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.

Acupuncture for Sea Sickness – Get Help Before You Travel

acupuncture for sea sicknessWe are into travel season and my husband started talking about taking a cruise. I immediately recoiled. There is no way you are getting me on a boat in my state. What state is that? The terrible state of sea sickness. When I was a girl, I never had a problem with motion sickness. I would go on the craziest roller coasters and get on any water skiing boat ready for take off. However, the older I get, the worse my motion sickness gets. I am deathly afraid of what that big city in the ocean would do to my belly. The baby roller coasters at Knott’s Berry Farm already sickened me into fright. Believe me, I am not spending my first 3 days of any vacation ill, if humanly possible. So…I started thinking, is there such a thing as acupuncture for sea sickness? Yes, there is.

To be totally  blunt, I didn’t come up with the question. I got it from a novel…the Outlander Series. In said series, Jamie is horribly sea sick. He is so bad that he seems to never get well, until he gets a treatment from Mr. Willoughby. Mr. Willoughby is a small, Chinese man Jamie befriended at the docks. To be fair, most men would be small compared to Jamie Fraser,  but Mr. Willoughby knew all about acupuncture for sea sickness. He poked Jamie with his “wee jabbers” and miracle upon miracle, Jamie could manage at sea. So….how does acupuncture for sea sickness work in the real world?

Well, first you need to make an appointment with Leah a day or so before going on the water. She will do her treatment and stick you with her “wee jabbers”. It is amazing that something that helps so much is so darn relaxing. She will stimulate particular meridians (energy points) on your body to end the sea sickness. Then, she will leave you with a seed attached to your ear with tape. This is so you can continue your acupuncture for sea sickness when you really need it.When you are on the boat and feeling a bit woozy, start rubbing your little seed. You won’t believe it, but the sea sickness abates.

If you are anything like me, great amounts of gratitude will be waiting for Leah upon your return. Now you are ready to explore the world. Enjoy!


Start The New Year Fresh: How To Cleanse

how to cleanseWe made it through the winter holidays…more like we ate and drank our way through the holidays. We drank our nog and supped on  sugarplums until our hearts were content and now the piper must be paid. My pants are a little tight and I have an all around “not quite right” feeling that only comes with overindulgence. You know you need something but you just don’t know how to cleanse.  I know I am not alone because folks around me keep saying, “I just want to get back to our normal routine.”

Yet, even with a normal routine, things may need a little extra push. You can get that push with a cleanse. With all the cleanse hype, you may be telling yourself, “but I don’t know how to cleanse.”  How to cleanse… there are a plethora of ‘schools of cleanse’ thought out there. For your edification, I will run down a couple of easy cleanse solutions that even the novice can accomplish and feel better for, in the end.

How to Cleanse, for the rest of us:

  • Fast/Cleanse: This is just what it sounds like. For a couple days you do not consume any food but liquids. Some people are purists and will only consume water. However, it is my personal opinion that you need a  few electrolytes, at bare minimum. Or you can purchase a liquid cleanse juice product that contains….well whatever they contain, they are all different. Most are fresh juices with herbal cleanse agents added.
  • Store bought cleanse: this is the usual ‘how to cleanse’ solution. You can go to your local health food store and purchase a cleanse to be completed in 7, 14, or 30 days. These cleanses usually contain a cleansing agents for the liver, blood, etc., a bowel bulking agent to sop up the toxins, and a bowel lubricant and/or stimulant to push the waste out, probably a little more regularly than you are used to.
  • Greens: If you ask how to cleanse regularly, greens are your answer. You can eat greens every single day of your life. You can’t get too many greens. Greens alkalize and detoxify your body in an amazing way. You can stick your own greens in a blender or purchase a greens beverage to incorporate grasses we don’t normally get, like wheat grass and barley grass.

If you want to feel amazing for the new year learn how to cleanse. You will be happier and healthier when you give it a go!


How Can I Prevent Breast Cancer?

prevent breast cancerBreast cancer is a scourge on women in our society. However, it is something that is being talked about more and more in the media and advances are being made in detection and treatment in all modalities of medicine. Recently Angelina Jolie took the huge step of getting a double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer. Angelina was tested and knew she had a genetic predisposition to this form of cancer but every woman wants to to know how they can prevent breast cancer, genetics notwithstanding.

In Chinese medicine, breast cancer is caused by stagnation of Qi in the liver. We, in this community, recognize the toxic buildup of environmental toxins and pollutants, especially estrogens that cause heat and yin deficiency. Another contributor, in Chinese Medicine is the damp buildup of estrogenic fat cells. When our immune system cannot remove these estrogens and toxins, we have an environment ripe for trouble of all sorts.

So…How can we prevent breast cancer?

  1. Visit your acupuncture practitioner to move Qi in the breast and balance your hormones. You can assist with this on your own and it is easy….Exercise! You can also give yourself regular breast massage to prevent breast cancer. Get that blood flowing!
  2. Visit your acupuncture practitioner to move Qi in the liver to process estrogens. To supplement this, you can do a regular liver cleanse , limit your alcohol intake, and taking a good multivitamin with plenty of B vitamins. Ask your acupuncturist for help with a liver cleanse.
  3. Don’t expose yourself unnecessarily. Stay away from environmental estrogens, such as estrogen replacement therapy, pesticides, and meats treated with hormones. Also, you may consider taking a flax oil with high lignans or seeking out a lignan supplement. These flax lignans are seek-and-destroy missiles for toxic estrogen.
  4. Make sure you are not depleted. Normally cancer cells are destroyed by our immune system. When we are run down and our immune system is compromised our defenses are down. Good advice to prevent breast cancer is adopting a high fiber, plant-based, low fat diet. Introduce sea vegetables, like kelp, in your diet. Give up smoking. Further, make sure to ask your acupuncture practitioner for an herbal formula created to boost your earth element!

My father gave me a breast cancer awareness bracelet for my birthday this year. It is lovely but it brings to mind that we are not powerless to prevent breast cancer. We can and should do all we can to prevent it from the get go.

Oh…and remember, it is not just women who get breast cancer. Although rare, men can get this type of cancer, as well. Exercise your power, move your Qi, and do your part to prevent breast cancer!


The Organic Definition: When is Organic NOT Organic?

wheatWe hear the word “organic” thrown around all over the place. We see it at the supermarket, we see it at the natural market but are these claims reliable? What is the organic definition?

There are so many varieties and nuances, but in its most basic sense the organic definition is a food product that was grown without synthetic pesticides. Also, it implies that foods do not contain additives and chemicals like  ripening agents are not used on them.

Further, organic food should not have been irradiated or be a genetically modified organism (GMO). The organic definition also includes meat and animal products which must be free of antibiotics and hormones. Finally, the farm or food practices must be deemed sustainable.  Sounds, pretty safe, huh?

But are you safe with this organic definition?

  • Certified Organic: Certified organic foods are grown to the organic standards of the USDA. Being certified organic gives a farmer or food producer the right to bear the USDA Organic Seal. If a product doesn’t have this certification they are not allowed, by law, to give themselves the organic definition. That is, unless they are a very small farm. There is an application process, including an inspection of the property.
  • Levels of Organic: Yes, the organic definition has layers of complexity that are good to know because you want to eat as organic as possible, right?
  • 100% Organic: This is self explanatory. All the ingredients are organic and the processing method is organic.
  • Organic: 95% or more of the ingredients are organic. Some approved chemical additives are allowed.
  • Made with organic ingredients: Here is where the organic definition gets dicey. At least 75% of the ingredients are organic.

Can the organic definition of “organic” products be trusted? In theory, yes. There are very very, $11,000, very costly fines for mislabeling your product organic when it is not. However,  some companies have come under severe scrutiny from the Organic Consumers Association. They call into question the legitimacy of many brands who use the organic label. These include:

  • Kellogg’s (Kashi, Bear Naked, Morningstar Farms);
  • General Mills (Muir Glen, Cascadian Farm, Larabar);
  • Dean Foods (Horizon, Silk, White Wave);
  • Smucker’s (R.W. Knudsen, Santa Cruz Organic);
  • Coca-Cola (Honest Tea, Odwalla);
  • Safeway (“O” Organics);
  • Kraft (Boca Burgers and Back to Nature);
  • Con-Agra (Orville Redenbacher’s Organic, Hunt’s Organic, Lightlife);
  • and PepsiCo (Naked Juice, Tostito’s Organic, Tropicana Organic)

Now you are armed with all the down and dirty information on eating organic. Don’t settle for anything less!

Stub That Cigarette Butt! Quit Smoking Tips

Quit Smoking imageIf you are reading this, you want to quit smoking, or you know somebody who does. We all know the incredible list of ills smoking wrecks upon your body, the biggies being emphysema and lung cancer. However, what those who have never smoked don’t realize is how terribly difficult it is to kick the habit. I have a great friend who was a pack a day smoker from the time she was 14 years old until she was 35. She says, “quitting smoking was more difficult than childbirth.” 

Suffice it to say, to quit smoking is a difficult endeavor and a coup of unbelievable proportions. So how do you do it?

A multi-pronged approach to quit smoking

  • Attitude: This is the most important prong, hands down. No matter what happens, whether you quit smoking and relapse, whether you have never even tried to quit smoking, NEVER, never resign yourself to being a lifelong smoker. Always keep it in your head that you are going to quit. Don’t let a setback destroy the attitude that is going to get you to the finish line one day.
  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture as been shown to help with your cravings, your strength to persevere, and the withdrawal symptoms that accompany any sort of addiction. There is an approach called the NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) approach that uses a constellation of points in your ear to help you quit smoking. You will be sent home with small beads or seeds taped on these sites. During the first week, you will want to come back to see the acupuncturist multiple times. As you get stronger and the withdrawal symptoms ease, you will be able to manage the cravings on your own, with fewer visits.
  • Herbs and Natural Remedies: There are a myriad of herbal remedies that have a general uplifting effect upon your well being and anything that boost your general mood will assist you to kick the habit and quit smoking. Herbs like St. John’s Wort and remedies like 5-HTP will give your mind a boost. Then there are a ton of herbs that will treat you symptomatically. Chamomile and Lobelia will calm your racing heart and herbs like Valerian will assist you to sleep. In addition, check out Chinese herbal formulas. You may not be able to pronounce the herbs but they can help!
  • T’ai Chi: T’ai Chi has benefits all over the place. One of those benefits is that it can assist you in your journey to quit smoking. T’ai Chi is a practice of the body and the mind. It allows a follower to be mindful of their movements, including your mindless reach for a cigarette. 12 weeks of t’ai chi has been shown to greatly increase your ability to stub the butt.
  • Hypnosis: Some people are easier to put into a hypnotic state than others. However, you won’t know for sure until you try. For some, hypnosis can be the miracle for them to quit smoking. It is a useful helper in your ‘quit smoking’ tool bag.

Remember, it is NEVER too late to quit smoking. In a recent study out of Hong Kong amazing effects were proven even on those in their 60s, 70s and 80s who finally decided to stop.  Quit smoking today, no matter your age, and reap the benefits of great health!


Acupuncture For Back Pain Works Bettter Than Drugs

Acupuncture for Back PainBack pain is an nightmare. Luckily, the newest research gives hope: Acupuncture for back pain works better than drugs.

Some of us have chronic pain. We hurt nonstop. Others of us can go about our life pretty normally. We even forget we have a problematic back. Then we twist the wrong way, or lift something just a hair too heavy and BANG! We are down for the count.

To compound the problem, nobody has any good options. Every doctor you go to provides a lot of possibilities and no certainty. Each solution seems to have the possible side effect of making your pain worse. Often, the only remedy is to have regular, COSTLY, injections at the pain site.

Doctors from Jaseng Hospital of Korean Medicine in conjunction with the Institute for Oriental Medicine embarked on a study to compare a non-traditional style of acupuncture for back pain, called Motion Style Acupuncture (MSAT) with diclofenac sodium, a drug used for immediate pain relief. The results were rather dramatic.

But…before I continue with the results…I want to tell you that diclofenac sodium is not for the light of heart. There is a list a mile long of common side effects, that range from constipation to unexplained bleeding. Yikes! But I digress…

The Research Is In: Acupuncture for Back Pain Study Results

The study compared groups of people with severe disability, suffering from acute lower back pain. Half the group received MSAT acupuncture for back pain. The other group did not receive the acupuncture for back pain, and instead got injections of diclofenac sodium.

Those that received the MSAT acupuncture for back pain reported that it was more effective in the short term – that is, they saw immediate pain reduction and more effective results 4 weeks longer than those that got the injected drug. Further, there was far less hospitalization in the group receiving the MSAT treatment.

MSAT acupuncture for back pain is similar to traditional acupuncture for back pain in that needles are placed at certain meridian points. However, in MSAT there is manual stimulation of the needles. You are guided to walk around and make specific motions while the needles are in place.

