Apr 5, 2017

Infertility Awareness Month

Happy Spring everyone! I know it’s been awhile since I have posted, but I just had to share this news with you. I just returned from an Infertility Symposium in Vancouver, Canada. It is the largest gathering of its kind and people from all over the world attend. It is for acupuncturist, naturopaths, doctors and researchers and it’s all about the treatment of infertility. As you all know treating infertility is near and dear to my heart and I want to be able to help all who struggle with this to have a family! Here are some things you may or may not know about infertility:

  • Infertility treatments (as in Assisted Reproductive Technologies such as IVF and IUI’s) are not covered by most insurance companies and these therapies are very expensive ($15-$30,000 and up!).
  • 1 in every 8 couples suffer from infertility
  • There were 102,475 ART cycles started in 2009 and only 1/3 resulted in live births!

April is Infertility Awareness Month and Seattle is going big in honor of all the people who suffer from infertility. Most of the events are completely free to the public or low cost. Among these are:

Footsteps for Fertility: A fertility grant-giving 5K walk/race at Seward Park on April 22. You or a team you put together can raise money which will go toward grants for ART treatment, medications and PGS testing. Register at: Footstepsforfertility.org

SEA-ART-HEAL: ART of infertility: http://bit.ly/SeaArtHealA/NT: An exhibit which is in the Gallery across from the Seattle Center foundation next to the Key Arena. On display: Wed-Sun. 11-6. April 1-30

“Vegas Baby”: movie screening and panel: April 27, AMC Loews Alderwood 16. Buy tickets at: tugg.com

Thank you so much for your support!!!

 

 

 

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Jan 15, 2016

Staying Healthy in 2016!

Happy 2016! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays with your families. As promised this post will share some of the things that I do when I actually do get sick. The below tips should help when you get colds, sinusitis, or the flu.

In Chinese medicine there are two main types of diagnosis’s when it comes to the common cold, flu, or sinusitis; either a wind heat or a wind cold invasion. I typically see more wind heat invasions here in the Pacific Northwest, but some people, with more of a cold constitution, may suffer from wind colds. The symptoms below should help you decipher what type of wind invasion you have.

Wind heat:

Sore throat..not just scratchy but may feel painful and sharp when you swallow.

Nasal congestion that ranges from slightly yellow to green throughout the day or just in the morning.

Sinus pressure which may result in a headache

Bodyaches..all over not just the upper neck and back

Fever and or sweating

Chinese Herbs: Yin Qiao San, Andrographis Formula (this formula acts as an herbal antibiotic)

Other advice: try a hot steam with eucalyptus oil or a nedi pot to relieve the sinus pressure.           For a bad sore throat: boil 3-5 thumb sized slices of fresh ginger. Let it cool a bit. Add ½ tsp of honey, ½ tsp of lemon juice and a small pinch of cayenne pepper and drink as a tea. Also come in for acupuncture to release the heat, clear the sinuses and settle the digestion.

 

Wind cold:

Scratchy throat

Nasal congestion that is clear or white

Headache and stiff neck

Achy joints and limbs

Aversion to cold and wind

Chilled..can’t get warm

Unable to sweat

Chinese Herbs: Gui Zi Tang

Other advice: make a ginger tea. 1 part fresh ginger to 3 parts Chinese scallions. Boil ginger for 10 minutes and after 5 minutes add in the scallions. Drink tea and get under the covers to produce a sweat. Also come in for an acupuncture and Gua Sha session: to release the cold and wind.

So the next time you or your kids come down with a cold, the flu, or sinusitis come on in and I can give you an acupuncture session to boost your immune system and prescribe an herbal formula. This combination can shorten an illness and can lessen the severity of it as well. Let’s all stay healthy in 2016!

 

 

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Oct 16, 2015

Colds, Flu, Allergies, and Asthma Oh My!

It is finally feeling like fall here in Seattle and along with the change of season comes the start of colds, flu, allergies ,and asthma. As kids go back to school and we adjust to the new, even busier routine… we are all trying to stay healthy! I'm sure that each of us has our “stay healthy routines,” but I thought I would share mine with you. Mine comes from a place informed by Chinese Medicine and can be easily adapted into your own health and well being practices.

When I think of how to support my immune system, according to Chinese Medicine, I think of the Spleen, Lung and Kidney energy. These three organs make up the Wei Qi which is our first line of defense in keeping us well. If these three organs are in balance, then we are able to fight off the pathogens which make us sick.

In Chinese Medicine, the pathogens are primarily wind, heat, and cold. Wind is the pathogen that accompanies both cold and heat and can invade though the back of the neck. That is why Chinese medicine practitioners always tell people to cover the back of their necks, especially during the fall, winter, and spring months when the wind can be most prevalent. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are also recommended to keep your immune system at its prime. If you do happen to get sick, you can add these methods to lessen the severity of the symptoms and length of the illness. Many people think that if they are sick they cannot come to acupuncture. In fact that is a great time to come as I can help you feel better faster! And kids can come too! Kids immune systems need a lift as well, and I can help with that without the use of needles.

Here is what I do to stay healthy:

Spleen support: The spleen is the main organ in charge of our digestion, so I want to make sure that I am eating foods that support the Spleen such as beets, leafy greens, dark berries, and cruciferious veggies. The Spleen likes warm, easy to digest foods so I steam all my veggies. I also avoid eating anything cold out of the fridge and drink all of my liquids room temperature or warmer. Lastly, the Spleen likes regular meals which are mindful and enjoyed…not rushed.

Lung Support: The Lung is responsible for taking in the new..the clean, crisp air that fills us with oxygen allowing us to think clearly and function optimally. In order to do this job we need to exercise the Lungs. I like to do this through my yoga practice and pranayama breathing. My favorite pranayama for the fall months is alternate nostril breathing. This fills my lungs and clears my sinuses at the same time!

Kidney Support: The Kidneys are the root of our energy; our basis of Qi. Supporting the Kidneys takes discipline and is not always easy to do in our busy world. Things which tax the Kidney energy are not enough sleep, too much stress, and little space for the mind to be quiet. I try to have a regular sleep routine, be aware of what I am committing to (trying not to over commit), and I meditate on a regular basis.

In addition to supporting these organs, I get acupuncture, take a multivitamin, and a mushroom tincture called Mycoimmune. I hope these tips help keep you and your families healthy this fall! Stay tuned for what I do when I do get sick...because no one is always in perfect balance!

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Jul 24, 2015

The Heart of Summer

Wow Seattle we are experiencing an extended summer here in the Pacific Northwest! It feels like we have had summer for months now! Our bodies love the warm yang energy and so does the earth. The energy of yang is expansive, energizing, and overflowing. But remember it is all about balance. Too much yang can deplete the yin energy of our bodies and of the Earth. So just like the Earth we too need a break from the heat. So stock up on the yang energy as it fills up our wells of depleted qi, but also take time for nourishing the body with yin type foods such as celery, cucumber, seasonal fruits, and cooling drinks. As well as partake in yin type activities which calm an active mind such as yoga, swimming and meditation.

 

One of the benefits of summer is that our qi is at its most free flowing during this season. This gives us a unique opportunity to strengthen and prepare the qi for the fall and winter months. For people with weak wei qi (or immune qi), who are susceptible to frequent colds or flu’s, asthma, and allergies, summer and early fall are a great time to reinforce the qi so that it can be at its strongest during the cold and flu season. We recommend acupuncture and herbs 1-2 months before the susceptible season arrives in order to build up your immune defenses so that your qi is strong enough to ward off colds, flu’s, allergies, and asthma. This is where the idea of preventative medicine comes in. Many people use acupuncture for acute or chronic issues, but another way to reap the benefits of acupuncture is to seek treatment before a known issue occurs to prevent it.

