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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.

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.

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!

Boosting Immunity During Cold and Flu Season

It is that time of year again. Everywhere you look people are under the weather. If you have little ones, I don’t have to describe the scene. Chinese Medicine views this phenomenon as Evil Qi invading the body. There are several different types of Qi in the body. The one equivalent to your immune system is called Wei Qi. It’s job is to circulate on the superficial part of our body in order to fight and protect against Evil Qi invaders (bacteria, viruses, etc...).Some ways in which Chinese Medicine can help are in the use of Acupuncture, Cupping, Gua Sha and Herbs. There are many points in Acupuncture which help to boost your immune system and if you are in the midst of fighting something, there are points to help strengthen your Wei qi to kick the Evils out. Cupping and Gua Sha (a gentle scraping therapy) help bring those Evils up to the surface where the Wei Qi can fight the good fight and keep things from going deeper. If however, you do get to the point where the Evil has moved past the surface, herbs may be in order to help clear the lungs and any phlegm that may have accumulated.

The moral to this story is, don’t let the Evil Qi have a fighting chance.

Schedule your immune boosting treatment today!

Recommendations for boosting immunity: Seasonal Acupuncture Treatments - Remember Maintenance is key to long lasting health! Eidon Ionic Minerals Immune Support (when around others who are compromised or at the first sign of a cold) Eidon Ionic Minerals Liquid Zinc (on a daily basis, especially if you have a weakened immune system) *I give the Ionic Minerals to my children and it cuts there cold times in half. Green Tea Probiotics Garlic Ginger

**Get plenty of rest and keep a check on stress levels! Invite stress reducing activities into your life; daily walks, yoga, meditation, laughter. Keep a gratitude journal. When we are grateful, we invite more of that which we are grateful for into our lives.

Immunity Boosting Throat Soothing Tea

1 cup of hot water

grated fresh ginger

1 tbs of honey

fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper