Picture by Secret Garden Daily via Pexels

How to boost your libido with breath work

It has been a long time since I’ve gotten sexy on this blog. In fact, come to think of it, I don’t even think I’ve ever actually talked about sex (except for that one fertility essay, I guess). Kind of weird when you consider that my practice wouldn’t exist without it.

This Valentine’s Day I want to give you a gift to celebrate the generative rise of yang energy that started last week. My gift to you: better sex.

Not only do I hope that this simple qi gong exercise will help raise your libido, but I hope that if you’re trying to conceive it gives you an energetic boost of fertile, springtime energy.

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Seed Cycling and Oil Cycling for Fertility

Yesterday’s post introduced seed cycling and oil cycling for hormonal health. Seed cycling and oil cycling are ways to balance hormones over a few months by supporting hormones with lignans, healthy fats, and other nutrients.

But multiple times I warned that this method was not for those who were trying to conceive.

In this post I am going to discuss why oil cycling for fertility needs to be different than oil cycling for hormonal health, why preparing for conception is as important as trying to conceive, and the changes you can make to the process to make seed cycling and oil cycling work for you.

Check out these blogtober posts to understand more about how I approach women's health, acupuncture, doula work (and other birth work), herbalism and more!

Seed Cycling and Oil Cycling for Hormonal Balance

Working in the field I do, I’ve heard whispers of seed cycling and oil cycling for the past couple of years. But it wasn’t until I consulted on a difficult fertility case last week that a colleague directly recommended it.

Seed cycling is kind of like vaginal steaming – it’s on the fringe of accepted reproductive science with no peer-reviewed studies to support the process. But the people who love it love it for a reason. It worked for them.

So, what is seed cycling? How does it work? Can it really be the key to regulating your cycles?

Sunday Round Up: Bed-sharing, male doulas, and seed cycling

Hey, wow. A third Sunday round-up. This might actually become a thing!

Is anyone else notoriously bad at saying you want to start doing a thing and then not doing it? It can’t just be me.

Anyway, this Sunday round up includes bed-sharing while breastfeeding, a local man working for big change, seed cycling, and my favorite bibimbap recipe that’s nourishing for your body AND your budget.

The Water Element: Foundations in the Darkness

Happy Almost Winter, Minnesnowta!

Any other season of the year and people give me the side-eye for an “early” season greeting. But in winter? Snow can fly as early as September! In fact, wasn’t it just last week we got our first flakes?

And even if the snowflakes weren’t falling yet, the world around us is settling into a winter rhythm. Everything becomes quiet and still. The leaves have fallen, the grass is hibernating, jars of pickled herring pop up in pantries across the state.

This spring, I broke the element of wood down in two blog posts – one about how things can be categorized as wood from a health perspective and another about how Chinese medicine looks at imbalances in the wood element. I did the same earlier this month for metal and metal disharmonies.

This blog post will be doing the same for this season’s element, the element of Water.

Why you need to stop #hustling

Type A people have it rough.

It’s not that the world is hard on Type A people. The world at large loves Type A people. They are doers and movers and shakers. Type A people are hard on themselves (which is probably why they’re more susceptible to heart disease and stroke.)

Type A people just keep going, digging deep into yang energy and using its rocket fuel to start businesses, create art and move forward in everything.

Type A people don’t know how to stop.

Imagine being in the North Woods of Minnesota. Sunlight warms the wooden porch floor. The sounds of water lapping on the shore and children playing follow the breeze through the open windows. It’s 80, and beautiful and you’re on your laptop because you won’t. stop. working. 

That’s Type A.

Because the Type A definition of relaxation is speed boats out on the lake, wakeboarding, water skiing and high energy water sports. It’s wiring together fireworks and cooking for 100 people.

Type A people are all about the hustle.

I’m here to tell you that America is Type A. And we need to turn it down a notch.

The 24/7 hustle is about doing the work, but doing the work 24/7 is making us sicker, less productive and less efficient. Read more about how adding a bit of yin to your life will make doing the work easier and more effective.
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Women’s Water: A Yin Tonic

Yin deficiency signs are pretty clear:

  • flushing face
  • night sweats
  • hot flashes
  • dry throat
  • insomnia
  • racing thoughts when you try to go to bed at night
  • sore back
  • constipation
  • ringing ears/tinnitus
  • dizziness

You know what this sounds like? Menopause. Or for some women, menstruation. Or others just…life.

You see, women are mostly yin. We are yin to the masculine yang. So yin deficiency tends to be a bit more obvious in us. Maybe that’s why in my practice this recipe is the one I tend to recommend the most.

So why is it that this simple tonic can be so helpful for women? Read on.

women's water
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Single serving iced red raspberry leaf tea. Photo by Wahid Hacene via Pexels

A More Refreshing Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

As with many natural interventions there’s a bit of controversy on whether or not red raspberry leaf tea has any impact on labor. Some studies show it can shorten labor and lessen the need for interventions. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Nurse Midwifery found some 63% of certified nurse midwives used red raspberry leaf as part of their natural labor induction plan.

Other studies show that at the highest levels it can actually inhibit contractions, lengthening labors. It’s important to point out for this study the doses “at the highest level” are at a level no human would consume with a mug of tea a day. At worst you have a tasty tea that has no effect. Also note that rats are not humans and their physiology will handle things slightly differently.

Conventional and folk wisdom treat it as a “women’s herb”. It’s great to help menstrual cramps, keep the uterus healthy and may help with fertility. The only caution I regularly see with red raspberry leaf is to not consume it in the first trimester.