Why Thermography?

Thermography is considered a somewhat controversial test. Some people say it is not an important screening method to detect breast cancer, while others consider it a critical tool in early breast cancer detection. The function and purpose of the Read more

Light, Life & Love-Brian's Story

Anecdotal stories from my practice are interesting, and they really bring the point home (forgive the fun" that Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine is an amazing medical system that can be used for so much more than pain syndromes.  Brian is Read more

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Breast cancer is only one of the many breast issues facing women today. Fibrocystic breasts, breast pain that waxes and wanes with the menstrual cycle, as well as a suspicious mammogram or thermogram, we women have a lot to Read more

Opportunity for Free New Female Fertility Patient Visit in Doctoral Program

Since the publication of the first research trials demonstrating dramatically higher pregnancy rates when acupuncture is combined with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) more than a decade ago, the demand for highly trained Oriental medicine practitioners knowledgable in the field of Read more

Is Testosterone Overprescribed?

Prescriptions for testosterone creams, injections and patches have risen dramatically over the last decade. Why? Because it works! That's right. Testosterone supplementation makes many men have more energy, increased libido and muscle mass, in addition to feeling more positive Read more

Integrated East-West Hepatitis C Treatment Class

Dr. Rozenn

I am excited to announce that next weekend, 2/21-2/22, I will be teaching Masters students at Five Branches University in Santa Cruz a holistic approach to treating hepatitis C.

Topics include acupuncture treatment protocols, nutritional supplementation, herbal therapy and dietary regimens specific to hepatitis C. Common hepatitis C symptoms such as joint pain, digestive issues and fatigue will be addressed. Additionally, we will discuss illnesses related to hepatitis C such as fatty liver and diabetes. Last but not least, we will cover Western drug therapy and how to help patients though it by reducing the potentially overwhelming side effect of those drugs.

Acupuncture Research ~ Migraines

Dr. Rozenn

According to an article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published in 1999 one study showed that patients who used acupuncture to treat their chronic headaches and migraines experienced 22 fewer headaches per year. These patients also took less pain medication and missed fewer days of work!

Fertility Awareness for Women Part 3

Dr. Rozenn

Chinese medicine has evolved through keen observation of both the universe at large and the human body. Through out its long history of treating infertility, information such as the timing, duration and color of menses has been an integral part of diagnosis and assessing response to treatment. In modern times, Chinese medical gynecologists have integrated basal body temperature charting (BBT) into their diagnostic process.

It was a learning experience for me to study in renowned GYN hospitals in China, as every woman seeking treatment for: infertility, painful and irregular periods brought their BBT chart. The CM gynecologist incorporated the chart into traditional methods of diagnosis like pulse and tongue readings. All of this information was used to form diagnosis of imbalances and formulate herbal formulas specific to that patient’s condition and phase of her cycle. Now let’s put all of that information we learned in Fertility Awareness for Women parts 1 and 2. The more you know about your individual cycle, the better able you will to answer such questions as: are you ovulating, if so, when? What is the strength of your follicular/yin and lutial/yang phases? These fertility awareness methods will help you pin point your fertile times and give you information about any obstacles you may have to pregnancy such as irregular follicular/yin or lutial/yang phases, erratic temperatures, and overall low or high temperatures. Read more

The Uterus—A Woman’s Second Heart

Dr. Rozenn

preg-women-with-clothEvery woman knows (and most men if they know what’s good for them) that emotional states are tied to hormonal fluctuations. The most commonly talked about example of this is Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). First documented in the 1930’s, PMS is a complex syndrome encompassing hundreds of possible physical and psychological symptoms. These can occur anywhere from a few days to two weeks prior to the onset of menses. Common emotional symptoms include: irritability, depression, anxiety, mood swings and sleep disturbances. While up to one third of menstruating women experience PMS, it is estimated that 20% of reproductive aged women have moderate to severe PMS. Common Western treatments to reduce PMS symptoms such as the birth control pill and antidepressants are geared towards hormonal and brain chemistry stabilization.

While we in the West are just starting to understand the relationship between moods and hormonal shifts, these concepts were outlined in Chinese medical texts thousands of years ago. These books describe the connection between emotional states and hormonal balance as the relationship between the heart and the uterus. Rather than the brain being the organ that determines behavior, in Chinese medical theory, this is the heart’s domain.The written Chinese language is comprised of characters which are essentially simplified pictures. The characters for the heart protector and the uterus are almost identical. The difference is that the character for uterus encompasses the concept of “flesh”. As the Heart pumps blood, the uterus also rhythmically fills and empties with blood. The heart beat indicates the surging of life, while the uterus is where life grows and is protected. Thus, the uterus functions as a woman’s second heart.

The heart and the uterus communicate with each other via the bao mai which literally translates to “uterus vessel”. Every month blood comes down from the heart through the bao mai and settles in the uterus, allowing the uterus potential to nourish an embryo. The bao mai must be open and unimpeded for menstruation and conception to occur. If this link is disrupted women can experience PMS symptoms in addition to irregular menstrual cycles and subfertility. How does this disruption occur? Stress and emotional upheavals are both the cause and effect of a blockage in the bao mai.

When we look at this practically, it makes intuitive sense. Most women have experienced the consequences of a bao mai blockage. For example, almost universally, women find their PMS gets worse in times of increased stress and pressure. Also, many women have had the experience of missing a period due to emotional duress.

The wisdom of Chinese medicine tells us that both the heart and the uterus are intimately connecting and that the healthy functioning of one depends on the other.  

Love Your Heart

Dr. Rozenn

heart-healthForty three percent of all deaths in the United States today are attributable to heart disease. Understanding the functions of the heart and the dynamics of heart disease from a holistic perspective will enable you to make heart healthy choices. Asian medicine offers valuable insight into the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the heart.

Many different illnesses fall into the category of heart disease. Coronary artery disease is one of the most common forms of heart disease. In this inflammatory process, blood vessels that deliver blood to the heart become clogged with cholesterol deposits. Over time these cholesterol deposits can evolve into a plaque formation that hardens and narrows arteries. This causes reduced blood flow to the heart. If a piece of plaque breaks loose, it can block an artery that feeds the heart causing a heart attack. When this happens the part of the heart that is deprived of oxygen and nutrients begins to die.

Both Eastern and Western medicines see the heart as a pump that pumps blood to every tissue in the body. In addition, Asian medical theory holds that the heart is responsible for mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. The heart governs thinking, memory and communication. In addition, the heart houses the spirit (shen). The health and vitality of the shen is expressed through the eyes. In a healthy person the eyes sparkle, while a depressed or sick person’s eyes are often dull and lifeless. Patients with heart imbalances may feel like they are lost in the world and disconnected from themselves and their surroundings. According to Asian medical theory, a heart imbalance may manifest with physical symptoms such as poor circulation, palpitations and chest discomfort or pain, and mental and emotional symptoms like mental confusion, depression and anxiety.

It is well known that people with certain personality traits tend to be more at risk of developing heart disease. Those with a “type A” personality have twice the incidence of heart disease. This personality type’s defining characteristics are: competitiveness, impatience, and aggressiveness. It is well documented that aggression is linked to cholesterol, the greater the aggression—the higher the cholesterol. Numerous studies have shown a relationship between depression and heart disease. In fact a study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine shows that those with more severe depression tend to get more heart attacks and tend to die of them too. Researchers found that of the participants who were initially free of heart disease those who reported feeling symptoms of depression most often were 40% more likely to develop heart disease than those who reported feeling depressed the least often. “This study has established that symptoms of depression are an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease in older individuals,” says Curt Furberg, M.D.

The benefit of acupuncture treatment to those who are at risk of heart disease is unquantifiable. Acupuncture can help people cope with stress more effectively through inducing relaxation, calming the mind, settling the spirit. Acupuncture treatment can effectively treat depression, anxiety, poor memory, and insomnia. In addition, specific acupuncture prescriptions for angina, chest pain, cardiac arrhythmias and rheumatic heart disease have been developed in China.

Headaches–A Holistic Perspective

Dr. Rozenn

Over 50 million Americans suffer from a severe headache at lest once in their lives. Whether it’s a nagging dull headache or a debilitating migraine, headaches are an inconvenience and can severely impact daily life.

There are many different pain relievers marketed for headache relief available over the counter. The majority of these are non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS). Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are common pain relievers in this category. Ideally, these medications help the person who rarely suffers from headaches get out of pain fast. Over a prolonged period of time consistent use of these medications is linked with stomach ulcers and pain and liver inflammation. Plus, while for some people they do offer temporary pain relief, they don’t get to the root cause of the problem—what is causing the headache.

Asian medical theory holds that headaches are an imbalance of vital energy. Either too much energy is stuck in the head or due to poor circulation energy can not travel up to the head.

Why does this happen?

The causes of headaches are numerous: inflammation due to sinus irritation and allergies, blood sugar irregularities, past trauma to the head, food allergies, poor posture, vertebral subluxation and other structural causes, stress leading to tight neck muscles, toxins, lack of sleep… the list goes on and on. The good news is that Asian medicine can address all of these root causes.

I take an individualized approach to treating headaches Because there are so many causes of headaches there is no “one pill” or “one acupuncture treatment fits all” fix. After a through medical history and physical examination I put together a comprehensive treatment plan detailing acupuncture treatment, herbal therapy, nutritional supplementation and diet and lifestyle counseling. By addressing the internal causes of headaches rather than simply suppressing the symptoms I have seen many patients not only cease to have headaches, but go on to lead overall healthier lives.

