Why I love treating Skin Disorders

So far, I've finished 3/4 of my Traditional Chinese Medicine Dermatology Diploma course in NYC, and I can say with confidence that I have effectively solutions to treat many skin disorders including Perioral Dermatitis, Psoriasis, Rosacea, Acne, Foot Fungus, Sebborheic Dermatitis, and Eczema. Many joyful moments are shared with patients in my clinic as their skin clears. It never gets old.

My love for Chinese Herbal Dermatology started many years ago. My mother in Michigan was suffering with Psoriasis and nothing seemed to be helping her. Her skin itched so badly that it kept her up all night. She would pace around as a distraction from the itch. Psoriasis affected her legs, torso, and arms, and they it spread to her hands and face. She became so self-consious that she didn't want to go out of the house. It affected her mood as well and I could sense she was becoming depressed. Steroid cream provided temporary relief but as it can permanently thin the skin, it's not a good long-term solution. Immune suppressing medication didn't help. She tried all kinds of elimination diets with no relief. I knew there had to be an answer.

I knew of this Chinese Herbalist in the UK that was world renowned for successfully treating difficult skin disorders and had wanted to take his course since before the birth of my son, 8 years ago. In Chinese Medical School, Dermatology was superficially covered in just one course and didn't really give me the strategies to effectively treat skin problems. Chinese Medical Dermatology books are few and mostly in Chinese, so they only provided limited benefit. So I searched out the treatment methods of the leading expert in the field, herbalist Mazin Al-Khafaji, and worked on a chinese herbal prescription for my mom.

Her Psoriasis was turning erythrodermic, which can be a medical emergency, so I treated her twice per day when I could with acupuncture, gave her topical herbs, and had her drink tea made from raw chinese herbs that she cooked every other day. Her skin gradually improved and six months later, it was clear.

I can't even express the joy (and relief) I felt after hearing about her improvements with every phone call. Her healing path wasn't a strait line; it rarely is. She stuck with her herbs and had a remarkable result.

Now more than two years later, her skin is still clear. Every once in a while, she might have a miniscule flare up with one patch here or there, but she uses topical herbal cream and it settles down quickly.

In 2015 I was able to begin my studies with the master herbalist, Mazin Al-Khafaji and now I can give hope to so many people who suffer with many different skin problems. There are answers, and the best part is that because we treat the root causes of the problem, many times the skin problem won't come back.

Chinese Herbal treatment takes some effort on the part of the patient, but it's so worth it to be free from skin problems that can cause so much suffering. From my mom's case, and my own case of acne which I'll share in a later post, I know how skin problems take a toll on our self-confidence and general mood. So much so that we don't want to leave the house or wear short sleeve shirts. Sometimes we don't even want to acknowledge the problem and it can take years before visiting a specialist. Or we feel defeated once we see a specialist and try treatments that give little or temporary results or make the problem worse.

There is hope. There are answers out there. Sometimes we just need stay open minded, be open to exploring different solutions, and sometimes we just need to hold our nose and chug bitter herbal tea.

Dr. Mary Claire Dilks and her mom, photo by Olivia Gird, click image for details

Dr. Mary Claire Dilks and her mom, photo by Olivia Gird, click image for details

Self- Care: ACUPRESSURE for Neck and Upper Back Pain

People spend more and more time hunched over keyboards and looking at smart phones, and while we love these technological advances, they wreck havock on our necks and backs! Neck and shoulder pain are some of the most common complaints in our office.

One answer, get blood flowing in the muscles. Keeping blood flowing to your muscles prevents tension and "knots" and can help prevent pain buildin up. Try stepping away from your computer at least every 2 hours, stretch, and walk around. Take a bath at night with epsom salts. Use a microwavable heat pack. Get a massage. (Have you had an appointment with our massage therapist, Christine Cummings? She works wonders on sore necks and backs). If you can't make it in for a massage, or in between massages or acupuncture treatments, try acupressure at home.

Acupressure is a form of massage that involves pressure applied to specific acupuncture points. Different points have different functions and can be used for different ailments. Some points are used in a local area for a specific problem. For example, in the neck, there are a number of points used for pain. Other points, called distal points, affect an area of pain from far away.

