BRAIN(s) and how to use them

Health care decisions are difficult. It can feel overwhelming & confusing. There’s pressure to act quickly. And many times there’s conflicting information out there! My dear friends at Third Coast Birth & Family introduced me to an acronym used for making decisions during pregnancy and even in the heat of labor that I want to share with y’all: BRAIN


When faced with a decision, ask yourself:

What are the benefits? Does this meet my goals and desires? What’s the best-case scenario? Is there evidence to support this?

What are the risks? What’s the worst-case scenario? Does that outweigh the potential benefits? Is there evidence to support this?

What are my alternatives? Do I have other options? Do I need to seek out other providers to find out what those might be (get a second opinion)? Do some of the other options have a better benefit/risk relationship?

What does my intuition tell me? What’s my gut saying? Sleep on it. See what settles in your mind and body after mulling the decision over.

And what happens if I do nothing? Is waiting and seeing a good option? Does this decision have to be made immediately? More information might arise and the path may become clearer.

This little acronym can help slow down and give some order to decisions that have far-reaching consequences. It also moves the decision-making from the provider, back to YOU. The person. It’s your body, your health, your decision to make. No matter how strongly presented, a treatment plan from even the most esteemed doctor, researcher, chiropractor, acupuncturist, etc. is just a suggestion. It’s their best theory as to what will work for you.  That decision can have a lot of factors: clinical experience, current research, cost, rules and regulations of their location (i.e. hospitals, clinics, etc), insurance coverage, education, the current standard of care for any given diagnosis, availability of accurate diagnostics… and even less desirable things like bias, stereotyping, burn-out, etc. It’s a lot. So remember it’s not carved in stone and there are usually more options than you think to any given issue.

And truly, this little gem could help with any important decision-making. Test it out. Lemme know what you think.


Foot Soak Happy Hour

by: Alex Watkins

I’ve got a new (old) way to take your herbs that is much less yucky and much more soothing: foot soaks.  Foot soaks have been used traditionally for a long time as a way to boost your health and as an easy, pleasant way to utilize the healing properties of plants.  I’ve been super impressed with a line of Tibetan Foot Soaks that we have started using at Queenpin Family Wellness.   They are basically extra large tea bags, filled with crushed herbs (to be discussed later) that you steep to make a foot soak.  The process is easy and relaxing and I’m finding the results to be great.  We even had a trial run of our new Foot Soak Happy Hour, where we had snacks, laughs, and relaxed while letting the herbs and warm water work their magic!

Starting next month, March 28th, we are hosting a Foot Soak Happy Hour the last Wednesday of the month from 5:30pm – 6:30pm in our comfortable community acupuncture room.  We will have snacks, tea, wine and (most importantly) soaks waiting to get you through the week!  Tickets are $35 and spaces are limited.  RSVP and purchase your tickets here:


To read this in it’s entirety please click here to go to Alex’s blog!

Mulled Lemonade



Cool down these hot summer days will a little twist! It’s easy and tasty, two of my favorite things. Try some Mulled Lemonade and wow your friends with your creativity:
5 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 oz mulling spices

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Stir in the sugar and mulling spices. Cover and allow the simple syrup to steep for at least 20 minutes or longer.
Pour the syrup into a large pitcher. Then pour in the remaining 3 cups of water and lemon juice. Fill the pitcher with ice and stir.

Queenpin Family Wellness is Moving

Often people ask me how I became interested in acupuncture. My simple answer is, “Pediatrics.” As a teacher I watched parents struggle with how to treat their kids’ colds, fevers, attention issues, etc. I wondered if there was an in between between no treatment, and what parents many times felt was over-treatment.”


But the long answer is that I was raised on public service. Both my parents strongly believed that in order to be a part of a community you need to actively give back to the community. As a teacher, I saw the need in Roanoke for pediatric holistic wellness services, so I moved in that direction. Yet, here I am, nine years later, and as I work with more and more people, my vision has expanded. Children are not the only population in Roanoke who need a one stop shop for their individual wellness needs. We all do.


Many of my patients know that I have been looking for a new space for years. It has taken me so long because I wasn’t looking for an ordinary spot, I have been searching for a house that can be home to larger vision of community wellness. Whole community wellness, whole person care. That takes a big house, but also a landlord that is excited about the dream as I am, and a new partner that has the same vision as I do. Next time you see me, ask me how one phone call made it all click together, for now suffice it to say I’ve found the perfect spot.


The Haven on 5th will be a collaborative house providing individualized whole person care for the Roanoke Valley through experiential education, and integrative health services. For years, Maya Ittah of Terre Vie Wellness and I have been working separately in the Roanoke Valley to help educate people on the fact that wellness is not one size fits all. Every body is different, every person unique in their constitution. Maya and I are equally dedicated to making alternative therapies and education on self-care affordable for the whole community. We decided to combine our complementary modalities and similar visions into one place. We’re all tired of having to search far and wide for what is right for us. The Haven on 5th is going to have it all in one spot! And if we don’t have it, we’ll help you easily find it.

Opening in September, The Haven on 5th will house:

  • Queenpin’s current acupuncture clinic
  • A new community style acupuncture clinic with treatments ranging from $20 – $45
  • Queenpin Herb Shop
  • Garden Song Eco-Cafe
  • Terre Vie Massage
  • Terre Vie Nutritional Counseling
  • Community outreach programs on wellness
  • Classes that will include yoga, dance, and internal martial arts

We can’t wait to get started, but in the meantime we’ll update you on all of our progress.

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