Meditation 101

With so many of today’s ills being caused by, or at least worsened by, stress, meditation is a key part of any wellness plan.

Why Meditate?

Stress is an enormous problem in modern society. Everything from our work life and technology exposure to family pressures and the processed foods we eat cause stress. In turn, stress causes problems nervous system regulation and inflammation. Soothing your nervous system and run-away inflammation will improve just about any health condition under the sun.

 

Hello

Hello

Chicago Acupuncturist: How to Find the Right Person for You

Chicago Acupuncturist: How to Find the Right Person for You

You’re in pain. Or maybe struggling with infertility. You could be feeling anxious. And someone mentioned that acupuncture could help you. It sounds a little strange. How could those teeny tiny needles help me feel less anxious, help me get pregnant, or cure my pain? Your friends swear it’s true, and the research shows it’s not just in their heads. So, you decide to give in a try. But where should you start?

In Chicago, we are lucky to have many acupuncturists to choose from. But all those choices sometimes makes it harder to find the right acupuncturist for you. Here are 6 things to ask yourself once you’ve decided to take the plunge:

1. Did you know that not everyone who does acupuncture is a licensed acupuncturist?

It’s true! There are a number of professions that can legally perform acupuncture (in Illinois) without becoming licensed in acupuncture or attending acupuncture school. This includes chiropractors and MDs, who only have to attend a few hours of training to start treating clients with acupuncture. Physical therapists can also perform ‘dry-needling’, which is a form of acupuncture, with minimal training. Acupuncturists (the licensed kind) earn a Masters degree, spend nearly 4 years in school, must pass national board exams, and keep up with continuing education to maintain their license. I think a licensed acupuncturist is the way to go, but whoever you decide to see, make sure they have sufficient training under their belts.

2. Would you like to find a practitioner with a particular specialty?

One of the best things about getting acupuncture, is that it has the ability balance out so many aspects of your health. That said, many acupuncturists choose to specialize in a particular area. For instance, I specialize in women’s health and fertility, pregnancy, and anxiety. This makes me especially comfortable treating in these areas, and I have learned much of the Western medical treatment and lingo that these patients are getting and hearing.

3. What kind of needle technique are you comfortable with?

Hold on now. I’ve gone ahead and decided to jump on the needle wagon, and now you’re telling me I need to think about how I’m going to get needled?

Well, yes, but I’ll keep it simple. Most acupuncture techniques fall into two broad categories: Japanese-style or Chinese-style. I could go on and on about this, but what you need to know is that Japanese-style tends to be much gentler while Chinese-style tends to be much stronger stimulation. At Four Flowers Wellness, I primarily practice the Japanese-style. I love how gentle it is for my clients, and in my experience, the results are phenomenal!

4. Would you benefit from other Eastern Medicine techniques, such as herbal medicine, guasha, or moxibustion?

Despite calling myself an acupuncturist, it would actually be more accurate to say I’m an Eastern Medicine practitioner. Eastern Medicine is so much more than acupuncture and includes a highly sophisticated herbal medicine tradition, manual therapy, techniques to benefit the muscles and fascia such as guasha and cupping, and moxibustion (aka moxa). You may or may not know that one of these therapies could add another layer to your healing. You don’t need to know-that’s my job! I’ve got a full toolbox and I know how (and when) to use it.

5. How much experience does your acupuncturist have?

It’s always good to know you’re in experienced hands. I’ve been in acupuncture practice since 2010 and started my shiatsu practice in 2008. During school, I also had 3 years of experience working in the student clinic and a year doing an amazing internship at the Chicago Women’s Health Center. Woah! I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for over 10 years already!

6. Can you start with a free consultation?

I really believe that no matter how good things look on paper, for a healing relationship to really work, you need to have trust and a good rapport. This is why I always encourage people to come in for a free consultation before getting started.

Would you like to connect with me to see if I can help you with my unique and effective approach to holistic health care?

Request a free consultation and we’ll meet to discuss your case. We’ll sit down, review your health history and goals, and see if you are a good fit for our services. You will have an opportunity to ask any questions about our approach and if you feel confident that I can help, you’ll have an opportunity to learn how to move forward and work with me.

How Megan Kept Her Blood Pressure in Check and Had Her Successful Homebirth

How Megan Kept Her Blood Pressure in Check and Had Her Successful Homebirth

Megan and I first began working together when I was still in acupuncture school and working as an intern in the student clinic. Over the years, we had the chance to work together on a number of issues- digestion, support while trying to conceive, and coughs and colds. Then when Megan was nearing the end of her first pregnancy, her blood pressure began to creep up, and we worked together to keep those numbers in check, and allow Megan the home birth she was planning.

Pregnant WomanAt first, her blood pressure was only slightly elevated, but as she entered her 8th month of pregnancy, it became clear that those rising blood pressure numbers were becoming an upward trend. She and her midwife began to have conversations about the necessity of keeping those numbers in check, otherwise her plan for a home birth without intervention might need to move to the hospital, something she didn’t want.

