Skip to Main Content

How to care for yourself before and after the COVID vaccination

by Anne Gordon

Kirkland, WA 

January 27, 2021

How to care for yourself before and after the COVID vaccination, Atha Wellness in Kirkland, WA

Ok, so you've got your appointment scheduled for the first round of COVID vaccine.  Yay!!!

How do you prepare?  I've been consulting with my colleagues in Chinese, Western and Homeopathic Medicine about this, and have seen some commonalities in ideas.  First and foremost, eat something an hour or so before you go in.  Stay hydrated with water, and give your liver a break a day or two before your appointment...lay off of the vino!  Seriously, we know alcohol can cause inflammation, something you don't want before any vaccination, so just abstain for a day or two, before and post vaccination.

The single biggest side effect seems to be a very sore arm and/or fatigue after the first dose.  So just take it easy afterwards, knowing that it will soon pass.  And if you feel any kind of fever-ish response, that too is OK - in fact, it's great! - as it means your own immune system is working hard to create COVID 19 antibodies.  Western docs would advise you to take an analgesic, but in Chinese Medicine, we'd encourage you to just let your body do it's thing.  Rest.  Hydrate.  Know that this is a good thing.  My colleague, who is a homeopath, recommends Thuja, to be taken right after the vaccination (NOT BEFORE!). This will help your body detox.  You can take 3 of the little pellets, three times a day for a day.  For arm pain, you can try some light gua sha and some Traumeel, or Ledum Palustre.  Also, hey, acupuncture!  I know, more needles, but it works great for fatigue and detox post vaccination.  One thing I wouldn't recommend here is Chinese Herbals that clear heat and toxins, as they are antiviral, and we WANT the body to have an immune response to the vaccine.  Vitamin C is wonderful if you're still feeling fatigued a day or two later it can help your body detox.

Wishing you the very best in health,


In search of the (elusive) COVID vaccine

by Anne Gordon

Kirkland, WA

January 27, 2021

In search of the (elusive) COVID vaccine, Atha Wellness in Kirkland, WA

"It feels like winning the lottery"...if you're one of the lucky ones who were fortunate to have  gotten the COVID vaccine. 

A lot of people were on the fence about getting the COVID vaccination when the vaccine rollout first began, me included.  We wanted to see more data, more research.  And now, there seems to have been a huge tidal shift...people (me included) are actively beginning to seek out vaccination sites only to realize that there are no appointments available. Zero.  Zilch.  Ninguna.  And if that weren't bad enough, it now appears that there is only enough vaccine to vaccinate those who are getting their second dose. 

So how can you track down a vaccine?  I heard this piece on NPR yesterday about "tech people"  in California, who were equally frustrated with finding vaccine availability, who created a COVID-19 vaccine data base.  That got me thinking...we live in a very tech savvy place.  Couldn't we follow suit and find some technologists and volunteers who could create a data base spending time calling the places that could have the vaccine and putting those who say yes in a single place?  A website that offers much more accurate data in a more timely way than even the federal government's delivering, at least today?  Keep checking back for more information.  

Yours in health, 



Personalized Wellness Retreat in the Desert? Sign me Up!!

Atha Wellness is proud to present a new and very special offering for ....YOU!  

Personalized Wellness Retreat in the Desert? Sign me Up!!, Atha Wellness in Kirkland, WA

Ahh, what to say about 2020?  ( I could say a LOT, but I won't, because I want to focus on the year ahead...2021.)  Most of it felt like an insurmountable challenge - AND we moved on, one day at at time.  Taking care with the food we ate, how we stayed active, even the air we breathed...all of that has helped us stay grounded in the present while envisioning a hopeful and kinder future.  Isn't that what true wellness is about? 

It's in that spirit of holistic wellness that Atha Wellness welcomes you to come take a private individualized retreat in a quiet and luxurious setting to help you reset your health and wellbeing.  This retreat is a one-on-one individualized retreat to focus on just you, and/or a friend or family member if  you so choose.   

What is it you're looking forward to in 2021?  Could it be health, wellness, kindness, sunshine?  Starting a family?  Whatever is calling you to come on retreat, you’ll find it  here with daily acupuncture and moxibustion, yoga, hiking, meditation, and delicious meals prepared especially in accordance with Chinese Medicine food therapy principles.  

For more information, click here.



