Leah proudly announces her move to Stanford Healthcare and is exclusively seeing Qualcomm employees who want Acupuncture services at the Qualcomm Health Center at 10155 Pacific Heights Road, San Diego, CA.

Our Feet!

Acupuncture FeetI have a confession to make, I love feet!  I am not sure if it is because I love my own feet rubbed or that I am fascinated by 5 wiggly appendages protruding from blob at the end of our leg but I think feet are great.  What is more important, my clients love that I think feet are great.

I am not sure when it started but my appreciation of how it feels to get ones foot massaged and to massage others feet was sealed in college.  I think it was the positive reinforcement that I received from my recipients that made me feel so good.

So with no further delay let’s talk about these wonderful appendages that connect us to the ground we walk on.

One might think as an acupuncturist I would be sticking needles into the feet.  I find the feet very sensitive and general do not needle them very often.  I find it much more effective to relax, heal and diagnose what is going on by massaging them.

Diagnose you say?  I use reflexology charts as a method of supporting my suspicions of what might be going on in the body.  I am sometimes surprised by what I find.  One time I was giving a massage to a young man that was given the massage as a birthday gift.  He seemed to be in good shape but when I was massaging his right foot in the area of the liver it was as if he had a “hole”.  I was able to press my thumb with very little resistance into the liver area.  I told him that this was something I had never experienced and asked him if there was any problems with his liver.  It was then that he confessed he was getting over hepatitis and was unnerved that I could pick that up in his foot.

I have had a few people say they do not like their feet massaged but after getting my hands on them I can usually convert them.  The trick is to work on a persons foot while they are sitting or lying face up.  Skeptics generally like to see what you are doing to them.  The next trick is to start near the heal, not the toes. Toes tend to be very sensitive while starting with the heal you sneak up to those more sensitive areas slowly.

All in all feet have a special place in my heart.  Massaging them during an acupuncture treatment helps put the person in an extra deep healing space.  It really helps me figure out my acupuncture and herbal treatment protocol.  Plus it is my secret that helps keep people coming back for more.

Why Did I Become an Acupuncturist?

Leah Davida Licensed AcupuncturistOne of the most common questions I am asked is “Why did you become an Acupuncturist?”  Believe me, I had never heard of Acupuncture until my late 20s! And I feel very lucky to have stumbled into this very rich field of study.  The following is my somewhat round about way of arriving at this destination.

As a member of the military, I was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany and traveled all over Europe documenting all kinds of things as a videographer.  While I was in Europe, I was exposed to many different health and healing choices.  What we call alternative medicine in the United States was really what was normal and common for Europe.  Homeopathy, Herbal Medicine, Reflexology, and yes, Acupuncture.  Even the local veterinarian used homeopathy.

Personally I had allergic reactions to some of the basic drugs used in Western/Allopathic medicine.  My primarily reaction was hives to Penicillin, Sulfa and some antibiotics.  It was a godsend to be able to go to the pharmacy and be prescribed other things (herbs, homeopathy, etc.) without having a reaction to it.  I of course took note and educated myself on these new therapies for self-preservation.

When I returned to the United States I worked as a freelance Videographer/Editor.  In this field one works when there are jobs and when there are no jobs one does not work.  I decided to get my massage therapy license to fill in the time in between jobs.  I found I liked it a great deal, had better hours and a lot less stress.  Hence, I became a full time massage therapist.

After a while I became curious on how to further help my clients.  My experience in Europe gave me some tools but I wanted to know more.  I had moved to San Diego and it was recommended to me to check out Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, PCOM.  It was local and so I started with 2 classes.  I loved it.  I dove in and finished with a Masters in Oriental Medicine and became a full-time acupuncturist, practicing in Encinitas since 1997.

That is why and how I became an Acupuncturist. Part out of necessity, part out of curiosity, and part out of luck.

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Leah Davida Krecu is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing at Circle of Life Healing Arts Center in Encinitas, California since 1997. She practices a light style of acupuncture with a heavy emphasis on bodywork. Leah is always open for questions at her office at 760-632-7728.

Why Would I Go to an Acupuncturist?

The National Institute of Health has put out a list of conditions that they have studied and concluded that Acupuncture treats (which include but are not limited to):

  • addiction
  • stroke rehabilitation
  • headache
  • menstrual cramps
  • tennis elbow
  • fibromyalgia (general muscle pain)
  • low back pain
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • asthma

These are a broad range of ailments that effect many different body systems.
why acupunctureWhen I am asked this question I like to give a little different answer. Acupuncturists treat just about everything. Although, if there is an emergency,  please call 911. There is nothing better than hospitals and emergency trained professionals for these types of acute emergency conditions. Any other chronic or minor acute condition, please call an acupunturist. Acupuncture has over 3000 years of clinical studies which include needles, herbs and adjunct/external therapies such as moxibustion, cupping, and tui na (a form of massage).
What sets Acupuncturists up for success is that we have a lot of  “tools in our toolbelt”. What I mean by that is we have hundreds of single herbs and combined formulas that have been researched and used for thousands of years for nearly every ailment one can think of. In modern/western medicine the diagnostic machines, blood tests etc. are fabulous tools to help figure out where and what the problem is. They have relatively few categories of medicines developed that have little or no side effects to choose from. Acupuncture and herbology have a distinct advantage in the sheer number of “tools” to choose from.
I chose to be an Acupuncturist because I am allergic to so many of these pharmacuetical drugs. I needed to find alternatives to treat my ailments or risk my health with anaphylaxis. Acupuncture and Homeopathy gave me that alternative.

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Leah Davida Krecu is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing at Circle of Life Healing Arts Center in Encinitas, California since 1997. She practices a light style of acupuncture with a heavy emphasis on bodywork. Leah is always open for questions at her office at 760-632-7728.

Winter: Time to Recharge Our Batteries!

winter healthWinter is a great time to cuddle up, eat soups, read a good book and recharge our batteries.

But, what does it really mean to recharge our batteries? In Chinese Medicine, the winter season corresponds to our Kidney energy. Our Kidneys are  located deep in our mid abdomen near the spine.They are about the size of a fist.

According to the Ancient texts, the kidneys store our “Ming Men fire”. This is a pictorial reference to the the fire that  cooks our food, keeps us warm and helps move the energy or Qi through the body. If you imagine our bellies (stomach/spleen) as the cauldron for our food then the Ming Men fire is the heat that cooks the food. In more modern terms, we have to use chemical processes (energy) to break down the food so we can use it to nourish our bodies.

If we let our fire dwindle or go out, we have adverse effects on our health. You might feel this weak fire as cold hands and feet or cold in the lower back or belly or general lethargy. You may notice athletic clothing styles like vests and high tech ocean swim wear are designed to keep our trunk, and especially our kidneys, warm. This keeps the athlete charged up to perform his or her best.

In Chinese Medicine, we treat this cold deficiency with warming herb formulas and foods baked with cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon, etc. We use heat packs, acupuncture points and Moxibustion to move Qi and warm the body. We also look at underlying reasons why someone might be cold in the first place. Some health conditions that are caused or aggravated by cold are digestive issues, infertility, urination issues, chronic colds, chronic immune problems, arthritis and joint pains.

If you notice any of your symptoms getting worse in cold weather then you know there is a “cold” component to your underlying issue. Click here for a recipe suggestion to experiment with Chai Tea. This is a beverage that is consumed all over the world and is warming and nourishing for the Kidneys and overall body.

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Leah Davida Krecu is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing at Circle of Life Healing Arts Center in Encinitas, California since 1997. She practices a light style of acupuncture with a heavy emphasis on bodywork. Leah is always open for questions at her office at 760-632-7728.

What is Moxibustion or ‘Cupping’?

cupping moxibustionMoxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of mugwort, a  small, spongy herb, to facilitate healing. Moxibustion has been used throughout Asia for  thousands of years. In fact, the actual  Chinese character for acupuncture, translated literally, means “acupuncture-moxibustion.”

 

The purpose of moxibustion is to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of qi, and maintain general health. In traditional Chinese medicine,  moxibustion is used on people who have a cold or stagnant condition.

 

The burning of moxa is  believed to expel cold and warm the meridians, which leads to smoother flow of blood and qi.

 

This is a technique you can do at home with a Moxa Stick. I suggest you do this outside or in a  bathroom where the smoke and smell will not affect your household.

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Leah Davida Krecu is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing at Circle of Life Healing Arts Center in Encinitas, California since 1997. She practices a light style of acupuncture with a heavy emphasis on bodywork. Leah is always open for questions at her office at 760-632-7728.

Hot Spicy Soups Help Push Out Pathogens

flu cold remedies healthHave you ever had the feeling of aches or achiness, usually in your upper back or it could be all over your body? This is the sensation of your immune system or wei qi fighting the virus or pathogen on the surface or in the muscle layer of your body.

This is the time to sweat it out and help your system push the virus out before the it has a chance to drop into your chest and develop into an more internal disease.

