The Wellness Blog

Two Resources for Acupressure to Prepare for Birth

Here are three resources to help you prepare for birth. I am working with an extraordinary group of women in the Maternity Acupuncture and Mentorship Peer Support two year program. I am both a student and a presenter in the program. Please use these links as advised to best support you to prepare for birth.

Please download and print them and share the links with others.

IVF Recommendations from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine

IVF Recommendations from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine

The ASRM, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine recommends that you wait out the COVID 19 crisis if you have not started an IVF cycle yet.

This is challenging news and can feel really hard. I CAN work with you on supplements, nutrition, Chinese herbal medicine and lifestyle support during this time. To schedule a Telehealth appointment with me go to:

Why is Amy’s in office closed during the Covid-19 crisis?

Why is Amy’s in office closed during the Covid-19 crisis?

My office is closed to seeing patients in office as we are being asked to do so by Governor Baker.

As many of you know, in addition to patient care I do board service work as the Vice Chair of the American Society of Acupuncturists. This is a document created and released by our board to provide context.

I am available for Telehealth appointments. You can book them at:

Contextualizing “Essential Healthcare Providers” and “Essential Healthcare Services” during the COVID-19 Deluge

Physical distancing/Social Solidarity/Social Innovation


March 30, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

There has been tremendous confusion and misplacement of priorities surrounding the terms “essential healthcare” and “essential healthcare providers” during this time of COVID-19. Particularly, these surround whether licensed acupuncturists can and/or should be continuing to deliver care. Please read this note carefully in consideration of this:

1.     The determination of which professions are or are not “essential healthcare providers” is determined at the state level. In general, it would likely be valuable to be determined as such for many reasons. This is a separate issue, however, from whether to keep your doors open during the COVID-19 crisis.

2.     The issue at hand now is not at all about whether licensed acupuncturists are valued as a group, or if they are officially “essential healthcare providers”. Medical doctors are closing doors. Surgeries are being delayed. Dental procedures are being postponed. These providers are clearly “essential healthcare providers”, but they are not providing essential services in this context. This is not about “worth”, it is about patient safety. Whether a patient should be seen depends not on whether you are an “essential healthcare provider”, but rather on the nature of the condition to be treated as an “essential health care service”.

3.     An essential healthcare service should be considered from three points of view during the COVID-19 crisis:

a.     If the patient were not to receive the service, would that patient end up in the ER, hospital, or otherwise become endangered (e.g. increase opioid use or seeking) by not receiving care in the immediate time frame?

b.     Does the provider offering the care have the needed personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimize the risk of spread between provider and patient? If not, the service should not be provided at this time. For clear guidelines on PPE, please see The basics of PPE include:

i.     Masks
ii.     Eye protection
iii.     Gloves
iv.     Gowns

Please see Appendix A for more detail on precautionary measures.

c.     Should the provider offering the service have adequate PPE, would it be a better use of that equipment to donate it to front-line providers who are at known, imminent risk of exposure? If the PPE is to be used in the ambulatory clinic, it should be to save PPE that would otherwise be needed for the patient in the hospital setting. (I.e., the patient would go to the hospital and the same volume or more PPE would be needed in that setting.) Every use of PPE depletes the global supply.

4.     Regardless of whether a patient has an emergent condition which could lead to further harm or a trip to the hospital, patients should not be treated in the ambulatory setting if they have any signs of illness or fever, or other cold and flu-like symptoms. Patients should be prescreened prior to coming to the office, and if they have concerning signs should be seen in the ER or hospital rather in the ambulatory clinic setting. While silent carriers can be asymptomatic and can still convey disease, the ability to manage a silent carrier in the clinic is far easier than a patient who is sneezing and coughing, with rhinorrhea. It should be noted, EVERY patient and EVERY provider should be considered an infectious silent carrier, and universal precautions should always be observed.

5.     This level of “shut down” is particularly critical during this immediate timeframe to blunt the wave of patients all becoming ill simultaneously. It should not be understood as likely to stop coronavirus in its entirety. Medical institutions are overwhelmed already, and PPE and resources (e.g. ventilators) are running low. If fewer people get sick all at once, there will be better and safer-to-deliver care available, leading to much less morbidity and mortality. How big the tsunami of patients will be depends on our actions now. Picture the destruction a tsunami of water can bring, and you can understand the destruction a tsunami of coronavirus infections can yield.

Final thoughts: Every state is putting out different recommendations to providers as to who may treat and who may not. Some states have explicitly forbidden any practice, while others allow provider discretion. We recognize there is still an epidemic of pain, and an opioid crisis occurring, despite coronavirus. Considering the limited availability of PPE and ability to assure a safe treatment environment in almost every case, the ASA strongly recommends that acupuncturists close doors for in-person treatments during this crisis.” The economic burden this creates is profound, however this is also a critical moment in history. Please stay alert for economic relief options, and do all you can to provide telehealth services and teach patients to do as much self- care as humanly possible. We will get through this!

For more information on safeguards for practice, see page/ and

In Health and Solidarity,

Your ASA Board of Directors



Appendix A

Checklist for seeing patients during the COVID-19 crisis:

  1. Non-essential visits from patients should very clearly be postponed, and group visits should be discontinued at present. The primary means of transmission of the coronaviruses is through close personal contact, especially among groups and in spaces that cannot be adequately cleaned and monitored. The more people that pass through your offices, the greater the chances that one will have coronavirus.
  2. ALL patients should be prescreened by phone, before they come to their appointments, for any signs of illness, and for travel or exposure risks as outlined by public health authorities. No patient should arrive at your clinic ill. If a patient is ill on prescreening, they should remain home or be sent to the hospital if illness is severe. Patients arriving at the office with acute illness should be sent home and not treated by the acupuncturist.
  3. All patients and providers should be considered “silent carriers”, and universal precautions should be employed.
  4. If the acupuncturist has any signs of illness, all patient visits should be cancelled. Patients seen in the last 14 days should be notified that they may have been exposed.
  5. In every possible case, counsel patients by phone or via an on-line platform regarding health maintenance, sick care, and use of herbal medicine, if you use herbs.
  6. Patients should be taken directly from the entryway to their treatment rooms. Avoid having patients congregate in the waiting areas. Patients can wait in their cars if they arrive early.
  7. Proper Personal Protective Equipment must be used with every patient. This includes masks (mouth/nose and eyes), gloves, and gowns.
  8. Disposable treatment table coverings should be used and discarded after each patient. This should include disposable pillowcase coverings with protective plastic.
  9. Stagger booking so that patients do not overlap, and wipe down any surfaces that may have been contacted during the visit with appropriate cleaning products, including bathroom facilities. High volume clinics need to decrease their volume if they cannot assure patient separation.
  10. Remove non-essential items that could be vectors for virus transmission from the waiting room, treatment rooms, and other common areas. Decreasing the number of points of contact for contaminants will decrease the risk of transmission and make cleaning procedures more effective. Detailed guidance on workplace preparedness can also be found from OSHA:
  11. Practitioners should change clothing upon arrival to the office, and remove work clothing prior to leaving the office. Shower upon returning home.


● Avoid close contact and observe physical distancing.

● Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

● Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%-90% alcohol if soap and water are not available. COVID-19 can transmit through both respiratory droplets and via stool, so careful handwashing is critical.

● Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash can. Cough or sneeze into your elbow and not your hand if you do not have a tissue available. If you contaminate your hand and then touch other objects, you will spread the virus.

Please note, this list is developing and subject to change. Other possible precautions may be advisable.

What can you do during the Covid-19 outbreak to stay safe?

Contribution to the hive. Blessed be y’all

What can you do to stay healthy in the midst of the Covid-19 epidemic

No one can say it enough. Wash your hands – often and well with soap for 20 seconds when you enter your home, after using the bathroom, after touching your face, before and after eating, et..

Wash/sanitize your phone:

Stay calm and do whatever meditation or breathing practice you do to stay centered. Consider downloading an app like

Simply Being or Calm to help.

Breathe…in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Stay home. Seriously. Limiting contact limits possibility for transmission. Germs are opportunistic and each of us is or has loved ones whose heatlh we would not want to compromise. It’s not just about us.

Do not gather with others IRL – we have FB, IG, Facetime,Messenger and WhatsApp to connect with each other. Is it hard that my mom is in lockdown in her community? You bet. Is is safer for her? 100%

What’s Chinese Medicine got to do with it? Qi Gong: We all need to move our bodies, this will benefit us in multiple ways.

I am taking telemedicine phone and zoom calls at 413.222.8616

Warming foods are our friends. The best way to explain this is is to think about your body as an ATM (bear with me). When you eat something warm, it is an automatic energy deposit. When you eat something cold, it is an automatic energy withdrawal. Room temperature is neutral. All information coming out of China is this virus shows up in Chinese medical differential diagnosis as wet and cold. We use warm and spicy to combat wet and cold. Chicken soup, oatmeal with cinnamon and ginger tea are your best food friends. Please do limit cow and goat dairy as they are wet and cold by nature and temperature. Sugar generates wetness in Chinese medicine so, eat a little less.

Find your siver lining and use found time to play games with those you live with – board games are in and fun. Connect with family members who live with you and share stories, memories or bring back the lovely tradition and experience of snail mail letters.

Do exercise. Whether it’s a walk alone outside or lifting weights or using a machine in your house, activating your Qi/Life force will only help.

Drink adequate fluids and eat adequate fiber. Chia seeds are our friends and can be put into any kind of liquid to make pudding – worth a try!

Remember this is an opportunity to put what matters into perspective and be grateful for what we have. My father, of blessed memory, used to say, “I find that when I am grateful for what I have, rather than focussing on what I don’t, I am a much happier person.”

Heat Therapy: Moxa & Alternatives to Moxa

Heat Therapy: Moxa and Alternatives to Moxa By AMY MAGER, MS, LAc, FABORM, and CHRISTINE CRONIN, DAOM, LAc

Heat therapy is an integral treatment of Chinese medi- cine. Although we concur

with our colleagues that moxa is our best choice for heat therapy, barriers may exist that could prevent a pa-tient from using moxa or being able to use it often enough to have a ther-apeutic effect, yet in many instances, heat therapy is a necessary compo-nent of a patient’s treatment plan. In this article, we discuss historical references to the use and importance of moxa, alternatives to moxa us-ing other forms of heat therapy, and practical applications of heat therapy that patients can apply using com-mon household items.


Our classic texts discuss the need for moxa when appropriate, but also the dose or frequency in which it

is most effective. From The Golden Mirror of Medicine, we learn the importance of heat dosage: “When treating diseases with moxibustion,

for there to be any effect, the heat must be sufficient to obtain the Qi” (O’Conner & Bensky, 1981; Wiseman & Mitchell, 1999). This means that

it is not enough to wave the moxa stick above the point, but that the patient must experience the sensa-tion of the heat coming to the point. I was taught by Raven Lang to teach the patient to say “hot” when it is too warm for them and to immediately press the heat into the skin if using a moxa stick, or to remove the ibuki or direct moxa if one is using that, to ensure that the experience of the heat coming to the point three times is achieved.

Dharmananda (2004) discusses chapter 73 of the Lingshu, which states, “A disease that may not be treated [is not successfully treated] by acupuncture may be treated by moxibustion”. We see this situa-tion with a variety of patients. One example is with patients who have compromised or weak wei qi and get sick easily or frequently. Another instance is with patients in cold cli-mates (including the elderly) who have trouble staying warm, who are prone to cold conditions and often deplete their yang and jing. In ad-dition, heat therapy may be added to treat women with weak spleen qi who, for example, may have hemor-rhoids, or are working to get and stay pregnant. Furthermore, heat therapy is used with people who have either weak central qi, weak spleen qi, or both, accompanied by digestive is-sues. Heat therapy is also indicated for anyone with weak kidney qi or kidney yang. In short, moxa can be used in any instance where there is damage from cold and part of the treatment goal is to warm, nurture, and nourish qi and yang.

Moxa is always our first choice for heat therapy. Other options are a moxa pot, a favorite used by Miriam Lee, who had them made in China to her

specifications, or a moxa box, which may be made of brass or wood. If possible, if your patient has a family member or caregiver whom you trust to use a moxa stick, moxa pot, or moxa box on your patient without causing harm, moxa is the first choice.

Moxa is always our first choice for heat therapy. Other options are a moxa pot, a favorite used by Miriam Lee, who had them made in China to her specifications, or a moxa box, which may be made of brass or wood. If possible, if your patient has a family member or caregiver whom you trust to use a moxa stick, moxa pot, or moxa box on your patient without causing harm, moxa is the first choice.

However, while moxa is an in- credible therapy, the most adverse event is burns. Between 2005-2014, 4% of the claims that involved civil litigation or investigations by the acupuncture board and were paid by MIEC were the result of moxa burns (Medical Insurance Exchange of California, 2015). Please make sure you have an ashtray or small vessel with water to extinguish moxa balls for needle moxa, a scoop to remove needle moxa, and a place to extin-guish ibuki moxa on hand before you begin applying heat therapy with moxa. Also, ensure your patients and caregivers understand the possibility of burns.

In addition to burns, moxa is sometimes a poor fit for our patients or our colleagues. Due to the spaces

where we practice, co-workers who do not like or cannot tolerate the smell and smoke, or the perceptions of others, alternatives to moxa are necessary. All of these situations and many others bring us to possible al-ternatives to moxa.


As we said in the beginning, moxa is always our first choice. For example, moxa is used in postpartum care (Mager, 2018) to warm, nourish, and help the birth parent heal. Unfor- tunately, moxa doesn’t work well for every family for a variety of reasons. When barriers to receiving moxa exist or the appropriate amount of moxa to access de qi is an issue, and