2017-2018 Winter: Is it a cold or a flu this winter... or something else?

I got sick this winter break, which is very rare for me, but I thought it was just me.  When I started hearing from and reading several of my acupuncturist colleagues' Facebook postings that they too were sick, I knew this one was not the run of the mill cold and not one to be messed with. (See, we acupuncturists have an arsenal of herbs, dietary knowledge, immune boosting exercises, cupping and acupuncture at our disposal to keep ourselves healthy while we treat the sick.  The same prescriptions and treatment we use on our sick patients, we do onto ourselves!)

I came across this fantastic read on the non-flu flu-like viral infection that explains why this year's respiratory infections are not to be messed with.  I am not a homeopath therefore cannot comment on the gentleman's homeopathic remedies.  The information of the infection manifestation and progression is fascinating, however,  and very informative, helping to explain some of the unusual expressions this infections is causing on people.  For Southern Californians, the flu and this flu like infection is hitting our community particularly hard because our lungs have been assaulted from a year's worth of respiratory pollution and attack.  Within one year, we Los Angelenos have been bombarded with an unusual and toxic amount of environmental pollution that we didn't have a year ago. It started with the rains earlier last year, which begot mold. Sinus infections were a very frequent complaint all of last year. Then, from the abundance of rain, plants blossomed during the spring which begot all kinds of pollen and other plant releases that LA has not seen most likely in 50 years and in the amounts we have not seen in a long time. Seasonal allergy issues were rampant in my office.  People who normally don't have seasonal allergies were even suffering from allergies last year.  Then the fires. We had to inhale ash, debris, fire retardant, and environmental pollution and gases that came about from the burning of metal, gas, plastic, and other materials which are normally not in the air.  On top of this, the dry air from the fires had weakened our lungs, making us even more susceptible to infections. Many people were already battling fire-induced respiratory issues, and then this virus and the virulent Aussie flu comes along!  So we Southern Californians have been assaulted with all kinds of air particulates that, combined with the two viruses, is wreaking havoc to many and taking down not just individuals but whole families at a time. After notifying my patients of this virus, many of my patients reported that their entire families got sick over the winter break, and badly. 

No wonder even I got sick!

Be careful people. Don’t take what seems like cold symptoms lightly because it could be what this gentleman is alluding to. Stay hydrated, wash your hands frequently, prioritize good sleep, abstain from sweets/carbs, alcohol and dairy, and load up on Vit c, d, zinc. And as the homeopath in the article states, this infection has a latency tendency, so really do be mindful of your body.  If you still fill run down or tired even after the major flu-like symptoms are gone, rest, rest, rest, and rest more.  Eat clean and bland foods to protect your gut to help build back your immune system.  And of course, go see your acupuncturist to keep your immune system in top shape, too, with acupuncture and herbs..

Some tips to strengthen and moisten your Lungs:  

  • Consider incorporating humidifiers or diffusers to bring moisture to your home air. Do regular steams for you and your child.
  • Eat foods that are moistening and protective to the lungs. A classic Chinese Medicine remedy for dry lungs and dry cough is steamed Asian pear drizzled with honey and cinnamon.
  • I have more food lists and recipes for lung tonics and immune tonics here and here.

 

 

Disclaimer: The information here and on the Iyashi Wellness website in general is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with qualified health care professionals. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Angelina Jolie Resolves Bell's Palsy Completely with Acupuncture

 Photographs by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.  Exclusively on Vanity Fair

Photographs by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.  Exclusively on Vanity Fair

Angelina Jolie revealed in the upcoming September issue of Vanity Fair (available online now) that she suffered from Bell's Palsy last year.  What helped her recover fully from it was acupuncture.  

Acupuncture is an extremely effective treatment for Bell's Palsy, particularly if treated soon after the onset of the condition. In Asian Medicine, we say Bell's Palsy is often caused due to Wind in the Channels.  What this means is that due to an underlying deficiency in the Liver system the patient already has whether from lifestyle, poor diet, chronic infection or latent infection of some sort, or extreme, prolonged stress, the channels are vacuous like a hollow subway or tunnel.  When such a person is put in an environment with strong winds or drafts, this wind courses through the vacuous tunnel (ie channels) and can cause the muscles and nerves to "freeze" and droop.  What most patients will note upon consultation at an acupuncturist's office is that the Bell's Palsy came on after an evening sleeping under a rotating fan, or they were at the beach on a very windy day, or the A/C was blasting full strength right by their head or face.  Next thing you know, they have Bell's Palsy.  

If such a patient came in to get acupuncture,  moxa, cupping, and herbs - ASAP after this occurrence, the recovery is almost always 100%.  Even if  years have passed, I've had success helping patients recover their muscle strength back in the face.  One patient, who did extensive acupuncture at the onset of Bell's Palsy years ago and got much of it resolved, came to me because his Bell's Palsy started to get pronounced again due to his lifestyle and the natural progression of aging.  I was able to bring back mobility to the muscles again that the drooping was really only perceptible to someone looking intently at the face.  

If you or your loved one is suffering from Bell's Palsy, please seek out a physician of Asian Medicine immediately.  We can help tremendously!!

Tips for a Healthy Winter Season

Even if it isn’t snowy and cold, winter weather affects everyone—including those of us in sunny Los Angeles!  You really can’t fool Mother Nature—or your body clock that ticks along with the seasons. 

During the winter, it is natural to feel a little sleepier, slower and possibly less motivated.  It’s the season of stillness and conservation.  It’s a period of hibernation and our time to rest, slow down and revitalize our reserves.  Winter is a great time of year to reflect on our health, replenish our energy, conserve our strength and heal on a deeper level.

It is always healthy to get some form of exercise daily, but during the winter months it is best to participate in gentler, less exerting exercises, such as, yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, swimming, walking and other low impact sports.  Save the extreme exertion activities for the spring and summer months.

Here are a few easy pointers to support and promote your family’s health this winter:

Sleep.  Early to bed, early to rise, makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise.  Go to bed early and if possible, wake up after the sun appears in the morning.  Extra sleep will also benefit you if feel as though you are coming down with something.  If you do become ill, naps may help you recover faster.

“C” it.  Don’t forget your Vitamin C and other multivitamins.  These can help support your health.

Water, water everywhere.  Drink water.  Every cell of your body requires this liquid gold to keep it lubricated and running smoothly.

Avoid consuming excessively cold foods such as ice cream and iced beverages.  If possible, drink liquids at room temperature.  Too many cold foods, especially during the colder months, can disrupt your digestion.

Take herbs that support immune function.  Astragalus, Osha root, Reishi and Shitake mushrooms are helpful.  These have been used for thousands of years by acupuncturists to keep people healthy and strong.

Come in for acupuncture treatments.  Acupuncture works extremely well when you have a cold, and also as a tune up to stimulate the healing capacity of your body.  If you begin to get the sniffles, body chills, or feel under the weather, give me a call.  I may be able to help!

Click for even more holistic cold and flu remedies and tips for avoiding colds and flu.


Chinese Medicine for Swimmer’s Ear/Ear Infection and Summer Colds

Summer is a wonderful time to be outdoors and enjoy the sun.  Many of us splash around in swimming pools for fun and exercise.  Children take swim classes and compete.  Swimming is a wonderful whole-body workout and learning to swim is vital for water safety.  However, many children end up getting swimmer’s ear, ear infections and/or colds because they are in the water so much.  Why does Jimmy get swimmer’s ear or an infection but Johnny practicing next to him does not?  This is directly related to a child’s constitution and daily dietary habits.

Cold-Damp Environment and Ear Problems

Children who are prone to swimmer’s ear and ear infections from swimming tend to have a weak constitution, "Cold" constitution, or their diets promote these ear problems.  (There are children that always run hot, no matter what, even in the dead of winter, and then there are children who always tend to run cool or cold.  There are also children who are in the middle.  When I say “Cold" constitution, I am talking about those children who easily run cold – cold hands, cold feet – in particular.)  In Chinese Medicine, we consider water to have a Cold, and in particular, Damp quality.  Be in a cold, wet, damp environment long enough and the body’s immune system begins to slow down because that environment, in this case, the pool or ocean, is so overwhelmingly stronger and bigger than a child.  So that Cold, Damp, wet energy literally seeps into the body, slowing down the child’s metabolic activity.  This creates a “Damp” condition in the ear, like a mold or mildew growing in a unventilated, damp environment.  Though the body tries to fight this Cold-Damp pathogen, if a child’s immune system is Cold or weakened from swimming, its attempts at fighting off the pathogen is weak.  Instead of being able to properly discharge and eliminate the Cold-Damp pathogen through natural means of lymphatic drainage and heated metabolic activity of dissipating fluids, this weak response turns the Cold-Damp pathogen into a lodged ear infection instead.    

Diet and Ear Problems

The way diet plays into ear problems is similar to the above-mentioned Cold-Damp environment.  The food children consume on a daily basis promotes, from a Chinese Medicine perspective, a cold, damp environment within their bodies.  Foods that are Cold and Damp in Chinese medicine are sweets, juices, carbohydrates, iced drinks, ice cream, nuts and nut butters, processed meats, and dairy products.  Isn’t this what most American children eat and drink on a regular basis?  A child who eats these foods regularly already has a Cold-Damp environment in their system.  This will manifest in the child as cold, clammy hands and/or feet, runny nose, tummy aches, irregular bowel movements, frequent colds and ear infections, phlegmy cough, and/or asthma.  These Cold-Damp prone children then enter the pool, and after repeated exposure to a cold, wet, environment--BAM--the double whammy of Cold-Damp from outside and inside the body turns into ear problems.  The ears are affected by swimming because there is constant assault of water entering the ears, which is not a normal occurrence.  Again, liken it to mold or mildew, i.e., improper water metabolism, happening in a dark, damp, unventilated environment.

Air Conditioners are Cold, Too

Don’t forget air conditioners!  The temperature rises and many of us naturally turn on the A/C to cool down.  This is another Cold environment a child walks into, often right after playing in water.  When a child enters an air conditioned car or house and his/her pores are open from swimming and sweating, this unnatural cold air penetrates into the skin and attacks the body further, festering into an ear infection.  A/C in particular is very damaging to children, and especially to a child with a Cold constitution, because of the unnatural bone-seeping cold air it creates. 

Summer Colds

If you’ve gotten my gist of Cold-Damp and children, you probably already know what I’m going to say about summer colds.  Children who catch summer colds often have this interplay of a weak or Cold constitution and Cold-Damp-heavy diet, plus playing, sleeping or sitting in an unnaturally cold (i.e., air conditioned) environment. 

Chinese Medicine to the Rescue!

Chinese Medicine is extremely effective in combating ear infections, swimmer’s ear and summer colds.  To treat these kinds of conditions stemming from Cold-Damp, we practitioners of Chinese Medicine look to the Law of Nature first.  What in nature combats coldness and damp?  Heat.  Heat warms and counteracts coldness.  Dry, warm air purges moisture and dampness.  Therefore, in treating children, we will often use Warm/Hot medicinals that contain Cinnamon and Ginger, and techniques that use moxa to treat a child with these conditions.  Shonishin and/or acupuncture will also help to dispel Cold-Damp as well as improve fluid and blood circulation, and strengthen the constitution of the child so that the child’s own body can fight these infections.  Depending on the severity of the condition, or the chronicity of the condition, one to five treatments often resolves these conditions, along with administration of herbs and changes to the child’s diet.  But before you come in to see me, try the home remedies below to prevent these summer ailments.

Home Remedies

Here are some very effective strategies available at home to help combat swimmer’s ear, ear infections and summer colds:

  • Dry off children immediately (including their hair) after they’re done swimming and change them out of wet, cold swimsuits into dry clothes.  If they tend to be Cold, I suggest dressing them in long pants and long sleeve shirts or a light summer jacket or sweater as well to help conserve body heat.  Use a blow dryer to dry them completely if you’re going to an air conditioned environment right after swimming or the sun is not out that day -- or let them dry and warm up completely in the hot sun before going into a cold car or house.  The sun is a powerful tool to help Cold or Weak children really warm up from the core of the body.
  • In addition to drying their hair, use a blow dryer (on low heat setting) to warm the back of their ears where they attach to the head, the back of their necks, their bellies, their lower backs, and their wrists and ankles.  Do this right after swimming and before they go to bed.  Blow drying these body points has a wonderfully warming effect on the whole body and helps to maintain proper fluid drainage and keep their immune system strong.
  • Have children sip warm honey water (babies should be one or older), cinnamon water, or ginger water from their sippy cups after swimming.  Seep a cinnamon stick and/or pieces of ginger in hot water for 5 -10 minutes, let it cool down a bit, remove the cinnamon or ginger, and then fill a Thermos sippy cup for the child to drink from after swimming.
  • Avoid dairy, ice cream, sugary foods and iced drinks surrounding the days that your children swim.  Instead, feed them hot porridge, oatmeal, soups, warm drinks, beef and lamb.  Cook often with warming ingredients like garlic, ginger, and onion to warm up the foods they are consuming.
  • Employ topical Swimmer’s Ear drops right after swimming.  One or two drops in each ear.
  • Dress children protectively at night: have them wear socks to sleep in and tuck their shirts into their pants to protect tummies from Cold and Wind (i.e., fans, A/C, open windows) while they’re sleeping.  Ideally, don’t turn on fans or A/C while sleeping and if you must have a window open, don’t place a child’s feet or head right by the window.
  • Keep the A/C to a minimum.  Keep it at a temperature just enough to get rid of the oppressive heat or humidity, but don’t make it Arctic cold.  If your child’s hands, feet or nose are cold to the touch while in the car or house, you know you’ve got the A/C on too cold.  Reduce the A/C and warm up your child in the sun or the blow dryer to prevent the Cold from seeping deeper into the body.
  • Consider using a fan instead of the A/C, or combine a fan and the A/C.  Use the A/C just to rid the environment of humidity or oppressive heat, and use the fan to keep the air circulating and cool.  Fans are a more natural alternative to cooling the body, so if at all possible, employ just natural air, letting the fan cool you and your child. 
  • Let kids play a lot in the sun to really collect the wonderfully nature-derived warming energy of the sun.  Modern kids don’t get enough sun and nature time.

Our bodies are highly attuned to nature.  In summer, our pores naturally open to help keep our bodies cool by allowing us to sweat more easily.  And summer is when our bodies are supposed to detoxify naturally.  It is important to sweat during the summer because this allows us to also expel toxicity and gunk that has built up over the previous winter and spring, cleaning us out to prepare us for the fall and coming winter again.  We can collect and harness the warming energy of the sun to detox unwanted elements and effectively strengthen the body.  Children who are prone to allergies and asthma in the fall and winter will really do well to play in the sun and sweat during the summer.  This helps them strengthen their constitution during the abundant warm energy of the summer while dispelling toxic heat, inflammation, and mucus/phlegm build up through sweating.  (But of course, do utilize smart sun strategies for your child!)

Healthy Kids Virtual Summit - March 30 ~ April 20

Here at Iyashi Wellness, we're always looking for ways to make it easy for parents to raise happy, healthy kids. That's why I'm so excited to share the Healthy Kids Summit with you.  It's hosted by Jaime Boggeln, a mom and entrepreneur, who works to help families better themselves, lead healthy lives and have fun doing it.

During this amazing: "Healthy Kids Virtual Summit" you'll have a chance to watch an interview with pediatric acupuncture expert, Robin Green, and learn more about how acupuncture can help kids.  

In addition, you'll find a compilation of some of the top experts on how to build and keep healthy family habits for parents and kids who want to thrive in life! All this great information and resources are right in one spot and easy to access!


Sounds cool, huh?


-------> REGISTER FOR FREE NOW for the Healthy Kids Virtual Summit http://healthykidsvirtualsummit.com/RobinG



Could you use help with these?   

-Step by step directions on how to make healthy lunches a priority!  
-Staying motivated and sticking to family fitness routines!  
-Getting kids calm using meditations and imagery!
-Toxic Free cleaning!  
-Making your life more meaningful on all levels….including your marriage! 

What if there was a way to discover how to get your family fit, strong and mindful all while in good balance? Would you be interested? 

Well, now there is! And the best part? -it won’t cost you a dime. 

...Because every family should be a well-rounded healthy family! 


-------> REGISTER NOW for the Healthy Kids Virtual Summit http://healthykidsvirtualsummit.com/RobinG FOR FREE!


For a limited time, Jamie is offering this online virtual event for FREE, delivered straight to you!   

Don't miss out on this opportunity to learn how to get your family healthy the simple, fun, and exciting way.

Get Access Now! http://healthykidsvirtualsummit.com/RobinG

Acupuncturists vs. Medical doctors Practicing Acupuncture vs Physical Therapists Practicing Dry Needling

Acupuncture.  Is it all created equal?  No.

Did you know, beyond licensed acupuncturists,  there are now many healthcare providers from different modalities practicing acupuncture? Medical doctors, chiropractors, osteopaths, nurses, naturopaths, podiatrist, and dentists.  Why?  Because they all know it works and they think they can help their patients just by studying a few hours of acupuncture needling.  

So how does, for example, a medical doctor (MD) practicing acupuncture differ from a licensed acupuncturist practicing acupuncture?  Crazy question, but a very important question. MDs who practice acupuncture generally only start with a weekend course in acupuncture, or about 300 hours of training before they're allowed to needle people.   One can only imagine their acupuncture approach and technique will most likely be rudimentary and symptomatic. 

We licensed acupuncturist, on the other hand, go through 4 years of medical training, with at least 3,000 hours of state-approved-education in didactic learning and clinical training and this includes both Eastern Medicine (acupuncture, herbs, and oriental medicine theory) AND Western Science and Western Medicine.  Of those hours, about 1100 hours are exclusively in needling and clinical training.  California acupuncture licensing exam is the most stringent acupuncture exam in the nation, and California acupuncturists require a California-specific licensing exam separate from the national exam.  What that means is that, for example, someone from another state licensed to practice acupuncture in their state may NOT practice in California until they pass the California acupuncture licensing exam - which many do not - because it is the most rigorous in the nation.     

So how will you see the difference in acupuncture treatment approach and results from a Licensed Acupuncturist vs. a medical doctor?  For example, an MD sees knee pain this way: "Oh, your knee hurts?  OK, let me stick some needles in the knee.  Done."  Pain is temporarily gone b/c the endorphins got triggered from needling to make the patient feel better. But most likely, that knee pain will come back because it’s just a bandaid approach.  A Licensed Acupuncturist sees knee pain this way: we will of course see the knee pain, but will go deeper to understand why the knee is hurting to begin with.  If it’s from trauma, we will address inflammation and blood flow and internal organs and lymphatic drainage involved in trauma care and recovery by needling other parts of the body to improve blood flow, trauma repair response, etc..  If it’s from arthritis, we look deeper to understand why the patient is having arthritis to begin.  We will diagnose which organs and channels are not functioning properly and treat them accordingly so that although we can stop the knee pain at that moment, we don’t want it to come back at all so we actually address systemic issues that arise from arthritis.  And so forth.  We call this treating the “root” of the problem.  If you treat the root cause of the problem, the problem won’t come back.  Just treating the knee, like an MD, is treating the “branch” of the problem, and it will come back because the root cause has not been addressed.

And since we are talking about MDs and other health care providers practicing acupuncture, have you heard of physical therapists (PTs) practicing "dry needling?"  This is purely acupuncture by another fancy name, and is illegal in the state of California.  PTs do "dry needling," aka acupuncture, with less than 40 hours of training using acupuncture needles!  Yeek!  The damage done from this absolutely rudimentary training can be alarming.  To learn more about the dangers of having a PT do "dry needling" to you, please read this.

So, if you want proper acupuncture and Oriental Medicine care, who would you rather see, a licensed acupuncturist with a minimum 3,000 hours of training in the art and science of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, or an MD practicing acupuncture with only 300 hours of needling training?  And I'm sure I don't need to ask about PTs, right?

Acupuncture & Herbs Cut Childhood Emergency Asthma

Great news for parents whose children suffer from asthma: acupuncture and herbs reduce childhood emergency asthma.  An article by HealthCMi states that "Children with asthma receiving a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine and conventional medications have superior patient outcomes, less visits to emergency rooms, and fewer hospitalizations than children receiving only conventional medications."  

