Blog by Melissa and David Sokulski, L.Acs.

Photobucket

Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

Hope you all had a happy Memorial Day weekend. We'd like to send out our love and appreciation to all the people who have given their lives to defend our way of life, and to their families. We know a lot of our Birch Center family and friends have been touched by war and we extend our love and appreciation to you and your loved ones.

*****

Thank you all who joined us for our Wild Edibles Walk yesterday! In case you haven't seen it, we posted a recap of the walk and all the plants we saw on Food Under Foot. Please make sure you check it out! We'll schedule our next walks soon, so please stay tuned!

******

Stay tuned for posts later this week! You'll hear about
  • powerful medicinal mushrooms growing wild all around us (even right here in Western PA!)
  • Ways to greatly increase your vitamin D intake, like by drying shiitake mushrooms gills-up in the sun
  • A serious caution about protein powders and drinks: Consumer Reports has found they contain high levels of heavy metals including arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury.
We'll get these and other stories to you soon!

Thanks again.

Peace,

Melissa and David Sokulski

Licensed Acupuncturists
The Birch Center for Health
(412) 381-0116

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We 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!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Welcome to the Birch Center!

Slideshow of The Birch Center! Enjoy!



We hope you'll come visit soon.

We're available Monday through Thursday, 8 am - 9 pm, by appointment.

(412) 381-0116

Or email: BirchCenter@gmail.com

In Health,

Melissa and David Sokulski

Licensed Acupuncturists
The Birch Center for Health
(412) 381-0116

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We 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!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What Can Acupuncture Treat?

Hello lovely readers!

I just set up a blog page of the list of conditions that acupuncture treats (which is also below). BUT, on the blog page, I have also begun to link the articles and blog posts I've written explaining what acupuncture can do for you in relation to the specific conditions. It's a work in progress...I'm adding more links daily, but I hope you will check it out!

What Can Acupuncture Treat?

At the Birch Center for Health, we treat the person, not the disease, so really there is no limit to what acupuncture can treat.

Acupuncture helps the body regain balance thus alleviating symptoms and disease processes.

However, the World Health Organization has issued a comprehensive list of diseases and conditions which are treatable by acupuncture. Some of the more common conditions are:

Infections
  • colds and flus
  • bronchitis
  • hepatitis
Eyes-Ears-Nose-Throat
  • deafness
  • ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
  • menier's disease
  • earaches
  • poor eyesight
  • dizziness
  • sinus infections
  • sore throat
  • hay fever
Internal
  • hypoglycemia
  • asthma
  • high blood pressure
  • ulcers
  • colitis
  • indigestion
  • hemorrhoids
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • diabetes
Dermatological
  • eczema
  • acne
  • herpes
Musculo-Skeletal and Neurological
  • arthritis
  • neuralgia
  • sciatica
  • frozen shoulder
  • tennis elbow
  • back pain
  • bursitis
  • tendonitis
  • stiff neck
  • Bell’s palsy
  • trigeminal neuralgia
  • headache
  • stroke
  • cerebral palsy
  • polio
  • menier’s disease
  • dizziness
  • sprains
Genito-Urinary and Reproductive
  • impotence
  • infertility
  • pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • vaginitis
  • irregular period or cramps
  • morning sickness
  • Babies in breech presentation
  • List of conditions for Women's Health
Mental-Emotional
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • stress
  • insomnia

This is only a partial list. And remember, if you want to see the article links in relation to the conditions, you'll have to visit the conditions page. If you have any questions about what acupuncture can do for you, please give us a call at: (412) 381-0116, or email us at: BirchCenter@gmail.com.

We hope to hear from you!

In Health,

Melissa and David Sokulski

Licensed Acupuncturists
The Birch Center for Health
(412) 381-0116

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We 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!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Many Weeds Are Potent Chinese Herbs



Many wild plants - which we consider weeds - are actually very useful as food and medicine!

The weeds above were found right here in Pittsburgh, and they are all in the Chinese Materia Medica and considered very powerful herbs.

Why buy expensive supplements from overseas with questionable ingredients, when you can find your medicine (and food) at your doorstep?

In Health,

Melissa and David Sokulski

Licensed Acupuncturists
The Birch Center for Health
(412) 381-0116

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We 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!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mushrooms and Health

Western Cultures are just catching on to what Eastern traditions have known for thousands of years: that mushrooms are beneficial to health.

Mushrooms have been proven to increase immunity, boost heart health, and are now being used to fight cancer. Mushrooms such as Reishi, Maitaki and Shiitake are well known, but did you know that both Reishi and Maitaki grow wild right here in Western Pennsylvania? Maitaki is known as Hen of the Woods, grows in the fall at the base of oak trees and is a very popular edible mushroom.

Right now we are on the tail end of morel mushroom season. (The yellow morel is pictured above.) Like other mushrooms, morels are endowed with healing properties as well as being a choice mushroom to eat. We were fortunate this year after joining the Western PA Mushroom Club and attending Morel Madness, that we have been able to recognize and find mushrooms all around Western PA this spring.

Most wild mushrooms must be cooked or else they are toxic, and morels are no exception. We have been documenting our morel adventures and finds, as well as posting recipes on our sister site Food Under Foot, and also on our Food Under Foot facebook page.

Here are a sampling of morel posts on the Food Under Foot blog:

Morel Madness - a recount of the great weekend put on by the Western PA mushroom club in Mingo Creek County Park, showing us all how to recognize, find and use morel mushrooms.

Morel Frittata - a recipe (with pictures) of a delicious frittata I made using morel mushrooms (pictured below)


Morel Potato Kugel
- another recipe with pictures using the delicious morel mushroom.



Enjoy!

Melissa and David Sokulski

Licensed Acupuncturists
The Birch Center for Health
(412) 381-0116

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We 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!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Acupuncture and Arthritis

As many clients of the Birch Center already know, acupuncture is extremely effective in the treatment of arthritis. Many kinds of arthritis can be treated with acupuncture: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis pain from chronic disease such as Lyme's disease or lupus.

The reason why so many different kinds of arthritis - pain and swelling of the joints - can all be treated is that acupuncture can help the body move the energy that becomes stagnant in the joints, reducing the swelling and pain. It really doesn't matter what the Western diagnosis is - even if you're not diagnosed with arthritis at all - acupuncture is so effective at restoring balance to the body and moving the energy from the aching joints that people experience relief, usually quite quickly.

Along with needles, we often use moxibustion, which is heating an herb over the area of the arthritis. This feels wonderful to people.

If you have arthritis or know someone who does, or have anything else going on that you'd like to talk about, you are always welcome to come in for a free 20 minute consultation with Birch Center acupuncturist David Sokulski. Just call (412) 381-0116 for an appointment. He is available Monday through Thursday, 9 am through 9 pm.

Live Science recently also published an article about how acupuncture effectively treats arthritis:

This Week’s Question: I have arthritis in my knee. I’m thinking about trying acupuncture, but my friends think I’m nuts. What do you think?

Several recent studies show osteoarthritis symptoms can be relieved with acupuncture. One Scandinavian study reported that 25 percent of patients canceled their plans for knee surgery after acupuncture.

About 15 million Americans have tried this needle therapy. The World Health Organization recommends it for more than 40 conditions as diverse as asthma and nausea from chemotherapy. The Food and Drug Administration regulates acupuncture needles.

So, no, I don’t think you’re nuts.


(You can find the article in full here.)

Thanks for reading, and we hope you have a wonderful day!

Melissa and David Sokulski

Licensed Acupuncturists
The Birch Center for Health
(412) 381-0116

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We 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!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fresh Living Workshop


It's spring and everything is blooming! What better time to learn about natural health and fresh living! Join us as we show you how you can easily incorporate healthy foods and natural healing practices in your life.

Fresh Living is the first series that covers wild edibles, raw food, aromatherapy and homeopathy in one enlightening workshop. Presented by four experienced natural health practitioners, the series give you the basics that you need to start living a naturally vibrant and deliciously healthy life!

Fee: $50, includes a wonderful raw food lunch, handouts and samples. Reservations suggested as space is limited. Please Register by May 14th.

May 22, 2010
10:30am – 2:30pm
Wilkins Community Center
7604 Charleston Ave Swissvale, PA 15218

To register call (412) 381-0116

*Please Register by Friday, May 14!


Schedule:

10:00 am – Registration and Morning Tea

10:30 am – Wild Edible Walk with Melissa
Start the morning with a walk around the park and discover nature's edible bounties that were always right before your eyes!

11:15 am – Raw Food 101 with Leah
What could be fresher than raw? In Raw Food 101, Leah will show you the basics of how to un-cook. As summer approaches, learn how to make refreshingly delicious raw meals (beyond salad!) From raw raviolis, soups, dips and desserts! We will also juice and use some of your finds at the Wild Edible Walk!


12:00 – Lunch (Raw Food and Wild Edibles)

1:00- Homeopathy 101 with Tara
Join Tara for an introduction to self-prescribing for the everyday complaints of a healthy family. These include coughs, colds, ear infections, sore throats, stomach disorders, flu, and first aid. She will cover the basic principles of homeopathic philosophy to provide a structure for understanding simple prescribing. She will also look at symptoms in depth to help guide you in observing illness. She will cover the most commonly used remedies for each of the above disorders as well as the basic principles of dosing and repetition of remedies.

1:45 – Aromatherapy with Cathy
Learn about the safe use of essential oils for household use and for physical and emotional health and well being. We'll discuss the use of pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils as alternatives to: toxic household cleaners, pet care products, insect repellents, pharmaceuticals and more. A wide variety of essential oils will be on hand to view/smell. Oils will be diffused in the room. We'll cover natural options that will build the health of our bodies and our environment instead of breaking them down. Samples will be provided for each participant to take home. Fresh water with therapeutic-grade lemon oil will be on hand for drinking.

About Us

Cathy Daniels
Cathy Daniels is the founder and owner of One Gentle Spirit Holistic Services, LLC, a Certified Hypnotherapist, Reiki Master/Teacher and Natural Health Educator, she has been sharing her passion, experiences and information regarding natural ways of bringing positive changes to the body, mind and spirit for the past 14 years. As well as providing private sessions for clients, Cathy holds classes and workshops on Hypnotherapy, Aromatherapy, Reiki, Natural Health and Nutrition Awareness.† She is the mother of 3 and is a retired La Leche League Leader.†Cathy is excited to be thriving on her path of health and wellness and joyfully sharing her experience with others.†
More information on Cathy can be found at www.onegentlespirit.com

Tara McElfresh
Tara McElfresh has been practicing and studying Homeopathy for the last 3 years. Her interest in naturopathy and alternative medicine began when her child was diagnosed with heavy metal toxicity after an adverse reaction to a vaccination. After consulting with an ND, her daughter showed incredible improvement with homeopathic treatment. Tara;s passion for homeopathy continues and she is currently working with a naturopath to deepen her knowledge and broaden her practice. She uses only natural remedies to treat her family's ailments. Tara actively writes about homeopathy and natural medicine in her blog naturalremedyhealing.blogspot.com

Leah Shannon
Leah Shannon, is a certified Integrative Nutrition Counselor and Food Educator. She received her training in Holistic Health from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and her Masters Degree in Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University. Leah is an advocate for urban farming, healthy food accessibility, and food safety policy. Leah is the menu planner for Shepherd Wellness Community’s Friday Night Dinners and Holistic Health Counselor for Matrika Wellness Center’s Stress Reduction Programs. She serves on the board of Grow Pittsburgh whose mission is to demonstrate, teach and promote responsible urban food production. Leah lives in Stanton Heights adjacent to Mildreds’ Daughters Urban Farm where she teaches healthy cooking classes during the season.
More information on Leah can be found at www.befullwell.com

Melissa Sokulski
Melissa Sokulski is a licensed acupuncturist and massage therapist trained in the practice of Eastern and Holistic medicine. She received her Masters Degree in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology in 1996 from the New England School of Acupunture. She and her husband David are the founders and proprietors of the Birch Center for Health in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Melissa is well-recognized in Pittsburgh as an expert on Wild Edibles and Raw Food and regularly leads Wild Edible Walks around town.
More information on Melissa can be found at www.foodunderfoot.com and www.birchcenter.com

Thanks so much!

Melissa and David Sokulski

Licensed Acupuncturists
The Birch Center for Health
(412) 381-0116

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We 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, May 3, 2010

Pittsburgh is the Most Livable City...Again!



This year Pittsburgh was again chosen as the most livable city! We love Pittsburgh and the great opportunities that we have here.

Here are some of The Birch Center's favorite things about Pittsburgh!

  • We love our East Carson Street location, right near the corner of 20th! Pittsburgh's South Side is an awesome and fun place to be. We hold our Wild Edibles Hikes right on the south side river trail (the next one is May 30!), just a few blocks from our office. Sometimes we have time to grab lunch a few doors down at Thai Me Up, or get in a quick yoga class at BYS. And I can't seem to resist browsing right across the street at Utrecht Art Supplies every now and then!




  • When beauty or butterfies are what we are looking for, we jump across the river to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Oakland, where the agave plant is literally through the roof right now!




  • Camping at one of the many state parks...year round!


  • Learning about wild mushrooms with the Western PA Mushroom Club, who hold mushroom walks every Saturday, and have informational meetings once a month, open to all! They now have Indiana and Washington County chapters. We just got back from Morel Madness weekend hosted by them...loads of fun. This group is so generous with it's knowledge...we love them!



Just a short list of some of our favorite things about Pittsburgh!

What are your favorite things here? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks so much!

Melissa and David Sokulski

Licensed Acupuncturists
The Birch Center for Health
(412) 381-0116

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We 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!