Postpartum Prep: Ten Tips for The Golden Month

  1. Yes to Birth- A wonderful audio relaxation program by SF birthing expert Rachel Yellin for birth and postpartum prep. 

  2. Read about the concept of "The Golden Month" in "The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother"  I love the book so much , we have it in our waiting room. Chock full of wisdom, recipes and ideas to help you restore during your postpartum recovery. Although the Golden Month is a tradition of 30-40 days of rest and nutrition, even two weeks dedicated to rest at home can help your body restore blood and Qi lost in birth. Your third week should be partial bed rest, gently returning to activity.

  3. TLC for your vagina- Real talk here, your vagina may need care post-birth. Several conditions can arise such as hemorrhoids or pelvic pain. Postpartum "padsicles"- Perfect to soothe a sore perineum for the first 24-48 hours after delivery. You will need Witch Hazel (preferbly alcohol -free), aloe vera gel and optional lavender oil.  For the pads, you can use anything you've got handy:, cloth or disposable menstrual pads, postpartum pads, or panty liners, generic wash cloths purchased in packs can also work well. Mix half witch hazel and half aloe vera gel in a bowl, adding 4-5 drops of lavender oil if you'd like. Spray or spread the liquid onto the pads. Wrap individually in aluminum foil and freeze. Some women create a curved shape to fit your pelvis by placing the pads in a bowl (edges will curve up) in order to freeze. Then seal the pads in a ziplock bag in the freezer for later use. 

    Besides the aforementioned padsicles, you may want to use an herbal sitz bath after the first 24-48 hours- find the recipe here and hang out in it for 15-20 minutes per day post-birth.

  4. Also we recommend you consider a pelvic floor PT. The women at Pelvic Health and Rehab Center are wonderful and can help you recover from pelvic floor trauma. Plan to see them about 4-6 weeks post-birth.

  5. Mama Tong soup- is a great resource postpartum. Teaming with vitamins, minerals and collagen, bone broth is one of the most nutrient dense, restorative foods possible. I especially recommend the herbal chicken soup or the ginger chicken bone broth. Order online http://mamatongsoup.com/recipes/. or through Good Eggs.

  6. Be sure to hydrate in general post-birth and especially if breastfeeding! Drink 80 ounces or 10 eight ounce glasses per day.

  7. Lactation cookies purchased at the store are often filled with junk. Here is a recipe for homemade lactation cookies that can help if your breastmilk supply is low. You might make some of the dough ahead and freeze the raw cookies, take them out to bake as needed.

  8. Mother Roasting- is a warming treatment done at Double Happiness Health about two weeks postpartum. It utilizes moxibustion to promote deep healing and recovery by vitalizing energy and warming blood flow in the abdomen.

  9. Allow your family and friends to help you. This is a great time to practice saying yes to those offering to help cook for you, run errands or do a load of your laundry. Have some projects for your parents or in-laws to do while they are in-town. Gives them a feeling of value as well as bragging rights and helps give you both space and support.

  10. Let go of doing and being productive during this time. You will be in a special hormonal and experiential period that supports you just being with your baby and partner. Be sure to be loving to yourself and know you’ve just done something incredible. Remember to be patient; you are on the very first steps of your new adventure.

Seed Cycling to Balance Your Hormones

What is it?

Seed cycling, is a simple method for natural hormone balancing using fresh seeds in your diet at different phases of your female hormone cycle. It is also known as “seed rotation” and can be beneficial whether you are looking to optimize your fertility, improve menstruation, are peri-menopausal or menopausal. The seeds we describe below have nutrients that are proven to influence specific hormone pathways. Trying to conceive? Chinese Medicine views seeds as containing Jing, or reproductive essence. Eating seeds with more pronounced yin or yang qualities during that corresponding phase helps to balance your cycle and is thought to promote fertility.

How does it work?

Certain seeds have nutrients that influence your healthy forms of estrogen or progesterone. Eating combinations of seeds at the right time of your cycle will support your hormonal balance. Add 1 TBSP of the appropriate combo in your smoothies, plain water, coconut yogurt or atop salads, soups or cooked veggies. Great for those women depleted in minerals and iron, or for those with an imbalance of estrogen or progesterone. Seed cycling reduces PMS, acne, hot flashes, regulates the menstrual cycle and can restore libido. All that said, seed cycling cannot overcome a crappy diet; it works best when you have a baseline healthy diet and lifestyle. For most women looking to balance hormones and reduce inflammation, that means getting rid of sugar, refined carbs, cow dairy and caffeine.

If you are menstruating:

  • A typical follicular phase goes from day 1 of your menses until mid-cycle (or ovulation). In a 28 day cycle your follicular phase will be cycle days 1-14. Use 1 TBSP of freshly ground flaxseed and pumpkin seeds. This is the “yin” time you want to build up good estrogen . Flaxseed and pumpkin seed boost the estrogen needed to build endometrial lining. Flaxseed provides phytoestrogens, and pumpkin seed boosts iron as well as estrogen. Worried about too much estrogen? These seeds gently direct your estrogen into a protective metabolic pathway rather than a dangerous one.

  • The luteal phase starts at ovulation and continues until menstruation begins. For a 28 day cycle this will be cycle days 15 until your flow starts, (day 1 of menstruation). During this “yang” phase you will combine 1 TBSP of sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Sesame seeds add zinc and improve antioxidant status while sunflower seeds contribute Vit E, important for progesterone production. Adequate progesterone supports your mood, sleep and reduces hormonal headaches.

If your cycles are irregular or you are menopausal:

Seed cycling improves some menopausal and irregular cycle symptoms. How? They tame your diva hormone, estrogen. Estrogen is a “diva” because she needs to be just right….or else. Your symptoms can be caused by estrogen dominance or estrogen depletion. Estrogen dominance in this case results from one of two situations: either estrogen is not properly eliminated from your system, causing an unhealthy form of it to build up and be recycled. As we mentioned earlier, seed cycling helps push estrogen to the healthy metabolic pathway, so it can get packaged up and excreted after it is used, rather than having unhealthy forms of estrogen recycling in your system. The second scenario is that you have too little progesterone, resulting in unopposed estrogen, aka “estrogen dominance”. Sesame and sunflower seeds will help your body make more progesterone, creating more balance to estrogen. If you simply have low estrogen, we’ve got good data for you. Flaxseed and Pumpkin seeds are particularly high in phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens, like certain selective estrogen receptor modulators, are structurally similar to estrogen and mimic it, decreasing risks associated with low estrogen such as osteoporosis and heart disease. They have an antiproliferative effect on the breast, and positive effects on the lipoprotein profile. They can also help stop hot flashes, mood swings and insomnia. Score!

  • If you are not menstruating or menopausal, start whenever you like with one seed combo and switch every one or two weeks.

  • If your cycle is irregular, start at any point with one combination for two weeks, then switch to the other for two weeks.

Hot Tips:

  • Use whole seeds that you grind freshly; flax crackers don’t count!

  • You will want to find a good source for seeds, avoiding seeds that may be old or oxidized. The best place to buy whole seeds is a grocery store that has a lot of turnover, especially in their bulk department. Rainbow grocery is a great choice in San Francisco.

  • Look for “sprouted” seeds which are easier to digest and absorb. If you can’t find the sprouted version, regular organic seeds are just fine.

  • Be sure you have a dedicated coffee grinder just for grinding seeds so it doesn’t mix with coffee or vice versa.

  • Grind enough seeds for 5-7 days so that they stay fresh, but are easy to use with a busy lifestyle.

You may notice that seed cycling increases your energy and overall sense of wellness. If you are sensitive to one of these seeds or are on special diet that excludes some, skip those and stick to the seeds that work for you. Do seed cycling at least until your symptoms feel better, and if you’d like, you can do this long term as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Resources:

Sesame Ingestion Affects Sex Hormones, Antioxidant Status, and Blood Lipids in Postmenopausal Women.The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 136, Issue 5, 1 May 2006. Pages 1270–1275,

Effect of dietary components, including lignans and phytoestrogens, on enterohepatic circulation and liver metabolism of estrogens and on sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). J Steroid Biochem. 1987;27(4-6):1135-44.

Phytoestrogens: the “natural” selective estrogen receptor modulators?

Supplementation with flaxseed alters estrogen metabolism in postmenopausal women to a greater extent than does supplementation with an equal amount of soy.
Am J Clin Nutr.
 2004 Feb;79(2):318-25.

Effects of Phytoestrogen Extracts Isolated from Pumpkin Seeds on Estradiol Production.inNutrition and Cancer 65(5):739-45 · July 2013 with 847 Reads

Happy Thanksgiving 2018

Happy Thanksgiving! And YAY rain! 

 We are so grateful to our patients. We have been delighted to be your partners in healing as you've resolved anxiety, healed chronic pain, birthed babies, abolished gut dysfunction, found balance in menopause and are finally sleeping through the night and waking with energy each morning. We get so much joy in knowing each one of you and are honored you entrust your health with us. 

There are changes afoot here at Double Happiness Health. Our beloved acupuncturist Rachel Root is leaving to spend time abroad with her husband. She's given such skillful and warm care to our patients, we are all going to miss her terribly. 

 On the plus side, we are excited to  introduce our fantastic new acupuncture team! We've carefully selected each practitioner and we know you are going to find deep support and healing with each of them.

·     Courtney Maree Reimen L.Ac., DACM- Tuesday/Thursday 7-12noon

·     Susie Carter L.AC Monday/Wednesday 4:30-9pm  and Friday 10-6pm

·     Janice Mao L.AC,.DACM Tuesdays/Thursdays 4:30-9pm

·     AND a very special new addition: Dr. Priyanka Wali. She is an internal medical doctor who approaches your health issues with a sharp mind and an open heart. She is in private practice and sees patients at Double Happiness Health Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

*Luckily our long term massage therapist, Paulene Harrell is sticking around!! Book one of her amazing massages online here

With Love,

Christine and the whole DHH team

 

Protect Your Lungs During CA Fires

We are heartbroken for those who’s families or homes are affected by the California fires.

As wildfires continue to rage, residents may be dealing with smoke for days or even weeks. We have some self-care tips for surviving the poor air quality that seems to be becoming a more frequent phenomenon here in the Bay Area. Protecting yourself is particularly important for pregnant women, kids, elderly and those who suffer from asthma, allergies or cardiovascular disease.

  • Firstly, try to stay indoors and reduce physical activity to lower intake of air pollutants. During exercise we take increase air intake by 10-20 percent.

  • Use a particulate respirator to protect your lungs while outdoors. It should have the word “NIOSH” and either “N95” or “P100” printed on it. You have to change them out every day if possible, so get a few per person in your family.

  • Avoid using an open window to circulate air, instead use a central air unit if you’ve got one, as it contains a filter. An air purifier for your home is also a good idea. HEPA filter air cleaners range in price but you don’t have to spend a mint. Here is an in-depth review by Wirecutter of the best air purifiers.

  • Cultivate house plants that naturally purify the air, such as english ivy, peace lily and bamboo palm.

  • Drink peppermint, chamomile or turmeric tea.

  • Nourish your lungs and clear inflammation with a delicious pear and ginger decoction daily:

    Cut up one pear and a thumb sized piece of fresh ginger. Cover with water in a pot and simmer for 20 minutes. It should develop a thicker, more syrup-like consistency.

    Strain and drink liquid. Eat the pear as well if you’d like.

  • Incorporate stress relief by using a free meditation app such as Insight Timer

  • If you are having allergy or asthma flare up’s, consider getting acupuncture and a customized herbal formula to help.

Self-Care in Autumn- A Chinese Medicine Philosophy

One of the more distinct qualities of Chinese medicine that is truly profound is that we don’t differentiate between an individual’s physical health and their emotional and spiritual well-being. Instead, we see the individual as one whole human whose mind, body and spirit work interdependently, and that no part of this trio works in isolation. This means you can rest in your Chinese medicine practitioner’s care to support you through all aspects of your wellness.

For example, we will consider a connection to what might be going on emotionally for a patient who is manifesting physical pain, or investigate the imbalances of the physical body when there is emotional trauma. In essence, the body, the mind and the spirit have a symbiotic relationship and often mirror one another with symptoms that outwardly manifest.

Chinese medicine associates Autumn with the lungs and large intestine. So on the physical level, if you are someone with a history of digestive challenges, or if you tend to catch frequent colds, this is the ideal time to keep these two organs in check. (Reminder: Chinese medicine is extremely effective in keeping seasonal colds at bay and strengthening the digestive system!)

In terms of the lung and large intestine connection to the mind, both environmental toxins and irregular elimination affect our mental capacities. Put another way, “stuck” energy in the body (i.e., for the lungs = congestion, for the intestines = constipation) can hinder a sharp and focused mind, and block a mind that attracts clear, productive thoughts. Likewise, our mental state can be reflected in its influence on the freedom of the bowels and ease in breathing.

Letting go of the old so that the new can be born is also at the core of Chinese medicine’s connection to Autumn, often leaving us with feelings of sadness and sometimes even depression. These darker feelings are naturally tied to Autumn and I always encourage my patients to honor and respect them as they naturally arise, just as they would respect any other “parts” of themselves. If we don’t, we run the risk of suppressing these emotions to a deeper, stagnant space only to arise more aggressively at a later time. To honor these emotions by letting them come and go without resistance allows for the whole person to fully process and transition into the next phase of their life, much like we see in the natural transition between seasons.

In returning to the connection between the lungs and large intestine and emotional well-being, we can put this concept to work in two actionable ways.

  • Use the breath intentionally to receive newness, openness and opportunity on the in-breath, and let go of whatever you are struggling to hold onto on the out-breath.

  • Receive the foods you conscientiously choose to consume with gratitude for its nourishment of the whole body, then surrendering to what no longer serves your being through healthy elimination.

My Podcast Interview! And Notes on Autumn

Hello Friends,

I recently had the pleasure to be interviewed by #girlboss Katina Mountanos, creator of the podcast Challenging the Collective as well as her website On Adulting. We talked about my path to becoming an acupuncturist, how to know when to take leaps in life and the intersection of Chinese Medicine and functional medicine. Listen on iTunes here or on the website here.

Oh and speaking of leaps, it’s that time already.
Happy Autumn!! It is a season of transformation, witnessed by the changing colors in foliage, weather and a decided dryness everywhere. Chinese Medicine theory describes autumn as related to lungs and large intestine and the emotions of sadness as well as that of courage. Many of our patients have been more stressed than ever lately. Acupuncture shines in it's ability to support our nervous system- moving us out of "fight or flight" mode and into "rest and digest" mode. Find our more about how Chinese medicine works and how I came to the field of acupuncture in this podcast interview by Challenging the Collective.  Consider coming in for an acupuncture support to help you adapt to the seasonal change and feel your best. Book online here or give us a call at 415-255-2252.

Warmly,

Christine

Longevity, Jing, and the Reproductive Clock

An advanced Chinese medicine practitioner will try to suss out where you’re leaking your Jing and try to patch the cracks in order to protect your vitality and prevent premature aging. Jing is often translated as “essence” and is an inherited substance that was gifted to you by your parents and declines as you age. There is an association with what we think of Jing and our DNA in modern medicine. Jing is also closely related to our reproductive abilities. We protect and replenish Jing to improve oocyte and sperm quality. Therefore, if you’re interested in protecting your fertility as your age, take interest in protecting your Jing.  

Jing is the most difficult substance for our body to replace, so protecting it is important for healthy aging. It was once believed that you’re born with the DNA that you have, and there is nothing you can really do about it. We now know, through the study of epigenetics, that our genes are dynamic and modifiable by lifestyle choices and environmental factors. Just as we are able to influence a more positive genetic expression in our body, we are able to protect and utilize our Jing more efficiently. 

For you info junkies and bio hackers out there, testing yourtelomeresmay give you a clue about the current state of your Jing. Telomeres are the little caps at the end of your chromosomes that keep them from unraveling. In short, the longer your telomeres, the better protection you have from cellular damage and cellular aging. Research suggests that short telomere length is associated with poor egg quality, sub fertile sperm, and poor IVF outcomes. Testing could be an interesting way to find out your “real age”, but could also be an unnecessary form of stress depending on your personality. If you are someone who finds yourself empowered by information, then it could be worth it. However, in my opinion, testing isn’t necessary because it turns out--the steps to protect and replenish your Jing, and keep your telomeres intact--are essentially the same.

What can we do? 

