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  • My Rainbow Baby, Jack

    My Rainbow Baby, Jack

    By Anna Pyne, LAc MSOM FABORM

    It is with such gratitude in my heart and soul that I can share with you, that I delivered Jack Fitzgerald Pyne on July 22nd 2016. He was born at 9 lbs 9 oz and 22 inches long, with a full head of thick black hair. We are so blessed to have him, our third child. His sisters Lily 5 years old and Claire 3 years old have so much fun doting on him and entertaining him. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by all this love. It has certainly enhanced my motivation in helping others fulfill their dreams of becoming a parent too. It feels wonderful to be back at Pulling Down the Moon as an acupuncturist/herbalist.

    Last year June ’15 my husband and I had our first (and thankfully only) miscarriage in the first trimester. It was devastating. I had a difficult time moving forward but eventually did with some help. Of course being an acupuncturist I was giving myself acupuncture treatments weekly to twice a week directly after our loss, and continued throughout my pregnancy with Jack. I was also taking Chinese herbs to enhance the acupuncture therapy for improving fertility. The formulas would vary depending upon where I was at in my cycle. I utilized our unique massage services at Pulling Down the Moon. I started out with our Cleanse the Body massage and moved forward from there with the rest of our Fertility Enhancing Massages (FEM protocol). There is a specific massage for every stage of the cycle. Nutritionally I was taking all of our recommended egg quality supplements, except for the Melatonin as my sleep was fine. Luckily it only took two cycles before we conceived again using this regimen. I was so nervous during the entire first trimester, which was a new feeling for me as I did not have any difficulty with my girls. I kept up with the acupuncture, herbs, massage, and nutrition throughout the entire pregnancy which helped contribute to the delivery of our healthy baby boy Jack.

  • Massage for Two!

    Massage for two!
    By Meredith Nathan, LMT, Director of Massage
    Let’s be honest…massage reaches a whole new level of amazing when you’re prego. The benefits for mama-to-be are far reaching, and usually become more and more apparent the farther into the pregnancy you are. As your baby grows, the weight in the belly increases, pulling the low back forward and throwing the spine into an exaggerated ‘S’ curve. All the muscles along the spine have to adjust and, as a result, new patterns of back tension and pain emerge. Relaxin kicks in, loosening the joints of the hips – this is necessary for a successful labor, but leads to waddling and increased hip and front ligament tension. Add to this other common pregnancy symptoms: swelling, carpal tunnel, headaches, stress, anxiety and more, and massage becomes next in line to food, water, and shelter on the list of top things you need to survive!
    But the benefits of massage extend beyond helping mama to be more comfortable…there are benefits to baby too! Increase blood flow stimulates her growing body, and touch is how she receives information (so don’t be surprised if while you’re relaxing on the table your little one starts throwing a dance party!). Meanwhile, lymphatic stimulation to mama means that baby is growing in a cleaner environment, as the lymph carries toxins and excessive hormones to the lymph nodes where they are processed and purified.
    So how often should you receive prenatal massage? First of all, wait to begin till your second trimester*, and even then make sure your massage therapist is prenatally certified, as there are points on the body and techniques that should be avoided. Once you’re at 14 weeks, a good rule of thumb is to come in monthly; this provides a great foundation to support your body and your baby during your second trimester. Don’t be surprised though if your body starts asking for more frequent work during the third trimester – coming in weekly during the last 6 to 8 weeks of pregnancy is healthy and encouraged! Many women report that the more massage they received during their pregnancy, the healthier and better they felt up until labor, and s tudies even show that women who have received regular prenatal massage have greater a chance of reduced pain perception during labor and delivery. They tend to have shorter labors and have healthier babies (as measured by higher Apgar and Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment scores).
    No marathon or mountain climb can hold a candle to the trillions of subtle functions your body is performing every day. So take the time to nurture yourself, while your body performs it’s ultimate feat!
    ​* In your first trimester, we recommend receiving ‘Unwind the Mind’, a session that has been created specifically for a woman in her early pregnancy.​

  • Remaining Hopeful

    Remaining Hopeful

    By Christine Davis, LAc., MSOM

    The process of struggling to achieve something you really want can take a toll on you! If you have been trying to conceive for some time, maybe a lot of time, it is hard to see the forest from the trees and remain hopeful in spite of hardships, struggles and losses. It can be difficult to dig deep into your spirit to find the well of hope that keeps you going. Here are some ideas to help keep your spirit vibrant and ready to keep moving forward:

    1. STOP! Take time to breathe, focus, meditate, pray – whatever will work best for you to find that place of peace and serenity that your soul needs. Try building an activity like this into your daily schedule. It is as important as eating a good diet and getting enough rest and exercise! Try guided meditations or a yoga class (Pulling Down the Moon offers fertility-focused classes that include these techniques). It is important to note that this time should not always focus on reflecting or trying to solve problems. Instead, it is a time to recharge your batteries, restore your ability to center yourself, and equip yourself with the emotional and energetic tools to carry on.
    1. Think about something else! Sometimes concentrating on work, family, friends, hobbies, fun stuff, etc. can help to keep things in perspective and keep us going. Maybe take up a new class or hobby. Have you ever tried flamenco dancing? Stained glass making? Want to learn more about astronomy? Do it! Changing your focus for part of each day helps to make you feel more balanced and joyful.
    1. Let go of trying to control. Even with all the numbers, data, and testing, it is easy to feel that much is out of your control when you are trying to conceive. There are just so many factors at play. Instead of filling your mind with all the potential scenarios based on your numbers, try to trust that you are doing everything you can (even when you need to be lazy or relaxed!) to make this happen. You have chosen a great team of experts to be on your side, you have friends or family members who are rooting for your success, and you are involved and present in the process when you need to be. You are taking the medications, timing your cycle, eating the right foods (see our Nutritionist if you feel you need help making the right choices), etc. It is impossible to control every piece yourself. Trust and take comfort that you ARE doing what you can.
    1. Give negativity the boot! Do you have people or things in your life that are bringing you down? Take some time to detach from the things that aren’t helping you be your best self. Part of Chinese Medicine, along with acupuncture and herbs, is Chinese geomancy or feng shui . This is the idea that a harmonious living and working environment leads to good health. Get rid of clutter from your home, closets, car, and workspace like it’s your job! Surround yourself with colors, images, sounds and smells that make you feel confident and happy. Anything else is holding you back from feeling joyful and may be worsening stress and poor health. Are there relationships that are toxic in your life? Maybe jettison those that aren’t necessary and distance yourself from the ones you cannot completely remove. There will always be some people or situations that are unpleasant that you must confront, but make sure to keep your boundaries up. Remember Dirty Dancing ? “Here’s my dance space, that’s yours… Let’s Cha-Cha!” Concentrate on relationships that bring joy, inspiration, and fun to your life. Make an effort to be kind, compassionate and considerate of others.
    1. Be grateful. This is probably the hardest one. When we have experienced frustration, loss and heartache it is so painful to see those around us who all seem to be having success with ease. First, understand that in this world where we are tormented by social media “perfect lives,” celebrity worship, and billboards/magazines/emails that tell us if we have more we will be happy, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that NO ONE’S journey is perfect and easy. Turn away from social media and regular media that is leading you to believe that things are always supposed to be happy and ideal. We learn from struggle. We grow from challenge. Embrace your own journey and live your best life. This includes giving yourself slack, allowing yourself to feel your emotions fully so that you can move past them, and really concentrating on gratitude as the path.

    I love this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” Allow yourself to cry. Allow yourself to be angry and frustrated. And then, allow yourself to let these feelings subside and find the light

  • Eating Seasonally: Benefits of Eating Root Vegetables

    Eating Seasonally: Benefits of Eating Root Vegetables

    By Shawna Schwalb, MS, LDN

    The leaves are stunning. Red, gold, orange, maroon piles crunch under your feet as you walk in the fall in Chicago. Underneath the leaves, the earth is growing colder and many animals and plants are finding a new place to find home. Root vegetables grow during this cooler season. Eating in season is best for your system. Root vegetables keep you grounded as they are grown underground. You absorb this energy from them as they settle your being and satisfy your sweet tooth. Before people ate refined sugar, they ate naturally sweet root vegetables to satisfy their sweet cravings.

    Yams, beets, parsnips, carrots, onions, beets, winter squashes, sweet potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, yuca, kohlrabi, garlic, celery root, horseradish, daikon, red radishes, burdock, turmeric, jicama, Jerusalem artichokes, maca root and ginger are some of the wonderful varieties of root vegetables that are widely available this time of year. Root vegetables tend to be sweeter and may help with digestion and provide your body with a steady supply of energy. Unlike sugar, root vegetables help you stay focused since they are digested more slowly than sugar and help you avoid the blood sugar highs and lows that you get with sugar. Adding in sweet root vegetables is a great way to crowd out less healthy foods.

    Because root vegetables grow underground, they absorb the beneficial nutrients from the soil. Ginger and turmeric may help with nausea and reduce inflammation. Maca root may support the immune system and may help with fertility in men and women by increasing energy and providing vital nutrients. Maca is also source of iron and iodine.

    Eating at least 5 servings a day of fresh fruits and vegetables is important all the time, but especially important when trying to conceive. Try steaming, roasting and stir-frying these vegetables. They can also be simmered and pureed to create a soup, or you can simply eat them raw or grated into a salad. Have fun and enjoy eating seasonably for fall and winter as you reap all the benefits.