Now that fires have been added to our 2020 disaster list, we wanted to check in with everyone to see how you're doing.
Below are office updates, our favorite fire season tips and an offer of support.
Elanita and Jennifer
photo credit NPR
The DUTCH Adrenal Hormone test is easy to do with clear instructions and we'll even walk you through it
Why do this test?
Your results will end the guesswork about whether or not the root cause of your symptoms is due to adrenal fatigue (HPA-D). This can include any of the following symptoms:
This test reveals information about two adrenal hormones and how they metabolize: Cortisol and DHEA. Urine is the only way to see these metabolites. You also see your 24 hour cortisol rhythm, which is important in assessing adrenals. This test tells you:
You may have thought you have adrenal fatigue and tried various things to help. Unfortunately, with guessing rather than testing, often what you take is not on target with your specific HPA-D pattern. You may be wasting your money or you may be treating yourself inappropriately. For example:
If your HPA axis is not online, it will affect all of your neuroendocrine systems: your thyroid, insulin metabolism, all sex hormones, your energy, and your brain. With the specific results of the test, you can fine-tune your treatment exactly according to your needs. You can find out what is needed for sleep intervention, daytime energy, stress, and more.
When this patient walked through the door they complained of daily diarrhea and cramping for the last 6 months. Their MD had prescribed them several rounds of antibiotics and recommended a bland diet but the diarrhea and cramping only worsened as time went on. When they stepped into our clinic, they reported diarrhea up to 7 times a day. They were exhausted, embarrassed and at the end of their rope - most of all they wanted answers.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Digestive System is philosophically the center of the body. Without the ability to take in food and transform it efficiently and effectively into energy, all the other systems have a much more difficult time working properly as well. This ancient and simple concept is gaining more scientific support as we research the most fascinating medical frontier: the microbiome of our gut. We are learning that the health of our gut and the microbes within it have effects outside the gut: Alzheimer’s, MS, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis are being understood in this new context. Its not just disease that the microbes confer to us, we now know that 70-90% of our serotonin is produced by gut microbes. Indeed, there are thousands of bacteria that support our health: inside the gut and out.
What does the GI MAP test?
The GI MAP stool test is a DNA based test (is not culture based) and will test for:
We look for more than just pathogens. We can have overgrowth of dysbiotic bacteria or even an overgrowth of 2 classes of bacteria that can create health issues. With the GI MAP we are able to get a multifaceted picture of not only disease, but where your gut is on the spectrum of health and function.
When is testing appropriate?
We are always surprised when our patients with GI complaints who have diagnoses of SIBO or IBS tell us they haven’t had a stool test. It is often the place we start. There are many more conditions that may have underlying gut imbalances, and it does not need to manifest as a GI problem:
What’s involved with the actual test?
Everyone wants to know how the test is performed and what the process is. We give you a kit at the office (or we can have one mailed to you from the lab) and there are instructions inside. You will catch a portion of your bowel movement into a paper tray supplied in the kit. There is a vial of preservative liquid and the lid has a scooper attachment on it. You scoop a couple of samples from the stool, put it into the liquid, seal it up, close the box, and drop it off at UPS. Pretty simple. I have changed diapers that were a bigger ordeal!
What is treatment like at SFIM?
We only use natural medicine to correct imbalances we see on the tests. We have come to understand the application of Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal formulas (in pill form or granules) in the context of modern digestive issues and when this is combined with the right supplements, we see real results.
We will advise you of feasible dietary modifications based on your microbial populations. Our treatment approach does not include things like juice cleanses, fasting, restrictive diets like keto/paleo, colon hydrotherapy, or the word “detox”. Our treatment philosophy is rooted in science and the classic tenets of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
We will always inform you of the pros and cons of other western therapies such as antibiotics or antiprotozoal therapies. Course of treatment varies widely from 2 weeks to 4 months or longer depending on the condition.
What happened to that patient?
GI stool testing revealed they had a form of H. pylori that was resistant to the type antibiotics they were being prescribed. This did double damage - the H. Pylori was unaffected by the treatment and all the good bacteria in their gut was killed off. With the information we learned from stool testing, we were able to develop a treatment plan that actually treated the patient's symptoms and resolve the root of their problem.
By Dr Jennifer Bezjak
SFIM Resources Collection
We know not all can attend vigils or protests, so below is a growing collection of resources of ways we can engage and encourage and become more active in our communities. We hope to continue adding to this list as we learn more.
Have a great resource or information not listed, email it us at firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE: Organizations on this list are not connected to SFIM and the inclusion of an organization on this list does not constitute a recommendation by SFIM Please research organizations before contacting them, giving them personal information, and/or donating funds. Thank you.
Video: How Can We Win w/Kimberly Jones“On Saturday May 30th filmmaker and photographer David Jones of David Jones Media felt compelled to go out and serve the community in some way. He decided to use his art to try and explain the events that were currently impacting our lives. On day two, Sunday the 31st, he activated his dear friend author Kimberly Jones to tag along and conduct interviews. During a moment of downtime he captured these powerful words from her and felt the world couldn’t wait for the full length documentary, they needed to hear them now.”
Note: Some totally understandable profanity
Support America’s Oldest Black Bookstore - Marcus BooksLocated in Oakland! According to a Guardian article from May 15th, their GoFundMe started in April, had not even gotten 50% of it’s $200,000 goal, while City Lights met its goal of $400,000 within days. It looks like the upwelling of support for Black-owned businesses has helped them exponentially as they have surpassed their goal by almost $5000 as of June 4th. But friends, let’s be serious here - this is the Bay Area with it’s crazy rents and even with Covid-19, gentrification marches on - so let’s give them an even greater cushion for later down the road. Donate to Marcus Books
Resmaa Menakem interviewed by Krista Tippett on the On Being Podcast
White Supremacy Culture by Tema Okun“This is a list of characteristics of white supremacy culture that show up in our organizations. Culture is powerful precisely because it is so present and at the same time so very difficult to name or identify. The characteristics listed below are damaging because they are used as norms and standards without being proactively named or chosen by the group. They are damaging because they promote white supremacy thinking. Because we all live in a white supremacy
culture, these characteristics show up in the attitudes and behaviors of all of us – people of color and white people. Therefore, these attitudes and behaviors can show up in any group or organization, whether it is white-led or predominantly white or people of color-led or predominantly people of color.”
Talkspace’s Black Lives Matter Resource PageDissecting Whiteness Resource List from dissectingwhiteness.com9 Bay Area Organizations Fighting for Racial Justice
Black-owned restaurants, pop-ups and caterers in the Bay Area (SF Chronicle)
Document compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein in May 2020.This document is intended to serve as a resource to white people and parents to deepen our anti-racism work. If you haven’t engaged in anti-racism work in the past, start now. Feel free to circulate this document on social media and with your friends, family, and colleagues.
Here is a shorter link: bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES
To take immediate action to fight for Breonna Taylor, please visit FightForBreonna.org.
Resources for white parents to raise anti-racist children:
Black-led LGBTQIA+ organizations to support:
As we inch back to a more "normal life” – its going to be different, we need to keep in mind that the virus will still be around for a while. Its not the time to be caught off guard and let our body and immune system get weak.
So, let’s review some tips that will help keep our immune defense mechanisms at their highest level and keep us healthy in the midst of these new changes.
Contact us for orders and get up to 15% off retail and the best dosage recommendations for your body - avoid Amazon and support a small business!
How Acupuncture Treats Neck Pain
TCM views all health problems holistically. We can not only treat the symptoms of neck pain and stiffness, often providing relief of sore neck and muscle spasm in neck, but will carefully consider the whole picture of symptoms and lifestyle habits that are contributing factors. We will look for the root cause of neck pain and address that, so that the pain does not return again and again. An acute condition that involves neck strain and soft tissue injury will be treated differently than a chronic condition related to the vertebrae and discs.
Patients who are new to acupuncture may be surprised when their practitioner begins inserting needles, and none of them are going into the area that hurts–in this case, the neck. But acupuncture often does not work in such a direct way. To treat neck pain, a qualified acupuncturist might be working on points in the abdomen that reduce inflammation throughout the body while strengthening Qi and Yang energy.
Acupuncture treatment is sometimes enhanced by the additional use of electrical stimulation. Wide-ranging studies have shown that many people feel an immediate improvement after the very first session, with even more significant positive effects on pain and mobility accumulating after several treatments. At SFIM we are trained in other modalities that can also be incorporated into the treatment regimen, especially forms of therapeutic massage, Kineso-taping, Dry Needling, and Graston Technique
Acupuncture is safe, natural and has no such side effects—unlike many of the medications often used to treat pain.
TCM Herbs for Chronic Neck Pain
Chronic neck pain conditions involving radicular (radiating pain) symptoms can be alleviated by the use of specific Chinese herbal formulas. Chinese herbs, both in oral and topical formulations, have been shown to be better at relieving neck pain stemming from degenerative disc disorders or cervical radiculopathy (pinched nerves or nerve damage) than NSAID type medications. Topical pain relievers such as liniment (woodlock, or Huo Luo oil) or analgesic patches can be very effective for pain relief, with no side effects.
Top 5 Tips for Neck Pain Relief
Besides acupuncture treatment, you can also get some stiff neck relief by improving your posture, sleeping position and by practicing neck pain exercises. Here are some of the best neck pain remedies you can achieve through self care at home.
ACUPUNCTURE AND IMMUNITY
Can acupuncture boost your immune system? The answer is not surprising: yes, it can! In some cases, especially in China, acupuncture therapy is prescribed for immune deficiency disorders such as allergies, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue, psoriasis, and cancer. Since inflammation is the natural pathological progress of many diseases, many argue that the strength of acupuncture in boosting immune function lies in its ability to reduce inflammation. Studies have also shown that acupuncture can affect a rise in immune interferon levels. Interferons are the chemical messengers used by the immune system to communicate between cells.
The acupuncture point named Stomach 36 (ST36) is well known for its immune-boosting effects. Stimulation of this point (located just below the kneecap on the outer part of the leg) is believed to regulate the activation of Natural Killer cells (NK cells) known for their ability to attack and kill cancer cells.
The human immune system consists of the white blood cells produced by bone marrow; antibodies made in the thymus and tonsils; and the spleen and the lymphatic system, which removes dead cells and materials from the system. These systems interact and communicate to coordinate the body’s defense system. First, white blood cells detect foreign particles in the body. In response, the body launches a defense in the form of fighter cells and antibodies. It keeps a record of infections, so future immune reactions are faster and more effective. If any of these aspects are weakened due to illness or bad lifestyle choices, our immune system is compromised.
Research and scientific evidence from clinical trials show that acupuncture can regulate immunity and promote anti-inflammatory effects. In one study, early stimulation of acupuncture point ST36 resulted in an increased concentration of the antibody SIgA, as well as T-lymphocytes in the intestinal mucosa. It resulted in lowered mortality due to sepsis.
In conjunction with moxibustion, acupuncture helped restore the balance between immune cell subsets during treatment of Crohn’s disease patients (Liang et al. 2015).
Additionally, prevention and early treatment of disease is a big part of TCM. Acupuncture is often used before the onset of an illness to boost immunity, thereby potentially bypassing disease altogether.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT
Your first treatment with an acupuncturist may last for up to an hour. We will carefully evaluate your particular case and decide on the correct combination of acupuncture points to stimulate and the duration of the treatment. A total of 361 acupuncture points are located all over the human body, including the hands, feet, and ears, where points are more concentrated. Follow-up treatments tend to be shorter, typically between 20-30 minutes, and may be necessary depending on the specific case.
The skin is disinfected with alcohol before a very thin sterilized needle or disposable needle in inserted precisely at each specific acupuncture point. Once inserted, the acupuncturist may adjust the position of the needles, heat them, or even electrically energize them for an enhanced effect. Treatment is not painful or uncomfortable, although a slight prick may be felt on insertion, followed by tingling or warming around the site.
photo credit - genengnews.com
We want to share with you below what we are doing to help maintain a healthy and safe environment, in addition to following guidelines from the CDC and regional public health agencies.
COVID-19 and Traditional Chinese medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine has played a role in fighting viruses and pandemics in its long history. SARS, H1N1 and more recently, COVID-19. Hospitals in China have integrated the use of Chinese medical herbology with Western medicine in its fight of COVID-19. Chinese herbal medicine helps to strengthen the immune system and it not only assists in mild cases, but more severe cases as well.
Click Here to watch a short video
Thank you for all that you’re doing to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. We recognize the immense personal sacrifices that everyone has made during this time to respond to the pandemic. We miss seeing our team in the office each day, we miss seeing you, and we miss the opportunity to share in the highs (and lows) of supporting your wellness journey.
Fortunately, in the Bay Area it seems that we are winning in our goal to flatten the curve. We greatly appreciate the support we received from so many of you regarding our decision to pause in office treatments, and today, we are happy to share that we will tentatively begin seeing patients in office on a limited basis starting MAY 5TH.
We plan to start slowly and will be prioritizing the acute cases first. We are passionate about providing the highest caliber of care, and we look forward to continuing our mission to partner with patients to achieve their goals, safely and responsibly.
How has the situation changed?
We faced tremendous uncertainty around how the rate of infection would progress in the Bay Area. Fortunately, early actions have proven effective at managing community transmission, and our hospitals and critical care centers are not under stress.
Acupuncture is defined as essential by the state of California and as a standalone private practice (not part of a larger hospital or clinic), we can operate without diverting needed resources like personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, or skilled staff from the pandemic response at a larger hospital system.
What does this mean for me?
We greatly appreciate your continued support and patience as we make every effort to resume clinic operations as safely and as seamlessly as possible. As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, we are also updating our precautionary measures to help keep our patients, providers, and staff healthy and safe.
We are doing everything in our power to keep both our patients and staff healthy, safe, and advancing towards their goals. Nothing that we do would be possible without the immense trust that you place in us, and we look forward to continuing to partner with you.
Elanita and Jennifer
There are two main reasons we appreciate NIAW (National Infertility Awareness Week – April 20 - 25):
Chinese medicine isn’t just about acupuncture and Chinese herbs, it is lifestyle medicine. How you live affects your health and these are aspects of your health we can work on. We are here to help you with the physical aspects of the medicine (the herbs, the acupuncture) but also be that much needed cheerleader when you begin making these healthier choices because change can be hard and when you have support, anything is possible.
Infertility is so common and the struggles are shared by many. If you have a story to tell, feel free to send it and we can post it (with or without your name), to give hope or at least to let people know that they aren’t alone.
Let’s shine a light on infertility and support those struggling during this week and every week.