The Hot Tube

Long white tube hanging from ceiling in a room with blue walls

Long white tube hanging from ceiling in a room with blue wallsI’ve been asked by a few patients why the light behind the clinic desk is vibrating, so I thought I’d explain it here. People see the long tube of white crinkled fabric hanging from the ceiling and illuminated from within by colored lights, and assume it’s a pretty lamp. Lamps don’t usually vibrate, or make quiet white noise sounds. This creation is actually a clever device to help the clinic be more energy efficient!

It’s called a Hot Tube, and was created by a guy named Bill in Maine who wanted to solve the problem of hot air collecting on the ceiling in the winter. In the northeast, this happens a lot when you’re heating with a woodstove, but here in the clinic, the same thing was happening due to the heating vents being located in the ceiling. (Why? Who would design such a thing? Even fifth graders know that heat rises!)

When the weather first got cold enough to require the clinic’s heat to be turned on, I was frustrated that it never seemed to warm up. Then one day I had to adjust a curtain rod near the ceiling, and had to pull my hand away because the metal was actually hot. The warm air was just collecting in the eight inches or so below the ceiling. While it was 60-something degrees at the desk, the ceiling zone was in the 80s! I thought, “Surely someone has figured out how to fix this,” and after some time with Google I wound up on the kickstarter page for the Hot Tube.

I love it. The way it works is that a fan at the top of the tube sucks in the hot ceiling air, then sends it down the tube and out through a a vent at the bottom. If the fan is turned up all the way, that’s when you see the tube vibrating a little bit. The quiet white noise sound is from the fan action, not a white noise generator. The lights inside allow it to also function as a pretty lamp. ūüôā

Since installing the Hot Tube, the treatment room temperature has been more consistent. We’ve had some furnace problems this winter, but the hot tube has made it possible to keep the treatment room warm with a couple of space heaters.

If you think you want a hot tube for your house, you can order them on the Tube-Works website for 99 bucks.

$99 Unlimited Acupuncture in January

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? Acupuncture can help you kick off the new year by supporting you while you get started on your resolutions. The special: Pay $99, and come in for as much acupuncture during the month of January as you like.¬†This special may be purchased anytime this month, and covers all treatments January 1-31 with either Jen or Lauren.

Q. How often should I try to come in?
A.¬†Once a week is great for general wellness and supporting mental health. 2-3 times a week can help to budge active pain conditions like sciatica or frequent migraines. If you’re trying to quit smoking, coming every day for a week or two at first and tapering off can help manage the stress and cravings.

Whatever your health goals, acupuncture works better when you get treatments often enough to build on each other. Let us know what your resolution is and we can tell you how often we recommend coming in to best support it ‚ÄĒ but you can come as often as you want!

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Open on New Year’s Day

We’ll have special hours on Monday, January 1:¬† 12-4pm. Come in for acupuncture if you need help getting over a hangover, need a little extra oomph to get started on your New Year’s resolutions, or just want to take advantage of having some time available on Monday afternoon.

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Seasonal Affective Disorder and Acupuncture

Happy solstice!

Today is winter solstice, the day with the smallest number of daylight hours in the year. After today, the days gradually will start getting longer, giving us an extra minute or two each day of sunlight until we reach the longest day at summer solstice in June. Our part of the planet is turned its furthest away from the sun, and this is when the coldest temperatures begin. I thought about that as I (grumbling) scraped ice off my car this morning for the first time this season, and the temperature gauge read 32 degrees. This is the body’s hunker down season.

Here in Portland, we don’t get many sunny days over the winter months, and a lot of folks experience some level of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — a type of depression that’s typically tied to the seasons with shorter days. SAD can make you sleep a lot, feel like you have no energy, moody, crave carbohydrates, gain weight, and generally experience all the symptoms of depression. In fact, in the latest DSM, they stopped classifying SAD as its own disorder altogether, and instead they now add a qualifier of “with seasonal pattern” to diagnoses of depression or bipolar disorder. Along with the depression, many people also experience anxiety symptoms. Any way you slice it, it sucks.

Light therapy using a light box can help. The idea is that you sit near a high-intensity light for 20-30 minutes each morning and it helps regulate your circadian rhythm. small light boxI started using a light box last year, and it has really helped. I have a small one that uses LEDs and doesn’t take up much room, so that I can take it with me if I travel or am late getting out of the house. This is the one I have:¬†Sphere Gadget Technologies Lightphoria, 10,000 Lux Energy Light Lamp.

Acupuncture can also help. Some people come in when they’re feeling overwhelmed by the heaviness, to get some relief. Getting that instant rush of relaxation is nothing to sneeze at — if you’re feeling overwhelmed, come on in! For me, like a lot of people, it’s harder to motivate myself to do things for self-care if I’m already in a pit of overwhelm, so I tend to favor prevention if it’s possible. I’ve found that getting acupuncture once a week during the dark season smooths out and dials down the depression and anxiety symptoms and makes it a lot more manageable.

If you suffer from seasonal depression, you’re not alone, and there are many things that can help. Come in for an acunap, try a light box, talk to a therapist or a friend, get some exercise, snuggle your cats and dogs, see a doctor about possible medication… there are a lot of options, and whichever options work for you are the right ones.

Free Acupuncture on Miriam Lee’s Birthday

Free acupuncture next Saturday, December 9 in honor of Miriam Lee’s birthday! Free treatments are available to both new and existing patients, and all treatments that day will be¬†“Miriam Lee’s 10 Great Points.” Make an appointment to come in and try this awesome treatment for yourself!

But who the heck is Miriam Lee, you ask? She’s an amazing figure in acupuncture history, and since I wrote a paper about her once upon a time, I thought I’d share some of her story for anyone who’s interested.

Continue reading “Free Acupuncture on Miriam Lee’s Birthday”

Make an Appointment by Text Message

Have you ever been out and about and thought, “Oh, maybe I’ll go get an acupuncture treatment,” but you didn’t want to have to log in to the website to book an appointment, and you weren’t sure if we were open or¬†if there was space for you to be a walk-in, so you just skipped it? Now you can make appointments by text message!

As you know, our phone always goes to voicemail to avoid disrupting the treatment room. But if you¬†text us (same phone number, 503.683.2738) your message will pop up on the reception ipad and we’ll know you’re coming.

If you’d like to use this method, get started by texting “hours” and your first and last name to 503.683.2738. We’ll reply with our business hours, and that way the next time you’re out and about and thinking of popping by, you can check to see if we’re open by visiting your text history.

If we’re open and you want to come in, just text us a note with what time you’d like to drop by and we’ll know to expect you. If we already have a few people coming in at the same time, we can text back let you know if it would be better to come in a little earlier or later to avoid having to wait. Sometimes our reply might be right away, or sometimes it might be a few minutes if we’re with a patient when it comes in, but you don’t have to wait for a reply to head over.

Hopefully this option will make it a little easier to squeeze acupuncture into your schedule!

Stuffed Animals for Mental Health

four stuffed animals: a tan rabbit, a brown and white dog, a gray tabby kitten, and a golden lab puppy

People use acupuncture for stress, depression, and anxiety all the time. These conditions are widespread in our culture, and heading to an acupuncture clinic can help in a few different ways. The needles are obviously the biggest factor — acupuncture has been shown to be effective with these conditions in many studies. For the people who tend to fall asleep during treatment, the nap has its own therapeutic value. Putting your phone away for an hour and disconnecting from your stressors, letting your body rest in a relaxed position, and being in a space with soothing sounds/colors/textures also contribute to the experience. At Feel Better, we’ve added another option to help chill you out: stuffed animals!

It might seem silly to think about adults snuggling stuffed animals while receiving acupuncture, but if you give it a try, you might find that your treatment is even more relaxing. Most people are aware that interacting with live animals can have a therapeutic effects, such as when they’re used in hospice, with veterans, or as emotional support animals. But studies also show that touching or petting a stuffed animal also can lower stress, depression, and anxiety. Live animals have a larger effect, but hey — when you’re dealing with chronic depression and anxiety, every little bit helps. One study even said stuffed animals can help reduce existential angst!

Stuffed animal dog in the lap of a person receiving acupunctureIs it the reassuring small weight on your lap or under your arm? The feeling of the ultrasoft (fake) fur under your fingers? The brain making an association to¬† real pets you’ve loved and/or stuffed animals you snuggled with in childhood? Maybe all of the above? Whatever the reason, it really does seem to make a difference.

So! We have a selection of stuffed animals in the clinic — affectionately known as the Feel Better Snugglebuggles — that you can choose from if you’d like to give it a try.

From patients who’ve tried it:

“Wow, that was so relaxing!”

“I thought it sounded silly, and I thought I looked silly, but it was actually really comforting. I’d totally take a nap with that kitten again.”

“This makes me want to get a stuffed animal to hold while I’m at home watching tv or working on my laptop, it really did make me feel relaxed.”

So given them a try the next time you come in for a treatment! We have a couple of puppies, some kittens, and a rabbit to choose from. And you can hide them under a blanket if you’re still worried about looking silly. ūüôā

Small Business Saturday

If you’re out shopping tomorrow morning on Small Business Saturday, why not take an acupuncture break? Feel Better¬† opens at 8am and will take walk-ins until 1pm. We’re convenient to small businesses on Foster-Powell, Division, and Hawthorne, so if you’re shopping in SE Portland, drop by!

Clinic Open on Thanksgiving

Led sign with OPEN in red letters surrounded by blue swooshes

Feel Better will be open our normal hours over the Thanksgiving holiday. Whether you need to de-stress after a day of debating politics with family or you want to give your digestion a nudge after a huge meal, we can help! Our hours on Thursday are 8-11am and 5-7pm, and on Friday from 8am-1pm. Appointments available, or just come on by during our business hours — walk-ins are always welcome!