Lastly, while the fiery element of your Chinese Heart has the capacity to bring us great joy and brightness, there can also be some issues when it becomes out of balance. The joyful giddiness of the Heart can run wild and become manic; and a disturbed Shen (or mind) can give way to anxiety, panic attacks, dream disturbed sleep and insomnia. In addition, due to the warm nature of this fire element, you can be susceptible to heat conditions such as flushing, hot flashes, inflammation, infections, an overall sensation of heat, and even dryness can be caused by too much Heart Fire.

Here are some ways you can honor your Chinese Heart, and keep the fire element in balance:

-Find ways to bring joyfulness into your life. This can be difficult when you are working, caring for others, and tending to daily chores and routines. However, if you can find moments for yourself and activities that you like to do–things that bring you joy–you will be nourishing your emotional Heart.

-Stay in the present moment. Looking into the future with expectations or dwelling in the past brings our heart anxiety and fear. Feeling gratitude for what we have brings us into the present moment and expands our hearts.

-Nourish your relationships with loved ones. The focus of the fire element is on relationships. Pay attention to the relationships that you have with your family, friends and co-workers. Speak your truth with an honest open heart and that is what will be returned in kind.

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May 14, 2015

The Qi of Spring

Spring is definitely here in Seattle. It’s that time of year when the weather can be unpredictable…one moment sunny the next moment hailing! The energy in our body during the Spring acts this way too. One moment we feel great and energetic and the next moment lethargic and moody!

The organs associated with Spring energy are the Liver and Gallbladder. The Liver and Gallbladder are paired organs representing the element of Wood. They work together well when in balance. This Wood energy of spring is an expression of life at its strongest. The liver creates the blueprint and the gallbladder executes it. This pair helps us to generate creativity which engenders growth and flexibility with whatever is thrown our way. This is reflected in nature, as well, as the plants burst forth from the soil with an uprising of energy and new growth.

The liver is in charge of the free flow of “qi” or energy in our body. This free flow of qi helps promote unconstrained growth at a rate that is healthy for the individual. If growth is driven by habituated desires this results in frustration and causes the qi to stagnate. If the qi becomes deficient, it then fails to empower striving and forward movement, and resignation will manifest as growth comes to a standstill. Therefore, the smooth flow of qi is all about finding creative ways around the obstacles that confront us. The energy of the liver is at its best when it is like bamboo; strong enough to withstand strong winds, because of its flexibility to bend.

While the energy of spring supports and challenges us to grow and change, we may feel discomfort from these processes. We can temper our uneasiness with the warmth of friendship, as well as with the recognition that we all experience growing pains in the process of realizing our potential.

Suggestions for living in harmony with the spring season

  • Begin your day early, with a brisk walk. Feel the sunshine pull you up and out. Feel the life within you thrust up out of darkness into new possibilities. Make a garden. Eat greens. Do a cleanse.
  • Begin new things - at home, in your work, and in yourself. In this season when nature reinvents itself, we too can see people and situations with new eyes. Let new tissue grow over old hurts, and take fresh hope. Be creative. Make things, do things. Begin!
  • Consider how you wish to make ready for your summer harvest. Spring does not last forever. Use its bountiful energy wisely, so that the crops you sow - again, in yourself, in your work, and in your life - are those you wish to harvest.

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Feb 27, 2015

Gun Hei Fat Choy!

Gun Hei Fat Choi!! Happy Year of the Sheep!

2014 was the year of the Yang Wood Horse. Last year was known as a year filled with Yang energy. Yang is the energy of action, transformation and outward movement. As the galloping horse begins to fade, the energy of the Yin Wood Sheep will take its place.

Beginning on February 19th, 2015, the energy is going to shift from outward to a more inward state as the energy moves from Yang into Yin. Yin energy is very creative, intuitive and gentle. Instead of everything moving fast and abruptly like yang energy, yin energy gives us time to focus, get centered and take stock over what we have created so far.

