Monday, August 31, 2009

Immortal Palace will be open for First Fridays!

Friday, September 4th
6:00pm - 10:00pm
3867 Tennyson Street (go around left side of the building and upstairs)

Enjoy wine and snacks while browsing innovative local art, and receive a special discount on your first acupuncture treatment!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chinese medicine sees the body as a garden

This afternoon I came home and saw the first cheerful bloom of our mini-sunflower patch. Nearly six feet tall, it looked me right in the eye. This seemed like nothing short of a miracle to me--not only because I planted it from seed, and it somehow turned sun and water into a gigantic flower perched on a human-sized stalk, but also because I planted these seeds weeks past the universally accepted "seed planting" date with no more green thumb strategy than my fingers crossed. But there it was--against all odds! My miracle sunflower! Staring me in the face.

Even though I wasn't sure my flowers would grow or even bloom, I kept watering and weeding. All summer. Even though my funky little flower bed looked a little pathetic and sparse, I kept at it. Some part of me had faith and hope. And then one day, they all started blooming like fireworks. One after the other--first my cosmos, then my zinnias, both also planted from seed.

Which got me thinking: Gardening is a powerful metaphor for healing the body.

Every time you think a thought, you plant a seed. When you focus on that thought--whether it is positive or negative--you are watering the seed. The more this thought is nurtured, the more it will grow, eventually into physical manifestation--whether positive or negative. Against all odds.

As a practitioner of Chinese medicine, I see many patients who are affecting their own health by the way they are tending to their "inner garden." Interestingly, the body and its state of health is likened to the garden in Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine.
"Both the garden and the human body are microcosms of nature. The processes, cycles, and condition that exist in a garden can also be observed in the life of a human being."
-Harriet Beinfield, L.Ac. and Efrem Korngold, L.Ac., O.M.D
Between Heaven and Earth
My advice as a novice gardener, as an acupuncturist, is to pay attention to the thoughts you are planting. Are they improving your health or diminishing it? Are you watering flowers or weeds?

Cooling summer foods

I just ate the juiciest, sweetest, fattest Colorado peach that has ever graced my taste buds! Oh, how I love peaches in the summertime! Is there a more sumptuous fruit?

In Chinese medicine, peaches are indicated to moisten the intestines and help with constipation; peach kernels are prescribed to treat blood stasis in the body.

Many common foods are used therapeutically in Chinese medicine. This August, while we are experiencing above 90 degree temperatures here in Denver, I prescribe the following foods to relieve summer heat:

- Peaches
- Pears
- Watermelon
- Green tea (yes, it is cooling!)
- Mung beans (soak and cook them like a porridge)
- Cucumber
- Lotus root
- Water chestnut
- Bamboo shoot
- Seaweed

And for dessert, I prescribe this soul-healing concoction:

Vanilla ice cream (Try this gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, best-ice-cream ever!)
Sliced peaches
Cinnamon (sprinkle on top)


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Acupuncture can help induce labor

My dear friend Ashley had her baby girl yesterday! This photo was taken on Monday, right before I gave her an acupuncture treatment to induce labor.

In Chinese medicine, needling certain acupoints can help encourage the body to begin labor. I use a technique called e-stim which introduces a small current of electricity through needles inserted in the lower back area. Although this procedure sounds intense, the sensation is quite mild and feels like a light tapping. Ashley reported feeling extremely relaxed and fell asleep during her treatment.

In addition to needling and e-stim, I also insert a tiny needle in the ear that represents the uterus. Stimulating this area of the ear, according to Chinese medicine, actually stimulates the uterus. In fact, your entire body is represented on your ear! How did they figure that out??

I was happy to learn this morning that Mom and Baby are doing so well that they are going home from the hospital this afternoon, a day early. Welcome to the world, little Ella! I can't wait to meet you tomorrow!

Monday, August 17, 2009

What are you creating with your thoughts?

