Thursday, April 16, 2015

Acupuncture and Shoni-Shin for Children in Santa Rosa, CA

Having my own child as well as having success practicing on women with fertility issues has naturally led me to an interest in pediatric acupuncture. Also, as an acupuncturist I noticed when I had a young patient, even one who was already an adolescent, they responded to treatment more quickly than an adult. This was a fulfilling experience feeling that in a few short weeks of treatment I may have improved the child's health for life. I helped one teen with menstrual cramps, for example, and wondered about my 30 something year old patient with extreme monthly pain, what her life would have been like if she'd come for treatment at 15.

So it may sound great in theory, but if your child is suffering from something you may be concerned about the acupuncture needles and have fears about your child not liking it. Although this is a valid concern, my experience has been that most young children find these needles much more comfortable than the ones used for shots at the doctor's and come back happily to my office without aversion. Here is a video of a happy baby getting acupuncture. I was there at this pediatric acupuncture class when this was filmed so I can attest that it is the real, unedited experience of the young one.

In addition the fact that my feisty and willful three year old boy will request acupuncture and keep his needle in for up to half an hour speaks volumes. He knows it helps his body feel better and was surprised at his first treatment telling me "That didn't even hurt." Besides if a child really does not want to needles or "taps" as I refer to them for kids, I can use non insertion techniques like micro-current and Shoni Shin which are tools to stimulate the acupuncture channels and bring about healing without breaking the skin. I find I can get good results with these tools as well as acupuncture, it just depends on the sensitivity of the child and their needs.

To learn more about acupuncture for children or to schedule an appointment visit: or call (707) 775-8311

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Easy Labor Protocol for Pregnant Women in Santa Rosa, Ca

Although I have enough experience with labor induction through acupuncture to know that it is usually quite helpful, my sense and what I have learned through the experts is that it is not the ideal way to prepare the body for a smooth and easy labor. I liken the process of labor induction to giving the body a big push so that the baby can come out. My easy labor protocol, however, is a process that takes place from week 22 of pregnancy onward that slowly and gently strengthens the uterus and the woman's blood and energy and softens/ripens her cervix, so that when the due date window arrives she can easily and naturally deliver her baby without a lot intervention needed at that point.

The easy labor protocol consists of 6-8 treatments at pivotal intervals in her pregnancy in which direct moxabustion (a therapy involving burning mugwort) is applied on a special point on the woman's leg that brings energy the uterus. I usually combine this protocol with constitutional acupuncture to deal with any issues or potential issues in the woman's body that would prevent a smooth and easy labor and/or make her pregnancy less pleasant. Most women experience the process as pleasant with few other noticeable effects afterwards. Some sensitive women will notice an increase in uterine action (braxton hicks) following a treatment or perhaps an increase in personal energy. So far women who had the easy labor protocol had all natural labors without medical interventions and believe the birthing process was shorter and easier than they would have been without this series of treatments.

To learn more about the easy labor protocol, acupuncture in general, or to book an appointment call Kat at (707) 775-8311 or visit

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Should I take Placenta Postpartum? A Chinese Medicine Perspective

As an acupuncture/ herbal medicine student I was excited to learn about human placenta as a healing substance. I was fascinated that this medicine could put to use something that was part of creating life and yet was so readily discarded. It was only years later that I became pregnant that I learned the trend of taking placenta postpartum for recovery, breast milk enhancement, and postpartum depression prevention. In this blog I'll discuss how the current use varies somewhat from its traditional usage and how I believe more caution needs to be exercised to most effectively utilize placenta as a healing substance.

When I was pregnant and decided that I would hire someone to dry and encapsulate my placenta, I got caught up with the current touting of all the benefits of taking placenta postpartum and forgot some of my text book knowledge about some of its precautions. I took the substance as "prescribed" by the doula who prepared it for me, 1 capsule 3 times a day. Days after giving birth I wound up with a mysterious fever that my midwife labeled mastitis (breast infection) for lack of signs pointing in any other directions. I believe the onset of this fever and possible infection was at least in part related to my ingesting placenta. Here's why.

By nature placenta is warm and very nourishing especially to the yang of the kidney as well as the blood and essence of a person. For those of you not familiar with these terms the "yang" is the warming and activating side of a person.  "Blood" is pretty much as we usually refer to it, and "essence" is the core substantive vitality of a person. In the weeks after giving birth a woman's channels are said to be in an "unsettled" state and be more open than usual. So while she may very well need nourishing after the blood loss and exertion of labor and caring for a new baby, she also needs to take care to avoid pathogenic factors like extremes of hot or cold during this vulnerable time, as that could introduce infection. As I am a person who tends toward heat diseases anyway, meaning if I was going to get sick hot, red sores or fever were often part of the picture. So for me taking this warm and nourishing of a substance several times a day when I was extra vulnerable to infection was not the best idea. Fortunately, at this point I stopped taking my placenta until the infection was totally gone and thereafter I only took it on occasion when feeling more cool and run down, not just as a maitenence supplement. I at least had the knowledge to do this but I worried that other women without this information would end up continuing to take it as "prescribed" and wind up with infections that were difficult to recover from. So for the benefit of people who want to ingest their placenta here is my list of precautions based on text book guidelines.

1. Do not take daily/regularly if there is no significant depletion. Best way to know this is having a Chinese Medicine practitioner read your tongue, pulse and ask you a few questions. If you had a long, difficult labor or lost an usual amount of blood there is a good chance you could have depletion, but still having a consultation is not a bad idea. Regardless, you should listen to your body if the placenta seems to be creating symptoms rather than making you feel good.

2. Stop placenta immediately in case of fever or other signs of infection including common cold. Do not resume until completely recover.

3. Be cautious if you have a hot or particularly robust constitution. This is probably not the best choice for you even after the hard work of giving birth as it is listed as ideal for someone who tends to suffer from infertility or impotence, emaciation, chronic weak lung conditions, or is elderly and debilitated.

4. If you tend to suffer from yin deficient symptoms such as hot flashes or sweating at night this substance should not be used alone. It needs to be combined with other more moist substances, so consult your herbalist.

5. Lastly, I am concerned with the hygienic nature of the prepared placenta. Since the kitchens in which placentas are prepared are not regulated in any way it is quite possible for bacteria to get introduced. Do your research before choosing someone to prepare it about the standards for cleanliness in the preparation area.

If you are wanting a consultation about use of placenta in the Sonoma County/Santa Rosa area I'd be happy to take a look at you as an individual and give my recommendations. I also sell formulations of herbs that I believe to be more safe than placenta for a larger number of women. They also happen to be significantly cheaper. For more information visit or call Kat at (707) 775-8311.