5 Reasons to Avoid Chinese Medicine

We understand where you're coming from, totally.

1: You never see it on television
When's the last time you saw an advertisement for acupuncture needles on the evening news? In 2012, the pharmaceutical industry spent more than $27 billion promoting drugs, including $24 billion on marketing to doctors and over $3 billion on advertising directly to prospective patients (3). The advertisements remind us of how much pain we're in and a quick fix for it, and are rife with an almost comically long list of serious side effects, "including death." Fact is, they're not required to tell or show you everything; like what percentage of the cost of that drug you'll be paying for is spent on advertising it to you, if there is a similar drug or therapy with fewer or different risks that can also treat the condition, or even how the drug works (4). The first synthetic drug was discovered in 1869. Acupuncture and other modalities rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have been around for many centuries. Just because you don't see it advertised, doesn't mean there's nothing to it.

2: No one you know ever said it was good for you
Your parents never used Traditional Chinese Medicine when you were growing up. I mean, who does that, right? Well, about 3.1 million adults in the United States did in 2006, according to a study from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH)(1). That number isminuscule compared to the 258 million Americans that had contact with a Western healthcare professional in 2012. The most common reason for those millions of doctor visits? A cough (2). Another study by the NIH in 2002 (more than a decade ago, and years before Healing Foundations existed) found that more than 1.2 million American women sought out acupuncture for conditions not commonly well-treated by conventional medicine, such as chronic pain, and the majority reported using acupuncture in conjunction with conventional medicine. Knowing your options based on education and needs, instead of tradition, can be a healthful thing.

The expanding and positive impact
that complementary therapies are having
on Western medicine is real.

3: Energy, herbs, and needles sounds too crazy to be real medicine
Behind the glossy and established pharmaceutical industry that supports Western medicine lies the facts. Most drugs are developed from plants (just like Chinese herbal medicine), while others come from animals, minerals, and some are derived from chemicals synthesized in laboratories. Insulin, which is used to treat diabetes, was originally obtained from the pancreas of pigs and cows (go ahead, picture that). To keep up with demand, insulin is now mostly produced in labs by introducing human insulin gene into E. Coli bacteria, then cultured in huge vats of nutrients before being extracted back out(5). Now, that's some crazy stuff.

4: Traditional Chinese Medicine can't cure serious illness
We at Healing Foundations would never ever suggest replacing or substituting your family physician or emergency care with one of our therapies. That's a fact. Broken leg? Heart attack? Get to the hospital immediately. Once the emergency is over, we can help make the recovery easier and faster because what we offer isn't alternative, it's integrative. In the six years since opening the doors at Healing Foundations, we've provided acupuncture to over a thousand people and have had many successes in treating depression, anxiety, and stress, injury rehabilitation, fertility and antenatal needs, surgical recovery and the effects of brain injury and cancer therapies.

5: There's not enough scientific proof
That's a true statement. An internet search provides no shortage of entries repeating a handful of studies that question the efficacy of acupuncture, but that proves only that not enough has been done to figure out why acupuncture has been so helpful and effective for so many people. The FDA forces Western medicine to endure years-long studies and proof of it's new drugs and procedures before they're allowed to be sold and used on you, yet year after year, there are recalls because the science behind them was wrong (6, 7). Until acupuncture studies are properly designed and executed there will continue to be lack of irrefutable proof of it's efficacy.

In reality, acupuncture and complementary therapies are gaining a real foothold; not just for a few people here and there, but changing and creating a broader view of what healthcare really is. The U.S. federal government’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and the U.S. Department of Defense/Veteran’s Affairs have each published best practice guidelines that address the value of acupuncture for chemical dependency
 (8). The US military is using and studying the positive impact of acupuncture on those suffering with PTSD (9). And in 2014, the branch of the National Institutes for Health that deals with acupuncture and other holistic treatments found it necessary to remove 'Alternative Medicine' from its name, and replace it with 'Integrative Health' instead (10).

The expanding and positive impact that complementary therapies are having on Western medicine is real. If you haven't already changed your mind about the therapies Healing Foundations offers, what reasons do you have left?

(1) https://goo.gl/mLgL5X   /  (2) http://goo.gl/L412Wt   /   (3) http://goo.gl/94AkYT   /   (4) http://goo.gl/a4f9GU
5) http://goo.gl/n87Pzl   /   (6) https://goo.gl/r7H9VW   /   (7) http://goo.gl/XCvXPN   /   (8) https://goo.gl/KNyTxJ
(9) http://goo.gl/hnVGHS   /   (10) http://goo.gl/qB1ncm

Achoo: Which Way the Wind blows

In Chicago, the cold season is essentially eight months long. At Healing Foundations we treat a lot of colds. In Chinese medicine, the common cold falls into two distinct categories: Wind Cold and Wind Heat. The concept may seem abstract but actually its very descriptive. Like the wind in nature, symptoms of a cold arrive suddenly and change rapidly. Typically a cold starts out as a Wind Cold invasion that often evolves into a Wind Heat pattern or a complex combination of both heat and cold symptoms. The faster we can determine the "wind nature" or pathogen of your cold and appropriately treat the symptoms, the shorter the road to recovery.

There are key symptoms that help determine the type of cold you're suffering from. Here is a table of cold symptoms and their associations in Chinese Medicine:


Treatments for your Wind

Acupuncture activates your own body's healing response and is fast and effective way to release and expel the pathogen. There are several commonly used acupuncture points for cold symptoms, and once we've determined all your needs, we'll customize a treatment to get you out of the wind and back into wellness.

Acupressure can also be very helpful to reduce symptoms of the common cold, and you can treat yourself at home. Check out our YouTube video here for acupressure to open the sinuses during a cold or allergy season.

Cupping or Gua Sha are alternately used to stimulate the points on the upper back through the use of suction or scraping to open the pores and release the Wind.  These techniques are helpful in breaking up a cough and congestion or relieving a sore throat.  

Herbal medicine: Common formulas we may recommend for colds are Yin Qiao Wan or Gan Mao Ling. Bi Yan Pian may also be used if there are sinus issues. We recommend using Chinese herbs only under the care of a licensed professional.  

Herbal Teas: A simple cup of hot tea can do wonders if you are ailing from a cold.  If you are experiencing Wind Cold symptoms ginger and cinnamon teas can be a great help. For Wind Heat, try green tea, chamomile or mint tea. Chrysanthemum or honey tea can help to ease fever symptoms. To soothe a sore or dry, scratchy throat add honey to your tea or drink pear juice.

Sweating: Sweating is your body's natural response to help rid yourself of the cold virus. If you are not sweating already, try to induce sweating by drinking hot ginger tea and taking a very hot bath. Once you start to sweat, dry off, bundle up and take a nap (rest is one of the best medicines of all!).

Nothing beats prevention, of course. When the weather is changing or it's dreadfully cold (or half the office out with the flu) make sure to rest up, drink plenty of fluids, eat healthfully and wash your hands frequently. Dress appropriately! According to Chinese medicine, wind enters your body at the base of the neck and cold can travel up through your feet. Be especially mindful to keep your head, neck and feet warm.  

If you begin to feel under the weather and sense a cold coming on, come don't wait for your symptoms to get worse – come in to Healing Foundations for our cold and flu treatment.  We've got heated tables, hot tea and a soothing atmosphere to help chase the cold away.

Deck the Halls with Asian Bodywork

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-Tui Na!

As a center for holistic health, Healing Foundations is pleased to offer multiple modalities for healing and preventative wellness. For feel-good healthcare without needles, Shiatsu, Tui Na and Thai Massage are just three among our offerings.

Translated as “finger pressure,” Shiatsu is a form of therapeutic massage that became popular in 17th century Japan. Fingers, thumbs, and palms of hands are used in kneading, pressing, and tapping muscles, connective tissues and joints. Sure, Shiatsu can help smooth out tight or sore muscles, but it also increases circulation and promotes relaxation by concentrating on the body’s overriding flow of energy. As with any bodywork session, it’s important to convey your goals to your massage therapist. Your Shiatsu session may be aimed at treating a specific issue, such as stress and anxiety, digestive or musculoskeletal disorders, and can be invigorating or calming—all depending on the goals you discuss with your therapist before your session.

