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.

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.

 

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.



Pediatric Wellness first visit FAQs

To acquaint yourself with Pediatric Asian Medicine (PAM), please read my quick overview of how Asian 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 Asian 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.  Forms will be sent to you in a link once you make your appointment, and can be filled out online . Fill them out ahead of your 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 Asian Medicine, PAM 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 Asian Medicine (PAM)

Hi Moms and Dads, 

Did you know Pediatric Asian Medicine (PAM), is an excellent adjunct for conventional pediatric care?  Asian 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 Asian 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 PAM 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:

 

 

 

 

 

Bai Mu Er soup - Cooking with Herbs

Here is my video on how to make my delicious Bai Mu Er ("bigh moo er") soup, a chinese herbal soup that is very beneficial for maintaining youthful skin, strengthening the respiratory system and stopping cough, and calming the nerves.  It's a wonderful sweet soup that you can drink first thing in the morning to open up your appetite, or before you got to bed to help soothe your nerves and melt the stress away.  This video was taken at the Cooking with Herbs event at Bird Pick Tea and Herb, Culver City.  Bird Pick and I are doing a joint collaboration on educating the public on the health benefits of Chinese herbs.  We have our next Cooking with Herbs event scheduled for February 2/17.  For more information, click here .  For more information on this event series, go to Cooking with Herbs.  To sign up to be informed of this series or other Iyashi Wellness events, please go to my homepage.

Cooking instructions are provided on the soup kit I sell, but here are the instructions as per in the video provided above, which uses a crock pot.

  1. Soak Bai Mu Er in hot or cold water.  Hot water will make the mushroom expand faster, but cold water works just fine, too.  Wait until the mushroom expand.  
  2. Once expanded (color of Bai Mu Er will lighten), cut out the core of the mushroom (darker yellow core found underneath the mushroom) and discard.  Tear Bai Mu Er apart into small, bitable sizes, as the mushroom will expand during cooking.  Rinse and put aside.
  3. Rinse the remaining ingredients - longan fruit, go ji berries and Chinese jujube (or dates).
  4. Throw all 4 ingredients into a crock pot, add enough water to cover the pot and natural sweetener to your liking, set crock pot on low heat, and leave overnight (or set in the morning before you leave to work).  Voila!  Now you have a delicious porridge ready for you to eat in the morning, or an evening "snack" ready when you come home from work!  Mmmm!  And with so little effort!
  5. Store in fridge once it cools down, and it will keep for several days.
  6. My soup kit serves 6-8 servings.

Tip: During the cold winter months, add some slices of ginger to the recipe to give it that well-known spicy, warming effect of ginger.  Add grains or legumes to make it a heartier meal, too!

Drink this on a regular basis, and you will feel the long-lasting nourishing, calming, beautifying effects of the soup.   Safe for all ages to consume, including breastfeeding moms as well.

If you would like to purchase the soup kit, they are available through Bird Pick.