Hey There, 2016!!

Happy New Year! I am not one for resolutions but I do love a fresh clean start. It feels good to shake off some of the dust from the last year and take a breath into a new one. Cheers to you and yours! I hope that 2016 brings you good health, many laughs with loved ones, and some adventure!

I am firming up the dates for the 2016 Yoga/Acupuncture workshops and so far we have Sunday, 1/31 on the books at Dragonfly Yoga in Livermore. This is a great chance for some of you that have wanted to get to the workshops but haven’t made it yet. Space is limited to get on it while you can! Stay tuned for more dates. Since we are on the topic and I am always going on about how much I love yoga and acupuncture here is a list of my favorite yoga studios in the area. All run by solid people that love what they do and the teachers are awesome! All studios have an all levels or beginners class and don’t forget to talk to the teacher if you are new to yoga.

The Studio: Danville
Just Be Yoga: Walnut Creek
The Yoga Company: San Ramon
DragonFly Yoga: Livermore

Be well and looking forward to seeing you soon!

PS. Wash your hands. The bugs out there are bad this time of year. Better yet book a tune up acupuncture appointment asap!

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Acupuncture and Yoga Workshop Schedule

In August my friend and super yogini Kelli Barnett and I hosted our first yoga and acupuncture workshop and we loved it! So did the attendees (so they say) and we are psyched to announce the new schedule! We have 3 dates lined up with more to be added. These workshops are designed to take you deeply into restoration so that your body, heart, and soul can truly rest. When we rest and go deeply into the body this way the capacity for true growth and healing can be exceptional. Together yoga and acupuncture along with meditation create like the perfect storm for cultivating change in the body and psyche. There is something in this workshop for everyone; whether you are having a difficult time with a diagnosis or injury, dealing with acute or long term stress, or just straight up having a hard time being a human in today’s crazy world. There is a deeper place for you to go and connect with your body that is safe and supported.

In the 3 hours that we spend together we will do around 70 minutes of vinyasa led by Kelli. Then we will find a super comfy and restorative posture for you to receive your acupuncture treatment. The acupuncture treatment is semi personalized depending on where you are that day i.e are you in need of a deeper rest? Or are you exhausted by life and need a tonifying and energizing treatment, etc. During the acupuncture treatment Kelli leads you on a guided meditation that takes you deep into restoration. We finish the day slowly acclimating ourselves back into the world with some juice and snacks. It’s a lovely way to spend a few hours with some like minded folks, practice some self care, and share some good juju together. Please join us! These will sell out so please book early! All workshops are $90.00 and run about 3 hours.

The Yoga Company, San Ramon:
Saturday, November 21 1:00 – 4:00pm. Register here.

Just Be Yoga, Walnut Creek:
Sunday, December 13 12:30 – 3:30.
Register here.

Dragon Fly Yoga, Livermore:
Sunday, January 31: Time TBD.
Register here.

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A Guided Meditation

At some point during one of your treatments here we have talked about meditation and how it can be one of the most beneficial health choices you can make. For some finding quiet time is a terrifying idea. Literally. For others the practice of meditation sounds confusing, or super woo woo or even boring. Hopefully meditation is something that sounds sort of interesting even if you don’t know where to start. A good place to start might be as simple as being curious. What does meditation look like to you? What does it sound like? What does it feel like? What would you want it to look like? I think there is often this perception that meditation is a quiet monk sitting cross legged with a blissed out smile enjoying the serenity. For some that’s exactly what it is. But it doesn’t have to look like that. Meditation is a deeply personal practice and it’s going to look and sound differently for each person. Nothing in our bodies works the exact same as our neighbors why would our meditation practice? For me meditation means a time I set aside to clear my head, calm my nervous system, and practice finding quiet in this hyper stimulated world. Most days I practice that thru yoga – a moving meditation. On days when I am feeling particularly frantic I meditate by listening to some old school punk rock and it moves the frenzy for me. When I am really struggling with decisions or coming to terms with something in particular I use a guided meditation to help me wade thru the muck. And most days at the end of the day I come home and find 5 minutes with no cell phone, no computers, no music – just me. Breathing. That’s it.

