Hospice Acupuncture

As a Licensed Acupuncturist I am always looking for ways to improve my skills and knowledge.   After meeting the wonderful ladies of Endless Journey Hospice Care,   I was compelled to find out more about hospice and the role Acupuncture could play during end of life care. http://endlessjourneyhospice.com

In my search I found The National Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Acupuncturists (NAHPCA) which offers training specifically geared towards Acupuncture for Hospice.  www.NAHPCA.com

From the NAHPCA website:

The National Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Acupuncturists (NAHPCA) establishes a specialized protocol for treating people at the end of life. Acupuncture treatments are customized to address the stages of grief and help move the patient through emotional blocks to a new level of acceptance which promotes a more peaceful death…. 

NAHPCA is an organization dedicated to broadening the circle of care for patients at the end of life to include Oriental Medicine (a system of medicine that includes acupuncture, Chinese herbs, bodywork, and numerous other healing modalities). Research has proven that combining treatments in Chinese Medicine with hospice and/or palliative care modalities leads to significant benefits in patient comfort levels. Safe and effective treatments may be used with all forms of terminal illnesses and the wide variety of emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual distress patterns associated with death and dying. In addition, acupuncture can be helpful for family or loved ones who are suffering with loss and grief.


The training curriculum from the NAHPCA included the history and philosophy of hospice as well as specific information for assessment and treatment protocols for the patient approaching the end of life.  

No one should suffer from pain or emotional issues in life or in the time leading up to death. Chinese Medicine and hospice both embrace a whole-person approach to care, treating the mind, body and spirit.   Acupuncture can and should play an important role to help the dying patient with physical, emotional and spiritual issues. Family members can also benefit from Acupuncture.  It is a safe and effective treatment for all.

Death is a difficult subject for most of us to think or talk about.  Many people celebrate and participate in the beautiful beginnings of life, the birth,  death should be no different.  

Need a Hospice Acupuncturist? I am proud to be a Certified Provider of Acupuncture for Hospice and Palliative Care.   It would be my privilege to be a part of end of life care for your loved one.  

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7 Steps to Detox After the Holidays

Blog-img 7 Steps to Detox After the Holidays_6401.  Get rid of leftovers

The holidays bring delicious homemade food, and along with that come the leftovers. Holiday leftovers can be just as good as when you cook the meal the first time and become a tempting go-to snack. Time to let go. Toss the leftovers, if you have not already done so,  they most likely aren’t the healthiest dishes and it’s time to start fresh.


2.  Stay hydrated

Most Americans do not drink enough water, and there is no better time to start than now! Fill up your glass at least 8 times a day. Some find it easier to carry a water bottle throughout the day to remind yourself to keep hydrated. Staying hydrated can flush out toxins and detox your body, as well as keeping you feeling good.


3.  Hit the gym

Sweating is another great way to flush out toxins. Exercise has many health benefits long term and short term. Find just 30 minutes a day to get some form of exercise, whether it’s going on a run, yoga or simply going for a walk. Getting your body moving is important for your metabolism as well as overall health.


4.  Ditch the sugar

The holidays are a notorious time that the sugar intake starts ramping up. Now that they are over, it’s time to remove added sugar to your diet. Limit how often you eat dessert and when you do, eat in moderation. Replace sugary foods with natural sweet foods like fruit. Fruit can fix your sweet tooth and also give you a boost of vitamins.


5.  Drink green tea

Green tea is packed with antioxidants and nutrients to help your body get back on track. It is one of the healthiest beverages you could choose, it can act as a replacement for coffee, lower your risk of cancer and protect your brain as you age.


6.  Get Acupuncture

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine believe in addressing the body as a whole when illness arises or the body is run down. Because of this, acupuncture treatment works by returning the body back to balance and restoring its natural energy. Certain acupuncture points can detoxify important organs like the kidneys, colon, lungs, liver and skin. If Acupuncture is not already part of your wellness routine, consider adding it this year.


7.  Relax

Don’t forget to relax and give yourself some downtime. The holidays are hectic and stressful, which can lead to bad habits and bad eating. Give yourself some time now that they are over to relax. Find activities you enjoy and make sure you make time for them every week. Detoxing is not just for improving your body physically, but mentally as well.


Finally, here is a link to some acupressure points you can do yourself to help you with your detox. Acupuncture is great for helping you detox, but also helps reduce pain and  stress and can assist you with your goals to get you to improve and maintain you health, resulting in a healthier version of yourself!



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Acupuncture to Quit Smoking


So you’ve made the decision to quit smoking, or maybe you’re trying to quit and not sure how long you will last. Either way, quitting is not easy, and staying smoke-free in the long term is even harder. You may have periods of time when you’re feeling confident and a cigarette is the last thing on your mind, or you may all of a sudden have intense cravings.

Acupuncture has been used to treat addiction for many years.  Curbing addiction, specifically when it comes to smoking, is not something that can be done overnight.  There will be times when you think you won’t be able to stay smoke-free and want to give up.  Considering acupuncture treatment when you are trying to quit can have great effects on helping you back on the road to better health.  Acupuncture works by addressing the body as a whole.  Illness arises when there is a blockage or stagnation in our natural energy flow.  Acupuncture helps to release these blockages and return the body back to its natural flow.

Not only can acupuncture help curb addiction, but aid in symptoms of withdrawal from nicotine once you quit.  Symptoms like jitters, mood swings and restlessness are common when quitting smoking.  When you feel anxious from these feelings, its even easier to feel the need for a cigarette.  Specific acupuncture points  on the ear and body are used to help change the body’s perception of nicotine, help relax and detoxify the body which results in reduced cravings and symptoms of withdrawal.

A study done at the University of Oslo, Norway, found that those who were trying to quit smoking and received acupuncture treatment reported a reduced craving for smoking and a greater distaste for tobacco.

Acupuncture can not completely eliminate addiction, but it is a great aid in the recovery process after quitting.  The first and hardest step is to decide to quite, there are many treatments including acupuncture that can help you after.


Below are some other ways to help keep you smoke-free for a better, healthier life.


Stay positive

Having good and bad days are a part of life, and same goes for quitting smoking. Some days are going to be easier than others, but it is important on the bad days to remind yourself why quitting is worth it. Health should be number one in your life and according to the CDC, quitting smoking will lower your risk of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory complications and more. If you have been a smoker, you know the side effects well. Staying positive and motivated to keep the bad habit away will pay off tremendously in the long run. Talk to others who have quit or join a support group. It is always great to hear from others who are going through the same experience as you and to see success stories.


Know your triggers

Smokers usually have triggers that give them the urge to light up. Be aware of what these are and find ways to avoid them. Common triggers include stress, drinking coffee, after a meal, drinking alcohol, if someone else is smoking or feeling restless. Once you know your triggers, you can know how to handle them in a healthy manner that doesn’t include smoking. When you start to feel an urge, try deep breathing or go on a short walk. Keep your mind and body occupied.


Take up a new hobby/activity

Kicking a bad habit is the perfect time to take up a healthy one. Spend more time exercising or doing something you enjoy. Activities like biking, swimming or yoga are not only fun but also beneficial for your mental and physical health. If feeling stressed or down is a trigger for you, becoming more active can help lower these symptoms.


Don’t give up

The decision to quit smoking was probably one of the best lifestyle choices you could make. You already took that first step, and although it may seem like an uphill battle, staying smoke-free will add years on to your life and improve your quality of life tremendously. Don’t give up, and don’t get down on yourself if you cave. It is never too late to quit smoking and begin the journey to better health.

I would be glad to help you on your journey to a smoke-free life!  Contact me today to get started.

“To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping.” ~Chinese Proverb



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Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs Against Colds & Flu

Viruses; there are hundreds of them.  What chance do we have against them? 

Theyfall cause colds and influenza, both contagious illnesses that account for many lost days from work and much of the absenteeism from school.  Although a flu vaccine might offer some protection from the most prevalent flu viruses, there is nothing available to protect you against the common cold.  Once infected with a cold or flu virus, the symptoms which include fever, sore throat, congestion, fatigue, muscle and body aches, runny nose, cough, sneezing and watery eyes can linger for up to three weeks while the body’s defenses work its way through to recovery.  Of course, at the local drug store there is a whole aisle dedicated to over-the-counter products that will relieve the symptoms.  These products include decongestants, fever reducers, & cough suppressants. 

While conventional western medicine offers no cure or real prevention for the common cold and flu, Traditional Chinese medicine has been preventing and treating colds and flu successfully with a well-developed method of acupuncture and herbal formulas for thousands of years. 

Acupuncture can be used as a preventative measure against colds and flu by supporting and strengthening the body’s immune and healing systems.

Chinese herbs play a huge roll in prevention and treatment of colds and flu as well.  There are several formulas that contain proven anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties used to prevent and treat colds and flu.  

I like keeping these formulas close at hand and take immediately after exposure before any symptoms have yet developed or at the very first signs of a cold, I have found it to be superior to any options that modern medicine has to offer for warding off the common cold.   

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are a drug free, natural and effective way to support the body’s immune and healing systems to prevent and recover from illnesses. 

Please contact me to find out more about how acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help you combat the common cold and flu this season!  

Sara Kowalik, L.Ac. 

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Germ Warfare

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Germ Warfare

You never have to wonder when the cold and flu season is around the corner. The pharmaceutical industry will be sure that you are reminded of its arrival. 

The pharmaceutical industry and the medical community at large are depending on you to leave the fate of your health and well being up to the workings of chemical-laden pills and shots rather than the innate power that runs your body and the living world around you. 

The reality is that germs don’t make you sick.  Rather, your body’s inability to fend off germs and foreign invaders is what results in you succumbing to illness.

Think about it… How is it possible that a family of 5 people living under the same roof can have completely different reactions during flu season?

Assuming that everyone is exposed to the same germs and viruses, if the sickness were attributed completely to the virus, everyone would get sick and exhibit the same reaction and symptoms.

What happens in reality is that one or two family members get ill while the others don’t.  Clearly the issue is not the germs, but the body’s response to them, caused by an individual’s immune system.

Chances are the last time you got sick you were running yourself ragged, missing sleep, eating improperly, slacking on your nutrition, all stressed out from work, skipping your acupuncture sessions, and neglecting your workouts.  This is a vicious pattern that many of us fall into and it’s one that weakens the body and allows germs to take hold.

Your best defense against the flu, colds, or any other germ-borne illness is not to drug yourself, but to bolster your internal defenses.  You stand your best chance of being at your healthiest when you have an optimally functioning nervous system and immune response.

So come in for an acupuncture tune-up, keep your lifestyle habits in good order, and maintain a positive attitude. Do so, and those pesky little germs don’t
stand a chance!


Recipe for Autumn Balance

Below is a recipe to bring your body to balance in autumn. These foods will strengthen your immune system as your body becomes more susceptible to illness with the changing weather.


Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • boiled chicken meat
  • salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg


If you have a blender, blend the squash until smooth for a puree-style soup. If not, you can chop up the squash instead.

Begin by chopping up all ingredients and boiling the squash in a large pot. After the squash is mostly cooked, add the vegetables and chicken to the pot. Simmer the soup for a few minutes. When the soup is done, add spices as desired.

Butternut squash soup is not too difficult to make and contains nutrients like vitamin A to help protect your body from the upcoming flu and cold season.





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