July Clinic Updates

It’s great to be back in business! I’m really enjoying seeing everyone and feel my work is helping me as much as it is helping you.

As most of you have probably seen, this virus isn’t going away any time soon, so precautions will need to remain in place for the foreseeable future. Everyone wants to get on with life and we want this thing to go away, but it’s not in any big hurry. This means we need to stay vigilant and take care of ourselves like never before. I encourage you to reread the blog posts I did back in February for some tips on keeping your immune system strong, and this one with acupressure points you can do at home. Fall is just a few short months away, and then we will be back into flu season again. It’s uncertain what COVIDs next turn will be, so I’m advising everyone to take these measures now if you haven’t started already:

Immune boosting foods
  • Eat a healthy diet – avoid sugar (like the plague)
  • Take Vitamin C, Zinc, and Vitamin D,
  • Get outdoors and exercise (just be careful in the heat),
  • Get an acupuncture immune boost,
  • Practice stress reduction techniques like meditation, deep breathing and yoga
  • Ask me about Herbal preventative formulas that might be right for you

We’ve clearly seen that those with heart disease, diabetes, obesity and some other underlying issues are most at risk, and we all need to put our health as a top priority so we are equipped to fight off any cold, flu or other illness that comes our way.

PLEASE, Wear a Mask

Part of staying healthy right now means we need to continue to wash our hands frequently and wear masks when around others that aren’t part of our household, especially in indoor spaces with several people and poor ventilation. I know, I know, masks are a real pain. They are uncomfortable and hot; trust me I know!

Wear a Mask

But research and experiences from other countries where cases have been low show that wearing a mask helps to prevent transmission. I wear a mask to keep my “respiratory droplets” from getting to you (even though I don’t think I have been in contact with anyone who has it, I just don’t know). I hope you will wear a mask for me.

In fact, as our infection rates and hospitalizations continue to go up all across the south, I really insist that my patients wear a mask while in the clinic with me, especially while we are in close distance of each other. I am okay if you take it off once I’m out of the room, or when you are face down on the table. Your mask helps to keep me safe so that I can continue to help as many people as possible. If you don’t have one or forget yours, I have one for you.

If I am exposed to the virus, that means I have to close the clinic for 2 weeks minimum. None of us wants that to happen. When we both wear a mask, our chances of transmitting the virus are reduced significantly. That said, if you come to the clinic and find out later that you were exposed and may have been contagious while in the clinic, please let me know so that I can get tested and not inadvertently infect others.

Yes, I know the death rate from this virus is pretty low and the majority “recover”, but if you know anyone who has had COVID-19 with symptoms, you don’t want to get it. The after effects can linger for months, and we really don’t know what the long term effects will be. However, we do know that internal organ damage is a very possible outcome. Please err on the safe side and take precautions… for everyone.

Thank you! Okay, I’ll get off the soapbox now.

Welcome back!

The clinic reopened a month ago and all has been going well. Everyone seems genuinely happy to be coming back in for treatments and I’ve gotten good feedback on the new scheduling system. I know I am happy to be back doing what I enjoy.

I’m still following all of the CDC recommendations which means I’m limiting the number of people who are in the clinic at any one time and am doing extensive cleaning and letting the rooms air out between patients. The down side of this is that I can’t treat as many people and the wait list is growing. Appointment times fill up quickly. I ask for your patience and help with booking.

If you need a specific day or time, it’s best to book early. If you need to cancel, please give me as much notice as possible so that I can accommodate someone on the wait list. I appreciate your help!

Hopefully, in another two weeks or so, I’ll feel confident that it’s okay to open up more appointment times, and get the schedule back to normal. Hopefully!

Clinic Procedures – Things to Know

For everyones safety, we have implemented the following procedures to comply with CDC and government guidelines to ensure we are operating a safe practice. Please review these prior to scheduling and arriving for your appointment.

