy of the kidney’s open into the ears, manifest in the hair and house the will power (perhaps that’s why we feel compelled to start New Year’s resolutions in the winter months).

In the fall the plants have given the last energy to the last harvest and as the coldness sets in the leaves and fruit dry out, shrivel up and shrink. Any seeds remaining from this fruit might be lucky to settle into the earth and sleep during winter. Because summer is the winter’s opposition we might think of the summer time as the place to fill up our energetic savings account to hold us through the winter. Being that the kidneys are our body’s foundation for every other activity our body needs to function and thrive it is especially important to be kind to our kidneys. And just like seeds, our bodies need periods of rest in order to thrive. The tulip is a great example, as bulbs must be planted at the right time in fall and then need so much time to settle in coldness in order to emerge again in the spring.

When we think of the kidney energy and how it relates to fertility it can be seen as the foundation. By nourishing the kidneys we are building our reserves for high egg quality, a smooth pregnancy and post partum.

Associations for Kidney System

Element: Water                                                          Organs: Kidney/Urinary Bladder

Emotion: Fear                                                             Color: Black/Blue

Sound: Groaning                                                        Taste: Salt

Function: Storing                                                         Direction: North

Manifests in Hair                                                        Controls the Low back Bones and Marrow

Balance/Opposition: Summer/Heart/Joy/Fire           Time: Urinary Bladder 3-5pm Kidney 5-7pm

Drawing with Skeleton, Acupuncture Point KI17 Shangqu, 3D Illust

The kidney channel starts on the sole of the foot and works its way up the inner thigh, torso and ends just under the collar bones. The kidney channel is the yin organ and the urinary bladder channel the yang organ.

The urinary bladder channel starts at the inside corner of the eye and goes up the skull down the back to the back of the knee then up the back to the calf and ends at the outside edge of the pinky toe on each side. This channel has the most points of any channel 67 in all and is the most grounding in nature. The energy is so grounding in fact that burning an herb called Moxa over the last point on this channel is quite effective in bringing a breech or malposition baby into a more favorable position. The urinary bladder channel also has what are called “Shu points” along the back about 1.5 inches lateral of the spine. Each Shu point correlates to an organ and when these points are stimulated it nourishes the corresponding organ.

Because the bulk of our essence comes from food let’s start here. The kidneys are nourished by slow cooked foods, think crock pots, roasted meats and veggies etc. Red meat and meat with the bone in are especially strengthening to the kidneys. Don’t throw the bones away but rather make a nourishing stock for soups or even when cooking rice to give it more flavor. Foods that are kidney shaped also nourish the kidneys; kidney beans are an easy example. Foods that are rich deep colors are also especially nourishing to the kidneys, bonus points if they are black or blue as this is the color of the kidneys. Black beans, kidney beans, eggplant, dark leafy green veggies like spinach, kale, chard and dates. Foods with a natural salty flavor are also helpful such as seaweed and seafood. Walnuts are also said to lubricate the joints and strengthen the lower back (where the kidneys reside). A common herbal prescription to strengthen the lower back is to eat one walnut a day. Incorporating bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, kiwi, citrus foods helps with the absorbtion of iron from beans, whole grains and meat.

The Kidney energy can also be associated with the beginning of your cycle or menstruation. Day 1 is the first day of your period.

The kidneys are damaged by coldness so it is especially important to stay away from cold foods. Energetically speaking raw food is cold in nature so save salads for the summer months or later in your cycle when it is more appropriate. Avoid eating foods directly from the refrigerator or freezer. Stay away from ice in your drinks and ice cream. Dairy should be omitted completely with PCOS and avoid soy (read labels as most packaged foods contain soy) due to the phytoestrogens soy can deregulate a cycle. Keep the belly and low back warm especially in the winter months and start of your cycle. You might place your hand on your abdomen and notice the quality of the temperature of your skin, does it feel cool to the touch or warm? If you notice your belly is cool you might enjoy warm baths or hot water bottle over the abdomen especially in the first half of your cycle. Cold foods inhibit circulation and can contribute to cramping and clots in your menses.

New Moon

The new moon is when the moon is completely hidden from view. It is a time of turning inward and is why the Kidney energy of Chinese Medicine is relevant. The new moon is also the time of renewal and setting intentions. If we didn’t have schedules to live by we would also sleep slightly longer during the new moon as the sky is darker and invites us to rest more. This is a restorative time.

Homework Pose for the Week: Constructive Rest Pose

Constructive Rest Pose is said to be the equivalent to 2 hours of sleep when held for 10 minutes. If you notice midafternoon fatigue use 5-10 minutes of your lunch break to practice constructive rest pose, this is also a nice way to end the day before bed and you could even practice in bed and drift right off to sleep.

How to do it:

Lay on a flat surface with your knees bent. Bring your feet out about shoulder width apart. Turn your toes in (slightly pigeon toed) If there is any discomfort in your lower back walk your feet either further away from your body or closer to your body depending on what feels better to you. Slide your shoulders down away from your ears and rest with your arms at your sides just far enough away from your body so that your palms can comfortably rest racing up. Slide your chin slightly towards your chest to lengthen the back of the neck. Close your eyes and practice deep breathing for 5-10 minutes.

To come out of the pose:

Take a stretch if you feel its needed. Protect your back and roll onto your side. Rest for a moment on your side if you aren’t fully alert and when ready press yourself back to a seated posture.

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Acupressure for the Week: KD6

KD6

This point is located on what is known as the conception vessel in Chinese Medicine. What better point to stimulate when preparing the body for pregnancy? This point has many benefits, opening the body to conception is one and can also be used to combat nausea during pregnancy as well as for insomnia, prolapse of the uterus, constipation, frequency of urination and sore throat. It is a safe acu-point to use through out your cycle and during pregnancy.

Located in the hollow just under the inner ankle bone. Sitting with the soles of feet together and legs in a diamond is an ideal position to access this point. Hold this point for 1-3 minutes as well.

Located in the hollow just under the inner ankle bone. Sitting with the soles of feet together and legs in a diamond is an ideal position to access this point. Hold this point for 1-3 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preparing for Spring

My daughter scampered into our bedroom this morning early as the sun was just thinking of rising. As she burrowed under the covers she said, “Mama I hear the birds chirping.” Half asleep I replied, “Uh-huh” and snuggled her close and fell back asleep. An hour or so later as I opened my eyes for the day the first thing I saw looking up and out the window was clear blue sky.

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At drop off for school this morning it was undeniable that the “sugar snow” we had last week has awoken the grass and everyday it gets greener. It feels like spring is awakening around here.

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I feel it inside of myself as well, a certain kind of renaissance is happening. I feel inspired and motivated.

In Chinese Medicine the natural state of the Liver energy is to flourish. The liver has a hand in helping all systems function most optimally so it is especially ideal to let the liver flourish. The spring is when the liver and gall baldder are most active.

If you missed Yogapuncture for Spring in Crystal Lake last week you have two more chances to come to class. Next Saturday March 18th at Ohm Mother Yoga in West Dundee and Saturday March 25th at Blu Rain Yoga in Antioch.

Join me for gentle, mindful movement to improve circulation and cleanse the internal organs. Learn gentle ways to cleanse the liver energy. Leave class feeling a little lighter ready to flourish this Spring. I can’t wait to see you there!

 

What is the Seasonal Self Care Class?

I have been refining this collection of information for over 10 years, it began as my thesis on Chinese Medicine and the seasons and then one day at the beach the idea to incorporate yoga with the seasons and meridians hit me. It seems everyone I talk to about the concepts of Chinese Medicine asks where can I read a book about all of this. I’ve never found one that I felt was a simple introduction to the concepts of acupuncture that a lay person could understand and use in their daily life.

It is my intention for this ongoing class to be a way to learn and understand these concepts not only intellectually but also as an experience that can be applied to your daily life.

