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3 Ways Acupuncture Solves Modern Medical Mysteries

Do you suffer from an illness that is mysterious in origin?
Do you have a condition that MDs have described as idiopathic (no known cause)?
Have you tried every tool of modern medicine (pharmaceuticals, surgery, rest) and still haven’t found relief?
When I was in my late 20’s, I suffered from debilitating migraine headaches and idiopathic tachycardia (fast heartbeat). I had monthly appointments with a neurologist who had me try at least a dozen different medications to decrease the frequency and severity of my headaches. The side effects were brutal: weight gain, memory loss, personality changes… the list could go on & on. As a last resort, a coworker suggested scheduling an appointment with an acupuncturist across the street from our office. The acupuncturist had helped her with chronic insomnia and she convinced me I had nothing to lose by giving it a try.

I will never forget my first appointment. For an entire hour, the acupuncturist asked me about my illness and actually listened to my answers. I had never had a doctor really listen to me before. After checking my tongue and pulse, she explained my diagnosis and explained how acupuncture could help. Three months later, I walked out of her clinic migraine-free. My neurologist was astounded when I told him I was no longer taking the daily cocktail of prescriptions and had not had a migraine in a month.

So how does acupuncture solve medical mysteries?
Acupuncture is based on an entirely different medical system based on over 2,000 years of clinical experience. Specifically:
Acupuncturists treat the body-mind-spirit as a whole. There is no division between the physical body and the mind, nor is there a division between the physical body and the spirit. Acupuncture is a form of holistic medicine that understands the whole person, not just a constellation of symptoms.
Acupuncture promotes self-healing through homeostasis in the nervous system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system, and immune system. Each acupuncture point stimulates these systems which allows the body to self-regulate and heal itself.
Through tongue and pulse diagnosis, acupuncturists can diagnose and identify the root cause of every illness or pain. Unlike modern medicine, there is no such thing as an idiopathic illness or a mysterious symptom. Everything is connected and explainable, much like a leaf on a tree is dependent on healthy roots in the ground.
These three aspects of acupuncture enable modern medical mysteries to be solved in a gentle, safe, and nourishing manner.

To schedule a consultation to solve your own medical mystery, contact Michelle.

Wanted: Emotional Wellness

​With the tragic loss of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade to suicide this week, I wanted to share my thoughts on emotional wellness and mental illness. It’s time to change the way we (as a society) view mental illness and shift our focus to achieving emotional wellness.
​According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness:
Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4.0%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.

What does this mean? As Americans, we are all touched by mental illness. It is prevalent in our families, our friends, and our communities.

Our conventional healthcare system simply does not know how to handle mental illness or promote emotional wellness.

Despite scientific advances in understanding brain chemistry, there is a shame-based social stigma attached to conditions like depression, anxiety, and bipolar syndrome. Some professions/societies go so far as to penalize those who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. As a result, millions of Americans suffer in secret because they are reluctant/scared to seek help.

As we’ve witnessed this week, social status, wealth, achievements, age, race, religion, and outward appearances do not protect anyone from suffering in secret from a mental illness. It can literally affect anyone at any time. There are not always outward signs of an impending mental crisis. Everyone we meet is fighting some type of battle that we know nothing about.

As a holistic practitioner, I treat patients as a whole person, mind-body-spirit. This approach is particularly helpful to de-stigmatizing mental illness and promoting emotional wellness. Acupuncture, Chinese herbs, exercise, nutrition, meditation, gua-sha and tui-na are all helpful tools to promote a health emotional balance.

If you know someone whom is suffering, please know that help is always available, often at no-cost or low-cost. Now here is the shift to a societal focus on emotional wellness… as their friend (and as a fellow human), realize that you (yes! YOU!) have a responsibility to step up and find help when they cannot ask for it themselves.

Here’s where you can find help for your friend/spouse//lover/ex-lover/brother/sister/cousin/mother/father/aunt/uncle/teacher/colleague:
Mental Health America
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1‑800‑273‑TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat. If you or someone you know is suicidal or in emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your confidential and toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline national network. These centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals.
SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline, 1‑877‑SAMHSA7 (1‑877‑726‑4727). Get general information on mental health and locate treatment services in your area. Speak to a live person, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.
The Child-Help USA 1.800.4.A.CHILD (1.800.422.4453) crisis line assists both child and adult survivors of abuse, including sexual abuse. The hotline, staffed by mental health professionals, also provides treatment referrals.
If you know someone who is suffering, open your heart to them with love and understanding. If you are suffering, be kind to yourself and confide in someone to get you the help you deserve.

3 Ways Spirit Helps You Heal

  • Do you have health issues that don’t respond well to medical treatments or pharmaceuticals?
  • Have you been prescribed multiple medications for a constellation of symptoms? For example, one medication for arthritic pain in your hands, another medication for asthma, and a medication to relieve chronic back pain?

In Oriental Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body-mind-spirit is treated as a whole. The hands and lungs and back are treated together. There is no division between the physical body and the mind, nor is there a division between the physical body and the spirit. You are treated as a whole person, which is what we call holistic medicine.

Acupuncture treatments affect and heal the mind-body-spirit in ways that conventional Western medicine cannot.  During an acupuncture treatment, needles are placed on precise body points that activate healing and open your connection to Spirit.  Many acupuncture points are named for this ability, such as Shen Men (Spirit Gate).  During or after a treatment session, you may feel euphoric as physical pain diminishes and your Qi flows freely through your meridians. This is a wonderful window of time to easily connect to Spirit and express your true desires.

To you, Spirit may be God, the Universe, All-That-Is or whatever you perceive to be the origin and manifestation of your Life Force.  By connecting to Spirit through prayer, reading sacred texts like the Bible, meditation, or manifestation, Spirit will always respond to each of your requests in one of three ways:

  1. Yes, it is yours.
  2. The timing isn’t right, so keep the faith and remain patient.
  3. No, there is something even better coming for you.

When it comes to healing your whole self, Spirit will always answer your requests with one of these answers. It may come to you in a dream or daydream, as a special song on the radio, or as a physical symbol that holds a special meaning to you, such as a rainbow or bird. The answer is always there, the key is to give yourself enough time and space to receive it.  It is often in this space that the toughest health challenges are suddenly resolved.

To schedule a consultation or appointment to heal your mind-body-spirit, contact Michelle here.

Get Real: IVF

Reality: IVF is brutal. The bruises are real. The fear of failure can be overwhelming. The financial burden is heavy.

The antidote to this challenging reality is faith.

Faith in the Universe to unite a mother with the soul of her unborn child.

Faith in doctors to expertly prescribe the exact dose of Follistim or Gonal-F, Lupron, hCG,  Prednisolone,  Estradiol, and/or Progesterone needed to hijack a menstrual cycle and optimize the body’s conditions for conception & pregnancy.

Faith in holistic medicine to support & protect the body, mind, and spirit from such an invasive process.

Faith in traditional Chinese herbs to harmonize the body, mind, and spirit and nourish the Uterus.

Faith in yourself to answer the sacred calling of a Mother.

Fertility on a Budget: $10 a week

Getting pregnant doesn’t have to break your budget! If you have $10 per week, here’s how you can use it to increase your odds of a healthy pregnancy within three months.

Here are 8 fertility tools that cost less than $10 a week over the course of three months:

1. Basal Body Temperature Thermometer: The first step to accurately tracking your fertility cycle is to record your waking body temperature under your tongue at the same time every morning before getting out of bed.  This special type of thermometer records temperature to the 10th of a degree, which is extremely important when trying to conceive.

2. High-Quality Prenatal Vitamins: Prenatal vitamins are important because so much happens magic occurs inside an embryo before a positive pregnancy test (typically around 4-5 weeks pregnant).  Within the first 3 weeks of pregnancy, the embryo is busy building a spinal cord, brain, eyes, heart, digestive tract, liver and face!  Your little baby will draw upon mama’s stores of vitamins and minerals, but needs more!  When selecting a prenatal vitamin, talk to a health care professional (doctor or acupuncturist) to make sure you’re buying the best available for your specific needs.  My favorite professional-quality brands are Thorne and Innate Response. Contact Michelle to order online.

3. Fertility-Friendly Lubricant: If you use a lubricant, make sure it’s fertility-friendly and sperm-safe. I usually recommend BabyDance because it’s available at most major retailers including Amazon.

4. Fertile Living Library: Follow this link to access free fertility resources from fertility acupuncturist Heidi Brockmyre:

  •  Fertility Supplement Guide
  • Fertility Quiz + Solutions Guide
  • Top 5 IVF Tips
  • Top 5 Tips to Boost Fertility over 40
  • Top 5 Fertility Food
  • Top 5 Tips to Support Pregnancy
  • Natural Prep for IVF Success E-Book
  • Guided Audio Relaxations, including Call in Your Baby
  • Videos, including Introductory Fertility Self-Acupressure

6. BBT Chart: A Google search will reveal lots of free printable BBT Chart templates or there are several fertility apps that can capture temps to produce a chart. Choose what works for you! Here’s a printable PDF from BabyCenter to get you started.

7. Warm Socks: Simply put, Warm Feet = Warm Uterus. Wear socks in every season!

​8.  Reference Books: Learn all about fertility with these two tomes of knowledge:

At only $10 a week, these tools can help you achieve a healthy pregnancy! Sending you lots of baby dust!


Holistic Healing: A Different Approach to Medicine

At Indigo Healing Acupuncture, we practice holistic Oriental medicine.

This means that we see living beings (human or animal) as a complete, interrelated entity composed of a mind (consciousness), physical body, and spirit (soul).  Holistic medicine allows healing to occur on physical and metaphysical levels.

So, what is holistic medicine in a nutshell? Holistic medicine…

  • Sees a whole person, not a body part
  • Focuses on wellness, not disease

How does holistic medicine differ from modern medicine?
Modern medicine aims to identify the condition (and affix a label such as “heartburn”) and alleviate symptoms with drugs, physical therapy, radiation, or surgery.

Holistic medicine identifies the root cause of the pain/illness and treats the mind, body and spirit to provide relief and a return to wellness.

How does this work in real life?
Let me give you a real-life example of a common complaint. Let’s say you have lower back pain, labeled by modern medicine as lumbar spinal stenosis.

Modern medicine will measure the pain, document the location, order radiological scans (x-ray or MRI), and prescribe pain killers, physical therapy, surgery, or rest. You’ll likely walk out of the 10-minute appointment with as much pain (maybe more if you had to wait two hours for your five minutes of face time with the MD) as when you walked in.

A holistic practitioner will see you as a whole person. We’ll ask specific questions about where you live, what you eat, your emotional well-being, your exercise schedule, and the quality of your sleep. Within the framework of Oriental Medicine, we’ll combine these answers with tongue & pulse diagnosis to identify the root problem of your pain and treat it with acupuncture, moxibustion, tui nagua sha, cupping, and/or Chinese herbs. With this holistic approach, the acupuncture needles may not be placed on your back at all and you could still leave the appointment with no lower back painAnd, as a bonus, you’ll likely be in a better mood & sleep better that night as well!

Does insurance cover holistic medicine?
Many large medical insurance plans now cover acupuncture treatments for pain relief. Most employer-sponsored Health Spending Account and Flexible Spending Account (HSA/FSA) plans also include acupuncture as a covered service. Check your benefits summary for coverage details.

Are you ready to be seen as a whole person and give holistic medicine a try?

Case Study: An Integrative Approach to Chronic Insomnia

This case study of insomnia is a real-life example of how Chinese Medicine is combined with modern Western medicine to create the best outcome for our patients.  This approach is called integrative medicine because it combines traditional holistic medicine with the science of Western allopathic medicine.

Insomnia is generally defined as an inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or a combination of both. Chronic insomnia is difficulty sleeping for a month or longer. Insomnia afflicts up to 15% of the world’s population. Insomnia occurs when the biological drivers of sleep, circadian rhythms and homeostasis, are disrupted by emotional upset and chronic stress.

This letter is an example of how we coordinate care with a patient’s primary doctor:

Dear Primary Care Physician,
I have a patient suffering from chronic insomnia and would like your assistance with this case.

Case Summary:
The patient is a 32-year-old male with a chief complaint of restless sleep.  The history of present illness is insomnia difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep during the last six weeks. Sleep improves with daily exercise, is exacerbated by stress, crying baby, too much computer screen time. No night sweats, but sense of heat. Patient goes to bed at 11pm and is restless until 1-2am. He wakes 1x to urinate, usually between 4-5am. Vital signs are pulse 64 bpm, BP 118/68, 13 breaths per minute, body temp: 98.8 degrees F.

Based on the patient’s symptoms and tongue and pulse presentation, the TCM diagnosis is Heart and Kidney Yin Deficiency insomnia.

Evidence-Based Approach:
In a review study conducted by O’Brien & Weber (2016), acupuncture was found to regulate “various neurotransmitters and hormones, such as endorphins, serotonin, norepinephrine, adrenocorticotrophic hormone, cortisol, acetylcholine, melatonin, substance P, gamma-aminobutyric acid, and nitric oxide, known to be involved in sleep regulation. Acupuncture can also regulate higher cortical function, the HPA axis, and somato-visceral reflexes.”

The patient has agreed to receive a 60-minute Chinese Medicine treatment two times a week for four weeks. Reassessment will occur at the sixth appointment. Progress is tracked with the Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile (MYMOP) questionnaire. The patient completed the initial MYMOP prior to the first acupuncture treatment and will fill out a follow-up MYMOP questionnaire prior to the first appointment every week. An initial acupuncture point protocol was:

  • N-HN-54 an mian (peaceful sleep)
  • Bilateral KD-6 zhao hai (shining sea)
  • Bilateral HT-7 shen men (spirit gate)
  • Bilateral SP-6 san yin jiao (3 yin intersection)

Acupuncture needles were retained for 25 minutes while the patient was lying supine in a quiet, darkened room.

The patient received the traditional Chinese herbal formula Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan (Ginseng and Zizyphus formula) with instructions to drink three cups per day in-between meals for four weeks.

​The patient is advised to avoid caffeine and alcohol, exercise in the morning (so as to not interfere with sleep in the evening), avoid spicy and greasy foods, drink water throughout the day and cease consumption by 8pm at night, and discontinue use of all electronic devices at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime.

Expected Outcomes/Prognosis:
Prior to his first acupuncture treatment, the patient identified insomnia with a MYMOP score of “6 – as bad as it can be”.  At his third appointment, he reported better sleep and a lower MYMOP score of “3”.  I expect him to obtain more high-quality sleep within the next two weeks of treatment and report another reduced MYMOP score.

Please order a CBC differential lab test and Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) for this patient and contact me with the results.

​I appreciate your willingness to share in the care of this patient.

Michelle Wendt, L.Ac. DACM, Dipl. OM

Introducing the Holistic Divorce Recovery Program

  • Have you recently ended your marriage?
  • Do you feel emotionally drained?
  • Are you holding onto anger and/or feelings of resentment towards your former spouse?
  • Are you grieving the loss of your marriage and your shared future?
  • Has divorce caused old patterns of anxiety and depression to resurface?
  • Are you ready to reclaim your new life?

Oriental medicine provides a holistic approach to healing from a broken heart. Symptoms of a “broken heart” can manifest as difficulty sleeping, depression, anxiety, poor appetite or overeating, inability to focus, acne, asthma, tight muscles and soreness, TMJ, sciatica, headaches, migraines, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and more.

​Indigo Healing Acupuncture offers a comprehensive 12 week program to help you process the end of your marriage and reclaim a new vibrant life.

This customized package includes acupuncture, Chinese herbs, traditional fire cupping/gua sha, and self-care suggestions to boost your Qi and bring forgiveness & hope back into your life. This program is offered on a limited basis and a pre-consultation by phone is required.

Contact Michelle to learn more about this one-of-a-kind Holistic Divorce Recovery program.

First Day of Spring

Today is the first day of Spring!

Spring is the season of the Wood element. In Oriental Medicine, the Wood element corresponds to the Liver & Gallbladder. People with a Wood constitution are Type A overachievers who seek control. Their body shape is long & lean, like a tree. Daily exercise & fresh air are absolutely required by Wood types! They are driven pioneers who take initiative & thrive on action. When Wood-types sense a loss of control or life isn’t going their way, they become even more controlling and easily frustrated. When they become unbalanced, they often suffer from migraines, tension headaches, indigestion, tight achy muscles, alternating constipation/diarrhea, mood swings, and irritability. Common vices include alcohol & coffee.

Luckily, Oriental Medicine can bring an overacting Wood element back into balance with the other 4 elements (Fire-Earth-Metal-Water) and alleviate symptoms.

By the way, your custom AcuGraph report will measure the energy in your meridians to determine your primary 5 element constitutional type! Contact Michelle to schedule an appointment today!

How to Clear Brain Fog

  • Is it easy for you to wake up in the morning (no snooze buttons)?
  • Do you wake up feeling refreshed & alert?
  • Do you rely on coffee/tea to mentally wake up?
  • Have you had problems remembering names or where you left your phone or keys?
  • Do you walk into a room and forget why you’re there or what you’re looking for?
  • Do you have problems concentrating on a specific task for more than a few minutes?

What is brain fog?

Brain fog is an inability think clearly. You may feel spacey, have problems focusing on a specific task or feel mentally scattered with your thoughts jumping all over the place.  Brain fog can also cause forgetfulness, such as remembering someone’s name, what you ate for lunch yesterday, or where you left your keys.

How can Oriental Medicine help clear brain fog?

1. Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs improve sleep quality…
​​A lack of sleep at night opens the door wide-open to an invasion of brain fog. After a poor night of sleep, morning brain fog is almost a given. Acupuncture is proven clinically effective at treating insomnia, whether it’s an inability to fall asleep or difficulty staying asleep or restless sleep.  There are specific Chinese Herbal formulas for treating the root cause of insomnia too.

2. Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs relax the sympathetic nervous system…

The sympathetic nervous system controls the fight-or-flight response triggered by stress or trauma. It opens the airways, increases heart rate, and pushes oxygenated blood to the muscles. Think of it as the switch that tells the body to wake up. Acupuncture flips the off-switch in the sympathetic nervous system and allows the parasympathetic nervous system to take over. The parasympathetic nervous symptom controls rest and digestion. By shifting the body’s energy to slow down and focus on recovery, the mind calms down enabling more concentration & focus.

There are dozens of acupuncture points that calm the body-mind-spirit all the way from the head to the toes. There is a special constellation of four points on the head called si shen cong that translates to four spirit wisdom. The points are so effective at boosting memory & cognition that candidates taking national board exams are no longer allowed to enter testing centers with needles in si shen cong because it provides an unfair mental advantage!

3. Eat foods that increase cognition…

One of the best foods to increase brain power are walnuts. When you look at a walnut, it actually looks like two halves of a brain!  Adding walnuts to meals throughout the day can keep your brain nourished & focused. Add them to your breakfast on top of oatmeal, enjoy them as a side dish or snack, replace croutons with walnuts in your lunch salad, and incorporate them into dinner in a dish like honey-walnut shrimp stir fry (replace the toxic vegetable or canola oil with healthy coconut oil, please!).

Beans (black, navy & kidney beans) also bust brain fog! Try making a hearty bean soup with equal amounts of these three beans and season with a pinch of turmeric, dried thyme and fresh rosemary.

If you need a brain boost to-go, create a trail mix by combining walnuts, pine nuts, goji berries, pumpkin seeds & dried unsweetened blueberries. Yum!

If you’re lucky enough to have your local farm or market carry fresh quail eggs, eat 2-3 hardboiled quail eggs a day to improve memory and concentration.

4. Try natural alternatives to medications that cause brain fog… 

Many modern drugs (over-the-counter and prescription) can cause brain fog, drowsiness & metal confusion.

Chinese herbs offer a safe and effective alternative to many modern medications. When prescribed by a trained herbalist, there are usually no unwanted side-effects. There are over 100 ancient Chinese herbal formulas, each containing anywhere from 2 to 20 individual herbs that work synergistically together. Taking the right combination of Chinese herbs can dissipate daily brain fog in a natural way and reduce dependence on caffeine.

Contact Michelle for help clearing out your brain fog!