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Insurance Changes for In Network Coverage in 2021

Please read if you use or intend to use Acupuncture Insurance benefits.

If you have been using In Network insurance coverage in our office OR are planning to change your insurance in 2021, please read.  We hate fine print, and right now we’re pretty averse to more change, but more than anything, we hate insurance surprises!

The change: We’re about to start the process to get out of our contracts with all insurance providers and switch to only billing for Out of Network benefits in our office

  • What insurance companies ARE affected?  If you use In Network benefits in our office this will affect you.  The most common plans affected are Blue Shield, Cigna, Sutter, United, and a few other plans that are managed by the same administrators.
  • What insurance companies are NOT affected?  If you use Out of Network benefits in our office or pay without using insurance, this change will not affect you.  The most common Out of Network plans are Aetna and Anthem Blue Cross, but there are lots of other plans with Out of Network benefits.

Why are we going Out of Network?  There was a change to insurance fee schedules this year that has reduced the reimbursement for acupuncture by 25-55% across the US.  We can’t survive as a small business in northern CA with this reduction in pay, especially now while we have reduced treatments and increased costs associated with Covid-19 distancing and cleaning.  The change began mid-year without warning from some of the companies that we have contracts with and will continue to take effect for the rest of the companies.

When?  Sometime in 2021 between mid-January and end of March we won’t be In Network with any insurance anymore.  Each insurance plan has a different process and timeframe for getting Out of Network.  As we get confirmations and effective dates for the different insurances, we will share them with you.

Can you still use your insurance in our office in 2021 after the change is effective?  That depends on your plan.  If your plan has Out of Network acupuncture benefits, we can still bill directly for you.  In the new year we can run a verification to see what your Out of Network benefits are in 2021 and explain how they would work in our office.  Some Out of Network benefits are really good and the patients pay very little.  Some Out of Network plans aren’t worth using because it’s less money to pay our Time of Service discounted rate.  Some plans don’t have Out of Network acupuncture benefits. 

What can you do now?  If you want to find out before the new year if your current plan will have Out of Network acupuncture benefits in 2021, you can call your insurance or your broker and ask them.  They will not tell us what your 2021 benefits are at this time, but they will tell you.  Now is the time for many people to choose their insurance for 2021.  If you have the option, choose a plan that has good Out of Network acupuncture benefits.

What are my other options? For those that don’t have Out of Network coverage or opt not to use it, the Time of Service discounted rate will apply with the following options:

  1. Per Treatment Payment:  $100.00 each visit.
  2. Prepayment Plans Terms and Conditions:  This office offers two prepayment plans for patients paying at the time of service. In return for the patient’s agreement to prepay for a specific number of visits in advance, the patient is offered free treatment(s):
    —$500: With the purchase of 5 treatments at $100/treatment, the patient receives one treatment for free, for a total of 6 treatments. ($83.00 per treatment)
    —$900: With the purchase of 9 treatments at $100/treatment, the patient receives two treatments for free, for a total of 11 treatments. ($81.00 per treatment)

Sad times for Chinese Medicine

I don’t like this change and I don’t like having to tell you about it.  Most acupuncturists I know are making the same hard decision.  It’s not if, but when they will go Out of Network.  Which means there will be less options for patients.  Many patients will be forced to change the frequency of treatments or give up treatments entirely, which makes me really sad.  I first got enough acupuncture to make a difference when my treatments were partially covered by insurance so I know what a difference it can make.  We’ve been exploring how to make it work in our office because we don’t want anymore changes, but we just can’t find a way.  We have to change in order to survive.

What happened that changed the fee schedule?  The simple explanation is that Medicare created an Acupuncture Fee Schedule and the other insurance companies are aligning to it and reducing their reimbursement for acupuncture. 

For those that like details…In January 2020 it was announced that Medicare would cover acupuncture for chronic low back pain.  The problem is that Acupuncturists are not in the Medicare system so we can’t actually treat the patients and it will literally take an act of Congress to change that.  There are some clauses in the coverage that look like they intended for acupuncturists to be able to perform the treatments under MD supervision.  But how that should work and how to bill for it have not been defined, so no one is providing the treatments.

On top of all that, the coverage is only for 12 visits a year for a certain type of back pain and only if the patient has failed to respond to several other specific treatments.  If your back pain has failed other treatments and it’s been going on long enough to rule them out, you most likely need more than 12 acupuncture treatments a year.  As you can see, it’s not a benefit that can be used the way it’s set up, but it’s reducing acupuncture reimbursements anyway.

Questions:  Please contact us with any of your questions or concerns.  We will do our best to help you understand what we know about how this will affect you.

And don’t forget to use your acupuncture benefits for the rest of 2020 and into 2021 while they are effective in our office, no matter what kind of insurance you have!

Here’s to adaptability and resiliency for us all!

Christina Ness-Hawks, LAc

Posted in acupuncture, Insurance, Office Happenings, Treatment Plans and Packages | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mind Experiment: Neutral Challenges


The Power of Neutral in a Noisy WorldIt feels like the world is getting more noisy lately.  From the ever changing guidelines of the pandemic, and attention grabbing headlines about politics, to opinions about what to do about all these wildfires, I don’t think the noise around us is going to slow down anytime soon.  The good news is that you can quiet down some of the noise in your head. 
 
Now I want to be clear about something really important—I’m not talking about ignoring what’s going on around us or trying to be positive about it.  I am talking about reducing the nagging anxious, frustrated, and fearful thoughts in your head for just enough time so that you get a little relief and gain some clarity.  With just a little bit more clarity you’ll be able to know what is yours to do and you can put your energy into that.  And more importantly you’ll know what is not yours to do so you can get back to feeling a little bit more like yourself.
 
With all the noise around us, I’m going to give you a really specific, succinct mind experiment you can try out to see if it brings you some relief and quiets down some of the noise in your head.
 
Mind Experiment: Over the next 2 weeks use the word challenge to describe all the noisy stuff going on around you.  Replace the emotional words you use to describe what is happening with this neutral word, and see what you notice as far as the noise in your head and the sensations in your body. 
 
Here's a few examples

Go From
I am so tense about all these stressors, they’re never ending!
To
I am so tense about all these challenges, they’re never ending!
 
Go From
I can’t believe how much F’d up news there is lately!
To
I can’t believe how many challenges there are lately!
 

You can see in the above examples that I’m not suggesting you be positive, just more neutral.  Because trying to be positive about something you are upset about just feels fake.  Aiming for more neutral frees up some room for fresh thinking. 

At first glance you may not want fresh thinking about the things you are upset about, but how’s that working for you?  It’s actually helpful to get a little space between your upset thoughts.  In that space you won’t do an about face about what is important to you.  But you might start to see something new about where you want to put your energy.  Just a little bit of space between your noisy thoughts is all you need to be able to hear your own common sense and gain some clarity.  And the world needs more common sense and clarity right now.
 
Over the next several weeks while the world seems pretty noisy all around us, start calming down the noise in your head by aiming for neutral.  One simple way to do this is to us the word challenges to describe the situations that are feeling noisy to you.  See if you notice some relief from the noise in your head.  Or if your body releases a little bit of tension.  I think you’ll be surprised by the power that comes from aiming for neutral. You may even want to try it on for longer than 2 weeks.
 
Let me know how it goes!
 


2 Upcoming Events…
Design Retreat OnlineWhen I was younger I was really struggling with romantic relationships (this retreat is not about romantic relationships, but follow me for a second).  I had an insight that was so helpful it improved all my relationships so much that people around me started asking me for relationship advice—work, family, and yes even romantic relationships.  My insight was “Everyone has their own reality.”  I saw this so deeply that it was truly helpful for me to share it with people, and they then had their own insights about their relationships. 
 
It wasn’t until years later that I started seeing that everyone’s version of reality was actually where they hold their power, creativity, inspiration, and peace.   That’s why I’m excited that I’m co-hosting a retreat that is all about understanding, at a deep level, what your unique design is.  And for the first time we’re doing the retreat online.  We're offering the inaugural online version at a discount and kept it to only 5 spaces, and we just had one space open up.  If you’re interested, get in touch as soon as possible.  I’d love to chat and see if it’s a good fit for you.  
 
So, what is Design?  It is easier to point in the direction of Design than actually describe what it is.
 
“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression.  It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

–Martha Graham

When the 'energy' of your design is captured and surrounded by language it serves as a reminder, a touch point that allows you to reset back to what is a balanced state for you.  Knowing your Design allows for a relaxation and understanding of all those things that seemed not to fit.  One client said it was like dominoes all falling in a row, looking back through the lens of her design.  She could see the trajectory as just one thing.

