Acupuncture for Headaches

Many people suffer from headaches but few people know that chinese medicine is an extremely effective and natural, drug free way to relieve headaches. Acupuncture and chinese herbs can treat migraines, cluster headaches, tension headaches, sinus headaches, headaches from trigeminal neuralgia, whiplash and hypertension.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recognizes that not all headaches are the same. As with any condition, an acupuncturist treats the individual and not the disease. Two people coming into the clinic , both with migraines, may not necessarily receive the same acupuncture treatment or herbal remedy. Treatment is based on the individuals signs and symptoms, the appearance of their tongue and their pulse. Instead of covering up the symptoms with powerful drugs, the Chinese medical approach works to reduce the frequency, intensity and duration of headaches by treating the root – the underlying cause of the headache. Many people can reduce or eliminate their medication with the help of chinese medicine.

Migraines are frequently related to the Liver organ system, but headaches can also be caused by an imbalance in the Spleen, Stomach or Kidney organ system. Occassionaly y, they can also be caused by physical trauma. Acupuncture can also treat the “branch” – the actual pain of the headache itself. Acupuncture during a migraine or other headache can usually relieve, or at the least, significantly reduce the pain. If you can catch it early enough, then acupuncture can preventthe headache from coming on. 

Living Points Community Acupuncture Clinic offers treatments on a sliding scale of $20-50 per treatment with an additional one time paperwork fee of $10 for the first treatment. No income verification is ever required. Our primary goal is to make acupuncture affordable enough for people to come as frequently as needed in order to get the best possible results. Medical histories are always done in private.




Do you know someone who is preparing to give birth or are you yourself expecting? Mother warming is a simple one time tonification treatment given around day four or five post-birth that can easily be performed by the mother herself or by one of her support people in the comfort of her own home. It is a useful treatment for energizing women and aiding in their recovery.

Mother warming is a moxa technique using a cigar shaped moxa stick. Moxa is the herb, mugwort. Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of mugwort to facilitate healing. The moxa stick is lit on one end until the stick is smoldering, then used to warm the mother’s abdomen in a circular motion from the top of her pubic bone up to her belly button and then back down. This is done for 5-10 minutes until the woman feels pleasantly warm. If there is someone to assist her, then the treatment can be repeated on her back from the bottom of her sacrum up to the area of the spine that is level with the belly button (around the second lumbar vertebrae). This shouldn’t be done if the mother is experiencing night sweats or is running a temperature. It would also be wise to avoid moxa over a caesarian scar.

Moxa sticks can be found at our clinic, please feel free to call if you have any questions or for a free demo.

Preparing for Cold and Flu Season

cold_fluThe absolute best way to treat colds and flu’s is to prevent them! Acupuncture and herbs are a fabulously effective way to boost your immune system! This is a great idea for anyone but especially for children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. If you catch colds easily, have low energy and it takes a long time for you to recover from an illness then you’re immune system may be weak. If you’ve already come down with something, then chinese medicine can help relieve the symptoms and speed your recovery.

In chinese medicine, colds and flus are categorized as wind-heat or wind-cold.

Wind-cold comes on slowly. You may be feeling run down, slightly head-achy and chilled. You may also have a neck ache or clear mucus. This could last for a day or so before you surrender to the feeling of “I’m sick.”  Wind-heat comes on suddenly with a sore throat or fever, the time between “I think I might be getting sick” and being sick is a matter of hours. There may also be yellow phlegm or body aches.

Besides getting acupuncture or taking herbal formulas there is much you can do at home to treat yourself. It’s important to eat light, easy to digest foods like soups, veggies, well cooked rice and rice noodles. Avoid eating lots of cold foods like salads, cold sandwiches, chilled drinks, popsicles, and ice cream. Also avoid foods that may cause Dampness in the body. Dampness is heavy in nature and contributes to phlegm production. Therefore, stay away from foods that are damp in nature such as dairy products, fried foods, greasy foods, foods high in fat . (Stir fry is usually OK as long you cook with a small amount of oil). Raw foods also contribute to cold and dampness. Salads, fruits and fruit juices should be taken in moderation.

These dietary guidelines are especially important for children, all of whom have inherently weak spleen qi (digestion). Those who have weak spleen qi are especially susceptible to an overabundant production of mucus. That is why kids tend to be snotty. As soon as your kid gets sick or congested follow the guidelines above- this will go a long way towards your child feeling better faster without having to resort to antibiotics. Its also a good idea to sneak some herbs into their food or drinks – children respond very well to herbal medicines. Your acupuncturist can set you up with a formula that is appropriate.

But, as I mentioned before,  the best treatment is prevention. Start at least 6 weeks before cold and flu season with acupuncture and herbs to get your immune system revved up. Chinese medicine and herbs have a cumulative effect, you want to give yourself time for the treatments to take full effect.

If you do come down with wind-cold (see above) try these recipes…


  Ginger Tea

In China, ginger, used in cooking and medicine, was so highly regarded that preserved ginger was stored in highly decorated “ginger jars,” which were given as precious gifts. Next time you have that “oh, I think I might be getting sick”  feeling try some ginger tea, bundle up and then crawl under the covers to get some rest. The idea is to break into a light therapeutic sweat to “expel the pathogen” as they say in chinese medicine. If you don’t break a sweat try it a few hours later. Ginger is also geat for nauseau or vomiting, clearing up phlegm, expeling gas, and soothing the stomach. Who says all chinese herbs have to taste bad?

  • Thinly slice a 1 1/2 to 2 inch chunk of ginger.
  • Add to three cup of water , bring to a light boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add some honey….Yum!


Miso Soup with Scallions

Miso is like a bouillion paste usually made from soybeans, but also can be made from other beans or grains. Natural miso is a living food containing many beneficial microorganisms which can be killed by over-cooking. For this reason, it is recommended that the miso be added to soups or other foods being prepared after they are removed from the heat.

  • Bring two to three cups water to a boil with 3-5 chopped scallions, add veggies, ginger or tofu to the soup if you want something heartier.
  • Remove from heat and add about one tablespoon of miso. Taste and add more water or more miso to adjust the flavor.
  • Top with additional chopped fresh scallions. A squeeze of lemon is nice as well.             

The Heart is an Organ of Fire

Male anatomy of human organs in x-ray view

When I first read this quote (“the heart is an organ of fire”) by Michael Oondatje in his novel, The English Patient, I was struck not only by the beauty of his words, but also by their unintentional accuracy. For in Chinese medicine the heart is, indeed, an organ of fire. The yin heart along with its yang counterpart, the small intestine, as well as the pericardium and the obscure Triple Burner meridian all belong to the fire element. We are now in the fire element’s season – Summer!

Perhaps you know someone who could be considered a fire “type”. This person laughs easily and frequently, they thrive on social interactions and value relationships very highly. Joy is the emotion of fire. This person may express alot of joy or could exhibit the opposite, a lack of joy. On the other hand, they may be prone to sadness and could be easily frightened and startled. Red is the fire element’s color. This can manifest as very red cheeks or general redness in the face

Some physical symptoms or disorders that indicate the heart is involved are palpitations, any heart pain, poor memory, a bitter taste in the mouth in the morning after poor sleep, insomnia characterized by difficulty in falling asleep, dream disturbed sleep, purple lips, tongue or mouth ulcers, or post-partum depression.

The Mind/Emotions and the Heart

The heart is the residence of the mind and if the heart is healthy then the mind will be well balanced and we will feel happy and vital. Anxiety, excessive excitement and/or mental restlessness reflect an imbalance in the heart. Remember, the heart in chinese medicine does not just mean the actual organ. It includes the meridian and a whole set of functions of which the the heart is in charge. Sadness and anger, frustration or resentment that is not resolved can, over time, also cause an imbalance in the heart. Sometimes, our emotions can cause illness, but ocassionally the emotions are a direct result of a physical problem. Its not always easy to pinpoint the root of the problem, but sometimes we can by simply paying attention. Does the emotion arise on its own or is it preceded by discomfort, pain or some other physical symptom? If it is preceded by a physical symptom then its root may be in a physical imbalance. When did it start? Traumatic events, illnesses, unhealthy lifestyles or chronic emotional problems can lead to emotional issues related to the heart. Regardless of the root, illness can sometimes be our body’s way of telling us to pay attention! This emotion/issue needs to be adressed and resolved!

Acupuncture and herbs can help to bring the heart back into balance, whether it is by nourishing the qi or blood of the heart or moving stagnation or clearing heat from the organ. Sometimes just a little needle in the heart meridian can unlock blocked emotions.


Maximizing Fertility with Chinese Medicine

Infertility is on the rise. According to the CDC, there are nearly 7 1/2 million women in the US every year who struggle with fertility issues.  Chinese Medicine is finally gaining acceptance and respect as a valid, effective means of treating infertility. The treatment of infertility with acupuncture and herbs dates back at least 2,000 years. Wow! That is truly time tested medicine. The beauty of treatment with Chinese Medicine is that it brings the whole body back into balance. Not only does this greatly increase chances of conception, but ensuring that the future mother is in the best of health before conceiving increases the likelihood of having an easier pregnancy, carrying the child full-term and having a healthy baby. 

Chinese medicine is a great option for couples who want to conceive naturally or for couples who are seeking help with in-vitro fertilization or other assisted reproductive technologies. Treatments take a minimum of three months, but can also take up to a year or more depending on the level of imbalance.

So, exactly how can acupuncture help couples to conceive? Treatments can…

· Increase blood flow to the uterus, thus thickening the uterine lining, which improves the chances of an ovum implanting on the uterine wall

· Normalize hormone and endocrine systems that regulate ovulation.

∙Balance the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis which plays a key role in fertility, especially with regard to enhancing the development and release of mature and healthy eggs.

· Help relieve stress– A study done at the University of California in San Diego showed that high levels of stress can impair a woman’s fertility by as much as 93%

Let us not forget that it takes two to tango. Male factor infertility accounts for 30-40% of all fertility problems. Treatment with Chinese Medicine for male infertility takes a minimum of three months since it takes 70-90 days for sperm to form.

Chinese Medicine can help with male infertility due to low sperm count, poor morphology, poor motility or stress.

If you are struggling with infertility give us a call – I am happy to answer any questions or click on the “make an appointment” tab in the upper right hand corner of our website to book online.

Check out this great article on the treatment of infertility with Chinese Medicine…


Acupuncture for Domestic Violence Survivors

The statistics for domestic abuse are staggering. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will be the victims of domestic violence in their lifetime. Health care providers and advocates around the world are increasingly recognizing that all forms of domestic violence can have devastating physical and emotional health effects.  Victims face high rates of depression, sleep disturbances, anxiety, flashbacks, and other emotional distress. Their traumatic experiences contribute to poor health for many survivors including chronic conditions such as heart disease, chronic pain or gastrointestinal disorders.

The oldest documented medical system to recognize the connection between body, mind and spirit, Chinese medicine is an optimum treatment choice for domestic violence survivors.  Chinese medicine can treat PTSD, shock, anxiety, fear, rage, anger, grief, depression and the physical disorders that can arise from these negative emotions – disorders such as palpitations, insomnia, digestive problems, menstrual irregularities, headaches, high blood pressure, etc. Chinese medicine is particularly effective for emotional trauma relief because the method of diagnosis involves searching for the root of a person’s distress, rather than merely treating the symptoms. According to Eastern thought, the organs of the body are associated with various emotions. If you’ve ever lost a pet or loved one, you can relate to feeling grief in the body as a heaviness in the chest because grief is held in the lungs. Joy is housed in the heart, anger in the liver, fear in the kidneys and worry in the spleen. When our emotions are negatively affected through emotional trauma, treating the associated organs with acupuncture or herbs can help the survivor release or transform the negative feelings.  Whether a treatment occurs quickly after traumatic events have been experienced or years later, acupuncture can help relieve the negative effects. Herbal medicine may also be recommended as Chinese herbal formulas can be used to strengthen the treatments. For example, there are herbal formulas for “calming the spirit” which can be used for anxiety, for nourishing the kidneys which can be depleted from being in a constant state of fight or flight, or for treating the liver in order to release anger, resentment or rage.

Many people are afraid of needles, but acupuncture needles are not at like the needles that are used to give shots or take blood. Those needles have a much greater diameter because the must be able to transport fluids in and out of the body. Acupuncture needles are much thinner and solid, almost like a human hair. They are inserted into muscle and not a vein, and are relatively painless upon insertion. Usually, people become deeply relaxed during a treatment and may even fall asleep. Afterwards, many people report a feeling of mild euphoria or deep calm and relaxation.

Living Points Community Acupuncture Clinic offers treatments on a sliding scale of $20-50 per treatment with an additional one time paperwork fee of $10 for the first treatment. No income verification is ever required. Our primary goal is to make acupuncture affordable enough for people to come as frequently as needed in order to get the best possible results. Medical histories are always done in private.

The Wood Element: The Liver and Gallbladder

5_elementsThe liver and the gallbladder are the organs associated with the wood element in Chinese Medicine. The time of the wood element is spring and is characterized by words like ‘vision’, ‘hope’, ‘regeneration’, ‘vitality’, exuberance’ and ‘birth’. The emotion associated with the wood element is anger. When someone’s wood element is out of balance there may be an excess or a lack of appropriate anger. Easy resentment or excessive frustration may also be a sign of wood imbalance. We may also see a lack of direction and an inablity to hold a vision for the future. Planning, decision-making, foresight and setting goals are all an expression of the wood element within us. The liver is responsible for the smooth flow of qi through our meridians. Stress, anger or frustration can block the smooth flow of energy and cause Liver qi stagnation.

 The liver is an organ with an incredible capacity for regeneration. Spring, the season of the liver, is a perfect time to cleanse this organ.  Acupuncture and herbs are ideal for this. Look for a liver cleansing formula at your local health food store. Herbs such as milk thistle, dandelion, turmeric, bupleurum, reishi, yellow dock, artichoke and schisandra are excellent for cleansing, regenerating, protecting and nourishing the liver. Typically these formulas are taken for a month and accompanied by a liver friendly diet. This means avoiding greasy, fried or excessively spicy foods.  It is also advisable to avoid alcohol and prescription or recreational drugs – all of which need to be processed by the liver – while doing a liver cleanse.Check out your local farmer’s market for fresh locally grown greens.. Grow your own sprouts at home – the spring diet should be the lightest of the year and, of course, it always makes good sense to avoid processed foods, refined foods and preservatives. Weekly or bi-weekly acupuncture treatments are a great adjunct to doing an herbal liver cleanse. Also, go to bed early!  Gallbladder and liver time is between 11pm and 3am. Make sure you are resting during this time so that these organs can renew themselves.

   Happy cleansing and enjoy the freshness and vitality of rejuvenated liver energy!

Acupressure for Labor Private Classes

I’m pleased to be offering private acupressure instruction for pregnant mothers and their support person.

This class is for those who want a natural child birth and want to use natural pain relief techniques for labor using acupressure. This is a great way to get your partner involved in the birthing process and to help mothers feel emotionally and physically supported.

Unlike acupuncture where needles are used, acupressure applies physical pressure to specific acupressure points using the thumbs, fingers, hands, elbows, or with various other devices on the surface of the body. No prior knowledge of anatomy or Chinese massage is necessary.

In this class you will learn…

  • Points for pain relief in labor.
  • Points to encourage efficient contractions and cervical dilation.
  • Points to help calm and relax.
  • Points for afterpains and to promote efficient breastfeeding.
  • Clear, easy to understand instruction and booklets to take home with descriptions and illustrations of the points
  • Tonification techniques to help strengthen the mother after the birth.

Classes are sliding scale $35-$60 and typically take about 45 minutes to an hour. Call the clinic to schedule with Janet.

Easing the symptoms of menopause

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs have a long history of use in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. Chinese medicine provides a unique theory in understanding female hormone regulation. According to Chinese theory, the human body consists of two opposite energy forces, Yin and Yang energy. A healthy person usually has a balanced Yin-Yang energy force. If your Yin-Yang energy is not balanced, your self-healing system is down and you may get sick. Yin-Yang energy forces also regulate female menstruation cycle. According to Chinese medicine, menopause is a natural process of Kidney energy deficiency, especially the Kidney Yin energy. The yin is moistening and cooling and when there is a lack of it there can be disorders of heat or dryness.  Many of the symptoms of menopause are considered Kidney Yin deficiency with deficiency heat, such as night sweats, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, insomnia and hair loss (just to name a few).  In truth, menopause is never simply yin deficient heat. After approximately fifty years of life, a person arrives at menopause with a complex set of deficiencies and discomforts. Some of these are caused by diminished yang, qi and blood, as well as by deficient yin.

Perhaps the most unique feature of Chinese medicine is that each treatment is individualized according to the specific needs of each patient. This means that patients with the same disharmony may be treated differently depending on their individual constitution. One patient may have hot flashes accompanied by weak vision, dizziness, night sweats, and restless sleep. Another patient may have low back pain, memory problems, and vaginal dryness along with the hot flashes. One of these women may notice that she feels melancholy and cries easily, whereas the other one may get angry and frustrated. These patients will be treated with different acupuncture points, different nutritional advice, and different herbs. In Chinese herbalism, custom formulas are written with anywhere between 6 and 18 herbs which address the full constitutional diagnosis. Many herbs have sedating and harmonizing properties while others work to tonify and nourish deficiencies.

Whatever discomforts a woman is experiencing, Chinese medicine offers a unique perspective and individualized treatment that takes into account all symptoms of the body, mind, emotions, and spirit.

Avoid these dietary hot flash triggers:

Caffeine, Alcohol, White Sugar, Chocolate, Spicy Food

Try incorporating organic:

Tempeh, Tofu, Edamame, Miso, Soy Milk