Breastfeeding and Chinese Medicine

by Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM

Breastfeeding and Chinese Medicine, Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM in Davis, CA

Benefits of Breast Milk

Breast milk is the best source of food and nutrients for babies until six months of age. Not only is it always the perfect temperature and easily digestible, but its composition actually changes over time to meet the changing needs of the growing baby. Breast milk promotes brain development and lowers the risk of allergic reaction. It also contains a lot of antibodies, which can raise a baby’s immunity and lower their chances of developing an infection.

Babies who are exclusively breastfed tend not to have digestive problems and rarely suffer from constipation. They do not need additional water. As babies’ digestive organs are still in the process of developing, solids should be introduced slowly, beginning no earlier than 6 months.

Breastfeed your baby on demand to avoid problems such as engorgement, insufficient milk production, and mastitis.

Mother's Diet

In Chinese culture, the mother’s digestion is considered to be somewhat weak after giving birth. A simple, balanced diet consisting of warm, nourishing, easy-to-digest foods is recommended to help replenish blood and make breast milk. Traditionally, soups and stews are emphasized, and foods or drinks that are cold in temperature should be avoided. Adding a small amount of fresh ginger to soups or steeping and drinking it as a tea can be helpful.

In Chinese medicine, it is believed that hot, spicy, and fried foods should be avoided because they can upset the baby’s digestive system.

Foods to Promote Lactation

  • Drink plenty of water!!
  • Eat organic foods as much as possible
  • Herbal tea, especially mint, rose, and barley
  • Bone-in meats or fish (always organic)
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Gelatin (from grass-fed sources) or pig trotters (in a soup) 
  • Sea vegetables for trace minerals
  • Sweet potato 
  • Grains: oats, millet, barley, sweet rice
  • Legumes: adzuki, chickpeas, lentils, mung beans, soybeans
  • Papaya (especially green) - eat one a day, if possible
  • Fennel and fennel seed - increases supply 
  • Coconut water 
  • Young coconut meat
  • Herbs: basil, marjoram, anise, dill, caraway, turmeric (also helps reduce inflammation)

Plugged Ducts

Plugged ducts can show up as pain, tenderness, and warmth in one breast, a hard painful lump that may or may not look red on the surface, and skin irritation. If caught early, mastitis and plugged ducts may be massaged out and treated with hot, moist washcloths and frequent nursing on the affected breast.


Mastitis is an acute infection of the breast accompanied by a fever of 101°F or higher, flu-like symptoms (such as chills, body-aches, and fatigue) or even pus discharge or red streaks extending outward from the affected area.  There is often a rapid onset of symptoms and antibiotics or infection-fighting herbs may be needed.

Plugged Duct Home Treatment

  • Nurse or express milk frequently to avoid letting your breasts become engorged.
  • Gently but firmly massage the lump towards your nipple before and during each feed.
  • Change feeding positions to let gravity help empty the breast. For example, if the blockage is on the armpit area of the left breast, lie on the right side, and lean over to feed the baby from the left breast.
  • Massage the affected breast in a warm shower or try to hand express while under the warm water. 
  • Apply hot, moist compresses to the affected area. 
  • Get plenty of rest, drink sufficient fluids, and wear bras that fit appropriately and provide sufficient support.

Colic Tips

  • Chew a teaspoon of caraway seeds for five minutes, occasionally swallowing the juice. The carminative properties pass through breast milk and reduce infant colic. 
  • Make a tea by steeping 1 teaspoon of either fennel or anise seeds in 2 cups of boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain and drink.
  • Massage the baby’s abdomen, using gentle, clockwise strokes.
  • Lay the baby on your arm face down, with their legs straddling your elbow and their chin near the palm of your hand. Place your clean thumb in the baby’s mouth, nail side against the baby’s tongue, and allow them to suck it. The pressure from your arm on their belly, along with the sucking, can help expel gas and soothe the baby.

