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

An Acupuncturist's Re-Awakening - Japanese Acupuncture and Shonishin

I had the wonderful opportunity to visit my relatives in Japan last summer, and during my visit, I was very lucky to study Japanese acupuncture from a master acupuncturist as well as pediatric acupuncture from an acupuncture organization.

I observed the amazing acupuncture and moxibustion skills and bed-side manners of Edward Obaidey, a British acupuncturist who's charm and humor belies the deep understanding, knowledge, and skills he has of this ancient medicine.  He studied and graduated from a Oriental Medicine college in Tokyo and has been successfully, and busily, treating patients for well over 20 years in Tokyo.  I can only begin to imagine the dedication and commitment he's had to this medicine, having to learn this medicine not in his native language, but in Japanese, and not only that, in ancient Japanese, as classic Oriental Medical texts were all written in old Japanese (it's like trying to study medicine reading Shakesperean English!).  He is a master and teacher in his own right, but he is also the dedicated apprentice and translator of one of the grandmasters of Japanese Acupuncture, Ikeda Masakazu sensei.  

 Eddie sensei jokingly scolding me about something

Eddie sensei jokingly scolding me about something

Eddie Sensei's office happen to coincidentally be just a few stations away from my relative's house, so I observed him and was able to participate in some of the intakes while I visited him for 3 days.   The first thing I noticed as I climbed the 2 flights of stairs to his office was the strong smell of burning herb smoke.  Though Americans confuse this smell to marijuana smoke smell, it's actually the smell of moxa, or the burning of dried herbs called Mugwort/Aiye.  Moxa, or moxibustion as it's also known, is an ancient Oriental Medicine treatment protocol and has the ability to warm the channels, strengthen the blood and improve the flow of qi in the body.  It also helps to stop bleeding, banish cold from the body,  and is an excellent treatment in itself or with herbs and acupuncture to treat colds/flu, digestive disorders, back pain,  muscle tension,  headaches, anxiety, inflammation, carpal tunnel syndrome, female health problems, and much, much more.

Eddie Sensei extensively uses moxa in his office - pretty much on every patient.  It is here where I really saw and experienced the power of moxa.  I had the opportunity to be treated by him, and wow, what a paradigm shifting experience!  A true master indeed.  With the combination of his amazing acupuncture skills and the use of moxa by his assistants, I felt literally years of blockages melt away!  Though I had learned about moxa in my Chinese Medicine training, what was taught at school was very minimal, and nothing to the extent of how Eddie sensei uses it.   Thanks to Eddie sensei, I have now become a true believer in the power of moxa, and I now teach all my patients to use this at home (I unfortunately can't use moxa in my office as the building does not allow the use of moxa).  I use moxa on a very regular basis on myself at home, too, and I notice how my stamina and immune system has gone up and keeps me in check while the rest of the world is catching colds left and right.

I had also dabbled in some Japanese acupuncture knowledge while I was still an acupuncture student, but observing Eddie sensei resolved me to dedicate my time now to learning the art of acupuncture Japanese style.   Let me give you a quick summary of acupuncture.  There are three main types of acupuncture practiced in the United States: Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, and probably in that order in terms of familiarity and usage.  Acupuncture started in China, but as Chinese philosophy and culture spread to East Asia, Koreans and Japanese appropriated the medicine to their cultural beliefs and style.  Though simplistic in explanation, it is generally acknowledged that Chinese and Korean acupuncture tends to use a more aggressive style of needling, often requiring the use of manipulating the sensation of qi in the body after the insertion of needles, using thicker needles and more number of needles.  Japanese acupuncture, on the other hand, uses much thinner needles, very little to no insertion of needles into the skin, and much less number of needles used.  Japanese acupuncture also uses an extensive amount of palpation (using ones hands to examine the body for the use of disease diagnosis and treatment), which allows the practitioner to get immense amount of data about the patient's health and musculo-neuro-skeletal condition.  Though my acupuncture style was becoming more and more gentle as time had progressed, I am now embarking on a whole new style of acupuncture, which often doesn't even require the insertion of needle into the skin but just the touch of the needle to the skin, as well as using even thinner needles and other manipulation of the needle and palpatory skills.  I do a lot more palpation, asking, feeling, and staying with the body (while you rest or even fall asleep!) even after the needles are in to make sure I am seeing changes happening in the body the way it's suppose to via the pulse and skin tone.

 Shonishin tools.  photo image: lhasaoms.com

Shonishin tools.  photo image: lhasaoms.com

Along with meeting Eddie Sensei, I was also extremely lucky, that on my very last day in Tokyo, I was able to attend a pediatric workshop organized by a group of Japanese acupuncturists.  This group's mission is to spread the knowledge of Oriental Medicine in Japan, and in order to do so, they modernized the ancient pediatric acupuncture technique called shonishin (literally means pediatric needle: shoni=pediatric, shin=needle).  Shonishin is practiced by acupuncturists who specialize in pediatric care, and in order to treat children, the Japanese in 17th century came up with specialized tools that scrape, rub, tap, and treat the body using blunt tools.  

The organization I took the workshop from wants to make shonishin and its health benefits accessible to all, so they took the concepts of shonishin and some of its tools and modernized it, using tools easily found in all homes: teaspoon, hairdryer, and toothbrush.  They call their shonishin style "SkinTouch", emphasizing  the importance of skin to skin contact and touching of the child's skin by the parent for developmental purposes.  The workshop was very fun and easy to learn, and I now use this as a basis in all of my pediatric patients, teaching parents basic shonishin massage so that they can do it at home on a daily basis.  The effects of shonishin massage is remarkably effective.  Just with shonishin, glycerin-based herbal medicine and a change in the child's diet, and symptoms the baby or child was coming in for resolves rather quickly or is significantly reduced.  Not only that, the child actually starts to get healthy, and their constitution actually improves with continuous shonishin treatments.  I have had great success in particular with children/babies suffering from asthma, rhinitis, digestive ailments, hyperactivity/hypersensitivity just using these protocols.  I am excited I have yet another needle-free tool in my repertoire to treat children!

 

 One of the two acupuncturists teaching us about SkinTouch

One of the two acupuncturists teaching us about SkinTouch

 A parent trying the hairdryer technique (In lieu of moxa) while the acupuncturist teacher engages the baby

A parent trying the hairdryer technique (In lieu of moxa) while the acupuncturist teacher engages the baby

 Practicing SkinTouch

Practicing SkinTouch

I am so grateful I continue to have the opportunities to meet wonderful masters now that I've become a healthcare practitioner, allowing me to deepen my knowledge, my skills, and effectiveness in treating patients who walk in the door.  I don't know if it's because I am part Japanese, but it seems I get drawn to the gentle style of Oriental Medicine via Japanese practitioners, starting with Dr. Mikio Sankey, and now Eddie Sensei, and most recently, just two weekends ago, with Ikeda Masakazu Sensei at his seminar in San Francisco.  Wow, wow, wow.  I feel so energized once again because through this seminar, I feel I can provide even more for my patients and be even more effective with my treatments.  And I am already seeing it two weeks since the seminar with the results I am seeing with my patients.  I am humbled and grateful I can continue to improve myself to be of service to my patients.

 Ikeda Sensei (L) teaching, and Eddie Sensei (R) translating

Ikeda Sensei (L) teaching, and Eddie Sensei (R) translating

 Ikeda Sensei treating a pediatric patient.  We happen to get two pediatric patients during our seminar.  What a treat!   

Ikeda Sensei treating a pediatric patient.  We happen to get two pediatric patients during our seminar.  What a treat!

 




Success! Milestones parent-ed talk/fundraising event

My pediatric holistic health and wellness talk was a huge success at Milestones Preschool!  I was able to raise $$$ for the school as well as raise awareness of the power and effectiveness of Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM) for pediatric health care needs.  

Parents loved the hands-on portion of my Iyashi Touch protocol (a type of pediatric TEAM massage I teach my families), and I could see their children were curious and eager to have some of these tried on them that night.  I had feedback from one parent the next day that her daughter made sure that she had her special toothbrush just for her :-)

Parents also asked a lot of great questions regarding my holistic nutrition talk.  I loved being able to see how engaged they got with the information, how their minds were turning, reassessing where they were in their dietary approach to their children.  It really thrills me when I see that lightbulb go off in people, and that's why I love teaching, both to the public as well as to my students at Yo San University.  Imagine, families starting to eat healthier and implementing massages on their kiddos, changing the future of our children's health, just from empowering educational talks.  I love that I can make a difference in this world, one child, one family at a time.  

I'm also excited to share that the director has asked me to come back to do more talks on pediatric healthcare and nutrition, so be on the look out for future classes!

Thank you everyone for who attended!

 A picture of me teaching part of my Iyashi Touch last year.  I taught this on 1/29/14 at Milestones.

A picture of me teaching part of my Iyashi Touch last year.  I taught this on 1/29/14 at Milestones.

Healthy Holiday Eating & Drinking

To stay on track with healthy eating, it is absolutely critical during this festive time of year to look for locally grown foods by shopping at your farmer's market or joining a local community supported agriculture (CSA) program for the bulk of your grocery items. When shopping at the grocery store (even Whole Foods), resist the temptation to fill your shopping cart with sweets, dairy, and chips. Filling up on “junk” foods will exhaust your digestive fire, create dampness, weaken your immune system, and make you more susceptible to seasonal illnesses.  It is especially during the winter season, as we all know, that the cold and flu runs rampant at the work place, in schools and at home.  And it behooves you to stay vigilant in what you eat so that you and your family can avoid getting sick.  (To read about home care for when you do get the cold/flu, read my blog here on that topic.)

So, I don't mean to be a party pooper, but  Christmas festivities and New Year's Eve celebrations are no ticket to trash your body (or to not make healthy snacks and meals for your children's growing bodies). While it's okay to indulge in “unhealthy” holiday treats in moderation, there's no reason why you can't make something that is both healthy and a real treat to counter those unhealthy treats!  If you're the host, you can create a healthy feast using plenty of winter root vegetable and body-warming lamb for example.  If you're the guest, don't arrive hungry to the party so that you don't run wild at the snack, cheese and sweets tray.  And if you're planning to partake in alcohol, ALWAYS drink in moderation and determine a designated driver before the drinking ensues.  But life is all about moderation, so do enjoy the festivities!  Let me share a family recipe for a tasty Colombian alcoholic beverage that will warm you up from the inside!

Canelazo.jpg

Canelazo 

(Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Recipes Included)

Canelazo is a drink that will warm you up on a cold night and is a popular winter drink in Colombia, where I’m from. It's made from aguapanela (found in Latino markets, but brown sugar may be substituted here), cinnamon, lime juice, and the fiery concoction known as aguardiente (or "fire water"). Aguardiente is an anise-flavored liquor, which can also be found in Latino markets, but rum can be substituted here. This is a delicious drink to serve to friends on a cold winter's night.  A children’s version can be found following the adult version.

 Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups aguapanela (or 1 cup brown sugar mixed with water)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 4-6 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup (or more to taste) aguardiente or rum

Sugar for serving

Preparation:

  1. Bring the aguapanela, lime juice, cinnamon sticks to a boil. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat. Add the aguardiente or rum (to taste). 

  3. Reheat, without boiling. (If it boils, the alcohol will boil away).
  4. Place sugar in a shallow dish.  Moisten the rim of the tea cup and dip into sugar.
  5. Serve hot into tea cup.

 Serves 4

 From a Chinese Medicine perspective, this drink is a Qi tonic, strengthening the digestion (aguapanela/brown sugar, cinnamon, anise), warming (alcohol, cinnamon, aguapanela/brown sugar and clove), stops pain (cinnamon, clove), and lubricates the lungs and stops cough (brown sugar).  So as long as it’s drank in moderation and taken after a healthy meal, an alcoholic drink like this can be warming and tonifying to the body on a cold winter night.  Enjoy!

Child-friendly Canelazo

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups aguapanela (or 1 cup brown sugar mixed with water)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 4-6 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon grass-fed beef gelatin powder

 Preparation :

  1. Bring the aguapanela, lime juice, beef gelatin powder, cinnamon sticks and clove to a boil. Mix gelatin powder well until it melts.  Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. 

  2. Remove from the heat.
  3. Serve warm into mug or sippy cup.

The gelatin may lump up after a while once the canelazo cools down. Warm the drink until it melts again and re-serve.

 

The Yin and Yang of Seasonal Eating

This is Part 2 of an 8-Part Series in Healthy, Happy Eating for the Whole Family.  Part 1 is SAD DIET: ARE YOU OR YOUR CHILDREN EATING ONE?  Part 3 is HOW TO INCREASE YOUR CHILD'S IQ AND ATTENTION SPAN WITH NUTRITION.   Part 4 is HOW TO GO GLUTEN FREE AND DAIRY FREE AND HAVE YOUR PIZZA AND ICE CREAM TOO!  Part 5 is 4 TIPS ON HOW TO GET A "PICKY EATER" TO EAT  Part 6 is THE CALCIUM MYTH: IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK   Part 7 is WHY RAW FOODS FOR CHILDREN IS NOT THE BEST IDEA  Part 8: WHY ORIENTAL MEDICINE ROCKS FOR CHILDREN!

 

Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine differ greatly in reference to the word “energy” and “energetics” in regards to the nutritional qualities of food. While in Western nutrition and dietetics the word “energy” is typically used to refer to the caloric content of a food, in Chinese nutrition energy is used to refer to the yin and yang qualities of a food.   It's important to understand that discrepancy in terminology when reading this blog post, in order to avoid any confusion. In Chinese Medicine, different foods are assigned different energetic values regardless of caloric or macronutrient (fat, protein, carbohydrate) content.  Cooking in Chinese culture has literally thousands of years of history, and it is through this culinary trial and error for over a milennia that the Chinese came up with specific energetic values of foods and their creation of Food as Medicine.

It's important to understand the energetic values of the foods you eat so that you can make better decisions about how to help your body heal and stay well. When you learn to “unlearn” what you may have been taught in school or through fashion and health magazines about a “healthy” diet   -- and listen to your intuition and your body's unique signals – the yin and yang of what you're eating will actually make a lot of sense without having to refer to a reference manual or chart!

Here's a simple exercise to help you start thinking in the right sense about Chinese Medicine energetics:

First, think of the different kinds of whole foods that seem most enticing during the hot summer months. How about watermelon, gazpacho and other cold soups, pineapple, cucumber salad, white fishes, clam chowder, cow's milk dairy products, smoothies made with frozen bananas and strawberries, tofu, lemonade, green tea, coconut water and young coconut? Each of these foods, whether heated or not, are regarded as “cold” foods in Chinese Medicine. They actually help bring your body temperature down, and if you were to eat these types of foods year-round, as many vegans and vegetarians do, you may actually begin to experience symptoms of “yin excess” which could include a slowed metabolism, cold hands and feet, tiredness, and weight gain.  (This is not a complete list and having any one of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have a yin excess. )

Next, think of the different whole foods you tend to crave during the cold Winter months. How about chicken soup, roasted lamb or beef slow-cooked in the crockpot, wild salmon and other fatty fishes served with cream or butter, hearty stews made with root vegetables, rich and fatty desserts, baked cobblers, scrambled eggs and bacon, and heavier foods in general? These are “warming” foods according to Chinese Medicine, and if you base your diet on these types of foods during the summertime you may become overly yang. Signs and symptoms of excess yang include sweaty or oily skin, foul body odor, red rashes or boils, hyperactivity, insomnia, and hypertension. (This is not a complete list and having any one of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have a yang excess. )

As a rule of thumb, fruits are usually “cold” foods and animal-derived foods are usually “warm” foods. Some exceptions include durian fruit, lychee berry, and mature coconut, which are warm fruits. If you eat a large quantity of any of these fruits, you may even begin to sweat. Red meats tend to be warmer than white meats, and red or blue-fleshed fishes tend to be warmer than white fishes. There is a tendency for foods with more fat in them (such as durian, mature coconut, lamb, beef, eggs, full-fat dairy) to be warmer than foods with a miniscule fat content (watermelon, apples, chicken breast, coconut water, unseasoned vegetables, tofu). Rice is considered to be a neutral food that imparts neither warming nor cooling effects on the body. It can therefore be consumed at any time of year.

It also just so happens that the foods that are ready for harvest at a particular time of year are the foods that contain the yin and yang qualities that our bodies most need for the climate in which we live. Winter officially begins on the shortest day of the year (the Winter Solstice), which is December 21, and during this time we should not expect to see fresh strawberries, bananas, watermelons, and dandelion greens in the grocery store! (We will inevitably see these cold, summertime foods in grocery stores, but they've been shipped from afar and are probably devoid of important vitamin and mineral content.  Here in Southern California, where I live, you will also see many summer time fruits and vegetables because of our temperate climate, but please remember that we are still entering the winter season and it's best to eat foods that normally grow during the winter season.)   Instead, we should reach for turnips and turnip greens, kale, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, celery root, clementines, kumquats, grapefruit, mandarins, horseradish, leeks, rutabagas, Jerusalem artichokes, and of course plenty of grass-fed, hormone-free and antibiotic-free meats and fatty fishes. While not all of these foods are warming or yang-promoting per se (such as the vegetables, citrus fruits, and sweet potatoes), they are more neutral than summertime foods and provide a good balance when combined with plenty of meats, eggs, and healthy saturated fats. (And no, that's not a typo. I meant saturated fats, which is a topic for another time!)

 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and A Happy 2014!

 

 


free-happy-holidays-2012-px-high-def-2012.jpg

 

 

Pediatric Wellness first visit FAQs

To acquaint yourself with Pediatric Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (PAOM), please read my quick overview of how Oriental Medicine can help your child.

Here are the most Frequently Asked Questions to prepare your child for his/her first visit to Iyashi Wellness.

What can I and my child expect for a pediatric visit at Iyashi Wellness?  Fun times and learning new ways to take care of your bodies!  Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine help to heal the body, so everything I will do to your child and prescribe and teach the parents will be to help facilitate or jump start your child's innate healing ability.  

Will my child be nervous about coming to see an acupuncturist?  Most children (and adults) are weary of coming to a healthcare practitioner's office because of their experiences getting poked, prodded, palpated, drilled (at the dentist!) and the dreaded ouchy vaccine shots.  For children with chronic conditions, they may also experience not getting better as soon as they and their parents would like visiting conventional doctor's offices, so they may already be apprehensive.  So if this is your case, please be aware of your own apprehension as well as your child's apprehension.

