Therapeutic Congee

Give your breakfast routine, and your body, a little oomph with a spoonful of congee. Congee is a traditional Chinese food to help your body tame heat-related symptoms from colds, flus, and inflammatory conditions.

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Scoop up some porridge made from rice and add in other ingredients to support your body’s efforts to cool and nourish. Congee is rice cooked lowly and slowly in a lot of water to porridge consistency. This soup-like porridge is easily digested and builds blood energy, supplying your body with power it needs to tame heat symptoms like fever and inflammation.

With its cooling and demulcent (relieving inflammation or irritation) properties, Congee is beneficial during sickness but also popular as a nourishing breakfast choice for those needing spleen and digestive support.

Congee in a crock pot is an easy way to cook up some of this wholesome goodness and you can throw in other ingredients to add a dash of flavor or to further supplement vitamins and minerals your body needs to feel relief. 

Basic slow cooker recipe:

  • 1 cup rinsed rice

  • 6 cups liquid, like water, dairy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk

 

Place the rice and liquid in the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. The amount of liquid you use, determines the thickness of the porridge. For a sweeter congee, add fruits or dried berries and spices like vanilla or cinnamon. 

Dr. Stueber’s favorite toppings are goji berries with walnuts and a little honey.

~ Julie Taylor

Moving into the Metal Element: Autumn

Do What Chipmunks Do

Do What Chipmunks Do

Autumn is on the way. It begins September 23 and ends December 21. In TCM, the seasons have an affect on the body, and each season is connected to certain elements. The Five Elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. The elements can be used as a diagnostic tool to identify how the body is out of balance. 

As autumn falls in, living in tune with metal elements can help our body maintain balance. The organs most affected by the changing season are lungs, nose, large intestine, and skin and hair. Fall is a season when animals start gathering and storing what they need for winter, and for us humans, we too benefit from a gather-and-storage mindset. Think about what you need to support your body as we enter into this next change of season and gather and store those ideas and items to help you be prepared for cooler temps, flu season, and colds. Think about ways you can support your body to keep your immune system strong and able to fight the onslaught of viruses surrounding us during cold seasons. Sour and moistening foods support the metal organs during autumn as humidity decreases.

 

We associate dehydration with summer months, and the extra sweating and hot temperatures do add burden to the body, but cool, dryer months that start with autumn also foster dryness in the body. The major symptoms of dryness are:

  • Thirst

  • Dry skin, nose, and lips

  • Itchiness

 

Food and beverage with moistening qualities can help reduce the burden on the body and better prepare your body to defend against viruses. Those with dry symptoms should consume more moist-inducing foods and use less bitter, warming foods. But what do you do when you get conflicting symptoms?

 

If you’ve followed the guidelines for autumn’s metal element to balance your body and not felt the positive results you hoped, consider the uniqueness of your body in relation to the elements. Though the seasons and its elements can guide seasonal activities that support the body, your body might already have organs under stress from previous seasons. When this occurs, more know-how and attention is needed to determine how to synergistically balance the organs to achieve that true feeling of wellness. 

 

If you overindulged too frequently this summer eating the creamy and greasy offerings at the summer gatherings, you routinely overextended yourself at work to the point you felt drained and depleted, or you obsessed and worried about a problem, your body probably gave you signs it was under burden. If you missed your body’s signals and your body didn’t get the support it needed to bring itself back to balance, then those stressed organs are going to work harder to let you know something is out of balance…yeast infection anyone? 

 

No matter the season, giving your body moistening foods when certain organs already have too much moisture can cause an imbalance referred to as dampness, and dampness can manifest into added burden on the body when it’s not addressed. Even though autumn is known as a time to consume moistening foods, it may worsen conditions left over from summer. Knowing how to move forward when your body shows conflicting symptoms like that of being dry and damp at the same time can be a challenge, but with the right support, your body can soon get back to its true state of wellness. 

 

Do like the chipmunks do, and start gathering. Start gathering the things that support your body and help you stay well. Pull out those scarves and protect your wind points. Create a shopping list of healthy foods to kick-start the change of season. Schedule a time to rest and reflect. These are all things you can do yourself and every day is a new opportunity to make choices that support your body. Start gathering your tools to help your body transition to autumn, and remember that True Health Acupuncture is part of your toolkit. 

