The secret of how gua sha works lies in how connective tissues function in our body. Connective tissue supports, connects, transmits, and contains every cell in the human body. Fascia, a type of connective tissue, connects the skin to deep layers of muscle, and to all other tissues, in what has been called a “body-wide signaling network.” The stroking technique of gua sha activates the most superficial level of fascia, which in turn activates both deep layers of fascia and organs far from the site of the stroking. This action releases deep muscle tension, increases micro-circulation, and causes vasodilation, all associated with pain reduction.
Clinical research has demonstrated that gua sha immediately reduces pain near the site of application as well as far from the site of application, making it a fantastic treatment method for any type of pain in the body (new, old, musculoskeletal, organ, digestive, headache, or just about anything else you can think of).
Gua sha has been around for a loooooooong time, it is incredibly useful and versatile and we love using it here in our clinic because of its unique ability to stimulate of the immune system through fascia and connective tissue.
Benefits of Gua Sha:
What Are Those Red Marks?
Don’t be alarmed, though; absolutely no pain or drama was involved. Sha of the skin may cause splotchy red marks (similar to cupping) to appear in the area as the blood rises to the surface of the skin. In Chinese Medicine we call this Sha
The "Sha" only appears in areas of tight muscles or area with muscular adhesions.
Don't worry, the marks are painless and will go away after a few days.
What To Do After Your Gua Sha Session
Whether you're trying to conceive, prevent pregnancy, or understand your body better, OPKs (Ovulation Predictor Kits) can be pretty darn helpful. Ovulation predictor kits react to the luteinizing hormone that is present in urine, which is at its peak 12–36 hours before the egg is released (or ovulation). While they are not my favorite way of determining ovulation, they are fairly easy to use and have a high accuracy rating. That being said, OPKs come with a few perimeters and a bit of a learning curve.
Below are the basics, pros and cons, tips, brands, and the problems we run across the most in the clinic.
Which to Choose
I've found that patients new to tracking their cycle will choose fertility monitors, such as ClearBlue, to track ovulation. These are a bit more high tech because they involve plugging the tests into a small machine that signals low, medium, or high fertility because they track both luteinizing hormone and estrogen levels.
These are as basic as it comes, They have one line for negative and two lines for positive, because they only track the rise in luteinizing hormone. When used every day you can see the line get darker and darker until it peaks.
OPKs are designed to test your urine for luteinizing hormone, which peaks mid-day, so I usually recommend testing sometime between noon-5pm. Begin testing 4-5 days prior to when it's estimated you ovulate, and test every day until after you get a positive. Some tests also often recommend you stop testing once you get a peak, but some women get at least 2 or 3 days of luteinizing hormone peaking before ovulation actually occurs. You can't know which day was your peak day unless you see another negative test again.
5 Common Problems We See In The Clinic
1. OPKs do NOT confirm that ovulation has occurred
Although both urine and saliva kits test for increased hormone levels prior to ovulation, they do not confirm whether ovulation actually occurred. An LH surge can sometimes occur without the release of an egg. Likewise increased estrogen levels are not always followed by ovulation.
2. It is possible to miss the LH surge
Because the LH surge can be extremely brief, it can be easy to miss. For this reason, some women may need to test their urine twice a day. If you find that your OPK is never positive, you may just be missing the LH surge. However, it could also mean that you’re not ovulating.
3. You may experience a ‘False’ LH surge
It’s possible to have a ‘false’ LH surge before the ‘real’ one occurs. This can result in timing intercourse too early and missing your true fertile time. Women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) can continually produce false LH surges.
4. Knowing when to test can be difficult (and can end up being expensive!)
If you have irregular cycles, it can be a challenge to know when to begin testing with an OPK. Because the day of ovulation can vary widely between cycles and a urine based kit typically contains a limited number of tests, one kit is sometimes not enough. This can soon become expensive
5. Ovulation predictor kits will NOT alert you to a fertility problem
An OPK can only identify when you might ovulate and will not provide other valuable information about your fertility. This is why we always recommend to collect at least 3 months worth of data before "trying" to conceive and use in tandem with another tracking method until you have a good grasp on your cycle.
If you suspect you're not ovulating, or if you're having a lot of trouble figuring out if you are, make sure to work with a healthcare provider to create a plan that makes sense for you. If you'd like to work together to regulate your cycle you can learn more about acupuncture, send me a message, or make an appointment.
ARE YOU EXPERIENCING ISSUES WITH ANY OF THE FOLLOWING: IRREGULAR OR DIFFICULT CYCLES, LOW ENERGY AND/OR MOTIVATION, FEELING TIRED, INSOMNIA, LOW SEX DRIVE, DIFFICULTY CONCEIVING?My hormone mini package may be just for you! In this package, I combine my #1 hormone test (the DUTCH test) with a one-hour consult with me reviewing the results and then creating personalized recommendations for your body, mind, and spirit based on the results.
Why I love the DUTCH test:
This package normally is $550 for the DUTCH Complete & $650 for the DUTCH Plus, but for a limited time until 6/15/19, I am offering an intro discount of $150 off either test package
Learn more about Dr Terzo and her offerings by clicking here
Tips for a Healthy Spring Diet
Follow these tips for a healthy spring diet that supports your liver.
By keeping your wood element balanced and your liver healthy, you’ll feel vital, flexible and clear.
If you have questions about healthy spring acupuncture practices feel free contact us for recommendations.
Tips to Keep You Healthy, Happy and Flexible.
For me, Spring is the most mysterious and confusing of seasons. Winter is a time of comfort and being cozy. Fall is is about organization, getting ready for the holidays, and new routines that lay ahead. Summer is for fun, rest, and indulging. Spring can conjure images of bunnies hopping around, birds singing, and flowers blooming but for me, Sping is really about rebirth, growing, unpredictable weather, and coming out of my lazy winter routine.
What does that really mean - Spring can be one tough season.
In TCM, spring is represented by the element wood. Wood represents birth and newness, the time for fresh ideas and new starts. Unsurprisingly, its color is green like the fresh growth of spring.
Try these spring acupuncture recommendations, to keep your wood balanced and your liver healthy.
February 5, 2019 is the start of the Lunar Year of the Earth (Brown) Pig!
The Pig is a kind, generous, and gentle soul. Pigs are naturally peaceful and forgiving, they tend to avoid conflict, unless provoked. In Chinese culture, Pigs symbolize the values of family, friends, home and good food.
The Pig thrives on celebration, ease, enjoyment and whole-heartedly sharing the above with its loved ones. In the Pig year, power and status take the backseat, and everyone is invited to join the fun!
The Pig is the last animal of the Chinese 12-year animal zodiac cycle. This points to an opportunity for completion of long-term or delayed projects, closing up of unfinished investigations and lawsuits.
Earth element relates to the qualities of stability, nourishment, and harmony, and is also connected to the digestive system in Chinese medicine. The Earth element in a balanced state allows for easy transformation of raw materials into energy and vitality, both in the realm of food and of thought.
The Pig year brings the energy of sticking closer to home, discouraging too much travel.
Emotionally, people should have easier access to affection and consolation of their loved ones, and any confrontations should be quick to diffuse. The Pig’s main goal is contentment and enjoyment of life – resetting and preparing for the new 12-year cycle.
Here is hoping that the influence of the Earth Pig, will bring us some peace, contentment and the experience of being nourished by our community!
There are a number of chronic degenerative eye problems that respond to acupuncture. In this episode, our guest discusses his experience using acupuncture to effectively treat macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, Stargardt’s and diabetic retinopathy.
Check out our very own Dr. Bezjak. She and Mats Sexton LAc discuss Chinese Medicine and the treatment of eye disorders.discuss not only treating the eyes, but how the eyes are a part of the nervous system and using acupuncture helps the entire body to find a deeper level of health and wellbeing.
Click here to listen.
Acupuncture can treat many eye diseases, including but not limited to:
I know you %$&#!!!! thinking: acupuncture...eyes....is this acupuncture in my eyes??
The answer is, no!
Super fine acupuncture needles go in many assorted places around the body, and are a surprisingly effective, natural approach to controlling and even improving degenerative eye diseases. Herbal medicine is as easy as taking some pills, just like taking any other medication.
Dr. Jennifer Bezjak L.Ac. DACM, has intensive training in the highly specialized treatment approach
that is necessary when treating ophthalmologic conditions. She received her masters and her doctorate degree at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco and has studied with Mats Sexton L.Ac., who has been a a TCM eye specialist since 2003. Her mom was her first macular degeneration patient, and her complete regression of the disease inspired Dr. Bezjak to specialize in this complex and vital area of medicine.
Why does acupuncture work when my ophthalmologist says there is no treatment? Because
acupuncture treats the whole body along with the eyes. Chronic and degenerative eye disease are often accompanied by systemic diseases like: hypertension, diabetes, digestive issues,
menstrual/fertility/menopausal issues, insomnia, or chronic pain. Eyes are sensitive and complex organs, with very tiny vasculature that will be the first to show signs of vulnerability to systemic diseases. Everything is connected. Ophthalmologists are often the first physicians to discover a person’s systemic disease pattern such as stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, and even cancer. Just as the eyes can be a window to our overall health, Chinese medicine uses the same approach: and treats the whole body to achieve healing in the eyes.
Treatment Plans for Vision Disorders
The treatment course for eye care is not like the usual acupuncture appointment.
First time appointments are for 90 minutes to allow plenty of time to discuss your health, evaluate your vision, treat, and to explain herbal prescriptions if necessary. At your first appointment, we will discuss the issue you are seeking treatment for and then we will ask you questions to understand your constitution. Chinese medicine is customized medicine for each individual, so we will likely spend 30 minutes getting to the root of the problem. If an herbal prescription is needed, then we will give you detailed instructions on dose, frequency, and duration of the medicine.
Subsequently, you will receive two 30 minute treatments a day for 5 consecutive days, for a total of 10 treatments in 1 week. You will receive a treatment, take an hour long break and then return for the second treatment that same day. I will perform a visual assessment at the beginning and at the end of the treatment course. Next, we will decide if another 10 session course is appropriate, or if we will move onto to weekly and then monthly treatments.
Payment and Fees
Please be advised: While acupuncture in general may be covered by your insurance, acupuncture for vision diseases are not covered. Payment is due at the time of service.
The fee for the initial evaluation and 10 treatments is $3600.
Visual tests are performed to chart the progress of the acupuncture treatments and to gauge their effect on the eyes before and after treatment. The testing is not designed or intended to diagnose any western diseases. If you are having vision problems, you should visit your regular Ophthalmologist for a complete work up.
Dr. Bezjak will not see patients for eye care without a prior ophthalmologists visit.
I love this picture taken from my friend KJ - its a perfect example how bad the air quality is.
Cupping and acupuncture can be very helpful. We've gotten busy at the office since the fires, we are doing our best to accommodate everyone. If you've been affected by the fires either physically or emotionally, please don't hesitate to reach out so we can find a time that works for you!