Tag Archive for: stress relief

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

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.


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. 


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.


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!


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

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