What do you do if your digestion just feels “off?” Maybe you’ve had too much cold water or you went a little frozen-yogurt happy at the new self-serve joint. Or maybe you have a sniffle and cough that won’t go away or you’ve been a little too friendly with the latrine of late. Think about ginger. Ginger, known in Chinese medicine as Sheng Jiang, is something that everyone should have in his or her pantry or fridge. And nowadays, with the tubes of already crushed, fresh ginger, there is no reason not to! Ginger increases your immunity, helps reduce colds and the flu, relieves abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, and can put a stop to nasal congestion and post-nasal drip-induced coughing. So, throw a little crushed ginger in hot water to make a tea or try my favorite recipe to prevent the common cold:

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Have you ever woken up with a stiff neck or a “crick in your neck?” All you can think of is, “I must have slept wrong!” Well, even though this type of pain is usually short-lived, there is something that you can do to loosen those neck muscles. Luo Zhen to the rescue! This wonderful point literally means “Stiff Neck,” and it does exactly as it says. It helps to loosen up the muscles in the neck, like the scalenes, the upper trapezius, and the sternocleidomastoid, and helps dull the pain. This point is found on the top of the hand, between the index and middle fingers. Find it by starting at the web of your fingers and pop just over the hump of the knuckles. Look for a “tender” spot, or an area that feels like it is bruised. Unlike most acupuncture points for pain, I find this point to be most effective when used on the same side of the neck pain. I like to press deeply in little, tiny circles and think, “I am sending my energy to the deepest bone-level.” I know, it sounds kind of weird, but I want the point to work and it won’t work if you are just thinking and pressing superficially.

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Headaches and Migraines: I have been a long-time sufferer of both and I am up to “here” (pointing to my head) with them! So, what do you do if you have a headache coming on or feel the aura of a migraine? Think: Acupressure!

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Gou Qi Zi (go chee zuh), also known as the Wolf Berry, Lycium berry, or Goji berry, this fruit has been gaining world-wide attention for its antioxidant properties. However, it has been used for thousands of years by the Chinese for its anti-aging attributes. It Nourishes the Liver and the Kidney Yin and the Liver Blood while also Replenishing the Kidney Jing and Moistening Lung Dryness. What does that mean to you? Well, it means that gou qi zi can prevent back pain and knee pain, early graying of the head hair, blurred vision, dizziness, tinnitus, and anemia. It can also be used to treat chronic cough and diabetes. My favorite way to eat gou qi zi is by putting about a handful of it in my morning oatmeal just like you would raisins. Or, to be ultra-healthy, I mix it in with my chrysanthemum tea! Really, you can’t go wrong with this mildly sweet and tangy fruit.

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Did you know that flowers aren’t just beautiful to look at? They are actually good for the health of your eyes as well! Chrysanthemum flower, Ju Hua in Mandarin, has cooling and nourishing effects on the eyes. Drinking chrysanthemum tea can help to relieve headaches, fevers, and the common cold (with sore throat and fever). Chrysanthemum is also used for red and painful eyes, poor eyesight, blurred vision, dry eyes, and glaucoma. For a soothing eye treatment, soak a clean washcloth in a cooled bowl of chrysanthemum tea and gently place the wrung-out wash cloth (folded in thirds) on the eyes for 10 to 15 minutes. Not only will your eyes feel refreshed, but you will feel rested as well!

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You may look and feel silly, but bouncing and shaking actually helps to reset your central nervous system and increases the circulation of the feel-good neurotransmitter, serotonin. Just think about it: what does a dog do after experiencing a stressful situation? He shakes and then he is able to move on with his life! We have an exercise in Qi Gong to increase the circulation of Qi.

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So, I’m sad to report that I go under for yet another surgery tomorrow. Admittedly, surgery along with the appointments that come along with it, are a drag and an inconvenience. Especially when this surgery was a surprise. I absolutely abhor cancelling and rescheduling patients. It makes me cringe. But, alas, I have to have surgery. I don't have a choice.

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Hello, Friends! I hope that everyone is having a wonderful late Spring! Even though we’ve been in our new house in Lake Oswego for almost a full year, this is our first Spring here and everyday we have a little surprise popping up in our front yard. A daffodil here, a hosta there. It’s quite fun to see what’s next.

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Back to my strategic planning: As you may imagine, my statement of shearing did not go over well. But, that was, my friends, part of the plan. I would have done the head-shaving thing but I didn’t want the effect to be more attention on me. I wanted the attention to be on the fight. So, after have a fabulous vacation in Maui (needed long hair to fit in with local girls), I set an appointment with my friend, Jephthah Wilcox of South Shore Artistic Salon to do the deed.

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In Chinese philosophy, everything has meaning. Some patients will sheepishly ask, “For the past 6 years, I’ve woken up at 3am. What does that mean? Or other patients will say,  “I have eczema, asthma, and digestive issues. Does that make sense?” It’s almost as if I’m a walking commercial for acupuncture. Instead of saying, “There’s an app for that” I say, “There’s a point for that.” Because, really, waking up at 3am every morning means that there may be a dysfunction of your Liver channel or Liver organ system.

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