If you press along a muscle and find a sore point, it's is called an "Ashi" point. If you find an ashi point, it may help ease pain to apply pressure to this point for a few minutes.

There are many useful points in the treatment of upper back and neck pain but here are two simple and effective points you can try at home. Always consult your doctor if you have pain that isn't going away as it can be a sign of something more serious.

  • GB 20 -- just under the base of the skull in two small muscular grooves at the back of the neck (green dot on image)
  • GB 21 -- on top of the shoulder, 2"-3" from the side of the neck (yellow dot on image)

Apply firm pressure to these two points for 5 seconds, first GB-20, then GB-21, then repeat for 2- 3 minutes. It may best to do this treatment a few times per day at first. Direct pressure downward at GB-21 should be avoided on any woman who may be pregnant, as this point has a strong downward effect and is used to induce labor.

Also consider emotional causes of neck and shoulder pain- Are you overthinking and is there too much energy in your head? Trying to bear the weight of the world like Atlas? Worrying and grinding your teeth at night? All of these things can contribute to neck and shoulder pain. Consulting a good therapist helps.

If neck and shoulder tension continues to be a problem for you, it may be best to seek medical attention as these symptoms could be signs of serious medical conditions!

Acupuncture in Pregnancy: Safe and Effective Relief

For centuries, pregnant women have safely used Acupuncture to manage symptoms, improve energy and overall well being. As a treatment that has virtually no side effects, does not harm the growing child, and actually promotes relaxation and wellness, Acupuncture is a perfect answer to a variety of complaints that can make the 40 weeks of pregnancy miserable.

While there are a few points that should be avoided during pregnancy, there are over 300 that can be safely used to treat conditions such as morning sickness, low back pain, low platelets, headaches, allergies, swelling, insomnia, constipation, heartburn, anxiety and much more. The treatment involves using very gentle stimulation on certain points on the body known to cause a specific effect- whether it is to relieve nausea, regulate digestion, calm the mind, relax tight muscles, etc.

Not only does this treatment work to relieve the symptoms right away, it works to treat the root cause of the problem as well. This way, the problem can be treated not just temporarily. Pregnancy is a truly remarkable time and the female body does a LOT of work to grow and support a baby.

Treatment during pregnancy is very gentle. We use thinner needles, shorter duration of treatment, and suggest herbs only if they are highly recommended for the health of the mother. Usually weekly sessions are best. If the condition is very severe we might recommend that women come in up to three times per week for a couple of weeks. Usually, an improvement is noticed within 1-2 sessions, and results can be longer lasting after 6-8. Each point gives your body a signal to change. When you repeat that signal, the body gets the message and the change is longer lasting.

Acupuncture can improve labor outcomes in the last weeks of pregnancy. It's a wonderful support to prepare for labor, reduce anxiety and relax tension. Labor has been shown to be shorter and more productive in women who have had pre-birth acupuncture. Certain points have also been used throughout history to gently induce labor in post-term pregnancies!

Summer Travel

Getting ready for a trip this summer?
Don’t forget to pick up some Pearl Apothecary treats before you go!

Rest Easy Aroma Oil:
We’ve all experienced a sleepless night before a trip. For some of us, it’s the excitement that keeps us awake. A wonderful adventure awaits and we cannot get a wink of sleep! For others, thoughts race with travel anxiety. Did I pack everything? Will the TSA line be a million miles long?
Help quiet your mind and get those necessary pre-travel Zzz’s with our Rest Easy Aroma. Formulated specifically for people who have trouble sleeping, this blend features Roman Chamomile and emits a dreamy, herbaceous smell.

Bug Away:
Nothing ruins a vacation more than bug bites! For my fellow mosquito magnets out there, you know the woes of choosing between wearing layers in the heat or stinking of bug repellent. Worry no more! Bug Away offers a delightful smell that humans will adore and bugs will abhor! This DEET-free, lemony, herbaceous formula includes Lemon Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, Geranium and Rosewood essential oils.

Acupressure Bracelet:
Plane rides can be a time for reflection and relaxation. You can kick off your shoes, read a book or just marvel at the tapestry below. However, if you are one of 66% of people susceptible to motion sickness, this form of transportation can be, frankly, hellish. Long car rides or boat rides can be more of the same. Designed and made by Dr. Mary Claire Dilks, Inner Gate's Acupressure Bracelets provide fashionable, effective relief from nausea. Designed to stimulate the PC-6 point, a primary acupuncture point used to harmonize the stomach, these bracelets are available in a variety of gorgeous gem stones, including Jasper, Green Fluorite and Quartz. Bracelets are adjustable and can be made to order!

Guardian Aroma Oil:
About to enter a long TSA line? Want to avoid picking up on other people’s travel stress and anxiety? Rub a bit of Guardian Aroma Oil on the back of your neck! Packaged in a travel friendly glass roller, Guardian Aroma Oil is designed to protect highly sensitive people from the energy of others. The oils include a delightful blend of Melissa, Bulgarian Rose Otto, Frankincense and Sandalwood.

5 Phases, Fire and SUMMER!

The Five Phases, or Five Elements, is a philosophical system of correspondences. Each Phase- Earth, Metal, Water, Wood, and Fire- has a set of corresponding phenomenon such as season, organ, color, sound, taste, etc. The Five Phases interrelate in dynamic cycles. This explains why calling these Phases is more appropriate than Elements, which implies something that is static. Chinese Medicine practitioners often use the Five Phases in diagnosis and treatment.

In the Five Phase philosophy, the season of summer corresponds to Fire. Summer’s intense heat makes it the season where Yang is at its peak. During this time, we experience the most intense heat of the year, the longest days of sunlight, and nature at its maximum growth. During summer, we take advantage of the long days, and we are full of activity.

The organ associated with Fire is the heart, and the Shen, or spirit, rests here. Shen is often translated as Spirit, but a more appropriate English translation is Mind in the sense of the capacity to think, feel and respond. It is what makes us conscious and alert during the day, and what becomes inactive during sleep. The function spirit/mind encompasses mental activity, consciousness, memory, thinking and sleep. At the same time it refers to the emotional and spiritual life of a person.

When the fire element is unbalanced, we often experience emotional instabilities. We may either have a lack of joy (depression) or excess joy (mania). Fire is symbolic of maximum activity, and the movement is upward. Symptoms of excessive fire can include agitation, anxiety, mania, vivid dreams and insomnia.

Shen is observed in the clarity and luminosity of the eyes and complexion. When you see a person with cloudy eyes, they are said to have a clouded Shen. They may also experience depression or seem distant. In contrast, when a person’s eyes are bright and seem to smile, then they have a clear, balanced Shen. Clear, coherent speech is also indicative of a health Shen.

To balance Fire, 1) Eat more bitter foods. The ancient Chinese made this correspondence and it was proven last year in an Australian study which found that the heart has bitter receptors. It actually has half of all of our taste receptors. Incredible, right? Bitter foods include very dark chocolate (!), coffee, olives, citrus peel, bitter greens, tonic, etc. 2) Get Acupuncture and herbs 3) Elemental: Fire aroma blend by our own Pearl Apothecary balances Fire. The blend uses essential oils to promote the positive aspects such as joy, playfulness, curiosity, passion and energy while at the same time calming the spirit/mind. 4) Practice calming your mind with meditation. Just 5 minutes a day works wonders.

Happy Summer!

6 Tips to Manage Allergies

For those that suffer from allergies, there is mixed emotion seeing the trees bloom. While it’s so exciting after a long winter to see the buds on the trees, there is also dread for the myriad of symptoms and suffering to come.

An allergic response is an exaggerated response of the body’s immune system to a substance that is normally harmless to the body such as pollen, weeds, animals and foods. When your body encounters an “allergy pathogen” mast cells release histamine which is involved in an inflammatory response. This sets in motion any number of responses in our body- making us feel miserable. There are many ways we can improve allergy symptoms by thinking about all of the components to a reaction. These six ideas can help!

  1. Nasal Cleansing (with a Neti pot). Don't worry, you won't feel like you're drowning! The Neti pot is the best way to flush out allergens, decrease swelling in the nasal passages, and rid your sinuses of phlegm and bacteria. This Ancient technique involves using a small pot of warm water and salt, tilting your head to the side and pouring the solution into one side of your nose. The solution will pass through your sinus and come out the other side. If you’ve never done it, take a look at youtube for a visual!

  2. Supplements. Quercetin, Vitamin C, Nettles, Bromelain, Boswellia, Astragalus: These are just a few ideas for what can help decrease inflammation and improve and regulate the immune response. In Chinese Herbalism, we use more specific Chinese Herbs for a customized approach based on your symptoms and diagnosis. Herbs are also beneficial to strengthen your resistance to allergens.

  3. Acupuncture. In Chinese Medicine, specific points are used to help symptoms such as stuffy nose, foggy head, low energy and itchy eyes as well as treat the underlying cause by regulating the liver and immune system. Your acupuncturist will do a full assessment to determine your diagnosis and then use Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine suited for you specifically.

  4. Detox liver. The liver removes toxins from our blood. Having a overloaded toxic liver can affect how quickly your body clears histamine. Eating a consistently healthy, chemical free diet will do more for the health of your liver than a fad-based, quick-fix, weekend type liver detox. Antioxidants and vitamins found in fresh fruits and vegetables will reduce liver inflammation and boost immune function, while Brussels sprouts will increase the activity of important liver enzymes. To gently detoxify the liver every day, a glass of water containing freshly squeezed lemon each morning will help.

  5. Stress reduction. Adrenalin affects mast cells and causes allergy symptoms to be worse. Allergies alone can be anxiety provoking, so working on a comprehensive plan to reduce stress is highly beneficial. Think 8 hrs sleep, mindfulness meditation, and gentle exercise.

  6. Balance the Gut. Start by reducing sugar and other inflammatory foods such as dairy and processed foods. Adding raw, fermented foods is one of the best ways you can naturally balance your gut flora. Most Whole Foods markets carry them in jars in the refrigerated section. I’m personally loving the Real Pickles brand beets! In addition, a good probiotic with proven technology to deliver what the label says is great as well. Look for the following strains: l. casei, l. rhamnosus, b. longum.

Allergies make many people miserable this time of year, but they don’t have to! By regulating your bodies response, you can better adapt to the changing seasons.

Eczema and the Gut

Did you know that eczema affects 30 million Americans? Eczema literally refers to several types of skin swelling, but the most common type is Atopic Dermatitis. It makes skin red, very dry and itchy and often affects babies and children. It can even cause blisters ti form under the skin in certain types of Eczema.

What causes Eczema? It’s cause is not known in western medicine but some suggest it could be an immune disorder. In Chinese Medicine we know this disorder can be a combination of factors such as heat, wind, and dampness. Heat makes the skin red, wind causes it to itch, and dampness can be present if there is oozing or blisters. When we recommend Chinese Herbs to treat this disorder, we aim to treat the root cause so that the symptoms do not return. Chinese medicine has been treating Eczema for hundreds of years using both internal herbs and external herbs.

Another factor to consider is diet. Evidence suggests that improving the gut “microbiome” can positively affect eczema symptoms. Nourishing all of the beneficial bacteria in our digestive tract through diet helps to regulate the immune system. This in turn can keep our skin healthy. Avoiding sugar, increasing intake of fiber and adding probiotic rich foods like raw pickled vegetables are a few ways to improve the gut flora. A high quality probiotic can also be useful. The strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus is one to look for on the label. This one has shown to have immunomodulatory effects and lower the incidence of eczema in children by 44%.

Inflammation of the lining of the intestine due to stress, inflammatory foods, preservatives and chemicals in food can create a condition known as Leaky Gut syndrome. This leads to a situation of increased intestinal permeability where intestinal contents can then leak into the system. When this happens our bodies mount an immune response, creating more sensitivities and inflammation. Leaky Gut is suggested to be the cause of many diseases including eczema, so healing the gut is crucial. For more information about leaky gut, check out this article written by Leo Galland, MD. http://huff.to/1ib3ooZ

Topical treatments can be very helpful either on their own or in combination with internal herbs. Dermatologists often prescribe topical steroids. These can cause PERMANENT thinning of your skin, so extreme caution should be taken when using these. There are many options out there, and some products work for some but not others.

