What is qi? What are yin and yang? Check out this primer on Traditional Chinese Medicine and find out how to talk to your acupuncturist!

Acupuncture 101: How to talk to your acupuncturist

“What’s wrong with my liver?

My patient was confused and a little concerned.

“You have liver qi stagnation.” I said, “But don’t worry, there’s nothing physically wrong with your liver…” I went on to explain that in Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, the liver governs a category of symptoms that relates to emotional regulation and flow. I was describing a constricted emotional flow, what we commonly refer to in the West as “stress”.

Acupuncturists and other East Asian practitioners can often sound like they are speaking another language, because in a way they are. I started college as a linguist and I have maintained that interest to this day, so I think of a lot of things in terms of “language”.

As Americans, we speak the “language” of Western medicine. During my internships at Regions hospital, Masonic Children’s Hospital and the University of Minnesota Medical Center I had to learn how to “translate” what I was saying because when I speak to my patients I often speak to them from the metaphor of Chinese medicine.

I’ve realized over time that it would be incredibly helpful to have a glossary for my patients to read, something I could reference over and over in future blog posts and newsletters.

So here it is: Acupuncture 101. I will cover some basic concepts (and misconceptions!) of commonly used words and phrases so that at your next appointment you can be prepared to talk to your acupuncturist.

What is qi? What are yin and yang? Check out this primer on Traditional Chinese Medicine and find out how to talk to your acupuncturist!


Shonishin: Holistic infant and pediatric care

When we picture acupuncture, most of us see comfortable warm rooms with soft lighting and relaxing needle naps. Or for those of us who are familiar with community acupuncture, we see a group setting with people kicking back and healing together. What do all of these have in common?

Almost all of us are picturing adults.

But Traditional East Asian Medicine, or TEAM, isn’t just for adults. My most rewarding internship was at the Masonic Children’s Hospital in the Twin Cities, where I treated children (and their parents) for nausea and pain related to cancer treatments, anxiety, depression and many other conditions.

TEAM is a great way to support your child’s health. It can help them sleep better at night, even out their energy, support their digestion and bolster their lifelong vitality.

Go beyond infant massage

Why you need to take a bed rest postpartum

The modern American approach to postpartum care is lackluster at best.

It starts in the hospital with medical staff not knowing how to educate mothers about the signs and symptoms they should look for postpartum. There are even stories of women returning to the hospital postpartum complaining of symptoms and being turned away only to find out that their conditions are serious and life threatening. Medical staff are there to support you, but in the overwhelm and the confusion postpartum overlooking symptoms isn’t uncommon.

Many traditional medicines are very clear - moms must take a bed rest postpartum. We tell moms to "resume normal activities." Is this ok?


How to Pack the Ultimate Birth Center Go-Bag

My husband and I had to pack a birth center bag. Fortunately, we are list makers and preppers. Literally at this moment my husband is telling me how he’s going to consolidate all of our travelling gear while I’m gone so that we just need to go through it tomorrow morning. Hooray organization!

We were like this for the birth too, but almost everything we found for prepping for a birth was geared to a hospital birth. In hospital births, you need to plan to be there for a couple days. This means packing entertainment things, extra changes of clothes – so much stuff.

Birth centers are much more simple. I went into active labor at 5, my daughter was born at 9:30 and we were home by 2. So much less time away from home. As you can imagine, a birth center bag will look much different than a hospital bag – you just don’t need as much. Depending on the birth center, there may be additional things you’re allowed to bring that a hospital would not allow.
I wanted to share with you what we couldn’t find – a list of what to pack for the short trip. Feel free to download your copy of the checklist here.

Birth center bags and hospital bags are two different animals. Find out what to pack in your birth center bag in this blog post!