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

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.


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

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