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 new 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.

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!

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 boy 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 our clinic and would like to share her experience with our peeps:

“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 whole-heartedly 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, and to breathe and unwind when it’s needed.  Self-care is a nice thing to teach our teenagers, and 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 – they quickly become believers once they experience the deep relaxation and healing power of Acupuncture.

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 things like sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, scratchy throat, and swollen lymph glands — this is an overactive inflammatory response.  Acupuncture helps to 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, and the right herbal remedies and supplements to help support the immune system through the more challenging seasons here 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 (but beware it may cause other issues) — 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 Charlotte.

 

Austin Cedar Fever

Cedar Fever Meet Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine!

The wind-pollinated cedar (mountain juniper) trees are about to be in full bloom compromising many of our respiratory systems this time of year.   The amount of cedar pollen in the air is a factor in whether cedar fever symptoms such as  sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, congestion, and difficulty breathing develop and how intense they can become.   Dry, windy days are more likely to have increased amounts of cedar pollen in the air than cold, damp and rainy days when cedar pollen is washed to the ground.  The alternating warm then cold days without long periods of freezing temperatures we often experience in Austin promote cedar pollen to grow and thrive in abundance – then the windy days carry it to our noses.

In Acupuncture and Herbal medicine we view cedar fever as an overactive immune response due to an unbalanced immune system.  This can happen for several reasons, including poor sleep, stress, poor diet and nutrition, and other unhealthy lifestyle habits which can energetically weaken organ systems.

Cedar tree pollen count is generally highest from December through February and often continues into March when other pollen arrives.  Don’t wait until the cedar winds blow, come for weekly preventative treatments beginning the week of Halloween and boost your immune system to help avoid symptoms that can compromise your health when cedar pollen is in the air.   If symptoms do arise, bi-weekly treatments are helpful to assist your immune system in re-balancing, then maintenance treatments throughout the season are ideal.

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!