Monday, December 12, 2011

The gift of acupuncture!

Are you looking for a unique and special gift this is holiday season? How about giving the gift of acupuncture? Acupuncture is a special gift that can make a real difference to the lives of the ones you love. Points of Wellness Acupuncture provides care to people throughout the year, and during the holiday season, we help our clients reduce stress and improve their well-being.

From backaches and headaches caused by long to-do lists to holiday dinner fears to over-spending insomnia, the holiday season is a stressful time for many of us. One of the most negative outcomes of stress is a breakdown in your immune system, leaving you at risk to colds and illness. Eating fattening foods, exercising less and stressful family situations can truly take a toll on your health.

Acupuncture helps you cope with these demands and enables you to function at a high level of wellness. Stress, anger, or any intense emotion creates a traffic jam in your body, blocking the free flow of energy. For example, people who are stressed tend to experience upper back, shoulder and neck pain. This is because stress stops the flow of Qi (energy) passing through channels in your body to these areas resulting in pain, tension, stiffness, and sometimes, headaches as well.

Acupuncture removes these energy blockers allowing energy to flow smoothly, which not only alleviates the symptoms of stress and anxiety, but also the underlying stress and anxiety itself. Additionally, acupuncture improves blood circulation throughout the body. The calming nature of acupuncture decreases your heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles. Acupuncture also helps relieve many aliments, such as headaches, and improves overall health.

In addition to acupuncture treatments, here are some other basic tips for staying healthy during the holiday season, or any season for that matter:

Quality sleep between 10pm and 2am regenerates the adrenal glands, which controls a large portion of the body’s hormonal system.

Exercise has many good points. It is a natural stress and pain reliever, as well as an immune system booster. If you do not have time for a 30-minute exercise session, then at the very least, do some stretching or a few yoga poses to keep your circulation up.

The old saying, “You are what you eat,” is very true. Sugar and processed foods increase inflammation in the body and damages your immune system.

Eat plenty of colorful vegetables, leafy greens, and choose organic when possible.

Remember the best shopping areas in a grocery store is the perimeter!

Soups are great for this season. You can use leftovers, such as turkey, turkey bones, beef bones, and vegetables, to make a yummy and nutritious broth.

Research shows that if you want to feel good, do something for those less fortunate. You can volunteer or donate to a local food pantry, or buy Christmas gifts for a
less fortunate child.

And, with these last few tips, I wish you and your families a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sinus Infections

Sinus infections affect millions of people every year. During this time, I start to see more and more patients with this complaint. For sinus infections, I, of course, highly recommend acupuncture, which is very effective for relieving acute sinusitis, an infection that can cause pain, headaches, congestion and obstructed breathing. Acupuncture lessens pain and promotes sinus drainage within minutes of placement of the needles.

The following are other methods of preventing and relieving sinus infections:

-Place a hot, wet compress over the whole sinus area to promote sinus drainage. Work up to as much heat as you can stand for 5-10 minutes at a time, a few times a day.

-Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to help moisten and thin the mucus in your sinuses.

-Inhale steam with a little eucalyptus oil in it to ease clogging.

-Take a hot shower to help clear your sinuses. While in the shower, if you are able, bend over and touch your toes, bring your head straight down as far you can and hold for a count of 30.

-Flush your nasal passages with a warm saline solution to relieve sinus congestion and to prevent sinus infections. For an active infection, do this two to four times a day.

-A Neti Pot is a traditional, Indian nasal-irrigation device shaped like Aladdin's lamp that lets you pour the water into one of your nostrils and out the other.

-If you do not have a neti pot, you can also dissolve a ¼ teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm distilled water and pour some of the solution into your cupped hand and inhale it through one nostril while closing the other with a finger.

-If you have chronic sinus problems, try eliminating milk and all milk products from your diet (including prepared foods that list milk as an ingredient). Basically, you should avoid foods which produce phlegm, such as cheese, ice cream, milk, butter, and fried foods (french fries, fried chicken, etc.). Give yourself about two months for results.

-Take a good probiotic daily, especially if you are taking an antibiotic.

-Keep your house at the right humidity. If your house is too dry, your sinuses will also dry up, setting up a prime environment for infections.

-Acupressure can help alleviate sinusitis: Locate these points and hold for about 3 minutes. Do this three times on each point daily)

-Bitong (Extra Point): Located on each side of the nose, at the bottom edge of the nasal bones.

-Yingxiang (LI 20): Located in the groove on each side of the nostrils, at the widest point of the nostrils.

