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September Snooze

September Snooze

Curling up in the covers - Photo by Danny G By NIKKI FLECK L.Ac. NTP Do you know that every single mammal sleeps? Although mammals are more vulnerable during sleep, not one has yet evolved to eliminate their sleep requirements. This clue alone tells us sleep must be pretty dang important for survival and overall health. Getting an adequate amount of quality sleep each night is essential in supporting our bodies and brain. Most adults need 7-10 hours of sleep each night, but many fall short. Researchers have found that during sleep our brain consolidates memories, processes and files experiences of the day so we can make sense of our world. Sleep supports optimal cognition, attention and motor skills. (This is why driving sleep deprived can be even more reckless than driving intoxicated). While we sleep, our skin regenerates and our bodies absorb, process, and assimilate nutrients while detoxifying what is unwanted. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sleep is important to rebuilding Qi and blood while balancing yin and yang. We know that many bodily systems are negatively impacted by lack of sleep. Persistent lack of sleep can cause depression, weight gain, hormonal imbalance, irritability, immune deficiency and brain fog, for example. From a TCM perspective, disharmony of the heart can cause many types of sleep disturbances, but imbalance in other organ systems can also cause specific manifestations of insomnia. For example, tossing and turning, nightmares and waking up between 1:00-3:00 AM points to stress in the liver and gallbladder. Difficulty falling asleep and tiredness after eating is related to the spleen and stomach, while waking up frequently, night sweats and sore back and knees are typically caused by deficiency in the kidneys. In TCM we treat insomnia a bit differently with each patient. We work to address the root cause and unique symptoms each patient is experiencing with diverse herbal, acupuncture and food therapy prescriptions. [...]

Cupping Therapy

Cupping Therapy

Photo Caption: Glass cup used in fire cuppingPhoto Credit: Nikki Fleck By Nikki Fleck NTP, L.Ac. Therapeutic cupping has been around for a long time. It has been used in China for thousands of years and also in many other cultures around the globe. Cupping is the practice of creating reverse pressure or suction on the skin by using heat (fire) or manual suction with various cylindrical, hollow tools. Historically, some communities used bull horns, gourds or bamboo to cup but today tools like glass are more common. In my own practice today we use glass to allow for adequate disinfection of the cups. Cupping creates a vacuum-like action which pulls skin and muscle tissues up and away from the body which provides a delightful releasing and relaxing sensation for the patient. Many patients even fall asleep during treatment.Although many western trained providers offer cupping today, there are some notable differences when receiving cupping from practitioners properly trained from an East Asian medicine perspective. The foundational knowledge of meridians, acupuncture points and extensive anatomy and physiology training provides us with a diverse toolkit in treating an assortment of conditions. Patients often seek out cupping to address muscle pain and tightness. Many people are not aware that cupping has the potential to address issues like constipation, insomnia, the common cold, anxiety, nausea, asthma, muscle weakness and much more. It can even be useful in preventing illnesses like the flu. With skillful application, cupping has great potential to support healing and help prevent disease. Although acupuncture and cupping are great companions, cupping can be a great option for those who are needle averse.Cupping helps reduce pain and inflammation, increases circulation, calms the body and brain, promotes cellular repair and gifts the skin with healthy vibrancy. It can assist in reducing congestion that comes with allergies, bacterial and viral infections well [...]

Spring Nettle Recipe

Spring Nettle Recipe

By Paul Morley on Mobography By NIKKI FLECKOne of my favorite parts of spring is enjoying fresh, nutrient dense nettles. They seem intimidating and uninviting because when raw, they sting! It is wise to wear gloves when harvesting and destemming, but once exposed to heat through cooking the “stingers” melt away and you're left with tasty, nutritive greens to enjoy. Nettles are rich in iron, vitamin A, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Nettles are commonly used for supporting lactation, kidney health, iron deficiency, allergies as well as joint pain. You or your neighbors may have a patch of nettles in your yard without even knowing it. They can also be found wild in nature throughout the Twin Cities and surrounding areas in the spring and summer. Most coops sell them in the spring as well. If you cannot find nettles or do not want to purchase them, spinach, collards or any dark leafy green are delicious substitutions for this recipe.5 large eggs½ cup of goats cheese½ cup red bell pepper2 cups of raw nettles, spinach or chard¼ tsp Cumin1/2 tsp CorianderSalt and Pepper to taste1 yellow onion sliced3 cloves garlic mincedOptional: freshly chopped spring chives or cilantro -Preheat oven to 350º. -Caramelize onions in sauté pan on low (about 15-20 minutes), add garlic during the last 2 minutes. Turn off heat, add in greens to lightly cook with remaining heat, sprinkle spices and stir. -While onions are caramelizing, crack eggs into a mixing bowl, chop cheese and red bell pepper into desired size. Whisk into eggs, add salt and pepper to taste. Optional: mix in chives or cilantro or both!-Add ingredients from the sauté pan to the mixing bowl, stir and pour into a 12” buttered pie dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until eggs are cooked through. Serve with a side of fresh greens, toast or fruit. Recipe by Nikki Fleck L.Ac., NTP at Perennial Acupuncture and Companion Medicine Disclaimer: Information is for informational and educational purposes only. [...]

Tips To Get Through Allergy Season

Tips To Get Through Allergy Season

Spring Blooms - Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash By NIKKI FLECK Most of us are more than ready for spring, but for allergy sufferers the anticipation of spring is often accompanied with a slight sense of dread. It’s hard to look forward to the cyclical promise of a stuffy nose, itchy red eyes, headaches, fatigue and sneezes. Due to climate change, seasonal allergies have escalated in many places extending the duration and severity of symptoms. Feeling low grade ill for weeks on end isn’t fun for anyone, but there are some simple tips and lifestyle shifts that can make the season much more bearable…even enjoyable! When we are exposed to allergens, antibodies release chemicals like histamine which are often responsible for frustrating symptoms and all of the gunky mucus that comes along for the ride. Overconsuming foods that are high in histamine or mucus forming is not ideal when allergens are high. Examples include: milk, cheese, smoked meats, bananas, alcohol, tomatoes and ultra processed foods. It’s best to enjoy these foods in moderation or take a pause altogether. If you know you have a food sensitivity, allergy season is not the time to indulge as this can also exacerbate symptoms. Showering at night and washing your bedding weekly are good ideas to avoid pollen and dust building up in your sleep space (we spend a lot of time here). If you have animals, try to resist those nightly cuddles on your bed. Set a reminder to change your HVAC filters, vacuum and clean rugs regularly to keep your household pollen count low. Changing your clothes and washing your face after being outside for a while can also make a big difference. Salt water is a cheap and effective cleansing treatment that helps to break up mucus and clear sinus headaches. Doing a sinus rinse, gargling salt water or using a neti pot regularly are all great ideas during allergy season. Salt is great at breaking up mucus while clearing pollen and dust from the nasal passageways and back [...]

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