One of the questions I often hear is, “Does acupuncture have side-effects?”
The honest answer is “Yes!”
Here are three surprising side-effects of acupuncture…
Are you ready to try acupuncture for your biggest health challenge and experience these beneficial side-effects?
Schedule a consultation today!
At Indigo Healing Acupuncture, we practice holistic Oriental medicine.
This means that we see living beings (human or animal) as a complete, interrelated entity composed of a mind (consciousness), physical body, and spirit (soul). Holistic medicine allows healing to occur on physical and metaphysical levels.
So, what is holistic medicine in a nutshell? Holistic medicine…
Modern medicine aims to identify the condition (and affix a label such as “heartburn”) and alleviate symptoms with drugs, physical therapy, radiation, or surgery.
Holistic medicine identifies the root cause of the pain/illness and treats the mind, body and spirit to provide relief and a return to wellness.
How does this work in real life?
Let me give you a real-life example of a common complaint. Let’s say you have lower back pain, labeled by modern medicine as lumbar spinal stenosis.
Modern medicine will measure the pain, document the location, order radiological scans (x-ray or MRI), and prescribe pain killers, physical therapy, surgery, or rest. You’ll likely walk out of the 10-minute appointment with as much pain (maybe more if you had to wait two hours for your five minutes of face time with the MD) as when you walked in.
A holistic practitioner will see you as a whole person. We'll ask specific questions about where you live, what you eat, your emotional well-being, your exercise schedule, and the quality of your sleep. Within the framework of Oriental Medicine, we'll combine these answers with tongue & pulse diagnosis to identify the root problem of your pain and treat it with acupuncture, moxibustion, tui na, gua sha, cupping, and/or Chinese herbs. With this holistic approach, the acupuncture needles may not be placed on your back at all and you could still leave the appointment with no lower back pain! And, as a bonus, you'll likely be in a better mood & sleep better that night as well!
Does insurance cover holistic medicine?
Many large medical insurance plans now cover acupuncture treatments for pain relief. Most employer-sponsored Health Spending Account and Flexible Spending Account (HSA/FSA) plans also include acupuncture as a covered service. Check your benefits summary for coverage details.
Are you ready to be seen as a whole person and give holistic medicine a try?
This case study of insomnia is a real-life example of how Chinese Medicine is combined with modern Western medicine to create the best outcome for our patients. This approach is called integrative medicine because it combines traditional holistic medicine with the science of Western allopathic medicine.
Insomnia is generally defined as an inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or a combination of both. Chronic insomnia is difficulty sleeping for a month or longer. Insomnia afflicts up to 15% of the world’s population. Insomnia occurs when the biological drivers of sleep, circadian rhythms and homeostasis, are disrupted by emotional upset and chronic stress.
This letter is an example of how we coordinate care with a patient's primary doctor:
Dear Primary Care Physician,
I have a patient suffering from chronic insomnia and would like your assistance with this case.
The patient is a 32-year-old male with a chief complaint of restless sleep. The history of present illness is insomnia difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep during the last six weeks. Sleep improves with daily exercise, is exacerbated by stress, crying baby, too much computer screen time. No night sweats, but sense of heat. Patient goes to bed at 11pm and is restless until 1-2am. He wakes 1x to urinate, usually between 4-5am. Vital signs are pulse 64 bpm, BP 118/68, 13 breaths per minute, body temp: 98.8 degrees F.
Based on the patient’s symptoms and tongue and pulse presentation, the TCM diagnosis is Heart and Kidney Yin Deficiency insomnia.
In a review study conducted by O’Brien & Weber (2016), acupuncture was found to regulate “various neurotransmitters and hormones, such as endorphins, serotonin, norepinephrine, adrenocorticotrophic hormone, cortisol, acetylcholine, melatonin, substance P, gamma-aminobutyric acid, and nitric oxide, known to be involved in sleep regulation. Acupuncture can also regulate higher cortical function, the HPA axis, and somato-visceral reflexes."
The patient has agreed to receive a 60-minute Chinese Medicine treatment two times a week for four weeks. Reassessment will occur at the sixth appointment. Progress is tracked with the Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile (MYMOP) questionnaire. The patient completed the initial MYMOP prior to the first acupuncture treatment and will fill out a follow-up MYMOP questionnaire prior to the first appointment every week. An initial acupuncture point protocol was:
The patient received the traditional Chinese herbal formula Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan (Ginseng and Zizyphus formula) with instructions to drink three cups per day in-between meals for four weeks.
