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​3 Things to Avoid After an Acupuncture Treatment

Congratulations! You’ve just had an amazing acupuncture treatment that has left you feeling completely relaxed and high on life.

You’re probably thinking, “Wow! I wish I always felt like this! How can I get this feeling to last?”

The truth is, despite how good it feels, only about 20% of acupuncture’s healing power happens while the needles are in. About 80% of the healing effect occurs in the 24 hours following the treatment.

To sustain the healing effect, you must avoid three things 24 hours after the needles come out:

1.  Cold
Cold is the #1 arch enemy in Chinese Medicine:

  • cold air
  • cold drinks
  • cold shower
  • jumping in a cold lake
  • eating cold foods (ice-cream included)
  • sitting in front of a fan blowing cold air
  • drinking a cold smoothie or shake
  • using ice packs on your body

All of these cold things can all counteract the benefits of acupuncture by contracting the flow of qi and slowing down the healing process.

2. Alcohol and recreational drugs
After an acupuncture treatment, your body works hard to transfer the energetics of the needles into acute healing and homeostasis (balance).  Alcohol is warming to the body, yet can significantly alter the 24 hour cycle of qi. Alcohol and recreational drugs disrupt the healing process (and in the case of getting drunk, can completely cancel out any treatment benefits).

Consuming alcohol or getting high after a treatment is effectively wasting your time and money.

3. Sex
Sex is considered an activity that promotes the free flow of qi. However, after an acupuncture treatment, sex can demand too much qi and inhibit healing. It is best to wait until the day after acupuncture to get your qi moving between the sheets.

So, now that you know what to avoid, what should you do during the 24 hours after an acupuncture treatment?

The best thing you can do is rest your body and relax your mind:

  • Sleep
  • Read a book
  • Listen to music
  • Make art
  • Write
  • Watch a movie or interesting tv
  • Spend time with friends

Allow the natural high to sink in for 24 hours while your body-mind-spirit take the time needed for healing. 

Confession: The Biggest Mistake I Made About My Health

I’ve always had “problem” skin. Red, painful cystic pustule acne plagued me until my late 20s. After years of anti-acne face washes, toners, topical antibiotics and astringent creams, I had it under control enough to hide my problem areas with just a little concealer.

When I was in my early 30’s, my acne changed from cystic to a plethora of small red papules on my forehead, cheeks, and chin. My dermatologist prescribed retinols and steroidal creams to reduce the inflammation. They worked a little, but my skin was still red, irritated, and bumpy. The texture of it made me very self-conscious as there’s no way to hide bumps with everyday makeup!

At the same time, in my early 30’s, I started waking up in the middle of the night like clockwork. It was always 1am when severe abdominal cramps roused me from sleep. Dripping with sweat, I would sit in the bathroom not pooping or passing gas, but just breathing and waiting for the pain to pass. The cramping would usually stop within 20 minutes.

After a few weeks, I made an appointment with my primary care physician. She ordered a CT scan of my pelvis, which revealed nothing. She recommended taking an osmotic laxative once a day to ensure the cramping wasn’t caused by constipation (full disclosure: it wasn’t).

Flash forward another two years, and I was in my first year of graduate school for Chinese Medicine. I was receiving almost daily acupuncture treatments from my teachers and classmates. My chief complaint was chronic acne.

One of my teachers observed out loud in class that the redness and papules on my face provided a visual map of the Stomach meridian. That’s when a light bulb went on in my brain that illuminated everything… food was the cause of it!

I quickly purchased a copy of Robb Wolf’s book, The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet and devoured it in one day. The next day, I purged all processed foods and gluten from our family’s kitchen and started the Paleo lifestyle. As Robb recommended, I ate Paleo for 30 days.  A few amazing things happened:

  • By day 2, I wasn’t waking up in the middle of the night with abdominal cramps.
  • By days 5-6, my skin was clearing up.
  • By day 7, I was thinking more clearly, almost as if a fog had lifted from my brain.
  • By Day 14, I had lost 10 pounds, but was eating more. More real food.
  • By Day 29, my entire face was clear and I knew I could never resume my old ways of eating a bowl of shredded wheat for breakfast and a sandwich on whole-wheat bread for lunch.