It should come as no surprise to you that the basics are important, we can’t underestimate the benefits of clean air, water, nutrient dense food and adequate sleep. If you want to step up your game, you and your Chinese Medicine practitioner can help protect your Jing by increasing your resilience to stress and lowering your inflammation

 

Re-route your stress and anxiety

I hate to have to bring it up again, but chronic stress or worry will drain our resources and shorten our lifespanIn a recent blog postI have mentioned that stress can increase inflammation, lower our immune system, and contribute to heart disease. When it comes to aging, studies have observed that chronic stress can decrease telomerase, an enzyme that counteracts the shrinking process of your telomeres. Additionally, any perceived stress releases glucocorticoids into your bloodstream, which are known to shorten our telomere length. 

While stress may seem unavoidable, it’s negative effects don’t have to be. If you have the feeling stress is stealing your Jing and shortening your reproductive clock the following tools have been shown to be helpful: 

Acupuncture

Acupuncture can help regulate and promote feel good neurotransmitters such as serotonin, GABA, and dopamine, creating a better sense of safety and ease in our brain and body. Our tiny needles stimulate the vagus nerve, promoting parasympathetic nervous system activation, thus turning on your relaxation response. Once you’re in this acupuncture-induced-bliss-state, you’ll be shocked that you’ve been functioning in the other paradigm for so long. 

Guided meditation

One study showed that Loving Kindness Meditationpractice was associated with longer telomere length in women. There are many ways to access guided meditation thanks to the wealth of mediation apps out there. My personal favorite, Insight Timer, has loving kindness meditations ranging from 5 minutes to 1 hour. 

Herbal Adaptogens

One of the coolest classes of herbal medicine is that of adaptogens. Adaptogens help your body to adaptto chronic stress by normalizing your cortisol output and increasing your stress resistance. Herbs in this category include Ginseng, Ashwagandha, Astragalus, and Licorice to name a few. Your acupuncturist could create a custom blend for your individual needs. 

Reduce inflammation

Another surefire way to drain Jing is uncontrolled inflammation. Chronic inflammatory conditions are a constant pull on the body’s resources, so getting your inflammation under control will help to preserve your Jing and telomere length. While there are many ways to limit our inflammatory response, our dietary habits really ‘take the cake’ for being first and foremost in importance. 

Actually, my apologies, you can’t take the cake (at least not all the time) because eliminating or reducing sugar and processed foods is an important first step, but here are some other things you can do.  

Food Allergy  

Food allergies and intolerances can be a major source inflammation in your body. In Dr. Michael Ruscio’s new book Healthy Gut, Healthy You he states “the most important dietary change you can make is to avoid foods that you are allergic to or intolerant of”. Figuring out what these are can be an arduous task, but worth itif you suspect certain foods may be causing turmoil in your digestive track. We have testing options that can help you get closer to figuring it out, but the best way is still an elimination diet. Read more about following an elimination diet here.

Polyphenols

If you’re a patient with us at Double Happiness health, you’ve probably already been encouraged to adopt an anti-inflammatory diet. This is a diet that takes planning and intention to eat a wide array of vegetables, fruits (especially berries), nuts and spices. Polyphenols are abundant in these food categories, and contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that are also rich in fertility friendly nutrients. Good news, matcha and dark chocolate also fall into this category.Top Foods With Polyphenols

Omega 3s

I think of Omega-3s as the cooling lubricant of our body. The best source is fresh-water fish. Flax, hemp and chia seeds are also high in Omega-3s which is why you see them taking over our health food stores. Consider taking a supplement if fish or flax are not regularly in your diet. 

Chronic infections

Chronic infections can be very tricky, silent sources of chronic inflammation. This may include gum disease, viral, parasitic or sexually transmitted infections and autoimmune conditions. This

is where regular check-ups with your PCP and dentist come in handy. You may want to ask your general practitioner to measure your CRP and ESR(markers of inflammation) the next time you do a blood workup. There is an emerging field of biological dentistry that pays close attention to the gut-gum connection, you can read more about the difference here.

 

 

Resources and further information: 

 Anderson , Katherine Alexander. “Telomeres and Fertility: How to Turn Back the Reproductive Clock .” Integrative Fertility Symposium, Vancouver, BC. 2018

Epel, E. S., et al. “Accelerated Telomere Shortening in Response to Life Stress.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 101, no. 49, Jan. 2004, pp. 17312–17315., doi:10.1073/pnas.0407162101. 

Gottfried, Sara. Younger: the Breakthrough Programme to Reset Our Genes and Reverse Ageing. Vermilion, 2017. 

