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
720.507.1705

[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

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

[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

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
720.507.1705

[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

Has anyone ever told you they tried acupuncture once and it didn’t work?

Well, that’s because just one acupuncture treatment may make you feel better for a day or two, but as magical as acupuncture can be, a series of treatments is needed to achieve deep and lasting results.

How many treatments you’ll need depends on a few things, including what issue we’re treating, how long you’ve had it, your overall health, and how severe the issue is. Long-standing chronic issues, or very severe problems, will likely require a longer series of treatments, while something like a mild ankle sprain will respond well in just 2-3 treatments.  

Acupuncture and massage therapy are dose-dependent.

Cumulative treatments are usually needed, just like when you see a chiropractor or physical therapist. You’ll get some relief from your first treatment, but a series of treatments make lasting changes by retraining the nervous system and muscle memory, calming inflammation, improving circulation, strengthening the immune system, and regulating hormones.

In general with acupuncture, we recommend weekly treatment for the first 4-6 visits, then taper to every other week, then monthly if needed. You should feel better after each treatment, however, it takes multiple visits close together to create lasting change. Herbal medicine may also be recommended, and can greatly enhance and speed up treatment since it is taken daily.

Here are some examples of commonly treated problems that usually follow this treatment plan

(If your symptoms are especially severe, you may need more weekly treatment, or 2+ visits the first week or two for best results):

Migraines

Weekly acupuncture for 4-6 weeks, then every other week for 1-2 months, then as needed as migraines subside. Herbs may be prescribed. Craniosacral therapy and neck massage may also be recommended

Painful and/or irregular periods

Weekly acupuncture for 4 weeks, then every other week for two more months, as near as possible to ovulation and period. Herbs are highly recommended for best results. Visceral manipulation for painful periods may be recommended.

Long-Covid

Weekly acupuncture 4+ weeks then tapering as above. This depends entirely on the severity of symptoms and the systems affected. Mild symptoms may resolve in a month, severe symptoms can take months to clear. Herbal medicine is highly recommended in most cases.

Insomnia

Weekly 4-6 visits, then tapering as above. Herbal medicine is highly recommended.

Anxiety

Weekly 4-6 weeks, then tapering as above. Herbal medicine is very helpful and works daily. Those with chronic anxiety do best with monthly maintenance sessions once symptoms are managed. Craniosacral therapy may be recommended, as well.

For massage, you may just need a session or two to relieve your sore muscles or occasional massages for self-care.

Several weekly treatments are recommended for chronic conditions that are causing you ongoing problems. Problems like chronic neck or back pain, plantar fasciitis, rotator cuff problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, or any other chronic musculoskeletal pain respond best to consistent work during the first few weeks, as your massage therapist releases tension and adhesions in the tissue and surrounding areas that may be contributing to your pain patterns.

Of course, many people get a regular monthly massage and/or acupuncture for health maintenance, too.

We highly recommend monthly maintenance sessions as a wonderful and feel-good part of your healthy lifestyle! Monthly maintenance sessions are a great way to manage stress, calm anxiety, improve circulation, manage chronic health issues, and keep your immune system strong.

We are also here if you need us for those flare-ups, new issues and to help manage stress and anxiety.

As always, let us know if you have questions about treatment, including what we can treat. We’re happy to help!

Book an appointment for acupuncture or massage, or a 15-minute free initial consult at https://acusimple.com/access/7870/#/appointments/1016/

Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness
720.507.1705

It is officially Spring!

And we are well into Spring allergy season. That runny nose and nasal congestion may not be a cold, it could be allergies. Itchy eyes, nose or skin are telltale signs it’s probably allergies. You also might notice your symptoms are worse after you’ve been outside, or better on snowy days, when the moisture tamps down the pollen.

Tree pollen is the main allergen right now, with some trees starting to release pollen as early as February in Denver, and lasting through April or May. It always takes us by surprise, since we are also getting the most snow this time of year!

What is histamine load?

Histamine is the chemical in our body that causes an allergic reaction. It’s there to protect you, but with allergies, it’s gone rogue and overreacts to harmless things from pollen to peanuts. It can get so out of control it can even cause Histamine Intolerance or Mast-Cell Activation, which are systemic allergic responses that affect your whole body. With seasonal allergies, it’s likely causing your annoying post-nasal drip, itchy eyes and making you tired.

So what can we do to minimize our overactive histamine and get some allergy relief?

Luckily, there are lots of safe and effective natural remedies for allergies and minimizing your histamine response. They’re safe to use with conventional allergy meds if needed. If your allergies get really bad, it’s a good idea to take over-the-counter antihistamines as directed by your MD.

But there’s a lot you can do to reduce the histamine load in your body, and to manage and minimize your allergy symptoms, naturally.

 

1. Rinse out the offending allergens

Every day after you’ve been exposed to allergens like pollen or pet dander, take time to rinse them off! 

Start by doing a neti pot/nasal rinse with warm salt water to rinse the offenders out of your nose. Use a half cup of warm distilled water with ¼ teaspoon salt. It can feel a bit tender the first time, but once you start doing it regularly, it will feel so much better. You can do this in the morning, too, if you feel really congested. 

Also, take a shower before going to bed, to wash all the pollen/allergens out of your hair and off your body/ Also, wear clean PJs to bed. You don’t want to take those allergens to bed with you!

 

2. Cut out High-Histamine Foods

Did you know some foods actually contain high amounts of histamine, or can trigger the release of histamine in your body? These add more histamine to your body and make your histamine response, and thus your allergies, worse. It’s helpful to avoid these high-histamine foods when you’re having a lot of allergy issues.

 
High-histamine foods to avoid:
  • alcohol and fermented beverages, like kombucha
  • fermented foods, like pickles, sauerkraut and yogurt
  • dairy, especially aged cheeses
  • processed or smoked meats
  • shellfish
Histamine-triggering foods to avoid:
  • alcohol (double whammy with this one)
  • bananas
  • tomatoes
  • chocolate
  • citrus
  • nuts
  • food dyes and additives

3. Help your Gut

 
Gut health is super important for immune health in general, and for allergies, too. We’ve already mentioned that foods can affect histamine levels, but your gut microbiome has a big impact on allergies, too. 

Eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies (that aren’t histamine producing), lean meats, whole grains, and minimizing sugar is the best bet for a healthy gut. Plus, a good probiotic can do wonders not only for your digestion, but in reducing allergies. 

I like to start my patients on MegaSporeBiotic  – one pill a day with meals to start, and up to twice a day. Since fermented foods, which happen to be a great source of probiotics, are high-histamine foods, supplementing with pills is much more effective for allergy sufferers.

 

4. Supplements and Herbs

There are several helpful supplements for treating allergies…

D-Hist: This all-in-one supplement contains Quercetin and Stinging Nettle, along with small doses of NAC, bromelain to add digestion, and Vitamin C, all proven to give allergy relief.

Zinc is important for all immune health, and is anti-allergic. It also helps improve the sense of smell.

NAC is effective at thinning mucus, supporting lung function, and is a powerful antioxidant

Vtamin D important for immune health, reducing and preventing allergies

Chinese herbal formulas are also extremely helpful in treating both allergy symptoms and reducing allergies. These need to be specially prescribed by a qualified herbalist to match your specific body and symptoms at your next acupuncture appointment.

5. Get regular acupuncture during your allergy season

Acupuncture has been proven effective at relieving allergic rhinitis[1], as well as reducing other allergy symptoms from eczema to asthma. For best results, get weekly acupuncture during your severe allergy seasons, and even better, start getting it a few weeks before your regular allergy season. Book your next visit now.

You can directly order all these helpful supplements for allergy relief here: https://us.fullscript.com/protocols/familytree-allergy-relief

Or book an appointment for acupuncture and herbal medicine tailored to you at https://acusimple.com/access/7870/#/appointments/1016/

There is a lot you can do to get relief from your allergies! If you need help, just let us know!
 
[1] https://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/2063-acupuncture-allergy-relief-confirmed

Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness
720.507.1705

Can you feel it? The sun warm on your skin, the daylight lingering a bit longer, the crocuses are in bloom, and trees and bushes are beginning to bud.
 

Spring is here in the Northern hemisphere!

 
Even in high-altitude places like Denver, Colorado, where we’re likely to get snow well into May, we’re also blessed with 60º days and bluebird skies in between the snowstorms. You can feel the change in season everywhere you look.
 
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which is rooted in the Taoist philosophy of living in harmony with the world around you, the change in seasons has a big impact on your body, emotions, and even your state of mind. 
 
Spring is the time of year when the “Yang” is rising…things are waking up from the stillness and inward focus of Winter. It’s a time of regeneration, renewal, and potential. We can see it in ourselves as “Spring fever,” the feeling that we want to go out DO something!
 

Each season relates to one of the five elements in TCM, and the Wood element is associated with Spring.

 
The nature of Wood is growth, reaching out like the tulip bulbs pushing out of the earth. Its nature is in bringing our intentions out into the world. The organ systems associated with Wood are the Liver and Gall Bladder. 
 
The Liver is the Yin side of Wood energy, called the “Little General” in TCM. It’s the energy behind your long-term Vision and direction for your life.  Healthy Liver energy helps you plan, set goals, and see the big picture. If it’s depleted, you may have trouble with both your metaphorical and physical vision (eyesight) as well as sore, tight tendons and ligaments. Excessive Liver energy can lead to irritability, frustration, and feeling pent-up, along with migraines, high blood pressure, and tinnitus. 
 
The Gall Bladder in TCM is the Yang side of Wood. Healthy Gall Bladder energy is about taking that Vision into the world with action, decision-making, and using wise judgment. Weak Gall Bladder energy can show up as overwhelm, unable to make decisions, or take action, and even feeling fear about moving forward.
 

So how can you best support your body, mind, and spirit as we transition from Winter to Spring?

 
So glad you asked! TCM gives us a great guidebook for being our healthiest and living into our potential at each season. Everything in Spring is about supporting growth and movement, but doing it with ease.
 

1. EAT GREEN!

 
Green is the color of the Wood element, and it’s also the best kind of food to eat in the Spring! (I’m not talking about green beer, people.) Fresh Spring vegetables are the very best thing you can eat this time of year, and it’s the tastiest time of year for them, too. Sour foods like citrus and pungent foods like garlic are also excellent in supporting the Liver.
 
Fill your plate with things like….
  • Fresh baby greens, like spinach, arugula, lettuce
  • Peas
  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes 
  • Fresh Spring herbs like Chives, Parsley, Mint 
  • Spring onions
  • Radish
  • Lemons
  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Limes
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
Sounds like a lovely Spring meal, doesn’t it? It’s also important to not overburden your Liver by keeping alcohol, greasy foods, and sugar to a minimum. 
 

2. GET YOUR QI (AND YOUR BODY) MOVING

 
The Wood element governs the tendons and ligaments, so stretching is one of the best things you can do for your body in the Spring. Staying flexible in your body helps you stay flexible in your mind, too. If there’s anything that will irritate your Liver, it’s being inflexible, preventing natural movement and growth.
 
It’s good to get moving, too, especially out in nature. Just be mindful not to overdo things. It’s a great time to do some yoga, go for a hike, maybe some Tai Qi in a park. It’s a time to start rebuilding your strength and flexibility after Winter.
 

