Spring Time!

After the depth, introspection and hibernation of Winter, Spring is always a welcome sight. Although this year winter seems to have finally shown up in February.  Despite the beauty of the late snows many of us look forward to the longer days and warmer weather of Spring. 

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THE WOOD ELEMENT

In Chinese Medicine, the spring is associated with the Wood element. The Wood element embraces the idea of upward and outward growth, of sprouts shooting from the soil and seeds breaking their slumber for growth.  A tree is a great representation of the Wood element.  A healthy tree has it's roots grounded firmly in the earth, and draws water from deep in the earth to nourish it's expanding crown of leaves.

EMOTION

Each element in Chinese medicine governs an aspect of the emotional component of human nature. The positive emotion associated with Wood is benevolence and the negative emotion is anger. Benevolence is the capacity to act for the greater good without need for personal reward.  Anger is anger.  Sometimes anger is born from frustration and personal greed, other times it is born from injustice. At times, anger may be necessary to create the momentum for transformation.  Spring time is a good time to focus on understanding and releasing past pent up frustration and anger and to prepare for new growth and exploration. 

SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH THE WOOD ELEMENT

  • Chronic tendon and ligament problems

  • Tension headaches and migraines

  • Anxiety and depression

  • Menstrual irregularities and PMS pain

  • High blood pressure

    ORGANS

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The Wood element represents growth and renewal. Wood is associated with the liver and the gallbladder in Chinese medicine. The Liver is referred to as the general of the body. The myriad functions it performs include cleansing the blood, regulating blood sugar, manufacturing various proteins, regulating the balance of hormones and the generation of cholesterol. The Gallbladder is responsible for the storage and secretion of bile which is necessary for digestion.  

From a more spiritual perspective these two organs have an important role to play as well.  The Liver, the general, is in charge of strategic planning. As a general it is the Liver's job to insure that the other organs of the body are working in harmony with one another.  The Gallbladder is in charge of actualizing the liver's plan into action.  

The Liver's gift is vision and planning. The Gallbladder provides direction and stimulation. When these two organs are in harmony and well nourished they work together to insure that our visions and dreams become reality.  

From this perspective our focus in Spring should be growth, planning and the preparation to take our plans to fruition.  

Year of the Earth Dog

Chinese New Year 2018

Year of the Earth Dog

February 16th, 2018 marks the first day the the Chinese new year. The year will shift from the fiery and aggressive rooster to the driven and intelligent dog.  In light of all the intense media focus on political craziness of the past year this shift from fire to earth and rooster to dog could be a deeply refreshing change. 

Every two years the element dominating the year shifts.  This year we will see a switch from the element of fire to the element of earth.  While fire is expansive, transformative and destructive, earth is grounding, nourishing and supportive.  This year we begin to harvest the fruits of our labor from the past few years. 

The dog is loyal and honest.  We are hopeful that 2018 will shift significantly in the direction of honesty and integrity. This is a good time to strengthen our bonds and relationships with friends and family.  Our loyalty to our deeper truths will be important to respect and nourish.  However, the dog is know to be a poor communicator struggling to express itself effectively.  As we continue to grow as conscious beings this year, it is good to remember to listen and speak more clearly.

Acupuncture and Dry needling

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What is Dry Needling:

Dry needling is a form of acupuncture made popular by physical therapists.  It involves the insertion of acupuncture needles into trigger points.

Trigger Points are described as hyper-irritable areas in the muscles that are tender to pressure. Some trigger points correspond exactly with acupuncture points while others are considered extra points in acupuncture.

If you are looking for dry needling ask an acupuncturist. 
We are the experts in the use of needles. 

Acupuncturists are the experts of dry needling. We receive over 2000 hours of training in the safe and effective use of needles. We are trained to identify and treat trigger points, motor points, and acupuncture points.  We study both western anatomy and Chinese medical philosophy.  Like physical therapists, we are trained in anatomy, biometrics of injuries and muscle imbalances. 

The difference lies in the amount of training we receive. Acupuncturists receive extensive training in the safe use of needles while, physical therapists are also highly trained clinicians, but receive minimal training for dry needling. Rather than being part of their core education, it is taught to them at weekend workshops.

 

Definitions:

·      Trigger points are sensitive areas in the muscle or connective tissue that becomes painful when compressed. Pressing on a trigger point can cause referred pain and can help identify the external area in the body generating the pain.

·      Motor points are elecro-physiologically defined, as the point with the highest excitability of the muscle.  It is thought to be the area where the motor neuron innervates the muscle. 

·      Acupuncture Points are any of the specific locations on the body that in the practice of acupuncture and acupressure are stimulated to produce beneficial health effects, such as the relief of pain or promotion of healing. 

 

Aristolochic Acid

Over the last fifteen years a clear link has been observed between Aristolochic Acids (AA) and liver damage and cancer.  In the past, herbs containing these acids were regularly used in Chinese herbal medicine.  As early as 2002, while still students at The Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, we learned about the mounting evidence and were taught never to use these herbs.

In North America responsible practitioners of Chinese Medicine no longer use any of these dangerous herbs.  In fact, with the FDA’s help most of these herbs are very difficult to find. 

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Herbs containing Aristilochic Acid:
Guang Fang Ji
Xi Xin
Guan Mu Tong
Qing Mu Xiang
Ma dou Ling
Tian Xian Teng 

Inner Gate Acupuncture carries no formulas that contain any of these herbs.  Regular continuing education keeps us on top of new developments and we have always erred on the side of safety and caution.  None of these herbs have ever been sold at our clinic. 

20% off Vitamin D Supplements this December

Vitamin D is naturally produced in our skin when we are exposed to sunlight.  In the Pacific Northwest, dark, overcast days cause many of us to become deficient in vitamin D during the winter months.   In this enviornment It is crucial that we supplement with vitamin D.
 
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency:  

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  • Fatigue
  • Generalized aches and pains
  • Sense of not feeling well
  • Weight gain
  • Slow recovery from colds or flus
  • Restless sleep

 
Benefits of Vitamin D:  

  • Preventing seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Strong bones and teeth
  • Healthy immune response to colds and flus
  • Supports healthy brain and nervous system
  • Supports lung and cardiovascular health
  • Deep sleep

 
We carry a high quality 5000 iu vitamin D pill.  We feel that 5000 ius of vitamin a day is a safe dosage to be used throughout the dark months of the year.  Please consult with one of our practitioners about supplementation of vitamin D.  

5 Ways to Relieve Holiday Stress

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For many of us the holidays are a difficult time. Family expectations, uncomfortable political conversations, endless meal preparation, and mandated shopping all contribute to the overwhelming chaos.  

In the midst of the holiday fury, it's important that we all find windows of time devoted to relaxation and "me time."  Finding just 15 minutes a day can be a greatly regenerative to your system.  Reducing and managing our stress will lessen the likelihood of us getting sick during the holidays. 
 

Acupuncture:

This is of course an acupuncture clinic's newsletter! We see everyday how the stress relief associated with acupuncture improves people's lives.  With your phone off and an hour to yourself you can completely recharge here with us. Click here is contact us!


Daily meditation with Binaural beats:  

This relaxing music is scientifically designed to help our brains relax. These beats can be easily found on youtube, just search "binaural beats".  To get the effect you will need to listen with headphones.  Each ear will each hear a slightly different frequency of music. Reportedly, this can hep produce a more relaxed brain.  Or you can just meditate!  Click here to try a free binaural beat at youtube.com.
 

Try a float at float on: 

There are several facilities here in Portland where we can enjoy a relaxing "float." These float tanks are designed  to isolate the participant from sound and light.  The warm, highly salivated water makes you float high in the water.  Many people report that while floating time goes by quickly and that they leave feeling relaxed for days.  Click here for more information from Float On.

Put some hours into the gym:  

Exercise is always a great way to burn calories and change how to mind is processing. Stepping out of the daily routine for 45-75 minutes can greatly reduce stress and leave you feeling refreshed and renewed.  Check put classes at you local gym as these can be a great way to stay motivated and interested in workouts.  Click here for a local SE Portland gym that might have some classes that work with your schedule.  


Create some art or music:

If you're the creative type be sure to put some time aside to honor that aspect of yourself.  It may also help you get out of your home and connect with friends.   Making stained glass or soap, dance classes or jamming with friends are all great ideas.  

Volunteer at a shelter or soup kitchen:

Volunteering can make us all feel better.  Connecting with those in need can give us a greater sense of community, involvement and accomplishment.  If you have a few free hours check out one of Portland's shelters and see how you can help out.  Click Here for info from the Union Gospel Mission
 

 

4 Things to do with Halloween Candy

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Did you and your kids end up with too much halloween candy???

Here are 4 ways that you can make good use of that candy and not eat it! 

 

  1. Make a ginger bread house!  
    Gingerbread houses are fun, but they require a fair amount of work.  They are good way to use up a lot of candy and express your creativity.
    For a great recipe from Heidi at Happiness is Homemade. Click Here

  2. Donate to the homeless population.
    Local homeless Shelters are always in need of supplies.  You might have to check and see if they are accepting candy.  Due to it's lack of nutritional value some shelter might turn candy away after a certain point. 

    1. Here are four local homeless shelters: Portland Rescue Mission on Burnside, and at the Harbor, Transition Projects Willamette center, Shepard's Door and Day Break Shelter.

  3. Donate the candy to the troops!  
    There are several organizations that accept candy donations and send them to troops deployed overseas. Operation gratitude, Soldier's Angels, Operation Shoebox, and Operation Stars and Stripes.

  4. Make Ornaments:
    Holiday ornaments can be a great way to turn hard candies into pretty decorations. They can be placed in your windows, on your tree (if you do that), or given away as gifts. Here is a recipe.

    1. You will need to have metal cookie cutters, hard candies such as lollypops and lifesavers, vegetable spray, aluminum foil, cookie sheet and ribbon or yard to hang them.

    2. The instructions are easy. Preheat oven to 350°. Place the aluminum foil in the cookie sheet, place the cookie cutters on the foil. Then spray the cookie cutters and aluminum foil with vegetable cooking spray. Fill the cookie cutters with a single layer of candy using as many as will fit. Be sure to think about your color patterns! Bake for 5 to 7 minutes until candies are melted.

      Remove from oven and allow candy to cool about 2 minutes. While still in the cutter Make a hole in each with a chopstick or straw.  Thread the ribbon or yarn through for hanging then continue cooling until the cutters can be handled. Carefully pull cutters away from ornament.

Summer Watermelon Idea

Gazpacho and Mojitos!

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Watermelons are know as Xi Gua in Chinese.  In Chinese medicine they are eaten to protect against heat stroke and to maintain proper hydration and electrolyte balance during the hot summer months. 

Of course, watermelons can be enjoyed simply by slicing them into wedges and serving them chilled.  But there are many other fun ways to enjoy watermelons and benefit from their hydrating properties. 

Try this amazing Watermelon Gazpacho from Happy Kitchen Rocks. 

This easy recipe is created simply in a blender, saving you lots of dish washing time.  It's also a great way to use up the extra watermelon that won't fit nicely into the refrigerator.  

INGREDIENTS:

6 slices ciabatta bread
1 pound of tomatoes
1 red bell pepper seeds removed
1/2 peeled cucumber
1 1/2 lbs watermelon with the seeds removed.
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoon tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:
Roughly chop all the solid ingredients except 4 slices of ciabatta bread.  Place them into a food processor or blender.  Add the lime juice, white wine vinegar and the extra virgin olive oil.  Blend until smooth and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Garnish with basil leaves.

Grill or toast the ciabatta bread, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and serve.  

Thanks for the recipe Happykitchen.rocks!

Pinched Nerves

Pinched Nerves are also know as radiculopathy

Pinched Nerves are also know as radiculopathy.  Radiculopathy refers to a condition where a nerve root is compressed by some other tissue, which leads to pain, abnormal sensations, weakness and/or loss of muscle control down the course of the nerve.
 
Radiculopathy refers to the impingement of a nerve root or Radix at or near the spinal cord. However, there are other conditions that can mimic radiculopathy.  These occur when a nerve root is entrapped further from the spine by a muscle, bony structure or another tissue.  Examples of these include piriformis syndrome in the hip, or carpal tunnel in the hands. 
 
There are many other factors that lead to radiculopathy, these include degenerative disc disease, facet joint arthropathy, and arthritis. 
 
A skilled clinician can diagnose a pinched nerve in the exam room and MRI's are used for confirmation.  Symptoms originating in the neck or cervical spine can often be uncovered using compression tests such as Spurling’s test.  In the low body clinicians use straight leg test and slump test to look for low back nerve impingement.  Radicular problems are less common in the middle portion of the spinal column. 
 
Acupuncture treatment reduces radicular pain by alleviating pressure on the nerve root.  Accurate diagnosis, pin-point acupuncture treatment, and home exercises cure many pinched nerve situations!
 
There are situations where the degeneration is too advanced, or a spinal disc is too damaged to be managed with acupuncture and clinicians are trained to make referrals to appropriate doctors for these situations.

NEW T-SHIRTS ARE HERE!

new t-shirt in support of the Oregon Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (OAAOM)

We are excited to announce we’ve produced a new t-shirt to sell in support of the Oregon Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine’s (OAAOM) legal fund. 
The OAAOM’s mission is to advance our profession and honor the tradition of acupuncture and oriental medicine in Oregon.  They work to keep acupuncture safe, legal and accessible in Oregon. 

The OAAOM is currently working to:

Guarantee that insurance companies don’t cut off access to care: Working directly with legislators and insurance companies to combat the new pre-authorization systems used by insurance companies to cut off patient benefits.

Protect patients from unsafe practitioners: Fighting hard to keep untrained chiropractors and physical therapists from practicing unsafe acupuncture

Insure that acupuncturists earn a fair wage: Making sure insurance companies can’t limit reimbursement and unfairly discriminate against acupuncturists.

Provide quality continuing education: Advancing knowledge, techniques and ethics through education. 

The shirts are preshrunk cotton and come in a sizes S to XL. 
The Shirts cost $17 and are available now at the front desk.