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Happy New Year!

by Elizabeth Girard, MS, L.Ac.

February 19, 2015 is the first day of the Chinese new year. In China this is a 15 day celebration. Families typically take time off to spend it together and to give thanks to their ancestors. Each year is represented by 1 of 12 animals. This year is the year of the sheep (it can also be called the year of the ram or goat as they all have the same Chinese character.). 

You are a sheep if you were born in the years 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, or 2015.

People born in the year of the sheep are very serene and calm. Therefore they tend to have fewer health problems. They are passive and harmonious but can get discouraged easily.

This year is predicted to be a calm year where we need to pull together and work together. The year of the sheep is a "yin" year which means its more feminine in nature. More peace, less war, more talking things out than acting in rage, working together for the greater good. 

Happy New Year Friends! 

Treating neck pain using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

by Elizabeth Girard, MS, L.Ac.

Treating neck pain with Chinese medicine      Chinese medicine looks at the body as a whole. You can’t separate neck tension from back or even knee pain as everything is connected. We look at pain as an imbalance or stagnation within the body. A stagnation is a lack of movement in blood and or qi (energy) in the body. Acupuncture needles when used at specific points unblock the stagnation, increase blood flow and cause your body to release a chemical called Adenosine to decrease inflammation.  Correcting the imbalance does not just treat the symptoms of neck pain, but rather corrects the root of the problem by encouraging your body to heal itself. I often hear from patients how not only did their neck pain decrease but how their digestion or sleep got better also. Neck pain is often diagnosed in Chinese medicine as an imbalance or stagnation in the GB channel. The Gallbladder channel is a line of acupuncture points on the body that relate to the Gallbladder. The Gallbladder channel starts at the outer part of the eye and wraps around the head, into the neck and shoulders and runs along the side of the body, ending at the little toe. This is why we may needle a point on your ankle to treat your neck pain.

Chinese medicine practitioners believe that these imbalances or stagnation can come from many different causes, such as trauma like an accident, emotions like anger, frustration or high stress, even external environmental factors like barometric pressure changes or cold damp weather. A good practitioner will determine the underlying cause of your pain and treat both the symptoms and the root cause. By treating the root cause you not only treat the neck pain but prevent it from reoccurring.

Treatment techniques include acupuncture, massage, cupping and Chinese herbal medicine. Overall, the treatment should relax and stretch the muscles, tendons and fascia. The acupuncture will decrease inflammation locally where the needles are placed and systemically throughout your body as well. This will help release the spastic muscles, allowing the neck to naturally heal.  It can even encourage an out of place disc to go back into place, depending on severity. 

It often takes a course of treatments for you to feel a lasting effect but each session will build on the next. Most people find the treatments relaxing and may even fall asleep. Chinese medicine works for acute injuries as well as chronic longstanding pain.

If you have been suffering from neck pain, give Acupuncture a try! Traditional Chinese medicine is safe, effective and treats not just the pain but the whole

To see our availability or schedule an appointment click below. 

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Is your child getting sick?

by Elizabeth Girard, MS, L.Ac.


I'm sure everyone hates to see their child sick. For me, I immediately go into super mom mode and do everything possible to make my daughter feel well. So I thought I would share some simple basic tips I use when my daughter is not feeling well.

  1.  Give a warm shower or bath. Normally when I notice my daughter is "off", I give her a warm bath. I then will put warm clothes or pajamas on her. I often will sneak a small amount of essential oils or Vicks vapor rub on the bottom of her feet, chest and or back.  
  2.  Feed them whole foods like fruits and vegetables. Making a soup from homemade bone broth with chopped carrots, celery, and even a little kale is the way to health in my household.
  3. Make sure they are drinking enough fluids. Dehydration is very dangerous and can happen quickly in small children. Fluids also thin out mucus which is beneficial in dealing with a cold or congestion. This is one of the few times I allow my daughter to drink fruit juice. I will then add herbs or vitamins to the juice to make them more beneficial. You can also mix some juice with an herbal tea or just simply make an herbal tea and let them drink that throughout the day. Good flavors for a cold is ginger, peppermint or lemon. (Only herbal teas, not ones with black or even green tea leaves, both contain caffeine. )
  4.   Plenty of sleep and rest. When we sleep our body heals itself.
  5. Increase probiotics and fermented foods. Probiotics provide good bacteria in our bodies. This bacteria is beneifical for digestion but more importantly our immune system.
  6.  Use herbs and natural remedies. You want to know how many people have died using herbs that were prescribed by someone who is actually licensed nationally and within their state? None, thats right none. Most negative side effects from herbs and supplements are because patients self prescribed them. Herbs are safe and very effective for children when prescribed by a licensed herbalist. Herbs can be used for respiratory disorders(colds, cough, wheezing, allergies asthma), digestive issues (constipation, diarrhea , stomach aches), sleep issues and even some pain conditions. A licensed herbalist will also look for red flags and refer you and your child to a MD if the condition is severe and needs medical attention.
  7. Use acupressure and massage. Light massage on a child's chest and upper back is great for colds. You can also look up some other great areas for immunity such as the acupuncture point ST36 which is located on both legs.
  8.  Act quick! Who cares if the laundry needs to get done, its time to take care of your child! The sooner you put these tips into play the quicker your little one will be feeling back to themselves. It's much easier to treat a runny nose and slight cough then it is chest tightness and shortness of breath.

*As always if you child's symptoms are severe or do not improve after a couple of days, call their physician.


by Elizabeth Girard, MS, L.Ac.


This being the week before Thanksgiving, I wanted to spend a moment to just talk about gratitude and being thankful for what we have in our lives. I love this quote:

 "Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance."— Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose

 If you haven't read either of Eckhart Tolle's books, I strongly recommend them. For me they were life changing and yet strengthening to what I had already knew within.

 Here are my favorite 3 techniques to practice gratitude. 

 1. Every morning wake up and list 5 things you are grateful for in your life. They can be small and simple things. This way you start everyday feeling lucky! You can go a step further and before you fall asleep at night list 5 things you are grateful for. Again they can be small like "I get to sleep in my comfy bed tonight."

 2. Be aware of your negative thoughts. Try putting a positive spin on them. One thing I have used is for every negative thing I say, I have to think of 3 positives. If you can see the positive in everything than you will no longer have any "bad" things in your life. This takes practice but be patient with yourself. Negative self talk is often the most hurtful. Negativity can also be contagious so surround yourself with happy people who don't bring you down.

 3. Give to others. Most people enjoy making other people happy. It goes with the pay it forward idea of thinking. If you give to others, others are more likely to give back. This might not sound like a way to practice being grateful but sometimes we have to give in order to receive. You can call it karma but good things happen to people who do good things for others. I often feel good after leaving work because I know I just helped someone. This makes me grateful for my work and the life I live. 

Soup for everyone!

by Elizabeth Girard, MS, L.Ac.

Bone broth     

      Every fall and winter I load up on soups. They are easy to make, affordable and I usually can make enough to share or store for later. Soups make great lunches in the colder months but also can be the main dish. Most recently I have become obsessed with making my own bone  broths and creating ultra healthy and tasty soups. If you haven't made your own chicken stock you don't know what your missing. A bone broth is similar to making your own stock you just cook it for much longer. On average I cook chicken bones for about 24-32 hours. Beef bones I cook for even longer. Why do I cook them so long? To get all the nutrients out of the bones themselves. I recently made a beef bone broth and cooked it for almost 48 hours. I then used that broth to make a spicy kale, mushroom, sausage and potato soup. It had so much flavor and was a hit all around in my household. I like things to be nutritious but also tasty. Why are bone broths so good for you?

Bone broths are nothing new especially in the Chinese medicine community. Bone broths are used to tonify our bodies energy. When we are sick or weak, bone broth is often prescribed, but why?

Bone broths are full of minerals and nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. It also contains chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine. All of which are good for treating arthritis, decreasing inflammation and building or supporting healthy bones and joints. When you cook the animal bones down, collagen is released from the bone marrow, cartilage, tendons and ligaments. You are getting all those healthy minerals and proteins in an easily absorbable form.

Benefits of Bone Broth

  • Decrease arthritis symptoms and support healthy joints.
  • Supports healthy bones, teeth, hair and skin. Even thought to reduce cellulite formation.  
  •  Heal leaky gut issues; food allergies or sensitives .
  • Promotes a healthy digestive tract.
  • Boost your immune system.
  • Decreases inflammation throughout your body. (Inflammation is thought to be the cause of many autoimmune diseases.)

