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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Acupressure for Immunity

Acupressure is the stimulation of acupoints using the pressure of your fingers and hands. Here are four acupoints you can stimulate to strengthen your body’s immunity: Da Zhui (DU14), Feng Chi (GB20), Zhong Fu (LU1) and Zu San Li (ST36). To stimulate the point, gently press with the pad of your finger and rub the point in a clockwise direction for about 2-4 minutes (about 100-300 times). You will want to begin to feel a slight warm sensation at the point. Do this morning and evening.

Here’s how to find the points:

Da Zhui (DU14) – located on the spine at the back of the neck and in the depression of the seventh cervical spinous process. It can be found while in a seated position with the head dropped forward. The most prominent vertebrae that can be touched on the neck is the seventh cervical vertebrae, and the depression under the seventh cervical vertebrae is DU14 acupoint. This point is used to enhance the body’s ability to resist pathogens.

Feng Chi (GB20) – Feng Chi (GB20) is located at the base of the skull in a depression about an inch lateral to the spine. GB20 is an important acupoint for treating headache and fever and to expel pathogens.

Zhong Fu (LU1) – LU1 is located on the upper chest about an inch below the triangular depression at the most lateral point of the bottom of your collarbone where it meets the shoulder. LU1 is indicated for respiratory diseases such as cough, asthma and chest pain.

Zu San Li (ST36) – ST36 is located on the lower leg about 3 inches below the kneecap. ST36 is an important acupoint for preserving health and is one of the most used acupoints for boosting immunity. Here’s a video of this one I did a while back.

Food As Medicine Cooking Workshop, Thursday Feb 6

February 6, 12:00 – 2:00
at The Gathering Place
203 McIntosh Trail, PTC

When we start to think of food as fuel for our bodies, we can really start to use it as such.  One way we can do this is by eating with the season.   Spring cleaning is not just for your home but for your body too.  In this two hour Food As Medicine cooking class, I’ll share some recipes that you can make at home that will help fuel your body for the burst of energy we find in the spring time and to help rid yourself of spring time allergies.

 

Virus Alert! How to Protect Yourself This Flu Season

With all of the scare about the coronavirus, you may be asking yourself what you can do to keep from catching it or any other flu-like virus this year. Chinese medicine is being used along side western medicine in China to combat it, and I’ve been keeping up to date on the formulas being used.  Rest assured, I have both preventative formulas and formulas to treat these viruses in stock.  Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself.

Let’s talk about prevention first as that’s the easiest way to keep from getting sick.

  1. Wash your hands frequently. This is by far the best way to prevent the spread of sickness. You need to wash your handswash with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds. That’s the amount of time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice, or Twinkle, twinkle little star.
  2. Clean your environment regularly – We know that most respiratory viruses are spread by droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs. The virus can live on surfaces for a period of hours to days. Door knobs, sink and toilet handles, kids toys, etc. are all breeding grounds that need to be disinfected, especially if someone in your home is or has been sick. I also burn moxa or sage to help fumigate a sick room (also great for an immune system boost).
  3. Keep your hands away from your face. For some of us this is hard. A simple itch of the nose and the hand goes up instinctively. But this is exactly how germs get into your body. Eyes, nose, mouth and ears are all places where viruses can enter.
  4. When traveling via plane or public transportation, wipe down surfaces with anti-bacterial wipes. Arm rests, seat back tray tables and the video screen – anything you might touch are all candidates for disinfecting. You may even want to take a mask in case your seat mate is coughing or sneezing. You may want to wipe down your hotel room when you arrive as well.
  5. Stay away. It goes without saying that you’ll be better off if you stay away from sick people. But sometimes that’s difficult when you have a sick child or relative who requires your care. Double up on all of the precautions above, keep that person in a designated sick room, and keep everyone else away. If there’s lots of sneezing and coughing, consider wearing a mask. And by all means if you are the one who is sick, stay away from others. They will appreciate that you aren’t sharing the bug with them.
  6. Stay warm. The weather can be really fickle this time of year.  One day it’s cold and rainy, and then the next day is 70 degrees.  Make sure to dress appropriately especially on cold, windy days.  In Chinese Medicine we say that all pathogens come on the wind, so protect your head and neck and keep warm by wearing a scarf or hoodie.

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Here’s to Health and Prosperity in the New Year

Happy New Year!

First let me say thank you to all of my patients and colleagues in the healthcare business for Happy New Yearmaking 2019 a great year. I treated more patients than ever before and as always learn so much from talking with my patients and seeing their healing happen.

If you’ve ever seen the Chinese Astrology charts (like on a Chinese Restaurant placemat), you might observe that this is the Year of the Rat, more specifically, the Metal Rat.  Learn more about the Chinese Astrology forecast here. But the New Year, in Chinese culture, doesn’t start until later this month on January 25. Why? Because Chinese New Year is really the celebration of the beginning of Spring.

For most of us we consider January mid-winter. It’s cold, and usually rainy here in our area. In the US, we typically say spring officially begins on March 21st, the spring equinox. However the Chinese feel that, energetically, spring begins when the light begins its return, the days start getting longer, and the dormant forces under the frozen ground begin to come to life again. It signifies new beginnings and a fresh start. Continue reading

Make 2020 The Year You Take Back Your Health

Where do you want to see yourself in 2020? While you are taking some downtime during the holidays, it’s the perfect time to reflect on your accomplishments for this year, and think about your 2020 New Year’s goals. The key is to be realistic, so you don’t give up like most people after just a couple of months (80% of New Year’s resolutions are dropped by February)!

Perhaps you’d like to see yourself in better health, or maybe you want to simply stay well. The key is to set goals that are small enough to be doable, but big enough to still give you that feeling of satisfaction when you are still going strong well into the year.

Here are my top three healthy living resolutions for the new year to “take back your health”.

1. Weight Loss – Usually on everyone’s list after the holiday season, I recommend that you simply resolve to make better food choices. When shopping, stick to the outside aisles at the grocery store where you find fresh fruits and veggies, and stay out of the center aisles where all of the processed foods live. Try to resist the temptation to buy your kids favorite cookies, or Dad’s diet soda and opt for healthier options instead. Consider involving your family in planning and cooking healthy meals. When you plan and cook together, the more likely your family members will be to eat well. Maybe you need a little help? Here is a new cookbook that I’ve been testing with my “Food As Medicine Cooking Workshops”. I’ve got copies at my clinic that will make a perfect gift. Continue reading