Spring Energy

Happy First Day of Spring! Spring is when new green shoots rise, tendrils reach out for the next hold, and the world gets a bit warmer and brighter. I hope holding that image in your mind helps you find what the majority of my patients said their goal was for this year: more energy.

I think we're so tired in part because we're expected to come out of the gate of the New Year bursting with energy for new projects and self improvement. I've never been one to make New Year's Resolutions, but this year it felt especially off, setting us all up for failure. It's just not the right time. Winter is when we want to curl up in front of a fire with a good book, a blanket, and a hot beverage. No wonder we fail so routinely at most of our resolution setting and everyone coming in in January was so incredibly fatigued!

Then just when we might have recovered a bit we were hit with the spring forward daylight savings time change and I find myself (and most of my patients) still struggling to adjust ten days later.

Be gentle with yourself as we start to spread out into what should start to be warmer weather (we got quite a taste last week)! Picture the plants that are just opening up. Gently stretch your body. Awaken slowly.

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Spring is a better time energetically for new growth and taking on new projects. If you didn't have the energy for the changes or intentions you set for January 1 or Chinese New Year, don't lose heart. Try again this Spring, or even Summer. Find the time of year when your energy rises.

And of course, if you don’t have enough energy to complete your daily activities, are stressed, overwhelmed, or anxious, and having trouble falling or staying asleep, please come in for acupuncture. That’s not sustainable and I want you to have a great year! Acupuncture has tools to help you regain some of that rest, rebalance with the season, manage your stress and anxiety, and restore a healthy sleep schedule.


FOUND THIS INTERESTING? RELATED POSTS ON A CUPPA QI:

What Autumn Holds for You

Joyful Movement

Stress Relief and the Pantone Color of the Year

ABOUT SHAWNA

Shawna Seth, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac. is a California state licensed and nationally certified acupuncturist whose areas of specialty include promoting women’s health and fertility and interrupting the cycles of stress, anxiety, and depression. She uses the gentlest effective methods possible to guide her patients to balance. Shawna sees patients both in her private practice in San Francisco and in a collaborative practice in Temescal, Oakland. To learn more about Japanese medicine and the world of acupuncture, read her blog A Cuppa Qi and make your appointments online or email contact@shawnaseth.com.

Header/mug photo: Unsplash

Fatigue photo: Death to the Stock Photo

Can Acupuncture Treat ...?

It's a very common question: "Does acupuncture treat …?" The short answer is YES!, no matter the condition, because acupuncture is a complete medical system.

While it’s tempting to hear that as equivalent to a specific drug being touted as a panacea, it’s really like saying all of medicine can address a wide variety of ailments. We’re much more comfortable with that concept. Western or allopathic medicine can help with lots of things to varying degrees. It’s much the same with acupuncture. That’s one of the reasons it’s more accurately referred to as a complementary medicine, rather than alternative medicine.

Saying acupuncture can treat almost anything is more like saying all of medicine has a lot of answers than that one particular drug is a cure-all.
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Acupuncture and herbal medicine are toolkits based upon a complex theoretical model of the human body as a reflection of the natural world. Primary importance is placed on your symptoms and experience so this is truly a patient-centered approach. For example, it doesn't matter if the thermometer says you don't have a temperature. If you feel too hot, we might call that a fever (and one of a variety of fevers depending on the rest of what’s going on). The practice of this medicine includes asking lots of questions so I can understand as best as possible what's going on for you since I can't feel what you feel for you.

Primary importance is placed on your symptoms and experience so this is truly a patient-centered approach.

I then also "read" your body through palpation (gently touching your body - usually your legs, arms, and abdomen), taking your pulses, looking at your tongue (the only visible muscle in the body), and other diagnostic methods. This helps to clarify the pattern because lots of things can cause cramps, for example, or headaches. What's causing yours?

The goal is to get a complete picture of the pattern at play, as opposed to treating each symptom individually. Something's not in balance, so there are a variety of expressions of that imbalance. Address the issue at the root and multiple signals can fade back or disappear.

When I’m working to combine all your symptoms with your diagnostic readings to form the right acupuncture treatment in an efficient amount of time.

When I’m working to combine all your symptoms with your diagnostic readings to form the right acupuncture treatment in an efficient amount of time.

This is why it sometimes looks like I'm doing mental calculus while I'm working. There’s a lot to think about! This is also why becoming an acupuncturist takes 3.5 years of graduate school (that’s the shortest estimate at full time with no summer breaks), clinical hours (our version of a residency), and rigorous study for a comprehensive licensing exam that includes traditional medicine theory, knowledge of hundreds of acupuncture point locations and functions, medical safety measures along with medical ethics and local laws, plus Western terminology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and standards of care for every major condition from depression to mastitis to stomach cancer, etc. plus mandatory continuing education. I confess I had no idea how qualified my acupuncturist was when I first started as an acupuncture patient!

Lots of things can cause cramps, for example, or headaches. What’s causing yours?

Because everything is placed within a pattern, we can get into all the stuff that you've lived with but never known how to describe or where to go to deal with it. I've heard everything from “I’m phlegmy, but only right after I eat” to "my legs feel like they're going to float away" to "I feel completely exhausted after my period" to "I have this reoccurring dream about a boat on fire and it makes me anxious about getting ready for bed."

This theory helps direct us in our selection of channels and points and methods for stimulating them to change and action, including a variety of ways of needling, some involving insertion. There are also a host of other treatment modalities such as internal herbal medicine, topical herbal medicine, moxibustion, cupping, a variety of forms of massage, and beyond.

Under the umbrellas of women’s health and emotional health, my patients come to me with a wide variety of chief complaints – the big need that brings you in the door. We focus our attention on that main thing, but because acupuncture is a holistic medicine, from there we also keep in mind the whole picture of your health. We discuss how you sleep, your diet and digestion, any aches and pains, etc.

I always smile when I've just seen a patient with anxiety and a fertility patient comes in next and asks hesitantly if I think acupuncture might help for their anxious thoughts. And vice versa! Same thing happens when they mention a family member has shingles (I've seen acupuncture reduce the severity of the immediate flare and any post-herpetic neuralgia). The vast coverage of this medicine is one of the things that allows you to rely on me as a resource as your situation shifts and changes. Because changing is part of life!

So while there are some conditions that we'll definitely want you to either seek Western care for first or create an integrative approach, many health concerns could potentially be handled primarily with acupuncture and/or herbal medicine. Please talk to a licensed acupuncturist like myself to figure out the best way forward for you.

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About Shawna

Shawna Seth, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac. is a California state licensed and nationally certified acupuncturist whose areas of specialty include promoting women’s health and fertility and interrupting the cycles of stress, anxiety, and depression. She uses the gentlest effective methods possible to guide her patients to balance. Shawna sees patients both in her private practice in San Francisco and in a collaborative practice in Temescal, Oakland. To learn more about Japanese medicine and the world of acupuncture, read her blog A Cuppa Qi and make your appointments online or email contact@shawnaseth.com.

Header image: Death to the Stock Photo
Icons: 
Freepik and Anatoly from Flaticon

2019 Thumbtack Top Pro

For the second year in a row I am proud to share that I have been named a Top Pro by Thumbtack, a tool that connects customers with local professionals.

Thank you to all the patients who found me through Thumbtack and were generous with their feedback. Only 4% of Thumbtack's professionals are named Top Pro and I'm honored to be recognized.

Read more about Thumbtack and the Top Pro program in my 2018 post.

ABOUT SHAWNA

Shawna Seth, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac. is a California state licensed and nationally certified acupuncturist whose areas of specialty include promoting women’s health and fertility and breaking the cycles of stress, anxiety, and depression. She uses the gentlest effective methods possible to guide her patients to balance. Shawna sees patients both in her private practice in San Francisco and in a collaborative practice in Temescal, Oakland. To learn more about Japanese medicine and the world of acupuncture, read her blog A Cuppa Qi and make your appointments online or email contact@shawnaseth.com.

Need a Massage? Introducing Tyler

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I’m pleased to announce that Tyler Chamberlain, Certified Massage Therapist is now sharing our San Francisco clinic space at the Sutter Healing Arts Building. He’s seeing clients on Saturdays, Sundays, and Tuesdays while I’m with my patients in Oakland or taking my day off.

Tyler’s style is in harmony with my approach to gentle, personalized treatments. He offers time-based appointments that are then tailored to your needs on a given day using his massage skillsets including Swedish, Deep Tissue, Ortho-bionomy, Energy, and Lymphatic/Detox. Having experienced his work myself, I highly recommend his thoughtful, effective, and deeply relaxing care.

His introduction to you in his own words:

I'm fascinated with us humans.

Tyler Chamberlain, CMT

Tyler Chamberlain, CMT

Our anatomy is physically structured to work as a cohesive, singular being. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments can be identified, felt, and touched. But it's the layers within, the unexpected (and often magical) connections between the obvious and the less understood, that really excite me: how gentle stretching can allow the opposing muscle to relax; how non-invasive Vagus nerve work can almost immediately relax the entire body; how unraveling the fascia (the stuff that holds it all in place, and is usually neglected in massage) is so critical to overall muscle health; how simply receiving touch can invigorate the soul.

I've heard my role as a massage therapist described as that of a chameleon, and that resonates. Occasionally, we need to get deep into the muscles. There may be painful trigger points to be released, or a specific injury requiring attention. Or you may be pregnant, have tech-neck, or may be holding stress in your shoulders or abdomen. You may have pain walking uphill (but not down), chronic headaches, or unidentified pain in your back. You likely have some combination of "all of the things", and my passion is to work together to tailor the bodywork specifically for your needs, on that day. Then, ideally, a plan to address your goals over time.

Perhaps most importantly, I firmly believe in the power of human touch. It's OK to want that, to simply receive pleasure, to have a safe place where you can just feel good. To have an energetically clean and soft space to relax. It's fascinating how often I observe clients who simply want to receive a relaxing, pleasurable massage, and are almost embarrassed to say it, as if it's not a good enough reason. IT IS!

