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I have been away from my office for nearly two weeks, but it has been worth it. I have had the great pleasure of being one of only a few practitioners in an Acupuncture for Sports Medicine Apprenticeship Program. One of the few Americans leading the way in the field of Chinese Sports Medicine, Whitfield Reaves, has designed this apprenticeship to share the vast knowledge he has gained over his 30 years of treating Olympic athletes. On the gorgeous Hawaiian island of Maui I have been absorbing as much as I can about treating sports injuries and enhancing athletic performance. I have treated many athletes over the years at Queen Anne Acupuncture, including marathoners, tri-athletes, snowboarders, soccer players, yoga instructors, circus performers and even a competitive fencer. I have had success with most of these patients, but I am always looking to improve my treatments and the speed with which my patients heal from injuries so they can get back to the activities they love. I have confidence that the needle techniques and the refinement of my knowledge of anatomy during this apprenticeship will carry over into the successful treatment of my patients when I get back to work next week and for years to come.

Mahalo!

At the farmer’s market this weekend I came across this year’s first batch of Stinging Nettles, or Urtica dioica. Nettles are one of those plants that remind me how miraculous the planet is. Just when everyone is suffering from allergic rhinitis (stuffy nose) the plant that treats that symptom is ready for harvest. Nettles have many uses, but allergic rhinitis is what they are famous for. In Chinese Medicine we say that Nettles clear heat and leach dampness, making them suitable for treating phlegm-damp obstructing the nasal passages. Dry them and add them to your Chrysanthemum infusion for a great allergy treatment. They should be used with caution, however, in those with a yin deficient presentation, as they are diuretic (make you pee) and can be quite drying. Another use of the herb is Wind-Damp Impediment, such as arthritis, and historically they were applied topically as a counter-irritant for this purpose. Taken internally, they also treat arthritic conditions or painful, stiff joints.

The whole arial parts can also be cooked as a delicious spring vegetable. They have a very high mineral content making them an ideal food for those with anemia or for those concerned about developing osteoporosis. Here is a recipe for sauteed stinging nettles that I found on Chow.com:

  • 1 pound stinging nettles
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, sliced lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Zest of 1 medium lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 medium lemon
  • Wearing thick rubber gloves, clean the nettles by soaking them several times under cold running water, then drain. (Do not touch raw nettles with your bare hands. If you do not have rubber gloves, use tongs to handle the nettles.) Separate the tender leaves from the tough stems, discarding the stems. (Use scissors for this process if you don’t have protective rubber gloves.)
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the shallots and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until the shallots have softened, about 2 minutes more.
  • Using tongs, add half of the nettles and the water to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until the nettles have begun to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining nettles and cook, stirring often, until wilted, about 3 minutes more. (Add more water a tablespoon at a time if the pan becomes too dry.)
  • Remove the pan from heat. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve.

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When I was in my last semester of acupuncture school, I was pregnant with my first daughter. Once that fact became obvious to my teachers and classmates, my two Chinese instructors insisted that I needed to needle Kidney 9 regularly. It is thought that this point will produce a beautiful baby when needled throughout the pregnancy. I thought it was humorous at the time, but I have since come to rely on this point with all of my pregnant patients, as it is one of the most useful for securing a pregnancy and preventing miscarriage. I joke with my patients that we are needling the “beautiful baby” point, but in truth, I am using it to be sure that the uterine environment is as healthy as possible for the growing embryo and fetus.

From the book Acupuncture in Midwifery (which I highly recommend to acupuncturists focusing on Obstetrics) by Yelland:

“Kidney 9 is said to produce a child with particularly luminous complexion who would sleep at night, laugh in the daytime, be virtually immune to diseases or if he/she did catch a disease would heal quickly, be sane in mind, morals and body.”

 

Interesting note: Peter Deadman’s A Manual of Acupuncture, which is the main text used in American acupuncture schools, does not include miscarriage prevention or “beautiful baby” as indications for this point. The name of the point, however, translates to Guest House. To me, this sounds as though it is for the uterus while it is “housing” a guest, aka, a baby.

 

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There are many new books being published about fertility and Chinese Medicine. I have read most of them and find that most offer fairly accurate advice and expectations when using Chinese Medicine for fertility. I certainly think it’s helpful for women to have a basic understanding about how the medicine works, how we diagnose, basic nutritional advice. However, I think it is risky to follow advice about taking herbs or supplements from a book without seeing a professional trained in herbal or Naturopathic medicine. The author of a book has no way of knowing your particular set of circumstances and health make-up.

Here’s an example: In the book The Tao of Fertility, the author, Daoshing Ni gives a group of supplements that he recommends for women trying to get pregnant. These include high quality fish oil, B12, B6, Folic Acid and the amino acids L-carnitine and L-arginine. Now, it may be the author’s experience that most women respond well to these supplements, and I would agree that fish oil and B vitamins are essential for every woman. However, supplementing L-carnitine and L-arginine can have detrimental effects in some women including: low blood pressure, bleeding disorders, nausea and low blood sugar. These amino acids can be found in foods, and eating a well-balanced diet full of vegetables, fruit, legumes and lean meats will provide adequate quantities of both without the unnecessary risks of side effects from supplementation.

When considering any supplementation outside of a basic multi-vitamin, fish oil, and probiotics, supplements and herbs are best taken with the guidance of a Naturopath or herbalist who knows your personal health history and knows any pharmaceuticals that you are taking.  This ensures that what you are taking is tailored to what YOUR body needs, not general advice that doesn’t take your set of circumstances into account.

