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Preventive Medicine: How We Are Misusing Traditional Chinese Medicine

“The sages of antiquity did not treat those who were already sick, but those who were not sick… When a disease has already broken out and is only then treated, would that not be just as late as to wait for thirst before digging a well, or to wait to go into battle before casting weapons?” (Nei Jing)

These words were written over 4600 years ago and are the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine. We have since brought Chinese Medicine into our Western society and in many ways our model of reactive medicine. I find it a struggle to convince patients to change their way of thinking about the way they aproach their health. We are trained to believe that we should only seek healthcare when there is something wrong and unfortunately that is the way many people use Chincse Medicine. In doing so, they are completely missing the power of this medicine and its ability to help prevent the future need for pharmaceuticals. high cost surgeries, rehabilitation and office visits.

In my 7 years of practice, I may have had a total of 5 people who initially sought Chinese Medicine out when they were feeling great. Most people who come into my office due so to address major imbalances that have built up over their life time. I can generally educate my patients on the need to come in initially to help the issue at hand but when it comes to regular maintenance, many people cannot seem to grasp the idea. It just isn’t something we are used to in our society. The idea of providing regular maintenance on your car makes total sense but when it comes to our own bodies, its incomprehensible.

After a course of treatments, it is essential to continue with maintenance care. All of the outside issues that brought you to imbalance in the first place very likely still exist. The daily stresses of life, environmental toxins, poor eating habits, lack of exercise, lack of mental-emotional self care and repetitve movements can all lead you right back on the path to imbalance.

By truly utilizing the gift of this amazing medicine, we can help maintain immune health, reduce anxiety, stress and depression which lead to a whole range of health conditions and imbalances. It can help maintain hormonal balance and prevent pain from arising in areas where they are generally prone to occur.
We owe it to ourselves, our families and society to take care of ourselves in order to create the best quality of life possible. As the saying goes, “Health is greater than wealth”. Without our health, none of the other stuff matters.

I highly recommend working with your Chinese Medicne Practitioner to achieve balance and get to the root of whatever issues you have and then stick with a plan to continue to recieve regular treatments. Once a state of balance is acheived, one treatment a month can be an amazing maintenance plan to prevent any major issues from coming up. This along with following a lifestyle of proper nutrition, mindfulness along with exercise that suits you, can keep you on a path of good health.

Schedule here to get on your path to a better quality of life. You deserve it!

Ginger Carrot Soup

If you have ever read any of my other blogs, then you know I love soup! This recipe is one of my favorites in the winter and at least one of my children love it.
I can usually entice both of them to eat carrots thanks to the variety of colors they come in. One loves purple carrots and the other likes them in all colors.

                                                                                       Health Benefits of Carrots

Carrots have long been hailed for benefiting eyesight due to their high content of beta-carotine which is converted to Vitamin A in the liver. A study found that people who consumed a large amount of beta-carotine had a 40 percent lower risk of macular degeneration than those who consumed smaller amounts.
Carrots are one of the only plants known to produce falcarinol, a natural pesticide that protects its roots from fungal disease. It is believed that this natural component is what helps lower the risk of lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer in some studies.
Another really great reason to eat carrots, is its ability to slow down the aging process. The high levels of beta-carotine act as an antioxidant which helps slow down the aging of cells. Who doesnt want that?

                                                                                       Health Benefits of Ginger
Ginger has long been used by Chinese Medicine Practitioners for its many medicinal properties. A few of its many uses are for digestion, reducing nausea and to help combat the flu and the common cold. You will often find it accompanying your sushi in a pickled form to help aid in digestion.
Gingerol is the main bioactive compund in ginger which gives it is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
In my clinic I often perscribe it in its raw form boiled with hot water in the morning to help stimulate the appetite for those who skip breakfast due to a lack of appetite.
It can greatly help morning sickness as well if the pattern which is causing the nausea is due to cold. Otherwise you better try peppermint. This can be determined by a qualified Chinese Medicine Practitioner. For morning sickness, I suggest a ginger tea raw or prepared along side Ginger Essential Oil used aromatically.
Its ani-inflammatory effects can help reduce muscle pain due to excersing. One study showed, consuming 2 grams of ginger per day for 11 days significantly reduced pain from working out. For this same reason, it can also benefit arthritis, fibromyalgia, alzheimers and many other inflammatory conditions.
The active ingredient, Gingerol, can help lower the risk of infections. It can inhibit the growth of many different types of bacteria making this root a highly important addition to your daily regimen during cold and flu season.

Together ginger and carrots rock! I hope you and your family enjoy my recipe as much as we do! One batch goes in just a day and fills us with a ton of beta-carotine/gingerol power coursing through our system, doing what they do best. I haven’t even gone into the goodness of the garlic, onion, celery, chicken stock and avacado oil in this recipe! Yikes! So much goodness!

Recipe

10-12 whole carrots of any color peeled and chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 an onion diced
2 celery sticks chopped

1TBS of minced raw ginger
2 TBS of Avacado oil
4-5 cups of organic chicken stock or chicken bone broth
1tsp sea salt to taste (adjust to your liking)
21 season salute (trader joes)
1/4 tsp of cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
sprinkle of cinnamon

In a pressure cooker or regular pot, sautée the onions, garlic, celery and ginger until softened. Add in the seasonings, carrots and stock. If making in pressure cooker, cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. If in a regular pot, cook until carrots have softened. About 15-20 minutes. Blend in vitamix, blender or with a hand blender and enjoy!

If your interested in learning more about how Chinese Medicine and Nutrition can benefit you, contact Chantal at freeflowhealth@gmail.com or call 619-793-7030.

7 Reasons Why Your Teen Should Be Getting Acupuncture

Being a teenager can be a very tumultuous experience. Its a time of trying to figure out who you are and what your role is in the world. You have your foot half way into independence while the other half is still very vulnerable and dependent on the adults in your life. This creates a dilemma where we see a deep need for guidance which can be seen more so through negative behaviors and attitudes conflicted with the desire for independence. Acupuncture is a safe and effective way to treat your children for many of the obstacles that show up during adolescence.

Here are my top 7 reasons why teens should be getting acupuncture:

1. Body Awareness: This is a very important reason why every teen should experience acupuncture, yoga and meditation. It helps to bring you into your body and helps you to be more aware of how certain situations, emotions and food affect you on many different levels. Getting started on this earlier in life the better you will be able to manage all of the ups and downs that life can bring making for a more grounded and balanced adulthood.
2. Promotes Healthy digestion:  In my clinic this is number one! If your gut is not healthy and balanced then it is like a domino effect for all of the other issues that can arise in the present and later in life. Acupuncture can be a very useful tool for helping the digestive system regulate itself better, to minimize symptoms and also to increase the body’s ability to effectively absorb nutrients. We now know what Chinese Medicine has known for thousands of years. Gut health is vitally important to the functioning of the brain and neurotransmitters, hormones and immune response.
3. Balances Hormones and Mood: Adolescence is a time where sex hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are shifting tremendously creating all kinds of strange new feelings and experiences within the body. Acupuncture can help your teen manage bouts of depression and anxiety. It can also help teenage girls have a healthier and less painful menstrual cycle.
4. Improves Sleep: Sleep is of incredible importance for everyone at all stages of life but especially so for children and adolescents. It is while our children our sleeping that their brains undergo an enormous amount of development. Teens need about 8-10 hours a night to function optimally. Inadequate sleep in adolescence has been linked to an inability to learn, listen and concentrate leading to poor outcomes at school. It can even contribute to poor eating habits, acne and behavioral issues.
5. Reduces Acne: This goes along with hormones and can be effectively treated by improving sleep, diet and managing the hormones. Chinese herbal medicine is great at reducing acne.
6. Boosts Immunity:  A number of small pilot clinical trials have had promising results regarding acupuncture’s ability to modulate the immune response, particularly in children with asthma. Additionally, acupuncture can be used to effectively boost immunity to prevent colds, flus, and other common childhood illnesses.
7. Resolves Pain: This is one of the most common reasons that acupuncture is sought out by adults but rarely for our children. With the high incidences of opioids being prescribed and the addiction that comes from that, it is important to expose our youth to healthier forms of pain management. It is an ideal therapy for acute or chronic musculoskeletal pain or injuries, as well as pain from conditions like juvenile arthritis, Lyme Disease, or juvenile Fibromyalgia. Acupuncture is also used effectively to reduce symptoms of headaches, migraines, sinus pain, dental pain, and back pain in children.