January 18, 2021
Sleep/Acupuncture/Anxiety/Insomnia/Stress/Apnea/Restless Leg Syndrome

Thomas Dekker once said that “Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. "   

Do any of these sound familiar?“

I can’t remember the last time I slept straight through the night.”
“I want to sleep when I’m supposed to be awake, and I want to be awake when I’m supposed to be sleeping. Help!”
“I’m so tired of taking medication to fall asleep.”
“My sleep apnea wakes me up hourly.”
“I’m too stressed to sleep. I might as well keep working.”
Many of us struggle with sleep issues, but very few of us take sleep deprivation seriously. At Atha Wellness, we focus on sleep health for a reason. Actually, many reasons:

An estimated 50 to 70 million Americans experience chronic sleep disorders, and a staggering amount of adults report falling asleep during the day without intention at least once a month.

Sleep deficiency has been a factor in tragic accidents linked to human error and slowed reaction times, including aviation and transportation accidents.
Sleep deficiency is linked to heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and depression.
Sleep deficiency affects work performance, athletic prowess, healing from injuries and illness, and the well-being of our personal lives.
And, of course, sleep deprivation is a contributing factor in rapid aging.

There are, of course, a wide variety of sleep medications readily available in an overstocked pharmacy aisle, but have you considered acupuncture treatment? Acupuncture’s benefits are far-reaching when it comes to healing the conditions that cause insomnia:

It reduces stress and anxiety that keep us awake.
Do you suffer from restless leg syndrome or other physical ailments that feel more severe at night? Acupuncture relieves congestion and blockages by balancing the flow of blood and fluids of the body’s circulatory, lymphatic, and nervous systems. For those suffering from sleep apnea, acupuncture strengthens the tongue and prevents it from blocking your airway.
Does your chronic or acute pain management involve prescription drugs? Acupuncture stimulates the body’s natural healing mechanisms with improved blood circulation and oxygenation to ease the pain and tension.
Is your weight having an effect on your energy levels, health, and appearance? Acupuncture can eliminate toxins and invigorate your path to better health.
Sleep should be a dream. If you’re struggling with insomnia or any other symptoms contributing to your sleep disorder, acupuncture could be the remedy you need.

Wishing you many great night's sleep,

Anne at Atha Wellness

Kirkland, WA


Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine for Immunity

by Anne Gordon

Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine to Boost Your Immune System

Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine for Immunity, Atha Wellness in Kirkland, WA

Here we are again!  Fall is upon us, and as the leaves begin to change and the air begins to cool, we begin to actively shift from the warmer summer months into preparing for the winter ahead.  Collectively we’ve been “social distancing” to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and as places open and we begin to venture out, we’re faced with the dilemma of how we can keep ourselves healthy and well, AND begin to rejoin our community. 

This is where acupuncture and herbal medicine can be hugely helpful.

Acupuncture has been shown to boost the immune system by increasing the number of T-cells in the body; these cells can destroy dangerous bacteria and viruses. Scientists believe acupuncture increases T-cells because the body may view the acupuncture needles as a threat, sending white cells and T-cells to fight this off. The boost of T-cells in the body lasts for several days after an acupuncture session. Research also indicates acupuncture increases the body's levels of interferon, one of the messenger hormones of the immune system.  Acupuncture is also helpful in regulating the digestive tract and keeping the elimination pathways open – this is important because if we do come into contact with a virus, we can naturally expel it (along with other waste products😉).

Not only can acupuncture boost the immune system by increasing the number of T-cells, it can help boost the immune system by reducing stress, anxiety and depression.  There have been numerous studies showing that weekly acupuncture sessions can relieve the symptoms of depression or anxiety for months, with results comparable to those associated with counseling. A few clinical trials have found similar results, claiming that acupuncture likely triggers the release of endorphins and other neurotransmitters. 

Herbal medicine can also help us stay well.  Many herbs have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, and can be used prophylactically.  It’s important to consult with a licensed herbalist to find the right formula for you. 

Prevention is your best friend:

Of course we all know the hand washing bit.  It’s super important to wash off any nasties that we come into contact with, and that we might inadvertently put into our bodies via the eyes, nose or mouth. 

Here are some other things that you can do:

Keep yourself warm, eat warm and nutritious food, and get a good night’s sleep.

Cold enters the body through the bottoms of the feet and through the back of the neck, just under the occiput.  If you know any acupuncturists, that’s why they are always going on about wearing socks and a scarf!