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I rarely tout the value of any given herbal product, but I just have to say a few words about Spring Wind’s Burn Cream. While cooking last night I got a fairly bad burn on the inside of my wrist. (This makes me a “real” chef, just ask Anthony Bourdain) After running it under cold water for awhile, and finishing making, serving and eating the meal, I applied this Burn Cream. Since it is absorbed into the skin, I reapplied it several times before going to bed. I was pretty sure the burn was bad enough that I would be applying the cream several times today. Instead, when I woke up and looked at my wrist, the burn was barely visible. A slight discoloration was still there, but there was no blister, no pain, no signs of the burn from the day before. As with many Chinese Medicine topicals, Spring Wind’s Burn Cream is not an odorless, clear product. Most effective herbal topicals are a little messy, and smell like…..herbs! The smell is not offensive, but you know when you put it on that the product is made with plants and this is a good thing. This is a product that should be in everyone’s medicine cabinet.

 

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I have always had faith in the wisdom of a pregnant body. For the most part, babies come when they’re ready. Unfortunately, there are circumstances in which a medical induction with pitocin or cytotec are indicated. If a woman or baby’s health is in jeapordy, induction becomes necessary. All too often, medical caretakes do not feel comfortable with a woman who hasn’t started labor by the 41st week and induction is recommended for no other reason than being “overdue.”

When a woman is facing medical induction with drugs, I do provide acupuncture induction to start labor naturally. Contractions initiated with Pitocin are more intense than natural contractions and often lead a woman straight to an epidural, which carries with it many risks. Naturally inducing labor with acupuncture does not have the intensifying effect.

In my experience, first time moms often need up to 3 treatments to get labor going, although I have seen many cases in which 1 treatment does the trick. It is a safe protocol, and worth trying before resorting to more invasive, less safe inductions with drugs.

Interestingly, women who have done prebirth acupuncture once a week from week 36 on, usually go not require even acupuncture induction, as they generally go into labor on their own by week 41.

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I spent the afternoon gardening (we were having a particularly nice day in Seattle.) Everything was very calm, peaceful. At one point a helicopter flew over-head and I was overwhelmed with emotion. All at once I was profoundly grateful and desperately sad that I could spend an afternoon enjoying my garden while millions of people live in fear every day. When millions of people hear a helicopter coming and seek cover to protect their lives. I am very fortunate to live when and where I do. I am blessed with a life filled with safety, and the pleasures of gardening. May safety and basic human rights spread across this world like an epidemic. Everyone deserves the right to peace.

The following is a delicious recipe from the book Hungry Monkey by fellow Seattlite Matthew Amster-Burton. It is a family favorite in our house and I make it when I feel the need for some healthy comfort food. The recipe includes star-anise, which is a digestive aid, green onion which helps ward off colds, and and garlic, which does both. I highly recommend giving this easy, delicious recipe a try.

Sticky Chinese-Style Spareribs
From Hungry Monkey by Matthew Amster-Burton

serves 4

1 rack pork spareribs (about 3 1/2 lbs), trimmed and cut into individual ribs
1 bunch scallions, cut into 2 inch lengths
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 star anise
1/4 c rock sugar or 2 Tb granulated sugar
1/2 c soy sauce
1 1/2 c low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tb hoisin sauce
2 Tb rice vinegar

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low heat 7-8 hours or until the meat is very tender. Serve with rice.

A trip to “the dragon store” to get ingredients to make Kim Chi.

recipe one is with Nappa cabbage:
http://drbenkim.com/how-make-kim-chi.htm

the second is with Bok Choy:

Bok Choy Kimchi Recipe

The commercial version

the ingredients:

Bring on the brine-making, the peeling, the chopping, the stuffing of the jars!

Why make Kim Chi? Why ferment?

Fermented foods are healthy! Fermenting proliferates the “good” bacteria called lactobacillus which occur naturally in our digestive tracts. Through antibiotic use, including through our foods, our good bacteria diminish. Eating fermented foods helps re-establish the good bacteria in our gut. By doing so we help boost our immune function and reduce the “bad” bacteria in our bodies. This leads to healthier immune function and better living overall. Besides, Kim Chi is tasty!!!

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To encourage the giving of experiences this Holiday Season

Queen Anne Acupuncture

is offering several specials on Gift Certificates

 Do you have friends and/or family who have always wanted to try acupuncture but have never done it? Do you know someone who loves getting acupuncture but doesn’t have insurance benefits? Have you been thinking about getting back to your sessions?

Take advantage of this holiday special and give the gift of wellness.

The more you buy, the more you save.   

 

Buy 1 Gift Certificate & Save 10%

One hour acupuncture session with herbal consult for 76.50 (save 8.50)

 

Buy 2 Gift Certificates & Save 20%

2 One hour acupuncture sessions with herbal consult  for 136. (save 34.00)

 

Buy 3 Gift Certificates & Save 30%

3 One hour acupuncture sessions with herbal consult for 178.50 (save 76.50)

 

Buy 5 Gift Certificates & Save 40%

5 One hour acupuncture sessions with herbal consult for 255. (save 170.)

 

Buy 10 Gift Certificates & Save 50%!!!!

10 One hour acupuncture sessions with herbal consult for 425. (save 425.!!!)

 

Gift Certificates can be purchased in person, over the phone or by email. If purchases are made via phone or email, I will mail certificates once payment is received. Please contact Clarissa Helton to make your purchase at clarissa.helton@gmail.com or 206-280-2966.

www.queenanneacupuncture.com

Cash, Checks, Debit, Mastercard and Visa accepted for payment.

All requests need to be made by 12/20 to ensure arrival by 12/25. This offer expires on 12/20/2010.

Gift Certificates can not be combined with insurance billing or used for copays.

 

May you have a healthy, happy holiday season!!!! 

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