3. WRITE YOUR GOALS AND MAKE A PLAN

 
Take advantage of our natural tendency and start planning and acting on anything that’s been percolating over the Winter. What goals do you have? What lights you up and gets you excited for life? A healthy Wood element helps you to have a clear Vision for yourself and your life, and to make a doable plan to make it happen.  Take some time to sit down and dream big! Then write it down and start to make a plan. The energy of Spring is supporting you!
 

4. GET ACUPUNCTURE!

 
Acupuncture is so helpful if you’re feeling stuck in any way in the Springtime. It gets your Qi moving and balances out your whole being. In the Spring, it’s common to see an increase in migraines and other headaches, vision problems like increased floaters, blurriness, or just weak vision. We also see a big uptick in frustration, irritability and feeling stuck or pent up. 
 
Acupuncture can also help tame your Spring allergies, eczema, and itching, and help you get healthy in time for Summer. Chinese herbal medicine and supplements like quercetin, stinging nettle, and NAC can make a huge improvement, too.
 
Book your acupuncture appointment with Dr. Jennie today. Whether it’s for overall wellness and stress relief, or to treat something specific like chronic back pain, she’ll get you feeling better fast. You’ll leave each appointment feeling better than when you came in, and see big improvements over the course of treatment.
 
Let it be easy, and start taking care of yourself now!

Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness
720.507.1705

Most people love a good massage. They also tend to think of a massage as a luxury more than as healthcare. And goodness knows, a massage can feel luxurious!

But did you know that massage therapy is good for your health in a variety of ways? 

Massage’s proven health benefits…

According to the Mayo Clinic, massage can

  • Reduce stress while increasing relaxation (which benefits us in many ways)
  • Reduce your pain, soreness, and tension in muscles
  • Improve your circulation, both lymphatic and vascular
  • Increase your energy and alertness
  • Lower your heart rate and your blood pressure
  • Improve your immune function

In addition, studies suggest that massage can also be helpful in relieving

  • Anxiety
  • Digestion
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Stress-related insomnia
  • Low back pain 
  • Soft tissue sprains and strains
  • TMJ pain
  • Upper back and neck pain

That’s a lot of whole-body benefit from something as lovely as a massage!

How often should you get a massage?

That depends on what you need. If stress management and relaxation are your main goals, a monthly massage may be a great choice for you. If you’ve got chronic low back or neck pain that you’ve struggled with for years, weekly massage for 3-4 weeks, then tapering to every other week, then as needed can do wonders for your chronic pain. If you pulled your hamstring playing tennis, 2-3 sessions can do wonders in getting you back on the court.

If you’ve had pain for years, it will likely take more sessions to unravel than a newer injury for a few reasons. An old injury has had time to become more fibrosed, which requires some gently “breaking up.”

Massage therapy does this by stretching, releasing trigger points, getting the blood and lymph moving, and it takes a few sessions to get to the different layers. Old injuries also have had a long time to create “compensation patterns” in other areas, as your body learns to adapt and move around the injury.

Your massage therapist will work those area, too, to help realign your whole body as your heal from the old injury. 

A good licensed massage therapist will assess your situation and let you know what you need.

Monthly massage for overall wellness 

If you’re looking for a great addition to your wellness routine, monthly massage is an excellent choice. Not only will you feel great during and after your massage, but it can also help maintain your overall health in all the ways listed above, and keep you feeling relaxed, loose, and pain-free. It’s a great and pleasant choice to manage stress and pain, while also making you feel well-cared for.

Book your massage with Alexandra today. She has over two decades of experience and a lovely heart. Whether it’s for overall wellness and stress relief, or to treat something specific like chronic back pain, she’ll get you feeling better.

Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness
720.507.1705

Hello, anxiety, our old friend…

Here we are again with another once-in-a-generation (or lifetime) event with worldwide impact. I’ve heard from a lot of people that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is causing the metaphorical ground they stand on to feel wobbly, once again.

After all, we’re still trying to figure out our world after two years in a pandemic.    

It’s no surprise that anxiety levels have skyrocketed worldwide these past two years. While the overwhelming shock of the first few months of the pandemic gradually settled, I’ve witnessed many of my patients struggle with recurring anxiety with each new wave, and even now wondering if we’re through it or not. 

It has, indeed, been a bit relentless. One big thing after another. These days, anxiety is the #1 most common thing I treat in my clinic. It isn’t always what brings people in initially. It’s almost an afterthought, it’s become so common. It’s our new normal, this high-functioning anxiety. 

A racing mind is a clue that we have high-functioning anxiety, the feeling that we can’t really relax or let go.

You might feel nervous, restless, or just tense no matter what you do. You might have trouble falling asleep, or wake up in the night with spinning thoughts that won’t settle down. It can make it hard to concentrate and impact your daily life. Anxiety can manifest as headaches and migraines, stomach problems, dizziness, or a racing heart or palpitations. When it gets really bad, anxiety can make you feel a sense of impending doom, and can even turn into a panic attack.

So you see, it’s not “just anxiety”.

It has a big impact on your well-being. 

So what can you do about it?

Here are a few tips you can use right now to help calm anxiety.

Follow the 3-3-3 rule.

Name 3 things you see, 3 sounds you can hear, and move 3 parts of your body (like your toes, your fingers, and your nose). 

This helps to ground you into your body and get you out of your head. I like to also touch something and focus on its texture to help get me out of my head, like the texture of my shirt. 

Practice 6:3 breathing

A quick hack for calming your nervous system is to do this simple breathing technique that works by reducing the carbon dioxide to oxygen ratio in your blood, telling your body it’s ok to relax. The important thing here is to breathe out longer than you breathe in.

Blowing out of your mouth like you’re slowly blowing out a candle, breathe out for a count of 6. Then slowly breathe in through your nose for a count of 3. It should feel calm and easy. Repeat this for at least 6 breaths, as often as needed. In fact, the more often you do this, the faster it will help you relax when you really need it.  

Check your thoughts.  

Are you fixating on worst-case scenarios? Take a step back mentally and ask yourself what might go right. It can also be really helpful to talk to a friend or loved one. Holding it in can make it feel worse.

Focus on what you CAN control right now

This is especially true for events that are totally out of our control, like the pandemic. When these things threaten to overwhelm you, find something you can control right now, like cleaning your kitchen or getting some exercise. Just do something, the more physical the better to get you out of your head. 

And here are some things you can do habitually to help manage chronic anxiety….

Minimize caffeine, alcohol, and sugar

These can all have a stimulating or dysregulating effect on our bodies and moods. Steady as she goes is our motto with anxiety. Eating a nourishing, whole foods diet that doesn’t spike your blood sugar or ramp you up can go a long way in calming anxiety in the long run.

Get moving 

Exercise, whether it’s walking, dancing, yoga, or mountain climbing, is so helpful to discharge all the pent-up energy we experience with anxiety. Regular exercise is one of the most effective things you can do to manage anxiety.  Even better, do it outside where fresh air and nature will help soothe your nervous system. 

Get acupuncture!

Regular acupuncture is extremely effective at relieving chronic anxiety. It is most helpful to go weekly for at least a month, then taper to once a month, or whatever works best for you. Acupuncture works to regulate and retrain the nervous system to get out of fight or flight and into a more relaxed state. You’ll feel much better by the end of your visit, and the cumulative effect of multiple visits can vastly improve your day-to-day anxiety. 

Use Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine is a safe and natural way to treat anxiety, and importantly, it helps treat the underlying issues that allow anxiety to take hold. We can also treat many of the side effects of anxiety, like insomnia, palpitations, and more, all at once.  A trained herbalist will look at your whole body and use a formula that treats all of you. 

Anxiety is more common than you think. You are not alone. Let us know if we can help!

Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness
720.507.1705

Why you have it, how to get rid of it!

Green, White, Red, Yellow……such festive colors! But not for phlegm. Eww.

We’re back in the peak of cold and flu season here in Colorado, and our office has had A LOT of patients coming in with lingering sinus infections, cough and phlegm problems after getting sick.

The ongoing drainage, headaches and general misery are sticking around like that relative that just won’t leave after the holidays. After the holidays, most of us have had a few solid weeks of rich food and alcohol, an overstuffed schedule, and not nearly enough downtime. All of which weaken your immune system and make your body ripe to get sick.

So, the bad news is that your lifestyle is partly to blame.

The good news is that means there’s a lot you can do to help yourself feel better!

The same things that make us more susceptible to getting sick also keep us from getting better as fast as we’d like.

To stay healthy, and to get healthy again after we’ve been sick, here’s what you need to do. It’s basic and kind of boring, I know.  But it makes a big difference, nonetheless.

Things you can do at home:

  • Drink more water ( a lot more)
    • staying hydrated will thin the phlegm and keep your mucus membranes from getting so inflamed.
    • drinking warm teas will help loosen the congestion.
  • Eat better
    • Cut the Sugar, Dairy, greasy and processed foods
      • all these foods are double whammies for your health…they increase inflammation in your whole body AND increase phlegm production.
    • keep food simple but nourishing
      • your best bets are warm bone broths and soups, and simple cooked foods like sweet potatoes and steamed veggies. These are easy to digest, full of nutrients and support your immune system
  • Get some rest!
    • Seriously, just go take a nap.
    • And go to bed early for awhile.
    • Extra rest is essential for your body to heal.
    • Sleep is better than watching netflix…..while resting is better than overdoing, sleep is when your body does the deep work of healing. So, about that nap…
  • Do a Nasal Rinse at least twice a day
    • I’m gonna beat this drum til everyone knows…..daily nasal rinses help you stay healthy!
      • they rinse away germs and allergens…better out than in.
      • the warm saline soothes the mucus membranes so they can heal
  • Remove things that are irritating your sinuses and lungs
    • Those lovely scented candles, smelly fabric softeners, household cleaners, perfumes….the list goes on. Unless you’re buying all-natural products, these things are full of VOC-volatile organic compounds-that are irritating to your lungs and sinuses. Give your body a break for awhile.  Even better, stop using those chemical-based products.

If you’ve done all this, and the chronic sinusitis, cough or phlegm still won’t go away, it’s time to get some help.

Luckily, we treat chronic sinusitis, drainage, coughs and ear problems all the time. Most people feel much better by the end of the first treatment—even long-term chronic cases who’ve seen too many doctors, tried too many antibiotics and feel like it’s never going to get better.  A few treatments, some herbal medicine, and voila… better than ever!

Things we can do to help you finally get over that chronic sinus infection or congestion:

Remember, we can have a huge positive impact on our health by having good lifestyle habits. Keep it simple, and try to be consistent.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Here’s to feeling better!

If you’d like to know if we can help you, come meet us in person and see if our therapies are a good fit.  Book your free Initial 15-minute Consult.

Jennie Luther, L.Ac, RMT
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness
720.507.1705
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If you suffer from migraines, or any chronic headaches, you’ve probably tried a lot of things looking for lasting relief. You want to get control over how much these headaches impact your quality of life. You want natural migraine relief that treats your symptoms, AND the root of the problem.

Since migraines and other chronic headaches usually have a lot of different triggers, it can make treating them complicated.

The question is…

What are the best natural cures for migraines and chronic headaches?

These natural therapies have helped dramatically relieve symptoms for many people who suffer from migraines. From throbbing, stabbing headaches, neck pain, and visual disturbance to nausea, vomiting, light and sound sensitivity and generally knocking you out for the day, these tried and true techniques can make a huge difference in your quality of life.

1. Acupuncture

Acupuncture has a centuries’ old track record of helping correct imbalances in the body.  Its whole-body approach makes acupuncture super-effective at treating the complex causes of migraines and other chronic headaches.

This study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3291665/ from the National Institute of Health shows…

“…high-quality trials involving 4419 participants…found that there is consistent evidence that acupuncture is beneficial in the treatment of acute migraine attacks and that…acupuncture is at least as effective as prophylactic drug treatment and has fewer adverse effects.”

Make sure you find a Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac), and even better, find out if they are also certified by the NCCAOM to prescribe herbal medicine, which can speed up your results. If you’re worried about what acupuncture feels like, it’s not like the shots you get at your western doctor’s office. These needles are thin as hairs and usually you barely feel them.

2. Chinese Herbal Medicine

Where pharmaceutical drugs are aimed at treating symptoms, Chinese Herbal Medicine is specially formulated to alleviated symptoms AND the root imbalances, all at the same time.

Like Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine has been practiced and fine-tuned over centuries.  NCCAOM Certified herbalists receive hundreds of hours of training in the safe and effective use of these natural substances, and even better, the formulas are customized to fit each unique patient. Herbal teas are the traditional form of delivery, but many herbalists now use capsulized dried formulas to make it easier than ever to benefit from this ancient and effective medicine.

3. Craniosacral Therapy (CST)

In a nutshell, this super-gentle technique releases tension in the tissues around your brain, spinal cord, and your skull.  This helps improve circulation to your brain and spinal cord.  More important, it helps your nervous system calm down by helping it get out of Fight/Fight/Flight mode, and into Rest & Relax mode.

Craniosacral therapy also helps release tension from injuries, like whiplash or concussion, PTSD or chronic stress. If you have a history of these kinds of injuries or issues, or if you feel a lot of tightness and tension in your upper neck and base of your head with your headaches, CST can be especially helpful.

4. Myofascial Release (MFR) and Trigger Point (TP) release for your neck and spine

Myofascial Release is a type of bodywork that releases your fascia—-the super-strong connective-tissue covering all your muscles, tendons , nerves and organs. Fascia is really strong, and when it gets tight it can put intense pressure on surrounding areas, affecting the muscles, circulation, nerves. Releasing the fascia of your neck, shoulders and head can work wonders for chronic pain and headaches.

Trigger Points are those sore knots in your muscles that send pain to another area when you press on it.  A common one is the trigger point in your upper shoulder that shoots pain up the side of your neck and head. Trigger Point therapy uses direct pressure to release tension, freeing up the muscle, reducing pain, and stopping that referred pain that can be causing part of your headache.

Do you suffer from migraines or chronic headaches?

Request your free 15 minute consultation to learn more about how we’ve been helping our patients find lasting natural migraine relief. Our years of experience and combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, craniosacral therapy and manual techniques are a potent combination that address the many complicated causes of chronic migraines and other headaches.

“Jennie is the best hands down. She has done more for my migraines in two treatments than my neurologist had done in 10 years.”
-Greg D.

Jennie Luther, L.Ac, RMT
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness
720.507.1705
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Well, cold and flu have hit hard this year! Hopefully you’ve been taking great care of yourself and are feeling great! Prevention is always the best remedy.

If you’ve been wondering what you can do to stay healthy when people all around you are sick, here are some natural ways to keep your immune system strong, and some tips for what to do if you start to feel a bug coming on!

How to keep your immune system strong!

  • Get enough sleep!
    • I know, it’s pretty boring, but 8+ hours of sleep each night is a must for a strong, healthy immune system.
  • Hydrate!
    • Drink water or hot tea w/ honey throughout the day to keep well hydrated. When your mucus membranes are dried out, it makes a prime breeding ground for those viruses and bacteria
  • Daily Nasal Rinses
    • This is advice I give to people all year long (and most likely to get a groan.)
    • Nasal rinses, either with a neti pot or a NeilMed bottle, with warm salt water, are helpful for several reasons.
    • At least once a day, preferably twice a day, do a nasal rinse to
      • keep your nose, throat and sinuses clear of congestion
      • keep those membranes moist and healthy
      • reduce inflammation in the nasal passages
      • physically rinse away germs and allergens
  • Cut way back on sugar
    • We all love a little sugar, but here’s some good reasons to limit your intake, especially in flu season
    • sugar creates Phlegm and congestion, according to Chinese Medicine
    • sugar weakens the Immune System
    • sugar increases systemic inflammation, which isn’t good for anything!
  • Vitamin D
    • Vitamin D is essential for immune health, and most of us are low in it, especially in the winter months.
    • Take 5,000 IU daily, and make sure your supplement also has vitamin K2. We carry a great version of this. Let us know if you need some!
  • Daily exercise
    • Daily exercise strengthens your immune system.
    • It doesn’t have to be a lot every day.
      • Even 10 minutes of movement helps to keep your lymphatic system moving.
      • Sweating is an important way for your body to expel pathogens.
  • Herbs
    • We have several different Chinese herbal formulas that are excellent at keeping you healthy in cold and flu season. Depending on what’s going on with you, we can prescribe herbs to
    • boost your immune system
    • fight off bugs you’ve been exposed to
  • Regular acupuncture and massage
    • Acupuncture is excellent at boosting your immune system.
    • Acupuncture can also treat your chronic congestion, coughs, sinus issues, and more, making it easier for your body to fight off germs.
    • Massage has also been shown to improve the immune response
  • Manage your stress
    • Studies have shown that stress takes a huge toll on your immune system. Finding ways to manage your stress is important for your overall health.
    • Manage your stress with
      • daily exercise
      • daily meditation or prayer
      • keep it in perspective —don’t sweat the small stuff
      • get regular acupuncture, craniosacral therapy and massage
  • Wear scarves!
    • Keeping your neck and chest warm and protected from the wind does wonders for your health in the winter. And if you feel congested in your chest, it’s especially important to keep it warm and covered.

What to do if you feel a bug coming on

  • Start taking Cold Nip!
    • At the first signs of a bug, start taking Cold Nip every 4 hours.
      • It has strong antiviral herbs, along with 3 classic Chinese formulas that are extremely effective at treating early-stage colds.
      • The sooner you start taking it, the better.
        • The maker of Cold Nip, Six Persimmons Apothecary, has done research showing that it’s 80% effective in nipping a cold in the bud when started right away. Keep this stuff on hand! Let us know if you need some. We always keep it in stock!
  • Hot tea with honey
    • Lots of fluids are really important, and warm fluids are best.
    • Add some honey to your tea to help soothe your throat and chest, and keep your nasal passages from drying out.
    • If you have cough, add some lemon ( or even a bit of whiskey to make a hot toddy for a deep cough.)
  • Sweat!
    • In Chinese Medicine, the first thing we do for early stage colds is try to get you to sweat. The herbs and acupuncture points help your body to push the pathogen out through sweating. So take your Cold Nip, drink your hot tea, bundle up and…..
  • Get to bed early
    • Again, sleep is imperative to help your immune system.
    • If your feel a bug starting, aim to get at least 9 hours of sleep, and as many naps as you can.
      • And I mean actual sleep, not lying in bed with Netflix.
  • If it’s flu, take Oscillococcinum homeopathic or call for an herbal consult with us.
    • Don’t mess around if it’s the flu. If you haven’t had the flu (influenza) in awhile, you may have forgotten how bad it can be. And for some, it can be dangerous. So take extra care, and stay away from people as much as possible, because influenza is very contagious.

You already know a lot of this. But we all need some reminding sometimes. We get caught up in the daily grind and think we’re doing ok, until it hits us.

As always, if it starts to seem serious, and especially if you’re having trouble breathing, go to your medical doctor right away!

In the meantime, stock up on herbs like Cold Nip, and let us know if you have any questions!

Jennie Luther, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness, LLC
Phone: 720-507-1705
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