Category Archives: Lifestyle

Little Tick, Big Problem – Learn About Lyme

You’ve probably heard all about the wild deer around our area, and if you have a garden like I do, you’ve seen the evidence that they are all around. Did you know that our area is also a hotbed for ticks – particularly those that carry Lyme Disease? There are many different kinds of ticks throughout the world and the one that carries Lyme disease is the Ixodes tick, also called the blacklegged tick or deer tick (hence my referral to the deer in our area).

Ticks are related to spiders and mites. They are arachnids, not insects. Ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of humans and animals in order to survive. They are called vectors (carriers) because they can feed on a Lyme disease-infected animal (such as a mouse), then carry and transmit the Lyme bacterium (Borrelia burgdorferi) to the next animal or person they bite. It’s estimated that about 50% of deer ticks carry Lyme.

If it wasn’t bad enough that these these ticks carry Lyme, they can also carry bacterial co-infections in addition to Lyme, such as Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis. These co-infections can complicate one’s Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment. Lyme and it’s co-infections can be really nasty if not caught early. Prevention, early diagnosis and treatment are key to reducing the chances of becoming infected and having to live with what can many times be debilitating symptoms.

Lyme is the fastest growing vector-borne, infectious disease in the US.  Annual reported cases have increased 25-fold since 1982. Lyme infects 300,000 around people a year in the US. That’s 25,000 new cases a month, 5,700 a week, 822 a day, or 34 per hour!! And the CDC estimates that these numbers are actually much higher due to misdiagnosis, under reporting and poor testing. Continue reading

Nuevo Camino – Helping Where Needed

I’m excited to announce that I’ve been asked to go on a medical mission to Peru with local non-profit, Something New and their Nuevo Camino initiative. Nuevo Camino helps abandoned and abused mothers and their children find a new path in life. It provides the tools that these moms need to get back on their feet and give their children a shot at life. For women that are ready to work and find new living arrangements, Nuevo Camino provides life coaching support coupled with financial help to help these women get back on their feet and not just surviving, but living up to their potential. This video explains more.

Along with other volunteers, I’ll be providing health care to the moms and their children, and providing public health education and health related services to people in a remote village of the Andes.  If you are interested in joining us, or would like to make a donation to help offset expenses and provide supplies, please let me know. Learn more about the trip here.

Make a donation.

5 Tips to Improve Fertility

If you’ve been trying to conceive and it’s just not happening, give these tips a try to improve your chances.  Of course I’m ready to help you too with Acupuncture,  Herbal Medicine and Nutrition Therapy.

  1. Clean up your diet – Focus on organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains and lean proteins.  Minimize processed foods, caffeine, alcohol and sweets. If you have PCOS, minimize sugar and refined carbohydrates. 
  2. Warm your belly – some cases of infertility can be from “cold” in the uterus, so try warming your abdomen gently during the time after your period until ovulation. Use a hot water bottle or heating pad on low-medium for 20 minutes in the evenings.
  3. Go easy with exercise – If you are used to intense workouts, you may want to cut back. Research shows that intense exercise more than four hours a week can decrease fertility, so reduce the intensity by 25-30% and try replacing one or two sessions with a gentle yoga or Pilates class.
  4. Avoid drinking or eating cold foods. Cold can slow circulation around the abdomen and uterus.
  5. Increase the quality of your blood with Chinese red dates, beef soup or beef, boiled eggs, beets and goji berries.

March Focus: Fertility

Spring is a time of rebirth, sudden growth, and rapid expansion; an awakening of the life process. With that in mind, my focus for this month is on Fertility.

Oh baby!

Couples who are planning to have a baby put a lot of thought into preparing for the arrival of a new child, from the Hopeful couplenursery, baby’s college fund and of course the baby’s name.  And while these are all important, the health of parents before and during the pregnancy is the most important factor in determining the health of the baby.

Best practice says you want to prepare your body at least 4-6 months before you intend to become pregnant so that it is strong, ready to conceive and carry the child through to a healthy birth. It is said in Chinese Medicine that you need to “tend the garden”, preparing the soil for a healthy baby. This goes for both Mom and Dad. In order to have healthy baby-producing sperm, we want to make sure that the father’s “garden” is properly tended too. For women, it takes the body about 120 days to mature the eggs, and for men, it takes about 70-90 days for a man’s sperm to mature.  For this reason, I stress that couples should take the time to address any imbalances before they try to become pregnant.

Along with eating a well balanced diet high in dark leafy greens and good quality protein, and reducing stress, I recommend regular acupuncture treatments and, if necessary, herbal therapy to help balance hormones, reduce stress and strengthen the body to prepare it for pregnancy.

Getting pregnant is just the beginning though. I think you’ll agree that the ultimate goal is to have a healthy child. I also provide support during the pregnancy to address any discomfort like morning sickness and back pain and minimize the risk of miscarriage.

When it’s complicated

Sometimes there are complicating factors that make getting pregnant more difficult for some. I see many patients that have issues becoming pregnant, and there can be a number of reasons for this such as:

  • Menstrual issues (irregular periods),
  • Stress,
  • Illness,
  • Ovarian cysts or Edometriosis,
  • or other seemingly unrelated factors.

Continue reading

Living a Healthy New Year

Ancient advice for health during Winter says “Desires and mental activity should be kept quiet and subdued, as if keeping a happy secret. Stay warm, avoid the cold, and keep the skin covered.” With the cold weather, hibernation of animals, decrease in plant life, and few daylight hours, winter was the toughest season to maintain health in the ancient world.

Even though the #1 New Year Resolution is weight loss, the winter months really aren’t ideal to try and lose weight. Make Health a PriorityWhy? Because human health has long been considered to be closely tied to nature. As organic creatures, it stands to reason that we humans are affected, directly and indirectly, by the natural environment including weather, climate, or duration of daylight.

These factors, particularly less daylight and our natural instinct to hibernate, make losing weight more difficult and frustrating which leads us to give up on that goal altogether. Less sunlight means we aren’t getting as much vitamin D. It appears that lack of vitamin D reduces fat breakdown and triggers fat storage—so calories you consume are stored in fat cells rather than being used for energy. A second factor is an increase in melatonin, the hormone that signals your body that it is time to sleep, and is triggered by darkness. Since winter means less hours of daylight, melatonin levels tend to increase and increased melatonin is associated with increased appetite. It can feel like a losing battle. Continue reading

Gifts for Everyone on Your List

Whether it’s Grandma Jones who has arthritis, or your sister who is always stressed out,  we’ve got just what you need to give them a gift of wellness.   Tis the Season for Giving! 

Gift Baskets

The Weight Loss Gift Basket includes Microgard +,  a wonderful herbal formula that not only helps with digestive problems, but regulates the gut microbiota, stimulates an increase in digestive enzymes and helps break down proteins, fats and sugars, affecting the whole metabolism and helping to reduce body weight.  I’m combining that with Sweet Change to help get that sweet tooth under control. It’s a mouth spray that eliminates sugar and food cravings and supports healthy blood sugar levels. Additionally my Tibetan Herbal Footsoaks will increase your blood circulation as if you have been exercising, will reduce pain and give you more energy. This combo will give you a great start toward meeting your body weight goals in the New Year.

For those who need to reduce stress and improve sleep, I’m offering a Stress Relief Gift Basket that includes my Stress Free Tea, an herbal formula in tea form that calms irritability and moodiness, and regulates sleep, and Rescue Formula, a formula that settles the mind, and eases depression, anxiety, insomnia and that feeling of being “out of sorts”.  I’m also including an Organic Neck Wrap that can be heated in the microwave or crock pot and placed around the neck and shoulders to relax the tension than many of us carry in that area. Continue reading

Prepare to Take Back Your Health

Did you know that nearly 80% of New Year’s resolutions have been abandoned by February?  December is the perfect time to reflect on the goals you set in 2018 and think about where you’d like to see yourself in 2019.

Whether you have some health condition that you want to resolve, or if you simply want to remain well, here are three healthy living resolutions to try in the new year to “take back your health”. 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 realize it’s March (or even November!) and you’re still going strong.

