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Eating Seeds? Yes! Seed Cycling? Not so much.

What is Seed Cycling?

I remember first hearing about seed cycling over 10 years ago as a new acupuncturist. The idea of seed cycling is that you can eat different seeds at different parts of your cycle to optimize your hormone balance. Which seed depends on the unique micronutrients in each one, with certain seeds thought to balance estrogen in the follicular phase (before ovulation) and balance progesterone levels in the luteal phase (after ovulation). The concept of being able to truly use your food as medicine and take control of your own health is really appealing of course! Who wouldn’t want a DIY answer to things like irregular cycles, painful periods, or other hormonal symptoms like premenstrual bloating and acne? Not to mention a little help with fertility?

Seed cycling seems to have surged in popularity on social media, so I wanted to take some time to really dig into the research to see if this is worth doing. Also, as a practitioner of East Asian Medicine (TCM), I am excited to discuss our medicine’s view of seeds and how they’re used, as well as some information on how our medicine would approach hormonal health at different phases of the cycle. Read more

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Living With the Seasons: Spring and the Wood Element

Each of the 5 elements in Traditional Chinese Medicine has an associated season, organ, color, flavor and even emotion. You can live in greater harmony with the natural world by learning a little about each season, and it becomes easier to notice the connections between what you’re feeling and what’s going on in nature.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Wood element is associated with the Liver and Gallbladder organs and springtime.

Wood possesses qualities of movement and growth, new ideas, creativity and inspiration.

Signs your Wood Element is balanced:

– You are feeling creative, inspired and excited to start new projects and do a little planning for the future
– Your muscles feel relaxed and you’re feeling loose and flexible. Emotionally, you’re also relaxed and flexible, and the little things aren’t irritating you Read more

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Perinatal Acupuncture Research Summaries Project

Have you ever wondered what the research says about acupuncture for issues during pregnancy like back pain, anxiety, morning sickness or moxibustion for turning a breech baby? And what about safety- is there any research on this?

With so much information at your fingertips, it can be really overwhelming to tell what is based on good research or expert opinion, and what is misinformation or the casual opinion of a social media influencer. I’ve created a free guide to help you cut through all the noise and give solid, research backed information about each topic. I hope this will save you time and aggravation, and help you feel clear and purposeful in the decisions you make for yourself during pregnancy. Read more

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Late Summer and The Earth Element: Seasonal Wellness

Knowing a little about Late Summer and its associated Earth element can help you to optimize your health this time of year and ensure you’re in harmony with the season. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are actually 5 seasons and 5 elements:

  • Autumn (metal)
  • Winter (water)
  • Spring (wood)
  • Summer (fire)
  • Late Summer (earth)
Each season and element has its associated emotions, temperature, organs, flavor and even color. We’re now entering the season of Late Summer, which belongs to the Earth element. Late summer begins mid-August and goes until the Autumn Equinox on September 22nd.

Qualities of Late Summer and the Earth Element:

Read more

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Maternal Healthcare Inequality- Why It Exists and What You Can Do

There are so many aspects that we need to work on to create lasting change- but one that hits closest to home for me since I am so involved in women’s health is maternal healthcare inequality. As a practitioner who is passionate about women’s health, after I began researching I was honestly embarrassed to realize the extent of my ignorance on this issue. I pledge to do better in continuing to educate myself, looking at my own unconscious bias as well as spreading awareness and donating to organizations which are making meaningful change.

Did you know that Black women in the USA are 3-4 times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than their white counterparts? In New York City, the rate is 12 times higher.

Why is this happening? I’ve been reading through many articles on the topic, and while I still have a lot of learning to do, I’ve found that researchers agree it has little to nothing to do with lifestyle factors (diet, etc), access to high quality healthcare or any genetic predisposition.

According to Dr. Joia Crear-Perry, research shows that “Black women who live in affluent neighborhoods, receive prenatal care in the first trimester, are normal weight, and have advanced degrees are still more likely to die or have their baby die than white women in poor neighborhoods, with no prenatal care, who are obese, and don’t have a high school diploma.”

We must do better. The main factors that researchers believe are responsible for increased maternal and infant mortality in the USA  are implicit (unconscious) bias on the part of healthcare practitioners as well as “weathering”, which is the cumulative physical effects of exposure to discrimination, leading to poorer health outcomes.

What can we do?  I am still learning and researching, but studies show that one solution is making free or low cost doulas available for pregnant people who can’t afford them. This additional support during pregnancy and postpartum results in improved outcomes and can literally be a lifesaving solution. We must support the community organizations that provide doula services so that they can serve more women and fairly compensate the doulas. This is not the only solution, but does help to fill in the gaps while our society works to address the underlying issue of racism.

EDUCATION STEPS:

  • Read Chapter 8 of the book “Babies are Not Pizzas” by Rebecca Dekker, RN, PhD. This chapter has generously been made available for free online- scroll to the bottom of the page for the pdf
  • Read through some of the articles on this page from Every Mother Counts, especially the first section on “The Impact of Systemic Racism on Black Maternal Health”. Please read a few articles, but if you’re just going to pick one from this list, I recommend this one.
  • Watch this short TED Talk to learn more about the effects of cumulative stress during pregnancy as well as the clinic model described in the third action step (below)

ACTION STEPS: