On Honoring the Self



Yesterday afternoon I was listening to NPR about how poorly our area hospitals ranked in a national survey. I couldn’t help thinking this was one more arrow in my quiver when I speak about or write about how terribly important self-care or preventative medicine is. 

The CDC estimates there are roughly 1.7 million hospital acquired infections resulting in 99,000 deaths every single year!  That’s 99,000 deaths from infections caused by someone going into the hospital!  I cannot imagine anyone reading this and not sharing my shock, and outrage! 

It is a sad commentary on our culture that we place such little emphasis on preventative medicine. There are so many ways that we might be practicing this. We not only might prevent hospitalization, (and potentially being one of those 99,000), we also serendipitously allow for greater enjoyment of the here and now.

Talk about your Win/Win situation! 

It scares and saddens me to see the number of Dialysis Clinics sprouting up in my area. There is a direct correlation between this and the increasing number of persons with Diabetes. Again, there is an irrefutable connection between lifestyle, nutrition, exercise, etc., and Type Two Diabetes.

How about the number of health related conditions related to stress? Lifestyle!  Again, practicing Preventative Medicine can effectively lower stress levels, allowing for better energy, greater freedom of movement, and a brighter outlook.

I love my Practice as an Acupuncture Physician. I am following in the path of health care providers who started this venerable act of Preventative Medicine thousands of years ago. The earliest Acupuncture Physicians known as the barefoot doctors were actually paid to keep communities well.  They would travel town to town, treating entire families, helping them maintain wellness. 

It’s not a coincidence that many of my patients report enjoying benefits not related to their initial reason for coming for care. When treating patients, I often hear “I just realized I haven’t taken my Prilosec since I started to come see you,” or “I’m actually sleeping much better since you started to treat me for my back pain.”

One of the goals of Acupuncture is to restore homeostasis (balance). In so doing, all systems regain harmony.  Acupuncture is such a wonderful holistic medicine!

I offer you the invitation to think more about Preventative Medicine. Think about ways you can take better care of the body you’re in, and celebrate the fruits of your efforts!  More time to play golf, or kayak, time and energy to dance and make love!

There is a little plaque on my refrigerator that always invites a smile. A Pastor friend of mine once said these words to me, “This is not a dress rehearsal. “This is the real deal, folks. Take care of yourself so that you might enjoy all that life has to offer!

A Better Way!

Have you ever been told you were nominated for a high position?  I mean really high….?

A patient told me once I should be canonized!  Which for those of you unfamiliar with the Catholic faith means to be made a saint!  I’m sure there are at least a few of the good nuns I had in my 12 years of Catholic school who might beg to differ.  Still, there was a part of me that was tickled at the notion.15907288_s

The act that brought about such praise was an Acupuncture Treatment Protocol I’d just learned, referred to as a ‘Pre-birth Treatment’. The simplicity of it is absolutely elegant!  My patient reported that after treatment her labor and delivery was entirely different than her first, and she was thrilled!

Last year, I had the very good pleasure of providing the ‘Pre-birth Treatment’ to two sisters who were both due around the same time. How awesome is that?  Once again the response was wonderful!  Both sisters reported their labor and deliveries were much better than their first!  See their testimonial on my website.

i had first read about this protocol in The Journal of Chinese Medicine.  What impressed me as much as the physical dynamics was the fact that the study was done not by Acupuncturists, whose findings might have been construed as biased, but rather by a group of midwives!  Each reported again and again how much more efficient labor was with women who had undergone this process.

A few years later I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with Debra Betts, an Acupuncturist, and an RN, (like myself), who specializes in women’s reproductive health, and she elaborated even more on this protocol, causing me to be even more enamored with it.

It is with great enthusiasm and excitement to offer this entire protocol at a very discounted rate now through September.  It consists of four treatments, one a week, for the last four weeks of pregnancy. If you are pregnant now, or know anyone who is, please call me, or stop by our office for more information.  I would be happy to discuss the acupuncture ‘Prebirth Treatment’ with you.

Can Acupuncture help an Alzheimer’s Patient?

Sometimes a break during the day can be a really good thing.  My first inclination is usually one of disappointment, as I am in the most fortunate position of really loving the work I do!  However, today during my ‘downtime’ I came across an article published by HealthCMi, dated 6/11/2015 titled ACUPUNCTURE BENEFITS ALZHEIMER DISEASE PATIENTS. It was a perfect article for the day, as I’d just learned an hour earlier that a patient I’m quite fond of has just been diagnosed with this dreaded disease! 

The article cited a large study that proved how acupuncture improved the effectiveness of the drug donepezil, one of the most common drugs prescribed. The Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores improved significantly when adding acupuncture to the drug treatment regime. 

There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease. It is certainly promising to learn of new, safe methods are available that can enhance the effectiveness of the medication currently available. 

Before becoming an Acupuncture Physician, I was an RN for many years. I was Certified as a Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse. In this capacity, I had the chance to work with many patients and families afflicted by this horrific disease and on more than one occasion I would sit in my car weeping at the end of a shift.  There are over five million Americans currently suffering with this dreaded disease.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association by the year 2050 that s number will triple!  These numbers are astounding!

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed, please learn more about how acupuncture can help.  Contact me for a personal consultation. 8583190_s

“Acupuncture can treat that???”


Yesterday afternoon found me at Costco, and like all other Big Box stores, Costco has aisles that seem to go on forever, the pharmacy is no exception. While looking for Vitamin D I found myself in what must have been the gastro-intestinal aisle. There had to be a hundred different items there, something to address every segment of the alimentary canal. At least a half dozen offerings for heartburn, or gastric reflux. Further down the aisle there were pills, tablets, and liquids promising relief from bloating, gas or distention. Then, those for constipation, or diarrhea. When I finally reached the end of the aisle, I laughed to myself, and wondered if it was a wise pharmacist who had designed this area, because there at the end were items specifically for the tail end of our wonderful alimentary canal, hemorrhoid creams and ointments, suppositories which promised quick relief!

Having long been a fan of gratitude, I allowed myself to celebrate the blissfully healthy state of my gut. Then I thought how very fortunate I am to be able to offer relief more permanent, and natural than all the assortment the aisle held!  And, the capacity to do this by enlisting the bodies natural healing capacity through the ancient Art of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture.

Thought of the woman who came in one morning looking rather haggard, and sad. She stated she’d been awake all night with stomach ache. A handful of needles, she fell asleep. An hour later when I’d removed the needles she sat up, and had a sweet look of incredulousness on her face, and she said she couldn’t believe how much better she felt!

Or the fellow, who came to see me as he had heard Acupuncture can be really helpful for lumbar pain.  While completing the intake form he saw hemorrhoids listed under the Stomach and Spleen section of the form.  He looked at me with a truly surprised look and said he had almost cancelled his appointment that day because he was in agony with hemorrhoids which were actually bleeding, “Can Acupuncture really help hemorrhoids?” he asked, I treated the lumbar pain, but also this more troubling condition. The next day he called me to say his back felt much better, but amazingly, the hemorrhoids were gone!

Then there was the young pregnant woman who constantly had heartburn, well into the fifth month of her pregnancy! Again, quickly resolved!

George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose, recognized by the self as a Mighty one!….” It is indeed a joy, and a privilege to be able to use skills I have learned to help people with a myriad of conditions feel better. Not a day passes where I don’t say a silent prayer of thanks, that I have chosen a path of healing that is able to restore a person to a state of wellness naturally. 

Little gifts ….

                Earlier this week I was waiting at the very busy deli counter to order my po37600108_sund of turkey.  The obviously frenzied woman looked up at me, saying ‘I’ll be right with you.”  “Take your time,” I said, and her face softened. Meeting my eyes she said, “Thank you… that’s the nicest thing anyone has said to me today.”  It was such a simple thing to say, yet it was received so graciously! How many times in the course of our days, when we are rushing here and there, do we stop and give ourselves permission to take our time                          It makes me wonder if perhaps that’s part of the healing journey. 

              The forty-five minutes to an hour when a patient is on my table, it is truly their time.  I, Cate Bransfield, a representative of a Healing Community, be it the years of experience in the world of nursing, or she who reveres and practices the art of an Ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine, is present employing everything within me to bring that person back into the fullness of life. Allowing them, no, encouraging them to take their time, to be still, and allow the innate wisdom within to correct imbalances and renew.  

            When my patients leave the clinic they always say thank you, and I in turn thank them.  It is an honor and a privilege to be invited into their lives, to share that stillness, and be able to help facilitate a path to wholeness.

Does Acupuncture Hurt?


It was fun to see the shocked expressions as people gravitated to our table at a recent Health Fair.  They had followed he sound of laughter – only to learn it was caused by pricks of a pin!  Or, to be more accurate, an Acupuncture Needle, which five of the women standing there sported.  

The women had each voiced curiosity about Acupuncture, mixed with a fear of needles.  When offered the chance to try the needling experience at an actual Acupuncture Point, (eleventh point on Large Intestine meridian, in the crook of the elbow), they had all agreed.  Well, a few had to be goaded on! Still, their response was consistent, pleasantly surprised.  I have told anxious needle phobic people in the past how fine our needles are.  How, for example, you could put 18 acupuncture needles in the bore of one hypodermic needle, but, I guess there’s nothing quite like experience to prove a point, (pun intended!

So, I invite all whose eyes fall upon this blog … if your resistance to trying Acupuncture to obtain relief from those wicked headaches, menstrual cramps, stomach aches, or the dozens of other conditions Acupuncture can treat, according to the World Health Organization, call me and I will make time available to let you discover how gentle this Wonderful healing are can be!

Happy Period Clinic Anyone?

40439319_s     Yesterday afternoon found me a little tired, and ready to call it a day when my last patient arrived.  We chatted briefly about her upcoming vacation, and her excitement about that.  She then volunteered that her last period was the BEST period of her life!  Interestingly, dysmennorhea was not the main reason this young lady started to receive Acupuncture.  Rather, her painful periods came to light during her assessment.  Perhaps she, like so many other women, just assumed, ‘that’s the way it is’.  Many years ago I was working as an RN for a Senior Home Care Agency.  I had women, in their 80’s(!) who could recount for me, in startling detail, the hell they’d endured for forty odd years!  This is wrong, on so many levels!  I have a vision of someday having a ‘Happy Period Clinic’ perhaps posting it here will help make it a reality 🙂  My plan is to keep the Clinic open one night a week, and see women four weeks in a row, I truly believe their cycles could become much more healthy, easy, and comfortable.  Wouldn’t that be sweet?



Prenatal & Post-Partum Depression

15075678_sTuesday evening I was in a favorite place, the kitchen, slicing and dicing veggies for what I hoped would be a delicious dinner, as is my custom, happily listening to NPR.  There was a story about recognizing the need to care for women who were pregnant, or recently post-partum dealing with depression.  Given the fact that in a past life, (pre-Masters in Oriental Medicine and current beloved career path), I had been certified as a psychiatric and mental health RN, I listened up and hand cut the onions rather than allow the Cuisinart to compete for these words.

The doctor being interviewed spoke clearly about how damaging depression could be, both for the pregnant woman, or new mother, and her new-born; how their bonding could be adversely effected, and her sense of being a failure could prove quite painful. Twenty plus years as a charge nurse in psychiatric facilities had afforded me many examples of this most debilitating condition. But, then came, his typical, western medicine ‘cure’–anti-depressants.

He went on to say that while there is ‘some risk’ of these pharmaceuticals causing birth defects, the risk was small.  It was not only the onions causing me to tear, as I thought of one of the possible ‘small side effects’, a cleft palate.  Imagine the parents of a newborn pacing the waiting room as their tiny little one underwent surgery to correct what could have been avoided! Surely they would not think of the side effect as being ‘small’.

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine has a long history of helping persons with depression, and or anxiety. And, yes, helping pregnant women who present with these symptoms, safely, with no side-effects.  In fact, helping these women have better, healthier pregnancies!

It is irrefutable that antidepressants have helped many people feel better. I am not contesting this. I long for the day when ALL options are presented.

Years ago there was a piece on the news about how NIH had agreed that Acupuncture was as effective as a popular, (very expensive) anti-nausea medicine for persons under-going chemo-therapy. What they failed to mention though was that the medicine they were speaking of, (remember, the RN), was proven to have the potential to cause severe Liver damage! Acupuncture would not!  I don’t see them as being equal.

I long for the day when our capacity to deliver quality health care is recognized.