WE WILL BE CLOSED JULY 2 – 6. As I announced last month, I’ll be taking a much needed vacation, celebrating the Fourth of July and will finish out the week with a training course in New York that is focused on Digestive Issues. I’ll return on July 9. I am planning to be “unplugged” for much of the week, so if you need to schedule an appointment, please go online to schedule or leave a message on my voicemail and I’ll take care of it as soon as I return to civilization. I look forward to coming back refreshed and armed with more information to solve those tough digestive problems. Enjoy the festivities of July 4th!
The heat is on! In Chinese Medicine, Summer is the Fire Season and is related to the heart, blood vessels, Small Intestine and the emotions. The heart is in charge of memory, consciousness, thinking, sleep and speech. It’s not too uncommon when there is an imbalance during the summer that we see symptoms such as anxiety, inflammation, heart palpitations, and insomnia. In nature, it’s easy to see that extreme heat withers and dries plant life, and we too can easily become overheated during the summer months. By practicing these 5 tips you’ll keep your fire in check during the summer.
- Hydrate. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids during the summer, especially if you sweat a lot. If you work outside or sweat profusely, you may also need to add electrolytes. Coconut water (unsweetened), fresh watermelon juice and water with cucumbers added will all help replace electrolytes.
- Eat lightly and simply. Skip the heavy meals and use a few simple ingredients in your meals. Prepare vegetables by steaming or lightly simmering. Our tendency is to go for salads, but don’t overdo it with cold and raw foods because they weaken the digestive system. Visit your local farmers market to see what is in season and focus on including those ingredients in your meals. Look for brightly colored vegetables and fruits. Greens help cleanse the arteries and cools the heart. They also help control anxiety. Try our cooling Cucumber, Watermelon and Mint Salad.
- Sweat a little. A light sweat will help to cool the body and prevent overheating. While it may seem counter-intuitive to eat spicy, pungent foods such as hot peppers, fresh ginger, and horseradish during summer, they will bring body heat to the surface creating sweat, thereby cooling you down. But heavy sweating causes to much fluid loss.
- Go easy on the ice. Iced drinks, ice cream and frozen treats weaken the digestive system, hold in sweat and heat, and contract the stomach inhibiting digestion.
- Slow down. Focus on calming the heart through slow yoga, soft music, breathing exercises and meditation. Relax.
Summer is a time of activity, travel, and play. Enjoy it!
Makes 4-6 servings
- 2 cups cubed cucumber (English or Persian)
- 2 cups cubed watermelon (de-seeded)
- Juice of 2 limes
- 3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- Salt to taste
Combine above ingredients in a bowl. Serve slightly cool. Optional: Sprinkle crumbled goat or feta cheese just before serving.
Chef’s note: If making salad ahead of time, do not add lime juice and salt until just before serving.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) , a number of studies suggest that acupuncture works particularly well on chronic pain such as:
- back and neck pain
- knee pain
It often reduces the incidence and severity of tension headaches and may prevent migraines. “Therefore,” the NIH concludes, “acupuncture appears to be a reasonable option for people with chronic pain to consider.”
Late in 1997, the NIH released a consensus statement supporting the use of acupuncture as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for some conditions. According to the statement, there is some evidence of efficacy in relieving the pain of fibromyalgia, post-operative pain, osteoarthritis, and myofascial pain. The NIH panel pointed out that acupuncture is associated with a lower risk of adverse events than those associated with drugs or other medical intervention. Continue reading
The whirlwind that is the end of the school year is finally over, and there’s no homework, no carpools, no baking 50 cupcakes to take to the school party. Hopefully you are finding time to enjoy the little ones (and bigger ones too). I remember as a child we would go to the beach for a family vacation after school was out, and then my parents would send us off to summer camp. I always thought that my parents missed me terribly when I was away, but I know now that they probably couldn’t wait to get some freedom from us kids. It’s okay to give yourself a little break. Here are some suggestions: Continue reading
The clinic will be closed July 2 – 6. Part play, part learning, I will be taking a much needed vacation, celebrating the Fourth of July, and then will finish the week with a training program targeting Digestive Issues in New York. I look forward to coming back refreshed and armed with more information to solve tough digestive issues.
I’m continuing to offer the FibroFatigue program that focuses on Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Chronic Fatigue. I’m seeing several people who are suffering from Lyme disease who have most, if not all, of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue. There is a lot of overlap, and this program addresses those symptoms even if the patient hasn’t officially been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue. Included in this multi-step program are acupuncture, herbal medicine, breathing exercises and movement therapy with my support all along the way. Please share this information with that friend or family member who struggles to socialize with others due to pain and/or fatigue. I can help.
Have you ever come into the clinic and wondered “what is that smell??” No, we promise no one is smoking in the clinic. Moxibustion or moxa is the burning of the chinese herb mugwort on or over an acupuncture point, and is considered an integral part of the acupuncture treatment. It’s use can be traced far back to the Warring States Period (475 B.C. to 221 B.C.). The herb is dried and aged, and then ground so that the fine fibers remain. Many properties of moxa make it theraputic; even the odor can be healing.
When would we use moxa? Great question! It has many uses.
- I use it with patients who are very weak who may not be able to tolerate acupuncture.
- It is warming. Cold slows the flow of blood and contracts tissues, so I frequently use it with patients who tend to be cold, and to warm the uterus in patients who are trying to become pregnant.
- It helps to stop pain. Moxa is very penetrating and can disperse blockages that cause pain.
- It supplements and boosts your energy.
- It can be used as a preventative against disease.
- It can facilitate labor induction in pregnant patients by stimulating the body in a variety of ways, from increasing oxytocin release to cervical softening.
- It can even cause a breech baby to turn into head down position.
