This Pandemic is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

In a TedTalk this morning, author Elizabeth Gilbert urged us to pace ourselves, because this pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint.What else is like a marathon?
✅ Maintaining a long-term relationship
✅ Raising a family
✅ Building a business
✅ Earning a degree
✅ Writing a book

Every human on Earth is a participant in this marathon. We are more connected and dependent on each other now than ever before. It’s already clear this pandemic is not going to last weeks. At best, it’s going to last months. And it is going to fundamentally change every aspect of our lives as we live in the new normal.

Some families will grow closer and some families will self-destruct. Some businesses will stay afloat, while others sink. On a personal level, we can gradually adapt to today or exhaust ourselves trying to live in yesterday.

Today’s TedTalk was full of strategies to pace ourselves through this experience. The truth is we won’t be able to emotionally/financially/energetically/physically help each other if we prematurely exhaust all of our resources with 25 miles to go in a 26.2 mile trek.

Slow down. Practice self-compassion today so you can adapt and be stronger tomorrow.

Family walk

5 Reasons to Try Acupuncture in 2020

Have you been thinking about trying acupuncture? Here are 5 reasons to get started:

Acupuncture is clinically-proven to reduce pain and inflammation. This means more pain-free days and ultimately the freedom to get off the sidelines and actively live your life.

For women, acupuncture is clinically proven to regulate menstrual cycles, boost fertility, balance hormones (puberty to post-menopause) and combat daily stress.

For men, acupuncture is clinically proven to boost libido, increase stamina, and improve sleep.

  1. For kids, acupuncture can help resolve “mystery ailments” that MDs and modern medicine can’t figure out. Children are generally fast responders to acupuncture and bounce back from allergies, digestive issues, asthma, sleep problems, mood disorders, and sports injuries.
  2. Acupuncture works when other treatments fail. Many (if not all) of our patients started acupuncture as a last resort for dealing with stubborn chonic pain or illness. Compared to physical therapy, surgery and pharmaceutical therapies, acupuncture is gentle and effective without negative side-effects. We often tell patients the most noticeable side-effect is better sleep!

Give us a call at 512-686-0777 to start off your new year with the benefits of acupuncture!
Or book online here to see us!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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! 

What you Need to Know About CBD Oil

Chinese Medicine has known the health benefits of cannabis seeds (Chinese herb huŏ má rén) for over 2,000 years.  Now, modern medicine is catching up and learning about the health benefits of cannabidol (CBD). There is a tidal wave of CBD oil products hitting the market… here’s a quick overview of what they are and how they work.

What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter in the human body that is regulated by the endocannaboid system in the nervous system (central & peripheral).  CBD can also be harvested from the Cannabis plant.

How does the body produce CBD?
Omega-3 fatty acids* are converted to CBD in the central nervous system. There are two types of cannaboid receptors (for the science folks: CB1 and CB2) distributed throughout the body.

*Wait, what are Omega-3 fatty acids?
This could be a whole blog post, but here’s a quick explanation of Omega-3 fatty acids. There are three types:

  • DHA (docosahexaenoic acid): Found in chlorella, fish oil, anchovies, wild-caught salmon, wild-caught herring, wild-caught mackerel, wild-caught tuna, wild-caught halibut, organic chicken liver or organic grass-fed beef liver.
  • EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid): Found in wild-caught fish
  • ALA (alpha-linolenic acid): Found in organic flaxseed oil, organic hemp oil

What does CBD do?
The CBD produced in the endocannaboid system helps maintains homeostasis (biological balance) throughout the body. If your body does not produce enough CBD, you may experience chronic aches and pain, headaches, migraines, insomnia, poor appetite, digestive problems (heartburn, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel), reduced immunity to bacteria and viruses, allergies, fertility issues, and/or memory problems. As you can see from this list, the endocannaboid system works hard to keep us feeling good!

What are plant based sources of CBD?
CBD is harvested from Cannabis (Cannabis sativa). CBD is the 2nd most abundant compound in the plant (the most abundant compound is tetrahydrocannabinol aka THC).

What can CBD oil products do?
Cannaboids derived from the plant Cannabis sativa have many therapeutic uses. Research studies show CBD reduces anxiety (including social anxiety disorder), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), epilepsy, and pain. There are links to research studies at the bottom of this post for reference.

Can CBD oil make me feel high?
No, but it does have a calming effect.
Is CBD oil legal? 
Yes, hemp-derived CBD oil is legal to purchase and use in the US.