If you’ve read this far, then it’s time to acknowledge the biggest mistake I made about my health

My biggest mistake was not listening to my body, when it was very clearly telling what was wrong! 

If I had listened, I would have saved myself years of unnecessary pain, sleepless nights, worry, stress, and embarrassment about my appearance. And money. I would have saved a LOT of money by not trying every acne treatment program I could find.

​My so-called healthy vegetarian diet was making me sick. Really sick. I had completely ignored all of my body’s warning signs. Even worse, I hadn’t realized the root of the problem… gluten-intolerance. I had eaten gluten all of my life, so why was there suddenly a problem now?

But the truth was, there were signs all along, I just chose to ignore them or call them something else.
Like mistaking a face rash for acne.

Side note: If I eat gluten now (always by accident), I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with those terrible abdominal cramps and wear a face rash for 3-5 days.

The biggest takeaway from my story is that the human body is smart. Smarter than we typically give it credit for.  If something is wrong, physically or emotionally, it’s going to show up as what Western medicine calls a sign or symptom.

Be observant because the longer a sign or symptom is ignored, the louder(!) your body will demand your attention.

So, is your body trying to tell you something? Sometimes we all need an outside perspective to uncover the truth, the root of our health problems. Let’s work together to get to the root of solving your health mysteries.

Cool Off with a Cup of Tea

When summer temps rise above 100°F, drinking a cup of hot tea sounds like a crazy idea, right?

I don’t know about you, but when I get hot, I get cranky with a monster tension headache.
(Not a good place to be, especially for an acupuncturist!)

That’s when I take a few deep breaths and enjoy a cup of organic Peppermint tea. 

Peppermint is an aromatic, pungent Chinese herb called Bo He that is known to release wind-heat from the body’s exterior. It enters the Liver and Lung meridians where it

  • eases tension headache
  • clears heat (redness) from the eyes
  • soothes a sore throat
  • clears heat rash
  • calms the colon

Peppermint’s cooling sensation is produced by the organic compound menthol. A factoid is that menthol chemically triggers cold-sensitive receptors, which results in a cooling sensation when ingested. It actually relaxes the “smooth” muscles in the walls of the intestine which is helpful for relieving indigestion, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and menstrual cramps.

As amazing as Peppermint tea is, there are some people who shouldn’t drink it:

  • Breastfeeding moms (it will decrease milk supply)
  • People with heartburn
  • People who are allergic to menthol
  • Someone who is acutely ill with cold sweats

These are my favorite loose and bagged organic Peppermint teas. Enjoy!

Defend Your Qi: One Thing You Must Wear on an Airplane

Getting on an airplane soon? Defend your Qi! 

The most important thing to wear during air travel is a lightweight scarf around your neck.  Summer or winter, it doesn’t matter and here’s why…

In Chinese Medicine, the Foot Taiyang meridian descends parallel to the spine and the Governing Vessel runs up the back of the spine. Several points on these channels are located on the back of the neck.

These points are susceptible to external conditions, like Wind.

Wind, in Chinese Medicine, is a pathogen that attacks the exterior of the body. If the body’s defenses are not strong enough to deflect it, Wind will penetrate the points and can cause disease ranging from the common cold to influenza or even pneumonia.

Wearing a scarf to keep your neck covered supplements the body’s Defensive ​Qand can keep you from contracting an illness while traveling.

To further enhance immunity, add a few drops of essential oil to the scarf before wearing it. My favorites are:

  • Melaleuca (aka Tea Tree)
  • Eucalyptus
  • Peppermint

These essential oils are great choices because they smell good and have antiviral properties.

Happy travels!

​Moving the Qi with Modern Exercise

Exercise. We all need it. Getting in 10,000 steps today is better than the 9,999 steps you took yesterday.

It keeps the qi moving… in other words, it keeps life-energy circulating.

As many of you know, when it comes to health or wellness, I try something out myself before recommending it to patients/friends/family/the guy sitting next to me on the plane/everybody&anybody.

For the past 8 months, I’ve been testing Beachbody on Demand.

Now before you stop reading, I am NOT affiliated with the Beachbody corporation in any way.  I’m not a coach, I don’t get any kickbacks. I’m just a customer who works out at home in front of my computer on a daily basis.

After 6 rounds of 21 Day Fix, I’m 35 pounds lighter and a whole lot stronger. It’s absolutely true that the pounds measured on a scale is just a number. In my case, I am 35 pounds more fit and it feels great. That is why I’m sharing my experience with you.

If you’ve never heard of it, 21 Day Fix is one of many Beachbody on Demand programs. It requires moving (aka exercising) 7 days a week for 30 minutes using a combination of cardio and weights. It also has an accompanying meal plan that is simple and makes a lot of sense nutritionally.

Yesterday, to mix things up, I tried another workout called YOUv2. It was a hilariously awesome way to sweat for 30 minutes. There were spirit fingers, shimmies, and rainbow prances. Via the magic of pre-recorded video, Leandro told me I was a beautiful dancer, which I have never heard from anyone before. I honestly couldn’t stop smiling during our 30 minutes together. If you are new to exercising, this workout is a safe and fun place to start.

The most important thing you can do for your health is to stand up and get moving.

Go for a walk, let some guy from Beachbody teach you spirit fingers while performing a walking squat, take the bike out for a leisurely ride, swim some laps across the pool.

It all counts, one step at a time. 

Needle Free Acupuncture

PictureAcupuncture without needles?

Cold laser acupuncture is now available at Indigo Healing Acupuncture.

It’s absolutely painlesssafe, and effective.

Perfect for kids and anyone who doesn’t like needles.

What does it do?

  • Reduces pain
  • Decreases inflammation
  • Improves circulation
  • Regenerates cells
  • ​Promotes a sense of well-being and calmness

Ready to give it a try?

Schedule an appointment now to see how easy it can be to feel better!

5 Cool Tools to Experience at Indigo Healing Acupuncture


Are you skeptical about whether acupuncture works? Have you ever wanted proof that it helps your body heal itself? Then you’ll love how I use AcuGraph to chart your acupuncture meridians and track your progression to wellness.

You don’t have to believe in acupuncture for it to work, but it never hurts to have scientific proof to share with family and friends!


Want to try acupuncture, but don’t like needles? Then I bet you’ll love needle-less acupuncture with powerful lasers! Lasers haven’t been around for 2,000+ years like the rest of Oriental Medicine, but they’re here now and produce amazing results for pain relief and wellness. Laser acupuncture is safe, painless, and effective! Kids love them too!

​Intention Candles

Aloha Elixir intention candles are made with love in Hawaii. They are lightly scented and infused with lots of crystals and good vibes. Set your intention, light one up, and watch the magic unfold in your life within minutes. You’ll see these in my clinic, exuding positive vibes for healing, harmony, new opportunities for success, and even counteracting mercury retrogrades.

Next time I see you, be sure to ask me how lighting one Aloha Elixir intention candle last summer changed my life within days.

​Aroma AcuPoint Therapy

The right oil on the right point at the right time can truly be a life-changing experience. Did you know that one fingertip of a specific oil on a specific point on your ear can clear worries from your mind within seconds and leave you feeling carefree all day? Once you learn about it, you can even do it at home!

Fire Cupping

Professional athletes love fire cupping for its ability to maximize muscle recovery and optimize their performance. Celebrities, billionaires, and your favorite Grandma love it too, because it’s awesome! The telltale circles may leave you looking like you lost a fight with an octopus for a few days, but it relieves muscle tension, improves circulation in your body’s tissues and muscles, and feels just as good as (or even better than) a massage.

Which one of these tools do you look forward to experiencing at your next appointment?

3 Reasons to Ditch Antiperspirant

Want to improve your health? Stop using antiperspirant!

Wait, I know what you’re thinking….

  • I’ll smell bad!
  • My girlfriend/boyfriend will dump me!
  • I’ll sweat through my shirts!

Let me give you 3 reasons to ditch the antiperspirant:

  1. Better sleep!
  2. Clearer skin!
  3. Less stinky sweat!

Now you’re probably thinking how is this possible? Let me tell you a few things you probably didn’t know about perspiration!  What a fun topic!

Skin is the largest organ in the human body. It serves as a protective layer for our organs, bones, and cartilage. It acts as a barrier to external bacteria and viruses. It allows toxins and metabolic waste to exit the body via perspiration (more on this later). It also regulates our body temperature. When it’s cold, blood vessels in the skin constrict and retain warmth keeping the body temperature higher than the external environment. When it’s warm, sweat glands under the skin excrete a mixture of water and salts we commonly call sweat that pools on the exterior surface of the skin and cools us down.

There are actually two different types of sweat. Exercise-induced sweat is produced by the eccrine glands and is actually sterile and odorless as it passes through skin pores, then gets increasingly stinky as it mixes with bacteria living on the skin. The thicker type of sweat that really stinks comes from the apocrine glands. In times of emotional stress, these glands get revved up and secrete sweat containing water, salt, lipids (fatty acids), sterols (waxy solids), and proteins.  Sweat from the apocrine glands has been shown to be so pungent, it can literally clear a room of your friends, family, work colleagues, or strangers. It serves as a primitive non-verbal warning to anyone in your proximity that they should back off because you’re under stress.

Obviously, no one wants to smell so bad that they repel others. I’ve seen patients apply and reapply clinical strength antiperspirants throughout the day to combat sweaty body odor. The not-so-funny thing is, antiperspirants can actually make sweat smell worse, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola:

“Those who used antiperspirants saw a definitive increase in Actinobacteria, which are largely responsible for foul-smelling armpit odor. In some participants, abstaining from antiperspirant caused the population of Actinobacteria to dwindle into virtual nonexistence.[1]

In Oriental Medicine, sweat is a fluid of the Xīn (心). When the Xīn has the correct balance of qi and blood, sweating is regulated. Antiperspirants can wreak havoc on the Xīn ability to regulate sweat because the mineral-chemical compounds actually block skin pores from releasing sweat (hence the name anti-perspirant). The pores become plugged and will not allow any fluids to escape. Wearing an antiperspirant essentially traps sweat inside your body, inhibits body temperature regulation through perspiration, and prevents the body from clearing toxins (including heavy metals like arsenic, mercury, cadmium, and lead) through the skin.

A little known fact is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies antiperspirants as a drug because they affect the function or structure of the body. Drugs usually have side effects and antiperspirants are no exception. The side effects I most often see from antiperspirant use in my clinic involve sleep disorders such as insomnia or waking up the middle of the nightanxietypanic attacksheart palpitationsmemory issuesnight sweatsacneexcessive worrying, and depression. These symptoms all occur when the Xīn is suffering from imbalance.

If you suffer from any of these symptoms, isn’t it worth a try to give up antiperspirants for a month and see if you sleep better, look better, and feel better?  The first few days may be “fragrant” as the body clears out weeks/months/years of accumulated sweat, but over time most people discover they actually sweat less and smell better all over!

These are products I recommend to my patients when they ditch the antiperspirant:

  • Piper Wai: An all-natural charcoal-based deodorant that really lasts all day. My top pick!
  • Primal Pit Paste: Comes in a variety of essential oil scents or unscented.

Which one of these tools do you look forward to experiencing at your next appointment?

Craving a delicious and healthy holiday treat? These no-cook power bars are packed full of Chinese herbs that strengthen the Kidneys, Liver, Spleen, and Heart.  Download the recipe and enjoy!



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