New Book: Points to Ponder

kindlefrontFinally got my newest book Points to Ponder for the Acupuncturist in Business finished. It wasn’t that it was a long time to write. It’s been done for some time. But getting it edited and then formatted and published while moving took longer than I expected. But it’s finally here. It’s in ebook and print and available at your favorite retailers. Check it out.

New Book, “Small Animal Acupuncture Point Locations”

This isn’t a true review. I don’t do animal acupuncture as I’m fortunate to have an amazing veterinarian who works with my cats. She’s well versed in a number of alternative modalities and we primarily use homeopathics with my cats, which I find work wonders.

However, there are many practitioners who want to work on pets. I worked in a veterinary hospital for a long time and I still suffer a certain level of PTSD after that experience. In a pinch I would work on my own cats but no one else’s.

Becca Seitz has a broad background in studying healthcare. She has background working with shelters, forcing to confront animals in intensely stressful situations. She was the person who first talked about compassion fatigue in shelter workers, which led to a series of articles I published on my cat blog. And now she has written a very thorough book called Small Animal Acupuncture Point Locations.

Becca is also involved with teaching a class on animal acupuncture. I highly recommend the course for any practitioner interested in treating pets. If you can’t make the class, then purchase the book. If you ever hope to treat pets, this is a must read.

Websites for Acupuncturists is Here

websites1front1I finally got Websites for Acupuncturists edited and formatted for publication. It’s available on Amazon in both ebook and print.

I wrote this book to address many of the questions I’m seeing in social media. This is less a how to book and more a should you book. It offers some explanations about what you get with a general easy set up site (like Weebly and SquareSpace), what you get in a profession specific managed site (like AcuPerfect Websites and QiSites) and what you have to do to do it yourself.

I think a lot of people start out trying to do it themselves without having any idea of the options or what it means to be on a managed site and what their options are. I’ve kept the price low and offered as much information as I can to help people determine whether they have the time or the interest in creating their own website. Things are getting so much less expensive that there are many more affordable options out there than there were even a few years ago.

Adventures in Chinese Medicine

Adventures in Chinese Medicine is the new book by Jennifer Dubowsky L.A.c, a book on Chinese Medicine, geared towards those patients who want to learn more about the medicine, without having to spend years in acupuncture school.

Dubowsky is originally from Evanston, Illinois and went to Southwest Acupuncture College. After finishing acupuncture school, she returned to Chicago and has practiced there since 2002.

I asked her to share a little bit more about her book. Dubowsky says, “I wanted to share my passion for this work so, my intention for Adventures in Chinese Medicine is to convey the essential ideas and describe some of the well known techniques of Traditional Chinese Medicine in friendly language illustrated with charts, photographs, cartoons, and diagrams.”

Adventures in Chinese Medicine explains common treatments and the history behind them, such as: Acupuncture; Cupping; Moxabustion; and Herbal Medicine. There are also sections that describe unique concepts that are fundamental to Chinese Medicine – Yin and Yang, Qi, meridians, and the five elements. I believe that all people will be able to relate to the discussion of these ideas.

“My target audiences are those who are curious and want to learn more about the practices and philosophy of Chinese Medicine; practitioners who want to educate their patients; and certainly for patients who already love their treatments and want to understand more about how they work.”

While there are few really good books for lay people on acupuncture, as the profession gains traction, there are more books coming out. I asked Dubowsky what made her book unique.

She says, “My book is unique because I made sure that it is enjoyable (as well as informative) and people will be able to connect to the concepts. Adventures is also visually inviting and beautiful. I worked very hard to create a reader-friendly book and I think having a super girl of Chinese Medicine makes it even more cool and fun for the reader.”

The cover stands out, with it’s acupuncture “super girl” jumping towards the reader from the cover, creating interest from the moment it’s viewed on the shelf.  Dubowsky didn’t actually do the drawings. Instead she conveyed the sort of look she wanted to an illustrator who did the actual drawing for her.  She did do the charts and tables and her mother drew a couple of the diagrams.

Writing a book for lay people means really listening to patients. I asked if Dubowsky had any advice for people explaining the medicine to their patients.  Her biggest advice is to “listen, listen, listen” to what the patient is asking and then explain as simply and as clearly as possible.

