Welcome Into Second Spring

By Xiaomei Cai, L.Ac., Ph.D.


Mixed Feelings about Menopause?

When it comes to menopause, how is a woman supposed to feel?

Relieved? Finally! We no longer have to deal with periods, no more worrying about the possibility of pregnancy and the many complications of childbearing. But, there is also fear of the unknown. The ovaries are shutting down, our hormone levels are decreasing, which means everything feels different. And for some, there are unpleasant sensations–hot flashes and body aches–and uncomfortable changes–like looser skin and lower metabolism. But, there is hope in every new phase! We can choose to welcome menopause as the “Second Spring” of our lives. If we make positive choices to take care of our health, we can feel more vibrant, and wiser, than ever.

The Ages of Woman

Menopause is a transitional time, similar to adolescence. If we look back to those years when we first got our periods, we can see the roots of our womanhood. Our youth is when we are “in bloom.” Then, during our childbearing years, our bodies are in a constant state of readiness to bear “fruit,” and to feed others. We grow up, then we spend many years focusing our energies outward–helping others grow, too: our partners, our children, our careers. Now, in the Second Spring of life, we get to turn our attention back inward, to choose our own projects and to reserve our energy for those things we want to nurture.

Early in life, girls and women may often feel limited from all sorts of pursuits — physically, athletically, in education and career goals — because of our periods, our hormone shifts, and our ability to get pregnant. We face issues, because of the way our bodies work, that men never have to face. And, in most cultures, still, it is the woman who bears the primary responsibility for taking care of the family. The Second Spring offers an opportunity to make up for some of those times we felt held back, to live for ourselves without feeling so obligated to others. We have a chance to “rebloom,” to enjoy new freedoms and follow our dearly held dreams to fruition.

Go Back to the Root

Physically, a woman goes through many significant changes over the years, and different factors come into play. If a woman’s body is out of balance — due to trauma, stress, illness, injury, diet, environment, etc.–she may experience difficulties with her female organ function. Painful periods, irregular periods, cysts, fibroids and endometriosis are all common conditions — but they do not happen without some imbalances causing them. A lifetime of choices, experiences, pains and pleasures add up to create the health status we live with now, in this moment.

Women’s health issues can be treated, at any stage of life, with acupuncture and herbs, as well as the right kind of food and lifestyle choices. If a woman finds and partners with a good healthcare practitioner, and practices a lifestyle that helps her achieve optimal health, she does not have to suffer through years of PMS, nor through years of menopausal difficulties, either. Unfortunately, many women do not know there is an alternative to using pain relief medicines, oral contraceptives and hormone replacement to manage symptoms. These drugs do not offer a real solution to the problems; they mask them. As women, we are often expected to simply accept these problems and learn to “cope.” But why settle for that, when we have the means to correct them?

TCM Offers Comprehensive Womens’ Health Care

TCM looks at female care as “ovarian care.” Beside paying attention to our liver, heart, lungs, and kidneys, we also focus on menstrual and premenstrual care, pregnancy and postpartum care, and menopause care. These are unique to women. The ovaries are the major players when it comes to female hormones, cycles, and reproductive health. Girls, young women and older women can all benefit from regular treatment, herbal supplementation, and lifestyle improvements to encourage healthy and smooth functioning of these processes. If, as a younger woman, you are able to manage your hormones, then, when menopause comes, it hopefully will not be too much of a problem. If you are already experiencing menopause symptoms, it is not too late to get yin and yang balance restored, so that you can enjoy this phase of life and many healthy years to come!

According to TCM, most menopausal disorders fall under kidney and/or liver Yin deficiency. This manifests in hot flashes, waking often at night around 3:00-4:00 a.m., dreamy light sleep, irritability, memory loss, dry eyes, mood swings, and irregular periods. A smaller percentage of symptoms fall under kidney Yang deficiency; low back soreness, incontinence, water retention, fatigue, indigestion, and weight gain. We use very specific acupuncture points to help with each of these different problems, and are able to treat each woman’s unique combination of issues. We also have our unique techniques (needling and massage) and herbal products to help skin stay firm and smooth.


