Author Archives: Meridian Acupuncture

Eating Natural Healthy: Five Foods for Summer

Natural, Seasonal, Healthy Foods for the Time of Utmost Yang

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a medical system thousands of years old and incorporates many different modalities. TCM theory emphasizes that Mother Nature provides the right kind of food for the right kind of environment. For instance, if the weather is cold, then warming, nutrient-dense foods are best for the body. Likewise, when summer rolls around, it is best to partake of cooling foods and foods abundant during this season.

Summer natural healthy foods for the Portland area.Summer is a time of great abundance. Or as the Chinese refer to it, the time of utmost yang. The days are longer and warmer. And everything and everybody seems to be more active. The warmth of the summer sun encourages growth and maturation. In TCM, summer relates to the element of fire and the heart and small intestine energetic pathways or meridians. Because summer is a time of growth, many fruits and vegetables become abundant during the season. And because the season tends to be the warmest, it is important to stay cool and hydrated.

The summer months are generally hot and therefore the body needs to be kept cool. This is the perfect time to eat more raw foods that can clear heat. But as with anything, don’t overdo it. Too many cold or raw foods can wreak havoc on the digestive tract causing spasms, tightness and contractions. This will make the body work harder to warm the food being eaten, which can then deplete the Qi of the spleen and stomach meridians. Therefore cooked foods and even soups are still recommended during the warm summer months. They are usually made with seasonally-available foods or eaten at room temperature to avoid any digestive conflict.

It is best to avoid heavy, greasy and fried foods during the summer months, as they can also clog up the digestive system. They can also create excess phlegm in the lungs leading to respiratory problems. And when cooking during the season of summer, it is best to create meals quickly and simply by grilling or stir frying.

As mentioned, foods cooling or neutral in nature and hydrating foods are all good choices during the summer months. Here are some foods recommended to eat throughout the season of summer.

1. Summer Vegetables: Things like peppers, eggplant, onions and summer squash are all good choices. They tend to be high in water content which helps keep the body cool.

2. Greens: Foods like cabbage, kale, broccoli, Swiss chard and spinach are great choices to add to a salad or even to stir fry. They tend to be neutral to cooling in nature.

3. Melons: Melons are high in water content, so they are great to have around on those really hot summer days for replenishing lost fluids. They are also non-calorie dense, so they won’t be heavy on the stomach.

4. Seafood: While most meats tend to be warming in nature, seafood is not. It leans more heavily toward the cooling nature of food. This makes it a great choice for summer dinners. It’s also high in protein and easy to throw on the grill.

5. Fruit: Summer is when there is an abundance of fruits. Most fruit tends to be cooling in nature, but the high sugar content can be detrimental to the spleen. The best choices are fruits grown in tropical climates, as they have the highest water content.

If you need more help understanding or designing a proper seasonal eating plan, stop by our Portland area office or make an appointment. We want to help identify what plan works best for you.

Could this Body Part Explain How Acupuncture Works?

New Research Explains How Fascia Uses Qi Energy in Acupuncture

How does energy move through the body? Can it be scientifically measured? And how might energy healing be the future of medicine? These questions and more are at the heart of Energy Medicine, the new book by acupuncturist Well+Good Council member Jill Blakeway, DACM, LAc. Here, in an exclusive excerpt, she explores why fascia—the connective tissue underneath the skin—are so fascinating.

Research shows fascia may use qi energy in acupuncture.Thousands of years ago, the Chinese identified energy channels (sometimes referred to as meridians), a kind of highway that can be mapped within the body along which the acupuncture points exist. The concept of energy channels and the points that access them sounds esoteric and has often been dismissed as myth or metaphor. But recent research suggests that not only do they exist, but they’ve been right in front of our eyes all along.

Helene M. Langevin, a clinical endocrinologist who was curious enough about her patients’ interest in acupuncture that she took a course in Chinese medicine and then carried her newfound skills into the lab with her at the department of neurology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, led a study that found a measurable “pull out force” after every needle grab. And the strength of this grab was, on average, 18 percent higher when measured at acupuncture points as opposed to non-acupuncture points. The needle grab is more vigorous at these points because they are more conductive of electrical energy.

