Rise to Spring
It is time to let go of winters storage and let your spring energy shine! Spring brings with it feelings of rising expansion, growth, and activity. It is a very active time of year with strong and abundant energy. Use it to your advantage; be creative, make plans, and play! This is a time of rebirth and rejuvenation.
In Chinese Medicine spring is associated with the Liver and it is the time when its energy is the strongest. Understanding the energetic and structural functions of the liver enables us to keep it well nourished and healthy so that it can maintain balance within the body. Liver imbalances most frequently show up with symptoms such as menstrual irregularities including PMS, menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, fatigue, low sex drive, infertility, erectile dysfunction, emotional lability, skin problems, and allergies.
A commonly encountered Chinese proverb is said that when our Qi is flowing there is no pain and when our Qi is stagnant there is pain. The main energetic functions of the Liver are to keep our Qi or vital energy and emotions flowing harmoniously, and to store and cleanse our blood. When out of balance, the Liver Qi has a tendency toward stagnation; meaning the Liver is unable to maintain harmonious flow of Qi in the body which leads adverse emotional and physical manifestations. Stress and repressed emotions of frustration, anger and resentment greatly impact the Liver and are the most common causes of Liver Qi stagnation. Some other common cause of Liver Qi stagnation are over-working without adequate rejuvenation and restoration, deficient diet and lack of physical activity. Long standing Liver Qi stagnation also leads to feelings of depression, constant resentment and frustration. Commonly, the Liver is over worked and underpaid. We do not consistently do our mental and physical hygiene to support the Liver so that it can support us. When the Liver is in harmony it helps us to set, plan and attain goals, express our emotions in an effective manner, have flexibility in life and make decisions easily.
In Western physiology a healthy functioning liver is essential to our overall health in preventing inflammation and maintaining hormonal balance. On a structural level the liver is our primary detoxifying organ. It is responsible for cleaning up and filtering out environmental pollutants and toxic chemicals that enter the body, preventing them from causing problems. When these substances, know as endocrine disruptors are inadequately cleared from the body they will create inflammation by accumulating and most commonly pose as hormones in the body.
The second most important detoxifying organ in the body is the colon. It is essential to be having regular and satisfying bowel movements. Gas, bloating, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea are all symptoms worth paying attention to and figuring out the cause. These can all be symptoms that your digestion is compromised and negatively impacting the health of your liver, which will ultimately lead to inflammation. There are many ways to maintain bowel health including adequate intake of Probiotics via foods and supplements, consuming a diet high in fiber and eliminating any ‘trigger’ foods that disrupt your digestion.
Keeping the liver healthy will also help with seasonal allergies by detoxifying the body of environment pollens and pollutants so that they don’t become excessive. An accumulation of environmental allergens can make our immune system over reactive due to being bombarded with “invaders.” These invaders cause the immune system to respond by producing excessive histamine leading to symptoms such as excessive sneezing, watery, itchy and red eyes, and runny nose.
Below are suggestions for ways of keeping your liver healthy and functioning efficiently and supporting your “drainage system.” Living and eating clean and simple will help to free up the liver and fight inflammation so that it can detoxify our bodies to maintain overall health and balance. Getting rid of systemic inflammation allows us the ability to listen and connect to our bodies in learning what fells good and nourishing to our bodies and what does not.
8 Ways to Nourish Your Liver and Restore its Balance
vStay active- moving your qi will make you happy! Ideally be active outside-be amongst the beauty of spring, blooming flowers, singing birds…The lungs are also detoxifiers; with exhalation we release harmful chemicals and gases from the body. Exercise can induce sweating which is another way of detoxifying via the skin.
1) “Lively up yourself” (Bob Marley) - Be creative, dance, sing, do art, listen to music…all ways of moving your Qi! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyFmNPoDbDU)
2) Express yourself! Do your mental hygiene. As mentioned above the liver is very susceptible to emotional stagnation and repressed emotions such as resentment and frustration can have a negative impact on its functioning.