Tui Na
As one of the branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tui Na [‘twee-nah’] combines the science and benefits of acutherapy with all the things you know and love about massage to treat both muscluoskeletal issues and internal disorders such as colds or upset stomach.  Muscles and tendons are manipulated with a variety of familiar massage techniques, however Tui Na pays special attention to acupressure points along the body’s meridians. Without needles, a therapist applies pressure with the fingers and hands to release muscle tension and increase circulation to address a specific concern—whether acute or chronic. As part of a integrative treatment, your Tui Na practitioner may prescribe Chinese herbs or include cupping or gua sha, and in some instances may also suggest including acupuncture (with needles) to enhance your treatment protocol. 

Thai Massage
Sometimes called “yoga massage”, Thai bodywork also employs acupressure techniques along with stretching. This ancient form of massage is a fusion of Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine principles. Similar to Chinese Medicine, one of the fundamental principles of traditional Thai medicine is that energy flows through the body along ten major channels, or "sen lines." Sometimes a little more ‘dynamic’ and interactive than some other massage techniques, your therapist uses their whole body to leverage prescribed stretches and pressure points to restore circulation to treat pain, stress and structural tension.

Preparing for your bodywork session
Healing Foundations provides a safe, clean, and relaxing environment. All bodywork sessions at Healing Foundations are performed with the patient clothed; please wear or bring loose, comfortable clothing to your appointment. Arrive a few minutes before your scheduled time, to relax and complete your intake paperwork—and we'll take it from there!

We send our best wishes for your health and happiness this holiday season, and every day of the year.

TCM and the Autumn Evolution

The Yin to Springtime's Yang

Shorter days, chilly nights—there’s change in the air, and we’re not just talkin’ decorative gourd season, here. Carefree summer days have been supplanted by work and emotional bracing for the winter ahead. Nature releases it’s bounty in swashes of orange and reds and browns, then wipes the palette bare to prepare for it’s next important phase.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), autumn is associated with the element of metal. Its Yin organ is the lungs. Just as the earth takes a moment to exhale after a bountiful growing season, so too should we. Right now as you read this, take a moment to fill your lungs, then and exhale gently. Savor that breath, but allow it to let go of the season past, stagnations, and yes—any emotions you might have hiding in there. Do it again. Really, go ahead. One more time. A full, deep breath and long, gentle exhalation. Just like an autumn day.

Everything in TCM has an opposite, and the Yang partner to the Yin lungs is the large intestine. When functioning properly, the lungs and the intestines both take good things in and get rid of waste. Keeping them in working order is crucial to physical and emotional well-being. According to TCM, up top—apples lubricate the lungs, and down below—apples treat indigestion and constipation. Next to pumpkins and gourds, everyone knows that autumn is the season for apples. You see how it all fits together?

Many people associate springtime with spring cleaning and clearing out, getting rid of the unneeded—but autumn is just as, if not more appropriate for “letting go”. Like deciduous trees, we humans don’t and shouldn’t hang on to what’s not needed. It’s time to drop the foliage that served you well, as well as the stuff that didn’t. Take a deep breath. Revel in knowing that autumn isn’t the end of one season, but the fresh beginning of another.

If you’re feeling “stuck” and a few fresh apples don’t seem to do the trick, we’re here to help. With Eastern Nutrition Counseling, Bodywork services, and Acupuncture available seven days per week, your autumn evolution just may be your most bountiful and fortifying yet.

Look for Healing Foundations at the Logan Square Farmers Market this Sunday; October 4th, from 10am-3pm. We'll have complimentary auricluar acupuncture, chair massage...and there'll be apples a-plenty to choose from!

Roscoe Village businesses join forces for Bundled Blessings

Roscoe Village businesses are joining together to collect disposable diapers in recognition of Diaper Need Awareness Week (September 28 – October 3).  The collected diapers will be donated to the Bundled Blessings Diaper Pantry, an outreach program located in Evanston, IL.  

Diaper Need Awareness Week was created to mobilize efforts to help make a difference in the lives of the nearly 5.3 million babies in the U.S. aged three or younger who live in poor or low-income families.  Federal programs such as food stamps do not cover the cost of disposable diapers. 

During the period September 25 – October 3, new or opened packages of disposable diapers or pull-ups can be left at drop-boxes at these Roscoe Village businesses: Healing Foundations, Alex’s Music Studio, Unicoi Art Studio, Wonderland Activities Center, Child’s Voice, Musical Magic, and Kickin’.  Bundled Blessings will collect, then deliver the diapers to six social service agencies in and around Evanston, who distribute them to families in need.  

