Acupuncture for Seasonal Allergies in Chester County PA

Acupuncture is a natural solution for seasonal allergies. Pollen allergy affectsnatural sinus relief with acupuncture an estimated 35 million Americans each year, according to Web MD. Some people are allergic to tree pollen and notice symptoms in the Spring. Grass pollen allergies are more prevalent in the summer. Weed allergy symptoms pop up more in late summer, early fall. Sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, and sinus congestion are just a few of the allergy symptoms people face each year as the pollen count rises.

While over the counter remedies such as antihistamines can help in the short term, many people find that these medications lose their effectiveness over time. Fortunately, natural treatment alternatives exist. Acupuncture has been proven to effectively reduce and even eliminate allergy symptoms. CNN reported research published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine in March 2013 on the positive benefits of acupuncture treatment for seasonal allergies.

How does acupuncture work? By placing tiny, sterilized needles into just a few specific acupuncture points, acupuncture has been shown to boost your immune system. Better immunity helps you combat common allergens such as pollen, dust, and animal dander. According to Chinese Medicine, acupuncture boosts the ‘Wei Qi’ or protective qi that circulates just beneath the skin. Wei qi becomes weak due to common dietary factors such as excess sugar and not enough quality nutrition like fresh vegetables. Other factors include stress and lack of sleep. Acupuncture combined with good nutrition is a winning combination for seasonal allergies.

One of my patients had this to say about her allergy treatment. ” I have taken a combination of allergy medications for several years to minimize symptoms, without consistent relief. After Margaret’s first few treatments, I noticed a big difference.” (Google Review)

To read more, please see my Allergies & Asthma page  complete with patient testimonials and research articles to see how acupuncture can help YOU with your allergies this season.


a bowl of congee

Congee – The Ultimate Comfort Food

Congee is the ultimate comfort food. Congee is a super simple creamy rice porridge, the consistency of oatmeal. Also known as jook, congee is traditionally consumed as a breakfast food, but it’s also suitable for lunch, or dinner. The basics are a small amount of rice with lots of water or stock simmered and stirred for a couple of hours until it reaches a thick, creamy consistency. The rice becomes silkier the more frequently it is stirred. Below is a slow cooker chicken & ginger congee for those of us who aren’t inclined to repeatedly stir their congee on the stove. There are, however, many recipes for those without a slow cooker. Besides its versatility, congee is economical – about 3/4-1 cup of rice to 6-8 cups of water. And like all rice, the dish adapts to almost any sort of addition you’d like.

a bowl of congee

Congee – The Ultimate Comfort Food

Nurture Your Digestion

Chinese Medicine emphasizes a diet that reduces internal dampness to avoid developing digestive troubles and to strengthen immunity. Dampness forms in the body when we’ve eaten a diet rich in dairy, wheat, and animal protein as well as too much raw food like salad and fruit in the cold months. (See the Chinese Medicine Diet links in the Nutritional Counseling section of our website for more information on dampness in the diet.) Chinese Medicine practitioners encourage their patients to eat foods that are easily digested; such as cooked vegetables instead of raw cold vegetables. This is especially true in the winter months. Since congee is cooked for such a long time, it’s easily digested and often given to children or to older people with weak digestion. As we descend deeper into winter, nourishing the digestion with foods such as congee becomes important for our health. This simple dish is very warming in cold weather and is a delicious, nutritious meal for anyone and everyone!



For the congee:

  • 8 cups water
  • 3 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice, preferably jasmine
  • 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices fresh ginger, smashed
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more as needed
  • Optional toppings:

    • Roasted peanuts
    • Thinly sliced scallions
    • Minced fresh ginger
    • Fresh cilantro leaves
    • Tamari or soy sauce
    • Place all the ingredients for the congee in a 5-quart or larger slow cooker. Cover and cook until very creamy and the rice is completely broken down, 8 to 10 hours on the LOW setting or 5 hours on the HIGH setting.
    • Transfer the chicken and ginger to a plate. Stir the congee with a wooden spoon, making sure to scrape against the bottom and sides of the slow cooker to incorporate congee that’s sticking there.
    • Shred the chicken, then stir the meat back into the slow cooker, discarding the bones, skin, cartilage, and ginger. If you would like a thinner congee, add additional water 1/4 cup at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Taste and season with more salt as needed. Serve hot with the toppings.


