Monday, November 24, 2014

Do Your Holiday Shopping at Birch Center!

 As the holiday season approaches, many consider local gifting for their holiday shopping. Thanks for doing your holiday shopping at Birch Center, where you can gift loved ones with healthy, clutter-free gifts! Check out what we have to offer you this holiday season. Thanks!
Give the gift of health with a Birch Center Gift Certificate!

You can now buy gift certificates to the Birch Center for Health online!

You can purchase a specific service or package, or choose an amount and let the recipient decide on which services they'd like! (If you want an amount different than what is offered, simply call us at (412) 381-0116 and we can take your order over the phone.)

Choose Services and/or Amount
Pick Up or Ship

Package of 4 Acupuncture Treatments

Buy a package of 4 acupuncture treatments and pay only $220 (savings of $40!) You may buy as many packages as you'd like, for yourself or as gifts.

4 Acupuncture Treatment Package for $220


Winter Foraging Wild Food Feasting

Check out Melissa's new book about winter wild edibles! Great recipes, perfect for the holidays (and everyday!) You can get it directly from the Food Under Foot website, or buy from Amazon Kindle!


Wild Ally Workbook

 by Melissa Sokulski, L.Ac.

This amazing workbook is a great way to begin to learn about wild edible plants, or to deepen your knowledge.

Not only do you choose the plant you will work with, you get to choose the price of the workbook itself.


Free Shipping on Vitamix Blenders!

Click here for more information

~ Special for December, 2014 ~

use the code: 


by using the code 06-003463 when you place your order directly from Vitamix anytime in December, 2014, you not only get FREE SHIPPING, but you also automatically receive a free gift: a set of 3 spatulas!

This will be mailed to you separately directly from Vitamix, but will NOT be reflected in your order, and is ONLY available with the above code (you will not find this advertised on their website.)

Use the code: 06-003463 to receive free shipping and your gift of three free spatulas in December!


Getting Stuck In Pittsburgh


Interested in Wild Edibles?

Make your own Custom Gifts at CafePress


And if you visit the Birch Center, in Pittsburgh's historic south side neighborhood right on East Carson Street, you can also purchase our hand-made SMUDGE STICKS, proceeds of which go to benefit local animal shelters. Thanks!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Making Smudge Sticks and Moxibustion

You may know that one of our passions is teaching about and using wild plants as food and medicine. We write about that on a website called Food Under Foot. Today, because it is related to acupuncture and wellness, I am sharing with you what we have been doing this autumn with a wild plant found and collected locally.

We have gathered Mugwort or Artemisia vulgaris, which in Chinese Medicine is known as Ai Ye. It is considered warming (it is especially known as "warming the womb" and is used frequently to treat women with infertility.) One common way it is used is burned as moxa or moxabustion on or over acupuncture points or on acupuncture needles.

You can read a testimonial from Birch Center acupuncturist David Sokulski's patient, who came to see him with infertility. He treated her with a combination of acupuncture and moxibustion (as she describes) and the result: a beautiful baby girl! Read her story here.

This month we made our own moxa and smudges (which are used to clear energy) with wild local mugwort. Mugwort grows everywhere in Pittsburgh! It is considered by most to be a weed. It grows along the river, in the parks, in our yard, in vacant lots, along the get the picture. One way to recognize it is to look at the underside of its feathery leaves: they will be white. This is a trademark of all Artemisia, connecting them to Artemis, the goddess of the moon. (The silvery white underside of its leaves links it to the moon.) If you crush the leaves in your hand you will notice a delicious fragrant aroma. You have found Artemisia vulgaris. (If you are ever able to go on a wild edibles walk with us, we point it out every time! To hear about our walks, sign up for Food Under Foot's newsletter.)

First we harvested lots of mugwort and we hung it to dry:

Once dry, we bundled it into smudges. To some of them we added lavender. Here is Ella bundling the smudges.

Here are the finished smudges, which are available to purchase at the Birch Center. Proceeds from the smudge sales go to benefit Animal Friends (a no kill shelter) and Western PA Humane Society (from where we adopted our dear dog Maggie, who passed away last year.)

We also took the loose leaves from the mugwort and crushed them into moxa. The white on the underside of the leaves is actually a fiber, and it is this fiber which makes the moxabustion:

Here is a picture of a burning moxa cone:

Our handmade moxa is so wonderful: green and incredibly fragrant, as are the smudges, which I cannot get enough of! The smudges burn slowly (you need to relight them unlike incense) and will last a long time.

Moxa is warming and moves energy and is used often in acupuncture treatments.

Call us with questions or to schedule an appointment: (412) 381-0116.

As the weather gets colder it is a great time for an acupuncture tune-up, or to deal with those nagging symptoms before winter.

Talk to you soon!

David and Melissa Sokulski
licensed acupuncturists

Birch Center for Health

(412) 381-0116

Read all of Dave's clients' testimonials here!

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