Megan was doing all the right things- eating well, managing her stress, getting plenty of rest, and staying in close communication with her midwife. But when all of these were failing to stem the upward curve in blood pressure, she came to see me. We started weekly acupuncture sessions focused on supporting her body’s circulatory system and calming the nervous system in order to allow her blood pressure to normalize. We also started a very gentle herbal formula to allow her body to excrete the excess fluids that were taxing her circulation and causing some mild swelling.

For the next few weeks, Megan’s blood pressure returned to normal and held steady. Then 3 weeks before her due date, her blood pressure began to creep upwards once again, and this time tests showed protein in her urine. We continued with weekly acupuncture sessions, and switched her herbal formula to a stronger blend to better manage her symptoms. The following week, her blood pressure stabilized and the protein in her urine began to decrease-an improvement her midwife had never seen before!

3 weeks later, and just before his due date, Megan’s beautiful baby boy was born at home.

One of the most beautiful aspects of Eastern medicine is how well it supports the body in finding it’s natural rhythm. In holistic forms of medicine, there is always inherent belief in the body’s ability to heal and rebalance itself and a recognition that better balance always leads to better health. In Megan’s case, with just a bit of support from acupuncture and herbal medicine, her body was better able to carry her pregnancy without strain, allowing her blood pressure to stabilize.

Congratulation to Megan and her beautiful family!

 

 

Would you like to connect with me to see if I can help you with my unique and effective approach to holistic health care?

Request a free consultation and we’ll meet to discuss your case. We’ll sit down, review your health history and goals, and see if you are a good fit for our services. You will have an opportunity to ask any questions about our approach and if you feel confident that I can help, you’ll have an opportunity to learn how to move forward and work with me.

Basil & Chrysanthemum Tea for Headache and Stress

Basil & Chrysanthemum Tea for Headache and Stress

When stress rises and brings on a headache, these three soothing herbs work together to calm the nervous system and relieve pain and tension in the head.

Common kitchen basil is not only delicious in pasta and salad, but also makes a wonderful ingredient in herbal teas. It has a calming effect on the nervous and digestive systems. It is used to ease irritability, anxiety, and depression.

Chrysanthemum, or Ju Hua, is a common ingredient in Chinese herbal medicine. It is often used for stress, a pattern we call Liver Qi Stagnation, and to treat headaches, allergies, and eye irritation, especially those that worsen under stress.

Melissa, or lemon balm, is an herb that grows voraciously in the midwest. It has a lemony perfume scent that makes it a prized tea and essential oil. Like basil, melissa is a wonderful herb for calming an overactive nervous system and helping to cope with stress.

Lemon Balm

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried chrysanthemum flowers (also called Ju Hua)
  • 2 teaspoons dried melissa (also known as lemon balm)

Directions

  • Combine all three herbs in a quart-sized mason jar or pitcher.
  • Fill the jar with boiling water (4 cups or 1 quart).
  • Let the herbs steep for 30 minutes before straining.
  • Drink 1 cup of the herbal infusion at a time. Drink at room temperature or gently warm as preferred.

 

Basil for Tea

Would you like to connect with me to see if I can help you with my unique and effective approach to holistic health care?

Request a free consultation and we’ll meet to discuss your case. We’ll sit down, review your health history and goals, and see if you are a good fit for our services. You will have an opportunity to ask any questions about our approach and if you feel confident that I can help, you’ll have an opportunity to learn how to move forward and work with me.

Homemade Chai Tea Recipe

Homemade Chai Tea Recipe

I had my first taste of real, homemade chai while working at an Indian restaurant years and years ago. It was such a revelation after only having the boxed, overly sweetened, steamed milk concoction served by the big coffeehouse chains. This chai was totally different- just the right amount of spice, a quality that warmed the whole body, milky without being heavy. After that experience, I started making my own chai at home. It’s the perfect wintertime tea.

cinnamon sticks

It wasn’t until years later when I started learning herbal medicine that I realized what a powerful medicine chai is. Most of the spices used to make chai have medicinal properties. Fennel seed is used to promote digestion. Cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, and cardamom are warming herbs that are perfect for people who tend to feel chilly. Fresh ginger is used for warming the lungs and digestion, breaking up phlegmy conditions, and treating colds and flus.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp cardamom seeds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 10 slices fresh ginger
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tbsp (or 1 teabag) of black tea leaves or tulsi tea
  • Milk or milk alternative (optional), to taste
  • Honey (optional), to taste

Directions

  • Simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and add the tea leaves or teabag
  • Strain out the spices and tea leaves
  • Add milk or milk alternative and honey to taste

ginger

Would you like to connect with me to see if I can help you with my unique and effective approach to holistic health care?

Request a free consultation and we’ll meet to discuss your case. We’ll sit down, review your health history and goals, and see if you are a good fit for our services. You will have an opportunity to ask any questions about our approach and if you feel confident that I can help, you’ll have an opportunity to learn how to move forward and work with me.