By Julie Taylor

Fire Up Digestion to Burn the Winter Blues

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Fire Up Digestion

to Burn the Winter Blues

At some point in time, we’ve all felt a little blah, or a lot blue, during the winter months. Whether it’s the colder temperatures, decrease in sunshine, or winter ailments that have you feeling less your normal self this winter, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help. TCM teaches us that our body’s organs and functions serve us best when they are in balance with each other. Easier said than done, right? And how exactly do bodily functions apply to you specifically? Let’s, for a moment, get personal here in the Pulse and Point Blog.

Have your bowel movements changed? Do you have more bodily discharge? Are you extra tired? Is your skin extra itchy? Or maybe you have a rash that won’t go away? All of these can be a sign of things being out of balance. Our poop is not just about what we eat; it’s also about how well or not so well our stomach, spleen, and intestines are working together. That extra discharge could mean our spleen is overworked and creating a domino effect that leads to poor digestion and our organs are not getting the nutrients they need for optimum function and balance. When your body’s organs don’t get the nutrients they need to function at optimum levels, it takes more Chi (energy) to get back to a state of balance. And that itchiness and rash could be an indication that your body isn’t breaking down food well enough for your organs to absorb nutrients.  

Digestion isn’t a revolutionary health topic, but it is central to our health and too often taken for granted or overlooked when we start feeling less ourselves. If, when we feel blah or blue, we first look to what we’re ingesting and how we’re digesting, we will have made an important step forward in turning that frown upside down!

There are specific things that can help your body achieve balance. Get Needled—Acupuncture works great to balance the body! Additionally, by creating good cold-weather habits, you’re supporting your body’s changing needs this winter. Here’s how:

  • Live in sync with the changing seasons. That cooling garden salad is best during warm seasons like spring and summer. In winter, warm things up by eating roasted root vegetables.

  • Ingest and rest wisely. Be mindful of food and beverage choices, how your body reacts to what you eat, and practicing good sleep hygiene. Eat less damp-inducing foods in winter. Dairy is a food that should be eaten in moderation to prevent an overabundance of dampness that can weaken organ function. Good sleep hygiene is a way to train your body to fall asleep. Try to go to sleep around the same time every night and remove distractions in the bedroom. Acupuncture and essential oils that have sedative properties are options for those who need extra help falling and staying asleep.

  • Fire up the digestive process. The stomach likes to be warm when it starts to work. To help stimulate the digestive process, start your meals with something warm. Soups are a savory addition to meals in the winter months that can help fire up the digestive process. If you don’t have time for soup, then try starting your meal with a cup of warm water.

  • Eat something at every mealtime. Skipping meals means your body has less energy for your organs to do what they need to do. Make sure to eat something, even if it’s light, to ensure your body gets the energy it needs.

  • Add specific foods and spices to your meals to aid the digestive process in winter months. Consider adding anise seed, basil, cardamom seed, citrus peels, bell pepper, green beans, parsley, onion, scallions, and goji berries to your menus.

  • Drink a balanced amount of water. The kidneys and bladder are associated with winter, which means they need extra support this season.

Julie Taylor

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Our Favorite Things

A few of our favorite things:

  • Jade Gua Sha Tool: Gua Sha brings energy to stagnant areas and improves blood circulation. The Jade Heart is our favorite gua sha tool.

  • Po Sum On: Po Sum On is one of our favorite oil and herb blends for muscle pain.

  • doTERRA Peppermint Roll-on: Peppermint dilates blood vessels so it can reduce congestion, and this doTERRA roll-on has analgesic properties. You can roll it on those congested areas, but don’t get it too close to the eyes.

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  • doTERRA Lavender Roll-on: Help yourself re-charge by getting quality sleep. Wake up in the middle of the night? Roll some lavender on the bottoms of your feet to help you get back to sleep.

  • Gan Mai Da Zao Tang: We call it Happy Tea. Don’t let the hectic holiday lines keep you stressed. Have yourself a little cup of happy tea!

  • Hand and foot massage: Give yourself the gift of relaxation before bed. A quick hand and foot massage before bed can help you get to sleep.

We Need Chi to Move Chi

Chi, also known as Qi, is the term for Energy in Chinese medicine. We need energy to move energy, and in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we need Chi to move Chi! There are different types of energy, and in this instance, we’ll focus on food energy, called Gu Chi…not to be confused with the Gucci fashion brand.

Gucci aside, one way to build Chi is to build Gu (food) Chi (energy) by making quality food choices. We all know food is energy and the body needs it, but TCM provides us with a guiding philosophy on how this helps the body maintain health and wellness. Gu Chi nourishes our body’s organs. But knowing which foods will best nourish your body and therefore build Chi is not always an easy decision since it can depend on the individual needs of your body. In clinic, we look at the tongue and monitor the pulse as tools to pinpoint (pun intended) weaknesses on which to base diet recommendations and tailor treatments to specific needs.

At home, you can try a variety of nourishing foods to build your Chi. Here are some to get you started for common cold-weather challenges:

It can also help your Chi to limit dairy during the colder seasons, since dairy can increase phlegm, a condition referred to as dampness. And remember, the quality of chi you put in your body is the quality of energy you get out of life!

by Heather Roderick and Julie Taylor

China

My China Trip

Angela and Bruna at the hospital in China

Angela and Bruna at the hospital in China

As you may have noticed, I was out of the office for two weeks in September. Did you wonder what I was up to? Myself and our True Health Assistant, Bruna, spent two weeks at Long Hua Traditional Chinese Medical Hospital in Shanghai, China. Here’s a little about our adventure.

We had the opportunity to travel with a group of students from Wongu University, where I teach here in Las Vegas, and a few other practitioners from around the United States. The focus of the trip was to spend two weeks at the Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital observing the many different departments and how Chinese Medicine is used there.

It was quite eye opening! The first day we arrived at the hospital, there were long lines of people waiting to see the docs; the photo shows how many were waiting to enter. The hospital was just as large as some of our local hospitals here in Vegas, and all those people at the hospital there were waiting to see an Oriental Medical Doctor (OMD). Each day we observed appointments in different specialties: Oncology, Gynecology, Gastroenterology, Dermatology and more. It was so amazing to see!

Herbs

Herbs

Each day the Doctors would see about 40-60 patients in the 4 hours we observed. How were they being treated you may wonder? Each patient was seen by the doctor, they spoke about their symptoms, their tongue and pulse were examined, and then a traditional Chinese herb formula was prescribed. Yes, that’s right, their first line of treatment was Chinese Herbs. Though one of the most interesting parts of the observations was to learn that the OMD’s there were also able to prescribe Western Pharmaceuticals. They chose Western medication occasionally, but almost always still prescribed Chinese herbs too. So for example, a patient came in with severe acid reflux. The OMD prescribed a medication like Nexium to help alleviate the symptoms, while also prescribing herbs to help treat the ROOT of the problem. The Doctor would then tell the patient to take them both for a couple weeks, then reduce or stop the Western medication and continue on the herbs to make sure the symptoms didn’t return. This way of treatment is quite different from here in the United states, where it seems Eastern and Western Medicine, at times, battle each other. The combination of the two medicines I feel could so greatly benefit us here in the States and it is something I continually strive to promote!

We spent a lot of time in the hospital and different lectures, but we did also get to do some traveling and sightseeing. We were able to visit the Great Wall, The Bundt, eat some amazing Chinese food; even tried things like the Peking Duck, chicken stomach, Intestines and snake soup. I even attended a local Chinese Football (soccer) match!

We all had an amazing time and learned a lot. I am excited to bring some of the information I learned back to True Health and the Vegas Community!

5 Reasons to Use Acupuncture

1)  Increase energy–Acupuncture helps to improve and sustain overall energy.  Most patients report being able to do more throughout the day and being less fatigued by the end of the day

2)  Improve Sleep– Are you having trouble falling asleep? Staying asleep? Or just don’t feel well rested when you wake? Acupuncture helps the body return to its natural sleep cycle giving improvement to overall sleep, leaving you feeling more rested!

3)  Less Pain- pain suffers find great relief from acupuncture treatments.  Acupuncture helps to reduce inflammation, increase blood flow and release endorphins that help to reduce the pain sensation. 

4)  Reduce Stress–we all know stress is very harmful to our overall health, but often times we don’t know how to reduce stress.  Acupuncture allows the body to relax into a deep state we often don’t take the time to do on our own.  Even when we can’t reduce or remove stressors from our lives, acupuncture can help our body handle the stress.

5) Balance Hormones–Hot flashes, night sweats, irregular menses, PMS??? Acupuncture is a natural solution to balance hormones at any age.