Fall is here: simple tips to help you stay healthy

From an Chinese Medicine  perspective, Fall is time to pare down, to let go of the excesses we allowed ourselves in Summer and focus on what’s necessary for Winter.  The transition into Fall is when we move from the more active seasons to the more passive. This directly impacts how we feel, and how we prevent and treat illness.  Each season is linked with a natural element, organ and emotion. The element, organ and emotion of Fall are, respectively, Metal, Lung and grief. These three things guide us into how to feel the best we can.

With Metal, Lung and grief as our guides, here are some tips for staying healthy this fall.

Fall is when we ought to embrace our Metal-esque qualities: strong, definitive, focused, discerning. It is time to get down to business, to gain clarity about what really matters to us, as I said earlier pare down, to what is important and letting go of what no longer serves us well at this time.

Wear a scarf; Lung, the organ associated with fall, is the first line of defense against external ‘pathogenic factors’ (colds and flu etc). As the weather turns cold and the wind picks up, the Lung organ is extra vulnerable. In Chinese Medicine we believe that pathogenic factors such as cold and wind invade the body at the back of the neck,  hence the scarf. Try it, you’ll be amazed how much warmer and cozier you feel against the cooler Fall weather!

Dryness of all kinds is common in fall.  Dry skin and even rashes tend to show up in fall. Drink a lot of  (warm or hot) water and keep your skin hydrated. Whilst moisturizing  massage your skin and help the Qi to move more readily, self nurturing is particularly important and we turn inward preparing our bodies for the coming Winter months, in Ayurveda they call this Abhyanga and is traditionally done with warm oil and feels amazingly nurturing and grounding.

Another reason to stay hydrated is to regulate digestion. The Lung’s paired organ is Large Intestine, so sometimes digestive issues can flare up this time of year. Constipation, due to the dryness of the season, is most common, especially in people who struggle with the “letting go” aspect of transitioning into fall.

Eat warm seasonal foods; We need to start keeping our bodies warmer on the outside (scarf) , and also warmer on the inside as well. Instead of cold cereal with milk, choose oatmeal. Trade the salads for oven-roasted veggies over brown rice, casseroles and  seasonal soups. When cooking, add in some onions, ginger, garlic or mustard—these pungent foods are known to benefit the Lung organ.

Veggie wise, root vegetables such as beets, turnips, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and squash are ideal. If you go for out-of-season vegetables, make sure they are cooked. If you’re craving fruit, reach for something seasonal such as baked or stewed apples or pears.

If you’d like to learn more about acupuncture and how it can help you get or stay healthy call us at Acupuncture Mama (707)- 303-7200 or via email at annette@acupuncturemama.com

Keeping Santa Rosa healthy one needle at a time…

Suffering from seasonal allergies? Acupuncture can help!

It’s been a crazy year for allergy sufferers here in Sonoma County.  We had so much rain that things seem to be in constant bloom.  I know this because my car has been covered in a thick layer of pollen for the last three weeks.  What are people to do though if they don’t want to take over the counter medications? Or are trying to conceive and really want to avoid anything that could potentially affect fertility which includes allergy medications.  Acupuncture is often described as a method of preventing and treating disease, illness, injury or pain by allowing the body to heal naturally and improve the way it functions.  

With seasonal allergies affecting one-third of Americans, acupuncture can provide a new kind of relief. While over-the-counter medications often come with unwanted side-effects, acupuncture does not.

Acupuncture seeks to treat both the root (underlying weakness) and the presenting symptoms. This two pronged approach not only offers a longer lasting solution to seasonal allergies but also strengthens the immune system.

Acupuncture, unlike over-the-counter-remedies offers tailor-made treatments. Specifically designed in response to detailed note taking focusing on, history, life style, sleep patterns, diet etc, which all build to create a detailed profile. This, profile along with both pulse and tongue diagnosis enable an individualized treatment plan.

The specific treatment plan, may include herbs, moxa and or cupping as an adjunct to needles.

Come in for a discussion on how I can help you!  I offer a free 30 minute consultation which you can book directly through my website. Or call us at 707-303-7200

Top 10 Ways to Boost Immunity During Cold and Flu Season

Top 10 Ways To Boost Your Immunity

  1. Eat in tune with the season- Learn about the nature of each season and eat in harmony with it. Winter is a time of contraction and slowing down. It’s a time of moving inward, sleeping and resting more, eating more warming and nourishing foods to support your immune system.
  2. Manage your stress levels- prolonged periods of stress take a toll on your body and your immune system. Do what you can to keep your stress down-go for a walk, meditate or get some acupuncture.
  3. Get some regular acupuncture- it helps to keep your lungs strong and give your immune system a boost. It’s also great for managing stress levels.
  4. Sleep more- just do it!
  5. Take a probiotic- recent research is pointing to the gut and microbiome as an important component of our immune system.
  6. Take Vitamins C & D- both are great antioxidants and will help to give you that extra bump you need during cold and flu season.
  7. Eliminate all white and processed foods (flour, sugar)- these things create inflammation and suppress immune function.
  8. Use an essential oil blend daily- I love Touch of Earth Immunity Blend. You can find it on line here.
  9. Exercise regularly- need I say more?
  10. Eat immune boosting foods-Garlic, Mushrooms (Reishi, Maitake, Shiitake), Foods high in Selenium and Zinc (Oysters)

What should you do when you feel like you are on the verge of getting sick?  I start drinking 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar per day while also taking Gaia brand Elderberry Syrup (I love this stuff as it has helped me ward off many colds and other yucky things).  I try to step it up on all of the above things as well and make sure to rest, drink lots of broth and get extra sleep.

If you are interested in learning more please contact me at 707-303-7200 or by email at annette@acupuncturemama.com


PMS got you down?

Despite the fact many women experience PMS symptoms during their “time of the month,” Traditional Chinese Medicine would argue this should not be viewed as “normal.” A woman’s journey through the menstrual cycle should be free of any emotional changes and physical discomfort. The symptoms of PMS are signs that the woman’s body is out of balance.

Here are some natural and effective ways to eliminate PMS from your life. I realize that some of these things might be hard to do and make you feel deprived of all that’s good in life (wink, wink)… but I encourage you to give it a try for one month to see how it can improve the way you feel before and during your cycle.

  • Stop eating refined flour, sugar, and processed foods.
  • Cut out caffeine and stop drinking alcohol. Balance your blood sugar by eating protein, such as a protein shake, eggs and nut butters, for breakfast.
  • Eat evenly throughout the day and don’t skip meals.
  • Cut out all dairy and consider eliminating other common allergens for a few months, especially gluten.
  • Increase fiber in your diet from vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds. Two tablespoons of ground hemp seeds a day are especially helpful in correcting constipation and balancing hormones. Eat them first thing in morning before consuming any other foods.
  • Increase omega-3 fats by taking fermented Cod Liver Oil. (see my notes below on helpful supplements)
  • Eat organic food, especially animal products, to avoid environmental estrogens from pesticides.
  • Sleep, sleep, sleep! Lack of sleep will throw your hormones out of balance. If you’re having trouble with sleep research some ways to improve it or talk to me. Acupuncture works well for insomnia.
  • Exercise, need I say more?!
  • Vitex/Chaste Tree Berry. This is great for boosting progesterone and supporting the luteal phase of your cycle.
  • We take this every night in our house. It promotes better sleep and supports hundreds of cellular reactions in the body.
  • Vitamin D. This is a precursor to many hormones and therefore supportive of hormone production. Be sure to get your levels checked before supplementation.
  • Fermented Cod Liver Oil. Provides building blocks for hormone production and is a great source of Omega 3’s.
  • Chinese Herbal Formulas. Xiao Yao San is one of the most commonly used formulas in Chinese Medicine for PMS. You should see a licensed practitioner and obtain a prescription because it’s not the most suitable formula for all women.
  • Replacing healthy gut bacteria can help to normalize estrogen metabolism. I recommend 10-15 billion bacteria per day.