Acupuncture

For the Mamas to Be: Molly’s Must-Have Guide to Acupuncture And Pregnancy

As a new mom and acupuncturist, pregnancy and caring for myself was an entirely new experience. I received help along the way and used a variety of ways to care for myself.  Here are the 8 things I recommend during pregnancy: 

1. Acupuncture (when & why to come in)

First trimester: Make weekly appointments to support growth, development of baby and to minimize common side effects such as: nausea, fatigue, constipation and bloating.

2nd trimester: Many know this as the honeymoon phase of pregnancy, energy levels pick up, and many of the first trimester symptoms disappear.  If your pregnancy symptoms (nausea, fatigue, constipation, etc) have not subsided, continue with weekly sessions.  If they have, and you're feeling great, drop to every other week, or once a month.

3rd trimester:  Time to prep for the big day!  It's ideal to start coming in more frequently (once a week) to help the body begin to prepare for labor.  By 34 weeks most moms know if baby is head down or breech. Acupuncture is very effective at encouraging a breech baby to turn.  Other commonly treated symptoms in the third trimester include hip pain, back pain, fatigue, and swelling.

2.  Prenatal Vitamins

I recommend a prenatal vitamin because they are a way for mom and baby to get vital nutrients and are key to development. New Chapter's Perfectly Prenatal vitamins are organic, made from whole-foods, easily digestible, and don't contain added sugar.

3. DHA Vitamins

DHA vitamins support the brain, nervous system and visual development in babies. 

 

4. Blackthorn Oil

My favorite oil for stretch mark prevention is Dr. Hauschka's blackthorn oil. I used this on my belly daily in the morning and evening. Keep in mind that there is a genetic component to stretch marks (if your mom had some you may be more likely to have them, too)!

5. Natural Calm Supplements

Calm is a magnesium and calcium supplement that is best to take before bed. It aids digestion by helping to relieve constipation. The supplement also helps with muscle cramping, and anxiety (magnesium deficiency can be the cause of anxiety or exacerbate an existing anxiety condition).

6. A Fit Splint

The fit splint was my favorite belly band support for working out while pregnant and postpartum support. It was designed by a physical therapist who works with elite athletes too. 

7. Ina May's Books

Ina May Gaskin is a well-known midwife. Her guide to childbirth is very informative on all aspects of labor and delivery.  The second book about breastfeeding is also very helpful.

 

8. A Doula

Having a doula was very helpful for me. As a first time mom I didn’t really know what to expect as I prepared for labor. Having a seasoned doula was so supportive to my pregnancy. She answered my questions, gave me exercises, helped me write a birth plan and understand all of the interventions that could be presented. I highly recommend Baby Caravan as the support I received from my doula was invaluable to my pregnancy. 

Want more pregnancy tips? Check out my 8 tips for postpartum and breast milk guide for your fridge!  

3 Ways to Stay Healthy this Winter Season

via New Mobility

With temperatures changing, the holiday season in full swing and the everyday stressors of life, it's important to be proactive when it comes to self-care and your overall wellness. Here are 3 easy tips to stay healthy this season. 

1. Catch it Before It Starts

If you feel a cold coming on, it's important to catch it before it starts. If weekly acupuncture sessions aren't in your wheelhouse, come in for a session if you are feeling under the weather. Acupuncture and a cupping session can cut your sick time in half. 

2. Get Your Elixir Ready

Starting to get a sore throat or just indulged too much at a holiday party? Try an apple cider vinegar elixir. Just mix 2 tablespoons of warm water with honey once a day. This will help your immune system and balances blood sugar (for those looking to maintain or lose weight, this can also be helpful). 

3. Devote Time to Rest

Be sure to rest! The days are shorter and the nights are longer; we should be slowing down and resting more this time of year. Be sure to get good, quality, uninterrupted sleep at night. If there are disturbances to this, a few weekly sessions can get you back on track. 

 

Benefits Of Incorporating Acupuncture In Your Pre & Post-Marathon Training Program

Acupuncture has been shown to speed up recovery time in athletes, as well as treat orthopedic issues and internal conditions such as, fatigue, interrupted sleep, and digestive disorders.  Some of the ways in which acupuncture does this is by increasing circulation, decreasing inflammation, and improving quality of sleep. Cupping can also be beneficial. 

Common race training conditions we see and have treated:

  • Fatigue
  • Digestive Problems (by getting ahead of the curve we can make sure there are no hiccups to regularity on race day)
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep Disorders (trouble falling and/or staying asleep)

Common musculoskeletal problems:

    •    Tight, sore or strained muscles
    •    IT Band syndrome and pain
    •    Plantar Fasciitis
    •    Calf tightness
    •    Achilles Tendonitis
    •    Knee pain
    •    Hip pain
    •    Back pain

So, when should you come in for a treatment?

Come in on your rest day, after a short run, or on your cross-training day.  Many people feel very relaxed after a session, so you may not feel like running long distances afterward. 

Contact the office by phone, email, or schedule your first session online.

 

An Introduction to Cupping

Cupping

With all the recent buzz over cupping on many Olympic athletes, I’ve been fielding a lot of curious questions. Here are the answers to what most people are asking.

What is cupping?

Cupping utilizes small glass cups to create suction over specific areas of the body to increase blood flow, disperse stagnation, and relieve pain.

Why do you do it?

We use it on patients for chronic and acute pain, muscle soreness and knots. Its also great at the initial onset of a cold- when someone feels like they are coming down with something, or to relieve congestion. I like to explain it as pulling the stagnation up to the surface for your body to fight and push out, rather than having it sit deep in the tissues.  It improves circulation to the area so that fresh qi and blood can enter and relieve pain.  

What conditions is it helpful for?

  • Asthma
  • Chest Congestion
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Muscle and joint pain

Where do you do it?

Cups are most commonly placed on the back.  For muscle soreness and tightness, we would place the cups over the tightness, and often over related organ points to help the body rebalance and heal (think: treating the surface, while balancing any underlying cause— so that it doesn't continue to be a bother in the same area). The meridians that run down the back have points that correspond to each organ.  For example, if you came in for a cold, we’d likely put cups at the height of your scapula.  

Do you use those fire cups?

In our practice we use the suction cups, with the suction created by a pump rather than fire (as seen in the photo). We find patients to be less fearful to try and therefore reap the benefits with this method. 

What does it feel like?

We often to describe it to patients as a reverse massage, it doesn't hurt, and many feel relief as soon as the cups are on.

How long do the marks last?

This varies from person to person, for some people only a day or two, for others it can last closer to 5 days. The darker the stagnation or circle left, the longer it can take to clear.

When isn't it recommend?

  • If a patient is deficient (think overly fatigued)
  • during a woman's cycle 
  • Over broken skin

 

 

Settle Your Qi: Quick Tips to Help Calm Anxiety In-Between Sessions

Anxiety can sneak up on people for myriad reasons.  For some it's more of a chronic state, for others its related to life events- races, presentations, and major life changes (moving, wedding, home purchases) are just a few examples. (See complimentary posting titled, Treating Anxiety with Acupuncture)

Two common ways that patients describe their anxiety: shortness or shallow breath, or rapid and unclear thoughts in their head.   

Here are some of my go-to points that I teach my patients to use on the run and in-between sessions, one for each of the common symptoms.  If I know someone is in the midst of an anxiety provoking event, I will often send them off with seeds, or magnets on the points for stimulation.  Press these points for a few seconds at a time while focusing on your breath.

Pericardium 6, Neiguan (Inner Gate) 

This point opens the chest and relaxes the diaphragm for deeper fuller breaths, and calms the mind. It's also a great point for nausea and for that reason I teach it to many of my pregnant patients.  Easiest way to locate it: three finger breadths from the wrist, and in-between the two tendons.


Kidney 1, Yongquan (Bubbling Spring) 

Think of this point like an anchor.  It works very well for anxiety yielding sensations of thoughts rushing to the head, possibly with tingling or cold feet.  The emotional feeling might be reported as feeling ungrounded.  Easiest way to locate it: divide the sole of the foot in thirds, and follow a straight line down from between your second and third toes.