"In the same way that sculptors mold clay into the creation that pleases them, you create by molding Energy. You mold it through your power of focus--by thinking about things, remembering things, and imagining things. You focus the Energy when you speak, when you write, when you listen, when you are silent, when you remember, and when you imagine--you focus it through the projection of thought."
--Esther and Jerry Hicks, Ask and It Is Given

Imagine if everyday for 5 minutes you focused on a thought that filled you with such overwhelming joy that every cell in your body was bathed in that emotion and responded by functioning at its absolute best.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Gwyneth Paltrow loves acupuncture

Remember when Gwyneth Paltrow showed up to a red carpet event with bruise-colored circles on her back? No, they were not octopus kisses (I know that's what you were thinking). These markings are from an ancient Chinese therapy called cupping.

A cotton ball is soaked in 90 proof alcohol, lit on fire, placed inside the glass cup, and then quickly removed to create a vacuum-like suction. The cup is then placed on an area of the body such as the back, stomach, or shoulder. I use cupping on my patients to promote blood flow and circulation, remove toxins from the body, and relieve pain. Cupping is useful for many ailments such as the common cold, asthma, hives, shoulder and back pain, to name a few.

Recently, Gwyneth Paltrow began a weekly newsletter called GOOP where she shares healthy recipes, favorite travel destinations, books to read, among many other useful tidbits. Check out this installment where she talks about acupuncture and Chinese medicine! Thank you Gwyneth!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Testimonial: Acupuncture speeds up post-surgery healing

One of my patients wanted to share with me and my readers her experience with acupuncture. Thanks, Rachel!

“I had surgery on my hand to reattach a cut nerve and tendon. My doctor and occupational therapist told me that I should not expect to gain full range of motion in my affected finger. In addition to my regular therapy treatments and massage, I saw Josie Bouchier weekly for 8 weeks of my recovery. She used a variety of techniques to break up scar tissue and promote nerve growth. On my last visit with the Occupational Therapist, he told me he was honestly surprised that I have regained my entire range of motion, and that I was in the 95th percentile of those who had the type of procedure I had. He said, "whatever you're doing, keep doing it!" I attribute my successful recovery to acupuncture, and Josie's thorough understanding of the healing process. I would highly recommend her to anyone seeking speedy recovery from surgery or other wounds, or any other issue for which western advice and prescriptions only partially treat.”
-Rachel, Business Administrator

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saturday morning pancakes (gluten free!)

In Chinese medicine, every organ in the body has a certain time of day where it functions at its best. The Spleen and Stomach, which rule digestion, have the strongest qi (or energy, pronounced "chee") in the morning hours. As the day goes on, their qi weakens.

Many people eat the least amount of food or nothing at all in the morning, more in the afternoon and the most at night. This not only causes indigestion and other related issues such as heartburn, acid reflux, gas, bloating, etc., but can also lead to weight gain, sluggishness and insomnia.

Thus, it makes more sense to eat--as my professor, Dr. Cheng, used to say--"like a king in the morning, a layman in the afternoon, and a pauper at night." To add to that, a different professor, Dr. Cao, used to emphasize "take 100 steps after every meal." When I follow these two ancient Chinese rules, I am always grateful. And you will be, too!

To start your morning like a king (or queen) try this yummy egg free, dairy free, gluten free pancake recipe!

1 cup Pamela's gluten free pancake mix
3/4 cup hemp milk (Living Harvest is the best brand)
1/3 cup apple sauce (as an egg and oil substitute)
small capful of vanilla extract
a few generous shakes of cinnamon (also try a little ginger and nutmeg)
3/4 cup chopped frozen peaches (or blueberries, or raspberries)

also try adding 1/2 cup or so of your favorite ground seeds (sunflower, flax, sesame, etc.). However, you may need to add a little more hemp milk so the mix does not get too dry. Adding seeds to your recipe will keep you satiated for MUCH longer.

Preheat a skillet on low heat and mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Try using ghee (clarified butter) to cook your pancakes. (Ghee is a great alternative for butter when cooking because the dairy solids are removed so it doesn't burn. Keep an eye out for a future post on how to make your own ghee.) Pour a couple blobs of batter onto the sizzling ghee and be patient while they brown. Gluten free pancakes without egg cook slower than regular pancakes.

Garnish your pancakes with a little dash of cinnamon, your favorite maple syrup and a dollop of plain goat yogurt. (Many people who are dairy sensitive can eat goat dairy with no problem.)

(And don't forget to take 100 steps afterwards!)