When the feeling of modern life has taken its toll on you,

It may be a good time to turn toward the 5000 year-old wisdom of traditional Oriental medicine. This time-tested system of medicine is available to you to help turn back the clock on aging and return to the vibrancy of youth.

Why Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine?

80 – 90% of all health problems can be treated with our care of balanced nutrition, acupuncture, acupressure, and herbal medicines.

As your body systems return to health, you will find yourself more centered, relaxed, and energetic.

Modern stresses may never totally go away, but we certainly have the power to change how we handle them.

Discover the Natural Way Back to Health & Happiness

“I had been dealing with hot flashes and sleepless nights for a couple of years.  After a few visits with Nicole, I started taking herbs and started sleeping better and the hot flashes diminished.  I also had treatment for allergies and knee pain.  The herbs work!  Through the appointments I learned a lot about my eating habits and was able to lose weight too.  I am currently doing great and feeling healthy!  Thank you NHC!” -Sharon

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With treatment in our clinic, you should be able to feel some improvement within the first few visits.

Want to Learn More? Browse Recent Articles From Our Blog

Minerals and Your Health

I had an epiphany the other day:  so many health problems can be linked to deficiencies of minerals.  Minerals help with building and maintaining body structures (muscles, tendon, bones); regulating digestion and circulation; and activating enzymatic processes that support your immune and endocrine systems.  Even though they are small parts in our overall composition, they are absolutely essential. So why are mineral deficiencies so common now?  This was my big light-bulb moment: Because we no longer eat food that is dirty.  Our food is almost ridiculously devoid of any dirt.  And we really don’t want to be eating our “modern” dirt, anyway.  Whereas thousands of years ago, particles of dirt on your food may benefit your health, now you’re probably eating more chemicals than anything.  Chemicals we are not deficient in! Our water is filtered.  This is good and I highly recommend filtering your water because (as in #1) our modern supply is full of … chemicals!  Now instead of getting a nice dose of calcium, iron, and sulfer, you get flouride, synthetic hormones, and antibiotics.  Yummy.  So yes, we filter, but at the loss of valuable trace minerals. We don’t eat as much seafood.  And again, it is not usually recommended to eat a lot of seafood because of the … chemicals.  Mercury to be precise.  Farm raised fish is questionable; we don’t know what the farmers are feeding the fish, and it may include (are you sensing a theme here?) chemicals that give them a certain color. So very few people are able to ingest the amount of minerals needed to function at 100%.  Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium,... read more

Treating Chronic Problems

Western healthcare focuses on the illness; I guess you could call it “sick-care”.  Medicating symptoms or removing problem areas of your body are the general approach. The holistic approach to healthcare focuses on what is good in your body – your health, your function.  You’re more than just a collection of problems:  the true, inner self has radiant health.  We help you remove what’s getting in the way of that health.  Your body is not ever “broken” or “wrong,” just in need of occasional help. The best way to help a body heal is assisting in the brain-body connection.  Problems arise when there is a disconnect between the two.  In other words, the brain is so focused on anything else but not paying attention to what is happening in the body and how the body is responding to conditions. Of course, there are lots of ways to connect with that aspect of self:  acupuncture, deep breathing, meditation, yoga, time in nature, eating good, unprocessed food and sometimes even hallucinogenic drugs can help.* The Nan Jing is a thousands of years old book that discusses the root of many types of illness being from blocked consciousness.  When we close our minds to new experiences, we can block up our eyes, ears, or nose.  When we hold onto “crap” and fear letting go of something or someone, we get intestinal blockages.  Any of these can have dire consequences on our health. When your mind becomes focused on an irritant, your qi becomes blocked.  For example, you don’t like the way your body feels / looks; or you fear the sensation of hunger because you may gain... read more

Top 10 Natural Medicine Cabinet Remedies

In my “medicine cabinet” at home we don’t actually have medication!  We have:  herbs, homeopathic remedies, and LOTS of vitamins and supplements.  Most things that pop up health-wise can be treated with things you may just have (or probably should have) lying around your house.  If you don’t know what to use and when to use it, I made this handy list.  Best thing:  no prescription required. 1 Apple Cider Vinegar:  ACV can be used for SO many things.  If you don’t have a bottle, go out and buy yourself one right now.  It will set you back all of about $3. Things you can use it for: yeast infection (take 2T orally twice daily or vaginally in a sitz bath or douche); acid reflux (for 80% of reflux sufferers it will work miracles, but if you’re in the 20% who it makes your reflux worse, stop using it!); bone spurs (take 2T daily in water); hangover (this is not “by the books,” but I tried it once when I had some dizzy spells from a long boozy night and it worked quite well!) 2 Nux Vomica:  this is a homeopathic remedy you can find at the healthfood store.  It’s awesome for any type of nausea.  It’s actually one of the only things that helped me through my first trimester of pregnancy!  Also good for hangovers. 3 Lavender essential oil:  This is my “go-to” essential oil.  I like to use it in my kids’ (and my own) bath at night for relaxation.  You can also dab it directly onto your third eye (between and slightly above your real eyes)... read more

When Acupuncture Doesn’t Work

I hate it when my patients don’t improve how I expect.  It’s maybe just 10% of the time, but I hate, hate, hate it.  Mostly I get mad at myself, even though it’s probably not my fault.  I’ve seen several common denominators as to why some people get results and others don’t.  Here are some reasons why natural medicine may not work:  1.  The problem is more serious than anticipated.  For example, if I treat someone for shoulder pain, there should be some pain relief within a couple of treatments.  Notice, I’m not saying “cured within a couple of treatments,” but some indication that things are getting better.  Huge difference —  the problem can be serious (think old injuries with scar tissue, worn out tendons, etc.) and still make small, incremental progress.  I’m happy with that.   Some people want to get better faster, but you can’t rush real healing.  If NOTHING changes at all, then it may be time for an MRI, PT, or possibly surgery.  Time to bring in the “team” of professionals for more information and assistance.   A lot of the people who heal quickly are doing multiple things to get better:  eating right; taking supplements; working with a physical therapist or chiropractor; and getting regular massages all help the process.   2.  The Western medication is getting in the way.  It’s no secret that I am pretty much anti-medicine.  But, there is a time for it.  When your body is healing, however, you have to work with the doctor who prescribed the medicine to GET OFF OF IT.   Here’s why:  We can’t tell what’s working and what’s... read more

Making Lists to Reduce Stress

He’s making a list, checking it twice…  because Santa Claus knows this is the best way to avoid stress. I have three different scenarios where list making may just change your life.  Well, maybe not your life, but at least your perspective.  And, mark my words, you will be surprised when, sometime in the future if you find an old list you wrote, of how much you have accomplished that you just were dreaming about when you first wrote it!   Sometimes when I feel bored or just blah, I take out a pen and paper (I know, so old-fashioned!) and write down ideas.  Just anything:  ideas of what I want in life; ideas for where to travel; ideas for redecorating my house.  The point is to reach some feeling of inspiration.  If you don’t have anything to look forward to, life can be so depressing.  Always have something exciting and fun planned for the future.   If you’re feeling down about something in particular, write out a game plan of how to get out of this particular conundrum.  For example, when I first got out of (Chinese) medical school, I was hugely in debt.  So I wrote out a game plan of how I would step-by-step get out of debt:  what bills to pay, how much to pay for each bill each month and each year, how much to save, and also what I needed to make for income to do this!  Having a plan is a plan for success.   If you feel overall anxiety, again, it’s a good time to get out a pen and paper and write... read more