If you would like a free 20 minute phone consultation to discuss how Chinese Medicine can help your teen, email me at freeflowhealth@gmail.com.
To set up an initial intake go to www.freeflowhealthacupuncture.fullslate.com.

Sweet Potato Leek Soup

I love soup! It is an easily digestible way to get nutrients into your system. I have actually taken to eating soups for breakfast. It is a gentle way to ease your digestive system into waking up and it sustains you for much longer than a bowl of oatmeal.

                                                                      Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

This recipe is a new take on an old favorite. Typically white potato is used which tends to make your blood sugar spike quickly. Sweet potato is a more sustained energy and it tastes amazing! Sweet potatoes are high in B6, a good source of Vitamin C and D, iron, magnesium and potassium. They are also high in carotenoids, the precursor to vitamin A.  Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease, they are powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer and protect against the effects of aging.

                                                                                Health Benefits of Leeks

Leeks, like garlic and onions, belong to a vegetable family called the Allium vegetables. Since leeks are related to garlic and onions, they contain many of the same beneficial compounds found in these well-researched, health-promoting vegetables. They benefit cardiovascular health by protecting blood vessel lining from damage. They are high in Folate better known as B9. Folate supports normal fetal development, promotes sperm health and function, is great for the heart, encourages normal cholesterol, provides neurological support, helps perinatal depression, is great for colon health and reduces the risk for age-related macular degeneration. Needless to say Folate is amazing!

Recipe

Ingredients:
1sweet potato chopped
1 leek thinly sliced
organic chicken stock, bone broth or vegetable broth
3 cloves of garlic minced
2 tablespoons of avocado oil
sea salt to taste
Trader Joe’s 21 season salute or any seasoning combination
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice

Directions:
Sautée leek and garlic in avocado oil. Throw in sweet potato. Add seasonings to your liking. Mix together then add in the broth. I use a pressure cooker for about 20 minutes then throw it in my vitamix. If using a pot, cook until the potatoes are soft and then throw in the blender. Makes about 2-3 servings.
Enjoy!

Postpartum Acupuncture

12 month program: A treatment once a month along with herbs and dietary recommendations to aid you in making a full recovery.
Schedule here: www.freeflowhealthacupuncture.fullslate.com

 

Postpartum acupuncture is a key part of recovery after birth. The postpartum period itself is often ignored in our culture. East Asian medicine views this time as one of the MOST important times in a women’s life that will help determine their health for years to come. The focus is on nourishing the mother and nourishing the mother to help nourish the child.
The postpartum period is considered to be a minimum of 4 months following delivery. The first month being the most important time to take special care of oneself. It is not until the end of the 4th month that the Yin and Blood become full again, and the womb and the meridians have recovered. We offer well mama and baby visits in the postpartum phase.