Self-Care for Menopause

Acupuncture and herbal modality have been taking care of these women’s health issues for thousands of years.  Besides seeking these professional services, there are many things you can do at home to facilitate a smooth transition:

  • For Yin deficiency, stick with cooling and juicy foods like fresh veggies, fruit, yams, sweet rice, mung beans, lotus roots or seeds. Stay away from alcohol, coffee, and spicy foods which increase internal fire or heat. Snacking on Goji berries is recommended, drinking chrysanthemum tea, chamomile tea or Art of Wellness’s own Night Tea can help you rest and sleep better.
  • For Yang deficiency, drink warm lemon water upon rising, eat more cooked and warm food, nuts, especially walnuts and pecans, stay away from dairy, icy foods and drinks and greasy, heavy meals. 20-30 minute hot foot spa before bedtime is recommended. Rub the low back along the midline of the spine and on both sides until very warm.
  • For saggy or loose skin, facial rejuvenation acupuncture needling will help stimulate collagen production and improve facial circulation.
  • Speed-walk 30-45 minutes per day.
  • Rub hands to warm them, then rub the soles of each foot 100 times. Practice daily.
  • Meditate 20 minutes daily, in the morning or ideally, at bedtime.
  • Suggested Menopause Meditation: focus on the lower abdominal area (Dan Tan), until it feels warm. Then, move the warm sensation into your kidney area.

Helpful Tips to Heal Burns Naturally

Step 1. Place burn under fresh, clean water until the burning sensation subsides.

Step 2. Dry gently. Pour olive oil/sesame oil directly on the burn.

Step 3. Generously sprinkle fine ( not course) salt on the oil and let sit for 5-10 minutes. If you still feel the burning sensation, or pain repeat steps 1-3 again.

Step 4. Once the burning sensation or pain stops, wash off the salt and lightly dry . Apply Art of Wellness burn cream 1-4 times a day directly on burn and let completely dry.



Why You Should Get Regular Acupuncture Treatments

Everybody knows you should see your family physician at least once a year and your dentist at least twice a year. But not everybody knows about acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine and the many benefits it can provide for you. If you start incorporating acupuncture into your health and wellness regime, you may not have to rely on the family physician so much for those minor little issues. Let’s look at how getting regular acupuncture treatments can help you stay happy and healthy.
There are many ways acupuncture treatments can change a person’s life. One of the most noticeable is acupuncture can get you to look at your health from a completely different perspective. This could mean you might start taking a more in depth look at your health, which may allow you to veer away from some of the mainstream medical practices such as multiple pharmaceuticals. Many long-term acupuncture patients find they no longer need all the medications prescribed by their family physician, because the symptoms have been controlled using acupuncture.

Acupuncture is great for prevention. Because regular acupuncture treatments can balance hormones and boost immunity, there is a good chance you won’t need that annual flu shot or all those over-the-counter cold medications. A trained acupuncturist can spot a problem like decreased immunity from a mile away. It can appear as symptoms such as chronic fatigue, insomnia and even body temperature fluctuations. A couple of treatments can make a big difference.

What about relieving some of that extra stress we all deal with? Yes, regular acupuncture treatments can keep that at bay too. Many people don’t equate being poked with tiny needles as a relaxation technique, but it truly is relaxing. Many patients actually fall asleep after or while the needles are being placed. And the effects can last for days or even weeks. So the next time you feel irritable and overwhelmed, call  us here at Art of Wellness and we are more than happy to schedule an appointment for you.

Regular acupuncture treatments can help you save money. What? It’s true. This goes back to the previous benefits. If you don’t need as many pharmaceuticals, you will ultimately save money. Also, conditions like stress, anxiety, fatigue and depression can keep you from going to work, possibly costing you several days of pay. But with regular acupuncture treatments, your moods can be more effectively managed and you won’t need to miss work as frequently.