A great way to do this is to drink hot spicy drinks or soups that make you sweat. It could be thai, chinese, mexican or even good old fashioned chickens oup with very aromatic onions. The important thing is to sweat!

Also this is the time for cupping! Call me or your acupuncturist and get cupped!

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Leah Davida Krecu is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing at Circle of Life Healing Arts Center in Encinitas, California since 1997. She practices a light style of acupuncture with a heavy emphasis on bodywork. Leah is always open for questions at her office at 760-632-7728.

It’s Holiday Time!

I am going to say a series of words that may trigger some emotions: Food, Presents, Holidays, New Years, Traveling, Eating Too Much.

Is is just me or did November come around way too quickly? We are heading into the holiday months and I think it is a good time remind ourselves to slow down. How many of you are already feeling the pressure? Remember, you are in control of your life and it’s speed. If you need to slow it down, please by all means slow it down.

How you may ask? First, try not to plan so much, pace yourself, and schedule in ‘down time’. Schedule massages, acupuncture treatments, facials, exercise time, even take naps.

To help cope during this time, here are a few acupuncture points you can massage on yourself to help you stay grounded. Just massage these locations gently in rotating circles.

  • I love Ren 17-Tanzhong (English translation: Chest Center ). This is located in the middle of your chest directly between your nipples.
  • See if you can get someone to massage Kid 1-Yongquan (English translation: Gushing Spring) located on the bottom of the foot in the center just below the pad.
  • Another favorite is Du 20-Baihui (English translation: Hundred Meetings) located directly at the top of the head.

Notice, each of these points has something similar. They are in the center of an anatomical area. CENTER is the key word here. Massage centers of your body like your hand, belly, face etc and see how you feel. If you are drifting off center, try it and see if it helps calm you during this crazy holiday season. Better yet don’t let the season get too crazy to begin with.

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Leah Davida Krecu is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing at Circle of Life Healing Arts Center in Encinitas, California since 1997. She practices a light style of acupuncture with a heavy emphasis on bodywork. Leah is always open for questions at her office at 760-632-7728.

Gluten Intolerance or Wheat Sensitivity?

Gluten Free foods and the idea that more people suspect they are Gluten Intolerant or have Celiac Disease has been in the news more and more lately. I  am sure many of you have seen Gluten Free foods in your local stores even at the non “health food” stores such as Vons or Ralphs.

For those of you that are not familiar with Celiac Disease it is the inability to digest gluten, a tough elastic protein found in the glutinous grains such as wheat, barley, rye and sweet rice. Some signs and symptoms of Celiac disease are diarrhea, abdominal pain, flatulence, weight loss, anemia, and spasms.

 

Recently, Clinical Research has shown there is a range in digestive sensitivity that each individual might have. The most extreme would be a “true” Celiac (quite ill and malnourished) to someone who might have some difficulty digesting these foods.

 

In today!s American diet, wheat products make up a large portion. In an average day people often eat a bagel or cereal for breakfast (wheat), a sandwich for lunch (wheat) and pasta for dinner (wheat). Day after day that is a lot of wheat! On top of this, farmers that grow commercial wheat have increased the amount of gluten in the grain through hybridization over the years to create a more “fluffy airy” grain that produces a more fluffy bread. If you eat
meals that include wheat 3 times a day, plus higher gluten in the grains themselves, you are creating a challenge for many peoples digestive systems.

 

If you have a suspicion you might have Gluten Intolerance or have any of the above symptoms I suggest you do the following. First start by eliminating wheat for 2 weeks in your diet. Then add it back in gradually and see how you FEEL. I know gluten is in many other grains but I suspect the overuse of wheat is at the heart of many peoples problems. There are alternatives to eating wheat such as those gluten free products you see everywhere but I challenge you to vary your grains in those 2 weeks with rice, corn, millet, quinoa, and amaranth. Your digestive system will thank you!

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Leah Davida Krecu is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing at Circle of Life Healing Arts Center in Encinitas, California since 1997. She practices a light style of acupuncture with a heavy emphasis on bodywork. Leah is always open for questions at her office at 760-632-7728.

A Season For Stiff Necks

Fall and Spring have volatile seasonal temperature changes. One day it’s hot, one day it’s cold. Actually, here in SoCal it’s cool. Either way, we are not used to dressing for these changes in the weather as others do in countries with more extreme weather. What I have commonly seen in my office this past few weeks are patients with STIFF NECKS! Adults and kids have been coming in thinking they slept wrong but all these people could not have slept wrong.

In Chinese medicine our necks are considered to be very vulnerable to wind and cold. It is the opening for pathogens to get into our bodies. Our Wei Qi or defense level is in the most superficial levels of our body. This consists of our skin, lymph and our outer muscle layers. When we feel pain from a stiff neck it is the wind/cold that has settled into this muscle layer as our bodies are fighting off the pathogen from getting in further. There is a battle going on and it hurts!

How do we stop the pain? First off is to try to prevent it from happening in the first place.

#1 Awareness – If you are sitting under a vent/air conditioning, or an outdoor event and the wind is blowing at your back or you feel chilled, notice it and change it.

#2 Prevent it – Move your seat, put a scarf or jacket on. Do whatever you can to get that wind/cold off you and your neck.

#3 You are stiff: now what? I like to use the term “become sweaty about the neck”. This really means get your neck hot and sweaty which helps push out the pathogen. Try using a heating pad, rub in warming liniments like Tiger Balm. At night, put on a turtleneck when you sleep so you will feel “sweaty about the neck”.

In my office, we also use cupping, moxa, massage and, of course, Acupuncture needles to help ease the pain, strengthen the immune system and push out the pathogen. If the pain is really stubborn, we have a number of herbal formulas that can help with this uncomfortable pattern of pain and vulnerability to illness.

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Leah Davida Krecu is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing at Circle of Life Healing Arts Center in Encinitas, California since 1997. She practices a light style of acupuncture with a heavy emphasis on bodywork. Leah is always open for questions at her office at 760-632-7728.

Acupuncture and a New Health Care System.

How can Acupuncture fit into a national health care system? There is a huge amount of discussion surrounding the creation of a national health care plan or system. Please forgive me, I am going to step onto my soap box for this topic. I am a huge advocate for Complimentary medicine. Complementary medicine is defined as a medical approach of different disciplines/therapies that are used together to enhance and improve the ability of the patient to heal or be relieved of symptoms. Examples are acupuncture, yoga, aromatherapy, therapeutic massage, meditation, and others. The first and foremost principles we are taught as acupuncturists in Chinese medicine rests on what is called the Four Examinations, or the Four Pillars of Diagnosis.

They are:
1. Looking
2. Listening/Smelling
3. Palpation
4. Asking

It is amazing what can be found out from these simple and free diagnostic tools. Much of our health care costs are bound up in VERY expensive diagnostic tools/tests. These tests such as MRI’s, Cat Scans, PET scans etc. are very valuable. Unfortunately, they are exceedingly overused and therefore are ONE big reason for the increase in healthcare costs. They are overused because of Time, Money, Insurance and Training.

1. Time: Many doctors are not allowed the time to spend with patients because they must see a certain number of people in an hour to actually get paid enough to make up the costs of running a practice. Although, It takes TIME to get to know people and their health problems

2. Money: The insurance companies only pay for a certain amount per patient visit. To make up for the cost of equipment (machines cost a great deal of money) These expensive machines must be used, especially if they are in the doctors office. There is a great deal more to this specific subject but that is what all this controversy is about anyway.

3. Insurance: Malpractice insurance is very costly and in this country our litigious society puts our doctors at a great risk so in turn they must cover their butts to make sure they haven’t missed a thing. This breeds costly requests for extreme diagnostic tests that can be dangerous in of themselves.

4. Training: In todays medical training model, doctors don’t have the time to spend with patients to actually take their pulses, listen to their lung sounds, palpate the area of concern, and observe their general state of health. It takes time to get to know your patients and most doctors can’t afford have the luxury of time.

I see Acupuncture fitting into a national health care system by being one of the avenues of preventative medicine and chronic care. People come to see me for issues like; Peri-menopause symptoms, chronic asthma, preventing another round of pneumonia, chronic digestive disorders, and of course pain anywhere in the body. These are preventative and chronic issues that are treated very effectively by Acupuncture and Herbal medicine that has been around for thousands of years at minimal cost and very few, if any side effects. In a national health care system I would want to see more of this kind of hands on care (not exclusive to only acupuncture but to include, things like massage, exercise and nutritional education). Our present system is wonderful at emergency care but we shouldn’t rely on our health care as being an emergency and pay emergency care costs.

How do we pay for this? I really don’t know. That is what much of the hulaboloo is focused on but not all. I strongly believe that if we include complementary treatments within any health care system the cost of dis-ease will go down and the satisfactory level of patients will go up. This topic has filled pages/books/talk shows and many town hall discussions with very polarizing opinions. I suggest we get back to the basics and educate ourselves by looking, listening, palpating and asking what we really want for our personal health care needs. I urge you to take into account your belief systems and make it known to your political representatives so we can have a more comprehensive cost effective health care system.