Author: indigoacupuncture@megamad.work

Sunset on the beach

Why I Disappear For 4 Days, 4 Times a Year

Where pink clouds meet blue water…4 times a year, I disappear for 4 days to visit this lake to experience a symphony of silence, solitude, introspection & inspiration.

While it’s technically a self-led spiritual retreat, I affectionately call it “Mom Camp” because that phrase makes sense to my four-year-old. The truth is coming here makes me a better mother, wife, friend, doctor & human.

Every trip here is a different experience. The only constant is I’m always transformed by the time I get home.

I highly recommend finding your own version of Mom Camp. Because once you find it, you will never be the same.

​3 Secrets to Being An Awesome Parent With Chronic Headaches

If you’re a parent and you suffer from migraines or chronic headaches, you already know the special challenges of parenting through severe pain. Busy lives full of school events, sports practices, and errands mean that the days of disappearing into a dark room to sleep off a headache are practically non-existent when tiny beings depend on you for everything.

So, what can you do?

Here are 3 secrets to being an awesome parent, even if you suffer from migraines or chronic headaches:

1. Invest in Yourself
No matter how busy your schedule is, write in 15 minutes of “me time” every day, without exception.

Why? Because you need a minimum of 15 minutes a day alone to be your best self.

My 15 minutes starts the second I wake up in the morning. Whether my daughter is awake or not, I head straight to my journal and write 1 page of affirmations to start my day. Then I spend 10-15 minutes reading book(s) that nourish my soul. This “me time” is non-negotiable. Can’t get your littles to give you 15 minutes? If you’re married, ask your spouse to backfill your parenting position. If your kids are easy persuaded with bribes, give them something to keep them happy for 15 minutes. Build your “me time” into a daily routine. It’s not always easy, but kids and spouses are trainable especially when something happens every day at the same time of day!

2. Reverse-Engineer Your Life
Identify what obstacles are blocking you from living a headache-free life. Is it too many looming deadlines at work? Is it unresolved tension in your marriage? Is it sitting in 2 hours of traffic everyday and feeling stuck? Obstacles are everywhere and they come in all different sizes and shapes. Write down 5 obstacles that contribute to your headaches. Then, reverse-engineer a solution to all 5 or as many as you can. Some may be easier to abolish than others. But you won’t know how hard or how easy it can be to overcome obstacles in your life until you figure out what they are.

3. Claim Your Strengths
What are you “good” at?  Are you good at helping others? Cooking? Showing up on time? Going  to church every Sunday? Dancing? Take a quick inventory to write down 5 things you do well. Then, think about why you do those things well. Are you good at showing up on time because you plan ahead? Are you good at dancing because you dance like no one else is watching? Embrace your strengths and celebrate them. If you do get a migraine or a horrendous headache, celebrate tiny victories like having enough energy to get out of bed and give your kids a hug after baseball practice. On headache days, the small victories count the most.

Are you interested in learning more about natural approaches to long-term relief from migraines and chronic headaches? Indigo Healing Acupuncture has teamed up with Julie Balderrama Coaching to offer a unique holistic program for anyone suffering from headaches.  We help people (who have tried everything) break free from headaches by discovering hidden obstacles to healing. We empower them with knowledge and tools to find long-lasting relief so they can thrive with freedom and joy in their life.

Daisies

Personal Journey: I Had Surgery 2 Weeks Ago

 I had surgery two weeks ago… less than 10 people knew about it. It took me out of my holistic clinic and into the depths of modern medicine for a few days of intensive rest and recovery.  To be honest, as a doctor of Chinese medicine, I say the phrase “Surgery should be a last resort” to patients every day. But, when I heard the words “It could be cancer” I knew I had to go to the last resort.

Committing to surgery stirred up feelings of frustration (why didn’t acupuncture help?), fear (what if the surgery doesn’t go as planned?) and a sense of abandoning patient-centered holistic medicine for the profit-focused modern medicine machine. Having surgery felt a lot like a betrayal to everything I believe in.

This is what I learned…

• Modern medicine can be life-saving
• Modern medicine doesn’t have all the answers
• Modern medicine has a very limited toolbox (drugs or surgery) to solve health problems

Back in September, my gynecologist felt a mass near my uterus during my annual exam. I had been having severe pain with every menstrual cycle and knew my endometriosis had returned. An ultrasound revealed a complex cyst about the size of an egg and attached to my ovary. We agreed the best course of action was to watch it for a few weeks, clean up my diet (goodbye coffee, hello celery juice!), and check it again in December. The exam in December showed the cyst remained and had a new feature on it, a nodular tumor. My gynecologist told me it could be cancer and offered a CA-125 blood test. However, there was no definitive way to know without surgery. So, we scheduled the surgery, a laparoscopic cystectomy. The whole discussion took less than 10 minutes.

I returned home from that appointment scared and uncertain. Of course, my ultimate fear was losing a battle against cancer and leaving my 4-year-old without a mother. It was ridiculously easy for my mind to jump to that awful conclusion. I consciously refused to buy into that outcome that my mind wanted to play on repeat. After a few hours of acknowledging the fear and reprogramming my mind with positive outcomes, I felt more at peace.

In the days leading up to the surgery, I reprioritized my day to begin with a writing meditation full of “I am” statements such as “I am healthy and pain-free” and trust statements like “The universe conspires to help me.” I also spent 5-10 minutes every morning connecting to a higher power and asking for divine guidance. I revised my will. I treasured tucking my daughter into bed every night.

By the day of my surgery, I felt confident that the surgery would be a success. That morning I reminded my gynecologist to preserve my ovary if she could and to clean up any other endometrial tissue she discovered. She agreed and within minutes the anesthesiologist was there ready to knock me out. When I woke up in recovery about 90 minutes later, I was in a lot of pain and the nurse sent fentanyl through my IV. As someone who relies on herbal medicine, having fentanyl surge through my veins was quite a sensation. My pain level decreased from 8 to 1 within minutes, but I still had no idea if the surgery was a success. Once I saw my husband, my first question was, “Do I still have all my organs?” He said yes and a few hours later, I was released in a fentanyl haze of relief and gratitude.

Fast forward two weeks to today, when I had my post-operative appointment. I found out the cause of the pain was endometriosis, but not at all what I expected. The surgery revealed I had a benign ovarian endometrioma (often called a chocolate cyst) full of endometrial fluid. Compared to 5 years before when I had stage IV endometriosis scattered across my bowels, peritoneum, fallopian tubes and uterus, my body had effectively encapsulated the endometriosis into a single cyst. Miraculously, there were no signs of endometriosis on any other organs or structures. I thought to myself, “Wow, the acupuncture and herbs did help!”

Modern medicine can be life-saving and anyone facing the possibility of a life-threatening illness should consult a trusted MD for a modern diagnosis and treatment plan. However, for many chronic illnesses and conditions, modern medicine offers a very limited toolbox consisting of drugs or surgery. Now that I’ve had a surgical tune-up, I’ll continue with acupuncture treatments two times a week and a daily regimen of Chinese herbs to control the endometriosis. I know the risk of recurrence is high, but now that I’ve witnessed how intelligent my body was to isolate the disease, I have faith that I won’t be on an operating table again anytime soon.

Your Body’s #1 Secret

I want to tell you a secret. It’s a well-guarded secret. An important secret. And it can change your life.

Before I reveal the secret, let me ask…

Do you suffer from daily headaches? Migraines? Other pain that just won’t go away?

Have you ever thought about what pain is?

Is there a message in that pain?

The answer is YES, there is a strong message hidden in that headache or migraine or stiff neck or backache or whatever is causing YOU pain.

Pain is a messenger. Pain is the only way your physical body can communicate directly with your mind. Pain is your body’s way to yell “STOP! PAY ATTENTION! LISTEN TO ME!

The big secret is… Pain exists so your body can heal itself. Your body is engineered to heal itself. You can see it in action everytime you get a papercut!

So, are you receptive to your body’s calls for attention? Or is your pain buried under medications designed to keep it quiet and hidden?

If you’re ready to hear your body’s message and banish your daily headaches, migraines or other chronic pain, contact us to schedule a consultation at 512-686-0777 or book online by clicking the blue button below.

3 Surprising Side-Effects of Acupuncture

One of the questions I often hear is, “Does acupuncture have side-effects?”

The honest answer is “Yes!” 

Here are three surprising side-effects of acupuncture…Better sleep: Acupuncture balances your body’s nervous system to attune with circadian rhythms and promotes falling into deep and restorative sleep cycles.Better sex: Acupuncture increases libido by balancing hormones (male and female), boosting blood flow to the genitals, and relaxing the mind with a flood of feel-good neurotransmitters including dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins, and serotonin.Better relationships: Acupuncture relieves stress which allows for easy-going relationships with your friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances. It literally shifts the brain into a baseline state of relaxation so the daily annoyances, interruptions, and stresses of dealing with other people will bounce right off of you while you transform your mindset into cultivating healthy relationships at work, school, and (most importantly) home.
Are you ready to try acupuncture for your biggest health challenge and experience these beneficial side-effects?

Parents: How To Know When To Ask For Help With Anxiety

As a parent, you’ve probably felt pangs of anxiety from time to time. It’s natural to feel anxious occasionally about your child. For example, when you’re about to board a 6 hour flight with a lap child or when it’s your child’s first day of school. However, when anxiety becomes a daily occurrence you need to take action for yourself and your family.

When anxiety spirals out the normal and into the excessive, even the best parents can feel like they’re not enough… not doing enough, not present in enough, not prepared enough, not patient enough, not loving enough… the list goes on and on. If left untreated, anxiety felt by parents can spillover and foster anxiety in their child(ren). A study in the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (2013) found “parent anxiety confers poorer treatment outcomes for childhood anxiety disorders.” Psychologists created a term for this condition: parental anxiety.

Parental anxiety is a serious condition because it not only affects you, it affects your entire family.

What are the symptoms of parental anxiety? It can manifest as…

  • difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep
  • waking up too early (4am is a common time)
  • loss of patience
  • feeling like you’re going through the daily motions just enough to keep your head above water
  • feeling like a failure at work
  • feeling like a failure at parenting
  • feeling like a failure at housekeeping
  • feeling like your marriage (or relationship) is failing
  • rapid (racing) heartbeat
  • shortness of breath
  • digestive issues like heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, alternating diarrhea & constipation
  • constantly comparing yourself to others
  • excessive worry about the future
  • sense of a lack of control
  • frequent crying or over-sensitivity
  • frequent sighing
  • inability to concentrate (aka brain fog, mommy-brain)
  • repetitive thoughts about worst case scenarios,
  • reliving guilt over past events
  • low or no libido
  • wanting to run away
  • inability to plan future events
  • mood swings/snaps
  • exacerbated menstrual issues

Do you feel more than two of these symptoms on a daily basis? Has it impacted your ability to parent? If you answered yes, now is the time to take action before it spirals out of control.

If you are experiencing parental anxiety, there is a solution waiting for you! A series of acupuncture treatments and customized Chinese herbs can effectively alleviate anxiety and bring you back to your best self within weeks.  Schedule a consultation today to get relief from your anxiety!

Healing Food: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This is one of my family’s favorite soups. It’s easy to make and every bite is packed with protein, vitamins and minerals that are soothing to the digestive system. It’s the perfect soup to eat when recovering from an illness or surgery.

I serve it blended and creamy, not chunky. It’s a meal in itself or a filling side dish.

Butternut Squash Soup
1 large organic butternut squash (Costco has pre-packaged cubes)
1 sweet onion
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
Handful of baby carrots, sliced or ribboned
1 box of organic chicken bone broth
1 can of organic full-fat coconut milk
1/8th teaspoon ground nutmeg
Sea salt and pepper
Organic extra virgin olive oil.

Have all of your ingredients? Let’s do this!

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (I use a toaster oven)
  2. Place the squash cubes and carrots in a large bowl and toss to coat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper.
  3. Line baking dish or rimmed tray with parchment paper. Spread the squash and carrots evenly across the tray. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the veggies are soft.
  4. Coat bottom of large soup pot with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and place on medium heat.
  5. Slice onion and add to soup pot. Saute onion until soft and season with salt and pepper.
  6. At medium heat, add garlic to onions and stir until the garlic is light brown.
  7. Dump in your tray of roasted squash and carrots.
  8. Add about 2 cups of the bone broth, stir everything, and bring to simmer (medium-high heat).
  9. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. Add more broth if the vegetables are not coated.
  10. Remove pot from heat and blend the soup in the pot using an immersion blender or transfer the (Caution: Hot!) soup to a heavy-duty blender (Vitamix, Ninja, etc).
  11. Once blended and smooth, bring the soup pot back to simmering heat.
  12. Add a pinch of ground nutmeg (about 1/8th teaspoon) to the soup and stir it in.
  13. Slowly stir in coconut milk to your desired soup consistency. We like our soups to be more hearty, less watery, so I typically add about 1/4 cup of coconut milk or less.
  14. Turn off the heat, take a taste and season with more sea salt and pepper if needed.

That’s it! You’ve made a delicious, healthy soup that nourishes the Lungs, Kidneys, and Stomach! It keeps in the refrigerator for about 3 days in an airtight container.

