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Blue Heron Acupuncture & Apothecary

Providing Classical Chinese Medicine to Charleston, SC

Chinese Medicine for Little Ones

Yes, children benefit from Chinese medicine, too!

We love seeing little ones in our office, and many of them are happy to receive acupuncture.  But don’t worry - for those who are scared of needles, we employ other techniques, such as acupressure, massage, tuning fork, essential oils, cupping, gua sha and herbs.  We are often tickled to see children embrace the responsibility for their care  - organizing and keeping track of their own essential oil usage and herbal intake.  And what a great time to begin talking with them about what it means to take care of themselves and find balance and joy in life!

Chinese Medicine Pediatric Principles
1. We find treating babies, children and youth to be inspiring and illuminating because they typically improve very quickly.  Young people embody yang energy - they have more heat and energy, they grow quickly, and their symptoms can change rapidly.  This yang nature enables them to recover speedily, often in one or two treatments. Certain disorders will take a longer course of treatment, but you and your child should notice a change and improvement after the first one or two sessions.

At the same time, this abundance of yang can mean extra heat in your child’s body. Not all children run hot, but for those who do, treatment often involves clearing heat. Excess heat can also stir wind (symptoms that come and go or change rapidly, itching).
What We Treat: rashes, hives, allergies, fever, night terrors, hyperactivity, headaches, stiff neck and shoulders, teething and growing pains

2. This excess yang consequently equates to a deficiency of yin, the quiet, cooling, moistening, introspective, still aspect of life. By calming excess yang and nourishing deficient yin, we help your child find balance in health and life. 
What We Treat: insomnia, rashes, difficulty focusing, hyperactivity

3. Babies and children have innately weak Spleen qi. In Chinese medicine, the Spleen plays a different role from that in Western medicine. The Spleen is the umbrella for the digestive system and includes the pancreas. We say the Spleen transforms and transports fluids, relating to the enzymes that begin the process of breaking down foods and the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. It is the yin organ paired with the Stomach (yang). It takes awhile for children’s digestive systems to mature, and the typical Western diet often inadvertently contributes to this delay via the consumption of cold and raw foods, sugar and dairy.

The immune system begins in the gut in both Chinese and Western medicine. (We love seeing the innumerable times when these systems coincide!) A weak digestive system manifests with immune system as well as digestive issues.

The Spleen produces blood in Chinese medicine terms. If the Spleen is deficient, the blood may become deficient, which can cause physical as well as emotional symptoms. Issues of the blood can additionally impact hormones and menstruation.

Lastly, psychoemotionally, the Spleen is responsible for the intellect and cognition as well as one’s ability to contain emotions. Deficiency of the Spleen can manifest as getting caught up in circular thinking (going over and over things in one’s mind), worry (particularly about one’s family), and trouble feeling grounded or centered.
What We Treat: digestive upset, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, colds and flus, immune system weakness or hyperactivity, asthma, allergies, eczema, ear infections, headaches, insomnia, emotional upset, learning disabilities

What to Expect

A typical first treatment for a child is similar to one for an adult in that we go over your child’s health history and current symptoms, look at his or her tongue, take the pulse and sometimes do a little palpation.  We then use acupuncture, acupressure, tuning fork or essential oils on several points on your child.  If applicable, we will put together an herbal or essential oil formula for you to continue the treatment principles at home. We usually like to see kids 2-3 times, about a week apart, and then reassess.  

We take things at a pace that is comfortable for you and your child.  Scaring someone away from acupuncture is certainly not in our interest!  Most children find acupuncture (or non-needle techniques) calming and enjoyable - they often love telling their friends and classmates about it!

Posted 3 days ago
<p>FRESH GREEN CURRY</p><p>

Light. Colorful. Vibrant. This curry sauce from our friend, Holistic Health Coach <a href="http://www.stephanieburgcoaching.com" target="_blank">Stephanie Burg</a>, is quick, easy to make, and adaptable, making it a perfect dish for summer.</p><p>Summer calls for short cooking times at high temps. This sauce is made by speedily blending the ingredients, then simmering them for a few minutes - a great way to keep them a beautiful, bright green. In addition to looking lovely, this dish will keep your body feeling light and energized so you can enjoy the full days of this hot season. Cooking it lightly, rather than going raw, provides support for your Spleen (think digestive system in Chinese medicine terms). That means less water retention (bloating), better weight management and more energy. The addition of culinary spices, especially the focus of this dish, cilantro, provides additional revving up for your Spleen.<br/><br/>You have lots of options for using this sauce. We especially like to pair it with chicken, cashews, and an abundance of produce, such as green beans, carrots, red cabbage and broccoli.</p><p>Here’s Stephanie’s <a href="http://www.stephanieburgcoaching.com/2017/03/21/energize-your-body-and-lighten-up-with-this/" target="_blank">recipe</a>!</p><h2>Fresh Green Curry Sauce</h2><p>A beloved recipe from my online group cleanses, this Fresh Green Curry Sauce is a favorite on my weekly dinner circuit. Using fresh herbs & veggies, each perfect to gently warm the body and aid in it’s natural detoxification process, this dish is ideal for spring. </p><p>1 whole bunch cilantro, including stems<br/>1 small onion, quartered<br/>4-5 cloves garlic<br/>1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded (optional)<br/>1-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled<br/>1 lime, juiced<br/>1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste<br/>½ cup water<br/>1 can full fat coconut milk</p><p>Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a small pot and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, uncovered.</p><h2>Ideas for using the sauce:</h2><p>• Combine 1-2 lbs. of cooked sliced chicken thighs and 4 cups cooked brown rice, mix with sauce and heat through</p><p>• Quickly sauté a variety of fresh veggies and then pour the sauce over them and simmer until cooked but still crisp.</p><p>• Sauté chunks of fish, such as halibut, and spinach. Serve the sauce over the fish and spinach on a bed of rice or quinoa.</p><p>• Simmer a fillet of salmon (skin removed) in the sauce.</p><p>• Sauté cubed tofu, onions, zucchini, carrots, snow peas and then add to the simmering sauce. Serve over bean thread noodles, rice, or quinoa.</p><p>• Sauté chunks of chicken breast and your favorite, seasonal veggies then add the sauce and simmer until cooked. Garnish with thinly sliced basil leaves.</p>

FRESH GREEN CURRY

Light. Colorful. Vibrant. This curry sauce from our friend, Holistic Health Coach Stephanie Burg, is quick, easy to make, and adaptable, making it a perfect dish for summer.

Summer calls for short cooking times at high temps. This sauce is made by speedily blending the ingredients, then simmering them for a few minutes - a great way to keep them a beautiful, bright green. In addition to looking lovely, this dish will keep your body feeling light and energized so you can enjoy the full days of this hot season. Cooking it lightly, rather than going raw, provides support for your Spleen (think digestive system in Chinese medicine terms). That means less water retention (bloating), better weight management and more energy. The addition of culinary spices, especially the focus of this dish, cilantro, provides additional revving up for your Spleen.

You have lots of options for using this sauce. We especially like to pair it with chicken, cashews, and an abundance of produce, such as green beans, carrots, red cabbage and broccoli.

Here’s Stephanie’s recipe!

Fresh Green Curry Sauce

A beloved recipe from my online group cleanses, this Fresh Green Curry Sauce is a favorite on my weekly dinner circuit. Using fresh herbs & veggies, each perfect to gently warm the body and aid in it’s natural detoxification process, this dish is ideal for spring.

1 whole bunch cilantro, including stems
1 small onion, quartered
4-5 cloves garlic
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded (optional)
1-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
½ cup water
1 can full fat coconut milk

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a small pot and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, uncovered.

Ideas for using the sauce:

• Combine 1-2 lbs. of cooked sliced chicken thighs and 4 cups cooked brown rice, mix with sauce and heat through

• Quickly sauté a variety of fresh veggies and then pour the sauce over them and simmer until cooked but still crisp.

• Sauté chunks of fish, such as halibut, and spinach. Serve the sauce over the fish and spinach on a bed of rice or quinoa.

• Simmer a fillet of salmon (skin removed) in the sauce.

• Sauté cubed tofu, onions, zucchini, carrots, snow peas and then add to the simmering sauce. Serve over bean thread noodles, rice, or quinoa.

• Sauté chunks of chicken breast and your favorite, seasonal veggies then add the sauce and simmer until cooked. Garnish with thinly sliced basil leaves.

Posted 3 days ago

Grain-Free Granola

from our friend, Holistic Health Coach Stephanie Burg

A super simple recipe that can be made in bulk over the weekend to last throughout the week, this granola also travels well.  You can experiment with adding your favorite ingredients.  It is a great source of protein, fat and carbs without the added sugar usually contained in store bought granola.

1 ½ cups sliced, raw almonds
1 ½ cups raw pecans
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Combine nuts and coconut on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spread flat and bake for 25 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow granola to cool in the (turned off) oven about 10 minutes. Serve with coconut or almond milk, dried fruit, yogurt, fresh fruit or a little honey.

Posted 5 days ago

Cranberry Crumble

Cranberries bring bright color and plenty of nutrients to your dinner table. 

Full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, cranberries boost your immune system, protect your heart and liver, and improve the balance of helpful bacteria in your digestive tract.  They decrease the ability of harmful bacteria to attach to your stomach and bladder, reducing stomach ulcers and urinary tract infections.  Amazingly, they are also shown to have anti-cancer properties!  Read more about cranberries here

2 cups (1 bag) cranberries
¾ cup blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and/or chopped peaches (all beneficial for your Heart)*

1 cup sugar

1 1/3 cups oats
1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

½ cup melted butter

1. Combine fruit and sugar in a casserole dish.

2. Mix the rest of the ingredients and spread on top.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes, until cooked through and lightly golden on top.

*In Fall or Winter, keep the cranberries but substitute apple for the other fruits + add a few shakes of warming cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and/or cardamom.

Posted 5 days ago

Experiencing Sweet

by our teacher, Josephine Spilka

This morning I conducted an unexpected experiment.  I was drinking my usual Sunday morning hot chocolate - dark unsweetened chocolate with hot water and a bit of cinnamon and chili - the traditional South American way.  Sipping along tasting the bitter and feeling the pull of all the usual stories about open Sundays; you could get a lot of work done if you started now, you could read a whole book if you went to the beach, you could clean the bathroom, wouldn’t that feel good, etc.  Suddenly, I decided it was time to add a little honey to my drink.  I really don’t know why, except maybe the honey jar exerted some magic message when I saw it in the cupboard this morning.  A teaspoon of honey and my drink became a whole different experience.  Now, I felt contentment, ease, simple pleasure, a kind of slowing mentally and at the same time an opening, a softening.  So the sweet that we so often steer ourselves away from, that we use as reward or withhold as punishment, actually has the capacity to bring us right home, into our bodies, into our experience.  Try it:  add a little sweet to your life, whether it be sweet taste, sweet sound, sweet smell or sweet sight, see if it will bring you closer to home, to yourself and your own knowing.

Enjoy Josephine’s cocoa recipe!

2 heaping tablespoons of organic cocoa powder
8-16 ounces of water
¼ teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
¼ teaspoon Alderwood Smoked Salt or any combination of tasty salt that you like.
smidgeon of cinnamon, chili pepper, black pepper and/or cardamom in any amount or combination you like.
1 teaspoon of ghee/butter
1 teaspoon coconut oil/MCT oil
honey to taste if desired

Mix cocoa, salt and spices in a small amount of cold water to form a paste.  Heat on medium flame adding water to prevent burning until you have a nice bubbly mass that smells lovely.

Then add the remaining water, which could be hot and recently boiled, mixing with a whisk to create an even texture liquid.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 - 45 minutes.  

After simmering the liquid should have darkened and condensed.  Add the ghee or butter and coconut oil or MCT oil.  Blend briskly for 30 seconds using a stick blender for best result (A strong whisking or milk frother will also do).  Add honey to taste and enjoy!



Josephine Spilka is a licensed acupuncturist, practicing since 1994 with a Master’s degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine from Samra University in Los Angeles. Shortly after graduating she was introduced to the synthesis of classical teachings and the modern practice of Chinese medicine by Sharon Weizenbaum, then went on to study extensively with Jeffrey Yuen beginning in 1998. Currently, as the owner of www.essencepresence.com, Josephine teaches, mentors and consults in Chinese medicine and Buddhist meditation. Additionally, as a faculty member of Daoist Traditions College of Chinese Medical Arts in Asheville, North Carolina, she  teaches core curriculum courses utilizing classical systems such as Divergent Meridians, Luo Vessels and Eight Extraordinary Vessels as well as supervising students  in the college clinic and conducting case review. Combining deep study with practical application, Josephine aspires to share the benefits of putting the classical teachings into clinical practice with her students and other licensed professionals. In all that she does, Josephine is  focused on investigating the relationship with essence in its many forms. Growing and innovating from her foundation in Chinese medicine, she teaches on essential oils and Chinese  medicine,  shares contemplative photography, and serves others in finding and mining their own essence. With pith and passion, Josephine brings together many streams of teachings to offer an inspiring and practical application of ancient wisdom.

Posted 5 days ago

Wavin’ that Red, White, and Blue

Happy Fourth of July! We expect to see lots of red, white & blue flying this weekend. In Chinese medicine, there are five elements that relate to the organs and their associated emotions. In honor of the holiday, we thought it would be fun to explore how these elements are represented in our flag and what that might say about us as a nation.

Red is the color of the Heart and the fire element, which relates to passion, enthusiasm, relationships, and the spirit.

Blue represents the Kidneys and the water element, encompassing willpower, motivation and wisdom.

The fire-water connection is at the core of one’s being. Willpower ascends to the heart to fuel the spirit, and spirit descends to the kidneys to nourish wisdom and motivation. Are you living authentically? Do you feel your life is in alignment with your values and soul?

In America’s national colors, these elements are then united by the color white, which signifies the Lungs and the metal element. The metal element is also related to gemstones and confers integrity, order, beauty and appreciation.

What re-imagined identity can we begin to create for these United States? How can we more fully embody these elements in our country, our city, our community?

Let’s move forward with spirit, wisdom and integrity and foster relationships that are based on these qualities!

Posted 2 weeks ago

Simply Beat: Thoughts on the Fire Element

By Cythera Wilkerson, L.Ac. 

“Summer’s here to stay, and all those summer games will last forever. Go down to the shore, kick off your shoes, dive in the empty ocean”

Each of the five elements are represented in the changing seasons we experience every year. As we enter the summer season, we are reminded of the Fire element as it relates to this season of ultimate yang. You may associate the element of Fire with activity and motion, power and creation. I studied Chinese Medicine for many years, and it wasn’t until recently that I started to realize how much this isn’t the case. The heart is the yin organ associated with the Fire element (the yang organ being the small intestine) and its natural state is to simply beat. It does not involve an active process of discernment or creativity, judgement or decision-making. Like the sun, an example of ultimate yang in the sky above which blazes ceaselessly without any action from our end, the heart involuntarily performs its life-giving function of beating for the span of our life.

With this in mind, I ask you to imagine a start to a summer day. Does any of this sound familiar? Waking up after hitting the snooze button three times, I judge myself for not being more excited to start the day. Now I’m running twenty minutes behind and I judge the lack of preparation I did the night before to get a healthy lunch ready and a good workout in. I take a quick jog, all the while thinking about the work day ahead, the groceries I need to buy, and the ways I can prepare better and be better which will all make me feel better. Now we can look at that same situation with the energetic needs of the heart in mind. I wake up at a time that is appropriate for my body that day; I needed the rest. I prepare the meal for the day ahead, trusting it will provide the nourishment I need for what the day will bring. I am grateful for the time I have to be outside as I put on my running shoes and step in the grass. I take in the beauty of the trees and birds in my neighborhood and have gratitude for the strength of my legs and the power in each step which allows my heart to flutter with excitement and joy at the beauty of the present moment.

Accepting our choices, our actions, and our current state of mind, whatever it brings, is a gift we can provide to the heart and a way we can strengthen the fire element. It is not through judgement, activity, or focusing on the needs of yesterday or tomorrow that we will obtain this goal. As we enter this ultimate time of yang, how can we, each day, focus on simply kicking off our shoes and diving in the empty ocean?

Posted 4 weeks ago

We Are Excited to Share Big News With You!

In Late Summer 2017, Blue Heron will be relocating to 711 St. Andrew’s Blvd in West Ashley.  Just minutes from downtown, we have found an amazing 5-treatment room clinic that is a perfect fit for our ever-growing practice.  In our new space, we will be able to offer greater flexibility for scheduling, in-house workshops, an expanded apothecary and LOTS OF PARKING!  We are eager to put our touch on this lovely space and transform it into one that will be welcoming, healing and inspiring for you.  Stay tuned as there will be more updates and details to come.

On July 1, 2017, the price of services at Blue Heron will be increasing so that we may continue to offer you the highest quality of care.  We have done our best to keep our rates low but find this adjustment necessary to help us keep up with the vast spike in rent and costs that has occurred in recent years.  We tremendously appreciate your patronage and support over the past four years and look forward to continuing to offer you this beautiful system of Classical Chinese Medicine.

In order to offset any financial hardship this rate increase may create, we will begin offering an Abbreviated Acupuncture Treatment at this time for anyone for whom the price increase would be a barrier to continued treatment.  As long as you have had a full intake during a regular acupuncture treatment, you are welcome to participate in these minimalist treatments.  Kept to 45 minutes, these sessions will still be offered in a private setting.

Price changes:
~  Acupuncture $85
~ ½ Hour Massage $50
~  Luxury Acupuncture & Massage Treatments $160
~  Children’s Acupuncture for 13 Years and Younger $45

Introducing:
~ Abbreviated Treatments $45

Thank you for your continued support and for allowing us to be part of your journey to wellness. We love our Blue Heron community and sharing this amazing medicine with all of you every day. We look forward to continuing our work with you!

Sincerely,
The Blue Heron Team

Posted 7 weeks ago

Get Back In the Game!

In a city full of athletes and weekend warriors, we see a lot of sprains and strains come through our clinic doors. One of the sports injuries we encounter most often might come as no surprise: tennis elbow!  Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, occurs when tendons in the joint become inflamed due to overuse and repetitive motion of the forearm and wrist (as in swinging a tennis racket). It can cause pain with certain movements, weakness, and limited range of motion in the joint.

Don’t let tennis elbow keep you on the bench- acupuncture can help!

When doctors at the Mayo Clinic used acupuncture to treat 22 people with chronic tennis elbow, they found that and 80% got complete and lasting relief, while an additional 10% experienced a marked improvement.

Peter T. Dorsher, MD and consultant in the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the clinic, explains: “We were treating the worst of the worst—patients who had been seriously disabled by their tennis elbow pain for an average of 14 months before starting acupuncture treatment.” Participants of this study had failed to find relief with all standard treatments for tennis elbow, including anti-inflammatory drugs, cortisone injections, and wearing braces. Studies published in the Oxford journal of Rheumatology had similar results: a randomized, controlled study done in 2002 found a 50% pain reduction after only 2 weeks of acupuncture treatments.

Acupuncture has been repeatedly proven to reduce inflammation, alleviate pain and increase blood circulation.  It does so by activating qi and blood along meridians, or channels, that travel the length of the body. Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment option for all injuries, and there is no risk of side effects that are often associated with cortisone shots and anti-inflammatories. Even better, acupuncture also improves your sleep, energy, and overall wellbeing. If you have tennis elbow, consider acupuncture to get you back in the game!

Resources:

1. Devitt, M. “Acupuncture for Tennis Elbow: Study Suggests Treatment is Effective, Even in Difficult Cases.” Acupuncture Today (2002).

2. Fink, M. “Acupuncture in chronic epicondylitis: a randomized controlled trial.” Rheumatology (Oxford) 41.2 (2002): 205-209.

Photo credit: Christine Bozigar, USTA/ LCTA player; photo by Chris and Cami Photography

Posted 7 weeks ago

Bieler’s Broth (also called Trace Mineral Broth)

An effective, gentle cleanse for anytime of the year, including spring!  Cooling vegetables reduce inflammation in the digestive tract and ease the workload on the liver.  In contrast to a cleanse that focuses on raw foods and juices, the cooked nature of this broth makes it tonifying and grounding, helpful for those who want to strengthen their systems.  Bieler’s Broth also tastes good!  So, it’s an excellent addition to one’s diet even if one is not participating in a cleanse.

(Recipe from Jeffrey Yuen)

Ingredients

·       2 zucchini

·       2-3 stalks of celery with leaves

·       a handful of green beans or 2 cups of dark leafy greens

·       1-2 cloves of garlic,

·       1-2 tbsp of chopped onion. 

Directions

1.     Steam the vegetables for 10-15 minutes.

2.     Blend vegetables, steaming water, and a handful of chopped parsley or watercress for 1-2 minutes. 

3.     Dilute if needed and drink warm.

Posted 16 weeks ago