Pearl Apothecary by emerging energy offers 3 different creams for eczema. I formulated these to be very simple creams with high concentrations of natural oils and healing botanicals. All of these creams use an ECO CERT preservative system that is free from harsh chemicals and Parabens. No fragrance is used, and the color of the cream is all natural, from the herbs used to make it. These are safe to use on children and adults.

Calming Cream with Zi Cao uses one herb, Zi Cao, which is known for centuries to treat red rashes. It imparts a dark pink color to this cream. Shea and Kokum butters deeply moisturize and help the skin barrier, while Evening Primrose Oil provides a rich dose of GLA which has been shown in studies to be very effective for Eczema.

Ultra Moisture Cream with Gan Cao uses Gan Cao, or licorice. Many of the other ingredients are the same, except for the main herb. Licorice has shown to have an action similar to a steroid, so this makes it a great substitute to the harsher prescription creams. Traditionally it is said to moisten the skin.

Yellow Frost Skin Cream is a Chinese topical formula that is especially useful for itching. It can be used for pustular eczema, more active eczema, rashes in folds of skin such as groin, or in combination with Calming or Ultra Moisture Creams. This one can leave a temporary yellow color to the skin due to one very yellow herb! No fragrance is added to this highly effective cream.

All of these are available at our office or on emerging energy’s etsy shop. Share this with any one you know who suffers with eczema!

Late Summer 2015

After summer has reached its height, we shift into the season of late summer. Abundant harvests surround and nourish us. This is a time for slowing down, reflecting, and gathering in. This is the earth element.

The earth element correlates with the organs of Spleen and Stomach which are the major organs of food digestion. Digestive problems are often caused by disruptions in these organs. In fact, Spleen Qi deficiency is one of the main diagnoses we see in the clinic. The Spleen is responsible for digesting food and thoughts. You can think of it as an organ that sorts through information- be it nutrients from food or mental ideas. Worrying, overthinking, and eating too much cold food (like raw vegetables) can weaken the Spleen. When this happens, our food isn’t processed well. We might have bloating after meals or undigested food in loose stool. To strengthen the Spleen, eat warm foods (not raw), calm your mind with mindfulness exercises, meditation, or prayer, and get good rest. Now is the time to start cooking more of your vegetables so your energy and immunity can stay strong for the fall and winter!

We can live in harmony with the late summer season by enjoying the abundance of locally grown fruits and vegetables. Take a trip to the farmers market and reflect on the harvest. Enjoy the bounty of our beautiful work and take a moment to express gratitude to the farmers! Buy what catches your eye. Learn to cook something new!

Its also a good time to take stock in the harvest of your life. Look at the parts of yourself and be conscious of any pieces that are weighing on you. Consider what you no longer need and what no longer works for you- either physically or emotionally. I’m currently reading The Live Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and I highly recommend her theory of decided what works in your life. The basic process is to hold each item you own and ask “Does this spark joy?” If so, keep it, and if not, give it away. This process is perfect for the Late Summer and Autumn seasons, since Autumn is all about letting go. I can only imagine how freeing it will be to lessen the clutter in our lives and to be only be surrounded by that which sparks joy! For now, take inventory in what you have and how you nourish yourself.

Nourishment can come in the form of food, TV, books, people, social media and more. How do we nurture ourselves? Do we make choices that make us feel calm and energized? Spend some time in this late summer season reflecting on this. Its extremely important to living a well and balanced life. Enjoy the remaining warm summer days!

Treating Insomnia with Chinese Medicine

Like most disharmonies, or illnesses, insomnia arises through a variety of different causes. Here lies the great strength of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) when it comes to treating chronic conditions. While western medicine may offer a few different pharmaceutical options aimed at treating the symptom of insomnia, TCM seeks to find the underlying cause-- and this can vary from person to person. Most likely, the underlying cause, or pattern of disharmony, has been in place even before the insomnia was an issue. When you can treat the underlying cause of something, the symptoms will not return. What are the causes of insomnia in TCM?

Illness arises in TCM when the flow of energy in the organs and systems of the body become unbalanced. Unlike western anatomy and physiology, TCM incorporates different functions and attributes to each organ. Each organ cannot be taken out of it's context in the human system. Things work together, ideally, to create balanced functions and overall health. When things go awry due to countless reasons, we experience symptoms. These symptoms point to an underlying problem, called a "pattern of disharmony." The goal of TCM treatment is to treat the underlying pattern, to alleviate symptoms and restore health and harmony to the body.

When it comes to insomnia, there can be a dysfunction in a variety of different organ systems including the heart, kidney, gallbladder, liver or an imbalance of substances including insufficient blood or yin, or an excess of heat or phlegm. A detailed TCM evaluation including tongue and pulse diagnosis will determine which organ systems are affected. Generally, all patterns of insomnia involve the heart.

When we fall asleep, our Shen, or spirit/mind, is said to rest in our heart. If the heart is a suitable place, then the Shen will rest soundly. If there is too much heat affecting the heart, the Shen will not rest. Too much heat can also cause the symptom of vivid dreams, nighmares, and night terrors. Also, if the heart does not have enough blood or yin to nourish and anchor the spirit, the Shen will wander and result in restless sleep, difficulty falling asleep, or waking up too early.

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs can have a long lasting effect on insomnia. Some "patterns of disharmony" respond more quickly to treatment than others. Generally more than one treatment is needed for a lasting effect.

Herbs can be very useful to treat insomnia. Some herbs make you feel calm while others can treat the underling causes of insomnia. All of the herbs we use are manufactured in GMP regulated facilities with the highest standards, so you can rest assured that we do the work to find the best sources of high quality products to keep you healthy and safe! Commonly used herbs in western herbalism are chamomile, kava and valarian. All of these herbs can be taken to calm your mind in the evening.

General tips for insomnia:

  • Limit caffeine intake during the day
  • Don't drink before bed
  • Eat dinner 2-3 hours before you plan to go to bed
  • Stop looking at screens 1 hour before you would like to fall asleep and don't look at them if you get up in the middle of the night
  • Keep your bedroom dark or wear an eye mask
  • Develop a nighttime relaxation routine such as a shower or bath, calming aromatherapy, reading, etc.
  • Don't stress about it if you are awake. Consider it perfect quiet time to listen to your intuition or meditate.

My Story

As many of you may know, Emerging Energy Acupuncture, founded in 2004, is my practice of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs in Providence, RI. The name Emerging Energy came to me when I was living in NYC and saw a neon sign hanging in my soon-to-be husband's loft reading "EMERGING ENERGY." His mother picked it up at a yard sale in NJ so I'm really not sure where it came from. I did know that it summed up my future practice perfectly and so the name was decided.

To me, Emerging Energy signifies energy from deep inside bubbling up to the surface and expanding outward. It signifies the gifts you bring to the world that are just waiting to come out and make themselves known. As I know personally, this energy and inspiration is sometimes hampered by sickness.

Suffering with "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" as a teenager, I personally felt the confinement that sickness can create. There were days I spent bed, feeling unable to move. I felt like a prisoner in my body. Staring at the ceiling, my mind was full of all the things I wanted to do, but my body felt heavy and lifeless. After finding healing through holistic medicine, I made it my mission to help people with health conditions that hold them back from experiencing the fullness in life.

I have always had a creative streak. My creativity comes through in my work with patients as well as creating objects and products that inspire and nurture us. I believe that creativity is one of my gifts to give the world and honoring that just feels right and is one of the practices I do for stress relief.

Pearl Apothecary, my line of topical skin care products, started in early 2014 when I was researching herbs and essential oils to treat the stubborn Psoriasis that afflicted my mother. I formulated PS Ointment to help her heal (PS Ointment is coming to retail soon!). After that, I continued to develop and formulate products that feel good, smell good, and heal our skin. It's a self-nurturing practice to take care of our bodies with beautiful products. I believe this self-love helps us heal and become whole.

Why the name Pearl? A pearl is precious, has natural luster, takes time to form, and is natural. I think it sums up the products of Pearl Apothecary quite well. These products are hand made in small batches, using the finest ingredients. We mindfully use the lowest effective amounts of preservatives in some products to keep them safe to use for 6-12 months. We do not use parabens or formaldehyde preservatives. None of our products are tested on animals and many are vegan. They will make your skin and spirit glow from within with luminescence like a pearl.