*Postpartum acupuncture and herbs treat:
*retained placenta
*low milk supply
*plugged milk ducts/ mastitis/ thrush
*postpartum depression
*C-Section pain and healing
*trauma from birth
*prolapsed uterus or rectum
*fatigue/stress
*headaches
*hormonal imbalance
*promote overall recovery

In traditional Chinese medicine, rebuilding mom in the postpartum period is crucial for her future health. After giving birth, there is a deficiency of Qi and Blood in the body, and the meridians and channels of the lower abdomen, particularly the uterus, are thought to be open and somewhat weak. traditionally in the period after giving birth ,women follow strict guidelines regarding diet and lifestyle in order to support the return of health and vitality. Taking time to care for and nourish one’s health after childbirth can have a great impact on a woman’s health far into the future.
A growing number of women are choosing to have their placenta encapsulated. This ancient Chinese remedy can have powerful effects on lactation, postpartum pain, bleeding, mood, and overall recovery. Research and information on the benefits of placenta encapsulation here. Ask your Midwife or Doula about it, or ask us for a referral.
It took nine months to get this way, and it takes time to feel like yourself again. Diet and lifestyle recommendations will be made for at home care. When we feel our best, we are able to give our best!

Postpartum Resources
Check out my other blogs on Postpartum Care along with some great recipes:
http://www.freeflowhealthacupuncture.com/blog/

Books:
https://www.amazon.com/First-Forty-Days-Essential-Nourishing/dp/1617691836

https://www.amazon.com/Cherish-First-Six-Weeks-Confident/dp/0307987272

Postpartum Fitness Program:
https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=birthfit%20san%20diego

Chinese Medicine and Essential Oils: A Profound Combination

For the past 2 years, I have been incorporating essentials oils into my acupuncture practice and daily life. I have to say, the results have been pretty amazing. The use of essential oils is not new to Chinese Medicine. Its use was first recorded in China between 2697-2597 B.C.E. during the reign of Huang Ti, The Yellow Emperor. More well known is the use of herbal medicine as an integral part of Traditonal Chinese Medicine. Many of the plants used in herbology can also be used as Essential Oils for the same issues. In the essential oil form, they are a lot more potent. For example, 1 drop of peppermint oil is equivalent to 27 cups of peppermint tea.
Inhalation can be the most direct delivery method of the many components in essential oils, since the chemical messengers in the nasal cavity have direct access to the brain. Oils can also be used topically with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil. When essential oils are applied to the skin, their healing components are absorbed into the bloodstream by the pores and hair follicles. Once inside the bloodstream, they disperse to the specific organs and systems on which they work.
The following is a very small sample of Chinese herbs that are also used in essential oil form.
Sheng Jiang : Ginger
Ginger root and ginger oil are often used for upset stomachs. It is one of the best remedies for indigestion, stomach ache, dyspepsia, colic, spasms, diarrhea, flatulence and other stomach and bowel related problems. Ginger or ginger oil is often added to recipes, especially in India, as it helps in improving digestion. Ginger tea is also used for relieving stomach problems. Furthermore, it can increase your appetite, for this reason, I often recommend it to people who have a difficult time eating in the morning.

Bo He : Mint
The health benefits of peppermint oil include its ability to treat indigestion, respiratory problems, headache, nausea, fever, stomach and bowel spasms and pain. It helps to increase immunity, reduces bad breath, keeps teeth and gums healthy, stimulates mental activity and reduces sugar cravings. I often suggest it for morning sickness caused by internal heat as opposed to ginger which would be morning sickness caused by cold. A qualified TCM practitioner can determine your pattern through a thorough intake.

Ru Xiang : Frankinscence
The benefits of Frankincense are numerous. It is used to boost the immune system, aid in easing menstrual discomfort, may help in shrinking fibroids, helps wounds heal faster, helps fade stretch marks and scars, improves digestion, has anti aging properties, lowers blood pressure, relieves pain associated with rheumatism and arthritis, has a sedative effect and may help with anxiety and focus. There are numerous studies on Frankincense’s ability to suppress cancer cell viability. Here is just one of those studies that shows its effectiveness on bladder cancer:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2664784/.

