Have y’all done it?
I’m a newbie. Eight sessions in, I believe. I’m HOOKED. Fuerte hooked.
It all started back in Paris.
Or was it Amsterdam?
I think it was Amsterdam when Tez bought a Chinese face massager. A little hand held tool that is used to release pressure points on your face.
Then she sent me an ebook all about acupressure and how it works and why. It’s like acupuncture but instead of needles you simply apply pressure with your finger tips releasing blocked energy helping everything flow better.
So I started doing this! As well as using essential oils. No more creams for me, just essential oils. (Ok, that’s not true I LOVE my Dr. Hauschka Rose creme.)
I’m not sure what it was about Europe, but it really brought out my ‘I am woman, embrace it, Liza’ and I started giving myself ten minutes of beauty prep in the morning, something I generally have no desire to do. I think it was all those gorgeous French & Dutch women, making it look so easy to always look their best.
And then once back in BA I saw a pic on Instagram of Acupuncture Buenos Aires. I begged for the contact and before you know it I was buying a 10 pack and filling out an extensive online questionnaire via Acu BsAs’s website.I made my first appointment and biked over to Almagro where I met Lauren, a New Yorker Chinese Medicine Doctor, who has set up Acupuncture Buenos Aires out of her gorgeous home where she lives with her Argentine husband and two sons.
Lauren and I went over the online questionnaire together and talked details- lifestyle, diet, sleep, metabolism, injuries, etc.When she asked me why I wanted to try acupuncture I expressed that I simply wanted to find balance. To better myself as 30 approaches, both physically and internally.
I also mentioned that I have horrible circulation in my legs (something that tends to run in the females of my family) and that I have a consistent pain in both wrists, probably from the decades of tennis, piano, bartending, and cooking.After about an hour of talking I laid down and the pinning started! I was a little apprehensive to be honest as I’m not a fan of needles but I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing.
But truthfully it was nothing!
I think for me it’s more visual than physical, the needles.
So I don’t watch, I just close my eyes the minute she walks over with the needles.
She pinned my feet, hands, face, and legs and I laid for about 45 minutes while spa like music set the tone. She placed a blanket on top of my body and left the room allowing the pins to do their magic.In the beginning it took me a while to get in the groove of total relaxation once the pins were in! How long do I wait here for? When is this over? When is she coming back? What if I have to pee? Can I walk with these needles in?! These questions kept running through my head and I had to keep telling myself to just shut the fuck up and relax.
It’s not always easy!
So like I said, I focus on my breathing.
I envision a white silhouette of myself carrying suitcases and placing them down and walking away. Completely letting go of all the baggage. No worrying about NOLA reservations or what I’m cooking for dinner or whether we should change our prices because of exchange rates. Those thoughts get left on the streets.
And it’s so insane how powerful this stuff is!
Things I’ve noticed-
Zero pain in my wrists. ZERO. Every now and then when I’m doing yoga I’ll get a little bit when I’m putting a lot of weight on my hands, but it doesn’t even compare to before!
My appetite has shrunk resulting in weight loss. I’ve always been an overeater, mostly because I love to eat and if the food is good I tend to eat til I’m uncomfortably full, a bad habit of mine. Now I’m more aware and I stop eating before I get even close to that point.
I’m a little turned off by wine and alcohol!! I know, CRAZY. The first couple of weeks this was really strong and I noticed that I disliked the taste of red wine. Wild!! Fortunately this has faded but I notice that I’ve taken a big step back when it comes to drinking which believe it or not I wanted, and needed! Yes, a glass of wine a day is fine, but not 2, 3, or 4. Not everyday, Liza.
Physically- my skin has never looked better!! As in face + body. Also my body is looking kinda fly! I assume it’s a combination of acupuncture, skin education from Cassandra (when to exfoliate, what to moisturize with, protective serums, etc.) and yoga. At acupuncture we’re doing facial rejuvenation which I’m obsessed with because I can see massive results and I’ve also noticed that my varicose veins in my ankles have disappeared!! I know, I know. It’s crazy. I’m not sure if it’s because my leg circulation has gotten better because of acupuncture/yoga, or what, but I have seriously had purple ankles for the last ten plus years of my life and now they are blanco!! Tan or no tan!
Overall my general reaction- It’s like my body doesn’t want to put anything in it that could harm it. Like physically it doesn’t want it! Which can be a big mind trip because habit is telling me one thing and my body is telling me another! Lauren suggested I do cupping a few weeks ago after I mentioned that the right side of my back was knotted up.
The cupping really helped break things up and I started focusing my yoga on my back.
This is more or less how the yoga addiction started!
On Tuesdays, my day off, I go to acupuncture and have a chill kind of day.
But I think the best thing I’ve gotten out of this experience is how it’s all come together and reinforced why I got into cooking in the first place- to make people feel better through food.
It’s such powerful stuff!
After all, these are things we’re putting into our bodies everyday, multiple times. We are a reflection of what we eat!!It’s fascinating how what we put in our bodies controls everything, internally and externally.
I know that no matter how often I go to acupuncture or do yoga it wouldn’t have such an impact if I was constantly eating processed foods, refined flours/sugars and loads of meat and dairy. So luckily what I’m doing seems to be working for me.
I’ve found the balance that I was looking for, now it’s just about maintaining it.
What about y’all?
Needing some acupuncture in your life? If so and in your in BA, give Lauren a shout, I’m sure she’d be happy to help! And tell her NOLAchef sent you!
I sent Lauren a few questions to help y’all get a better understanding of her and her magic. Take a look!
Was there a specific moment you knew you wanted to get into (CM) Chinese medicine? Explain por favor.
Figuring out that I want to study Chinese Medicine and become a doctor ofTCM was a process that started in college and took a handful of years before really beginning my studies. Since Chinese med school, like western medschool is no walk in the park but instead a medical study that can take up to 6years including both Chinese & Western medicine, I waited until I was really ready for the commitment. I went to the University of Arizona and was anAnthropology student focusing on the Ethnobotony (study of medicinal plants) local to the native people of Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico. After 7 years of traveling in India, becoming a yoga teacher, working in inner city schools in Oakland and real estate in NYC I was ready to dive head in and start school. I always knew that I wanted to work with traditional medicine and not mainstream medicine. It was just a question of how and when.
What has been your biggest achievement in your practice with (CM)?
My greatest achievement so far- it’s hard to say.. Since Chinese Medicine works on such deep level, creating homeostasis in the body- I feel like I helped so many people, even when someone comes to me at first, maybe a bit overweight, depressed and considering meds, has no energy to exercise, is smoking and drinking too much and then a couple months later they are the healthiest version of themselves ( happy, healthy, exercising , not smoking,etc, etc.) To me that is incredible, since if that person keeps going down that road for years to come, they just keep getting sicker and sicker, emotionally and physically. Specific miracles which have amazed me were; making cancer patient’s side effects from chemo disappear, helping a woman get pregnant who was told by her IVF doc that it was impossible, treating a 75 year old man with one lung who needed to take steroids to breath, who after regular treatments no longer had to take his meds and was able to exercise daily, a woman who had severe anxiety and insomnia no longer has either and one of my favorites was making a patient’s kidney stone disappear who would have had to get surgery. Even something as simple as taking away someone’s back pain, can be life changing for them. In all honesty, the list is long since I see so much change is all of my patients, even the most insignificant change, can be that pivot that transforms their life!
What is the most powerful tool/practice for healing?
#1 is diet – food is our greatest medicine and worst poison. After that, its acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, which can dramatically change the body but if your eating poorly, too much or too little – it is hard to force nature.
What is the biggest misconception about acupuncture?
I love this question! Biggest misconception – 1. It only works if you believe in it– that one is funny. 2. It only works for pain.
What do you rock at (with CM!)? Strengths one would call it….
That’s a hard one. I treat the whole person, mind/body / spirit so I try not to focus on any one thing – I think that’s a very modern concept, to “specialize” since the medicine is really an internal medicine dealing with everything physical and emotional. A lot of acupuncturists do it but since I am one of the only real Chinese medicine docs here in Argentina I want to leave my door open to everyone. I do love helping women who have struggled with infertility, get pregnant and helping them go into labor (that is always fun). Also, treating emotional issues/ disorders – I really enjoy seeing how much we can heal the mind/spirit from working with our bodies energy and things we hold onto in the subconscious. To see a patient suffering with anxiety or depression, insomnia or even high stress and then after a few months, they no longer have this issue, is incredibly rewarding.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would you choose?
