- Phytotherapy (Chinese & Western)
- Cupping, Gua sha, Moxibustion
- Scalp Therapy
- Life Coaching and Classes & Workshops
- Feng Shui
FAQ/Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: When does one choose Integrative Medicine (Naturopathy, TCM, Ayurvedic Medicine) over Western Medicine?
Q: Why should I see a doctor or practitioner of integrative medicine if I am not sick?
Integrative medicine is preventative medicine. Here is an anecdote: in ancient times people gave gifts and money to acupuncturists when the person experienced long periods of good health. This was a way of thanking the practitioner for their good work. The idea was always to prevent a disease and working toward keeping their patients in good health.
I remember I had the exceptional luck to have few weekend classes with the world known professor of TCM Giovanni Maciocia in Winterthur, Switzerland. One time he told us a story about one of his patients that continued to consult with him for the past thirty years. “But you know,” said Maciocia, “if you ask me what he has? He has nothing! And if you ask me how he is doing? He is doing great!”
Many people understand the value of taking care of their car. But when it comes to taking care of their body they ignore the regular maintenance a human body needs. Just as you give gasoline to your car you can supplement your diet with vitamins, minerals, fatty oils and antioxidants. Your food should be your medicine. It should nourish your body, help it to be balanced, and “cleanse” it by addressing the liver and/or the kidneys when necessary. Your body is your temple. Treat your body with respect and with proper care. Taking care of yourself can be complicated if you don’t know what you are doing. At my practice I offer seasonal treatments, to achieve balance.
Herbs should not be taken without knowledge and over a long time since our physiology is under constant change and so are our needs for specific herbs. Since a few decades ago the use of natural supplements (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytotherapy for different ailments, (menopause symptoms, headache) have been increasing. Every once in a while a new supplement becomes trendy. One should be aware that how you supplement your body should make sense. After questioning him, I realized that he was taking a “green drink” (mixture of herbs and fruits) every morning to supplement his diet. I told him to stop right away because he was totally on the wrong path! His assessment of his bodily needs were wrong. The majority of ingredients in his drink were “cool” by nature, thus affecting his body’s temperature. I also told him that he should never start the morning with cool or cold drinks, as this will eventually lead to weakening of the digestive fire. In the Far East, often breakfast starts with hot soup in order to “add Fire” to the digestive system at the start of the day.
Q: When do I choose Integrative Medicine (Naturopathy, TCM, Ayurvedic Medicine) over Western Medicine?
I always tell my patients that they need to have a medical doctor for their annual check-up. Typical reasons include laboratory tests or other exams in order to be fully informed with regard to their personal health. My intervention can be used when any functional problem of body is disturbed, either due to dysfunction of an organ, or if the cause is a reflection of an emotional disturbance psychosomatic (for more information, visit my blog).
The three medical disciplines mentioned above have in common the holistic approach. That means the patient’s physical body is analyzed as well as the state of mind and the emotions experienced at the time of complaint. In Western medicine a standard visit with the physician is a short period. Brief visits do not allow one to have an exchange in conversation- deep enough to get to the core of a problem. Further, Western medicine treats patient conditions as the part of the whole system [treating “a leg”, “a headache”], without taking into consideration who is complaining. Western medicine seeks to mask pain, creating a systematic approach that encourages treating many people regardless who is swallowing the drug. Prescription drugs act fast and are strong enough to create a high percentage of success when administered by using a concentrated active ingredient derived from natural substances or chemicals. On the other hand, phytotherapy uses the totum of the herb or plant, so while it takes longer to produce a result, it addresses the body in a wholesome way.
To me there is always a face behind the condition and I seek to find the cause. My approach is holistic taking into account who is the patient and what are their needs. I write prescriptions where I can tailor my remedy by selecting the herbs, essential oils or both.
Q: What is acupuncture good for?
Acupuncture can treat a wide range of disorders, especially relating to pain management. Acupuncture is best suited for alleviate acute or chronic pain, such as headache/migraine, joint or back pain. Acupuncture can treat a broad range of disorders including gynecological, urinary, skin, and digestive, etc.
Q: What am I supposed to feel during treatment when needles are inserted?
First, one’s perception is a personal matter. Everyone’s threshold is different. Common reactions are slight prick, similar to an electric discharge, some feel numbness. Many report a tingling sensation that lasts few seconds.