Storage: The congee can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Recipe from: Christine Gallary

Is Acupuncture the Cure for Holiday Stress?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year….or is it? Holidays have become synonymous with the word ‘stress’. The 2020 Holiday Season is much less festive than years past and has brought a huge burden of stress to us all.

Acupuncture is the Cure for Holiday Stress

Modern life is unbalanced in the best of times. We work too hard, play too little, and consequently experience high levels of stress and anxiety. This year has added a whole new layer of stress as many are working from home, maybe homeschooling, or working in an environment that looks very different from our pre-pandemic way of life.

To top it all off, we are adapting as best we can to a very different social reality! Holiday parties are off the list, gathering with distant relatives, travelling, even seeing our friends have all been put on pause. The absence of our daily social interactions with others outside our immediate household has been profoundly isolating for some and just plain stress producing to us all. It’s truly been a year of throwing out your planner and seeing what today brings.

Chronic stress negatively impacts our health and immunity at a time when we need both to be in full force. Acupuncture treats chronic stress by moving stuck energy or stagnant ‘qi’. (Qi is the life force that flows through your body). Qi gets stuck when we are frustrated. Our collective inability to chart a course right now affects the acupuncture meridians and creates a condition acupuncturists call ‘qi stagnation’. People describe qi stagnation as feeling ‘pent up’ or just needing to get out and ‘blow off steam’. Acupuncture gets your qi moving by using hair thin needles placed at key locations to move your body’s qi which helps you relax. But how does it work?

Acupuncture Blocks Stress Hormones

Scientists have discovered that acupuncture actually affects the brain chemistry by blocking stress hormones. In fact, research published in the Journal of Endocrinology in 2013 demonstrated a reduction in ‘fight or flight’ hormones involved in stress response.

To read more on the acupuncture and stress reduction study:

Read more about acupuncture and stress.

May you and your family be safe and well this holiday season!

Research on How Acupuncture May Provide Pain Relief

Pain relief is a common reason people seek acupuncture. Read research that demonstrates the brain activity that occurs during acupuncture treatment and how it could contribute to acupuncture’s pain relieving effects. Read more

Acupuncture for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Acupuncture can help Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  This is the type of depression that happens at the same time each year, usually in the fall and winter. Doctors attribute seasonal depression to less sunlight. Now that we are turning the clocks back, there will seem like even less daylight as the sun will go down one hour earlier. Even though we gain an hour of daylight in the morning, we lose it at night, leaving us feeling light deprived. Add to all this that we are in the midst of a pandemic and limiting our social interactions, Seasonal Affective Disorder has the potential to be worse for people this year.


Seasonal Affective Disorder is SAD

Fortunately, acupuncture treatment can be effective for people who suffer from symptoms of seasonal depression. But how does it work? First we must understand how acupuncturists view SAD.

Is SAD a Disorder?

Fluctuating moods occur at each change of seasons according to Chinese medicine theory. Composed of the same elements that occur in nature, our bodies are a microcosm of the natural world. Changing conditions in our world create change in our bodies. Shouldn’t our moods be expected to shift accordingly?

Spring and summer mark an expansive time of year both in nature, and for most of us, our mood. On the flip side, the contraction of the fall season sees energy going in the opposite direction. For those who prefer spring and summer’s expansive, outward flow, the inward, reflective cycle of the approaching winter season may have a more severe affect and could become Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Acupuncturists know that our energy is beginning to contract and pull inward come fall; similar to what is happening outside our front doors as the leaves turn colors and trees begin to go dormant. With the waning daylight hours and the cessation of plant growth, there is a natural desire to turn inward as fall becomes winter. As we enter the dark cold winter months, it is normal to want to conserve energy as we seek to renew ourselves for the next cycle of expansion that begins with the first buds of spring.

Grief and the Lungs

Each of the 5 organ systems of the body is assigned a season and an emotion in Chinese Medicine. Fall is associated with the Lung organ system and the emotion of grief. Because of this, it is in the fall that the lungs need more help than at other times of the year. We tend to catch more colds and flus starting in the fall and to feel the emotional effects of the season associated with grief. Acupuncturists know how to regulate the Lung organ system to help achieve strength at a time when it is most vulnerable.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Here is a list of symptoms for seasonal affective disorder according to the American Psychiatric Association.

  • Sadness
  • A Loss of interest in activities that one previously enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite or eating habits
  • Changes in sleep
  • Loss of energy
  • In more severe cases, thoughts of suicide

People with depression experience many of the same symptoms. The difference is that seasonal depression symptoms are shorter in duration, ending with the change of seasons.The National Institute of Health suggests a diagnosis of seasonal depression isn’t necessary unless symptoms occur for two consecutive years. However, if these symptoms are severe, seek help immediately.

The American Psychiatric Association encourages anyone feeling severe symptoms of depression or suicidal thoughts to contact a doctor immediately or seek help at the closest emergency room. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 800-273-TALK (8255) or via online chat.

If your symptoms are manageable, you may be able to get by with natural solutions. Exercise, getting outside for more daylight, and keeping up with social activities can help.

Acupuncture Treats Symptoms of Seasonal Depression

Seasonal moods are part of our human design. It is normal for them to change as the seasons turn. Adapting to change is a sign of good health and balance. This year is different, however, because there is a collective trauma many are undergoing as our globe is experiencing a pandemic. Even the most resilient of us may be feeling unable to adapt to the change of seasons this year. When you are unable to adapt and your mood begins to affect your daily function, it could be seasonal affective disorder.

The good news? Acupuncture can help with seasonal depression. Acupuncture helps your body move into the changing season so you can ‘go with the flow’. It does this by increasing neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. A series of acupuncture treatments can help people who are prone to S.A.D. adapt to the seasons more readily. People who get regular acupuncture report an overall balance in their emotional life with less severe ‘ups and downs’.

For more information on Acupuncture and Depression please visit our Treating Depression with Acupuncture page.

Chronic Cough After a Cold?

What causes a chronic cough after a cold? Many of my patients are complaining of lingering cough after getting over a cold this winter. Why does the cough last long after the cold is gone? Several reasons are sited for that nagging cough that just won’t quit. Post nasal drip may be irritating the upper airways which are often more sensitive after getting over the common cold. Cold air, or even dust can cause a fit of coughing when airways are raw. Other more serious concerns are pertussis (whooping cough) or bronchitis which should be addressed by your doctor.

Chronic cough can last from 4-8 weeks and interfere with your sleep. Some spouses report sleeping in separate rooms due to a partner’s nagging cough.


Treat chronic cough with acupuncture!

If your cough is nothing serious and still lingers, it is recommended to try to suppress the cough so as not to keep irritating the airways.

Some natural remedies that may help are:

  • Fluids – drink, drink, drink to stay hydrated and thin mucus.
  • Marshmallow Root or Slippery Elm which are demulcent slippery herbs used to soothe mucus membranes.
  • Honey in herbal tea

According to Web MD you should see a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms with a lingering cough:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood, bloody mucus, or pink foamy mucus
  • Coughing up green, tan, or yellow mucus
  • Fever, chills, or chest pain when you breathe deeply

Acupuncture for Chronic Cough

And if all else fails, there’s acupuncture. I offer effective rapid treatment using just a few needles for cough and breathing issues from all sources. Check out our Bronchitis and COPD page for more information.

Peripheral Neuropathy Solutions

Peripheral Neuropathy Solutions

Do you experience tingling, numbness, or pain in the hands or feet? You may have Peripheral
Neuropathy. Neuropathy occurs in the feet or hands due to nerve damage. Over time, the nerves lose their blood supply due to constriction which causes them to degenerate. They start sending abnormal signals to the brain as nerve damage progresses.

Neuropathy Solutions Couple Walking Dog

Treat your neuropathy. Live your best life!


Symptoms of Neuropathy

People with Peripheral Neuropathy describe the pain as stabbing, burning, or tingling. Some people experience numbness as the nerve damage progresses. Once sensation is lost in the feet, balance problems start to occur and you may be at risk of falling. If it’s in your hands, you may experience weakened grip and begin to drop things.

What Are the Causes?

Neuropathy is often caused by diabetes but can also happen for other reasons such as injury or genetics. Sometimes the cause is unknown. Your doctor may recommend medications such as Gabapentin or Lyrica but these often provide limited relief.

Common Causes
• Diabetes
• B12 Deficiency
• Chemotherapy
• Kidney Disease
• Toxins or Infections

Neuropathy CAN be treated!

Your doctor may have told you that you’ll just have to live with your neuropathy symptoms but
we can help you find relief! At Inner Light Wellness Acupuncture we have state of the art solutions to help your neuropathy symptoms. As long as you’re less than 85% affected, neuropathy can be eliminated or reduced.

