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Got Insurance? You Probably Have Acupuncture Benefits!

by Heather Fairall, L.Ac.

Did you know most major medical plans offer acupuncture benefits?  

Now you know.

Call your insurance company for details on your specific plan, or call the office, and we can help you find out what your acupuncture benefits are!

I am an IN-NETWORK provider with the following insurance companies:

  • Regence
  • Premera
  • Lifewise
  • Blue Cross, Blue Shield
  • Group Health PPO & HMO plans
  • Aetna
  • Cigna
  • First Choice


Spring is Coming! Time to Start Acupuncture for your Seasonal Allergies


Treat your seasonal allergies with acupuncture and Chinese herbs!

Patient Testimonial:
"I have been dealing with sinusitis for over 20 years.  The doctors would prescribe antibiotics every 3 to 6 months, until I discovered acupuncture.  Acupuncture has proven to be a huge breakthrough for me.  I have not been on antibiotics since I started treatments, going on 2 years now.  Through acupuncture, Heather Falkenbury has helped me to identify health deficiencies, which are remedied with herbs and acupuncture.  I now have more energy, which is important to me as I attempt to keep up with my grandchildren." - C.T.

In research published in American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy finds acupuncture effective for the treatment of allergic rhinitis. This condition is often referred to as hay fever and is characterized by a sinus congestion and pain, runny nose, postnasal drip, sneezing, watery or itchy eyes, and irritation of the ears or throat.According to the study "acupuncture significantly lowered Immunoglobulin E (IgE), an antibody associated with allergies and hypersensitivities, in allergic rhinitis patients. In addition, subjective measures demonstrated acupuncture’s ability to improve quality of life scores. Acupuncture demonstrated significant efficaciousness in reducing allergic rhinitis symptoms including the reduction of nasal symptoms."

New Second Location in Ferndale! Business Name Change!

Cha Cha Cha Changes!  

Big, exciting changes are happening for my acupuncture practice! I am opening a second acupuncture office in Ferndale! The Ferndale location is in the newly remodeled Mind, Body, Spirit Center at 5683 2nd Ave. Whatcom Locals will know this location as the old Ferndale Chamber of Commerce Building.  

Because of the location change, I am changing my official business name from Bellingham Family Acupuncture to Whatcom Family Acupuncture! (you may have already noticed the name change on this website and Facebook pages)

Appointments will be available at the Ferndale Office starting Jan 1, 2016. Office hours in Ferndale will be Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:00am-7:00pm, and Saturdays 9:00am- 1:00pm. Appointments at the Bellingham Office will still be available on Fridays 2:00pm- 7:00pm and by appointment.

Scheduling is available online at whatcomfamilyacupuncture.com or by calling 360-305-9224

An "open house" is in the works, stay tuned for the date and other details!

Exciting Insurance News, Now A Preferred Provider with Regence!

I am excited to announce that I am now a "Preferred Provider" with Regence Health Insurance!  This has taken me seven years to accomplish, and I am very happy about this.  Here is the link to Regence

Tell all your Regence, HMA, and Uniform Medical-insured friends and family to come see me!

How To Get Your Kids To Eat Bone Broth? Plus French Dip Recipe!

by Heather Fairall, L.Ac.

Bone broth has some amazing health benefits (see previous post)! It is one of the most affordable ways to add a healthy boost to your immune system and gut health. It is also one of the most nutrient dense foods available, and therefore great to add to your child’s diet.

But How the heck to you get your kids to eat it? Like many of you, I have picky kids. I have to trick or disguise most healthy things I feed to my kiddos. Kale and sauerkraut are added into the smoothies, and bone broth sneaks into many menu items at my house (insert evil mom laugh here)!

French Dips from Bone broth for the kids!
Here are some "tricky mom" tips for getting your kids to eat bone broth:

1. Use broth as the base of soups and stews.
Any soup is greatly enhanced with nutrition and flavor by using bone broth as the base.

2. Cook rice or other grains, or quinoa with broth instead of water.
They will never know!

3. Cook veggies in it.
This is especially good for potatoes, or other mashable veggies- mash those sweet potatoes with the broth after you cook them in it. Great addition to baby food mashes!!!

4. Try to offer straight from cup.
You never know, they might just like it… cups with straws are good for this.

5. Mix with sauces like spaghetti sauce.
Again, they will never know!

6. Cook beans in it.
This works best with dried beans. After you soak your beans overnight cover beans with half water and half broth (or all broth if you like) and cook. This adds great flavor to your beans too!

French Dip Au Jus with Onions Recipe
7. French dips!
Our family favorite! We love French Dips, but have you ever looked at the ingredients on the packets of “au jus”? Don’t- its a disgusting mix of chemicals and artificial flavors.

French Dip Recipe:

2-3 cups homemade beef bone broth
1 Tbs soy sauce or Tamari
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
Pepper to taste
1 lb roast beef
Optional: sliced onions

French Dip from Bone Broth

Add first four ingredients to medium sauce pan. (I like to add sliced onions to my Jus, and then put on the sandwiches.) Bring to simmer. Add thinly sliced roast beef to pan and turn to low. (this infuses broth and meat with deliciousness). Cook for 10-20 minutes. Put meat on toasted rolls, dip in broth, eat, enjoy!


What Is Bone Broth And How Do I Make It?

by Heather Fairall, L.Ac.

