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Archive for the ‘Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine’ Category

lemon detoxEast Asian medicine says one should eat according to their constitution and nature of foods. Our top 10 foods for detoxification are balanced between those that warm and cool. When eaten together they will benefit most body types. I love adding these to a cleansing diet simply based on their wonderful flavors. Not surprisingly, scientific evidence is mounting to support their benefit as well.

In East Asian medicine there is a strong tradition of eating a wide variety of colorful foods that are right for one’s own constitution. Everyone’s body is different and this should be taken into account when choosing the types of foods that are right for you. For instance if you are a cool type  you might prefer warm drinks, need lots of sleep, and put on weight easily. Your body will respond well to warming and damp transforming foods to stimulate your body to function better. Note- In the winter season foods are best taken lightly cooked to avoid injury to the digestion for all constitutions.  Confused about which foods are right for your constitution? Ask your acupuncturist!

Foods for detox-What’s cool

1.) Beets Long known to support the liver in purifying blood, beets are a powerhouse for detoxification. A great source of folate and betaine, beets lower overall inflammation in the body. They are also great for regulating menstruation and menopause. Beets are cool and sweet in nature and nourish the blood.

2.) Artichokes These yummy guys are high in fiber and contain cynarin and silymarin which promote liver and gall bladder function. They are also high in the antioxidant vitamin c and folic acid. Folic acid is especially important in women who are trying to conceive as it reduces neural tube defects in babies. They nourish the yin and cool to offset warming herbs and hot constitutions.

3.) Carrots A simple shredded carrot salad with olive oil and a touch of salt is a mini liver detox when eaten daily. Carrots are high in fiber which binds toxins to help them be eliminated. Their nature is cooling. They clear heat, detoxify, strengthen all

organs, nourish the eyes, and moisten the intestines.

4.) Blueberries  A power packed fruit with a low glycemic index that won’t spike your blood sugar. These little guys give you a dose of anthocyanins which are antioxidants to help your body eliminate toxins. They are a great source of vitamins C and E as well as manganese and fiber.  Blueberries are cool in nature and nourish the yin energy. As always be careful in eating too many raw fruits and veggies as they can be damaging to the digestion.

5.) Broccoli Cools and clears heat, aids resolving water retention. From a Western perspective it is high in Calcium and also vitamin C which aids in Calcium absorption. It is high in vitamins A, K, E and folate. It is a good source of trace minerals like manganese, phosphorus, B 6. Broccolli can aid the liver in Phase I and II liver detoxification. It is high in di-indolylmethane (DIM) which stimulates your body to metabolize estradiol more efficiently.

6.) Seaweed This cold in nature sea vegetable is a powerhouse. Seaweed is useful in promoting thyroid function and is loaded with nutrients. It’s high mineral content and plenty of chlorophyll make it a super detoxifier which supports the liver. Because of its cold nature it is great paired with something warming like ginger or garlic. This will balance its effects.

7.)Lemon Cooling and nourishing to the digestion. Adding lemon juice with a little salt and olive oil can brighten up many simple dished like cooked greens or steamed beets. Beneficial bioflavonoids, citric acid and a bright delicious flavor explain why lemons top our list. Lemon has also antibacterial effects and aids in production of bile for fat digestion. High in antioxidants like vitamin C, it is effective in treating inflammatory conditions.

The hot list-warm and hot foods for detox

You’ll notice this list is a little shorter. In our Western culture most of us have an excess of heat. Most cleaning diets aid in clearing heat. These warming foods are used as a balance to the cooling foods. These foods will heat up any cleansing diet!

7.)Garlic (hot) and Onion (Warm) Garlic and onions have similar health and anti-inflammatory properties. They act on the heart and liver assisting phase two liver detoxification. Their active ingredients are gluthathione, quercetin and allicin. They are also high in vitamin C. They are anti-viral and anti-fungal. The heating nature of garlic and can offset some of the cooling properties of other foods used in detoxification like dark greens and seaweed. Don’t overdo it especially is you are a person with a hot constitution (red face, likes cold weather and cold drinks, possible night sweats.)

9.) Fresh Ginger Fresh ginger is hot in nature.  In Chinese medicine it is thought to aid the immune system, warm and regulate the digestion and reduce the toxicity of other herbs. Fresh ginger aids in your detox by stimulating digestion, circulation and sweating. A natural anti-inflammatory, studies have shown ginger to be more effective than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

10.) Parsley This bright herb is slightly warming. It promotes digestion, regulates and moves the body’s Qi or vital energy. It’s high in vitamin C, vitamin K, beta-carotene and folate.  It balances blood sugar and boosts glutathione which is a powerful antioxidant. a great addition to salads and soups.

“Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.” –Hippocrates

2eli3.13.15Lindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncturist and Seattle Pediatric Acupuncture. She is passionate about healthy, happy living, food and is a regular blogger.  For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545.

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Any of you who’ve been in to see me recently know I been pretty excited about a “new to me” product. I was shopping for groceries and was about to grab a container of chicken broth when I did a double take. There, nestled above the chicken and turkey broth in neat, friendly rows was chicken and turkey bone broth. It stood like a fairytale knight in shining armor proudly saving my family and patients from the dreaded scourge nutritional depletion.

Seriously though I love the stuff and make it myself often. I use either beef or chicken bones and then make soup. It keeps me and my family happy and healthy, especially through the winter season. It’s a great immune system strengthener, high in protein, collagen and minerals and builds the qi and blood. I often prescribe it to my patients but most don’t make and drink it as often as they need to for it to be effective. I especially love it for those struggling with fertility, those with overall weaknbone broth in Seattle WAess, tendon or ligament injuries or postpartum women. Kids love it too and it’s great for those following a GAPS diet.

Here’s the thing. It’s a no brainer. I compared the nutritional content of the regular broth to the bone broth. Regular broth has 1 gram of protein in 1 cup and bone broth has 14!!Are you worried about the taste? Don’t be. The taste is very similar to regular broth and it’s delicious. Now there are no excuses people! If you don’t have time to make it yourself, you can buy it premade. Just heat, add salt (it’s low in sodium), any other yummy veggies or meat (optional) and you have a delicious fortified drink.

bone stock in Seattle WA

The ages old East Asian medical season is fast becoming the next big trend. It’s already hit LA , Portland and even Kobe Bryant is drinking it.

So pick some up at your local market or make some yourself.

Lindsey Lawson Acupuncture in Seattle WALindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncturist and Seattle Pediatric Acupuncture. She is passionate about healthy, happy living, food and is a regular blogger.  For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545.

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Chinese Medicine for pregnancy in Seattle WAPregnancy can be a very fulfilling and sometimes overwhelming time. It gives you an opportunity understand and support the natural creative cycle. Each stage relates to an elemental phase of the Dao. Simple practices can harmonize the natural energies that are working through you and your child at that time. No matter what symptoms you may be feeling, or stressors you may have in your life, it allows you a touch stone to return to your path and support the path of your developing baby.

Mothers instinctively feel the womb to be a connection to another world. According to Daoist thinking, the child is a “shaman” bridging heaven and earth.  It is conceived into the watery “world” of the womb. Pregnancy is a creative cycle with the same phases as life outside the womb. Each month a new type of elemental energy is entering into your child and making him or her who she will become. This phase can be supported with specific foods, activities and treatments. Birth marks the death of the child’s “womb spirit” and entrance into the outside world.

In our modern culture we tend to think of a child’s characteristics as pretty much set after conception. The genes of the mother and father have combined into a new life. It has its own preset destiny of brown hair, brown eyes, tall, short, sweet tempered or hotheaded. We avoid things like alcohol, soft cheeses and hot tubs. The ancient Daoists went much deeper. They observed the seasons and the weather. They understood and documented the natural cycles, including the “elements.” They believed it is important to support these natural phases during pregnancy and minimize anything that might disturb them.

Working with the Dao of Pregnancy supports fetal development and the mother’s health. Through years of working with pregnant woman I have become intimately familiar with each phase and the Elements and actions to balance them. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine offers wonderful options in the office. But my time with patients is short. There is more that can be done at home to harmonize the energies for optimal health in pregnancy and for the health of the child once it is born.

We help you have the happiest and healthiest pregnancy, birth, and baby. Take this precious time to connect with yourself, your baby and the nature cycles you are both experiencing. Make an appointment for acupuncture to support your pregnancy today.

Lindsey Lawson Acupuncture in Seattle WALindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncturist. She is passionate about healthy, happy living, food and is a regular blogger.  For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545.

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Healthy women in Seattle WAOk, this is going to feel like a foreign concept to many. That’s because it is. But it’s one that has been tested and retested for thousands of years in Chinese physicians, daughters, mothers and grandmothers. It’s simple. Menstruation and childbirth are the most depleting things for a women’s body. This happens on a deep level, a level called jing which relates to genetics, aging, and vitality. Jing has a hormonal and reproductive aspect and also relates to your creative potential. Jing is limited and once it’s gone, it’s gone, and without it women suffer from problems with menses, fertility, menopause, libido and energy.   How can you support your body, prevent the loss of jing and enjoy better vitality?  The answer is menstrual and postpartum recovery practices. These activities help your body conserve and strengthen itself at these crucial transition times. This is one of the true gems I have found in Chinese medicine that can revolutionize the way women treat their bodies.

My grandmother may have been right when she told me that too much exercise would be bad for my ”lady parts.” I thought she was crazy. I played sports and loved them.  But I didn’t have the whole picture and neither did she. It’s not that ALL exercise is bad ALL the time. We know that’s not true. Here’s the key, it’s when and how you’re exercising that matters. Each phase of a women’s life and each phase of her cycle has different needs. Menarche (first menses), childbirth, menopause and after each period are all transition times where great care should be taken to support and protect the body.

Women are fundamentally tied to nature through our menstrual cycle. Just like Spring leads to Summer so does menarche lead to childbearing years and then to menopause. In our modern culture we have lost the connection to the cycles of nature and to our own natural cycles. In the winter, we eat summer time fruits and veggies and stay up late into the darkness of night. The same disconnection from nature leads us to take a spinning class and go to a late party on the third day of a heavy period. There is a time for everything. Listen to your intuition. Reconnect.

