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.
Today is the first day of Spring!
Spring is the season of the Wood element. In Oriental Medicine, the Wood element corresponds to the Liver & Gallbladder. People with a Wood constitution are Type A overachievers who seek control. Their body shape is long & lean, like a tree. Daily exercise & fresh air are absolutely required by Wood types! They are driven pioneers who take initiative & thrive on action. When Wood-types sense a loss of control or life isn't going their way, they become even more controlling and easily frustrated. When they become unbalanced, they often suffer from migraines, tension headaches, indigestion, tight achy muscles, alternating constipation/diarrhea, mood swings, and irritability. Common vices include alcohol & coffee.
Luckily, Oriental Medicine can bring an overacting Wood element back into balance with the other 4 elements (Fire-Earth-Metal-Water) and alleviate symptoms.
By the way, your custom AcuGraph report will measure the energy in your meridians to determine your primary 5 element constitutional type! Contact Michelle to schedule an appointment today!
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!
Now introducing love cups at Indigo Healing Acupuncture!
Traditional Chinese Fire Cupping is a relaxing treatment to remove stagnation and improve the flow of Qi and blood. Glass or ceramic cups are heated with fire to create a vacuum and applied to the skin to create suction.
Fire Cupping is pain-free and typically leaves painless circular marks that gradually disappear within 3-5 days as healing occurs.
I tell patients it feels like a reverse massage… instead of muscle compression via pressure, the cups pull up the skin which allows fascia and muscle fibers to lift & stretch.
Fire Cupping also supports the function of the lymphatic system by improving the flow of infection-fighting lymph fluid which helps rid the body of toxins and metabolic waste.
After a treatment with Traditional Chinese fire cupping, it's important to drink water and non-caffeinated beverages so the lymphatic system can work its magic.
To schedule an appointment for relaxing Traditional Chinese Fire Cupping, contact Michelle.
An herbal remedy to ease sugar cravings, crush anxious thoughts, and soften tobacco & alcohol addictions
Do you have a sweet tooth?
Are after-dinner desserts sabotaging your waistline?
Do you want to stop smoking or drinking?
Are you seeking quick relief from anxious thoughts?
Herbal medicine has a solution!
Sweet Change is a mouth spray that stops sugar cravings. 3-6 sprays three times a day is all it takes.
It also calms the mind from anxious thoughts, which can help quit smoking and reduce alcohol consumption.
What more could you ask for?
Oh yeah, it's compliant with keto, paleo, and whole 30 plans.
This magic potion contains these herbs:
Gymnema sylvestre (known as The Sugar Destroyer) has been used traditionally in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.
Contact Michelle to order Sweet Change.
What is a myth?
"A myth is a widely held but false belief or idea."
What is balance?
"An even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady."
As a Chinese Medicine practitioner, I often talk about balance & harmony. I use acupuncture, fire cupping, moxibustion, and herbs as tools to cultivate optimal qi (life force) in the mind-body-spirit. But is total balance & harmony realistic in this crazy thing we call life? Or are we all chasing a myth? A perfect story with a perfect ending?
This tweet from Randi Zukerberg got me thinking:
In just one tweet, she asked an incredibly challenging question...
If there are 5 keys to a balanced life:
How many can you do well? One? Three? Five(!)?
I'll give an honest answer: At this point in my life, I can only do 2 (work & family). There is simply not enough qi or time in my day(s) to excel in the other areas. Yes, some days I hit the jackpot and can add sleep to make it 3, but nights with more than 7 hours of sleep are truly rare.
So, why are we all chasing this myth of having a perfect symphony of days spent cultivating friendships, building empires at work, spending quality time with family, exercising & eating well, and sleeping like a log every night?
More importantly, what is missing from this list in your life? Spirituality? Simple downtime?
Chinese Medicine is awesome at cultivating qi, but the truth is no one is in perfect balance & harmony, all of the time. It's a myth, a fabricated story. They key is to pick what is right for you at this time in your life and the rest will follow in its own time.
Implementing an hour of Chinese Medicine into your week can help cultivate qi in your life so that you can remain upright and steady, like a tree firmly rooted and swaying in the gale-force winds of change & challenge. So, pick your two or three and own the knowledge that it's enough for you in this moment.
Truth: Trying to Conceive (TTC) gets more expensive over time.
It's undeniably tempting to self-educate & research the latest ways to get pregnant. Unfortunately, it often leads to wasting money on supplements, herbs, fertility teas, and technology that don't deliver a big fat positive (BFP).
Wasting money & hope can make the whole process of TTC even more overwhelming and frustrating.
So, here is my advice if you have been trying to get pregnant and don't know what to try/buy next.
Ask for help from a professional fertility expert.
It is a small investment that will save you time, money, and tears.
Here is my 3 step plan to getting pregnant on a budget:
1. Commit to the journey: There is no quick fix to establishing a fertile environment and it's easy to forget there are two sides to fertility story:
2. Commit to a plan: If you thought committing to at least a 3 month journey sounded challenging, this step is even more daunting, but much better for your wallet. Committing to a plan requires saying a firm "no" to that herb/tea/supplement you just read about on a fertility forum. Stop throwing money away by buying every supplement you hear about. Those $20 teas and bottles of herbs purchased by impulse shopping can add up fast!
3. Commit to a budget: Before you start shopping, commit to a budget that works for you. You can always revamp it if your financial situation changes. The most important thing is to stick to your budget, because the added stress of finances can push you over the edge when you're TTC.
Here are some examples of how far your budget goes on a professionally designed fertility plan:
Please leave comments or reach out to Michelle if you need help designing a natural fertility plan that works for you & your wallet. Specific products used in this estimate are listed after the "Read More" jump.
Sending prosperity and baby dust your way!
In Chinese Medicine, winter is yin within yin.
A time to seek solitude.
A time to foster the natural tendency to turn inwards.
Since December I've been looking inwards, taking inventory, and finding out what really matters to me. This January, I'm ready to start with a clean slate.
For me, it's time to let go of:
My clean slate phase kicked off in January with a 10-Day metabolic cleanse. It's a product that many of my acupuncturist colleagues promote and is recommend 2-3 times a year. Unfortunately, I haven't done a cleanse in over 5 years, so I've had a lot to clear out. Day 2 was brutal with nausea, vomiting, an intensely throbbing headache and bedtime at 7pm. Day 3 started off much better and today (Day 4) I'm committed to working through the aches & pains of the next 6 days. Truth be told, I'm actually starting to enjoy the freedom that comes from not craving another cup of coffee and wondering what I'll eat for lunch/dinner. At the same time, I can't wait until day 11 because my 1 cup of coffee per day will taste so good!
After the cleanse, I'll be returning to my 99% Paleo lifestyle and favorite foods that nourish the yin: quinoa, chlorella & spirulina, black beans, organic eggs, and organic fruits like red grapes, raspberry & bananas.
What mindstate are you in this January? Are you taking time this winter to turn inwards and nourish your yin?
It can be tempting to use the internet (eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, etc.) to save a few bucks on vitamins & supplements. The capsules & pills look the same so they must be the same, right? Absolutely not!
There are 3 things to know before you pop pills purchased on the internet:
A 2013 research study used DNA analysis to identify the ingredients of 44 herbal supplements and 1 out of 3 of the supplements did not contain the advertised main ingredient! The supplements tested were brands available for purchase in supermarkets, health food stores, and pharmacies in Canada and the US.
A 2015 investigation by the Attorney General of New York found 4 out of 5 supplements purchased off the shelf from big box stores did not contain the advertised ingredient and even worse contained substances like sawdust, powdered vegetables, wheat, rice, and even powdered houseplants!
I urge all of my patients, family and friends to purchase vitamins and supplements from trusted sources. My definition of a trusted source is a seller that you can contact easily and will accept returns of a questionable product (i.e. safety seal broken, unusual odor/color/taste, unusual reaction to taking the supplement). Licensed healthcare practitioners often carry high-quality brands that are not available for public sale... these are the brands I trust for my own family.
Know this: High-quality vitamins & supplements always cost more because they contain high-quality, verifiable real ingredients without cheap fillers.
You may think popping vitamins & supplements everyday will improve your health, but if they are counterfeit, fake, mislabeled, expired, or contaminated they are most likely causing harm to you now and damaging your long-term health.
Earlier this week, my toddler came home from preschool with a terrible, angry diaper rash that made her waddle like she had just climbed off a horse. Her skin was bright red & swollen from her groin to her upper inner thighs.
After comforting her, my Acupuncturist brain took over to start treatment:
Step 1: Bath
Lukewarm bath with baking soda and oatmeal - I added 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of oatmeal to a filled bathtub. The alkaline nature of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) neutralized any remaining acidic residue and helped rebalance the pH of her skin. The natural phenols in oatmeal worked their anti-inflammatory magic to soothe her irritated skin. After her bath, the diaper rash was about 10% better.
Step 2: Salve
I gently patted her dry and applied a generous layer of Emily Hot Skin Soother* over the rash. This salve is all natural & cruelty free. It has an organic sunflower & beeswax base and several therapeutic Chinese herbs. Within minutes of applying, redness and pain had decreased by 70%.
*Tip: Only purchase Emily Hot Skin Soother from a trusted source, like your healthcare provider. The jars are not sealed to prevent contamination from unscrupulous beings.
Step 3: Laser Acupuncture
I used a red Qi Pulse laser to activate specific acupuncture points along her Liver meridian and Large Intestine meridian to clear out the heat in her groin. I used the blue Qi Calm laser directly on the remaining red, rashy areas. The laser acupuncture visibly reduced the swelling and redness. The rash was about 90% gone at this point.
Step 4: Chinese Herbs
At bedtime I gave her a dose of Kan Gentle Warriors Fire Fighter, which is a Chinese herbal tincture formulated to treat heat conditions in the skin (such as rashes, eczema, psoriasis). This brand is only available from licensed health care practitioners and is a great addition to your at-home herbal apothecary.
By the next morning, the diaper rash was 99% gone with only one very light pink area on her inner thigh.
It's now 2 days later and the rash has not returned.
Want to learn more about how Chinese Medicine treats pediatric conditions? Contact Michelle!
Thanksgiving is less than a week away and my kitchen will soon be a hot spot for baking & cooking.
Every year without fail, someone in my family will ask me where I keep the granulated sugar. When I tell them we don't have any, a look of alarm will appear on their face:
"Whaaat?! How in the world can we make these cookies/muffins/pie/cinnamon rolls/biscuits without sugar?"
Before I answer, let's back up for a minute.
As a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, I've had years of masters-level education on dietary nutrition. In my clinic, I educate patients on how what they eat affects their body, both good and bad. Have you heard the Hippocrates quote, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food"? It's 100% true and the fundamental basis for why you won't find these 3 foods in my kitchen:
I hope you take the opportunity to banish sugar, vegetable oil, and GMO corn from your kitchen this holiday season! It certainly leads to some interesting conversations!
Chinese Medicine has known the health benefits of cannabis seeds (Chinese herb huŏ má rén) for over 2,000 years. Now, modern medicine is catching up and learning about the health benefits of cannabidol (CBD). There is a tidal wave of CBD oil products hitting the market... here's a quick overview of what they are and how they work.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter in the human body that is regulated by the endocannaboid system in the nervous system (central & peripheral). CBD can also be harvested from the Cannabis plant.
How does the body produce CBD?
Omega-3 fatty acids* are converted to CBD in the central nervous system. There are two types of cannaboid receptors (for the science folks: CB1 and CB2) distributed throughout the body.
*Wait, what are Omega-3 fatty acids?
This could be a whole blog post, but here's a quick explanation of Omega-3 fatty acids. There are three types:
What does CBD do?
The CBD produced in the endocannaboid system helps maintains homeostasis (biological balance) throughout the body. If your body does not produce enough CBD, you may experience chronic aches and pain, headaches, migraines, insomnia, poor appetite, digestive problems (heartburn, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel), reduced immunity to bacteria and viruses, allergies, fertility issues, and/or memory problems. As you can see from this list, the endocannaboid system works hard to keep us feeling good!
What are plant based sources of CBD?
CBD is harvested from Cannabis (Cannabis sativa). CBD is the 2nd most abundant compound in the plant (the most abundant compound is tetrahydrocannabinol aka THC).
What can CBD oil products do?
Cannaboids derived from the plant Cannabis sativa have many therapeutic uses. Research studies show CBD reduces anxiety (including social anxiety disorder), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), epilepsy, and pain. There are links to research studies at the bottom of this post for reference.
Is CBD oil legal?
Yes, hemp-derived CBD oil is legal to purchase and use in the US.
Who should not use CBD?
If you look at the latest research on pubmed.gov about "cannabidiol and pregnancy" or "cannabidiol and breast" you'll see that CBD crosses the placenta and changes the morphology and physiology of cells in a developing fetus. Animal testing has demonstrated CBD is excreted in high concentrations in breast milk. The many benefits of CBD do not outweigh the risk it poses to fetal or infant development; therefore, we do not recommend it to pregnant or breastfeeding patients. There are much safer herbal alternatives available.
Book an appointment to find out if CBD is right for you!
You're not alone... anxiety is incredibly common with over 40 million adults currently affected in the US. In the timeframe between puberty and middle-age, women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety as men.
You may have anxiety if:
If you think you might have anxiety, consider visiting a licensed acupuncturist. We have lots of tools that can help ease anxiety symptoms naturally, without the unpleasant side effects of commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals like benzodiazepines.
Chinese Medicine approaches anxiety by identifying the root cause and treating you holistically as a mind-body-soul.
Scientists have researched the effects of acupuncture on anxiety and several studies have shown a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms in as little as one month of treatment. In some cases, research proved that acupuncture is just as effective as conventional treatments with pharmaceuticals or cognitive behavioral therapy.
Acupuncture treatments twice a week are relaxing and allow your mind-body-spirit to regain balance and heal. Patients generally sleep better, worry less, and feel more in touch with their emotions after receiving regular acupuncture treatments. If you're feeling anxious about needles, laser acupuncture is a great alternative!
Chinese herbal medicine can also help ease anxiety symptoms in a gentle manner and can be taken as capsules, tablets, tinctures, or as a decoction (such as Enlighten Herbal Elixir).
If you're interested in learning more about how Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture can help with anxiety, contact Michelle for an appointment. It's truly never too soon to feel better!
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!
It primarily affects children who are three to ten years old and can show up suddenly with symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting, sudden loss of appetite, skin sensitivity, and pale complexion. These symptoms also appear in more serious conditions, like appendicitis, so if your child is suddenly sick with the symptoms listed here, it is best to immediately call your pediatrician and/or visit the emergency room.
Cause of Pediatric Abdominal Migraine:
Scientists have not yet identified all of the biomedical mechanisms or causes of migraine, but migraine is known to be hereditary, meaning it runs in families. If Mom and/or Dad suffer from migraine, their child is more prone to experience migraines in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
Pediatric Abdominal Migraine Triggers:
One way to help your child is to become aware of specific migraine triggers, or things/activities that can trigger the start of a migraine. Common migraine triggers in children include:
Treatments for Pediatric Abdominal Migraine:
When a child is suffering from symptoms that look like abdominal migraine, I advise parents to carry a small notebook to record the date, time, and events leading up to the abdominal pain, such as long car ride, up late last night, skipped a meal, etc. Your pediatric acupuncturist or pediatrician can review the log to help identify specific triggers and patterns.
At Indigo Healing Acupuncture we treat pediatric abdominal migraine holistically by examining all aspects of the child's mind-body-spirit to identify areas of imbalance. Lifestyle adjustments, needle-free painless laser acupuncture, and customized Chinese herb drops can reduce the frequency, severity, and pain of abdominal migraine attacks in children.
If you've never been treated by an acupuncturist/Chinese herbalist, it can be hard to know what to expect at your initial appointment. In most cases, seeing an acupuncturist will be a vastly different experience than visiting your MD for a check up. You can browse websites and read about an acupuncturist's education, certifications, techniques, and specialities. But, what really matters is how you personally connect with your practitioner. Here's a checklist of qualities you should expect from your acupuncturist/herbalist:
And your acupuncturist should provide an environment that allows you to open up and be yourself in a safe space.
In my practice, I combine the powers of listening, compassion, empathy, trust and respect to provide my patients with a safe space. This means that tears are just as ok as laughs.
Trust is the big one.
To heal, you must trust yourself, trust your body, trust your spirit, and trust your acupuncturist.
***Side Note: I didn't say "Trust your Mind" as in trust your Mind-Body-Spirit. Trusting your Mind (ego) is tricky, but there are ways to keep it in check.***
Just as you should expect these qualities in your acupuncturist, I have expectations of my patients:
Treatments at Indigo can be...
So, what should you expect from your first visit to an acupuncturist?
Establishing trust to take the first steps on the journey to wellness.
To make an appointment, contact Michelle.
As a Licensed Acupuncturist, one of my favorite skills is reading a patient’s pulse to find out what’s going on in their body-mind-spirit. In Oriental Medicine, this is called pulse diagnosis. Within seconds, I can find out whether a patient…
… is having nightmares
… is digesting a greasy hamburger
… is constipated
… has a headache
… has back pain
… is about to catch a cold
And, my favorite pulse revelations:
… is pregnant
… is pregnant with a boy or girl
… is pregnant with multiples
Patients often ask me, “How in the world can you know that from my pulse?”
The short answer is, the pulse reveals everything.
Pulse diagnosis has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years. There are over 25 distinct pulses and each has its own unique characteristics. Licensed Acupuncturists spend at least 4 years in graduate school learning & practicing traditional pulse diagnosis. It’s a skill that develops with practice and study over time.
Now, let’s circle back to my favorite pulse revelations, pregnancy and fetal gender...
I can generally detect pregnancy in a pulse shortly after implantation between cycle weeks 3-4. The pulse reveals pregnancy about a week before any modern medical pregnancy test or bloodwork will register enough hCG to deliver a positive result. Discovering a pregnancy pulse is always the highlight of my work day!
The gender of the fetus appears in the pulse as early as cycle week 5. To minimize error, I monitor the pulse carefully between weeks 5-7 before I share the news. Sometimes, parents don’t want to know, so I record the gender and deliver it to them in a sealed envelope for later use. Anatomical ultrasounds typically occur around cycle week 20, so learning a baby’s gender by cycle week 7 gives parents plenty of extra prep time to shop for pink or blue!
Are you ready to get a pulse diagnosis?
Request an appointment here!
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 change of pace at Indigo… let’s talk about skin wellness and vitality!
The skin is the largest organ in the body and our first line of defense against disease and infection. Taking care of our skin is extremely important since we’re only given one body in this lifetime. Skin is happiest when we drink enough water, keep it moisturized, and nourish it with nutrient-rich foods. Anything applied to the skin should be pure enough to eat (free of synthetic chemicals or synthetic fragrance).
As we age, skin cell production slows down significantly. Babies generate new skin cells every 2 weeks. By age 50, our bodies produce new skin cells every 45-90 days. Fortunately, acupuncture supports skin vitality and rejuvenation. Our patients love using DermaRollers to give their skin the benefits of daily acupuncture.
What is a DermaRoller?
A DermaRoller is a hand-held device that rolls hundreds of micro-needles across the outer layer of skin (epidermis). Indigo Healing Acupuncture offers two sizes of AcuLift DermaRollers:
If you are considering a different brand of DermaRoller, be sure to find out:
How does a dermaRoller work?
The tiny needles of a DermaRoller stimulate the under layer of skin, the dermis, to heal itself by producing two proteins, Collagen and Elastin. About 80% of the dermis is Collagen, which keeps the dermis tight and strong. Elastin allows the skin to stretch, flex, and return to its original state.
What are the results from daily use of a dermaroller?
Using a DermaRoller once a day encourages the skin to produce up to 1,000% more Collagen. The most obvious changes to the face are tighter skin, smaller pores, reduced fine lines/wrinkles, less skin sagging (due to increased production of Elastin), and reduced acne scarring. Using a body DermaRoller can tighten skin, reduce the appearance of stretch marks, and smooth cellulite.
What else can a dermaroller do?
Use of a DermaRoller on dry, clean skin enables the skin to absorb up to 200% more product (cream, serums, oils, lotion, etc.). Most of my patients notice that their skin care regimens work better with less product application (saves $$$$).
Are there any reasons to not use a DermaRoller?
DermaRollers can not be used on sunburn, open cuts, sore areas, active herpes, pustule acne lesions or any other acute infection or inflammation of the skin; by people with a history of poor wound healing, diabetes, collagen diseases, and/or blood problems; by women who are pregnant or lactating; and/or by people who are prone to keloid scarring.
DermaRollers must be cleaned after every use with a sanitizing spray. Because the needles can become worn down over time, DermaRollers should be replaced at least every 6 months.
How can I try the AcuLift DermaRoller?
Contact us today to order!
Miscarriage = A difficult word to say out loud. The word feels heavy, laden with the weight of grief, sadness, pain, and shame. Sadly, it’s not an uncommon occurrence… statistics tell us 1 in 4 women will have a miscarriage in their lifetime. I’ve had two & I know many women who’ve had more. Miscarriage is always a significant loss. There is no quick fix for recovery and every mother walks a unique path to acceptance and healing.
So, how can you get through it? Here are 3 steps towards healing after miscarriage:
The hardest thing after my miscarriages was breathing. That may sound weird, but it took a conscious effort to breathe through the grief. In Chinese Medicine, grief is the emotion of the Metal Element. The Metal Element corresponds to the Lungs. When grief attacks the Lungs, it can be physically hard to breathe as the chest tightens and constricts. To help you (and your Lungs) process the grief, consciously take a deep healing breath, in through your nose, expanding down to your diaphragm, and out through your mouth. Repeat a few times until you feel grief relax its cool grip. It can help to imagine breathing in white healing light and breathing out clouds of gray sadness.
Self-care Tip: There is a point on the Lung channel named "Broken Sequence"... it is a powerful point to release grief. Massage and press the point to help your body process feelings of grief and sadness.
2. Express your thoughts
Miscarriage is an incredibly lonely and isolating experience. It doesn’t matter how long you were a mother, nothing can replace the loss of the life inside you and very few people will understand what it feels like. Your partner may be sad too, but there is no denying that your sense of loss will be stronger and last longer. To process grief, all of the emotions (sadness, anxiety, fear, shame, worry, guilt) must be physically released. Here are some ideas on how to let those emotions go:
3. Allow time to heal
If you can, escape from work and daily obligations. Take 2-3 days to live in your pajamas, feel the pain & loss, cry uncontrollably, and heal. If you can’t take time away, schedule an hour into your day to process the grief by expressing your emotions. Crying in the shower is good too!
Recovering from miscarriage is often the loneliest journey, but it doesn’t need to be that way.
If you need help, let friends or family know what you’re going through and ask for their support. Reach out to a local acupuncturist to holistically heal your mind-body-spirit.
Once you open up about your loss, you'll be surprised how many women will share that they've had one too. Miscarriage is a common secret there is no reason to keep.
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.
Dr. Michelle Wendt, L.Ac., DACM
Dr. Michelle Wendt, L.Ac., DACM practices Oriental & Chinese Medicine in Hawaii and Texas.