The Sheep is an animal which represents the energy of generosity, patience and peacefulness. The goal of the sheep is to create harmony and beauty within the home and family, and is often considered to be the most feminine of all the Chinese zodiac animals. The sheep, like the horse, is extremely intuitive, but the only difference is the sheep is a lot more emotional and has more awareness to heal, nurture and tend to issues that are causing suffering.

The sheep will also guide us to tune into our intuition and emotional well-being while still being receptive to the emotions of others. She asks that we use our mind and heart to make decisions, rather than force and aggression. This year will be about knowing yourself clearly and deeply, forgiving yourself, clearing past wounds and accepting who you are. It will be a year which reminds us that home is where the heart is, and that loving yourself, feeling safe and surrounding yourself with a loving group of friends and family is paramount to your life’s work. It is the sheep’s desire that we go within, pay attention to the small things and to nurture others and ourselves.

It is true that in nurturing yourself you can better take care of others. Chinese medicine is able to help you nurture your physical, emotional and spiritual well being. In Chinese Medicine, disease is present when there is an imbalance between the yin and yang energy. Too much Yang and thus not enough yin can lead to issues such as migraines, anxiety, fertility struggles and high blood pressure. Too much yin and not enough yang can lead to digestive complaints, insomnia, depression, and arthritic pain. Let acupuncture and Chinese herbs help to balance your yin and yang this year and keep you healthy, happy and at peace!

 

 

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Nov 5, 2014

Does your immune system need a boost?

Welcome to Fall Seattle!! We have had such a gorgeous Fall so far!

But now the weather has turned and it’s that time of year when our immune systems need a boost or else we are hit with head colds, the flu, asthma and allergies. In Chinese Medicine we attribute two paired organs to each season. Fall is the season of the Lungs and Large Intestine. The Lung is yin and the Large Intestine is Yang and they work together to keep the body in balance and free of illness. The Lung is responsible for taking in the new..the clean, crisp fall air that fills us with oxygen allowing us to think clearly and function optimally. The Large Intestine is responsible for letting go of the waste (both emotional and physical). As the last stage in digestion, it helps rid our bodies of that which no longer serves us. When the Qi of the Lungs or Large Intestine get stuck then illness occurs (asthma, colds, bronchitis skin issues etc.). By invigorating the Lung Qi and moving the Large Intestine Qi we are able to strengthen our immune systems and rid ourselves of disease. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are a great way to move the Qi of the Lungs and Large Intestines to either prevent illness or to move through an illness to health more quickly.

I see many adults at my practice for this reason, but did you know that I see children too? Children can also benefit from the natural healing modalities of acupuncture and Chinese herbs! Their immune systems could use some invigorating too! Many kids get frequent colds/flu, and in the last 10 years many more are suffering from allergies, skin issues and asthma. Acupuncture is a natural and effective way to fortify a child’s immune system so as to prevent colds, flu, allergies, eczema and asthma and Fall is a great time to start treatment!

Pediatric acupuncture is very different from the style of acupuncture typically used on adults. The most effective kind of pediatric acupuncture, that I have found, is a style known as Shonishin (sho=little, ni=children, shin=needle). This is a type of treatment that was developed over 400 years ago in Japan. It is a form of bodywork that utilizes specialized Shonishin tools to balance a child’s energy and stimulate acupuncture points. In most cases, there is no need to insert a needle at all, because children are so full of energy they react very quickly to the stimulus in a very positive way. The children that I treat with Shonishin are ages newborn to ten years of age (children older then 10 usually need small needles). Since this is non-invasive and non-threatening to the child, they often enjoy their treatments and look forward to future visits. Other treatment modalities used with children include Tui na massage, cupping, moxibustion, herbal therapy and diet/lifestyle advice. Treating children with these natural therapies can not only benefit their health today, but also build a strong foundation for their future health and well-being.

 

So this Fall, bring the whole family in to strengthen your immune systems and give yourselves the gift of health! You will be glad you did!!

 

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Jul 11, 2014

Sensational Summer

Welcome to summer Seattle!! What a gorgeous summer we’ve had so far. Nothing beats summer in Seattle!

 In Traditional Chinese Medicine, summer is the season that is the most “yang.” This type of energy has an outward expression with lots of expansion, movement and activity. You can see this kind of energy all around us. Plants grow quickly, we get up early and go to bed late, the weather is hot and the sun is out, improving people’s moods, and we’re drawn outdoors to participate in all the activities we’ve been longing for all winter. Summer is a time when the body’s qi and vitality are at its peak. It is finally time to cultivate the yang energy!

Traditional Chinese Medicine also teaches us that summer belongs to fire, one of the five elements. Fire is symbolic of maximum activity or greatest yang. In human anatomy, the heart, mind, and spirit are ruled by the fire element. Thus, top priority should be given to the heart, mind, and spirit for staying healthy in summer. Our memory, thought processes, emotional well-being, and consciousness are attributed to the heart and fire element. Therefore, summer is a time to nourish and pacify our spirits, and to realize our life's greatest potential as we find joy in 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 imbalanced, we may either lack joy (depression) or have an excess of joy (mania). Indicators of an imbalance in the fire element also include agitation, nervousness, heartburn, anxiety and insomnia. Of course the summer with its heat can also exacerbate heat conditions such as hot flashes, night sweats, headaches, and sinus infections,

 Tips for Summer Health

  • Awaken earlier in the morning.
  • Go to bed later in the evening
  • Rest at midday
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Add pungent flavors to your diet
  • Refrain from anger; keep calm and even-tempered
  • Have water with slices of lemon and cucumber and sip throughout the day
  • Eat in moderation – over consumption of food can lead to indigestion, sluggishness and possibly diarrhea.
  • Stay away from dairy, heavy, greasy, and fried foods. In summer, indigestion can easily occur, so a light and less-greasy diet is recommended
  • If experiencing an imbalance in your fire element or present heat conditions have worsen, treat yourself to acupuncture which can clear heat, calm the mind and settle the spirit.

 

Happy summer!!

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May 2, 2014

Spectacular Spring

It’s definitely feeling like spring here in Seattle! Plants are emerging from their winter dormancy, flowers are budding, and the days are getting longer. In Chinese Medicine, this same seasonal cycle that we observe in the outer world of nature is also happening inside our bodies.

Spring is a time of rebirth, sudden growth, and rapid expansion. Vital force pushes to the surface, bursting through the confinement of winter grey. Excitement builds as the life process reawakens. It seems to happen as if overnight! One day our gardens appear grey and lifeless, the next day sunbeams cast light upon branches brimming with buds, colorful flowers blooming, and songbirds happily singing. All of this sudden activity stirs in us tumultuous feelings. The changes are expected yet unpredictable. The anticipation builds tension as well as the promise of release. Just like the weather in Spring; a sudden gust of wind or rain shower can catch us off guard and throw us off balance momentarily. Reminding us to just go with the flow and be flexible.

This is a time for metamorphosis during which our horizon widens and our energies expand. Whatever resources have been stored during the darkness of winter are now ready to use. We awaken to find the will to initiate and execute projects that have been contemplated, but not yet begun. The energy of Spring is creative, volatile, and powerful and so are we!

Spring is associated with the Liver and Gallbladder system in Chinese Medicine. This system encompasses your liver and gallbladder, tendons and connective tissue and the eyes, as well as the free flow of emotions., The emotions primarily centering on the creative drive as well as the envisioning, planning, and decision-making that go along with it. Spring is also associated with the emotion of anger (short temper, impatience, or frustration).

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of Spring!

  • Go outside and breathe some fresh air; exercising for 30 minutes. Healthy lung qi helps invigorate stuck Liver qi.
  • Forgive someone. Holding onto anger and resentment stagnates the Liver Qi. Let it go!
  • Eat Lightly. Our Livers help us get rid of the heavy stagnation we might have accumulated during the winter. Leave behind the heavier foods of winter, especially heavy meats, dairy products, and wheat.
  • Spring allergy sufferers especially, avoid the above foods as the sludge accumulated by eating these foods during the winter will rise to the face/eyes and cause nasal congestion, itchy or watery eyes, headaches and clogged ears.
  • Consider cutting down on your liver’s workload by eliminating alcohol, refined sugar, and anything artificial. Even if you don’t want to do this forever, a week or two off from these known toxins will help your liver do a little spring cleaning!
  • Eat green and pungent. Foods with a pungent taste like onions and garlic, peppermint, basil, dill, fennel, turmeric, rosemary, and parsley can be helpful in eliminating winter sluggishness. Young, tender shoots and green leaves, like asparagus, bean sprouts, kale, collard greens, watercress, romaine, and dandelion will support the liver in detoxing.
  • Enjoy life!

 Exciting Announcement:

My good friend Amanda will be joining me at Perfect Harmony on Mondays and Sundays. Amanda has a kind-hearted, sensitive soul and she is an intuitive healer. I am so excited to have her here! Please read her bio below to learn a bit more about her.

Om. My name is Amanda Stoker. I am a licensed esthetician, Reiki master and yoga instructor. I will be offering Reiki and waxing services at Perfect Harmony Acupuncture on Sundays and Mondays from 9 am to 2 pm. If you would like to book a service contact me at amanda.healingtouch@gmail.com.

Reiki is a gentle from of energy work where I use my hands above and on the body to speed up the healing process. The energy, or subtle, body is not confined by your physical body therefore contact is not always necessary. This can help in any physical, mental, or emotional healing you are going through. Shifting may occur in a physical manner with a jerk movement as the body adjusts itself; or the body may respond with energetic shifts in the form of heat and tingling. I feel the subtle body as breath in my hands and tune into this energy where I feel it the strongest. Everyone’s experience is unique as each person heals in different ways.

I became interested in learning Reiki after working as an esthetician for 5 years. When I would return home from work, I would feel residual vibrations from people I had worked on that day. I spoke to an acupuncturist friend of mine and she suggested I look into becoming attuned to Reiki. I signed up for a Reiki Master program through Eileen Dey. During the second class, I was working on a fellow student and had my hands on her legs. My eyes were closed and all of the sudden I felt the sensation of breath. It startled me and I opened my eyes to look down at my hands, expecting the blanket to be moving up and down! It wasn’t. My hands were placed still on her legs. What I was tapping into was the Pranamaya Kosha, or breath layer of the subtle body. In this sheath is our vital energy, that which makes us a living, breathing being. Our ability to heal ourselves navigates through this layer. This experience further ignited my passion for Reiki and to facilitate the healing of others. We all contain the ability to invite in healing for ourselves, Reiki opens the door to the healing that we are meant to find.

Reiki sessions are typically 60 minutes and cost $50 or donation. At this time, payment is taken in check or cash at time of service.

I am happy to be working with Nicole and meeting all of you. My true passion is to love and serve others. I am infinitely grateful to have this opportunity to work with you and honored to be a part of your healing journey. Namaste.

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Feb 28, 2014

Winter Woes

Winter brings with it the dreaded cold and flu season. Many of you have probably already witnessed and /or fallen prey to the nasty bugs circulating this season. Patients often ask me; “Can I still come to acupuncture if I’m sick?” The answer is “YES; if you don’t mind being poked when you are not feeling well of course!”

 What you may not know is that acupuncture can

  • help lessen the symptoms of a cold/flu
  • shorten the cycle of the illness
  • prevent future colds/flu by supporting the immune system
  • treat bacterial as well as viral infections (like the common cold)

Using acupuncture and Chinese herbs we can treat symptoms such as chills, congestion, sore throat, fever, headaches, cough, low energy, digestive upset etc. in a safe, natural way. Coming to acupuncture may help you avoid the use of antibiotics and their side affects. Or if you do choose to take antibiotics, then acupuncture and Chinese herbs will not interfere with Western medical treatment. On the contrary, it provides a welcome complement as it can help shorten the recovery time.

So the next time you or your loved one isn’t feeling well, or you just want to be proactive in strengthening your immune system, then think of your local acupuncturist. I look forward to supporting you in a safe, natural and effective way!

 

 

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Jan 24, 2014

Oh Wise Winter

In winter, nature is at rest. The earth lies fallow and all is quiet and still. It is in this rest that nature replenishes itself. Let winter teach you that in this deep stillness we are called to look into our depths and to reconnect to our inner being. Be still and quiet. Look inward, and reflect with meditation, writing, or other inward practices such as Tai Chi or Qi Gong. These practices help us connect to our inner.

Winter, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is associated with the Kidneys which we believe hold our body’s most basic and fundamental energy. According to TCM principles, all of the energy or Qi for our body stems from the health of the Kidney energy. The Kidneys are the root or pillar of strength that all the rest of our being draws upon. Think of the kidneys as a bank account….the more we put in and save the more reserve we will have to draw upon later when we may need it. The more we take out the less we have to get us through hard times.

Many people in our fast paced society suffer from a depletion of Kidney Qi as a result of overwork, stress, lack of sleep, or excessive lifestyles physically and/or mentally. Common symptoms are often bone problems (especially in the back, knees or teeth), joint pain, depletion of hair quality, urinary, sexual and/or reproductive imbalances, adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism, premature aging, depression, insecurity, and anxiety or insomnia.

Some ideas to fill your “bank account”:

Take Time to Listen and Recharge: Winter is a time to build your reserves; so slow down and listen to what others have to say and to what your heart says to you. This is a time of receiving, not doing. Be patient.

Nourish Yourself Well: Nourish yourself with warm food and drink lots of water. It is important to hydrate by drinking at least 8 to 10 glasses of fresh water daily. Eat warming foods such as root vegetables, whole grains, and small amounts of meat or fish protein. If you are a vegetarian, eat more beans, nuts, and tofu.

Continue to exercise: You may not feel like being active, but exercise will help keep you healthy!

Keep Warm: Prepare for the weather, and dress accordingly. Chinese medicine says that the neck and shoulder areas contain the “Wind” points through which pathogens can enter, so keep these areas protected; wear a scarf and keep your neck covered.

Come get acupuncture and Chinese herbs: Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help fortify your kidney qi and build your reserves. It can also help with some of the symptoms of Kidney Qi depletion such as osteoarthritis, frozen shoulder, or any kind of back, knee or hip pain that is worse during the cold, damp winter. Also, if you suffer from seasonal affect disorder, anxiety, insomnia, or adrenal fatigue, acupuncture can help get you through the cold, dark months ahead.

Enjoy the season! Peace and health to you and your families!

 

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Nov 8, 2013

Welcome to Fall

It is officially Fall here in Seattle. With the blustery weather we’ve been having; Summer seems like a distant memory. The days are getting longer and darker. And if you look around you, you will notice that nature is energetically letting go and beginning its move inward.

In Chinese Medicine METAL is the energy of Fall; it gives us our sense of quality and value, and our capacity to look at what lies beyond ourselves. It gives us the power to let go. Look at nature as an example; having provided the harvest it lets go of its abundant creation of the past year in a grand final display.

Nature can instruct us about our own cycles of creating and letting go. Many of us defy nature’s cycle and hold onto what we've produced or collected; yet the trees in autumn don't hold onto their leaves because they might need them next year. They let go of them and send energy to their roots in order to build a strong foundation for the next harvest. This is not easy for us humans to achieve…letting go of that which we have worked to create is difficult for us! So this season, more than any other, try to let go of those decaying leaves and that which is old and stale so that you can be receptive to the pure and new when Spring arrives.

The METAL element within us gives our sense of self-worth. Each of us is a miracle of creation, and each of us has a unique and priceless contribution to make. Yet when our Metal energy is imbalanced, we have difficulty sensing our value. Thus, we then compensate by seeking things outside of ourselves that we think will add to our worth: status, money, power, - none of them bad or wrong of themselves, although our pursuit of them can be a symptom. The problem is that once we have acquired these things we often remain strangely unfulfilled. People who have an imbalance in metal seek respect, quality, and recognition from the outside because they feel the lack of worth within. It is especially those who struggle with a metal imbalance who need to strive to let go and let the season of Fall return us to our essence, moves us to eliminate what we no longer need, and reveal again what is most precious in our lives.

 Here are some ideas on how to stay in tune with the energy of the season:

  • Why wait until spring?! Go through your home and let go of what no longer serves you…donate it, put it on ebay… just let go of it so you can start fresh in the Spring.
  • Take time to mentally take stock of your feelings and attitudes…are your feelings/attitudes in tune with your life’s purpose?
  • Ask yourself some poignant questions. What do I no longer need and what can I let go of? Do I have any unresolved emotions that I need to release? What is important to me that helps create/define my feelings of self worth?
  • Take long walks to fill your lungs with clean, cool autumn air. In Chinese Medicine this is known as “taking in the pure Qi”. It energizes us and keeps our Qi circulating.
  • Come see your friendly acupuncturist who can help strengthen your Metal element and assist you in letting go of what no longer serves you, so that you can be the BEST you!

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Sep 12, 2013

Thoughts on Late Summer

We have had such a beautiful summer it is hard to think about anything else, but in Chinese Medicine we are quickly approaching yet another transition of seasons.  Most of us only think of four seasons, but in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we have five seasons, the fifth one being “late summer”.

Late summer is related to the TCM element of Earth and it acts as a turning point for the hot, active, Yang energy of the spring and summer into the cooler, storing, Yin energy of the fall and winter. It begins late August through the Autumn equinox.

The Earth element is regarded as the center, a balancing and stabilizing influence. People who are predominantly Earth types tend to be very nurturing, caring and sympathetic. They are often people pleasers and may be unable to say no; always putting the needs of others ahead of their own. An imbalance in the Earth element can result in feeling unfocused, spacey or indecisive. Patterns of disharmony in the Earth element can also manifest as poor digestion, lethargy/fatigue, and weight issues.

The emotion associated with the Earth element is pensiveness, which includes worry and over-thinking. Earth types may be troubled by obsessive, repetitive thoughts. This constant mental processing can impede digestive function. A weak digestive system can make us feel foggy-headed, and an overanalyzing, worrying mind can impede our assimilation of food. Spending time outside of our mind chatter can help us to become more nourished, both literally and figuratively.

Some ideas to help you enjoy late summer:

Because of the Earth’s elements dual processing role—of thoughts and of food—make sure to focus on eating when you are eating rather than multitasking, work, TV, or deep emotional conversations (light and enjoyable talk is fine). This focus will help you to digest your food better.

As the weather cools, incorporate some warming foods that support the Earth element. Foods like ginger, squash, pumpkin, fennel, and mustard greens help your digestive system.

Most of us spend a lot of time “in our heads”—planning, organizing, thinking, and worrying. This is a great time of year to start or restart a meditative practice.

And of course seeing your friendly acupuncturist will help you transition into this season more easily too! We can help with problems that come up with an Earth imbalance such as; digestion (constipation, loose stools, bloating, heartburn etc.) as well as worrying/pensive thoughts, difficulty making decisions, or feeling foggy-headed.

Announcements:

Please support our local midwives by joining Miles for Midwives October 6th at Lincoln Park in West Seattle. Miles for Midwives takes place every autumn to raise awareness around the benefits of midwifery and the important work of Washington midwives! Your participation helps to ensure that families in Washington State have greater access to quality women’s healthcare and the lower healthcare costs associated with utilization of midwives. Perfect Harmony Acupuncture is proud to be a sponsor of this event! More info at: http://milesformidwives.org/.

Warmly,

Nicole Hidaka L.Ac.

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