Chinese Herbal Medicine at ilumina

by Dana Price DOM, L.Ac., FABORM

At ilumina Healing Sanctuary our practitioners are educated, trained and board certified in Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine not only includes the sophisticated art and science of acupuncture; it also includes the extensively practiced Chinese herbal medicine sometimes referred as prescriptionology. This is because there is a very specific method of combining herbs to bring about the most beneficial therapeutic effect for an individual patient.

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Chinese herbal prescriptionology has been practiced for thousands years and during that time physicians have empirically learned what works, at what dosage and in which type of patient. Recently, we have combined that ancient knowledge with science to further our understanding of these medicinal herbs and ensure their safety.

Our practitioners at ilumina specialize in infertility treatment, and the use of unique herbal prescriptions individualized to each patient during the process of getting pregnant and having a healthy baby is an advanced technique and rare to find. We administer herbs while women are trying to conceive on their own, using ovulation enhancement, and undergoing IVF. With our close to 20 years experience in doing this we know how to combine herbs with cycles to ensure therapeutic benefit.

Ilumina has a full traditional Chinese herbal pharmacy, semi customizable herbal tinctures and a wide variety of pre-made pills. The products we stock are top of the line and come from companies that ensure the highest safety measures.

Chinese herbal prescriptions are such a benefit to fertility as well as other health issues and take a lot of training and experience to perfect. They are an integral part of a comprehensive Chinese medicine treatment plan.  Our practitioners at ilumina have the training and wisdom needed to practice as Chinese medicine was intended. If you are interested in starting an individualized herbal prescription please call the office and schedule a consultation.

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Chinese Medicine Weaves Spring with the Wood Element

Written by: Shira Dobratz L.Ac. 

Spring. Warm breezes. Birds chirping. Flowers and sunshine. Nature reminding us of hope and new beginnings.

In Chinese Medicine spring is tied to the element of Wood.  Twigs and plants that grow up through the cracks of measured cement pavements, and the way plants and trees respond to wind both give insight into the Wood element.  Lush green life on a mission for sunlight can not be stopped! No matter the wind, trees hold their ground, firmly rooted into the earth, yet with free and easy response to the strength and direction of the wind. This is the wood element doing what it's designed to do and being what its designed to be, centered, goal oriented, flexible, courageous and resilient.

We have similarities to the journey of greenery. We too are on a mission to grow, we too have a propelling need to be nurtured and sustained, we too face many obstacles in our desire to thrive,  we too feel tested by the pressure and intensity of many winds upon us. Strong emotions like stress and frustration can surface for many of us in that process.   Seeking balance in this season includes turning from harsh and relentless self-direction and instead towards peace, harmony,  and supple reactions. Slowing down in the spring can give us time to harness the creative vision, strategic brilliance, courage and confidence that are gifts of a healthy Wood element. In balance we are not caught up in a frenetic and exhausted knot from all the movements and changes, excitements and pressures, but instead can move through the diverse winds with grace, ease, and kindness to others and ourselves.  

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help balance these energies within us, as well as Pranayama, Yin styles of yoga, fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables, whole grains like brown rice with ghee or sesame oil, a decrease in alcohol and caffeine consumption, drinking plenty of water, getting a little extra rest, soaking in salt baths, and beginning collaborative endeavors with friends or family. 

Libido Recharge Part II

Written by: Dr. Dana Price DOM, Dipl O.M, L.Ac. 

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In the first of this three part series, I brought to attention the #metoo movement and asked the reader to visualize what a completely unhindered expression of female sexuality would look like. I hope you had the opportunity to explore this. If not please spend some time with this. It is my belief that if we have the vision, we can direct our actions to support and become it. 

I also brought up the three most common types of Yin/Yang imbalance and patterns that arise with low libido. I presented the “stressed” type. In this blog we will explore the “not feeling sexy enough for sex”, or as we translate it in Chinese medicine,Yin deficiency.

This pattern of Yin deficiency can manifest as low libido with difficulty becoming aroused, painful intercourse and lack of lubrication. In general Yin deficiency can include a general dryness of skin and hair, the lack of self nurturing, and potential negative self image. This pattern can also manifest as rushing through sex, and restlessness during sex, stubbornness and inflexibility in relationships, easy to get anxious, irritable and being scattered, vivid dreams, constipation, feeling warm, and light and short menstrual cycles. Here are some things you can do to rebuild your Yin:

Exercise: yoga (not hot), tai chi, qi gong, swimming or hiking. Limit aerobic workouts to 30 minutes three times a week. 

Nutrition: Whole foods diet that emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, with small amounts of protein and healthy fats. Avoid red meat and eat more vegetarian sources of protein than meat. Food that increase the Yin energy are: seaweed, beets, flaxseeds, spinach, chard, string beans, grapes, blackberries lettuce, nuts, millet and whole wheat to name a few.

Hydration: Here in Arizona it is already hot, sunny and dry which by nature depletes our Yin. It is very important to drink between 100-120oz of fluids per day. Alcohol and caffeine are dehydrating so it should be avoided. With that said avoid becoming overheated saunas, steam rooms, hot baths and hot yoga are not good choices.

Sleep: Getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night is imperative to rebuild Yin. If you remember from the first in the series, rest and night time is Yin. So you need more.

Meditation: Begin a daily meditation routine and do what you can to reduce stress levels. 

Vitamins: Potassium (bananas are good), Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin E are helpful.

Chinese Medicine: Acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas are very potent to increase Yin and rebalance your Qi

January is Thyroid Awareness Month

Photo by {artist}/{collectionName} / Getty Images

Photo by {artist}/{collectionName} / Getty Images

This little butterfly shaped gland in your neck has many functions, so when it is malfunctioning the body feels the consequences, as many as 12.5% of Americans suffer with a thyroid disorder, and many people are undiagnosed. Some causes of thyroid disorder include: Autoimmune disease, gluten intolerance, stress, toxins, adrenal fatigue, and iodine deficiency.

The thyroid gland drives the metabolic rate of every single cell in your body, which is 37 trillion cells, so you can imagine symptoms like weight gain, male and women’s infertility, hair loss, depression, and chronic fatigue are some symptoms of a low and hyper functioning thyroid.

At ilumina Healing Sanctuary, we bridge Eastern and Western medicine making it easy to check your thyroid, and get help with any imbalances of your hormones. It’s important to get your thyroid checked regularly. The thyroid plays an important role in getting pregnant and maintaining pregnancy. New research suggests that a slightly underactive thyroid may affect a woman’s ability to become pregnant even when the gland is functioning at the low end of the normal range, according to a study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Chinese Medicine has come to the rescue, considering a study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which stated, “Cases of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and their immune function and thyroid function were observed. It was found that Chinese Medicine was able to reduce the thyroid antibodies in the peripheral blood of the patients with hypothyroidism and to recover their thyroid function”. Treating patients with Chinese Medicine can help lower anti-thyroid antibodies and regulate thyroid function

Check your thyroid frequently, maintain a healthy balanced gluten free diet, manage stress, and regular acupuncture treatments are important to keep the thyroid happy.

It is essential to keep the body balanced. Discussing these concerns with your Chinese Medicine practitioner may help you take control of your thyroid health.

Written by Charlene Hagner L.Ac., Dipl.OM

 

Cold and Flu Prevention: 5 Tips to Better Health Revisited

Its that time of year again where summer turns to fall and many patients come in with seasonal colds, increased stress levels and abnormal digestive symptoms. Boosting your immune system during these times are important for helping you stay healthy. Chinese Medicine has been treating the common cold for over 5,000 years, and helps prevent sickness by boosting your immune system and restoring balance.

Five tools for a pathway to prevention and remedy during the cold season:

1. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses diagnostic tools such as your tongue and pulse. The tongue is an expression of your digestion and body system. This can be a tool for prevention and diagnosing imbalances. The pulse is a way to understand the rhythm of the body. The pulse represents different organs in respect to Chinese Medicine practices. Using these tools help us better understand how to treat and prescribe the best herbs and treatment plan for your optimal health. Regular acupuncture treatments are beneficial for prevention and remedy for this year’s cold and flu season.

2.This time of the year the body craves more rest, and in preparation for the cold season getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night is highly recommended.

3.Eating a balanced meal can be challenging during the holidays, but staying close to a healthy, clean diet can prevent inflammation and digestion upset.

4. Zinc- is an essential trace mineral necessary for all forms of life and growth. It is part of DNA development, immune system response, and may reduce suffering from symptoms of the common cold.

5. Elderberry- has been frequently linked with increased immune coordination. This berry has been shown to boost the production of immune cytokines. The cytokines are key messengers in the immune system to help regulate immune response. This allows the body to defend against disease.

By Charlene Hagner, M.Ac., Dipl. O.M., L.Ac.

Benefits of Breastfeeding


In Chinese Medicine theory breast milk is an expression of Blood energy and Qi (vital energy).  It is understood that once a baby is born the Blood that was once nourishing the placenta is now transformed into breast milk. Breastfeeding has many benefits to the baby and mother, and is recommended by WHO (World Health Organization) to breastfeed the first six-months of your babies life for some of the reasons listed below.

  • Better healing post labor: Oxytocin is released when your baby is nursing. Oxytocin helps your uterus to contract and return to its normal size more quickly.

  • Baby Health: The incidence of pneumonia, colds, and viruses are reduced among breastfeed babies. Also, breastfeed babies are less likely to develop type1 diabetes, Crohn’s Disease, and Celiac Disease.  

  • Getting to Know Your Baby: You have to read your baby's 'satiety cues' a little better, because unlike with a bottle, you can't see how much he's eaten," Kelly says. "You have to rely on your own instincts and your baby's behavior to know when your baby is full."

  • Lower SID’s Risk: Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome by half.

  • Stronger Bones: Women who breastfeed have a lower risk of postmenopausal osteoporosis. When a woman is pregnant and lactating, her body absorbs calcium much more efficiently

  • Custom-Made Supply: Formula isn't able to change its constitution, but your breast milk changes to meet your baby's needs. Colostrum that comes in after you deliver is full of antibodies to protect your newborn baby. It's also higher in protein and lower in sugar than full milk, so even a small amount can hold off your baby's hunger

  • Calorie Incinerator: If you feed your baby 20 ounces a day, that's 400 calories, you've swept out of your body. Women lose their mommy tummy more quickly with breastfeeding.

Below is a great source for all breastfeeding questions:
http://kellymom.com/category/bf/

Acupuncture Throughout Your Pregnancy

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Acupuncture’s positive effects on regulating menses and improving fertility have been known for many years, but acupuncture, Chinese herbs, diet and massage can also have many benefits throughout the pregnancy and beyond.

First Trimester
As early as the first positive home pregnancy test, acupuncture can help decrease risk of miscarriage and alleviate several of the well-known early symptoms of pregnancy, though while encouraging, can have a negative impact on a woman’s quality of life and ability to carry out daily tasks at work and home.

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Sleep disturbance

Second Trimester
The second trimester is often entered with a sigh of relief as the risk of early miscarriage and intensity of morning sickness decreases at week 12. However, as your baby grows in size, this increases demand on blood supply and pressure on surrounding organs leading to several new symptoms.  Some are diagnosed with blood sugar or blood pressure issues, and we can provide nutrition advice and acupuncture for this as well.

  • Back pain
  • Congestion and nose bleeds
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Weight gain
  • Increased susceptibility to infections

Third Trimester
As weight gain continues with the increased size of your baby, the same symptoms that can cause problems in the second trimester increase in intensity with additional issues that can significantly interfere with your quality of life and well-being.  Also, keep in mind that while acupuncture can help decrease these symptoms, it can also be helpful for breech presentation and labor preparation in the final weeks before delivery.

  • Fatigue
  • Leg pain
  • Swelling of hands/wrists and feet and ankles
  • Shortness of breath
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“Fourth” Trimester
Here at ilumina, we like to be conscientious of the months after delivery and the issues that can creep up after you are back at home with your newborn.  Sleep deprivation and the resultant fatigue and moodiness is expected, but knowing when to ask for help and making time for yourself in key in helping you care for your baby.  It may also be time to have labs to check for thyroid dysfunction and nutritional deficiencies that are common in post-partum.  Finally, in addition to helping with energy and mood, acupuncture can help with lactation, muscle aches, and menstrual issues as your cycle starts up again.

Need a Resolution? Personal Responsibility for Proactive Health Care in 2017

No matter your personal feelings about the outcome of the election, one thing is sure to be true: health care as we know it is changing. Actually, there has been a slow, but steady change in premiums, deductibles, covered benefits and out-of-pocket expenses over the past decade with the net effect that patients are shouldering more and more of the financial responsibility. On the other hand, care seems to be less personal, with less provider continuity and less time allocated for patient appointments and follow-up. This has led many government officials, providers, and patients to call for reform. Unfortunately, there appears to be little consensus on how to fix the problems and more concerning is the question as to whether our current system can even be fixed?

 

One thing that seems to be clear is that most of the illnesses Americans are struggling with are those related at least partially to lifestyle and thus potentially preventable. By modifying our habits and keeping an eye towards prevention, we can significantly decrease our risk of the most expensive and debilitating illnesses. Recently, the CDC named “heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis as the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems”. For example, according to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the US, affecting over 30 million adults and a growing number of children. These figures relate to what is known as Type 2 diabetes, a largely preventable condition that also significantly impacts the risk of cardiovascular disease. Another nearly 100 million Americans have pre-diabetes. Medication to control diabetes can exceed $250 per month and combined with the costs of regular doctors visits, and related medication for blood pressure and cholesterol, it may be possible to spend $5000 per year to manage this one condition.

 

On the other hand, what would happen if this money were spent on improving individual general health and wellness; efforts to improve diet, manage weight, and decrease stress. In doing so, we can decrease our risk for all the aforementioned conditions named by the CDC and therefore improve overall health and quality of life, maybe even avoiding medications altogether.

 

This is a laudable goal and not an easy one to achieve. It requires us to shift our focus from a reactive, treatment-focused approach to health care to a proactive, preventive approach where the patient takes responsibility for her own health, utilizing the medical system for support and guidance along the way. It is important to acknowledge that even with our best efforts, not all disease can be prevented, but by taking an active role in partnering with providers to improve health as much as possible, significant progress can be made. By addressing symptoms early, being informed about family medical history and disease risks, screening for blood pressure, glucose, weight, and nutritional deficiencies, and following recommendations for cancer screening, you can significantly impact your risk for chronic disease in the face of the changing health care landscape.

 

2017 is the year of the fire rooster, a sign of dawn and awakening, of triumph and success, only achievable through hard work and patience. We at Ilumina are committed to prevention and proactive care, happy to help guide you to improve your general health and address specific concerns through our naturopathic and Chinese medicine services with diet, exercise, and supplement advice, acupuncture, massage, and meditation. Together, we can work to make 2017 your healthiest year yet.

Fermented Foods

 An important component of Traditional Chinese Medicine is in nutrition and diet.   There are dietary suggestions for chronic / acute pain and headaches, for depression and anxiety, for skin irritations, and just about any other health concern you can think of.  One piece of the nutritional building block is the ancient use of fermented food to support a healthy gut.  Fermented food help to keep your digestive track thriving with good bacteria, it helps with the absorption of the nutrients from the food you eat, and are rich in enzymes that are essential to optimal health.

 This is a tidy list of 10 reasons to eat fermented foods that we would like to share.  

 

http://www.cheeseslave.com/got-bacteria-10-reasons-to-eat-fermented-foods/

Breast Cancer and Acupuncture

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are known to improve the quality of life for women with breast cancer. They can aid in the treatment of nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and the flu like symptoms associated with chemotherapy. In addition, they help with the side effects of radiation, including healing burns, and significantly improve pain levels, healing post lumpectomy, mastectomy and reconstruction.A recent study from the UK found that acupuncture performed once a week for 6 weeks is effective at managing cancer-related mental and physical fatigue as well as activity levels, motivation, and quality of life is increased. The authors speculate that the benefits of acupuncture in treating fatigue may be in part mediated by its effect on pro-inflammatory cytokines. (Acupuncture for Cancer-Related Fatigue in Patients With Breast Cancer: A Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial. J Clin Oncol. 2012 Oct 29.) This week a pilot study was published online, out of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Center in New York City which showed that acupuncture significantly reduced limb circumference in patients with breast-cancer-related lymphedema. Lymphedema affects 30% of breast cancer survivors and up to this point did not have a safe and inexpensive intervention. Acupuncture was performed twice a week for four weeks and produced up to 30% reduction in arm circumference. Dr. Cassilith, who conducted the study, emphasized the importance of using a trained acupuncturist for lymphedema treatment. We concur not only for lymphedema but also for any type of cancer related acupuncture support. Both Catherine Travis and Dana Price are highly trained and experienced practitioners who use gentle, effective, and safe techniques.

Acupuncture in Pregnancy

Acupuncture and its parent medical system, Traditional Chinese Medicine, have a long and rich history in the treatment of women during pregnancy. There is explanation of the treatment of infertility with herbs as early as the Warring States Period (476-221 BC). Many early obstetrical texts have been lost but there is evidence that many existed before the Han dynasty (206 BC-221 AD) one being ‘Series of Herbs for Obstetrics’. Later during the Tang dynasty (618-907) the famous doctor Sun Si Miao wrote the ‘Thousand Golden Ducat Prescription’ which included three volumes dedicated to obstetrics and gynecology. More recently the integration of Western and Chinese medicine has been taking place since 1949 and many innovative treatments in obstetrics have been devised for example, the treatment of pain and nausea and vomiting with acupuncture, and the use of Chinese herbs for postpartum depression. Years of working as a Chinese medicine doctor has proved to me that acupuncture can not only promote the health of the mother and baby, but can effectively treat most of pregnancy aliments as well. Common disorders of pregnancy that we see at ilumina are: nausea & vomiting, fatigue, constipation, digestive disorders, insomnia, anxiety, depression, back pain, rib pain, edema, carpel tunnel syndrome, allergies, sinusitis, elevated blood pressure, gestational diabetes, varicose veins, headaches and migraines.

Sometimes I have patients ask if acupuncture is safe during pregnancy. When performed by a properly educated and experienced Chinese medicine doctor, I strongly believe that it is one of the safest and most effective medical treatments to utilize during pregnancy.

Practitioner Story

From time to time, the practitioners will share some amazing experiences they have had practicing acupuncture. This one is from Catherine Travis, M.Ac., L.Ac. A Medical Director of a hospital in Seattle called me requesting that I come to the Intensive Care Unit to treat a 34 year old female patient who had been admitted for Gulliaun-Barre syndrome. She had been there for three months and her medical insurance wanted her placed in a nursing home as she was not improving. At my first visit, the patient was connected to many tubes and only able to blink her eyes on her own. She had not been out of bed since being admitted. After three acupuncture treatment visits, the nurses had her sitting in a chair for the first time since she was admitted. I continued to treat her 4 days a week. They were then able to remove the tubes. She then progressed to rehabilitation for standing and walking on her own. The insurance company was pleased with her progress and continued to cover her hospital expenses. She eventually did walk out with the aid of leg braces. She continued with acupuncture home treatments and was then able to return to work in the financial district. The patient reported that as soon as I placed the first few needles she felt like “someone was finally talking to me.”

Acupuncture and Cancer Pain

The recent study, at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, suggests that acupuncture relieves cancer pain due to the side effects of medications. Some cancer treatments cause Peripheral Neuropathy, a condition that is due to damage of the peripheral nerves. This study found that acupuncture can be helpful in treating Peripheral Neuropathy pain.

Our practitioner Catherine Travis, L.Ac. has many years of experience treating cancer patients with peripheral neuropathy, fatigue, and nausea. Her acupuncture treatments are safe, gentle and effective.

Ilumina is a calm, nurturing and uplifting environment for all patients and especially for those experiencing the side effects of cancer treatment.

http://www.healthcmi.com/index.php/acupuncturist-news-online/620-acupunctureceucancerpainbaltimoremaryland

Acupuncture: Another Option When Facing Depression

A recent study in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry suggests that acupuncture, as a stand-alone therapy, may be quite effective for mild to moderate depression. This particular report was a compilation of several different studies looking at the effectiveness of acupuncture at relieving the symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Our practitioner, Catherine Travis, L.Ac. was part of the University of Arizona 's National Institute of Health's funded study "Acupuncture and the Treatment of Depression " and is quite familiar with the research on this subject.

Read the complete article.. http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120903/entlife/709039967/

September 10 Lecture: Enhance Fertility with Dr. Dana Price

ilumina Healing Sanctuary Lecture SeriesTopic: Enhance Fertility

Date: September 10, 2012 Time: 6:00 to 7:00 pm Location: ilumina on Camelback

Dr. Dana Price DOM, L.Ac., FABORM will be presenting information on Enhancing Fertility with Traditional Chinese Medicine. Dana has been in practice since 1999 and has been sought after for her experience and expertise.

Please call 602-957-2602, or email office@iluminahealing.com to reserve your space.