Blog - Vela Wellness
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Fertility challenges are common. If you are struggling to get pregnant you may feel like you are the only one but about 1 in 8 couples experience difficulty in getting pregnant according to the CDC. Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant after one year of trying for those under 35 or six months for those 35 and older. Roughly one third of fertility issues are attributed to the female partner, one third to the male and one third a combination of the two or unexplained issues. Acupuncture and East Asian medicine can be a strong ally as you navigate this difficult and unknown time.  Fertility basics: Of course we have all heard the stories of a couple being so fertile they get pregnant just from looking at each other but in reality a lot of pieces have to come together for pregnancy to occur in any given cycle. For a couple between 29 and 33 years old with normally functioning reproductive systems the changes of conceiving in any given cycle are only 20-25%.  At the most basic level here is what has to go down for pregnancy to occur: The ovary releases a healthy egg (ovulation) Intercourse or insemination is timed with your fertile window (your fertile window is generally around six days of your cycle because though the egg only lives around 12-24 hours the sperm can live for up to 5 days so they can be waiting to fertilize...

I am so excited to share that in early August 2019 I will be relocating my acupuncture practice to North Portland! I have lived in North Portland (St Johns then University Park) since 2011 and I am looking forward to serving the community that I love so dearly! My clinical focus will remain the same and I look forward to seeing both familiar and new faces in the clinic! I am so grateful for the time I was at Willow Tree Wellness in NE Portland over the past almost four years. It was wonderful to be at a focused clinic with colleagues and I grew a ton over that time. More than anything my patients at Willow Tree were the best part of the job! Each and every shift I was inspired by strong, independent, kind, humble and honest women (and token men who braved their way into the clinic!) that chose me to be their provider. To those of you who supported my practice while at Willow Tree - thank you! To receive an update about my new practice location please sign up for my newsletter. I promise you won’t get too many! Photo by Natalie Chaney on Unsplash ...

If you have a uterus it is likely that you have experienced some pain around your period. In the clinic patients often report needing 800mg of ibuprofen just to make it through day one of bleeding. Here are some tips for other ways to soothe and even remedy your menstrual pain. Stay warm In Chinese medicine, it is believed that cold can enter the uterus during a woman’s menses. Cold causes “stagnation” which causes pain. Think of it like Portland traffic during a snow storm - slow and painful! Stay warm from the inside out - avoid iced beverages and cold foods, wear socks, keep your abdomen warm and avoid exercising in the cold. You have probably noticed that when you are physically cold you tense up and all your aches and pains are worse. Keeping your body relaxed helps you stay in a more relaxed nervous state which decreases your pain perception.  Go topical If you suffer from lower abdominal cramping or back pain with your periods, topical pain relief may help. Start by picking up a natural pain balm that you find at your local natural foods store. If you find it helpful, consider making your own. Mountain Rose Herbs based in Eugene has a great how-to blog post including herbs that would be helpful.  Magnesium! Magnesium phosphate cell salts can help relieve menstrual cramps. Take a dose and then relax for a few minutes - even consider applying a heat pack to the...

Here in Portland, OR we are on day seven of being homebound due to snow and ice. Everyone is starting to go a little crazy. In my house, our unexpected 24/7 family time is combined with the stress this storm is placing on our small businesses as well as, though I don’t love to admit it, perhaps a little PMS on my part. It’s too cold and slick to exercise outside and it’s not easy to meet friends for a drink so I have found myself reaching for any and all other stress busters I know. Here a few of my favorites for the busy stressed parent who doesn’t even have the time to go to the bathroom without interruption let alone an hour long acupuncture session or yoga class: Natural Vitality Natural Calm magnesium. This stuff is awesome. It helps to balance magnesium and calcium at the cellular level helping us feel our best. Most of us are deficient in magnesium due to soil degradation and stress can further damage the cal/mag balance. My patients have reported improvements in muscle spasm and tension, insomnia, headaches, energy, anxiety and stress with supplementation. Yogi makes a Kava Stress Relief tea that is super convenient and yummy. All you need is time to steep up a cup! Kava is an herb that is used to calm both body and mind and many people find it very relaxing. Meditation and mindfulness apps are...

Fall is here and if you are in Portland, Oregon that means the next several months will be dark and damp. The dampness of the Pacific Northwest has a way of penetrating to the bone regardless of how cold it actually is. This year it has come upon us fast and hard and the first round of colds has been particularly nasty. Here are some tips to keep your family healthy this year: Wash your hands!  Simple, yet effective advice. Use hot water with plain soap according to the recent FDA guidelines. “Washing with plain soap and running water remains one of the most important steps consumers can take to avoid getting sick and to prevent spreading germs to others.” Stay warm.  East Asian medicine believes cold can enter your body through the skin and manifest in illness. Be especially careful to keep the neck and upper back covered - a great reason to have plenty of awesome scarves! This is also the best time of year to be eating cooked warm foods and cutting back on salads and smoothies. If you are a salad and smoothie lover, throw a chunk of fresh ginger into your dressings or smoothies to warm them up. From an East Asian medicine perspective cooked foods are easier on your digestion allowing your body energy to focus on staying healthy. Boost your immune system. Keep your immune system healthy by eating a great diet. Add plenty of ginger, garlic and mushrooms...

“Acupuncture is the hidden gem of pregnancy self care, I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t do it.” -first time mama Acupuncture is a great way to support a healthy pregnancy. An experienced acupuncturist can help you diminish aches and pains, alleviate common pregnancy annoyances, and prepare your body for birth. Here are the answers to some common questions about prenatal acupuncture: What pregnancy related conditions can acupuncture alleviate? Nausea Constipation Heartburn Pubic pain Back pain Headaches Carpal tunnel Insomnia Anxiety Depression Sinusitis Itching Edema   What are the benefits of prenatal and postpartum acupuncture? Reduce stress Diminish pain Build trust in body Prepare for labor Optimize fetal position Speed recovery Promote healthy milk supply   When are the best times to get prenatal and postpartum acupuncture? Breech presentation: ~34 weeks or at discovery of position Labor preparation: 35 weeks Postpartum nourishment: Begin 2-4 weeks postpartum Pain: at onset Stress: anytime Wellness: anytime   Many people choose to seek out regular prenatal acupuncture for their entire pregnancy, others from 30 weeks onwards, and some just for labor preparation treatments at the end of pregnancy. An acupuncturist with expertise in pregnancy will help you design the right treatment plan for your goals. Depending on your health and stage in pregnancy, your acupuncturist may also recommend adjunctive therapies or alternatives to acupuncture.   What about induction acupuncture? Many people have heard that acupuncture can help start labor. Thus, it is not uncommon for folks to request “induction acupuncture” at their first visit 40+ weeks...

Baby has finally arrived and it is the moment your family has been waiting for. What many new parents don’t realize is that their new babes will need to nurse somewhere between 8-18 times per day. For many folks this will feel like the majority of their day. For the nursing parent, the job is clear. If you are the non-breastfeeding parent you may be wondering what the heck to do with yourself. Fear not, you can still be incredibly helpful and supportive even if you aren’t the one with the milk. Here are are few idea: Help make your partner is comfortable. Bring pillows, a blanket, whatever can help set your partner up for a comfortable nursing session. Make sure your partner always has a glass of water while nursing. Hydration is key! This could be the time to learn to make a mean mocktail! Is your partner’s milk supply a little low? Brew them up a cup of mother’s milk tea. Traditional Medicinals and Earth Mama Angel Baby both make nice organic blends to help support milk production. Change diapers before or after feedings. Your partner can be in charge of what goes in while you are in charge of what comes out! This is a great time for bonding and teaching your new kiddo that they can count on you for life’s basic needs. Many good stories arise from early diaper changes! Take care of routine chores...

Nine months (give or take) of no hangovers, no periods, no birth control concerns, a credible excuse to get out of anything you don’t want to do and the superpower of growing a human — pregnancy has its perks! As an acupuncturist specializing in pregnancy, an experienced doula and a mama of two spirited blondies here are my tips for an awesome pregnancy: Hire a doula! Doulas are incredible. Regardless of the type of birth you think you want, having a doula will be helpful in more ways than you can imagine. You will get to know your doula over several prenatal visits. They will be at your birth as well as follow up with postpartum visits. At your birth, your doula will hold space for you and your partner providing you a general sense of security with their presence. Your doula will help you cope with labor both physically and emotionally. They will also offer nonjudgmental support and information about your choices and options. Your doula is an intuitive wealth of information who is well connected to the resources in your community that will benefit you in pregnancy and postpartum. Research even confirms that having a doula present at your birth is associated with fewer interventions and better birth outcomes! If you live in Portland, check out the amazing doulas on my referrals page.  Ditch the fear. Sure, it’s natural to be afraid of the unknown and for most of...

I recently wrote a blog post for Wellpdx highlighting five common pregnancy discomforts that acupuncture can help alleviate. From heartburn and constipation to sinusitis and pubic pain, acupuncture excels at supporting healthy pregnancies. As the pregnancy draws closer to the end, points can be included to help prepare the body for a timely labor and birth. If baby is in a less than optimal position for labor, such as breech or posterior, there are points that can gently encourage the baby to move on its own. Acupuncture also provides a quiet moment to slow down and simply be in your body and with your baby. Read the full post to learn more. Wellpdx is Portland’s health and wellness directory. Launched in February of 2016, Wellpdx connects Portlanders with exactly the healer they are looking for. Currently Wellpdx features acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and naturopathic doctors. Folks can browse practitioners by profession or do specific searches by insurance, location and specialty. Wellpdx provides a much needed alternative to wading through pages of Google results or looking at your insurance company’s list of in-network providers. New practitioners join Wellpdx each week so if your search ever comes back without the results you are looking for, check back again soon!...

In my last blog post, I wrote about five ways to nourish yourself postpartum. These suggestions ranged from accepting help to engaging in regular self care. I’ll admit that as an acupuncturist, I am a little biased that acupuncture is some of the best self care out there, especially postpartum! Acupuncture, herbal medicine and other East Asian therapies such as moxibustion can really help transform your postpartum experience. Regular acupuncture postpartum can help enhance postpartum healing, encourage healthy milk supply, diminish aches and pains, reduce stress, and help re-establish healthy menstrual cycles. To learn more, read the full blog post I wrote for Willow Tree Wellness, the clinic where I see individual clients in Portland, OR. It is never too late to start your postpartum recovery so don’t hesitate to book an appointment today....