Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wellness Wednesday: Mantra of Love

I was speaking to a friend of mine yesterday. She is a yoga teacher, and she was talking about how she completely transformed her life when she noticed what she called her "mantra of hate" -- self talk that told her she wasn't good enough. She was a smoker -- two packs a day, and was quite overweight.

I was shocked to hear this because as long as I've known her (less than a year) she has radiated light, vibrant life and health. She said she was already teaching yoga when she first noticed her mantra of hate. She discussed it with her yoga teacher, and began to let go of it, and replace it with thoughts and feelings of love, life and gratitude. She began to meditate more and breathe more. One day she realized she couldn't remember when she had her last cigarette. (!) Once she noticed this she asked herself "do I really want one now?" and she decided she did not. Her teacher also helped her to see that she was so much more than her body -- everyone is. She began to feel and appreciate her body as an incredible gift, to really experience life.

It's amazing to realize these little voices that play messages (over and over) that keep us from reaching our potential. The voices tell us that we are separate, not good enough, that there isn't enough, and they keep us in judgment of ourself and others. I really appreciated my friend's story, and that is why I am sharing it here. I hope we can all realize our mantras of hate, and replace them with mantras of love. If that is too much of a step (sometimes it's hard to say "I love myself" or "I am so beautiful" and mean it, especially if we have been telling ourselves otherwise for years and years!) then at least to notice and let go into the silence. Let go, and then appreciate what we have, this beautiful life, our wonderful bodies. Even if we are in pain or not functioning our best, we can appreciate that our body is talking to us, giving us signals, telling us what may not work, what we need to pay attention to and change, if only we would listen.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Simplify Sunday

So...why simplify?
If you haven't seen The Story of Stuff yet, it is definitely worth a watch!

And if you find that interesting, you may want to check out the book The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs...very inspiring.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today I am feeling so grateful to you: our clients and readers! Our office has been buzzing with life and energy from all the new and returning clients. We've been wonderfully busy and it has been so nice seeing everyone. I have been enjoying connecting with people with this blog and the newsletters (both on-line and actual.) I have been able to write and be home with Ella, while Dave is at the office treating. It has been working out well, and I am so thankful today for the opportunity you've given us to see all the amazing things that can happen and healing that can take place using the tool of acupuncture and Chinese medicine! Some of the feedback we have received lately: people who we've treated for infertility are now pregnant, chronic pain is gone after one treatment (!), dental surgery and recovery have gone unbelievably smoothly, chronic back pain is greatly improved...and the list goes on. So thank you for letting us be a part of your healing team.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wellness Wednesday: The Moon

There is a full lunar eclipse tonight! However, we now have lots of cloud cover again, so I don't know if we're going to see it. I love lunar eclipses...and I love the moon.

It's empowering to know about the moon's cycle. It's also great for your health to get out in the night for moonlight on your skin. Sleeping under the moon regularly would be is said that one way to help regulate your menstrual cycle is to get as much moonlight as possible.

As there is a Sun Salutation in yoga, there is also a moon salutation (Chandra Namaskara.) Actually, I have seen quite a few different versions of it, but the one I initially learned is the one I enjoy the most. It was created by women at Kripalu in the 1980's, and consists of a series of sidebends and standing poses, going into the five-point star, down through the squat and up the other side. This website contains good visuals of the asanas.

I hope wherever you are, you enjoy the moon!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Treatment Tuesday: Diagnosis and Treatment

Many people come in to see us with a Western medical diagnosis; or will often ask, "Can acupuncture treat 'X'?"

Of course if you're familiar with me or my blog you'll know I always say that acupuncture treats the person not the disease. This blog entry will explain what I mean.