Fertility Awareness–What about Men?

Dr. Rozenn

sperms-meet-eggWorld wide, in 30-40% of couples with infertility, the reason lies with the male partner. While up to 50% of male subfertility is unexplained, there are several factors that can influence sperm count, health and function.


Steps to take:

1. Limit and Buffer Exposure to Hormone Disrupting Chemicals

One cause of lower sperm counts is environmental chemical pollution. We live in a world that is rich with chemicals that act like estrogens (xenoestrogens). These substances are found in paints, polishes, plastic bottles of water etc. Phthalates are another chemical component found in plastics, shampoos and soaps. Herbicides and pesticides on fruits and vegetables plus steroids given to cattle are a commonly in the typical man’s diet. Exposure to all of these can disrupt a man’s hormonal balance leading to decreased sperm counts.

            First of all it is extremely important that men eat organic foods. Also, drink water out of glass bottles rather than plastic. Don’t reheat foods in plastic containers or drink warm liquids out of plastic mugs.

            Buffer your exposure to chemicals with a diet rich in antioxidants. This includes vegetables and green tea. Soy contains phytoestrogens. While these can be very helpful to women going through menopause, soy certainly should not be the only source of protein in a man’s diet.


2. Maintain a healthy body weight.

            In addition to a variety of health problems the obesity causes, overweight men tend to have lower sperm counts. Clinically obese men are 30% more likely to be less fertile and overweight men have a 20% chance of being subfertile. In and of itself diabetes is a cause for low fertility.

            One simple change men can adopt to improve health and enhance weight loss is simply taking a walk after eating. Meals should not be so big or heavy that this seems impossible. Using part of your lunch break for a short walk or if the weather is inclement walking up and down stairs after eating will help you metabolize your food and lead to healthier blood sugar levels.


3. Keep testicular temperature low.

            Testicles need to be a slightly lower temperature that the rest of the body for optimum sperm production.

Men are advised to sit with their legs slightly open rather than crossing them. Don’t place a laptop computer on your lap. Avoid hot tubs.


4. Be aware of any fertility reducing side effects of prescription medications.

Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are known to lower fertility. Depression is a serious illness and one should not simply stop taking medication. Men can discuss alternatives to SSRIs such as appropriate exercise regimens, acupuncture and herbal medicinals and meditation with their health care provider. Viagra and marijuana can alter sperm motility and thus reduce fertility.


Research—Acupuncture can improve men’s fertility 

The study Quantitative evaluation of spermatozoa ultrastructure after acupuncture treatment for idiopathic male infertility, published in the Journal of Fertility and Sterility examined men with idiopathic (unknown cause) subfertility. Subjects had too few sperm, malformed sperm and/or sperm with poor motility. After 10 acupuncture treatments researchers found a significant improvement in the percent of normally formed sperm. Sperm motility was also improved and brought up to normal levels.


Tune in this Thursday, November 13th

Dr. Rozenn

I am looking forward to being on the talk radio show The Balancing Point, hosted by my esteemed colleague John Nieters, LAC, DAOM/PhD (c). We will be talking about boosting fertility with Chinese medicine, the research I am doing with the Fertility Physicians of Northern California on acupuncture and IVF, and our upcoming study on acupuncture and unexplained infertility. Please feel free to call in with your questions! Looking forward to hearing from you.

The Balancing Point
KEST 1450 AM
Thursday 9-10 AM

(415) 543-TALK

What Happened to the Fertility Awareness Series?

Dr. Rozenn

I haven’t posted a Fertility Awareness article since August because I have been so busy writing a new research study and finishing my clinical Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) capstone project.

New Fertility Study

I will be doing another acupuncture and fertility study (in addition to the acupuncture + IVF study) in conjunction with the Fertility Physicians of Northern California. We expect to start enrolling women diagnosed with unexplained infertility in this study by December. I will post details of the study and contact information when be begin the enrollment process.

DAOM Capstone Presentation and Defense

I was one of the first five Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) candidates to present a capstone paper on Sunday, October 26 at Five Branches University in San Jose, CA. Topics ranged from the etiology of Parkinson’s disease to treating breast cancer with chemotherapy plus herbal formulas. My paper was on treating unexplained infertility with acupuncture. This paper was the basis for the upcoming study I authored (see above). My colleague, John Neiters submitted his soon to be published book on children’s health, More Precious than Gold. John and I can now concentrate on finishing our book on Chinese medicine and fertility enhancement.


I really enjoyed writing my capstone paper because it allowed me an opportunity to delve into the classic Chinese Medicine texts. Here is an excerpt from my capstone project:


Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is the longest continuous recorded medical system and has a rich history of treating gynecological diseases and promoting fertility. TCM is a complete medical model with its own medical theories and several modalities such as acupuncture, bleeding, cupping, herbal formulas, massage and moxabustion. One of these modalities in particular, acupuncture is the subject of widespread international research for fertility enhancement.

The Yellow Emperor’s Cannon of Internal Medicine (Ling Shu, SuWen) is one of the oldest surviving Chinese medical texts. This book dates back to 2600 BCE. It sets forth the foundations of modern day Chinese medical theory. There are extensive passages on the physiology and pathophysiology of menstruation, fertility and pregnancy. The concept that fertility requires optimal functioning of the kidneys, liver and spleen organ systems plus the Ren, Du and Chong meridians comes from this book. Additionally, the intimate relationships expressed through channel networks between both the uterus and the heart and the uterus and the kidneys are first set forth in this text. Thus, to influence fertility, treatment must be aimed at regulating these channels and strengthening these organ systems.

The liver is the organ responsible for the free flow of qi, emotions and blood through out the body’s organs and channel networks. Obstruction of the liver and impedance of its duties often results from overwhelming or repressed emotions, which in turn adds to feeling of anger, resentment, irritability and psychological instability. Because of the liver’s relationship blood, suboptimal liver functioning can result in irregular periods, which can indicate failure to ovulate or irregular ovulation.

The spleen is the source of “post heaven qi” and as such is responsible for assimilating nutrients from food and transforming them into qi, blood and body fluids. The body needs an appropriate balance of and high quality blood, qi and body fluids to ovulate, form an endometrium and sustain pregnancy. The spleen also has the ability to uphold blood thus a deficiency in the spleen can result in miscarriage. Disorders of the spleen can also cause midcycle bleeding which can reflect inadequate progesterone production from the corpus lutium. Additionally, the phlegm and dampness that can occur from faulty body fluid metabolism can block the fallopian tubes or inhibit ovulation as seen in polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Infertility almost always involves some pathology of the kidneys. The kidneys are the root of “pre heaven qi”. In other words, the strength of the kidneys is determined by genetics. Aside from constitutional weakness, other causes of kidney deficiency can include: unrestrained sexual activity, excessive manual labor for an extended period of time or deep exhaustion due to lack of sleep and prolonged stress. In chapter one, the Suwen  clearly outlines the rising and falling power of the kidneys through out a woman’s lifetime. This has been linked by modern day writers to the hormonal fluctuations from menarche to menopause. Additionally, since a woman is born with all of her ovarian follicles which have the potential to become ootocytes, the quality of these follicles is dependent on the strength of the kidneys.

The act of ovulation requires a shift in the energetics of a woman’s menstrual cycle from yin to yang. The Ren and Du meridians govern all of the yin and yang energy of the body and thus their health is essential to the process of ovulation. The Chong meridian not only links the spleen and kidneys, pre heaven and post heaven potential, but it has a branch that runs up the back with the Du meridian and connects with the Ren meridian in the lower abdomen in the region of the reproductive organs. Therefore, it is also instrumental in conception.

Lastly, the health of the uterus and reproductive organs themselves are essential to conception. According to the Suwen, the uterus is an extraordinary organ. It is hollow like a fu organ, yet functions like a zang organ. In other words, it has space to be filled, but holds blood and rhythmically fills and empties with this essence each month. The Suwen in chapters 33 and 47 also tells us that the uterus and reproductive organs are connected to the heart and the kidneys by special channel networks. Through this connection the kidneys give the uterus a source of original power to create and hold on to life. In her book, The Essential Woman, Elisabeth Rochat De La Vallée describes the connection between the heart and uterus, “From the heart the network also includes connections from the innermost part of the person to the other zang fu and parts of the organism, enabling the distribution of the radiance of the spirits via the blood.” (p. 19).

Sugar Free & Wheat Free Brownies

Dr. Rozenn
You can use either butter or coconut oil in this and 
it comes out great either way—or try half and half. 
        * 1 1/4 cups of organic butter or coconut oil
        * 8 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
        * 6 eggs
        * 1 cup xylitol
        * 3/4 tsp sea salt
        * 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
        * 2 tsp vanilla or other flavoring
        * 1 cup coconut flour
        * 1 cup nuts if you want 
1. Melt butter and chocolate over low heat.  Let cool.  
2. Mix eggs, xylitol (I add some agave), salt, coconut milk, 
and vanilla.  Fold flour mix into egg mix, then mix in 
chocolate.  Fold in nuts if you are adding them. 
3. Pour the whole mess into a 9x13 coated pan  
and bake at 350 until done.  Start checking at 40 minutes with 
a tooth pick, it can take up to 50 minutes. 

***Due to the high fat content in these enjoy in small amounts!