  • Patients are asked to stay home if they are experiencing illness, are having symptoms of flu or virus, have been confirmed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, or have had any contact with someone who has been confirmed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.  Additionally, those with compromised or weak immune systems or other conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease are encouraged to stay home a bit longer.  I advise telehealth sessions and herbal medicine for these patients.
  • Upon scheduling your appointment, you will receive screening questions via email. I require that you answer these questions before your appointment.
  • I will be wearing a mask and ask that you do as well.  If you do not have one, or if you forget, I will give you a disposable mask, but I have a limited supply, so please bring your own if possible.
  • I will only have one person in the clinic at the time and there will be no waiting in the lobby.  I ask that you wait in your car or outside on the porch until I come to get you.  I also ask that you have family members and visitors wait for you in the car or outside unless you require their assistance.
  • Please use the hand sanitizer in the lobby or treatment room when you arrive and when you leave, or use the sink in the restroom to wash your hands. Then head straight to the treatment room.
  • Patients will have their temperature taken and will be screened for COVID-19 upon arrival. No patient will receive a treatment if their temperature is over 99.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • I am implementing higher level cleaning practices – I will have HEPA air cleaners with UVC sanitization in each treatment room and will sanitize EVERYTHING that is touched between treatments.  I will alternate treatment rooms so there is adequate time for air cleaning and sanitation.
  • I am allowing additional time between patients for sanitizing rooms, and to give me a breather from wearing a mask.
  • I will offer limited appointment times due to the number of appointments I can accommodate with new procedures.  This will all be new to me too, and I appreciate your patience as I dive into this new way of working.

Please feel free to call, email or text me with any questions or concerns.

Clinic Reopening May 5

I hope you are staying healthy and safe!  I’m in the final stages of getting ready to reopen and wanted to share my update and what you need to do to schedule your treatment.  

Step 1 – Set up your login for your patient account.

As I mentioned in previous emails, I have been implementing new software for scheduling and maintaining patient records.  This is how you’ll schedule your appointments online (if you choose to), and how you can view your patient record.  You can also opt to store your credit card for payments to streamline your check out process. 

In the next few days, I’ll send you a Welcome email that will give you the instructions to log in and set your password.  Please be on the lookout for it.

Step 2 – Understand New Clinic Procedures

I am planning to begin seeing patients starting on Tuesday, May 5 and I am implementing several new procedures to comply with CDC and Government Guidelines and Precautions.  Here are some key features:

  • Patients are asked to stay home if they are experiencing illness (even if its just allergies), are having symptoms of flu or virus, have been confirmed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, or have had any contact with someone who has been confirmed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.  Additionally, those with compromised or weak immune systems are encouraged to stay home a bit longer.  I advise telehealth sessions and herbal medicine for these people.
  • I will be wearing a mask and ask that you do as well.  I ask that you use the hand sanitizer in the treatment room when you arrive and when you leave.
  • Patients will have their temperature taken and will be screened for COVID-19 upon arrival. No patient will receive a treatment if their temperature is over 99.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • I will offer limited appointment times in week 1 to iron out procedures. I will get everyone scheduled who wants a treatment, but may not be able to accommodate everyone week 1.  This will all be new to me too, and I appreciate your patience as I dive into this new way of working.
  • I will only have one person in the clinic at the time and there will be no waiting in the lobby.  I ask that you wait in your car or outside on the porch until I come to get you.  I also ask that you have family members wait for you in the car or outside unless you require assistance. 
  • I am allowing additional time between patients for sanitizing rooms, and to give me a breather from wearing a mask.
  • I am implementing higher level cleaning practices – I will have HEPA air cleaners with UVC sanitization in each treatment room and will sanitize everything between treatments.  I will alternate treatment rooms so there is adequate time for air cleaning and sanitation.

Step 3 – Scheduling Appointments

I know there are some of you dealing with severe pain, anxiety and other issues and need treatment.  I would like to accommodate these patients first if possible. 

In fairness to those of you who’ve had appointments cancelled over the last month, I’ll reach out to you next week to get you rescheduled depending on your condition and urgency. 

For everyone else, please call, text or email me to schedule for week 1.  After I’ve gotten everyone scheduled for week 1 that I can accommodate, I’ll open up online scheduling and will send another email to let everyone know.  

My appointment times for the first week will be:

  • Tuesday, May 5 – 10:00 – 3:00
  • Wednesday, May 6 – 10:00 – 3:00
  • Thursday, May 7 – 9:00 – 2:00
  • I’ll do my best to accommodate other times if necessary.

Thank you so much for your support and understanding during these difficult times.  If any of this is unclear, please reach out to me.  Together we will get through this and will get you back on track toward health.
  
