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.

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!

 

 


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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: