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acupuncture

why am I so exhausted?

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why am I so exhausted?

Ahhh…exhaustion. Somehow, this exhaustion just doesn't feel like normal “tiredness.” You're struggling through the day, constantly fighting a wall of tiredness with caffeine, sugar, and stress/adrenaline. There's an urge to rest or sleep even when you shouldn’t feel it, such as after a good night’s sleep or a relaxing day. It may actually be fatigue that you're experiencing.

The causes of fatigue can be from a variety of sources. Stress and overwork, chronic conditions, poor diet, severe illness, or childbirth to name a few. Often fatigue is a secondary symptom to some other problem. When I see a patient who complains of exhaustion, I often recognize that they have a depletion of “qi” (pronounced "chi") or energy. But, there can be multiple patterns and/or combination of patterns of fatigue for each person.

One of the most common patterns is qi deficiency of the Chinese spleen. Our body derives its fuel from air we breathe and the food we eat. In Chinese medicine, the spleen is responsible for raising the clear essence from our food and sending the turbid to the intestines. This process helps to produce energy, healthy digestion, and a clear mind. If this process is not working well, you may find that you have no energy along with many symptoms of poor digestion. Qi deficiency from the spleen is often a result of a poor diet.  It can further develop into dampness, which is essentially damp or phelgm in incorrect places (think excess weight, sinus congestion, etc.)

Qi Deficiency can also originate in the Chinese kidney. It is our ocean, our source. It stores the essential fluid (yin) and houses the original qi (yang) for our bodies. If you are suffering from yang depletion in the kidney, you feel like your “pilot light” is low or out; it feels like your body is in continual winter and you have a difficult time getting out of bed, warming up, and moving fluids appropriately in the body.  If you are suffering from qi and yin depletion in the kidney, your essential fluid is low. You feel exhausted and jittery at the same time. Nothing is getting properly nourished. You have restless, difficult sleep with dry skin and night sweats. Menopause, childbirth, trauma, long years of stressful work and life can all contribute to qi, yin, and yang deficiency of the kidneys.

Another common pattern is liver qi stagnation. With the stagnation or blockage, you often find weakness and deficiency. Your Chinese liver is responsible for the smooth flow of everything in your body. When it is not doing its job, your digestion and ability to manage stress and difficult emotion is affected.  This fatigue pattern is often intermittent. You could feel tired in the morning, fine in the afternoon, and exhausted at dinner time. It tends to be unpredictable and can often cause irritability and depression.

Struggling with fatigue is very real. I have experienced various levels of exhaustion throughout my life for many reasons. Most recently, I have battled adrenal fatigue (deficiency of the Chinese kidney) from years of a stressful job and graduate school (at an older age!).  When I turned to Chinese medicine to help, it made an important difference. If you are trying to keep your head above water, please contact me to learn more or setup an appointment to start treatment.

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Are you struggling with a skin condition?

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Are you struggling with a skin condition?

Having a skin condition is hard. I’ve been there! I developed cystic acne in my late 30s. Besides dealing with the actual condition, which can be painful, itchy, hot, and uncomfortable, it can be embarrassing. In today’s world, with external beauty being worshipped and revered (that is another post for another day), having a skin condition can leave the strongest of us feeling self-conscious, overwhelmed, and full of self-doubt. 

Until acupuncture, I did not find a single approach that eliminated the acne. It was a combination of internal and external approaches including: diet, supplements, topical care, and Chinese medicine. The addition of acupuncture and Chinese herbs noticeably sped up the healing process, essentially tipping the scales to my advantage. This is why it is important for me to share more about healing potential of Chinese medicine for skin conditions, including acne, psoriasis, eczema and others. 

It is important to understand that Chinese medicine diagnoses includes an in-depth analysis of the patient, which includes the current presentation of signs and symptoms, as well as the overall constitutional picture. We look at the color, shape, size and background of the lesions. We ask many questions too: Is the skin dry, shiny, wet, greasy? Where are the lesions located and how does that correspond to the acupuncture channels? What is the patient’s age? How is their digestion? How is their stress?

After performing an intake, we then decide upon a pattern(s) that fits the skin condition and overall health of the patient. There can be multiple patterns and combination of patterns for the same issue – like eczema, so it is often unique to each patient. Which means, so is the treatment. This is the valuable, beautiful, and healing element that Chinese medicine brings to the table. 

Acne doesn’t have an age. You can suffer as a teenager, college student or in your late 30s or 40s. Acne usually occurs when skin cells block the follicles and bacteria begin to grow, leading to inflammation and pimples. In Chinese medicine, we often diagnosis acne as excess heat and dampness trapped in the body. What is the source? We investigate. It could be poor digestion, stress, environmental factors, etc. As your practitioner, I commonly treat the acupuncture meridians of the lung, stomach and liver. My job is to help move, alleviate, and reduce future heat and dampness with needles and herbs.   

Psoriasis is thought to be a chronic autoimmune disorder that can cause rash flare-ups on the skin in patchy scales, pustules, or red spots. The skin under the lesions in this disease has a cell turnover rate that is 7 times faster than normal skin cells! It can be debilitating for some. Not only can this make someone highly self-conscious, but the irritation on the skin can be beyond uncomfortable. With acupuncture and herbs, I often treat heat and wind that is trapped in the blood.  Blood is broader than how we think in Western medical terms. In Chinese medicine, blood is nutritive and a material form of qi in the body. It is a key component is how we diagnosis and treat Psoriasis with acupuncture and herbs.  

Eczema is another condition that can literally take over your life. It often presents as dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. It is a common skin condition that is believed to be a Type 1 hypersensitivity response or allergic reaction to foods and/or elements within our environment. Other factors can trigger and make the condition worse, including hormones, infections, and even fabrics. In Chinese Medicine, eczema is treated form the inside out. It can be addressed with acupuncture and herbs both internally and externally and presents with many different patterns. More commonly, I find it is a combination of excess heat and dampness (one more than the other) with the addition of wind. The patient can also have significant digestive issues that need to be addressed not only through Chinese medicine, but also diet and nutrition.    

If you are suffering from a skin condition, I encourage you to give Chinese Medicine a try! I really believe it can make a difference. I would love an opportunity to visit with you about how acupuncture and herbs can help you.  Please contact me to learn more or setup an appointment to start treatment.    

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