1. Weight Loss – This is probably the #1 New Year’s Resolution.  Unless you have a critical health condition that demands you shed some pounds, a better idea may be to simply resolve to make healthier food choices.  One of the key ways to do this is to surround yourself and your family with healthy options to expose them to nutritious foods. The more involved your family is in planning and cooking healthy meals, the more likely they are to eat them, so try planning a weekly family menu together.  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 Johnny’s favorite cookies, or Dad’s diet soda and opt for healthier options instead.  You can make these changes incrementally so that it doesn’t feel so much like an exercise in deprivation.

If your current health situation (or someone you care about) requires shedding some pounds in the new year, then check out my Weight Loss Gift Basket that you can give to someone or to yourself.   Continue reading

No Stress November – 5 Things to Manage Stress

It seems everyone is stressed these days. It’s enough that every day life events are stressful, but when there are disturbing events happening all around us like natural disasters, politics around the elections, and hate crimes, our emotions can simply overwhelm us. And guess what, it’s November already, and for some the anticipation of stress during the holiday season can easily send us over the tipping point to a feeling of being out of control. I am seeing more and more people at the clinic for stress related concerns like anxiety, depression, insomnia, digestive issues and a number of other symptoms.  You may need time out!

The sympathetic nervous system, which activates the “fight or flight” response, is there to help us defend ourselves and keep ourselves safe. However, our nervous system does not know the difference between hearing about a natural disaster or other news event in another state from one that is happening directly to us. Our nervous systems tend to react the same. And it seems like every day there is something else coming at us that triggers our fight or flight response, so we are on high alert most of the time. Our parasympathetic nervous system – the “rest and relax” part of our nervous system – doesn’t get engaged enough to balance it out. As a result, our body produces too much cortisol over a long period of time and that can cause a host of issues from digestive problems, weight gain and increased blood sugar to pain, depression, and insomnia. Some research even shows that constant stress ages us more quickly.

Acupuncture regulates the nervous system and also regulates the hormones to lessen those “fight or flight” hormones and to release the “feel good” hormones. The use of acupuncture has been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety levels and stress in individuals. Studies have found that acupuncture relieved symptoms such as migraines, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and pain resulting from post traumatic stress. The improvements due to acupuncture were also found to be very rapid, significant, and long lasting. I’ve had patients tell me they are better able to handle stressful situations after having acupuncture treatments.  

Finding ways to manage stress so that you are better able to cope when something triggers your fight or flight response is key.   I know it’s not always feasible to get to the clinic when this happens, so here are some ways you can manage the stress yourself. Continue reading

Acupuncture for Back to School Stress

Getting the kids back to school can be stressful!  Summer break is over and now there’s shopping to do to get the endless list of school supplies and clothing.  Homework is back on the table as are stricter bedtimes for the kids. Back to school stressKids are excited and anxious about what the new year will bring.  And if you have more than one child, are sending one off to college, or are a teacher, the stress can be multiplied. It’s easy to get overwhelmed.  

Are you wishing for more energy, more focus, less stress and better sleep?  You may be saying “I’d be happy to just have one of these.”   But really it’s not too much to expect from regular acupuncture treatments.

Research shows that chronic stress can have a cumulative effect on our physical well-being.  Our response to stress affects the autonomic nervous system (fight-or-flight/rest-and-restore), as well as our cardiovascular, metabolic and immune systems.  Even everyday stressors can have long term consequences especially when combined with a poor diet and reduced exercise. This goes for kids as well as the adults who care for them.  Sleep disturbances, headaches, stomach aches and behavior changes like anxiety and depression are common symptoms of stress.

Acupuncture’s role:

Stress and anxiety are helped by acupuncture as it triggers the production of our natural feel-good hormones and brings the autonomic nervous system back into balance. It acts on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress promoting relaxation and deactivating the “analytical” brain which is responsible for anxiety and worry. This brings you out of “fight or flight” mode so that you can get rest and restore your energy.   Also important in the new school year is boosting your immune system to protect you from both the effects of stress and the latest illness that’s going around at school. In addition to the immunity boost, many people have more energy in the hours, days and even weeks after acupuncture treatment. Patients notice improved mental clarity, which is important when exam week comes around, and you are juggling 15 things at once. It helps to strengthen your constitution. Continue reading