One other side effect of going through the Design discovery process is you will forevermore listen to others through the lens of what makes them unique.  
 

Date: October 23-25
10:00-12:30, 2:00-5:00 each day
Over Zoom

Further information and the link to register is at my co-hosts website:
https://theartoflivinginc.com/upcoming-events/

 


Growing More Peaceful Membership CommunityIf you like the idea of quieting the noise in your head, come join us this and every Tuesday afternoon 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.
 


What We’re Treating In The Clinic—PTSD, Stress, AnxietyDid you know there is a famous ear acupuncture protocol for PTSD?  I can add it to full body treatments focused on whatever else your main health focus is.  I’ve been using it a lot lately because so many people are telling me they are experiencing some kind of trauma triggered response.  I always put some points in for stress reduction and to reset your nervous system because we all need that with our modern go go go lifestyle.  But these extra ear points supercharge the stress reduction part of the treatment so patients feel more relaxed, at ease, grounded, and resilient.
 
So many new patients have been telling me they came to get acupuncture to support _______  (fill in the blank with back pain, headaches, digestion, you name it), but the reason they thought acupuncture would be the best solution is because they had it before and it was the best way to calm down their stress, which they know is contributing to their main complaint.

Existing patients can book online here.  Make sure you get a confirmation email and click "CONFIRM" in that email.  You are also welcome to call or email us if you prefer to schedule that way, or you’re not finding any appointments that work for you online.

New patients need to call or email us to set up their first appointment because there is just too much information we need to share with you.
 
 


I am always grateful for your support in the form of a referral or a positive online reviewMy practice is accepting new patients–it's what's been keeping this small business alive.   That is not what I would have predicted in a global pandemic.  I thought people that know and trust us would feel comfortable coming in, but most others would be wary of trying anything new.  However it turns out that more people are now motivated to get and stay healthy.  And they’ve realized that western medicine does not have all the answers–especially for stress reduction, immune boosting, pain, and chronic conditions with underlying inflammation.  I think people have also realized that small medical practices like ours have a lot of control over our sanitization and safety protocols to help keep them as safe as possible. 

So while there are still patients that are choosing not to come in for appointments, our business is being kept alive with new patients.  We get a boost of energy because we love helping people learn about different options for their healthcare and help them to thrive for a long time.  And we’re grateful for their trust and their business. 
 
The best ways for us to connect with new patients that are a great fit for our brand of wellness care are through your personal referrals and online reviews. 
 
If you know someone who is facing a health challenge or is just wondering how to stay healthy in our current world, ask them if they have considered acupuncture.  If they are interested, have them call or email us so we can answer their questions. 
We know that the number one concern is that getting stuck with acupuncture needles will hurt.  You can tell them that most people get really relaxed and even fall asleep during their treatment – which would not be happening if they were in pain!  If your referral gets in touch with us, we can explain that Christina practices a style of acupuncture which is really gentle while still being extremely effective, and that she is well known for treating needle phobic people.  Many of those patients end up loving acupuncture and referring their needle phobic friends!    

The number one question people have is "Will it work?"  That's where it's helpful to both share your experience and have them get in touch with us.  We can let them know if we've treated their condition before and what to expect.  
 
And if you’ve enjoyed your care here, we’d really appreciate you taking the time to leave us a personal review online. Pretty much everyone who researches online and chooses us, ends up being a great fit here.  That is because when they read personal reviews, they can feel that we’re the place for them.  It would really help us out for you to leave a personal review on Yelp and Google Business (just scroll down to "Write a review") so more of our people can find us and get the help they need.

Here's to a renewed interest in health and being open to new options for health care–two of our favorite things!
 


Sending so much love out to each of you!  Hope you enjoy the Neutral mind explorations.
Christina Ness-Hawks, LAc
 

Posted in acupuncture, Mental Health, Mind Experiment, Sydney Banks, Three Principles, Trauma | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Love your Lungs: Practical Support for Bad Air Quality

How To Love Your Lungs: Practical Support for Bad Air QualityIf you’ve worked with me at all you probably know that I’m not one to make hard rules about self care.  I’m always encouraging you to follow your common sense and listen for what resonates with you.  Look for things you will actually do, and what sounds fun. YES, being healthy can be fun and easy!  However, I'm going to get serious about your respiratory health in this newsletter.  I love your lungs and I want you to love on them too!
 
Fire season started early this year and there is a novel respiratory virus around, so there truly has never been a more important time to support the health of your respiratory systemThe recent fires will not be done smoldering for a while.  And while the skies were drizzling and the air was clear on Wednesday, the weather folks predict the smokey air is coming back to Sonoma County this weekend and going to stick around for a while.  It’s not too late to get a plan to navigate poor air quality. 
 
Part of the reason I feel so strongly about this is based on our past 3 summers of long stretches of smoke from fires.  I’ve seen first hand that people who are good about protecting themselves from bad air quality have more resilience to colds, flus, and viruses.  I haven't run a clinical trial, but as someone who focuses on supporting immune systems, I've seen lots of case studies. It’s clear to me that when cold and flu season comes around, those that struggle with bad coughs or lingering upper respiratory symptoms often tell me they weren't so good at protecting themselves from the smoke.
 
So please take a look at all the ideas I have below about how to take care of your respiratory system when we have smokey air and pick some of them to implement.  Like always, it’s your body and you get to decided when the risks outweigh the benefits of avoiding smoke – yes, sometimes taking that walk and talk with your friend, or getting out in your garden is worth it. 

Monitor Air Quality:  You can’t always tell by just looking out your window how the air quality is.  If you have a long view, like I do from my front porch, and things look hazy, that’s not good air.  But most of the time I take a look at the app from IQ Air called AirVisual.  You can go to their website and download their free app onto your phone.  It has data from lots of local sensors and shows you the recent history so you can get a good feel for how things are locally for you.  The air quality can vary drastically from where I live near the Fairgrounds to where Thrive is up by Fountaingrove.  With that info you can make the decisions that are right for you about opening windows, going outside, etc.  When looking at air quality sites you want to make sure they collect data from multiple locations.  The last I read, the national weather service bases their air quality info from one sensor in Sebastopol and extrapolates with air flow mapping.
 
Stay Inside When Possible:  Make conscious choices about when to spend time outside.  We’ve had about 2 weeks of "spare the air days" in a row.  We’re in a marathon, not a sprint.  If you consider the long term exposure to particulates and toxins in the air, your decisions will probably be more cautious. 

  • If the air quality is less than ideal, stay inside as much as possible with the windows closed and an air purifier on.  Where I live, the morning tends to have better air quality so I’ve been getting out first thing to tend the garden.  
  • If you don’t have central A/C, like so many houses in Sonoma County, it may finally be time to buy a portable A/C unit.  We did a couple summers ago and it was a life saver over the past couple of weeks—we could keep the windows closed but still have at least one place in the house that was a comfortable temperature during a heat wave.
  • Find a way to exercise indoors.  I love exercising outdoors—that’s one of my main motivators for exercise—but it’s empowering to have the option to exercise indoors.  That way I don’t feel like I have to compromise by either choosing exercise in unhealthy air or not exercising at all.  I’ve been doing online Pilates and my husband brought our bike trainer into the living room from the backyard.  

Masks:  I know we all have mask fatigue, but if your air quality is moderate and you’re going to be outside, it’s a good idea to put on a respirator mask that filters the particles.  There’s also a lot of confusion about if it’s ok to wear a respirator mask or if we can buy them since we want to make sure health professionals have access to them.  

  • We had a small supply of 3 lightly used N95 masks in the back of our cupboard so take a look around at home–now is the time to pull them out.
  • If you don’t have any N95s or you want to get some more, you can buy KN95 masks without any special health provider qualifications.  I know they have them at amazon and Friedman's.  KN95 masks are very similar to N95s. The main difference is that the straps go around your ears so the seal is not as tight, but they do have a wire you can shape around the nose to get a good seal.
  • Want to make your masks last longer?  I use a washable cloth mask on top of my KN95 masks at work to keep the outside of the mask clean so I can reuse the masks a few times.  The cloth mask on top also helps keep the KN95 in place for me.  I tie the cloth mask behind my head so I don't have too many things behind my ears.  If the cloth mask has ear straps, I string a ribbon through and tie that behind my head.  I put each lightly used KN95 mask in a paper bag to air out for at least 72 hours between uses.