So save your chicken bones (organic free range) or beef bones and make some broth!  

(Bone broth recipes will be posted soon!)

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. (413)345-0800

"Bu Qi" Bars

by Elizabeth Girard, MS, L.Ac.

I love making my own granola and energy bars. They are super easy and have so much more flavor than a store bought box packaged bar. Plus you know exactly what is in them!

Bu Qi Bars ("Bu"=tonify or strengthen) ("Qi"= our bodies energy)

 Makes 4 bars

Ingredients: (You can add and subtract any of these foods as long as it has a good mixture of wet and dry ingredients.)

1 cup dates
1/3 cup dried apples
1/3 cup Almonds
2 TBS Pumpkin Seeds


  •  Set out four pieces of plastic wrap for shaping and wrapping the bars. Do this first; you'll have sticky fingers when you need it.
  •  Place the dates and dried fruits in a food processor. Pulse until processed to a paste. Transfer paste to a medium bowl (don't clean processor).
  • Add the nuts and seeds to the processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the nuts, to the bowl with the fruit paste. Use your fingers to knead the nuts into the paste.
  • Divide mixture into quarters. Place each quarter on each of one of the sheets of plastic wrap. Wrap the plastic around each bar and start squishing into a bar shape form, 3 1/2 inches long, 1 inch wide and 3/4-inch thick); press against countertop to flatten bottom side, flattening top side and ends with flat of hand. Tightly wrap the plastic around each bar and store in the refrigerator.

·*Always be sure you have a little more wet/sticky than dry ingredients so the bar sticks together. When making four bars the ratio is generally 1 cup sticky fruits and 2/3 cup nuts and seeds or very dry fruits.

 Good additions: flax seeds, raisins or crasins, dried coconut, shredded ginger.

Benefits of the ingredients in Chinese medicine 
sweet: Supplements blood and body fluids.
Apples: sweet,sour,cool: supplment our digestion and lung energy.
Almonds: Moistens the lungs and intestines. 
Pumpkin Seed: sweet: Benefits the digestion and overall energy.

Alkalizing Fertility Diet

by Elizabeth Girard, MS, L.Ac.

Alkalizing fertility diet

At Whole Body Healing one of our specialties is optimizing women's fertility. We use acupuncture, Chinese herbs, supplements and diet to support women in their journey in becoming pregnant and throughout their entire pregnancy. 

Diet and lifestyle are very important when trying to conceive. Attaining a healthy PH balance is essential for reproductive health.  If a  woman's cervical mucous becomes too acidic, it can kill the sperm and prevent implantation (sperm like an alkaline environment). For an ideal PH balance, 70-80% of your diet should be from alkaline foods. Also make sure you chew your food well as saliva is alkaline and will help reduce the overall acidity in the foods.

Beneficial foods:

Highest Alkaline Foods:
String beans, banana, dandelion greens, dates, figs, prunes, raisins and Swiss chard.

High Alkaline Foods:
Almonds, asparagus, avocado, fresh beans, beets, black-berries, carrot, cranberries, chives, sour grapes, kale, dried peaches, persimmon, plum, pomegranate, raspberries, rooibos tea and spinach.

Alkaline Foods:
Alfalfa, apple, fresh apricot, artichokes, snap beans, sprouted beans, berries, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupe, cauliflower, celery, cherries, chestnuts, coconut milk, collards, corn (when fresh), cucumbers, eggplant, escarole, garlic, ginger root, gooseberry, grapefruit, guava, horseradish (fresh and raw), kelp, kohlrabi, leek, lemon, lettuce, line, loganberry, mango, melons, millet, acidophilus yogurt and whey.

Neutral Oils:
Almond, avocado, coconut, cottonseed, linseed (flaxseed), olive, safflower, sesame, sunflower, and walnut.

Foods to avoid

High Acid  Foods:
Alcohol, artichoke root, barley, bread, buckwheat, caffeine, coffee, corn (when processed and not fresh), custards, drugs, most flours, ginger preserves, honey, lentils,  oatmeal, peanuts, rice, rye grain,  spaghetti, and other pastas, sugar cane, raw beets, tobacco, walnut, and wheat. Most fast food especially if high in fat. 

Acid Forming Fats:
Butter, cream, margarine and lard.