Some Award-Winning Acupuncture

I won an award! And honestly, at first I thought I was being pranked.

I am so honored to have been voted the acupuncturist with the Best Bedside Manner in the New River Valley.

I have the best job in the world, and I take it pretty danged seriously. One of the parts I love the most is getting to know each of you. I learn about your families, your food, your sleep, and even . . . your time in the bathroom! I ask so many questions. These questions give me the big, messy view of your health, and this wide lens is part of the power of East Asian Medicine: to hold the whole experience of your health and illness. East Asian Medicine, and you, have taught me that health is complicated and multi-faceted. And it’s with these questions and this lens that we can sort out a path back to wellness. I think this view and curiosity is what inspires the connection I feel with all of you and the trust you place in me with the most personal of details.

I really do celebrate our successes—a night of great sleep, a week free of migraines, or getting back to that activity that you love—and I grieve when things don’t go to plan. Most of all, I believe (in) you. I believe your symptoms and the patterns you’ve discovered, and I believe in you and your body’s ability to heal again.

Those of you who come regularly know that we will have a few chickadee’s, tater-tot’s, and even some marshmallow fluff’s, some good laughs, lots of honest conversations. And I’ll hold you accountable when you need a little tough love.

So I need to thank all y’all. You can’t be an acupuncturist without someone to puncture (and to set boundaries about cheese consumption), and it’s just absolutely astounding to me that you went out of your way to vote for me. I’m taking this as a mandate to keep working hard for you, expanding my knowledge, and always holding your benefit as my motivation for showing up in the morning.

With lots of love!

-Alex

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 4th : New Service!

Queenpin is offering a new service starting March 4th: Herbal Foot Soaks. Its a new (old) way to take your herbs that is less yucky and more soothing.  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.  We have been super impressed with a line of Tibetan Foot Soaks that we have been carrying for home-use, and now we will be offering it as a service; we will handle all the preparation and clean up.

The soaks are indicated for relieving pain, improving circulation, reducing stress and anxiety, healing old injuries, reducing scarring, and nerve dysfunction. Like all holistic care, their results are cumulative, and it works best using them multiple times a week for more acute or serious issues.

 

The herbs can be grouped into a few big categories:

Improving circulation: Sanguisorbae root & Mugwort

Reducing Pain: Tibetan Acori Calami & Noptergium incisium root

Boosting mood: Tibetan Saffron

Improving fluid metabolism: Ginger & Saphora root

And the soaks include minerals, like epsom salts, that relieve pain and improve muscle health.

 

 

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The soaks will be available by appointment starting March 1st, Monday 3pm – 6pm and Friday 10am – 2pm. They will take about 40 min of your time, and are available in the Community Clinic.

If you are already enjoying a Private Acupuncture Package, you may use your package for foot soak sessions. Each session will count as half of a treatment, a $35 value. If you’d like to pay as you go, sessions will be $45.

 

 

 

If you’re curious to know more, this podcast has so much information about the mechanisms and research behind the soaks: https://botanicalbiohacking.com/herbal-foot-soaks-2/

Our Lexington Roommate! Soothing Herbals Apothecary and Chin Velasquez

Queenpin Lexington has a roommate and we need to tell you how cool she is. Meet Chin Velasquez, owner/herbalist/magician at Soothing Herbals Apothecary in Lexington, VA.

Chin began her training as an herbalist in Boulder, Colorado at the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies but it didn’t spark into Soothing Herbals until her own babies needed healthy,
safe, effective balms for all the rashes and scrapes of childhood. The balm became so popular among her friends and family, that it was the catalyst for her herbal skincare line. Previously you could only find her at the Lexington farmers market, but in 2012 she settled into the cozy second-floor space and expanded her offerings.

 

Soothing Herbals has a full line of natural, herbal skincare. One of the best selling and most useful items for the medicine cabinet
is the Heal All Salve. This blend can be used for all types of burns (sun, wind, kitchen), wounds, and scar healing. Also good for some rashes or extra dry, cracked skin. For those looking to keep their outside as youthful as their inside, she has Divine Face Cream and Restore Facial Serum. These enhance the body’s natural anti-aging abilities, increase elasticity and lift, and provide needed antioxidants to your largest organ. Trying one of Chins gentle Aromatherapy Facials is a great way to get to know her products and find out what is right for your skin.

Chin offers a few unique services including Herbal Consults (online or in person) for blends of Western herbs made either into a tea or an alcohol-extraction known as a tincture. She treats all types of complaints, specializing in insomnia, anxiety, and fatigue.  You can also make your own tea-blend from her shelves of dried herbs if you’re feeling creative!  

 

For those looking for a gentle and effective modality of healing, Chin is a Reiki practitioner. Reiki is an energy-medicine that uses your body’s own life-force to promote healing. More information on Reiki here: https://www.soothingherbals.com/pages/reiki.

 

For someone feeling the DIY spirit, there is also a Build Your Own aromatherapy bar! Make your own bath salt, scrub, lotion or oil without buying all the supplies. She provides an array of essential oils to pick from and you combine it with high-quality oils, creams, salts, etc. And Chin will be there to help if you need some guidance on which oils to use. Great as a gift for yourself or someone else.

 

 

Soothing Herbals hosts parties or events – so keep them in mind for that next birthday, anniversary, or friends-night out!

 

 

All services and products can be bought/scheduled online at Soothing Herbals Apothecary.  The Apothecary is available by appointment only. Keep your eyes peeled for some of her products popping up at Queenpin this Spring!

My Salad Manifesto

I give a lot of recommendations to patients. A LOT. I call it homework. The acupuncture and the herbs can do some pretty heavy lifting, but the other roughly 165 hours a week you aren’t getting acupunctured or taking your herbs, you need to keep things on track. Lately, I find I have been giving this same piece of homework over and over and over:

Stop. Eating. Salads.

Salads have become a convenient, fresh, ‘healthy’ meal. Salad, and its cousin Smoothie, have become the poster-children for a healthy diet. Unfortunately, for most people, salads, smoothies, and all their raw-food relatives, actually make their digestion worse. They contribute to bloating, gas, abdominal pain, poor absorption (also called ‘’leaky gut”), irregular bowel movements, fatigue, weight issues, headaches, and even reproductive issues.  Poor digestion can effect every other system in the body via inflammatory reactions and malnutrition, so the results can be far-reaching if it’s not going properly.

Raw food is really hard to digest, unless you happen to have an extra stomach or two like our bovine friends. Our GI isn’t capable of breaking down fibrous plant matter; that’s why we have traditionally cooked food, and raw food has been a very small part of most traditional diets. Cooking food starts breaking down some of the tough fiber in vegetables, making the nutrients in the food more bioavailable. “But Alex!” you’ll protest, “raw vegetables have more nutrients than cooked vegetables!” True enough. The catch is it doesn’t matter if the veggies have more enzymes or nutrients or anything else if the food remains undigested. Scientists have even tracked cooking food to the evolution of our big brains! Cooking provided more food opportunities, safer food, and more calories. 

Chinese Medicine came to this conclusion thousands of years ago, starting with the advice to cook your food and chew it well to give your digestion a head start. Digestion was described as a ‘hot pot’, and good digestion required keeping the flame on high to cook and transform your meal into something your body can use.  Asian cuisines are filled with soups, stews, steamed vegetables, stir-fries, and the like. The lettuce-based meal, the American salad is a relatively new invention, with credit going to San Francisco where the first Cesar salad was made in the early 1900s (this is hotly contested, so don’t fire that out on trivia night).

Current western research is backing up this point of view too.  There have been studies showing the correlations between temperature, pH/acidity, and digestive enzymes. Cold and raw foods cool down your digestive organs, which directly affects both the pH of your stomach and the enzymes that are responsible for breaking down your food. The warmer your body is, the more acidic your stomach juices are, which breaks the food down better. The more broken down food is at this stage, the better absorption can happen in the small intestine. Having a more acidic (lower pH) in the stomach also makes pepsin, the digestive enzyme found there, extra happy as it work best in a highly acidic environment (a pH of 2, to be exact).  Some research has also tracked that the optimal temperature for an array of digestive enzymes is 30degrees Celsius (roughly 99degrees Fahrenheit). No accident that the average body temperature is 98degrees Fahrenheit. So all that ice water, raw veggies, cold food, and SALAD is inhibiting all the major players in your digestive breakdown. Ouch. That’s why it makes your tummy hurt.

To get you started with your warm-food-happy-belly plan, try these steps:

  • No ice in your drinks: hot tea or room-temperature drinks are a great choice
  • Skip the raw vegetables: for a quick, portable, healthy meal, make a vegetable-based soup with chicken stock and serve over rice or with bread to dunk
  • Limit the raw fruit: one portion a day is perfect
  • Space out the salads: enjoy them only once or twice a week (seasonally), and pair them with a hot tea and/or make them a small part of a bigger meal

And I have plenty of yummy soup recipes to share if you need inspiration!

         -Alex 

Sources:

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/10/24/163536159/when-fire-met-meat-the-brains-of-early-humans-grew-bigger

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/add_aqa/proteins/proteinsrev3.shtml

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23236747

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