Cold also enters our stomachs. Fall is the time of year when we’ll want to switch from eating cooling summer foods to warmer foods like sweet potatoes, onions, pears, walnuts.  Cook them!  Raw foods are very cooling to the body and overtime can damage the Stomach/Spleen in Chinese Medicine. 

Some other factors that make us more susceptible to catching colds are not getting enough good quality sleep, poor nutrition (highly processed foods, refined sugars, diet sodas, etc), emotional stress, and overwork.  Good food, good sleep and good stress reduction techniques are essential to a healthy immune system. 

Act quickly at the first sign of cold or flu!

Chinese Medicine diagnoses colds as either Wind-Cold or Wind- Heat.  Each diagnosis has its own unique set of symptoms and treatment strategies.  Wind-Cold presents as chills, aversion to cold, stiffness in the upper part of the body, like the neck, and no sweating.  Wind-Heat symptoms are sore throat, feeling warm with a light sweat, irritability and aversion to heat. 

If you have a Wind-Cold:

Watch your diet, cut out any phlegm producing foods (dairy, sugar, fried foods, orange juice) and drink a big cup of hot ginger tea (cut a one inch piece of fresh ginger root and steep it in hot water for 15 minutes and then drink  Don’t have ginger?  Try the same thing but with a cinnamon stick).  Bundle up and take a nap.  The warm tea and blanket will promote a sweat to resolve the condition.  Hydrate well afterwards.  Still not sweating?  Try gua sha on the upper back and neck to open the pores to promote sweating. 

If you have Wind- Heat:

Again, watch your diet, and remove any phlegm producing foods.  You may already be sweating lightly, so hydrate with coconut water which will replace any fluids and electrolytes lost.  As a bonus, coconuts are naturally antimicrobial.  Consider drinking teas that are flowers, as flowers ascend and vent heat from the surface.  Try mint or chamomile. 

If you can, see an acupuncturist and herbalist to stop the cold in its tracks, or to lessen the severity and duration of the cold or flu.  And as always, get plenty of rest.

Chinese Herbal Formulas:

The most common patent formulas for the treatment of early stage colds are “Gui Zhi Tang”, “Yin Qiao”, and “Gan Mao Ling”.  Gui Zhi Tang, or Cinnamon Twig Decoction is used to treat Wind-Cold with cinnamon and fresh ginger, by warming the body and promote sweating.  Yin Qiao contains very cooling herbs such as Forsythia and Honeysuckle.  This formula should only be taken for Wind-Heat.  Gan Mao Ling is neutral in temperature and can be taken for either Wind-Cold or Wind-Heat, or even be taken preventively.  Please follow the dosing guidelines on the bottle, or consult with a Chinese Medicine Herbalist. 

Wishing you a safe and healthy fall,


Kirkland, WA

What is Bio-remodeling?

by Anne Gordon

What is Bio-remodeling?, Atha Wellness in Kirkland, WA

There's a new beauty buzzword surrounding some very exciting  products.  It's called bio-remodeling and most of the buzz centers around a newish beauty rockstar called Profhilo,.  Profhilo is made in an FDA approved facility in Italy, but alas is not FDA approved for use in the States - yet. 

Even though Profhilo is not available for use  in the US, I have been using other natural injectables for bio-remodeling and holistic facial rejuvenation.

What is bio- remodeling?  Bio-remodeling is an innovative approach involving the injection  of small amounts of hyalauronic acid, collagen, vitamins and minerals into the skin of the face, hands, neck or chest (really anywhere that there might be skin laxity - I'm looking at you knees and elbows!)  Bio-remodeling is not for just filling lines and wrinkles...instead this unique combination of vitamins and minerals nourishes the dermal cells and restores the firmness of the skin with a prolonged duration,  improving the quality and texture of the skin.  It is long lasting, because the injection encourages your body to increase collagen, elastin and hyalauronic acid prodcution, things that naturally diminish as we age.

What do I inject?  I inject a combination of homeopathic preparations of collagen and something called Made (a blend of vitamins, minerals and enzymes named after the doctor who invented it) that is natural, hypo-allergic, FDA approved and has no known side effects.

What is the standard treatment protocol?   Following a full consultation, we will come up with a treatment plan for your particular needs.  A standard treatment protocol consists of 1 weekly treatment for 8-10 consecutive weeks.  For better results, a
maintenance treatment course of 3-4 weekly sessions is recommended once or twice a year.  These treatments may or may not be combined with facial acupuncture, and LED light therapy.  