Air Purifier:  If you’ve lived in Sonoma County over the past 3 summers you probably already own at least one air purifier for your home.  Is it time to replace the filters? A few patients in the market for another have asked me what I recommend since we got more for the office recently–there’s one in each treatment room to help clean the air of viruses and now also smoke.  I chose the Winnix 5300-2 because it moves a lot of air and has good carbon and HEPA filtration.  One of the main things you want in an air purifier is to move a lot of air through it.  The more air it moves the more it purifies.  We got ours off amazon, but you can shop around for them. 
 
Detox:  In addition to particulates, the smokey air contains gasses and toxins that get in your bloodstream.  The first stop for blood purification is the liver, so I focus my detox efforts on the liver. 

  • I've been drinking Traditional Medicinals EveryDay Detox tea.  They have a few different flavors and you can buy them at Oliver's and Whole Foods.
  • Other easy liver detox support includes:

If you have specific concerns or sensitivities to detoxing I can prescribe custom herbal formulas to support your individual needs.

Conscious breathing: Take a few minutes every so often to take some calming, deep breaths. Give thanks to your lungs for all the work they do. In Chinese medicine, the lungs hold onto grief and sadness, so think of what you want to release as you exhale and then inhale peace and serenity.  Essential oils, such as eucalyptus, rosemary, geranium, cinnamon, and peppermint, support respiratory health and perk up your spirit.  We have some inhalers with blends of essential oils that can easily fit in your pocket or purse and allow you to quickly give your lungs some love. 

 
It's starting to feel like we're out of the woods with the recent fires which is a relief!  Take some time now to make a plan for supporting your respiratory system through any future bad air quality.  It's not too late – it's actually the perfect time.  
 


What We’re Treating In The Clinic–Stress, Respiratory Systems, and DetoxThe past couple of weeks have not been easy for a lot of people with the local fires.  Nervous systems and respiratory systems are taxed.  So many people were coming in asking me if I think they are having allergies with irritated sinuses, eyes, throats,  lungs, and headaches.  Nope, it was poor air quality.  The air may not have seemed that bad a lot of the time, and to be honest we're all tired of feeling limited and confined inside.  But that meant more people were going outside without any respirator mask even though we've had over 2 weeks with almost daily "spare the air" warnings for the greater Bay Area. 

I’ve been thrilled to be able to work and help people since my home was very safe AND my office was open–over the past 3 years my office was often evacuated or without power during the fires. 

So many people told me that making an appointment for acupuncture was the best decision they made all week.  They also said they felt more relaxed, their breathing felt better, and their headaches were gone when they got up from the table, so they knew it was helping them. 

Like I said before, there truly has never been a more important time to support the health of your respiratory AND nervous systems.  Acupuncture, cupping, and custom herbal formulas offer so much support. 

Existing patients can book online here.  Make sure you get a confirmation email and click "CONFIRM" in that email.  You are also welcome to call or email us if you prefer to schedule that way, or you’re not finding any appointments that work for you online.

New patients need to call or email us to set up their first appointment because there is just too much information we need to share with you.

The number one question people have is "Will it work?"  That's where it's helpful to both share your experience and have them get in touch with us.  We can let them know if we've treated their condition before and what to expect.  
 
And if you’ve enjoyed your care here, we’d really appreciate you taking the time to leave us a personal review online.  Pretty much everyone who researches online and chooses us, ends up being a great fit here.  That is because when they read personal reviews, they can feel that we’re the place for them.  It would really help us out for you to leave a personal review on Yelp and Google Business (just scroll down to "Write a review") so more of our people can find us and get the help they need.

Here's to a renewed interest in health and being open to new options for health care–two of our favorite things!
 


Sending you, our community, the animals, the plants, and the whole world so much love!
Christina Ness-Hawks, LAc
 

Posted in acupuncture, Body Experiment, Diet, Immune Boosting / Immunity, Respiratory Health, Sanitary protocols, Seasonal Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why have a Pulse Oximeter at home?

Our New Device—The Pulse Oximeter—and Why You Want To Get OneThose of you that have been in for acupuncture since we reopened in May have experienced a new medical device—the pulse oximeter.  It’s loosely clamps onto your finger and measures your oxygen saturation and your pulse rate.

Why measure your oxygen saturation?I think knowing your baseline oxygen saturation is a good thing right now.  Not surprisingly, people that get pneumonia from Covid-19 have low oxygen saturation.  But there are 2 weird things in Covid-19 patients:

  • Some patients don’t show any breathing problems even though chest x-rays show pneumonia and their oxygen saturation is well below normal.
  • Some patients have such extremely low oxygen saturation that they should have passed out, but they are awake and alert.

So it’s a good thing to know what your baseline is while you are healthy in case you get sick and need to monitor your oxygen saturation.

What is normal?Normal oxygen saturation is between 94%-100% at sea level.  Some patients with COVID-19 have oxygen saturation as low as 50%.  I’ll measure it at your appointment and let you know what your normal level is.

Why do you want to have one at home? Pneumonia and low oxygen saturation without symptoms is known as “silent hypoxia” and it often goes unnoticed because it’s hard to detect without the normal symptoms.  But it’s very easy to measure and detect with this simple device.  If you come down with virus or cold-like symptoms, it’s recommended that you measure your oxygen saturation twice a day.  Then you can rest assured or seek treatment early.

Where to get one? They sell them online and at drugstores.  They were hard to get your hands on at the start of the pandemic, but there are lots in stock now.  We just ordered this high quality one to replace the one I got in a pinch back in April: https://innovo-medical.com/collections/innovo/products/ip900ap.

Please share this helpful information with your loved ones.  I have one at home and so do my parents!


What We’re Treating In The Clinic–And How You Can Help!NEW Patients!  That is not what I would have predicted in a global pandemic.  I thought people that know and trust us would feel comfortable coming in, but most others would be wary of trying anything new.  However it turns out that more people are now motivated to get and stay healthy.  And they’ve realized that western medicine does not have all the answers–especially for stress reduction, immune boosting, pain, and chronic conditions with underlying inflammation.  I think people have also realized that small medical practices like ours have a lot of control over our sanitization and safety protocols to help keep them as safe as possible.

So while there are still patients that are choosing not to come in for appointments, our business is being kept alive with new patients.  We get a boost of energy because we love helping people learn about different options for their healthcare and help them to thrive for a long time.  And we’re grateful for their trust and their business.

The best ways for us to connect with new patients that are a great fit for our brand of wellness care are through your personal referrals and online reviews. 

If you know someone who is facing a health challenge or is just wondering how to stay healthy in our current world, ask them if they have considered acupuncture.   If they are interested, have them call or email us so we can answer their questions. 

We know that the number one concern is that getting stuck with acupuncture needles will hurt.  You can tell them that most people get really relaxed and even fall asleep during their treatment – which would not be happening if they were in pain!  If your referral gets in touch with us, we can explain that Christina practices a style of acupuncture which is really gentle while still being extremely effective, and that she is well known for treating needle phobic people.  Many of those patients end up loving acupuncture and referring their needle phobic friends!

The number one question people have is “Will it work?”  That’s where it’s helpful to both share your experience and have them get in touch with us.  We can let them know if we’ve treated their condition before and what to expect.

And if you’ve enjoyed your care here, we’d really appreciate you taking the time to leave us a personal review online.  Pretty much everyone who researches online and chooses us, ends up being a great fit here.  That is because when they read personal reviews, they can feel that we’re the place for them.  It would really help us out for you to leave a personal review on Yelp and Google Business (just scroll down to “Write a review”) so more of our people can find us and get the help they need.

Here’s to a renewed interest in health and being open to new options for health care–two of our favorite things!


Thrive Is Open To All PatientsA lot of patients have been asking so I’ll let you know that we are not in danger of closing.  As primary care providers of medicine in CA, we don’t expect to be asked to close down.  Additionally, we are well stocked with cleaning supplies and masks and have our sanitization procedures dialed in.

We closed during the initial period of shelter in place because there was so much unknown and we couldn’t get reliable supplies of the basic things we needed to operate safely (masks, hand sanitizer, cleaning product, or even paper towels!).  Although it feels like we are still lacking a lot of information, we’ve actually learned a lot since March.  We know that the main way the virus spreads is through respiratory droplets and that surface transmission is less of a concern than originally feared.  This does not mean we’ve reduced our sanitization, but it does mean that I’m confident in our mask wearing, air purifying, and surface sanitizing protocols to keep us AND you as safe as can be so we can continue to help as many people as possible.

Patients keep telling me that having acupuncture back in their life has really made a big difference in their health!  Everyone is reporting they feel more like themselves and their different imbalances are feeling a lot better–pain, stress and anxiety, hot flashes, sleep, digestion – you name it.   Plus they’re excited to be supporting their immune systems!

