Optimizing Wellness

by Anne Gordon

Optimizing Wellness, Atha Wellness in Kirkland, WA

After acupuncture appointments, many of my patients want to know -- OK, now what??  What they mean is "now that I've come to you how can I continue self-care at home between appointments? "

What you do  between appointments is an essential element of the success of your treatment. This is especially true at the beginning of the process, when the gains made during each session are still fragile and easily lost if you over-stress your body or fail to support its recovery.  Below are some suggestions of how you can support the treatment process to accelerate healing:

HEALTHY DIET
Making sure your body has lots of quality nutrients to work with while healing is essential. Hydration is another important component and can be especially important with muscular-skeletal problems that may involve dehydrated fascial tissue. In cases were there is lots of inflammation in the body, it may be necessary to cut out sugar, alcohol and other inflammation-generating foods. When treating internal medicine conditions, there are often very specific TCM diet guidelines that will support your healing, and I will advise you on these when appropriate.

CHINESE HERBAL THERAPY
Chinese herbal therapy comes from a rich history, with a depth and detail of accumulated knowledge and application within a sophisticated medical system. Formulas are made from whole plant parts, not isolated chemicals, and as such are less harsh than modern pharmaceuticals. Chinese herbal therapy is especially important when overcoming long-standing health problems and will accelerate healing. Herbs can also be used to maintain health, or deal with short-lived acute problems such as colds and flu’s.

TOPICALS
When treating muscular-skeletal problems, topicals such as liniments, oils and patches can be used to increase local circulation and reduce pain. Combined with self-massage or working on acupressure points (which I'll show you when appropriate), they can help speed up recovery.

STRESS-REDUCTION
Any tools for reducing stress, whether through tai qi, yoga, meditation or breathing and visualization techniques should be employed to speed recovery. These techniques help settle the nervous system and improve circulation, both of which are beneficial for healing.

EXERCISE
Finding the type of exercise that will support your healing is just as important as exercise itself. When you are on a journey of healing, it may be wise to use gentle exercise like yoga, walking or tai qi so as not to divert your bodies resources to building muscle or stamina but rather use it for accelerating healing. This is especially true if you are recovering from a debilitating illness or trying to overcome fatigue and exhaustion.

If you are receiving treatment for a muscular-skeletal problem it may be wise to err on the side of caution for a while. The old saying "no pain, no gain" my be correct for atrophied muscles, but absolutely does not apply for injured, compromised tissue. Pain is a sign of injury and you can't exercise your way out of an injury (just as you can't walk your way out of a sprained ankle). Being too aggressive with exercise can squander the gains made during treatment.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything that makes the problem act up in favor for anything that makes it feel better. Being extra careful is only a temporary precaution and once you have recovered, you will be able to go back to your usual exercise routine.

Yours in health -

Anne 

Kirkland, Wa

It's Cold and Flu Season...Are you Ready?

by Anne Gordon

It's Cold and Flu Season...Are you Ready?, Atha Wellness in Kirkland, WA

It’s well known that Chinese Medicine – acupuncture, herbs, and food therapy – can help a wide variety of conditions, including the treatment of the common cold and flu, but did you know that acupuncture can be used as a preventive medicine?  Regular acupuncture treatments can increase immunity, by strengthening the body’s ability to defend itself against viruses.  Acupuncture also reduces stress, which can be a key factor in any disease.  I also like to recommend that my patients take adaptogenic herbs during this time of year to to give their immune systems an extra boost.  One of the most powerful immunostimulants that we have in Chinese Medicine is Huang Qi, also known as Astragalus.  This herb is a Qi Tonic,  increasing energy levels, strength and endurance, and stimulating the immune system.  This herb can be taken daily for cold and flu prevention.  (Do not take if you are on immunosuppresants, have hormone sensitive cancer, or taking anticoagulants or blood pressure medications.)

So what to do if you already have the cold or flu? 

Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep, taking in enough fluids like coconut water, hot tea with lemon and honey, and chicken or bone broth.  You can also shorten the duration of the cold and reduce the severity of symptoms with natural remedies like garlic and honey, and come in for acupuncture.  Acupuncture at the on-set of a cold has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of the cold.  In my clinic, I also use injectable homeopathic remedies to help ease symptoms and shorten duration of the cold.  Additional herbal formulas may be prescribed as well. 

An easy to make home remedy for sore throat, cold and flu symptoms that is wonderful to have on hand when cold and flu season comes along is a Garlic Honey Syrup. 

Ingredients

·     3–4 fresh garlic cloves – crushed (not minced)

·     2 tablespoons powdered turmeric or two inch, crushed piece of fresh turmeric

·     ⅓ teaspoon ground black pepper

·     1/2 cup raw honey

·     Juice of 1/2 lemon

instructions

1.   Place honey, lemon juice, ground black pepper and (powdered) turmeric in a small bowl and, using a spoon, mix until well combined.

2.   Now add your crushed garlic cloves (and the fresh turmeric, if you chose to use it instead of the powdered one). Mix again and let it rest and come together for about 10 minutes.

Notes

-You can eat raw turmeric with no worries, but avoid eating more than ½ – 1 small garlic clove per day as raw garlic consumed in larger quantities on a daily basis can be too harsh for your stomach and make you feel sick.
-Take 2-3 tablespoons of the syrup per day.
-Replace garlic cloves daily to maximize its effectiveness.
-Store this syrup refrigerated for 4-5 days.
*Do not give raw honey to children under 1 to avoid the risk of infant botulism

Wishing you health and wellness this season!

Anne Gordon

Atha Wellness

Kirkland, Wa

Acupoint Injection Therapy in Kirkland, Wa

Acupoint Injection is Here!

Kirkland, Wa

October 2019

Acupoint Injection Therapy in Kirkland, Wa, Atha Wellness in Kirkland, WA

I've had SO many of my patients express interest in Acupoint Injection Therapy (AIT) since reading about it in various publications, or seeing it featured on shows like The Dr. Oz show (2014), that I'm thrilled to announce that Atha Wellness now offers this unique and effective service!

So what is AIT exactly? Acupuncture Point Injection or Acupoint Injection Therapy (AIT) is a completely integrated therapy that blends Chinese Medicine with homeopathy AND conventional medicine.  Through point injection, AIT certified Acupuncture Practitioners inject NATURAL therapeutic substances, such as homeopathic remedies like Traumeel,  vitamins like B-12, or lipotropics like methionine, inositol, and choline, into acupuncture points that are specific to your health and wellness needs.  

AIT is wonderfully effective for the resolution of acute and chronic pain anywhere in the body.  This pain could be in the form of headaches, muscle pain and tightness,  painful periods, neuropathies, or osteoarthritis.  AIT can also be effectively used in weight loss programs, for stress reduction (hello Calmvalera!), or combined with facial rejuvenation acupuncture treatments.  

AIT is given at the same acupuncture points that we use with pressure or needles, but works at an even deeper level in the body to create and promote a healing environment, because we can stimulate these very specific and special acupuncture points with PROVEN natural substances.  And the best news is that the needles we use are high quality, very small and fine.  No large and invasive hypodermics here!  

So who can perform AIT?  Only a licensed acupuncturist and certified East Asian Medical Practitioner who has undergone additional didactic and clinical training beyond their traditional education can perform and utilize AIT as a therapy.  

Still thinking about it?  Give me a call, text or email, to discuss your unique health concerns.  

 

 

Fall's Here! It's time for Moxa!

by Anne Gordon

                                                      Fall's Here! It's time for Moxa!, Atha Wellness in Kirkland, WA

October 2019

Kirkland, Wa

Ever gone into an acupuncture clinic and noticed a strange and smoky smell, and thought "what the heck kind of herbs are being used here?!".  Chances are what you're smelling is moxa.  

Moxibustion, or the burning of moxa, is actually part of the acupuncture tradition.  In fact, the Chinese character for acupuncture, zhenjiu, is composed of two parts.  The first is "zhen", or needle, and the second is "jiu", meaning moxa.  Together acupuncture and moxibustion form an integral and complimentary part of Chinese Medicine healing going back to at least 305 BC.

So what is moxa exactly?  Moxa is dried mugwort, harvested from the mugwort plant.  The plant itself is very common, and while most gardeners consider it a very annoying weed, its an extremely wonderful plant if you're cultivating it for medicinal purposes.  It's been long  prized for its medicinal and therapeutic effects not only in Asia, but also in ancient Rome and Greece.  The latin name for Mugwort is Artemisia vulgaris, taken from the Greek moon goddess Artemis, a patron of women.  

Anne Gordon offers Acupuncture and injections, Facial Rejuvenation in Kirkland, WA

Once mugwort is harvested, it is dried, and then ground into a "moxa wool".  The moxa is then used directly or indirectly over different acupuncture points.  It can be placed on the head of an acupuncture needle and then ignited with an incense stick to direct heat deep into the body.  My favorite way to use moxa is to roll it into cones and then place it on the acupoint, light it, and when the patient feels warmth, remove the cone.  Typically, 3-7 cones of moxa can be used for various points.  Moxa can also be compressed into sticks, and used to warm large areas, as in the photo above.  

What are some of the benefits of moxa therapy?  In Chinese Medicine, moxa can be used to treat all kinds of gynecological issues.  I use it in clinic to treat heavy menstrual bleeding, and to increase blood circulation to the pelvis to reduce menstrual pain, as well as to reduce the size of uterine fibroids.  Moxa is often cited for its effectiveness in turning breach babies.  

Beyond gynecological conditions,  I use moxa  to strengthen the immune system .  Studies have shown that moxibustion specifically increases white blood cell, anti-inflammatory cytokines, and anti-body production.  Moxa also warms the body and to bring more Qi and Blood flow to an area, and can dispel "cold" which can lodge in the channels - essentially providing relief for painful conditions, like joint conditions such as arthritis that can be exacerbated by cold and damp climates or changes in the weather.  

Curious about Moxa?  Come on in and give it a try!  Book an appointment today!

Auriculotherapy and Vagal Nerve Stimulation

Auriculotherapy for Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Kirkland, Wa

August, 2019

 

I’ve long been fascinated by the Vagus Nerve, the main nerve responsible for regulating the Parasympathetic Nervous System, commonly known as the “Rest and Digest” part of the nervous system.  In fact, I’ve been so intrigued by it that I wrote about it for my capstone project to complete Acupuncture School, and frequently discuss Vagal Nerve Stimulation techniques in the yoga classes that I teach. 

Here’s a quick overview of the vagus nerve:  the Vagus Nerve is the longest running cranial nerve in your body. It is one of ten paired cranial nerves and goes from your brain stem all the way down to your gut. 

The word “vagus” literally translates to “wandering” in Latin, and the Vagus Nerve certainly lives up to its name. As the longest and most complex of all the cranial nerves, it starts at the stem of the brain, travels behind the ears before making its way down the sides of the neck, through the chest, eventually ending in the abdomen innervating the heart, lungs, throat and gut along the way. 

When the flight of fight or “stresss” response is triggered by the sympathetic nervous system, a host of physical changes happen. Adrenaline begins pumping through the body. The heart and breath rates are accelerated, digestion slows or stops altogether, blood vessels constrict and muscles tense in preparation to fight or flee.

The Vagus Nerve and parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for bringing the body back to homeostasis. After periods of stress and anxiety, this "calm" state is brought about by releasing a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.

More and more studies are showing how detrimental stress is to our health, and how high stress levels can lead to diseases that are linked to high levels of inflammation.  Naturally, researchers and clinicians are looking into how Vagal Nerve Stimulation can be used to bring the body back into balance, restoring health and wellness. 