Hoge, Elizabeth A., et al. “Loving-Kindness Meditation Practice Associated with Longer Telomeres in Women.” Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, vol. 32, 2013, pp. 159–163., doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2013.04.005. 

Keefe, David L., and Lin Liu. “Telomeres and Reproductive Aging.” Reproduction, Fertility and Development, vol. 21, no. 1, 2009, p. 10., doi:10.1071/rd08229. 

Ruscio, Michael. Healthy Gut, Healthy You: the Personalized Plan to Transform Your Health from the inside Out. Ruscio Institute, 2018. 

Teeguarden, Ron. “Replenishing and Restoring Jing.” All About Acupuncture, 1 July 2014, www.acupuncturetoday.com/mpacms/at/article.php?id=32900. 

Zhang, Hua, and Rong Tsao. “Dietary Polyphenols, Oxidative Stress and Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effects.” Current Opinion in Food Science, vol. 8, 2016, pp. 33–42., doi:10.1016/j.cofs.2016.02.002. 

Zivkovic, Angela M., et al. “Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acids Aid in the Modulation of Inflammation and Metabolic Health.” California Agriculture, vol. 65, no. 3, 2011, pp. 106–111., doi:10.3733/ca.v065n03p106.

 

How to Avoid Insect Bites and Enjoy Nature

Summer is almost here and most of us will be getting outside a lot more often. Spending time in nature has a vitalizing effect, boosting energy, lifting mood and lowering stress. Blame it on the warmer weather, but The NYT’s recently reported that incidents of disease borne by mosquitoes and ticks such as Lyme and Zika are on the rise. Good news- you don’t have to avoid spending time outdoors to stay safe.

Safety Tips:

  • Wear clothing that creates a barrier to your skin, especially around feet and ankles even if it’s hot.
  • Spray insect repellent (details below) especially around feet and ankles.
  • Pull your hair back and consider a hat.
  • Stay on the trail....avoid walking thru grasses or sitting on logs where ticks like to hang out.

Natural Insect Repellent: OLE!

If you want to avoid harsh chemicals like DEET, there is a healthier alternative.
One of the CDC recommended insect repellents is one containing
oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) as the main ingredient. This natural oil will act as your personal bodyguard, kicking pesky insects to the curb. Note that it has a strong scent and you should avoid allowing it to have any contact with your eyes.

The Consumer Reports most highly rated OLE based insect repellant is Repel Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent2  

Another tactic is to tick-proof your clothes using Permethrin, which is a synthetic and stable form of an insecticidal compound naturally produced by the Chrysanthemum plant. It is registered by the EPA and has a quick repel and kill effect on ticks...BuhBye. It is still a chemical, however, so inform yourself with this Permethrin Fact-Sheet

Once you are back from your frolic in nature, get naked and check for ticks. After a tick bites you, it takes about 24-36 hours for the pathogen to transmit into your blood. If you remove it early, you are probably ok.  Did you know ticks can be the size of poppy seeds? Here's how to check like a boss.

What if you find a tick? Here is a video on the correct and easy way to remove a tick. Hint: It is not by burning it out!

Not all ticks transmit disease, but if you do find a tick, consider sending it off to a lab to have it tested

If you do develop an expanding rash, fever or flu-like symptoms after a tick bite, don't wait, go and see a doctor. This is one of those rare times you will want to take antibiotics. The earlier you start treatment, the better your chances of an easy and full recovery.

Getting out in nature is very important for our sense of relaxation and well being. Be prepared so you can enjoy it safely!

 

 

 

 

The Relationship Between Emotions and Internal Organs

Which organ are you affecting by your current emotional state?

Hopefully by now, you’ve had many experiences in your life that have led to feeling the entire rainbow spectrum of human emotions. Maybe you’re currently feeling anxious about something in your life, grieving over the loss of someone or something, or you’re fearful about a situation that may come to be. These feelings can be perfectly useful and appropriate in the right time and place. When these emotions are unbalanced or prolonged, physical harm can ensue. Consequently, the reverse can occur; when your body’s internal organ systems are unbalanced, it can give rise unbalanced emotions, leaving you feeling out of control.

Take a moment and pretend you’re an actor doing research for a role…

Dig up some past experience that made you really angry…(I’ll wait for it).

Now, how do you feel? Did you warm up a bit? Could you feel it in your face? Your chest? Did it create a bit of extra energy?

Now let it go, it was in the past.

Let’s dig up something else. What in your life causes you to worry? That, if you let it, it would keep you up at night and occupy your every free thought.

How do you feel now? Where do you feel it?

Ok, now let that go too. It’s in the future and that cannot be seen.

If you were able to connect to those different emotional scenarios, you most likely felt them in different parts of your body. That’s because our internal organ systems don’t only help us process air and food in order to survive, they help us process our emotions. Unbalanced or prolonged emotional stress can stress our internal organs and cause harm. Therefore, gaining some control of our emotional state is a major key to protecting our health.

The Su Wen, the first text of the foundational doctrine in Chinese medicine, lays out the causes of disease. There are external reasons for disease related to the environment and pathogens, and internal causes that are related to our emotional health. They have been classified into the following categories, that when in excess or left ungoverned, hurt the internal organs.

The emotions and their related organs:

Anger----------Liver

Joy-------------Heart

Grief/Sadness-----Lung

Worry/Pensiveness---------Spleen

Fear------------Kidneys

Fright/Shock------Gallbladder

If it seems hard to believe, science may make this concept easier to understand. Current medical research is paying close attention to chronic stress and its negative implications to our health. Modern medicine is now recognizing the role chronic stress plays in the dysfunction of our immune, digestive, and hormonal systems.

For example:

·      Stress lowers SIgA, our main line of immune defense in our gastrointestinal system, leaving us more vulnerable to bacteria and other pathogens.

·      Stress increases our risk for cardiovascular disease: A heightened emotional event was shown to be correlated the timing of heart attack. Stress can trigger an inflammatory response that encourages the buildup of fatty plaque inside artery walls.  

·      Increased cortisol levels due to chronic stress increases our risk of metabolic syndrome.

·      A stressful event can change the microbiome in our gut, decreasing our good bacteria and increasing harmful bacteria.

·      Gut bacteria manufacture up to 95% of the body’s supply of serotonin, our feel-good neurotransmitter.

Most of us are exposed to daily stressors and we go through times in our lives that are substantially more stressful than others. How we deal with this stress, and how it is expressed, plays an imperative role in our overall wellness. Moreover, caring for your physical health can improve your emotional responses to stress.

Get closer to the root of your emotional imbalances by learning your Chinese Medicine diagnosis and start taking steps to heal at a deeper level.

Links and resources to learn more:

https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2014/stress-and-disease.html

https://www.amymyersmd.com/2017/02/stress-damaging-gut/

https://www.stress.org/stress-research/

https://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/blog/2014/09/05/emotions-and-traditional-chinese-medicine

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/09/gut-feeling.aspx

 

 

Year of the Earth Dog

Happy New Year! It’s the year of the yellow earth dog.

Doesn’t that just sound like a relief compared to the fire rooster?

We are all pretty familiar with the nature of dogs- loyal, protective, loving.

Dogs run like to crazy then plop down and rest- so the year may have lots of starts and stops. It’s important to listen to your body and honor it’s cycles- especially your need for rest. This is an earth on earth year so there may be more natural disasters like earthquakes so **get your earthquake kits together**!

The earth element is also about digestion. Take care to eat healthy seasonal, local foods and steer clear of refined sugar, additives, and inflammatory polyunsaturated oils like sunflower, safflower, canola, soy and corn oils.

If you have chronic digestive hormonal or immune issues, please come in for a visit and let us help you get to the root cause and resolve it.

At DHH, we are passionate about the synthesis of classical Chinese medicine and modern functional medicine. We utilize classical Chinese diagnostic tools to look at what is going on with the whole person in front of us- physically, emotionally and energetically. We also utilize functional medicine testing as needed that gives us data about things like a comprehensive look at the gut, the sex and stress hormones.  The synthesis of these two views allows us to get to the root of issues in the way of our patients feeling their best and achieving goals like healthy pregnancy, sound sleep, mood stabilization, freedom from pain and great digestion.

We create a customized treatment plan for each patient that outlines our treatment goals, and our suggestions around acupuncture, diet and lifestyle. It’s a sort of roadmap to health. We then meet each patient right where they are and make the tactical changes that will have the biggest impact.  Make your health a priority- we want you feeling sexy, vibrant and balanced so you can fully enjoy the year ahead!