Response to the Pandemic – Now Offering Telemedicine

My Dear Community, these times are trying, and I want you to know I’m here to support you!

 

Remaining Open for In-Person Visits

After much study, meditation, and thinking, I have decided to remain open to serve the community’s ongoing health needs, both mental and physical – as I consider myself first and foremost a Mind-Body Healthcare Provider.  I have the tools needed to reduce the effects of this respiratory illness and for the stress that it is heightened.

 

Repeating CDC Guidelines for your safety and community safety

Anyone with a fever above 99.0, a cough, shortness of breath, and/or intense body pains, please STAY HOME IN BED or ON THE COUCH and call or text me 630-335-1069.  I am trained in herbal medicine to treat these symptoms, and I can do so via video conferencing.

I also am NOT open for those who may have been exposed to the virus, and please follow CDC guidelines if you are immune compromised or over age 65.

 

Precautions

I am following all CDC recommendations for making my clinic safe – sanitizing all touch surfaces including my phone and laptop before and after each patient visit, and changing all bedding each patient visit and copious hand washing.  I am also limiting all contact outside of clinic, staying home and limiting visits to stores.  *Taking Social Distancing Seriously*

 

The Future is Here – Now Offering Telemedicine

I am offering consultations via a secure video conferencing platform that is easy to use and will allow us to talk to each other without meeting in person! This is available to anyone and I especially encourage you to schedule an online consultation with me to address high anxiety, panic, respiratory issues, or to address immunity boosting.  Herbal prescriptions and supplements can be mailed to you or arranged for pickup from Estuary Center.

Here is a link to schedule a virtual consultation at the introductory fee of $75 for 30 minutes for existing patients, and here’s the link for a new patient consultation for 60 minutes.

 

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Pandemic Self Care 101

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Investing in Vitality – My Health Journey

I’m about to get real. vulnerable. with you…

10 years ago I was rather a wreck.  I had a toddler-preschooler and a baby and zero energy.  And rage.  I did my best.  We all do right? We’re all always doing our best, but when your best is yelling at your kids and constipation and bloating and inability to gain weight and fatigue so bad that sometimes you can’t get through the day vertically – then it’s time to take a look at what is going on.

 

At first I tackled the low energy.  I invested in a personal trainer because the idea of exercising enough to cause a bit of huff and puff on my own was like thinking of climbing a mountain.  So that’s where I started.  Twice a week, I met with a young encouraging woman who slowly but surely got me moving again.

 

Then, I continually worked on digestion.  Having come from being told I had an incurable disease that would require a variety of medications to control for the rest of my life, as a teen, to having just manageable constipation and some bloating – it was all in perspective and not as daunting.  I’d been cured of Crohn’s for over 10 years, but still very sensitive to food which is good because the things that set me off the worse were foods no one needs.  Cakes, cookies, pizza, etc.  I had been used to a gluten-free dairy-free diet so it was no longer an inconvenience, just a way of life.

 

It wasn’t until my youngest was about 5 that I realized the rage and anger and fatigue I’d experienced after my second son was actually a form of post-partum depression.  It had never dawned on me because I was not the prototypical depressed mom.  I was sad when I realized this.  I had been struggling on my own.  I didn’t know – I was the one who helped others with their hormonal health and yet I was not attuned enough to myself to seek help.  Thankfully, I had started working on decreasing my reactivity and improving my self care overall, so every year after my son was born things improved.  I became more of the mother I wanted to be.

 

It’s the dilemma of the cobbler’s kids have no shoes – the healer isn’t looking after herself as much as she looks after her patients and family.  At my low point, about 5 years ago, I was a scrawny 82 lbs.  I ate a lot but could not gain an ounce.  I was diagnosed with primary hypothyroidism for which the medication (levothyroxine) did not work for me.   Meanwhile, my marriage was at its unhealthiest, and I knew something had to change.  I was ready.

 

About the same time I decided to get divorced, I had also been receiving herbal therapy and acupuncture treatments, and I did homeopathy to address Lyme Disease (yup that too).   Suddenly it seemed, my health blossomed.  I was able to gain weight, and my energy improved even more.  And I am so happy to say that I’ve been at my healthiest the past 3 years.  I have continued to work out regularly, I have gained muscle and a bit of padding, and my energy is better than ever.  I started a daily meditation practice, and I continued with Chinese herbs.  This past year I got the news that my thyroid numbers were normal- no more hypothyroidism! My digestion was better than ever! – until again, it wasn’t, and I realized the missing piece – I wasn’t doing acupuncture regularly.  I had been getting treatments from colleagues but they moved away, and so fell off that wagon because it is just not as wonderful to treat myself as it was to be treated.  So now I’m committed to treating myself regularly because it does still work, and seeing my patients improve with their digestive symptoms really is the best motivation to give myself the same benefits!

 

I hope that hearing my very personal story of my own health journey has been helpful for you.  We all have our Stuff!  I’m all about the real stuff.  In the treatment room, I want to hear about your struggles, and I want to do whatever I can to help you be your strongest.  It doesn’t matter how old you are – I am feeling vibrant and energetic and strong in my 40’s – stronger even than for much of my teens and 20’s and 30’s.

 

Let’s talk about your goals and dreams – I want to help you get there!  A free consultation is a phone call away 630-335-1069.

 

Healing You, Healing Me

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How to approach and navigate Menopause naturally

Menopause.

 

What comes to mind when you see this word? It has a lot of connotation doesn’t it?  I think for many women, it conjures up horror stories from their moms and aunts about hot flashes and insomnia.  But I want to turn the tables and make this time of life less dreadful and more embraceable!

 

What really is menopause? What does it mean biologically?

 

According to Chinese Medicine, changes occur every seven years, with menstruation beginning at an average of 2×7 years, and at 7×7 years is the average time when the menstrual cycle ceases and our fertility ends.  In medical terms, menopause is the result of a natural decline of our two main sex hormones, progesterone and estrogen.

Of course this is general, and we now know that changes to our hormones can begin years before we’re officially in menopause, which is counted from 1 year after the last period.  This leading up time is called perimenopause.  Usually in our mid to late forties, the menstrual cycle can change.  For many women, this time is not smooth sailing.

 

What are symptoms of Perimenopause?

During this time in the few years leading up to menopause, women may experience any of the following:

  • The menstrual cycle gets shorter, longer, lighter, or heavier, and you can no longer set your clock by them if you could before.
  • Sleep patterns are disrupted, sometimes characterized by waking up too early in the morning with difficulty falling back to sleep.
  • Decreased libido
  • Unexplained weight gain especially around your middle.
  • Overall feeling warmer, often with flushes of heat, which are random and intense
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Mood changes such as increased anxiousness or irritability

 

These symptoms can arise because our reproductive hormones progesterone and estrogen impact so many functions.  Especially estrogen, as it is a major hormone in the body.

 

“What can I do about it? I don’t want all that awful stuff to happen to me!”

Yes, do something about it, exactly! You can do many things on your own to improve the transition into the wisdom years as I like to think of it.

This is when lifestyle, dietary, and therapeutic interventions or changes can really make a difference.  And starting years before menopause is your best bet.  If you are already experiencing symptoms or cycle changes, don’t worry because acupuncture and herbal medicine work great for most of these issues.

 

Positive Results I’ve seen with acupuncture and or herbal therapy for my patients includes:

Better energy

Better sleep

Better vaginal lubrication

Better mood

Reduction and elimination of hot flashes and night sweats

Improved libido

More comfortable menstrual cycles – less heavy bleeding and less pain.

 

How do acupuncture and herbs help menopausal symptoms?

 

Chinese Medicine works by balancing the hormones, which it does by helping regulate the flow of blood and nerve conduction throughout the body.  Chinese Medicine is based on the principle of Qi, which is energy that flows in invisible channels throughout the body.  Hormonal imbalances occur when there are blockages in these pathways, which disrupts our bodies’ normal processes.

What Else can I do to help balance my hormones?

  1.  Reduce Toxic Burden   — All the toxins in our homes, food, the air around us most definitely messes with our hormonal balance.  There is plenty of research.  What can you do? Reducing your contact with plastics is a biggie.  Stop buying disposable water bottles if you can help it.  Even the plastic lids on disposable coffee cups can leach chemicals.  Switching to non-toxic containers such as glass or silicone is worth it.  What are you putting on your skin?  Lotions, sunblocks and makeup seep into our blood stream, so know what is in your products.  This article gives the top ten to avoid.
  2. Reduce Alcohol Intake — the number one substance people ingest that will have a negative impact on their hormones is alcohol.  Of course a small amount is ok for most women, but some people are more sensitive.  It is a good idea to pay attention to how you feel after consuming alcohol.
  3. Stress Reduction!! — By all means available to you! Stress taxes the adrenal glands, and the adrenal glands are key for producing post-menopausal estrogen.  There are several ways to check your stress response.  Of course #1 is getting enough sleep.  If you already are experiencing sleep issues then it definitely needs to be addressed.  This can include no screens at least 1 hour before bed, and I really like this product for deepening sleep.  It is natural and gentle, and does not require a prescription.   Acupuncture is one of the most effective and deepest working ways we can improve our sleep.  It works at an energetic and holistic level to restore our body’s natural cortisol levels.
  4.  Just Eat Real Food (JERF)  — This means don’t eat packaged foods with ingredients you can’t buy in a grocery store.  It also means focusing on whole foods – fruits, vegetables, some whole grains if tolerated, organic grass-fed meats and dairy if tolerated.  The quality of the life of the animals and animal products you consume directly impacts your own health.  If an animal was confined, fed GMO corn and soy and fillers, and was over-treated with antibiotics, then this is what you are putting into your body.  We should be conscious of the source of our food.
  5. Protect your Sleep – Our hormones get even more out of whack if we are sleep deprived, because the adrenals have to produce more cortisol the more we’re awake and the circadian rhythm is disturbed.  This means less sex hormones can be produced, thus worsening symptoms.

 

The mid-forties to early fifties is a time of change and transition for women.  But it does not have to be dreaded.  Let’s celebrate all we’ve accomplished in the first half of our lives, and give ourselves the best beginning of the latter half.  Please call/text me at 630-335-1069 to learn more, or to schedule an appointment to get your balance back!

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Endometriosis Signs and Symptoms and Treatment Options

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month!

Endometriosis is a disease that affects around 11% of women worldwide.  But the kicker is it can often take years for women to receive the diagnosis.

 

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is when the cells that normally line the uterus are found outside the uterus.  When during a woman’s menstrual cycle those cells are shed from the uterus and menstruation begins, these other misplanted cells are also signaled to bleed, and that causes inflammation wherever they are.  These cells can be anywhere in the pelvic cavity and can also adhere to the intestines and even travel up to the chest cavity in more severe cases.  So endometriosis can cause all kinds of pain.

 

How Do You Know if you have endometriosis or just bad periods?

Here are the main signs of endometriosis:

  • Pelvic Pain
  • Severe stabbing pain especially before or during menstruation.
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Post-coital nausea
  • Getting very sick with the menstrual cycle such as fever and chills, vomiting, etc.
  • Pain with urination or bowel movements
  • Pain in legs and buttocks

Getting Diagnosed

The only way to definitively diagnose the disease is via laproscopy, which is sneaking a camera in the abdominal and pelvic cavities to look for the implanted endometrial cells. Many women find out they have endometriosis when they have difficulty conceiving.  This is because the continued bleeding of the misplanted cells can cause scar tissue and adhesions to build up, and often on the ovaries and/or fallopian tubes. This blocks the pathway for both egg and sperm.

Conventional treatment Options

There are two main ways medical doctors will treat endometriosis.  One is with surgery to either cut out the adhesions or to remove tissues or organs affected. The other is the use of hormonal birth control containing synthetic progesterone called progestin.  This counters the effect of estrogen which is the hormone that causes the endometrium to grow.

There are some negative possible outcomes with either drugs or surgery.   Hormonal birth control often creates side effects and risks such as blood clots, weight gain, or mood changes.  Likewise, serious problems with surgery include the adhesions growing back or scar tissue building up.  Often doctors recommend a hysterectomy, and understandably a woman may oppose this level of invasiveness.  Even with removal of the uterus and other tissues, endometriosis can still grow back in other tissues and areas.

Chinese Medicine Therapy for Endometriosis

Some women prefer to seek other options to hormonal drugs and surgery.  Acupuncture and herbal medicine have been used for many centuries to relieve menstrual pain, abdominal pain, and to improve hormonal imbalances.

What to Expect if going the natural route

Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine work to uncover the root causes of why a woman is having pain, heavy bleeding, etc, all the symptoms she experiences as part of her endometriosis diagnosis.  We as practitioners will examine the pulses, abdomen, and tongue, as well as ask many questions about the quality of the pain, blood, bowel movements, etc, to get a whole picture of what is not working right.

The Diagnosis and Treatment in Chinese Medicine

According to Chinese Medicine, most women with endometriosis have a form of what is called Blood Stasis, or Blood Stagnation.  In our medicine, refers to a poor quality of blood that is too thick or not fluid enough, and blood that is not free flowing througout the body and especially that gets obstructed in the uterus.  While these terms do not mean that there is something wrong with your blood according to conventional medicine, it refers to the way Chinese Medicine views the Blood as a grouping of functions in the body.  Once the Chinese Medical Diagnosis is determined, we can then ascertain which treatment approach to take.  For instance, if we determine the blood is stagnant, we may use herbs that invigorate the blood and points that promote circulation.

A treatment plan can be anywhere from 3 months to 9 months depending on the severity of the case.  Many women experience significant reduction of pain and bleeding and improved cycles with acupuncture and herbs, and often have noticeable improvements within the first few treatments.

finding hope for endometriosis

Here at Energy Flow Health, we support a woman’s decision, as we honor that a woman knows her body best.  It is helpful to explore the options, and if something isn’t feeling right then you always have the right to try something else.  There is hope, and if you would like to discuss working with Amy, please call 630-335-1069 for a complimentary consultation.

 

 

 

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