For those who want a taste of Dubowsky’s style, she writes at Acupuncture Blog Chicago on a regular basis. Talking about her blog, Dubowsky says, “My blog is intended for anyone interested in learning more about Chinese Medicine and good health. As in my book, I try to maintain a writing style that is friendly and approachable.” Dubowsky has been writing her blog since 2008.

I asked Dubowsky how much work writing the book was.  She said, “From conception to publication, this took over two years to finish with writing and re-writing.” She does plan to write some more books but first she feels like she needs a break. Her patients were often involved in the process and were very supportive. Dubowsky says she asked patients for reactions to the cartoons and the topics she covered.

Dubowsky says, “Adventures in Chinese Medicine has been a labor of love, and I hope it is received as such. I think it is truly a one of a kind book, that many people will enjoy and get something from it.”



10 Myths About Acupuncture

Book1The best way to learn something is to do it. I wanted to be sure that I had the ability to format a book for any publisher and I wanted to start formatting something with endnotes and table of contents.  To that end, I published by short book, 10 Myths About Acupuncture.

I’ve written this book for the lay person who is interested in acupuncture, but perhaps too afraid to try it. They’ve seen the news and wondered if it could help them but they have a lot of misconceptions.  My goal for this book is for potential patients to feel safe making the choice to try acupuncture.  While the style is a bit more pendantic than I would like, I wanted to make sure that my word choices were exact and my information clear.

I hope that if you have a need to share this information with potential patients, you will think of me.

Acupuncture Matters

Sara Calabro writes an acupuncture blog called AcuTake.  Her background in journalism helped her found a site that is written by a variety of people on the subject of acupuncture and health.  Recently she has written a book called Acupuncture Matters.  Calabro says, “Acupuncture Matters looks at how acupuncture lessons can potentially improve how we approach everything from urban planning to personal finance to relationships.”

Check it out.

Why We Get Fat

As an overweight person I just want to thank Gary Taubes for his stunning little book Why We Get Fat and What to do About It.   I enjoyed his other book, Good Calories, Bad Calories but it was long and ponderous in its information.  This little book says something that is very important and looking at the Amazon reviews seems to be something many people don’t get.   I am not fat because I eat too much.   If you looked at my life long caloric intake pound per pound it is probably less than someone of my weight but perhaps greater height who didn’t worry about being fat.    According to studies Taubes” cites, the could be why I have so much fatigue.  I eat too much because I tend to be fat.

I do feel better eating a protein heavy diet.   I was fascinated that in the back of the book one diet he recommends (although not the only diet) he talks about adding in broth!  As a traditional foods person I was ecstatic! Now there is yet another reason to drink my broth!

I recommend reading the book even if you tend to think in terms of a vegetarian diet for yourself that you read this book. No one diet works for everyone.   My Spleen qi deficient, yang deficient, damp body prefers a diet heavy in proteins (grass-fed beef and pastured chickens and eggs).   I have friends who tend towards heat and yin deficiency and they do far better on a vegetarian and mostly vegetarian diet.   Food is about energy which balances what goes on in our body.   I suspect has I eaten differently throughout my life I would have different food needs and a different diet might be most appropriate.

One of the most important thing in the book from my point of view was the pronouncement that fat people are not fat because they lack will power or there is something wrong with them psychologically.   What Taubes says is that being fat is a symptom of something else and doctors need to look at that.

Frustrations With The Pain Chronicles.

I’m frustrated. I read a lot. I read a lot of books about health. As someone interested in chronic conditions, not only as a practitioner but as a friend to someone who deals with a chronic condition, I read a lot of those books. Chronic pain is a big one. I saw The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing, and the Science of Suffering advertised and started to read it but it fails in a couple of ways that many books on chronic pain or chronic illness fail.

The author writes about how hard and difficult it is to be so afflicted. Yes, it is hard. This part is true. The frustrating part is they learn nothing. Nothing changes. It is as difficult on the last page as on the first. I may have, in this book, learned a bit about the western science behind pain. I have learned nothing in terms of helping my patients cope. I have learned nothing that gives me any more empathy than looking someone in the face who struggles daily. I have nothing new to offer them.

The downfall I see in so many of these personal journeys is that the author continues to hold out hope for their old self. Nothing will heal them except to get their old self back, no matter how many years pass. Acupuncture is never mentioned in this book except to say it didn’t work. We hear nothing of the practitioner. Although given that she says she doesn’t believe in alternative medicine, I shouldn’t be surprised. For the author any emotional stuff that goes on is FROM the pain, not concurrent with it. As an acupuncturist, of course we know that certain types of imbalances create certain emotional predispositions. Certainly as that imbalance gets worse the emotional part also worsens. However, is it BECAUSE of the pain or concurrent as part of the general imbalance?

The author and others like her continue to write as if there is no question but that they must suffer. Telling them otherwise is to keep them from listening. While I appreciate that pain and sickness seem to require suffering, both may be uncomfortable but it is our reaction to it, the refusal to give up that old self, that causes suffering.

That’s what is so hard. To really heal from whatever our wounds we often must give up that cherished self. For some people it may mean healing from a physical illness. For others from an unhappy life. Each of us has our wounds that require we grow and change. It is only by trying to remain the same that we suffer. That’s what I find sad about these books. When the author doesn’t get that they need to change–and yes those kinds of changes are a struggle. They are hard. They are momentous but only through those changes can we realize that maybe we don’t have to suffer.

I want to say that I am not saying anyone who has a chronic illness or pain must do this. It’s an incredibly difficult thing to do. No wonder people write books like this. However, if you do write a book and it is personal, please learn something first. Make your suffering different towards the end. Offer others who suffer what you suffered some hope. Give me a reason to read your book when I can hear your suffering

The books quite honestly fail when authors can’t make that leap. If you want to write about the Western thoughts on chronic pain, do so. Don’t add in your own search when you find nothing.

Review of the Practitioner’s Journey

When I was thinking about burn out and acupuncturists, I started asking around about what different people thought.   I was referred to Dan Clements who wrote The Practitioner’s Journey: The Path to Success for Alternative, Holistic and Integrative Health Professionals  I’m familiar with Dan’s work having read his blog for quite some time.     I knew he and Tara Gignac had written a book but I hadn’t yet read it.   I really wanted the burn out post to get published while it was fresh in my mind and I was still thinking about the things other people had said.

Asking for a quote quickly, Dan sent me a copy of the e-book at no charge, so I read through the entire book.   I’m not a big ebook fan (unless I can download it to my Kindle–my computer desk and chair just aren’t that comfortable!) but this was worth the read and I can’t argue with the price.  I will argue with Dan about making sure the next book that he’s working on gets into Kindle format though.

I think any practitioner who needs a bit of insight into the business side of their practice needs to read this book.  It’s reader friendly and Dan and Tara clearly speak the language of alternative care practitioners.   The journey described is literally a journey and Dan uses the journey metaphor as you move through the book to describe various phases of being a practitioner and business person.   It’s very helpful for any practitioner who has struggled with success and what might need to happen next in their practice.    The information is practical and informative as well as easily readable.

Most practitioners can get useful information out of this book. If there aren’t any current problems in the practice, then it’s a good reference to have the next time you find yourself worrying because there are more holes in the schedule than you’d like. Check it out. You’ll be glad you did. Also, consider heading over to The Practitioner’s Journey blog and subscribing. It’s not updated as often as I’d like but the information there is very useful.

Defy Gravity Review

Caroline Myss’ new book Defy Gravity: Healing Beyond the Bounds of Reason
is more of a promise than a delivery.

Generally I like the ideas that Myss sets forth in her books and this book is no exception. The information is thought provoking and worth thinking about. Myss’ premise is that we are not in total control and healing comes through grace. Because of that we really can’t DO anything but pray for grace. She then goes on to talk through the various chakras about healing and issues that come up in each. There is the suggestion that there might be some way to work through the specific issues related to each section, but there is no delivery. I found that disappointing.

There are great quotes and nuggets of wisdom here. Unfortunately it didn’t seem quite as pulled together as some of her other work. For those who love Caroline Myss this is worth reading. For the rest, if you find yourself in need of a read and it’s around, check it out, but don’t expect it to offer a roadmap to healing.