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Veterans Can Find Relief and Recovery with Acupuncture

Veterans Can Find Relief and Recovery with Acupuncture

You would be hard pressed to find a warrior who didn’t come home wounded; either physically, emotionally, or more likely, both. Those who serve our country often return carrying the weight of their experiences, unable to find solace due to their deep emotional scars.  continue reading »

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Chinese Medicine on Fainting, Dizziness

A friend of mine recently expressed having experienced great bouts of dizziness and fainting during the third trimester of her last pregnancy, which was in the dead of summer and was thus not surprising. I felt bad to hear of her struggles, but grateful that it inspired an idea for a new entry, on how Chinese medicine views fainting and dizziness, whether in pregnancy or not, and how we can treat or prevent it.

As with any Chinese medical diagnosis, the specifics get complicated, but we can still relatively easy to simplify into a couple of broad strokes. With any manifestation of dizziness, whether orthostatic, vertigo, passing out, or anything else, we are considering patterns of either blood deficiency, dampness, or a combination of the two, the latter of which obviously being the most difficult to treat. The final one is where your toddler at home forces you to “dance” with her around the house by spinning endlessly, for which there is no cure.

Blood Deficiency: More common in vegans, vegetarians, and pescatarians (most likely descending order), more common in women (especially while pregnant), the elderly, or anyone on long-term medications, which compromise the body’s absorption and capacity to produce blood. There is either a lack of cerebrovascular fluid or its flow and the head becomes faint.

Recommended treatment is herbs and moxibustion (acupuncture not as effective here), red meat or eggs, and earlier bedtimes.

Dampness: More common with obesity, more common in men, and/or people who consume a lot of alcohol, sugar, dairy, or raw foods. The microbiome grows congested with fluid retention, so the pathway by which our cellular energy carries healthy fluids to the brain is obstructed. “The clear yang qi cannot rise,” as we say, and our clarity or stability suffer.

Recommended treatment is minimizing all of the aforementioned foods, herbal medicine for 1-3 weeks to purge fluid retention, and acupuncture, especially along the vertigo line along the scalp located directly above the top of the ears. Note, this point will not be as effective on blood deficiency patterns, who are suffering a pattern of “deficiency,” not “excessive damp,” which responds better to aggressive manual treatment. As for self-care, drink hot ginger tea and black teas until symptoms subside.

Combination Blood Deficiency/Dampness: This is most common in pregnant women and very difficult to treat, because to nourish blood we must generate fluids, but to resolve dampness we must purge it. Not to mention the fact that we must be careful with purging fluid retention in pregnant women, since the fetus is ultimately a form of fluid retention—albeit an adorably magical one.

Dizziness and vertigo are serious conditions, not generally life threatening, although potentially dangerous when leading to the physical risks that accompany fainting. As always, Chinese Medicine can have much to offer in the way of hands-on treatment, internal medicine, and recommended self-care.

When in doubt: red meat, eggs, ginger tea, good rest, and steamed vegetables for the dampness.

Posted in Acupuncture, Anxiety, Blood Pressure, Diet, Emotional/Psychological Disorders, Hypertension, Migraines & Headaches, Self-Care, Stress & Anxiety, What We Treat | Comments Off on Chinese Medicine on Fainting, Dizziness

Using Acupuncture to Manage Autoimmune Diseases

Using Acupuncture to Manage Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases can prove to be intricate and seemingly unsolvable puzzles for many people. And statistics prove this to be true as millions worldwide are impacted by autoimmune diseases ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to lupus, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel disease, and even Parkinson’s disease. Conventional medicine can diagnose 100 different autoimmune conditions, however the treatments offered don’t completely resolve the issues associated with the disease and in extreme cases, no treatment is available at all. And yet, in the midst of all these medical challenges that autoimmune diseases present, acupuncture emerges as a promising ally, offering relief to those grappling with these often-complex health conditions. continue reading »

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Is Green Tea Healthy (for you)?


In the western world we are often guilty of over-polarizing and labeling. This political viewpoint is good, that one is bad, this diet is healthy, that one is not. Further on that point, one food is healthy—while that one is not.

While there are many foods that can be oversimplified and universally agreed upon—refined sugars are pretty much always bad and steamed vegetables good—most others depend on the dose, the patient, and time of year. For example, red meat in the winter for an anemic girl trying to conceive is eons more advisable than it is in the summer for an overweight male alcoholic trying to tame his heartburn. Also from a Chinese medical perspective, eating 5-6 ounces of red meat 1-3 times a week alongside vegetables will have an infinitely different systemic effect than 16 ounces 3-5 times a week alongside bread.

Green tea and kale have earned great reputations in the west, polarized as “good,” labeled “healthy,” and presumed to help anyone who consumes them, no matter the body type or time of year. From a Chinese medical perspective: False.

Almost anyone who’s ever drank green tea on a completely empty stomach has experienced the nausea or queasiness its bitter properties can induce. Bitter foods and herbs, while integral to a healthy diet and our pharmacopeia, are harsh on the stomach and less advisable for “Tai Yin” patients—those with weaker, more vulnerable stomachs. Such people generally do better with hot black teas, such as pu-erh or Earl Grey.

When written into herbal formulas, bitters are generally dosed lower and balanced with acrid and/or sweet-flavored herbs. This doesn’t mean to always consume your green tea with sweets, but it is that much more encouraged to never be drank cold or on an empty stomach. In fact, green is the one kind of tea we might encourage to take with honey—that is as long as you’re not the snob that I am, in refusal to corrupt any tea (or coffee) with outside flavors.

The same principle applies to kale. While undoubtedly possessing of all the literal health benefits it claims to, kale is a bitter green, therefore a bit more difficult to digest than other veggies. For this reason, it is important to always consume cooked, with warming spices, such as garlic, onions, or ginger to aid in proper metabolism. I’m not sure about honey on kale—maybe in the context of a salad—although in that case the raw food might cancel out any benefits of the honey. Better to have it with rice or yams to balance your “formula.”

According to teachers, green tea is best taken hot, more in the summer than winter, and more after a night of red meat and/or alcohol to sort of “drain” the heat that these foods create in the gut. Personally, I almost always drink green tea the morning after I go to baseball games! In these instances, the benefits far outweigh its “side effects.”

Please fall victim as infrequently as possible to the idea that certain foods are always healthy or unhealthy. This is rarely the case, also rare that the opinion of the general American public on anything health-related is accurately informed. If you have any questions about a particular food, please don’t hesitate to ask. And don’t take too much kale or green tea.

Posted in diabetes, Diet, Digestive Disorders, Migraines & Headaches, Nutrition | Comments Off on Is Green Tea Healthy (for you)?

Unlocking the Ancient Wisdom of Gua Sha

Unlocking the Ancient Wisdom of Gua Sha

Gua sha is rooted in traditional Chinese medicine. Practitioners of this medicine believe that a person’s qi, or energy, must flow unhindered throughout the body so you can feel your best. When qi becomes stagnant, health problems occur. With Gua sha, your acupuncturist uses a smooth-edged tool to gently scrape areas of your body where inflammation or stagnant qi exist to help improve circulation and promote healing. When done correctly, Gua sha can help you unlock radiant skin and achieve holistic well-being. continue reading »

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