What Would Christina Do? 9 Months Into the pandemic

I normally try and keep the newsletters short, but this one is jam packed, so please scroll down to the parts that interest you:

  • Coming Soon: Our New Practice Management Software!—If you’re a patient please read this part as it will affect you
  • What Would Christina Do?—9 Months Into the pandemic what have I learned that’s hopeful?
  • Holiday Gift Ideas—give the gift of health
  • Upcoming Events
  • Insurance Changes in 2021—in case you missed it, plus the effective date for Blue Shield
  • End of year schedule


Coming Soon—Our New Practice Management Software  If you’re a patient, please read this as it will affect you.  We’re transitioning to a new practice management software.  Yippee!!!

Shortly we’ll be sending out a Welcome Email from the new system that will require action on your part.  The welcome email will give you a personalized link to set up a username and password so you can access your patient profile and book appointments online.  We’ll be using the new system starting January 2021, but since our last day in the office in 2020 is December 18, we’re excited to help everyone set up their profile in the new system soon.

Through your patient profile we’ll need you to enter a credit card to store for future touch-less payments and update any info like emergency contacts etc.  We’ll also be emailing you our updated online consent forms through the new system.  Please submit them before your your first appointment in 2021. 

While we weren’t looking for more change in 2020, we are truly looking forward to this one!  All the challenges of 2020 really highlighted that the old system had problems and was wasting our time and energy.  We did extensive research and talked to lots of colleagues to find a new system that would be better for us and YOU.  And we’ve been really impressed at how intuitive and well set up the new system is.  Jules and I both say at least once a day “I can’t wait to be in the new system!”

For those who like details, the new system will handle our:

  • Schedule:  There’s so many improvements to the scheduler we can’t list them all, but on the top of our list is that the new system emails you right away when we make an appointment for you while you are in the office (so when you get home it will be easy to confirm you got it in your calendar correctly) and the online scheduler is much easier to use.  PLUS it allows you to cancel and reschedule online!
  • Intake & Consent forms: Current patients will be able to update their profile information (emergency contact, address, etc.) and sign updated consent forms online.  New patients will fill out all that plus their initial intake forms online—no more new patients showing up with their paperwork still at home!
  • Payment processing: The new system has fully integrated payment processing which means we can more elegantly and effortlessly:
    • Store a credit card(s) on file with bank level encryption for touch-less payments.  You’ll be able to log into your account and update the card(s) anytime.
    • Provide receipts that are much clearer for your records, with the ability to send Superbills (medical invoices with proper coding) for submitting to HSA/HRA accounts.
    • Send you invoices for any outstanding balances that you can pay online.
  • Charts: The improvements here probably won’t be too noticeable on your side unless you need a copy of your chart, but Christina is excited to have charts that are easier to navigate.
  • Practice management:  There’s a bunch of other improvements to things that we do daily like tracking packages, recording insurance payments, and running reports.  You won’t know it’s working better except that we might feel more relaxed about it all.

Keep an eye out for the welcome email from Thrive Acupuncture and Wellness that will invite you to create your profile in the new system called Jane.  No doubt there will be learning curves for all of us so we appreciate your patience and constructive feedback about the patient experience as we make the transition over the next few weeks.

What Would Christina Do?—9 Months into a PandemicI actually have some hopeful information regarding the pandemic as we move into winter.  I believe that there are lots of things you can do to help both prevent contracting C-19 and also stop the symptoms from getting bad if you do get it.  When you have these remedies on hand you can relax a little bit, knowing that you are taking care of yourself.  I’ve been in contact with colleagues from all over the world and am happy to share with you what I’ve learned 9 months into this pandemic.

Is C-19 that bad or is it just like any other flu?  There are lots of unknowns but it looks like it is minor for a lot of people, like a bad flu for some people, really bad for others, and sometimes it’s surprisingly bad for healthy people.   A troubling consequence many acupuncturists are treating is lingering symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, cough, loss of taste and smell, and circulation issues.  It’s being called long COVID and sometimes even people that have minor symptoms during C-19 have lingering symptoms.  The reason why acupuncturists are so tuned into this is because that’s when patients turn to us.  Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine shine at treating chronic conditions and western medicine doesn’t really have anything for those patients.

But wait Christina I thought you said you have some hopeful information that might help us relax a bit?  The good news is that I’ve also heard from colleagues all over the world that herbal and supplement strategies are effective at preventing C-19 from developing into a really bad acute or chronic illness. 

So what would Christina do 9 months into this pandemic?

Prevention:  I’m still doing all the prevention herbs, supplements, and lifestyle choices I have  written about in detail here.  Here’s a quick review of what I’m doing for prevention:

  • Chinese herbs:  I take immune boosting and antiviral herbs daily and consider them the foundation of my wellness plan.  I normally do this just during cold and flu season, but these herbs are effective and commonly prescribed without side effects, so I’m staying on them for this extended cold and virus “season”.
  • I’m also taking Elderberry Syrup, Probiotics, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Zinc, Iodine, Cod Liver Oil (with Vit A, D, & K), using Xlear Nasal Spray, getting regular Acupuncture, eating a healthy Whole Foods Based Diet, keeping holiday Sugar to a Minimum, getting regular Exercise, and prioritizing time to relax and get good Sleep.

If all that seems like too much, I have some other good news that is the most hopeful for me.  I’ve heard from patients of mine and from colleagues all over the world that if you start taking high doses of antiviral, immune boosting, and phlegm reducing herbs and supplements at the start of C-19, the symptoms don’t get out of hand or linger.  If people don’t want to focus on prevention, they can still have these on hand to stop the virus in its tracks.

Of course there is no guarantee, but I’ve heard this often enough that I’m hopeful about it!  Seeing so many different colleagues approaching it differently with success has been really interesting.  It seems that people do really well with a shotgun approach of high doses of antiviral herbs, anti-phlegm remedies, and supplements that are commonly used to support your immune system.

Just in Case I Get Sick:  This whole time I’ve had Chinese herbs on hand to start taking if I actually get sick and recently I made a plan for supplements as well.  I commonly have lots of these things around, but I stocked on large dosages and set them aside with a dosage plan for me and my husband so we can get started right away if we even think we are getting sick.  Having this plan in place feels reassuring to me.  So here’s what I have on hand for treating a virus:

  • Antiviral / Anti-phlegm Chinese herbs
  • Vitamin C: enough to take to bowel tolerance
  • Vitamin D: enough to take a super dose for 3 days, a large dose for a few more, and then a healthy dose until feeling better
  • N Acetylcysteine
  • Vitamin A
  • Zinc Lozenges
  • Fresh ginger and lemons to make tea and Traditional Medicinals Breath Easy tea

Just because I know I have these things at the ready, I haven’t reduced my hand washing, mask wearing, and distancing because that is an important part of prevention.

If you would like help getting a plan together for yourself and want to get some herbs or supplements, please let us know. 

The Chinese herbs and probiotics are available in our office.  I’m happy to talk with you about the different herbal options and find a plan that is a good fit for you.

The other supplements are available at our online dispensary, Wellevate.  If you create an account and log in you can see 2 protocols I have created called Virus Prevention Supplements (to take as prevention) and Virus B-Gone Supplements (to have on hand to take if you get a virus).  Those protocols have the exact same high-quality supplements I’m taking and have on hand so you can see if you want to get any of them.  Remember I’m happy to talk with you about supplements and dosages that are right for you for maintenance or if you do contract the virus or other colds and flus. 

So I’m feeling pretty hopeful that this pandemic won’t last forever and in the meantime there are some pretty simple things we can have on hand to stay healthy and prevent any viruses from getting out of hand or lingering.  That’s a much better perspective than I had 9 months ago.

Holiday Gift IdeasWe have lots of healthy gifts in stock so you can support your loved one’s health and the health of our small business.  Just come and get them before December 18.

  • Herbal Medicinal foot soaks—these sachets smell and feel great and are actually a very effective way to treat lots of symptoms such as pain, inflammation, circulation, stress, anxiety, insomnia.  Because they are strong herbal medicine there are some contraindications, but we have a complete write up on it that we can go over with you to figure out if it is a good gift.
  • Herbal Salves for Dry Skin—who doesn’t have dry skin with all this hand washing?  I’ve put these to the test and can say they are a lifesaver.  The Chinese herbs in them help with soothing and repairing skin.
  • Herbal Salve for Pain—my new favorite non-menthol pain cream that patients are now raving about, because sometimes I don’t want to smell or feel menthol when I have pain.
  • Herbal Pain Patches—these are menthol heavy but people loooooove them.  Plus they have herbs to treat the pain, not just disguise it
  • Herbal Sensory Lubricant—women and their partners love this stuff.  It’s great for supporting vaginal health, treating dryness and thinning skin that are common as women age, as well as enhancing pleasure.
  • Essential Oil Inhalers—support your lungs with these inhalers the size of a lip balm. Healthy and better smelling than your mask!
  • Gift Certificates for Acupuncture—it’s been exciting to see so many new patients this year who decided it was finally time to try acupuncture.  Most of them say “I wish I had come in sooner.”  A gift certificate is the perfect way to help your loved ones take the plunge or support those who already come to Thrive.

Jules has a passion for all our products and is happy to help you pick something out and get you instructions to pass on.

Upcoming Events: Growing More Peaceful Membership CommunityIf you like the idea of quieting the noise in your head and increasing your feelings of love and understanding, come join us this and every Tuesday afternoon through December 22, then resuming January 5, for a zoom conversation where we take a breather from all the noise and make room to grow more peaceful, even now:

Here’s some of what people have been telling us they get from the sessions:

  • “I have to tell you that I have felt so much better mentally in general since the Tuesday meeting. Thank you.”
  • “For me, these meetings reinforce that concept of quieting the intellect/monkey mind and waiting to hear the whisper of one’s inner wisdom/common sense. I learn this again and again, and yet it is not the first place I turn, so obviously I need the repetition of the lesson!”
  • “I felt so grounded after listening last Tuesday. My mind was quiet. I was relieved. Body and mind at peace.”
  • “The meetings also give me a sense of community, a feeling of unity of purpose that lingers after the close of the hour. “

We’re so confident in how helpful this conversation is that the first month is FREE, so you can come check it out without any pressure.  Click this link for all the information about the community and the link to register.

Insurance changes for 2021If you didn’t see our last email here’s a link with all the information about insurance changes happening in our office in 2021.  The short summary is that we’re going Out of Network with all insurances.  If you’re not sure if this will affect you, take a look at all the details here and let us know if you have any questions.

The one update we have is that the effective date for being out of network with Blue Shield is April 1, 2021.  For those who have Blue Shield policies with In Network coverage in our office, you can use your In Network benefits until March 31, 2021.  We’ll follow up when we have effective dates for the other insurance carriers.  We expect them to have effective dates between end of January to end of March.

End of year ScheduleOur last day in the office for 2020 is Friday December 18.  We’re looking forward to resting, reflecting, and rejuvenating so we can be back to serve our community Monday January 4.

Acupuncture: We do have some openings for acupuncture through the end of the year, but they are starting to fill up so let us know soon if you want to get on our table before December 18.  We will turn off our current online scheduler shortly when we activate the new system, so if you can’t get on there, just give us a call or email, which is welcome anytime if that’s easier for you.

Herb Refills: If you need herbal refills let us know asap.  There’s usually a flurry of refills that last week and with distancing protocols it would be nice to space them out a bit.

Since some people have been asking, I’ll mention that as primary care providers in CA, acupuncturist offices should be able to stay open even if there are increased stay at home orders.  We feel confident in our sanitization and safety protocols and thank everyone who has been so careful about not coming in if they have been sick or been around someone who has been sick.  There truly has not been a more important time for natural medicine and I’m grateful that I get to keep helping patients. 

Sending so much love out to each of you!
Christina Ness-Hawks, LAc

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