The ancient doctors’ job of their community was keeping people healthy; if someone got sick they had to pay their patient because they had not done their job correctly. This system was born out of prevention, to sustain a healthy life to the age of 100. It is also a system based on observation because of this it is easy to find contradictions because teachers may have made conflicting observations and passed those on to their students. They honored all ways of practicing as each way served a purpose or had a value even if a different or better way was later discovered. Sometimes these are simply cultural. For example, in China they prefer thicker gauged needles and they manipulate the needles until a strong sensation is felt, in Japan thin gauged needles are barely inserted into the skin, Korean acupuncture uses a hand system, some acupuncturists prefer to only use a method of acupuncture in the ear. The most fascinating part is that all of these systems work and it is also why acupuncture can be so hard to do clinical controlled studies on because they may think they are doing sham acupuncture when they may just be using an unknown system.

 

With that being said the idea and concepts discussed should never be taken at face value. They are simply points to consider. It’s up to you to be your own advocate in your body and find what makes you feel most whole. Not all ideas will work at all times and each season will be different just like we have mild winters and long winters. Some days are rainy or sunny or foggy. Taking on small bits of information and making small changes over time can add up to a lifestyle of wellness.

In school whether its grade school, high school, college etc. we study the body by systems. When do we put all of these systems back together to understand how the body functions as a whole?

Do we understand what a whole, healthy body feels like?

The body has the amazing capacity not only to maintain homeostasis but to remain in the present moment. What most people might not understand is how choices impact this. For example, the body’s ph is 7.34 and no matter what we do it will strive to stay here as long as we are alive. For example, if you drink a coke which is very acidic (somewhere around a 2) the body will compensate to keep homeostasis by leaching calcium out of the bones. One coke might not change the body, however, overtime all of that compensation could lead to many problems from muscle cramping to osteoporosis.

So how do we find balance in our lives? Perhaps we should learn a lesson from our bodies. In order to maintain homeostasis in the moment the body compensates after drinking that coke and borrows some calcium. It doesn’t consider the detrimental effect this loss of calcium will have long term- it is trying to survive in the present moment. The easy answer then is, if we stay present in this moment, the future is planned for.

Let’s talk about balance. What does the concept of balance look like to you? Perhaps an image of a judicial scale comes to mind. This idea is very static and rigid, life most times is not. I’d like for you to consider the idea of harmony. This concept is more fluid. The idea of Chinese Medicine is that each system supports the next and they all work together to keep the body healthy.

If a disharmony occurs it doesn’t happen in isolation to one organ system- the entire body is impacted, emotions are impacted, the individual’s life and all those a part of it are impacted. Kind of like that saying, “If mom’s not happy, ain’t no body happy.” To find harmony we need to look at what caused the dis-harmony. As the body becomes healthier all areas become healthier. It’s a domino effect in the right direction.

 

So where do we start? With awareness. A teacher once told me, awareness precedes change. First we have to know how we feel, what we are doing and then we can make changes if necessary. Small, realistic changes over time have the deepest impact and longest results.

 

Take some time to think about your day from turning the alarm clock off, showering, eating breakfast (if you ate breakfast), driving to work, tending to your family, phone calls, emails, going to the bathroom etc etc. As you are thinking about your day notice your body, notice your breath. How does your life feel in your body? How is your body compromising to maintain homeostasis? Are you bracing your body with tight muscles? Holding your breath?

 

You might imagine how over time this un-awareness of how your body manages your day can contribute to disharmony in the body, in relationships, in the very activities that we enjoy.

With that in mind, could you use a little more energy to use during your day?

 

In Chinese Medicine it is believed we get our energy from 2 places: our parents and our lifestyle. There’s not much we can do about our parents. The rest of the equation we have a little more control over. Da Qi + Gu Qi = Zhen Qi. What in the world does that mean? How you breathe and how/what you eat contributes to how much usable energy you have and how good you feel.

 

Da Qi: The Breath

The yogis believed we have a certain number of breaths to live, so they practice slow, deep, mindful breathing. An easy way to shut off fight/flight (stress!) is to exhale deeper than your inhale. This will not only calm you it will help tone your abdominal muscles strengthening your core and lower back in addition to taking stress off of the neck and shoulders. When you can, take a moment to check in with your breathing or take one or two deep breaths for a quick time out in the middle of a stress filled moment. You might end your day with some deep breaths as well to drift off into more restful sleep.

