Resolve Dampness

Dampness represents a condition existing within the body that is a reflection of dampness as it occurs in nature. Dampness can be due to a problem arising from the inability of the digestive system to transport and transport fluids, or from the body being overwhelmed by external damp from the environment, (damp weather, damp living conditions, damp-producing foods).  It can also arise from as a response to an illness, or from the overuse of medication that promotes dampness, such as certain antibiotics.  Phlegm is seen as a thicker, stickier, condensed form of dampness.  Dampness can show up in your body as edema, swelling, loose stools, a sticky tongue coating, nausea, and a foggy feeling in the head.  Phlegm is seen as a thicker, stickier, condensed form of dampness.  We can see phlegm when we have a bad cold with a productive cough.

Foods to resolve dampness include:

Grains Corn, barley, basmati rice
Vegetables Alfalfa sprout, button mushroom, capers, corn, pumpkin, radish, turnip
Fruit Papaya, lemon
Beans Aduki, lentils
Fish Eel, tuna
Herbs&Spices Aniseed, garlic, horseradish, marjoram, nettle, parsley, white pepper
Beverages Green tea, raspberry leaf tea, jasmine tea

Foods that are useful to resolve damp combining with heat:

Vegetables Asparagus, celery, Chinese cabbage
Fruit Blueberry, cranberry, tamarind
Beans Kidney

Foods that are useful to resolve phlegm in general:

Vegetables Button mushroom, watercress
Nuts Almonds, walnuts
Fish Lobster
Herbs&Spices Caraway, cardamon, garlic, horseradish, marjoram, mustard seed, thyme, white pepper

Foods that are useful to resolve phlegm with heat:

Vegetables Seaweed, radish, water chestnut
Fruit Apple peel, grapefruit, lemon peel, pear, persimmon, tangerine peel
Herbs Licorice
Beverages Elderflower tea, peppermint tea

Foods that are useful to resolve phlegm with cold:

Vegetables Mustard leaf, onion, scallion
Herbs&Spices Basil, black pepper, cinnamon bark, fennel, fresh ginger, onion, rosemary
Beverages Jasmine tea, freshly grated ginger tea


Foods especially useful to resolve damp heat in the Bladder

  • Cranberry: this is best taken in tablet form as the juices often contain sugar.
  • Barley: barley water can be made by pouring 1 quart (4 cups) of water over 30 grams of barley grains. Simmer until the liquid has reduced to half. Add lemon juice, strain, and drink at least four cups per day.

Foods especially useful for phlegm congesting the Lungs

Phlegm in General

  • Thyme: this makes a useful herbal bath to help resolve phlegm and reduce coughing (especially at night). Simply take a handful of fresh garden thyme, crush slightly between your hands and steep in a liter of water that has just boiled while you run a warm bath. Close all the windows and doors, add the thyme water into the bath and take a bath for at least 20 minutes.  You can also make thyme tea with lemon and honey for a cough.

Phlegm cold

  • Ginger tea: grate some fresh ginger (about the size of your thumb nail) into a cup, steep in boiling water for five minutes, add a little brown sugar or honey to taste, drink warm.
  • Onion: a simple cough mixture, safe to use in pregnancy, can be made by chopping up one onion and covering this with 1 tablespoon honey. Leave overnight or for several hours before taking the juice 2 –3 teaspoons at a time, as needed.

Phlegm heat

  • Grapefruit juice: two to three glasses per day
  • Pear juice: two to three glasses per day.

Foods to avoid in cases of dampness

For those prone to dampness, limit or avoid the following:

  • Dairy products: this includes milk, cheese, ice cream and all foods that contain high amounts of dairy.  Yogurt is perhaps the exception to the dairy food rule, as it has good bacteria that aid digestion.  Sheep and goat products, such as goat milk, goat yogurt, sheep or goat cheeses are regarded as less prone to causing dampness.
  • Pork and rich, fatty meats
  • Roasted peanuts, including peanut butter
  • Concentrated fruit juices, especially orange and tomato juice
  • Excess refined wheat products
  • Bananas
  • Sugar and sweeteners
  • Deep, fried foods

In dampness and phlegm, it is important to nourish the Spleen, which means that the consumption of raw, cold and processed sugary or fatty foods need to be limited to aid the spleen’s essential digestive function.  The Spleen is similar to our digestive enzymes released in the digestive tract.

Original source:

Debra Betts, L.Ac. in New Zealand



Try Floating!!!! Sensory Deprivation Tanks….

I first tried floating out of curiosity.  I am often looking for natural ways to get into the parasympathetic state of being and bring stress levels down, in the way that acupuncture does.

The water a little warmer than your skin and is filled with around 800 lbs of epsom salts to relax the muscles and detoxify the body.  Being in the tank is like being in a tropical womb, and you have total control of when or whether you close to door to the tank, and when you close your eyes inside, you could almost imagine being under a star-filled sky, it surprisingly feels more spacious than it is!  You basically float in the water and try to calm the mind and maybe nap, Even if you don’t fall asleep, you can stretch, rest, chill out, and you come out feeling incredible, kinda loopy and deeply relaxed.  The more you float, the more comfy you can get.
The first time, it was hard to get my neck comfortable, I felt like it was hard to relax it and let the salt water support me, I also felt a little claustrophobic for a few minutes and opened the door to get some fresh air, then I realized I could breathe right through the feeling and move my body and stretch to calm down.  I found lacing my hand behind my neck and crossing my ankles to be the most comfortable position that first time, and although I didn’t fall asleep, I felt warm, cozy, and pretty out-of-it (in a good way) afterwards.
On the 3rd float, everything came together and I went into a deep relaxation right away, time flew and I went into la-la-land, waking myself occasionally when my arms twitched.. I finally figured out for me that I like the neck pillow, not around my neck, but sort of under my occiput with my long hair wrapped on the neck pillow to hold it in place, so it may take a few floats to find what position is most comfy for you.
I highly recommend Oakland Floats, near my office at the Opal Street Center.  They have such a friendly and patient staff, the entire office is very cozy, clean, inviting, it sort of reminds me of being up in a floating treehouse.  Check out Oakland Floats!

Now accepting Blue Shield of California!!!!

I am now a preferred provider with Blue Shield, whether you have an EPO or PPO.  Check with your policy about copays and number of visits per year and I’ll take it from there.  This year, I got a Blue Shield EPO with the Affordable Care Act and I can see an acupuncturist for $40 a visit, around half off the cash price!  Check it out and let me know if you’d like to schedule on Tuesday afternoons or Thursdays. Salud!

Protect Yourself from Cancer

Some ideas to help reduce inflammation and the proliferation of tumors in your body:

*Consume more dark, leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, garlic, onions, turmeric, and green tea.

*Focus on organic, grass-fed animal products.

*Get more omega-3 by eating more fish, such as sardines, salmon, mackerel, as well as flaxseeds.

*Decrease your intake of vegetable oils, sugar, starches, and refined carbs.  These foods are more inflammatory.

*Don’t smoke.  Acupuncture can help you quit.

*Get a water filter or drink filtered water when possible.

*Limit your alcohol intake, a glass of red wine at dinner is fine.

*Avoid chemicals like parabens, phthalates, pesticides (round-up), insecticides, aluminum (antiperspirants), you can check this online database to see what is really in the products you use:

*Exercise, even if just gently, 20 minutes per day.  Try to walk more.

*Get 20 minutes of sunlight per day to boost your Vitamin D levels, along with your mood.

*Manage stress through yoga, meditation, dance, sex, whatever works for you.

*Accept and express your emotions.  We all have anger, fear, sadness, it is part of being human.

*Keep in touch with friends who you can talk to, laugh with, and offer mutual support during tough times.

~Thanks to Pamela Weintraub and her cancer-fighting article in the May 2013 issue of  Experience L!fe magazine and David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD, who wrote Anticancer: A New Way of Life.

Bell’s Palsy Tips


If you have a sudden paralysis of half of your face and it is accurately diagnosed as Bell’s Palsy, consider getting acupuncture immediately to restore the movement and function in your face.


Some good-quality eye drops, to be used each hour:

  • Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops – very high quality
  • Similasan Dry Eye Relief Eye Drops – homeopathic
  • Tears Naturale Free Lubricant Eye Drops – available in single dose packaging

Consult with your eye doctor as you might want to use an ointment to keep the eyes moist and maybe wear an eye patch to protect the eye.  And, something I just learned about are eye weights that can help keep the lids closed to prevent dryness and irritation:

On Spring Holiday until March 22nd

I will be in the tropics until spring has sprung, so if you need a treatment, call Amy Lee or Bianca DiGiulio at 510-486-1988.  I will be back treating patients at Amy’s office on Friday, March 22nd.  In the meantime, start eating more greens, sprouts, and nettles.  Salud!

Keep Boosting Your Immune System!!!!!

During all this unpredictable weather and with viruses floating around, it is important to keep your immunity up.  Acupuncture can definitely help, either to prevent colds or help you get over them once they have settled in, but there is so much you can do at home, too.

Ways to prevent colds:

*Get plenty of rest, manage your stress.

*Drink fluids such as ginger tea, mint tea, chamomile, lemon water, or make a thyme tea with lemon and honey.

*Take your vitamins, like vitamin C & D.

*Eat less sugar and more whole foods, such as soups & stews, fish & veggies, yum!

*Take chinese herbs  (like astragalus), I have some formulas for sale in my office.

*Wear hats, gloves, and scarves.  Keep warm.


Signs of catching a cold:

*Sore or tickly throat

*Headache and body aches, especially neckache

*Runny nose, sniffles




Contact me if you have any questions or to schedule a treatment!