It's finally 2021 and Covid-19 is still here, but we've actually made it to the crossroads where vaccines are rolling out! Perhaps somewhat slowly and inefficiently, but rolling out none the less. I feel very fortunate for my profession to be part of the 1a group in Washington and to have been able to get my first dose of the vaccine.
I know not everyone is comfortable with getting a new vaccination and I completely understand - while I believe in public health and vaccination (no smallpox or polio? Thanks public health!), I do personally feel that the vaccination schedule for children is too aggressive, so I opted for a very delayed vaccination schedule for my children which worked well for us. The Covid-19 vaccine and the situation surrounding it is very different from childhood immunizations, however, and I would encourage you not to lump it in with preconceived notions about the past.
While masking and social distancing are still the most important tools we have to bring to bear right now, vaccination is key to protecting the population and saving lives long term. The technology for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines is different from your "typical" live or dead virus cocktail, but mRNA vaccines aren't something new. In fact, the research that led to this vaccine started with work to stabilize the Coronavirus spike protein 12 years ago, which is part of how the first Covid-19 mRNA vaccinations were developed so quickly. While no mRNA vaccine has been brought to commercial market before - mostly due to issues with logistics and distribution related to the cold temperatures they require - we DO have other mRNA vaccines that have been tested in humans and approved.
I also feel like it is important to note that it is not possible to get Covid-19 from the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines which is the most common question that I get from patients at this time. It is common for people to feel ill for a day after getting the 2nd shot, but this is a normal activation of the immune system - mRNA vaccines contain no actual virus particles, only the blueprints to teach your body how to fight the virus efficiently (as a gross oversimplification, but you get the idea...) and it is not possible to get Covid-19 from this type of vaccine technology.
There are quite a number of myths about the vaccine that are worth debunking, and a good list of them can be found here in this article from UC Davis. No microchips or conspiracies in the vials, no changes to your DNA for sure!
It is a solid vaccine with good research behind it, and the more people we can vaccinate the more likely we are to be able to see our loved ones again, send the kids back to school, and go out to eat. Man, remember when dinner and a movie was a normal date night? Yeah, me too, vaguely, but there are some fun lists of what "date night" can look like now during pandemic times.
But I digress - vaccination, its recommended if you feel comfortable with it, but where do you get the dang thing once your phase comes up and how do you know when its your turn?
Let me help you with that.
For the most part, these efforts are being organized at the county level, so checking your county Covid-19 webpage is the best place to start. You can find some of those for our area here:
You can also register online at Kaiser Permanente, where they are vaccinating all members of the community in the proper phase with registration. Kaiser members can simply log in to their kp.org account and book a vaccine appointment if they are in the current phase, while community members can go online and complete the registration process to get an appointment here:
Kaiser Permanente Covid-19 Page
Yes, its clunky and the wait times might be long, but the more we can work with public health officials to keep this effort moving the better off we will be. Consider it an exercise in patience and perseverance perhaps, which are two traits all of us have probably been practicing more than we expected to in recent months.
Also, remember that Acupuncture is a great tool to help boost your immune system while you wait, and support your body through the vaccination process! If you haven't been in for a while think about booking in to boost your immune system, or to help with stress during these still challenging times.
Until then be well, take care, and ask questions anytime!
Yours in health
your friendly neighborhood acupuncturist
Our lungs are incredibly important. Without properly functioning lungs, we cease to exist. In the United States alone, nearly 200,000 people die every year from forms of respiratory disease. Respiratory diseases include both acute and chronic conditions and consist of everything from the flu to emphysema. While many of these ailments can be prevented, there are others not avoidable due to unchangeable circumstances such as genetics.
What’s nice about Traditional Chinese Medicine is that it approaches the treatment of each individual person and their various symptoms. With TCM, every person receives a different treatment protocol based around their specific symptoms and signs. Once this is done, a diagnosis is made that is tailored to you, and specific acupressure points, herbal remedies and accessory modalities are chosen.Here are some ways that TCM can help those suffering with respiratory issues.