These are just a few examples of common uses of essential oils that coincide with uses of Chinese Herbs. The difference is that Chinese herbal formulas are more complex. There is generally at least 4 herbs in a formula and they each have their own individual jobs. In that way, they help to strengthen and guide each other by working together. I remember a great teacher of mine saying, “why do we need to use more than one herb or one point if that one herb and one point does what we want?” Often with essential oils we can get great benefit from using just one oil. However, there are many great blends that do exist and work amazingly well.

In my practice, I find that using specific oils on specific acupuncture points along with the treatments can provide some really great results. For example, the liver in Chinese medicine is responsible for moving the Qi throughout the body. Often times, when one is stressed or easily frustrated, we want to help move the liver Qi which results in an ability to relax and let go. In this case, I may recommend a patient put lavender oil on a liver point that is found on the top of the foot between the big toe and the 2nd toe. In another example, I may have a patient coming in for digestive issues and I will massage a digestive blend mixed with coconut oil into their abdomen along with the treatment. One more great example where I have found the use of essential oils has greatly enhanced the acupuncture treatment is in the use of encouraging the body to go into labor. At the end of a treatment, I will often massage clary sage into the sacrum, the triangular area at the base of your spine. I have found this method to be very effective at getting contractions going. I often recommend moms use clary sage throughout labor to keep contractions going and the feedback has been great.

There are many methods out there for using essential oils. I have found that my knowledge of Chinese Medicine and the location of acupuncture points throughout the body helps me to utilize them in a way that may be very different from what is found in a typical aromatherapy text. Whether it be aromatically or topically, the combination has made a difference in my practice and in my household.

If you are interested in learning more about how to use essential oils and acupressure points at home on yourself and your loved ones, contact Chantal Davis, L.Ac. at freeflowhealth@gmail.com.

Quinoa for Breakfast: Alternative to Oatmeal

Here is one of my favorite breakfast meals. You can make a large pot at the beginning of the week and warm it daily for a quick healthy breakfast. It is gluten free and dairy free. The Quinoa is a good source of protein that keeps you satisfied much longer than a bowl of oatmeal. Use this recipe as a guideline but you can add and remove anything to your liking

Quinoa Breakfast: Nourishes Qi and Blood, Strengthens Spleen, Encourages production of fluids
1 cup Quinoa (washed)
slightly less than 2 cups of water
handful of cranberries, currants or dates
handful of crushed Walnuts, Almonds or Cashews
The juice from one orange and zest of the orange
1 tbs of agave nectar, honey or maple syrup
Almond or Coconut milk

Wash one cup of Quinoa thoroughly. This will avoid a bitter taste. As the quinoa remains quite wet, you don’t need to use a full 2 cups but just under, about 1 3/4 cups of water. Place 1 cup of quinoa and 1 3/4 cups of water in pot, cover and bring to a boil. Do not remove lid while cooking. Once Quinoa has opened up and water has been absorbed it is done, approximately 15 minutes.  When Quinoa is finished, squeeze orange juice, add nuts, cranberries, whichever sweetener you have chosen and add milk to consistency of your liking. Enjoy!

Benefits according to Traditional Chinese Medicine:
Quinoa: sweet and warming, Tonifies Qi, strengthens spleen, warms yang, relieves internal coldness good source of Vitamin E which helps keep blood “slippery” and flowing, which therefore reduces blood stagnation and clotting. It is also rich in protein and iron.
Walnuts: slightly warm and sweet, tonifies kidney, aids erratic or rebellious Qi
almonds are also a good source of Vitamin E.
Orange: strengthens spleen, promotes body fluids. Good for stagnant Qi.
Agave nectar/honey: natural sweetner very similar to honey except lower on glycemic index which makes this a great substitute. Neutral, sweet, nourishes yin, lubricates dryness, tonifies weakness, harmonizes, strengthens spleen.

