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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 [...]

Cultural Wellness Center June ’22

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 [...]

Nourish Your Liver

Nourish Your Liver

By NIKKI FLECK Green garden harvest ready to support the liver (photo by Nikki Fleck)     As we transition towards spring, you may have noticed your body waking earlier, a few more birds chirping, your brain daydreaming of beautifully bold colored vegetables from the farmers market…subtle energies awakening again. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Perspective spring is related to the liver, or wood element. This Five Element perspective provides us with a special lens to view the seasons. This lens provides insight and wisdom on how to care for our bodies and brains throughout the ever shifting seasons. Our body's requirements in August are quite different from January for example.    In March we enter liver season which is all about waking up, expanding, cleansing, visioning the future and flowing freely. It relates to the color green and being confident and clear within the choices we make while being flexible as plans often shift.    The liver has many responsibilities from both a western medical and eastern medicine perspective. In TCM the liver plays an important role in emotional health, regulating menstruation, supporting the eyes, tendons, hair and nails. The health of the liver ensures all of the other organs are working properly and assists in protecting us against infections like the common cold. When the liver is strong and functioning properly we are much better equipped at receiving what comes our way. It’s about learning how to stay soft, open, present, even within physical pain or emotional discomfort. Signs that the liver may be stuck or not functioning optimally (in TCM)  include: irritability, depression, menstrual irregularities and mood swings. Liver disharmony may also cause sluggishness, swollen eyes or throat, headaches, chronic stiffness and difficulty making decisions.  During liver season our bodies appreciate a higher ratio of plant based foods, herbs and [...]

Peace Housing Community: Standing Still

Peace Housing Community: Standing Still

By MARTI MALTBY I spent last week visiting my parents in Jasper, a small town in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. It was the first time since my 11 year old twins were born that I have been away from them for more than two days consecutively. It was also the first time in over 20 years that I spent time with my parents without other family around. My time with them reminded me of some of life’s simple truths. Marti with his parents, Margaret and Roger I visited them because my dad has been declining for several years, both physically and mentally. I wanted to see how he was doing for myself, and to let the rest of my family know what I saw. The experience was bittersweet, as I got to spend more quality time with my parents than I have in all of the last two decades, while at the same time realizing I will probably never get to have another good in person conversation with my dad. He will simply be too far gone by the time we get together again. One of the joys of the trip was that we had no plans for what we wanted to do. We were content to sit around together if we wanted, or go for a drive, or watch a television show together, or … whatever. In the midst of a pandemic and facing the coming winter in a job where I watch homeless and marginalized adults try to keep it together in the face of horrible circumstances, my time with my parents helped me refocus. When we face crisis, we often fall back on the old rallying cry, “Don’t just stand there! Do something!” During the pandemic, almost everyone had ideas of what we should do. It was a time for action, we thought. But as a wise friend once told me, sometimes it is better to yell, “Don’t just do something! Stand there!” Sometimes it is better to take time to appreciate what is still working, to enjoy the moment with those around us, and to gather ourselves for what lies ahead. The problems will still be there, and sometimes they will have gotten worse while we were resting, but we will [...]

Safer Way to Travel

Safer Way to Travel

Safer Ways to Celebrate Holidays By the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Holiday traditions are important for families and children. There are several ways to enjoy holiday traditions and protect your health. Because many generations tend to gather to celebrate holidays, the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible. Here are safer ways to celebrate the holidays: Generally: Protect those not yet eligible for vaccination such as young children by getting yourself and other eligible people around them vaccinated.Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated.Even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission.Outdoors is safer than indoors. Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering.Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19. If you are considering traveling for a holiday or event, visit CDC’s Travel page to help you decide what is best for you and your family. CDC still recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated. If you are traveling with children who cannot get vaccinated at this time, follow recommendations for people who are not fully vaccinated and choose the safer travel options described below.If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC’s domestic travel or international travel recommendations for unvaccinated people.If you will be traveling in a group or family with unvaccinated people, choose safer travel options.Everyone, even people who are fully vaccinated, is required to wear a mask on public transportation and follow international travel recommendations. Special [...]

Red Lake and NACC Set to Open New Health Care Center

Red Lake and NACC Set to Open New Health Care Center

Mino Bimaadiziwin Wellness Clinic offers a much-needed entry-point to healthcare By TINA MONJE Mino Bimaadiziwin, the new RedLake Nation apartment building. In September of 2020, Red Lake Nation and their affordable housing nonprofit partner, CommonBond Communities, began taking applications for their new Native-centered apartment building, Mino Bimaadiziwin. Today, most of the units are occupied, and they hope to have the building full by late August.  In partnership with Native American Community Clinic (NACC), Red Lake Nation is also gearing up to open the Mino Bimaadiziwin Wellness Center, an onsite health clinic.  Dr. Laurelle Myhra, PhD, LMFT, is an enrolled member of Red Lake Nation, and the new clinic”™s director. According to Myhra, this project, arguably the first of its kind in the nation, has been made possible by the innovative Indigenous leaders who are seated at the planning table. The culmination of “a lot of indigenous people carrying indigenous knowledge and ancestry,” she says, has resulted in this new, one-of-a-kind avenue, through which residents may access housing and healthcare.  This project comes after years of increasing houselessness within the community, and years of community organizing and development among Minnesota tribal leaders, Indigenous outreach workers, and community members at large. Construction began in the fall of 2019, and moved rapidly through the winter, on a site familiar to the population for whom this development is built to serve. At this site, in December of 2018, Simpson Housing opened the Navigation Center. By the guidance of local Native leadership groups, including Red Lake Nation, American Indian Community Development Center (AICDC) and Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors (MUID), this temporary shelter was built in response to the Franklin/Hiawatha encampment, known as the Wall of Forgotten Natives, which quickly grew through the spring and summer of [...]

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