What can you do? During your period and post-partum: Rest, limit vigorous exercise, keep yourself warm, eat foods which nourish and replenish. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are very powerful at this time. Listen to your body.

Lindsey Lawson Acupuncture in Seattle WALindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncturist. She is passionate about healthy, happy living, food and is a regular blogger.  For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545.

 

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Healthy Muscle Length and Strength

exerciseMuscles have one primary function and that function is contraction. The best way to understand muscle contraction is to visualize muscles becoming tense and taut in response to stimulation. When a muscle becomes tense it might actually contract, like your hamstrings or they might stabilize like the core muscles in your abdomen. In both situations muscles might get stuck in contraction due to overuse, under use, trauma or repetitive movement. This continued contraction can lead to muscular spasm, tight ropy bands of muscle tissue and injury at the muscle, tendon and bone attachment.

In most outdoor activities the whole body is engaged. The muscles in your legs and thighs propel you forward, the muscles in arms and shoulder grasp and hold. Even the muscles deep in your abdomen help stabilize your core. As these muscles work and perform their assigned jobs the chance for injury increases.

A good way to avoid injury is to work towards healthy muscle length and strength.

In East Asian medicine (acupuncture), healthy muscle length and strength can be achieved through the concepts of balance and harmony.

When a muscle is out of balance it can become short, tight and constricted. This imbalance causes a stagnation of your body’s vital substances (Qi and Blood), leading to trauma. These constricted muscles also pull on tendon attachment sites (bones) causing injury.

A great activity for balancing the body is cross training. Cross training makes sure you’re not spending too much time in one activity, engaging many muscles groups and body regions. Keeping your body engaged in different activities will balance the muscle groups, enhancing your strengthen and endurance.

Good activities to add to any cross training routine are yoga, tai qi and swimming

Along with cross training, a good pre and post stretching routine is recommended. An added component to the post exercise stretching is a technique I call “active acupressure”. This technique uses acupressure points to help release muscle stagnation and tightness, helping you avoid injury.

Acupuncture is a great way to achieve the harmony needed to recovery from injury. By addressing the entire body, the injury has a better chance to fully heal. Acupuncture works to improve circulation, decrease inflammation and stop the pain associated with trauma.

By giving the office a call and scheduling an appointment, you’ll be on your way to a more balanced and harmonious life.

 Author:

Dr. Derek Kirkham, DAOM, MS, EAMP, LAc is an Acupuncturist, Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural health Center.

 

 

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shoulder

 

Frozen shoulder can be a painful and often debilitating condition. The main visible sign associated with frozen shoulder is a limitation in range of motion and movement. There can be a number of factors in its development:

1) A history of broken or fractured bones in the shoulder or arm that leads to a lack of movement, eventually causing immobilization.

2) Injury to the rotator cuff muscles. These muscle help stabilize the joint and aid in movement. The injury causes the muscle to stiffen.

3) Post surgery trauma usually involves the formation of scare tissue, which can limit movement.

4) Unknown causes

In all of these situations it’s believed that the initial injury eventually leads to inflammation of the capsule surrounding the joint, causing the signs and symptoms associated with frozen shoulder. This condition can be seen in all segments of the population, however, it’s most common in women over the age of forty.

From an East Asian medical perspective the signs and symptoms associated with frozen shoulder can occur from the same or similar causative factors as mentioned above but how these factors affect the joint and the surrounding tissue is different. The injury tends to cause local stagnation or obstruction of Qi (functional energy) and blood, which leads to the limitation in range of motion and pain.

Acupuncture can help decrease the pain and improve range of motion by removing the obstruction or stagnation, loosing the affected muscle and improving circulation. It’s also helping at decreasing inflammation. Along with the acupuncture treatments, tui na, a style of East Asian bodywork that incorporates massage techniques with movement and stretching can be extremely beneficial. The tui na works in conjunction with the acupuncture to speed up the healing process. Please give the office a call if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment.

Author:

Derek Kirkham, DAOM, MS, EAMP, LAc. Acupuncturist & clinic director at Glow

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facet-joint384Facet joints allow your spine to twist, flex and extend without injury. They are like hinges protecting the spine from excessive movement and trauma. Unfortunately, like all joints in the human body they are vulnerable to injury and degeneration. Some of the symptoms associated with facet joint dysfunction are:

1) localized low back pain

2) low back pain that moves into your gluts

3) pain aggravated by extending your back.

Causes of this type of injury can range from sports injuries, such as running or soccer, all the way to prolonged sitting or repetitive movements.

In acupuncture, there are a series of points that run adjacent to the spine called Hua Tuo Jia Ji points. These points are used to treat the tissues and surrounding structures of the spine. These points can be used to address the signs and symptoms of facet joint pain. Acupuncture can help decrease the pain, inflammation and local swelling seen in this situation. Please contact Glow Natural health Center if you have any questions about acupuncture and how it can help in this situation.

Author:

Dr. Derek Kirkham, DAOM, MS, EAMP, LAc is an Acupuncturist, Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural health Center.

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