Breath is the mirror of the mind. Here are some examples of what happens to our breath on a day to day basis:

 

  • Fear- gasping for air
  • Resisting something- hold the breath
  • Anger- short jerky, incomplete breaths
  • Fatigue- long inhales through the mouth. Yawn

For optimal health, breathing should be performed nasally and should be full and rhythmic. The breath should come in through the nose and out through the nose. The nose is anatomically designed to filter and warm the air for the lungs, therefore try to use it as nature intended.

Gu Qi: Food

There are gobs of information on what you should and shouldn’t be eating. Alot of it can be confusing as many ideas are contradictory. One thing just about everyone agrees on is that Twinkies will never be a “superfood”. I tell my patients to eat food that is alive. Anything that can live longer than you can on a shelf try to avoid. The best thing you can do when you eat, whatever it is that you eat is to eat with awareness. Don’t multitask when you eat! The spleen/stomach controls digestion and is damaged by overthinking. If you are answering emails while munching you could be setting yourself up for digestive problems, period issues, obsessive thinking and not to mention overeating.

Zhen Qi= True Energy

Your true energy is the combination of your genetics and your lifestyle (air and food). TCM believes that your lifestyle is most important of these two forces because it is constantly being replenished. Our genes are our genes but our role in what we eat, how we breathe and move can have a huge impact on what genes manifest. Due to the changes in our environment each season our lifestyle can modify to adjust accordingly. There is a time to expend energy and a time to conserve. When we follow the flow of nature our bodies can function most optimally.

The gist of TCM is to keep harmony in the body by keeping the circulation of blood and energy flowing unimpeded. When blockages happen this causes the body to not be able to function as optimally as it can which can eventually affect every part of the body. Acupuncture can be a gateway to awareness. It literally forces you to be still for a while. After treatments most people feel better, “cleaned out,” energized and relaxed. With this new awareness they naturally start to make other changes in how they respond to situations that used to “stress them out.”

A bit about what acupuncture feels like

Many people are surprised how painless acupuncture is. Occasionally you might feel a quick pinch or electrical sensation that you might think about longer than you actually feel, this sensation is called “da qi” and basically means we woke up some stagnation and got energy flowing there again. If anything feels uncomfortable for longer than 30 seconds or so ask for needles to be adjusted. Once needles are in, your body may feel heavy/weighed down or light/floating or both sensations at once. Sometimes awareness can rest on a couple of needles like they are “talking” to each other and then change to another group of needles, sometimes you might swear there is a needle where you know there is not, we call this a phantom needle. It is opening up a pathway. Sometimes acupuncture points can feel really achy or itchy, this is all within the realm of normal and will subside during the treatment. A treatment can make some sleepy and others alert, the needles are tapping into your body’s healing resources for what is needed now. Each treatment can be a different experience. Because acupuncture addresses the body as a whole positive “side effects” can include more energy, better quality sleep, improved digestion and a more even mood.

When acupuncture is practiced in a group setting the effects are magnified. This happens because of entrainment. Basically everyone is on the same wave length and so deeper relaxation can occur. My teacher once said that needles are like antennas pulling universal qi/energy into the body. When a group receives acupuncture together more energy is harnessed.

A bit on yoga

The systems of Yoga and Traditional Chinese Medicine are very similar, sometimes referred to as sister medicine with the Himalayan Mountains being their only divide. In the West we have picked a part these systems and taken pieces when in actuality they are both parts of bigger systems. While we won’t get into all of the specifics of these systems I wanted to address the nature of the yoga postures that will be demonstrated/preformed in class. There are over 84,000 yoga postures and chances are there will be some that just about any body can do. I choose to find postures that are simple and effective in nature so that you can feel confident in developing a home practice free of injury or over thinking. Looking like a picture of a yogi on a beach in a pretzel like posture is not necessary to receive the benefits of this practice. Whether you’ve never done yoga or you have been practicing for a long time it is my hope that you will find these sequences of postures for each season beneficial. Postures should be comfortable to get in and out of, free of pain that you can easily breathe through. Yoga means to unite the breath with the body so it is essential that we breathe during our postures to receive the intended benefit of each pose. It is often said if you’re not breathing, you’re not doing yoga.

Each yogapuncture class includes a short lecture on Chinese medicine and how it relates to what is happening environmentally/seasonally. Yoga postures are tailored to the current season and are accessible to beginning and seasoned students. Class ends with a seasonal acupuncture treatment.

Winter is the time of Kidney/Urinary Bladder system, the emotion of fear and coldness. We will explore these concepts with restorative postures to fortify our constitution, build endurance, peace and will power during this time of inner reflection, reverence and rest.

Spring is the time of Liver/Gall Bladder system, the emotion of anger and wind. We will discuss spring cleaning/cleanses, anger and courage.

Summer is the time of the Heart/Small Intestine system, the emotion of joy and heat. We will discuss how to harness the abundant energy of the season and how to not “burn the candle at both ends.”

Late Summer is the time of the Spleen/Stomach system, the emotion of worry and dampness. The spleen/stomach is related to all times of transition/transformation and is present in each season.

Autumn is the time of the Lung/Large Intestine system, the emotion of grief and dryness. This is a period of starting to turn inward.

Each seasonal self care class is unique!

A Birth Story

I wasn’t exactly sure where to start this story or why. Sometimes I wonder if our greatest fears fill us with such strong emotion because in some way we know they are exactly what we came here to learn from the most. Reading other people’s stories has always been helpful as I process my own. I have gone back and forth over sharing all of this. I have decided to write it all down in hopes that it can be of some help or hope to others. At first it felt self-indulgent and maybe even irrelevant. But I’ve been thinking that this is what isn’t shared enough, it doesn’t even matter if its good or bad, it’s just not talked about enough. It really hit me this weekend when I was waiting for an elevator and a woman made an attempt at being funny by telling me from the opening of a full elevator that she didn’t think all of me would fit, all 8 months pregnant me. Funny, haha. Except that pregnancy isn’t funny. It’s truly a miracle. All the things that have to go just right for a new life to grow from virtually nothing almost seems impossible, it’s delicate. It’s not easy to grow someone from scratch, to share your body so completely. It can be hard mentally, physically, emotionally, exciting, empowering, scary and just about every other range of emotion possible, sometimes all at once or all in the span of a few minutes and most of it especially the unpleasant, sad or inconvenient feelings we endure silently on our own. I would like to stop being the strong silent type and in the process empower more women to do the same. I would love to hear your story if you would like to share it as well. Nothing about this is meant as any kind of advice, it’s just simply a piece of my journey to motherhood of 4 babies, one made it earth side and thriving, one I knew only a way a mother knows her child, one was barely here and one I’m currently preparing to meet in June. I will break this into segments and offer trigger warnings for the pieces that involve loss.  If you are looking for a positive birth story, this section is relevant.

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Early on in my career as an acupuncturist I started teaching a yoga for fertility class and had an influx in patients seeking pregnancy. I always felt conflicted and heartbroken for these women. It was the one thing that I “treated” that was so absolute: either they were pregnant or not. The urgency, the devastation. I often felt ill equipt to help. Deep down I was terrified that some day it would be me.

My cycle had never been regular especially since grad school and I wasn’t being consistent in the pro-active department ironically enough. A few years went by and I decided to get serious about taking care of myself. I wasn’t ready to think about kids but I wanted my body to be healthy when that time came. I wanted to be practicing what I was preaching and I was tired of running at half speed all the time and the frustration of not understanding what was going on with my body. I took my own advice and started doing acupuncture 2-3 times a week and taking herbs for about 3 months and finally after years of cysts, annovulatory cycles, breakthrough bleeding, insomnia, fatigue, etc etc my body healed itself and I felt healthy, rested and strong.

Shortly after, we conceived our first child in celebration of our engagement quite by surprise. My pregnancy was fairly uneventful, even if my life was not. Growing a thriving practice from scratch, planning an international wedding, teaching. I felt strong, empowered, focused like I could do anything. I loved my growing belly. I read everything I could get my hands on related to natural child-birth, making informed, evidence based decisions regarding all things labor and read so so many positive birth stories. A few years before I had seen the Business of Being Born and even then I knew I wanted to birth my babies at home. I was fortunate to have several friends who had already had low intervention, drug free home, hospital and birth center births. They were my inspiration. I never had a doubt that I would not rock a natural birth at home and all stars aligned for just that to happen.

