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10 Reasons to Try Acupuncture
by Tom Ingegno | Feb 24, 2015

Did you know that more than three million adults visit an acupuncturist annually, according to the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine? Acupuncture was first introduced to Western Medicine in the 1600s and today, more than 3,000 U.S. physicians integrate the therapy into their clinical practices.

Aside from being recognized by the World Health Organization as a practice that has the ability to treat over 40 different common issues including gastrointestinal disorders, joint and nervous systems, chronic pain, circulatory disorders, anxiety, depression and more, here are the top ten reasons to try Acupuncture today!

1) Acupuncturists view each person holistically and individually.
No two people are alike. Every cell in that person's body is interconnected to others and is functioning as part of an integrated whole. In other words, acupuncture treats the whole person, not just parts and pieces. The root causes of a symptom that two people are experiencing may be completely different. During the initial exam, a full health history is taken. Questions are asked regarding overall health and symptoms, lifestyle choices, exercise, nutrition, career paths, and other life factors. All aspects of the patient are considered when putting together an effective treatment plan.
2) Acupuncture helps to re-awaken and energize the self-healing capacity of the body.
An acupuncturist treats more than symptoms and signs. Acupuncture activates the body’s natural healing potential by treating the root causes that have led to the problem or disease. Research shows that acupuncture triggers the body’s own mechanisms for manufacturing and releasing its own pain relieving chemicals. These chemicals are endorphins and dopamines, opioid-like compounds that produce the feeling of well-being and reduce pain. The body knows the exact dose that is needed at the right time. It is like a perfect pharmacy that can produce any “medication” needed for healing without any unwanted side effects!
3) Acupuncture is an effective preventative medicine with no negative side-effects, only positive ones.
Acupuncture is a completely natural therapy and works directly with the body's natural processes, not against them. No drugs are ever used. Invasive procedures and drug therapies used in Western treatment may produce undesirable side effects and accumulated toxicity in the body. Acupuncture does not have these side effects. In fact, feeling great is the most commonly reported result.
4) Acupuncture helps to support and strengthen the immune system.
The immune system works throughout our body to prevent and fight illnesses. Our digestive tract, skin, and lymphatic system are three important parts of the immune system. The immune system can be weakened at times by disease and/or certain treatments and medications. Lifestyle contributors such as poor diet, stress, and poor self care can also negatively impact the immune system. The goal of acupuncture is to find and treat the underlying imbalances that are affecting the flow of Qi (pronounced “chee”), our vital energy or power, and the immune system by addressing the root causes. Acupuncture can help you regain balance and improve your overall health.
5) Acupuncture effectively assists with recovery from drug, alcohol and smoking addictions.
With the help of acupuncture, recovery from drug, alcohol and smoking addictions can be made easier. Stress, anxiety and depression are some of the largest stumbling blocks in quitting addictive habits and behaviors. Acupuncture is successful at calming and relaxing the mind, reducing anxiety and alleviating depressive feelings.
6) Acupuncture is recognized by well-known and leading national and international health organizations*.
The National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization are among those organizations who recognize that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of over 50 western medical diseases, disorders and symptoms including pain, infertility, allergies, depression/anxiety, migraines, digestive issues, arthritis, fibromyalgia and more.
7) Acupuncture is safe and painless.
When practiced by a qualified practitioner, acupuncture is safe. In 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified acupuncture needles as medical instruments, assuring their safety and effectiveness. The needles are one-time use only and are sterile and do not carry any risk of infection. Acupuncture needles are about ten times smaller in size than an average hypodermic needle, approximately the size of a cat’s whisker, and they are very flexible. They don’t hurt in the way that hypodermic needles do, however a slight sensation may be experienced as the acupuncture needle is inserted.
8) Acupuncture treatment is an excellent stress-relief therapy.
Along with treating physical and emotional symptoms and signs associated with stress, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) addresses the root cause(s) of the problem. Qi is the vital energy or power that animates and supports the functions of the body. It flows through specific pathways, called meridians, and provides nourishment for the entire body. When Qi becomes “blocked” or the supply is inadequate, the body and organ systems become “stressed out” and our health is then compromised. With acupuncture and TCM, the practitioner’s job is to support and restore the integrity of the various organs affected and depleted by the stress response, along with evaluating the quality and quantity of Qi.
9) Acupuncture is an affordable alternative.
Compared to some expensive Western medical therapies, treatments and medications, acupuncture is affordable and effective and it may help you avoid further medical expenses and complications down the road when it is used as a primary treatment plan or an adjunct therapy. Acupuncture can also help you make lifestyle changes and prevent future illness.
10) Acupuncture works!
Acupuncture has been used to successfully treat millions of people over the past 3,000 years. It is an effective form of medical treatment that has evolved into a complete holistic health care system. Practitioners of acupuncture and Chinese medicine have used this noninvasive treatment to help many become well and stay well. As the old adage goes, “there is nothing to fear, but fear itself”! Acupuncture works and this safe, natural, drug-free way of whole body healing is worth a try!

* National Institutes of Health (NIH), World Health Organization (WHO), National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM)


from an Oriental medical perspective

by Debra Cahill, DOM, LAc

What does this mean to you? It means tapping into your body's innate knowledge and choosing food consciously, as if it can heal or hurt you.

Fresh and local vs. Organic
If you have already made the choice not to eat commercially grown produce from your big chain supermarket, then your choice generally comes down to fresh and local vs. organic. For those who are fortunate enough to grow your own food, that is the best option of all. My theory, which is supported by other alternative sources, is that those who have chronic diseases such as cancer, auto-immune disorders or hyper-allergic reactions would do best to choose organically grown foods. If organic is not available, do not eat the food. Also it becomes very important to avoid all commercially processed foods with any chemical, additive or preservative content. The general rule is the more compromised the immune system the more we need to provide the highest quality food, with the highest nutritive value, and the least toxicity. Conversely, this does NOT mean that those who are relatively healthy need to follow these guidelines as strictly.

BALANCE is the key

If you have difficulty finding organic foods, or cannot afford all organic, then local and fresh trumps organically grown. When you buy from your local farmers market, that food has a much higher nutritive value due to freshness, the purchase supports your local farmer, and provides you the nutrition of the landscape nearest where you live. The small scale farmers, generally are using less extreme methods of fertilization and pest control because if they are not growing in a large scale monoculture environment they do not need as much of either fertilizer or pest control. You can talk to the farmers at the market, find out what methods they use. They may actually be growing organically but not qualify for the designation, due to some unmet requirement.

There is a list of fruits and vegetables, referred to as the "Dirty Dozen" that are generally heavily sprayed for pests, may be more porous thus absorb and retain more toxin, or may have been hybridized long term and are not digested well by our bodies. These are important to buy organic; strawerries, apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, cucumbers, grapes, lettuce, peaches, pears, spinach, nectarines, blueberries, and potatoes. I would add tomatoes to this list. Genetically modified varieties and some heavily hybridized varieties have actually become the plant kingdom version of immune suppressed. These plants do not resist any adverse conditions very well, with the exception of the one condition they may have been bred to resistance. This is not the energetic that you want to take into your body.

Many GMO (genetically modified organism) varieties do more damage than good in our bodies and should be avoided. Those foods are; soy, wheat, corn peanuts, white potatoes, tomatoes, cottonseed and canola oils. These crops have so contaminated other similar non-gmo crops that it is questionable as to whether we can find a true non-gmo source in the US. Just avoid them. You can find good substitutions for all of them if you are willing to consider changing your habits. Coincidentally, these foods are also the most common food allergens. Our bodies are essentially reacting to these gmo varieties as if they are foreign substances, they illicit an allergic reaction, they are undigestible and in some cases cause significant damage. Listen to your body not to the mainstream media. Your body has the innate knowledge of what it needs. The cleaner your diet becomes the clearer the messages from your body become.

Every individual has different nutritional needs, not everyone benefits from the same dietary protocol. Some foods may be "pure gold" in your body. They may not have that same enhanced health effect for everyone. That is why fad diets, foods, supplements work for only some people, some of the time. This is the key difference between looking at food from the Western concept of healthy diet and the Oriental concept of food as medicine. Food choices need to be fluid and changing with the needs of the body, as the body transforms, the foods one consumes changes to keep the balance.

Eating for health or the practice of using food as medicine is a dynamic process that requires listening to your body's needs, gaining the knowledge to fill those needs and making choices based on health, not flavor or convenience.

So if one day you arise to realize you are feeling a cold or flu coming on, do you still eat that high protein breakfast that your current dietary protocol requires, go for your morning run, then lift an hour before work, just because that is your daily protocol and your trainer gave you this 6 week program to 6 pack abs? Even if all of those practices were healthy yesterday, it is not necessarily today. You would need to adjust for your body's optimum health, get more rest, take your herbs, drink more fluids, eat much lighter or not at all if the body is telling you, "No, I am trying to get rid of this virus. Don't distract me." If you have a chronic disease, you may need to change your habits for years or the rest of your life and adjust constantly as the body changes. If you are recovering from a pregnancy and delivery, with the constant demands of a nursing child, you must adjust your lifestyle, diet, sleep, everything to heal yourself and maintain good health. In China, when a woman gives birth the whole family helps the new mom to rest. They prepare special medicinal foods for her, dote on her, as well as the baby. There it is understood that the depletion a woman experiences with pregnancy and childbirth must be healed or she may go on to develop chronic imbalances and disease as a result. In the US, women often go back to work as soon as possible, are isolated from their families and have no concept of how to replenish themselves.

The Oriental diagnostic system provides direction as to how an individual should eat for their particular "constitution". Your practitioner can help you with a proper diagnosis and by suggesting foods that are the best for you, as well as those that you should avoid to keep a balanced diet. Foods and herbal medicinals are chosen for their thermal qualities and their known actions in the body. They are combined to balance one another and your constitutional tendencies.

We all have busy lifestyles and these dietary changes need to fit into our busy schedules in order to work on a daily basis. Creating healthy smoothies with combinations of  fruits and vegetables is one way to acheive this. You will be getting a full day's supply of fresh fruits and veggies in one meal. The recipes are altered to achieve different medicinal actions and of course can be altered further for the individual.

Here is one delicious example, "Yummy Smoothie of the Day"
In a standard blender add 2 cups of filtered or distilled water. Then start blending these items, a few chunks at a time, adding more water as needed. In the list below you will see the medicinal actions listed next to the item in this order; thermal property, flavor, actions
1/2 beet - neutral, sweet/bitter, harmonizes digestion, cardiovascular health, anti-cancer
1/2 apple - neutral, sweet/sour, creates body fluids, calming, relieves summer heat
1/2 avocado - neutral, neutral/sweet, lowers cholestrol, reverse atheriosclerosis, liver detox
1/2 lime - cool, sour, balances blood sugar, soothes liver, calming, expels heat
2 apricots - neutral/warm, sweet/sour, create body fluids, quenches thirst
1 carrot - neutral, sweet, nourishes digestive function, improves all heart, lung, eye, colon disorders
1" fresh ginger root - warm, acrid, moves stagnation, relieves nausea, releases the exterior, promotes digestion
2 kale leaves - neutral/warm, acrid/sweet, balances spleen and stomach
1 T. maca pwd. - warm, sweet, adaptogenic, hormone balancing, immune booster
Blend thoroughly, chew as you drink to stimulate digestive juices and enzymes and enjoy!


How To Tap Into Your Self-Healing Superpowers

by Lissa Rankin April 16, 2012

As I described in my personal health journey, I was once a doctor suffering from a wide array of health conditions before I finally woke up to the fact that the root causes of my illnesses were more emotional than biochemical, and that the only way I was going to get well was to treat the emotional, psychological, and spiritual sickness that was manifesting as physical symptoms in my body.

After leaving medicine to spend time healing myself, my body was responding to the treatment the wise, knowing part of me I call my Inner Pilot Light prescribed, but at what price? We were running out of money, I still had no plan, and ever since I left my job, something deep and important was missing from my life. I realized that you can quit your job but you can’t quit your calling. I had been called to medicine at a very young age, the way some are called to the priesthood.

Medicine is a spiritual practice – you practice medicine. You don’t give it or deliver it. You practice it, like you practice yoga or meditation, like you’ll never fully master it. Medicine is about love, about God. Doctors are here to be vessels for Divine love, to use our hands to touch the spirits that live in human bodies. I have been a healer since I was 7 years old, and as my body grew stronger and my heart healed, my soul yearned to get back to my life’s work. I finally realized I had to go back, even though it took me two more years to find my way back to medicine in a way that wouldn’t make me sick.

I wound up working at an integrative medicine center in Marin County, California, where our patients were the most health-conscious people I’ve ever had the pleasure to treat.  These people were the proverbial choir. They drank their green juice every day, they had personal trainers, they slept eight hours a night, they took 20 supplements, and they spent a fortune on their health care. They did everything “right,” but they were sicker than ever.

I was baffled. Nothing they taught me in medical school prepared me to take care of patients like these.

So I started asking my patients “What does your body need in order to heal?”

At first, I thought they’d give me treatment intuition, things like “I think I’ll try the 5-HTP supplement instead of the Prozac” or “I think I’ll try changing my diet instead of taking that pill” – and sometimes that’s what they’d say. But more often than not, they answered me with:

I need to leave my husband. I need to quit my job. I need to move to Santa Fe. I need to put my mother in a nursing home.

When my patients listened to their intuition and had the guts to follow through on what they prescribed for themselves, seemingly incurable diseases sometimes disappeared.

I was in awe. These patients weren’t responding to conventional medical treatment. They were healing themselves in ways I couldn’t explain. That’s when I discovered a database compiled by the Institute of the Noetic Sciences, which is called the Spontaneous Remission Project. This database compiled more than 3,500 case reports from the medical literature of patients with seemingly incurable diseases that got better – stage 4 cancers that disappeared, HIV + patients that became HIV-, people with diabetes or high blood pressure or thyroid disease whose disease went away, even a patient with a gunshot wound to the head who refused treatment and got better.

Call these miracles or call them inspiring examples of self-healing. I was riveted.

That’s when I got really curious about exactly what makes a person healthy, and what predisposes them to illness. To find my answers, I dug deep into the scientific literature.

What I discovered blew me away. The research proves – without a doubt – that without even being intentional about it, you can heal yourself of about 18-75% of them. We call it the placebo effect, when patients in clinical trials are given sugar pills or even fake surgery, and the simple belief that they are getting the real treatment results in cure.

But from my own experience, I suspected that the ability to heal yourself goes deeper than some sugar pill. So I dug deeper into the medical literature, and what I discovered is that for the body to be healthy, you need to be healthy in all aspects of your life:

You need:


And of course, not to be completely ignored (biochemistry does still matter!) YOU NEED TO CARE FOR THE BIOCHEMISTRY OF YOUR BODY with diet, exercise, sleep, addiction avoidance, and the traditional “healthy” behaviors.

These expanded categories of what makes a person healthy and whole are now the categories I blog about at, the website I founded where people in need of healing – and those who serve them – learn how to become healthier in all aspects of life.

What I learned through my exploration into the scientific data led me to write my next book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013).  What I learned led me to create a new wellness model, inspired by the image of cairns, those balanced stacked stones you see marking beaches and sacred landmarks.

I’m a professional artist, so I love the sculpture of cairns, but what I especially love about cairns is that they are all interdependent on each other. If one stone in the cairn is out of balance, the whole thing topples over, with the stone on top usually being the first to fall.

That’s how I think of the body. The body is the most precarious, the most fragile, the most susceptible to imbalances in the rest of your life.


As I described in a popular TEDx talk, the Whole Health Cairn is built upon the firm foundation of your Inner Pilot Light, with all the facets of what makes you whole and healthy balanced upon it in a way that is deeply true for you. Wrapped around the Whole Health Cairn is the Healing Bubble of Love, Pleasure, Gratitude, and Service, which help balance all the stones in the cairn.

The Whole Health Cairn is both a diagnostic tool and a tool for guiding treatment. You can use it to assess your life and diagnose the root cause of your illness, so you can write The Prescription for yourself the way I did. (For a free video training about the Whole Health Cairn, sign up here).

When you think about your health in this way, you’ll realize that health is primarily an inside job. The Prescription for living a wholly healthy life must come from you. Nobody can diagnose the real reason you’re sick or prescribe exactly the right treatment better than you.

I’m not suggesting that your illness doesn’t have a biochemical component. But I am suggesting that illness is rarely purely biochemical, and as such, purely biochemical treatment rarely leads to cure when emotional, psychological, and spiritual factors that contribute to illness are left untreated.

What Can You Do To Optimize Your Health?

What’s out of balance in your Whole Health Cairn? What might be contributing to any physical symptoms you experience? What is your body trying to tell you?

Try inviting your body to write you a letter. (Dear You, Love, your headache). Write back. Have a conversation. What does your body want you to know?

Pay attention when your body speaks in whispers. Please darling, don’t wait until your body starts to yell.

Listening to whispers,

Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of, Pink Medicine Revolutionary, motivational speaker, and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.


Cancer patients try alternative treatments

Published On: Mar 19 2012 12:26:38 PM PDT, By Lexi Nisita, Contributing writer

For women facing breast cancer, the diagnosis is just the first item on a long list of things you never want to hear.

Radiation therapy can cause fatigue, hair loss, and even lung problems. Chemotherapy is notorious for sometimes severe side effects like nausea, extreme fatigue and neuropathy. While most women are more than willing to bear these burdens for a chance at beating breast cancer, these side effects, along with the inevitable emotional stress, have given rise to another branch of cancer treatment: alternative medicine.

Today, more and more women are turning to alternative treatments for breast cancer, such as acupuncture, mind-body therapies and traditional Chinese medicine. These treatments, which often have roots in Eastern medicine, are generally used as complementary, or additional, treatments along with conventional methods such as surgery and chemotherapy. They can help combat both the emotional and physical side effects of breast cancer treatment, and many women maintain that alternative treatments were a vital lifeline during their struggle with the disease.

According to Dr. Lorenzo Cohen, a professor and Director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, "There's a lot of research showing that mind-body programs, whether it's meditation, yoga or support groups, can be very useful at helping to manage side effects of the disease and of some of the Western treatments." Among the greatest benefits of movement-based and mind-body therapy is stress reduction. Dr. Cohen explains that "there's some indication from research that these types of programs will actually have an influence on biological outcomes, such as stress hormones … we know that stress can be quite damaging, and doing something to help alleviate that stress can be very useful."

The crown jewel of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, is a popular and effective therapy for many cancer patients. Andrea Busch, a 31-year-old breast cancer survivor from St. Paul, Minn., chose to make acupuncture a prominent feature of her treatment process. For Andrea, as for many women, acupuncture -- although it can help with the physical side effects of chemotherapy and radiation like nausea, fatigue and irregular bowel movements – can provide a welcomed calm spell to a mind that is already stressed out by the day-to-day routine. At the time of diagnosis, Andrea said her "honest reaction was 'I don't have time for this.' I was already seeing somebody for acupuncture; it was super helpful in calming my nerves. Later, I started taking a meditation class and that really helped with all the thoughts that run through your head."

A long-time subscriber to the benefits of alternative and natural medicines, Andrea was at first inclined to refuse chemotherapy all together. Before her diagnosis, she refrained from taking even aspirin for a headache, and was extremely uncomfortable with the idea of "toxins going through my body." However, with the help of a support group, she "realized that I had to work on my attitude towards Western medicine. According to my doctors, I had to try everything in my possible control, so I did." In Andrea's case, that included a wide array of complementary therapies and supplements recommended by a naturopath.

Certain mind-body therapies include what is called guided imagery. Dr. Cohen, who works on a daily basis with this and other complementary treatments, said "guided imagery can take a number of different forms, but the most common form is to help a patient get into a relaxed state, an environment that is warm and comfortable … perhaps a place from childhood or a beach. The most important part is that it engages all the senses and relaxes. There's no question that your heart rate and blood pressure will go down."

The soothing effects of mind-body imagery and movement therapies can also help patients deal with what is casually referred to as "chemo-brain," a symptom of chemotherapy that blankets a patient's brain in a sort of fog, slowing down cognitive functions and making it difficult to concentrate, perform simple or multiple tasks, and remember words, names, and dates. Although there is not yet conclusive evidence that alternative therapies could help improve cognitive function, Dr. Cohen believes that "there's reason to think that meditation could actually help the specific brain regions that have been damaged by chemotherapy, and there is evidence that it improves quality of life and sleep," a vital part of regaining normal brain function.

While many people may be skeptical about the benefits of natural and non-Western medicines, most doctors will strongly recommend patients engage in complementary treatments to help cope with the many burdens, biological and emotional, of breast cancer.

Andrea, currently cancer-free, believes now more than ever that there exists a strong connection between her mind and her body. During chemotherapy, she and a friend used the mental imagery of tiny firefighters "sweeping away the cancer." Today, she says, "I imagine they're just picking up the last crumbs."

Distributed by Internet Broadcasting. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.  In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.

Telehealth and Herbal Consultations

All of my current patients may reach me for telehealth consultations and herbal refills at the number listed below.

I am providing telehealth consultations for ALL of your health questions. There are many methods which may provide you with health assistance. Herbs, nutrition, lifestyle counseling, self care methods, to name a few. I will mail supplies to you as appropriate for your concern. 

Those who wish to schedule telehealth consultations, go to the Appointments page on this website. Please send me your contact information. I will contact you asap. I will then add you to the email list for future announcements.


​Dr. Debra Cahill, DOM, LAc
Doctor of Oriental Medicine
Licensed Acupuncturist





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