When someone is diagnosed with, for example, "Adult Onset Diabetes," that is a name given to a set of conditions especially for the use of medical doctors, who can then say to each other, "Patient P has diabetes mellitus type 2, well-controlled on four shots of insulin daily," and the other doctor will have a pretty good idea of what is going on. But really it does nothing to explain how the person feels, or what their specific symptoms are. Do they feel great, healthy and energetic (after all, their diabetes has been described as "well-controlled"), or are they sleeping 12 hours a night but still exhausted all day, plus they have no feeling in their feet? To a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, it is the details of how a person feels that is important in the treatment, not the diagnosis.

This holds equally true for Eastern-type of diagnoses. When someone comes in and tells me that their fifth chakra is blocked, I still need to know if they have a sore throat, or is it that they are unable to say no when people ask them to do things? Even when people come in and tell me that they have been diagnosed as having "Liver invading the Spleen" (a classic diagnosis used in Traditional Chinese Medicine), I still need to know how they feel and what symptoms they have to give them an effective treatment.

In fact, often times diagnoses set up barriers in the patient's mind, making them fearful (imagine what it feels like to be told you have cancer) or hopeless...which are now additional energetic, emotional, and/or feeling states they may cause further symptoms or conditions. Many diagnoses hold with them the prognosis (either explicit or implied) that there is no hope, no cure (Parkinson's, Autism, countless other named diseases.) In fact, management is the 'name of the game' for these conditions -- often with medications with no promise to heal, which further cause their own set of problems.

Parkinson's, in fact, is a condition carrying a particularly dire prognosis: progressive degenerative neurological condition from which there is no hope for cure. According to Western Medicine, management is the only thing they offer, and management is admittedly (by them) not great. However, acupuncturist Janice Walton-Hadlock in California began working closely with people with Parkinsons (her work can be found here). She has developed a technique of using just hands-on (no needles) called yin tui na, which we do here at the Birch Center. Her clients began to fully recover and heal, but when they went back to their doctors they were consistently told they must have been misdiagnosed originally, since in the world of medicine there is no room for someone to be healed of Parkinson's. The same is true for many conditions to which people have worked with in different ways and found significant results. It is easier for Western medicine to say there must have been a mistake in diagnosis than to look at the possibility that healing is possible, from anything, when the right environment is provided and the body is able to balance it's energy, and thus heal itself.

So whether or not someone has a diagnosis, and no matter what that diagnosis is, we still approach people the same way by asking the questions: how do you feel? what are your symptoms? how is your life effected? We look at the constitution (big or small, loud or quiet, outgoing or introverted, tends to be sick or normally always well), and feel the pulse and examine the tongue carefully. And whether we are working with needles, with our hands, or even in an entirely energetic way, we simply -- with our full presence -- bring to them an environment which allows the person to finally relax, re-balance and ultimately heal.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Meditation Monday

Friday, February 15, 2008

Energy Mirroring

I just finished taking the NEW Basic class of energy mirroring -- a six day 36 hour class. The first time I took the class was in 2002 (once you pay for one, you can take it again and again for free!) and it has shifted so much.

It was such an amazing class they are offering again next month (usually it is once every 6 months or so), and they are having a FREE open house webinar at the end of February. The following is information right off their website (the "latest news" page):

The new Basic class was such a hit that another has been requested by many of you, so.....we will be having another NEW BASIC class from Monday, March 24, to Saturday, March 29.

An EnergyMirrors OPEN HOUSE, an informational and free webinar, will take place on Thurday, February 28th. See below for details. To register, contact us at 1-866-618-1744.

If you are interested at all in this work, I highly recommend you "attend" (by phone and web) the open house on February 28. Mary Lynch, MD, the founder of energy mirrors will be talking for the first hour (she is a very powerful speaker), and then she will be answering your questions the second hour. I will be there, that's for sure!

If you do sign up for either the free open house or the new basic class, please let them know that I sent you!

Also, if you want to experience a session or more of this energy mirroring work, I am offering special discounted rates through the end of February. Please see our January Newsletter for more information! (The information at the end of the newsletter.)

Thank so much!
~ Melissa Sokulski, L.Ac.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!

Dave and I are both so thankful for such a great week at the office! We saw so many new and returning clients...just lovely! Also thank you to the people who bought their loved ones gift certificates: what a delightful gift they make! And thanks for thinking of us as well.

It was a beautiful week of falling snow here in Pittsburgh, we went skiing and sledding which was so much fun.

I am also so appreciative of friends and family, and everyone's support over the past few months.

Today was the last day of scheduled meals, and we got a yummy stir-not-fry (based on a recipe of the same name in RAWvolution: Gourmet Living Cuisine) from our good friends at pure jeevan, complete with carob-peppermint heart shaped dessert and organic fruit. Delicious.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wellness Wednesday: Space and Peace

I am taking the new basic class from Energy Mirrors this week. Mirroring is about being present (getting your head where your feet are), and connecting to the one Field. We are not separate...much of the session we state -- in our head -- "We are all the Whole One Field," then drop to our breath, connecting to the SPACE rather than the energy.

Space is where all potential is. Look around: what makes up the room you are in? Did you focus on the stuff in the room: the books, pictures, papers, electronics? What about all the space that fills the room? Without space, you couldn't have the room. Space is where the potential is. If your room is already filled up with stuff, where is the potential there? Think about the potential of an empty room. It's the same with our own bodies and energy fields. And mostly it's the mind, generating energy from chronic nonstop thinking, filling our fields with stuff.

Everything is mostly space. Our bodies are made of cells, which are made of atoms (everything physical is made up of atoms). An atom consists of protons, neutrons and electrons -- tiny little particles. If you take those particles and compare them with the amount of space in the atom: there is 99% space! Look around the room; look outside. The trees, the grass, the houses...and notice at all the space. Up to the sky, and as far as you can see: space. Between the leaves on the tree, between the branches and blades of grass.

Think about our planet, the sun, stars, milky way, all the galaxies...but what about all the space between everything? Vast amounts of space. Without that space, nothing could have form. Everything would be mushed on top of everything. Maybe that's how it was before the Big Bang. There is so little matter compared to space, it was all just on top of itself with no differentiation, no form. But then suddenly BOOM: space, an expanding universe. Physical existence as we know it depends on space.

In energy mirroring, we mirror by connecting with space (potential); that is what allows the energy to reorganize, and allows us to heal. Today, throughout the day, put your focus on the space, and feel how different that is.

I was making myself a cup of yogi tea (Chai redbush...mmmm) to drink during my class, and I notice the tea bag said, "May this day bring you peace, tranquility, and harmony." Sweet. But what if this day does not bring me that? Do I not get to experience peace, tranquility and harmony?

Perhaps it would be nice to say: May you bring to this day peace, tranquility and harmony. That feels more empowering, more peaceful, even. Bringing peace from within to the earth. Suddenly I can feel the peace. Within me. Around me. Expanding the space.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Treatment Tuesday: Winter, Water, and the Kidneys

In honor of all this snow, today I'll talk about the five elements, specifically the water element, which corresponds to winter.

There are five elements -- both out in nature and in our bodies -- which are interrelated and interdependent on each other: fire, earth, metal, water and wood.

One relationship is the mother-child relationship, or generating cycle, shown by the arrows forming the outer circle in the graphic to the right. Metal is the mother of Water, and Water is mother of Wood. Another is the controlling cycle: the arrows forming the inner star. Water controls (puts out) Fire, and Earth controls (dams) Water.

According to Paul Pitchford in Healing With Whole Foods, "Winter is the end of all the seasons. To unify with winter, one emphasizes the yin principle to become more receptive, introspective, and storage-oriented; one cools the surface of the body and warms the body's core....It is a time to rest, to meditate deeply , refine the spiritual essence, and store physical energy -- in the form of a little added weight -- for the cold season. Even though the slow yin processes predominate, one must stay active enough to keep the spine and joints flexible."

(More on yin and yang in an upcoming Treatment Tuesday.)

Here is a quote from an ancient text, called the Inner Classic:

The forces of winter create cold in Heaven and water on Earth. They create the kidney organ and the bones within the body...the emotion of fear, and the ability to make a groaning sound.

For a full chart with all the elements with their correspondence, click here.

The third pulse on each wrist is associated with the kidneys. The kidneys are the root of all yin and yang in the body. It also holds the jing, or essence, that we pass on to our children. We always think of supporting the Kidneys when someone is pregnant or trying to become pregnant. As we age, the qi (energy) in our kidneys decrease, but our wisdom increases, which balances it out. In many cultures, especially ancient Chinese culture from where this philosophy came, elders were respected, and ancestors taken care of with prayers, offerings, and reverence.

General symptoms of Kidney imbalance include:
  • all bone problems, especially those of the knees, lower back and teeth
  • hearing loss and ear infections and diseases (such as Meniere's disease)
  • head-hair problems -- hair loss, split ends, premature graying
  • any urinary, sexual and reproductive imbalances (such as infertility or inability to carry a pregnancy to term)
  • poor growth and development of the mind and body; alternatively, premature aging
  • excessive fear and insecurity

The Kidneys are also the source of vitality, resistance to disease and longevity, called jing or essence. We are born with "congnital" jing, passed down to us from our parents. This jing is irreplaceable and serves us throughout life. When it runs out, life ceases. However, "aquired" jing can be obtained by food and can magnify the activity of even small amounts of congenital jing.

Jing deficiency can show up as

  • growth or development impairment
  • birth defects
  • slow physical or mental growth
  • weak legs and bones
  • impotence and other reproductive problems
  • early senility
  • dizziness
  • loose teeth
  • loss of head hair
  • ringing in ears
  • weak, painful knees and low back.

We can preserve our congenital jing by avoiding harmful habits, such as:

  • stress, fear, insecurity, overwork
  • according to ancient Chinese texts: too much semen loss in men or bearing too many children in women
  • toxins in food and water
  • intoxicants such as alcohol, drugs, coffee, tobacco
  • heavy metals such as mercury, lead and aluminum
  • excessive sweet-flavored food
  • too much dietary protein

There is no such thing as excess jing! You can't have too much vitality. The following are suggestions to help build jing. The suggestions must be followed carefully, though. Certain foods may be more harmful than helpful if there is digestive weakness, or may be inappropriate depending on people's constitutions. If you have any questions, it's best to see a practitioner of Chinese medicine. This list is taken from Healing With Whole Foods (so for elaboration or more infomation on anything listed here, please see that text):

  • Micro-algaes such as chlorella, spirulina and blue-green.
  • Solomon's seal, almonds, raw milk, clarified butter (ghee.) These foods build bones and act as nutritive tonics.
  • Nettles
  • Royal Jelly and bee pollen
  • Chinese herbs like dodder seeds, prepared rehmannia, deer antler, tortoise shell, chicken and mussel
  • Foods which tonify Kidney energy in general, especially dark foods, beans, seaweed, millet, black sesame seeds, black soybeans, mulberries, raspberries, strawberries, walnuts.
  • Spiritual practices

Enjoy the snow, the rest of winter, and hopefully this was helpful!

~ Melissa Sokulski, L.Ac.
The Birch Center for Health
Pittsburgh, PA

Monday, February 11, 2008

Meditation Monday

Here is a poem from the book No Death, No Fear by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. He suggests using it as a meditation with someone who is sick or dying. You can replace the word "body" with specific aspects of the body like "lungs" or "legs", and read it again and again.

I think it is really comforting and beautiful.

This body is not me; I am not caught in this body,
I am life without boundaries
I have never been born and I have never died.
Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies
All manifests from the basis of consciousness.
Since beginningless time I have always been free.
Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out.
Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek.
So smile to me and take my hand and wave good-bye.
Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before.
We shall always be meeting again at the true source,
Always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Simplify Sunday

It's nice to bring my own bag(s) because then I don't have the overload of paper and plastic bags at home, though I do reuse some. It feels nice, too, to do a little something for the planet.

