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