Acupuncture for Bell’s Palsy

Bell’s Palsy often sneaks in overnight; and waking with a paralysis of the facial muscles can be quite alarming — often people believe they have suffered a stroke.  The good news is Bell’s Palsy is often a temporary paralysis, and if you get acupuncture treatments several days a week immediately after onset, it will usually heal fully within a few months and often much quicker.

Bell’s causes asymmetry of the facial appearance, usually impacting only one side of the face.  Impaired function from Bell’s Palsy can affect your body’s ability to eat, drink, speak and open and close your eyes.   In addition, facial asymmetry affects an individual’s appearance and so Bell’s can affect psychological and social behaviors effecting the personal quality of a patients life.

Western medicine treats Bell’s Palsy most often with corticosteroid therapy to reduce inflammation.  The use of steroids is controversial as steroids can have serious side effects especially with long term use.   Acupuncture offers a method to support your body through a speedy recovery, there are no side effects, and it is recommended by many doctors and the National Institute of Health as one of the best avenues of treatment for Bell’s Palsy.

In China, acupuncture has been used for centuries to assist in Bell’s Palsy recovery.  According to Traditional Chinese Medicine principles, the root cause of Bells Palsy is believed to be two things: “external wind attacking the channels of the face,” and weakness in the underlying qi (a person’s inherent energy).  The treatment goal is to expel wind and resolve damp, while invigorating the qi and blood circulation to the facial tissue with consistent acupuncture treatments.  Unlike western treatment, acupuncture treats the root cause in addition to deeply relaxing a patient, and helping to relieve stress so healing can take place more naturally.  Through this avenue, acupuncture can alleviate symptoms and substantially quicken the recovery process of Bell’s Palsy patients.

Stress can worsen Bell’s Palsy, and is often thought to be a factor in bringing on an episode.  Taking vitamins B12, B6, as well as zinc can promote nerve growth and help speed recovery of damaged facial nerves.  Supplements like St. John’s Wort, Valerian, and Ashwaganda can also be used to relieve stress that can contribute to and possibly be a factor in Bell’s Palsy incidents.

Along with Acupuncture, massage can also help ease the symptoms of Bell’s Palsy.  Gently massaging the afflicted areas of the face, and practicing daily facial exercises can speed recovery.   A full body massage on areas that are unaffected by the condition can also help keep the blood and energy flowing freely to the tissues that do need healing.

Patients with Bell’s Palsy can have several weeks of recovery time in which they may choose to take some time off from any rigorous daily routines to reduce stress, get plenty of rest and get acupuncture!  Charlotte recommends starting acupuncture as soon as possible after onset, and getting treatments 3-5 times a week for the first few weeks.

Teens Love Acupuncture!

It’s true — teenagers love and benefit from acupuncture in so many ways.  Acupuncture helps balance male and female hormone cycles, and when teens are first navigating hormone fluctuations it can feel intense for both teens and their parents!  Acupuncture helps teens unwind and relax, supporting them in the intense demands of the middle and high school years and the rapid growth of mind, body and spirit that happens in these years as they explore and learn who they are.

As us parents of teenagers know, it’s hard to slow them down – yet acupuncture actually does “pin them down!” . . . for awhile anyway.  Over and over in our clinic I witness teens easily go into a deep state of relaxation with acupuncture.  Yes, they sleep, unwind, and wake up refreshed and ready to conquer their multi-faceted day!

If your teens are exploring drug use, using drugs, or addicted to their smart phones or other screens remember it takes a village.   These difficult times are easier to navigate when you incorporate a solid self care support system for you and your teen.   Read this blog about an acupuncture treatment plan for addictions, anxiety and depression.  I can help!

Acupuncture helps unplug, reset and unwind that overtaxed teenage brain!  There is so much growing and transition from the teen adolescent years well into their 20’s — big hormonal changes, demands at school and in sports, and just learning to navigate the everyday stressors of life.   The transformation from adolescence to young adult is hard work.  My son is very active in sports and says acupuncture helps his tired muscles let go, relax and stay strong.   It helps him quickly overcome the bumps and bruises that come with the active teen lifestyle, and it helps him focus and study for big tests at school.  He often says hey mom “how ’bout some acupuncture!”

Here’s a personal acupuncture account from Isabel Luecke, a lovely accomplished teen writer who frequently visits my clinic and would like to share her experience:

“It was just the other day that, suffering from both writer’s block and the carpal tunnel that was the symptom of not having writers block, that I went to get acupuncture. This had not been my first visit and, unless I suddenly end up living solely in a survivalist bunker, it will not be my last. I use acupuncture to treat everything from colds to skin blemishes, to re-inspire and relax. It is truly something that I wholeheartedly recommend for people of all ages.”

And here’s a personal quote from sweet Gracie, age 13 who also comes regularly for acupuncture:

“I have been going to Charlotte for acupuncture for a few months to work on relaxation for anxiety. I like it because it is relaxing and helps me get a grip on life.  It doesn’t hurt at all.  I love it!

Acupuncture helps teens learn a strong and steady pattern of  slowing their bodies down, letting go to rest, breathe and unwind when needed.  Self-care is a nice thing to teach our teenagers, it is a skill that gets refined over time and serves them well.   Believe me your teen will thank you for introducing them early in life to this ancient medicine for our sometimes overstimulating busy modern world.  Even if at first teens are skeptical or a little bit nervous, once they experience the deep relaxation and healing power of Acupuncture, they quickly become believers!

I’ve also noticed some of our teens are having allergies.   Here in Austin along with all the lovely bloomin’ green, and the beautiful lakes and rivers that support the nature that abounds — come the high mold spores, grass and tree pollen.  Sometimes we get an over-zealous immune response to this abundance of pollen inundating our body, causing symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, scratchy throat, and swollen lymph glands — this is an overactive inflammatory response.  Acupuncture helps balance, soothe and support the immune system so it does not consider the pollen and molds threatening invaders requiring such arduous response.  A little proactive care at home helps too, nasal rinses – I recommend NeilMed, showers to rinse off the excess pollen from the day, a healthy diet free of inflammatory foods, a healthy gut equals a healthy body, and the right herbal remedies and supplements to support the immune system through the more challenging seasons in Austin.

Helping your teen set up a support network outside the vital support they get at home is nice because it expands their self-care knowledge and supports you in your job as parents — it takes a village!

So instead of here take this pill to fix what ails you — acupuncture says . . .  here try this needle it will remind your body of what it innately knows how to do . . . balance, relax,  heal and transform!  To add to your teens good qi flowing contact me here, I will support them in making positive changes in their health.

 

Summer Vacation and Travel Acupuncture!

A lot of my peeps are traveling this summer, both here in the states and abroad.  I want to remind you that building immunity to prepare for a healthy summer vacation is important — this helps your trip remain stress free so you can return feeling rejuvenated and recharged from your vacation rather than depleted and fatigued.

Acupuncture not only helps strengthen the immune system, but helps prevent and relieve jet lag, motion sickness, flight anxiety, and balance your body’s rhythms.

Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle.  The term circadian comes from Latin words that literally mean “around the day.”  When traveling, especially to different time zones, we get around our day outside of our normal flow and rhythm.   When we give our body the right support to stay in balance throughout changes in our usual rhythm and environment, it can do so without skipping a beat, which is such a nice feeling!  After traveling, come reset your circadian rhythms — your body’s internal clock at Acupuncture Together.

Does flying, or driving long distances make you nervous, stiff, tired, give you headaches or nausea?  Acupuncture soothes the nerves and takes your body into a state of relaxation you can carry with you on your summer journeys.  Acupuncture can relieve tension and help keep your nervous system balanced and strong, by supporting the qi (energy) to flow freely, this also helps prevent headaches and nausea.  I can show you a few good acupressure points for your travels, as well as prescribe you an herbal remedy that helps with any travel challenges you tend to have.

When traveling it’s sometimes more challenging to eat as healthy as we do at home — so our digestive systems can take a hit.   Acupuncture is good for regulating digestion and if you come before and after your trip, acupuncture can assist in keeping the digestive juices flowing freely and your intestinal tract running smoothly!

Too much drinking and partying on your trip — get acupuncture to unwind, detox and reset.  Get one or two treatments before you embark on your travels.  You can also get a treatment the day of travel if you leave in the afternoon, or get a treatment the evening prior to leaving early the next morning.   I wish you happy healthy travels . . . see you around the clinic this summer!

Happy Summer Solstice!

Charlotte

 

 

 

Insurance Sucks . . . Acupuncture Rocks!

Are you concerned about healthcare in America, and where it’s headed?  Well I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately!  Let me introduce you to a great healthcare option — Acupuncture, and better yet – Affordable Acupuncture!

Health Insurance Sucks, the premiums are getting higher and higher and coverage less and less.  The good news is in many cases, you can rely less on insurance and prescription medications, and more on holistic healthcare like Acupuncture, and diet, nutrition and lifestyle changes to help you feel better.

I am one of the fortunate that Obama Care helped – and for now I have a decent policy.   I’ve used that policy for getting diagnostics this year, as I see the benefit of western medicine diagnostics especially when they are not particularly invasive.  However, after getting the diagnostics I feel I need, most often I then turn to the holistic healthcare model of care for gently and naturally guiding my body back into balance when needed and helping me stay healthy and strong.  We are lucky here in Austin as it is a city rich in holistic healthcare resources, and  Acupuncture is one of them!

Charlotte can help you resolve your health issues and feel better, see some of the many ways Acupuncture can help below:

CHART What Can Acupuncture Treat jpg

In many cases digestive symptoms, headaches, and even pain are due to stress, anxiety, overwork or depression.  Acupuncture helps bring your body back to a state of relaxation, so instead of the usual “here take this pill it will fix things — but be notified it could cause several other problems,” we say Try Acupuncture!  Acupuncture reminds your body what it is innately able to do – Heal, and it supports your body to do just that and stay in balance!

So remember, Acupuncture is a great option for many common healthcare issues.  We also help guide our patients when they are interested towards healthier diet, nutrition and lifestyle through Charlotte’s Herbal and Holistic Healthcare Consults!   When you feel the need for an MD by all means it’s important to go . . . however, when you feel your body needs more natural healing support which gets to the root of the issue and re-balances your body systems  Acupuncture is the way to go!   Our bodies are so smart and able to reprogram, adjust, and compensate as necessary when supported through a healing process holistically.  Healing works best when we tend to our diet, and nutrition, get plenty of rest, exercise and give our body gentle and loving support to guide it on its way.

That said, what will you do to care for yourself after your doctor checkup, and diagnostics?  Charlotte is here to help and would love to introduce you to the ancient medicine healing modality of Acupuncture, it’s still around because it works!

Is Getting a Flu Shot Your Only Option?

This post is a collaborative effort of homemademommy.net and seasonshealth.com. 

I just received the latest monthly email newsletter from my daughter’s (former) pediatrician’s office with a ‘flu season update’. The whole newsletter urges parents to get the flu vaccine in their office. They go on to say that they are almost out of ‘preservative free’ vaccines but that the risks of getting the flu this season were high enough that they recommend parents get their children vaccinated with the vaccine containing preservatives.

I do not think there is any real risk-benefit analysis going on in this pediatrician’s office. Especially when a recent New York Times article states:

Last month, in a step tantamount to heresy in the public health world, scientists at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota released a report saying that influenza vaccinations provide only modest protection for healthy young and middle-age adults, and little if any protection for those 65 and older, who are most likely to succumb to the illness or its complications. Moreover, the report’s authors concluded, federal vaccination recommendations, which have expanded in recent years, are based on inadequate evidence and poorly executed studies.

“We have over-promoted and overhyped this vaccine,” said Michael T. Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, as well as its Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance. “It does not protect as promoted. It’s all a sales job: it’s all public relations.”

Conventional Options

The newsletter proceeds to give tips for avoiding colds and flu this season including:

  • Avoiding close contact with people
  • Staying home
  • Hand washing
  • Getting sleep

As I have said before, all these kinds of newsletters do is breed fear and loss of control. If the only ways to prevent the flu are to get a shot full of preservatives and to live in a proverbial bubble, then we are in a sorry state of affairs.

This is what I was told year after year due to my asthma. My doctor always recommended (well more like strongly insisted) that I get a flu shot and always made me feel as if I was going to die if I got the flu because I had asthma. Most years, I was told there was not enough vaccine for everyone but that I would receive one as top priority because I had asthma. And I did end up in the hospital for four days once with pneumonia so I took these recommendations very seriously.

But a year and a half ago, I started eating real food and building my immune system from the inside out. I have since reversed my asthma and have not had symptoms or had to take any western medicine in over a year. I now believe we can be more empowered to not dread these winter cold and flu seasons. We can help ourselves with proper diet and supplements to ensure our bodies are not breeding grounds for viruses. This helps to avoid getting sick in the first place or to diminish the length and severity of illness we do end up getting. This year I have finally been able to come in contact with someone who was sick and not actually get sick myself. This is a gigantic feat in my book as I used to get sick at the drop of a hat.

‘Not So New’ Tools to Prevent Illness and Shorten Duration and Severity

We employ a whole foods based supplement approach as well as incorporating Traditional Chinese Medicine for its anti-viral support and also management of symptoms. Below is a list of herbs and supplements I use to help myself and my family to stay well and to get well quickly when we do get sick. It is important to remember that having a skilled and qualified practitioner prescribe and guide you through use of these herbs is required.

My excellent acupuncturist and diet and nutrition expert, Charlotte Sobeck, collaborated with me on this post and she notes that the TCM herbs below are powerful medicine.

Some of these herbs are ‘dispersing’, meaning they release the heat, toxin, and viral pathogens out of your body, often thru promoting sweating — you must keep warm, bundled and protect your pores when they are in this process or you can make the pathogen worse. Also any of these remedies taken for long periods of time without guidance could clear too much and leave someone feeling depleted. They are medicine.

I know just how powerful they are in that they have helped me to get over my seasonal allergies including cedar fever and they have enabled my husband and I to finally avoid our seasonal sinus infection treatments with antibiotics – in fact, we never get sinus infections at all anymore.

So, with that disclaimer, on to the supplements and herbs:

Herb CollageCod Liver Oil

Cod liver oil (where to buy cod liver oil) is liquid gold and has so many benefitsincluding being rich in vitamins A and D which have been proven time and again to support a healthy immune system. Fish oil may be high in omega-3s but for A and D, generic fish oil can’t hold a candle to cod liver oil. How many of your parents or grandparents took this as a child? Their generation and all the generations before them were on to something. I take the capsules and give my daughter the liquid variety every day.

Ban Lan Gen

Ba Lan Gen is a heat clearing detoxifying herb, it can be mixed with other herbs to make a formula to treat viruses with fever, sore throat, swollen glands etc. It has anti-viral properties and can be used to prevent virus on occasion. One must be careful not to overuse.

Gan Mao Ling — (Ban Lan Gen is in this formula)

Gan Mao Ling is for viruses with sore throat, swollen glands, fever and chills, sinuses, or swollen lymph. This formula is often used to prevent colds and influenzas when an exposure has taken place. It can be useful also when Yin Qiao (below) doesn’t work. Also useful as a preventative when traveling on airlines or other places where there may be shared air supplies.

Yin Qiao

Yin Qiao is a milder formula with herbs that clear heat for the beginning stages of common cold and flu with sore throat, fever, slight or no chills, HA, cough.

Evergreen’s Herbal ENT

This formula is for infection and inflammation in the upper parts of the body including the ears, nose and throat (ENT). It has an antibiotic effect to treat infection, anti-inflammatory effect to reduce swelling and relieve pain and an antipyretic effect to reduce fever. Great for any ear, nose or throat infections. This formula also includes Ban Lan Gen, along with other herbs that clear heat toxin like Huang Lian, Huang Qin and Lian Qiao.

For Seasonal Allergies like Cedar Fever, Pollen, etc.:

Evergreen’s Magnolia Clear Sinus or Pe Min Kan Wan

Magnolia Clear Sinus contains the herb Xin Yi Hua (magnolia) which unblocks nasal congestion and relieves allergy symptoms of sneezing, nasal discharge, sinus pain and headaches. This herb is great for winter and spring seasonal allergies. This herb truly amazes me, I can be fully congested and I take this and voila – no more congestion in my sinuses. I have no idea how it works but it works!

Evergreen’s Pueraria Clear Sinus or Bi Yan Pian

A more potent sinus clearing formula for impacted sinuses with purulent yellow mucous, pain and sinus infections. This formula includes the sinus clearing magnolia herb as well, but adds other herbs like Bai Zhi, Cang Er Zi, etc. which make it stronger along with herbs that will clear the toxic heat of an infection like Shi Gao and Huang Qin.

Strengthening your Immune System

The most important aspect to all of this is building up a strong immune system by eating immune boosting real food (probiotic fermented foods are a must!) and doing some gut healing. From A TCM standpoint, the Jade Screen formula is also a popular immune booster in the winter months. For a daily preventative, of course try this No Flu Tea recipe as well. I hope all of you stay well this winter!

Solstice Greetings and Winter Wellness Tips

Solstice Greetings!

The longest night of the year is tonight, December 21st, beginning our journey into Winter. Today is a good time to reflect upon the darkness and the amazing things that happen in the night, and then how we can bring light into our being in the New Year. Winter is often a challenging time for our immune and respiratory systems. To stay healthy and vital through the winter months it is important to support and strengthen our body’s natural defense mechanism, the immune system. When the immune system is strong, the body is better prepared to handle the ever changing Texas weather, stress, and the unavoidable pressures of daily life. Probiotics can safeguard your health this winter, keep your digestion working, eliminate harmful microbes from your body protecting it from dangerous bacteria and viruses. They can also heal your intestines from antibiotics and greatly enhance your immune system, helping you avoid seasonal allergies and asthma.  Not any probiotic will do, visit me for the probiotic best matched for your constitutional need and a wealth of other comprehensive care and products available.

Tips for Preventing and Treating the Flu:

  • Eat local and seasonal foods that support your body in winter and avoid foods that deplete your body of the reserves it will need during this season
  • Schedule an appointment for your Winter Wellness Diet Solution
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and avoid touching your own mouth, nose and eyes when away from home and unable to wash your hands
  • Wash your hands well several times daily with a gentle non antibacterial soap
  • Chinese medicine believes that wind invasion can weaken your body and make catching a cold more likely, so protect your body from the wind by donning a scarf, hat and underclothes on your body and your child’s when outdoors this winter, keep your feet warm and dry and if they do get wet, and have delicious cod liver oil available to boost your immunity!
  • Protect your good health this year with the comprehensive range of care and products available from me, including chinese herbal anti-virals and winter tonics

Remember as you watch the colorful leaves fall conserving the tree’s energy for the cold winter’s months, the roots of the tree are reaching deep into the warm earth for protection so it can continue to thrive and grow all winter long.  We are connected to nature and can glean guidance from watching the plants and animals prepare themselves for winter.  Little squirrels are gathering nuts with plenty of healthy fat to keep themselves nourished all winter long. Creatures are burrowing down into the warmth of the earth for a winter’s nap.   This winter visit your local farmer’s markets and load up on deep root vegetables and dark greens that grow this season to nourish your bodies, drink warm rich homemade broths, get plenty of rest, keep warm and cozy and have a prosperous New Year full of all  things that bring you and yours joy and that priceless feeling of good health.

Warmly,

Charlotte Sobeck, MSOM, L.Ac.

Solstice Information