When treating patients, I create a Zen and serene atmosphere. Once needle insertion is done, adjustments are made for comfort. The patient is checked to assure that everything is fine.
How long is the acupuncture treatment?
Session takes 40-45 minutes. Needles should be kept in for 20-25 minutes in order to achieve effective results.
I believe a therapy room is “right” when the patient can feel they are comfortable enough to “let go” and “feel at home.” I imagine the body form as a chalice, and the therapy room and what passes in there, as “soul essence” that fills up the calyx. My reward is to see this happen and that is when patient feels “fuller,” “richer”, and “lighter” after treatment.
In order for the soul to settle down, the right timing is essential, meaning the length of treatment. I believe when the treatment time is too short there is not enough time to reach a state of relaxation. This is one key reason I decided to work with superbill instead of conforming to what insurance companies command.
Q: What is cupping, Gua sha, moxibustion, their effects and side-effects?
These are ancient methods that I often practice with great effect. Each is part of TCM. All three methods allow to reduce when excess (i.e. Heat, Damp, Cold) of pathogenic presence and support when deficiency (i.e. when organs functions need to be supported and reinforced, add Heat when there is too much Cold). You can gain a better understanding of these concepts; Excess/Shi and deficiency/ Xu by following my blog.
Araya Nielsen, a known authority on Gua sha, describes it best: “Gua sha is a healing technique of traditional East Asian medicine. Sometimes called ‘coining, spooning or scraping,’ Gua sha is defined as instrument-assisted unidirectional press-stroking of a lubricated area of the body surface to intentionally create transitory therapeutic petechiae called ‘sha’ representing extravasation of blood in the subcutis.” … “Raising sha removes blood stagnation considered pathogenic in traditional East Asian medicine. Modern research shows the transitory therapeutic petechiae produce an anti-inflammatory and immune protective effect that persists for days following a single Gua sha treatment accounting for the immediate relief that patients feel from pain, stiffness, fever, chill, cough, wheeze, nausea and vomiting etc., and why Gua sha is effective in acute and chronic internal organ disorders including liver inflammation in hepatitis.” – Araya Nielsen, Gua sha, a traditional technique for modern practice. Churchill Livingstone, 1995.
It’s one of the oldest methods of curing. In ancient times, the horns of animals were used as cups. Glass cups, the form used today, first appeared in Persia, Egypt, and Greece.
I taught classes of cupping, Gua sha and detoxification in Switzerland. I learned flash-cupping during my internship at hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2002. I was lucky to study in different departments, and in each case cupping was widely used. In Hanoi the doctors cupped almost as many times as we used acupuncture. That experience showed me a broad range of applications while using cupping techniques. Cupping brings even stronger results when combined with aromatherapy.
Both cupping and Gua sha are usually applied to the patient’s back, arms and legs. This typically leaves red or blue marks that disappear after few days. Treatments can also be applied to the legs, neck, and arms. Both applications often offer good results in alieving muscle aches by moving and stimulating circulation of Qi and Blood. During the recovery period one should avoid sun exposure as well as perfume, lotions or creams that can be caustic and create reaction as the skin has to heal. On the other hand, these marks have precious therapeutic values and allow the practitioner to better understand the patient’s state of health.
Following my blog for announcements of future classes teaching the art and benefits of cupping.
I learned the practice of an aromatherapy in Switzerland where I worked three years in an aromatherapy laboratory.
Since my arrival in the United States, I have realized that as in the rest of Anglo-Saxon world, aromatherapy application is limited to creating a nice disinfected atmosphere, in the bath and in some creams and lotions.
In Switzerland and France (especially in the South) aromatherapy is used for medicinal purposes. Aromatherapy is the natural anti-biotic with a large spectrum of function used against many infectious diseases. The tea tree oil, Melaleuca alternifolia, is the part of the Australian soldier first-aid kit. Essential oils are prepared as liquid, capsules, or suppositories. Aromatherapy can treat diseases of the respiratory system, including a broad range of infections, and disorders of the digestive, urinary tract, circulatory system, etc. The two methods together, cupping and acupuncture, do magic with cases involving respiratory diseases, such as asthma, bronchitis, common cold.
It is another method of TCM used commonly. Moxibustion utilizes dried mugwort (Artemisia argyi or Artemisia vulgaris) the intention is to warm and invigorate the flow of Qi in the body and dispel certain pathogenic influences. Moxibustion is applied close to skin and can create slight burning on the skin, but I have a technique that prevents this from happening.