And the most popular reason to get regular acupuncture treatments is that it may help you remain pain free. Research has shown acupuncture is more effective than opioids for controlling things like arthritic pain in the joints. It is also be incorporated into hospital emergency rooms throughout the United States, so people do not need as many pain medications. As a matter of fact, in Asia, acupuncture is sometimes used by itself during and after surgical procedures to treat pain.

While many of you may have a needle phobia, don’t let that deter you. Acupuncture will help you relax. Most of our patients actually fall asleep during their treatment. Acupuncture is part of an amazing medical system that has been around for nearly 3,000 years. In comparison, Western medicine has only been around for about 200 to 250 years. That puts things in perspective a little, especially when you consider most people in Asian countries live longer, happier. There’s no better time than the present to start a good habit. Just be sure to seek out a fully trained and licensed acupuncturist. Your whole life just might change for the better.


Traditional Chinese Medicine VS. Opioid Crisis

The opioid crisis is a serious issue in the U.S. Why are so many people addicted to painkillers when they could be pain free naturally?
In this newsletter, Dr Tan discusses the healing benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine and how to get off opiates.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) vs Opioid Crisis
By Dr. Qineng Tan, L.A.c, Ph.D.

Pain killer abuse, also known as ” the opioid crisis”, is sweeping across America. Painkiller abuse is not only  the number one substance abused in the entire world, but it is also the most easily accessed substance via our Western health care system.  The US makes up 5 percent of the world’s population and consumes approximately 80 percent of the world’s painkillers. According to the Center for Disease control & Prevention,  Every day, more than 115 people in the United States alone die after overdosing on prescription pain relievers. This is a serious public health crisis that also effects both social and economic welfare. The Centers for Disease control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription pain killer misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the cost of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement. When people are prescribed pain killers, most think they are doing the right thing by taking them because they are being prescribed by a trusted physician, but what people do not know, is that there is another solution to their pain relief that is completely natural. That solution is traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). In 2012 a study published by NIH Public Access ( Arch Intern Medicine. 2012 October 22; 172 (19) ) concluded  “Researchers discovered acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is therefore a reasonable preferred option”.
Why not use a method that has been around for thousands of years and is one of the safest, most permanent solutions to pain? If your house had a hole in the roof, what would you do to deal with that hole? Would you cover the hole with a tarp for a temporary fix hoping no rain will eventually come through, or would you repair the roof entirely so you have no further damage to the inside of your home? Now, think of painkillers as the tarp. The painkillers will mask whatever problem or pain you have at that moment, but does not permanently fix the underlining issue.

Why is acupuncture and TCM such a better alternative to painkillers? TCM is safe, effective, non addictive, and helps patients successfully  participate in other aspects of therapy so they can completely rid any pain in their body. Acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system when you are receiving treatment for pain. Not only can stimulating acupoints help your body to heal, but it can also activate the part of your brain that governs serotonin levels and trigger the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain-killers.
At Art of Wellness, each of our doctors has more than 30 years experience to help with almost all kinds of chronic and acute pain conditions caused by arthritis,back and neck disorder, herniated discs, spinal degeneration, sciatica, whiplash, rotator cuff injuries, bursitis, joint pain, tennis/golfers elbow, carpal tunnel, hip pain, headaches/migraines, post operative pain, and more. Here at Art of Wellness, our goal is not only helping your pain, but also bringing you back to good health with the teamwork between you and us.
You don’t have to suffer from chronic pain or rely on pain prescription pills for temporary relief. You can live your life much healthier, happier and longer.

You have my best wishes!



Summer Solstice

During the summer solstice your yang energy reaches its peak. It is important to harness the peak of this yang energy, because as summer shifts into fall yang energy will decline. This great abundance of yang energy will translate throughout your body because during this season you are active and growing.

According to five element theory, during the summer the organ that receives extra energy is the heart. When the seasons change so do the organs we should focus on in the body. You should focus on the heart during summer. Feed the heart heart-nourishing foods and make sure to remain active so the heart receives positive energy. continue reading »