What I see pretty often in my acupuncture practice is patients really having a hard time meeting their bodies where they are at in this present moment. Especially when we are in a health crisis or pain cycle. We are often trying to get back to where we used to be. The fact of the matter is this is our body’s truth in this moment. We can’t go back and that can be a real struggle. But here is a question, what would it look or feel like to not be constantly struggling against where we happen to be? What would it look like if we not only accepted our current condition but if we were able to quiet down enough to actually listen to it? What could it teach us? How can we learn to peacefully exist with a condition that might not ever go away? We can’t stay mad or fight against it forever. Well, we could but who is that really helping? Acceptance doesn’t ever mean giving up. In fact I see it as a way to work with what ails us. Making friends with it for lack of better terms. When we let go of the struggle there is a very real chance that we can change perspective, find new opportunities for growth and healing, or possibly just find some clarity or self confidence. The guided meditation below is meant to help find some peace around whatever injury, illness or situation that you may be struggling with at the moment. I feel so lucky that my friend and brilliant yogi Kelli Barnett agreed to do this for us. Not only did she save y’all from having to listen to my hamster voice for 30 minutes but she guides us so gently into looking more deeply, feeling what it means to truly relax in our bodies and surrender into the present. I hope that you take the time to try this meditation. It can used once or a 100 times. Whether you’ve got knee pain, fertility issues, cancer, depression, or just looking to try meditation there is something here for everyone. We all need a little help now and then and I hope this helps you find some peace. It certainly has helped me. Please enjoy it, share it and visit Kelli here.

Guided Meditation with Kelli Barnett

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Hey Thanks!

It’s officially the holiday season as we are now being inundated with Christmas music and sales commercials. And, we haven’t even sliced the turkey yet! The holidays can be a tough time for some and for others it’s literally the most wonderful time of the year. I myself tend to get a little sad, and uncomfortable, around this time of year. The consumerism and grossness of events like ‘Black Friday’ always seem to distract from what this time of year can really offer. While it’s good practice to remind ourselves of the positives on the daily it can get challenging when life rears up at us. Life’s hurdles don’t get easier just because the movie Elf is suddenly on heavy rotation (I heart Will Ferrel.) I like to take the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas to really hone my “finding gratitude” skills. We go on yoga challenges and cleanses and do Sober Octobers – why not take some time to reflect on the people and things that we have in our lives that make us thrive. My mom died earlier this year and as we move into her most beloved time of the year, it seems like the perfect time to find my gratitude. While I am sad and a bit angry that she isn’t here to give me my early morning Christmas phone call I am so thankful that I can still hear her voice in my head. I hold on to that voice when my grief threatens to turn me into a major Grinch. I love that I get to cook for my family and friends a little more this time of year. I love that I get to spend time camping with my dog and husband for Christmas, with no snow! I appreciate so deeply, that in this moment, I am healthy.

This is my busiest time of year at the clinic and I love seeing faces that I haven’t seen since this time last year. I especially love that my works brings me so much joy and that is all thanks to you. I truly value the time that we spend together and I learn something new from each and every one of you. You allow me to use my skills and participate in your healthcare – a task I don’t take lightly. By you spending your money and time here at Green Apple Acupuncture you allow me to give back to our community and for that I am eternally thankful. Your treatments here allow me to give free in-home acupuncture for hospice patients. And for that, those hospice patients are grateful for you. Working with hospice is something that I have been doing for over 10 years and is one of my life’s greatest passions. With your support we help to ease pain and bring a little peace and dignity to the dying process. So thank you, thank you, thank you.

I hope you know how much I celebrate all of your healthcare milestones with you. A reduction in headaches, better sleep, improved mental clarity, a positive pregnancy test, no knee pain! I celebrate all the victories big and small and I am grateful. I hope that you can all find gratitude for what you love. I hope it brings you peace and this season. And if the holiday shopping madness gets the best of you, you know where to come and chill out. Cheers to you!

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New Years Resolutions?

As a very goal oriented person I am often put off by the thought of a new years resolution. Having said that, I do love the symbolic beauty of a new year. A fresh start, an evolved outlook, a second chance. For many the new year is a time to rethink health and fitness goals. I often see an uptick in patients looking to lose weight, get real about nutrition, etc. Most of you know how much I love to use food as the first line of defense when it comes to any health related issue and it seems a good time of the year to talk about doing a purification. When I hear “detox”, “cleanse” or anything of the like I usually run the other way, however, the fact of the matter is almost all of us need a little help. The 21 day Purification Program from Standard Process is a cleanse system that I trust and use for myself and my family. This program uses food, lifestyle, and metabolic supportive supplements to help push the restart button on your health. There is no starving, or excessive purging with this program. It’s safe and gentle for everyone in the family to use and it serves as a great jumping off point to really getting your nutritional habits on track.

Purification, also known as detoxification, can help you remove natural toxins from your body and help maintain a healthy weight. We are exposed to external toxins continually, including pollutants, pesticides, and chemicals. Internally our bodies produce waste byproducts as a result of normal metabolic function. Although your body is designed to rid itself of these toxins naturally, it can become overburdened. Purification offers your body additional support to expel natural toxins and minimize your weight, which is important to maintaining your health and vitality. This purification is great for those looking to reduce carb and sugar intake (or addiction), support the liver, lose excess weight, improve sleep and mental clarity and most important feel healthy and strong. There are varying levels of intensity that you can take this purification and I would be more than happy to help you tailor this to fit your health needs/expectations.

As my holiday gift to you I am putting the 21 Purification on sale for $150 (regularly $230) when you place your order by December 24th. I hope that you take advantage of this great program and we all start the new year off right, together. Give us a call or shoot an email with any questions.

Cheers to your health!

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Chia Seed Morning Pudding

You know I love breakfast. You know I want you to love breakfast too! For those of you that have a hard time finding something quick and healthy to eat in the morning this breakfast pudding is just for you. My love affair with Chia seeds run deep. These seeds pack a walloping 6.9 grams of fiber (per 25grams) are a great source of Omega 3’s, as well as magnesium and copper. The gelatin that is created during the pudding process enables your digestive enzymes to more slowly convert the carbohydrates to sugar keeping blood sugar levels even and feeling more full throughout the morning. Easy and versatile – you can’t mess this up. Have fun and enjoy. And yay giving your body the gift of breakfast!

Recipe Base:

2 1/2 cups preferred beverage. Coconut or almond milk, etc.

1/2 Chia Seeds

1 Tbs. Honey – optional

Mix all ingredients in a glass jar and put in the fridge overnight shaking occasionally. The pudding will thicken to a tapioca like consistency. Top with fruit and nuts just as you would oatmeal. Endless possibilities! Hint Hint – really good with a couple of tbs of coco powder for dessert.

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Creating Your In Home Pharmacy

Remember when you scraped your knee playing outside? You ran inside, knee burning, dreading what was coming next -Mom coming at you with the Bactine. Me and my clumsy self became fast enemies with the likes of Bactine; it’s one of the standouts from my childhood. These days I’m still prone to taking a spill here and there and now I treat myself with the aid of my Home Herbal Medicine Cabinet, sans Bactine. Having your own personal pharmacy/first aid kit is a great way to save money and explore what suits your body best. I’ve put together a few of my favorite things that I like to keep on hand. **This is for in-home care and not intended to treat serious conditions** I know you know this already 😉

Scrapes, burns, bites. Tis the season for all things itchy and scratchy. My go to is Calendula. I use Calendula from everything to scrapes and cuts to sunburns and bug bites. It’s my all time favorite herb and can be used to several different forms. Calendula is known to be anti-inflammatory and anti-viral in nature. It can be used in a tincture, infused oil or cream.

Lavender Oil: Same as above only I find this to be less potent. A couple drops of diluted lavender oil on scrapes is helpful and relaxing. Infused into bath water post beach day.

Witch Hazel: Antiseptic and astringent! Witch Hazel can the work horse of the first aid kit. Good for everything from bug bites to blisters to hemorrhoids. Not to be taken internally Witch Hazel can also be used to dilute other essential oils used topically.

Aloe Vera Gel: Sweet smelling and fast acting for burns and scrapes. Pure Aloe Vera juice and gel can be used internally and is good for digestion as well as mouth sores.

Headaches: Before you reach for those NSAIDS try a couple of drops of peppermint oil on your temples with some strong chamomile tea.

Bruises & Swelling: Arnica! Taken internally or as a topical application has been known to reduce inflammation reduce swelling. For swelling remember ice within the first 24 hours then move on to heat to promote circulation. And get some acupuncture within the first 24 hours to facilitate a quicker healing time!

Nausea and Vomiting: Dried ginger capsules can quell nausea and vomiting. Strong ginger tea made fresh from the root can ease digestion but can be warm for some people. In a pinch munching on some ginger candy can also do the trick.

This list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the awesomeness that can be at your finger tips. I always rotate the star players with the seasons. I.e. Digestive herbs during the holidays, sleep inducing herbs during Daylight Savings and calming essential oils during tax time. There’s a home remedy for almost all that ails you so don’t be shy to ask us how you can treat simple maladies yourself!

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Menopause: A Time for Reflection and Rebirth (A Workshop)

Menopause is a crossroad in which women can harness their true selves and set their bodies up to enjoy a healthy and happy life. This journey can be a difficult one to navigate; especially given our cultural dismissal of gynecological changes, ageist ideals, and fear of change. In this workshop we will explore how Chinese Medicine can ease this journey. We will talk about how nutrition, herbal support, acupuncture and knowledge can change your life. Please join us Thursday February 21st 6:00- 7:00pm. Workshop is $20.00. Cost includes ear acupuncture treatment. Only 5 spaces available. Must call to reserve space. 925-855-1645.

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Loving Your Ladybits

To know your parts is to love them.

Alright fellas, we’re talking ladybits this time around. Although you may feel the urge to run, I hope you stay! After all you may not have a vagina but someone you love does! There. I said it. Vagina! Now that we got that out of the way…

I work with ladies every single day. Young, old, mothers, grandmothers, babies, sisters, wives, business owners, thinkers, friends, you name it. What really strikes a cord with me when I work with all of these lovely ladies is how disconnected we, as a gender, can be from our parts. How they work, how they look and feel, how they age, etc. Knowing our bodies, more intimately than we might be comfortable with, can not only alter our lives but also ultimately save our lives.

The female body works in wondrous ways and is in a constant state of change. Every day there is some sort of physiological action happening. Ovulation, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause all are scenes in a grand play complete with a ton of behind the scenes action. Everyday there is a chance to learn something new. With so much happening aren’t you at least curious? Knowing your body and how it works can open your eyes and mind to a whole new world.

Take the menstrual cycle for example. This typically 28-day cycle is jam packed with busy hormones and cells working in synchronicity. Knowing your menstrual cycle can not only act family planning but also can clue you in on some pathological events that can be occurring. Heavy menses, cramping, PMS, bloating, etc aren’t always just a token gift from our “Monthly Visitor”. In fact in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) these are considered abnormal events in a monthly cycle. In TCM we look at the health of the menses cycle as a direct reflection of health in general. The root of these disturbances may not be dangerous for our overall health or longevity but that doesn’t mean that we should ignore these signs or take a pill to forget about them. It’s entirely possible to have a less painful and cranky period!

More often than not when there is a gynecological issue that comes up the birth control pill is the first thing that is thrown at “the problem”. Sure that is one easy way to mask the issue, but what if we took the time each month to fully understand our cycle and how that relates to the rest of our lives? Yes, this takes a ton of patience and a lot of time. Just ask any woman with fertility problems – these ladies could practically become gynecologists. But why should it take something like infertility to get our attention?

Culturally we are conditioned to keep our downstairs business to ourselves and just take it as it comes. We have cute names for our periods, ridiculous commercials hawking overpriced and often dangerous feminine “hygiene” products, and ever changing guidelines when it comes to annual women’s health exams. And while I don’t think we need our Facebook statuses to reflect our menstrual cycle I do think an empowered and dare I say it, celebratory, attitude is vital to gynecological health and well-being.

Really understanding your body and approaching gynecological health with an open and curious mind can save your life. It certainly saved mine. Years of really getting to know my body came in handy when I realized something wasn’t right. Even when countless doctors and tests told me the opposite, I knew my body well enough to know I had to continue finding an answer. My persistence and listening to my body’s warning signs, and finally finding the right doctor gave me an early cancer diagnosis. And while I consider myself supremely lucky to have my cancer caught so early, I take credit for getting myself that diagnosis in a timely manner. It was me that booked countless appointments, raised my voice when nobody would listen and it was me that paid attention to this body of mine.

Getting to know your self isn’t all hard work. It can be fun too! I encourage all of you to love your ladyparts! Or your lady’s parts! What fella doesn’t want to help out with monthly breast exams? Getting to know yourself in a deeper way can enrich your sex life, help you reach fertility goals or help to understand and possibly change your menopause experience. Ultimately, and I think more importantly, knowing your body gives you the power to make more informed health decisions. Women’s health is important and it starts with each and every one of us.

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Connecting More Deeply To Your Body Through A Cancer Diagnosis

Few words can be more terrifying than, “You have cancer.”

Having heard those words myself I can attest to the looming horror that those words leave in the air. And while a cancer diagnosis can instantly change your life in a scary way, it can also be a gift. Cancer can be a catalyst for connecting the body and mind in a more authentic way than one ever thought possible. We are all guilty of running around like headless chickens not fully paying attention to how are bodies are trying to get our attention. Cancer halts the chicken dance as immediately you are forced to pay attention to your body, your mind and your spirit. Complimentary medical modalities, like acupuncture, in addition to standard medical care can help to bridge the gap between being just a patient and being a mindful patient in charge.

While modern medicine has made tremendous strides in cancer care and we have the survivorship to prove that, there can often be a crucial component missing to the standard approach to care. The patient. What most cancer patients want to do is live, what we need to start thinking about is how cancer patients live with a high quality of life.

To achieve a high quality of living through cancer treatment is both patient and doctor responsibility – it takes a village. Enter treatments like acupuncture, nutritional therapy, spiritual therapy and the like. These particular modalities can not only ease the stress from typical medical interventions like surgery, chemo and radiation; but they enhance the immune system, balance the nervous system and help prep the body for the intensity of fighting cancer. These treatments don’t need to be thought of as “alternative” or “fringe” they should automatically be put on the patient’s calendar right next to the chemo rounds.

Acupuncture is being recognized and used by Western doctors for the treatment of chemo related nausea and vomiting and chronic inflammatory pain. Some other lesser know symptoms that are treated with great results are hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, stress, and sleeping issues. And while reduction in physical symptoms is great, for me what’s more special about acupuncture and cancer care is the emotional growth that happens through physical changes during an acupuncture treatment.

Cancer can feel like the body’s ultimate betrayal. Acupuncture in particular can help the patient to connect more deeply to the emotional/physical response to a life threatening diseases. These moments of introspection can be very telling of the life we truly want to be living.

Being able to openly go into ones body not only allows a person to bear witness to the physiological changes happening inside of them, but also helps them to understand that there is no separation of body and mind. Each physiological reaction has an emotional component and vice a versa. The mechanisms behind acupuncture become acutely apparent during these quiet, nurturing and patient focused treatments.

Being able to understand your body, listen to your heart and feel supported in your cancer journey gives patients the power to become their own best healthcare advocate. There is, after all, nobody that knows your body the way you do. Listen to it.

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