How Can Chinese Medicine Help?

  • Moxa or “mother warming’ starting at 4-5 days postpartum to warm up a depleted new mom. 
  • Chinese herbs to replenish the body, improve digestion, support milk production, and treat infection.
  • Acupuncture to reduce pain and soreness, improve energy levels, promote lactation, stabilize emotions, balance hormones, and ease recovery from childbirth.

Chinese Medicine Can Treat:

  • birth trauma
  • sore and swollen breasts
  • mastitis
  • insufficient breast milk
  • urinary problems
  • vaginal soreness
  • hemorrhoids
  • constipation
  • edema/water retention
  • hair loss
  • fatigue
  • body aches & pains
  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • depression

World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7

by Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM

World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7, Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM in Davis, CA

In the Davis area, many women breastfeed their babies and there is a lot of support for it within the local community. That is not the case in many other parts of the US and the world.

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is an annual celebration and awareness campaign highlighting and recognizing the benefits of breastfeeding in communities across the globe. As the greatest outreach vehicle for the breastfeeding movement, WBW aims to bring breastfeeding to the forefront of community agendas so everyone can be part of the dialogue. Now in its 25th year, WBW is celebrated every year from August 1-7 all over the globe to encourage breastfeeding improve the health of babies around the world.

This year's theme is "Sustaining Breastfeeding Together" and education and outreach falls in four thematic areas:

Nutrition, Food Security and Poverty Reduction

Nutrition: Breastfed infants are provided with optimal nutrition and protection against infections.
Food security: Breast milk is a safe and secure source of food even in times of humanitarian crises.
Poverty reduction: Breastfeeding is a low cost way of feeding babies without burdening household budgets.

Survival, Health, and Well-Being

Survival: Breastfeeding significantly improves the survival of infants, children and mothers.
Health and well-being: Breastfeeding significantly improves the health, development and well-being of infants and children as well as mothers, both in the short- and long-term.

Environment and Climate Change

Environment: Breast milk is a natural, renewable food that is environmentally safe: produced and delivered without pollution, packaging or waste.
Climate change: Formula production and consumption generates greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which accelerate global warming.

Women's Productivity and Employment

Women’s productivity: Employers benefit from having a more contented and productive workforce due to less employee absenteeism, increased loyalty and less staff turnover.
Parental protection and other workplace policies can enable women to combine breastfeeding with paid work.

Over 820,000 children die each year and millions more suffer from avoidable diseases and learning difficulties as a result of suboptimal breastfeeding practices. If even half of all babies under 6 months of age were exclusively breastfed, we would save hundreds of thousands of lives and help protect against breast cancer, ovarian cancer and diabetes in mothers across the globe.

Perimenopause and Chinese Medicine

by Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM

Perimenopause and Chinese Medicine, Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM in Davis, CA

Perimenopause and Chinese Medicine

Perimenopause is the period of time during which your body is approaching menopause and can begin approximately 8-13 years prior to your last menstrual period. The number of perimenopausal symptoms you have may vary quite a bit. Often, one of the first symptoms to signal perimenopause is insomnia before your period. Although most people equate hot flashes and night sweats with low estrogen, the process of perimenopause usually begins first with a drop in progesterone.  

What Is Menopause? 

Menopause, often called the “change of life,” is a normal life process, not a disease. The word, “menopause” means “cessation of menses,” and it signals the end of your reproductive years. It happens when your ovaries no longer release an egg every month and your periods stop. Menopause is considered normal when happens after age 40. Prior to that, it is called premature menopause. The average age of menopause in the US is 51. You are considered to be officially in menopause 13 months after your last menstrual period or following surgical removal of your uterus and ovaries. 

Other causes of menopause include hysterectomy, oophorectomy, surgery, autoimmune disorders, or damage to the ovaries from radiation or chemotherapy.

You May Be in Perimenopause if You Have...