Perhaps more crucially, however, Langevin and her colleagues found, experimenting with acupuncture on a piece of rat abdominal wall, that when they rotated the needles the connective tissue underneath the skin became “mechanically attached.” Writes Langevin: “Even a small amount of rotation caused the connective tissue to wrap around the needle, like spaghetti winding around a fork.” Langevin also found that the tissue remains stretched in this way for the duration of the acupuncture treatment, causing chemical changes at a cellular level that increase electrical conductivity.

Connective tissue, long underplayed by western medicine and science, has recently become of interest, particularly among molecular and physiological researchers, as new evidence has demonstrated that such stimulation to the connective tissue can be sensed at a cellular level, decreasing chronic inflammation, reducing pain and even potentially inhibiting the growth of cancer cells or fibrotic tissue.

Connective tissue is everywhere inside of us—“one could draw a line between any two points of the body via a path of connective tissue,” Langevin points out. And it has many functions: it holds organs in place, offers a path for nerves and blood vessels, stores energy and attaches muscle to bone, and, yes, conducts electricity. The latter ability is thanks to a critical component of connective tissue: collagen. There are layers of water bound to collagen fibers that form a uniquely conductive pathway, allowing an electrical charge to travel rapidly throughout the body.

In his book The Spark in the Machine: How the Science of Acupuncture Explains the Mysteries of Western Medicine, British surgeon and emergency medical specialist Dan Keown explains that a specific form of connective tissue, known as the fascia, may well explain the way in which the electrical charge generated at the acupuncture points travels deep into the body.

Fascia underpins our skin; it also attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs. It is also extremely strong, “so strong,” as Keown points out, “that in the days of Björn Borg and John McEnroe, professional players’ tennis strings were made from the fascia from the gut of a cow.” Fascia is impenetrable to almost all biological substances; it is so impassable that it becomes a kind of slide, or slippery pathway, for a number of things in our bodies: water, air, blood, and even electricity. In fact, not only is fascia an electrical conductor and resistor, capable of transmitting electrical signals throughout the body, but it can also, amazingly, generate its own electricity.

Fascia, then, it is theorized, is the conduit for electrical energy, or qi, as it travels throughout our bodies. “These pathways of fascia have been detailed beautifully by anatomists,” Keown points out, “only they were not describing the fascia but the tissues that they enclosed.”It is even a principle of surgery to cut along the fascial planes—conscious always not to cut into the fascia unless absolutely necessary as it leads to an increased risk of adhesions, essentially cutting across the body’s system of organization— without realizing that these pathways are not simply there to make their incisions easier. “When the West talks of fascial planes, the East talks of acupuncture channels,” Keown writes. “There is no contraindication in these two views; it is just a question of interpretation. The West may still have no comparable force to [qi], but that is only because it has not attempted to explain the holistic power behind embryological self-organization.”

Incidentally, fascia also plays a key role in demystifying an anomaly that sometimes occurs in acupuncture research. In some studies, researchers use “sham acupuncture”—which can mean administering needles at non–acupuncture points or using retractable needles that do not penetrate the skin—to measure its effects against “real” acupuncture. In some of these studies, legitimate acupuncture only works slightly better than its sham counterpart, leading some researchers to conclude that acupuncture, in general, is nothing more than a placebo. However, given the conductive nature of fascia, needling anywhere along a fascial plane should have some conductive effect, if not as strong as when treating at the accurate points. As for the needles that don’t penetrate the skin, acupressure or shallow needling can create a small oscillation that stimulates the electrical activity enough to mildly activate the acupuncture points.

For more information on acupuncture to make your appointment, contact us at our Portland area office.

Article courtesy of WellAndGood.com.

How to Manage Stress at Work with Natural Health Tips

Destress at Work with Natural Health Techniques

Tea is a natural health tip to destress.Today the average worker experiences stress levels higher than in previous decades. There are many causes to the increase in stress but there are also many ways to effectively combat these stressors and experience a life with less stress and more happiness. One of the main reasons people feel so stressed out is that with the invention of the Internet, email and, most notably, the smartphone, it often feels like you are attached to work, you can never fully disconnect and be released from your work duties. The pressure to always be connected is hard to let go of, especially when your smartphone is in your hand. One way to combat this is to set guidelines for yourself on when you will and will not answer an email or message. Turn the phone off when you are home and off of work, if that is not possible, schedule when you will check your messages so it can be planned and contained instead of all consuming. When you are not at work, make sure you can keep those boundaries firm and not be drawn to work 24/7.

While in the office there are many ways you can destress yourself. The easiest one is to take deep breaths. If you are in a tense moment, stop what you are doing, close your eyes and take a deep breath and then another and another until you feel your body calm down. Take a minute to center yourself. Once you are more grounded, you can act instead of react and handle the situation more calmly. Breathing is so important and it is free, easy and you can do it anywhere you are.

When on lunch or a break try to get outside and take a walk. The fresh air and nature are beneficial in many ways. The sun will help your body produce vitamin D which is essential for good moods and emotional wellbeing. Being outside in nature has a calming effects, as well as just the physical exertion of taking a walk.

If you like tea, drinking a warm cup of tea can be relaxing, especially an herbal tea with chamomile or mint. Eating well can also be key in having a life with less stress. Nourish your body inside and out. If you are feeding it well, it will treat you well. Sugar and highly-processed foods can cause spikes and big drops in blood sugar which can acutely affect your mood and exacerbate any stress you may be feeling. Eating foods whole and lower on the glycemic index can help stabilize your blood sugar and prevent the shifts that can cause mood swings.

Lastly, find a support system, whether it is inside or outside of the company you are in, to help you when you need it. People who you can use as a sounding board with your concerns and can help you strategically work to find solutions in the workplace to have a happier and more productive office environment. Having people around you who help build you up and help you achieve your goals are the people you want around you. Distance from those who will try to bring you down or cause unnecessary stress. Make an appointment at our Portland area office for more natural health treatments.

How Stress Physically Affects Your Body & Acupuncture Can Help

Acupuncture & Other Options to Create Balance in Our Bodies

Acupuncture Helping Balance Your Body from Stress.Stress. It’s not a word that makes most of us feel elated or excited. However, stress, by design, is the body’s way of signaling for help or a break in the routine. If we don’t listen to these signals, we can develop imbalances in our bodies, which can then lead to illnesses.

The dictionary defines stress in multiple ways, but there is only one that matters when we discuss how stress affects our physical bodies. The definition is this, “stress is a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension”. The definition itself indicates stress can affect our bodies.

One of the most visible way stress affects our bodies is our appearance. People who are under chronic pressure and stress tend to look older and fatigued. This happens because cortisol, the stress hormone in our bodies, builds up, which then increases the amount of free radicals in skin cells. Free radicals damage the skin cells causing them to become dull and dehydrated. Women typically show this more than men.

Another big player in the stress game is digestion. Many people today suffer from heartburn and upset stomach on a regular basis. These symptoms can be caused by excess stress. Stress causes the body to alter gastrointestinal motility by moving blood normally used in the digestive process, away from your belly and midsection, as part of the “fight or flight” response that usually occurs when you are stressed. Thus, the lack of blood and fluids in the gastrointestinal tract can lead to increases in stomach acid, causing stomach upset and heartburn.

Minor stress will stimulate the immune system which helps us heal from illness and disease.  However, chronic stress can actually compromise the immune system, once again due to the cortisol hormone. Chronic stress sufferers tend to get sick more often and the illnesses may last longer. This is also a factor in people who develop terminal illnesses like cancer.

Excess stress can cause your heart to work too hard and usually for too long a period. These factors can then lead to sustained increased blood pressures or hypertension. Hypertension puts more stress on your blood vessels, which can increase your possibility of a stroke or heart attack.

Chronic stress can also be detrimental to your muscles and can then lead to chronic aches and pains. Muscles are supposed to tense up when under stress. But when you are constantly stressed, the muscles never get the chance to completely relax. Tight muscles result in headaches, back, neck and shoulder pain. Over time, those tight muscles and chronic pain can cause many to seek pain relief through prescription pain medications.

