A certified acupuncturist with almost 20 years experience, Julie Silver joins me to discuss a natural option to balance your hormones. Now, some menopausal symptoms are fairly standard, and Julie talks about the way Chinese medicine works to treat the body as a whole. We talk about the theory of how our bodies have an underlying energy called Chi, “It’s really this intangible energy that promotes our body’s own ability to heal,” she tells me, “it promotes self defenses, many, many functions of chi.”
Importantly, Julie points out to me that most symptoms associated with menopause are heat related: hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, etc. Join us as she explains how acupuncture can release the heat and bring back balance. Of course, a lot of us are squeamish when it comes to needles, but Julie explains why we shouldn’t be worried, or afraid, of those little acupuncture needles.
Balance Your Hormones & Get Your Life Back || Dr. Nandi Show EP137 - YouTube
Chrysanthemum is an herb grown throughout China. The flower part of the herb is often used to clear heat and relieve toxicity. It can be used externally as a compress (for inflamed eyes for example) or is commonly used in a tea form. It can help to clear summer heat, prevent sunstroke and increases sweating.
Fellow acupuncturist Diane Joswick, L.Ac. published this excellent recipe for making Cold Chrysanthemum Tea.
Summertime is here and during this time of year many of us are more physically active and spend lots of time outdoors in the heat. However, for some with health challenges summer means overheating, increased inflammation and swelling and health symptoms that get worse in hot weather. Many of these symptoms ae indicative of an inflammatory response. It is well known that Inflammation plays a role in many underlying diseases and health issues. How does this happen?
What exactly is inflammation?
First off, inflammation is a responsive and important part of the immune system. When we get sick, hurt ourselves or fight off disease, our immune system kicks in. Our body goes into “defense mode” and ramps up to protect that area under duress. We may initially see acute swelling and heat symptoms as the body sets the stage for protection.
However, sometimes this process of protection goes awry. The acute swelling and heat that is designed to protect us sticks around we get a sense of what chronic inflammation looks like.
Many autoimmune disorders (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis) digestive issues (acid reflux, heartburn) and chronic health issues (diabetes, cancer) have heat and inflammation as a component.
So how do we keep inflammation at bay and help our body move toward a healthy state of balance?
Acupuncture is a very effective modality for systemically clearing heat from the body. Heat is often synonymous with inflammation. Heat may manifest as a physical symptom (sore throat, acid reflux, UTI infection, menopause) or an emotional symptom (anger, irritability, hot headed).
Western Medicine also has identified benefits of acupuncture for inflammation. According to a 2016 article published in PLOS.org , acupuncture can stimulate the Vagus nerve, which can lower inflammation throughout the body. In addition, “acupuncture may decrease pain-causing inflammation by stimulating the body’s pituitary gland to release cortisol, a hormone that is known to reduce inflammation”, according to an article published www.spine.org
CranioSacral Therapy (CST), is the perfect modality to strengthen the immune system by identifying specific tissues that are inflamed, and what parts of the immune system are impacted. CranioSacral therapy also helps to stimulate the Parasympathetic Nervous System. And also focuses on the Vagus Nerve to help decrease inflammation.
There are many books and articles written about anti-inflammatory foods and diets. It can be tricky to know what to follow. One of my personal favorites resources is Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory food pyramid which includes the 16 top sources of food for reducing inflammation. This includes limited healthy sweets, healthy herbs and spices, supplements, healthy protein sources, whole and cooked grains and beans and legumes.
This includes keeping weight in a healthy range, regular exercise, regular sleep and lowering stress levels
As an integrative healthcare professional, I believe strongly in an integrative approach to treating chronic health issues. I have my team – which includes my DO Internist, Acupuncture, chiropractic, Naturopathic Medicine, rolfing, Pilates, Exercise, Positive food choices and plenty of rest and downtime. Take a moment to jot down who is on your team. If there are areas that are open, find a way to integrate more into your life!
Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a whole-body approach to health and wellness. In TCM, our physical health and our emotional health are interwoven. We often see a correlation between how a person is feeling physically and how they are feeling emotionally. When we work with our patients, we work with to find balance with both our physical health and our emotional health.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, every main organ has an emotion that is associated with it. Each organ’s emotion often correlates with the physical symptoms of that organ.
LUNG: Grief and sadness is associated with the Lung. Deep sadness and grief can harm the function of the Lung. When the Lungs are weak it is important to take care of ourselves. When we are experiencing grief and sadness, it is also important to care for our lungs. Covering up, wearing clothing to protect us from getting sick, eating comforting foods that nourish our body, breathwork and deep breathing all help to protect our Lung energy. It is also important to feel and express grief as a way of healing and keeping our lungs in good health!
HEART: Happiness and Love are often associated with the Heart. On the other end, stress or one’s inability to express oneself can directly impact the function of the Heart as well. When we are lacking joy we can feel emotionally stuck, have difficulty sleeping and be subject to a variety of health issues. In addition – too much happiness and joy can be overstimulating and cause anxiety, palpitations and insomnia.
STOMACH/SPLEEN: Worry and overthinking are often associated with the Stomach and its paired organ, the Spleen. It is not uncommon for patients who worry a lot to have digestive distress and symptoms. Many people who have IBS symptoms (gas, bloating, urgency) have exacerbated symptoms when they are under more stress
KIDNEY: The emotion associated with the Kidney is fear. The Kidneys are deeply rooted in our body. Oftentimes, fear is the same way. We may not be aware that we are in fear until it has been with us a long time. Longstanding fear can weaken the kidneys. Since the Kidney’s oversee our water metabolism and control the bladder, we oftentimes will see urinary issues, lowered sexual drive and water metabolism issues with longstanding fear
LIVER: The emotion associated with the Liver is Anger. When our Liver is backed up and congested, we will notice feelings of stagnation in our body. We may feel it emotionally (Anger, irritability, short fused) or physically (sluggish, PMS, headaches, Digestive issues). Too many toxins, fats, processed foods, alcohol (or a combination) can cause our Liver energy to get stuck.
In our practice, it is very common for our patients to experience patterns – of physical symptoms and emotions – that are undeniably tied together. When we take care of one – the other often improves as well!
When a client comes to our office for an emotional condition, I ask a lot of questions. For all new patients, we always do a thorough intake. But as far as emotions, I find there is a wide range of experiences and feelings that go into any diagnosis – including depression.
For example, some clients experience depression as a series of intrusive and negative thoughts. They get caught in a cycle of negativity and that leads to a lack of happiness over time. This person is quite different from the patient that experiences depression more as a physical sensation. I’ve treated patients who feel physically sluggish with heavy shoulders and body, and feel that no sleep is never enough. And this person is again quite different from the one who just lost their job and is having trouble shuffling through the job ad’s day after day feeling like they’re never actually reaching someone.
As an acupuncturist, it is my job to “get to the WHY” of all disease mechanisms. Because it’s a holistic medicine, I help a patient to navigate their issues. Have you ever been upset about something and called a friend and talked it through with them, immediately feeling a weight lifted? This happens in healthcare too. I can ask the correct questions to narrow down the underlying cause of the depression. It’s not easy to be going through depression and most clients feel foggy and have a difficult time understanding the reasons for feeling depressed. I believe we can benefit from having people around us who can guide us out of that fog by first identifying the cause, then helping us to see the way up and out.
I use a lot of different tools to alleviate depression. For all patients, no matter what the cause, acupuncture is helpful as a way to relax the nervous system. Acupuncture mechanically shifts our body out of the fight or flight mode and into rest and repair. A reset like this is is helpful in shifting out of the “funk”. Often after an acupuncture session, I have had clients say “I can think more clearly and I even feel as though my vision is mildly improved”. It cleans the lenses you’ve been looking through and now, everything is different.
Whether it’s an acupuncturist, a therapist, or a friend, may you find your healing community that sees who you for who you really are, can hold the space for your healing, and support you in raising your energetic vibration.
I am so excited to share a PODCAST with you! I was invited by Stephanie Lopez Gillmore, hormonal health and weight loss expert. We found each other through mutual health related interests and ended up being passionate about so many similar things, namely women’s health. I wanted to talk on this podcast about the state of healthcare today and how it impacts those with health challenges. These are definitely great things to think about BEFORE having a health crisis, but can of course benefit anyone. I’d love to hear any questions or comments you have. Thanks for listening!
~ Monica Mae Leibson, Dipl. Ac.
Monica Mae Leibson (Dipl. Ac. R.Ac.) earned her Masters degree at the Santa Barbara College of Oriental Medicine (SBCOM) and is a NCCAOM Board Certified Acupuncturist. Monica has been trained in the treatment of physical and musculoskeletal injuries, working with alcohol and drug detoxification, as well as working with hospice patients. She has received extensive training in Chinese herbs, physical medicine, and anatomy and physiology.
Monica has also obtained specialized training in Chinese Medicine and Infertility, studying under both Dr. Randine Lewis (author of The Infertility Cure) and Jane Lyttleton (author of Treating Infertility with Traditional Chinese Medicine). Monica and her infertility practice focuses on integrating Traditional Chinese Medicine with Reproductive Medicine.