Who should not use CBD?
If you look at the latest research on pubmed.gov about “cannabidiol and pregnancy” or “cannabidiol and breast” you’ll see that CBD crosses the placenta and changes the morphology and physiology of cells in a developing fetus. Animal testing has demonstrated CBD is excreted in high concentrations in breast milk. The many benefits of CBD do not outweigh the risk it poses to fetal or infant development; therefore, we do not recommend it to pregnant or breastfeeding patients. There are much safer herbal alternatives available.

Book an appointment to find out if CBD is right for you!

 

Research on CBD…​

  • Esposito, G., Filippis, D. D., Cirillo, C., Iuvone, T., Capoccia, E., Scuderi, C., … Steardo, L. (2012). Cannabidiol in inflammatory bowel diseases: A brief overview. Phytotherapy Research27(5), 633-636. doi:10.1002/ptr.4781
  • Feinshtein, V., Erez, O., Ben-Zvi, Z., Erez, N., Eshkoli, T., Sheizaf, B., … Holcberg, G. (2013). Cannabidiol changes P-gp and BCRP expression in trophoblast cell lines. PeerJ1, e153. doi:10.7717/peerj.153
  • Russo, E. B. (2016). Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency reconsidered: Current research supports the theory in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, and other treatment-resistant syndromes. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research1(1), 154-165. doi:10.1089/can.2016.0009
  • Schier, A. R., Ribeiro, N. P., E Silva, A. C., Hallak, J. E., Crippa, J. A., Nardi, A. E., & Zuardi, A. W. (2012). Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an anxiolytic drug. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria34, S104-S117. doi:10.1016/s1516-4446(12)70057-0
  • Wang, G. S. (2016). Pediatric concerns due to expanded Cannabis use: Unintended consequences of legalization. Journal of Medical Toxicology13(1), 99-105. doi:10.1007/s13181-016-0552-x
  • Yoo, S. D., Fincher, T. K., & Holladay, J. W. (1994). Mammary excretion of cannabidiol in rabbits after intravenous administration. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology46(11), 926-928. doi:10.1111/j.2042-7158.1994.tb05717.x

Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture for Anxiety

  • Do you think you may suffer from anxiety, but don’t want to admit it?
  • Are you looking for a natural approach to managing anxiety?

You’re not alone… anxiety is incredibly common with over 40 million adults currently affected in the US. ​In the timeframe between puberty and middle-age, women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety as men.

You may have anxiety if:

  • You’re afraid something awful might happen
  • You’re feeling nervous, anxious, or on edge
  • You’re worrying too much
  • You’re not able to calm down, relax, or sleep
  • You’re unable to sit still
  • You’re easily annoyed or irritable

If you think you might have anxiety, consider visiting a licensed acupuncturist. We have lots of tools that can help ease anxiety symptoms naturally, without the unpleasant side effects of commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals like benzodiazepines.

Chinese Medicine approaches anxiety by identifying the root cause and treating you holistically as a mind-body-soul.  

Scientists have researched the effects of acupuncture on anxiety and several studies have shown a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms in as little as one month of treatment. In some cases, research proved that acupuncture is just as effective as conventional treatments with pharmaceuticals or cognitive behavioral therapy.
Acupuncture treatments twice a week are relaxing and allow your mind-body-spirit to regain balance and heal. Patients generally sleep better, worry less, and feel more in touch with their emotions after receiving regular acupuncture treatments. If you’re feeling anxious about needles, laser acupuncture is a great alternative!

Chinese herbal medicine can also help ease anxiety symptoms in a gentle manner and can be taken as capsules, tablets, tinctures, or as a decoction (such as Enlighten Herbal Elixir).

If you’re interested in learning more about how Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture can help with anxiety, contact Michelle for an appointment.  It’s truly never too soon to feel better!

 

A few research studies on acupuncture and anxiety from pubmed.gov:

Goyatá SLT, Avelino CCV, Santos SVM, Souza Jr DI, Gurgel MDSL, Terra FS. Effects from acupuncture in treating anxiety: integrative review. Rev Bras Enferm [Internet]. 2016;69(3):564-71. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/0034-7167.2016690325i

Isoyama, Daniela, et al. “Effect of acupuncture on symptoms of anxiety in women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: a prospective randomised controlled study.” Acupuncture in Medicine, vol. 30, no. 2, 2012, pp. 85-88.

Sniezek, David P., and Imran J. Siddiqui. “Acupuncture for Treating Anxiety and Depression in Women: A Clinical Systematic Review.” Medical Acupuncture, vol. 25, no. 3, 2013, pp. 164-172.

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