asthma, allergies and acupuncture :: guest post

So who says that I get to have all the fun writing for my blog? It's time to share the love! I have invited a number of people to share some words here on my blog, and we've got some fabulous people lined up. Yay! My first guest writer is from the acupuncture clinic where I am currently taking my son Oliver. He has suffered from seasonal allergies all of his life, and we haven't been able to find anything that helps him out. Even a little bit. Then we tried acupuncture, and SHA-ZAM! He had an amazing positive response right off the bat. I would highly recommend this clinic to all parents in the Twin Cities. They treat only kids, and have special ways of working with kids to make acupuncture less intimidating. They're fabulous.

Enough about me, here's Nancy from Pediatric Acupuncture and Wellness Center in St. Paul, MN.

Did you know that acupuncture works to help relieve the symptoms of allergies and asthma?  Acupuncture and herbal medicine have been used for centuries to successfully treat these conditions and many others.

Whether you have symptoms of asthma, allergies, or some other condition an acupuncturist will do an in depth interview at your first visit to learn many things about your health.  The acupuncturist will then analyze how you are doing and determine if your bodies systems are functioning in harmony.   After doing this diagnosis they will explain to you what they believe the problems are, what is causing them, and derive a treatment plan that will help you.  One of the bodies organ systems that is out of balance with both asthma and allergies is the lungs.

There are many factors that can cause the lungs to function poorly and be irritated.  Sometimes people are born with weak lungs or have lungs that are damaged by frequent or severe respiratory illnesses.  An acupuncturist knows how to increase lung function.  This is usually done using acupuncture, acupressure, and herbal medicine.

Often pollutants and pollens overwhelm our lungs and cause them to react.  In the acupuncture profession we call these pollutants EPI’s.  That stands for external pathogenic influences or evil pathogenic invaders. The idea is that viruses, bacteria, pollens, pollutants, cold winter winds, dry air, and other intruders invade our bodies through our skin, mouth, and nose.  Your skin, mouth and nose are all pathways that lead directly to your lungs and it is through these entrances that nasty external pathogens make you sick or wear you down so that you become reactive.  Your acupuncturist will work to make your immunity stronger.   Acupuncturists know how to strengthen the external armor of your body so that your immunity is the defense that can stop the bad guys (the pathogens) at the door.  There are special herbs and acupuncture treatments designed to specifically help with this.

Generally speaking a part of any acupuncture plan for treating asthma and allergies includes keeping your immune system strong.  In addition to the use of acupuncture and herbal medicine it will enhance your recovery to receive dietary and lifestyles advice.

There are other things that can be causing reactive lungs such as your diet, too much stress, or your environment.

A clean, clear, bland diet is best, especially for children with asthma or allergies.  It is advisable to limit dairy, sugar, greasy foods, fast food, and processed foods.  These all can create phlegm and ultimately make lung problems worse.  Cold and raw foods are too hard to digest and also aggravate asthma or allergies.  I recommend using probiotics to help the digestion, increase immunity, and improve health.

In my career as an acupuncturist I have treated many children with asthma. Children who received simple acupuncture treatments weekly or bi-weekly for several months and took herbal medicine found that they used their inhalers less, participated in sports more, and showed increased lung function at their doctor visits.

For young children very few needles are used and they are retained a short time.  Often acupressure, pressure point beads, and magnets can be used on the acupuncture points in place of needles.  Scraping and massaging areas of the body, such as the upper back, can be a helpful technique used on children. In my clinic seasonal allergies are treated pro-actively by doing acupuncture and herbal medicine before the difficult season arrives.  This builds the immunity before the invaders begin to attack it.  Once the difficult season arrives the symptoms of the allergy attack are treated.  Herbs can be quite helpful with symptoms such as runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, itchy watery eyes, and sore throat.   It is important to utilize a trained herbalist so that herbs are used correctly.

It is worthwhile to consider visiting an acupuncturist to discuss treatment of asthma and allergies. *Always see your MD or pediatrician for an initial diagnosis and the follow up appointments your doctor requests or if the symptoms seem severe or life threatening.

Nancy Anderson-Bierma has a Masters Degree in Oriental Medicine and is a licensed acupuncturist with the Minnesota Medical Board.  She practices at Pediatric Acupuncture and Wellness Center in St. Paul, MN specializing in the treatment of children from infancy to young adulthood. Please contact her at or 651-644-4460. She has an additional practice in Roseville, Nancy Bierma Acupuncture - 651-303-2367.

skipping stones :: minneapolis family photographer

This evening was spent with a lovely, happy family - skipping stones, hula hooping, and playing on the beach. This was an especially perfect spot for their session because this was where mom and dad had their first date, years ago. Beautiful. I have a feeling that this is going to be a new favorite location of mine! It is so very Minnesota, with the river, the old gnarley trees, the beautiful grasses, the beach...

Thanks so much for coming out and spending the evening with me! Hope you had some good ice cream after your session!

Saint Paul child photographer

Twin Cities child photographer

Saint Paul family photographer

Minneapolis candid family lifestyle photography

Saint Paul child photographer

Minneapolis child photographer

Twin Cities natural light portraits

beyond cheese: how to take better photos of your kids: tip 2

This is my second post in a series about how to take better photos of your kids. This week's tip: Find that gorgeous light outdoors!

So now that you're turning off your flash (see last week's post!) you'll want to start looking for beautiful sources of light.

Some basic guidelines:

- Avoid direct sun, especially midday - If you're in full sun, look for open shade - If there's no shade, face away from the sun to avoid squinting children and harsh shadows - The best time of day for beautiful outdoor light is early morning or late afternoon/evening (1-2 hours before sunset)

We'll go much deeper into finding the light in my WiseMamas discussion on Thursday June 10, 2010 at Health Foundations Family Health and Birth Center. This event will include an informal presentation on how to take better photos, a question and answer session, and a goodie bag for each registered attendee! Please visit the Wise Mamas facebook event page to RSVP and reserve your goodie bag! And as long as you're heading over to facebook, go ahead and "like" my photography page as well!

This photo is a great example of all four of the techniques listed above:

It was taken late in the afternoon when the sun was very low in the sky. The subject is facing away from the sun, in a somewhat shaded area. There's just nothing like dappled sunlight streaming through low branches to create such gorgeous texture in a photo.

Minneapolis senior photographer

just five days :: edina newborn photographer

I was lucky enough to spend a few hours with this beautiful baby yesterday - just five days old! The perfect age to have a newborn session. Thanks for sharing your afternoon! I'll post a few more soon, but just wanted to share one now. Hope everybody has a fabulous holiday weekend! Minneapolis newborn photographer