Smoke in an acupuncture office! We know that it’s legal in some states now, but what is going on??

Many of my first time patients experiencing Chinese Medicine are concerned about the strange smells that they often encounter when at the office. No it is NOT marijuana! Although the smoke does have a similar smell which often adds to the apprehension patients have when coming to an acupuncture office for the first time.

This treatment is called moxibustion, or moxa for short.

What is Moxa?

The pungent smell comes from an herb called mugwart that is sometimes burned in tandem with acupuncture treatments to enhance the healing of many disorders.

Mugwart is a warming herb that can be used in many forms including cigar shaped moxa sticks, small moxa rolls that are placed directly on the needles, as well as moxa cones that are placed directly on the skin. However, the last technique is not often performed in the USA due to the potential of burning the patient!

I most often use the moxa cigar, which is applied one-inch above the skin to the areas of the body that are to be treated. And no… I do not burn my patients!

Uses of Moxa

The radiant heat from moxibustion has a laser-like effect — penetrating into the deepest layer of the bodies tissues all the way to the bone level. The healing effects of moxibustion stimulate blood flow, increase circulation, and enhance an immune response, resulting in an acceleration of healing time for many disorders.

Moxibustion has many applications and can be used calm the nervous system and relax stressed muscles, as well as to treat other disorders such as:
• fertility enhancement
• […]

By |November 14th, 2012|Acupuncture|Comments Off on Moxa


What is cupping? And why should anyone get cupped?

Cupping is a technique that practitioners of Chinese Medicine use along with acupuncture to help promote circulation and healing. This technique dates back thousands of years and has been used in many cultures throughout the centuries for healing.

It is a bit misunderstood here in the USA. People that are unfamiliar with cupping are at times horrified by the marks left from the cups, as well as mystified as why someone performs this technique in the first place. I know, because I was one of those horrified patients before I understood the reasoning behind cupping.

When I was a young dancer getting my acupuncture for all my muscular skeletal pains, strains, and tears, I was cupped for the first time by an acupuncturist that I had just started seeing. True to the Chinese style, the acupuncturist explained nothing about what was happening. All of a sudden my needles were taken out, there was this great torch of fire, and then I felt a strange suction sensation all across my back. In a short period of time the cups were removed and off I went without any explanation. “Oh well,” I thought.

That evening my husband gasped at the strange appearance of my back. When I looked in the mirror I couldn’t believe what I saw. There were dark red one-inch circle marks covering my entire back. I looked like I had been attacked by an octopus. That was my last time visiting that acupuncturist as I assumed that she must be crazy.

Cupping Explained

Now that I use and value the cupping technique, I wanted to help demystify and explain this ancient practice to the public.

I always explain and forewarn […]

By |November 7th, 2012|Acupuncture|Comments Off on Cupping

It’s National Acupuncture Day!

Today is National Acupuncture Day as well as my birthday. It makes me smile to think that my birthday is the same day as National Acupuncture Day, as if somehow it was my destiny to become a practitioner of Chinese Medicine. So exactly how did a girl from Chattanooga, Tennessee end up in New York City working as an acupuncturist/herbalist in an completely Chinese office?

I joke and say that I am the “token” in the office that I have shared for the last eight years with the famous Dr. Jin, her husband Dr. Kin (both acupuncturist from Shanghai), and their Chinese only staff. They treat me like family and tell me that I am part Chinese because I work long hours like they do. But no one works as hard and as long as my Chinese colleagues–inspirations to us all.

Most people are unaware of Acupuncture Day and the benefits of acupuncture, but we acupuncturist are asked to spread the word.

I want to take this opportunity to share my story about how I came to rely on Chinese Medicine as my primary health care system, and why I chose this career path in my second spring of life.

In the early 80’s I was living and working as a professional modern and jazz dancer in NYC. Dancers work long and hard physically, and my body was constantly plagued with aches, pains, strains and tears. When I needed medical attention, the western doctors would tell me to stop dancing for six to eight weeks! For a dancer, that was like telling me to stop breathing for that amount of time. Clearly that was not an option, as “the show must go on” and the rent needed to […]

By |October 24th, 2012|Acupuncture|Comments Off on It’s National Acupuncture Day!

To Juice or To Blend: That is the Question

To juice or to blend: that is the question. My patients often ask me which is better, and the answer is simple: both are beneficial for different reasons.

Read on to find out which works best for you.

Why Juice?

Juicing extracts water and all the nutrients from the produce while discarding the fiber. This concentration of nutrients is quickly absorbed into the body without the burden of having to digest the fiber. This is great when you want to increase your fruits and vegetable servings without all the bulk.

The quantity of plant produce that one can consume in an eight ounce glass can be the equivalent of eating one bunch of kale, ten celery stalks, ten carrots, or three cucumbers. There is no way we would eat that much produce in one day.

Juicing is the way to go when wanting to rev up your vegetable and fruit intake to add concentrated nutrients including valuable antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. I like to add a green juice once a day to provide my body with all the vibrant nutrition that is power packed in a green juice. I like to use mostly greens and keep my juice on the low glycemic index to avoid sugar spikes–try it!

How to Juice

Because of the high concentration of produce, it is best to only juice organic produce. Try to use local produce as well, when possible. I love picking beautiful, organic, local greens from my farmers market and combining them in interesting ways. What tastes good is good here!

There are many types of juicers on the market. Finding the perfect juicer for you can be overwhelming. Purists insist that a cold press juicer is superior to a rotary type juicer as more nutritional […]

By |October 18th, 2012|Healthy Meals|Comments Off on To Juice or To Blend: That is the Question

Be a Good Citizen… and Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables!