3 Things to Know to Treat Neuropathy

1) What is the underlying cause?
2) How much nerve damage has been sustained?
3) How much treatment will be required?

First we will provide a comprehensive neurological and vascular exam to determine the extent of injury to the nerves. Then we will discuss a treatment plan customized for YOUR neuropathy symptoms based on the length of time you’ve had symptoms and the degree of loss you’re experiencing.

3 Goals of Treatment

1) Increase blood flow
2) Stimulate nerve fibers
3) Decrease brain based pain

Our pioneering ATP Resonance BioTherapy combined with customized Neuro-acupuncture treatment has been shown to increase blood flow and expedite healing and recovery. Margaret has a 90% success rate in treating neuropathy either greatly reducing or eliminating symptoms completely.

What do patients say?

“I had neuropathy for years. As a teacher I have to stand all day but my tingling and burning were so bad I couldn’t wear shoes. I had to wear sandals, even in winter. Socks even bothered me. After seeing Margaret my symptoms went from unbearable to now I can wear shoes and work all day without discomfort. My only regret is that I didn’t come to see her sooner!”

Cindy A.

Acupuncture for PTSD – Research

Acupuncture for PTSD

Acupuncture proved an effective treatment option for lowering the symptoms of PTSD in a 2007 randomized control pilot trial published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease.


Neuro Acupuncture Treatment

The purpose of the study was to evaluate the potential efficacy and acceptability of acupuncture for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People diagnosed with PTSD were randomized  and assigned to three groups:

A standardized acupuncture treatment group (ACU)

A cognitive-behavioral therapy group (CBT)

A wait-list control group (WLC).

The primary outcome measure was self-reported PTSD symptoms at baseline, at the end of treatment, and 3-month follow-up. The acupuncture group reported the largest treatment effects for PTSD, similar in magnitude to the group  who received Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Symptom reductions at end treatment were maintained at the 3-month follow-up for both interventions. Acupuncture may be an efficacious and treatment option for PTSD. Larger trials with additional controls and methods are warranted to replicate and extend these findings.

At Inner Light Wellness, we treat symptoms of PTSD, Anxiety, Stress and Panic Attacks, and Depression with Neuro Acuuncture. Neuro Acupuncture is an advanced skill that stimulates brain regions associated with psychological and emotional symptoms. Our patients report feeling very relaxed during the treatment. After a course of therapy, approximately 6 weeks, most report a significant reduction in symptoms of stress, anxiety, panic attacks, and PTSD.

Watch this video testimonial from my teacher, Dr. Jason Hao’s website website.

Acupuncture is a terrific addition to therapy, and medication if needed. It is a good adjunct to other forms of therapy and may help those interventions work even better. Don’t wait, call us and get started on the road to recovery!


Hollifield, Michael A et al. “Acupuncture for posttraumatic stress disorder: a randomized controlled pilot trial.” The Journal of nervous and mental disease 195 6 (2007): 504-13.


Acupuncture for Colds and Flu

Cold and flu season is upon us. Are you ready? Although flu is only sporadic in Chester County PA right now, it will become widespread as the weather turns colder.  This year it is predicted that there will be 1 billion colds and 95 million cases of the flu in U.S. Besides the obvious measures to prevent colds and flu – things like washing your hands, getting enough sleep and avoiding people who are sick, what else can you do?

For starters, keep your immune system strong all year long – a healthy immune system is key to prevention. Acupuncture is a tool you can use to keep yourself healthy and prevent all types of disease, not just colds and flu.

Acupuncture Boosts Immunity

Acupuncture helps boost immunity by stimulating the production of natural killer cells – your first line of defense against viruses such as colds. In addition it acts on a complex immune building system that regulates white blood cells directly linked to fighting infections, allergic reactions, and even autoimmune disorders.

Acupuncture boosts the immune system with just a few needles inserted into key points along the body’s energy pathways. Disease prevention begins by focusing on the protective layer around the exterior of the body called Wei Qi or defensive energy. This protective barrier acts like a shield to keep out unwanted pathogens responsible for colds and flu.

Faster Healing Time

Receiving acupuncture at the first sign of a cold can also provide symptom relief and faster healing if you do catch a cold or the flu. Acupuncture helps with common symptoms such as chills, fever, body aches, runny nose, congestion, sore throat and cough. Not only can acupuncture provide immediate symptom relief – a course of just a few treatments can also reduce the risk of a cold progressing to bronchitis as well as shorten the duration of the illness.

Are you Qi Deficient?

If you catch colds easily, have low energy, and require a long time recuperating from an illness – your Wei Qi may be deficient. In Chinese medicine, Wei Qi is known as the defensive energy that surrounds your body to provide a protective barrier between you and the environment. Regular acupuncture keeps the defensive qi strong to more easily resist colds and flu.

Foods to Eat – Foods to Avoid

Acupuncture works best when combined with a proper diet. Diet is important for strong Wei Qi. Acupuncturists are trained to provide dietary recommendations that help keep your defenses strong. Foods to avoid would include dairy products such as milk and cheese, as well as wheat. These are cold and cool natured foods in Chinese medicine. Sugar is another major no-no when it comes to immunity. Did you know that your immune system is depressed for several hours after consuming sugar?

Eat With the Seasons

Balance is key to keeping healthy and this goes for diet as well as lifestyle. Try practicing eating with the seasons by eating more root vegetables such as baked yams or steamed carrots. Avoid out of season foods like salads, fruits, and cold drinks in the winter. A nourishing diet of steamed vegetables, rice, and small amounts of animal protein such as chicken or beef are recommended in winter time. Fish is a cold food so is better in summertime when the weather is hot.

Soup is a wonderful immune boosting food and can act as a remedy for colds. Be sure the broth is clear and does not contain wheat noodles. Chicken soup has long been heralded as a good cold remedy. Chinese medicine recognizes chicken as a warm natured food that combats internal coldness which can lead to weakening of the defensive energy.

For more information on diet and Chinese medicine, read my nutritional counseling page and find out how YOU can stay healthy to prevent colds and flu this winter.

Acupuncture for Stress Relief

Got stress? Maybe you’ve got ‘Spring Fever’. Acupuncture is the best kept secret for stress relief! Many of my acupuncture patients are reporting increased irritability, anxiety, and PMS with the onset of spring. Some are feeling unusually tired. People with allergies, TMJ, tension headaches, migraines, and vertigo also tend to notice a flare-up this time of year. Acupuncturists call this ‘Liver Qi Stagnation’ which gets worse in the spring.

What’s Liver Qi?
Spring is the time of year that the organ system called Liver gets unbalanced. No, not your actual liver – the Chinese ‘Liver’ system. Acupuncturists know that the Liver regulates energy flow throughout your body. A busy, stressed out life causes the Liver to clamp down on your energy system – a condition called ‘Liver Qi Stagnation’. Most Americans experience some form of Liver Qi Stagnation throughout the year. Symptoms may include frustration, teeth grinding, ear ringing, allergies, and PMS.

Why is it worse in Spring?
Spring is a ‘strong’ season with an outward push of energy and wild weather swings. Our bodies are made from the materials found in nature so it makes sense that we would notice amplified stress or mood swings when spring arrives. Spring starts in February according to the Chinese calendar. So our 1st day of spring coincides with the middle of spring – a time when the Liver Qi is at its peak. Here in the west, we have the term ’Spring Fever’ which is described as a feeling of restlessness or laziness. If you’ve got pre-existing Liver Qi Stagnation, you’re likely noticing increased stress or fatigue. Perhaps your Liver Qi needs some attention.

4 Ways Move Your Liver Qi

Loosen up your Liver Qi with some exercise. Walking, running, or weightlifting are great ways to blow off steam. Yoga and Tai Qi are good additions for smoothing the body’s Qi and helping you relax.

Turn Off Your Cellphone
….and your computer for that matter. With increased connectivity we’ve become more stressed.Your Liver Qi gets tighter with every email, beep, notification, and text that comes in. Unplug and go for a walk – outside in nature if you can. Your Liver Qi will thank you!

Hang Out
Schedule time with people who boost your mood. Nurture friendships and family ties. Go have some fun, or just chill out, preferably with people. Positive relationships create flow – in both your life and your qi.

Visit your Acupuncturist
If you’re feeling stress, PMS, fatigue, or allergy symptoms, your Liver Qi might be stuck. Acupuncture regulates the meridians and the Liver – creating balance and flow. The result? You feel better! So get your qi moving and flow into summer.

Read more about acupuncture for stress and anxiety or acupuncture and menstrual issues including PMS!