Stay safe and well.
Rawls

Clinic Updates and Self Help

Well, we’ve made it through the first week of “Social Distancing” and sadly my first week of the clinic being closed. I really miss you all! Unfortunately, this is going to be around for a bit longer, so I’m closing again this coming week and expect to be closed at least until April.

I am available for phone calls and can provide herbal formulas to you by mail. Herbal formulas can be used for virus prevention, digestive problems, anxiety, or even if you do get sick and are isolated at home (most doctors and hospitals are sending people home unless they are having significant breathing issues). I’ve updated my website so you can schedule an herbal consultation if you are interested.

This last week has been surreal, but my thinking is that this is a great time to do some self healing. There are so many things we can be doing right now to help our bodies get stronger so that we can fight whatever comes our way. Here are my suggestions:

MOVE!

While we are stuck at home, there’s a tendency to binge watch TV and Movies, or be on Facebook or Twitter, which usually means we are sitting around like couch potatoes. You don’t need to go out and run a marathon, but some gentle stretching can go a long way towards easing pain, loosening tight muscles and generally keeping your body and mind in a good place. It’s also a good idea to sweat a little to allow your body to push out pathogens and body toxins. You don’t need to work hard to break a sweat – a brisk walk will do it especially now that the weather is warmer (just beware of the pollen right now – see below).

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Clinic Temporarily Closed

I’m so sorry but we remain closed until this all blows over. It is so important to “Social Distance” now, so PLEASE stay home as much as possible. I am available via phone, email or text should you need anything: herbs, pain patches, teas… I am ready to ship to you.

Important Clinic Announcement

Today I’ve made the very difficult decision to reschedule all appointments for this week (March 16-20). In thinking through the decision to close for this week, I considered many different issues. The bottom line is that I care deeply for my patients and feel this is the best course of action at this point so we don’t unwittingly become a center of disease transmission in our community.

Given the fact that testing at this point is very limited, it will be extremely difficult to know a patient’s status or my status with any degree of certainty. Furthermore, according to the latest available data, patients are contagious prior to being symptomatic. The exact amount of time is unclear at this point, but estimates range from several days to about two full weeks. In Georgia, the number of confirmed cases has doubled in one day. As such, the possibility of unwitting exposure to an infectious patient is very high.

I thought about the consequences of closure as set against the consequences of remaining open. Closure will mean economic hardship for me and a significant disruption in scheduling patients into the clinic. It will also deprive my patients of treatments at a time when many are experiencing anxiety, pain and significant disruption of their lives.

Our community has closed all schools and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease is urging citizens to dramatically reduce activity to fight the spread of CoVid19.

As the situation unfolds over the coming days, I will re-assess for appointments scheduled next week. I have spent many, many hours researching what is being said about this disease and how best to protect myself and my patients. It is important to know that you could be a carrier of this infection and not even know! It is a highly contagious condition. Thank goodness most people will recover but there is a high risk population and so many of my patient community fall in that category.

If you are following the news, you will see that Europe is in almost complete shut down and quarantine to slow the spread of infection. I am in touch with health professionals here and all over the world. Those in the areas now experiencing the most cases are urging us to take precautions now to slow the infection rate and to especially protect those over the age of 60.  Most acupuncture clinics and and other “non-essential” providers are closing for a period to help slow the spread.   

My advice to you now is to stay home.

  • Relax.
  • Get outside and take a walk but do not be within 6 feet of others.
  • Take your vitamins! Vitamin D3 5000iu. Vitamin B and C also Multi vitamins
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Sleep and stay well rested.
  • Move your bowels once a day at least. Very important! Here’s why…
  • Stop smoking, limit consumption of dairy products, no sugar, no fried foods. Increase fruits and veggies- especially veggies!
  • Wash your hands and all surfaces several times daily.  This includes the packages that you receive in the mail.
  • Wear a mask in public if you have one. The best is a N95 but it is unlikely that you will find one now. Although it is not being widely advised in our country it is required in all the countries that have kept this infection at bay such as Taiwan and Singapore.
  • Stay positive. Work on those projects you’ve been putting off.