A shocking statement was made at a recent nutritional conference, and I have to agree with the sentiment:

“The Taliban couldn’t have done a better job at attacking and undermining the health of the American people if they had designed the typical American diet themselves!”

We are a country of the over-fed and undernourished. We don’t have to look too far to see the disastrous effects of fast food, processed food, chemicals, preservatives, and additives on the health of our nation. We as a people are plagued with the diseases of unhealthy lifestyle habits.

Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, stress and anxiety are on the rise and now affecting our children at younger and younger ages. “No child left behind” is not working. Children are not only being left behind in school with foggy brains from bad nutrition, but also on the playground, where they are unable to skip, jump, cartwheel and feel the joy of moving due to dragging around their undernourished and over-burdened bodies.

The numbers and statics support this. But I feel this problem needs to be addressed on a personal level and not just as a statistic that happens to other people.

Each one of us is affected by unhealthy lifestyle habits. Our parents, family members, friends, spouses, children, colleagues, and neighbors are all at risk of having or developing diseases of unhealthy life choices, as are we ourselves. It is time that we look at and work on this problem as a community. We can become a support system to help move each other into making better food choices, becoming more active, mentally focused, relaxed, and satisfied with life.

Connect Offline

One of the first steps towards a healthier life is to start having home cooked […]

By |October 10th, 2012|Lifestyle|Comments Off on Be a Good Citizen… and Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables!

Wheat and Gluten-Free Consumers Beware!

Like most of us, when shopping in health foods stores, I have a belief that the products there are of a higher nutritional value. It is easy to place foods in my cart without feeling the need to scrutinize labels and worry about additives or chemicals. But is this really safe to do?

As an acupuncturist and a nutritional advisor, I am often helping patients find higher quality foods that fit their particular needs and lifestyle. I like to keep abreast of the latest trends in healthy eating so I can help my patients and my family eat the best foods available on the market.

The latest craze is a gluten and wheat free diet. The word is out, and there is an endless selection of gluten and wheat free products on the market these days. With the new variety available, many of my patients have switched to gluten and wheat free breads for a more health-conscious approach to eating grains.

Wheat products that are produced in the United States today are not as healthy for our bodies; these products are super-charged with gluten and a type of wheat that sky-rockets blood sugar even higher than white table sugar does!

I am a supporter of this trend, but have noticed that all products on the market are not produced equally. During my latest trip to the health food store, I began to really read the ingredients in some of the most popular products on the market. While it is a great idea to avoid wheat products, it also is necessary to truly look at the ‘healthy’ products replacing them.

Take Udi’s, for example. Marketed as an ancient grain bread, upon closer inspection of their ingredients, I’d have to say they […]

By |October 3rd, 2012|Healthy Meals|Comments Off on Wheat and Gluten-Free Consumers Beware!

It’s About that Time…Cold and Flu Season!

Protecting yourself from colds and flu starts with keeping the sinus passages clean and healthy. The sinuses are the first filter for all the external air born viruses, bacteria, fumes, and pollens. They are removed and sometimes stored in the sinuses. Keeping the sinus cavities clean is especially important if you have allergies, asthma, chronic cough, or post nasal drip or prone to colds or sinus infections. The Neti Pot is one of the most effective ways to irrigate the sinuses, but a routine that is tough to maintain with a busy lifestyle.

I have found that using a saline solution spray like “Ocean” is quick, easy and effective in keeping the sinus passage clean and free from inflammation. Sniff several squirts of “Ocean” up into the nostril, allowing the solution to run down into the throat, and then spit out the mouth 2 to 3 times. Then repeat on the opposite nostril (morning and evening.) This treatment will begin to heal the tissues, as well as discharge and loosen phlegm and debris from the sinuses.

Another effective treatment is using eucalyptus essential oils in the shower. This essential oil is both anti viral & anti bacterial. You can turn your shower into a healing spa by applying 15 – 20 drops of eucalyptus oil onto the shower walls and then enjoying the wonderful aroma of this powerful essential oil. It can also be used in a steam over the stove. Place 5 to 10 drops in a large stockpot filled with water. Bring to a boil then turn off flame place a towel over your head while you breath in the healing steam for 5 minutes.

Lastly, using fresh ginger and garlic in your diet can help […]

By |September 26th, 2012|Immune System|Comments Off on It’s About that Time…Cold and Flu Season!

Dr. Parris’ Morning Elixer

Dr. Parris’ own special blend—containing the powerful antioxidant properties of Astragalus and Goji Berry combined with Blue Green Algae from Klamath Lake, OR—brings you the absolute best way to start your morning! You can get it directly from Jenise, or feel free to email her at to find out more information and place an order.


½ cup organic unsweetened almond milk (Pacific brand or Wholefoods brand “365”)
1 cup organic fresh or frozen berries (raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, acai berries)
1 tablespoon Barleans brand Omega Swirl flax oil (strawberry/banana, or blackberries flavor)
2 tablespoons Nutiva Organic Hemp protein high-fiber
1 scoop Innate Renewal Greens
5 spoons Dr. Parris’ Morning Elixer
¼ cup coconut water

Blend well and drink slowly. You can drink half and then save the rest for a snack later.

You can get a 15% discount on the Nutiva Organic Hemp and Innate Renewal Greens here.  Just enter the patient access code heal24.

By |September 19th, 2012|Healthy Meals|Comments Off on Dr. Parris’ Morning Elixer