  • irregular periods
  • heavy bleeding or scanty bleeding
  • insomnia 
  • fatigue
  • bloating
  • infertility
  • hot flashes
  • night sweats
  • high FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone)
  • headaches
  • weight gain, especially around the middle
  • anxiety, depression, mood swings
  • heart palpitations
  • joint and muscle aches and pains
  • changes in libido
  • vaginal dryness
  • urine leakage or urgency
  • forgetfulness / brain fog
  • inflammation
    The severity of these symptoms will depend upon your lifestyle and dietary habits throughout your life. Stress is usually the number one hormone disrupter, affecting the entire endocrine system.

The Chinese View of Menopause

In Chinese medicine, women's lives are in cycles of 7. Puberty begins around 2x7 (14) and menopause occurs around 7x7 (49).

Menopause is referred to as a “Second Spring.” It's an opportunity to balance the energies of the body to experience future good health. It's also an opportunity for a rebirth of yourself, for yourself, and is a chance for you to prepare your body, mind, and spirit for a long, healthy life. During this time, you move from the role of caring for others to rediscovering yourself and to sharing the wisdom you’ve gained throughout your life.

There is Hope!

With its long recorded history of safely and effectively treating gynecological conditions, Chinese medicine can be extremely successful in treating the insomnia, hot flashes, night sweats, and other uncomfortable symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.

  • Acupuncture modulates the nervous system, reduces inflammation, improves blood flow, decreases pain, and restores healthy body functioning. 
  • Chinese herbs balance hormones, calm the spirit, and resolve underlying patterns of disharmony. 
  • Treatment is holistic, individualized, patient-centered, and empowering.

What to Expect from Treatment with Chinese Medicine 

  • gentle, non-invasive, personalized treatment
  • easier periods 
  • improved mood and well-being
  • reduced stress
  • more restful sleep
  • better digestion 
  • more energy, strength, vitality
  • increased libido

Depending on the severity of symptoms, treatment may take several months.

Once the causes of your menopause symptoms have been established, a Chinese medicine practitioner will give you advice about specific diet, lifestyle and exercise choices that will best support your body. 

How Can You Help Yourself?

  • Regular weekly acupuncture treatment 
  • Chinese herbs prescribed by a licensed herbalist
  • Moderate exercise to improve blood flow, reduce inflammation, increase endorphins, reduce pain, and build bone density, and improve mood. 
  • Avoid hot, spicy foods 
  • Take time each day to relax and enjoy your life
  • Decrease caffeine, alcohol, warm temperatures, hot drinks, and manage stress
  • No cold, frozen, or raw food or drinks. 
  • An anti-inflammatory diet, rich in vegetables to help the body metabolize hormones. Avoid caffeine, sugar, processed carbohydrates, and vegetable oils. Add fish oil, coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, grass-fed meats, and pastured eggs.
  • Practice lovingkindness towards your body and yourself.

“Menopause creates the opportunity for a transformation, a new beginning, as a woman becomes free to discover, pursue or complete her life’s mission and touch her spirit—and the spirits of those around her—in a profound and meaningful way.” Nan Lu

Help! It's a Scary World out There!

Help! It's a Scary World out There!, Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM in Davis, CA

Since the election in November, I’ve noticed that people’s anxiety levels are higher than usual. I’ve been doing lots of treatments to calm the spirit, assist sleep, and address trauma.

I do not consider myself someone who suffers from anxiety, but like most people, I’ve experienced it enough to have a few thoughts on how to manage it.

  1. Take a news fast. In February, after being glued to the news on my phone and feeling my own anxiety levels increasing, I got sick. I believe that the news was literally making me sick and that the best way to come back to a place of balance was to do a news fast. I felt much better not being aware of absolutely everything happening in the world. As I began to feel stronger and healthier, I could add small amounts back in.