In the clinic, we either burn it on top of a slice of ginger placed on the skin, directly on the skin or atop an acupuncture needle. As crazy as it sounds to use something smokey around people with respiratory issues, moxa stimulates deep healing from the inside out, and actually helps strengthen the lungs. Moxibustion is great at helping to decrease inflammation and increase localized blood flow and lymphatic circulation, all of which promote healing. So you can breathe a sigh of relief that nobody is smoking here, just helping others heal.
I am so excited to announce the launch of a new program at Balanced Energy Wellness. This program is specifically designed to help patients suffering with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and Chronic Pain. It is an evidence-based program that targets eight separate, overlapping causes of Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and Pain, and is designed to heal the body in stages for lasting results.
The Fibro-Fatigue program uses a combination of therapies such as Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Diet Therapy, Breathing Exercises and Qigong/Movement Therapy. In addition to treatments and education, I’ll provide one-on-one guidance with a focus on self-care to keep patients actively engaged in their healing process.
- Improved sleep
- Less pain
- Better digestion
- Stabilized emotions
- More energy
- Improved quality of life
Whether it’s you or your best friend that is struggling to find lasting relief from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue or chronic pain, this program offers a path towards improved health. I have been working with a team of other acupuncturists, doctors, and herbalists from around the world on this program, and I’m super excited to offer these treatments to our community.
For more information about this program, please go here . I am also happy to speak with you personally to answer any questions to might have.
You may have heard in the news recently that Western Medicine has “discovered the largest organ in the body” that was previously unknown. It’s called the Interstitium and actually has been known for thousands of years as the San Jiao in Chinese Medicine. While Western medicine is just now coming to understand this “new organ”, it has long played a key role in Chinese Medicine. The San Jiao or Triple Burner as it’s sometimes called, it is said to “be everywhere”, and corresponds to the various metabolic processes of the body and the distribution of the nutrients that result from these processes. Western medicine describes it as being like an “open, fluid-filled highway.”
The Three Burners
The term San Jiao is many times translated as Triple Burner because it is related to three metabolic processes:
- The Upper Burner includes the Heart and Lung systems and metabolizes the air we breathe so that it can be absorbed directly into the blood.
- The Middle Burner is commonly what we refer to as our digestive process. The stomach breaks down the food we eat, and begins separating the “pure” from the “impure”, meaning the stuff our body needs is separated from the stuff we don’t need. The first separation of pure nutrients creates the interstitial fluids like saliva, sweat, tears, synovial fluids and mucous that go to our muscles, skin, bones and blood. The impure goes on down to the lower burner for further processing.
- The Lower Burner is where our body does a further separation of the pure and impure. The pure is absorbed via the small intestines and also goes to the gallbladder to create bile to moisten the intestines, and the impure is eliminated as waste via urine and feces. It’s this final separation of pure nutrients that is sent out to our organs and every cell in our body.
Even without an in-depth understanding of how our bodies work, you can probably see how a breakdown in any of these distribution processes can cause health issues.
A breakdown in the upper metabolic processing can impact the oxygen levels in our blood. We need oxygen in our blood where it can be delivered to our cells to create energy. If we don’t get enough oxygen, cells die. We simply won’t have the fuel for our body to function. Fatigue and muscle weakness is often related to low oxygen levels.
A breakdown in the middle metabolic processing has huge impacts. If the stomach, spleen and pancreas aren’t functioning properly, we simply aren’t able to separate the pure from the impure and aren’t getting the nutrients our cells need. This can lead to an impaired immune system because our lymph doesn’t contain enough immune fighting capability. Or we aren’t able to metabolize fluids properly leading to edema, water weight gain, fluid around the heart, excessive sweating or lack of sweating and diarrhea. This can even affect our mental capabilities leading to dementia, forgetfulness or feeling foggy headed.
A breakdown in the lower burner can lead to constipation and urinary issues, and if we aren’t able to absorb the nutrients via our intestines, our organs become unhealthy and weak. Or worse, if our separation of pure from impure is impaired, our organs can become poisoned.
To say that the San Jiao or this “newly discovered organ” is critical to our bodies is an understatement! I am always amazed at how the Chinese Medicine practitioners figured this stuff out thousands of years ago.
How Does This Apply to Acupuncture?
So you may be wondering how we affect all of this with acupuncture. The interstitial fluids also conduct electrical current and it is this electrical current that acupuncture taps into. We can direct our treatment to increasing the body’s ability to digest and absorb the food we ingest. We can increase the production and reserves of energy that our body needs and we can affect the metabolism of the body.
Who knew? It’s wonderful that Western Medicine is finally discovering this and will only help to improve our understanding of how the human body works and improve our health.
Last month I talked about how to align your diet with spring by increasing sweet and pungent flavors because this facilitates the liver to regulate the energy throughout the body. Pungents also enhance digestion, disperse mucus, stimulate the Lungs, Blood and Heart, guard against mucus forming conditions such as common cold, remove obstructions and improve sluggish Liver function.
One of my favorite ways to use pungents is with fresh ginger in recipes. I love ginger tea and drink it frequently. It’s really easy to make and is one of my go-to remedies to help get over the effects that spring time allergies has on our sinuses – excess mucus! The pollen has been really high the last few days and has hit me hard. I’m drinking some of this tea as I write this!
You’ll need some fresh ginger root that you can find at most grocery stores and some filtered water. Honey or maple syrup can be added for a little sweetness.
Fresh Ginger Tea
- Peel the ginger root with a peeler or with the back of a spoon.
- Grate the ginger with a grater/zester. If you slice it, slice it thin and use more.
- In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil, add ginger and turn off heat. Put the lid on it and let it steep for 10 minutes.
- Strain the water to remove the ginger.
- Add a little natural sweetener, stir and enjoy.