When I wake up congested, I’ll irrigate my nose with a neti pot and instantly breath more freely. In winter, and during allergy season, I use it daily as natural remedy to prevent and treat nasal congestion, post-nasal drip, allergies, sore throat, and upper respiratory congestion or colds. At the bottom of this post you will find an instructional video which teaches how to use a neti pot. For many years, I’ve recommended the same to my patients. They all so appreciative that I’ve taught them how to use a neti pot because they experience reduction or elimination of sinus pain, sinus headaches, allergy symptoms, the common cold and such.
Nasal irrigation with a neti pot takes five minutes and it’s super easy to use. If you don’t believe me, check out the demonstration video below. You won’t have to spend $30.00 on an expensive ceramic neti pot at a fancy health food store, because most drug stores carry a simple and effective plastic version costing about half the price. NeilMed brand is the neti pot that my family uses at home, along with the pre-mixed saline packets.
Not only can you save money on the neti pot it’s self, you can save tons of dough in over-the-counter and prescription medications when you prevent and treat naturally with a neti pot. On the occasion that your symptoms progress, be sure to visit you health care provider. When my patients symptoms progress they usually call me for an acupuncture appointment and/or for some herbs.
I know that some of you are concerned about neti pot safety. Fill your neti pot with filtered, pre-boiled water that you’ve cooled to room temperature. Doing so will reduce the chance of bacteria entering your nose via the water. Some of my patients make this cleaner water in large batches and store it in a clean glass container so that they don’t have to clean the water daily.
Aside from coming into my office for daily acupuncture treatments for labor induction, I also suggest the following techniques to stimulate labor. Be sure to use them several times daily, for several days in a row. Good luck!
3. At night before bed poke a small hole on one EPO capsule and insert it vaginally. The EPO suppository helps soften and ripen the cervix.
4. Walk, walk, walk.
5. Several times daily, sit on birthing ball and relax pelvic floor muscles as if doing an opposite Kegal- like water flowing down out of the vagina. Or do this in squatting position for about one minute several times per day.
6. Have sex. The semen and orgasm help you to go into labor. If you’re not feeling into penetrative sex, the next best thing is orgasm because it stimulates contractions of the uterus. Oral sex or your favorite vibe toy for clitoral stimulation can help that along. Have fun!
7. Daily Creative Visualization. See yourself in labor, your partner assisting, you birthing vaginally, you holding and breastfeeding your baby, and your partner holding the baby.
8. Use the acupressure points on this website several times daily. These acupressure points are very important to stimulate several times per day. The author of the site is a midwife and acupuncturist, Debra Betts who has provided illustrations and videos of the points to use. PDF booklets and You-Tube videos to teach you how to locate the points. I suggest that you use the points she suggests for labor induction as well as the sacral points she lists under Pain Relief on Labor- because pressure on the sacrum releases oxytocin, which is a hormone that stimulates labor.
9. Watch videos of women breastfeeding their babies. Watching will stimulate release of your oxytocin (which also flows after you have the baby- it assists in momma baby bonding/love), and you will learn a trick or two. I absolutely love the videos on You-Tube by BreastFeedingBabies Channel but you find tons of others, too.
The calligraphy above depicts the Three Treasures: Jing, Qi, Shen. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the preservation, protection and nourishment of the Three Treasures form the foundation of optimum health and spiritual well being.
