Family Acupuncture Log

with Kay Madsen, Licensed Acupuncturist

December 2014
Edition, Part 2  

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Enjoying the Family Acupuncture Log? 

December 19, 2014

    I hope you are finding peace and joy and not driving yourself crazy with holiday stress.

     As I promised in the last edition of the Family Acupuncture Log, I will be sharing a series of articles in December.  Last time, I regaled you with part 1 of a rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas, highlighting my odd health inspired habits. This edition gives you a further peak into my world. 


The Twelve Days of Quirky Christmas
Part 2
Confessions of a Health Nut

    In the last article, I confessed a bit of my quirkiness with my own version of the song my husband wrote for me years ago. This continued offering is meant as an inspiration that if I can go against the flow for better health, then so can you, for whatever quirky habits you choose to adopt.

   On the second day of quirky Christmas I will give to thee . . .

"Two netti pots"
    For the uninitiated, a neti pot is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a daily cleansing practice. Salt water is placed in the specialized ceramic pot and funneled through the nose while leaning forward over the sink. The water pours through one nostril and streams out the other and the procedure is repeated on the other side. Years ago I started using a neti pot in an effort to help with seasonal allergies. When my husband first witnessed this event, it was definitely one of those "now what?" moments. Frankly, even to me, the idea originally seemed like self imposed water boarding. The neti pot sat unused for a month or two while I mustered the courage to try it. As it turns out, it's not as uncomfortable or awkward as it sounds and it is a practice that I have come to love. I do it every morning after my shower. It not only leaves my nasal passages feeling clean and refreshed, but it encourages my sinuses to drain and clear throughout the day.

      On the third day of quirky Christmas, I will give to thee . . .

Three Fire Cups"

     No, this is not from a circus act. I'm talking about the practice of cupping. Cupping has been used in many traditional forms of medicine for thousands of years for a variety of health benefits. The fire part is a reference to the method of using a flame to create a vacuum in the glass cup, which is then placed on the skin. Actually, I no longer use the original fire cups, and have opted for new safer models with a hand squeezed bulb to create the suction. Beyond professional use with my patients, I do keep cups at home. Mostly my in home use is to relieve the itching and swelling from bites and stings. I place the cup right over the hole in the skin. (If there is no hole, I create one with an acupuncture needle or a lancet.) The suction from the cup pulls out any venom, as well as the built up body fluid that gives rise to itching and swelling. Sometimes a bit of blood also comes out, making the practice seem somewhat medieval. At least there are no leaches involved. The relief is immediate and more effective than any other bug bite remedy I have ever tried.

     On the fourth day of quirky Christmas, I will give to thee . . .

"Four Winter's Naps"

     Naps don't seem that odd. It's not like anyone finds me curled up with the cats for a mid-day shut eye and exclaims, "What on earth are you doing?"  That being said, a daytime nap for anyone older than a toddler isn't exactly an American custom. Our work and school schedules do not allow for such folly. So, I completely get that this isn't a habit everyone can employ. I'm very lucky to have a flexible work schedule and a built in napping place on the treatment tables. Just a 20 to 30 minute afternoon respite is an amazing battery charger. Even if I don't sleep, I get a restful meditation. As much as I would relish the idea, I don't manage to get in a nap every day of the year. I am, however, pretty diligent in getting my naps during the winter months. The Chinese medical classics offer sleep prescriptions that vary on a seasonal basis. We have a greater need for sleep during winter - longer hours at night and a bit of rest during the day. This builds our reserves of Kidney Qi, which is responsible for our vitality and preserves our life essence. Not a bad return for a little nap.

     On the fifth day of quirky Christmas, I will give to thee . . .

"Five Hairball Barfs"

     No, I do not barf up hairballs. With four cats gracing our abode, hairballs are an unavoidable fact of our lives. A fact that hasn't changed in all the years I have been together with my husband, which is why he put this verse in his original song. I am a cat lover. I got my first cat when I was five years old and have not been cat-less since. Loving cats is an indelible part of who I am. My grandmother used to tell me that I was going to grow old as one of those crazy cat ladies. I failed to see the downside to that prediction, hairball barfs notwithstanding. So why do I mention this in a tome that is supposed to be about being a health nut? It is pretty well established that pet owners enjoy longer, healthier lives. Critters are wonderful, loving companions. They lower our blood pressure by sitting on our laps and "letting" us pet them. For me, the connection is an experience of utter bliss. Something beyond love and happiness, bliss is a very powerful healer. Experiencing bliss, whether it be from pet ownership or otherwise, is worth a little inconvenience and cleanup.

More Christmas cheer coming next week! 


After leaving behind a decade of practicing as an attorney, I received my Masters of Acupuncture in 2002 from the Traditional Acupuncture Institute in Columbia, Maryland.  It certainly was an interesting career shift!  Every day I am increasingly grateful to do this amazing work.  I guess I still use some of my old attorney skills to piece together every patient's experiences to create a new picture of their health concerns from a Chinese medical perspective.  From there we fashion a strategy toward healing together.  It never gets old to watch a person's sufferings unravel.  Sure beats interpreting government regulations for a living!

I keep balance in my own life by sharing my love of outdoor experiences with my husband and daughter.  Camping, hiking and critter watching are much loved family activities.  It's important to me to see that my daughter learns to attune herself to the movement of the seasons and the many lessons they offer, so that she can appreciate balance from an early age.

Family Acupuncture Center | 240-393-5420 | [email protected] | 13415 Connecticut Ave.
Suite 204
Silver Spring, MD 20906

Kay Madsen, M.Ac., L.Ac., Dipl.Ac. (NCCAOM)
Licensed Acupuncturist
13415 Connecticut Ave.
Suite 204
Silver Spring, MD 20906
(240) 393-5420

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