Well, it’s back. The Rona. Vid. Sars-COv19.  

It was nice to let the pandemic fade into the background for a while. As predicted, the virus has mutated again and there is a surge beginning all across the U.S., including here in Colorado. 

(This is a long one…look for bold print for highlights if you’re in a hurry.)

New Variant causing the surge

This latest version of the highly contagious Omicron variant has mutated a few more times. The current dominant variant across the country, B.1.1.529, is twice as contagious and has gotten better at evading vaccines for infection.

Vaccines are still providing protection against severe illness, hospitalization, long-Covid, and death, even with breakthrough cases. Long-covid cases among the vaccinated are also on the rise alongside breakthrough cases (although still much, much lower than for unvaccinated.)

The Data on the Latest Surge

Transmission starts to surge when case positivity goes above 5%. 

Here in Colorado, according to the state’s Covid19 page[1], the case positivity rate as of today (5/18/2022) is at 8.37%, up from under 3% over a month ago.

Nationally, cases are rising, too, with 99,247 cases/day on average, when the national average a couple of months ago was about 36,000 cases/day[2]. As of today (5/18/2022), U.S. Health officials said one-third of Americans live in areas with such high transmission, they should consider wearing masks indoors, regardless of local policy[3].

Anecdotally, I’ve heard from more patients and friends about new covid cases in the past 2 weeks than I have in a few months. These cases range from asymptomatic to quite sick, even among some fully vaxxed/boosted healthy people, although no hospitalizations yet.

Most of these cases are first-time infections, although we’ve heard of a few people getting covid for the 2nd time lately, too.

Is Covid really that big of a deal anymore?

Take it from people who’ve been treating acute and long-Covid…you really don’t want to get this if you can avoid it. 

For those who say Covid is no worse than the flu, I’d like to note a few points… 

  1. Influenza sucks. Bad. You can expect to be quite sick for 7-10 days, then run down and not yourself for another week or two after that. It is common to then get sinus infections, pneumonia, and even auto-immune issues after influenza, extending your misery. So why is this comparison used like it’s no big deal?
  2. Covid spreads much more easily than influenza, can cause more serious illness, people are contagious longer, and serious complications leading to hospitalization and death are much more likely even in healthy people when compared to influenza[4].
  3. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, Covid has a much higher risk than influenza of long-term complications affecting multiple other organs[5].
  4. Personally, I like to avoid being horribly sick for weeks regardless of the cause. I think most people can agree on that. 

What you can do

Ok, that’s a lot of data (I am a data nerd…see all the footnotes if you are, too). 

I know there is some serious pandemic fatigue out there. I feel it, too.

So what can you do to stay healthy? 

And do you really need to worry about it? Isn’t it just around, like the flu? 

Covid isn’t really considered endemic yet, and since there’s so much of it around still, it’s mutating frequently, which means the game keeps changing, like it has recently. Yet again. So, if you just don’t care, just stop reading. If you’re concerned, and want to know what to do, keep going. 

If you or someone close to you have chronic health issues, (like me with asthma), it’s worth paying attention and taking some steps to protect your health, as well as the health of people around you. 

Boost your immunity

Start with your day-day routine. Here’s the best things you can do to keep yourself healthy …

  • Get enough sleep!
    I know this is basic, but most of us could be a lot better about making sure we get enough sleep. Aim for 8 hours a night. 
  • Drink lots of water
    Being dehydrated puts your body under stress. Try to get those 8 glasses a day.
  • Eat those fruits and veggies
    They’re full of vitamins, mineral, electrolytes, fiber…the list goes on. You know this, now go do it!
  • Minimize sugar, dairy, fried foods, alcohol and processed foods
    These foods cause inflammation and tank your immune system. Plus, according to Chinese Medicine,they create more phlegm in our bodies, which is a perfect breeding ground for viruses.
  • Supplement!
    These are the top 4 supplements I recommend for immune support. You can order them online here.
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C
  • NAC
  • Zinc
  • Use Chinese Herbal Medicine
    Chinese herbal formulas are helpful for prevention, treatment, and recovery. You’ll need to see a qualified practitioner to get the right formula for you. You can book with me here
  • Get regular acupuncture 
    According to this article in the National Library of Medicine, More and more research has revealed that acupuncture can regulate immunity, for example, to enhance anticancer and anti-stress immune function and exert anti-inflammation effects.”[6] Bonus…it will also help your sleep, digestion, stress, periods…..You can book here

Avoid catching it in public

I know, I know, we’re all tired of masks. But they work. If you want to greatly reduce your chance of getting Covid, a mask is one of your best lines of defense.