I was in no particular hurry for pregnancy to be over. At my 40 week appointment I was 3 cm dilated and stopped working. Nothing changed that week except my patience. I did some acupuncture to help ready my body and not even a snow storm threw me a contraction. 8 days later I was 5 cm with a bulging bag. My midwife assured me baby was coming but I still felt doubtful even though looking back I was most likely in early labor I just didn’t realize it.

My husband and I had what would be our last dinner out as a couple and I started to feel slightly crampy. Driving home my back contracted fairly regularly and my husband missed our exit forcing us the long way home. Once home, I did some acupuncture that immediately relieved my discomfort. I watched my favorite show and then told baby to give me 2 hours of sleep and if they were ready to get started I would be too. I told my husband we better blow up the tub before we went to bed, just in case.

Two hours later I woke up to pee and when I laid back down my water broke. I leapt from the bed and said “Christian, my water broke!” as I ran to the bathroom. “Call the doula!” Christian sprang from the bed and before I had even made it to the bathroom I yelled again, “Call the midwife!” as my first real contraction hit, active labor was here. I gave Christian a job to do (laying down plastic and filling the tub as I settled into labor) I was kneeling over my birth ball breathing deeply through each contraction and playing a game of bejeweled blitz in my head. When our doula arrived I asked, “how did you do this more than once?” and was taken completely into laborland. Each contraction seemed manageable if I could breath louder than the intensity of it, which probably only makes sense if in labor.

It all sounds so romantic now to say I was swept up with each contraction, giving my whole attention to it. Nothing else mattered but breathing. I remember my arms starting to shake on the ball, it was no longer comfortable but I also didn’t know if I could move either, at least this position I knew. Our doula suggested laboring on the toilet and I did, hating the intensity of every moment and again I didn’t know if I could move from this position. Even though I was uncomfortable the idea of drugs never crossed my mind. My body was doing a job and each contraction felt like I was working towards something, it all felt necessary to the process. Finally the tub was full and I was complete and could go in the water. It felt so soothing. I clung to the side and was surprised how difficult and awkward it felt to push. It also felt like I would be in this state of in between forever. It was just my new normal. My eyes were closed pretty much all of labor and the voices around me seemed so far away and the conversation so bizarre. I felt like I was on another planet all together and would moan loudly as I felt the baby descending just so everyone in the room knew this was hard work. “Oooohhhhh!” I would say and they would respond back, “Good! Deeper, lower.” I smiled even in the moment remembering my bradley teacher and yoga classes when we would talk about vocalizing deep, low tones to open the cervix.

After an hour of pushing the midwife checked again and said a 2nd water bag needed to be broken so baby could come down. I wasn’t too excited about that but after, baby and I made progress and after a position change and several pushes I felt the ring of fire. It felt like a welcome focal point, something to push past. The head crowned just after 5am and just like that shoulders and body slide right out. All of a sudden this other worldly creature with a plume of red hair was laid on my chest. I was in disbelief this whole person had been inside of me, had grown from basically nothing. Such a humbling experience. These little eyes peered out so alert and aware and quiet. We locked eyes and just stared and stared.

nb lia

Eventually the assistant asked, “So, did you have a boy or a girl?” We were so in awe it never occurred to us to check. I lifted the baby up and said, “Oh, it’s a girl.”

The cord was cut and Lia was handed to Daddy for the first time as I got out of the tub and delievered the cool, smooth placenta. We were reunited in bed while I got a few stitches and baby was measured and weighed. We tried breastfeeding, feeling so strange and awkward, a threshold crossing of what breasts had always been to being used as they were intended. Before leaving the midwife gave me some homeopathy assuring me that tomorrow I would feel like a bus ran over me. I was sore but so well attended that I felt pretty great the next day as I ventured to the first floor and we began our life as a family.

family

Acupressure for Morning Sickness

If you are pregnant and suffering from nausea or vomiting seriously consider giving acupuncture a try. It can offer serious relief with no negative side effects.

From The Essential Guide to Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth by Debra Betts,

Research by Smith et al (2002) involving 596 women confirmed the benefits of acupuncture by concluding that acupuncture for nausea was safe and effective treatment for early pregnancy. This was an interesting study as women who received a traditional Chinese diagnosis and treatment had better outcomes than those receiving needling at PC6(the seasick/nausea point) only.

Acupressure is a nice simple DIY way to treat yourself. The only real difference between acupuncture and acupressure is the tool used to stimulate the point. While needles can be retained for 20-60 minutes and offer continuous pressure to several points at once acupressure usually involves stimulating one or two points at a time for one to three minutes using finger pressure. Acupressure can also be done using what are called vaccaria seeds, sometimes refered to as ear seeds. These seeds are held in place by an adhesive and are usually used after an acupuncture treatment to help the treatment last longer.

If you’ve tried the sea bands or massaging the nausea point, PC6 on the inner wrist and didn’t find much relief here are 2 other points to try that many women have found helpful.

KD27

located just below the collar bone approximately 3 finger breadths from the sternum. Feel for a divet or tender spot and hold for 1-3 minutes.

located just below the collar bone approximately 3 finger breadths from the sternum. Feel for a hollow or tender spot and hold for 1-3 minutes.

Often times this can offer immediate relief especially if you are overcome with an episode of nausea or feel like you could throw up.

KD6

Located in the hollow just under the inner ankle bone. Sitting with the soles of feet together and legs in a diamond is an ideal position to access this point. Hold this point for 1-3 minutes as well.

Located in the hollow just under the inner ankle bone. Sitting with the soles of feet together and legs in a diamond is an ideal position to access this point. Hold this point for 1-3 minutes as well.

This point is also an useful points for insomnia, prolapse of the uterus, constipation, frequency of urination and sore throat and can be used at any point during pregnancy.

Give it a try and let me know how it helps. Need some acupuncture? I can help with that too. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Why Having Friends is Good For Your Health

Why Having Friends is Good For Your Health

I wrote this blog a few years ago but it seemed fitting to review this Thanksgiving. 🙂

The introduction to the book Outliers describes the tiny city ofRoseto, Pennsylvania and the work of Dr. Stewart Wolf. Wolf conducted studies on the town in the 1960s and found that virtually no one under the age of fifty-five had died of a heart attack or showed any signs of heart disease while the rest of the country was undergoing an epidemic of heart disease. The death rate of men over the age of sixty five was half of what the rest of the United States was as well. Roseto’s death rates from all causes was actually 30-35% lower then expected.
Another amazing anomaly of Roseto was that there was no suicide, no alcoholism, no drug addiction and very little crime; no one was on welfare or had peptic ulcers. John Bruhn a sociologist involved in the studies stated, “These people were dying of old age. That’s it.” Wolf discovered that Rosetans were not on a special, healthier diet then other Americans either. Incredibly Rosetans took in 41% of their calories from fat. Rosetans also smoked heavily and many were overweight. Genetics also didn’t seem to be a factor.
Wolf discovered that the secret to Rosetans good health was their lifestyle. They lived 3 generations to a house and respected their elders deeply. Neighbors took the time to visit with each other and went out of their way to cook meals and simply support one another. In the 1950s when the medical community was used to the paradigm that our health depended on our genes and our individual lifestyle (perhaps it still is) it was nearly mind boggling to consider how the collective impacted not only the individual but the community as well.
I was excited to read these findings and thrilled at the book Outliersby Malcolm Gladwell (it’s an interesting read). What thrilled me most was the importance of community to our health. This is exactly the intention of Neighborhood Acupuncture Place’s approach to wellness by doing acupuncture in a shared space. The ancients have always prized community as a pillar of quality life.
Our society has more access to communication in a variety of ways and yet we have less and less physical contact. We know that if a baby has all of its needs met: food, clothing and shelter with the exception of being touched enough he will die. I can’t find any evidence that suggests that the need for touch, for understanding and companionship disappears as we get older. The majority of marketing these days convinces us that we need the “purple pill” to feel better, we own our IBS instead of our healthy bodies. It is through our diseases that we receive attention, feel loved and find identity. The goal of (community) acupuncture is the exact opposite. Through self awareness and a quiet space one can experience the body’s innate ability to heal itself. It is through the support of others that our health soars, as it is through supporting others that our health soars.

