Scared of Needles?! Part 3

Here it is, the final interview with Ariel after her first real acupuncture session!
Was it painful?
It was not painful in the way of it actually hurting, the only thing I felt was the actual needle poke through my skin, then nothing, until my muscle actually pulled at the needle, almost as if my body wanted the needle there and wanted the “pressure point” to be pushed on so that the muscle could release.
What would you suggest to someone else afraid of needles seeking acupuncture?
You definitely feel the needle when it is being placed in an area that is sore or is the reason you are there for. It only makes sense that it would though. Talking and looking elsewhere definitely helps. Rosie gave me a hand massage to help distract me from the needles and engaged me in conversation when I needed to talk about something else to pull my attention elsewhere.
What did you find to be the most difficult part of the session?
The hard part was making myself relax. Do not have coffee before hand if you think it will keep you from relaxing your mind and muscles. Go in with a full stomach and just allow yourself to fall asleep if you can.
Would you ever try it again?
I will try acupuncture again in the future. Not now just because I at this time seem to have a hard time relaxing because of how uneasy the “thought” of the needle makes me but I will most likely give it another shot in a month. My hip pain did not increase at all from the treatment and at the end of the treatment my “bad” leg actually felt tired and as if the muscles could finally relax, which was nice.

Scared of Needles?! Pt. 2

This is Ariel writing! So I went in for a consultation with Rosie. She had so many Oriental Medicine type of nic nacs. I loved it. She also had a heat lamp that made getting the treatment very comfortable, and the bed was heated!

We tried out just 1 needle during our consultation. She luckily uses a little tube to place the needle so that it doesn’t bend (because the needles are actually very thin) so when she actually put the needle in all I felt was the tube touching my skin and it totally distracted me from the needle. I didn’t feel anything at first, after a minute I did feel a tiny bit of pressure in my leg but it was nothing compared to a pinch or the pain that I regularly feel in my hip anyway.

The only concern I still have is that I don’t like the thought of a needle hanging out in my leg, but I will get over it soon! I’m sure the day I’m limping horribly at work will force me to get over the thought now knowing that it really doesn’t hurt. Stay tuned for my post about my first true acupuncture treatment!

Scared of Needles?! Pt.1

So my next few posts will be an interview with this new patient! This patient is extremely scared of needles so I am very grateful that she trusted me and is giving me the opportunity to give her her first acupuncture treatment.

Tell me about yourself…
Howdy there, my name is Ariel Lopez, an avid massage therapy and chiropractic patient but a fearful and hesitant potential acupuncture patient.
Please explain why you’re scared of acupuncture
I just can not imagine that the needles don’t hurt or that you can’t feel them going inside your muscle. I never liked shots, and yes I have a tattoo, but that’s a short needle.
What do you expect the acupuncture to be like
I expect that I’m going to feel the pinch of the needle going in and that I am going to be able to feel it inside (just a little bit) but that I’m going to freak out in the middle of it and lose it lol.
What are you getting the acupuncture for?
I am interested in acupuncture because I have severe left hip/IT Band/anterio quad pain for years. The pain varies day by day, but the pain is caused by my acetabulum not forming fully as a child so all the muscles around the femur head and socket have tightened over time to secure it and are now causing pain that refers up and down and all around the socket. aghhhh.
I am contemplating getting a couple needles in the hip only and seeing how it goes. Luckily Rosie is open Saturdays and is located in the West Loop so I can make an afternoon of this adventure.

To put into context, Ariel would become very uncomfortable just at the idea that someone else was getting acupuncture done. We took the first step and she watched me give another individual acupuncture (with their permission). The second step is for Ariel to get one needle. Stay tuned for the interview after the second step!

Don’t throw away your pumpkins yet!

Happy Halloween!! Since in my last blog I touched on the subject of pumpkin, I thought I would elaborate more today! According to Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen by Wang, Sheir, and Ono state that pumpkin and other members of the squash family are a good source of beta-carotene, fiber, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and potassium. “Ongoing scientific research suggests that a compound in Asian pumpkins improves insulin levels and lowers blood sugar.” According to The Tao of Nutrition by Ni and McNease, pumpkin and winter squash help conditions such as diabetes, eczema, stomachache, intestinal worms, dysentery, and ulcerations. A few remedies associated with pumpkin and winter squash are as follows:
Burns: apply fresh pumpkin alone or mixed with aloe vera
Intestinal worms: take one teaspoon pumpkin seed meal three times a daily on empty stomach
Diabetes: eat a slice of pumpkin with every meal or bake pie with pumpkin, yam, and potato.

Per Healing with Whole Foods by Pitchford, pumpkin can also help edema, regulate blood sugar balance and benefits of the pancreas. So it’s not only good for diabetes, it’s good for hypoglycemia as well. It promotes discharge of muscus from the lungs, bronchi and throat therefore it is beneficial for bronchial asthma.

Did anyone save any pumpkins? I’m sure most people have carved theirs by today but in case you haven’t I thought I would give another recipe 🙂 This recipe comes from The Tao of Nutrition.

Stuffed Pumpkins
Cut the top off a small pumpkin; clean out the seeds and strings; save the lid. Fill with the follow mixture:
3 cups cooked rice or barley
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, crushed
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1 tablespoon tamari
Cover the pumpkin with the lid and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/4- 1 1/2 hours (until the fork easily goes into the pumpkin).

Have a happy and safe Halloween! Who knew pumpkins were so beneficial?! ‘Tis the season to enjoy all the yummy pumpkin recipes!


Today I want to talk about one of my favorite Chinese herbs. Ginger. That’s probably because I have been drinking so much ginger tea lately, ‘tis the season! It serves so many functions.

Fresh ginger in Chinese Medicine is called Sheng Jiang. It helps treat many conditions such as the common cold, cough due to coldness (which means white/clear mucus), nausea, vomiting, arthritis, and diarrhea. Ginger promotes sweating, it is an anti-toxin, expels pathogens, an antidote for seafood poisoning, and benefits the lung and stomach.
There are many simple remedies that include ginger. Here are a few:
1. For Arthritis – rub fresh ginger on painful areas and drink tea (this is not for the type of arthritis that causes redness and swelling)
2. For Nausea- add fresh ginger slices to water and sip slowly until nausea is reduced (it may taste better with warm water)
3. For Colds, coughing, vomiting – three slices of fresh ginger in hot water
(Ni, McNease, The Tao of Nutrition)

So on the topic of ginger, I will provide one appropriate recipe for this time of year taken from Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen by Wang, Sheir and Ono. It’s called Gingery Pumpkin Soup. It’s great for warming cold hands and feet, beautifying the skin, constipation, atherosclerosis, or gastric ulcers. Pumpkin is especially good for people with diabetes. “Ongoing scientific reserach suggests that a chemical compound in Asian pumpkins improves insulin levels and lowers blood sugar”

• 10-12 oz pumpkin (about 2 cups when cubed)
• 6 whole cloves
• 2 ½ cups vegetable or chicken stock
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 small onion, diced
• 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
• 1 piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
• ½ cup unflavored soy milk
• A pinch of salt & pepper
• ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, stems removed and discarded

1. Seed, peel, and chop the pumpkin into 1 inch cubes (a trick is to place the pumpkin in a microwave for 5 minutes to soften it before cutting and peeling).
2. Combine the pumpkin, cloves, and stock in a pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes
3. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook until the onions are translucent and soft (about 5 minutes).
4. When the pumpkin is done, remove the cloves from the broth (the pumpkin will float on top of the liquid)
5. Combine the pumpkin mixture, the onion mixture, and the soy milk, using a hand blender to whir it into a smooth puree. If you don’t have a hand blender, use a blender or food processor, working in batches if necessary. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Sprinkle the green cilantro leaves on top of the soup
Variations: You can try adding different vegetables to this soup, such as yam, celery, or carrot cut into 1 inch pieces; simmer them along with the pumpkin

Keep warm and enjoy the recipe. And as always, stay healthy.

Looking to save money?

So my first blog post. That’s pretty exciting! I want to talk about something that affects most everyone. cigarettes-83571_640 Cigarette Smoking. There are so many reasons to quit and I’m going to primarily concentrate on one reason to quit in this post. That reason is money. Currently, cigarettes in Chicago cost $12-15/pack. Therefore, if one smokes one pack a day over the span of a year, $4,380-5,475 is spent on cigarettes alone. That’s just the cost of cigarettes alone. That does not include the cost of the health problems created from cigarette smoking.

How can acupuncture help with quitting smoking?
There are several ways acupuncture can help! It helps relieve cravings, decreases irritability and restlessness. Acupuncture will help detoxify the body and increase relaxation. Acupuncture can’t make you quit though, you have to truly want to quit. It is there to aid you through the transition.

I have personally helped several patients with this transition. One patient sticks out though. This patient was a 42 year old female, she was smoking one and half packs a day. She had a kind husband with a 6 year old daughter. I treated her everyday for one week, her commitment was inspirational. This happened four years ago and she hasn’t smoked a cigarette since. At this time, cigarettes were $12/pack. I have saved her $16,925 thus far. She contacted me recently to thank me. Her daughter is now 10 years old and now has a college fund growing thanks to the savings, which she was very excited about. This patient stated she feels closer to her daughter, she doesn’t feel ashamed that’s she smoking or harming her family due to the second hand smoke. She has more money to spend on bonding activities with her daughter like Disneyland.

So the cost of an acupuncture treatment may seem expensive at first sight but in the long run and always ends up saving one a bundle!