Another tip: To make an easy one-pot dinner, add chunks of rotisserie chicken to the finished soup.

12 Ways Acupuncture Can Help During Pregnancy

If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know there is a long list of things to avoid: paint fumes, ibuprofen, dirty kitty litter, sushi, tobacco, aspirin, caffeine, hot tubs, raw cookie dough, scuba diving….the list goes on and on.  So what can you do to cope with the stress, aches, and pains of growing another human? The answer is…

​Acupuncture!

The great news is that acupuncture is effective at treating ailments in every trimester of pregnancy. The most common pregnancy-related conditions seen in the clinic include:

  • Morning Sickness
  • Back, Rib and Hip Pain
  • Headaches
  • Sciatica
  • Neck and Shoulder Tension
  • Heartburn
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Colds & Coughs
  • Fatigue
  • Seasonal Allergies
  • Anxiety
  • Breech Presentation

When performed by a Licensed Acupuncturist (not a Physical Therapist or Chiropractor)acupuncture is a safe option for mamas-to-be to consider when looking for gentle, natural help with pain or illness.

To find an acupuncturist skilled in pregnancy support, there are 3 important questions to ask:

  • Does the Acupuncturist have experience with your specific condition?
  • Does the clinic have treatment tables with adjustable backs to allow for reclined treatments?
  • Does the clinic have pregnancy pillows to ensure proper positioning and comfort?

To schedule a consultation at Indigo Healing Acupuncture and learn more about how acupuncture can benefit your pregnancy, click the button below.

5 Conditions Acupuncture Excels at Treating

Conventional medicine is great at some things, like emergency surgery. However, it often fails at treating more common problems, like frequent headaches or poor sleep.

Here are five common conditions that are poorly treated/managed by conventional medicine:

  1. Chronic Pain…Treated with over-the-counter pain relievers (aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen), opioids, physical therapy, surgery, tough-it-out mindset
  2. Insomnia…Treated with sleeping pills, anti-depressants
  3. Migraine Headaches…Treated with over-the-counter pain relievers (aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen), caffeine, beta-blockers, antidepressants, ergot, triptans, glucocorticoids, opioids
  4. Anxiety/Depression…Treated with  antidepressants, benzodiazepines, beta-blockers
  5. Vertigo (Dizziness)… Treated with diuretics, antihistamines, benzodiazepines, anti-nausea drugs

Acupuncture excels at treating these five conditions because it gets to the root of the problem. Conventional medicine only offers interventions (pharmaceutical or surgical) to relieve the symptoms of these condition, while acupuncture delivers long-term relief.

Often the quick-fix of drugs or surgery creates more health problems as the root cause of the condition is left untreated and/or undiagnosed. If you hear your doctor say the word “idiopathic” it means he/she does not know the cause of your condition. Not very comforting, right?

At your first acupuncture treatment, we’ll diagnose the root cause of your condition and get you on the road for long-term healing and relief. Acupuncture treatments not only prevent conditions from returning, it can prevent related conditions from arising.

The Unicorn of Acupuncture Treatments

Every once in a while, one of my patients will receive what I call a Unicorn Treatment.

What is a Unicorn Treatment?

A Unicorn Treatment is a magical, mysterious acupuncture session that…
occurs once in patient’s lifetime (unless they themselves are a unicorn disguised as a human)
miraculously cures the patient’s chief complaint (in other words, the condition never reoccurs)

Maybe you’ve had a friend who’s personally experienced a Unicorn Treatment. For example, a friend trying to get pregnant without any luck for 19 months has acupuncture once and conceives right away.

Results like this lead to a common misconception that the Unicorn Treatment is a regular occurrence in the world of acupuncture. Upon hearing these stories, many people try acupuncture once, expecting a miraculous cure, only to feel disappointed when the condition returns a few days later.

This is totally normal.

The reality is most conditions, especially chronic ailments, take multiple acupuncture treatments to resolve. Patients usually feel better after the first treatment, but if they don’t receive another treatment within a few days, the pain or illness returns as if the acupuncture treatment never happened.

In my clinic, all treatment plans are customized to a patient’s needs. In most cases, I advise the patient that their condition will take X number of treatments within X number of days before they feel consistently better.

So, if you’ve tried acupuncture once, and you felt disappointed because it didn’t help you, I highly recommend trying it again (especially before resorting to an irreversible treatment like surgery). It’s likely that consistent treatments will give you relief of your symptoms. And if you haven’t tried acupuncture, maybe your first session will be a Unicorn Treatment, which will feel just as good as winning the lottery!

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