Minnca!

The Blog of Minnesota Community Acupuncture


Leave a comment

Plymouth Clinic Now Open!

 

4388a4cd-56b2-4be3-961b-b11e5fa77eb6

We’re excited to announce that we have opened a second clinic in Plymouth. Kerri Casey is now treating patients at the new location on Mondays 10-12:30 and 3-6:00, and Wednesdays 10-12:30 and 3-6:00.

You may schedule online from our website www.minnca.com or call us at 952-746-3478. The address for our new clinic is: 4455 US 169, Suite 201, Plymouth 55442

More info here.


Leave a comment

Sang Ju Yin: A Solution to the Common Cold for the Past 218 Years

c4849a59830fc4c80a869dc58ccdbf15

“Use herbs that are as light as the feathers of a bird for disease in the upper burner. Use herbs to lift the spleen qi and cause the stomach qi to descend in the middle burner, just like calibrating a scale that should always be in balance. Use heavy and cloying herbs to treat yin deficiency for the liver and kidney in the lower burner, like adding a heavy weight to a scale to tip the balance.

…The warm-heat pathogen attacks the body through the nose and mouth. The lung opens to the nose and the stomach to the mouth. Disease in the lung can progress to the pericardium. If untreated or treated improperly in the upper burner, the disease will progress to the middle burner. If untreated or treated improperly in the middle burner, the disease will progress to the lower burner. The progression of the disease is to begin in the upper burner and end in the lower burner.”

-Wu Tang (1758-1836) who wrote the Wenbing Tiaobian (Detailed Analysis of Warm Diseases, 1798)

This season we’re continuing our theme of exploring strategies for treating what in Chinese medicine is termed “Wind Invasion.”  Earlier in the fall we looked at ways to prevent illness, through use of Jade Wind Screen (Yu Ping Feng San) and acupuncture.   While prevention is always ideal, as mere mortals we’re all destined to fall ill.  If a pathogen does defeat our outer line of defense and we do catch a cold or flu, we need look no further than Wu Tang’s herbal formulas.

Wu Tang’s quote exemplifies his philosophy as a physician and herbalist.  He is credited with creating some of the most important (and still often used) formulas for infectious diseases in the Chinese Materia Medica.  Sang Ju Yin is one of these formulas, another is Yin Qiao San.  As recently as the SARS outbreak of 2003 and the H1N1 pandemic of 2009 these formulas have been officially recommended by the Chinese Ministry of Health for use by physicians to combat infections.  We need not reserve them for the most serious illnesses, as they are perfectly matched for treating all sorts of upper respiratory infections in their early stages.  One of the best formulas for stopping a cold with cough in its tracks is Mulberry and Chrysanthemum formula (Sang Ju Yin).  To understand how this formulation is so effective, one need only look at some of the fine herbs it contains.  As an accompaniment to this article, we are displaying the three herbs used in this formula in their raw form in our clinic lobby!  We will rotate our herbal display seasonally in the hopes of sharing with the community some of our knowledge of herbal medicine. 

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Meet Our New Acupuncturist Elizabeth Checchio

elizabeth

I first got interested in alternative medicine while living in the Sonoran desert outside of Tucson.  I had this crazily athletic dog and we were always at the vet – swimmers ear, barbed wire lacerations, chunks of cactus stuck in throats and eyelids.  My dog loved his vets, they called him Cactus Baby, but I thought, this has got to stop.  So I started treating him myself with herbs and homeopathic remedies.  I had my own issues as well, recovering from dengue fever and an accident with a bus.

One thing led to another and I found myself in southern New Mexico, living on the Mexican border apprenticing with a healer.  He introduced me to a dizzying array of healing modalities — radionics, Chinese and western herbs, magnet therapy, flower essences, crystals, acupuncture, gestalt therapy, you name it.  I was especially drawn to Chinese medicine, but his interests had moved on from acupuncture.  Since this was the early nineties before you could learn anything and everything on the internet, I spent months pouring over a photocopied acupuncture manual, deciphering meridian charts and trying to figure out what a patella was.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Acupuncture for Animals!

(Courtesy of National Geographic)

 

 

Horses have been receiving acupuncture for almost as long as people have—since the practice began in China some 2,500 years ago. As beasts of burden, horses were of tremendous value to the Chinese, and their health was almost as important as that of their owners. Today veterinary acupuncturists can treat nearly any animal, from a bear to a porcupine to a dog.


Leave a comment

Jade Wind Screen: Preventing Allergies and Boosting Immune Function

982bbac4ba23f9c2e3d4c6da4b01a9aaIn our last newsletter we discussed acupuncture strategies for treating seasonal allergies as well as common types of cold, all of which in Chinese medicine are termed “Wind Invasions.” This sounds a bit dramatic, but as a functional metaphor it explains exactly what is going on in the body and the environment.  “Wind” simply means any pathogen or allergen carried through the air.  Allergens are especially problematic in spring and fall, whereas different types of bugs can be carried through the air during times like the flu season.  “Invasion” is not dissimilar to the word infection, and has the same implications.  Generally the Chinese think that if the immune system is weakened or imbalanced wind can invade, i.e. you get sick.  Understanding what these two words mean, helps one understand how acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine seek to cure the problem.  The approach with both is two pronged:  1)  Expel the Pathogens (this is important since invasion or infection means they’ve already breached our defenses)  2)  Boost the Wei Qi and Secure the Exterior (this is fancy metaphorical language for strengthening the immune system).

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Acupuncture on the Today Show!

Hoda tried acupuncture to see if it would help with her hot flashes.  She says she felt great after the session and had one of the best sleeps ever.

We treat hot flashes and menopausal symptoms every day at Minnesota Community Acupuncture.  Along with regular acupuncture treatments, we recommend patients with any symptoms of heat cut back on red wine consumption as this can actually exacerbate the issue.  Apparently Hoda didn’t get the memo 😉


Leave a comment

Spring Acupuncture and Herbs: Preventing Allergies and Boosting Immune Function

7978118

The trees are starting to bloom in Minnesota, a welcome sign of the coming spring and warm weather.   Unfortunately, it’s also a sign that allergens are about to fill the air.  For those of us susceptible to pollens and molds, this can make spring a bit of a mixed bag.  Luckily, preventative acupuncture and herbal supplements can help control symptoms of allergies before they get bad.

Multiple studies have been done in an attempt to understand acupuncture’s efficacy when treating allergy symptoms.  One of the more recent, larger studies funded by the German Research Foundation measured the outcomes of 422 patients with allergies to birch and grass pollen over a period of 8 weeks.  They concluded that “acupuncture led to statistically significant improvements in disease-specific quality of life and antihistamine use measures after 8 weeks of treatment compared with sham acupuncture and with rescue medication alone…” (http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1583578&resultClick=3)

The methods used in this study when crafting the treatments, are the same we use at Minnesota Community Acupuncture with great success.  In Chinese medicine allergies are looked at as forms of “Wind Invasion.”  This sounds a bit dramatic, but as a functional metaphor it explains exactly what is going on in the body and the environment.  “Wind” simply means any pathogen or allergen carried through the air.  Allergens are especially problematic in spring and fall, whereas different types of bugs can be carried through the air during times like the flu season.  “Invasion” is not dissimilar to the word infection, and has the same implications.  Generally the Chinese think that if the immune system is weakened or imbalanced wind can invade, i.e. you get sick.  Understanding what these two words mean, helps one understand how acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine seek to cure the problem.  The approach with both is two pronged:  1)  Expel the Pathogens (this is important since invasion or infection means they’ve already breached our defenses)  2)  Boost the Wei Qi and Secure the Exterior (this is fancy metaphorical language for strengthening the immune system).

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Embracing the Jade Turnip: Easing Your Body’s Transition from Winter to Spring

kohlrabi-family

In Minnesota, it’s a given that the winter is going to be cold and harsh.  We all look forward to the spring, to the thaw, to the season that is a symbol of regeneration.  We may think that we need to do more to protect our body in the winter than in the spring, but this isn’t necessarily true.

Chinese medicine and food therapy teach us that in each season it is important to pay attention to the changing needs of your body.  In the winter we should rest, stay warm, and eat foods that nourish our kidneys.  We should conserve our energy for the coming year.   As we move into spring, we should become more active and focus on balancing the liver and gallbladder.  What does this mean exactly?  Chinese food therapy tells us that the liver and gallbladder respond best to foods that are sour in flavor, slightly warm, and help to ascend the Yang.  Yang is the natural energy trying to rise in your body as we exit the winter season – imagine this as a flower trying to sprout out of the ground as it begins to thaw.  If we ignore the needs of our body during this seasonal transition we can aggravate a myriad of liver and gallbladder pathologies leading to worsened:  allergies, eye symptoms, sleep disturbances, irritability and more.

Luckily, getting regular acupuncture and eating the proper quality foods can help alleviate these symptoms and bring balance back to our bodies.  One such food is Kohlrabi, or as it is known in some parts of China, the “Jade Turnip,” on account of its luminous green flesh.  Keep in mind this is the time of year when cooking with green foods is most beneficial, so it is a fine time to make:

Kohlrabi Salad with Sesame Oil

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Egg and Tomato Soup: an Elegantly Appropriate Fall Dish

53f5c13743ef2_egor_fried_egg_and_tomato_noodles_1

As summer fades, and the beautiful leaves around our many lakes turn, so too fade the days of enjoying cold salads and fresh watermelon.  Last week as I saw the season’s first drizzle and snow, I realized it was time for one thing…soup!

If you’re like me, you have entire books of soup recipes and it can be daunting to choose the best/most appropriate for the time of year.  Luckily, classical Chinese food therapy lays out very clearly the energetics of each season, offering very clear guidelines as to which foods are best and when.  Chinese medicine identifies the fall as a time of dryness, when the lung (also called ‘the delicate organ’) is most vulnerable.

Any soup for fall must not only nourish and protect the lung, it should also address seasonal dryness.  Deceptively simple, egg and tomato soup accomplishes both of these goals!

Ingredients:

3 eggs

Salt

3 ripe, red tomatoes

2 heads of green bok choy

6 1/3 cups chicken stock

3 tbsp finely sliced spring onion greens

3 tbsp cooking oil

Ground White Pepper

Preparation:

In a small bowl, beat the eggs with a little salt.  Slice the tomatoes and cut the bok choy into bite-sized pieces.  Bring the stock to a boil in a pot.  Put the spring onion greens into a serving bowl.

Add the oil to a seasoned wok (or cast iron pan) over a high flame and swirl it around.  Pour in the eggs and swirl them around too.  Let them set into an omelet.  When the underside is golden, flip it over and brown the other side.  Remove the omelet from the wok and set aside.

Add the tomatoes and bok choy to the hot stock, return to a boil, add the omelet and cook briefly until the vegetables are tender, seasoning with salt and white pepper to taste.

Pour the soup over the spring onions in the serving bowl.  Serve and enjoy, making sure to get as much delicious tomato and egg into each bowl as you can fit.

Theory:

Why eggs and tomatoes?  Eggs are known to moisten dryness, and treat dry cough or even a hoarse voice; both of which are symptoms relating to lung imbalance.   Tomatoes are also used to nourish the stomach and spleen, cure dry throat, and cool heat.

(Recipes taken from the fantastic book Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop)


Leave a comment

FAQ: What is Community Acupuncture? How Does Acupuncture Work?

Recently, on a buspoca_logotling Saturday at the clinic, a trend of curiosity emerged as everybody wanted to learn more about acupuncture!  This was both exciting and slightly frustrating as some days at Minnesota Community Acupuncture we see 50 patients, new folks and acupuncture veterans alike.

As much as all of the practitioners at MINNCA want acupuncture to be an educational experience as well as a therapeutic one, it can be difficult for us to answer all questions as completely as we’d like to on a busy day.

We’re not the only community acupuncturists with inquisitive patients who want to know more about acupuncture. Over at POCA (The People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture) they have an amazing FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section compiled by numerous community acupuncturists who’ve received a lot of the same questions we have.  Click anywhere on this article to access that FAQ and begin learning.

I’d also like to invite anyone who has a question not on the FAQ to e-mail us by replying to this newsletter.  We’d be happy to answer any question you might have!