The article goes on to state: "Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment combined with conventional treatment provided additional benefits. There was a reduction in school absenteeism. The children’s parents had less disruption of their work schedules. There was less of a burden on families to provide caregivers. The government shouldered lower overall costs and responsibilities associated with asthmatic care. The study demonstrates that combining TCM with conventional medicine for asthmatic children 'may have a substantial impact' in reducing the severity of asthma, frequency of emergency services, hospitalizations and costs of providing care by parents."

It's nice to see news written about this, because I see evidence of it all the time while treating asthmatic patients.  Many kids were so chronically sick, they had been in and out of the ER and kept going back to their pediatrician for more and stronger drugs to combat their worsening asthma.  One child was so sick, he hadn't celebrated his birthdays with an actual party with friends for the first 8 years of his life. Once I started treating him, the turn-around of his health was remarkable.  Two months later, he was able to have his first-ever 9th birthday party.  His particular treatment consisted of just shonishin and dairy food elimination.  He as well as my other asthma patients also report a decreased reliance on their respiratory medication.  Once starting treatments with me, they need it less and less, until they don't need it altogether.  If they do have a flare up, the response is much milder, requiring much less and weaker dosages of their respiratory medications.  

Acupuncture (or in my case, shonishin, tuina, and moxa) work so well because it actually helps to change the body's response to inflammation and cultivates better self-regulation.  Better self-regulation means the body is able to properly address inflammation by reducing inflammation, while at the same time going to the root of the problem.  In children, the root is usually digestive imbalances.  In Chinese Medicine, we say the root of phlegm lies in the gut, so by improving digestive function, we eradicate phlegm production. By improving digestive function, we also improve the body's capacity to properly break down toxins and pathogens, further reducing inflammation.  

To read the HealthCMi article in its entirety, click here.

 

Only 24 Hours to a Better Life

24 hours.  One day. 

What if you only got one?  What would you do with it?  Who would you see?  How would you act?  Where would you go?

Fortunately most of us get more than one day to live out our lives.  But for too many of us there seems to be something wrong with every single day we are given.  It’s too long.  It’s too short. It’s cold.  It’s rainy. It’s boring.  It’s too busy. 

If it were your last day, do you think you would give things like the weather a second thought?  If you had just one day to live, your focus would undoubtedly shift from complaining and complacency to productivity, love, and thankfulness.

Well, the truth of the matter is that every day is of equal value.  Today is no less important than your last day.  Each day is a brand new start and we are all given the same 24 hours to make of them what we will. 

All of this may sound a little too cliché, but consider that billionaire powerhouses like Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett are given the same 24 hours every day that you are.  They are afforded no more time and no less time.  The difference comes in how they choose to utilize their hours.  And if you think they just somehow happened to arrive at their success by chance or privilege, read up on their life histories and you’ll find that this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Now your goal might not be to become a billionaire, but most people are longing for something more out of life, but are either waiting around for it to come to them, or just don’t know how to go about getting it.

The good news is that it doesn’t take a genius to create an extraordinary life; just persistent focused action on a daily basis.

Maybe you would love to write a best-seller, but are intimidated by the whole process.  If you got to work and wrote just one page a day, in a year’s time you will have completed a 365 page book!  Even if it took you 2 days per page, you would still have a substantial 180 pages.

Advancing your life simply requires that you prioritize and change your focus.  Evaluate your typical day and find those “lost moments” or “voids” in which nothing meaningful seems to take place, and then plan the night before how you are going to better utilize that time.  Listen to educational programs during your commute. Instead of surfing the web, study your field of business.  Turn the TV off in favor of some quality family time. 

You may not be destined to change the world, but by focusing 24 hours at a time it is easily within your power to change your life!

3 Ways to Prevent Headaches

  Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Headaches are no fun!  it can come on at any time of the day.  More woman suffer from headaches than men, and children suffer from them, too.  It is related to energy levels, blood sugar levels, digestive issues, stress, and hormonal fluctuations among others.

Download the headache help handout to learn how you can prevent headaches using acupressure, aromatherapy oils and stretches.

Acupuncture and herbs can also help tremendously at lessening and stopping headaches all together.  Contact me to schedule an appointment so I can help you.