Most patients report that following the 10 treatments their skin is smoother, firmer, more taut and supple, hydrated, has more glow and radiance, and is clearer.

Got questions?  I'd love to answer them! Please reach out to

Yours in health,


Kirkland, Wa



Chinese Medicine and Acute Injury

by Anne Gordon

Chinese Medicine and Acute Injury, Atha Wellness in Kirkland, WA


As a life long athlete, I feel pretty fortunate that I have never had a "serious" injury.  Sure, I've got tight and overly strained hamstrings from years of marathon training and trail running.  And I am no stranger to sciatic pain from piriformis syndrome, but I've never had a sprain, break or acute tear.  Until this week that is.  

I've had a perverse sense of pride in never having fallen - ever - while trail running.  I'd race up and down the hills, navigating rocks, creeks, roots, you name it, skillfully avoiding any  ankle twists or sprains.  This week was different.  Maybe it was the time I went out, it was still pretty early, 5:30 AM, and I thought that I chose a trail well that would allow for enough early morning light to filter through the trees.  Mid run, around a bend, in the woods, coming down a hill, and bam, I was down.  It hurt!  a lot!  I was stunned and more than a little worried.  How would I get home?  I was in the woods, alone, and had to climb a pretty big hill of switchbacks to get back to my car.  I sat for a few minutes and assessed the situation.  My left ankle wasn't broken, and the pain was beginning to subside.  After another minute or two, I got up, put some weight on it, and took a few steps.  Much to my relief, I could still walk and run!  I finished my run, switchback climb and all.  

Of course I knew that I was lucky and still needed to treat my ankle for a first degree sprain (ligaments on the lateral side of my ankle were stretched, but not torn), and I could expect pain and swelling later on.  Back at my office, I applied acupuncture with electrical stimulation to specific points to reduce swelling and alleviate pain, followed by a topical analgesic liniment called Dit Da Jow which is a time tested herbal remedy that reduces pain and swelling from acute injuries.  Lastly, I used an herbal formula of San Huang San or "Three Yellows Powder" that increase local circulation and reduce pain and swelling.  I continued with treatment for a few days.  

Most people are surprised to learn that Chinese Medicine can be very effective for treating sports injuries. I do want to point out however, that while acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help with acute and chronic conditions, it is important to consult with a licensed physician for orthopedic conditions to rule out any fractures or severe muscle tears that may require medical intervention. For injuries like fractures, or deep cuts that require stitches, seek medical care immediately.

So how can Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs Help?

Once diagnosed or assessed, Chinese Medicine offers so many effective and therapeutic options for healing and recovery.  

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have treated pain for thousands of years using principles based on nature and the body’s natural healing abilities. These principles essentially state that once you identify an imbalance, you need to do the opposite to promote healing and better health.

Herbal medicine (topical and oral) as analgesics and anti-inflammatories:  If the area is hot and inflamed, we use “cool” herbs, either internally or topically with hot compresses or soaks. If an area is cold or stagnant, we use gentle heat and “warm” herbs to stimulate circulation. The energetic principle behind this treatment involves stimulating circulation and bringing the tissues back to normal temperatures.

The insertion of Acupuncture needles to reduce pain by promoting circulation and the flow of Qi and Blood.  

On the use of ice:  One big difference between Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine treatments is that we do not use ice. In fact, growing research shows that ice can hinder the healing process for soft tissue (muscular) injuries rather than help it. Essentially, while ice helps reduce inflammation and reduces pain, it also reduces circulation which delays healing. The ideal remedy during the early stages of an injury would reduce swelling while also promoting circulation. This combination minimizes pain while allowing the body’s natural inflammatory healing process to take place.  So if you must use ice, consider hydrotherapy, alternating ice packs with a hot water bottle for a few cycles, ending with the hot water bottle, to create a pumping effect enhancing circulation.

Other healing and therapeutic methods may be  incorporated like electroacupuncture, cupping, gua sha, heat lamp therapy, moxibustion, nutritional counseling, and exercise (qi gong & tai chi) as needed since they can amplify the effects of acupuncture and Chinese herbs when used appropriately.

For more information regarding your health concerns, please call or email me at (425)305-3637 or

Yours in health (and training),


Kirkland, WA