Out of the office July 25-Aug 2 2015

I will be out of the office from July 25 – August 2, 2015 for my annual Boundary Waters vacation with my family. Please contact me at christian@naturalhealthandfertility.com, or call 612-871-2288, with any questions or appointment requests while I’m away, and I will get back to you as soon as I’m able after I return.

10 things you can do to improve your health right now

10 things you can do to improve your health right now

Here is a list of some simple things you can do every day to improve your health.  Choose a couple, or follow all the suggestions – start slow and incorporate 1 per week and see how you feel after 10 weeks!

  1. Eat more green, colorful, leafy vegetables – Vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, chard and other commonly found vegetables have a multitude of antioxidant effects, minerals and other nutritive value that everyone can benefit from.  Chinese medicine dietary theory emphasizes eating slightly cooking vegetables, not raw, as the light sauteing or stir frying can make digestion and absorption easier.
  2. Reduce or eliminate processed sugars from your dietHigh sugar intake is now known to cause inflammation in the body, as well as lead to the well-known issues of insulin resistance and diabetes mellitus. Chinese medicine describes sugar as harming the Spleen, which helps absorb nutrients from food (basically the digestive system) as well as distribute fluids throughout the body. Keeping your Spleen system healthy is one of the main objectives in maintaining a healthy body and mind.
  3. Switch from coffee to green tea– If you really need that “pick-me-up” in the morning, green tea is the way to go over coffee.  Coffee’s vasoconstrictive qualities can lead to health problems in the long run, like hypertension, and increasing anxiety and heightening our reaction to stress.  Green tea, whereas it does have some caffeine estimated at about the same amount as a similar sized cup of decaffeinated coffee, the antioxidant and other herbal effects are more beneficial to people than coffee.
  4. Go for a walk with co-workers on work breaks – The benefits of work breaks and movement throughout the day have recently been shown to be very important to over all health.  I’m sure many people have seen the studies showing sitting even 1 hour per day is detrimental to health.  Help offset these effects by taking an active work break at least once daily, or more times if possible.
  5. Schedule time for relaxation and time for yourselfEveryone can benefit from taking their minds off the stress of their work week, or simply taking 30 minutes to lie down and do nothing. Carve some time out of your week to nurture yourself, as often as possible.  Downtime can help you be more productive.
  6. Use at least one wellness treatment to help prevent illness – A holistic health care system like Traditional Chinese Medicine, such as the Natural Health & Fertility Center offers, stresses the importance of illness prevention.  These systems often can detect and treat imbalance before there are symptoms. Treatment often involves acupuncture, herbal supplements, dietary suggestions and other self-help approaches to help you maintain your health. Treatment plans for helping maintain health vary by the individual, but can include weekly treatments during allergy season, to quarterly check-ins to help the body through the seasonal adjustments our bodies make throughout the year. Call at 612-871-2288 for a free consultation about health prevention.
  7. Try to get a good night’s sleep whenever possible – The real reasons we sleep, or how sleep affects our health, has not been well known until some recent studies have revealed sleep benefits the brain and memory, influences weight loss, and many other reasons. Some people look at sleep as a nuisance, and could supposedly get by on very little, whereas others cannot function without it.  Knowing now that the brain needs sleep to flush out wastes from an active day contributes even more to the other important reasons that sleep is very important to maintaining health. Don’t look at sleep as annoying, look at it as a way to nurture your best self and health, even as a way of extending your life!
  8. Join a tai ji or similar approach like yoga that focuses on teaching breathing techniques – Breath is vital to the health of everyone, in fact the Chinese word qi (氣) is closely tied to air and breath. Approaches to regulating and benefiting the breath can help us respond in better ways to stress and help us live fuller, healthier lives. Tilopa Tai Chi Qigong Center is a great local organization where you can learn taiji.  The Faith, Health & Wellness Center’s own Yoga Sanctuary in the Solomon’s Porch building offers a wide variety of yoga approaches to fit everyone’s needs.
  9. Keep laughter around youLaughter has been shown to have many short term and long term effects on the body, from deactivating the stress response and improving relaxation, to actually improving immunity, relieving pain, and improving overall mood. Find more ways and time to laugh in your life, and be healthier as a result!
  10. Massage acupuncture point Stomach 36 every day – Massaging this specific acupoint located just below the knees, is something suggested by Chinese medicine to help promote health and longevity. Contact the NH&FC to learn more about locating this point and adding it to your daily routine.
    St 36 in relation to the bones of the leg

    Stomach 36 on a real leg

Top 5 acupuncture websites

Top 5 acupuncture websites

I have many patients ask where to go online for more detailed information about how acupuncture works and for some further details on what is actually going on when acupuncturists choose points. Here are my top 5 acupuncture website picks for more information on the huge topic of acupuncture.

  1. Acufinder.com – This website is a great resource for finding practitioners across the country, but I especially like their informational resources for the public to research how specific conditions are treated and other more specific information on acupuncture.  There are also some great articles on herbal medicine.
  2. Aaaomonline.org– This patient resources section of the American Association of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine website lists a variety of links and other information, including links to current research studies being conducted by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
  3. Acupuncturetoday.com– Another resource for a basic introduction to acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as detailed information on acupuncture terms, including many articles on treatment of specific conditions and a comprehensive list of links to state organizations and information regarding acupuncture.
  4. ITMonline.org– ITM, based in Protland, Oregon,  was founded by and is directed by Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D.Here is an informative article, written by him, describing acupuncture and its effects on the body described in both the traditional Chinese medicine terms and from the modern Western medical approach.
  5. Acupuncture.org – This site lists studies and other information related to acupuncture treatment and its efficacy.  This tends to take a populist approach, but can be helpful in searching for specific information on what acupuncture can treat, through recent studies and many celebrity quotes.

This list may be helpful for further information, but please contact the Natural Health & Fertility Center directly at 612-871-2288 to learn more about how acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine may help you!

Patient Fusion patient reviews

Wonder how other patients feel about their experience at the Natural Health & Fertility Center? Here is a link to some reviews that are listed on the Patient Fusion review page for the Natural Health & Fertility Center (and/or Kingfield Community Acupuncture).

Click image for Patient Fusion patient review page


Happy year of the Sheep/Goat!

SheepAndGoat 2015B
Beautiful art by Eileen Connor, LAc


Hello, and Happy Year of the Sheep/Goat!  Now that we’re fully into this new year, I wanted to wish everyone a happy spring!

For those of you interested in more information on Chinese astrology, click this link to find out how this new year is predicted to shape up for you. I think it’s fun to see how these predictions are developed!

Call today for an appointment, whether for treatment of fertility challenges or other healthcare issues.



WebMD article on acupuncture and fertility

Here’s a helpful article on acupuncture and fertility I ran into online.  I hope it helps someone decide if TCM (acupuncture, herbal medicine, etc.), is a useful approach to help support their natural conception or IVF/assisted reproduction technique process!

IVF informational article

Here’s a link to a New York Post article with some information if you’re thinking about starting, or are already within, the IVF process.

Fertility clinics may take some offense to the article, but I think the face value of the information is informative and useful for those thinking about the IVF process.  In my experience, Twin Cities IVF clinics are very responsible and do their best to explain outcomes and the entire process to patients.  I am posting this article not to somehow implicate that IVF clinics locally do what is described in the article, but merely to highlight information that may not occur to those seeking help through IVF.

10 Things Fertility Clinics Won’t Tell You

REMEMBER: the Chinese medicine techniques of acupuncture, herbal medicine and dietary therapy may benefit those going through the IVF process.  In an article I will reference in another blog post, the increase in take home babies may be significant if acupuncture and IVF are combined.

To learn more, call to set up a free informational consultation – 612-871-2288

Traditional Chinese Medicine: More than just acupuncture

Acupuncturist & Practitioner of Chinese Medicine – same thing?

Not exactly. When I meet new people and they ask what I do, I tell them that I practice Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  Sometimes I get a blank stare back and explain more – “I use acupuncture, Chinese herbs, dietary therapies and other traditional Chinese medicine modalities to treat health issues.”  Once the word ‘acupuncture’ comes out, a wave of recognition usually crosses over their face and a common remark follows, “Oh I hate needles!”  But TCM is more than just acupuncture needles – and with some conditions, acupuncture may not be used at all.

Acupuncture needles are small!
Acupuncture needles are small!

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a broad and comprehensive medical system, whereas acupuncture is just one way to treat many issues (see this WHO report from 1996 for a list of health issues acupuncture has been proven to treat). A licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.) in Minnesota is licensed by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, and the description of an L.Ac.’s scope of practice from the 2013 Minnesota statutes (147B) follows:

147B, Subd. 3. Acupuncture practice.

“Acupuncture practice” means a comprehensive system of health care using Oriental medical theory and its unique methods of diagnosis and treatment. Its treatment techniques include the insertion of acupuncture needles through the skin and the use of other biophysical methods of acupuncture point stimulation, including the use of heat, Oriental massage techniques, electrical stimulation, herbal supplemental therapies, dietary guidelines, breathing techniques, and exercise based on Oriental medical principles.

Confusion often arises because anyone who practices the traditional medicines of Asia are labelled licensed acupuncturists and this can be a vague description of what a practitioner may or may not be trained to offer as treatment.  There are many “acupuncturists” – some whose training includes the wider scope of TCM and some whose training consists only of acupuncture. The latter group might include chiropractors, physical therapists and MDs whose training tapped into just a portion of the complete system of diagnosis and treatment involved in Chinese Medicine.  They may focus on a very specific area of acupuncture, like a chiropractor who uses acupuncture to supplement their pain practice.  These practitioners typically have no background in prescribing herbal therapies – something I incorporate into at least 75% of my treatment plans. I think it’s important to distinguish between practitioners who are licensed acupuncturists and those whose training includes other aspects of Chinese or other traditional Asian medicine disciplines. And as for the needles, they’re actually about as fine as a strand of hair and most only get inserted to a depth of about 1-2 mm! A lot of my patients report little to no sensation from needle insertion.

Links for further information about Chinese Medicine:

How to Thrive in the Modern World – NHFC’s own ebook describing the basics of Chinese medicine, how it works and what to expect from treatment.


A link to the World Health Organization report on acupuncture: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/pdf/s4926e/s4926e.pdf

Treatment of infertility with acupuncture

Here’s a link to a good article on the treatment of infertility with acupuncture.

In my experience: in most cases whenever possible, utilizing Chinese Medicine herbal formulas, in addition to acupuncture treatments, may further increase the chances of success in not only attaining pregnancy, but carrying the baby to full term.