Bone broth is all the rage right now, and for good reason. Most traditional cultures have a history of bone broth as a part of its cuisine for its amazing health benefits and amazing flavor. In traditional Chinese Medicine, bone broth is an excellent way to tonify qi and build blood. It is also known to boost your immune system, that’s why chicken soup is often called “Jewish penicillin”! I recommend to every patient that I see to start adding bone broth into their diets.

Yes, but what is bone broth?  Bone broth is simply broth or stock made from meat bones, usually beef, chicken, pork, or fish.  Bones are slowly cooked in a large pot with water and veggies (carrots, onions, ect.), then the broth is then strained and ready to use!

Bone broth is one of the best “nutrient dense” foods you can feed children (nutrient dense foods are especially important in feeding young kids and picky eaters). It is full of vitamins, minerals, and collagen and glycosaminoglycans (GAG’s) which help bone and joint health. One of the most amazing benefits of bone broth is that it can help to heal the gut. The gelatin in bone broth can help to heal leaky gut and reduce inflammation in the intestines. It is beneficial for all digestive problems including diarrhea, constipation, as well as conditions such as food sensitivities and autoimmune diseases.

Making bone broth may sound daunting, but it is not only easy, it can be done on the cheap!!!  Here is my cheap mom recipe for bone broth.Bone broth for the freezer

1. Save all of your meat and/or fish bones. Put your chicken carcass in a zip-lock and keep it in the freezer. I also save steak bones, pork bones, and get “soup bones” from the butcher. Sometimes I mix the bones, sometimes I keep them separate. It depends on my mood or OCD level of the day.

 2. Save all of your veggies scraps from cooking and keep in a zip-lock in the freezer. The ends of carrots, ends of onions, garlic skins, squash peels, kale ribs, etc . It can all go into the pot.

veggie scraps for bone broth

3. When you have a few bags stored up, throw them in a large pot or crock pot, cover with water and cook for at least 24 hours (I like to let mine simmer for 48 hours). Make sure you add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water to help extract the minerals from the bones.

bones and veggies in a ziplock in the freezer for broth

4. Strain the broth from the bones and veggie scraps.  I usually strain through a mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth.  I then funnel it into the containers I will freeze it in.

I usually try to have some in my fridge at all times, but I freeze most of it to use as needed. I drink it straight, and use it in cooking (recipes and ideas in next blog).


Pediatric Acupuncture- Why it's NOT Scary!

by Heather Fairall, L.Ac.

pediatric acupuncture- tuning forksWell, It was inevitable, and overdue-  so here it is, my first ever blog post.  And it is about pediatric acupuncture, my passion.  

I started learning more about this subject, which is not a focus in most acupuncture school curriculum, after having children.  Correction, I really started trying to learn more about pediatrics after my son was born, my colicky son.  I wanted to be able to help him feel better, and I wanted to not have to comfort and bounce him an average of 8 hours a day, I wanted to sleep again, and I wanted to give my 2-year-old daughter some attention too!  He didn't respond to any diet changes that I made, or to gripe water, nor to craniosacral therapy, or any other comfort measures this sleep-deprived momma tried in vain!  So I tried acupuncture, and it helped! 

If you are a parent, or have had close contact with children, you will have observed that they are quick to get sick, and quick to get better.  One minute they are running around, playing, and the next they are lethargic, feverish, and puking down your back.  If they are a healthy child though, they are usually running around playing again in no time. 

So this is why acupuncture for kids is not scary, it doesn't take much to help them to feel better!  A.K.A. they do not need many acupuncture needles during a treatment!  Their little bodies only need a gentle nudge towards balance and a boost to their immune system to help them to heal.  Heal without drugs, antibiotics, Tylenol, ect.  ***Of course there is a time and a place for trips to the doctor and antibiotics.  But if your child has a viral head cold, for example, acupuncture can be a great treatment option. 

Here is a list of reasons why Acupuncture for kids is not scary

1.  I use only a few needles per treatment.  The number of needles usually increases with the age of the child.
An infant might get 2 needles during a treatment, where a 10-year-old may get 4-10.

2.  I refrain from using  language that may be "scary", and encourage parents to do the same.  Acupuncture needles are called "taps" in the office (because the needles are "tapped" in).  Words like poke, needle, puncture, pinch, ect. are avoided. 

3.  In young (squiggly) kiddos I usually do a quick "in-and-out" insertion.  The needles are not retained. (no, your 3-month-old will not have to sit still with 50 needles poking out of him for 30 minutes!)

4.  The needles we use on kids are very small!  At my office, I use high quality, small gauge Japanese needle. These needles are the thickness of a strand of hair!

5.  Needles are only one treatment option!  There are many other ways that we can do "acupuncture" on kids. 
Techniques include acupressure, acutonics/tuning forks, sho ni shin "non-insertive" Japanese acupuncture (which involves gentle "scraping" or pressing on acupuncture points and energy channels), superficial electrical stimulation, tui na (massage), cold-laser, dietary suggestions, and herbal medicine.

6.  It is typically painless.  Babies usually do not react when needles are inserted = it doesn't hurt. 

7.  Kids are interested!  The older kids even think acupuncture is "cool", which it is.  They want to see the needles, they even ask for more points, and they want to take pictures on their cell phones and post them to Facebook!

8.  I don't do anything that the parent or child is uncomfortable with. 

So that is it!  My first blog post!  I would love to hear your feedback (be gentle), and answer any questions you may have!