About Bundled Blessings
Bundled Blessings Diaper Pantry is a service of the First United Methodist Church in Evanston. The organization distributes 7,500 – 8,000 diapers monthly, serving approximately 160 children. 

The organization partners with agencies equipped to identify and distribute the diapers to families in need. They include Connections for the Homeless, Teen Baby Nursery of Evanston, Y.O.U., Erie Health Center and Child Care Network. 

The Roscoe Village Diaper Drive is being coordinated by Rebecca Gemperle, a partner at Healing Foundations.  For more information on the Roscoe Village diaper drive, including the names and addresses of participating businesses, contact Rebecca Gemperle at rebecca@healingfoundationschicago.com, or Krys Juleen of Bundled Blessings at bundledblessings@outreach.com.  

To learn more about Bundled Blessings, please contact:
Krys Juleen, Program Co-ChairBundled Blessings
First United Methodist Church of Evanston
516 Church St, Evanston, IL 60201

Our Cupping Runneth Over: Cupping Therapy, explained

Our Cupping Runneth Over

Cupping Therapy, explained

After two thousand years, acupuncture is finally gaining traction outside of Asia; more and more people are finding relief, and now they're asking questions about "all that other stuff"—complementary therapies, including cupping!

In cupping therapy, cups made of glass, plastic or even bamboo, are placed on the skin in such a way that creates suction. Skin, superficial muscles and connective tissues are pulled outward instead of pressed; working similarly, but in the opposite way of massage therapies. Cupping's gentle pressure increases circulation, releases cellular debris and relaxes muscles; promoting natural healing while relieving musculoskeletal pain and inflammation. The pulling action of cupping is a real alternative when sensitive tissues or musculature can't withstand inward pressure.  Many people experience the same relaxation and sense of well being with cupping as with traditional massage because cupping the sedates the nervous system.

Cups are most commonly placed on the back, shoulders and neck, but can be placed anywhere on the body, including the face. In accordance with Traditional Chinese Medicine, placementoften follows the body's pathways (meridians) or specific acupoints in direct response to the condition for which you are receiving treatment. The meridian system is a network of channels, linked to different parts and functions of the body. By encouraging a good flow of blood, lymph, and fluids the body is better able to heal itself naturally.

Cupping therapy has many uses—and is often used in conjunction with acupuncture therapy to treat:

  • back and neck pain
  • migraines
  • fatigue, anxiety
  • skin problems
  • gynecological issue
  • respiratory problems
  • rheumatic diseases
  • cellulite
  • facial paralysis

What about pain and bruising, you ask? It's true, some bruising is a normal result of cupping, but its generally painless and the bruises disappear after a few days. To a great degree, the pressure created by the cups can be regulated by your therapist. Tightness and a pulling sensation is expected, but It is important to communicate any discomfort so the therapist's technique can be adjusted. If you're new to cupping, your therapist can begin with gentle pressure and increase the intensity as you become more comfortable with the experience.

Cupping is just one of the complementary therapies Healing Foundations offers. Please visit our website for information on the host of treatments we offer for your holistic health.

May your cup runneth over!


AURICULAR PARTICULARS: A primer on acupuncture of the ear

Auriculotherapy as we know it didn't originate in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Modern auricular acupuncture is a direct result of research completed in the late 1950s by French neurologist Paul Nogier. Nogier's discoveries were readily adopted by Chinese practitioners, who were, of course, already employing millenia-old acupuncture techniques. Chinese practitioners brought us the "ear map" of acupuncture sites (with its many variations). Later, Dr. Frank Bahr of Germany and Dr. Rene Bourdiol of France boosted auriculotherapy with research showing that the outer ear has specific somatotopic properties– or, that certain points on the ear correspond to and effect specific locations within the central nervous system. While acupuncture itself is assuredly an "Eastern thing", Eastern and Western medicine come together when it comes to auriculotherapy. 


How does auricular acupuncture work?
A probe is used to locate specific points on your outer ear to elicit a sensitivity response, indicating an imbalance. Your feedback determines where needles are placed. Remember, points on the ear effect the central nervous system, which oversees functions of glands of the endocrine and digestive systems, and even your body's neurological response to pain. In turn, those systems effect your physical body, which eventually impacts your mental-emotional health. This is a central tenet of holistic medicine. Even when an acute injury or condition is present, treating the whole being (drawing upon the natural healing power of a balanced central nervous system) has an effect on a problem that may seem incidental, or unconnected.