It's surprising to me how many massage therapists don't put any thought into the music. It's such a critical part, since we're really working with all the senses. From chamber music if you want to be soothed, to nature sounds if you want to zone out, to underground techno if you want to be energized, we'll find the right fit. 

I'm so thrilled to be sharing a space with Shawna, with whom I immediately felt an energetic & professional connection - it feels like we share a similar mindset within the space, with similar goals (and very complementary styles). There's really such great energy already in the space, and I hope to share in that energy with all of you.

Booking Details

Book with Tyler online on his website: www.tylerccmt.com

Rates (subject to change):

  • 60 min: $100

  • 90 min: $140

  • 120 min: $170

  • Intro offer: I so strongly believe a 90-minute massage is that much better than a 60, that I'd like to offer your first massage at $100 for 90-minutes.

Availability: Saturday, Sunday, & Tuesday from 10am-10pm

ABOUT SHAWNA

Shawna Seth, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac. is a California-licensed and nationally-certified acupuncturist whose areas of specialty include promoting women’s health and fertility and breaking the cycles of stress, anxiety, and depression. She uses the gentlest effective methods possible to guide her patients to balance. Shawna sees patients both in her private practice in San Francisco and in a collaborative practice in Temescal, Oakland. To learn more about Japanese medicine and the world of acupuncture, read her blog A Cuppa Qi and make your appointments online or email contact@shawnaseth.com.

What Autumn Holds for You

Seasonal change isn’t instant. Especially here in the Bay Area, it’s gradual. 1 step forward, 2 steps back, until it isn’t. It takes a special focus to notice it as it shifts. We may yet get our warm Late Summer days that often show up in late September/ October, but Autumn has already been happening. There’s that chill in the air. A certain crispness. A lot of complaints of dry throats.

My favorite tree on the Vassar Farm (Oct 2003)

My favorite tree on the Vassar Farm (Oct 2003)

Eastern Medicine takes its cues from the natural world. As it is in nature, so is it in our bodies and emotional landscapes. Spring and Summer both have an energy of new growth and expansion. There’s a fullness and flourishing. In Autumn, we start to draw back into the interior.

There are five elements (sometimes also called Five Phases) in Eastern Medicine: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood. The Five Elements have corresponding seasons, tastes, channels, energies, diseases, and so much more that there is an entire school of thought in Chinese Medicine defined by this focus.

Autumn is the Metal season. Metal cuts like a knife and holds like a copper cup, dividing and separating, creating boundaries. This season we ask, What do you need that you should keep hold of? What is not yours that you can release?

Classically in cultures around the world this is the season for harvesting. It’s a time to take stock of and appreciate the bounty the year has brought you. What have you accomplished? Be grateful and take pride.



The Metal meridians: Lung and Large Intestine

The emotion of the Lungs is Grief.
As we take stock in this season of our year and our lives, certain goals and accomplishments we may have set no longer serve us. They may be inaccessible or simply no longer appropriate. It’s ok to grieve that loss or change before moving forward. Once you’ve allowed yourself space to grieve, you can become clear and focused, paring back to the essentials to figure out what the new or important goals are and get them done. You can do it! There’s still time!

If you have lost someone or something this year or in this season, you may find that the grief feels larger or has resurfaced. That’s natural, but it doesn’t mean you have to feel it alone or that there isn’t a supportive therapy you can reach to, from speaking that grief with friends and family, to working with a trusted therapist, to seeking acupuncture to balance the emotions and meridians. Grief is a natural emotion, but it also shouldn’t be overwhelming forever. If it’s feeling unmanageable, please ask for help.

The corresponding emotion of the Large Intestine is Letting Go.
Don’t keep it in. Let that sh*t go!

Autumn’s climate is Dryness, which injures the Lungs.
There’s a danger of holding too much in, in that it can dry out and get stuck (sometimes literally, as constipation or dry phlegm). It’s important to keep your Lungs hydrated and strong as they govern your immune system. Lily bulb and pears are wonderful supporters of the Lungs.


My Fall recommendations:

  • Make sure your favorite sweater is within reach and put the kettle on

  • Always carry a scarf (aka make sure your neck is covered)

  • Stock up on pears (amazing just as they are or steamed, baked, or poached with ginger and honey)

  • Come in for acupuncture to address your emotional health and strengthen your immune system before you feel yourself coming down with a cold!


FOUND THIS INTERESTING? RELATED POSTS ON A CUPPA QI:

Treating Stress, Anxiety, and Depression with Acupuncture

Why is Chicken Soup Good for a Cold?

Stress Relief and the Pantone Color of the Year


ABOUT SHAWNA

Shawna Seth, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac. is a California-licensed and nationally-certified acupuncturist whose areas of specialty include promoting women’s health and fertility and breaking the cycles of stress, anxiety, and depression. She uses the gentlest effective methods possible to guide her patients to balance. Shawna sees patients both in her private practice in San Francisco and in a collaborative practice in Temescal, Oakland. To learn more about Japanese medicine and the world of acupuncture, read her blog A Cuppa Qi and make your appointments online or email contact@shawnaseth.com.

Header and Pear Images: Unsplash