  2. Come to your senses. Literally. Anxiety is always an emotion about the future. Return to the present moment, focusing on your body’s contact with that which is supporting it (the earth, a chair, a bed). Feel the support that is always being provided to you, at every moment of your life. Notice how you breathe, without even thinking about it. Notice what you see (hear, smell, taste, touch) in front of you, not what’s in your head. Most likely, at this moment, even if it’s not your preference, everything is OK.

  3. Observe and question your thoughts. In my experience, thoughts just arise in my head, without me trying to make them happen. It’s important for me to realize, though, that I don’t have to believe them, just because they happen to be there. I can question them and notice whether I can know “for sure” if the thing I fear is actually going to happen. Most of the time, I can’t.

  4. Focus on solutions, rather than feeling helpless. Be a warrior, not a victim, meaning, focus on what you can realistically do. Take action when it’s appropriate and rest when it’s needed. You are not helpless. You are in this for the long haul, so pace yourself.

  5. You are not alone! The world is full of helpful, kind, loving people. Seek them out.

  6. Find humor. I grew up in a pretty serious family and ended up marrying someone who has a great sense of humor and can use it to defuse situations when I or other people get stuck. Comedy heals and relieves tension. Watch funny movies, do silly things. Most importantly, learn to laugh at yourself and the absurdity of what pops in your head.

  7. Get moving! Be physically active. When we stop moving, it’s easy to feel stuck. Get out in nature. Nature and beauty heal.

  8. Turn inward and outward. Listen to your own inner voice guiding you to appropriate action. Then find others who support you and who are inspired.

  9. Listen to the concerns of those who have differing views. You may be surprised to find that underneath it all, you share common ground and have similar hopes and fears.

  10. Hold onto hope. What we are currently experiencing is not the worst that has happened in history. Remember that everything is temporary, including our fears and anxiety.

  11. Seek another point of view. When I was in high school I had a math teacher who was about 30 year-old and a Buddhist. Unlike most teachers, he did not want us seated according to a seating chart, but rather, he wanted us to sit in different places in the room and near different people every single day, so that we would get a different point of view. It worked, and I still remember it even though I’ve forgotten a lot of other things I learned in the class!

  12. Recognize that even though it might feel like it’s ALL of you, that only a part of you feels anxious. There are other parts of you also feeling other things, such as sadness, fear, anger, happiness, all at the same time. AND, there is an even larger aspect of you that can be present to all of it. This larger part can step back and observe the drama unfolding, without being hooked in. THIS is who you are, not the parts that feels anxious, fearful, angry, etc. The more that you connect with this larger sense of presence, the more easily you will notice emotions arising and dissipating.

Chinese medicine has many treatments available to help “Calm the Spirit” and restore balance to your life, whether it’s a tune-up, regular on-going treatment, or treatment to help resolve trauma.

The group Acupuncturists Without Borders arose after Hurricane Katrina and trains practitioners to go into areas where there has been some sort of disaster and to provide treatment using ear acupuncture to address the after-effects of trauma such as anxiety, insomnia, depression, headaches, and digestive issues. There are groups that also work with veterans using these same techniques. I did this training in 2012.

Pregnancy and Labor Preparation

by Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM

Pregnancy and Labor Preparation, Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM in Davis, CA

The Traditional Chinese View of Pregnancy

Chinese culture views pregnancy as a very special time and the concept of fetal “education” or “influence” has been a part of it for more than 3600 years. What you eat, do, and experience not only affects the health of you and your baby, but also that of future generations. For a beautiful, calm child, you are encouraged to look at and listen to beautiful sights and sounds, avoid arguments, and remain calm and peaceful. Regularly spend time in nature. During pregnancy you should take extra care of yourself to avoid future health problems.

Why Acupuncture During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy can be a wonderful and exciting time, yet at no other time in your life will you undergo such rapid physical, emotional, and hormonal changes. These can cause some discomfort, especially as the baby grows.