Who benefits from auriculotherapy?

The short answer: just about everybody! Needling points in the ear can activate and boost your body's natural healthy state–all its systems working together, and in balance with each other. For this very reason, auricular acupuncture is often used in conjunction with other treatments. While you may be receiving acupuncture needling elsewhere on your body for a particular need, you may also receive auriculotherapy to increase blood flow and relaxation. One method, called the NADA protocol, utilizes five points within the ear, and is often utilized in treating pain, addiction and PTSD [article]. Since the outer ear is easily accessible, auricular acupuncture can be performed almost anywhere, and makes consistent, repeat treatments for smoking cessation and weight loss practical. If you have seen the Healing Foundations booth at any number of health fairs or public events, such as the recent Burger Fest in Roscoe Village [photos here], you've seen ear acupuncture in action!

Auriculotherapy at Healing Foundations is not limited to needles. To finish a treatment,  earseeds, magnets or special press needles are often placed on the ear's acupoints to sustain the effects of the treatment or stimulate a healing response. For those who are afraid of needles but want to experience the benefits of acutherapy, this simple form of treatment can have a calming and lasting therapeutic effect.

The Ancient Art of Healthful Eating

Summer is upon us and that means fistfuls of greens, armfuls of heirloom tomatoes and endless garden salads! All good, and all healthy, right?

Not so fast, says Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which has an entirely unique, and somewhat complex approach to eating for health.  In the simplest terms, Chinese medicine is about correcting, achieving, and maintaining balance.  According to TCM, discord and imbalance can come from eating too much of one type of food—even if it came from straight from the garden!   In the West, the nutritional value of food is the sum of it's chemical components before it enters the body.  In the East, it's a set of energetic properties which describe the actions of a food that determines it's nutritional value.  

TCM assigns five temperature categories (or energies) to foods, and we're not talking cooking temperature, here. Temperature is the effect the food has on the body after it is digested.  If you’re a person who “runs hot” (too much Yang!), TCM calls for cool foods, such as watermelon and cucumber, to balance things out. For those who “run cool” (excess Yin), warming elements like cinnamon and mustard seed may be called for to bring you back to center.

"Sour, sweet, bitter, pungent: all must be tasted,” says a Chinese proverb. A diet rich in all five flavors is important for healthful vitality (included, but left out of that proverb: salty).  Flavor is the inherent essential quality ascribing a food to one of the five phase or elements - fire, earth, metal, water and wood as it relates to a particular organ.  Variety in color is important, too. According to Yellow Emperor's Inner Canon, foods fall into five color categories (green, red, yellow, white and black) and correlate to the seasons, and metabolic functions.  A balanced use of all five flavors increases satisfaction, reduces overeating and enhances absorption of nutrients. 

Not all food grows upward… or moves downward through the body! TCM gives foods movement properties, based on how they interact with the body and affect internal organ systems.  Ginger and green onion “float” affecting the Stomach and Lung, wine “lifts” and salt “lowers” and affects the Kidney. The routes and actions that foods take give them therapeutic value. Employing foods that posses one or more actions are used to counteract influences causing physical imbalances. Vinegar creates “sinking” movement. Some people love hearing that dill pickles and vinaigrette dressing are a part of their get-well plan.

Eating for a Balanced Qi
To support the treatments they receive in the clinic, we often suggest that patients incorporate or refrain from certain foods for a period of time. Using this knowledge of temperature, flavor and direction we can help you choose foods tailored to your personal needs.  The herbs and tincture formulas we prescribe are based on the same principles, and adding a dietary component often aids in their effectiveness. For those who cook and want to make the most of their TCM experience, a TCM diet is most definitely helpful, but navigating a TCM diet can be a challenge.

We really like a website called
Yin Yang Diet that incorporates TCM diet principles into recipes that are approachable and tailored to the Western palate. There are great recipes to try on the blog section, or you can take a short quiz that will help you identify your needs and purchase weekly plans that include three breakfasts, lunches and dinners.  

In addition to integrating dietary guidance with our other services, 
Healing Foundations offers stand-alone Eastern Nutrition counseling. Even the most well-intentioned, healthful diet can be more beneficial when your specific needs and total health are considered. Still, after thousands of years, there are things to be learned and shared from the holistic practice of Traditional Chinese medicine. Chī hǎo hē hǎo!

Healing Foundations is celebrating its 4th anniversary!

Rebecca Gemperle & Lisa Alvarez; Healing Foundations Co-Founders

Rebecca Gemperle & Lisa Alvarez; Healing Foundations Co-Founders

Rebecca and Lisa take time out for Q&A

Congratulations on 4 years! For a small business in a competitive field, what's the experience been like?
Lisa: We're really so pleased to have been here 4 years already. It seems like just yesterday that we opened, but when we think about how many people who've come to us for care, and the community we've become a part of, we're really amazed. Rebecca: It's hard to believe how much we've learned and grown. In a lot of ways we've already achieved what we set out to, but we realize how much more there is to do.

What were your goals when you opened Healing Foundations?

Rebecca: Well, obviously we wanted to practice acupuncture, but we also wanted to create a special kind of environment to do it in. We wanted to create a sense of community- with our clients, fellow practitioners, and with the businesses and neighbors in Roscoe Village. Lisa: That's right. Practicing acupuncture and Oriental medicine is what we do, but how we do it is really important to us. Four years ago we built our space to create the kind of place we wanted to work in, but also an atmosphere to foster the health of our clients and to support other wellness based practitioners. It's a cumulative effort. Making acupuncture accessible is important to us.  We offer reduced cost services to retired and active military personnel, and outside of the clinic we volunteer our services at charitable organizations, plus we're active within the local chamber of commerce.

How have you and Healing Foundations grown over the past four years?

Rebecca: Oh boy. Well, I went from being a single gal to being married and having a baby! My personal growth has been pretty amazing, and that's gone hand-in-hand with Healing Foundations and my growth professionally. There's no replacement for experience. I think we just have a richer and broader approach than when we first started. Much of that is from building relationships with clients and being exposed to so many different scenarios, but we're always studying new methods and the evolution of the practice of acupuncture. Lisa: We are fortunate and thankful for the clients who've come to us for help. Some people we see only a few times for an acute issue, and it's satisfying to help them and set them on their way. Others clients, we've built relationships with– Healing Foundations being a part of their long-term wellness care. Both kinds of clients give us opportunities to grow personally and professionally. It's also gratifying to support other practitioners. We've been able to help a few practitioners get their start in business, and we've become a long-term home for terrific people like Revital [Peremen], Jennifer [Gaspers] and Massimo [Cifali].

What do you want people to know about Healing Foundations that they don't already know?

Lisa: I think our challenge isn't about what people know about Healing Foundations; they only need to come see our clinic or talk to us, or one of our clients. It's more about understanding how acupuncture and the other therapies we offer are not a last resort. Too many people turn to acupuncture after other treatments fail. Much of what we do is still considered "alternative medicine", and that's slowly changing. We'd like to see more people choose to explore a drug-free, holistic approach to their health as a first choice, in conjunction with Western allopathic medicine, rather than a last hope. Rebecca: Our repeat clients know what to expect from their experience at Healing Foundations; I do wish we could better communicate the ways that we work with our clients, not just on them. Many people are accustomed to a hands-off approach to healthcare; an office visit followed by a prescription. We work more closely with our clients, not only asking questions before and during treatments, but after. We want them to call us and tell us how they're doing. With what we do, assessing, reinforcing or altering treatment comes within days, not weeks or months.

What's next for the future of Healing Foundations?

Rebecca: We'll continue to enhance and broaden the wellness options for our clients. We offer yoga classes, and are open to hosting more or different weekly options like meditation or kid's classes, depending on the community's interest. We really see what we do holistically, so we'll continue to be involved in the community, both as acupuncturists and as business owners. Lisa: We love being in Roscoe Village and are proud of what we have here. We're always looking for ways to make our client's experience more pleasurable, balancing the business end of the client experience with constantly improving the depth of their care. We stay up-to-date on treatment trends, and incorporate new modalities when it's appropriate. In the big picture, more of the same!

Everything's Coming Up Babies! Rebecca talks acupuncture & motherhood

After receiving my degree in Oriental Medicine in 2007, I completed two post graduate internships. I first traveled to China and then Indonesia, where I worked with women and men seeking acupuncture treatment for fertility support and pregnancy care at the Bumi Sehat Birthing Center in Bali (http://goo.gl/r4xKgd). Long before conceiving of Healing Foundations and before I even began thinking of beginning a family of my own, it was in Bali that I learned how acupuncture and Oriental Medicine are key to building healthy families.

At Healing Foundations, we’ve been lucky enough to help a number of families get their start. Those adorable faces in this month’s newsletter header–all part of the HF family. So many babies are born every day however, pregnancy can be a tricky thing.

My journey to motherhood was not a straight shot. The past 2 years have been full of extremes. I have experienced the highs of finding out I was pregnant and lows of losing two of them early on. I am a healthy young woman. I ate well, exercised, took my vitamins, and was overjoyed with the idea of meeting my future little one. All I could be told was that my two miscarriages were just my body’s natural response to an unviable baby due to chromosomal abnormalities. I’d heard the statistic that 1-in-4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage, but it really didn’t sink in until it happened to me, and before I was finally able to meet my daughter Morgan.

Walking the Walk
As an Oriental Medicine practitioner, it’s easy to tell a hopeful or expectant woman ways we might help her, but my first-hand experience is one I am happy to share.  Preparing my body for pregnancy was the first step - regulating my cycle and balancing reproductive hormones through acupuncture, along with a complete vitamin supplement. During my first and second trimesters, acupuncture supported me through hormonal changes, boosted my immune system and helped reduce swelling, aches, and fatigue. In the third trimester, when physical demands increase exponentially, CranioSacral therapy and myofascial release eased the pains from carrying a tiny, but growing human being. Perhaps most importantly, routine acupuncture treatments helped me remain calm and present throughout my entire pregnancy by reigning in my stress, fears and anxiety surrounding first-time motherhood.

Stress during pregnancy is a common issue affecting the health of both baby and mother. Cortisol is an important hormone in fetal development, but stress can cause levels of cortisol to spike. Studies show that elevated prenatal stress hormones cause an increased risk of early miscarriage, preeclampsia, premature birth and postnatal development delays. With regular treatments, I was able to remain even-keeled throughout my pregnancy, avoiding intense mood swings, nausea, breakouts, or unusual food cravings. Postnatally, an improper balance of stress hormones can affect production of breast milk – I personally was surprised at how much so. Now, six months post-partum, my wellness treatments continue, for my own health as well as for baby Morgan.

Your Pregnancy, Your Way
More and more women are turning to acupuncture for fertility support and to treat the discomforts of pregnancy and post-partum recovery. Fatigue, pelvic, back and sciatic pain, sinus congestion, stress and anxiety, nausea ,vomiting, headaches and mastitis can be effectively relieved without any side effects. Research shows that acupuncture is helpful in managing depression during pregnancy, reducing preterm births and inductions while improving perinatal outcomes.
Every person is different, and so are their needs.  At Healing Foundations our acupuncturists and massage therapists work together as a team to support you at any stage of your journey. Whether you are preparing for conception or seeking drug-free holistic pregnancy care, traditional Chinese medicine offers you treatment options and personalized care for a healthy happy pregnancy and beautiful healthy baby.

Rebecca Gemperle

Rebecca Gemperle

Year of the Ram Begins February 19 Tradition calls for a month-long celebration

Just when we've put the holidays to rest here at home, China gives another reason to celebrate!  According to the Chinese lunar calendar, the 2015 new year begins February 19. In traditional Chinese culture, the new year is cause for a big celebration that lasts for weeks.

 Acupuncture isn't the only ancient practice originating in China; this new year tradition has been in existence for more than 4000 years, so there's a lot riding on it! Also known as the Spring Celebration, families gather for traditional dinners, private and public spaces are decked out with festive decor, and celebrations with fireworks and crowd-pleasing festivities like the Dragon Dance abound.

The Chinese new year leans heavily on age-old superstitions and customs, including not cleaning the house for the first three days of the year for fear of sweeping away good luck. Luck is what the whole celebration is about, and red is the luckiest color. Red lanterns, red goats (this year), and red envelopes containing money for children and the elderly. This is why your Healing Foundations gift card is always swathed in a traditional (and lucky!) red envelope! Click here to read more.