All the info about our COVID-19 screening and protocols can be found here on our website.

If you would like to schedule an appointment you can call, email, or use our online scheduler (don’t forget to click CONFIRM in the confirmation email, otherwise we won’t know you tried to make an appointment).  We’ll reach out to screen you.  If you would like to discuss your needs and whether it makes sense for you to come in, let us know and we’ll give you a call.


Join the Quiet Revolution: Growing More Peaceful Membership Community

Back in March I started hosting a weekly stress reduction zoom session with my mentor Julie Gleeson of The Art of Living, Inc.  We have been delighted, moved and touched by the feedback we have gotten from participants, so we’ve decided to continue to grow the community.

While we started this group because we wanted to support people who were overwhelmed with navigating the unknown of a pandemic, life has continued to unfold with heated upset and divisiveness that people are having big emotions about. The intention of Growing More Peaceful is not to ignore our anger, frustration, anxiety, or sadness, but to take a moment to put down nagging, all-consuming negative feelings that are distracting us from who we are and what is ours to do.  It’s worthwhile to take a breather and look in the direction of growing more peaceful, because that is just the thing that will give you the clarity, creativity, and energy to see what is yours to do that can help make the world a better place.

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 understanding 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.


Sending you, our community, the animals, the plants, and the whole world so much love!
Christina Ness-Hawks, LAc

Posted in acupuncture, Covid19 screening, Facebook Private Group, Immune Boosting / Immunity, Mental Health, Respiratory Health, Sanitary protocols, Seasonal Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deep Listening: A Mind Experiment

Deep ListeningMaybe I’m an optimist, but I’m excited that it seems the US is poised to tackle racism and injustice at a deeper level.  I know it’s causing big emotions, but I’d rather that the large scale challenges are out in the open.  Because it’s not that racism and injustice didn’t exist before, but there is a momentum right now that I’ve never experienced to shine a light on it and do something about it.

I’m hopeful that much of the conversation is encouraging listening and learning from others, self-reflection, and deepening understanding to prepare yourself to be a good advocate for justice.  I think beginning by listening is so important because it provides the opportunity for a change of heart.  Large or small changes happen faster and more effectively from a change of heart.  Once you truly see something, you can’t unsee it and your actions will change.

Such a large scale challenge can feel overwhelming, so today I’m going to share something you can start working on right now—your listening.  I’ve been exploring this lately and it’s been really helpful for me.  I’m ready to level up my own self-reflection, understanding, learning, and advocacy for anti-racism, justice, equity, and inclusion.  And I’m starting with improving my listening.

Did you know there are several ways to listen?  And that there is a time a place for different kinds of listening?  They fall into 2 main categories:

  • Advocacy Listening is listening to challenge ideas.  This kind of listening can be good at work, especially if you’re a lawyer, but is not so good at home where you want to foster connection.
  • Synergistic Listening, or what I call Deep Listening, is listening for collaboration or to be impacted.  With this, you’re listening beyond the words and fostering connection, creativity, and problem solving.  At first glance it may seem that there are limits about where and when to use this kind of listening.  It can sound kind of “woo woo” or just plain vulnerable to open yourself up to having your point of view changed, but it’s surprisingly effective in all kinds of situations.

Mind Experiment: Explore deep listening over the next 2 weeks and notice how you feel and what results come from the conversations.  First start by taking a few days to notice how others and you are listening.  Then pick what feels like a safe conversation to start to practice deep listening and opening up to being impacted.

How do different kinds of listening look and feel?

> Advocacy listening looks and feels like:  Listening for confirmation, to make a point, waiting for your turn, or to process what you think they are saying.  This kind of listening can feel arrogant, inflexible, and defensive.

> Deep listening looks and feels like:  Listening for fresh thinking, connection, understanding, to take them in, to what they are trying to express, or for a feeling.  This kind of listening builds rapport, respect, warmth, and creativity.  The best way to foster deep listening is to put aside judgements, get curious, and ask open ended questions that you don’t know the answer to.

When you look at these two options, advocacy listening sounds kind of boring.  Why bother having a conversation if we’re mainly listening for what we already know?  Deep listening offers the opportunity for the unknown, which sounds a whole lot more interesting.

And deep listening is really effective in many situations.  I think it seems pretty obvious that you want to foster more connection, warmth and respect with loved ones.  But it’s equally important to foster those feelings with teams, neighbors, and coworkers.  In one of my previous careers I led teams of scientists who were preparing documents, presentations, and questions for the FDA.  Those prep meetings were full of really smart, opinionated, intellectual people.  So how did I lead them?  With deep listening, curiosity, and open ended questions that brought about respect, creativity, and effective problem solving.  I didn’t need to have all the answers, thank goodness, because my really smart team members with differing views could come together and come up with the best solutions.

So go ahead and give deep listening a try:

  1. Start by taking a few days to notice what kind of listening is going on around you.  It can be easy to look outside of yourself and see what others are doing. 
  2. Then start to notice what kind of listening you are doing at different times. 
  3. And then try on deep listening.  Asking open ended questions that we don’t know the answer to is unusual in our culture.  As you do it more you will you will get better at it.  It’s like strength training for your listening muscles.  

I’d love to know how it goes.  I’m sure the world needs more of this kind of listening and it starts with each one of us.

If this resonates with you and you’re curious about exploring this more, check out our Growing More Peaceful Membership Community below where we’re looking at this topic and more.


Thrive Is Open To All Patients
We are treating all patients in our clinic and feel comfortable with the safety and sanitization protocols we’ve implemented.  Patients have been loving getting acupuncture and I’ve been loving helping patients with it!  Patients keep telling me that having acupuncture back in their life has really made a big difference in their health!  Everyone is reporting they feel more like themselves and their different imbalances are feeling a lot better–pain, stress and anxiety, hot flashes, sleep, digestion – you name it.   Plus they’re excited to be supporting their immune systems!

 

Here’s what you need to know about scheduling appointments for acupuncture.
We ask that all patients who come into the clinic:

  1. Not have a fever or felt feverish for 2 weeks.
  2. Not have any possible COVID-19 symptoms for 2 weeks.
  3. Not have had close contact with anyone who has been sick or with possible COVID-19 for 2 weeks. 

When you make an appointment Jules will contact you to screen you.  And and every time you arrive for your appointment, we’ll take your temperature and we’ll need you to confirm that there have been no changes to the above 3 points.

We won’t be charging the late cancellation fee for anyone that needs to reschedule at the last minute because they think they might be sick or been exposed to someone who is sickWe actually appreciate you being extra cautious in this way because we want to stay open and available to help as many patients as possible.

Please also:

  • Be On Time.  With all the extra logistics we don’t have any wiggle room between appointments.  If you are more than 5 minutes late we may need to reschedule you. 
  •        If you arrive more than 15 minutes ahead of time, please wait in your car or outside.
  •        If there is someone in the lobby, please wait outside.
  • Wear a mask at all times.  Choose one that is comfortable.
  • Wear loose clothing so you do not need to disrobe and bring only what you need into the clinic.
  • Don’t bring any guests into the clinic.
  • Don’t come in with wet hair.

If you would like to schedule an appointment you can call, email, or use our online scheduler (don’t forget to click CONFIRM in the confirmation email, otherwise we won’t know you tried to make an appointment).  We’ll reach out to screen you.  If you would like to discuss your needs and whether it makes sense for you to come in, let us know and we’ll give you a call.


Join the Quiet Revolution: Growing More Peaceful Membership CommunityBack in March I started hosting a weekly stress reduction zoom session with my mentor Julie Gleeson of The Art of Living, Inc.  We have been delighted, moved and touched by the feedback we have gotten from participants, so we’ve decided to continue to grow the community.

While we started this group because we wanted to support people who were overwhelmed with navigating the unknown of a pandemic, life has continued to unfold with heated upset and divisiveness that people are having big emotions about. The intention of growing more peaceful is not to ignore our anger, frustration, anxiety, or sadness, but to take a moment to put down nagging, all consuming negative feelings that are distracting us from who we are and what is ours to do.  It’s worthwhile to take a breather and look in the direction of growing more peaceful, because that is just the thing that will give you the clarity, creativity, and energy to see what is yours to do and help make the world a better place.  

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 understanding 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.

 

 


TelemedicineFor those that prefer to stay home at this time, you’ll be glad to know that many of the conditions we treat in our clinic have been responding well to herbal medicine, diet, acupressure, and other lifestyle recommendations I’ve been doing via video telemedicine appointments.

