Category Archives: Lifestyle

Living With the Season – Late Summer

It’s Late summer which means hot, muggy weather and heat-breaking afternoon thunderstorms. Late summer is considered one of the five major seasons in Chinese Medicine and we find it useful to look to Nature as a guide to understand how life (human, animal, plants, etc.) is affected by the seasons.

In August, Nature is undergoing its last burst of growth before harvest time. In Chinese Medicine, Late Summer corresponds to the nurturing Earth element, so the next few weeks are an important time for self-nurturing and self-cultivation. This a powerful time for us to use the last bit of Summer’s energy to fully ripen and transform.

If you are wondering how seasonal energies influence our physical well-being, read on.

Associated with the Earth element, are the Stomach and the Spleen. These organs are responsible for transforming food and drink into what what will become the energy, Blood and Fluids the body needs for all bodily functions. You can easily assess whether your Stomach or Spleen are in harmony with the seasonal energies of Late Summer. When the Earth Element is in balance we are able to nourish ourselves and those around us in a supportive manner. In balance, the Earth element gives us strong muscles, vibrant energy and the ability to think and study clearly. Out of balance the body is weak, the muscles become flaccid and soft, there is often obesity and problems of the digestive tract. If you experience nausea, stomach flu, IBS, weight gain, blood sugar disorders, or are low on energy, your Stomach and Spleen may be out of balance. Continue reading

Keeping Cool in the Summer Heat

The Summer season filled with abundant energy, long days and sunshine. This is the most yang time of year. Summer is about expansion, growth, activity and creativity. According to Chinese medicine, Summer is associated with the element of Fire. In human anatomy, the heart, mind, and spirit are ruled by the fire element. Top priority should be given to the heart, mind, and spirit for staying healthy in summer.

Keeping Balanced during Summer

The heart’s main function is to pump oxygen-rich blood through the body. In Chinese medicine, mental activity is also associated with the heart including our memory, thought processes, emotional well-being, and consciousness. This is a time to use our energy to realize our life’s greatest potential as we find joy in our hot summer days and warm summer nights. When the fire element is in balance, the heart is strong and healthy, the mind is calm and sleep is sound. When the Fire element is out of balance, we may see depression (too little fire), or chaos/mania (too much fire). Agitation, nervousness, heartburn, and insomnia are symptoms that there is an imbalance. Taken to the extreme, summer heat can cause you to suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke with symptoms such as fainting, dark-colored urine, rapid heart rate, confusion, throbbing headache, red and dry skin. Seek immediate medical attention if these occur.

To prevent these problems, I recommend that we take full advantage of the long summer days. Some suggestions include:

  • Awakening earlier in the morning and going to bed later in the evening.
  • Resting at midday when heat is at its highest.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids. This is key to balance the heat of fire and eliminating any toxins.
  • Adding pungent flavors like spicy foods, garlic and ginger to your diet. These cause you to sweat, which actually functions to cool the body
  • Keeping your diet light and avoid heavy, greasy or sugary foods. Eat in moderation.
  • Refrain from anger; keep calm and even-tempered.
  • Seek Chinese Medicine when you feel out of balance.

Diet – Keep it cool

In summer, indigestion can easily occur, so a light and less-greasy diet is recommended. This is the perfect season to introduce some cool foods into your diet. Cooling foods can clear heat, reduce toxins, and generate body fluids. Cooling foods are those you typically find during this time of year – lettuce and other greens, cucumbers, and watercress are some of the coolest. Fish and seafood are also cooling, while most meats are warming.
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June is Men’s Health Month

Take advantage of my free offer below…

June is Men’s Health Month and with Father’s Day coming up, now is a great time to stress the importance of men’s health. Let’s face it, men smoke more, drink more alcohol, make riskier choices and put off seeking healthcare. Some aren’t even aware of what their health risks are. When men are aware of health concerns important to them, they can do a better job of taking care of themselves.

Here’s why I think it’s important to discuss this topic.

  • Men are 24% less likely than a woman to have visited a health care practitioner incouple on bikes the last year.
  • Men who are overweight, obese, or physically inactive are at greater risk for high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes and other health problems.
  • 40% of men are smokers compared to 9% of women. Smoking can not only cause cancer, but can cause erectile dysfunction and damage to the DNA in sperm which may lead to infertility.
  • Men make up over 75% of suicide victims in the United States. Depression may be different for men. Emotional and physical tension are signs of stress and may put you at risk for anxiety, depression and other health problems.
  • Over 50% of men in their 60s and as many as 90% in their 70s or older have symptoms of an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
  • Men are more frequently diagnosed with serious digestive-related conditions because they are less likely to seek help for heartburn, acid reflux, and other digestive symptoms until they have become a real problem.

Making Healthier Choices

Making healthy choices includes consulting health professionals and becoming educated on the preventative measures that are important for your health. This includes diet, exercise and positive mental health. Here are a few things you can do to improve your health. Continue reading

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.

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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