-Hegu (LI-4): Located at the highest spot of the muscle between the thumb and index finger on the back of the hand when the thumb and index finger are close together.

-Finally, there are great Chinese herbals for sinus infections, come in to my office and we can talk about which formula is for you.

As always, I wish you a happy and healthy Holiday season!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Staying healthy and cold free

The cold and flu season is coming quickly upon us. Below are some tips for staying healthy and cold-free for the coming months, and all year round:

• Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water. Fluids are required for your immune system to function properly.
• Keep your home hydrated. As you try to warm up your house by turning on your heater, use a humidifier to keep humidity levels at around 50%.
• Keep your nasal passages hydrated as well. Dry air can cause nasal passage irritation and can make them more prone to sinus infections.
• Get some good bacteria. Get at least three servings a day of probiotic-rich or fermented foods, such as yogurt with live bacteria, aged cheese, kefir, sauerkraut or kim chi.
• Get rest! If you are feeling tired and run-down, your body is telling you it needs some TLC! Get some rest and sleep.
• Wash your hands regularly.
• Use paper towels to open bathroom doors.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Wipe down desks and tables regularly.
• Make sure you are eating with the season and getting your nutrients. Adequate proteins are really important as the weather gets cooler. If you are not getting your nutrients through your diet, make sure to take some good quality vitamins. Vitamin D is very important during winter months.
• Finally, regular acupuncture treatments will help your immune system function at its optimum.

Have a happy and healthy fall season. If you do happen to get sick, come in and see me. We can get you feeling better quickly.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Time to let go...

I have had a flood of emotions in the last few weeks. Along with attending a wedding, I have also had to attend one funeral and grief the lost of another friend. Such emotions remind me that autumn is coming and this season teaches us to let go. Autumn brings the end of the growing season.

The lung and large intestine are the organs related to the fall season. These organs are associated with the emotion of taking in and letting go. It is also a time of turning inward. Leaves turn color and return back to the earth, enriching it with nutrients for the new harvest in the spring. Essentially, the lesson of this season is to return to our roots. Though things are dying, this natural rhythm has to happen in order for spring to come.

The change in seasons can be challenging at times. Staying balance while you are adjusting to changing weather conditions can cause stress to your body. Grief, sadness and depression are more prevalent during this season due to the ending of summer and the change in light. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help your body handle the emotions of grief this season.

Grief tends to settle into the chest center, weakening the breath. It is very important to regularly take breaths that are full and deep, which grounds your body. Also, drinking at least 8 cups of water per day is important during periods of sorrow. Fluids help to keep the meridians open while flushing toxins out of the system; thus, supporting the body in maintaining balance while under stress.

Do not let the natural rhythm of the fall season get you down. Use this time to cleanse yourself and to strengthen your body and soul for the long winter to come.

Below are other suggestions for living in harmony with the autumn season:
• The lungs and large intestine are considered the main organs for detoxing and cleansing the body. Therefore, this is a good time to do a cleanse. There are many cleanses out there you need to do some research to find the one best suited for you.
• Flower essences can also be effective in gently balancing the body. For example, Bach’s Rescue Remedy is good for grief. Follow direction on the bottle for usage.
• Go through your medicine cabinet and check for expiration dates. Toss any medication that is expired.
• It is also a good time to examine any “negative” attitudes (prejudices, envies, jealousies, etc.) stored within your consciousness. Is your mind and your body are ready to depart with these attitudes. It is time to let go. Try writing your issues down on paper. Be as specific as possible, and then burn the paper, mentally releasing your problems.
• Finally, below is an Acupressure and Deep Breathing technique to help you release depression:
1. Lie down on your back or sit comfortably, with your spine straight, and feet flat on the floor (you can place a pillow under your knee if that feels better).
2. Reach up toward the ceiling with both hands; take a deep breath, and hold it in for a few seconds, make tight fists and squeeze, tightening all the muscles in your arms.
3. Slowly exhale, bringing your fists down and keep the fist form, to your chest.
4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 several times.
5. Then, cross your arms at the wrists over the center of your upper chest, now release and extended fingers so that your fingers are pressing the upper outside area of the chest, (This point is Lung 1, also known as Letting Go).
6. While you are pressing Lung 1, inhale, filling your lungs completely and expanding your stomach. Hold the breath for a few seconds and then exhale slowly through your mouth.
7. Pull your belly button to your spine and continue pressing on Lung 1.
8. Repeat this entire exercise (steps 1 – 7) for two or three minutes, concentrate on the depth and rhythm of your breath.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summer Wellness

Happy July! I hope everyone is keeping cool and safe this summer. I hope everyone is wearing plenty of sunscreen and a hat for protection when heading outside. Did you know that you could get sun protection through your food?

