Blog by Melissa and David Sokulski, L.Acs.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Autumn: The Metal Element

Autumn is here! In Chinese Medicine, the fall corresponds to the Metal Element (of the Five Element Cycle). The metal is the element of the Lungs and Large Intestine (paired organs.) The emotion is grief and letting go, the color is white.

It is the time of year to harvest what we have sown (in the garden and life), clean out the garden beds, tidy up. It is a wonderful time of year to let go of things: that which is cluttering our space (I was just in the garden, pulling lots of overgrown weeds, making space for some paw paw seeds and kale...can you tell?)



Speaking of Paw Paws (pictured above), fall is the time of year for some wonderful wild edible plants! Take a look over at Food Under Foot, where I have posts about two of my favorites: paw paws and black walnuts.

Back to the metal element, the change of seasons is a great time of year to come in for an acupuncture tune up. Changing seasons often bring to the front any small imbalances we may have going on...this time of year we may notice (all which may be related to the metal element):

  • allergies
  • asthma
  • acne
  • sinus issues
  • constipation
  • sadness or depression

as well as other imbalances coming to the forefront:

  • difficulty sleeping
  • low energy
  • headaches, etc.

Sometimes just coming in four or five times a year (at the change of seasons) is all an otherwise healthy person needs to keep themselves on track and functioning at their best.

If you'd like to come in for a treatment give us a call at (412) 381-0116. We're back in Pittsburgh and regular office hours have resumed: Monday through Thursday, 8 am to 9 pm, by appointment.

If you are wondering about acupuncture and what it can do for you, please take advantage of our 20 minute, free with no obligation consultation with acupuncturist David Sokulski of the Birch Center for Health. He will be happy to sit down with you and discuss your questions and condition, and offer his thoughts about acupuncture and other health options for you. Just call us at (412) 381-0116 to set up an appointment.

And if you are in the Monroeville area, you can meet David on Friday evening, September 25, from 4 pm to 8 pm, at a FREE Wellness Fair, hosted by Palms Therapeutic Massage, LLC. The Fair will be held in the Parkway Office Complex (upper level – right above Palms Therapeutic Massage, LLC.) The address is: 4280 Old William Penn Highway, Monroeville, PA 15146.

Thanks so much! We hope to see you soon!

Melissa and David Sokulski
Licensed Acupuncturists
The Birch Center for Health
(412) 381-0116

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Acupuncture Effectively Treats Insomnia

Acupuncture treats the person, not the disease, therefore there is really no limit to what acupuncture can treat. Acupuncture helps balance the body's energy, strengthening weak areas and moving energy where it's stuck.

That being said, there is a large and growing list of conditions which acupuncture has been proven to help, as published by the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health.

In this series of articles, we'll be addressing these conditions and more, explaining how acupuncture and Chinese medicine, including massage, herbs and lifestyle adjustments, can bring balance and relief safely and effectively.

If you'd like us to address a specific condition, you are welcome to comment below or email BirchCenter@gmail.com.. You are also welcome to take advantage of our 20 minute free health consultation, with no obligation, with Birch Center Acupuncturist David Sokulski. Call today to schedule that appointment: (412) 381-0116.

Acupuncture and Insomnia


Insomnia is a common condition we see at The Birch Center. Sometimes people come in with insomnia as the main complaint, other times it is revealed that they have insomnia (or difficulty falling or staying asleep) during the in-depth questioning we do as part of the intake.

The burning of the herb mugwort on the heel of a person who has difficulty falling asleep.

Insomnia can have many causes; figuring out the cause is an important part of diagnosis and treatment. For instance, pain can cause insomnia because the person is not able to get into a comfortable position for sleeping and the pain wakes them up. In that case we treat the pain (pain management with acupuncture often has excellent results.)

Eating late at night is also a common cause of insomnia. When people stop eating after 7 pm, sleep often comes much more easily and is more peaceful.

Other causes we see are yin deficiency, and imbalance of yin and yang, spleen deficiency and stagnant liver qi.

At the Birch Center for Health, we take a detailed history which includes questioning, pulse and tongue diagnosis, which gives us a more complete picture of that person as a whole. So even if it is determined that two different clients have insomnia as a result of over-thinking/spleen deficiency, their treatments may still be different, depending on each person's constitution (strength and type of overall body and health), and other factors.

This is what makes acupuncture so individualized and effective: there is no one prescription for a condition. Each time you come in, you are re-evaluated, and each treatment is selected specifically for you. This is also why it is so common to see all sorts of symptoms clear up - not just the one someone has come in to treat. We are never just working on a symptom alone; in every treatment, the whole person is being addressed and treated.

We hope you enjoy this series! If there are other conditions you'd like to see addressed, please to comment or email us BirchCenter@gmail.com.
If you'd like to come in, please call (412) 381-0116 to schedule an appointment. If you just want to ask us questions about your condition, you can call or schedule a 20 minute free consultation, which is a more in depth personalized way to really address your issues.

Thanks so much!

Melissa and David Sokulski
Licensed Acupuncturists
The Birch Center for Health

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We have raw recipes, information about Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and overall wellness information. Thank you!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September Travel and Birch Center Hours

Lots of exciting things going on this September! We just returned from Raw Spirit Festival outside Washington DC. We were happy to hear Dr. Brian Clement of Hippocrates Health Institute, and Paul Nison (among others) speak, have a tasty raw food demo from chef Kepra Anu, hear amazing music like the kirtan from Kamaniya and Keshavacharya Das and screen Jenna Norwood's awesome new movie Supercharge Me.


Birch Center Acupuncturist David Sokulski hooping it up at Raw Spirit Festival


Wild Edibles came up A LOT during the festival: how intensely nutritious and amazing for you they are, and how most people know so very little about them, and what we can eat. For LOTS more information on this, visit our new website, devoted entirely to Wild Edible Plants: Food Under Foot. You'll be in the dark no more!

Next we are heading to Maine to attend my cousin Elijah's wedding. Elijah is an amazing musician...you can hear his music on his myspace page.

The Birch Center is open and we are seeing clients the following days:


  • Tuesday, Sept 1
  • Wednesday, Sept 2
  • Thursday, Sept 3
  • Wednesday, Sept 9
  • Thursday, Sept 10
  • Friday, Sept 11

We will then be closed for a week, but will return to our regular hours on Monday, September 21.

Please do call us if you'd like to talk or schedule an appointment (412) 381-0116. We will be checking messages and will return your call. Computer time, however, will be sporadic if at all, so it may take us a bit to return an email, but we will get back to you!

Thanks so much!

~ Melissa and David

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We have raw recipes, information about Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and overall wellness information. Thank you!

www.BirchCenter.com