I am available for phone or email consultations. I am available to just talk about things too. I can ship you herbs and pain patches as long as I have them in stock. Many things are on back order, but I may be able to drop ship herbs and supplements to you if they are available.

Being there for you as your acupuncture provider and health adviser is a great personal joy and privilege. I will stay in touch and will contact everyone to re-schedule appointments. I will assess current events and appropriate closures week-by-week and let you know my plans.

We are living in special and challenging times. I love you all and your health is my priority!  I hope to see you soon.

Be well,

Rawls

Lung Health – The Self-help Tip No One is Talking About

Are you pooping regularly? If you’ve been into my clinic, you know I always ask. It’s one of the first things I look to correct if there are issues. Here’s why ….

The relationship between the lungs and large intestines was first recorded in the Huang Di Nei Jing (aka the Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine) and became one of the basic theories of Chinese Medicine. The large intestine depends on the lungs for movement via the expansion and contraction of the diaphragm, which works like a pump to regulate abdominal pressure and move food through the digestive tract. This stimulates the bowels to move and eliminate waste. But, if the lungs are congested and bronchial passages clogged, the bowels don’t work as well. The good news is that lung issues can be helped by purging the bowels.

So, if your lungs don’t function properly, constipation may be the result. Likewise, if you aren’t pooping at least once daily, your lungs can’t function properly and phlegm backs up into the lungs. With COVID-19, the lungs become congested with jello-like phlegm that is difficult to cough out. You can’t breathe normally and getting that diaphragmatic breathing becomes more difficult, making it even more difficult to poop. And guess what, if you aren’t pooping, your lungs can’t get rid of the phlegm and infection that comes along with the disease.

Now is the time to get ahead of the situation and get those bowels moving regularly so if you do get a respiratory illness, your body can get rid of it more easily. If you suffer from chronic constipation and/or are taking medications that stop you up, then you may need to use a fiber supplement, stool softener, or laxative to relax the intestine, get things going and keep them going. Research has shown that relaxing the intestines can be very helpful in treating a number of lung diseases including asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, pleural effusion, pulmonary heart disease, adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

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Clinic Updates Regarding COVID-19

Well, we couldn’t avoid it for long and now COVID-19 is here, right in our county. We have our first presumed case at Fayette Piedmont. Let’s not panic, but we can expect it to get worse before it gets better. There are many things we can do to protect ourselves, and we all need to be vigilant about it. Here’s what I’m doing at the clinic, and I’m asking for your cooperation so that we can all stay safe and well.

  1. Firstly, if you have a fever, dry cough, fatigue and respiratory symptoms, contact your medical doctor, urgent care clinic or Emergency Room right away to seek testing and treatment. I am not equipped to test or provide comprehensive treatment for COVID-19.
  2. If you feel ill, even if it’s just a tickle in your throat, or a low grade fever, PLEASE DO NOT come into the clinic until we speak. I welcome your phone call, text or email to ask whether or not you should come in, and am happy to ship herbal formulas to your home should you need them.
  3. Please use the hand sanitizer on the table when you enter the clinic I encourage you to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer when you leave the clinic as well.
  4. I’ll be taking extra precautions to wipe down door knobs, bathroom fixtures, surfaces and treatment tables frequently. And just so you know, table linens are changed and I wash, wash, and rewash my hands between patients.
  5. I’ll be using moxa on most everyone. If you aren’t familiar, it’s an herb that is burned that has properties that clear viruses and bacteria. It is also used to boost the immune system. Not only does it help you, but it also clears the air. Even though the clinic may smell a little smokey, the smoke has been shown to be beneficial. I use a smoke cleaning air filter, but the smell does tend to linger.
  6. During this pandemic, we are asked to limit activities and contact with others. Fortunately, with a small clinic, I rarely have more than one person in the waiting room at any one time, so there is minimal contact with others. However, if you are uncomfortable coming in at any time, please give me as much notice as you can and I’ll reschedule your appointment for another time.

The Role of Chinese Medicine in this Pandemic

Back in February, the Chinese government declared that Traditional Chinese (herbal) Medicine should be used in conjunction with western interventions in the treatment of COVID-19. Through my contacts here and in China, I’ve been getting reports about those efforts and am relieved to report that the patients who are getting incorporated TCM treatments are recovering, even from the most dire circumstances.

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