I'm about to start knitting another one as a gift for Dave's mom.

And to tie it in to the Birch Center: I plan to carve a little corner of our library out for knitting (and knitters.) I'll add my knitting books to the library, and also extra skeins of yarn to trade, as well as my many needles in all widths and sizes that people can check out (like library books!) to use for their projects. It also might be nice to have knitting groups there, and maybe ongoing squares or scarves that people can pick up and knit on if they are waiting for a friend or appointment. The scarves and blankets (once the pieces are sewn together) can then be donated to those in need.

Library update: we're getting the library together! It's going great. If you have any books on alternative medicine, health, wellness, nutrition, cookbooks (or raw food prep books), knitting books, etc to donate, we will happily accept them! Also: bookshelves, chairs and small love-seats would be greatly well as knitting needles(though I have quite a few for starters!) Thank you!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Free-form Friday: Nature

I originally wanted Fridays to be about nature, exercise or the out of doors...but I couldn't think of a related "F" word to go with Friday. (Please write me a comment or send me an email if you come up with one! Email is

I remember a long time ago, when I was a single woman living alone, I got to a point where I was almost too scared to leave the house. My cousin -- actually my mom's cousin's wife, but close enough -- who is a massage therapist in Maine asked me if I was watching any television in general. She told me to keep the TV off and get out in nature (she was taking a course on Bach Flower Remedies, and that was stressed in the course.) She was so right: television feeds fear, and nature takes fear away.

Last night I was listening to Mary Lynch of energy mirrors give a lecture, and she was also stressing to get out in nature. She said that nature pulls the pollution from our cells. The pollution can be environmental, emotional, from thoughts, feelings, whatever, but nature actually draws it out of us. She urged us to get out in nature and really be aware (with a quiet mind.) And also to play.

Today we went for a walk in the woods of Frick Park. Down wooden steps, over a bridge over a creek (we stopped to play Poohsticks!) through the dog play area, winding down and up a path and up some stone steps. We enjoyed the cold, the muddiness, the smells. I purposely did not bring my camera, but I wish I had because on the way back we came upon this amazing tree growing on a rock hill with enormous thick reptilian-looking roots snaking over the rocks. The were glistening with moisture and striped with mossy green and literally looked like huge boa constrictors, one even looked like it could have been an alligator.

I may try and get back tomorrow to snap that picture.

But we were out there for hours, and -- as I always do when I go out in the woods -- I feel so much better.

~ Melissa

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year!

Today is the start of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rat. It is also the start of the 12-year cycle, based on the lunar calendar. Here is a blurb from an article by Dr. Maoshing Ni, L.Ac., D.O.M., Ph.D. from

February 7th, 2008 in the Chinese calendar is the first day of the Year of the Rat. The Chinese calendar is an amazingly accurate system, which not only records the time, but is also a tool for forecasting. The energetic relationship between the Five Elements, an ancient symbolic system that expresses the energy transformation in nature, and the calendar system helps one foretell what is to come so that one can be better prepared to take advantage of the opportunities and guard against potential pitfalls and health problems.
...Follow this link for more of the article.

Today is also Thankful Thursday, and we had such a nice day! First we went to a friend's house and made some pysanky eggs
and had a nice lunch. Then we went to Phipps Conservatory and met some other friends and walked around the beautiful gardens, where the plants looked so lush and green. I even had a new appreciation for the Chihuly glass exhibit that is there. It all just looked so gorgeous today. I am thankful for family, and friends, and sharing and Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wellness Wednesday: Hydration; Water and Beyond

We think about hydration a lot in summer; but it is just as important to remember to stay hydrated in the winter. Signs of dehydration can include headache, cracks on the fingers and feet/heels, fatigue and irritability.

Of course, you've all heard about drinking water. It's important, especially if you are thirsty. Also especially if you eat a lot of cooked foods, salty or processed foods, or drink coffee, tea, wine or other alcohol. I saw a college friend over the holidays who I haven't seen in years, and she told me a funny story. Apparently her mother does not like water. She cranks the heat up in the house in winter to unbearable (to most) temperatures and drinks pots of coffee and glasses of wine. My friend and her sister call her home The Center for Advanced Dehydration.

Many people say it's important to drink a certain number of glasses of water a day. There are also formulas based on weight for how much water you need. While these are good generalizations, it is really more specific than that.

If you eat a diet high in raw fruits and vegetables, especially including smoothies or freshly made (not store-bought pasteurized) juices, you get hydrated. Fresh raw fruits and veggies carry lots of water, in clean (especially if you are eating organic) usable form. Plain water is still important, but eating a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables certainly helps people stay hydrated!

Another important and overlooked factor in dehydration is not getting enough essential fatty acids. The average American diet is especially low in omega 3 fatty acids, like those found in fish oil or plant sources such as flax seeds.

The media buzz is that low (or even no) fat is better, but when we eat healthy fats, especially from nuts and seeds and vegetable sources like avocados and olives and olive oil, that is not necessarily the case. Our brain and cell membranes are made up predominately of fat, and we need good healthy fats to function at a high level. The picture here is of golden flax seeds, which I love, but the darker reddish ones are great, too. If you have a dehydrator, I have included a recipe for raw flax crackers below, but other ways to eat them is to grind the raw unsoaked seeds in a coffee grinder and sprinkle on salads, or make salad dressing out of flax oil. (There is a recipe for Omega-Rich Honey Mustard salad dressing below.) There is a product called Udo's oil which has a balanced blend of omega 3's and 6's that I like very much. Just remember never to heat these oils: they break down easily. Also keep them refrigerated and don't go past their expiration date, as they can also go rancid quickly.

Enjoy the recipes!

Omega-Rich Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

2 Tbsp Flax Oil or Udo's Oil
juice of 1/2 lemon (or to taste)
salt or bit of nama shoyu or tamari
1 tsp - 1 Tbsp honey or to taste
1 tsp - 1 Tbsp (or amount equal to amount of honey) of mustard
water, if you like thinner dressing

I usually make this in a mug or glass jar. I mix by hand with a fork. Mix equal parts of honey and mustard. Add oil and mix, then add other ingredients. Adjust amounts by taste. Can also add herbs like basil, thyme, etc. For creamy dressing, can add yogurt or mayonnaise or tahini.

Dehydrated Flax Crackers.

Soak a cup of raw, whole flax seed in 1 1/2 cups of water for a few hours. (the flax seeds will soak up the water and the whole thing will turn to a gel. You can use more water if you need. I sometimes soak them during the day, and put them in the dehydrator overnight.)

To the soaked flax seeds, add:
the juice of one lemon
finely chopped garlic
salt or a bit of nama shoyu or tamari
optional spice like curry powder.
more water if necessary, it shouldn't be overly wet, just mixable.

Spread thinly (one or two flax seeds thick) onto the teflex sheet of a dehydrator tray. Dehydrate at 105 for about 4 hours, flip and peel off teflex and dehydrate another 4 hours, or until crispy.

You can play with the spices (can even make them sweet with cinnamon!) and can add other nuts and seeds to them as well.

I just noticed I included a "dehydrated" recipe in an article about staying hydrated! Yikes! Make sure you drink water or eat fresh fruit and veggies as well as enjoying these crackers!

Be Well!
~ Melissa

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Treatment Tuesday: Roots and Branches

I'll start off this first Treatment Tuesday with the way we approach every treatment. In Chinese Medicine we call it treating the root and branches. The root is the main cause of the imbalance. The branches are the symptoms that are manifesting.

For example, perhaps someone comes in because they have chronic headaches (it could be anything.) Upon further questioning we find that they also have ringing in their ears, occasional vertigo, and insomnia. Their energy is not very good by the afternoon, and they are asleep by 8 pm most nights. The headache, insomnia, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and vertigo are all symptoms (branches) that are caused by an underlying imbalance of the body. (They also all happen to be manifesting in the head, which will become relevant when we do the branch treatment, but that's another subject!)

We do more questioning, look at the tongue and take the pulses: of which there are six on each wrist -- one yin and one yang in three different positions. This is how we assess the overall energy flow in the meridians (energy pathways) of the body and come up with a root cause.

The root (underlying imbalance) may be -- among other things -- Kidney deficiency, Liver Blood deficiency, Wind, etc. These are all terms we use in traditional Chinese medicine, and do not generally correspond to Western medical diagnoses. We take other facts into consideration when treating the root as well, such as the person's constitution: in general are they frail or strong? Cold or hot?

The most important part of the treatment is making that root diagnosis and treating it by placing needles along the meridians, most often on the arms/hands and legs/feet. The root treatment alone, which helps balance the body as a whole, often clears all the symptoms. This is why so many people report that symptoms they never even mentioned to us improve as well: by balancing the root of the disharmony the symptoms disappear.

However, when a person comes in we often treat the branches as well. In the above situation, we may needle the head and some points where the head meets the neck to allow energy that may be blocked in the head to flow. We may also needle or use moxibustion (heat in the form of burning a certain herb, Mugwort or Artemesia vulgaris) on the feet to draw the energy down. These branch treatments allow the patient to experience almost immediate relief.

No matter what symptoms, conditions or disease the person comes to us with -- even when there are no symptoms at all and the person just comes for a "tune-up," we address the treatment the same way. Find and treat the root imbalance, and smooth or clear the energy of the branches (symptoms.)

I hope this helps people understand what we do in the treatment, why we ask so many (seemingly unrelated) questions, and some of our thought process. If you have questions about certain conditions or other questions relating to acupuncture that you'd like to see addressed on Treatment Tuesday, write a comment in the blog or send me an email at

Have a great day!
~Melissa Sokulski, L.Ac.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Meditation Monday: A New Earth

Have you heard that Oprah has selected A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, for her Book Club?

This is the book Dave has loved since it came out, and recommends to everyone who will listen. We also loved his previous book The Power of Now so much that we once bought seven copies to give to friends and family.

The other thing I heard today is that she (Oprah) and Eckhart Tolle are giving a free online class starting Monday March 3, about A New Earth. You need to join her website and book club to register for the class, but it's all free.

A big thank you to the blog: We Like it Raw for the information!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Simplify Sunday

Today we went through all our book shelves for a good clear out. Away with the old to make way for the new. We will take them down to Half Price Books later today.
Plus, a whole box of books to take to the office. Anatomy of Movement by Blandine Calais-Germain, Repertory of the Homoeopathic Materia Medica by Kent, Treating Epilepsy Naturally by Patricia A. Murphy and Grasping the Wind, An exploration into the meaning of Chinese acupuncture point names, to name a few. These will all be added to our library at the Birch Center for people to peruse when they visit us. Soon we will have a system in place (and regular visiting hours) to allow people to read, check our books out and take them home.
Some other books we we found on our shelves which will enjoy a new life at the Birch Center library:
Healers on Healing, with essays by Ram Dass, Larry Dossey, Shakti Gawain and Ted Kaptchuk (to name a only a few), and Bill Moyers Healing and the Mind, with essays by Dean Ornish, Jon Kabat-Zinn and Candace Pert. Such great resources are doing no good gathering dust on our bookshelves at home! I love the spirit of libraries. Free access to information for everyone.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Our mailing has gone out

Our mailing went out today! We began working on it before our vacation, and just finished it and sent it out. It's in celebration of the upcoming Chinese New Year (Year of the Rat.) We're so excited about it because, well, you'll see! I just love the mailing. That's all I'll say here, but if you don't get it in the next few days that means you're not on our mailing list. If you want to be added, email us your name and snail-mail address to We hope you enjoy it!