The patient is advised to avoid caffeine and alcohol, exercise in the morning (so as to not interfere with sleep in the evening), avoid spicy and greasy foods, drink water throughout the day and cease consumption by 8pm at night, and discontinue use of all electronic devices at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime.
Prior to his first acupuncture treatment, the patient identified insomnia with a MYMOP score of “6 - as bad as it can be”. At his third appointment, he reported better sleep and a lower MYMOP score of "3". I expect him to obtain more high-quality sleep within the next two weeks of treatment and report another reduced MYMOP score.
Please order a CBC differential lab test and Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) for this patient and contact me with the results.
I appreciate your willingness to share in the care of this patient.
Michelle Wendt, L.Ac. DACM, Dipl. OM
Oriental medicine provides a holistic approach to healing from a broken heart. Symptoms of a "broken heart" can manifest as difficulty sleeping, depression, anxiety, poor appetite or overeating, inability to focus, acne, asthma, tight muscles and soreness, TMJ, sciatica, headaches, migraines, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and more.
Indigo Healing Acupuncture offers a comprehensive 12 week program to help you process the end of your marriage and reclaim a new vibrant life.
This customized package includes acupuncture, Chinese herbs, traditional fire cupping/gua sha, and self-care suggestions to boost your Qi and bring forgiveness & hope back into your life. This program is offered on a limited basis and a pre-consultation by phone is required.
Contact Michelle to learn more about this one-of-a-kind Holistic Divorce Recovery program.
What is brain fog?
Brain fog is an inability think clearly. You may feel spacey, have problems focusing on a specific task or feel mentally scattered with your thoughts jumping all over the place. Brain fog can also cause forgetfulness, such as remembering someone’s name, what you ate for lunch yesterday, or where you left your keys.
How can Oriental Medicine help clear brain fog?
1. Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs improve sleep quality...
A lack of sleep at night opens the door wide-open to an invasion of brain fog. After a poor night of sleep, morning brain fog is almost a given. Acupuncture is proven clinically effective at treating insomnia, whether it’s an inability to fall asleep or difficulty staying asleep or restless sleep. There are specific Chinese Herbal formulas for treating the root cause of insomnia too.
2. Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs relax the sympathetic nervous system...
The sympathetic nervous system controls the fight-or-flight response triggered by stress or trauma. It opens the airways, increases heart rate, and pushes oxygenated blood to the muscles. Think of it as the switch that tells the body to wake up. Acupuncture flips the off-switch in the sympathetic nervous system and allows the parasympathetic nervous system to take over. The parasympathetic nervous symptom controls rest and digestion. By shifting the body’s energy to slow down and focus on recovery, the mind calms down enabling more concentration & focus.
There are dozens of acupuncture points that calm the body-mind-spirit all the way from the head to the toes. There is a special constellation of four points on the head called si shen cong that translates to four spirit wisdom. The points are so effective at boosting memory & cognition that candidates taking national board exams are no longer allowed to enter testing centers with needles in si shen cong because it provides an unfair mental advantage!
3. Eat foods that increase cognition...
One of the best foods to increase brain power are walnuts. When you look at a walnut, it actually looks like two halves of a brain! Adding walnuts to meals throughout the day can keep your brain nourished & focused. Add them to your breakfast on top of oatmeal, enjoy them as a side dish or snack, replace croutons with walnuts in your lunch salad, and incorporate them into dinner in a dish like honey-walnut shrimp stir fry (replace the toxic vegetable or canola oil with healthy coconut oil, please!).
Beans (black, navy & kidney beans) also bust brain fog! Try making a hearty bean soup with equal amounts of these three beans and season with a pinch of turmeric, dried thyme and fresh rosemary.
If you need a brain boost to-go, create a trail mix by combining walnuts, pine nuts, goji berries, pumpkin seeds & dried unsweetened blueberries. Yum!
If you’re lucky enough to have your local farm or market carry fresh quail eggs, eat 2-3 hardboiled quail eggs a day to improve memory and concentration.
4. Try natural alternatives to medications that cause brain fog...
Many modern drugs (over-the-counter and prescription) can cause brain fog, drowsiness & metal confusion.
Chinese herbs offer a safe and effective alternative to many modern medications. When prescribed by a trained herbalist, there are usually no unwanted side-effects. There are over 100 ancient Chinese herbal formulas, each containing anywhere from 2 to 20 individual herbs that work synergistically together. Taking the right combination of Chinese herbs can dissipate daily brain fog in a natural way and reduce dependence on caffeine.
Contact Michelle for help clearing out your brain fog!
Have you ever wondered about Chinese Herbs? What they are? What they can do?
Before we dive into it, are you a fan of Harry Potter?
Do you remember how Professor Sprout taught a magical herbology class at Hogwarts?
Harry and his friends studied herbs for 5 years, which is the same amount of time most Oriental Medicine practitioners (a.k.a. an Acupuncturist-Chinese Herbalist) study Chinese herbs in medical school.
There are over 350 herbs in the Chinese herbal medicine Materia Medica, which is our version of an herbal encyclopedia. Herbs can come from plants, minerals, and animals. When they come from plants, they can be the whole plant, or parts of plants like seeds, leaves, flowers or roots.
High-quality Chinese herbs are grown and harvested in accordance with the season and carefully prepared to protect their magical, oops, I mean medicinal properties. Every herb in the Materia Medica is carefully categorized according to its function. For example, some herbs like rou gui (cinnamon) can warm you up, while other herbs like bo he (peppermint) can cool you down. Some herbs are minerals, like mang xiao (Glauber salt, similar to Epsom salt). Have you ever had a drink made with Epsom salt? If you have, you know that it drains downward and serves as a natural laxative. The Chinese figured this out over 2000 years ago!
Trained Chinese herbalists know how to use herbs effectively and safely. Some herbs can't be used together and some are only appropriate for specific conditions. There are over 100 ancient Chinese herbal formulas, each containing anywhere from 2 to 20 individual herbs that work synergistically together. Taking the right herbs at the right time for the right condition can have downright magical results!
Chinese herbs can be taken in several different forms and it's an acupuncturist-herbalist's job to figure out which way is best for you. Herbs can be taken internally as:
Herbs can also be absorbed externally through the skin as a poultice or by soaking the hands or feet.
So, what conditions can be treated with herbs?
For women, herbs can help with:
So, that's a quick overview of Chinese herbs. When used properly, they can accelerate healing in a safe, natural way and keep you on track between acupuncture appointments.
If you want to find out how Chinese herbs can help you feel better, schedule a consultation with Michelle today!
A special guest post from my friend and Fertility Acupuncturist, Heidi Brockmyre, L.Ac.
When preparing for your upcoming embryo transfer, the thickness and quality of your uterine lining often determines whether your doctor can move forward this cycle or cancel.
Hearing the words, “We may need to cancel this cycle” can be quite devastating.
So what do you do when the estrogen patches aren’t getting the job done and you need to thicken your lining FAST?
How to increase your lining in 48 hours or less:
1.) Eat lining-building foods
In Chinese medicine, a thin uterine lining is a sign of what we call “Blood Deficiency”. Blood deficiency is different than any conventional medical diagnosis. You may or may not be anemic, but anemia alone does not determine blood deficiency.
We consider blood deficiency to be a type of dryness where the body just is lacking enough blood to nourish and lubricate the organs and tissues.
Blood deficiency also refers to the quality of the blood. It may be your blood lacks the nutrients necessary for nourishing the tissue and organs.
In either case, I prescribe the following blood nourishing foods:
2.) Castor oil packs over the uterus
Castor oil packs not only help to increase blood flow to the uterus, but also help to improve the quality of the lining by encouraging the softening of blood stasis and detoxification. Castor oil is a softens the tissue and helps to draw toxins out of the tissue and flushed out of the system. Drink plenty of water afterwards.
3.) Rest and restore
DO NOT skimp on sleep. Sleep is essential to build new blood cells and nourish your uterine lining. Be in bed by 11pm at the latest. No less than 7 hours. Preferably 8.
Rest throughout the day when you feel tired.
DO NOT over exercise. Especially avoid excessively sweating. Gentle yoga and walking are best.
Practice stress management tools. Stress exhausts the body, and drains the digestive system making it more difficult to assimilate nutrients from the foods you eat. It also causes muscle tension, further preventing adequate blood flow to the uterus.
4.) Use Self-Acupressure and Acupuncture
If you have access to a fertility acupuncturist (like Michelle), then book a treatment or two.
If you don’t, or if you want to do everything you can in addition to the acupuncture treatments, you can do self-acupressure at home. 15 minutes a day makes a huge difference! You can begin with the free introductory self-acupressure video in my resource library. I've had women write me to tell me that doing this protocol alone made the difference!
Heidi Brockmyre, L.Ac is Fertility Expert and Experienced Acupuncturist. She practices out of her San Diego clinic using acupuncture, shamanic healing and other holistic medicines to improve the well-being of her clients, including those struggling with specific health complaints, and women who are trying to conceive, are pregnant, or are in postpartum recovery. Heidi has continued to develop more programs to help women all over the world take control of their fertility health through online courses and products. Heidi also runs a mentorship program to help other acupuncturists achieve the same global reach, so that together we can create a worldwide health paradigm shift.
Get Heidi’s Free Library of Resources here.
A guest blog this week from my friend and fertility expert, Heidi Brockmyre, L.Ac.
Just like nature cycles through 4 seasons during the course of the year, your body cycles through 4 phases during each menstrual cycle.
As you tune into the changing seasons of the year, you eat different foods and switch clothing to support your body as it adjusts to the environmental changes.
These adjustments are intuitive. You instinctively know to eat in-season produce, drink warm teas during the winter, and eat refreshing watermelon to stay hydrated during hot summer months.
In our modern Western society, however, you may not be as in tune with the needs of your body during each phase of your menstrual cycle. Supporting each phase helps you to maintain a regular healthy menstrual cycle, balance your hormones and sustain the health of your eggs and lining.
In the West, we aren’t taught much about our reproductive systems at all, let alone about the 4 phases of our menstrual cycle. Most of my patients don’t even know what fertile cervical mucus is until they start reading up on how to increase fertility and chart their cycles.
A healthier cycle is the prerequisite for improving fertility and a healthy pregnancy. It's like tilling the soils to prepare for an abundant harvest. By gaining insight into the rhythms of your cycle, you can influence the health of your cycle, which is why it's so important for me to teach you the wisdom Chinese medicine has to offer on the subject.
Primary Goal in Chinese Medicine: Move Blood
Each phase typically lasts about 7 days if you maintain a regular 28 day cycle. The first phase of your cycle begins with the first day of your period. Although you may only have flow for 1-3 days, this first week is considered the first phase.
The primary goal during this phase is to properly shed your uterine lining. Energy needs to be flowing in the right direction, which is down and out of your body. This is a delicate phase. A lot of movement is taking place and so your body should rest and be allowed to do it’s thing.
It takes energy for the body to release the lining. If it’s disrupted, you may not properly shed the lining and old stagnant blood can stick around, causing clots. It’s important to stay hydrated and you may need additional electrolytes. If you crave red meat, you likely need the iron. Otherwise avoid eating heavy and greasy foods.
During your period, avoid exercising. Gentle stretching and light walking are acceptable.
Phase 2-Follicular Phase
Primary Goal in Chinese Medicine: Build Yin and Blood
Phase two begins around 1 week after your period starts and lasts until ovulation.
The primary goal during the second phase is to rebuild blood and substance to nourish a healthy uterine lining and support the maturation of a healthy egg for ovulation. As soon as your flow stops, it’s a good idea to begin nourishing your body and building up blood and fluids again.
This is considered the yin phase (versus yang) of your mentrual cyle. Yin is the substance and fluid material of your body, while yang is energy that fuels movement and function.
Although it’s important during all 4 phases of your cycle to get a good night’s sleep, your body especially needs it during this time. In fact, it’s best to be in bed before 11:00 PM each night. According to the Chinese medicine circadian clock, it's at this time that your body starts replenishing it’s blood supply and healing the tissues of your body while you sleep. By missing out on quality sleep or getting to bed too late, you may not replenish your blood supply adequately, which can affect the health of your lining and eggs, especially if this is a chronic habit.
I also recommend eating plenty of nourishing foods, like soups and stews, iron-rich vegetables and lots of organic animal protein to give your body the support it needs to rebuild your blood supply and mature an egg for ovulation.