Acupuncture provides a safe, medication-free form of relief for most common pregnancy ailments. It is generally recommended that you receive acupuncture as a regular part of your pregnancy wellness – ideally, at least once a month. Licensed acupuncturists are trained to know which acupuncture points are safe during pregnancy.

What Can Acupuncture Help?

1st Trimester

  • Morning sickness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Stress/anxiety
  • Threatened miscarriage
  • Colds/flu

2nd Trimester

  • Back pain/sciatica
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Digestive problems
  • Heartburn
  • Leg cramps
  • Muscle joint pains
  • Pelvic pain

3rd Trimester

  • Aches and pains
  • Edema
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Symphysis pubis pain
  • Breech presentation
  • Delayed labor
  • Labor support

Chinese Pregnancy Tips                

  • Reduce stress and take time to relax daily
  • Cut back on your workload
  • Go to bed early and take naps when tired
  • Connect to your baby in a loving way
  • Listen to classical or calming music
  • Spend time relaxing in nature
  • Reduce exposure to environmental toxins and cell phone use
  • Eat nutritious and easily digestible foods, such as soups and stews
  • Eat in-season vegetables and hormone-free meat when possible
  • Avoid cold and/or raw foods and drinks Avoid hot, spicy, and greasy foods
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana
  • Build up some energy reserves for after the baby is born – you will need them!

Breech Presentation

Babies who are in a breech or transverse position can often be encouraged to move into the correct birth position by the use of moxa or mugwort (artemisia vulgaris) burned near a specific acupuncture point on the baby toe. Studies show that it is about 70% effective when done between 32-36 weeks.

Pre-Birth Acupuncture Treatment

Women who receive regular acupuncture during the third trimester typically have shorter and more productive labors. Research suggests that these pre-birth acupuncture treatments can also reduce the rate of medical interventions such as induction, pain medications, epidurals, and emergency c-sections.

A series of weekly acupuncture treatments beginning at 34-36 weeks is done to prepare your body for efficient labor and childbirth. Acupuncture points are chosen based on your pregnancy history and constitution. These treatments aim to help position the baby optimally for labor, promote energy/stamina, and help ripen the cervix. Depending on your situation, more frequent visits may be recommended.

A Word about Labor “Induction”

Acupuncture does not actually induce labor like the synthetic hormone Pitocin does, but it can help initiate a hormonal process to trigger your body to release its own prostaglandins and oxytocin, which stimulate uterine contractions and soften the cervix. A much gentler and more natural process than using Pitocin, its effects are not instantaneous. Some women only need one or two treatments while others may need several treatments for active labor to start.

Acupressure Points for During Labor

Debra Betts, author of The Essential Guide to Acupuncture in Pregnancy & Childbirth, has generously shared this handout of acupressure points to use for labor on her website.


Farm Spotlight: Yolo Press

by Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM

Farm Spotlight: Yolo Press, Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM in Davis, CAOlive oil is one of the healthiest oils we can eat. Because our Mediterranean climate is so conducive to growing olives, we have easy access to many local producers of excellent quality organic extra-virgin olive oil. Yolo Press, located in Winters, is a two-time winner of Best of Show at the Yolo County Olive Oil Competition, and was one of the very first farms to grow and produce olive oil in Yolo County.

Johanna Utter offers Acupuncture in Davis, CAYolo Press is owned by Mike and Dianne Madison, As a kid, Mike grew up in rural Davis and worked on farms. He studied Botany in college on the East Coast, then went on to work on the eastern slope of the Andes in Ecuador, Peru, and Columbia.

Mike and Dianne later returned to Davis and, after a brief stint working in an office, Mike realized that he really preferred being outdoors working with plants. In 1986, they bought their place in Winters (22 acres) and began farming.

Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM in Davis, CADianne and Mike decided to start their farming venture with growing flowers for several reasons: 1) they are a high value crop, 2) no one else in the area was growing them, and 3) Mike’s father had been a flower grower. They realized fairly quickly that 4-5 acres of flowers was enough, so they started to plant other things, including olives, apricots, figs, watermelon, and cucumbers.

