Blog by Melissa and David Sokulski, L.Acs.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Acupuncture Alleviates Autumn Ailments :-)

photo:, public domain

Autumn is here! Cooler weather, windy days, beautiful leaves coloring our landscape.

At the Birch Center we are seeing lots of manifestations of the season: lung related ailments.

In Chinese Medicine, the season autumn relates to the metal element, which corresponds in the body to the Lungs and Large Intestine. People are noticing:
  • asthma flair-ups
  • colds and flu
  • increase in allergies
  • pneumonia
  • coughs and bronchitis
  • eczema and skin ailments
  • IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) flair-ups
  • constipation
  • diarrhea

Fall is also a time of year when anything can make a comeback: old injuries, joint pain, sleeplessness, fatigue. It is a great time of year to come in for a treatment, whether for something specific or a tune-up! (We recommend acupuncture "tune-ups" at the change of seasons to clients who either have been in before and had their issue resolved as a way to maintain balance and optimal health, and also for people curious about acupuncture but who have no specific ailments.)

Come on in and see us today. For an appointment call or text message head acupuncturist David Sokulski at (412) 381-0116. He is also happy to answer any questions you have about acupuncture.

You can also send him an email at

Thanks so much and we hope you are enjoying the beautiful autumn!

In health,

David Sokulski

licensed acupuncturist

Birch Center for Health
1931 East Carson Street, 2nd Floor
Pittsburgh PA 15203

(412) 381-0116

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spring and Traditional Chinese Medicine

In Chinese Medicine, spring is associated with the wood element and the color green. In our bodies the wood element relates to the liver and gallbladder. If our liver is strained or out of balance, we may experience symptoms relating to the liver:
  • anger
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • aches and pains
  • digestive complaints
  • menstrual complaints
  • insomnia
  • depression
  • mood swings
  • jaundice
  • hepatitis
  • a feeling of "stuck-ness", not moving forward with life goals
  • a groggy feeling in the morning
Acupuncture at the Birch Center is a wonderful way to balance the liver energy. There are powerful points such as Liver 3 on the foot and Liver 8 near the knee which move and smooth the energy of the body. Gall bladder points on the back of the head and neck can ease headaches and help us sleep more soundly.

There is also a wonderful point combination: Liver 3 on the foot and Large Intestine 4 on the hand, which when paired are called The Four Gates. This treatment gently yet powerfully allows the energy in the entire body to flow freely. 

Herbs such as dandelion, burdock, milk thistle and motherwort can also work on balancing the liver and often grow wild all around the United States. (For more information on Wild Edible Plants, visit our sister site Food Under Foot.)

The spring has a lot of wonderful energy too: growth, creativity, movement!

Spring is an excellent time to come in for acupuncture. Acupuncture helps keeps us strong and balanced, especially during the change of seasons when we are most vulnerable to finding ourselves off balance, run down, and coming down with something. If you'd like to schedule an acupuncture treatment, please give us a call at (412) 381-0116.

Happy Spring!

~ David and Melissa Sokulski
licensed acupuncturists

The Birch Center for Health

1931 East Carson Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

(412) 381-0116


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Sunday, April 12, 2015


Last year's crabapple with this year's new leaves.

Spring is here! 

Today was the first true warm sunny day of spring. In Chinese Medicine spring relates to the wood element and the color green. All around we see green appearing over the earth, bringing the creativity and growth of the season.

Motherwort or Leonurus cardiaca, an herb which can be found in the wild, used in both western and Chinese medicine to treat stress, anxiety, insomnia, nervous irritablity and heart palpitations.

If the energies of creativity and growth are blocked, anger can result. When wood energy stagnates in the body, symptoms such as anger, anxiety, headaches, insomnia, PMS, and emotional instability can result.

Acupuncture can help the wood energy flow smoothly in the body. Often a combination of the points Liver 3 on the foot and Large Intestine 4 on the hand (which together are called The Four Gates) is used to help energy flow smoothly through the body.

The start of a new season can sometimes bring stress to the body, and is a great time to come in for an acupuncture "tune-up." 

Give us a call or text at (412) 381-0116, or send an email to if you have any questions or would like to set up an appointment.

Enjoy the spring!

~ Melissa and David Sokulski
licensed acupuncturists

1931 East Carson Street, 2nd Floor
Pittsburgh, PA (South Side) 15203

(412) 381-0116

Don't forget to sign up for our newsletterWe have raw recipes, information about Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and overall wellness information. Sign up today and receive your free gift: 10 Ways to Improve Your Health Right Now. We'd love to stay in touch. Thank you!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Happy Lunar New Year: Year of the Goat/Sheep!

Gong Hay Fat Choi!

"In this year of the goat, may you
be proud and exalted in life,
revel in your business success,
have a smooth career path,
and be free from worries.
May you become rich,
and be happy every day!"

February 19, 2015 begins the year of the Goat. Goat/Sheep years include: 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015. The Goat is the 8th of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac, which go (in order): rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.  There are many legends as to how these animals were chosen and in why in that order. One such story is called Legend of the Chinese Zodiac, and is found in the book Identities, An Anthology, published by Calvert Education. You can find another rendition of the story here.
Goat people tend to be calm, gentle, creative and thoughtful. They are persevering and honest. Goats tend to have fewer health problems and eliminating meat from their diet, focusing instead on fresh fruits and vegetables is very healthy for them. Fresh air, trees and sunshine suit goats very well.
More information on Goat years can be found here.

Recently we read In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, by Bette Bao Lord. In this book, set in 1947 (the year of the Boar and the rookie year of Jackie Robinson), a young Chinese girl leaves China for a new beginning with her parents in America. In January we see her celebrating Chinese New Year with her extended family in China, in February she travels to America by boat, in March she begins public school in Brooklyn New York, as the only Chinese girl in the school, who does not speak any English.

For the best health in the year of the goat:
  • Get plenty of fresh air and exercise
  • Eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruits
  • Acupuncture for balancing energy during the change of seasons and when symptoms appear
Call to schedule an acupuncture appointment:

(412) 381-0116

May the coming new year bring you joy, health and peace.
Good luck, good health and good cheer for a happy and healthy new year!
~ David Sokulski, L.Ac. and Melissa Sokulski, L.Ac.
Birch Center for Health
1931 East Carson Street, 2nd Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
(412) 381-0116

Monday, January 5, 2015

Native Pittsburgher, Acupuncturist David Sokulski, Celebrates 15th Anniversary Homecoming

Acupuncturist David Sokulski, who practices acupuncture at the Birch Center, a natural health practice in Pittsburgh's South Side, is celebrating his 15th year back in Pittsburgh.

Sokulski, who grew up in Plum Boro and graduated from Plum High School and Duquesne University left Pittsburgh in 1995 for Osan, South Korea, where he taught English for a year. After that he studied acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in Boston at the New England School of Acupuncture, earning his masters degree in 1999. He returned to Pittsburgh early in 2000 with his wife and new family.

His family moved to Pittsburgh’s South Side Slopes neighborhood, and soon opened The Birch Center, a center for natural health, on East Carson Street.

“We love Pittsburgh,” says wife Melissa Oliphant Sokulski, also an acupuncturist who grew up in Syracuse, NY, a city in the news lately for having the most snowfall of any city in the US, beating out Buffalo, which only came in 9th.

“Pittsburgh is a beautiful city,” says Melissa. “We love the rivers and parks. There are so many cultural events, it’s a great place to raise children.”

David says, “I knew I wanted to come back to Pittsburgh. I love the people, the geography, and the positive energy of the region.”

And how does an acupuncture practice fare in Pittsburgh, as opposed to a city like Boston?

“There are definitely more acupuncturist in Boston, thousands more,” Dave explained. “We have a small community here, but closer. We know each other and help each other out.”

And the clientele?

“People here might be more hesitant at first to get acupuncture, but Pittsburgh has become an international city so people are open. Once people come in and their chronic pain disappears or women diagnosed with infertility become pregnant, when they find that acupuncture is actually comfortable and relaxing, they come back and tell their friends.”

More information about acupuncture, The Birch Center, and David Sokulski can be found at his website, or by calling (412) 381-0116.

Welcome home David. Happy 15th Anniversary.