Inner Gate is my line of healing Jewelry that will be rolling out in Summer 2015. Since I was a young child, I made Jewelry and had my first business in second grade making custom friendship bracelets. I love working with natural stones, and in high school, I seriously considered a career as a gemologist. These magnificent stones have healing characteristics and can serve as objects of beauty to cherish. I am beyond thrilled to bring you adornments that inspire you to stay connected, grounded, and keep your meridians open and flowing smoothly.

Inner Gate has two meanings. First, Inner Gate refers to an acupuncture point on the inner wrist that has the power to resolve "inner blockages" in the chest. It can calm the spirit and quiet the mind. It is also used to treat nausea and harmonize digestion. Second, a gate is a powerful symbol of a journey. As you pass through a gate, you decide to take an active role in your journey, in your inner transformation. You can and should be active in your healing process, and Inner Gate Jewelry can help remind you of the power you have.

In my own experience with "Chronic Fatigue," I've learned a few things about healing. First, you must mentally detach from a medical diagnosis in order to heal. Be willing to let it go because letting it become fundamentally part who you are will impede healing. If you let it become part of your identity, why would you want to lose a part of yourself? Let it go and imagine yourself whole. Next, healing requires an active role and daily practice. Nutrition and sleep are of vital importance. Don't compromise on these. Nutritional needs can vary from person to person, but EVERYONE needs enough protein and vegetables (and limited sugar). Lastly, do what you love. Do more of what makes you happy, except if that involves eating loads of chocolate. Don't get me wrong, I belive dark chocolate is a sort of vitamin. . . so have just a bit!

March Mindfulness

I was thinking back the other day to the day I bought my first book on Eastern philosophy. Nearly 25 years ago, My dad, best friend and I took a road trip in the early spring from Michigan to Colorado. We stopped in a small, independent bookstore enroute, and I picked up a philosophy book that looked interesting. It was a perfect introduction to many different forms of meditation, including mindfulness.

Since then, I have practiced meditation in some form or another. Meditation is just mental development. It's just observing your mind like a scientist vs. a judge. I like mindfulness based mediation because it's something you can practice wherever you are, whenever you can.

It occurred to me that March would be a perfect month for a mindfulness program. Really, any month, any day is a perfect time to start. The point of mindfulness is developing awareness. It's slowing and sometimes, if you're lucky, turning off the mental chatter so you can be more focused, more productive and ultimately more content. I wanted the program to be first and foremost simple. Simple actions done with great awareness are a great reminder to tune-in. Zone-in and not out.

I hope as many people as possible join the #marchmindfulness practice. In this time, in this culture we have more distractions than ever. It's so easy to feel overwhelmed. With practice, we can tame the mental lion and strengthen our "mindfulness muscle." A little bit of mindfulness everyday can go a long way.

It's 2015: Welcome Pearl

I officially made ONE blog post last year. That was slightly over 1 year ago. The truth is, I've had a lot going on!

We had such a busy year at Emerging Energy Acupuncture! In between the thousands of patients we saw, we mixed custom blended herbs, learned valuable new ways to help our patients, and we launched a product line, Pearl Apothecary.

Pearl Apothecary uses time tested botanicals as well as modern research to craft body care products to nourish our skin and sprits. These products are made by hand, using strict hygiene protocol, and minimal chemicals to preserve some of the products. By using a paraben and formaldehyde free preservative, we can ensure that you won't find green stuff growing in your body lotion or break out in a rash from a bacterial infection. You don't need much to do this- the preservative ends up being just 0.5-1% of the total volume of your product.

Right now we have some fabulously scented body lotion with botanical such as Reishi, Siberian Ginseng and Goji berries to supplement your skin with antioxidants. In a matter of days, we will have a skin calming unscented lotion geared toward those with sensitive skin as well as a specialty cream for dry, inflamed red skin for those suffering with skin disorders such as eczema.

In addition we have a Juniper-Mint Massage Salve and Eucalyptus-Fir Clearing Salve which both can be helpful in the cold and flu season! These contain beeswax, apricot kernel oil, and high quality essential oils. Simple and effective. These are great alternatives to the vapor rubs out there that are full of chemicals!

We hope you enjoy using these products as much as we enjoy making them!