Because these appointments get Christina’s undivided attention and require extra follow-up time, the current rate for these secure video appointments is:

  • 20 minutes: A quick check in – best for simple updates or changes to an existing condition and if you only want 1 recommendation: $60
  • 40 minutes: A longer check in – best for new or complicated conditions, if you simply want more time to talk, or you want several recommendations: $100
  • 60 minutes new patient: We will do a holistic health assessment, set goals and priorities, and I’ll give you a report of findings with a chinese medicine diagnosis and a treatment plan with herb, acupressure, supplement, lifestyle, and dietary recommendations: $120

We’ve been told that insurance companies are mandated to cover telemedicine appointments, but you never know with insurance. So if you want us to bill your insurance, we will collect the above fees at the time of service via Square invoicing and then bill your insurance.  We will refund you any amount we are able to collect.

If you would like to schedule a telemedicine appointment please call or email.  Our online scheduler can’t handle all the different appointment types at this time.


Keep Taking CareDon’t forget your common sense when it comes to staying healthy!  Keep washing your hands and limiting your possible exposure by avoiding unnecessary human to human interactions.  It’s still vital that we limit the possible spread of the virus to others by wearing a mask and being mindful of our proximity when going into public places.  And remember to spend some time each day picturing your good health, drink lots of water, eat nutritious foods, prioritize getting good sleep, get some movement, and make time for laughter.  I’ve been sharing more about what I’m doing for my health on Facebook if you want some inspiration.


Sending you, our community, the animals, the plants, and the whole world so much love!
Christina Ness-Hawks, LAc

Posted in acupuncture, Covid19 screening, Facebook Private Group, Immune Boosting / Immunity, Mind Experiment, Respiratory Health, Sanitary protocols, Seasonal Health, Telemedicine Appointments, Treatment Plans and Packages, Virtual Appointments | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Invitation to Join Membership Community

I wrote the first draft of this email a while ago and life has continued to unfold with heated upset and divisiveness.  Both in Sonoma County about how our Shelter in Place and Health Orders are being communicated and enforced, or not enforced.  And around the US as inequality and racism have been brought out in the open in a most horrific way.

I don’t normally talk about upsetting current events in the office or in my emails.  It doesn’t help acupuncture treatments to talk politics/current events and I think there are better resources for those issues than my emails.

But this doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s happening, don’t have strong feelings myself, or think we should ignore our strong feelings.  Anger has a place.  As a true emotion it helps us identify issues and develop autonomy so we know what is ours to do.

I mention this because in this email I’m inviting you to join a community called Growing More Peaceful.  This is not because I think we should ignore our anger, frustration, anxiety, or sadness.  This is because I think that it is worthwhile to take a moment to put down nagging, all consuming negative feelings that are distracting us from who we are and what is ours to do.  That is just the thing that will give you the clarity, creativity, and energy to see what is yours to do and help make the world a better place.  

I believe we’re all here to make different contributions.  Some people are designed to work on large movements.  But I am designed to help individuals and small groups of people, and the results ripple out.  That is why I feel moved to invite you to join our quiet revolution–an invitation that didn’t sound so irreverent  or appropriate (depending on your state of mind when you read this) when I originally wrote it.  

Sending you, our community, the animals, the plants, and the whole world so much love!


Join the Quiet Revolution: Growing More Peaceful Membership CommunityYou might remember that in March I started hosting a weekly stress reduction zoom session with my mentor Julie Gleeson of The Art of Living, Inc.  We have been delighted, moved and touched by the feedback we have gotten from participants, so we’ve decided to continue to grow the community.

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 and 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. “

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

 
We’ve been known to say that it’s possible to
effortlessly thrive regardless of your circumstances.

Join the online community that’s exploring how to adapt and reconnect to peace of mind and resiliency in the midst of massive change. We’ll share what we know that keeps us sane and grounded. And we’ll answer questions and help you reconnect to common sense and wisdom that will help you navigate your circumstances with more ease.

These uplifting conversations are based on the understanding of the Three Principles behind mental well-being as taught by the late Sydney Banks. But there’s no experience needed. And the other good news is that this understanding is extremely useful to anyone who learns about it – plus it doesn’t require any tools or techniques.

It’s actually revolutionary to look in this direction for wellbeing.  That’s why it’s so helpful to be in the conversation with a community that is looking at wellbeing from the inside out.  The more you take a breather and look in the direction of common sense and wisdom, the more effortless it is to fall into this space no matter your circumstances.  We hope you’ll join our quiet revolution.

Format:

  • Weekly 1 hour calls Tuesdays, 4-5 pm.  Calls will be recorded and available to listen to later.
  • Discount on future programs offered on Zoom or live/Zoom combination when it is safe to do that!
  • Discounted private consulting fees for Christina and Julie.
  • Access to short email, text and phone calls with us at no charge.

Registration:

The inaugural tuition for this community is $45 per month.  When we know more about how the economy will shake out, we may raise the fee for new members. Once you have joined at this rate, your fee will not increase as long as you continue your membership.

Hosts: Julie Gleeson and Christina Ness-Hawks combine over 30 years of understanding and sharing the principles to help their clients find peace of mind, understanding, and well-being. Their conversations are filled with warmth and humor, providing hope that all of us can discover an innate wisdom to guide us through life.

In the silence of our minds lies creative incubation,
bringing the wisdom and the joy we all seek.
-Sydney Banks, The Missing Link

We’re looking forward to continuing to grow more peaceful together!


Thrive is Open with Pre-ScreeningIt’s been great to be back in the office doing acupuncture!  Patients have been telling me that the acupuncture has really made a big difference in their health!  They were keeping it together with self care, but now they feel so much better.  Everyone is reporting they feel more like themselves and their different imbalances are feeling a lot better–pain, stress and anxiety, hot flashes, sleep, digestion, you name it.   We’re continuing to open up more appointment spots as more patients make appointments.

Here’s what you need to know about scheduling appointments for acupuncture.  (There’s more info on our website at this link for those that like details, but here’s the gist of it)

We ask that all patients who come into the clinic:

  • 1.  Not have a fever or felt feverish for 2 weeks.
  • 2.  Not have any respiratory symptoms or other possible COVID-19 symptoms for 2 weeks.  (We know that it may be allergies causing these symptoms, but right now we’ll have to do telemedicine to be extra safe–I can still hook you up with herbs etc.)
  • 3.  Not have had contact with anyone who has been sick or with possible COVID-19 for 2 weeks.  You and anyone close to you should be following social distancing recommendations and not travelled on a plane for 2 weeks.

Please also:

  • Wear a mask at all times.
  • Don’t come in with wet hair.
  • Wear loose clothing so you do not need to disrobe and bring only what you need into the clinic.
  • Be Punctual, but please don’t arrive to your appointment more than 15 minutes ahead of time.  With all the extra cleaning protocols we now have, we me not be able to accommodate you if you are more than 5 minutes late.
  • Don’t bring any guests into the clinic.
  • If there is a patient in the front room, please wait outside.

If you would like to schedule an appointment you can call, email, or use our online scheduler (don’t forget to click CONFIRM in the confirmation email, otherwise we won’t know you tried to make an appointment).  We’ll reach out to screen you.  

If you would like to discuss your needs and whether it makes sense for you to come in, let us know and we’ll give you a call.


TelemedicineFor those that prefer to stay home at this time, you’ll be glad to know that many of the conditions we treat in our clinic have been responding well to herbal medicine, diet, acupressure, and other lifestyle recommendations I’ve been doing via video telemedicine appointments.

Because these appointments get Christina’s undivided attention and require extra follow-up time, the current rate for these secure video appointments is:

  • 20 minutes: A quick check in – best for simple updates or changes to an existing condition and if you only want 1 recommendation: $60
  • 40 minutes: A longer check in – best for new or complicated conditions, if you simply want more time to talk, or you want several recommendations: $100
  • 60 minutes new patient: We will do a holistic health assessment, set goals and priorities, and I’ll give you a report of findings with a chinese medicine diagnosis and a treatment plan with herb, acupressure, supplement, lifestyle, and dietary recommendations: $120

We’ve been told that insurance companies are mandated to cover telemedicine appointments, but you never know with insurance. So if you want us to bill your insurance, we will collect the above fees at the time of service via Square invoicing and then bill your insurance.  We will refund you any amount we are able to collect.

If you would like to schedule a telemedicine appointment please call or email.  Our online scheduler can’t handle all the different appointment types at this time.


