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Welcome to Naturna Institute

Where the best of Eastern medicine and Western science converge to form a comprehensive, cross-discipline approach. Listening, instead of dictating, allowing a deeper dialogue to manifest a more complete diagnosis. Revealing the true root causes behind symptoms and conditions and crafting unique health plans that empower you through education and inspiration to conquer bad habits and create better ones.

Mon 11am-8pm, Tues 11:30am-7:30pm, Wed-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 10am-3pm, Sun 11am-4pm

(646) 609-4250

129 E 90th Street #1W, New York, NY, 10128

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Are Painful Periods “Normal?”

Ask any gynecologist and they will likely tell you that experiencing pain before or during your period is expected and nothing to be worried about. Dysmenorrhea, the technical name for painful periods, is experienced by almost all menstruating women with at least one or more of their periods. According to Grandi et. al. (2012), “menstrual pain was reported by 84.1% of women, with 43.1% reporting that pain occurred during every period, and 41% reporting that pain occurred during some periods.” Wow, that’s a lot of ladies experiencing pain! For some, the pain can be short lived and alleviated with an Advil or a heating pack. For others, their dysmenorrhea is so severe that it interferes with their everyday activities and can be accompanied by symptoms...

Allergies Gettin’ You ‘Salty?’ Try Salt Therapy!

Salt therapy, also called halo-therapy, is all the rage these days. Spas across the country and throughout the city now offer this form of holistic healing, which aims to deliver the benefits of pure Himalayan salt in alleviating upper respiratory conditions such as sinus infections, allergies, hay fever, and asthmatic attacks. One of my daughter’s classmates perpetually has a snotty nose. It got to the point where, this past winter, she had a chronic ear infection that prevented her from attending school. Her parents took her to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist and learned that she has enlarged adenoids. The doctor recommended a surgery to “shave away” her adenoids. Nervous to give their young daughter surgery, the parents decided to get a second...

What are adaptogens and how do they work?

If you hang around wellness websites and social media, you have probably heard the buzzword of the year: adaptogens. For those who don’t know, adaptogens are plants that help the body combat stressors including physical, chemical, or biological (Ducharme, 2018). Many of these herbs have been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years. Adaptogens have been clinically proven to ward off fatigue, increase mental capacity, enhance attention, and protect the central nervous system against stress (Panossian & Wikman, 2010). Recently trending adaptogens include ashwagandha, ginseng, reishi, astragalus, and holy basil. Each of these herbs perform different duties and are used for different purposes. So what do they do? Adaptogens are like a regulator for your adrenals, acting to reduce the effect of...

The True Cause of Your PMS

What would you do if you knew what was causing your PMS? Would you decide to take action to get rid of the premenstrual fat suit, tender ta-tas, and super-bitch-dom that take you over every month? Many women struggle with these symptoms (among others) for up to two weeks out of every month. They may try a myriad of herbs, vitamins, or just go on birth control to suppress the issue. Consider for a minute that perhaps PMS is not as “nebulous” and unidentifiable as you might think. You are not actually stuck with the nightmare of sudden weight gain, bloating, mood swings, and cramps. Let’s chat through the most common hidden culprit: estrogen dominance. To understand this, we should begin with a quick lesson...

Acupuncture for Immunity

Every so often, I find that there is a shift in the collective subconscious and suddenly everyone is talking about the same thing. Maybe it has something to do with the change of season and the endless winter we’ve had to endure here in NYC, but it seems that everyone’s mind has been on their health and immunity and what can be done to improve it. Questions like “When did my health get out of control?” or “How can I improve myself overall?” have been cropping up again and again in my acupuncture sessions. Of course, the answer from acupuncturists and other medical professionals will typically involve something like “Come in for another session this week,” but that doesn’t necessarily explain the root cause of...

Why I Love Moxibustion, and You Should Too

The other day, I was at my friend’s house when her 4-year-old daughter started to complain that her tummy hurt. My friend asked if there was anything I could do to help. I offered to rub some essential oils on her belly that are specifically great for digestion. I have many fond memories of my mother rubbing oils on my belly to rapidly and effectively treat tummy ache. I use oils often on my own daughter (diluted with carrier oil, of course, for safety reasons). In fact, I never leave home without my essential oil first-aid kit. However, the little girl shook her head and refused the oils. No big deal. I acknowledged her preference and offered another option. As an acupuncturist, I always have...

Do’s and Don’t’s for a New Exercise Regimen in the Spring

With the weather finally getting better, I see runners zipping down the sidewalks to Central Park or West Side Highway, and I think to myself “Oh boy, here come the knee injury, hip pain and shin splints patients.” If you ask a running coach she would say these injuries are due to overtraining or the common, “too fast too soon.” Repetitive force from each step causes injury to the the tendons and ligaments around the joints, causing inflammation to occur to protect from further damage. The inflammation triggers pain and swelling bad enough to bench most runners. Tendons, ligaments, and cartilage take a long time to heal since those types of tissue are not very well protected. Chinese medicine has a more poetic explanation of...

“The Fourth Trimester:” Alison’s Experience with Postpartum Care

After now having experienced the birthing process and postpartum recovery myself, I am certain of one thing: the “fourth trimester” is real, and not for the faint of heart! The mental and physical acrobatics of navigating this new world together is hard, as it wasn't just a baby that was born, it was also a parent. As I now begin to transition out of this postpartum phase, I feel less engulfed in the experience of adjusting to parenting, and more in the process of coming back into myself. Such an important process of motherhood (and also in the practice of acupuncture) is learning to care for yourself in order to care for others. I realize now that discussing the fourth trimester and all it brings...

All About Soy

“Is soy bad for you, or is soy good for you?” is a common question I get asked as nutritionist. Unfortunately, the answer is not a simple one, because there is conflicting evidence on this topic. My general answer is that soy is bad for you most of the time, but there are some exceptions when it can be good. In this blog post, you can learn more about soy and when it can be harmful or helpful! Phytoestrogens In order to understand soy, it is important to understand phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are known as “dietary estrogens” because they are not produced in the body like the estrogen hormone. Instead, they are ingested or consumed through certain foods. Phytoestrogens are found in plants like soy, where they are...

Acupuncture for Autoimmune Diseases

In today’s world, chances are high that you know of someone living with an autoimmune (AI) disease, or you may have an AI condition yourself! Autoimmune disease refers to an illness where the body tissues can’t “recognize friend from foe” and they begin to attack the body’s own immune system. Common symptoms include general malaise (or feeling “icky”), fatigue, joint pain or swelling, skin problems, abdominal or digestive problems, recurring fever, and swollen glands (Orbai, n.d.). The American Autoimmune Related Disease Association (AARDA) estimates 50 million people in the United States are currently living with an AI disease (AARDA, 2018). There have been 80-100 different AI diseases identified and another 40 additional diseases are suspected of having an AI basis. The number of people suffering...

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Moxibustion for Menstrual Pain

It is estimated that about 45% to 72% of women suffer from primary dysmenorrhea (Yang et al., 2017). The term primary dysmenorrhea refers to menstrual pain that typically begins before and is relieved soon after the onset of menstruation, and is thought not to be caused by any underlying diseases. Secondary dysmenorrhea, on the other hand, is caused by pathologies in the pelvic structure such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammation, or myomas of the uterus. Of the women who have primary dysmenorrhea, a subset experience severe and debilitating pain that requires bed rest, missing work, or limiting daily activity. For these women, conventional treatment calls for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and oral contraceptives. However, for women who are interested in a non-pharmaceutical approach, studies show that...

Energizing Substitutes for Coffee

Do you love the energy boost you get from your steamy cup of coffee, but hate the crash after? Coffee isn’t unhealthy when consumed in moderation, but there are side effects to drinking your regular cup of Joe. Although the recommended daily maximum for coffee is 3–4 cups (equivalent to 400 mg of caffeine), that may be too much for people who are sensitive to caffeine, or for those with certain health conditions (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2017). Some adverse health effects from drinking coffee may include:   Weight gain Caffeine in coffee increases the level of your stress hormone cortisol, and elevated cortisol levels have been shown to contribute to weight gain (Lovallo et al., 2006) Low energy Caffeine stimulates the body’s adrenal system, which boosts energy for a short...

Acupuncture for Male Infertility

Treatments in the world of fertility typically focus on the woman: understandably so, since conception requires so much production and coordination from the female reproductive system.  However, we now know that infertility is not just a female problem!  Male factor infertility is solely responsible in about 20% of infertile couples and contributes in another 30-40%.  A simple semen analysis can determine if male factor infertility is an issue, but it may even play a role when the semen analysis is normal (Male Factor Infertility and Sexual Health, n.d.). Two of the most common contributors to male infertility are varicoceles and hormone imbalance (Staff, Mayo Clinic, n.d.).  A varicocele is an enlargement of the veins within the testes, similar to varicose veins in the legs. Varicoceles are...

Keeping Up with New Years Resolutions of Health

As the first month of the new year draws to a close, many of us have made little progress on our resolutions like getting in better shape, eating healthier, or just wanting to feel better. If you have ever tried shedding a few pounds, becoming more physically active, or simply leading a healthier lifestyle, you know that it’s not always easy. There are a lot of factors that play a role in our health, so it’s important to look at all of them. However, this does not have to be done all at once! As a Nutritionist, I have found that setting small goals each week with my clients allows them to achieve their long-term goals. Here are a few tips to help you get...

Natural Relief for Post-Travel Illness

With January nearing its end, many of you have returned from your vacation travels and are back at work and school. While unpacking the souvenirs and gifts from your travels, you may realize that may not be all that you’ve brought back. Traveling to a foreign country is a privilege everyone should experience at some point in their lives. You get to encounter different cultures and traditions, have new experiences, and meet wonderful people. However, your body also comes into contact with very foreign environments, most of which it won’t be used to. Inevitably, your body can contract a foreign strain of bacterium, most often from the bathing water or water used to cook most foods, causing you to become ill during and after the...