Beta-carotene, lycopene and lutein are carotenoids (any of a class of mainly yellow, orange, or red fat-soluble pigments, which give color to plant parts such as ripe tomatoes and autumn leaves) that studies have shown to be particularly effective for protecting the skin against sun damage. Try adding the following to your diet: carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, squash, peppers, cantaloupe melons, nectarines, papaya, mango and dark green vegetables.

Studies have shown that eicosapentaenoic acid (also called EPA), a Type omega 3 fatty acid, helps lengthen the time that it takes skin to burn during sun exposure. Additionally, it helps reduce the risk of skin cancer. The best omega 3 fatty acids containing EPA and DHA are found in animal products such as, grass-fed beef, cold water and wild caught fish (e.g., salmon, sardines, and mackerel), and free-range chickens/eggs.

However, though you can get sun protection from your food, the amount of protection you receive is not enough protection from the sun. So, remember to wear sunscreen daily. The most ideal sunscreens are products with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as their active ingredients. Both block UVA and UVB rays, and are safe products for your skin. They have raised no health concerns to date.

Do enjoy the beautiful sun! Don’t be scared off by the heat. Just remember to protect your skin inside and outside with a healthy diet and high-quality sunscreens. You will not only soak up the vitamin D with all its health benefits, but have soft smooth skin as well.

The following recipes are from a post last year and will help to keep you cool through the hot summer months:

Cucumber Water

Benefits: Great for keeping skin moisturized and soft; helps to control body temperature


1 cucumber, sliced

1 lime, sliced

4 celery stalks

1 watermelon rind


Place all ingredients into a pitcher of water.

Let soak overnight in the refrigerator for at least 8 to 11 hours. Remove ingredients before 12 hours to keep water from taking on a bitter taste. Please drink this water within the week.

Use ingredients as garnish on glasses, and enjoy.

Cold Chrysanthemum Tea

Benefits: Prevents sunstroke and clears heat from the body; reduces symptoms of urinary tract infection (UTI)


60 – 80 white chrysanthemum flowers (can be found dried in most Asian grocery stores)

4 liters of water

Rock sugar candy, or honey to taste


Wash chrysanthemum (gentle rise).

Pour water into a pot and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and add chrysanthemum.

Cook for 10 minutes, then add rock sugar or honey (optional).

Turn off heat, then allow tea to brew for an additional 10 minutes.

Remove pot from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature.

Strain tea into a pitcher and refrigerate.

Serve chilled and enjoy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Summer - I think...

As I write this blog, the thermometer outside reads 57 degrees. I thought it was supposed to be Summer? 57 degrees doesn’t feel like Summer to me. Summer is the most “Yang” of the seasons, and according to Chinese Medicine, it is a time for growth, lightness, outward activity, brightness, and creativity.

As Summer heats up, most people do really well this time of year. Aches, pains and depression all improve as the Summer sun fills our bodies with nutrients. However, the heat can also be very oppressive for lots of people. Remember, to live in harmony with the energy of this season, rise early and welcome the sun.

When the days are hot, try to create a relaxing dining experience, such as a picnic, and try to include cooling, fresh foods, such as Apricots, Cantaloupe, Lemons, Limes, Asparagus, Sprouts, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Chinese cabbage, Cucumbers, White Mushrooms, Snow Peas, Spinach, Watercress, Seaweed, Mung Beans, Cilantro, and Mint.

Try infusing Lemons or Limes in water because sour or astringent flavors help reduce water loss. Infuse water by slicing limes and soak in a pitcher of water overnight, do not soak too long or the water will become bitter. Another way to enjoy Limes is to try unsweetened or slightly sweetened (use honey) limeade. Limeade mixed with watermelon is great for combating summer heat with no other sweetener needed. You can also add mint to the limeade for an extra cooling agent.

Finally, Summer’s element is fire; its emotion is joy; its organ system is the Heart. According to Chinese Medicine, the Heart regulates blood circulation, controls consciousness, sleep, spirit, and “houses the mind.” Thus, summer is an ideal time to treat any of the following issues with acupuncture and herbal medicine: insomnia, restlessness, ADHD, poor memory, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, depression, poor circulation, and any aversion to heat.

I wish you a great, exciting and active Summer.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Learning more about your body

I know I usually blog about food as medicine, but today, I want us to look at another function in our bodies, bowel movements. Bowel movements are one of the key ways to learn more about your body.

Did you know that ancient Chinese physicians had to study the excrement of emperors for hidden illnesses and to identify the foods he should be eating? Do you look at your stools? You need to. Look at the consistency, color, quality and smell.

The ideal stool should be:

· Medium brown, the color of plain cardboard, or it should be reflective of the foods you have been eating

· Leaving the body easily with no straining or discomfort

· Similar to toothpaste in consistency

· Approximately 4 to 8 inches long

· Excreting very little gas or a slight odor (Note: you're passing methane and bacterial degraded food so there's going to be an odor, but the odor should not be very strong or pungent)

Some possible bowel issues:

· Whitish mucus in your stool may reflect inflammation in the intestines.

· Your stool should sink when it hits the water. However, when the body isn’t properly absorbing fat from the foods you eat, the fat ends up being excreted in your stool. The result is a stool that’s yellowish in color, greasy in consistency, foul smelling, and that floats in the toilet. Certain medical conditions, like celiac disease, can cause these mal-absorption problems. And since essential nutrients could also be lost along with the un-absorbed fat, it’s important to see your doctor if you experience this problem. These fatty, smelly stools are also side effects of eating foods that contain Olestra or from taking the weight loss drug Xenical (or its over-the-counter cousin, Alli).

Issues according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM):

· Loose stools with abdominal bloating, lack of energy and poor appetite can be signs of a condition known as spleen qi deficiency. It does not necessarily involve your actual spleen, but it is linked to tiredness and weak digestion brought on by stress and poor diet. Try eating warm or hot foods, and drink tea with your meals.

· Pellet stools are when the stool comes out in small round balls. According to TCM, pellet stools are caused by a condition known as liver qi stagnation. Liver qi stagnation can be brought on by stress. Lack of exercise can worsen the problem. To improve the quality of your stool, eat more vegetables.

In some cases, an unusual bowel movement is harmless and can be attributed to a particular food or medication -- but not always. Changes in bowel habits that persist can be a serious matter and should be investigated. What comes through your digestive track will tell you how well or ill you are. So, take a look at your bowel movements today to learn more about your body.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Heart Health Awareness Month

February is heart health awareness month. Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, as well as a major cause of disability. Beware of discomforts in the chest area, other upper body discomforts (such as pain spreading to the shoulders, neck or arms), and shortness of breath, which are all common signs of heart problems.

Chinese Medicine uses visual cues to diagnose possible symptoms of Heart Disease. For example, a vertical or tangential crease on your earlobes, a horizontal crease across the bridge of the nose, or a deep narrow central crack on the tongue extending to the tip and/or a deviated tongue are all signs of possible Heart Disease.

In Chinese Medicine, the Heart corresponds to the element of fire and is associated with the color red and the Summer season. However, the Heart dislikes heat and is vulnerable to being invaded by exterior heat (e.g., the heating system in your house). Keeping your body hydrated helps to keep the heat from accumulating.

Your lifestyle can greatly affect your heart health. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can help you to maintain a healthy weight and good blood pressure. They can also help you to quit smoking, to keep your stress levels down, and to help with improving your sleep. Acupuncture and herbal formulas have been used for thousands of years to nourish the Heart and Blood to prevent and to treat a Heart Imbalance.

Remember, love your heart! Take good care of it, and it’ll go on pumping for a long time!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy 2011!

Happy 2011! Whether you make New Year resolutions or simple goals for the New Year, we all think of the year to come and all the possibilities it may bring.

My wish for all of you in 2011 is to simply live in the present. With the hectic lives we lead, we never truly live in the moment. We are always trying to plan our next move, and do not take note of what we are experiencing right now.

So, humor me for a second and step away from your computer to go get that orange that is sitting on your counter. You know you’ve wanted to eat it; so just go get it. Oranges in Chinese tradition are seen as good luck so they are given out during the New Year. Before you cut into it or peel it, hold that orange in your hands, feel the weight and texture. Really look at that orange. Breathe in the fragrance. Then, dig your fingers in and peel back the skin. Is it juicy? Is it dry? Does the orange scent fill the room?

Now take a slice of the orange and put it in your mouth, just let it sit on your tongue for a second and slowly chew it. Is it sweet? Is it sour? Does it consume all your taste buds? Did it make you wrinkle your face? Chew it slowly and enjoy the seconds; empty your mind and truly savor it.

Remember this method of eating and enjoying food the next time you have a craving for a piece of cake or something that is not on your eating plan Enjoy food; don’t feel guilty about loving food. Mindful eating is the start to mindful living and leads you down the path to a healthier life, which is essential to surviving in our high-stress world.