Keep Taking CareDon’t forget your common sense when it comes to staying healthy!  Keep limiting your possible exposure by avoiding unnecessary human to human interactions, keep up extra hygiene, sanitization, and washing your hands before and after touching your face.  It’s still vital that we limit the possible spread of the virus to others by wearing a mask and being mindful of our proximity when going into public places.  And remember to spend some time each day picturing your good health, drink lots of water, eat nutritious foods, prioritize getting good sleep, get some movement, and make time for laughter.  I’ve been sharing more about what I’m doing for my health on Facebook if you want some inspiration.


Sending you love and air hugs!

Here’s to health and resiliency for you and our community!
Christina Ness-Hawks, LAc

Posted in acupuncture, Covid19 screening, Events, Facebook Private Group, Immune Boosting / Immunity, Insurance, Mental Health, Office Happenings, Respiratory Health, Sanitary protocols, Seasonal Health, Sydney Banks, Telemedicine Appointments, Three Principles, Trauma, Treatment Plans and Packages, Virtual Appointments | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Would Christina Do?

Since we’ve been back in the clinic seeing patients for 2 weeks, people keep asking me, “What are you doing for your health Christina?” 


During the initial stages of the pandemic reaching the US, there was quite a frenzy among natural medicine practitioners about what supplements to take or not to take.  It seemed every day there was a new yet contradictory opinion.  I was following along quite closely and it was a little crazy making.  Until I had a moment of clarity that I already knew how to help people not get sick by boosting their immune system and stopping viruses from taking hold.

We have elderberry syrup to thank for my insight.  There was an online article that went viral, warning people that elderberry syrup could start the dreaded cytokine storm that was responsible for killing people who had COVID-19.  It went out like a bat signal among natural medicine practitioners—don’t kill your patients with elderberry syrup!  And then a day or so later several trustworthy, well educated natural medicine experts rebutted the article, explaining why it was based on untruths or misunderstandings.  Elderberry syrup was back to being a top recommendation for supporting your immune system and stopping viruses in their tracks.

That’s when I realized that I already knew how to optimize human beings’ immune systems and their ability to fight viruses.  Humans had not changed overnight just because there was a novel virus.  I’m still tuned in to what successes natural medicine practitioners have been having, and it turns out it’s pretty much what we already knew about supporting humans before the pandemic.  So that leads me back to what I’m doing for my health.


Phase 1:  Once I stopped getting caught up in the hysteria, I went back to the basics.  I asked myself “What’s always worked to keep me healthy?”
I came up with this plan:

  • Chinese Herbs—I consider Chinese herbs the foundation of my wellness plan and I will continue taking them because I don’t think virus concerns are going away anytime soon.  I’m taking one of the protocols I developed based on my years of specializing in helping people not get sick, research from the 2003 SARS-CoV epidemic, and reports from China about what herbs are helping people stay healthy from the current SARS-CoV2 virus.  I’ve been taking classes and staying in contact with colleague and forums to continue to stay educated.  And coincidentally I’ve actually been taking a similar protocol since early winter because there was a cold with a lingering cough going around and my husband had collarbone surgery in the new year so I was extra motivated to not get sick since late 2019.  I wrote a little bit more about the protocols I developed here, if you want more details.  I was able to get some more of the herbs in stock and and I’m happy to answer any questions if you would like to know more about which protocol would be right for you.
  • Elderberry Syrup—I add a bit to my Chinese herbs twice a day to increase the antiviral properties of my concoction.  The bonus is that it makes them taste better
  • Xlear Nasal Spray—I use this morning and night to sooth and clean my nasal passages, making them a better first line of defense.
  • Probiotics—I had been slacking on this before March because I’m human, so I got back on the pills we carry in the office and bought some fermented beets and curtido (south american sauerkraut) to add to my meals.  Then I made some of my own fermented curtido.
  • Acupuncture—I’ve been giving myself and my husband regular acupuncture because it’s my favorite way to support our wellbeing–physical, mental, and immune system balancing all at the same time!
  • Whole food based diet—It is still possible to eat a nutrient dense whole food diet with fresh produce even when you are shopping less than once a week.  My facebook posts have some yummy inspirations.
  • Less sugar—citrus has been in season and more seasonal fruits are coming available to satisfy that craving.
  • Exercise—my husband set up a stationary bike in the backyard.  It’s not mountain biking, but it’s better than nothing.
  • Time to relax, reset my nervous system, and good sleep—you’d think that being closed for patients for a couple months would mean you have less to do, but that’s not true if you’re still supporting your patients from afar, getting educated on the current strategies for virus prevention or early stage symptoms, working to save your small business, and getting ready to re-open.  So I consciously make the choice to prioritize not overworking, not stressing about things I cannot control, and creating moments of joy, sometimes several times a day!

Phase 2:  Now that I’m back in the office with patients and more people are out and about as things start to open up in Sonoma County, I’ve decided to add a few supplements to further boost my immunity and my overall health.

I try and get my nutrients from diet and lifestyle (the best way to get vitamin D is still sun exposure, and since I’m so pale, it doesn’t take very long!)  I decided to add these supplements since they are the essential nutrients than can sometimes be hard to get from your diet, even when you’re eating the most nutrient dense foods.

  • Magnesium
  • Vit C
  • Zinc
  • Cod Liver Oil with Vit A, D, K
  • Iodine

So now it’s time to ask yourself–What’s always worked to keep you healthy? Are you doing those things?  Also as Sonoma County opens back up and possible virus exposure increases, do you want to add anything else to your self care plan?

Let me know if you want any help with this.  We can work together virtually or in person to figure out what would be most helpful for you to prioritize.  That’s one of the things I love about Chinese Medicine—it has a unique diagnostic system that sees everyone an individual.

Check out Thrive’s new Online Dispensary!

And now, in addition to the usual Chinese herbs and natural supplements we carry in the office, we have set up an online dispensary where I got my high quality supplements for my phase 2 plan.  If you want to take a look at the dispensary and my favorites, you can sign up for an account at Wellevate.  After you create an account, click on the “Shop Dispensary” tab in the “My Practitioner” box to see the products I recommend.


Thrive is Open with Pre-ScreeningIt’s been great to see some of you back in the office for acupuncture!  After our first mini rush of patients who wanted acupuncture, we have now opened up some more appointment spots.  Next week we’re closed for Memorial day but open for half days Tuesday-Friday.  If you’re not ready to come into the clinic, we’re still offering telemedicine and all that info is further down.
Here’s what you need to know about scheduling appointments for acupuncture.  (There’s more info on our website at this link for those that like details, but here’s the gist of it)

We ask that all patients who come into the clinic:

  1. Not have a fever or felt feverish for 2 weeks.  
  2. Not have any respiratory symptoms or other possible COVID-19 symptoms for 2 weeks.  (We know that it may be allergies causing these symptoms, but right now we’ll have to do telemedicine to be extra safe–I can still hook you up with herbs etc.)
  3. Not have had contact with anyone who has been sick or with possible COVID-19 for 2 weeks.  You and anyone close to you should be following social distancing recommendations and not travelled on a plane for 2 weeks.

Please also: 

  • Wear a mask at all times.
  • Don’t come in with wet hair.
  • Wear loose clothing so you do not need to disrobe and bring only what you need into the clinic.
  • Be Punctual, but please don’t arrive to your appointment more than 15 minutes ahead of time.  With all the extra cleaning protocols we now have, we may not be able to accommodate you if you are more than 5 minutes late.
  • Don’t bring any guests into the clinic.
  • If there is a patient in the front room, please wait outside.
If you would like to schedule an appointment you can call, email, or use our online scheduler (don’t forget to click CONFIRM in the confirmation email, otherwise we won’t know you tried to make an appointment).  We’ll reach out to screen you.

If you would like to discuss your needs and whether it makes sense for you to come in, let us know and we’ll give you a call.  If you are immune compromised, over age 65, or have any other risk factors for COVID-19 (chronic lung disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes with complications, neurological condition that weakened your ability to cough,  Kidney or Liver disease, extreme obesity), please contact us before booking so we can talk and help you make an informed and safe decision.


Growing More Peaceful Membership Community

Come check out the last FREE stress reduction zoom session on May 26th.  People have been telling us they get a lot out of the sessions I’ve been hosting with my mentor Julie Gleeson of the Art of Living IncHere’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 since our Tuesday meeting.”

“I felt so grounded after listening last Tuesday. My mind was quiet. I was relieved. My body and mind are finally at peace.”

“I felt more peaceful and you reminded me of so many things that are helpful.”

Register before noon on Tuesday at Eventbrite


https://growingmorepeaceful.eventbrite.com
Tuesday 4-5 PM, Free through May 26

Beginning June 1, the group will become a formal membership community of people interested in growing more peaceful in the midst of massive change. We have been delighted, moved and touched by the feedback we have gotten, and by the lovely feeling deepening on each successive call. Our intention is to continue to point us all in the direction of the innate design of being human. That very built-in design affords us the ability to come back into balance at any time, as long as we remember to get out of the way of the system. The format will be as follows:

  • Weekly calls each Tuesday, 1 hour, recorded and available to listen to later
  • Discount on future programs offered on Zoom or live/Zoom combination when it is safe to do that!
  • Discounted private consulting fees for Christina and Julie
  • Access to short email, text and phone calls with us at no charge

The inaugural tuition for this community is $45 per month (first month is free), and the link to register is below. When we know more about how the economy will shake out, we may raise the fee for new members. Once you have joined at this rate, your fee will not increase as long as you continue your membership.

Please register right away. Go to Julie’s events page here and then click on a link for the Growing More Peaceful. Even Now. Member Community.


Telemedicine

For those that prefer to stay home at this time, you’ll be glad to know that many of the conditions we treat in our clinic have been responding well to herbal medicine, diet, acupressure, and other lifestyle recommendations I’ve been doing via video telemedicine appointments.

Because these appointments get Christina’s undivided attention and require extra follow-up time, the current rate for these secure video appointments is:

  • 20 minutes: A quick check in – best for simple updates or changes to an existing condition and if you only want 1 recommendation: $60
  • 40 minutes: A longer check in – best for new or complicated conditions, if you simply want more time to talk, or you want several recommendations: $100
  • 60 minutes new patient: We will do a holistic health assessment, set goals and priorities, and I’ll give you a report of findings with a chinese medicine diagnosis and a treatment plan with herb, acupressure, supplement, lifestyle, and dietary recommendations: $120

We’ve been told that insurance companies are mandated to cover telemedicine appointments, but you never know with insurance. So if you want us to bill your insurance, we will collect the above fees at the time of service via Square invoicing and then bill your insurance.  We will refund you any amount we are able to collect.

For those of you with a financial need, we can offer you a financial hardship price.  Please reach out to determine this rate in advance.

If you would like to schedule a telemedicine appointment call, email, or use our online scheduler (don’t forget to click CONFIRM in the confirmation email, otherwise we won’t know you tried to make an appointment). 


Keep Taking Care

Don’t forget your common sense when it comes to staying healthy!  Keep limiting your possible exposure by avoiding unnecessary human to human interactions, extra hygiene and sanitization, and washing your hands before and after touching your face.  It’s still vital that we limit the possible spread of the virus to others by wearing a mask and being mindful of our proximity when going into public places.  And remember to spend some time each day picturing your good health, drink lots of water, eat nutritious foods, prioritize getting good sleep, get some movement, and make time for laughter.


Here’s to health and resiliency for you and our community!
Christina Ness-Hawks, LAc

Posted in acupuncture, Covid19 screening, Diet, Events, Immune Boosting / Immunity, Mental Health, Recipes, Respiratory Health, Sanitary protocols, Seasonal Health, Telemedicine Appointments, Three Principles, Treatment Plans and Packages, Virtual Appointments | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In-person Acupuncture Appts are back!

 

We are excited to say Christina is ready to start seeing patients in the office for acupuncture treatments with pre-screening and updated safety protocols.

Requirements for In-person acupuncture Appointments

  1. Not have a fever or felt feverish for 2 weeks.  
  2. Not have any respiratory symptoms or other possible COVID-19 symptoms for 2 weeks.  Allergies, asthma and other non-viral issues usually feel different, but call us prior to coming in if you have questions.
  3. Not have had close contact with anyone who has possible COVID-19 for 2 weeks.

When you arrive to our clinic, you will need to confirm that the above are still accurate. We will take your temperature with an infrared forehead thermometer and check your blood oxygen with a sanitized oximeter.  We also ask that you:

  • Wear a mask at all times.
  • Be punctual, but please don’t arrive to your appointment more than 15 minutes ahead of time.  With all the extra cleaning protocols we now have, we may not be able to accommodate you if you are more than 5 minutes late.
  • If there is a patient in the front room, please wait outside.
  • Don’t come in with wet hair.
  • Wear loose clothing so you do not need to disrobe and bring only what you need into the clinic.
  • Don’t bring any guests into the clinic.

If anything changes with your health, your exposure, or your comfort level about coming to the clinic, don’t hesitate to cancel your appointment. We’re not charging the late cancel fee at this time for any of these reasons.

What else we’re doing to keep us all as safe as possible

  • We’ve moved the reception area to the front room and adjusted our schedule so there will always be a private room ready for you when you arrive for your appointment.
  • When you arrive we’ll take your temperature, you’ll be asked to wash your hands, and go to your private room. Christina will measure your oxygen level.
  • Christina will be wearing a mask and protective eyewear. Jules will be wearing a mask. We have an herb pick-up station and credit card reader on the shelf in the lobby so you can stay 6 ft away from Jules as she checks you out and schedules future appointments.
  • We’re sanitizing the treatment room and any other part of the office used after each patient.
  • We are providing hand sanitizer and paper towels for patients to use throughout the office.

We’ve changed many things in the office to make them extra sanitary. For example, we have HEPA air filtration in each treatment room, the sheets and needles are now stored in closed containers, we have a touchless soap dispenser in the bathroom, and many other details you may or may not be able to see.

If you would like to schedule an appointment, our online scheduler has been updated to reflect our schedule changes, or you can call or email us. (Don’t forget to click CONFIRM in the confirmation email for the online scheduler, otherwise we won’t know you tried to make an appointment.)

If you are immune compromised or have any other risk factors for COVID-19 (chronic lung disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes with complications, neurological condition that weakened the ability to cough, Kidney or Liver disease, extreme obesity), please contact us before booking so we can talk and help you make an informed and safe decision.

For those that prefer to stay home at this time, we understand as that is the lowest risk. We can still support you with a telemedicine appointment! Click HERE for information on them.

If you have any questions, please reach out.  We know this is a confusing time and we’re here to help you decide if you feel comfortable coming in for an appointment.

Keep Taking Care


Don’t forget your common sense when it comes to staying healthy.  Keep limiting your possible exposure by avoiding unnecessary human to human interactions, increasing your hygiene and sanitization, and washing your hands before and after touching your face. 
It’s still vital that we limit the possible spread of the virus to others by wearing a mask and being mindful of our proximity when going into public places. And remember to spend some time each day picturing your good health, drink lots of water, eat nutritious foods, prioritize getting good sleep, get some movement, and make time for laughter.

Here’s to a health and resiliency for you and our community!
Christina Ness-Hawks, LAc

Posted in acupuncture, Covid19 screening, Immune Boosting / Immunity, Mental Health, Office Happenings, Respiratory Health, Sanitary protocols, Seasonal Health, Telemedicine Appointments, Trauma, Treatment Plans and Packages, Virtual Appointments | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Welcome to Common Sense Boot Camp!

Welcome to Common Sense Boot Camp!!
What??  You say you didn’t sign up?  I didn’t know I did either, but I think it might have been in the fine print for 2020–and who reads the fine print?

So here we are, over a month into shelter in place orders in Sonoma County and it still feels like even the smartest intellects in the world don’t know exactly what to do next.  They don’t agree and they change their minds, a lot, anyway.

There is so much unknown in these circumstances and we’ve never experienced anything like it before.  We don’t have anything stored in the hard drive of our intellect to answer all the questions we have.  We can’t figure this out with our intellect.

If we can’t rely on the intellect, what can we rely on?  Common sense, intuition, wisdom, our gut feeling (whatever word you want to use for it) is the most valuable guidance we have right now. 

The GOOD news is that you’ve had common sense your whole life.  You’ve felt what it feels like to ignore it (uggh, bummer) or listen to it’s whisper (aaah, yes, good idea).

The GREAT news is that if you know how valuable your common sense is right now, you can tell your intellect to quiet down when it ramps up.  To be sure, it will have all sorts of ideas about analyzing, and projecting, and worrying.  And it will try to tell you it’s keeping you safe.  But it doesn’t have the data to keep you safe right now.  So tell it to pipe down and save yourself some energy.

Now just because we’re in Common Sense Boot Camp does not mean we should throw the intellect out with the baby and the bathwater.  You need your intellect to gather some of the latest information about what the experts know about how the virus spreads, what safety precautions are recommended and which ones are required in your community, where and when you can source your food, how to help your kid connect to their zoom class, etc. etc.

However you can rely on your common sense to help you figure out what is yours to do in the moment.  And more importantly, what is NOT yours to do in this moment.  Your intellect can be the servant to your common sense, not the almighty ruler.

Mind Experiment:  For the next 2 weeks commit to figuring out how to listen to your common sense.  In this boot camp we’re gonna do some strength training for your wisdom muscles.  You’ll practice following your intuition.  And you take note when your gut instinct speaks up with the feelings in your body.  We have the perfect camp set up, because I promise you, your intellect does not know what’s going to happen next right now.
 
Sometimes common sense is a clear loud voice.  Like when you’re in an acute emergency and everything seems to slow down and get quiet — we know what we need to do, right then.  But more often, common sense is like a whisper among all the noise.  And you can hear it best by listening from the chin down.  The feeling in your body will tell you if you’re about to do something aligned with your common sense, or if you should pause and listen for a moment longer. 
 
It helps to get quiet and listen for it.  How you do that will be different for different people and at different times.  Your common sense will tell you the best way you can reflect and hear your own common sense.  Lots of people can hear their common sense when they are in nature, listening to music, or intentionally quieting their mind (that’s one of the reasons people meditate).  But you can learn to tune into common sense lots of different ways.  Why do so many people hear their common sense in the bathroom?  There isn’t anything special about the bathroom, except it’s a place where many people have given themselves permission to stop multitasking.  You can shower just for the sake of showering.  Your intellect drops for a moment, and you suddenly realize a solution to that thing you had been trying to solve.  So during your experiment, notice what helps you tune into the feeling of your common sense.  Sometimes I just say “OK, Life, I’m ready for some common sense.  What you got for me?”

Here’s an example of what getting quiet and listening to my common sense looked like for me recently.  As soon as it became evident that the novel coronavirus was in the US and we were going to need to take measures to protect ourselves and our communities, one of my first really vivid thoughts was that I wished I could go grocery shopping for my parents.  I felt that thought throughout my body, so I knew to listen to it, but I had no idea what to do.  Plus they live in Arizona and I had a few things on my plate–helping patients, saving my small business, procuring paper products and sanitizers, etc.

So my parents and I began exploring options for ordering groceries online.  All those paths lead to a dead end.  It got to a point that was really worrisome.  Now we were several weeks into this and I had a very noisy head about it all.  I considered trying to log on to the websites to place a grocery order and see if I could help that way.  I considered researching if there were organizations helping out in their area.  But nothing felt quite right.   I decided to go to bed and get a good night’s sleep.

The next day while I was having breakfast, I heard a little whisper–who do you know in Arizona?  What if this could be easy?  What if you could get someone to help you figure this out?  What if you didn’t have to do all the research?  I remembered I knew some friends of friends who moved to Arizona at the end of last year.  So I texted them to ask them if they could help me find some resources.  It turns out they live 10 minutes away from my parents and were more than happy to go grocery shopping for them.  Yay.  Tears of joy for the whole family–literally! 

The important thing to note about this story is that I could have easily pushed past those little whispers suggesting there might be an easy way to a solution.  It didn’t sound very logical to text some people who I didn’t even know where in Arizona they live.  And I certainly didn’t imagine they would be the actual people to help my parents.  But I’m so glad I didn’t let my noisy intellect tell me to stay up all night on the computer to research and solve this problem.

So now that you know that we are in Common Sense Boot Camp, go ahead and see if you notice moments where you can hear your common sense and moments when you are ignoring it.  Let me know how it goes!  It’s worth an experiment because right now your common sense is truly the most trustworthy thing around. 


Upcoming Stress Reduction Zoom

Join us for a free Zoom conversation about how to adapt and reconnect to peace of mind and resiliency, even now, on Tuesdays from 4-5 PM.  Click the link below for more information and to register before noon on Tuesday.

More information and registration at Eventbrite:
https://growingmorepeaceful.eventbrite.com
Tuesday 4-5 PM, April 21

My mentor Julie Gleeson of The Art of Living, Inc and I will share what we know that keeps us sane and grounded. And we’ll answer questions and help you reconnect to common sense and wisdom that will help you navigate your circumstances with more ease.


Herbs

If you want refills of your herbs, let us know and we’ll schedule a pickup time for you.  We have set up a “no touch pickup station” in our lobby (or for those of you who prefer them to be sent, we add the postage and a $5 handling fee), then we email you a Square invoice you can pay online.

If you haven’t had custom herbs before, or not in a while, now is a good time to try them. Some of the usual forms of self-care aren’t available, and this one is a great option right now.  It’s really empowering and effective to take a custom formula to support your specific needs.

And now we’ve set up and online supplement dispenary so patients have easy access to high quality supplements https://wellevate.me/christina-ness.

I’ve also got a supply of herbs to boost your immune system and prevent viruses.  I developed some protocols based on research during the SARS-CoV epidemic in 2003 and current findings with this version SARS-CoV-2, that are our best bet at prevention.  I got them in simple-to-take pills and there are options for different people with different baseline health and different budgets. More information about prevention herbs can be found at this link.


We Can TalkIf you want to talk about staying on track or anything else that has come up, I’m doing telemedicine appointments, which is like a zoom video call, but more secure.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised how much connection, diagnosis, acupressure, and personalized diet and lifestyle plans we can do over video calls.  Patients have been reporting that they’re feeling confident about what they can do to take care and feeling better.  All the info about telemedicine is at this link.


Here’s to moments of calm and common sense in the storm,
Christina Ness, LAc

Posted in acupuncture, Facebook Private Group, Immune Boosting / Immunity, Mental Health, Respiratory Health, Seasonal Health, Telemedicine Appointments, Three Principles, Virtual Appointments | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Telemedicine Now Available

 

How Are You Doing?

I miss seeing you in person and I’d love to hear from you!

If you need some support, we can talk or “Zoom” for a Telemedicine appointment. Those of you who see me in person for acupuncture know that you get a lot more than just needles from your treatment. Since we’ve been unable to see patients in person, I’ve been doing telemedicine appointments (which is like a Zoom session) and been pleasantly surprised how much connection, diagnosis, and acupressure we can do over video calls.

Through telemedicine appointments I’ve been helping patients:

  • continue to make progress and stay on track with their goals

  • combat anxiety and stress during all this change and so much unknown

  • boost their immune systems, prevent viruses, and stay healthy

  • reduce pain with effective self care

  • address whatever new concerns and issues have come up

Are Virtual Visits Secure?

Absolutely. Our video-conference service is through my electronic health record system and is encrypted and HIPAA compliant.

Is It Easy?

Yes! At the start of your visit, I send you an email with a link. You click the link and it opens the 2 way video for our appointment. If you are on a smart phone or ipad, you need to download the app ahead of time. We’ll send you simple instructions prior to your appointment. If you are on a computer, no need to do anything ahead of time; the email link just opens in a web browser.

What’s In a Telemedicine Consult?

During a telemedicine consultation we can check in about your health, and I’ll give you herbal, acupressure, stress reduction, supplement, diet, or lifestyle recommendations tailored just to you. I’m offering these at a discounted rate at this time.

20 Minutes for $60: A quick check in–best for simple updates or changes to an existing condition and if you only want 1 or 2 recommendations.

40 minutes for $100: A longer check in–best for new or complicated conditions, if you simply want more time to talk, or you want several recommendations.

New Patients 60 minutes for $120: We will do a holistic health assessment, set goals and priorities, and I’ll give you a report of findings with a traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis and a treatment plan with herbal, acupressure, supplement, lifestyle, and dietary recommendations.

We’ll send you an invoice through Square and you can pay online without having to sign up for anything. There is a chance insurance will reimburse for it because insurance companies have been mandated to cover telemedicine at this time, but you never know with insurance. So if you have insurance, we will charge you the above rate, bill your insurance, and reimburse you if they pay us. You should be able to use your HSA/FSA/HRA card for telemedicine appointments, so check with your provider.

How To Schedule a Telemedicine Consult

Schedule Telemedicine Consultations on our online scheduler (make sure you get an email and click confirm in that email) or call or email us.

Need Anything Else?

Most of all I want to let you know that I miss you and I’m here to be a resource for you. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to support you.

Here’s to finding moments of calm in the storm,

Christina Ness-Hawks, LAc

Posted in Covid19 screening, Immune Boosting / Immunity, Insurance, Mental Health, Respiratory Health, Seasonal Health, Telemedicine Appointments, Trauma, Treatment Plans and Packages, Virtual Appointments | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment