My day job is now in Palliative Care. I support the clinical teams who have borne an outsized burden in the pandemic. When I took this role, many people asked me what palliative care is. Others already thought they had it understood- it was support of the dying. There's a lot more to the profession, … Continue reading Palliative Care and Hospice Medicine are Complementary but Distinct
Category: Integrative Medicine
Essential Oils and Aromatherapy- More than Just a Spa Treat!
This is a collaboration with my personal acupuncturist and guest author Amber Sharma, Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Disclaimer: these therapies are not FDA approved. We are presenting opinion from an integrative health perspective and none of the content below should be construed as a substitute for medical advice or therapies which your physician … Continue reading Essential Oils and Aromatherapy- More than Just a Spa Treat!
Cupping for Pain, Sports & Sleep
In his 2016 Olympics appearance, Michael Phelps introduced much of the world to an ancient practice of cupping. Many people were puzzled by the strange, bruise-like marks visible on his skin. These days, cupping has become somewhat mainstream and is now found in many sports medicine, physical therapy, and massage practice. But it's roots go … Continue reading Cupping for Pain, Sports & Sleep
Summer is Meant to be the Season of Joy. Can it Still Be?
Joy. What a strange, borderline inappropriate topic to wax philosophical about during a pandemic. But the world still spins on its axis. Literally. And that axial tilt brings in the changing on the seasons without regard to public health, economic collapse, or personal suffering. In Chinese medicine, there are 5 seasons corresponding to 5 elements … Continue reading Summer is Meant to be the Season of Joy. Can it Still Be?
De-Stress with Ear Seeds
Close up with adhesive ear seeds on the spleen and shen men points As Chinese medicine practices become more mainstream, both Good Morning America and the New York Times have highlighted growing interest in using a treatment known as ear seeds for health. I remember when a friend showed up to a hangout with what … Continue reading De-Stress with Ear Seeds
Prone Breathing: It’s not just for COVID!
You may have heard about how hospital are experimenting with putting critically ill COVID-19 patients on their stomach, in some cases even while intubated. This is quite a novel idea for most medical practitioners in the West. As a rule, patients are generally on their backs (supine) or side (lateral). But our physicians have been … Continue reading Prone Breathing: It’s not just for COVID!
The Chinese Organ Clock
In Chinese Medical theory, there are peak times for activities of the various organs. This concept is useful because when we are out of balance with disease or other issues, sometimes we can find clues based on the time of the symptoms. The above graphic shows us not only when each organ (as conceived in … Continue reading The Chinese Organ Clock
Moxibustion: Feel the Burn!
OMG, the grey hairs! The self-cut bangs! Today, we cover a rather obscure topic. Most people are familiar with acupuncture and herbs as key components of Chinese medicine. But there's another commonly used treatment which hasn't gone as mainstream in the West - moxibustion. This involves burning a plant called mugwort near various parts of … Continue reading Moxibustion: Feel the Burn!
The Cost of Not Speaking Up: A Meditation on the Throat Chakra
I was brought up in a loving household, and there was always room to express affection and give a hug. But we rarely spoke verbally about how we felt during conflict. We are famous for writing letters in times of familial tension because no one in seemed capable of speaking plainly. I suppose writing one's … Continue reading The Cost of Not Speaking Up: A Meditation on the Throat Chakra
Adventures in Food Allergies and Autoimmune Disease
Karma's a b. I used to roll my eyes hearing about food allergies in my foolish youth. Then a few years ago, I got a celiac diagnosis. Then last week, a blood test indicated major reactions to dairy, eggs and almonds (which was basically my whole diet since I already had major restrictions). Now, I … Continue reading Adventures in Food Allergies and Autoimmune Disease
Front Row Seat to a Panic Attack
In the US, a poll just came out showing nearly half of Americans are already reporting mental health impacts from Coronavirus, with around 20% reporting severe impacts. I was lucky (?) enough to have already had a year or so under my belt of living with anxiety, so I went into these COVID times pretty … Continue reading Front Row Seat to a Panic Attack
Bodies in Space: Normally and During a Pandemic
Here's a vocabulary word for the day: proprioception, which is a fancy way of describing the body's awareness of its own movements and position in space. What a random thing to talk about during a pandemic. Or not. This is a term used mostly by physical therapists. When people have a deficit in this proposed … Continue reading Bodies in Space: Normally and During a Pandemic
Music Therapy: An Annotated Playlist for our Times
I put together a genre-defying "End Times" playlist on my Apple account. It's all over the place. Uptempo ballads, hip hop, metal, and touchy-feely semi-spiritual slow jams. It is heavily concentrated in the 90's (oldest kind of millennial here). Some songs are great for driving into the hospital each day and preparing to help in … Continue reading Music Therapy: An Annotated Playlist for our Times
Maintaining Your Immune System
We all know to wash our hands and maintain social distancing. These go without saying now. But how else can we bolster our immune system? How can we maintain our health whether we are healthcare workers rushing into the front lines of battle, or those stuck at home and suffering from isolation and likely facing … Continue reading Maintaining Your Immune System
Integrative Medicine and Coronavirus
Caution: This posting is meant to share interesting science coming out related to COVID-19. It is not meant to suggest that you look to herbs or any other form of alternative medicine in lieu of recommended guidelines. Stay home and wash your hands! I mean, really. How can you write about anything else this week? … Continue reading Integrative Medicine and Coronavirus
Qi Gong- Meditation in Motion
Confession: Yoga just isn't my jam. I know it's life for a lot of people and it's clearly beneficial for health and well-being. I just don't follow directions well, and I'm not particularly spacial or graceful. Form is so important, and I feel inept and like I never can translate the pose of the instructor … Continue reading Qi Gong- Meditation in Motion
Burnout contributed to my almost quitting my job about a year ago. I literally wrote my resignation and tried handing it in. Some wonderfully supportive humans pulled me off the edge, but it was a challenging year or so to get through. Now I'm for the most part on the other side of it, and … Continue reading Overcoming Burnout
Tap into the Energy of Spring!
It is now officially meteorological spring! In Chinese Medicine theory, there are five seasons corresponding to the five elements/phases. In this blog, we’ll be talking about each season in the context of this framework as each season approaches. First, a little bit about each of the elements, which feed into one another as part of … Continue reading Tap into the Energy of Spring!
What is Integrative Medicine?
We at Integrative Alchemists are students and practitioners of integrative medicine, but what does that mean? There are a lot of terms out there that can cause confusion about approaches beyond traditional (Western) medicine. Below are some basic definitions. Some of these approaches can overlap in places. Once we’ve defined them, we can talk about … Continue reading What is Integrative Medicine?
The Pineal Gland- Located at the Intersection of Science and Spirituality
The pineal gland is small but mighty and the title of "master gland" is well deserved. This gland is capable of receiving environmental stimuli and converting it to action potential (Most, 2020). It literally can transform the light/dark into a totally different form of energy. Wisneski and Anderson explain that the pineal gland is the "root … Continue reading The Pineal Gland- Located at the Intersection of Science and Spirituality
My Reiki Journey- from skeptic to practitioner
I spent much of my childhood in Boulder, Colorado surrounded by hippies. I think I had developed an internal rebellion against all the granola traditions which were everywhere. Hemp clothing. Crystals. Bob Marley. My mom even dated a member of the Osho cult, which you may have heard about in the documentary Wild Country. Yes … Continue reading My Reiki Journey- from skeptic to practitioner
What is Qi? A brief introduction…
Qi, pronounced like the “chee” in cheese, is the vital life force energy that animates all life. In the human body, it flows through channels, but cannot be seen or measured. Qi governs the flow of blood, the function of organs, and even our emotional states. In a normal state of health, qi flows smoothly … Continue reading What is Qi? A brief introduction…
Meditation for Neurotics
Prescription for anxiety relief: I always thought meditation was something other kinds of people did. The calm types. I didn't think it was possible someone with likely ADHD and anxiety could ever sit still long enough to actually focus on anything (or nothing). About a year ago, I saw my doctor for spiraling out of … Continue reading Meditation for Neurotics