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Ways to Stay Well this Winter with the Wisdom of Chinese Medicine

After the Thanksgiving holiday, the days suddenly seem shorter than ever. The temps plummet to below freezing and autumn has quietly and quickly slipped away. We avoid the outdoors at all costs, hole up in our homes and turn in early for the night as the sun inspires us to do so. Since we can’t avoid going outside entirely, the dramatic temperature change from going from the warmth of inside to the blistery wind of outside, often results in lower immunity and those dreaded winter viruses. Here’s 4 tips to keeping your immunity strong and solid this winter from the wisdom of our acupuncturist, Anna Mehlhop Strong LAc.


1) Hats and Scarves Galore!
Practitioners of Chinese Medicine believe that in order to prevent injury to the body from wind and cold, you need to protect the most vulnerable areas of the body with warm clothes. These are the back of the neck, upper back, and shoulder areas which correspond to the Tai Yang Channels. The elements will always try to enter here first, causing symptoms of Wind-Cold: fever, chills, body aches, and stuffy or runny nose. The theories surrounding this date back to the late Han Dynasty- that is 1800 years ago!

2) Stay Dry!

Protecting the upper back and shoulder areas becomes especially true if you have wet hair or have just sweated a lot. When coming out into the cold from the gym, always wear a scarf or hood to protect the back of the neck. Kids coming from swimming lessons in the winter should always have their hair dried before going outside. It is the wisdom of many cultures that being in the cold when you are wet can make you get sick. This cannot be discredited by germ theory. From a western perspective, having to shiver to warm up a freezing body can detract from the immune system allowing germs to take a stronger hold.

3) Eat Soup!
Miso soup with scallion is great to eat at the very first stages of a cold. The miso with the scallion work together to promote a slight sweat to push out the cold. No medicine needed! If you find that you have been battling a cold for a long time, try making chicken soup the old fashioned way. Boil the bones of a chicken, including the neck, to make a broth. The bones release the nutrients of their marrow into the broth which will nourish your body’s immune cells.



4) Consult with a Chinese Herbalist
Chinese medicine has an intricate and highly developed system–again, going back 1800+ years–of treating the common cold in all its variations. When exposed to the same ‘bug’, why does one person get a sore throat and the other a cough? Also, children will tend to spike fevers much higher than adults because they by their nature have more firey constitutions. These differences have to do with the differing terrain of each individual body. So, the same herbal formula would definitely NOT be appropriate to all cases of the same cold. It is best to consult a Chinese herbalist to find the right formula for you. To work most effectively, herbal medicine should focus not on eliminating the bug, but instead on reviving the disturbed function of the body. Then the body will eliminate the bug all by itself! And you will avoid costly side-effects and contributing to antibiotic resistance.

That’s it folks, we’re wishing you a healthy winter and a happy holiday season!

November 27, 2017 Comments Off on Ways to Stay Well this Winter with the Wisdom of Chinese Medicine

Labor prep and Labor Stimulation Acupuncture- What’s the Difference?

Expectant mothers may have heard that acupuncture can be used to prepare for labor or even to stimulate contractions to come on. If you are approaching the end of your third trimester and want to know more about what acupuncture can offer, here are some key points.

At Earth + Sky, we offer 2 distinct types of acupuncture sessions for those nearing the end of their pregnancy: labor prep and labor stimulation. While they might seem pretty interchangeable, they are actually quite different in their intention.

Anna Melhop Strong, our licensed acupuncturists explains the difference. “Labor prep acupuncture is acupuncture that is useful in preparing mom and baby to go into labor, while labor stimulation acupuncture is a technique that is aimed at increasing the intensity and frequency of uterine contractions.”

According to Anna, labor prep acupuncture focuses on 4 main things:

A. Positioning baby optimally for labor. If baby is in a breech or posterior presentation, acupuncture is aimed at re-positioning. If baby is positioned high and the mother is at term, acupuncture points can be used to gently encourage baby to drop.

B. Cervical ripening. There are acupuncture points that are used to facilitate cervical ripening as part of labor prep.

C. Dealing with aches and pains. As pregnancy progresses, back pain or pelvic pain can worsen as well as uncomfortable swelling of the hands and feet. Labor prep acupuncture can help with this. If you are uncomfortable, you are not going to be resting well, and resting as well as possible is an important part of getting ready for labor.

D. Calm the mind. The prospect of giving birth can preoccupy a woman’s mind, especially as the due date approaches or has arrived already. Sometimes this “Qi Stagnation” as it is termed in Chinese medicine, can block a woman who is otherwise ready from going into labor naturally. Treatment will help create a state of calm.

Ideally, a woman begins labor prep around 36 weeks, and has weekly sessions until delivery. Not every pregnancy calls for stimulation acupuncture, but every pregnancy can benefit from labor prep acupuncture. And if needed previous prep sessions can actually make a stimulation session more productive. Labor stimulation acupuncture is recommended only when it is deemed appropriate by a midwife or OB-GYN. In other words, just because you are a few days away from your ‘due date’ might not mean you need a stimulation session!

The exception? Medical Induction. Anna advises, “If someone is facing the prospect of a medical induction, they should consider coming in for an evaluation to decide which type of treatment would be best for them.” In addition, labor stimulation acupuncture may be used prior to a medical induction to prepare, or during labor to encourage contractions.

Lastly, its good to know that massage and acupuncture pair well together. “Having a massage first can help a person relax prior to the acupuncture session and receive the needles more easily.” says Anna. She also adds that doing them on the same day is not only permissible, but advised. So book yourself some self care time before the baby arrives. All good things come in due time, including the little one you are waiting on. But that doesn’t mean you can’t support the readying process in the meantime!

To schedule a labor prep acupuncture session click here, for labor stimulation please call our office to schedule.

Meet Anna:

Anna Mehlhop Strong is a Licensed Acupuncturist and dedicated practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She holds a Master’s Degree from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and is licensed and registered to practice in New York State. Anna began her study of this ancient tradition after witnessing firsthand the healing effects of Chinese medicine. Her education included thorough training in the prescription of herbal medicinals, the diagnosis and treatment of health imbalances based on the theory of Chinese medicine, and a firm foundation in Western anatomy and physiology. She also completed a year-long internship at an acupuncture practice specializing in fertility, obstetrics, and pediatrics. Before moving to New York City, Anna was in private practice in the Chicago area from 2011-2015 successfully treating numerous patients for health issues ranging from musculoskeletal complaints, fertility difficulties, allergy and immune health, and stress and anxiety. She is happy to practice a medicine that offers maximum healing with minimum side-effects and enjoys being able to facilitate a patient’s journey to health.

September 21, 2017 Comments Off on Labor prep and Labor Stimulation Acupuncture- What’s the Difference?