As your baby’s accommodations become increasingly more cramped during the last months of pregnancy, he or she is still able to perform some remarkable tricks. During the third trimester around week 32 to week 34 your baby will begin to settle head-down. This is the ideal delivery position, the baby’s head is now near the cervix and facing your back. However in about 3 to 4 percent of pregnancies babies are still positioned head up by the time they are full term. When this occurs it is called a breech position. You probably won't be able to feel whether your baby is breech. But if you are 36 or more weeks pregnant and think you feel the baby’s head pressing high up in your belly or you feel kicking in your lower belly, this is a good time to see your doctor for an exam.
Helping turn breech babies turn is one of my favorite parts of the job. I usually start treating breech presentation at 34 weeks and at the latest 38 weeks. When using moxabustion and acupuncture during this time its incredibility effective, safe and non-invasive. Studies have shown that the earlier treatments are started for breech babies, the higher the success rate. Breech presentation treated after 38 weeks will often times require an aggressive team approach using acupuncture, moxabustion and possibly medical intervention by your doctor.
Three main types of breech positions
How is a breech position diagnosed?
Usually around week 34-36, your doctor or midwife will determine your baby's position by feeling the outside of your abdomen and uterus with their hands. If your baby is breech, their round and firm head will be toward the top of your uterus and the softer and less round bottom will be lower in your uterus. If your practitioner suspects your baby might be breech, they’ll do an ultrasound for confirmation.
Moxabustion and Breech Position
Prior to the use of acupuncture needles, moxabustion was used as one of the methods to stimulate acupuncture points. By burning a fragrant herb over one of the acupuncture points (Bladder 67), the uterine muscles relax allowing the baby to turn. Each foot should be stimulated for 20-minutes daily for five days, then take two days off and resume the 20-minute stimulation for another five days. If the baby turns during the course of treatment, the moxa should be continued until the end of that five day treatment. By continuing the moxa for a full course, the baby is more likely to stay in the correct position
Acupuncture and Breech Position
Acupuncture can help relax uterine muscles and encourage the brain to send signals to the baby to turn. By balancing the meridian systems for both mother and baby during an acupuncture session, stress and tension is reduced and the two bodies can communicate. We recommend acupuncture once to twice weekly for breech presentation starting at 34 to 36 weeks.
We have used a combination of these techniques to help babies turn, time and time again. They work by removing restrictions in the body, stimulating movement in the baby and creating space in the uterus. These methods give babies every opportunity to move into optimal fetal position, potentially avoiding an otherwise unnecessary C-section or other invasive medical intervention.
Want more information on breech babies – give us a call! There is also great information available at www.spinningbabies.com
To prevent summer illness and to remain in harmony with the warmer season, traditional Chinese medicine advises these easy lifestyle tips:
1. Awaken earlier each morning & head to bed later in the evening to maximize on your daylight hours of productivity
2. Rest midday (meditate or cat nap) to beat the midday heat
3. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids
4. Add acrid/pungent flavors into your daily diet like Dill, Spearmint or Chives to keep your Qi moving
Being a guy comes with a lot of perks but it also mean an increased risks for certain types of diseases. While TCM has been widely used to effectively treat women’s health issues, its use in the treatment of men’s health have been growing in popularity. The reason for this growth is that many health issues that men face, such as high blood pressure, prostate problems and depression, respond extremely well to acupuncture treatments and Chinese herbal therapy.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading threat to men's health, with heart disease and stroke topping the list. By integrating acupuncture and Oriental medicine into a heart healthy lifestyle, you can dramatically reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Acupuncture has been found to be particularly helpful in lowering blood pressure. By applying acupuncture needles at specific sites along the wrist, inside the forearm or in the leg, researchers have been able to stimulate the release of natural opioids in the body, which h decreases the heart's activity and reduces its need for excess oxygen. This, in turn, lowers blood pressure.
While reproductive health concerns may not be life threatening, they can still signal significant health problems and affect quality of life. Two-thirds of men older than seventy and up to 39 percent of men around the age of forty report having problems with their reproductive health.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are well known for improving male performance and a variety of reproductive health concerns including low sperm count, diminished sperm motility, diminished libido and male menopause (also known as male climacteric or andropause).
The prostate is prone to enlargement and inflammation as men age, affecting about half of men in their sixties and up to 90 percent of men as they approach their seventies and eighties. If left untreated, benign prostate gland enlargement, symptoms such as frequent nighttime urination, painful or difficult urination, can lead to more serious conditions such as prostate cancer, urinary tract infections, bladder or kidney damage, bladder stones, and incontinence.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be used to treat prostate problems by relieving related urinary symptoms and preventing the more serious conditions from occurring. The few studies completed on acupuncture and prostatitis show positive results, with participants noticing a marked improvement in their quality of life, a decrease in urinary difficulties, and an increase in urinary function.
Smoking and Addiction
Shown to be an effective treatment for smoking and other addictions, acupuncture and Oriental medicine treatments for these issues focus on jitters, cravings, irritability, and restlessness; symptoms that people commonly complain about when they try to quit. Treatments also aid in relaxation and detoxification.
In one study on substance addiction, a team from Yale University successfully used auricular (ear) acupuncture to treat cocaine addiction. Results showed that 55 percent of participants tested free of cocaine during the last week of treatment, compared to 24 percent and 9 percent in the two control groups. Those who completed acupuncture treatment also had longer periods of sustained abstinence compared to participants in the control groups.
Depression and Mental Health
Men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women, reports the Men's Health Network, which attributes part of the problem to under-diagnosed depression in men. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 6 million men have depression each year in America alone.
When suffering from depression, brain chemicals and stress hormones are out of balance. Sleep, appetite, and energy levels are all disturbed. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can alleviate symptoms associated with depression and mental health issues by helping to rebalance the body's internal systems.
The growing body of research supporting the positive effects of acupuncture on depression, anxiety, and insomnia is so strong that the military now uses acupuncture to treat troops with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and combat stress syndrome.
Wow - I Ate All That! Teas for Digestion and Chinese Herbal Medicine to the Rescue This Thanksgiving!
On Thanksgiving Day, we are actually encouraged to stuff ourselves and certainly one day a year, such indulgence can’t do us too much harm. For many, these temporary feelings goes away by the next day once our body has dealt with it. But sometimes a bout of overeating can create problems that stay around for days or even weeks. In Chinese medicine indigestion due to overeating is termed as "food stagnation".
Symptoms of Food Stagnation:
Bao He Wan Saves The Day
This inexpensive Chinese herbal formula translated as preserve the harmony pill can help ease the bloating, cramping, heartburn, or other forms of indigestion that usually accompany large, rich meals.
Sound too good to be true? It's really not. Here's how it works - Bao He Wan contains herbs that help the body's digestive system break down meats, grains, and fats; stimulating peristalsis, which is the abdominal movement that keeps food moving through the digestive tract properly. You'll feel good enough to get out for a healthy, post Thanksgiving walk (I strongly recommend this).
If Bao He Wan sounds like something you'd be interested in for this Thanksgiving or for other big meals this holiday season (or anytime!) - give me a call today at (510) 210-3822 or schedule online to come in for an herbal consultation!
Teas for Digestions
But chances are, you won't have an acupuncturist or Chinese herbalist in the house Thanksgiving day. So, what to do? Below are a few different teas your can probably stock up on at your local grocer.
Tummy Soothing Tea
Combine the chamomile, fennel, ginger, and peppermint in a tea pot or mug. Pour boiling water over. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain tea, then sweeten with honey, if desired.
The recipe below is for a single serving, but you could also make a big batch of the dry tea blend and store it in a jar for easy access.
While teas are generally safe, not all herbal teas are safe for everyone. Some herbal teas, such as those made with dandelion, chamomile, black cohosh or dried ginger, may not be safe during pregnancy.
Peppermint tea may not be a good idea for people with reflux or those taking blood pressure or diabetes medications, and ginger should be avoided by those using blood thinners or blood pressure or diabetes medications. Avoid dandelion tea if you take diuretics, blood thinners or diabetes medications.
A Little History....
The use of lavender has been recorded for more than 2,500 years. Egyptians, Phoenicians and the people of Arabia used lavender as a perfume and also for mummification, by wrapping the dead in lavender-dipped shrouds. In ancient Greece, lavender was used as a cure for everything from insomnia and aching backs to insanity.
By Roman times, lavender had already become a prized commodity and was used to scent the water in Roman baths. In fact, the baths served as the root of the plant's current name. "Lavender" is derived from the Latin lavare, meaning, "to wash." Romans also used lavender as a perfume, insect repellent and flavoring.
In Medieval and Renaissance Europe, lavender was strewn over the stone floors of castles as a disinfectant and deodorant. Use of lavender was highly revered during the Great Plague of the 17th century, when individuals fastened bunches of lavender to each wrist to protect themselves from the Black Death. Thieves who made a living stealing from the graves and the homes of Plague victims developed a wash known as "Four Thieves Vinegar," which contained lavender, to cleanse and protect themselves after a night's work.
Common Ways to Use Lavender Essential Oils
Blending Lavender with Other Oils
Lavender blends well with most oils, especially citrus and floral oils. Cedarwood, Clove Bud, Clary Sage, Pine, Geranium, Vetiver, Patchouli, Coriander, Cypress, Frankincense, Geranium, Juniper Berry, Neroli, Rose
Where to Buy
I have no affiliation with these companies, they all put out a great products, choose one that suits you the best.
One of my favorite things about being an acupuncturist is working with groups that don't normal have access to acupuncture or realize that is an option for them. This is where I see miracle happen. Its also a great reminder that positive change and healing just needs gentle movement in the right direction.
This past week I had the honor of working with Essie's Place - a loving support for women with incarcerated loved ones. Essie's group is run and organized by some amazing and intelligent women and I'm truly amazed by their compassion, strength, and multi-taking skills.
It’s pumpkin season! Not only do pumpkins fit well into a health-conscious diet, they taste good too! They are low in calories but high in fiber. They are also low in sodium. The seeds are high in protein, iron, and the B vitamins. Pumpkins are very high in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that converts Vitamin A, which is important to maintain a healthy body
1. Cut a good size hole in the top of the pumpkin. Large enough that makes it easy to clean out the seeds and place your stuffing inside.
2. In a separate pot, cook 1 cup of brown rice or wild rice and set aside.
3. Remove seeds and strings from pumpkin and top
4. In a pan sauté garlic and onion until they become fragrant (4-5mins)
5. Add the mushrooms, peppers, chicken, and bacon into the pan and light sauté until the chicken has browned and the bacon is mostly cooked. (these ingredients have a lot of water in them and you want to get some of it to evaporate out before putting it in your pumpkin)
6. Add the spinach and rice to the pan and mix until the ingredients are nicely combined.
7. Stuff that empty pumpkin with the fixings!
8. Add the cream and cheese, place pumpkin top on.
9. Bake at 350F for 2 hours. Check on the pumpkin at 90mins, remove the top so any extra liquid can evaporate and the top stuffing gets nice and brown
When the pumpkin is ready, carefully, very carefully (it's heavy, hot, and wobbly) bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter that you'll bring to the table