17 Jan 2013

Wholesome Healthcare: Oriental Medicine as Preventative Medicine

“The sages of antiquity did not treat those who were already sick; they instructed those who were not yet sick…To treat disease that has already developed is comparable to the behavior of those persons who begin to dig a well after they have become thirsty, and of those who begin to cast weapons after they have already engaged in battle. Would these actions not be too late?” -Huangdi Neijing

Prevention as a concept to take care of oneself on a daily basis and not only during a crisis is a growing phenomenon in North America.  While many individuals do not seek out acupuncture until they are sick – as we are accustomed to, due to our western medical model, historically and methodically acupuncture and Oriental medicine have their roots in the importance of prevention. It is not uncommon to hear the response after inquiry about my profession that “I don’t need acupuncture right now because nothing is wrong.” Acupuncture and Oriental medicine has gained in popularity over the last twenty years, however, of the millions of people that have experienced it, only a small percentage understand it as a preventative medicine as well as an effective primary health care model. 

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are effective to treat illness, but its strength and complexity lies in prevention. The beauty of this medical model is to use it as maintenance of health rather than a quick fix, addressing the root cause of ailments. The disease process has layers of progression to it. Years before a physical manifestation can be detected on either an MRI or due to pain, energetic imbalances exist within the body. The symptoms may be as subtle as a mild headache and not until the disease has manifested at deeper levels will an individual seek treatment. These minor signals that your body expresses are not ones important to western medicine but are all taken into consideration by a doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine to diagnose and treat the imbalances present.

Oriental medicine works through more avenues than just acupuncture (the insertion of very thin needles at specific locations), incorporating nutrition, exercises, and herbal medicine for each individual’s constitution. Through this wholesome approach your body maintains harmony and has the ability to regain its full potential. Patients often discover that although they come in for specific conditions like low back pain other previous conditions also improve, they may experience fewer colds and if they do experience a cold that their recovery rate is greatly improved. With regular treatments (which are personalized and vary from person to person in terms of length and frequency) the state of health of the body is balanced. What this balance establishes is a strong immune system, more energy, life stressors and emotions are easier to handle and process, and your overall efficiency in daily tasks is increased. 

Prevention is the most crucial factor in my practice. Traditional doctors of Oriental medicine were punished for letting their patients get sick and rewarded for keeping their patients healthy. As a practitioner of this 4,000 year old medicine, I honor these doctors through practicing prevention and staying in tune with my patients and their individual needs as we move from season to season and the interdependence of each entity in relation to the outside world.

As a society, as humans, we want to be healthy and to achieve our full potential. Practical solutions with simple steps that are offered through Oriental medicine will be a part in the solution to a wholesome healthcare system that will keep people healthy and in balance.  Call an acupuncturist in your area to see how Oriental medicine can help you stay healthy and in tune with your body.

Isabel Demers, LAc, MAOM is licensed and board-certified to practice Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine in New Hampshire and Maine. Isabel's gentle acupuncture style draws from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Japanese acupuncture and Kiiko Matsumoto style of acupuncture. Isabel has assisted Kiiko Matsumoto. In addition, Isabel has completed an assistantship with Dr. T. Koei Kuwahara who practices Toyo Hari style of acupuncture - specifically geared toward pediatric care. Having worked in a variety of healthcare settings, Isabel has developed the ability to design comfortable and effective treatments to suit the individual needs of all her patients. Isabel incorporates her background in Western herbalism, nutrition, psychology and humanities to address each person as a whole, focusing on a strong foundation to foster each person's full potential for health. Isabel practices at the Inspira Center for Foundational Health; to schedule a complimentary consultation or an office visit, call 603.842.4769.

Spotlight: Traditional Yoga

Rather than a competetive athletic event, our yoga classes allow the space to reconnect with your body independently of other practitioners in the class. 

Classical yoga consists of postures, breathing and meditation for the purpose of cultivating calmness of mind & spirit. We spend most of our lives running around, simply expecting our bodies to just work - without really paying much attention to them. Yoga practice at the Inspira Center focuses on reconnecting with one's own body and spirit. Religious affiliation is irrelevant - we simply provide the "space" to nurture your body, mind & spirit with compassion and flexibility.

Ages 13 and older are welcome in the Sunday and Thursday morning classes. Thursday afternoons are kids yoga (ages 5-12).

THURSDAYS (kids): 3:30-4:30pm

$12/class or get a 10-pack for $100, good toward any yoga, yoga dance or meditation class

*No yoga or athletic experience necessary - all levels are welcome!

Baked Sweet Potatoes

2 med organic sweet potatoes

splash tamari soy sauce

1 tsp coconut oil

Wash potatoes and poke with a fork, then bake on 375 until soft. Split with a fork, and mash in the coconut oil and tamari to taste (this will be salty). As long as they're organic, go ahead and eat those skins for an extra nutrient boost and added twist to the flavor!

Roasted Veggies

2 med sweet potatoes, diced

1 butternut squash, peeled & diced

4 med carrots, diced

1 Tbsp olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

Mix everything together in a ceramic or glass baking dish and bake on 375 until everything is soft - about 45 minutes. Enjoy!

02 Jan 2013

Welcome to 2013!

On behalf of the entire ICFH Team, I'd like to wish you a Happy New Year! We hope that 2013 will bring you an abiding sense of purpose, abundant energy and truly optimum health so that you may express your full potential in our community!

We are so grateful for your support as we continue to grow in this new year, and look forward to helping you reach your goals. As we move into another year of this precious life, many of us are asking: What is it that really matters this year? When you make your New Year's Resolutions, remember that we share your passion for the possible, and our work is all about supporting you with specific training for meaningful change - at the foundational level. 

Please join us at our New Year, New You resolutions kickoff open house event (details below) - and bring a friend! This year, we hope to expand our community in order to magnify the positive impact on our world.

This newsletter will be published biweekly, and future editions will include health articles by our practitioners, as well as spotlighted foods and herbs (see right for recipes). Please send us your feedback and suggestions for what you'd like to see us write about!


ICFH Director


Good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin D, iron, magnesium, caroteinoids like beta carotene, potassium. Their natural sugars are released slowly, ensuring balanced & regular energy. 


Coconut Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes

3 med sweet potatoes

3/4 c coconut milk

1 Tbps minced fresh ginger

1/2 tsp salt

Dice potatoes and boil until soft. Mash and whip in coconut milk, ginger and salt to taste. Enjoy!


Sweet Potato Burgers

Makes 7-8 large patties

2 c cannellini beans, drained

1 large sweet potato,

2 Tbsp tahini

2 tsp maple syrup

1 tsp fresh lemon juice  

salt/pepper to taste

1/4 c flour (wheat, rice, etc)

any other seasoning to taste

bread crumbs (gluten or not)

coconut oil for pan

Bake & peel sweet potato. Mash together with beans, adding seasoning and flour, adding more flour or some plain cooked brown rice if needed to form a patty. Coat the patty in breadcrumbs and pan-fry in coconut oil to golden brown. Serve on toasted bun with yummy toppings like tomato, avocado, lettuce, mustard...!