The science and data are exceedingly clear that masks dramatically reduce transmission of Covid and other viruses[7]. Especially if it’s a well-fitted, multi-filter mask like a KN95 (here’s what we use.) They are safe to wear all day[8]

Right now, I’d say if you’re high-risk for any reason, or people in your family are high-risk, wear a mask when indoors around other people. 

If you don’t want to wear it all the time, here’s a good guideline:

If you are within 6 feet of people for more than a few minutes, wear the mask.

For example…if you’re at the grocery store on a Monday afternoon and hardly anyone is around, you are safer without a mask than on a Saturday morning when it’s packed. Make sense?

A note…most local governments have said they won’t implement a mask mandate unless hospitals fill up, which is a very different criterion than before when cases hit a certain number per hundred thousand. This means cases can be really high, but they won’t necessarily do any kind of mandate, just “recommended.”

And remember, people are contagious for 1-2 days before symptoms show up, so you can’t tell just by looking.

Here’s the TL;DR list of What to Do to Avoid Catching Covid in Public…

  • Wear a mask when indoors in crowded places…regardless of whether they are required. 
  • Social distance when indoors
  • Do your socializing outside and enjoy the weather.  
  • Wash your hands (do this anyway, because gross)

What if someone in my family has Covid?

Excellent question, and one I am able to answer from experience. 

My very healthy, no high-risk-factors, vaxxed and boosted husband just got covid about a week ago, at work. Several other people there got it, too. Most were vaxxed, and/or had already had it in the past 6 months. 

Much to our surprise, even with herbs and supplements, my husband got very sick… Like I was watching to see if he needed to go to the ER kind of sick. He had chest pain, was coughing up profuse dark mucus, 102º fever for 3 days even with alternating ibuprofen and Tylenol every 3 hours, body aches, chills, very sore throat, and total misery kind of sick. Two different doctors said they couldn’t give him antivirals or monoclonal antibodies because he isn’t high-risk. 

Thankfully, he’s on the upswing now, though still sick. 

The good news is that, so far, my kids and I are negative for Covid and have no symptoms. 

Here’s what we do to keep the rest of us healthy:

  • Run humidifiers
    Airborne virus particles travel best in dry air. Running a humidifier to about 40-60% humidity, especially here in dry Colorado, can help minimize transmission[9].
  • Sanitize!
    Clean the ever-lovin’ daylights out of high-touch surfaces OFTEN…doorknobs, light switches, and faucets. Wash the towels on hot and change them frequently, especially hand and kitchen towels.
  • Ventilate!
    Ventilation is important to lower viral concentration[10].
  • Open your windows 
  • Run a HEPA filter in common areas and in bedrooms with more than one person (I suspect this plus a humidifier helped me NOT catch it even though we sleep in the same bed until he had symptoms).
  • Run your furnace fan to keep the house ventilated and bring in outside air. 
  • Sick person quarantines in a separate room and uses a separate bathroom
    Keep those germies to yourself!
  • The sick person always wears a KN95 mask if leaving the quarantine room even for a minute. 
  • Healthy people wear a KN95 mask if around the sick person (ie. to bring them food or medicine)
  • Do the above “Boost your Immunity” stuff…sleep, eat well, etc.
  • Test frequently 

You can get free home-test kits from the U.S. Gov’t here

Walgreen’s still has free drive-up NAAT rapid molecular tests and PCR tests. Book an appointment here

The State of Colorado still has some free testing sites that you can find here

Finally, I know it’s hard to know where to look for good info on the current Covid situation. My favorite all-in-one source for well-researched and vetted current info, from an actual epidemiologist, who explains it all in understandable terms, is Your Local Epidemiologist, Katelyn Jetelina, who started this blog way back at the beginning of the pandemic to help people understand things like R0, etc. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and at Substack here

For other Covid data if you’re interested:

Tri-County Health Department https://www.tchd.org/818/Coronavirus-COVID-19

State of Colorado https://covid19.colorado.gov/data

Centers for Disease Control https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home

World Health Organization https://covid19.who.int

Stay healthy, friends.

Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness

[1] https://covid19.colorado.gov/data

[2] https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/05/18/world/covid-19-mandates-vaccine-cases?name=styln-coronavirus&region=TOP_BANNER&block=storyline_menu_recirc&action=click&pgtype=Article&variant=show&is_new=false

[4] https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/flu-vs-covid19.htm

[5] https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-disease-2019-vs-the-flu


[7]  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7883189/

[8] https://health.clevelandclinic.org/can-face-masks-cause-health-problems/

[9] https://www.consumerreports.org/flu/use-a-humidifier-to-prevent-flu-a6503801917/

[10] https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/ventilation-and-coronavirus-covid-19

A lot of people are going gluten-free these days. 

For some, it’s because they found out they have Celiac Disease (like me) or non-Celiac gluten intolerance. For others, it’s because they’ve noticed they feel tired, nauseous, or bloated every time they eat wheat, or because they’ve got chronic digestive issues they’re trying to sort out. 


According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, 1 in 133 people in the U.S. have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder where your immune system attacks and destroys the cilia (the lining of your small intestines) when gluten is present.[1]

Symptoms of Celiac Disease[2]

  • Diarrhea, constipation, chronic gas, and smelly poop
  • Fatigue
  • Chronic joint or muscle pain
  • Weight Loss
  • Skin problems like psoriasis, alopecia, hives
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Anemia
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Leg or arm numbness (neuropathy)

Research from the Cleveland Clinic reports that another whopping 6% of Americans are non-celiac gluten intolerant.[3]

Symptoms of this can be quite severe, leading to chronic inflammation of the gut lining, aka “leaky gut.” This allows bacteria and partially digested particles into your blood and liver, triggering an immune response and creating systemic inflammation.

Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity (non-Celiac)[4]

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea and Constipation
  • Stomach Pain
  • Headaches or Migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Pain due to inflammation
  • Brain Fog

But why are so many people suddenly having problems with gluten these days?

There are a lot of theories out there, and here are the ones science can agree on…

  1. People are more aware of Celiac and Gluten Intolerance, so are doing something about it.
  2. It was theorized that wheat has been hybridized to contain more gluten, especially in the U.S., to make the texture of wheat products “better.”  So is there literally more gluten in wheat these days? Actually, no.  Studies have found that while modern wheat contains less protein than in the past, gluten content is similar, although of slightly different composition.[5]
  3. Poor diets full of processed foods high in sugar, salt and unhealthy fats and low nutritional value have damaged our digestion and immune systems. Couple that with much higher exposure to environmental toxins, like air pollution and the slew of chemicals in everything from personal care products to pesticides, and our bodies are under a lot of pressure.
  4. One theory that stands out, with compelling scientific evidence, is that Gluten sensitivity is because of Glyphosate, and other chemicals used on/in foods to a lesser extent.

What is Glyphosate, you ask?

It’s Round-up. Yes, the weed-killer people use in their yard.

Glyphosate is not just used to kill weeds. It’s sprayed heavily on crops before harvesting to desiccate (dry out) them for easier harvest. Food testing shows consistently high levels of glyphosate in the food supply in North America, the highest in the world.

While the EPA in the U.S. states that Glyphosate is considered safe[6], many countries have banned the use of Glyphosate as a crop desiccant, and some countries have banned it completely citing safety, including Mexico, which is phasing it out by 2024[7]. In the U.S., there is an ever-growing number of municipalities banning its use, and Bayer (formerly Monsanto), under legal and public pressure after mounting scientific evidence as a carcinogen, will stop selling Glyphosate (Round-up) in the U.S. for home use in 2023.

A systematic review of studies done on the effect of Glyphosate on dysbiosis and wheat-sensitivity[8] in 2020 found that there has been a dramatic increase in people reporting digestive issues like dysbiosis (gut bacteria out of whack), leaky gut, and gluten intolerance in the decades since the high use of Glyphosate became standard practice. (This is a good, detailed study if you have time to read it.)

Anecdotally, every year I have several Gluten Intolerant patients visit countries in Europe and miraculously be able to eat wheat with no issues. Thinking they’re cured, then they come home and eat wheat only to immediately have all their old symptoms recur. I hear the same from many other practitioners.

Glyphosate was originally thought to be safe for humans as it is only “poisonous” to plants and bacteria. However, its effect on the gut microbiome (the normal healthy bacteria needed for digestion) was, for reasons unknown, not taken into account. 

The problem with Glyphosate as it relates to gluten intolerance and Celiac disease is that it kills the healthy bacteria in our guts that we need to properly digest food. (We’ll leave the other health problems linked to Glyphosate for another day.) This leads to gut inflammation, which then leads to “leaky gut,” triggering an immune response, systemic inflammation, and poor digestion. So it may be that a lot of people’s “gluten” sensitivity is actually a Glyphosate/chemical problem.