So what can I as a parent do to ease my child's possible apprehension for their first visit?  Be relaxed yourself.  Your child will read your energy and respond to that.  Please know that your child will not be administered acupuncture in their first visit in most cases.  If the child is old enough to be aware (as opposed to babies who still have no fear), I will gain your child's trust first, and only if I feel they are ready and will benefit from acupuncture, will I give them an acupuncture treatment.  To acquaint them to acupuncture, I will casually show them what acupuncture needles are like and even demonstrate on myself or you of the virtually painless experience of acupuncture.  This will start getting your child used to the visual and idea of acupuncture and that it is something very special done only at my office.  Please do not mention the words "needles," "poke," "pokey," or "pins" to your child for our visit, or ask them if they are afraid.  Instead, if you want to bring up the notion of acupuncture, tell them they'll get to learn about "taps."  I call acupuncture needles "taps" with children toddlers and older so that I can get rid of the fear factor and also because I literally "tap" the needles into a child.  If you want to bypass this part of the conversation all together, you can inform your child that s/he will be asked questions about their health, have their pulses felt on their wrists, and they can even stick their tongues out at me!  How fun is that?!  I will also show them different tools that they can use together with me that will make them feel better and teach them about eating well so that they'll get better soon.  

Should I bring toys and goodies, like to an airplane ride, for our visit?  Yes!  I will spend a considerable time going over your child's forms and current complaint that brought you two in for the initial visit.  Although I will have some toys to keep your child entertained, please bring something special for your child to keep him/her busy during this portion of the appointment.  This is especially the case for children under age 6.

For children who have been dealing with a chronic condition and are extra apprehensive to visit a doctor's office, please bring their lovey, stuffed animal or blanket to give them comfort.  You can even encourage them to play dress up and come in their favorite pretend-play outfit to help them feel more confident - and fun - about visiting my office. 

Do I need to fill out forms? Yes.  Please go to the New Patient page and download my Pediatric forms.  Fill them out and bring to our first visit.  Please give yourself some quiet time to fill out the forms, as it will take about 20 minutes to fill out the forms.

If you're not doing acupuncture on my child, what will my child get as a treatment?  As I wrote in Overview of Pediatric Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine, PAOM is ancient, so several non-invasive methods were developed over time to facilitate healing in a child.  In my goody bag of treatment options, we have multiple non-invasive methods available:

  • Shonishin
  • Therapeutic massage: I will teach you specific pediatric massages that you can do at home to incorporate as part of your child's wellness routine.  As you incorporate this in your daily routine, you will be surprised how your child will begin asking for the massages, and overall start to get more calm and healthier.  Because kids know it's good for them.  Really.
  • Acupressure:  I will teach you and your child specific acupressure points to press at home to help with the healing process.
  • Pellets:   a therapeutic application of small pellets to provide continuous acupressure to points, often in addition to acupuncture, or in lieu of it.  It is similar to self-massaging an acupuncture point, but it will be a more targeted approach as the pellet will have a stronger stimulatory effect.
  • Guasha: this therapeutic treatment involves repeated pressure strokes over lubricated skin with a smooth edge, like a ceramic Chinese soup spoon or honed animal bones or well-worn coin to promote blood and energy circulation.  This practice of stroking and scraping is seen in other traditional cultures of the world as well.   
  • Cupping: also used in other traditional cultures, a therapeutic approach that utilizes round suction cups over a large muscular area such as the back to enhance blood circulation to the designated area.  
  • Dietary prescriptions:  I will provide you with Food as Medicine recipes and dietary suggestions to help with your child's condition.  In most cases, changing a child's diet has a huge impact in the well being of your child.  
  • Herbal prescriptions: known as tinctures, I have natural herbal prescriptions in liquid form just for pediatric use.  Once they get used to the different flavor of herbs, kids will ask to take it because they know they get better when they take it.  Completely, safe, these tinctures are American-made by companies with stringent safety and quality controls and can be taken concurrent with pharmaceutical prescription drugs.
  • Micro-current stimulation: this is a hand held device that emits micro current to an acupuncture point.  The micro current stimulates the point and facilitates healing. It is similar to acupressure or the use of pellets/magnet, but this is one step stronger in the stimulatory effect because of the use of a micro current.
  • and lastly, acupuncture:  as I wrote above, acupuncture needles will be one of my last resorts with pediatric patients toddlers and older.  Babies have no concept of fear and that needles may hurt so when and if I use needles on babies, it is a very smooth experience.   Also, the needles I use for pediatric patients are even thinner than the needles used for adults (which are already extra thin to begin with).  Unlike with adults where the needles are left in the patient for 20-30 minutes while they rest in the treatment room, with pediatric patients, I will do a quick in and out with the needle for younger children/babies.  For older children, I can leave them for 5-10 minutes depending on the child's comfort and stillness level.  Acupuncture is very beneficial because it uses the body's own healing response mechanism, unlike micro current or pellets/magnets, which requires an outside source to trigger the healing response.  Because it penetrates the skin, it has the strongest stimulatory effect and healing will be faster than the above methods listed.  

How long are pediatric wellness visit?  The first visit will last approximately an hour.   Follow up visits will be approximately 15-30 minutes long.

What happens after a treatment?  Depending on the complexity of your child's case and his/her sensitivity, you may see your child more energized after the treatment, sleep very well through the night, have a more stable emotional equilibrium, reduction of inflammatory conditions, more regular bowel movements, improvement in appetite -- or experience a healing crisis where your child may experience, say the eczema they're battling with, flare up and then significantly subside, or their cold symptom get worse, but see significant improvements the following day.  This is called a healing crisis.

How often should we come and see you?  Please consider coming for a minimum of 3 months initially for chronic conditions.  At that point, we will reevaluate the progress of your child's condition and referrals may be provided if other adjunct care will improve your child's condition.  For acute conditions, your child may only need one or couple visits.  For wellness visits, I recommend parents bring their children in the beginning of cold/flu season, when they start school after holiday breaks, and if they are going through environmental changes or emotional upheavals at home.  Holistic pediatric care will help your child transition through the seasonal, environmental, and emotional changes that occur in a child's life.

 

 

 

Overview of Pediatric Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (PAOM)

Hi Moms and Dads, 

Did you know Pediatric Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (PAOM), is an excellent adjunct for conventional pediatric care?  Oriental Medicine is a complete medical system - which also includes pediatrics - in continuous practice for over 2000 years.  Compared to conventional pediatric medicine, which is only about 150 years old in the way it is practiced today, Chinese Medicine was already talking about unique characteristics of children physiology as early as 400 BC.  There were already significant numbers of pediatric texts by the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) in China.

The practice of pediatrics continues very actively today, with hospitals in China that specialize in Chinese medicine pediatric care, hospitals that combine both conventional and traditional medicine, and private Chinese medicine doctors practicing Chinese pediatric medicine.   In Japan (as in my clinic), there are specialized pediatric acupuncturists that practice only shonishin, a non-needling acupuncture system, in clinics and in their private home offices.

There is a growing number of pioneering acupuncturists here in the States that are getting into pediatrics, including myself, because we know it is a much needed area that can address many aspects of pediatric care that cannot be addressed in conventional medicine.  It is our focus to promote the principles of wellness, health and resolution of illness.  Our strength is in viewing the body as a whole, disease prevention, recovery of health after an illness, and addressing conditions that are chronic and/or subclinical.  This means conditions like colds and flu, eczema, asthma, "picky eating," slow development, tantrums and emotional instability, food sensitivities, lack of concentration, and so forth.  Where western medicine would prescribe antibiotics, psychiatric drugs or steroidal creams – or worse yet, say “nothing can be done”, we Physicians of Oriental Medicine prescribe Food as Medicine and dietary modifications, exercises, herbal prescriptions, heat therapy, pediatric massage and acupressure/acupuncture for illness resolution and disease prevention. 

Want to try PAOM for your child?  Contact me!  Let's see how I can help you. 

 

For those who are ready to bring your child in for a holistic pediatric wellness visit at Iyashi Wellness, I have some Pediatric Frequently Asked Questions that will help to facilitate a smooth and stress-free first visit for you and your child.  

 

More on Pediatric Wellness Care: 

My 8-Part series on Healthy, Happy Eating that the Whole Family Can Enjoy starts here: