Keeping Your Child Healthy With Chinese Medicine

Chinese medicine is so beneficial for adults, but it is just as beneficial for children! Children even respond more quickly to treatments than adults because of their young age and increased self-healing ability. If you’re wondering how Chinese medicine can help children, I want to recommend a book to read explaining it all!

Keeping your child healthy with chinese medicine

Keeping Your Child Healthy With Chinese Medicine: A Parent’s Guide to the Care and Prevention of Common Childhood Diseases is a fabulous book to read to learn about children and Chinese medicine. Bob Flaws does a thorough job of explaining how things work in the body of a child. He goes through some of the main causes of most children’s diseases. He also gives recommendations on how to help your child not get sick – hint, it begins with the diet. He also discuses other ways to prevent diseases and promote health from Traditional Chinese Medicine theory.

Just some of the topics he discusses include: neonatal jaundice, colic, vomiting of milk, diarrhea, constipation, diaper rash, cradle cap, teething, fever, ear infections, cough, pediatric pneumonia and asthma, strep throat, bed-wetting, allergies, hyperactivity, chickenpox, and traumatic injuries.

I highly recommend Keeping Your Child Healthy with Chinese Medicine, especially if you have any little ones running around, whether you are the parent, guardian, aunt, uncle, grandparent or babysitter.
“In TCM pediatrics, it is believed that children are not simply miniature adults. Rather, children are immature physically and functionally according to Chinese medicine, and most of the common pediatric complaints are due to this immaturity.”
Keeping Your Child Healthy with Chinese Medicine p.7
There’s always so much to learn and remember to be open to other paradigms. The best health plan incorporates Eastern and Western medicine!

Why do some people tend to get sick more than others?

You may wonder why some people get sick while others do not. Those that tend towards sickness most likely have some internal deficiencies or imbalances.

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The specifics are difficult to explain and one of the many reasons for all of my education and training! Basically, a certain substance in the body is either not able to fulfill all of its functions or the external pathogenic invader is really strong. If the EPI is strong, but the right qi of the body (part of the body’s defense) is also strong, the person tend to not get sick as often. If the EPI is strong but the right qi is deficient, the person tends to get sick.

If you’re starting to feel less than your best, read my post about responding to cold and flu symptoms for more information on what is going on and what to do next.

Does Holiday Eating Affect Your Digestion? TCM Can Help!

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The holidays are officially here with Thanksgiving this Thursday! I just love the holidays – family time, giving thanks and all of the amazing food! But with all this glorious food, usually comes overeating and digestive upset.

Whether you are always hungry, never hungry, crave sweet, salty, spicy, or bitter food, or have stomach pain and distention, Traditional Chinese Medicine can help. Digestion is the center of your health and if it is not in tip top shape, you may have some symptoms. Stop in to your local acupuncturist to see how Chinese medicine can help you!

If you are one of the many people who tend to overeat, I recommend you to try to eat mindfully. This consists of really being present when you eat: smell the food, chew each mouthful fully, and remember to set your utensil down after each bite. I just read some more helpful tips on the Huffington Post.

I also know sometimes you overeat, especially during the holidays – and I don’t blame you! I’m right there with ya. If you find yourself uncomfortable after meals or snack times, be sure to have some ginger tea or peppermint tea on hand. When I find my digestion in need of some assistance, I love to brew some ginger or peppermint tea.

Ginger is warming and helps promote digestion and alleviates symptoms of nausea and indigestion including: gas, bloating, and stomach cramps. Ginger is good for you if you tend to be cooler in temperature.

Peppermint is cooling and also alleviates symptoms of nausea and indigestion including: gas, bloating, and stomach cramps. Peppermint is good if you tend to be warmer in temperature.

If your digestive system needs extra help to handle the holidays, come and see me! I will be in the clinic this Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Call the Acupuncture Wellness Center at (515) 556-3304 or visit our website to make an appointment today!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Responding to Cold & Flu Symptoms

According to Chinese Medicine, when a person gets sick, we refer to this as having an external pathogenic invader (EPI). This means that it is an external condition and the goal is to expel the external pathogen first and then gently tonify the internal so one does not get sick again. When you feel like you are starting to get sick, the way you respond can determine if you will be under the weather for a few days or weeks.

It is important to take action quickly and appropriately at the first onset of symptoms. Generally, EPIs in America may be dealt with as follows:

Get plenty of rest. The importance of resting cannot be overstated. When you rest, your qi and blood is able to replenish itself to try to fight off the EPI. If you continue with your busy schedule and high demands, your qi and blood won’t be able to keep up with your schedule let alone fighting off the enemy!

Layer up! When a person dresses warmly the extra layer of clothing helps warm the body, which supports the yang qi. This allows the yang qi to focus on fighting the EPI and not work so hard to keep the body warm. With most EPI, the goal is to induce a mild sweat, so that the EPI may be expelled. It is difficult to induce a mild sweat if you are not properly covered.

Consume warm food and drinks. In modern America, it is not uncommon to constantly be ingesting cold foods and drinks. However, you may not know how harmful this can be to your body, especially when you are trying to fight off an illness of some sort. Just like it is important for the yang qi to keep you warm, it is also important that your food and drink helps contribute to this. Your spleen and stomach are in charge of digestion. These organs are like a melting pot; in order for the substance to be extracted from the food, it needs to be hot. Think of how much harder your spleen and stomach need to work if what you consume is cold! Cold foods can require your spleen and stomach to work harder, which in turn may cause them to be a little deficient at times. During times of sickness, you definitely don’t want your spleen to be deficient.

See your acupuncturist if you feel your body needs an extra boost to fight off the EPI and to determine other modalities that may be appropriate.

See your primary care physician if symptoms progress or worsen.

**The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

Lifestyle Adjustments for the Changing Seasons

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Have you noticed the shift in seasons has begun? Even though Iowa still has some warm days, there is definitely a chill in the air! It’s important to note when the seasons change, as it subtly suggests we should also change and incorporate some modifications into our daily life.

The season of autumn belongs to the Lung*. According to the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine, by Maoshing Ni, this is when “all things in nature reach their full maturity, heavenly energy cools, wind begins to stir, it’s the pivoting point when the yang phase turns into the yin phase.”

Essentially, this means it’s time to change up the way you do things a bit. Here are some helpful tips from the Yellow Emperor to naturally change with the season:

  • Go to bed with the sunset, get up with the sunrise – In theory, this sounds great, but we all know this may not be possible. Either way, it’s helpful to try to get a little more sleep.
  • Eat warm, cooked foods.
  • Stay warm. It’s tempting to want to get the last wear out of your favorite summer sandals, but be sure to layer up with scarves and sweaters to keep your qi strong. Not sure what to wear? Check out my friend Carly’s post for how to stay warm and stylish!
  • Take time to gather one’s spirit and energy.
  • Remain calm and peaceful, and try to avoid feelings of depression or grief. Sadness also belongs to the Lung.
  • Stay focused.
  • Keep the Lung energy full, clean and quiet – Do so by practicing breathing exercises to enhance Lung qi.

While it may be difficult to follow all of them, focus on a few you think you can do and try to integrate the change of season into your everyday life.

Happy Autumn! 

*When practitioners of Chinese Medicine talk of organs, it does not necessarily mean the physical organ. Rather we are talking of the channel of the organ and the properties associated with the organ according to Chinese Medicine. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine Terms

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) encompasses a variety of modalities including acupuncture, cupping, tui na, gua sha, moxa, herbal therapy, and food therapy.

Acupuncture has been practiced for 3000-5000 years. It is defined as the insertion of sterile, disposable, single-use needles into acupuncture points throughout the entire body. The points are located on meridians that course throughout the body. Through the use of acupuncture points, a particular effect may be obtained because each point has specific functions. There are as many as 2,000 points.

Cupping is the use of glass cups to create a suction of the skin. The most common place to cup is the back, legs, hips and shoulders. Cupping is the therapeutic use of suction to increase blood and oxygen flow to the area. This helps relax the muscles, stimulate acupuncture points and decrease pain. Cupping helps with conditions of coughing, pain, poor sleep and more. Bruises are a common side effect of cupping, depending on the patient’s condition and constitution; the bruises should only last 3-7 days.

Electrical Stimulation Acupuncture (E-Stim) is the use of a tens unit along with the acupuncture points to provide constant and measurable stimulation to the desired points. E-stim is effective with increasing the results of post-stroke symptoms and reducing pain.

Gua sha, meaning “scraping sha – bruising” is the use of a spoon, jade or other utensil that scrapes the skin to produce light bruising. This releases unhealthy elements and increases blood flow and healing.

Herbal therapy has been around for thousands of years. It is a useful complement to acupuncture treatments because while a person may only get acupuncture treatments weekly, monthly or as needed, a person may take herbs daily to address certain symptoms and support their constitution. Herbs are great for balancing the body and for addressing: digestion, emotions, sleep, women’s issues, common colds and flu.

Moxibustion (moxa) is the use of the herb, mugwort, topically to increase energy, reduce pain and benefit the overall constitution.

Tui na “twee- nah” is a combination of massage and acupressure that uses the meridians and acupuncture points to increase the movement of qi and reduce pain.

My Journey to Traditional Chinese Medicine

Ever since I was a young child I have always been interested in medicine, health and the human body.  How the body works is so fascinating! When I was in high school I had set my sights on becoming a doctor, specifically a pediatrician. I had, and still have, a special interest in helping children become healthier to help prevent illnesses and diseases. Then some of my family members started going to see an acupuncturist at the Iowa Acupuncture Clinic for various ailments. Like most people, I had no idea what acupuncture was or what it could do, but when my family members saw improvements it piqued my interest.
 
As I was talking to my mom about wanting to be a doctor, she said she could see me being an acupuncturist. The thought intrigued me, so I decided to get my first acupuncture treatment. My main goal was to get a better understanding of acupuncture, and my initial experience was relaxing and enjoyable. I was very curious because the acupuncturist asked me questions based on what she observed by looking at my tongue and feeling my pulse. It was extremely interesting to learn that our bodies tell us things every day; we just need to be aware of it and listen.
 
After that, I began working at the Iowa Acupuncture Clinic and the medicine continued to amaze me. I really enjoyed being a part of the clinic and observing patient interactions. I saw improvements in my health in ways I wouldn’t have thought possible from tiny needles being strategically placed all over my body. At the time I truly did not understand how much theory went into a treatment.
 
I graduated from Johnston High School in 2007 and started my undergraduate experience at Grand View University in the fall of 2007. Throughout my time at Grand View, I continued to work part-time at the clinic and it only confirmed my passion for Chinese Medicine. I earned my Bachelors Degree in Health Promotion: Wellness and Fitness and went on to pursue my Masters in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from Northwestern Health Sciences University. After my education in health and Traditional Chinese Medicine, I’m even mIMG_9394ore amazed with the body and all of the miracles that happen every second.

I now work for Acupuncture Wellness Center & Allergy Clinic of Iowa, and every day I’m thankful for all of the steps that lead me down this path towards my calling of being an acupuncturist. I have dedicated myself to helping people feel their best.  After all, we only have one body for this one amazing life; we better take the best care of it we can.