Acupuncture for Respiratory Issues: Acupuncture helps build (or tonify) the energy within the respiratory system. This energy is called Qi (pronounced “chee”). When lung Qi is strong and the body is balanced, respiratory issues rarely become an issue. Acupuncture treatment stimulates blood flow which carries oxygen to every cell in the body. The increased blood flow supports a healthy immune system, dilates the bronchioles and produces anti-inflammatory agents that help improve breathing by relaxing the muscles.
Acupuncture Points for Respiratory Issues:
·Kidney 27 – This point is located bilaterally on the chest, just below the collarbone. Kidney 27 is used to open the lungs, reduce coughing and encourage full breathing.
·Lung 5 – Lung 5 is located at the end of the outer crease of the elbow, just to the outside of the tendon. This point opens up the airways and the throat, while reducing coughing and wheezing.
·Ren 17 – This point is located in the middle of the chest, midway between both nipples. It is used to open the chest, loosen up congestion, stop coughing and encourage full breathing.
Chinese Herbals Formulas for Respiratory Issues: Combinations of herbs, known as formulas are used frequently in TCM. One of the most commonly used individual herbs is Wu Wei Zi, also known as Schisandra. This herb is used to treat asthma, wheezing, and boost immune function.
A popular formula choice of TCM practitioners is Bi Yan Pian. This formula works to clear the nasal passages and it usually accomplishes this within five days to a week. The herbs in Bi Yan Pian work to disperse wind, expel toxins, relieve inflammation and dissolve phlegm.
Nutrition for Respiratory Issues: For the lungs and respiratory system to be strong, they need proper nourishment, just like the rest of the body. Certain foods are good for increasing immunity, while also opening up the lungs and increasing circulation. Foods like garlic and onions reduce inflammation and fight off infections. Chili peppers open up the nasal passages, stimulating the mucus membranes and fighting invasion of nasty bacteria and viruses. Carrots and pumpkin are rich in vitamins A, C and lycopene. All of these vitamins affect lung health by lowering the chances of developing lung disease.
As you can see, TCM is a great way to deal with respiratory issues. If you are having difficulties dealing with these types of conditions, contact me and we will see what we can do to get you back on track.
Acupuncture has been used to treat addiction for many years. Curbing addiction, specifically when it comes to smoking, is not something that can be done overnight (often referred to as “quitting cold turkey”).
During the journey of quitting, there will be times when you think you won’t be able to stay smoke-free and want to give up. Considering acupuncture treatment when you are trying to quit can have great effects on helping you back on the road to better health.
Contact an acupuncturist and learn how acupuncture can help you stay smoke-free for a healthier body, mind, and spirit.
Alternative treatments to Quit Smoking
Cayenne pepper can lower cravings for cigarettes by lowering the respiratory response to tobacco and other chemicals found in cigarettes. Adding the pepper to a glass of water every day can help decrease your desire for a smoke.
Lime has been known to be a natural alternative to nicotine gum for quitting smoking. Squeeze lime into water throughout the day to help lower cravings. Lime also has an anti-infective agent to help the body’s immune defense.
Because fava beans contain L-dopa, which your body converts dopamine, these beans have been known to reduce nicotine cravings. Nicotine has addictive properties because it also releases dopamine in the brain, by finding alternatives that have the same effects, your nicotine cravings will be reduced. There are many recipes that can be made with fava beans and are easily available at the grocery store.
Many people who are trying to quit smoking experience anxiety. For smokers who have smoked regularly for years, massage may be an effective option in reducing anxiety associating with quitting.
Research has shown that acupuncture not only reduces cravings but can also reduce symptoms of withdrawal such as irritability and jitters. Acupuncture works by targeting specific acupuncture points on the body that help return the body back to its natural energy flow, resulting in better overall health.
An acupuncture point specifically used to help the incessant urge to smoke is called “Tim Mee” and is located on the inside of the arm. This point helps change thev body’s perception of nicotine. This point combined with others can help reduce cravings.
Another Acupressure point is Conception Vessel 17 (CV 17). This point can be found in the center of the sternum and is used to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as strengthen the lungs.
There are also simple acupressure techniques to cope with cravings such as ear massages which is one way you can cope with cravings at home. Doing this releases endorphins (which are natural painkillers).
If you have tried many of the above methods to try and quit smoking, reach out to us and schedule an appointment! We can create an individualized treatment plan to get you on the right track to being smoke-free.
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.