 

Natural Medicine Cabinet: Cold and Flu Prevention

Here are 5 important items to have in your natural medicine cabinet during flu season!

Bone Soup

Making your own stock is great preventative medicine and is also great to use medicinally when you are sick as well. From a Chinese Medical standpoint making soup stock from bones is incredibly nourishing to the kidneysand the kidney system is most active during the winter months which is the best time to nourish them.  Bone soup is also great if you are suffering from digestive troubles. I made garlic beef stock yesterday with this recipe and added red lentils, carrots, celery, rainbow chard, and broccoli this morning for dinner tonight. An added bonus is the house smells delicious.

Apple Cider Vinegar

‎”Cold Season Prevention & Remedy #3 for Pregnancy or any time – Drink 1 – 2 Tablespoons of RAW-Unfiltered-Organic Apple Cider Vinegar each day. You can mix it in 8 oz of water or apple juice to make it more palatable. This improves your body’s PH balance and strengthens the immune system. Also fends off yeast, speeds healing of infections, soothes a sore throat, and relieves heartburn. We like Bragg brand.” -Mamaste Yoga
Also equally good if you are not pregnant. 🙂 For more info about apple cider vinegar check out here. Whatever brand you choose make sure it has the “mother” in it for optimal results.

Thieves Essential Oil

I know, I talk about this all the time. Thieves essential oil is a blend of cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, rosemary, and lemon. It was named thieves after the infamous band of apothecaries that would use these herbs and spices to cover their faces when robbing the dead bodies during the black plague. It is 99.9% effective in killing bacteria and other sickies and because its a natural source bacteria can’t mutate to it like anti-bacterial soaps. We diffuse thieves at home and in the office to clean the air and spray thieves on door handles and other surfaces. You can also put a drop of thieves in your water or tea if your feeling run down or have a scratchy throat. Young Living essential oils carries this essential oil blend and you can purchase here. You can learn more about using aromatherapy THIS Saturday in the first part of our 2 part series Introduction to the Everyday Essential Oils collection. Part 2 is Saturday Dec 7th.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin is important for immune health especially for prevention of colds and flus according to recent studies. Living in the Midwest it is really easy to become deficient in Vitamin D in the winter months when its hard to get enough sun light. You want to make sure to get a high quality vitamin D3, this is the most easily absorbed form on vitamin D for our bodies and you also want to make sure you take it with fat because it is a fatt soluble vitamin. I like Innate Choice Vitamin D3 drops because it comes in olive oil. You can order this online or pick it up in the office, Dr. Scott carries it. 🙂 Here is some more good info on Vitamin D too,

Don’t forget that acupuncture is a great preventative tool as well. Studies have shown that acupuncture points carry higher concentrations of white blood cells and when stimulated give a boost to the immune system. You can also use acupuncture for a persistent cough, congestion or the onset or a sore throat. If you have a fever though please stay home and use the natural remedies above.

What is Vita Flex Acupuncture

Vita Flex Acupuncture is a new treatment offered at NAP. Consider it a flu shot alternative!

Acupuncture has been shown to have higher concentrations of white blood cells at the acu-point sites. Stimulating these points with an acupuncture needle or pressure gives a natural boost to your immune system.

Vita Flex means “vitality through the senses” and is a specialized foot massage. In this treatment 9 Young Living therapeutic grade essential oils are massaged into the spinal vita flex points of the feet to gently detox the system on a cellular level. These 9 oils (basil, thyme, oregano, cypress, marjoram, wintergreen, peppermint, aroma seiz, and valor) support both the respiratory and immune systems. These oils have antibacterial and antiviral properties.

After the oils are massaged into your feet, enjoy an immune boosting acupuncture treatment and continue to inhale the benefits of the oils applied. This treatment will continue to work in your body for up to 7 days.

Now until September 30th bring in a friend or family member that is new to NAP and get 2 vita flex acupuncture treatments for the price of one! *offer good for new patients only