I love living in Argentina but if I could live anywhere in the world it would probably be in the Hudson Valley which is a beautiful area ( and where I am from) a bit upstate from NYC with rolling mountains surrounding the HudsonRiver . Vermont would also be a great option. I haven’t been to Patagonia yet, so maybe once I finally visit that may be my dream place. I am all about woods,rivers and mountains. But I must say, for cities, Buenos Aires is it.
Best place you’ve traveled to?
Best place I ‘ve traveled too — can I pick 3? 1. India ( I did a 5 month backpacking trip from the Himalayas to the valley of the Himalayas and Rajasthan and everything in between) 2. Sinai – picture Bedouins, camels,sleeping under millions of stars and the sea Moses parted, incredible. 3. Ireland ( Aran Islands) / Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua – they are tied.
What is the best advice you could give an acupuncture client?
Drink Chicken soup as much as possible, limit your gluten, sugar and dairy intake, do yoga, eat with the seasons (no salads in winter/sushi), remember to breathe. Enjoy this life, it is precious, difficult, beautiful and amazing. Remember to be grateful for it and everything and everyone you have in it!
Tell me about your bear husband/how you got to BA.
My husband Marcelo Sturgeon is how I got to BA. He is also part ofAcupuncture Buenos Aires as the resident Reiki Master. He is also an author who’s book of short stories ; “Balance” will be out here in Argentina in the next month. Marcelo owned one of the first hostels in Palermo called Casa Jardin. We had friend in common who recommended I stay there upon my visit to BA back in 2006 . After a year or so of a very romantic long distance relationship via NY & BA he moved to NY and 5 years later after 2 babies and a short stint in California we moved back to BA last December. Little did I know this is a common love story between the Gringa and the Porteno. We call ourselves the bagel and the empanda.
Beach or mountains?
Beach to vacation. Mountains to live.
Best concert you’ve been to? Or how about a top 3?!
#1 Grateful dead – September 1993 Madison Square Garden. This show, I remember specifically because they played a song ( I think they only played half the song)– Dark Star- which they didn’t play for 15 years, maybe more. The crowd went crazy to a level that my 15 year old self couldn’t comprehend. #2 James Brown– The Warfield 2001 tied with surprise Neil Young at the Warfield – same year,both in San Francisco . # 3 Pearl Jam – Buenos Aires 2012 – I have my own love for PJ and especially Mr. Veder but the Argie crowd has a religious sort of connection with them and this was amazing to witness.
Camping at a music festival or yoga/reiki retreat in India?
What is the best food/drink for Summer?
Food for summer : Watermelon is the most important food in the summer. The white rind is actually a Chinese herb and used to regenerate fluids and quell summer heat. This is the time to eat salads, smoothies and colder natured foods such as; cucumbers, lemons, mint, cilantro, mung beans, seaweed,watercress, peaches, oranges, cantaloupe and broccoli. Think light, cool and pungent.
Your favorite food?
Favorite food – it’s a tie between a perfectly seasoned grass fed burger from my favorite restaurant in Williamsburg Brooklyn, 5 Leaves vs. a NY bagel topped with lox, red onion, cream cheese and tomato.
Coffee or mate?!!
Espresso in the morning. Mate anytime else. I love mate and everything that surrounds it. The ceremony of sorts of mate time with friends and family. The perfect time to talk and relax. I also enjoy drinking it on my own.
Choripan or empanada?
Winter or Summer?
Summer – though in Buenos Aires it is so hot. If I could be transported to a place with pools or lakes that would be preferable.
Vino or cerveza?
Vino – malbec o cabernet por favor.
Brooklyn is the epitome of hipster gentrification perfection. Its amazing and (that perfection/ a.k.a coolest place on earth) can also get on your nerves after awhile but I do miss those flawless coffee shops where you walk in and everyone is in their utmost fashion with their wide frame glasses behind their Mac computers and gorgeous cappuccinos. It’s quite a bubble of sorts but also a place filled with incredibly creative people. I miss the food. How you can get the best organic ice cream, Polish kielbasa, chicken tikka masala, local farm to table sandwiches, all walking within 10 minutes. I miss the NYC vibe, the energy, the music, being able to wander around a city filled with some of the world’s best art, which is accessible at almost any time of the day. I miss the view across the east river to NYC I had from my kitchen window. It’s where I am from and I think you can never fully be at home anywhere else but home. What I miss the most of course are my NYkers, a.k.a my best friends and my familia.