Is it Hot in Here?!

By Dr Helena Para LAc, DACM, MSTOM

With the quickly approaching summer, and Chicago’s humid tendencies already underway, some people may be getting concerned about staying cool. One such population would be women with a tendency towards hot flashes. While we most often associate hot flashes with menopause and ladies over 45, there are other reasons for this bothersome temperature dysregulation. Pregnancy, menstruation, premature menopause and anxiety can all be causes of hot flashes, and some individuals are just heat intolerant overall. Interestingly, Traditional Chinese Medicine pays particular attention to your body’s internal and external temperature, and you may find that your acupuncturist often asks about temperature even when you don’t have any complaints associated with it.

The best way to balance temperature and clear heat is the integration of acupuncture into your health care routine. Your acupuncturist can determine the root cause of the fluctuations you are experiencing and bring your body back into balance. If you want to carry on the heat clearing outside of the treatment room- you can also eat foods that are “cooling” in nature.

Alfalfa sprouts Apple

Artichoke Apricot

Asparagus Avocado

Bamboo Shoots Banana

Beets Blueberry

Bok Choy Cantaloupe

Broccoli Cranberry

Cabbage Fig

Carrots Grapefruit

Cauliflower Lemon

Cilantro Lime

Collards Orange

Cucumber Peach

Daikon Pear

Dandelion Persimmon

Mushroom Strawberry

Potato Tomato

Seaweed Watermelon

Snow Pea Barley

Spinach Kamut

Squash Millet

Watercress Rice

Try a Nutrition Consultation in June AND a follow-up session for only $99!  It is great for general health, your fertility treatment plan, during pregnancy, and postpartum. Learn more here.

Don’t miss the opportunity to meet Helena in Sept for our FREE Points to Ponder:  Acupuncture, Community, and Stress Reduction session in Chicago! Have more questions about how acupuncture can help you or want to schedule an initial consultation?  Call us today at: 312-321-0004.

Stay Cool While TTC

 

Kelly Lyons, L.Ac., MSOM

Summer is here, in Chicago! It is time to get out, play, and stay cool. While trying to conceive in the heat, there are a few things to remember, and they are not new ideas.

  • Cotton is queen! Organic cotton is even better, especially down there. For guys and girls, it is important to stay cool and non-toxic where it counts, so wear loose clothes made of organic materials.
  • Use peppermint essential oil in your diffusers at home, and look for cooling, non-toxic deodorants.  They are stronger than ever, and last much longer than cheaper versions.
  • Diet and fluids are vital. Keep your barbecues sensible. If you are charring meat, know that you are creating heat and inflammation. So add greens, add cucumber and watermelon, and add water to drink, even if it is in between alcoholic beverages. Alcohol creates heat, so if you imbibe, hydrate smart with coconut water, electrolyte water and lemon and cucumber water, and fresh fruit and watery vegetables.
  • Keep your distance at night. If you can, sometimes it’s relaxing to sleep alone and rendezvous with your partner in the middle of the night. Two bodies lying next to each other on a hot night creates a lot of heat.  Studies show that birth rates are lower 8-10 months after hot days. (https://wol.iza.org/uploads/articles/375/pdfs/does-hot-weather-affect-human-fertility.pdf?v=1) What is more important about this study is that the discomfort leading to a lack of intercourse was not the primary contributing factor to the lower birth rates. It was more likely a decline in reproductive health—lower sperm production in males, and potential embryonic development issues, once fertilization occurred, in females.
  • Play with air conditioning wisely! The environmental costs of air conditioning are pretty high. So use it, and use it wisely if you’re TTC. It’s a tough call, because do you keep your air on all day? It takes more energy to re-cool a warm room, than it does to lower the temp in an already cool room. You make the call, but air conditioning is going to help humans keep making babies as temperatures rise, and it will do it an environmental cost. Experiment to find the sweet spot with your energy use.
  • Find your local watering hole and enjoy it.  The closer you are to a body of water on a hot day, the cooler the temps will be. If you are on the water, you will stay cooler throughout the warmest part of the day. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
  • Iced Beverages—when hydrating, keep it simple. Filtered water in a stainless water bottle is your best friend. Add ice, lemon, cucumber, crushed mint leaves to it. To add variety to your fluids, ice some matcha green tea and add some mint.
  • Disconnect your devices, and keep them out of the bedroom, at night. It is not always easy to keep your phone off your person, but at night, definitely do it. It will serve you.  Keep your devices off your laps, in general, and especially out of your front pockets.
  • Emotions! In Chinese Medicine, all emotions eventually create qi stagnation and heat accumulation. How it does this is fascinating, and can help you manage your response to all of your emotions. Imagine an event or encounter stimulates an emotion in you. When we have the capacity to witness that emotion, it is easier to let go. But more often than not, because of the sheer volume of stimuli, we do not let go of every emotion we experience in a day. These emotions that linger, sometimes get stuck. That stuck emotional energy blocks free flow of other energy and the stagnation builds. When stuck energy builds in one channel or body area, it creates heat. I love to describe this in the terms of a party. Imagine this: You are having a party. Your house is all set. You are a little chilly in the living room so you’re wearing a sweater.  Joy arrives early. You two chat and then Sorrow arrives. They start catching and then Excited arrives. The party is starting to get lively. Anger and Anxious arrive together and the room is really filling up and WARMING UP. You take off your sweater. Sympathetic and Loving arrive and it is really starting to heat up. You hydrate, and go the other room to cool off and get some space. By the time Mopey and Kind show up, you don’t want to be in the living room anymore because you can barely move and it is so hot. This is how emotions build up and stagnate in the body, and lead to heat. So remember to manage your emotional life, so that things keep moving.
  • Come in and get acupuncture and herbs! There are many things we can do in the office to help you clear heat and cool down, so ask your acupuncturist if you have heat signs and if you should amp up your heat clearing at home.

Things are getting hotter, and we want you to enjoy it!

 

 

Supporting Milk Supply

Have you recently given birth and noticed that you are having issues with your supply of milk? Did you know acupuncture can help with insufficient lactation?

Image result for milk supply

Breast milk is the main food source for infants and breastfeeding has been shown to provide many benefits to both the mother and baby. Breastfeeding benefits the baby by increasing the baby’s immunity while decreasing the risk of respiratory tract infections and diarrhea, lowering the risk of asthma, food allergies, type 1 diabetes, and leukemia. Breastfeeding may also help with cognitive development and decrease the risk of obesity in adulthood. Breastfeeding also benefits the mother in a number of ways including better uterus shrinkage and less postpartum depression. Long term benefits that have been seen for mother’s that breastfeed are a decreased risk of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

While breastfeeding has many benefits to both mother and baby, there are many women that suffer from a lack of sufficient milk supply. Insufficient lactation usually occurs 2-6 weeks after birth. A decreased amount of milk supply can be caused for a number of reasons. Some examples are a difficult birth, excessive bleeding after birth, history of miscarriage, IVF treatments, multiple children, high levels of stress and tension, and age. The great news is that acupuncture can help increase milk supply. Acupuncture restores the normal breast milk production by nourishing and regenerating the body’s blood supply and fluids that are lost during the birthing process. Research conducted at the Hanzhong Shanxi Hospital demonstrates that specific acupuncture points significantly boosts lactation quantities. This study showed that women who had acupuncture successfully increased breast milk secretion from an average of 49.63 ml to 115.21 ml. In addition to the increased milk quantity, the lactating mothers receiving acupuncture had improvement in levels of prolactin (the hormone that stimulates milk production).

If you have any questions regarding how acupuncture can help with your breast milk supply or to schedule an appointment feel free to contact the office at 312.321.0004 or you can contact me directly at christina@pullingdownthemoon.com .

Christina is available in Chicago Wednesday mornings, Buffalo Grove Wednesday afternoons and Saturdays, then starting on May 22nd, she will be available in Highland Park on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

Christina Livas L.Ac.

* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325417/

** http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1773-acupuncture-boosts-breast-milk-production

** https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0254627208600382

Better Egg Quality and Follicular Development: Acupuncture Can Help

by Dr. Amie Shimmel

In honor of National Infertility Awareness month we at Pulling Down the Moon like to remind patients how acupuncture can help with better eggs and follicles.

Here’s how it works:

Medical research shows that acupuncture can influence hormone secretion from the pituitary hypothalamus and ovaries, collectively called the (HPO) axis. One of the most recent studies was conducted at Georgetown University Medical Center, July 2015; they found that acupuncture balances this HPO axis.

When an acupuncture needle is inserted into a specific acupuncture point this triggers the release of prostaglandins and opioid peptides into the bloodstream which lead to the production of a substance that transmits messages to the hypothalamus and pituitary and then transmits to the ovaries.

The acupuncture normalizes the secretion of the hormones such as (GrRH), (FSH), and (LH). This improves ovarian function creating more follicles and better egg quality.

The (HPO) Hypothalamus pituitary ovarian axis can be disrupted by stress, poor diet, age, etc. However this (HPO) axis can be positively influenced by many things, especially acupuncture.

The bottom line; women’s follicles and egg development can be enhanced by the balance of the endocrine system. Acupuncture balances the endocrine system.

We, at PDtM, recommend weekly acupuncture sessions to get the hormones in better balance and to help get the body as relaxed as possible. Acupuncture is accumulative therefore regular sessions can help shift the body in the direction the patient is looking for.

5 Ways Acupuncture Can Help Pregnancy

by Anna Pyne LAc, MSOM, FABORM

Acupuncture stems from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), an ancient medical model that dates back 3,000 to 5,000 years. There are 14 main meridians or pathways that are designated to each individual TCM organ. By stimulating the acupuncture points on any given pathway you can effect the paired organ associated with that meridian. Another way in which acupuncture works, is that it allows the body to recognize how to heal itself. A common question I get is, “Are the needles coated with medicine?”, to which the answer is no. The needles are non-coated stainless steel, solid, and as thin as a single strand of hair. Acupuncture should not be painful, or minimal sensation such as a quick pinch like a mosquito bite is the worst of it.

Pregnancy is one of the most wonderful stages in a woman’s life. There are a myriad of hormonal, physical, and emotional changes occurring in the body. Such an exciting time that can also be quite stressful. The majority of our pregnant patients are high risk, as they mostly struggled with infertility from the outset. Acupuncture can alleviate or mitigate numerous common ailments affiliated with pregnancy, and when received from a qualified practitioner is extremely safe during this time*. To list a few, the following are five ways in which acupuncture is beneficial:

1. Acupuncture Relieves Morning Sickness and Vomiting

Morning sickness is quite common during pregnancy especially in the first trimester. The American Pregnancy Association states that more than 50% of women will experience it. There are varying degrees of morning sickness and a mild case can be normal. However, if it is disrupting your daily routine, or if the condition has worsened and turned into vomiting, then treatment is necessary. Acupuncture is quite effective in reducing or eliminating nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy**.

2. Acupuncture Calms Insomnia

In pregnancy the body is busy at work producing more blood to grow a baby. There is a connection between blood deficiency and insomnia according to TCM. All of the mother’s blood will go towards the baby first, then whatever is left over goes toward nourishing mom. If the patient is in any way blood deficient, there will not be enough in the end to supplement her system. This in turn will disrupt the mother’s sleep. It can cause difficulty with falling and/or staying asleep. There are many wonderful acupuncture points we use to help build the blood supply to help treat insomnia so that mom can have her well deserved restful sleep.

3. Acupuncture Helps Decrease Depression and Anxiety

According to TCM the mind and the body are so intricately connected, that when one is off the other cannot help but be afflicted. Acupuncture helps lift the mind and regulates the mood. It can calm a racing heart and any feelings of stress. It works by supplying the body and mind with the strength required to deal with life’s stressors. If there is a need to be on medication, acupuncture can be used to lessen the dosage of that necessary medication. In a study conducted at Stanford University, researchers found that 63% of women who received depression-specific acupuncture treatments reported that their symptoms were cut in half.***

4. Acupuncture Resolves Headaches

The hormonal flux from a woman’s non-pregnant self to pregnant self can trigger or worsen migraines and headaches, especially for those women who already have a predisposition to them. In some women pregnancy can eliminate headaches completely, which is wonderful. Acupuncture offers a safe non-pharmaceutical option for treating and preventing headaches and migraines while pregnant. In the very least it can help reduce the frequency and intensity of them, if not completely eliminate them.

5. Acupuncture Can Help with Swelling and High Blood Pressure

Many women experience swelling, which may even be accompanied by pain, in their hands, feet, and ankles. Usually this symptom arises towards the end of a pregnancy, but I have seen it happen at anytime, even earlier than the typical third trimester. Swelling is a fluid metabolism issue in which acupuncture is quite effective at resolving, by improving the body’s ability to reabsorb it or free it by way of urination. The acupuncture is also extremely useful for the accompanying pain if there is any. If swelling becomes excessive it may be indicative of a blood pressure problem. In this instance acupuncture has been shown to be quite helpful in dealing with high blood pressure in pregnancy.****

If you have any questions in regards as to how acupuncture can benefit you in your pregnancy or to schedule an appointment please feel free to call the office 312-321-0004 to speak to our team or click here to schedule via Mind Body Online. Feel free to email me too if preferable at anna@pullingdownthemoon.com , I am in the office all day Tuesdays/Fridays in the Chicago River North location and we are open seven days a week for your convenience. Services are available in Chicago, Highland Park, and Buffalo Grove.

Anna Pyne LAc MSOM, FABORM

* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4112450/

** https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11843784

*** https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20177281

**** https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26516136

Feng Shui for Loving Relationships

With Valentine’s Day coming up, we are surrounded by hearts, lace, and thoughts of love and romance. However, when you are in a long-term relationship, and especially when you have struggled with fertility, you may feel that the Loving Feeling may need a little of Cupid’s help!

Feng Shui, or Chinese Geomancy, is a traditional form of correcting the flow of energy with proper placement of furniture, decor, and structure in your home, office, or other living space to create balance, health, and harmony. Many techniques focus on health and wealth, but creating and maintaining loving relationships are also a big part of the picture! Here are a few tips to creating a home environment that is conducive to bring love into … or back into … your life.

First, find your Love Corner! According to Feng Shui principles, different areas of your body correspond to different aspects of your life. This is known as the Ba Gua (8 Principles). The Love Corner of your home is in the far right.

Wealth and Prosperity

Colors: Purples, Blues, Reds

Fame and Reputation

Colors: Reds, Oranges

Fire Element

Love and Relationships

Colors:

Pinks, Reds, Whites

Family and Physical Health

Colors: Greens, Florals, Stripes

Wood Element

Spiritual Health and Well Being

Yellows, Earth Tones

Earth Element

Children and Creativity

Colors: Whites, Pastels

Metal Element

Knowledge and Wisdom

Colors: Blues, Greens

Career

Color: Black

Water Element

Travel and Helpful People

Colors: Greys, Silver

Go to the main entrance of your home. Even if you enter through a side door or garage frequently, you should still go to the main entrance of the home. Point your hand to the far right corner of the house. That is your Love Corner!

Next, remove objects, colors, and other elements which would harm the flow of energy to this area:

  • Any representations of things that are alone. Images/statues of a lone figure, etc

  • Anything that reminds you of an old relationship, lost love, or other relationships that make you feel hurt or would rather not think about

  • Anything in 3’s

  • Sharp objects, prickly cactuses, unwelcoming or unsafe objects

  • Piles of stuff, clutter, storage, old boxes, “baggage” – literally or figuratively!

  • Computers, TVs, and other “distractions”

  • Games of any kind (you never want to play games in your relationships!)

  • Dead plants, dirt, dust, garbage cans

  • Anything broken or in need of repair

Once you have removed all of these objects, give the area a good cleaning. Then, consider adding some of the following elements to welcome good Love energy to the space:

  • Paint the space or bring in accents of red, pink, and/or white. It can be as simple as a throw pillow, vase, or picture frame.

  • Symbols of love. This can be through pictures, sculptures, murals, etc:

    • Fireworks

    • Animal print material

    • Wedding cake

    • Two figures together

    • Bowl of Hershey’s kisses

  • Mirrors and candles (see more on mirrors below)

  • Fresh flowers

  • Silky, sexy items

  • Romantic music (radio, guitar, piano)

  • Clean the area regularly! Don’t allow clutter to build up.

You can also look at other rooms in your house or office and apply the same principles! When you stand in the entrance of any space, the far right corner is the Love Corner, so you can use the same techniques in all of your spaces to promote love there, too!

Some special notes about the bedroom:

  • Avoid mirrors in your bedroom. Mirrors are always reflecting things, so they are considered an active item. If you have built-in mirrors, consider removing them or covering them up (especially at night with a folding screen or other decorative item.

  • Do not have water elements (fountains, images of water, reflective surfaces, etc) in the bedroom.

  • Do not place pictures of your family or religious images in the bedroom. Having these images near your bed will make you feel like you are being watched and not allow you to fully enjoy your partner.

  • No work or fitness in the bedroom. Working and love do not mix! Keep computers, papers, other things that remind you of stressful situations or work, along with any workout equipment out of the bedroom.

Have fun! Make your Love Corner a place that stimulates happy, warm, loving relationships in your life!

Christine Davis, LAc is the Director of Acupuncture at Pulling Down the Moon. She sees patients in the Highland Park office on Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat. Call 312-321-0004 or go to www.pullingdownthemoon.com to book your appointment today with Christine or any practitioner on the team at the location that works best for you!

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Burrrrrr!

It’s officially cold in Chicago, dry in our homes, and time to get down to the business of hydrating our way into a new year! Whatever your goals are, make sure you hydrate. If you are frequently cold and dry, it will warm and moisten you. If you have heat, it will clear it out, via sweat and urine. Remember, blood is mostly water. So to keep the blood moving, and warming those toes, drink water, eat a piece of fresh fruit or veggie. Drink broth, eat soup, sit by a fire, and hydrate! If you are actively warming up by having a cocktail, enjoy it and rehydrate between drinks.

Winter is as yin as it gets. Build your most yin substances—blood and water, and remember to hydrate!

Have a wonderful season,

Kelly Lyons, L.Ac., MSOM
Pulling Down the Moon

Learn more about holistic health can support you this season!

Winter Weather Exacerbating Your Aches and Pains?

Winter Weather Exacerbating Your Aches and Pains?

We all have that relative who swears they can predict rain with their neck pain, but have you noticed that pain really does flare with temperature change? Whether it is just light stiffness due to dropping temperatures, or chronic pain flaring on rainy days, acupuncture is an excellent way to keep you comfortable. For most, it isn’t until that pain starts to last for a long time or stops responding to medications that they really start looking for a new approach.

Chronic pain is the most common cause of long term disability, and part of the reason our country is experiencing an opioid crisis. Due to the negative effects of long term pain medications, many doctors and patients are seeking alternative therapies such as acupuncture. Chronic pain is the leading indication for use of complementary alternative medicine. Whether the musculoskeletal injury is from overuse, acute injury, surgery, or inflammation; Chinese medicine can offer a multimodality treatment approach. Acupuncture has the ability to tackle the multidimensional nature of pain with few or no serious adverse effects.

A 2005 meta-analysis on acupuncture for low back pain showed that it had a positive effect on short term pain relief, long term pain relief, patients could return to work sooner and decrease pain medications faster. In fact, the American College of Physicians recommends acupuncture as the first line of treatment for back pain, before resorting to pharmacological treatments.

Research has shown that acupuncture is significantly better than no treatment and at least as good as, if not better than, standard medical care for back pain. It appears to be particularly useful as an adjunct to conventional care, for patients with more severe symptoms and for those wishing to avoid analgesic drugs. Acupuncture also accelerates recovery time after traumatic injury and post-surgically resulting in decreased use of pain medications.

Chinese medicine sees pain as an obstruction of energy in the body. When these obstructions are removed and free flow is reestablished, the body it can begin to heal itself. A detailed health history and assessment of symptoms is used to make a Chinese medical diagnosis. Based on this diagnosis, your acupuncturist with select points along meridians, or channels, in your body that carry out specific functions. In a more western medical sense, acupuncture can help chronic pain by:

Providing pain relief – by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, acupuncture leads to release of endorphins.

Reducing inflammation – by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors

Improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility – by increasing local microcirculation which aids dispersal of swelling and bruising.

Reducing the use of medication for pain conditions

Providing a more cost-effective treatment over a longer period of time

Avoiding invasive and costly interventions such as surgery.

Improving the outcome when added to conventional treatments such as rehabilitation exercises

Contact an acupuncturist today! Book Online Now

Manheimer E, White A, Berman B, Forys K, Ernst E. Meta-analysis: acupuncture for low back pain. Annals of Internal Medicine 2005; 142(8): 651-663. [PubMed]

Qaseem, Amir, Timothy J. Wilt, Robert M. McLean, and Mary Ann Forciea. “Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of PhysiciansNoninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain.” Annals of Internal Medicine (2017).

“Back Pain.” The British Acupuncture Council. 04 Feb. 2015. https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/back-pain.html .

Accessed 02 May 2017.

“Chronic Pain.” The British Acupuncture Council. 04 Feb. 2015. https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/chronic-pain.html . Accessed 02 May 2017.

“Post-Operative Pain.” The British Acupuncture Council. 04 Feb. 2015. https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/post-operative-pain.html . Accessed 02 May 2017.

Book Online Now

Acupuncture and Pregnancy Loss

Pregnancy Loss Journey invited our amazing Acupuncture Director, Christine Davis to participate in their podcast. Hear this feature at: ” Episode 45: Acupuncture and Pregnancy Loss ” and learn more about the benefits of Acpuncture/Traditional Chinese Medicine when coping with loss.

http://www.pregnancylossjourney.com/single-post/Episode-45-A cupuncture-and-Pregnancy-Loss

Acupuncture & Herbs for Prenatal Care

by Anna Pyne, L.Ac., MSOM, FABORM

Acupuncture and herbs can help mitigate or completely resolve many signs and symptoms associated with pregnancy during all trimesters. I have treated numerous patients for nausea, vomiting, headaches, any type of pain, skin problems, lung issues, depression, anxiety, miscarriage prevention, placenta previa, swelling, labor preparation, hemorrhoids, and constipation. The frequency and duration of acupuncture treatments will vary depending upon which ailment we are focused on and its severity. Another wonderful attribute to acupuncture therapy is you know that it is a safe and natural treatment. It can be used alone or in combination with a medication to help reduce the frequency and intensity of the problem. Current research supports acupuncture’s efficacy with helping treat depression*, nausea and vomiting**, and labor preparation*** to name a few. I do recommend herbs as needed, in conjunction with acupuncture when necessary. Both acupuncture and herbs can be used together or separately, as each is its own stand alone therapy.

For current patients, please feel free to contact Anna or your practitioner via email with any questions you may have regarding treatment during pregnancy.

For new patients, to make an appointment for acupuncture please call the office at (312)321-0004 or click this link to book now with Mind Body Online at your convenience. Please make sure to complete your intake form online prior to your appointment here .

Acupuncture for Depression: * https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20177281

Acupuncture for Nausea and Vomiting: ** https://www.uptodate.com/contents/nausea-and-vomiting-of-pregnancy-beyond-the-basics/abstract/2?utdPopup=true

Acupuncture for Labor Preparation: *** https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9692336

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