That’s the bad news. The good news is you can address and treat stress naturally. Getting proper nutrition and removing stressors will help greatly.  Acupuncture is also a wonderful tool for fighting stress. As few as two needles can reset your body and decrease your daily stress levels. Another method is to couple acupuncture with practices like qigong, tai chi, and/or meditation. Talk with our Portland area acupuncturist to find out how to resolve your stress the natural way.

Start the Year Out Right with Stir-fry for Your Holistic Health

Chicken or Tofu Stir-fry Holistic Health Recipe

If you are looking to spice up your family meal this spring, why not try a healthy chicken stir fry. A meal that is colorful, warm, seasonal and easy to make.

In Traditional Chinese medicine and Five Element theory, food is medicine. Not only is food healthy and nutritious biochemically, but it also has properties in temperature, taste, color and shape that benefit specific organs. Colors and taste benefit certain organs, for example, sour and the color green go to the liver. Pungent flavors such as garlic, ginger and onions benefit the lungs. Dark and salty foods like seaweed benefit the kidneys. The best thing to remember is to eat fruits and vegetables that are in season and try to add color to your food to encourage the healthy actions the organs have in the body. Warm and cooked vegetables are easier on the digestion than cold and raw food. A terrific item to add to the cooking schedule is a colorful and tasty stir-fry.

A holistic health stir-fry recipe with chicken or tofu.

A stir-fry has a healthy variety of colors, vegetables, meat, spices and seasoning. Typically what goes into a stir-fry includes chicken, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, honey, garlic, ginger, onion and rice.

Preparation is simple and you can find countless recipes by conducting an Internet search. Typically, a recipe will look like this:

    1 lb. chicken                        1 tbs rice vinegar    green onion to taste

    1 tbsp cornstarch                 1 tbs honey

    2 tbsp soy sauce                  3 cloves garlic

    2 tbsp oyster sauce              1 tbsp ginger

Marinating the chicken overnight adds richer flavor, if you so choose. Combine cornstarch, soy and oyster sauce, rice vinegar, honey and garlic. Stir fry in chicken until brown, set aside. Add vegetables and cook until crisp. Stir in chicken, add onion, peanuts or other things to taste. Serve over rice.

For vegetarians, replacing tofu for chicken works as a delicious alternative. Play with some variety throughout the seasons. In the spring, opt for green foods to benefit the liver and gallbladder. In the summer, cool celery and basil might be soothing on a hot day. Autumn flavors might include leeks and white mushrooms to benefit the lungs. For winter, beef could be an alternative to chicken, as beef is warmer.

As you can see, a nice stir-fry with a variety of seasonal vegetables just might be a great and healthy way to exercise the notion that “food is medicine” to your diet.

For more information on how to make good holistic health choices, make an appointment at our Tigard office.

Why You Should Get Regular Acupuncture Treatments

Regular Acupuncture Treatments for Prevention

Everybody knows you should see your family physician at least once a year and your dentist at least twice a year. But not everybody knows about acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine and the many benefits it can provide for you. If you start incorporating acupuncture into your health and wellness regime, you may not have to rely on the family physician so much for those minor little issues.  Let’s look at how getting regular acupuncture treatments can help you stay happy and healthy.

There are many ways acupuncture treatments can change a person’s life. One of the most noticeable is acupuncture can get you to look at your health from a completely different perspective. This could mean you might start taking a more in depth look at your health, which may allow you to veer away from some of the mainstream medical practices such as multiple pharmaceuticals. Many long-term acupuncture patients find they no longer need all the medications prescribed by their family physician, because the symptoms have been controlled using acupuncture.

Regular acupuncture prevention treatments in Portland.

Acupuncture is great for prevention. Because regular acupuncture treatments can balance hormones and boost immunity, there is a good chance you won’t need that annual flu shot or all those over-the-counter cold medications. A trained acupuncturist can spot a problem like decreased immunity from a mile away. It can appear as symptoms such as chronic fatigue, insomnia and even body temperature fluctuations. A couple of treatments can make a big difference.

What about relieving some of that extra stress we all deal with? Yes, regular acupuncture treatments can keep that at bay too.  Many people don’t equate being poked with tiny needles as a relaxation technique, but it truly is relaxing. Many patients actually fall asleep after or while the needles are being placed. And the effects can last for days or even weeks. So the next time you feel irritable and overwhelmed, check out your local licensed acupuncturist.

Regular acupuncture treatments can help you save money. What? It’s true. This goes back to the previous benefits. If you don’t need as many pharmaceuticals, you will ultimately save money. Also, conditions like stress, anxiety, fatigue and depression can keep you from going to work, possibly costing you several days of pay. But with regular acupuncture treatments, your moods can be more effectively managed and you won’t need to miss work as frequently.

And the most popular reason to get regular acupuncture treatments is that it will help you remain pain free. We all have aches and pains. But research has shown acupuncture is more effective than opioids for controlling things like arthritic pain in the joints. It is also be incorporated into hospital emergency rooms throughout the United States, so people don’t need as many pain medications. As a matter of fact, in Asia, acupuncture is sometimes used by itself during and after surgical procedures to treat pain. 

While many of you may have a needle phobia, don’t let that deter you. Acupuncture is part of an amazing medical system that has been around for nearly 3,000 years. In comparison, Western medicine has only been around for about 200 to 250 years. That puts things in perspective a little, especially when you consider most people in Asian countries live longer, happier, healthier lives than almost everybody in the United States. There’s no better time than the present to start a good habit. Just be sure to seek out a fully trained and licensed acupuncturist. Your whole life just might change for the better.

For more information on preventative acupuncture treatments, make an appointment at our Portland office.

Natural Medicine to Reduce Stress with Herbs

Oregon Natural Medicine Can Help Treat Stress

Stress is something that affects everybody. Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional tension or strain resulting from demanding or adverse circumstances. This can result in a multitude of symptoms, including headaches, muscle tension, pain, insomnia, worry, anxiety, depression and even disease. And according to a recent survey, nearly 77 percent of all Americans regularly experience physical or psychological symptoms caused by stress (American Institute of Stress, May 2017).

Oregon natural tonic medicine to reduce stress.On a cellular level, chronic stress has actually been shown to shorten the immune cell telomeres. Telomeres are DNA-protein complexes found in chromosomes that promote genetic stability. When the body is stressed, the immune cells are less likely to duplicate and this puts the body at risk of infection or illness.

So what can be done to reduce stress? The simple answer is a ton. Some examples of ways to deal with stress include exercising, journaling, meditation, coloring, getting a massage, reading, watching a movie, talking with friends, playing games, sitting in nature, eating healthy food and even acupuncture.

This leads us to Traditional Chinese Medicine, a 3,000 year old medical system that can balance the body, relieve stress and decrease/prevent disease. TCM utilizes many modalities to treat people, but according to many scholars, it all began with herbal medicine. Herbs can be used alone or in conjunction with one another to create customized formulas that help heal the body. Here are some examples of herbs and formulas that can combat stress.

  1. Eleuthro or Ci Wu Jia: This herb is an adaptogen, meaning it has revitalizing or restorative properties. In particular, Ci Wu Jia works very well for people who work high stress jobs, work long hours or have erratic schedules. It supports quality sleep and also strengthens the immune system.
  2. Aswhagandha: While this herb is not regularly used in TCM, it is still a very potent herb for tackling stress. Specifically, ashwagandha helps with anxiety, fatigue and stress-induced insomnia. It is also used to support the immune system and stimulate the thyroid gland for those suffering from hypothyroidism.
  3. Xiao Yao San: This herbal formula combines several herbs to become one of the most frequently prescribed formulas in TCM. Xiao Yao San soothes the liver, which according to TCM theory is where stress is controlled.
  4. Cordyceps or Dong Chong Xia Cao: Cordyceps is a type of fungus found on caterpillars. It has been used by TCM practitioners for centuries to fight fatigue, support the immune system and protect the liver and kidneys.
  5. Suan Zao Ren Tang: This herbal formula is very effective for treating agitation, insomnia, irritability and scattered thoughts. These symptoms are very common in people who are overworked and emotionally stressed out.

Herbs can be very beneficial and help keep the body free from illness. The herbs and formulas mentioned above are just a few examples that would be good to have around if you suffer from stress and anxiety. To find out more about these herbs and other natural Oregon medicines, make an appointment!

Acupuncture for Cold Prevention

Acupuncture to Prevent the Portland Common Cold

Acupuncture treatment for the common Portland cold.A study published by the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine concludes acupuncture treatments can indeed help treat the common cold. The study followed 187 participants based on the onset of when the cold occurred. The participants were divided into two groups. The first group reported an onset time of cold symptoms within 36 hours and the second group reported an onset of symptoms greater than 36 hours.  Both groups showed significant decreases in symptoms, as well as cold duration. This study demonstrates how receiving acupuncture treatments can shorten the length of time a person deals with the common cold and its symptoms.

Everybody has suffered from the common cold at some point along this journey called life. The common cold is an acute viral infection that affects the throat and nasal passages. Symptoms of a cold may include headaches, fatigue, a sore throat, nasal congestion, sneezing, a runny nose and coughing. With the normal progression of a cold, the throat symptoms, such as coughing, tend to be worse around the fifth day, while the nasal symptoms are nearing the end of their duration. Overall, the symptoms of the common cold tend to last about seven to 10 days. The typical treatment for a cold is to make sure you are getting plenty of sleep, taking in enough fluids and using steam to break up the mucus in the nasal passages. Because the common cold is caused by a viral infection, the virus must be allowed to run its course, while the symptoms are merely managed.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) takes a different approach though. It utilizes modalities like acupuncture, cupping and herbal formulas that can dramatically decrease the severity of symptoms and time that somebody suffers from a cold.

The practice of acupuncture is supposed to be used as preventive medicine. Not to say acupuncture can’t be used to treat already existing ailments, because it can, and it works very well in this capacity, but isn’t it better to avoid getting sick than to wait until the ailment is already affecting you? This is where acupuncture can help. Regular acupuncture treatments can increase your immunity, which will help fight off any disease, including the common cold. Acupuncture also helps decrease stress which can be a key factor in any disease. Studies indicate when the body is relaxed and not stressed, the immune system functions more efficiently.

Cupping, another technique utilized in TCM, helps boost the immune system. Cupping creates negative pressure that suctions the skin into the cup. This action causes the cells in the body to develop a greater number of receptors on the surface that can better respond to an enzyme known as heme oxygenase 1. This enzyme acts as an antioxidant that protects your body against harmful elements like the common cold virus.

TCM also uses herbs to prevent and treat many ailments, including the common cold.  For instance, herbs like licorice root, also known as Gan Cao in TCM, can be used to treat a cough. It also has the ability to boost the immune system and help get rid of mucus in the respiratory tract. Cinnamon, or Gui Zhi, is another commonly used herb that helps ward off the common cold.

With all this evidence, it makes perfect sense to start using acupuncture as a method of preventing the common cold. Make an appointment at our Portland area office to learn more!

Acupuncture Research To Help Your Allergies

Acupuncture Can Help Offer a Permanent Solution to Seasonal Allergies

The American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy published research that found acupuncture effective for the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis is also known as hay fever. The researchers compiled the results from 13 quality studies, which followed 2,365 participants. The various studies confirmed acupuncture significantly lowers the antibody known as immunoglobulin E or IgE. IgE is the antibody associated with allergies and hypersensitivities.  The researchers found not only was the IgE antibody lowered, but so too were the symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis. The participants also reported better quality of life.

Herbal oils can help with allergies. As well as acupuncture.Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine offer a permanent solution to seasonal allergies with an all-natural approach that will ultimately save you money. Since TCM attacks allergies in a much different method than Western medicine, there is a good chance your allergies will cease to be a problem. Western medicine knows how allergies work and what happens to the body, but there is still no explanation as to why. TCM doesn’t need to know why, this is because TCM looks at the body as a whole and uses an elemental system to determine where there are excesses and deficiencies in each person. So the TCM treatments are completely customized to each patient, thus making them much more effective than over-the-counter medications.

When using TCM to treat allergies, practitioners focus heavily on something called Wei Qi. Wei Qi is similar to the immune system in Western medicine. Wei Qi protects the body against foreign materials that can lead to inflammation and eventually allergies. People with lower immunity/Wei Qi are more susceptible to allergies and frequent colds. Acupuncture helps to boost the Wei Qi making it more difficult for allergens to attack the body.

Acupuncture by itself will make a difference in fighting allergies, but adding herbs and herbal formulas will provide the final punch to help eliminate allergies for good. Because each patient has different causes for their allergies, adding herbal formulas can greatly increase the efficacy of the acupuncture treatments by extending the effect of the needles. For example, if a patient specifically gets itchy, watery eyes when their allergies flare up, then the practitioner would likely want to draw the excess energy/element down. In this particular case, the patient would have an excess of fire creating wind. The practitioner would use acupuncture points known to decrease fire and wind in the body. Also adding herbs that do the same thing, would create a one-two punch type of treatment that has longer lasting, more permanent effects.

Ultimately what acupuncture does is boost the Wei Qi/immune system while decreasing the inflammatory response in your body that occurs when an allergen is encountered. The other aspect of treatment, as stated earlier, is to look at the patient as a whole versus just the symptoms. A good acupuncturist will also focus on dietary habits that may be contributing to your allergies. Many times a person’s Wei Qi is depleted from within due to the foods they are eating. Things like sugar and dairy are often associated with a lower immune system.  Eliminating or drastically reducing these items will allow the body to recover more quickly, making allergy attacks easier to resolve.

A comprehensive plan that includes acupuncture treatments, herbs and dietary changes can yield the best results when it comes to fighting allergies. Make an acupuncture appointment at our Beaverton office to see how we can help you with your allergies.

Healthy Natural Eating for Fall

Fall Descends On Portland With Natural Healthy Seasonal Eating

The season of fall brings cooler weather and shorter days. As with any season, the world adjusts accordingly. Plants begin to go dormant, animals start scrounging for food to help get them through the upcoming winter months and humans start winterizing everything. Sweatpants and hoodies become more commonplace and everything…EVERYTHING is pumpkin flavored.

Natural healthy seasonal food for the Portland fall.As fall descends on the land, it reminds us we need to start cutting back on the numerous cooling foods that are consumed during the summer months. Things like raw foods, salads, juices and fruits need to be decreased because they can create too much cold in the body. This is just one principle followed by Traditional Chinese Medicine.

There are many facets to TCM and nutrition is one of the most important. The ancient Chinese observed what took place in nature and followed those cues accordingly. So when the season changed to fall and the amount of daylight decreased and the temperatures cooled, the Chinese began to eat what was available. This is what it means to “eat for the season.” By eating according to the season, we can avoid many illnesses and diseases. If we continue to eat raw, cold foods during the cooler fall and winter months, then we set ourselves up for digestive problems, colds, sinus infections and even painful joints.

When a person eats seasonally, they will inevitably notice certain foods are no longer abundant or available. In the season of fall, one should fill their pantry and cupboards with dried foods, heavy grains, seeds, roots and squashes that can help move the body’s energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”) inward.

Fall is also a time to slow down. This means we should cook food for longer periods of time on lower heat. How we cook food will affect how the body tolerates it and how the energy is utilized. Some examples of how to cook for the season of fall include making soups and stews, using a crockpot or slow cooker, roasting and baking foods. These methods create a deeper warmth and supply greater energy from the food.

Foods that are nourishing to the lung are very important during the season of fall. Since many people get sick during these months, lung tonifying foods can be very beneficial. This includes healthy foods like ginger, onion, garlic, pears, walnuts, miso, navy beans, almonds asparagus, broccoli, apricots, bananas, apples, plums and grapes.

The dryer weather can also cause chapped lips, a dry nose, an itchy throat, rough skin and even dry stools. To counter these issues, it is recommended to eat foods that promote the production of bodily fluids, such as nuts, seeds, pears, pumpkin, honey and a traditional Chinese porridge known as congee.

Animal products tend to be warming and grounding by nature. And for those who eat animal flesh, increasing the intake can be beneficial during the cooler fall months. As mentioned before, roasting, baking or stewing the meats is the most beneficial.

When we follow the cues given to us by nature, we can maintain a very healthy existence. To learn more about eating according to the seasons in Traditional Chinese Medicine, make an appointment with our Portland area office to promote your natural health.