One of the advantages to growing both olives and flowers is that their growing seasons complement one another. Olive harvest and oil production take place in November and December, a time of year when flowers are less active. Olives are also drought tolerant and have no pests.

The Madisons first began to plant their olives in 1991, at a time when no one else locally was growing them. Mike and Dianne also built the first olive oil mill in the area. Their grove has grown steadily over the years as they have tried out many different olive varieties, and they now harvest their olives from 1700 trees in 16 varieties. Mike’s favorite is Taggiasca, which grows near the border of southern France and Italy, as well as in Albania.

The Madisons pick their olives by hand, ensuring gentle treatment of the fruit. The olives then go directly from the grove to the mill as soon as they are harvested.

Mike and Dianne have chosen to operate their farm as a biologically interesting place. They use no poisons and manage the soil in a way that is congruent with natural organisms. Their olives, apricots, and citrus are certified organic. Because their farm is on a creek, they also have a couple of acres of native riparian forest, adding to the diversity of wildlife.

The name, Yolo Press, was chosen because Mike, who is also a writer, had previously had a publishing business under that name. It was easier to keep the same name than to come up with a new one, and fortunately, it fits well!

Farm Spotlight: Yolo Press, Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM in Davis, CAYolo Press’ specialities are their flowers, organic extra-virgin olive oil, and jam, as well as a few other foliage plants used in their bouquets, such as cedar. They also make and sell olive oil soaps, hand salves, and lip balms. It’s important to the Madisons that their skin care products are free of unwanted chemicals, so olive oil and beeswax are the primary ingredients. Yolo Press’ skin care products are recommended by local doctors for people with sensitive skin.

One item unique to Yolo Press is their organic extra-virgin olive oil in small 100 ml (3.4 oz.) bottles. This size makes a great gift and also fits the TSA requirement for liquid carry-on items. They carry larger bottles (100ml, 500ml, and 3 liters) of specific varietal oils (Taggiasca, Leccino, Mission) as well as blends. They also make a flavored oil from Mission olives and Yuzu fruit (a citrus), which is often only available for a short time, due to its popularity.

Johanna Utter offers Acupuncture in Davis, CA
Three Things to Look for When You Buy Olive Oil

  1. Dark glass or metal container. Because olive oil is light sensitive, it degrades rapidly if it is packed in clear glass.
  2. Harvest date. Olive oil should be used within fifteen months of harvest. Older than that, it loses character and may become rancid. Note that bottling date and use-by date do not tell you how old the oil is.
  3. Olive variety. Just as different grape varieties produce quite different wines, so do different olive varieties produce different oils. The label should indicate which olive varieties the oil was made from.

Olive varieties at Yolo Press:

  • Frantoio
  • Moraiolo
  • Taggiasca
  • Koroneiki
  • Mission
  • Aglandau
  • Ceracuola
  • Luques
  • Leccino
  • Pendolino
  • Itrana
  • Ascolano
  • Picual
  • Coratina
  • Ceringola
  • Dolce

Mike Madison would like you to know that Yolo Press guarantees their items and will replace them if you are not satisfied.

The Madisons can be found at both the Wednesday (Mike) and Saturday (Dianne) Davis Farmers Markets. Yolo Press products are also carried at the Davis Food Co-op and Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op.

Yolo Press is not open to the public.

Instagram: @yolopress

Postpartum Care and Chinese Medicine - Nourishing the New Mother in the Fourth Trimester

by Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM

Postpartum Care, Johanna Utter Acupuncture, Davis, CA

4 to 6 Weeks to Recovery

Having a baby is a wonderful and exciting time, but it is also one of the biggest physical, emotional, and spiritual transitions that a woman will go through in her life. In most cultures around the world, the importance of this transition is recognized and a period of 4 to 6 weeks is set aside as the postpartum recovery period. During this time, family and community members step in to care for the new mother and baby, feeding her deeply nourishing foods while she rests, recovers, and adjusts to her new role.

In China, this tradition is called “Zuo yuezi” or “sitting out the month.” Restrictions, such as avoiding cold, bathing, hair washing, or going outside were created to to safeguard the new mother’s recovery back to health, in part to preserve and improve the family lineage. A newer version of this exists today with wealthy women staying at "baby hotels" where they are pampered and encouraged to rest.

In contrast, our culture does not acknowledge or allow time to absorb the importance and impact of major life events, such as birth and death. Often stressed and without support, the new mother is expected to care for a newborn, prepare meals, do housework, regain her pre-pregnancy body (and of course, libido!) and return to work in a short period of time. Medical care is focused primarily on the baby, with no one checking on the mother until her 6-week postpartum visit. It’s a missed opportunity to support breastfeeding or catch early signs of depression.

Preparing in advance, we can incorporate the best of Chinese postpartum traditions (rest, staying warm, eating nourishing foods, help with housework and the baby) without the restrictions that we find too limiting.

How Can Chinese Medicine Help?

  • Moxa or “mother warming’ starting at 4-5 days postpartum to warm up a depleted new mom.
  • Chinese herbs to promote healing, replenish the body, improve digestion, and support milk production.
  • Acupuncture to reduce pain and soreness, improve energy levels, encourage lactation, stabilize emotions, balance hormones, and ease recovery from childbirth. A visit approximately 10-14 days following birth is suggested, ideally having one treatment a week for 3-4 weeks.

Chinese Medicine Can Treat:

  • birth trauma
  • sore and swollen breasts
  • mastitis
  • not enough breast milk
  • urinary problems
  • vaginal soreness
  • hemorrhoids
  • constipation
  • edema/water retention
  • hair loss
  • fatigue
  • body aches & pains
  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • depression

Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

Symptoms include:

  • Anxiety that increases in severity
  • Frequent, uncontrollable, or severe crying spells
  • Sleep issues – insomnia or excess sleep
  • Lethargy, hopelessness
  • Guilt, self-doubt, feeling inadequate
  • Panic attacks
  • Chest tightness and/or heart palpitations
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby

Postpartum depression and anxiety occurs in about 1 out of 7 (15%) of new moms. Due to its similarity to “baby blues,” most women do not seek treatment. If symptoms persist beyond 2 weeks, medical help is necessary. Interventions may be holistic, allopathic, or a combination.

Acupuncture is recognized as one of the most successful natural treatments for postpartum depression and depression symptoms in general. If you need to take medication, you will still benefit from acupuncture; they can be done at the same time.

Researchers from Stanford University found that 63% of women receiving just 8 weeks of acupuncture therapy for postpartum depression responded well to the treatment.

First Month Postpartum Tips

  • Lie down and rest frequently - especially the first two weeks!
  • Stay warm, well-nourished and hydrated - avoid cold foods and drinks
  • No housework or cooking
  • Learn to receive, let others care for you
  • Ask for and accept help from family and friends
  • Limit visitors

Foods to Promote Lactation

  • Drink plenty of water!!
  • Eat organic foods as much as possible
  • Bone-in meats or fish (always organic)
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Gelatin (from grass-fed sources) or pig trotters (in a soup)
  • Seaweed for trace minerals
  • Sweet potato or Chinese yam
  • Grains: oats, millet, barley, sweet rice
  • Legumes: adzuki, chickpeas, lentils, mung beans
  • Papaya (especially green) - eat one a day, if possible
  • Fennel and fennel seed - increases supply
  • Herbal tea, especially mint, rose, and barley
  • Coconut water
  • Young coconut meat
  • Herbs: basil, marjoram, anise, dill, caraway, turmeric (also helps reduce inflammation)