3) Connect with the world around you-come out of hibernation and into spring. Socializing is an effective and rewarding way to keep our spirits high and energy flowing.
4) “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” (Hippocrates)-some foods and herbal cleansers to support a healthy liver include broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, lemon, hawthorn fruit, red dates, milk thistle seeds, dandelion, mint, mung beans, green beans and peas, burdock root, bitters, chlorophyll, chlorella, greens-green vegetables and fruit in general. Pungent foods (a little goes a long way) such as ginger, spring onions, horseradish, black pepper, radish, chamomile. In moderation these will help the natural detoxifying function of the liver without extreme side effects. We are looking to support the liver versus shock it. Unless you have been diagnosed with liver disease, with gentle guidance and support the liver should be able to restore balance and function optimally. Eat simple, clean and light-we no longer need to store resources to make it through winter. Briefly cook vegetables before eating, rendering as much of their nutrients as possible. Buy organic. Avoid processed and refined foods that will only put more work on the liver. Purchase wild caught fish, free-range and organic poultry, and grass-fed meat without additives such as nitrates. Avoid alcohol and caffeine-use only in moderation as the liver is responsible for processing them and in excess they compromise the livers ability to detoxify the body.
4) Dry Skin Brushing-to help rid the body of harmful toxins. The skin is the largest organ in the body and our first line of defense. Dry brushing can keep it healthy and functioning optimally. It stimulates the lymphatic system which plays a vital role in our immune system health. (http://naturalhealthtechniques.com/healingtechniquesdry_brushing_technique/)
5) Clean living- We cannot always avoids toxins in the environment, but when possible it is imperative to avoid chemicals that cause endocrine disruption/hormonal imbalances. Over the counter hygiene products, house hold cleaners, plastics and pesticides are among the common culprits. Refer to the Environmental Working Group website for up-to-date and detailed information regarding clean living guidelines. (http://www.ewg.org/)
6) Chill out and relax! -Stress management is essential to keeping the liver healthy. Taiqi, qigong, meditation, restorative yoga, gentle exercise such as walking. Don’t get caught up in spring’s energy-take it slow and remember to engage in restorative exercises from time to time.
Jessica Cerasoli, Licensed Acupuncturist at Elevate Wellness Center
Natural Family Planning and Fertility Awareness Method: Come join us for this lively discussion and learn all the things you had wished you learned about your reproductive system and hormones in your high school sex ed class. We will teach how to understand your reproductive hormones and patterns and learn a physiological approach to tracking your menstrual cycle to achieve or avoid pregnancy.
Elevate TEA parties are free community gatherings where you will have some Time, Energy and Attention (TEA) from not only our providers but from other health specialists in the community. We will be mixing up some adaptogenic tonics and herbal teas and casually discuss featured topics. Contact us at email@example.com to share some of your ideas of what you would like to see as a TEA party.
Most mothers in the U.S. intend to breastfeed their children exclusively for at least three months, but only a third of them reach their goal. Low breastfeeding outcomes are not due to lack of desire; it is usually because of lack of support.
One question I am asked: Aren't we suppose to know how to nurse our babies instinctively? When we think about it, most of us do not see babies being nursed daily. So how are we supposed to know how to troubleshoot? Just because breastfeeding is natural doesn't mean it's always easy!
Some lucky moms are indeed able to breastfeed their babies easily but a large majority struggle with it at some point in small or big ways. You may have read books about it or even attended a breastfeeding class, but there might be issues that were not addressed:
Your baby might have been born early and needs some time and help "learning" and getting strong enough to suck, swallow and breathe properly.
Janine Blanchard, RCST is a German Osteopath and Craniosacral therapist practicing at Elevate Wellness Center.
Relax as stress is melted away by techniques that conform to the many changes experienced during pregnancy. Lying on her side with the supported cushion system, the mother to-be can rest knowing her and her baby are getting the prenatal care that is needed to ensure a healthy pregnancy, labor and maternal care.
Modern investigation and research has shown that prenatal massage therapy can be an instrumental ingredient in women's prenatal care and should be given careful consideration. Seeking a trained prenatal therapist is important to ensure safety to uterine ligaments and address the specific pregnancy and maternal needs. In this way the prenatal therapist can work with one's midwife or OBGYN to increase overall wellbeing.
Over the past 10 years studies have repeatedly shown that hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress are significantly altered when massage therapy is introduced to women's prenatal care.
Furthermore, in a study done by Field (2004), women who received bi-weekly massages for only five weeks saw a reduction in hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol (hormones associated with stress) and dopamine and serotonin levels were increased (low levels of these hormones are associated with depression).
These changes in hormone levels also led to fewer complications during birth and fewer instances of newborn complications, such as low birth weight.
The evidence strongly suggests there are maternal and newborn health benefits when therapeutic massage is incorporated into regular prenatal care.
The benefits of massage can improve overall prenatal health for many pregnant women. Incorporated into routine prenatal care as an emotional and physical health supplement, massage therapy is shown to improve pregnancy outcome and maternal health.
PRENATAL MASSAGE THERAPY SPECIALIST
At Elevate Wellness we take pride in providing the expecting mothers with prenatal care that is both holistic and researched. As trained prenatal massage therapy specialist, we understand the emotional and physical needs of this special time. With a combined experience of 15 years, we have been providing prenatal massage to expecting mother seeking stress relief to enhance their prenatal care. We look forward to the opportunity to help begin your journey of good health and wellbeing into motherhood.
Elevate Wellness Center
Does it just seem like we need more than 24 hours in a day? I often think if I had eight more hours in a day that I could get so much more done. I realize this is an illusion and, in reality, the items on my list are never-ending. But for some reason the cultural message is that we are superhumans. We can do it all, get everything done, and look good while doing it.
I see this illusion in my patients. Many deal with chronic stress. Initially, the stress is addicting. It feels good to have adrenaline coursing through our bodies. Many of us find identity and identify accomplishments by how busy we are.
Unfortunately, there's a downside to this behavior. Chronic stress taxes the endocrine system and creates a constant stream of cortisol, a stress hormone excreted by the adrenal glands. This initially provides strength to get through an emergency situation, but frequent signals to the system can cause a cortisol imbalance leading to weight gain, reproductive issues, insomnia, chronic inflammation and digestive disorders. This can eventually manifest into chronic illnesses such as heart disease, metabolic syndrome, depression, autoimmunity and chronic fatigue.
For Elevate Wellness Center's owner Melinda Choy, good health is about more than eating your veggies and chugging orange juice when you feel a cold coming on — it's about listening to what your body is telling you and searching for long-lasting lifestyle solutions over treating symptoms.
"We don't have a health culture that's built into our lifestyles; it's more like you take this medicine when you're sick. There is no real concept of how to bring that into your daily life," said Choy, perched on a stool at the "Communi-Tea" area of the center's new location in The Crossing.
Please join us for the grand opening of our new location at The Crossing!
2034 Lake Tahoe Blvd.
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
We have expanded services and Elevated
products that include the following:
- Ohana Medicinals Apothecary: a medicinal product line created by our in house herbalist Misty McBride, LMW & Herbalist
- Chinese Bulk Herbs
- Medicinal Herbal Tea and Tonic Blends
- 30 Minute Herbal Consults by Appointment
- Janine Blanchard, RCST® our fabulous new Craniosacral Therapist
- Expanded Elevate Farmacy
Please stop by for a tea or tonic and call soon to book your next
appointment at our beautiful new space at The Crossing.