Should I Go Gluten-Free?

If you ticked off a lot of those symptoms listed above for Celiac or Gluten Intolerance, you should do a gluten elimination diet for at least one month.

  1. Completely cut all gluten out of your diet, no cheating, to allow your gut and immune system to calm down.
  2. Slowly reintroduce gluten to your diet and see how you feel. Most people can tell pretty fast –their symptoms have likely improved while they are off gluten, only to return within hours to a couple days.

Even if you don’t have many of the above symptoms, it can be helpful to remove or reduce gluten from your diet. It can not only help your digestion but help your health overall. To limit the amount of Glyphosate you ingest in general, try to eat organic food as much as you can.


For more information on Celiac Disease, visit The Celiac Disease Foundation.

See our separate Blog Post for recommendations on Gluten-Free brands, resources, and local restaurants.

Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness

[1] https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/celiac-disease

[2] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/signs-you-are-gluten-intolerant#Symptoms-of-celiac-disease

[3] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21622-gluten-intolerance

[4] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/signs-you-are-gluten-intolerant#Symptoms-of-non-celiac-gluten-sensitivity

[5] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200811120112.htm#:~:text=Analyses%20by%20the%20team%20of,the%20gluten%20has%20changed%20slightly

[6] https://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/toxic-tort-law/monsanto-roundup-lawsuit/where-is-glyphosate-banned-/

[7] https://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/glyphosate

[8] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2020.556729/full

If you’re thinking about going Gluten-Free, it can be overwhelming.

Whether it’s for an elimination diet to determine if you have issues with gluten (for digestion, migraines, general inflammation, etc.), because you found out you’re sensitive to gluten, or any other reason, most people find the prospect of “what do I eat” to be a bit overwhelming. I’ve been there, friend!

I’m not going to go over basic info like you can find at celiac.org here. As a person with Celiac who hasn’t had gluten in well over a decade, I want to share tips, brands, restaurants, a great app to help you navigate daily meals, AND how to find your fav foods gluten-free! There are so many choices out there now!

Getting Started With A Gluten-Free Life: Keep it Simple

When you are just starting your gluten-free life, keeping it simple is the way to go. You’ll probably be able to adjust your favorite recipes by swapping out gluten for gluten-free ingredients. Just check labels on marinades, sauces, and seasoning to make sure it’s gluten-free.

What do I mean by simple?

  • Toss a chicken breast or salmon filet, a veggie, and cubed sweet potatoes in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Italian seasoning, put a baking dish and bake at 400º for 20 minutes or til chicken is 165º
  • Salad with a protein
  • How about a nice frittata full of veggies?
  • Tacos (with corn tortillas)
  • Stir Fry (use Tamari sauce instead of Soy Sauce, which is high in wheat)
  • Buddha bowls
  • Grill up some meat and fresh corn and grilled veggies

Keep your ingredients minimal and fresh and you can’t go wrong!

The best gluten-free versions of your favorite foods

Sometimes you want your comfort food. Or it’s your birthday! Or you just really want a nice treat once in a while. Don’t fret, gluten-free foods have come a long way!


My family loves to bake, and King Arthur Gluten-Free baking mixes, GF All-Purpose Flour, Measure for Measure Flour, and Baking Mix are our absolute favorites for all things baking. We LOVE their pancake mix, their brownies are rich and moist, and people never have a clue that yellow cake is gluten-free. Their Measure for Measure flour can be substituted for your favorite regular non-yeasted recipes, and you will find so many excellent gluten-free recipes on their website. They have loads of amazing gluten-free recipes.

I make their Gluten-Free cinnamon rolls every Christmas, various scones throughout the year, and so many more. I really appreciate all the reader’s tips in the comment sections. Best of all, you can find many of their mixes and flours at Natural Grocers, Whole Foods, and even at Target!

We also use Pamela’s Bread mix to make focaccia bread (recipe here), and Pamela’s vanilla cake mix to make gluten-free poundcake for fondue night (recipe here).



  • Outside the Breadbox (Natural Grocers)
  • Canyon Bakehouse (Sprouts, Natural Grocers, Whole Foods)
  • Udi’s (all of the above plus Target and King Soopers), and Natural Grocers carries their baguettes and dinner rolls, too.

Pizza Crusts:

  • Outside the Breadbox or Udis. If you like almond flour, try Cappello’s at Natural Grocers.

Frozen Pizzas:

  • We like Udi’s, and Target has that as well as some GF versions of other name brands we haven’t tried.


  • Goodie Girl (fudge stripes, mint thins….so good! At all the stores above)
  • Kinitoos (like Oreos) AND now they actually have
  • OREOS gluten-free, both regular and double stuff.
  • Tate’s crispy thin chocolate chip cookies
  • Pamela’s: Figgies & Jammies (like fig newtons), and love their chocolate chip and dark chocolate chunk cookies.
  • You can even find some GF cookie dough in the refrigerated section of Natual Grocers and Whole Foods.


  • Simple Mills crackers (made w/ Almond Flour–even available at Costco lately), Miltons’ Crackers
  • Nut Thins
  • Mary’s Gone Crackers
  • Glutino


  • Jovial Gluten-Free pasta is our very favorite, and the brand our gluten-eating older children say is similar to regular pasta. Our tops are the Cappellini, lasagna noodles, and farfalle pasta, which we get at Natural Grocers or Whole Foods. Amazon even has GF manicotti shells from Jovial which we get every now and then.
  • Tinkyada brown rice noodles
  • Natural Grocers quinoa noodles
  • GF Ramen noodles from Costco
  • Soba noodles (any brand, they’re buckwheat which is GF)
  • Asian Rice Noodles (same)


  • Rice Chex and Corn Chex
  • Cheerios
  • Barbara’s brand, like Puffins or rice crisps
  • Van’s brand
  • Kind GF granolas
  • Gluten-Freeda’s instant oats
  • Bob’s Red Mill GF oats


  • Van’s
  • Nature’s Path (WildBerry or Pumpkin are our favs)


  • Katz brand (in the freezer section at Sprouts, and some at Natural Grocers and Target). They have donuts, donut holes, hostess-like cupcakes and twinkie-like creme cakes, hand pies, and even oatmeal sandwich cookies.
  • Whole Foods cupcakes (freezer section)
  • Ice cream….just check the label for hidden gluten and make sure no obvious gluten like cookie dough

I’m sure I’m forgetting many brands, but these will at least get you started! Just get good at reading labels! Luckily it’s now federally regulated that all processed foods must list allergens, including gluten, after the ingredients in bold.

Out and About

So your friends and family want to go out to a restaurant. Here are some tips.

First, get the app “Find Me Gluten Free.” Here’s the website.

This app is an absolute life-saver when you’re eating out GF, and especially for traveling! It’s also great to find local restaurants instead of chains, although you can find both.

The reviews are also super helpful to find out how careful a restaurant is with GF, what they offer, and how the food is.

If you go someplace that isn’t on the app, try to order food that is simple, and don’t be afraid to ask the server to double-check with the chef about ingredients. Good restaurants often have a manager come over to ask you specifically what you need. 

Here’s my list of restaurants we’ve actually tried, many of which we go to often.

Best Local Restaurants with Gluten-Free Options:


  • Wave the Grain – Gluten-free dedicated bakery. Seriously, everything is gluten-free…the Boston-creme cupcakes, the croissants, donuts, danish, cookies, even pop tarts, and breakfast burritos.


  • Snooze – so many options…french toast, pancakes, toast….
  • Urban Egg – pancakes, benedicts, huevos rancheros….
  • Early Bird Restaurant – try the Johnny Cake waffles!
  • The French Press – Gluten-free crepes!


  • Palenque Cocina y Aqaveria – one of my all-time favorites. All sauces are gluten-free. Try the Molcajetes!
  • Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant – all sauces now gluten-free, too!
  • Hacienda Colorado
  • Blue Bonnet Cafe
  • Adelita’s Cocina y Cantina


  • India’s Castle
  • Garnish Indian Cuisine
  • India’s Kitchen


  • Rice Bistro & Sushi
  • Hapa Sushi Grill
  • Viet Pho – 95% of their menu is gluten-free, even eggrolls and orange chicken.
  • Wing Wok


  • Cranellis’s Italian Restaurant
  • Farro Italian Restaurant
  • Zane’s Italian Bistro


  • FelFel
  • Tzatziki’s


  • Patxi’s Pizza – my 2 gluten-eating older kids love their thin crust gluten-free pizza
  • The Garlic Knot – Calzones!
  • Colonna’s
  • Virgilio’s Pizzeria and Wine Bar – gluten-free garlic bread, lasagna, pizza, calzones and desserts!