Taking care of yourself: Stressed out Mama

As an Acupuncturist. I hope to exude health, calm and balance to all of my patients. However, I am a mother of two children under the age of 4. When I am in my office, I believe I do exude all of the qualities I hope to help my patients achieve because it is the place I feel the most relaxed. Outside of the office has been a whole different story for me since the birth of my second son. January of this year I found that I had been in the worse shape of my life physically, mentally and emotionally. I kept hearing myself say “I have never been so stressed out and overwhelmed in my life.”  I was experiencing migraines 2 to 3 times a week, digestive issues, and anxiety. All of this had been going on for almost a year. Of course I was completely sleep deprived on top of being acupuncture, yoga, proper diet and water intake deprived. I knew I did not like where this was heading and that I had to begin taking control of my health before I ended up somewhere I certainly did not want to be. Not to mention, I always prided myself on practicing what I preach.

I began receiving acupuncture again, drinking tons of water, taking my magnesium tea before bed and after a few weeks my headaches began to go away. I haven’t had a migraine in several months now. The yoga is on hold for the time being but once both kids are in school, it is the first thing I will bring back regularly into my life. I try to do at least 10 sun salutations a day but it doesn’t always happen, especially when my boys are around and mistake me for a jungle gym. As a practitioner that works with a lot of fertility issues, I put a lot of time and thought into doing research for my patients to assure I am doing all that I can to help them regain balance and optimal health. I realized how important it is that I do this for myself as well so that I can be the best mother and wife for my children and husband. I am still working on the balance and trying desperately to reduce the levels of stress that come along with parenthood and running your own practice. This may be a life long journey. I am so blessed to have a supportive husband who gives me the time I need to take care of myself.

What I do notice in my practice is that I see so many moms prenatally and then either never again or not until the next pregnancy. I was guilty of this as well. Chinese Medicine has been an invaluable tool for me to get back on the path to regaining my balance and I should have resumed treatments directly after the birth of my son. It is definitely one of the tools that has helped stop the chronic migraines. When I am consistent with treatments my sleep improves and I feel better able to manage the stress in my life.  There is so much required of your body after you have a child and you are nursing around the clock all on the least amount of sleep you have ever experienced for an extended period of time. Do yourself and your family a favor and take care of yourself first so that you can take care of them to your fullest potential!

Nourishing Coconut Beet Soup

I recently made some of my favorite soup to nourish a dear friend of mine who just had a baby. This soup sounds strange but believe me it is delicious and super good for you. In Chinese Medicine there is the idea that things in nature that resemble certain parts of the body are useful in curing issues with those parts of the body. In Western medicine this concept was developed by Paracelsus stating that “nature marks each growth according to it’s curative benefit”. Later this became to be known as the Doctrine of Signatures. Just looking at a beet tells you exactly what it is useful for, building blood. This concept is further proven by the fact that beets contain many blood building minerals such as iron, folate and manganese. It is known to purify blood to aid in detoxification, increase blood flow which helps lower blood pressure and helps with constipation due to it’s high fiber content. You can see why this would be beneficial for a new mom.

Coconut is specifically beneficial for building Yin which comprises the fluids of the body, one of which is blood. The fat in coconut oil is unique and different from most all other fats and possesses many health giving properties such as relieving pain and irritation from hemorrhoids, reducing inflammation and improving absorption of many vitamins and minerals. In Aryuvedic tradition, it is often suggested to women to improve milk supply,  as the milk that a mother produces is directly made from Yin/Blood.  In terms of fertility, signs of abundant yin can be seen leading up to ovulation in the amount of fertile mucus that is produced.  When yin is depleted, your body shows signs of heating up, as Yin is the cooling and moistening system of the body.

During pregnancy, Qi and blood become fully abundant resulting in thicker hair and nails and that glow that so many talk about. During the birth process, a woman loses a lot of qi and blood. This can show up postpartum with symptoms such as hair loss, anxiety, depression, low milk supply, fatigue, and memory loss. It is important to get on top of replenishing immediately postpartum in order to feel well and nourished.

This recipe is beneficial for everyone, whether it be fertility issues, pregnancy, postpartum recovery, menopause or general wellbeing. It is nutritious and absolutely delicious.

Coconut Beet Soup

ingredients:

2 to 3 small sized beets or one large beet cooked, chopped and peeled

2 to 3 cloves of minced garlic

1 tbs chicken or vegetable better than boullian (contains no msg) or even better homemade chicken stock.

1 can full fat coconut milk

1 tbs of virgin, unrefined organic coconut oil

sea salt to desired taste

Directions:

Wash and cook beets in about 4 cups of water. I use a pressure cooker which takes about 12 minutes. Run beets under cold water and remove the skin and chop. If using boullian, reserve 2 cups of water from the cooked beets and set aside. In a medium sized pot, melt the coconut oil and add the garlic until it becomes fragrant. Add the beet water, the boullian and the sea salt. To that, add the chopped beets. Using a handheld blender, puree the beets. To finish off add the coconut milk. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acupuncture To Prepare For Labor

Did you know acupuncture can help you prepare for timely labor and delivery? Beginning at 36 weeks, acupuncture is administered on a weekly basis as a safe and effective treatment to encourage natural labor.

Studies show (see abstract below) that gently needling specific points on the body can help:
*reduce the length of labor
*prevent overdue births
*accelerate cervical ripening and dilation

I’d like to emphasize that the intention is to encourage your body to go into labor naturally as well as to encourage a natural progression through each stage of labor. It is not meant to induce labor as is done with pitocin. Often times when the body is not prepared for labor, yet forced into it, there is not a smooth progression. Contractions can slow down causing dilation to slow down leading to the need for interventions.

It is also important to note the other major benefits of receiving acupuncture in order to prepare for labor. Acupuncture puts you in a state of relaxation, benefits sleep, and reduces pain. Mom does best when going into labor in a relaxed, restful state of being as does baby.

If you are close to 36 weeks, I encourage you to schedule your appointment today. If you know of anyone who is pregnant, please share this information with them. It can make a world of difference in their birthing experience.

Acupuncture for cervical ripening and induction of labor at term–a randomized controlled trial.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Vienna, Austria.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate whether acupuncture at term can influence cervical ripening, induce labor and thus reduce the need for postdates induction.
METHODS: On the estimated date of confinement (EDC) women were prospectively randomized to an acupuncture group (AG) or a control group (CG). Data of 45 women were evaluated (AG, n = 25; CG, n = 20). Inclusion criteria were as follows: confirmed EDC, uncomplicated course of pregnancy, singleton pregnancy in cephalic presentation. Exclusion criteria were as follows: cervical dilation > 3 cm, active labor, premature rupture of membranes, previous cesarean section, pathologies in mother or fetus. Women were examined at 2-day intervals. The cervical length was measured with vaginal ultrasonography, cervical mucus was obtained for a fetal Fibronectin test and the cervical status was assessed according to the Bishop score. In the AG, the points Hegu (Large Intestine 4) and Sanyinjiao (Spleen 6) were pierced on both sides every second day. If women were not delivered 10 days after EDC, labor was induced by administering vaginal prostaglandin tablets.
RESULTS: The cervical length in the AG was shorter than that in the CG on day 6 and day 8 after EDC (P = 0.04 for both). In the AG the time period from the first positive Fibronectin test to delivery was 2.3 days, while that in the CG was 4.2 days (P = 0.08). The time period from EDC to delivery was on average 5.0 days in the AG and 7.9 days in the CG (P = 0.03). Labor was induced in 20% of women in the AG (n = 5) and in 35% in the CG (n = 7) (P = 0.3). Overall duration of labor, and first and second stage of labor were not different in the two groups. In 56% of women who underwent acupuncture (n = 14) and in 65% of controls (n = 13), Oxytocin was used to augment labor. (P = 0.54).
CONCLUSION: Acupuncture at points LI4 and SP 6 supports cervical ripening at term and can shorten the time interval between the EDC and the actual time of delivery.