Jing means Essence
Qi basically translates as Vital Energy
Shen means Spirit
Jing – Essence
Jing is the source of life, health and longevity. We all are born with Jing Essence, which is stored in the Kidneys and which fuels all other energies. As we age, we naturally deplete our Jing essence; but chronic stress, illness and imbalance will exhaust our Jing faster than we can replenish it through foods and herbs. We must nourish Jing daily with acquired nutritive energy derived from healthy foods, water, meditation, exercise and Chinese herbs. To preserve and protect our Jing from depletion, we must avoid drug and alcohol abuse, bulimia or anorexia, excessive exercise and excessive sexual activities. The latter is especially important for men. Most healthy women don’t have to worry so much about losing essence through sexual activity. For all women it is more important to preserve blood. Chinese medicine tells us that Blood and Jing Essence share the same source. Blood preservation is especially important for a woman because when she loses blood, she loses Jing. The wisdom of a woman’s body initiates menopause as a way to preserve blood and essence for a longer healthier life. Women who experience very heavy menstrual periods or whose periods are absent may experience an Essence vacuity and require acupuncture and herbal treatment to regain healthy balance.
Qi – Vital Energy
In English, Qi roughly translates as vital energy, but its full meaning is as vast as the universe. The calligraphy of the Chinese word Qi depicts rice steaming, meaning that Qi is invisible like steam but also as substantial as rice. This energy is not an ethereal philosophical concept; Qi is palpable, movable, dynamic, storable, fluid and sustentative. It makes and defines everything about us, in us and around us. We are all made of Qi. Plants, herbs, insects and animals are made of Qi. The air we breathe is Qi. The energy we get from exercise is Qi. Acute or chronic illness, poor eating habits, sedentary lifestyles and excessive exercise or sleep will deplete Qi. Breathing exercises and healthy eating habits replenish Qi. Kung Fu practices such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong and other healing exercises that generate, move and store Qi. To nourish our Qi we must live a balanced lifestyle, eat well, breath, exercise and preserve our energy by avoiding types of situations and people that drain our energy.
Shen – Spirit
Chinese medicine views the Spirit as an integral part of our life and our physical wellbeing. Therefore Qi, Jing and Spirit cultivation is essential for health maintenance. The definition of spirituality is uniquely individual because different spiritual practices work for different people. Though the process of Spirit cultivation is dynamic and ever changing, most spiritual practices call for mindful living, intentionally based on right thinking and right action. In addition, certain herbs and tonics can help enhance and develop Shen energy. Buddhist teacher and writer Llama Surya Das imparts these words of wisdom, “Living spirituality and its religions are not monuments or mausoleums, but ARE more akin to rivers, which need and want to keep flowing and inexhaustibly replenishing themselves, outflowing anew while returning to the source, endlessly recycling and revitalizing themselves. Not static but ecstatic — a living river of Dharma, of truth and love, of genuine spirit.” When we nourish our Spirit, we cultivate truth, authenticity and compassion for ourselves and others in our daily lives, the result of which is energetic balance and mental clarity.
Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist, Author, Creator of HealthyStuffU.com Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs 32 Union Square EAST, Suite 615N New York, NY 10003 (646) 504.2251
Remember how your parents always bugged you about wearing a hat and sweater in cooler weather? They knew that the possibility of a Wind-Cold invasion could lead to the flu, runny or stuffy noses, body aches and fevers.
We often combat Wind invasions by wearing our hat and sweaters but what happens if that doesn’t work? What if you catch a cold and it progressively worsens?
Chinese Dietary Therapy
Food can help prevent and treat most wind invasions. Wind is considered a pathogenic source which enters at the level of the head and face and if not expelled quickly may move deeper into the throat and chest. There are two types of wind pathogens, Wind-Cold and Wind-Heat. Most colds start off as a Wind-Cold invasion and may progress into wind-heat. We want to protect and nourish the Wei Qi or Defensive qi of the body through diet, herbs and exercise. Our bodies are made of Yin and Yang energies. When these energies are balanced we are healthy. Exterior pathogens can create an imbalance of our qi. The nature of food is also yin or yang. Therefore we can use food medicinally to balance our qi. First let’s examine the signs & symptoms of two common exterior conditions and then we will explore dietary prevention and treatment options.
Compare the following two lists of symptoms. You should have most of the symptoms in one category before applying a dietary change. If you have conflicting symptoms, ask your acupuncturist for clarification. Don’t forget that acupuncture is effective to kick a cold or flu!
Wind-Cold Symptoms: Headache, runny nose with clear discharge, neck and shoulder aches, aversion to cold, a white tongue coating.
Special Dietary Consideration: If you are suffering from a Wind-Cold Invasion it is best to stick with foods whose qi qualities are warming, neutral and hot foods.
Sore throat, headache, cough, fever or elevated body temperature, body aches, little or no sweat, runny or stuffy nose with yellow discharge, a red tongue body w/ yellow coating. If the heat is very deep it may cause nausea or vomiting, depressed appetite, abdominal distention, chills and fever, heavy sweating, irritability, strong thirst.
Special Dietary Consideration: If you are suffering from a Wind-Heat Invasion it is best to stick with foods whose qi quality is neutral and cooling (try to avoid too many cold foods because they can damage your qi).
Basic Dietary Considerations for Wind-Cold and Wind-Heat Invasions:
While ill, it is best to eat light, easy to digest foods like soups, veggies, rice and rice noodles. Avoid eating lots of cold foods like salads, cold sandwiches, chilled drinks, ice pops, and soy ice cream. Also avoid foods that may cause Dampness in the body. Dampness is heavy in nature, obstructs Defensive qi and contributes to phlegm production. Therefore, stay away from foods that are damp in nature such as dairy products, fried foods, greasy foods, foods high in fat and alcohol. (Stir fry is usually OK as long you cook with a small amount of oil). Raw foods also contribute to cold and dampness. Salads, fruits and fruit juices should be taken in moderation or are to be completely avoided. Be aware that most chickens and meat contain antibiotics. It is best to eat organic chickens and meats because they are not fed antibiotics. The more antibiotics we consume the faster our body becomes immune to them. Antibiotics are also seen as a cause of dampness and cold in the body and when overused can cause qi imbalances which may manifest as fatigue, a susceptibility to more bacterial infections, yeast infections and more.
Prevention and Treatment of Wind-Cold Invasion:
Generally, I recommended foods to promote perspiration which forces out the wind toxin such as: ginger, scallion, chilies, coriander, cabbage. Avoid vinegar because it contracts the pores.
Teas – In prevention and treatment of a simple Wind-Cold headache try Green tea mixed with Peppermint tea. Fresh Ginger tea with a bit of brown sugar is good when you have the other symptoms as well.
Breakfast Food Example – Hot oats with local, raw honey (or pure maple syrup) and powdered cinnamon. Oats are warm and easy to digest, honey is sweet, nourishes body fluids and cinnamon is warm, pungent and unblocks channels for the upper body aches.
Soups – Miso Soup with Scallions – The fermented miso (soy paste) is sweet, salty and neutral. It strengthens the Stomach qi and detoxifies which will help dispel wind-cold and the scallions are warming and pungent which promotes sweating to relieve the exterior wind-cold invasion.Simply bring 2-3 cups of filtered or spring water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of miso paste, let dissolve. Cook for 10 minutes on low flame. Taste. If the flavor is too strong, add some water, vegetable or chicken broth. Chop the scallions and sprinkle about a teaspoon on top of your miso soup in the bowl. Avoid adding seaweed to this recipe, it is cold in nature.
3 Leeks thinly slice
2-3 Tablespoons Olive oil
6-8 cups filtered or spring water
1 whole organic, antibiotic free chicken or chicken parts
2 cups rice or rice noodles
Veggies for Wind-Cold or Heat as listed below
½-1 teaspoon per serving of freshly grated ginger
3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
Take 3 thin leeks, wash. Thinly slice the whites. Add 2-3 tablespoons of Olive oil to the bottom of a stock pot and turn flame on medium. When oil is warm, stir in leeks until they are lightly covered with oil. Lower flame and cover the pot to let leeks “sweat” for 10 minutes, occasionally stirring. Add in the garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add 6-8 cups of water to the leeks. Add one washed organic chicken or 1 pound of organic chicken parts with bones. Place in stock pot. Cover with water. Boil for one hour. Cook 2 cups of unpolished white rice (20 minutes) or jasmine rice (10 minutes). Prepare freshly grated ginger, about 1 tablespoon. Turn down heat to let the water and fat settle. Scoop out or strain fat. Remove chicken from stock. You may prepare and add any of these warming veggies: squash, green bean, sweet potato, kale. Add veggies to a simmering stock for 10-15 minutes (or longer if using sweet potatoes). While the veggies are cooking, chop the chicken into spoon size pieces and add to the stock. After all the chicken is back in the stockpot, turn off the flame. Place rice and a ½ -1 teaspoon of grated ginger and desired amount of rice into a bowl and ladle soup over it. You can add a cinnamon stick or a touch of grated cinnamon to each bowl as well. To induce more sweating or clear the sinuses you can add some hot chili sauce to your soup. This soup does take time to make. You may want to make those soup and freeze a few containers of it so that when you are ill and fatigued you can simply warm it up and eat it.
Garlic, cinnamon, ginger and raw, local honey all have antibiotic and anti-viral effects.
Prevention and Treatment of Wind-Heat: Generally avoid pungent tasting foods and foods that have a very warm or hot nature such as scallions, chilies, wine and keep your intake light. Ginger can also be used in this case but avoid dried ginger because it is too hot and may aggravate this condition. It is great to help stop cough and nausea but do not overuse because it is warming. If you have a Wind-Heat Invasion you should also see your practitioner of Oriental Medicine for herbs and other treatments.
Teas – Peppermint and/or Chrysanthemum tea with local, raw honey. These herbs dispel heat and the honey nourishes Yin body fluids that may become damaged by heat. Peppermint is also used for sinus congestion.
Breakfast Food Example – Warm tea and Amaranth flakes cereal with unsweetened almond milk. You may add almonds, walnuts and or honey to help stop coughing.
Soup – We are going to use the same basic chicken soup recipe as above except you will not use cinnamon or chiles, or those vegetables. Instead you can use cooling veggies: bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, corn, mushroom, spinach, swiss chard, turnip, zucchini, bamboo shoots, button mushroom, carrot, dandelion greens, potato.
We eat food at least three times per day, so think of it as taking a dose of medicine, or poison each time you sit to eat.
Which dose will you choose?
List of Foods to Eat for Optimal Fertility
Cooked foods and room temperature beverages. The reason Chinese medicine does not advise eating most raw foods and juices is because they are classified as cold and damp. It is said in Chinese Medicine that “The Spleen hates cold, the Spleen hates dampness.” Cold and damp foods harm the Spleen qi. The Spleen is viewed as the vital organ for the digestion and assimilation of food. It’s job is to transform and transport food. It transforms the food into qi and transports the qi to other organs. When the other organs receive qi, they can properly perform their functions in preserving physiological balance and harmony. When organ systems do not receive enough qi it causes disharmony which can lead to disease.
Dark, leafy greens (cooked, steamed, sauteed, boiled, but not raw).
Nuts and seeds including quinoa
Grass fed beef, organic poultry
Organic, whole milk products. If you are eating dairy I suggest that you it eat in moderation only a few times per week, and that you chose whole milk products (not greek yogurt, fat free or reduced fat).
Black beans (not from a can unless it is BPA free)
All varieties of squash
Eat organic meat, poultry and vegetables as often as possible to avoid consuming pesticides and antibiotics. Check out the EWGs list of the most and least pesticide ridden produce HERE.
Beef Bone Broth. There is a stove top, slow cook recipe HERE, and a pressure cooker recipe HERE. I recommend the InstantPot Counter Top Pressure Cooker. P.S. I also make my black beans in my InstantPot pressure cooker in 30 minutes without even soaking them overnight!
List of Foods to Avoid
Of course you can have some of the foods on the avoid list every so often, like once per week. This way you won’t wind up feeling deprived of some yummy cake or fried chicken wings.
I recommend that you carve out one special day to eat whatever you’d like and focus on healthy, whole nutrient dense foods for the rest of the week.
If it is your birthday, or another major holiday, eat the celebration food with mindful awareness and enjoyment rather than feeling like it is an indulgent guilt. After all, I hope to help you bring joy on your path toward pregnancy.
Processed, prepackaged foods like most frozen meals, meals from a box such a mac-n-cheese.
White flour. Anything made with white flour, even if it is gluten free is to be avoided. This type of flour is overly processed and usually leads to a huge sugar load in the body. Too much sugar leads to inflammation and fatigue, neither of which is helpful for fertility.
Sweeteners. If you are going to use some sugar in your coffee, try to use no more than two teaspoons or raw sugar per cup. Avoid white sugar, brown sugar (unless it is raw otherwise brown sugar is just white sugar colored brown with molasses), agave syrup, brown rice, syrup, Splenda, Equal, HCFA, corn syrup and there are plenty more to list but if we did we’d be writing a chapter book.
Avoid artificial flavors and colorings.
Avoid foods and beverages cooked in or stored in plastic. That includes water! BPA and other hormone disrupting chemicals can easily leach into the food you eat.
Avoid raw and cold foods and beverages. The reason Chinese medicine does not advise eating raw foods and juices and dairy products is because they are classified as cold and damp. It is said in Chinese Medicine that “The Spleen hates cold, the Spleen hates dampness.” Cold and damp foods harm the Spleen qi. The Spleen is viewed as the vital organ for the digestion and assimilation of food. It’s job is to transform and transport food. It transforms the food into qi and transports the qi to other organs. When the other organs receive qi, they can properly perform their functions in preserving physiological balance and harmony. When organ systems do not receive enough qi it causes disharmony which can lead to disease.
Bonus Tip: Don’t skip breakfast. Many of patients skip breakfast and wait until late in the day to eat lunch or even miss it, blaming a busy day at work. Then when they finally eat they gorge on whatever is fastest.
But what happens physiologically when we regularly deprive our bodies of food then finally binge? Our system is overwhelmed by the food and we feel fatigued. Also, our body goes into a state of emergency and thinks that it has to store the calories we ate for future use.
So it stores these calories as fat, an efficient fuel because it is hard to burn. When we eat breakfast, we balance the blood sugar in our body and start the day with energy it needs in order to go to work and make the qi/energy, blood and body fluids we need to achieve a healthy pregnancy.
Do You Need Supplements?
YES! While trying to conceive it is very important that you, at least, take prenatal vitamin.
You can purchase high quality vitamins and supplements for 15% off using my ordering system called wellvate.
Just sign up for my newsletter and order for 15% every purchase, every time!
If you are not sure what to take check out the my offer for a consultation below.
Mention Get Pregnant Now Fertility Week Tele-Summit To Save $40 on An In Person Consultation or Skype Consultation with Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist.
This offer expires on April 15th 2015.
BONUS: When you consult with Juliette you will receive FREE access to her online class The Healthy How-To Of Eating for Two (worth $200).
Lemon, Ginger, and Garlic Tea is Antibiotic and Antiviral.
Making this tea is as easy and 1-2-3! It helps to clear headaches, sinus and chest congestion and kill bacteria and viruses.
The moment you start to feel sick, go to the store and get a fresh organic lemon, a piece of fresh ginger and some garlic. These ingredients are staples in my home during coldand flu season.
1. Boil 2-3 cups of water or your favorite broth with juice from 1/2 the lemon, then bring the liquid down to a simmer for 10 minutes.
2. While it simmers, peel about 3-5 garlic cloves and an inch of ginger. Finely mince them and place into a mug (or you can grate the ginger).
3. Pour the simmered liquid into the mug. When it is cool enough drink it all including all the chopped garlic and ginger. It will help to clear headaches, sinus and chest congestion and kill bacteria and viruses. Drink it several times per day when you feel unwell.
Spike It With These Antivirals!
Add a stick of cinnamon. Leave it into the mug for 2-3 minutes, remove it, then drink.
A growing number of new parents are telling their friends and families that acupuncture helped them conceive – after seemingly nothing else worked. Acupuncturists who specialize in reproductive medicine, providing acupuncture within a Western medical setting as an adjuvant to in-vitro fertilization, report success rates of 70% and higher among patients in their own clinics. This is greater than the success rate of IVF alone. To read some of Juliette’s successes with helping mothers conceive, scroll to the bottom of this article.
On our first meeting, Juliette was extremely welcoming. She explained how many sessions of acupuncture were needed and also suggested some minor dietary adjustments. After the first session and after following Juliette’s dietary advice, I quickly noticed a vast improvement in my migraines. Over the course of my acupuncture sessions, we began reducing the amount of migraine medication that I was taking, until I was finally completely off of it.And still I have not had a migraine. Juliette was both kind and professional at every session. Even though I have finished my acupuncture sessions, Juliette still takes the time to check in every now and then to ensure that my migraines have not returned.
It has truly been a blessing and a relief to be migraine free for these past 7 months. I highly recommend anyone who suffers from migraines to make an appointment with Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist.”
Ready to ride into the sunset this year? Hold on to your hats my friends. This year is all yang/expansive uplifting energy. Time to rise up from the grass where last year’s snake was lying low. And time to shed that snake skin to birth into a new you.
The Year of the Horse brings with it an energy that we can ride. But it is up to you to charge forth with it. If you do, you may reach goals that you were incubating last year, or at least push through major stagnation that you dealt with in the past few years.
Wood energy clarifies our goals and vision for the future, and provides the energy to manifest our vision. It is an amazing year for planning and decision making.
Because the wood energy is related to the Liver and Gallbladder qi/energy we have to watch out for flaring tempers, and arguments. Hopefully we can tame this within ourselves and be mindful of our reaction when we communicate with others who are feeling that way, such as family, partners and work or business associates (or for us New Yorkers- fellow subway riders LOL).
This year is all about staying clear and clean and focused and flowing. So, if you start to feel a Liver/Gallbladder imbalance it is best to avoid spicy foods, alcohol and anything that is difficult to digest and eliminate. Eat foods which are sour or bitter instead.
Condiments & Teas: basil, bay leaf, cilantro, dill, fennel seed, ginger, sencha green tea, lemon balm tea, chrysanthemum tea, peppermint tea, aloe vera
Acupuncture, acupressure and Chinese herbs are all very helpful for keeping us balanced and in the flow.
Acupoints to try are:
Liver 3 for grounding and balance and to gently move stuck qi
Liver 2 GB 43 to reduce heat and anger
GB 34 to sooth and relax the tendons in your body when you feel tense
GB 21 to send down excess energy that rises up to you head causing headaches, red eyes, or anger. DO NOT USE GB21 DURING PREGNANCY.
You can search some you-tube videos to learn how to locate these points on your body
Other ways to work with Wood energy are walking, exercising, and meditation.
This is a year for your personal history books.
Grab on to the Wood Horse energy and enjoy the ride!
Wishing you Peace, Health and Prosperity,
Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac. Born in Year of the Metal Pig
Europe has banned GMO foods and seeds and crops. Food safety advocates in the United States have been pushing for mandatory labeling of Genetically Modified Foods, but big corporations put million of dollars into a campaign to avoid labeling their products containing GMOs. You might find some of those corporations products in your home; Ben & Jerry’s, Cascadian Farms, Alexia, and more.
You can help! Help yourself by downloading the best new iPhone App to help you avoid GMO foods when you shop.