Surviving Flu Season

I only get sick when one of the following things happen: Not enough sleep Unmitigated stress Too much sugar No exercise with regularity Every.  Single.  Time. My sob story is that I have a 2-year-old who has been waking me up at night for, well, 2 years.  Not enough sleep?  Check!  But it’s my own darn fault for eating cake 9 days in a row.  I’m embarrassed to write this, but it’s just true.  Some of those days it was just a bite or two of cake, but cake nonetheless.  9 days.  In a row. STEP 1 Get rid of the sugar bug. The problem with eating sugar one day is that it makes you want to eat it the next day.  It’s as addictive as crack / cocaine.  Or so they say.  I’ve never been addicted to crack / cocaine.  Too expensive.  And I like to sleep. When I decide to cut out sugar, I have to be ruthless.  Other people have their own way of dealing with “getting back on the wagon,” but for me the only thing that works is cold turkey.  Just say no.  To cake. No cake. No brownies. No cookies.  Just don’t even buy them! No muffins.  Keep walking past the pastry case at the coffee shop. Ok, just a little bit of dark chocolate.  You have to live, right? It’s Thanksgiving, or Christmas (or Festivus or whatever), and you get offered pie.  Say you love pie.  Just have a piece of pie! STEP 2 What you need to avoid over the holidays:  guilt.  Just enjoy what you want, then get over it.  Get “back... read more

Posture Part III: Lying Down

Ok, so now you’re sitting well and walking with ease.  Time for a rest!  Lots of people complain that sleeping on their shoulder or their hip, etc. hurts.  Sometimes you may notice that your pain areas are worse in the morning.  Stretch-lying is designed to help that.  The good news is that you can stretch-lie on your back, side, or front. BACK When you stretch-lie on your back, use a bolster or pillow under your knees.  Relax your feet out to the sides.  As your feet externally rotate, your hips and legs will relax out. Momentarily, prop your body up onto your elbows.  Now, tuck your ribs in.  With your ribs tucked in, lie back down.  This helps to create a nice, long line through your spine. Position your pillow comfortably around your neck.  Make sure your neck is in a nice, long line and your chin is tucked in.  This position also helps to prevent snoring! Make sure your shoulders are still down and back. Good night! SIDE Use a pillow or bolster between your knees if that’s more comfortable.  Scooch your behind back.  This may cause you to sway-back, which will be removed in the next step: Lift your upper body up to stretch your spine.  You should feel as though your belly button is tucked in toward your spine and you are lifting yourself over a ledge. Avoid rolling your shoulder forward.  You can use a pillow in front of your body to prevent too much shoulder hunching. Your lower arm can be positioned where it’s most comfortable:  under your head, in front of you, or... read more

Posture Part 2: How to Stand and Walk

If you missed part 1, it’s right here where we talked about the correct way to sit to avoid back, neck, and shoulder problems.  Now we need to re-learn the right way to stand!  Once you know how to stand, then you can walk. As you’re re-learning posture, it’s so tempting to say, “Oh, that sounds good.  I will try that.”  …then you go right back to your usual habits.  I know I’ve fallen into that trap before.  Don’t waste any time doing this.  Resolve to change now.  The stages of change are as follows: Denial:  “My posture is fine.  My lower back hurts because ___(some excuse).” Mild Interest:  “That sounds interesting.  Maybe I’ll try it someday (when the pain gets bad enough.)” Attempting it:  “This feels awkward.” Having to remind yourself continually the correct steps and movements. Your muscles and bones literally change shape.  This is called “muscle memory.” You did it! As you can imagine, this takes time.  The only way to get there is by practice.  Put sticky notes on your work station, in your car, and at your kitchen table.   Put one on your TV!  Whatever it takes, just resolve to get there, and you will. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s begin. PROPER STANDING / “TALLSTANDING” Feet  Heels in slightly (just 15% or so is enough).  You should feel a nice grip on the ground if you’re barefoot. Weight on your heels.  Rock your pelvis (yeah, you heard me, rock it) front to back.  Feel how the weight centers change from your ball of the feet to the heels?  Keep it... read more

Good Posture Should Feel Like Slouching

I spent all last weekend taking the foundations course in the Gokhale (“go-clay”) Method.  You may remember when I last spoke about this technique founded by an acupuncturist in the 1990s who, after experiencing crippling back pain and unsuccessful back surgeries, noticed how in some indiginous cultures (Kenya and Burkina in Africa; parts of India and Asia; Portugal; etc.) there are almost no (roughly 5 – 7% reported) incidence of back problems, whereas in the US, approximately 85% of US adults report back pain at some point in their lives.  NPR recently did an expose on Esther Gokhale and her techniques. I wanted to share some of my insights from the class, and also to offer my services.  There is no way to learn how to prevent back, shoulder, neck, hip, knee and foot pain through this technique without the kinesthetic experience of doing it.  It would be like reading about how to exercise and then expecting 6-pack abs to show up when you’re done with the book. SITTING There are 2 ways of sitting, depending on the chair and your personal preference:  stacksitting and stretchsitting (see photos).  The idea is that you should be able to sit a lot – say you have a desk job – without pain IF you’re sitting correctly. Notice first your feet.  they should touch the ground comfortably.  If not, use a bolster (rolled up blanket or towel is enough) or stool.  Your heels should root into the ground at a slight angle, about 10 – 15%.  This is a naturally comfortable position for your feet and will help prevent foot problems like... read more

A Medication No One Needs: Birth Control Pills

Here’s the stuff you may already know:  Yes, the 1960s, the sexual revolution for women! Birth control pills seemed like the answer for decades of repression, yet a few years later, with rising rates of breast cancer, we would be ignorant to say this isn’t a problem. Over the years, various forms of oral contraceptives have been manufactured using synthetic forms of estrogen and progesterone.  The goal of these pills is to prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation, or by thickening the lining of the cervix or uterus to prevent sperm from entering or to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. If you pick up a prescription for birth control, you’re told the usual warnings:  risk of blood clotting disorders (stroke, embolism, heart disease), liver disease, gall bladder disease, bloating, moodiness, weight gain, headache, hair loss, and nausea. But, you think, it’s worth the risk to prevent an unwanted pregnancy!  The problem is not that you may get one of these side-effects, the problem is why the pill is causing those problems to begin with. Here’s the stuff you may not already know (or have considered): “ESTROGEN DOMINANCE” Your reproductive system does not exist in a vacuum.  Taking man-made estrogen or progesterone causes system-wide problems.  These synthetic hormones bind to estrogen receptor sites in your body to artificially cause something called “estrogen dominance.”  Too much xeno-estrogens (synthetic estrogens) are what can cause cancer.  Other than cancer, they can also cause allergy symptoms autoimmune disorders breast tenderness cervical dysplasia thyroid disfunction decreased sex drive depression dry eyes weight gain fatigue fibrocystic breasts foggy thinking gall bladder disease hair loss headaches hypoglycemia blood clotting infertility... read more

“Evil Qi”

In Chinese medicine, we say there are 6 pathogenic factors, or “evil qi.”  Wind, cold, heat, fire toxin, dryness, or dampness can “invade your body” and cause problems.  So 3,000 years ago there were no microscopes, but just knowledge that exposure to certain elements produced certain types of illnesses.   So, in central Texas, you wouldn’t think we would have much of a problem with cold, right?  Wrong.  Iced drinks (iced water or tea, margaritas, smoothies), air conditioning (which I find the AC in Texas is much more frigid than in the northern states), and ice packs for injuries are not your friends. I understand that you want to cool off or reduce inflammation, but too much (or for those of you with “cold damage” already, ANY) ice in your drinks or on your body is causing problems. Why?  Ice causes contraction.  Contraction causes pain.  Contraction reduces blood circulation which slows the healing process.  Especially after giving birth or after a traumatic injury, your body is literally open and vulnerable to cold damage.  In Chinese medicine, we recommend a woman who just gave birth stay at home for one whole month before going out so that she does not succumb to cold or wind damage. What are the signs of cold damage?   Pain.  Especially arthritic pain; pain that moves around; pain that feels cool to the touch or that gets worse in cold or damp weather.   Hormone imbalance.  A history of infertility (male or female); hypothyroid; frequent miscarriage Allergies, cough, or illness, especially if you feel chills or if the nape of your neck is cool to... read more