  • Smokin’ Fins
  • True Food Kitchen
  • The Brutal Poodle – dedicated fryer, burgers, and mac n cheese! Loud death metal music is their schtick.

Chains with the Best Gluten-Free Options Near Centennial, CO

  • Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews – even has GF fries
  • California Pizza Kitchen
  • MOD Pizza
  • Pieology
  • Tokyo Joe’s
  • Garbanzo
  • Ted’s Montana Grill
  • Modern Market
  • The Melting Pot – You can get the whole experience GF!
  • Chipotle – Safest bet for lunch
  • Olive Garden
  • Maggiano’s
  • Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse – most of the menu is gluten-free, including the pao de queijo (cheese bread).
  • Most Steakhouses, actually
  • Red Lobster – Gluten-free cheddar biscuits!
  • PF Changs
  • Outback Steakhouse
  • MadGreens
  • Bonefish Grill – macadamia nut brownie!
  • Noodles and Company
  • And here’s a link to a whole list of gluten-free-friendly Just keep in mind that gluten-free friendly may not be safe for celiacs.

Hopefully, this gives you some ideas, some sense of normalcy around food and going out, and helps make the whole gluten-free experience seem a bit easier.

You really do get used to it.

Plus, you will feel so much better! I often get asked if it’s hard for me to be gluten-free. The answer is a resounding NO. I feel AWFUL for weeks if I eat gluten. And as you can see, I eat pretty well! And so can you.

Let me know in the comments what restaurants or products you love!

Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness

It’s officially Women’s National Health week May 8-14, 2022.

I really wish the focus on women’s health was at least a month. Better yet, at least a fiscal quarter. 

There has long been a huge deficit in western medicine in understanding women’s health as unique from men’s health.

For example, heart attack symptoms in a woman often present differently than in men. Another example, the Mayo Clinic reports that only 20% of postgrad residents are taught a formal menopause curriculum, and fewer than 1 in 10 residents, even in gynecology, felt “adequately prepared” to manage patient care during menopause.[1]

Considering that there will be 55 million women in menopause in the United States by 2025[2] this is not just ridiculous, it’s unacceptable

Even more stunning, research shows that gender bias in healthcare is “widespread.”

This shows up in many ways, from not believing women’s symptoms, viewing women as “emotional” or “hysterical,” and that women exaggerate their pain.[3] This is much worse for women of color or LGBTQIA people.

(Imagine me pulling my hair out about this for a minute…)

While male and female bodies have a lot in common, the differences in hormones create big differences in everything from metabolism to heart disease risk to being prone to spraining your ankles. Every organ in the body is affected by your hormones. This is why women’s health risks change so much after menopause.

But women’s health is not just about menopause, or even just about periods.

It’s about heart health, maintaining a healthy weight to stave off diabetes and high cholesterol. It’s about managing stress, and acknowledging the weight that women often feel they must carry.

While I don’t feel a week does Women’s Health justice, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health has good info on their page for this week.[4] 

They remind us to

  • Schedule your annual physical and other Health appointments
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Get moving and stay active
  • Eat balanced meals and snacks
  • Practice self-care for Mental Health
  • Find healthy ways to manage stress
  • Create good sleep habits
  • And several more.

Truly, these are good advice, but how helpful is a webpage?

We need a seachange in how we, as a culture, educate both our providers and patients on what it means to be healthy and why.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers on how to do that. But let’s start with changing our minds on a few important things….

  1. Periods are not a disorder
    Difficult periods are a sign of imbalance that can be treated symptomatically with hormone therapy (ie birth control), AND the underlying causes and symptoms can be effectively treated with acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

  2. Menopause is not a disorder
    Ditto above

  3. Feeling emotional is not a disorder
    I think we can all agree that men are also quite emotional, even if they don’t express it. I hope this doesn’t need any explanation. Seriously.

  4. Women are not “less-than” men.

  5. Our society will function better as a whole when women are consistently receiving the care they need

I’ll get off my soapbox now. I obviously feel strongly that women’s healthcare needs to be better.

There are signs things are starting to change, and I’m here for it.

As always, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, diet, and lifestyle can all make huge improvements in a woman’s health, and men, children, and everyone else, too.

Let us know if we can help.

Here’s to all the women out there!

Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness

[1] https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(18)30701-8/fulltext

[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/04/28/menopause-hormone-therapy-nih-went-wrong/

[3] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/gender-bias-in-healthcare

[4] https://www.womenshealth.gov/nwhw/about