At my practice, each treatment strategy is tailored to your individual need. Often a combination of treatments are recommended for a personal approach to handling a patient’s needs.
Q: When do herbs become important?
For recent physical trauma/injuries, the treatment is limited to a particular zone of the body. Acupuncture is often used in conjunction with side therapies including cupping, Gua sha, moxibustion, poultice and liniments.
However, when acute injuries have not been treated efficiently for a long period of time, or in the case of chronic diseases, the important role of herbal products is indisputable.
Herbs support acupuncture therapy and vice versa. Synergy of acupuncture and herbs enhance the treatment and shortens recovery time. The great benefit of herbal therapy is that an herb recipe can be formulated for any particular need, and that recipe is engineered to suit its task. Some herbs can have a strong taste, in this case, to disguise the taste, I suggest mixing with fruit juice (or other drinks of choice), especially when treating children.
Q: When and why use auriculotherapy?
This is the study of needling the ear, a hologram of body’s map. The points are the reflex points on the ear that are related to the CNS. Auriculotherapy is a method in which stimulation of the external ear is utilized to relieve pain and promote balance in other parts of the body. While auriculotherapy is originally based upon the ancient Chinese practices of acupuncture, the somatotopic correspondence of specific parts of the body to specific parts of the ear was first developed in France by Dr. Paul Nogier. It is this integrated system of both Chinese and Western practices of auricular acupuncture that is often used as the “map” representing the body.
Q: When and how is used scalp therapy?
Scalp acupuncture is another therapeutic method of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Specific stimulating zones on the scalp, allow treatment of paralysis or abnormal sensations in parts of the body, such as arms and legs.
Q: What are chakras and their uses?
“Chakras are vortices through which energy flows both in and out the body. When developed, they rotate like a turning wheel. Most literature on chakras discusses seven main chakras, but we actually have hundreds, located all over the body. Each acupressure and acupuncture point is an energy vortex and, therefore a chakra. The energy that powers these vortices comes from a number of sources, one being Kundalini or evolutionary energy, another being the spiritual force within us.” – Genevieve Lewis Paulson, Kundalini and the Chakras, St. Paul, Llewellyn, 2002 (p.59). I studied the chakras under Genevieve in 2010. Since then, the understanding of the functions of the chakra has been an integrated part of my work.
Q: When do you suggest use of hypnosis?
I use the Ericksonian method of hypnosis to enhance the treatment process. Most often, disorders of body is caused by the emotions (psychosomatic). I started working with hypnosis in 1991 and have been amazed by how much it adds to my treatment strategy. This method allows me to have a complete holistic approach to the patient’s need.
Ericksonian hypnotherapy utilizes what it is called indirect suggestion. My role as therapist is to introduce indirect suggestions. These suggestions are usually disguised as stories or metaphors, introduced by the therapist. An example of an indirect suggestion is “… and perhaps your eyes will grow tried as you listen to this story, and you will want to close them, because people can, experience a pleasant, deepening sense of comfort as they allow their eyes to close, and they relax deeply.” One state of trance or hypnosis is the alpha state, a rather deep relaxation state as in meditation. We all store a lot of information in our subconscious without being aware of it. In the alpha state, the Mind calms down, allowing information to surface and tell a story not recognized to your conscious Mind. In hypnosis, these stories have enormous therapeutic values and often allow healing since the client understands and addresses the root of the problem.
Q: What does Feng Shui do for me?
Feng Shui is a part of the discipline of Traditional Chinese Medicine, others being acupuncture, phytotherapy and massage (called Tuina). Feng Shui is based on the ancient philosophy of I Ching which interprets the energy of the universe. “I Ching offers us a means to connect to the natural flow of the universe. Its built-in time factor allows individuals to connect to it in different ways at different times in their lives.” – The practical encyclopedia of Feng Shui, by Gill Hale, p. 10.
In 2008, it became obvious to me to understand how Qi moves in a given space and time and how this affects one’s life. I decided to study Feng Shui under Jon Sandifer in London, who was a passionate teacher. As our sessions progressed, I realized that the common understanding of Feng Shui is limited to a few objects that people hang or place here and there without really understanding why. I learned to work with a compass or Luo Pan using a plan of the home. To quote Gill Hale, “The Luo Pan illustrates not only direction, depending on the land form…” (p.10). I came to realize that Feng Shui is not about superstition and it has merit of its own. I believe that Khalil Gibran, the Lebanese-American Poet, conveys best my belief:
“Your house is your larger body. It grows in the sun and sleeps in the stillness of the night; and it is not dreamless. Does not your house dream? and dreaming, leave the city for grove or hill top?”
Q: What is Naso-sympathicotherapy?
The nasal cavity, like the eye or ear, has its own mapping. Sympathicotherapy acts on the sympathetic nervous system. That is to say on the autonomic nervous system, involuntary, and not depending on our will. Sympathicotherapy corrects imbalances that the autonomic system generates, called functional diseases, which represent most of the chief complaints, thus the ability of sympathicotherapy to act on psycho-emotional manifestations. The stress that we feel is interpreted and managed by our vegetative nervous system (another name of the autonomic nervous system). When the conflict situation becomes too intense, it often leads to physical illness. This is called “somatization,” that is to say that the body converts a nerve problem into a real physical problem – a real disease. Through sympathicotherapy it is possible to act on disorders of cardiovascular and digestive systems, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, hyperventilation, depression, libido, reproductive disorders, tobacco addiction, etc.
The technique of sympathicotherapy consists of dipping large Q-tips in a solution of essential oils, it is applied directly into the nasal cavity. The solutions of essential oils available are applicable to anti-sinusitis, anti-stress, anti-allergies, anti-smoking, and menopausal symptoms. The Naso-sympathicotherapy regulates between the sympathetic and parasympathetic system. Beyond the scent of nice oils, results are almost immediate.
Sympathicotherapy was revived shortly before 1950, by Dr. Paul Gillet, who made his first therapy in Monte Carlo. Sympathicotherapy has not stopped growing since.
Q: What led you to seek an alternative way of treating ailments?
As a child I grew up in a Persian garden – lots of flowers and fruit trees and the land was irrigated, with water supplied by a well. My fun would start by the beginning of summer and the end of school period. We children had everything to keep busy at home: a swimming pool and a fruit garden. My mother orchestrated this love of nature. There is no doubt in my mind that my mother transmitted the love of flowers and trees to us children.
Many years later when my family moved from Switzerland to Mexico, my daughter was 1 ½ years of age and my son was 8 months. We first lived in Morelia, a historical city in the north central state of Michoacán. My sister-in-law, who had four young children, warned me against the overuse of antibiotics. She alerted me about how many children grow up having dental problems (i.e. predisposing them to oral yeast) by the age of 7 or 8 due to excess prescribed and over use of antibiotics.
That was my call. I became interested to seek other ways of treating my children. I thought instead of running to the pediatrician every time my children came down with cold, or other common ailments, I could treat them myself with natural remedies. I first began looking for and collecting nutritive and healthy food recipes. This led to reading and trying various approaches to health. The challenge was to find a healthy diet that would be nutritive and also delicious to both adults and children. It was wonderful seeing our children enthusiastic about meals. Thus started my interest in nutrition, natural remedies and food therapy, leading eventually to herbal medicine.
During the years that followed, and while we were living in Puerto Vallarta, I treated my children exclusively with natural remedies. I was proud to see them healthy and thriving. I geared our food preparation towards a Mediterranean diet. By 1992, when we moved back to Switzerland, I knew by then that I wanted to study naturopathy. Later, I became a student of traditional Chinese medicine.
 Merriam Webster definition: “holistic” relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts <holistic medicine attempts to treat both the mind and the body> <holistic ecology views humans and the environment as a single system>.
 Totum refers to use of the whole plant. “Today, biology studies living organisms such as plants as systems, that is, as a whole. There is a fundamental notion that holds that in each system or totum, there are certain properties that do not exist at a lower level. In other words, when we respect the “totum” of a plant extract, we can appreciate the beneficial properties more than we would by just using the active ingredients (Al) separately. This confirms that “the whole is more than the sum of its parts.” – Nhuara Baret.
 “Superbill” is a billing practice where the practitioner is paid directly by the patient and in exchange an insurance “superbill” form is provided to the patient where they make a request for compensation. The patient deals with their insurance company directly.
 Cupping therapy is an ancient form in which a local suction is created on the skin using cups.