Avoid excessively sweating and overly rigorous exercise during this time. You may find that your joints are stiffer, you’re more prone to headaches and fatigue.
Self-acupressure is also a very effective tool for supporting your body during the follicular phase of your menstrual cycle.
Primary Goal in Chinese Medicine: Promote Yang (Warmth and Movement)
Phase 3 begins with ovulation and lasts for one week following ovulation. This phase begins when the “yin” (blood and fluids) have built to a climax and then the energy transforms into yang as the body signals that it's ready for ovulation.
The yang phase is about warmth and movement. This is why your basal body temperature should rise immediately after having ovulated. The hormones released during this phase of your cycle warm up the body to promote the release of the egg-containing follicle. The warmth encourages dilation and blood flow so that the egg can be released from the follicle and travel unobstructed down the open fallopian tubes.
During this phase, it’s important to keep your feet, low back and abdomen warm. Stretching the hips, low back, and pelvic area can help increase blood flow and movement in the reproductive organs while relieving congestion.
Avoid cold foods, raw vegetables, and phlegm producing foods, like sugar and dairy as these can cause congestion and fluid build up in your tubes and uterus. Congestion makes it difficult for the sperm to reach the eggs and for an embryo to make the journey down the tubes.
Phase 4-Implantation or Pre-Menstrual Phase
Primary Goal in Chinese Medicine-Regulate the Flow of Qi (Pre-Menstrual Phase) or Promote Yang (Implantation)
This phase begins about 1 week after ovulation and ends the day get your period or confirm pregnancy with the first day of your late period.
Your temperatures should continue to stay high during this phase and typically drop off right before you being your period. This phase continues to be about warmth and the movement of energy or “qi”. If implantation took place (usually between 7-10 days after ovulation), then warmth and blood flow will continue to be the main priority.
Self-acupressure to promote implantation using a study-proven series of specific points is an effective tool for encouraging your fertilized embryo to successfully implant.
If you are not pregnant, then your body is gathering energy to shed the uterine lining and adjusting hormones. Sometimes this energy gets bottlenecked or doesn’t flow smoothly, resulting in a variety of PMS symptoms like moodiness, bloating, and headaches.
It’s important during this phase to minimize stress, as stress disrupts the flow of qi and can make the symptoms worse. Caffeine and alcohol should also be avoided. Exercise and stretching helps regulate the flow of qi. Peppermint tea helps to relieve PMS symptoms and improve the flow of qi.
Your body performs infinite miracles every moment of every day in every cell. The better you understand your body, the better you can support it. The more in tune you are with your cycle, the more you can till the soils of your fertility.
Heidi Brockmyre, L.Ac is Fertility Expert and Experienced Acupuncturist. She practices out of her San Diego clinic using acupuncture, shamanic healing and other holistic medicines to improve the well-being of her clients, including those struggling with specific health complaints, and women who are trying to conceive, are pregnant, or are in postpartum recovery. Heidi has continued to develop more programs to help women all over the world take control of their fertility health through online courses and products. Heidi also run a mentorship program to help other acupuncturists achieve the same global reach, so that together we can create a worldwide health paradigm shift. Get Heidi’s Free Library of Resources Here.
Hey, are you...
Have no fear, Enlighten Herbal Elixir is now available at
Indigo Healing Acupuncture!
What is it?
Enlighten Herbal Elixir is a hot beverage containing eight Chinese herbs. The herbs work together to help relieve:
What does it taste like?
Enlighten Herbal Elixir tastes good. It has a golden color and smooth consistency that feels great on the throat.
Still have doubts an Elixir made out of Chinese herbs can taste good?
Over the past month, Enlighten Herbal Elixir has been extensively taste-tested and approved by one of my most discriminating patients… my two-year old daughter! She loves it and serves it up at her tea parties!
How do I know it will work?
This Chinese formula has been used for over 900 years. Western science has conducted clinical studies on its ability to treat the conditions listed above. For a list of clinical studies, contact Michelle and she’ll email it to you so you can see the evidence yourself.
Why is it so hard to find?
Enlighten Herbal Elixir is currently farm-direct to only 150 clinics in the US. Indigo Healing Acupuncture is blessed to be one of those clinics! The Sichuan farm produces herbs in a sustainable manner, therefore quantities are very limited. All raw herbs are stored in humidity and temperature-controlled warehouses and the dried herbs are free from sulfur and sulfites. Thin Liquid Chromatography qualitative analysis and High Performance Liquid Chromatography qualitative/quantitative analysis are conducted on the raw and dried herbs to ensure the highest level of active constituents of the herbs are preserved. There is further testing to check for pesticide residue and heavy metals. In short, the eight herbs in this elixir meet strict European Union standards for quality and potency.
Contact Michelle to find out if Enlighten Herbal Elixir is right for you!
Congratulations! You’ve just had an amazing acupuncture treatment that has left you feeling completely relaxed and high on life.
You’re probably thinking, “Wow! I wish I always felt like this! How can I get this feeling to last?”
The truth is, despite how good it feels, only about 20% of acupuncture’s healing power happens while the needles are in. About 80% of the healing effect occurs in the 24 hours following the treatment.
To sustain the healing effect, you must avoid three things 24 hours after the needles come out:
Cold is the #1 arch enemy in Chinese Medicine:
All of these cold things can all counteract the benefits of acupuncture by contracting the flow of qi and slowing down the healing process.
2. Alcohol and recreational drugs
After an acupuncture treatment, your body works hard to transfer the energetics of the needles into acute healing and homeostasis (balance). Alcohol is warming to the body, yet can significantly alter the 24 hour cycle of qi. Alcohol and recreational drugs disrupt the healing process (and in the case of getting drunk, can completely cancel out any treatment benefits).
Consuming alcohol or getting high after a treatment is effectively wasting your time and money.
Sex is considered an activity that promotes the free flow of qi. However, after an acupuncture treatment, sex can demand too much qi and inhibit healing. It is best to wait until the day after acupuncture to get your qi moving between the sheets.
So, now that you know what to avoid, what should you do during the 24 hours after an acupuncture treatment?
The best thing you can do is rest your body and relax your mind:
Allow the natural high to sink in for 24 hours while your body-mind-spirit take the time needed for healing.
I’ve always had “problem” skin. Red, painful cystic pustule acne plagued me until my late 20s. After years of anti-acne face washes, toners, topical antibiotics and astringent creams, I had it under control enough to hide my problem areas with just a little concealer.
When I was in my early 30’s, my acne changed from cystic to a plethora of small red papules on my forehead, cheeks, and chin. My dermatologist prescribed retinols and steroidal creams to reduce the inflammation. They worked a little, but my skin was still red, irritated, and bumpy. The texture of it made me very self-conscious as there’s no way to hide bumps with everyday makeup!
At the same time, in my early 30’s, I started waking up in the middle of the night like clockwork. It was always 1am when severe abdominal cramps roused me from sleep. Dripping with sweat, I would sit in the bathroom not pooping or passing gas, but just breathing and waiting for the pain to pass. The cramping would usually stop within 20 minutes.
After a few weeks, I made an appointment with my primary care physician. She ordered a CT scan of my pelvis, which revealed nothing. She recommended taking an osmotic laxative once a day to ensure the cramping wasn’t caused by constipation (full disclosure: it wasn't).
Flash forward another two years, and I was in my first year of graduate school for Chinese Medicine. I was receiving almost daily acupuncture treatments from my teachers and classmates. My chief complaint was chronic acne.
One of my teachers observed out loud in class that the redness and papules on my face provided a visual map of the Stomach meridian. That’s when a light bulb went on in my brain that illuminated everything… food was the cause of it!
I quickly purchased a copy of Robb Wolf’s book, The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet and devoured it in one day. The next day, I purged all processed foods and gluten from our family’s kitchen and started the Paleo lifestyle. As Robb recommended, I ate Paleo for 30 days. A few amazing things happened:
If you’ve read this far, then it’s time to acknowledge the biggest mistake I made about my health...
My biggest mistake was not listening to my body, when it was very clearly telling what was wrong!
If I had listened, I would have saved myself years of unnecessary pain, sleepless nights, worry, stress, and embarrassment about my appearance. And money. I would have saved a LOT of money by not trying every acne treatment program I could find.
My so-called healthy vegetarian diet was making me sick. Really sick. I had completely ignored all of my body’s warning signs. Even worse, I hadn’t realized the root of the problem… gluten-intolerance. I had eaten gluten all of my life, so why was there suddenly a problem now?
But the truth was, there were signs all along, I just chose to ignore them or call them something else.
Like mistaking a face rash for acne.
Side note: If I eat gluten now (always by accident), I'll wake up in the middle of the night with those terrible abdominal cramps and wear a face rash for 3-5 days.
The biggest takeaway from my story is that the human body is smart. Smarter than we typically give it credit for. If something is wrong, physically or emotionally, it’s going to show up as what Western medicine calls a sign or symptom.
Be observant because the longer a sign or symptom is ignored, the louder(!) your body will demand your attention.
So, is your body trying to tell you something? Sometimes we all need an outside perspective to uncover the truth, the root of our health problems. Let’s work together to get to the root of solving your health mysteries.
Want to improve your health? Stop using antiperspirant!
Wait, I know what you’re thinking….
Let me give you 3 reasons to ditch the antiperspirant:
Now you’re probably thinking how is this possible? Let me tell you a few things you probably didn't know about perspiration! What a fun topic!
Skin is the largest organ in the human body. It serves as a protective layer for our organs, bones, and cartilage. It acts as a barrier to external bacteria and viruses. It allows toxins and metabolic waste to exit the body via perspiration (more on this later). It also regulates our body temperature. When it’s cold, blood vessels in the skin constrict and retain warmth keeping the body temperature higher than the external environment. When it’s warm, sweat glands under the skin excrete a mixture of water and salts we commonly call sweat that pools on the exterior surface of the skin and cools us down.
There are actually two different types of sweat. Exercise-induced sweat is produced by the eccrine glands and is actually sterile and odorless as it passes through skin pores, then gets increasingly stinky as it mixes with bacteria living on the skin. The thicker type of sweat that really stinks comes from the apocrine glands. In times of emotional stress, these glands get revved up and secrete sweat containing water, salt, lipids (fatty acids), sterols (waxy solids), and proteins. Sweat from the apocrine glands has been shown to be so pungent, it can literally clear a room of your friends, family, work colleagues, or strangers. It serves as a primitive non-verbal warning to anyone in your proximity that they should back off because you’re under stress.
Obviously, no one wants to smell so bad that they repel others. I’ve seen patients apply and reapply clinical strength antiperspirants throughout the day to combat sweaty body odor. The not-so-funny thing is, antiperspirants can actually make sweat smell worse, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola:
“Those who used antiperspirants saw a definitive increase in Actinobacteria, which are largely responsible for foul-smelling armpit odor. In some participants, abstaining from antiperspirant caused the population of Actinobacteria to dwindle into virtual nonexistence.”
In Oriental Medicine, sweat is a fluid of the Xīn (心). When the Xīn has the correct balance of qi and blood, sweating is regulated. Antiperspirants can wreak havoc on the Xīn ability to regulate sweat because the mineral-chemical compounds actually block skin pores from releasing sweat (hence the name anti-perspirant). The pores become plugged and will not allow any fluids to escape. Wearing an antiperspirant essentially traps sweat inside your body, inhibits body temperature regulation through perspiration, and prevents the body from clearing toxins (including heavy metals like arsenic, mercury, cadmium, and lead) through the skin.
A little known fact is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies antiperspirants as a drug because they affect the function or structure of the body. Drugs usually have side effects and antiperspirants are no exception. The side effects I most often see from antiperspirant use in my clinic involve sleep disorders such as insomnia or waking up the middle of the night, anxiety, panic attacks, heart palpitations, memory issues, night sweats, acne, excessive worrying, and depression. These symptoms all occur when the Xīn is suffering from imbalance.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, isn’t it worth a try to give up antiperspirants for a month and see if you sleep better, look better, and feel better? The first few days may be “fragrant” as the body clears out weeks/months/years of accumulated sweat, but over time most people discover they actually sweat less and smell better all over!
These are products I recommend to my patients when they ditch the antiperspirant:
 Dr. Joseph Mercola. Retrieved in June 2017 from: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/05/07/sweating-detoxification.aspx
Dr. Michelle Wendt, L.Ac., DACM
Dr. Michelle Wendt, L.Ac., DACM practices Oriental & Chinese Medicine in Hawaii and Texas.