This is amazing news for those who suffer with back pain. MSAT acupuncture for back pain is a relatively new treatment and is considered non-traditional. However, it is forward-looking and speaks to the possibility of using acupuncture for broader applications that fare better than drugs in clinical trials…. and isn’t that what we all would love? A world free of back pain without injections and nasty side effects!

Chinese Food Therapy: Why is My Peach ‘Warm’?

Chinese Food TherapyThere are so many ways for you to look at the food we eat. In allopathic, or Western, medicine we know that some of our food choices cause disease in the body. If we eat fried, high fat foods regularly, we are looking at specific problems – high cholesterol, heart disease, breast and colon cancers, etc. If we are alcoholic, we may get a fatty liver that eventually hardens. Chinese food therapy, you may be amazed to realize, looks at our food choices not only causally, as a reason for certain disorders, but as a means to alleviate certain conditions.

What is the theory behind Chinese Food Therapy?

It is founded on the concept of yin vs. yang. Yang foods are hot and increase the heat in the body. They are dense foods, rich in fat. By contrast, yin foods are cool and lower the bodies heat, they are generally foods that have a higher water content. The Chinese food therapy ideal is to eat foods that balance the yin and the yang. When you eat too much of one type of food you get diseases associated with it. You put yourself out of balance by focusing too heavily on yin or yang foods.

Further, if you have a problem cropping up, Chinese food therapy tells you that you can alter your diet to heat or cool it based upon the need. If you had a cold starting, you would not want to eat any cold, yin foods. If you suffer with eczema you want to avoid eating too many hot, yang foods.

What foods are hot (yang) and which foods are cool (yin) in Chinese Food Therapy?

Foods are inherently hot or cold. There are many tables you can refer to. Here is one by Yanga Zhu. Leah has an awesome knowledge of the nature of certain foods. She will suggest you eat certain foods and stay away from others. It is good to know she makes those Chinese food therapy recommendations to balance and heal our bodies.

Now you know: a peach isn’t warm because it has a fuzzy little coat; ‘warmth’ is part of its fundamental nature.

Acupuncture and ADHD: Calm Your Mind, Calm Your Spirit

adhd acupuncture spinning topI walked in to see Leah Davida in Encinitas, bouncing between my physical issues and acupuncture and ADHD. That is, or should I say was, my normal mode: fidgeting to the point of distraction.

My whole life I struggled with the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Many children who are just normal kids are diagnosed. However, when you meet a child who just cannot stop, there is something different and unnerving about their lack of ability to control themselves, in even the slightest way.

Helpguide.Org gives us some of the telltale signs of ADHD.

  • Inattention to details
  • Making careless mistakes
  • Trouble staying focused
  • Appears not to listen when spoken to
  • Gets bored in the middle of an activity
  • Fidgets, squirms
  • Can’t stay seated
  • Moves around constantly
  • Talks excessively

For me, these childhood symptoms never abated, they just took new adult forms. What is even worse is that girls with ADHD tend to suffer from self-esteem issues because we are told all our lives that girls are not supposed to be so aggressive and loud. When I went into the office the first day, my knees were tittering. I could barely sit in the seat. Another practitioner even knocked and asked if I could keep the noise down.  Since then, things have changed!

Acupuncture and ADHD are a great combination. As an adult, I refuse to be medicated any more. I ground my teeth so much, I cracked molars. I just hated the medicine but hated being so out of control almost as much.

How Acupuncture and ADHD Works

Acupuncture and ADHD work in a different way than allopathic medicine.  In traditional Oriental medicine, your energy or qi flows freely if you are well. In the world of acupuncture and ADHD there is an obvious and profound blockage that results in this energy spilling out every which way. A few painless ( yep, I said painless) needles placed in the perfect places can empower the free flow of this energy again, resulting in calm, increased attention, and a reduction of impulsiveness.

The last time I saw Leah, she looked right at me and said, “you look calm today.” I thought. Acupuncture and ADHD…amazing. After all these years, I finally found something that works.

What is a Chakra? And What Do They Have To Do With Acupuncture?


Courtesy Anodea Judith and Sacred Centers

Acupuncture is part of the world of Chinese Medicine. It originates in Asia. Chakras are a part of Ayurvedic Medicine found, mostly, in India. Yet, these two seemingly disparate medical systems share some strong bonds and correlate in ways unimagined. Knowledge of one does not discredit the other. On the contrary, they work together to advance the efficacy of both.

First, both systems are all about the movement and blockage of vital energy in the body. When energy does not move properly your body is disordered and diseases abound. Even more interesting is that both body modalities view this energy as two snakes coiling up the spinal column. Every time the two snakes cross each other a chakra is formed. These are usually represented on the front of the body and correlate with important acupuncture meridians and vertebral levels. Acupuncture and Ayurvedic Medicine also share the concept of the five elements which correspond to both the acupuncture meridians and the chakras. Further, the colors associated with each chakra and element are the same in both medical systems.

So what are the chakras?

MindBodyGreen gives us a basic list of the 7 Chakras.

  1. Root Chakra: This Chakra is located at the base of the spine or tailbone. It is coupled with the color red. The emotional issues associated are ones related to survival, money, and food. It is also the place of being rooted or grounded.
  2. Sacral Chakra: It is located in the lower abdomen about 2 inches below your belly button. It is associated with the color orange and is often caused the pleasure seeker. It is identified with our feelings of abundance and our sexuality. It is the creativity center and is involved in our emotional connection to others.
  3. Solar Plexus Chakra:  This is tied to the color yellow is found in the upper abdomen or stomach region. It is the power driver and is all about are self confidence and self esteem.
  4. Heart Chakra: As one might expect, this is paired with LOVE LOVE LOVE! By opening this chakra we open ourselves to love and being loved. This space is linked with the color green and is foundational for inner peace and joy.
  5. Throat Chakra: In the throat, this space is one of communication. Its color is blue and it deal with the truth spoken and secrets kept.
  6. Third Eye Chakra: You will find this place between your eyes and you can focus on it if you close your eyes and gently let your eyes role upwards and to the center.  It is one I try to be aware of on a regular basis to make better decisions and grow in wisdom. When strengthened you increase your intuition and imagination. Indigo is this special color.
  7. Crown Chakra: It is found on the top of the head and in connected with the color violet. It is the center of beauty and bliss and connection with the spiritual.

It is important to recognize that Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine have major overlap and work in harmony. Medicinal systems are not static they change over time and space and these two systems abut each other geographically. If you are working on an important issue, either emotionally or physically, you will get more out of your acupuncture by being aware of your chakras and more out of your chakra clearing by adding acupuncture.



Is Acupuncture for Weight Loss Right for Me?

acupuncture for weight lossOur weight is a major concern. In America we struggle with competing issues. First, we are one of the most obese countries in the world. Our country really struggles with our weight. Second, our country, especially in places like southern California, tells us that the ideal is a hyper slim body that any normal human would struggle attaining. What is really important is health. These competing problems of the reality of being overweight and the ideal of emaciation make us unhealthy in mind and body. Luckily acupuncture for weight loss is there and highly helpful.

I have been working in the acupuncture industry much longer than I have been a practitioner. When I first started out, I knew a gal who was heavy from birth. I know her family and her entire family struggles with their weight. After high school and years of obesity, she decided to take the reins into her own hands. She started seeing a mentor of mine, an acupuncturist, for her weight. After 10 treatments, the results were dramatic and had a major impact, on her outlook and her health. With this initial push, she felt like moving again. Today, she competes in triathlons. She will never be the disgustingly thin image our world thrusts on us but she has a muscular, healthy body that got its start through acupuncture for weight loss.

Dr Oz touted the amazing results possible through acupuncture for weight loss. The results are garnered because acupuncture for weight loss doesn’t just look at one reason for being overweight. Your acupuncture practitioner assists you on multiple fronts: overeating…hunger, slow metabolism, hormone issues, poor nutrition, digestion problems, etc.

Acupuncture for weight loss: How is it done?

Well, along with various points specific to certain issues, like female hormones, and the liver, and around the body, there are four specific points in the ear that target acupuncture for weight loss. These are the endocrine point, the hunger point, the stomach point, and the Shen Men point. Depending upon your issues, after your appointment, we may even send you home with little seeds taped to those points that stay put for the next couple days to weeks. You can massage them when you are feeling particularly overcome with cravings.

So, to answer our original question that is asked so often on T.V. commercials, “Is Acupuncture for Weight Loss Right for Me?” The answer lies within. It is non-invasive. The cost is minimal, compared with other plans and treatments like bariatric surgery. Most importantly, there is no “drug regimen” that can cause all sorts of other unwanted ailments. Acupuncture for weight loss allows a person to lead a healthy life the way they have always dreamed without any consequences. As far as I am concerned acupuncture for weight loss is your first line of defense.