Fortunately, there are many ways to stimulate the Vagus Nerve.  One of my favorites is by using Auriculotherapy, or ear acupuncture because the Vagus nerve actually innervates part of the ear.  In fact, I treat all of my patients with ear needles as part of their treatments.  Healing happens when we can make that shift from the “Fight of Flight” state to the “Rest and Digest” state, and I have found ear treatments particularly helpful in making this shift.  Other great ways to stimulate the Vagus nerve are by practices such as meditation and yoga. 

Considering Facial Acupuncture? Here's What You Should Know.

Recently there's been a huge upsurge in interest in a more holistic, natural and effective approach to beauty.  After all, the very best beauty should also be GOOD for you.  If you've heard  the positive buzz about facial acupuncture, believe it.  

Facial acupuncture does include the insertion of very fine needles into the dermis to naturally stimulate the production of fibroblasts, the cells that are responsible for producing collagen.  It's this natural increase in collagen, along with an increase of blood flow and "Qi" to the face that is responsible for all of the amazing benefits of facial acupuncture -  brighter skin,  with an increase in skin firmness and elasticity, a smoothing out and softening of lines and wrinkles, and a decrease in breakouts and acne with the clearing of hyperpigmentation.  Many people are surprised to learn that additional body needles are added to the treatment to support the effects of the facial needles by balancing the body holistically.  That means that along with addressing signs of aging in the face and neck, other conditions are also getting treated - insomnia, constipation, joint pain, infertility, allergies - and more!

A lot of my clients are interested in alternatives to injectables and Botox, and that's great.  However, I also work with a lot of people who don't want to stop using them, and I honor that, too.  Botox works by freezing the muscles around the injection site, allowing the muscles to relax, thus resulting in fewer wrinkles and creases.  This "freezing" however also reduces the flow of lymph, blood and qi to the tissues.  Facial acupuncture works by restoring the flow of lymph, blood and qi to the face.  Facial acupuncture can cause the Botox to stop working, so I recommend several facial acupuncture appointments to restore the flow of blood and qi to the face before you get your next injections.  This allows the face to "wake up" after a long period of dormancy.  Many of these clients are able to lengthen the time between each injectables treatment, and some have chosen to stop injectables entirely with this strategy.  

Facial acupuncture treatments are best done as a series of 2 sessions biweekly for 5 weeks.  Within the first few appointments you'll see and feel noticeable results. Additionally, don't be surprised if you find that you notice an improvement in sleep, digestion, libido and mood!  I'll never forget one of my first clients who hadn't had a lot of experience with regular acupuncture before her first course of facial acupuncture treatment, and she experienced all of these lovely "side effects":)  After the first course of 10 treatments, monthly tune-ups are enough to maintain the results, especially if you repeat the cycle about once a year.  

Facial acupuncture has always been a part of holistic acupuncture.  And now with the trend in green and effective skin care, there has been an increase in the number of people interested in and seeking out natural alternatives  to fillers and Botox.  It's been so  rewarding as a practitioner to be part of that movement, by helping clients find natural beauty from an empowered and self-loving place.  I practice facial acupuncture on a daily basis in Kirkland, Washington, and am happy to answer any questions you might have and to schedule you for an appointment.  

 

Stay Healthy and Live Long - Acupuncture and Self-Care

by Anne Gordon

Yes!  Acupuncture to live well, and live long!  As part of the Yangsheng long and healthy life tradition, consider acupuncture as the next step of (easy) self-care.  Much like getting our exercise in, and making sure we are eating a balanced diet, acupuncture helps us maintain our health.  Once a month, give acupuncture 45 minutes of your time.  Why?  Because a small commitment to acupuncture will produce a deep and impactful benefit for your health.  Even if you do not have an active health diagnosis, as a preventive health treatment acupuncture treats disease and poor health before they arise and stops them from occurring.

So little time, and so many benefits!  Treatment is  simple - 1. show up, 2 . lay down,  3. have a nice "reset" as the needles do the work - AND produces profound results. Hopefully, monthly treatments will then become part of your health routine and something to which you look forward.

Why wait? Come on in! Take the next step in your commitment to health and wellbeing - give acupuncture a try!