2034 Lake Tahoe Blvd. (Next to Bass Shoes)
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
As a mom, a wife and a working woman, I know how challenging it is to create balance in my busy life. We are inundated by the messages from society to keep doing more and you CAN do it ALL! I don’t find this to be true. I think it’s not about doing it all. I think it’s about making healthy choices for you and your family. Last week I had the honor of speaking at the first Living Earth Symposium hosted by The Woods Apothecary. The title of my talk was “Being Yin in a Yang Society: 8 Lifestyle tips on how to cultivate more Yin in your life.” Women are Yin beings and it’s important to learn how to stay nourished and balanced as we become mothers, as we are in the workforce and how we manage our busy lives in this fast-paced society. Ultimately I think it’s important to honor ourselves as Yin beings, as women. This month's newsletter is all about women. We just so happen to have a clinic full of female providers right now and each one has a talent that is worthy for you to check out. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Burrr!!! I had to search my house for a sweater the other day. Fall is in the air and I can tell from not only the colder mornings and evenings but also that my arthritic knee started to act up while walking down my stairs. In Chinese Medicine, fall is ruled by the Lungs and Large Intestine in the Metal element. The Lungs are in charge of inhalation where we take in the nutrients through our breath and the Large Intestines functions are to let go of toxins and emotions that don't benefit us. Nature is in a state of contraction and the Qi is moving inward as we prepare to slow down and become more quiet to deeply nourish ourselves in the winter. As we slow, different aches and pains can start to show up; especially the cold in our joints that can create that arthritic achy feeling but always seems to feel better when warmed up...
Announcement from Melinda
Summer is here and we hope you are all enjoying the warmth, long days and energy. We are in the highest point of Yang energy at this time of the year so you should be feeling energetic, productive and at your strongest in your body. Your digestion should be feeling strong and capable of digesting some seasonal raw vegetables and some fruits. If you're not feeling at your best, come on in to address your imbalances as it's important to find your strength now to bring into the fall and winter...
Q & A with our new licensed acupuncturist, Jessica:
1) What brings you back to Tahoe?
Where do I start? First and foremost I am a mountain girl. Secondly, I have an opportunity of a lifetime to join the team at Elevate Wellness Center doing what I love and working with a team of practitioners that are vibrant, dynamic, and great at what they do. My excitement level to be back in Tahoe is through the roof! I went for a leisurely jog this week and I found myself overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for Tahoe; its beauty, its stillness in what can feel like a chaotic world and I haven’t even begun to talk about how grateful I am to live close to family again.
2) How will you combine your RN experience with your new acupuncture practice?
Being a nurse is ingrained in who I am. I’m grateful for my experience thus far as an RN and I consider obtaining my masters degree and becoming a Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) as an extension of it. The decision to further my education and become a licensed acupuncturist was motivated by my desire to learn more about an integrative medicine approach and to put myself in a position to be able to have more one on one time with patients and their families.
3) Do you have any specialties?
I have spent a majority of my training and interning focusing on integrative orthopedic sports medicine and thoroughly enjoy it. However, I consider Chinese medicine to be most effective when treating the whole person-mind, body , spirit to address the root and branch- versus isolating one region of the body. I’m most interested in meeting the needs of the community.
4) What's your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment is becoming a licensed acupuncturist and a practitioner of Chinese medicine. I have never felt so sure or been so proud about a decision I have made in my life.
5) What's your guilty pleasure?
Frozen yogurt, everything in moderation, right?
6) An interesting fact about you that you want to share?
I secretly would love to be a performer- preferably a singer or dancer. However, I have stagefright.
7) Coffee or tea?
Coffee in the morning, tea any other time.
8) Your next educational goal?
Obtaining my doctorate/Ph.D in Acupuncture and Oriental medicine. I am in no rush- My plate is full.
9) Your vision of the future of medicine?
Team work! There are so many different modalities and models of health care-no one size fits all. Times are changing, and I believe as health care providers we are all responsible for keeping up with the times, being adaptable, meeting people where they are at and empowering patients through education about their health and options.
10) One item you'd have on a deserted island?
My djembe drum. I have wanted to spend more time playing it. Speaking of that, I am super excited to hear that Liz Broscoe is still teaching djembe classes!